The whole situation had started with a lollipop.

No, strike that . . .

It had actually started when Yusuke drew his attention to said lollipop. The sweet wouldn't have had any effect on him if his attention had not been drawn to it, not to mention the beauty that was currently enjoying the aforementioned confection.

Unfortunately, Yusuke simply hadto bring his attention to it by jabbing him in the side and then nodding descreetly in Keiko's direction once he gave a disapproving look at the younger spirit detective.

Kurama really hated Yusuke once the kitsune saw the type of lollipop that Keiko was eating. It was a single spiral, multi-colored one around six inches in length if he didn't know any better. The kind one acquired at a fair or one of those deli's found in the local mall. She was sitting there, calmly turning every male's brain to mush he was sure. She honestly didn't appear to realize how erotically evocative her... technique... actually was. He heard Yusuke swear softly under his breath when she took about two inches of the spire into her mouth, drawing it out slowly and causing his pulse to accelerate a bit in the process.

'What is she trying to do?' he thought, 'Seduce every male in the vicinity?'

Kurama fought down the bite of jealousy that suddenly welled within him. He had no right feeling this way, despite the fact that Keiko was now a free woman after she and Yusuke had split up a few months back. Their romance had died out, but he knew that they were still friends. Kurama's eyes widened when Keiko began swirling her tongue around the shaft of confection, once, twice, three times before running it along the entire length, bottom to top. He luckily prevented himself from giving an audiable groan. Yusuke, however, wasn't quite that restrained.

"Is she trying to kill us?" Yusuke practically growled under his breath, knowing that with the fox's keen ears he could hear him easily. "I mean, come on, I know it's Keiko, but even she's notthatniave."

Kurama gave Yusuke a flat look before saying, "Excuse me, I think I might want to warn Keiko that some of these types look less than honorable."

"Only some?" Yusuke snorted. "Face it, Kurama, you have enough honor to go around and still have some to spare." he teased the kitsune, all the while dismissively waving the red head on.

Kurama mentally shook his head. Once more, Yusuke had missed the veiled warning sent his way. Kurama knew who had bought the innocent in nature, but deviously phallic confection for Keiko. He got up and walked over to the brunette, who was obviously enjoying the innocent side of the confection. He watched her tongue make another lazy swipe and his memory from his time as a kitsune told him exactly what that felt like when done to him. He was glad when he kept his voice steady as he said, "Hello, Keiko."

Keiko pulled the lolli from her mouth and smiled brightly in greeting. "Oh, hi, Kurama. When did you get here?" She looked past at Yusuke who was eyeing a couple of schoolgirls, or rather, the hems of the short skirts the schoolgirls wore, and shook her head. It seemed Yusuke would never change.

"I just got here a moment ago, actually," Kurama followed her gaze and gave a smirk before turning serious again as he turned to face her once more. "Ahem, Keiko, might I have a word with you?"

Keiko looked back at Kurama and nodded, "Of course."

"In private, if we may?" He stepped back and made a sweeping gesture with his arm. Keiko looked at him oddly, but rose from the bench anyway and preceded him toward a small secluded spot nearby.

Keiko grew nervous as they approached the small seclusion of trees near the edge of the park. It wasn't like she didn't trust Kurama or anything. That was the furthest thing from the truth. She knew she could trust him with her life. In fact, that had actually been the case on several occasions. No, that wasn't it at all. What she was nervous about was the thought of actually being alone, well, somewhat alone, with the handsome fox demon. Keiko was embarrassed to admit it, but it hadn't taken long after her break up with Yusuke for her to developed feelings for Kurama. She had been trying to gather the courage to tell him how she felt and, she wondered, if this might be the right time.

She jolted when she felt Kurama's hand slide into her left.

Kurama looked down at Keiko and tried to smile reassuringly and somewhat teasingly, "Curiousity killed the fox in this instance. May I inquire if you purchased that lollipop yourself?" He thought to start on a lighter note, trying to bring to light what was going on with any male in visible range without accusing her of doing so directly.

Keiko blinked, then glanced down at the forgotten sweet, before looking back up at Kurama. "Uh, no," she replied, confused. "Actually, Yusuke bought it for me earlier while we were in the mall."

Inwardly, Kurama nodded in grim satisfaction. Outwardly, he smiled at her. "Is there anything going on between you?" He continued, "I simply ask because that variety of lollipop can also imply certain things."

Keiko's eyes widened as she caught onto Kurama's meaning. She looked down once again at the lollipop before tossing it to the ground in disgust. "Oh! That Yusuke!" When she looked back up, her eyes had narrowed angrily. "I'm going to kill him!"

Kurama grabbed at her hand to prevent her from rushing off. "Calm down, Keiko. Truth to tell there was not a male present that was, shall we say, unaffected by your admittedly innocent display with the lollipop. Yusuke's frustration at his ploy being thwarted should be punishment enough, don't you think?" Not quite realizing what he inadvertently revealed to her.

Keiko could feel her face turning red but for the life of her could not tell whether it was from embarrassment from Yusuke's little prank, or from the fact that she'd just heard Kurama say that he had been affected by her thought-to-be-innocent display. Well, he hadn't actually admitted it, but what else could 'not a male present' mean? Keiko suddenly realized that Kurama had yet to release his hold on her. In fact, his thumb was currently stroking the back of her hand in a soothing motion. The stimulation made her pulse race and her breath hitch. She stared in numb silence at their linked hands.

Kurama watched Keiko's face flush and quickly went back over what he'd said in his mind. When realization struck as to what he had just revealed, he did not know what to say. Was her reaction due to embarrassment on her part? He noticed that she had yet to pull her hand away from his own. In fact, he had almost forgotten that he was holding it!

"Keiko?" He asked quietly.

Keiko feigned a cough in order to give herself a moment to convey a response. "I'm sorry... I didn't mean to cause you any... problems, Kurama." As soon as the words left her mouth, however, Keiko suddenly wished that the ground would open up and swallow her.

Kurama smiled fondly at her, finally pinpointing the reason for her flushed face. "Please do not think of it, Keiko. I was more concerned about you." He raised her hand to his lips and gave it a light kiss.

"Oh. Well... since you put it like that." Keiko attempted a light-hearted laugh, but it came out sounding more husky than she would have liked. The feel of Kurama's lips brushing against her knuckles had her weak in the knees, leaving her no choice but to lean back against a nearby tree trunk for support.

Kurama watched her actions with a smile. "Is there something wrong? Did you need to sit down?" He had a guess what was going on with her, but wanted confirmation.

"Yes. I mean, no," Keiko stammered, pulling herself up. She refused to act like one of those silly fangirls that had plagued Kurama all through high school. "I'm fine. It's just... I'm very flattered that you would… what I mean to say is..." Keiko groaned inwardly. This wasn't going the way she'd hoped.

Kurama took in her flustered response and knew that what he said next would have to be delicately handled. Especially since he planned on developing a relationship with the girl. He briefly looked at the ground and fed a bit of energy into the grass, causing the blades to remove the offending lollipop, leaving the ground non-sticky. "Keiko, I think we should both sit down and talk."

He gestured to the cleared spot. Keiko wordlessly went with him, taking a seat beside him on the ground. Kurama looked at Keiko a moment before confessing, "I must tell you that this reaction I had, it was not the first one I have had to you."

Keiko gasped, a hand shooting up to cover her mouth, as she looked at him in disbelief.

Kurama took in her look of complete disbelief. "I hadn't thought that you'd noticed my regard for you. I decided that this seemed to be an appropriate moment, especially with Yusuke trying to move in on you again as was evident." He took her hand again. "Are you okay with this?"

Keiko couldn't believe what she was hearing, so she had to ask. "Kurama... are you asking me out?"

Kurama gave her a very serious look. "Yes, I do believe I am. If you do not object?"

"I seriously doubt that any girl in her right mind would object to something like that." Keiko grinned playfully.

Kurama rolled his eyes at the reminder. "Indeed," he replied. "However, I would not be asking them. I am, instead, asking you." He added in a similar teasing vein, "I take it, though, that this means you do not object?"

"Of course I don't object!" She batted at Kurama's arm as she laughed.

Kurama smiled. "I'm very relieved to hear it, Keiko. I wasn't sure if you'd accept a suit from me." He admitted, boldly wrapping his arm around her to reinforce his words.

The feel of his arm wrapped around her, left Keiko giddy. "Well, the same could be said for you." she said honestly, feeling it was time to do some confessing herself. "To tell the truth, I've had a crush on you for awhile now."

Kurama couldn't describe the relief he felt when he heard what she had to say. He smiled at her. "So, where do we go from here?" He asked her. "What would you like to do?"

"Well," Keiko began uncertainly. There was something she had been longing to do, but didn't know if he would allow it. "If it wouldn't be . . ." blushing furiously, she trailed off, unable to continue.

Kurama saw her difficulty and leaned toward her, "Keiko, what is it you'd like?" He asked in a hushed tone.

Seeing his face so close to hers, she continued in a similar tone, "I think it's too forward, Kurama, but I was wondering... would it be alright if I kissed you?"

Kurama gave a small pleased smile. "Only if I don't beat you to it." He replied and closed the gap between them to capture her lips with his own.