Happy Birthday

-Don't own YYH.-

-One-shot, I think. ; -

-

Birthday. What is a birthday? Why have one, anyway? Why waste precious time on a birthday? Is it because it is special?

To tell the truth, Botan never celebrated her birthday, never got anything for it, and never even thought of it as anything other than a normal day.

Why waste time for something so silly?

She always asked herself that question. It was only because she had watched humans have birthday parties and things such as that. But she knew inside that she didn't exist. She was no one. No one.

I am but a ferry girl. A bringer of death to those who cherish life.

She closed her eyes. Feeling remorse for herself would only bring more pain upon her. It would only come to the surface to haunt her.

I am not special enough to have a birthday. I am not one who should ever be special. I am only a ghost. A no one. Not even a ghost. A ferry girl.

She wiped her eyes. She walked through the halls of Reikai. Tomorrow was her 'birthday'. Every time this day came around she would try to get more work just to distract her mind from thinking thoughts such as these.

"Botan, there you are. Koenma-sama wishes for you to run this to Lord Enma."

"Of course." Botan took the paper and watched as the ogre walked away.

I bet he has a birthday. I bet he gets to be recognized for it.

In all the years she had been there she had watched as people wished each other a 'happy birthday'. She never revealed to them that she even had a birthday. She never told them the date of her birthday. She didn't wish to bother them with such information. She sighed and turned her thoughts to something else as she went through with her errand.

-

Botan knocked on the door. Keiko was having a get-together for a ningen holiday called 'Valentine's Day'. Even though it was on the 14th, they felt like having it the day before so that they could spend Valentine's Day with their sweethearts instead of having the party, which they would have the day before. She sighed. Tomorrow was her birthday.

My birthday is on the same day as Valentine's Day.. My birthday is on a holiday. A holiday for lovers.

"Botan!" Keiko said cheerfully, cutting off her thoughts. "Come on in before you freeze out there. We're just making hot cocoa. Hold on. Kurama! Pull out an extra cup, would you? Botan just arrived!" Botan took off her coat and hung it on the oak coat rack that stood there. She pulled off her scarf and draped it there, as well.

"Thank you." She said with a small bow. She was used to being so formal, Keiko reminded herself.

"You can relax or go out there and help Kurama before he burns himself. He's having an off day." The brunette giggled and gave the ferry girl a light, suggestive shove toward the kitchen. Botan went out and gasped lightly at the sight of the handsome kitsune. He looked at her and she blushed.

Even on an off day, he's the best looking man I've ever seen.

She smiled at him. He handed her a cup of hot chocolate.

"Happy Valentine's Day.. even if it is a day early." He said with a smile. She tore her gaze from him and looked into the cup.

"Happy Valentine's Day to you, too, Kurama." She said, biting her lip. "We should get these to the others, y'know? Don't want Kuwabara to start a riot."

"Right. Nor Yuusuke, I suppose." He looked absolutely charming with that smile on his face. She was blushing madly when she stepped through the door and hid her face in her bangs as she distributed the cups to everyone. Kurama handed her the cup she left in the kitchen. She smiled at him. Then she noticed something. The only seat left was the love seat. Kuwabara was stretched out on the floor and Yukina was sitting next to him, Yuusuke and Keiko were on the couch. Botan's gaze rested on the love seat where Kurama was sitting. She swallowed the lump in her throat and went to sit down. He smiled at her as she approached.

-

Botan was so sleepy. She was trying not to fall asleep during the long line of chick flicks that Keiko had picked out. She yawned and clutched the blanket that was wrapped around her tighter to her chest.

"Here, Botan." Kurama whispered to her. She looked over at him. She blushed when he pulled her closer to him. "I noticed you were a little cold." She smiled at him and snuggled into his shoulder.

So, this is what it feels like to be held..

"Say, Botan, when is your birthday? We've all had one except for you." She looked up at him, wide-eyed.

"Well.. I.. uhm.." She fumbled.

Should I tell him? Why does he wish to know? Maybe he is just curious? I don't know. I've never revealed my birthday to anyone before.

He chuckled. She blushed furiously.

"Well.. I.. never really told anyone.." She said after a hesitation.

"Why not?"

"Because.. look who I am, Kurama. I am just a simple, plain ferry girl. A no one. I am not important. I don't matter." She looked away as tears threatened her eyes. What she said was true. She didn't believe that she would ever be important enough to have a birthday party.

"No, you are not a simple ferry girl." She gave him a confused look. He brushed a stray piece of hair from her face. "You are Botan, assistant to Yuusuke Urameshi, the Spirit Detective. You are yourself."

"I am no one."

"Who told you that?"

My.. family told me. Everyone told me that I was a nobody. I know that I am.

"Everyone.." He was surprised by her answer. His eyes softened and he smiled, wrapping his arm around her further.

"Well, you are special to me and the group. Where would we be without you?"

"Come on, you could get through without me. All I ever do is stand at the side-lines." He shook his head.

"You have a lot of knowledge and have proved invaluable." He stared at her with a frown.

Why is he saying things like this? Is he just saying them to make me feel better? Why would he do something like that?

"Kurama.." She bit her lip to keep her sob in. "Why are you saying this to me? I've been told I was a nobody and a nothing. Why are you saying that I am someone?"

"Because that is how I see you." He drew her closer. "That is how you should be treated. Now, when is your birthday?" She muttered something so quiet he didn't even hear it. "Excuse me?" He leaned closer.

"Tomorrow.." Her voice was quiet, soft. She was revealing a secret she kept even from Koenma.

You change everything I am, Kurama. You give me the true meaning of care.. You talk to me like I am someone. You treat me like the others here. You treat me as a friend. And that is why I love you.

"Tomorrow?" He seemed to look bewildered at the concept. "Why didn't I ask sooner?" He smiled at her and ruffled her hair. "Now, you need some sleep." He stretched out along the edge and pulled her to him, letting her use his shoulder as a pillow. "See? Now no one gets stiff necks."

-

Showing such light to one such as myself was forbidden back in the ages of the One World. When Reikai, Makai, and Ningenkai were but a dream away and ferry girls were living with demons and humans, it was forbidden for us to have any rights at all. Those born to the Other World were but servants of Noble Lords and the like. The ferry girls carried sickles back then, to mark that they were of the Death of those who cherish or hate life. We were often looked upon as beautiful and disgraceful. But that was untrue. So many lies spread through the One World that there was no way to stop them. Our bloodline was to be doomed and shunned. The Death of Light often wore clothes of whites, pinks, and other lighter colors, whereas the Death of Darkness wore blacks and dark blues and deep purples. You could always tell where you would go when a ferry girl came to you. Up until Lord Enma's bloodline reached his great parents, who created Reikai for those of Death. Then Lord Enma created the world known as Ningenkai and then Makai. Ningenkai for humans, of course, and Makai for the demons. Koenma-sama was to be the Prince later on and bring peace to the Three Realms.

Even now, ferry girls are recognized as low and unworthy. We were made to ride from Reikai on an oar instead of carrying a sickle, just because we wanted to appear peaceful. That was how we come to be today. We were created back then, to deal with the affairs of the Dead. Though we really ruled, they treated us as no more than mere servants. That was why when I was born from my parents, they gave me to Lord Enma to deal with. We are marked with a birthmark. It differs in place but it is the same. If we are born with the mark, then we must be sacrificed.. and by our own parents. The mark is black and in the shape of a sickle. Mine is right over my heart.

But until I met Yuusuke Urameshi, that was how my life had gone. Messenger and servant to the Lords of Reikai. Then I was assigned to be the Spirit Detective's assistant because of my knowledge. And so, that is how I had come to meet you.

-

Botan opened her eyes to find her blanket draped over her and she was lying on the love seat. Alone. No one was inside the house, it seemed. She rubbed her eyes and stood up, searching through the rooms for some clue to where they had all gone.

Was all Kurama said to me yesterday a lie? Do any of them care? Why, if they did, leave me all alone and in the dark?

"Keiko?" She was truly frightened and upset that something may have happened to them. She went into the kitchen and was relieved, at least, to see that they had written a note. The script was neat and the name at the bottom told her that Kurama had written it. It read:

Botan,

Whenever you wake and read this, we will be gone. I will give you a tiny hint to where we may be. Okay.. so it isn't a hint. I'm going to give you a straight answer to the question running through your mind at this instant. I bet you are thinking 'where are they?'. Well, we are at my house. We had to take leave early and I did not wish to wake you, as you can plainly see. When you have finished reading this, walk here, to my house. We will be waiting for you.

Sincerely,
Kurama

As she stared at the letter, she wondered briefly why they would be at Kurama's house.

At least they did not leave me and do not wish to see me. I wonder if Shiori-san is throwing a Valentine's party? No.. we had one last night. What could it be? Anyway, I simply cannot arrive looking like this. I must arrive in my normal attire, in case it is something important. Koenma-sama always told me to wear my kimono.

She fretted that she had been foolish for not bringing her kimono with her. She chided herself as she materialized her oar. She went up to Reikai and walked quietly through the hallway that contained the living quarters of the ferry girls. Botan slid her key into the door and unlocked it, pushing it open and closing it quietly behind her. There were not too many rooms so she had a roommate.. who wasn't there when she turned the light on. She went to the closet and selected her plain pink kimono. She changed as quickly as she could, tying the obi behind her back.

"Botan?" A knock sounded at the door and she went over to it, completing her task of tying the obi. She opened the door and sighed when she saw it was an ogre.

"Yes?" He handed her a paper and left without a second glance. She took a look at the paper. She was beginning to get sick of letters and notes. It was merely a job for her to do before she could go back down to Ningenkai.

-

Botan stared at Kurama's house for what seemed like an hour before she walked up to the door and knocked. No answer. She blinked and knocked louder. Shiori opened the door a crack and peered out before smiling.

"Botan-san! Come on in!" She opened the door and stopped dead in her tracks. Her eyes went wide.

"Ku-Suuichi!? Yuusuke!? You guys!?" Kurama smiled at her.

"Happy Birthday, Botan." She felt tears begin to fall from her eyes and her vision blurred. She ran into Kurama's arms, hugging him as tightly as she could. It was the first time she had done something not so formal.

"Why..?"

"Because you are special to me." He whispered in her ear, making her want to cry harder. She looked up at him and smiled weakly.

"I-I don't understand, though.." She whispered back.

"Botan, I love you.." The soft velvet sound of his voice lulled her and she nearly fainted from his words.

Kurama.. I would give anything just to have you hold me like this forever.. I don't ever want this to end. Please, to anyone who is listening, give me the courage I need.

With courage she didn't know she had, Botan leaned up and kissed Kurama. He smiled against her lips and kissed her back. When they parted, he leaned down once more and whispered in her ear.

"Please say that you feel something for me. I need to hear it."

"I love you, Kurama.. More than words could say." With that said, he leaned down and kissed her.

-

Well this is finished. It was a one-shot. R&R and tell me how it was!

Finished - 6-14-04 ; 5:10 AM