Author's Note: This is not a LuMa fic. Sorry, all you crazy LuMa kids out there! ;) I'm really not a fan of that pairing (though I don't crucify people for using it), because I don't see it happening. I can, however, see Lucca and Magus getting along, since it's pretty obvious in the game that Lucca has some sympathy for Janus. That said, I wrote this fic to express that angle. Enjoy!
If I Had Words
The one called Magus leaned heavily against the solid trunk of a sturdy oak, his red-violet eyes averted from the fire's blaze. The others had long since exhausted themselves with their talk and, one by one, drifted into slumber's embrace. The sorcerer knew that he should do the same, but his troubled mind left his body restless, despite his fatigue. These would-be heroes were, for however brief a time, at peace as he never would be, and he envied them for it. His heart was still beating, but he had died years ago, and there was no rest for the undead.
With heavy sigh, he detached himself from the shadows, embracing the soft moonlight, as pale as his own face. He'd barely made the edge of the firelight before he heard footsteps behind him and turned to face his pursuer. The inventor stood before him, brushing her hair nervously out of her face. She wore her glasses, but not her helmet, and the lack of obstruction made her expression all the easier to read – she was waiting for him to yell at her.
But Magus had neither the energy nor the mindset to yell, not now. Instead, he simply asked, "Why are you following me?"
"I couldn't sleep," she offered lamely. "Could I walk with you awhile?"
Magus stared down at her wordlessly for a moment. Of all the travelers in their miniature battalion, he had to admit that Lucca was the most tolerable. Certainly, she was as foolish as the rest of them, but she was also intelligent. She had a knack for technology, and he could respect that. But he wasn't particularly fond of the girl, and he didn't understand why she showed so much more interest in him than the rest. Ever since the disaster in Zeal…
The sorcerer relented. "If you wish – just don't bother me."
The inventor smirked, shaking her head. "Nah, I've got my own thinking to do," she assured him.
With a slight nod of his head, Magus turned from the girl, heading deep into the trees. For a long time, they walked in absolute silence, the inventor a short distance behind, her short, ambling step unable to match the former Dark Lord's graceful stride. He took comfort in the silent company, realizing in some corner of his mind that he had fallen far to want companionship of any kind. The last time he'd sought such comfort, he'd been a child.
Or perhaps he had always wanted it – just from someone else. Absently, his hand strayed to the pendant about his neck, caressing it with an affection he was unable to give to human beings.
"You're thinking about her again, aren't you?" Lucca whispered.
Magus's eyes snapped toward the inventor sharply. He hadn't noticed that his steps had faltered, nor heard the young woman come up beside him. His first instinct was to tell her it was none of her concern, but something in her face stopped him. There was sympathy there, or maybe just pity. But regardless, his eyes softened, and he looked away.
Lucca seemed to understand his morose silence as agreement. "I never had any brothers or sisters," she told him quietly. "When I was little, I wanted a little brother so badly. I was kinda lonely." She paused, pursing her lips, as if considering his reaction. "She probably thinks about you every day. I bet she misses you."
Magus remained silent, but the one corner of his mouth twisted into the faintest trace of a bitter smile. "Is this why you insist on following me?" he asked, a slight mocking tone in his voice.
"Yeah and no," the inventor answered honestly. "Before now, I thought I had everything figured out. It was a lot easier when you were just the leader of the Mystics. Your actions seemed so straight forward."
"Surprise," Magus drawled coldly.
Lucca ignored his sarcasm. "I've heard all about the persona, Magus. Recent events were the first I've ever heard of Janus of Zeal."
Magus wound the chain about his neck through his fingers, pursing his lips. "Nothing but a dead memory," he said finally.
"Memories don't die, Janus," Lucca told him firmly. "You wouldn't've been chasing Lavos for so long if they did."
The sorcerer didn't answer, staring out into the night. It had been so long since anyone had called him by that name. On the icy cliff overlooking the ruins of Zeal, Lucca had been the first. It felt strange to answer to it again.
"I wanted to ask you: when you find your sister…"
Magus looked down at the inventor thoughtfully. "When?"
"Yeah, when," Lucca insisted. "I think I know enough to know that you'd die before you'd give up, and not even then."
Magus almost laughed, and the rueful amusement flashed briefly on his pale features. This slip of a girl had really been thinking about this. Well, she was right. Even if Schala had passed beyond his reach, he would search for her, as long as some piece of him remained.
"Anyway, when you find Schala, what will you say to her?"
The once prince of Zeal turned away, his eyes staring deep into the darkness. What would he say? He imagined that it would all come in a rush – how achingly he had missed her, how long the years had been without her, how he would have given every drop of blood in his veins to see her safe again. It would be with a heavy heart that he told her what he had become – a man unable to weep for his own sins, so bloodied was his soul. And he would ask for forgiveness. He could think of hiding nothing from Schala. Only for her could he dare to feel shame.
What would he say to her? Words that he could say to no other. Words that he had held inside himself since the day they parted from one another.
Magus slowly became aware of the inventor once more. She was waiting patiently. "You want to know what I will say to her."