Welcome one and all to chapter eight! I'm so sorry about the lack of updates. But I have a lot of schoolwork going on right now since it's close to the end of the year. I'm trying, I promise! I've been neglecting my stories to get the work done, and I'm truly sorry, but that's how it's going to be until summer.
Anyway, thanks to all my reviewers! You guys are the greatest!
Disclaimer: I have no claim whatsoever over Yu Yu Hakusho, so there'd be no point in suing me. I plead my case.
Chapter Eight: Poison Effects
Botan rubbed her eyes as she woke up, and pushed the covers off of her. She yawned as she got up and shook Keiko.
"Keiko, get up, we have to see Genkai today!" Botan groaned and Keiko finally shot up when she heard the word Genkai.
"Oh my gosh! I almost forgot!" Keiko said, going over to wake Yukina and Shizuru. Botan smiled at her went to go raid the bathroom before the others could get in there. She quickly brushed her hair and jumped into the shower.
"Botan! You cheat!" She could hear Shizuru banging on the door and smiled to herself.
Shizuru sighed from outside the door and looked at the other three, "If she takes to long, I'm breaking the door down."
"Well, why don't we all eat breakfast?" Yukina suggested and Keiko agreed whole-heartedly.
"Food!" Keiko ran down stairs and started whipping up some pancakes, "My parents are out of town for a few days, so I'll make breakfast."
"Where'd they go?" Shizuru asked curiously and grabbed some silver wear, cups, and plates. Yukina grabbed the napkins and started helping Shizuru set the table.
"Well, they went on vacation. All though they were a bit reluctant to leave since we just got back in town, but I insisted," Keiko grinned at them as she started whipping things about in one of the bowls.
Five minutes later, Shizuru heard the shower water stop and rushed upstairs. Botan came out in a robe and was brushing her hair, "All yours."
"Yeah, yeah," Shizuru grumbled as she went to take her own shower. Botan stuck her tongue out at her and ran down stairs when she smelled something sweet cooking.
"What's cooking?" She asked as she slid into the chair next to Yukina.
"Pancakes," Keiko said simply and started flipping them. Botan stared at the delicious flat circle flopping up and down and drooled.
"I guess Keiko and I will have to get our showers after breakfast," Yukina stated, and gave Botan an odd look as her drool landed on the table, "Uh, Botan-chan? You might want to wipe that up…"
Botan snapped out of her daze and blushed, "Right!"
Yukina watched as Botan wiped it up with the sleeve of her robe and shook her head in a friendly manner.
Keiko put two pancakes on each plate, drenched them with syrup, strawberries and whipped cream, and put them on the table. Botan grabbed her plate first, and started gulping them down as fast as she could.
:These are so good: Botan thought and ate them until there wasn't even a drip of syrup left on the plate. She saw Keiko looking at her, open-mouthed, and blushed.
"Sorry… but I couldn't help it!"
Keiko waved her off as Shizuru made her way downstairs, fully clothed. She picked out a red, long sleeve v-neck shirt with white jeans. She even pulled her hair up in a messy bun, and had some pink shiny lip gloss on.
"Trying to impress somebody?" Keiko asked and giggled. She already knew it was Kurama, and just wanted to see Shizuru blush.
"I don't need to impress anybody. If I look good today, I look good," Shizuru shrugged and started eating her own pancakes.
"What time would you like to see Genkai?" Yukina wondered, poking at her pancakes a bit. It was a tough topic.
"I guess when we're all ready," Botan said and washed her plate. She smiled at them and ran up stairs to brush her teeth and get dressed. Keiko and Yukina finished soon after, and also went to get ready. They both took showers, brushed their teeth, and got dressed.
Botan went downstairs when she was finished to see Shizuru flipping channels on the TV. Botan plopped down next to her and Shizuru nodded to her, greeting her and giving her approval of Botan's attire.
Botan picked out a dark blue sweater and white skirt with some tennis shoes. She left her hair up in its normal ponytail and decided no make-up for today. She didn't really need it.
"Anything good on?" Botan asked, staring at the TV screen.
"Not really, our concert's on," Shizuru answered and changed the channel back to their concert. Botan watched as they danced around and sang, and she giggled, "If this was three years ago, and you told me this would happen, I would have called you nuts."
"Same here," Shizuru laughed with her, and grabbed her coat when Yukina and Keiko came down the stairs.
Keiko was wearing a dark green, halter shirt with a black zip-up sweater, and also a pair of tan jeans. She had left her hair down in its usual style and smiled, "Ready to go?"
Botan nodded and bounced over to the door, "Ready as ever!"
Yukina put on her shoes before locking the door. She was wearing a royal purple sundress, and a white button-up sweater over it. She had tied her hair in a purple ribbon, and followed the other girls out.
All of them were slightly nervous. It would be hard to see Genkai in such a condition, and just being with the Reikai Tantei again would be a bit awkward. They took their limo and arrived at the beginning of Genkai's property.
Botan glanced up at the stairs leading to the temple and smiled. It was good to be back.
"Well, let's head up there," Shizuru said, breaking the silence that had fallen over them. She sighed happily as she heard the birds singing and bugs chirping while the girls made their way up the stairs.
"Do you… think we can help Genkai?" Yukina asked, looking down at the concrete stairs she was walking up. She didn't want to ruin the peaceful mood, but it had been on her mind since last night.
"I hope so. I really do," Keiko answered, fidgeting a bit. It was weird talking about this. Last time Genkai died, none of them knew what to do. They were lost without her.
"Let's not talk about it until the time comes," Shizuru suggested and they all silently agreed. Such things would ruin the serene feel of the temple. Besides, it was good to smell the fresh forest air that was only emitted from the woods around her temple. And it was the greatest feeling to finally be walking up those steps again, no matter how exasperating they were.
"We've arrived," Keiko said in a low whisper as the wind blew around them, making their hair blow softly around them. The sun glowed and the light crunching of autumn leaves falling to the ground calmed their anxious souls.
"What are we waiting for?" Botan added and bravely walked right up to the door and pulled it open, walking through. Yukina let out a small breath and followed her in. Keiko and Shizuru glanced at each other and nodded, making their way in also.
Botan was greeted by Hiei flitting in front of her with his demonic speed and pulling her into a warm and gentle kiss. She could hear Yusuke snickering in the background but ignored it. Same old Yusuke.
She pulled away and smiled, "Good to see you too."
"Hn," Hiei nodded and went back to his shadowed corner.
Touya smiled slightly when Yukina walked through. She looked… stunning. Her hair slightly mussed from the wind, her dress bringing out the color of her hair, and her rosy cheeks from the slight chill outside. She noticed him staring and turned red, looking at the now carpeted floor, "Ohayou."
"Ohayou," Touya breathed and relaxed into a chair. At least everyone was talking so far. Yusuke hugged Botan, earning a small growl from Hiei and then hugged Yukina too.
"Good to see you guys."
"Nice to see you too, Yusuke," Keiko's voice floated from the shoji door and he walked over. He stopped short though, not sure if she would be angry if he tried to hug her or anything… and he wasn't willing to do anything else, so he sat down on the couch. Shizuru watched from behind them and sighed. They were way too stubborn for their own good.
She pushed passed them, careful not to seem hasty or rude, and walked next to Yukina. Kurama sauntered over to her and smiled charmingly at her. He handed her a silky red rose with slightly damp pedals, and whispered into her ear, "A lovely rose for a lovely lady."
Shizuru nodded dumbly and stared at the rose as Kurama sat down on the couch next to Yusuke, acting as if he said nothing at all.
:Wait… aren't I supposed to be getting him back? Not the other way around…: Shizuru let a small smile linger on her lips nonetheless and decided she would have to thank him later.
"So, can we see Genkai now?" Botan piped up, eager to try and heal her.
"Of course. She's in her room," Touya said and nodded to the hallway. The girls looked at each other eagerly and all walked down the hallway.
They all stopped in front of her door and stared at it for a few moments. Shizuru decided to be the brave one and took a deep breath before quietly opening the door.
A tear ran down Keiko's eye as they all watched inside Genkai's room in horror. Genkai was asleep on her bed paler than before, gasping for any kind of breath she could get, and her forehead was drenched in sweat. Botan and Shizuru could feel her energy slowly leaving her body.
"Quickly, Keiko get some water and a rag to help the sweating and most likely a fever," Yukina ordered, taking action quickly, "Shizuru, please don't let anyone besides Keiko in the room. Botan, you and I can try and start healing her."
Shizuru closed the door on her way out and stood guard. If Yukina was ordering around and telling not to let anybody in the room, it was a deathly serious situation.
Botan nodded and the two went to her side, trying to use their healing magic on her body. Botan gasped when her white magic crackled and flew back at her. She quickly ducked and a vase in the room broke.
"What's going on?" Yukina whispered as her healing powers were also reflected. Botan shrugged and tried again, only to fail. The two girls kept trying to penetrate the old woman's energy, but it would only keep deflecting.
Keiko ran in the room with a pot of water and two rags in her hand. She quickly kneeled at Genkai's side, dipped the rag in the water and rung it out, and finally laid it upon her forehead. Yukina smiled in thanks to the girl and turned back, once again her attempts to heal Genkai failing and cracking the wall.
((With the Boys))
"That's it, I'm going back there!" Yusuke shouted and shuffled into the hallway. Kuwabara followed him while the others thought it not to be a good idea. Kurama sighed and followed anyway, and with his leave Hiei and Touya decided they would go too.
"What the heck is going on in there, Sis?" Kuwabara crowed as he neared his sister. She glared at him and firmly told him she didn't know.
"May we go in? Something bad could be happening," Kurama tried to persuade her to move and she shook her head.
"None of you are getting in there, and that's final."
"Please Shizuru," Touya asked politely. He knew that Shizuru probably would deny them access anyway. When she makes up her mind, there's little you can do to change it.
"Sorry, but I can't let you through," Shizuru glared at them all, warning them that if they even tried anything she would deck them all.
"Just… let us know what's going on when you're done, all right?" Kurama asked her quietly. The other boys slipped out of the hallway, hoping Shizuru and Kurama could have their 'Moment'.
"Yeah," Shizuru looked down to the floor trying not to blush. Did he always have to be so… him and make her insides churn delightfully?
"I'm sure everything will turn out all right in the end. It always does," Kurama soothed, trying to make her feel better. Even if she tried to hide it so well, he could see that she was worried sick.
"What if it doesn't this time? What if… she dies?" Shizuru felt her eyes moisten and shut them tightly. She couldn't cry again. All of them had been doing it so much lately that it probably was getting to the point where it wasn't healthy. It made her feel helpless, and helpless was one thing she was not.
"She won't. It's not like her to just die from illness. You know if Genkai is to die, she does it with a bang," Kurama smiled sadly and put a hand on her shoulder, "She'll be fine soon enough, you just watch."
"Okay," Shizuru smiled back at him and put her hand on the one he put on her shoulder, "Thanks."
"Of course," Kurama said charmingly and walked off back to the living room with the other Reikai Tantei.
"Stupid Kurama," Shizuru mumbled to herself. Not from being angry with him, but from the fact that he could make her feel better with just one look. It made her feel vulnerable. She heard another crash and decided since the boys went away, she would go in and see what's going on.
"What the heck is going on in here?" Shizuru asked after she shut the door tightly and locking it. All the others' heads turned to look at her helplessly, "We can't heal her."
"What? But why not?" Shizuru questioned, walking over to the bed and kneeling next to Genkai.
"We don't know, but our healing powers aren't working. She seems to have some kind of barrier around her, preventing our powers from getting to her. The only thing left to do is wake her up," Botan sighed and gently shook Genkai. They heard a raspy gasp before Genkai's eyes drifted open.
"I'd better not be dreaming," Genkai grumbled in a shaky voice as she looked at the four and the girls couldn't help but laugh. It was just so… like her!
"You're not!" Botan reassured and gave her a hug, careful not to hurt her in her condition.
"I knew you'd miss me too much sooner or later," Genkai joked and gave a hard cough.
Keiko patted her on the back and also hugged her, "We sure did!" Yukina smiled and nodded vigorously, then she hopped onto the bed and gave Genkai a hug also.
Shizuru gave a small, relieved smile and waved to her, "Nice to see you're okay."
Genkai's smile left her face in an instant and the mood in the room was crushed. Everything turned into an awkward silence until Genkai decided to speak up, "I'm not. I don't even know how I made it this far. Everything just fell apart after you left."
Now Genkai wasn't trying to make them feel bad, but the girls did. They felt horrible.
"Sorry," Botan whispered and looked away.
Genkai shook her head and put her hand on Botan's, "No. Don't be. You had every right, but everything isn't as it seems."
Yukina's puzzled expression did nothing to get the old woman to tell what she had meant. Keiko frowned and put a hand on her hip, "You know you can't keep this from us. There's no way we're just going to let you go after you said that."
"What Keiko said. You of all people know we'll find out eventually, so let's not waste time," Shizuru said firmly and walked closer to the group.
"Yeah, yeah," Genkai grumbled and shut her eyes for a brief moment. She actually felt her age and worse. Genkai took a deep breath and started, "Those girls, the ones you think took your places. They're not as nice as you think they are. I've known since the moment they stepped foot on my temple."
"What do you mean?" Yukina asked and looked out the window. They seemed so nice… but she figured that's what everything isn't what it seems meant. So the question is, what was Genkai talking about?
Genkai looked into each of their eyes for a second before replying, "They're why the Tantei acted as they did before you left. They're why I'm like this."
Botan's eyes widened in horror and shock and gasped, "B-but how? Why? What did they do to you?"
"Damn it Genkai, stop being so vague! Give us the answers we're looking for! Give us… our guys back," Shizuru said with watery eyes and slammed a fist down on the mattress. She wasn't angry at Genkai, but she had to know!
Genkai glared at all of them and scolded the four women, "I'll answer one question at a time. And if you're going to act angry and desperate, I'm not going to tell you a thing. You need to be levelheaded and alert for this information and what you're going to do about it. You'll be under constant watch anywhere you go, here especially. If you want the fools back, you'll need to listen and plan carefully."
"Constant watch?" Keiko asked, trying to sound calm. She and the others knew what Genkai said about being rational was right. This obviously wasn't any normal try-and-get-your-boy-back situation.
Genkai nodded, "Yes. Constant watch. As I said, especially here."
Yukina turned back from looking out the window. Even though it didn't seem like it, she was listening intently, "Why here especially?" she asked politely.
"Because, I know about everything they did. After the first time the Reikai Tantei brought them here I started looking for information on them. It was completely obvious they were up to something, and for some reason the idiots were completely oblivious to it. I knew that's not like them and they wouldn't just up and ignore the fact you left and find somebody else so quickly. So, after two weeks of coming up with nothing I followed them. I heard them going over their plans and wallowing in their victories. Only one problem, they found me."
Keiko muffled her gasp and she listened to Genkai's story cautiously, "What happened then? How did you get like this?"
Genkai sighed and patted the bed next to her, "This might take a while. Sit down."
The girls agreed and all picked a spot on the bed and got comfortable. They clenched the blanket in their fists tightly, waiting to hear the rest. Waiting to learn why the men they were so completely in love treated them with hate and disgust.
"Well, somehow they disabled my powers. I know it was some ancient magic from Makai, but I can't put my finger on it and all the books I looked in had barely anything about it. Anyway, after that they forced the contents of a vial down my throat. I have no idea what it was, but it was full of some kind of energy. The only way to reverse the effects before I die… is to either get the antidote from them or kill them."
Shizuru ran her hands through her hair and groaned, "Why does this stuff always have to happen to us?"
Genkai gave her a smug smile and told her, "That's what happens when you fall in love with a demon and one of the Reikai Tantei."
"Can you tell us why the guys were acting like such jerks before we left?" Botan asked. It was a question all of them needed answered. All four of the girls leaned in closer, as if Genkai was telling a secret.
"Somehow those girls put a spell on them. That's how I knew they used ancient Makai magic. I'd heard it once before from a psychic many years ago. I didn't even know anybody else knew of it. But when they repeated it when they even went near the morons is when I was sure. Those girls were the ones you were talking to, not the boys, before you left. It was mind control. The only reason the girls stopped was because it takes so much out of the user. One thing though, for some reason I get this vibe that Koneko has no idea what's going on. And that may very well be true since nobody was standing in the way of a relationship with Kuwabara and I didn't sense any kind of energy coming from her. "
"S-so this whole time, we left for n-nothing?" Keiko had tears of anger and loathing rolling down her cheeks. How could she have been so stupid? She should have known something was going on!
Shizuru growled before getting up and pacing. She knew if she did anything else she would go crazy and start flipping out.
"I don't believe this… How could this have happened?" Botan clenched her fists tighter around the blanket. It was all she could do but scream or break out crying from all the lost time.
Yukina, who had taken Genkai's advice sadly kept a level head. She turned to the old psychic and spoke in almost a whisper, yet all of them could hear her, "Well, since we are a threat to their plans, why haven't they used the mind control again?"
((The Reikai Tantei))
Yusuke, being the ever so bored one, sat across from Kuwabara at the dining room table flicking balls of ripped napkin at his head.
"Urameshi, cut it out! Don't make me beat the crap out of you!" Kuwabara guffawed and shook his fist at Yusuke.
Hiei from his corner in the room snorted, "Hn. You couldn't beat a trained monkey."
"I could too! Watch what you say Shorty!" Kuwabara hollered and also shook his fist at Hiei.
"Want to test that theory?" Hiei said with a devious smirk on his face. Oh, how he wanted to bash that buffoon's face in…
"Now's not a time for fighting," Touya stepped in and glared at them, "Wait until later."
"I agree with Touya, we have no idea what could be going on with the girls and Genkai at the moment.
Yusuke sat for a moment with a look of deep thinking on his face. And that's just what he was doing, wracking his brains for that smart word he learned in English a while back… "I conquer!"
Amani stared at the steps to the temple, trying to decide whether now was the right time to go or not. She sensed Sae come up next to her and nodded to her, "What do you want to do?"
Sae was silent for a moment but finally spoke, "Let's wait until Linaki and Mya get here to decide if we want to go to the temple now or not."
"Yes, but those girls could be learning about what we've done from that old hag," Amani said aloud to herself but caught Sae's eye.
"That's true, but it was only inevitable."
"What was?" Mya asked, coming from behind the two with Linaki.
Amani looked at them gravely, "The girls from Spirit learning of what we've done."
Linaki's face took on a dark look and she kicked one of the sticks that blew next to her in the cool autumn wind, "They can't stop us. They won't. We've come too far."
"That's why we've got to think, and think hard. A woman scorned is dangerous. And we would know, since all who've crossed us have paid," Amani smirked at the thought but it soon disappeared and was replaced by a frown, "Should we go or not?"
Mya took a long look at the steps while all was silent and finally came up with a decision, "Not yet. We haven't done any plotting and it might be best if we can find a way to separate the members of Spirit. It would be easier to bring them down that way."
Sae sighed and put her hands behind her head and looked into the sky, "I think that's best."
"Then that's what we'll do. Let's go," Amani said and walked off, the other three following her.
"I don't know. Maybe they can't," Genkai wondered and fell mute to think until a minute later, "There must've been a kink in their plans. Like something unexpected happening, and I don't mean you all coming back. It must be something else… like their power must have been weakened. It's the only explanation I can think of."
"But what should we do? How can we get rid of them? I mean, we can defend ourselves, but we don't nearly have enough power to go up against ancient Makai magic!" Botan pleaded with Genkai for help. There was no way they could do this on their own. And they still needed to cure Genkai of the poison!
Keiko took this chance to speak up, "Is there any way we can get Koenma to help? They are his Reikai Tantei and everything. Because we can't tell the boys right?"
"Right. Don't mention a thing to them," Genkai told them and repeated it just to make sure they got the point, "Not a thing."
Shizuru stopped pacing all over the room and plopped onto the ground, "So, what about getting the toddler to help?"
:I could really use a cigarette right now.: Shizuru thought and held her head. She was really getting a headache. (Remember she can't have any because she's quitting for the band, which is good news!)
"You can try, but I don't know how much help he'll be. Although, if you need it he can probably give you back up," Genkai suggested and nodded, "Botan, will you go see him tomorrow?"
A small smile crept its way onto Botan's face. She'd love to see Koenma-sama again! Botan bounced and clapped her hands, "It's a date!"
"Good. Because I'm tired. So go off and let an old woman get her sleep," Genkai waved them out and they all gave her hugs before running through the door and closing it quietly for Genkai to have some privacy when she sleeps.
Genkai sighed and closed her eyes, "Good to have you back."
((With the Reikai Tantei))
Kurama stood up immediately as he heard the door to the room close and footsteps in the hallway. He noticed that Hiei and Touya also came from wherever they were previously to hear the news. Yusuke and Kuwabara looked up from their video game and ran over too.
Touya stepped out in front of them as the girls finally came into the room, "Were you able to do anything?"
Yukina looked down at her feet and shook her head, "Our healing powers won't work. We need to find a different way to help her."
Yukina didn't like lying, but technically she wasn't. She just didn't tell them she knew what was wrong. And that was perfectly okay, right? Right?
"Oh… I'm sorry," Touya said and put his hand on her shoulder. The other girls swooned at the sight of Yukina's eyes lighting up for the first time in years. It filled them with so much joy just to see the other happy, it was amazing really.
Yukina smiled and shook her head, "It's not your fault. You don't need to apologize."
:Oh, but I do.: Touya thought and let his arm slip off her shoulder and back to his side. He nodded his head and walked into the kitchen saying he needed a drink.
"Keiko? Do you… wanna play this new game I got?" Yusuke asked, pushing past the three Tantei that were left and motioned towards the video game system hooked up to the TV.
Keiko stared at it for a minute before finally registering in her head what he said, "I'd… Well, I'd love to," Keiko giggled and let Yusuke take her hand and drag her over to the game.
Kuwabara followed them complaining about how Yusuke let Keiko take his controller while Yusuke was telling him to scram. Shizuru sighed and decided she would drag Kuwabara away herself and just make him a sandwich.
Kuwabara anxiously sat at the table waiting for the sandwich that was never going to come, being as Kurama followed her into the kitchen and silently walked up behind her, "Would you like some help?"
"Huh?" Shizuru gave him a blank look and then realization came across her face, "Oh, sure."
Kurama smiled attractively at her and grabbed her hand, helping her smooth over the mustard that she didn't even need help smoothing over in the first place. His hand moved with her in melodic movements as Shizuru just stared at their connected hands, "W-what do you think you're doing?"
((Back with the rest of the group))
Hiei and Botan sat in an awkward silence with nothing to do. Botan glanced between the game Yusuke and Keiko were playing and Hiei. Hiei just sat there staring at the wall.
"Hiei?" Botan asked, deciding to be the "bigger person".
"Wanna get some ice cream?"
"…Hn," And with that, Hiei picked Botan up in his arms while Botan giggled in delight, and disappeared from sight.
Note: Okay, I lied. No coupling in this chapter either. But this chapter had to be done, and I didn't plan on making it any longer than this. I had to get explanations out before anything else.
But at least everyone went off and did their own things at the end, ne? It was just a bit of a stress reliever for everyone. Maybe even the calm before the storm. The only way to find out is to… read the next chapter! …After I post it!