"Time and again"

It's not easy to see the same person having different personalities. Happily for me, I'm slowly getting used to it. It's quite a shock, if you think over it. Dad says it'll take me a while to get fully used to it. He looks quite cool about the entire Hollow Pen thing. I can't tell if he's happy with my Pen usage, or happy because he finally got rid of it. Ok, I know that the last statement it's not true, I was just joking. It hurts him that I had to loose some of my time each time I had to use the pen, even if it's the duty of the first child on the Kairos' family. But who said that duty was fair? Or life, for that matter?

I've seen many different shades of my friends and acquaintances while using the Pen. I've seen Morris as an obsessive student and as a dropout. I've had the chance to see Sara, the librarian, in her casual clothes, and she looks way too different from her usual self (and that's something I didn't have to change!) Maybe Ashley was the one that stayed more like I know her... but she got killed twice in return. Everyone was different in some way, each time... even Her, who was out of my reach...

It hurted me greatly when I first saw her again, after dissappearing in front of our eyes, when she shielded me from Jack. I pulled her through the hole, and even if it was something that I should have expected, it shocked me that she didn't recognize me. It shocked me even more when I realized she wasn't like the Kori I had known until then. Now I get it: how could this Kori, the one I had pulled through the hole, be like the previous one, the one Dad had pulled over, if she hadn't experienced any of the suffering the Kori I had known had gone through? It was another person in the same body...

"Hey, you! You are worrying me greatly, kid! Why are you so absent-minded lately?"

Uncle Derek's voice calls me back to reality. Embarrassed, I shake my head, trying to wash away all my memories on the first Kori, the "real" one to me, as she had been the one I had known best.

"Sorry, Uncle...", I apologize, trying to find the words.

"It's alright, kid", he says, smiling. "It's just that you look like your old man too much. He would also spend quite some time with a thoughtful expression, and an already cold tea under his nose"

Great... now everyone compares me to Dad... the great thing is that it doesn't annoy me like it would have done in the past. That's because I can now understand him.

"Just let him be, Derek. He has many things to think about the summer, haven't you?"

I raise my head, just to meet Aunt Kori's face, smiling broadly at me. She's always nice and smiling at me. I wonder if she likes me that much, or if she somehow remembers something, even if it's too little...

She hadn't changed much through all these years, but she looks like a completely different person. I've already found out that what makes her so different is her expression, especially the light in her eyes. She's a happy person, who hadn't gone through many traumatic situations since Irving pushed her off the roof, and my "real" uncle saved her. And since she hadn't many worries, apart from the ones normal people have, her eyes are different. The other Kori had like a grey shadow... and looked both weak and strong...

"Hi, Aunt Kori", I greet her, feeling a bit nostalgic. "Well, the girls are planning everything all by themselves, leaving Vin and me behind. Ashley keeps saying that they can handle all the fun by themselves, and that we would just spoil it..."

"He's completely right. She's the brain behind the holidays", a somewhat familiar voice speaks at my back.

I already know that it's my cousin Karin the one who had just spoken, but she looks and has the same voice she -the first Kori- had. Like her mother, her eyes are different from Kori's, but as she's the same age... I can't help but thinking that she's back when I see my cousin.

I wave at Karin. It always startles me. I can't help it. It's like having Kori in front of me again. But she's gone. And Karin is a cheerful, gentle girl, who's like a balance between Emily's shyness and Ashley's energy and out-goingness.

"Hey, I've allowed her to go on holidays because you were also going and would look after her, but with these slow, thoughtful and odd attitudes you are having lately, Ethan, you are making me reconsider it", Uncle Derek says, worried.

Karin giggled, as if she knew that her father wasn't being really serious. "Don't be hard on him, Dad. He has to cope with school, exams and Ashley's plans for the summer"

I nod, as I don't have much to add. What can I say? "Guys, you startle me so much because you two hadn't existed, and look the same as a girl I've known, and you, Uncle, were completely different just a few days ago"?

After a short time, I leave Chronos, and start walking thoughtfully my way home. Sox -or one of them- walks by my side. I can't help feeling down. I miss my "previous" Uncle Derek, because I had known him for most of my life. And I miss my Kori, the first one, greatly. I can't still say if I really had feelings for her, or just sympathy. However, when I learnt that she was my Uncle's girl, I decided to back off. But I still miss her, because she was someone I could relate to. She helped me when no one could. She could understand me at some point. She gave her life to save me.

And I couldn't save her. I mean, I helped Kori, but not that particular Kori, who had been waiting for almost 20 years to return to her time. Instead, she died for me, sure that I would find the way to save her. Finally, we did it. Dad finally fulfilled his promise to her, I opened the hole, and Uncle Derek saved her, sacrificing himself. Maybe Irving -or was it Jack?- was right: we, Kairos' boys, are self-sacrificing people.

Now, I wonder how Uncle Derek spent all those years until he vanished... I guess I should ask Mom and Dad again and again, until I get some answer.

I sigh. There's no use to turture myself with this kind of thoughts. They are both gone, my Uncle and "my" Kori. I just have to remind myself, time and again, that they are now at ease, and that the couple running Chronos are them, under other circumstances... I should feel happy for them...

But it hurts so much...

The End

Author's note: I wanted so much to write a Time Hollow fic since I've finished the game, some months ago. I loved it, and I just adore Ethan. However, I'm not an Ethan x Kori fan, but I just felt that he would really miss her, but just the first Kori, the one that stays most in the plot. I think this went out quite bittersweet, but I'm happy with it. Besides, it's been ages since I've last written on first person (and that got me quite nostalgic, hahaha). I've also added another possible name for Kori's child to the "fan pantheon", so I can call me happy, too, with my contribution, hahaha :) All in all, I hope you enjoyed it!