Hotohori/OC story I wrote for a friend. Sorry if it's a little corny or OOC...
Well, enjoy.

Disclaimer: Fushigi Yugi characters and plot belong to Yuu Watase, not me.

The air wafting gently through the trees and past the Hong-nan imperial palace was lightly saturated with the scent of the flowers blooming in the gardens. It whispered down the stone paths and through the lustrous dark hair of royalty. Melancholy brown eyes scanned the landscape absently, their owner lost in thought. At length, he sighed.

"How long are you going to hide there?"

A girl emerged from around a corner, giving a slight bow as he turned her way, his hair and colorful robes gleaming in the sunlight.

"You've been depressed lately, your majesty. This can't be good for you," she replied in her usual straight-forward way. He smiled a bit, appreciative of the change from the roundabout, smooth-talking nobles of his court.

"Forgive us. It is not our intention to cause you worry."

"You don't need to apologize, your majesty."

"Nevertheless, we are in need of company. Come, the sun will begin to set soon."

She obeyed, leaning against the railing on which Hotohori was seated.

"Are you still dwelling on…Tamahome's return?" she asked carefully.

"Yes," he sighed. "Although it is a relief to have him back, and Miaka's spirits are back up, we can't help but feel…" Letting out a bitter chuckle, he closed his eyes. "We are a fool. Miaka will not love anyone but Tamahome. We have reminded ourselves of this, but although we have given up, we cannot abandon our feelings." The dark-complexioned girl listened without speaking, and then pulled herself up on the railing to sit beside him, though she maintained a respectful distance.

"I don't think you're a fool, your majesty. I understand what you mean—knowing someone is beyond your reach, but still loving that person. It's painful."

Opening his eyes, he nodded.

"We might have simply wanted someone to open up to. And we had built her up to our ideal image since we were young. But she is indeed beyond our reach…"

His head drooped to his palm, and a curtain of hair fell over his face. She started to lift a hand to him worriedly but hesitated, remembering her place. After a moment, she gathered her resolution and placed her hand gently on his shoulder, trying to pour as much comfort as she could into the simple touch.

"Would you… Would you like me to stay with you until you feel better?" she asked. He paused and then lowered his hand from his face.

"…Yes. We—I would like that very much." He curled his fingers around her hand and leaned his head against her shoulder, closing his eyes again. She squeezed the warm hand as the sun dyed the horizon in vivid colors.

"The sun is setting."

"Is it beautiful?"

"Yes."

"Is it lonely?"

"Not anymore."

His lips curved up into a smile.

"Then I shall see it again tomorrow… Even though it, too, is just beyond my reach…"

Hope you liked it. ^^