Currents of the Heart Prologue

By Nightingale

Genre: Suikoden 2/Suikogaiden

Rating: PG as of the moment

Notes: Due to the SEVERE lack of Suikogaiden fics, I have put forth the effort to create this little fic. Well, it’ll be really long in all truth. O.o; Mind you that I DO NOT speak or read Japanese, so I have a severe lack of knowledge. But if I don’t write one, who will? *glare* I’ve searched EVERYWHERE on ALL search engines for Suikogaiden fan fics and got NOTHING! It’s horrible! So don’t flame me. I do own both Suikogaiden games, and I’ve read the mild translation. So keep in mind that I’m working from that. Thanks!

Warnings: See above. ^_^

Disclaimers: Alas! Woe is me! For I do not own the bishies from these two fabulous games… Please do not sue. I’m a VERY broke college student who can barely pay her bills!

(Done to Currents from Suikogaiden: Vol. 1 Swordsman of Harmonia)

Goin’ with the silver flow…
Of river wide with current deep and slow…

The cool autumn breeze traveled with a foreboding wind across the great woodlands in the eastern province of the Toran Republic. The mountain ridges bordering between the domain of the dwarves and the newly rebuilt village of the elves were beginning to hold a crisp feeling that threatened the bite of frost that would soon follow the mild autumn weather. The lands were progressively returning to their former grandeur that had been lost in the time of the Liberation Wars against the Scarlet Moon Empire. The forests now seemed whole again, and beautiful to the inquisitive eye. To one that had never seen the area before wouldn’t believe that the forest had ever been purged in the first place.

A lonely weather beaten figure stopped on one of the ledges and peered down the slopes of the mountain in order to see the village built within a single tree. Firelight flickered within the branches giving a near eerie feel to one who didn’t know that the small remainder of elves resided there. The figure shivered beneath the many layers of mostly black clothing as the veil of night crept upon him with every intent of bringing the cold with the darkness.

Eyes of aquamarine scanned the remaining distance to the valley and thoughts began to fill his mind. It didn’t seem that he would be able to make the journey before nightfall, and that was assuming that the elves would welcome him. The wind picked up and ripped long golden bangs into the air before him while cutting through his clothing into his back. It would be no use staying where he was, unless he wanted to get sick during the cold mountain nightfall.

Trudging on, he unconsciously tugged his black robe like jacket tighter about his shoulders and wondered why he had to be so cold natured. The journey was slow and in a way, far too tedious. There were too many mountains in the Toran Republic. Being from the Holy Kingdom of Harmonia, one would have thought that he’d be used to the climate, but he wasn’t.

What felt like eternity past him by as he finally made his approach to the entrance to the tiny village. By that time, not only had the full cloak of night covered the world about him, the cold had as well. Sighing in exasperation, he made his way in keeping close vigil to any sign of movement around him. He’d seen an elf before. His name had been Stallion, and he’d saved the mayor of Greenhill during the Dunan Unification Wars in the new country to the north. The elf had told him about the village of the elves, and a curiosity had filled him. He’d never seen anything like it. After all, he was trying to see the world.

Where the blue haired elf had quite a spirit of bravado, he’d seemed amiable enough. Now he relied on the assumption that the rest would be the same. Swallowing hard, he approached the building that had the sign out front declaring vacancy. Pushing the door open, a small toddler shoved past him quickly while laughing. Gasping in surprise, he jumped back and dropped the only bag that he carried with him. "AH!"

In the child’s wake, a woman ran closely at his heels. "Lorien! Stop! Please! I’m so sorry sir!" Behind a veil of soft violet colored hair, gray-blue eyes peered upon him with a near apologetic feel. As she lurched forward to tackle the impish child, the man narrowly caught a glimpse of slender pointed ears projecting from the silken layer of hair. She was truly an elf. After securely holding the child in her arms, she returned to him and smiled nervously. "I’m truly sorry about that! Lorien is just a real enthusiastic kid!"

Blinking a few times, the man with golden blonde hair smiled in reply while shaking his head. "It’s all right. I just didn’t expect that." Leaning down, he grabbed his bag and slid it back onto his shoulder before gazing at the child in her arms. Emerald eyes glittered in excitement as they stared back, and the smile on his imp like face grew by the second. "Good evening, Lorien."

Shaggy strands of pale green tousled with the boy’s vigorous nodding as a tiny hand thrust forward in greeting. "Hi mister! Are you staying the night? We don’t see humans often!" At his words, the mother also nodded in an excited manner while smiling brightly. Both seemed overly enthusiastic and pleasant enough.

"He’s right! Since we’ve rebuilt, Kirkis and I haven’t had visitors all that often. Valeria is really nice and visits a lot and all, but it isn’t the same!" Both elves laughed cheerfully as the woman stepped aside and indicated for the traveler to enter the warmth of the building. "I’m Sylvina!"

Smiling brightly, the man stepped inside while giving one last shiver to rid his system of the cold night. "Thanks! I’m Nash. Nash Latkje, thanks for letting me stay here!"

"No problem! Kirkis went to Gregminster, so I’m afraid that you won’t be able to meet him. I have no clue where Ruby is… So, I’ll do my best to make you feel welcomed! I’ll go get a bed ready! You must be very tired…" With that, the silver violet hair was the only thing he saw as she retreated from the room in order to ready a room for him.

Nash smiled pleasantly and plopped down into a chair near a circular table. He was beyond exhausted and it was pretty much catching up to him in that one moment. Rubbing his eyes persistently, he finally looked up only to see a pair of green eyes peering over the curve of the table across from him. It was quite evident that the boy was over flowing with curiosity. "It’s ok to ask me questions." An amiable smile crossed his lips as he leaned his elbows onto the table. "I won’t bite."

"I’ve never seen anyone with your color hair or eyes…"

Chuckling in a light hearted manner, Nash merely smiled at the small toddler of about four or five. "But you haven’t seen many people have you?" The boy shook his head slowly and let out a melodramatic sigh. "I’m from another country though."

"Wow! I’ve never seen anywhere other than the city of the dwarves and that ‘minster place. Where are you from?" Wide eyes watched the blonde intently as the green-blue eyes fell onto the table top in deep thought. He could tell that the mysterious traveler was debating in his head, and it thrilled him to no end.

"I suppose… I could tell you. I’m from Harmonia…" The elf stared at him blankly and finally shook his head with a shrug.

"Never heard of it…" Nash smiled softly and raked a hand through his golden bangs in order to push them out of his eyes.

"I figured."

"Will you go home?"

"I don’t belong there anymore…"

"But everyone has to have a home!"

A frown slowly fell over his countenance causing him to look away from the boy before him. There was a truth in those words that cut him like a knife through the heart. "I’m afraid I don’t… Not anymore."

I rest my wings made to soar…
But can I fly anymore?

"Thank you for letting me stay here Ms. Sylvina!" Nash smiled brightly and shook her hand gently within his gloved hand. The bubbly female only bobbed her head happily while laughing.

"You can come back anytime! While you’re in Toran you should see the castle on Lake Toran! I used to live there during the war! It’s quite a place!" With each enthusiastic word, the elf nodded her head sending long strands of lavender into her eyes in soft waves.

"I’ll do that. Thanks! Bye Lorien!" Looking past the girl, he caught sight of the pale green head poking out from behind his mother smiling minutely. Waving a gloved hand at the child, he was surprised to see him bolt forward and latch onto his right leg with intensity. Patting his head lightly, Nash could only smile in response. "I’ll miss you little guy."

"I hope you find your way home Mister Nash." The two exchanged a smile before the impish child released him and backed into his mother’s loving embrace.

"I’ll try… Farewell!" Waving one last time, Nash turned toward the west beginning his journey to the shores of Lake Toran. He felt better now that he’d been in the company of the lighthearted elves. Their community was small, but cheery nonetheless. According to his estimation, he’d reach his destination within a couple of days if he only stopped to sleep. It didn’t bother him; he spent most of his time traveling as it was. Thinking back to the small elf child he felt his heart ache slightly. Maybe he needed to find somewhere to call home, but he didn’t quite know where ‘home’ would be. In Harmonia, he was considered a rogue of sorts, even a murderer. He didn’t want to go back there anytime soon. There was no telling what sort of homecoming he would receive.

As he walked across the clearing toward the forest path, an array of brown feathers flashed across his line of vision causing him to fall backward to the ground. Glaring up at the offending creature, his aquamarine eyes met up with the pile of feathers he called Dominguez. The bird looped around him happily while chirping out his words ecstatically for his master to hear. "Nash Latkje! Nash Latkje!"

"For heaven’s sake Dominguez! I know my name!" With a delighted whistle, the bird came to rest on one of Nash’s light gray clothed knees. Rustling its dull brown feathers, one mahogany eye met the irritated look on his master’s face.

"Nash Latkje!" Watching with a look of amusement, the bird seemed to know how much he annoyed his master with his persistent calling of his full name. "Message for you!" Turning about lightly on the blonde’s knee, Nash reached up and opened the satchel on the bird’s back.

     I’m delighted to hear you wish to stay in Gregminster for a while. Young master and I would be honored if you could consider staying with us. Please have a safe journey. Hopefully Dominguez will catch up with you soon enough. Good day.

"Well, Dominguez, I suppose you are good for something…" Rising to his feet, he placidly brushed off the black material that hung like a duster over his legs. In moments, he was heading off in the direction of the forest once more. Perched on his shoulder, Dominguez continued to coo happily not really paying attention to the dirty looks Nash continued to give him. "Do you have to be so noisy when you’re going to sleep?"

Noticing that the bird had no intention of heeding his pleas, he just sighed and continued on. The farther he traveled from the mountains, the warmer it became much to his happiness. He didn’t care to be cold, and the mild autumn air of sea level ground was perfect for him. A soft smile crossed his thin lips as he allowed his gaze to wander over the expanse of grassy plains and trees surrounding him. It reminded him somewhat of the forests of Greenhill.

In a way, he missed the people that he had met in those days as he’d searched for information regarding three of the twenty-seven true runes. Everyone from Sierra to Futch had played a vital role in the changing of his life. In a way, they had made the transition better for him. Though, he wondered if he had been correct in leaving his young sister behind. She was his only living relative beside their aunt. Shaking his head, he had no intent of ever going back. Lena could take care of Yulie, and that was just how it was going to be. There was no longer any room for regrets.

Trying to change his train of thought, he allowed his mind to drift to the meaning of the message he had received. It hadn’t been too long ago that he had sent Dominguez out with a message to the former hero of Toran in a means of verification. He didn’t want to be an un-welcomed guest in Gregminster when he arrived. It was always better to be safe rather than sorry. It always felt better to be greeted rather than glared at. He’d had enough with people giving him murderous looks.

The river it goes ever on…
Can heart keep pacing rushing swollen till dawn?

Several days past and now the lonely traveler stood on the shores of Lake Toran staring over its horizon to the monolith raising up from its watery midst. The monument was strong and tall, and he could see how it was awe-inspiring. The small little town he was staying in was very quiet and had little or no commerce other than fisherman. He’d met a man on the pier earlier that day by the name Yam Koo who had been in both the Liberation wars and the Dunan Unification wars. It was amazing how Toran and Jowston were so diversely connected to one another.

Lowering onto his haunches, he rocked back and sat upon the ground that consisted of sand and dune grass in order to rest as he watched the waves lap gently upon the sand in front of him. He liked the water and how it seemed as though it went on forever. It was almost as endless as the journey he had doomed himself to. Where he reveled in the knowledge and sights that he saw, he wished that for just a moment he could stop and become familiar in one place.

Mist hung like a curtain over the water thinning out the intense rays of the sun keeping him from becoming too hot. The moist air clung to the long strands of golden kissed hair framing his face. It was almost like a sheet was wrapped tightly around him without actually suffocating him. On his shoulder, Dominguez fluffed up his feathers in an irritated fashion not liking the way his feathers felt so heavy against his small body. This brought a soft chuckle from the man with sea blue eyes.

"Don’t like it, Dominguez? It’s a shame…" The bird turned his back to Nash in an uppity fashion and chose to ignore him once more. Shaking his head lightly, Nash felt a heavy gaze weighing upon him from behind. Turning slowly, he couldn’t believe the sight that met his eyes.

"Never thought I’d see you ever again." The tenor met his ears causing the hair to stand on the back of his neck. With eyes wide with fear, he met blazing eyes of crimson that mocked him silently without words. Flaming deep red hair parted down the center hung partially into the other man’s vision giving him a clean-cut look.

"I thought… you were… I thought you were dead!" The man laughed morbidly and walked closer to where Nash sat on the ground. White and red robes flurried about him in swirls with his every movement until he halted beside the blonde.

"I’m not an easy one to kill. Nash wasn’t it?" Looking down at the surprised Harmonian, the man couldn’t help but laugh deeply. "You shouldn’t look so surprised…"

Nodding slowly, Nash forced himself to his feet in order to meet the crimson gaze fully. "Seed… You haven’t changed… Just please tell me you don’t plan to start a fight. I’m really not…"

Raising a hand, Seed cut the younger off with a smirk. "I have no reason to kill you. That is… unless you give me one." The pure look of amusement caused Nash to quiver in surprise.

"I don’t like to fight unless it’s necessary." Speaking slowly, Seed merely stared out over the waters of the lake with a solemn look on his face. "Why are you in Toran?"

"I don’t know. I went where the wind took me." Without looking at Nash, he continued to watch the water with almost an empty look. For a moment, Nash could see the worn look that hugged the contours of his young face making him seem older than he should. The fire in his eyes was missing, and the look that replaced it was so very familiar to him. They were the same. They no longer had a home to go to, and they were forever doomed to travel aimlessly about the world.

Following Seed’s gaze, Nash felt uneasy about being so friendly with his former enemy. He didn’t think that Seed meant him harm, it’s just that old habits never seemed to go away. "Where are you headed?"

"Anywhere, everywhere, it really doesn’t matter anymore." The monotone seemed dead and made Nash feel sore inside for the man with red hair. "And where are you going Harmonia boy?"

Seed turned to smirk in amusement at the look of dismay on the blonde’s face. "Don’t call me that! I’m heading to Gregminster… after that… I don’t know…"

"Oh the indecision… Mind if I come along? You never know if you’ll need help."

"Don’t give yourself so much credit." Grimacing slightly, Nash brushed the sand off of his black clothing in a near violent manner. "I suppose I could stand the company…" After a moment he muttered under his breath in order to keep Seed from hearing. "As long as you let a little air out of that head of yours…"

"Did you say something?"

"No… Nothing at all." Seed gave a slight smile before looking to the north with a tired gaze. "I’m leaving in the morning…"

"Sounds good…"

"What happened to Culgan?" Nash blinked slowly and watched the other with intent light blue-green eyes. At the question, the red head began to wilt slightly.

"He found someone in Zexen… Then settled down there. I didn’t feel right lingering around causing him trouble."

"I’m glad for him then. But I never would have pictured you for the sentimental type."

"I never said I was blondie. I just care about whether or not my only close friend is happy. If he’s happy, why should I stay around?" The two stood silently for the time being and allowed the sea breeze to wash over their forms playing with their hair and nipping at their clothing. In both of their minds, weariness was the key player, and they were so similar it scared them.

Now I shake off weariness…
And go to meet what I can’t guess…

Seed stood on the outskirts of the small town leaning against a rickety old building that lay beside the dirt road. Nash was still in town buying some supplies and chasing his little brown bird. He didn’t care really about Nash, after all, the young man from Harmonia had nearly killed him once before. Inside he knew it was his own fault. He shouldn’t have pressed on the blonde so eagerly in an attempt to pick a fight. It was rather obvious that Nash just wasn’t the type to get into a fight unless it was absolutely necessary.

He envied the youth for his sense of being. Nash was full of confidence when it was needed and humble in matters, which he himself would bask in his self-conceit. The former general knew very well that he was arrogant, but he found that hiding behind that mask was part of who he was. All of his life he feared that he would become a nobody just like he was before joining the Highland army, now here he was, a walking dead man.

It was true, he was supposed to be dead. The day that the son of Genkaku had stormed L’Renouille, he and Culgan had stood in his way. After being defeated, he swore he would die there. He had even declared that it was best that he died with his country. Culgan had had other things in mind. The older man had literally drug Seed’s wounded form out of the castle and back into the world of the living. It was amazing what friends did for each other.

But Culgan wasn’t there anymore. Culgan was now moving on with his life with a woman in Zexen that he had learned to love. He didn’t belong there with them. He would just be a hassle if nothing else. In dire situations, it was always Culgan that would pull him out and calm him down. The nickname ‘Flaming General’ wasn’t given to him for nothing. He had a temper hotter than fire, and a thirst for battle all in the name of proving himself.

Though, battle was losing its glamour, and life didn’t seem worth it any longer. The funny thing was, Nash was the first one he’d been able to confess even a piece of his feelings to. Maybe it was because he saw the same look in his eyes that he saw in himself. Whatever it was, he had just committed himself to a long journey with the former citizen of Harmonia.

A hand in shining white armor rose to meet his crimson gaze beneath the pulsing sunlight. Raising the other, he carefully removed the gloves and flexed his slender fingers in the light. They were stained with the invisible blood of many innocent lives. In these few moments of retrospection, he couldn’t help but ask himself why he was allowed to live. He had no right to live.

"Something the matter, Seed?" Looking up sharply, crimson met aqua in one brief surprised moment. In a rushed manner he pulled the armored gloves back on and shook his head. Nash peered at him curiously for a moment then sighed. "Ready to go then? You’re still coming… right?"

With a curt nod, Seed avoided the younger’s gaze like a plague. It was just too naïve for his liking. "If you’re ready, we will leave. Did you catch that feather bag of yours?"

Nash smirked and nodded his head as one brown gloved finger poked the bird in the chest lightly as it sat on his shoulder. "One Dominguez right here, and we’re all ready to go. Master McDohl and Gremio are awaiting my arrival, so it’s best we leave now."

"Then let’s go." Sauntering forward, Seed left Nash to blink in surprise. With a hurried gait, the blonde rushed to catch up. He wasn’t used to the long strides of the taller man, and he normally preferred to walk at a leisurely pace that didn’t take away much of his energy. Besides, in this world, who knew when you were going to come across something that either wanted your money, or just your life.

The heart has its secret currents
Deep and without guide
To find out where they will lead
I take the plunge eyes wide

The bustling of Gregminster whirred by wide eyes of aquamarine as the lively citizens walked about carrying out daily business. It was a ceaseless flow of activity that Nash was unaccustomed to. It wasn’t that he had not seen a city of its size before. It was just that he hadn’t been to such a center of commerce. At his side, Seed stood quietly with his arms crossed over his chest in silent contemplation. In all truth, they were sorely out of place.

Taking a deep breath, he nodded his head and told his mind that this was just like an over crowded Muse. Seed followed in step with uncharacteristic silence. Something was bothering him, and Nash didn’t know if he should ask him about it or not. He was almost sure that Seed didn’t like people to pry into his personal concerns.

As they walked, a voice caught his attention and he turned to see a man talking to a vendor with an unusual air of vehemence. Blonde hair lay in a soft ponytail on his back, which was in turn covered by a green cloak. He was unmistakably the person Nash was looking for. Stepping in the man’s direction, he caught pieces of the conversation that was being carried. "Just because I work in the McDohl household doesn’t mean that we have money to throw around!"

"Look, that’s the price, take it or leave it."

Angrily the blonde clenched his teeth and tried to stay composed. "It’s robbery I tell you!"

"Sure it is mister."

Gremio finally gave a long sigh and turned around in time to see Nash standing directly behind him. "Oh! Mister Latkje! So good to see you! I’m sorry that you had to see that… Anyway, shall we make our way back to the house? I’m sure you’re very tired." Smiling amiably, Gremio didn’t even see the man standing just behind Nash.

"It’s good to see you Gremio. I hate to be a burden, but I have a traveling companion now and if necessary, we’ll just stay at the inn." Nash stepped aside and smiled apologetically to the older man with yellow blonde hair. "Gremio, meet Seed."

Seed nodded slightly to Gremio as he smiled warmly in greeting. "Nice to meet you, Seed. Does Young master perhaps know you as well? It will be nice to have guests. I’m sure you both can stay with us." At his words, Seed tried to smile but something kept him from being too thrilled about the offer.

Nash blinked a few times then shrugged slightly thinking if he needed to know what it was, Seed would say something about it. It wasn’t like the former general to not speak up about something that bothered him. He was known for his hot head and brash manner.

For the most part, the three traveled in silence toward the McDohl home save for the bits of conversation between Gremio and Nash. They really hadn’t known each other very well, and Nash knew the household through McDohl himself. As they entered, Gremio smiled happily and stood at the base of the stairs in the main entrance hall. "Young master! I’m home! Oh, and mister Latkje is here as well with a friend."

In moments, the boy with raven hair walked calmly down the stairs and partially smiled at Nash. Bowing in silent greeting, he finally turned his gaze to Seed only to become stone still. The dark brown eyes were wide in surprise as they took in the man with deep red hair and crimson colored eyes. "You…"

Seed moved uncomfortably and dropped his gaze to the ground. "I had a feeling you would remember me."

Nash looked between the two in confusion and groaned inwardly. It hadn’t even crossed his mind that they had met before. "Seed… You know Master McDohl?"

Nodding slowly, he still refused to raise his gaze. "He was with Genkaku’s boy the day Highland fell…" McDohl looked at Nash with the same look of surprise he’d just given Seed. He could tell that he wanted to know what he was doing with a former enemy.

Biting his lower lip, Nash merely shrugged the mood off with a bright smile. "It’s all in the past. What happened then, shouldn’t keep us from getting along now."

"For being such an air head you do have a point." Nash turned a mild glare in Seed’s direction only to see an amused smirk on his pale porcelain face. "Master McDohl, my days of fighting against you and Harmonia boy here, are over."

Giving a slight nod, McDohl visibly relaxed in their midst and gave a placid smile. "Make yourselves at home." Pausing, they could tell that he wasn’t used to talking and carrying conversations. "Gremio will have dinner ready soon. I’ll show you to your rooms."

"I appreciate it, Master McDohl." In the corner of his eye, he could see the look of relief on Seed’s face that disturbed him slightly. Maybe a near death experience could indeed change a person. Letting out a sigh, he followed the raven-haired boy deeper into the house with Seed in tow. He had a feeling that he and Seed would be stuck in each other’s company for a while.

People move from home to street
No one blinks as day yields to day, life is fleet

The night-lights of Gregminster burned brightly in the night flickering off the sides of the large building geometrically placed through out the city plazas. The nights were mildly cool and comfortable compared to the frigid air of the mountains. On one of the larger homes that belonged to the McDohl family, one window was dimly lit with it’s large window open. A lone figure was perched in the space with one knee bent up against his chest.

One bare arm rested on his knee in a relaxed fashion while slender fingers encased in a finger-less glove flexed in the semi dark night. The city seemed to cling to daylight with the use of fire for their artificial sun. It never failed, whenever he stayed in a city, he could never fall into sleep’s embrace like he could in the true darkness of the wilderness. Moving his tired eyes of aqua over the people in the city streets, he wondered what was so important that made them wish to draw out the day as they did on a daily basis. Leave tomorrow to worry about itself. It was the way he had been forced to live.

Nash wondered which his heart truly wanted. The journey he was now on, or the ideal of a home and settling down in one place. It was such a haze to him. Would it be boring to him if he tried? Shaking his head, he turned his eyes to the celestial bodies within the heavens and let out a long sigh. Even with their dim sparkle, they still held a pure light that could outshine the torches below. Maybe, he envied the stars. They were forever constant and always shining in their sparkling grandeur.

Prying his eyes away, he looked into the room to see the other in the room with him sitting upon one of the beds. The curtain of deep red hair fell past his eyes hiding them from Nash’s point of view. In the former general’s lap sat the long elegant katana with a black hilt that he carried with him always. It reminded him of Grosser and Fluss. Grosser and Fluss… The swords his own father passed on to him.

Not only were they a large part of his past, they also carried a bitter curse just like his memories. Something about using them sent him almost every time into a fitful rage. And in that time, he no longer knew who was friend or foe. Now it seemed, he didn’t even need to use the swords in order to get confused. Here he was now traveling with a former enemy, and a close friend in his past had turned out to be the murderer of his beloved parents. Zaj… Why did he have to take away all the people he loved, even his sweet little sister Yulie? The gentle girl had loved him with all she was even while knowing what he had done. Was that something that was right or not, Nash could not tell, and he’d rather not think of it.

"Tell me… do you have anyone waiting for you?" Looking up sharply, Nash felt his face form a look of surprise mixed with confusion. Seed hadn’t talked all night, and it was strange the topic he was choosing.

"If they are waiting for me… I fear I will disappoint them." Nash soon looked away and directed his attention out the window once more.

"Life is after all… disappointing." Aqua met crimson for a brief moment before parting once more. "Did they do something to make you not want to see them?"

"Not in particular… I just don’t belong in Harmonia. I don’t plan on ever going back."

"Then where do you plan to go?"

Arching a slender golden brow in thought, Nash wondered why his companion was being so curious. "I’m pretty much doing what you are doing. I’m going where the wind takes me. What about you? Don’t you have anyone to go home to?"

Seed frowned and then dropped his head back against the wall while closing his eyes. "My family doesn’t probably even remember me. Besides, the fact I was a Highland general could cause hate and discontent if I were to show up."

Nodding, Nash knew what the red head had said was true. In ways, Seed was worse off than him self. One, he was supposed to be dead, and two, the state practically hated anything dealing with the former Highland military. Especially ranking officers. "That could be a problem if you want to travel with me… I was planning to go north next… I’ve seen most of Toran already."

"I see… Well, everyone has to face their fears someday. I’ll still come along and lend a hand. I am rather useful." This caused the blonde to smirk slightly in amusement. No one could say that Seed had a lack of confidence. Crimson eyes opened slowly as he grinned in self-satisfaction.

"Are you really that confidant?"

"Why wouldn’t I be? Only two people have truly bested me in combat. Them being You and Culgan. I believe I have a right to be." Nash laughed lightly and shook his head. "What’s that suppose to mean Harmonia boy?"

"Nothing really… Highlander… It’s just that you speak truthfully even if it is rather, well… conceited." Seed shrugged and carefully sheathed his katana and rested it beside the bed. "We should leave soon. I hate burdening people for long."

"Then we have something in common. Anyway, loafing off of someone gives the impression that you are weak." Lying back onto the bed, Seed laced his fingers across the back of his neck.

Rising to his feet, Nash walked over to his bed and plopped down upon it loosely. Bending down to remove his boots, he considered what the other had said. It was true. In fact, it may even be why he refused to stay in one place. But as applicable as it was, he didn’t feel that it was appropriate with him. He didn’t feel the need to prove himself as strong or weak. "You have a point, granted. But I don’t particularly care if someone thinks I’m weak."

"I didn’t think you would. Go to bed, you’re keeping me awake." In moments, the man with red hair had turned out the dimly lit lamp at the head of his bed and was lying on his side facing the wall. Nash smiled slightly and shrugged his shoulders. There was no point in arguing with the older man, so he calmly turned out his lamp as well. Dropping back against the pillow, he allowed his eyes to stare blankly up at the ceiling above. It would be a long night, and he knew that if dreams came, they would be full of nightmares.

Where are you from?
Where are you going, water traveler?

~ "Yulie!" The boy waved with all his might at the shorter girl with flowing locks of golden blonde. The wind was blowing all about her causing her long full skirt to billow out elegantly. A bright smile spread over his face as he raced across the field of long swaying grass in order to reach her. "Yulie! Over here!"

The girl turned slowly with a sad smile on her kind face. Light cerulean eyes glittered from the moisture within them as she watched her older brother rush to her with his arms open wide. Clasping her hands over her chest her knuckles whitened slightly. "Nash…"

Laughing in excitement, he continued to run to her as the wind nipped at his elegant clothing made for a first class citizen. That’s when the laughter ceased, and he stopped cold in his strides. Looking at her with a wide-eyed look filled with horror, he closed his hands into fists. "No! This isn’t real…"

"Nash…" The girl cried out very softly as she reached out a small hand in his direction. "You ran away… you ran away from me!" Tears began to streak down her smooth cheeks as the wind rushed at him harshly pushing him backward.

"Yulie! I had to leave!"

"I thought you cared about me! You were… my brother…"

Were… She used past tense. Nash crumpled to the ground hugging him self tightly. The once gentle breeze was now violet and cold, ripping at the dress shirt and vest he wore. Looking up with burning eyes, they fell once more upon his sister’s form as she was wrapped up in the arms of the man he had learned to hate. "ZAJ! Leave my sister alone!"

The man with gunmetal gray hair smirked and shook his head lightly. "Now Nash, why should I? After all, you’re the reason I’m dead… and the reason your sister is in pain."

Closing his eyes tightly again, Nash felt his body quake. It was his fault… She was torn up, and it was all his fault. But hadn’t he done the right thing? He killed their parents, then tried to kill him. Yulie should understand that! Or did she…? ~

Sitting up in bed, the sweat poured off of him in waves. Erratic breaths choked him as he stared around the room wide eyed. It was only a dream. Dropping his forehead into his open palm, he felt the sheen of perspiration covering it completely. Why wouldn’t his past just leave him alone? Couldn’t he just go on with his life? No… There was something that was still wrong. – Everyone has to face their fears someday… - Seed was right, and he didn’t want to admit it.

The mournful wind blows ever on
Can I keep flooded love for you ‘til dawn?

~ "Seed…" The man spun about in the midst of the stone room with wide eyes of crimson. His General’s jacket flared about him in a sea of red and white that seemed to match him perfectly.

"Where are you?" His voice came out coarse and somewhat fearful making his insides churn with confusion. He didn’t know why he sounded scared in the first place.

Stepping from around a corner, his best friend stood calmly before him with placid light gray eyes. The pristine black and white uniform seemed to bring out the color of his eyes and platinum hair just as it always had, but Seed knew better. Culgan had turned in that uniform a long time ago where he still clung to his. "You know… Highland is dead…"

Turning away, he clenched his fists tightly and glared at the ground. "But why? It’s not fair! We worked so hard to protect it… Was… was it because I wasn’t strong enough?"

Crossing his arms over his chest, Culgan stepped forward and shook his head. "Why do you think the world is on your shoulders? Life changes… so should you. Stagnation gets one no where." Turning away, the older man walked away with the same elegant gait he had always had.

Twirling about, a look of shock covered the younger man’s face as he reached a hand out in his direction. "Culgan! Don’t leave me! Why must I be alone?" In time, he realized that there would be no answer. Dropping his hands to his sides, the cold of the stone castle around him caused him to tremble. With the trembling also came the fading, and he was left to stand alone in the dark.

It felt so hopeless and futile. Why did life have to seem that way? Even in his dreams, he was cursed with nightmares and visions of what used to be. Anger filtered slowly into his façade and he clenched his teeth. "Curse my life and the failures that fill it… Culgan… why can’t I move on like you?" He had had no right to tell Nash to face his fears when he himself was terrified of the idea. ~

Instantly his crimson eyes fluttered open to meet the darkness of the room about him. Turning over in a futile effort to regain comfort, his eyes caught sight of Nash sitting up in bed with his head cradled in his hands. It seemed he wasn’t the only one with disturbing dreams that forced you out of the embrace of sleep.

Sighing softly, he debated on whether or not he should speak up and inquire on his well being, but in the end he found it better not to. Instead, he just kept an eye on the younger man and decided that if the problems persisted he’d intervene. It was sort of a fatherly gesture, just as Culgan had always done for him. Now he only felt it right to do it for Nash. They were no longer enemies, and both needed a friend.

Now I stretch out my wings again
And take back what I lost then

The tawny sun rose slowly just over the eastern horizon, spilling its golden beams over the two figures as they bid their farewells to the McDohl household. If they wished to reach Banner anytime soon, they’d have to travel quickly and practically nonstop. Seed watched Nash shake hands with the young master then bow to Gremio, Cleo and Pahn. The blonde was admirable and had impeccable manners.

Waving slightly, the man in mostly white spun about and started to walk away. It wasn’t long that he heard the hurried footfalls of the blonde as he rushed to regain his spot at the other’s side. "Must you always be in such a hurry Seed?"

"Must you always be so slow?" Nash frowned and pouted as they walked slowly in the direction of Gregminster’s main gates.

"You’re a real jerk sometimes…"

"I try my best…" Seed allowed himself a small smile as he stared on ahead with one hand rested on the hilt of his katana. A moment of silence passed between them as they exited the city and headed to the Northern Checkpoint. A rustle of wings brought their gazes to rest on Dominguez as he haughtily landed on Nash’s shoulder and gave his master dirty looks. "And you put up with that thing?"

"I put up with you… What’s the difference?" Nash grinned mildly before brushing his hair out of his eyes for the hundredth time. "I think I’ve decided my destination…"

"Have you? Where to then oh great navigator? Should I be worried?" Seed gave him an amused look that only made Nash glare in return.

"NO! I just want to go see my sister… I have to see… if she’s ok." Seed arched a slender brow at the other silently then gave a nod in understanding.

"I thought you never wanted to go back to Harmonia."

"I don’t… but she is my sister."

"Does that mean the ties of blood are strong for you?" Seed gave the man a curious look only to see that Nash looked as blank in his expression as he sounded in his reasoning.

"I don’t know why… I’m just worried about her. Did you want to go with me or not?" Aquamarine eyes peered at Seed with intensity causing him to look away and shrug.

"Sure… why not? I’d rather have company than travel alone." Nash smiled and nodded minutely. "Do you think… there will ever be room in this world for people like us?"

"I don’t know… But I hope there will be someday. I’m too young to feel this tired." His voice was comical, but his heart wasn’t in it. He really did feel far too tired for his age. Little did he know that Seed felt the same exact way.

"True. You know… the way we are traveling… won’t be pretty. The state will hate me… and I don’t even know what will happen in Harmonia." The silence once more reigned as they continued to walk without stopping. The only sound that was heard was the occasional gentle breeze and the rustle of feathers as Dominguez preened his mahogany feathers.

"But better to be with someone than to be alone. Even if we are former enemies." Seed nodded in agreement then smiled slightly. Maybe being stuck together like they were wasn’t such a bad thing. Anything was better than facing pain alone. And why not have a friend there when you do it?

The heart has its secret currents
Deep and without guide
To find out where they will lead
I take the plunge eyes wide…


Chapter 1

Suikoden Fanfic