Terribly sorry for the delay....blah blah blah...who wants to hear my excuses, anyway.


Also, for those of you with me on your author alerts, this is the first out of four updates I've done today. If you have not recieved all four email alerts, please check your Spam inbox or the Just-in section. Thank you.

Now, with no further ado, on to the fic!


Chapter Twenty: Passing the Time


Lights flashed on and stayed on, flooding the room with brightness too early in the morning. Blinking, sleepy eyes attempted to focus on something—the person standing by the light switch worked.


"...what's wrong..."

"...too eeaaaaarly..." And Kuwabara flumped back on his sofa, dead to the world.

"There's no time for sleep!" Shizuru stormed over and shook her brother fiercely. "Your bus is leaving in twenty minutes—did you hear me? TWENTY MINUTES!"

"We heard, we heard," Yusuke sat up, stretching as he yawned. "Hold your horses."

"The horses," Shizuru snapped, "Are leaving without you."

"What's all the ruckus?" Botan wandered in, yawning widely. "Don't you know that normal people are supposed to sleep about now?"

Shizuru "calmly" explained the problem again—by this time, panic was just starting to settle into people's minds. Covers were shoved aside, people scrambled for the bathrooms and their possessions, things thrown roughly and carelessly into bags. The lights in the girls' room was flicked on, and the girls pulled mercilessly out of their double-bed, coats buttoned on over their pajamas when they stubbornly refused to get dressed. Kozu, still too dizzy to walk, had to be carried out the door piggyback on Yusuke; Kuwabara grabbed half of their bags and Niyali's hand, the too-tired-girl allowing herself to be led out without a protest. Kurama took Arashi on his back when it became apparent she was going to fall asleep on her feet; Hiei ended up carrying the rest of the baggage.

In this way, Team Urameshi managed to catch their bus to the semi-finals—with even a couple minutes to spare.


When Yusuke next blinked his eyes open, day was well underway. The sun was shining through the windows, trees blurring past them as the bus drove onwards. Kuwabara was slumped into the seat next to him, snoring softly.

He stretched a bit and looked around for the rest of his team. Arashi was still fast asleep, head on Hiei's chest, said demon very much awake and not looking too happy at this turn of events. The glare he shot Yusuke told him quite clearly not to say a word, so Yusuke didn't and glanced at Kurama.

"Hey, Kurama."

"Yusuke." Kurama dog-eared a page in his book and closed it, setting it on the pile of luggage in the chair next to him. "Did you sleep well?"

"As well as you can on a moving bus," Yusuke half-laughed. "What time is it?"

"After lunch. We've been riding for a little over twelve hours now."

"Twelve HOURS?!" Kurama nodded, and pushed a strand of completely-red hair behind his ear. He was fully human again, which gave all the more proof to his statement of time. Yusuke swiveled around to look at Kuwabara's watch; sure enough, it was after noon. "Darn it..." His stomach gave a loud growl. "Don't they have any food on this bus?" Something hit him in the head; it fell into his lap and he looked at the label. "Honey-Roasted Peanuts?"

"Are you going to eat those?" Niyali asked, poking her head around the seat. "'Cause I'll have 'em if you're not going to."

"Buzz off," he told her sternly, and struggled to open the package. Niyali giggled and sat back in her seat; a little tune floating to his ears told him she'd pulled out her flute and was happily playing.

The bus rolled on.

..::Three Hours Later::..

"This is so BORING!"

"What do you suggest we do, Urameshi?" Kuwabara turned away from the window. "Not like you brought a deck of cards, or anything."

"I thought we did!" Yusuke turned to Kurama. "Didn't you pack one?"

"I did," came the response, "However, they're at the bottom of my bag, and I—"

"Just dig them out already," Yusuke grumbled, mood going sour with each bump of the bus. "If this goes on any longer, I'm going to get carsick."

"There's a bathroom in the back," Hiei pointed out, "Or if you can't make it, I'll remind you that Kuwabara's sitting conveniently to your right."

"Watch it, shrimpy!"

..::One And A Half Hours Later::..

"Read 'em and weep!" Kuwabara proudly displayed his handy Full House to the other players, and reached for the "pot" precariously perched on the armrest between seats.

"Not so fast," Yusuke laid his cards down, showing his straight run of clubs. "That pot is mine."

"Sorry," Kurama swiped it from both their hands and turned his hand so they could see his royal flush. "But this belongs to me." Kuwabara groaned and threw his cards down.

"I swear you've got the deck jinxed or something," Yusuke murmured, eyeing Kurama warily (he and Kuwabara had switched seats with Arashi and Hiei so they could play). Kurama only laughed.

"I've had much more practice than you, that's all."

"Let's play a different game." Kuwabara gathered the cards and began to shuffle. "Does anybody here know how to play that Egyptian one? War or something?"

"I do," Yusuke assured him, an evil grin spreading across his face. "Deal out the deck, Kuwabara."

"You wanna play, Kurama?"

"I'll just watch this round, thanks."

"Feel free to slap in." Kuwabara quickly dealt the deck in half, and play resumed.

Across the aisle, Kozu sang quietly to herself. Arashi's ears twitched as she caught the tune and joined in; Niyali quickly picked up her long-packed away flute and started in on the harmony.

"Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall, ninety-nine bottles of beer..."

..::Thirteen card games and 770 bottles of beer later::...


"Damn it, Kurama!" Kurama smiled and took the pile of cards in the center, adding it to his already thick stack. Kuwabara groaned and stared at his one card remaining. He tossed it into the center and folded his arms, obviously giving up.

"We should ban you from card games," Yusuke said to Kurama, as the red-head gained control of the whole deck.

"It's not his fault your reflexes stink," said Hiei. Kuwabara glared at him.

"Do YOU want to play?"

"Why not?" Hiei slipped out from his position next to Arashi and sat on the baggage next to Kurama. "Deal, fool."

"You're so going to get it," Kuwabara muttered, and dealt out the deck again.

The girls sang on.

"One bottle of beer on the wall, one bottle of beer...take it down, put it back up, one bottle of beer on the wall..."

...::One bottle of beer later::..

"That's it." Yusuke threw his deck down and stood up. "I'm sick of this."

"Where are you going, Urameshi?" Kuwabara placed another card down on the stack and promptly grabbed it to keep the thing from slipping off at the upwards-angle the bus was taking.

"To ask the driver something." Yusuke stormed down the aisle towards the driver's seat. "Hey, buddy, how much longer is this ride going to take? We've been here for hours, and I'm not the only one getting cranky." There was no reply. "Hey! I'm a Team Captain, you can't just ignore me like that!" Furious at the lack of response, he went around the little partition to talk to him face-to-face. "HEY!"

Approximately thirty seconds later he burst out and made an announcement to the entire bus.

"There's nobody driving this thing!"

..::To Be Continued::..

Review Responses:

Dragonflyr: Summer....yeah....did I really abandon this for that long? Wow...

Elyndewen Startree: n.n Of course I did! Where would life be without Potter Puppet Pals? Sorry it was so confusing...sorry this update took forever...n.n;;

CHIPMUNK1: Was that fun? Of course it was. Will next chapter be fun as well? Who knows!? n.n The inspiration might!

TonyDiMerasbedroomslave: n.n Thank you!

aqua-flames: Yeah...same here. I do feel sorry for the gang....sort of....not really.

Nite Nite: Soon...was this soon? No, I didn't think so...

shadowcat241: ((groan)) Why does everyone insist on threatening me when I don't update?

SSSRoaB: Hope you're not in such a hurry now!

Masterful Foxboy A. Keysoonaer: Thank you!

flamin: Arashi hasn't sent any more out on the Counselors...we're working on our own website so we can get it "open to the public".

Minakara: Fourth of July...wow, was that a long time ago. n.n My bad.

Niana Kuonji: ....rabid Yoko fangirl....check. Stay away from rabid Yoko fangirl...check.

Aaaand that's all for the reviews! Sorry, no spoiler...I have only a very vague idea what's coming next, and I don't want to change my mind and have to change the spoiler. n.n But there's a spoiler in Chapter 19 of TGIAG, so go check that out! And as always, please review!