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In Another Universe

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Yugi Amane, when he was alive, loved all things about space - may it be stars, moons, galaxies, pulsars, or black holes, he would devour all the knowledge he could get. Add to the fact that, during his time, a man named Neil Armstrong got to be the first person to step on the moon. His single step was a proof of humanity's giant leap of advancement in terms of space exploration. And that fact alone skyrocketed Amane's adoration for outer space and his desire to become an astronaut.

So when he came across an article about the possibility of the existence of multiverses, he was utterly intrigued.

The theory of multiverse, which was coined by a philosopher named William James, explores the concept of having multiple or even infinite universes, not just one, that together comprise everything that exists - the entirety of space, time, matter, and energy as well as the physical laws and constants that describe them. It was basically the idea of having several parallel universes existing all at once.

Being young and having an infinitely imaginative mind, Amane dreamt of him living in several universes. In another universe, he explored the stars and all the planets revolving around them. And in another, he could've been the first person to land on the moon. There even could've been another one where he discovered and befriended an alien species.

The possibilities were limitless!

Too bad he decided that he won't go anywhere. Thus, ending his dream and all the visions that came with it.

Alone at the rooftop, Hanako sat with his legs dangling at the edge and looked up at the clear blue sky which seems to taunt him with its brightness, because it is the exact opposite of what he was currently feeling.

After the whole Time Keeper's fiasco, Hanako cannot help but remember how hopeless and devastated he felt while he saw Yashiro fall after being touched by Mirai, seeing her empty eyes devoid of its usual sparkle, then him holding her limp body against his. He got a vision of what her future looked like and he was unable to stop it. He was utterly useless.

He cannot deny anymore the feelings that slowly but surely emerged after meeting Yashiro. If ghosts can even feel at all. His world seemed to be less dreary, the colors more vivid. His feeling more things now than those fifty years before Yashiro knocked on his stall.

Hanako is a lot of things, but he is not stupid. He knew what he felt for her is affection, or akin to that, maybe even bordering on love. And maybe his addled mind is playing tricks on him but he was sure that Yashiro was somewhat developing the same feelings for him.

But he is who he is. He was an apparition that cannot move on because of the sins he made during his life and he still felt the burden it brought upon his shoulders.

With this thought in mind, he cannot avoid thinking about the theory of multiverse. A theory he was so interested in when he was still alive.

If that theory was applied, somewhere out there, in the vast, infinite space, there was a universe where they could've met in a simpler manner. A universe where the circumstances were much easier, kinder, pure.

A universe where he could love her without having any second thoughts. And maybe, if he was lucky enough in that universe, she could even love him back.

Since there was no harm in it, Hanako decided to let his imagination roam free and run wild.

Maybe in another universe, they could've been classmates.

He would sit behind her every class and she would greet him every morning. He would've invited her on a movie date and she said yes. They would watch a movie which could've been about galaxies and hamsters.

They would agree to meet in front of a train station and he would go there an hour prior to their arrangement because he was too jittery with nerves and excitement that he could not stay in his house any longer.

And finally, after several long and agonizing minutes of him debating with himself whether the girl he invited would come or not, he would finally see Yashiro walking towards him.

After watching the surprisingly exhilarating movie, they would've taken the train home and Yashiro would've leaned her head on his shoulder and fall asleep. Her tiredness would be due to her fretting the night before on what to wear and being too excited to get a good night's sleep. And he would've let her doze off and would've been careful enough to not jostle his companion.

And after stepping out of the train, they would've mutually agreed that they had a fun day together and he would've walked her home with him holding her hand and her allowing him to do so. And he would ask her to go stargazing with him the day after and she would've said yes without hesitation.

"Then it's another date," he would say smugly and she would've blushed a beautiful crimson which encompassed the whole of her face and her neck.

And that could've been their first date. In that parallel universe, that would've been the first of many.

A soft smile formed on Hanako's lips.

Maybe in another universe, Yashiro would've been a princess and him her destined prince.

Yashiro would definitely love that universe. A universe full of sparkly castles with spires rising to meet the sky, neverending balls where she could wear a perfectly tailored gown just for her, and princes who could've swept anyone by their feet.

Hanako barked out a laugh while he imagined a ballgown-wearing Yashiro chasing princes from different kingdoms. And they would've rejected her due to her daikon legs (which is not suited for any princess they would've said).

She would cry her heart out but he would've found her hiding behind a wall. Because wherever Yashiro is, he would surely be there to find her. Even if that means comforting her and defending her from her own heartbreak.

"Why are you here?" She would've asked him while trying to hide her tear-stained face. "Why don't you go to those pretty princesses with their slim ankles."

"Well, they are not my type. They are too high maintenance." He would've sat beside her with their legs barely touching. "And besides, I love radishes. Even with their cute fat ankles and all that." He would've whispered a few inches from her ear.

Her answering blush would've made his day brighter.

In another universe, he could've have been a phantom thief and she a junior detective.

They would've met during one of his heists. Him running away while injured and she spotting him in a dark alley with blood staining his clothes.

Instead of turning him in, she would've tended to his wounds before letting him go.

"Why are you helping me?" Hanako would've asked confusedly while watching her dress his wound with a bandage.

"I don't know!" Yashiro would've shouted at him, equally as baffled at what she was doing. "It just feels like the right thing to do."

He would've noticed the careful way she was cleaning his injuries and daintily checking for other areas that were causing him pain.

And even if that was the first time they met, he could've sworn that she was the most caring person he had ever met.

While packing up her first aid kit, he would've held her shoulder and turned her to face him while promptly kissing her cheek.

"What was that for, you pervert!" Her shrilly voice could've been heard miles away, her face red down to her neck.

"Hush! They'll hear you!" Hanako would've covered her mouth and looked for people who might've seen them while simultaneously trying to hear footsteps which could mean that his pursuers have followed him.

Hearing none, he would've looked back at his rescuer. "That's my thank you gift. Though I would love to stay here and chat with you, I believe that my assailants would find me soon if I remain here."

He would've looked her in the eyes, his mouth forming a teasing smile while he saw that his companion was shooting him a glare because his hand was still covering her mouth.

"This won't be the last time we'll meet." He would've declared and kissed the hand still holding her face.

He would've left her there with her mouth agape, trying to fight the blush that was forming on her face.

And in that universe, Yashiro would've found him waiting at her apartment while making himself a cup of coffee, looking terribly comfortable in someone else's home.

Hanako chuckled at the disaster that could've surely ensued. That universe could've been fun for the both of them.

A bitter laugh escaped his lips.

Maybe, in another universe where the odds are not against them, he could love her wholly. A universe where no restrictions were holding them back. A universe where she could've loved him and he would love her back without any reservations.

They were just the wrong universe. And if the theory holds, by the law of averages, with the infinite number of universes, this could be the only one where they cannot be together. In this universe where she was destined to die and he was left to wander in a world without her.

A world without Yashiro Nene.

He looked at his right hand and made a fist, with determination alighting his eyes, he made an ultimate decision.

He managed to change his fate once. Maybe in this universe, he could change it again. He will make this universe work out in their favor.

This universe will be one where Yashiro will live. He will make sure of that. Fate may have brought them together but he will change the tragic destiny that awaits her.

What this universe will do to him in return he could not care less.

"Hanako-kun! I finally found you!" Someone exclaimed behind him. Turning to look at the owner of the voice, he saw a brightly smiling Yashiro climbing up the stairs and moving towards his direction.

"Hey, Yashiro. Do you know about the theory of multiverse?"