A/N: We almost hate to say this, but this will be the end of The Cerinian in Me. We've had a good run with it and enjoyed it far more than we thought we would. Mostly due to everyone reading it and all the feedback we received. Who knew that a simple request that would start out as a one-shot would be so popular with you guys?
It's been stressful and difficult, since sometimes we didn't even know what to write. This has also been the longest story we've written to date and perhaps the most work we've ever put into one. However, despite all the blood, sweat, and tears, you guys and girls have made it worthwhile and for that, we thank you profusely. Yes, you. The reaction and comments you have left us have spurred us on to the finish and helped us correct some of our writing problems. Again, thank you Mewone, criticalkill, The One and Only Geek, The Guy in the Background, Joseph A. Genesis, Stainless Steel Fox, UNKnowN OrIGiNZ, Emile The Watcher, Riku Uzumaki, bryan mccloud, DestroyUFool, Mike Prower the Fox, and twilight dragon god for your reviews on the previous chapter.
Also, we'd like to give a special thanks to logoleptic, who has been kind enough to beta read this and many other stories. This whole thing probably wouldn't have succeeded with logoleptic.
So, for one final time, we are here to tell you that all Star Fox related characters belong to Nintendo. The story belongs to us and lines22. And the original characters, Pen, and Sword belong to me.
Sword: *cries, but walks by carrying fireworks*
*raises eyebrow* As always, please enjoy.
Epilogue - The Cerinian in Me
Years had passed since Fox's first fateful crash landing on Cerinia, and while it had been one wild adventure, the following years had done their best to match it. There were ups and downs, friends made and lost, enemies defeated or created, and so much more. Through it all, he had kept up the mercenary position, aiming to surpass his own father in years accrued in that kind of lifestyle.
Yet, if one were to examine the Great Fox at that very moment, they would not find any evidence of such changes, save for everyone's age and Peppy retiring from his post to take up a desk job with the Cornerian military.
Fox rolled over in his bed on the ship to face one area of his life that had been the cause of much joy, heartbreak, love, and everything in between in the past years: Krystal. They had shared many hardships as well as adventures and become a central force to the team, becoming one of the most famous couples and skillful pair of pilots in the galaxy. The good that had come from their life together far outweighed the bad for Fox, but even if it had not, he would still never regret agreeing to her joining the team. At that very moment, she was in a peaceful sleep, blowing little puffs of air into his face. He just smiled and inhaled each one, tantalizing his senses with the taste of her mouth.
If he could have stopped time to keep the moment still forever, he would have. But the alarm resting next to their bed announced that it was eight in the morning with its blaring, restless voice. Fox pounded the off button while Krystal scooted over to him, wrapped her arms around his neck, and buried her face into his shirtless chest. "I don't want to get up," she groaned.
He chuckled, pecking the top of her head. "Me either. But Fortuna isn't going to check itself out."
"No," she said, shaking her head. "That isn't what I mean. I feel too sick to get up."
Fox propped himself up, looking her over. "What is it?" he asked, touching her forehead with the back of his hand. "Do you—"
Krystal immediately threw off the baby blue sheets covering both of them, exposing both of them in all their underwear-only glory. She hopped out of the bed, one hand slapped over her mouth, and ran from the room. Fox quickly followed, chasing her down the length of the hallway outside their room to the bathroom, where Krystal locked the door behind her.
He knocked on the door rapidly, abandoning it when she did not answer. He pressed his ear to the door, faintly hearing more moaning and other sounds of an upset stomach. "Krystal?" he called, knocking again, his concern consistently rising. "Can I come in?"
"In a bit," Krystal replied, her response sounding more like the wail of the dead. Fox back away from the door, pacing outside of it and propping the side of his head up to it every minute or two to listen for any change. For the longest time after the noises stopped, he heard nothing and that only worried him even more. His pace quickened each time he resumed it and when it became too fast for him to keep up, he turned to tapping his foot anxiously.
Eventually, the door unlocked and Krystal emerged, pale and sweaty from the ordeal. Fox rushed to her side, letting her lean on him. "Feel any better now?"
"A little," she nodded. "I wonder what it was."
"Maybe that flu that Slippy had last week," Fox suggested. "You could've caught it."
"Yeah," she agreed, closing her eyes and holding him more tightly for support.
"C'mon," Fox said. "I'll take you back to our room and bring you some food."
"No food," Krystal murmured, slowly turning with him in the direction of their bedroom. "Just some juice…or something to drink."
"Alright," Fox said, slowly inching forward with her. When he saw that she could barely stand, he hefted her up into his arms and carried her back to the bed, concerning himself mostly with moving slowly and laying her back onto it gently. Before he left, he placed a bucket beside her and pecked her forehead. "Try to get some rest." She only hummed an unintelligible reply before he headed down to the Great Fox's kitchen.
As Krystal had expected, Fox had insisted she not fly in their mission with them that day. Not that she minded it at all. She still felt queasy after what had happened that morning and relished the thought of being able to sleep it off. Yet after she bid farewell to Fox, Falco, and Slippy—who apologized to no end on passing his flu to her—, she found she could not sleep. So Krystal threw on some comfortable sleepwear and chose to roam the Great Fox, searching for something to pass the time.
While in the ship's study, searching for a book that interested her on one of the shelves around the room, she mentally sensed another presence on the Great Fox. It was one that she had never felt before, certainly not belonging to the rest of the Star Fox team. And it was nearby. In fact, Krystal could swear that whoever or whatever it was, was right on top of her.
She left the room, trying not to panic and let on that she knew something was on the ship. Deciding the best course of action would be to arm herself and then let the others know, she headed to the armory. All the while, the presence continued, growing stronger. It felt familiar to her, but she was absolutely sure that she had never experienced sensing it before.
As Krystal reached the armory's door, a wave of nausea struck her like a punch to the stomach. She doubled over, the pain intense and for a moment, she was afraid there would be a repeat of that morning's sickness. As she wrapped her arms around her torso, willing herself to not give into it, the presence intensified, becoming its strongest. Krystal wildly glanced over her shoulders and all around herself, but saw nothing in the long, metal hallway with her.
Suddenly, just like it had come upon her, it vanished—or had at least died down. She still felt a pang of nausea every now and then, but it had mostly left her. It took Krystal a few moments to realize that the presence had also become faint. She sat back, supporting herself on her hands and looking around once more. There was still no sign of that anything had been with her in the hallway.
Krystal glanced down at her stomach, rubbing it subconsciously to ease the pain. She found it odd that it had acted up at the same time she was sensing the presence. As she continued to rub it, she ran through the list of possibilities and found one that stuck out in her mind.
"Is that it?" she whispered to herself, her eyes widening as she took her hand away from her body. "Could this really be it? This time?" Each question brought her head closer to her abdomen as if she was speaking directly to it. She paused, a smile tracing itself on her face as she reached out with her mind, picking up the presence once more. Though still foreign, she focused more on the familiar aspects of it. The more she did, the more her grin grew until she sprang to her feet.
The sudden rush of blood to her head from the action caused her to fall against the wall at first. But she ignored it, pressing on and turning toward the bridge of the ship. "I have to tell Fox," she said to herself, sprinting as fast as she could.
When she arrived on the bridge, there was a television on in the corner, with a woman announcing the latest news in a loud voice. "The latest exploits of the Star Fox team, who took out a pirate gang operating on Fortuna, are being praised by the Cornerian military. We were able to get a few words from the self-proclaimed 'ace pilot' of the team, Falco Lombardi."
Krystal chuckled as the footage switched to a recording of last week when they had docked on Corneria after disposing of the pirates. She kept one eye on the screen as she searched for the remote control to turn down the volume. Falco was at the forefront, cocky as ever and reveling in the fame he had built up over the years. Thanks to Fox, it had not gone to the avian's head too much.
"Mr. Lombardi!" someone off-screen called, catching his attention as they shoved a microphone in his face. "Who do you credit most for the capture of these dangerous criminals?"
"The Star Fox team," he answered. Yet his lips curled into confident grin as he leaned in closer. "Of course, they couldn't have done it without me."
Krystal chuckled as the screen switched back to the news anchor. "That was Falco Lombardi, one of the four members of the Star Fox team, which is led by Fox McCloud, and also includes Slippy Toad, the much sough-after mechanic, and Krystal M-"
She found the remote and turned the television off, turning her attention to the main computer in the room. Krystal sat down at it and moved aside some of Slippy's reports involving his work with the Cornerian military in developing new weapons and defense systems. Tapping in a few commands, she tried to call Fox first on the computer. Yet after a few tries, he did not answer, nor did Falco or Slippy. Assuming that they was perhaps too busy to talk, she left Fox a message to call her as soon as possible.
Wanting to tell someone what she suspected was happening, Krystal connected to Cerinia, hoping that her sister would be in. When the call was answered, she saw Rupiel sitting by himself on his throne.
"Krystal!" he greeted, his expression brightening. "How are you?"
"Good," she answered. "And you?"
"Stressed," he answered. "But such is the life of a king." He did not look as weary and haggard as one would expect, given the problems he had dealt with over the years. "To what do I owe this call?"
"I have something important to tell Nirtana and you. Do you know where she is?"
"Yes. Hold on and I will bring her back," he said, swiftly walking off-screen.
Krystal reclined in the chair, spinning away from the screen and ran her hand down one arm, tracing one of the special, snow white tattoos that she had received after some time with Star Fox. She followed it until it ended on her forearm, yet her hand kept going until it reached her ring finger, where a gold band was snuggly fitted onto it.
She turned it back and forth several times, smiling to herself before she turned her attention back to her stomach. Krystal thoughtfully stared at it and spoke to it. "How about Marcus?" she asked it. For a fleeting moment, she could sense some spark of the presence once more grow stronger than fade away. She chuckled. "You like that, huh? Marcus." She let the name roll off her tongue and closed her eyes, picturing what Fox's reaction would be when she told him what had happened.
A/N: And the title comes full circle. To tell you guys the truth, this is where the name of the story came from. Yes, we were planning this the whole time. But we also found that it fit well for Fox's situation, so that's why we ended up using it.
We didn't want to give too much away about everyone's future, but you probably got the gist of it. Anyway, we once again want to thank you for reading this. We're happy you stayed with it to the end and we're both happy and sad that it's over. Just to answer the question that's been cropping up recently, no, we don't plan to make a sequel. This wraps it up quite well we think and a sequel wouldn't do much.
Sword: *lights the explosives and shoots off fireworks* Bye! Thanks again! C'mon Pen! Join in the fun!
Pen: I will not. Bunch of idiots reading this trash. It is drivel I tell you!
Sword: Hey! We worked hard on it! En garde!