Disclaimer: I own no part or parcel of Yu Yu Hakusho. This is strictly for fun. As with all my other YYH stories, it will feature a Kurama/Botan pairing though other characters will be present as well.
Chapter 1- Abduction
Kurama sat at his desk, opening the sketch pad before him, humming softly as he reached out to grab a pencil. Emotion flickered in the kitsune's emerald orbs as he studied the nearly finished etching, cool reserve giving way to a gentle smile as a precious memory filled his thoughts and he continued where he left off, adding more detail until a quick knock on the door pulled his attention away.
Tenderly he closed the pad, a mask of calm indifference back in place as he turned and spoke. "Come in."
The door opened and a tall young man peered inside, his inquisitive eyes of blue focusing to the left where Kurama sat, voice soft but hopeful as he spoke. "Hey, Shuichi, can I talk to you for a moment?"
The red head flashed a polite smile at his step-brother, nodding as he motioned the younger boy to enter. "What can I help you with, Suichi?"
The chestnut haired boy closed the door behind him as he stepped inside, pacing a bit as if to build up courage before he stopped and faced the kitsune. "What I wanted.. that is.. what I would like to know is.. about girls.." He stammered and stopped, brow furrowed in frustration at his inability to voice his questions more clearly.
Kurama tilted his head, studying his brother, curious at the question. "What would you like to know about them specifically?"
"Um.. I.. I want to know how to get girls to like me.. I mean what do girls like?"
Kurama gave him a patient smile. "That is a rather complex answer. Perhaps if you could tell me some background on the girl you are interested in.."
"What makes you think I.. I had any particular girl in mind?" Suichi interjected, the blush upon his cheeks belying the defensive reaction.
The older boy gave a soft chuckle and held up a hand in a placating gesture. "Alright.. well, speaking in generalities, most girls like boys that have a good sense of humor. Of course it doesn't hurt to smile and be polite. Show interest in what they say, even if it bores you. If there is something they like to do, try it once, if only to please her."
"But what about appearance. Girls like guys that are good looking and have a lot of money right?"
Kurama tilted his head. "There are certainly girls that place more emphasis on the physical and monetary aspects of whom they.. chase after. I would suggest you avoid such girls if you want to remain happy, Suichi." He paused, a ghost of a smile on his lips as he asked, "So which girl is it that you are interested in?"
The younger boy blushed, shuffling his feet as admitted his crush. "Reiko Ishiguro.."
"Ah.. She is in your class, right?"
Suichi nodded. "She so smart and so pretty.. you should see her Shuichi.. And she's really good at singing! She makes my insides feel.. all.." He paused, frustration marring his handsome features at the inability to describe how he felt.
"Fluttery?" Kurama suggested, suppressing another chuckle at his brother's emphatic nod.
"Yes! Just like that! You know how that feels don't you, Shuichi? To like a girl so much you feel like your heart will burst if can't be with her?"
A flicker of emotion passed across the red head's features then died, no more than a blink of the eye as he remained silent, allowing his brother to continue.
"She's definitely my type, too. Really long legs and long hair and a killer smile." Suichi's gazed off fondly as the image of his crush danced in his head.
"Sounds like you are smitten. Why don't you ask her out on a date?"
"A date?" Suichi squeaked, "But.. But what if she says no? What is she says yes? Man.. what do I do then?"
"You'll figure it out, Suichi. Just remember that if she says no, don't give up. Girls do like to be chased, no matter what they say otherwise."
The younger boy nodded, starting to go before he turned and asked. "What about you, Shuichi? What kind of girl is your type?"
Kurama quirked an eyebrow. "Me?"
"Yeah, what kind of girl draws your interest?"
An teasing image sprang instantly into his thoughts, playful eyes studying him teasingly, a soft laughter and warm smile that broke through the many walls he put up to hide his true emotions and made him want to feel and to love. Even if he would not admit to it openly. "Well.. I like girls that are tall and pretty.. who are kind and who have a good sense of humor.. who are not afraid to speak their mind.. "
"You mean like that girl you were talking to last week?" Suichi asked, interrupting his older brother's rather lovely thoughts. "The really pretty blue-haired one?"
"Hmm.. perhaps.." Kurama replied with a crafty smile but did not elaborate.
"Suichi, dear! Your friends are here!"
The younger boy turned his head at the sound of his step-mother's voice, beaming. "I'll be right there!" He called back before focusing his attention back to Kurama. "Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, Shuichi."
Kurama nodded, smiling. "You're quite welcome, Suichi." He replied, watching his brother head out and down the stairs, leaving the kitsune alone once more. Swiveling the chair back around, Kurama reached out, opening the sketch pad , eyes softening at the image of a smiling Botan brought to life by his own hand. Grabbing the nearby pencil, the kitsune fleshed out the picture, replaying the memory in his mind as he wondered when he would see the ferry girl again.
"Be careful, Botan."
Koenma's words rang throughout the deity's mind as she entered the human world for what would hopefully be a routine pick- up. And yet.. and yet she had trouble steadying her hands, her oar bobbling as she lost focus of the linear path she had wanted to follow. Gritting her teeth, Botan righted her course, Amethyst eyes focusing on the city below. Pale moonlight reflected off the massive glass windows of a nearby skyscraper, casting an eerie glow as she began to descend then land on the busy street below.
A rush of wind swirled around the ferry girl, tugging at her kimono and she clutched her oar tighter, her steps hesitant as she trembled. It was not the cool air that made her shiver but something more primal, more dark. Fear. She was afraid. Like all prey, she had to be prepared for flight or fight. And like all prey, the scent of fear washed over her like a tidal wave, racing to all corners of the city for anyone who might be out… hunting. It was times like these when the spirit guide wished Koenma had given her permission to talk to the Spirit Detectives and inform them about the strange disappearances of the others. But her boss was stubborn and until the situation grew desperate, he would refrain from using Yusuke's services. Or maybe he's just too cheap. Botan grumbled, annoyed at Koenma's frugal habits when it came to paying out for services rendered.
The deity started forward again, weaving through the crowded sidewalk as she neared her target destination. Glancing up at Senpuku Towers, a well-lit and well to do apartment complex in the heart of downtown, Botan entered, unseen by the mortals around her. Once upon the stairwell, she hopped onto her oar, gliding upwards until she reached the 12 floor. Sliding off her oar, Botan entered the hallway, eyes trained on the numbers, stopping before the address marked on her notes.
Looking down she studied the picture of her target, a dark-haired, average looking adult male who appeared to be in prime physical condition. "Jiro Takai. Age 33. Fitness Instructor. Death due to choking on a sweet roll. Oh the irony.." She murmured, shaking her head as she entered the apartment. According to the time listed, his death would have occurred within the last half hour.
Heading into the living room, the deity spotted the back of Takai's head, resting against the lazy boy. The tv was on, a glass turned on it's side on the table beside the chair, water pooling below the edge. Botan stopped, assessing the surroundings, frowning at the lack of the fitness instructor's soul. There was no sensation, no pull. It was as if Takai's soul had gone and….
"Vanished?" A male voice whispered in the deity's ear, causing her to jump. Gripping her oar, she whirled around, finding nothing and no one near her. Senses on alert, the ferry girl called out with more strength then she felt. "Who's there?! Show yourself?!" A flash of movement caught her eye and she swung back around, eyes widening as the body rose and turned, recognition flashing across her features as she spat out.. "You!"
Fear gave way to anger as Botan made to lunge forward, oar at the ready only to feel a strong arm wrap around her waist and something sharp puncture her shoulder. Her vision dimmed, consciousness fading to black until all became silent and she felt no more.
"Beep, beep, beep! Beep, beep, beep!"
The insistent noise drew Kurama out of his sleep and he reached out, snatching the offending device, flipping it open, revealing the agitated features of Yusuke. "Hey fox boy, wake up, I need your help!"
Kurama sighed, tossing the covers aside, clad only in a pair of pajama pants as he sat up, noting the time as he spoke. "Good morning to you too, Yusuke." Rubbing his eyes he asked. "What is so urgent that you have to call me at 2 am?"
"Botan's been kidnapped!"
A flash of shock passed over the red head's features, worry in his voice though he tried to keep it level. "How did you come by that information?" He asked as he rose and headed over to the closet, opening it to retrieve his clothing.
"Koenma called me a few minutes ago and with the news, I'll tell you more about it when you get here. Just hurry up. I want to get the jump on this before anything bad happens to her."
"Agreed. I'm on my way." Snapping the communicator closed, Kurama yanked his pajama pants off, slipping on a pair of light blue jeans and a black button down shirt. Opening the window to his room, he jumped, climbing down the roof. Using his speed and power, the kitsune took off like a bullet, heading for Yusuke's ramen shop across town, worry filling his heart though he kept it under control. After all, he cared for Botan. Cared for her very much and the thought of the ferry girl injured or worse brought out his protective and possessive nature . Driven with need to get to the bottom of the situation, Kurama ran faster, skidding to a stop upon reaching his destination. Letting himself inside, the kitsune made his way to the counter, eyes on the Yusuke as he asked, "So what is the status of the situation, Yusuke?"
The dark haired spirit detective crossed his arms, features a mask of irritation. "Other than the news flash of Botan's abduction, toddler boy hasn't told me squat. He wants us to wait until everybody is here."
"I don't see why we should." Kuwabara said. "We all know Hiei gives two flips about what goes on in the human world." The tall man crossed his arms as well, grumbling suspiciously, "Probably helped the kidnappers just to make us get up so dang early…"
"You really are an idiot." Hiei's cool voice interjected, making the orange haired human jump and whirl around accusingly.
"Why do you always sneak up on me, Shrimp?!"
Hiei smirked. "Because it amuses me."
Kuwabara narrowed his eyes. "You get creepier every time we meet."
"And you get dumber." Hiei retorted, ignoring the taller man's protests, gaze shifting to focus on Yusuke. "So tell me, Yusuke, how did the bubblehead get kidnapped?"
Kurama frowned a bit at his best friend's description of Botan but said nothing, deferring to Yusuke who spoke.
"Yeah, about that.." Flipping the spirit detective case open, Yusuke patched in the frequency for spirit world, the screen coming to life, revealing the face of Koenma in toddler form.
"Is everyone there, Yusuke?" Koenma asked, chewing on his pacifier in idle nervousness.
The dark haired spirit detective eyed his boss with an annoyance that was reflected in his voice. "Yeah, we're here so spill it, Koenma. How in the hell did Botan get kidnapped?"
Koenma took a moment to compose himself before answering. "In order for me to explain that, you must first understand the events leading up to Botan's abduction." The child lord tapped his fingertips on the desk, studying the expectant look on the detectives faces then drew in a breath, nearly losing his pacifier as he continued. "In the past month, there have been.. incidents involving ferry girls."
"Incidents?" Yusuke interrupted, voicing the thoughts of the group. "Like what?"
Koenma flashed a look of annoyance at his head detective, growling. "If you would stop interrupting me, I would tell you."
"Well, stop with the suspense already and tell us what the hell is going on!" Yusuke snapped.
"I'm getting to it!" Koenma snapped back, clenching his jaw as he continued, "As I was saying, there have been three separate incidents before Botan's abduction involving ferry girls. On each occasion, they failed to report back after an assignment in Ningenkai. We sent out search parties but.. " The toddler's voice trailed off, a look of pain on his features as he lowered his gaze, barely audible as he added. "No trace of them could be found."
The detectives studied each other with varying looks of concern or shock.
"And now Botan is the fourth to go missing." Kurama's stated softly, though there was a harshness in his eyes that belied his calm features. "Given the serious nature of these incidents, what reason could you of had to delay our involvement?"
"I was trying to solve it on my own for once." Koenma replied guiltily, lifting his gaze to the group. "After the third disappearance, I sent Botan down with an audio/visual monitor in the hopes of capturing footage of whoever or whatever is behind this." Pausing, the toddler lord reached out, pressing a button, his image replaced by scenes of the Tokyo skyline flying by to walking among a crowd to a towering building. Pausing the video, Koenma spoke. "So far, nothing out of the ordinary. But once Botan went inside…" Playing the video again, the feed suddenly became grainy though the audio was still intact.
The sound of Botan's voice got the group's attention and they listened intently, hoping to glean some clues that would help them. "Jiro Takai. Age 33. Fitness Instructor. Death due to choking on a sweet roll. Oh the irony.."
"Vanished?" The sudden sound of a male voice made the team's heads snap up and they looked at each other in concern and irritation.
"Who the hell is that?" Kuwabara murmured.
Yusuke and Hiei shook their heads, silently wondering the same thing.
Kurama kept his features downcast to hide the surprise and anger that he felt. The sound of Botan's fear then recognition made him clench his hands into fists, nails digging into his palms as the audio cut off and feed went completely dead.
"And that is all that was recorded of the event." Koenma said, his image replacing the blank screen.
"Tell me, Koenma," Kurama began, raising his head, features and tone business-like. "Prior to these abductions, were there any other strange incidences? Did any of the ferry girls show signs of agitation or nervousness? Or perhaps giddiness and anticipation of some sort?"
"What does that have to do with anything, Kurama?" Kuwabara asked, looking from the screen to the redhead.
"Quiet, fool." Hiei growled at the taller man. "Kurama knows what he's doing."
"Don't have to get so testy, Hiei." Kuwabara grumbled but shut up, waiting for Kurama to continue.
Koenma closed his eyes but said nothing, drawing the ire of Yusuke.
"Come on toddler breath, answer Kurama's questions! Was there any crazy or odd shit that happened prior to these disappearances?!"
"You know, Yusuke," Koenma began, opening his eyes, throwing a cold stare the dark haired detective's way. "Sometimes I wish I'd made Kurama head detective instead of you. Then I wouldn't have to deal with your serious lack of manners."
"I'll show you manners.." Yusuke growled then blinked when he felt Kurama's hand on his arm.
"We don't have time for this, Yusuke." The kitsune said calmly, though his features were hardened as he focused his gaze on the toddler lord. "The longer you delay our search, the more dire the situation becomes. So tell us, Koenma, did anything happen prior to the abductions?"
Sighing, the toddler lord answered. "It is not unusual for ferry girls to.. admire the men they bring to spirit world.. It is also.. not unusual for these same ferry girls to.. fall for men.. not yet destined for Reikai."
"I thought as much." Kurama murmured, ignoring the questions from his fellow detectives as he pressed on. "Did Botan come to you with her concerns?"
"Understand, Kurama, that I'm a very busy lord. I don't have time for idle gossip." Koenma started. "But yes, Botan did inform me that several of the girls, including the ones that went missing, had fallen for men in Ningenkai."
"Did you check up on these supposed Romeos?" The kitsune asked, hiding a smirk at the irritation of his boss.
"Of course I did! I'm not totally incompetent!" Koenma snapped. "The men supposedly involved with my employees were nowhere to be found."
"Interesting." Kurama murmured. "I think we've delayed long enough, don't you, Koenma?"
The toddler lord nodded, disappearing as map popped up on screen, a blinking green dot marking the location of Botan's last known whereabouts. The detectives synced their communicators with the map, closing them as Koenma's face appeared once more. "Use extreme caution and report back to me as soon as you have some information. Koenma out."
The screen went black and Yusuke sighed, closing the detective kit, his brown eyes focused on the redhead. "What was that all about, Kurama?"
"I'll tell you about it later, Yusuke. Right now we need to get to the apartment complex before the trail goes cold."
Hiei and Kuwabara nodded, waiting for Yusuke who spoke. "Right. Let's go!"
The four men headed out into the night, racing towards the target area, each wondering what they would find when they got there.
Do not worry, Botan. Kurama thought as he kept pace with the others. I'll find you. I promise.
Okay. First chapter completed. This will be a multi-chaptered story but the length will depend on the interest. Which means reviews are most helpful in motivating me. So if you liked it, want more of it, drop a few lines and let me know.