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"Hey, you with the big fish ears, I got a bone to pick with you. How does a dead guy win!?"
--Yusuke

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On the Line

by Ryoko

Chapter Five: "For Her"

Yusuke completely turned around, returning to his feet and protecting Keiko with his own body. He wasn’t going to let this guy hurt her ever again. Besides the pain might hurt now, but he would survive. She might not. He had survived demons of extraordinary powers. A few bullets wouldn’t kill him. Keiko on the other hand was just a ordinary human girl. A bullet could very well end her life. Yusuke would not allow that to happen.

He glared at the man, Yamato Miyazaki. Rage was feeling up inside him. He wanted to go over and beat the crap out of him. He wanted to wipe that wicked grin off his face that was staring at him with such intensity that it was burning a picture into his very mind. But he didn’t dare. No, Yusuke wasn’t scared. Not for himself anyway. He could dash over there in a flash and knock him out cold. He wouldn’t break a sweat. He surely wouldn’t be injured. But what if as he left Keiko’s guard and he was about to slam the guy’s face in Yamato fired his gun and a bullet came out, shooting Keiko? Injuring Keiko? He couldn’t risk the chance of that happening! Even if it was slim he wouldn’t dare give it a one percent possibility of happening. So he’d stay right where he was and protect her.

Besides there are other ways of injuring someone that don’t require moving. Yamato Miyazaki had a gun and so did he! He grinned cockily at the man.

Keiko stood behind Yusuke. In a way she was glad that he was using his body as a shield to protect her. Did he, dare she think it, love her? But then again, he was hurting and endangering himself all because of her. He seemed to do that a lot…She glazed at his dyed red clothes with regret. It was her fault he was injured. It was her fault…She was tempted to glide her fingers over the wounds as if her touch would heal them. To show him she was sorry. But decided this was not the time. They were still in harm’s way.

Yamato laughed, “I’m surprised you found me. Not even the police could do that.” He snickered and a virulent expression drew upon his face.

“Who said I was looking for you?” Yusuke sneered, a little too hotly for someone in his predicament. He wasn’t worried, but a normal man would have been when a gun was aimed at him.

Yamato kept his venomous face. He smirked slightly, “Don’t be so cocky kid. You don’t know when my finger might slip.” He snickered more and wiggled his index finger before laying it back down on the trigger just to prove his point.

Yusuke didn’t answer back He just looked toward the older man, smirking.

Yamato stared at the boy. How could this kid be so dumb? Surely he must have realized he was about to die or had he no idea? Did he think this gun was a toy? No. He can’t have. He had been shot twice with the weapon all ready. He knew it was real. Then why was he smiling? Why was he so sure of his fate; so positive of his survival?

Keiko could not see Yusuke’s face and so could not know the expression it wore. She could neither read his mind or see very much of what he was doing. She did know, however, he was planning something. He might not get very high grades in class, but the boy was an expert in battle tactics or at least could wing it rather well. But she knew for sure he had a strategy for his right hand lay at his side with his index finger emitting a faint glow. Yamato was too distracted by Yusuke’s words and expression to notice this, but it was there and she noticed it. But, wondered Keiko. Would Yusuke really use that on a human? Wouldn’t it kill him?

“Stop smiling, you brat,” threatened the killer. Even though he tried to sound calm his voice quavered slightly, betraying him. He tried to hide it with another, more confident threat. “Or you and that girl will get your brains blown out.”

Keiko, who had crept her head around Yusuke’s cover to see the events that were taking place, ducked back behind him. Yusuke didn’t even flinch at the words. “I thought you were going to do that anyway?” he mocked. He wasn’t the least bit afraid even though the man had a weapon. After all, why should he? It was the opposite way around. This man was afraid of him. “Go ahead,” he said, lifting his right hand slightly. He saw Yamato watch the sudden movement, eyes shaking slightly. “Go and try.” He clasped his right hand in his left, with his right index finger pointed at Yamato as if it was a gun. He grinned. “We’ll see who hits first.”

The other man stared at Yusuke, believing the boy to be insane. Did he think this was a joke? He didn’t seriously believe that his index finger could shoot out real bullets, did he? But why was he smiling? Why was he so sure of himself? Was he up to something? Well, he wasn’t going to let him have a chance to put his plan into action. Besides now that he had been found there was only one thing left to do. He chuckled malevolently to himself. And that only thing was to kill! Something he loved to do. Maybe he wouldn’t fatally shoot them yet. Just a good enough shot to immobilize them. Then he could watch them suffer as he finished them off.

He glared at the girl behind the young man. Yes, he would deeply enjoy her pain, especially. He’d enjoy watching the blood slowly flow from them and the terror and agony portrayed on there faces when they realize they are helpless before him. He’d chop them all up. That great pleasure of pure twisted joy would flicker inside him as their blood and insides splattered about. They’d be lost to the world. Their names and faces would be all over the news and he’d internally smile as the content of a job well done filled his wicked soul. Then finally they’d be found and the terrible, yet to him wonderful, reality would befall all who knew them. Yes, they’d become his next masterpiece. That boy wouldn’t be so sure of himself anymore.

Yamato slowly tightened the grip on his gun, just about ready to shoot. Yusuke’s smirk widened as he pulled back the trigger of his Spirit Gun in his mind. Yamato pulled back the trigger of his real gun slowly. He was waiting for that fear to flash in the boy’s eyes, but it wasn’t there. Then before the bullet released from Yamato’s gun, a bullet of spiritual energy coursed through the air, coming from the boy’s finger. It slammed into the metal gun and knocked it out of Yamato’s hands. In reality it was a feeble Spirit Gun, but that was all right. It hand done its job and done it well.

The murderer stared at his disarmed weapon, wide eyed with disbelief. What was that light? And how did it knock his gun from his hands? He looked back at Yusuke who blew at his finger tip as if it was the barrel of a gun emitting smoke. Did that light come from this boy’s finger?

Yusuke whispered to Keiko, “Stay behind me.” At first she was confused. After all she was behind him. But as soon as he started walking forward she understood. She quickly followed his steps, staying right behind him. They moved over to the gun, where Yusuke swiftly kicked it away, far from Yamato’s reach.

Yamato watched the gun as it skidded away. Then he looked to Yusuke. “What are you? How did you do that?” he questioned, staring at him hard.

He backed away as Yusuke stepped forward and answered, “Now, that doesn’t really matter, does it?” He grinned. “Now,” he continued. He grabbed the other man by the throat and pinned him to the wall that lay behind him. “It’s time for you to pay for what you have done.” Yamato eyes bulged in fear. Something in Yusuke’s eyes terrified him. They were the eyes of a fearless warrior. Yamato gasped for breath under Yusuke’s tight hold. He grabbed at the hand, trying to pry it lose, but to no avail. He squirmed, but it did nothing. Yusuke leaned in closer, locking eyes with the creep. He was serious here and this man would see his anger. “I’ll make you feel the pain that you made Keiko and everyone else you’ve hurt feel.”

Keiko gasped. Would Yusuke kill this man? It’s true he was a horrible monster of a person, but would Yusuke really kill him? Would Yusuke really want that weight on his shoulders? Surely he wouldn’t, but nevertheless she found herself leaning in close to him so he could hear her urgent whisper. “Yusuke,” she said. “You’re not going to kill him, are you?”

Yusuke stole a quick glance at her and then quickly turned his attention back to the suffocating man. He was a little taken back by her comment. Surely she knew him better than that. He might sometimes appear cold, but he wouldn’t purposely kill any human. What’s more did she not want any sort of revenge? He answered her slowly, “No, I’m just going to beat the crap out of him.”

The young woman backed down to her earlier position. She supposed that was better than killing him. She still didn’t really approve of his violent ways to solve problems, but she couldn’t help but feel that this time it was all right. This man deserved it. He had made her feel so terrified; never in her life had she felt that scared. Never had it occurred to her that a quick death would be better than living the nightmare. Never had she almost given up hope like that. How could she have given up like? Yusuke hadn’t given up in his quest to find her and she had almost given up on him and loving him. How could she had done that! She should have never given up life when she so badly wanted to share it with the man standing in front of her.

She couldn’t help but feel that Yamato would regret meeting them and deeply regret getting her involved in his sick little games. Oh, yes, maybe he’d rethink his ways.

She turned away, not wanting to watch as the man she currently so deeply loathed became black and blue and lost some of his all ready rotting teeth.

“Heh,” Yamato choked. “You won’t do it, kid…. You’ll be hauled in… for attacking…me.”

“Oh, really?” inquired Yusuke slyly. “We’ll see if the cops don’t see it as self-defense when you’re involved.” And with that Yusuke’s fist was flying. He was letting all his pain that developed that day, all the anger he felt for what he had done to Keiko was released; it was all set free with each strike on this cold-blooded snake. Blood began squirting out of Yamato’s mouth and nose. The man coughed and cried. Yusuke couldn’t help but be a little pleased as he saw the pain he was inflicting on this man in return for what he had done to them. Even though the man was obviously in pain Yusuke continued to attack. Yamato would pay for what he’d done. He’d pay for hurting Keiko! Each hit was filled with more anger, more hate, more escaping pain and each hit was filled with more strength. The kind of power he was starting to emit now would certainly kill an average man, Yusuke, however, was completely oblivious to his current strength. Keiko however was more the wiser and saw it as soon as she finally decided to take a peek at what was happening.

“Stop it, Yusuke!” she cried, grabbing his arms, attempting to stop him from punching again. “Stop or you’ll kill him!”

Yusuke stared down at his arm which she clung to. Her brown eyes stared deep in his, pleading him to stop. He couldn’t help but be a bit disbelieving. After all that this creep had done to her, she cared about his life? She cared if he got hurt?

As if reading his mind Keiko quickly continued, her voice softer, her glance at the ground, “Even if he’s hurt me a-and hurt you he doesn’t deserve to die….no one deserves that, no matter what they’ve done.” She looked back up at him, urgency in her eyes now, and Yusuke felt her squeeze his arm slightly. “Please….stop.”

Yusuke continued to look into Keiko’s eyes. Then he released his grip on Yamato. The man sunk, limp to the floor. He whined softly. Yusuke stared down at the half dead man. He was a mess. Not a surprise really. After a pounding from Yusuke Urameshi you were lucky if you could muster the strength to blink. Therefore managing to wind was quite an accomplishment. Yusuke decided that this man wasn’t worth it. This filth wasn’t worth anything; whether it be time or his blood on Yusuke hands and conscience. Really, the young man hadn’t meant to hurt him so badly. Sure, he was a creep and deserved death, and would certainly get the death sentence once convicted, but Yusuke didn’t want to kill him. How could he live with himself if he did?

“Come on,” Yusuke said as he turned away from the sight. “Let’s get out of here.” Yusuke and Keiko stared at each other for a moment. They exchanged glances of understanding. Without saying a word they both silently promised to never speak of this again. Then Yusuke grabbed her hand and started leading her away. Away from much more than a hurt man, but from painful memories. They continued to the stairs. Before them Keiko stopped and turned around to stare at the man that had kidnapped her.

“Who was that man?” she inquired softly.

Yusuke stopped half way down the stairs and looked back up at her. He studied her face for a minute. It was filled with a curiosity, yet there was fear in it, too. Then his glance fell to the man. “He’s some murderer.” he answered. “His name’s Yamato something.”

“Yamato Miyazaki?” gasped Keiko. The fear showed in her eyes. “This morning the news was talking about all the terrible ways he’s killed and tortured young women…” She put her arms around herself. Suddenly she was very cold and she couldn’t help but shiver. She stared at the ground. What would he had done to me if Yusuke hadn’t come?

She couldn’t answer that question. The possibilities were too frightening.

He saw her fear and understood how she felt. He had felt that terror earlier that day. He had felt the foreboding wonder of what would happen to Keiko. He did not want to think of the possibilities either. As he stared at her he began to realize she was not just shivering because of fear, but because of the cold chill that was sneaking through the windows and doors from the harsh world of the outside. Her clothes had rips and her blouse sliced all the way in half in the front. All these little openings let the icy touch of the cold brush against her delicate skin. Her clothes were thin on top of this. Slowly and hesitating slightly Yusuke took off his green school shirt. He walked up the few stairs he had recently descended and draped it around Keiko’s shoulders. It was damp and crimson-stained, but it was better than nothing.

Keiko looked up at him, snapped out of her thoughts of grotesque deaths. Yusuke was looking away from her, determined not to meet her eyes. Probably because he was embarrassed. She too was slightly embarrassed. Her cheeks flushed slightly as she whispered, “Thank you.”

“Well, it’s cold, you know,” he mumbled.

She smiled. He really did care so much for her. Somehow he had figured out where she was and had come all this way to rescue her. If he didn’t care he wouldn’t had tried to find her, but he did. Now he was showing that he cared more by giving her his shirt, even though it was freezing outside and he needed its warmth also. It might have been slightly cold from being wet and a little bloody, but it was the thought that mattered and it would be warmer than her current breezy attire. These things meant so much to her. She pulled the green shirt off her shoulders and put it on; slipping each arm through the sleeve and buttoning it up. It was baggy on her and hung off her even more from being damp, but that didn’t matter. It heated her up instantly. It was still warm from Yusuke’s body heat. Keiko snuggled into it slightly.

“Let’s go,” said her companion, glancing quickly at her.

They descended down the staircase in silence, but it wasn’t a awkward silence, but a pleasant one. Like on a beautiful summer afternoon when you lie on the cool, soft ground just looking up at the clouds and wondering what sort of things the white fluff is shaped like. It was a enjoyable silence. They both secretly felt at ease in each others’ presence. Soon they reached the bottom of the stairs and were heading to the door. Yusuke opened it and they both existed the house. He wondered as they stepped over the threshold if she would be all right after all of this. A small smile from her told him, however, that things would be okay.

Instantly they felt the bitter cold’s sharp bite of this storming universe. The weather had worsened since Yusuke’s arrival. Now it was a fierce torrent of ice. Snow plumaged, surrounding them in a whirlwind of white. Their breath froze in front of their mouths, forming an icy mist. One could not see anything except a blinding white.

Keiko wrapped her arms around herself as tightly as she could. Her attempt to keep warm wasn’t enough, however. The wind and snow was numbing even through her clothes. It was almost as if the weather had frozen her right to the ground because she stopped dead in her tracks, longing for warmth.

Yusuke stopped and looked back at her. He too was cold. The T-shirt he wore didn’t provide much heat, especially since it was wet all ready from the falling snow. He continued to look back at Keiko. He felt bad to see her shiver. But what else could he do? All he could do was get her home as fast as possible. Well, there were other considerations like walking up to her and throwing his arms around her. That way their body heat would provide some comfort, but that was such a mushy thing to do. Instead he repeated, “Come on.” He added softer, “ Let’s go home.” Only in the warmth of their homes would they be safe from the bitter cold and maybe perhaps then they would be safe from the memories of that day. After all past events were insignificant. Even the sting of the bullets still in each back wasn’t important. He could bare it. All that mattered was that Keiko was safe and that he would never let her be in endangered like that again. This he secretly promised her.

At his call she instantly looked to him. He turned around when he saw he had her attention and began walking away. She followed suit. He began leading her down an unfamiliar place. She saw as his body swayed with each movement and step the bloodstains that soaked the back of his shirt. He had been shot repeatedly because of her. She couldn’t help but feel guilty. If it hadn’t been for her he wouldn’t had gotten hurt. She wanted to speak an apology, but the words were lost in her throat. However, would he had gone looking for her if he didn’t care for her? “No” was the obvious answer. That realization made her feel so warm that surely this cold was nothing.

As they walked Keiko had an foreboding feeling. It was almost as if a shadow was lurking behind her. She tried to shake the feeling, but it remained. Then suddenly, out of the corner of her eye she saw something. She could not identify it, however, for a sharp “clang!” erupted and her vision blurred. She felt a sticky, hot liquid seep down the side of her head and down her cheek. Her body weakened and it could no longer hold her up. Slowly, as if in a dream she fell. All warmth was gone. The only sensation her body could register was the cold. She was too weak to move away from the cold, however. Everything seemed to be softening. Vision vanished and sound became weaker, but the cold still penetrated her like sharp knives. However, even though it was muffled she thought she heard a man’s voice call her name.

To be continued….


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