Yes, its another Suikoden story about another couple that should have happened but never did. And this couple, I think, was even more obvious than Tir and Kasumi. It's none other than the couple of Riou and Eilie. Seriously, they would have been great together. Okay... enough of my rant. On to the story!
"What I Should Have Done A Long Time Ago…"
Three years had passed since the Dunan Unification Wars and the heroes, or villains depending on one's outlook, Riou, Jowy, and Nanami were enjoying their time travelling through world, away from the war and such things. They were able to just enjoy life free of war, death, and pain and they could not have asked for anything more. After so much travelling, they found themselves back in the Dunan region, walking through the forest path led to Greenhill.
As they walked along, Nanami yawned, opening her mouth very wide.
"Wow," Jowy remarked. "I'm always amazed that you can do that. But you having a big mouth… not so surprising."
Nanami finished yawning and glared at Jowy with one eye. "I can still take you in a fight, you know? Rune or not."
Once they got to Greenhill, they had a good look around as soon as they entered. The calming presence being just like it was when they had first visited. Despite the war going on all around it at that time, Greenhill managed to still hold its own calm and peace separate from the world around it. And that had not changed.
"Man," Nanami was taking in the Greenhill calm. "Place hasn't changed much."
"Good sense of nostalgia, though," Jowy pointed out.
The group ventured in further, looking forward to rest of the great city had to offer. As they walked around, they saw a mass crowd gathered. This was unusual for forest-set capital since, despite its friendly atmosphere, everyone usually kept to themselves.
"Must be a party or something," Jowy deduced.
"Let's go see," Nanami insisted.
Jowy looked at Riou, "Do we have a choice?"
Smiling, Riou just shook his head.
They tried to get closer but found that crowd gathered was massively packed in and, virtually, impossible to get through. The group then decided to get a better vantage point to, at least, see what all the commotion was about. They went on top of a rise to see that there a carnival going on. They looked in closer to see three very familiar, very welcome faces.
"Guys…" Nanami said, "Is that…"
"Rina?" Jowy asked.
"Bolgan?" Nanami asked.
"And…" both Nanami and Jowy said at the same time.
"Eilie…" Riou breathed out. Jowy and Nanami then both looked at the former Orange Army commander.
"Finally, he speaks. Only takes you like… two hours to say something after we do all the talking." Nanami's joke was only enjoyed by herself and Jowy as Riou just kept staring at Eilie. Seconds later, Nanami came to realization. "Little bro, do you still have a thing for Eilie?"
Riou looked down and smiled. "The way you said it would mean that I ever stopped."
"I knew it!" Jowy shouted. "From the second we met them, I knew you had a crush on her!"
Riou sighed. "You got that right."
Nanami smiled, grabbed both boys' arms and declared, "Well, let's not stand here. Let's go see them."
"We couldn't get through before," Jowy reminded.
"We didn't try hard enough before. This time… we push… hard!"
When Nanami talked liked that, it legitimately scared her male companions.
They went back to the crowd and did indeed push hard to get through, which angered a few people but not enough for them to do anything about it. Once the trio was close enough, they saw the clearing where the performances were taking place and, sure enough, there were the three siblings in spots that were very familiar: Rina had a table set up to tell fortunes, Bolgan was doing his flame throwing, and Eilie was standing near a tree, tossing a knife in the air and catching the handle as it came down.
"She must've just finished juggling," Jowy guessed. He looked at Riou. "And you know what comes next."
Riou smiled and pushed to get closer.
As Eilie flipped the knife again, she announced, "Alright, for my next trick, I'll need a volunteer."
"How about me?" Riou's voice echoed from the audience.
The second she heard that voice, Eilie knew who it was. She gasped, her eyes became wide, and then looked through the crowd to see her former travelling companion and leader, the man that she could never stop thinking about. "R-R-R-Riou…"
The knife thrower just stared at Riou, convincing herself that he was actually in front of her and this was not just a dream. Eilie blinked a few times to snap herself out of her gaze. "L-ladies and gentlemen, this is… an old friend of mine… and… my volunteer."
Riou walked over to the tree and lined himself up, just as he did years earlier. The big man Bolgan walked over and placed a fruit on his head. "Bolgan happy to see Riou again!"
Riou just smiled. "Same here, Bolgan."
After that exchange, Eilie made herself ready to launch her first knife. This was more difficult than usual as she to keep herself from staring into Riou's eyes. She still shook off her endearment and proceeded to throw the first knife.
Minutes later, the knife trick went off without a hitch, leading to even more cheers from the crowd. Afterward, both trios gathered near each other.
"Well, this was quite the pleasant surprise," said the sultry Rina. "It's good to see you all."
"Same here," Nanami said.
"What are you guys doing back in Dunan?" asked Jowy.
No one noticed that Eilie had not taken her eyes off of Riou yet.
Rina shrugged. "Just felt like we should come back. Why are you guys here?"
It was Jowy's turn to shrug. "Same reason."
"Been three years, after all," Nanami said. "Seems so long ago."
"You got that right."
"So, how long are you guys in town?" Rina asked.
All three of them shrugged. "We're just travelling," Jowy explained. "No real destination, no real timeline. So… however long."
Rina gave another of her infamous smiles that made men pay attention in a good way. "Well, then, no destination, no plans. Only one remedy for that: PARTY!"
The next thing everyone knew, there was quite the party going on at the Greenhill Inn. There was plenty of food and beverages, some of those liquids of more dubious variety, but, regardless, everyone was having a good time. As festive as it was, however, all of it got to be a little too much for two particular participants.
Riou ducked outside to look at the night's sky. He had a habit of not being around too many people at a time which Nanami and Jowy were well aware of. Any time he disappeared, they figured that he was okay and could handle himself. After all, Riou never disappeared for too long and, if he did, they would usually only look for him if things felt off. No such situation had ever arisen, though, in all the time they travelled together. While Jowy and Nanami were not worried about his location, Eilie had taken particular interest on where he was. Soon, she poked her head out of the door to find him sitting on a wooden bench, looking up at the stars.
"Hey," the knife specialist waved at him.
He looked at her and smiled. "Oh, hey."
"You seem rather lonely."
"Only a little. Want some company?"
He moved over slightly, leaving just enough space for Eilie to sit down next to him. They then both looked up at the sky. They did this for a while until Eilie decided to break the silence. "When did you get into looking at the stars?"
Riou thought it over. "Umm, I'm not sure. I guess… when I couldn't sleep at night, I would just stare up at the stars. Since we sleep outside so much, it's pretty easy. It's pretty relaxing and since I don't sleep much…" He shrugged.
"Lot of restless nights?"
The Bright Shield rune bearer just scoffed. "I was the leader of the Orange Army… lots of shadows… they tend to keep me up."
Eilie realized that he did have quite the burden to bear on him in those days. Even on the days he was sleep, he could not relax. She recalled the one occasion that she had to snap him out of his down time after some jarring moments during the war. "Oh. I'm sorry about that."
"Don't worry." He sighed. "They're not as… loud as they used to be."
After a few more minutes, the noise from the inside was starting to get louder. Rina was known for a having a good time and she did not seem to be disappointing this time around.
Eilie sighed, "Speaking of loud. Just like Rina to throw a crazy party."
Riou just let out a brief chuckle. "Didn't she always?"
"Yeah. Always hated 'em, then, too."
As the noise kept on and got louder, it wearied on Eilie's nerves more. She loved her sister, dearly; it was the lifestyle that tended to wear on the nerves on the younger sister.
She groaned. "It's way too loud."
Riou then had an idea. "Wanna go for a walk?"
Eilie was surprised but she had to hide that and her blushing. "S-sure. I mean, yes."
They got up and began walking toward the forest. The noise from the party, however, seemed to lower, significantly, the second they even decided to go for a walk.
They walked through the city of Greenhill, looking at all of the silent houses and the general feel of the town. Greenhill was always a nice quiet place and it was easy to see why so many people liked living there. Eilie always thought of Greenhill as the kind of place she could see herself living in after all was said and done.
As they walked, Eilie took a few glances at Riou and then quickly looked away. She knew that just walking there was not helping at all and knew that she had to say something. "It was… It was really nice to see you. It's been so long."
"Yeah… three years."
"How's life on the open road?"
"Not bad. I like it. Seeing the new places, meeting new people. It's… pretty great, actually."
"I've always liked it."
"It's easy to see why. I think that's part of the reason that I looked forward to it so much because of all the stories that you've told me."
This caused Eilie to start to blush again.
"Another great thing about the road is I've learned a lot of new things."
"Really? Like what?"
"Well, for starters, a few Rune related tricks."
He then took her hand, "Come with me. I'll show you."
Riou's simple act of taking Eilie's hand made her embarrassed. 'Thank God it's dark out,' she thought. 'I'm sure I'm as red as Oulan's hair.' "Okay."
They walked into the forest, far from the lights of the city, where it was very dark. The forest would have been pitch black had it not been for the moonlight shining through. Riou moved about the forest until he found a spot just right to put on his show.
"So, what's this trick of yours?" Eilie asked, crossing her arms to give the vibe of waiting to be impressed.
Riou chuckled. He was not sure if she was serious or joking but laughed it off anyway. "Well… we met some travelers while were in Zexen and they showed me that Runes can be used for more than just the conventional use."
Eilie had never heard of such a thing. "Like what?"
"Using just the light of the Runes to create images in the dark," Riou explained. "They said it would be useful to help light the way in dark passages. But they showed a few ways they work as entertainment, too. Like this: mixing just the light itself from the Bright Shield and Resurrection…" He held up both of his hands. "…makes a little something like this."
Suddenly, a light show from the power of both Runes began, much to the wonder of Eilie. The former Orange Army Leader twisted the light around from his runes to form brief lasting formations in the darkness. There was no particular shape for the most part but it was just the way the light moved and illuminated was mesmerizing.
"Oh, wow… it's… it's so beautiful."
Riou smiled. "Wait until the finale."
Riou then manipulated the light into an almost fireworks display minus the force of the explosions, though they were as bright. He turned the lights in many ways, resembling many rune symbols including his own Bright Shield and Jowy's Black Sword. A whole chorus of lights erupted next and, though Eilie was not entirely sure at first, the lights came into the shape of a heart.
As the light show reached its climax, Eilie just stared in awe. "A-amazing."
Smiling, Riou stopped the lights and closed his hands.
Still stunned by what she just saw, Eilie looked at him, "How did… how did you learn that?"
"Just saw it my mind and made it happen. Took a while, but it was worth it."
Eilie giggled. "They were very nice."
"And the, umm… heart… at the end… was… nice."
"Glad you noticed that." He walked closer to her, "Something I made special… for you."
"W-why?" Deep down, she knew the answer. Her conscious mind just would not admit.
Riou, on the other hand, did not have that problem. "Something else I learned on the road? You don't get a second chance to get something right."
"Well, that's true but what do… you… need…" She realized that Riou was standing directly in front of her, closer than he had ever been to her before; though, this was almost as close as she had always wanted him to be. It was getting harder and harder for her to deny what he was alluding to.
As Riou lightly brushed his finger along the side of her face, Eilie, involuntarily, closed her eyes and took a sharp breath, enjoying the touch so much.
She opened her eyes, "Riou… what are you…"
"What I should have done a long time ago…" He then leaned in slowly and soon his lips met hers.
At first, Eilie did not believe that this was happening. She kept telling herself that it was a dream. She kept telling herself that it could not be real. But the longer the kiss went on, the more she realized it was real and she was finally able to enjoy it.
After a few more minutes of kissing, they finally stopped for air.
Eilie, as she was catching her breath, said, "Wow."
"That's… what I was thinking," Riou smiled, out of breath as well.
Eilie just stared at him, half in disbelief. "Just… wow…"
Riou just kept smiling then he took hold of her hands. "Eilie… the one thing that I know for sure that was a mistake was that, when I left, I didn't ask you to come with me. That I didn't tell you how I really felt."
"Really… f-f-f-felt…" Eilie's world was still trying to catch back with reality from the kiss.
"Eilie… I've liked you… since… well, since I first ever saw you. And… I've… been in love with you… for… I can't even remember when it really started."
She was fully back in reality, just in shock. "In… love… with… with me?"
Eilie was not sure that she heard him right. "With me? You… you're… you're…"
"Yes. For a long time."
For Eilie, she was used to men falling head over heels for Rina. She never gave men and relationships a second thought. They just did not matter to her. Unless she was thinking about Riou. Still, her doubt of herself and her comparisons that she always made to her older sister always tended to hold her back and this time was no different. "Riou… but… I'm not…"
"Your sister? Yeah, I know."
'Wow,' Eilie thought. 'How'd he even know what I was…'
"And I'm glad, because I don't love her. I love you."
Eilie was shell-shocked. He said it twice. She was now sure she heard him correctly and she had no clue what to do about it. "Riou… I don't… I don't know what to…"
Riou was starting to get a little nervous at this point. "Just… please… say that you love me… and that I didn't just embarrass myself."
Eilie was silent for a second. He was brave enough to take this risk to tell her; that alone impressed her. He thought about her, apparently a lot; that made her smile on the inside. He loves her; she loves him. And she finally figured out what to say and, for once, she was not doubting or questioning herself. She slowly shook her head. "You didn't. Riou… I've been in love with you for so long that I forgot when it started. I… thought I was over it until I saw you today and then I realized… the reason why there has been no other man since I met you is because no other one compares to you."
Riou smiled again. This time, so did Eilie.
"So… what now?"
Riou shrugged. "I hear Toran is great this time of year."
Eilie giggled, "We just got here."
"When has that ever stopped you?"
She shrugged. "Good point."
"We can also stay here. I don't care. I just wanna be where you are."
"I… I want the same thing."
Riou just smiled again. It then dawned on him how long they must have been gone. "Come on." He took hold of her hand. "The others are probably looking for us."
Just as Riou started to walk off, Eilie pulled on his hand and into another, very passionate kiss. At first, Riou was very surprised but he always liked the strong side of Eilie. He always knew that it was there but it was always surprised him when he came out; a good surprise, though, nonetheless. For her part, Eilie just could not resist pulling Riou in for another kiss; after all, this is what she wanted for so long and, now that it was here, she refused to let it go.
There you have it. I hope you all enjoyed. Comments are more than welcome.