Disclaimer: I do not own Suikoden as I am not a part of Konami. I can only wish.

Basically this is going to be a little series that will be on the side of another Suikoden idea that is going to be absolutely huge. Anybody interested in assisting me in beta reading that one can drop a line to me or visit my livejournal link at http://lyon-falenas. this one is basically taking into account the consequences of the eternal youth of bearing the true runes. It will span all of the games and you can pretty much guess what characters will be involved just based on the theme. But I find these fun to write because of the obvious opportunities.

To Lay in Waiting

Stirring the pot, Gremio paused for a moment to taste the meal he was creating. He let the warm liquid sit in his mouth for a moment and savored the taste. Satisfied, he prepared two bowls, knowing that Tir would come in after a day of fishing and not having eaten throughout the day.

It was a peculiar hobby that had been picked up after the war. It wasn't as though Tir had any great appetite for fishing; on the contrary, he didn't care for the taste of many fish and rarely ate any of his catches. Nevertheless, he went out nearly every day shortly after dawn and returned at sunset itht eh appetite of a teenager.

Of course physically, Tir still was a teenager.

The thought turned Gremio's attention to his own hands, deep wrinkles and brown spots showing the changes of forty years since the Gate Rune wars and Tir's inheritance of one of the twenty-seven true runes. He had died in that war only to be revived through a means that was never explained to him.

It had changed the young man who used to tug at his ears while he tended to the evening meal and complained about his father being sent off to battle and leaving him behind. Afterward he had chosen to isolate himself from society, wandering from town to town throughout Toran and Dunan and leaving before he could find himself involved.

Gremio always suspected that it had something to do with the rune of life and death, the Souleater. While some thought of the rune as a sign of power, it was obvious that to Tir it was a burden, one that he was willing to take rather than to pass along to someone else. He never told Gremio about the impact it had, but it was apparent when he slept, the nightmares causing endless tossing and turning and bleary eyes the next day.

For the first couple decades, Gremio accompanied him faithfully, supportive of his young master's decision even if he did wish he could return to Gregminster. However, he didn't leave, knowing that at that time if he did there was no telling if he would ever think to return home. At Gremio's prodding they occasionally made a trip to the home of his youth before setting out once again.

It was one day, nearly twenty days after the war ended that much pent up frustration was finally released. Gremio couldn't remember what had prompted the incident or what was said that far into the past. He only knew that decades of frustration and anger was released and all he could do was hold his young master tight and assure him that he would not leave him anytime soon.

However, while Tir, still not aged a day past seventeen, had all the time in the world, age reared it's ugly head. It was first the knees. Walking more than half a day caused problems, finally leading to it being difficult to last more than an hour without needing a break. His back also began protesting years of abuse. His old weapon, the heavy hatchet was retired, only a small knife kept for the occasional animal that wandered by. But those were the signs that his time adventuring was finally up.

Ultimately it was Tir who had made that decision upon returning home for several weeks. He had disappeared during the night leaving a simple note.

Gremio, you don't need to protect me anymore. I'm going to be fine. Just rest for now and take care of the house. I will come back eventually.

Cleo and Pahn had long since moved on to other matters and Gremio found it hard to reestablish ties to people after so many years of traveling. This was made easier as the visits to the old manor in Gregminster became more frequent. Tir claimed it was due to his missing Gremio's cooking. Whether it was the truth or not didn't truly matter and it offered both of them much needed company. For those few days that Tir was home, the two talked, no longer as a master and servant but as old friends.

His hair had only started to thin and turn white at that time, making Gremio realize just how long ago it had been since he had settled down. The entire crown of his head was bald now and what remained was pure white. His face had become wrinkled, making him look as though he could not be the grandfather of the person he was preparing the meal for. It wasn't unreasonable considering that he was now in his seventies that he could have had a teenage grandson.

"Gremio? Is dinner almost ready?" a voice called out from the open door.

Turning, the old man smiled, "Just about. It's been simmering long enough by now, so it should be quite good."

Gremio, hobbled slightly as he reached for the bowl, his legs giving him a noticeable limp. His hands shook slightly from the weight of the heavy ceramic bowls, prompting Tir to rush over and wordlessly take them, pointing Gremio to the nearby chair.

It was nothing out of the ordinary, simply the signs of age, but Gremio felt a bit disheartened at being instructed to sit down and let him be served. It was something that he had never had happen before. "You really don't need to help."

"Gremio, just relax. You cooked this so I might as well be somewhat useful."

Giving in, he made several steps toward the old wooden chairs that had been in the house since Teo was still alive. Halfway across the room though a sharp pain raced through Gremio's chest, causing him to double over, a moment later hitting the ground.

Dropping the bowl on the ground with the shatter of it breaking, Tir rushed to his friend's side, eyes wide with fear. "Gremio? What happened? Are you okay?"

He couldn't answer, his breaths becoming more forced and the pain unrelenting. He tried to focus his eyes on Tir as he was turned onto his back. He could see the tears welling up in the young appearing man's eyes from behind the dark strands of hair threatening to hide them.

"Gremio? Please answer me!"

His vision starting to go hazy as he fought to remain conscious, Gremio realized that this was most likely his final day. All he could do was lay and wait as he saw the person he tended to as a child break down. Feeling his hand squeezed he weakly returned the gesture, the best he could manage.

"I'll get you to a doctor! You'll be okay!" came the shouts of worry.

But no, he would not be okay. He wasn't scared. He wanted to say so much, to assure his long time friend that he was at peace. "Tir..." he muttered weakly, forcing himself to smile in reassurance. He couldn't say anything else as his eyes finally closed.

Realizing what had happened, Tir grabbed Gremio's body in his arms, sobbing forcefully. His one companion, and only friend was truly gone. Now he knew how Ted must have felt over those Three hundred years. It had been painful enough to watched the person he cared about the most age through the years and to witness the changes every time he returned. Yet only now did he realize the pain involved in watching a beloved person not just grow old but to die and for him to remain unchanged through the years.

The rune was a bringer of great power and was sought by many for that purpose. Tir couldn't understand who would want to be in his situation currently. In this moment, the rune seemed like the greatest burden that a human being could endure. He was a cursed man.

Tir only stayed long enough to give Gremio a proper burial, his remains resting in a quaint forest not far outside of the town. By that time, all the tears possible had been shed and the young man, on his back, carried only a few sets of clothing and his beaten up old staff. He had no intent of ever returning to that house now that he didn't have anything or anybody to return to.

There would be no other time. It was an internal vow to prevent anybody from getting close again. If the rune didn't take them then time would. And he would be forced to witness their demise all with the face of a boy not even past adolescence.

Even if his looked betrayed him, he felt so old and not even a lifetime had past on his part. He didn't look forward to the potentially many more that would come.