NOTE (Please, PLEASE read this): The 'excerpt' of bad fan fiction found within the following chapter was written (with much grinding of teeth) by me, and it is not meant to mock any particular author or story on this website. Any and all resemblance to real persons or stories is entirely coincidental and should be thought of as such. Also, my writing ability should not be judged by the aforementioned excerpt, as all mistakes were intentionally made by yours truly.

Future Talk

Chapter 01:

"Death for My Birthday"

"I love you." She whispered, violet orbs filing with tears. "But... I don't know if you love me. You abandoned me for Yukina. I know she's you're sister, but..."

Hiei swept the emotionally fragille, physically mighty, longhaired beauty into his arms. "You are the only one for me!" He exclaimed, crimson hues bright with love. "Yukina means nothing to me compared to you!"

She sniffed against his strong manly shoulder. "Even though I'm halfdemon halfhuman with a vampire for a grandmother?" She asked tearrfully.

"Yes." He sollemnly intoned, wiping her bangs (deep raven black with blood red highlights) out of her bright blue and purple and green rainstorm-colored eyes. "I would give up my life for you. You are beautifull and strong and I will protect you the way you're dead parents never could. You have had such a tragic life. Let me be your night in shinning armor, Amora Lestina Hathway."

"Oh, yes." She cried, and with a giggle she added "Not that I need protecting. I'm the ruler of the demon world! That tournament was a cinch, and your my king!"

And with a smile Hiei kissed her because he had never met anyone as perfect as Amora before and it goes without saying that they lived happily ever after.

The End.

As I picked my way through an author's note that was longer than the fic's final chapter, swimming through 'thank you's, ZOMGs, and review responses, I felt my temples begin to pound.

'How the shit do people write this swill, let alone have the balls to put it on the internet?' I thought as I opened the review box. With hands that were sweaty from clutching at the plastic computer mouse for more than an hour (at one hundred and ten chapters, this fic had been long, pointless, and painful to get through; clutching at the mouse in desperation was to be expected) I typed out a review. A scathing one.

This fic is a bastardization of both Yu Yu Hakusho and Hiei's character, I wrote. I can't even begin to count the ways this fic is bad, but let me try. The word 'orb' is not a substitute for 'eye', and neither is 'hue'. 'Hue', for the record, means 'color,' not eye, and "your" and "you're are two TOTALLY DIFFERENT THINGS. Your dialogue is not formatted correctly, either, so pick up a freaking book and see how it's really done! Also, Hiei would never act like this because he would never A), talk that much, and B), talk in such a poetic, romance-novel sort of way. He's not tender and sweet, he's gruff and straightforward! Plus, no Mary Sue like yours would ever interest him! She's too chipper and bubbly, and that tragic past of hers? HA! Don't make me laugh. Turn on the news sometime. What makes you think that aqua eyes and that godawful hair color could ever be pretty or natural? Let me guess—you're a wannabe goth fourteen year old, right? And her HERITAGE: nothing screams MARY SUE like having a vampire for a grandma (vampires aren't even in YYH canon, for christ's sake!). And the worst atrocity? YOU SAY THAT HIEI DOESN'T GIVE A CRAP ABOUT YUKINA. You have major issues to work out. Grow the hell up and get the hell out of that fantasy world of yours, please, and come back to the REAL world of Yu Yu Hakusho.

My mouse hovered over the 'submit' button for a long time before I moved for the delete key, holding it down until my entire work of angry criticism (NOT a flame because I gave her reasons for the anger, of course) disappeared from existence letter by letter. It took many moments of deep breathing to get my raging emotions under control, but once I could look at the review box without grinding my teeth I began to type anew.

Great job sticking with this fic until the end! I wrote. You write fairly well, but all of us can improve more. For instance, you use the word 'hue' instead of 'eye', but 'hue' actually means 'color,' not 'eye!' Whoopsies! I've made that mistake before, too! Also, about the format of your dialogue...

After reconstructing the content of my angry review into a more neutral and supportive dose of helpful and constructive criticism, I clicked 'submit.' The familiar orange writing telling me that the review would take a while to show up made me sigh. How long had I been doing this pointless, endless perusal of bad fan fiction? Three years? Four? I was too lazy to actually check the date on my profile, but I nonetheless wondered what drove me to subject myself to such bad writing and then make nice about it year after year after year.

I clicked the author's profile link on a whim, and I was assaulted by the typical "If you're the one teen who doesn't smoke pot, copy and paste this into your profile!" type of junk. Scrolling through it proved to be a forty-second process, one that led me to the fifteen fics the author had posted. I lingered on the review counts. The atrocious 'Bleeding Heart Felt Love' I had just reviewed had two hundred giggling comments, and my heart sank. My own fic (singular; I only had one) had less than fifty reviews ranging from the constructive to the vapid to the infuriatingly vague. Sure, my fic didn't have too many chapters yet (ten chapters or so, and twice-monthly updates) but it was better written and had a more original plot by far... right?

I'm minoring in creative writing, I thought vehemently. Of course my writing is better than this.

Grabbing my backpack out from under my seat, I stood up and pulled the bag over my shoulders. Heavy textbooks painfully tapped against my spine as I reached for my cane, and with a whistle I began to head for the library doors.

"Happy birthday, Dani!"

I shot a smile at the boy behind the checkout counter. He, like me, was a second year college student and a fellow music major, and we were both in the same Japanese class, too. We had been friends since freshman orientation, ever since he had carried me up a flight of stairs after someone had stolen my cane (lots of people did that before I told them it wasn't just an eccentric accessory and that my left foot and calf were actually shriveled from a birth defect).

"Thanks, dude," I replied, smiling.

"How old did you turn?"

"Twenty, so no, I'm not an alcohol source yet, David."

"Dammmit," he swore playfully, snapping his fingers in mock disappointment. His expression turned from amiable to confused when I signed the computer checkout list. "Hey, I thought you had a laptop."

"It broke," I said with a frustrated sigh. "Damned keyboard quite working on me."

"That must suck! I hope it gets fixed soon."

"Me, too."

"You gonna be all right walking home?" he said, glancing at the big glass doors leading outside. Night had fallen an hour or two earlier.

"Should be." I looked at my watch, which I kept on my right wrist, and I frowned. "Gotta go pretty quick, though. Mom's supposed to call me tonight."

"Be careful out there," he said. "You sure you don't wanna call Campus Safety and have them drive you home? It'd be faster." He reached for the phone on the checkout counter, but I shook my head.

"I'll be fine." I tried not to look peeved. I hated being babied. "See you tomorrow."

"See you," David said as I walked away, and after giving him one last cheerful smile I left the building.

The sweet spring air felt damp in my mouth, and my cane slipped over the slick cement. It had been raining earlier that day, making walking around campus both treacherous and a pain. But I didn't really mind. I liked the feel of the breeze as it ruffled through my unbound hair, the feel of the pavement beneath my good foot as I walked. There wasn't much on my mind. I had reviewed a story that needed it, my homework was done, my application to an ultra-competitive composition workshop—one that was supposedly going to feature an noteworthy guest professor—was finished, my mother was going to call me that night in my dorm room because it was my birthday...

The way back to the dorm took me past the athletic track, and with a wry smile I stopped to look at the red paving material and the white stripes that differentiated the running lanes. A train whistle blew in the distance.

"Hmph," I huffed. Never gonna be me out there, I thought, squeezing the aluminum grip of my cane. Heck, I've never even run before. My bum leg had kept me from sports since my birth, but that didn't matter to me much. At least I had music, and writing.

The train whistle, far away but coming closer, blew again, but this time it sounded... odd, somehow, and I felt a chill make the hair on my arms stand up. A higher, more desperate sound undercut the typical shrill keen; I assumed I was hearing things.

"Aw, shut up," I said to the annoying whistle and its odd undertone, but then the screaming sound continued on its own even after the train had passed. Alarm blurred the edges of my vision and adrenaline pumped as I recognized the scream as...

—as human.

It took me a moment to remember how to move. With growing apprehension I trekked across the track, walking toward the bleachers at the far side of the field as if pulled there by a magnet. I flinched when the screaming started again, no train-sounds masking it this time, and when the scream was cut off I tried to move a little faster, straining my neck as I looked around for the sound's source.

It didn't take me long to spot something moving in the shadows beneath the bleachers. Holding my breath, I approached the space beneath the seats, movements labored and slow, and peered into the darkness.

As my eyes adjusted to the shadows, I saw two vague shapes, one pinned and one pinning. The one on top straddled the other's waist, holding her hands above her head with one strong arm, and it took me a moment to recognize the pinned person as one of my classmates—a girl whose long blonde hair was mussed and fanning around her as she lay sprawled on the ground, mouth opening wide as she let out another terrified screech.

It did not take much longer for me to recognize just exactly what was about to happen to her.

As the man kneeling atop my classmate fumbled with the button on his fly, I took two steps into the under-the-bleachers darkness, raised my cane, and hopped forward on my good foot. My walking stick connected with the side of his head with a resounding 'thwack'; he grunted, went limp, and slumped forward. My classmate shoved her assailant off of her with an anguished cry—for the life of me, I could not recall her name as she ran past and collapsed to her knees on the pavement.

I turned around. The young woman wretched, expelling the contents of her stomach.

"You okay?" I asked, realizing as I said it that my feeble words were totally inadequate when paired with the situation at hand.

To my surprise, however, my classmate looked up at me with tear-streaked eyes and whispered: "Thank you, thank you, oh my god, thank you."

I held out a hand, hoping to help her get to her feet. "Let's get out of here and call the cops," I said as she reached for me, but then her eyes went wide, so wide, and her face went from grateful to horrified in a blink of misplaced time. A low moan and a curse drifted through the air, and as I slowly turned around I saw a large black shape lurch toward me.

Fire blossomed down my side, then, and someone—was it me making that horrible sound?—screamed.

I stumbled backward, saved from falling only by the grace of my cane. I looked down. The handle of the knife between my ribs glistened like oiled leather, and when I drew breath blood bloomed across the pale pink fabric of my t-shirt in a sweet-smelling stain.

My classmate let out a wail, and I heard her feet pound away into the night. My killer, with eyes that said 'I didn't mean for it to get this far', pulled the weapon from my burst heart and ran, too.

I put a hand to the wound as I watched him go. My fingers came away black, the color of my blood lost in the dark. I fell to my knees, cold and getting colder.

But, I thought as my reality disappeared in a numbing rush, today is my birthday.