The Bonds of Time
Andrew Joshua Talon, with many thanks to Kanako Urashima
DISCLAIMER:Love Hina is not mine. I'm not making any profit off this fanwork, and the authors used own themselves. "The
Love Hina Fan Boy War!" is the property of Kanako Himekazi-Urashima, which she gave me permission a while ago back to write a prequel to. Therefore...
"... And with this, President Bush finally succeeded in ridding the world of Saddam Hussein's terror once and for all," finished the
young man, looking up into the rows of students watching him. The warm brown auditorium still smelled factory-fresh, the
building it was part of having only been finished a few months earlier, a new addition to the college campus. The classroom was a
comfortable temperature, the large windows installed in it by some nameless construction worker letting the fresh, warm spring
air flow in. The students were divided between taking notes, watching attentively, or sulking, in the case of a few young men in
the back row, as the young teacher had confiscated their portable hologenerator.
The professor gave the class a last once-over, before clearing his throat.
"I'll expect a five page paper on the so-called War on Terrorism, with at least twenty references to back up anything you claim.
Choose a subject, and write on it."
"Just like that, sir? Just choose a subject?" Incredulously asked a student in the middle row. The proffessor nodded.
"You choose what to wear when you wake up in the morning... Or, in some of your cases, just stick with what you rolled out of
bed with," he added, giving the three holo-fiends a small smile. A few chuckles were heard as the bell tolled. The students packed
up and filed out of the classroom, the professor going back to his desk and sorting through papers.
"Um... Professor Talon?" The young man looked up, meeting the gaze of an anxious looking young lady. Her long black hair was
tied up in a ponytail that was casually flipped over her shoulder, with bright blue eyes that were snuffed time to time by her
blinks. She was dressed in a modest gray skirt and a red blouse. She was also, physically, at least, two years older than he was.
"Yes, Miss Arney? What can I do for you?" She clutched her books uncertainly, as the professor leaned foward with his fingers
"I was... I was wondering... Well, you see, my father... He said he knew you, back in... Um..."
"2355?" Asked Talon politely. "I remember a Lieutenant Arney, who served as my messenger..."
"Yes, that's him!" Arney acknowledged excitedly, before drawing back with a blush. "Sorry... Sir."
"No problem," Talon soothed. "Was that what you wished to know?" Arney shifted slightly on her feet.
"Well... Um... No. I was wondering, about... Well... I'll be blunt, sir." Talon smiled.
"Good. Blunt is good. Go on," he answered. Arney took a breath.
"I did my high school Political History final on your life, your career... I've read every book you've written and have been written
about you, sir, and your exploits. You fought against the Empress Naru, and lived! And escaped, as well! You led a resistance
campaign against the ENE, fought in the Fanboy War twenty years ago, finalized the Treaty of Darnell between the ENE and the
other major powers-Why are you blushing, sir?" Talon coughed slightly, composing himself.
"Just a stray memory... Miss Arney, yes?" She nodded, taking a deep breath and clutching her books more tightly.
"Er... You helped create the first true democratic government on this planet in three hundred years, trailblazed the Legion of
Mutsumi's space program, and led the Army of Light in the Demon Goddess War of 2357! I mean,
you've done all these things, you've been alive since the Great Cataclysm of 2004, one of the Immortal Demi-Gods! You're a
legend!" Talon nodded.
"Yes... Was that your point, Miss Arney?" She shook her head.
"No, no! I mean, well... If you've done all these things... Why are you just a college history professor now?" Talon blinked, then
took a deep breath. He rose from his desk, and walked over to one of the large windows, his back to Arney. A robin called
"Well... What do you think I should be doing, Miss Arney? Instead?" She blinked.
"Um... I... I don't know..." Talon shrugged, watching the college campus outside. Stray pieces of conversation sneaked through
the window, as students walked about the large student center.
"If you really must know... I was tired of the politics, the fighting. I'm still a reserve member of the LoM's military, but, to be
honest... I felt old." Arney blinked curiously at Talon, taking a step closer.
"Old?" Talon smiled wryly, turning to face Arney at last. She couldn't help but notice the hardness inside his dark green eyes,
mixed with a spark of life and laughter. It was like looking into the eyes of a healthy, wry old man, still able to beat his grown-up
kids in anything, and as hardy and goofy as ever... But at the same time, a bit of hollowness pervailing in his pupils, signs of a soul
that had weathered a lot of heartache. The contrast between the body and eyes was indescriable to the three-time winner of her
school's speeling bee.
"How would you feel, Miss Arney? I'm four-hundred years old, and haven't aged a day since the Cataclysm. I lost my entire
biological family in the Cataclysm-Well, aside from my little brother, but we've never wanted to be close since the day he was
born," Talon stated, acid in his voice.
"I fought for my very life, a scared, eighteen-year old boy, in the ruins of Denver for three years. It was then I noticed I had
stopped aging. Perpetually stuck behind the drinking limit! Heh, I knew some guys who would have kill themselves if that
happened," Talon noted with a bitter laugh, turning to look out the window again. Arney shuffled her feet, coughing slightly.
"Um... Well..." Talon sighed deeply.
"The people I had taken up residence with, our tiny community that banded together against raiders and barbarians, which I had
fought for and helped for so long... They threw me out when they learned that I wasn't aging, and when my powers manifested.
Thought I was a freak," he sniffed, narrowing his eyes in malice.
"Well... Sir... What happened then?" Talon turned, raising an eyebrow.
"Miss Arney?" She couldn't help but smile at his perplexed look, still youthful despite who he was.
"Haven't you noticed just how many people sign up for your class, every year? You're an awesome storyteller." Talon blinked.
"I beg your pardon?" Arney turned and sat down at a place in the front row, giving him a warm smile.
"You can capture people's imaginations, sir. I know that everyone in my dorm loves to listen to your lectures, and some of my
other professors have gotten tapes made of your classes. I know I can't break away from listening to you." Talon looked down
on the tiled floor, thoughtful.
"Well... I guess it wasn't my good looks, then," he noted, still looking at the floor. Arney tilted her head quizzically.
"Huh?" Talon looked up and gave her an eyeroll.
"That was a joke, Miss Arney. I believe you've heard of them?" She blushed, smiling sheepishly.
"Er... Sorry, sir... But, please... Can you tell me about your life?" Talon raised an eyebrow.
"I thought you read all my books." Arney sighed heavily.
"Yes, sir, but you only talked about BIG stuff, and rarely mentioned much about yourself. Well, just enough to get an idea of
your character, but still... You mostly focused on the rise of the Six Goddesses in the 2010's, how they all came to power, the
First Goddess War, the establishment of the Dual Empire..." Talon sighed, sitting on his desk.
"Don't you have any other classes?" Arney shook her head, smiling. Her expression was similar to one he himself had once
possessed, a long time ago. Hopeful, eager to learn, a brain like a sponge. He smiled slightly.
"Do you, sir?" Talon shrugged.
"They give me a reasonably flexible schedule. My heavy day is tommorrow." Arney made a face.
"On Friday? Sheesh, how lame is that?" Talon shrugged, smiling wryly.
"I asked the dean to not give me any special treatment. I just took the standard salary and workload, nothing spectacular."
"You don't like recognition, do you?"
"Well... Being the center of attention was embarrassing to me," Talon answered after a pause, setting his left leg over his right and
leaning foward. "I never much liked it, to be honest. Thought it might go to my head, and besides... I wanted friends based on
me, not on my 'prodigy' status, or my pretty well-to-do family. I mean, we gave without thinking, my family. Gifts to everyone,
money to anyone who asked for it..." He sighed deeply, as Arney gave him a curious look.
"Does that bother you?" Talon shook his head.
"Hardly, hardly... It just took me a while to understand that it wasn't bad to give freely to someone without any... apprehension.
But, that's my childhood... Before the Cataclysm..." Arney shook her head, knitting her brow.
"I've read books about that, too... Why did it do all of that? What was the Cataclysm?" Talon gave her a disbelieving look.
"You think I would know what the hell it was?" Arney shrugged.
"You survived it, didn't you? And, well... Didn't it give you your powers, and immortality?" Talon sighed, looking at Arney over
"Just because I survived it doesn't mean I understood it, or ever will. Nor does it mean I know it gave me my powers, though it
seems logical to assume so. No, we're no closer to figuring out what the Cataclysm was than we were four centuries ago." Arney
shook her head, her gaze intensifying.
"But, but... What was it like?" Talon grimaced, exhaling through his nose.
"Well... All I know is... I was scrubbing out my bathtub, in my family home outside Denver, Colorado, for 'Family Cleaning Day',
" Talon smirked a bit. "My father's favorite holiday." Arney giggled a bit, before Talon took a deep breath.
"... Then, a rumble, a bright flash, a force that threw me into the tub and knocked me out, and..." Talon's face darkened, his gaze
sharpened, at the memory...
"Gah..." Andrew's head was pounding like a bass drum, each pump of his heart sending a wave of pain and nausea
through his body. He groaned, raising his head up slightly. He made contact with hard wood, agony touched off like a flame to
the top of his head.
"AUGH!" Andrew lowered himself, groping above him until his hand met the hard wood. Crouching as best he could
in the tight space, he kept taking deep, even breaths, fighting the urge to throw up.
"Hagh!" He pushed himself up as hard as he could, sending the hard wooden board off of the bathtub. The boy fell
into the tub again, onto his knees, at the stomach tossing his exodus had incurred.
"God... God..." He murmured weakly, hunched over the side of the tub. He rose his eyes, wincing at the influx of
sunlight. His eyes adjusted.
His jaw dropped.
"Wha..." Andrew's family, his father, mother, himself and his little brother, had taken up residence in this tidy, elegant
suburban neighborhood about thirteen years ago. They'd moved here from the South, with his father's change in jobs, and even
though the rest of his family lived back in the Land of Dixie, Colorado had become the young Talon's home. And this suburb,
though filled with nosy neighbors and the Neighborhood Beautification Board (aka the Lawn Nazis), was a decent place to live.
Emphasis on was.
The area looked like ten twisters had hit it. Fires burned intermittenantly among piles of wreckage and wood, that
had once been houses. Cars had been demolished, as if giant hands had reached out of the sky, took hold of them, and flung
them like marbles. The Talon family's car, a sleek gray sedan, was relatively intact beneath a pile of scorched wood in their
driveway, but Andrew's car, an older, bright red coup, had been smashed into a lightpole. He'd mistaken it for a giant, crushed
Coca Cola can.
"Oh God..." Andrew slowly, shakily, got to his feet. He stumbled out of the tub, holding onto it's rim for support.
Breathing slowly, trying to stay calm, he looked about himself. His house, obviously, was scrap. He looked toward their
backyard, where his father had been mowing the lawn.
"DAD?!" Andrew gaped, at the corpse. Hanging from the scorched tree, twisted among it's branches, it's glasses still
on... Andrew turned and ran, ran as fast as he could. He tripped and fell, onto the browned grass lawn, and shot up again,
running down the street. More bodies, more smashed cars, a dollhouse laying on it's side in the street, a bicycle on a lamp post...
Andrew fell to his knees, in the middle of the ruined street. He slapped his hand over his mouth, too late to hold in
the gush of vomit. He retched horribly, falling to the side after he'd dry heaved to finish up. He shook violently, pale as a glacier,
tears on the edge of his eyes but refusing to fall. A whimper escaped his mouth.
"God... God... God..." He whispered, too weak to curl up into a ball...
"..." Arney gaped, as Talon took a deep breath to compose himself.
"Yes... That's what it was like," he said quietly. Arney nodding, swallowing audibly. She hissed in a breath, and
"I'm... Sorry..." Talon looked curiously at her.
"Sorry? For what?" Arney shrugged, gulping again.
"For... For bringing up bad memories?" Talon sighed exasperatedly, shaking his head.
"Miss Arney, haven't you paid any attention at all to anything I've said in this class?" The professor asked wearily.
Arney gave him a blank look.
"I think so, sir..."
"Apparently not. Bad memories need to be remembered, just like good memories. That was the first thing I said to
this class, more or less, remember?" Talon prodded. Arney flushed around her ears.
"Er... I was late, sir... Dentist's appointment." Talon nodded, half-smiling.
"I see... Yes, I remember... All right then. Shall I continue?" Arney nodded, a bit less enthusiastically this time
"Yes sir... What did you do, afterwards?" The professor shrugged, sighing.
"I guess it was... An hour later, maybe, though who knows? Anyway, I managed to get up, and headed back to my
house... Well, it's ruin, anyway. My dad kept a spare key to his car, hidden in the gas cap and secured by a magnet. I got it, got
in the car, and drove off." Arney blinked.
"I didn't want to stay there. Ever since my mother passed away, I felt... I felt almost like a trespasser, in graveyards.
I can't explain it, I've never felt comfortable around the dead, and I probably never will..."
"Didn't you... Have a brother, sir?"
"He was staying at a friend's house, five miles away. That was the other reason. I had to drive around wrecked cars,
demolished buildings, even a crashed plane... But it wasn't worth it."
"No, not dead... Though, he was gone..."
The sleek sedan had always gotten exceptional gas mileage, along with it's other attributes like nimbleness and agility.
This was why the Talons had been so fond of it: Outrunning and outmanuvering the big brute SUVs that were clogging the
roadways of Denver.
The sedan didn't take any real damage, just a jagged crack it it's windshield and dents all over it's once perfectly
smooth hull. And, in this vehicle, Andrew Talon hummed down the roads, to another suburban wasteland where his brother
"God..." Andrew looked out at the wreckage, unable to curb the desire to stare at the gruesome carnage all around
him. Houses reduced to piles of matchsticks, dead horses and cows from the few scattered farms lying around in the dirt...
"Damn," he growled as he passed his high school. It had survived nearly completely intact, only it's large cafeteria
windows shattered to dust. He couldn't believe how unfair the system was, even in ruin...
After passing through destroyed traffic lights and stop signs, he finally made it to the house his brother had been out.
It was ironic, he supposed. This house was the home of Emily Fletcher, a somewhat friend of his brother's, and the girl Andrew
had taken to prom. It was just as friends, of course, but...
"Geez..." Emily's house was built of heavy brick, and looked little worse for wear. Compared to the smaller,
thinner-walled houses around it, lying in ruin as shrines to whatever horror had caused this. Talon looked out into the distance.
The skyline of Denver looked like it had been beaten by a giant stick, though it stayed standing. Small points of orange signaled
fires, which Andrew ignored as he parked on the side of the street, and walked clumsily to the door. The garage door was open,
and one of the cars that was normally there was missing. Strange...
"Emily?! Mrs Fletchert?! Ben?! ANYONE?!" The door had stayed strong, hard iron and reinforced glass. This
house was something left over from the sixties, he supposed. Hearing no answer, he pulled open the door, and headed in. He
shook his head at the jumbled living and dining rooms, before hearing a slight struggle behind a door.
"Hold on! I'm coming!" Andrew called, clambering over an upturned couch. Someone beat against the closet door,
which was blocked by a wrecked piano.
"Oh, give me a break," Andrew groaned, taking grip of the piano and pushing hard. One of it's three wheeled legs
was gone, but he managed to scoot it just enough for the door to edge open. Andrew pushed harder, nudging it away from the
door itsef, before the closet opened and out tumbled a lithe, dirty blonde girl.
"OOF!" Right on top of Andrew. He hissed at the pain, as the girl clumsily pushed off of him.
"Andrew? How'd you get here? What's happened? Where's Ben?" Emily's voice had tuned to a dull buzz in Talon's
head, as he saw a note flutter toward him. He snatched it out of the air, staring at the signature "BEN" on the face of it. He
opened the crumpled paper, as Emily paused in her questioning, and read.
"'Dear Andrew... I know you're coming here, I know Dad's dead, and I know that this... Whatever it was, is
"'... I don't know how I know, I don't, I just do...'
"'I knew you'd get here, and get Emily out. Her parents are dead, too. There are only about thirty people alive in this
neighborhood, maybe more, I'm not sure. Anyway, you shouldn't try to come after me. I took Emily's mom's Jeep. I just..."
Here, the print had been scribbled out a bit, making it hard to read. Talon skipped to the next line.
"'I need to go East. That's all I know, this feeling, compelling me... And I got a strange feeling, of six... People?
Points, power, people who have been changed by this Cataclysm, made strong... Strong enough to be felt over here. And they'll
be coming here, Andrew, they'll come here, because their home has been destroyed. We've both been changed, too, millions
have. Millions of people our age, with power I can feel, all over the world... And I don't know how, or why.'
"'Go and stay at our church, you'll be safe here. Gangs will form, take control of the city interior. Go out only during
the day and search for other survivors. Store food, get weapons, whatever. When three weeks are up, go to the little church on
the hill, and to the office. Take what you first see, you'll know what it is...'
"'We were never close, and I never really liked you, Andrew. I know you don't like me, and probably never will.
But, just take this advice, because I've seen it. I don't know why, maybe this thing made me lose my mind, I doubt it. Trust me,
just do what I said.'
"'Save my friends, who survived. I have to go. '
Silence fell in the house as a low breeze whistled outside, a mournful tone...
"So... You did what it said?"
"Well... Yes. Even if my brother was a total bastard to me, I afforded him this much trust. And he didn't steer me
"And after those three weeks? What was in that office?"
"Well, you should know, Miss Arney, if you've read everything about me. I have it with me on the cover of the latest
(and, if I might say so, most boring) book ever written about me. Then again, it's my opinion all the books about me are boring.
The books about Kana, Kebinu, the Goddesses... Now THOSE are books..."
"Duh. I wrote a fair number of them..."