All I Need
Summary: Yuri-hime was all he needed.
Disclaimer: I do not own Saiunkoku Monogatari.
Kō Reishin was a shadow of his normal self. The flamboyant robes and persona had disappeared. The calculating look had vanished and was replaced with one of deep grief and loss. His hand still clasped his customary fan but it was limp in his fingers. It would never be opened in its former mischievous way again.
The window he gazed out was the same one that always held his attention, it was the only one that looked over the main gate so he could see everyone who came into his manor, so he could be aware of when she came home. But now his eyes stared without seeing. He knew that somewhere Kōyū was suffering a worse fate than the house arrest he was under and the agonizing pain of knowing he could not go see his son had allowed the demons he thought had finally vanished to take over again.
Yuri was the only one who had ever been able to save him from those demons but she was years away, a dream. There was no way that she would be able to return to the Capitol before Reishin and Kōyū's fates had been decided. All three of them were alone right now; all three of them needed each other. She had left them in the capitol because she thought they would be able to support each other but someone crafty had separated Kōyū from him. This was the moment when Kōyū needed him most and he was unable to be with his son.
Perhaps Yuri had been right all those years ago when she said Shōka would be better able to take care of the small boy Reishin had found on that mountainside. Shōka would not have abandoned Kōyū in his time of need.
The air stirred in the room reminding Reishin of him. His hair was down around his shoulders and disheveled something that meticulous Reishin hated. His robes were crumpled and he was not sure if this was the third or fourth day he had been wearing them. It didn't matter. Every time a servant tried to come into the room Reishin hissed at them to get out. They had left him alone for a whole day now. They had tried to leave him food but he had not eaten any since Kōyū's arrest. How long had it been? Four, five, six days? He could not remember. The demons were taunting him and he retreated into himself, the only coping mechanism he knew.
It was one he had developed when he was much younger, one that came out of his father's regular ordered beatings. They were to make him strong; they had only made him hate his father even more.
This time Reishin thought he neared a voice calling out but all the servants had fled in fear. The demons started their mumblings again and he forgot the voice. His mother had been sent away when he was six after she had given birth to the last of her husband's three sons. She had been kind to him and had gently stroked his hair when he was scared. She had loved her sons but her husband was jealous of those sons love for their mother. After he became head of the family Reishin had tried to find her but by then she was dead. Instead of bringing her home he had only brought more sorrow into to Kō family with the news of her death.
He thought he heard a voice again so he turned his head but only the wind rushed by his ears. The voice had sounded like Yuri, the only good thing that had happened when his mother left. His father had called upon his aunt Gyokukan to help raise the three Kō heirs because she had only recently returned to Kō manor house and needed something to do. She had brought along what she called a servant boy but Reishin could see that this "boy" was really a girl. But because he was of the main family and the boy was a servant he treated her like she was a spec of dirt on his shoe.
Kuro loved her and she was meant for Shoka but Reishin never saw her appeal. She was too nice. She never spoke back so insults. She always cared for him even as he told her he hated her. The demons told him that the only reason that Yuri had stayed with him was because she could have all the power she wanted and he would not stop her. She could take over their clan and Reishin would sit by and watch without a care.
Maybe it would have been better if Yuri had taken over the clan or if he had not been forced to take it upon himself. The clan thrived only under her firm but kind hand anyway. Reishin was nothing to the clan or for it. They did not need him and he did not need them. They had not come to his rescue, the demons reminded him. They had let Kōyū stay in his prison cell where he was probably facing his own demons. Reishin knew the boy had plenty. Maybe that was why he was drawn to the boy on the mountainside. He reminded Reishin of himself.
The door opened this time and it was enough for Reishin to turn his head to angrily tell the person to leave. But the scent that came into the room with the person was intoxicating. It was a scent that Reishin knew well but had not expected for several more weeks.
"Reishin," she said his name so softly he was not sure she had actually spoken. Maybe she was a specter come to remind him he was not worthy of any of the things he had claimed for himself, lest not Kōyū. But when soft arms wrapped themselves around his shoulders he knew it was she.
"Yuri," he sighed, still not sure that she was real.
"Where have the servants gone? Where is Kokukun?" Yuri's voice was soft but he could hear the bite to her words.
Kokukun?Reishin tried to remember what happened to the head retainer. Oh, yes. Reishin had sent him away days ago. But when he told Yuri this she squeezed him harder and he did not like it.
"We need to get you changed," Yuri sighed as she stood and opened the shutters, allowing the bright sunlight in. "You look as if you have been those clothes for days."
"Days," he repeated, staring out at the bright front gardens. "Yuri, Kōyū. You must go for him." Reishin stood for the first time that day and seized his wife's hand. "Go to Kōyū. I will be fine. Kokukun is at Shōka's. I remember that. I will send for him. But Kōyū has no one. Kōyū needs his mother."
Yuri gave him a sad smile. "Yes, Kōyū needs me but so do you." She shook her head. "It is as if I have two children instead of a husband and a child."
Reishin allowed a small smile to come to his face. It was an old joke, something that always was said to lighten the mood. "Yuri, I will be fine once Kokukun comes back. Now that you are here I do not have to worry about Kōyū's safety now. You can go to him. Protect him from his demons, Yuri. They are as numerous as my own."
Yuri nodded once and called for one of the servants she had brought with her. She instructed him to run to Shōka's on foot to retrieve the head retainer while she would take the carriage to the palace.
Reishin watched Yuri order her servants about and smiled to himself, his first real smile of any kind since he had discovered what was to happen to Kōyū and himself. He may not be able to save his political career but he was sure that Yuri would save Kōyū. And that was all he needed.