Chapter 2: "An Unexpected Meeting"

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Even while staring at his own reflection, it was hard for him to swallow how feminine he looked. Kurama had always appeared quite androgynous but he still looked manly… even while wearing Meiou's magenta uniform. However now that he was donned in White Lily's uniform, not a soul would suspect that he was anything but a woman. They would not even need to cup a feel. The conservative cut hid the curves he did not posses and toned down the hard edges of his masculine body. In addition, its colors bring out the greenness of his eyes and nicely complemented his fiery red hair. In it, he looked like a delicate and classy high school lady.

He did not alter anything about his appearance except for one little thing: the bra. Yes, a small change made a whole world of difference. He—Youko Kurama, feared and legendary demon thief extraordinaire—was now wearing a bra. It was B-cup. Inside it were two perfectly shaped silicone breast molds.

"Ooooh, I knew I got the shade right. It perfectly matches your skin tone. And look, Kurama, it even has built-in nipples!" Botan excitedly pointed out as she showed him how to put the bra on. He blushed at the comment but still indulged her with a nod and a (wry) smile.

"Can't I go with the smaller one, Botan?"

"But Kurama, with this you'll look hotter. Trust me. Besides, we need to balance out your broad shoulders. I mean they're not very manly, but still wider than a girl's… ack! No, no, no, I didn't mean to insult you! You do have nice slender shoulders—not girly at all! Oh, no, I mean they're girly enough?! Ahhh, nooo!"

He chuckled. It was always funny to see her distressed about small things. But she was now on the verge of hyperventilating. He thus decided to put an end to her tirade and held up his hands to stop her, "okay, okay, Botan. Don't panic. I am not insulted and I understand what you mean."

Teary yet hopeful eyes stared at his, "so, you'll go with B-cups?"

"Um, very well", vaguely he wondered why she even asked him which one he preferred when it was clear what she wanted for him to wear…

He heard a knock at the door just as he finished tying the green ribbon on his collar. "Kurama, are you done? Can I come in?" The kitsune could detect the barely concealed anticipation from the tone of Botan's voice. Although he could not figure out why, it was as plain as day that she was enjoying this.

"Yes, you may come in now, Botan."

"Waaaah! I knew it. You look really beautiful, Kurama. Oh, here," she handed him a cold can of oolong tea, "I got it while waiting."

"Thank you." He didn't specify if it was for the tea or the compliment. Botan suspects it was more on the latter. He'd probably be a millionaire if he receives a penny every time someone compliments him.

"So, ready to face the world as a girl?" she asked before taking a sip of her own drink.

Kurama was not sure how to answer that question. On one hand, he would never be able to be one hundred percent ready (he already felt weary after putting on fake breasts); on the other hand, he did not have a choice but to suck it up and be a girl on this mission. But he did not want to tell her that. He was supposed to be the mature one out of all the Spirit Detectives, not a kid who would whine while people's lives were at steak. So a dull, "hm," was all he could answer back at her.

"Well, since you're all dressed up, I thought I should give you a tour of the place and we can start our investigation. I'll introduce you to everyone I know too. We only have half day of classes today, so most of the students are either just hanging out or doing club activities."

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Now, when Botan said she would introduce him to everyone she knows, Kurama did not expect her to introduce him to almost everyone in the whole school! From students, teachers, lunch ladies, yard workers, and even the stray cats… she knew them all. And not just their names, she talked to them as if they were lifelong friends. It was hard to believe that she had only been at White Lily a mere two and a half days ahead of him. It was usually Yuusuke and Kuwabara who accompanied her during investigations therefore today was his first time seeing her at work. He was sincerely amazed. But now that he thought about it, she always had a way with people, not to mention an incredible work ethic. It was no wonder Koenma gave her this job.

The school grounds were expansive, much more so than what he had originally thought. It took them five hours to cover it all, but he supposed it was mostly due to the stops and introductions. But even though they covered the whole school, they could not pinpoint the exact location of the main youkai parasite. He deduced that the demon had been living here for a long time that it left minute youki traces everywhere. Had it not reproduced and infected more hosts, Reikai probably would not notice its existence at all. As it was, they could not take any sudden action without further information.

The two detectives were finally inside the privacy of their shared room. "Ah, we covered a lot today", she said as she stretched her arms and back languidly. "Having a physical form sure is hard." Kurama suspects that it was not the only reason for her fatigue. She probably had been very busy with all the preparations as well. He felt a morsel of guilt for his selfish attitude about this mission. While he was trying to put off going to White Lily as much as possible, Botan was already doing all the hard work.

"Do you want something to drink or eat, Botan? I'll go downstairs and get some for you," offered the contrite fox.

"Eh? Thanks, but please, don't do it for my sake. They'll start serving dinner in about an hour anyway."

"I see. Well, I think I should unpack my luggage then."

Botan sat up from her bed, "oh, need help? You must be tired from the trip and from our walk earlier. Oh my, maybe you should just rest and let me do it!"

Really, he thought, how selfless can this person be? Times like these, Botan reminds him of his mother. A bubbly, giddy version of his mother, he mused.

Before she could get up from her bed, he said, "I got it, Botan. Just relax and stay where you are. Besides it'll be embarrassing for me to see a girl handle my unmentionables, you know. But thank you, I appreciate it."

Botan's eyes widen a fraction, before she released another of her characteristic chortle. "But, Kurama, I've already seen your bra!"

"That you have," he conceded with a smile of his own. "But really, I'm not exhau—" the redhead stopped talking in midsentence for his friend had finally succumbed to her weariness and was already fast asleep. He then went back to finish his task as quietly as possible.

-

What was its purpose?

Why was that youkai here? This was their land.

The parasite slithered around the neck of its host, agitated. It could feel it… another youkai in their territory. It was close. Too close.

This one was much more powerful than even its main body… even if they rejoined and became one again they would not stand a chance in an open battle. The intruder was suppressing its youki, but they could still detect it. Scary. Strong. Powerful. They were weak, E-class demon at most. They could not even fully function and survive long without a host.

Little youkai parasites throughout White Lily squirmed nervously inside their hosts.

Worry not. Their main body declared in their collective consciousness. They have other sources. It was their specialty to detect the strong and lurk undetected. They did not survive this long by beating their opponents through sheer force.

Ah, yes, worry not. The parasite closest to the kitsune's location crawled up from the neck of its host and went back inside her left ear; contend in its favorite resting spot. The girl blinked and continued her math problems.

For now, they would observe. If the intruder was found hostile… then they would retaliate. Even if their bodies were weak, they would win. This was their territory.

Worry not.

-

Finished with organizing his things, Kurama was now lying sideways on his bed and reading the same book he started in the bullet train. He supposed it was time for dinner now. But Botan was still sleeping, he did not know whether to wake her up or let her sleep in. He could just go down to the dining hall and get some food for her to eat later but a part of him did not want to leave her alone.

Parasitic youkai were known for their stealth, they could easily discern others while hiding their own presence. Most types could flawlessly blend in with their surroundings too. Their targets would not know what hit them until it was too late. In rarer cases, it was even possible that the host would not be aware at all that they have something living inside them. After their initial surveillance, Kurama suspected that the ones here were of that kind. Very tricky indeed. If it were not for his knowledge and heightened senses, he would not notice anything wrong. Lesser youkai could fall prey to the parasites here. Ordinary humans would stand no chance at all.

There was also the likelihood that the enemy had already noticed his presence in White Lily. It was not safe to leave Botan while she was vulnerable.

"Pudding! George ate the last pudding, Lord Koenma! I did not even touch it!" Botan yelled, woken up by some weird nightmare. She sat up and looked at Kurama, "eh?"

"Hello, Botan."

She blinked a couple of times before finally recalling what happened, "oh, hi there. I must have dozed off. I'm sorry. How long was I out? You still need help with your stuff?" She yawned and stretched her arms. Her actions reminded him very much of a cat who just woke up from its nap.

Kurama put his book down and stood up. Shaking his head, he replied, "no need to apologize. Almost two hours and thank you for the offer but it's all done. I was just waiting for you to wake up. You ready for dinner?"

At the word "dinner", their empty stomachs simultaneously moaned in protest of a missed lunch.

Botan gave him a genuinely remorseful look, "you haven't had lunch? You should have woken me up or left to get something to eat. Sorry for being a burden…"

He walked over to her and patted her head. "Silly, I told you, you don't have to apologize. You've already done so much for this mission. You're never a burden, Botan, please remember that." He paused and cocked an eyebrow, "hm, you haven't had lunch yet too, have you?"

"Ah, well, I thought you already did and we need to cover as much of this place as possible… er, and I forgot?"

"And I thought you already did when you didn't say anything before."

"I guess we were both acting silly, huh, Kurama?"

They smiled sheepishly at each other. "Yes, we were. Let us remedy that, shall we?"

"Yessir!" she did her animated salute and stood up from her bed.

Kurama had already opened the door and when he looked back to see if she was following him, he found Botan holding her mouth and trying to restrain a wild guffaw from breaking out. Moreover, tears were threatening to fall down her cheeks. Scratch that, she was crying.

Even with his IQ of about 200 (his teachers were ready to sell the story of "the-child-prodigy-only-seen-once-in-a-millennia" to the news before his mother intervened with a law suit) he could not fathom the reason why Botan was getting hysterical with laughter.

A few minutes passed before she was able to talk, "Ku-ku-kurama! Your breasts! Look!"

He looked down… and alas, his "breasts" were sticking out at odd angles. One was just below his chin while the other was pushed so far on his side it looked as if he had a boob growing out of his armpit. They probably slid off from the confines of his bra while he was lying on his side a while ago.

He felt as if all the blood in his body came rushing over to his head in embarrassment. His was certain that his face now rivaled the redness of his hair. But before he could do anything, Botan was already in front of him, setting his misplaced boobs back to their rightful location. "Hm, I guess I need to help you adjust your bra later. Your little ones should feel snug and tight," she instructed him sagely with a nod. He gulped and mechanically mirrored her nod.

Too preoccupied with the incident, they did not notice the arrival of another dorm mate. "Botan! I didn't see you in the dining hall, so I was about to get you. Oh, she must be your new roommate?"

"Hi there, Maya! Bingo! Meet my roomie, Kurama. We were just about to go down to eat dinner."

Said roommate, however, was frozen at the sight of Maya. Yes, that Maya. His former classmate and the girl he could have had feelings for, if he allowed himself to. She looked almost the same as she did two years ago, he noted. Maybe three or four inches taller, her face had lost its childish roundness and was more defined, she still had the same straight, black hair albeit longer—shoulder length with fringe in front. Her clear brown eyes still held the innocence and determination he had liked about her.

"Minamino, Shuiichi-kun?" She shook her head as if to clear a memory, "ah, sorry. You look a lot like my classmate in junior high. Anyway I'm Maya, second year student and dorm prefect. If you have any questions, feel free to… ask… me…" She was about to offer her hand when her vision trailed down to Botan's hands that were unfortunately still attached to Kurama's breasts.

For the second time in less than ten minutes, Kurama could feel the violent rush of blood flowing to his head. This time, a sense of vertigo almost overcame him. If it was possible to literally die from embarrassment, he would be six feet under by now. Hopefully, there is a pregnant woman near by… the part of him which detached itself from reality piped in.

Botan could sense Kurama's mortification, which by the way, was an understatement. "Um, there's a perfectly logical explanation for this, Maya…"

Distantly, Kurama wondered what he did to deserve this.

tbc…

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Note: Haven't updated in years… But I'm back and determined to finish it this time! I hope (knocks on wood). Does anyone know what Maya's last name is? I read the extra chapter years ago... can't recall what it was.

THANKS for those who left a review. Really, thank you. It's because of you that continue to write this. So forgive me for the late update? Please?

(To anyone who reads Botan Investigates: it might take longer for me to update that one, I'm going to rewrite the whole thing. For now, this fic takes is priority.)