Title: Cold Feet

Pairing: Yusuke/Kurama, Botan/Keiko (eventual)

Summary: A wedding is supposed to be a joyous occasion, but for Yusuke Urameshi it is nothing more than hell. Why can't he just make up his mind about what he really wants?

Disclaimer: If I owned them, I would not be writing about them.

Notes: Life is absolutely nuts, but here I am and totally updating this fic because I love you all readers. I truly do. Also, have some nice Raizen speaking into Yusuke's head some more. Is he a figment of our ex-spirit detectives imagination or something more?

Key: Italics are for thoughts as well as emphasis, and Raizen speaking in Yusuke's head. You'll know which is which.


Heart's Paradox: The War Begins


For those days we felt like a mistake,

Those times when loves what you hate,

Somehow,

We keep marching

those nights when I couldn't be there,

I've made it harder to know that you know,

That somehow,

We'll keep moving on.

- One Republic & Timbaland "Marching On"


The air was stuffy, entirely too stuffy for any of the men in the room's liking. Yomi and Kurama sat poised at the other end of the table opposite the younger demon lord. They would not move or speak, lest he had started the conversation, and even when he did try, it would die out in an instant. The mood was entirely sour, and Yusuke only had a few minutes to think of something that would help him not lose the last inklings of his sanity. After all, that was what was truly being tested here in the Demon World now.

Sighing, he reached for his cup of the finest wine. He knew not to drink too much of the liquid, which had set him up in the first place. His eyes flashed slightly towards Kurama before he took a sip, but tried to focus on Yomi. He knew the blind demon could probably hear the slow and irregular beating of his heart, but it could also jump the second he looked at the fox demon. It was the worst situation he had ever found himself in.

He set the glass down, licking his lips. "Well, this is a nice little chat, right? I think I can hear the crickets talking…are there even any of those here?"

Yomi moved a fraction of an inch in his seat before speaking, "Not as many as one would find in the Human World, I would suspect. I am not sure if they were meant to be apart of this world. Not many things are." Yusuke's eyes narrowed at his last comment, but said absolutely nothing to start any trouble. The last thing he needed was to blow up his property here because Yomi wanted to test his patience.

"Right." He looked at Kurama, trying to keep his emotions under control, knowing all too well that his energy was ready to swirl and entrap the fox demon. "What's up with you? Haven't heard from you in the longest time, and I find out you're laying low here. Come on man, what gives?" Yusuke was trying his hardest to be nonchalant, but even could hear the slight tinge of need in his own voice. Damn, Kurama getting to him.

"That is none of your concern. However, I wished to take off some time to stay here in the Demon World. I am content with lodging with Yomi. Besides, there is not much that I am truly needed for in the Human World." Kurama's tone was as icy as one could get. He knew that his words were going to affect the half demon. He was doing it on purpose to hurt him, to get him to choose his human life and forget about him, no matter how painful it was on himself. Playing the martyr was beginning to suit him well. He could almost hear Hiei chuckling at his disgrace of falling for the half-breed and injuring his heart in the process. How could he have been so careless?

Observing Yusuke, he could understand the attraction somewhat. He was endearing despite all of his faults. He could be charming at times, and quite the warrior; protective and with the strength of his godly ancestral demons. Kurama had to fight the urges to bite his lip or sigh at the thoughts. Even as he was sitting beside Yomi, he was having a hard time controlling his lust for Yusuke. It was becoming unbearable, and he was beginning to think this trip was all a ploy for him to lose his self-control.

"Okay, no need to be bitchy. Just a little worried is all. You left without a word, but hey if you think need a vacay here in the Demon World, I'm all for it. Maybe you could have just sent a damned postcard or something. I didn't even know you were gone." He took another sip of his drink which turned to a gulp. He was getting frazzled by Kurama's coldness. It was unlike him to be anything but civil to Yusuke, but then again, he might have unintentionally hurt him on more than one account, being married to Keiko and all.

His love life was just a big mess.

This kind of thing suits you. I never explained that we take and hardly give. You and I are on and the same boy!

The cackling within Yusuke's mind, made him groan mentally, and he wanted nothing more for the older demon to be alive and well so he could slap the shit out of him. This invasion of his mind was beginning to piss him off more and more. He should probably go see someone about that, but then again, people might think he was crazier than he already felt that he was. Not only was his love life a mess, but his mental stability and general life story was a mess. How could he be so fucked up?

"…makes no difference, as I stated before I am content." Yusuke didn't really listen to what Kurama had just said, but he turned his gaze to the smiling blind man. The smile was so small that it almost wasn't there, but the mazoku could tell that he felt like he was winning a battle. And that was truly what it all came down to, right? A battle for Kurama between two of the most influential demon lords in the realm. However, this battle was not to be fought with physical skill and prowess, but it was more about who could win over Kurama's heart.

Knowing that made Yusuke's heart palpitate, despite it's slowness. He touched his chest, and he could feel rather than see (for he wasn't going to look at the fox at a moment like this) the look on Kurama's face. He knew he was concerned, and so Yusuke had no choice but to smile and wave his hand idly. "Gas. Ehehe." He punched his chest to calm his heart down, hoping that this would stop soon. He was supposed to be here thinking of ways to let Kurama be happy in the Demon World. So why couldn't he let it go at all?

Why couldn't he just let Kurama go?

You really are an idiot boy. There is much more in the relationship you have with that fox than the one you have with the human. It is not simply the sexual desire that interests you, there is another quality. A quality that I found in that human woman. Your ancestress…

Yusuke groaned audibly this time and the others that were opposite him were perplexed. "Are you sure you are feeling well, Yusuke? You seem to be having a number of troubles." The mazoku blinked and shook his head while Yomi continued on, "I see. In any case, the day has passed quicker than I thought. Night will be coming soon, may we stay the night in your territory or shall Kurama and I be on our way to Gandara?"

"S-stay, for sure you guys can stay!" The brunette boy paused for a second, his thoughts needing to be gathered because he was a little too jumpy now. "I mean, you guys can say if you really want to and need to. I would hate for you guys to have a long ass trip back to your place and be exhausted, right? So you might as well stay the night." He took his cup again, realizing that it was empty and started to fill it up. He paused again and looked at the other two, "Uh…fill her up boys?" Kurama shook his head while Yomi had taken another cupful.

The fox demon could tell that tonight the blind demon would be more than amorous in between the sheets, with all of the liquor he had been drinking. With a thought like that running through his mind, he only wished that his body wasn't too sore from the late night's activities prior to this night. It was like Yomi had to prove every single time they were in bed just how much he needed Kurama and his body. And how nice it was to be told and touched and kissed, Kurama was tired because it wasn't the one he wanted to be told by, touched by, and kissed by. Those affections were now reserved for a married woman.

It was a sad existence he was leading.

"Lord Yusuke! There is someone here who wishes to speak with you." Hokushin interrupted any and all thoughts that each of the men were having and Yusuke stood up, excusing himself and following his attendant. He left Yomi and Kurama to themselves, and Kurama felt as if all the wind hand been knocked out of him as the demon lord left them with a smile gracing his features. He was beautiful, and Kurama was in deep trouble for loving him.

"Hokushin, who could be wanting to come here in the night and visit here? I didn't throw a big party without knowing I did, right?" Yusuke scratched at his head, trying to figure out who would want to visit him.

"No, my lord. Hiei is here and is saying that he wishes to stay here for the time being while you are here. It is only a matter of time before you depart again, am I right?"

"Oh yeah. I wonder what the little bastard wants outta me, after making me come here."

Yusuke was greeted by Hiei in the same fashion as always, without any real words. A grunt was all that sufficed when the shorter demon was present. How anyone could possibly understand him, it was anyone's guess. The person that understood him perfectly was Kurama, and Yusuke would be damned to try and figure out the complexities of that relationship. Matter of fact, he didn't want to just think about it. Hokushin left the two of them, returning to his other duties and bidding them both goodnight.

"Alright, I'll bite. What're you doing here?"

"Visiting. Just as he is visiting you. Also, there are some things I want to talk to him about, but I wouldn't be able to talk to him within Yomi's domain. He does not need his eyes if he can hear it all. There are ears in every chamber and corridor within his territory. In any case, I must see Kurama."

Yusuke sighed, ruffling his dark mane that was getting excruciatingly longer as he stayed within the Demon World. He never understood why it would grow at an alarming rate while he was here, it was so fucking annoying. "Alright, alright. Come on, they're in one of the rooms. We were drinking." Yusuke started to walk with the shorter demon following him. Reaching the room in which the other men were, Yomi had his hand running through Kurama's hair, and Yusuke had to fight with himself to not want to try and bite it off or something stupid like that.

Hiei made a note of the slight change of the mazoku's energy with amusement as the fox demon shied away from the touch in shock at their new guest. "Hiei's here. He's staying too, with us." Yusuke cocked his head motioning for him to sit and be comfortable, sitting beside him when he did so.

"Hiei, what brings you here?" Kurama tried asking him the real question with his eyes, why are you here in Yusuke's territory messing with us? Yomi could feel the change in energy as the question was asked, and if he could narrow his eyes at the fox demon, he would have, but the development of another one of their companions arriving was just making things even more interesting by the minute.

"Visiting." He said simply, reaching out for a cup, and filling it with the untouched water pitcher beside the half-drunk bottle of wine. It was the exact same bottle, he noted, that Kurama hadn't gotten drunk off his ass with Yusuke all that time ago. It was incredibly amusing, and Hiei couldn't help himself but want to watch the events unfold even more during their stay. He was going to find a way to talk to Kurama alone and have him and Yomi stay for a prolonged period of time.

He didn't know how that was going to happen, but Hiei always had a plan, especially if it was just to amuse himself. Even Kurama knew that about him, it was one of the reasons they had gotten along so well. Sometimes the duo would be able to be amused by the small gambling of things, especially people's lives, even if Kurama tried to act high and mighty.

Bringing the cup to his lips, Hiei drank and hid the small smile that etched his features. Oh how he loved messing with people.


x.x.x.

The four men had dinner altogether in a large dining room, eating later than was expected, but the cook was still up which was a good thing for them. Yusuke and Kurama's dispositions were fluctuating throughout the dinner as everyone was trading stories of how life was getting along in each of the realms. At one point there was a mention of the more than friendly relationship that Yomi and Kurama were having, but Yusuke made no remark on it, and so it was promptly dropped.

And all the while Hiei was making mental notes for this to be used later. An internally smiling because this stuff was indefinitely going to be used and possibly fucking things up even more for Yusuke and Kurama and their not so innocent relationship.

Kurama was internally freaking out every second that Yomi would either get closer, touch his hair like some household pet, or when Yusuke would look at him having an internal war. It was an incredibly long night, and he didn't know whether or not he would survive it.

Thankfully, they all did.

Yusuke returned to his quarters with some smiles and handshakes, trying to be cordial and all polite like a good host and demon lord is supposed to be. After all, he was technically rich in this world with all the land that he inherited from good ol' Raizen that wouldn't do anything but cackle inside of his head and tell him things that he didn't want to hear anymore. That was beside the point however. He had to be nice, especially to Kurama if he wanted to mend their broken friendship, but the moment he had gotten close enough to touch Kurama's hand he felt that slightly thrilling electric spark run through his calloused hand and spread to every bit of his body. It was utterly tempting not to pull or tug that hand backward, which would send the fox demon forwards and the two of them would sprawled out on the floor.

With Kurama atop Yusuke's body. Which would have made Yusuke hard. Which, thinking on the fact right now, as he walked away from his guests, was a damn good thing he didn't do that. Just the image that was conjured in his mind was setting him off and he knew he would have a hard time turning that image off. Especially since Kurama was moaning in his mind now, and so he slammed the door of his quarters, collapsing into the bed and covered his eyes with his arm.

"Fuck." That was all that needed to be sad, because that's exactly how he was. Fucked beyond all belief.

It's gonna get harder on ya boy.

The cackling didn't desist, and Yusuke wanted nothing more than raizen to be alive so he could kick the shit out of him. Stupid old fucker. That's what Yusuke thought over and over until he tired himself out and finally fell asleep.

Except he was dreaming about the damned red headed fox and all of the many talents he accumulated over the years.

Meanwhile, Hiei caught Kurama in the halls after hearing he and Yomi get into it, and then afterward find their way towards each other and fuck like demons only could. It was becoming pathetic, the pattern that Kurama was riding through endlessly. He was in love with a half-breed that was now married to a human woman, who he didn't even fully love in the manner he should. It was a huge mess that Hiei wanted to tinker with, but even more so than tinker with, he wanted Yusuke to be the one to make all the moves because he has no real self-control.

And he would be doing a favor for Kurama now wouldn't he? Getting the fox exactly what he wanted. The half-breed in his possession and doing all sorts of things. Hiei still regarded Kurama with the same love as an escort, but he still cared in a weird sort of way. He wasn't going to let Kurama just be with anyone. Even if it was a good call in the Demon World, hooking up with Yomi and selling off his body in his care was not an idea Hiei was fond of.

Which why he was loving this game. He could end Yomi's attachment to the demon fox forever. It only needed a little plotting. Something that Hiei wasn't always too great at for Kurama was the strategist of them all.

Nonetheless, he caught him in the corridor, limping like he had been run through thoroughly, and he probably had been. "You are doing well for yourself." It was all he could say, without going into all the reasons why he was fucking everything up and turning Kurama's life around. The fox demon didn't even want to talk to him, he turned the other way, trying to wander somewhere else and think of something else, and just put the entire situation out of his mind. But life has a funny of messing with you even more, especially when you beg and plead for it not to.

That was what Kurama was dealing with now.

An exasperated sigh left his lips as he could feel Hiei following him. The chase and run was getting a little old, and when Kurama became too tired, he found a bench sit on, nearly toppling off of it, as it was unbalanced. Hiei ended up standing right before him, not taking the chance of sending them both falling off of the bench and just smirked. He really and truly stood there and smirked. Kurama wondered when and how he became so blasted off his rocker that he thought that smirk was damn near sexy when it just infuriated him now more than ever.

He could never hate Hiei, but he couldn't love him either, not the way he loved Yusuke anyway.

"What do you really want?" Kurama leaned back, teetering on the bench, his back against a wall and could feel his head beginning to throb with a migraine. So much for after-sex bliss. Hiei continued to stare at him until the fox gave him an answer, and they both knew that they could wait a long time during one of their spats.

The silence was deafening and Kurama had no choice but to end it. "Happiness, Hiei. That is all I need. I wanted that solace while I was in the Human World, but I had to get away from a harsh reality. What does it matter to you? His happiness is what I really want. If he has it without myself in the picture then I will take the chance to be hurt if it meant for his happiness. You don't understand that do you?"

"You're incredibly selfless."

"And you're selfish, somehow we worked that out. Are we going to go down that road?" Hiei frowned while Kurama chuckled softly. His heart was hurting, the intensity of the pain was making his head swim, and he didn't know what to do to stop it.

"He isn't happy, you know. Not if you're not there."

"He will make do one day without me. He will be a brilliant demon lord, and all of his children with Keiko will be beautiful. I have no place in that future."

"But you want to. If he wasn't with that human-"

"It is over, Hiei. He will not leave her, and I will not leave Yomi. I cannot leave Yomi." The last sentence was said almost inaudibly, which made Hiei rush close to Kurama, his eyes flashing in confusion and somewhat anger.

"You sold yourself?"

"Not fully. Not yet. It is getting there." Hiei moved back to his place, standing in front of Kurama like a soldier going into battle. The determination in his eyes scared Kurama in so many ways. He couldn't understand what was going through the shorter demon's mind. It wasn't always easy reading Hiei, understanding what he was up to, or what he wanted to do.

"That is how it is." Hiei said softly, and started to walk away. "Don't leave too quick, Kurama. You are too sore for a journey. Also, do not act as if you are helpess when we both know that you are stronger than the rest of us. Yusuke knows that as well, but if you keep showing all of these vulnerabilities…how will you win him then?"

Kurama's eyes flashed gold for a split second, his anger catching up with him. "How dare-" Hiei was already gone from his line of vision, and his energy dissipating. The fox demon couldn't do anything but sigh as he sat on the bench. He looked about, seeing that there had been some vast improvements in the palace (at least that's what Yusuke turned the tower into) and smiled a little. It had the flair that the mazoku had within him, and it made him happy.

"I do need to stop being so selfless, but I do not want to be selfish and hurt Keiko. She is still a dear friend, Hiei. And I cannot control their hearts, only try and hope that mine will stop hurting. There is no guarantees in love. I have found that out the hard way."

Kurama sat there for the longest time, contemplating the nature of the heart and love, and how could two people wish for something for another but being swallowed up by the love of someone else. It was just unfair. And after a time, Kurama found the will to return to Yomi's quarters. His body melding with the broader demon, wishing that his sleepy caresses were from the owner of this place instead.


Extra Notes: Phew! Hello all! I am glad you're still sticking with this fanfic. I am having a lot of fun writing it. Thank you all so much. xoxoxo