Ah, Kurama. Yomi needed his help all
of a sudden. He summoned his old companion. He turned around. to the origin
of the voice. To see a friend whose voice just comforted him. Yes "Kurama,"
he guessed knowingly. No. He didn't guess. He knew. He was certain.
The fellow nodded. "Why did you summon me?" he asked in a mild voice. The same mild voice Yomi loved to hear, even amidst of battle. Only, it was compassionate. No compassion sparkled from his voice before, being a Youko. Now, just look at him. Stupid ningen.
"I have a business for you," Yomi informed his friend, entwining his hands together calmly.
Kurama didn't say a word, motioning for him to go on. Why were people calling him only when they were in need of his help? I am not to be taken for granted, Kurama thought. Not again. So far, there were only two people he knew he could really lay his trust on : Shiori and Hiei. But Yomi .... their friendship had come and went. There was no way he was going to work for Yomi.
Yomi whirled , his back facing Kurama. The he spun to face Kurama again, light shining brightly from his hands diverging against the darkness that enveloped them . A glowing sphere appeared. An obscure picture of a lovely dark-haired girl became visible, and gradually, its vagueness was replaced by lucidity.
So my business concerns a girl , Kurama thought to himself silently.
"Yes," Yomi replied , reading his thoughts . Kurama was mildly surprised, but didn't add other movements to imply his amazement . " I require you to accommodate her in your house and acquaint her to Enma Daiou's son ."
Kurama didn't move, but he was getting more and more surprised by the minute. It wasn't about him at all. What does Yomi have to do with Koenma-sama? He tried to stop his mind from searching for explanations, knowing from his first mistake that Yomi would be able to read his mind.
"No, " Kurama opposed his friend firmly. Whatever it is, I'm not going to let Koenma get in trouble. It is his break, after all.
Yomi gave an evil grin. Kurama will not and can not surely refuse to anything he had to offer. If Kentaro used Shura against him, so he will use his okaasan against Kurama.
The sphere featured another picture of a female. This one was familiar. Quite familiar.
Kurama gritted his teeth in rage. Shiori .He gripped his fist.
Okasan. Dear Okasan . She should go unharmed, at all cost.
Yomi watched with pleasure as Kurama battled over his thoughts . Love had made him weak and frail. Stupid love. He had changed. A lot.
"My okasan stays unharmed at all costs," he said finally after along time.
"Fine," Yomi replied.
"When?" asked Kurama.
Yomi retained his smirk. "Tomorrow night. She'll meet you in Ningenkai."
"Hello!" a female voice called out in Genkai's temple one morning. Yukina had gone out with Keiko , Kurama and Hiei disappeared to somewhere only God-knows-where, and Kazuma was still in dreamland.
Yusuke scowled irritably. Genkai heard him mutter something under his breath, but he went over to the door to open. Yusuke hated to be disturbed, especially when he's on the verge of something zestful.
Yusuke prepared himself to smile, as he slid the door open. He didn't want to get slapped by his so-called girlfriend, Keiko, so early in the morning. He stared at the creature in school uniform staring back at him with shy eyes. "Ohayo !" he greeted with a note of ridicule perceptible in his voice. What the hell is she doing here again, that Takeda!? She's been here yesterday!!!
"Ohayo . May I please --?"
"Oh. Sakuwa? She ain't here. Thank you. Now, one favor please ? " Yusuke interrupted rigidly, ready to swing the door shut.
"Nani? " the innocent girl asked, without stepping back.
"Leave ! " Yusuke yelled icily. He aimed to slam the door, but the girl stuck out both of her hands pleadingly . "Please, Mr. I- I-"
Yusuke pulled both of his hands down. "Whatever! " he pouted and turned his head away, tapping his foot impatiently. The girl stared at him helplessly. There was no point -- absolutely no point -- in being nice to him. Besides, she wasn't entirely used to lowering her pride by pleading to some disgusting pinhead. She was wealthy after all. And with money, you walk, eat and sleep with your pride. "Lemme in! I didn't come here to see you anyway . Now out of the way! "
Yusuke turned his head at her,
a little surprised. At first look, she appeared to be a perfectly prudent
school girl .Now, he just witnessed her lose her manners and graces.
"Nani? Moo ichido?! Look at who's talking! You get lost !"
"Will you please--? "
"No Miyuki herrrrrrrrrre !"
Genkai started for the door as the two battled for their doctrines .Yusuke never learned to entertain visitors and was only successful in either scaring or making them angry.
"Why don't you let her in?" Genkai suggested moderately, standing beside her disciple, opening the door wider .
The girl sealed her mouth in seeing Genkai, resembling a trace of embarrassment on her delicate snowy face . She was obviously pleased to find someone more civilized than Yusuke to side with her. "Sumimasen," she apologized pathetically to Genkai, her large turquoise eyes ready to dish out explanations .Yusuke grimaced in his defeat but swung the door open. The girl entered graciously, maintaining erudition and breeding she lost temporarily as she dealt with the rude young man.
The three of them sat down. She introduced herself again, had a light chat with Genkai as Genkai offered her edibles while Yusuke whimpered to himself like a toddler who lost his candy. But after a while she started looking for Miyuki again.
Genkai shook her head. "I'm sorry, but she isn't around. Her obasan came and brought her back to their residence," she explained pitifully.
Michiko was speechless. Shit. The
baka is right. Yusuke sneered saucily. She gazed at Genkai impotently.
"Did she happen to leave an address or something where I can find her?
Yusuke's sneer disappeared as he narrowed his brown eyes curiously at Michiko. "I thought you are* friends. You should know where she lives. "
A hand flew to her mouth. Her cheeks evolved to a shade of crimson. "I should go. My untenshu is waiting." And hurriedly, after thanking Genkai for her hospitality, she stormed out and left.
Weird , Yusuke thought to himself, meeting Genkai's eyes. She nodded knowingly.
The moonlight flashed in the silver waters of Ningenkai , mirroring the graceful figure that loomed with the thick and verdant trees, adored by little foliage, that stood tall in the night. Kurama sauntered back and forth, doubt and hesitation visible in his worriedly knitted brows .
She'll be here any minute now.
His mind was tangled by confusion as he battled on for his decision . At least he was free to think now. No more hindrances that could startle him. A part of him want wished to discontinue, but his thoughts suddenly drifted to somewhere.
Someone . Someone he cared for .
He loved her more than he should. That was because she deserved it. That kind woman. Not even knowing who he was, what he was , nevertheless, she loved him. She put a meaning to his life. She was a living hope to him, as he was to her . Yet, this is the best a son could do to his mother?
Hearing a faint rustle , he halted himself from pacing and spun around to meet his job . His emerald eyes met but a figure in dark cloak of which color he couldn't distinguish. The creature wore a hood over her head and walked calmly to Kurama , who stood passively, waiting for his approach.
"Kombanwa ," she greeted . But no tinge of pleasure was discernible in her cold voice.
Kurama didn't reply. He knew best when a reply was needed or not . "Show yourself ."
The creature withdrew her hood to reveal a ravishing sweetness his eyes ever laid on. Her white face looked pale under the moon's sterling rays, as her luscious simplicity scented the night's cold fragrance. The pulchritude she reserved held a distinctive gleam that illuminated a gentle radiance soft and comforting on the eyes.
Kurama didn't react , still catching up on his breath , his jaw almost dropped , but his self control prevented him . Such an angelic face . Who could have known she worked for Yomi ? Or did she ? Whatever . But does she really belong in Makai ? Sheesh. She couldn't be. One hell of a demon. Whatever.
He opened his mouth to speak , as his pulse slowed down to its normal beat . The damsel bent her head down , shielding her face with the black curtain of her hair from Kurama's stare that bore almost through her garment.
"You are -- ?" Kurama started, recovering his usual imperturbable poise . He scanned her from top to bottom, side to side and noticed she went barefoot.
"Abe Yumiko," she finished , almost uncertainly looking up to meet Kurama's deep emerald eyes that occurred to somewhat darker in the night . Her eyes mirrored her emotions but Kurama failed to detect any pleasure in it. In fact, she looked unhappy, but tried to hide it with her splendor.
She let out a feeble smile. " It's your turn ."
He nodded. " I know . I'll be through with you tomorrow, as soon as Koenma arrives. "
"Good. I want to finish my assignment very soon , " she replied tartly.
Kurama didn't knew it , but somehow, he noticed how the weather suddenly diverted its calmness to something ferocious as winds blew wildly, waving Shuichi Minamino's red locks. With Yumiko Abe's.
"So do I ," Kurama agreed .
"Get lost!" Miyuki screamed incredulously
sardonically at the girl that was following her like a watch dog for the
past half hour . Grasping her books to her chest, she presented an acidic
expression on her face that was meant to drive the her away .What
does that girl want from me, anyway? My autograph? Hah!
"Please, Miyuki. I --" the girl started. Miyuki disregarded her by going on with her strides. Won't she ever stop? She's been buging me for three days in a row now!!!
Michiko stared at her defenselessly. Here she was, an elegant girl from a famed family, skipping her lunch just to see someone from a lesser school who was too obnoxious enough for an oath . She bit her lower lip. She couldn't act the way she behaved before the guy in the temple . He's mouthy, she reasoned to herself sensibly . Then she cast her glance at the other girl who was stomping away. So is she. But I can't give up. She'd just have to lower her pride a bit more while she expand her patience..................
For Hiro's sake .........
She tried to control the tears that threatened to trickle down her cheeks and drove the thought away. This was a new life. She had to be brave . She signaled for her driver to wait for a minute more. After seeing her driver nod obediently, she ran after the the girl, Miyuki. The girl who might lead her to Hiro. Or Hiro to her.
She caught on Miyuki. The other girl ignored her and went on with her pace as if she hadn't noticed anyone.
Michiko rolled her eyes as she massaged her forehead with a sigh, shaking her head slightly. She'd have to make that scarlet-haired girl see she wasn't playing games with her. "Miyuki, please."
The girl neither stopped nor turned.
She pulled Miyuki's elbow sharply. That caught the damsel's attention . She turned around, and attempted to pull her elbow free, but Michiko clutched it hard, staring at Miyuki's golden eyes . She didn't give that same what-do-you-want-I'm-busy-now arrogant look when her own eyes was reflected in Michiko's . Something was in that girl's eyes that moved MIyuki. Something she detest seeing. Who is this girl anyway?
"Nani?" Miyuki asked, pulling her elbows free, after regaining her insolence. She broke the gaze that locked between them. She hated what she saw. Hated what was in Michiko's azure eyes. "What is your name again?"
Michiko released her elbows after giving her a solemn look. " Michiko Takeda. I want to talk to you. Now."
"What about, Takeda?" Miyuki asked. She pretended to look at her watch just so to avoid Michiko's earnest gaze. It was making her head throb again.
Michiko looked down ,then met her eyes again . "About what's happening. "
Miyuki stared at her in disbelief. "You want to talk about that? Gee, you're not wasting my time, Takeda!" She tried to mask her emotions with her egoism. That Takeda was starting to touch her . She didn't like that. She was Miyuki Sakuwa, after all. Nothing should move or touch her stone heart. Because it's meant to be that way. That was what life provided. Nothing more.
The people walking nearby began to gape at them muffling hushed tones.
Michiko pulled her. "Let's go some other place, " she suggested, turning pale. Miyuki didn't know if the growing mob was turning her red or if she was in the brink of crying. Abruptly, it became crowded.
Miyuki yanked her hand away. "No way !"
"Hey ! Isn't that Sakuwa ? " somebody yelled at the top of his voice. The whispers transformed into screams and shouts, most of the people struggling for Miyuki.
Miyuki sighed irritably. This celebrity business is starting to bug her. It's no longer funny. "On second thought, lead the way."
The two girls ran their way out through the thick body of assembly that started to jam the sidewalk hand in hand. They headed for nowhere at all. The mysterious nowhere where the road could take them.
Miyuki ran, as feet as her feet could take he, just the way she ran when a beast was stalking after her. Only, she was clutching on to someone who was in the same circumstances as she was .Someone who, deep within, she knew she could count on to. Someone that circumstances just provided. She grasped Michiko's hands and pulled her out of the swelling crowd. Michiko held on. For, in any rate, she felt safe holding Miyuki's hand, wherever it may take her .A stranger's hand that reached out after twelve hundred years presumably answering her prayers?
Is this coincidences?
Kind coincidences that led their path to each other. Sweet time that Michiko felt healing her aches again.
They managed their way out, panting and gasping for breath to find themselves in the shore of Ningenkai's ravishing woodland. Almost unconsciously, they held on to each other with support and trust.
Miyuki stared at the place, holding her throbbing head as she release Michiko's soft hands gently. She recognized it immediately with much disgust ."Shit! I'm here again?!"
Michiko gaped at her, worry crossing on her face. She put a hand on her companion's shoulder. "Are you okay?"
The scarlet - haired girl withdrew her hand from her pounding head. "I hope so." She gave an assuring smile at the azure-eyed girl beside her. Staring at the place didn't bring her any more laughter. She detested the place, snorting, as though she smelled something undesirable. This is hell in disguise. It reminded her of the demons that stalked after her, then to the latest ogre that chased her . She shuddered. The blue sky was nothing but the beast's fierce eyes, and the green leaves of the prettily lined up foliage on alternating the trees were but the demon's claws.
Her head pounded hard. The only nice thing it reminds was the mysterious lad who appeared before her attacker, saving her. Now he's gone. Too bad. Just when she needed him badly. Won't he ever come back? No. Guess not. She gazed at Michiko, who was still worried ,obviously dissuaded by her lie. She couldn't help beaming. At least now, she has found another one. Someone who wouldn't just pop and vanish like a bubble.
Her head thumped hard, and she shook it, striving to clear her aching head . She shut her eyes in attempt to clear her blurred eyes, but opening them brought more fear. Her whole surrounding was enveloped in a fierce darkness that sent chills through her whole body. She covered her ears with her hands upon hearing unsound noises that bothered her head. She grasped her ears and began panting for breath, her eyes widened with terror .Menacing sights inhabited her vision all of a sudden, surrounding her in every direction, each one making their way to her neck. Miyuki stumbled, and she fell on her back, gripping her ears and face with dread as she gave out a scream. But one demon was making its way to her. Miyuki struggled to her feet, and clutched to the ground for support, holding for every little thing that her hand could touch. A stone came across her hand and she lifted it to throw it at the demon . His checkered body moved threateningly toward her in a slimy pattern, but she was too scared to laugh. The humor he was intending was deathly and poisonous. She gave out another scream despite the heavy clutching on her chest that lack of air contributes, shut her eyes, feeling a pair of hands grip her wrists.
"Miyuki! Miyuki! " a voice was shouting.
The gentle voice that had a trail of concern vaporized some of her fears , inviting her to open her eyes, in spite of the unpleasant sight that welcomed her just a seconds ago . Her tenacity to fight the demons provoked her to open her eyes and give light one more chance , and she did . She saw Michiko Takeda, in her checkered skirt, holding her wrists, worry on her blue eyes.
"Are you OK , Miyuki?" Michiko asked anxiously, seeing her companion's golden eyes filled with dread.
Miyuki soughed with relief as Michiko released her wrists. She slumped her body to the ground, but Michiko caught her.
"What's happening?" asked Michiko in a care- worn tone.
"I'm seeing things," explained Miyuki in a tired shaky voice.
"Oh," Michiko murmured faintly, taking Miyuki in her arms. "So that explains why you aimed a stone at me."
Miyuki chuckled a little, despite the aches all over her body that she was feeling. "I'm sorry, " she apologized exhaustedly, breathing hard. She was silent for a minute, feeling Michiko's gentle arms supporting her gingerly. It's coming back again. Only her companion's warm body against hers made her forget most of her fears. She opened her lemon eyes after calming her chest with enough air. She reached for Michiko's hand to help her to stand up. Michiko's obediently assisted her. "Now, Takeda. What do you have to talk about ?"
Michiko beamed slightly. Miyuki was still pale. She didn't want to spill anything that will more likely turn her paler. "I'll tell you some other time," she told her comrade, turning to see her disappointed .
But Miyuki was staring out somewhere far quietly, her tawny eyes narrowed .
"Miyuki?" Michiko crowed. Is she seeing things again? "Miyuki? Did you hear anything I said?"
Still no answer.
Then the red-haired rotated her head to meet Michiko's blue eyes. "They're here."
Michiko looked baffled . "Huh?"
" The monsters. They're here," the girl clarified briefly.
Michiko shook her head and pat a hand on the other girl's shoulder. "You're seeing things," she pointed out smiling mildly but inside she was doubtful. Miyuki eyes were not closed , and she looked absolutely sober -- and sure.
Miyuki grabbed Michiko's hand and squeezed it. "I wish I am. Now, go, Takeda. Leave. They want me, after all."
Michiko shook her head. "No, Miyuki. I won't leave you to those monsters, if they are really here. " She squeezed back Miyuki hand, looking at her eyes eagerly.
The other girl hauled her hand away. "Go, Takeda. They're getting nearer. "
Michiko shook her head even harder, her golden-brown hair flying. "No . I -I - " a growing sound interrupted her as she joined Miyuki in gaping out somewhere far where they assumed the crashing sounds came from.
Miyuki grabbed Michiko by the shoulders and shook her. "Fuck it, Takeda. Listen to me, for gosh sake . LEAVE NOW!"
"But- but - you -?"
The thundering sounds neared, echoing in the vast woodland of Ningenkai. They both stared out to see giant monsters in packs. They were both shocked that they were unable to move. Their whole body felt numb and shaken. Michiko trembled slightly. Miyuki got to her sanity earlier. She gripped Michiko and waved her. "Leave."
Michiko didn't answer. She turned paler and paler by the second. Miyuki raised her hand and slapped her across the face. That caught Michiko's attention. She turned to Miyuki but without much emotion.
"GO!!" Miyuki yelled at her. "Let's split up!" and pushed Michiko to the opposite direction.
Michiko stumbled, then ran. She was as white as a ghost, shock still perceptible in her snowy face . Fears made her fly swiftly. Or was it fears ? Michiko closed her eyes and felt hot tears drip on her cheeks. Being brave was getting much and much harder to do. The demons after her only brought back her remembrance of Hiro. She and Hiro in the other ferocious world where they live together . Fought together. No gap could separate them .Not even the fierce of its creatures. Now, she was a mere human . One weak human . Was she being punished ? At the moment , she was more sorrowful than scared.
She tried to see where she was heading , but her eyes were blurred with tears. She wiped it away with the back of her hand and found herself gulping for breath. She didn't know how much longer she could sustain herself . She could no longer tell.
Yusuke laid calmly under the
shade of a tree on the placid frontier of the Ningenkai grove ,crossing
his arms behind his head. He shoved his hands on the pocket of his
school trousers . He was getting tired for school. School was
not really the appropriate place for someone like him. He knew that.
After he found out that demon blood ran on his veins, he wanted but
to stay away from it as far as possible. School was supposed to be the
second home, but with him around, it would be not. Well, he was also
bored . Keiko would be furious if she found out he cut classes again .
Oh, damn. She doesn't have to know .
The thoughts of the mysterious Sakuwa broomed on his thoughts . He couldn't stop trying to figure out what the heck was going on. Even when he was on school, he couldn't give a damn to whatever his sensei had to say. He was always on his thoughts lately . So, what's the point ? Nothing. There's definitely no good reason to go to school and every good reason to cut classes. Maybe he should quit school? Keiko would be really furious this time. Oh, damn. She doesn't have to know.
Doesn't Keiko ever get sick of me ? His thoughts drifted off to his turbulent-tempered girlfriend . Good slap on the face. Do I love her ? Heck , I do. But does she still love me ? Immediately, the perception of Kazuma Kuwabara laughing haughtily sailed to his mind . Kazuma always ridiculed Yusuke by questioning their relationship.
Why would Keiko go out with a jerk like Urameshi ?
Hmph ! As if ! Yusuke would retort by chaffing the carrot top with as much taunts as to why Yukina still sees him.
She probably feels sorry for you, Kuwabara !
And exchanging insults shall follow. Hi-ho ! School is also fun, ne? Why quit ?
Ummei ? Nah! Urameshi scarcely let anything dominate him and his decisions. He was a man of .......hmmm... what was that ? He was haughty enough for submission. He was the master of his life .Er, with some exceptions, of course. Keiko is still on the loose. Good punch. Darn.
Atsuko ? Double darn ! She'd rather drink .
But she cares .
His first death proved that, bringing better understanding between them. But she's the same. Atsuko will be Atsuko, no matter how many times he dies. She, unlike Shiori , doesn't show her care and affection by her behaviors. That was what he like about his okasan. Role Model . With a great philosophy in life -
If you drink , you die.
If you don't drink, you die.
Better drink and die happy !
Women . Different breed of women.
But they're all alike . Deep inside .
Or are they? His mind roamed back to Sakuwa . One word to describe her : Odd. Strange. Weird. Ok, that's three words . So what ?
That was what Sakuwa is. She had woken up and laughed upon seeing Yusuke about nothing at all. She had laughed when she left . And was still laughing on the car.
Is she mad ?
Must be. She had managed to surprise Hiei . Hiei had looked baffled as he related the incident solemnly with as much as few words as possible.
He could see her through the branches of the tree that protected him from her sight. She was running. Then she stopped, holding on her knees to satisfy her bursting chest with enough air. Then she laughed. No. Roared. As if some clown was chasing after her instead .
Yusuke's eyes rested on the soft color
of the leaves above him . A beautiful face clouded over his head.
A little smile played on his lips.
Michiko Takeda. Beautiful Takeda.
Hope she isn't mad at me .
It would just take some little understanding to appreciate his arrogance. Hopefully, she should possess them.
Thundering sounds broke his thoughts.
He stood up and craned his ears . Maybe it was just his imagination . He walked observantly , narrowing his brown eyes . The clamor was blasting audibly now. It wasn't' just ant imagination . He was certain of that .
He ran enthusiastically tracing the source of the noise. The luminescence that sparkled grave within Yusuke can not be easily blown off by the wind that struck against his comely face and the breeze that waved his coal hair . His curiosity and boldness surpassed any form of fear an ordinary fourteen year old boy should have by just hearing strange noises in a place it may seem least likely to be heard . He ran stepping on the shrubs that decorated the way . Then he stopped abruptly as he heard another pair of feet brushing against the ground. He ducked behind a tree and waited calmly for what may arrive .
The sound drew nearer.
He stayed on guard.
He threw himself on the creature that was racing past him. Yusuke took hold of both of his arms and pinned him against a tree. It all happened so swiftly that it took him a moment to apprehend that it was no demon he was grasping , but a -- girl--?!
Yusuke stared at the pair of blue eyes that gazed back at him with horror . Their gazes fixed , and Yusuke didn't release her arms for a long time, just staring at the deep pool of her big azure eyes which was filled with terror. After a minute, she pulled her arms free, spurning to meet his eyes again as she looked down to her feet . Yusuke delivered his hands off her gently .
She was panting , but a look of relief streamed across her face when she saw Yusuke.
"What's going on ?" he asked her , stepping back to lean on a tree.
She sighed as she stared at the sky, shaking her head and ran her hands to her thick brown mane . Yusuke saw her tremble. She didn't answer for a long time and turned ghostly white .
"What's going on? " he pressed again ,more blandly this time. He lifted himself from the tree and walked nearer her.
She just swallowed hard and looked as though she was on the edge of tears. She gripped the chest of Yusuke's shirt suddenly and met his chestnut eyes as though searching for answers . Then she burst into tears . Yusuke laid her head lightly on his shoulder as he put comforting arms around the girl he had despised not so long ago.