Some personal demons must be dealt with alone...no matter how much you'd wish it otherwise.... (Kasumi, Kage, Fuma fic)
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Suikoden 1 or its characters. This is an amateur work of fan fiction and is not for profit.
4 AM, Fuma reflected, was a godsawful time of the morning. Evidently most of the other residents of the castle agreed, as he didn't meet a soul on his way out. He emerged from the cave entrance, passed the fishermens' shack, and checked down the length of the steps leading to the boats. Not there, and all the boats were still docked. He must've beaten him. Fuma settled in the dark against the low wall along the steps to wait.
A few minutes later, a shadow detached itself from the cave entrance and headed for the steps, a pack on its back. It didn't make a sound over the lapping of the waves and the occasional clang of the boats at their moorings.
Fuma said from the darkness, "Finally leavin', eh?"
He stopped, but didn't turn around. His head came up, and Fuma could have sworn that he heard a sigh. "Yes."
"Did you tell her?"
A pause. "Of course not."
Fuma moved forward to sit on the parapet. "She's never gonna forgive you." He looked out over the water. "Hell. I haven't decided yet if I'M gonna forgive you."
"I wasn't going to leave without speaking to you."
Fuma looked at him. "Oh yeah?"
He nodded, though with the way the moonlight fell, Fuma couldn't tell if he was actually being looked at or not. "You'll take care of her." It wasn't a question, wasn't a command, just...a statement, to be accepted or refuted.
Fuma sighed, looking out over the water again. Then he snorted. "If you think she needs either of us to protect her, then you've been asleep for the past year."
He didn't get a response, just a measured silence.
Fuma sighed again. "Yeah. I'll watch out for her. You know that. Got invited to Rokkaku. Figure I'll give it another try."
Another nod, and a shift of the pack on his back. "Good." Silent as always, a hand dropped on Fuma's shoulder, squeezing.
Fuma closed his eyes. He would not say it. He wouldn't. Because it wouldn't do any good. He just covered the hand with his own, squeezing back. "We'll miss you." It was the only plea he'd allow himself.
The words were heavy on his tongue. "Take care of yourself."
"You, too." And he walked away.
On the way back, Fuma found Kasumi, standing in the entrance, looking out at the dark figure that wound his way down the steps to the docks. She looked at him, her voice quiet. "He's leaving. Isn't he?"
Fuma nodded, slowly. "Yes."
She nodded, face set unreadably. He only barely managed to catch her as she tried to bolt past, catching her around the waist, her momentum spinning him around so they were both facing the docks, and he fended off one elbow, took a rather well-placed kick, and cursed. "'Sumi--"
"No! Let me go! Let me GO!" She knew how to struggle, and Fuma supposed that he was lucky that she wasn't really willing to hurt him, or he wouldn't have been able to stop her. "Dung-eating hellspawn, let me GO!" Grimly, he pinned her arms with his own, then her legs between his own and the parapet. It took some doing, but finally she stopped struggling, almost sobbing. "KAGE!"
He shook her. "'Sumi! Stop it!" She choked back something that was most definitely a sob, and he gritted his teeth, determined not to turn both of them into weeping messes. Carefully, lest she try to escape again, he wrapped his arms firmly around her. "Don't make this any harder for him than it already is."
She turned and buried her face in his forearms. "But why? Why? Did he say why?"
"No." He finally let her turn around, glad that she didn't do anything but turn to wrap her arms around him in a deathgrip. "He didn't say. He...he wanted to make sure I'd stay with you. Watch out for you."
She looked up at him, sniffling. She'd evidently never gotten the knack of crying gracefully, and her face was red and swollen. "Really?"
She looked out where the lone boat was moving over the water, cutting a silver trail towards the shore. She grumbled, almost to herself, "Watch out for me. What does he think I am, a kid?"
Fuma, wisely, said nothing.
She whispered, "He does care, right? Right?"
Fuma leaned his head down, his arms tightening around her. "Yeah." He wondered, somewhere in the back of his mind, if he was lying. Then he remembered how, when Kasumi had called his name, Kage's steps had faltered. Just for a second. "Yeah, he does. But the man's got demons chasing him, and only he can deal with them."
"We could help---"
He shook his head. "You know him, 'Sumi."
"Yes." Her voice broke, then strengthened, by sheer force of will. "Yes, I guess I do."
They were quiet, both of them watching until long after they couldn't see the boat anymore.