Save File

I love Shin Sangoku Musou 2. I love it more than any other game in my collection. The first was okay, you got some fighting but set stats for each character, only one weapon each and small battle maps. The third, not bad but you only play the story mode as one of the Three Kingdoms instead of individual character story modes.

Also, they took out the Battle of He Fei Castle in number three, that was the worst possible thing they could have done to the game! Sima Yi versus Sun Quan, the epic showdown of Wei and Wu! I mean, just the size of the map, the traps in He Fei Castle, the MASSIVE amount of soldiers (I one got 9999 kills on that map, maxed out the KO count and Zhang He's stats in that one).

My favorite character has to be Zhang He of Wei. He has these claw weapons, like Vega in Street Fighter, and his special attack is awesome for both damaging large crowds of soldiers or escaping from them. Sure he's...More than a little gay, but I don't hold that against him. His cutscene at the Battle of Jie Ting never fails to get a laugh from me. "So, was the enemy camp pretty?"

It's winter break, a week before Christmas. I'm home for the holidays with my sister, Jialing. I haven't seen my parents, Jianliang or Xiaochun since June. Jialing and I have been in Hong Kong, going to Hong Kong University. She's going to be a doctor, I'm going to be a programmer. The math is a pain in the ass, but it's worth it. Someday, I'll make my own Sangoku Musou...Or maybe something based on The Water Margin, instead-No wait, Gensou Suikoden already did that. Journey West, maybe?

I look over to the clock on the wall, it's almost midnight. Everyone else has gone to bed. I can't sleep...

...Well, I can sleep, but not easily. I do this every summer or winter break when I see my family. I just need something to pass the time until I get tired...

...Something like Shin Sangoku Musou 2.

This is my first day back home from college for winter break. I haven't gotten to play yet, I spent the day with my family. As much as I wanna stop Sun Quan's invasion of He Fei Castle with Zhang He, family comes first! And, as much as they can sometimes bug me ('they' mostly referring to Jialing), I love them. My little brother, Jianliang, especially. We've been gamers for life since I showed him how to play Super Mario Brothers on the SNES when he was five. He's the only other SSM2 player I respect, because he's the only one who can beat me in versus mode...

...Pang Tong's special attack is really cheap, though. If he used ANYONE else, I'd win! Anyone else but Zhang Fei... ...Or Guan Yu... ...Zhuge Liang... ...Liu Bei... ...Zhao Yun... ...Pretty much all of the Shu Kingdom... ...And some of Wei, I guess.

I wonder if he's been playing lately, maybe upping the stats of his characters... I know a way to check: Memory card. I'll just check the last time the file was updated, that'll tell me when he last played.

I turn on the Playstation 2, muting the television so I don't wake anyone. I open the disc tray, it loads the menu instead of... ...Huh, nothing in there. I could have sworn I saw Jianliang with a game disc earlier today, must've taken it out. Usually we just leave the discs in (or, I do) the system, I guess Jianliang's more organized than I am these days. That's my little brother for you...

I select the memory card in slot 1, I'm pretty sure the green one is the SSM2 card, or the back up save card... The icons for each game save load up one by one...My big complaint with this menu system is that it takes forever for these to load and you can't do anything but cancel out while the icons load (and then you have to start all over again). When I become a legendary game designer I'll make sure this is remedied on the consoles I design, too!

...What? I can't plan on becoming the next Shigeru Miyamoto or Yuji Naka?

Hey, wait...What the hell games are these? ...Ai To Kirai? There's three of them, each a different "Ai To Kirai" game. ...The icon for one of them two chibi-anime guys. One's...kissing the other on the cheek, while he blushes. The others, some 'bishounen' character in a high school uniform and...What looks like a shy high school nerd with glasses, blushing-Oh, the icon flipped to some kind of...Soccer star or something? He's a 'bishounen' type, too...

...Oh, great, Xiaochun's into that yaoi and shounen-ai crap... She's too young, damn it! Unless this is Jialing's... ...No, impossible, the last time someone played was...

...This morning at...3:30 AM. Jialing and I got here around noon. Was Xiaochun up that early to play a game? What the hell kind of games are these? I mean, there's two reasons I'd ever play a game that early, aside from passing time:

One, it's a new release I really wanted to play and I've been going without sleep that long.
Two, it's a game I don't want Mom and Dad to know I'm playing (usually those ultra-violent American shooter or crime games).

Forget SSM2...I want to look this up. Xiaochun's playing a game behind Mom and Dad's back? ...Oh, please, don't let it be a hardcore yaoi game or something...My little sister is too innocent, I don't want her exposed to that sort of thing!

I turn off the playstation and go to a laptop carrying case on the dining room table. I flip open my laptop and get the cord from one of the side pockets of the case. I plug it in and boot it up...

...Come on, Windows, hurry up! This is important! My little sister's purity is on the line!

As soon as the computer's done booting up, I load my browser. We have a wireless connection in the apartment, it's already configured because I checked my email earlier.

I look up 'Ai To Kirai' on GameINFO...

...

...A shounen-ai dating sim... At least it's not yaoi. I'm not happy it's shounen-ai, but I'll take her playing that over yaoi ANY day.

I browse the info page - "Bisexual soccer star PLAYER is hounded by the cute boys and girls of his high school class. Will he find his true love before the Winter, Spring and Summer dances and festivals? Features over 150 possible scenarios involving PLAYER's love interests." ...Great...

I'll talk to Xiaochun about this tomorrow...I just want to make sure she's not going to be one of those obsessed girls who thinks it's all "so adorable! Awww...!" Or just get warped by this stuff. Ugh...

Nothing I can do now, I'll just play SSM2...Kicking Sun Quan's ass from He Fei to Jian Ye should make me feel better.


I woke up at around 9:30 this morning...Well, actually, first around 7:00 when my Dad woke up and took the living room TV. I feel asleep playing SSM2 again. I stumbled into my old room and fell on my bed, not even bothering with the sheets...

By 11:00, we're eating an early lunch at the dining room table. Just some sandwiches my Mom made us.

I look over to Xiaochun now and then...She's in elementary school! Where the hell would she even HEAR about games like that and who would be sick enough to sell them to her? ...Wait, I forgot they're not yaoi. She probably could buy them if they're not yaoi.

"Um, please excuse me," Jianliang gets up, he finished his food faster than anyone. He downs a glass of milk and takes his plate to the kitchen sink to wash it.

"What are you in a rush for?" I ask.

"I'm meeting a friend at the park," Jianliang says as he washes his plate and glass.

"Oh, so I can't play you in Sangoku Musou?"

"Later, I promise," he says. "Sorry, I just don't want to miss this."

"Who's the friend?" With a grin, I also ask, "A pretty girl?"

Jianliang shakes his head. "Takato. You remember him?"

"Ah..." I think, the name sounds familiar. "...Oh, right, you met him back when you were in elementary school. The kid with the goggles?"

Jianliang nods. "He stopped wearing those a few years ago, Lianjie, before you left for college."

"Does he play Sangoku?" Let's see if Jianliang and I are the only true heroes of the Three Kingdoms in Shinjuku...

"Um, no, he's more into card games," Jianliang shakes his head.

"Great, I'll get some poker chips!"

"Digimon cards," Jianliang says with a quick laugh. He finishes his dishes. "I'll see you this afternoon." He more or less runs to the front door.

Jialing and Xiaochun are the next to finish their lunch, I help them with their dishes when I finish. "Hey, lil' sis," I say to Xiaochun as she starts to walk off with Jialing.

"Lianjie-nii?" She turns to face me.

"...Can we talk about something?" I ask. "In your room, it's important."

Xiaochun nods once with her oh-so-innocent smile. I just hope she stays that innocent...

"Great, meet you there, I just gotta finish this." I say, raising my plate slightly. She hurries to her room, I clean as quickly as I can and go over to Xiaochun's room...

...Jialing's also standing with her.

"Ah, Jialing? Can I talk to Xiaochun alone?" I ask.

"What? You can't share it with both your sisters?" Jialing grins. "Besides, Xiaochun wants to show me her new stuffed animals."

"Lianjie-nii'll love my new stuffed turtle, Gui-chan!" Xiaochun says. Gui-chan? ...Even as a full grown man in college, I have to say that name sounds sort of adorable for a stuffed turtle. How could she be into shounen-ai of all things?

"I want to talk about some of her toys..." I trail off. I guess Jialing can help, she'd understand...Sort of. "Xiaochun, do you play video games?"

Xiaochun shakes her head. ...She's lying to me. I don't believe it. "No, Jianliang does. A lot, too!" Duh, I taught him how to play. To us, a controller is just an extension of our own hands!

"Xiaochun, don't lie," I say, sternly. "I know about Ai To Kirai!"

"What's Ai To Kirai?" Xiaochun asks, 'innocently.' Gah! Shounen-ai has corrupted my little sister, she's lying about playing it!

"Lianjie...Ai To Kirai?" Jialing raises an eyebrow. "How do you even know what that is?"

"Do you?" I ask.

"My best friend in high school used to play it," she says. "Xiaochun, you play...that kind of game?"

Xiaochun shakes her head back and forth. "No! I don't play games. I don't even know what you're talking about!"

"So, wait, it's your game?" I ask, looking to Jialing. The PS2's clock must've been screwed up! Oh, how could I be so stupid? Date and time were wrong, happens all the time! One power surge is all it takes...What a relief.

"What's my game?" Jialing asks.

"You played Ai to Kirai, right?"

"My friend showed it to me a few times, but I haven't played it since high school. Lianjie, what's going on?"

"There's Ai t-" I stop mid-sentence...It hits me...

...Oh...Shit...

...No! No way!

No. Damn. Way.

I realize my sudden silence is just going to raise questions and cause more trouble. "N-Nothing!" I say, laughing nervously. "Ai To Kirai's that first person shooter game, right? I want to play it sometime!" God, I can't believe I said that...

Jialing laughs, "Lianjie, Ai to Kirai's a shounen-ai dating sim! You'd hate it!"

"O-Oh crap..." I chuckle nervously, but I'm not nervous about my 'mistake' just now. It's something else... "Stupid me, then. Thanks for the heads up! Here I was, worried Xiaochun was playing FPS games...Sorry, lil' sis."

"Trust me, when you saw the cover, you'd know it wasn't a shooter..." Jialing shakes her head, looking to Xiaochun. "Is your biggest brother stupid or what?"

Xiaochun laughs with few quick nods, but the look she gives me afterward says "just kidding."

I walk out of Xiaochun's room and to straight to my old room.

It's more or less the same as when I lived here before college, just empty. Save for a bed and shelf with my old collectables...Final Fantasy and SSM figures, the stuff that came in the LUNAR Omake boxes and...There's the little Yoshi plush Jianliang gave me.

I pick up the little green plush dinosaur, smiling. He gave this to me for my birthday after we got our Nintendo 64. I taught him how to play Yoshi's Story, he got me a Yoshi doll. Gamers for life.

I fall onto my bed, looking at Yoshi. "...Hey, Yoshi... I think my brother's gay," I whisper to the little green plush. I feel stupid for doing that, but...I had to say it to someone, and I doubt Jianliang would want me going to anyone in our family about this. I'm not the type who whispers his problems to his plush toys (Yoshi's my only one, anway). Besides, I bet he can keep a secret...

If Xiaochun never heard of the games, and Jialing's at college with me... ...They have to be Jianliang's games. Jianliang's...shounen-ai games...

I barely believe it. The realization is just starting to sink in...

...Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Xiaochun is lying... That's gotta be it. Xiaochun is lying!

I get up and set Yoshi on my pillow. I head straight for the living room TV. Our game collection is in the cabinet right under the television. I sit on the floor and open it, studying each title for the Playstation 2.

...Not here. I even go as far as to pull each game out and check the front, just in case I misread the sides. No Ai To Kirai.

Whoever plays it must hide it...

Jianliang, I'm sorry, but I have to know. I really have to know.

I look around the living room. My parents are talking in the dining room, Jialing and Xiaochun are still in Xiaochun's room...

I shove the games back into the cabinet, I'll worry about organizing them later. I get up and sneak to Jianliang's room.

...I feel like such an asshole for doing this...

His room is clean, just like it always is. His bed is made, his computer desk is clean of everything...

...I'll start with the most obvious place, where I'd hide my, ah, 'items of interest.' I reach under his bed, feeling around for anything game-box or magazine-like...

...If there's a magazine, it would anwer all my questions with just the cover or the centerfold...

There! I feel it, like a DVD or game box...

I pull it out from under the bed, faster than I should have. I ran the back of my hand along the metal bed frame, scratching it...Nothing serious, barely even a drop of blood...

...

...It's true. I'm holding a copy of Ai To Kirai for the Playstation 2. I look at the front cover, the bishounen soccer star... On the back, they talk about how every guy and girl is going after him, plus the unique game features...

...My little brother is gay.

I toss the game box back under Jianliang's bed. Despite the shock, I still feel bad for snooping around his room.

I get up, feeling...Numb would be the best way to describe it.

As I start for the door, I notice a framed picture on Jianliang's computer desk. I see the back of the frame, it's turned so it faces whoever sits at the computer.

I pick up the frame and look at the picture. It's Jianliang and... I think that Takato kid... Yeah, it's an older picture, he still has those goggles on his head.

So that's why he was in such a hurry to meet his "friend." ...Takato...

I put the frame back, doing my best to make it look like it wasn't touched. I open the door to check for anyone in the living room...Coast is clear.

I go to my old room and back to my bed. I pick up Yoshi again. I always liked the little dinosaur, and the fact he was a gift from my little brother made this one of my favorite game toys...

...I...I can deal with this. He's Jianliang. Gamers for life! We just...Well, I like FPS games, he doesn't. He likes shounen-ai dating sims, I don't. Every gamer has a game or genre they don't like. Everyone does, games or whatever!

...Like how I like girls and Jianliang doesn't...

...I don't have a problem with gays, at least I don't think I do. I just can't believe my own brother is gay...

How long has he been "that way?" Why didn't I notice it before? He doesn't seem to have changed at all! Then again, I've been in Hong Kong for most of every year since just before he started high school. That must be when 'it' happened...

Did he have anyone to talk to about it? He obviously hasn't told any of us, or else I'd have heard about it. Is he okay with it? I mean, he doesn't have a problem with being "that way" does he?

No, he shouldn't have a problem with it...I mean, he's seeing someone, that has to be a good sign!

...I don't even know if he's seeing someone for sure! I see a picture and I make assumptions! Though, he did have it facing his computer chair...

...That Takato had better be good to my little brother. If he hurts him, I swear I'll kick his goggle wearing ass!

I need to calm down...I need a distraction...

Zhang He-...No, not this time. Not the "Flaming Phoenix" of Wei...

...Then again...


"People! We must destroy their formation with the beautiful one of our own! This is the art of battle!" Zhang He announces to his soldiers, striking a pose. ...I can't help it, Zhang He's got an awesome moveset. "Now, you will see!" The Battle of Jie Ting begins...

I've been playing for...I don't know long, I know I ran out the time limit on He Fei Castle once. I got lost in my thoughts and just hang out in an empty corner...

...It's still a shock. ...Jianliang...

"Lianjie?"

"H-Huh?" I turn to face my Dad. "S-Sorry...What is it?"

"Xiaochun wants to go see a movie with Jialing, but Jianliang's not back yet," my Dad begins, "would you-"

I don't let him finish. "Oh, hey, go on ahead. I'll wait here for Jianliang, we'll see the movie later." I say. Perfect. I want to just talk to Jianliang, brother to brother, about this...Situation. I-I'm not mad or anything, I just...Want to know the truth, what's going on, if he's...all right.

"Are you sure? I was going to ask you if you wanted to take her instead of me," he says.

"No, no, and I'm sure Jianliang just lost track of time," I says. "Best friend and all, you know." ...More than best friend and all, maybe.

"All right," my Dad gives a nod. "Send me a text message when he gets home, I'll keep my cell phone on vibrate."

"I will," I turn back to the television and continue my game. My parents and sisters leave before I finish the battle.

It's a couple more battles before I hear the door open. "I'm home."

"Jianliang, hey," I pause the game and wave from the couch. "What took you?"

"Takato-kun and I got distracted," he says. "Where's everyone?"

"Went to see a movie," I reply. "I volunteered to wait for you."

"I'm sorry, Lianjie," he says, bowing his head. Jianliang's always been so polite. "Was it one you wanted to see?"

I shrug. "I didn't even get the title, I think it was one Xiaochun wanted to see, though, so you probably did me a favor." I joke. He laughs.

"Wanna play Sangoku Musou?" He has his usual smile as he motions to the extra controller. I reach for it and hand it to him, pressing start and select to go to the menu screen. He presses start to open up the second player mode. We go to Versus Mode...

...Should I pick Zhang He? I mean, if Jianliang's gay, would Zhang He just be an insult to him? Y'know, the whole flaming gay thing...

I close my eyes and move the analogue stick around randomy...I stop on another character: Xiahou Dun.

"Lianjie, you're not playing as Zhang He?" Jianliang asks.

"I uh...Just..." I trail off, stammering like an idiot. ...Should I tell him I know? "...Jianliang, I-"

"If you don't want him, then," Jianliang selects Zhang He with a grin. "I've been practicing with him. Hope you don't mind."

He's been using my character? This Ai To Kirai thing can wait a moment or two, I guess. "Ha, not at all. I gotta see this..." I force a grin.

The battle arena loads...

Xiahou Dun unleashes a flurry of swings with his scimitar, but Zhang He darts away without so much as a scratch. I've never fought against Zhang He in versus mode before. The game AI in battle, plenty of times, but game AIs suck compared to an experienced player like Jianliang...

Xiahou Dun goes down in less than a minute, he didn't have a chance. I guess I still have a couple things on my mind...

"What happened, Lianjie? Were you distracted or something?" Jianliang sets his controller aside, looking to me. "I mean, you didn't get a single hit in...You're not going easy on me, are you?" He was joking at first, but he gives me a concerned look. "Is something bothering you, Lianjie?"

I look to Jianliang, my worthy adversary in the wars of the Three Kingdoms, my partner in stomping out Koopas from the Mushroom Kingdom, my fellow SeeD from Balamb Garden, my Yoshi's giver, my fellow gamer for life, my...

...My little brother. Gay, straight or whatever. He's still just the same little brother of mine, Li Jianliang. I almost forgot that. There's so much more to him than just "this."

If he's not ready to tell anyone, then I won't force it out of him. I can keep his secret, too.

"...Yeah, I can't bring myself to hit Zhang He," I say, "he's too awesome. Let me have him back."

Jianliang nods. "Hope you can bring yourself to hit Pang Tong, then..."

"Oh, that won't be hard..." I say as the character select screen loads up.

Enjoy your games, no matter what kind they are, Jianliang...After all, we're gamers for life!

~Owari~

Original Author's (AKA Ori's) Notes:
...Would you believe me if I told you I just...typed this from start to finish without stopping for more than enough time to get a fresh pot of tea?

Seriously, I don't have an excuse like with Pass The Soy Sauce. This was a blank text file and not a half-finished fic like that one was. I was just...kicked by a muse after I'd hit the 24 hour mark of no sleep. It wouldn't leave me alone so I wrote it down to get it out of my system...Feels pretty good, actually, I've had a total creativity dry spell for months, so it's nice to hear from my muse again...

...And yet it's the same muse that told me to write slash back in the old days... ...Why, Slash Muse? WHY? I thought I drank you into submission! ... ... ...That was actually my conscience I drowned in hard liquor, wasn't it?

...Yeah...I thought so...

I wanted to do a story about how Lianjie found out about Jianliang's secret, which Jianliang mentioned had happened in Pass The Soy Sauce. I also wanted to try a different first person POV than Jianliang. The fact it's Lianjie...I'm surprised, too. I really am.

I'm pretty sure this is consistent with he rest of continuity with Christmas Dinner\Pass The Soy Sauce, save for an extra emphasis on gaming in this one (then again, we know how much Lianjie loves Dynasty Warriors from Christmas Dinner).

Translation note:
Shin Sangoku Musou 2 = True Three Kingdoms Unrivaled 2\Dynasty Warriors 3. I'd have just called it Dynasty Warriors 3, but SSM2 is what it's callled in Christmas Dinner, so I stuck with it for continuity's sake. Sorry.
Ai To Kirai = Love And Hate (I made the game series up, Ai To Kirai sounds like a generic shounen-ai title).

Also, for anyone wondering why Lianjie has more of a problem with Xiaochun playing a yaoi game than shounen-ai, well, there's a difference between the two:
Yaoi = Explicit (VERY explicit, some of those games...Oy gevalt...)
Shounen-ai = Non-explicit

Not really sure how well this turned out overall, since I wrote this thing after about twenty-four hours of no sleep and after seven years of not writing fics, period...That and I'm totally out of it right now...

PEACE!


Taiki's Notes:

You wrote this without sleep? THIS? Is insomnia your muse or something, Ori? Honestly!

For something Ori did while probably half-dead I didn't have much to fix in the way of spelling and grammar. I have to say that I enjoyed the ending with Lianjie listing his brother as his rival, partner in gaming and such. Ori has a very interesting take on Lianjie, I think.

To be completely honest I received this fic via email this morning. I simply HAD to put it up with the rest I was uploading this evening!

-Taiki Matsuki