Just a note.. this was written before Genbu Kaiden came out. I edited it some after the first two books came out, but that's it.

Disclaimer: Fushigi Yuugi and all its characters belong to Yuu Watase. This fanfic is an idea that I have come up with, and song lyrics are also written by me.

Ballad of the Water Carrier

He surveyed the scene before him. Already it had been five years since the summoning of Genbu. Five long years, he mused. Five long years where all he had done was walk the length of Hokkan countless times...

Urumiya looked at the sky and sighed. He could feel the chill of Hokkan's winter cutting into him, but he ignored it. Instead, the biting wind felt refreshing to his flushed face. Closing his eyes, he began to sing. The mark for "water carrier" appeared on his left collarbone and started to glow green.

As he sang, the memories of the past came swirling back to him. Red- haired Takiko, who he hadn't realized he loved until she left their world, Namame, with his ice aqua eyes and distant manner, who had eventually sacrificed his life for the others, who had been like a big brother to him, Iname, with her gentle smile and deft hands that folded miraculous, although slightly insane, creations and brought them to life. She had been sixteen, just two years older than him. And the way he, Iname, and Namame had fought... he laughed to himself and continued singing of their adventures, of how Uruki had seemed to be an enemy at first, but later befriended the others, and ten-year old Hatsui, with his needle shooting abilities, who had summoned courage when they had needed him the most. Tomite and Hikitsu, who had died first, but had cared so much for the people of the land. The Genbu song, Song of the Northern Turtle.

Urumiya softly ended his song and opened his eyes. This was the song he had sung every day as he traveled across the country. More memories flitted through his mind and he composed additional lyrics to the ballad. To sing was his way of remembering what had happened, and he didn't want to forget. The image of Takiko rose from his mind and sharpened into view. Although she had been three years older than him, Urumiya had somehow fallen in love with her. Perhaps it had been her fiery spirit or the way she could cheer everyone up when their hopes were down, the way she was so determined about everything, and how she had fought to hide her loneliness for her father. He smiled again. Today, he would sing the song he had composed especially for her.

Urumiya opened the song with a sweet melody similar to 'Song of the Gondola,' the song Takiko had always been singing, telling of her bravery and strength, yet a hidden beauty deep inside her heart. For a few moments, he could immerse himself in the past, not having to worry about the future. His voice soared, then dipped as he neared the middle.

Just as he was about to reach the finale, he heard clapping behind him. Urumiya whirled around. "Who's there?"

Iname came into the light and smiled. "Miya, you haven't changed at all, have you?"

The sound of the nickname only Iname had been allowed to call him softened his reply. "Nami, you scared the heck out of me!"

Iname laughed. "You haven't seen anything yet!" She took out a few pieces of paper and began folding.

Urumiya's eyes widened. "Oh no you don't!" He leaped at Iname, who laughed as she tried to finish her creation before he could tear it out of her hands. "You are NOT going to fold another five-legged blue lion with THREE eyes!"

Iname yanked the paper away from him. "I'm not! I'm folding a three- legged bear with five limbs!"

"That's just as bad! Now give me that!" He lunged at the paper and started the two of them rolling down the hill towards a cliff. "Iname! NOW look what you did!"

"What I did! You were the one who started – AAAAAAAAHHHHHH!"

"We're going to die, weregoingtodie weregoingtodie!" Urumiya yelled. "Iname, whaddarewegoingtodo!"

"Let go of me first!" Iname screamed back. "I can't fold anything like this!" She fought free of Urumiya's iron grip and began folding furiously.

Urumiya glanced nervously at the rushing forest. "Iname, hurry!" he pleaded. "I don't want to die yet!"

"I'm folding my fastest. There, done!" She took Urumiya's hand and blew on her eagle. "We're safe!"

"HOW IS A ONE-WINGED EAGLE SUPPOSED TO HELP US!" Urumiya yelled as the two fell toward the trees, only slightly slowed down by the eagle, which was trying to steady itself. "Genbu, we need Iname!"

"I AM Iname, idiot!"

"Oh yeah... But I meant Namame!"

"Now what are you two lovebirds doing up here in the sky? I always thought they perched on trees cooing to each other."

Urumiya jumped at the sound of the voice in his ear and accidentally fell of the eagle, which had been slowly but surely gliding down. He crashed into a tree and bumped his way to the forest floor, giving a sudden yell. "Miya!" Iname cried and leaped off her bird.

She felt herself yanked back and gave a furious cry. "Let go of me!"

He laughed. "Are you sure you want me to?"

"You-! Uruki!" Iname stopped fighting. "Uruki, what are you doing here?"

A quirky grin came over his face. "Why, Hatsui and I figured a little reunion would be nice." He nodded off in the direction Urumiya had fallen. "I reckon Urumiya already met Hatsui and is having a nice chat with him." He silenced the wind around them and floated the two of them down to the ground gently. "There. See what I meant? Isn't that a lot less painful than jumping off and hitting a bunch of branches?"

Iname didn't reply, but a small smile came over her face.

Urumiya was leaning against a tree when Iname ran up to him, his right arm in a sling. "Oww... Uruki, don't scare me like that again."

Hatsui chuckled, no longer a plump child of ten. "He always did that to people; what else would you expect from him?" He finished tying the sling. "Be careful with that arm for a few days," he warned.

Urumiya grumbled good-naturedly. "You remind me of Namame sometimes, Uruki."

Uruki just smiled. "And you remind me of a klutz."

Both Iname and Hatsui laughed. Iname covered her mouth girlishly as she giggled. "So anyways, what brings the two of you here? We haven't seen each other for more than five years," Iname inquired. "What's the special occasion?"

Hatsui shrugged. "Why not for exactly that reason?"

"It's nice to talk about old times," Uruki added.

Urumiya laughed and tried to stretch his arm. "Fun time I'll have getting reacquainted with you three..."

Uruki cocked an eyebrow. "And why would that be?"

It didn't seem like his arm had been injured seriously, so he untied the sling and tested it out. It only twinged, a difference from how it had felt to begin with. Urumiya sighed. "Why does the man ask?" Then he grinned to show he was joking. "Well, first I met Iname, and we end up falling off a cliff together. And just when she finally folds a bird, one-winged though it was, you decide to show up and scare the wits out of me, causing me to fall off the bird and plummet through the trees. And does my good luck dry up? Noooo. I just have to fall on top of Hatsui, who spikes me and nearly breaks my right arm." He nodded cheerfully. "Yep yep, now you know why I'm so thrilled to meet you three again."

Uruki whistled. "Quite a list..."

"Although none of that would have happened if you hadn't jumped me," Iname pointed out.

Uruki grinned. "Oh wow, falling for someone?" He cracked up. "Get it? Falling for someone!"

Iname whacked him and glared at him. "Oh, shut up."

Hatsui nodded smugly. "Yep. It's love."

Both Urumiya and Iname rolled their eyes simultaneously. "No it isn't."

They looked at each other. "Huh?"

Uruki nudged Hatsui with his elbow. "Yep, you're right. See how they even have similar thoughts?"

Urumiya blinked and resisted the urge to whack the two of them. "No we don't," he said just as Iname said it.

Hatsui nodded. "Yeah, you do."

Urumiya clamped his mouth shut so he wouldn't say something Iname might say. He looked over at her and his eyes widened when he noticed her mouth was clamped shut, too.

Hatsui and Uruki burst out laughing when they saw this. "As I said earlier..." Uruki said knowingly. "You two are perfect for each other."

"She's not – stop saying the same thing as me!"

"He's not – stop saying the same thing as me!"

Iname and Urumiya glared at each other while Uruki and Hatsui rolled on the ground, clutching their sides as they laughed.

"I give up," both Urumiya and Iname said as they flung their arms into the air. "Those two are impossible." Each of them stomped off in different directions.

Hatsui and Uruki stopped laughing and shared knowing looks. Each went after one of the other two seishi.

Urumiya sighed. He wasn't sure what to make of Iname, but he was pretty sure it wasn't love! She was... she was more like a sister than anything else, and that was how it had always been. Besides, she had loved someone else, just as he had loved Takiko. The two of them had cared deeply for each other, but it had never expanded any further than sibling love. But this time... It felt like something was different between Iname and him. He couldn't quite place it, but he knew it was there.

Hatsui tapped Urumiya on the shoulder. "What's up?"

The last thing he wanted was to be around another person, especially when he was so busy trying to figure out the workings of his heart. Urumiya began grumbling. "Go away..."

Hatsui crouched. "Sing for me, Urumiya!" he begged. "Sing the Genbu song!"

Urumiya rolled his eyes. "Oh, all right, but after that, go AWAY."

Hatsui nodded fervently. "Ok!"

Urumiya sighed and began singing. Hatsui settled back and listened to his friend's sweet voice fill his ears.

Iname paused to listen to Urumiya sing. Whenever she had felt down those past five years, all she had to do was remember his singing and she would immediately cheer up. She smiled to herself.

Uruki popped up next to her and grinned cheekily. "Urumiya has a nice voice, doesn't he?" He leaned closer. "So tell me the truth. Do you like him or not?"

"I... I don't like him!"

Uruki raised an eyebrow knowingly. "Oh? Then why did your eyes just soften? Why did you blush when I asked you that question? C'mon, tell ol' Uruki! C'mon, c'mon!"

"No!" Iname sputtered out. "Go away!"

"Aw c'mon, tell me!" Uruki wagged his eyebrows. "You know you're going to end up marrying one of us anyways. You only have three choices, so who will it be?"

"Go away or I'll set one of my creations on you..."

Uruki pretended to pout. "You will? But you have to answer my question first! Who will it be?"

Iname pushed him away and tried to stomp off, only to be greeted by Uruki. She threw up her arms in exasperation. "Just what are you trying to do? Drive me mad!"

Uruki sighed, no longer joking. "Takiko wanted you to go with Urumiya or Namame because the three of you were so close. But now that Namame's-"

"Don't say it!" Iname clamped her hands over her ears. "Don't say that word!"

Uruki grabbed her roughly and forced her to face him. "He's dead, ok? Face facts! He's been dead for the past five years! Just like Tomite and Hikitsu!"

"Shut up! It's different with them! At least they're still alive in their own way, guarding the Shinzaho!" Iname crumpled to the ground. "But Namame... Namame.."

"So Hatsui was right. You were in love with Namame. The rest of us just thought the two of you were really close, almost like siblings." He cocked his head to listen to Urumiya's final notes. "But tell me: What did you think of Urumiya?"

Iname turned on him. "Why are you trying to pair me up with him?"

"Because with both of you reminiscing about the past and barely thinking about the future, the two of you would make the perfect pair!" Uruki retorted.

"We do not!"

"Yes you do!"

"Do not!"

"Do too!"

"Do NOT!"

Uruki grabbed Iname by the shoulders again and shook her twice. "I've seen Urumiya! Every morning he sings the Genbu song. Then when he's finished, he sits on a rock, just remembering the past! And you! You're not much better! You're always going to Mt. Black to converse with your brother and Hikitsu! By Genbu, could the two of you get any more stuck in the past?" Uruki stopped his tirade and sighed. "You're already twenty-one, Iname. By all rights, you should be married by now."

She smiled sadly. "But I'm not."

Hatsui grinned. "Nice song, Urumiya."

Urumiya started. He had almost forgotten the other boy was there. "Th- Thanks."

Hatsui cocked his head curiously. "So who were you thinking of when you were singing?"

"Takiko and everyone else we met or befriended, of course. Why else is it called the Genbu song?"

Hatsui raised an eyebrow. "But who was the main person you were thinking of?"

"Why do you ask? I would think it be obvious."

Hatsui chuckled. "Maybe you just think it would be obvious." He sighed. "Shall we go back now?" He began heading back.

Urumiya stood thinking to himself as he watched Hatsui leave. The boy had matured a lot since he last saw him. Along with Iname. She's gotten a lot prettier. Ack! What am I thinking! He shook his head furiously. He blew out and followed after Hatsui.

The four Genbu seishi had regrouped and were sitting under a tree. Urumiya didn't say anything, but inside he was thinking about Iname. He peeked a look at her and blushed when he noticed her inspecting him. He coughed. "I'm going to go to the river," he mumbled and stood up.

Uruki cocked an eyebrow. "All right, but be careful. You never know; we might still have enemies." He motioned to Urumiya's arm. "And careful with that arm of yours. It might still be injured, even if it doesn't feel like it."

Urumiya nodded and left the little group. He knew that if he stayed another minute, he would probably start singing, something he would prefer not to do in front of Iname.

At the river, Urumiya splashed his face with the icy water. He shook his head, shaking off the water that clung to his blond and orange hair. Sighing to himself, he watched the water flow down its course. A bird flew by him, chirping happily. Urumiya laughed and threw back his head, joining the bird in song.

"A life, a life, in a world where nothing is certain anymore, why not give love a chance?

Wandering down the Road of Life,
I cannot help but pause
At the sights I see before me.

What beauty, what elegance,
What can it be?
Peering closer, I discover what it is.
Love, simple, pure, love.
I turn away, grief-stricken,
To shield my eyes
And to hide my sorrow.

Alone I stand,
The wind blowing around me.
Silently, I watch the world
Pass by without me.
The world has turned its back on me,
And thus I ignore it.

Once I was wounded,
Struck deep in the heart.
The pain was unbearable,
Something I didn't have the strength to stand.
I sealed myself off from the world.

Alone I stand,
The wind blowing around me.
Silently, I watch the world
Pass by without me.
The world has turned its back on me,
And thus I ignore it.

A spark of fire landed next to me.
Looking up, I see an impish grin,
Then laughing, dark brown eyes
And bronze hair flopping over an elfin face.

Longing strikes a chord deep inside me
As I remember a long lost friend.
A friend I had thought abandoned me.
But inside you, I feel her spirit,
Her laughing, cheerful soul.

Tentatively, I hold back, uncertain,
Unsure of what to expect.
But something draws me toward you,
A magic pull perhaps,
Or maybe a sleeping emotion.

Inside you, I sense a feeling,
A phrase I cannot determine.
Entering further, I gasp with amazement.

Once I stood alone,
Angry at the world.
I closed my eyes to all those around me,
Never revealing how I felt.
But deep inside, I was crying for help,
Unsure of what I wanted.
Then one day, I realized something.
In a world where nothing is certain anymore,
Why not give love a chance?"

"Did that really happen?"

Urumiya jumped. "Iname! What are you doing here?"

She smiled wryly. "Uruki sent me because you were taking too long."

He looked at the ground. Great. He hadn't wanted to worry the others, especially Uruki, who had always been like an older brother to him. "I'm sorry."

"That's a nice song you just sang."

Urumiya laughed hesitantly. "I... it just popped into my head as soon as I started singing. That's how it always is for me." He felt his hand reaching for her thick brown locks and quickly stopped himself.

"Shall we go back?"

He didn't realize what he was doing. In two steps, he had wrapped his arms around Iname and was crying. "Nami..." Her eyes widened, but she didn't let go. "Nami... do you ever feel like you're being torn in two?"

Iname gave him a hug and he relaxed in her warm embrace. "Sometimes, but I always manage to gather myself back together sooner or later."

"How do you do it?" he asked softly. "I've never figured out the trick."

She smiled. "Simple. Be with ones you care about or care about you." She stepped back and took his hand. "Shall I show you?"

He could feel his depression slowly ebb away as Iname led him to the river and crouched down. She swirled her hand around in the cool water and gently flicked some water at him. Urumiya felt himself laugh despite himself and he too splashed her lightly. A surprised look came over her face and she gave a short cry. "Miya!" She scrambled away from the river and stood, pulling out a piece of paper with a mischievous grin. "Now you've done it..."

"Oy! You are NOT folding another creature!" Urumiya jumped up and tackled her. "We are NOT going to do it all over again!" There was a splash and the two of them rolled into the river. "Oh no..." he groaned. "Here we go again..."

Iname laughed. "No worries, Miya! It's not like we're going to fall off a waterfall or anything!"

Urumiya rolled his eyes. "Does it really matter?" He grabbed onto a rock. "Here, hold on. Let's get out of this river before we DO run into a waterfall or something." He knew that both of them had been strong swimmers in the past, so at first he didn't worry too much about Iname. The current wasn't too strong so he easily managed to swim to the riverbank. Urumiya laughed as he stumbled out and collapsed on the warm sand. "I thought we weren't going to do that again..." He closed his eyes. For the first time in a long time, he felt himself rising out of the depression he had been in since Takiko had left for her world. "Nami?" he called from his relaxed position. "Nami? Where are you? Aren't you out of the water by now?"

"Miya! I can't reach the bank!"

"Nami!" Urumiya shot up and dove into the water, fighting his way to Iname, who was blocked by a thick log. He could see her clothes billowing around her, weighing her down. Her lips were already turning blue from the icy water and he knew he would have to get her out of the river fast.

To think he had enjoyed the cold water just a few minutes ago. Urumiya cursed under his breath as he felt it biting through his jacket. For her though, he knew it was far worse, as he knew Iname's clothing couldn't help her here, as instead of protecting her from the water they were dragging her down.

Urumiya swam over to her. "Swim under the log!"

"I c-can't move my arms very well."

Urumiya treaded water for a moment, then made up his mind. He dove and swam under the log, reappearing next to Iname. The girl's eyelids were already fluttering as he wrapped his arms around her and put his lips to hers, transferring oxygen to her. Together, with Urumiya's help, they swam back under the log and to the riverbank. They splashed out and fell down, coughing.

"Nami, never scare me like that again!" Urumiya flung himself on the ground and spread out his arms. He snuck a glance at Iname and breathed a sigh of relief when he saw she was breathing easily. Then he noticed that she was shivering. "Iname!"

"I'm all right," she said softly. "Don't need to worry anymore about me, Miya." She turned on her side and wrapped her arms around herself.

"Genbu, you're going to freeze like that!" Urumiya hurriedly untied the sash around his waist and took off his outer layers, draping them gently around her.

Iname smiled. "Urumiya, what about yourself?"

"You were in the water longer than me." Genbu, he was so glad she was safe. For a moment, he had thought he had lost her, his dearest friend and spiritual sister. Without saying anything, he stood and began gathering branches, timber wood, anything he could find to use in order to build a fire.

Iname noticed what he was doing. "Miya, it's really all right. I'm fine."

Urumiya threw her a look. "No you're not. You can freeze like that." His gaze drifted to the darkening sky. "It's only going to get colder, so even if we didn't fall into the river, we would need to build the fire." He struck a spark with his flint and began blowing on the fire. "C'mon, get closer."

She crawled over and leaned against Urumiya. "We should head back soon. Uruki and Hatsui must be worried about us." The heat from the fire drew her closer and she put her hands over the fire.

Urumiya looked behind him and laughed. "I don't think we need to worry about those two. They probably know we're here right now."

The two of them sat in silence for nearly half an hour. Urumiya liked the feeling of Iname leaning against him and didn't move, content. Although he wasn't going to admit, he was starting to feel more for Iname than the friendly feelings siblings had for each other.

Iname shifted so she could look at him. "Shall we head back now? I think I'm more or less dry."

Urumiya pushed himself off the ground. "All right, let's head back then." He extended his hand and Iname took it. With a yank, he pulled her off the ground. "You can keep my jacket if you want."

Iname smiled. "Thanks, Miya."

Urumiya was about to pull his hand away when Iname took his hand again. "Wait, let's walk back together."

Urumiya didn't say anything, but he smiled. Iname leaned her head against his shoulder, and together, they walked back to the others, a melody in their heads.

Once I stood alone,
Angry at the world.
I closed my eyes to all those around me,
Never revealing how I felt.
But deep inside, I was crying for help,
Unsure of what I wanted.
Then one day, I realized something.
In a world where nothing is certain anymore,
Why not give love a chance?"

Hehehe... this fic is pretty darn long for a one-shot. :P And I claim the rights to this song for myself! Heheh.. now that I think about it, I use the theme 'why not give love a chance?' a lot. XD It's going to be in this other story of mine, too.