Yusuke never thought about death. That was probably strange, considering he'd died twice in his life, had nearly been killed plenty of other times, and had killed quite a few people himself. Heck, one of his closest friends was a Grim Reaper. But Yusuke had never really been one to brood, and so thoughts of death had never consumed him.

That changed on the day he saw Kuwabara's hair was turning gray.

They'd gone out for a beer, and when Kuwabara had turned his head to speak to the bartender Yusuke had caught sight of the gray streaks in Kuwabara's hair. The sight, and what it meant, hit him like a ton of bricks, and Yusuke suddenly found it hard to breathe.

"Are you okay?" Kuwabara asked.

Still in shock, Yusuke blurted out what was on his mind. "You're old."

Kuwabara smiled wryly. "I'm only fifty; the same age as you."

But Yusuke didn't feel fifty, and he didn't look it either. Yusuke knew very well that he only looked to be around twenty-five. Thanks to his heritage, Yusuke was going to live a very long time.

When and why had he assumed Kuwabara was going to live that long too?

Kuwabara's expression softened into a look of understanding. "It's okay, Yusuke. I came to terms with it years ago."

"Well I haven't!" Yusuke snapped. "Why should you have to die?"

"I'm only human," Kuwabara said. "It's what we do."

And suddenly Yusuke realized Kuwabara wasn't the only person he was going to lose. One day his mother would die; actually, considering the way she lived, it was a wonder Atsuko wasn't dead already. Keiko would die too. After all, she was the same age as Yusuke and Kuwabara. Did she have gray in her hair already? Did she have laugh lines around her eyes the way Kuwabara did around his? Yusuke couldn't say. Whenever he thought of her, he pictured the beautiful young girl he'd fallen in love with, but Keiko wasn't that girl anymore. She was a woman, a mother, and in a few years, maybe a grandmother.

Why hadn't he realized all these things meant time was going by? Why hadn't he realized time was so precious?

"You won't lose everyone," Kuwabara said gently. "You'll still have Kurama and Hiei. You'll still have your kids."

But he wouldn't have anyone from before. Before he was Yusuke the Dad. Before he was Yusuke the Mazuko. Before he was Yusuke the Spirit Detective. Atsuko, Keiko, and Kuwabara were the only ones who knew Yusuke the Kid. Yusuke the Fallible. Yusuke the Weak. By losing them, Yusuke felt he would be losing a piece of himself.

Kuwabara put a hand on his shoulder. "It'll be okay, Yusuke. I promise."

But Yusuke knew it wouldn't be.


AN-A depressing bit of friendship fluff that hit me out of nowhere (much like Yusuke's revelation). Because I really don't think Yusuke would consider this until it was nearly too late.