At fifteen, Fukuda Atsuko was one of the youngest in her class. Her parents were rich and gave her everything she wanted, especially since she was at the top of her class. At home, the maid and the cook had easy smiles and secret stashes of the forbidden candies; forbidden because of the amount of sugar. Since her dentist told her parents about the effect of sugar on teeth, they had taken away all her candies and given her the weird sugar-free kind. Her light brown hair made her stand out from her black-haired friends like a candle in the darkness. They called her Hime-chan, saying she was the nicest, prettiest girl in all Meiou High, almost like a modern-day princess.


Sixteen-year-old Miyamoto Yusuke was the star athlete at Meiou. His middle-class parents were proud of their son who was a top tennis player and nationally ranked in swimming. He studied hard in the little free time he had, but his grades were steadily average. His parents were quick to point out that his scores were some of the highest among the students who were on two year-round club teams. He had only a few true friends; most of the people around him were fans or poor souls trying to soak up his glory.


Urameshi Kenichiro was the school heartthrob. The girls at Meiou loved everything about him from his motorcycle to his movie star haircut. He wore his dark leather boots to class despite the teachers' and the principal's best efforts and worst threats. They wouldn't actually expel him. He was the best student in the graduating class, and he had set several school records.


Atsuko had a crush on Yusuke and it seemed like everyone knew. In reality, only her two best friends knew, but they giggled about it loudly enough that Atsuko was afraid they would be overheard. Her friends laughed it off, telling her most unhelpfully that everyone had a crush on Yusuke, and that she was the only one who hid it. If the rest of the class could press around him and swoon when he looked at them, what was the harm in admitting her feelings?


THE holiday was coming up, that one awful holiday. Atsuko told herself she was being silly, that only crazed fan girls gave chocolate to a boy they hardly knew. So why was she wracking her brain trying to figure out a plan to give it to him without seeming silly or overly embarrassed?

She saw Yusuke after school. He glared at her. He had accepted their chocolate gifts easily enough, so why not hers? A week later, Atsuko got a letter in the mail. It was from Yusuke.


Fukuda Atsuko,

I don't think you deserve any explanation at all, but my friends disagree. I don't want anything from you, not chocolate, not cards, especially not your attention.

Two years ago, your father stole millions from his company and blamed it on my uncle. Do you know why? Because your filthy whore of a mother expected him to let her walk all over him like she did to the other executives. All her reconstructive surgeries at the company's expense don't hide her attitude.

Do you honestly expect me to be happy after the way you've treated me? We've been in the same school since we were ten. Don't think I didn't hear what you and your friends said about me. Now that I'm captain of the swimming team and a top player in the tennis club I'm good enough for you, is that it? I know you and your family, and you aren't good enough for me.

Miyamoto Yusuke


Yusuke's letter hadn't mentioned the pending lawsuit. The Miyamoto family sued the Fukuda family for the millions lost. Thirty other employees followed suit, claiming fraud, conspiracy, discrimination, and scandal. Atsuko's father killed himself, and her mother started drinking.

Atsuko started taking long walks in the park. Urameshi Kenichiro, surprisingly enough, offered his condolences and what comfort he could offer. He had lost his father as well, he said, so he understood. After graduation, he said, he would marry her and take her on a trip around the country. She could test out of high school or, since she was so young, she could take a year off. They'd understand, he said, that you need time after your father's death. The day after school ended, they married.


He took her inheritance and left her pregnant. She fell in with the yakuza who, strangely enough, offered to take care of her. Remembering the stories of yakuza killing wealthy businessmen like her father, she hesitated. She told them that her money was gone, that she had nothing to tempt them.

"We take care of our own."

That was their answer. When the child, a boy, was born, she called him Yusuke for the boy she once thought she loved, the boy of dreams and imaginations and fantasies. She called him Urameshi for his father, for reality, for broken dreams and promises that would never come true.