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 started this story as a sophomore in high school having trouble scraping the money together for her PSAT; five years later, at the time of this re-write, I work, go to school in my free time, and am in the military for the love of god. I don't have the time!

Author's Notes: ((updated December 2012))

I originally started this story almost 8 years ago. It's my baby. I hope you love it as much as I do. Edited for formatting issues and clarification. I love the new site, it's so picky now...


Chapter 1: The Story Begins


::Modern Day Tokyo, 2005::

"Momma?"

Kajiwara Yui was a patient woman, but right now all she wanted to do was groan. She'd put Yuri to bed an hour ago, yet the little girl kept getting up. First it was for water, then she needed to go to the bathroom, then Yui hadn't given Snuggles-san a goodnight hug…

Of course, it was hard to stay mad at her little daughter; Yuri didn't mean to keep getting up, and Yui knew that she was just antsy, especially since she was starting school the next day. Still, Yuri's stubborn refusal to sleep had a tendency to drive Yui absolutely insane, and she fervently hoped that this habit, like sucking on her thumb, would be one that would fade with time.

"What is it, dear one?"

Yuri yawned hugely, desperately trying to keep her wide brown eyes open. Oh, she was so, so tired; it looked like she could fall asleep standing. Snuggles-san was resting against the floor, one paw in the lush white rug. Yui shook her head ruefully, kneeling so she was looking Yuri in the eyes.

"You really need your rest, sweetheart. You have school tomorrow."

Yuri nodded tiredly in agreement, eyes half-lidded. "But I really wanted a night-night story. Is that okay, momma?"

Yui looked to the clock over the fireplace; it was already nearly 8. Normally if she or Tetsuya allowed Yuri to stay up this late, the four-year-old was a regular beast in the mornings. Yui had been a child that could stay up until all hours and still be happy come morning – Yuri needed her 9.5 hours of sleep exactly every night just to function like a normal person.

Well, she already isn't getting that…and maybe she'll fall asleep while I'm telling her the story. It's a better idea than sending her to bed every ten minutes.

Picking the child up with an exaggerated 'oof!' and spinning her for a second, Yui headed back to the couch she'd been reading on, pushing the papers she was supposed to have done tomorrow aside to make room. Yuri giggled and hugged her stuffed bear close to her chest, snuggling into the soft fabric and her mother's side. Momma always told the best night-night stories! Momma's stories were about far-off, exciting lands filled with princes and monsters and gods and warriors, while otou-san would just read to her or tell her funny stories about his day. He never ever told her favorite story in the whole world, either, unlike Momma.

"Can you do the 'wari story, Momma? It's my fav'rite."

Yui ruffled the little girl's platinum curls gently. "Silly, you heard the 'wari story just last week."

Yuri visibly deflated, and Yui felt a pang of guilt; she was such a pushover, true, but she couldn't stand seeing her baby unhappy.

Hugging the small body closer to her own, Yui curled up and rested her head against her daughter's, voice hushed as if in prayer.

"Once, a long, long time ago, when the world was young…"


…four gods, each one the equal of the other, roamed their lands. They had all labored over their separate kingdoms for millennia now, raising their small countries and their people to be proud and strong, and protecting them from evil. In the north, the hardy mountain-people lived in their kingdom of ice, while to the south temperate weather and lush forests reigned supreme. In the east lay the most beautiful lakes and streams in all the land, and to the west the proud desert-dwellers sang and danced among the shifting sands. Each empire was known for their strengths and complemented one another, and for a time there was peace.

But one day, envious of the prosperity and beauty of the southern lands, the god of the east grew angry, and lashed out against his brother in the south. A long battle then raged, a bloody and cruel war that spanned two worlds. In the end, the eastern god realized his err and surrendered; all four lands had been devastated by their awful battle, but slowly, slowly began to rebuild.

Unfortunately, the battle caused ripples across the beautiful land, ripples that reached far and awoke many evil and forgotten things, things best left to rest. It took the gods some time to realize exactly what had happened because of their feud, but by then the evil had grown too strong.

Their world, the land they had worked so hard to protect for so many years, was dying.

In one last, desperate attempt to save their home, the gods called out for a miko, a woman strong enough to bind their broken world together again…


::7 Years Earlier, Tokyo::

Hongo Yui was not having a good day.

To start things off, she'd had that…that nightmare again. Kutou was being submerged in water; people were drowning, screaming wordlessly as brackish water filled their lungs and choked off their cries for help. But she could hear them nonetheless.

They were calling her name. These people, they were calling for her to save them…

Tetsuya insisted she ignore the nightmare, that it was just stress and shock from her entire adventure in the book nearly three years ago and it would subside with time. Yui disagreed with him – maybe it was because she had actually been there, maybe it was because she was Kutou's miko, but she knew somehow that this dream was real.

They fought over that a lot; then again, they fought over a lot of things.

After that, her best skirt had gotten a huge coffee stain right in the front. She had an interview this afternoon, damnit, and that skirt was the nicest one she owned! Now she would just have to go in her old grey one.

Then, to top the entire thing, Tetsuya had called her not five minutes ago from the office to say apologetically that he wouldn't be able to meet her for their anniversary dinner (three years!), and she could have sworn she heard a very feminine giggle in the background before he hung up.

"Meeting with the CEO my ass"…well, unless CEO stands for Cute, Easy, and Oversexed…

Scowling darkly as she swept her blonde hair into a high ponytail, Yui made to toss the cordless phone at the couch before pausing thoughtfully and dialing a new number. If anybody in the world could make her feel better on her off days, it was Sukunami Miaka.

When Miaka answered, she sounded harried and stressed out; Yui didn't know how Miaka managed to have any energy at all, what with Hikari almost three now and a second baby on the way.

"Moshi moshi (Hikari, eat your food, don't throw it on the ground!), Sukunami residence!"

"Miaka?"

Miaka's tone brightened considerably, and Yui could almost hear her smile. "Yui-chan! Oh, Yui, it's been weeks! How are you?"

"I've been better, actually. Tetsuya's being a royal jerk again, but what else is new?"

There was silence on the other line, and Yui knew she had said something wrong, abruptly cutting off the very anti-Tetsuya diatribe she'd been about to give. Miaka had always, always taken her side (since most of the time it was pretty clearly Tetsuya's big head that caused fights), but as she thought about it, it had to tear at her to talk bad about her beloved aniki's best friend. Yui didn't mean to start ranting about her relationship problems…

"But other than that, I'm really doing fine. How about you, Miaka?"

Miaka chattered happily for a couple of minutes about Taka and the new baby ("I'm going in for a sonogram on Monday, I'm so nervous, Yui-chan!"), and Yui smiled, only half-listening. Her happy-go-lucky friend couldn't stay upset for long, and she was glad of that particular trait more than ever right now. For the longest time, she had ignored Miaka's tactful silences and nervous silences (any sort of silences, really) and just used her as a venting mat; then, they'd found that book, and suddenly Yui had seen just how cruel she had really been. Yui would never do that again to her best friend – she'd earn the selfless loyalty Miaka had always shown to her.

"…I know we've both been so busy – you're trying to get into Tōdai, right? – but we should get together and hang out, like we used to. Ever since I had to leave Yotsubudai…"

Miaka had left their high school at the end of the winter term; she'd struggled to stay in school with a toddler, but with a second baby on the way, there was no way she could finish out her high school career as a full-time student, and was now taking part-time classes when she could. "Besides", she was fond of saying, "I don't need to go to school to be a good wife to Taka, now do I?"

Yui, however, was working her way through her third year at Yotsubudai. She was working hard to have a chance to attend the University of Tokyo, which was known as one of the best universities in Japan.

"…are you free today, Yui-chan? I know it's sort of last minute and all, but I thought maybe we could get some coffee or go to the mall or something."

"Hm? Oh, of course, Miaka! I'd love to! How about…hmm…oh, I know, why don't we meet at that little café Taka used to work at – the Pearl Fisher, right? – for some breakfast?"

"That's a wonderful idea, Yui-chan! I'll call Emiko (my neighbor, you remember her? She babysits for me sometimes!) and ask her to watch Hikari, and I'll be right over!"

Yui smiled and nodded, and the two women said their goodbyes. As she set the phone down (gently, this time), her mood was considerably lighter. She would have a blast with Miaka, and she'd ace that interview with Tōdai, ratty old skirt or no. Yes, things were starting to look up.


Yui walked to the Pearl Fisher (it wasn't that far from her apartment) and got a table, swirling her tea aimlessly as she waited on Miaka. She'd gotten there within five minutes, but knew it would take Miaka longer; not only was she carrying extra weight around (she was already almost four and a half months along, after all), but Hikari was a fussy and clingy kid who didn't really like leaving her mother alone.

Miaka breezed in ten minutes later, looking out-of-breath, Hikari in tow. The two-year-old was 'dancing' with a plush bear that had definitely seen better days.

Yui quirked a brow at her friend, taking the diaper-bag-turned-purse from her and setting it in the nook beside her. "What happened to Emiko?"

"She had work today – nobody else in the building could watch her." Miaka replied breathlessly. "Hikari, baby, come and sit next to momma, we're gonna spend some time with Aunt Yui, okay?"

"Okay!" The little girl nodded enthusiastically, taking a seat next to her mother and making the stuffed animal wave. "Hi n'antie!"

"Hey 'Kari!" Yui said with a smile that the toddler returned, shaking the bear's paw gently in greeting. Miaka fussed with the diaper bag for a moment before pulling out a couple of books and a second bear (this one looked much newer). Any reply Hikari might have had for her favorite 'aunt' were cut off by the appearance of the new toys, and she happily grabbed for the second bear, which quickly was christened 'Ms. Bear' and married to the other bear.

"Oh, damn, one of these is overdue..." Miaka muttered darkly, inspecting the back of one of the books with a soft sigh. "How've things been, Yui?"

"Pretty hectic; I got that job doing filing at the hospital, and that takes up so much of my free time, it's crazy! Oh, and Sumisu-sensei has been assigning so much homework I'm afraid I'll go insane."

Miaka laughed. "That sounds like Sumisu-san alright! Did you know he tried to tell me I still had to do that big report in his class, because I hadn't left when he assigned it?"

Yui gasped, taking a sip of tea and setting the cup off to the side so she could lean forward. "No way! That's just cruel!"

Miaka nodded, eyes shining with mirth. "I know! This was after he spent five minutes trying to figure out if I was really pregnant, or just lying to get out of school…"

"Honto? Geez, the man's a nut!"

Chattering happily about the hard-nosed teacher's habits, the two women finished their drinks in record time, finally leaving the small café when the other occupants began throwing them dirty looks.

Miaka stopped them on the slushy streetside, this time trying to adjust a very wiggly Hikari's jacket and boots. "Hikari baby, momma can't fix your jacket if you don't – aaah, don't drop that!"

In the toddler's squirms for freedom, she had dislodged the overdue library book and the second bear from the bag and it had flown through the air, bouncing a short distance before coming to a stop. Yui caught them after only a few seconds, shaking the book off and drying it with her scarf, and Miaka smiled gratefully, finally managing to finish with Hikari's bootlaces and straightening.

"I know we planned on just hanging out, but is it okay if we run that to the library first? Knowing my luck, it would be ruined by the end of the day!"


The National Library hadn't changed much over the years – it had seen a few renovations and a few catalogue changes, but overall was almost the same as it had been three years ago, when Miaka and Yui had returned a different overdue book.

Yui had volunteered to watch Hikari for the few minutes it would take Miaka to give the book back and pay her small fine – after all, it couldn't be too difficult, right? Miaka had given the toddler her bear back, and she appeared content to play with the bear.

The second her mother had disappeared, though, Hikari had turned to Yui with what she would later swear was a smirk Nakago would be envious of. Without warning, the toddler slapped Yui's free hand and darted for the stairwell with a cry of "You're the oni!", stopping and looking back with a daredevil's grin at the top, the toy bear waving a jaunty hello.

"Hikari!" Yui hissed, watching the child warily; Miaka had told her horror stories about Hikari's games, and Yui had never been very good at onigokko. "You get back here!"

Hikari shook her head stubbornly, still dancing away from her. "Can't – you gotta tag me first."

Oh for the love of…well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, I suppose.

Yui made to walk away, checking over her shoulder quickly. Hikari was watching her suspiciously, as if she knew it was all a setup, before coming down the stairs as quietly as she could, stifling her giggles with her scarf.

Gotcha.

Whirling, Yui jumped for the stairs and took them two at a time, swiping for Hikari's arm. With a squeal the little girl had bolted, running straight down the hall and towards the Historical Documents room. Yui had skidded to a stop, eyes wide as she just stared at the sign before racing after Hikari at a full sprint.

"Hikari, stop!" She fairly yelled, and the door shut with a sharp 'click', Hikari's muffled laughter and footsteps her only response. Muttering soft curses, Yui pulled on the handle.

The door was wrenched open from the sheer force of her pull, nearly crashing into the wall as Yui rushed in, searching for Hikari. The child was probably hiding from her among the old volumes, completely and blissfully unaware of the danger that lay inside. If she found the book…well, there was no telling what could happen!

Every aisle she went down was empty. Hikari, she couldn't find Hikari! Where was she?

Finally, in the last aisle, she found her; however, Hikari wasn't hiding, or even trying to. She was staring with blatant curiosity at one of the shelves, young face drawn in concentration and stuffed bear forgotten on the floor beside her. Yui followed her gaze to a brilliant crimson cover, and her mind put the two together just as she was pulling the book down.

"Hikari, no!"

The two-year-old didn't even have time to blink before her beloved auntie had slapped the book out of her hands, where it landed face-up and open. She began to cry loudly, holding her hand and glaring at Yui as if to ask how she could even consider hitting her. Yui paid her no heed, watching the book with a mixture of fear and apprehension. The pages had begun to glow a soft aquamarine, and she could almost swear that she had heard a distinct rustling, like metal moving and clicking against metal…

Or scales, rubbing against one another.

Yui heard the noise again, and whirled, facing the doorway of the small room, where Seiryuu was quietly watching.

It had been a while since she had seen the dragon god's turquoise scales, which still resembled tiny, sharpened daggers, even while he was relaxed. The harsh, angular head swiveled once again towards her, and two piercing blue eyes stared directly into her own, challenging her.

"Hongo Yui. Seiryuu no miko."

Yui screamed, backpedaling and falling on top of the book. The soft glow intensified to a hot blue-white, and Hikari stopped crying and just watched as Yui's form wavered and disappeared.


Miaka had just finished handing the girl her 2-yen fine when she heard her daughter start to wail, the sobs echoing off of the quiet walls.

"Oh, shikusoooo…" She moaned, thrusting the money and the book into the girl's hands. "Here, keep the change if there is any, I have to go, my little girl's crying."

Without another glance towards the rather-shocked library aide, Miaka was walking away as fast as she safely could, towards her child's cries. She passed the food machines (surely Yui wouldn't have taken her past here!) and took the stairs three at a time, fairly flying around a corner she'd sworn she would never round again. After all, there was only one room at the end of this corridor…

The door to the Historical Documents room was wide open, the hinges squeaking in protest as Miaka gently pushed it aside. Hikari's sobs had stopped, for some reason. What if she was seriously hurt? What if...oh gods, what if she had found the book? What if…

Stop it, Miaka! Think logically. You can only see two of these aisles, so check the rest before you panic. She probably decided to play onigokko with Yui and ran here to get away from her, or something like that.

The mental reasoning did nothing for her nerves, but it did help to keep her from panicking. Walking as fast as she dared, Miaka breezed through the aisles, scanning for her daughter's brown hair or Yui's brilliant blonde.

Finally, Miaka skidded to a stop. Her baby girl was seated on the ground, curled up and hugging something close to her little body, chubby arms wrapped protectively around the object. Her bear, the object she loved more than anything in the world, was abandoned on the floor near her, as if it had been simply dropped and forgotten.

"Hikari, baby, momma's here." She breathed, kneeling and holding her arms out. Normally the toddler would have wasted no time hurtling herself at her mother; today, however, she simply looked up and held a well-worn red volume out to her mother as if the book could explain everything.

"Momma, n'auntie went inside."


::Taikyoku-zan::

The first real thing Yui felt was water, cold and wet as it closed around her eyes and mouth. Her brain took a few seconds to register the fact that she had gone from the library to a lake of some sort before survival instincts kicked in, and she kicked frantically for the surface. Somehow, her frantic kicking was propelling her to the surface more forcefully than she'd ever thought possible.

Maybe those silly self-defense courses actually did some good. She thought bemusedly as sunlight and sweet air replaced the cold water that had surrounded her. Dazed, she could only cough in between deep gulps of air, and barely registered the voice behind her.

"You really have to be more careful na no da, if I hadn't been in this garden you could have been seriously hurt!"

"Next time I plan on falling into this Universe I promise I'll make sure I don't land in the lake." Yui shot back once she was sure she could speak again. Well, at least my wit survived the fall. "Wait, who are you, anyways?"

The stranger offered her a hand which Yui batted away warily, standing on her own and wringing out her sopping jacket. When she looked up, it was to a warm brown eye watching her from a lined and scarred face.

"My name is Ri Houjun, but you most likely know me as Chichiri. You're Miaka's friend ... Yui, right?"

Numbly, Yui nodded.

"I thought so – not many people here have your coloring." The disarmingly high tenor had dropped in tone a good octave or so and become velvety and smooth; Yui was reminded of the student psychologist at Yotsubudai and had to bite back a giggle. "Yui-san, do you have any idea why you might have been brought here? A dream, a vision, anything?"

Yui opened her mouth, about to mention the dream about Kutou and the water, but bit the words back and simply shook her head. What did that dream really prove, anyways? She couldn't make head or tails of it (aside from the obvious message about Kutou being destroyed, which she had figured out after waking up the first time). After all, why would she be dreaming about Kutou in the midst of peace and prosperity?

Chichiri didn't seem to notice her internal musings, instead grabbing her arm and gently pulling her behind him, stopping briefly to converse with what Yui could only guess was a flying midget before heading down a long and incredibly ornate marble hallway.

"Nyan, please get Yui-san some clothing, hers is soaked no da - Yui-san, I think that Tai-Itsukun might be able to help you more than I could; she'll likely know why you're here na no da."

Yui was already jogging to keep pace with Chichiri's long, quick strides and could only nod breathlessly in response.

"Sure…who's that?"

Chichiri's breakneck pace slowed a bit - he tended to forget that not every human could keep pace with him. He was used to traveling with Tasuki, and before that with the other seishi, all of whom had the same heightened endurance he did.

"Tai-Itsukun-sama is the Creator of this world. She's in constant contact with the four gods themselves. Nothing happens in this world without Tai-Itsukun knowing; she'll know why you're here."

Yui really, really hoped he was right.


::Tokyo::

Sukunami Miaka was not having a good day.

To start things off, she'd only gotten three hours of sleep last night, thanks largely to Hikari's inability to sleep in her own bed and her own horrendous morning sickness (which liked to kick in just as she was falling to sleep). It was only the combination of a lot of caffeine and one of the best footrubs of her life (courtesy of Taka) that was keeping her from murdering anyone and everyone she talked to.

After that Yui had called, and she'd thought that maybe, just maybe, she could get a few hours to act like an actual teenager. Fate must've had it in for her, though, because Emiko was out doing Suzaku-knew-what and Taka had a meeting with some big-shot toy company executives and couldn't watch Hikari for her.

However, Miaka was an optimistic woman above everything else. So what if she'd had a horrible morning? So what if it was slushy and miserable out? Things couldn't possibly get any worse than this!

Then Hikari had stumbled across the Universe of the Four Gods, and things had gotten a whole lot more complicated.

It had taken some time and serious bargaining on her part to persuade Hikari that no, aunt Yui wasn't hiding in another aisle and get the toddler home and down for a nap. After she was sure she was asleep Miaka had wasted no time cracking the book open, her soft whispers echoing through the empty apartment like that of a ghost. Indeed, it did feel like a ghost had entered the room, seeing the book again; it was like seeing a dear friend years after the friendship had grown cold.

Settling herself on the couch, a mug of steaming cocoa in her hand (the snow had picked up to a near-blizzard), Miaka debated calling Taka for a second, reaching towards the phone before shaking her head, settling back into the couch. Not only would he not be happy she had the book again (he was so afraid that it would take her or Hikari again), but he was probably in the middle of his big meeting.

I wouldn't want to ruin his big chance by calling to tell him about a book. Please, Taka, try to understand…I just can't stand not knowing what's happening to Yui, I have to take the risk!

"The Lord of the World, Tai-Itsukun, waited graciously for the Lady Yui and Suzaku Warrior Chichiri…"


End Chapter 1


Whew! Four thousand words later, Chapter 1 is done! The edits here are miniscule. I changed a couple sentences, fixed a few words, little things. The original author's notes are below...


You guys made it! Funny, I just got into the groove of writing and before I knew it I was where the original chapter ended. I nearly ended up adding chapter 2 to the end of this. Oops.

Okay, for anybody new who's going "what the heck is she babbling about?" – this is a re-write of my story Phoenix Ashes, which is now displayed on this site as The Original Phoenix Ashes and will most likely never be updated again. I did this because a. I want to be able to see my own progress, b. I think it could be interesting for you the reader to see where I came from and where I'm going, and c. I didn't think it would be fair to the nice reviewers I have to just delete their reviews, especially when some of them were really, really detailed.

Oh, and so that I am complying with the rules: The Original Phoenix Ashes will be taken down as soon as I am at chapter 7 in this re-write. Although honestly, at this point it's a different story with the same basic plot, I'd rather not risk getting in trouble.

Anyways, here's the beginning of the sometimes crazy ride that is PA. I hope you enjoy it, and I promise that chapter 2 is coming very soon! ((it's much easier to write when one already knows what's going to happen))

Anyways, until next time!

otaku

PS - this is what I get for only remembering the dubbed version of EikouDen. Small edit to change Hikari's gender.

PPS - slight edits again. Fixed some pronouns and slight characterization issues.