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Lovers' Sanctuary

Chapter V: Under Attack

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Yusuke looked over to where Keiko rested, but she was gone....

"Where did she go?" Yusuke asked, looking at Botan.

Botan walked up to the door, "she went back to meet Kano."

"Do you think they're out to steal another jewel?"

Botan shook her head, "no, they're out to kill me for it."

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"Wait," Yusuke paused, lacking the words to question her declaration. "Are you saying that you have one of the jewels?" Despite his inquiry, Botan remained deathly motionless--almost dead to the world."Yusuke," turning around, she continued, "after the Spirit World analysis showed that the glass sample contained human blood, it started showing readings of another substance--Metrion." She paused, then proceeded, "I went to Koenma's library to see what the substance was, and if in fact it is dangerous. The only book that had the word Metrion in it was the Japanese Artifacts--the same book we used to find out about the jewels." She pulled out the glass sample from her pocket, "apparently Spirit World created a fake jewel--Metrion--to resemble one of the three jewels--the Shikasta."

Yusuke frowned. "Why go through all that trouble? I mean, I can see why he wants to confuse the thief by putting a fake jewel in the place of the Shikasta, but what can the three jewels do beside turn a human into a demon?"

"Much more, I'm afraid." Sighing, she tossed the sample on the couch. "Once the three jewels are combined, the seal forms into a signet ring. This ring will not only enable the human to become a demon, but it was also give them amazing powers. Can you see Kano with more powers than what he already has?"

"So, what happens if this Metrion jewel is combined with the other two?"

"Death to the possessor," her voice grew solemn. "The Metrion will unleash a powerful poison once the other two jewels are activated." Yusuke folded his arms, looking at her. She still had not answered his question.

"So, are you telling me that you have the jewel?"

His eyes moved to her pocket, where she pulled out a small, diamond-shaped jewel. "Spirit World had it locked away in the evidence room. I....knew that once Kano found out about the Metrion, he would aim to steal it. I had to get to it before he did."

"Are you crazy? It's better off in a highly guarded room--"

"It was the only way," Botan threw back, anger evident in each word. "Now, will you help me or not?"

"I'll help you," he sighed. "But, do you think Kano knows the Metrion is a fake?"

Botan's mouth twitched, afraid to answer him. "Yes.." She hung her head. Then, "that's why he's out to kill me for it. He knows I'm the only one who could have access into Spirit World to obtain it."

"What makes you so sure? What about Koenma--"

"Koenma doesn't even want to believe that Kano is after the three jewels! What makes you believe he would want to thwart Kano's plans by relocating the Shikasta?" Her blue hair oscillated back and forth as she spoke.

"George and the other Orges?"

Her eyes narrowed. "Yusuke, the Ogres don't even know about Kano and the three jewels!"

"What about that guy that takes the mail in the front?"

"Yusuke!"

He folded his arms. "Well, then, tell me why he knows you have the Shik-a-whatever."

"Shikasta," she pronounced. "And the reason he knows that I took the jewel is because....he used the Metrion to poison you." She then added, "when I removed the poison from your body, it matched the Metrion substance."

"So...he wants to join my fan club?"

"Yusuke," she said calmly, "he wants to kill you so he can get to the jewel and me...."

"How flattering, he's in!"

She smacked him over the head. "Don't be an idiot! We have to figure out when he is going to attack again." Her hand moved to her chin, where she stroked it gingerly. "If I was Kano.." she muttered off, pacing around the room.

"Today, Sherlock." Yusuke spoke sarcastically, waiting impatiently for an answer.

She shrugged her shoulders. "Kano's not one to strike at the same place, or with the same weapons." She held her head, now getting frustrated. Everything was just happening at once--discovering the jewels, finding Yusuke poisoned, and learning that Keiko had taken a part in his plans. "This case is.."

"...really starting to piss me off," he finished. Then, "our answers are making more questions."

She shrugged her shoulders. "Maybe we're just--"Beep. Beep. Beep.

Pausing mid-sentence, her eyes met his. "Did you hear that?"

"Yes," he nodded. "I think it's coming from behind the couch." Striding toward the couch, Yusuke moved the piece of furniture to the side, and started looking for whatever was causing the noise. "I don't see it."

"I do."

He turned his head to look at her. "Where?"

"There," pointing toward the floor, she stepped forward. "It's...a bomb." Well, she found out Kano's new plan of attack. It was probably planted by Keiko before she disappeared to find Kano.

"Give me a break!" he yelled, looking at the small, circular device. The face plate read thirty...then twenty-nine...twenty-eight. "This thing is going to blow in less than twenty-five seconds!" He stepped back, horror in his complexion.

Botan motioned toward the window. "We have to go!"

"No," he shook his head. Then, "there's other people in this apartment! We can't just--"Beep. Beep. Beep.

"Twenty seconds, Yusuke!" Botan yelled, trying to open the window. "And the window won't budge!" She tried again, and again, and again. Nothing. Sighing heavily, she looked toward the door. She knew it wouldn't open either. It was all a part of Kano's plan. It was then she distanced herself from the window, and stretched her arm, palm facing the window. Pink energy swirled in her palm, creating a vortex. Closing her eyes, she placed her other hand on the forearm of the other one. "Stand back, Yusuke."

Yusuke, bewildered, only stepped back. His eyes remained on her palm.

"SPIRIT TUNNEL!"

Before Yusuke knew what was happening, the pink energy, enclosed in her palm, emitted a stream of energy currents that created a tunnel around the window. Then, the energy danced around the window for a moment before finally blowing a hole through the apartment building, taking the window with it. Yusuke knelt in wonder at the attack. It was beautiful, yet powerful. Just like Botan.

"Botan, I--"Beep. Beep. Beep.

"I'll be back," grabbing the bomb; she quickly materialized her oar, and steadied herself on the transportation device. Before she kicked off into the night sky, she felt something brush against her leg. Looking down, she saw Yusuke's muscular leg against hers. He was sitting behind her. Before thoughts

of their compromising position hit her head, she realized what he was doing. "Yusuke, it's too dangerous. I'm not even sure I'll make it high enough to--"

"No time to argue, Botan. Fly!" He glanced at the bomb. It glowed thirteen seconds.

She didn't answer. Instead, her eyes remained on the night sky. Would they make it in time? "Only seconds will tell." Her thoughts were disrupted by the oar, which was now hovering over the carpet. It then glided through the aperture, where it picked up speed into the night sky. She glanced at the bomb. Seven seconds.

"Throw it!" Yusuke commanded, his voice muffled by the velocity of their flight.

Her eyes dropped to the bomb. Five Seconds. "We're going to need five seconds to get away from the blast." Grabbing the bomb with two hands, she thrust it into the night sky. Then, turning the oar around, she dipped back toward earth."Four. Three. Two. One." She counted in her head, quickly closing her eyes to shield herself from the explosion. After waiting several seconds, she reopened her eyes, and looked over her shoulder at Yusuke. He was also waiting for the explosion.

"Was the bomb....a fake?" His question was a simple one, but Botan found it difficult to respond.

Putting words together, she turned to look at him. "It's quite possible, I do have something that he wants.." She looked down at her pocket, but when she did, a burst of energy flickered throughout the sky, making her shield her eyes. Yusuke did the same.

Before she knew it, however, the explosion was taking her oar with it. She couldn't fight the waves of debris and energy that were coming toward them. Concentrating her energy into the oar, she found it useless. She had used all her energy on the spirit tunnel. It was then her oar disappeared, plunging Yusuke and her into the darkness of the night.

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"Botan!" His voice grew more desperate as his eyes searched the sky for an answer. "Botan!" He repeated, a picture of her bubbly complexion now filling his thoughts. He felt tears moisten his eyes, but more importantly, he felt his heart ache for the blue-haired ferry girl. She was gone, and it was his fault. He should have saved her. Closing his eyes, he let his mind take him away to the scene.They were falling. He, bewildered by the moment, was falling quicker than she was because his limbs were moving unconsciously in panic. As he watched the buildings below grow clarity; he felt his own imminence of death approaching. He wondered when his life would flash before his eyes. "Yusuke Urameshi. Age:

16. Survived by his mom and everyone until he was--wait, wrong episode." He found it hard to laugh as the wind crushed his body, almost suffocating him. He felt like he was going to die.

No, he couldn't die like this. Just like with Rando, he would find a way out.

Looking down at the buildings, his hopes rose as an idea came to his head. Holding out his hand, he drew energy into his index finger, and waited for the right moment to unleash his attack. "SPIRIT GUN!" he finally yelled, as the stream of energy he created shot into the ground. To his dismay, his spirit gun only broke some of his fall, but it was enough to escape a broken limb.Sighing, Yusuke opened his eyes back to reality. "I have to find Botan," he thought, now running from building to building. "BO--" His foot slipped as he jumped on to the next building, making his voice slip with it. Before he fell, however, he grabbed hold of the window ledge on the building. His worry for Botan had stopped him from worrying about himself.

Grabbing the ends of the window, he started climbing to the top of the building, using the emergency ladder. Once on the roof, he looked toward the sky again. "Botan..." He whispered, hoping to see her bubbly figure through the clouds. That's when he heard the sound of a groan from behind him. It was her. Botan. Lying face down on the ground.

Running toward her, he turned her over, looking for any sign of a wound. "Are you injured?"

"No," she lied.

She had fallen from the sky. The vortex, or spirit tunnel, had made her too weak to create a spirit gun. Using her life energy, she materialized her oar again, but it wasn't enough to bring her safely back to earth. The oar dissipated, while in her grasp, and she plummeted toward a building at a high speed. She fell on her arm, and it was now broken.

"Yusuke, you need to leave." Her voice was a mere whisper, but it was enough for him to comprehend. "Take the jewel," she tried to reach into her pocket, but he stopped her. She knew he wasn't the kind of person to leave a friend behind, but this was a matter of saving Spirit World. "Please Yusuke," the ferry girl touched his cheek with her unscathed arm. She cherished its warmth.

"Botan," he took her hand in his, "you're being overly dramatic." He smiled, but it soon faded once she closed her eyes, unconscious. Giving an exhausted sigh, he whispered, "I'm not leaving you here," and scooped her into his arms. Once she was firmly in his grasp, he stood on his feet, and turned around. Upon

turning around, he saw two figures standing quietly on an adjacent building.

He knew one figure was Keiko. The years they spent together had burned her features into his memory. But, the other one was a complete mystery to Yusuke. Could it be Kano? He stepped forward to get a closer look, but the figure was too well disguised in the dark.

"Yusuke Urameshi," the figure stepped forward, but not enough to get a good look at him. "I've heard much about you." His hand snaked around Keiko's waist, where he pulled her closer to him. A fire ignited in Yusuke's eyes.

"Shut your face," his hands tightened around Botan, "just because you heard things about me doesn't mean you know me!" Yusuke was sick of people thinking that they knew him. Even Keiko, the only person he opened up to, thought he knew him, but she was wrong.

"I don't wish to know you, Yusuke."

Yusuke growled. "What the hell do you want then?"

It was like he was awaiting this question. His hand dropped from Keiko's waist, and his eyes squinted sharply, as if he was looking into his soul. "Maybe my dear mind slave can enlighten you." With that, he disappeared into the shadows, leaving Keiko behind. She silently met his gaze.

"Yusuke," she started, stepping forward. Her voice was innocent as she spoke. "You need not forgive me for what I've done, but please, I don't want to hurt you." Yusuke raised an eyebrow, slightly moved by her words. "You need to stay away from me, Yusuke. I can't control what I'm doing. Kano.." She stopped to

sniff back a couple of tears. Then, "Kano is controlling me...he's making me do things that I don't want to do. I want to break free, but--ah!" She dropped to her knees, holding her head tightly. "He's trying to get into my thoughts, Yusuke! HELP ME!" Her voice was pleading, almost desperate, as she continued to

shriek in pain.

Yusuke's eyes widened. "Keiko!" Placing Botan down carefully, he took one last look at her before jumping toward the building Keiko was on. "I'm here," he comforted as he knelt beside her. She looked deeply in pain. "I'm not going to let anything happen to you." As he patted her back, she unexpectedly threw her

arms around him, and cried into his shoulder. He only accepted her embrace, too caught up in her story to comprehend or care. "Kano was controlling her."His bewilderment could not prepare him for what happened next.

In one swift motion, she pulled away from him and kicked him in the stomach. "Fool," laughed Keiko as he watched her leap toward another building. He only held his stomach from the blow, trying to pick himself up with his feet. Once he stood up, he found Keiko hovering over Botan, obviously searching for the jewel with her eyes.

Shaping his hand into a gun, he concentrated his energy into his index finger, and pointed his weapon at Keiko. "SPIRIT GUN!" he yelled, stepping back a little as the energy took on a straight path for Keiko. It was a direct hit that sent her flying into the ground, unconscious. "Sorry Keiko," he whispered, leaping off the to where Botan rest.

As he lifted Botan back into his arms, he headed toward the stairs, where he heard the faint groan of Keiko from the other side of the building. Shifting Botan to his shoulder, he raced down the stairs in an attempt to avoid another run-in with Keiko. He didn't want to hurt her. His bruised stomach told otherwise, however.

Meanwhile, Botan stirred slightly to pain in her arm. As she opened her eyes, she scanned her surroundings. Her vision was blurry as she tried to make out where they were, but in that moment, she realized that it was because she was moving at a fast pace. Well, it wasn't her moving, per say. "Yusuke." she whispered, her voice soft. The ferry girl felt him tense under her as he stopped to place her down.

"You're awake," said Yusuke, in his usual sarcastic tone. "Now, do you feel like carrying me?"

She held her arm, resisting the urge to smack him. He always had to be funny, even in a dire situation. "Your mouth is going to get you in trouble one day," she smiled, making him return the gesture.

"You know," he put his arms behind his head, "a fortune cookie told me that once."

The ferry girl stifled a laugh. "Come on," she materialized her oar, "we have to go back to the hotel. I'm sure we can find a place to hide the jewel there." Sitting on the device, she added, "I think I have enough energy to take us there."

He raised an eyebrow. "You think?"

"Well, if you feel much safer walking, I'll meet you there," teased Botan, as she hovered over the ground.

Yusuke's eyes widened. "WAIT!"

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Meanwhile, Keiko watched the two disappear into the night sky. She smiled, “master will be pleased to know that I've found the location of the jewel." Stepping back into the darkness, she flipped open her cell phone and called her master.

"Yes Kano, I have them right where I want them."

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"OWWWWWWW!" hollered the blue-haired teen, holding her broken arm in pain. "IDIOT!"

"Stay still!" commanded Yusuke, stretching out the cloth he was holding. "I'm trying to make a splint for your arm!" A groan slipped her lips as she sat back on the bed, awaiting Dr. Urameshi to treat her arm. "Stubborn hag," he whispered, hoping she didn't hear him. She did.

"What?" Materializing her oar, she smacked him over the head. This caused him to fly right into the wall, head first. "You're right, this hag is stubborn." Turning the oar around, she blew the top of it, acting as if she was in a Wild West movie. Then, looking down, she covered her mouth. "Oh Yusuke, what happened to you?"

He growled. "Come here and I'll show you." Standing up, he rubbed his head. "Ouch, you hit harder than...never mind." Botan watched as he silently sat on the hotel bed beside her. She knew what he was thinking about.

"That wasn't Keiko," she reassured, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Kano must be--"

"He's controlling her. That bastard made her his mind slave." His fists clenched tightly as he spoke. Even his eyes shut tightly, not wanting to believe what had become of Keiko. "After you passed out, I ran into Kano and Keiko," he paused, swallowing hard. "She's only his puppet so he can get the jewel. I...felt so helpless that I couldn't get through to her.." She felt a pang of truth in the words he choked out.

"We'll find her."

He shook his head. "She's already lost."

"Yusuke--"

"When I looked into her eyes, I didn't see Keiko. Only emptiness." Standing up, he punched the wall. "Keiko.." he whispered, leaning his head on the wall. Botan, who was sympathizing his loss, approached him and took his hand in hers.

"Have faith, Yusuke. Would Keiko ever give up on you?" He answered her question with a negative headshake. She smiled, "then, stop hurting the poor wall. It didn't do anything to you." His frown pulled upward.

"Thanks Botan," said Yusuke, pulling her into a tight embrace.

"OWWWWW!" she hollered for the second time, pushing him away. "IDIOT!"

"Sorry," he threw his hands over his head defensively, "I forgot! I really did!" Before she could materialize her oar, he stride to the bed, where he picked up the cloth he was playing with before. "Here, let me put this on you."

Guiding her to the bed, she obediently sat down on his command, and watched him place the splint on her arm. Once finished, he looked up and smiled at her. It was then that he realized how close they really were to each other. And their faces. And their lips. And their--whoa, was the room getting hot in here or what?"T-thanks, Yusuke," said Botan, breaking the awkward moment between them. She too had felt the same closeness to Yusuke, but brushed it off, knowing his heart still belonged to Keiko. "And it always will," she sighed sadly, looking out the window.

"Botan?"

She shook her head. "Nothing, I'm just going to step outside the room for a second." Striding toward the door, she added, "I'll only be a minute," and closed the door behind her. Before Yusuke could question Botan's uneasiness, his communicator started to ring.

"Hito?"

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"You can't feel this way for him, Botan." Running a hand through her blue hair, she steadied herself against the wall outside their room. "You weren't meant to love. Grim Reapers are only meant to take love away. You can't do that to Yusuke."

"May I cut in?"

Botan's eyes shifted to a pair of brown eyes. "Keiko?"

"Yes," her eyes filled with amusement, "you have something I want." Leaving Botan's eyes, her attention shifted to a silver dagger she pulled out. "But, if you want to be difficult," she continued, finger now glazing along the edge of the blade, "I'll have no choice but to kill you." Blood trickled down her finger slowly, making her eyes gleam with pleasure. She then waved the dagger at Botan. "What will it be?"

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"What?"

"You need to leave," Hito repeated, "one of Kano's followers is after you."

Yusuke cocked an eyebrow up, not convinced. "If memory serves me right, you were one of them." Before Hito could open his mouth, Yusuke continued, "but if you want to entertain me, show me some proof."

But, at the moment, the proof was delivered not by eye.....

"YUSUKE!"

........but by ear.Botan was in trouble.

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To be continued...

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