Yay for one-shots. I love one-shots. I'm a roll these past two days, I've even started on chapter 3 of Mer de Visages. Go me.

Notes: Eikoden didn't happen. Well, it could've. But I don't like Eikoden so let's just say it didn't happen. I think my story works better if it didn't.



It was a busy day in Tokyo. People rushed from home to work, work to home, shop to shop. Trains came and went, carrying as many people as could be packed in them. Cars honked their horns, people idly chattered, the sound of electricity filled the air. He hated it. He hated the busy streets, the masses of people rushing from place to place. It was nothing like home.

Home, he mused. Home doesn't exist anymore. Not without her.

He walked at a leisurely pace while others rushed by him. He could take his time. He was in no hurry. Few gave him curious stares as they passed by and he realized that he must look odd. Even in normal clothing, his features stood out. He knew that there was nothing he could do about that although he sometimes relished in the thought of being exotic. After all, no one was as beautiful as him.

Beauty. She was far more beautiful than I. He thought, looking to the sky. It was hard to see due to the tall buildings. Well, maybe not more physically beautiful than I. He smiled softly. Yes, he never did lose that narcissistic streak in him.

Once again, he had waited his entire life for his Priestess of Suzaku. Before, it was just in legend, searching for any girl who might fit the description. Now, he searched for Miaka. He found her, eventually, found her with Taka Sukunami. Not that he was surprised, just, maybe, hopeful. Hopeful that she wouldn't be with her beloved Tamahome.

No. He shook himself. Taka is not Tamahome. He wondered if Miaka saw a difference.

He knew where to find them, although they had never noticed his sidelong glances from his place in the crowds or in the corner of whatever shop he found them in. Sometimes, it hurt to see them together. Other times, it was reassuring. He was assured that Miaka was happy. Or at least that she seemed happy.

He made his way over to where he thought they might be. It was across the city, but it would be worth the trip. Just to see her happy face, even if it was because of another man.

Braving the trains and weaving through the cars, he reached the street of his destination. Rest assured, there they were, exiting their favorite lunch-time retreat, walking arm in arm down the sidewalk. They both were smiling at each other and Taka stopped in a store to buy her a flower.

Just one? The man snorted. I would give her the entire contents of the shop. But alas, Taka returned, and Miaka was overjoyed with the single flower. She would choose his one flower, over my many. He grimaced. As Emperor, I had not stood a chance. As one of her beloved seishi, I had not stood a chance. Even in my second life, I do not stand a chance with her. He was secretly happy though, that she was happy. Knowing that she was happy, he could continue on with his day. Picking up a newspaper from a local vendor, he opened it as he walked passed them.

Miaka's eyes looked away from Taka, only to see familiar locks of chestnut hair. She missed the chance to see his face, but the hair alone was enough to make her lose her breath.

"Hotohori?" She whispered, clutching the flower. Taka took her hands.

"Did you say something?" Taka asked, trying to see where she was looking.

"N-no." She relented. "Nothing. I guess it was just my imagination." She looked back to Taka and smiled, taking his hands and they continued walking.

The man, Hotohori, smiled softly as he continued reading his newspaper. Maybe next time. He mused. Although he knew that he would never make his presence known to the two young lovers. Never had a chance with her…