The characters from Fushigi Yuugi are the creations and property of Yuu Watase and related enterprises. I do not own them, and do not make any profit from this fiction except for my own enjoyment in spending time with them.

I've chosen the night of the Star-Gazing Festival for the beginning of this story, since that is the one time that all seven warriors were assembled, including the real Chiriko, yet precedes the tragedy which strikes Tamahome's family, and the departure of the seishi on their mission to seek the Shinzaho. Spoilers for the entire series.


PROLOGUE: Prelude to Evil (Tasuki, Tamahome)

Night had thrown its black mantle over the Konan Empire, cloaking the Imperial City and the palace of its emperor in velvet darkness. The stars blazed brilliantly in the heavens, their light undimmed by the thin crescent of the new moon, as once again they asserted themselves as the sole jewels in the firmament now that the fireworks had ended. The celebrations of the Star-Gazing Festival were concluded and the denizens of the Imperial City had returned to their homes, snuffing out their lamps as they wearily took to their beds after a surfeit of festival food and entertainment.

The Imperial Palace stood dark and quiet, its corridors lit intermittently by the faint glow of oil lamps. A figure strode swiftly through the darkness, the air displaced by his rapid passage causing the flames in the lamps to dance and gutter, flaring up briefly to reflect in his brilliant red hair.

Suzaku no Shichiseishi Tasuki was angry, his strides lengthening as he scowled over the events of the past hour. The fact that he was angry would not have shocked any of his friends or acquaintances; they were accustomed to his quick temper. However, his normal fits of irritation were usually dispelled by a few well-chosen curse words and perhaps a brief bout of noisy violence. The anger he felt now was deeper, darker, evidenced by his silence as he moved swiftly toward his destination.

Miaka had been crying again tonight, her tears etching themselves like acid on his heart. Once again, her pain had been caused by Tamahome, although she'd refused to tell Tasuki exactly what his brother warrior had done to her. Tasuki and Nuriko had taken Miaka to the festival to lift her spirits, but she had run off suddenly in the midst of the festivities. When they returned to the palace, they found her alone, brooding after an encounter with Tamahome. Only after Nuriko had retired did Miaka turn to Tasuki, tears in her eyes, and beg him to lend her his strength. As she wept in his arms, Tasuki felt the spark of anger at her suffering flare up into a blazing conflagration in his heart, and he silently cursed Tamahome for causing her so much pain.

Tasuki's heart ached, and he dimly wondered why Miaka's pain always provoked an answering pain in his own chest. He only knew that she made him feel things; that she broke down his barriers and touched his heart, as she had done from the very start. He didn't know why, but in a short time, she had come to mean more to him than any woman he had ever known. He also knew that to her, he was just another one of her surrogate brothers--someone to have fun with or someone to lean on once in a while, but nothing more. Her heart belonged to Tamahome, and it had been that way ever since he had met her.

So why did Miaka and Tamahome inflict so much pain on one another? Tasuki, inexperienced in the ways of love, blamed Tamahome for carelessness in the way he treated Miaka. He was convinced that if he were in Tamahome's place, he would never cause Miaka any pain. Since that would never happen, Tasuki decided to act in his designated role as big brother and knock some sense into Tamahome. He hoped to set the two of them straight, as much out of fondness for his brother seishi as for his surrogate sister.

Reaching Tamahome's quarters, Tasuki knocked sharply on the door, hoping to wake him. When there was no reply, he opened the door and looked in. The room was empty. Tasuki walked over to the window, peering out to see if Tamahome was walking around anywhere in sight. Footsteps sounded behind him, and he whirled around.

"What the hell are you doing in my room?" The voice was resentful, angry.

Tasuki stared at Tamahome's face, seeing the grey eyes red-rimmed and filled with pain. He felt his heart drop; it had never occurred to him that Tamahome might be suffering as badly as Miaka. His anger dissipating, Tasuki held out his hand to Tamahome.

"I came here to talk to you about Miaka," he replied hesitantly.

"I saw you tonight." Tamahome's voice was low, accusing. "I saw the two of you together...and now I know why she rejected my proposal!"

Tasuki's eyes widened as he comprehended the truth of the trouble between his friends--and at his recognition of what Tamahome thought he had witnessed between him and Miaka.

"No, you've got it wrong! We weren't... we didn't... " Tasuki broke off as he realized that his stuttered denials were worsening the situation. He stopped and looked Tamahome directly in the eyes. "We gotta talk, Tama," he finished simply.

Tamahome's eyes suddenly seemed to glow with a strange greenish-yellow light. Tasuki stepped back, feeling an inexplicable chill. 'What the hell?' he thought. 'I've never been afraid of Tama before, not even when he was under the kodoku spell.'

Tamahome turned and walked back to the door, looking out into the empty corridor. The hallway suddenly glowed with the eerie greenish-yellow light emanating from his eyes and oni symbol. Faint beams of the same light seemed to shine down from the ceiling to the floor, blocking the door to the room. The flames in the hallway lamps guttered...then went out.

"So let's talk."

Tamahome's voice had changed, turning mocking, seductive. He reached out and closed the door, shutting himself and Tasuki in the room. The sound of the bolt echoed in the darkness, then the palace stood silent once more.



Author's Note: This fiction is based on a one-shot work by Jades, entitled "Show me the meaning of loveā€¦" Her story detailed an attack on Tasuki by Tamahome. She kindly granted me permission to use her core idea to write a multi-chapter fiction pursuing the possible effects of such a traumatic event on the Suzaku Shichiseishi and their miko. I altered and added to her original version of the attack as recounted in my first two chapters to form a version that I'm a little more comfortable with, but I think I've retained most of the disturbing and provocative elements of her story.

Warning! The next two chapters deal in a realistic manner with the traumatic aftermath and subsequent re-telling of Tamahome's attack on Tasuki, including descriptions of graphic violence and non-consensual sex at times. In other words, the events described are harsh, although I've tried to avoid being too graphic. There is no romanticizing of the events, and I cannot stress enough that this part of the story is NOT for the young or sensitive reader. This is a true "M" rating - please take the age restriction seriously. If for some reason, you would like to read the rest of the story (which is nowhere near as harsh), Chapter 3 (Purification) is probably a good place to start. You can pick up on the storyline here without reliving the events described in Chapters 1 and 2.