Disclaimer: I don't own Chrono Crusade or any of its associated fictional characters or locations.
The Last Words in All of Eternity
"Do you remember the first time I caught you?"
Chrono's red eyes were glazed with pain, as they had been for every day in the last few months. His eyes were deeply shadowed. He sat with her on the porch, not doing anything, just staring into the sunset. Rosette's red hair tickled his nose as he breathed in and out, but he didn't mind. It was secondary to the pain deep inside his chest, the physical and otherwise. He would lose her soon. They would lose each other.
"You didn't catch me," Rosette told him. She had accepted it now. She had screamed hard, cried long, desperately, until Chrono had too, until she stopped herself for his sake. Always for someone else, that was Rosette. "I fell on you."
"I still broke your fall."
"Did it hurt?" She blinked, her eyes still red from the tears, still weary, but now the past pushed aside the pain. "I never asked…"
He smiled, wryly. "No. It never hurt. It never does."
It never hurt him to break her fall. Her screams, on the other hand, had hurt. Because he didn't want her to die either.
Joshua looked up, out of the window, a musing expression on his face. It looked wrong, out of place. It was a young expression, a boy's expression on a youth's face. But it was different to what he had been before. He made Remmington sad, mostly because of how he remembered the boy from before.
"I want the characters in my story to have a happy ending," he announced, but it lacked the cheerful vigour the boy's announcements usually contained.
"That's good, but why do you sound frustrated?" the blonde man asked.
"Because I keep imagining them finding all these wonderful places, planets with monsters on them. They always win. That's the good part. The girl is always so strong, but she has a bad temper, and keeps beating up the dark-haired boy. He doesn't mind. And she keeps destroying things."
A smile quirked the man's mouth. "Is that so?" He was perceptive. Even in his current state, he was perceptive.
"The boy keeps saving her, and the blonde boy, too. He's smart, but he's always bossed around. He's good, though. Nobody thinks he is, but he is, really!"
"I believe you," assured Remmington. "What about the other character? The blonde boy?"
"He's strong, too, just as strong as the girl. And he's a great shot, with guns, you know, and he can swordfight too!" Joshua's enthusiasm had returned, but abruptly, it withered away. "But I keep imagining a sad ending. I keep imagining that the monsters will overpower them one day, fight back, be too strong for even them!"
Remmington put his hand on Joshua's shoulder, as if he was trying to push down the panic in the boy's eyes with comfort. "They won't. They're heroes, Joshua. All of them are heroes. And heroes always win. The good guys will always be triumphant, no matter how strong the enemy is."
"Really? Do you really think so?"
"I know so."
His hope restored, the boy went back to drawing the picture. It was of three people sitting on a porch, a glorious sunset in the background. Two seemed tired, but the blonde boy was happy. "Are they alright?"
"Oh, they're just resting. But they'll be back for another adventure!"
Remmington smiled. He didn't know where the scene had come from, but, unexpectedly, it brought tears to his eyes. He stepped back for a moment.
Joshua would always be younger than he appeared. He would always be, mentally, four years his own junior. But, as he grew, that gap would cease to matter. As his body grew, so would his mind. Remmington would make sure it did.
The tears that he wouldn't let fall were bittersweet; Rosette and Chrono's adventures had stopped. But Joshua's would keep going. Even if they were just from a type-writer, living out a future he always dreamed about.
The days had been languid. Rosette had been active enough at first, announcing how they would go exploring every day, and they did. Not far, of course; only as far as Chrono's injuries allowed him to go. They fixed up the small house together. But, soon, she had begun to sicken, and Chrono knew that he had used her life one too many times. At least he wouldn't have to hold on long. The only reason he had survived as long as he did was because he refused to let Rosette die alone. He refused.
So they had known peace together. No, that wasn't right. They had known waiting.
"Should we call anybody?" asked Rosette softly. "Say a final goodbye?"
"We don't have a phone," he told her softly.
"I'd forgotten…" Forgetting wasn't good. It meant the end was near. But, perhaps, that wasn't such a bad thing. "I miss them."
Chrono nodded. They say back now, looking at the stars sprinkled across the sky, like someone had gone nuts with glitter and the water colours. The cool night air brushed along their skin, feeling like a gently goodbye. The sun had already said its part. Now the sky followed. The grass rustled in the gentle breeze, the land's farewell.
"I miss them too."
New York, San Francisco, all the big cities were being rebuilt slowly. Of course, the financial changes wouldn't help, but that didn't really matter to someone like Azmaria. She did what she could, going from city to city, singing in the refugee camps, spreading hope wherever and whenever she could.
She was also searching. Every city, she kept her eyes open for them. Rosette and Chrono. The two people who had changed her life for the better. The two people who had made her realise that those around her didn't have to suffer, that sometimes they could be happy, too.
Azmaria knew that it was unlikely she would ever see them again. But she would keep trying. Not only that, she would become better. She would be as strong as Rosette. As loyal as Chrono. She would be a saviour. But, first, she had to train. And search. She would never stop searching until she found them.
She had a feeling she would find them soon. She couldn't explain it, but the emotion was there; hope. Inexplicably, with it was sorrow.
"Do the stars seem bright tonight?"
"Yeah, they do. They're always bright." It was her. She made the stars shine, for him at least.
"I'm sorry about before." She knew how his heart must have felt as if it were being ripped in two. As if she was blaming him for her life slowly coming to a close. For the clock ticking down. Her hand tightened.
"I would take your pain, if I could. I would reverse this contract, if I could. I would take back my horns and-"
"I would throw them away," laughed Rosette softly. "Because I don't need your life. I'm not staying here without you, Chrono."
Sister Kate looked at the door. She blinked, and a brief memory flickered across the darkness. Rosette, breaking the darkness, as she always did. Her shouting. Her apologising for having destroyed something yet again. Her running away while Kate tried to shout at her some more, the door shutting after her, leaving her shouting at an empty room.
She opened her eyes. It was another empty room. But Rosette would never fill this one again.
Not true. The words whispered into her mind as her gaze dropped to the picture she cherished above all else. Azmaria had given it to her as a gift. Rosette, Chrono, Azmaria and Satella. With her forever, a moment in time frozen, no matter what happened.
But she was being melancholy. Rosette and Chrono could still be alive. She could still find them.
So why did she feel as if she was lying to herself?
"You know what I regret?" asked Rosette. "I wish we could have seen the picture we took together, the one from just before everything went wrong."
"Me, too. But we have that moment, forever in our hearts, for all of eternity," Chrono told her. His voice sounded weaker than usual, and that was saying something. "Just like we have our friends, and all those people we saved, deep in our hearts. And how we're forever in theirs."
"For here, and for heaven."
Chrono smiled, wry again. "I'm a devil, Rosette, I don't think-"
"Don't talk like that." Her tone was sharper than normal . "Don't say you aren't going to heaven. I mean… I made a pact with you. Wherever you go, I go too. Wherever we go, we'll be together. That's our eternity."
"No. This is our eternity. This time we've had together is everything. This is everything to me. I've been living for hundreds, thousands of years, but nothing compares to this time with you. That is eternity."
Rosette couldn't move her head to look at him, nor he to look at her, but he heard the smile in her voice. "Then we'll go from one eternity to another. I'll see you in heaven, Chrono."
"I'll look for the one shouting."
She paused. "Chrono?"
"I love you."
"I love you too."
"One more thing."
"Yeah?" Their voices were almost inaudible. But Rosette pushed for one last sentence.
"Don't forget the bags."
Those were the last words in all of eternity.