Doubt~ Chapter 8: Breakdown
Author: japancat
Content Rating: T-13
Published: 2012-07-04 03:00:08
Tags: Yu Yu Hakusho, Yusuke Urameshi, Suzaku, Botan, Keiko, Mukuro, Kurama, Hiei, Kazuma Kuwabara



Summary:
Bring it on, vern, final stand against Suzaku, vern! I mean, vern, vern.

Author´s Notes and Disclaimers:
Okay, I swear, I got all of Lanipator out of me now. By the way... Mukuro really does look like she drives like a maniac, doesn't she? And when you see anything in bold, that means the person's speaking in a foreign language. I don't believe in making you play guessing games when what they say is important. Besides that, I'm not as good in Russian as I hope to be. What? Don't look at me like that, Russian's a freaking awesome language.
Chapter 8
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Chapter 8: Breakdown

"I wish we had met on better circumstances, Keiko..." Botan mumbled as they caught their breath, hiding behind the bushes near the locker rooms behind the gym. "I was not ready to be running away from people like this... Oh, and I'm Botan, by the way. Let's leave it at that before we continue running for our lives." This is so weird. Why didn't the Chief say anything about this? Or at least call us to let us know that they've all come here... And even stranger... Why are they all over here?

"Yeah... Just what's going on here?" Keiko asked. "I'm so confused... I mean, those people, they're not... Zombies...? Are they?"

"I dunno about that bit, but we have to get you out of here." Botan took out a cellphone. "I'll take you downtown to this person I know. She'll take care of you. I hope." She punched in the number with her fingers shaking, groaning whenever she accidentally pushed the wrong key. "Come on. Come on... Pick up, pick up, pick up... There! Hello?" The branches of the bushes were pushed apart revealing the now red face of a security guard.

"What the hell are you doing texting on campus? I bet you're sexting too, you little whore. And you know what they do to bad students like you. Don't you? I'll give you something to text about." He raised a switchblade he held in his hand.

They both rolled out of the way before he brought the blade down. They bumped into another group of people armed with baseball bats. Keiko grabbed Botan and they rushed out as fast as they could. They saw other staff members coming their way. "Oh no!" What if they blocked the way out of here? I don't wanna get Botan killed when we just... Yusuke! Why do I keep thinking of Yusuke! Oh god, what is going on here?!

Botan turned to the closest person to her and grabbed their arm just as he was about to bring the bat down, kicked out her leg to bring him off balance, but she still gripped the bat. The man tried to stand back up but she pushed his hands so the handle slammed into his forehead, knocking him unconscious. Keiko looked around. Botan tossed her the bat and went for the next closest person. They struggled for the hold of the bat. A woman raised her hands to strike Botan, but Keiko shut her eyes and swung as hard as she could into the woman's ribs. After an awful crackling sound, the woman went down and Botan was able to get another bat to knock out the last of the group. Keiko leaned against the wall of the gym. Then her hand touched the glass.

"I have an idea. There's a phone near here. There's a nurse's office here. We'll call the police," Keiko said between labored breaths. Botan nodded and they both smashed the window open. After brushing some of the shards from the sill, they both crawled in, hurrying away from the windows and to the nurse's office. Keiko turned the knob. "Oh god... It's locked..."

"Allow me." Botan smashed her bat into the door. Keiko took the next swing. They heard the sound of hands pounding on the door to the building. They finally made the door splinter enough that they could walk in. Dropping to their knees so they wouldn't be seen through the blinds, Botan and Keiko crawled to the phone. Before Keiko had her hand on it, she saw the wire dangling before her eyes. "No... They didn't..."

"Yukimura..." They turned around and saw Iwamoto was standing in the doorway, armed with a box cutter. Botan held the bat ready. Iwamoto stepped closer and she swung the bat to knock the cutter from his hand, twisting some of the fingers in the process. He hunched over, howling in pain. Just then, Botan kicked him right in the jaw and knocked him all the way down with a sloppy jab of her bat. Just to be absolutely sure, she also kicked him in the side of the head.

"Whew... Looks like the little karate I know paid off at last..." She reached into her pocket. "Darn it, now I have to call again." The knocks on the door grew louder. "Looks like we need to lock ourselves up. You know a bathroom that no one goes to?"

Keiko nodded. She reached a hand up and rubbed a temple.

"It'll be okay."

"Are you sure?"

"I promise it. Yusuke'll save the day. He always has and always will."

"What do you mean?"

They heard glass being broken. "Bathroom, remember?" Keiko nodded, and they ran down the hall.

-:-:-

"Keiko!"

Suzaku dropped the whistle from his lips. Murugu fluttered off his shoulder and perched on a sill, eyes locked on Yusuke. "Oh, and here's our special guest. Aren't you a little dirty to be...? Never mind that. I see that you've noticed the show behind me. You know, Urameshi, it doesn't have to end like this- us trying to kill each other. I'll tell you what: I'll admit you as one of us. You won't have to live the dreary life as a human. Powerless. Helpless. Weak. If you join us- well, me now and Murugu-" He indicated the lime green bird now hoovering by his head, "then you'll have all the power you could have wanted. You can have all that on one condition- I want you to eat that girl's heart as a pledge of allegiance."

"No deal!" Yusuke clenched his fists.

"Well, it looks like we're in a stalemate. If that's the case..." He turned toward the screen again. "Just look at her face. It would make the perfect horror movie. These types of things always bring out the best of people, don't you think...? See how helpless she is? Why, in just a moment, that blue haired one will be knocked off, and then, there will be no one to save your princess anymore. She's too scared to even defend herself. And look at how her face blanches. She's about to faint. Just imagine how they'll section her to pieces when she lays out unconscious on the floor."

"You sick bastard..." Yusuke lunged forward, pulling back his fist to punch Suzaku's face.

Suzaku olnly had the time to block the shots. This one's fast! I've got no choice but to go... Suzaku jumped into the air and floated above Yusuke's head.

"I see what you did there, and I'm not scared!" He fired his Spirit Gun. His jaw dropped when he saw Suzaku smack it away like it was a soccer ball about to hit his face.

"Damn, that still kind of stings... That's impressive for a human. Most humans that actually make it to this point have no weapons once they have to deal with me midair, you know that? I'd expect this kind of thing from an artificial too." He rubbed his knuckle gingerly, a half smile still crossing his face. "Oh, it's been such a long time..."

No way... After Genaki's training from hell, I should be able to blow this guy to... Well... Go frickin figure I got the God moded one. But there's no way in hell that I'm gonna let Keiko die because of me. He started to grit his teeth, taking another look at the screen. Botan and Keiko had to fight off another couple of teachers, only their attackers were barehanded this time.

"Hey, look at the sky." Suzaku looked up. Yusuke, caught by surprise, did the same. "There's always a storm here so there's never a surprise when there's lightning out... Today's your lucky day..." A bolt came down through the hole in the roof and struck his out reaching hand. His arm twitched a bit from the shock but somehow the rest of him remained completely still. Again Yusuke's jaw dropped in shock.

"Oh! Oh! I know what this is. You're gonna get it now, boy," Murugu laughed. She started to fly figure eights above Yusuke's head. Yusuke couldn't help but get a nicer clear image of shooting that bird and roasting it for a thanksgiving feast at that moment.

Suzaku then charged at him, fingers raised as though he was about to do a chop. Yusuke barely managed to pivot to the side, but even though he was barely grazed, he was filled with an intense pain. He hit the ground, convulsing for a bit, before rolling back to his feet. He saw some steam rise up from his skin. Shit! I'm gonna be fried alive! Yusuke groaned as he got back to his feet. He stumbled a bit before he got his balance back and he had to shake his head to feel as though the world wasn't spinning anymore.

"Oh, it really is going to be a date to remember. You're the first human to survive that, you know." He did a light clap, with another mocking grin on his face. "You sure you're not an artificial?"

"Gee, don't I feel special...? I don't even know what the hell you're talking about, but I sure as hell aren't whatever the hell that is."

"You should because if I nick you again, who knows if you'll be able to get back up." He jumped back into the air and gathered more lightning. Yusuke gritted his teeth again, watching the indications of the motions of Suzaku's hand this time.

-:-:-

Keiko and Botan rushed into the bathroom and stayed pressed against the door for a few moments to ensure that no one was coming after them. Botan then searched for a lock on the door until Keiko stopped her. She whispered to her, "This bathroom's the closest thing to the front door. I'm pretty sure that they'll all crowd around this door so we can't just run out from here. There's a window over there so we could slip out from there... Ah, I dunno. I'm kind of scared that they destroyed my car by now and no matter where we'll go, they'll all be close behind. You.. Don't know of a place that we could hide at, do you... Oh, am I listening to myself...? You said something earlier... I think..."

"Yeah, I did. Say something about where we can go, I mean. I need to call them..." She reached in her pocket. "Oh shoot! I dropped my phone somewhere."

"You're kidding. Oh, but how can we even get out there if..."

"Okay, calm down. We can figure it out. Keiko, do you have your phone with you? I need to call her and let her know that we need a way to get there. I could get her to pick us up. She looks like someone that drives like a maniac anyway, so it'll be perfect if anyone comes in." Botan took the phone when Keiko handed it to her and immediately started jamming in the numbers. "Pick up... Pick up... Okay, here we go!"

"Hello?" the voice on the phone greeted. "You gonna talk for reals this time?"

"Hey. Get me the chief. And hurry it up. It's an emergency."

"The whole damn town's in an emergency. What the hell makes you any more important than... Oh hey, chief... It's for you." They heard a faint voice saying "thank you" sarcastically before it replaced the first woman's voice. "This is the Chief. Who is this and what do you need?"

"Thank god, you picked up. I called you earlier, but I kind of got..." She held in a scream as she felt someone banging on the door. She started to talk faster out of panic. "...I got cut off. We've been getting chased by these people who've been infected. They're clearly after Keiko."

"Well, that would explain why everyone's starting to report back to me that their sector's all clear or they saw people moving away from their sector anyway..."

"Oh, that's cheery!"

"I was just thinking aloud. That's a larger problem. I'm just as concerned about it as you. There's not much I can do because if I send out my men to open fire on these guys, then that's classified as slaughtering humans, even if they're possessed and causing danger to other human lives, but when it comes down to it, that's no way to solve this at all... There's also the ethic considerations behind that as well."

"What, there's none for the first part of that...?"

"Don't get smart with me. Do you have a way over here?"

"We're locked up in a bathroom. We're at Keiko's school."

"Of all the places... And I'm assuming that's a no. I really wish I could call a code red and push the panic button but all things considered, this might not be all that bad."

"Not all that bad? Now you've just crossed the line." Keiko stared at her and then backed into a stall.

"Well, I can outline all of the criteria that must be met in order for a code red and for a panic situation and then give you fifty textbook examples of what situations that may be, but as you obviously don't have the time to sit through that, I won't. I could send some people down to loosen up the situation, but I still need to make sure you get to a safe place. Everyone'll take a while to take care of things before you're safe."

"Well, can you pick us up then?" She saw Keiko open a door to another stall. She suddenly became aware of a girl crying in the bathroom, and she didn't like what the sound of it at all. She whispered to Keiko, "What are you doing?" Keiko shrugged, and turned back to the person. Botan mouthed, "Give her some privacy, will you?"

"Who is this person you're with anyway?"

"A friend of Yusuke's. Her name is Keiko Yukimura."

"So that's how it is. Looks like they have a spy as well. Try to stay where you are if possible, it sounds like you're safe for the most part. I'll hurry over there, but you have to be quick. I've got my hands full over here. Just make sure to stay away from any windows if they don't know you're here. I'll try and be in in less than fifteen minutes."

"Well, that's a given. Thank you so much."

The crying got louder. "Help me..." Botan swallowed a lump in her throat and turned around. She saw a girl standing in front of Keiko with a compass covered blood in her hand. The girl put the sharp point in the point between her wrist and where her palm began, the area dripping with blood. Keiko was watching at her with sympathy. Botan could only mouth, Get away from there, Keiko!

"Why... Won't you help me?" The girl started swinging the compass around wildly.

"We have to get out." Botan grabbed Keiko and they struggled to get out the window. The girl slashed Botan's leg and pulled her away from it. They knew they couldn't escape so easily. Keiko took the bat and swung it at the girl's face. She blocked it with her unbrutulized arm and continued to tug on Keiko's leg. Botan dropped from the window, and raised the bat.

-:-:-

Mukuro groaned and dialed a number. After a couple of rings, he picked up, "Hey, Hiei?"

"What the fuck do you want?" he growled. "I'm busy right now."

"Of course, I pick up the phone and I think to myself, 'Oh, I bet Hiei's got his hands tied behind his back right now so I think I'll call him!' Do you kiss your mother with that mouth? Listen- you have to hurry it up. There's a human girl on the verge of death. I think they turned the infected over to attack her instead."

"Aren't you the one who doesn't care about body counts?"

"You know that this is a fairly simple case, and my failure to keep one human from harm reflects on my leadership ability. And you know what they do to us if we're terrible in our leadership. You don't want that, do you?"

"You do realize that they dropped the acceptable number of people harmed for you because of your history, right? And you wouldn't have to keep coming to that damn place anymore. You're always complaining that you wanna quit."

"Well, I do but not to that extent."

"Even if I wanted to rush through this even more than I have to, I can't. It's all depending on Urameshi now. There was an explosion a little while ago. I guess all you can do is pray that that came from him. If worse comes to worse, the bottom three of us would have to fight Suzaku. But I can't say we have to. I haven't felt Urameshi's energy disappear yet."

"Suzaku? You're at the top then? It's not Suzaku's defeat that you should be looking for, you fool. Your main priority should be getting the whistle and destroying it. Forget about killing the Saint Beasts. No one would care if one or two are missing, but you don't need all four of them dead. And like I said, we can't have this human girl dying not just to save our own asses but also because if we let that girl die, Yusuke's gonna kill us. ...And Spirit World won't complain about that either."

"Yeah, well, they're all a bunch of dicks anyway. There's nothing we can do right now. What're you worrying about anyway? You don't really seem like you enjoy life any more than I do."

"Just try and get this done. We're getting a bunch of these calls from all over the city. I'm almost the only one left in the office right now and... God, just get it done!" She hung up.

"...Psycho bitch."

-:-:-

Suzaku bent over Yusuke who was struggling to get up. "So you love this girl a lot, don't you? Or maybe you can stand through a lot of pain for a human. So tell me...? What is it that makes you so willing to die for a little human bitch?"

"That... That's none of your business."

"Still not budging, eh? You're really wasting my time, human. So I think I'll just speed this up a bit now..." For a moment, Yusuke's eyes were blurred. He shut his eyes hard and opened them. Thinking, his eyes were still bad, he blinked again and saw they he was not mistaken. There was a line of seven identical copies of Suzaku. "So now that you know this is not an mistake, can you guess with one of us is the real Suzaku? Well, that's the beauty of it, Urameshi. We all are the real ones. We are all him. I'd like to see you try dodging my Dark First now."

A blizzard of the attacks all shot at him. He knew that he couldn't run from all of them. One pierced his right shoulder and he immediately fell to the ground convulsing, his scream growing shrill. Two of the Suzakus then walked to him, each grabbed an arm, and pulled him up. Another walked up to him and looked him right in the eyes. "So does my offer sound good now?"

Yusuke spit into his eyes. It felt as though it took all the energy just to even make his mouth go through the motions to do so. After a minute, he finally was able to say, "Oh, screw you. Do you think that I'm that wishy washy about this stupid job? You sure as hell didn't think I came all the way over here just to give up and give in."

"You shut up!" The two Suzakus shocked him with a lightened form of the Dark Fist. The other one turned to the screen. "Say, those girls look troubled. Look at that, They barely were able to knock out that girl that attacked them. I should respect that because they were almost completely unarmed."

Yusuke looked up with all the strength he had. Keiko and Botan were staring at the girl with the bloodied wrist. They made sure that she was unconscious before they finally stared to climb out the window that they broke open. "You know... Your taste in movies sucks. But if you're a fan of downer endings, I'm gonna tell you now that it's not gonna be one of those. Unless you wanna count yours in."

"Not as long as you're alive. I know that's what you were going to say." He turned back to Yusuke. "But that's not a problem and you won't be able to change the ending. Not while I still have you trapped. And after you watch your little girlfriend die, I'm gonna kill you."

-:-:-

The two girls were both glad to see the crowd was not as thick around the window so they were able to leave the bathroom as safely as they could. But they were nearly struck by someone's bat as they ran to the main entrance. Just as they were about to run to the parking lot a car pulled in.

"Let's get in!" Botan nearly dragged Keiko into the backseat with her. Immediately after they closed the door, the car sped off. Keiko took a moment to take in what was going on before she caught a glimpse of the driver in the mirror. Before she could say something, Botan was already talking. "Is it really safe to be driving right now?"

"I haven't run into any trouble, but that's probably because I'm the one driving. I don't know if they can still find us. I doubt they can find Keiko's spiritual print just like that. They're human. I'm pretty sure those parasites can't also make them spiritually aware if they aren't already."

"What if they drive?"

"Pray to god that someone cuts them off and they decide to go after the other person instead of us...? I don't know. Do they even have the mind to drive?"

"Shouldn't you know? You're the expert."

"Do I look like a parasite to you or a Saint Beast? I'm a lowly bystander, remember?" It was silent.

"Who are you...?" Keiko finally asked.

"Right, I didn't say anything about it to you. I'm Mukuro. Or Reeve in this world." Botan looked appalled and tried to get Keiko to ignore the final comment (which didn't take much effort, she still looked like she was ready to pass out). "That's all you need to know. I guess you could say I'm a friend of Yusuke's, but we'll take that up later over a nice cup of coffee. Wish we could've done this on better circumstances. We'll be at the station within fifteen minutes or ten or nine if I keep driving like this. Don't pass out on me, okay? Just think of how nice that cup of coffee will be. And how nice it'll be when you get home and lay down in your bed and... Hey, is that man... Drunk? But it's only three-thirty, why would he be...?" She swerved to move out of his way, shaking the backseat passengers. The person swerved in her direction again. "Damn. Get ready for this. I don't like where this is going..."

They started to zig-zag until they collided...

-:-:-

"No!" Keiko! Not Keiko! I can't let her die over there! But I can't move... I can't... An image flashed before his eyes. A memory from Genkai's training... "Well, if you don't give in all your effort then you WILL die, dimwit! Your best results come from your best effort! And you should know damn well after that showdown with Rando that demons don't fight for the hell of it like humans do. They do it for blood. And if you keep half assing it, that's what they'll get! Push beyond your limits and you will win! Being tired is no excuse!"

Push my limits... But how... I'm so... tired... But I can't let Kieko die. Not Keiko. Not Botan. Not Mukuro either. No. Not because of me... I need more power. I need to find it somewhere...

He watched as the crowd closed in on the car. Keiko was leaning towards the driver's seat, shaking Mukuro. She looked like she was limp from the impact. She turned to Botan, who had shards of glass scattered around her face and arms. Tears dripped from Keiko's eyes. She clutched Botan to her, grabbed the bat. She started to mouth the words of a pray.

No... No, no, no, fucking no! I'm not going to let her die and I'm not going to die in this shit hole! I want to fucking go home already. This is shit. He felt a surge of energy in him, and he released it all, sending all of the Suzakus away and they all fell unconscious. Yusuke collapsed. He saw the whistle was just out of his reach. He gathered all the energy he could and started to take slow movements toward it. Then he felt a light splat on his back. By the smell of it, he knew that damn bird just crapped on his back. He started to crawl closer to the flute. Just as it was within his grasp, Murugu smacked the whistle away with her beak, "No you don't!"

Yuuske smirked at her. "Too bad. I will anyway. Where I'm from, there's a lot of people without houses or jobs now. They would love to have a turkey dinner right now... I'm not one that gives stuff for canned food drives but here's a little favor for them..."

"Y-you can't fire that stupid thing. You can't even stand up." She grabbed the whistle and carried it away into the air with her.

"Watch me." He fired the last of his Spirit Energy in a rather weak Spirit Gun. She was only able to drop the whistle before she was killed. "Score one for the supporters of Sarah Palin."

"That's no big loss right there. Too bad you didn't think to use it on the whistle. It's the lesser of two evils in your terms since you humans are so bent on being righteous when you know damn well that you aren't," Suzaku said. He stood up. "And too bad you couldn't have at least made sure that I was dead either."

"Sorry. I was used to my enemies being dead when I kill 'em." Yusuke struggled to his feet but fell back down. He forced himself up once more and this time, he stayed up but he knew he was swaying side to side a bit. "So you're not so bad without your minions now. Are you..."

"You wasted your energy on Murugu. I think I'm just going to finish you with the Dark Fist of Lightning by myself. And it looks like your girlfriend's going right now, too."

Yusuke saw the people were starting to drag Keiko away from the car as she kicked and screamed. Botan was being pulled out too with several hands wrapping around her neck. He tore his eyes away from the screen, not wanting to see more. "No... You're wrong..." He felt energy surging within him again. It looks like this'll be the last time... "I've got plenty."

Suzaku was about to fire his Dark Fist of Lightning when Yusuke shot him with a powerful Spirit Gun before he collapsed. Suzaku hit the ground and immediately started to get up but he was paralyzed. I feel so numb... Why...? He saw his tentacle in front of his eye. It's cracked! But that's not supposed to happen. "You've won... Somehow, you were able to win..." His final thought was, Too bad I couldn't live longer. This human boy... He seems like he's worth tracking down again. He thought he saw a vision. A man with white hair. He didn't understand it, but he knew who it was just for a moment. And that was all.

Kuwabara, Kurama, and Hiei came in at that moment. Hiei noticed the flute, picked it up, and smashed it against the wall. He smirked at the satisfying sound it made when it hit the ground in pieces. Kurama pointed at the screen. They both stared at it a while.

"So that's what they looked like..." Kurama mumbled. One by one, the possessed dropped unconscious. He cocked at brow at the girls on the screen. He thought he recognized the girl with the blue hair, but the other one. He turned around to see what the other two were doing. "Looks like we've got that taken care of. And it looks like we've done Spirit World a favor by taking out all of these guys since they've been wanting the end of that now. But I don't feel... Oh..." Kurama stopped when he saw Yusuke was on the ground. Hiei crouched down and pressed his thumb on Yusuke's neck. He shook his head. Kuwabara kneeled right next to him. He started to sniff back some snot and rub his eyes vigorously.

"No. Not again, not again..." Kuwabara mumbled. "Hey, Hiei, he's still fresh, right? Like he just died? That means he can still be saved, right?" Hiei shrugged and turned back to the screen. "He doesn't have life energy. Then that must mean..."

"Kuwabara, you can't be thinking of..." Kurama said.

"Yeah. I am," he replied simply.

"But it's a risky action. If you give him too much, then you won't make it either. I can't even tell you when you need to stop."

"I don't care. He can have as much as he wants. He's been dead once and I won't let him do it again. Here we go." He pressed his hands to Yusuke's chest as though he was performing CPR. He shut his eyes, focusing on the energy within. His skin glowed and he imagined it going through his hands and to Yusuke's body. He opened his eyes briefly and saw Yusuke was glowing, too. He shut his eyes and continued his work until his hands shook. "I think that's good enough, don't you?" Kurama gave him a wry smile.

Hiei tapped Kurama's shoulder and turned his attention back to the screen. "Can you believe this shit?" Kurama turned to it, too, as he heard Kuwabara pass out from exhaustion.

-:-:-

Yusuke woke up in an unfamiliar room. He was sure that if he even opened his eyes at all, he would still be in Maze Castle. But this was a room with walls covered with random rock bands. He looked down at the bedding, dark blue with a sort of lightning pattern on them. He sighed. He was done with lightning for twenty lifetimes now. He turned his head, and when he saw Kurama and Kuwabara sitting at the desk near the bed, he knew where he was. Kuwabara was the first to notice that Yusuke was awake.

"Hey, look you're awake. I got so much to tell you. You missed school being closed for it a week. It sucked... For you! Because you're not gonna enjoy because you have to go back tomorrow. And Iwamoto's arrested right now cause he sent Takanaka to the hospital or something," Kuwabara explained enthusiastically. "Dunno when that happened. But at least that jerk's not gonna bug us anymore."

"Hey, hold it. That's nice and all but... What about Keiko and Botan... And Mukuro? Forgot about her... I saw this screen, and I saw everything happen. So what happened to them? Are they okay?" Yusuke asked. The other two exchanged glances of anxiety. "What?"

"About that..." They said nothing more.

" ...What the hell? Why aren't you telling me anything? What happened?!"

"Jeez, Yusuke, five minutes and you're already screaming your head off. I can see someone's not a morning person," Botan said with a giggle as she walked into the bedroom with an extremely nervous looking Keiko following behind. "She waved a bag labeled Hostess for all to see.

"By the way, Mukuro- I mean, the chief's just fine. She got hit pretty bad by the airbag, and it knocked her out for a while. I guess because she's kind of short and I've heard she's prone to head injuries too, that might be a big part of it too... But all in all, she was unscratched. She says she's a lot tougher than people think she is," Kurama said. "Don't look at us like that. We just wanted to have a bit of fun with you. And it was all Kuwabara's idea..."

"You guys are dicks..." Yusuke grumbled.

"Now, it's time to party since we all got out of that nice and fine. I've got coffee cakes." They all stared at her like she was crazy. "What, it's the only thing I could find in my budget and Hostess was having a 'Buy five for five dollars' sale that day, too. You don't see that many deals out in this country anymore, now do you?" She giggled again. (Yes, plenty of times. Kurama thought to himself.) Botan lifted the plastic bag in her hands offering them all one. When Kurama got up to go (of course after taking one of the cakes first), she asked, "Where are you going?"

"Well, I have to go back to work and report to the chief since Hiei's gone MIA, apparently. It might mean that he's skipping work and getting drunk. I have no idea what he does. But I'll come back sometime to make sure you all are fine. I have a feeling we'll all be seeing each other again really soon." Kurama walked away after stopping in the doorway to wave goodbye.

"I have to home. My mom's gonna be bugging if I don't come home soon," Yusuke moaned and forced himself out of bed, half noticing Keiko following him. He took a coffee cake, too. "And you got the good kind too. Thanks, Botan."

"I have to go, too. Dad's kind of been bugging me to get some stuff done since I've been busy keeping an eye on Urameshi..." Kuwabara walked out. He turned around and walked back in the room. "I don't know if you can stay here. My sister might not wanna see some girl she doesn't standing around here. My dad'll freak too."

"What? Well, more for me then..." She looked into the bag. "What? You guys only left two for me! I'm a hungry person you know!" Botan unwrapped one and walked out of the apartment, sighing. I'm so alone.

Keiko stopped Yusuke before he continued to walk home and offered to drive him home. Of course, he knew he had to accept. The first few minutes of the ride were silent but then Keiko broke the silence. "Yusuke. I don't know what's going on right now at all. Botan explained some of it to me and Mukuro said a few things that didn't make much sense but... I don't care what it is that you're doing. I just want to know so tell me first. I don't know why we stopped telling each other things anyway but..." She paused. "Let's go home."

"Hey... Wanna cook me dinner in return?"

"No. Just no."

"I need payback. Come on."

Keiko just chuckled.

/And there was none.

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Chapter 8
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