Chapter IV: Victim's Circle
"Are you working with Kano?"
Yusuke frowned and pushed the figure off. "Funny, I was about to
ask you the same thing!"
He pinned the figure down. The figure tried to squrim free, but
Yusuke's grip was too strong.
"Get your hands off of me!"
Yusuke recognized the voice. It sounded like that woman from earlier
who was warning him about Kano's self-destructive objects. He was about to let her go, when he realized that this was his
chance to see who was behind the mask. He brought his hand to her mask and unraveled it. He gasped.
His hazel eyes never left the blue-haired beauty as she pulled herself
from under him. Not only was he bewildered to see her, but he was also relieved that it wasn't one of Kano's followers. He
had enough adventure for one night. Wait. Why was she here?
"What are you doing here?" He whispered, curiosity beneath the fabric
of his question.
Her eyes left his face, "I-...Koenma sent me here." Though it was
pretty obvious, she couldn't tell him that she disobeyed Koenma to help him with the mission. Instead, she was going to make
up some story about Koenma sending her down to do something. Preparing the lie in her head, she failed to notice Yusuke's
"That's not possible, Botan, I just talked to Koenma on the communicator..."
"He knows I'm mis--I mean--out on the mission already?!" Laughing
nervously, Botan knew she had yet to learn the benefits of thinking before she spoke. She could almost hear Koenma yelling
'get ready for your spankings!' when she returned back to Spirit World.
He cocked an eyebrow up, curving his lips into a mischievous smile,
"what are you hiding?"
"H-hiding?....me? Nothing...just always ready to get a head start
on a mission!" Her head nodded in agreement, but her words betrayed her. Why did Yusuke have a gift of forcing the truth out
of people? Maybe spankings weren't so bad after all.....
"Botan," his face moved closer to hers, "why did you leave Spirit
World?" His tone was serious now.
"I wanted to-" Just at that precise moment, she heard something....
She ignored him, finding more importance in rummaging through her
pocket. Once she grasped onto the object she was searching for, she pulled it out and looked at the blinking light shown on
the small object that looked like a compass. Yusuke looked at the object in her hand, remembering how it served a purpose
during his fight with Goki. It was a Demon Compass. Before he could say anything, she whispered, "whoever you were following
before is coming back..."
"What?" He jumped up and started looking around. "Where?"
She looked back at the compass, "about two blocks....that way."
She pointed to a poorly-lit block. "He's coming at a rapid pace too..." Her eyes remained glued on the device as she fed Yusuke
all the information she had on their demon.
"Come on, let's-"
"Who's there!?" A voice boomed, making the walls echo with his loud
Yusuke looked over to Botan, "what the hell was that? Are you TRYING
to get us killed?" Though Botan's imitation of feline--a very randy feline--stopped the pursuer in his tracks, Yusuke knew
that she nearly got them killed.
"Killed? Heavens, no! I--wait." She brought her hand above her waist
and closed her eyes. A small light emitted from her hand and then--POOF--her oar appeared in her hand. "Bingo! I'm surprised
I didn't think of this sooner," she hopped on the oar and looked at Yusuke, "let's go before he sees us."
"Right," he climbed on her oar and it soared toward one of the highest
buildings in sight. "Good idea, at least he won't be able to find us for a while." She only nodded as the oar skimmed on top
of the building and stopped.
"Any idea who that was?" The ferry girl asked once her oar pulled
a disappearing act once again.
"Yuji Hito. I think he's working with Kano."
Her eyes flashed surprise, "Hito? Isn't he the head of the BOA?
Why would he have anything to do with..my brother?" Though it's been a decade since she heard or spoke of his name, it was
still hard to label him a relative of hers.
Yusuke fumbled through his pocket for a minute before pulling out
a plastic bag and handing it to her. "This is a sample of shattered glass that was at the crime scene the other day. I saw
Hito trying to destroy the evidence that MAY contain the remains of Kano's DNA."
Snatching the bag from his grasp, she eyed the evidence closely,
"something doesn't smell right. For one, Hito isn't a demon. Why was his energy picked up on the demon compass? BOA members
can't be demons. Secondly, why would he destroy evidence for a case HE is working on."
Yusuke brought a hand to his, pondering a response to her statement.
"You got me on the demon thing. But, as far as destroying evidence, it's the perfect cover-up so you would never be suspected
as an accomplice in a robbery. There's no doubt in my mind that Hito is working for Kano."Beep
"He found us. Let's head to Shika hotel, it's the place I'm staying
in right now."
Materializing her oar, they flew into the night sky once again.........
"Nice room, " Botan commented as she entered his room and fell on
top of his bed. "I call bed."
"Hey, don't get too comfy. I only invited you in here." Throwing
his room key on the dresser, he sat next to her and let out a tired yawn, "so, you still haven't told me why you disobeyed
Koenma's orders. Was it really because you wanted to find your brother?" He looked over to the ferry girl, but found himself
doing more staring than looking.
She rolled on to her stomach to catch him staring at her. She smiled
weakly and answered, "yes, I did want to find my brother. I hated when Koenma left the job to the BOA. I mean, they couldn't
handle putting him away last time," she chuckled halfheartedly, "so...I thought I could instead. I mean, the more he stays
in this world, the more he'll grow stronger by feeding on human minds with his mind control."
"Huh? Koenma never said anything about-"
"I tried to tell him, but he doesn't want to listen. He believes
that since Kano witnessed a power struggle between the two worlds when he was captured, he doesn't have the power to use his
telepathy and mind control anymore because he's in his human form now."
"So, though he's not a demon, he can still use his telepathy?" He
questioned, receiving a nod from a recumbent Botan.
"Yes, but his telepathy is not very powerful in his human form.
That's why I think he's trying to steal something that can transform him into a demon again--wait." Holding out her hand as
if she was holding something, a book suddenly appeared out of nowhere. The title read "Japanese Artifacts."
"Botan?" She brought a finger to his lips, deep in thought.
"Bingo! Bingo! Bingo!" She exclaimed, pointing to a passage in the
book. "I got it!"
He jumped up, excited-like, "what did we win?!" He thought she didn't
get his sarcastic tone until she nudged him roughly onto the bed. In doing so, she also shoved the Artifacts book in his face,
ordering him to read it.
"I think Kano may be after this," she said, resting her head against
his shoulder so they could both read it, "it may be the only lead we will get." She yawned as he started reading the passage
aloud.During the Gatou era, Prince Retsu, chief of spirit world, created an imperial seal to fight off the Re-Dead that were
entering spirit world by the hundreds. "This seal," he once stated, "will turn me into a demon so I can protect my people
and not have them protect me." After his jealous brother killed him to take over the throne, the imperial seal was buried
with the Prince. Legend has it that his ashes were spread all over Japan and that the seal was separated into three jewels.
The Utatane, the Hiroyuki, and the Shikasta. Their resting place is uncertain.
"Now that we know what he is after, how will we find them?" He looked
at Botan for an answer, but he found her slumped on his shoulder, sleeping. Giving a sympathetic smile, he placed her on the
bed and reciprocated the action for himself.
"Botan.." He whispered as he looked at her sleeping, seraphic figure.
Indeed, she was pretty.
He managed a soft chuckle, remembering he told her the same thing
the first time they met. "A pretty girl like you? There's no way you can be the grim reaper." He remembered how she laughed
it off, but too bad she didn't know he wasn't kidding. He wouldn't say it was love at first sight, but something about her
During their cases, he realized that his attraction to her came
from the usual cheery attitude she had even though her vocation was no laughing matter. It was a serious and gloomy job, but
Botan never seemed to amaze him with her positive attitude toward everything. Once their missions started growing closer to
home, however, his long-time crush, Keiko, decimated any interest in the ferry girl. He had loved Keiko....
Somehow, however, the feelings he had once felt for the ferry girl
came rushing back. Could it be because Keiko was now out of the picture? Brushing a strand of hair out of her eyes, his hand
traveled to her cheek. She was unusually cold. Was it because she was half-dead and half-living?
Feeling her move under him, he brought his hand back and looked
toward the ceiling. "I shouldn't have these feelings for Botan. It's too soon. I need to know the situation between Keiko
and me first." Closing his eyes, he let his mind take him away...
"Mhmhm..." Botan stirred as she nudged into the pillow she was sleeping
on."No, mom! I don't wanna go to school!" Too bad she had failed to notice that this particular pillow was Yusuke.
Snapping her eyes open, she found her head on his chest and her
leg wrapped around his. An uncompromising position indeed. Lucky for her, the young spirit detective showed no signs of leaving
the dream world anytime soon. She was safe."Make your own coffee," Yusuke's voice mumbled again as Botan slipped out of the
warmth of his arms. She sighed, feeling an unusual wave of regret wash over her. She felt herself blush, knowing that this
regret was leaving Yusuke's arms.
"Botan, don't make the same mistake with Kurama." Yes, she had once
fallen for the fox demon. The love she felt for him soon turned to heartache as he left to live with his sick mother and never
return to spirit world for any missions. "Yusuke has his own life...and Keiko."
Forcing a nod, she walked over to his jacket pocket and pulled out
the glass sample he had showed her yesterday. "I'm going to bring this to spirit world for testing." She flipped her hood
over her head. "Hopefully no one will recognize me."
"One more thing," she said to herself as she pulled something out
of her cloak. "You'll need this more than me."
"Alright," moving his hand around the nightstand, he found his communicator
and opened it, "what is it?"
Once turning on the electronic, he saw the image of Hito appear
on the screen. He bit his lip, remembering what happened last night. "Be downstairs in twenty minutes." His order was followed
by a grunt and a soft click.
"WHAT?!" Yusuke stared at the communicator, and then at the clock
on the nightstand. "Wait....when was it five thirty?" He thought as he peered through the blinds to see the sun at the peak
of warming up the cold, dark sky. "Ugh, stupid Hito."
Stretching his arms across the bed, he felt his arm brush against
something hard. As soon as he turned his head, he recognized the device as the demon compass. "Wait...where's Botan? Botan!"
He sat up and looked around the room. "She must have left.." He looked down at the communicator. "Thanks, I might be able
to put this to good use with Hito."
Tossing his jacket over his shoulder, he took one LONG look at the
bed. The bed he could still be sleeping in if it wasn't for Hito. Sighing, he turned off the light and headed downstairs to
piss off--oops--assist Hito.
Yusuke put his hand to his pocket, not feeling the demon compass
respond. He thought for sure Hito was a demon...
Hito smiled sarcastically and brought his hand to his forehead.
"You know I've been thinking-"
Not meeting Yusuke's eyes, he cleared his throat and said, "maybe
you're right about Kano. The antique owner checked everything in the store, nothing was stolen. Maybe Kano did rob the wrong
antique store. I'm having my men go undercover at every antique store in town."
Yusuke was slightly speechless. "What made you change your mind?"
"Urameshi, sometimes things don't call for an explanation." He said
as Yusuke eyed him suspiciously. "You're going to be checking out the apartment complexes in Shouji Park. Can you handle that?"
He paused, waiting for a response.
"Good." He turned away from Yusuke, "get a move on it."
Walking away, Yusuke waited for him to leave the hotel until he
walked up to the information desk and asked, "where is Yuji Hito's room?"
"One second," the clerk said as he typed some information into the
computer, "room 106. That's on the second floor."
"Lucky I used to sneak into the teacher's lounge..." Yusuke thought
as he closed the door silently and looked around the room. "He has to have some kind of information here." Looking through
the drawers and cabinets, he found nothing. Not even clothes. "That's strange."
Looking around the bed and the television stand, he still couldn't
find anything of importance. "Come on," he thought as he let his eyes wander around the room. "The painting." Yusuke thought
as he walked up to a painting and lifted it off its hinges. To his dismay, nothing was behind the painting.
"What's this?" He thought as he looked at the back of the painting.
It was a small piece of paper.
"Akamatsu residence." Yusuke said, looking down at the small piece
of paper he had uncovered. "It says 12 Brich Street." Yusuke folded the paper and put it in his pocket. "If I can find this
place, maybe I can get some answers."
After asking for directions from three different people, he found
the building, but he wasn't too happy with his discovery. It was an old, decrepit building that looked as good as deserted.
"Might as well take a look."
Walking up to the building, he opened the front door easily and
looked around. "Anyone home?" He sighed and looked around the musty inside, it was deserted. "This is stupid." He thought
as he turned around, only to collide with something heavy, and then......darkness.
=============================================="So, you still haven't
told me why you disobeyed Koenma's orders..."
Was this deja vu or what?! Yusuke looked around as the whole atmosphere
of the blackness changed to where he and Botan were in his hotel room. Botan looked slightly distressed as he repeated his
question, "so, you still haven't told me why you disobeyed Koenma's orders..."
"Yusuke, I...wanted to be with you.."
Maybe this wasn't deja vu. "What?"
She pulled his hands to her waist and placed her hands on his firm
chest. Exploring the muscles that made up his chest, she moved closer to him, lips only centimeters apart. "I've always wanted
you.." She whispered softly as he felt himself grow tense under her touch.
"Botan," was all he could muster as she crushed her warm lips against
his. It was like an instant spark of passion as his hands occupied the flesh of her neck, while his head moved to the rhythm
of their lips. The spark soon created a fire as his desires got the better of him. He wanted her.
It was too late though, Botan had already started pulling away,
seeking air that was long overdue. With his eyes still shut, he only felt the deep heaves of her chest against his. "Botan.."
He whispered again as he opened his eyes to see.....Keiko?=================================================
"You're finally up."
"...ugh." Yusuke held his head as his eyes projected only a foggy
image of his surroundings. But, even with one sense down, he didn't need to see the figure to recognize her voice. There was
no doubt in his mind that it was Keiko.
"Don't move too much, you suffered a blow to the head." She sighed,
and touched his cheek. "You're always getting into trouble, aren't you?" Taking her hand away, she continued, "lucky I found
you on the street. I wouldn't want to think of what would have happened to you if I didn't."
He pushed himself into a sitting position, "I don't understand,
Keiko, you were in New York and..." With the pain now rushing to his head, his sentence was lost to the silence. Maybe it
was for the best. Even though she saved him, there was still a lot of troubled water under the bridge.
"Didn't my parents tell you? I moved back to Japan in the summer."
She sighed once he shook his head, "and all this time I thought you didn't want to see me."
"Your parents hate me, why would they tell me something like that?"
Keiko knew he was telling the truth, after all, it was her parents idea to send her to New York in the first place. They wanted
her to marry someone rich, talented, and famous. In other words, someone not Yusuke. "Keiko, why couldn't you tell me?"
She had feared this question. "I...couldn't.."
"LIAR!" Keiko jumped as Yusuke rose to his feet, ignoring the pain
in his head. "I trusted you, Keiko! I thought we would be together no matter what stood in our way. But, you! You didn't even
have the decency to write or call me....what kind of love is that?" He whispered the last part, afraid of her response.
"I know you were worried about me, but....I thought you would get
Yusuke folded his arms, his face showing no sympathy. "The message?
Keiko knew explaining this to him would be difficult, but when she
looked into his eyes, she hadn't realized how difficult it really would be. "After spending a month in New York I realized
that....my feelings for you...changed." She swallowed hard, trying not to let Yusuke sense her fear, "...I realized that I
only had a...crush on you, and my feelings were not of...love."
"So....you used me..."
"No, Yusuke! Never! I-"
"POLICE! OPEN UP!"
Yusuke's eyes widened. It was Hito.
"Coming," Keiko said as she stood up and walked toward the door.
"Can I help you?" She asked, door ajar.
"Please stand back miss, we have a warrant."
Keiko stood back and looked back to the couch, but Yusuke wasn't
=========================================="Why is Hito investigating
Keiko?" Yusuke thought, hiding in a closet behind the couch.
"We understand that you know a Mr. Akamatsu, correct?" Hito asked
as he heard two pairs of feet walking around her apartment building. Yusuke hoped that they wouldn't look in the closet. He
couldn't let Hito see him. He was supposed to be in Shouji park, after all.
"Yes, he's a good friend." Keiko answered.
Yusuke heard a pause. "A good friend, eh? Has he told you that he's
a suspect in a robbery?"
"No, I've heard no such thing."
"Hmm..you know this is serious business, correct?"
He sighed, "do you know the whereabouts of Mr. Akamatsu?"
"Where he is now? No, he doesn't usually come by anymore."
"When was the last time he was here?"
"Umm.." She paused, "two weeks ago."
"Is his absence unusual?"
Yusuke heard his two men walk toward the door, "it looks like she's
telling the truth, sir."
"Good. No further questions then." He cleared his throat, "thank
you for your cooperation."
Though Yusuke heard the door close, he didn't make any sudden movements.
He was curious...
That's when he heard her pick up the phone and punch in some numbers,
"yeah, it's me."
"They just left," she said as he heard her walk around the room.
"Yusuke? Yes, I did what you told me to. He didn't really tell me about the mission, but I do know that Botan is in Spirit
World right now." Yusuke's eyes widened as Keiko waited for an answer. "Do you want me to come with you?"
"Okay, I'll meet you."
Hearing her hang up the receiver, he quickly opened the closet door,
spirit gun ready. "Hito may have let you off the hook," he yelled, taking a few steps toward her, "but I won't. What are you
up to, Keiko?" He asked, feeling slightly dizzy. He figured it must be because he was hiding in the closet so long.
She gasped and took a step back, "Yusuke, it's not what it looks
"Come on, Keiko," he stood up and looked at her, still pointing
his index finger at her, "you're smart. Think of a better excuse."
She backed away, "please, Yusuke, put down your spirit gun."
"Not until you give me an explanation." He said, shaking his head
to ward off the dizziness.
"Sorry, Yusuke, I don't believe that's necessary," she said as she
looked at his spirit gun.
"What?" Looking at his index finger, he noticed that his energy
was depleting quickly. "What's going on?"
"You should be more worried about what will happen to you." She
said as he fell to his knees. "Goodbye Yusuke."
"Wait, Keiko," he said, holding his stomach. "What did you do to
"If you must know," she smiled as she walked toward the door, "I
poisoned you when I knocked you out." Opening the door, she looked down at him, "sorry it had to come to this." She turned
around to leave, but her face connected with the fist of...Botan?
"I'm sorry it had to come to that too." She said softly as she stepped
over her to see Yusuke face down on the floor. "Yusuke!" Running up to him, she rolled him on to his back, "can you hear me,
Yusuke?" She touched his cheek and then his neck for a pulse.
Through closed eyes, he asked, "..is it my time yet?"
"No, but I have some good news and bad news," she said as she put
her two hands above his chest.
Yusuke cracked a weak smile, "don't tell me, the bad news is I'm
dying, but the good news is I saved a load of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico." He coughed, but still contained
the smile on his lips.
Botan shook her head."Well, the good news is that the poison was
low-concentrated and it hasn't hit your digestive tract yet." She stated as her spirit energy emitted through his body, "the
bad news is your still taking orders from Koenma for the rest of your long life."
Once she finished her treatment, he opened his eyes and looked at
her, "great, I'm must be the luckiest guy in the world." He started to stand up, but he still felt slightly dizzy. "Ugh, how
did you know I was here?"
"Remember that DNA sample? The blood contained not demon blood,
but human blood. A male human by the name of Kanouji Akamatsu."
Yusuke cocked an eyebrow up, "who is this Akamatsu?"
"Yusuke, my father's last name was Akamatsu.." She turned away from
him, arms hugging herself.
"So.." his eyes widened, "Kano is just short for Kanouji." He breathed
as she nodded.
"I went to our old house down here on Brich and that's when I sensed
your spirit energy not too far away." She sighed as he put a hand on her shoulder for comfort, "I heard everything with Hito
Yusuke looked over to where Keiko rested, but she was gone....
"Where did she go?" Yusuke asked, looking at Botan.
Botan walked up to the door, "she went back to meet Kano."
"Do you think they're out to steal another jewel?"
Botan shook her head, "no, they're out to kill me for it."
==================================To be continued....
I tried to make it long because I know you all have been waiting
for months. So, was it good? Confusing? Sucked? Hopefully I should have the next chapter up soon. Don't worry, I'm pretty
sure you won't have to wait more than two months. Hooray for summer!!!! LOL, love all you Botan/Yusuke fans!! WOO!