A/N: Hello, everyone. Let me start off with a disclaimer. I do not own Yu Yu Hakusho. So there. Now, this story takes place after the end of the anime series. I have not read the manga, so any information I have on the series will come from the American dubbed show. If you as readers catch a major flaw, please let me know. If it's not major, then don't expect me to attempt to change it. This is fanfiction. It's not meant to go exactly with the series it's based on. I can't think of anything else to say right now except for to please read and review. Reviews are appreciated. Reviews are motivation to get the next chapter up sooner. Have fun and I hope you like!
The pretty young woman stopped to look over her shoulder. A small smile crossed her lips when she saw who called her. She stepped back on the sidewalk to allow people to pass her as she waited for the tall man to catch up.
"Hello, Kuwabara," she said when her friend came to a stop beside her.
Kuwabara straightened and smiled back. "Hey," he said again, now that he didn't have to yell down the street. "What are you doing? Don't you have a date or something with Urameshii?" He placed his hands into the pockets of his jeans as he spoke.
"That's what I'm late for," Keiko admitted. "I had to go by the library and it took longer than I expected." She glanced around cautiously at the people walking past. She hoped to make it to the theater before dark. Considering the sun was just a sliver against the horizon, she doubted that would happen. Luckily, Kuwabara was here. Keiko didn't know why he was here, but she was glad.
Ever since the Kakai barrier was dropped from between the human and demon worlds, Keiko found it uneasy to walk around the city alone at dark. Despite the law against demons causing trouble in the human world, there were still incidents popping up. After all, there are lawbreakers in every world. In particular, those anxious to test the new king's power and take advantage of the lack of a spirit detective. Since Yusuke was fired, Koenma had yet to hire a new detective.
The aftermath of the tournament in demon world could have been worse though. In truth, the outcome was a start to a new way of life for countless demons. Humans were naturally unaware of the new relationship developing amongst the species, but demons were now able to venture into a new life. A life in the human world. Mingling and coexisting with humans. Something few thought would ever happen. But King Enki and Spirit World were continuing to work well together. Anything could happen now.
Still, Keiko felt better having someone with her at night. And Yusuke didn't want her alone either. He was probably having a fit since she wasn't at the theater yet. "Would you mind walking with me?" Keiko asked, trying not to look worried despite how she felt inside.
Kuwabara wasn't fooled, but he didn't call her out on it. Instead, he just grinned and shook his head. "I don't mind. I think you need a bodyguard anyway. What with all the murders going on lately."
Keiko nodded silently in agreement. Several of those 'incidents' were dangerously close to home, and the victims eerily similar to Keiko. Pretty young girls. Ranging in age from sixteen to twenty-five. Dark hair, sweet smiles, and overall nice girls. The police claimed it was the work of a serial killer. One they were determined to capture and put an end to his rampage. After five murders in three weeks, they needed to hurry up.
Koenma had yet to issue any warnings to the group about a demon committing the crimes, so maybe it really was a human. Yusuke may have been retired, but that didn't mean the Prince of Spirit World cared any less about what happened to him and his friends. If they were truly in danger, he would warn them. Right?
The two teens began walking again in the direction of the theater as the last light from the sun disappeared. It was only ten minutes away on foot, but Keiko called Yusuke on her cell phone to let him know she would be there soon. He didn't sound happy about her being late, but calmed down a bit when Keiko told him Kuwabara was with her. Yusuke still offered to come to them, which Keiko told him wasn't necessary. She assured him they would be there in a few minutes. When she had her boyfriend convinced, she hung up and put her phone away in her purse.
"What are you doing tonight, Kuwabara?" Keiko asked, glancing up at him.
Kuwabara sighed. "I'm going over to Kurama's house. He is helping me do some last minute studying before the entrance exams next week," he said. "Not sure how much help it's going to do me."
"I'm sure you'll do fine," Keiko told him, smiling. "You've been working really hard in school. And I know Yukina is very impressed." She laughed as she watched the small frown on Kuwabara's face turn into a huge grin.
"Yes, really. Maybe you should ask Yukina to help you study, too. I'm sure she would be happy to," Keiko offered.
Five months after Yusuke returned from Demon World, it was a great relief to be able to worry about school work and relationships rather than fighting demons bent on destroying the world. Everyone had been settling into a normal life again. Apart from the project of turning Genkai's temple into a sanctuary for demons wishing to find residence in the human world. That wasn't exactly normal, but it was a good kind of abnormal.
"In fact, Yusuke and I are going to Genkai's tomorrow to help fix up some more rooms. You are more than welcome to come with us. And mention it to Kurama. I know how much he loves the scenery at the temple. I don't think he's been able to go for a few weeks. His family has been busy moving."
Kuwabara didn't hesitate to take Keiko up on her offer. He never passed up an opportunity to see Yukina. "Why is Kurama moving again?" he asked, changing the subject. He'd been told before, but he couldn't remember the reason. He did know the redhead was only moving across town, which pleased everyone. Their lives as Team Urameshii may be over, but the friendships formed were too strong to be severed. Kuwabara even had to admit he missed Hiei sometimes.
"His stepfather got a promotion at work and a raise. So they bought a bigger house across town. It was good timing, too, with the new baby coming along."
"Oh, right. I––"
Kuwabara stumbled as a hand grabbed his collar, pulling him backwards. Keiko attempted to scream as someone grabbed her from behind, but a cold hand clamped over her mouth before she could. Both teens were dragged into a dark alleyway between two buildings. Their attackers continued to move until they were behind one of the buildings, a small convenience and pharmacy, out of sight of crowds or onlookers.
"Arg! You little…"
Keiko tried calling out again after the hand she just bit pulls away. Once again, she was stopped mid-breath when she was pushed back into the concrete wall. A hand grabbed her throat with just enough pressure to keep her pinned but still allow her to breathe.
"Scream and I break your neck," said a male's voice.
Kuwabara had only slightly better luck with his assailant. He managed to get a hold of the other man's arm and flip him over his shoulder. However, when Kuwabara straightened up and looked to the ground, the man was gone. A moment later, a foot planted in his back had him falling forward into a metal dumpster. He couldn't regain his balance before his head made contact. There was a crashing sound as Kuwabara hit the dumpster and then fell to the ground.
"Why did we have to keep following when she met up with this guy?"
"Because I wanted her," said the man holding Keiko.
The other man rolled his eyes. "You know you can't always get what you want."
Both men turned to see Kuwabara on his feet, charging towards them. Just before his outstretched fist could hit its mark, both men disappeared. Kuwabara stumbled again, this time to catch Keiko as she faltered after being released. "Where did they go?"
"Well, you have a hard head," said Kuwabara's attacker, answering the teen's question by standing next to the dumpster.
Kuwabara turned to face him, finding both men standing side by side. 'They're not human,' he thought. 'They move too fast, but…I can't sense any demon energy.' If they were humans, Kuwabara didn't want to use his spirit sword. However, they were dangerous. Human or not, he had to use it. Hand to hand combat wouldn't work if he couldn't move as fast as them. Maybe it would just scare them. It was worth a try.
"Stay behind me, Keiko," he said. Keiko did exactly that, one hand touching her slightly red neck. "Spirit Sword!"
The attempt to scare their attackers seemed to work. As the bright light from the sword engulfed the small area, both men retracted a step, their eyes wide. The light revealed one blonde man and one dark haired man. The blonde was slightly shorter than his accomplice and was already taking a few more steps back. "Dude, we need to go. I don't know what that is, but I don't like it."
The dark haired man growled in a manner more like an animal than a human. He didn't say anything, just continued to stare and growl at Kuwabara, their eyes making contact.
Kuwabara smirked as he stared off with the man. Neither one moved for a long moment before the other man finally turned away. Both men suddenly disappeared again. Kuwabara remained in a fighting stance for another minute, his eyes darting around for any sign of their attackers. Finally, he released his spirit energy. The sword disappeared, taking with it the only light source behind the building.
"Are you okay?" he asked, turning to look at Keiko.
Keiko didn't answer him at first. She was still too shaken. Who were those men? It took Kuwabara saying her name a couple times before Keiko nodded her head. "Y-yes. I'm okay," she said, her voice a little shaky.
"Come on. Let's get out of here before they get the courage to come back."
Keiko didn't argue and allowed Kuwabara to take her arm as they hurried from the alley back onto the street. There weren't many people walking in the area now, which is why the men were able to grab them without gaining attention from anyone. The two nearest street lamps were also burned out, making the mouth of the alley even darker.
"They followed us," Keiko said, remembering what the men said. "They followed me."
Kuwabara frowned. He glanced around the opening to the alley, noticing the dim lighting and lack of people, too. She was right. They followed and waited for the right moment to attack. Urameshii was not going to be happy about this.
"You were attacked?!"
Kuwabara and Keiko both cringed at the volume of Yusuke's voice. It also gained some attention from the other people standing outside the movie theater.
"Yusuke, lower your voice," Keiko said, her own voice stable once more and considerably softer than Yusuke's.
"Yeah, man. Calm down," Kuwabara added, giving the people staring at them a fake smile and wave as if to say 'everything's okay'.
"Calm down? How the hell am I supposed to calm down when my girlfriend was just attacked?" Yusuke fumed. "Are you hurt?" He didn't wait for an answer before grabbing Keiko's arms and looking for any injuries.
Keiko sighed, letting Yusuke do what he needed to assure himself she was okay. "I'm fine," she stated, hoping her neck wasn't still red. She assumed it wasn't when Yusuke's eyes skimmed her face and neck and said nothing about it. When he tried to turn her around, Keiko pulled away and grabbed his hands. "Yusuke, I'm not hurt."
Yusuke met her eyes. They stood that way until his shoulders finally relaxed a minute later. He placed one arm around Keiko's shoulders, keeping her close. Then he turned his attention to Kuwabara. "Were they demons?" he asked.
"I don't know," Kuwabara admitted, trying to recall what he sensed from the men. "They moved too fast to be human. But I couldn't sense any trace of demon energy. They didn't look like demons though. No funny ears or tails or horns. They looked human. Then again, Kurama and Hiei look human. Well, as long as shorty keeps his third eye covered."
"So basically you don't know?" Yusuke interrupted, not in the mood for Kuwabara's rambling.
Kuwabara frowned. "Uh, yeah." He rubbed the side of his head where a bump was already forming. He really did hit that dumpster pretty hard. Along with the bump came an annoying headache.
"I'm taking you home," Yusuke said to Keiko.
"Okay." Keiko no longer cared about seeing the movie. Going home sounded like a better idea.
"Are you going to be okay?" he asked, directing the question to Kuwabara.
"Yeah, Kurama's house is just a block over."
Yusuke nodded before turning to walk away, his arm still around Keiko.
The couple stopped and looked back to Kuwabara.
"There was something not right in that guy's eyes," he said, referring to the dark haired man. "Almost like he was challenging me."
"I don't think he's going to let this go."
Yusuke sighed. That was the last thing he needed. Another unknown foe. Although it wasn't him this evil was after. It was Keiko. "Thanks, Kuwabara."
The three friends went their separate ways, completely unaware of the blue eyes watching them closely from across the street.