Confessions of a Grim Reaper

BY : Moon Minamino
Category: Yuyu Hakusho > General
Dragon prints: 1295
Disclaimer: I do not own or profit from Yu Yu Hakusho.


I watched the silver fox from my invisible perch above, following him as he fled from a heist-gone-wrong and towards his impending doom.

Sometimes, I like my job. I get to comfort old widows and men who have reached great age and teach them about the afterlife, and show them that their life did, in fact, have meaning. Sometimes, though, I hate my job. Death is about 70% free will and 30% fate—it can be avoided if you make the right choices, but as the Messenger of Death, I still get enough advanced warning to show up before the actual moment of death. If it is a good day, the death will be peaceful, and I will watch somebody fall asleep and their soul will gradually separate from their body and I will greet them as an old friend. If it is a bad day, I will arrive with enough time to watch a child be beaten, or watch a man be shot, or watch a woman be tortured. I get the full impact of their trauma, and on those days, I hate my job.

Today I hate my job.

Youko Kurama is a ruthless thief of the Makai; some even call him the king. Most are afraid of his reputation. Known for taking whatever catches his eye and killing whomever gets in his way, most people choose not to cross Youko Kurama's path.

I have crossed his path before. I have been witness to his actions as he sent souls into my waiting arms. I have seen his brutality. But I have also seen a different side.

When his lover died, a bat-man named Kuronue, I was there to witness the event. I watched as Youko's eyes glazed over with fear and self-loathing. I watched as Kuronue yelled for the fox to run and to save himself. I watched as Youko Kurama revealed the scared, suffering creature that hid behind his harsh exterior and I felt pity.

I spoke to Kuronue as I flew him to his judgment. I asked him, how could he love such a ruthless creature. Kuronue shook his head and sighed. "That's just a reputation," he said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "Kurama is a passionate man who is capable of great love and kindness. He is not evil. I would never fall in love with evil."

So I felt pity for the silver fox as I watched the bullet enter his back, right between his shoulder blades. I felt pity as I followed him into the dark undergrowth of the forest on my oar. His soul began to separate from his body and his yellow eyes met mine. The assassin began looking for his body at the edge of the undergrowth, several meters from where Youko Kurama lay dying.

"Youko Kurama, they cannot find you. Perhaps I, too, cannot find you. You have time. There is a crack in the Kakai Barrier just south of here, into the human world. You could escape." The words left my lips before I knew I was saying them. The half-separated spirit looked at me knowingly, bowed its head, and disappeared, body and all, before I had time to reconsider my aid in this wanted man's escape.

I could have taken the Youko, as I take other souls, as I took Kuronue's, to be judged. But the pity I felt was something I often experience but am never able to act upon. A child can die, and I can say, "Run, escape back into life," and the child will not have any clue what I mean. But this time, I could feel pity, and I could act on that pity, and Youko Kurama would escape into the human world, eluding death for a moment longer.

I let my oar drift up and back to the spirit world. I landed outside of the front gate and buzzed my way into the inner chambers.

"Lord Koenma," I bowed. Koenma and I had not worked together long, so I was still bowing on my knees, my forehead touching the floor before him.

"Yes, Botan?" The young lord asked.

"Youko Kurama has escaped death. I could not find his soul." I kept my eyes trained to the floor, hoping my role in this travesty would not become apparent.

"Funny," Koenma said after a long pause, "the Spirit World Task Force cannot find his body."

"So both his spirit and his body are missing. What could that mean?" I chanced a glance up toward the demi-god.

Koenma met my eye with a knowing look. "I don't know, Botan. I don't know."

I wouldn't meet Kurama again for another fifteen years, when my charge, the new Spirit Detective Yusuke Urameshi, would be sent after the ancient thief to retrieve a stolen artifact of darkness. If Kurama had known that I was the ferry girl who had helped him escape that night, he gave no mention, no recognition. I never felt compelled to clue him in, or remind him.

My best kept secret.

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