Prologue: With Friends Like These
Standing outside the Yukimura Raman shop, Yusuke ran his fingers nervously through his hair and rocked back on his heels. He had never gone on a date with Keiko before, and to say that he was uneasy about it would be the biggest understatement in the three worlds. Their relationship wasn't the type that went on dates. Not that he wanted to go on dates or even this date; it was just too damn uncomfortable and he wasn't even talking about the clothes!
Yusuke freely admitted he had lost the bet, which had landed him in this situation. He just wished Kuwabara was not so adamant that all promises were like, sacred or something, and must be followed through. He would have found a way to ditch somehow if Kuwabara had not managed to drag Kurama into this. When the Mazoku had protested at the utter unfairness of it all, not to mention his friends ganging up on him, the red head had smiled mischievously and replied,
"We can't have one of the most powerful youkai in Makai going back on their word, now can we?"
Damn Fox. It was his black dress pants and brown long sleeve button-down shirt he was wearing now. Unfortunately, Kurama was taller than him but slimmer in build, so Yusuke felt like he was squeezed into a silk straight-jacket. But that wasn't the worst of it! That would have to be the group of friends standing on the sidewalk behind him all hell-bent on watching how the evening went. With friends like these, why did he even bother training?
He was seething because only an hour ago he found out that Kuwabara had told Shizuru about the date (who thought it was the funniest thing in the world) who told Botan about it. The two of them got Yukina to come (and because she was here Hiei had come to keep an eye on her—or to laugh at his misery, Yusuke thought it was probably both).
Yukina, due to a misunderstanding that he was only doing this because he had lost a bet, had invited Touya to come for moral support. He in turn had invited Shishi and Rinku to tag along. Rinku had recently become good friends with Shura, Yomi's kid, so he was here too!
And of course Kuwabara was here to make sure he made good on the bet. Kurama said he was here so he wouldn't do any damage his girly-ass clothes, but Yusuke knew it was because he wanted in on experiencing his humiliation. They were smiling at him, the devious bastards! Even Hiei had a small smile on his face! It was a bit creepy, and Yusuke wished he would stop.
Taking a deep, fortifying breath, he entered the store, acutely aware of his friends pressing against the glass window to get a better look inside. Keiko's father smiled at him from behind the counter, politely ignoring the ten people standing outside his store.
"Have a good time and don't stay out too late tonight Yu-chan."
Yusuke gasped in horror. Mortified, he spun around, hoping against hope that his friend's hadn't heard that. To his dismay he saw Botan, Shizuru, Touya, Shishi, Rinku, laughing their asses off at him. Kurama had his had over his mouth shaking with mirth. Kuwabara was holding his stomach and mouthing 'Yu-chan' at him. Even Yukina was smiling at him. Hiei and Shura were smirking at him and Yusuke knew Mukuro and Yomi would hear about this.
It was going to be a long night.