Disclaimer: I do not own Suikoden.

A/N: Sort of AU fic that is…somewhat different. People hardly read any Suikoden fiction anyway. Hero Mcdohl will be referred to as his default name Tir.

This centers on Tir Mcdohl, Gremio, etc. around the idea that if Tir never gave up the Soul Eater, and the Suikoden world evolved technologically as ours did, then there would have to be a time when Tir lived in a somewhat modern world.

Gray Blue Golden

Part 1 // Yellowish-Gray

And now she wakes to another gray day
In the Big Blue World
And her room's a tiny cage
For a golden bird.
- Chris Mosdell

"It's raining."

"I know." He answered. "It's always raining."

Of course it was raining. The bleak, painted sky tended to pent out its sorrows with the rain, wheeze its cries in the wind. Pitter-patters and dulled splashes could drown the world of its pains, or numb them at the least. It tended to cry for sorrows long past that no one tried to remember and therefore it tended to cry for him. Such passed the days, second by second, spring by snow, now by then.

Today was different.

There had been someone to tread upon his spider web troubles. There had been someone who, three minutes or three years ago he couldn't tell, had happened to chance upon a musty alley and saw a boy perched upon a royal cardboard box. There had been someone who had stumbled into a dripping silence and saw a pair of golden eyes that were not really golden. In fact, they were a dull shade of bronze, weathered with lives past.

Such was the setting – a rumbling silence in a silhouetted alleyway where a man had happened to find a boy amidst his own shadow and it was raining, always raining. "You can't stay out here forever, you know. There will be creatures roaming the streets. You'll catch pneumonia. Shouldn't you be going home to your family?"

"I should, I suppose." And the boy shuffled, buried his head in his arms.

The child was not a beggar. He wore clothes of foreign and forgotten origins that he had been perfectly fitted into. They looked old but not tattered, soft but not worn. They were embroidered with strange, ancient care. Why, the child looked like a character out of a fairytale, clothes, eyes, and all! So the child was not a beggar.

The man became cautious from beneath his white umbrella. "Do you have a family that lives here? They must be worried."

The boy's gaze was addictive. It captured the man's attention the moment it revealed itself from behind a tangle of eyelids and darkness. They were bronzed but golden, like treasure, like sunshine, like fool's gold. And so, as the boy looked up at him, the man found himself snagged like a hare.

It must have been the mystery, the forbidden, untouchable air around him, but whatever it was, the man had no chance to run away. He never had the chance, it was too fated.

The boy said with a decrepit voice, "I will not catch pneumonia."

The man knew that his question was of family, and not of pneumonia. "Oh, I see." He agreed, composed. "Are you sure? You're only a boy, and wearing short sleeves at that. It's raining pretty hard; you'll be soaked by the time the storm is over. Maybe you can find a shelter somewhere where it isn't raining on you. If not pneumonia, you'll catch a cold for sure."

This was somehow uncannily amusing, for the child gave a chuckle though his shoulders wouldn't shake. It was not laughter, only amusement. Never the less, the boy said somewhat-blithely, "That's right. I'm only a boy."

The amusement died down quicker than a burning candle in a lake. It faded into nothing other than levelled, reluctant breathing and again the pittering of rain. It had been so short, and the boy's cheer had been such a bright sound compared to the sonorous still, that the man was discouraged with a discouragement that, however, did not prevent him from saying, "Are you alright?"

A pause lacking of hesitation and the child answered, "Not really."

"You need to get out of the rain."

"Yes." The boy answered immediately, soft and unhesitant, "I do." That made the second time the child had said something he would not do.

Not to be ruffled, the man patiently waited to launch a better approach. During this time, the boy took three glances at him. The first time, the child noticed the sun ray hair. The second, he saw ocean eyes, and the third he saw a perfect cheek and this scared him and disappointed him at the same time. The fourth time he saw nothing.

Through some divine force of nature, or out of the unforgiving and flawed compassion amidst the human heart, the boy noticed that there was no one standing on the sidewalk anymore. Again there was the pattering of rain and muggy silence. But alas, he was not cold! He was not wet and he was not alone.

This was so, because there was an umbrella over his head.

The voice that played from beside him, from a mouth that he could see without looking, from under a white umbrella into the relentless rain, was beautiful. It said, "You are the one who has always been calling me."

The staring reply was frighteningly bright for a denial. "No. That's not true."

"Don't lie. You're a bad liar." The man answered sternly, albeit with care.

Still the boy answered in a denial that was not panicked. It seemed relieved in truth, as if a million years were waited for this denial alone. "I haven't. I honestly haven't. I don't know what you're talking about. I've never called anyone. I don't know who you are."

"You honestly were very hard to find, but you must forgive me for taking so long to find you. I must be rather late."

The man continued and he continued in reassurance after reassurance that was eaten, spoonful by spoonful, letter by letter because honestly the boy was starved of such. When he finished, the boy said nothing, did nothing. Instead, the child stared out into the street at something far away, at something untouchable that was suddenly a thousand miles closer and repeated half-heartedly, "No. I haven't at all."

"It's alright, because I'm here now."

This time, the rain faded to bright silence, the water into mist, and the denial into nothing. So this time, Tir gave a nothing little laugh as the edges of the white umbrella dripped with the sky's collective tears that fell to the ground and died. After this nothing little laugh, came nothing at all but a soft whisper.

"I honestly haven't." which was accompanied with the slightest, most inaudible little reminder that burrowed through thoughts to shout gleefully, It's been …so long!

"It's a good thing that the rain stopped. You might have caught pneumonia."

"I wouldn't have caught pneumonia." Came the reply, though indeed it was a good thing that the rain had stopped pouring. Such a good thing it was because that would mean sunshine would come and dance above the remnants of the rain and it would make rainbows, illusions. There would be no more thunder to boom into deaf ears, no more lightning to frighten the blind.

"Maybe, but it's necessary to take precautions, especially when your health is in concern." The man said, as he heaved with great strength a pot of whatnot that still boiled. It seemed hot but deliciously tempting. Tir could hear the hiss of steam and the bubble of liquid behind the metal. He reached out to touch it, and was reprimanded with, "No, please don't touch it! It's very hot! You'll burn yourself!"

As his stare wavered from pot to man, Tir let his hand drop limply to his lap. Maybe he had no share of it. It did not belong to him, after all. Curiously then, he said, "I'm sorry. What is it?"

The man's gaze softened oceans into waves. He was wonderful when he smiled, and smiled he did. With great care, as if he held a newborn with his words, the man said softly, "Sorry if I startled you. It's something warm. Stew. I made it for you. I thought you might be hungry. You look awfully skinny that I decided you possibly can't be very healthy."

"You thought I would be hungry." Tir repeated, lowering his eyes, though he still felt the wave of humid air grazing his cheek as the pot was uncovered and the lid set on the table. It felt godly wonderful, having something warm in front of him like that. Dutifully, there came the customary "Thank you," leaving his mouth before anything else.

"Nonsense. I owe it to you."

"What?" he questioned, less courteously, since manners were things easily forgotten and sentiments bound to replace them as quickly as a brink sinks to the lake's floor. "You owe it to me? You don't owe me anything. I don't even know you or your name." He stopped then, because his voice had begun to weakly trail off.

This occupied the man for the grand total of two seconds, in which he came up with the satisfactory answer, "I don't know yours either. That doesn't matter though. But if you do insist, what is your name?"

There came a searing, however controllable pain that infected the palm of his right hand. Tir had become so accustomed to it that it felt like no more than a sting to him, a nuisance, however life-supporting. Yet it came in tides of want and desire that even Tir flinched and drew his arm closer to his body. So, because of this, Tir looked up at the man with something that resembled hope and said, "I can't tell you that. You can call me 'Boy' if you need a name."


"Yes." Tir said, conclusively.

"Oh. I understand."

Though obviously disappointed, which Tir could tell because of the way golden brows knitted themselves together in worry, the man nodded. For this, Tir breathed the breath that had begun to cling to his chest and nodded also in confirmation. This man's company was enjoyable. It was quiet, comfortable, and devoid of prodding sticks that were too sharp, silence that was too heavy for any shoulders to possibly bear.

"What is your name then?" 'Boy' asked politely.

"Well," the man said plainly, "I'm not telling you either, until you tell me yours. You know, I'm not going to kill you or make you do physical labor." He said, launching himself into a long and tedious explanation. "I'm only trying to help you. It'd be nice to know your name. I'm not evil or the like. Until then, you can call me anything you wish, as long as it is not completely belittling me…"

"Sir." Tir called.

"I'd prefer something less formal than that." The man said, bobbing his head.

"Sir." Tir said, a little more urgently.

"I told you that I don't like that."

"Sir, the pot is beginning to burn your table." Tir said, amused. He was even more amused when 'Sir' leapt up from his seat with great…vigor and lifted the pot with his bare hands only to find that his hands were bare and very, very hot, which caused him to prance into the kitchen to set the pot upon the stove top and find refuge for his hands in running cold water. When he appeared again, his hair was disheveled, his appearance askew.

Sir said bluntly, "You weren't listening to a thing I was saying, were you?"

Tir traced his gloved finger over the circular mark that had singed itself into the polished wood. As he heard himself being addressed, he looked up with half his attention that was missing its other half because the burn mark seemed more interesting. "I was listening." He nodded to Sir. "I heard what you said, but everything's not so easy like that."

The floor creaked. "Easy?"

"It would be nice if it were, though." Tir elaborated, reposed against a cushion that was too soft, under a light that was too bright. However, he was uncannily comfortable in a place that came as close to the feeling of home as possible. "If water was blue and blood was red, it'd be simple. But water isn't really blue and blood isn't really red."

"Yes it is." Sir said sonorously, but only because he didn't couldn't fathom something otherwise. "Water is blue and blood is red to those who believe it is so, and card dealers always have another Ace up their sleeve and the sky is blue. It's very limpid, easy to understand."

The boy's smile was dazzling, painted and superficial. The slightest curve of his lips, the glazing of his eyes gave him the look that could have bought trust by the bushel, and trust it did, but only many, many years ago when people were trustworthy. Yet it was such a sad pretty thing, like the captured firefly that shines like pearls in its glass container only to die in the morning. Sir wished he did not even smile at all.

"The sky isn't blue." Boy said, placid. Tir's left hand was rubbing the back of his right palm, slowly without his notice. "It is yellowish-gray."

"Yellowish-gray?" Sir said assiduously.

"Yes. The color it is when it rains, since it's always raining."

Sir had tried awfully hard with his bare hands and teeth to tear down the fortress of the mighty castle. Of course, he did not expect the walls to come tumbling down at his very touch. However, he did suspect that, even if chipping away each and every stone with a nail and hammer, the stones would crumble into dust and the highest tower would be climbable.

Sir nodded and for this Tir said, "You don't understand, Sir."

"No." Sir admitted shamelessly, but honestly. He let the formal address pass his ears, but only once, he told himself, only once. "But I'll try to for you."

Tir could only offer him the pained smile since it was the only thing he could give. It was a horrible gift, he knew, but it was close to being wonderful. It was so close that it was leagues away. This man had given him more than he had been given in a thousand years. His words were not abundant, but they were true. "That's very good enough, Sir. That's very, very good. Thank you."

Sir let that one pass his ears too. "Stew."

Boy blinked once, twice. "Stew?"

The man rose, sauntered into the kitchen and called, "You want stew?" And Tir agreed and stew was served. When Sir told him to eat, Tir ate, basking in the warmth of being under a ceiling, the calmness of company, under a light that was too bright, on a cushion that was too soft.

When the bowl was half empty, Tir looked up slowly and said, "Sir."

"Yes?" the man responded.

Tir studied his face with warily and with great care. The man noticed that the spoon was still balanced between thin, pale fingers. The boy's eyes caught on every crook, every nanny hidden on the silken skin. He seemed lonely then, as he gazed up with wide, innocent and aged eyes, lonely and forlorn. He was looking for something he could not find. Finally, he said, "You look a lot like him, you know. Almost the same as him."

Sir stood and made his way into the kitchen without stumbling. "I'll try to understand that too." he said. Then, blissful silence.

Still, Tir heard his own feet shuffling, the dripping of the wet umbrella in the bathtub and the creaking of the wooden floor. He heard a different sort of silence that was set apart from other silences because it was the silence of two people and it was not suffocating. He heard the beating of the living heart, but it was hardly audible, and there was only one heart that was really alive.

And he heard no pittering, pattering of the tearful rain.