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Lovers' Sanctuary

The Truth about Keiko

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"May I cut in?"

Botan's eyes shifted to a pair of brown eyes. "Keiko?"

"Yes," her eyes filled with amusement, "you have something I want." Leaving Botan's eyes, her attention shifted to a silver dagger she pulled out. "But, if you want to be difficult," she continued, finger now glazing along the edge of the blade, "I'll have no choice but to kill you." Blood trickled down her finger slowly, making her eyes gleam with pleasure. She then waved the dagger at Botan. "What will it be?"

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Botan remained silent, eyes watching Keiko's reflection in the dagger's blade. Sure, Botan could not remember a more dire situation, but she was used to death....and the many ways that led to the untimely end. It wasn't only that which kept her silent, however. Upon looking at Keiko's reflection, Botan noticed something that was keeping her from speaking. "Since when did Keiko have black eyes?" Something didn't smell right, and Botan was sure that Keiko's sudden presence in Japan didn't rid the stench. "It's like--" Botan's eyes brandished understanding from a sudden realization. But, before more thoughts could add to the spark of her awareness, Keiko's voice filled the hallway once again.

"Well, what's your decision?"

Botan's eyes lowered. She was trying to formulate a plan. "Kill me." Well....the keyword was trying.

"You do realize that when I kill you," she caressed Botan's cheek with the tip of the blade, "I will take possession of the jewel anyway, right?" She emphasized the last word, apparently wondering if the ferry girl really knew what she was doing.

"I know," she said, her voice a mere whisper. "I'd rather die than watch Kano take over Spirit World."

"How noble," mocked Keiko, a phony grin planted on her lips. "It almost makes me wish that I cared, but fortunately, I'm more interested in seeing you...dead." With that said, she laughed menacingly, and brought the dagger to the messenger's neck. Then, digging the blade into her neck, she backed Botan into the wall. "I'm going to enjoy this..."

Before she could pierce the blade into Botan's skin, the door across the hallway started to bang loudly, bringing with it the sound of a young man's voice. "BOTAN!" Startled, the killer turned sharply toward the hotel door. She saw the knob starting to turn, which only meant one thing.

"That Spirit Detective is trying to interfere with my plans again," growled the killer, as she withdrew the blade from Botan's neck. "It's time to teach him some manners." Holding her hand out, while using the other one to secure her victim, she built an invisible energy wall between her and the rest of the hallway. "Your knight in shining armor won't rescue you this time." Smiling, she held Botan by the neck, nearly choking her. "Where were we?"

Meanwhile, Yusuke finally managed to open the hotel door, still shaken by Hito's call. Once his eyes landed on the scene before him, however, he dropped his communicator, panic-stricken. "Botan!" he yelled, stepping forward. It was then his head collided into....."What the hell?" Drawing his two palms to the force field, he realized that Keiko created an invisible wall so he wouldn't be able to rescue Botan.

"Keiko, leave her alone!" yelled the spirit detective, slamming his fist against the barrier.

Smiling, she turned to Botan. "Looks like we have an audience."

"Yusuke!" she yelled desperately. "Get out of here!" Struggling to break free, Botan found it an useless effort. Keiko's grip was too strong, maybe too strong for a person as dainty as Keiko to possess. This only added fire to her realization. The realization that--

"I'll get you out of this," he responded, stepping back to unleash a spirit gun, that is, until Keiko told him that his spirit gun would not penetrate the barrier. Spirit energy had no effect on the wall. "Well," he punched the wall; "I have plenty of other ideas."

She laughed. "Try all you want," she pointed the blade at Botan again, "you won't make it in time."

"Go, Yusuke!" Her eyes remained on the blade as she spoke. Then, "you need to get out of here before Keiko finds the hiding place of the jewel." With that, Keiko's head craned toward Yusuke, horror embedded within her orbs.

"What?" She pulled the dagger away from Botan; her attention now focused on Yusuke. "Where is the--"

Botan, using the opportunity wisely, knocked the knife out of Keiko's hand, causing her arm to swing back roughly. Then, in one swift motion, she made a run for the opposite side of the hallway, where the barrier was not planted. Unfortunately, though, Keiko caught her by the wrist and smacked her across the face. "Don't try that again," her hand started to glow, "I won't hesitate to make your death a slow and painful one."

"Botan!" she heard the spirit detective yell, as she looked at Keiko.

Was this the end? She glanced at Yusuke, shaking her head. "I told Yusuke that we would find Keiko," looking around, her thoughts now focused on the barrier. "Spirit energy walls have one weakness. They can only be broken by the creator's spirit energy."

Pushing Keiko away from her, Botan backed into the spirit wall. Keiko growled fiercely, apparently unhappy at Botan's incompetence. "You must like to suffer," pausing, Keiko held out her gun-shaped hand. "I must admit, though, I like watching you suffer." Without warning, Keiko fired the spirit gun, which streamed a white light in Botan's direction.

"NO!" Yusuke yelled, eyes watching the scene through tears. "Botan!"

"This better wor--" Heaving herself out of the way of the spirit gun, her eyes shifted to the spirit wall, which was being penetrated by the spirit gun. "WORK!" yelled the ferry girl, as the spirit wall started succumbing to the spirit gun's power. Then, with a massive spark, the spirit wall dissipated, leaving Keiko defeated. "Bingo!" she cheered, lifting a fist to the air in victory. It was then Yusuke ran over to her, shocked as all hell.

"This is not over!" shrieked the brunette, eyes glaring daggers. "The jewel will be Kano's soon enough." Taking off down the hallway, Yusuke and Botan only looked on, too caught up in their own thoughts to care.

"Here," holding out his hand, Yusuke's eyes lowered to hers.

She accepted. "Thanks," she said, now on her feet. Her eyes locked with his. "Yusuke," her eyes squinted, cupping his cheek in her hand, "were you crying?" He pulled out of her touch, wiping his eyes.

"Nah, just..uhh..got something in my eye." Before she could say anything, he shook his head, avoiding her gaze. Then, changing the subject, he said: "Botan, we can't stay here. It's not safe. Keiko now knows where we are. There's no telling what Kano's next plan of action will be."

Botan sighed. "We're not safe anywhere we go."

"Well, maybe--" He looked at her arm, mouth slightly open. "Your...arm.." His finger lingered to her limb.

Her gaze shifted to where he was pointing, a smile now planted on her face. "My spirit energy is back," she moved her arm around, "it healed the breakage." Turning her gaze back to Yusuke, she asked, "what were you saying?"

Still looking at her arm--almost hypnotized--he answered: "I was saying...that maybe we could talk to Hito." Meeting her eyes, he added, "he has something to do with Kano. Maybe we can get some answers."

She nodded. "Let's go."

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"That's convenient," said Yusuke, after waiting ten minutes in front of Hito's door. "I knew we couldn't trust him." Banging once again on the door, he looked over his shoulder at Botan. She looked frustrated.

"Why don't you try opening it?"

Yusuke turned around. "Are you serious?"

"Yes."

He shook his head. "Nobody is stupid enough to leave their door open. Especially Hito." He watched as she folded her arms, unconvinced. "Fine. I bet you twenty bucks this door will NOT open. Deal?" She shook her head up and down.

Stepping in front of him, she turned the doorknob carefully, gently putting her shoulder against the door as she did so. With little effort, the door cracked open, revealing the interior of Hito's hotel room. Turning to Yusuke, she smiled triumphantly, "I believe you owe me twenty dollars."

The spirit detective scratched his head. "Did I say twenty dollars? I meant--"

"Yusuke.."

Reaching into his pocket, he kept his eyes on her pink orbs. Then, his gaze suddenly shifted to something beyond her eyes. Holding his finger out, he shouted, "hey, is that Koenma? Yeah, I think it is."

Gasping, she turned around to see...nothing. When she turned around to look back at Yusuke, she was greeted with a slammed door. Yusuke had tricked her so he wouldn't have to pay. That jerk. Clenching her fists, she started banging on the door.

"YUSUKE!"

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"Give me a break." Yusuke, with a rather large bump on the back of his head, said. He then added, "this room is exactly the same as two days ago," as he looked around the room for any sign of a clue. "Do you see anything, Botan?"

She shook her head. "Nothing. Are you sure this is the room?"

"Yes," he rummaged through the drawers; "this guy is just a freak."

"What are you looking for anyway?"

Yusuke stopped to look at her. "Anything. We need to find out if he's working for Kano."

"What if he was just a mind slave?"

"No," he whispered, still looking around. "He has to be one of Kano's henchmen. I'm almost positive."

"What if Hito is who he says he is?"

"Botan," he growled, obviously annoyed, "why are you taking his side?"

"What? How could you say that? I'm not taking his side!" she yelled, her pink eyes now turning violet. "And even if I was, who says you're not? You keep assuming that he's working with Kano! What proof do you have? Do you see any proof around here?"

He gave her a fixed stare. "He tried to destroy evidence against Kano. That's enough proof."

"He might have been under mind control!" She threw back angrily, now walking up to him. "Who knows how many people Kano has tried to control! That doesn't make them criminals! Look at Keiko..." She knew she shouldn't have said her name, but it was too late. She had said it, and now, Yusuke was halfway to he door. "Yusuke! I didn't mean that!" She tried to grab his arm, but he pulled it away from her grasp.

"What did you mean then?" He turned around to look at her. Then, "what? That Keiko is actually working for Kano? No, wait, she is Kano! Is that what you are trying to say? Well?" He waited impatiently for her to respond. She only answered with a couple of tears that glazed down her face. He threw his hands up to the ceiling, aggravated. "You know what? I don't need to hear this. I'm out of here. Good luck with your case."

Before he was out the door, however, he heard something from behind him that stopped him in his tracks. "What did you say?" Turning around, he looked at the ferry girl, who shrugged her shoulders in confusion.

"I didn't say anything;" she sniffed, her hands now wiping her eyes.

"That's right, I did."

Startled, Yusuke and Botan looked around the room for the body of the voice. Nothing.

"Where are you? Show yourself!" Yusuke demanded through clenched teeth.

"Not just yet, spirit detective."

Closing his eyes, Yusuke could have sworn he heard that voice before. "Hito," he finally responded, "what do you want with us?" Looking to the ceiling for an answer, he waited patiently to hear the voice again.

"You will find out soon enough."

Running to the door, Yusuke tried to open it, but his efforts were useless. Kano had trapped them once again. "What makes you think you can keep us in here? Do you remember what happened last time? I can just use my spirit gun and--"

"Just like the spirit wall, you can't use spirit energy on the room. Try, if that will please you."

He did. "Damn!" The wall ate his spirit energy--almost like the time K ate Kuwabara's spirit sword.

"Good luck, my friends."

"Hito!" came Yusuke's angry voice. He wanted answers. "Hito!" he repeated, now yelling.

"We're trapped," whispered the ferry girl, who was quiet throughout the whole discussion. "He knew that we would come to him after he called you on the communicator to warn you about Keiko. He wanted us to think that he was actually on our side. He..." She broke down in more tears. "You were right, Yusuke, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry..." Sinking to the bed; she wrapped her arms around herself for warmth and comfort.

Yusuke, bewildered by the trap, put a hand on Botan's shoulder. "You didn't know."

"Maybe if I'd listened to you, we might have been able to capture Hito." She stood, then paced around the room. "Maybe if I'd listened to Kano, we wouldn't be trapped in here. Maybe if I'd listened to Koenma, I wouldn't have put you through all of this.." As she rambled on, she could hear Yusuke walk up behind her to comfort her. She only continued, "it's good to be the grim reaper, Yusuke, do you know why? You're dead to everyone on earth," she sniffed, but proceeded, "you take away the souls of those loved and cherished, and," she looked into his eyes for the last point, "you....can't love.."

"Botan," whispered Yusuke, as he tried to bring her into an embrace. She pulled away.

"Don't. You are the last person I want sympathy from." Once out of his embrace, she strided to the bathroom and closed the door. He continued to listen to her whimpers and sniffles of pain until the steady stream of a shower washed away the sounds.

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"Stupid Botan." Walking into the shower, she arched her head back, letting the water massage her chest and lower body. "You pushed him away." A sigh slipped through her lips as the steam from the hot water unclogged her senses, leaving them feeling rejuvenated. "It's the right thing to do...you can't, no, he can't love you." Letting the water calm her mind from the worries of the world, her mind remained glued on his face.

"I think I...love him."

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Sighing, he retreated to the queen-sized bed, which was centered in the middle of the room, and rested his head on top of his laced hands. "She's so lonely," he thought, his vision now carving the structure of her face in his head. "I wish I could tell her that I.." He shook his head, refusing to say the words that have been plaguing his mind on the days he spent with Botan. "I don't know if I love Botan. It's a different kind of love from the one I shared with Keiko." His chocolate eyes met the white ceiling, creating a light brown swirl. "I loved Keiko; I wanted to be her protector. With Botan, I feel like the same way I feel when I'm riding on her oar--free, without a care.."

His thoughts stopped when he heard the water cease in the bathroom. Then, he returned to his thoughts, "I should write a book." Before he could chuckle, he heard the sound of the bathroom door crack open. When his eyes met the door, rather the person, he felt himself stop breathing.

She was like a heavenly apparition...maybe more as his eyes wandered to her blue hair, which was left out to accentuate the structure of her face. Her pink eyes made him think of the nights spent at the Dark Tournament, where the skies would turn a ghastly pink and then change to a more suited color--red--for the tournament. He always loved staring out the window at the sky before every match; it made him feel a calm that he had not felt in a long time.

His eyes then wandered to her body, which was wrapped in a small white towel that only covered her from before the breast to mid-thigh...unfortunately for him. It was then his mind took him to the dream he had of Botan.

"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.

Shaking out of his daze, he brought himself back to reality, where Botan still stood at the door, motionless. He wanted to reach out and touch her, comfort her even, but he refrained from doing so, knowing this would only show his feelings for the young ferry girl. "She has so much to deal with...I couldn't.."

"Yusuke..." her voice sent chills up his spine. So was a particular body part. "Forgive me...for before. I think this whole case is just...getting to me. I've been horrible to you, when in all actuality; you have only tried to help me find my brother."

His voice was lost in his throat. However, he managed to choke out "it's okay" before she grew suspicious of anything. As he sat up to review her body, she took little notice as she strided toward the dresser, in search of clean clothes.

Finding his voice again, he questioned: "What are you doing?"

She turned to him, her towel now sliding down to reveal some cleavage. He felt himself swallow hard. "My clothes are worn, I need something to wear." Sifting through the pile of neatly, folded clothes, she came across a plain white t-shirt and a pair of black pants.

"You're going to wear his clothes?"

She shrugged her shoulders. "They're clean."

"I wouldn't wipe my ass with his clothes," commented the teen; arms folded.

Her lips curved upward. "Would you rather have me walk around naked?"

"Well...now that you mention it--"

"PERVERT!" As she slammed the door to the bathroom, he couldn't help but smirk. It was weird how the simplest word could change his mood on the situation before him--being a hostage in a room, and tortured unknowingly by his infatuation. Now that she mentioned it, however, he WAS acting like a pervert. He couldn't help it though. It was either a.) act perverted, or b.) confess his feelings. He found choice A a better answer.

"Well," he looked up as Botan stepped out of the bathroom with the loosely fit clothing on, "I think I lost it." Striding to the bed, she sat down next to him, letting out an exhausted sigh as she did so. He could smell a hint of lavender in the air once she was seated. It was intoxicating.

"I wouldn't classify taking a shower while held hostage AND wearing the clothes of the person who is keeping you hostage as sane," teased the black-haired boy; catching the light of her eyes in the darkness of his orbs.

"What would you classify it as then?" She moved her face closer to his.

She moved closer to him, lips only centimeters apart...

Shaking his head mentally, he answered: "I'd say it's..."

He grew tense...

She quirked an eyebrow up, waiting patiently to hear his response.

"Botan.."

Was all he could muster as...

"NO!" he shouted unknowingly. His eyes shut and then reopened to see Botan still sitting there. "I'm sorry," brushing a hand through his black hair, he tried to make sense of the images. It was the dream.

"Yusuke?" Worry now set in deep in her eyes.

Yusuke, confused by the sudden images of his dream, looked into Botan's eyes and asked: "Can I kiss you?" He hadn't realized what he had said until the words echoed in his mind. It was then his eyes lowered from hers, ashamed.

Botan, the victim of his words, examined his eyes for the truth in his words. Was he being serious? Botan wasn't sure whether to like what she was hearing, or ignore the words that he may take back when she asked him to repeat it....

Still..it was nice to hear it.

"Do you want to kis--"

Botan froze, now looking at the sixteen-year-old with interest. The messenger's heart nearly fell into her lap, as he leaned forward, closing in on the entrance of her mouth. This was something she had felt since she died--love. As if an expert, her eyelids fell to a crack, where her eyes could only see the bridge of her nose. Then, she pursed her lips together; ready to feel something she had deprived her lips of. Swallowing hard in anticipation, she heard the mattress creak slowly. His warm breath against her face only added to the anticipation. Was she really going to kiss...Yusuke?

"Botan.."

Hearing him call her name softly, she was about to answer when she felt the touch of his warm lips against the coldness of hers--she was half-dead after all. She wondered if he would pull away once he felt the coldness of her mouth once he was inside it, but he did the opposite--he intensified it.

Botan felt the heat of passion take effect through her, sending her with tremors from head to toe. As Yusuke pressed his body against hers, she felt his heart pound the three words that she was dying to hear for such a long time. In response to his action, she deepened the kiss, sending the warmth of the moment deep inside her. She wanted this moment to last forever. She wanted to feel Yusuke's body against hers to the point where they were one. She knew Yusuke had the same thing on his mind as his tongue thrusted against hers, trying to express everything and anything he had for the ferry girl.

Unfortunately, however, Yusuke started to pull away, leaving Botan yearning for more of his kiss. "I..."

"Shh.." she brushed her lips against his again. Then, "thank you" came out of her lips as they pulled away for air again. As she traced the curves of his cheek with her thumb, he only looked into her eyes wondering why she had thanked him.

"Should I thank you too?"

Pulling herself from under him, she was about to respond, when they both heard a loud banging sound coming from the door. Yusuke, protective as he was, told Botan to hide behind the bed while he checked out the scene. She obeyed, but kept her eyes peeled on the door for any sign of movement. Nothing. Were they imagining things?

Without warning, however, the door swung open to reveal....Hito?

"I knew I would find you here, Yusuke--"

"What are you talking about?" Yusuke charged his spirit gun. "You locked us in here."

His eyebrow furrowed. "What?"

"Maybe he was under mind control," said Botan, standing from her hiding place.

"No, he's just playing games with us." The SD pointed his gun at Hito.

"I didn't lock you in here. I came to rescue you." Botan felt the pang of truth in his words as he spoke. She looked over to Yusuke, who felt the same emotion wash over him. "I was with the BOA all day until I saw one of Kano's henchmen follow you into Shika hotel."

"I don't believe you." Yusuke continued, "first, how do you KNOW about Keiko? And two, how did you know that we were locked in here?" Raising an eyebrow, Yusuke was trying to bust the guy's balls, but Hito maintained a cool composure.

"Kano used me to get into the Sudan Museum. That I remember. Nothing more." He gave an exhausted sigh. Then, " I soon remembered that the girl you call Keiko was actually working with Kano while I was stealing something from the museum. My men tracked her down and found her following you into the Shika Hotel. It was then my men saw her come back to my hotel room."

"What are you saying then?"

Hito stepped forward with the help of his gold cane. "Keiko locked you in here."

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To be continued....

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