Categories > Games > Suikoden 2 > To Breathe

To Breathe II

by Virgo 0 reviews

All your hopes inside are lonesome/ Without me, inside of you/ I feel the world calling - I will wait for you/ Oh, how you are dear to me/ If you knew this you would see, this is the truth/ You wou...

Category: Suikoden 2 - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Drama, Romance - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2005-05-08 - Updated: 2005-05-08 - 6941 words

To Breathe II

I Am Hurting

When they got into view of Budehuc, close enough to recognize the figures milling about, they noticed Cecile waving at them. Not how she normally greeted them from a journey, but frantically. Exchanging glances, the group quickened their pace slightly, curious. Once they reached hearing range, she clanked over to them.

"Hugo! Hugo!" She cried. "Something bad happened!"

"What?" The young Karayan asked. He and his entourage stopped.

"Someone just tried to kill Watari!" The six of them blinked. "He just came out of no where, I didn't even see him come in the gates and just started attacking him! Went crashing through the entire castle fighting and the only way we could stop them was when Nei used her rune to slow them down enough for Geddoe to hit them with a lighting attack."

Hugo's body tensed. "Is Watari okay?"

The young guard commander nodded. "Yeah, they're both fine. Mio-san and Tuta-san took care of them. The other guy is in the dungeons, he won't say a thing and Watari's moved somewhere else."

He nodded. "All right, I'll go see this attacker."

Before they moved off, Cecile called out again. "Oh, Sir Futch!"

The swordsman turned to look at her, the rest of the group moving on without him. "What is it?"

"Apple's down with the guy, she looked pretty shocked. Said to tell you to see the prisoner immediately."

Futch clenched his jaw, mind racing at the possibilities before he nodded. "Thanks."

The castle was alive with talk, wild speculations flying around. Apparently Ayame had vanished as well, probably to prevent anyone from questioning her on the assailant. The courtyard was in disarray, flagstones black and chipped from the rune spell. Arthur was trying to get a story out of the mercenary leader, apparently already getting all he needed from Nei and Kidd was examining the scene. Futch didn't know what he hoped to gain from it.

Not much more damage had been done to the castle's interior. Just some paintings and vases knocked over and slashed. One of the stands was cut cleanly, the upper right corner lying forlornly on the floor next to it. Some cracks and dents were on the walls, wallpaper torn and the door to the lift was cracked slightly.

Whoever this was, Futch decided, was powerful.

In the lower basement level stood a Zexen and Lizard Clan guard who grunted as he passed. At the end of the corridor, he saw Apple by the bars of an occupied cell, trying to talk to whoever was in there. The prisoner didn't have any intention to speak with her, sitting on the bunk, back against the wall, arms crossed. He must have been bereft of most of his clothing, sitting in thin, black pants and a long-sleeved mesh shirt. Unkempt, fiery hair fell into his eyes over the material of his headband, the only other clothing on his person.

As Futch came up, Apple turned and sighed in relief. "Thank God you're finally here."

"What's wrong?"

It looked like she wanted to say something, but turned to look at the prisoner. She moved closer to the Dragon Knight and said quietly in his ear, "I'll explain everything to Hugo and everyone. I'm going to try to get him out of here."

Futch looked at Apple oddly, watching her leave.

What was she talking about?

He turned back to the prisoner who had opened his cat-like eyes. Suddenly, he sat up straighter on his bunk, body tense and he surged to his feet with the smoothness of a wave. Futch saw something in this strange young man, something he knew he should recognize. And then it came to him with the pain of a physical blow.


"Futch.." The shinobi said softly, husky tenor in disbelief.

"Sasuke," Futch grabbed the bars urgently. "Sasuke, what's going on! Did you really attack Watari?"

The younger man clenched his jaws. "Is he a companion of yours?"

He paused. "I, uh, I guess so. We're on the same side, after all."

With a snort, Sasuke turned away and sat back on the bunk.

"Sasuke," Futch said lowly, "what's going on?" When the other didn't say anything, he rephrased his question, "Why are you here?"

"Mission." He replied simply.

"Mission? You mean Watari?"

"I was sent to kill him."

Futch narrowed his dark eyes. "And Ayame?"

"She's a secondary target. She's not as important."


Amber eyes flashing with superficial annoyance, Sasuke said, "It's no business of yours."

Something flared inside Futch at that. "No business of mine? My best friend is trying to kill a companion. I think it's my business when they ask me which side I'm on."

"Which side are you on?"

He swallowed hard. "That's not fair, Sasuke."

He looked at Futch with hard eyes. "No. No it isn't."

"Dammit-" he clenched a fist. He took a deep breath to calm down. "Apple's going to try and get them to release you."

"I'm not leaving until I complete my mission."

"I can't allow that, Sasuke."

The ninja's eyes narrowed. "That is the only reason for my being here, Futch. I cannot leave until the purpose has been fulfilled."

"They won't let you out if you keep talking like that."

"Fine. I'll find my way out."

Futch shook his head. "How do you intend to do that? You have nothing to pick the lock with, no windows and you're not strong enough to bust through the walls of the bars."

"I am shinobi." Sasuke said simply. "I work with what I have."

"Sir Futch." The Dragon Knight turned to face Hugo. Behind him stood Chris and Geddoe with the Clan Leaders and the strategists. "You really do know this person?"

"I do."

He looked at Sasuke who barely even acknowledge him in return. "Do you trust him?"

"With my life."

Slowly, Hugo walked up to the bars. "I'm Hugo, the Flame Champion. May I ask your name?"

So that's the Flame Champion everyone's been talking about. Sasuke thought to himself. He wondered why they always had to be so young..

"I'm Sasuke." He said quietly. "Of the Rokkaku Ninja Clan."


"It's a small, hidden village in the forests at the border of the Toran Republic." Futch supplied. "A village of skilled ninja."

"Ah." The young boy looked at Sasuke again. "You know Watari and Ayame? They're not from your clan, are they?"

"No." He said shortly. "Their clan," Sasuke growled, not bothering to look at Hugo, "I was sent to kill."

"But why?"

"It is only a concern for shinobi. Not for outsiders."

"Sasuke!" Futch hissed.

The ninja shot him a glare and declared evenly, "It is not your concern."

With a last, quick glare at his captured friend, Futch turned to Hugo. "I'm sorry, Lord Hugo. The situation had made him a little short- tempered. If you gave me some time to talk with him-"

"It won't make a difference." His amber gaze held his audience quietly. "The only condition you'd let me out is if I swore not to attack anyone. But I was given a mission and I will not leave until it's completed."

"Fine!" Futch snapped. "If that's the case, you'll have to kill me in order to get to them!" The statement was punctuated with a sharp stamp of his iron-encased boot, biting in the startled onlookers' ears. Sasuke's eyes slowly widened.

"You'd betray me for them?"

"I'm not the one betraying a dear friend."

After a pause, Sasuke looked down, and then away, shifting to lie down on the bunk. Observing the conversation closed, Hugo said quietly to Futch, "Sir Futch, do what you can with your friend. Tomorrow evening, we'll decide what to do with him."

"I understand. Thank you, Lord Hugo."

As the others left, Futch turned back to Sasuke who had turned his back on him.

The next morning, Sasuke had taken to ignoring everything around him, sitting cross-legged in the middle of his cell, meditating. It seemed very peaceful to Futch. Even the guards admitted how surprisingly submissive and cooperating the prisoner seemed to be despite the obvious great power he possessed. It was a ploy, Futch knew. He'd bide his time until he found the perfect opportunity to escape. He had known several ninja during his years at war and had seen a distinctive pattern with their way of fighting: they had limitless patience, manipulating their foes into making a mistake that would cost them their lives.

He debated for a moment on telling the guards this, but decided it didn't matter. Sasuke knew better than to cause trouble in a place like this.

"Sasuke." He said, watching the motionless young man on the other side of the bars. He didn't move. "Sasuke." Futch frowned. He knew the other man could hear him, but was purposefully ignoring him, not just so he could gather his focus. He asked that guard to unlock the door so that he could enter. Once inside, he squatted in front of the other. "Sasuke." He said louder.

"Escape Plan 12: Wait until someone is foolish enough to enter the cell and hold them hostage until I'm released." He hadn't bothered to open his eyes, his senses were sharper than before. "Thank you for proving my point."

Futch snorted. "You wouldn't. Not to me."


"I know you wouldn't."

Slowly, Sasuke opened his eyes. "That's right, you know." Futch didn't like the tone he had in his voice. "But I am shinobi. I would use any means to complete my task."

"Oh really?" Standing, Futch slid Masamune from its sheath, holding the pommel out to Sasuke. "Then do it."

"Why should I? I have several other means to escape. A confrontation like that isn't my ideal way of moving forward." Sasuke tilted his head slightly. "Are you still mad at me?"

"How can you be so determined to take a life like that?"

"You shouldn't preach to me about killing, Futch."

"That's not what I meant." The Dragon Knight growled.

"Actually, I think it is." Sasuke interrupted smoothly. "If another clan did a great dishonor to your Dragon Knights and you were order their death- and you were there to witness their crime -would you not also wish to follow it through? The only difference is that you know these people. You fight alongside them."

Futch bit his lip and dwelled on it, his words ringing a bell that struck 'true' in his mind. "You seem a lot more mature." He commented idly.

"Ten years would do that to you." Sasuke agreed. "There is a lot left for me to learn in even a small village like Rokkaku."

After moment, he asked, "You have the same look in your eyes that Dupa has. Did something bad happen in Rokkaku?"

Sasuke looked away. Slowly he replied. "A lot of things happened in Rokkaku. And many things will continue to happen. That is all I can say."

"Sasuke," Futch squatted in front of him again. "They don't want to keep you in here, but you are considered a threat when you keep saying you'd attack Watari and Ayame. They don't want to have any hostilities towards Rokkaku. Not with all that's happening with Harmonia."

"They have no need to worry. By now, Hokage-sama already knows what has happened. It was my mission, getting caught was caused by my recklessness so getting freed is my responsibility. Perhaps, under the circumstances, they'd send someone else to kill them and to help me as a secondary mission. But they would not risk open conflict."


"Hanzo. Hokage is the title given to the leader of the shinobi, the strongest in the clan." He looked a bit confused. "Didn't I explain it before?"

Futch shook his head. "I don't think so. I only saw Hanzo once, and we didn't have much time to question." Then, something else tickled in his mind, something that had bothered him before that he had forgotten about. "Escape Plan 12?"

Sasuke looked up at him and said very seriously: "This cell is very boring."

Futch broke out into a huge smile and smacked Sasuke's shoulder playfully. "I'll see if I can't get some leeway from Lord Hugo."

I Am Losing

Hugo nodded at Futch's request. "We had actually just come to a decision about this." He said, bright green eyes serious. "I'm going to take Watari and Ayame with me on the next mission, we'll be gone for some time. Once the area has calmed down enough, take Sasuke back to the Toran Republic. He's allowed to leave the dungeon, but can only stay in your quarters. He is allowed access to the public domains of Budehuc Castle, but only under your supervision. That means you will remain here with him."

Futch nodded. "I understand."

Hugo sighed. "I'm sorry you and your friend couldn't be reunited under better circumstances."

"On the contrary," he said with a small smile, "under any circumstance I can be reunited with Sasuke is better than not seeing him at all."

The young boy smiled. "Take care of your friend, Sir Futch. We'll be leaving after lunch."

"Yes, sir."

Sasuke didn't say much at the proposition. Futch could tell he was glad to be getting out without having to resort to his own shadowy talents, but he wasn't happy with the prospect of having to leave his mission incomplete.

Soon after the party had left, Kidd had given the okay for Sasuke to leave the cell as well as all his equipment that had been confiscated.

"What would you like to do?" Futch asked. "Look around? Eat?"

Suddenly, Sasuke stopped and whirled around, cat-like eyes narrowed and almost blazing. "Do not think to follow me." He growled, but his voice seemed to bounce off the walls. From his hiding spot in the corner, Kidd yelped and skittered away. Stalking towards the door leading out, Sasuke grumbled, "I hate detectives.."

Outside, Sasuke squinted his eyes. Two days of a windowless cell and barely adequate lighting made the sun harsh on his eyes. His stomach grumbled audibly when the smell of food reached his nose.

"Prison food not filling?" Futch asked with a thin grin. Sasuke scowled at him and moved toward the food.

The older man stood and watched him go for a minute, actually really looking at Sasuke for the first time since they re-met. He had grown tall and willowy, all long limbs and slender muscles. By Dragon Knight standards, Sasuke held a very feminine figure, taunt and graceful like a whippet as opposed to the strong, thick frames of the males.

Futch had to admit that it was a very appealing look on Sasuke, moving like water, sure and smooth. The long trails of his robe, scarf, even his bandanna mimicked the flowing way the ninja moved and Futch could hear his heart speed as the younger man turned slightly, watching the sun shining on his profile, moving over his tanned skin and thick lashed eyes. Sasuke had to be the most beautiful person in the world. Suddenly, Sasuke turned to him and Futch's heart stopped, all the memories and emotions rushing back to him in one instant.

"Futch!" He snapped back to reality. Sasuke seemed slightly irritated with him. Was he was calling for him more than once? "You're my temporary babysitter, you're not supposed to space out."

"S-Sorry." Futch muttered lamely. "Just thinking. What's up?"

Suddenly, Sasuke looked away, sheepish. "..I don't have any money."

Futch rolled his eyes. "Fine, I'll pay. What do you want?"

The ninja looked at the menu. "I don't know, they all look and smell so good."

With a sigh- that sounded like a forced down laugh -Futch stepped up to the counter. "I'll get two BBQ teriyaki." He cast an askew glance at Sasuke who was looking at the desert section. "..And a slice of chocolate chip cheesecake." Sasuke's eyes snapped open wide and he shot to his feet, looking at Futch with disbelief. "Make that a big slice." Futch corrected.

Mamie gave them a grin, apparently figuring that even a pseudo- prisoner was a customer so long as they were hungry. "Coming right up. Have a seat, I'll bring your food out."

As they moved towards an empty table, Sasuke continued to stare at Futch incredulously. Finally, unnerved, Futch asked, "What?"

"You're getting me a chocolate chip cheesecake."

"Yeah, so? Don't you like it?"

Sasuke stammered, dumbfounded. "Yes! But.. You didn't have to!"

The older man smiled. "But I wanted to. You're my friend, after all."

Suddenly, he found himself in Sasuke's embrace. "Thank you! I hadn't had a cheesecake since the war!"

Futch blushed badly and laughed. "Okay, okay! Cut it out! We can get an entire cake for your trip back!" That just caused Sasuke to hug him tighter, rocking them back and forth as he chanted 'thank you!" over and over again. "C'mon, Sasuke, it's embarrassing!" Laughing, he finally pried the ninja's arms from around his neck, shivering from the contact. He caught one of Mamie's assistance coming toward them with two slices of cheesecake and set it down in front of them. From the counter, Mamie grinned, apparently understanding Sasuke's sweet tooth.

Sasuke's eyes widened in delight and he looked up at Futch who just waved him forward. Picking up a spoon, Sasuke bowed his head, "Itadakimasu!" And promptly skewered a rather impressive piece of his dessert. As he wrapped his tongue around it, Futch found cheesecake to be the least interesting thing at the moment.

The look on Sasuke's face as the taste erupted on his tongue was almost like erotic bliss. Futch could hear him moan quietly, shivering at the sensation and Futch unconsciously leaned forward, watching as Sasuke's tongue licked his lips, then the fork, sliding it delicately in his mouth and out. Futch's eyes widened slightly as he let out a shaky breath from trembling lips, burning the scene to memory.

The sound caused Sasuke's eyes to open, realizing that Futch had yet to start eating. He pointed his fork to the second slice. "Are you going to eat that?"

Futch pulled his plate closer to himself. "Hey, that slice was a freebie. You can have this one after you get some decent food in you!" Mind still elsewhere, Futch tried to fight down the blush on his cheeks.

Suddenly, Sasuke sobered and said quietly, "You know, there's a little blonde girl watching you. She doesn't seem too happy."

"Hm?" Turning around, he saw her. "Oh, Sharon!" He called, waving at her. She made a face at him and ran off.

"Who's that?" Asked Sasuke. "A Nina-clone?"

"Of course not." Futch thought for a moment and then shudder. "Dear Lord, I hope not! No, she's Milia and Humphrey's kid. Somehow followed me and Bright when we went out on patrol. Apparently she was causing havoc in the cave again because they weren't in any particular hurry to have her back. In fact, they told me to give her 'hands on training'." Futch scowled slightly. "Doesn't have a proper bond with her dragon. In fact, she rarely even trains with it. She keeps it up, we'll have to kick her out of the cave."

"She seems pretty taken with you." Sasuke commented idly and Futch made a face.

"I'm more than twice her age, Sasuke. I'm not going to doing anything with her."

"Flik wouldn't have done anything to Nina, but it didn't stop her from following him around everywhere."

"Yeah, but Sharon's idea of a good time is to make my life miserable and runaway! At least Nina tried to be helpful."

"But she's still got the same look in her eyes that Nina did." Sasuke clinked his glass with Futch's when their food came out. "To pedophilia."

"Shut up."

I Have Lost it All

Futch entered his room with a tray of food. The afternoon of the second day had just begun and Sasuke was beginning to get restless. He was never one for the blandness of stone and brick walls and small rooms. Rokkaku was wide, shaded and full of life, not enclosed like this and the claustrophobia was starting to show. The big 'decision makers' didn't much relish the idea of letting Sasuke out to practice his arts so the ninja had to be satisfied on doing a very limited, very basic practice in Futch's room. The only plus to that was that the room was big enough to fit two beds and a fifteen year old dragon. Legendary wild animals were not considered a good thing to have wandering around the castle at three in the morning.

Setting the tray down, Futch watched as Sasuke stretched, having discarded the long, silk tunic, gauntlets and arm protector. It was then that Futch realized what little good that mesh shirt did to curb his imagination. Kicking himself, he cleared his throat and opened his mouth to speak-

"I'll eat in a minute."

"Ah..." Futch clicked his mouth closed, somewhat impressed. Damn, he's good. And limber.. Tearing his mind bodily away from the thought, he busily set up the table. "Take your time, I can wait." He bit his lip, cursing himself every time his eyes wandered, watching the streaming sun etching out every muscle.

The workout kept on for a little while longer and, as he finished up his cool down, he asked, "Am I keeping you from your practice?"

Futch snapped into reality. "Hm?"

Sasuke turned to him, a somewhat guilty expression in his eyes. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to cause you so much trouble."

"It's all right, Sasuke, really." He smiled. "I'm just glad to see you again."

He could've sworn the younger man blushed, but it was hidden in the shadows as he bowed his head, heading to the table to eat. They ate in relative silence before Sasuke asked, "I've been wondering.. Why does that little girl have your spear?"

Futch blinked. "You noticed, huh?" He sat back. "Well, you know already this was Humphrey's sword."

"Masamune. Right."

"He gave it to me when I became a full Dragon Knight. When Sharon was old enough to begin training, I gave her my spear. I'm sort of like her godfather, you could say. Especially since her dad's gone."

Sasuke sat up, jam dripping from his knife. "Sir Humphrey's dead?"

"Yeah," the other man looked down, playing with his food a bit. "About three years ago, I think it was. KIA." He smiled somewhat bitterly. "I do understand what you meant. I wanted so badly to go after the guys that killed Humphrey, but Milia said that there were too many of them. If I had the chance, even if I was ordered not to go near them, I'd pay all of them back."

"What happened?"

Futch shook his head. "I don't really want to talk about it. Milia called some favors in while I was out on patrol one week, took care of the guys. Because she knew I'd take it too personally if I were there." Without a word, Sasuke slid his hand over, covering Futch's and squeezing it lightly. The pressure was returned and Futch looked up at him and smiled. "You finished? I'll take the dishes back."

Sasuke looked down at his plate and Futch noticed that he had put jam on a piece of toast. Odd because he recalled Sasuke claiming that jam sat too heavily in his stomach and rarely ate it. The ninja seemed to be contemplating this himself as he inspected the coated toast. Suddenly, he leaned over the table and said "Aaaaaah!" On reflex, Futch opened his mouth and was filled with toast and jam. Sasuke went back to the center of the room and stretched out his back. "Thanks, Futch."

"Hmph." Slightly off balanced at the act, the Dragon Knight stood, taking the plates and placing them on the tray. He munched contently at the toast as he walked out.

When he reentered, Sasuke was sitting on the floor, meditating again. It sort of annoyed Futch in a way and he wondered how Sasuke could stand sitting there for hours every day. But then his annoyance suddenly melted away, replaced by a warm, calming peacefulness.

Suddenly, Sasuke spoke up. "You've been pretty tense lately." He opened an eye and looked at Futch. "Feeling better?"

Confused, the other asked, "What do you mean?"

"This is a technique," Sasuke closed his eye again and the feeling seemed to intensify slightly, "is called Breathing. It's not taught to many, it has many forbidden techniques that one could easily figure out from the basics."

"Then this feeling is coming from you?" Futch asked.

"Yes. It all starts with Thought, you use Tongue to either speak Thought or Breath it. It can work for any emotion."

Suddenly, Futch's mind wandered to the damage the castle sustained. "Is that what you used against Watari?"

"We both know the technique, yes." Sasuke thought for a moment. "I suppose it's a good thing we were stopped before we hurt anyone." He looked back at Futch. "Why are you so tense, anyway?"

With a sigh, he said, "Do you ever.. think about that day at the waterfall?"

Suddenly, the calm air completely disappeared. "No. You shouldn't be, either."

That made Futch upset. "Why?"

"Because it was something children do. Not something for adults to think about."

"Christ, Sasuke! You were eighteen!"

"Seventeen." He corrected. "I'm over a year younger than you."

"We were old enough to realize what we were doing." Futch grounded out anyway.

"It was a mistake. One that we shouldn't dwell on."

"That was no mistake." Futch stood and crossed the room. Sasuke watched him calmly, not intimidated in the least. Bending down in front of him, Futch grabbed his wrists tightly. "Neither is this." Almost as if he were assaulting him, Futch kissed him almost brutally, forcing Sasuke to roll onto his back. They hadn't gotten much further than that when a familiar voice called out:

"Futch! FutchFutchFutch!"

Jerking up in surprise, Futch managed to take two faltering steps to the door when it opened up, revealing Sharon with Bright right behind her. She still hadn't grasped the purpose of knocking, but at least she had the decency to scream the name of the person she was going to see first.

With suspicious eyes, she looked at Futch, then at Sasuke who had retaken his meditation pose. She made a face and spat out, "Salome says the way back to Toran should be clear by tonight so you can take that guy back." She whirled, about to make her way back out the door.

"Sh-Sharon!" Futch sputtered out. She turned with a pout and a glare, daring him to make some sort of lecture on her 'disrespect'. But he knew that he wouldn't win this one. She was far too stubborn, even when she wasn't being purposefully headstrong. "Don't think about following us there." He warned. "If you do, I'm going to drop you back at the cave you will not go out on another patrol with me. Understood?"

That got her. Her jaw dropped and she tried to find a proper enough retort. Finally, she gritted her teeth, fang flashing angrily and shouted, "FINE! I didn't want to go with you boring old people anyway!" And slammed the door behind her. Bright whimpered slightly, having not seen her master in a couple of days, but Sharon commanded Bright to follow her, stomping all the way.

Futch turned back to Sasuke and sighed. "Sasuke-"

"Don't do anything so thoughtless, Futch."

"Thoughtless?" He puffed his chest. "Thought/less?" He stalked close to the shinobi. "You sit there with that blank face, ignoring everything else and you call /me thoughtless! There was plenty of thought in that kiss! You've been in my mind for 15 damn years! I've been thinking about kissing you since that day! I know the consequences, I know anything that could happen because of it, you're the one making me tense and you don't even notice and you have the gall to say that I'm the thoughtless one!"

"Have you even considered how I feel because of that kiss ten years ago?" Futch's jaw clicked closed audibly and Sasuke got up to his feet. "We should get ready to leave."

The rest of the day they didn't say much to each other, both too wrapped up in their thoughts. Not many came to see them off that night, mainly still too afraid of Sasuke.

"Be careful, Sir Futch." Salome said. "Take care on your way back."

"Thank you." He nodded. "We'll be off."

"Take care of yourself, Sasuke!" Apple said, waving the two off.

"Hold tightly to me." Futch said. The speed and suddenness of a dragon's take off always caught first timers by surprise. Even more so with Bright because she was the fastest in the fleet. With a sharp whistle, Futch gave the reigns a quick tug and the white dragon gave off a warning roar right before she shot herself into the night sky, leaving the castle a faded shadow on the ground.

With a startled noise, Sasuke's arms tightened around Futch's waist, burying his head in the other man's back. Despite feeling a bit of hurt and guilt at their argument earlier, Futch couldn't help but revel in the feeling of Sasuke clutching on to him. He turned around when he felt Sasuke shiver, though.

"Are you cold?" He shouted over the wind. The ninja shook his head.

"Just a little dizzy!" He shouted back.

Futch thought for a moment, then figured that, if it meant having Sasuke around, even for a few minutes longer, he leaned forward and called out to Bright. "Slow down a bit! And takes us down a little lower, he's not used to this altitude!"

She cooed softly and slowed down, leveling out a bit closer to the earth. Sasuke tightened his hold for a second. "Thank you." He said into Futch's back. Though they didn't speak for the rest of the journey, their silence was a comforting one.

Futch slid off Bright's shoulders first once they touched down in a clearing by Rokkaku. He turned and helped Sasuke off, a little weak on his feet from the experience. He gripped Futch's arms tightly, head pressed against his chest, trying to focus on matching his racing heart's beating with the older man's calm, soothing rhythm.

Just this once, Futch dared to bow his head down, nuzzling the wild strands of Sasuke's hair as he carefully held the other man. "Sasuke," he said quietly, "just this once, I have to know... Why do you hate the memory of that day so much? What is it that makes you so angry?"

Shakily, he pulled back, looking Futch in the eyes, tracing the lines of his face in the moon's light. "It's not you. Don't think that way." With a deep breath, he closed his eyes. "If things were different, I could except everything that's happened between us. But it just can't be that way. Please, don't ask me, don't force me. Just believe me when I say that it can't happen."

"Why can't it? Twice, Sasuke. Twice you've returned my kiss. So why can't it happen?"

"Don't. Please." He was beginning to feel his resolve crumble with every moment he spent with Futch. He had to go before he could no longer bring himself to leave. "I have to go." He turned, walking towards the trees where he'd disappear in the shadows. Where his emotions would forever remain.

Suddenly, Sasuke found himself in Futch's arms. "Don't go." He whispered into the scarf around his neck. "I'm sorry. Stay with me. I know it's selfish, I know you can't but.." he held on tighter, "stay with me."

"Futch.." Sasuke turned his cheek into the soft hair, breathing in the scent that made him go slowly wild. With a trembling breath, he held Futch by the material at his waist, his will faded away, thought of escape, of leaving flying from his mind. "Oh Futch." He couldn't believe that a world existed outside the rightness of Futch's strong arms.

"Stay here. If just for a little while." He kissed Sasuke's neck gently. Then his jaw and cheek. And then his lips, lingering there sweetly, delving deeply into the un-entered heaven of Sasuke's mouth.

Suddenly, the memories from that day by the waterfall erupted into Sasuke's mind. All the emotions, all the confusion, frustration, sweet distraction all suffered from the hands of the man whose arms he rested all too willingly in washed over him in a delicious wave. He remembered all the memories and dreams he created, over the years changing, becoming more real, more personal. All the images dreamed up in the corners of his thoughts, how he tried to push them away, but instead, they multiplied and intensified in his mind. He welcomed them, the burning that they stoked inside his body. He clutched Futch tightly, afraid that if he let go now, he'd lose all the dreams he hoped for. Sasuke opened his mouth beneath Futch, sucking at his tongue with such startling suddenness, Futch lost control of the kiss.

Shivering in delight at the aggressive move, he allowed himself a moment of being overcome before he straightened out, his lips lingering on Sasuke's before parting. But Sasuke wouldn't have that, leaning up to kiss him again, arms pinned to his sides to keep from pull Futch down. The Dragon Knight chuckled against his lips as Sasuke growled in annoyance. The years had separated them greatly, Futch shooting nearly six feet tall while Sasuke just barely managed to break 5'6", he had to balance on his toes in order to kiss Futch when he stood tall. Which caused Sasuke's body to rub tightly up against Futch's which caused the most delicious pain and rampant images to swarm in his head.

As Sasuke pushed against him once again, Futch shifted one arm under Sasuke's, the other gripping on the back of his thigh, moving up sensually. Sasuke purred in his throat, hands sliding up Futch's chest, around the back of his neck and tangling in his chestnut colored hair.

All those years under the sword had caused Futch's muscles to tighten and harden, making him much stronger than most other men his age. With a grunt, he lifted Sasuke up, much lighter than he had anticipated. On instinct, Sasuke wrapped his slender legs around Futch's waist, settling himself firmly against his hips. He grinned when Futch's head fell back with a gasp, taking advantage of the opening.

When they parted in order to draw in shallow breaths, Futch looked around wildly, uncertain at his continuing ability to hold both of them up. He pressed Sasuke's back against a nearby tree, capturing his lips again, fumbling uselessly at the ninja's belt. Sensing Futch's frustration, a pair of hands joined his, running over the backs to the tips of his fingers and down the knuckles again before being placed on top the older man's, unbuckling the belt with practiced ease. Futch didn't understand what it was about the action, but it just seemed so sensual and erotic, automatically it slowed their pace, letting the heat and passion build and burn. Futch's hands slid up under Sasuke's tunic and he watched as the dark material parted before him, watching as the ninja slid out of it, watching how the lean muscles in his slender chest moved, how the body tapered off into an almost feminine waist pressed against his own. Futch couldn't help but grin to himself. That mesh shirt really did nothing to curb his imagination..

As they kissed again, slow and languid, the clouds darkened. The first drops of water fell and Futch looked up, Sasuke continuing to nuzzle at his ear. "It's beginning to rain." He said quietly.

"Ah." Came the occupied reply. "I don't care about the rain."

He looked back. "But don't you-"

"No." Sasuke said sharply. "All I want is you. Now." And he kissed Futch, chasing all thoughts of anything other than Sasuke away. The rain picked up, leveling off to a mild intensity, warm to the skin. With a sigh, Sasuke nuzzled his cheek against Futch's hair as the other suckled at his collar.

"Futch..." He said quietly. "Is this.. Is this a good idea?"

He paused and then looked up at Sasuke, wondering why he thought now would be a good time to question. But, as he looked at those amber eyes, that question faded away.

"What's wrong?" He asked, worried.

"Is it a good idea," Sasuke asked again, "to do this only once together?"

It hurt. Of course, Futch knew that they'd probably never see each other again, but to actually say it, to say that the truth is, indeed, the truth, hurt. "Sasuke," he said honestly, slowly gathering his thoughts. "Just the fact that it could be with you is the only reason why I'd do this. Once or a thousand times, it doesn't matter. It's you that I get to be with, if just for the moment. That's the only thing that counts."

It could've just been the rain, but Futch was certain that he saw tears beginning to form in Sasuke's eyes. "It is..." He agreed after a moment, leaning down to kiss Futch. Slowly, he let the smaller man down. This time, as they touched, it was with a slow sense of wonder, looking at each other- really looking at each other for the first time. Every kiss, every movement was careful, was tender. They spent the night exploring, memorizing, to them there was no tomorrow because the future held no promise that they would reunite. And for every night that they would sleep apart they shared with shy touches and secret promises. Futch tried to drown himself in Sasuke's tears, swept away by the rain, wrapped himself in every quiet cry and soft moan, remembered each pose of his hand and the feel of his body. Sasuke fell into the strong, musky scent of Futch, traced each cut of his muscles, how his callused hands fit around his waist, breathed in every feeling he induced. And in the end, as they lay entwined, wishing that the morning never would come, they slept. And Bright covered them with one great wing, shielding them from the world.

Slowly, the dawn rose and Futch's eyes opened. He turned his head at the weight that was still settled on his arm. Sasuke gave him a tentative smile, still soaking up every lovely detail of the strong man beside him.

Futch turned to his side, other hand coming around to stroke at Sasuke's hair. "I thought you would've left before I woke up."

"I was going to." Sasuke admitted. "But you sleeping next to me was something I couldn't let go of."

"And when I'm awake next to you?"

With a wicked smile, the younger man replied, "You're naked. How could I pass that up?" But he sobered quickly. "I have to go."

"I know." He still stroked his hair, trailing light fingers down to his cheek. "I don't want you to leave."

"I know." Sasuke tilted his head, kissing the fingertips, letting his tongue slip out to bat at one lightly. "But I still have to."

With a sudden sense of urgency, Futch put an arm around Sasuke's waist, pulling him closer. "I don't care about the rest of the world. Let's stay here. Just us, just like this. Let's forget everything else."

"We can't." Sasuke said sadly. "We have duties to fulfill. If you don't return soon, people will start worrying about you."

"You're here. Nothing else matters." He rolled on top of the other man, holding himself up on his forearms. "Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I really don't know what it is, but I don't care. I don't care if it's not, I don't care if I ever really do feel it, but if it does exist, I know it's the feeling I have for you. Sasuke, I-"

"Don't." Sasuke cut in, almost panicked. "Don't say it, Futch. Don't wait for someone who could never completely be with you." He stroked Futch's strong-cut jaw, kissing his chin with regret. "There's so much you don't understand."

"Then tell me."

He kissed Futch again, long and slow. "Pray we don't meet again." Sasuke said softly. "Or I may never be able to leave your side." He slid out from under Futch and the pearly leather wing, gathering his clothes as the Dragon Knight watched, aching to hold him and love him until his heart broke.

And, watching as he vanished into the forest, it already had.

And this story takes place towards/at the end of SuikoIII. Unfortunately for all you people out there, this is pretty much the only sex they'll be getting in the To Breathe series. I don't know if I'll do anything else with them after the third installment, but.. shrugs

This is pretty long and I don't really know if I like it. I wrote it in random segments and then tried to connect them together somehow. Sometimes that process works, I don't really think it did this time. They sound a bit weird to me, so.. Sorry^^;;

Hope you liked it anyway! hides

The section and chapter headers ('to breathe', 'i am hurting', 'i am losing', 'i have lost it all') all come from BoA's Duvet. The summary comes from their song Welcome. All character mentioned are owned by Konami.
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