"Highness? Highness? Where are you?"
The servant ran throughout the palace, looking for her young Prince. The Emperor, Lord Nakago, had requested his son's presence, undoubtedly another meeting about finding a bride for the future ruler, and it was her mission to find him.
So far the girl had searched all the Prince's known hideaways; every nook and cranny he was often found in had been looked into, but there was no trace of the young heir. As she headed to go downstairs, bracing herself to inform the King that she could not find his son, she caught the faint sound of a melodious voice coming from inside an unused room. Making sure nobody was around, for servants who spied didn't remain servants - or even alive - for very long, the girl listened closely at the opening of the slightly ajar door.
"When will I find someone? Someone who cares for me, Saihitei, and not for the next Emperor? Someone to end this loneliness...."
It was his Highness's voice alright, and it sounded like he didn't want to be disturbed at the moment. But a servant's gotta do what a servant's gotta do, and weighing the agitation of the gentle Prince against the wrath of Lord Nakago made the decision to intrude on the young ruler a simple one to make.
"Highness?" The girl gently called his name as she slowly pushed the door open, making sure he knew of her presence so as not to startle him. The room was dark, not a single light was on, and all she could see was the young man's silhouette.
There was a moment of silence before the heir replied, "yes?"
"His Majesty wishes to see you right away, Highness."
".... It's about me choosing the next empress again, isn't it?" The question was spoken in the soft demeanor the prince was known for, with the unmistakable hint of wistful exasperation.
The figure of the silhouette stood, and the young servant heard the sound of pricey garments sweeping across the highly polished floor. "Fine then," he said with a regal sigh . "Let us go."
A blue blur moved throughout the crowd of students at Four Gods High School. Anyone able to catch a glimpse of the figure as it moved along would see it to be an anxious looking young man with powder blue hair that defied gravity in the most unusual way. Whenever asked about the strange style the teen always simply answered "that's for me to know."
He was a slim youth, clad in khaki shorts and a plain white tee shirt. He also wore a smile upon his face, despite his anxious and frantic searching, although, those who knew him well knew that his constant grin was only a mask...literally. A childhood accident had left him scarred and without a left eye, and he'd had a custom mask made to cover it. And yet, he was for the most part content with his life and his smile was genuine often enough.
At this particular moment, if the mask weren't on, one would see his true face in determined concentration. He was looking for someone, and the overcrowded hallways were not on his side. It also didn't help that neither he nor the person he was looking for weren't the tallest of people. He moved as fast as he could, with his one good eye scanning the crowd rapidly, to find his target before the bell rang and he'd be forced to wait another hour and a half until the next break to continue the search.
When all seemed lost, and he was about to give up, the thin teen found himself tackled to the ground and held under the weight of a much stronger peer. "Hey, Chichiri, how's it going?" his attacker teased.
"Da! Get off of me, Suboshi, you're heavy!"
The other boy laughed, but did as he was told and stood up, offering a hand to the fallen youth. "I was just playing with you; don't get your panties in a bunch."
Chichiri accepted the presented assistance to get off the floor, then took a moment to brush the dirt off before addressing his companion. "Where were you? I've been looking all over for you, ya know." As he spoke he ran a hand through his long bangs, pulling them flat against the short hair that covered the rest of his head, only to have them spring back into the air once released.
"I was looking for my brother," the brown-haired teen replied, somewhat distracted by the magical floating hair. "He said he'd meet me by the fountain, but he wasn't there."
The Boshi Brothers, as everyone had come to call them, were both pretty popular throughout the school. They were twins who were identical in almost every way physically, but opposites when it came to personalities. Suboshi, the younger of the two, was outgoing and slightly temperamental; he was a great athlete and star of the football team. The elder twin, Amiboshi, was gentle and quite friendly, and nobody could play the flute with the style and grace he possessed.
Despite their differences, the two brothers were as close as could be, and were almost never separated. There was even rumor that their feelings for each other went beyond brotherly love; one girl even claimed she saw the two of them kissing in the band room where Amiboshi was supposed to be practicing privately. Though it was pointed out that the girl was pissed off about being turned down by Suboshi at lunch that very day, the accusation was also never denied. To this day no one but them knew the true extent of their relationship.
Not that Chichiri cared. They were both good friends to him, and he was happy to know them no matter what their relationship was. If they were lovers, it was none of his business.
Besides...he had more important things to think about.
"So, did you get 'em?" the blue haired boy asked anxiously, excited and nervous all at the same time. His future happiness was at stake here! Or so he claimed.
The other just blinked innocently. "Get what?"
"The tickets, of course!"
"Tickets? What tickets?" It took all he had not to bust out laughing at the face his friend made. Trying to look seriously mad while wearing an ever-smiling mask did not produce the desired results; it was kind of cute, actually. Suboshi just smirked and folded his strong arms over his chest, leaning against the nearby locker. "Oh...those tickets."
"Yes," Chichiri replied impatiently, "those tickets. Did you get them or not?"
"Well, I don't know. What's it worth to ya?"
"Quit teasing, brother."
If one didn't know better they'd of thought Suboshi had jumped from one sentence to another with no reason. A look down the hall, however, confirmed that it was actually the other Boshi twin who'd spoken up.
"So you are here," the younger brother smiled at the newcomer. "I thought you'd ditched and headed to the arcade."
"That's more something you'd do," Amiboshi smiled back. Looking at them, they were mirror images, right down to the sparkling blue eyes and longish brown hair. Although, save for matching blue bandanas, they didn't go so far as to dressing alike; Amiboshi didn't care for the muscle shirts his twin wore to show off his arms, and Suboshi claimed he wouldn't be caught dead in the preppy sweaters that were his brother's style. "Now quit playing around and give the poor boy what he wants."
The athletic youth reached into the inside pocket of his jacket while muttering "fine, fine, ruin all my fun" to produce a set of five tickets to what would be the hottest concert in town. "You owe me for this, ya know."
Chichiri's "da!!" of joy could be heard throughout the entire school.
"Omedetou gozaimasu!" 
The sound of glass meeting glass filled the room as the large gathering toasted the newly engaged couple. After being together for three years, everyone agreed that it was about time they finally tied the knot. The pair couldn't seem to stop smiling at the support their friends showed in their decision.
"Come on, Tama, give us a speech!" the groom-to-be's more eccentric co-worker and friend called out from his place at a nearby table. This of course started a chorus of "speech! speech! speech!" from the other guests.
Tamahome blushed a bit, but stood to say a few words. "Thank you, everyone," he began. "You don't know how much it means to us for you all to be here. A long time ago I promised Miaka that I'd make her the happiest bride in the world, and now I plan to carry out that promise." The wide brown eyes of the girl beside him became misty, and she bowed her head to hide both the faint blush and the tears. "But I would like you all to know that I have no intentions of quitting the band. Tasuki, Nuriko..." he nodded at each of his best friends in turn, "...TNT will live on always!" 
There was a round of applause from the group and a kiss to his bride, who anxiously asked if it was time to eat yet. With a smile Tamahome lifted a finger to indicate there was one thing left before dinner was served.
When the crowd quieted down, the teal-haired young man continued. "The other thing I wanted to say is, I've been thinking a lot about something, talked it over with Miaka, and made a decision. I've decided who I want my Best Man to be." Everyone's eyes followed the groom's to rest on his two band-mates, who were sitting next to each other at the same table; the excitement in the air was thick, for he could only choose one. "Would you do the honors...Tasuki?"
The fiery youth sputtered into what was probably his sixth glass of champagne, then stared wide-eyed at his friend. "Me? Why me?"
"You'd look best in a tux," Tamahome smiled. "Besides, Miaka kinda wanted Nuriko to be the...Maid of Honor...."
"Whoo-hoo!" Nuriko jumped up and cheered happily, "I get to wear a pretty dress!" As cute as it was, nobody was surprised by the long-haired boy's joy. A big part of the singer's fame came from his cross-dressing tendencies.
Miaka giggled at her Bride's...man, then turned her attention to the red-head beside him. "So, what to you say, Tasuki? Will you do it?"
Tasuki stared at the couple for a moment, an unrecognized emotion flashing across his amber eyes, then looked into his still half full glass. "Yeah...you guys know I'd do anything for ya. I'll do it." As the crowd around him cheered, he gulped down the last of his champagne.
"You're next, ya know," Nuriko said as he slung an arm around his friend. "Try as you may, someone as good looking as you won't stay single for long." He laughed as the other attempted to push a too-strong arm off his shoulder.
Tamahome sat on the other side of his Best Man. "No, it's true." Miaka had gone to attack the all-you-can-eat buffet, leaving her fiancée to mingle with his band-mates. "I can feel it; the next babe is yours."
"Che," Tasuki responded to his friends' laughter. "I'd rather not deal with girls. Only leads to trouble."
"I got 'em! I got 'em! I got 'em! I got 'em! I got 'em!!!"
A tall young man with short black hair caught the teen who was so excited he'd forgotten to stop running. "Calm down there, Chichiri," he said as he placed his friend back on the ground.
"Yeah, what'd you get?" a smaller voice piped up.
Mitsukake and Chiriko, though not twins like the Boshis, were another set of close brothers. Completely opposite than the twins, the two differed greatly in physical appearance and age, but were very similar in personality. Both were quite intelligent and calm, to the point of being considered shy, and loved animals and helping others.
Looking at them, one would never guess they were related. Where Mitsukake was tall and dark and quite masculine, Chiriko was short, even for his age, with long hair that often caused him to be mistaken for a girl. Then there was the fact that Chiriko was also several years younger than everyone else, only 13 years old, but was something of a genius and was able to skip several grades to be in the same class. But the two got along well and Mitsukake never complained about having his little brother around.
The blue-haired youth took a deep breath and smiled up at his two best friends. "I got tickets to the TNT concert!"
"Wonderful!" Chiriko clapped his hands together.
"That's great," Mitsukake smiled softly at his friend, knowing how important this was to him. "I hope you have a great time."
Though they didn't think it was possible, Chichiri's smile actually got bigger. "Ah, but there's more!" He held up three tickets, "see, two of these are for you guys."
The tall teen could only laugh, while his genius brother jumped up and down and cheered.
"We're going to see TNT!!"
Night had fallen and the only light in the beautiful palace garden was created by the moon. Even with all the guards, it was easy for someone with the right knowledge of the security system to sneak in...or out.
The black-clad figure who was currently creeping his way through the garden, aiming to leave the palace altogether, knew the security well; it just might have had something to do with the fact that it was his job as Emperor-in-training to set the whole system up. He knew right where the alarm lazar beams were and when the guards would be facing which direction. He knew how many cameras there were, where they were, and the exact sliver of space he could walk along without being seen by any of them. He knew all this; it was, after all, his design.
Reaching the wall that separated him from freedom, the young prince swung and tossed a grappling hook, catching it onto a nearby tree. Feeling a bit like a ninja, he shimmied up the rope to the top of the wall and, with one final glance back, he left the only home he'd ever known, swearing he'd never return.
As the prince-no-more walked down the dark, empty street he contemplated his next move. He'd have to get a place to live (using the cash he had after clearing out most of his princely bank account would make that a simple task), as well as a new identity and job. He was talented in many things, from sword fighting to...running an empire, so a job wasn't much of a worry. It was the new identity he had to concentrate on.
He stopped and stared at his reflection in a darkened store window. His long hair was pulled back into a tight bun, as was common amongst royalty, and he now reached back and pulled out the pins and hair-ties that held it into place, littering the sidewalk with the accessories. When all the hair was free he shook it out and watched as it fell perfectly across his back and face, covering his features just right.
"It's no use," he sighed, after gazing at the reflection a moment. "I'm just too beautiful." Turning around, he leaned against his makeshift mirror and looked up to the stars. "I suppose I'll need a new name too. I certainly can't go by 'Saihitei' if I wish to remain unknown. How about...." His eyes unconsciously searched out his favorite constellation, Hoshi. "...Hotohori." And he smiled. 'Now I need to figure out what else normal people do.'
Like a sign from the heavens, a spark of orange caught the youth's eye. Watching it, he realized the object was moving, coming closer to him. He kept track of it, worried at first that it might be some kind of trick sent by his father, but as it came closer he realized it was a piece of paper, floating on the breeze. It flew closer and closer, twirling and fluttering in the wind, and he saw it to be a flyer of some sort, splashed with bold words and bright colors. The noble teen's curiosity grew and he wished for a closer look; garbage flying around wasn't something he saw often (or rather, at all) in the palace, so seeing litter blowing in the wind so freely was new to him.
Of course, he got his wish of a closer look when the paper flew up and hit him in the face. That being a little too close, he reached up and pulled it away, analyzing the strange writing and pictures.
"TNT..." he read out loud. "A concert?"
Two young men and a lady...no...another, more feminine looking guy wearing women's clothing...reached out for him, inviting him to see their show. Hotohori subconsciously noted that the feminine guy was almost as beautiful as himself...almost...and thought about the irony of this flyer coming right to him. "A concert...? Is that what normal people do?"
In that moment he made a decision; he was going to give himself the youth his royal parents never allowed him to have.
to be continued....
The title comes from Chichiri's image song Ochanoko Saisai Hengen Jizai (I think that's how it's spelled....). It's my favorite of all Fushigi Yuugi songs ^.^ In one part he says "muzukashii uta na no da...." which translates to "this is a difficult song." I felt that line, coming from Chichiri no less, was appropriate for this story.
 What the hell is a 'regal' sigh!? Well...I figure everything Hotohori does is regal. =P So there!
 Omedetou gozaimasu = Congratulations (for the Japanese impaired)
 Yes, the name of their band is TNT.... (cheesy, ne?) At first it was going to be the 'Suzaku Three' or 'San seishi' (couldn't decide if I wanted to go by dub or sub....), but I was talking to myself and joked that I should do a pun on THTC. Then I realized the initials for Tamahome, Nuriko, and Tasuki would make...TNT. I couldn't help but laugh at that, so it stuck. Now, with the ending I decided on...oh, wait, I can't say anymore. ^_~
Also, I had Chichiri's school called 'Suzaku high' at first, then when it came time to name the band I said "oh, I can't have Suzaku in there so many times!" so I changed the name of the high school to 'Four Gods High' (which makes sense since there's others besides Suzaku members there). When I changed the name of the band, I went back with the idea that I could use the name 'Suzaku high', but realized I liked the new name better. It stuck as well. ^_^