Was it something I didn't say?
Always assumed that you'd be there
Couldn't foresee the day you'd ever be leaving me
How could I let my world
Slip through my hands baby
I took for granted that you knew yeah
Oh love, the love I had for you yeah
I guess, you never had a clue
Till it was too late
You walked away
Was it something I didn't say
When I didn't say I love you
Was it words that you never heard
All those words I should have told you
All those times
All those nights
When I had the chance to
Was it something I didn't say
- 98 degrees
They grew up together, within the walls of the Reikai palace. But as years pass their jobs separate them further and further apart. No longer does she call him Koenma-chan. To her and everyone else, he became known as Koenma-sama.
Now, they are more than seven centuries old, had not seen each other for several months. Botan had gone on vacation, transferring her duties to Hanageshi.
There had always been a comfortable warmth between the two of them. But never any talk of love.
He is Koenma, prince of Reikai. She is Botan, Reikai Spirit Guide.
That afternoon, Koenma knocked on Botan's apartment. He is in older form, but his clothes are rumpled and his Fuumakan is nowhere in sight.
Botan came to the door, holding a thick, glossy bridal magazine. "Koenma-sama!" she exclaimed, surprised.
"Could you come for a walk?" he asked. The words came out sounding like half a request and half an order. That had been his style, probably honed by his years of working as the boss. He tries to cover his nervousness or fear by speaking this way, even with regards to matters that concerned him desperately.
"A walk?" she echoed.
"Hai. One foot in front of the other," he said, "through leaves, over bridges--"
"I had no idea you were coming," she said.
"I just got here." He held out his hand for the book, "May I see the magazine?"
She gave it to him, "I'm getting married, Koenma-sama," she said.
"I know," he paused, "Please stop calling me Koenma-sama."
"Habit, I guess," she said softly.
"Let's go for a walk."
"I've got a lot of things to do, Koenma," she said. "The wedding is just a week away."
"If we go for a walk, it will make you rosy. It'll make you a rosy bride," he flipped through the magazine. "A rosy bride like her--like her--like her," he said, showing her rosy brides.
Botan turned rosy at the thought.
"That will be my gift to Nishikawa Takashi," Koenma said. "By taking you for a walk, I'll be giving him a rosy bride."
"You know his name?"
"George told me."
"You'd like him."
"Can--can you come to the wedding, Koenma?"
"I doubt that."
"Your vacation isn't long enough?"
"Vacation?" he looked up from an ad of china. "I'm not on vacation."
"I'm what they call AWOL," he replied, bitting back a smile at the look of shock on Botan's face.
"Oh, Koenma! You're not!!" she said.
"Of course I am."
"I wanted to find out the china that you want." He read several names of china from the magazine. He smiled at her, "I plan to give you and your husband a plate."
"Koenma, tell me really," she said.
"I want to go for a walk," he said, his stubborn streak beginning to show in his voice.
She wrung her hands in sisterly anguish. "Koenma! You--you're fooling me about being AWOL!"
He shook his head.
"How did you get here?"
"I hiked. Two days."
"Does your father know?" Enma is vacationing in the mansion several kilometers away.
"I didn't come to see my father."
"Who did you come to see?"
"You," he replied, looking directly into her eyes.
"Because I love you," he said, softly. "Now, can we go for a walk? One foot in front of the other..."
They were taking the walk now, were in the garden of the nearby park. Botan was angry and shaken, close to tears. "Koenma," she said, trying to control her tears, "this is absolutely crazy."
"What a crazy time to tell me that you love me! You never talked that way before." She stopped walking.
"Let's keep walking," he said.
"No. We've gone too far. No farther," she shook her head. "I shouldn't have come out with you at all."
"But you did."
"Only to get you out of the house," she said. "If somebody heard you talking to me that way, a week before the wedding--"
"What would they think?"
They'd think you're crazy!" she said.
Botan took a deep breath and made a speech. "Let me say that I'm deeply honored by this crazy thing you've done. I can't believe that you're really AWOL, but maybe you are. I can't believe you really love me, but maybe you do. But--"
"I do," he cut in.
"Well, I'm deeply honored. And I'm very fond of you as a friend, Koenma, extremely fond. But--it's just too late." She took a step away from him. "You've never even kissed me," the words escaped her so quickly she barely noticed. A moment later, her words sank in and she protected herself with her hands. "I don't mean you should do it now. It's just that all of this is so unexpected. I don't have the slightest idea how to respond."
"Let's just walk some more and have a nice time," he said.
They started walking again.
"How did you expect me to react?" she asked.
"I don't know what to expect. I've never done anything like this before."
"Did you think I'd throw myself into your arms?"
"I'm sorry to disappoint you."
"I'm not disappointed. I wasn't counting on it. This is very nice, just walking."
Botan stopped walking. "You know what happens next?"
"We shake hands. We shake hands and part friends. That's what happens next."
Koenma nodded. "All right." He gazed at her face. "Remember me from time to time. Remember how much I loved you."
Botan, involuntarily, burst into tears.
"What does that mean?" Koenma asked.
"Rage!" she snapped. She clenched her hands. "You had no right--"
"I had to find out," he said.
"If I love you...you would have known before now."
"You would have seen it. I'm not very good at hiding it."
Koenma looked at her closely. Botan suddenly realized that what she said was true. Koenma is seeing love now. He did what he had to do. He kissed her.
"You're hell to get along with!" she said when Koenma released her.
"You shouldn't have done that!"
"You didn't like it?"
"What did you expect?" she snapped, "wild passion?"
"I told you, I don't know what will happen next."
"We say goodbye."
He frowned, "Okay."
"I'm not sorry we kissed. It was sweet. Maybe we should have kissed, we've been so close. I'll always remember you, Koenma-sama."
"A thousand spanking."
"A thousand spanking. That's what one kiss will cost me."
"Go--gomen. But I didn't ask you to go AWOL."
"You certainly won't get any hero's reward for doing something that foolish," she said, thinking of the souls that could get in trouble because of Koenma's absence.
"Must be nice to be a hero. Is Nishikawa Takashi a hero?"
"He might be if he's given the chance." Botan noted that they began to walk again. Their farewell had been forgotten.
"Do you really love him?"
"Of course I love him! I wouldn't marry him if I didn't!"
"What's good about him?"
"Do you know how offensive you're being?! Many, many things are good about him! Yes, many, many things are probably bad too. But that's not your business! I love him and I don't want to argue with you!"
Botan glared, "Hmp!"
Koenma kissed her again. He kissed her because she wanted him to.
They are now near the lake.
"I have to go back now," Botan said.
"Every time I say goodbye, you kiss me."
Koenma sat down on the grass under a tree, "Sit down."
"I promise I won't touch you."
"I don't believe you." She sat under another three several meters away from him and closed her eyes.
"Dream of Nishikawa Takashi," he said.
"Dream of your wonderful husband-to-be."
"Fine. I will," she closed her eyes tighter and caught glimpses of her husband-to-be.
The birds are chirping on the trees and Botan nearly fell asleep.
When she opened her eyes she saw that Koenma is really asleep. He began to snore softly. Botan let Koenma sleep for an hour and while he slept she adored him with all her heart. Botan stood up and knelt beside Koenma.
"I love you, Botan."
Koenma stood up and stretched. "A very nice walk."
"I thought so."
"Part company here?" he asked.
She nodded, "Where will you go?"
"I'll go to tousama's rest house."
"Good luck," she said.
"You too," he paused. "Marry me, Botan?"
Koenma smiled. He stared hard at her for a moment, then quickly walked away.
Botan watched him grow smaller. She knew that if he stopped and turned now, she would run to him. She would have no choice.
Koenma did stop. He did turn. He did call. "Botan."
Botan ran to him. She wrapped her arms around him and could not speak.