Disclaimer: How many of these do I need to write before you understand that I don't own Fushigi Yuugi?

AN: Well, I just had to do this. Those looks Tomite gets on his face when he's around Takiko, so cute! He's like those hopeless boys in high school with those big crushes, and they just seem like such sad forlorn little puppy dogs, they just make me want to give them a big hug. I mean, I know he has no chance with Takiko, though judging by some of the color pictures featuring the three of them, there'll be some sort of bizarre love polygon. The thing is, according to one of Watase's freewrites Tomite is the first to die. So, here's to hoping he does the right thing! Before he kicks the bucket. (Then again, here's to hoping that in the intervening years Watase changed her mind and decided that Tomite isn't the first to die.) PS I know this sucks.

Heroes Don't Blush

I have to tell her, I have to tell her!

My heart pounded, I paced, crunching frost and leaves under my boots. My heart echoed in my head. I have to tell her, damn it, I just have to...

I mean, she's just too perfect. I have to tell her! How I love her eyes! I need to tell her, damn it!

The crisp frost grew louder. My nerves tripled. I kicked a tree. I'm such a coward. "Damn it, damn it, damn it!"

"Um, are you ok?"

Shit! "Yeah, uh, I'm fine."

She arched her eyebrow at me. "You sure?"

She didn't buy it! "I'm, ah, fine!" Get away, get away!

"Eh? Where're you going?"

I froze. "Nowhere."

Takiko tossed the ball back to Hatsui. "Nowhere?"

"Nowhere!" I flailed my arms around stupidly. "Over there, that way!"

She frowned at me nervously. Hatsui giggled. My cheeks burned. Damn it!

I mean, what am I supposed to do? Rimudo's woman... does she even feel for him? Does she know how I watch her? She makes me feel so stupid with love. When Mother sent us off we rode together, and I held her close... does she know how my heart raced? My cheeks burned from the indecency, the warmth, my... love?

Is it even love? Like in the stories? Or am I too young for that? All the heroes in the stories are so big and strong, mighty men with bulging muscles, they save the damsel and all that... Could I ever be like that? I mean, she saves herself, and my powers aren't disciplined enough yet. I falter and weaken too often. I'm nothing like those heroes! When I was a kid I used to suck in my tummy and flex my arms, thinking, wow, I'm going to be as big and strong as a tree! I'll be able to lift whole villages with one hand! I could move a mountain with one punch! But then I'd try to punch a tree... and the tree would win. I'm hardly a hero. In the stories, they'll write about me, big and strong Tomite, big and strong, kids, be like him! But that won't be me. In the mirror, I'm so runty. No bulging inhuman biceps.

I'm just Chamuka, runty little Chamuka...

If I'm nothing like those heroes, then I can hardly hope for heroic love. But then she laughs and I melt. I'm hardly a hero. A hero has that air of mystery, that danger, that strength... if anything, Rimudo will be the great hero. The troubled hero, brought to sanity by his love! The typical story. And, after all, she is Rimudo's woman.

When I was a kid I would stand by the mirror and practice being cool. I would strut, stick my chest out, test out all the cool fighting stances you see the traveling performers use... I'd think, some day I'll be a great man, I'll stand tall and strong and fight dragons.

What a fool. Mother would come in and see me, see me flexing my tiny muscles, and she would laugh. "Kawaii!"

"Kawaii," really. What she was probably thinking was, "Poor Chamuka, so weak and runty and pathetic."

I don't even have half the courage of those heroes.

The heroes in the stories, they tell their women how they feel, they sweep them off their feet... and the damsels, they giggle and blush and the world is saved. But I'm no hero; I don't have half the courage. But then, Takiko is no damsel... she doesn't wail for help and trip over her feet and almost get herself killed... but that's why I like her.

Through the trees I can see Takiko playing catch with Hatsui. Damn it! I'm such a coward. If I was a true hero, I would charge in, take her hand, and pronounce in a loud, heroic voice, "Takiko, be my love!"

No, that's not right.

"Marry me!" No, wait... those heroes are all about one night stands, no marriage.

Unless it's true love... "Takiko, I love you with all my heart!"

No, damn it, not that either.

I could be chivalrous and take her hand and kiss it softly and be all brave and elegant and all that shit... but then, knowing me, stupid clumsy Chamuka... I'd trip over my own feet and end up knocking her into a puddle of mud.

There's no way to put it into words! How my pulse races when I'm near her! How sweet her hair smells to me! How... how... how I blush like a little girl when we touch.

Heroes don't blush.

I'm so thin and weak; I could hardly be a hero for her. I'm like a blade of grass, ready to be snapped and killed by the first snow... ready to be stepped on by the prowling bear...

Rimudo is more the hero. He stands so tall, his shoulders back, his eyes to annoyingly... evil? Indecisive? Stupidly troubled? Bastard.

But then, I'm worse than a bastard, I'm a sniveling runty little coward. I never admit that to anyone. I call everyone else that. But I'm hardly better.

I'm just Chamuka. I doubt anyone could ever love me.

When I was younger, I would ask Mother, "Why am I so thin?"

First, she over-fed me. When that didn't work, she tried some medicine. And when that didn't work, she told me I'd "fill in."

What's that supposed to mean, "fill in?" Am I going to go from being a twig to having a pot belly?

Well, I mean, I know what she meant... but I won't be filling in until what, when I'm Rimudo's age? He can't be that much older than me, but he's got more of the heroic stature. Me, I just look like a bratty runaway.

But her, well, she still needs to fill in... but she's so perfect already. Peeking in on her bathing, the water dripping over her curves... so beautiful. Don't get me wrong, I'm no pervert, but she's just so beautiful. Like art. But then she sees me, and all I can do is blush. Like a silly lovesick little kid. Which is all I am, in reality. A silly little kid.

So all I can do is pace in the woods, small and pathetic. And think... just think about how warm she makes me feel, deep inside my chest... she is like the cold melting away from you when you go indoors. Just so beautiful.

Maybe today. Today I'll tell her. Just go up to her, strut, keep your shoulders back, and say, "Takiko, I love you."

Maybe today I'll be a hero.

So I grabbed up a handful of brave flowers flinching through the frost. Today is the day! And I'll march right up to her and give her the flowers, and she'll blush and swoon and --

Or maybe she'll tell me, "Oh, Tomite, you're a nice guy and all..."

This will never work.

I pace some more, crunching leaves, heart racing. I try not to clench my fists, don't want to ruin her flowers...


Oh shit! "Um, hi!"

"You ready to go yet?"

Damn it, I'm blushing. "Um, um almost."

She frowned at me. Way to make a fool of yourself.

"A-actually, there's something I wanted to tell you something."


Ok. Deep breath. Calm. Calm. Calm.

You can do this. Just like we practiced... tell her.

"Um," I dropped the flowers as subtly as I could behind my back, "Ready to go yet?"

"I just asked you that..."

Such an idiot! I am such an idiot. Stupid little Chamuka, stupid stupid stupid!

I crushed the flowers under my heel so she wouldn't see them. Maybe tomorrow... tomorrow I'll tell her how I feel.

Tomorrow I'll be a hero.