"What was so important that you had to come here?! Can't you see I'm busy?!" Koenma grouched. He continued to stamp papers, not bothering to look at Kuwabara, Kurama, and Yusuke. Not even bothering to blink.
George sweatdropped and shot the tanteis a nervous look.
Koenma is in a bad mood and whatever it is that they came all the way here for... maybe it can wait?
Apparently, it can't. Because Kuwabara, who had begged Kurama and Yusuke to come with him to Reikai, bravely walked up to the irritated chibi.
He, Kazuma Kuwabara is here on a very important mission. No toddler, even if he's the royal brat can stand on his way.
Especially not in the way of love.
Yusuke and Kurama exchanged curious glances. They still don't know what Kuwabara is up to.
"Koenma-sama..." Kuwabara began.
And why he sounds so respectful and proper.
Heck, he even looks proper. Yusuke smothered a chuckle at the sight of Kuwabara's perfectly gelled hair. Yep. Courtesy of his--Yusuke's--own hair gel. The strong type that no amount of fighting can ruin his hair.
"...I came here to tell you that I will ask Yukina to marry me..."
It was as if all air left the room.
All eyes turned to Kuwabara.
Koenma's hand froze in mid-stamp.
"I'm telling you because I don't want to have some inter-dimensional law or some other crap standing in the way of our love..."
Stars danced in Kuwabara's eyes.
"If there are laws against ningen and youkai marriage..."
Kuwabara leaned close to Koenma.
"...you can tell whoever wrote it to kiss my ass."
Koenma's stamp finally met the document with almost agonizing slowness. The soft thump echoed in the eerily silent room like a thunderbold.
"Well? Say something!" Kuwabara exclaimed, unable to contain his excitement. He grinned, seemingly giddly with happiness. He looked expectantly at Yusuke, his best friend and soon to be best man.
Everyone broke into smiles.
Yusuke thought if he smiled wider his face would split.
"That's a fantastic idea, Kuwabara!" Koenma found his voice first.
Kuwabara raised his eyebrow at Yusuke's direction, waiting for him to finish.
"Inspired!" Kurama cut in.
Yusuke shot Kurama a gratefuly look.
"It's absolutely, totally inspired!" Yusuke smiled wider, it hurts.
<Inspired. Right. Where'd "inspired" came from?> Kurama thought. <Inspired are for artworks and for ideas that doesn't include...>
<...death. How are we gonna tell Hiei?> Yusuke exchanged a look with Kurama, Koenma, and George.
A still oblivious Kuwaraba interrupted their thoughts when he flicked open a box with a glittering diamond ring.
"Girl at the shop said this is the best thing they got. It cost me my life's saving but Yukina's worth it. What do you guys think? It's authentic isn't it?"
After nearly ten hours, everyone looking for Hiei in Makai finally found him in the most unusual place. A filling room hidden in the middle of nowhere in Mukuro's place. Hiei was burried in several hundred years worth of paperwork and dust.
Hiei flitted up to Kurama's window and perched there, perfectly balanced. He eyed Kurama, Yusuke, and Koenma silently.
"Hiei, take off your boots and take a seat," Kurama said, pointing to his chair by the desk.
"Hn," Hiei focused on Koenma, wondering what the royal pain is up to now.
Koenma swallowed nervously and continued chewing on his pacifier, hoping that if he continued to chew on it his nervousness would die down. He silently wondered if all these events would be traced back to him and in the end it will all be his fault. Unblinking red eyes continued to stare at him. He suddenly had a very strong urge to go to the bathroom, whether to pee or to retch, it doesn't matter. What's important is that he gets to the bathroom before something... bad happens. Managing a strangled "excuse me" he raced to the bathroom.
Kurama sweatdropped at the sight of Koenma looking like a nervous wreak. <I wonder what that imagination of his has come up with.>
"What is this about?" Hiei demanded. "I don't have whole day," he continued, grumbling. "Do you know what kind of job I have now?! Huh?!"
This must be bad because a short and simple "Hn" usually answers and explains everything.
"After Mukuro's driver knocked over *my* tree and nearly ran over me, giving me all sorts of damned cuts, fractures, and bruises, she reassigned me to that dusty area called an office! Five hundred years worth of paperwork! I have to dig it all up then file all of them! Does she think I'm Reikai's royal baby?! CHI!!!"
Yusuke and Kurama sweatdropped.
"I heard that!" Koenma yelled from the bathroom.
"Hiei, I really think you should sit down," Yusuke said.
Hiei's lip twitched at the word "think".
"Tell me now or I'm leaving. There are tons of paperwork waiting for me in Mukuro's place. What was she thinking hiring that non-brain to do the filing? He can't even file to save his--"
"Kuwabara's gonna ask Yukina to marry him," Yusuke blurted out.
There. They've said it. The direct and blunt approached is just as bad as the other ways of saying it. They can't find any other way that will make it all better. No other way at all.
The moon is full. The waves are rolling silently towards the shore. The light of the moon and the stars made Yukina look even more beautiful than usual. It's the most perfect, most romantic moment.
Kuwabara inwardly sigh. Everything's just perfect.
"Will you marry me, Yukina?" Kuwabara asked before he lost his nerve. He held out the ring.
"Oh!" Yukina clapped her hands in delight. "It's such a pretty stone!" The moonlight made the stone sparkle.
Kuwabara felt his heart soar happily. <She'll say yes! She'll say yes! Yes! Yes! YES!!!>
Yukina smiled prettily and innocently up at him. "What's 'marry', Kazuma?"
Kuwabara's heart dropped.
"What's 'marry'?" Hiei asked.
Yusuke's jaw dropped. Kurama sweatdropped.
"It's what ningens do when they're in love," Kuwabara explained trying to sound very knowledgeable and convincing about the subject.
"I love you that's why I'm asking you to marry me," he finished, smilling at her hopefully.
"Ok," Yukina smiled up at him.
"Ok?! You mean *the* 'ok' as in you'll marry me?!" he was too elated for words.
"YES!" Kuwabara threw up his hands and did a happy dance.
Yusuke finished explaining about love and marriage. He had to use his relationship with Keiko as an example. He wanted to make an example out of Genkai and Toguro but that will be too complicated.
But Hiei remains skeptical.
"What happens after they marry?" Hiei asked.
"Oh, good lord, I'm not staying around for this," Koenma disappeared back into the bathroom, where it is relatively safe, at least for a few milliseconds, from whatever Hiei decides to unleash after Kurama and Yusuke finish explaining.
Yusuke and Kurama look at one another, both with an enormous sweatdrop.
"You explain! I did the explaing the first time," Yusuke hissed at Kurama. "Besides," he added with a small smirk, "you're older and more experienced than I am."
"Right," Kurama grumbled. He is so not looking forward to this.
Hiei looked at Kurama like an attentive but impatient student. "I'm waiting," Hiei said from his perch on the windowsill. "And I haven't got all day."
"Hiei, why don't you take a seat?" Kurama has no desire to run into Mukuro's wrath if her precious heir got hurt when he lose his balance on the window after he hears what happens after the wedding.
"No," Hiei replied, stubbornly.
<Do I explain this scientifically?> An image of Yusuke snoring and a puzzled Hiei crossed his mind. <Or should I use the birds and the bees thing?> An image of an even more puzzled Hiei crossed his mind. <Hm. Maybe I don't even have to there...>
"They live together... and have children."
"LIVE TOGETHER?!!!!" Hiei hollered, his face as red as his eyes and his voice loud enough to be heard by ningens several blocks away.
"...then we'll live together," Kuwabara paused, someone, somewhere, seemed to have shouted 'live together' with such horror it made his skin crawl. But whoever it was, right now he is too happy to care.
"Not that were not sort of living together now but you'll," he took a deep breath and let out the words in a rush, "you'll have to move in to my room."
"Oh," Yukina gave him another angelic smile. "Shizuru wanted to renovate her room anyway so I'd have to move out. And your room is also nice."
Yusuke and Kurama opened their mouths to reply but before they could Hiei's eyes widened further in pure terror.
Terrified eyes focused on Kurama.
"Children," Hiei croaked. "Did you just say children?"
Yusuke and Kurama nodded.
<Maybe he's terrified of chibi Kuwabaras running around calling him 'uncle'> Yusuke sweatdropped at the thought.
Hiei jumped off the window, muddied boots and all.
<There goes my new carpet> Kurama thought.
Yusuke and Kurama fell back onto their behind. Had they not been so terrified it would have been funny. It's not everyday that one can hear Hiei screech.
From the bathroom, Koenma whimpered in fright.
"...and then we can have children. How many kids do you want to have, Yukina-chan?" Kuwabara asked while holding Yukina's hand.
Yukina smiled in pure delight. "Children? I love children! We're going to have babies?"
"Oh! That is soooo kawaiiii!!" Images of chibi ice maidens and chibi fire demons danced in her mind. She'd always thought Hiei is cute and nice.
"How are we going to have children?" Yukina asked.
Kuwabara felt his blood draining from his face. "Good question," he croaked out.
Hiei had seen animals in Makai mating when he was younger. The female's skin peeled then when she gave birth all her children look like the father. The next day the female died.
In his mind, Hiei saw little idiots running around calling him 'uncle'. He suddenly felt ill. Nauseated. Yeah. That's the ningen term.
He swallowed, trying to fight off faint.
"I won't let her have children and mate with that fool! It'll kill her!" Hiei looked frantic.
Hiei turned, ready to flee to the window and hunt down Kuwabara.
Kurama blocked his path, "Listen to me, mating will not kill Yukina."
"But it will! When I was young, I saw these creatures mating," Hiei spoke in rushed tones, "then the female's skin peeling. Then she died after giving birth!" the fire demon seems on the verge of panic as he tried to shove Kurama out of the way. "Outta my way!!"
"Hiei --- HIEI! CALM DOWN!" Kurama finally shouted.
Hiei focused wild frightened eyes at him.
"Take a deep breath..."
Hiei breathes in.
"Slowly release it..."
Hiei breathes out, then quickly runs to the window.
Kurama and Yusuke tackled him.
"Snap out of it, kid!" Kurama snapped, sounding almost like Youko Kurama.
"Don't call me kid!" Hiei snapped back, crossing his arms like a -- like an insolent kid.
"Now. I'm going to explain it to you and you'll listen, is that clear?"
"Good." Kurama sat down near his desk and caught sight of Yusuke looking too amused while Koenma is peeping from the bathroom.
"When a couple gets married they sleep together..."
"A couple?" Hiei interrupted. "Meaning two? Why can't they be three or four..."
"Hiei!" Kurama waved a warning finger at him. "Listen to me. One more word or if you try to run again, I will tie you up and I am *not* kidding."
Hiei inwardly 'eepped'. Youko Kurama is a bad enemy. Big bad.
"As I was saying," Kurama continued, "they sleep together then she gets pregnant. Then she gives birth to a child."
"Are you giving me the summary? Because I want details," Hiei cut in.
Kurama gritted his teeth. Yusuke looks even more amused. Koenma edged out of the bathroom for a better view, cursing himself for not bringing a video camera.
"An ice maiden has an almost similar reproductive system as a female ningen. Ningen females have these eggs inside them. Ningen males have uh -- millions of tiny tadpoles in them. Have you seen tadpoles?"
Before Kurama can continue, "I have a question," Yusuke cut in.
"Yusuke, now is not the time for this," Kurama sounded tired. He isn't cut out for this kind of education.
"Do ningens and youkais do it the same way?"
"Not always," Kurama replied, curtly. "As I was saying, after they get married these tadpoles race towards the female's egg and the strongest tadpole gets the egg. The egg and the tadpole combined becomes the baby."
"How did the tadpole get there?" Hiei asked curiously.
Koenma and Yusuke looked at Kurama expectantly.
"They're just there." Kurama glared at Yusuke until the unspoken question died on Yusuke's lips.
"Really?" Hiei's jagan glowed.
"Really. When they marry the tadpoles transfer to the female's body," Kurama replied, sounding convincing enough to fool the others, even himself.
"There's no pain and no death involved?"
"No death," he mentailly crossed his fingers, "and no pain."
"I'm not really sure how it's done," Kuwabara answered. Technically he doesn't really know because he and Urameshi skipped the class about the reproductive system and all that crap. "But I'm sure we'll figure it out," he replied, reassuringly.
Yukina nodded and smiled, "What do we do now?"
"We plan for the wedding. Where do you want it? And someone will have to walk you down the aisle."
"Why? Can't you do that?"
"It has to be somebody else..."
"Where are you going?" Yusuke asked as Hiei walked towards the window, looking surprisingly calm.
"I'm going to talk to Yukina and the idiot."
Before they can say anything, Hiei was gone.
The three young men moved towards the couch and flopped on it with a tired but relieved "whew!"
Kurama silently thanked Kami that his apartment is still intact.
"Yeah?" Kurama cracked his eyes open.
"What you said about the tadpole thing...uh...are you sure they just get there without...uh...without doing other things? Because Keiko said---"
Koenma and Kurama's eyes widened a bit.
"You talked to Keiko about this?" Koenma asked, surprised.
"Sheesh! What was I thinking asking that girl? She's a girl! What does she know about us guys, huh? But I didn't have much of a choice. The only guy I'd ask in class is Kuwabara and he skipped the class with me. Besides, that study session with Keiko was weird. She was blushing and she kept on mumbling I didn't understand half of it."
"Give me a break, Yusuke. I saw those magazines that you and Kuwabara read. Don't tell me you still don't know after you've read that!"
"We have an idea but it won't hurt to be sure!"
Kurama groaned. "Why do I have a feeling I have to explain this again?"
"Cool!" Yusuke exclaimed. "But this time tell us the truth, ok? Kuwabara can come, right? The guy's getting married and I know he has no idea about this."
"Hiei-san, will you walk me down the aisle when I get married?" Yukina asked, looking at him with those ruby red eyes filled with such innocence he didn't have the heart to say no. Some might call him a merciless killer but saying "no" to Yukina is way too cruel. Even for him. Besides, everytime he turns her down or lies to her not only does his conscience bug him but Kurama also does!
"Are you sure that's what you want?"
"Hai! Kazuma said that usually the bride's father or brother walks her down the aisle... but since my brother is not here..."
A sharp pang of guilt twisted around his heart.
"...you're like the brother I've never met, Hiei-san. Sometimes I've wished you are my brother."
Yukina gazed up at him. He was too shocked by what she said he was unable to hide it.
He blinked and looked away. "I'll do what you ask," he said, gruffly, trying to mask the emotions churning inside him. How can she want him to be her brother? Doesn't she know that he doesn't deserve her? That she deserves a brother who isn't as tainted as him?
"Thank you, Hiei-san! You've made me so happy!"
Yukina threw her arms around him and hugged him tight.
"Can I just pretend that you're my brother? Even for just tonight and during my wedding day?"
"Yeah," his voice, his heart, and his desire to care for his sister the way he should have so long ago betrayed his mind that was screaming "no". "If you want," the voice that betrayed him continued, "you can pretend that I'm your brother until after the wedding."
His lips betrayed him as well when it broke into a small smile.
Yukina smiled up at him, her eyes shining, "Why do we have to pretend? Can't you just be my brother? Why does it have to end after the wedding? Can't it be forever? Can't you feel it? The connection between us?"
"Yukina..." Does she know? How can she? Is it because of some sort of connection between them?
"I love you, niichan."
He wrapped his arms around her, unable to speak.
Several hours later, he entered Mukuro's room. He silently crept inside, so he can crawl into her couch without waking her up. She's always touchy when she wakes up early. He didn't like sharing her room with her but after that tree accident she wouldn't let him sleep anywhere except her couch.
He was about to lie down but Mukuro's voice froze him on the spot.
Well, technically, he's not. It's midnight here in Makai. Late is during the night, right? He's actually early. Technically.
"My sister's getting married."
"I was thinking maybe I can have a few days off?"
Mukuro flooded the room with light.
"You have a lot of nerve asking for a vacation. Especially after what you did to my files! Your filing is horrible!"
"Ho--horrible?!" he sputtered.
"Yes! Horrible! Have you lost your Jagan?! What we're you thinking arranging the files that way?!"
"I arranged them alphabetically! Unlike that non-brain who did the filing for you before!"
Mukuro snorted. "You call that filing alphabetical? It's a mess!"
"Mess?! Kurama and Yusuke's woman do the filing that way! Even that brat of Reikai and his onis, heck even that bubble-brained girl Botan do filing the same way I just did!"
Mukuro's electronic and natural eye narrowed, "No heir of mine will earn my position unless he knows the Makai alphabet."
Hiei's heart dropped, "There's a Makai alphabet?" he squeaked. Kuso! No one told him there's a Makai alphabet! Three eyes mentally glared at Kurama and all the other youkais he'd met, none of which bothered to mention the existence of Mukuro's Makai alphabet.
"Yes there's a Makai alphabet. Did you think we'd use that backward ningen alphabet? Hmp!"
Hiei looked at her, feeling like a schoolkid being reprimanded by his teacher.
"There are 57 letters in the Maka alphabet," Mukuro continued, adopting a school teacher-ish voice. "You're not to go on vacation until you memorize it."
"That's my final decision. Now go to your couch and sleep. You have 57 letters to memorize tomorrow."
"No buts! Go!"
"Hai," he moved away like a school grader being dismissed by the principal.
"Can I come to your sister's wedding?"
~ O W A R I ~