Chrono Cross is © Squaresoft. Not Quela. How sad...

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Open Eyes

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There was the sound of a woman chuckling lightly as footsteps echoed through the room. "Wake up, sleepyhead!" the voice continued. "Weren't you supposed to meet with Leena this morning?"

Leena; he remembered that name. He remembered hair the color of amber and eyes greener than anything he could name, eyes that had been filled with tears when he last saw them. Leena's eyes. The boy slowly opened his eyes and sat up, looking around his room in bewilderment. This wasn't where he was supposed to be, was it? He could remember smiling as a young lady with a painted face walked into a room that wasn't his. He remembered being very hot as the sun rose, although the boy beside him - who had bright violet hair and round glasses, was shivering slightly, his bag of supplies hanging at his hip. And yet, he himself had been hot...he had felt stifled by his own skin...

He shook his head - it must have been some sort of dream. Rising to his feet he took a deep breath, the air fresh and clean, smelling vaguely salty due to the nearby ocean. He walked to his windows and drew up the shutters, watching with a smile as sunlight filtered through the wooden openings. It was going to be a beautiful day, he could feel it. Looking out over the little village that was his home, he started - he could see Leena from here! She stood on the dock, watching as three children dove into the water, she was laughing as they splashed her, her lovely face completely covered in joy.

The boy sighed, leaning his elbow on the window frame for a moment in sheer appreciation of this one perfect moment. It wasn't until several seconds later that he remembered his mother's words: "Weren't you supposed to meet with Leena this morning?"

He gasped. "Blast it!" He dove for his shoes, pulling them on as he hopped down the stairs, rushing past his smiling mother. "Hi, mom - bye, mom!" he called, running past in a blur of orange, silver and blue.

She smiled and rolled her eyes as he ran out. "...and Good Morning to you too, Serge."

* * *

He rushed up the dock, Leena was now only a few feet away, within reach if he were to jump; her back was facing him. "Leena," he smiled, his blue eyes bright. "Sorry I'm late..." He trailed off as the girl turned around.

Her hair paled, becoming bright blonde, and her green eyes had become and intense shade of blue. Her skin lightened, particularly on either cheek, where a white triangle formed. Her clothing seemed to shift as well, until she was no longer wearing her usual robe, but a short red skirt and vest, a dagger tied to the front of her belt. The girl that was no longer Leena smiled.

"What're ya up to, Serge?" she asked with a grin.

He gaped. "...Kid?" He staggered forward another step. "Kid, is that really you?" He began to reach out for her, his gloved hands shaking.

She took one step back and her grin broadened as she shook her head. "No, Serge, it's not." She turned around once in place, a wave of blackness overtaking her.

"Kid!" the boy cried, leaping forward. He tore through the darkness with all the strength he could muster, but it felt as though his head was going to split in two if he didn't find her quickly. There was something at the edge of his mind, running its clawed fingers over his spirit, and he felt he would go mad from the contact. Then, just as he was certain he would die, the darkness parted, revealing not Kid, but...


The boy blinked several times, shaking his head to clear it. "But...I'm Serge..." he rasped, stumbling back. The boy that was not him grinned maliciously, taking slow, deliberate steps forward.

"Dear little Serge," he breathed, his voice high and dark, "why do you continue to put yourself through this?" He leaned forward and Serge stumbled, falling into the water behind him. The only problem was that it wasn't water, it was stone. Cold, blue stone. As he opened his eyes he recognized the room he stood in - six dragon statues trimmed the walls, each one a different color. In the center of the room stood a pedestal, on which laid a round blue stone.

The Dragon Tear.

Serge realized with an ache in his stomach that he was once again in Fort Dragonia, which meant...

He struggled to rise to his feet, looking down at his hands, which were covered in grey-brown fur. "No..." he rasped, stumbling backward as the boy that he had once been edged ever closer. "No, it was just a dream!" Yet, he could see Kid in a heap on the floor behind the pedestal, a pool of blood brightening the red of her vest; he remembered now...

"You were the Chrono Trigger, Serge, but now that power belongs to me and me alone." The Assassin of Time, Lynx in Serge's body, hissed. He grabbed Serge's collar - high and black, trimmed with gold - and pulled him to his knees, making them almost equal in height. "Time to go to sleep, boy, time to dream a different dream..."

He held up the dagger, stained with Kid's blood, and then let it rush toward Serge's heart, piercing fur and flesh in a single swipe.

* * *

Serge awoke with a gasp, sweat running down his fur-covered brow. After several stunned seconds of silence, he held both clawed hands to his head and began rocking back and forth slowly. Tears formed in his golden eyes, spilling over as he continued to sway gently, as though a flower in the breeze.

"Monsieur Lynx?" a high voice whispered. Serge felt someone climb onto his bed and sit down beside him, placing on small hand on his head. "Bonjour, Lynx. Are you crying?" He drew his hands away from his face and looked deep into the crimson eyes of Harle. She smiled sympathetically. "Bad dreams, monsieur?"

He nodded, not trusting his voice to reply without a quaver.

The girl sighed and shook her head. "You need to stop dwelling on ze past, Monsieur Lynx. Ze future iz all we 'ave left now, zink of zat instead, oui?"

"Please don't call me that," he rasped.

The girl raised one eyebrow. "What was zat? I coul' not 'ear you." She smiled.

"Please Harle - stop calling me Lynx." He turned to look down at her - she was far shorter than he - and could see pain flash in her eyes for an instant, though it faded swiftly. "I'm not Lynx."

"Are you still rambling on wiz zat rubbish?" she asked, jumping to her feet with extreme lightness. "Ou are you, zen? If you are not Lynx, ou are you?"

He sighed. "I'm Serge. You know that I'm Serge, Harle!"

She shook her head sadly. "Serge is gone, mon ami, you know zat as well as I do. 'E left you some time ago..." She slowly sat back down, leaning her head on his shoulder with a smile. "Al'zou' if it woul' make you sleep better, I will stop calling you Monsieur Lynx." He began to stammer out a grateful reply, but she held up one hand. "But I will not call you Serge, ça va?"

Serge sighed. "What will you call me then?"

The girl thought for several moments. "I woul' rather call you Lynx, considering ze fact zat you are him, but I suppose..." She looked around the small room that was their house. "..I shall settle with 'Monsieur' until I can zink of somezing else." She smiled. "Will zat do for you, Monsieur?"

"Perfectly," he replied, smiling slightly. He turned to glance at the door, the straw curtain covering it almost completely blocked out the light from outside. "How late is it, anyway?" Harle thought for several second before closing her eyes.

She took a deep breath and then opened her eyes once more. "Ze smaller moon 'as almost reached ze center of ze sky; it will be midnight very soon." That was part of her magic; Harle cold sense the position and phases of the moons no matter where she was. This was a helpful talent during nights like this.

"Midnight, hm? Serge thought for several moment before rising to his feet, the claws on his toes clicking softly on the wooden floor. "I'm going to take a quick walk."

The girl leapt to her feet, now standing eye-to-eye with the demi-human due to the height the bed provided. "Shall I come with you?"

He shook his head, putting on a false smile and waving one large hand as he began to back away. "I'll be all right, I promise." Harle did not seem convinced; her eyebrows drew together and she folded her arms over her chest, tapping her foot. "don't worry, Harle, we're in Guldove. Nothing bad ever happens here except illness."

"And if I know you, you will catch ze worst case of pneumonia zat doc has ever seen and die from it!"

Serge shook his head, a faint chuckle - although it sounded more like a growl - escaping his mouth. "I'm a demi-human, Harle. They don't get sick very easily, you know."

She sighed and rolled her eyes, then waved one hand in dismissal. "Fine, do what you like. 'Owever, if you die, do not haunt me!"

"I won't." She shot him another dark look. "I promise. Have I ever broken a promise?" she thought for several seconds, then shook her head. "There. Go back to sleep." He laid one large hand on her head with a smile, causing the girl to smile as well before she pushed his hand off.

"Oh, all right zen. Just be careful - zere may be monsters out zere."

He nodded, walking out the door with a faint sound from his large feline feet. The air outside was cold, but Serge couldn't feel it - he was covered in a thick layer of fur, which kept him from realizing such things. He walked to the edge of the dock, sitting down and letting his feet sit in the water - the chill of which he did feel after a few seconds.

He began to think; he thought of his dream, the nightmares that never seemed to let up, of what had happened to one of his closest his friends after he had regained the ability to cross dimensions. He remembered the look of complete pity, mingled with loathing, in Glenn's green eyes as he attempted to speak. Serge had not been able to speak very well in Lynx's body yet, having the little boy that followed him and Harle - a young artist named Van - interpret what his basic meaning was. And yet, no matter how much Van tried to explain, how much Serge attempted to speak himself, Glenn's only reply had been, "I do not want to see that face of yours right now." It was then that Serge realized that the world saw him as Lynx - he would always be the dark demi-human in the eyes of others.

"What a curse," he sighed, looking down at his hands. The tops were covered in fur, but the palms had pads of skin on them like those of a normal cat, with one on each joint of each finger, as well on one on his palm; the same was on his feet.

He heard footsteps long before he even caught the scent hanging in the air; his feline ears swiveled around so they faced behind him. He could hear footsteps as well as something dragging on the ground. Something thick, that caught on the splintery wood of the dock. He took a deep breath and recognized the scent almost instantly.

The demi-human smiled slightly as the young boy stepped beside him, blanket clutched in his hands, wrapping around his shoulders. He yawned and then sat down groggily, turning his pale eyes to Serge. "What're y'doing up so early - er - late. Ah, whatever." He yawned again, then took off his glasses and began cleaning them on the blanket. "Bad dreams again, Serge?"

"You guessed it," he replied.

The boy nodded as though he understood perfectly, although Serge knew that he had no way of knowing the pain that he experienced every night, the agony that he went through each time he closed his eyes; the image of himself holding Kid's dagger, a dagger stained with the girl's blood, burning into his memory. Serge shook his head to clear it of the horrid vision, the let out a long sigh. "It doesn't make sense, Van," he said, as thought seeking advice from an elder. "I'm still me, aren't I? Just because I'm in a different body, it doesn't mean I'm someone else, does it?"

"Of course not, Serge; you know how I feel about this." The boy sighed and kicked his feet, which were hanging a few inches over the water. "I really don't know what it is that you're going through, Serge, but I do know that you're still you, no matter what." He looked down at the dark water, on which the two moons reflected as though in being cradled by the waves. "Anyone who judges on how someone looks doesn't deserve to be able to see." He narrowed his eyes. "That jerk, Glenn, for instance..." he gritted his teeth. "You told me so much about him before you regained the power to cross dimensions, but he was nothing like what you described. Why, he's nothing more than a specist son-of-a - "

Serge held up one hand to silence him. "He's not that bad, Van; he's just been through too much for someone so young..."

"He's three years older than you, Serge," the boy said, still not looking up. "And I don't care if he's been through a lot. I have too, haven't I? I've seen people die, I've helped kill some with my own hands. Just because he saw the real Lynx kill his master doesn't give him the right to treat you so badly!" He reached up and wiped his eyes. "He's terrible..."

Serge sighed and looked up into the sky, letting the boy beside him dry his eyes before looking back down. "He saw the person who owns the body I'm inhabiting take the life of his leader, then saw me - or rather, Lynx inside my body - take the life of a comrade. He hates everything that Lynx represents now, and I happen to have a little bit of that left inside me."

Van shook his head, letting the blanket fall from his shoulders. "But you're not a bad person!" he cried, shaking his head hard. "You were willing to go along with my stupid game in the hopes of saving my house; you took me in, you let Harle stay with you even though she's only here because you look like Lynx. Would a terrible person do that?" He clenched his hands into fists and shook his head again. "No, he wouldn't. Even if you look like Lynx, that man should have been able to see that you aren't Lynx. If he was really your friend he'd be willing to stand by you now, when you need friends the most!" The boy fell silent, taking several deep breaths before speaking again. When he did, it was quietly, with none of his former conviction or intensity. "...I'm sorry, Serge. You must think I'm an idiot to be saying things like that. Nothing like what happened to you has ever happened to me, so there's no way I could understand..."

"That's not true," the demi-human cut in. "You're willing to get that upset about my situation, so you must understand at least a little bit of it." He attempted a smile, but found that he hadn't figured out that particular expression in this body yet, so gave up. He sighed. "Although, I do wish that Glenn would open his eyes a little bit wider, see that I'm not Lynx..."

The boy nodded. "Harle too. I mean, she's cool person and all, but I think she has some mental problems." He tapped his head lightly, and Serge let out a faint growl-like chuckle.

"Probably so," he said. He turned to look back up at the stars, the sound of mirth fading and dying out as he did so. "I wonder, though; what does everyone think about when they see me? There are some people who respect me more now than they did before, and some who won't listen to a word I say because of who and what I am now." He sighed and shook his head. "I thought my life was confusing before, when all I had to worry about was crossing dimensions and whether or not I could save Kid from Hydra Venom. Now it's a hundred times worse..."

Serge had had to deal with rejection by his friends, the reactions of the specists out there - which he was surprised to see that most of his home village of Arni were - the people who had hated Lynx, those who had relied on him for protection...the list went on. Serge couldn't understand how he could fill so many roles, especially when he couldn't even figure out if he was still himself or not.

"Monsieur," a high voice called from the door of the clinic, which doubled as Guldove's inn. Harle peered out. "Are you all right, Monsieur?" Her eyes grew wide as she caught sight of Van, the narrowed in anger. "Zere you are, Van!" she exclaimed. "I've been worried abou' you!"

The boy grinned sheepishly. "That little girl - it think her name was Mel - offered to lend me the extra bed in her house tonight. I thought it would be rude to refuse, so - "

"So you completely abandoned your friends, oui?" the girl completed. "'onestly, boy! If you are to be traveling with Monsieur Lyn - " She cut off and shook her head, making the bell on either side of her strange hat ring. " - With the Monsieur and moi, you mus' be willing to sleep in such strange places as zese!" She looked back at Serge. "Mon ami, it is tres late. You should be in bed, sleeping away your worries." She smiled. "Zere is a big day ahead of us tomorrow, Monsieur; you will need to be well- rested."

Serge nodded and rose to his feet. "Right, I got it." He sighed and looked down at Van, who shot him a faint smile. "Tomorrow we have things to do, don't we?"

"As long as we keep our eyes open, we will," the boy replied.

Harle let out a groan of exasperation. "What are you two blabbering abou'? Jus' get inside before you both catch pneumonia and die!" She stomped her foot to emphasize her point. "Besides, if we did non keep our eyes open, we'd keep running into zings."

"Like that Glenn guy," Van chuckled.

Serge shot him annoyed look and he laughed, his voice ringing out in the cold night air like the bells that Harle wore, warming the cold moon's gaze.