Pheonix Ashes

A Fushigi Yuugi universe deathfic written by otaku-no-miko

Length-no longer than maybe 20 chapters, I hope.

Pairings- Now, if I told you that, it wouldn't be interesting, would it!

Rating- PG-13, overall; G for this chapter. As always, it's Tasuki's potty mouth that gets me in trouble.

Disclaimer: I don't own Fushigi Yuugi. At all. I'm a sophomore in high school, people. I can barely afford the PSAT fees, much less afford to publish and distribute a world-famous manga If you seem to think that I could ever own FY, I will send you to this disclaimer which states not only my nonexistent ownership of said series but my current financial state and laugh at you. Very loudly.

NOTE:This is most likely my last story. Ever. Out of a deep respect for the people I have met and befriended on this site, I will complete and post it on the site in its entirety. However, FF will have to shape up a LOT for me to consider returning. If you're confused, please visit my bio page. Thanks, and see ya at the bottom.

Some say the world will end in fire,
some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Robert Frost, "Fire and Ice"

"'Kaa-san, I'm not tiiiiiiiiired yet!"

Kajiwara Yui laughed at her young daughter's petulant face, the five-year old stubbornly fighting yawns as she refused to go to bed.

"Yuri-chan, it's already past bedtime for little ones. You don't want to be tired for your first day of kindergarten, do you?"

The child seemed to think this over, small face screwing up in deep concentration before she assented.

"Okay..."

She watched her mother slyly before adding, "But I want a night-night story."

Yui smiled gently at the little girl. If Tetsuya got home and saw her still up, there would be a reckoning, but she might as well humor the child, right?

She moved slightly on the oversized 'big girl' bed they had given Yuri for her fourth birthday, a hand resting on the design of interlocked phoenixes and dragons that her daughter had said was 'so pretty!', choosing it over Barbie or Hello Kitty. Yuri eagerly burrowed under the covers, delight at attaining one of her mommy's bedtime stories overwhelming the small face. Yuri liked mommy's stories better than daddy's, 'cause mommy would tell her about priestesses and demons and gods while daddy just read Stuart-ko to her, and Stuart-ko was boooooooooring!

"I wanna hear the 'wari story! Can I, 'kaa-san?"

Yui mock-groaned. "You always wanna hear the 'wari story', Yuri-chan!"

The little girl giggled, quick to change her face to the pleading puppy-dog eyes her Miaka oba-san had taught her. "Onegai, kaa-san?"

Yui rolled her eyes. Miaka had to go and teach Yuri the puppy-dog eyes, didn't she? Holding her hands up in defeat, she laughed. "Okay little one, you win, you win!"

Yuri smirked happily, clapping her small hands together. The owari story always took at least two or three nights, and it was a loooong one too, so she could stay up late! "Wai wai!!! Arigatou, kaa-san!!!!!!"

Yui shook her head bemusedly at her daughter's enthusiasm, letting her eyes drift shut as her voice shifted to the gentle, melodic tones needed to sing the song Chichiri-sama had taught her so many years ago.

"Meguriawase

Hitotsu machigaeba..."

------

Six years earlier...

"Yui-chan! Yui-chan, if you don't hurry up, we'll be la-ate!!!!"

Miaka Yuuki was torn between hauling her best friend bodily off of the phone receiver and out the door or being patient for the first time in her life when Yui gave her fiancé a quick "aishiteru, bai!", giving the younger brunette a dirty glance as she grabbed her purse. Miaka grinned innocently in response as the two girls started out the door at a half-run.

"You know I have nothing against you and Tetsuya talking, but our study group's about ready to murder both of us for being late all the time!"

"And whose fault is that?" Yui retorted dryly, and Miaka blushed. Okay, okay, so she wasn't the fastest mover in the morning...

"See? Case closed. I win, Mi-chan." Yui stated simply after the empty silence, opening the door calmly.

"Yuiiiii, don't call me that!"

------

The library was surprisingly empty for a Monday; normally, you could find high-schoolers and college-aged kids alike studying for miscellaneous tests or exams. Their study group was smaller today, as well-when they arrived, Takahashi Megumi sighed and told them she was glad they had at least showed up-most of the girls had skipped out on their study day to go to a big sale she'd heard Kinokuniya Bookstore was having. On that note, she told them they were free to study whatever they felt like, since there was no use in trying to catch ten other girls up on a day of missed notes and lecture.

Normally, Miaka and Yui would race to be free of the library's tomb-like silence early, but today Yui held her friend back, saying she wanted to check the computer database for something. Miaka held still as Yui typed in five characters with practiced speed and hit 'ENTER'. The search came back-no hits. The library apparently didn't have the book Yui had been looking for.

Yui frowned at that news. "Miaka-chan, this isn't good."

"Nani? But Yui, what were you looking for?"

Yui's expression grew darker. "The Four Gods' Earth and Sky...it's not in the directory. Last time that happened, Mayo-san had the book, but...she returned it right after returning."

Miaka matched her friends' frown. "Are you absolutely sure? Try looking up Okuda Einosuke-maybe they haven't shown it as back on the shelves, or they don't show restricted books or something like that."

Yui's expression didn't change, but she nodded her assent to the idea, typing in the name and searching for the author.

"Miaka, I see all these research books, but none of them-wait! Here's one. That's why I missed it; the title's different for some reason! It's The Universe of the Four Gods, not The Four Gods' Earth and Sky."

Miaka thought for a second, face screwed up in concentration. She could have sworn Yui had the title right! She had seen the cover multiple times over the three years since she had left the book, as had Yui. It wasn't like the older blonde to forget a detail like a title; she still remembered Miaka's favorite TV show when she had been seven, for crying out loud!

"...and Mi-chan, look, it's under the Historical Reference section, not the Restricted Books area. I wonder why?"

"Yui-chan, do you think it's possible that maybe we have two different books here?" Miaka voiced her opinion quietly, sitting down at one of the tables nearby. "I mean, we could find it in Historical References, or it could be in Restricted Books. And it's important we don't lose track of it, because another girl could be taken in."

"You've got a point, Miaka. Why don't we split up? You check the Restricted Area, because you were the one that originally found the book, and I'll check the Historical References."

Miaka nodded. "But can we hurry? I want to call and let Taka know what's going on now."

Yui smiled and nodded. Ever since marriage to the reincarnation of Tamahome, Miaka hadn't wanted to leave his side at all, and he had shared those sentiments. "Alright. Now shoo, you! The quicker we do this, the faster you can call him!"

With a laugh, the two split up, each heading a separate direction.

------

Yui followed the aisles, wondering at the many titles that would hold her interest momentarily before she moved on, still searching for one name, one title among the sea of literature.

Finally, her roving eyes landed on one shelf, a small, dirty placard proclaiming it to hold the works of Einosuke Okuda. Allowing a smile of triumph, she began to trail a finger along the spines, finally stopping on one thick volume almost hesitantly before pulling it out.

The proud red cover had faded to a rusty brown from lack of sunlight, and the golden-gilded lettering was now a mustard-colored yellow, but it still was the same book. She opened the front cover carefully, dislodging a piece of lined paper with a pencil sketch on it-a man, probably in his early thirties, clear-faced and with dark, piercing eyes that seemed to live from the plain lines of white and fading blue. Below it was two lines of print:

"I love you 'Tou-san! Come home soon!

-Taki-chan"

So this was Einosuke. Takiko had been a good artist-the rendering of her father was breathtaking, simple and elegant. Yui looked at the paper a little longer, at the modest smile and the small curls on his forehead before folding it, placing the fragile work in her pocket. Einosuke didn't have the face of a murderer, even though Tetsuya had told her many times what he had done-how he had murdered his daughter in cold blood after she began to be devoured by Genbu-seikun. He looked more like a workaholic, a man who loved his family more than life itself and would rather die slowly than hurt a fly.

Shaking herself out of the depressing thoughts, she flipped the first page cautiously. The text was exactly the same-it still held the time-tested tale of a young girl who would summon one of the four mythical gods to save a kingdom in mortal peril and gain the omnipotent power invested in the beast god. And turning the page, she recognized the simplistic rendering of Tamahome saving her and Miaka so many years ago.

The book was the same, she realized, flipping page after page to see the story she and her friends had lived in the last three years, finally ending at Mayo's awakening from the fake deity's control and the final summoning of Suzaku.

But there was a new page, the handwriting now shaky, as if the writer was writing by bad light and feared discovery:

"And thus Konan and its peoples were saved once more. Yet, even as the heavenly maidens left the healing lands, evil once more descended to destroy the happiness that had returned to these realms, and this time, salvation will come from you, dear reader. Do you dare turn the page and embark on a journey that these others pale in comparison to? For, if you do, gentle reader, you may hold the key to eternal freedom for these tainted lands."

Yui frowned. That sounded like Tai-Itsukun, mysterious and withholding yet a tantalizing storyteller with the ability to shake the cores of a reader's mind, to make them believe her every word rang true.

Although she had never admitted it, Yui had always envied Miaka-the younger woman had gotten friendship, love, and eternal worship, while she had been immortalized on these pages as a plot point, as nothing more than a side character. She wanted one of these stories to be hers and hers alone, where she could shine.

With that thought, she turned the page, allowing the warm and gentle blue light to surround her frame and Seiryu's eternally frightening yet beautiful battle cry sound in her mind before falling into darkness.

------

Miaka frowned, circling the shelves once more before going back towards the doorway, casting a longing and almost sad glance to the room that had dominated a lot of her adult life so far. She had secretly hoped she could find the book and see how Tasuki and his bandits fared, how Hotohori was adjusting to life with his wife and young son, and if Chiriko had decided to try for the exams once more...it was aggravating to know her one link to the people she had loved so dearly was now severed.

She let out a suffering sigh, heading for the Historical References section Yui had said she would be in.

It got quieter and quieter as she headed towards the large sign that proclaimed this to be a subsection of the History and Mythology section-this wasn't a popular part of the library normally, and on such a slow day, it was completely deserted. She began her search down the aisles for the familiar shoulder-length blonde locks, frowning as each one turned up empty.

At the end, she stopped. It made no sense-each shelf mirrored one another, so if Yui had been down any of the aisles, she would have seen her, yet each one had been empty. Except for one...there had been a misplaced book, laying page-up...

Miaka's eyes grew wide, and she began a full-out run back to the lone book. Could Yui have been taken back into the book?!

------

Yui woke up in Tai-Itsukun's extravagant palace, rubbing her head where it had gone numb from connecting with the marble flooring. Sitting up, she opened her eyes, taking a moment for her blurred vision to finally focus on a very close shot of a mahogany eye staring her straight on, concern and a bit of amusement hiding behind the murky color, azure bangs obstructing the opposite eye from view. Her brain immediately whirred into full-gear, trying to place a name to this face.

--

"And what about the monk-guy you told me about? Chichiri?"

"Chichiri was the third seishi we found. When I first met him, he was saving me from assassins sent by Kutou." Miaka laughed embarrassedly, blushing. "I'm afraid I wasn't too nice then-I bit him, and hard!!!"

"Talk about biting the hand that feeds you, ne?"

Miaka stuck out her tongue. "Well, I didn't know he was trying to save me! But...Chichiri was very, very sweet about it. He never held that against me, and saved my life so many times after that. When I first met him-I mean, not in the woods, but when we had a chance to learn his name and talk to him-I have to admit, I thought he was a bit..."

"Scary?"

"No, strange. You saw him, you should remember-flyaway blue hair, monk's attire, a smiling mask?"

"Oh...yeah, I did. I wasn't paying much attention to him, but I remember."

"I think on anybody else, his outfits, his mannerisms, even his hair would be just totally out-of-place, but...it didn't on him. All that stuff just made him Chichiri. It didn't take anything away from him, at all. I think...if you had met him, Yui-chan, you would've liked him a lot."

--

"Are you Chichiri?" she asked hesitantly.

The eye twinkled in a grin. "Hai na no da! And you're Yui, right?"

Yui pushed herself back a bit, letting the rest of the monk's smiling face come into view. "Yeah, I am. Why am I here?"

He shrugged, bringing up a small piece of paper and attaching it firmly to his face, turning the smiling, fox-like eyes back to her. "Tai-Itsukun will know no da. Let's ask her, okay?"

"Hai no-" Yui stopped herself, frowning at the man's laughter. "That's not funny! I won't be able to stop now, no d-AUGH!!!!"

Apparently, Chichiri disagreed, his laughter not stopping for a few minutes. "But it is no da! You're the first person that I've ever heard do that!"

Yui pouted petulantly. "Fine, you can laugh all you want. I'll get you back for this!"

------

"And so our story begins, an innocent friendship budding between fire and water as the young maiden and her escort search out the great Creator to find a meaning to her arrival."

Miaka looked to Taka's deathly-pale face after reading the segment. "Why do you look so worried, Taka? Yui-chan found Chichiri first. She's in good hands."

Taka nodded. "That's true. I couldn't be happier that she has Chichiri to protect her right now. But I wonder why she's in the book. The story is over. She shouldn't be able to still get in."

Miaka frowned. "Well, it obviously isn't over. The book needs her for something. And we're gonna find out what and make sure she gets home safe."

------

------

You made it, everyone! Good job! :)

I hope this is enjoyable-I always did hate how Yui was only shown when she was needed in FY, and I think she deserves her own story where she can be the star. And Chichiri's 'no da' can be annoying-am I the only one who's done that before?

Anyways...here's the setup of our little story. I hope it makes sense! Please tell me if it doesn't!!!

Until next time!

Otaku

PS-Miaka's favorite TV show? Sailor Moon, of course! ;) (Miaka's seiyuu played Chibi Usa on one of the SM series'. Bad pun on my part.)

PPS- Thanks so much to roku-kyu and methodicmadness, who pointed out areas where my research or any explanation wasn't the best; I've fixed the things they suggested to me. Thank you a bunch!