Ponderings of a Friend Left Behind

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Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters, or Chrono Trigger at all. If I did, there'd be more 'shippiness, dammit! ^_^

Notes: Okay; this is just a little nothing-story I whipped up while trying to keep myself awake all night to eliminate the problem of getting three hours of sleep and being worse off than if I'd had none at all. While playing through Chrono Trigger again recently, I forced myself to take Lucca out of my party every now and again, including when Crono takes one of the girls, along with Robo, to the factory to unlock the door, in order to get to the Gate. Anyway, while I spent hour upon hour trying to get the hell off that stupid conveyor belt before getting thrown right back on again – let's just say I don't learn well – I started to wonder what would be going through Lucca's mind as she waited in a hostile, unfamiliar setting for everyone to return. It's one of the hardest things in the world to wait for someone, when there's the possibility, however slight, that they won't come back at all.

So, yes. Enjoy this specimen of muddled crap with no central idea or theme holding the ramblings together. ^_^

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Well.

This is a fun little sequence of events.

While Crono, Princess Nadi – er, Marle, and – grumble – Robo are off gallivanting somewhere, having the time of their lives, I'm sitting, alone, in the dark, shadowy, cold Proto Dome.

Okay, so that's a lie.

They're facing the unknown peril involved in flipping a switch to open a door.

That isn't meant to be as sarcastic as it sounds.

If there's one thing I've learned while part of this mad little adventure, it's that even the simplest task can be way more difficult than it should.

For example, a nice day at the fair should not result in your kingdom's princess being nearly erased from existence.

Entering a church should not result in almost getting eaten by psycho-nuns and getting rescued by a giant frog.

I knew there was a reason I never liked religious-types. Those damn bastards are always trying to devour my flesh.

As for Frog, although he's apparently not the most original guy when it comes to names – he and Marle are kindred spirits in this (Robo! Dear God!) – he was a nice enough guy, for a giant frog.

Your best friend seeing the princess home safely should not result in his being locked up and sentenced to execution by a crooked system, and your breaking half the known laws of the kingdom to rescue him.

Geez, am I a dynamic political activist, or what?

Or what, I reflect with a smirk, bouncing my heel idly off the floor with a hollow metallic clang. Clearly, or what. I just took exception to my best friend losing his head for trying to do a good deed.

I'm pretty sure he took exception, too.

The point is, of course, that there's no telling what Crono, Marle, and our new, poorly nicknamed robotic friend, are going through right now. If it's anything like what we had to face going through Lab 16, I pity them. If another slimy octopus thing had tried to suck off my head, I would have looked into lodging a sexual harassment complaint with the Bureau of Proper Conduct for Freakishly Mutated Creatures. As for the Buggers, don't get me started! I'm going to have robotic tentacle nightmares for years to come.

Hell, what they're fighting their way through is probably something even worse.

Really, I got the good end of the deal, although my injured pride when Crono announced his intention of taking Marle with him certainly didn't agree. I'm sure he'll try to explain later that he didn't want to leave her alone, because he didn't know if she could handle paying attention to one thing for that long, and I was really the obvious choice, just in case something went wrong back here.

Hah. I can see right through you, bud. She's really cute, after all, and she can hold her own in a fight. Dare I say, better than I can? She's just not too good at thinking deep thoughts. Or any thoughts.

That's really not good when you're trundling around the barren wasteland that is the future, trying to find your way home.

Or when you rashly decide to embark upon a grand and epic quest to save a future that you have no part of.

Oh, sure, I agreed as readily as anyone else, but I'm having serious doubts about the wisdom of this decision.

We're three random kids from where-the-hell-ever – well, two random kids and a random princess – and we're blithely believing we can take on the force that brought about the end to humanity's easy, comfortable existence.

Do we stand a chance?

I mean, of course we're going to go after Lavos anyway. And we'll probably succeed, because the three plucky kids working against all odds always succeed. And after that, Crono will probably marry the princess, and they'll live happily ever after, ruling the kingdom together after the king has either accepted the beauty of their true love or popped off unexpectedly, and they'll have ten kids, who will all learn more from their brilliant Aunt Lucca than all the tutors in the world could teach them. Someday, I'll marry one of those tutors, who has fallen irrevocably in love with my beauty and brilliance. He, of course, will be devastatingly good-looking, and almost as smart as I am.

At least, that's what those little dime novel kiddie adventure stories say.

It almost makes me wish I read that sort of drivel.

Well, not really.

There is something to be said for a grasp on reality.

I just wish fairytales like that came true.

For Crono's sake.

I think he really likes her. Already. Jumping the gun a little, but who am I to judge? And if anyone deserves to be happy, it's him. God…if more people were as good-hearted, straightforward, and honest as Crono, everyone in the world would be happier.

I'd better tell Marle later, if she hurts him, I'll kill her.

Of course, the more I get to know her, and how headstrong and dumb and naïve and altogether sweet she is – somehow, this is a princess you just can't fear – the more I start to think that if he hurts her, I'll kill him.

Hurray for equality, right?

Geez, it's cold in here.

But then again, I guess I don't have to be huddling here, crammed in the corner. Given that the floor, walls, ceiling, and everything else in this place are made of metal, and the temperature isn't exactly balmy, it isn't hard to see why I'm wracked with chills.

So, do I do the smart thing and stand up, maybe try to warm myself up with a little exercise?

Heck, no.

I wonder if those people we met in the first two domes we visited are rubbing off on me, and I'm losing my will to live.

No, that's ridiculous. I'm just thinking too much.

I tend to do that when I'm left alone and bored for too long. Usually it's productive, though.

It must be this place. Shadowy, cold rooms lit only by naked, half-burnt-out bulbs doesn't tend to spark creativity or innovation.

More like nightmares. So, now we've got nightmares about robotic tentacles and dark, shadowy rooms.

God, I wish I had a book.

Or something to tinker with.

But I've snooped around at the consoles at the front of the dome at least seventy times now. Well, maybe seven. Same thing, if you don't count the difference of sixty-three.

Damn it.

They should have been back by now.

What if something went wrong?

Something could have gone wrong.

Maybe I should go look for them – no! What am I thinking? They left me here specifically to catch the door when it opened. If they had to go back and fight their way through untold horror, strangeness, and general inconvenience, because I started pulling some old mother-hen act, they'd probably kill me.

If we ended up stuck here, they might have to beat me to it.

Yeah, that's a blatant lie. I'd never do something like that, no matter how hopeless things seemed. I'm far too arrogant to believe that the world could ever exist without me.

Still, I wish that damn door would open, so I at least knew they were still alive. Then I'd have an idea of how long I could expect them to take to get their butts back here so we could leave. It doesn't matter at all that we have no idea where the hell we're going. Anywhere's got to be better than here, with its lifeless landscape, and its people with their lifeless eyes.

And anyway, hasn't this little adventure been characterized by uncertainty so far? Why break with a theme?

Finally, just as I have decided that two hours really is too long to take to simply walk into a factory, find a switch and walk out again, and actually struggled to my feet this time, the humming of the energy field around the door comes to an abrupt halt, leaving me in dead silence.

After taking a moment to figure out what the heck's just happened, I hurry back to the door.

And now my head hurts where I bumped it against the cold, unyielding metal, after launching myself through the air with a bellow of, "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAIT!"

Still, I catch the door before it locks again, haul it open, and hold it there, leaning up against it with my back to it.

Now there's just the wait for them to get back to worry about.

But somehow, I don't think it'll be as hard.

I trust Robo. After all, robots are precise, unerring, and untroubled by the faults of humans. Any problem with the robot is a problem with the creator. And Robo seemed pretty solidly built.

I trust Marle…grudgingly. Okay, not grudgingly. I can tell right now that her liveliness and positivity are going to get both Crono and me through a lot.

I trust Crono. Implicitly. It makes me feel better somehow that he's agreed that going after this Lavos creature is a good idea, even if Marle and I had to badger him into it.

If he agreed, no matter how reluctantly, it's easier to feel like we've got a chance, and everything will be all right.

What can I say? He's just got that effect on people.

Well, on me, anyway.

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End Notes: So, whaddaya think? It was just my intention to write a bit of something a little less blatantly silly than my normal stuff, without descending into the angst that I can't write to save my heart and soul. Anyway, let me know what you thought. I'll give you a free penguin! Thanks! ^_^