Categories > Games > Suikoden 2 > To Breathe0 Reviews
We have argued till we are black and blue/Nothing to say this is what I tell you/Happiness is as freedom/It is welcome/If you saw this/You would know this is the truth...
They Might Hurt You
Milia and her dragon hovered over the practice field, shouting corrections and movements to the Dragon Knights practicing below her.
"Focus! That left side is wide open! Utilize your speed! Block those attacks!" She huffed, but patted her dragon's neck lovingly. "They're a pretty good group, aren't they?" It rumbled approvingly under her. Then both their eyes were caught by something below them.
A white streak flew around one of the riders and dragons, easily distracting them. But, despite the obvious upper hand the other pair had, their opponent was still standing strong against them.
Milia growled to herself, maneuvering her mount towards them. "Futch!" She shouted. "You have them where you want them, so do something with them!" And yet, they didn't seem to get anywhere. "Focus, Futch!" She demanded sharply. Watching the match for another minute, Milia whistled and Bright slowed to a halt, recognizing it as the command to halt. Bringing herself down close to them, Milia spoke lowly to Futch who barely seemed to realize she was there. "I think we need to talk." She said quietly. "Go back to the cave, I'll see you in the waiting room after practice. Got it?"
He didn't say anything, just looked at her with dull eyes. With a bit of pressure from his heels, he directed Bright back to the Dragon Cave. Milia watched them go, frustration clearly on her face. Ever since he had returned from the Grasslands, he seemed so unlike his regular self. He was withdrawn, quiet, wouldn't focus on his work. And what was worse, he didn't seem to be paying any attention to his dragon lately, either. And it was about high time his commander stepped in.
Soon after, she stopped practice, too worried about Futch to really pay attention herself, dispersing the others before they came to realize this.
For a cave, it was surprisingly warm, well lite and well furnished, the doors hinged wood to stone and she headed straight to the waiting room, speaking only passing words of encouragement to the other knights. As she moved on, she didn't Sharon following her. She had seen Bright and Futch come in early, a disgruntled look on his face meaning that her mother had something to say to him that he really didn't want to get into. That meant it was something Sharon had to be there for. In the waiting room was a small table where Futch sat, watching his hands as he played passingly with a small piece of wood.
"Futch," he looked up to see Milia sitting across the table from him, "We really need to talk." She paused only for a moment as Sharon came bounding into the seat next to her mother, giving Futch a toothy grin. Ignoring her daughter's presence, Milia focused on the subject at hand. "Something's bothering you. A lot. You've been withdrawing from everyone and you're not focusing in practice."
"It's nothing." He said. He knew Milia wouldn't believe him, but she wouldn't understand, either. "I've just been thinking, that's all."
"About what?" Futch didn't answer. She let out a huff. Fine, looked like she'd have to pull her card out early. "I got a letter from Apple about a week before you got back."
"Oh?" He tried to act nonchalant about it, but she could hear a hint of worry in his voice.
"Yes. She started writing to me when she found out that you two were joining the effort." She smiled deceptively. "It's so nice to hear from old friends again, isn't it?"
"Speaking of which," her tone lowered, "I heard that there was an incident with an old friend of yours there, too."
".....His name is Sasuke."
"Sasuke, that's right." Milia leaned back. "She told me you two were friends in the Unification War. So what happened?"
"I don't want to talk about it."
"Was it something bad?"
"No." He shook his head, looking down at his hands folded on the table. "It's not that."
"Tell me, Futch. It's obviously affecting you."
"Futch," she said sternly, "if something is keeping you from performing properly as a Dragon Knight, as the commander, I have a right to know."
"I know you do. I just.... I just can't tell you." His hands clenched.
"I can tell you, Momma!" Sharon chirped. Futch's head snapped up to watch her sly grin. "That guy-"
"He was being really close to Futch-"
"Sharon, stop it."
"I saw them hugging all tight. It was gross."
"That guy's so disgusting and weird!"
"I said shut your mouth!" He surged across the table, hand coming around and scoring an open palmed mark across her cheek. Everything stopped and Sharon looked up at Futch in surprise and deep hurt, tears coming unwillingly to her eyes. Without a word, not even a sound, she stood from the table and walked out, her head low.
Milia turned to glare at him, "Futch...."
"I'm sorry." He slumped back in his chair. "I'm only apologizing to you because I shouldn't have done it, but I don't regret having done it. She has no right to speak badly about Sasuke, she doesn't know who he is." He clenched his hand, trying to will away all the ill feelings that bubbled inside. "She never gave him a chance. He deserves so much...."
"What do you feel for this Sasuke?"
He looked up. "What?"
She laced her fingers, resting her chin on her hands. "Well, obviously you care a great deal for him. Humphrey had told me before that he was probably the only friend you had that was your age. He also said that you had asked the difference between love and friendship a couple months before the war had ended. While the two of you were spending a good deal of time together." She hinted.
"Yeah.... I remember." A faint smile shadowed over his face. "He said that there really wasn't a difference. He would do just as much for a dear friend as he would someone he loved. I asked him how you could tell if you loved a friend and he just said I'd know when I did."
"He also said," she began meaningfully, "that you asked why it was against protocol for a Dragon Knight to love someone of the same gender."
Futch lowered his head and clenched his jaw. "....He said most children my age go through those sorts of thoughts, but they never really last long."
"But it did, didn't it?" He said nothing. "You think you're in love with Sasuke, don't you?"
"I wish it was only a thought. Then I could ignore it."
"You know that it is a violation of regulations."
"And yet you still sit there and admit it willingly to your commander."
"If I were to deny it," his fists clenched and the leather of his gloves creaked, "then could I really be in love with him?"
With a sigh, Milia scooted her chair over to Futch's and brought an arm around his shoulders, tugging him to lean against her. "Futch, you know you're like a little brother to me."
"And you know I'd trust you with anything."
"And you know I'd hate to do anything to hurt you."
She placed her cheek against his soft hair. "You've chosen love over duty. Even though I'll never forgive myself for what I have to do, you've made me proud." She smiled shakily, closing her eyes against the tears. "Please forgive me, Futch."
"It was something I brought on myself. I only wish I wouldn't have hurt you because of my selfishness."
"It's not selfish. Love is the most wonderful thing in the world. If I had to chose between Humphrey and the Dragon Knights, I'd pick him a thousand times over." Milia placed a kiss on his head. "I take from you the title of Dragon Knight. But you will always be welcome in the cave, and you will always have your steed. And you will always be my little brother. Go. Find your love. You deserve to be happy, no matter what anyone says."
"Milia...." his voice cracked and he buried his face against her shoulder, choking out thank yous and apologies between cries. And she just held him, whispering her goodbyes as she wept.
It Means So Much
"I apologize, Hokage-sama."
"You failed." The aged voice repeated, vast disappointment in his voice. "Why?"
"......" He couldn't answer.
"I'm sorry, Hokage-sama!" He bowed his head low. "I won't fail you. Not again."
"Sasuke-kun," Hanzo stood from his cushion, walking down towards the young man where he lay prostrate on the floor, "you don't seem to understand." Taking a calm, deep breath from his pipe, he looked down at the ninja. "You've never failed before. You have never done anything less than extraordinarily well. So then why did you fail me now?"
"I have no excuse, Hokage-sama."
"Because you were caught." He answered himeslf and he felt Sasuke tense. "Don't be surprised. Though you are my prized successor, that doesn't mean that I wouldn't send someone to watch for your welfare." He turned to look down at him. "Why did you allow yourself to be caught."
"I was careless."
"You were stupid. You've fought Watari before, you should've known better than to attack him in broad daylight in a place where he has allies all over the place. That is not a mistake even a Genin would make."
Sasuke winced, the words hurt because they were the truth. He didn't even know why he had attacked like he did. It was stupid and foolhardy of him and it wouldn't help his failure any.
"And what's more," he continued to pace around the young man, "you did nothing when you're given the chance to escape and you lose track of him. Not a good ending to a very important mission, Sasuke."
"Tell me, what distracted you?" Sasuke swallowed hard, body trembling slightly under the cool, disapproving gaze of his leader. "Don't think I don't know already, boy. You always had the problem of being too passionate, you get distracted easily by minor things." The air in the darkened room grew cold and oppressive, demanding to be answered. "Tell me."
".....I....." his breath caught in his throat as he tried to fight the feeling.
"It was that Dragon Knight, what was his name....?"
"Futch." He said automatically.
"Ah yes, Futch." Hanzo inhaled another breath of smoke. "I remember seeing him. Young lad, very sturdy and determined. Kasumi told me that you two were close. I could see you learned a lot of good things during that time." He crouched next to Sasuke's head and asked in a thin, throaty voice, "He's had a habit of distracting you, hasn't he?"
"Don't lie to me." He got up, voice level once again, but with underlying agitation. "When I sent you out to learn patience and balance for your own, you should've been gone only for a few months and you hadn't come back for nearly half a year. And when I asked you, what did you say?"
Sweat dripped off his chin and he could swear the sound of it hitting the mat amplified in the room. "I.... had trouble learning focus."
"Because something was distracting me."
He turned around, jabbing a finger at Sasuke. "Ten years, boy. Ten years I did all I could to teach you focus and just when I think you could not learn more, you go and get distracted again." He sneered. "By the same person, no doubt." There was silence. "Am I wrong?"
"Why? What is he to you?"
He bit his lip. "He is.... a dear friend."
"Is he?" He cast a passing glance at Sasuke. "Stand up, Sasuke." He did as he was told, unable to look Hanzo in the face. "You are the best shinobi I have ever had the chance to meet, you understand that." He sensed that Hanzo wasn't finished and kept his mouth closed. "I'm honored to be able to chose someone like you to take my place. And yet....." he waved a hand casually, "there's something about you that makes me hesitate to give it up. What could that be. Do you have an idea? Sasuke?"
"I am unworthy of the position?"
"Why do you say that?"
"Because I've failed in my mission."
The old man chuckled. "I have failed missions as well, Sasuke. But do you think that I am a bad Hokage? Do you think that I've done this village and her people wrong?"
He took a deep breath, blowing out smoke which seemed to warm up the room, making Sasuke relax minutely. "There is a reason why I give everyone missions that let them stay out of the village for an extended period of time. Because there are two types of people in this world. Those that crave wanderlust and those that long to stay in one place. Every time you've come back from the world, you've always been like this. I suppose the problem is that you are one of those filled with wanderlust."
"It's not that, Hokage-sama."
"Hm?" He bent slightly to look Sasuke in the face. The young man pulled back slightly, turning his head away. "So then it really is that boy, isn't it?"
He knew the answer, though. Going back to his original seating, Hanzo set down his pipe and sat in full lotus position, hands forming a meditative seal in his lap. "Though this is your first actual failure, you have shown that you may not be the best person to be Hokage." Sasuke's head shot up in fear. "I will give you one more chance, Sasuke. Find Watari and Ayame, kill them. And bring the rune half back to me. Do not get distracted and if you can bring the half back to me before any of my scouts do, then I shall relinquish my position to you upon your return. If you fail, however, it proves that you cannot handle the responsibility, nor can you keep from being distracted. Which means you have failed as a ninja and you will be exiled."
"I'm sorry, Sasuke. But it seems to be the only way I can get through to you." He looked up with old, wise eyes. "I have faith in you, Sasuke. Please do not disappoint me."
You Don't Feel a Thing
"Land over there, Bright!" Futch yelled over the wind, pointing towards a nearby clearing. "We don't want to startle them!" With an agreeing roar, the white dragon swooped into the forest, setting down gently on the wide expanse of grass. Futch unbuckled himself from the saddle and slid onto the ground. "You stay here, Bright. I'll be back in a bit, okay?" She cooed, nuzzling his hand as he left.
He ran through the forest, his heart light and anxious. Despite having been kicked out- yet again -from the Dragon Knights, he never felt happier in his life. And he only needed one more thing to make his life complete. As he closed in on the hidden village, wind suddenly swirled around him and his view was obscured by leaves. Shielding his face, Futch came to a halt and waited for the wind to die down.
Standing there, her dark hair still short and framing her still youthful face, was Kasumi.
"Kasumi." Futch straightened. "Good to see you again."
"Ah, Futch-san." She smiled cheerfully at him. "You've been well, I see."
"Ah, yeah." He blushed despite himself. "Do you know where Sasuke is?"
"Sasuke?" She frowned minutely and looked away. Confused, Futch stood there dumbly and she hesitantly looked back at him. "I don't know the entire story, but..... if it were anyone other than you, I would've told you it wouldn't be a good idea to see him. But I know how important you are to him...."
Futch's blood went cold. "What? What happened?"
"Hokage-sama wasn't too happy with his past performance. I'm not certain but there's talk that Sasuke may lose his current position."
"Where is he? I have to find him!"
Kasumi nodded and pointed over his shoulder. "He went that way, then began moving northwesterly about two hours ago. He should be almost half an hour west of the forest by now."
"Thank you. Thank you very much Kasumi." As Futch turned to run back to the clearing, he called out: "Bright!"
Within a minutes, Bright exploded out of the tree tops, Futch clutch tightly to her shoulders, praying that he would find Sasuke soon. Within an hour, they came across a lone figure on the open plane who seemed to be looking over the horizon, making calculations. That had to be him.
"Down, Bright!" Futch commanded with pressure from his knees. She went into a dive, circling around the figure as it quickly grew into the familiar form of Sasuke. Hearing the rushing winds from above, the ninja looked up and saw the dragon and rider heading towards him. "Sasuke!" Futch cried happily. He couldn't wait for Bright to come to a stop, once she was low enough and had slowed down enough, he unstrapped himself and jumped from his mount. Laughing happily, he ran and hugged the young man tightly. "Sasuke! I was afraid I missed you!"
To his surprise, though, Sasuke didn't seem as happy to see him and harshly pushed the once Dragon Knight away. "Get away from me!" He shouted.
"Sasuke.... What's wrong?"
"Keep away from me. Don't touch me." His expression was dark and he held his arms tight around himself.
He took a step forward. "Sasuke-"
"I said get away!" His normally calm demeanor had snapped completely. "You've done enough damage already, now leave me alone!"
Futch's own temper was beginning to ware thin. "What's wrong? Tell me!"
"You're what's wrong! Why can't you ever leave me alone! This is your fault! It's all your fault!"
"That's not fair, Sasuke-"
"I didn't ask you to do any of that stupid stuff and now you've ruined my life! Caring? Love? I was supposed to be Hokage! I was the successor! But then you go and destroy everything I've spent my entire life trying to obtain!"
He couldn't take anymore of this random blaming. Striding forward with surprised speed, he grabbed the younger man by the arms. "Dammit, Sasuke! Look at me! Look closely and tell me what's missing!" He shouted, pointing at his face. Where he was conspicuously missing his wings. "Do you see that? I got kicked out of the Dragon Knights. For you/. Because I love you too much to lie when they asked what exactly you meant to me. I knew it meant I'd be booted, but I didn't care because you mean more to me than anything! And I come here to chase you down- because I /know you feel the same way -and all you do is stand there and blame me for crap I don't even know about!"
"You don't get it!" Sasuke shouted back. "It was the only thing that I've wanted since I was a child!"
"It was the only thing that mattered to me when I was a child!" He shot back. "I went through three years of hell trying to get back in- because my best friend died protecting me! Don't give me this shit Sasuke, because I've been there already and I made my choice on what matters most to me! Or do you really think I'm not as important as some damn title?"
"You don't understand anything!" Unwillingly, tears lined his dark eyes. "I was the best! Everyone looked up to me, everyone was so proud of me! I had nothing before, then I was the one everyone wanted to be! I could've been someone important! I could've been the one everyone listened to! And now what do I have? Nothing! I've essentially failed in Hokage- sama's eyes, that means that I've failed to everyone else! I'm no longer shinobi, I've brought greater disgrace to my family- all because of you! If it wasn't for you, I'd have everything I'd ever wanted as a child! I wouldn't be second guessing myself like this!" He couldn't stop the tears from streaming down his face and his knees were shaking. "If it wasn't for you, my family would no longer be the disgrace of the village, if it wasn't for you always on my mind....." His words were overcome with sobs and he sagged in Futch's arms, crying against his chest. "I hate you..... I hate you....."
With a sigh, Futch wrapped Sasuke in his arms, tightly rocking him and breathing soothing words into his ear, waiting for him to calm down. Eventually he did calm and the two were sitting on the ground, anger draining them of their strength.
"Maybe you can tell me everything now." Futch said gently. "Now that you're a bit more coherent."
For a moment Sasuke didn't say anything, just lay there curled in Futch's arms. "I told you about Hokage, didn't I?"
"He's the leader of the shinobi, strongest in the village."
"That's right." He said quietly. "Every Hokage candidate goes through rigorous screening, testing, all sorts of things. Ever since we were young enough to start training, we were always told how important being Hokage is, how important it was to the family if someone could get in. I was chosen to be Hokage, I was chosen to succeed Hanzo-sama and bring honor back to my family."
"What happened to your family?"
"It started with my father. During the war that brought about the Scarlet Moon Empire. He ran in the face of the enemy. Because of that, he withdrew from everything and eventually killed himself, hoping to bring some sort of redemption to the family. But by then, my older brother- I remember he was always wild -had been fed up with all the taunts from the other children. He began to steal from others and once enough evidence was gathered, he was exiled from the village." Sasuke smiled unhappily. "I was mother's only hope to bring relief to the family because of my skill. And now, just like father and brother, I've brought us shame, instead."
Futch frowned. "Kasumi only said that you might lose your chance."
"Hokage-sama has given me a mission where I'd never be able to accomplish without failure. Especially now."
"What is it?"
"To kill Watari and Ayame and bring something back before one of the scouts complete the job before me. Whoever does will be given the title Hokage."
"Why wouldn't you be able to complete it?"
Sasuke looked up at him sadly. "Because he'll keep a close eye on me. If I show signs of being distracted or distant, he'll take it as a sign of weakness." He looked down again. "And every time I've been distracted was because of you."
Futch felt his face burn. "I-I'm sorry! I didn't think-"
"It's fine." He shook his head. "It doesn't matter anymore. Even if I could complete it, I'd always be considered weak by him." He looked up at Futch and raised his hand to brush against his forehead. "Why did they kick you out of the Dragon Knights?"
"Because I told them I loved you."
"So...." he let out a breath, "it's against regulations to love someone of the same gender."
Sasuke looked confused. "It is?"
"Isn't it against the rules where you are?"
"No, not really. But then, we don't partake in sexual activities as most other people do...."
"Oh." Futch cleared his throat. Despite his age and experience, talking sex never quite fit well to him. "We've always had a bit of a problem with fraternization, especially among the students. I guess they figured we really didn't need to worry about a different sort of it. Besides," his face colored over his slight frown, "you know that some people don't like that sort of thing. We'd be afraid that some people in the Knights might try to give them a hard time."
"Makes sense, I suppose." Sasuke shrugged. His village may be steeped in tradition and several codes of honor, but it always seemed to him they were more open minded than most others were.
They sat there for a while, Bright's attention eventually captured by a couple butterflies flitting about. Soon, Futch asked, "You don't really hate me, do you?"
"No. Not really."
"Then you love me." He asked hesitantly. "Right?"
Raising a dark eyebrow, Sasuke looked up at him. "It maybe just a tradition in my village, but willingly giving up your virginity to someone generally means that that person is the one that you chose."
"Chose to what?"
"To.... 'mate with', essentially."
Futch laughed uneasily. "Does that count for us?"
"I suppose it wouldn't no....." Sasuke's eyes held a strange glint. "But, if you want, I could show you how to tell if someone's been marked as someone else's."
"Huh?" Suddenly, Futch found himself on his back, Sasuke sitting on his waist, unbuckling the sword from his shoulder.
"There's two places." He said, pushing Futch's shirt up his chest. The older man felt him nuzzling over his stomach, licking at his side until it was nice and wet. Futch squirmed deliciously under him, sides twitching at the ticklish touch. "Here." Sasuke said before he clamped his teeth on the soft skin, making Futch cry out from the sudden pain. It didn't really hurt, but it was a surprise and it made him writhe in a delicious pain, clinging tightly to Sasuke's shoulders as he licked at the blood he drew from the bite. After that, he moved up, unwrapping the green scarf from his shoulders and moving the neck of his shirt down to the junction of his collar and neck. "And here." He repeated the process. Biting his lip, Futch draped an arm across Sasuke's shoulders, rubbing against him pleadingly. Regrettably, Sasuke eventually pulled back, but Futch brought him down to kiss, tasting blood on his tongue.
"So?" He asked as they separated. "Does that mean I'm yours now?"
"So when do I get to mark you as mine?"
Sasuke raised an eyebrow at him. "What are you talking about? The only ones allowed to mark are the males."
Chuckling, Sasuke placed a kiss on Futch's forehead. "I'll teach you how to do it properly."
With a rumbling hum somewhere from the back of his throat, Futch told him, "I'm sorry for causing you all this trouble."
"I didn't mean to, you know."
"I know you didn't. It's just something that happened."
Futch looked up at him with anxious eyes. "So you're not upset?"
"I needed someone to blame. Because I couldn't take that I'm the cause of my own failure."
"But," he struggled with Sasuke's belt- yet again -and the ninja grinned, having to help snap it open once more, "you said no one really cares about two men loving each other, right?"
"That's right." The muscles in his thighs tightened as Futch's hands slid up them and traveled up his back.
"Then, if you complete your mission and come back with that.... whatever it is first," he unbuckled the shoulder protector from his arm before he pushed Sasuke's shirt from his shoulders, "then you could still become Hokage, couldn't you?"
"But I wouldn't be able to forget about you." Sasuke said, laying fully against Futch. "I wouldn't be able to get you off my mind, that's what the real problem is."
"Like you said, no one really cares." He grinned slightly, untying the bandanna from the other's forehead. "Maybe I could stay with you."
Sasuke paused. "I don't know about that...."
"Is there a rule against an outsider staying in the village."
"There are certain contexts that must be made, but there are none, really."
"Well then," he kissed the tip of Sasuke's nose, "we complete the mission, return to Rokkaku and present Hanzo with the item. He makes you Hokage. Or we return, present, request me to stay, they turn us down and we leave. But you prove that you're still the best ninja in the village."
Sasuke hummed at the thought. "If we do stay," he looked up at Futch, "my mother will demand I bare a child. The other villagers will too, just to keep the strong blood alive."
Futch bite his lip to keep from speaking prematurely. "That's fine. Just so long as it's only for that reason. Just so long as I'm the only one you'll love, that's all I care about."
"And I suppose you'll punish me for every night I'm away?"
"Don't think about staying away more often than necessary." Futch growled and Sasuke couldn't help but to grin.
"But," Sasuke said, suddenly becoming somber, "if they refuse, I'll be exiled. And my family will have an even bigger disgrace upon them." He rubbed his face against Futch's neck. "And the family name will die with me."
"And if they say that? If they say that I can't be with you?" He kissed Sasuke's hair. "What then?"
"I'll leave with you. Because I love you."
Futch's hand clung tight against his shoulder. "That's the first time you've said that to me." He said, tears coming to his eyes. "Damn, I never thought I'd get weepy over it."
"Love is a beautiful thing, I suppose."
"It truly is." He brought Sasuke down for another kiss. "You are a very beautiful thing...."
"Futch," Sasuke chided slightly, "they have a head start on us...."
"We'll make it a quicky."
With a wide smile, Sasuke brushed back Futch's bangs and kissed him, both too enwrapped with each other to care about the world around them. If they were ever accepted, if they were ever approved of, they didn't care. Because they had each other. And for them, that was enough.
This story takes place, obviously, after SuikoIII. And that's the end of the To Breathe series. I tried to make it angsty and dramatic, but it just refused to stay that way at the end. They were, originally, supposed to have a longer, more spiteful argument, but my mind edited it all out before I even got that far. Feh. That and the ending really came out corny, so I hope you'll forgive me^^;;
Some of the vocabulary comes from Naruto: Hokage and Genin. Hokage is, as stated before, the greatest ninja in the village, he's the village chief, you could say. And Genin is a basic level ninja, a step above all the ninja's that are still trying to get into the actual hierarchy of ninja.
The section and chapter headers ('to breathe', 'they might hurt you', 'it means so much', 'you don't feel a thin') all come from BoA's Duvet. The summary comes from their song Welcome. All characters mentioned are owned by Konami.