Rewards of Dilligence

By nightelfcrawler

Warnings: Tasuki's foul mouth

Okay so... in chatting with an rp partner, we ended up discovering that we had been a part of the same fandoms some 10+ years ago. She ran a website that hosted some of my old fics... which made me drag out some old dvds that I'd saved my webpages on... and lo and behold, I found these old fics hanging around still and decided heck why not bring them back. So here they are, a trip down memory lane! These were written in the late 90's and early 2000's when I went by too many psudonyms to remember. I actually forgot who I was until I physically saw the fics listed and went 'oh crap I remember those!'. Ahh memories.

Be warned... these were my first attempts at writing and are likely riddled with grammar, spelling and other noted errors. I've read through them, blushed furiously that I used to write like this, and decided to put them up anyway as-is with no revisions. So please enjoy, but don't bother correcting or whining, they shall be ignored!

Standard Disclaimer: All characters belong to Yuu Watase, so don't sue me.


Geeze, there's nothing to do, Tasuki thought irritated. He was currently seated on the roof of his hideout at Mt. Leikaku, tapping his tessen impatiently on the tile beneath him.

The raids had been less than satisfactory as of late, mostly due to his lack of interest. For some reason it just wasn't fun sacking villages anymore.

He scowled angrily at his tessen, as if it held the reason for his melancholy state of mind. Damn it! Things just aren't the same anymore! Though he would never had admitted it to anyone, Tasuki missed the wild romps that he had participated in being one of the Shichiseishi. Even though he usually got the brunt of the jokes, he missed Tamahome beating him up, and Taitsu-kun whacking him every time he said something stupid.

Why the hell do you miss that? He thought, surprised at himself. You were the one who always ended up getting bashed against the wall! It's certainly better for your health that you aren't a part of it anymore!

But still...for some reason his life was now very boring.

I wonder where Chichiri went off to? Damn monk's always disappearing right when things die down and start getting dull...he should stick around more.

Staring out across the mountains, he felt a sudden pulse of loneliness set in. Yeah, sure he was back here, back to his normal life now that everything was over, and Miaka and Taka had returned home, and the other Seishi had gone on to their new lives, but then he should be glad all the chaos was over, shouldn't he?

So why did things just not feel right anymore?

"Hey, fang boy! What are you doing moping around up here?"

He turned at the sudden voice from behind him. "Kouji, what are you doing here? I thought the guys were on a raid?"

"Yeah, but we got back early. Not much to sack." Kouji plopped down beside him, exhausted from trying to get up on the roof. "Damn it Genrou, you're acting real weird. What's wrong with you?"

"Nothing! I'm #%$ing fine! What would make ya think anything's wrong?"

Kouji stared at him, his eyes boring into his friend like ice drills. "Don't #$^# with me, Genrou, I know you too well. You've been acting weird ever since you got back from hanging out with those Seishi friends of yours. So don't tell me nothing's wrong."

Tasuki sighed and thumbed his tessen absentmindedly. Kouji noticed this and frowned.

"You miss them."

Tasuki said nothing.

Kouji sighed. "Listen, Genrou, I thought you said that most of them died, so why dwell on them? They're most likely living nice lives now, having been re-born."

"Not all of them are dead."

"Yeah, that blue haired freak and the girl and her lover are still alive, you told me, but I thought you said there was no way of finding them."

Tasuki glared at Kouji. "Hey, don't #$%^ing insult Chichiri! He was a good friend! And I never said there was no way to find him."

"You said he wandered about, and no one ever knew where he went."

"That doesn't mean I couldn't find him if I wanted to."

Kouji stared at his friend, realizing there was little use talking to him. He seemed to have made up his mind already. "Well if you're going to go find him, then go do it. I hate seeing you mope around here doing nothing, If you aren't going to help up on our raids, then leave. You can't get free food here, ya gotta work for it, Genrou." Kouji put a hand on his friend's shoulder. "I think you caught some of that monk's wanderlust. Walk it off, and when it's gone you're welcome back here, ok?"

Tasuki stared at Kouji in blank astonishment. "You're throwing me out?" He stood up, anger flashing in his eyes. "You're #$%^ing throwing me out, aren't you?"

Kouji stood and gazed at him evenly. "It's been three months since you came back, Genrou, and you haven't gone out on more than two raids! You just sit up here and sulk all day! There's no room for people who don't earn their meals here! You know that I'd never do anything to hurt you, but if you are gonna be this way, then ya gotta leave, I'm sorry. I can't make exceptions for friends, you know that."

Tasuki felt a pent up rage begin to surface from deep down inside him. It took all his strength to keep from whipping his tessen arm across his chest. He couldn't believe this! His best friend, tossing him out!

$%^&$ him! He didn't need him anyway. "Fine, Kouji! I'll go, but I'm warning you, you haven't seen the last of Genrou!"

Kouji watched as his friend leapt off the roof and disappeared into the dark without even gathering his belongings before leaving. Sighing, he shook his head and headed back towards the main building, wondering if he had done the right thing.

DAMN HIM ANYWAY! Why the hell did his best friend betray him! Things had been great, and suddenly when he least expected was over. Don't worry Kouji, I'll be back...but be ready for me! He thought angrily, as he forced his way through the thick brush tearing at his overcoat like jagged fingers.

The moon was out brightly, flooding the forest with an unearthly light that provided enough illumination to see his way on the path. As he forced his way thorough the brush attempting to get as far away as he possibly could from Mt. Leikaku, he realized how stupid he had been not even bringing a blanket or food with him.

Shivering, he slowed and rested against a tree, staring up at the starry sky in despair. As he watched the sky, a dark cloud covered the moon, casting the world in darkness, and he realized then that it was going to snow.

Of all the #$^% days for this to happen! He sighed and began to walk in search of shelter. Several hours later, as the snow began to fall on the desolate bandit, he saw a fire in the distance. Wiping his nose, I'm catching a cold, he headed in that direction, hoping the person would be willing to let him share the fire.

As he approached, he saw the form of a man wrapped in a warm cloak bending over the fire stirring something in a pot. Staggering haphazardly towards the hopeful warmth, Tasuki managed to reach the fire, and weakly, chattering from cold and hunger, croaked out, "Excuse me..." before falling to the snow-covered ground unconscious, the world black and silent.

Everything seemed to be running slowly through his mind. He felt warm and his thoughts drifted lazily. He could see vague images drift through his vision, like ghosts in the clouds of an early morning fog. Sound seemed muffled and came to him echoing like distant memories trapped in a deep crevice.

As his eyes opened, he could make out a dim glow from the firelight, flickering on the edge of his vision. Feeling groggy, he turned his head and saw a vague shape of someone sitting across from him. Then he saw a blur as the person rose and knelt next to him, forcing him to lie down again.

"Don't try to get up yet," a soft voice gently told him, "You've been thorough a lot and need to rest for a while."

That voice seemed familiar, familiar to make Tasuki dig deep down into the recesses of his memory to find out who it was. Where have I heard that voice before? He knew he had, many times, yet he was unsure. There was a difference in that voice, it seemed different than he last remembered it to be. But where?

The person seated himself next to Tasuki and leaned over with some water. Gratefully, Tasuki drank it, feeling the liquid calm his parched lips, enabling him to speak again.

"Who are you? Where am I? What happened?"

The person paused, and seemed to stare at him hard. Then after an eternity, he spoke. "You don't recognize me?"

Squinting up at the figure, Tasuki could barely make out the narrow features, the gentle gaze, and the ludicrous fringe of hair falling down over his face.

"Chi...Chichiri? Is it you?"

Chichiri smiled and set the water back down on the ground. "I think you hit your head harder than I thought, Tasuki-kun."

"No, I..." Why was he making excuses? "I just didn't...that is...what happened to your 'no da's'?"

Chichiri smiled quietly, and Tasuki realized what had seemed different about his friend. His voice wasn't the high pitched cute whine Tasuki had remembered, it was his more serious voice, the one he used when he wasn't wearing his mask. Yet, Chichiri was wearing his mask currently, so why was he so serious?

"You feeling better Tasuki-kun?"

"You're avoiding my question!"

Chichiri turned to him, a frown on his face. "Please Tasuki, don't ask me that now. Ask later, neh?"

What the hell...? "Ok, sure." Tasuki scowled at the monk's back as he rose to tend something on the fire. What the hell was wrong with him? He was being too serious all of a sudden, something had happened in these past few months.

Sitting up, Tasuki felt the cold air hit him like a wall of ice.Geeze! Glancing at his fellow Seishi, he realized Chichiri must be freezing cold. He wasn't even wearing his...Oh.

Glancing down, he realized with some shock that he was wearing Chichiri's kesa. It was wrapped around him, forming a blanket to keep him warm, and was doing a good job too, but...

He saw Chichiri try to hide a sneeze behind his mask, and small subtle things could be noticed about him. His shoulders were hunched slightly with chill, and Tasuki could see the way the mage clenched the spoon in the soup kettle tightly.

"Oi, how long have you been freezing your $%% off Chichiri?" He bunched the kesa up and threw it at him. "Put it on for crying out loud! You're freezing!"

Surprised, Chichiri picked his kesa up and stared at Tasuki. "You're sick Tasuki, you need this more than I do now."

"$%&* that! You're full of it Chichiri." He slowly got up, aware of his weak limbs, faint from hunger. He felt a bit refreshed after sleeping warm under the mage's cloak. Stretching, he grabbed the bowl out of the monk's hand and spooned a ladle of soup into the bowl. Plopping down in the snow by the fire, he promptly began wolfing his meal down, while the mage tried to hide a smile.

"So, how've you been, Chichiri? Haven't seen you for a while."

The mage seated himself beside Tasuki in front of the fire, snuggling down into his kesa for warmth. He stared absentmindedly into the warm flames for an eternity.

Tasuki paused eating, and glared at him. "Ya aren't' one for conversation today, are ya?"

The monk sighed. "Gomen nasai, Tasuki. I've been through a lot recently...there's a lot of things on my mind."

Maybe I should drop the subject, Tasuki thought frowning, he seems too out of it though...I need to know what happened these last few months for him to be so melancholy!

"So what's on your mind?"

"I'd rather not say."

"Why the %^&* not? Make ya feel better to share it."

Chichiri turned to Tasuki and seemed to watch him with a wistful gaze. "Maybe you're right no daa, but..." He glanced into the fire again, "I don't want you to get involved. It's a personal matter."

Now Tasuki was sure something was wrong...but what? "OK, fine, if you don't want to talk about it...but it'll eat ya up inside, ya know."

Chichiri said nothing, continuing to stare into the fire absentmindedly.

Tasuki finished his soup, feeling his strength return to him once again, like a warm feeling inside of him. Setting the bowl down, he sighed at the uncomfortable silence. There was definitely something wrong with Chichiri! The mage was usually so cheerful, and now it seemed that some hopeless depression had set in.

"Ok, I've had enough." Grabbing the mage's shirt with his fist, he yanked the monk to his feet. "You're $%^*ing getting me depressed now! Either cheer up, or tell me WHAT THE %^&* IS GOING ON!"

Chichiri's mouth was open in surprise at the bandits sudden outburst, and he seemed as if he wanted to say something, but then smothered it. Staring at Tasuki, Chichiri let out a long sigh. "All right! Just put me down. You're ripping my shirt no daa."

Tasuki set him down, and plopped back down in the snow with a snort. "You're too easily swayed, Chich!"

Chichiri sat down again and sighed, he seemed to do alot of that recently, Tasuki thought. After what seemed to be hours, he spoke. "Things were going well for me after the battle was over those three months ago. When I last saw you, Tasuki, I was convinced that my life was going to take a different turn, now that I had confronted my fears and guilt about Hikou. But after a month, I...well something happened."

Tasuki had the impression that the mage was trying to hold something back from him.

"I decided to visit the place where my village had stood, and was pleasantly surprised to find that they had rebuilt it. I even ran into some people I had known when I was younger. It felt good going back home at long last, and I thought that I would be happier from now on..." Chichiri stopped and was silent for a long time, thinking and visualizing those days in his mind. "Seeing the children run about, laughing, seemed so...real to me. I walked around and saw all the spots I remembered from my childhood, everything..."

Tasuki knew what he was thinking about now, that incident on the river.

"But when I did that, I recalled something that I had forgotten long ago...something I thought I would never forget."

Tasuki could see the pain written on his friend's face, and he could see the beginning of tears forming at the edge of his mask.