Categories > Games > Suikoden 2 > To Breathe0 Reviews
If you said it, and said it clearly/ It would be heard by me/ If you felt it, felt it in your heart/ If your mind inside was like mine/ You would find and see me/ You would be welcome in my dreams/...
I Am Falling
A 'strange figure'. They said. 'Couldn't really make it out'. 'Looked human'. 'Barely even saw it'.
Futch huffed. What was he supposed to do with that?
Almost four years since the end of the Dunan Unification War, a little less than three since his return to the Dragon Knights and he was still wandering around. He had a different purpose this time, of course. He was continuing his training and, in this leg of training, he was to go on a journey for eight months. He had to pick up odd jobs, conduct himself accordingly and.... survive without his dragon for eight /months/. Futch grumbled to himself. He had to survive without one for three whole years! He already knew that he couldn't depend everything to a dragon!
But then.... he also had Humphrey with him....
He used his spear to maneuver his way through the forest, shifting away random brambles that got in his way.
So he went to a nearby town, hoping to have some sort mission and what does he get? A ghost story. How was he supposed to find some sort of shadowy apparition when almost no one knew what they were talking about?
With a sigh, Futch squatted down, resting on his haunches. He'd been walking the entire day, not stopping even for a bite to eat and he was really starting to feel it. He inhaled deeply and that's when he smelt it. A very faint, nearly undetectable scent of burnt wood. Looking closely at the ground and trees around him, he noticed very subtle signs of disturbance. The imprint of packed ground, the bend in twigs and leaves that pointed towards someone having brushed roughly by it.
Of course, it could've just been someone that came by to hunt, or a lost traveler. But.... Futch decided slowly, it could also be his ghost.
"Well." He said to himself. "Might at well get going."
Moving through the forest cautiously, he followed the trail. Eventually it led him to a small clearing of sorts. Actually, it wasn't even much of a clearing. Just a small space between a small clump of trees- larger than most spaces between trees. There, heavily concealed in the undergrowth, was a neatly folded blanket and knapsack. Next to that was some cooking supplies and a small amount of firewood that he almost looked over. He took a deep breath again, this time being able to smell the rustic scent of cooked meat. His stomach rumbled.
"'M so hungry...." He murmured to himself. At that moment, he decided that food was a rather good thing.... "Maybe they won't mind if I take a bit...." He reached for the knapsack when he jerked back. He could imagine Milia reprimanding him in his mind. "You're supposed to uphold Dragon Knight standards at all times!" Milia-conscience scolded. "Dragon Knights do not steal!"
"Grrr.... Fine! I'll wait until they come back." Futch flopped to the ground, pouting, arms crossed.
"Glad to hear that." A voice said behind him. Surprised, Futch spun around, bringing his spear to bare. However, he found himself at point with a small, very sharp knife at his throat, the person held another knife against the shaft of the spear, preventing Futch from being able to hit his attacker.
Who seemed.... familiar..... Futch looked closely at the other person. He looked younger, dark, fiery brown hair and bright cat-shaped eyes. The other tilted his head to the side, catching notice of Futch's headgear.
Those cat eyes narrowed. "....F....Futch....?"
Futch straightened. "Sasuke!" They both lowered their weapons. "You're that ghost?"
" 'Ghost'?" The other frowned. "I'm hardly a ghost. What are you doing here?"
"Well.... Looking for you, you could say." He looked Sasuke up and down. "What's with the clothes? What happened to your ninja clothes?"
Sasuke looked down at himself, then shrugged, stashing his kunai in his hidden pockets. Futch could've sworn he saw Sasuke color slightly. "I have them. I was just going to meditate." He indicated to his white uniform. "But then you tripped the alarm system I had set up and so I stuck around to see if you'd find my place."
"You're place...." Futch frowned. "What are you doing here? A bit far from Rokkaku, isn't it?"
"Training for what?"
Sasuke shrugged vaguely. "What did you mean 'looking for me'?"
"People said they saw something out here, I come to look. I find you."
"Why are you out here? Where's Bright and Humphrey?"
Futch shook his head. "It's part of training. I can't have Bright support me for a few months. And Humphrey finally decided to settle down."
"Yeah," Futch grinned. "A lady named Milia, if you know her."
Sasuke looked at him for a moment, the name ringing something in the back of his mind. Then he remembered Kasumi getting excited over a friend's wedding, he thought he heard the names 'Humphrey' and 'Milia' in there somewhere, but had just set it aside in favor of training.
The young ninja moved towards the foliage and tugged out his knapsack. "I take it you're hungry?"
Futch promptly perked up. "Yeah! I haven't eaten all day!"
Sorting through his bag, Sasuke said, "I don't have much at the moment. I haven't gone hunting since yesterday, so don't expect a gourmet meal or anything."
"Just palpable and filling is fine right now."
Within half and hour's time, the two young men sat across from each other, munching on the wild hare, a bit tough and dry, but it was enough to suit them for now. By this time the sky was beginning to turn.
"Hey," Futch said, "mind if I stay with you for the night?"
Sasuke looked at him quietly. "Should I?"
The other shrugged. "I dunno. Maybe you wanted to be alone training."
"It doesn't matter. My training is mainly meditation right now."
"Mediation," Sasuke explained, "is to help focus your mind. Clear it of uncluttered thoughts and expand them at the same time."
Futch looked confused.
With a sharp exhale, Sasuke put it another way, "It's to sort your thoughts."
"And you need that?"
He shrugged. "I still have the tendency to be distracted when I really shouldn't be. I have to train myself to be focused and still be aware of what's going on around me."
Futch stretched, rolling on to his back. "Would it be okay if I stuck around for a while? I haven't had anyone to talk to for a while."
"If you want to."
With a smile, Futch let out a chuckle. "Hey, do you remember the time Viktor got half the army drunk-?"
I Am Fading
That 'staying for the night' eventually turned into 'staying for the month'. Futch had set up a loose sort of 'headquarters' with Sasuke, heading into one of the two nearby towns every day, picking up whatever strange jobs they had. On occasions- for a change of pace, he said -Sasuke joined him on his longer jobs, whether it was looking for someone, an item or just taking care of some dangerous monsters and bandits.
And, as much fun as the two had together, they really didn't spend that much time together.
All day, from sun up to sun down- with only a small break in the middle of the day -Sasuke spent meditating. And whenever Futch couldn't find a job, it meant he spent the entire day alone, bored until just before dusk when he'd hunt for their dinner. Whenever he returned with food, Sasuke would already be there, changed into the clothes Futch was most familiar with, small fire already started. The leftovers they'd keep as breakfast and lunch the next day, the cycle turning over again.
One night, though, hunting had been especially quick and Futch had come back just Sasuke did. The younger boy barely took notice of him, drenched to the bone, long hair falling in his eyes, rivulets of water dripping down his face.
"You're soaking wet!" Futch cried, dropping the game he had killed and ran over to the other boy.
"Meditating." Sasuke said simply. He looked away from Futch, peeling out of the translucent clothes that clung tight against his body. Futch's mouth went dry, watching the unconsciously erotic way Sasuke stripped, the water helping the light of the fire to accentuate his slender cut muscles, long and wiry. He knew he had been taking too much of a liking to watching Sasuke beforehand, but this.... This was something completely different and Futch could hear his breathing cut shortly.
In the middle of pulling on his sleeping shirt, Sasuke paused and turned to Futch. The latter's eyes were uncontrollably drawn to the tautness of the other's tight stomach, down to where his hips flared slightly to meet the thin black material of his pants.
"Is something wrong?" He asked. The way his amber eyes glinted under his thick lashes, wet hair brushing against his face, Futch couldn't help but find incredibly sexy.
"N-No!" He stammered out, rushing to pick up the animals in order to clean. And help get his attention off Sasuke no matter how much he wanted to look back. "Um, just where do you meditate?"
"There's a small lake and waterfall not an hour and a half's walk from here."
"An hour and a half?" Futch asked. He turned his head slightly, unwilling but wanting to catch another view of the half-dressed ninja. "Isn't that a bit far?"
"Not really. Helps with training."
"Find anything exciting today?"
"Not really. Just some kids lost their cat, caught a shoplifter and just beat off some poor sap trying to terrorize people. Nothing exciting." Futch skewered the cleaned meat, then reached into his bag. "Here. Picked up some fruits and vegetables today."
Sasuke caught the apple that was thrown his way. "Thanks."
"Sure." Propping up the stakes over the fire, he handed Sasuke the vegetables to cut up. "Just out of curiosity," he said, peeling an orange, "does meditation ever get boring?"
"It's not for entertainment."
"Yeah, I know, but," he popped a section into his mouth, "don't you get bored doing it?"
"No." He spread the greens on a small block, slicing them with quick, precise movements. "The day passes by so quickly, sometimes I don't even remember to stop."
"If you're so good at it, then why do you have to keep doing it." Futch reached for the meat, the outside browning, the inside hot and cooked. He cut it into cubes, putting it into the pan that Sasuke put the cut vegetables in.
"Meditation isn't something you have to 'get good at'." Sasuke explained. "It's to calm your mind and help your concentration." He grabbed the pan, dumping in the rest of the veggies, holding it over the fire to stir-fry.
"When will your training be done?"
Sasuke gradually stopped cutting, eyes boring deep into Futch's. "Whenever I feel that I'm no longer being distracted."
I Am Drowning
A couple more days had passed and Futch spent more time in the towns, trying to keep his mind off Sasuke. Years ago, he felt some sort of attraction to the young ninja, but had passed it off as wanting to become friends with the quiet boy. And once that was accomplished, the feeling became stronger. Humphrey had told him it was just a passing phase that Futch was going through, a crush like any other fourteen year old boy would be going through. In the four years that passed, Futch had his small share of romances that never went anywhere.
No one quite had the same allure that Sasuke had. And still had.
He didn't want think it was much at first, staying up to watch Sasuke sleep. He was a good friend he hadn't seen in years, but then, the feelings kept getting stronger, little by little.
Sasuke shouldn't worry about getting distracted; Futch was the one with that problem.
A couple more times, Futch purposefully either went hunting early or picked up food for the night just so he could be there to watch Sasuke undress, watch the way the white material of his clothes stuck to him so enticingly, watching how the water trickled so freely down his back and legs. He spent those nights sleeping a little further away from Sasuke. An eighteen-year-old mind took very little convincing to be imaginative in these sorts of situations.
And when that didn't satisfy him, Futch forewent going to town and just followed Sasuke to the lake. There was just something so entrancing about watching him sit for hours under a waterfall, something that made him bite his lip and his breath come out a little faster. Not necessarily erotic, but just.... attractive. Something that just drove Futch to follow, day after day and leave only when the other had come out of his meditation.
Of course, what really made the trip worthwhile was whenever Sasuke took his afternoon break. Trudging calmly to the shore, his clothes seemed about to drip off him. Once on dry ground, he'd strip off, changing into his black pants in order to continue with his physical training. Futch loved watching the way the sun would play on the planes of his muscles, water and sweat making his skin glisten as he moved with such grace and power. After, he'd bath in the lake, cleaning himself in the clear water and then lay to rest on the ground, letting the sun dry him and smooth out his bronze-gold tan.
And every time that happened, Futch wouldn't be able to face the younger boy until that night, mind in disarray and hormones in overdrive. It seemed to him an almost perfect existence at the moment. All day, watching Sasuke, all night dreaming about him. He had never felt so out of control with his reactions before but he really didn't feel a need to stop.
His only wish was to touch him, just once. It didn't matter how, petting his dark hair, running fingers over silken muscles. But the touch of a dream was all he had to satisfy him and he'd prefer that over never being able to see him again.
Perhaps Sasuke had become a bit suspicious, or maybe Futch had slipped up somewhere, but the young ninja had come to stop asking if anything interesting had happened in the village.
One night, after they had finished eating, Sasuke asked, "Something is different with you." Futch looked up in surprise. "Something with the way you've been acting." He continued. "It's changed drastically."
The Dragon Knight looked away. "Why do you say that?"
"Because it's true. It doesn't look like you've been going to town. I've checked our funds and it hasn't changed in over a week. And it seems like you're avoiding me."
"It's not that...." Futch said lamely.
"You've been following me to the lake." The older boy's head snapped up, eyes wide. "Why?"
He colored brightly, unable to look at Sasuke. "It's a welcome distraction."
"I can't help it. I can't...." he swallowed hard, "I can't get you out of my mind."
Futch hid his face under his bangs and hand, never more afraid of any one person in his life. "I'm sorry."
He looked up slightly, watching Sasuke with one visible eye.
The other continued without hesitation. "You haven't disturbed me and we can still continue to survive even without money. The only one you're hurting is yourself because you're not working on your training. You should be apologizing to yourself, not to me."
"But, I invaded your privacy."
"Training is not privacy. If I was so worried about it, I wouldn't have let you stay for so long."
Sasuke always had a way of thinking so much older than he was, it made Futch feel like he was fourteen again. Sasuke really hadn't changed at all....
Futch nodded. "You're right. I've been neglecting my mission. I'll get back on track tomorrow." Sasuke nodded in turn.
"Tomorrow I'll go with you if you'd like. I never really looked around the towns when I got here. It'll be a well earned reprieve from meditating."
Futch raised an eyebrow. "You're taking a day off? That's amazing!"
"I have to make sure you don't get distracted again." He gave him a flat look, but couldn't hide the small smile on his lips. Futch grinned and that smile grew a bit wider until both of them just began laughing.
It was different having Sasuke around, much more than back during the war. Now they had no real goal, everyone was out to support themselves and not a common effort. It wasn't bad, it was a relief, actually. No pressure weighing down on their shoulders, racing to end the pain. It was just two young adults, wandering down the streets, catching the eyes of every girl and young woman, every person that could admire and appreciate beauty and strength.
As they were making their way towards the main market's street, Sasuke cast Futch an askew glance before he nearly tripped the older boy. With a startled yelp, Futch struggle to regain his footing and watched as Sasuke was already a distant figure, running as fast as he could. With a shout, Futch chased after them and it was like they were kids again, having fun, not caring what anyone else thought.
It was wonderful.
At least twice a week now Sasuke would go with Futch and in the evenings he'd teach the Dragon Knight some basic techniques like the art and usefulness of breathing, mediation and focus. That second month made both of them loosen up and for Futch, it drastically changed his feelings towards Sasuke. It toned down his hormones, no longer looking at Sasuke overly sexually, coming to enjoy his company even more than he had when they were younger. At that moment, all thoughts of dragons and Dragon Knights were far from his mind. All that mattered to him was being with Sasuke.
Then, one day, Sasuke found Futch waiting for him at the water's edge as he completed his meditation for the day.
"Is something wrong?" Sasuke asked, ruffling the water from his hair.
"I wanted to say," the older boy said, "thank you. You've done a lot for me and I really appreciate it."
"We're friends, aren't we? I'd help you any way I could."
"I know. That's why I want to thank you."
For a moment they just stood there, watching each other. A stray droplet trickled slowly down the side of Sasuke's face, collecting near the corner of his mouth. Slowly Futch leaned in, a sudden impulse to wipe away that drop. Sasuke didn't pull away, just turned his head slightly to face the older boy. After a pause, Futch kissed him. His lips moved over Sasuke's lightly, suckling very lightly at his bottom lip, taking a careful pass over it with his tongue. He felt the ninja purr slightly against him before he pulled back. Neither said a thing, just looking at the other silently.
Finally, Futch turned away saying, "I'll start dinner." And he left Sasuke to dry and change as the sun began to sink.
After that kiss, things slowly began to change. Futch never went back to the lake but everything else stayed the same. For a bit.
For a couple of days Futch noticed that Sasuke was watching him. It wasn't just watching, though, it had the air that he intended to say something, or wanted something. Perhaps to talk, perhaps to figure something out, but he never did anything more than stare. It wore on Futch's nerves until he finally became annoyed and nervous enough to ask what was wrong. Sasuke looked at him, trying to figure out something to say, and then just looked away.
Then, as time went by, Sasuke stopped going to town and began staying at the lake later and later, eventually he didn't even bother to eat. Just returned, changed and slept. That caused Futch to stay out longer, trying to rid himself of his frustration and worry, taking it out on whatever monster or bandit he happened to come across.
In the middle of the third month, Sasuke was already sitting at the camp when Futch returned late one night.
"What's up?" He asked, though he didn't really seem to mean it. Seeing Sasuke watching him like that made his blood hot and he wanted to hurt Sasuke back for all the worry and uncertainty he was feeling. When Sasuke made no sound, he turned and snapped, "Say something!"
With a deep breath, Sasuke closed his eyes and said, "Tomorrow, I think you should leave."
Futch's heart stopped. "What?"
"It's not doing either of us any good." Sasuke's hands clenched together almost imperceptibly. "You've become a distraction."
He became desperate. "If this is about that kiss, I'm sorry-"
"What you feel isn't going to change anything." The other said a bit more forcefully than he meant. "It happened and now we have to deal with the consequences." He opened his eyes that seemed in pain at his harsh decision. "You have to go. I can't focus with you here."
Strength left Futch as he sighed. "I really am sorry, Sasuke."
He just closed his eyes again and went to his bedroll. "I know."
By dawn, Futch and all trace of his presence had gone.
This story takes place, obviously, after SuikoII. I don't know why I'm such a big FutchxSasukexFutch fan, but I am. The section and chapter headers ('to breathe', 'i am falling', 'i am fading', 'i am drowning') all come from BoA's Duvet. The summary comes from their song Welcome. All character mentioned are owned by Konami.