Familial Ties

by Jasmine Starlight.

Disclaimer: I was impressed by the way you came in. Tell us a story I know you're not boring. Please don't slow me down I'm going to fast.

The Strokes………………

Dedicated to suntiger who read my mind before I posted it.

CHAPTER ONE

RETURNING

Lita drummed her fingers moodily against the table where she sat in the Crown Arcade.

"You shouldn't look so glum, you know," observed Ami from where she sat across from Lita.

Lita said nothing and continued her rhythmic drumming, which was now accompanied by dejectedly staring out the window.

"You should be happy seeing Yuuske again, after all this time." she prodded gently.

Lita merely snorted and resumed her methodic drumming and glaring holes in the window.

"You know I wish I had a cousin like you have Yuuske." she said wistfully.

Lita's façade of indifference shattered into a million tiny pieces.

"Oh, Ami" she started.

"No, really it's fine." said the Ice Warrior, holding up a hand.

After that Lita was stumped for conversational ideas.

Their uneasy silence was broken as two more senshi squeezed into their booth.

"Sorry we're late, Mina had to check out every guy from here to the shrine." she said sending a venomous glare toward said Love senshi.

Mina only grinned apologetically and flashed her customary 'V' sign, "One of them could be my true love."

"What about Malachite?" asked Lita slyly.

"Malachite can go swimming with sharks at feeding time for all I care." she said huffily, mood immediately darkening.

"Ouch." said Rei by way of response.

"Where did that come from?" asked Ami curiously.

"From his dumb ice wall that I have spent years painstakingly chipping away, to have it put back up in a total of sixty seconds." she said darkly.

"Moving on, Lita what's up with the mission Luna and Setsuna are sending you on to visit your cousin?" asked Rei quizzically.

Lita's face fell immediately, "She's cranky because Sere and Setsuna are using the youma problem in Sarayashiki as an excuse to make her visit her estranged cousin." Explained Ami cheerfully.

"If you had relatives how come you didn't live with them when your parents died?" asked Mina curiously, ceasing her skulking momentarily.

"Let's just say that Auntie Atsuko isn't the best example of good parenting." said Lita carefully.

Mina, knowing when to leave well enough alone, quickly switched gears.

"So, is this cousin of yours good looking?" she asked slyly.

"Mina!" groaned Lita into her folded arms.

The girls broke into giggles that were momentarily interrupted as Serena slid into their crammed booth.

"Hi guys." she said breathlessly.

"You're late Serena." said Rei dangerously.

"Darien held me up!" she whined childishly.

"He held you up or you held each other up?" asked Mina suggestively, waggling her blonde eyebrows.

"Mina! Don't be a pervert!" exclaimed Ami.

After that the quintet quieted down once more, Ami prompted, "So, Serena what did Setsuna say about our mission?"

"Huh?" said Serena as she looked up from studying the menu of snazzy drinks.

Rei snorted and rolled her eyes, "Never send a meatball head to do an intelligent person's job."

"Hey!" exclaimed Serena as the girls burst into laughter once again.

As Serena's memory was finally jogged, Lita drifted off during Serena's choppy explanation, during which she left out many a detail, which Ami was quick to point out.

"So basically, Lita's cousin is "spirit detective" and he works for the "king of the spirit world" fighting "demons" and "protecting" the Earth. And Koenma who is the "king" was an old "friend" of Selenity's and that's why we are going to go help them with their youma problem.

"You'd think that dealing with demons would be harder than a few youma." said Rei lazily.

Finally deciding to take part in the conversation, "I still say Yuuske would have told me about something this big, it's not like he's the cleverest guy in the world or anything." Lita pointed out.

"Oh, you mean like you told him about being a senshi?" retorted Mina, grinning slyly.

"Touché." remarked Ami.

Lita rolled her eyes, "Whatever."

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Lita sighed as she hefted her bag onto her shoulder.

"Come on Mina, what did you want to give me that could possibly take this long?" she called impatiently into the kitchen of the Hino Shrine, she stood in the hallway, shifting her weight from foot to foot.

Haruka would be at the temple any minute to give them a ride to their new apartment in Sarayashiki, which was by the way, pretty sweet.

Ami and Lita had two whole floors to themselves, both floors with full kitchens, separate and adjoining rooms, and a library.

Setsuna had some pull in this town.

"Hold, your ponies for a minute." called Mina from the kitchen.

"It's hold your horses, Mina." corrected Ami, coming up behind Lita, carrying her own bags.

"Whatever." replied she.

"How many books did you pack this time, Ames?" asked Lita jokingly.

There was a small flush spreading across the bridge of Ami's nose, "Shut up." she mumbled, whacking Lita with her bag.

"Itai!" she yelped, rubbing her arm.

"What kind of books did you pack? Dictionaries?" she asked incredulously.

"It's Shakespeare." replied Ami primly.

"Figures." muttered Lita under her breath.

"And we're done!" said Mina as she and Rei came out of the kitchen.

Distracted from her life-threatening injuries Lita asked, "What's that?"

"Our going away present." said Rei.

"You guys shouldn't have." said Lita as she tore open the wrapping.

What she uncovered was a leather bound book, opening it and flipping through it's creamy pages, Lita found many a picture of the senshi.

She stopped at the page with a picture of all the senshi. They were sprawled under a large oak tree.

Lita suspected it had been Serena hiding the branches of the tree, snapping the shot when they were all unawares.

Flipping through the pages she stopped at one of them all in a snowball fight, she and Haruka were burying Michiru in a snow drift and the rest of the senshi were sneaking up behind them prepared to launch an onslaught of snowballs.

Closing the book, Lita glanced at Ami who was holding a membership card to the YMCA in Sarayashiki and a library card with the same purpose.

Mina suddenly shy handed Lita a container of fudge.

"It's for you to eat on the way." she said, grinning sheepishly.

"Don't worry I supervised her." said Rei reassuringly.

"Ah." said Ami as they stood in companionable silence.

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Yuuske sighed as he separated from Kurama, Keiko, and Kuwabara and began his trek home.

Sliding his key into the lock, he was surprised to notice the clean kitchen. He could see the floor, he'd forgotten what that had looked like, the countertops were unfamiliarly shining and there was something bubbling away atop the gleaming stovetop.

He made his way into the living room, which was also clean.

Hearing sounds of laughter from the balcony, he made his way toward it in time to hear his mother's say, "Yuuske should be here soon, that lazy bum."

"Who're you calling a lazy bum, Mom?" said Yuuske as he stepped forward onto the small balcony to find his cousin Lita sitting there.

Blinking, "What're you doing here?" he asked.

"Came to visit." said Lita distractedly.

"Why?" asked Yuuske rudely.

"Does it really matter why she came?" cut in Atsuko smoothly.

"Yes." said Yuuske priggishly.

"Not really." said Lita airily.

"So, how's Freddy?" he asked sinisterly.

"How's Keiko?" she retorted.

"Point taken." he replied, rather put out.

"Isn't this nice?" said Atsuko.

"No." said Lita and Yuuske in unison.

"Aww, you guys are even arguing like you used to." she said wistfully.

Lita and Yuuske groaned simultaneously.

"Hey! Why don't you show your cousin around, Yuuske?" commanded Atsuko.

What is she smoking?

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As they stepped out into the muggy heat of the outside world, Yuuske put both arms around his head and started walking.

Lita rolled her eyes and followed, "Are you usually this pleasant or did I catch you on a bad day?" she asked sardonically.

"I dunno, you tell me." he said effortlessly.

Lita merely glared, "Are you going to show me around or not?" asked she irritatedly.

Yuuske shrugged lazily, Lita finally giving up on a normal conversation, twisted his ear around.

"Ow, ow, ow!" he exclaimed.

"You will show me around because I will be around and if you don't it, tough!" she spat dangerously.

"Alright! Let go of my ear!" he said.

"Good, let's get started." she said dragging him along by his arm.

"I thought you needed me to show you around." he muttered petulantly.

"I do, I don't like dragging dead weight along for fun you know." she replied as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

"Silly me." muttered Yuuske under his breath.

"What was that?"

"Nothing."

"Good." she smiled pleasantly and the tour had begun.

END

A/N: How was it?