Author's Notes (03/28/08): Just because I think I've read too many fan fictions wherein Kurama asks Botan to be his girlfriend (The Dating Game is a decent fiction, but I'm really looking forward to the continuation of Masquerade). Seven Days is an attempt of mine to make a multi-chaptered story. Revisions will be made whenever I feel like it.
I must have skipped over errors, inconsistencies and such, so please feel free to point them out to me. Be warned: OOC-ness galore ahead. Tell me if it's too much. Thanks! (God, I really don't know what I'm doing, so my apologies.)
YYH and its characters that are included in this fan fiction are obviously not mine.
Prologue: The Deal
She is, without a doubt, the craziest person I have ever met. And I've had my share of dealing with crazy people…starting with the Minamino Shuichi Fan Club members at my school. It's bad enough that a bunch of teenage girls are throwing themselves at me, slipping one love letter too many on my locker, and trying to catch my attention by doing the most ridiculous things.
Now this just has to happen.
One moment, she looks like a totally innocent, albeit strange-looking, girl just having a grand vacation time, hanging out at the hotel café that my stepfather owns; the next, she's this terribly mystifying woman with the strangest personality I've ever encountered.
She is by no means an extremely beautiful woman, but she's attractive enough to be worthy of more than a glance from any hot-blooded male. Her long blue hair, which is in a high ponytail, sways against her shoulders and back with every gesture she makes. Her purple eyes sparkle with mischief and silent laughter, changing hues every so often whenever she speaks. She's tall and slender, with smooth curves in all the right places. But what can be considered the most charming about her is the way she carries herself -- not with the expected grace or confidence, although she certainly has both, but with childlike wonder and naivety that's absolutely refreshing, if not for the fact that she's becoming mildly annoying right now.
She's just plain crazy, I groan mentally, trying hard to fight the urge of pulling my long red hair from my scalp.
"So, what do you say? It's just for the next seven days. After it's over, it's all over. No strings attached," she prompts. She looks at me eagerly like a child waiting for her turn to open her Christmas presents.
I say nothing and just continue to stare at the girl in front of me with narrowed eyes, wondering how in hell she managed to get this far without some men in white coats struggling to get her into a straitjacket and hauling her to the nearest mental institution. She certainly looks the part of an asylum candidate, if not an escapee.
She lets out a small giggle at the expression on my face, which, I think, must be a cross between confusion and desperation. She snorts in amusement, and I visibly relax the assumption that she's just pulling my leg. She wouldn't laugh if she's really serious, right?
"Come on! You have nothing to lose. Please?" she coaxes further. She looks at me with an expression almost resembling a lost puppy's. It's quite an adorable sight, but still suspicious all the same.
I have nothing to lose, she says. Maybe I want a normal life. I'd lose seven days of normalcy over the request of a mentally, and maybe even hormonally, deranged teenager. Maybe I want to get married. I can't get married with her sticking to me. Maybe…
Stop! I snapped at myself. It seems that for her, my sanity doesn't count as something to lose. Not an hour with this woman and her attitude already is getting to me.
I look around the café, noticing the looks being directed my way. Some are seductive, others admiring. One winks, another bats her eyelashes. At least three girls drool, another three blush when I glance at them. I almost roll my eyes at their antics, but instead just smile at them politely.
Maybe I need to take a break from these women. Although replacing a horde of crazed girls with her would probably be tantamount to cerebral suicide. For all I know, she leads this flock of fan girls.
But then, maybe not. All of them are glaring at her.
She speaks again, more softly this time. "I'm serious. This is serious. We'll pretend to have a serious relationship, as if we've been a going out a long time now, for only seven days. Then that's it. No catch. You don't have to give me gifts or take me out on dates. You don't have to introduce me to your family and friends. In fact, you can just argue with me all week long. I don't care." She pauses to catch her breath. "All I'm asking is that you treat me as your girlfriend. For seven days. And be serious about it. Then after a week, we're done," she says, emphasizing the last two words.
I gazed at her contemplatively. She seems determined to strike the deal with me, her expression candid. I must admit that I'm a little bit intrigued on why she makes such an insane offer, and to a complete stranger at that.
And as intelligent and cautious as I pride myself to be, I find myself inevitably curious.
It's just for a week. What's the worst that can possibly happen?
"Fine," I finally give in. I really have no time for this. And if agreeing to her nutty scheme is the only way to get her to shut up so I can escape and be on my merry way, then so be it. I have a lot of work to catch up on.
She beams at me. "We have a deal then!" she squeals, her smile widening. I can almost swear the whole café suddenly looks brighter than usual. "What's your name, by the way?" she cheerfully asks, both eyebrows slightly quirked upward.
Maybe it's not going to be that bad. She seems friendly and tolerable enough.
"Shuichi," I reply shortly. "Listen, I have to go. I still have a lot to do. See you!" Never, I add silently. I have to get away before I do anything stupider.
"You're leaving? So soon?" She pouts cutely, then says, "Okay, then. See you around, honey," she quips.
Did she just call me honey? Nope, must be my imagination.
"Bye, hon!" she yells as a send-off while waving.
Nope, definitely not my imagination.
What the hell have I gotten myself into? I almost slap my forehead with frustration. I give her an impassive nod then walk away. I stop at mid-stride at the realization that I've forgotten to ask for her name, but when I turn around, she's already gone. She'll probably -- and hopefully -- forget everything by the evening anyway, if she's as demented as I perceive her to be.
'Cause with the way things are going, things just can't get any worse.
School is out for the summer, so my stepfather, who is currently away on a business trip, has left me in charge of the café. And because business is at its peak with tourists from all over Japan and other countries, we need as much help as we can get, thus compelling my father to hire new men to add to the paycheck. And one of them is Jaganshi Hiei, my best friend.
Normally, I'd hang out with him, but he has to pick up his twin sister Yukina at the airport earlier today from her short vacation in the US. Their parents have recently separated, and Yukina has just paid a visit to their father and his fiancée. Hiei is against the arrangement, but he really can do nothing about it.
And I'm blaming today's misfortune on him. His morning absence has forced me to fill in for him during his shift, which led to the meeting with the lunatic. I usually just oversee the going-ons in the café. I wonder if the girl would have done the same thing if it was Hiei whom she got to talk with.
Probably. She did seem a bit desperate, which she covered up well, I say to myself as I think back on what happened earlier.
She sits in the far corner of the café and flashes a distracted smile my way as I approach her. She wears a dark pink cotton short sleeve t-shirt, which complements her hair well, and white shorts that shows off her long legs. Simple and practical, not like the ones worn by the other guests at the hotel.
"Good morning, miss. May I take your order?" I inquired politely to the girl. She seems a bit unusual, given the fact that she has blue hair and purple eyes. Wig and contact lenses?
"Strawberry milkshake and two orders of katsu-sando, please. I'm starved," she replies as she gives me a sheepish grin. She must have noticed the odd look I gave her because she teases, "My hair and eye colors are natural." I just shrug off the last comment as I turn and walk away to prepare her order. I hardly care about the customers' private dealings anyway. She does seem to be a pretty interesting character, but her eyes and hair are none of my business.
I return a few minutes later, trying to balance her order on the small tray I'm holding. As I set down her food on the table, she grins at me again and unabashedly asks, "Are you a guy?"
"Yes, I am," I say coolly. I'm already used to that question, having had to deal with it the moment I decided to keep my red hair long.
She looks at me with a barely concealed interest glint in her eyes. "How old are you?"
Surprised by the question and caught off-guard by her candidness, I almost forgot what my age is. "I'm turning 19 next week," I reply indifferently.
"Ahh," she nods. She has a thoughtful look on her face and seems unaware of her surroundings. Thinking I've been dismissed, I turn my back to her to attend to other customers when she suddenly throws me yet another unexpected question, "Are you still single?"
My jaw almost drops, but I quickly squash any emotion from my face and will it to remain placid. "Yes. Why do you ask?" I respond apprehensively as my eyes bore into hers, wondering where she's going with all these questions. And why she asks them in the first place.
"Oh, nothing…." She averts her gaze, and then looks at me again, not even flinching a bit. "Do you want to have a girlfriend?" she asks slyly, a hint of smile on her face.
What is with this girl? She asks the most unusual things. And she seems to be enjoying interrogating me. "Not really." I shrug.
She smirks. I give her a questioning look, which she just returns innocently. She leans forward and gestures for me to sit down on the chair across her. "I have a proposition to make."
I remain standing, not wanting to be closer to her than necessary lest she does something foolish. "What is it?"
She seems to hesitate for a moment. "Can we be a couple?"
My eyes widen.
"Just for seven days," she adds quickly.
I really have nothing to do but to gawk at her like she's crazy.
Well, she is.
"She's nuts," I mutter, remembering every second of the scene as I walk home for lunch. Her proposing, and me agreeing. "Hell, I'm nuts," I growled.
"I take it something happened, Kurama?" an amused voice inquired from behind me.
I'm normally exceptionally aware of a person's presence, but it seems that I've been so absorbed in my thoughts that I failed to notice him. "Hiei. When did you get back? How's Yukina?"
"Hn. What were you mumbling about?" he asks, not answering my questions. Typical. He's a bit anti-social, but he's a pretty decent person especially when it comes to his sister.
"I'm just plotting your death for missing your shift today. Be prepared," I reply nonchalantly as he walks beside me. I'm not about to forget that I'm placing the blame on him.
"Not if I plot and execute yours first," he retorts, not missing a beat. "So, what happened? One would think you've just met a crazy woman who asked you to be her boyfriend." He takes on a smug look as he adds, "Not that it'd be anything new. You and your fan girls..." He rolls his eyes, his head shaking from side to side.
I quirk an eyebrow, wondering if he knows something I don't. "Actually, that's exactly what happened, Hiei."
Hiei scoffs. "Don't jest. It's rather unbecoming of you. You wouldn't act that way if that's what happened. I know you better than that."
"Yes, it seems you do. But I'm telling the truth."
"Hn," he replies incredulously. He thinks for a moment. "There must be some other thing that happened then."
I nod. I'm pretty sure what his reaction will be when I tell him.
"So? What is it?" he demands, already impatient with my stalling.
I pause for a second, tilting my head to the side ruefully, my green eyes crinkling in both disbelief and amusement. "I agreed."