**As the title suggests, spoilers for Nakago's past**

      Seiryuu found himself returning to the mortal's home more and more often. It was so much better then the chaos back home. Besides, he liked to check on his seishi from time to time.

      Miboshi was currently in the body of a farmer…at least that's what the man used to be. Now he was a murderer who hid in the day and killed at night, using the blood he gathered for dark spells. Seiryuu found himself edgy around Miboshi. There was so much evil around him…and the seishi was beginning to associate himself more and more with Tenkou. Maybe, though, after the miko appeared, he would realize his true place.

      Ashitare was becoming a terror, running through the woods, half naked and stealing children in the night. He had, quite literally, gone insane. Seiryuu didn't understand. This wasn't the way he had planned it. He'd wanted his seishi to be strong. To win. Why couldn't they do that and keep their sanity?

      There was still one chance though. Seiryuu was watching him now. The boy ran through the fields, sun shining on his golden blond hair. Nakago… His pride and joy. The boy was dashing through the fields with others of his tribe, battling a leather ball around. He was laughing, light shining in his sky blue eyes. Oh yes, this one was going to be strong. Beautiful and strong.

      "I'm getting bored," one of the boys said, giving the ball a little kick. "I wanna do something else. Let's play bandits."

      "Aww, we always play bandits," said another boy. "I want to go fishing."

      "I want to keep playing ball," said a third.

      "What should we do, Ayuru?" the first asked. All the boys looked at Nakago. Pride filled the dragon's heart. Even now, people followed him.

      "Why don't we have a race?" the blond said. "Winner gets to choose the next game."

      As expected, everyone agreed with this. They all lined up. Seiryuu changed into boy from and slipped beside Nakago. None of the mortals could see him of course. At the word 'go' they all took off. Nakago effortlessly pulled ahead of the others. Seiryuu watched the young mortal's face. His eyes were open only a little, showing glints of deep blue through golden lashes. Heh. None of Suzaku's pathetic seishi could top this.

      Suddenly there was a yelp from one of the others. Nakago stopped and the boys stopped with him. Seiryuu turned with them to see what had happened. The boy who had wanted to fish was sitting on the ground, clutching his ankle.

      "What happened?" a boy asked. "Fall and hurt yourself?"

      "I…I think I twisted my ankle."

      "Well that was stupid. Can you walk?"

      "Yeah…I think so." He got to his feet and hobbled a few steps.

      ~Leave him behind,~ Seiryuu thought. ~He's weak. He doesn't matter.~

      "Let's leave him," another boy said. "He can get back to camp on his own."

      "Yeah," others chorused. The injured boy frowned, tears welling in his eyes. Ugh. How pathetic.

      "It's all right Senkyo," Nakago said, going to the boy's side. "I'll help you."

      "Comon' he's weak! If you stop and help him you won't win the race!"

      ~Yes, Nakago. He's not worth it. If he can't do it on his own, he isn't worth it!~ Seiryuu growled.

      The human ignored him and let the other boy lean on him. The other boys shook their heads and ran on ahead. Seiryuu snarled in disgust. He was strong in body but weak in his spirit! He shouldn't be helping this boy, he should be leaving him!

      "Th…thank you Ayuru-kun."

      "Don't worry about it. Let's go to the healer so she can look at your ankle, okay?"

      "Yeah…"

      "He's nice," said a voice from behind Seiryuu. The dragon turned, fixing his little brother with a glare. Suzaku smiled. "I like him."

      "He's weak," the dragon snapped.

      "Nuh-uh! Ashitare is weak! He's just a doggie after all! I could defeat him just by throwing a bone at him."

      "Could not, bird brain!"

      "Geez, for someone who's sixteen, you still act like a five-year-old!"

      "Shut up," he snarled, getting right in the phoenix's face. The twelve-year-old took an exaggerated step back, waving a hand in front of his nose.

      "You know, Seiryuu, there's this ingenious little plant that grows around here called mint. You should really go eat some. Your breath is terrible!"

      "GET OUT OF MY COUNTRY, BIRD BRAIN!" the dragon roared.

      Suzaku laughed, changed into phoenix form and darted into the air.  Seiryuu chased him, sending chi blasts like crazy. Suzaku avoided the bolts of chi easily. Damnit, he was getting too good at doing that. The southern border was coming up. Suzaku landed on his side and began to preen his feathers into place. Seiryuu stopped before the border. A part of him wanted to blast the bird brain right here and be done with it. The other part, however, wanted to show how much more mature he was. Suzaku continued to ignore him, twisting his head so he could pluck at the base of his peacock like feathers. Seiryuu turned and staled away, stupid brat. Almost as soon as his back was turned, the phoenix spoke.

      "Ooh, look, I'm in the lizard's country!"

       Seiryuu clenched his hands into fists and whipped around. Suzaku's talon was resting over the border.

      "I'm in your country. I'm in your country," the red bird sang. With a sudden movement Seiryuu lunged, attempting to bite his foot off. Suzaku jerked it back just in time and cocked his head.

      "You really are getting slow, lizard breath." Suzaku made a few hopping steps further down the border line, using his wings as balance. "Look! I'm in you're country!" he chirped, hopping over the line.

      "Now I'm out of your country. In your country! Out of your country. In your country! Out of your country. In you're coun-" Seiryuu changed into dragon form and stepped on him with a claw. Suzaku squawked in startled pain. Seiryuu smiled. Why hadn't he thought of this before?

      "TAIITSUKUN-SAMAAA! SEIRYUU'S STEPPING ON ME AN HE WON'T GET O-" Seiryuu released his foot and laid on his brother, making sure the small phoenix got the full brunt of his weight. Seiryuu listened happily to his brother's muffled whining. Then dropped his head between his claws and sighed. Ah peace and quiet. He closed his eyes. The sun's warm rays baked his scales. Mm. What a perfect day. Might as well take a nap.  

      He woke to the sounds of war. They were far from here, but were clear to his ears. Smoke and blood filled his nostrils and he could see the soldiers in the distance. They were attacking a small camp. Nakago's camp.

      Seiryuu stood, took his brother's foot in his teeth, threw him up in the air and slammed his tail into the phoenix's midsection, sending him sailing over the border. Then he went to where the fighting was. The tribe was being gutted. The bodies of dead men and children hung everywhere. Women's screams echoed through the smoke filled air as well as the cries of dying men. He changed into human form and went to where his seishi was.

      Nakago was standing at the entrance to a tent, watching in utter shock as soldiers raped his mother. Not acting…just watching. How annoying. The boy had the power to kill every one of these men and he wasn't even using it! How weak.

      ~Do something!~ the god commanded.

      "B…but…," the boy whimpered, tears streaking down his face.

      ~DO IT NOW!~

      "I can't!"

      ~Then watch your mother die.~

      There was utter silence. For a moment, the mortal world disappeared and the only thing that existed was this young seishi. Seiryuu could hear the boy's heart beat. Suddenly, Nakago screamed, the sign 'kokoro' bursting to life on his forehead. He lifted his hand. Seiryuu felt his own energy drain slightly as the boy drew it from him. Everything slammed into high gear. Nakago lifted his hand, there was a blinding burst of light, then in a blink, it was all over. Nothing was left but four corpses.

      Seiryuu's eyebrows lifted. In killing the soldiers he'd killed his mother as well. How ironic. Oh well. The woman was nothing more then a hindrance anyway. Nakago would do better without her. Seiryuu noted with disgust that the boy was crying. Two soldiers approached. Nakago didn't even struggle as they took him. The little idiot.

      The dragon followed as they took the seishi to the emperor. The Kutou emperor… now there was a weak man. Weaker even, then Nakago. Ruled by his wants…rather then his strength. He was a greedy man, however, and greedy men tended to rule for a long time.

      "Are you sure he's one of the Seiryuu shichi seishi?" the emperor asked, a look of disgust crossing his face.

      "Yes sir, we saw the kanji on his forehead before he killed the soldiers."

      Perhaps we should kill him anyway, the emperor thought. He might kill me one day.

      If the Emperor tried, they would all die. Nakago would not allow himself to be killed. Perhaps, though, it would be better if the emperor lived. Maybe he could make Nakago stronger. Just maybe…

      ~Why kill him?~ Seiryuu told the man. ~If you take him now, you can easily control him. To have such a powerful seishi under your influence would make you the greatest of all time.~

      "He's so pretty," the emperor said. "He looks more like a girl then a boy… We'll keep him." A smile curved the man's lips.

      Seiryuu nodded. The emperor would either make Nakago stronger or shatter him. In the end, it was all for his own good.

      ~Remember, Nakago,~ he said, looking straight into his seishi's empty eyes. ~If you're strong, you live. If you're weak, you die. That's the way it goes.~

---

Notes: Yeaaah. Seiryuu-kun can be a jerk sometimes…but it's in his nature and I love him anyway. I love them all. ^^; *looks at last line and whistles innocently* Shishio? Who's Shishio?

Standard Disclaimers Apply

Night~Mare