Harry sat back and watched as the Demon World Tournament preliminaries flashed up on the screen of his television. He was the only person in his house right now. Atsuko, Keiko, Shiori, Genkai and both of the Kuwabara siblings would be coming by later – Shizuru might even bring Sakyo with her – though that would only be once the preliminary fights were all over and the two teens were out of class. Of course, Harry was recording the whole broadcast as well. It had been very thoughtful of Koenma to help him rig his television so that it would receive the Demon World television broadcast signal. Not that Koenma or Botan would be swinging by to watch with them. Those two – as well as George the ogre – would be going to Demon World to watch everything in person, possibly even catch Yusuke for a moment to talk.
Harry had been kept in the loop, thanks to his magic mirrors, so he was able to recognise all of Raizen's old sparring buddies as they made clean wins in their preliminary matches. Raizen and Mukuro both got through without anyone else showing up to fight them – too intimidated – and Yomi got through his preliminary after fighting his son, who was the only one in his preliminary group who wasn't too intimidated to show up. One of the bald guys who had previously served Raizen got through, as did two members of Mukuro's old 'elite guard' – her old second in command and the surgeon who had given Hiei his Jagan eye. Hiei himself was also through, as was his sister Yukina – which surprised a lot of the demons who were present at the stadium watching the big screen, to say nothing of all her opponents. Kurama, Touya, Jin, Chu, Rinku, Suzuka and Shishi were all winners as well. And of course, Yusuke won his preliminary with no trouble, even if no one had dropped out like they had when faced with the prospect of Yomi, Mukuro or Raizen.
Of course, that was only twenty-five known to him out of one-hundred-and-twenty-eight fighters who successfully won their preliminary battles. Just a few shy of one fifth of all the demons there.
Yusuke gave a good speech though. Harry was sure Keiko would be proud of him when she got to see the recording of that.
A sudden thought occurred to Harry, and he grabbed his magic mirror to call all the people in Demon World – a conference call where he reminded all of them about their spirit cuffs. It was his turn to laugh, since they'd all forgotten about them since he'd put them on almost a year ago. He was particularly amused that Jin had forgotten, since the wind master took such joy in teasing him for forgetting he was wearing spirit cuffs.
None of them removed their spirit cuffs immediately, not even Yukina. They all preferred to keep the handicap in place unless they found themselves in a tight spot. Of course... not all of their friends had spirit cuffs. Shishiwakamaru, Suzuka, and Rinku all lost their fights, none of them having that ace to pull out when they got in a tight spot. Chu got through to the second round, but it was a close thing, and he was exhausted afterwards. He didn't have spirit cuffs to take off for a boost either.
The various humans of the cheering squad arrived at Harry's door then, and he suggested Keiko call Urameshi while there was a break between rounds one and two – as well as let Kuwabara yell at his best friend over her shoulder for a little while. A little bit of friendly insulting always seemed to do the kid good after all. He also lent his own mirror to Shiori so that she could talk to Kurama for a little while, which she did quietly, telling him how proud she was of him, and telling him to take care of himself and not hold anything back if it was his life on the line. She wanted him to come back home again after all. She wasn't the only one saying that of course.
"Don't you worry about me," Yusuke assured them through the mirror. "I'll be just fine. You cheer for me though, okay?"
"Kick their asses, Yusuke!" Atsuko ordered from beyond the two teens.
"Even if it's your boyfriend?" Yusuke countered.
"I started dating him after seeing him lose to my son once, didn't I?" she countered, which got a laugh from her son.
"Now Yusuke," Keiko said more seriously. "Do you remember what I told you, back during the Dark Tournament?"
"If I die, you'll kill me? That one?" Yusuke asked with a smile.
Keiko smiled back. "That's the one," she answered. "That still applies," she added warningly.
"Gotcha," Yusuke said, a soft, content look in his eyes before he was distracted by something going on behind him. "Sorry about this, but I gotta go. The second round is about to start."
Keiko nodded her understanding. "Alright," she agreed.
"See ya on the TV, Urameshi!" Kuwabara added, waving, a stupid grin on his face.
Yusuke laughed, and the connection between the two mirrors was cut off.
Everyone in Harry's lounge room turned their attention back to the television.
In the second round, Jin and Touya both ditched the cuffs in their fights against a couple of Raizen's old sparring partners. The results of this action really impressed Souketsu and Kujou, their respective opponents. They still didn't win, but they gave it a really good go, and despite their losses they survived. Even got helped off the battle arenas when they couldn't walk themselves from exhaustion – the older, more powerful demons smiling fondly at their younger challengers as they helped them back to the central stadium. Kurama didn't remove his set of spirit cuffs in his battle with Shigure the demonic surgeon – who had given Hiei his Jagan eye all those years ago – but he did trade in his human body for his original form: the beautiful silver Yoko.
Shigure didn't take too well to being defeated though, throwing himself to his death, like a samurai who committed seppuku after losing a battle.
Hiei was waiting for him at the base of the okaninju stalk that the battle had taken place on, and though no one else saw it, he kissed his fox as a reward for not getting so much as a scratch on him throughout the battle.
"And one for luck," Kurama said, pressing a kiss of his own to Hiei's lips as he transformed back from the spirit fox into his human form. "You're fighting Mukuro next after all."
"Hn," Hiei agreed. "As much as Urameshi wants to see fighters back a second time for another Tournament, I do not want to let Mukuro live," he informed the red-head. "I will delight in shattering her delusions of forming a relationship with me. You are the only one for me, Kurama."
Kurama smiled and kissed Hiei again, just a quick little peck on the lips. "Well, you don't have to kill her to do that, which would make Yusuke happy. And after the Tournament is over, perhaps we could go back to Living World and catch up on all the time we've missed?" he suggested, voice thick with want.
Hiei smirked. "Definitely," he agreed lowly. "Be sure to watch," he instructed.
Kurama smiled, nodded, and the two parted. Hiei to the chosen battlefield for his fight with Mukuro, Kurama to the party of friends that were pleased to celebrate that he had won his fight. The first of them to do so in the second round – Raizen's friends were a different group after all, even if they were very similar.
Hiei knew better than to be so arrogant and assured of his own strength as to keep on his spirit cuffs for this fight, and removed them on his way up to the battlefield – where he waited a full ten minutes for Mukuro to show up for their fight.
"There's something different about you," Mukuro commented as she stood before them. "I just can't think what."
Hiei didn't answer. He just launched his attack and marvelled to himself for a moment how much faster and stronger he was now that he'd taken off the spirit cuffs that he had been wearing since just after the Sensui case. Everything Mukuro said – or tried to say – during their fight, Hiei ignored. It wasn't like she had anything to say that was worth listening to. At least, as far as he was concerned anyway. Part of him registered amusement, just for a moment, as he recalled that Kuwabara would gladly rip into him for attacking a woman, even if she was the enemy – and an extremely competent and brutal fighter herself on top of that. In that same moment, Hiei sliced off both of Mukuro's arms. She'd recover eventually. Though it wasn't like her right arm was exactly hers in the first place anyway, and she'd brought Shigure back after Hiei had won their fight to the death at her order before. Saving herself from this would be much easier. All the same, he walked away dispassionately, more interested in getting back to Kurama's side than being at all concerned about her.
"You really do only look out for yourself," Mukuro commented as he walked away. "I didn't believe you, when you said you'd kill me as dispassionately as you would kill Raizen's heir. It seems I was wrong."
Hiei paused. "No," he answered, looking over his shoulder at her but not turning around. "In fact, it was a lie. I have never backed down from a fight with Yusuke, but I respect him more than I ever have, or will, respect you."
Mukuro laughed sadly as the shackle on her wrist – which lay several feet away from her body – finally broke, and Hiei continued to walk away from her, flicking the blood off his blade before slipping it back into its sheath.
Yusuke's second-round fight was against Yomi, and the first thing he did was take off his spirit cuffs and flex his energy, as brightly and as powerfully as he could, trying to push Yomi off the edge of the platform that was put on every battlefield as a starting point. Yomi responded the same way.
On other battlefields, the fighters felt them and just got the urge to let loose as well.
Yukina removed her spirit cuffs and turned to fight Natsume – the twin sister of Kujou, who had fought with and defeated Touya just a little while ago – both of them with their energy glowing powerfully, and the whole battleground suddenly covered in ice and snow from Yukina's aura. Natsume glowed a brilliant pink in answer.
Raizen laughed in the middle of his fight against Denhou, and didn't even think twice about throwing his energy about the way his boy had. Denhou, of course, answered with a grin. Nothing satisfied him or Raizen's other old friends more than to fight him when he was giving his all.
"Ya know," Harry said as he considered the fights being displayed on his TV set. "I can't help but think all the really interesting fights are happening kind of early. One of the demon 'lords' is already out, and here's our boy proving that he's got what it takes to remove another one, and this is only the second round of fights."
Shizuru and Atsuko laughed at least.
Chu lost his fight in the third round to Koku, who drank even more than he did. He'd skull-bashed his second-round opponent into submission. Yukina, having impressed all of Raizen's friends by actually beating Natsume in their fight, went on to lose against her brother, just as Touya had before her. Still, fighters were going all-out from beginning to end from that point on. It was like a whole new tournament from the moment Yusuke flared his energy up and got everyone keen for the best fight they could give every single time. Ultimately, the final fight of the Tournament was between Raizen and one of his old sparring buddies – Enki as it happened – and in a shocker for everybody, Enki won. That might have been because Raizen had just come from two very tough fights against a vindictive Koku and then his give-it-all-you-got-or-don't-bother-at-all 'son' Yusuke.
(Chu didn't mind his girlfriend's boy calling Raizen 'dad'. He knew he wasn't really the father-figure sort.)
Enki held with the idea of the Tournament happening again in three years, and he also held everybody else to the fact that, as per the Tournament's standards, he was now in charge of all of them until the next one. He had only one rule though: no more mischief in Living World. When he got off the stage, Jin tracked him down and whispered a request for a definition of 'mischief', as his boyfriend was human and in Living World.
Enki laughed, and said that wasn't the sort of mischief he meant, which got a grin from Jin.
From that point, everybody dispersed. Went home, wherever 'home' was for them. For Jin, that was with Harry. For Kurama, it was with his mother, for now. For Hiei, it was wherever Kurama was. Yukina was torn for a while, wanting to be with her brother and Touya both, and wasn't sure where Touya would want to be. The ice master shinobi had laughed at her worry, pointed out that he needed to babysit Jin just as much as she wanted to keep an eye on her brother, and whispered something in her ear about talking to Harry about converting a bedroom into a nursery for a child – which had Yukina smiling very brightly. Chu was going back to Atsuko, but Rinku would be staying in Demon World with Shishi and Suzuka.
As for Yusuke, he was going on a bit of a 'self-discovery' journey with Raizen (and Puu), magic mirror in his pocket so that he could keep in touch with Keiko of course, until his old man headed back to give it another go. Yusuke planned to be taking care of important business in Living World when the next Tournament came around though.
Hiei moved out of Harry's house and into Kurama's – Shiori having moved in with her second husband while Hiei had been gone, and decided to just straight out give Kurama the house. He needed space to himself after all, though she did visit often. Hiei's old room was turned into a nursery for Touya and Yukina's use. Being of a race that reproduced only every one-hundred years, and Yukina herself being only ninety-seven, that would be a little way away yet, but it was good to be ready.
Kuwabara attended a good high school, and was doing well. He was even popular, especially with the female population of his school. Having predicted an earthquake with his psychic powers back in his freshman year might have helped, but no one was going to really call him on it. Shizuru and Sakyo got married, much to Harry's secret amusement. He was even the best man for Sakyo, who was suffering from cheek strain by the end of the day from being completely unable to wipe the huge, happy grin off his face. When Shizuru found out she was pregnant a month after the wedding, they both quit smoking together.
Harry and Jin, after much discussion between themselves and with Genkai, have moved out, leaving the house to the happy couple while they went to live with Genkai. It was several hours drive to the nearest town from her property, so they could both go flying without any fear of being spotted. She kept both of them on their toes as well, training every day. Nothing too extreme, but they were wearing spirit cuffs full time again as well. She sat them down one day and informed them that she would be leaving her (very extensive) property to them, to be held as a place for apparitions to be safe in Living World, a sort of olive-branch, a place where they could learn how to better fit in among the humans if they wanted to make the move to Living World.
Koenma finally overthrew his father as well. Found out some unpleasant secrets his old man had been hiding from him and blew his righteous little top. Everybody helped when he asked, and it wasn't even that hard (with power like Raizen on side, the incredible versatility of Harry Potter on the other, and with all the rest of gang in between... yeah). Big bearded bastard never stood a chance. His fanatical followers didn't either – and it should be noted that his SDF soldiers weren't among his fanatical followers. Oh no. They were on Koenma's side.
After that, the only 'big deals' were one death (Genkai finally found her eternal peace), a couple of pregnancies, and the Demon World Tournament coming around every three years. And the big beautiful wedding of Urameshi Yusuke to Yukimura Keiko of course, which meant there was another pair for children to hail from.