Disclaimer: I make no claim to the series, ideas, or characters of Full Metal Panic.
Author's Notes: This is my first time writing fanfiction. So, since I am going to try this, I decided I would write on one of my favorite animes, Full Metal Panic. I beg that those who read my work please submit a review, whether it be good or bad. By the way, for the record I haven't seen what I've heard people refer to as Fumoffu, so my story will not be taking that portion into consideration. Thank you.
Chapter 1: The Coming of the Rain
By Adam Lakewood Copyright 2004
It had been going on to two months since Gauron's demise at the hands of Souske and Kaname. Unfortunately, the Whispered were still a prime target to other, more powerful organizations; they just weren't as quick to the punch as Gauron. The threat still existed, and now it seemed like the latest fad to see who could capture the Whispered, and cause as much collateral damage as possible in the process. Fortunately, most of these attacks were brushed off by the government and press as being terrorist attacks, so the people were still not aware of the presence of the Whispered; as it should be.
Even though there were only tests run on the Whispered that were captured, the survival chances of these individuals were only 14%; the tests were that lethal. No matter how much protection the Whispered were put under, it seemed as if they all had equal chance of being captured, and as a result of the experiments and tests, dying. The only exception to this was Chidori Kaname. This was due in part to Mithril's intervening. Mostly due to one Sergeant Sagara Souske of Mithril. Since he played his part so well in the protection of Kaname, and due to excessive persistence on his part, he was reassigned as her protector once more. Unfortunately, though, Sergeant Major Mao and Sergeant Webber would not be able to assist him this time as they had last time. There were more of the Whispered that also needed protection now that there were more people after them.
Because of the increasing threat to the Whispered and the decreasing protection that Mithril could provide, Souske and Kaname had to be relocated. They were oddly enough sent to what Kaname later found out was Souske's house. Or, to be more exact, Souske's mansion. Kaname had thought that being a soldier, Souske's home would be wherever he may roam, but she was wrong. As Souske pointed out to her, Mithral paid, if not rewarded its soldiers very well. It turned out that Souske had been telling one of his fellow comrades about a large mansion that he had seen once that he had said he liked. Word of this got out to some of the higher ups, and within a few weeks Souske had an exact replica of that mansion down near a coastline that was also now his land. Not that he ever got to enjoy it that much.
He had told her that this would make about a week that he had been able to actually stay at his home. Every inch of the house was furnished, and one would have thought that there were close to fifty people living in the mansion instead of only Souske. The mansion was two stories and was built like a European house of the late 19th century. The house was brand new, but felt as if it were very old. It had well polished hardwood floors all throughout that only had the occasional orient rug spread on a section of the floor. The furnishings were that of old European design. There was not a single room in the house that did not have at least one full bookshelf in it. That was a lot of books considering there were a lot of rooms; there were very close to twenty-five rooms. Kaname absolutely loved the large space within the mansion, but would soon find the large area a nuisance, especially at night when the unexpected tended to happen.
Souske had changed quite a bit in the past couple of months after Gauron's death. He now seemed a little bit more laid back and less uptight. He would actually now kid around a little bit and would even make the occasional joke, some of which were actually somewhat funny. Also, he wasn't as suspicious about everything as he once was. This is not to say that his suspicions weren't still easily triggered, though. Kaname liked this new change about Souske. He seemed to be a much more of a likable person now, though she liked him quite a bit before this change. He acted a lot more like a normal person, which still wasn't that normal, unfortunately.
It was their fourth night in the luxurious mansion. And, the night could not have been set up any better for a horror story. The thunderstorm outside contributed mostly, especially because of the hype it had been getting.
Kaname loved the beautiful mansion during the day when the sun would reflect off of the hardwood floors, and the sound of the breeze would echo throughout the large estate. Yes, there were a lot of modern appliances in the mansion. Television, computers, stereos; they were all there. Kaname made great use of these for the first couple of days in order to keep herself preoccupied, but Souske never seemed to turn to them as a source of entertainment; he may catch the weather channel on occasion, and he seemed to rather enjoy the opera station on the radio. He hadn't watched the weather in the last couple since they were just saying that there was going to be rain for the next week.
Most of the time Kaname would find Souske lying on the couch in the living area of the bottom floor. He would have the have the windows open allowing the fresh spring breeze to flow through the room. He would usually either be lying on the couch staring up at the ceiling, sitting on a pillow in the middle of the floor meditating, or sitting in the armchair reading one of the many books from the bookshelf.
After the first couple of days, Kaname actually started to realize why Souske did this instead of watching football like all other men his age. Of course, Souske was not like all other men his age, so it did not really surprise her that he took little joy in these sorts of things.
After the first couple of days, Kaname started joining Souske in the living area, and rather started to enjoy these things that she had beforehand considered odd. There was an odd serenity that she found about the atmosphere that Souske seemed to adore. It was rather refreshing. Soon, she found it to be enjoyable, and like Souske, would participate in reading the books and staring at the ceiling. She had asked Souske why he would lay around and stare at the ceiling. He had pointed the interesting yet odd fact that the seemingly random design of the statch on the ceiling had an actual design the more you looked at it. He said he didn't much enjoy it, but to his disliking, it was addictive trying to follow the endless pattern. Kaname had laughed at this "hobby" of his, but soon realized that he was right; it was very addictive. Every time she would follow the pattern for a while, she would lose it. So, the two of them spent some silent, quality time with each other lying on the floor attempting to find the interior designer's creative train of thought.
They had spent a good time of the day at the park, having a rather good time. Kaname felt the joyful mood that they were sharing dampen a little bit when Souske had looked towards the sky with a frown when a strong gust blew in. He predicted that it was going to rain before the night was over.
During the daytime, Kaname found the mansion to be absolutely astonishing.
Unfortunately, the nights were not so. Maybe it was all of the late night horror movies that Kaname had watched, but the mansion was very unsettling, if not unnerving at night.
During the nights, Kaname would cuddle close under her blankets. The trees outside the window seemed to do scary things to the shadows. Not to mention that the mansion was incredibly quite during the night when all of the windows were shut.
The mansion seemed to be the perfect setting for a horror movie. The windows were large, making it impossible to see out of at night, but making it very possible to see into the house; who only knows who could have been standing out there looking in on her during the night. This especially worried her since the Whispered were being targeted even worse than before. It didn't seem like anyone would attack, but neither did it seem that Gauron would when he did. If anything, the people were good at striking when you least expected it. It made her feel a lot better though knowing that Souske was alert a lot of the night. Sometimes he was even alert all night. This was very comforting to her until she finally found out why Souske didn't seem to sleep at night.
Tonight was the night that the rain started also.
"No! Stay away from me!"
Kaname was awakened by the shout of Souske's voice along with the sound of the thunder shaking the walls. She had never heard him shout like that. Likewise, she had never heard him sound so absolutely... terrified. This only made her fear the darkness of the house even more. Something actually had Souske spooked, but now was not the time to be chicken. Souske sounded as if he could use some help. Who was he talking to? A terrorist perhaps? No, Souske was brave in the face of those people; he would never be fearful of one. This made her even more fearful since most people were would run off screaming at the sight of a terrorist. Souske would only smirk at such opposition, but whoever this was, he had Souske afraid. She quickly scrambled to her doorway and started to open the door.
The sound of someone sprinting past her closed door only made her fear more intense. She jerked back and tried to hold back a gasp that was already making its way out of mouth. She quickly slapped her hand over her mouth to make sure that she would not be heard. Was Souske actually running from this person?
"Please! I'm sorry! I really am!"
Souske now sounded as if he were a small child attempting to beg his way out of the punishment of his parents. Still equally terrified, though. This frightened Kaname even more. Souske now sounded as if he were pleading with someone. She then heard a sound that she could not identify. After this she heard Souske let out a scream that could curl one's hair.
Kaname heard a crash and then a slight rumbling sound of what sounded like someone falling down the semi-spiral staircase followed by another crash of a breaking vase. She flicked on the lights, and quickly ran to the railing of the hallway to peer down below for the cause of the commotion, even though she had an idea as to who was the cause. She stared down from the top of the stairs to see Souske dashing around downstairs in his boxer shorts. She saw Souske make a dash to the wall closest to the front door. He turned around quickly and looked as if he were bracing for something. Kaname did not see anyone else down there. He looked up in utter surprise when he saw Kaname above. He peered over to his left at what one would have only thought to be empty air and then back up at Kaname. It was by this point obvious to her that Souske must have had a nightmare.
"Kaname! Go back in your room! It is not safe out here!" he said looking up at her and then quickly back to his left and then quickly back up.
"Souske, what's going on?!" "No!" exclaimed Souske peering to the stairway leading up to where Kaname was.
"Leave her alone; she has nothing to do with you! Please!"
But, Souske's words went unheard by the empty air at the stairwell. So, he quickly took to action to insure her safety. He quickly ran up the first four stairs and leapt through the air over an additional five. As one would expect, he hit the stairs rather hard and began making his tumble back down.
Kaname was rather surprised by this, and then shocked when she noticed the large amount of blood where Souske's head had hit on the stair. She looked down the stairwell to see Souske lying on the floor not moving. She quickly ran down the stairs and quickly took him in her arms.
"Souske! What were you doing?! Are you okay?!" she asked when she noticed he was starting to come around.
Souske focused his eyes on her. His half open eyes suddenly widened with great fear. He startled Kaname as he suddenly rose to his feet, grabbed a metal candlestick holder off of the table by the stairwell, assumed combat position, and looked around the room quickly for the invisible intruder. Unfortunately, the blood coming from his head was not agreeing with his hasty actions. Before he could react, his legs gave out and he went falling to the floor like a structure without a foundation. Kaname quickly crawled to his side and lifted his blood drenched head onto her lap. Before Kaname could even open her mouth to say anything Souske was already talking again, through slurred speech.
"Kaname, go back to your room. It is not at all safe here. She'll get you!" he said while his eyes still wandered around wildly.
Souske had the look of a wild dog being cornered. Except he wasn't hostile, but he was scared out of his mind. Kaname had never seen him like this before. But, everyone has horrible dreams every now and then. He was trembling and looking around the room as quickly as he could, which wasn't very quickly. He looked like a scared child, so the only thing she could do was comfort him like a scared child. She shushed him in a soothing hiss, and began to talk to him in a very quite and soothing voice.
"It's alright, Souske. You just had a nightmare. I'm here; you needn't worry. I..." she was cut off short when she noticed the look on Souske's face.
His face pulled into what looked something like a sneer, and then the unexpected happened. He started breathing very heavily, and then he started jerking when he tried to hold his breath. Tears welled up in his eyes as he quickly shot up and reached his arms around Kaname's neck. After Souske took in a hard, quick breath of air, he began crying. This was the last thing that she would have expected from a hardened war soldier like Souske. She could not imagine something so horrible that would have caused this from Souske. Could he be having a nervous breakdown? And, if so, what was the cause? Hearing him like this though made Kaname feel as if her heart were going to break like a tree ornament under pressure. She had to focus a little when she realized that Souske was trying to speak between sobs.
"I'm sorry! I didn't mean to! I didn't know! I didn't know! I swear to God, I didn't know!"
With this he broke down even more and tightened his grip around Kaname's neck.
"It's okay, Souske. It was just a dream. Nothing's going to happen; I'm here now."
Kaname wrapped her arms around Souske and began stroking his back. She felt the tears rolling down her cheeks. It was heartbreaking to even imagine what could have gotten Souske so upset.
About ten minutes later, Souske was sitting Indian style in the middle of the bathroom floor. To the left of him there was a pile of white towels which were apparently soaked with his blood. To the right of him was Kaname, carefully wrapping a bandage around his head. For the past ten minutes, the only thing that was going through Kaname's head was what had happened to Souske just a few minutes ago. Everything else except what just happened a few minutes ago seemed to be going through Souske's head. Now came the dreaded peroxide. Kaname winced by just thinking about what the stinging liquid would feel like to poor Souske. But, this had to be done. One would have thought that the horrid liquid was just water to Souske; he made no sound, nor did he flinch. He just kept talking through the whole thing.
"Kaname, you really needn't concern yourself over my well being. I can treat the wounds myself. It is after all 4:00 in the morning, and it would be best for you to get some sleep."
He stopped to take in a long breath before continuing. Now was her chance.
"Souske, exactly what hap..." Unfortunately she was interrupted by Souske again.
"That was a very nice vase. I really wish I could have avoided breaking it. I believe that was a vase imported directly from the eastern coast of..."
He was obviously trying to act as if nothing had happened. But, if something could bother him that bad, it was something he needed to talk about.
"When I was there on a recon with the Alpha 7 team I believe I saw a vase similar to that one."
He seemed to hope that she would believe that it didn't happen the more he acted so.
Normally, Kaname would have been much more impatient, but this was obviously a sensitive matter and needed to be handled accordingly. She would keep trying all night if she had too. Souske knew what she was going to say, he had to bring her attention to something else.
"Have you heard the one about the old man with the gorilla in the bar?"
It seemed as if Kaname might just be here all night. Surprisingly, Kaname was very patient with this. Yes, this had to be handled delicately. It was beginning to amuse her though as to how Souske was trying to desperately avoid the subject. This likewise made her worry about why he would want to avoid the subject so badly.
"Well, it goes something like this. This man walks into this bar with a gorilla that he had just bought from a foreign AO Team. He goes in and he says to the bartender: "' Bartender, me and my friend here would like a..."
Kaname sounded sterner than before, but far from angry. This was a very serious matter, and it needed to be discussed.
Souske lowered his head with a long sigh. He took a breath and raised his head back up. She could not be deterred from her track of mind.
"Yes, Kaname?" he said in an almost sorrowful voice.
He feigned ignorance even though it was obvious he knew what she was going to ask.
"Souske, I'm going to be straight with you. You were a wreck down there. I have never seen and never expected something like that from you. And, in all actually, it scared me, very badly. I know that it's probably not something that you are accustomed to, but people have horrible dreams sometimes. Would... would you like to tell me what you were dreaming about, Souske?" she said as she continued to bandage his head.
She was somewhat unsure as to how to approach this topic, but hoped she had chosen the correct way.
It was odd for Souske to not reply immediately to something said to him. But, it was apparent by the next couple minutes of silence that he did not want to talk, nor did he want to hear any other mention of it. Kaname figured she would try to approach of playing on his sympathy.
"It's alright, Souske. I can understand if you don't want to talk about it with me. I guess some things are real personal, huh?"
Souske's continued silence bothered her. He would usually say something if she sounded as if she were saddened by something he said, or in this case, didn't say. She was now starting to feel bad for being so pushy. Maybe it was best they didn't talk about this subject. She waited a little while before she began to speak again.
She was taken aback when he quickly drew in an almost painful sounding breath. He lowered his head again before he commenced talking. He spoke so low that Kaname had a hard time hearing him, but maybe that was because he had his back to her.
"Missions against terrorist groups were always the hardest. One could never label one terrorist group since they were all so different. The motive may be the same, but execution is always completely different. Sometimes you never know what to expect; sometimes you may be regretting a decision; sometimes you may get too cocky; sometimes things may not go... exactly as planned. Accidents happen. Accidents are caused by those who are not competent in their duty. Accident is not a good excuse for incompetence. I wish sometimes that I had..." He was interrupted by a loud crack of thunder that shook the walls once again. With this he stopped and immediately went back into the silence he was in before.
"You wish you had what, Souske?!"
At this point Kaname was highly concerned about the Sergeant that sat on the floor with his back to her. She was now starting to realize that his experience as a soldier had a lot to do with this.
"I dream a lot, Kaname. I dream so much in fact that I am capable of waking myself up from dreams that I may find unpleasant."
"Well, yes, maybe. But, sometimes dreams can seem so real that you may not be able to tell a difference."
She had meant this as a way to comfort him; Souske obviously took this as an insult.
"Are you saying that I am incapable of distinguishing illusion from reality, Kaname?!"
His voice was cold. He sounded sad, disappointed, angry... hurt.
Kaname knew she was treading on thin ice, but it seemed as if she hadn't been treading lightly enough. She reached her hand out to touch his shoulder.
"No, Souske. I didn't mean it that way. Please, don't be..." she said to him in a pleading voice.
He cringed as soon as he felt her hand touch his bare back. The flicker of the lightning shined its way through the bathroom window. This was soon followed by another loud roar of thunder. The anger welled up inside and he quickly spun around, batting her arm away with his. He batted her arm away so hard that it hurt a little. He wafted his hand through the air in front of him violently.
"Don't you dare touch me! Not now, not ever! I thought I could trust you and open up to you some. But, obviously I was wrong. I should have known that you wouldn't believe me; you're no different from everyone else!"
The look in his eyes was terrible. He looked as if he could have killed her where she sat. Just like she had never seen anyone in such a sad state he was in earlier, she had never seen anyone as angry as he was now. Tears started to form in her eyes as she listened to his hateful confession. His words carved their way into her heart like a knife. When he saw the look in her eyes his eyes lost some of the look of hatred in them, and his breathing slowed down a little bit as a few beads of sweat hit the floor.
"I don't know why I ever thought that I could... I don't know why I... I don't know why I said that, Kaname."
Kaname looked back up at him slightly surprised. His entire mood had just switched from raging mad to a state of confusion in just a matter of seconds.
"I know I can trust you. I know you weren't trying to be rude. I know you would never do anything to betray me. I don't know why I said that. I'm very sorry. I didn't mean any of what I just said. I would never say anything like that, not to you. Why did I say that? What did I say; I don't remember? I just... I'm sorry, Kaname. You know I would never say anything like that to you. Why did I say that? I didn't mean any of it. I'm sorry. I'm very..."
Kaname nearly shrieked in surprise as Souske quickly reached out for her. His arms wrapped around he tightly, pinning her arms to her side. He pulled her close to him and rested his head on her shoulder.
"I get confused sometimes, Kaname, even scared. Sometimes when I'm alone I... I don't know what to do. I get very scared sometimes. I... I'm tired."
Kaname desperately wished to ask him more about this. His words, his sudden outbursts of emotion, they didn't make any sense to her, and it worried her. But, she decided that he was not really in a good state to continue on with this. Unfortunately, she could not move since Souske had her in his tight embrace, and now he was deathly quite, but she could still feel his warm breath on his shoulder. Kaname would have said something, but she was at a loss for words.
Another few minutes went by before Souske finally released his grip from Kaname. This startled her, especially since she was almost asleep. In one quick motion he rose to his feet and dusted off the legs of his boxers.
"It's getting very late, Kaname." said Souske as he took a quick glance at the clock on the wall.
The clock read 4:52 a.m.
"... or early, however you want to look at it. Regardless, we need to get some sleep."
"Yeah, I guess so." was Kaname's reply.
"My head hurts." complained Souske as he grabbed his head.
This brought a smile to Kaname's face.
"Well, I would guess so since you gracefully swan-dived head first into the stairs!"
"I guess it would wouldn't it?" he replied with a smile on his face.
Souske stopped for a minute to listen to the gentle rhythm of the rain on the bathroom window. He looked out the window but could not see out for the hazy, wall of water coming down over the window.
"Its really coming down out there."
Souske went toward his room when he exited the upstairs bathroom. He got ready to close his door before he looked back out at Kaname.
"Thank you... for listening."
"Thank you for talking to me." replied Kaname
"I am very sorry I yelled at you."
"It is not a problem, Souske."
Both let out a bit of pleasant chuckle.
"I guess it's just that time of the month, no?" said Souske with a smile on his face.
Both let out a bit more of full-throated laughter.
"I guess so, Souske."
Souske closed his door again. Many questions were racing through Kaname's head over Souske. Was he okay now? Should she stay awake in case something else happened tonight? Would he be okay by himself? Had she bandaged his wounds good enough? She decided it wouldn't be a good idea to question him, so she headed for her room.
Curiosity killed the cat. She had to at least ask him one more thing before letting it go for the night.
"Souske?" she called out towards his door.
Just a few seconds later the door to his bedroom opened again, and Souske came out to stand in the doorway.
"I... have one more question for you."
"Yes, what is it, Kaname?"
Kaname's face blushed as she got ready to ask her question.
"Do you really care for... uh... me... as much as..."
The reply was short and to the point, but she was satisfied. Souske had replied as if this were common knowledge that everyone knew; who knows, maybe it was. Kaname put on a bright smile which Souske tried to return with the best of his ability, which wasn't much but still sufficient.
"Good night, Souske."
"Good night, Kaname"
Both turned their backs to each other and headed to their rooms. Unfortunately, the cat was back and so was the curiosity.
"Are you sure you were not just having a dream a while ago?"
His next few words ensured that the rest of the night would be restless for her. His reply would replay over and over as she tried to make sense of it all, for she knew Souske would not lie to her.
"Dreams cannot harm a person, Kaname."
The rain would continue to pour for the rest of the night.