A Moment Too Late
A Fushigi Yuugi Fanfiction

By Azurite
Rated PG-13 for language, care of Suboshi and Keisuke.
Spoilers up to episode 47 of the anime
Disclaimer: FY and all of its characters belong to time and, of course, the ever fantastic Watase Yuu! I'm just borrowing them for a while. I might not give Tasuki back though...
All Miaka could do was run. In her world, there weren't "magical" people with symbols on their arms, necks, and foreheads. People who did bad things were stopped by the police, and people lived on, safely.

But the police couldn't stop Suboshi.

They tried...

Miaka winced as she ran, her breathing becoming labored.

After Tamahome had run away earlier, she had spent the day searching for him. The evening had come fast, and darkness and night crowds filled the streets.

'So many people in danger...' Miaka thought to herself, heaving as she ran. Her legs ached, but if she stopped...


"Where is Tamahome, Miaka?"

"Yui-chan..."

"Where is he?" Yui repeated, a cold glare in her eyes. Despite everything that had happened to her and her best friend, Miaka couldn't understand why Yui wouldn't see the obvious, or even give her a chance!

She was becoming ruthless and cunning, and it scared Miaka to the bottom of her soul.

"Suzaku no Miko..." Miaka blinked and looked behind Yui. Suboshi... one of the few remaining Seiryuu Seishi.

He loved Yui, Miaka knew, but was as blind as the Seiryuu's Miko when it came to seeing the truth behind matters.

Miaka didn't blame him for the deaths of Tamahome's family. Everything was centered on Nakago, and Miaka could only pray he wouldn't come to her world.

But...


"Get out of the way!" Suboshi's crazed voice rang out through the late night throng of people, who moved in multiple directions to get away from him, or to prevent him from chasing Miaka.

"T-Tamahome... where are you?" Miaka whispered as she ran. Her legs felt as if they were on fire.

She wondered briefly if this was what it felt like to merge with Suzaku: raging hot fire, throughout her body...


Meanwhile, Tamahome was trying to figure out the meaning of "not being real." He continually told himself that Miaka couldn't be with him, that she couldn't love a fictional character. One that was created... on paper, for the...

"The purpose of being with her..." Tamahome mouthed.

He watched as a film crew acted out a scene. The woman didn't want to trust her lover anymore... he was never there, and that could mean that he had found someone new.

But the man embraced her, and told her that no matter what, no matter where he was, he'd love her, and always be with her.

The words struck a deep chord within Tamahome, as he realized with a shock that it didn't matter whether or not he FELT worthy to be loved by Miaka, the fact was, she did. She loved him, after everything he had done. So many other men loved her, and yet she stayed with him for so many months. She wanted to marry him. She loved his family like her own. She wanted to protect him, and would sacrifice her life for him, when it should have been the other way around.

Though his Suzaku Seishi powers were gone, Tamahome felt her calling him, and he ran as fast as his body could manage.

He pushed it to the limit, causing traffic jams and crowds to gasp as he nearly flew through the night.

"Miaka... I'm coming..."

Miaka could run no longer. She didn't know where Keisuke, Tetsuya, Yui, or Tamahome were. They all mattered so much to her. Her legs collapsed from the exertion, and she stared up at a cruelly smiling Suboshi.

'Amiboshi... they were on the same side, but fought for different reasons...'

"Why, Suboshi? Why?"

"Because... it is your fault that Yui-sama was hurt."

Suboshi answered simply, his face dark and his eyes cold.

'Yui... blames me. Everything... it IS my fault. If I hadn't gone upstairs... if I hadn't opened that book!'

Miaka grimaced at the memory, and once her eyes were open again, Suboshi's ryuusuisei was wrapped around her.

The ropes were cutting into her flesh as a knife slices through butter, easily burning her tender skin and leaving it raw and red.

"I don't understand why Yui-sama doesn't want you dead. I know she'll appreciate me for it later though." Suboshi glared at the fallen Miko, and focused his chi so the ropes bound her tighter.

"MIAKA!" Keisuke and Tetsuya emerged from the crowd and stared on in horror. They were just as ordinary as Miaka was in this world, and against a Seiryuu Seishi, they were helpless.

"Br-oth-er..." Miaka struggled to breath as the ropes bound her ever-tighter, and it became difficult to breathe.

"Get out of here!" Miaka grimaced as the pain increased.

She could feel her ribs straining under the pressure, and in her mind's eye, she could see them snapping, cracking, breaking. Carving into her lungs, puncturing them.

'I can't die now... not like this... I... have... to save Yui-chan!'

"You bastard!" Keisuke, with a sudden burst of anger, adrenaline, and pure strength to defend his sister, burst from the growing crowd of spectators. He didn't know how to stop Suboshi's ryuusuisei, but he did know the crazed twin well enough to hit his weak spot.

"Your brother would be ashamed!" Keisuke noticed Suboshi freeze long enough to land a smooth uppercut under the boy's chin. The Seiryuu's jaw made a sickening cracking noise, and one could see blood gush from his lip as his teeth made contact with the fragile skin.

"Your parents...!" Another smooth uppercut, causing Suboshi to stumble. But no matter what physical pain he was obviously in, it didn't stop his will from exerting more force on Miaka.

She screamed. Finally, the screamed died away in her throat as her eyes became vacant and glassed, and she felt numb all over.

She swore she saw Tamahome, right there... she smiled briefly before she lapsed into blissful unconsciousness.

The ryuusuisei stopped its infinite binding and spinning, and Suzaku no Miko, Miaka Yuuki, collapsed to the concrete ground, lifeless.

"MIAAAAAKAAAA!" Tamahome arrived on the scene a moment too late.

Keisuke, amazingly, had knocked Suboshi down, and the boy was being dragged away by the police. He would be easier to handle without being conscious, and, as Tetsuya noted, without his yo-yo toy. The police confiscated the deadly device, while an ambulance picked up Miaka.

"Wait..." Tamahome ran up to the two paramedics loading Miaka onto a gurney. Keisuke wiped some blood off with his sleeve and jumped into the ambulance without question.

"Keisuke... please..." Tamahome pleaded, his eyes flooding with fear, worry, and a million other emotions.

"You were too late." Keisuke snarled under his breath, his eyes catching onto Miaka. The paramedics were removing her clothes to discern the damage. Her shirt was already covered in blood.

The paramedics shook their heads at Tamahome, indicating only one person other than the victim and themselves was allowed per ambulance. Tamahome watched in astute shock and horror as the ambulance drove away, sirens blaring far into the night distance.

Tetsuya looked at the book, The Universe of the Four Gods.

"'Suzaku no Miko's ribs were crushed under the extreme pressure of the Seiryuu Seishi Suboshi's ryuusuisei. Not being a Seishi herself, the girl collapsed, her ribs puncturing her lungs. They tore open, and before the ambulance could get her to the hospital, she was dead.'" He read it quietly, his eyes fixated on the forming characters.

The crowd parted, murmuring to themselves about the peculiarity of recent events, and how it was so sad, what happened to that girl.

Tamahome was listening with half an ear and a slowly breaking heart. The minute the last sentence was read, his pupils grew smaller and soon his eyes had a glassy vacancy to them. He collapsed to the ground without a word, lost, and unable to function without his lover.


Miaka woke up with a startled cry, her body covered in sweat. She looked about her room, noted it was still dark, and rose from her bed, her limbs still quaking.

She opened the door to her room carefully. She snuck down the hall and carefully opened the door to her brother's room. It was just him in there, sleeping soundly.

Miaka sighed.

It had been three days since Tamahome and the others went back into the book.

"I had unfinished business. I came back from the half-way point." He had said, that day when Nakago had told Miaka that Tamahome was dead. Her mind had refused to believe it, her body protested the very idea. The numbness was still there, the idea that he was telling the truth, for once.

But he was alive... only for a moment. After Nakago was defeated, everything had to be restored. It would be so selfish to wish for their happiness. Though Miaka wondered if there had been some way to restore her world AND The Universe of the Four Gods, it was too late now.

Maybe somehow, someway, she'd see Tamahome and the others again.

Maybe somehow, she'd be able to go back within the book, if even for a short while. Time was different between here and there, Miaka remembered-- maybe no one would notice.

She shook her head. No, what they had done was right. She was lucky to still be alive, lucky that Yui had believed in her enough to give her a second chance at summoning Suzaku. They had done it, and everything was right again...

Miaka went back to her room and looked at the one thing standing out in the bright moonlight. A silver pictureframe, with all of the Seishi in it.

Nuriko.

Hotohori.

Chichiri.

Chiriko.

Mitsukake.

Tasuki.

Tamahome.

They all meant so much to her.

"God... Suzaku, whoever is up there in the great heavens... I know I ask a lot... but... if at all possible, somehow, someway, please... bring them here. Let them live on in this time, in peace. All of them."

Thinking of a day when she would see them all again... even Suboshi, Amiboshi, Soi... though they had been fighting for unjust, unclear causes, they all had hearts, they all had reasons. Inside, they were all kindhearted people. They all loved, and that was what mattered.

They had seen the error of their ways a moment too late, and it had cost them all in one way or another. But they were pure souls enough to be reborn, Miaka was sure of that.

She fell asleep dreaming of the Seishi, and of when they would be together again.


Finis

Reformatted and slightly revised June 8th, 2006.