A/N: Okay, so I try not to write so many fanfics at one time (three YYH alone right now!). But work has been incredibly boring lately, with the result that I have dedicated this, my first full length Kurama/Yusuke fic, to being scribbled down in between calls to entertain myself. The time between updates will be entirely dependant on how slow work is. I'm really fond of this story and I hope you all enjoy it even though it's not my usual pairing.
Chapter One: Warning
Thud. Thud. Thud.
The sound of Yusuke Urameshi's head rhythmically hitting the wall. Atsuko turned up the television to compensate and called in irritation to her son to be quieter. So Yusuke moved into his room and over to the corner farthest from the living room, and continued to bang his head, slowly, against whatever was handy.
Stupid. Stupid, stupid Yusuke. But then, when had he ever shown a history of intelligence?
Yusuke flopped down on his bed and tried to reason with himself. Okay. So you've kissed a guy. No big deal.
You've kissed one of your best friends. Slightly bigger deal, but we're still within the realm of not freaking out, right? It was only in play, after all.
The first time, at least...
Yusuke nearly laughed out loud at the look of relief on Kurama's face when he looked up and saw Yusuke waiting. He did allow himself to grin as he watched his teammate trying to extricate himself from the crowd of people he was sitting with. It never failed. Whenever Kurama attended any academic institution, he wound up with a devoted knot of admirers. Yusuke had watched it happen in his junior high, and high school, and the first college he had attended; now Kurama had transferred into a more prestigious university far enough away from his home that he'd had to rent an apartment in the city, and from the looks of things nothing was any different here. Yusuke was glad he'd volunteered to come pick Kurama up on his first day of class--the fox might not have been able to escape if it wasn't clear he had a ride waiting.
Kurama hurried down the path. As soon as he was in earshot he said, softly and a little pleadingly, "Yusuke, will you pretend to be my boyfriend?"
Yusuke nearly laughed again. "What's the matter, fan club on your nerves already?"
"Please. If they think you're with me they might leave me alone. Your reputation precedes you."
"Damn right it does." Yusuke handed him the spare motorcycle helmet. "So what do you want me to do?"
"Hold still and don't freak out." Kurama leaned forward and planted a gentle kiss on Yusuke's lips. "That should discourage them."
"Oh, come on, Kurama. If you were my boyfriend, I wouldn't kiss you like that."
Green eyes sparkled with mischief. "Oh? And just how would you kiss me, Yusuke?"
Never one to back down from a challenge--particularly one that included kissing a good looking redhead--Yusuke grabbed Kurama by the back of his neck, right where his scruff would have been if he were in fox form, and drew him closer. "Like this."
In retrospect Yusuke would never know how he got the nerve to grab and kiss Kurama like that. He was Yusuke Urameshi, fighter and street punk extraordinaire, but kissing? Not his strong suit. So of course he chose to lay one on Kurama, who as Youko was renowned almost as much as a lover as he was as a thief. Stupid, stupid Yusuke.
But hell, he was always doing stupid things, and the only way to make them less stupid was to follow through on them. So pretending utter confidence, he pulled the redhead close and laid his lips firmly on Kurama's.
He then surprised the hell out of himself by frenching him.
Kurama surprised the hell out of him by letting him.
No--not letting him. Letting implied that Kurama was not an active participant in the kiss. Instead, Yusuke suddenly found his tongue engaged in a battle for dominance with Kurama's. As previously mentioned Yusuke was not one to back down from a challenge. What began as a bluff was quickly turning into a... what?
Yusuke didn't know. He wasn't thinking. His body was taking over and telling him what to do--snake his hand into Kurama's hair, use it to tilt his head to the side so you can kiss him deeper, taste his mouth and his tongue, pull him closer...
Kurama withdrew his tongue far enough from Yusuke's mouth to murmur, "Yusuke."
Wham. Reality. Yusuke kept his hand on the back of Kurama's head for effect, but he did pull back. "Think that'll convince them?" he panted.
Kurama gave a small shrug, sneaking a glance at the group he had been sitting with. "Should have."
"Well, just to be sure." Recklessly Yusuke leaned in and kissed Kurama again. He couldn't help himself. He had tasted something he never had before, something that left him tingly and intrigued and keen to explore more of it. He thought he could feel Kurama smiling around the second kiss--was he pleased, or amused?
Yusuke drew back, dropping the hand that had gotten entangled in Kurama's hair. "There. That should do it."
"It certainly should," Kurama replied, taking his helmet and fastening it as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
Which in a sense, it hadn't. One of them had asked the other to do something, and the other had done it without questions or hesitation. Simple enough, and it happened most every day. But what Kurama had asked--
He didn't ask you to kiss him, you moron! Yusuke berated himself. He only asked you to pretend to be with him so he could avoid attention. Yusuke was the one who had taken it so far.
Yusuke was the one who was suffering the consequences.
He climbed onto the motorcycle and stiffened slightly when Kurama, in climbing on behind him, wrapped his arms around Yusuke's waist. "Sorry," Kurama murmured in his ear. "Just keeping in character."
"Cool," Yusuke managed to say. He kicked the motorcycle into life and pulled away, leaving a small crowd of disappointed spectators behind them.
As soon as they were out of sight, Kurama removed his arms and Yusuke found he could breathe again. "So, what are you doing with the rest of the afternoon?" he asked.
"Mm... nothing, yet. First day of class so there's no homework. Why, can I do something for you?"
"I have a ridiculous amount of energy," in no small part inspired by kissing you, "and nothing to do with it."
He could hear in Kurama's tone when he answered that he was smiling. "You know where to go, then."
Yusuke also smiled, and happily turned the motorcycle away from home and towards The Wood.
It wasn't really a wood, more like a couple of blocks of undeveloped, overgrown land, but The Wood was what they called it. They had discovered it on one of their romps through the city together, with the trees growing high around it, and soon with a little help from Kurama they had grown higher and started giving off a vague sense of foreboding to humans, virtually guaranteeing their privacy. Yusuke came here frequently, sometimes Kurama or occasionally Kuwabara but sometimes by himself, at night, just for the sheer beauty and solitude of the place. It's primary use, however, was what they came there for now: a safe place to let their demon powers play.
Soon two blurs were shooting through the grass, one red and one brown, and laughter and oaths were on the air. They were very evenly matched and sometimes the sparring matches would run for hours, neither able to gain the upper hand, until they both laughingly gave up. Other times the victories would be swift and varied between them, and each had long since lost any reservations about conceding to the other. Today proved to be a day of shorter matches. Yusuke was distracted--why the hell had he kissed Kurama anyway? Well, why the hell shouldn't he?--and Kurama won three fights within an hour. Disappointed, he told Yusuke he wouldn't play any longer unless Yusuke would provide him with a challenge.
The comment stirred Yusuke's resentment, as Kurama had meant it to. Unfortunately for Yusuke Kurama was already ready for the increase in his concentration and ability, and the next round didn't go so easy. Kurama took to the trees, laughing at Yusuke's inability to pursue him; Yusuke gritted his teeth and leapt after him with an admitted lack of grace. Kurama did not grow careless, so Yusuke knew it was his own prowess when he finally managed to guess the fox's next leap and smash into him, throwing them both to the ground.
They tumbled over each other a few times, but Yusuke was very adept at pins and was already working; when they came to a stop it was Yusuke straddling Kurama's waist, the fox's hands securely pinned above his head. Kurama lay still, his chest heaving slightly and his breath stirring Yusuke's bangs. His hair had come loose while they fell and it was tangled in the grass, red on green, green as the eyes regarding him curiously...
Yusuke realized he had been holding Kurama still, staring at him, for close on to a minute. "What?"
"I think you won."
I think I'm loosing it.
Yusuke nodded, but did not move. After regarding him curiously for a few moments, Kurama tentatively tried to shift his legs out from under Yusuke, then tried to release his hands. Yusuke resisted him on both counts. Kurama looked at him. "You know I can escape if I want to." Yusuke nodded. "And you know I've conceded." Yusuke nodded again. "So... what are you waiting for?"
Yusuke didn't answer, because he couldn't. Kurama shifted again and Yusuke pinned him down harder. Kurama looked at him with bewilderment.
"What do you think of your new classmates?" Yusuke asked suddenly.
"I don't know them well yet, but they seem pleasant enough. Why do you ask?" Kurama asked calmly.
"Are you interested in any of them?"
"Yusuke, I don't know them. And besides, you know how I feel about dating humans."
Yusuke nodded. He knew exactly how Kurama felt about dating humans, because after breaking up with Keiko he had begun to feel the same way. They had even discussed it before. "So, if you know the answer, why did you ask?"
Yusuke shook his head. "I don't know."
They stared at each other for another moment. Kurama shifted again, perhaps trying to afford himself more comfort, and Yusuke found his hands contracting and pressing down on Kurama's wrists with an iron grip. At the same time, a wave of excitement rolled through his body.
Now Kurama was frowning at him. Probably trying to figure out what was going on inside that notoriously thick skull--well, Yusuke didn't know either. He just knew that he was waiting for something, and he wasn't going to let Kurama go until it happened.
Kurama cocked his head to the side in befuddlement. The angle of his head made his lips very inviting. Slowly Yusuke lowered his mouth--
--and stopped centimeters away. There was something wrong. Kurama's eyes had not gone cold, nor had be moved, but there was something, something that Yusuke felt he would ignore at his own peril. Some kind of warning.
He hovered for a moment, feeling Kurama's breath on his lips, too close to even make eye contact. Then he pulled back. He studied Kurama for a moment, trying to conceptualize what had just happened, and found Kurama's eyes unusually grave and just a bit bewildered.
Even then it took Yusuke a moment to release him. Part of him was glad he had not kissed the owner of such grave eyes, but another part of him was seized with inexplicable want from looking at them. The only time Yusuke had ever seen Kurama's eyes like that before was on the roof of the hospital when his mother lay dying.
And that thought, more than anything, caused Yusuke to release Kurama's wrists and stand up, automatically pulling Kurama to his feet as well. Kurama dusted himself off. "Do you have to be at the ramen shop, Yusuke?" His tone was normal, but Yusuke felt it again--the warning.
"Yeah. Yeah, I do. I'll take you home first."
"I wouldn't want to make you late."
"You live close enough."
They didn't speak much on the ride home. And when Yusuke pulled over it seemed to him that Kurama left quicker than usual, with only a casual "Goodbye, Yusuke," thrown over his shoulder.
Well, of course the guy's quick to leave. You pinned him down and wouldn't let him up and didn't explain why. And yet, hadn't Kurama said, You know I can escape if I want to. And he hadn't.
But there had been a warning. Yusuke wasn't even sure Kurama had been its origin, but it had been there.
Kurama would have been justified in warning him, Yusuke realized. Kurama had asked Yusuke to help him out of an awkward situation, and in response Yusuke had stuck his tongue down his throat and then subjected him to a long, completely unnecessary, awkward moment. Reflecting on the series of oddities the afternoon had held, Yusuke decided there was a serious possibility he had just screwed up their friendship.
Yusuke drove home--for he had lied to Kurama, he did not have to go to work that day--and went up the stairs, and slowly started to beat his head against the wall.