I do not own Yu Yu Hakusho or any of its characters. This is dedicated to Krut who requested an Atsuko fic. If my readers have any requests please send them in and reviews please.
Atsuko cradled her newborn son in her arms, holding him close to her chest. It had been a long, painful process but he was finally here, resting peacefully in her arms. She was scared; it was hard enough to endure the painful stares of disapproval, the loud whispers behind the hands, the conversations that immediately ceased as she walked by. It was hard being a pregnant teenager; it wouldn't be any easier to be a teenage mother.
But she wouldn't trade her child for anything in the world. Sure he was unexpected, an accident created by a foolish mistake. But he was her little miracle, her dream come true, her happiness wrapped in a light blue blanket. She took in his small features: his delicate nose, the graceful curve of his lips, his tiny fingers and toes, the faint dusting of dark colored hair on his head. He was absolutely perfect to her, her little angel, her pride and joy. "Yusuke," she said softly, pressing a gentle kiss to his brow.
The baby opened his eyes slowly, looking up curiously at his mother. Atsuko looked back at her son, her heart clenching and yet expanding as she looked into his dark brown eyes. Her son would be something special, someone important; she could feel it in her bones. And yet she couldn't help feeling he would live a difficult life, that he would have to fight and struggle to get where he needed to be. "Yusuke, I'm your mother," Atsuko said, resting a finger gently against his cheek. "I'm going to take care of you and protect you and love you more than anything."
Atsuko dressed Yusuke for his first day of school, her head pounding from the night before. She knew she shouldn't have gone out drinking the night before; she was kicking herself as she packed Yusuke's bag with his school essentials but she needed a night to blow off some steam. After working long hours at her dead end job as a waitress, she had been invited out with some of her co-workers to go out for a few drinks. Atsuko barely had any time for herself anymore, not since Yusuke was born. If she wasn't at home taking care of him, feeding him and bathing him and playing with him, then she was at work, spending long hours on her feet, scraping every penny together to provide for her kid.
She just wanted one night out with her friends, one night to forget about the whispers and stares she and Yusuke would get as they walked out during the day, to forget about the dingy little apartment they lived in, to forget Yusuke's questions about who his father was and why wasn't he living with them. She just wanted to forget for a while. So she left Yusuke at the babysitter's house for the evening and went out with her friends for drinks. It was liberating. She was still young, barely in her twenties and it felt good to act like it for once.
Now she was regretting it as Yusuke chatted excitedly about his first day of school. "Yusuke baby, don't talk so much please; Mommy has a headache," Atsuko said as she zipped up his jacket.
"How come you didn't come home last night Momma?" Yusuke asked quietly.
"I'm sorry baby, Mommy just wanted to have some time out with her friends. Don't worry, it won't happen too often. I missed you too much." It was true; as much fun as Atsuko had hanging out with people her own age, her heart still ached for her little boy. Did he brush his teeth after dinner? Did the babysitter read him a story as he lay in bed? Did she rub his back like she did at night to soothe him to sleep? Did he have any nightmares while she was gone? All of these questions would break through the fog the alcohol created only to be buried again a minute later. Her little boy was her everything, even if she was half drunk.
Atsuko smiled sheepishly as she entered the Yukimura restaurant, her sunglasses still on. She had stayed out too late last night drinking again, her hangover wrecking havoc. Her head pounded at the slightest noise, any form of light seemed like daggers stabbed in her eyes, her mouth was dry and her stomach turned in nausea. She awoke mid-afternoon, going through the apartment searching for Yusuke before she came to the conclusion that he must have taken himself to school. For a ten-year old boy, Yusuke had become sharp very fast. He knew if his mom wasn't awake by 7:30 he had to walk himself to school; he memorized the route when she would walk him. He also knew if his mother wasn't there to pick him up in the afternoon he should go home with Keiko and wait there until she picked them up.
Atsuko saw Yusuke sitting in a booth with a brown-haired girl, the Yukimura's daughter, Keiko. Atsuko smiled as she watched the pair, leaning against the door jab as Yusuke teased Keiko about something, causing her to blush. They were quite a match, almost opposites. Keiko was diligent in her schoolwork while Yusuke was a slacker. Yusuke was all rough and tumble while Keiko was soft-spoken and gentle. But Keiko was the only person who could put Yusuke in his place. 'I hear wedding bells,' she thought jokingly.
"Yusuke," she called, getting his attention. "It's time to go home kiddo."
"Okay Mom," Yusuke answered, grabbing his bag as he said good-bye to Keiko and walked toward her.
"Thank you again for watching Yusuke," Atsuko said to Mrs. Yukimura, blushing slightly.
"It's not a problem at all; Yusuke's like our son," Mrs. Yukimura said, ruffling his hair as he walked passed her.
"Yeah, one day he'll even marry Keiko," Mr. Yukimura laughed as the pair of ten year olds protested.
"Maybe one day," Atsuko replied, smiling at them.
'I failed,' Atsuko thought as she sat on the floor, tears streaming down her cheeks. She had utterly failed as a mother. It wasn't right; she shouldn't be there, sitting at her only child's wake, numbly accepting condolences from the mourners. 'I should have been a better mother; I should have taken better care of him,' she thought regretfully. She felt as if her heart was being slowly crushed in her chest, her breathing becoming more and more difficult. All the cruel whispers she had endured over the past fifteen years came back to her: the people who said she was an unfit mother, the people who said she should have given up Yusuke for adoption, the people who said that Yusuke would have been better off without her. The whispers plagued her mind, forcing her to reach for the liquor bottle in a futile attempt to drown them out. 'Maybe they were right. Maybe if I had given Yusuke up he would still be alive somewhere. Maybe it's my fault.' Atsuko's heart shattered at the thought, sobbing loudly. 'It's all my fault.'
"Hey Ma," Yusuke said as he walked into her apartment.
"Hey kiddo, how ya been?" Atsuko asked as she brewed some tea, looking at her son. Yusuke had grown so much since he was a little baby. His soft curvy features had become chiseled with years of exercise and fighting. He was no longer the little boy she had to bend down to in order to button his shirt; now he was taller than her. In twenty years he had changed from a little bundle wrapped in a light blue blanket to a strapping young man, a married man at that. She always knew Yusuke would end up with Keiko; who would be a better person to marry than your best friend? And Atsuko adored Keiko, loved her like her own daughter. Keiko understood her son better than anyone, even herself. They had a love that would cross over dimensions and times, a love that would always find each other and she couldn't be happier for her son.
"I'm good," Yusuke replied. "Just wanted to stop and see you for a bit before I went to pick up Raizen from the Yukimuras."
"How is my favorite grandson?" Atsuko asked with a smile. Yusuke and Keiko had a child of their own, a little one year old boy named Raizen. He could be as sweet as sugar but he could also be a little demon child when the need struck him. 'Like father, like son,' Atsuko thought.
"He's okay; he's gaining some balance with his walking so now he's all over the apartment. Drives Keiko absolutely insane," Yusuke laughed. Atsuko loved to see Yusuke like this. He hadn't had an easy childhood by any stretch of the imagination; his teen years weren't a picnic either. But now it finally seemed like the universe was giving Yusuke a break, as if it was done testing him and his reward would be a happy life with his loving wife and his beautiful baby boy.
"Hey Yusuke," she said, sitting across from him. "You know how much I love you right?" Atsuko realized after he was hit by a car and died that she didn't tell him how much she cared often enough. It wasn't that she didn't love him; just neither of them were good with expressing their emotions. But there were these moments when she was simply overwhelmed with how much she cared about her son, how happy she was to see him happy, how much she loved him, that she simply had to say it.
Yusuke smiled at his mother, his eyes lighting up with happiness. "Yeah Ma, I've always known you love me," Yusuke said, kissing her cheek. "I love you too Mom."
I love fluff moments ^_^ Reviews/story suggestions please