Hiya! Little One caught the bug, so I have to introduce this fifth chapter by myself. It's a little lonely… Anyway, I know it's been awhile, but Youko is free! I admit, it was a bold move, separating them like that… I got a few complaints, but I also had some people tell me that Shuuichi should move over and make room for Youko! Aww, poor Shuuichi…although I understand where they were coming from… But anyway, I'm glad that the split generated some interest! It's nice to know that my fic isn't boring, at least! Now, I'll stop ranting, and on with Chapter Five!
"Ugh…what?" Kurama tried his best to sit up. The empty feeling that he had experienced when he and Youko were first separated had retuned.
"You seem a little out if it," commented Youko, smirking.
"I suppose so," Kurama said, unable to hide the slight quiver in his voice.
"Here, let me help you." Youko extended a clawed hand. Kurama accepted it, and let Youko pull him to his feet.
"I'm surprised you're still here," Kurama stated, dusting himself off. He tried to walk, but he was so disoriented that he toppled over again. Youko laughed.
"I guess you aren't much without me."
Kurama leaned against a tree, choosing to ignore Youko's remarks. He was breathing hard.
"Come along, Shuuichi."
"What…do you mean?" Kurama said softly. He was feeling so drained that he couldn't even muster up the energy to reply in a normal tone of voice.
"I mean, I'm taking you home."
Without hesitation, Youko put an arm behind Kurama's back, and another under his knees, lifting him effortlessly off the ground. Kurama was surprised, and more than a little embarrassed, but he was unable to do anything about it. He felt Youko begin running, but he wasn't afraid, even when he felt the silver-haired kitsune take his first leap. Kurama leaned his head against Youko's chest and once again slipped into darkness.
Kurama awoke to find himself lying on the couch in his own living room. The tiredness was gone but the emptiness was still with him, sitting like a rock in the pit of his stomach. For a moment, he felt like he would be sick.
"Youko…" Kurama whispered to the dark. There was no answer. He slowly raised himself to his feet, running a hand through his now untidy red hair.
He had to get to Botan. Frantically he began scrambling around. He thought he was looking for something, but he wasn't sure what it was. Being on his own was so… different. It was as if he was looking at the world for the very first time.
One thing was clear to him, though- his feelings for Botan. He'd struggled to separate his feelings from Youko's for so long, that to feel the way he did was something new and profound. He loved Botan, and that was utterly, totally comprehensible. And it was up to him to confront her- before Youko could do any damage.
Youko practically flew through Reikai Palace, causing panic among the other demons and spirits working there. He took no notice of the yelling and screaming, or of the terrified creatures cringing against the walls, cowering in fear of the great thief. He was only focused on one of those hundreds of creatures.
Botan was dashing around, trying vainly to comprehend the cries of Reikai Palace's many employees when Youko swept her off her feet- literally. With one arm placed firmly, yet surprisingly gently, around her shoulders and the other under her thighs, he sped back the way he came from, leaving pure pandemonium behind him.
Botan was far too shocked to scream. She was in no position to do anything about Youko's sudden capture of her, even if she hadn't been so stunned. All she could do was cling tightly to him, for fear of being blown away by the force of his sheer speed.
Even this slight contact with the deity, which he had sought for so long, thrilled Youko. He didn't want the moment to end- after all, he finally had what he wanted- but at last he alighted on the roof of a tall building. Gently, he put Botan down, steadying her with one hand to make sure she could still stand.
"Youko!" she gasped. "How…? When…?"
"Shh, shh," he said, placing a clawed finger against her lips. He moved his had to the side of her face, bringing it to rest on her cheek. "I am so sorry I startled you. I just didn't know how else to get you to come with me…"
Botan had calmed down somewhat, but there was something in Youko's golden eyes that unnerved her.
"Youko, why did you bring me here? Why did you take over Shuuichi's body?"
Youko flinched, and his eyes hardened a bit. "I didn't take over Shuuichi's body."
"I don't understand…"
"I had us separated. For good. Oh, Botan…"
"Separated?" Botan pulled back. "What…?"
"Botan, don't you understand? I couldn't handle it anymore, being in his body. I love you, and I won't let Shuuichi get in the way!"
"Love…? Youko, where's Shuuichi?"
"Oh, can't you forget about Shuuichi for even a minute?" Youko cried, anger and despair filling his voice. "I made up part of him. He shared many of my thoughts, my emotions. I influenced him in ways you can't even begin to imagine." Youko advanced forward, attempting to fill the space between them. Botan, however, took several steps backwards. Youko continued. "How do you know that your precious little Shuuichi's feelings weren't really mine?"
Botan's eyes widened, and she stopped backing away from him. "I…"
"Botan… You have no idea how long I've waited for this." And with that, he took her by the shoulders and kissed her. Botan's amethyst eyes widened even more. She shut her eyes tightly and broke away. Before Youko could move, she had procured her oar from out of nowhere and mounted it. He lunged, but Botan vaulted herself into the air and sped off. Youko followed the oar, leaping from building to building until she vanished from sight.
He looked stricken for a moment, then he smiled.
"Oh, my dear Botan… There's nowhere you can go where I won't follow."
Kurama burst into Koenma's office, breathing heavily.
"Koenma," he gasped. "Where's Botan?"
"Kurama!" Koenma vaulted over his desk and stood in front of Kurama, staring up at him. "I should ask you the same question! Youko came in here today and carried her off!"
"No! Where did he take her?"
"Shouldn't you know?" Koenma asked.
"No, Youko and I were separated! I've got to find him!"
"Say no more," said Koenma. "Ogre!" he shouted, saliva flying from his mouth.
"Yes, sir?" said Ogre, running to his boss's side.
"Get me the location of Youko, now. Then get Yusuke and the rest of them over there. There's no telling what could happen with him on the loose!"
"Koenma," Kurama said. "I must accompany them."
Koenma raised an eyebrow. "Are you sure you're up to it?"
"Of course. I must rescue Botan."
"Koenma, sir!" A familiar female deity flew into Koenma's office on her oar.
"Shuuichi!" Botan cried, hopping off her oar and running past Koenma, straight into Kurama's arms.
"Botan, are you alright?" Kurama asked, placing a hand on her head. "You aren't hurt, are you?"
"No, I'm fine. I'm just so glad to see you!" The two hugged for a moment, until Koenma cleared his throat.
"Ahem. I don't mean to interrupt, but I have a few questions of my own to ask."
"Oh, sorry, Koenma, sir." Botan blushed and pulled herself out of Kurama's embrace.
"It's fine. Now, Botan, what happened?"
"Well, Youko came in and took me away."
"Yes, but to where? And for what?"
"Well, he put me down on the top of this building on Earth, and then he…" Botan stopped. She began to redden, and she gazed down at the floor in an attempt to conceal it.
"Well? He what?"
"He told me that…that…"
"He told me that he loved me." Botan flushed crimson all over, and she continued staring at the floor.
Kurama's heart sank. He had expected that Youko, being a demon thief, would just mindlessly throw himself at her like...like an animal. He had no idea that he'd make a bold declaration of love. Of course, he knew that Youko truly cared for Botan, but he never expected him to show it. Kurama felt like he'd lost a bit of his edge, especially with the way that Botan was blushing.
"Well, you'd better be careful," Kurama heard Koenma saying. "He might end up hurting you."
"No…" Botan said. Kurama's mind snapped back to reality. "I really don't think he would have hurt me…or anything like that. He just seemed…I don't know… desperate. Sad. Lonely. I felt… a little sorry for him."
Kurama felt like someone had dropped something incredibly heavy on him. He knew he shouldn't feel so jealous, and he knew he was getting worked up over nothing, but…
"What do you think, Shuuichi?" Botan asked.
"About what?" he answered, slightly dazed.
"I… don't want you yo be hurt, physically or mentally. Even if he does love you, you still can't be entirely sure."
"Do you know if he really…" Botan hesitated. "…if he really does love me?"
Shuuichi wanted to say no; he wanted to tell her that Youko was just a demon stalking his prey. But he couldn't bring himself to lie to her.
"Yes," he said softly. "Yes, he does."
"Shuuichi…" Botan said, looking at him with her eyes full of concern. Kurama saw his opening. He was going to say the words he had wanted to say ever since he realized how he felt. And this time, they were his own.
"But, Botan, I don't care how Youko feels. Because…" He swallowed. "Because I love you, too. And I am going to do everything I can to keep you safe." He put his arms around her, resting his chin on her shoulder.
"I…love you too, Shuuichi."
As they embraced, Koenma watched with Ogre from the opposite end of the room.
"Ogre," Koenma whispered, his voice shaking. "Get me some tissues, now!"
"R-r-right away, Koenma, sir," said Ogre wiping his own eyes. He handed Koenma the box after taking several for himself.
Koenma blew his nose loudly, causing Botan and Kurama to jump several feet in the air.
"Oh, I'm… sorry!" Koenma blew his nose again, with another loud honking noise.
Kurama turned red and turned his face slightly away. "Well…that…sort of killed the mood."
"Yeah…" There was a brief silence before Botan broke into peals of laughter. It didn't take long before Kurama joined in.
Youko sat in the protective shade of a tall tree, thinking. There had to be a way to win her over. He was tempted to just lop off Shuuichi's head and take Botan by force, but he knew that would only cause him more grief and put him farther away from achieving his goal.
He considered Shuuichi. What did Botan see in him, anyway? Whatever it was, Youko decided he would have to take it into account. He had to try to be…gentler. Not a carbon copy of Shuuichi… oh no. But somehow, he resolved to hold himself back…a little, at least.
Youko smiled. Soon, he'd have what he wanted.
To Be Continued…
Fluffies, fluffies, everywhere. And Youko scheming! So, who will Botan end up with? It seems Shuuichi has the upper hand for now, but Youko seems to have a plan! Yay! More Youko next chapter. I had planned for him to have a bigger role in this chapter, but he ended up with the short end of the stick. Ah well. Also, I wanted to mention the names. Botan refers to Shuuichi as "Shuuichi", as does Youko, but I call still refer to him as "Kurama" during the fic. While not exactly correct, it was intentional, so bear with me, okay?
I'd also like to thank all those who reviewed! Thank you all so much! Here are the individual reviewer responses:
To animegirl007: I know, I can't believe it either, actually. I think it's a lot of fun to write about them as individual characters, and I hope I can pull it off… Thanks for reviewing!
To Botan and Kurama lover: Thank you so much for all your kind words! As much as I like writing the romance scenes, my favorite part is the conflict between Youko and Shuuichi, so it makes me so happy to hear you say you like the conflict!
To KittySand Katie: It is weird, isn't it? Thanks for the review, and I hope you liked this chapter!
To Jess-chan of the Nya Nya Neko: Wow! I'm really happy you like it! Here's the next chappie, and I'm sorry you had to wait so long!
To Volpone: It's pretty hard not to be a Youko fan girl, isn't it? I added a bit of Youko/Botan-ness in this chapter, and you can expect to see more soon. Thanks for the review!
To B-chan77: Evil? Me? Yeah, it was kinda evil, I'll admit… But hey, no problem, no story! Thank you for reviewing!
To Disturbedvixen: Don't worry about it! It's been awhile since I reviewed any new chapters of your fanfics- I haven't been on in awhile. Sorry! But thanks so much for reading this!
To Botan Urameshi: Thanks! It makes me so happy to hear you say that! Again, I'm sorry it took so long…
To Li: Well, here's the continuation- I hope you enjoyed it! Thanks very much for your review!
To Tsuki Mizuno: Cool? Really? Why, thank you!
To WaterKitsune: Yay! My story is loved… Thanks so much for reviewing!
To evilchik: Thanks! Here's the update- I hope you like it just as much as the other chapters!
To Bruna K+B: Thank you! I read your story and just recently reviewed it, and I must say, it was great! Thanks for reviewing!
Well, that's all for now. Chapter six is already in the works, so I hope you'll keep reading! Thanks again!