Just Another Morning

Pairing: Hotohori/Nuriko, Hotohori/Miaka

Author's notes: my first published FY fic. Desperately needs a beta. I love constructive criticism.

If it is not clear from the story itself, the first half is Nuriko's POV and the second half is Hotohori's.

***

- Aishiteru, - he whispers, and I wake up. And see him - what?! Oh, yes, the inn with too few free rooms - but why is he looking at me like that? I look at him. He's still looking at me. I keep looking at him, trying to understand what his expression could mean. He looks at me and I look at him and we look at each other, and I'm beginning to get seriously worried.

- Ne, Hotohori-sama, why are you looking at me like that? Is there something wrong with me? Is my hair green, or maybe my face is gone? - He seems to be in deep thought. I know I do not look too well in the morning, but that bad?

- No, not at all. You look the same as always - slightly less beautiful than me.

What does he mean by that? He looks at me as if seeing me for the first time. Then I realise he just complimented me and feel a really silly smile creep upon my face. He called me beautiful. What is wrong with him? He stares at me wide-eyed.

Then I hear Tamahome shouting:

- Hey, you two! Are we gonna go anywhere or stay here? - the idiot will need all his martial ability soon, because I am going to do my best to get him to a grave as soon as possible, I think, because the spell is broken and this is it. This. Is. It. And Hotohori-sama says something stupid, stupid, ear-splittingly wrong, and seems to cringe slightly - though I can't really tell, of course, because for some reason I feel tears coming and I have to concentrate on not letting Hotohori-sama notice anything. The door closes, and I relax, and this is it.

***

... comes closer. I wake up, a hard bed under me and dull bare walls around me - oh yes, another inn. And Nuriko on the other bed. I look at - him, I remind myself, it's "him". He is still sleeping, looking so peaceful and calm, quite unlike his usual alertness, readiness to cheer, distract or help. It looks no less beautiful on him, though; recently I had a funny thought: that he must be the second most beautiful man in the world, and again I am reminded of it. Strange how I never noticed him before. Now his face lights up with the most radiant smile I've ever seen, then his eyes open slowly. His expression changes from bewilderment to realisation to wonder, and he just looks at me. Then he says:

- Ne, Hotohori-sama, why are you looking at me like that? Is there something wrong with me? Is my hair green, or maybe my face is gone? - and I cannot help but notice how beautiful his voice is.

- No, not at all. You look the same as always - slightly less beautiful than me, - I reply, and that is the truth. His unbrushed, tangled hair possesses a wild elegance usually restrained by the braid, his still-sleepy eyes look curiously unguarded, that brilliant smile graces his face again, and everything is beautiful about him.

Then someone shouts something from the outside, and suddenly I remember everything else. And Miaka. I cannot understand how I could forget Miaka - usually thoughts of her occupy at least some part of my mind, the part which was reserved for the idea of the Miko until I met her in person. And right now that part had for the first time in ages been turned to something else, it seems like a sacrilege.

- I'll go before Miaka eats all our breakfast, - I say, because leaving without saying anything would be even worse than those words which sounded so false. Then I leave, feeling like I just destroyed something precious for which I know no name. And I do not think about the person left in the room, not even once, not even just before falling asleep.