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Only Time: The Sacred Power

Chapter Seventeen

By J. Marie

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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). Well, if you like angst, I think you're going to enjoy the rest of this story arc, because the deeper I go in my outline, the more angsty I get. ^^;; Iím also introducing a few new characters, solely my creation. Youíll know who they are, trust me. :)

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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

 

The gathered seishi had finally agreed on what needed to be done.

They waited until the next day, and Hatsui called Hikitsu, and asked the gray-haired youth to meet him at a friend's house, giving Hikitsu the address to the Sukunami residence. Tatara did the same, only he invited Tokaki. Instead of being excluded, Yuiren was asked to stay since she was obviously involved, whether her parents liked it or not.

Tatara was quietly reading the paragraph the told about the Priestesses of both Genbu and Byakko, but his lips were set in a frown.

"What's wrong, Tatara?" Taka asked lightly as he brought the youth a drink. Only he and his family remained, as the other Seiryu and Suzaku seishi had been sent home. This was a Genbu and Byakko matter.

"You said you read that Genbu no Miko was 'sister to Wing'. I read the word as 'mother', not 'sister'," Tatara explained.

Taka raised an eyebrow and took the book from Tatara, rereading the paragraph. "No, it says 'sister to wing'," Taka said firmly.

"I'm positive that it says 'mother'," Tatara said just as firmly. Yuiren's elfin face bobbed from her father to Tatara.

Hatsui stepped up and took the book, reading the same paragraph. "It says 'mother' to me," he said with a careless shrug of his shoulders.

"Can I read it?" Yuiren piped up her shrill young voice.

Hatsui handed her the book. The girl gently took the book into her small lap and read the paragraph for herself. "It says 'sister'," she said when she was done, handing the book back to Tatara.

"How can we be reading two different words?" Tatara asked in confusion.

"Perhaps it's because Junko is like Tasuki's mother.... She's raised him. But I don't understand why we would be reading things differently....." Taka sighed, crossing his arms.

Tatara was going to speak, but the doorbell rang. Taka opened the door, as Miaka was busy cooking lunch, trying to forget her worry in daily tasks. Tamahome had grown strangely silent since Taka's in-depth explanation the night before.

Both Hikitsu and Tokaki stood at the door together, causing Taka to blink. "Tamahome's dad? Why are we here??" Tokaki questioned in confusion. They had gone to the given address, but not known whose home it was.

"I believe there's something important we need to show the pair of you......" Taka said gently, letting the pair in. He wondered at their relationship.

"What would that be...?" Hikitsu asked in a deep baritone.

"A book. A very important book," Taka explained and led the favored of Byakko and Genbu into his living room....

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"Junko....? What the hell is going on....????" Tasuki asked incredulously. He had just returned home after spending the entire night walking around.

The living room was suddenly covered in pictures of people Tasuki had never seen before. Some were photographs, others were Junko's own paintings. Each picture had a candle lit before it. A white candle.

Junko was lighting the candles systematically, wearing a green dress Tasuki had never seen her wear before. It was made of oriental silk, and clung to her shapely form, and Tasuki was reminded of how much weight his sister had lost since her strange mental illness began. Junko slowly turned to him, and her face was made-up as well, with delicate, earthy make-up on that suited her pretty face, it's shape similar to Tasuki's. Her hair was swept up in two pigtail buns, like a young woman would keep her hair. Green silk covering went over the buns, and black ribbons tied them off. Junko was stunning.

"Oh, hello, Tasuki...." she smiled with a faraway voice, and returned to lighting candles.

Tasuki blinked, frowning in concern. He went to say something else, but he cut himself off as his golden eyes caught on one of the pictures.

There were four teenagers in the picture. One was handsome youth, about sixteen, with blonde hair and green eyes. He was of a slight build, but the lines of his face, and the cut of his nose and jaw looked eerily like Nakago's. In his arms, and sitting on his lap was beautiful young woman. She had a sweet face, golden hair, and eyes as blue as Nakago's, only hers sparkled in delight. But despite the blonde couple's frightening resemblance to Nakago, it was the other couple that gave Tasuki pause.

The other male looked just like him. He was about fifteen and had bright red hair, only a little less fiery than Tasuki's. His face was nearly the same, with the straight, classic nose of an Irishman. The only difference was that large Irish green eyes stared out from the face with the jaw of a boxer, whereas Tasuki had the gentle lines of an Asian boy. But the smile was much the same, full of love, energy, and irascibility.

Half-Japanese or not, boy, you have the temper of an Irishman, came unbidden to Tasukiís mind, a comment made towards him more than once.

And on the redhead's lap sat Junko Ishida.

She was much younger, looking to be only about fourteen or so. A smile full of joy and love graced Junko's pretty face, and her long black hair was up in a ponytail. The smooth, gentle curves of her Japanese ancestry were softened by youth, and the redhead's arms were about her. The couple shared a love as obvious the blonde couple beside them.

A tear slipped down Tasuki's face.

"Junko.... What is this...? Why does that guy look like me....?" Tasuki asked hoarsely. This was too much for him. Far too much.

"Ah, but it's the other way around, Tasuki. You look like him," Junko smiled warmly, lighting the last candle, the candle before the picture he was staring at.

Tasuki turned to her, his eyes full of betrayal. "Who is he...? How do you know him....??" he demanded.

"Do you know how much I love you, Tasuki?" Junko asked with a gentle smile, her hand coming up to caress Tasuki's cheek, as gentle as any mother's hand.

"I.... I love you, too, Junko...." Tasuki choked, confused, the trial of the past twenty-four hours wearing on his state of mind.

"I love you even more than I did him. How could I not? You kept the darkness away for so long, Tasuki... I didn't even have to fight it, with you around. It was almost like the darkness was scared of you...." Junko said softly, her large brown eyes filling with tears. In certain lights, her eyes were as golden as his.

"Junko... You're not making any sense," Tasuki whispered, suddenly afraid of his own sister.

"But things are different now. The darkness is so much stronger now. It's not afraid of you anymore. I never could say no to him, Tasuki. And when he comes back, I don't think I'll be able to resist him. I love him still, and we've been apart so long...." Junko babbled, tenderly stroking Tasuki's cheek.

Tasuki grabbed her hand, staring wildly into her eyes, confused and frightened by her words. "What are you talking about, Junko??" he cried.

"Just remember that I love you, Tasuki. No matter what happens, and no matter what I do, just please remember that I love you....." Junko smiled and placed a kiss on the boy's lips, as maternal as any mother could give, and turned from the child she raised into a man, presenting him her back.

"Junko, please tell me-"

"Your friends need you to gather them. All seven. Go to the nexus. Ask Chiriko where it is. Go there, and make sure the rest of your fellow seishi touch the book. All twenty-eight must awaken and return before midnight strikes tonight," Junko said quietly, cutting Tasuki off. Her tone left little room for question.

Tasuki backed away slowly from his sister, tears pouring down his face. She was gone. The Junko he knew and loved was finally gone. It was obvious.

"Goodbye.... mother...." Tasuki whispered and ran from his house. He'd always called his sister by her name, but he tried her title on for size. And it fit.

Junko Ishida fell to her knees and wept.

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The twenty-eight seishi had been gathered.

As soon as Tokaki and Hikitsu had awakened, the awakened seishi knew it was time. The Universe of the Four Gods could wait no longer. It's seishi were needed.

It was time to go home.

It was Keisuke who carried the book, having insisted on being present, as did Tetsuya. They were as involved as anyone. Tamahome came as well, standing in front of his father, and Taka wondered if it was he who was suppose to awaken, or if it was Tamahome, his son. There was an undeniable connection between them, as if the boy was a living reincarnation of himself.

They stood in a circle around the nexus point, the twenty-eight seishi of the Four Gods, each on their cardinal point. Before each group stood the three present Priestesses. It was near midnight, and downtown Tokyo was near empty, and those few who were around didn't seem to notice the strange goings-on in the middle of a small plaza. It was as if some force prevented them from seeing. Which was exactly the case.

"It begins with Genbu and ends with Seiryu. Hikitsu, I think you should start," Keisuke said gently as the gray-haired youth stepped from his position to take the book from Keisuke's arms.

Hikitsu stepped towards his senshi with only the smallest of glances towards Tokaki. The silver-haired Byakko warrior gave a small smile to his lover in support. Hikitsu swallowed and held out the book before the un-awakened Genbu seishi.

"Touch the book, Genbu warriors," he commanded sternly, as his friends stepped forward, and they reached out in unison, touching the book. Green lightning arched through them, reawakening them all.

"The seasons reverse, and winter turns to fall," Hikitsu intoned and handed Tokaki the book solemnly. Tokaki grinned.

"Touch the book, Byakko warriors," Tokaki grinned in command, holding the book as his friends stepped forward and touched the book in unison. Yellow lightning surged through them, and their past lives returned to them.

"The seasons reverse, and fall becomes summer," Tokaki chanted as he handed the book to Tasuki who took the book easily. The red-haired seishi bared his fangs as he proffered the book to his friends.

"Touch the book, Suzaku warriors," Tasuki grinned wickedly, finding the whole ceremony amusing now that the moment of trial was on him. The remaining un-awakened Suzaku seishi touched the book in unison, including Taka and Tamahome both. Red lightning surged through all of them as they awakened.

"The seasons reverse, and summer becomes spring," Tasuki recited, and handed the book to Nakago. He did not meet the blonde's gaze, and his hands shook again as the book was passed. Nakago's fingers rested a moment longer than necessary on Tasuki's but he said nothing as he turned to his fellow seishi.

"Touch the book, Seiryu warriors," Nakago intoned, his tone heavy. The Seiryu seishi touched the book in unison, and the entire assemblage held their breath, watching the formerly corrupted seishi with no little trepidation. Blue lightning crackled throughout the senshi.

Suboshi fell to his knees and vomited as he recalled the murder of Tamahome's family. Amiboshi began to cry silently as he remembered the betrayal of the Suzaku. Tomo gasped as though in pain, facing the murders and cruelties. Ashitare howled forlornly as he recalled the uncontrollable bestial acts. Soi clasped her hand over her mouth as she recalled the blind following of Nakago's orders.

"It is alright, Seiryu Seven. We all have our crosses of sin to bear. But you are amongst friends, and each and every one of you is better than you were," Nakago said evenly, attempting to give his fellow senshi comfort with his words.

The Seiryu Seven stood tall, and faced their pasts.

Tetsuya clenched his jaw as he watched the innocence stripped from his twin sons' faces, but he was proud that they stood tall, accepted their pasts, each Seiryu seishi making silent resolves to do better. Some cried, others bore the guilt silently. Amiboshi helped Suboshi up, and every seishi was finally awakened.

And every seishi's eyes fell on the Book of the Universe of the Four Gods. It hovered in mid-air, and was open, the pages spinning rapidly. It glowed blue and floated before Yui, almost as if it was waiting.

Yui considered the book solemnly, searching within her for the right response. She held out her hand and touched the book. "Once Yui Hongo, now Yui Kajiwara, always Seiryu no Miko!" she cried loudly.

To Miaka the book went, now glowing red, waiting for her response. The auburn-haired woman smiled and touched the book. "Once Miaka Yuki, now Miaka Sukunami, always Suzaku no Miko!" Miaka cried.

The book zipped from Miaka to Yuiren, glowing yellow. Yuiren grinned and eagerly touched the book. "Once Suzuno Oosugi, now Yuiren Sukunami, always Byakko no Miko!" the girl cried.

The book zipped outside of the circle, glowing green, waiting impatiently for a Priestess who had yet to show. Tasuki swallowed. He knew, the moment he had touched the book and awakened, that his sister was the Priestess of Genbu. Yet she alone was the one frightened of touching the book.

"It seems we're short one Priestess," a deep, gravelly female voice griped.

The whole group's circle broke up as they stared aghast at the small, ugly old woman who hovered behind them, her drooping face set in a permanent snarl. Her jowls were set in rarely seen pain, and she wore her fancy gold headdress and garish pink and green gown.

"AAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Hotohori screamed, and hid his eyes.

"By Byakko, I had forgotten how ugly she is," Tatara whispered, turning green around the edges.

"How.... revolting......" Tomite gasped, sweatdropping.

"Is that what Taiitsukun looks like?? I knew it was horrible, but I had no idea how horrible it really is!!" Tomo cried in horror.

"Ungrateful brats!!" Taiitsukun cried and used her floating pink ribbons to smack every seishi who said something about her looks.

"Geez, Taiitsukun!! Talk about an entrance! And you say we wait for the most dramatic entrance!!" the nyan-nyans griped from around her, glaring at the haggard old woman.

"OWW!!!! Why'dja hit me for???" Tasuki cried when one of the ribbons smacked him, stinging his face.

"Pure principle," Taiitsukun said calmly, turning her ribbons on her nyan-nyans, who bounced around making cute little "ow" noises.

"Evil.... Pure evil..... I've never seen anything so sickeningly cute and sweet.... Make it go away...." Nakago whispered hoarsely, staring at the assembled group of four nyan-nyans in pure horror.

"THIS IS WHY I HATE WOMEN!!! I GET SMACKED EVEN WHEN I DON'T SAY ANYTHING!!!!" Tasuki screamed in rage.

"How cute!!" Yui smiled at the bouncing little girls.

"Mother, don't touch them," Amiboshi cautioned as Suboshi pulled her away. "They might cause you to go into sugar shock."

"Hello, Taiitsukun!! Hello, nyan-nyan!!!" Miaka cried in greeting, hugging any little girl who came within arm's reach.

"I think I shall be ill now," Hikistu said in droll disgust, glaring at the squealing nyan-nyans.

Everyone had something to say, and soon the whole plaza was filled with the entire assembly clamoring for Taiitsukun's attention. It was the sound of a motorcycle coming straight for them that shut them up.

The book still glowed green, and the pages till turned as it hovered in mid-air. And riding straight towards the group was Junko Ishida, dressed as Tasuki had seen her last, in her green gown, and girlish hairdo, except that now she wore a black leather jacket on top of it.

A still sort of silence fell over the entire group as the motorcycle came to a screeching halt and Junko dismounted, her face full of concern, and having eyes only for her baby brother. "Tasuki?" she asked in a dazed voice, and she didn't seem quite all there. "Tasuki... I had a bad dream...."

Tasuki blinked stepping forward, as did Nakago. Both boys had grown to care for the petite woman, and her fragile state of mind worried them both. "Junko? Are you alright?" he asked gently.

"I had a bad dream about you, Tasuki. I dreamt that you died to save everyone.... I dreamt that Nakago killed you..." she said in a child-like voice, sounding completely dazed, as if she had recently received head trauma.

Her words brought Nakago up short, and the blonde swallowed. Pain flashed across his cold features for a moment. Tasuki gaped, and Chichiri visibly flinched. Chichiri had the same dream......

"Junko, you're making no sense whatsoever...." Tasuki said. "What's wrong with you?"

"Her spirit is divided, Tasuki. Takiko Okuda and Junko Ishida have not joined as they should. They are still separated, and her mind and soul are suffering from that duality," Taiitsukun broke in. "Only by accepting the mantle of Genbu no Miko again, can Junko and Takiko become one, and her sanity be restored."

Junko blinked and stared in fear at Taiitsukun, and then her eyes fell on the book, which now hovered before her, patiently waiting. Junko bit her bottom lip, obviously waging and internal war with herself. Someone came out the victor after a moment, thought Tasuki couldnít tell who.

"Once Takiko Okuda, now Jun-" Junko began as she held out her hand, before being falling silent suddenly.

Junko stopped in mid-sentence just as the book fell to the ground, it's glow stopped and the pages still. Even though it was night, something even darker fell on the group and the seishi of the Four Gods shuddered in unison.

The darkness coalesced in three spots, and three people came into being. One was a handsome blonde man, one a beautiful blonde woman, and the last a pretty redheaded man. Their eyes glowed black, and cruel smiles fitted their faces. Tasuki gasped, realizing they were the three other people from the picture he had seen at his house.

Tasuki's gaze settled on the redheaded man whom he resembled, as Nakago's gaze settled on the blonde couple. The three seemed to have no interest in any of the seishi, having eyes only for Junko, who stood listlessly before them.

"Junko... my love. It's time for us to be together now. Time for us to fulfill our destinies," the redhead smiled, holding out his hand for the woman to take.

"Nicky...." Junko breathed, and rapture spread across her features at seeing him. Tasuki cried out as the darkness began to coalesce around his sister's body. He tried to move, but found that movement had been taken from him.

Taiitsukun was doubled up in pain as blackness surrounded her and the nyan-nyans. The entire seishi had somehow been immobilized by the arrival of the three youths. Tasuki's attention was devoted solely to his sister, and he began to scream as he watched the darkness melt away her years, and she was as young as the other three, a mere girl of fourteen, just like in the picture.

"I am the Water that drowns the Dragon," the blonde woman intoned, her form glowing a dark blue, and she lifted into the air. She wore a gown similar to Junko's, only hers was blue.

"I am the Fire that burns the Phoenix," the redheaded man intoned, glowing a dark red, and he lifted into the air, though his hand was still out for Junko, his eyes focused on only her.

"I am the Wind that erodes the Tiger," the blonde man intoned, glowing a dark yellow, lifting into the air and joining hands with the blonde woman. He wore a yellow silk suit, and the redhead wore the same, only in red.

The darkness was absorbed into Junko, and she began to glow a dark green. She turned her darkened eyes to the redhead, and she smiled. She lifted into the air, and took the redheadís hand.

"I am the Earth that crushes the Tortoise," Junko intoned, and the four turned to look at the seishi in mid-air.

It was Junko who spoke to them. "As we lack the power to harm you in the real world, you lack the power to harm us. Know this, Celestial Warriors, we, the Four Demon Elementals, will not allow you to find the Sacred Power. Enter the Universe of the Four Gods, and we shall have the power to destroy you. Your paltry quasi-divine power is laughable to us. We shall destroy the Universe of the Four Gods, and you, if you try to interfere. Your powers are useless against us. If you are wise, then you will stay here, where it is safe... See you on the other side of the Border, Taiitsukun," Junko cackled, her smile cruel, her tone harsh. Around her waist was the redhead's arms, his smile just as cruel as hers.

It was the sound of the foursomeís heartless laughter that stayed with the seishi even after the four disappeared with a dark burst of energy into the book. It was cruel, and echoed raucously in the ears of the assembled seishi, even after the paralyzation was lifted from them.

Tasuki Ishida fell to his knees and wept.

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