Disclaimer: I do not own Fushigi Yuugi or Yui or Nakago. I'm only here to play with them.
A/N: Sorry for the late update; I got caught up with real life. Anyway, I was finally able to read Musubiya Nanako, wheee! Thanks so much to Slavedriver2008 for recommending it. All of you YuiNak lovers check it out as soon as you're done reading this chapter okay? I guarantee that it'd really make you happy. Now on with the show!
Chapter 2: Fascination is a Troublesome Thing
Nakago composed his facial features after having caught a whiff of his brand new olfactory adornment. He doesn't remember smelling this bad even during the laborious, sweaty, and muddy military campaigns he undertook before and after he became shogun. But then again…Nakago looked at the motley crew standing around him, it had to be their doing. He didn't know how but he was sure it was their fault. The blonde general scowled internally.
The said motley crew however, who were overly sensitive and wary of their guest, noticed this change in him. Keisuke took this as a cue and he glanced dramatically at his left wrist. "Well, look at the time!" he exclaimed theatrically and exaggeratedly happy. Yui who was quick on the uptake wanted to point out that Keisuke was NEITHER wearing a wristwatch NOR looking at anything with any semblance of a time-keeping device. To her horror, the hateful git followed it immediately with, "It'salready nighttimeMiaka and Mom mightalready be looking forus!" while dragging his protesting younger sister, Tamahome, and Tetsuya to Yui's front door.
"—But Keisuke, we can't leave Yu-" Keisuke stuffed Miaka's mouth with a meatbun that came out of nowhere, while laughing exaggeratedly.
"We'll call you, ja!" he announced hurriedly before quickly disappearing from Yui's panicky wide-eyes.
"NIII-CHAAN! WHAT WE'RE YOU THINKING LEAVING HER ALONE WITH THAT MANIAC LIKE THAT? YOU IDIOT! IDIOT! IDIOT!" Miaka screeched after she consumed the meatbun. Gotta eat first ya know, energy's needed for a screaming fit.
Tamahome had his fingers buried in his ears deep enough for him to scratch his eardrums but he could still hear the arguing siblings' voices over the sounds of the honking cars amongst the heavy traffic.
"DID YOU REALLY THINK YOUR HAND WOULD REMAIN ATTACHED TO YOU IF YOU STUCK IT INTO THAT MESS?" the older sibling screeched back.
"SHUT UP BOTH OF YOU!" Tetsuya interjected, "I can't concentrate on the road; the two of you will get us killed!"
"Well you better die then cause I'm gonna kill the both of you if something happened to my best friend!" The stubborn brunette wasn't about to back down. The men sighed exasperatedly; they all knew there was no stopping Miaka from bleeding their ears out once she was heated up over something. "And that includes you too Tamahome!"
"Why me?" Tamahome, indignant.
"Because you didn't make sure that that blondie was totally gone for good!"
Tamahome groaned into his palm.
Yui was rooted to the spot in horror as she watched wide-eyed at how Keisuke single-handedly hauled everyone out of her apartment…everyone except for her and the walking nightmare she used to think of as her knight-in-shining armor. The front door shut gently with a click but to Yui's ears, it was booming as a knell of a death sentence.
Nakago watched her silently from where he was standing. The pale maiden stared at the door, unmoving, but by the tension of her muscles he could tell that she was fighting against the urge to dash through it and scream her throat bloody hoarse. And he found this oddly amusing if not satisfying.
"So…" he drawled, after a full minute of silence, silkily, slowly…mercilessly. He saw her muscles clench further in tension. He couldn't help smirking. And it reflected in his voice. "Where were we again before we were interrupted by those morons?"
Suddenly, the living room felt more cramped than when there were more people in it.
"Where were we again before we were interrupted by those morons?"
"The nerve of that man!" The incensed girl unconsciously banged the closet door close. Projection. That's what it is. Yui drowned the urge to whimper and panic at her warrior's, no, former warrior's mockery by escaping into her room and rummaging through random closets.
Still muttering invectives, she reached beneath her bed and pulled open a box slightly covered with dust. She gave it a little shake before opening it. To her dismay, the stuff that she had been looking for were inside it.
It was her uncle's old clothes that he'd left behind from his last visit. Her mother was half-Caucasian and her mother's brothers were tall and burly. And it's times like these that Yui wishes she had inherited the tall genes too. The blonde brute's larger than life presence in her apartment makes her feel dwarfed beyond comparison.
Yui contemplated to remain cooped up in her room to think and plan for a course of action or whatever it is that will help her clear her mind at least but eventually, she decided that there really was no avoiding it...him.
"Grin and bear it girl, grin and bear it…at least until you find a way to get rid of him." she consoled herself. The fact that Seiryuu has been sealed and consequently Nakago's powers, was somehow comforting.
Nakago was not in the living room when she stepped out. Following the atrocious scent of garbage, she found him standing at the veranda at the end of her apartment corridor. He was looking at the city beyond, with an unreadable expression.
"You!" she hissed through clenched teeth. Her ill feelings prevented her from calling him by his name lest she break down and go into full throttle mode. "What are you doing there? Get in here!" she motioned for him to come inside. She looked around for any sign of her neighbors and thankfully there were none. She was nowhere near excited as being around him but Yui wanted to avoid any possibility of having to entertain questions regarding the presence of a weird looking, albeit good looking, hentai.
Nakago turned his head towards her a fraction. He smirked at the tense way the young girl scanned the area they were in and how awfully uncomfortable she is with his presence, "I thought you didn't want me with you, Yui-sama."
Yui's eyes bulged with controlled irritation and threw the fabric she was holding to his face. "Don't call me that!"
Nakago followed her into the apartment. She had apparently given him clothes to change in. Does that mean she's accepting him in her care? Not that he needed any looking after. "Why not, Yui-sama?"
"You make it sound like an insult!" she admitted, moving away from him. "The nerve! Using an honorific even after his betrayal" she thought. Frowning, the teenager made her way to the bathroom and turned on the hot and cold faucets in the tub and proceeded to dump a load of liquid soap into it.
She heard him chuckle at her reply. The man was insufferable! And yet, here she was, running his bath for him. Yui felt her headache come on again.
The blond ex-shogun watched his former ward as she went about in what he guessed as the bathing portion of her living quarters. Admittedly, he was fascinated at how the water flowed into the tub when he had not seen any bodies of water close by, especially since they were so high above the ground. Yet his eyes always go back to her. He knows very well of her nasty temper when things do not go her way and he had been at the receiving end of it for a few times during her stay in Kutou. But this was the first time she had shown him such intense unveiled contempt. Like if she'd been given a choice, she'd rather commit seppuku than to share the same space with him, which is quite understandable given what transpired a few hours ago. Yet here she is, fending for him when she could have just thrown him in the street. The corner of Nakago's mouth twitched into an imperceptible curve of fascination.
"Will you stop staring at me?" the young girl's annoyed voice broke through his thoughts.
Nakago smiled devilishly. "I was wondering whether you were waiting for me to invite you to join me in my bath."
"PERVERT!" she cried out, as she stalked out of the bathroom, blushing furiously to the tips of her hair.
Yui was never one to react childishly to any situation; that was Miaka's job but at that moment, she allowed herself to a long muffled shriek of frustration as she marched towards the kitchen and attacked the trash her best friend left on the counter. Anything to keep her blood from boiling and blowing her top off.
His laughter rumbled low within his chest. He never realized how much fun it would be seeing his Miko all flustered. He had been so used to her image of sadness and cool collectedness even when she had been furious with the Suzaku no Miko. Come to think of it, he never heard her call that brunette or anyone else names. They had only been reserved for him it seems. Nakago fingered his cheek upon remembering the way she had slapped him and called him a monster.
Scrutinizing blue eyes looked around the bathhouse. From the gleaming baby blue tiles, to the inviting tub, to the pristine white sink, to the big ornate antique mirror hanging over the sink to the tiny scented candles tastefully scattered around the bathroom. He took the time to examine the smallest details as he slowly shed his armor off. Everything was so foreign to him especially the white chair that fit snugly into one side. It was the most curious thing for it had water pooled at the bottom part of it. "Do people drink from this?" he mused.
He bent down to reach his hand into it when the metal breastplate of his armor fell unto the tiles with a deafening clang. A few of the tiles cracked from the weight and one of the chips was sent flying towards his eyes.
Nakago dodged it in time but not completely. The small chunk grazed his left cheek which caused it to bleed. Breastplate in hand, he walked over to the mirror to examine the damage but instead of looking at the wound, his eyes flew to the other parts of his armor precariously placed on the "backrest" of the strange white chair reflected on the mirror. He successfully prevented one of the falling pieces from colliding with the floor with a swing of his right arm. He swung his other arm for balance but he momentarily forgot that he was holding something hard and heavy and it in turn smashed into the delicate glass he was looking into just a few seconds ago.
Yui sucked in her breath and clasped her hand to chest. How long has he been standing there? "Don't sneak up on me like that!" she scolded the blond and continued setting the table with bowls and spoons and chopsticks. It was a conscious effort not to look at the man whose gaze she can feel boring into the depths of her skin. The atrocious smell that surrounding him was gone and was replaced with the clean scent of soap and something heady. Musk?
"Is your life so boring now that you cannot find anything better to do than to scrutinize me?" the young girl said tetchily.
Nakago chose not comment on her observation. Indeed, without revenge and murderous plots polluting his mind, life was rather mundane if it weren't for the fact that he is in an entirely different world with a lot of curious things and with a host who may be plotting to knife him in the gut as he's asleep. Instead he said, "This is quite a feast," referring to the simmering broth of the hotpot and the remaining vegetables and seafood that weren't yet placed into the soup.
"I didn't have time to prepare anything else," she said drily, mistaking his words for sarcasm. Tense silence reigned between them. Yui reached for the ladle and scooped broth into one of the bowls, the shaking of her hand quite visible. The rising steam from the Nabe pot and the heat of the stove radiated into her arm around the room and with the big man standing across the table with his eyes poring over her, the dining area felt stuffy.
She never really intended to prepare dinner for the both of them. She found out long ago that keeping herself busy keeps her from breaking into pieces whenever she's upset. So that's what she did. Everything was just peachy until she was finished with every possible chore she can think of doing leaving her mind a lot of space to take in that the devil incarnate is indeed her guest.
And that they are about to share a dish symbolizing warmth and togetherness, like they were long time friends.
Yui felt her left eye twitch uncontrollably.
She made herself comfortable in one of the chairs and the Seiryu sei followed suit but he did not make any attempt to deliver the food into his mouth.
"It's not poisoned." The younger one bit out and haughtily nibbled on a piece of meat for emphasis. "Although I was sorely tempted to."
Nakago quirked an eyebrow and gave his trademark shit-eating smirk, "You'll never do that."
"What makes you so sure?" annoyed.
"Because you're fond of me," he declared off-handedly and then plowed through the sumptuous contents of the hotpot with a healthy appetite.
Yui's eyes almost bulged right out of their sockets.
A/N: Christmas is just around the corner. Hopefully I can update again before the year ends. Happy Holidays people! You know the drill *winks*