What is the worst emotion a human being can feel?
[So uh, I could have sworn I posted this last night, but apparently I never actually hit “publish” and only saved the draft before falling asleep on the couch. A thousand apologies for that!]
“I need to see Koenma,” Mika said when she awoke.
“Right this second?” Youko yawned. He grunted as she pushed herself off of him and out of bed.
She threw off her dirty clothes and dug out a fresh set from the bag at the foot of the bed. “I have questions,” she continued.
Youko sat up, rubbing his eyes. “Yeah, but are you sure you’re up for that? You were a hot mess just a few hours ago.” She shot him a glare. He grinned. “There’s my girl.”
Mika rolled her eyes and turned away. Flirting was the last thing on her mind, but she couldn’t stop the involuntary blush. “Are you coming or not?”
“I’m incredibly curious as to how you’re suddenly coping so well,” he answered, sliding out of bed and stretching his arms over his head. “Much as my ego would have me believe sleeping with me was so therapeutic for you, I have a feeling that is not the case.”
She huffed, the closest thing she felt she could come to a laugh even with her presently renewed spirits. “I had some… strange dreams. They provided some enlightenment for me.” Youko quirked an ear forward, but she shook her head. That was all he was going to get out of her until she spoke to Koenma.
Despite the enormous relief she felt from the closure she finally got with her mother in those dreams, she was still petrified of the power lurking beneath her skin. Her burning desire for answers was nearly extinguished as soon as she left the relative safety of her room. She gripped Youko’s arm tight as she made her way down the hall, flinching at every person they passed.
He chuckled. She dug her nails into his arm. “Ouch!” She glared at him. Sighing, he took her aside. “Just out of curiosity, what would you have done if I had said no?”
She stared at a spot behind him on the wall, stubbornly avoiding his gaze. “I just thought I would be fine.”
“Well it’s very clear you’re not.” He grabbed her chin and turned her to meet his eyes. They were flashing dangerously. “And no one expects you to be either, ok?” He sighed again and his gaze softened. He took her hand and put it to his chest. His heartbeat, which had lulled her to sleep the night before, still pounded strongly beneath her hand. “I’m still here. I’ll stay by your side as long as you need me to.”
A sob threatened to escape her, but she managed to suppress it, burying her face in his chest again, savoring the steady beat of his heart, letting it ground her. When her nerves had sufficiently calmed down, she pulled away to try again. “We can go slow,” he said. “There’s no need to push yourself.”
She sighed. “Part of me thinks that the sooner I can get there the fewer people I can potentially harm.”
“You’re more likely to harm yourself than anyone else. Besides, they seem to be giving us a wide berth. I haven’t seen anyone since those first few reapers you startled.”
Mika frowned. “I don’t know if that makes me feel any better.”
“Koenma probably told them to leave you alone so as not to over stimulate you, since you seem hell bent on reaching him on your own.” She shot him another glare, which he ignored. “Seriously, how far would you have made it if I hadn’t come along?”
She thought about hitting him, but changed her mind. Strolling a little more confidently, she said, “Oh please, you wouldn’t have let me go by myself even if I wanted to.” That earned her one of his devilish smirks. They always warmed her. Each step she took felt more confident than the last.
They made their way to Koenma’s office without further incident. The prince sat at his desk with hands folded in front of him, clearly awaiting their arrival. “I would have come to you, you know,” he started. “But I suppose the exercise is good for you.”
“I tried to stop her,” Youko sighed, “but she’s just as stubborn as her parents.”
Mika bit the inside of her cheek to keep herself from hitting him. Koenma simply chuckled. “So, what brought you to me in such a tear?”
She leaned on the arm of one of the chairs. “Paradise.” Koenma sat rigid, unblinking. Youko turned a quizzical glance to her. “My mother is there, isn’t she?”
“Is it possible for me to go there and speak with her?”
Koenma stared at her for a long moment over steepled fingers. She wanted to squirm under that scrutinizing gaze but she forced herself to maintain eye contact. “No,” he said at last. Her heart sank. She needed guidance and she was certain Ali was the only one with the answers. “She is beyond your reach, but there is another way to get the answers you seek.”
“She knew what would happen from the start,” she muttered. “Of course there would be another way. She didn’t just abandon me.” Hearing the words out of her own mouth startled her. She felt her face flush as Koenma gave her a small, knowing smile.
“Took you long enough,” Youko teased.
Mika huffed. “I’m not all too pleased at how it came about, and I won’t believe it was the right decision until I see this through to the end, but I can at the very least forgive her for doing what she believed she must.”
Youko placed a hand on her head and tousled her hair. “I’m just glad you’ve finally come around.”
“You may not believe it was the right decision, but we were certain it was for the best,” Koenma added. “It was not a decision I made lightly, either. The safety of all the realms was at stake. I weighed every option, and in the end I decided to heed Ali’s advice. I’m sorry you had to suffer for it.”
She glanced at Youko and smirked. “Well, it wasn’t all suffering I guess.”
Koenma cleared his throat. “Well, yes, I should hope not. But there are preparations to be made before we can go any further.” He frowned. “For now, I think you should return home.”
She felt the blood drain from her face. She wanted to avoid that confrontation as long as she could. She didn’t think she could bear looking Nikkie in the eyes. “Koenma…”
“Mika, they are all very worried about you.” His voice was hard but his eyes softened his tone. “Let me put it this way: they’ve already lost one daughter. They don’t want to lose you too.”
Her grief and shame began to rise to the surface again, and with it she could feel her new power clawing to escape. A raging wind was howling in her head as it had done in her fight with Ryuusei. The malicious voice whispered with the wind, urging her to let it out, to let it silence those who wished to cause her pain. It tried once again to coax her into her own mind with promises of erasing the shame and anguish from her heart.
“Mika, relax, don’t let it control you.” Youko’s voice sounded so distant, so fearful. “Mika, it’s ok.” Hearing his voice call her name through the tempest was the spark she needed.
She latched onto that and forced the power down again. With each panicked breath she took, it subsided a little more. Her hands were clenched so tight her nails drew blood from her palms. She could feel it trickling down the side of her face where they were pressed to her head. Each minute lasted an eternity as they passed. Youko’s steady voice calmed her, gave her something to focus on until the power was finally back under her control.
The experience drained her. As the wind in her head ceased and the voice vanished, so did her energy. She fell to the floor in a heap. “I can’t,” she whispered as her eyes drooped closed and she drifted to sleep once again.
Notes: This is a scene from the third part of my YYH fanfic after Mika endures a personal tragedy as a direct result of her own weakness. I think it reflects her grief pretty well. As Yuri died, she unlocked a hidden power within Mika by releasing a limiter Koenma had placed on Mika. Unfortunately, the nature of that power was influenced by the overwhelming trauma of watching her sister die in a battle that should have been hers to fight. That was actually the scene I had debated sharing last night for the “support” role.
Grief is one of the hardest emotions to process. Everyone knows the various stages, and each one has its own emotion tied to it, which is why I feel like grief, on the whole, is the worst emotion to feel. (To be fair, Mika isn’t actually a human, but she’s grieving just the same here.) It’s also one of the hardest to reconcile, because we all cope with grief in different ways. Some people latch on to anger as a way to cope, other people find as much humor in life as possible, others still try to maintain their routine and perhaps even put it out of their mind until they can fully process it. There’s no one right way to grieve, and that’s why it’s so shitty to deal with and, in my opinion, the worst emotion a human can feel.
I’ve had my share of grief in my short lifetime, and I will no doubt have more to come. Until then, I just try to enjoy my life for what it is and not focus on the sad things. What emotion do you think is the absolute worst to feel? Emotions are important in writing, so understand them and use them!
It’s been a heck of a week, but we survived! Have a great weekend! See you Sunday with a new list of prompts!
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