A/N: Don't hurt me, here's your update! As to Kurama/Shizuru, he's technically hundreds of years older than her. His human form is the only thing younger, and that's only by a couple of years or so. No biggie, there have been wider age gaps between lovers throughout history. I think they make a good couple, practical yet not to be messed with. I've got a deviant art gallery now (cause my dang website is a pain to reconstruct) and I'll be adding some of my YYH art to it soon...honest!
Driven by Instinct, Guided to Love
Chapter Seven: In-Laws the Catch to Wedded Bliss
"Hiei did what!" Keiko exclaimed with wide fearful eyes.
"Stop shouting Keiko!" Yusuke snapped, "Sheesh it's bad enough that I had to listen to Kuwabara's loudmouth this morning."
"Yusuke, are you telling me that Botan is MARRIED to Hiei?" his wife demanded, "And on top of everything else she's expecting!"
"Well...yeah." Yusuke shrugged, "Look it's not that bad. Kurama and I went over to her apartment like Koenma said and there they were."
"Y-you walked in on them!" Keiko gasped in horror.
"NO!" Yusuke's cheeks went bright red, "They were already—ya know—finished. And asleep...well, Botan was anyway."
"Wow," Keiko murmured, "I'm surprised Hiei didn't slice you apart."
"Believe me he gave it some serious thought," Yusuke assured her, "But the point is they're together now and that may be the one thing that saves that idiot's life."
"Wait," Keiko put a hand to her forehead, "so Botan and Hiei are married-"
"I think the correct term is 'mated'."
"-and now Kuwabara and Yukina are 'mated' and planning to get married."
"So then...why do you think Hiei is going to kill Kuwabara?" Keiko was stumped, Yusuke and his secrets always managed to give her a headache and half.
Sighing Yusuke caved, he had promised to start being more truthful with her. No time like the present to make good on that. "Well it's kinda complicated. You remember a while back before the Dark Tournament started when I needed to use Kuwabara's VCR to watch a tape I got?"
"Ehehe...um that tape was actually a rescue mission to save Yukina from this greedy butt-ugly businessman." Yusuke explained, "That's when we first met up with Toguro and his weird shape-shifting brother. Long story short Hiei wasn't supposed to know about it because Yukina is his sister."
"WHAT!" Keiko went from dumbfounded to furious in nothing flat. "Hiei's the long lost brother that poor Yukina's been searching all over for! You've known that for this long and still haven't told her! Yusuke how could you!"
"Hold it!" he had to block several blows from his infuriated wife, "Take it easy will ya! I didn't say anything then because Hiei would've diced up that businessman and landed himself in prison for life or worse. And I haven't said anything since because Hiei doesn't want her to know. In fact he's threatened to slaughter anyone who breathes a word of it within ten feet of her!"
"Why wouldn't he want his own sister to know who he is!" Keiko demanded, "It doesn't make any sense Yusuke! How heartless can he be?"
"I don't think he's doing it to hurt her." her husband replied solemnly, "He's probably just trying to protect her. Hiei hasn't exactly led the life of a saint ya know? His past is a dark one and he's slain his fair share of apparitions. I've talked to Kurama about it a couple of times and we both agree that Hiei's most likely hiding the truth so that Yukina won't have to deal with being related to a bloodthirsty thief."
"B-but..." Keiko felt a mixture of both understanding and anger towards the small fire youkai. Admittedly she comprehended his reasoning and thought it somewhat noble of him to strive so hard to preserve Yukina's naive conception of her brother. However, Yukina was desperately seeking him out, worrying herself constantly, and certainly possessed the compassion necessary to forgive her brother of his past misdeeds.
Sighing she let her gaze fall to the floor. The only thing she could think to say was a simple, "...he's changed now."
Placing his hands lightly atop her shoulders Yusuke pulled his wife against him in a gentle embrace. "I know," a small smile played on his lips, "and I also know that if you could find it in yourself to love someone like me then Yukina shouldn't have any trouble loving a guy like Hiei."
Smiling herself now Keiko lifted her head and shared a tender kiss with the raven-haired fighter. "Yusuke you big softy." she teased, "Hm...Kuwabara and Hiei definitely don't get along. But it would awful if they got in a fight during the wedding."
"Don't worry," Yusuke chuckled, "now that Botan's got some pull with him I'm sure Hiei will be on his best behavior."
"Yes," Keiko grinned slyly, "nothing like a perturbed lover to bring a man to his knees."
Sweating Yusuke let out a nervous laugh, "Wouldn't I know it."
It was approximately four o'clock that afternoon when a cab came pulling up in front of Botan's apartment complex. The ferry girl wasted no time in shoving her new hubby out the revolving doors and onto the sidewalk.
"C'mon Hiei!" she grunted as she pushed him towards the yellow taxi. "We've got to hurry or we'll be late!"
"Late for what?" he inquired suspiciously. "And where are we going? You've been acting stranger than usual ever since you hung up that accursed phone. Who was that and why do they keep calling?"
"You know you ask a lot of questions Hiei," Botan sweatdropped, "Why don't you just get inside the cab and you'll find out when we get there, hm?"
Hiei cocked an eyebrow. He didn't like all this secrecy. He was agitated enough with the mating instincts screaming at him twenty-four seven, he didn't need Botan's evasiveness adding to his tension.
Placing a foot against the bottom of the cab door he spoke firmly, "You will tell me now who that was on the phone and where we are going or I will pry the answers from your mind using my Jagan Eye."
Trembling a bit from the sheer amount obduracy the command held the ferry girl wracked her brain for some sort of convincing reply. Oh why does he have to be so unyielding? How impatient can a person be? It's not like I can just be expected to come up with these things on the spot you know!
"Look we're going to see Kurama and the others okay?" she only hoped that the tone she'd managed was enough to satisfy the demon's curiosity.
Staring back at her with half-lidded eyes the emotionless youkai spoke, "And the caller?"
Shifting about a bit Botan swallowed before answering, "Keiko—yes—it was Keiko! She was...uh...inviting us along!"
Hiei arched an eyebrow but lowered his foot so that she could open the door. After doing so she nervously gestured for him to climb in but wound up getting in first herself when she received only a silent stare in response.
Whatever's really going on she won't be able to hide it for long. Hiei resolved, The onna never was much good at keeping secrets. She'll sing like a stoolpigeon by the time we reach the end of the block.
But amazingly the blue haired ferry girl was able to remain silent...well...to retain the key bits of information that would send Hiei into a raging inferno. The tension in the back of the cab was so thick you could slice it with a katana. By the time they arrived at their destination Botan was ready to dive out into the street just for a chance to breathe.
I don't know whether it's the stress from not telling or the lack of ventilation back here but it feels like my stomach's doing cartwheels. Botan leaned forward a good ways and started rocking against her arms.
"I'm alright," she smiled faintly, "I just need some air. Oh look! We're here!"
Reluctantly Hiei turned his gaze away from her long enough to glance out the window and-
Despite her queasy spell the fuchsia eyed woman couldn't help but laugh at the terrified expression on her lover's face.
A-A WEDDING CHAPEL? Now it was Hiei who felt sick. How could she drag me to a wedding chapel! Is the baka onna mad!
"Relax Hiei," she giggled, "the ceremony isn't for us. According to Reikai and Makai laws we're already married so there's really no need to do things according to human customs."
A wave of relief washed over the crimson eyed demon before a looming question presented itself, "If this wedding isn't for us onna...then who's getting married?"
"Um..." Botan sweatdropped, another wave of nausea had set in.
A light tap at the window saved her an explanation. With Hiei's attention once again drawn away she mouthed a silent 'thank you' to her rescuer.
"Hello Hiei," the redhead waved before opening the door and offering the occupants a hand, "and Botan, nice to see that both of you could make it."
"Be honest," a brunette smirked stepping out from behind the fox, "you two are just here for the cake too right?"
"Ugh," Botan grimaced clutching the fabric before her stomach, "don't mention food."
"Botan?" Kurama turned to the hunched over woman whose face was tinged with green, "Are you alright? Do you need to lie down?"
"No I'm fine," she waved him back dismissively, "Cabs are always so stuffy, I just need to spend a few minutes out in this fresh air."
Hiei paid the cab driver then turned back around to find that Yusuke and Keiko were walking out the chapel doors.
"Hey Hiei, you made it." Yusuke beamed, "At least your monkey suit looks more comfortable than mine."
Hiei quirked an eyebrow, why was the detective dressed up? Taking a moment to study his surroundings closer he noticed that everyone was wearing formal attire. Botan had insisted that they 'dress nice' before leaving the apartment but he assumed that it was some womanly fetish about having her mate look appropriate when in public. He'd decided to indulge her for the time being...and in turn be indulged later for his compliance.
Crimson eyes darted from Kurama to Shizuru and back again, "So I presume that this little 'ceremony' that I've been duped into attending is for you two."
"What?" a deep blush instantly covered both of the accused.
"Ahahaha!" Yusuke couldn't suppress a laugh, "What makes you think that they're the ones getting married! Geez they haven't even come out as an official item yet Hiei, don't ya think marriage would be jumping the gun a little?"
Hiei was not amused, "I was already forced to attend the wedding ritual of you and your mate detective. Botan has assured me that I'm not to be made to endure a similar farce for our mating. So if not the kitsune and oaf's sister then for whose union are we celebrating?"
Everyone instantly fell silent. No one wanted to be the one to break the news to Hiei. As the agitated fire demon suspiciously glanced around a thought occurred...
"Speaking of idiocy, where's the oaf?"
Shizuru cast a nervous look in Kurama's direction. The redhead fake coughed into his fist, "Inside Hiei—with Yukina."
Botan studied her husband warily and began to mentally countdown the seconds until Kuwabara's doom. Three...two...one...
In a flash Hiei was inside the chapel leaving the others to hightail it in behind him.
"Well," Kurama sighed as they ran, "the pieces have finally clicked together."
Inside there was a small lobby where a short hallway branched off on each side. Down these halls were bathrooms, storage closets, and small changing rooms.
The groom was humming happily to himself in one of these rooms as he straightened his tie in front of a full length mirror.
"Oh man," he chuckled, "my wedding day. I can't believe it's finally here! Ah my sweet snow angel, I can hardly contain my excitement! Hehe!"
Kuwabara's eyes widened when he spotted Hiei's reflection in the mirror. The panting fire demon had barged right through the door nearly tearing it off its hinges.
"Hey!" the carrot top was peeved, "Watch it Shorty, you're payin' for that!"
It was then that he noticed the fierceness of Hiei's reddening gaze. The little youkai wore a look to kill!
Snarling Hiei sprung on the startled human determined to rip his ugly face off.
Inside Yukina's dressing room (down the opposite hall)...
The short stature ice apparition softly hummed a happy tune as she placed the bridal veil atop her head. She couldn't help but smile at her reflection in the mirror as she thought about the wonderful future which awaited her.
"Kazuma is such a kind soul," she sighed almost dreamily, "I know he'll be a good father to my—heh—our children."
The green haired youkai jumped when the door was abruptly flung open and three young women came rushing inside.
"What's going on?" she asked innocently as Shizuru slammed the door closed and pressed her back against it.
"N-nothing dear," Botan stammered nervously, her eyes darting back to the door.
"Oh Yukina!" Keiko beamed in a desperate attempt to change the subject, "You look so pretty in that dress!"
The scarlet eyed girl blushed and smoothed out the fabric around her waist, "Do you think so? It's not exactly like a typical wedding gown but Kazuma assured me it would do."
"It's very pretty Yukina," Shizuru smiled, panting a bit from her sprint down the hall. "Do you like it?"
Yukina turned back to the full length mirror and examined the dress she wore. It was a beautiful shade of ice blue. The silky fabric turned white wherever an adequate amount of light fell. The veil itself was white with ice blue ribbon trim. "I do," she whispered in awe of how remarkably stunning she appeared.
"Great," Botan rushed over to the stands of flower arrangements and began plucking out roses, daises, and anything else that seemed suitable to form an attractive bouquet, "now we just grab some flowers and-"
"I'LL KILL YOU YOU DESPICABLE CLOD!"
"HEY! WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM SHRIMP?"
"YOU YOU BAKA OAF!"
"Oh dear," Yukina made a move for the door but found her path blocked by Shizuru and Botan. "What's going on out there?"
"Nothing!" Botan and Shizuru exclaimed simultaneously.
Yukina arched an eyebrow looking more worried than reassured, "But it sounds like someone's fighting—with Kazuma."
"Fighting?" both girls turned to each other and forced a laugh.
"That's silly Yukina," Keiko spoke as she rushed up from behind, "why would Kuwabara be fighting with anyone now? You're getting married, it's a happy occasion!"
"Hiei sheathe your katana this instant," Kurama's voice ordered, "you're in a church!"
"-I'm going out there." Yukina resolved but her exit was still blocked.
"Better not," Shizuru sweatdropped, "I mean, it sounds like they've got everything under control."
"SHIELD YOUR FACE KUWABARA!" this time it was Yusuke's voice, "REIKAI KNOWS IT LOOKS BAD ENOUGH ALREADY!"
"YUSUKE!" Keiko shouted, appalled by his insensitive remark.
"HAHA! YOU'VE RUN OUT OF ROOM TO RUN NOW BAKA!"
"That's Hiei," Yukina wedged herself between Botan and her soon to be sister-in-law and grasped the doorknob.
"AAAHHH!" Botan was in a panic. Gotta stall for time...
"IS THIS ABOUT ME MAKING YUSUKE THE BEST MAN INSTEADA YOU?" Kuwabara asked. He was completely oblivious to the truth (as was his bride).
Yukina was about to jerk the door open when the ferry girl suddenly seized her wrist.
"Yukina wait!" the blue haired girl chewed on her lower lip before explaining, "It's um—uh—bad luck!"
"Bad luck?" the ice apparition questioned.
"Yes! It's bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding!" Botan nodded with a proud grin.
"She's right!" Keiko piped up, "And you wouldn't want to have bad luck on your wedding day would you?"
"But I'm not superstitious." Yukina stated.
"Maybe not, but my baby bro sure is!" Shizuru blurted out.
"He is?" Yukina and Botan inquired.
Shizuru gave Botan an annoyed glare to which the ferry girl merely grinned sheepishly. "Yep, my bro is a superstitious nutcase alright. He'd go bonkers if somebody broke tradition on his wedding day."
"Oh," Yukina pressed a finger against her chin in thought, "well...I don't want to upset Kazuma."
"Then it's settled!" Keiko clasped her hands together in joyous relief, "Let the boys handle the little tiff down the next hall and we'll help you finish getting ready for your big day!"
"O-kay." Yukina allowed Keiko to take her by the hand and lead her back over to the mirror so that they could finish adjusting the veil. Botan resumed her task of the making the bouquet and Shizuru stood watch by the door. Gradually the smile returned to Yukina's face and soon she was ready for her walk down the aisle.
Back inside Kuwabara's dressing room...
The groom's face was a mixture of anger, surprise, and mostly confusion as he scooted backwards across the floor. The short fire demon advancing on him was snarling dangerously as he began unraveling the bandages around his right arm.
"WHOA, HIEI!" Kuwabara gasped, "HAVE YOU LOST YOUR TINY LITTLE MIND? YOU CAN'T UNLEASH THAT THING IN HERE!"
"He's right Hiei," Kurama struggled to keep his voice calm and reasonable, "the Dragon is too powerful to be contained in this small area. It would surely devour us all."
"Hn, so what's your point?" Hiei seethed drawing nearer to his victim, "I don't care if I'm incinerated so long as I take this blathering idiot with me!"
A smile formed on Yusuke's face as he remembered a certain leverage he had with Hiei. "Maybe you don't care if you wind up dragon bait...but I bet Botan sure would."
Pausing Hiei cringed at the smug comment, "Leave it to you Detective to find the one flaw in my otherwise perfect plan."
"Sorry man," Yusuke laughed, "all's fair in love and war!"
"I'm impressed Yusuke," Kurama smirked, "that was actually rather brilliant."
"Yeah I'm good for one of those every month or so."
"Um...not to interrupt this rare 'Urameshi's smart' moment but-" Kuwabara was still sprawled out on the floor in his disheveled tuxedo, "-COULD SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL ME WHAT THE HECK IS GOIN' ON HERE!"
"Certainly," Hiei replied in an eerily calm tone, "the detective's finally made a valid point however you're still about to die."
"Not without this," Kurama held up the katana that he and Yusuke had managed to pry out of the fire demon's grasp a few minutes ago.
"Hn, don't be a fool Fox." Hiei held up a dark flaming fist, "I don't need a weapon or my Dragon of the Darkness Flame to annihilate this nuisance."
The two fighters exchanged worried glances before Kurama tried again, "I can't believe you'd ruin Yukina's happiness simply because you're not all that fond of Kuwabara."
"Yeah!" the carrot top still wasn't sure what had crawled up Hiei's pants but from the look on his face he could tell that Kurama had managed to hit a nerve, "And we're supposed to be teammates too!"
Hiei's gaze fell on Kuwabara again, his expression one of angry reluctance. "You and I may have fought on the same team once or twice in the past human but I have never thought of you as my teammate. Or anything less than an incompetent hindrance for that matter!"
Kuwabara got to his feet and took a few steps towards the unwavering demon. "Is that so Hamster Legs?"
Fortunately Yusuke managed to intervene. "Cool it Kuwabara, you're not doing yourself any favors!"
With a tired sigh Kurama stepped into the center of the insult war and spoke in an almost pleading tone, "I think it's time that the both of you ended this pointless feud and tried to get along for once. For Yukina's sake if nothing else. After all, as much as you two claim to despise one another you do have one common ground-"
Hiei and Kuwabara hesitantly broke their heated stare and shifted their eyes towards the redhead.
"-your love for Yukina." the kitsune continued. "You both wish for her to be happy do you not? Well then like it or not you're both going to have to learn to tolerate each other."
After all... Kurama was using telepathy to speak directly to Hiei now ...you are about to be in-laws.
Kurama... Hiei mentally growled his eyes aflame as he now felt betrayed by his closest friend ...I can hardly believe that you're on his side.
I'm not taking sides Hiei. Kurama's gaze was steady and sincere. I'm merely asking that you consider the consequences of your actions. Kuwabara might not be your first choice for Yukina but he is her choice. And even you must admit—she could've chosen worse.
Hiei's rage was boiling over as he struggled to keep it all pent up inside. As usual, the fox was right. Kuwabara may be a fool, a klutz, and a flirtatious pain in the ass but he was still a...nice guy. And he'd certainly be a loyal, loving husband to Yukina; and most likely a caring, protective, devoted father to her offspring.
The dark flames rising from Hiei's clenched fist died away as he lowered his right arm yet raised his left and pointed a finger directly at Kuwabara.
"You had better not mess this up baka." his voice was low and threatening. "Because if you hurt her—I'll torture you so relentlessly that you'll beg for the sweet release of Hell!"
Standing as straight as he could the orange haired fighter tried to hide the trembling of his frame as he swallowed the lump in his throat and nodded. Whoa, I never realized how protective Hiei is of girls. Guess he really does have some kinda honor code after all.
"Hey great!" Yusuke beamed, relieved that he wouldn't have to whip out the ol' Spirit Gun and play tough love referee, "What a touching moment huh? Group hug!"
Hiei's glare revealed he wasn't in the mood for any of Yusuke's jokes.
"Okay then...forget the group hug." the detective frowned. "Let's just get this over with so we can ditch these stuffy penguin suits."
"Agreed," Kurama nodded as Kuwabara fixed his clothes. Once everyone seemed ready to go he walked swiftly towards the door and motioned out into the hall, "Shall we?"
Amanda/Artiste: First of all I'd like to thank everyone for being so patient with me. I know you've been waiting FOREVER for me to update this but for some reason I was having trouble getting the last few pages of this chapter finished. Writer's block is a terrible curse. :-( But it's out now so yay, eleven new pages, hope you enjoyed! Review and let me know and I'll try to pick up the pace with my updating okay? Next Chapter: A secret is blown and poor Botan's not feeling so hot. Wonder why?