Disclaimer: I don't own Yu Yu Hakusho and I most definitely did not come up with the Christian religion. The ending is influenced by the "Lady and the Tiger" short story and I didn't write that either.

Story Information: This is an AU story which occurs right after the Dark Tournament. It presents an idea I got from one of Karasu's quotes from the Japanese version of the Tournament (translated into English by subtitles). The idea? That the Toguro team won the Dark Tournament... What would Karasu wish for?

Oh, and a side note: Karasu may seem a bit out of character at the end, but weigh his possessiveness vs. his cold heartedness, and I think you'll understand my decision about his actions.

The Lady or the Tiger, Redemption or Perdition?

"Way down yonder, in the meadow, poor little baby crying Momma

Birds and butterflies, flutter round his eyes,

poor little baby crying Momma

Hush a by, don't you cry,

go to sleepy little baby."

- "Hush-a-by" sung by Peter, Paul, and Mary

Karasu hovered between seething in anger and in sadistic pleasure. Oh, it would have been fine in his opinion if Kurama had come quietly and given in, like the pet fox he now was, but Kurama had not done this. And this was why Karasu could not decide whether to be angry or anticipating. Yes, Karasu would enjoy hunting the fox down and breaking his spirit, warping the fox's will to his own, but Karasu was no fool and knew that if the fox did not want to be found it would make tracking him very difficult and painstaking. But the game was still in Karasu's favor as Kurama did not know of all the changes to the world yet... yes, that might slow the fox down a bit. And of course the fox would try to find out exactly what happened to his team members which would lead him to one particular being.

Botan was startled by the sudden appearance of a particular demon she did not want to see. "Ka-Karasu." she tried to get her stuttering under control. "What are you doing here?"

"Oh, I think you know why I'm here, fairy girl. A little matter of property, you might say." Karasu's eyes glittered dangerously as Botan caught on to what he was saying.

"I do-don't know what you're talking about." Botan managed to reply.

"Really? I think you do." Karasu smirked behind his mask. "Where did you bring him? Did you hide him away somewhere in the Makai or did you risk allowing him back into the former Human Realm?"

Botan knew she had been backed into a corner. Karasu knew that Kurama must still be in the Makai somewhere, as with the continuous tunnel between the realms, the Human Realm had been completely run over by demonic life. No, she could not have taken Kurama there, but she was far from telling his captor exactly where in the Makai Kurama was.

"You'll never find him, Karasu." she smiled brightly at the demon. "Not unless he wants you to find him."

Karasu's eyebrow rose in surprise. "If you think I can't tamper with his emotions even from this far away, you're sadly mistaken."

"Tampered emotions won't work Karasu." she shot back.

Karasu's eyes hardened. "We'll just have to see if that's true."

Kurama surveyed the temple area curiously. Botan had been his savior in the end, for there was not doubt in his mind that he would not have been ready to face the Human Realm in its present state, not after what had happened to it. With a permanent tunnel between the two realms the Human Realm was just another extension of the Makai overpopulated by humans. Kurama doubted it would stay that way for long. So Botan had brought him here, to this temple that could only be found, supposedly, by someone if someone else already inside the temple wanted them to find it. It was a truly beautiful place, looking almost like a Roman style place from the former Human Realm.

Kurama frowned softly. He had wanted to go to the Human Realm to find out what happened to his mother. But Botan had insisted he come here for some reason.

"Kurama!" Kurama turned to see a brown haired someone latch on to him.

"Hi Keiko." Kurama managed to say. It felt like she was crushing his ribs.

"When Botan told us what happened, we thought we'd never see you again."

Kurama decided not to point out that they wouldn't have seen him again period since he had been dead.

"Oh, Kurama!"

Kurama looked to see Yukina in the doorway of the temple. The ice-maiden seemed worried and joyful, something which confused Kurama.

"Kurama, you need to come inside quickly." was all Yukina said, before the two girls started half-leading, half dragging him inside.

"I still don't understand why I'm here." Kurama muttered, "I should be going to the Human Realm-"

"Kurama, the reason Botan made sure to have you come here is that..." Yukina and Keiko exchanged worried glances before the brunette continued. "You mother isn't in the former Human Realm any more."


"Right after the Dark Tournament, when preparations were being made for that tunnel to connect the two realms, Koenma had Botan bring the news of your "death" to your mother, since we hadn't yet heard that you weren't dead anymore. He figured that you would want her to be safe, so she came along with us two and Sisuru (who's here somewhere) to this place."

"That's why you can come here, Kurama." Yukina said softly. "Your mother-" the ice maiden broke off and Kurama could sense something was coming that he wouldn't like.

"She's gone. Isn't she?" he asked quietly.

Yukina nodded stopping at one of the doors and pushing it open a bit. "She passed away this morning. The grief was to much for her."

Kurama stepped into the room and barely registered the fact that the door closed behind him. It was a simple bedroom but he only noticed the figure lying on the bed, a figure that would never see, hear, breath, or feel ever again.

"Mother." Kurama's eyes filled with tears as he knelt down next to her. The woman he was willing to give his own life to save not so long ago was now dead, because of him. "Why did you leave me?"

The hand he grasped was cold and lifeless, exactly how Kurama now felt inside. No one... now there was no one that he lived for. The last anchor in Kurama's life had been stripped away, and for the first time in his life, Kurama felt lost. And like a frightened child who had been lost in the woods, the child just wanted to be found.

Soft footsteps seemed to echo in the silence, only broken before by Kurama's sobs, as a dark figure walked into the room and Kurama gratefully fell into open arms. His felt his tears gently wiped off his face but Kurama was content just to lie there and cry, a feeling that he was falling washing over him. But whether he was falling into resurrection or eternal damnation, he couldn't be sure. And at this moment in time, Kurama didn't care.


Rio the FlowerofBlackFire

*perdition - n. eternal damnation

Author's Note:

Oh, and another note: This is the end of the story, so the question at the end is not EVER going to be answered, it is for you all to think about. Please just read "The Lady or the Tiger" before you flame me for this. It shouldn't be a cliffhanger unless you all chose to take it that way... I mean think about it for a minute and you'll understand. Heck if you don't, e-mail me and I'll explain it to you!