A/N: Well, I meant to write another chapter, but found I couldn't write this any way but an epilogue. Thank you all for sticking with me in the freaking year it took to write this, I've had some ups and downs with it and the support is wonderful. I may be taking a break before I start any more long-shots, but never fear, there will definitely be more Y/K from me in the future.
"Okay" was an easy concept to understand--but getting there, Yusuke discovered, wasn't quick. Nor was the transition from friends to lovers easily accomplished. But Yusuke was now completely convinced it was possible, and he faced the challenge with not only renewed determination but a big change in his standpoint: instead of fighting Kurama, trying to wrest from him something he wasn't willing or able to give, Yusuke remembered that fighting Kurama was always a stupid thing to do. Kurama was, and always had been, his teammate, not his enemy. This was not a war, and neither of them had to beat the other.
It still wasn't easy.
For the first week or two after that night, things were rocky. They were newly uncertain of each other, and so they bickered easily and apologized quickly and bickered again almost immediately. Yusuke was trying to be both less combative and less passive about his own needs, a difficult combination, and Kurama was both more emotional and more demanding. There was times Yusuke wanted to just kill him and have it done with, and he was certain Kurama felt the same. They couldn't seem to find their niche, the way their new relationship would work.
There was a week in which Yusuke felt like Kurama was picking every fight he possibly could, arguing just for the sake of argument, and he was angry until he realized that he himself was doing the exact same thing and they were both testing each other. Then there was a longer period in which they had a reverse of their earlier relationship, and Kurama clung to Yusuke. Yusuke only realized then how truly annoying it was to be clung to. Much too aware of his own actions to point out Kurama's, he grit his teeth and didn't say anything.
Then, there came a day when Kurama refused to sleep with him. Or lie around on the couch making out, or go out on a date. He took Yusuke to The Wood and they spent the whole afternoon and part of the evening engaged in fast and furious sparring; then they went home, ordered takeout, and argued over who had gotten the better of whom. It was only later that night, as he lay tired and dirty and in his own bed, that Yusuke realized what Kurama was doing. Their friendship, as much as anything else, had broken over the past few months, and they couldn't be true lovers without being friends. The more he thought about it, the more sense it made. Yes, he had missed touching Kurama today, but he had also had more fun with him than he'd had in months, with nothing hanging over their heads; and now, when he thought about touching Kurama it was with more joy than before, no apprehension. Clever fox.
Yusuke took Kurama's idea and ran with it, making sure he actually talked to Kurama every day before automatically latching on to him, suggesting that they play games or spar as often as he suggested that they have sex. They discovered that going straight from challenging each other in a fight, chasing each other all over The Wood and tackling and grappling and using all their skill to fell the other, to challenging each other for their clothing, morphing from fighting into sharing their bodies another way, brought a joy to their lovemaking that had been absent before. Soon it got to the point where they couldn't spar without having sex afterwards, and Yusuke joked that their teammates were going to get an eyeful the next time there was a battle, but neither of them bothered to stop the pattern from forming. It felt too right, to switch from what they had already had to what they were just discovering and back again. Yusuke had thought Kurama didn't want a friend for a lover, so he'd tried to be a lover; now he realized how great it was to be both.
Kuwabara had the bad timing to enter The Wood one day towards the end of one of their matches; but luckily, enough of their clothing was still on that their disarray and heaving breathing could be explained by the sparring. At first Yusuke was annoyed to have been interrupted, but as the three of them chatted he suddenly realized that it had been months before he and Kurama had seen any of their mutual friends at the same time. And as soon as he realized that, he knew the reason why: because any of their friends would have seen how badly they were struggling, and so they had hid from them.
As soon as he understood that it became a personal challenge to tag along with Kuwabara when he went home; Yusuke hung out with Shizuru while Kurama coached Kuwabara through a difficult homework assignment, and then the four of them demolished a few pizzas together. It was fun, and simple, and even though Shizuru winked at him to let him know she was aware he was testing things out, he was proud that the hyper-intuitive siblings were at ease around them. Yusuke had felt at the edge of losing Kurama for so long, he had to keep reminding himself that things were not just alright but getting better.
Ironically enough, it was not anything Kurama did that finally convinced Yusuke that things really were going to stay okay. It was the day he let himself into Kurama's apartment and found Hiei raiding the refrigerator, the couch looking very slept-upon. If Hiei no longer felt the need to absent himself, it meant he had accepted Yusuke as a permanent factor in Kurama's life. That thought was exhilarating enough to battle down any resurgent jealousy, and Yusuke greeted Hiei cheerfully; so cheerfully, in fact, that Hiei eyed him askance. He didn't stay for long, but Yusuke knew he would be back. It was like all the threads that had been broken in their little group, when he and Kurama started acting so strangely, were being tied back together now that they were treating each other more naturally. The only thing he could have done without was Keiko's inability to refrain from the most annoying phrase ever: I told you so.
After a month in which Yusuke barely saw his own apartment, Kurama suggested casually that he might as well move in, and Yusuke happily agreed that this was really the only practical thing to do. Then they both tried to say "I love you" at the same time, and both stopped at the same, and laughed. And then they kissed and went back to what they were doing, not needing any more reassurance than that. It was more than the facsimile of a relationship they had clung to before; it was easy, and it was real. And better than okay.