Author's Notes: Hmm...I've seen people write these kinds of stories for both Seiryuu and Genbu, yet none for Suzaku. I would love to do this for Seiryuu, but since that one's been taken, I *sigh* have no choice but to do the Suzaku. This story is basically an attempt to answer the question: Why were the Suzaku following Miaka? First excerpt is Nuriko.

Warnings: Faintly adult themes.

Spoilers: In this chapter, Nuriko's past and mildly episodes 32-33.

Obligatory Disclaimer: I own no part of Fushigi Yuugi, Nuriko, or any of the other characters.


Devotion

Yanagi: The Willow

At first, I hated her. I wanted nothing to do with this pathetic shrimp of a girl who posed such an enormous obstacle between Hotohori-sama and I.
Then I came to tolerate her. After all, she showed more interest in Tamahome than Hotohori, so what did it matter to me? As long as I kept them together, everything would be all right. His Highness may have still been infatuated with her, but that, I had assured myself, would change.
Then it came. The climax, the ultimate betrayal. When Miaka ended the falsity behind the Lady Kourin, so did the world I'd so perfectly built around me come crashing down, shattering to pieces. Suddenly, I was tripped of my proud, strong facade. I was nothing. Hollow. An over glorified shell with only the heart of a willow to fill my frame.
But time wore on, and I survived. After all, it had been nothing more than a carefully constructed lie. A hopeless dream.
It was...a long time before I was able to forgive Miaka. Even if it wasn't truly her fault. Those three months she left were probably most hellish I'd ever experienced, closely rivaling those terrible years after Kourin died.
I didn't know who I was then. Was I still the Lady Kourin? Or was I just some frighteningly odd crossdresser clinging to a memory too long forgotten to offer any solace? Did I even deserve the title "Nuriko" brought me?
The day she returned...it was as if the whole world just seemed brighter. As if Suzaku himself celebrated and glorified the day his priestess returned by dumping buckets of overwhelming warmth over the land, the sun's light shawling out from the palace and over the city. Suddenly, mannerisms of depression seemed so futile. Miaka had returned to us; she would deliver us. Tension prevalent due to Kutou's infringement seemed to simply slip away as time went on, and His Majesty finally...What I had tried and failed doing in three months, this little girl managed within five minutes of her arrival.
He smiled. Hotohori-sama actually smiled. And somehow, though I'm not quite sure why yet, I found myself smiling too.
I missed her.
I love...
There's something about her that draws people to her. Something that can't be bought or sold like some cheap confection. She is the priestess of the god of love for a reason, and she is our savior. I was always told that angels too many forms; I just never considered the shape of a lovable, giggling little girl with a foreign name.
She creates this feeling in me that I can't explain. It makes me blush when our fingers touch or forces me to return her smile, even when I'm down. It strengthens me; it enlivens me. It's a feeling I can't explain, one that I'm not even sure I'm ready to face yet.
Whatever the reason, there's no denying it: she awakens something in me I had thought long dead. It's as if she's gently removed Kourin from the picture without destroying the memory and helped the little boy named Ryuuen dormant within me rise to his feet once more.
She's reincarnated me.
I once questioned who I was, what my purpose was, and why I was alive. Now I know. I am alive because she needs me. I am alive because Suzaku bore me as his child to protect the daughter he loves best. The others are my star brothers, and she is our sister, our mother, our beloved.
I would die for her.
I am loved; I am needed; I am accepted.
And that's all I could ever ask for.



Final Notes From the Author:

Nuriko is an extremely complex character in his own right, so views on him go every which a way. You may or may not agree with how I portrayed Nuriko, but I think I pulled it off fairly well. I'm not the biggest fan of Nuriko, but I can't deny that he is intriguing.
The basic idea of Nuriko's excerpt was to chronicle the immense battle his fights during the show to discover who he is. First, he admits to destroying himself, becoming the illusion of Kourin. Later he accepts his change. Albeit, the acceptance is a bit hard. The plot thickens as his feelings for Miaka change. Finally, the story comes to a resolution when Nuriko realizes the depth of his devotion for Miaka. He would die for her; he loves her. And THAT is Nuriko's victory.