Disclaimer: YuYu Hakusho belongs to Yoshihiro Togashi.
Gift fic for Katia-chan!
"Why must people call at dinner time?"
"Hello, Hatanaka residence."
Shiori paused with her chopsticks halfway to her mouth and glanced at her husband. "We rarely get calls at this hour… I wonder if something's wrong?"
"I'm sure it's fine, Mother," her older son replied, ever the calm and reasonable one.
"Besides," her stepson gestured absently, "people get phone calls during supper all the time. It's just an annoyance."
She laughed, popping her food into her mouth. "Alright, alright, you've convinced me. I'll just be quiet and eat in peace."
"Yes, just a minute." Wrapping a hand around the mouthpiece, Kazuya turned back to the table. "It's for you, Ku-Shuuichi."
Said son promptly choked on a mouthful of rice.
Noting that his parents had the situation under control, and his brother had not quite turned blue yet, Hatanaka Shuuichi picked up the discarded phone.
"Hel-lo? …Is anyone there? …Hey, darn it, there was a crash and a lot of yelling!"
"Can my brother call you back after we've resuscitated him?"
The cup of water was inspiring Minamino Shuuichi to a state of near worship. Blessed, life-giving liquid… he silently nursed the cup and ignored the red hair falling around his face, not yet ready to look up and face his family. They were not ignorant; how could he have arrogantly assumed they would never guess the truth?
"Ah… you're looking much better," Shiori ventured hesitantly. "Shuuichi?"
He sighed heavily. Time to own up, then. He set the cup down, weakly murmuring, "You knew?"
"For a while, yes. But since you never mentioned it, we didn't want to let you know… we were afraid you might not like it."
"If your reaction was anything to judge by, we were right. I'm sorry." Kazuya laid a hand on his stepson's unresponsive shoulder. "We won't speak of it again."
He raised his head slightly. "You… don't mind?"
Shuuichi, who had gone back to eating, paused to remark to his brother, "You know, if I had a nickname I hated that much, I'd just tell my friends to stop calling me that."
"Yeah, it's how all your friends refer to you, isn't it?" he continued obliviously. "Probably so they won't get us confused."
"Shuuichi? Dear, you're starting to look a little funny again, are you feeling alright?"
The younger chewed a bit of rice thoughtfully. "Ku-Shuuichi… I bet it's like an English joke, isn't it? It sounds like that word that means awesome or cold."
Kurama's fist was clenching involuntarily.
"Oh, and Yuusuke wants you to call him back."