Categories > Anime/Manga > Yu Yu Hakusho

Careless Whisper

by SereneShadow 0 reviews

On his wedding day, Yusuke reflects on the mistakes that he has made and the chances that he will never get to take. Songfic to the song of the same name by George Michaels, WHAM, and Seether. (Lyr...

Category: Yu Yu Hakusho - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst,Drama,Romance - Characters: Keiko,Kurama,Yusuke - Warnings: [!!] [X] - Published: 2009-08-19 - Updated: 2009-08-27 - 3722 words - Complete

Careless Whisper

It should have been the best moment of his life, but it was the one he was dreading more than any other. Nothing he had so far seen or done had left him so afraid or alone; he had battled countless demons, had survived death twice, and had had his life turned upside down...and all for what? A marriage that he did not want, with a wife that he did not love, in a world that no longer needed him to defend it.

He was able to get through the actual ceremony fine, by avoiding looking at either of them. He looked everywhere; at the floor, the ceiling, Kuwabara, the guests...anywhere but at the two faces that he had looked at so often in the past few months since his return. But was the moment that they would have their first dance, as bride and groom, and he'd have to look directly into her face. He would have to hold her and act as though there were no secrets between them. He didn't know that he could do it.

He cleared his throat, pulling at his tie. Was it just him, or did they have it up to ninety in here? Why did it have to be so hot? Keiko was standing in her wedding dress, far from him. The lights went down, and the music began. The moment was now. He suddenly found that he could barely breathe; his throat had swelled shut of its own accord. Then he was nudged from behind by someone that he couldn't identify (though it wouldn't have surprised him to learn that it was Kuwabara.) He stumbled toward Keiko, then shuffled across the empty dance floor to take the bride's hand. As their fingers touched, his mind slid crazily back in time, as some sort of weird defense mechanism against the solid thudding of his nervous heart.

"I can't do it, Kurama! This is so

"Yusuke, it's quite simple. Left, right, turn, left, right, turn–"

"No! It's not simple! It's anything but simple!"


Yusuke stormed away, looking quite ridiculous in his usual blue jeans and muscle shirt. He only looked ridiculous because of the setting; it was a place where many a man had worn a tuxedo and shiny black shoes to learn to woo a woman with wayward waltzes. They weren't the only ones on the practice dance floor; other people–other couples–littered the floor, trying to get down the proper dance moves before a big day when everyone would be watching.

Of course, most of the other couples were comprised of fiancés or lovers who had agreed to do the thing together. Keiko had not needed to learn this dance, and Kurama had originally been happy to oblige the bride. It was all he could do, after all, other than be one of Yusuke's two best men. (Hiei had blatantly refused. Kurama supposed that Yusuke would be lucky if the demon came at all.)

After a moment's hesitation, he followed Yusuke off of the floor, sensing that there was more to his frustration than just the dancing. Someone with Yusuke's background in martial arts shouldn't have such a hard time learning to dance, given that it took quite a lot of control to move the body properly enough to fight. Although, Yusuke did have a more erratic method of battling, and dancing was much subtler than he was used to.

Yusuke had gone off in the direction of the rest room, the only place where there were no other couples staring at them. Kurama followed, expecting that Yusuke was having pre-wedding jitters. He was not far off. The boy was sitting on the bathroom floor with his back against the wall, looking very dejected and, for all the world, too young to be getting married.

"Yusuke, is something bothering you?"

Yusuke didn't answer initially, and Kurama felt that he had overtaxed Yusuke's emotional circuits. Between the wedding plans, his most recent return to the human world, and Keiko's own rampages, Yusuke was certainly feeling heat. Perhaps Kurama shouldn't have tried to teach him the dance in a crowded room with loud music only a few days before the marriage. Perhaps it was too much to ask of him to learn to dance at all.

"It's Keiko."


"She's driving me crazy, Kurama. She wants everything, and I can't give her anything."

"Are you afraid?"

Yusuke looked up at his friend, and Kurama knew that he undoubtedly was. Keiko, with her planning and stressful attitude, had done what numerous demons had not been able to do; leave Yusuke quivering in fear. Kurama had to suppress a smirk at the irony.

"Yusuke, no one will blame you for being afraid. Weddings can cause stress, and–"

"And that isn't why I'm afraid, Kurama."

Kurama didn't need to ask for conformation. He knew only too well what was giving Yusuke second thoughts, but he...he hadn't wanted to admit it at all. He'd wanted to pretend as though he knew nothing about it and had hoped that Yusuke would be married to Keiko before it came up again. If it ever did.

"Yusuke, I–"

"No. Save it. I know what you're going to say, and I don't want to hear it."

"Okay. I'll leave you to your thoughts."

"Kurama, wait–"

But he was already walking out of the restroom, and had left the studio before Yusuke decided that he had wanted to hear what Kurama might say after all. Even if wasn't what he needed to hear.

He pulled on Keiko's hand perhaps rougher than he ought to have, but she smiled dazzlingly anyway. It was such a bittersweet moment for him; only months ago he would have given his limbs to have her smile at him that way. The low lights were glistening on her eyes–oh, god, was she crying? He could hardly stand to look at her, so turned away and brought her onto the floor.

I feel so unsure
As I take your hand and lead you to the dance floor.
As the music dies
Something in your eyes
Calls to mind a silver screen
And all its sad goodbyes.

She knew. He could see it the moment that he looked into her eyes, after he had taken his hands around her waist and began leading her in a clumsy, amateur waltz. For a moment, it totally stunned him, to the point where he nearly stopped dancing altogether. His feet, though, kept him moving when his mind no longer had a part in it. How long had she known, suffering silently? Had she known even before today? Could she have married him even knowing that he did not love her?

I guess that's the end of it, then. She knew, and she married me anyway, but it'll have to be over. It's wrong to use her like this. It's wrong to be married to someone I don't love. Not that way.

"I know, Yusuke," she said, her lips moving with words so quiet that he could have easily pretended that he hadn't heard at all. But that would have been so cold and cruel that he couldn't have done it. His eyes fell to the floor, unable to look at her and admit what he'd done.

"I'm sorry."

"I know. All you have to do is promise that it won't go on. That's all I want."

Her tone was casual, as if they were discussing decorations for the house. He found that he still could not bring himself to match her gaze, but while his eye fell on the crowd of wedding-goers watching them, he caught the glance of a pair of large green eyes, and quickly looked away. Anything was better than seeing his face again; he'd gladly choose Keiko's over his. And yet, he could not answer her, either. He could not sever himself from the secret that he had come to treasure as his own over the last week. She believed that she was asking so little, but it was so much more than that.

I'm never gonna dance again
These guilty feet have got no rhythm.
Though it's easy to pretend
I know you're not a fool.
I should have known better than to cheat a friend
And waste a chance that I've been given
So I'm never gonna dance again
The way I danced with you.

There were quick knocks on Yusuke's door, and he opened it to find Kurama. He was not unduly surprised, but allowed himself a sharp intake of breath. Their previous dance lesson had ended so badly that he'd wondered whether he'd see Kurama again for a while. But there the fox was, standing on his doorstep, as if nothing had surpassed between them. Which, in all technicalities, nothing had just yet.

"May I come in?"

Yusuke nodded and moved aside to let the demon in. He walked a few feet inside the room after removing his shoes and stood patiently. Yusuke shifted his weight, unable to understand why Kurama was here. Had he come to make up for their squabble, or to tell Yusuke that he was an idiot?

"I thought we should continue the lesson," Kurama said, inclining his head ever so slightly toward Yusuke's radio, which sat in a corner surrounded by large speakers. Yusuke raised his brow.


"Keiko will never forgive me for letting your dancing go untrained," he explained, a small smile stretching his lips. Yusuke turned to the radio and flipped it through various channels until he found something relatively slow. It was hardly the right music for the dance he was learning, but it was better than Megallica. Kurama stepped up to him, and Yusuke felt the familiar blush creeping in. This was too weird. Before he had been able to concentrate his embarrassment on other matters; what Keiko wanted, what she needed, why she wasn't teaching him herself.

He'd also been able to feign nonchalance easier when in the company of several other couples giving them the weird eye. But here, in his own apartment, alone with a guy he'd known as a friend–okay, a really good friend–he felt out of place. His steps were ungainly, and his timing was way off. His hands were beginning to sweat, and it didn't help that Kurama, owner of twelve feet of luscious hair and the ever-present scent of roses was the one whose hip he was settling his grip on.

Kurama noticed Yusuke's discomfort but said nothing to change it. It was a strange situation, at why had he come here? But it was stupid of him to ask himself questions to which he already knew the answer. Instead, he let Yusuke lead him, poorly as he did, and tried to focus his mind anywhere else. Despite his great control, it was harder than ever before. There was something silently appetizing about the soft music, the lights, the smell of Yusuke which had become more potent since his demonic side had been forced out in the battle with Sensui.

Things began to escalate very quickly after that. Neither could keep his head away from the moment; a section of time that seemed to be frozen, as the song played on and on, and they thought about each other in a way that was not romantic but not exactly platonic, either. The sacrifices they had made to be here were tremendous, and neither would have survived without the other. They had so much in common, and yet, were so different.

Yusuke felt himself slip, tried to turn his thoughts to Keiko, and failed. She had become something of a dream in his mind over the years he'd been in demon world, and coming home had originally seemed as though he'd died and been passed on to heaven. It was only after the wedding plans that things began to turn in a different direction; he'd found Kurama again, that remorseful soul who'd always been counted on and who had been able to count on him. Who had
needed him.

Yusuke looked at Kurama, suddenly and urgently needing to see if he had changed in some way since he'd last seen him. Kurama obligingly met his gaze, finding a silly comfort in Yusuke's glance that he had been able to find nowhere else. Yusuke's eyes always appeared to see right through whatever façade he'd come up with, as if they were eyes looking through glass which looked to everyone else as impenetrable as a wall of iron. How easily he could guess Kurama's intentions, and how quickly he always acted to sway his friend from doing anything he would probably not live to regret.

The song ended, and their dancing ceased, but still they looked. Yusuke was just about to turn away, to give it up for the final time, when Kurama sensed it and kissed him. For a second nothing more than shock held Yusuke in place, but after that flash had passed, and he knew what was happening, he was anchored by something he couldn't place. He had been able to trust Kurama from the start, and had never forgotten him once throughout the years of their friendship; every day, he'd wondered what the old fox had been up to, and every day he'd intrinsically hoped that Kurama had forgotten him. Only to return home to find that quite the opposite was true.

The kiss lasted much longer than any he'd shared with Keiko, even the one that he'd received upon returning home, and it was bittersweet to the taste. They pulled apart reluctantly because of lack of air; otherwise, they may never have. Yusuke couldn't get enough of it; he had been breathing haphazardly through his nose, but now took in great gulps through the mouth, stepping back from the dancing pose they'd frozen in.

"I'll go," Kurama said, believing that he had made a grave mistake. For a moment Yusuke let him think that, but when he got to the door, Yusuke realized that he had been waiting for something like this. Ever since coming home, he'd been noticing behavior and just waiting to find some strange surprise for him. And, not only had he been waiting; he had been excited to find it. There was something fundamentally wrong about letting Kurama go now, when the moment hadn't seemed finished yet.

"Don't go," he said, his tone one of dejection and shame. Kurama stood still, his back to Yusuke, one hand on the door knob. He had his own moment of indecision, and needed Yusuke to make him stay. Yusuke did so by coming to him, one hand comfortingly lying on his shoulder.

"Don't go," he repeated, and Kurama only left the next morning to get home to Shiori.

Time can never mend
The careless whispers of a good friend.
To the heart and mind
Ignorance is kind.
There's no comfort in the truth;
Pain is all you'll find.

Keiko did not witness Kurama's departure from Yusuke's house herself. When the sun had risen on the new day and Kurama had left without waking his lover, Keiko had been asleep, dreaming of something insubstantial and unimportant. She found out from Kuwabara who had no idea the trouble he was causing by telling Hiei about what he'd seen that morning.

"Kurama came out of Yusuke's house early. I wonder why he was there. Maybe he had to stay over for some reason?"

Kuwabara did not piece together the implications, being about as perceptive as his own shoe. Hiei, of course, had not been around recently, what with his shifts on Mukuro's border watching being so frequent, but even he had been able to understand what had probably occurred only a few days before Yusuke's marriage to Keiko.

And Keiko herself knew well enough. Despite her own preoccupation with the wedding and the planning, Yusuke's odd behavior had been enough to send her into alert mode. Couple that with Kurama's odd behavior, the dance lessons, Yusuke's way of discussing his old friend when there was no reason to, and the sight of Kurama fleeing Yusuke's home far too early for proper visits, and she could easily see what had occurred. For once, she didn't need solid evidence, or a confession. This was something that she just knew, and she wasn't going to break it off with Yusuke, either. She knew that he needed his friend, and she knew that she loved him. She wouldn't ruin their relationship over a tryst with someone that Yusuke had always valued. Hell, she valued Kurama too. Or, at least, she had.

She wasn't going to ruin them, but she wished with every fiber that she'd never heard Kuwabara's tale. She would have taken it back for every hair on her head, or every tooth in her mouth. Things would have been so much easier for them all if she'd never known, and in her own, cruel heart, which seldom listened to her mind, she would blame Kuwabara for it for years. Forever, maybe, though she never externally showed it. And she would hold a grudge against Kurama, too, though he would hardly pick up on this when her cold manner betrayed it. But most of all, she blamed herself. For not seeing in Yusuke what she had known was there all along.

I'm never gonna dance again
These guilty feet have got no rhythm.
Though it's easy to pretend
I know you're not a fool.
I should have known better than to cheat a friend
And waste a chance that I've been given
So I'm never gonna dance again
The way I danced with you.

Yusuke remembered his night with Kurama as they danced, and was shamed for it. She could always read him like a book, and of course she knew what he was thinking of. He wondered what she would be like in bed tonight, on their honeymoon, and sickly compared what lay ahead to what lay behind him, in his bedroom, with an old friend. What was worse; he didn't know that he would take it back if he could. True, he loved Keiko, and he knew that she loved him. But where was the fire? She made him feel so inadequate, and so incomplete. It wasn't at all how he had dreamed it, all those nights in the Makai when he had been away from her.

And it wasn't as it was with Kurama. Kurama, who actually needed him, to care for him and watch out for him. Kurama, who fit him like a glove, who could read him but who didn't take advantage of that power. Who trusted him as he trusted no other. It was so different, and, in ways, much better.

What was he saying? Kurama was moving on; he had gotten married to Keiko, and he was going to stay that way. He owed it to her to give her that commitment. It would not be fair to leave her for Kurama, when he had asked her to marry him in the first place, or when he had promised her so much for so little. All the same, as he promised Keiko that he would not touch Kurama again, he felt as though some part of him was being cast off, to die slowly in the dark without being nurtured or fed. Some part that he could have grown into something worthwhile, but now he would never get to have that chance.

He no longer wanted to be here, or be himself. He would have preferred being dead again over this, and in a way that only made it worse. He should have truly apologized to her, and to Kurama, for being so unable to make things right to either of them. But he would have a lifetime to make it up to Keiko, and only so long before Kurama would move on; he'd probably become a world-famous botanist and have a pretty little wife and settle down somewhere in the country. He'd forget about Yusuke for most of the time, and he wouldn't wonder what might have been. But Yusuke would, every second of every day, when he was holding Keiko in his arms to when he was making love to her; he would wonder. He could probably deal with having to ask himself what he'd missed out on, but he could not stand to be away from Kurama for any longer. Those years had passed so slowly, and the fox had become a part of who he was. Please, don't ask me to lose you. Please, don't ask me to lose me.

Tonight the music seems so loud
I wish that we could lose this crowd.
Maybe it's just better this way
We've hurt each other with the things we wanna say.
We could have been so good together;
We could have lived this dance forever.
Now who's gonna dance with me?
Please stay.

He would never be a pro at dancing; he had proved that quite spectacularly. Of course, Keiko wouldn't need him to dance with her in public again, and she never did ask him in the privacy of their own home. She didn't know about Yusuke's vow that their only dance would be their last, but if she had known, she would have guessed why. She would have guessed that his memories of the times he'd been dancing as though it was actually something he cared about, he'd been in the arms of a lifelong teammate and friend, and she wouldn't have taken that from him, even if he deserved it. His vow was silent and without true words to bring it to life, but he understood it well enough. Those memories of holding someone he'd never get to again were special, and he would never let them be replaced, even though he knew that time would eventually fade them away.

I'm never gonna dance again
These guilty feet have got no rhythm.
Though it's easy to pretend
I know you're not a fool.
I should have known better than to cheat a friend
And waste a chance that I've been given
So I'm never gonna dance again
The way I danced with you.
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