Disclaimer: I do not own YuYu Hakusho; it is owned/created by Yoshihiro Togashi.
The next day Yusuke decided to take Keiko out to lunch to make up for everything that had happened. He knew he should let Keiko know about his missions in the future but wasn't sure he wanted her getting involved. After all, Keiko wasn't a fighter. If she knew she might try to help Yusuke and he was sure that she'd only get in the way. He hated to admit it but Keiko could be considered a weakness, one that his enemies could use against him. He did care about Keiko, a lot, but Yusuke still wasn't sure how far his feelings went for her. He had never really been sure of this from the beginning. It had always been Keiko who showed how deep her feelings went for him. His own friends were always pushing the two of them together.
And then there was her-Katrina-his thoughts continued to dwell on her. Last night Yusuke was sure he had dreamed about her but couldn't remember what the dream had been about. Yusuke was thinking about Katrina's unusual eyes when Keiko interrupted his thoughts.
"Hey, Earth to Yusuke! What's up Yusuke? You seem lost in thought. Are you ok?" Keiko asked with a hint of worry in her voice. Keiko always worried about Yusuke, especially lately with all this "secrecy".
"I'm ok, Keiko. It's just…nothing really. I wanted to say I was sorry for what happened." Yusuke said, 'Man, she is so going to slap me!' Yusuke said as he shut his eyes waiting for the impending blow, but it never came.
"It's alright." Keiko began and Yusuke opened his eyes to give her an incredulous look. "No, really, but next time I need to know what's going on ok? Promise me Yusuke!"
"I can't promise you that, Keiko." Yusuke said looking crestfallen, he wanted to lie and say he'd tell her everything from now on but he knew he couldn't-it was for her own good.
"Yusuke, why can't you? I don't understand…don't you trust me?" Keiko asked sadly. Keiko was beginning to have her suspicions that Yusuke didn't care for her as much anymore. Especially since he started spending all his time with Botan.
Yusuke saw that tears were beginning to form in Keiko's eyes and hated himself for it. 'Man, I'm such a jerk!' Yusuke told himself harshly. "Of course I trust you! It's just I'm worried you'll get hurt if you know everything…"
"The whole point is that I'll be prepared if I know!" Keiko said willing her tears to go away. She wished she were stronger-more like him-then maybe she could understand him better. All she wanted was to be a better friend, one that Yusuke would trust. But it seemed he didn't trust her enough to tell her what was going on in his life.
"I'm sorry Keiko but I just can't!" Yusuke said as he got up from his place at the table, he threw down some money, and left the diner without looking back. He was sure Keiko had called after him but he just couldn't deal with her right now. His thoughts kept returning to Katrina. Yusuke was sure it had been his fault that she had died. He should have done something! He should have used his life energy to save her! Why had he changed his mind? Had it been so he wouldn't have to see his mother crying for his death, or perhaps so that he could live to see Keiko again? Yusuke's emotions were a confused jumble of thoughts and feelings. He kept seeing her golden eyes, her sweet and tender smile, and her strong will.
'I can't stop thinking about her! She can't be dead-she just can't be!' Yusuke thought, he didn't want to accept what he knew as the truth. 'Why can't I accept it and move on! Why did she decide to save me?! I need to know but how can I find that out now that she's…maybe Ko-Enma can bring her back! That's it! I have to talk to Ko-Enma right away!' Yusuke got out his communications device and decided to contact Botan-she would know what to do. "Botan! Botan are you there? It's Yusuke!" The device beeped and showed Botan's surprised face…
Meanwhile at Ko-Enma's palace (Spirit World)…
Hiei was bringing the bound Katrina before Ko-Enma. Katrina had a look of hatred and scorn in her eyes as she approached.
'I can't believe Hiei is really handing me over to him! And after I pretended to be weak, submissive and maybe even repenting in his presence! The bastard! I'll never forgive him for this! Old grudges die hard it seems. At least my familiar, Abby, managed to escape. Pity that I didn't finish the incantation properly-now she'll have white feathers for the rest of her life-the poor crow. I hope I get to see her again-someday.' Katrina was thinking sadly to herself.
Ko-Enma spoke to Hiei without looking up from the important documents that he was stamping his seal of approval on: "What is it Hiei? I'm a busy man…"
"Don't you mean a busy baby? I'm sure that this is more important than whatever you're doing now." Hiei stated in an irritated voice.
"What do you mean bab-" Ko-Enma said looking up and then stopped mid-sentence when he saw Katrina. "She-she's alive?!"
"Yes, and I've brought her to you to have justice done!" Hiei continued looking very proud of himself and relishing this moment. 'She deserves whatever she gets! The hussy!' Hiei thought angrily to himself.
"Justice? What do you mean?" Ko-Enma asked looking confused.
"To have her punished for her crimes of course!" Hiei said impatiently. "You are going to punish her aren't you? Perhaps execute her? Torturing her would be a good choice."
"Torture?! You really are a cold-hearted son of a-" Katrina was saying.
"Now boys and girls-no need to get so hostile. Don't worry Hiei justice will surly be done. You can leave." Ko-Enma said.
Katrina's eyes widened in disbelief at being handed over to her death-not even getting to fight for her life. This wasn't justice!
"But-" Hiei began.
"No buts, don't you trust my judgment Hiei? I said you could go." Ko-Enma said using a voice of superiority and impatience.
Hiei looked at Ko-Enma skeptically, it was hard to take someone with a pacifier in their mouth very seriously.
"Hmph!" Hiei said as he stormed out of Ko-Enma's office.
"And now for you…" Ko-Enma said turning his gaze towards Katrina.
Katrina looked back at him unflinchingly, she would not be afraid she told herself-especially not of a baby!
"It's cowardly to have someone else do your dirty work little Ko-Enma! I think if I'm to be killed you should have to do it yourself! Or better yet we could have a fight and see who comes out victorious!" Katrina suggested giving Ko-Enma a condescending and challenging look.
"Us? Fight? Hahahaha! There's no need for that. I'm not going to kill you-" Ko-Enma told her leaning back in his chair.
"What do you mean you're not going to kill me?"
"Well, it's against my better judgment but I'm not. I have use for you. But there are some conditions if I spare your life…"
'Here it comes…'
"You will belong completely to me, is the first."
"Belong to you? You can't mean…" Katrina began to ask, her cheeks flushing at the very idea!
"Ack! No No! Nothing like that! What I mean is that if I spare your life now I own it. You life belongs to me. Get it?"
"Oh, so I'm your new slave?" Katrina said hotly. 'I just don't believe this! I finally get my freedom from Suzaku to become this little kid's slave!'
"Well, let's just say "assistant" for now. And you'll have to respect my authority…do as I say…that's all I can think of for now. What you're going to be doing is being Yusuke's "guardian angel", so to speak." Ko-Enma said dying to see Katrina's reaction, leaning over his desk, eyes wide with anticipation.
Katrina was filled with happiness and she didn't really know why. She tried to contain herself as she said, "Oh."
She didn't know that her eyes gave away everything as to what she was feeling-they were shinning with such emotion-such happiness. Ko-Enma did not fail to notice this and smiled knowingly to himself.
"Since I'm sparing your life we're going to have to make sure everyone else thinks your dead. You'll have a new identity…a new look…and you'll have to learn another way to use your powers besides using your wand-that would be a dead give away as to who you were."
Just then a beeping sound filled the room. "Oh, my assistant Botan is trying to contact me. Get out of the way so she doesn't see you!" Ko-Enma told Katrina. On screen appeared the image of Botan and Yusuke-this caused Ko-Enma to start sweating bullets. "What is it?"
"Well, Ko-Enma, sir, Yusuke was wondering if there would be any chance of…well…if it would be possible to…" Stuttered Botan. Yusuke pushed her out of the way.
"You have to bring Katrina back from the dead!" Yusuke demanded on screen. Katrina's heart caught in her throat upon hearing these words.
"What?! I'm afraid that's impossible Yusuke." Ko-Enma responded trying to keep his calm.
"But why not?! Pleasssssseeeeee you just have to! It's my entire fault that she died! And you see…I can't stop thinking about her…"
"You can't what?! Now Yusuke what about Keiko? You really shouldn't be thinking about "other" girls like this. And anyways even if I could bring her back I wouldn't-she was Suzaku's sorceress and wreaked havoc wherever he did. She deserved to die-she was pure evil!"
"Did you ever stop to think that he made her do those things? That she wasn't doing them of her own freewill?" Yusuke implored.
Katrina couldn't believe what she was hearing. How could someone be so…nice! He just assumed the best of her instead of the worst like everyone else. Katrina remembered when she had been Suzaku's puppet, that's how it had been at first, anyways, until she began to enjoy it…Katrina hung her head. She didn't deserve his kind sentiments.
"Well, no, but it doesn't matter now anyways, Yusuke. I know she saved your life but she had crimes she needed to pay for and she did. Maybe she was redeemed in the next life by her final act of good will, who knows? But all I can say is I am not bringing her back and that's final!" Ko-Enma said as he closed the transmission.
Back on earth…
"Damn!" Yusuke yelled when Ko-Enma's image disappeared.
Botan put a hand on his shoulder to try and comfort him, "I'm sorry Yusuke…we tried."
"I know Botan but I can't stop thinking about her. Don't ask me how or why but I know she's still alive Botan. Last night…I dreamed about her. If only I could remember the dream!"
"You dreamed about her? Strange…maybe she is alive. People with high levels of spirit energy like you can theoretically be contacted in their dreams. I wonder if you did dream about her though. Yusuke, I'm going to give you something that will help you remember your dreams ok? It's called "spirit juice"-it will let you dream in a half-awake state." Botan said fishing in her pockets for the spirit-juice.
"Spirit juice, huh? Sure hope it works."
Botan handed Yusuke the bottle of spirit juice. "Guess you'll find out tonight," Botan said with a smile.
Back in the spirit world, Ko-Enma's office…
"Whew that was close!" Ko-Enma exclaimed. "Now Kat for your new identity…that's it! Kat, you can be a Cat-demon warrior!"
Katrina raised an eyebrow, "Cat-demon warrior? You've got to be kidding me."
"I'm deadly serious," began Ko-Enma, "Cat-demons have eyes just like yours. I wouldn't be surprised if your mother had been a Cat-demon. What did you say your parents were?"
"I didn't say my parents were anything. I never knew them."
"Well, then you just might be half Cat-Demon after all. First we'll change your eye color to blue with colored contacts. Most Cat-demon woman have blue eyes to begin with-I've never seen gold like you have. And you can wear a blonde wig…and since you always wore black we'll put you in red…and get you some cat ears and-"
"There is no way I'm wearing a blonde wig!"
"I think it suits your personality purrrfectly! Or else I could just kill you…"
Katrina Hmphed in response.
"And as for your powers…" 'If she really is half Cat-demon this should work' "You'll be training with Genkai-she's a witch too. She'll be able to teach you ways to use your powers without having to use your wand."
"Genkai is a witch?!"
"Well, duh! Sure she's a physic but she has other powers as well. Where did you think those came from? So do we have a deal?"
Katrina tested the strength of her bonds behind her back. 'Hiei tied me up real good…bastard…guess there's no way I can escape…a witch can't use her powers with her hands tied! I suppose I have no choice…and I will get to help Yusuke…why can't I stop thinking about him?! Ever since I started watching him, following Suzaku's orders…now I can't get him out of my head! Can I have fallen in lo-no way! It isn't possible, or at least I don't think it is. What's happening to me anyways? I feel like I'm splitting in two! One half of me wants to do the right thing and help Yusuke. And the other half wants me to break my bonds, kill the annoying little brat, and get the hell out of here!
And then there was that weird dream…about Yusuke, I'm almost sure it was him! And now I find myself thinking and feeling differently. Maybe it's all in my head. A person can't change you like this…besides love is a weak human emotion that can be used against you! I won't ever fall in love again if I can help it! I wouldn't call the last time "love" anyways! Some grand love! Betrays me the next time we meet! I'll show him! I'll get out of this somehow! One day I will be free!
"Yes, I accept. Now will you untie me?"
Yusuke could not wait for sleep as he was paced his room. He looked at the clock seeing that it was only 7:00 and outside the sun still shown mocking his impatience. He needed to know if it had been Katrina who had contacted him in his dreams. The presence in his dreams was the same as Katrina's-Yusuke was almost sure of it. But at the same time they were two different people. Yusuke shook his head in confusion-soon he would have the answers he needed to have peace of mind restored. He remembered the wink she had given him…the smile-that wonderful smile…and then there were her eyes. Yusuke thought the most about them-they expressed such emotion. Yusuke was almost sure they had given away something-perhaps a secret. Had her eyes given away the fact that she felt something for Yusuke? What had that emotion been? Love perhaps? Yusuke smiled thinking about what it could be.
Keiko had never looked at him like that…had she? Yusuke preferred not to think of her right at that moment-a feeling of guilt swelled up inside of him-was he doing Keiko wrong? What harm was there in thoughts-even if they were about a beautiful girl…
And soon Yusuke's forbidden thoughts lulled him to sleep where he found himself between dreams and reality…
Yusuke found himself in a peculiar forest, a dark forest. There were no leaves on the trees, no sun, or moon shinning that night, maybe day. Yusuke only knew he was in a forest because of the sound of leaves crunching beneath his feet as he walked and groped his way along. Yusuke thought he heard the sound of a crow in the distance. Soon Yusuke came upon a clearing where there was a gnarled oak in the center. The clearing was illuminated by an unknown and unseen light source. Yusuke tried to see where the light was coming from but to no avail. The sound of a crow was loader this time and when Yusuke looked back at the oak he was surprised he could have missed it before-there in the leaf-less branches was a crow. But it was no ordinary crow but a white one.
There was an eerie glow emanating from the white crow-this is what had illuminated the clearing. The crow cawed a few times before the cawing began to sound more human and soon Yusuke could swear that the crow was speaking to him…
"You remember me don't you? You remember my mistress more! You abandoned her! Truly, you did! She should not forgive you and yet I think she will…pitiful soul that she is! Ah, but you think she's dead don't you? Foolish boy! CawCawCaHahahahaha! No, she's not dead-not yet. But soon I fear she may die…unless you save her!" Cried the crow.
"Die?! Save her?! But how?" Yusuke beseeched.
"You must remember who you once were…you must remember the love you two once shared. Only then can you save her. That is the key to everything! You must remember before it's too late! Time is running out…you must remember…remember…remember…" The crow's voice echoed in the trees as it flew away. A few white feathers fell to the ground and Yusuke picked one up and placed it in his pocket.
Soon Yusuke's surroundings changed and he saw…himself. There in front of him was a boy that looked just like Yusuke but he had long hair tied in the back and was wearing what looked like battle armor. There was a sword tied to a leather belt around his waist. It looked like he was waiting for someone…
Out of the nearby forest came a cloaked figure. The figure ran up to the longhaired Yusuke and threw off their hood revealing long black waves of hair. Yusuke couldn't see her face from where he was but he knew who it had to be. She let her cloak fall to the ground revealing a long, medieval, gown in dark, emerald green. She embraced her love and kissed him passionately, her whole body was trembling with joy and nervousness. She brought her hand to caress his cheek. She loved the feeling of his strong arms around her, this is where she felt the safest.
"Oh my love! How I've missed you! I had to come!" She cried on the verge of tears.
"But if he were to find out-"
She put a finger to his lips silencing him. "It wouldn't matter. I love you too much not to see you. And besides it's not he whom I love. Why must things be this way? Having to see you like this in the dead of night! I wish I could be with you always!"
"Then come away with me! There's nothing holding you here!"
"Nothing-oh how I wish there was nothing. But I am not free-I am a prisoner! I'll never have the freedom you have…oh if only I could make you understand. It's not because I don't love you…I love you deeply…but I can't go with you."
At these words he turned away from her.
"Please try and understand…I just…can't."
"I'll never understand you will I?" He asked her solemnly.
"Dear, I've brought you something…something I think will be useful in your battle tomorrow." She told him as she pulled a chain from around her neck revealing an amulet.
"That's not what I think it is-is it?! I told you not to get it!"
"Do I ever listen to the word "no"? Don't be angry with me…for once in my life I'm doing something right. Here, take it." She said handing him the amulet.
The young man took it in his hands, "But when he finds it missing…"
"It doesn't matter. After you have won the battle if you wish you could come for me. When you've won I'll no longer be a prisoner and I will be free to go with you! To love you! Don't you see? I had to get this for you! It's the only way we'll ever get to be together!"
"No! There must be some other way! I can't put you in danger like this!"
"Darling please, you're being selfish. With this amulet you can save countless lives! What's my life worth compared to all those you could save! Without the amulet your army will surly perish! Please you know this is right."
The sound of a cracked branch was heard and the girl turned towards the direction it had come from.
"He's noticed my absence. I must go to him. What ever you hear don't turn back. You have a mission you can't fail. I know you can do this, my love. I have faith in you. Now go!" she said pushing him away. He reluctantly left her side as he mounted his horse and rode off. Out of the woods came another cloaked figure much taller and broader than the first.
"Having another midnight interlude, my dear. Not a very wise decision…" Came a cold masculine voice. The cloaked figure slowly walked towards her until he was right in front of her. "I've missed you…" He said as he placed his hands on her arms and worked them up to her shoulders…he then placed both of his hands around her neck. "You know, it's the strangest thing…my amulet has gone missing…do you know where it is?"
"No I do not."
"Liar! Hahahahaha! What a cool lie you are! No matter…you know I could snap your neck in two right now."
"You wouldn't dare."
"Oh wouldn't I?"
The longhaired Yusuke heard his love let out a blood-curdling scream that echoed through the woods. A scream that held both agony and fear. But as much as he wanted to turn back-he did not.
To be continued…