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Without You

by Meiko

Chapter Two: "Singing Solace"

I’m back with a new chapter of Without You! But first, before I get into that, I have to say a few things. One, I forgot to mention something that will be VERY vital to this chapter. Well, in a way. Botan had changed into normal jeans and a shirt after her mission, so she has NOT been in her pink kimono this entire time.

Your voice I long to hear sounds.
Spring, a spring I still cannot see...

Botan smiled as she took a sip of her orange juice. She was still embarrassed about showing her tears to Kurama, but it felt a lot better now that she had gotten if off of her chest. Keeping the sorrow to herself and hiding it from everyone had been weighing on her soul.

Looking up at Kurama she caught his eyes and looked down quickly, blushing a light sakura pink. Kurama raised his cup of tea to his mouth and smiled. He knew she was still embarrassed but it was a bit funny, (and cute, somewhere inside of him added), the way she was reacting to him. Still, he didn’t want her to think he was laughing at her, par the reason for smiling into the cup of tea.

“So, what are you doing today, Botan?” Kurama asked, inwardly wincing at how idiotic and unoriginal what he said just was. I have been spending to much time with Yusuke… He thought, shaking his head mentally.

Botan looked up at him with a thoughtful look. “Hm.. well I don’t think I have anything else to do at the moment. I may get a call from Koenma later, but besides that, I don’t believe I am doing anything else.” She said, smiling.

Kurama smiled across from her. “Would you like to see a movie with me, then? I was planning on going to see a movie that just came out. I’ve been waiting for it for a while, and it’d be nice if I had someone to come with me.”

Botan’s face brightened at the idea and her smile grew. “I’d love to! But.. are you sure you want me to come? Wouldn’t you rather have Hiei, Yusuke or Kuwabara go with you instead?” She asked.

“Hiei would insult everything the people in the movie did, Yusuke is to loud, and Kuwabara would probably be snoring throughout the duration of the film.” Kurama put bluntly.

Botan giggled. She could actually agree on that one. They had all gone to a movie together at one point, and what Kurama said was relatively true to what had happened.

“But are you sure that you want me to go?”

Kurama looked at her inquisitively. “Well, yes, I do, but if you don’t want to come it’s fine, although like I said, I’d like you to.” He said with a slight shrug.

Botan beamed inwardly. Something about the aspect that Kurama wanted her to go with him made her happy for some reason. “No, I mean, yes, I’d love to go with you but-"

“-then it’s settled.” Kurama finished, calling a waitress over for the bill, smiling.

Botan blinked, and then smiled. “Okay then! What movie is it?” She asked.

“It’s a drama with romance and comedy tied into it, called “Shinjitsu no Yuki”, Snow of Truth.” Kurama said, pondering what it was really about. “I’m not sure other then that, but I read the book that comes before it and it was quite good.”

Botan smiled. “Okay, that sounds fun then.”

Kurama smiled in return as they got up to leave. “Well would you like to come to my house first? I need to get a few things and tell my mother.”

Botan blushed, and then brushed it away. “Sure. Let’s go.” She said as they headed out the door of the restaurant.

Kurama’s house

Kurama and Botan stepped through the door after removing their shoes.

“Okaasan? I’m back.” He called, looking in the kitchen for his mother.

“Oh! Suichi! Perfect timing! I have a sudden call from the office to go in, my boss lost his papers and he needs me to re-type them all, unfortunately. Oh, I see you brought a friend!” She said, smiling.

Kurama smiled. “This is Botan, Botan, this is my mother, Shiori.” He said, formally introducing them to each other.

“Nice to meet you Ms. Botan, it’s great that Suichi has a friend over for a change.” Turning to Kurama, she placed a hand on his shoulder. “I need you to baby-sit Shuichi for me for today, is that okay?” She asked.

“Kaasan! I told you! I don’t need to be baby-sat! I’m big enough!” Six-year old Shuichi called. Shiori sighed and shook her head.

Kurama’s smile faltered. “Well, we were planning on—"

“Baby-sitting Shuichi would be wonderful! Suichi and I would love to!” Botan cut in, smiling her usual bubbly smile. Kurama turned to her, his mouth slightly open.

“Great! Suichi, you’re friends are all so nice. Thank-you, you both.” She said, before giving both her sons a kiss on the cheek and running out.

“Sayounara, Botan-san, it was nice meeting you!” Shiori called.

“You too Shiori-san, have a nice time.” Botan replied, smiling.

“Arigatou, dewa mata!” (translation: Thanks, see you later!) Shiori called, walking out the door.

Kurama turned to Botan. “Are you sure about this? You don’t have to stay here and help baby-sit.” He said, although in the back of his mind he hoped that she would for some reason stay.

Botan smiled her bubbly smile. “Yes, it’s fine. And I want to… that is, if you won’t mind.”

“No, I’d love you to, but do you really want to?” He asked.

“Yes, of course! I love little kids!” She said in a perky tone.

“Then you don’t care that Sujiro-kun is here to, right?” Shuichi said, his friend coming around the corner.

Botan and Kurama stared at the smiling duo, both of them sweatdropping.

“Um, no, it’s fine…” Botan said, still keeping up her perky attitude.

“Good! We wanna play a game now!” Shuichi said, getting a burst of hyperness.

Uh-oh…Kurama thought. He’s hyper… and I’ve seen him hyper before…

“Ya! Ya! A game! A game!” Sujiro said, joining in.

Kurama sighed. “Okay, what kind of a game?” He asked, not wanting to know the answer.

“Twister!” Shuichi shouted.

“Ya! Twister! Twister!” Sujiro joined in.

Botan’s face blushed about three shades of red as her mouth hung slightly open. “Um, how about another game? Like, Checkers?” She suggested.

Kurama looked over at Botan. He saw that she wasn’t very comfortable with the idea of playing Twister, and he didn’t blame her. He was slightly uncomfortable with that game as well. “Yes, how about a different game?” He asked.

“No! We want to play Twister!” Shuichi shouted.

“We wanna play Twister or else!” Sujiro said.

Botan’s smile twitched. “..okay…then…” She said hesitantly. …I didn’t know babysitting would be this… interesting…

“Okay! We’ll go get the game, you both stay down here!” Shuichi said, zooming up the stairs and getting the game.

Kurama looked over to see Botan with a deep-red blush on her face. Maybe I should ask her if she wants to be the spinner…He mused. It’d probably be more comfortable for her.

A few seconds later, the phone rang. “I’ll get it.” Kurama said, walking over to pick up the phone that lay on the coffee table a few feet away.

“Hello?” He asked.

“Suichi?” Shiori’s voice came.

“Yes mother?” Kurama replied.

“I forgot to warn you about something. Shuichi has a friend over, Sujiro.”

“We… have discovered that.” He replied, pausing.

“Well, that and they both have had ice-cream, so they may need to be calmed down a little bit..” She trailed off.

“….” Well, that explains a lot. Kurama thought with a sweat drop.

“Suichi-chan?”

“I’ve got it mother, thanks for the warning.”

“Your welcome. I’ll talk to you both later. Have fun!” Shiori said, then hung up.

Kurama sighed setting down the phone.

“What was that about?” Botan asked.

Kurama looked over at her and smiled a slightly grim smile. “Well, it appears that they have had ice-cream.” He said, holding back from twitching. I wish she would have warned us sooner… But it’s a good thing she did not forget too. Botan looked at him, stunned.

Kurama sighed again, then turned to Botan with a small smile. “Botan? Would you like to be the spinner?” He asked, then mentally kicking himself for how that came out.

Botan blinked. Then realizing what he meant smiled with a small blush. “Yes, that would be nice. Thank-you.” Kurama nodded with a smile of his own.

Shuichi and Sujiro came running down the stairs at top speed moments later, Shuichi holding the spinner and Sujiro holding the fold out mat. “Let’s play, let’s play, let’s play!” They shouted, dancing around the now sweat dropping Botan and Kurama.

“Okay, well can I be spinner?” Botan asked, reaching for the spinner in Shuichi’s small hands.

“NO! I WANNA BE THE SPINNER!” Shuichi shouted at her, holding the spinner tighter in his arms. Botan’s smile twitched a bit. …Oh….great…Koenma-sama…you’re punishing me for yelling at you this morning… aren’t you… Botan thought with a fake smile now plastered to her face.

“Shuichi…” Kurama warned.

Shuichi looked to his big brother for a second, as if thinking over it. Give the Botan lady the spinner… or get big brother mad….If I get Suichi mad, I might hafta go to my room. But.. If I give the spinner to the Botan lady, then I won’t get to be spinner though! (a six-year olds logic, ne?)

“NO! I WANNA BE THE SPINNER AND I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU DO!” Shuichi shouted at the top of his lungs, then started to run around screaming ‘I WANNA BE THE SPINNER!’

“Okay, it’s all right, you can be the spinner..” Botan said, trying her best to placate the little kid.

“HA! I win!” Shuichi said, then started to help Sujiro unfold the mat.

Kurama raised an eyebrow at Botan. Botan gave him a small smile and then turned her attention to the kids who had finished with the mat.

“Okay! Botan lady, you get to go on that side!” Shuichi said, pointing to the side that had the green dots closest. “Suichi, you go on that side!” He said, pointing to the side adjacent to Botan. “And Sujiro, you go to that spot!” Shuichi said, pointing to the sides that had the red spots.

After Botan, Kurama, and Sujiro had taken their positions, Shuichi started issuing out orders. After a few minutes, Botan was tangled into Kurama who was tangled in turn into Sujiro.

“Botan lady, your turn! Right hand blue!” Shuichi said, grinning.

Botan looked over and sweatdropped. “Um, Shuichi-chan,.. I don’t think I can do that.” She said, hesitantly. “Yeah-hah, or else your gonna lose!” He said, getting mad. “But-“ “Your gonna lose!” Shuichi interrupted.

Botan looked at the spot where she was supposed to move. If she moved there… she thought over the consequences. Oh well… I guess I have to.. Botan thought, grinning nervously. She reached out with her right hand, but when she did—

“Aah!” Botan said, losing her balance and toppling over, falling onto Kurama, who fell onto Sujiro.

“OW!” Cried Sujiro, getting trampled by both of the people.

“Ugh…” Botan sat up. I guess I lose anyway. She thought, and started laughing. “I’m sorry you guys, I lost my balance.” She, said, rubbing her head gingerly. She looked up to see a laughing Kurama.

“No, that’s fine, it was amusing, you knew you couldn’t reach that spot!” He said, chuckling. He hadn’t played Twister in a long time, and, well, it was quite fun. Botan, however, he noticed, seemed to take that offensively.

“I couldn’t help it! It’s either all or nothing!” She said defensively.

“All or nothing?” He asked, amused.

“You know what I mean! Would it have been better if I had just given up instead of tried!” She yelled.

Kurama started chuckling again. “No, Botan, what you did was good. It was just humorous.” He said, after a second regaining his composure.

Botan’s frown turned into a smile as she giggled lightly in turn. “I guess it was.” She said, before smiling at him.

Kurama and Botan turned to see in time as Shuichi and Sujiro put the mat away and started bouncing around again.

“We wanna go to the park!” They demanded.

“Ugh!” Botan exclaimed, and slumped over, Kurama holding himself back from doing the same.

-Seven hours later—

Botan walked in after Shuichi and Sujiro, Kurama coming in after her.

“Now we wanna watch a movie!” They both yelled.

Botan twitched. “You two are tireless!” She said. “We went to the park, and then to the library, got kicked out of the library for you both being to loud, went to the petting zoo, the art studio, the shrine, back to the park, and then home and you still have energy!” She asked, sinking to her knees.

Kurama smiled lightly. She had definitely had change in emotions from how she was that morning. Not that he was upset; on the contrary, he was happy to see her having fun. Well, not necessarily having fun, but…

“Which movie?” Botan asked, giving in to their demands of a movie and popcorn.

Shuichi and Sujiro talked to each other, deciding which movie they wanted to see. When they had an answer they looked up to Botan, grinning. “Spirited Away!” They said in unison.

“Spirited Away?” Botan asked, surprised that she knew which movie they named and even had seen it before. “Yeah! Totally! That Haku is cool! Especially when he’s a dragon!” Sujiro said.

“Okay then, Spirited Away it is.” Botan said, getting the movie and putting it into the VCR. When the movie started playing, she walked into the kitchen to make them popcorn.

She sweatdropped when she got in the kitchen. Oh… wait… I don’t know where the popcorn is.. “Um, Kurama?” She called.

“I’m right behind you.” Kurama said, smiling. Botan turned around and smiled. “Oh, heh, sorry. Do you have popcorn?” She asked. Kurama nodded and got it out of one of the cabinets.

“You can go and watch the movie, I’ll make the popcorn.” Kurama said, smiling.

Botan smiled back. “No, that’s okay, I’ve seen it plenty of times already. Koenma seems to like that movie quite a bit.” She said, reaching past Kurama to get a bowl. As she did, she brushed against his shoulder. Her eyes widened as the dream (see previous chapter) suddenly came into her head. The dancing… the man’s shoulder her hand was on… She shook her head to clear her thoughts.

Why is this suddenly coming back to me now? She asked herself. She looked up to see Kurama’s eyes locked with hers. Her hands- one now holding a bowl –fell back to her sides. She smiled and busied herself with the popcorn.

Kurama blinked and realized he had been staring into Botan’s eyes when he zoned out, thinking about the dream when Botan’s hand brushed his shoulder. Why am I thinking of the dream now He thought.

He shook his head to clear his thoughts and helped Botan with the popcorn. When everything was made, they took it into the living room where Shuichi and Sujiro were staring, transfixed with the television.

Putting the popcorn down, Botan smiled at the two and sat down next to Kurama. Why does it feel so warm… and right, sitting next to him? She asked herself, realizing that she did feel warm and… safe sitting next to Kurama. It wasn’t that she felt intimidated or threatened when she wasn’t next to him, it was just… that she felt like he would protect her and keep her safe from any harm. She smiled as she leaned lightly on Kurama. Well, whatever it was, she’d figure it out soon.

Kurama blushed lightly as Botan leaned against him. She wasn’t completely leaning all of her weight onto him, she was just very softly and lightly leaning on his shoulder, but that was enough to make him blush.

Why is it that it feels so perfect with her next to me? Why do I feel so… protective… and caring for her? He still didn’t understand what it was about Botan that drew out that part of him. He closed his eyes for a second. Whenever I am around her… everything that has been bugging me just…melts away. I feel that I can trust her.. and whenever I talk to her, or am around her, I get excited… and… there’s something else… what is it?...He thought over it. Then, in a moment, he sat up straight, his eyes flying open. He knew what it was. …I love her… He smiled, relaxing again.

Botan, noticing that Kurama had sat up straight, looked over at him, worried. “Kurama? Are you all right?” She asked. Kurama smiled at her warmly. “Yes, I’m all right Botan, that was just an abrupt scene in the movie.”

Botan smiled and nodded. “I agree, it was a startling scene.”

About one and a half hours later

After the movie was over, Shuichi and Sujiro both yawned. Botan giggled to herself. “I guess it’s time for you both to go to bed.” She said, smiling, and turning the television off.

“No! We don’t wanna go to bed!” Sujiro said, standing up getting angry.

Botan sighed. “But it’s so late! It’s 9:35!”

“It’s way passed both of your bedtimes as well.” Kurama said, coming in. “You both were supposed to be in bed an hour ago.”

Shuichi stood up. “Fine! We’ll go to bed only if we get a lullaby!” He demanded.

Kurama visibly twitched. “I am not singing.” With a final tone.

“No! We want the Botan lady to sing!” Sujiro exclaimed. It was now Botan’s turn to twitch. “Um…”

Kurama raised an eyebrow at Botan. He had never heard her sing before. She sighed. “Well, do you both promise you’ll go to sleep if I do?” She asked, not really wanting to sing, but having no choice deciding it was the best thing to do, if it would get the two hyperactive children to sleep.

“Yes we promise!” They said in unison.

“Okay, well let’s get you two in bed first.” Botan said.

A couple minutes later

Botan sighed and began to sing.

“A fleeting light stands still in a rain shower

Precious dampness of yesterday's traces

Form from the buds of my overflowing tears

One by one they begin to give off their fragrance,” She paused and looked at the two children, who were looking up at her, transfixed. She didn’t know that Kurama was right outside the door of their bedroom, listening.

“It is, it is beyond the sky

Before long, before long it will come to meet me

The spring, the still far-off spring.

If I close my eyes there you are,

the one who gives me love.

Your voice I long to hear rings out.”

“My heart, which I gave to you

is waiting for a reply even now

No matter how long it takes for the day to come

I'll wait, I'll wait no matter what

It is, it is beyond tomorrow

Someday, someday, it will reach me”

Kurama stared at the Botan. She… has such a beautiful voice….

“The spring, a spring I still haven't seen.

When I come to a stop in hesitation,

Your gaze, the gaze from the one who gives me dreams,

embraces my shoulders

Dreams, they are shallow dreams,

I am here while thinking of you, I'm walking along, alone

Like the flowing rains. Like the flowing flowers..”

Kurama walked into the room at this point, and sat down beside Botan, who smiled and continued singing.

“The spring is a spring we still cannot see.

When I come to a stop in hesitation,

The gaze of you, the one who gives me dreams,

embraces my shoulders

The spring is still a far-off spring,

If I close my eyes, There you are,

the one who gives me love.

Your voice I long to hear sounds.

Spring, a spring I still cannot see...”

She stopped singing and looked to see the two kids fast asleep. Kurama stared at Botan, his mouth slightly agape. She just smiled, blushed and looked down.

Finding his voice, he looked at Botan. “What song was that?” He asked still slightly transfixed by her voice. “Haru yo koi, or Spring of my love”. She said, smiling.

“Botan….”Kurama began.

Botan blinked and looked up at him. “Yes?..”

Chapter Two end

Aren’t I evil? (grins evilly) Well don’t worry, I plan on updating as soon as I can, hopefully by the next two days, so don’t worry! Just send me a review telling me what you think and I’ll update as soon as I can! So, ya, please review! (smiles)

~Meiko


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