One Second Too Late

By: Hokata Yuy

~~~~~

Dong…Dong… Dong…

The twelfth bell slowly faded away, leaving the night air back in silence.

"D…did she make it…?" Botan softly asked.  Koenma didn't respond.  All they could do was wait outside… and hope.

~~

Keiko clenched the sheets tightly, tears filling her eyes, "Yusuke… wake up…  Please wake up!"  She buried her face in the covers as she began to cry next to the boy that wouldn't wake up.

~~

"I… I'm still here," he said, looking down at his body, still resting in bed.  "She didn't make it."  He floated down behind Keiko, his feet 'touching' the ground.  Incredibly… he began to laugh.  He laughed so hard Botan and Koenma could hear him outside.

"Oh thank god!  She did it!" Botan cheered as Yusuke walked out the open door and onto the balcony, laughing all the way.  "Way to go Yusuke!" she said as she flew towards him on her ore, having gotten used to being able to touch him the past month as a spirit.  He kept laughing, even as she tightly hugged around his neck.

It took her a moment to realize, "I… I can still touch you…"  Her arms fell off of him, "it… didn't work."

The laughing hiccupped once, "What's 55 years?"  Another hiccup, "I can wait!  It's not like I'll have anything better to do."  His laughter was then choked by his throat tightening up as the first sob escaped, then tears ran down his face.  Doing the only thing she could thing to do, Botan took him in her arms as he started to openly cry against her shoulder.

After a few minutes, Yusuke finally collected himself enough to stop crying.  Pulling away from Botan, wiping his eyes on the back of his sleeve, "I guess this is it then… one last look at the world.  It's time for me to go to heaven or hell or whatever."  His eyes shimmered, but he didn't let the tears fall."

            "I'm so sorry Yusuke… but you're right, you can't stay in this world like this any more," she said solemnly, trying not to let her emotions come out.  She had to be professional about this… it was just another soul to Spirit World… not her friend she'd spent the last month with.

            "But," he said, looking up at her, "can I get just one more day?  I just want to tell my friends goodbye… Please?"  He felt his regret boiling to unfocused anger and clinched his fists and his eyes closed.  "Please!  I won't see them for over 50 years!  This is my last chance to tell them anything!!  You've got to let me have just one more night!" he shouted, his body shaking with all the anger out of his system.

            "I would give you all the time I could…" she started slowly, "but I can only let you stay if I have permission from higher up."  Looking up to the sky for Koenma, she found him standing on the railing, hands behind his back, his brow furrowed in thought.

After a minute of silence he softly spoke, "Normally no-one is ever allowed time to say goodbye to loved ones, it would cause havoc on both sides of this realm," he paused, "But I believe fate has been far too cruel to you, time after time."

            Yusuke couldn't help but sneer, "No shit, first I'm killed saving a kid that wouldn't have died in the first place, then I use my spirit beast to save Keiko from dying in a fire to save me, then my energy is so screwy I only get one chance every 55 years.  Then Keiko's mom passing out just when I needed her  Yeah I'd say that's a little spiteful."

            "Yusuke!  Shh!" Botan tried to quiet him, putting her finger of her lips.

            "It's alright, the boy's got a right to be pissed, I would be too."  He looked back to Yusuke, "But in this case I will grant you 24 more hours in this world.  You have until 12:04 tomorrow night, after that you're to go with Botan to the Spirit World, agreed?"

            "Agreed… and thank you," he said quietly, his head bowed partly out of respect and partly from exhaustion. 

            "Well then," Koenma said in his normal voice, "I'll be seeing both of you later."  He jumped off the railing, and faded away slowly. 

            As Yusuke and Botan silently stood there, they could hear Keiko crying in his room, still weakly trying to wake him up.

            Eventually Botan broke the silence, "So… what are you going to do first?" she quietly asked him.

            He looked down in thought, "I'm not sure…  Keiko won't be asleep any time soon.  My mom is going to be so drunk she wouldn't think it was real even if she was asleep.  I guess I'll go see Kuwabara first."  Then looking up in thought, then to Botan, "…do you know where he lives…?"

            She shakes her head, "Whenever we needed him it was daytime and he was out in the open."

            Letting out a frustrated tic, "Damnit… Looks like I'll have to follow him tomorrow to see where he lives and have to say goodbye to all three in a row."

            "Are you sure you'll have enough time for that?"

            "Yeah sure, besides, I hate long goodbyes," he said with a small smirk.

            'Well… thankfully it doesn't look like this had traumatized him too much,' she thought.  She asked another question, "and what about until morning?  What are you going to do?"

            "Hmm.." he put his hand on his chin thoughtfully, "why don't you tell me about Spirit World?  After all, I'm going to be there for a while, I should at least know something about it."

            She nodded, "Good idea!  Actually thinking ahead for once?  Maybe it's true what they say, 'Death changes people'" she giggled.

            "Oh very funny!  And I'm not dead!" he roared, "But you will be if you keep it up!"  She kept laughing and floated up to the roof of the building, which Yusuke slowly followed after, sitting cross-legged next to her in the air.

            "Ok..  Where should I start?"  she thought to herself, unknowingly mimicking Yusuke's posture from before.  "Oh yes!  I know just what to begin with."

With that she started telling the new resident of Spirit World about what to expect, the laws, and the 'people' there.

Wow.  I actually did an entire chapter (and starter) in one night.  That's a first.

Anyhow, I kinda got tired of seeing all the same couplings and stuff, besides, in every fic I've seen, Yusuke's alive.  

I thought this little thing up a long time ago, but just now got enough inspiration to write it all down. Before I started this was going to just be a one-shot, but I can think of 2 more chapters to write, maybe more if reviews are inspiring ;)

-Hokata