My, my, such explosive reviews for the last chapter. In any case, hope you all don't kill me...again.
It was cold. Snow fell gently around him in a peaceful fashion and the landscape was barren—merely a field of white with a dozen or so willowy trees outlining the edge. Yusuke dug his hands deeper into his pockets for warmth as he gazed upon the lone tombstone standing amidst the desolate region. He had wanted to be buried here for some strange reason. It was so unlike his previous home—where life was at constant bloom—the lush greens and wildlife of the mysterious forest. But Yusuke obeyed his wishes. It was the least he could do. It required the aid of Hiei, naturally, since he himself was not as familiar with the Makai—and, as expected, the fiery youkai had found the perfect place. Hiei was never the type to fail once you gave him a mission.
Yusuke sighed deeply and gazed upwards at the sky. Today was December the thirty-first. It had already been one year. Strange, he never noticed how quickly the time passed. Last year's events seemed to be nothing more but a dream now. He smiled slightly to himself.
"Hope you're finally at peace."
At the unexpected intrusion, Yusuke turned around quickly and saw the face of an old friend—and a current lover. He grinned and cocked his head to the side curiously. "How did you know I would be here?" he inquired.
Kurama walked up and placed a hand on Yusuke's shoulder. "Because of that sudden outburst you had this morning about him—a rather unanticipated outburst, too, if I may add," he replied.
The dark-haired man shrugged. "He looked so torn when he saw us together. He loved you," he pointed out before noting the suspicious gleam in Kurama's eyes. "And it's not like I feel guilty," he added hurriedly. "I just feel…pity."
A light chuckle was sounded from the redhead. "Of course, Yusuke, of course. I'm sure Ryu would love being pitied by you."
"Hey, you know, I was enjoying the moment before you came along and started making your annoying observations."
Kurama tilted his head to the side, studying Yusuke carefully. "What brought on that sudden outburst this morning anyway? You haven't mentioned Ryu at all this year and I was about to come to the conclusion that you had forgotten about him," he prompted.
"I had the strangest dream last night," answered Yusuke distractedly. He then looked at Kurama sharply. "It was like a rehash of everything that happened last year except…the events were seriously twisted."
"How so?" Kurama queried with a slight smile as he spotted the confusion in Yusuke's eyes.
"For one thing…I think you were using me to get Hiei!"
"I never figured you for the jealous type, Yusuke."
"I died again, too!"
"Trying to set a record are you?"
"Shut up! And then…I mean at first it seemed like you were doing it for Hiei was but then in the end it turned out you really cared for me and…you were really suicidal. Something about me being pure and untainted and how that was why you were attracted to me. But then you went on saying how you didn't want me to see the pain and darkness of your soul and jumped off a cliff after taking some weird medicine or drug."
"Untainted and pure? You? Those certainly are some admirable traits. I wasn't aware you possessed any of them," continued Kurama with an amused smile.
Yusuke glared heatedly at the redhead. "Stop with the sarcasm already, Kurama! That wasn't a pleasant dream. You killed yourself in the end because…well…I guess because you were too far lost to your inner pain…," he drawled off.
"You want me dead then?" quipped Kurama cheerily.
The dark-haired man turned around and grabbed the redhead by his shoulders. "I'm being serious here!" he cried out, a strange mixture of pain and fear in his eyes.
Taken back by his reaction, Kurama cupped Yusuke's face gingerly, all aspects of teasing gone from his gaze and tone. "It was just a dream. I'm here now and I'm not using you if that's what you inwardly fear. Hiei's as much a friend of yours as he is mine—nothing more. I am with you," he stated firmly, boring his eyes deep into Yusuke's own. He then smiled. "Besides, even I couldn't spend an entire year with someone for no special reason—especially considering the atrocious habits this certain 'someone' has."
The younger man sighed, failing to rise to the bait. "You would never…try to save me from…yourself?"
An arched eyebrow met his question. "Why should I do that? You already know me inside out. You're just going to have bear it out and grit your teeth," replied Kurama evenly.
Yusuke smiled. "I think in the dream…you told me to wake up and see the world as it was," he said.
Kurama gave a soft laughter. "Well, that's probably the first sensible thing I did in this dream of yours. Do wake up, Yusuke. I'm not a dream—something that will disappear in a moment—I'm real and I'd rather not be compared to this depressing doppelganger your mind created," he replied, entwining their hands together as the snow swirled around them playfully.
"Well, that much is true. Why spend so much time thinking about an intangible dream while I have the real thing in front of me?"
"Exactly—and in any case, how did Ryu factor into this dream?"
Yusuke laughed. "Oh! Well, instead of being a former lover, he was a former follower that you left for dead. So he came back for revenge by kidnapping Shiori. We got him in the end, though. But just seeing him again so vividly…it made me want to visit him today and I guess…wish him the best. He was miserable both in my dream and in real life. The guy deserves some condolences."
Kurama squeezed his hand once while eyeing Yusuke. "This is a rather detailed dream. Ever think about writing it down?" he suggested.
A blank look slated across Yusuke's face before he suddenly burst into laughter. "What? I don't think so, pal. It's already still pretty damn clear in my head and I would prefer it to disappear like all my other dreams!" he exclaimed.
Kurama smiled slightly and the two continued on in silence until they reached the Ningenkai—where it was infinitely warmer than the Makai despite the temperatures being exactly the same. They walked through the crowded streets for a while—enjoying the other's company in silence—before Yusuke suddenly made a comment.
"I think I cooked for you in this dream."
"That's not a dream anymore, Yusuke. That's a fantasy."
Surprise, surprise? XD Like it or hate it, I'm still proud of it! And it seems by doing this I have therefore declared the rest of the story null and void. So basically, the entire story only served the purpose of torturing the hell out of you guys. But you know what? I like it this way. :D After all, I tortured myself by writing it. Wow...my first YYH fic is finally done. It took me over two years to finish this little "one-shot"—God, I'm a slow writer. XD It's been a great time, folks. You will never know how reading your reviews gave me the encouragement (and incentive) to continue. I'm glad I didn't lose interest in this story. I love you all and I hope to see you again sometime! Keep the Kurama and Yusuke love alive! XP Bye, bye for now...