The Courtship



Disclaimer: I own YYH no more than I profit monetarily from fanfiction. Which is to say, not at all.

A/N: Inspired by "Rocket Hanabi no Love Song," the duet between Kuwabara and Yukina.

Set after the anime/manga, in which Keiko and Kuwabara are at college, Kurama is working at his stepfather's company, and Hiei is Mukuro's right hand man.

Any discrepancies with canon are entirely my fault. Some are intended in order for the story to work.

. . .

1. He Declares His Intentions

"Careful, Yusuke," Kurama said warningly. "I think you've had enough alcohol for one night."

"All aboard the good ship Lollipop!" a very inebriated Yusuke cried gaily in response, waving his sixth glass of beer so that it slopped over the sides. Little dancing men on the television cheered along. The reasoning behind Yusuke's babbling was no doubt in whatever inane movie he was watching.

Kurama shot a glance at Hiei. "That goes for you, too."

"I can hold my liquor," Hiei scoffed. "This idiot, on the other hand . . ." He gestured eloquently.

Kurama cocked an eyebrow at Hiei. "I take it you're winning."

"Of course I am. It would be hard not to win against this idiot." Hiei smugly tapped the glass he was holding. "This is my twenty-fourth one."

"I'd have thought that you wouldn't want to risk blunting your reflexes by consuming too much alcohol."

"Hah! This weak ningen drink can't blunt my reflexes!"

Kurama sighed and turned back to his conversation with Yukina and Kuwabara. Though he disapproved of binge drinking, Hiei was perfectly sober, and probably wasn't going to suffer lasting damage, no matter how much he drank – mostly because Kurama was sure they would run out of alcohol before Hiei reached his limit.

Yusuke had challenged Hiei to a drinking contest. At first the fire demon had scoffed and called him inane, but after continued egging, Hiei had given in. After all, he hated to be bested at anything, and he was very prideful.

It did seem as though Hiei was winning by a huge margin. He smirked coolly at the tipsy Yusuke, and downed his twenty-fourth fizzing golden glass. Yusuke had invited Kurama to join in as well, but Kurama didn't feel the need to prove his masculinity like some other youkai did . . .

Yusuke giggled at something Hiei said, spilling more beer down the front of his shirt. It was a good thing Keiko wasn't here to see this, Kurama thought; she was out on a night in the town with Shizuru. They'd invited Yukina, so there would be both a girls' and a boys' night out, but Hiei caught wind that Shizuru planned "checking out fine men's asses" as one of the night's activities. Expecting that they were probably going to expose his innocent sister to all sorts of lewd innuendo, he put his foot down on the proposal, and so here Yukina was, talking with Kurama and Kuwabara.

For all that, Kurama thought perhaps Hiei would have been better off letting Yukina go with the girls. Kuwabara was smiling foolishly at her, paying no attention to anything Kurama said, and from the constant suspicious glances Hiei threw that way, Kurama could tell he'd noticed.

Summer vacation had just started. They were at a small party at Genkai's temple, which she had left to the Reikai Tantei when she died. Yukina had lived there alone, taking care of the huge place. Later, Kurama moved in with her after he had gotten a job at his stepfather's office because: one, Hiei wanted someone to look after his sister; and two, he didn't trust anyone else to do it. Yukina and Kurama were rarely alone together, however, because Hiei was forever checking up on them, and Yusuke, Kuwabara, Keiko, and Shizuru visited all the time.

Kurama nodded at Kuwabara, who was prattling about some award he'd won at college, most likely to impress Yukina.

"I'm going to get another drink," and by this he meant a nice, non-alcoholic soda, not like what some people were imbibing. "Do either of you want me to get something for you?"

"Yeah, get me a coke or something," Kuwabara said, barely looking at him.

"No, thank you," said Yukina, smiling. She was still holding a half-full cup of tea.

Kurama made his way over to the drinks, pouring soft drinks for Kuwabara and himself. As he returned, he was suddenly conscious of an empty silence. Yusuke, beer clutched loosely in his hand, was staring at Kuwabara and Yukina. He followed Yusuke's gaze to the corner where they were standing.

Kuwabara was holding both of Yukina's hands in his own. "And what I mean to say, Yukina, is that . . . I love you."

He was looking earnestly into her eyes, and Kurama could tell that she wasn't untouched. Before she could say anything, however, Hiei jumped in.

"Stay away from her," he growled, glaring up at Kuwabara.

Kuwabara looked bewildered, then outraged. "It's none of your business if I want to go out with Yukina!"

"It's my business if an imbecile wants to court – to court someone who's too good for him!" Hiei snarled back, slamming his twenty-fifth glass of beer on the table.

"What – unless you want to date her too?" Kuwabara's indignant expression changed instantly to one of near-hysterical laughter. Kurama could tell that if Kuwabara started laughing, then he'd really be in trouble. He moved to intervene, but Yukina made it unnecessary.

"I don't think he does," Yukina said simply. "I think he's just being protective of his sister."

Both Hiei and Kuwabara turned white.

Kurama and Yusuke set their drinks down unsteadily. There was total silence for a few seconds.

"Kurama," Hiei began in a low and very scary tone.

"I didn't tell Yukina anything!" Kurama was just as stunned that Yukina knew.

Hiei turned on Yusuke, who was rather pale himself. He shook his head feebly. "Not me, man."

Meanwhile, Kuwabara was repeatedly choking out, "Sister? His sister?"

"Hiei," said Yukina gently, putting her hand on his arm, "I figured it out for myself a long time ago. There were clues . . . you were always there to protect me. Between my intuition - and the bond that twins share, I realized that you were my brother. I never said anything because you didn't, and I supposed that you had reasons for keeping your silence."

"Oh," said Hiei, blinking with the air of one who has been hit very hard on the head and can't quite believe it. Then he shook his head slightly, as if to clear it. "I – I regret that I haven't been a better –," he began stiffly.

"Oh," sighed Yukina, moving quickly to enfold him in a tight embrace, "don't say that."

Hiei's eyes were round over Yukina's shoulder, but then he smiled a little and his arms tightened around her slightly.

How touching. Kurama and Yusuke exchanged knowing looks. Poor Kuwabara, though, was still sputtering in the background.

When the twins broke free from each other at last, Kurama grinned at Hiei. "So much for your secret, Hiei. Nothing can overcome the power of women's intuition."

Yusuke was giggling again, but this time, as far as things were concerned, it seemed that he had a perfectly justified reason to be happy.

The corners of Hiei's mouth twitched. "I think," he said quietly to Yukina, "that I have something which needs to be returned to you." He slipped off one of the hiriuseki around his neck and was about to place it in Yukina's palm when she stopped him.

"Put it around my neck," she said. "We should both wear our teargems."

Hiei did as she instructed.

Kurama could see that Kuwabara was crushed. He had mustered all his courage to make this declaration of love tonight, but it had turned into a joyful reunion between Yukina and her long-lost brother – who just happened to be Hiei. Not that he wasn't happy for her – no, Kuwabara was far too chivalrous. Kurama could entirely understand, however, the dejected look on Kuwabara's face.

Yukina smiled one last time at Hiei, then turned her delighted face towards Kuwabara.

"Don't worry, Kazuma, I haven't forgotten you."

A small grunt from Hiei's direction told them all that he wasn't quite happy that she hadn't.

"I'm very happy that you love me, Kuwabara, and I love you too."

They could all see Kuwabara's leaping joy written on his face. It seemed as though her words had temporarily wiped her unfortunate relations from his mind.

"Just like I love Hiei, and Yusuke, and Kurama, and everyone else."

Kuwabara's smile dropped off his face. Hiei, on the other hand, appeared relieved. Yusuke, still drunk, moved over to throw his arm around Yukina's shoulders and sang off-key, "I love you, you love me, we're a happy family . . ."

"Unless you want to die an extremely painful death, I suggest you get your hands off my sister," Hiei said calmly to Yusuke.

Yusuke froze for a second, then hastily removed his arm. Kurama grinned at the familiar sight of overprotective Hiei.

"No, Yukina," Kuwabara struggled, trying to find the right words. "I know that you love Yusuke, and Kurama . . . and Hiei," he added grudgingly, "but what I feel for you – and what I hope you can feel for me – is different."

Yukina looked politely puzzled.

"My love for you is like . . . the earth-shattering, heaven-moving passion found in romantic movies!" Kuwabara shook a fist to accentuate his point. Yusuke sniggered at his flowery prose, while Kurama could barely disguise his wince. Hiei seemed murderous once more.

Yukina's expression alone had not changed.

"Romantic?" she repeated. "What's 'romantic'?"

. . .

A/N: No, Yukina's not an idiot. There's actually a very good reason why she should have no idea what Kuwabara's talking about, which will be explained in the next chapter.

Constructive criticism and complimentary comments very welcome.