"Yukina, are you alright?" Touya's monotone brought her out of her thoughts.
"Oh, yes. I'm sorry," she looked back down to her arm, where the ice she had concentrated around her wrist was beginning to thaw. She began to expand it once again.
Touya was unconvinced, "You are unfocused today. Is something bothering you?"
Yukina smiled sweetly, "It's nothing. It is so kind of you to continue to teach me. Between you and Genkai I have been making real progress in being able to defend myself. It must be so difficult for you to find the time, what with the next Demon World tournament only a few months away." She smiled again for good measure.
Touya nodded absently. That was Yukina-speak for "I don't want to talk about it." Still wanting to prove his point, he raised his own sword and tapped on the beginnings of hers. It shattered as if it were fine crystal rather than ice.
Yukina frowned at her arm for a moment, then summoned her energy and formed a much denser ice sword, though the size was perhaps more akin to a dagger.
Touya nodded again, this time approvingly.
Without warning, Yukina raised her dagger and brought it down on his with a force impressive for someone of her size.
"Yes… very good," Touya stuttered, examining his sword in an attempt to hide his shock.
Yukina flashed him the innocent smile for the third time, and for the rest of the session it was as if she had never been distracted by anything at all. She had made up her mind.
Yukina watched Touya depart from the temple grounds from the porch. He seemed a bit more winded than usual. She hoped he was not overexerting himself.
Yukina sighed and retreated to the kitchen. She pulled out a pad from under the old rotary phone and ran her finger down the page until she reached Kurama's number. Carefully, she dialed, reminding herself to ask for Suichi if anyone else answered the phone.
Luckily for her, there was no need.
"So good to hear from you, Yukina," Kurama replied to her greeting, smoothly as always.
"I'm sorry to trouble you," Yukina admitted, "but I would like to speak with you in person if that's alright. I have some… things on my mind." Kurama, being Kurama, could probably read her like a book but he was too polite to say so.
"Of course. I will be happy to help in any way I can."
"Thank you. I can come down any day…."
"Nonsense. I haven't been to see you and Genkai in some time. I will visit you. Is Saturday alright?"
"Yes, it's fine. Thank you so much," Yukina was relieved.
"Think nothing of it," she could hear Kurama smile on the other end of the line.
"Well, thank you just the same."
Kurama chuckled this time, "Very well. See you on Saturday."
Yukina hung up the phone and sighed. There was no going back now. She was going to face the predicament that had haunted her all her life. More than that, she was going to fix it.
"Good morning, Master Genkai," Yukina greeted cheerfully. Genkai had made her usual appearance just as Yukina finished brewing morning tea.
"Good morning," Genkai replied with a nod.
"Kurama is coming to visit tomorrow," Yukina informed her.
Genkai raised an eyebrow, "How kind of him to phone ahead for once."
"Well, actually I called him," Yukina felt compelled to tell the truth, "I wanted to talk to him."
"Oh, about your brother?"
"What, am I not good enough?" Genkai could not hide her irritable nature.
Yukina shook her head hurriedly, "It's not that. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't talk to you. It's just, he knows Hiei so well…"
Genkai sighed, "I'm giving you a hard time, girl. You're supposed to give it back."
"Oh, right," Yukina was embarrassed. It really was not her nature to understand such things. Yusuke needed to come around more if Genkai's verbal sparring quota was to be met.
"Kurama knows I know," Yukina continued, "and I think he knows I know he knows," she struggled with the syntax, "and I think he knows I know he knows I know."
"Uh-huh," Genkai sipped her tea.
"It's just… I think it's time."
"We have both grown so much. I tried to take control of my life when I left the other Ice Apparitions, but even more so after meeting all of you. Hiei has grown too. He'd never admit to it, but he would do anything for his friends."
"And complain the whole way about babysitting," Genkai added.
"Just be careful," Genkai warned, "You've been very patient with him and tried to understand his reasons. Don't let that go to waste."
Yukina nodded thoughtfully.
Saturday could not come quickly enough. In the morning Yukina worked on martial arts with Genkai. It was not exactly her strong suit, and even with Genkai's reduced strength and agility Yukina struggled to keep up.
Later she worked in the garden, taking special care that Kurama would commend it if he saw it the following day. Then there was cooking, baking, and a few hobbies to try to keep herself occupied. Usually she had fun trying new human pastimes, but today they could not hold her attention.
Yukina returned outside to the training grounds. Genkai was gone and they were empty. Yukina walked to the middle of the field and slowly began to ice over the ground around her. She was much more adept at simply freezing everything than concentrating her energy into a sword or shards of flying ice. It should be, she told herself. It had been her main defense for most of her life. She had immensely enjoyed Touya's preliminary match at the demon world tournament, which she had watched on the television with Genkai. She smiled at the memory.
That was another reason why she liked the cold. It comforted her and allowed her mind to wander free of its burdens.
Kurama sat calmly across from her in one of the temple's smaller rooms. He held his steaming cup of tea, though he had not yet taken a sip. Yukina stared at her own cup and took a deep breath.
"I think I'm ready to confront my brother," she said carefully. Referring to Hiei as "brother" ostensibly allowed Kurama plausible deniability, though Yukina was unsure it would offer much protection in this particular conversation.
"Ah," Kurama found this an opportune moment to start drinking his tea.
Yukina smiled at him nervously, touching her index fingers together.
"A delicate matter, though I cannot say I wish to dissuade you," Kurama concluded finally.
Yukina let out a breath she did not know she had been holding, "Yes, I know it is not simple, and I want to do it right, but I still want to."
Kurama nodded, "I understand."
"I know there used to be something holding him back. A promise," Yukina swallowed.
"I can't imagine that is a problem after all this time," Kurama surmised. Yukina took a minute to think on his carefully-chosen words.
"I don't want to scare him off. And I fear her will be angry with me for not telling him sooner, even though…."
"He has been doing the same to you for much longer."
"Yes." They sat in silence for a moment.
"For a time, I thought things were alright the way they were. I knew my brother, and he could know me without having to speak his secret. I thought I could understand the reasons for his silence. But… in truth I cannot. I mean, I know the reasons, and I understand them logically, it's just…."
"If I may be so bold," Kurama took up where she had left off, "it is natural for you to experience new and confusing feelings in human world. They don't make sense to your inner demon, pardon the wording, but slowly they become a part of you. Emotions are not logical."
"Is that how it was for you?"
"Yes. It was such a slow change there was nothing to fight. By the time I realized I had come to love my mother, it was too late."
"Of course, this has caused trouble for us on several occasions," Kurama reminded her.
"I understand," Yukina allowed, "but I do not think it is me knowing of our relationship is quite the problem."
Kurama chuckled lightly, "You have spent too much time with Shizuru. The sarcasm is beginning to show."
"You turn to it quite frequently yourself," Yukina pointed out innocently.
"I suppose I do," Kurama shook his head, "and I suppose I should have expected you to realize my hypocrisy."
"No, I was trying to continue the joke," Yukina explained, embarrassed.
There was silence again for a minute. Yukina bit her lip. Kurama sipped his tea.
Finally, Yukina voiced her question, "Do you think I will understand the concept of love, one day, like everyone usually means."
Kurama raised an eyebrow, "You mean romantic love?"
"I suppose," Yukina scrunched her nose, "I mean, Shizuru is always saying Kazuma would rather spend time with me than anybody else, even her. But I don't understand that. She's his sister. Certainly he wants them to be together as much as possible."
"I'm afraid I can't answer that, Yukina," Kurama admitted, "For me, the demon and human concepts have been reconciled. It's something you'll have to discover for yourself. Besides, I'm afraid we've gotten a little off topic."
"Yes, of course," Yukina blinked quickly, trying to get herself refocused, "I know I love my brother, and that's all that matters."
"Yes," Kurama agreed, "You just have to settle the logical and emotional aspects of the situation. Emotional needs are very much real." Not that Kurama did not try to stop everyone else from realizing the statement applied to him as well.
"But you do think there is a way?" Yukina watched him closely.
Yu Yu Hakusho continuity is a lot more convoluted than I remember. Geeze. Anyway, I know this plot has been done to death, but it continues to intrigue me, so I am going to add my attempt.