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Lovers' Sanctuary

Chapter VII: Mistaken Identity

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Chapter VII: Mistaken Identity

Chapter Seven: Mistaken Identity

"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."

Yusuke, bewildered, found it extremely hard to concentrate after hearing Hito's statement. He was more angry than shocked by the information to say the least. "What are you up to, huh?" As he spoke, his blood started to boil with the growing rage for Hito. How could Hito blame Keiko when Botan and him heard him speak after they were locked up? "If this is some sick twisted game of yours, I swear I will--"

It was then he paused; feeling the warmth of Botan's hand on his shoulder. As he turned his head to question her gesture, he didn't expect for her eyes to take him back to the moment they kissed. The way her hands felt against his body. The permanent mark she left on his lips. Even the look she gave after they kissed was...magic. "Yusuke," she finally said, bringing the teenager back to their current situation. "I believe Hito."

Looking away from her, he struggled to believe that Botan actually trusted Hito. Then again, Botan trusted about anyone. "No. I won't let myself fall victim to Hito's bullshit. We heard his voice when we got locked in this place, right? There's no doubt in my mind that he is one of Kano's henchmen." Folding his arms, his eyes fixed on Hito's features. Without warning, however, this action made the whole room fall silent. Finally, after a few minutes, Hito reasoned:

"You may have good reasons for believing that I'm working with Kano, but I have evidence from--"

"Kano?" He finished, making the walls reverberate his inquiry. Then, without an answer, he added, "cut the crap, Hito. I'm not buying into anything you're selling. Won't your master be disappointed?" His eyebrow then raised in a sarcastic manner.

Before Hito could answer, Botan, fed up with listening to the two, brushed past Yusuke and caught Hito's eyes. "Kano affiliated with a man who had the ability to use his spirit energy to shape shift into different people before he was succumbed into the void." Hito nodded at her statement, while Yusuke listened quietly. She continued, "I believe he has taken the form of Keiko." This made both men, really Yusuke, accompany a shocked expression.

"What?" asked the spirit detective, his mouth nearly opened to the floor. ""

She ignored him. "BOA caught him a few years earlier than Kano. Can you...track him down?"

"I'm afraid not," Hito put his hands in his pockets, "his DNA is constantly changing from the shape shifts. But, if he currently resembles Keiko, we can track her DNA. It's not a strong lead, but it's something." He turned his back on the odd couple. "Stay here, Urameshi."

Yusuke stepped forward to protest, but then Hito continued: "Relax. I'm going downstairs to call the BOA about Keiko. Once we know where she is, we can find out where Kano is hiding as well. Call it killing two birds with one stone." Opening the door, he stepped out, leaving Botan and Yusuke alone....again.

Botan's eyes shifted to Yusuke's. "Give Hito a chance, Yusuke. I--"

"No, he doesn't deserve a chance." Pacing around the room, he found a seat on the bed. Then, running a hand through his hair, he continued, "he knows too much about Keiko. What if he..." He paused; now looking at Botan. "What if he knows what really happened to Keiko?"

"Are you saying that he may have kidnapped Keiko? Impossible." As soon as the statement left her mouth, she saw Yusuke's eyes flash confusion. Sighing sadly, she added, "why would Kano's henchman go through all that trouble? He only wants the jewel." Her eyes lowered to her pocket, where she reached in and pulled out the Shikasta. Her eyes then shimmered with an unknown emotion. "Unless he's looking for something else.."

"Botan," putting a hand over hers, the spirit detective made her look at him. "What is it?"

"Kano obviously wanted to use Keiko for a reason." The messenger stopped, heaving in a breath of air. "I think Kano wants something from you. He wouldn't use Keiko if he didn't." Closing her eyes, she felt him squeeze her hand. "Oh, Yusuke!" She shook her head, relieving the tears that were trying to escape her eyelids. Then, as Yusuke brought her into a hug, she burst into a paroxysm of tears. " careful..." she wailed, as she cried into his shoulder. "Please.."

"I will. Now, shhh..." He moved her back and forth--almost rhythmically. Her sobs diminished to a whimper upon this action. "Stop crying. This shirt is dry clean only." He stopped rocking her, knowing she was going to hit him soon. She didn't. She only pulled away and wiped some tears on her sleeve. This effort became a useless one, that is, until he brushed the tears away with his thumb. Her skin was soft to the touch...he noted. A blush crept to his cheeks as he mused, but luckily for him, she was too caught up in her emotions to say anything. "Nothing is going to happen to me, okay?" He asked, now that she had stopped crying.

Nodding, Botan answered: "I'm sorry," she wiped more tears from her eyes, "I always worry about my friends." As she smiled, Yusuke couldn't help but think of the term she used--friends. Were they friends? That kiss between them said otherwise.

"Umm...Botan?" He waited for her to look at him before he continued. She did. Taking a deep breath, he repeated his thoughts...out loud this time. "Are we friends? I mean, that kiss--"

Botan shook her head. "We were probably just caught in the moment," she said hastily. Then, "I'm sure that won't change our relationship, I mean, we're still best friends, right?" Her eyebrow raised at her own question.

"Yeah," he uttered laconically.

Her statement had choked his voice, making it hard for him to answer her question. But, clearing his throat, he decided that it was time to bring up the three words that were swimming in his mind all morning. "Honestly, Botan, I don't know what to think after that kiss. But," he forced himself to look at her. "I think I'm falling in lo--" Before he could finish his sentence, the door opened to reveal Hito. After cursing under his breath several times, he started:

"An itch that won't go away," mumbled the black-haired teen, now standing up. "Well? Anything?"

He nodded, putting his hands in his pockets. "Keiko is currently on Brich Street." It was then he pulled out his communicator. "12 Brich Street to be correct." Focusing his attention on the communicator for several minutes, he then looked at them. "What's wrong?"

Botan was the first to speak. "That was Kano's old residence."

"Hmm..interesting." His attention went back to the communicator. "Kanouji Akamatsu." After that said, Yusuke could feel Botan shudder though he had his back toward her. He wished he could comfort her, but his mind knew better. Instead, he folded his arms and said:

"If she's there," his hand started to glow with spirit energy, "we're going to have to take her down."

Botan nodded silently. "And my brother must follow..."

"Ugh, what died in this place?" Stepping into the house for the second time did not make the stench any familiar to Yusuke. He even had to cover his mouth because the smell was so bad. "Are you sure Keiko is in here?"

Hito answered Yusuke's question by taking out his communicator. It made a loud, cacophonous noise as soon as he opened it. "She's close. I can't pick up exactly where she's coming from though." As they walked deeper into the house, the signal started fading rapidly. " communicator is saying that she's around here but.." Turning around he faced it the opposite way. It started beeping rapidly again.

"No Keiko.." Yusuke finished, letting his eyes wander around the house.

"Wait," pointing the communicator to the floor, Hito asked: "is there a basement?"

Botan's eyes lowered to the floor. "Basement and an attic." Her head tilted upward, viewing the dusty light fixture and the paint that was peeling off the ceiling. "It seems no one wants to buy this house after they found out someone died in here." She said unconsciously, giving a half-hearted chuckle. "It was this very room exactly....right next to that table." Yusuke felt his stomach turn as she pointed to the table. Sighing, her arm fell back to her side. "Is she still in the house, Hito?"

"Yes," he started. Then, "maybe we should split up. Botan, go with Urameshi to the attic. I'm heading down to the basement." He turned to take the stairs down, but Yusuke stopped him. "Listen, this is no time for a--"

"How do we know you won't lock us up in here?"

Growling, Hito managed to answer nonetheless. "I'll take Botan downstairs then." Yusuke hated this plan more, but he didn't want to leave Botan to investigate the attic alone. Forcing a nod, he heard Hito say "stay close, Botan," which made his teeth clench together tightly. If he tried to make a move on Botan--wait, what was he thinking? It wasn't like they were together. Botan was free to--no, not Hito. Anything but that perverted bastard.

"This is stupid," muttered the pissed teenager. "I bet Keiko isn't even here."

Walking upstairs, he opened the door to find yet another dusty room. Putting his hand in front of him, he conducted enough spirit energy to light the room...and then some. Thrusting his fist in all different directions, he felt no spirit energy or the presence of someone, other than him, in the room. "If I had a dollar for every brain Hito didn't have," pausing, he walked into another room. "I'd retire from spirit detecting."

Following the same procedure, he didn't see anything that could cause suspicion. "Maybe I--"

"Botan? Botan? Where are you?!" Yusuke's eyes opened wider after hearing Hito's calls from downstairs. Without thinking, he ran downstairs to see if the girl he left Hito with was still at his side. She wasn't. "Urameshi, I'm sorry....Botan's gone."

"...she went into one room, and I went to the other. Then, I asked her if she saw anything. When she didn't answer, I walked into the room she was in...but she was gone. I don't know what to make of it...I didn't hear any foul play or anything.."

Yusuke kept a fixed stare. "She just disappeared?"

"Yes," the old man nodded to confirm. Then, "Is it possible that Keiko--"

"Keiko did not kidnap Botan." Yusuke folded his arms, his eyes filled with disbelief. "I'm taking a look downstairs; you couldn't have brought her far." As he walked down the stairs, Hito remained where he was, only examining his communicator. "Well, are you coming? You might as well tell me where she is...I'll find her anyway."

"Keiko was your friend, right?" asked Hito indirectly. Finding that Yusuke wasn't going to respond, he took it for a "yes" and proceeded with the topic he brought up. "When I was under Kano's mind control; I broke free after I stole the Utatane. If Keiko is really who she says she is, she would probably have freed herself from Kano as well."

He thought Yusuke was going to answer him, but instead he whispered "Don't change the subject," and marched downstairs in search of Botan. Sighing, he followed shortly, feeling sympathetic toward the boy who refused to see the wrong Kano has made him to believe is Keiko.

"Where is Botan?!" Yusuke, annoyed by Hito's presence, turned to look at him, but he was too busy with his communicator. "What? Calling Kano?" he asked sarcastically, as he looked around for Botan. Should he be worrying now? Botan was nowhere to be found. Maybe Keiko did--no, he couldn't believe what Hito was telling him.

"We're wasting time."

Yusuke turned around to look at him. "Exactly, so why don't you tell me where Botan is?" Raising an eyebrow, he waited patiently for Hito to respond. Instead, the BOA chief flipped open his communicator and punched in some numbers. "Answer me!" he yelled, now growing more and more worried for Botan's safety.

Finally, after examining his communicator for quite some time, he answered: "She's in Spirit World."

"Ouch," the blue-haired messenger whimpered, as her eyes focused on the room. "Where am I?" As she looked around the room, Botan could not make out anything to be familiar. The room was dark. Standing up, she moved around the room to find an exit, but the room seemed to have none. "No..." Before she could remember what happened after she entered her old house, she heard the sound of breathing from the other corner. "Hello?"

Scared, she stepped forward. "Can you help me?"

Moving through the shadows, Botan started to notice that the breathing indeed had come from a figure. She couldn't make out the figure, but she knew just from looking at it that the figure was female. It seemed to be sleeping. "Hello?" she asked again. It didn't stir or anything. This gave her enough courage to walk up to the figure and see its true identity.

As she knelt down next to the figure, she built-up enough energy into her palm to light the face of the figure. What she saw caused her to fall back and gape at the perfectly shaped oval face of the figure. Her eyes were closed, but they gave her face a seraphic look. Her hair was strewn over the sides of her head, but this didn't take away the beauty that was...Keiko. "Oh...Keiko..." She moved a strand of hair from her eyes. "Yusuke's been so worried about you." Her bottom lip trembled when she said this, but she forced herself not to cry. After all, Keiko was safe....or somewhere near that.

Before she put Keiko back on the floor, the lights in the room turned on, and a voice appeared on the loud speaker. "How cute, sister. But, there are more important matters than the safety of that girl."

"Why are you doing this, Kano?"

He laughed maliciously. "Doing what? You're only making more trouble for yourself."

"If you want the jewel, I don't have it."

"Spirit World?" Yusuke stepped back in disbelief. "But.." Taking the communicator from Hito, he reviewed the information. Then, "how did she get to Spirit World? It doesn't make sense."

"This only proves my theory before." He paused, taking in a deep breath. "Keiko's signal faded after Botan went missing." He tapped his cane against the floor. "Remember I told you that Keiko could have kidnapped Botan?"

"Give me a break," muttered the detective. "You're actually right about something?"

"No time for jokes, Urameshi. Botan may be in serious trouble." Looking down at his watch, he cursed under his breath. "We might be too late." As he walked out of the house, Yusuke followed, fuming.

"So, what? You're not going to do anything about it?"

Turning away from Yusuke, he lifted his cane horizontally, and drew an imaginary circle into the air. This circle created a void into the air--almost like a portal. As Hito turned to him he whispered: "who said I'm not going to do anything? This is a portal that links directly to Spirit World."

"What? What do you mean you don't have the Shikasta?"

Botan smiled, not the least bit afraid of her brother. "Come now, you have telepathy."

"Hmm.." Botan heard a muffled noise, as she felt an unknown pull on her thoughts. He was using his telepathy, and Botan didn't care to say the least. She knew she didn't have the Shikasta. She gave it to Yusuke before they left the hotel with Hito...

".....he only wants the jewel." Her eyes lowered to her pocket, where she reached in and pulled out the Shikasta. Her eyes then shimmered with an unknown emotion. "Unless he's looking for something else.."

"Botan," putting a hand over hers, the spirit detective made her look at him. "What is it?"

"Kano obviously wanted to use Keiko for a reason." The messenger stopped, heaving in a breath of air. "I think Kano wants something from you. He wouldn't use Keiko if he didn't." Closing her eyes, she felt him squeeze her hand. "Oh, Yusuke!" She shook her head, relieving the tears that were trying to escape her eyelids.

Then, as Yusuke brought her into a hug, she burst into a paroxysm of tears. " careful..." she wailed, as she cried into his shoulder. "Please.." It was then she slipped the jewel into his pocket and pulled away, smiling.

"No!" he growled. "That Spirit Detective has the Shikasta."

"You see," she stood up. "You didn't have to kidnap me. All you had to do was ask me." Smiling, she knew was being obnoxious to her brother. Once she thought about her behavior, she thought of Yusuke. "I know he won't let you have it!"

"We'll see about that." It was then the lights turned off, leaving Botan in darkness.

It's too easy for him to get into Spirit World, Yusuke thought, as they walked down an alleyway toward a building. And even with that communicator, it shouldn't be that easy to find a missing victim. Giving Hito a side-glance, his thoughts became more and more against the idea of Hito actually helping him find Botan. It seems he's always leaving to do something too. I know Botan believes him, but something about him..

Stopping in front of the building, Hito looked at Yusuke. "This is the place. Botan is in here."

"You know, I lost a pair of underwear a couple of years ago; do you think your communicator can track them down?" Yusuke knew this was a serious situation, but something inside him made him say it to Hito. Maybe he liked watching Hito give him the evil eye.

"Be quiet, Kano has the ability to read minds."

He sure knows a lot about Kano. He nodded. "Sure."

Hito tried to open the door, but the door only made a creaking noise and remained still. "The door won't--" Before he finished what he had to say, a light of spirit energy blinded his eyes and pounded against the door. As a result, the door swung open; the only thing keeping it standing was the bottom hinge. "I said be quiet!"

"You said he had the ability to read minds, so," he paused, taking his first step into the building. Then, "I kept my thoughts quiet." Putting his hands in his pocket, he strided forward into the poorly-lit building. This was so because the building wasn't run by electric. Candles and torches lighted everything. "Looks can be deceiving," the teenager whispered, referring to how the outside looked like an ordinary building yet the interior was all medieval.

"Botan!" Hito yelled, his eyes wandering around the walls and floor. "Botan!"


The messenger's eyes widened. "Hito!" she tried to yell, but the room reverberated her outcry. "Oh...Yusuke.." Pacing around the room, she held her chest tightly. Her heart felt like it was filling with pain upon thinking of Yusuke not being able to rescue her. Kano was powerful...

"He'll defeat Kano. He has faced worse enemies." Her thoughts drifted to Toguro, but then flicked back to the current situation. As she steadied herself against the wall, she slid down the wall and hit the floor. Then, knowing that they couldn't hear her, she started crying. "Yusuke..."

No sign of Botan. What if Hito is leading me into a trap? As if to answer his question, a figure appeared through the darkness of the hallway on the other side of them. Yusuke stepped forward, but pulled himself back once he saw the figure approaching them. "Keiko?" His face softened once he laid eyes upon her.

"Yusuke!" Holding out her arms, she hugged Yusuke, but then pulled away to smack him. "What took you so long? I've been stuck in here ever since I came to visit my parents in Japan. Some stupid--" As her eyes found Hito's, she gasped and hid behind Yusuke. "That's the man that kidnapped me! He took me here and made me become one of Kano's mind slaves." She squeezed Yusuke's arm, obviously terrified. "It was so terrible..."

"I knew I couldn't trust you, Hito," clenching his fist, Yusuke glared at him. "I told Botan not to trust you, but--wait, where's Botan? Where are you hiding her?" As he spoke, his fists started to glow. Then, his entire body.

"I know you don't trust me, but it's important now that you trust my word over hers."

"Yusuke," whined Keiko, now pulling on his arm. "Don't waste your time with him. We have to get out of here! Kano is going to come soon...he will be angry if he sees you." Tugging on his arm once again, he finally turned to look at her.

"Yes, I know. Just give me one moment to deal with the imposter."

Bringing his fist back, he focused the attack on Hito. The BOA chief only stood there, trying to maintain his composure. He knew though that this may be his last day on earth. But, right before Yusuke unleashed the attack, he turned around and hit Keiko straight in the gut. This caused her to fall back a couple of feet, in a state of shock. Once she sat up to look at Yusuke, her features changed into a man who had brown hair and tattoos all over his body.

"How did you know, Yusuke?" Hito finally asked, tightening his grip on his cane.

"Keiko hits harder than that;" the detective joked, but then grew serious. "When I told her about Botan, she didn't seem the least concerned about her. She only wanted to make sure she was safe. That's not Keiko..." He paused, looking at the imposter. "I got another one where that came from."

"Urameshi," Hito spoke up. "I'll handle him. You need to find Botan."

"Right." Nodding, he walked ahead of Hito toward the hallway. He suddenly stopped though. "Thanks Hito. I may not want to admit it, but you've been a big help on this mission." Giving a thumbs-up, Yusuke continued down the search of Botan.

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