Disclaimer: I do not own or have rights to the bandit or the monk or any of the Fushigi Yugi characters (although I would give my right arm to have them…) and I do not have rights to the song that I'm using for this songfic.

Since this is my first songfic…it might not be as great…(sigh) I don't know, just read and tell me what you think :)

Once Again

I don't know where I'm goin'

But I sure know where I've been

Hanging on the promises and songs of yesterday

And I've made up my mind

I ain't wasting no more time

Here I go again

Here I go again

The road was deserted of travelers except for one lone monk and warrior of Suzaku. His staff clinked as it hit the ground, the only sound in the tranquility of his surroundings. Chichiri breathed in the sweet air as he walked and enjoyed the silence. It had been a long time since there had been it since just until an hour ago he had been with Tasuki. The bandit was known for not keeping his mouth shut and Chichiri had been well aware of this during their three years of travel. He had to admit to himself that he missed the bandit but he knew that their parting had to come sooner or later. Chichiri wasn't one to stay in the same place for a long time but Tasuki was. When Tasuki had gotten a message that the Mount Reikaku bandits wanted their old leader to join them again, he couldn't refuse. Chichiri had accompanied him there and had even stayed a few months but soon he found the call from the outside world becoming too strong. He remembered his last night at the bandit stronghold…

"Why do ya' have ta' go?" Tasuki asked angrily.

Chichiri sighed. "I told you no da, I don't like staying in one place for too long. I'm a wanderer and you should know that by now no da."

Tasuki's face fell. "I…I just thought that we were friends…"

The monk could feel the sorrow in his heart at Tasuki's words. "We are friends. It's just that we live separate lives."

"They're all gone. You're the only one I have left," Tasuki whimpered as tears began to form. "It feels as if you're abandoning me…just like they did." The strength went out of him and he sat heavily on the nearby bed. "Was it something I did?"

"No no, of course not," comforted Chichiri as he joined Tasuki. "It's just…ever since Hikou died and Kouran…"

"Hikou and you made up I thought."

Chichiri closed his eyes recalling his fight with his old friend and the conversation they had just before Hikou died a second time.

"We did. But I still have the pain within me and I find it hard to settle down because then I think about it. At least with wandering I have new things to wonder about."

Though I keep searching for an answer

I never seem to find what I'm looking for

And all the pain gave me strength to carry on

Cause I know what it means

To walk along the lonely street of dreams

"I wish you could stay Chiri'. You could be an honorary bandit," Tasuki said, looking into Chichiri's mahogany eye. Chichiri smiled.

"That sounds like a great idea Tasuki. It's just that I'm not used to a life like that."

"But I could teach ya'! You'd be great at it, always knowin' what to say and do. Everyone respects ya'!" Tasuki cried beginning to get desperate. He could feel the tears beginning to slide down his cheeks and he swiped at them angrily. He felt a heaviness on his shoulder and looked down to see Chichiri's hand on it. It felt warm and comforting and Tasuki enclosed it within his own hand.

"It's just that…besides Kouji, you're my best friend Chiri'. You've always been there for me when I got into trouble and all and when I needed someone to talk ta'. Like the time I almost…I almost hurt Miaka…" Tasuki felt the shame spread over him at the thought of what had happened that night. "Remember? You were there for me ta' talk to. You didn't blame me for doin' it but you also didn't deny my feelings for her. You knew that I loved Miaka and I still do, but I know that I'm not the one for her. I wish I could have been but Taka…"

"You'll find someone, and you'll know they're the one for you as soon as you do."

"Ya' think so Chichiri? I mean, I'm not the most great actin' guy and all. I don't have much manners, no well-respected job. Not something to bring home to your parents huh?"

Chichiri smiled softly. "When it comes to love those things won't matter. She'll see you for you and nothing else, don't worry."

"…I still don't want you to go," Tasuki mumbled quietly.

Here I go again on my own

Going down the only road I've ever known

Like a drifter I was born to walk alone

I've made up my mind

I ain't wasting any more time

"I won't be gone forever, I'll come back to visit you and see how you're doing."

"But that's not the same thing…"

"I wish I could stay, I wish I didn't have these feelings within me. But they are, and as soon as they vanish you have my promise that I will be back to stay."

"I'm gonna miss you," Tasuki said before finally releasing the tears that he had been trying so hard to hold in. Chichiri wrapped his arms around the bandit as he cried. Tasuki lay his head on the monk's shoulders, releasing all of his pain and sorrow that had built up in him over the years. Nuriko's death, the emperor's, Miaka and Tamahome leaving, little Chiriko…they had all left him except for Chichiri but now he was going as well. Soon he would be all alone.

Chichiri felt his own tears fall and wished with all his might that his feelings for wandering would vanish; but they would not. The road was calling his name, it echoed over and over in his head.

I'm just another heart in need of rescue

Waiting on love's sweet judging

And I'm gonna hold on for the rest of my days

Cause I know what it means

To walk along the lonely street of dreams

The next morning came swiftly and soon Tasuki found himself saying his last good-byes to his friend. He opened the stronghold door with a heavy heart.

"You have ta' remember to come back whenever you can," he told Chichiri. "You promised."

"I will Tasuki. You take care of yourself okay? I don't want to have to suddenly teleport myself and find that you need rescuing no da."

"I'll try Chiri'. But you'll have to do somethin' for me in return."

"What is that?"

Tasuki smiled softly. "Lose the mask. Your face doesn't make people uncomfortable, trust me."

Chichiri returned his smile. "I'll try no da. Sayonara…"

Here I go again on my own

Going down the only road I've only known

Like a drifter I was born to walk alone

And I've made up my mind

I ain't wasting no more time

Here I go again

Here I go again

Here I go again

Here I go

The breeze shifted bringing Chichiri from his thoughts. It had seemed like forever since he had left Mt. Reikaku. He sighed as the longing to see Tasuki filled his heart but it just wasn't enough to remove Hikou and Kouran. His failure in saving his old friend for the second time had overwhelmed him and spun him down another dark path of pain and bitterness. He had tried so hard to save him but in the end it had been him who had caused the last blow. It was him who held onto Hikou allowing Tasuki and Taka to attack and save Miaka. It was him who had let Hikou's hand go when the river flooded. It was all his fault and because of that he couldn't stay with Tasuki. The bandit was wrong however in saying that he would be alone. He had Kouji and the rest of the bandits to keep him company. It was Chichiri who would be alone. No one walking next to him as he wandered.

Cause I know what it means

To walk along the lonely street of dreams

Here I go again on my own

Going down the only road I've ever known

Like a drifter I was born to walk alone

And I've made up my mind

I ain't wasting no more time

His hand shifted up to his face and he felt the smoothness of his mask. Tasuki had wanted him to get rid of it, but did he have enough strength to do that? He recalled his fellow warrior's reactions when he had taken off his mask in front of them. They had looked at him as if really seeing him for the first time. Not in pity, or disgust; just acceptance. Chichiri pulled off the mask and stared at it in his hand. It looked so fragile and small with its never-ending smile. A smile that Chichiri did not feel on the inside. The mask had served his purpose however, hiding the painful scar that forever closed his left eye. The scar that was caused on the day of Hikou's death, the scar that had made Chichiri let go of his friend's hand. He frowned as he turned the mask over and over in his hands. The mask was directly connected with his pain and wandering. Maybe…maybe by getting rid of it some of the pain would ease. Maybe it would make the healing of his heart go faster and allow him to return to Tasuki sooner.

When he had told the bandit that he would meet someone that would love him Chichiri had also been hoping that the same thing would happen to him. He needed someone to love him, and for him to love back. Kouran had left a hollowness in his heart and it needed to be filled. Whoever he should meet she would love him for him, just as he had told Tasuki, mask or no mask.

Here I go again on my own

Going down the only road I've ever known

Like a drifter I was born to walk alone

Cause I know what it means

To walk along the lonely street of dreams

The breeze shifted again and Chichiri continued on his way, however his mask remained behind where he had left it.

Here I go again on my own

Going down the only road I've even known

Like a drifter I was born to walk alone (song fades)