Disclaimer: Please see the Prologue.
Summary: Please see the Prologue.
Warnings: Not much has changed since the Prologue, so please refer to it.
Rating: Mature.
Themes used: 30_kisses, #27 overflow, Koenma/Yusuke; 30_angsts, #9a Hide and seek, Koenma/Yusuke.
Author's Notes: The most important note (that bears repeating) is that this fic takes place about 400 years since this piece's prequel Terminal Genesis: The Confessionals. I also apologize for the shortness (and excessive lateness) of this chapter. I've actually had it written up for a couple of years, thinking I might add more to it, but I figure people have been waiting long enough. So I hope you all enjoy it.
Chapter WC: Approx 1600

Chapter One

By YHR (Yodai Hiro Reborn)
Uploaded: 7/31/11

Yusuke glared up at the blue-haired woman. She was clad in her favorite pink kimono, standing behind him as he sat in front of Koenma's vanity mirror. He tried not to hiss at Botan as she tugged hard on his hair, painfully weaving the strands to form a French braid from the top to the back of his head. She wasn't even trying to be gentle!

"It's your fault for losing the game, Yusuke. You should no better than to play poker with me when I'm drunk." Yusuke heard Botan say, watching her grin become wider—probably at his discomfort.

He growled in response, knowing he couldn't speak while she braided his hair—a stipulation of the bet the ferry woman had won yesterday. Botan was right. He did know better than to play poker with her when she was drunk. Twenty shots of whiskey and the girl was unbeatable, yet she nailed his sorry ass with only seven shots. She became this cunning, calculating creature when she was drunk. It was like Botan was sober when she was drunk, and it was…creepy. She wasn't her usual hyper and giddy self. She was creepy. And Yusuke was too much of a damn risk taker NOT to take up a bet against her in a game he could win, no hands down, in normal circumstances.

You don't have to rub it in my face! Yusuke thought, his pride hurting at having to be reminded that he'd been an idiot, on top of having to grow his hair out long for her so she could make him look like a fucking girl.

He didn't receive any warning before Botan yanked back on the strands of his hair in her hands. He clenched his eyes shut, grinding his teeth together to keep from screaming at the pain lighting his scalp on fire around the roots of his hair. His head crashed against her chest in the process, and he couldn't help but blush at feeling his head squashed between her breasts.

How fucking embarrassing! Wait 'til I tell Yukina about… oh wait never mind. She's gonna laugh her ass off and tell me how much of an idiot I am for betting against Botan while she's drunk. Women are sadistic, and Yukina used to be so innocent and sweet, too. Maybe she was hiding it all those years… Yusuke found himself forgetting the pain as his thoughts trailed toward the koorimie.

Yukina overlooked one of the many sanctuaries that housed demons in Ningenkai. It was the first one set up there; Genkai had willed it upon her death. Yusuke realized it had been 325 years since the old bat had passed on a second time—25 years after the first Makai Tournament, when Enki became king of Makai. Not too long after he had found out he was half-demon. His thoughts started trailing to the others in their group who had died since then. They were the humans he had known and loved. Kuwabara, Keiko, and Shizuru. He missed them sometimes, wondering if they had chosen to reincarnate back to Ningenkai or not.

"Yusuke? Are you alright?" Botan's voice knocked him out of his reverie.

He realized he was no longer between her breasts and she was actually done braiding his hair—the blush starting to come back again.

"Aww! Look how cute you are with braided hair, blushing like a virgin bride on her wedding night!" Botan definitely wasn't drunk right now because she was squealing with girly delight at his pride-goring predicament.

He didn't even want to open his eyes…

A hard pinch to his left ear had him doing otherwise.

"Ow, Botan!" He yelled, swiping her hand away from his ear.

He grimaced at the sight of himself in the mirror. He really did look like a girl. Wait…when the hell did she put make-up on him? That wasn't a part of the bet!

"Botan…" He growled and turned toward the ferry woman, who was already backing away from his maniacal grin.

"Er well. Time to go!" She said, materializing her oar and flying out of the room he shared with Koenma.

"Botan! Get your ass back here and get this shit off my face!" Yusuke yelled chasing after her, only to run head first into Koenma's chest at the door.

"Well, it seems like you've been having fun." Yusuke glanced up at Koenma, daring the prince to laugh at him with a threatening glare.

He noticed that Koenma was having a really hard time keeping a straight face, but somehow the prince managed not to laugh.

"Come on. Let's get the make-up off of you." Yusuke's face softened at the quiet smile he heard in his mate's voice, his heart suddenly beginning to clench in guilt.

Yusuke let Koenma lead him by the wrist back toward the vanity, his heart heavier with each step. He didn't deserve Koenma. He never had, and he never would.

Why can't you…see what I've been doing to you? Yusuke thought glancing at the back of Koenma's head.

As if somehow hearing Yusuke's thought, Koenma turned to gaze into the Yusuke's dark eyes. A question filled Koenma's eyes at the pained look in Yusuke's.

"Yusuke?" The concern in that velvet alto made Yusuke's heart clench tighter.

"I'm sorry…" For breaking our vows.

"For what?" Koenma asked.

"I don't know. I felt like I was being a burden just then." Why can't I just tell you the truth?

Yusuke looked away from Koenma. He couldn't bear to see the earnest love and deep concern shining in those golden eyes. Shining all for him. He didn't deserve it. Not after what he'd been doing to the prince for most of their bonding. He absolutely hated himself! Koenma didn't even know what a whore he was. And, heaven help him, he didn't have the strength to end things with Hiei.

The toushin slightly flinched when he felt warm arms embrace him. He hid his face against Koenma's robes wishing with all his might that Koenma would beat him senseless, which was the least of what he deserved.

"You're my world, Yusuke. Don't ever say you're a burden to me again." Koenma whispered.

Yusuke felt the weight and warmth of the prince's cheek against the top of his head.

But I am. I'm your burden—weighed with sin and your heartbreak if you ever find out the truth. Yusuke thought the words he couldn't say aloud, his face burying deeper into Koenma's chest.

Koenma wiped the last of the make-up from his mate's face before turning him around and undoing the braid that bound his raven hair. He shivered as the black silk fell against his hands. The prince couldn't help but close his eyes and crush the strands into his hands as he gently brought them to his nose. The scent of flame and vanilla reached him. Yusuke's scent. He loved it so much. He loved everything about Yusuke.

He opened his eyes again and dropped Yusuke's hair from his hands. He watched the fleeting glances his mate stole at him before looking away in…shame. Koenma's brow knit together in confusion. Something more had to be wrong with Yusuke. Besides, he could feel it in the Yusuke's voice when the toushin told him about feeling like a burden. There was something he wasn't telling Koenma.

For most of our bonding, it's always felt like Yusuke has been hiding something deep. Koenma's brow knit further together at the thought, his eyes starting to squint some.

"Yusuke?" Koenma waited until his mate was looking him in the eyes, not missing the fact that Yusuke's dark eyes were now heavily guarded.

"Do you need to tell me something else?" The prince asked.

"Uh. Hiei just said I'm always too clingy and annoying. He said he didn't know how you put up with that. And I thought maybe he was right…" His mate's explanation sounded…false.

"First of all, it's none of Hiei's business what goes on between us. Second, it's usually you who doesn't want me to be clingy. Which I admit—without shame—I am obsessive about touching you. Third, you are annoying, but it doesn't make you a burden. Fourth, I know you're lying to me. Now what don't you want me to know that has you acting this way, Yusuke?"

"…I can't tell you." He barely heard Yusuke's words because they were so soft—and pained.

"And why not? I do have my ways of finding out." Koenma answered, a tease lilting his voice, as he considered getting Botan to "torture" it out of Yusuke.

The prince stumbled back at the ferocity of Yusuke's turn. At the wild look in those eyes. He saw fear. He saw hope. And shame.

"Yusuke?" Koenma's voice was so uncertain.

"Do you really? You can make me stop—" And just like that, Yusuke's words cut off.

A punch and a hole through their bedroom wall finished where words couldn't seem to finish expressing the anguish and guilt the half-demon was feeling.

Yusuke's eyes connected with Koenma's, where he was sprawled, holding his torso up with his elbows. Self-hatred now joined the cacophony of emotions that stirred there. The death god held his breath.

And just like that, Yusuke's features softened and he seemed pleasant again.

"Yusuke?" Koenma breathed the demon's name.

Before he knew what hit him, Yusuke's mouth crashed against his own, a dam of passion seeming to overflow from the depths of Yusuke's soul, trying to reach down into Koenma's own through their connected lips. Trying to tell him what Yusuke couldn't express out loud. Trying to tell him what hurt Yusuke so much.

Koenma tried to hear those unspoken words, but he couldn't. He lost his train of thought after Yusuke ripped his upper body from his robes and began sucking and kissing along his neck.

And he wouldn't be able to think for the rest of the day...

To be continued...