A/N: This story is, basically, my way to procrastinate writing another fic. *sighs* I have a minor little writer's block with Broken Rose right now…

Anyways, this is angst, and is rated PG13 only because I think some of the concepts are a bit older. *shrugs*

Pairings are only hinted at, really, and are Kurama/Yukina, Botan/Kuwabara, and Yusuke/Keiko. There may be spoilers, I dunno.


By Akuryou

A little piece of paper with a picture drawn floats on

down the street till the wind is gone. And the memory

now is like the picture was then—when the paper's

crumpled up, it can't be perfect again.

--Forgotten; Linkin Park


They're both gone.

The only two people in the three worlds I truly cared for, and they're both dead, leaving me to this wretched existence. I can't even kill myself. They wouldn't have approved. And what do I have left but the memory of their gentle morals?

The two of them were so alike. Perhaps that was why I was so close to them. And he was in love with her; I could feel it. I wouldn't have minded having that stupid, selfless fox as a brother.

Selfless. Yes, selfless. He saved her, you know. Pushed her out of the way of Taihen's fireblast. It didn't matter, though. He fell into the gorge, and she was hit by the follow-up shot. And so now they're gone.

No! Damn it! I won't cry again! I won't!

Fuck. Oh well. The gems will go with the others. I have nearly nine jars now. They've accumulated, over the past four years. I don't know what to do with the things. I'd sell them, but I'm never in need of money, here in this secluded place. Besides that, and being a constant reminded of my pain, the gems are worthless.

Pain. Gods, what pain I have suffered. Physical? No. Inari, but I wish it were physical.

I want them back. Don't you see? I arrived mere seconds too late—just in time to see my best friend and only sister murdered. I killed Taihen, of course. But the vengeance had been hollow. It wouldn't bring them back.

Nothing would.


"Yusuke. Kuwabara."

Both tanteis exchanged a glance at the seriousness of Koenma's tone. The two had grown up over the past two years, in both body and mind.

Ever since Kurama died and Hiei disappeared, Yusuke and Kuwabara had continued to work as Rei Kai detectives, but just didn't take the more dangerous missions. Or, if they did, they took along youkai warriors to take place of their teammates. Yusuke, himself, had gotten much closer to Keiko since the Makai Tournament, and had watched romance slowly grow between Kuwabara and Botan. Life had been rather pleasant for them—is they didn't think about the lack of two important people when they went on missions.

"The demon's name is Shinka," Koenma said without delay, bringing up a picture and stats on the screen. "He's high S-class; very dangerous. Specializes in the sword and spirit magic—much like Shishiwakamaru."

" 'Shinka,' " Yusuke echoed. " 'Evolution'. Pompous bastard, isn't he? So why are we going after him?"

"You're not."

Yusuke blinked.

"Shinka wants to take over the Makai," Koenma explained. "Ningenkai and Rei Kai mean nothing to him. And he will have the power to do so. Within a month he will be strong enough to attack both Yomi's and Mukuro's forces at once."

"So why don't we just go get him, then?" Kuwabara asked impatiently.

Koenma shot him an irritated glance. "I was just getting to that. Shinka's holed up at Zujou Mountain. He has a forcefield surrounding the whole place, that if you're not a part of his forces, you die if it touches you. But the glitch is that a certain type of race can get through—and the maker of the field can pick which type."

"What race is it?" Yusuke inquired, frowning.

Ignoring him, Koenma continued, "Shinka knows about what happened four years ago with Yukina, and how the Koorime severed any and all relation with outsiders since. So he chose the race least likely to help us."

Yusuke groaned. "The Koorime? Koenma, they despise us!"

"All but one," the Rei Kai prince said quietly.

Yusuke's eyes widened as it dawned on him what Koenma was talking about. He exchanged a wild glance with Kuwabara.

"Surely—not Hiei?!"

"He's our only chance, Yusuke," Koenma argued. "We have to try and find him."

" 'We' ?" Kuwabara interrupted.

"I'm going with you," Koenma said simply. "I know something that may help bring Hiei out of his self-imposed seclusion."

"What?" Yusuke demanded suspicisouly.

He told them. Both of them were wide-eyed and pale when the prince finished.

"He's going to kill you for not telling him, Koenma," Yusuke said quietly. "Hell, I might right here and now. Why did you never tell us?"

"It wouldn't have made a difference," Koenma replied, his voice subdued. "You would only have died if you tried to help. Now, will you help me find him or not?"

"Of course we will," Yusuke said shortly. The part-youkai was obviously having a hard time controlling his anger.

"Then let's go."