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 18 - Betrayal

The grass was cold. It was dusk, the sunlight dying slowly. The shadows had engulfed the tiny backyard for long enough now that the heat had bled out of the earth, leaving it cold.

Ryuen's bum was getting cold, too, and he focused on that, his hands weaving gently through the grass as his eyes stared dully at the sky. He was cold, and he was losing feeling in his rear, and he just focused on that.

He was breathing. He thought about the air coming in, diffusing across the membranes of his lungs, spreading across his body, gases being exchanged as the oxygen was taken in by his tissues and the carbon dioxide was released. He thought about the air coming back out again, the breath leaving him, and the cycle continuing.

Cycles had a way of doing that, were designed to do that. The air was the same, the process the same, but it was different particles each time. The only difference was in the minutiae, the only changes microscopic, as the process began and ended with each breath.

Just breathing. He was only breathing.

It was getting colder. He was only wearing a button-down shirt and pants. Black pants. He wore a lot of black, he thought idly. It was strange, because he didn't know exactly when the change in his wardrobe began. He must have started wearing black at some point, because when he was a kid, he never wore black.

He had worn a lot of green when he was a child, he remembered. Why? He didn't know that. When he was younger, he hated to go shopping. Probably his mother thought he looked good in green.

Maybe she was right. Maybe he should wear more green.

But it clashed with his hair. He was always careful to pick colors that matched his hair. That's probably why he had taken to wearing black.

That, and the leather. Colored leather was nice, but not exactly a natural look. Black leather was the best choice for most of his adventures.

He liked leather; it hugged your body and smelled good.

He probably got that from his parents, but he worked hard at not thinking about those sorts of things.

He pulled off some blades of grass. Not thinking about things took a lot of energy, especially when the things you were working on not thinking about constantly pushed at your thoughts.

The dying light was reflected in the glass of the house across the street, making the house look nicer than it actually was. In photography, you spent a lot of time learning about light, and how it changes things. An object in one light would appear totally different than it would look in another light. A person of more metaphysical leanings might be tempted to think that there was no reality, only the perspective of the viewer and the light that he or she chose to cast over what might or might not be there.

Tearing apart the leaf, Ryuen thought about it. He might think that he had a good life. He might think that he was in love, and that someone else was in love with him. But there was no substance there to examine, only perception and light.

One day, something might happen that would change everything, and when it did, it would alter not only his perceptions of the moment, but the reality of the past as well, transmuting what he thought he knew to be true into something else.

And he could tell himself that he was prepared, sitting in the waning light on the cold ground in the tiny backyard that smelled like gasoline and motor oil because of all the cars. He could tell himself that he never expected it to last, and so it didn't matter, but he wasn't prepared and it did matter.

He brought the leaf up to his eyes, trying to stare at the grass. The light was too low, and he could barely see, but he could still feel the lines of the grass. Tiny veins, carrying water and minerals, transporting up through capillary action everything the plant needed to be green. He couldn't see the color anymore. It was too dark. But he could still feel it.

He couldn't see Saihitei kissing Miaka anymore, but he could still feel it.

He closed his eyes, and tried to regulate his breathing again. He didn't want to think about this right now. Maybe tomorrow. He could think about it tomorrow, when it was light again. Maybe that would change things.

If it had been a short kiss, he could have dismissed it. He walked into the kitchen, and he didn't know what had happened before then. If they just kissed and then it ended, he would have been able to joke. Make some sense of it. But they had just kept kissing, and it had hurt. He had stood there for what felt like a lifetime, and they hadn't stopped. It wasn't platonic, and it wasn't just a kiss.

It had killed him.

He dug his fingers into the grass, and let his palms get cold. He thought about his cold ass and his cold hands and the light that had gone away, and he stared at the dark outlines of the houses and he started to breathe.

Just breathing. He was just breathing.

A car pulled up behind the house and stopped. Ryuen barely noted it.

It was only when he could hear Taka's voice listing all the things he needed to do tonight that Ryuen registered.

How long had it been since he slipped out of the house? Saihitei and Miaka were probably done kissing by now, but maybe...


Taka turned at Ryuen's voice, nearly dropping his books and notebooks. "Ryuen? What are you doing out here in the dark?"

Ryuen tried to say something, but nothing came.

Worried, Taka walked over and sat next to the thin and too-small looking boy. "What's wrong, Ry-kun?"

Ryuen didn't want to cry. He wasn't a crier. He hadn't cried when his gram died, and he hadn't cried when he was raped.

Not for months, at any rate, and anyway, you were supposed to cry in therapy. That's why you went.

Taka put his hand on Ryuen's face, suddenly feeling very uneasy. "Ry? What happened? Is everyone all right?"

Ryuen wasn't really worried about Taka and Miaka. He knew, in the deepest part of his soul, that they were made for one another, and nothing could tear them apart.

But he loved Taka, and if he could, he would spare him the pain of seeing.

"It's fine." The words meant something completely different from the way he said them.

"Ry?" Taka put his arm around Ryuen's shoulder. "What happened?"

"You're really lucky, you know that? She loves you, so much, and nothing will ever change that. You are so lucky. You know that, right? You got the fairy tale, and nothing will ever change that." Ryuen smiled gently, or he tried to.

Taka felt something cold slide down his spine. "I know that. I do. And Ry... Sai loves you."

Ryuen deflated. He lowered his head to Taka's shoulder, his shoulders shaking. "I knew it was going to happen, and I thought... but I was stupid. You can't prepare. Not really. I love him so much, and I thought... I was so stupid."

"Fuck. Shit, Ry, what did he do? Please, tell me..." Taka clung to his friend, his nose in Ryuen's hair.

"I was so dumb. Please, Taka... promise me. Promise me, nothing will ever happen to you and Miaka. I don't think I could bear it if..." Ryuen's fingers clutched at Taka's shirt weakly. He absently noted that he had enough strength in his hands to string a bow and send an arrow into a target, but he was too weak to hold onto the fabric of his friend's shirt.

He should be stronger, he thought, numb.

"Ry... Nothing is going to happen to Miaka and me. We're fine. What did he do? Please, I can help you. I love you, Ry. You're my big brother, remember? Tell me what he did..." Taka ran his hand up and down Ryuen's spine, coaxing.

I should be stronger, Ryuen thought.

He wanted to make sure that Saihitei and Miaka were done... but he couldn't...

"I have to leave, now." Ryuen struggled to his feet, climbing up Taka. "I have to get away from here..."

"Ry... no, please, come inside and talk to me..."

"I have to go. I'm sorry." Ryuen straightened out his hair, and started to walk, even though he wasn't sure what direction he needed to go in yet.

"Ryuen." Taka tried to call him back.

Ryuen continued to straighten out his hair, looking one way and then another. Finally, he started to walk. "Sorry, Taka. Go inside, you have a lot to do tonight. I have to go now."

Taka stood in the backyard, staring after his friend as he drunkenly walked away. Torn between following him and going inside and maybe finding out what went on, Taka looked around, helpless.

Seeing Saihitei's car parked in its usual spot, Taka trudged determinedly inside.

He was going to find out what happened. Maybe then, he could help Ryuen.

notesPart OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenPart EightPart NinePart TenPart ElevenPart TwelvePart ThirteenPart FourteenPart FifteenPart SixteenPart Seventeen • Part Eighteen • Part NineteenPart TwentyPart Twenty-OneEpilogue