Another one shot involving my favorite FY character. (Hopefully I'll write one with a happy ending, where he and Miaka have 6 kids or something) Anyway, enjoy

Also, I think the story said they were lucky to find a room the night of Ashtare's attack, but for the sake of this story, we're going to pretend there were two rooms. :)

Disclaimer: I do not own Fushigi Yugi

The Dilemma

Even for one as Herculean as he, Nuriko found he was having quite a hard time getting his friend and younger celestial brother up the stairs.

"Juzz one more, come on, Ni'ko,"

"No, Tamahome, you've had en-"

"Hey!"

Tamahome may have been drunk, but he was still a celestial warrior. He easily maneuvered himself out of Nuriko's vice-like grip and made his way to the bar again.

Nuriko blushed slightly at the scene his friend was making. Some of the patrons were staring and snickering. He did not want to cause more of a scene by dragging his friend upstairs, as they were trying to keep a very low profile. Tamahome was not helping.

"Gimmee another one of thoozze, um, Ni'ko's specials."

The bartender smirked.

"I think you've had enough, son. It appears three is past your limit."

Nuriko rolled his eyes and chuckled.

"Come on! We're celebratin'. I'm getting maaarrrieed, you see. Hey, hey, guess what...sheeez upstairs. She's beeeeautiful, right Ni'ko?" He looked at his friend who came to try to pry him from the bar again. Tamahome threw his arm over Nuriko's shoulder.

"Sheeez so beautiful, even he's in love with her, and he's gay!"

Tamahome said this proudly, joyously, and rather loudly. Nuriko's blush deepened as he heard the snickers get louder. Nuriko glared.

"If I'm in love with Miaka, then I am clearly not gay, you idiot! Come on, no more Nuriko's specials for you," he said as he gripped Tamahome's elbow again and dragged him through the bar, low-profile be damned.

"Awww, come on, Ni'ko, jus' lemme have one mo-"

"Do you really want Miaka to see you like this?"

"Meee-aka," he said dreamily as he lost his train of thought, and let his friend lead him to the room next to the priestess.

"Hey, hey, Ni'ko. Isn't she beeauuuti-"

"Yes, yes, she's gorgeous, now, come on," said Nuriko impatiently as he half dragged, half carried his friend to his room. He unceremoniously dumped him on his bed. To his surprise and relief, Tamahome just lay there, and did not put up a fight. He had no sooner hit the pillow than Nuriko heard loud snores emanating from his nose.

"Smooth," Nuriko muttered. Who would have thought Tamahome to be such a lightweight? He took off the unconscious man's shoes and covered him with a blanket.

Nuriko yawned hugely as his feet habitually led him to Miaka's room. He stopped short when he took one step in. Miaka was soundly sleeping, her face set aglow by the light of the merry fire. She had a soft smile on her face. He sighed deeply and shoved his hands in his pockets as he walked quietly toward his priestess and best friend, the young woman who innocently and unconsciously, yet oh so efficiently, captured his heart and soul.

Since almost the beginning of their acquaintance, Nuriko had been appointed Miaka's unofficial night-time guardian. They spent many nights together on camp-outs, in shared rooms, and sometimes even a shared bed. After all, no one, himself included, ever suspected the cross-dressing, emperor-chasing man of having any ungentlemanly thoughts and intentions toward the Suzako priestess. He even brushed aside his recent sensual dreams of her as a product of hormones. He smiled wryly, at this, 'I'm just a man, after all.' He never suspected the real reason behind them.

That is, until today.

Nuriko came to Miaka's room out of pure habit-he was so used to being with her, he acted without a second thought. But now...

Nuriko kneeled by Miaka's bed and rested his chin on his arms, just a few inches from her face. After a few moments of admiring, he lifted a hand to brush some of her hair back. He let his fingers linger there, quietly savoring the pleasure of being this near her and touching her while he could. He had every intention of keeping his promise to Tamahome-he would not interfere. Miaka's happiness came first. But that did not mean he couldn't steal away little moments like this. That didn't mean he couldn't dream...

Which now brings him to his dilemma. He was Miaka's night-time guardian, and after the events of today, he did not feel right leaving her alone to go sleep in Tamahome's room, which would of course be the honorable and gentlemanly thing to do. However, he also did not know if he could handle spending the night so close to her after the realization of his true feelings. And those feelings were so strong it was very possible that he might go insane inhaling the fragrance of Miaka's unique scent. Nuriko frowned as he thought for the second time, 'I'm only a man...'

A wolf howled in the distance, and Nuriko shivered. He unthinkingly rubbed his injured arm as he continued to watch her. His handsome face set as determination sank in: he would definitely not leave his beloved alone tonight, not when there was a walking nightmare roaming around the city, bent on killing her. No matter what the cost to himself, he would protect his Miaka. Nuriko grabbed a pillow and a couple of blankets to settled on a comfortable looking chair. If she asked why he slept there, he could always tell her she called him a dumpling in her sleep and then bit him. Nuriko paused at the images that immediately sprang to mind at the thought. He hurriedly shook his head, 'no, no, no, bad thoughts, bad thoughts!'

Nuriko sat down and covered himself, finally settling into a comfortable position when he heard Miaka repositioning herself. When she settled, she let out a small, contented, and almost inaudible groan. To Nuriko it sounded like thunder, and the innocent sound again sent his imagination into overdrive.

'Come on man, think of something else! Dresses! You love dresses! OK, yellow chiffon, embroidered with lotus blossoms, purple satin,' Nuriko thought as Miaka's foot peeked out from under her blanket.

'Red silk and sheer white lace, with red slippers on her little feet. Short brown-aargh!'

Nuriko rubbed his hand over his face and tightly shut his eyes as he tried to think of something else to occupy his thoughts until sleep claimed him.

'Eyeballs!' Nuriko thought as he suddenly remembered their island escape. 'Eyeball soup, eyeball wine, eyeball art. OK, this is good. Eyeballs are good.'

Nuriko happily continued with this line of thought until he again heard Miaka repositioning herself. He forgot what a restless sleeper she was, and, unable to help himself, opened an eye to look at her. The blanket was pushed partially aside. Her nightgown slipped down low, revealing her bare shoulder and a bit of her cleavage. The hair he pushed back from her face earlier remained there, allowing him a full view of her long, creamy neck. Nuriko whimpered and his lip started to tremble. "I'm only a man," he whispered as he abruptly got up to walk to the window. Nuriko spent the next several minutes inhaling the cold Hokkan air.


Miaka woke up the next morning to find her friend asleep on the floor. She was confused for a minute before she remembered his overheard confession to Tamahome. She suddenly felt a rush of affection for her friend. He stayed with her, and she wondered if it was hard for him. She bent down to give him a soft kiss on the forehead before going to change and wash. Just as Miaka headed to the door she heard him mumble in his sleep.

"You're gonna catch cold-take 'em off."

Miaka, remembering the incident in the cave, turned beet red and looked at her friend. He was still asleep but had a very sly smile on his face.

"Sure Miaka, I'd love to help."

The Suzako priestess ran downstairs. A breath of cold wintry air seemed to be in order.