title: All That You Can't Leave Behind
fandom: Fushigi Yuugi
characters/pairings: reincarnation: Nuriko/Hotohori, Nuriko/Nakago, Miaka/Tamahome, one-sided Tasuki/Kouji, Tasuki/Chichiri, Chiriko/Kourin, Mitsukake, one-sided Tomo/Nakago, Yui, Amiboshi/Suboshi, Nakago/Soi, Yui/Tetsuya, Keisuke
rating: Teen/Mature
warnings: mentioned underaged sex, mentioned rape of an underaged boy, drinking, swearing, sex, angst, incestual implication, some bloodshed, crossdressing, and a happy ending
summary: The seishi have been reincarnated, and are coming together... and living in the same house.
notes: see notes

Part 4 - The Part after that

Ryuen had spent most of his time in the darkroom since his night out with Saihitei. He told himself that he needed to get this work done, especially since he had a class project due in two weeks, and he really needed to be devoting some time to it.

Spending his time thinking in a dark place wasn't such a bad thing, anyway.

Now he was in the office that he shared with three other undergrad students, looking over the recently dry pictures he had printed. There were piles of pictures of his housemates, his sister, his family, his friends, his classmates, people around campus, people around town, people from the local shrines, nature surrounded by cityscapes, flowers in the city, and of objects that Ryuen found particularly evocative. Most of them were crap, and Ryuen shoved them aside disgustedly.

Carefully, he placed in front of him the photos that he liked. A candid shot of Miaka and Taka just holding one another. Another of Kouji and Genrou laughing together. Some of the city, of people walking around campus. Of Do-kun blushing, with a blurred Kourin leaning on him. A few shots of various city parks.

In the center, the best picture of the bunch, by far, sat with all the other pictures giving it a wide berth.


He was sitting in the window seat of the house, his eyes looking out, his face colored with longing and loneliness...

The lighting of the shot was perfect, with the outside obscured by the brightness of the afternoon sun, and Saihitei's face shadowed with the frame of light, his body outlined, underlining his insecurity and need.


He was an excellent object for photography.

Ryuen put his face in his hands and stared down at the picture. Saihitei was so beautiful, so desirable...

Licking his lips, Ryuen could still taste Saihitei in his mouth, could still smell him if he closed his eyes. Ryuen cursed himself for the thousandth time. What had he been thinking that night? Why would he have taken Saihitei to the bathrooms?? Now, he couldn't deny it anymore. He wanted Saihitei. Badly.

And he couldn't have him.

Well, he could, but he wouldn't. And now he didn't know where they stood anymore.

Ryuen fingered the edge of the photograph reverently. Saihitei really was perfect...

"Heya Ry-kun!!! Are you finally out of the darkroom?" Rina ducked her head in the door, giving Ryuen a goofy smile.

He looked up at his fellow classmate with a smile. Rina was impeccably dressed, as always, and as bouncy and energetic as ever. "Hey, Rina-chan, yes, I'm done. Finally. For the moment."

"Let's see let's see let's see!!" She scooted into the office fully, leaning over Ryuen's shoulder to look at the photos he had laid out. "Oh, Ryuen! That is so beautiful! Oh, that's going to make an excellent piece! How were you planning on presenting it?" She reached out to put her finger next to the photo of Saihitei, her eyes wide and her mouth in a cute little o.

"Um... I'm not sure that I'm using this one." Ryuen looked down at the photo thoughtfully.

"But it would be perfect for your sakura composite photo series! You could overlay the sakura petals falling in the window, framing the subject with the beautiful decay of falling flowers... It would be so provocative!"

He frowned, examining the pictures. "You are right, of course... I don't know. I'm not even sure that I'm still doing the sakura series. Karamorita-sensei doesn't like it anyway."

"Oh, don't give up on it! He's just jealous because he knows that composite photos aren't his strong suit. You'd be much better off with another advisor, like Miss Hanari or Mr. Kakinomoto. He just doesn't want you to know that 'cause he enjoys checking you out too much!" She winked at him, nudging him with her hips.

He giggled. "Well, he does enjoy the view of me, but I don't know... It's a bit late to change advisors, don't you think? We only have the year left... And anyway, he's been good to me, taught me a lot."

Rina held her chuckles in, just barely. "Not as much as he's wanted to teach you, Ry-kun!"

"Don't be crass, Rina-chan." He couldn't help snickering a little too. "I already knew everything about that before I met him, anyway! Besides, he's married, with a child! He's really trying to keep with his wife, for the sake of his son."

Rina looked worried momentarily, before turning back to the picture. "Is it the subject? Are you worried about how he will react? Who is he, anyway?"

Ryuen looked down at the photo sadly, still enthralled with the sad beauty of Saihitei. "He's... a housemate. An old friend."

"And more?" Rina arched an eyebrow, inquiring subtly at Ryuen's feelings for the man in the picture.

Ryuen just shrugged. "It's... just personal, I guess. I don't know. I don't feel... objective about the photo."

Rina smiled encouragingly. "I know what you mean, there are just some pictures that inspire so much feeling that you just can't think of them as art. But, you just need to deconstruct the work. Look at the elements separately. This is too wonderful a piece to keep locked up. It needs an audience, Ry-kun."

He just grunted, dissatisfied.

She looked down at Ryuen's photos, picking up the shot of Do-kun and Kourin idly. Unsure how to broach the subject, she just dove in. "I know that you don't have any feelings for Karamorita-sensei or anything, but are you sure that he doesn't have feelings for you?"

Ryuen laughed, shaking his head. "Please, the only feelings he has for me are lust, and we both know that nothing will come of that! He's... a bit more than just a teacher to me, but we would never do anything to jeopardize the student/teacher thing."

Rina bit her lip. "Ok, well, um, be careful, though, because he's got a picture of you on his desk now." She shrugged. "Just so that you know. I'm going in the darkroom, ok?"

He blinked up at her. "Uh, ok, thanks. And Rina-chan? Thanks for being concerned. I'm sure it's nothing, though. He's really working on things with his wife."

She nodded at him, with a smile, and left.

Ryuen picked up the photo of Saihitei, feeling unsettled.

He just wanted to be friends, why did he have to screw things up by crossing the line?

Ryuen came down for a late breakfast, having stayed in his room until he knew that Saihitei would be gone for class. He missed their late night discussions, and having breakfast together, but since he still hadn't figured out how to react to the other man, he had settled on avoidance.

Simple enough.

Of course, at this time, Taka was also in the kitchen, which, considering how tense he had become, wasn't exactly an improvement.

At least Houjun was also there.

Ryuen put down his bowl of health flakes, and sat down to eat as quickly as possible.

How was he to know that Taka had put his notes on the table next to him?

"Dammit! Ryuen! Watch what you are fucking doing!! You nearly spilled milk all over my notes! Gods, you are so fucking self centered!!" Taka looked like he was going to burst blood vessels.

Ryuen had had enough of this crap. "Taka, just because you are rubbing your palms raw trying to live with Miaka, doesn't give you the right to take it out on the rest of us!"

"Fuck you, like you would know the first thing about self-control."

Ryuen narrowed his eyes. "I know enough not to put myself in situations I can't handle. If you are getting so wound up over sex, why don't you do something about it?"

"That's your solution for everything, isn't it? Have a problem, fuck your way out of it. Didn't work too well with Saihitei, though, did it, Ry-chan?"

Ryuen calmly took Taka's thumb and bent it back, twisting. "Don't taunt me, little boy, I don't take kindly to it. Now listen to your big brother, because I happen to know a lot more about these things than you do. I'm not suggesting that you just boink like bunnies and then everything will be fine. But you can't keep going on like this either. So either do something about this, or just stop."

"Please... Ryuen... let go of my thumb..." Taka whimpered.

"Will you listen to me?"


Ryuen let go of his thumb. "So, you and Miaka are not having sex. I'm guessing this is a mutually decided upon arrangement?"

"We decided that we would wait until we were married." Taka rubbed his thumb gingerly. Ryuen sure did have a lot of strength in his hands... It was like being scolded by Nuriko...

"And what did you mean, exactly, by wait?"

"Waiting. Idiot. No sex until marriage."

"And so by sex you mean...?"

Taka stared blankly at the older boy. "Sex. Ry-kun... I thought you knew what sex was..."

"I do, far better than you. Which is why I know that sex can mean a lot of things. It can mean vaginal intercourse, oral sex, mutual pleasure, just touching and being touched... Have you and Miaka discussed this?"

Taka stared, open mouthed.

Ryuen sighed. "Ok, let me guess, this is how it worked... You and she decided to wait, and since then, you've been sharing a room. So, you guys get cuddly, kissing and hugging and all that good stuff, and just when things get interesting, you guys, meaning Miaka, make everything stop since you guys are waiting."

Taka started nodding vigorously.

Ryuen sighed again. "Well, that's enough to drive anyone insane. I'm not surprised. But look, you guys decided to wait so that you could be closer when you got married, and so that you could really commit to each other and have an open and honest relationship. Right?"

More vigorous nodding from Taka, who had apparently forgotten how to speak.

Ryuen shook his head. "And open and honest relationship is based on communication, Taka-kun. You need to talk to Miaka about your frustration. Maybe you guys can start at least getting to know each other's bodies. Start touching and being touched, holding each other. Watching each other orgasm." Taka turned bright red. "Stimulating each other's orgasm. Hey, if you're lucky, maybe she'll give the thumbs up to oral sex. Learning to make a woman writhe with your tongue is the best way to keep her happy, no matter what. And, it's pretty close to being all that you need right now too."

Taka sat stunned. "I... maybe it's the sexual frustration causing my brain to hemorrhage, but everything you said makes so much sense..."

Houjun spoke up, quietly. "It's good advice, you know? When the two of you finally do get married, you'll be that much closer to one another, and you won't have all this built up tension spoiling things, you know?"

Ryuen smiled. "You guys have been really mature about your relationship so far. I think waiting is a really admirable thing to do, especially since you guys already know you want to be together. Just don't fuck it up just because of the tension."

Taka nodded, looking like someone explained to him nuclear thermodynamics, and it made sense. "Thanks Ryuen, Houjun. Thanks a lot, you've really been a big help... Sorry I've been such an ass."

Ryuen shrugged. "It's ok. I was kinda hoping you and Genrou would have a no-holds barred wrestling match due to your tension, but I'll just have to get my cheap thrills elsewhere, I guess."

Taka nearly choked, until he saw Ryuen's wicked grin. Then he slipped and fell on his ass.

Ryuen laughed so hard that flakes nearly shot out his nose.

Ryuen came home late, trying to get inside quickly before he might run into Saihitei, who was usually home by this time.

"Ry-kun! I didn't realize you lived here!"

Ryuen turned to look at the man on the couch, momentarily stunned. "Koshiro-san? What are you doing here?"

The young man smirked. "I'm taking Saihitei out to dinner." He was positively smarmy with pride. "He's been a bit down this week, so I was finally able to wear down his defenses. You look... great. But then, you always do." Koshiro let his eyes travel up and down Ryuen's body slowly. "It's been a while since we last spent time together. How's tricks?"

Ryuen had to struggle to keep his stomach in order. This freak, who had a date with Saihitei, was down here flirting with him! Ryuen had to pretend to smile. "I'm all right, you know, the usual. Nice shirt, did you get that on sale?"

Koshiro was only momentarily thrown by Ryuen's barb. "Hey, I'm not intruding, am I? You don't have plans for Saihitei, do you?"

"We're just housemates, Koshiro." Ryuen narrowed his eyes. This boy, Koshiro, was someone who was always in the background. He was hardly hideous, but he wasn't spectacular either, being somewhat angular in his skinniness. Tall, with a nice face, though. His thin hair was a bit too long. And his small eyes were a bit too lecherous. He was a decent dresser, but Ryuen was at a complete loss as to why Saihitei would be dating this person.

"That's good." He leaned closer to Ryuen, who then had to repress the desire to shrink away. "I've been working on him for a while, you know. He flips all my switches. He's got that long hair, great skin, nice teeth... And he's a virgin. Nothing like forging into uncharted territory, huh?"

Ryuen felt dirty just sitting near this scum.

"You know, you and I never really got together... Maybe we could have some fun, once I'm done with Saihitei?" Koshiro reached out to put a hand on Ryuen's thigh, squeezing lightly.

Ryuen narrowed his eyes. "How long have you known Saihitei, anyway?"

"Oh, a couple of years. We have the same major. He's really tight, though, not much fun. Still, quite a body on him... I'm going to enjoy showing him the ropes. What are you doing this weekend? My parents have a place out by some hot springs, if you are interested..."

Ryuen's head was spinning. He didn't think for a second that this twit had a chance of getting into Saihitei's pants, but the mere idea that he thought that he did made Ryuen's blood boil... And if Saihitei really was depressed, and vulnerable, because of him, giving some slime like this a chance at him...

Ryuen grabbed the twit's ear and hauled him off the couch. "Get out."

"Wh-What!?!? What the hell do you think you are doing??"

"Get out of here, and don't come back. And don't try anything with Saihitei ever again, or I'll set my friend Ayuru on you. You remember him, don't you? Now beat it, before I decide to get mean." Ryuen shoved him out the front door, leaving him sputtering as he stumbled down the steps up to the porch.

Turning to pick up his school bag, he found himself facing an utterly speechless Saihitei.

He was only able to meet that unguarded amber gaze for a moment. "He only wanted to fuck you, he didn't care about you." And Ryuen went upstairs without looking back, his arms held tight against his body.

Saihitei had been having a bad week. Nothing seemed to be going his way, and no one seemed to be able to do anything to help. He'd tried talking to Miaka and Taka about it, but that didn't work really well. Neither of them knew anything about rejection, and neither of them understood that Saihitei wasn't mad at Ryuen. He tried talking to Houjun, but the older student was a bit too philosophical about it. What good did it do to say that it would be better someday? How did that help today?

And now he was only a quarter way through the paper that he had to turn in tomorrow at five, and it was going really slowly.

His life sucked.

So, rather than really buckle down, he decided that he needed a snack. That would make all the difference.

He hadn't expected to find Ryuen at the kitchen table, dejectedly swallowing spoonfuls of ice cream.

Ryuen had definitely been avoiding him all week, since that night at the club. The only time he'd even seen the object of his affections had been when Ryuen had kicked out his dinner date. But there he was, his fine purple hair falling in waves over his shoulder, his elbow on the table and his chin resting on the back of his hand.

When those brown-rose eyes came up to look at him, Saihitei thought for sure that one or the other of them would bolt away. But then Ryuen smiled gently.

"Care for some comfort food, Sai-san? You look like you need it." When Saihitei hesitated, Ryuen grinned. "When you share comfort food, there are fewer calories..."

Saihitei grinned despite himself. "How does that work?"

Ryuen teased him with a smile. "Because I won't eat the whole thing myself, silly."

Saihitei couldn't help reacting. He'd missed Ryuen so much this past week. The idea that they couldn't still be friends hurt like a missing lung. He grabbed a spoon and sat down with Ryuen, pulling up a spoonful of ice cream. "Would... would you like to talk about it?"

Ryuen slumped a little. "...Um, you first..."

Saihitei shrugged. "Homework, really. My paper is not going well." He kept his eyes down, so Ryuen wouldn't see the clues of what else was bothering him.

Ryuen sighed lightly. "It's just been one of those days, you know? And then to top it off, I had a horrible session with my therapist. She probably thought we had a breakthrough, but I just feel... eviscerated. And then, my mother always insists that I come over for dinner after therapy, so she can assess how badly I'm doing. So I had to pretend to be happy and cheerful, so my family wouldn't worry about me. And now, I'm eating ice cream." Ryuen finished off his recap by sucking on a heaping spoon full of ice cream.

Saihitei looked down, squirming lightly. "I... Sorry. I wasn't aware that you were still in therapy. Is it usually helpful?"

"My mother made me promise I would stay in therapy as long as I was in school. I didn't realize when I made that promise that she would include college as school. And... I don't know. Maybe it helps, maybe it doesn't." Ryuen just shivered a shrug. "It's... tiring. I guess that would sum it up, it's tiring. And I am so sick of going, and feeling like... there's something wrong with me that needs fixing." With a slight snort of disgust, he added, "Although, apparently, there is plenty wrong with me..."

Saihitei watched him, puzzled. "Why would you think that there's something wrong with you?"

Ryuen snorted, amused, until he realized that Saihitei was serious. "Um, let's see. I'm locked in a pattern of self-destructive behavior that was initiated when I was prematurely sexualized in a violent manner, and since then I have sought acceptance and validation through physical means, eschewing emotional entanglements. In non-psychobabble, I'm a whore."

"No, you aren't!" Saihitei surprised even himself with his vehemence. "Don't say such things about yourself! Why would you even think something like that?"

Ryuen couldn't look at Saihitei. "I... It's true, isn't it?"

"I don't think so." Saihitei spoke softly, as he was wont to do when he really believed something. "I envy you, you know. You are so... free, and confident. You don't apologize for who you are or the choices you make. I'm always terrified that people will find out that I'm gay, and I've wasted half my life wishing that I weren't. Even before you were... prematurely sexualized, you didn't care that you were bi. I wish that I could be as brave as you are. I would probably have fewer regrets if I were."

Ryuen was stunned. "I have regrets, too, Sai-kun. Everyone does."

Saihitei looked up to smile at Ryuen. "There are things in my... past, I would give anything in the world to take back. And sometimes I think that I can't live with the things that I've done..."

Ryuen reached out, nearly automatically, to touch Saihitei's arm. "I can't believe that you've done anything so horrible that you couldn't live with it."

Saihitei regarded the hand on his arm with dispassionate desire. "And I can't believe that you wouldn't be able to see how amazing you are. And strong. And... beautiful. Please don't call yourself a whore, Ry-kun. You are so much more than the choices you make. And if some day, you decide to do so, you can choose to do something else. But you will always be... amazing."

Ryuen flushed at the raw emotion in Saihitei's voice. Ryuen wanted so badly to gather the young man in his arms, and take away whatever pain made his breath hitch like that. "Sai... you give me too much credit."

"You don't give yourself enough." His voice was plain and direct.

Ryuen smiled his brilliant, show-stopping smile. Unable and unwilling to restrain himself, Ryuen leaned over and kissed Saihitei on the cheek. "Thank you, Sai-kun. That means a lot to me."

You mean a lot to me, Ry-chan. I love you. Please, don't shut me out anymore, please... Saihitei didn't trust himself to speak, so instead he held Ryuen's gaze and squeezed lightly the hand that was still on his arm.

"Hey guys, what's up?" Genrou stumbled into the kitchen, characteristically clueless. "Ooh, ice cream, that looks fuckin' great, lemme have some!"

Ryuen smiled at the redhead shoveling out tablespoons of ice cream from under him. His timing was impeccable.

notesPart OnePart TwoPart Three • Part Four • Part FivePart SixPart SevenPart EightPart NinePart TenPart ElevenPart TwelvePart ThirteenPart FourteenPart FifteenPart SixteenPart SeventeenPart EighteenPart NineteenPart TwentyPart Twenty-OneEpilogue