Standard Disclaimers Apply

Walking (Tasuki)

All his memories seemed to include some form of running, as if that was all he had ever done. Suzaku knew he had the speed and stamina for it, a gift from the Guardian God that he had never asked for. The man who had led the Reikaku bandits before him may have once told him that - that between the fire in his soul and the strength in his legs he was born to run. So run is what he had done, without ever knowing why.

He had run in the fields where he grew up, as free of care as a wild horse. He had run to and from the village, away from his sisters and chores and his mother's expectations for her only son. When he had gotten fed up with all of that he had run away completely and joined up with the bandits.

He had been running then too. Running with his new brothers, exploring the territory they called their own and hunting like wild animals in the mountains. He had been more figuratively running away from his supposed destiny then too, unwilling to allow anyone - even a god - decide where his life was going but him.

The only people he'd ever met who were running faster than him had been Miaka and Tamahome. The tiny priestess had breezed into his life like a miniature storm, taken hold of everything that could have been his future and made off with it like the true bandit he claimed to be. Miaka was running too, never stopping on her way to some great goal that mattered more than anything but couldn't really be explained fully and Tamahome was right behind her, struggling desperately to keep up. It wasn't long before he knew the feeling.

One by one they had fallen around him, a fact that he found distinctly unfair. He had been so busy running that he hadn't noticed them working their way into his heart until they started dying. Until finally even Miaka and Tamahome were gone and only himself and Chichiri remained.

Even then, he might have kept running. It was in his nature after all, but they were the only two left... and Chichiri never ran anywhere. So Tasuki reluctantly slowed his pace at the same time that Chichiri sped up just a little and the two of them wandered, trying to forget or forgive the past - though sometimes he thought he would just settle for being able to breath again and survive.

He never let himself wonder what would happen to him if (when!) Chichiri passed away, if he would be a ghost in living flesh as Tamahome had been when Miaka was gone and he was still there. He never let himself wonder what would happen if he lost what little patience he had and went back to running, or if he stopped moving all together. He lived in the moment as he always had, though no longer the rush of battle and blood so much as the quiet of the road under the sun and the absolute stillness of the swift night.

But every once in a while, when the moment struck him between the moments of sunset and moonrise and he found himself gazing upward and wondering idly if his brothers could be found in the heavens or if they had already returned to the earth, he would turn his head just a little to check that Chichiri was still there, still breathing, and think that maybe slowing down to walk wasn't so bad after all.

Not that he would ever admit it, though.

Author's Notes: I had promised myself that I would post sets of four in this one, but I got tired of waiting for the other three to show themselves and I'm not interested in forcing the issue with writing.