Disclaimer: To cut the long story short: Own nothing, don't sue. Yeah.
- Mushy-fluffy-sappy [extremely!], probably OOC, annoyingly short. Yeah.
- Urm…setting…after the 2nd OVA, but before Eikoden.
- First person point of view: I'm not good at doing this kind of POV's, so feel free to criticize as it helps me improve. Hehe.
written by: da*mouse
They could not see me, but I could see them, plain as day.
Boushin was holding a brush, a puzzled expression on his small face as ink dripped from the brush. Houki was smiling, as she took the brush from our son, and began writing with elegant, cursive strokes on the parchment of paper.
My beloved wife, and my precious son. It had been long since I last held Houki in my arms, since I last heard Boushin calling me, with that sweet, innocent affection.
Yes, it had been so long, and I longed for the touch of my family.
I longed to play with Boushin, and to teach him about life, let him know about the matters of Konan, so that he could be a good emperor.
A good emperor…he shouldn't have to take up such enormous responsibility at such a young age. I was fourteen when I assumed the throne, and even then I felt I was too young, and it was too unfair. If it was unfair for me, it would even more be for Boushin – he would lose his childhood once he assumed my throne, and be the emperor in my place, succeeding in where I have failed.
All that I had failed to do…especially…failing in keeping my promise to Houki. That was the biggest regret of my life. That I didn't return, that I didn't manage to return to her, as I had promised. I wasn't there for her when she gave birth to Boushin. I wasn't there…
Because I had to go into battle. I had to protect my country.
I was the Emperor of Konan, one of the seven Suzaku seishis. From the start, I knew that I had great responsibilities. Even though I didn't want it. All I wanted…a normal, happy life. With my wife and my son.
Not like this. Where I could only watch them. Just watching.
Boushin put down his brush, looking sulky, apparently failing in writing anything legible. Houki smiled encouragingly, urging him to try again. But Boushin no longer wanted to continue, I could see. My son chose to pick up a ball lying by the table and ran towards the door, where I was standing, silently.
As he ran by me, I reached out for him, and my hand settled on his head. I didn't want to move my hand, for I knew it would go right through it, and it would break my heart.
Boushin stopped running, and turned his eyes quizzically towards me.
I smiled lovingly at him, even though I knew he could not see me. I chose not to appear before him.
I lifted my hand, and his expression cleared as he made his way towards the palace gardens, still holding his ball.
Houki put down the brush she had been writing with, stood up and walked out of the room. Tall, elegant, she still managed to take my breath away. Left alone, I moved towards the table where my wife and son had been sitting. Boushin's parchment was a mess of black spots, I smiled when seeing it. Certainly he had not inherited my love nor my talent for calligraphy. As for Houki's…two words were written, her calligraphy as beautiful and graceful as herself.
My name…my seishi name.
Sadness almost overwhelmed me as I looked at her calligraphy, and traced the firm brush strokes that made up my name. I turned my eyes towards the garden, hearing my son's laughter.
Even though I cannot hold them, I still wanted to be with them.
They were playing a ball game, clearly relaxing in the afternoon, when one of the ministers approached, bowing, and announced that it was time for Boushin's training. Training, as the Emperor, he must know how to protect himself.
Boushin's frown clearly indicated that he wasn't happy, but after a hug from his mother, he willingly went, leaving Houki sitting by herself near the pond.
To me, she never was a replacement, or someone to help me fulfill my duty for Konan. She never was anything…except being the woman I loved.
Yes, I loved her, and one of my many regrets was that I never let had the chance to let her know how much I really do loved her.
I might be in love with Miaka once, but even then I questioned my feelings for her. Did I love her because she was Miaka, or because she was the object of affection of my lonely existence, the Suzaku no Miko? I asked myself whether would I love Miaka if she were not the Miko. I didn't really have the answer to that, because I knew that I felt strongly for Miaka, whether it was because she was the Miko or not…it didn't really matter.
But what I felt for Miaka was different from what I felt for Houki. With Miaka, I felt a fierce desire to protect her, shield her from harm…and with her, I could never really be myself, Hotohori. But with Houki…she made me felt so free, open…with her, I was truly myself. With her, I could be myself.
I loved both women, but not equally. I loved one once upon a time, but the other I would love her for the rest of my existence.
Our married life was short, no doubt, but filled with so much happiness. For the first time, I felt content and joy, for the first time, I felt the wonder of being loved, being loved by someone so pure, so trusting, so beautiful. How could I not love her? It would almost be asking me not to breathe – it was impossible for me not to love her.
She was everything to me, my everything.
I looked at her sitting there, such an epitome of loveliness, and I ached to hold her again, to tell her that I loved her, always and forever.
Then I heard her murmuring my name.
"Saihitei…where are you now? Are you happy?" She whispered, looking at the skies.
My Houki…I am here…here with you…I wanted to tell her.
She suddenly turned to the direction where I stood, her beautiful eyes bright with a sudden hope. "Saihitei, are you there? I can feel you…your presence…Saihitei, if you're here with me, please show yourself."
I stiffened involuntarily. I didn't want to show myself. Being able to let her see me, and yet not being able to hold me, and I, not able to hold her…it would pained both our hearts.
She rose from the stone bench, walking towards me hesitantly, stretching out a pale arm. "My husband…"
"Please…let me see you." She pleaded, her palm almost at my chest.
"Houki…I'm here." I could not hold back my own longing, and chose to appear before her.
Her eyes widened, as she gave a small gasp. Almost immediately, she began tearing, drops gathered at the corner of her eyes. "Saihitei, I've missed you so…so much…"
"I know…" I whispered tenderly. "I've missed you, too…very much…"
She threw her arms around me, but could only touch air. As she went through my spirit form, I could feel my heart throbbing with pain. She stood there for moment, her back to me, her shoulders trembling, and then she turned to face me. She pasted a bright smile on her face, as she hastily wiped the tears from her eyes. But fresh ones welled up again, against her will.
I stood there, gazing at her with such longing, such love. Can she feel my love for her?
She approached me, and rested her palm gingerly on my chest. I placed my ghostly hand on top of hers, but was unable to touch her. "It's not fair, is it, Saihitei? I just want to hold you. Just once…" Her voice trailed off sadly, her expression one of deep sorrow.
I felt my own throat tightening. "No." I agreed. "It's not fair."
She gazed at me, her heart in her eyes. "Never was there a moment when I didn't think of you…I wanted to see you, so badly, so much…"
"You're always in my thoughts, Houki. Always. You and Boushin…are never far from my heart." I wanted her to know, to understand.
I began to pray. If I could be so selfish to pray to the Suzaku, to grant me the power, to help me, to let me hold Houki. Just once, after all this while. Just once.
The next instant…it was a miracle. Suzaku had heard my prayer, and chose to grant it. Houki gave a sudden gasp, as my ghostly form began to take shape. And I could feel her touch, the warmth of her hand on my chest.
I immediately pulled her into my embrace, holding her tightly against me. She gave a stifled sob, and her grip tightened at the front of my robes.
"How I have dreamt, and hoped for this. That one day, I would be able to see you, to touch you…" Still she cried, her tears flowing down her cheeks. Gently, I stroke her lavender tresses, savoring her nearness, her warmth.
"Houki, I…" I hesitated then. I never told her those words when I was alive. She never knew how much she really meant to me. I laughed bitterly at myself for my foolishness – I only learnt how much I loved her, needed her, after my death.
"…I love you…"
She pulled back, an expression of wonderment on that lovely face. A smile breaking through her tears, she rested her hand on the side of my face. I pressed my own hand against hers, looking at her with a loving expression. I wanted her to know that I loved her.
Really, truly do.
"Saihitei…I love you, too…"
But we could never be together…not now. She was in the land of living, and I was merely a spirit. Even so, that could not stop me from loving her. Her from loving me.
I closed my eyes, feeling Houki gradually slipping out of my touch. I knew that the miracle was about to end. I had to go back to my spirit world.
"No!" Houki cried, as her arms began to go through me. "Don't leave me, Saihitei!"
"Houki…" I placed my hand on her cheek, still able to feel the wetness of her tears. "I'm sorry…"
"…but I'll always be with you. You…and Boushin, would forever be all that was dear to me. Be strong, Houki. And someday…"
"Someday…" she repeated, the single word filled with hope.
"We'll be together again, you and I." I smiled tenderly at her. "Until then, remember that I am by your side. Every moment."
"Saihitei!" She pressed her face against my chest, her arms wrapped around my waist. I held on to her as well, hoping to prolong this magical moment for as long as we could. For this was what I missed the most, not being able to hold her, touch her.
I leaned down, and kissed her softly, lingeringly, as we both clung onto that last touch, that would be lost to us as I returned.
The warmth of her lips against mine began to fade, and I knew it was time.
"My husband…I love you, so very much…"
"As do I, Houki. Remember…"
"I will. I'll hold on to this feeling…someday…"
We'll be together…forever.
A miracle had happened today, that enabled our reunion, for that I would forever be grateful, forever be thankful that Houki and I, we knew that the bond of our love could surpassed even the gates of my death.
Until then, I would always remained by her side, hers and Boushin's, watching over them…in spirit.
posted 19th November 2003
Okay, so that was extremely sappy, cheesy…somebody please shoot me. But I am just too in love with Hotohori, and I cannot NOT write something for him. Haha. And since I am a fan of Houki as well and one of the Hotohori/Houki minority shippers…I just thought I might as well contribute a Hotohori/Houki fic although that came out sappier and cheesier and mushier than I intended, sigh.
I don't expect a lot of reviews as I do know that the fans of this pairing is very few…but if you happened to read this, please leave a little review to tell me you've been here and read this? ^_^ Even to tell me I should hang myself, haha.
Apologies to those who thought I butchered Hotohori and Houki's personalities, I really didn't mean to. But MY theory is they loved each other, yes, Hotohori DOES love Houki. Yup.