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Fushigi Yuugi: What Dreams May Come - Part I
--- "Reappearance"

by Shikami Yamino

In a land of fantasy and mysticism, a blue-haired monk stood motionless over a large bed with head bowed and a forever-smiling mask in his hands. A crimson gaze filled with grief travelled over the still figure ensconced in the pure white sheets. White-knuckled hands clutched at the staff forever by his side, the rings silent as if afraid to make a sound in the still atmosphere.

Behind the monk, an old hag suddenly appeared, floating on thin air. Her old face was lined and wrinkled, stern like no other. Yet within those lines and the half-closed eyes, grief and sorrow warred with duty for dominance as they faced the figure in the bed. Quietly, the hag spoke to the monk.

"You knew this was going to happen."

"Hai. But it doesn't stop the pain..."

The hag's eyes closed. "I suppose not..." Both were still in silence for a moment before she spoke again. "This world is safe... All four have come and gone... This world has no longer a need for you... for now."

"I know... and yet my job is still not done."

"You know what you have to do then."

"Aa... It is why I am the only one allowed to retain my original form, is it not?"

A slight smile appeared on the hag's face. "You are perceptive." She paused, then sighed. "You are ready to leave then?"

"I no longer have anything to tie me down here and everything compelling me to leave. Yes, I'm ready."

The hag, known as The Creator, Taitsukun, closed her eyes and nodded. "Whatever you'll need, Suzaku will provide. I wish you luck, Suzaku no Shichiseishi Chichiri..."

The monk turned for one last look at his mentor, a slight smile gracing his ageless face. "Arigato..."

As a bright red light encompassed the area, surrounding the monk's body, he reached out with one hand to remove the large metal fan from the hands of the cool and motionless body on the bed. Eyes lingering on the still face laying on the snow white pillow, the blue-haired man mentally whispered his last goodbye then closed his eyes as the power of Suzaku flared around him.

Caught up in Suzaku's light, Suzaku Shichiseishi Chichiri firmed his resolve and steeled his will.

To find the six others he deemed spiritual brothers...

And the one girl they had all pledged their lives to.

Friday night in downtown Tokyo, a sweet couple strolled leisurely down the crowded streets hand in hand, in complete accord with another. The man, clad in a casual sports jacket and jeans, was divested of the eternal sunglasses he had worn four years ago, revealing a pair of startling dark hazel eyes flecked with green. Eyes that were trained on the woman walking by his side.

The blonde woman, with just shoulder length straight hair, smiled as the man's warm hand squeezed her own. At nineteen years of age, Hongo Yui, once known as Seiryuu no Miko, was still the model student at University, pursuing a career in law. And as good as engaged to the man, Kajiwara Tetsuya, beside her.

Still a few steps away from her already happily married best friend Yuuki Miaka; now Sukunami Miaka.

"We haven't been to see Miaka in a while."

Tetsuya grinned. "She's probably been busy, what with her seiyuuing job and school and everything else. Taka's most likely flat out with work, as usual..."

Yui chuckled. "Hai... they probably only have time for each other outside their work."

"Which reminds me of how difficult it was to persuade you out on this night of relaxation, Miss Lawyer-to-be. You should learn to relax Yui-chan. But I guess now that there's a week of vacation, I can make sure you rest enough before going back to all those books stacked up on your desk ne?"

Smiling, Yui shook her head at her boyfriend. "We should visit them nonetheless. It's been a while."

Tetsuya nodded. "Yeah..."

As the pair began walking to Tetsuya's BMW parked a block away, someone brushed past Yui brusquely and knocked her slightly into Tetsuya. Walking quickly on, the man muttered a quiet "Sumanu" but didn't turn back.

Looking up in slight annoyance despite the muttered apology, Yui frowned as she stared at the departing man's dark-clad back before he was swallowed up by the crowd. But what had caught her eye was not the man's clothes, but the shade of his hair.

In her life she had only seen one person with hair as fiery as the flames that he wielded, and it certainly had not been in this world.

"Yui-chan? Daijoubu?"

Shaking herself from her stupor, the former Seiryuu no Miko smiled and waved Tetsuya's concern away with an airy hand. "Betsuni, daijoubu..." Looking back at where the man had disappeared, Yui inwardly laughed at herself and pushed the thought away. Must be a coincidence.

Inside an elaborate penthouse suite high atop a tall apartment building, Suzaku Shichiseishi Chichiri, now known as Arai Hojun, leaned against his balcony looking down on the bustling city of Tokyo.

Miaka's world...

It was a strange and wonderful place, so different from the world he had called home for so long. But this was home now... home that was being threatened by a force even he couldn't imagine. A force only combatible by the Shichiseishi and Miko of the Four Gods. A force only combatible by the Suzaku Shichiseishi because...

Because Suzaku no Miko's love for each of them had caused them to be reborn into this world... and to fulfill their destinies here, by their Miko's side. And he had been left to deliver Suzaku's message, with the tokens to revive their memories...

Automatically, he turned to see where five artifacts lay, seemingly unspecial on the table inside. A rolled up scroll, a small green jar, a pair of bracelets, an ornate sword and a metal fan. All of which would play a most important part in the process of regaining his friends, and his family.

Gazing out over Tokyo again, Chichiri smiled to himself. Somewhere in this huge city, he would find the ones he was looking for... and there was no time better to start than the present. It was time to find old friends...

Pulling on a light jacket over his shirt, Chichiri wriggled to get himself comfortable in the foreign clothes and then stepped out of his apartment. Suzaku had seen fit to give him all the knowledge he would require about the new world he would live in... but some aspects still took some getting used to.

Sukunami Taka frowned at his watch before picking up his pace and hurrying down the already darkened roads. The day at the lab had been tiring and he was more than looking forward to getting home and to Miaka. Inwardly, he smiled. There had never been anything better than married life to him, which was what he'd been talking to Keisuke about with no apparent luck. Even Tetsuya was summing up the courage to propose to Yui, but Keisuke still couldn't seem to settle down.

Need to wait for the right one, he said. Not everyone was as lucky as he and Miaka to have found each other in another world!

Taka chuckled. That part was probably true. Absently twirling the two rings on his wedding finger, he closed his eyes. He was about as lucky as a man could get. To have have the opportunity to live not only one lifetime with the one he loved, but two...

Nearing their apartment, Taka suddenly tensed as he sensed a person behind him. Having Tamahome's memories and skills were precious as well as useful, especially in times like this.

Turning, hard grey eyes scanned the area. "Come on out."

One shadow separated from the rest and a cheerful voice called out. "Konban wa na no da! Hisashiburi desu yo na no da!"

Taka's mind drew a blank as the familiar voice registered in his brain. Then as the figure stepped into the light, the blank turned into shock. For here, standing right in front of him, was a blue-haired man with long bangs and a wide smile, clad in a white shirt, jacket and trousers. A man whose clothes were foreign but the face unmistakable.


Chichiri grinned. "Hai no da!! But my name is Arai Hojun now no da. How have you been Taka-kun?"

Shaking himself, Taka blinked and blinked again, unbelieving of the figure that stood before him. "Chichiri! Honto ni omae ka? Why are you here?? HOW can you be here??" Suddenly, he looked around. "Where's Tasuki?"

The eternal smile dropped slightly from Chichiri's face. "This isn't the best place to talk no da. I have important news."

Forcing himself to quell the urge to rub his eyes, Taka could only nod. "Aa... This way." Leading Chichiri to his apartment, the former Shichiseishi couldn't help the questions running through his head. So much so that Chichiri's next question caused him to jump a foot. "Huh? Nani?"

Chichiri smiled understandingly. "I asked where Miaka-chan was."

"She should be home. Here it is..." As he turned to walk in, a pair of headlights illuminated the both of them until he was able to make out the car. "Tetsuya and Yui-chan come to visit?"

Chichiri's attention however was fixed directly on the girl sitting in the passenger seat. The girl who was staring right back at him with wide blue-green eyes.

As the car coasted to a stop, the passenger door opened immediately and Yui stepped out with a gasp. "Suzaku Shichisei..."

"Hai. Oira wa Chichiri na no da." Chichiri grinned widely at his Miko's best friend. "It's nice to finally meet you Yui-san."

Meanwhile, Tetsuya had walked around to stand behind Yui. Looking back and forth between his girlfriend and the strange blue-haired man in front of her, Tetsuya turned straight to Taka. "Taka?"

Taka shook his head. "It's a long story, one that I'd like to hear. Let's go in first." Walking up two flights of stairs, Taka let himself into his third floor apartment expecting to see Miaka there with a hug and a kiss. Instead, the apartment was dark and only after flipping on the lights did he see the note on the coffee table in Miaka's familiar handwriting.

'Taka - The people from work called and said they needed to see me urgently. Sorry for not being home when you come back. I'll make it up to you when I get back. Ai shiteru. - Miaka'

Smiling to himself over the note, Taka turned and gestured to his guests. "Have a seat. Miaka's been called to work for a while so I guess this is time to settle in and ask some questions."

Yui dropped herself into a sofa, still gazing at Chichiri while the said monk gingerly sat himself down in one of the armchairs. Tetsuya remained standing with a puzzled look. "Oi, Taka, did you forget your manners?"

Taka blinked, the realization dawned. Neither Keisuke nor Tetsuya had ever seen any of the Suzaku or Seiryuu Shichiseishi apart from him. "Uh Tetsuya, this is Arai Hojun, Suzaku Shichiseishi Chichiri. Chichiri, this is Kajiwara Tetsuya."

Chichiri nodded at the stunned Tetsuya. "Yoroshiku Tetsuya-san."

Tetsuya on the other hand, wasn't so mild mannered. "What...? How...? I'm not dreaming am I? But you're a character in a book!"

"I am." Chichiri answered with a wry smile. "Or I was, no da. It seems now, I'm as real as any of you." Stalling their questions with a raised hand, Chichiri continued. "Like Taka-kun said, it's a long story no da. One I would prefer to tell when Miaka-chan gets home no da. I'll answer all questions then."

Taka gave them a tight smile and a nod before walking into the small kitchen to put on a kettle to prepare tea. When he walked out, tea in hand, there was one question he needed an answer to. Now. "Oi Chichiri... Tasuki wa?"

Chichiri averted his eyes. "He's dead no da."

On the bus home from work, Sukunami Miaka gazed out the window at the bright street lights and sighed. Mou, just one little thing and they had to call her out to work. Working with someone new in the area and more experienced wasn't something she hadn't done before, being relatively new in the seiyuu field. Even though it was exciting, it was hardly necessary to call her out especially to give her a tape of the new seiyuu's voice and a small file on the new series they would play together.

Checking her watch, Miaka let out a breath when she saw that Taka would be home already. Shrugging her shoulders, she decided to make the best of her time and pulled out the casset tape from her coat pocket. Reaching into her bag for the walkman she was never without, she slipped on the earphones and popped the tape in.

Flipping the on switch, the usual silence went on for a few seconds before a breathy female voice came on. The voice was very good, excellent even, controlled perfectly in both tone and expression. First it was smiling, then teasing, then laughing, all the while pleasant to listen to and distinct in its personality.

It was also a voice she could never forget. Not in a million lifetimes.

"OI! Ojousan! Your stop!"

Shaken out of her stupor, Miaka quickly gathered her things and smiled apologetically at the driver. "Gomen nasai, arigato!"

Out on the sidewalk, Miaka stood frozen as the bus drove off. It was impossible... totally impossible... Maybe she was wrong, maybe she was hearing things...

Taka... Taka would be able to tell her.

Running as fast as she could, Suzaku no Miko made a mad dash for her apartment, allowing the female voice to continue playing in her ears. Now that she listened to it more, she could tell the minor difference. The voice was slightly more feminine than she remembered but it was still achingly familiar.

Pressing stop and pulling out her earphones before inserting her key into the door with trembling hands, Miaka burst into her apartment yelling at the top of her voice. "Taka! Taka!!"

Suddenly, warm familiar arms were around her, holding her in a safe and never-changing haven that promised her protection from whatever any of the worlds could throw at her. "Miaka... Daijoubu...?"

Miaka shut her eyes tightly and nodded. "Daijoubu... demo... demo..." That was when a flash of blue that was out of place caught her eye and only then did she realize that she and Taka weren't the only ones in the apartment.

A blush crept over her cheeks. "Yui-chan... Tetsuya-san... I didn't realize..." her sentence trailed off as she stared at the last figure left standing in the living room.

Chichiri reached up to pull the mask from his face, revealing the ragged scar running over one eye and his nose while the other eye was warm and a gentle smile tugged at his lips. "Miaka-chan... ogenki desu ka?"

Her hand flew to her lips. "Chi... Chichiri..? Chichiri... Chichiri!" Tearing herself from Taka's loose arms, Miaka ran to the blue-haired monk only to stop just before him, tears in her eyes. "It's you isn't it Chichiri? My eyes aren't playing a joke on me? It's really you?"

"It's me no da." Suddenly, the seishi was fielding an armful of happily crying Suzaku no Miko.

"Chichiri... I never thought I'd see you again..." Miaka didn't care who saw her crying. She was reunited with a member of the family Suzaku had granted her again. Lifting her head from Chichiri's jacket, she smiled as she looked around. "Ne, where's Tasuki? Is he sleeping already?"

The monk gave her a tremulous smile. "He's... passed away no da..." When Miaka turned to him with wide, shocked eyes, Chichiri shook his head, keeping his smile. "He died a happy old man Miaka-chan. He'd had more than enough adventures and scrapes with Kouji and the Mount Reikaku bandits before he left."

Miaka bit her lip and leaned against Chichiri. "So a lifetime has passed in four short years... Tasuki..." She couldn't help the tears that fell from her eyes as an image of the flame-haired, fang-toothed, loud mouth bandit wavered in front of her eyes. Then a thought occurred to her and she stepped back to look at the only remaining member of her original seishi. "Demo... Chichiri... how can you...? You're still..."

Before Chichiri could reply, Taka gently cut in and led Miaka to the armchair next to Chichiri. "Come on Miaka, let's all sit down before Chichiri starts a long story."

As they all sat, Chichiri toyed with the mask in his hands before looking up at Miaka. "I was left young for a reason Miaka-chan. Suzaku needed me to deliver a message to you. It appears that something is threatening your world... our world now. Something that should have stayed in the Shijintenchishou is now loose."

Tetsuya frowned. After the initial shock at seeing a character in the real world, he'd calmed down rapidly and inwardly laughed at himself. Nothing that was supposed to happen during a round of the miko game happened during the Suzaku/Seiryuu summonings, and everything that shouldn't have happened, did. He shouldn't be in the least surprised that once again, something out of the ordinary had happened. "What, specifically, is loose?"

Chichiri shook his head. "I can't say. I don't really know myself. Only that it's something only the Miko and the Shichiseishi can fight."

Yui's brow creased and she shook her head. "But most of the shichiseishi are dead. Only you and Taka remain... Unless..." Her head shot up and aquamarine eyes were wide in disbelief. "Unless..."

Replacing his grinning mask, Chichiri nodded enthusiastically. "Unless they've been reborn Yui-san. And they have no da. Here, in this world no da."

Miaka gasped. Everyone... here...? Hotohori, Nuriko, Chiriko, Mitsukake, Tasuki... here?

Chichiri had continued. "We must gather them as fast as possible, give them their memories back and prepare." A slight frown appeared on his face. "Na no da... It's going to be a lot of work no da. I don't even know where to start no da."

Yui cast a glance at Miaka and stood to seat herself beside her best friend. Grasping one of Miaka's hands, Yui tried to look into Miaka's downturned eyes. "Miaka? Daijoubu...?"

The look that Miaka wore when she turned to look at Yui was not one of pain or sadness, but elation. "Everyone's here Yui-chan!" Lunging forward to throw her arms around Yui, Miaka cried, "Everyone's here!"

Smiling affectionately, Yui returned the fierce hug. "Hai, baka... No body in their right mind would leave you to fend for yourself."

Taka and Tetsuya traded grins before the latter turned to Chichiri. "So how are we going to find them?"

Chichiri shook his head with an apologetic smile. "I have no idea no da. The more advanced technology in this world is still foreign to me and I wouldn't know how to look for a person here. But the only positive identification of a shichiseishi is as it was before: the sign of Suzaku on their bodies."

"You mean we're going to have to ask them if there's a strange red letter on their bodies??" Tetsuya replied, bewildered.

Taka meanwhile slapped his forehead. "Oi Chichiri, that's easy for you to say. It'll be easier to find Hotohori-sama, Chiriko, Mitsukake and Tasuki. Theirs at least is somewhere more visible or somewhere that won't embarass them if we want to see it... but Nuriko... It's on his collarbone! You can't walk up to a stranger and ask them to pull open their shirt so you can see if he has a sign or not!"

Chichiri pouted. "I guess not no da..."

Miaka was only half listening to the conversation when a remembered thought occurred to her. With wide eyes, she fumbled at her jacket pocket for her walkman and walked to the stereo system.

Everyone trailed her with their eyes while Taka asked, "Miaka?"

Miaka made a hopeful smile. "I thought I was crazy when I heard this and recognized the voice. But maybe I'm not so crazy after all." As the voice started in the background and she saw both Taka and Chichiri's eyes widen, she ran to her husband. "You recognize it too ne Taka? Tell me I'm not imagining things!"

Taka shook his head in disbelief while Chichiri's face broke out in a slow smile and he said one word. "Nuriko..."

"Miaka, where did you get this? Why do you have a tape of Nuriko's voice?" Taka asked quickly.

Reaching for her bag, Miaka couldn't contain the excitement in her voice. "This is the person I'll be working with for a while on the next series. This is what they wanted to give me today when I went to work." Pulling out the slim file containing a seiyuu profile, Miaka opened it with trembling hands, hoping against hope.

As everybody crowded in to get a look, Chichiri was the one to read the name of the file out loud. "Namae Yanagi Kourin."

Miaka's eyes lit up. "Kourin! That can't be a coincidence!"

Taka, by her side, was also grinning. "Yanagi. The willow. Nuriko's sign. Yappari! We found him!"

While Miaka's eyes were alighted with shock and pleasure, Chichiri quietly picked up the file with a faint smile and began to leaf through it. "Yanagi Kourin, multi-talented seiyuu and rising female star in the JPop charts with her debut single 'Otome Ranman'."

Tetsuya tapped his finger against his chin thoughtfully. "Yanagi Kourin... Yanagi Kourin... I remember reading something about her. One of the most beautiful women dating one of the most beautiful men. Yeah, that's her... Her boyfriend, Hoshiou Hiroshi is a very famous model." A crease appeared in his brow. "But they never mentioned anything about a sibling..."

Miaka's elated look flickered. "No siblings... No brothers??"

While the information sunk into the formerly joyous room, dampening the hope that had begun in the hearts of both Miaka, Yui and Taka, Chichiri's brows rose as he reached the last page of the file. "Miaka-chan... You might want to have a look at this no da."

Gently picking up the glossy photograph from the file, the Suzaku seishi laid it soundlessly on the coffee table.

Unforgettable purple-pink eyes stared back at the gawkers under a sweep of indigo bangs. Wisps of hair framed the heart-shaped face that was laughing comfortably. A most feminine figure was emphasized by the tailored black kimono embroidered with willow trees. Finally, a beauty spot... a mole just under the left eye....

"Nuriko..." Miaka whispered. "Girl or not, that's Nuriko!"


Chichiri smiled at Taka's astounded utterance. "Perhaps Suzaku saw fit to grant his wish in this life, ne?"

Tetsuya frowned at the photograph. It was impossible to imagine the beautiful woman as a man in her last life, but if all three of Suzaku's chosen claimed it so, then this could be no other than the first of the seishi who had sacrificed his life for the Miko.

Suzaku Shichiseishi Nuriko.

Glancing over his shoulder, Tetsuya's gaze landed on a quiet Yui who was tugging at her earlobe with two fingers. The earlobe that still sported Seiryuu Shichiseishi Nakago's blue gem stud.

Feeling a reassuring arm wrap around her, Yui smiled up into hazel eyes. "Daijoubu..."

Tetsuya nodded and turned back to the group. "Well I think we'd better call it a night. Nuriko or not, you'll find out once you get to work tomorrow ne Miaka-chan?"

Miaka smiled and looked at Taka. "You'll come with me ne?"

Taka grinned back. "Anything. Chichiri, why don't you stay here tonight? Save you the trouble of getting here again tomorrow."

As plans were quickly made and Tetsuya promised to notify Keisuke of new developments as soon as he got home, he and Yui left the Sukunami household with a head full of questions. Questions that could only be answered when the Suzaku Shichisei were gathered again.

Glancing at Yui out of the corner of his eye while driving, Tetsuya broke the silence. "Someday the Ten Chi Shou is gonna be the end of me."

At that, Yui cracked a smile that soon faded. In a small voice, she asked, "Ne, Tetsuya... Do you think... Nakago and them..."

Pulling up in front of Yui's apartment, Tetsuya killed the engine and swiveled to look at Seiryuu's Miko. "You miss them don't you?"

Yui laughed softly and wryly. "Strange isn't it? I've never had that good a relationship with my seishi and yet I miss them almost as much as Miaka does. You would think that I wouldn't miss them at all, but I do. They weren't bad people Tetsuya. Even Nakago. After Taka regained his memories, Miaka told me what he knew about Nakago's past. It wasn't his fault..." Strong arms closed around her as she shuddered.

Tetsuya held her close. "I know Yui-chan, I know. Don't worry... If they're alive, we'll find them. One way or another."

The next morning dawned bright and early for the members of the Sukunami household as well as in Hongo Yui's apartment and the homes of both Yuuki Keisuke and Kajiwara Tetsuya.

Phone to her ear as she pulled on some clothes, Yui asked, "Miaka, don't you think it would be strange for you to bring so many people to work?" At the pause on the other end, Yui chuckled affectionately. "Didn't think of that, did you baka?"

"Demo Yui-chan~~"

"Tell you what, why don't you take Taka and Chichiri to work. Tetsuya, Keisuke-san and I will wait for you somewhere. If Kourin is Nuriko, invite her out or something and we'll meet you there, ne?"

Miaka's excited squeal of approval made Yui cringe from the receiver before shaking her head. Nineteen and still as excitable as ever. "Meanwhile, we'll try to see if there are any other leads to the others ne?"

"Arigato Yui-chan."

"Daijoubu. Now go eat. Knowing you, you'd probably be late if you didn't have fifteen minutes to eat." Yui laughed when the expected whine came from the other end of the phoneline. "Maa maa, you never change Miaka. I'll see you later then, ne?"

"Hai! Matta ne, Yui-chan!"

Hanging up the phone, Yui stopped in the kitchen for a cup of coffee and some toast before a beep outside her second story window alerted her to the presence of Tetsuya and Keisuke. Grabbing her keys and heading out to the car, Yui explained the plans to the men in the front seat.

Keisuke leaned back in his seat as Tetsuya pulled out in the direction of downtown. "Easier said than done Yui-chan. How do you find five other people without knowing what their names are, how old they are and if they even live in Japan."

Yui pursed her lips. "I know... But we have to try."

Keisuke slumped down lower, his one thought: 'I can't believe this is happening again.'

Outside Kasei Studios, Miaka glanced at the two men behind her, giving her encouraging smiles before taking a deep breath and stepping through the doors. Seeing the receptionist, Miaka waved. "Ohayo Emi-san!"

The receptionist waved back. "Ohayo Miaka-chan, Kaiou-san isn't here yet but the new person is. I sent her up to tenth floor to wait. Maybe you could show her around since not many other people are here yet ne?"

Nodding brightly, Miaka headed for the elevators. "Arigato Emi-san!" As the elevator doors closed, the former Suzaku no Miko tried to calm her breathing.

"Miaka, calm down." Taka's soothing arm was across her shoulders and his gray eyes smiled down at her. "Everything will be fine. Just don't get too excited ne?"

Biting her lip, Miaka fiddled with her fingers. "I'll try."

As the elevator dinged the tenth floor and the doors slid open to reveal a ravishly decorated smaller reception area, Miaka froze at the sight of the woman seated casually on the comfortable waiting chairs scattered about the waiting room, leafing through a magazine.

The same hair. The same braid. The same casually elegant posture.

The woman turned and Miaka got her first look in four years into those unforgettable purple-pink eyes. And her mind could only scream one word.

'Nuriko... Nuriko!!'

The sudden urge to rush over and throw her arms about the woman overtook her as tears started in Miaka's large hazel eyes. Suddenly Taka's arm across her shoulders was a dead-weight and Chichiri's voice was whispering urgently in her ear. "Even if she is Nuriko, she wouldn't have her memories yet no da. Don't get excited Miaka-chan!"

Taking a few deep breaths, Miaka reminded herself of the situation and forced back her tears. She gave the woman a wide smile. "Ohayo gozaimasu. You must be Yanagi-san. Sukunami Miaka desu. Yoroshiku."

A gentle smile blossomed on the woman's face and she stood up to offer her hand. "Nice to meet you Sukunami-san, but please, call me Kourin."

Miaka took the hand and shook it firmly. "Then you must also call me Miaka."

Kourin's gentle smile widened. "Miaka it is then!"

Fighting to keep from shouting in joy, Suzaku no Miko gestured to the two men behind her. "This is my husband Sukunami Taka and our friend Arai Hojun. I hope you do not object to my bringing them here."

Kourin shook hands with each of the men. "Yoroshiku Sukunami-san, Arai-san."

Chichiri couldn't help but smile at the familiar face he hadn't seen in almost a lifetime. "Hojun would do just fine Kourin-san. Yoroshiku."

Taka did likewise and caused Kourin to chuckle gently. "It's nice to meet a few people. I haven't been here too long but I seem to feel so comfortable around you."

"Would you like a tour Kourin-san? Kaiou-san shouldn't be a minute but perhaps I could show you around?"

"That would be very much appreciated Miaka-san."

Seated at a booth in a small cafe, Tetsuya reached into his jacket pocket for his phone and flipped it open. "Moshi moshi?"

"Tetsuya? It's me."

"Taka?" Tetsuya's voice drew the attention of Yui and Keisuke beside him. "What's going on? Is she...?"

"We're not totally positive yet and Chichiri says we won't be until we try to restore her memories but... it looks like we found Nuriko." The last few words were a contented sigh which caused Tetsuya to grin.

"That's good news Taka. Have you designated a meeting place?"

"Miaka and Kourin finish recording in two hours, how about we meet you at Phoenix's Lair for lunch."

Tetsuya grinned. "Trying to speed things up Taka?"

Taka laughed on the other end. "Miaka's idea, not mine. We'll see you there."

"Wakarimashita. Ja."

Hanging up the phone, Tetsuya turned to the two expectant faces. "Although not completely positive, Taka, Chichiri and Miaka seem pretty sure that Kourin is Nuriko." Watching both anxious faces split into grins, Tetsuya grinned. "And we're taking her to Phoenix's Lair for lunch in two hours."

Yui raised an eyebrow. "Phoenix's Lair? Isn't that that fancy Chinese restaurant that's opened just downtown?"

Keisuke smirked. "Smart plan. So that's decided." The smirk faded. "Now how to find the others."

Frowning, Yui answered. "I don't really know what we can do without Miaka, Taka and Chichiri here. Only they knew the Suzaku shichisei's quirks and only they can provide clues as to who they might be. For the rest of us, it's like looking for a needle in a haystack."

"Ano... Sumimasen..."

All three looked up to see a waitress with a tall glass of iced tea on her tray, a smile on her face. She addressed Yui. "I'm sorry Miss but a gentleman over there ordered this for you and asked that you enjoy it with his compliments."

Yui stared bewildered as the waitress set down the drink. Who would...? Turning, she started looking around. "Which gentleman?"

The waitress straightened and took a look towards the back booths only to frown in confusion. "That's funny, he was just there a minute ago..."

"What did he look like?" Tetsuya glanced wearily at Yui's astonished face.

The waitress grinned. "Well, he was handsome, with short dark hair and amber eyes. I haven't seen him around though, he's not a regular."

When Yui said nothing, Keisuke waved at the waitress. "Arigato, we appreciate it." Turning to face Yui again after the waitress had bowed politely off, Keisuke raised an eyebrow. "Anybody you know...?"

Yui frowned, shaking her head. "No... I don't think so..." Shrugging slender shoulders, Yui smiled a little and bent to sip from the straw in the drink. There was no sense in wasting it after all.

Tetsuya watched his girlfriend for a while longer before turning his gaze to the table. "I wonder... If Kourin is the reincarnation of Nuriko, would the others look as alike? If so, it may be easier to find them..."

"It is possible," Yui admitted. "And it would make the search a little easier for the rest of us who don't know them that well. Miaka does have that picture that she keeps of all of them, perhaps we could get copies made hmmm..?"

"Good idea. At this rate, we'd need all the help we can get. But we shouldn't let this one instance be a guide, I just hope we can gather them soon." Keisuke stirred his cooling coffee.

Finding a hand curling around hers under the table, Yui looked up to see Tetsuya's encouraging face and smiled. Then looking down at the tea in front of her, blue eyes narrowed before widening. On the surface of the tea, what looked like a small reflected image was seen. But this was nothing that could have been hanging from the ceiling. And it was a thing that was as distinctive as its owner.

On the liquid surface, the image of a small pink clam, barely open, winked back at Seiryuu no Miko before vanishing, leaving behind the pure brown color untainted but for the slight shine from the ceiling lights.

Other various customers in the small but popular cafe looked up as a table was knocked brusquely, the cups and saucers on top of it jingling noisily. Most watched in surprise as a blonde girl struggled to free herself from the constricting booth as fast as possible and then ran to the door while her two male companions yelled after her, attempting to follow her while one threw down some cash on the table. Then all three were out the door and their audience returned to their normal routines, muttering about 'crazy kids'.

Out on the streets, Yui ignored the yells of her name behind her as she searched rapidly for the man the waitress had described. Despite what the waitress had mentioned, in her mind, Yui still saw the tall man clad in the robes of the Chinese Opera, his painted face smiling that cool and knowing smile. There could be no other.

Seiryuu Shichiseishi Tomo.

Finally slowing to a stop, Yui bowed her head as warm arms wrapped around her and Tetsuya's voice was whispering in her ear. "Yui-chan, daijoubu...? Yui-chan...?"

Yui calmed herself and then nodded with a wistful smile. "Gomen... I just... thought I recognized someone. It's not that important."

Not believing that flimsy excuse for a second, but deciding to give Yui her privacy for now, Tetsuya nodded slowly and steered Yui in the other direction, sharing a worried look with Keisuke over her head. "Okay... Let's go now ne? Or we'll be late."

As the three walked off, a man with short dark hair and amber eyes glanced out from the shadows in a narrow alley, a small smile playing on his lips. "We're here, Yui-sama. Just wanted you to know we're here."

End Part I... To be continued...

End notes: Well... this is my first FY fanfic ^_^ So how'd I do? I haven't read too many FY fanfics so I'm not exactly sure what the norm is for reincarnation fics or what kind of response I'll get so I really need to know if this fic needs scrapping *L* C&Cs are craved!!

- Shikami ^-^            
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"Fushigi Yuugi: What Dreams May Come" is sole property of Shikami Yamino © 2001-2002.
"Fushigi Yuugi" is copyrighted Watase Yuu, Shogakukan, Flower Comics, Bandai, TX, Movic and Pierrot Studios. All rights reserved.