Disclaimer: I don't own YYH or McDonald's or anything else I mention
The Golden Arches
The former Spirit Detective stretched his arms out and yawned, the quiet tranquility beginning to bore him...again. Since he had returned, things were slowly getting to what someone might say normal. There were no attacks, no missions, no danger. Somehow, without them knowing, they had reached the decision that every weekend would be "Visit Genkai time." No one knew if the old woman liked it because she never complained or said she did. So, now here they were, at the temple again wondering what to do.
Yusuke sighed. Dammit. He needed some entertainment. Anything at all! His stomach growling interrupted his thoughts. "Well, I'm hungry." He announced, standing up. "And I want greasy, disgusting fast food. Who's with me?" He looked around the room and saw the others thinking about it. Kurama had a slight grimace on his face, but usually Yusuke could convince him to join in. After a few mummers and whispers, Keiko responded.
"Sure, where do you wanna go?" Yusuke shrugged. "Well, I'm not doing Taco Bell again. That was horrible."
"No, it wasn't!" Yusuke defended.
"I got sick, Yusuke!"
An irritated sigh from the corner made Yusuke turn his gaze from Keiko, but only for a moment because now she was describing the lovely details of her puke. "Whatever, okay? No Taco Bell."
"No anything." Yusuke turned to see Hiei heading for the door.
Ever since his patrol had stopped he was visiting more often, but they still didn't see him much. He hardly ever spoke when he would show up, and never participated in anything that they did, unless Yukina asked him, of course. He still hadn't told her the truth, but Yusuke knew she was the only reason he came at all.
"What? You're not hungry, Hiei?" Yusuke caught him before he opened the door.
"Not for repulsive human crap." The door slid open and a small voice stopped him.
"But...you could still go with us..."
Yusuke grinned at Yukina's plea. It stopped Hiei dead in his tracks. Said fire apparition sighed. "Why?"
Yukina blinked. "Why what?"
He turned to face her. "Why would you want me there?"
She smiled. "Oh, it just isn't the same without you, Mr. Hiei! I love us all together as a group."
Hiei shook his head in obvious defeat. "Fine. But I'm not eating."
Yukina seemed pleased with that and smiled even brighter.
"Okay dokay, then," Botan chirped. "Let's go find something to eat that won't kill us all."
Other than Kuwabara and Hiei fighting the whole way, Keiko and Yusuke arguing about the awesomeness of Tacos, and Kurama not paying attention because he was texting his mother, the trip was quite uneventful. Genkai decided to stay behind, not feeling up for it. Once they reached the city, they found a good spot by a fountain to scope out restaurants.
"So..." Botan looked around. "You said fast food?"
"Yeah..." Yusuke looked for what was around and sighed. Turning to Hiei he asked, "You're absolutely sure you're not eating with us?" A look of utter contempt was his response. "Oh-kay...Eh, screw it. Let's just get McDonald's."
"Oh, Yusuke really?" Keiko whined. "We came all this way for that?"
Yusuke groaned. "And here comes the complaining!"
Before she could start screaming at him, a single question made them all stop and stare.
"What's McDonald's?" Everyone gawked at Botan who was now turning a shade of pink. "Uh...did I say something wrong?"
"You don't know what McDonald's is?" Yusuke said with astonishment.
Botan fidgeted. "W-Well, all the time I spent in Human World was for missions and such. I didn't have time for relaxing and 'fast food.'"
"But really, Botan? Everyone has tried McDonald's at least once," Yusuke retorted.
"Oh, please," Botan huffed. "I bet...Yukina hasn't!" She pointed to the ice apparition.
"Hum? No, I have." Yukina smiled and Botan deadpanned. "Kazuma brings me salads and chicken wraps!"
"Aw, no problem, my darling," Kuwabara beamed, but then stopped when Shizuru glared at him.
"So, that's what you've been spending your money on."
"It's the dollar menu!"
Botan slapped her forehead. "Surely, there's someone else who hasn't tried it."
"I haven't," Hiei interjected.
Yusuke snorted. "Well, duh, Hiei. You haven't had any human food."
Hiei stuffed his hands in his pockets. "Yes, I have, and it was enough to let me know I never want it again."
Yusuke scoffed. "I've never seen you eat human food. What was it?"
Hiei paused in thought before responding. "Coffee."
"That's a beverage!"
"Okay, okay." Botan stopped the two before they could fight any further. "What kind of food do they serve?"
Yusuke shrugged. "Burgers."
"Yusuke..." Kurama stepped in. "They serve a lot more than that. As Yukina mentioned, they serve salads, wraps, breakfast items, coffee and lattes, fruit smoothies-"
Yusuke interrupted. "Yeah, but nobody cares about that crap. Burgers." Kurama sighed.
"Oh..." Botan thought about it. "Well, I guess it doesn't sound too bad..." A "Hn" from behind her made her turn. "What? You don't have to eat it."
Yusuke laughed at the shorter man. "Actually, I think you should. I think you both should."
Keiko shook her head. "Yusuke, if you're gonna ask Hiei to try human food for the first time, it should be something else other than McDonald's..."
"What is that supposed to mean?" Yusuke fumed. "Are you disgracing the great golden arches?!"
Keiko crossed her arms. "It's fast food. All fast food is terrible!"
"All human food is terrible." Everyone ignored the Jaganshi.
"Oh, please..." Yusuke chuckled. "Let's paint a picture, shall we?" He walked up to Keiko, who was rolling her eyes. "You're in a foreign country, you don't speak the language and you don't know anyone - you're all alone. You're tellin' me that if you saw those arches you wouldn't cry tears of joy?"
"Well, not tears of joy, but I guess I would be happy to see something I recognize," Keiko admitted.
"Foreign country?" Botan asked.
"It's a world-wide phenomenon," Kurama answered.
"Not in my world, it ain't," Hiei said with a proud smirk.
"Whatever. I still think you both should try it," Yusuke said pointing to Botan and Hiei.
Hiei glared. "Why are you pulling me into this?"
"Because you won't shut up about how horrible human food is. You haven't even tried it, and you think you know it all."
"Yeah, Hiei." Botan laughed, poking him in the arm. "Mr. Know-It-All. How can you say you hate something when you've never tried it?"
Hiei grinned. " I don't know. I've never tried you and I still hate you." Botan's poking promptly stopped and everyone stared at the shorter man.
Yusuke and Kuwabara laughed raucously while Keiko scolded. "Hiei, that's awful!"
"How dare you!" Botan yelled. "Hmp!" She turned from him, crossing her arms. "You've been spending too much time around Yusuke!" Hiei simply shrugged.
"That was awesome," Yusuke laughed, wiping his eyes. "Ahh...but I still think you should try it. In fact, I dare you to."
"Ooh, he dared me. Whatever shall I do? Please." He turned to leave them and Yusuke chuckled.
"Wow. I never thought I'd see the day that the great Hiei would resist a challenge."
"Eh-heh." Hiei faced the mazakou. "Nice try, but reverse-psychology doesn't work on me."
"Oh, I get it..." Yusuke approached him with an evil smirk. He bent down and got right in Hiei's face. "You're scared."
Everyone backed up a bit.
Hiei's face remained stone but his eyebrows twitched. "Excuse me?"
"You're scared to try human food because - oh - wait for it..." He bent down to Hiei's ear. "...you might like it," he whispered.
"That is the most preposterous thing I've ever heard in my life!" Hiei snapped, pushing Yusuke away.
"It's the only thing that makes sense! Why else would you never eat human food?"
"Because it's disgusting!"
"How would you know if you've never tried it?! Oh, wait. Aw, man." Yusuke snickered. "I'm thinking of a story by the wonderful Dr. Seuss. What's that one, Kuwabara? Green Eggs and Ham?"
Kuwabara laughed. "Oh, yeah. The annoying guy gets the grumpy guy to try it and he says no a million times but loves it when he finally eats it."
Yusuke nodded. "Yeah...Wait - did you just call me annoying?"
Hiei pinched the bridge of his nose. "Ohh...there goes my migraine."
Yusuke looked at him. "You got sinus problems, Hiei?"
"Yes, ever since I met YOU!"
"Well, unfortunately, I agree with Yusuke." Botan said. "I mean, how can you say that you hate human food when you've never eaten it - and don't make that horrible joke again or I'll slap you."
Hiei glared at the ferry girl. "One, you could never touch me, and two, do you ever shut up? I would actually pay money to see you go a week without talking." Botan looked hurt but then covered it with fury.
"Okay, then." Yusuke pointed at her. "Botan, I dare you to eat a quarter-pounder. If you can't finish it, then you have to go a whole week without talking."
"Yusuke, what's gotten into you?" Keiko fumed at her fiancée for how he was treating her friend.
He shrugged. "Eh, I'm bored."
"Well!" Botan crossed her arms. "Sorry to disappoint you, Yusuke, but I'm not gonna do some dumb bet just to entertain you!"
"Shame, 'cause you would probably lose, then I'd get some peace and quiet," Hiei retorted.
Botan gasped. "Oh! Now you're pushing it! You know what? Fine! I accept. I'll eat this quarter-pounder and I'll eat it all and rub it in both your faces!"
"That makes no sense," Yusuke said flatly. "So, that's one. How about you, Hiei? If you say no, I'll know I'm right about you being scared."
The look on Hiei's face would send most into a hellish abyss of nightmares, but not the idiot Urameshi. Teeth seething and fists clenching, he answered. "FINE."
Oblivious to Hiei's hatred, Yusuke continued. "Cool. You can choose anything you want off the menu, so long as it's food. Don't pull that coffee crap on me." Hiei rolled his eyes. "And when you finish it, you have to tell me if you liked it or not. And don't try lying, 'cause I can tell when you're bullshittin' me."
"Really? You haven't been able to so far."
"Okay, then. Kurama can tell if you're lying." Yusuke pointed to him.
Kurama looked up from his phone. "Oh, no. Don't bring me into this."
"Texting your mom again, are we?" Yusuke grinned.
Kurama looked around nervously. "Yes. My...mother." Kurama quickly put away his phone and sweat-dropped. "I say we go eat now."
"Hold it." Botan put up her hands. "What do we get if we beat you, Yusuke?"
Hiei scoffed. "Pfft. We? There is no we, woman. I will not be joining you."
"Oh, yes, you will. I need someone to watch Botan to make sure she finishes. And I know you won't lie to me, Hiei, because you hate her."
Botan looked down. "Thanks a lot."
Yusuke continued. "And Botan can watch Hiei, 'cause she's a good reader of people. I think she can tell if Hiei likes something or not."
"I doubt she can notice anything," Hiei said with a snort, crossing his arms.
"I've had just about enough of you, mister!" Botan snapped.
"Just about? Gee, what more do I have to do to get you to leave me alone?"
Yusuke groaned, "Would you two stop it? You're acting like an old married couple!" Everyone laughed when Hiei and Botan's faces looked a mix of all kinds of horror.
"I will kill you. And you have failed to mention what I will get when I win."
"Oh, yeah...I don't have anything to give you guys..."
Botan huffed. "Hmp, I don't want anything from you, Yusuke. I'll be happy knowing I'm right and you're wrong."
Yusuke paid her no mind. "I doubt you agree with that, Hiei."
"No." He thought about it. "Heh, I know."
"Yeah, yeah, you wanna kick my ass," Yusuke said with a roll of the eye.
"No, just a swift kick somewhere unmentionable."
Everyone chuckled under their breaths and Yusuke blinked. "You really think I'm gonna let you kick me in the balls, Hiei? Have you lost your mind?"
"This is your challenge, Detective. I've listed what I want as my prize. You can back out now, ya know."
Yusuke pursed his lips. "Ex-Detective, and I know I'm right, Hiei. There's gotta be something you'll like in there."
"Yes," Kurama started, "But what are the odds that he'll choose the one thing he might like?"
Shizuru blew out some more smoke. "Yeah, you've pretty much dug yourself a hole, kid."
"What if Hiei loses?" Botan asked.
"But if you do-"
"If Hiei loses, I'll get to be right and him wrong. So there."
"You're going through with this challenge then?" Hiei asked. Yusuke nodded. "Damn. Didn't think I'd ever see it."
Yusuke crossed his arms. "See what?"
"Someone dumber than Kuwabara."
After walking and enduring Kuwabara scream at Hiei about how "He is so not dumber than Urameshi", they were all now inside, the smell of grease and fat making Hiei's stomach curl.
"Uhm...how do we do this?" Botan asked.
"Seriously?" Yusuke asked. "You've never ordered at a restaurant?"
"Fast food! I've been to restaurants where you sit down and they serve you, but not anything like this."
Yusuke sighed. "Wow."
Kurama put a reassuring hand on Botan's shoulder. "It's alright. We understand. You walk up to the counter and tell them what you want. You pay for it and wait for them to cook it. They call your number and place it on the counter there. Then you can sit down and eat it or go home."
"Oh...but why would you go home without eating it first?" Everyone sweat-dropped.
"Let's...just order, okay?" Kurama said with a polite smile.
"Wait a minute, who's paying for this? I'm sure not paying for my own bet, Yusuke." Botan glared at the half-breed who just shrugged.
"Yeah, I'll pay for it."
Everyone else made their orders, and after watching all of them, Botan felt confidant that she knew what to do. She strolled up to the counter and looked the acne laden female in the face. "I'll have one quarter-pounder, please."
"Do you want cheese?" She asked.
Botan paused. "Cheese? Does that make it better?"
The cashier shrugged. "I dunno."
Botan placed a finger to her chin in deep thought. "Hmm...cheese...hmm..."
"Well, I figured it'd be too hard for her. Does that mean she forfeits?" Hiei said sardonically to Kurama.
"Huh! You be quiet, Hiei! Yes, cheese would be lovely," Botan smiled at the girl.
She nodded and typed it in. "And fries?"
The ferry girl paused again. "Fries? What are fries?"
Kurama looked away in embarrassment. "Oh, no..."
"If I get these fries I won't be able to finish my sandwich...but I've heard humans rave about them and I've always wanted to try them! Oh, phooey! Thanks a lot, Yusuke..." She pouted. "No fries, thank you."
"And a drink?"
Botan paused again.
Hiei rubbed his temples. "Please kill me now." Kurama snickered and Hiei shook his head. "No, I mean it. Spill my blood everywhere."
"Just a small one, please. I don't want to fill up on liquid."
Her order was made, and after Yusuke paid, Botan was handed a ticket with a number on it, as well as an empty cup. "Oh...I wonder what kinds of drinks they have..." she mumbled as she approached the drink counter.
Now it was Hiei's turn and everyone was staring at him. "Don't you all have to go stuff your craws?"
"Nope," Shizuru answered. "Wouldn't miss this for the world."
He growled out in irritation and walked up to the counter. Halfway there he motioned Kurama to him. The kitsune smiled at him humorously. "Yes, Hiei? Did you not see how Botan did it?"
"No, you half-wit. What's the smallest thing they offer?"
"You're not hungry?" The humor in his tone was evident.
"You've got to be kidding, 'cause I know you're not that stupid. If I'm going to be forced to eat human food, of course I'm ordering the smallest thing they've got."
Kurama ran a hand through his red hair. "Technically, no one is forcing you, Hiei. You decided to go along with it."
Brief silence went between them before Hiei responded. "I hate you and everything you stand for."
Kurama chuckled and looked up at the menu. "The smallest thing I guess would be...the four piece chicken McNugget."
Hiei blinked. "The what?"
Kurama pointed to the picture. "Those."
Hiei looked at the picture then back at Kurama. Utter confusion was his expression.
"It's chicken, Hiei."
"Oh." He thought about it. "Chicken...I can eat that. It doesn't look like chicken, though."
"That's because it's been dipped in batter."
"And what the hell is a nugget?" Hiei continued, not really listening.
"I'd say the things between your legs-" Yusuke started and received a slap behind the head. "Ow! Keiko!" A death glare from her made him shut up.
Hiei sighed in disgust and shook his head. He walked up to the cashier and pointed to the nuggets. "Give me those."
The girl looked to where he pointed. "The four piece McNugget?"
"Okay...do you want fries, or..." She trailed off when his eyes bored into hers.
"Surely, you want a drink, Hiei. They are a bit dry," Kurama offered.
Hiei seethed. "NO."
The cashier looked at Kurama, who in turn tried to tell her facially, "please don't", but she did. "Dipping sauce?"
"NO! I don't want fries or any of the other revolting things you offer! I don't even want this! I just want to kick him where it hurts and make him cry!" Hiei finished pointing at Yusuke in rage and the cashier looked mortified, as did everyone else waiting in line.
"Such language!" A woman scolded. "And in front of the children too!" She was holding her small son's ears and Hiei's face went flat.
"Can I blow up the building now?"
"That'll be all, thank you very much." Kurama smiled politely and paid for it, too afraid to let Yusuke step near Hiei.
The cashier nervously handed Hiei his receipt, which he grabbed in haste, ripping it up.
Kurama sighed at his display of childishness. "Hiei, that had your number on it."
"And my sword has yours." He stomped away and waited for the food to be brought, which was quickly since it was just four nuggets. As soon as the cardboard container touched the counter, he swiped it. He opened it and inspected the small things inside. His whole face shown in displeasure. "Just get it over with. I bet I could eat them all in one gulp."
"Hiei, wait! I have to watch you and you have to watch me! It'll take me longer to eat my burger," Botan whined.
"Not my problem."
"Oh, please? Just come sit with me! That won't kill you, hmm?"
Hiei snarled at her. "No, but your death might be immanent."
Sweating a bit, Botan backed up. "Eh, heheh..."
The other numbers were called, some took longer because there was more food to cook, and soon all were seated...way far away from Hiei. He stood at a table and crossed his arms. "Well? Are you gonna sit or make me wait all day?"
An image of Hiei on a date and him acting like this flashed in her head, making her almost bust out laughing, but the fire in his eyes made her swallow that urge. "Um, yes...I mean, no...I mean...Shut up!" She huffed and sat down, opening the paper on her burger. It was huge, for her at least, and had lots of stuff in it. "Oh, my..."
"Like I said, disgusting." Hiei spat as he sat down, the chair scraping loudly on the floor when he pulled it back and then creaked when he slammed onto it.
"Quit acting like a baby, Hiei. It's not that big of a deal. At least you got to choose your food. I don't even know if I'll like this!"
Hiei chuckled darkly. "Well, it'll certainly suck for you if you don't."
"Hmp! You had to cheat and get the smallest thing! And I have to eat this huge thing! How is that fair?"
"Ask that idiot, not me. I don't care about your problems. Although, I am hoping you'll lose."
"What wonderful company you are," Botan said flatly. She looked at the burger again and gulped. "Well...here goes..." She smooshed it down with her fingers, to get a better grip, and took the best bite she could. She could never describe what it tasted like with words, but all in all, it wasn't half bad. She swallowed. "Huh. That was pretty okay!" She wiped her lips with her napkin. "Your turn."
Hiei glared. "Who says we have to take turns?"
Botan rolled her eyes. "We don't, but I wanna see you take your first bite. I wanna see if you like it. That's why I'm here, remember?"
"Oh, I thought you were here because of two people making a foolish mistake. My bad." Botan seethed as Hiei opened the nugget box, grimacing at the human attempt of food. He picked one up and brought it to his lips. His eyes snapped to hers. "Must you watch me so intently?"
"How else am I supposed to watch? Not all of us have hidden eyes on our foreheads!"
"Pfft." He closed his eyes, not wanting to look at her, and took a bite. She watched as he chewed and swallowed, his face stone. No expression, no emotion. He didn't even twitch. He opened his eyes and crossed his arms. "Non-eventful."
Botan frowned. "So, you didn't like it, then?"
"Of course not." Insert evil smirk. "I can't wait to see his face when my foot connects with his jewels."
"Ugh. Well, you have to eat all of it, like me, so...whatever. I'll just eat mine now."
After about five minutes she managed to get it half-way finished, and already she was feeling it. "Oh, dear...maybe I should've gone slower?"
"Heh, I knew you couldn't do it." Hiei cruelly sneered.
"Not true! I can! Not all of us eat as fast as you - hey, you finished them already?" She noticed the empty box.
Hiei adjusted in his chair and crossed his legs. "Of course I did. I don't fumble around like some people."
"Hey! Some people like to enjoy their food," she defended.
"Food is for nourishment not enjoyment," he stated calmly.
"You just don't enjoy anything, do you?" He gave her a blank look. "Well, I wanted to try one...I am curious. What do they taste like?" More blankness. "Phooey. Of course if I did try one, I'd have less room for my sandwich and I need to finish."
He finally spoke. "You won't finish. Why not just admit defeat and be done with it so I can leave?"
"I most certainly will not!" She stood up and waved her finger in his face. "I will finish this burger, Hiei Jaganshi!"
People were staring and Botan sweat-dropped. "Eh, heh...Ever heard of role playing?" Mummers of disapproval were heard as she sat back down, face reddened.
"Wow. Now, I admit that was enjoyable."
"If you're gonna be a grump all the time why do you even bother to visit?" He didn't answer. "Oh, I know why. It's because of Yu-" She stopped herself when he glared at her. She sputtered a bit, but then steadied herself. "You know what? We're alone - I can say it! The only reason you visit is because of Yukina!"
He blinked. "And that bothers you because?"
She looked down. "Because...she's the only reason you visit." He gave her a look of confusion and she sighed. "Never mind. You wouldn't understand."
Ten more minutes and Botan felt like she was gonna burst, and she still hadn't eaten it all! "Ohh, I just can't..." she moaned.
Her lovely company snorted. "Hoo-ray. Can we go now? My ass is falling asleep."
"Stop it! I can..." Hiei rolled his eyes. "I swear I can! Mind over matter!" She picked up the last quarter of her quarter-pounder and brought it to her mouth. As soon as the hint of taste touched her lips, she felt like she was gonna barf all over the table. "Ohh...okay...I can't..."
"Ha. One week of silence, here I come."
Botan suppressed a burp. "Yuck. The others can still talk, ya know."
"Yes, but they don't talk as much as you or sound like monkeys making mating calls."
Botan hid her hurt and went to yell at him, but a huge belch came out of her mouth...and right in his face. She immediately covered her mouth with her hands and shook as Hiei stood up.
"What. The. Hell."
"I didn't mean to! Please, Hiei, believe me! I would never do something so crass on purpose!"
His fists clenched. "You SPIT on me, you insolent woman! I actually felt it hit my face!" he raged, people staring again.
"That's gotta be the weirdest date I've ever seen," someone commented.
Tears welled in her eyes. "Please, Hiei...I didn't mean it..." She paused in thought. "Although...it was the perfect come-back to your nasty comment." His hand moved to grab for his sword and she screamed. "NO! I still didn't mean it, though! I swear on my life! Please forgive me, Hiei..."
A person carrying a tray of McNuggets passed behind him and his eyes followed as they sat down at a table. "Fine." Hiei sat back down and crossed his arms.
Botan blinked a few times. "Uh, what was that?"
"What was what? Me not killing you? You still want me to? 'Cause I can do that to make you feel better."
"No. A guy went by with that chicken and you watched him."
"I did no such thing."
"I saw you, Hiei. You followed his every move. And you weren't looking at him you were looking at - Oh, my." Her hand went up to her mouth.
His eyebrow raised. "What?"
She started to giggle. "Oh, my goodness..."
His patience was gone. "What?!"
She started laughing. "You...you...! You liked the nuggets!" She laughed uproariously at him, pointing and teasing.
"Oh, my God! You like the chicken nuggets!"
He gritted his teeth. "I do not!"
She laughed even harder. "Yes, you do, I can tell! It's written all over your face!"
"YOUR BLOOD IS ABOUT TO BE ALL OVER MY FACE!" he screamed, people turning to stare, again.
"Makes you wonder how they act in the bedroom..." another commented.
She stopped, but continued giggling. "Okay, first of all, ew, and second, I can't wait to tell Yusuke!"
His face was priceless. "If you value your soul, you will not."
She smiled wickedly. "Oh, yes, Hiei. I shall tell Yusuke all about this."
"Woman, I will unleash the hell of a thousand suns on you-"
"Imagine his laughter! He'll never let you live this one down!"
Hiei sighed, he was getting nowhere with threats and if he pulled his sword out, someone would take a picture and blast it all over that annoying "internet" thing. "You can't tell him if you can't talk for a week." She stopped laughing. "Yes, I intend to tell him how you couldn't even eat one piddly sandwich."
She pursed her lips. "Go ahead, Hiei. But I'll tell him first before I have to stop talking. I'll shout it from the roof-tops! And as soon as I can talk again, I'll tell everyone I know. I'll tell everyone I meet about how Hiei the Swordsman loves human food." His face was utter shock instead of anger and she continued, seeing that was a better sign. "And don't even try threatening to kill me because even if you do, this is just my Earthly body. I'll still be a Ferry Girl. Plus, you'll be in huge trouble for it, like, death penalty trouble, and I don't think a nugget is worth that."
"It might just be to see you bleed."
She ignored his comment. "Unless..." she trailed off, fiddling with her napkin.
His eyes narrowed. "Unless what?"
"You tell Yusuke that I finished this," she said pointing to the un-eaten burger.
His face lightened a little and he chuckled darkly. "Wow, woman. Didn't think you had it in you."
"I'm full of surprises, Hiei. What do you say? You tell Yusuke I ate it all, and I won't tell him you liked the chicken. Deal?"
"I didn't like the chicken, that is your opinion. But I won't have you spreading lies about me." He frowned. "Damn. I was looking forward to you not talking..."
"Tough. What will it be?" she challenged.
He snarled at her. Damn infuriating woman and her damn infuriating ways! Most would be shivering in their boots by now, but not her. Dammit, why wasn't she afraid of him anymore?! It's not like it matters, who cares what she thinks? He couldn't let her tell them this with that big mouth of hers.
"Fine. But if you go back on this deal, I will get you, and I mean it."
She waved him off. "Yeah, yeah... Slow, torturous death, I get it."
Hiei scoffed at her. "Can we leave now before I-" Just then a resounding noise made Botan's ears perk up and Hiei's face pale.
"What was that?" she asked.
She smiled sweetly. "I think it was your tummy growling."
His eyes flared. "I do not have a tummy and of course it's growling after eating that greasy crap!"
She giggled. "Oh, Hiei, it's growling because you're still hungry. I can get you more, ya know."
"What part of 'greasy crap' did you not understand? I don't want any of this food ever again."
She smiled. "No one will ever know! I'll just buy it and bring it to you. I'll be back in a jiffy!" She ran off before he could stop her and he blew out some air, looking around.
How odd that after all his jibes and insults, she was going to buy him food. What was it with this woman? Didn't she realize who she was actually dining with? Most wouldn't dare spit in his direction and yet, here she was, perfectly comfortable around him. Well, maybe not perfectly comfortable, since he was threatening her all the time, but still...
Her shrieking high tones brought him from his thoughts. "Here ya go, Hiei!" She put a red plastic tray in front of him. There was the four piece thing, but there was also a beverage cup.
"What's this?" he asked.
"Oh!" She smiled. "Well, I figured you'd like a drink."
"You figured wrong." She pouted. "What? What in the world made you think I'd want human soda? It's even worse than the food."
"Ha." She put her hands on her hips. "For your information, Mr. Hiei, it's lemonade."
"Lemonade? Why would you think I would like that either?"
"Well, you liked the chicken! Try new things! Oh, I almost forgot. I got you this too." She put down a a plastic container of God only knows what.
He grunted. "What is that, now?"
She beamed at him. "Because it might make it taste better!"
An array of thoughts ran through his head, but he didn't voice any of them. He sighed heavily. "I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't even ask for the chicken."
"It's okay. It's not that big of a deal." She sat down and played with her used napkin.
They sat in awkward silence for a while, neither wanting to make eye contact. When he spoke first she looked up in shock. "I have a question."
She blinked. "Okay."
He fingered the container of dipping sauce. Was that a nervous tick? No, certainly not Hiei! She leaned in a little to hear him better. "Why aren't you scared of me?"
"Huh?" She sat back in surprise. "What are you talking about?"
"Don't play coy with me, woman. I can tell. As much as it pisses me off, you're not scared of me. You should be, but you're not. Of course, it all the more proves how stupid you are." Her face went red. "However, you did seem scared during that...incident," he finished with a glare.
"Oh, you mean the burp? I really didn't do that on purpose. And I was scared."
He opened the box of nuggets. "Why? I threaten you all the time. How was this different?"
"W-Well..." She thought about it. "Because I was so embarrassed, and I felt bad about it. I wasn't scared about you hurting me, I was scared that you were mad at me."
He definitely looked confused. "Why would you care if I was mad at you?"
"I don't like it when people are mad at me. I always wanna try to make it better and make them happy." She fumbled with her fingers.
He chuckled. "Ah, so that's why you bought these?" he asked, picking up a nugget.
"Sort of. I knew you wanted them, no matter what you say and, yeah, I felt bad..."
"Hmp," he snorted. "Too easy."
She blew out some air. "Are you gonna eat them? They'll get cold. I'm sure they don't taste as good cold. What do they taste like anyway?"
"You already asked that," he stated.
"Yes, and you ignored me."
He smirked. "Consider that my answer this time."
"Besides, if you're hungry then eat that hideous thing." He pointed to her unfinished burger.
"Oh, no. Ew. I can't eat that. Ya know, the first few bites were good, but then the sauce and grease and, ewww...No. But a little nugget won't hurt me. I just wanna know what made you like it."
"I don't like it." He looked at her pitiful face and rolled his eyes. "Oh, brother. You want one so badly, then here, just eat it." He threw the one he was holding at her, it landing on the table in front of her. She looked down at it and grimaced when she picked it up. "What now?"
"Well, I don't wanna eat it now that it's touched the dirty table!"
His face went flat. "The whole place is dirty, what difference does it make?"
"Yeah, well, you don't see me licking the floor!"
His mouth went open. "Why are we talking about the floor? This is the table, not the floor."
She huffed. "Never mind. I wouldn't expect you to care about germs."
He stopped as he picked up another nugget. "What is that supposed to mean?"
She cocked her head. "No offense, Hiei, but you don't seem like the showering type. I mean, I never smell any soap or shampoo on you ever, and after all, you are a-" She stopped herself and looked up, making eye contact.
His eyes were boring into hers, making her whole face pale. "Go ahead. Say it," he challenged, sweat rolling down her cheek. He stood up and anger was burning in his eyes like she had never seen before. "Just say it. I'm nothing but a filthy demon." He threw the nugget down on the table and stomped off.
"N-N-" She stuttered. "Oh, crap." She stood up and went after him, catching him outside. "Wait, please, Hiei! I didn't mean that!"
He spun on his heels to face her, his eyes showing unforgiving hatred. "Stay away from me."
"No, please, Hiei! I really didn't mean it! Remember when I said I don't like it when people are mad at me? I don't like it when you're mad at me either!"
"I don't care how you feel," he spat, walking off.
"Oh, please-I'm sorry! Sometimes I don't say before I thin - I mean, I say things before I think! I didn't mean it! Really! I would never think that about you!"
He scoffed. "GO AWAY." She grabbed his arm. "Let go or I will break every bone in your body."
"No, please, Hiei! We were having such a good time in there and I went and ruined it with my big, stupid mouth!" She wailed and Hiei paused. When she noticed him staring at her she let go of his arm. "Hiei?"
"A good time?" He gestured to the restaurant. "You thought that was a good time?" She blinked as he started chuckling, soon turning into laughter. "Damn, woman! What does it take to make you miserable?!" He continued laughing and she giggled a little.
"Well, okay. Maybe it wasn't a swell time..." He laughed harder and her cheeks went pink. "Oh, stop laughing at me, you little imp!" That's when she realized. He was laughing. For real. Right in front of her. Sure, she had seen all the dark evil chuckles, and the "I'm about to kill you horribly" laughs, but this? Never did she think she'd see this!
He soon stopped and sighed heavily. "Wow. No one I'm about to maim has done that so I'll let you live. Consider this your miracle for the day." His face went stone again. "But don't ever come near me again." He turned and she stopped him again.
"Hiei, wait." She sighed. "Look, Spirit World had pumped all this stuff into my head for centuries, and for the longest time, that's how it was. But after meeting you and Kurama and now even Yusuke, who's been one this whole time, my view has changed. I've learned so many lessons from you all, and I don't think that anymore. It's just that...old habits are hard to break...I guess."
"Hmm. So...you're telling me that even after all you've seen me do, that's not how you think?" She nodded. "What about the Detective's girlfriend? You remember that, don't you?"
Botan bit her lip. No one ever even talked about that. Yusuke, much to his credit, never once brought it up or threw it in Hiei's face, and he had every right to. "You were different then," was her answer.
He narrowed his eyes at her. "What makes you so sure?"
She backed up a bit, feeling that it wasn't just his natural eyes watching. "When I heard how you helped at Maze Castle, I was still uneasy but I knew Koenma was doing what he thought best. And then...Tarukune and how you saved Yukina...Then I saw how valiantly you fought at the Dark Tournament...and the last tournament...I just figured you had a change of heart."
"You based that on how you saw me fight?" He chuckled. "Not a good way to judge me, woman. You don't even know me."
"I would like to." She gasped as the sentence left her mouth and blushed. She looked away in embarrassment and he shook his head, turning from her. It was silent for a while and she worried she had made him angry again.
"No, you wouldn't," he finally said.
"Yes, I would. I know all my friends but you, and I'd like to."
He shook his head again. "We're not friends."
"What if I said I'd like to be, Hiei?"
"Then I would say you're a fool."
Before she could respond another voice shattered their moment.
"Well, well, well!" Yusuke laughed walking up to them. "Look what I found! A couple of cheaters! Did ya really think you could sneak off and pretend my bet didn't happen?"
"Why don't you just-" Hiei stopped his clever retort and sighed. "Whatever." His hands went to his pockets and Botan knew that was the stance of, "I don't care anymore."
Yusuke chuckled. "Yeah, that's what I thought you'd say. So, how's it feel to lose?"
Botan spoke up. "What makes you think we lost, Yusuke? You have no proof of that," she finished crossing her arms.
"Oh, yeah? Follow me." Yusuke started walking inside and Botan looked at Hiei who shrugged as if the whole world was on his shoulders, then followed Yusuke. She sighed and joined them, feeling more and more uneasy as they approached their table. There on it was her un-eaten burger.
"What do I see here?" Yusuke teased. "A quarter-pounder with cheese! And it isn't done!" Botan blushed and looked down shamefully. Yusuke had caught her and now she wouldn't be able to speak for a whole week! "Ha!" Yusuke continued. "I knew you couldn't do it!"
Before Botan could protest, a calm voice beside her spoke.
"That isn't her sandwich."
Botan blinked in surprise and looked down at the fire apparition next to her. His face was emotionless, as was his tone. "H-Hiei?"
Yusuke frowned. "What? You're saying this isn't Botan's burger?" He looked at the table. "But this is your table."
Hiei remained nonchalant. "No, it isn't."
Yusuke sputtered. "What?"
"It. Isn't. Our. Table," Hiei drawled out with seriousness.
Botan kept quiet as Yusuke went through it all in his head, hoping that he would buy it. "Bullshit!" Darn, he didn't. "I know this is your table, Hiei! I saw you sit down at it!"
Hiei smirked. "Well, apparently your eyesight isn't very good, or you don't know how to judge distance, because we weren't sitting there."
Yusuke glared. "Explain the burger then, smartass."
Hiei cocked his head. "Oh? Other people besides her didn't order that?"
Yusuke grinned. "Not just that - lookie here." Yusuke picked up the box of nuggets and Hiei's face momentarily paled. "What a coincidence that someone else would order what you did."
Hiei regained his composure and scoffed. "Look again, Detective. You'll see that order isn't ours." Yusuke looked down and back up at Hiei. Hiei sighed and rolled his eyes. "Did you see me order a beverage? Or dipping sauce? Hmm? The only way I could get those is with my original order, and I didn't. And we both know I didn't go back and get more." He shuddered to emphasize his point and Yusuke's eyes widened.
"It isn't our order or our table." Hiei finished crossing his arms in victory and Yusuke looked like a kid who had lost his puppy.
"Okay...fine then. I'll still ask you. Did Botan finish her burger?"
Botan's head snapped to Hiei to see his answer and without hesitation, he said, "Surprisingly, she did." Her mouth went open in shock but she quickly closed it so Yusuke wouldn't notice. Yusuke looked unconvinced and Hiei added, "What reason do I have to lie?"
Botan suppressed a laugh. 'Because you don't want him to know you like chicken nuggets,' she thought.
Yusuke thought about it and sighed. "What about you, Botan? Did Hiei like anything?"
Hiei immediately looked up at her. His face was still emotionless but she could see the hidden fear. The thought of Hiei having fear of anything made her chuckle and she answered Yusuke triumphantly. "Nope! He hated them!" Yusuke's shoulders slumped.
"But how can you be sure?"
Botan sighed. "I can tell when someone is suffering, Yusuke."
Yusuke thought about it then stomped his foot like a child. "Dammit! I can't believe this crap!"
"Believe it, Urameshi," Botan laughed.
"Heh, the un-defeated Yusuke Urameshi falls." Hiei joined. Yusuke paused as he watched Botan and Hiei laugh...together. That was weird. Then Hiei stopped and turned to Yusuke. "Looks like it's time to claim my prize." Hiei grinned horrifically and Yusuke backed up a bit.
"You're not gonna...in public..." Yusuke started to sweat as Hiei continued to approach him.
"I'll be so fast no one will see. But I guarantee, you'll feel it." His wicked smile made the whole world go black as Yusuke started thinking of ways to defend his nether-regions. How could he with Hiei being so damn fast?!
"Hiei, stop it. We beat him, isn't that enough?" Botan said sweetly making Hiei stop his motion towards Yusuke.
The dark dragon looked back and forth between them and shrugged. "I suppose so. He looks like he needs to change his under-drawers anyway." He finished with a chuckle and walked back to Botan.
Yusuke sighed but stopped when he noticed the scene in front of him. "Thank you, Hiei." Botan smiled at him and he shrugged, which was a nice gesture for Hiei.
"Wait just a damn minute!" Both turned and looked at the former Spirit Detective. "You two are being way too nice to not be lying!" He saw Kurama throwing away his tray and shouted at him. "Hey, Kurama!" The red-head turned and looked. "Is this their table?" He pointed to the table in question and after Kurama looked, he answered.
"Yeah." He walked off and Yusuke turned back to the pair, with a wicked grin of his own.
"You bunch of freaking liars! I knew this was your table! You didn't finish this burger. And wait...hold on...you didn't order a drink, which means you did go back for more, Hiei! You liked it! Ha! I was right! I win on both!" He slapped his knee and laughed uproariously at them.
"Oh, Hiei, what do we do?" Botan moaned.
He shrugged again. "I could still kick him in the balls."
Yusuke wiped the tears from his eyes. "Ah, but one thing bothers me. Why would you lie for each other? And why are you being so nice to each other? Are you guys secretly dating or something?" He laughed but the two remained silent. Yusuke stared at them, Botan a furious red and Hiei non-caring as usual. "Huh? Wait...Are...Are you two dating?"
Hiei put his hands back in his pockets. "You said it, not me."
"Hiei!" Botan screeched.
"Wait..." Yusuke sputtered like an idiot. "You can't be serious." Hiei's face looked serious. "Oh, man..." He looked at the two of them, how opposite and ridiculous they looked beside one another.
An image of Botan and Hiei holding hands, frolicking merrily through a field of flowers, with big happy smiles on their faces made him have to suppress some bile rising in his throat. He held his head and groaned. "Ow, my brain, my brain...my eyes...I need some antacid..." He ran off with his hand over his mouth and Hiei chuckled at the reaction.
"Hump!" Botan huffed, crossing her arms. "Surely, the thought of us together isn't that terrifying!" Hiei gave her a sour look and she paused in thought. "Okay, maybe it is...But really, Hiei. Why did you do that?"
He gave a cocky smile. "It certainly distracted him from our challenge." He started for the door outside and Botan followed.
"But as soon as he gets over it, he'll tell everyone! Surely, you don't want people thinking you're dating me!"
He looked behind his shoulder at her, continuing to walk. "So? I don't care what people think of me."
"You cared that he knew about you liking the chicken nuggets. I can't believe that everyone thinking you liked them is worse than everyone thinking you're dating me! I mean, come on, Hiei...I doubt you like me as much as the chicken." She stopped and looked down and he turned to face her, discontinuing his walk.
"I suppose I do like the chicken more than you," he admitted.
She smiled sadly. "There, you see?"
"But then I can't compare it to anything because, like I said before, I have yet to taste you."
She went to yell at him for making that horrible joke again, when all his words began to register in her mind. "Yet?"
A lecherous look began to take shape on his face as he grinned, a fang popping out from his lips. Her fists shook in fury as she opened her mouth, inhaling deeply as he flitted away. "YOU JERK! What in hell makes you think you'll ever taste me, Hiei Jaganshi?! You stay away from me, you disgusting PERVERT!"
Yusuke stood from a distance watching the ferry girl scream at nothing. "See, Kuwabara?" He pointed to her. "I told you they were together." The teen beside him shivered.
"I think I'm scarred for life."