The Promise: A Tasuki and Miaka Love Story
Author's notes: 'The Promise' is intended to be a continuation of the Fushigi Yûgi series. ( I like to refer to it as a 'let's consider the possibilities' story.) Though there's a non canon pairing, the rest of the story remains strictly canon when referring to past events.
Here are some other things to know before you start reading this fanfiction:
1. There will be many spoilers for both the TV series and OAVs. The events in the Eikou Den OVA haven't happened, and won't.
2. A miracle has occurred, and time has been synchronized! (Aka, I am ignoring the time lag/discrepancy between the book and real worlds.)
3. I like the Tamahome/Taka character and do not intend to bash him in any way. That goes for Yui as well.
4. Italics and single quotation marks '' within the narrative will denote a character's unspoken thoughts. The formating on this site keeps changing with updates, so hopefully using both methods will make the thought denotation clear for all.
5. When I first started The Promise, I had only seen the English dub of the anime in which Chichiri uses the phrase 'you know' instead of 'no da'. Unfortunately, several chapters had already been completed and posted by the time I discovered the difference between manga and anime. In the interest of continuity, I decided to leave this fic as is, while making the resolution to write 'no da' for Chichiri in my subsequent fics. Apologies to all of the Chichiri purists out there, and a humble thank you for your indulgence. ;)
6. Chapter content will vary in tone, so I will give individual chapter ratings and warnings in addition to the overall rating. The Prologue is rated K. The overall Rating for the Story is M for adult themed situations and language.
To those who dislike the Tasuki and Miaka pairing: obviously, the title of this fic should be enough of a warning that it is not going to be your cup of tea. But if you clicked on the link and have read this far, you must be just a little bit curious. Why not give it a chance? :)
Walk on, walk on
We must live far apart
Ten thousand miles between us
At opposite ends of the sky
The road is hard and long
Will we ever meet again?
- Yue-fu, Nineteen Ancient Poems (Han Dynasty)
Prologue: The Wish of Four Gods
'Priestess, I have need of you. Open your mind and your heart.'
Suzaku-sekun arched his neck and stretched his mighty wings. The form of the legendary and breathtaking bird known for its powers of rebirth was a fitting accompaniment for a quest to seek the vibrant life force that called to him across the dimensional span between two worlds.
The Priestess of Suzaku. His priestess. A full fledged woman now, burdened with the all the concerns and cares of maturity. In her world, she toiled in obscurity. Only a handful knew of the girl who had faced and endured things that would have made grown men falter and fall. In spite of the disappointments that clouded the path to adulthood, she had not lost faith in him, her purity of spirit still served as his guiding star.
In his world she was forever known as the Girl of Legend, the one whose will had been undefeatable as she became a vessel for his godly essence. That coupling was foremost in his thoughts as he sought its renewal.
His Priestess had given him her heart and nourished him with her very soul. In those few precious moments of joining, she had achieved the astounding feat of teaching an eternal being something new. To have experienced her humanity and all of the feelings of sorrow, resolve, pain, devotion, hope, joy and love that condition entailed was a priceless gift, one that had added enlightenment to his divine existence. Granting three wishes in exchange for the enlightenment had been a trifling recompense.
The connections she had forged with others were no less impressive. The initial bond she established with her guardian stars was so strong that it had empowered the fallen to cross the barrier between death and life. She'd won the respect and protection of persons and celestial warriors not aligned with her god, and they had treated her as one of their own.
She had fulfilled her duties in every way, traveled well beyond the boundaries of what was expected of her. And then, in returning for a second time, the Priestess of Suzaku had made it possible for all four gods to finally come together to defeat the incarnation of evil.
She had been the final catalyst for turning dreams of peace and divine unity into present reality while opening the door to new possibilities.
And now, just as she had been the one who had been chosen to end the original legend, she could be the one to write it anew. Because they had merged, the phoenix-god of Konan had been selected by his brother gods to reach out to the young woman with the will of iron and the boundless capacity for love. Harnessing the unrivaled purity and strength of that love to the existence of the four gods could ensure eternal peace between the two worlds for all time... but only if Miaka Yuuki would willingly untake the task of making a monumental change in her destiny.
'Miaka. Lend me your strength.'
The skies above Mount Taikyoku resounded with Suzaku's triumphant cry as he launched himself into the air. His long scarlet plumage formed a glorious trail behind him, rippling and sparkling in the downdraft made by the powerful wings that would now carry him to another world.
Taiits-kun was there to see him off, her presence a sign of the importance of his mission. 'May the future of this world smile upon you, my son.' She thought, watching him climb high into the heavens. 'May your journey to the other world be fruitful!'
When the clouds and thick mountain mist had obscured the silhouette of the deity, the Creator turned her gaze from sky to ground. With bowed head, she entered into a state of deep concentration, and then opened her eyes as she waited for a response.
In a very short time, there was a faint popping sound and a the ripplling swirl of dark blue cloth fleck with streaks of white floated into view and stopped, hovering just above the rocky precipe on which Taiits-kun stood.
A man dressed in the simple garb of a monk emerged from with the robe's folds, and dropped lightly to the ground with a jangle of the rings on the staff clutched in his hands. He bowed deeply.
"Your Eminence! This humble student has come to be of service."
Taiits-kun acknowledged the tribute with a regal nod, pleased that her star apprentice had wasted no time in answering her summons with attentiveness and courtesy. "Well met, Chichiri of Suzaku. Have things been going all right for you and that fanged hellion since we spoke last?"
"They've gone surprisingly well." The monk assured her cheerfully, as he met her gaze. "We have finished rebuilding a village that had been burned near the Kutou border, and had just returned to visit Tasuki's old gang at Mt. Reikaku, you know, for the celebration they were giving in his honor."
"So he has ignored my summons for a party?" The Oracle snorted. "Just when it seems he's grown up a little, he proves otherwise."
"He has grown up." Chichiri defended his brother warrior. "This is the only event he's accepted an invitation to in over two years, and only on my insistence."
"That is commendable." Taiits-kun acknowledged the feat with grudging approval. "Though he'd be wise to resume his avoidance of those kind of indulgences if you two are to resume your duties to the Priestess of Suzaku."
"Miaka?" The enchanted mask the monk wore did nothing to hide his astonishment. "Miaka is returning to Konan?"
"It is my hope that she will do so."
"Hope? You don't know?"
"Yes, hope, because she is needed. But it is up to her."
Chichiri pulled off his mask, revealing the gruesome scar that slashed across the eyelid that had been permanently closed over his ruined left eye. His good eye was wide and fixed upon his mentor. "There's peace between Kutou and Konan, you know, and I haven't sensed the slightest presence of great evil since Tenkou was destroyed!"
"What you say is true." Taiits-kun confirmed with unflappable calm. "The entity known as Tenkou is no more. There are no present threats to our world."
"Then has something happened in their world? Are she and Taka in danger?"
"Their world continues to function normally, and Miaka and Taka are not in danger."
Chichiri relaxed, then tensed again as he tried to sort out why a Priestess would still be needed. "But if things are all right, then why would she be allowed to return? You have always said that once she's fulfilled her duties she couldn't come back! She wished for peace in Konan, and her wish was granted! There is no more need for sacrifice- "
Taiits-kun held up her hand, which brought instant silence. "There is a place for sacrifice and for vigilence, even in peacetime." She said. "Nakago and Tenkou served as warnings of what can go wrong when doors are left unattended. The legend has been fulfilled, and yet tomorrow is not guaranteed to anyone. We will not be caught unaware."
"If there's a new menace that has found passage, why haven't I sensed danger or malevolence?"
"Because it has not manifested. And will not, if certain things come to pass. The legend of the four priestesses has ended, it is true, but the portal to their world remains. As such, Genbu, Byakko, Suzaku, and Seiryu have united in their desire to block the entry of those who would seek to turn them against each other and use this world for nefarious purposes. We should never see the likes of Tenkou again."
"Miaka has been chosen to be the pillar of the permanent solution they've devised. Suzaku has been dispatched to ask her if she will grant them her service."
Chichiri opened his mouth, but it and his throat worked soundlessly.
"You wonder how a mortal like Miaka could survive granting the wish of four gods, much less return to this place? A valid question, but it is not the time for that discussion." Taiits-kun informed him. "The one thing that you need to know is that what is required of you is in the form of a request and not a command. Just as it will be for Miaka, your allegiance and your acceptance of this duty must be rooted in free will."
The monk looked mutinous, then gave a curt nod. "I understand."
The elderly visage regarded him with amusement. "You don't. Not really. But that is all right, understanding will come with time. When and if she arrives, I will explain the entire proposal so you can make an informed decision about accepting this assignment together. You must go to Tasuki, and tell him everything I've told to you. If he is willing to resume his duties to the Priestess, then you may bring him here."
Chichiri drew himself up to his full height. "I will present your request to him, you know. But I am certain I speak for the both of us when I say that we will protect Miaka always!"
An expression of what could have been construed as maternal pride flickered across Taiits-kun's weathered face. "I would have expected nothing less than the utmost loyalty from you both." She stated. "But be warned that this is not a simple and straightforward task as it may appear. As the two surviving warriors with full powers, you do not have the resources you once had- one of your brethern is now a man of the other world, and it's far from certain when god given powers will manifest in those who are reborn. Should you and Tasuki decide to take up your guardianship once again, it will be an irrevocable, lifelong commitment for you both."
"Of course." Chichiri said. "And my answer is-"
His mentor interrupted. "I suggest that you take some time to meditate on what that commitment will mean before you give me an answer."
The firmness in the old woman's tone made it clear the suggestion was a directive in disguise.
The monk bowed his head.
"As you wish, Your Eminence."
Chichiri took respectful leave of his teacher, thinking that he did have a lot of contemplating to do, but lacked the patience to give full justice to the practice of the art of meditation.
He didn't think about a destination; of their own volition, his feet carried him to a winding path nestled amongst the rocky precipices of the holy mountain.
The ethereal beauty of the setting usually succeeded in bringing an instant sense of peace, but today tranquility was held in check by the looming implications of Miaka's possible return to his world. Inner conflict was the rule as his feelings of joy and excitement over seeing his dear friend once again mixed with apprehension regarding what pitfalls might be waiting in the future that the heavenly ones had been mapping out for his priestess. Taiits-kun hadn't enlightened him on the specifics of that subject, deflecting his attempts at eliciting more information as if the words were bothersome flies. And he had done his best to contain his intense curiosity and misgivings- it wasn't his way to voice opinions or points of contention about a plan unless he could oppose or advocate it with knowledgeable, credible arguments.
Still, it was very irritating and perplexing to be kept in the dark. This was an extraordinary event! There was nothing written in the legend about the Priestess returning to her post after fullfillment of her original duties! There were no rules, no guidelines. How could one prepare oneself for a mission when one didn't know what it is was or what was expected of them?
A crow's shrill caw jolted him out of his reverie, and Chichiri sighed beneath his banal, smiling mask. He'd come to a stop, and was standing in the middle of the path staring blankly into space. His own thoughts had waylaid him on the path to meditation, which really didn't come as a surprise. Serenity had always been a most difficult state to attain whenever his deeper emotions were fully engaged.
Adjusting his grip on his shakajou, he resumed his trek at a brisker pace. As an obedient devotee of the Creator, he would perform the meditation ritual as instructed, even though he would only be going through the motions of seeking an answer that he already had firmly in his grasp.
He was a warrior of Suzaku, Miaka's guardian star, and her close friend. He'd always choose to be at her side, no matter what.
It was true, though, that making that decision was deceptively simple. There were going to be complications in dealing with the feelings of...others. As he certain as he was of his devotion to their priestess, he was equally sure that this decision would be the ultimate test of will for Tasuki, who had given his priestess a cheerful, devil- may -care goodbye even as he hid his unrequited, deeply passionate feelings for Miaka.
The adage 'out of sight, out of mind' didn't apply to his brother warrior. Tasuki's love was not diminished by separation or the passage of time, and had in fact, appeared to strengthen. To his credit, the bandit warrior hadn't given in to bitterness or despair. It was enough for him to know that Miaka was happy and cherished by a good guy in her world. He took comfort in her happiness, and this coupled with the unflagging belief that he would be with her again in the next life had enabled Tasuki to survive a woman walking away with his heart.
But matters of the heart were unpredictable. It was easier to deal with feelings when you didn't have to hide them since Miaka was totally out of reach. To have her here, have the fires of love and longing stirred to life knowing there was still no hope for having the feeling returned was a matter of concern for his warrior friend. Taka, as the former Tamahome, would certainly be playing a role. If he returned, watching Taka and Miaka together would either reopen the wound or cauterize it.
'Tasuki is courageous. He has proven himself to be a man of strong resolve and character.' The monk counseled himself. 'I must prepare for my duties, and not let worries about what might or might not happen interfere with keeping a clear mind. I must think of Miaka and how we can help her.'
When the Suzaku were united, they became stronger. Miaka brought a sense of fun to their duties, and her existence gave his clarity and light. And now that he had his thoughts moving in a positive direction, he was relaxed enough to begin recitation of a silent mantra.
'I rededicate myself to my Priestess. I rededicate myself to her cause. My life will be renewed in her service...'
He continued the silent chanting for awhile, but as remembered warmth of friendship and the beauty of the day lifted his spirits higher, the silent mantra became humming, and in a few more steps, the humming gave way to words, and not long after that, the refrain to a Konanese love ballad sung with a lilting tenor voice. The refrain skittered and bounced throughout the crevasses and cliffs of Taiits-kun's mountain, accompanied by the rhythmic jangle of shakajou rings.
And the story begins…