Sometimes at lunch, Keiko would just listen to her friends instead of joining in their conversation. She didn't feel like she really fit in anymore. She couldn't tell them what she was really feeling, what she feared, why she wouldn't go out with any of the boys from school. They wouldn't understand.


"I've been jogging everywhere instead of taking the train," they'd say.

"I hope I can lose five more pounds by summer."

"I've given up pancakes. Bread is so fattening!"

They wouldn't understand how it was for her every time she saw Botan. Yusuke gone again, her pacing, worrying, not eating, not sleeping. She loses enough weight worrying for him.

"I just bought this new shirt to match that skirt I got for my birthday," they'd say.

"I hope they have a color that doesn't make me look washed out."

"Do you think these earrings match my eyes?"

Keiko's been to the mall ten times this past month. Yusuke ruined T-shirts like they were a dime a dozen, which they weren't. Hiei's dragon thing meant he was always scrounging around for extra shirts too. Kurama, thankfully, fixed his own shirts. Kuwabara had Shizuru. Sometimes, they would pitch in to help pay for Hiei's after his dragon saved all their lives on some dangerous mission.


"My boyfriend's taking me to the mountains for our anniversary," they'd say.

"Mine bought me this bracelet. That's a real ruby."

"Mine got me this engagement ring- he got down on one knee and everything!"

Keiko spent so much time waiting for Yusuke, she didn't remember quite when they first met. Anyway, their relationship didn't start with dating, more like her telling him to get back to class and him promising to marry her. But he's rescued her from countless demons AND he's promised to marry her when he comes back from Makai again.


"Have you seen the latest movie?" they'd ask.

"It's a samurai anime. Mendo is so hot!"

"Not like Ginzo!"

Keiko can't watch those movies. The sound of sword-on sword, sword-on-flesh was Hiei's sond. Thinking of Hiei made her remember the time she watched her boys fight in that awful tournament. She's seen enough real blood and real death and Kurama isn't getting up and he just killed Kuwabara and Hiei can't make it and Yusuke… dead again.

Those girls were her best friends, but they could never be her confidantes.

How could she tell them her problems?

How could they possibly understand?