Author's notes: This is really important, so PLEASE read it!

Okay... Sigh. -_-  I guess I'd better explain the general lack of logic in
the setting... Hey, when I wrote this I'd only seen up to episode 42 (I've
seen everything now) and I couldn't think of anywhere really good to put
it... And I needed it to be after episode 33... Now, logically I know that
the scene when Tamahome tells Miaka he can't love her is the same day that
she goes to the tower, but, well... Let's just SAY that there's another day
in there, okay? I'm adding it in between that the Tamahome/Miaka scene and
the scene with her and Chichiri. Yeah, yeah, shut up...  I need to do
SOMETHING though!!! Oh, and let's also just SAY that everyone had their own
rooms at Tokaki and Subaru's house... Right? RIGHT? Sigh... Why do I bother?

Oh, and this MAY end up being the prologue to a story I might be writing
about them... someday... And yes, despite the very beginning of this story,
it IS Tasuki/Chichiri... I'd never write a Tasuki/Nuriko, even though I'm
not completely against the idea...

Okay, enough of that. On to the story!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *   
  *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

'Dead. That word rips through my heart, sending shudders throughout my body.
It's hard to believe he's dead. Nuriko... Why did you have to leave us?
Damn it, why!? Do you know how much you meant to me? No, of course not. You
thought only of Hotohori, no matter how doomed you were. You knew he could
never love you, didn't you. So why didn't you let me be there for you
instead? You died without letting me say how I felt, and now you'll never

Tasuki lay on his bed, staring at the ceiling and trying to prevent his
tears from falling. 'Damn it', he cursed, 'I can't cry, I just can't.' He
squeezed his eyes shut, trying to force away the lone tear that was
threatening to roll down his cheek. 'Nuriko...' He curled up into a ball and
buried his head in his arms, hoping like hell that no one would come in
right now. It had been weeks since it happened, and so much had occurred
since then. Losing the Shinzaho, everything that had happened to Tamahome
and Miaka, him and the other seishi being stuck in the illusion of Sairou,
and now they were all gathered at the home of two of the Byakko Seishi. He
had managed to act normal around the rest, but he couldn't deny the grief
that overtook him when he was alone.

Feeling hot tears begin to run down his cheeks, Tasuki sighed and
reluctantly allowed them to come cascading down his face. Lost in his
despair, he didn't hear the door opening nor did he register the existence
of someone else in the room until he felt a gentle but strong hand on his
shoulder, and a pressure on his bed as someone sat on it.

"Tasuki-kun? Are you alright no da?"

Tasuki lifted his head from his arms and wiped away his tears. Turning his
head to look up into the masked face of his friend, he replied bitterly.

"What do you think? Fuck, Chichiri! Nuriko meant so much to me... How could
he die? How dare he die on me, damn it!" He choked back on his tears. "Didn't
he understand how important he was to me?"

Chichiri sighed and pulled off his mask, regarding Tasuki with the serious
expression of his seldom-seen true face.

"I know how you feel, Tasuki-kun no da. He was important to all of us na no

The ex-bandit glared at him. "Damn it! Don't you get it, Chichiri? My pain's
different from everyone else's, except maybe Miaka's. It's worse, worse then
you could imagine... You don't understand how I feel."

Chichiri felt his heart constrict at those words. 'I wouldn't be so sure
about that,' he thought grimly, still vivid memories of Hikou's death
flashing through his mind. But the inaccuracy of the words wasn't the only
thing that bothered him; it was what Tasuki was implying that made his words
inaccurate, at least towards Chichiri.

"Did you... do you love him?" He whispered the last part, for once dropping
the ever present 'no da'.

Tasuki turned away from him, desperately trying to hide the blush he felt
creeping up his face.

"I'm not really sure. He was a close friend, but I'll admit I did hold some
other feelings towards him. Although I wasn't sure if that was true love or
just a strong friendship like me and Kouji."

"'Wasn't sure'? What about now no da?"  He lapsed back into the familiar
speech patterns, trying to cover up the odd mixture of emotion building up
in his voice. 'Didn't... Does that mean that he doesn't love him now, or
that he does? I don't know what to think or say. How would he react if he
knew how I feel? Would he hate me? If he does still love Nuriko then he
probably will, even though Nuriko's gone now. I can't tell him, not until I
know for sure. It'd hurt him too much ...' He waited anxiously for the

Tasuki was silent for awhile, not sure of how to answer. Thoughts flashed
through his mind as he attempted to formulate an answer. 'Oh Suzaku, what do
I say to him? I can't tell him the truth.  Yes, I did care about Nuriko a
lot, but I now know that what I mistook for love was only friendship,
nothing more. Especially not now... There's only one person who I love that
way, and I'm too fucking scared to tell him. He'll probably just hate me
anyway, think that I'm 'weird' or something. He's a damned monk for heaven's
sake! Forget it, I can't tell him.'

Tasuki turned back towards the monk who was putting his mask back on.
Forgetting his previous decision, he reached out and grabbed Chichiri's arm.

"Leave it off, you look better without it." He winced inwardly. 'What am I
doing!? I thought I wasn't going to tell him anything! But by Suzaku he's
beautiful without that mask, even with his scar...'

Chichiri looked at him in surprise, his heart pounding. "But my..."

Tasuki shook his head to silence him, inadvertently allowing his hand to
wander up to Chichiri's face.

"I don't care about your scar or how you got it. It's all in the past now
and it doesn't detract from you by any means." He traced his thumb along the
soft, upraised skin. Chichiri stared at him

"Wha- what are you doing?" He whispered, shuddering at the feel of Tasuki's
thumb on his sensitive scar.

Tasuki blinked, then realized what he was doing and jerked his hand away
from Chichiri's face. He cast his eyes downward, refusing to look into the
monk's eye.

"Oh Suzaku... What am I doing?!" He bit back on a curse. "I'm sorry,
Chichiri! I didn't... I mean... er, well... Gomen nasai!!!"

Chichiri hesitantly placed his hand over Tasuki's.

"Daijobu. I don't mind, Tasuki-kun no da." He gently stroked Tasuki's hand,
lacing his fingers through the younger man's.

Tasuki reluctantly raised his eyes to meet him, letting out a soft sigh at
the feel of Chichiri's fingers on his.


Chichiri nodded. "Hai."

Tasuki slowly reached up and took hold of Chichiri's chin, tipping it down
towards him. Closing his eyes and ignoring the insistent voice in his head
screaming 'What the fuck are ya doing??', he leaned up and brushed his lips
against Chichiri's.

The other man's eye widened considerably, but he didn't push him away.
Eventually Tasuki pulled away to take a breath, his heart pounding heavily.
'Confession time, Genrou...'

"Chichiri, I need to tell you something." He took a deep breath to calm
himself and continued. 'Here goes nothing!' "You might end up hating me and
thinking I'm some kind of fucking freak, but you should know how I feel. You
deserve to know, even if your reaction hurts me. I... I care about you a
lot, Chichiri. You're one of the best and closest friends I've ever had,
just like Kouji or... Nuriko. But that's not all. My feelings for you extend
beyond any kind of friendship I've ever felt. I-I..." Tasuki swallowed
nervously and whispered. "I love you." He bowed his head in shame, awaiting
the inevitable rejection.

Needless to say, he was extremely surprised when Chichiri wrapped his arms
around him and pulled him close.

"I don't hate you, Tasuki-kun no da." He said quietly, running his fingers
through the younger man's fiery hair. He felt his heartbeat quicken. Tasuki
loved him. It was almost impossible to believe, but it was true. After all
his worrying that the bandit would hate him if the truth about Chichiri's
feelings were ever revealed, Tasuki loved him. He lifted Tasuki's head and
looked him straight in the eyes. "I... I love you too."

"You do?"

"Mm hm." Chichiri bent down and gave him a long, passionate kiss on the
lips. Tasuki closed his eyes savoring the taste of the monk's lips on his.
He wrapped his arms around Chichiri's neck and pulled him closer, returning
the kiss with equal passion. After awhile they broke away gasping. Tasuki
sighed in content and snuggled up against Chichiri's broad chest.

"I love you so much, Chichiri. I couldn't tell you before, I was so afraid
you'd hate me."

Chichiri smiled and planted a gentle kiss on his forehead, then stood up.

"I could never hate you no da. Remember Tasuki-chan, I love you no da. Now
and forever na no da." He headed towards the door but was stopped as
Tasuki's hand shot out and grabbed his arm.

"Don't go. Please, stay with me tonight." He looked up at him with pleading

Chichiri blushed and glanced towards the open door.

"But... what if everyone else finds out no da? What would they think of us
no da?"

Tasuki shook his head.

"It's none of their fucking business who we share our beds with. Let 'em
find out."

Chichiri's face turned even brighter.

"Okay fine... Just let me close the door, okay no da?"

Tasuki nodded and released his arm. Still blushing fiercely, Chichiri closed
the door and returned to the bed where Tasuki gave him a fanged grin.

"Now, where were we...?"

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *   
  *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Tamahome smiled slyly as he sneaked through the halls of Tokaki and Subaru's
house, carrying a bucket full of cold water. 'Boy, is Tasuki going to hate
me for this! This outta be fun...' He conjured up mental images of an SD
Tasuki leaping out of bed, soaking wet, and tackling him. Only to find, that
is, that Tamahome had already left the room. He resisted the urge to let
loose an insane laugh, not wanting to wake the sleeping ex-bandit

Tamahome came to a stop at Tasuki's room, setting down the bucket so he
could open the door. Pushing it open, he picked up the bucket again and
tiptoed into the room. As he approached the bed, his eyes began to adjust to
the dark and he gave a small gasp as he realized that there were two figures
in it. Overwhelmed with curiosity, he leaned over and squinted into the
dark, trying to determine who the other figure was. Long blue hair,
ridiculously gravity-defying bangs, a long scar permanently sealing his left
eye closed... He nearly screamed as the recognition dawned on him, and he
slowly backed out of the room, SD style. Once he was a very safe distance
from Tasuki's room, he dropped the bucket and ran as fast as he could away
in the directly opposite direction of the room.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *   
  *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

*Knock... knock... knock...*

Miaka sighed in frustration, 'Where is he?' She wondered. "Chichiri? Are you
there, Chichiri?"

No answer. Giving up, she headed to Tasuki's room to wake him up and ask him
if he knew where the blue-haired monk was in the process. It was only 11:00
AM, but hopefully that wasn't too early. Besides, he probably wouldn't mind
too much when she told him that breakfast was ready...

Miaka raised her hand and knocked loudly on the door twice, noticing that
the door was slightly ajar. Nothing. She rolled her eyes and put her hand on
the door, pushing it all the way open. She stepped in, morning sunshine
pouring into the darkened room. As the golden rays fell over the bed she
gave a loud gasp of surprise.

'Oh my god... They couldn't have! Oh my god, oh my god,' "Oh my god!!!" She
quickly covered her mouth. 'Oh no! I didn't mean to say it out loud, what if
they heard me?' She began to inch towards the door but was too late. By
reflex, Tasuki grabbed his tessen, which was lying on a table next to the
bed, and aimed it at her.


"Wha-? Wait, Tasuki! It's me-!!"


Miaka ducked just in time as a stream of fire shot over her head and
incinerated a chair behind her. Annoyed, she stood up straight again with
her hands on her hips and a pissed expression on her face.

"Tasuki! What are you doing! Trying to burn your poor Miko??"

Tasuki blinked and rubbed his eyes, letting them focus as he realized who
he'd nearly fried.

"Shit! Sorry Miaka, you okay?" He started to get up but realized he was
being held down by something... or someone, as the case may be. "Wha... Oh."
He turned bright red when he saw that Chichiri had latched onto his arm at
some point and was still asleep, a peaceful look on his face.

"Oh... fuck." Deciding that a change of subject would be wise, Tasuki
forced a fake smile. "So... Breakfast ready yet?"

"Tasuki! Don't change the subject!"

"Alright, alright. Er, this isn't what it looks like..." He felt a movement
beside him and glanced down to see Chichiri starting to wake up. Yawning,
the monk snuggled up closer to Tasuki. "Mmm... What's going on, Tas-chan no
da?" He opened his eye and looked up at Tasuki, evidently not seeing Miaka

Tasuki sweatdropped. "Ahh... Nuthin'! Nothing at all... Just go back to
sleep 'kay?"

"Okay no da..." His gaze wandered around the room, catching sight of a
fuming Suzaku no Miko. His eye widened. "Ano... Ohayo, Miaka! What's wrong
no da?"

"'Not what it looks like...?' And I'll tell you what's wrong! You're little
'Tas-chan' just nearly fried me!"

Tasuki groaned. "Get over it, already! How the hell was I supposed to know
it was you? And YOU'RE the one who snuck into my room!"

Miaka's angry look softened and she dropped her hands. "I know, sorry, It's
just... So much has happened recently. Then finding you two like... this..."
She reddened and continued, "...And nearly being fried to a crisp, well, it
really does wonders to one's mind. I'm not really all that angry, anyone
could have done that. I'm just surprised, that's all."

Tasuki sighed. "Okay, apology accepted. Now, onto more important business.
Translation: is breakfast ready yet? I'm fucking starving!"

Miaka nodded.

"That's what I came to tell you. Come whenever you're, umm... ready." Still
blushing, she ran out of the room.

They lay in silence for a while, enjoying the sensation of being in each
other's arms. Eventually, Chichiri broke the silence.

"Tasuki-chan, how do you feel about Kouji no da?"

Tasuki froze. 'Damn, I was wondering when he would ask that.' Slowly, he

"Well, we've been best friends for nearly two years if that's what you

Chichiri cut him off. "You know what I mean. I've heard the way you talk
about him, Tasuki."

Tasuki winced at the sharp sound in his lover's voice and the curious
absence of the 'no da'. "Well, I'll admit that we were very close friends,
very close, but... It wasn't the same as us. I didn't love him like I love
you and I never will."

Chichiri shifted around uncomfortably.

"Did you ever sleep with him no da?" He asked softly.

"Er... well yes, mostly after drinking although I suppose we did have the
odd time while sober too. It never really meant anything, though. I don't
love him, and as far as I know he feels the same way. Don't worry, you're
the only one I love..." He brushed a few stray strands of blue hair from
Chichiri's face and gave him a long kiss. Chichiri smiled, wrapping his arms
around the younger man's neck.

"You really know how to distract someone, don't you no da?" He whispered as
Tasuki pulled away.

"You seem to like being distracted," Tasuki replied, a faint smile on his
lips as he leaned down to kiss Chichiri again. The monk rolled his eye and
turned his head away, much to Tasuki's disappointment.

"Not now, Tasuki-chan no da. Breakfast is ready, remember no da?"

Tasuki brightened visibly. "Breakfast? Does that mean sake?"

Chichiri sweatdropped. "You'll drink even in the morning no da...?"

"Of course!" Tasuki jumped out of bed and started throwing on his clothes.
"It helps me wake up."

"Uh huh... Suuuuure no da...."

Tasuki shrugged. "Think what you want. Now, are you coming or not?"

Chichiri rolled his eye again and sat up, pulling on his clothing. "I'm
coming, I'm coming no da. I thought you were the one who hates early
mornings no da..."

"Not when sake's involved! Now, come on!!"  He grabbed Chichiri's wrist and
dragged him out the door, giving the monk barely enough time to grab his
kasa and staff.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *   
  *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Upon entering the dining room, Tamahome was greeted by an... interesting
sight. Tasuki had already managed to load himself up on 2 and a half bottles
of sake and was laughing insanely (much to the distress of everyone else),
all the while waving his tessen around yelling 'Rekka Shinen!!!!' Or trying
to, that is. Chichiri was sitting next to him, desperately grabbing at his
tessen and clamping a hand over his mouth to prevent everyone from being
burned. Everyone else was attempting to ignore them and eat their breakfast
in peace, all save one...

Miaka was sitting quietly at one end of the table, shooting glances at
Tasuki and Chichiri and blushing fiercely. Remembering the events of the
previous day, he resisted the urge to walk over to her, opting instead to
take a seat relatively near her. Although by the looks she was throwing
Tasuki and Chichiri he couldn't help but wonder whether she was acting quiet
because of what he'd told her, or what had happened with Tasuki and Chichiri
last night. Then again, how would she know about that...?

"So, what's for breakfast?" Tamahome casually asked Mitsukake, who was
sitting next to him.

Mitsukake was opening his mouth to reply when it happened.

Hopelessly drunk, Tasuki leaped out of his chair and pulled off Chichiri's
mask, giving him a very long, very passionate kiss. Needless to say, this
brought about several different reactions. Miaka fainted dead away, her head
hitting the table with a resounding 'thunk'. Mitsukake hastily covered
Chiriko's eyes, Tokaki dropped his pipe, Xi Fang dropped the platter of food
she was carrying, Subaru just shook her head and kept eating, and Tamahome
quite promptly fell off his chair. Somewhere in Heaven, Nuriko threw up.

Chichiri turned bright red and pulled away from the drunken bandit.

"Tasuki-chan!! What are you doing no da?? Everyone's watching no da!!!" He
glanced around the room to see that everyone was either staring at them
(Chiriko had freed himself of Mitsukake's hand) or had fainted. Groaning
inwardly, he forced a grin. "Wha-what's everyone looking at no da? He's just
drunk, that's all no da!"

Mitsukake coughed. "Even when drunk Tasuki wouldn't do that unless there was
a reason..."

"You could say that again," Miaka muttered, waking up. Tamahome blinked up
at her from his vantage point on the floor.

"What do you mean, Miaka?"

"Uhh... Well..." She groaned inwardly. She didn't want to betray Chichiri
and Tasuki's trust by telling everyone, but they'd all partially figured it
out by now... Then again... 'No, maybe I shouldn't tell them.' "Er, forget

Tamahome broke in. "What she means to say is that Tasuki and Chichiri slept
together last night. There, happy now?"

Miaka fell off her chair, joining Tamahome on the floor. Somewhere in
Heaven, Nuriko made another dash for the bathroom. Mitsukake made an attempt
to cover Chiriko's ears, to no avail. Tama-neko meowed and made a point of
ignoring the humans.

Thus, it was quite understandable that Chichiri chose that moment to make a
hasty exit.

"Oh, I just remembered no da! Umm... Taiitsukun needed to see me about
something no da! Hehehe, yeah, that's right no da! Well, you know how she is
no da! Ja ne no da!" He stuck his kasa on his head and disappeared.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *   
  *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Chichiri gave a sigh of relief as he found himself at the base of Mt.
Taikyoku. 'Safe, at least for now. Stupid Tasuki-chan! What was he thinking,
kissing me like that in front of everyone else? Now they all know about our
relationship! But still...' He smiled briefly, touching his lips at the
remembrance of Tasuki's kiss. 'By Suzaku he's a good kisser...'

His thoughts were interrupted by a stern voice.

"First you use me as an excuse to escape, and now I find you standing here
at the bottom of my mountain thinking your little erotic thoughts about some
bandit? Really, haven't I taught you anything Chichiri?"

Startled, Chichiri turned to look at the source of the voice.

"T-Taiitsukun! Er, sorry about that no da. I just desperately needed a way
to get out of that mess no da. So... You know about us no da?"

Taiitsukun gave a low chuckle.

"Of course I know. What, have you forgotten who I am?"

"Of course not. It's just... Er, never mind no da. Do you mind if I stay
here for a few hours no da? I'm not sure how safe it'd be to return right
now no da."

Taiitsukun shook her head. "Normally I'd say yes, but right now I think
you'd be best to go back and talk to him about it." She glanced into a small
mirror and watched Tasuki, a sweatdrop forming on her head. "Right about now
he doesn't seem to be in the best of moods. You'd do well to go sort it out
with him before he burns that poor tree down." She shook her head again in
disapproval as Tasuki proceeded to 'Rekka Shinen' the nearby tree.

"Nani no da?"

"Never mind. Now hurry up!"

"Hai, Taiitsukun!"

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *   
  *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Tasuki swore and kicked the tree he'd just half fried.

"Shit! What the hell was I thinking? Now everyone knows what's going on
between us. Damn it, Chichiri probably hates me because of that... That's the
last time I get that drunk around Chichiri whenever everyone else is there.
Who knows what I could do after a few more bottles of sake... Ergh! REKKA

"DA!" Chichiri jumped out of the way as a wave of fire came flying towards

Tasuki paled visibly as he realized who the voice belonged to. "Chichiri...
I-I-I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that earlier, it was really stupid..."
He put his tessen away and plopped down on the ground, leaning against the
charred tree.

Chichiri straightened his mask and sat down next to him. They sat in an
uncomfortable silence for a while before Chichiri replied.

"I don't hate you no da. Remember what I told you last night no da? I love
you, Tasuki-chan, I could never hate you no da. I don't really mind what you
did earlier no da. If you hadn't been drunk and if everyone hadn't been
staring at us I would have rather enjoyed it no da."

Tasuki moved closer to him, resting his head on the older man's shoulder.

"Really? But now everyone knows that we're... that we're... Well, you

Chichiri smiled and wrapped his arm around Tasuki.

"I thought you were the one who said that it wasn't any of their business
who we shared our beds with no da."

"Yeah, well that was before they knew. But I don't care what they think,
Besides, none of them really minded Nuriko so I doubt they mind us too much.
They were just surprised, and I can't say I blame them after what I did."

Chichiri took off his mask and pulled Tasuki closer, shaking his head. "Stop
thinking about that, you didn't do anything wrong Tasuki-chan no da." He
closed his eye, leaning down and giving him a long kiss... Just as Tamahome
ran up to them.

"Oi, Tasuki! Chichiri! Miaka sent me to get you, Tokaki and Subaru want to
talk to-" He stopped, his eyes wide and his jaw nearly colliding with the

Without removing his lips from the monk's, Tasuki reached behind him and
grabbed his tessen, throwing it straight at Tamahome's head. Hearing a
satisfying thunk followed by an angry yell, Tasuki smiled inwardly.

Chichiri, his eye still closed, separated from him long enough to mutter,
"What's going on Tasuki-chan no da?"

Tasuki resisted the urge to laugh insanely and was about to reply, but was
interrupted by a growl.


Tasuki ducked by reflex as his tessen flew over his head... and hit Chichiri
right in the forehead.  The bandit jumped up and the two proceeded to have
an obligatory brawl. Chichiri, annoyed and with a bruised forehead, decided
to put an end to this before it got any worse.

"DA!!!!!" He whacked them both on the head with his staff, effectively
shutting them up. "Go on Tamahome-kun, we're coming no da."  Tamahome
blinked and vaguely nodded, before turning around and running away in the
direction he'd come. Chichiri smiled faintly and held out his hand to

"Coming no da?"

Tasuki reluctantly put his tessen away and they followed Tamahome hand in