Only Time: The Sacred Power

Chapter Sixteen

By J. Marie


Warning!!! This is a lemon yaoi fanfiction starring Nakago and Tasuki from Fushigi Yugi. It is rated NC-17 (for the moment, but the rating is subject to change). See, I promised I would start working on the second story arc! Anyways, as before please keep in mind that seventeen years have passed in the real world since the end of the OVAs, and fifty years in Shi Jin Tenchi Sho (Universe of the Four Gods). This story is a sequel to the ANIME *NOT* the MANGA. I will present a little less romance, and a little more action in this particular story line. Be aware that you will now suffer through my attempt at a plot as convoluted and as complicated as the actual Fushigi Yugi storyline. Not only will your suffer through that, but you will suffer through my manic ignorance, which causes me to use a smattering of Japanese and Chinese terms, and yet *still* use my own English terms for things. And then you'll have to suffer through my English Dub version of all spelling, as I refuse to spell things differently from my English Dub anime tapes of FY. You'll get used to it, I promise. And for those of you have not read "Only Time"- Story Arc 1- "Deja Vu", you might want to do so. This is the second story arc of "Only Time", and you can get the full back story in "Deja Vu". However, it's not *entirely* necessary, but I really think you'd miss a lot. I'll be developing characters, as always, and be introducing my own takes on a few seishi not introduced by Yu Watase. Any such introductions, which I will list as they pop up, are my own creations, and therefore belong to ME, *not* Yu Watase. I know I said I wouldn't introduce any new seishi, but my plot requires that a few take up crucial roles. However, Hatsui and Urumiya (I think that‘s their names...) actually appeared in the first OVA. Alright, I've rambled on long enough, and I'll get to writing. :)


Who can say
where the road goes
where the day flows
- only time
And who can say
If your love grows
as your heart chose
- only time

Who can say
why your heart sighs
as your love flies
- only time
And who can say
why your heart cries
when your love lies
- only time

Who can say
when the roads meet
that love might be
in your heart
And who can say
when the day sleeps
If the night keeps
all your heart

Night keeps all your heart

And who can say
If your love grows
as your heart chose
- only time
Who can say
where the road goes
where the day flows
- only time

Who knows - only time

Who knows - only time

-- "Only Time" by Enya


"Well? None of you have even one good reason why you have just ruined my life?"


Nakago stood before the assembled group, his fists clenched, and his eyes burning with anger. His face was set in the chilly expression often associated with his most destructive acts in his past life. Keisuke clutched Chiriko's arm, fearing the worst. Miaka began to tremble in fear, and almost as if they were one, Tamahome and Taka stepped in front of her, to protect her. Tetsuya felt the blood drain from his face and reached over to his wife, who was already stepping away.

They had no faith in Nakago.

But those who had been corrupted, those who had been part of Seiryu understood him.

Miboshi trembled, but he stepped forward, his lavender eyes filled with compassion. Yui stepped up beside him, her deep, dark blue eyes filled with regret for what they had done.

"Nakago... please. Stop. You're scaring everyone," Yui pleaded, stepping closer to the boy.

"I'm scaring them??? Scaring them??? Why?? Why did you do this to me??? Why did you do this to yourselves???" Nakago cried, his facade of ice faltering, his face taking on the snarling expression of a man enraged. His eyes flashed, and he seemed close to tears.

"Because Seiryu needs us, Nakago-" Miboshi began before Nakago cuffed the slight boy across the face. It wasn't a hard blow by any means, but enough to cause the small boy to stumble back, and stare up at Nakago in fear.

"Fuck Seiryu. You just ruined my life, all of you. You just took everything away from me. Everything," Nakago cried, his face seeming to crumple, but he refused to cry. He didn't even realize how he was babbling, his buried emotions threatening to surface at the shock of having his past life revealed to him.

"Nakago. Stop it. Stop it right now," Yui hissed, and she slapped him across the face, as she would her own sons. Nakago paused and stared down at his priestess, his self-control returning to him quickly.

"I suppose it's only fair. Considering what I've done to all of you. This is how you get me back.... It's only fair...." Nakago said quietly, his composure quickly returning. He felt manic, shifting from emotion to emotion rapidly. His duality was no more. He was not the past Nakago, or the reborn Nakago, but both. But even though he was filled the experiences of two lives, he felt emptied, drained.

Tasuki was gone.

The room was silent, and it was Taka who stepped forward. Miaka pressed herself against the wall, in a state beyond terror. Keisuke and Chiriko almost seemed to stir from their terrified stance, seeing the emotions play briefly across Nakago's face. Blink and you could have missed it.

Nakago turned to stare at Taka, his face blank, his glance frosty. Yui stepped back, sensing almost immediately that whatever heartache ailed Nakago, there was nothing she could do about it. Taka stared at Nakago quietly. He alone had been privy to the horrors of Nakago's past life, he alone knew what made the past Nakago into a monster. Although they had been bitter enemies, it was Taka who offered Nakago a hand, an offer of peace.

Nakago stared at the hand blankly. It was the same hand that had ripped through his chest in his past life. Taka offered the boy a sad smile.

"I'm sorry, Nakago. I'm sorry you had to wake up and you had to change. I'm sorry we took away your innocence. I'm sorry you've lost your innocence in two lives, not just one. But the Shi Jin Tenchi Sho needs you, it needs all of us, I think. It's dying, I know you can feel that by touching it, like I can, and Chiriko, and Miboshi. it's a part of us, and it's dying without us..... That's why we woke you up, Nakago. To save the Universe of the Four Gods," Taka said plainly, backing up his words with strength of character. It was that strength of character, his devotion, that had attracted Nakago to the raven-haired seishi in his past life.

"I'm sorry, too, Taka. Tamahome. Whoever you are. And for what it's worth, there is much more I am sorry for...." Nakago said just as quietly, his eyes falling on Miaka, who's small form trembled in his presence, but she slowly regained her wits, realizing he wasn't going to hurt anyone.

Taka's eyes drifted to his wife and then back to Nakago.

"I'm so sorry, for what I did to you, Tamahome. Miaka. Everyone. So many died because I wanted them to. Because they all stood in my way....." Nakago whispered, and his eye glittered, but the tear was never shed. Never would he cry.

Despite the wrongs that Nakago had done to Taka, as Tamahome, and his friends, family, and loved ones, Taka's heart went out to the blonde. Nakago was desperately trying to cover the gaping hole in his heart with ice, it was obvious.

Taka offered his hand again, but Nakago never took it. He brushed past the other man carefully on his way out. He never spared them a glance.

He had lost everything.

"He hates me now. And I deserve it."

Miaka hung her head at Nakago's parting words, her heart breaking for the man she once hated. She felt, and she understood love better than most. Tasuki loved Nakago.

And Tasuki hated Nakago.

And Nakago needed love, it was obvious.

The cold blonde youth stormed from the house, memories of two lives swirling in his head, drowning in his own guilt, overwhelmed by his pain. All eyes from the room followed him.

They looked at each other, none speaking. They had destroyed Nakago's life. He now had to face his internal demons, and face the fact that he had been a monster in his past life. He had to face every crime, every murder, every act of destruction. Nakago now had to hold himself accountable for all his actions. Every last person in the room understood this. And understood how hard it would be to suffer from the guilt of sins you didn't quite commit.

Taka Sukunami felt like he had ripped Nakago's heart out a second time.


He felt like Tamahome had ripped his heart out a second time.

No tears came. He wouldn't allow them. He refused to cry, to sob his heart out. He remained dry-eyed, even when it burned.

In Nakago's mind's eye, he saw every death he orchestrated, either by his own hand, or through others. He saw the death of Tamahome's family as if he had killed them personally. For it was his silky tongue that had convinced Suboshi that Tamahome was the murderer of his twin. He had convinced Suboshi it was only fair that he murder Tamahome's family in retribution for his own brother's death.

He saw Soi's death, as if he had thrown the sword that ran her through. If he had pushed her away, instead of leading her on, she would never have given her life for his.

It was he who had slain the remaining Byakko Seven. They had aged on the inside due to Subaru's time spell, and quickly fell by his hand. They had dared to stand in his way.

It was he who cultivated Miboshi into the depths of his insanity. It was he who had loosed Miboshi upon the Suzaku Seven, knowing full well it would be the child seishi, Chiriko, who would fall to Miboshi.

It was Nakago who killed Hotohori, with a life force blast that ripped through the gentle swordsman's body, and deprived Konan of it's wise and kind ruler.

It was Nakago who had slain Tamahome, even though the seishi returned form death by will alone. It was Nakago who had attempted to rape and murder the Priestess of Suzaku, the young Miaka Yuki. He had bestowed so much pain and suffering into their young lives.

It was Nakago who had convinced Yui that her best friend hated her, and led the girl to believe she had been raped, causing untold pain in the girl's psyche. It was he who led the girl on, so she would wish him a god, knowing full well Seiryu would devour her.

It was he who slaughtered his own fellow seishi, Ashitare, when the werewolf lost his usefulness. It was he who beat Ashitare into the heights of rabid cruelty. A rabid cruelty that led to Nuriko's death on a snow-covered mountain top.

It was Nakago. It was him. It was all his fault.

He was evil. He was a murderer. He was a rapist. He was a sadist. He was a monster. He wasn't even human. Nakago was beyond despicable. The basest of all creatures.

These thoughts ran through the boy's mind as he stopped at the bridge.

Nakago walked to the railing. Dusk had fallen, and the sun was setting gently over the watery horizon. The tall blonde stared morbidly down at the gently moving water, the elemental part of him craving to be part of it. Craving to be free from his guilt, from the knowledge of his past sins.

To be free of the gnawing emptiness where his heart once was. So he wouldn't have to think about how much Tasuki really meant to him. So he wouldn't be in so much pain.

Nakago climbed over the railing, and stood on the smallest ledge on the other side, gripping the railing. He stared down at the water, wrapping himself up in his own pain, and his own desire to be free. He tried to forget about the Universe of the Four Gods, and what his death would mean.

And as the boy considered becoming one with the waves, he never stopped to think how selfish he was being.


They always seemed to forget about her.

Yuiren had been told to stay in her room, and dinner would be brought to her. The adults had some sort of important dinner, and she would only be in the way. What they didn't tell her is that they weren't quite sure what was going to happen, and that they didn't want her in harm's way.

Yuiren was sneakier than anyone gave her credit for. It wasn't that she never listened to anyone, but that she had her own mind, her own thoughts, feelings, and strength of will. Yuiren was annoyed when people told her what to do. What she didn't realize was that many of her thoughts and emotions weren't really hers, but part of her past life's.

Her auburn hair was carefully set into braided pigtails, and she put on a pretty yellow sundress her mother had bought her. She stepped out of the room, her hazel eyes darting around the hallway as she crept towards the living room. She'd had a premonition, and she knew what she had to do.

Her mother wasn't going to be happy about this.

Yuiren padded silently to the doorway of the living room, listening to her mother sob, listening to the door slam as Nakago stormed out, his face full of anguish. She glimpsed her father holding her mother, comforting the slight woman. She saw her brother go to the window, blankly watching Nakago drive away. Yuiren saw as Yui sat down beside her husband and sob, but it was Miboshi who comforted the middle-aged blonde, as Tetsuya stared forlornly at the wallet photo of his twin sons. Chiriko and Keisuke were silent, but their hands were joined.

They didn't notice her until it was too late.

"Yuiren, stop!!" her father screamed at her, when he realized she was running away with the Book of the Universe of the Four Gods in her arms.

They should have caught her, but Yuiren was surprisingly quick for such a little thing. She managed to get on her bike and pedaled away faster than any of them could run. By the time they got to the car, she would be out of sight, and they had no idea where she was going.

At least until Tamahome figured it out, and being as much of a baka as his mother, it would take him some time.


It was almost inevitable that they wound up in bed together.

Tomo was fast asleep, his long black hair spread across his face, and his pillows. Nuriko lay beside him, but there was no sleep for the purple-haired beauty. He chewed on his fingernails anxiously.

He felt like he had just betrayed Hotohori by sleeping with Tomo. It wasn't right, really. It was strange, but the sexual encounter with the gorgeous actor only left Nuriko feeling a little dirty.

He like Tomo, he really did. The past month together had been fun. Tomo was interesting, and a great friend. But that's all Nuriko wanted him to be. A friend. Having sex with a man other than Hotohori made him realize something about himself.

He wasn't gay.

Nuriko sat up and headed for his shower, to clean himself. He felt so dirty, and so confused. He loved Hotohori with all his heart and soul. But Nuriko wasn't gay. While he had felt complete on the few times Hotohori had agreed to sleep with him, Nuriko felt empty.

But wasn't he suppose to be gay? He dressed like a woman. He felt like a woman. He was in love with Hotohori, another man.

But Nuriko wasn't gay.

The purple-haired boy sat down in shower, thoroughly confused. He dressed like a woman, because it was familiar, and because it pleased Hotohori. He wanted to be a woman, felt like one, but he wasn't one.

He was a man, and he had to accept that.

And he had to accept that Hotohori didn't love him back.

Nuriko finished his shower and then crept about Tomo's room, getting dressed. He was grateful to Tomo. The raven-haired youth had taught him so much. Taught him to be a man, to accept himself. As much as Nuriko wished he was a woman, he wasn't. But he was still Nuriko.

Nuriko put on men's clothing and stared at himself in the mirror, fondling his own long purple hair.

"Don't cut it. It's so beautiful, Nuriko. No matter what you do, don't cut your hair. For me," Tomo said, his nasal voice startling Nuriko in the dim twilight.

Nuriko turned and spun around, his eyes glittering with tears. He didn't know what he was any more. There was no definition for him. He was both man and woman, lost in dual sexuality. He opened his mouth to speak, but Tomo spoke first.

"I know, Nuriko. It was fun, and I'll miss you, but I understand. You need to find out who you are. Get a girlfriend, see how that works out. Go find yourself," Tomo said softly, accepting his loss with grace. But then again, everything about Tomo was graceful.

"Thank you, my friend..." Nuriko whispered, and quickly left, choking on his confusion.


The yellow lightning had just faded from Tatara's slender frame when Yuiren's father and brother arrived in Tatara's garden.

The slender youth stood tall, facing both Taka and Tamahome with a strength that seemed out of place on his delicate features. "Hello, Tamahome. Does Miaka fare well?" he asked gently.

Taka paused even as Tamahome blinked in confusion. Tatara had just addressed his father, Taka, but with his name, Tamahome.

"We're happily married, Tatara. Standing beside you is our daughter, Yuiren," he said in an odd voice, holding his hand up to stop his son from progressing farther.

"She is as lovely as her mother is. My sweet Suzuno has been reborn very appropriately, don't you agree, Tamahome?" Tatara smiled gently, still addressing Taka.

"My name is Taka Sukunami. I've been reborn, just as you have. My son's name is Tamahome," Taka said quietly.

"Yes, of course. But when it comes down to it, Taka, you are Tamahome," Tatara said firmly.

"What now?" Taka asked in fear.

"My counter seishi must awaken. Whereas I am life, Hatsui is death. You will find him outside of Genbu no Miko's house. I will take Yuiren home to her mother, where she will be safe," Tatara said, as he gently took the little girl's hand in his. Yuiren smiled up at him with a look of pure adoration.

"What's up with this? You're gonna let some pedophile take my sister home? What's going on?? What are you guys talking about???" Tamahome demanded his eyes narrowed, and his nostrils flaring.

"Shut up, Tamahome, and get in the car. Out of everyone in both worlds, Tatara would be the last person to hurt your sister," Taka said firmly, looking Tatara dead in the eye. Tatara smiled softly in response.

"Genbu no Miko being....?" Taka asked when Tamahome got inside the car, pouting slightly.

Tatara gently handed Taka the book back, pointing to the ever-changing sentence on the second page. He said nothing, and stood back.

Taka swallowed hard as he read the sentence, which was now a small paragraph.

Suzaku connects the last two Priestesses to himself by the circumstances of their existence. The first Mikos of the cycle have died only to be reborn, and Suzaku, as the Phoenix, is the god of rebirth. Byakko no Miko has been reborn as the daughter of the Ogre, and Genbu no Miko as the sister of the Wing.

"Tasuki's not going to like this," Taka mumbled to himself as he left his daughter with Tatara, and drove to Junko Ishida's house, seeking the seishi whose attribute was Death.


"What the fuck is going on, Dad? And don't lie to me, either."

Taka swallowed as he took a right turn, closing the distance to Tasuki's sister's house. "You won't believe me," he said weakly, as his last defense.

"After what happened a few hours ago in our living room, I don't think me not believing you is a problem. The problem is that I probably will believe you," Tamahome said firmly.

Taka sighed. "In my past life I was known as Tamahome, Celestial Warrior of Suzaku. I lived in a world later discovered existed within the pages of a book. Your mother read the book, along with Yui, and they were transported to my world. Yui became the Priestess of Seiryu, and Miaka became Priestess of Suzaku. The Seiryu Seven were our enemies, and we fought them tooth and nail to summon Suzaku, even though Miaka and Yui were best friends. Your mother and I fell in love, but Nakago, a sociopathic megalomaniac in his past life, tried to tear us apart. I and the other Suzaku Seven, Hotohori, Nuriko, Chichiri, Tasuki, Mitsukake, and Chiriko, fought against him, but he was a tough bastard and killed all but me, Chichiri, and Tasuki. In the end, it all turned out right, and Yui and Miaka became friends again. Miaka summoned Suzaku and I killed Nakago. Eventually, an evil being known as Tenko resurfaced, and I was torn away from your mother again. In order to be with her, I had to be reborn as a normal human being in her world. And then we went back in the book, and helped destroy Tenko, with the help of the rest of the Suzaku Seven, dead and alive. We thought it was over. Even when we realized that all your friends were reincarnations of my fellow seishi, we thought it was over. It's not. Something's wrong in the Book of the Universe of the Four Gods, and it needs all of us again."

Tamahome blinked. "Sorry I asked," he said in a weak voice.

Taka stopped in front of the Ishida household, and found himself staring at a young boy who was sleeping on Junko's porch. He was small, and dark-haired, but Taka could almost feel the quiet power in the boy, waiting to be awakened. Taka had a dim recollection of two young seishi running to help Yui when Tenko held her captive. He instinctively looked around for the dark-haired boy’s boon companion, another boy with white hair, but caught no sight of him. Only the small, dark-haired boy slept on the porch, curled up like a cat, as if he was waiting for something.

"Stay in the car, Tamahome," Taka said and grabbed the book, stepping out of his car.

The boy stirred, revealing startling silver eyes. He looked sweet and young, but it was deceptive. The youth stood up, his eyes beginning to glow green, even as did the book in Taka's hands.

"Hatsui, I presume?" Taka asked. The boy nodded, as if in a trance.

Taka proffered the book to the boy, whose hand stretched out, and touched the book. As with the others, bright green light exploded from the book, and green lightning coursed through his body. Hatsui writhed and arched, and his last words were of protecting his Priestess. When it was all over, the boy shook before Taka, now an awakened seishi.

Taka swallowed, and Tamahome gaped from the car. "Dad, I'll be needing a more in-depth explanation of just what the hell this is all about later on," Tamahome said weakly.

Hatsui stood up, glancing from Tamahome to the door to Junko's house. A curtain flew back into place, and Taka got the impression that Tasuki's older sister had been watching what happened, but now was running away. Hatsui frowned.

"Make that explanation for the both of us," Hatsui said firmly.

Taka smiled grimly. "Hop in the car, kid. We got a bunch of other seishi at my house who would just love to meet you. And better explanations can come from them," he said evenly.


Tasuki was walking the streets of Tokyo, his hands stuffed in the pockets of his jeans. His fiery head was hung low, and on his face was etched the deepest of grief. For he had just discovered the man he loved was an insane madman that he hated in his past life.

He was lost, and he was hurting. Tasuki trudged without purpose, feeling his heart bleed. He had found someone on whom he could shower affection, and to share the incredible love that burned in his soul. And that someone had once been his greatest enemy...

It was a purple light that struck Tasuki to his knees. That opened his eyes wide. That made him see more than what he remembered... That made him see not only his past life....

Tasuki saw Nakago, for only a moment, dressed in armor, his hand outstretched towards Tasuki. Blue-white energy exploded from it, and washed over Tasuki. His body felt like it was being encased by ice, cell by cell, atom by atom. The pain was incredible.

As he fell to the ground, Tasuki was dimly aware of Tamahome, dressed in black, holding a pair of nunchaka and standing over him, a sneer not unlike Nakago's on his face. He sensed Miaka huddling by Chichiri in the bushes, hiding from Nakago. Tasuki prayed to Suzaku they could get away.

He hated Nakago in that memory.

But instead of what had really happened, Tasuki saw Nakago bend down beside him and stare at his limp and broken form. Nakago's face formed a sneer, and then it formed a mask of sorrow. Tasuki moaned softly in pain as Nakago removed his dragon armor breastplate. Tasuki's eye caught on the smooth white flesh of Nakago's chest as the blonde removed his shirt. Tasuki tried to crawl away, but his broken body refused to move. He had a wild, fearful thought that Nakago was going to rape him.

But instead of touching Tasuki, Nakago touched his own chest, clawing and scraping through tender white flesh. Tasuki's eyes widened and blood poured down Nakago's stomach as he ripped a hand inside his own chest and pulled out his beating heart.

Tasuki began to scream.

Nakago shoved the heart in Tasuki's open mouth, and forced him to eat it, his eyes sad, but his lips sneering. Tasuki gasped and choked, but it was Nakago's blood he swallowed, and the meat of Nakago's pulsing, red heart he ate. The heart's flesh was tender and soft, even a little gelatinous, and blood gushed across Tasuki's face, leaving behind the coppery tangy taste of human blood.

When Taka's hand ripped through Nakago's heart, he only saw bits and pieces of Nakago's hard life. But as Tasuki was forced to eat Nakago's heart, he saw it all.

Eating a human heart was nowhere near as disgusting as the indignity Nakago had suffered.....

-the hate and prejudice against the Hin Tribe, Nakago's tribe-

-the murder of his father-

-the genocide of the Hin tribe-

-the rape of his mother before his very eyes-

-the accidental release of his power, which killed his mother-

-the beating he received from the surviving Kutou soldiers-

-being dragged before the lecherous Kutou emperor-

-the humiliation and degradation of the repeated rapes by the Kutou emperor-

-the violation and destruction of his innocence by the mental, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse-

-the unforgivable training to be the most powerful warrior ever born-

-the servitude to his hated master-

-the vow for vengeance, at any cost-

-the twisting of his soul as he aimed to become a god-

-the blind destruction of anyone in his path-

-and the frozen void that replaced his heart.......

..... and blessedly, Tasuki was able to escape Nakago's past life, and back into his own.


There was an ancient part of Tasuki that hated Nakago.

Nakago was a horrible, cruel person, who would kill and hurt at the slightest whim. Nakago had hurt countless people, killed so many that Tasuki loved. Nakago waged war on Tasuki's country, committing atrocity after atrocity.

Tasuki felt rage and grief, directed at Nakago.

He stood before Nakago, the Nakago dressed in the armor of war. Tasuki held his diamond tessen, ensorcelled to shoot blasts of fire at Tasuki's command, but it's power was sealed by the wish of Yui, Priestess of Seiryu. Even if it wasn't, his power was woefully insignificant compared to Nakago's. Behind Tasuki was his Priestess, Miaka, who was being roused by his fellow seishi, Chichiri the monk.

Tokyo burned around him. It burned with the destructive powers of Seiryu, the Dragon God. Enemy of Suzaku, the Phoenix God that Tasuki served.

And Tasuki hated Nakago. Hated Nakago with his very soul, as the blonde seductively purred out a warning to Tasuki.

Tasuki's friends had died fighting this madman, and Tasuki would do no less. Tasuki prepared to fight, with his friend, Chichiri, at his side.

But then Nakago changed.

He was no longer a madman dressed in armor, but a young man dressed in a blue silk shirt, and blue trousers. In his eyes, hatred no longer burned, replaced instead by pain. Nakago raised his golden head, his blue, blue eyes looking at Tasuki, imploring the redhead for help. He was no longer invincible, but vulnerable.

And he was being held captive by the blonde madman.

With a cry, Tasuki rushed forward, leaving Chichiri, and even Miaka behind him. He needed to save Nakago. The real Nakago.

The blonde madman in armor sneered, and raised his hand, and blue-white energy surged past Tasuki's body, but Tasuki didn't let it stop him. Even as his body screamed in pain, even as death threatened to overtake him, Tasuki kept going. He wouldn't stop. He wouldn't stop until he saved Nakago from himself.

The real Nakago, the boy with pain in his true blue eyes, held out his hand, reaching for Tasuki.

And Tasuki reached out for Nakago.

Their fingers touched.


The sun had set, and Nakago prepared to jump from the bridge, hoping his death would be quick and painless.

Nakago closed his eyes, beginning to loosen his hold on the railing. He was not normally a suicidal person. But the painful revelation of his past life, especially in comparison to his current one, put him on the edge. And even though he never admitted it, even to himself, the loss of Tasuki pushed him over that edge.

He wanted to die.

Nakago leaned forward, and prepared to jump....

"You know, it'll really suck if you jump in, because then I'd have to jump in to save you. Cuz, see, I can't swim, so I'd wind up drowning too."

Nakago opened his eyes and turned so quickly to see who was speaking to him he almost lost his grip. The handsome blonde managed not to fall and found himself staring at Tasuki, who was leaning against the railing several feet away. The beautiful redhead was staring off at the night sky, not even glancing at Nakago. His jaw was set in a line Nakago had never seen.

"I wouldn't let you drown," Nakago said hoarsely. "I'd pull you to safety."

"Would you?" Tasuki asked nonchalantly, as if he didn't care.

A simple question, but it stung. Nakago searched his heart. "Yes. I would. Me. Not the person I was, but the person I am," he said quietly, but with confidence.

"Why do you want to kill yourself?" Tasuki probed, still not looking at Nakago. The wind blew his wild red hair into his face. It bothered the blonde that he couldn't see Tasuki's face. He couldn't see Tasuki's eyes. He didn't know what Tasuki was feeling.

"Wouldn't that make everyone happy? I'm a monster.... I'm an evil madman..." Nakago said forlornly. Guilt had nearly consumed him.

"But you just said you weren't that person anymore. Did you lie?" Tasuki asked.

Nakago was silent, and stared at Tasuki.

"You were a monster. But you were never evil, not in any true sense of the word. You were so blinded by your pain, and your suffering, that you never realized what you had turned into until it was too late. You never meant to become a monster. You were not innocent, but you paid for your crimes with your life. And that life is over. You're a different person now. You're the man I love, as sappy as that sounds, and I think that counts for something......." Tasuki said, his voice cracking in emotion.

Nakago swallowed as Tasuki slowly turned to him, his red hair flying wildly in the wind, as did Nakago's golden mane. Tasuki stepped towards him and offered his hand. Nakago took it, and Tasuki helped him climb to the other side of the railing.

The tall blonde stood before the slender redhead, but neither looked at each other. Tasuki's hand withdrew from Nakago's when the blonde regained his footing, and Nakago felt an ache in his chest at it's loss.

"Tasuki..." Nakago whispered and lifted his hand to touch Tasuki's face, gently meeting the curve of Tasuki's cheek. Nakago suddenly realized Tasuki was crying. The tears were warm under his hand, and Nakago wiped them from Tasuki's eye with his thumb gently. He wanted to say something, but he couldn't find the words.

And when Tasuki raised his golden eyes to meet Nakago's azure gaze, Nakago felt the ache in his heart deepen. He felt the pain in his chest would split him in two. Never had he felt anything so intense, and Nakago choked under the unexplainable and indefinable emotion.

"I think we both need some space for a little while Nakago. To get our bearings, and get used to who we used to be, and who we are now. I need to sort out all my emotions, and so do you. I still love you, if that means anything to you at all, but I need to be away from you right now. I need to think..." Tasuki said softly, Nakago's pain reflected in his eyes, only multiplied a thousand fold.

Nakago dropped his hand, and gazed evenly at the redhead. His expression quickly frosted over, but it never reached his eyes, and Tasuki only saw abandonment and betrayal in Nakago's eyes. It broke his heart a second time.

"If you think it best. You may come back whenever you wish. I enjoyed your company. But do not be surprised if I am not alone when you return. I dislike being without companionship," Nakago said coldly, his heart bleeding from the inside out.

More tears poured form Tasuki's eyes and he wiped them from his face. "Of course. I understand. It didn't mean much to you at all. So it shouldn't bother you that we'll be apart," Tasuki choked, hurt beyond comprehension.

"I'll miss you, but you're easily replaced Tasuki. As I said, I'm not the type who falls in love. It's a shame you want to leave, but if you must, you must. It's just puppy love. I'm sure your feelings will fade soon, if not already. It's common for virgins to develop passing feelings for their first times," Nakago shrugged, allowing the cold to creep into his tone.

Tasuki swallowed, and his eyes flashed. "Is that what you think? Puppy love...? That what I felt for you means so little.....?" Tasuki asked hotly.

"If you're leaving, then apparently it does," Nakago retorted, a little hotly.

Tasuki turned his face and bit his lip. He tasted bile in the back of his throat, and realized he felt sick. Nakago was closing himself off from Tasuki already, freezing up before he could get hurt. Tasuki swallowed.

"Please, Nakago. Don't freeze up on me.... Please don't be like this. I know you don't mean it. You're just saying all this to hurt me back. What you don't realize is that being apart form you hurts me more than it does you...." Tasuki pleaded.

"Do you want me to beg? Because I won't. If you want to leave, then leave," Nakago said, the cold gone, and the pain evident in his tone. Even covering his heart with ice hadn't stopped the ache. He dropped the act, and laid his heart bare.

"I want to come back," Tasuki said seriously, meeting Nakago's eyes again. "When I'm ready."

"If you want to come back, then come back," Nakago said softly, and brushed a lock of unruly red hair from Tasuki's eyes.

Tasuki smiled softly. "I promise. See ya later, blondie," he said with a hint of his irascibility, and kissed Nakago softly on the lips before scampering away.

Nakago hung his head, and turned away stiffly, heading home. He found his car and numbly drove home, feeling empty, and full of pain, but there was hope. Tasuki would be back. Tasuki had promised. And was weak as it made him, and as frustrated as he was with himself, Nakago desperately wanted Tasuki to come back. To come fill the void where his heart was.

Because he felt like someone had ate his heart.


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