Story Title: A Token of My Love
Disclaimer: I don't own YYH.
Author's Notes: This is just an old, little piece that's been sitting on my computer for a long time now that got revised, set aside, then revised/ignored some more. The idea came out of reading BenignUser's Digimon fanfic, Buttons. I thought the button practice in Japan he introduced was cute, so I'm borrowing that little gem of info for this oneshot, though I assure you he did a much better job of writing the idea than I have. If you're into Michi (Mimi x Taichi) fics, I recommend his fic. There's a quick link to it in my favorite stories, if you're interested.
Anyway, thanks for reading.
Story Title: A Token of My Love
Walk up. Tell her. Give it to her. It's all you gotta do, man..
Kuwabara wiped away a nervous bead of sweat dribbling down from his brow. No, it wasn't that easy. If it were that easy, Kuwabara would have gone and been finished by now. Checking around the corner to see if Yukina was still sweeping the walkway (and she was), Kuwabara quietly pounded his fist into his open palm. What am I doing standin' here? He couldn't believe how ridiculous he was being. Come on. Make it count!
Okay, he was ready. He was going to do it now. Taking a step forward around the corner of Genkai's home, Kuwabara lost his nerve at first sight of his beloved ice maiden and backtracked to his hiding place.
The lanky young man's back pressed tight against wall, as if the two surfaces were merging to one. The idea seemed so much easier in his head, ('course matters of such a delicate nature usually were...). His heart, beating out a heavy metal drum solo in his chest, knew how much he wanted this to go well. It had to be smooth, classic, just as Kuwabara planned it out. The kind of perfect moment he and Yukina would remember fondly the rest of their grey days. Well, his grey days since Yukina aged differently, but ignoring the trivial, that's what Kuwabara was shooting for. Whether he could achieve this remained unknown.
"Come on, you're no wimp," Kuwabara muttered to himself. Becoming a wimp wasn't turning his legs into a teetering house of cards (the last time his legs shook this much he was in Maze Castle facing Byakko), but the thought of his affection sounding foolish in front of his heart's desire was plenty enough to cap him at his knees.
Taking a long, deep breath, he calmed his jittering nerves. Quit thinkin' like a zero. Real men, as long as their words of love are true, won't be foolish, so there's nothin' to scared of, he reassured himself. I gotta do this. Yukina's gotta know. This time, she'll know how much I love her. She's just got to, that's all.
Kuwabara ripped the second button from the top from his junior high uniform and held it in his outstretched palm. This is all it is, a little gold button. Kuwabara closed his hand, dropped his arms to his side, and made his first true step around the corner. It's kinda weird... Something so small is gonna make big changes between Yukina and me.
He called to her with his usual exuberant cry, and Yukina stopped sweeping and held the broom still. She wore her usual light blue kimono and dark blue obi and had her aqua hair in two loose pigtails. Kuwabara never ceased to fall in love with her more every time she was near him. He made a mental note to save up enough to buy her a really nice kimono for Christmas, or for her birthday, which he still didn't know and another mental note went to finding that out some time soon…
Yukina greeted him warmly and asked how he was and if everyone in Makai was doing well.
"Kurama's warned that Yomi's watching his correspondences so ol' fox boy's gone silent," Kuwabara watched as Yukina hung her head and looked worried. Kuwabara quickly put up a cheery voice, "Don't worry though. Kurama'll figure a way. If anyone was hurt, he'd send word, y'know he would."
"That is true, " Yukina nodded. "And how have you been? You didn't say…"
"Me? Never better. Today's my last day of junior high, so today's been great!" As he peered into her sweet eyes, her smile radiating warm light into his heart, Kuwabara felt the weight of the button increase in his hand. Briefly, he looked down at his feet to hide the blush warming his cheeks. "In fact, I'm hoping my day just keeps getting better."
"That's wonderful, Kazuma," she said and wished him well.
The now-studious delinquent never thought he'd be graduating to high school, much less have someone to give a button to. Now he had both. And he really didn't know how to go about handing it to Yukina. This could either, as Kuwabara figured, go well or be a major regret. No way to know but try, he supposed.
"Yukina, I have something for you, but you have to hear me out first." He paused as she looked up at him curiously. He almost backed out again right then and there, but he managed to muster up his courage one final time. "I've been meanin' to tell you this, all upfront and such, for a long time now. It's just…I-I'm not that good with mushy stuff, but I want you…I want you to know that…you mean everything to me." Kuwabara quickly placed the gold button in her hand. It glimmered in the early evening sunlight, "Please, take this. This button has always rested closest to my heart, though you've always been closer."
Yukina, surprised, looked at the button in her tiny hand and then up to Kuwabara's school jacket, "Oh, I hadn't noticed until now that you lo—"
The shoji screen door slid open, interrupting Yukina and drawing Kuwabara's attention finally from the ice maiden. Genkai stood waiting tensely and spoke tersely to Kuwabara, "Good to hear you've arrived, Kuwabara, but I didn't ask you to come just for a social call. We have work to do."
Truthfully, being with Yukina wasn't the only reason he rushed over here from school. He wished it was, but Genkai requested that he learn how to create and maintain the wards around her property, so he could take over the task after she…after she paid a permanent visit to Reikai. Kuwabara didn't like thinking of Genkai dying and didn't want to refer to that moment as such. Besides, it was hard thinking of her dead when the old, but beloved, hag was standing right next to him. And even though he'd rather spend his evening, and maybe get a little dinner someplace, with Yukina than have a training session with Genkai, it was an honor just to be asked for such an important duty, by a master such as Genkai nonetheless.
The process by which to create the standard wards was simple and in a few hours Kuwabara mastered the basic knowledge in wards and various methods in producing such. Genkai closed the lessons for the night and explained that they would begin again this weekend starting Friday night for the advance techniques. In other words, when the real training would commence…
But even knowing the torture to come couldn't wipe away the grin off Kuwabara's face. Yukina understood. She finally realized he loved her. If Genkai hadn't appeared at that moment, Kuwabara would have finally heard Yukina admit it, but that didn't matter so much to him than knowing that she finally understood.
As he was leaving, Kuwabara stopped to say goodbye to Yukina. He thought of it odd to see her standing by the temple steps with his school jacket in her hands. Then, he remembered taking off his jacket and leaving it inside the house before Genkai led him up into the consecrated caverns, where the main wards were anchored.
"Kazuma, here is your jacket." Yukina said.
"Gee, thanks, Yukina!" Kuwabara slipped his school jacket on. "You're so thoughtful, Yu—" As he buttoned his jacket, Kuwabara noticed the button he had given Yukina was back. "My button!" All the joy he felt drained out of his face and evaporated instantly.
"I hadn't realized you had even lost a button until you gave it to me. It only took a second to sew it back. That's what you wanted, right?" Yukina said.
"It's…exactly what I wanted," Kuwabara pretended to be happy. Feeling too downtrodden to feel romantic, he awkwardly laughed and put on a smile, "You're so kind, Yukina. Thanks."
"It was no trouble," Yukina smiled, which for an instant mended Kuwabara's hurt. "Take care, Kazuma."
Kuwabara knew he said something along the lines of a goodbye but he couldn't remember what he said exactly. Down the temple steps, the young man hung his head and stared blankly at his feet. Where did he go wrong? He thought he had been clear enough, thought she would finally understand how much he loved her. Boy was he wrong…
She only thought he had lost a button.
The glint of the gold button caught his eye. Yukina had innocently thought he just wanted her to sew the button back on. Had she even heard him say how she meant everything to him? Kuwabara sighed.
Well, maybe things weren't as bad as he thought…Kuwabara reconsidered, watching the night sky as he sat on the train heading back home. He finally raised his head and a smile spread across his face. Yukina had taken the time to sew it back on, so she had to have been thinking about him. The smile broadened to a grin. And sure, it was a small gesture, but it was something, a thoughtful little something, but Kuwabara supposed it was better than nothing. And for right now, until he knew how to make her finally understand him…
He supposed it would have to be enough.
I love you, Yukina, Kuwabara touched the gold button resting closest to his beating heart.
…Someday you're gonna know that.