Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Yu Hakusho, nor do I own any of the characters. Don't sue me.
There was no such thing as good luck. At least, that was the conclusion Botan had come to. If there were such a thing as good luck, there wasn't enough to go around. Maybe it only existed for certain people…
Bad things were always happening to her and she was sick of it. Sick, sick, sick of it. Always being captured by the enemy like some kind of damsel, always tripping and falling in front of large groups of people, always burning her food… and now, this.
She sighed, giving a light rap to the cast encasing her left ankle in its hardened prison. Then she shrugged and lay back against her couch, readjusting her foot to the pillow it was currently propped up on. At least she got six weeks off of work.
She reached for her remote just as her doorbell rang, causing her to jump.
"Shimatta…" she whispered to herself, clutching at her chest and releasing a sigh as she realized it was just her doorbell and not the screeching slime monster currently eating someone on her television. She groaned as she struggled to lift her damaged limb from the table and stand on shaky legs. This had better be worth it…
She hobbled over to the front door, unlocking it and gripping the doorknob. She gave it a sharp twist and yanked on it, snatching the door open with an unfriendly glower written on her face.
"Yes…?" she snapped as she swung the door open to reveal a pair of shocked jade eyes. She gasped, her hand shooting up to clap over her gaping mouth as a light pink dusted across her face.
"K-Kurama! Ah, I'm so sorry! Come in, come in!" she stuttered embarrassedly as she moved aside and ushered him in. He looked a bit hesitant for a moment before he took a small, timid step inside, his eyes darting around quickly for any hints as to what he was interrupting. He licked his lips apprehensively, lifting a hand to brush back silken red strands from his eyes as his eyes flitted back to Botan's ruddy face.
"Ano… are you sure? I mean, I could come back if I'm--" he started. Botan shook her head quickly, reaching out to grasp his elbow and pull him the rest of the way into her apartment.
"No, no! I'm sorry for appearing so rudely. It has nothing to do with you coming by," she said, reaching behind him so as to close the door. He sidestepped, allowing her to reach over and push the door closed without struggle.
"Well, are you alright? I mean, is everything okay?" he asked her, his voice filled with concern as his eyes searched hers tentatively. She smiled at his worried face; he was always such a gentleman.
"Yes, yes, of course. I was just sitting around, feeling sorry for my crippled self and I put myself in a bad mood. I apologize if I made you feel uncomfortable," she laughed sheepishly. He returned her smile with a polite one of his own, bringing his other hand from behind his back to reveal a rather large paper bag.
"I thought that you might be hungry, seeing as you are, um… ahem, immobile… so, I brought you some food," he told her, holding out the bag to Botan. She gasped, clasping her hands together as stars danced in her lilac hinted eyes.
"Oi! This isn't from your mother's restaurant, is it? Demo, that would be too much!" she giggled gleefully, twiddling her fingers and rocking back on her heels. He smiled brightly at her, tossing his locks back again as he nodded.
"I know you favor her cooking. She also threw in some lemon tarts and ginger rolls because she knows how much of a sweet tooth you have," he told her placing the bag into her outstretched hands. She squealed eagerly, hugging the warm bag to her chest.
"Mmm, food," she whispered to herself. Then she looked at Kurama thoughtfully, placing a finger on her plump, rosy bottom lip as she contemplated something. He looked at her curiously, tilting his head to the side and causing his sleek, red hair to fan out like a curtain.
"Is something the matter?" he asked her. After a moment of staring at his beautiful, shimmery locks and wondering what conditioner he used, Botan snapped out of her stupor, smiling brightly at him as she pointed at the bag she was holding.
"Um, no, Kurama, nothing is wrong. I was just wondering, are you also hungry? I know you work very hard and I can see you just got off work so you probably haven't had a proper meal yet, huh?" she asked him.
Kurama blushed, looking down at his attire and wishing he had changed before he came to her apartment like he had started to. Blue jeans, a black T-shirt, and a denim jacket didn't seem like proper attire to be visiting her in.
"Ah, I apologize for my appearance, Botan. You are correct in assuming I just got off of work, and I wanted to get the food here to you while it still had some warmth to it, so I didn't really have time to change, you see…" he explained, rubbing the back of his neck embarrassedly. Botan waved him off, shaking her head as she peered down at her own appearance.
"No need to explain, Kurama. Just look at me. And I didn't even go to work today!" she laughed. Her ponytail was all askew, her T-shirt wrinkled and stained with who-knows-what, and her jogging pants were old and tattered. Kurama smiled at her, appreciating her relating to him to make him feel more comfortable. Even on her worst days, she was always pretty to him.
"And besides, I'm sure you look good in whatever you wear, Kurama," she said to him with a wink. He laughed, his emerald eyes sparkling amusedly as he watched her blush under his scrutiny.
"Funny. I was just thinking the same thing of you…" he told her. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he was aware that he was flirting, and he was aware of the voice telling him of how inappropriate it was; that he should have just dropped the food off in the doorway and left swiftly, but he couldn't bring himself to care at that moment. Not when her cheeks were blushing so brightly and she was chewing on her bottom lip so cutely like that…
Botan cleared her throat at that moment, shaking him out of his haze and looking up at him timidly. She hadn't expected him to actually flirt back with her. She always gave him little flirtatious comments here and there and he would always blush and change the subject. It was a …pleasant… surprise, she deduced.
"Would you like to eat with me?" she asked him. "We could watch a little television."
Kurama pursed his lips in thought. He usually ate at a table, even when he was by himself. He was raised to believe it was improper to eat while watching television when you could be having a conversation with someone else. But then again, how often did he get to just buckle down and relax like a normal person? Between his courier job, law school, and assisting his mother with her restaurant… never. He shrugged.
"Sure, Botan. I am a bit hungry," he agreed. She blinked in astonishment for a second before she shook it off, not wanting to be rude by staring at him. He was on a roll with the surprises, though. What was next, a proposal? She laughed at herself inwardly. Yeah, right, only in her wildest of dreams.
"O-okay. Follow me," she told him as she turned around and tottered back towards the living room. "Sit down. I'll just be a second."
Botan placed the bag down on the table as Kurama sat down on the couch. He opened his mouth to offer to get the plates, but by the time he looked up, she was already limping into the kitchen. She was getting around really good on that broken ankle of hers.
He frowned to himself. How had she broken that ankle? Being so busy, he hardly got to catch up with his loved ones and friends, something he regretted immensely. Since Koenma had conjured a demonic blockade for Ningenkai, there weren't many assignments to go on anymore, and the ones that occurred whenever the force-field was weakened were always handled by Yusuke or Kuwabara. He was only called on if he was sincerely needed, which was hardly ever. So that cut down contact with his friends even more. It also meant he hadn't been able to protect her as of late.
"You know, I was very surprised to see you at the door. How did you know I was out of commission?" Botan asked as she re-entered the room, plates balanced in one hand and a wine bottle and two flutes clasped in the other. He stood and collected the wine and flutes, freeing her hand to place his plate on the table in front of him, and hers in front of her seat. He waved off her thanks and sat down with a sigh, running his hand through his hair.
"I ran into Yusuke on one of my errands today. I asked how you were doing and he told me you were fine, just incapacitated. And then his son added that 'you were at home and probably eating because every time he sees you, you're eating something'," he chuckled, thinking about how the mini-Yusuke had shrugged nonchalantly as he spoke, wearing his father's trademark scowl. Yusuke had ruffled his jet black head, grinning amusedly at his tiny clone. Botan frowned.
"I am not always eating…" she muttered, pouting as she reached for the paper bag atop the table. Kurama smiled inwardly at the irony as he picked up the wine bottle from the table. He eyed the bottle suspiciously for a moment, and then he looked up at her to see she was smiling at him.
"…Pear wine…?" he asked her. She nodded with fervor, licking her lips cutely as she eyed the bottle.
"My favorite," she explained. "It's very good."
He looked at the bottle once more, the golden lettering glittering enticingly in the light of the television. The cork stuck halfway out of the bottle, (having already been opened and sampled by Botan) so it came right out, the fruity aroma floating into his nostrils as it wafted from the pretty bottle. A bit girly for his liking, but who was he to criticize Botan's tastes?
"Well, if you say so, then I am inclined to believe you, Botan," he told her with a shrug as he first poured her a glass, and then his own.
"I do say so…" she giggled as she filled her plate with the various selections Shiori had sent with her son. Kurama replaced the cork back into the bottle and placed the bottle back onto the table before following suit, although his portions were a bit smaller. They ate in silence, both sets of eyes trained onto the television as they tuned into some game show that happened to be on.
Once in a while, Botan would giggle at the silly things that were happening to the contestants and the wacky competitions they had to endure, and Kurama would find that his focus was tuned more-so to her sounds of mirth rather than the program they were watching. Before long, they were done eating and Botan was on her third glass of wine as they found themselves in an easy flowing rhetoric. Kurama was pleasantly surprised to admit that he was enjoying himself.
"So how old is little Kisuke now, anyway? Four, five?" he asked her, fingering the rim of his wine glass lazily. Botan nodded, holding up a hand to indicate the latter as she tilted her head back to down the rest of the wine in her glass. She swallowed the sweet alcohol and smiled at him, her eyes twinkling mirthfully as she thought about her best friend's son.
"He looks more and more like his father, doesn't he?" she asked him. Kurama nodded in agreement, and then sighed.
"Yusuke has a beautiful family. He looks very happy," he murmured.
Botan tilted her head as she studied the wistful look that appeared on his face, feeling something akin to sympathy as she watched him. Kurama was a very busy man, being in his fifth year of law school along with all of his other responsibilities. So it was very hard for him to have a social life, let alone a romantic one. She reached over and placed a dainty hand atop his shoulder and squeezed lightly, causing curious emerald eyes to look up at her face.
"Don't fret, Kurama. You'll have as good a life as Yusuke has, you'll see. You're going to make some woman very lucky and make your children very happy," she told him, meaning every word. He stared at her for a moment, searching her eyes for pity, something he did not want from her. Finding nothing but honesty in them, he gave her a gentle smile. He lifted her hand from his shoulder and put it to his lips, touching the soft skin atop it with a light, feathery kiss.
"Arigatou, Botan. You are always so kind to others, even when struggling with your own ailments. I came over to show you a little kindness and here you are… warming my heart with your own kindness," he whispered to her, his voice soft and thick with sincerity.
Botan blushed feverishly, her hand trembling in his grasp. Maybe it was because her blood was pumping too fast through her veins, or maybe it was the wine, but her head suddenly felt very light. She shook her head, not believing this was happening. Perhaps she had fallen asleep on the couch and Kurama had left her apartment hours ago… Yes, that was more probable.
"A-ano, Kurama… I only spoke what I believe to be true. You are a good man," she told him. As the words left her mouth, she suddenly realized how true they were, how much of a man he was now. His cute boyish features had morphed into handsome, masculine ones, his body filling out with acute angular definition, muscles rippling and flexing beneath his T-shirt, his gaze hard and heated as he peered into her eyes… He was most definitely a man.
"Oi, there you go again… so sweet," he chuckled, leaning forward to place his wine glass atop the table in front of them. Then he reached over, placing a large, gentle palm on her round, warm cheek.
"…And you are a wonderful woman," he told her, his face serious, yet gentle. "You owe it to yourself to live a happy life, Botan. You… you deserve to be looked after."
She stared at him for a moment before blinking confusedly. Wait….what? What was he saying to her?
"I… I don't understand…" she whispered to him. The confusion she was experiencing mixed with the alcohol had her feeling emotional, and her eyes began to tear. She wasn't used to such affection… it had her a little frightened. Kurama saw the apprehension in her eyes and decided he had to quell her fears. Realizing how unexposed she was to affection, he suddenly had the urge to wrap his arms around her tightly and comfort her, but he fought it, opting to soothe her with words instead.
"I… want to watch over you, Botan," he explained. "I want to protect and support you. I want to be here for you when you need someone to rely on… for anything."
"But… why?" Botan asked, still riddled with confusion.
Kurama hadn't really thought about it. All of this was very sudden for him also. It just kind of… came naturally to him. But… why her? Sure, she was sweet and cute… and helpful, unique, beautiful, funny, intelligent…
"Because I care about you," he answered aloud, simply. "I just want to see you smile."
His answer was simple enough, yet, sweet enough to cause Botan to inhale sharply, shock registering on her face as he inched a bit closer to her and took her other hand into his own.
"Kurama…" Botan murmured quietly, her eyes downcast in awkward shyness. "What is it that you want from me, exactly…? I… can't guarantee I can give it to you."
Kurama frowned at her, unsure of what she meant at first and hoping she didn't get the wrong meaning from his actions. But she hadn't rebuked him for touching her, and she hadn't rejected his affections, so he assumed she meant otherwise. Only, he didn't quite know what otherwise was.
"I really don't… Well, I'm not exactly expecting anything from you, Botan," he told her, tenderly stroking the backs of her hands with his thumbs. "The question is: What can I do for you?"
Botan opened her mouth to answer… only, she didn't have one. So she sat there, her jaw bobbing silently as she tried to formulate one, or at least a syllable. Kurama saw her struggling for words, her inquiring eyes pleading for more of an explanation.
"Look, Botan, I don't want anything in return. I just want you to trust me. I just want to be closer to you. Over these long years, we've had the luck of having you in our corner. I just want to return a little bit of it," he told her kindly, his voice pleasant and soothing; his eyes pleading and searching.
Botan didn't know why, but this occurrence was too unreal to be true. For some reason, she just could not fathom these words ever coming out of Kurama's usually quiet mouth. She especially couldn't imagine these words being directed to her. It had to be a dream.
But then again…
As she gazed into his apprehensive stare, she began to realize. Kurama was never the type to say something without meaning. He was never the type to waste his time on things that weren't of importance to him, and least of all, he was never the type to lie.
The earnest and honesty that his eyes met her gaze with spoke volumes. It said that he sincerely wanted her to trust him. It said that he had missed her. It said that he was just as lonely as she. She swallowed thickly, the words she had been searching for slowly beginning to formulate into sentences inside of her brain.
"I'm not sure where this… arrangement is going to lead us…" she began, pausing to gather the remnants of her scattered thoughts. "… but I do trust you, Kurama… and if all you sincerely want from me is to get to know me better, to get closer to me… and to be there for me, I'll be happy to oblige you."
Kurama smiled slowly at her words. She understood. He was sure courting her was going to be quite the adventure, but he was ready for it. No other person filled him with such curiosity and set him at such ease at once. He was willing, no, eager, to go on this adventure with her simply because she was who she was.
Unable to stop himself, he leaned forward, pressing his impatient lips to her warm, plump ones in a solid kiss. Botan gasped against his mouth, astonishment registering on her face before warmth began to spread in her belly at the realization that Kurama was actually kissing her. Her eyes fluttered closed and she leaned in timidly, pressing her lips more firmly against his.
The chaste kiss only lasted for a few seconds before they pulled apart from one another, but it left both of their lips tingling and warm and neither could say that the sensation was unpleasant.
Kurama opened his eyes to see that Botan was still lost in the moment, her lips slightly parted and her eyes closed, her long, feathery eyelashes resting gently atop of her ruddy cheeks, and her breathing slow and heavy.
After a moment she came to, shaking herself back to reality and opening her eyes to find a grinning Kurama staring at her amusedly.
"Um, sorry," she muttered sheepishly, rubbing the back of her neck. He laughed softly lifting her hand to give her a sweet peck on the back of her wrist.
"It's quite alright, Botan. I find you irresistibly adorable," he told her modestly. Botan blushed at his confession. She was going to have to get used to all of his honesty.
"So, um… does this mean what I think it means?" she asked him. He shrugged.
"I'm not sure what it means," he told her. Botan's shoulders dropped at his comment. It wasn't quite the answer she was looking for.
"…But we can discuss it when I bring you dinner tomorrow. That is, if you would like that," he finished, his eyes sparkling keenly in the dimly lit room. Botan smiled brightly as she felt her stomach flutter softly.
"Of course," she stated simply, nodding in confirmation.
He placed a few more tender kisses on her lips before he stood to go; not wanted to leave, but not wanting to draw out his goodbye, either. Botan shut the door behind him as he descended the stairs and then she rested up against it, placing a hand against her chest as she attempted to catch her breath.
Everything had happened so randomly, she was still having trouble believing she wasn't dreaming. She felt like she had just stepped off the world's highest roller coaster. Her legs were wobbly, her breathing uneven, her heartbeat was erratic, but she never felt more alive. And was this warm, fuzzy feeling from him, or from the wine? She wasn't sure. But she was sure of one thing:
She was the luckiest girl in the world.
AN: Wow, it's been a while. I just suddenly got struck with the notion to write something and I guess this is what came out. Sorry if the characters were a little OCC, or if the plot seemed a little random sometimes. That's because… well, it was random. I really didn't put any heart into this one-shot, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway. Sayonara.