The Last Page
Notes: This is a one-shot that just came to mind one day. It's written in Shizuru Kuwabara's point of view, and does contain Dark Tournament spoilers if you have yet to see the whole saga.
Please read and review, but only if you're going to be nice about it. Flames and mean reviews are not acceptable. Enjoy the story!
That's that gushy stuff you read about in those old novels your mom has packed away in dusty box up in the attic, or in a cheap paperback you bought at a garage sale. You see it in the movies and on TV. (Hell, what are soaps made of?)
There's always the delightfully shallow plotline spruced up with a couple of suggestive scenes. Mystery, murder, it all varies depending on what you're reading. But no matter what, there's always that wonderfully perfect male character that captures of the heart of the heroine of the story.
He's everything the character wants; the Prince Charming of the more modern tale of romance. Stuff happens in the story, there's sometimes that climactic point where the woman is worried that the man doesn't really love her, and then it all wraps up, the couple get together, (what a surprise) and they both live "happily ever after."
Yeah, yeah, good for them, but is that the way it goes in reality? Hell no. Every man I've ever dated has turned out to be exactly the opposite of what I want in him. I've gone on dates with the kid who asked me out in high school, the nerd next door, some jerk who ended up being a mugger, and...oh yeah; a football jock.
Now where was that sparkly, heart-fluttering feeling in those relationships? (In case you didn't note the sarcasm, there weren't any.)
So you could see where I stood in terms of real romance. I'd yet to meet that "oh-so-wonderful" man that's supposedly out there for everyone. Or was he even? But what did that matter? In any event, my normal life went on, and my baby brother and his friends got themselves into this bizarre tournament held by demons.
So of course, I, along with Keiko, the girlfriend of Yusuke, a friend of my brother's, and a ditzy Spirit World employee with blue hair, set off for Hanging Neck Island, where the tournament was to be held. Delightful, right?
Well, after finding some seats among some very friendly looking demons and watching a few edge-of-your-seat, life-and-death matches, Yusuke's battle finally came up.
Unfortunately, Keiko got a little pissed about something I said about her little boyfriend, and she ran off. Feeling responsible for the kid in the midst of a bunch of blood-thirsty demons, I went off searching for her. Instead of finding her, however, I met up with a bunch of demons.
You know, the real thug, up-to-no-good kind. Naturally I sprinted away, but it's not easy trying to out-run them all.
That's when it happened.
A strong hand grabbed my arm and pulled me down a side hallway. Now I consider myself to be a tough gal, not one of those damsel-in-distress kind, so I jerked my arm away and stopped to see who it was that was pulling me along.
Well, whoever it was appeared to be human, and he grabbed my arm again and continued pulling down another side hallway. Fortunately for us, the demons pursuing were dense, and ran right by the side hallway without another glance.
So I turned around and looked up into the violet-blue eyes of my "rescuer." He was a bit taller than I was with long, black hair. He was wearing a business suit of some kind and was smiling down at me.
"Let me guess," I asked. "Human?"
The man just continued to smile that mysterious smile and nodded, turning to walk away.
"Yes, but remember down here we're in the minority, so be careful," he called back before walking away as quickly as he had just grabbed my arm a few moments before.
I stared after him, confused. Something about the man was interesting... intriguing. I didn't know who he was or where he'd come from, unfortunately. All I knew was that he'd just walked on out of my life, just like any other remotely interesting man I even met.
Well, I made it back to the hotel that evening and met up with Keiko and that goofball Botan again. An uneventful evening was soon followed by a morning match, where I got to watch my baby brother get beaten up by a couple of possessed fighters.
Luckily that Yusuke guy defeated them all, and the two demon fighters on my baby brother's team finally showed up. So the next match was about to start (yeah, back to back battles. This committee is so unbiased...) when I desperately had to use the bathroom, so I got up to leave. Now like I told Keiko, even if demons did have toilets, I would definitely not want to use them, so we went outside somewhere.
After a while of wandering through the bushes, I happened to spot a little girl with mint hair, and being the aware psychic that I am, I recognized her at once. (I mean, come on. Kazuma only talks about her 24/7)
So I introduced myself to the girl, and she was surprised to learn that I already knew who she was. Yukina and I were just starting a little chat when that Botan girl came running out saying that Kazuma was about to get involved in another fight. Injured an all, yep.
So, after "politely" convincing the crowd of wussy demons to get out of our way so we could see the screen, I figured the best way to get my baby brother back in action was to get Yukina close to the arena somehow.
So I punched my way past the security guard, only to get a whole troop of security demons on our tail. Yukina, Keiko, and Botan ran into some huge guy with sunglasses, who for some reason let them go past. I however, got cornered and captured by the demon guards.
As fate would have it, they pulled me (Yes, pulled, I was still putting up a decent fight) up to that Mr. Mysterious from before. He just smiled down at me again and the demon guards asked what to do with me.
"Just let her go," he said calmly, still smiling. "She's with me."
So the demons got all apologetic and backed off, leaving the two of us alone in the hallway. I got to my feet and raised an eyebrow at the guy, wondering what motive he had for saving my life twice in a row.
"So, we meet again," Was all he had to say, still calm and casual as ever.
"Better call the papers, huh?" I replied sarcastically, folding my arms across my chest.
The man just smiled and pulled out his cigarette lighter. I pulled out a cigarette myself and he lit it for me. I couldn't understand why he bothered saving me from those guards, though. Was he impressed with my nerve, or just trying to show off his authority? Well...whatever, I was impressed with him.
The rest of the week passed rather quickly, actually. Baby brother's team did fairly well, although he was the weakest member. They won their first three matches, and then I missed most of the fourth because Botan got us lost in the woods. After picking up a rather exhausted-looking Yusuke, we made it back to the new stadium.
My brother made a fool of himself on the loudspeakers, lost another fight, (This time to an old man. Honestly, what the hell is he thinking half the time?) and then made it back to see this old woman named Genkai beat the stuffing out of a clown.
That evening that same old woman was killed in a fight with that man with the sunglasses from before, and of course Yusuke, who had been her apprentice, apparently, got all mope-like and depressed. Some evening that was turning out to be, with everyone all sad. Botan wasn't around much, and Keiko was just worried about Yusuke. Didn't see any of the boys.
The next morning was that long awaited day. The finals of the Dark Tournament. It turns out that my little brother's team was playing against the Toguro Team, led by that jerk with the sunglasses. But that wasn't what surprised me the most.
As Botan, Keiko, Yukina and I walked into the room, it seemed that a fifth fighter was entering the arena on the Toguro side. Wouldn't you know that it was that mysterious guy I kept running into?
Now while I stood there, stunned like an idiot, Botan and Keiko and everyone started asking if I were okay, and of course I replied that I was, and we all sat down. The first match was okay, although the Toguro's fighter was a bastard and just toyed around with our fighter, Kurama, for the longest time. Kurama ended up killing the guy, but lost the dumb match because he'd stayed on the ground for ten seconds.
By now Botan was looking like another edge-of-your-seat match was going to give her a panic attack, and Keiko was looking pretty worried too. Yukina...well, she didn't exactly look worried, but then again, she was a little naïve. The stupid shoulder-monkey Toguro brother said he wanted us all dead, which I could believe, and then the short guy, Hiei, took on this giant named Bui.
Now that match practically blew up the entire stadium, but fortunately our seats were unharmed. However the ring was completely devastated by the time Hiei won, so there was a six-hour intermission while they got the old arena into the new stadium.
Okay, so after giving my little brother a pep-talk, he went in to take on the Elder Toguro, the shoulder-monkey guy. After getting cut up, beat up, and told a rather vivid story of Genkai's death, he finally squashed the guy and we moved on to the last fight.
But before the fated fight between Yusuke and Toguro could start, that guy....that mysterious black-haired guy, got up on the arena and said that he wanted to place a bet with Koenma (the fifth member and leader of baby-brother's team) that the next fight would be worth two points, and that the losing team leader would have to give up his own life in the event of a loss.
Now I was stunned to hear this, and even more stunned to hear the little Koenma accept the bet. It didn't make any sense! It seemed that this mysterious man had money, power, and a pretty prestigious position in this crazy tournament. Why would he bet his whole life on one stupid grudge-match?
Curiosity got the better of me, and I lied to the others by telling them I wanted to go place a bet and instead snuck off after that man and his lead fighter, who were going off somewhere. Keeping my distance, I peeked in at them while the man, whose named I finally learned, Sakyo, started talking to that Toguro guy.
He told him about his childhood, killing animals in the back of a pet store, and how he turned to gambling later on. He explained that he loved the thrill of it, but it had lost its novelty in just betting money, and that's why he was betting his life.
"You sure are taking an awfully big risk," The Toguro man said, narrowing his eyes.
"Heh," Sakyo laughed, smoke rising from his cigarette. "That's the point."
So I walked slowly back to my seat, the match between Yusuke and Toguro finally beginning. I was torn. I couldn't hope that Toguro won, because then that would mean the Yusuke kid would get killed, along with the rest of us.
But at the same time...did I want Yusuke to win? And that Sakyo guy to die? It was horrible. Why was I putting myself through all this mental conflict? I guess there was really only one answer.
So the fight waged on long and hard, baby-brother nearly got himself killed, and then, finally, finally, it was over. Yusuke Urameshi had triumphed, and Toguro was dead.
It was a relief to see that my little brother hadn't actually died, and it was also a relief to know that we were now free of crazy demons trying to hunt us down and kill us, (or crazy demons in general, since most of the audience was dead by now) but I couldn't help but feel a nagging thought still deep within me.
I lit a cigarette and tried to shake it off, but as Sakyo pushed a red button on a remote control below, and the whole stadium began to shake and crumble, the feeling came back. Sakyo walked off into a hallway down below the stadium, closely followed by Koenma. While Yukina and Botan were trying to get Keiko to snap out of it, (she'd apparently gone into some kind of shock while watching the fight) I slipped off, hurrying down the staircase while rocks and other debris fell from the ceiling all around me.
Why I was doing this, I couldn't really explain. After all, I barely knew the person. But still, something inside was pushing me forward, some piece of me had to see him again. Guess that ever-versatile answer was the key yet again.
And so I made it downstairs just as Sakyo was explaining his motives to Koenma.
"But fortunately for you, I'm an egomaniac, and I won't let my work go on without me," he declared. "This bomb is also linked to my lab, which will destroy all the progress I've made so far."
After that, he trailed off, looking behind Koenma, directly at me, who was standing there, stunned, listening to every word. Koenma whirled around too, his brown eyes concerned.
"Shizuru..." he muttered, as I stepped forward, looking over at Sakyo wordlessly.
What was there for me to say? I couldn't explain what it was I felt.
As always, Sakyo just smiled once again as the stadium all around us rumbled, bits and pieces of rocks coming down from the ceilings. He put his hand into his pocket and pulled out a black cigarette lighter. He shined the two initials that were engraved on it and then, much to my surprise, tossed it over to me.
I looked down at it for a minute, forgetting about everything else, but then a sickening crackle brought me back to reality. He was giving me the lighter why...? Because he wasn't going to be around anymore.
"Sakyo, wait!" I cried, trying to step forward again, but Koenma grabbed my arms and held be back as a mass of rocks above Sakyo started to break loose. "Damnit, Sakyo!" I screamed with all the voice I had, tears streaming down my cheeks. "Don't LEAVE!!"
But as I screamed these words helplessly, Sakyo just smiled and waved, and the rocks came down, crushing everything in its path, along with him. I was stunned, and Koenma dragged me out.
Everything else happened in a blur. After picking up Koenma's ogre bodyguard from the rubble, the three of us made it out of the stadium with two seconds to spare, literally. And behind us as we ran, the stadium exploded in a red, fiery mass, everything crumbling in.
While all around me, everyone sighing, wearily looking back at the stadium, thinking about the one they'd lost, Genkai, and how now their one wish, which was supposedly supposed to be granted to them, would never be fulfilled.
I, however, looked sadly down at the lighter that he had given me, and then back up at the crumbling stadium. It was all over now. The lighter was the only thing I had left to remind me of that mysterious man...the one guy that I had fallen in love with...and then lost.
So you turn to the last page of my little love story, and get down to that part where the "happily ever after" is supposed to be, only it's not there. Just a heartbroken girl who sits by an open window, letting the breeze ruffle her hair as she stares down at a black lighter in her hands.
End of Story
Please review and let me know what you thought of it. Look for more YuYu Hakusho stories and more chapters on both my YuGiOh and YuYu Hakusho chapter fics. Thanks for reading.