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 14 - The Part with Sai's Dad

"Heero Yuy. C'mon! Like there'd be any other fuckin' choice! He's got a great body, intense eyes, and he's the hero!"

Ryuen smiled as he snuggled into his lover's lap. Saihitei played with Ryuen's ponytail, chuckling to himself.

No one in the house wanted to leave Genrou alone, although most of the house thought that he and Kouji had only had a falling out. Ryuen and Saihitei were the only ones who knew 'officially', although Houjun knew and Genrou pretty much accepted that he did without asking. Miaka suspected, but that was mainly because the five of them were sitting around the common area, just hanging out, and Genrou had just asked which Gundam Wing character everyone would like to fuck.

Since his choice was Heero Yuy, Miaka didn't have as far to leap to reach the correct conclusion.

"So, Miaka, which one would you pick?" Genrou tossed the ball to her, his face as earnest as if he'd asked her what her opinion on the recent elections was.

"Um..." She cuddled her knees close to her body, watching Saihitei and Ryuen on the couch from the corner of her eye. They were just so cute together. "I don't know. None of them really make me think of Taka. I guess I'd pick Heero, though, because he is the most heroic, and he does get the girl in the end."

"First of all, Miaka," Ryuen interjected, his face still cradled in Saihitei's lap, "Heero doesn't end up with Relena in the end. He goes off on his own. That's what they show; the lone hero, leaving. And if he did end up with anyone, it would be Duo. Or possibly Trowa or Zechs. Or maybe Quatre, or Wu Fei. But not Relena! And secondly, I don't think you should pick Heero, because I don't recall any scene where he goes nuts counting his money, or complaining about the cost of Gundam parts. So, picking him would be like cheating on Taka..."

"Ry~uen!!" Miaka wailed while everyone else giggled.

Genrou rolled his eyes. "Sai-kun? Who would you pick?"

"Mm..." Saihitei took his time deciding, winding his fingers in Ryuen's hair. "Duo."

"Duo!" Genrou sounded personally insulted. "Why Duo? Why does everyone like Duo so much?!"

Saihitei shrugged. "I just like boys with long hair."

Ryuen turned so he could smile and wink at his lover.

Genrou just groaned. "You coulda fuckin' picked Zechs. Whatever, Ryuen, your turn."

Ryuen caught Saihitei's fingers in his own, smiling. "Um... I don't know. They're all pretty hot. I think, though, if I could pick only one, I'd pick... Dorothy."

"Dorothy?!?!?!" Saihitei and Genrou spoke in perfect sync.

"Yeah." Ryuen shrugged. "She's evil, and hot, and she's got a great rack."

"Ew." Saihitei wrinkled his nose in the most adorable way.

"That's stupid, Ry-chan. Make a real pick." Genrou looked really put out.

Houjun smiled. "What's wrong with Dorothy, you know? I agree with Ryuen, she's hot."

Genrou threw his hands up in the air. "Bisexuals!"

Miaka collapsed on the floor in giggles.

"Dorothy?" Saihitei looked down at Ryuen. "You aren't serious, are you, Ry-chan?"

"I am, Sai-love. What's wrong with Dorothy? No one said it had to be a pilot."

"But, she's... she's...." Saihitei struggled with the words stuck in his throat.

Ryuen raised an eyebrow. "She's what? Evil? Cruel? Heartless?"

"A girl! She's a girl! How can you pick her over all those hot boys??" Saihitei looked truly bewildered.

Ryuen almost dissolved with laughter. "Oh my god, Sai, you are so heterophobic!"

"What?" Miaka asked with wonder.

"Really?" Houjun smiled, his eye sparkling with mischief. "Are you, Saihitei?"

"No!" Saihitei felt his cheeks burn.

Ryuen was still laughing. "Yes, you are! You hate any and all romantic movies, you think it's a travesty if a hot actor gets paired up with a girl, you go out of your way to avoid seeing any heterosexual couple together..."

"I'm modest. That doesn't make me heterophobic." Saihitei sniffed, trying to maintain his dignity.

Ryuen propped himself up, leveling Saihitei with a discerning look. "You tried to set the cat up with the boy cat next door."

"They would make a cute couple."

"You tried to convince everyone that Mickey Mouse was using Minnie as a beard, and that he and Donald have been living in sin since 1952."

"That's actually true."

"You said that seeing my parents together felt unnatural."

"Well. Look at my parents."

Ryuen scooted up to sit in Saihitei's lap, his arms around Saihitei's neck. "Admit it, you're disgusted that I've been with girls."


"You are. You think it's disgusting that I've kissed girls... And gone down on them. And had sex with them..."

"Girls are just gross!" Saihitei burst out, his hands up over his ears to try to stop Ryuen's words from getting in. "I'm sorry Miaka, but... They are! They... smell, and they're... squishy. It's just wrong, I tell you, man belongs with man. That's right and proper, and everything else is just... procreation."

"I think you mean breeding," Ryuen giggled.

Genrou's eyes were wide, his mouth round. "Fuck, Sai-kun, it sounds like you know first hand about girls, huh?"

Saihitie blushed ten thousand shades of red before he could speak. "I... In the last life, Genrou, I was married, and I had to perform my duty as Emperor."

Ryuen snorted. "That must have made her feel special. 'C'mon, honey, I've got to do my duty as Emperor tonight!'"

Saihitei sighed, and crossed his arms over his chest. "She understood." He sounded vaguely petulant.

Ryuen kissed his temple gently. "I know, babe. But face it, you are heterophobic."

Miaka just sat there, stunned. "Sai-kun, that's not true, is it? You don't think heterosexuals are wrong, do you?"

He squirmed, which Ryuen thought was adorable and everyone else thought was funny. "Well... I mean, yeah, I guess, but not in a bad way! Just, in a I can't imagine why anyone would want to do that kind of thing way."

Ryuen giggled quietly. "Poor Houki. She got a raw deal, didn't she?"

Saihitei blushed, as Genrou not so subtly laughed at him, but Houjun just appeared thoughtful. "Well, you know, even if her first marriage wasn't ideal, she really loved her second husband, you know."

There was a general pause, before Saihitei nearly burst a blood vessel. "What??!?!? She remarried?"

Ryuen just rolled his eyes, as Houjun visibly shrunk. "Ah! Well, you know, Saihitei-san, she was really young when you died, you know, and she did wait until your son was old enough to be crowned emperor, so there wouldn't be any problems with the succession..."

"Sai-love, one second you are whining about how icky girls are and the next you are getting all offended because the very same girl you didn't like being with got hitched to someone else. And people confuse me for a girl!" Ryuen rolled his eyes and made a face.

Saihitei did not find this funny.

Miaka did.

Genrou just heaved a heavy sigh. "Aw, you guys should just leave Sai-san alone. He's right, after all. Besides, a guy's entitled to his own opinion, right? I'm hungry. C'mon, Saihitei, let's get some snacks."

Ryuen let Saihitei up with a little smile. He liked the idea of his lover and his friend getting along better. Otherwise, he would have continued to give his lover a hard time.

In the kitchen, Saihitei helped dish out some chips while Genrou made the popcorn. He felt a little awkward, being with Genrou alone. "Thank you for getting me out of that stupid discussion, Genrou. I was feeling a little foolish."

Genrou chucked while he kept an eye on the microwave. He never trusted those things with his popcorn. "First time for everything, huh? Well, don't worry about it, man. I was gettin' sick o' listening to that crap anyway. Just wanted to have a simple conversation about fuckin' Gundam pilots, and it all gets turned around cuza Ry-chan and Dorothy, of all characters!"

Saihitei chucked, shaking his head. "Well, even if he does have an unnatural attraction to the opposite sex, I still love him."

Genrou grunted. "And ya damn well better, too, or there'll be hell ta pay." Saihitei started slightly at his words. Of course, it made sense, but at the same time, it gave him a pang. By all rights, Genrou should be as much his friend as Ryuen's, but Ryuen was much better at reaching out to people. "So, how're things goin' anyway?"

Saihitei smiled slightly, deciding that he would be happy Ryuen had friends who would care for him so much. "Things are... magical. Perfect. He's... well, you don't want to hear all the gory details..." Saihitei blushed lightly, his cheeks stained with a touch of pink making Genrou look away out of respect.

"Go ahead. I could use some details. Not like I'll be gettin' any now, anyway."

Saihitei smiled, feeling almost like laughing. "Well, I'm not the person to get vicarious thrills from. I wouldn't like to share even that much of him with anyone. But, I never thought that I would be this happy. He's... an adventure. Every day."

Genrou snorted, lightly. "That, I can believe! Ry-chan's a trip, no doubt. You don't have to tell me any details, man, but really... What's the best part about being with him?"

Saihitei watched Genrou closely under the shade of his bangs. "Do you... do you have a crush on him?" He remembered when they all first moved into the house, how Kouji would tease Genrou about Ryuen.

Genrou paused from shaking the bag of popcorn, really giving the question some thought. "I could, I suppose, I could really fall in love with him... but he'd still be in love with you, so I guess I'd rather be his friend."

Saihitei turned his face away, suddenly overwhelmed, both by the idea of Ryuen's unwavering love for him and Genrou's generous friendship. "Laughter."

"Huh?" Genrou turned to Saihitei, confused.

Saihitei smiled. "The best part about being with him is the laughter. At any time, even when we're... well, especially then, he makes me laugh. I haven't had much laughter in my life before him. I consider it a special gift."

Genrou nodded, smiling softly. "I know what you mean, man." His voice was enriched by the depth of his appreciation. Saihitei didn't have to wonder at how well Genrou understood.

"I guess it's probably safe to go back now." Saihitei started to load up the bowls of chips. With Miaka in the room, they had to bring a lot just to have a little snack. "And Genrou?"


"Heero is really hot."

"That's all I'm saying man..."

Sai adjusted his tie one more time, his nose scrunched up in an adorably petulant expression. "I don't wanna go."

Ry looked up from Sai's laptop, sighing. "Then don't."

"I have to."

"No, you don't." Ry went back to typing, no longer able to watch his lover fidget in front of the mirror.

Sai sighed, lowering his head. "But... if I don't, my father will be angry."

"Does it matter?"

"Of course. I don't want him to hate me."

"Sai-love... he's not going to love or hate you based on your appearance at a dinner."

"I know, but... I don't suppose I could have that shirt to wear. It was my favorite, until you stole it." Sai gave Ry a significant look.

Ry pulled the collar to his nose, considering. "You want the shirt off my back? Really?" A pause. "No."


"Sai. Go, and stop whining." Ry blew a lock of hair out of his eyes. "Or stay, and don't regret it. But if you can't stay, then go... But if you go, don't think that anything is going to be any different tonight than it was any other night you've spent with your father."

Sai took a deep breath, inflating to his full stature. "I wish you were coming with me."

"I always wish I'm coming with you, love, but tonight..." Ry looked up, winking. "I'm glad to be doing homework."

Sai grinned. "You are wicked."

Ry made a kissing gesture. "That's part of my charm, darling."

Sai stalked over, smiling. Leaning down, he set the computer aside and turned Ry over on the bed. Putting one knee to Ry's side, he leaned down and kissed Ry deep into the mattress. "Yes, my love, it is. Ok, I'm going... If you aren't going to hold my hand and pity me, you could at least wish me luck."

Ry stretched out seductively underneath Sai. "I'll be here when you get back, darling, so you don't need any luck."

Sai shook his head, chuckling. "Well, all right then. Bye."

"Bye." Ry watched his lover walk away, his heart aching. He knew he could have been more comforting, but there really wasn't anything that he could say that would make things better. He wished that he could be with Sai tonight, too, that he could protect Sai and keep him safe. Ry could only understand Sai's relationship with his father in the context of his own relationship with his father from his past life.

From that, he learned that there were times that you had to walk away from the people that you loved.

He could only hope that Sai would not have to learn that lesson.

Saihitei calmed his respiration as the elevator silently flew up the 88 stories to his father's suite. The racing of the elevator was disconcerting, as the padding masked the distance that was being covered. All too quickly, Saihitei found himself facing the opening doors, the hallway to the dining area before him. A small lady in full kimono bowed before him, putting her arms out to take his coat wordlessly. Her implied deference chafed.

Entering the room, he heard the swoosh as the sliding door was closed behind him, and he had the sudden irrational desire to claw his way out and go home to Ryuen.

Ryuen. Ryuen at home on his bed, typing on his laptop, wearing that powder blue shirt and faded jeans, with nothing on under the jeans.

The image was amazingly comforting.

The people in front of him were not. His father was still in the back, his booming voice easily heard through the thin walls. His three older half-brothers were loosely assembled, united only by their collective disdain for Saihitei.

None of them ever liked him, even the slightest bit. When he was younger, he used to resent their contempt, and hate them for it, a feeling that was fostered not only by his mother but his father as well. Once he was older, and could understand things a bit better, he could see why they all hated him so much.

He was obviously his father's favorite.

Not only did Seishuku Ebizo make Saihitei his heir when Saihitei was only seven, but he did so despite the fact that Saihitei had three older brothers, two of whom were from a previous wife. It was often put to Saihitei's mother's forceful personality, but Ebizo was not shy about expressing his affections.

Saihitei was tall, his features spoke of their Chinese heritage, which Ebizo always boasted could be traced back to royalty, and he was intelligent and well-mannered. He was everything Ebizo had always imagined his son would be, until Saihitei told him that he was gay and planning on pursuing an academic career.

Saihitei's oldest half-brother, Noriaki, sneered as he entered the room. His mother had been little better than a whore, at least as far as Ebizo had been concerned. He had not married her, but took full responsibility for the raising of her son, including buying her a nice home and paying her well enough so that she would never have to work. The shame of his mother's indolence and immorality made him a pariah growing up. He turned from his mother, and worshipped his father, studying to go into business and be as much like his father as he could. It had been a crushing blow when his father had named Saihitei as his heir. Noriaki was a short, very Japanese-looking man, with a receding hairline, a bulging waistline, and too much bitterness written across his face in sloppy wrinkles. He was one of Ebizo's vice presidents, and he spent at least 80 hours a week working for his father, who couldn't care less if he were there or not.

He was also sleeping with Ebizo's secretary, who also 'served' Ebizo when occasion called for it. The thought made Saihitei more than slightly ill.

Bunzo was the next oldest, and he and Hisato shared a mother, Ebizo's first wife. Bunzo was lazy and discontent, with a history of drug problems that had been more than embarrassing for Ebizo. He loathed his father, but openly vied for his affections, hoping to receive the monetary honorable mention award. He cared little more for his mother, who he grew to despise when she fell into a depression after her divorce. He began doing drugs by stealing his mother's Vicodin. His hatred of Saihitei was rooted in a sort of self-loathing that caused him to lash out at anything not in a state of decay.

Hisato, by comparison, was almost accepting. He was studying to be a lawyer, and clung to his father out of need. He was scrawny and weak, which he had always maintained was a by-product of his devotion to his studies. Unfortunately, Saihitei was smarter than he was, and did better in school, and Saihitei was fit and athletic, a kendo champion. Hisato had a thin, oily mustache that dripped off his lip and always appeared to be just a bit too long to be sanitary. His long hair was jet-black, and in need of a good shampooing. He hated that Saihitei was popular, smart, athletic, and that he had a host of girls hanging off of him at any given function. He hated him even more for being gay. But, he never wanted his father's love or affection, only for his bills to be paid, and he was more afraid of Saihitei than anything else, so he was at least someone to talk to during these painful family gatherings.

Ebizo gathered his sons to him once a year in a dinner party that was, even when Saihitei was young, quite indecent. He hired serving girls who wore revealing clothing, and always offered 'entertainments' afterwards.

Saihitei kept the picture of Ryuen studying at home at the front of his mind.

Ignoring Noriaki's sneer, Saihitei greeted his brothers as politely as he could. Bunzo and Hisato stood only a few paces apart, while Noriaki attempted to stay close to the door that their father would enter from, leaving Saihitei to stand alone by the window.

He didn't mind.

The door slammed open a moment later, as their father bounded out. "Saihitei! My son!" Noriaki flinched as his father swept past him, not seeing him. "It's been too long, my son, why have you not come to visit your old father? The young forget the old too easily these days. When I was your age, my son, I had to take care of my aged father."

"You sent him to a home in the north, father." Saihitei spoke dryly while trying to maintain his personal space, his father advancing cheerfully.

"True, true! But I took care of him! Now, Saihitei, that is a stylish suit. Is it Armani?" Ebizo fingered the fabric.

Saihitei was keenly aware of how his brothers were taking the attention his father was bestowing upon him. "Versace."

"Ah, I can't keep up with fashion. But I suppose you would have to, being queer. My secretary tells me that you have a boyfriend, now. That you took him up to the hot springs retreat. Very good, very good my son! I will have to meet this young man, make sure that he is worthy." Ebizo slapped Saihitei's back soundly.

Saihitei's eyes narrowed. "Ryuen is most definitely worthy, father."

"Ha, I bet the lad is quite the looker, eh? Well, naturally, since you are my son! Now, then, let's eat!"

Saihitei shook his head as he sat down. His father never changed. He tried to sit in the far corner, but his father took hold of his shoulder and placed him at the head of the table, so they could sit side by side.

"Father, I have completed the audit of the accounting department. The report is quite interesting..." Noriaki sat next to his father, trying to pry his attention away from his youngest son.

"Noriaki, please, tonight is not the time. Tell me, Saihitei, how have your studies been progressing? I assume that your grades are still excellent."

Saihitei repressed a sigh as he accepted a plate from a serving girl who must have been cold, given the outfit she was barely wearing. "My grades are good, father, as always."

"Ah, so modest, my son, so modest... And you have applied for graduate school?"

Saihitei blushed slightly. "Ah, yes father."

"Good, good! You are the smartest of my children, you will certainly do quite well!" Ebizo pinched the serving girl in several places, not noticing the scowls Noriaki and Hisato were wearing.

Saihitei noticed.

"So, I have a wonderful announcement, my boys! I am getting married again! I have met the perfect girl. She is American, and very young, with wonderful endowments. Plus, she is much more beautiful than she is smart. Trust me, my boys, I have made this mistake before. Saihitei's mother was smart and crafty, and I paid for it. Boy, did I pay, in stock options, and real estate, and luxury automobiles!"

Saihitei's back stiffened, hearing his mother spoken of in such a manner.

"No, a woman can't be trusted, my boys. A woman should be beautiful and stupid, so that you can control her. In fact, Saihitei probably has the right idea! A man can be trusted, a man can stand by your side and be your partner. A woman will stab you in the back and sell your carcass to a butcher. Men speak plainly, without artifice. Women disguise their intentions with pretty nonwords, and the allure of sex. Beware women, my boys, beware!" Ebizo spoke loudly, while shoving food in his mouth and pawing the serving girl.

"Congratulations, father, and thank you for the advice." Noriaki bowed in his seat. Bunzo and Hisato rolled their eyes at their half-brother.

"You are getting married again, father?" Saihitei sniffed, with disdain. "Aren't you getting a bit old for this game?" It was tiring. His father would wed, and shower attention upon his bride, until he met someone else or until something came up in the office or until he simply grew tired of her. Saihitei's mother was the only woman to last more than a few years with him, and that was due to the sheer force of her will.

Ebizo laughed, from his belly. "See! No respect for the aged! But don't worry, my son, it's for the best. You see, she's pregnant. I'm hoping for a boy. Not that I don't love my daughters!" Saihitei sighed, thinking of his four sisters. "But, I think this one might be my heir. I can teach the pup from birth, and rear him properly. And, I won't have his mother interfering and undermining my influence."

Saihitei dropped his rice bowl, his back stiff, his brows knit in a tight scowl. His father seemed not to even notice that he had insulted his youngest and favorite son.

Noriaki sneered. "A good idea, father. Wouldn't want you to go through the embarrassment of making another mistake, eh?"

Ebizo sniffed, looking disdainfully down his nose at his eldest son. "Noriaki, don't slouch, it speaks of poor breeding. Saihitei, how is your mother doing?"

Picking imaginary lint off his trousers, Saihitei spoke with all the aristocratic superiority his mother had nurtured in him. "She is quite well, I'm sure. She is in Venice currently."

"On father's coin, undoubtedly." Noriaki muttered, still feeling stung.

Ebizo heard him. "Saihitei's mother doesn't need my coins, Noriaki, she has more than enough money without counting the small change. I heard that she had taken a young gentleman with her on her excursion."

Saihitei had to wonder at the affected nonchalance of his father's tone. "She rarely travels alone."

"True. True. Your mother is a remarkable woman, Saihitei. I'm surprised that she has never remarried. Keen mind, she has. That's how she cleaned me out! As I said, boys, never trust a woman!"

Saihitei pushed his plate away, suppressing a shiver. He imagined Ryuen, ankles crossed and swinging above his cute little bum as he lay on his belly, typing away on the computer, his long hair trailing over his back like an ink spill...

"I do wonder, though. Why did your mother never remarry, Saihitei?" Ebizo acted as if he were more interested in the noodles than in the question he had asked twice.

"Why would she need to remarry?" Noriaki snorted with disgust. "She already bought herself the good life."

"Watch your tone when you speak of my mother, Noriaki." Saihitei's voice was low and dangerous, the emperor ready to give his verdict. "She did not need to marry to gain wealth. I can only assume that she remains single because it doesn't suit her interests to remarry. She has no need to recklessly accumulate ex-husbands." Saihitei turned to his father as he said the last part.

Ebizo shook his head, a wide smile spreading across his face. "As I said, your mother is clever and crafty. Indeed, indeed, what would she do with a bunch of ex's!"

Saihitei attempted to ignore the rest of the dinner. He couldn't bring himself to eat much more, and only barely contributed to the remainder of the conversation. He had no interest in Bunzo's attempts to wheedle more money from his father, or Hisato's oily boasts of his progress through law school. He was nearly impatient as the tea was brought out, wondering how much longer he would have to wait before he could politely excuse himself.

Ebizo's hand fell hard on Saihitei's shoulder just as the tea was cleared away. "Don't think that I don't see how anxious you are to get away from me, my son, but the night is still young! And, I have arranged for some entertainments to celebrate with." He motioned with his hand, and four young women in tight silk dresses sashayed into the room, giggling as they fawned over Ebizo. He put his arm around one with brown curly hair, dragging her into his lap for a wet kiss.

Disgusted, Saihitei turned away, getting ready to stand. "I'm sorry, father, but I think this is my cue..."

"No, no! My son, I have arranged something for you as well!" Ebizo's eyes shone as he shooed away the girls, and motioned again to the door.

Noriaki quickly took the opportunity to take the brown-haired girl's hand and put her in his lap, his fat hands groping her clumsily.

Through the door, a fey boy slipped through, his tight leather pants dripping off his hips, a mesh shirt snaked over his chest. He had dyed blue hair that hung in spikes over his forehead, his round lips puckered in what was supposed to be a seductive smile.

Washed over with surreality, Saihitei could only gape. Stupidly, the only thing he could come up with to think was that Ryuen had a similar outfit, but he looked much better in it.

The boy took Saihitei's wide-eyed wonder for acceptance, and came over to sit on him, his hips swaying as he moved.

Ryuen walked like that, sometimes, Saihitei thought, but when he did it, it looked much better.

"Ha! See?! I provide for all my boys!" Ebizo beamed as he played with one girl's thighs.

"Father!!" Saihitei finally found his voice. "I have a boyfriend!"

"I know, I think it's wonderful. I've wondered what's taken you so long to find someone. I could hardly think that the other queer boys didn't find you attractive. Look at you! Isn't my son handsome, boy?" Ebizo peered into the eyes of the prostitute, grinning madly. The boy nodded, smiling, as he started to nibble on Saihitei's earlobe.

"Stop!!" Saihitei pushed the boy aside roughly, feeling vaguely violated. "I'm sorry," he looked at the confused boy, "but this isn't happening! I have a boyfriend, I live with him. Father! How could you think that I would want this?!?!"

Ebizo shrugged. "Son, you are being too rigid. So what if you have some boy at home? This one is a present. Accept what I am offering you!"

"No!" Saihitei's voice boomed, shaking everyone within. The emperor was displeased. "This is not what I want. This is not a gift! This boy is a person, and he deserves to be treated with more respect! Ryuen trusts me. It would be dishonorable to betray that trust, for any reason. You... need to learn to reign in your appetites! Mother didn't leave you because it was part of some crafty plan of hers to steal your money or power, she left because you were making a fool of her, taking one mistress after another! And you make a fool of all of us, trying to make us into the same kind of ravenous beast that you have allowed yourself to become! I'm leaving, father." Saihitei stood, and brushed the front of his suit off. "You needn't concern yourself with issuing me any more invitations to your dinners." With quick, staccato steps, Saihitei turned his back on his father and brothers and strode away, ignoring the disappointed mewl of the boy his father had hired for him.

Ebizo didn't recover his senses in time to try to call Saihitei back.

Saihitei came barging into the house, back first. Trying to blow his hair out of his face, he swung around, displaying the huge box he had a precarious hold of, overflowing with various objects.

Ryuen bounced up from where he was sitting in the common area to help his lover. "Sai-love! Did you go shopping without me?" Ryuen winked to let Saihitei in on the joke.

"My father is a dishonorable cur! You won't believe the evening I've had!" Too mad to think clearly, he dropped the box on the floor. "He never changes, he only gets worse with time!"

"So, dinner was a bust, huh?" Ryuen sat down, looking up at Saihitei, waiting for him to get it out of his system.

Taka, Genrou, and Houjun sank back into the cushions, avoiding the fuming former emperor.

"He hired me a prostitute! Can you believe it?! A prostitute. A boy, barely sixteen, and I was supposed to have sex with him, right there with my father and brothers and their filthy whores!" Saihitei paced, all the anger coming back to him in a rush, now that he could think about it.

"Really?" Ryuen tried not to grin. "That's a pity. He could have paid me to have sex with you and we could have stayed in today."

"What was he thinking? Did he think that I would appreciate that? That I would think it would be some sort of bonding experience?" Saihitei swung his hands around in mad little circles, the smooth skin of his brow adorably furrowed with exasperation.

"Was the boy hot? I wonder how much he paid. If he picked him up in a hostess-type bar, it probably cost him a good chunk of change..." Ryuen idly wondered as he thumbed through the contents of the box.

"He doesn't even care." Saihitei put his hands behind his back, his eyes narrowed to match his bitter tone. "He doesn't know a damn thing about me and he doesn't care to learn. He expects me to be his perfect son, and when I fall short, he just ignores me. He insulted my mother and myself, and acted so cheerful about it!"

"Sai-love?" Ryuen's eyes caught sight of the object jutting out from the other side of the box. "What's that?"

Saihitei spared a look down. "Oh. I packed up all the things that I still had in his apartment. That's my katana. It's a futile gesture, though. The next time he calls me, I'll have to do whatever he says. He'll expect it, as if nothing happened. And if I don't, he'll appear at my doorstep and act all surprised that I'm not leaping to obey him, and bustle me around until I do what he says. He's always been like that, nothing ever changes..."

"Your katana?" Saihitei completely missed the wild look that was in Ryuen's eyes, as his slim hand reached out to caress the handle. "For real?"

"Yeah." Saihitei barely acknowledged him. "It's just so frustrating. I tried for so long to please him, and even now... I'm still his favorite son, and he barely registers my existence."

Ryuen nodded slowly, his eyes unblinking on the katana. "I know, darling. It's stressful, I know. Um, could you show me some forms? Um, you know, to work out some of the stress..."

Saihitei started, and then shrugged. "There's not a lot of room here, but..." He picked up the ceremonial blade, unsheathing it with a flick of his thumb.

At the sound of the satisfying click of metal against metal, Ryuen gasped.

"Parents can be frustrating, you know." Houjun spoke quietly. "It hurts, I know, Saihitei-kun, but you have to just accept that your father is who he is. You can't change him, you know. You just need to accept him, and try not to let him affect you too much, you know?"

Saihitei sighed as he moved through the first form slowly. "I know that, Houjun. Thank you. I just... every time I think that I've finished with him, and that I'm over it, something happens, and it all just begins again..."

Ryuen watched Saihitei with open-mouthed wonder, his body tense.

Taka sighed. "Family can be like a never-ending cyclone, Sai-san. It's like that for everyone, really. You aren't alone."

Saihtei sighed, holding the katana above his head in the high position. "I know. Thanks. I just feel so... impotent. I can't even affect him. The only thing I can do are useless gestures he won't even get... and I don't even know what I'm supposed to do with all this stuff. Where am I going to keep a katana, for the gods' sake?"

"In the bedroom. You can keep it in the bedroom." Ryuen piped up quickly, as he bounced up to his feet. "Let's go find a place for it now!" He grabbed Saihitei's arm and dragged him upstairs.

"Ryuen!" Saihitei could only gape and follow his love upstairs, barely noting the sniggers that they were leaving in their wake.

When they got into Sai's bedroom, Ry practically tossed him onto the bed, handing Sai the sheath for the sword. Before Sai could formulate a response, Ry was on top of him, devouring him while trying to rip his clothes off.

"Ry!" Sai finally caught his breath, just as Ry was tossing his shirt to the other side of the room. "Wha...?"

"Sai." Ry pulled up to look his lover in the eye. "You remember how I feel about soccer players?" He paused long enough for Sai to think. "I feel the same way about swordsmen. Only, about ten thousand times more intense."

Sai tried to protest, but Ry wriggling on top of him, trying to undo his pants, made it difficult for him to think or form words that weren't actually moans.

"Look." Ry tossed Sai's pants aside. "I know that you have a lot going on in your head right now, and you're really upset and stuff, but is there any way that you could work your way through all this using wild, athletic sex? Because I could really go for some of that now."

Sai paused, watching his panting love above him. He meant to say that he really wasn't feeling like it now, and maybe they could just talk, or something. "Sure. That could work. Just let me put aside the katana."

"No. Keep it."

"Let me sheath it then."

"Ok, but hurry."

Genrou was flat on his back on the couch, something that was happening so often lately, Do-kun and Myojuan were taking bets on how long it would be before he and couch were molecularly bonded to one another.

Genrou calmly pointed out that that wasn't 'fuckin' possible' and suggested that they leave him alone. Politely, of course.

Ryuen watched him from the kitchen, his chin on his knuckles. "Genrou is collecting dust."

Miaka smiled. "I know. But, he's lost a friend, right? That's not easy to get over. I hope that he and Kouji make up."

"I hope Kouji crawls under a rock and dies," Ryuen muttered, not entirely under his breath.

"Huh?" Miaka looked confused as she paused in her eating. Momentarily.

Ryuen sighed. "Never mind. It's time I did something anyway."

Miaka grabbed his wrist as he stood up. "Ry-chan, what are you planning? I know how much it hurts you to see your friends in pain, but there may not be anything that you can do about it."

Ryuen just smiled at her. "Then again, maybe there is!"

Genrou barely looked up at him as he walked in the common room. "You're standing in front of the fuckin' tv, man."

Ryuen grinned. Grabbing Genrou's arm, he hauled him up. "Let's go!"

"Go?" Genrou dug his heels in. "Go where? I'm not going anywhere! My show's about to start!"

Ryuen rolled his eyes. "You can watch gay cartoons later, Gen-chan! Now c'mon, I'm not as strong as I used to be, you have to work with me here!"

Within twenty minutes, thanks to Ryuen's insistence, Genrou, Ryuen, and Ryuen's camera were at the temple where Houjun studied.

"Huh?" Genrou scratched the back of his head. "What are we doin' here, Ry-chan? I'm not really inta all that spiritual crap."

Ryuen smiled. "I know. I thought we could visit a friend."

Genrou kept complaining as Ryuen dragged him all over the temple, until they found Houjun.

If someone showed up with a talking squid, Houjun would have been less surprised than he was seeing Ryuen dragging Genrou.

"Houjun! I was hoping to run into you." Ryuen wore his brightest grin. "I have a big problem that I need your guidance with. Please?"

Houjun continued to smile, even as his gaze darted uncertainly between Ryuen and Genrou.

He loved that cute little pout on Genrou.

"Um, you know, what can I do for you?" Houjun concentrated on not fidgeting.

Ryuen grinned even wider. "See, I removed this lump from my couch, and now I don't know what to do with it. It grumbles and complains a lot, but other than that, I don't see much purpose in it."

Genrou rolled his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest, muttering about weirdo roommates who have too much sex.

Houjun smiled, blushing a little at how cute Genrou looked, all defensive.

"Great! Well, you two have fun! Bye!" Ryuen waved as he bounced off, smiling brightly.

Genrou continued to grumble for a few minutes, his eyes fixed on the ground. Houjun swayed from foot to foot, not sure what Ryuen expected to happen now.

"Er, Genrou-kun, if you don't want to be here, you don't have to be, you know. I'm sure there are a lot more fun things you could be doing now." Houjun blushed slightly, his eyes turned to the fountain next to them as his hands griped the broom.

"Naw, man, there's no place I need ta be. Are you on the maintenance crew here?" Genrou pointed at the broom, frowning slightly.

Houjun looked startled, before smiling. "Oh! No, I'm an initiate here. Sweeping helps to still the mind, allowing me to concentrate on my meditations, while still performing a useful function."

Genrou had the damn cutest expression of confusion on his face. "I dunno, man, it seems to me that they're just gettin' ya to do their housework."

Houjun couldn't help smiling. "Maybe, Genrou, but haven't you ever found simple tasks to be rewarding? You can see the good you do right away, and your mind is free, you know."

"I guess. I'd still watch out, man. They could be using you."

"Well, I'll keep my eye out for that." Houjun smiled at his friend, his eyes sparkling. "Would you like a tour of the temple?"

"Naw, man, I'll just hang with you, help out maybe." Genrou smiled at Houjun, making his knees tremble.

And so they spent the afternoon together, Genrou following Houjun around, asking questions and helping out as he could. Houjun secretly loved every minute of it, delighting in Genrou's unique perspective and charming sense of humor. He veritably shone from within as he led Genrou through his chores. Although Genrou grumbled about the condition of his knees, he prayed with Houjun when the time came. Granted, he did spend most of his time whispering to Houjun, asking what he was supposed to say or do or how long they had to kneel there, but still, Houjun was impressed with his effort.

Even Houjun's superior noticed. He came to greet Genrou, and welcome him to the temple. He was a small man, with ruddy features, and his gaze swept from one young man to the other, his eyes beaming brighter with each passing second. Houjun blushed under his superior's scrutiny, which only made the diminutive monk beam brighter. He patted Houjun on the head as he left, cryptically commenting that it would certainly make Houjun's choice easier if he had his friend to help him. When asked, Houjun merely laughed, and said that he still had to choose whether to trim the ornate garden or arrange the temple linens.

Genrou grumbled about weirdo monks and their bizarre slave-driving habits, but he suggested they work in the garden, and together they finished the task long before dark.

Houjun changed out of his robes, and returned to the fountain to find Genrou still waiting for him. Smiling, he watched the young man for a moment before approaching him. There was no one in the world Houjun thought was more beautiful than his explosive friend, and to be able to watch him in a moment of quiet introspection was a rare enough treat that it had to be relished. Grinning his usual mad grin, Houjun slapped Genrou on the back. "Gen-kun, you know, I really appreciate all your help today. Working in the temple isn't usually this much fun. I hope that you enjoyed the day as well, you know."

Genrou goofily grinned up at him. "Aw, man, it was cool. This temple is nice, ya know? Peaceful-like. I can see why you like it. But are ya really gonna be a monk?"

Houjun shrugged. "That's the idea, you know. Does that surprise you?"

Genrou half-grinned. "Ya just don't seem like the monk type to me. I can't really see you spending all your time in the temple when you get older. Weren't you some kinda traveler in the last life? This life just seems too... stable for ya. But, what do I know? Ya wanna get some dinner?"

Houjun tried not to glow at the suggestion. "Sure, you know, all that sweeping makes a boy hungry!"

From his vantage point, Ryuen packed up his camera. He had spent two rolls of film, but he was sure he had gotten some good shots. That close-up of Houjun watching Genrou by the fountain was the sort of thing that a photographer dreamed of, but rarely caught.

One day, he was sure, his friends would be very glad he had followed them today.

The moon was bright, making it possible for the bright amber eyes to watch the beautiful young man before them. In Ry's bed, under the window, Sai and Ry watched each other, satisfied smiles gracing their faces. Sai kept one hand on Ry's face, his thumb tracing the line of Ry's jaw and circling the tiny mole in the corner of his eye reverently. Ry hid half his face in the pillow, his upper body shielded as he wound his feet and legs around the legs of his lover. A stain of pink across Ry's visible cheek heightened his beauty to the point where Sai was sure he couldn't bear it.

"Why do you hide from me, love?" Sai wasn't sure why he was whispering, but it seemed appropriate.

Ry smiled. "You keep staring at me."

"So?" Sai let his thumb trace the corner of Ry's mouth.

"It makes me feel... naked."

"We are naked, love."

"Yes." Ry smiled. "But I don't feel naked until you stare at me like that."

Sai smiled. "Did you have fun tonight?"

"Yeah." Ry sounded sleepily content. "I hope it wasn't too horrible for you."

"No, of course not." Sai teased Ry's ear.

"I know you don't like to go to clubs. But the twins were there! You like them."

"I like you. It was fun."

"And you looked good, really good."

"So did you. All the boys there wanted you. It made me jealous."

"Jealous? Really? You obviously didn't see all the boys drooling over you, darling."

"No. I only have eyes for you."

"Sweet. Such a sweet talker. We danced."

"That was fun. I liked going to the bathroom with you, too."

Ry smirked. "Naturally. And I really did think that Ayuru was bringing Kaen."

"I know."

"I know you don't like it when I get too close to him."

"No, that's not it..."

"It was a harmless dance, I swear."

Sai sighed, thinking of the way Ry had slithered in front of and ground into the tall blonde. "I know."

"I know it made you jealous, but Ayuru and I have been friends for so long, I don't even think about stuff like that being sexy."

Sai's eyes fluttered closed, thinking of the effect of Ry and Ayuru dancing had on him. "It doesn't matter, Ry-love."

Ry paused, watching his lover through one brown-rose eye. Tentatively reaching out a hand to touch Sai's chest, "But something was bothering you tonight. Please, I don't want there to be any doubt."

"I know. It's just..."


"Sometimes... sometimes I think you'd be better off... with him. With Ayuru." Sai sighed. "You and he have been friends for so long, and he knows you so well, and has been through so much with you, I just think... I think that sometimes he'd be a better partner for you than some wide-eyed fool who was so recently a virgin..."

"Sai." Ry turned slightly so his whole face was visible. "I love you. Not him. I mean, I love Ayuru, but I'll never be in love with him. That's for you, and you alone." Ry shivered at his own words.

Sai couldn't speak. He pulled Ry into his arms, and held him tight against his body, sighing with pleasure. Kissing the top of Ry's head, he sighed. "It's silly, I know... I just... regret all the pain I ever caused you, in either life, and I wish... I wish that I could make it better. But I can't. And I can't get over the feeling that I don't deserve you."

Ry grinned, hugging Sai loosely. "Well, we can all be grateful that we don't get what we deserve in this life, eh?"

Sai smiled. "I suppose so."

Ry kissed Sai's neck. "Isn't this enough? Isn't this more than enough to be grateful for? Never would I have dreamed that being naked in bed with you, talking and sharing like this, would ever become the norm in our lives. Isn't this enough to be happy?"

Sai sighed, rolling onto his back, settling Ry on top of him. "I'm afraid not, my love. I'm afraid I'm going to need several lifetimes of this before it will ever come close to being enough."

Ry sighed, put out. "Well, if you insist..."

"I do."

"Far be it from me to deny the emperor..."

"You're my favorite subject, my love, have I ever told you that?"

"Why, no, you have neglected to mention that, darling."

"Well, it's true. You are."

"Oh, that's nice."

Ry fell asleep, a lock of Sai's hair in his fingers, dreaming of living in a palace, cloistered away in a harem, waiting day in and day out for his emperor to come to him and take him away. Every day he would wait, and every night, he would dream of the day his love would finally come to him.

notesPart OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenPart EightPart NinePart TenPart ElevenPart TwelvePart Thirteen • Part Fourteen • Part FifteenPart SixteenPart SeventeenPart EighteenPart NineteenPart TwentyPart Twenty-OneEpilogue