Summary: Keiko overhears a conversation between the gang that causes her to leave everything behind.
Disclaimers: Yu Yu Hakusho and everything related is not mine.
Pairings: Keiko/Yusuke Botan/Koenma Kurama/OC
GreenEyedFloozyI still love your name! Glad to know it worked!
Apathetic Empath2: I don't mind the length! I love your point of view and thefact that you can find so much to comment on. You are one of my most honest reviewers. As for the demon Yusuke, his eyes do burn a bit brighter and a darker. Except when he looks at Keiko, then there is a softening. Did you get the two new videos out this month. When he's actually in the Demon World? Drool material there! But mostly I found that he's comfortable in his own skin. The Hiei/Keiko was just for you! There's another scene in here too, so look close! As for Annie/Enma; I was surprised at how in depth it became. And this chapter took it in a different direction than I expected. But I figured that it all fit in okay. Until the very end, I really wasn't sure if Enma would die. There were so many possibilities roaming around in my head. But it just flowed so smoothly and completely that I couldn't resist. I completely agree with you about the romance with some blood and guts. I'm glad that you enjoyed the flashback. I really wanted to portray the control that Yusuke give Keiko. Both Yusuke and Keiko have the most expressive eyes. I noticed it in the anime and in the manga. Both of the mediums use the eyes a lot to portray a lot. So I couldn't resist!
Cerridwene:You've become quite faithful. Thanks so much. I confused you this time didn't I? I really didn't mean too. Too many twists? Sorry about that. I really hoped that it was working out right. Keiko/Yusuke are very very cute together. There is a peace and serenity to them. They always make me smile!
Kenshinlover2002:Would you believe that I didn't either? It just worked out that way. And I feel bad for him too!
AnnechanB:Thanks! She's used to fighting with him. Sorry about the italics. I didn't write it that way, but the transferring system on site really doesn't like me! I definitely didn't think of them like that but it flowed so nicely. And 'A snag' is a great story!
RoseAngelz:I tried to fix it but I don't think it worked. So sorry. This site and I don't get along on some of the transferring. It seems to like italics. Yes his mother. Surprising isn't it? I know I was. She left because it was time for her to do her earth rotation. As for the tears, wait and see.
Cherry-Lipz09:So glad you are enjoying. And Welcome! I'll pass on your suggestions.
Alaskantiger: I'm glad that the fight worked out. I really thought that I left it hanging. It was very very vivid.
Time and Fate: Thanks so much:bows deeply: I'm glad that you enjoyed!
Animefan103( ): such a compliment! I am honored that you would consider me in the same class as Donamarine. She is one of my favorite writers. Glad you enjoyed the chapter. I hope this chapter is as good. They are my favorite pair too!
SilverEyesBright:It was sad. I did in my story but it didn't quite crossover properly. I really don't think that the document manager likes me. Ah well, I'll keep trying.
Heaven'sgirl:Thanks so much!
Chapter 16: Who I am
Their first glimpse of the castle left them stunned. Yusuke drew up short and stared in amazement at the crumbling walls. There were gaping holes and bodies strewn around the entrance. Smoke rose from around a collapsed wall and blood was spattered across the doors.
"Oh Kami," Botan whispered as she stared at the destruction.
"I believe that Genkai was correct in her assessment," Kurama commented as he approached the doors.
"Which one?" Yusuke asked as stayed just in front of Keiko, eyes skimming the shadows for any possible threats.
"The one where we would be in the way," Kurama reminded him as he stepped over the body of a fallen guard.
"I can see why," Kuwabara told them. "She destroyed this place."
"Indeed," Kurama replied as he avoided a pile of stones.
"So where do you think they are?" Keiko asked. She kept a hand wrapped around the back of Yusuke's shirt and tried to ignore the spatter of blood and the bodies.
"It's possible that Father used the escape route," Koenma replied as he avoided debris.
"Anyway to check?" Yusuke asked.
"Of course," Koenma started only to stop when a crash interrupted him.
The floors shook around them and walls tumbled around them. Yusuke punched the rock that fell towards him. It shattered and fell to the ground in front of him. Keiko sighed and relaxed her grip on his shirt. He turned and smiled at her. She returned it before Yusuke turned back to look at Koenma.
"That sounded like it came from the throne room," Yusuke commented.
"It did," Koenma nodded and began to run towards the throne room.
"Wait! We should be careful," Kurama called after him. Koenma didn't appear to hear them as he disappeared into the darkness.
"I suppose we should go after him," Yusuke sighed.
"Probably a good idea," Kurama agreed.
Yusuke swept Keiko into his arms and ran after Koenma. Kurama, Kuwabara and Hiei fell in behind him. Keiko wrapped her arms around Yusuke's neck and ignored the walls speeding by. As they rounded the corner, Koenma was just pulling open the doors.
"Koenma," Yusuke called out.
"NOOOOO!" Koenma's shout ran through the air and Annie paused. Enma used that to knock her backwards. The gang watched in horror as Enma kicked her repeatedly in the ribs and sent her flying upwards.
"We've got to do something," Keiko whispered to Yusuke as she watched Annie hit the ceiling.
"Like what?" Yusuke asked as Annie caught Enma's blow and knocked him away from her. "'Cause I am not seeing how to stop them other than getting between them."
"There has to be something," Keiko pleaded as she grasped his arm. Her nails bit into his flesh and her breath warmed his cheek.
"Keiko I just don't see how," Yusuke warned as he pulled her closer to avoid the falling debris.
Koenma's scream jerked their attention to him. Annie had just landed a blow that had sent Enma crashing through the far wall. Annie rushed after him, seemingly oblivious to their presence. As they watched her clear the wall, a hand struck her and she went flying sideways.
The gang rushed over to the wall, stumbling over the crumbling stones. Yusuke took Keiko's hand and helped her over the rumble, keeping one eye out for the battling pair. Just as they were clearing the wall, Enma dropped to the ground in front of them.
His thick hands were scrambling for the gold wrapped around his neck. In disbelief they watched as the gold band dug deeper into his skin, blood beginning to flow from his neck.
"Father!" Koenma screamed and started towards him. Kurama caught his arms and restrained him.
Gurgling noises bubbled from Enma's throat and then the gold band cut completely through his skin and his head went rolling away. Keiko gasped and hid her face in Yusuke's chest as Enma's head rolled over the floor with a rhythmic thunking sound. Yusuke held her closer and tried to comfort her. Koenma dropped to his knees and stared at his father's body in disbelief.
"This can't be happening," he mumbled to himself.
"Koenma," Kurama started and laid a hand on the young rulers body.
"No!" Koenma burst out and shoved his hand away. He scrambled over the rubble to collapse by his fathers' side. The gold band was gone, leaving only the marred flesh and the blood dripping down.
"Where's Annie?" Keiko whispered to Yusuke, her eyes looking for the woman.
"I don't…" Yusuke started only to break off when the sound of sobs reached his ears. He moved away from Keiko and to the debris pilled up along one side of the hole.
"Yusuke where are you going?" Keiko cried as Yusuke pulled away from her. She watched in confusion as he made his way to a pile of stones. "Yusuke!"
Yusuke ignored Keiko and followed the sobbing. As he stepped around the pile he was met by the site of Annie curled up on the floor, face buried in her hands and against knees. Her sobs racked her body, tears dripping from between her fingers. Yusuke watched her for a moment, unsure as to what to do. Then Keiko was beside him, shoving him to the side as she rushed to the woman's side.
"Oh Kami, are you okay Annie?" Keiko's voice was gentle and yet loud in the silence. She was kneeling in front of Annie, one hand resting on her head. Annie said nothing, only cried harder. "Annie?" Keiko's brown eyes suddenly swam with tears as Annie continued to cry.
"Did you find her?" Kurama called out.
"Yea." Yusuke called back.
Koenma was suddenly there, shoving Keiko out of his way and wrapping a hand around Annie's throat. Tears were still streaming down his face but rage was burning in his dark eyes. His hand tightened around her throat and he slowly raised her to her feet.
Annie didn't fight him; green eyes locked on Koenma's as he slowly pulled her off of her feet. Her hands hung limply at her side and tears continued to drip down her cheeks. Her feet rose up off the ground and she hung in his grasp. Yusuke was suddenly there, his hands wrapping around Koenma's.
"Let go!" Yusuke screamed at him as he tugged and tried to break Koenma's grasp.
"Koenma this is not the way," Kurama spoke calmly as his hands joined Yusuke's.
"Stop please!" Keiko screamed. She was still sitting where he had tossed her.
A hand on her shoulder had Keiko looking up in surprise. Hiei's black eyes burned into hers and Keiko began to calm at the look in his eyes. He nodded once and then was gone. Keiko turned her eyes back to Annie. Kuwabara had joined in the attempt and all of them were yelling at Koenma and trying to break his grasp.
Annie was hanging limply in his grasp, eyes still fastened on Koenma's. Her face was red and sweat soaked her hair. A flash had Keiko looking up and then the group was scattered. Hiei landed easily, sword slamming into the ground between Annie and Koenma. Annie was gasping for breath as she stared at Hiei in confusion. Hiei slowly straightened and returned his sword to its sheath.
"What are you doing?" Koenma screamed at Hiei. "How dare you interfere!"
"You're letting emotions control your judgement," Hiei replied coolly. "Killing the human is not the right action." Hiei turned away from Koenma, dismissing him as he walked over to Annie. He paused for a moment and then held out a hand.
Annie stared up at this young fire demon as he held out his hand towards her. Slowly Annie placed her hand in his and let him pull her to her feet. He nodded once and then turned away. A slight smile crossed her face before she turned to meet Koenma's eyes.
"I hate you!" Koenma hissed at her. "Don't think that because Hiei saved you this time that I will let it go."
"I don't expect you to," Annie told him as she walked over to him. "In fact I expect that you won't let me leave here alive."
"You are correct," Koenma told her coldly. "A life for a life."
Annie winced at the pain radiating through her body. Her vision was slightly blurred and her head pounded in a rhythm of its own. Blood was still dripping down her arm and her temple. Her throat was bruised from Koenma's attempt to strangle her. But she couldn't hold it against him; the pain in his eyes was terrible. She had to make him understand or at least accept what had happened.
"How could you do this?" Koenma demanded as Annie came closer.
"Because I had to," Annie replied softly as she dropped to her knees in front of him. "Your father wouldn't let it go. He was going to keep coming after my daughter."
"It doesn't matter," Annie shook her head. "I couldn't go back and wait for him to try it again. So I finished it."
"What gives you the right?" Koenma hissed.
"I won't let anything hurt my daughter," Annie told him. "My death will be a small price to pay for hers." She smiled at him, green eyes wet with tears and haunted. "You'll understand when you have a child or fall in love. Nothing is more important than the safety of that individual." She paused for a moment, looking over to meet Yusuke's eyes, "if you don't believe me ask Yusuke."
"That's supposed to make me feel better?" Koenma scoffed and looked away from her.
"No," Annie told him softly. "My death will do that. This is to make sure that you have the reasons and can begin to move on."
"Annie?" Keiko questioned anxiously as she took a step forward. "You can't mean to just let him kill you?"
"Yes." Annie told her simply. She looked at Keiko and smiled. "I know it will be hard for Cassie but it's better this way."
"No!" Keiko protested and took a step forward.
"I'm sorry," Annie apologized softly and waved her hand.
Everyone suddenly found themselves shoved away from Koenma and Annie. Annie was smiling gently as Koenma as he stared at her in disbelief. Keiko struck the barrier repeatedly, tears streaming down her face. Yusuke caught her arms, attempting to console her as she continued to scream in his arms.
"Now no one can interfere," Annie assured him. A wave of her hand and a sword appeared in her hand. She held it out to him, the blade held securely in her hand and ignoring Keiko's screams. "Kill me if you feel the need to."
"What are you trying to pull?" Koenma asked suspiciously. His eyes narrowed in confusion as she contemplated the woman in front of him.
"Nothing," Annie assured him. "You won't be satisfied until I'm dead." She shrugged lightly.
Koenma took the sword slowly, pulling it from her grasp. Blood welled up as it sliced through her palm as he drew it from her hand. Annie made no attempt to move her hand, ignoring the bite of pain. Annie's hands dropped into her lap as Koenam rose to stand in front of her. Her head tilted down, offering a clear view of her neck to him. Koenma grasped the sword in his hands and slowly brought it back.
As the sword came to a stop above his head, Koenma hesitated. Did he really want to kill this woman? Was his father's life worth it? A fresh wave of pain at the thought rushed over him. Yes, Koenma decided. His father's life was worth it.
The sword began its downward arch. Annie's eyes closed in preparation, waiting for the sword to slide through her skin. She could hear him grunt in effort, the sound of the air rushing around the blade. And then there was nothing.
Annie's eyes blinked open. The floor had disappeared, her head rose and she realized that she was hanging in a sea of white. Every direction showed no end, no beginning, just white. Annie sighed and got to her feet. The white was so brilliant that it was almost blinding.
"Damn show off," Annie muttered as she began to walk. As she took the first step her bracelet dropped into her hand and lengthened into a staff. It made no sound as it connected with the whiteness beneath her.
Annie continued on, her clothes changing into her white armor. The white cape swirled around her boots as she continued on. Soon the sound of feet walking on tile echoed around her. The white nothingness was shaped into a white marble pathway. A huge white castle rose up from the white mist in front of her.
The mist slowly faded away and the path and the bridge slowly appeared. The path stretched out endlessly in front of her and behind her. The path meandered over a stream in front of her before ending at a huge drawbridge. She passed the guards on either side of the path without saying anything. They made no sound, never acknowledging her presence.
She continued across the drawbridge, her steps ringing hollowly. Total silence encompassed her as she made her way through the empty corridors. Then the sounds of voices reached her ears and she rolled her eyes at the demands. She stopped in front of the door and tapped it gently with her staff. The door opened silently, swinging towards her.
A man was sitting on a chair in the center of the room. Directly in front of him demanding answers was Koenma and just behind him were the rest of the gang. Keiko looked slightly nervous as she clutched at Yusuke's hand. Hiei was watching the man carefully, one hand curved around his sword. Kuwabara was egging Koenma on and Kurama was shaking his head in disbelief.
"Welcome," the man suddenly spoke. He drowned out Koenma's demands easily as his eyes met hers.
"You interfered," Annie told him coldly as she strode forward. She ignored the way everyone jumped at the sound of her voice.
"Did you expect me to do less?" The man asked amusedly.
"You didn't have any right to," Annie shot back. "It was my problem!"
"And you were handling it so well," the man assured her.
"What in the hell is going on?" Yusuke demanded. He took a step forward and glared at the man. "And where in the hell are we?"
"You are in my home," the man replied calmly.
"And who the hell are you!" Koenma demanded.
"Enma was a stupid name," Annie said off handedly. Her arms crossed over her chest as she glared at the man. She ignored the gasps of surprise and the way everyone's head whipped towards her, "I can't figure out where you came up with it Gabriel."
"Well," Gabriel laughed and rubbed a hand through his long black hair. "It seemed like a good name at the time."
"Wait," Koenma's voice was shaky and uncertain. "Are you telling me that you're my father?"
"Yes," Gabriel told him simply. His dark eyes holding Koenma's as he continued, "there are some things that you don't know about me."
"So Annie didn't really kill you?" Keiko asked slowly.
"Well she killed the Enma identity," Gabriel explained. "It was the only way to return me to what I was."
"Because you were an idiot," Annie broke in, her eyes rolling as she met his.
"Because I was an idiot," Gabriel agreed with a smile.
"I don't understand," Keonma cried as he dropped to his knees. "I just don't understand."
"It's simple. I am a guardian and Enma was an identity I created shortly after you were born."
"No." Gabriel shook his head and dropped to his knees in front of Keonma. "Your mother was a guardian too and she was getting ready to go to earth on her rotation. I was upset because she had found her soulmate. I kinda lost my head."
"Kinda?" Annie scoffed. "You went looney. Making yourself a god." She paused for a moment and narrowed her eyes. "Which reminds me what did He say?"
"He was unhappy with me. But I expected Him to be." Gabriel sighed and his eyes closed for a moment.
"And what's the punishment?" Annie pressed as she walked closer. "Human or making you take up your duties again?"
When Gabriel didn't answer, just groaned and shook his head. Annie had to laugh as she looked at his crestfallen expression. Her green eyes danced and she reached out and swiped at his head. "He's making you take up your duties again!" She paused when Gabriel groaned again. "Serves you right! Do you know how long the rest of us have been picking up the slack?"
"Too much paperwork," Gabriel muttered and glared up at her.
"And it's all yours."
"I still don't understand," Koenma broke in. His voice dazed and his eyes confused as he looked from Annie to Gabriel. "He's my father?" Koenma pointed at Gabriel.
"Yes," Gabriel answered.
"Then why would you create a different identity?"
"Because of your mother."
"You've never mentioned my mother."
"No I didn't," Gabriel sighed and reached out to touch Koenma's cheek. He smiled at the Koenma before continuing, "I was upset with your mother. I didn't want her to leave me. You see I thought that she was my soulmate and then she met a mortal."
"What does that have to do with anything?" Yusuke demanded.
"Yusuke!" Keiko chided as Gabriel sighed and looked over at them. "Hush!"
"I just want to know what's going on," Yusuke defended but feel silent when Keiko glared at him again. "Fine."
"I was hurting. And I wanted her to hurt," Gabriel admitted. He shrugged and looked at Koenma again. "So I struck back."
"And it did loads of good," Annie chided. "Have you apologized to everyone one?"
"Yes." Gabriel looked up at Annie and then slowly stood. He towered over her, his expression sad as he reached a hand out to touch her cheek.
Annie smiled up at him, leaning into the caress. Gabriel smiled at her and bent down to press a kiss to her forehead. "I'm sorry," he told her softly.
"And I forgive you," Annie replied. Her hand rose to cup his on her cheek before reaching up and placing a kiss on his cheek. "But don't do it again."
"I won't," Gabriel promised. He paused and looked behind Annie. "And I apologize to you too Justin. I haven't been fair."
"I understand," Justin's voice was filled with compassion as he appeared behind Annie. His arms wrapped around her waist and his dark head bent to rest on hers. "I think I would have done the same thing if I had lost her."
"WAIT!" Koenma shouted and rose from the ground. "SHE'S MY MOTHER!" His voice was loud and disbelieving.
"Yes," Annie answered simply. "Kinda."
"What does kinda mean?" Kuwabara muttered. "If she's his mom, she's his mom. How can there be a kinda?"
"A very good question Kuwabara," Kurama admitted. "But I think in this case she means that while the soul is the mother Annie herself did not give birth to Koenma."
"This is getting confusing," Yusuke moaned and shook his head.
"Getting?" Keiko echoed. She blinked at Yusuke and then looked at everyone else. "I think it's been confusing since I overheard you all those months ago."
"Good point Kay," Annie told her and smiled at her. "But Kurama's right. Annie is not Koenma's mother but the soul is. Think of it as reincarnation."
"That doesn't help," Kuwabara moaned.
"That's because you're an idiot," Hiei told him sharply. "So why don't you just shut up."
"Like you understand anymore than I do," Kuwabara shouted at him. He shook his fist at Hiei. Hiei merely looked at him with a quirked eyebrow before looking away. "Don't blow me off, shorty."
"You're not worth the time," Hiei told him and walked away.
Kuwabara shook his fist and started to take a step after him. Kurama hurried over and stepped between them, and tried to calm everyone down. Kuwabara was trying to get around him, shouting insults at Hiei who only scoffed. Yusuke rolled his eyes and hurried over, joining in the confusion. Kuwabara responded by smacking him upside the head. Keiko sighed and rolled her eyes at them before walking over to where Annie was standing.
"I don't think they are ever going to change," Keiko muttered to Annie.
"Probably not," Annie agreed with a smile. "But it's how they deal with things they don't understand. Look at it like a security blanket for them."
"Strange security blanket," Keiko told her with a smile.
"Men," Annie told her and Keiko laughed in agreement.
"I still don't…" Koenma started, ignoring the fight going on behind him.
"Koenma," Keiko broke in gently and touched the young prince on his arm.
"What?" Koenma looked down at her, his eyes tortured.
"I know it doesn't make any sense right now but look at them," Keiko told him and gestured to Annie, Justin and Gabriel. "In the end Annie did they only thing she could. She was trying to free your dad."
"I know," Koenma admitted with a sigh, looking down at Keiko. He stepped closer to Keiko and shoved a hand through his hair.
"It'll get better," Keiko promised. "But right now maybe you should get to know your mom."
Keiko watched him go with a sigh. She wondered when she had started to accept things like this as normal. A shout had her looking over at the boys and she had to laugh at the sight. Kuwabara was trying to hit Hiei while Hiei dodged without even looking at Kuwabara. Yusuke was trying to stop Kuwabara and only succeeded in getting knocked off his feet. Kurama fell when Yusuke crashed into him and that in turn caught Hiei and Kuwabara slipped and fell on top of the pile.
Keiko watched as Yusuke laughed and teased his friends, fists slamming into Kuwabara's face while Hiei tossed insults at them both. It made be odd but they were her family. Keiko glanced over at Annie, Gabriel, Justin and Koenma, finding them laughing at something. Annie's hand smoothing back Koenma hair while he gazed at her with shining eyes.
Keiko couldn't help but smile. She looked up at the ceiling and said thanks to which ever deity happened to be listening before rushing over to Yusuke. She caught him by surprise, arms wrapping around his neck and her legs wrapping around his waist. He stumbled forward slightly, before catching himself. He looked over his shoulder at her and smiled at her.
She laughed at him, pressing a kiss to his cheek and watching his expression light up. She was home.
A/N: Well there it is. A bit odd and definitely not what I had planned. I hope that it wasn't a complete waste of time and effort. I may do a sequel, but I'm not sure yet. Remember to let me know what you think. But even if you don't, thanks for stopping by.
I also want to pass on a couple stories. Cherry-Lips09 told me about two of them "Mixed Emotions" and "Botan the Divinity of Happiness". I want to recommend "Flawless" by SilverYouko300.