Title: Just One
Pairing: Hiei x Botan
Genre: Romance, hints of my attempts at humor
Warnings: OOC, implied sex Nothing graphic. And spoilers for the Dark Tournament. But if you've read this far, then you knew that already ;
Summary: One night, they'd agreed. One night, and they'd never speak of it again. But it's difficult to forget, and someone isn't very good at keeping secrets.
Author's Notes: I can only hope that you guys are still reading, even with my horrible lack of updates. Hope you enjoy this installation of JON.
Oh. And I thought a little of Shikamaru from Naruto when writing this. If you're familiar with the show, you'll see why. If not, don't worry, it's not crucial to the plot.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
"Why can't we get her strippers? Huh? Why not, Kurama?"
The redhead sighed patiently, and tried to explain once more. He spoke slowly, and in very measured tones.
Almost as though he were speaking to an imbecile.
"Two reasons, Yuusuke. Are you ready to hear them, again?" At the detective's nod, he began. "All right, then. Reason number one: It would be inappropriate. Have you forgotten who else will be coming to this party? I don't think Keiko—your girlfriend, might I add—would much appreciate being given a front row seat of you drooling over scantily-clad women with too much make-up. And I don't think either Kuwabara or Hiei would take kindly to Yukina being exposed to whoever you decide to hire, either. Second…Yuusuke? Yuusuke, are you even listening?"
At the fire demon's name, Yuusuke forgot all about his hormone-induced fantasy—involving Keiko, a striptease, and whipped cream in all the right places—and perked up.
"Right…what are we doing about that, anyway?"
Kurama raised a slender brow.
"What are you referring to?"
Yuusuke rolled his eyes at Kurama's feigned ignorance.
"You know exactly what I'm talking about, fox-boy."
He sighed—more at the nickname than anything else, really—and nodded.
"I'm not sure what we should do about that…the purpose of this party is to help Botan relax, and I doubt she'd be able to do that with the object of her anxiety being in the same room with her."
Yuusuke sat back against the plush leather couch in Kurama's apartment living room, set his left foot on his right knee and scrunched up his face.
"About that…are we sure it's Hiei? I mean, he never did tell us what exactly went on in that room…" He scratched at his head and smiled awkwardly. "It wouldn't be cool if we went and did all this based on some hunch. All we'd do is make her even more jumpy. Not to mention Hiei's reaction…maybe it's something else that we're missing…?"
Kurama looked at him with some surprise.
"Yuusuke, I'm impressed! You're showing tact."
The raven-haired boy scowled at him from his place on the couch.
"Yeah, well…don't tell Keiko, or she'll expect me to do it all the time."
Kurama shook his head.
"In any case, let's take a look at the alternatives. If it were an external force, say, a demon blackmailing her or something of that nature, Koenma would have detected it and given it to us as a case. I don't think it's anything physical, seeing as how, once again, Koenma has been monitoring her progress since they got back from the tournament. According to what you said you'd heard from him, all he's seen are signs of insomnia. Hardly a cause for any serious concern."
Yuusuke cut him off before he could go any further.
"Yeah, yeah…all that plus the fact that it is Hiei that's making her so…so…"
"Nervous? Tense? Anxious?"
"Yeah, all that. It just sounds right…Hiei…just sounds right. Whether he denies it or not, something went on in that room that night." Suddenly, a new, horrifying possibility occurred to Yuusuke. One, he was ashamed to admit, had fleetingly crossed his mind in a moment of hysteria. A possibility he had instantly pushed away.
"You don't think that he—No. He wouldn't." He nodded, as though to confirm his own statement.
"He definitely didn't," the spirit detective said, emphatically.
Kurama's voice was surprisingly hard when he corroborated Yuusuke's statement.
"No. And I'll thank you to erase that split-second thought"
Silence reigned as the two tried to think about any other possibilities. After a few more moments of silent contemplation, they came to the same conclusion.
"Nope. I've got nothing. They definitely slept together."
"In any case, it's none of our business. At least, not until one of them comes to us for it, and the likelihood of Botan coming to two men for bedroom advice—to say nothing of Hiei—well…we'd be waiting quite a while for that to happen."
"So I guess…we go ahead with the party plans…without the strippers." At that last bit, Yuusuke visibly pouted.
"Oh, that's right…I never got to my second reason." He leaned forward in his recliner, and rested his chin on his knuckles. "Yuusuke…in case you've somehow forgotten,Botan is female. Even if we were to get strippers, they'd have to be male for her to enjoy them. Which, I'm guessing, isn't exactly what you had in mind." He smirked wickedly.
"Unless, of course…there's something you're not telling me."
Yuusuke blanched and sat up.
"Um. No, definitely not, Kurama."
He suddenly sat up, as though he'd suddenly noticed something, no, someone, missing.
Kuwabara Kazuma was confused.
Now, all ego aside, Kazuma knew that he wasn't usually the sharpest tool in the shed. He'd never have the Kurama's genius with strategy, or Hiei's stealth and cunning. Or Urameshi's pure, dumb luck, for that matter. But he had a feel for the subtleties of the world around him; the undercurrents that saturated emotions. That was usually enough to scrape him through some of his tougher dilemmas, like that time in Maze Castle, when they were standing in front of all those doors…
Ahem. Back to the present situation…
For all of his emotional intelligence, Kuwabara could not figure out how he had gotten here, or how to help the girl in the corner. He took in the situation around him.
Keiko was braiding Yukina's hair and Botan was sobbing into a delicate, pick lace handkerchief. His sister had gone downstairs to grab a new gallon of ice cream, with a stern warning to not "let her get any worse, or so help me…!"
So Kuwabara was left in a room full of girls, two sober and sympathetic, and the other clearly in hysterics.
And for the first time, he found himself totally out of his league.
"There, there Botan…it's all right. Let it all out…"
He looked gratefully at Keiko and Yukina and made a move for the door…only to be stopped by his sister.
"And where do you think you're going, brother dear?"
Kuwabara straightened his back, and scratched his head. A sheepish grin was slowly making its way across his face.
"Heh..heh…nowhere, sis! I was just gonna help you with these bowls you've got."
She smirked, and pushed the ice cream bowls into his hands.
"That's what I thought."
Keiko looked at Kuwabara and smiled gently.
"Maybe we should just let him go Shizuru. He did what he was supposed to, and told us about the party. It's not very nice of us to make him sit in on girl talk. Besides," she said, gesturing to the sniffling Botan, "I don't know if Botan would really want him to hear what has her so sad."
Shizuru thought hard. On one hand, this would be perfect revenge for all those times Kazuma had tried to read her diary. Heh. He wanted girl drama, now he's got it.
Then, she looked at her friend. Botan looked absolutely miserable. Her cotton-candy eyes were puffy, and she was continuously blowing into her pink lacy…thing. Not very dignified.
She sighed and nodded her assent.
"All right, baby bro. You got off…this time."
With a grateful nod to Keiko, and another proclamation of undying love to Yukina, he set out. As soon as they were sure he was gone, the three girls turned to their friend.
"All right, Botan. Spill. What's wrong?"
And, with another gut-wrenching sob, the girl did exactly that.
Hiei thought that the park was remarkably nice at night.
Probably because there were no humans.
Regardless of his reasons, he infinitely preferred the silence this place offered him, then any of the raucous gatherings that Yuusuke invited him to every week. He started to wonder why the boy even continued to bother, but stopped short and remembered the lecture Kurama had given him before the start of the Dark Tournament.
That one on friendship.
He sighed. Humans were such troublesome creatures. They had such ephemeral lifespans, drops of water in the proverbial bucket of life—Hiei wasn't very good at metaphors—and they attached themselves to things, and people, that they'd have to leave behind anyway.
In Hiei's not so humble opinion, solitude was a much more realistic way of looking at these things. Beholden to no one but yourself, you lived for yourself, died for yourself, and answered to no one but yourself. There were no ties to drag you down.
That's what, and who, he used to be before some cocky brat decided to step into his life and show him that he was doing it all wrong; that he was living all wrong.
Though, to be fair, perhaps it started even earlier than that, with Kurama…
He sighed. Memories took entirely too much effort to reflect upon. They inevitably led to older ones, that led to even older, older ones, and so on. Life, he thought, should be devoted to more worthwhile things…like training and getting stronger.
He was startled from his reverie by the sound of a gravelly voice he—unfortunately—knew, all too well.
"Hey! Micro man, you up there?"
Hiei twitched at the now-familiar insult, and flitted down from his perch.
"Are you trying to attract all the second-rate demons in this infernal human city to this park? Because I don't feel much like rescuing you if they do, and I've already cleaned my sword. I'd rather not have to do it again, twice in one night."
It took a moment for the horribly-disguised insult to absorb, but when it did, Kuwabara leapt at him with a battle cry.
Predictably, it was over in minutes. Probably because neither of the two were serious about doing any real injury to the other.
"Is there a reason why you've come," Hiei asked, trying to look disinterested.
Kuwabara merely looked annoyed.
"Sheesh, could you be any more anti-social? I mean, living in a park? You do know that Urameshi and Kurama have their own places. They'd be happy to let you crash. And my sis and I've got a spare room in our house—"
"I do not need your human accommodations."
To anyone else, that would have been the height of rudeness, despite the fact that it was delivered in a tone that was less harsh than his default. As it was, Kuwabara heard it for the reassurance that it was, and promptly closed the subject.
"Whatever, man. Just tell me if you change your mind. Anyway, back to the reason I came…"
He smiled goofily.
"We're having a party!"
"And…what in the three worlds are you telling me for? You know I hate parties. I've got better things to do with my time, than run naked down the city streets."
Kuwabara's cheeks burned red with the reminder.
"That was just that one time!"
"Anyway, the party's for Botan."
Hiei started at that. It was a microscopic change in his posture, just the slightest straightening of his back, the tiniest widening of his eyes. If one hadn't been looking for it, he wouldn't have found it.
Kuwabara however, had been, and he did.
"So yeah…you're welcome to come. She hasn't been doing very well lately."
Hiei was a bit distracted. He hadn't thought of Botan, or their…encounter, very much in the past few months. A small, microscopic part of him that resided in his chest, wondered how she'd ben doing. Genkai had been resurrected. She should be fine now, right?
After all, it wasn't as though it had meant anything to either of them…
It was after all, just one night.
But maybe, he'd go. If only to satisfy his curiosity.
Kuwabara took advantage of his…friend's contemplative silence and hazarded a glance. He was rewarded by a subtle glare.
"That's all, shrimp. You can go back to your brooding or whatever."
As he ambled away, Kuwabara resisted the urge to whistle a merry tune.
Yep. He'll definitely be there.
Right, Hiei. To "satisfy your curiosity." You just keep telling yourself that.
The lateness of this chapter shames me.
Next chapter: The long-awaited confrontation. And maybe some alkie, if you're good.
Hope you enjoyed this, late as it was, and I hope you decide to review!
Til next update.