Hi everyone! I'm so happy to include another story—my fifth so far. I'm still using Yui and pairing her with Nuriko. I realized there isn't much Yui-Nuriko fics here or anywhere else so I'm adding one to their numbers. I just love unusual pairings. If you like this story, please also read my other stories: One Night, Just Play the Melody, and Serendipity. Please do leave a review so I'll know what you think!
Disclaimer: No, FY doesn't belong to me. You wish.
Chapter 1: The Missing Shoe
YUI HASTILY PARKED THE CAR and went out, taking off her coat and leaving it inside. She looked at the side mirror one last time, checking if the make-up she dabbed earlier still remained in her face. She opened her purse and pulled out a light pink lipstick. After slowly looking around, she placed another layer on her lips, pressing them together and then scrutinizing her reflection in the side mirror. She wore a blue spaghetti strap cocktail dress and had her long blonde tresses in a high ponytail. Her diamond necklace and earrings were glimmering under the sun, making her appear like a Western actress. Perfect.
Today was Miaka and Tamahome's wedding. After the book incident in junior high, they met Taka a few years after and the two had been inseparable ever since. After high school, Yui went to college and the two decided to get married. Today was the fateful day. Yui drove all the way from university to attend the wedding, wanting wanting to see those two tie the knot. Somehow, Yui couldn't be happier with the thought of them settling down. After everything that happened, they deserved each other.
Long graceful strides brought her to the stairs of the church where they decided to say their vows in a traditional Western wedding. She could hear the priest starting the ceremony. Okay, she was a bit late; traffic was bad downtown. She stood at the doorway and looked around for awhile, trying to guess who the visitors were. At the middle of the aisle were Miaka and Taka, looking at each other lovingly.
Miaka was wearing a white fluffy gown with ribbons and her face was covered in a long white veil, the regalia they picked out from the seamstress months ago, during one of the times when she was not hoarded with homework. Tamahome, Taka, was wearing a white tuxedo. They looked beautiful, both of them.
Yui was about to sit on one of the benches at the back when a hand covered her mouth. Strong pair of arms wrapped around her waist and dragged her out of the church. She screamed but all that came out were muffled sounds and panic immediately rose to her chest. She tried to break free but he was strong. He dragged her harshly and one of her shoes fell from her foot. She instantly felt the hot rocky ground under her feet.
A man with flaming red hair appeared in her vision, motioning her abductor toward a car. "Hurry! We hafta get her away!" he said roughly, fangs showing as he gritted his teeth. He looked familiar yet Yui couldn't remember where she saw him.
"I'm hurrying! Open the door," the man holding her said. The red-haired man opened the door and she was pushed inside roughly. Her captor immediately went inside and reached for her hands as she struggled to get away from him.
"What are you doing to me?" She tried to push him but his hands were wrapped mercilessly around her wrist. Yui can clearly see his face now, shoulder-length purple hair and bright indigo eyes, and a beautiful smooth face. Yui gasped, if it were not for the voice, she would have mistaken him for a girl.
"Tasuki! Hurry up and drive!" he bellowed. The man smirked from the driver's seat and started the engine. Yui almost fell from her seat when he drove away from the church.
"Holy Seiryuu, where are taking me?" she eked out, terrified and extremely uncomfortable. The purple-haired bishounen pushed her down on the seat, holding her hands over her head.
"A place where you can't call your seishis and ruin Miaka's wedding!" Tasuki shouted from the front seat. "Nuriko, make sure she won't get away, okay?"
"What? Why would I want to ruin Miaka's wedding? I am her bestfriend!" she answered back.
"Yeah. I bet that's exactly what you said while you plotted to kill her," Nuriko said, looking down on her. "No worries, Genrou. I'm holding her really tight." He smiled at her and Yui could not help but blush.
A realization struck her and she sighed. "Oh my, Suzaku seis." Were they really this stupid? Would they actually think she'd ruin her bestfriend's most important day? She closed her eyes and tried to forget everything—the buzzing of the car engine, the cursing Tasuki at the steering wheel, Nuriko leaning down on her, clutching her now aching hands above her head.
"Hey are you sleeping now? Hey?" Nuriko called to her but Yui didn't say anything. Her eyes remained shut, letting all the thoughts disappear in her head. It's what they teach during her yoga classes, a way to relax.
"Hey! Uhm, Seiryuu no miko! Hey! Don't sleep on me!" he called again. "Tasuki! She's sleeping!" Nuriko grabbed her shoulders and shook her wildly. Yui felt all air leave her, head spinning from the shaking.
"I'm not, okay! Holy Seiryuu. I'm not trying to do anything bad to Miaka and Taka!" Yui said, trying to free herself from Nuriko's clutch. It failed, obviously, the man reached out for her hands and pinned her down again. "If I would, I should have done it years ago." Yui stopped struggling and eyed him sharply. "Can you stop pushing me down?"
Nuriko looked back smugly. "Dream on. What if you manage to escape us?"
"We're in a moving vehicle. I'd be stupid to jump," Yui said flatly.
Nuriko sighed. "You're giving me a headache. Just shut up and bear with us, please."
"Bear with you? You literally kidnapped me. And I haven't even done anything to any of you!" Yui said angrily. "I missed my Chemistry class just to attend that wedding. Had I known you'd torture me by putting me in this car and driving me somewhere far, I would have not gone to any lengths to attend or even entertained the thought of attending!"
"Well, if you didn't try to kill Miaka, we would have been nicer to you, ne!" Nuriko told her, his voice rising as well. Yui raked sharp eyes at him and looked away. She resisted the urge to cry. No, never in front of them. He continued to look down and Yui refused to meet his gaze, lips closed tight.
"I didn't know the Seiryuu no miko knows how to shut up and listen. You looked rather proud and full of yourself when we were in the book."
"Stop calling me by that name," she said softly. "That happened what? Four years ago? It's not me anymore." Yui said, almost like a whisper.
Nuriko looked at her, analyzing her face while Tasuki yelled from the front seat. "Are ya saying ya changed? Impossible, ne Nuriko?"
"Very," the bishounen answered, unconvinced.
"And what? You think people don't change? You both have changed from the littlest I could remember of you two. From being a rough dirty bandit…" Yui turned to Nuriko in anger. "…and you being some cross-dresser who kept on running after the Emperor, you both look highly respectable now. Just looked like it."
A slapped landed on Yui's face and her eyes widened. Nuriko slapped her, he looked at her angrily. She rummaged through her head for the offensive word. Was he offended with the word cross-dresser? What does he prefer? Gay? Faggot? Tasuki was silent up front and none of them said anything. Tears streaked her face and Yui looked away, slightly ashamed of what she said. She felt so bad and her cheek hurt. She closed her eyes and tried to calm herself. Soon, she was asleep.
When his captive fell asleep, Nuriko slowly let her go and sat properly at the back of the car. He touched the cheek he slapped earlier and Yui winced and turned to her side. Nuriko regretted hurting her but he was so mad. He looked at Tasuki and the bandit just glanced at him.
"Didn't expect you to do that. Didn't expect her to say that either." Tasuki said consolingly. "She sleeping?"
Nuriko nodded and looked out the window. They have been driving around the same place for 30 minutes now. A few more and the ceremony will be over; they can come back by then. Tasuki drove near the breakwater and parked the car, stopping the engine and then moving out of the car. Nuriko opened his side of the door and glanced back at the sleeping girl. A little guilty, he took off his coat and blanketed it around her. She looked very peaceful in her sleep, no one would have thought she was capable of creating war. He gave her one last look and got out as well.
"Do you remember when we used to travel all over Konan just 'ta look for the other seishis?" Tasuki asked him, standing on the edge of the bay, lighting a cigarette from his pocket. Nuriko nodded. "Those were good times, eh?"
Tasuki offered Nuriko a stick and he reached out to get one from his pack. The former bandit threw him the lighter and he lit his stick, whiffs of smoke emanated from their burning cigarettes. Nuriko loosened his tie. Who would have thought they'd all meet again in this world? Everything felt surreal, but they were there, he and Tasuki, smoking together, both dressed up for Miaka and Tamahome's wedding.
"Little Mi-chan and Tama-baby's married by now," Tasuki continued. "And we got the Seiryuu no miko sleeping in the car, away from it all."
"Genrou," Nuriko started. "Did you ever regret remembering everything?" Tasuki looked at him quizzically.
"Naw. I love those days. They may not be perfect, but it's all good," he said. "What's eating 'ya?"
"Hotohori…" Nuriko said and Tasuki's eyes widened, an erotic image forming in his head. "Quit it! I didn't mean it like that!" Nuriko said, blushing. Tasuki laughed hard. The crackling of his voice reached Yui's ears and she woke up with a stir. She could hear their conversation from where she lay and she pulled the coat tighter—it was getting cold. Yui briefly wondered who owned it and who would lend it to her while she slept.
"Still defensive when it comes to Heiki-sama." Tasuki sighed. "Ya haven't changed a bit." Tasuki lit another cigarette, eyeing the bishounen who stood silently beside him. "What about it?" Silence. The sound of the waves crashing on the shores filled the distance between them. Finally, Nuriko sighed.
"Sometimes I regret remembering everything about Shin Jin Ten Chi Sho. When I remember Sai—Hotohori—looking at me in this disgusted way because I was in love with him, I somehow feel pissed. I mean, even then he never took me seriously."
"What d'ya mean by that? Ya got the man right?" Nuriko and Hotohori's relationship was never a secret in this world. They've been living together for a long time, a big leap from their situation from the book.
"We broke up this morning." Nuriko sighed, looking down at the breaking waves. "I begged him not to. I ran after him, humiliated myself on the streets. And he didn't even turn around to look at me." He reached out for Tasuki's pocket and took another cigarette and lit it. "Am I destined to be like this? To always run after him? To be crazy for him? To always be in the losing side? To be left behind?" He shook his head and took a deep breath.
Yui's heart pained when she heard this. It somehow reminded her of someone, a blue-eyed shogun who still held her heart. She immediately wiped off her tears and sat up on the seat. She covered herself with the coat and looked at the two men outside the car. Tasuki turned to her and muttered something she couldn't hear.
"For an enemy, she looked darn beautiful," Tasuki muttered and Nuriko looked at the car. Yui stared back and their eyes met. Yes, she was beautiful. That was the thought that kept appearing in his thoughts the whole time they were struggling in the car. But she's a girl for Suzaku's sake. He knew ever since he was a kid that he preferred men. Not women, regardless of how beautiful they were. Nuriko finished his cigarette and threw the butt.
"Let's head back," he told Tasuki and the bandit obliged. They walked to the car and Tasuki took on the driver's seat. It was Nuriko's car, but he doesn't know how to drive. Hotohori does the driving when they were together. Now that he's back in his parent's house, he might use the family driver to drop him off to work everyday.
Nuriko was about to sit on the passenger seat when he changed his mind and sat at the back instead. She was quiet when they were inside. Her mobile phone rang. Yui hurriedly opened her purse and answered the call.
"Miaka?" Her voice was rough, fresh from sleep. "Oh, I'm sorry." Nuriko could hear Miaka's voice on the other end, she was screaming. "Yeah, I'm sorry, my alarm clock didn't work. You know how it always stops at the middle of the night." She looked out in the horizon. "Cry—no I'm not crying. I'm—I'm not thinking of… anyone…"
"We're you already here?" Miaka asked and Yui swallowed hard. "I think I saw your car in the church."
"My car—No, I haven't been there yet. It must have probably been someone else's car," she stammered. Why was she lying?
"But it has your plate number Yui…I can see Teddy hanging in your rearview mirror," Miaka reasoned. "Are you lying to me, Yui?"
"No! I'm not. I mean, it's probably not my car. Teddy, I uhm, took Teddy out yesterday. I think I forgot to put him back. So that's not my car, really. Miaka, I'm about to start the engine now. I'm really sorry, I'm late. I'll be there as soon as I can. Bye." He placed her phone back in her purse and settled on the seat.
"Oh boy, Mi-chan did invite you to the wedding," Tasuki said and Yui rolled her eyes. Tasuki's phone rang. Yui heard him answer it. "Yes, Mi-chan? Ah, Nuriko and I just went out ta smoke. Am not the religious type, can't stand all that boring stuff. Yeah, yeah, we're on our way now. Bye."
Tasuki hastily started the engine and drove the way to the church. Nobody said anything. Yui was listing down what she would do once they arrive. 1) Brush her hair, 2) Put some make-up, 3) Look for her missing shoe, and 4) Take off Teddy from the rearview mirror. She tried to not forget each one, if she does, it will be disastrous. When they neared the church, she carefully took off the coat and offered it back to Nuriko, who was sitting unflinching beside her. The bishounen looked at her and took the coat, wearing it silently.
When the car stopped, she hastily opened the door and walked toward her car and did one by one the things she listed down in her head. After fixing herself, she got off the car and locked it. Yui gazed around the compound, looking for her lost shoe. Pathetic, she couldn't find it. She passed by Tasuki and Nuriko who were both looking at her, waiting for her to finish.
"Hey, what are 'ya doing?" Tasuki called. "Hurry up, ne. I can't wait ta eat!"
"Shut up, okay!" Yui said, irritated. "I'm looking for my shoe." Tasuki laughed and Nuriko smirked. "If you hadn't dragged me, I wouldn't have lost it." She continued to scout the area but was disappointed with the bareness of it. "Oh, I can't find it."
'What color are 'ya looking for?" Tasuki asked.
"White ones." Yui took off the other pair and showed it to them. "It looked exactly like this." She walked toward the stairs, remembering that it fell in the area while she was being dragged down. But the spot was clean, no signs of shoes anywhere.
"Forget the shoe. It's just a shoe, 'ya know," Tasuki called to her again and she made a face.
"Yeah right, you can say that because you can walk properly. Just go ahead and I'll just follow." Annoyed, she sat on the stairs and sighed.
"Whatever 'ya say, Seiryuu no miko," Tasuki said and the two left. Yui felt disgusted, they did leave her! She stretched her legs on the stairs and sighed. She's alone again. She's always alone.
Yui smiled when she remembered when Taka appeared. She was thrilled. Would Nakago come back too? Would her seishis come back? She remembered volunteering for an organization so she could go around Japan, armed with the hope of finding any of them. But she stumbled upon no one. The increasing impossibility of seeing them made her realize she was not meant to mingle with them, see them, touch them. Seishis gather around their miko, they should look for her, not the other way around. So she stopped looking. But none of them appeared. None.
Miaka. Miaka didn't do anything and they gathered for her. They're all probably here to attend her wedding, reminisce on the good old times. A pain stabbed her chest. Maybe that's why they never gathered for her: There were no good old times. All they have were sadness, regrets, anger, disappointments. They probably still hated her. Tears fell from her eyes and she let them. It was good to cry once in awhile.
The sun was setting, casting warm orange glows along the church. Yui sighed and wiped her tears. What a very public place to cry! She tried to smile and forget how alone she felt. She still has to look for that shoe and attend the reception. Miaka and Taka would be very happy to see her and she would be elated to see them too. Yui was surprised when she looked ahead and found Nuriko standing at the foot of the stairs, looking at her. Did he see her cry? Nuriko raised his right hand and waved her shoe. Yui's face lit up.
"You found it!" He slowly went up to where she sat and knelt in front of her, gently sliding the shoe on her left foot. "How did you find it?" she asked. He offered her a hand and Yui took it. After she did, he kindly pulled her up, let go when she was standing and walked down the stairs. "Hey, how did you find it?" Yui followed, happy at the thought of someone coming back for her.
"Some kids were playing with it a few blocks from here. Just had to run back and give it you," he said in a monotonous voice.
"You ran back? What happened to your car?" Yui asked.
Nuriko turned with a blank face. "What about it?"
"You should have driven back instead."
"I don't drive. Tasuki went ahead. Geez, you're much much more annoying when you talk."
"So, how are you planning to go to the reception?" she asked but he didn't answer, still walking away from her. "You don't plan to walk?" Silence. She ran in front of him, blocking his path. "I have a car. Ride with me?"
Nuriko raised an eyebrow. "No way. What if you do something to me?"
Yui laughed. "Are you scared of me? Come on, you're way stronger than I am. What the hell would I do to you?" Nuriko's brows creased. "Oh my, it's so hard to reason with you guys!" She pulled him toward her car and Nuriko warily stepped into the back seat. "Why are you sitting there? What do you think I am? Your driver?" Yui went inside, opening the passenger's seat from the inside.
"Do you know how to drive?" he asked.
"Of course I do! I've been doing this since I graduated from high school."
"Since when was that?"
Yui thought for a while. "About six months ago."
"Oh man. Just six months ago?" There was panic in his voice and Yui tried to reassure him with a smile. She focused her attention on the road, once in a while glancing at him. A smile spread on her lips and she looked down on her new shoe. Maybe these Suzaku seis weren't so bad at all, Yui thought as they drove to Miaka and Taka's wedding party.
A/N: I've edited this fiction and deleted some very introspective parts in this chapter. I realized this one's not very enticing as a first chapter but its cute, ne? I couldn't think of a way for them to interact but through an accident so… I made the kidnapping scene. :D