Let’s have some fanfiction: ‘Tea Time’ (Suikoden 2)

July 18, 2014 at 5:18 pm (Fanfiction) (, , , )

This is a work of fanfiction which was submitted to Suikoden Day 2013‘s Eike’s Library! Fanfiction Contest. And it won too.

It’s about Han and Genkaku hanging out, talking about life, death, the war, and what may or may not happen when it’s all over.


 

Tea Time

 

Two companies marched through the woods – from the east, the solemn stomp of the 2nd Royal Highland Army, and from the west, the raucous laughter of the 1st Muse Army. Both stopped on either edge of a shallow basin, clear of trees except for a single tree that stood defiant. Both companies knew that somewhere just beyond their line of sight, under the leaves and late morning shadows, was the enemy. But fighting wasn’t the point today.

Two men on horseback came from either end of the clearing. They could have been peace negotiators but neither carried a white flag. One however, had a large quilt under his arm.

He flapped it out as he and the other men came together right where the tree stretched up into the sky.

“I’ve got the mat, so you’d better have brought the tea,” Genkaku said.

Han Cunningham proffered a woven basket. “Of course I brought tea,” he said. “It’s Highland style.”

As he would show Genkaku, he didn’t just bring tea. There was a case of biscuits, a respectably Army-baked meat pie, and a small bag of fresh grapes.

“Fruit!” Genkaku couldn’t believe his eyes. “It’s like we’re not in the middle of a war!”

“There’s a vineyard in L’Renouille,” Han said, popping a grape into his mouth. “The King sends me little care packages every now and then.”

Genkaku took one himself. “Does he know you’re sharing it with the enemy?”

“If he asks, I’ll tell him I was trying to convince you to surrender.”

“Would he really believe that?”

“Probably not. But he rather looks up to you, you know. Agares is romantic that way – he sees the two of us as the champions of Highland and the City-State. Two heroes.”

Genkaku winced at the word. “I’m not sure what’s heroic about leading thousands of soldiers to their deaths.”

“Don’t get started on that,” Han said. “Death is a certainty for everyone. It’s just that people like us – like you, or me, or any one of those soldiers who marched out with us today – have a chance to die with honor.”

“For the people you want to protect,” Genkaku said.

Han tipped his cup, brimming to the full with tea, in his direction. “Precisely.”

“I don’t know,” Genkaku said. “Honor or not, I’d hate to die on a battlefield. Have I ever told you how I want to die?”

Han drained his cup, nodding for Genkaku to continue.

“I have this dream,” Genkaku said. “Maybe it’s something I’ll do, after the war, assuming I survive. I’ve never imagined getting married, but I’ve always wanted to have children. A little family I can raise in some nice, quiet, place.”

He munched on a biscuit. “I was thinking of adopting a boy and a girl. A boy with a big, mighty, laugh – he’ll be the kid with a lot of friends, and always getting into trouble. And a girl with a sweet smile, who’d be a great cook. She’ll be drawing suitors from miles around just to get a taste of her cooking.”

“That’s a very specific dream,” Han said, with a raised eyebrow.

Genkaku laughed. “It’s the thought that keeps me going. I’d teach them both martial arts, and they’ll both be strong and good and happy. And when I get old and die, they’ll put my mound up in the garden behind the house so they can drop by and say hello every once in a while.”

He turned to Han. “Have you never had a dream like that?”

“I have much simpler needs,” the man said. “I’ll die with one sword in my hand and another sword in my heart. And I’ll thank the gods for it.”

“With any luck,” Genkaku said, “it won’t be my sword in your heart.”

“With any luck at all,” Han countered, “it will be your sword in my heart.”

Genkaku shook his head with a smile, but Han continued.

“But if I’m very lucky, I will die having fought alongside you,” Han said.

He greeted Genkaku’s look with a grin. “I know it won’t happen,” he said. “For some strange reason you’ve gone and allied yourself with those dogs from Muse, but that doesn’t mean I can’t dream.”

A sudden wind gusted down around them, turning up the corners of the mat, the edges of Han’s beard, and sending Genkaku’s braid back in a whip behind him. Both men were silent for a time.

“I’ve often wondered why you fight for the City-States of Jowston,” Han finally said. He was perfectly serious. “You’re not even from the State. And you’ll pardon me for saying this, but the rumor is you don’t care much for its leaders either.”

Genkaku offered a weary smile. “I’m not even going to ask how those rumors reached your ears,” he said. “Just between you and me though, perhaps I could hope for better leadership for the City-States.”

He toyed with a pinch of meat pie. “I’ve seen how they are, gathered on Jowston Hill, bickering and blaming. Men like Gorudo and Alec Wisemail and even Granmeyer…”

“And Mayor Darrell of Muse,” Han said.

“And Darrell,” Genkaku agreed. “There was no need for me to interfere. Maybe I should have simply allowed the war to run its course. But I was in the right place, at the right time, and I had this.”

He raised his right hand. The palm was covered by Genkaku’s glove, but Han knew what was there. In response, he felt what he had on the palm of his own right hand tingle behind the gauntlet he wore.

“When a man strolls up to Jowston Hill with half of the Rune of Beginning in his hand, people listen,” Genkaku said. “They don’t necessarily like it. Darrell didn’t. He told me the City-States weren’t my responsibility.”

“Maybe they weren’t,” Genkaku said. “But being there, with the Rune, seeing what would happen if I allowed them to go the way they were going, made it my responsibility.”

Han chuckled. “You’re a fool,” he said. “And I don’t suppose you ever considered the fact that the other half of the Rune was with me?”

“I did,” Genkaku said. “I knew that we would fight. But I remembered the old legend, about the Sword and the Shield.”

Han stroked his beard. Every child knew that legend by heart. “In the beginning there was Darkness, and in its Loneliness, Darkness shed a Tear. From the Tear was born the Sword and the Shield, which battled for a thousand years before the Sword pierced the Shield and the Shield shattered the Sword. From the fragments were born the 27 True Runes.”

“I carry the Shield and you wield the Sword,” Genkaku said. “I maintain the hope that even through all this fighting, we can create something together – something stronger and long-lasting.”

By then the sun had begun to set. The shadow of the tree stretched off to the east, reaching for the edges of the clearing.

Han was the first to rise.

“Tomorrow morning this place will be a battlefield,” he said, brushing crumbs from his robes.

“Shame,” said Genkaku. “Look at how the sunset turns the grass gold.”

Han shrugged. “It’s just grass.” And stretched. “Remind me, what are we fighting over again?”

“Kyaro,” Genkaku said. “I’ll be invading bright and early tomorrow.”

“You’ll try to invade. We will successfully repel you.”

“I’ve never actually been to Kyaro,” Genkaku was packing away the picnic things.

“Oh, you wouldn’t like it,” Han said, looking perfectly serious save for the smile creeping in at the corner of his lips. “It’s a backwater town. Handful of summer houses for snobby aristocrats. Way too much by way of fresh air and green trees. Infested by those little squirrelly beasts with the capes.”

He helped Genkaku fold the mat. “Try not to burn it down, all right?”

“I always try not to burn villages down,” Genkaku said.

And then there was nothing left to be done.

“I’ll see you on the battlefield then.” Han’s horse reared up, and he struggled to contain it. It made Genkaku laugh.

“Of course. Try not to get yourself killed.”

“And you as well.”

“I look forward to our next little picnic.”

The words were barely out of Genkaku’s mouth when Han’s hand was suddenly on the hilt of his sword, drawing the blade so quickly it caught the last of the sunset in a fiery burst. Genkaku was familiar with the sound of swords flying from their sheaths – one could tell the expertise of a swordsman in the sound he made drawing steel. Han was a true swordsman – his blade barely whispered as it cut through the air.

Genkaku also found his hand on his weapon – it was a reflex. But his heart pounded steadily.

Han turned the blade up in front of his face. Behind it, his eyes were grim. Genkaku recognized the formal salute of the Highland soldier, usually reserved for high-ranking military officers and royalty.

Genkaku returned it with a bow – back straight, shoulders set – the same bow he had given his masters.

Han returned his sword into his sheath, and without another word, turned his horse around and made back into the darkness of the glade.

By the following morning, the field would be aflame. The old tree would be covered across its trunk with arrows, and on the very spot where Han and Genkaku were eating, a man would die – a Highland guardsman run down by a mounted State soldier. That same State soldier would be brought down by a hail of otherworldly swords, summoned to the field by Han’s Black Sword Rune. Genkaku would retaliate with the Bright Shield Rune, creating bursts of light that would tear through the trees, felling even the Highlanders in the woods. That day alone, more than half of both Highland and Jowston detachments would be decimated, marking the bloodiest battle to be fought during this leg of the war. Historians would note however, that despite the heatedness of the fight, the battle never once breached the borders of the provincial town of Kyaro.

All that would be for tomorrow. For now, Genkaku was alone, contemplating how quickly it had gotten dark – the first fireflies were already out.

 


 

The Genso Suikoden series is property of Konami. 

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2 Comments

  1. Toremneon said,

    This really gave me goosebumps!!! But one things, wasn´t it the joke that both discovered will eating, that they where born in Kyaro and thereby saw how a like they where?

    • balancecurve said,

      I think they were friends from youth, but the scene in which they shared a meal between the enemy camps was their first meeting as ‘adversaries’ and the result was that they both wanted to achieve the same goal, albeit from different perspectives.

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