This is one of my few fan fictions out there that is not a crossover! This is a Keiko Kurama pairing so don't be surprised. I own nothing of YYH and won't ever. This story is dedicated to the author that requested I write it and for her idea that I have somehow twisted around into this fic. You should all go read her work if you haven't already! Buffybot76, this is for you even though you have already read it! I will be posting the first four chapter now, but I do not know when I will update. I hope that you enjoy it.
Beyond All Illusion
A Hidden Hurt
"He's late. He's late. He's just late," Keiko chanted softly under her breath. Her dark brown eyes searched the crowded hallways for a hint of the rebellious green uniform that was one of the many things that set her boyfriend apart from the other students.
Keiko had known Yusuke Urameshi since they were both in grade school. Always a practical child, Keiko had been one of the only people in Yusuke's life to ever try to see past the tough exterior that he showed to others. Keiko had seen the Yusuke that was underneath, the mask of a bully, and knew from experience that he was good and caring on the inside.
As they grew older, Keiko had noticed her feelings for her friend were quickly turning to a crush. When Yusuke had died, the first time, she had finally admitted to herself, and to him, that she cared for him as more then a friend. Slowly, they were growing closer and becoming the couple that Keiko had always longed for. But perhaps "slowly" did not quite express the nature of their budding relationship. Yusuke spent most of his time now off in some other realm to do Reikai business. When he was home in the Ningenkai, Keiko still saw little of him because she had to go to her classes and Yusuke skipped them all. It seemed that the only time she ever got to see him anymore was when she nagged him into coming to school. Like today...
Three more minutes passed and Keiko found herself shifting from one foot to the other. She felt that familiar sinking feeling settling in her chest again. She couldn't help wondering if Yusuke had skipped out on her again. Keiko felt hurt when she realized how Yusuke always put other things in front of their relationship. She understood that he hated school, that it was not something that he really needed to do. He already had one of the most important jobs in three worlds...school really wasn't a major concern of his. But Keiko couldn't help but feel as if he were setting her aside as well. When the chance came for them to spend time together, she jumped at it. But he...he seemed to shrug her off as easily as last month's overdue math assignment.
Then, on the other hand, Keiko felt so safe and protected when Yusuke was by her side. She felt cared for and she felt happy when they shared things together. She couldn't help but yearn for that sort of closeness that she could feel hinted at when she was with him. If she held on long enough, if she gave it her all, she knew they could really have that kind of bond that would last. If only he would show up and put some effort into being with her...
Keiko shook her head to clear it of unnecessary memories and pushed the heart ache away to be dealt with if he really didn't show up again. She had to have faith that he would keep his word.
The chattering of the other students died down to a quiet hum and Keiko felt herself anticipating Yusuke Urameshi's arrival. It always got quiet when he stalked through the halls.
She pressed herself against one wall and stood tip toe in order to crane a look around the taller students blocking her view. Feeling generally lighter and happier, Keiko smiled into the crowd and waited for the familiar scowl to be revealed as the various groups of students parted to let the figure through.
Keiko grinned in relief and brushed a strand of her dark hair from her eyes. Yusuke had keep his promise, she told herself and bounced back on her heels. The crowd separated in front of her and Keiko threw herself forward through the gap.
"Yusuke!" she shouted happily, swung around the last body blocking her way and threw herself at him. A pair of strong arms circled around her slim shoulders, just as she knew they would and Keiko sighed happily, thinking how well they fit together. She looked up, brown eyes shining, only to stop and stare when she finally focused on the startled expression on a face she knew so well...a face that did not belong to her boyfriend...
Keiko was shocked to find herself pressed against the very much sought after body of none other then Shuuichi Minamino...also known as Kurama to any aware of his true identity. Keiko was too stunned to move, much less let go of the taller boy. His pretty features were framed perfectly by long strands of crimson hair and set off his deep green eyes. The slight shock on his own face was easily replaced with a gentle smile as he greeted her in an honest, but much less enthusiastic way, than her flying tackle. "Good morning, Keiko," he said with genuine fondness.
"Uh, good morning," she answered without thought as she stared stupidly at him.
"Urameshi's girlfriend is cheating on him with Minamino-san?!" A student announced loudly, shocking Keiko from the surrealistic quality of the moment and back into reality.
"N-nani?!" Keiko jumped and realized that she was still pressed tightly against Kurama.
The sharp voice of a girl Keiko knew to be a member of the Minamino fan club gasped dramatically as she sobbed and shoved one fist over her mouth. "Minamino-san! How could you?!"
"N-no! It's not like that!" she said and hastily stepped back away from the red head causing his arms to trail over her shoulders and down to her forearms before he released her totally from his grasp. "Really," she waved her hands frantically in front of her.
"Urameshi is going to be so pissed," one voice said in a terrified squeak.
"I hope he doesn't hurt Minamino-san!" another girl wailed.
"I bet that Minamino-san knows how to fight! He knows everything!" another voice cheered.
"No way! Urameshi would break him in half!" a short boy shivered mournfully as if he had already seen the school's smartest, and best looking student die horribly in front of him.
"Yusuke wouldn't do something like that!" Keiko frowned and pointed a finger at the whispering crowd. She opened her mouth to start an anger fueled lecture at the gawking mob when Kurama caught her hand in his. Instead of facing off with the more vehement students, she found herself shouting retorts over her shoulder while Kurama tugged her along behind him. He took her away from the now clogged hallway, until they turned another corner and she was saved from having to feel the weight of some fifty plus stares at her back.
Kurama stopped in a deserted corner near a stair well and turned to face her, questions obvious in his vivid eyes. He waited, a strange intensity on his face that Keiko had only witnessed when he was preparing for a fight. She swallowed at the thought and offered him a weak smile which only seemed to make the intensity of his patient stare grow.
She studied her friend for a silent moment before she let her face fall into the disappointed grimace she had been struggling to contain. "I'm sorry," she bowed apologetically. "I, uh," she whispered "was looking for Yusuke..." She glanced over her shoulder but no hint of green or slicked back hair could be found. Frowning sadly, she looked back at the young man staring so intently at her. "He promised," she shrugged in explanation.
Keiko held in a wince when she saw the look of understanding that quickly turned to pity on his face and dropped her eyes to stare at the tiles on the floor. She regained her composer quickly and forced another fake smile on her face before she managed to look up at him and ask with false cheer, "Have you seen him?"
A brief flash of emotion flickered across that calm face before she could identify it. She could almost swear that he had seemed disappointed. She flinched slightly at the thought and wondered if he was annoyed with her 'nagging,' the way that Yusuke always was. Keiko stared at the lockers unhappily and clutched the strap of her bag in her fists before meeting those cool green eyes.
"He's not coming, is he?" she sighed and twisted her hands and wrung the rough cloth of her bag into a wrinkled mess. Kurama watched her sadly and she hated it when he saw her like this. Kurama had a way of being able to read her every emotion. Those vivid eyes missed nothing and Keiko was always left feeling slightly vulnerable when the intensity of those eyes was focused on her. At the same time, He had always been able to make her feel special...but then, anyone that he gave his undivided attention to probably felt the same.
"No," he answered truthfully. "He's not."
Keiko saw how he regretted having to tell her that so she waved away his next words with another false grin. "That's alright. I expected it," she said.
Another flash of emotion, this time one of anger, made Keiko seriously wonder if she was seeing things. She noticed how he searched her own face for some indication of what she really felt for several heavy heartbeats. Keiko shoved her own disappointment aside in concern when Kurama stayed uncharacteristically silent.
"Are you okay?" she stepped forward and reached out a pale hand to press against his forehead but found it caught in his instead. She stared stupidly at the captured appendage before flexing her fingers experimentally. Her hand was dropped as quickly as it had been seized. Keiko turned her startled look to Kurama.
Kurama clenched his fingers around the warm tingling of his palm where Keiko's innocent touch had sent currents of heat through his blood. He could still feel the press of her body from her unexpected embrace. For several minutes, he had been unable to speak coherently and now, here she was, like always, as far from his reach as she had ever been. That one heart stopping moment in the hall, everything had seemed so right. But it wasn't. It was wrong...all wrong. And he could only tempt fate so much before he would be reminded of how the greatest treasure was the one that had slipped from his grasp and into the hands of another.
She could have sworn that he was breathing a little harder then normal and he appeared more pale than he had before. Keiko made an attempt to close the distance between them again but stopped short when the red head turned away from her abruptly.
"We'll be late for class," he reminded her in a hard voice and she nodded dumbly until he began to walk away from her.
"Wait!" she jumped and pulled her hand to her chest. He had stopped, but the tense line of his shoulders and the way he still did not turn to face her was so unlike him that Keiko found herself wallowing for something to say. Anything to say...She pushed back her hair again and tampered her nervousness with a frown. "Do you...do you know when he will be back?" she heard herself asking just to end the suddenly tense silence that had fallen between them.
She noticed the way his shoulders slumped slightly before Kurama managed to gather himself. She heard a muffled breath before he answered her with an abruptness so unlike him. "No. I do not."
Kurama kept his face turned from her. His anger and his frustration grew the longer she insisted on asking about the man that had everything that he wanted. Her persistent attachment to Yusuke only made his own pain worse when she reminded him of it. She had been in his arms for one glorious moment...because she though he was Yusuke. She had returned his embrace with happiness...because she had thought that he was Yusuke. She was only here now talking to him...because she couldn't find Yusuke. Had he been able to keep that moment unsoiled, been able to keep that picture of them without being reminded that she was another's, he might have had better control over his now raging emotions. He might have been able to turn and face her. But not with her asking about him. Not now.
"Kurama, I-I'm sorry, for running into you like that..." she hesitated, thinking that perhaps she should have made her apology before this and winced.
"Next time I would suggest you refrain from throwing yourself on others." He called over his shoulder. "It is no wonder that Yusuke is always having to protect and save you. You show no caution for yourself and wind up bringing more trouble when it is the last thing that we need here. Try not to be such a liability..."
Keiko watched him begin to stalk away silently and twisted the strange encounter about in her mind to find out how and why she had offended him. His words hurt her deeply and she bit her lip hard to keep from crying out. Kurama, the one friend she had that she could always count on to be there for her was now walking away from her.
What perhaps hurt the worst was the way that every word that he said was true. She was a liability to him...to all of them. She was weak and caused trouble when they already had enough to worry about. She was annoying and nagging and she now knew that it did bother Kurama when she hung on him like she had been doing every time Yusuke abandoned her time and time again.
A hard knot formed in her throat cutting off her breath for a moment until she could swallow her tears. A matching pain in her chest squeezed around her heart as she watched the sway of crimson hair vanish around the corner. She didn't stop to think about why his words would be so devastating. She didn't even consider why his rejection hurt so much more than Yusuke's repeated failures. If she had, then perhaps her eyes would have been open to the truth that was right in front of her.