October of 1876
"George, come here!"
Thud. Thud. Thud.
"George, I said come here!!!"
Thud. Thud. Thud.
The blue oni immediately scurried to his impatient employer, aware that the banging sound of his stamp changed drastically that will result to something unpleasant. He suddenly found himself standing before Koenma, his whole body shaking with nervousness.
Koenma looked up only to find his oni waiting. He gave an impatient snort as he once again brought down the heavy stamp against the paper. It created a loud banging noise, loud enough to make George tremble.
"I was calling for you for the $@#& time—"
"G-gomen nasai, gomen nasai, gomen nasai." George said immediately bowing before him. But due to his carelessness, his bulky frame knocked the desk and no sooner tons of the newly arranged documents came tumbling down the floor with Koenma's stamp to boot.
Koenma momentarily stared at the scene before him, his mouth opened with surprise. Then he suddenly found himself holding his oni by the neck and strangling him, choking out air.
"Gome ne Koenma-sama." George pleaded.
"Ayame!!!" He shouted his voice furious. "Ayame!"
"Hai, Koenma-sama?" a cool voice suddenly appeared before them.
"Fix the place up." He commanded as he stood up, leaving George to contemplate about his murdered neck. "I am already late."
"Hai." She answered softly as she slowly knelt down to pick the documents scattered messily on the floor.
She looked up and smiled upon seeing her boss, now in his teenage form, bonking the poor George on the head. So far everything's back to normal. Although Koenma had resumed to be the bratty demigod, she found relief in that. She would rather have this bratty kid of a boss in here than the sad, helpless man in his place.
It has been three years since the fateful day when he finally said good bye to Yuki. She was trying her best to appease Enma Daiou by preparing his favorite meal that day when suddenly Koenma stood behind her, sorrow completely on his face. She ran up to him joyously, welcoming him back. Then without a moment's hesitation, she broke the good news.
Koenma was pardoned by the council. After so much discussions by the elders, they had decided to make the contract between Koenma and the Fates void. Just hearing his sad story, the reason why he had made such an agreement were enough to soften their immortal hearts. They all agreed that Koenma is to stay here in Rei Kai and resume his responsibilities since nobody but Koenma is diligent enough with the task. Of course he received a good scolding from the big elders and he had to give out promises that he would never, never do anything like that again.
Punishment, of course, is not an exception. Koenma did something no demigod has done in his entire immortal life. He had made a pact with something dark and evil and the elders were not too pleased about this since the members of the high council are not too fond of the Fates since they prove competition.
The Fates prove to be a threat in the Rei Kai. They operate mysteriously, always taking advantage whenever there is trouble brewing in Enma's domain. The competition? Of course, to be the exulted gods or goddesses of the dead. They tend to snatch souls away from the Rei Kai so Enma Daiou has no other choice but to send one or two ferry girls down there to retrieve the souls, which often results to the endless delays.
Now Koenma was specifically given the task of supervising everything in the Rei Kai, Ningenkai and to top it all of, he is to bring souls in the Rei Kai, making sure that it would go straight to their domain and not wander down there. With the excess jobs (his punishment) and the tiring, never-ending stamping of documents, Koenma fully vowed that he would never engage himself into something like that ever again.
"Ayame!" He called out impatiently. "I'm going."
She blinked in surprise, her thoughts shattered. She gingerly stood up and walked towards her demanding employer, stacks of the neatly arranged documents in her hand. She then carefully placed them on his desk, taking great caution not to send him exploding again.
Then she turned to him, a mysterious smile on her face.
"So soon?" she asked mildly.
"What do you mean by so soon?" Koenma demanded. "I am already late, I-- "
"The new ferry girl just came in." she said. With that Koenma stopped and turned to her, delight replacing the restless look on his face.
"Yokatta!" He exclaimed. "Finally another one to lighten the workload." He added as he semi-joyfully picked his stamp to place it inside his desk drawer.
"Shall I send her in?"
"Hai, hai." He replied absent-mindedly not bothering to look up, his mind too preoccupied searching for his inkpad inside the drawer.
Ayame gave him a bow and walked towards the door. She opened it wider and no sooner a new face started to step in. Ayame gave her a warm welcoming smile as she bid her to follow.
"Koenma-sama, I want you to meet," She said steeping aside to show him the new recruit. "Botan."
"Good, now I'll be brief-- " He looked up.
His eyes widened, the speech he usually says to new recruits forgotten and the inkpad overlooked. He felt his whole body froze upon seeing the figure before him. He felt his knees slightly tremble, his heart pounding loudly in his chest.
Botan smiled wordlessly at him, her purple eyes, although smiling, were full of uncertainty. Unconsciously her hands went up to brush the streak of blue mane covering her eyes, which was hindering her to have a good glimpse of her new employer for some time now.
"Y- Yuki?" He stammered out, his whole body unable to move.
Botan stared at him with confusion but nevertheless she tried her best to smile and be polite.
"M-my name is Botan, Koenma-sama."
"Botan…" He murmured. Then without another word, he purposely pulled Ayame into a corner.
"What is the meaning of this Ayame?" He hissed.
"Well, she is to be the new recruit, Koenma-sama." She replied politely.
"B- but…" He began as sorrow donned on him. "She promised- she promised to live- to live a better life and… "
"She did." Ayame said softly. With that Koenma turned to her, his eyes moistening. "It has been three years and during those years she devoted herself into caring for children."
Koenma shook his head and remained silent. Ayame smiled softly as she gently put her hand on his arm in an attempt to comfort him.
"Please don't be sad for her." She said. "What she did was really- "
"H-how did she- pass away?" He asked haltingly. She took a deep breath.
"There- there was a fire…"
"Don't tell me she burned to death!" He cried out.
"No, no, she didn't." She said quickly. "She- she died of complications. Apparently she tried saving this little girl trapped inside the burning house. They both got out alive but the incident made her body very weak. She wasn't able to sustain the thick smoke and it resulted to endless complications- "
"How come she doesn't remember me?" He asked quietly.
"I- I gave her something to forget." She replied. "Before presenting her to you I let her drink some of the water from the River Lethe and renamed her." She added gently.
He nodded his head accepting her answer. Then he frowned.
"What about my father? Isn't it-- "
"Oh don't worry about that." She replied. "I've taken care of that."
"W-well…" She began uncertainly. "I- I gave him a little of the drink-- "
"You what?!" Koenma asked turning to her incredulously. "Don't tell me you let him have that- "
"Just a sip." She answered quickly. "Just enough to eradicate the memories of you marrying Yuki and all. I was able to give him a new set of memories though." She added hastily.
With that, he shook his head as a sign of giving up. What was done has been done anyway. He then faced her, his face full of questions. Ayame tried her best to smile.
"You are crazy, you know that?" He said.
She cast her eyes down. Yes what she did was totally crazy. Who knows what the council would do to her if ever they find out about this. But then…
"Do you believe in second chances, Koenma-sama?" She asked instead.
"This is insane." He replied softly. Then he lifted her face to his. "But why, Ayame, why?"
She just smiled. Koenma frowned as he saw the smile, a kind of smile containing numerous meanings which she alone knows. He let go of her chin and heaved a sigh.
"Do you believe in second chances, Koenma-sama?"
"Is it worth your trouble?" He asked.
With that, she let out a bittersweet smile. She quickly turned away from him, afraid that he might see something in her eyes he wasn't supposed to see.
"I believe Botan is waiting for your instructions, Koenma-sama." She replied instead. Then giving him a final bow, she slowly walked away from him.
Koenma looked after her disappearing figure. Then his gaze settled at the girl with the blue hair and purple eyes standing before his desk, patiently waiting for him. His eyes then went down thoughtfully to his hands, the gleaming ring on his finger catching their attention.
Koenma then heaved a sigh as he took the ring off his finger. No, he wouldn't need it anymore. He then walked towards her, a charming smile on his face.
"Yes." He thought as he stood before her. "I believe in second chances." He added as he led Botan away from the office, determined to make a new start with her. Now looking at her bright smile, the cute pink tints on her cheeks… he felt a surge of fresh hope.
He has forever now.
Author's note: whew! Finally made it!!! Well, as you can see I used a bit of mythology here. Actually the river Lethe is really a part of the three rivers, the Styx and the Phlegeton, that separates the world above from the underworld. The existence of the Fates really was unknown but it was assumed that they actually dwell in the underworld. And with the stripping off of Koenma's immortality… that was crap, I don't even have an idea on how the Fates will do it but it wasn't really necessary, ne? Hehehe ^^; Well, I guess that's it. As for copyrights and whatever… the characters here are originally created by Togashi-sama, don't own 'em, don't' get money from 'em…. Blah, blah, blah…