Woohoo! Here's some Yu Yu Hakusho madness! Personally I'm a diehard KuramaxBotan fan… so that's all you're going to see here. Maybe some HieixBotan but mainly just fox-boy. Thank you lovely Volpone for the beta-ing!

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Merry Mentality

By: Cheap Libertad

Chapter One – Dandelion

Sunlight skipped over the water, it's surface rippling with a gentle breeze. Soft white petals whirled about a figure perched upon a rock by the pond's shore. The figure was swathed in white linen and dallying with the weeds, hunched so vibrant red hair spilled about his shoulders. He looked subdued, twirling a dandelion absentmindedly though his fingers as bright green eyes gazed upon the shimmering water. Contemplative, the young man's brows furrowed. He'd heard footsteps. Whipping around, he was alerted just as two large men were upon him.

They lunged at him but he dodged, snatching up his beloved plants. Brandishing his dandelion, it soon grew and curled, forming a deadly vine completely under his control. The men once again tried to grab him but the vine writhed upon their limbs, halting their movement. Breaking free, the men retrained him, discarding the weeds and dragging him off. The young man thrashed and growled trying to break free of their hold.

Across the pond a tall man shook his head at the commotion, it happened often. Shuichi, or Kurama as he liked to be called on occasion, was an intelligent boy - yet sometimes he seemed lost. Alas, they all had their fits. Kurama brandishing dandelions and waving them menacingly and thinking truly they would stop the massive guards just happened to be a little more humorous than others. If only someone could convince the boy of his problems, maybe progress could me made. Readjusting his hat, the man turned back to his chess pieces and sighed. Suddenly he frowned, glancing up at his partner who seemed to be sitting a bit straighter.

"Where are the other pieces, Karasu?" he inquired. His partner shrugged.

"Couldn't tell you, Kuronue. Have you lost more of them?" Kuronue glared. He knew exactly where his beloved chess pieces had gone.

"Give them here, thief!" He shouted, standing up.

"Oh-hoho! How's that for hypocritical!" Sneered Karasu from his seat. "I'm a thief, says the kleptomaniac!" He lounged back as his partner took a swipe at him.

"I know it's you that's been stealing them!" Growled Kuronue. "You've been taking them whenever my back is turned and I won't stand for it! Hand them over, now! You'll regret it otherwise!"

"Fancy words but no action," Karasu bated. "You wouldn't do anything to me! Wouldn't even dare!" Kuronue sprung, launching the chess table sideways and sending pieces flying. His intended victim scuttled, wide-eyed from his chair, trying to escape but was caught by the collar.

"I'll give you one last chance, Karasu," He breathed into his face. His captive was squirming and beginning to hyperventilate.

"The germs, the germs! You're infecting me! Let go!" He cried, clawing at the arms holding him, but stopped when his rubber gloves began to peel off.

"Give me my chess pieces!" Kuronue demanded.

"No!" he shook his head, but that was a mistake. He was shaken to-and-fro, as shouting was heard. His eyes grew wide as a fairly large fist connected with his nose, and blood spouted from his lip. The last thing Karasu saw were two burly attendants dragging his partner from him. It was then he vowed to steal Kuronue's chess pieces in a more discreet manner.

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She stood from the car and gathered her luggage. With a slam the cab's doors shut. An attendant had been sent to survey her, making her feeling intimidated. The man was well above six feet with broad everything and horribly stiff hair. He wore a menacing frown with dark sunglasses as he stood impatiently for her to manage her things. With a whir the cab took off and the man started forward, the petite girl struggling after him.

In between juggling bags and hauling up her oversized pants, she observed the scenery. Just above three stories it looked sterile and squat. It was quite modern, giving off a cold feeling. There were teal colored windows upon the second story letting a view of the stark interior and lengths of railing be seen. A large white sign was situated between artfully placed islands full of shrubbery with the words 'Barrette Institution for the Criminally Insane' printed in sleek lettering.

The girl sighed, hefting her bag onto her shoulder and entering the institution. The menacing attendant led her to the desk, scowling. He shoved a pen and clipboard into her hands then pointed to a rigid looking chair. She set down her things and stared at the forms. Skimming over them quickly, she grimaced but signed at the bottom. The things were snatched from her and given to a nurse who smiled politely.

"Ms. Botan Moriyama," said the nurse. "We've been expecting you. Please follow me, I'll show you to your room." Botan bent to pick up her bags but the woman stopped her. "You won't need those, everything is supplied for you."

"But my clothes," she argued.

"There are clothes for you in your room. You will be able to retrieve your things when you leave us. Until then, the staff will tend to everything else." She watched as the hulking attendant marched off with her luggage and turned to glare at the nurse.

"This is such a mistake! I shouldn't be in here!" Botan stomped her foot. "I didn't maim anybody and I am definitely not crazy!"

"Of course you're not," placated the nurse. "We're here to help you. Please just follow me." Botan was enraged. The woman really did think she was crazy! It was all a mistake! Botan stalked after the nurse, fuming. She was led down a series of sterile white hallways and into a small white room. The bed railing was padded and there was an upholstered night table at its side, which was bolted securely to the floor. Botan frowned. There weren't even sheets on the bed. What did they think she was going to use sheets for? There was nothing destructive she could do with sheets.

"Now, I'm sure you want to meet everyone," The nurse smiled and walked from the room. They found themselves in a secured living area in which very few people were found. The nurse smiled and walked out the door, leaving Botan to fend for herself. She looked around nervously and shuffled to the couch. It was lumpy and threatened to suck her through the cushions. For a moment she stewed within her thoughts, thinking of the circumstances concerning her placement in a mental hospital. It was outrageous! Her face scrunched up into a scowl. Completely and utterly ridiculous!

"You know your face could stick that way," drawled a voice, interrupting her thoughts. A woman sat down beside her, a cigarette dangling from her mouth. "I'm Kagura, which one are you?" Botan just gaped at her audacity. " Wait, wait. I know, don't tell me," She waved her hand absently. "You're the one who went berserk on that subway, right? You and your little boyfriend. Injured about twelve people then pulled out guns! How did you manage that?" She took a drag from her cigarette and Botan glowered.

"That was not me!" she protested. "I wouldn't do that! I don't even know how to use a gun. And injuring people with it– I don't think so! I don't even ride the subway. Police just dragged me off the streets. I don't even look like that woman!"

"Hey, hey, calm down!" Kagura shrugged off the confession. "People have done worse things than that to get in here." She smirked and nodded towards a tall man with long, dark hair. "That one over there, Karasu, he's manic. Got this thing for germs too, he's scared to death of them. That's why he's dressed like that," Botan noted that the man wore his sleeves tucked into rubber gloves and his pants into deadly looking boots. He was fiddling with what looked like a surgical mask over his mouth and nose as he sat uncomfortably upon his plastic covered chair.

"One day he just up and decided to blow his neighbor's house sky high with some homemade explosives. All because he thought they were infecting his 'personal area.' Killed all six of them and when the police checked, that hadn't been the only time he'd done it," Botan gulped and Kagura stubbed out her cigarette, only to light another one immediately. "And as it turns out he used to flay people alive for the fun of it, before his phobia of the unclean latched on. As soon as he's out of here he's going straight to prison. I doubt he'll ever get out of here though, too messed up. Besides even if he did go, he wouldn't be able to live there, too much dirt."

"That's disturbing," Botan was looking disgusted as she gazed at Karasu, who was now spraying disinfectant at a chair that had recently been vacated.  She then jumped as the padlocked doors slammed open. An attendant dragged in a man, who was struggling violently, and strapped him to the chair situated in front of the television. The redhead calmed and glared at the attendant. Botan had a feeling that if he hadn't been wrapped in a straightjacket and pinned to a chair then he would have attacked. "Who's that?" she whispered to Kagura.

"That's Kurama," She studied him, fluffing her bangs. "Or Shuichi, pick one." At Botan's confounded look she elaborated. "I suggest Kurama myself, only because he gets pissy when people call him Shuichi during his fits. He's a multiple personality. Delusional too," Somehow the redhead had picked the locks and was walking in their direction

"He was admitted after attempted murder with a rose bush," she whispered. "I really don't know what that accomplished, but the man was beaten so badly he had to be put on life support." Kagura let out a whinnying laugh as Botan gaped in horror. Kurama whisked past them and out the doors, leaving Botan to stare after him in terror.

"Well how about you? Why are you in here?" Botan asked after regaining her voice.

"Ah, it was nothing really," Kagura shrugged. "I was caught during a sacrifice. Obviously it's illegal to kill animals like that, not that I knew at the time, but they really got me on theft. They sent me here to correct my 'delusional ideals,' 'schizophrenia,' and to try and relieve me of my psychosis." She took a long drag from her cigarette. "They think I'm crazy but I'm not, this is just a test. My master will get me out of here soon, and when he does, I'll feel sorry for all of you! You just don't know what's coming!" Botan stared wide-eyed as the girl let out a keening laugh. "He's coming, he's coming, he's coming! Better run, little girl, he'll get you!" She wailed.

Botan was startled. She leapt from the couch, ran from the room, down the hallway and away from Kagura, mad cackling echoing behind her. She ducked into her rooms and quickly shut the door. She sighed in relief, but a snigger sounded from her bed, causing Botan to whirl around. A short man with styled black hair was lounging on the bed gazing at her in curiosity.

"What are you doing in my room?" Botan asked. The man crossed his arms, looking slightly put out.

"Why shouldn't I visit you?" he asked "Botan, you don't have to keep up the crazy act with me. I know you; we were in league for years. We're practically married." She gaped in horror. What in heaven's name was he babbling on about? She had never in her life seen him, much less been 'in league' with him.

"How do you know my name? Who are you?" The man smirked.

"You're really into this huh? Hoping to get out sooner?" Botan skirted around to the foot of the bed. "Your dear accomplice Hiei isn't really into that kind of thing. I'll get out, but acting crazy just isn't necessary. I won't lower myself." The man hopped from his perch and started towards her. "But that's besides the point. Now let's catch up," Botan raised an eyebrow.

"Catch up? There's nothing to catch up on, and even if there was, I really don't think it's the right time," Hiei was advancing quickly, backing her into the wall. Flattening herself, Botan looked frantically towards the door. Even though he was over a head shorter than herself, Botan felt intimidated. The guy was crazy! Just as she bolted, the door swung open.

"Oh, Hiei," came a smooth voice. "I'm glad you're here to welcome our new guest," A tall redhead sauntered to the shorter man's side. "I've just come to make your acquaintance, miss. I'm Kurama," Smiling politely he held out his hand. Botan took it timidly, thankful for his intrusion.

"Botan," She laughed nervously, bouncing on her feet and itching to get out of the room. "Nice to meet you both, but I really have to go now!" She started for the door but Hiei grasped her wrist.

"We'll talk later," he stated. She just stared, looking frightened. Kurama waved and Botan dashed back into the hallway. Racing away, she pondered her own state of sanity and how long it would last. It wouldn't be too long before she really did go insane and started talking to herself. Stopping short, Botan gazed out upon the gardens. Deciding it would have to suffice as sanctuary, she snuck from the building and into the sunlight, trying to find the most discreet corner to huddle in.

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"What did you do to her?" asked Kurama. Hiei snorted tilting his head to the side.

"I didn't do anything. She thinks that the act is going to get her out," He smirked knowingly. "She'll come around sooner or later,"

"You didn't have to scare her though," Kurama shook his head, sighing. "She's just gotten here, and she looks like fun," Leering down at his friend, the redhead shoved his hands into his pockets. "You're not the only one interested. She's pretty," Hiei grunted.

"Lay off, she's mine," Kurama turned to leave.

"Whatever you say, Hiei," The shorter man frowned as his friend disappeared out the door. He'd have to keep a careful eye on his property, especially from wandering demonic redheads.

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Review, you know you want to. Your mind compels you!