- Chapter 7 -
Kagome was mad.
No, strike that, she was beyond mad. She was more bordering on pissed than anything else and all because of one thickheaded inu hanyou. InuYasha had yelled at her. Again. Resulting in a pissed off miko. Of course, she'd had to sit him. Again. This time, not even his brother had blamed her for doing so. He had yelled at her for confronting Kuronue who, granted, was an unknown youkai. But really, who could blame her for being worried for a young girl her own age? Obviously, Inuyasha could and had. In circumspect, she supposed her confession to the fact hadn't helped coming on the heels of that really strange encounter with that youkai thief who hadn't really wanted to fight. It had been strange in more ways than one because aside from the nearly nonexistent interest in the Shikon no Tama, there had been an oddly familiar aura coming from him. It was vague, but she could still tell.
All in all, Kagome had come to the basic conclusion that her entire week had sucked. Finally, she'd had to tell InuYasha that she was going home and to not follow her. She had the strong desire to investigate this strange youkai pendant thing, not to mention wanting to vent to her new friend and had stormed over to the apartment building Keiko had indicated as hers the moment she was through the well. Relying on her miko powers to sense the youki within the pendant, Kagome zeroed in on the right apartment, only to gasp upon finding, not one source of youki, but four.
'Crap!' she thought to herself.
She knocked on the door, hoping that she wouldn't get blasted to oblivion. Kuronue had seemed more or less harmless, unless you messed with Keiko. Of the other three sources, the only thing she could sense was one seemed well and truly blazing, enough to rival either Inuyasha or Sesshoumaru, and the other two… she paused. One seemed like he could if he wanted to, and the other puzzled her. She could have sworn she had sensed that youki before, but where? Having no answer, she knocked again, trying the knob and calling out, "Keiko? Keiko, it's Kagome!"
Within the apartment, Kagome felt it when the enraged aura seemed to quell at the sound of her voice.
Keiko gasped. "Oh, no." she whispered, casting a worried glance at Kuronue's pendant then Kurama and finally around to Yusuke and Hiei.
Kuronue greeted the voice with elation. 'It's the miko! Oh, glory be! Meikin, may I? I think we need a little help here.'
Keiko was unsure if letting a miko into a room full of demons, and one who was irritated at that, was such a good idea, but they definitely needed someone neutral to calm down the situation. With a silent nod, Keiko allowed Kuronue to take possession of her.
Kuronue found taking possession of her even easier now that she was mated to him. He silently wondered about Kurama's demon form. His human form he had issues with, but the other form had been his mate in every sense of the word. He went over to the door, his own swaggering gate looking odd on the diminutive human woman to the others in the room, all of whom had mixed feelings about this situation.
Kurama knew that Kuronue could take possession of him, but this was something new. His heart ached watching that oh-so-familiar swagger across the room and it only redoubled his resolve to find a way to bring his mate back to him, to them both.
Hiei simply watched, reserving his own judgment.
Yusuke, whose temper had settled when he sensed the energy on the other side of the door, felt his anger rising again at the sight of Keiko being used. "Kei-" Only to be silenced by Hiei. He looked quizzically down at the demon.
"She consented first. He asked, she accepted. It is obvious that Kuronue knows the miko." He said in a low voice even as the Kuronue possessed Keiko opened the door.
"Please, come in, Miko." Kuronue offered.
Kagome looked up with a small trickle of mirth in her eyes. "Well, at least you're not threatening me, this time." She came in and noted the fire youkai and the human looking youkai which she didn't know enough to place and the, was that a kitsune aura around the redhead?
Kuronue closed the door behind him before things got worse, which he knew would happen.
"Who the hell is this?" Yusuke demanded to know. He was beginning to tire of the new events unfolding before his eyes. "And I want you out of Keiko now, bat boy!" he seethed, throwing a glare at Keiko, knowing it was Kuronue controlling her body.
Kuronue threw a glare at Yusuke and would have thrown more, except that this wasn't the Makai, a fact that he had to constantly remind himself of. "Excuse me, but I will leave Keiko's body under one of two situations. I will not hurt her; if she gets too exhausted to do this, I will leave, otherwise, Keiko herself can always throw me out. We may be mates; however, she is the one with a body, not I."
Kurama shifted, "Kuronue, I am also available." he instantly offered.
Kuronue smiled at him, "I know, however since this morning, Keiko's slightly easier and the pull isn't as strong. Maybe later you and I-?" he trailed off with his suggestive question, leaving Kurama to turn beet red and glare at his mate.
Kagome cleared her throat, "Look, I don't know what I interrupted here, and frankly, I'm not sure I should care. But, I do know that the last time that we met, Kuronue nearly wanted to slit my throat and now he's jumping on my presence like it's a life saver."
"Not slit your throat." Kuronue insisted. "You're a little too pretty to do something that cruel to. I merely wanted you to go away."
'Kuronue!' Keiko gasped mentally as Kuronue's words left her lips. It wasn't just the flirting comment, but also the fact that it was basically her voicing them. That, along with the obvious, bothered her.
Kuronue mentally cursed himself, so used to Kurama and himself teasing others outside of their own unit that he didn't think how it would sound to poor Keiko, who was not used to the casual flirting. 'Meikin, love, I would never stray from yourself, or Kurama, especially now that we are complete. Please, think nothing of idle flirting?'
Keiko's ruffled feathers were soothed by Kuronue's reassurance and he followed it up with a mental brush of his lips against hers.
'Kuronue,' Keiko mentally urged as she felt the sensations that had washed over her the first time Kuronue borrowed her body began to rise. 'I don't really think this is the place for this. Yusuke's sense of smell is very acute and he's already pissed off as it is. The last thing he needs to smell now is... um... well...' she trailed off, hoping her mate got the idea.
Kuronue nodded. 'Very well, Keiko, however, can you give my pendant to Kurama? It might help keep me out for a while.' Kuronue withdrew into his pendant as he allowed Keiko to control herself once again.
Keiko removed the pendant and handed it over to Kurama, who was quick to place it around his own neck. Casting a look around her apartment, Keiko then came to the conclusion that a lot of explaining was in order. For both Yusuke and Kagome.
Kurama swiftly came to the same conclusion. He sighed, not looking forward to that one little bit. He remembered this miko from somewhere, only to see her looking at him with the same curious expression. A sudden flashback caused him to grin in a very youko-ish expression. "See something interesting, miko?" It was the exact same thing he had said when she tracked him down carrying that jewel shard, he remembered.
Kagome's brows furrowed as the words spoke struck a chord in her memory and a sense of déjà vu overwhelmed her. That strange silver kitsune had said that exact same thing to her! Even in that expression! She stared at him for a moment in shock, then cleared her throat and gave him a defiant look, "A curiosity, nothing more."
Kurama's grin widened at her response. Keiko watched the interaction between the two with a good deal of curiosity as well as a hint of jealousy. Yusuke was watching them as well, his eyes staying on the newly arrived miko than on the red head and wondering who she was and why she was here. Hiei stood by himself, off to the side. It was not his place to interfere, but he would remain in case he was needed if things got out of hand. Although, with this new arrival, he couldn't really see that happening right now.
Kurama hadn't had this much fun since he'd played along with the prank Kuwabara had pulled on Yusuke to make him believe that Keiko really had died. "Curiosity? If I recall correctly, curiosity's killed more than the cat. Aren't you the same miko that tracked me down after I stole that jewel shard?"
"I might be," Kagome hedged, "If you are the same kitsune who gave me back that jewel shard with no hassle."
Kurama chuckled at her. "I am." He sobered as the implications hit him, "There is a story here, however. My lifespan explains how I am here, but it doesn't explain your presence. I think we need to sit down sometime and have a very long talk."
Kuronue asked, 'You mean this is the miko that apprehended you with that hanyou and the inu youkai?'
Kurama nodded. "I told you about that, didn't I?"
At this point, Yusuke was nearing the end of his very short temper. "Enough already! I want some explanations now, and Kurama, you had better have some good ones or else you're gonna find that rose whip of yours somewhere that it isn't supposed to be!"
Kurama turned narrowed eyes showing a hint of gold to Yusuke. "I don't think you want to threaten me, Yusuke."
Hiei would be the last to admit it, but he almost felt like rolling his eyes. Threatening Kurama was very bad for one's health and it didn't matter who you were. "I think some explanations would be good at this point. We know that Keiko is mated to Kuronue and that Kurama is also mated to Kuronue. However, we have yet to discern the link to Kurama and Keiko. The link between the miko and you, Kurama, can be explored at a later date. Right now, I think needs to focus on you, Kuronue and Keiko."
Despite Hiei's reasonable words, Yusuke was on the verge of tearing into Kurama again, simply because he felt it a challenge from the kitsune. His step forward, however, was deterred by a placating hand placed on his forearm. He looked down in surprise, following the length of arm up to the owner of the hand. Kagome.
Though his eyes narrowed, Yusuke couldn't help but feel all of his anger and frustration dimming slightly.
"The fire youkai's right. I think we all need to sit down and talk this through. You are wanting answers, right?"
Yusuke nodded reluctantly. "Yeah, answers would be a good thing right now."
Kurama heard the somewhat calmer tone of Yusuke and looked at Kagome in respect. It was never easy around Yusuke, and less so when he was well and truly pissed. "Which questions did you want answers to, Yusuke?" he asked quietly.
Yusuke's ire flared up again just a bit. "Well, for one, how the hell can Kuronue be mated to you and Keiko at the same time? It just doesn't make any sense, and aren't you put off by it in the least, Kurama? I mean, you were mated with Kuronue in the past, how can you be attracted and want to mate with Keiko now?"
Kurama resisted the urge to smile. Those two questions just proved how naive Yusuke really was as a demon. "As to how we can be both mated to each other and to Keiko? That is a very long, complex question that would result in us standing here for a very long time. Please accept that it can, and has happened, but very rarely." Now Kurama did smile, not a smirk, but an honest, open smile. "Yusuke, did it ever occur to you that most demons are bi-sexual?"
Yusuke's eyes widened to an almost comical degree. "Uh… well, yeah, I guess so. I just never thought of it in terms of demons I knew." he stuttered.
Kurama felt almost like chuckling, and if the situation hadn't been so serious, he would have given into the urge, "Yes, Yusuke, I am. I do not advertise the fact here in the Ningenkai because admitting that you are bi-sexual is only slightly better than admitting that you are gay. To avoid the situation entirely, I avoided dating and sexual situations entirely." He took a deep breath as Yusuke seemed to be calming down, however that temper of his seemed ready to flare once again at the least provocation. "Did you have any other questions?"
With the two of the three main questions that had been niggling at his mind answered, despite the fact that they didn't sit well with him, Yusuke directed the remaining one in Keiko's direction. "Kurama said that you consented to all this. Did you, Keiko? And if so, then what about us?" The last part was spoken in a weak, hurt tone as the expression on his face helped convey his disappointment.
Keiko regretted hurting Yusuke. He was still a friend, after all. Just because she didn't want more from him was irrelevant. She still was hurting a friend. She looked around, some of this would have to be out in the open, but she didn't really want an audience for breaking up with him. She took courage from Kurama, and Kuronue's presence.
"I did consent to mating with Kuronue, Yusuke. As far as us goes . . ." Her voice trailed off, wondering how she could put this. She had felt some attraction, but never the kind he really wanted. "Yusuke, there were always boundaries that I set, and until you tried crossing them and shattered my trust . . ."
Her voice trailed off again, knowing she could never say what she really wanted to say. "Can I talk to you in the kitchen, Yusuke?" It wasn't quite as private as the bedroom, but since the only other rooms with doors in the one-bedroom apartment were the bedroom and the bathroom, she wanted to be at least out of sight of the others.
Yusuke nodded, allowing Keiko to lead him into the kitchen with a sense of trepidation weighing on his heart.
Keiko paused in the kitchen, knowing the others could hear them perfectly well, especially with the demon enhanced hearing, but knowing that there was no help for it. She turned to face Yusuke, taking a deep breath she opened her mouth and began, "Yusuke, we've always been friends and you've never hidden the fact that you want more from me. I discouraged you a time or two, but never terribly seriously, except for that time that you announced that you were leaving for the Makai. I never told you that I'd wait for you; I mean I needed time to adjust to what you were. When you came back, you carried on as if nothing had changed, but it had."
Keiko looked into the chocolate eyes that she knew so well. "You need time to accept that as well. You need to find someone who can make you happy as you are, and I am not the person who can do that for you. I only hope that someday we can be friends again. Good-bye, Yusuke. Promise me that you'll find that someone, okay?" She fled the kitchen without waiting for his reply, unable to watch as those eyes fill with hurt and was caught in Kurama's strong arms. She collapsed against his chest, trying her best to hold back the sobs that threatened to burst free.
There was a moment of silence in the apartment before a loud BANG issued from the kitchen before Yusuke stormed out. Not bothering to look anyone in the eye, he strode across the living room and yanked open the apartment door before slamming it shut behind him; the force used nearly breaking it from its hinges. The remaining occupants of the apartment were left behind; two staring at the nearly broken door as the others turned their efforts to comforting the now freely sobbing girl in their arms.
Kurama let her sob against him, gently running his hand down her back and making nonsense noises. Neither he, nor Kuronue had ever had quite this type of situation to deal with. He relaxed when he felt Kuronue's tentative reaching to take over, gladly retreating.
Kuronue pulled her closer. "Keiko, Meikin, you could not have done other than you just did."
Keiko snuggled closer to Kurama's body but instinctively knew that it was the dark haired youkai that held her. "I know, Kuronue, it's just hard is all. I knew it would be, but it had to be done. But does it have to hurt so much?"
Kuronue nodded regretfully, wishing he could spare her from this pain. "Unfortunately, Meikin, it does. It proves just how wonderful of a person you are as well as a testament to how strong of a friendship that you and he had. Kurama would agree with me, too."
'Indeed,' the mental voice of Kurama filled Keiko's head, soothing her even more with its silky tone. 'But Keiko, you must keep in mind that this had to be done in order for you both to move forward with your lives. It may hurt now, but in the end, you will both be a lot happier.'
Hiei's sharp eyes had missed nothing, from the beginning of the whole confrontation, to the calming of Yusuke via Kagome's touch through to the dramatic end. He was starting to get almost embarrassed about this display of emotions between mates, however. Mukuro and he kept their own relationship behind closed doors, even though the retainers knew about it perfectly well. There was nothing that could be done about the transfer of youki, but their professional relationship had not altered. He looked over at Kagome, who seemed equally off balance.
Kagome gave a nervous laugh, not really intending to be present for such an awkward moment, and said, "Um, yeah, if you guys don't need me right now, I guess I'd better get going. I'll be back later though to check up on you, Keiko, if that's okay. Though you do seem to be in good hands at the moment."
"Hn," Hiei followed up, "She is where she belongs, in the arms of her mates. Perhaps you and I should find Yusuke? It would appear that your touch has a somewhat calming effect on him."
Kagome blinked, having not gotten that impression initially, but now that she thought about it, the hostile demon's aura had dimmed significantly when she'd grabbed his arm. Strange. "I guess so…" she finally agreed, nodding her assent before following the shorter figure out the door, leaving behind the embracing couple, leaving them unaware of their exit.
Hiei felt like smirking at how thoroughly the three were wrapped up in each other, but settled on a smile instead. Fortunately the door hadn't been broken by Yusuke's forceful slamming, he thought as he closed the door behind them. "The biggest question will be, where did Yusuke go? And how to find him." he told the miko who was walking with him.
Kagome fidgeted a bit, a bit hesitant to show how skillful she was, but she could feel the direction in which Yusuke had gone and knew by the way his aura was blazing that they should find him soon. "His aura went that way." she said softly, pointing in the direction she sensed him the strongest.
Hiei nodded his agreement. "Shall we do this the quick way, or the slow way?"
Kagome blinked, "Quick way?"
"I can carry you while we both search for Yusuke's aura."
Kagome sighed. "The quick way. It wouldn't be the first time."
Hiei heard the resignation in her voice. "We do not have to, if you are not comfortable with it."
"Nah, it's okay." She proceeded to let the dark haired demon sweep her up into his arms with little difficulty despite the height difference. "Just watch your hands!" she added sharply when his hands slipped a little too high on her thighs for comfort.
This time, Hiei flushed. There was no way he wanted to touch anyone other than his mate in that fashion. He muttered a very brief, and nearly inaudible, apology as he took to the treetops and rooftops, searching for where Yusuke had gone.