Tamahome had been gone for a week now, and I barely even let it register. We had spoken once through the wall with Chichiri's help since his departure, and I even talked to Yui for a moment. It was agreed that Tamahome would come back when it was time for the ceremony, but not before. Nakago would have to be left in the dark for that, as Yui understood. She was still angry at me, but with Tamahome there he was slowly trying to reassure her that I had never meant to hurt her.

The only thing that was really different was that Tasuki kept a bit of distance between himself and me nearly the whole week. It was as if everything that he had said before no longer mattered. It's just as well. I'm trying not to fall in love with him, anyway, though it is already proving difficult. Darn these teenage hormones! They make me stare at everything male, particuarally him!

I haven't even seen Hotohori recently... and it worries me. I know he is busy with his councilors and planning for the war, but still... he used to make a point to say 'hi' to me at least once during the day. My warriors are all just leaving me alone.

A maid of the castle approached me. "My lady, your bath is ready."

Nodding, I allowed her to lead me to the small pond like bathing area, where she and a few others helped me to remove my clothing, and led me to the water's surface. The sun had heated the water up a bit, but not enough for comfort's sake. Gritting my teeth I went to the small drop off I knew led to the deep water and jumped in, allowing my body to get hit with the full force of the chilling temperature. When I broke the surface again I screamed.

"It's c-c-c-cold!" shivering I rubbed up and down my arms feverishly in an attempt to warm them even slightly. When that failed, I hurriedly finished my bath and exited the water. Unfortunately I chose the side opposite the maids and ended up needing to walk around. First thing that happened was I smacked into something.

"M-Miaka..." I heard the astonished sound of Tasuki's smooth voice stuttering over my name. My cheeks flamed, and my hands tried to cover as much of my skin as possible.

Tasuki averted his eyes, a definite blush on his face. His body stayed facing me, and despite my nudity I couldn't help staring at him a bit. As awkward as it was, we just stood there, before we came to our senses, and I turned around.

"Wh-what are you doing here, Tasuki? This is my bath, you're not supposed to be here..."

"I heard something scream, and came ta chexk it out. I had no idea you were takin' a bath." I looked at him over my shoulder. He really did look like he mght have been there ready to defend me, with his harrisen out and everything, but the way he didn't turn from me told me he had known for a couple of minutes what was really happening.

A small smile played upon my lips, though I knew he couldn't see it. "Liar."

I walked off, without another word, and left him to stare at my retreating figure. Oddly enough, in the week since Tamahome left, and despite what I had told myself then, I just didn't care anymore about much at all. If Tasuki wanted to fall for me, then let him. It didn't mean I would have to fall in love with him back.

As the maids clothed me in a sheer garment I snuck another look to where Tasuki had been, but he was gone.

The way Miaka has been lately is unnerving. It's like she no longer cares for anything, and anyone. Her demeanor is cool, as if nothing can faze her anymore, yet I know that cannot be the case. Through a window I happened upon a glance if her in her bath, yet it was not her body that caught my attention. It was the fact that she stood so close to Tasuki, and it didn't faze her as once it would have that he had caught her naked. Before she would have slapped him for his lechery, but now as she walks away from him, the hands that had been hiding her form from him drop. She shows no interest in anything.

Only once does she turn to look back at him, but he's already gone. The Priestess of Suzaku just shakes it off and leaves with the maids.

What has happened to Miaka? What has happened to the bright spirited girl I fell in love with? Her shell remains, but her spirit has been locked away inside. The change in her has been so unnerving to myself that it has made it too awkward for me to say the simplest of greetings. Tasuki is the only one who can bring Miaka back, of that much I am sure, but unless he can bring himself to go after her, I fear that Miaka shall be lost forever...

Damn it all ta Hell! What's wrong with the girl? She caught me peepin' and almost didn't even bat a lash! Whatever happened to the good old days when that would mean a swift slap to the cheek? Did Tamahome really affect her so much? I've been avoidin' her too much. I'm bringin' Miaka back, if it's the last thing I do.

"Yui, are you all right?" Tamahome asked, walking close to the girl.

She just shook her head and smiled. "I'm fine. Why do you ask?"

"Because you don't look like it. You look as though you're going to break something. Again."

Yui just shook her head again, and pulled Tamahome's hand into her own. "I'm perfectly fine. You worry too much."

He nodded, squeezing her hand slightly. "I do especially when we're to speak to Miaka. It's like you don't even care about her anymore. What has happened to you to make you like this?"

"You know exactly what has made me like this. It isn't fair that she got to be so happy with you when I had to suffer through... that." Her eyes had narrowed dangerously, showing her disgust at the the memory.

"I've told you already how much Miaka blames herself for tha-"

"As well she should!" Yui interrupted, stopping abruptly.

Tamahome lowered his eyes just slightly as well. "Like I was saying, she blames herself enough as it is. So when will you give up the pretense of forgiving her?"

His words stopped the girl, but only for a moment. She released his hand and turned away from him. "When she stops looking so miserable when we talk through the wall. It's like she wants you back after finally letting me have you."

Tamahome said nothing, instead he wrapped his arms around the girl from behind, and just held her there while he tried to hope she'd one day understand.

Ok, this story is really starting to get on my nerves, honestly. It's just not going the way I hoped it would. I'm going to try and fix it, but if it doesn't get any better, I'll probably just write a quick ending for it, and after a week of having the ending up delete the whole thing. I'm sorry if anyone actually liked this fic, but I'll decide soon whether to keep it or kill it. Thank you.