A Taste of Something Else by Fue-chan

Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me (WAAAH!!!) Please don’t sue me! I’m afraid of lawsuits!

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Let’s see how short I can keep this (ha! yeah right). This fic takes place around after they find Chiriko (actually Amiboshi but they don’t know it yet). Basically, for this fic to work, Miaka doesn’t fall in love with Tamahome. None of the stuff that they went through for each other was romantic. Whether he loves her or not, and whether Hoto loves her or not, I don’t really care, you can decided for yourself. They’re not the important ones in this fic. Yes, I know that this totally screws up Fushigi, but I wanted to try something and I couldn’t have Tama coming and messing everything up, although I love the romance between Miaka and him. I’m just experimenting if Miaka fell in love with someone else...Hmmmm......

Miaka stared out into the dark night sky, leaning over the railing. It was really beautiful. Every star seemed to sparkle even brighter tonight, and each one caught her attention. Yet, she couldn’t help but worry about Tamahome. She still felt shocked that he’d hurt her like that. She rubbed her arm. It didn’t hurt, thanks to Mitsukake’s healing, but she couldn’t believe it’d been broken the other day, and by one of her seishi, none the less. She sighed, wondering if he was all right and if he’d ever come back. Without him, the Suzaku calling ceremony was impossible.
“How are you feeling, Miaka-san?”
She spun around to see Chiriko, flute in hand, watching her. She relaxed a little, replying, “Oh, I’m fine.”
“Are you still worried about Tamahome?” he asked softly, coming up next to her.
She nodded, staring out into the stars again, “Do you think he’ll ever come back?”
Chiriko was silent, then said, “I think so. He’s too noble a guy to stay under the power of that drug for too long.”
Miaka frowned, “Mitsukake said it was un-reverseable.”
Chiriko watched her for a moment, then said, “Keep faith, Miaka-san. We’ll get him back,” he held his flute up, “would you like me to play for you?”
A smile touched Miaka’s lips. Chiriko was so nice, always playing for people when they were down. He never spoke of his own life, though.
“Chiriko,” she began, “what about you? Who cheers you up when you’re sad?”
He blinked, surprised to be asked something like this, “Er...I don’t know...”
Miaka furrowed her brow sympathetically, “You mean you don’t have anyone?”
He looked away, hiding his eyes from her, “I’m fine, Miaka-san. Really. Would you like for me to play for you?”
She sighed, knowing she wouldn’t get anything out of him tonight, “That’d be nice, Chiriko.”
He began to play, and she watched him. It was true, he was handsome. He was the same age as her too. She wondered about his background, his family, his life before he came to stay with the rest of the Suzaku seishi. Sometimes he just seemed so sad...
She listened to him for a while, then told him, “You must be tired, Chiriko. Go on off to bed. I’m going to stay up a little while longer I think.”
He nodded, beginning to walk off, “Good night, Miaka-san.”
“Chiriko,” she called after him and he turned, “if you ever want to talk, I’d be more than happy to listen.”
He nodded, his face serious, and walked away to his room.

/ ___o___o__o____o_____()___/__/

Chiriko rushed out with the rest of the Suzaku seishi, then came to an abrupt halt. There stood the Emperor facing Tamahome, both ready to battle with swords. Nagako’s plan seems to be going better than I thought it would, he thought to himself, Tamahome with kill the Emperor and Suzaku no Miko, and I’ll kill the rest of the seishi.
He stopped, the idea nagging at him. Over the past couple of days, he’d actually become rather fond of the Suzaku seishi. They were incredibly nice to him, and they were so much closer than the Seiryuu seishi. It pained him to think of killing them, but he knew, as their enemy, Seiryuu seishi, Amiboshi, he would have to kill them, or Nakago would kill him.
That was one thing that amazed him so much. The Seiryuu seishi could kill each other off without a problem or any guilt or feeling. But the Suzaku seishi cared for each other greatly. They went to great lengths to keep each other alive. There was so much love between all of them, like a family. Too bad he’d have to kill them.
By now, Tamahome and Hotohori were fighting. They were both excellent, but Hotohori was by far a better swordsmen. Chiriko had suggested stopping the fight, only out of worry that Tamahome would be killed and the plan would fail, but Nuriko had told him there was no way, for the Emperor was completely focused on his chi, and there was no way of stopping them until one went down.
Chiriko knew that one would be Tamahome, and he shook out of nervousness. If Tamahome doesn’t kill the Emperor and Suzaku no Miko, I’ll have to, he thought, and he hoped he had it in him to do that. It was a large job, but he knew he could not go back until it was finished.
Miaka suddenly ran out, in nothing but her bathrobe, her face blanketed with worry. “NOO!!” she screamed as Tamahome lunged at the Emperor, sword raised. Her voice caught his attention and he was distracted.
The sound was more sickening than anything Chiriko had ever heard before. As Hotohori’s sword ripped through Tamahome and sliced through to the other side, Chiriko shut his eyes tightly, painful memories coming to him. His parents, a sword ran through his mother, all in front of his very eyes. He cried out in pain and shock and Miaka’s scream for Tamahome cut through the air.
Miaka rushed up to Tamahome, now fallen, blood streaming from his wound. She cried and held him, and told him he had to come back. The seishi watched on in sadness and horror as Tamahome reached for the sword and brought it to Miaka, muttering about how he had to kill her. A surge of hopefulness was brought up in Chiriko. Kill Suzaku no Miko, he prayed, please, that’s all I ask for. She’d be the hardest for me to do away with. Then he wouldn’t have to see her smiling, bright face and hear her cheery, optimistic voice anymore. He loved these more than he could say, and seeing and hearing her everyday while knowing he’d have to kill her pained him greatly. Just kill her, he prayed, then I won’t have to do it.
But as she pleaded to him, he dropped the sword and hugged her, and the rest of the seishi sighed in relief. Mitsukake came and healed Tamahome’s wound. Chiriko cheered and smiled and hugged Tamahome with the others, but inside he cringed. Now he’d have to kill all of them, even Miaka. It was the hardest thing he’d ever faced in his life.

/ ___o___o__o____o_____()___/__/

Everything was perfect. Tamahome wasn’t evil anymore, all the Suzaku seishi were together, and the Suzaku calling ceremony was tomorrow. Miaka sighed happily, laying back against the pillow against the wall. She should be in bed, she thought, it was very late, but her excitement was too much. She couldn’t believe it. Tomorrow! Tomorrow all her dreams would come true.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a flute. She immediately knew it was Chiriko, but the tune sounded incredibly melancholy, and she began to worry about him. She quietly got up and left her room, following the sound of the flute. She came to the throne room. She stood silently at the door watching Chiriko play alone in the large, empty throne room. He sat cross-legged in the middle of the huge room on the wonderfully decorated carpet. His back was to her and his shoulders dropped a little. She felt touched by his sadness and walked to him softly. He barely realized she was behind him until she was right next to him, and he stopped, startled and looked up at her. He jumped to his feet, grasping his flute, “Miaka-san! I’m sorry, I didn’t think anyone was up! I’ll leave the throne room right---”
“Chiriko, it’s all right,” she said, putting a hand on his shoulder, “I don’t mind if you’re in the throne room, and I just came down to see you because you’re song sounded so sad.”
He looked at her, and his face fell but he kept silent.
“Chiriko! What is it?” she asked, her voice filled with concern.
He shook his head, “Nothing, Miaka-san.”
“Chiriko!” she put her hands on her hips, “what’s wrong! I’m worried about you! The Suzaku calling ceremony is tomorrow, Tamahome’s back, and we’re all together and happy. What’s wrong?”
“Miaka-san,” he hesitated, then spoke softly, “I...I miss my family.”
Miaka seemed relieved, “Oh. That’s no big problem.We can visit them after the calling ceremony.”
He looked away, “No, we can’t.”
“Why not?”
“Miaka-san,” he put his hands on her arms and looked her straight in the eyes, “you should be asleep, not worrying about me. I’m okay, really. You’ve other things to have your mind on. Just...just go back to bed.”
As she watched him plead with her, she felt something for him. It was more than sympathy, more like affection. Suddenly, she just wanted to hold him in her arms and comfort him and have him be happy again. She began to shake as her eyes fell upon his lips and she realized how much she wanted to kiss those lips, how much she wanted to tell him that she...that she loved him.
“Chiriko,” she began, her voice a little shaky from this realization, “please don’t make me leave.”
He sighed, “I can’t make you leave, Miaka-san...”
“No,” she closed her eyes, “I want to stay with you.”
There was a silence as he stared at her, his eyes wide. She didn’t open hers for a long time, and when she did, she couldn’t raise them to his.
“Just kiss me,” she breathed, shocked at how forward she was being, but it was her feelings that led her along, not her mind. She raised herself to his height a little, her face close to his. Silently, he brushed his lips against hers shyly. She respond with a full kiss, and he softly kissed her back. He hesitantly put his arm around on her back, and she held an arm around his neck. They kissed gently for a moment, then pulled away mutually.
“Please,” Miaka breathed, her voice shaky and her breath staggered, “stay with me tonight.”
“No,” Chiriko replied softly, “mikos have to remain virgins.”
She shook her head, “Then just stay in my room with me. I want you there as I sleep.”
He looked away, “Miaka...I really shouldn’t. It’s improper.”
She sighed, and looked at him decidedly, “I don’t really care. I love you.”
He turned his back to her, “Miaka, don't do this to me...”
She felt punched, “You...you don’t...”
“Miaka,” he turned around, “I do love you. I just can’t be with you.”
He silenced her with a soft kiss, then turned and left.
“Chiriko!” she called, but he didn’t look back. She stood, confused and full of new and strange emotions. It seemed perfect to her to fall in love with one of her seishi. But why couldn’t Chiriko be with her? She hung her head sadly and went back to her room, touching her lips softly in remembrance.

/ ___o___o__o____o_____()___/__/

Chiriko shook violently. He closed his eyes, struggling to focus his chi. His lips still burned with Miaka’s kiss and his heart raced from hearing her say she loved him. Oh, why him? Why did she have to love him? Why did he have to love her back? Why couldn’t Nakago have had another seishi go, one who wouldn’t feel this way about Suzaku no Miko...Miaka. It was almost forbidden for him to refer to her as Miaka. She was simply Suzaku no Miko, the girl he was sent to kill.
He stood tightly against the wall, his flute tucked into his belt. He was going to do it. He was going to kill the Suzaku seishi and their miko. He just wouldn’t think about them, or who they were. He would just play his flute and focus on killing everyone in the surrounding vicinity. The problem was, his chi was so confused and muffled, he was having great difficulty focusing it and controlling it. He hoped it would get better when the time came to finish them off.
He shook, coming around the corner and into the room where all the seishi were gathered. They smiled their welcome to him, and he could barely reply. Suddenly, Miaka stepped out in her long, beautiful Miko dress. Her hair was done up nicely and she wore bright and wonderful jewelry. Chiriko saw her and caught his breath. He still remember the night before, how she kissed him, and told him she loved him. He shook the memories from his head and looked away from Miaka, his chi threatening to crumble at these memories and the sight of her.
There was a little discussion before all the seishi were standing around the alter and Miaka. She repeated after Chichiri and threw the ‘Four Gods, Sky and Earth’ into the fire, crying for Suzaku to come to them. Nothing happened, of course, for Chiriko knew all the seishi had not been gathered. He took a deep breath, thinking, here goes nothing, and raising the flute to his mouth. He began to play, focusing on killing them and that was all. All he thought about was killing all life forms around him. They aren’t people, he told himself, they’re my enemies. They must die. All things come to an end. There will be war if I don’t kill them.
He blocked out the screams around him and continued playing.
Chiriko lifted the flute away from his mouth and smirked, “You people have failed. You can’t call Suzaku anymore.
Miaka, still covering her ears, asked confused, “Chiriko...you...”
“I always played the flute. Know why, Miaka-san?” he smirked, but it pained him to speak to Miaka this way, “now it’ll cause you physical agony. I always doted on you, just waiting for this time. Little by little, I put my chi into you.”
Miaka seemed to remember something, then shouted, “That means...that means..the bats...the one controlling them...”
He smirked, “That’s right. It was me. The one killed was sent with me by Kutou Country. I feel for him. It was to make you trust me. I kept you all unsuspecting by playing the flute everyday. That tattoo of Chiriko fooled you. Being too nice was your weakness. But it’s over for you.”
He began to play again, and they seishi cried out. He heard Tamahome shout, “Bastard! You’ve got to be one of Seiryuu’s...”
Tasuki narrowed his eyes at the flutist, and through the pain, he raised his tessen and shouted, “LEKKA SHIIEN!”
Flames shot from the tessen and singed a hole in the shoulder of Chiriko’s shirt, revealing a glowing blue character, reading “ko.” Amiboshi smirked at the Suzaku seishi and said quietly, “Seiryuu seishi, Amiboshi. This tune’s your farewell.”
Tasuki rushed at him, preparing to flame him, but flute music hit him like an explosive blast. The seishi began screaming again in pain.
Miaka’s scream cut through Amiboshi soul and the flute nearly fell from his hands. The seishi seemed to have some relief, but he quickly picked it up and began playing again, and the screams began again.
“Please!” Miaka pleaded, making her way painfully to him, clutching her head, “Chiriko, why?!”
His chi wavered, but he blocked out Miaka’s sweet voice. She was now almost to him, but was in severe pain. The seishi called out to her, but she kept going.
“You...you said you loved me!” she screamed, tears streaming down her cheeks, “you kissed me! Why?!”
He shook, his chi barely stable. He kept playing, but he couldn’t block out Miaka’s cries anymore, “Chiriko! Don’t do this...I love you!”
The flute fell to the floor with a loud clanking sound. Amiboshi stared at Miaka, tears in his eyes, his face contorted with anger and sadness.
“Why?! Why do you love me?! Hate me so I can kill you!!” he shrieked at her.
“No!” Miaka sobbed, “you’re a good person! I know you are! You don’t have to do this!”
Amiboshi was breathing hard, and he closed his eyes tightly, shedding some tears, and putting his hands to his head, “Yes, I do! I’m your enemy! If I don’t kill you, Nakago will kill me!”
Tamahome gritted his teeth at the Seiryuu seishi, “You bastard! Nakago sent you to do this!?” with that, he leapt at Amiboshi, knocking him against the wall, and held him there by his throat.
“Tamahome! Let him go!” Miaka screamed.
“Miaka! He’s our enemy! He’s here to kill us!” Tamahome shouted, “Hotohori! Bring your sword!”
Miaka stepped between Hotohori and Tamahome, “Don’t touch him! I love him!”
“Miaka---” Hotohori started, drawing his sword.
“I do! You can’t tell me otherwise, and I won’t let you kill him!” she shrieked through sobs. Nuriko came to pull her away, but she ran to Amiboshi, shoving Tamahome away. She stood before him, her arms spread to protect him.
Amiboshi gazed at the Miko in front of him. He could kill her now, and then the others would be easy. Closing his eyes and ignoring that she was Miaka, he wrapped an arm around her neck in a head lock, choking her.
“Miaka!” Hotohori cried, beginning to rush forward, but stopped at Amiboshi threatened, “Don’t come any closer, or I’ll break her neck.”
All the seishi froze. Miaka, gasping for air, choked out, “Chiriko, please!”
“That’s not my name!” he shouted furiously.
“Amiboshi!” she sobbed, “don’t do this. I still have faith in you. I still love you, and I still will, even if you kill me. You can take away my life, but you can’t take away my feelings.”
She fell to the floor with a thunk as Amiboshi dropped her. He closed his eyes painfully, beginning to cry and hiding his face in his hands, “I don’t want to kill you, any of you.”
“Bull shit!” Tasuki exploded, coming forward with his tessen, but Nuriko stopped him.
“It was my order. It was my duty as a Seiryuu seishi.” Amiboshi continued through tears, “but I like all of you very much. I’ve never felt so loved. and Miaka,” he gazed down at her, “I still love you. I...I don’t know if I could have killed you.”
“Don’t let him continue!” Tamahome shouted, “he’s lying! It’s a trick!”
“No, it’s not!” Amiboshi yelled, “please, kill me now! It’d be better to die by your hand than Nakago’s.”
“Nakago...Nakago would actually kill you?” Nuriko asked softly, “he’d kill one of his own seishi?”
Amiboshi nodded, swallowing largely, “Without a second thought.”
Miaka stood and held herself against him, “I believe him. But we can’t kill him. Please, let him stay with us.”
“Miaka!” Tamahome exclaimed, “are you nuts?!”
“He’s a good person!” Miaka shouted, “besides, the Seiryuu would be missing one of their seishi. It would hurt them, wouldn’t it?”
The Suzaku seishi were silent. Chichiri spoke up, “He’s got a confused chi no da. He will not harm us any longer. He has no violence in his chi no da.”
The seishi were still silent, then Tamahome walked slowly up to Amiboshi. They stared at each other for a moment, then a slight smile touched Tamahome’s lips. He patted Amiboshi on the shoulder, “Take good care of Miaka. You can stay.”
A smile broke out on Amiboshi’s face, “Thank you so much. I...” he looked down, “the Seiryuu would never be this close. What makes us different?”
Tamahome stared at him, thinking, then spoke softly, “I don’t know. I really don’t know. But maybe we’ll find out.”