Author's Notes: The common theroy among people who actually waste their time THINKING about stuff like this is that Seiryuu and Suzaku are not at war with each other, and thus are not responsible for the actions of their followers.  My question, then, is WHAT THE FRIGGEN HECK WERE THEY DOING FIGHTING EACH OTHER AND SMASHING THE CRAP OUT OF TOKYO IN THE PROCESS?!  This started out as one thing and sort of migrated to another.

This, BTW, is by no means what I think is ACTUALLY going through Seiryuu's scaly head.  It's a bit TOO human.  But I just thought it would be interesting if it WAS.  The POV alternates.  Seiryuu thoughts are indicated by blue font; Suzaku's are red.


Duty of Heaven

By Aeanagwen


So close.  He's so close.  After everything I've done to him, he's still come so close.  In the name of the greater good, he--all of them--had to suffer.  And I--I was behind all of it.  Can I stand aside now and watch him die, just as all the others have?  No...  He's so close.  He is mine.  My child.  My son.  Mine to protect, to defend.  But I failed him--failed them all.  No more.  No more!  I'm coming!


What is he doing?  Sweet Mother, where is he going?!

Oh no...

He cannot!  I have to stop him!  One of us has to stop him!  Brothers--!

No.  The battle is between his children and mine.  Mine are those who are at the greatest risk.  This is my duty.

I must stop you.  Brother.

This world--the miko's world.  My miko.  She, who suffered like all the rest of my children.  I will amend that now.  I will fight for you, my son!  The dragon will battle for his children, as he should have done all along!  I am at your back; I will not let you fall.  Even if this place must be destroyed--for you, the Azure Dragon will open the way to victory!

The first building falls beneath my claws, and I scream the glory of war to the storm-choked heavens of this earth.

I see him and feel myself falter.  This is the Dragon of War in all of his ferocity.  Brother...  My brother.  I cannot let you do this--to your children, or to mine.  To all the innocents in this world.  To yourself.

Brother!  Stop this!


I look up as the song of the phoenix shatters the sky above me.  Suzaku?  What is he doing here?  I see the determination in his eyes, and feel anger flow through me, cold as the ice of our eldest brother's mountains.

I will not let you stop me, Brother!  My son is too close!  Fight me if you will, but know that I will not hold back!

And I lunge at him, fury like I have never known driving my claws.

You cannot do this!  This is not our place, Brother!  Come back!  I beg you, Seiryuu, stop this insanity!

You don't know!  Do not interfere!  He has waited for this moment his entire life, and I will not see it trampled like his happiness was!

Seiryuu, please!

I cry out in pain as he slams into me, his teeth wailing through the air for my vulnerable throat.

Yes.  Yes!  My son will triumph!  I will destroy anything that stands in his way!  Even the innocent!  Even the divine!

He's not thinking straight.  The grief of what happened to his children, the guilt--he can't see past them.

Seiryuu!  You must see the truth!  Nakago wants to become a god!  This cannot come to pass!  We cannot permit it!  You know he does not follow you!  The demon is at his back, stronger than you!  Are you trying to destroy us?!

That doesn't matter!  I will not let him be defeated!  He, of all of them, will triumph!

Below us, I can feel the strength of my children pooling and becoming one, flowing into me, to my miko.  And I suddenly see with clarity of fire what her wish will be.

I freeze as I feel the world fall away from me.

No!  No!  Nakago!  NAKAGO!

My brother's keening anguish fills the skies, fills my soul, as he vanishes, as Nakago falls.  I follow after my sibling, pursuing his trail of blinding sapphire light into the darkness that I know so well, the darkness of being sealed away from all who you give strength.

No...  No...  Mother of us all, please no...  Don't let me have failed him again...  Not like I failed all the rest.  Please...

I dissolve into my human form and approach him.  He stands, also clad in mortal guise, turned away from me, trembling.  I've never seen him like this.  By the Mother, is he--crying?  None of us--none of us--have ever wept before.  Of all of us, I would never have counted him to be the first.  Seiryuu...  My brother...

I feel Suzaku's presence at my back and ignore him, dignity a ragged cloak thrown around the shoulders of a toppled king.  I don't want his sympathy.  Don't want any of their sympathy.  My children had to suffer alone.  Why should their father be any different?

I touch his shoulder gently and feel his muscles stiff and tight beneath my fingertips, disturbed by a fine tremor.  He whips around to face me, and I feel my heart contract in pain.  Tears the shade of his crystal-blue hair streak down his face, which is as pale as a spirit's, and as cold with indifference as a lake covered in frost.  But his eyes are alive, storm-tossed and raging with agony and defeat.

I wince and shake my head in regret.  His mask crumbles and he embraces me roughly, shaking with tears that have been stayed for decades.  Wild, uncontrollable tears which remind me that sorrow--like love--is an emotion which runs strong and deep.

How can they ever forgive me?  For what I've done to them?  My children.  Tomo.  Ashitare.  Miboshi.  Soi.  Amiboshi.  Suboshi.  Nakago.  Yui--!  My daughter! I--

Seiryuu!  Listen to me, my brother.  Listen, and understand.  Before they can forgive you, you must learn to forgive yourself.


You did what you believed had to be done.  We are not the ones to judge.  We must act to save our people.  What you did was what your people forced upon you.  In some ways, for all our strength, we are more helpless than they could ever be.  Such is our duty.

They have a choice.

The bitterness is overwhelming, flat and coppery like dried blood on my lips.


As we do not.

Exactly.  Your children are not the only ones who have ever suffered.  Did you think it was easy for me?  To watch Chichiri?  Mitsukake?  Nuriko?

His tears have stopped, but I can see in his face, can feel in my own heart, the strength that I see in Byakko and Genbu.  The knowledge that comes from watching our children suffer.  The power that we then return to our chosen.

Perhaps they are stronger than we.

Perhaps.  But they look to us for strength.  That is our redemption, Brother.  Whatever else can be said of your children, they did not lack in strength, or determination, or courage.  That was your gift to them.

My "gift."

Your gift.  Your determination.  Your will.  Your stubbornness.

He glares at me for a moment for that last, and I smile at him, the expression a blend of fondness and exasperation and taunt.

Perhaps.  I think--I will go and speak to them, now.

I watch him leave, and turn as my own miko calls upon my power.  For such is our duty.  To answer our miko's call.  For each of us, she is and will ever be the one.  The savior, the sacrifice.  The hero, the maiden.  The priestess.  For now, and for always.


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