Epilogue

After the First World's Survival Game...

Various historians and philosophers say that history repeats itself. Some say that it's because basic human nature doesn't change. Pride is part of human nature, and something that every human carries with him, consciously or otherwise. The worst things have happened to me when I am convinced without a doubt that I am right. When I am prideful, you might say.

My parents died because I was so certain that locking them up was the only way to make them understand me. If I had questioned myself more, if I had thought of some other way, they might have lived. Then again, they might have ended up killing me from abuse or negligence. No one can say. I killed people alongside Yuki in the first world's survival game because I was sure that was the only way to keep him alive till the end. Perhaps I was right. And perhaps I would have been killed myself if I hadn't learned to be bloodthirsty. But I'm not always right.

I was wrong to rely on the assumption that the winner of the survival game would have the power to raise the dead. I was wrong to bet on myself instead of Yuki there at the end. I was so certain that it was the only way. I felt sure we would both be happy with the result. I'm the one who caused Yuki's death. That's why I'll never be able to forgive myself. That's why I think, in the end, I will kill myself and let Yuki live, if I ever have the chance to redo this horror story.

Yuki and I had killed all the other diary owners. The world was starting to fall apart. Deus was no longer in a state where he could communicate with humans. Murmur urged me to find a way to end the game. She knew I was the strategist. I had always come up with the best plans to keep myself and Yuki alive. I decided on my own, and not because of Murmur, that I would be the one to take Godship. But I didn't tell that to Yuki. I couldn't make myself kill him, either. At least not directly.

I was the one who led Yuki to following through, but the original idea was his. "What if neither of us wins?" he asked, staying over at my place after we had killed the eleventh and the eighth. "What if we turn this into a game with no winners?"

"I can't kill you, Amano-kun," I said, and I honestly believed it.

"That's not what I'm saying." Yuki and I were sitting side by side on the deck facing the yard, and he was crouched forward pensively, his head supported by one hand. "I could never kill you either, Yuno." A faint smile came to his face for the first time since the last brutal killing. "Let's just leave this world. Let's escape."

"You mean like in the romantic movies or plays?" I questioned. "Where the couple dies together? This does all seem like some kind of tragedy story. But if we died, what would happen to this world, Amano-kun? Who would become God?"

"You know," said Yuki, in a rather distant voice, "I don't know if this world really deserves to be saved." He had lost his parents during the course of the survival game. "I sometimes think I want this world to pay. What's wrong with letting it all go to hell?"

"You're not cut out to be a God at all," I replied, though I said it with understanding and affection. "There are many people whose lives could be saved if one of us becomes God. Any world that's Yuki's world deserves a chance. Besides, if you become God, you can resurrect your parents and all the people we killed together. Isn't that how we were able to keep going, and keep killing? As God, you can bring them back to life."

"I know all that," Yuki sighed. "But we have to face the facts. Neither one of us can kill the other. But, if we both killed ourselves, there's no problem. The truth is, I don't want either of us to become God if it means we'll be separated. I love you, Yuno." Yuki put his hands on my shoulders, drew us together, and kissed me on the mouth.

I was caught up in the kiss, and afterward, I was reluctant to say anything that went against Yuki's opinions. I thought to myself, however, "Yuki, we'll only be separated for a few hours at most. As soon as one of us dies, the other can become God and resurrect the other." It seemed so simple to me. I felt certain I was right. But I didn't want to argue with Yuki.

"Let's do it together, Yuno," he was saying, embracing me as we sat on the edge of the deck. "Let's leave this world together. All we need are a bunch of sleeping pills, and each other."

"If that's what you want, Amano-kun," I answered sweetly, "we'll do it your way." In my head, I thought, "Or that's how it will look to you, anyway. I'll make sure I survive. I'll become God and bring you right back to life, my beloved Yuki."

We made plans and began our lovers' suicide that night. We drank sake that Yuki had taken from his house where his mother used to hide it. We split a large bottle of diphenhydramine, a readily available allergy medicine that induces rapid pulse and delirium at high doses followed by a crushing, irresistible drowsiness. Mixed with the alcohol, the sleep effect would double, and we hoped to die relatively peacefully in our sleep. That alone didn't seem enough, though, so we also took the refill bottles of clonazepam and propanolol that I got from the pharmacy under my mother's name.

Yuki drank all his sake and took all his pills—shakily, but without shedding a tear. He really was trying to die, and had no reservations. It pained me to see that, but I got through it by imagining how wonderfully recovered he would be when I brought him and his parents back to life.

I could have stopped Yuki at any time. Why did I just sit and watch him poison himself? I have nightmares and flashbacks about that all the time. I still have nothing to say for myself, except that I was so sure I was right, and could bring Yuki back to life.

As for me, I secretly dumped my share of the clear sake down the sink, replacing it with water. I pretended to swallow each pill and kept them in my mouth, secretly spitting them out into my hands and pockets when Yuki wasn't looking. I did take a few of them, enough to make me drowsy and uninhibited, but not nearly enough to kill me.

The two or three hours leading up to the time when Yuki passed out were not glamorous or particularly romantic. Overdosing and mixing substances is not an easy way to go, even if you manage to pass out and die in your sleep. Before that point, Yuki was sick as a dog, trying his best not to throw up the pills he took. He experienced waves of nausea and pain. He hallucinated from all the diphenhydramine and panicked a few times. Each time, I calmed him down, and brought him back to the futon to lie down with me. He was too out of it to really make love, but we cuddled and kissed.

At some point, I drifted off to sleep holding Yuki's hand in mine. What woke me up were the pills in my mouth that I had pretended to swallow. I almost swallowed them in my sleep. I woke up coughing and spat them out. Then I looked to my right where Yuki lay holding my hand. His mouth was open, and bit of blood and vomit dripped out. His hand was losing its warmth. I felt no pulse when I laid my head on his chest. There were no signs of breath. Yuki had killed himself. I had allowed it to happen.

Without warning, the scene of the bedroom and futon faded away, and I found myself and Yuki in the cathedral of Deus. Murmur materialized next to me and leaped up in the air excitedly.

"It's about time!" she exclaimed. "It's over at last! I hereby announce that the winner of the survival game is the Second, Gasai Yuno! She will be made into the next God of Time and Space!"

There's no use in trying to explain exactly what happened after that. It's difficult, if not impossible, to use words to describe what it is like to become the world's Goddess. All the knowledge and power flowed into me. I became aware of everything. Murmur told me how to start correcting the world, which was falling apart as we spoke. But before I even looked at the rest of the world, I looked back at Yuki. I wanted to bring him back to life right away.

I had never asked Deus or Murmur if it was really possible to bring back the dead. I tried for myself and found out the cold, hard truth. I could not bring back the dead. Though I restored Yuki's body and brain, something was missing. He just wouldn't wake up. It was as if he was in some kind of a coma. The body functions that I restored would die off again after a few minutes. There was a part of Yuki that just wouldn't wake up. Perhaps it was his consciousness; perhaps it was his will to live.

"It's what we call his soul," Murmur said flippantly, after watching me try to resurrect Yuki a dozen times. "Deus experimented with this stuff for a few hundred years. He never could bring back a person's soul. He would try again every few thousand years when cultures he liked died out. But it seems the human 'soul' is outside of the calculations of the causality of time and space."

"You're saying…" I stifled a sob. "You're saying that I can't bring people back to life?"

"Tough luck, hun," said Murmur casually.

For a few seconds, on my knees beside Yuki, I was silent and dumbfounded. I don't know how long I sat there, unable to accept the truth, trying to think straight for any ideas I might have overlooked. I felt like a child lost in the morning fog in the mountains, and gradually the fog thickened, until I felt like a traveler caught in the mire of a bog, feeling the wet earth give way under my feet and surround my body. It was as if I couldn't breathe. The quicksand forced the air out from my lungs.

I stared at Yuki's lifeless body. Could he really be gone? Had I killed him the same way I killed my parents, all the while certain that my plan was perfect? My head swam and I rocked my body back and forth, arms crossed. Something was missing. Yuki. Yuki was missing. He had been my constant companion ever since the start of the survival game a few months ago. And long before that, he had been my hope in life. What in the world was I supposed to do without Yuki?

The tears came slowly at first. It had been a long time since I last let myself cry. My vision blurred with the moisture welling up in my eyes. I blinked, and two small tears trickled down my cheeks, one from each eye. My body began to shake from sobs, which I tried to stifle at first. Just as I had done with my father, I took Yuki's body and hugged it to my chest, holding him tight. The warmth of life was already leaving him.

"Yuki," I breathed. "If you leave me behind… what will be left of me? Please, just say something. I would have chased you anywhere. All my being is wrapped around you. If you go this way, how can I follow you?"

My voice broke, my eyes filled with tears again, and I could no longer contain the sobs. Crying like a small child, I held Yuki. Calling out his name, and remembering the feel of his kiss, I held him. Cursing myself, I held Yuki. And finally, cursing the entire universe, I fell into despair. The blackness and emptiness in my mind and soul were so complete that I couldn't even think about suicide. I could think of nothing but Yuki, and how I wanted to see his smile once again.

If I had ever possessed sanity, it died in that moment, when the despair took me. After that, nothing made sense for a long time. It was as if the real me was unconscious somewhere deep inside me, but some force drove my body to keep acting, to find Yuki. I conspired with Murmur and began the plan to cross into the second world. Madness overcame me, and I could hardly remember what was real and what wasn't. Only one glimmer of my true self poked through the thick blackness as I put the plan into action.

"Next time," I thought, "I won't be able to kill Yuki. I'll stab myself in the heart before I let myself lay a hand on him."

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. For most of the course of the second survival game, I would be insane. Perhaps, though, by the very end, I would realize what needed to change. I prayed I could find that change, even if it meant sacrificing my own life.