Okay, this story is written in the first person from Kurama's point of view. He's thinking about the one he loves and debating whether or not he dares to tell him.

This story has shounen-ai implications (boy-loving-boy), and generally should not be read by those who don't like "that kind of thing" (thanks to Vyvian and Moriarty for their cool and sarcastic description!) No lemon though.

"Anata wa suki da" means "I love you". "Ore mo" means "I love you too" - literally, it means "Me too."

Yuu Yuu Hakusho is not mine, etc etc etc. Neither are the legal rights. Of course, if Togashi-sama ever wants to sell them... grin



I love you, you know.

Four words. Anata. Wa. Suki. Da.

It sounds strange... I've thought those words a million times in my head, said them a million times in my dreams, heard your voice saying "Ore mo" in my highest hopes and seen your amusement in my deepest despair.

You know, I think I could bear it if you were scornful, even disgusted by the idea. It would mean that at least you were acknowledging it as a possibility, even it was a possibility you hated and never intended to allow happen. But if you raised your eyebrows, thought I was teasing you... if you found the idea so ridiculous it was humourous, I think that is what would break my heart more than anything.

To be laughed at... to be considered so unattractive, so unlovable, so completely out of the question in your eyes that the very idea is _funny_ is something I could NOT bear.

I am a kitsune, after all. The Ningenkai and 'Kaasan have taught me to have some measure of humility, but I still have my fair share of pride. To have one's pride torn away is bad enough, one's hopes dashed is worse, to have one's heart broken worst of all, but all three would kill me, I'm sure.

[Why wouldn't he love me?] asks my pride, stung at the very notion of a rejection.

[There's no law that says that he has to. He has his free will, after all.]

[What is wrong with you? You have charms in this body as well - you made sure this body would be attractive as your last one, albeit in a ningen way, so why don't use them?]

[I've tried. He's not interested.]

[Oh yes.] The inner voice is dry and clinical. [The subtle approach. Didn't work very well, did it? Time to act like the kitsune you are, Kurama.]

I snort, sounding very inelegant and much like a certain fire demon. [Oh, yes. Throw yourself at his head, show off your good looks so seductively it's ugly in its very blatantness. Sure. That will send him running away as fast as he can.]

[Don't be stupid. You know what I mean. The exact methods that worked for a youko with your looks will not work for a ningen with your looks. You have a thief's adaptability, so adapt!] snarls the kitsune, impatient and annoyed.

[I don't want him to just want me. I want him to love me, too. And that will take time - his upbringing rather discourages the idea of loving me, I'm sure.]

[Isn't the wanting a good start, though? Why you want THAT one is beyond me, anyway... and your ningen mother will be disgusted.]

[Oh sure, just because he's not like anyone you've had before! Just because he won't fawn all over you in public, your pride won't accept him! Well, there's a saying in the Ningenkai for one like him: a diamond in the rough. Under that brash exterior is a good heart that will be a treasure, if I can only be the one to mine it out and own it!]

[And will you be able to swallow the dirt that the brash exterior brings along with the treasure? He's not exactly polite, is he? And your precious 'Kaasan would faint at his table manners alone if you ever took him home to dinner. Of course, she'd probably faint long before that - at the first sight of him most likely...]

With a sigh, I give up arguing with that side of myself. Meet Kurama, ladies and gentlemen, the ultimate schizophrenic. Wild, playful, dangerous Youko and gentle, supportive, shy Shuuichi. Yes, shy. Not that anyone would ever believe it, especially not _him_, but Shuuichi is actually shy, so much so it does actually hurt; the phrase "painfully shy" is so accurate. Youko and Shuuichi are in a constant battle in social situations. Shuuichi is afraid always, possibly because Youko is so dominant over him. And I... am someone who is both of those and neither, caught in the jaws of a vicious trap called 'in the middle', bleeding to death and leaving me ready to cry.

It isn't fair. It just isn't fair at all.

[Just say it.]

[I can't.]

He's coming over here.

[Say it!]

[I CAN'T! I can't, I tell you!]

What? He's saying something. He's asking me why I'm over here by myself, looking so depressed. How strange - I didn't think anyone would really notice, much less him; despite his good heart, he's not always perceptive of other people's emotions.

[Just say it!]

[What if he doesn't love me?]

[What if he DOES?]

Oh, this is almost funny. Almost. Kurama the Youko, Kurama the Master Thief who neatly stripped the Makai of any treasure he wanted. Kurama the Seducer, Kurama the Heartless, who likewise took any heart or body he wanted and left it behind just as casually when he didn't want it anymore.

Kurama the Coward, who can't say four short words to one person.

I take a deep breath. Now or never.

"Na, Kuwabara, there's something I need to tell you..."