Author's Notes: I tried to imagine for this piece what Jowy must have been feeling just before he left the hero and Nanami, and to put it into words. I'm not sure if I've succeeded, but I certainly tried. The song is 'Remember Me This Way' by Jordan Hill... a very pretty song, I might add, and the lyrics worked amazingly well with the story idea.

And, for this story (and whatever other Suiko 2 fics I might write, more than likely) the hero will be called Nehru. I don't particularly care for the name, I might add, but it's the one the game generated when I selected the 'random' option... And the hero was played through being called such. I'd find it strange to change it now.


The inn room was quiet under the blanket of night, the stillness uninterrupted save the soft breathing of one immersed in sleep. The second figure made no sound as all, merely regarded the slumbering boy careful from his watchful place at the foot of the bed.

Every now and then...

Pained eyes studied carefully the features that remained relaxed in sleep; they were innocent, at peace... childish, almost.

'So like you, Nehru,' thought the figure, with the trace of a sad smile. 'Even in sleep you manage to be naïve.'

With only a whisper of air, he moved to stand beside the sleeping form, regarding him intently. 'You honestly don't understand yet, do you? Or you don't want to... and pretend the war won't come...'

We find a special friend...

'I almost envy you, my friend... Perhaps you could teach me how to keep so much hope.'

The troubled blue eyes traced Nehru's features once more, trying to commit every detail to memory. The endeavored task conjured forth recollections of times past, however-a childhood spent happy, free from the harsh reality that life imposed-and a genuine smile graced the face of one who smiled too rarely in recent days.

'What would I have done without you?' he asked himself, then shook his head; Jowy Atreides could scarcely fathom a world in which he hadn't found his dearest friend.

Who never lets us down...

'You won't think badly of me, will you?' The boy kneeled by his friend, folding graceful arms to rest on the bed beside him. 'Gods know, if I ever disappointed you... I'd hate myself.'

Gently, he ran a hand through Nehru's sleep-mused hair, a smile returning to play across his pale lips. 'Some things can't be avoided, though.' The sad finality of the statement touched the smile with a painful melancholy. 'Even though I do know you'd find a way around them, if you were in my place.'

Who understands it all...

'If only you understood.' The thought was tinged with bitterness, and the expression with which Jowy regarded his friend was laden with sorrow.

'You think the world will believe as you do... You can't see-not everyone will stand up for what's right.' The boy watched as Nehru slept, unburdened by doubt. 'You don't understand that Luca Blight can win... Because everyone's too scared to stop him.'

Reaches out each time we fall...

'But you'll be there for me, won't you? Even if you don't understand what I'm doing, I know you'll always care... That's just the way you are.'

With a sigh he rose, needing abruptly to see something besides the face of the one he cared for so deeply. The window beckoned; the night was clear; and soon the brilliant spectacle of the stars found an admirer.

'After everything, you'll still be there... Even if you do think I've fallen to his level.'

You're the best friend that I've found...

The sky seemed to glow with the light of the stars; even the endless, inky blackness behind them couldn't mute the radiance they cast down upon the world. Starring up at them, Jowy felt suddenly very alone, and very afraid.

'What will I do without you, Nehru?' The light of the sky reflected in his eyes, making them shimmer with unshed tears.

Allowing his hands to rest lightly on the windowsill, he closed his eyes and struggled silently to suppress the emotions threatening to surface. 'You're my best friend...' His lips trembled slightly despite his best efforts, and he pressed them together to still the motion. 'Gods... I'll miss you.'

I know you can't stay...

He stood unmoving before the window, a shadow against the spectacular night sky, lost completely in the depths of his own thoughts. The only sound was Nehru's breathing, quiet and peaceful; somehow, he remained completely untouched by the troubles that weighed on his friend.

'I'll miss you...' The words rang painfully in Jowy's mind, and he squeezed his eyes more tightly shut. 'But I know that you can't stay with me... Not down the path I choose to follow.'

But part of you will never ever go away...

'Somehow, though...' He managed a sad smile, and opened his eyes as the first tear tricked down his face. 'Somehow you'll always be with me...'

His gaze, softened by sorrow, turned from the window to fall once more upon Nehru's face. 'Even if we're not together, you'll be in my thoughts...'

Your heart will stay...

'And in my heart.' Watching his childhood friend sleep, Jowy felt nearly lost in the sea of emotions that churned just below the calm exterior. Another tear slipped down his cheek, unheeding whatever force had kept them at bay so long.

'Always in my heart.'

I'll make a wish for you...
And hope it will come true...

The tears came in force then, silent and pained, and Jowy swiped at them half-heartedly with a graceful hand. The effort was soon abandoned, however; only one person could see him in his time of weakness... And that person lay oblivious nearby, completely unaware of his friend's quiet suffering.

Amidst the fall of the teardrops, another thought found its way to the surface, fighting to make itself heard amidst the dreadful ache that engulfed Jowy's very being. 'If I could have just one wish... One hope...' He looked away from Nehru once more, turning his eyes to the sky. The brightness of the stars was a blur in his vision, a shimmering expanse in the ocean of the heavens.

That life will just be kind...
To such a gentle mind...

'I'd wish for you to be happy. For you and Nanami to get away from here, from the war-and to never have to face it at all.'

The blurry glow of the stars disappeared, blocked as the shade provided by his eyelids descended once more.

And if you loose your way...

'Don't ever change, Nehru.' Closed eyes let him block out everything around him, and he leaned against the windowsill, head lowered slightly. 'Naïve as you are, you'll be alright... as long as you hold on to what you believe in.'

The smile that touched his tear-streaked face seemed broken, and bitter. 'Gods forbid you ever loose sight of what you believe in.'

Think back on yesterday...

'And if, somehow...' Jowy swallowed, and his eyelids flickered open, revealing the blue beneath once more. 'If you do get lost, following the path you've chosen... There will always be memories. For both of us.'

Remember me this way...
Remember me this way......

'And at least in memories I can be the person that you care about... Gods know, with what I have to do......... Will you think of me as a monster?'

I don't need eyes to see...

"Jowy?"

The sound, so sudden in the quiet room, drew a gasp from the boy; he spun to see its source and found himself regarding his childhood friend-now very awake.

"Jowy...?" The surprise in the dark-haired boy's voice was evident. "Have you been crying...?"

"......No." The lie was unconvincing even to the one who told it; though the most obvious of the tears was shortly wiped away, his face remained flushed, and the wet trails still glistened in the starlight.

".........It's what's been bothering you for a while now, isn't it?" Jowy's eyes, wide and startled, snapped to his friend's face from the spot they'd settled upon the floor. The younger boy just smiled. "I'm not blind, Jowy... I know when something's wrong with you...... Why don't you just tell me?"

The love you bring to me...

Caught completely off guard, the older boy could only wonder at his friend... Not only had he misjudged, but... The way Nehru had spoken...

"......Nothing's wrong." Jowy's voice betrayed him, though; the words faded in mid-sentence, and the lie ended pathetically.

"...I can see right through you, you know. You lie terribly." It was spoken softly, and Nehru lay a gentle hand on his friend's arm. "Now, please... Tell me what's wrong."

The smile that reached Jowy's face was sad, but real. 'You really care for me, don't you? More than anyone, more than my own family even...' The smile faded slightly as his thoughts reflected in his expression, and Nehru frowned, watching him. 'But you don't know, do you? That they told me to leave... didn't want me... That they hate me now...'

When he finally spoke, his voice was stronger than before, and he attempted to restore the smile for his friend's benefit. "Nothing's wrong, really. I was just... I dunno, feeling kind of lonely, I guess."

Quick blue eyes surveyed the younger boy, judging his reaction, and Jowy felt relieved as the other boy's face softened in sympathy. 'You and Nanami are my family now... And dearer to me than my real family ever was.'

No matter where I go...

"Jowy... I know how you feel. I miss Kyaro, too...... But no matter what, I'll always be here." He smiled his most encouraging smile. Jowy tried to return the expression and failed, looking instead to the window once more.

And I know that you'll be there...
Forevermore a part of me...
You're everywhere...

"Jowy? What is it?" A thought seemed to strike him, and he hurried on in an attempt to assure his friend. "I promise I won't leave you- We'll get around Luca Blight somehow."

Jowy dared to meet his eyes at last, uncertain and pained. "I know we will." He didn't speak it, but his thoughts continued: 'And I know you'd always be with me, if you could.'

I'll always care...

The older boy endeavored a smile, and this time succeeded, managing to capture some of his feelings in the expression. "I believe you..." Jowy paused, voice catching. He took a quick breath before he continued in a rush. "You know I won't leave you either, right? No matter what?"

Nehru nodded, finally believing his friend to have calmed slightly. "Of course."

I'll make a wish for you...
And hope it will come true...
That life will just be kind...
To such a gentle mind...

'Gods, I wish I could keep that promise. But it's better me than you... Even if we do have to be apart.' Jowy regarded his friend carefully, the same sad smile lingering about his lips.

"See...?" Nehru asked, after a pause. "As long as you have me and Nanami... there's nothing to worry about. As long as we're together, we'll be okay." He looked up at his friend, eyes full of faith. "We can figure something out."

"Yes... I think you're right." The older boy sighed almost imperceptibly, and then looked to Nehru once more. "We always do, don't we?"

A grin was his response. "Exactly."

'At least this way, you have a chance at being happy... At getting away from the war.'

If you lose your way...
Think back on yesterday...
Remember me this way...
Remember me this way...

"Do you remember the day we met? How those jerks were picking on me?" The words came seemingly from nowhere, startling Jowy thoroughly. He had allowed his thoughts to trail to the past himself, caught up in the memories of happier days. "And you tried to scare them away......"

"...And Nanami had to bail us out." Genuine mirth touched Jowy's tone as he recalled the expressions of the bullies as the girl ran after them, shouting at the top of her lungs.

Nehru laughed, and the sound was welcome in the quiet of the night, lively against the bitter tinge that invaded the older boy's thoughts.

'And besides... There are always memories...'

And I'll be right behind your shoulder, watching you...
I'll be standing by your side in all you do...

A silence fell, but it was comfortable silence-a quiet time shared between close friends, and preluded by laughter. No words were spoken... but none were needed. And when Nehru reached to wipe the remnants of the tears from Jowy's cheeks, the older boy was glad of it.

It seemed too soon that Nehru ventured to speak again, though, breaking the moment with his hesitant words: "...Think you can sleep now?"

The nod that he returned was assuring if not confident, and it seemed to convince the younger boy. Leaving the window and its spectacular view, each returned accordingly to his own bed and settled into the covers.

"Goodnight, Jowy... And stop worrying. No matter what happens, I'll stick by you."

"Thank you, Nehru..." The gratitude in his voice was plain, though the older boy knew how little the promise would shortly mean. "And goodnight to you, too."

And I won't ever leave...
As long as you believe...
You just believe...

He closed his eyes for the last time that night, allowing the world to fade around him until all that existed was the soft breathing of his childhood friend, barely audible from the opposite wall. 'Maybe...' he thought, as he drifted toward sleep, 'Maybe you're right...... Maybe you won't be gone at all...'

He nestled into his pillow as the thoughts became more erratic with sleep's descent. 'Maybe, if I believe as much as you do...... Hope as much as you do............' But unconsciousness claimed the end of the thought, and Jowy Atreides was enveloped by a world where war did not reign, and friends are never forced to part-for dreams have that power.

I'll make a wish for you...
And hope it will come true...
That life will just be kind...
To such a gentle mind...
And if you loose your way...
Think back on yesterday...
Remember me this way...

One night revisited his fondest memories: a simpler time, when smiles were common and laughter exiled all sorrow. And for one night, the young man lived in the past, careless and free as one who does not know what there is to loose.

Remember me this way...

And when the war came, and the fires burned, and blood rained all around... It was the dream images that returned to him, and Nehru with them.

And in a way, they did give him hope.