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Without You

by Meiko

Chapter One: "Dreaming"

Botan/Kurama fiction! Wow… it’s been so long since I’ve typed one of these. I hope you all shall enjoy it. It should be better then my other ones were, because I believe that I have grown better as an author, but well, you’ll just have to tell me what you think in a review.

To understand the mentality and mind-set of this fiction, I must enlighten you all with a bit of background information. Sweatdrops Long sentence, I know, but just go along with me and read this: Botan (although actually quite old) is 19 in maturity and mentality, Kurama (yet again though actually quite old in his Youko form) is almost 20…. Which makes him also 19 .;;. He lives on his own in his own apartment, and Botan lives, well, in Reikai most of the time…

So without further ado, here’s Without You!

The crimson-stained sun rises and sets,
And still we continue to walk on.
Though I am with others,
I shall remain in sadness.
The sorrow, overflowing through the words in the song of my heart,
Seizes me with pain as I dance this endless waltz of life.
Forever I am dreaming of a time that I will no longer be without you.
thoughts

world/place/time

“talking”

Reikai

Botan walked out into the crisp morning air. She loved this time of day. But what she loved most was right before this time, during twilight. It was beautiful; the light, soft velvety violet mixing with the pale pink. Sometimes it was so beautiful, she could just forget all of her worries and problems she would have at the moment…

But she couldn’t focus on how beautiful the morning was at the moment, Koenma had woken her up very early with a job. She sighed… Someone had been out late drinking sake again, and, well the rest is a given. What is so wrong with Ningenkai that so many people are wanting to drown themselves in alcohol for? She wondered. “Well it’s not as if Reikai doesn’t have it’s share of drunkards as well though…” She thought out loud.

The job didn’t bug her. She was just a bit irritated, however, because he had interrupted a dream…

She paused for a moment, looking down. It was the same one she had been having for quite a while. She was in a big room. It had marble floors and a glass ceiling that you could see the sky through. The doors were all made of a cherry colored wood, and had intricately engraved roses and other various plants and animals. She could hear someone playing the piano in the background while someone played the violin, and another person walked up in front of her. Placing their hands in hers, they started dancing. Throughout the whole dream sequence, Botan could not see who her dancing partner was.

Still, it was not this part that bothered her. It was the empty feeling that came after the dream. It was strange that she could not see who was with her, but if she was telling the complete truth, it did not bother her. Whoever it was, was warm and comforting. So much that in fact she didn’t think to ever look up.

This time, though, when the song finished, she looked up. She was about to see whose face it was when…

Koenma woke her up with the mission.

She sighed. Isn’t this what people like Ayame stay up late for? Oh well… she deserves a break. She always works so late and never gets any sleep. But still, it would have been a nice way to end that dream… Botan yawned and summoned her oar. She smiled a gentle smile, knowing that the feeling would go away eventually. Lightly sliding onto the enchanted device, she floated upwards and into the sky, letting the wind caress her fair skin.

Ningenkai

Kurama sat up in bed with a start. Panting, he lay back down briefly and put a hand to his rapidly beating heart. He had seen her this time… Or at least he thought he did, in his dream. He had been having this dream a lot lately…

It starts out where he’s walking into a huge room, with marble halls. Someone he knows plays something unknown yet vaguely familiar on the piano, with another person on the violin, and there’s a girl in front of him. He sees her, but for some reason also does at the same time not see her… He knows she’s there but doesn’t look at her, and for some reason has no intention to. Just being in her presence seemed to satisfy him enough. They begin to dance, and her hands, her movements, everything about her seems very familiar. But why? He asked himself.

Usually the dream doesn’t end, he just wakes up in the middle of the dance. But this time was different, this time, when the dance ended, he looked down, and just before he could see her… He woke up.

He sighed as he looked down at himself. He was damp from sweating and this made his clothes very uncomfortable as they clung to his body. Getting up and changing into different night attire, he sighed once again as he let his mind wander. Why is it that I’m never able to look upon this girl’s face? It was very strange and bothered him immensely. When he wasn’t busy with this or that, he would let his thoughts travel to whatever they wanted to. Usually it was that dream or that girl. …With that came an empty feeling that would follow with those thoughts.

Pulling his shirt over his head, he pulled back the covers of his bed and gently sat back down. He lay down, and closed his eyes, pushing whatever thoughts of the dream or the girl he had in his mind away. After a few failed attempts, he gave up and stared at the ceiling. I will never sleep normally or comfortably until I find out what I desire to know… He thought about what he could remember about the girl in the dream.

Hmm… she had relatively small hands and a small waist, delicate but strong. She danced very well… He raised his hand to his mouth in contemplation he remembered a certain aspect. “She smelled of sakura blossoms and rain..”

Who do I know with that scent?... He sighed once more. His couldn’t think anymore. He was to tired for things like this. He looked over at the clock and grunted exhaustedly. 6:18 AM… he would get at least two more hours of sleep then work the problem out.

Akigawa-shi, Tokyo-ko (city of Tokyo)

Botan sighed as she approached the loud wailing of the ambulance. Looking down, she saw the drunkard, confused. “Huh…I knew I shoulda stopped my drinkin but I can’t help it…” He said to himself. Botan lowered her oar so she was just a few feet away from him.

“Bingo! You got that one right, but you didn’t stop drinking, did you.” She said, her tiredness melting into her perky, cheerful self. The guy turned around to face her. “Who a’ you?” He asked, surprised.

“My name’s Botan, and I’m hear to take you to Reikai, the spirit realm. I’m what you would call in your world, the “grim reaper”.” She said, smiling kindly at him.

“Huh! So ya mean I’m goin.. I’m goin to-“ The man started.

“No, no, no, silly, I’m just going to take you to be judged.” Botan said with a giggle. She opened her information book, and learned the man’s name was Takahari Mawai.

“Oh good!” Mawai said, sighing in relief.

Botan smiled. “Well, are you ready to depart?” She asked softly.

Mawai looked down as paramedics tried to pump life back into his lifeless body. “Yeah, I didn’t like this life a ton anyway.” He said, in a relieved sort of tone.

Botan’s demeanor softened a bit more as her smile faded a bit. “Are you sure? You will not be able to see this world any longer once you are truly gone from it.” She said, in a tone laced with sorrow.

Mawai looked back at her and nodded, a smile appearing on his face. “Yep. I have regrets but its fine. Lets go!” He said, with a firm nod.

“Okay, well hold on tight to my oar then.” Botan said with a laugh as she took off into the sky, a very shocked Mawai holding onto the oar behind her.

An hour later

Botan flew back to Ningenkai and landed softly on a field. She walked over to a bench, slowly, and sadly.

…She hated her job.

She hated what she was meant for, what she had to do. True, she did it without complaint and managed to work up enthusiasm every time that she did have to ferry a soul to Reikai, but the job was in general a very sad job. People often cried, or worse, were in shock. They would refuse to believe what had happened to them and would become indifferent. There were times that she got lucky, and had someone who was okay with moving on, like Mawai, but those were few and spread out.

She smiled, and laughed and acted bubble, like she would on any other normal occasion, but not without reasons. She did it so that they, the people she was ferrying, would become happier. That’s what attracted her to Koenma, and the duty of being the chief pilot of the river Styx. Her natural demeanor WAS happy and bubbly, but she would make sure that no matter what mood she was in at the moment, that she was always like this during a job.

They deserve it… She thought with a small, sad, soft frown. They should be able to be happy, and feel satisfied with what they lived… and that’s why I smile. She smiled in hopes that it would help to make them more happy. For all the pain that humans have to bear with in their lives, even though a lot of it is inflicted by themselves, they should be able to smile.

Botan was so wrapped in her thoughts, she didn’t notice as Kurama approached.

Kurama sighed mentally. He hadn’t been able to get in much more then one hour of sleep in. The dream was just bugging him to badly! When he finally fell asleep, he could feel the women’s hands in his and her scent was everywhere. He had had enough, got up, changed, and decided to go for a walk around the park.

Walking quietly in contemplation, he tried to get his mind off of the dream. What was with this dream? Nothing had nagged him this much since…. Well, since a very long time ago. He pondered over what that could mean.

Is this an admonition or a indication of events to come? Or is this dream merely just a dream? I do not understand… He was interrupted from his thoughts as he felt a familiar aura. He looked up to see Botan a bit further down the path sitting on a bench, looking down in sadness.

Botan? What is she doing here? Did she finish with a job? Why does she look sad?..

He shook his head to clear his mind as he walked up to the bench. He noticed that she was not aware he was standing right in front of her yet. She must be in deep thought… He observed.

Sitting down next to her, he placed a hand gently on her shoulder. “Botan?”

“Aah!” Botan jumped at the unexpected voice. Calming down she noticed it was Kurama and regained her composure.

Kurama’s usually solemn features filled with worry. “Are you okay? I’m sorry, I hadn’t meant to startle you like that.” Botan breathed out and put up her usual perky smile. She didn’t want Kurama to know she was upset.

“Oh! Yes I’m fine, I’m sorry I didn’t notice you,… I guess I was zoning out.” She said.

Kurama became concerned when she put up her mask. Now he knew something was wrong. He didn’t know if anyone else caught it-if they did then he couldn’t tell, but he knew when Botan’s smile was real or not. She often put up a “happy mask” to let others think she was happy, but when she thought no one else was looking, it would slip and her face would fill with sorrow.

He sighed mentally, yet again. “Botan… is everything okay?” He asked again.

Botan’s smile dulled a bit. She knew he wasn’t asking about the welfare of her health that time. But she didn’t want to tell him… She would feel bad if she dumped her worries on someone else.

“I’m fine. But enough about me, what are you doing out her so early?” She asked, he smile slowly starting to turn into a real one.

That’s the effect Kurama had on her. For some reason, whenever he was around, she just… felt like she was on cloud nine. He made her smile, and not just the fake kind. When she would see him, especially when he was happy, it’d make her happy. When he said hello to her, she’d feel like she was floating, because she would know that for a brief instant, that she had crossed his mind…

Whoa! Where are these thoughts coming from? Botan asked herself as she shook her head. Baka Botan! She berated herself, Kurama is just your friend! Nothing else!

But somewhere, a small voice said smugly in the back of her mind, unnoticed, Are you so sure about that?

“I just decided to go for a walk.” Kurama said lightly, avoiding the subject of why he was out walking so early. He wasn’t going to dump his problems on Botan, she had enough to worry about. “Why are you out so early?” He asked, turning the tables.

Botan looked down sadly, her mask slipping for a brief instant. “I had to ferry another soul to Reikai.” She said, softly. Kurama’s eyes softened.

…For some reason, he didn’t know what to say. He just placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. He wanted to ask what the cause of death was, but didn’t think it was his place to be asking.

“…A drunk driver.” Botan said, slowly with melancholy. Kurama blinked. It seemed she’d tell him on her own.

“I don’t know what it is… but for some reason there’s something so wrong with this world that makes people want to go drown themselves in alcohol. Some people are idiots… but… why would you just..” she cleared her throat as it started to dim a bit. “..why would you want to throw away your life? What can be so horrible that it makes it worth it just… to leave?”

What was she doing? I thought you weren’t going to trouble Kurama with your problems! She yelled at herself mentally. But… he made her so comfortable…. And he seemed to understand more then anyone else did…

“The man that I had to take to Reikai today seemed so ready… I wasn’t upset at that, because it is actually nice when people don’t have any regrets about their lives, but for some reason that… isn’t right… He wasn’t sad about leaving the ones he loved…” She lapsed into silence, he head hanging.

Kurama looked down, in sadness and in a quiet rage. Why was Botan the one who had to deal with this? It didn’t seem fair. Of course, she was the captain of the river Styx, but… didn’t she deserve to be happy too? He stopped himself. Since when did you care so much about Botan? He asked himself.

Pausing and wondering, another question came to his mind. Since when did I not care about Botan?... Yes, she was his friend, but, for some reason, when he thought of her as just a friend, it didn’t fit. She was more special to him as more then just a friend… but… how?

Looking over at the cerulean-haired deity, his thoughts were once again interrupted as he saw her amethyst orbs fill up with silver tears. His mind went totally blank as he saw one of silver tears escape her eyes.

Botan yelled at herself in her mind. Stop crying in front of Kurama you idiot!.. he’s… going to get… upset… But the voice faded away. She couldn’t stop it. The build up of so many years… decades upon centuries of their screaming, their non-caring, their blaming… the walls came crashing down with a violent noise, and the tears escaped her soul’s confinement.

Wrapping his arms around her, Kurama held her in a gentle embrace. He didn’t know what he was doing, nor did he care. All that he saw was that Botan, his friend, someone he cared about, was crying. He hated to see her cry… because it hurt her.

Botan blushed as she felt Kurama’s arms encircling her lithe form. “Shh, it’s okay… I’m here…” He whispered.

Botan’s eyes closed as more tears started to fall out. She wrapped her arms around Kurama and cried into his chest. She didn’t care anymore. It felt a little bit good to let it out. To many years of build up put a lot of stress on the poor deity.

After a while, the tears stopped, and Botan just laid her head against Kurama’s chest encircled by his strong but gentle arms. Realizing what she was doing, she suddenly sat up, her arms leaving him as he let his arms fall to his sides.

She sniffed. “I’m… sorry…” She said, regaining her composure, embarrassed and blushing. How could she let herself let go like that? In front of Kurama no less!

Kurama smiled gently. “No, Botan, don’t be sorry. You have nothing to be sorry for.”

“But…crying..”

“Is a sign of strength. That means you have emotions.”

“Well, I’m sorry for crying on your shoulder…You’re drenched now because of me. ” She said, looking away.

“No, don’t be sorry. I want you to come to me when you’re sad. You can always come to me for a shoulder to cry on.” He said, placing an arm around her back. Botan smiled. “Thank-you.” She said softly, locking his eyes for a moment.

Kurama smiled softly and looked at his watch. 7:45… it seemed later then that. Looking at the blushing deity, he got an idea.

“Botan?”

“Yes?”

“Would you like to come have breakfast with me? I’m assuming you haven’t eaten yet.”

Botan smiled. “I’d love to, and your assumption was correct.” She said, giggling.

Kurama’s smile widened. “Well then, lets go.” He said, standing up.

Botan stood up, her smile no longer fake at all. Walking to the restaurant Kurama was taking them, they talked a bit about this and that, nothing really particular. Just happy to be in each other’s company.

Chapter One End

…Wow. Yes, I am quite aware of the corny-ness of the end of that chapter. Sweatdrops I guess I was just to excited that I had finally completed the first chapter of this story. So, send me a review please and I’ll update as soon as I can!

-Meiko


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