Author's Note: For the record, I really mean it when I say first and forever OTP. This ship's been sailing almost a decade, wayyy before I knew what ships were. And despite having been "writing fanfiction" for the same amount of time, this is my first actual published story, so please be kind. Constructive criticism is sincerely welcome. :)

The prompts are all pulled from an old 50scenes livejournal floating on an old jump drive for inspiration. Rating is also subject to change.


41. Kiss

Come on, you took on Toguro and won. Just do it.

His best friend stood in front of him, textbook in hand, routine chiding spilling from her lips. The words flew over the boy's head in the breeze, though he'd heard them so many times by now he probably could recite her lecture from memory. Yusuke wasn't listening, but he could tell by her tone that Keiko hadn't quite reached annoyed or angry ... yet. Still, even if Sarayashiki Jr. High's number one student didn't want to kill its number one delinquent now, she definitely would after this. Clammy palms clenched into fists; he buried them in his pockets.

"... and if you're lucky, maybe I can talk Mr. Sato into giving you an extension..."

Yusuke's mind raced. There were a million good reasons not to go through with it – several of which involved her palm connecting with his face – and yet, he knew he had to anyway.

And, if Kuwabara could screw up the courage to spill his heart to the young red-eyed demon girl he just met, then he could manage this.

Keiko carried on and the boy avoided meeting her wide brown eyes. It didn't take much to remind Yusuke of the panic behind them on Suzaku's widescreen only a few weeks ago. She fretted over his term paper, but that expression triggered intense memories of desperation and electrocution and being farther away from her than he had ever been in his life.

For the third time, his Spirit World business put Keiko into trouble, and Yusuke found himself, with increasing frequency, willing to risk everything to keep her safe.

Despite whatever he told Botan, even Yusuke had to concede that the insistent denial, at this point, was all crap. He must be repressed if it took 10,000 volts of demon lightning to make him realize he loved Keiko Yukimura.

And what about Keiko? Lately, all his senses heightened around her; now and again, Yusuke noticed something that sparked tentative flickers of hope somewhere deep in his chest. As a ghost, he'd caught her leaning in toward his soulless body in an attempt to steal a tender (if not a little creepy) moment. But then, the lighthearted way she laughed over chocolate milkshakes when he finally returned after training with Genkai; or her painfully obvious jealousy whenever she found him talking with a certain ponytailed ferry girl.

Over and over, Yusuke berated himself for reading too far into it, but then in her (presumably) last moments, Keiko cried out his name.

Keiko asked him to be honest, and while Yusuke could not explain that her childhood friend saved her life from a sadistic, blonde, tone-deaf asshole by shooting bullets of blue light from his fingertips because he loved her, he could maybe at least let her know he liked her.

Also, goddamn if Kuwabara of all people showed him up.

Being up so high on the roof, the wind tousled her short hair in a distracting way. The detective breathed deeply – now or never. Seriously, if she gets mad, she's the one who tried it first.

"Yusuke, really, you're not even listeni-"

Screw it.

The tip of his nose bumped the bridge of hers, and the heady, familiar scent of cigarette smoke and sweat rushed her senses. Cinnamon colored eyes widened in astonishment.

Keiko's immediate instinct told her to reel back and strike, knowing very well what happens when Yusuke brazenly invaded her space. Years of spending time around him warned her to watch for his hands (which remained in his pockets) or his vulgar mouth (the one firmly pressed against hers). Keiko froze, waiting for his worst, but, for some reason, reluctant to pull away.

Yusuke froze as well. She had never known her friend to be still in his life; he constantly fidgeted – bored or agitated or itching to get under the girl's skin – but now, all his energy seemed laser focused on that one small point of contact.

He kissed her, chaste and inexperienced. Their bodies stood awkwardly far apart, but her face was so close – all heat and breath and the soft brush of her bangs against his forehead.

Keiko's lips fit neatly against his, warm and still, and likewise something seemed to come together in Yusuke's mind: this was it. She was it. No one knew him better than her; no one stayed by his side for as long. As stupid and cheesy as it sounded, Yusuke owed his life to her, and not just because of that first kiss but because he probably wouldn't have even made it to fourteen without Keiko cutting through his anger and melancholy and making everything a little bit nicer just by being around…

If she didn't push him away now, Yusuke knew they would spend the rest of their lives together.

The teen intended to be quick – make it obvious how he felt and get out. Somehow, he didn't back off until his lungs were calling for air.

Blood rushed to his ears and Yusuke dropped his eyes to avoid meeting hers. Instead, he noticed her knuckles were blanched white around the spine of her textbook. Damnit. Despite feeling maybe somewhat-fairly confident since returning from Maze Castle, he'd miscalculated. The uncomfortable, nearly tangible, silence weighed down from all sides.

The detective lifted his gaze just enough to appreciate a flush of color around her collar. There were only two options: offer a sincere apology or the usual, easier route - flip her skirt and hope Keiko would get mad enough to forget the whole thing.

Keiko still felt dazed but appraised the boy in front of her. Yusuke's shoulders were tensed and on the defensive, as if he were bracing for her impending indignation. His hands still hid in his pockets, mouth drawn in a tight, thin line; but his eyes looked plainly wide and anxious - an emotion she never found there. A well-known tangle of exasperation and embarrassment and affection settled behind her breastbone.

The idiot. His timing was pretty terrible; why do this now, when the bell was about to ring?


Pulse pounded loudly in his ears as Yusuke backed Keiko against the concrete. His arms started to feel heavy and awkward at his sides, and he found it more comfortable to press his still sweaty palms to the wall on either side of her body, trapping her there and closing the space between them.

As a Spirit Detective, Yusuke considered himself pretty damn good at confronting unfamiliar situations, and even better at responding with some sort of action. But romance? He'd felt better equipped facing the leader of the Saint Beasts with nothing but his fists and his shoes. Her teeth sometimes knocked against Yusuke's painfully, and their mouths made wet noises loud enough to make Keiko blush, but neither stopped. Swallowing embarrassment and ignoring the uneasiness it created in his stomach, Yusuke considered their positions: boy snaring girl in a kabe-don on the school rooftop; he silently wished the situation didn't remind Keiko of a shoujo manga like it did him. How lame.

Despite having been caught by Yusuke, she didn't slap him - generally a good sign - and he thought the corners of Keiko's mouth turned up as if in a smile. A bit more reassured, instinct took over (something else he excelled at).

Yusuke's nose pushed into hers harder, mouth parting to better catch her bottom lip. She shifted and Keiko's warm tongue reached out to slide across his lips tentatively and then inside, and an electricity much more pleasant than Suzaku's shot down his spine. His hands left the wall to grasp her arms, right by her shoulders, in an attempt to ground himself.

Keiko had yet to ease up on the book; her fingertips started tingling as they went numb.

Vaguely, the girl realized class already started, and while it was standard for Yusuke to be absent, her English teacher would definitely notice his top student missing. Oh - and that paper due today.

I can turn it in later, I guess... Keiko thought. It would be difficult convincing Mr. Sato to excuse her tardiness and not fail Yusuke. Nor would it be easy explaining to Mr. Takenaka why they were both absent. She felt like a hypocrite, for choosing to stay on the rooftop only a few minutes after admonishing Yusuke for it, but none of that mattered. The boy in front of her - the cynical, rough, beautiful boy with the terrible timing - was far too distracting to really care.


Author's Note: I have this theory that Yusuke and Keiko were actually going out through the middle of the series (and not just 'two best friends with a whole lot of sexual tension'). I know it's not explicitly stated – but you have to wonder at lines like "You know he has the hots for you." "I know." Or how sincerely Yusuke talks about Keiko when she's not around. Not to mention she's constantly introduced as his girlfriend and neither of them seem to mind very much (as opposed to the way he flipped out in the beginning). Just a thought – and with the added subtext, it makes watching and writing them more fun for me.

FYI- "…took on Toguro and won" refers to the first time they fought in Tarukane's mansion.
FYI#2- I know forced kisses are not romantic (neither is commenting on the state of the other's underwear, or slapping each other in the face, etc...). It's kind of just the way the series is. For any other couple I wouldn't let it happen but there are just so many good 90s anime cliches in there I think it's appropriate.