Botan fidgeted. Her clothes were tight and hairpins were sticking into her head. It had taken hours to brush, curl and layer her ice blue locks perfectly. But Shizuru, aspiring hairdresser, had done an excellent job. Coupled with the delicately embroidered kimono courtesy of Keiko, and beautiful jeweled tiara Yukina had fashioned – mercifully without her own tear stones – Botan looked like a fairytale princess.
She felt like one, too. Except for the cramping kimono (Keiko insisted a tight obi flattered her figure) and sharp pins (human realm hairspray apparently didn't work on spiritual beings). But she supposed all princesses were uncomfortable sometimes. She knew her prince was.
Koenma as 'her prince.' Hysterical idea, she thought with a snicker. When one spent most of his squeaking out orders furiously and chewing on a pacifier... well, Koenma wasn't the archetypal knight in shining armor.
He was trying, though. He had asked to escort her for the spirit realm's annual gala for employees and guests. Instead of assuming she would be happy to do so. It was a major point in his favor. Maybe he hadn't said please, but he still got credit for trying. He had been extremely uncomfortable doing so; shifting to his adult form specifically to ask her, and constantly tightening and loosening his bright red scarf. Honestly, Botan was surprised the poor boy hadn't strangled himself.
He had come close, though. And ended up choking on his pacifier. He had almost swallowed it, and it took a few good whacks on the back from Botan's trusty oar to get it back where it belonged. Some mad giggling later, Botan had happily agreed.
And of course, her girlfriends had had a field day dressing her. All of them were going, too, since they were guests of the detectives, but Botan was the one on the arm of the Spirit World Prince. According them, she had to look perfectly perfect and stunningly gorgeous.
Botan winced. She supposed she deserved itafter she went nuts for Keiko's last birthday party.
And that was before they arrived back at the palace... Botan bit back a moan. Ayame and Hinageshi had appraised the work of Shizuru, Keiko, Yukina and Atsuko, and added their own touches. Ayame further tightened her obi (Botan was lucky she didn't need to breathe) and Hinageshi had presented her with a delicate gilded fan as a crowning touch.
Hinageshi's wide eyes had shone with awe, as Botan was finally beautified to the satisfaction of her friends. She had spun a little twirl, the long sleeves of her rose-colored kimono billowing about her. The birds Keiko had embroidered were a cheery blue, a perfect offset to the fabric and Botan's own blue hair and pink eyes. Yukina's tiara sparkled beautifully in the light, the curls Shizuru had worked so hard on fell to her shoulders, fanning out elegantly. Her lips had been painted a soft cherry color, and her cheeks lightly dusted with the barest bit of blush: everyone had been in firm agreement that she was naturally apple-cheeked, and just needed a slight enhancement.
And now she sat off in a side room. The moonlit party would start in perhaps twenty minutes or so. She was just waiting for Koenma to come pick her up. He would escort her across the stage, and they would take the first dance before the crowd.
She was nervous, to say the least. She could stand before a crowd and scream cheers for an underdog team, but dancing? With the prince of the realm? She could dance fine, Koenma himself had said so. And he was great at dancing... He looked so handsome when he did, too, she thought with a giggle. They had practiced together a few times, in between work and a lover's quarrel or two. It always ended with one of them laughing hysterically for no reason or tripping over Koenma's cape. Koenma had choked on his pacifier again, too, at one point...
A soft tap on the door to the off room startled the ferry girl out of her memories. She jumped up... even now, careful not to jostle her hair or muss her clothes. She briefly checked herself in a hand mirror Keiko had left. Still nice. Still ready.
The 'tap' at the door was heard again, and Botan hurried over to open it before Koenma became too impatient. She smiled cheerfully at him, hoping to settle his usually shot nerves.
But her smile dropped off in pure, pleased shock.
Koenma's usual purple robes and red cape had been traded for a soft, milky white tunic over a billowy blue undersuit... a perfect match to the birds on her kimono. Keiko and Yusuke must have tipped him off. The tunic was edged in the same blue, and a wide, blue silk sash around his waist finished the ensemble. Apparently, Kurama had been consulted over his outfit, Botan noted with amusement.
His brown hair appeared freshly brushed and shone like chocolate gold. His bangs were pushed out of his face, proudly displaying the 'Jr.' mark on his forehead. His eyes sparkled with same nervous joy she was sure hers did.
And the best part?
The pacifier was, instead of stuck in his mouth, hanging from a chain around his neck.
Botan giggled. "Still ridiculously attached to that thing?" she teased.
"Don't be stupid," Koenma responded. But not in the harsh way he usually said things like that. "I thought you'd like the change."
"I do, I do," Botan reassured him. "But I'd like it better if you just trashed the thing!"
"You know I can't do that," he responded, a little edgy. He sighed and checked the clock on the wall.
"Well..." he swallowed. It was show time. "Shall we dance?"
Botan nodded—she hoped not too eagerly. Koenma offered her his arm, and she gleefully linked hers with his.
Koenma guided her out of the side room and on to the moonlit garden where the event was held. He was forceful, but not controlling. His hold on her was loose enough that if she suddenly, for some odd reason, wanted to run off and jump on her oar, never to return, she could.
But she didn't think she would ever want to do that.
Botan and Koenma made it to exit that lead to the garden just as Jorge Saotome's magnified voice announced the entrance of "Detective Kazuma Kuwabara and his guest, the ice maiden Yukina." Botan barely glimpsed the back Kuwabara's handsome black suit and Yukina's French braid (also done by Shizuru) before they disappeared into the crowd.
It was set up so that Botan and Koenma would arrive last. It would be fashionable that way; they would walk up to the stage, step up, and begin the dancing to pleasant little song. The moon would just be rising over the stage, and with any luck, would illuminate them as they danced, to kick the party off in style.
Jorge met them with his microphone. He sniffled loudly at the sight of them, dressed in their best, eyes lit, wide smiles.
"You're growing up so fast, Koenma-sama," he murmured, snatching a handkerchief from the formal jacket he'd donned for the occasion.
"Jorge Saotome, just do your job," Koenma snapped, the barest blush touching his creamy cheeks.
"Yes, sir," the ogre said, blowing his nose.
Koenma nudged his date gently. "Ready?" he whispered.
"Prince Koenma and the Ferry Girl Botan," Jorge called over the loudspeakers.
The crowd of ogres, ferry girls and detectives parted like the Red Sea as the two made their way to the stage at the end of the garden. Botan caught Yusuke giving Koenma a thumbs-up, Yukina waved happily at her. She saw Hiei and Kurama, skirting on the edge of the festivities, avoiding social contact, as usual. Kurama winked at her, and Hiei, for once, wasn't scowling. He sure wasn't smiling, but it was an improvement.
She waved merrily back to her friends, not caring that Koenma had gone into his princely serious mode. Botan was pretty sure he wouldn't scold her today. And if he did, too bad.
It felt like a short eternity before they reached the stage. Koenma was still feeling royally gentlemanly, and stepped up first, offering his hand politely. She grasped it tightly, and walked up the little ramp elegantly, pleased with herself for not tripping.
Koenma allowed the serious look on his face to fade into a soft smile, just for Botan. "Ready?" he asked softly, a little nervously.
"As I'll ever be," Botan answered.
He took her hand as the music started. His other arm wrapped securely around her waist, and she laid her other hand on his shoulder.
To the right, they stepped, again to the right... "You're not wearing a cape," Botan observed.
Left, left. "We're not tripping on it today of all days," he informed her crisply. "But I don't know how to guard against laughing fits."
Forward, step back... "Just keep telling yourself that Yusuke and Kuwa-chan will never let you live it down if you crack up and make a mistake," Botan advised. Forward, to the right, then back to the left.
"Good idea," Koenma replied with a grin. "Where did you get that crown?"
"It's a tiara," Botan corrected. Right, right, back. "Yukina-chan made it for me. She found old jewelry in some pawn shops, bought them, and removed the stones. Apparently, ice maidens are taught how to stones into rings and tiaras and things."
"Ah, I see." Back, left, front. "I guess Shizuru did your hair?"
"Yes, she did," Botan replied. "Do you like it?"
"It's very pretty," the prince responded. Left, left, right. "The way it's curled, it's very... regal."
Botan beamed. A prince using the word 'regal' to describe something was always a good sign.
Koenma hugged her waist, drawing the death maiden a little closer. "Are you enjoying yourself?" he asked quietly.
Hesitantly, Botan leaned her head onto his shoulder. "Of course I am!" she exclaimed softly.
"Turn around, on three."
Botan carefully counted off in her head... forward on one, left on two, spin on three...
It was even more glorious than she thought... The moon seemed to engulf the horizon. Botan knew it really didn't, that it was just her imagination, but oh! How much better her imagination was in this case...!
The light bounced off the satellite shining onto her and Koenma... she almost missed a step, in pure awe.
Ever so gently, Koenma carefully guided her across the stage... Botan was familiar with the song, and knew it wouldn't last much longer. She looked back into Koenma's eyes, the moonlight reflected in them, making the golden- brown sparkle in way eyes normally did not. Further, the light clouded around him like a force field, giving him a luminous, ethereal glow to him... anyone looking at the spirit realm prince knew he was a god in that moment... Botan most aware of them all; her brain was more or less mush by then, bewitched by the tricks of the moon.
Koenma chuckled gently at the stupefied look on her face. "The song's almost over... just a few more notes."
Botan blinked owlishly before regaining her sense. "Oh, you're right..." Back, forward, back, right...
"Don't step off when it does."
"You'll see," he said mysteriously.
Botan blinked again, mentally counting down once more. Two more measures... a total of sixteen counts.
Sixteen... a brief turn.
Fifteen, back. Left on fourteen, right on thirteen...
"What is it?"
"Are you enjoying yourself?" she asked pointedly.
"Yes." A simple, honest answer.
Nine, turn, right on eight. Back on seven, forward on six...
"Five more counts. Wait, Botan," Koenma reminded her.
Left on three...
"Say that again."
The music stopped.
And Koenma let go of her waist, in favor of holding both of her hands.
"Botan," he began. "I had a bunch of speeches planned, but... let's keep it simple, okay?" He closed his eyes, as if afraid to meet hers. "Will you... please, Botan, will you please be my bride?" he managed, thankful both to have remembered the magic word and not to have his pacifier in his mouth. He surely would have gagged on it.
A cheer rose from the crowd in the garden, presumably led by Yusuke. Presumably, he also knew that Koenma was going to ask.
And the only thing that could be heard over it was Botan's firm "I will!"
Augh, the sap... I can't believe I not only wrote Botan x Koenma, but I ended with a proposal, and it was so plotless... I mean, it's a pretty cute pairing, but others are higher on my list.
Beware, everyone! This will happen to you, too, if you listen to the Koenma & Botan duet, Moonlight Party, too much!
However, strangely enough... no matter how much I listen to the Kuwabara & Yukina duet, I can never write a fic about them! What's up with that?