Moonlight flooded the night, sparkling off the shifting tides of the ocean below and casting shadows around the small city of Guldove.
All was quiet this late at night aside from the water and the occasional breeze in the humid early autumn night.
Orlha sat on the edge of a boardwalk, feet dangling off and barely skimming the tops of the waves, her violet eyes watching below.
The sound of footsteps could be heard and she shifted her gaze every so slightly, not wanting to look up completely.
In this Guldove, the one in the other world, Serge's Home World, there would be few people who would approach her.
Especially after today.
The steps were too even and confident to be Doc's loose sway, and the pace was too long to be Serge.
Besides, he'd already checked on her hours ago, before night had fallen and made it impossible for them to steer their boat, forcing them to stay here the night.
He'd been considerate, as always, and she'd assured him she was fine.
After all, what else would she say?
Her deductions left her with only one person whom the steps could belong too.
They drew closer and she returned her eyes to the sea, it's cold, murky depths offering some comfort after the day.
The footfalls stopped beside her but she refused to look up, instead watching out of the corner of her eye as Glenn sat down next to her.
He said nothing, and Orlha didn't either, content to simply remain in silence, and apparently he was too since his gaze drifted to the moon.
If it were anyone else, she'd tell them to leave her alone. If it were anyone else, she'd smile and say everything was okay. If it were anyone else, she'd be disturbed by their presence.
But it wasn't anyone else, so she let him stay.
"It's alright to cry," he said quietly after awhile.
Orlha shook her head in refusal, "Tia would want me to be strong."
There was another pause, and finally Glenn glanced at her, "Crying is not a weakness."
She blinked and met his eyes, curiosity overriding sadness for a moment.
"Did…you cry?" she asked softly.
He gave a single nod, "Not at first, but yes."
Orlha sighed softly and looked out over the waves, this time further out, towards the black horizon.
"I remember the last time I saw her," she said, surprising herself. "We promised to find each other again. We said it wasn't 'goodbye', we said it was only 'see you later'."
A single tear escaped her eye and slid down her cheek, further surprising her.
Earlier she had been so controlled and calm, and now she was finally admitting to herself that there was no way to change what happened.
"I-I guess we kept that promise, for I did see her again, but…" Orlha trailed off, closing her eyes as she began to cry.
"…It's not the same,"
It wasn't her who finished the sentence, but it was her words, and she nodded sadly, covering her eyes with her hands, a sob escaping her lips.
It wasn't the same, and it wasn't fair, or right, or changeable.
It was simply what it was, and she would have to live with that for the rest of her life.
A hand touched Orlha's back lightly, between her shoulder blades.
If it were anyone else, she'd never want them to see her cry. If it were anyone else, she'd never have shown this much fear and sorrow, this much vulnerability. If it were anyone else, she'd be embarrassed about this.
But it wasn't anyone else, so she let him see this side of her.
Orlha raised her head, tears streaking down her face, "I remember so much…" she whispered.
"And yet not enough," Glenn said, again finishing her thoughts.
She looked at him, at the expression on his face.
It was similar to hers, but not as raw, since his wound was some years old now.
It was because of that familiarity that she leaned over and collapsed into an embrace. Orlha was thankful he didn't question the action and merely held her close, his grip secure enough to offer comfort but not so tight that she felt awkward.
"I know it's not my fault," she said, trying to convince herself.
"But you feel guilty all the same,"
She squeezed her eyes shut and rested the side of her face against his shoulder. Some practical section of her brain noted that Glenn's armor wasn't very comfortable, but for the moment, she didn't care.
"I know it's no one's fault,"
"But you wish it were because you feel angry, and you want to blame someone."
A tear plopped off her chin and onto his chest plate.
"I know it's not the end of the world, either…"
"But it feels like it some days."
Orlha bit her lip and opened her eyes only a fraction of an inch.
"I want to go back in time and change it all."
"…But that isn't possible,"
She quivered and another sob escaped her throat, making the tears increase even more, tears she didn't even know that she could shed.
"I know, Orlha," Glenn whispered, resting his cheek against the top of her head, "trust me, I know. I understand."
If it were anyone else, she'd punch them in the face because they didn't really understand. If it were anyone else she'd yell at them about not getting it. If it were anyone else, she'd call them a liar.
But it wasn't anyone else.
She found herself talking, telling stories about her and Tia, the two inseparable twins.
She told of birthday memories, of their first KO's in battle, of their silly little fights over whose hair bands were which.
Glenn merely listened quietly, but even without responses she had no doubt he listened to every word.
It was nice to know someone else would remember her sister other then just her. It was nice to know that someone would keep the memories alive as well, that they wouldn't just disappear into nothingness. But most of all, it was nice to have someone understand.
When Orlha stopped talking, her tears slowly dwindled until she stopped crying altogether. Her body ceased it's shaking, and she blinked a few times to clear her eyes.
They sat a few more minutes in silence once more as a breeze ruffled their hair and clothing.
Just as she was thinking that she wanted to be alone, Glenn released her and she sat up on her own. He gave her a glance, and she nodded, a conversation and a half passing between them without a word.
He'd asked if she was alright, and she'd said she was. But it was so much more then that. It was a new promise, one that they both understood.
He stood up and walked away slowly, back to the house they were staying the night it, she assumed.
Orlha took a deep breath, looking back up to the moon.
She reached a hand to touch the Sapphire Brooch attached to her collar.
"Tia, I promise to be strong for you, because a part of you is still with me. But know this, I will never, ever forget you or stop missing you."
Taking another deep breath she closed her eyes once more, yet another breeze swirling past her, making the water dance beneath her feet.
"I know it's not my fault, or anyone's. It's not the end of the world and I can't go back and change it, but I can do something about everything else. And I will. I will see to it that you and I help to fix this world. You and me, just like old times, sister."
That brought a smile to her lips, although her eyes watered once more.
She stood and nodded as if her sister were there with her, affirming their bond and promise once more.
Orlha turned and made her way slowly across the docks, knowing that in the morning Serge would ask if she was okay, and she knew she would answer that she was, because it was true.
She also knew that Glenn would say nothing about tonight because he knew that it was time to move on, time to move past the pain, but never forget. And she knew that if no one else would ever understand, he did.
If she ever needed anything, anyone else wouldn't know what to say or do.
But he wasn't anyone else.
What's this? I'm writing a SERIOUS fanfiction? Yes, it is possible, I just don't do it much, but every so often an idea actually pulls through to become a finished project.
Anyway, my biggest problem with Chrono Cross is the lack of character arch completion. So many of the characters never get their story resolved, and that's too bad since there are so many/different stories going on. Orlha's...is finished, but I always felt a little cheated. It wasn't enough.
This is listed as 'friendship' since that's what this story is, although you could slip a 'romantic' tilt to it. I've read some stories pairing these two together and it actually made a lot of sense to me. Either way, it works.
For the record, if it wasn't clear, this takes place right after you go and get Orlha's level 7 tech 'SisterHoods'
Hopefully you enjoyed reading this, thanks for taking a look!