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Dabbling in Drabbling

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Mystification – Kaito

It was incomprehensible – that Shuichi could be friends with these people.

They attacked blindly, without so much as a thought, lashing out with fists and swords at anything that got in their way. No intellect, no logic, just mindless violence. And how I hated violence.

Predictably, they were each ensnared, victims of their own stupidity, until only Shuichi the great mastermind was left: free to outwit me without them blundering into his path. I'd have thought he'd be relieved.

But I saw the look in his eye, promising unimaginable pain if one soul was even scratched.

And I envied him.

 



Misericordiam – Kurama

I rarely exchanged words with Kaito, but I knew his type; could hazard a guess at the past which led him to abhor violence. But it wasn't for that I pitied him.

He saw Yusuke as a punk, Kuwabara as a thug, Botan as a ditz, Hiei as a bully… and myself as a rival. Each judgement, each condemnation made in terms of our intelligence.

He couldn't see beyond the tough talk and rash actions to Yusuke's heart, Kuwabara's chivalry, Botan's faith, Hiei's honour. He was as ignorant as he accused them of being.

And for that I pitied him.

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Hiei felt exhaustion rush to greet him like the dragon he’d just consumed. Every drop of energy in his body was drained. His legs trembled under the strain of supporting him.

He forced himself to stagger over to his teammates. Their words swirled chaotically around his numb senses. Fear, exultation, relief, calm amusement. Kurama, of course.

He struggled against oblivion. Part of him was terrified of being so vulnerable in sleep. He masked it with his usual insults.

“If I wake up… and we’ve lost I swear I’ll… kill… you… all…” His hold broke and he fell backwards into black.

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Version 1

Botan had seen Keiko writing in her diary every evening before bed. She knew she should never betray Keiko’s trust, but ached to find out what was in it. One night, she spotted a slim corner peeking out from underneath the sofa, and the temptation was too great. Kitten ears popped out as she dived for the diary.

“Ah-ha! Now we’ll see what dirty secrets are kept in here!”

She leafed through the pages until she happened upon some racy prose. “Meow!” But as she began to read, she realised the feminine-looking handwriting had a very different author.

“…Kurama?!”

Version 2

Botan tried to keep her nosiness under control. But the corner of a notebook peeking out from under the sofa proved too great a temptation. “Wonder who this belongs to! Let’s see…”

Five minutes later, red and flustered, she re-joined the group waiting outside.

“Botan? Did you get the handcream?” Keiko asked.

“What? Oh… no…”

“Is something wrong?”

Every time that Hiei and I are in the room together I get flashes of his toned body, his aroused gaze, the feeling of him pounding into me…

“No! Not at all! By the way, did you know Kurama keeps a diary?”

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Growing up in the human world, Kurama had always despised human fairy tales. He found them to be wildly unrealistic and loathsomely sappy. Centuries of deceit, violence and betrayal in the demon world tended to sour your belief in a happy ending.

But in recent years, he’d found one that resonated with his current situation in a way he could never have foreseen. He’d taken to perusing the story late at night, when he was bored or lonely.

Kurama turned the page to an illustration of Wendy leaning on the windowsill, gazing up at the second star to the right and waiting, for someone who would take her from her dull and repetitive everyday life to a world of excitement and adventure. He went to his own window, which like hers was left unlocked for one who might never reappear. He pushed it open, letting in the chill night air, and leaned on the windowsill. Waiting.

Hours later, he awoke at his desk, lifting his head groggily from the book he’d been using as a pillow. He looked to the window and saw a crouched figure, a pair of glowing red eyes, and smiled.

“Come to take me to Neverland?”

 

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Yusuke sulked all the way back up to the hotel, carrying that stupid stuffed rabbit-penguin-thing on his head. The others were going to laugh even worse than Koenma and Botan when they saw this. He knew how much Kuwabara would love the opportunity to tease him over it. And yeah, he was glad he hadn’t been completely devoured body and soul, yadda yadda, but couldn’t his spirit beast have been a bit more badass? How was he supposed to appear manly in front of Keiko now?

Kuwabara was drinking a can of soda when Yusuke entered the room. He took one look at Yusuke and sprayed an impressive fountain out of his nose with laughter.

“Yeah, I hope you choke to death on that,” Yusuke said with a dark look at his friend. “Ass.”

“Urameshi – haha – you’ve got something on your head – ahahaha-”

“Oh stow it,” said Yusuke as the stupid thing on his head made cooing noises. “You too, ya big blue marshmallow.”

There was a knock at the door, and Yusuke steeled himself. Botan’s mischievous face peeked around it.

“Hello there, I brought everyone up to see Yusuke’s newly-hatched spirit beast! I thought we could have a little hatching party.” Her eyes gleamed.

Yukina, Shizuru and Keiko all proceeded past Botan into the room. Yusuke quickly snatched the blue powder puff off his head and hid it behind his back. He wanted to put off Keiko’s inevitable reaction to the ridiculous thing a little bit longer.

“So Yusuke, where’s your spirit beast? I wanna see it,” said Keiko, looking around the room.

“Yeah, Botan tells us it’s a real ringer for your true personality,” Shizuru added with an amused expression, taking out a cigarette and lighting up.

“Puu!” came the telltale noise from behind Yusuke’s back, and Keiko walked over to him.

“Where’s that coming from? C’mon, show me.” She wasn’t angry yet, but that glint in her eye showed she might be soon. With a sigh, Yusuke brought his huggable inner self out from behind his back.

“Here’s the damn thing.”

He was unprepared for Keiko’s gasp of delight. “Oh look, it’s so adorable!” She seized hold of the long-eared furball and cuddled it to her chest. “Aren’t you a cutie?” Puu chirped happily as she tickled it in the stomach.

Yusuke looked on in slight disbelief, wishing she would show his actual self the same unrestrained affection as his inner self. Still, he couldn’t deny it made him feel kind of warm inside. Puu was still a part of him, and Keiko loved and accepted it wholeheartedly.

Puu was passed around among his adoring fans, and amidst the babble of talk and laughter, Keiko murmured to Yusuke,

“Your inner self really is sweet… This just proves what I’ve been telling people all along.” She threw Yusuke a fond look and then went over to socialise with the others.

Yusuke scratched the back of his head and reflected that maybe manly wasn’t what Keiko wanted after all.

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Kurama had spent centuries refining the art of deception. It was his greatest asset in battle and his most relied-upon tactic. Distraction, illusion, sleight of hand; he employed them all to deadly effect.

 

He would rather fight any of those battles again than face the challenge that rose before him now. He felt a dozen pairs of eyes boring into him, awaiting his performance. What could he do to deflect their attention? To conceal his true skill?

 

A sharp whistle blast sounded. “Minamino, you’re up!”

 

Kurama sighed and launched himself awkwardly over the vaulting horse.

 

He really hated gym class.

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“Ten” was the magic word. It had the power to end any agony, one way or another.

With it came the crashing despair of defeat, or the sweeping triumph of victory. The count to ten could pass so quickly when you were on the ground, struggling to rise and remain in the tournament; or so slowly, as you swayed on the spot, willing your opponent to stay floored.

Time and time again, the members of Team Urameshi were sent sprawling to the ground or flung outside the ring. Blood-soaked, bruised and drained, they staggered to their feet and battled on.

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Hiei ignored Kurama expounding on his possible motives for wanting to fight Seiryu. Don’t pretend you know so little about what motivates me, fox. Or are you still in denial about what you did?

He knew about betrayal first-hand; he knew how it cut through your gut like a knife. But was that the only reason he was taking this fight so personally?

What disturbed him more was how familiar Seiryu’s reasoning sounded. “He was a weapon, not a friend, and like a cheap sword, he rusted.” The words could have been taken from inside his own head. How many times had he formed an ‘alliance’ with another, only to discard them once they’d outlived their usefulness?

He probably would have betrayed Kurama too, if the fox hadn’t got there first.

As he took up a fighting stance against Seiryu, it wasn’t the ice wielder he saw standing opposite him, but himself. Hiei’s spirit energy glowed fiercely as he stared himself down.

This is what you get for thinking you can do without anyone, he taunted. You cling to that ‘honour’ code whilst stabbing everyone around you in the back! I’ll show you what a true warrior spirit consists of.