Another Step Onto Chronos

Chapter One: More Than Just a Dream

By: Shadic the Hedgehog

The kitchen door opened on the darkened house, as a young man walked in from the night. He had a pair of red-framed sunglasses perched on his head, holding back some strands of his long brown hair, which was otherwise tied back into a ponytail that reached down two feet from the nape of his neck. Around his mouth was a roughly trimmed goatee, very light stubble connecting it to his ear-length sideburns.

His clothes were all black, making him difficult to see in the night, though the light in the kitchen lit him up well enough. He stepped into the pantry to his right and took off his shoes before heading back to his bedroom at the back of the house, taking off his coat and shirt, which was revealed to be a McDonald's uniform. Another black shirt bearing the image of a blue police box superimposed on a starry sky was shown to be his undershirt.

"Alright..." he muttered in a baritone voice. "Let's see what's updated tonight..." He pulled out his laptop as he sat on the floor next to his bed. Hours passed as he went about his normal nightly routine of reading fanfiction and listening to music. As four a.m. rolled around, he closed his computer, leaving the music running, and lay down on the blanket he left laid out on the floor, pulling his covers up over him.

"Hey! Joe! Are you still asleep?" a strange, male voice called out. "Come on, man, we gotta make it to the Fair!"

...What? Thought the young man. He opened his eyes, and looked around a room that was not his. Whereas his own room was just as cluttered as this one, he didn't sleep on his bed and so used it like shelf, but he was laying on a bed. Also, the walls here were a uniform wooden brown, and his room's walls were four different colours, matching the four elements.

He heard footsteps coming near the door, as he climbed out of the bed. He glanced at the floor across from him, quickly pulling on some pants before the man outside started knocking hard.

"We've been waiting months for this! Get your butt outta bed!"

Joe cracked open the unfamiliar door as he looked at the person yelling at him, only for his eyes to widen as he saw the spiky red hair and Goku-esque face of Crono, main character of Chrono Trigger. He wore his game-standard gear of a blue gi and tan pants, with a yellow bandanna around his neck and katana at his side.

"You sleep in even longer than I do. Come on, or we're gonna be late for Lucca's big unveiling. What do you think she's been working on?"

Joe stuttered as he attempted to couple a response to the impossible sight in front of him. "W-well, I don't know. She and Taban have been pretty secretive about whatever it was."

"True." Joe mentally sighed as Crono accepted his answer, before the fictional character looked over his sleep-crumpled plain black shirt and pants. "Better get something better on. And grab your equipment, I want to duke it out with Gato again. Maybe if we work together, we might beat him this time."

"Er, alright."

"Meet you at the door!" Crono waved, before moving away. Joe took the opportunity to sit heavily on the floor.

"Okay, Joe, think. You went to sleep on your own floor, and woke up in someone else's bed. Except, according to Crono – a video game character! – I live here. And he knows me, and I apparently know Lucca, too. What the hell is happening?" He shook his head. "Alright, this must be a dream of some kind. The best thing to do, I think, is to just go with it. I'll wake up eventually." Standing up again, Joe opened a wardrobe, and saw inside a few clothes that he, himself, owned. In particular, he saw his favourite coat, a full-length Organization XIII Cloak. Picking out a red shirt and a different pair of black pants, he quickly changed into his selection and zipped on the floor-length black leather coat before putting on a pair of leather gloves.

Glancing around the room, he saw "his gear" sitting at the head of "his" bed: a large, unmarked, wooden shield with a sheathed sword on a belt. He quickly strapped the belt on around his waist, put the longsword on his left side, and hooked the straps of the shield onto the sword's hilt. The sword seemed light to him, but he supposed it must be wooden, like Crono's wood katana.

Joe dashed out to the entrance, and saw signs that no one but him lived in the house. Namely, that "his" room lead into a sitting/dining room with no doors between it and the kitchen and front door, where Crono waited, bouncing on his feet. The bedroom he had just exited being the only other room in the house.

"Finally!" Crono said. "Let's get moving, Lucca's gotta be set up by now." Joe nodded in response and followed the Main Character out of the house, which he saw was near the middle of Truce Village, which was quite the little medieval-looking settlement. Not entirely knowing where to go, he allowed Crono to lead the way.

They walked north about half-an-hour before they entered Leene Square. It was way more packed than Joe had seen on his screen, but that only made sense, considering it was a celebration involving two continents and the size of Truce alone. They wound their way through the teeming masses, leading to the far-less-packed middle square.

Joe was almost expecting Crono to head straight for Leene's Bell, for the fateful encounter with Marle, but before ascending to its plateau, he took off to the right – straight for Gato's Arena. As they approached the big, pink machine, Joe turned to Crono.

"So, is this just to see if we can beat him, or do you want the Silver Points?"

"Want the what-now?" Crono stopped, confused.

Joe mentally back-tracked. "Ah, I heard someone mentioning there's some games that give these 'Silver Points' as a reward. Someone else said Gato was a fifteen point game. Or something like that, we were moving fairly quickly through that crowd."

"Oh. Any idea what these 'Silver Points' are for?"

"No, not really. Maybe they could be turned in for prizes or money or something?"

"Guess we'll find out if we win, huh?"

Joe attempted to smirk. "Right." He then attached the shield to his left arm, tightening the straps over his coat, before he drew his sword. The sword was, as he expected, wooden. Crono also drew his wooden katana, and they approached the fighting machine. It pulled out a microphone from its stomach.

o/`My name is Gato, I have metal joints.

Beat me up and earn fifteen Silver Points o/`

Battle music started playing as Gato placed the mike back and stood in a battle stance. Crono dove forward, slashing at the robot's side. He struck and there was a ding sound as a scoreboard that Joe hadn't noticed before lit up with the number one. Crono then dodged to the side as Gato's stomach opened up, launching a boxing glove.

It was at that point that Joe decided he should at least try to fight, so he held up his shield and charged, tagging Gato in the arm. Another ding sounded as the number changed to a two, and Joe attempted to dodge the retaliatory boxing glove, but it bashed him in the head, knocking him off his feet.

After a couple seconds to shake the stars out of his eyes, Joe stood up again, this time more ready for the speed of Gato's counter. He stabbed past his shield at where the heart would be on a human Gato's size (though Joe didn't want to think about what would happen if he actually encountered someone that big), and he scored another blow as Crono whacked Gato in the head from behind. Having only one method of counter-attacking, Gato shot another glove at Joe, but this time he blocked it with his shield.

The score was steadily climbing as Crono and Joe attacked then either dodged or blocked the glove. Gato wasn't just countering, though, and he managed to get Crono with a surprise glove, and Joe lost his sword once when attempting to parry the counter-strike.

When the number reached twenty, Gato pulled out his microphone again and finished his song.

o/`I lost and you won

Here's fifteen points now wasn't that fun? o/`

The stomach opened as Gato returned his mike, and the glove slowly emerged with the hand open, revealing a small assortment of coins with numbers and the letter "sp" on them. Crono took the coins and pocketed them, a big grin on his face.

"Hah! I knew we could do it together!" said Crono.

"You were a bit more confident than I was, then," Joe replied, though the smile on his face made Crono think he was joking around. In truth, the smile was because he had just managed to win his first almost-real fight with a sword and shield he had never used before.

"I don't really feel like exploring the whole place at the moment to find somewhere I can redeem these, so let's just head on up to see Lucca."

"Sure." And with that shrugged agreement, Crono and Joe unequipped themselves and set off for Lucca's Telepod exhibit. And the fateful encounter under Leene's Bell. Joe trailed slightly behind Crono, which made him turn and start walking backwards to talk with him.

"You know, you've been acting strange all morning. What's up with you-oof!" Crono, since he couldn't see where he was going, had just run into Marle, somehow causing her pendant to fly a few feet away. Leene's Bell rang directly above them as they fell.

Joe stared at the bell. It wasn't connected to anything other than the arch that kept it up. So how was it ringing? Surely the wind couldn't be that strong...

He started paying attention again just as Crono lifted Marle to her feet. The blonde girl smiled prettily at Crono before she straightened the cloth of her white jumpsuit. They went over their introductions, Crono making sure to mention his "old friend" Joe. Joe was presenting a relaxed front, but inside his confusion continued to grow. How was he an old friend of Crono's? Before this dream-thing, they only ever "met" when he played Chrono Trigger!

Crono found Marle's pendant and agreed to show her around, and Joe tagged along, feeling like a great big third wheel. He knew (or at least preferred the idea) that Crono and Marle would fall in love, and the way they talked to each other as Crono showed her some of the games and places as they all wandered around definitely suggested something was there.

Eventually, Joe overheard someone mentioning that Lucca's exhibit was to open in about ten minutes, so he mentioned it to Crono. Crono looked a bit ashamed at having ignored Joe, but invited Marle along with an accepting nod from Joe. Marle looked like she wanted to get some candy, but eventually decided against it.

There wasn't much of a crowd willing to see Lucca's experimental machine, considering most of them blew up somehow or another, but that wouldn't deter her friend Crono, the stranger/friend Joe, and the "unknown" Marle from showing up.

Taban, Lucca's father, was just going through his spiel explaining the Telepod, waving his large arms about at each pod as he explained their use. The man was very muscular, likely from all the heavy machine he worked with, and his blond hair was kept very short, probably so it didn't get caught in a machine.

Standing on the left pod, from the audience's perspective, was a young girl in an orange-brown jacket and black shorts, with a helmet covering her shoulder-length purple hair. As Taban introduced her, Lucca spun around with a laugh, her glasses shining in the sunlight. Joe was rather surprised to note that she looked kind of cute, though her glasses were definitely larger than necessary.

"Now," Lucca announced, "would anyone like to give the Telepod a try?" The crowd simply murmured amongst themselves for a little while as Lucca scanned the crowd, a slight frown appearing when no one stepped forward.

Then she spotted Crono and company. She ran forward and grabbed Joe by the arm, surprising him. "Joe! Please, will you try the Telepod? No one else-" she stopped as Joe smiled.

"Yeah, I'll do it." Joe wasn't sure why Lucca ran to him when Crono was closer to the front of the crowd, but he didn't mind. He wanted to see if the teleportation was as he described it in his fanfic from way back when.

Unfortunately, it was not. The first sensation he felt as Taban started the system was a tingling sensation that travelled through his whole body. As the machine was powered up, the sensation became worse, until Joe almost felt as if he was being electrocuted (though he had never actually felt such a thing), until it disappeared to be replaced by the feeling of being ripped to pieces, and with a lurch he reappeared on the other pod.

The crowd's murmurs became louder as they saw the successful activation of the Telepod, not realizing that the experience was quite painful.

That was Joe's first true hint that he was not dreaming.

Marle quickly pushed past Crono, though he chased after her, and approached Lucca and a somewhat shaky Joe.

"That looks like fun! I wanna try!" she said. Lucca glanced her over before looking at the chagrined Crono.

"Well, well, Crono. Where'd you find a cutie like her?"

As Crono attempted to stutter a reply, Marle had already convinced Taban to let her try, and Joe knew it would be no use to try and dissuade her from giving it a go. He was also sure that if he were to try and hold onto her pendant for her before she tried it out would not only not work, it would look bad for when Crono had his trial.

Joe started as Lucca tapped him on the shoulder.

"Come on, Joe. You should step off the Telepod. Dad and I haven't exactly tested it with something on both pods during activation." Joe quickly complied with the warning and stepped away from the device, standing next to Crono.

As the first stage of the teleportation started, Joe saw Marle frown as static electricity seemed to run up and down her body, which was likely the source of the tingling sensation he had felt. When the power was turned up, the flow of the electricity suddenly changed: instead of going from the pod's base to the little umbrella thing at the top, the flow went through her pendant, almost as if it were a powerful conductor.

That's when the pendant began to shine. One would think it was already shining with the amount of electricity going through it, but it hadn't yet begun to glow. The pendant shone with a bright blue light and Marle screamed as the power in the pendant suddenly shot out and connected with the other pod's control system, the burst of lightning knocking Lucca and Taban away from their machine.

There was a strange kind of ripping sound as the Gate appeared in the form a jagged bluish-purple rift in the middle of the Telepod. The pendant remained floating in the arc of electricity as Marle vanished, only to reappear inside the Gate, screaming. As Crono started to dash towards her to pull her out of the Gate, it closed with the same ripping noise as it opened with, and the lightning arc vanished, dropping the pendant onto the pod with an oddly loud thud.

After a minute of stunned silence, Taban turned to Lucca. "Lucca... She's not reappearing!" he hissed. "What the hell happened?" Then he noticed the crowd as the began muttering, and quickly turned to face them. "All right folks, the shows over! As you can see, the lovely lady has disappeared before your very eyes! Now get!"

The crowd, not liking the look in Taban's eye, or the hammer that appeared in his hand, quickly left, allowing Taban to turn to Lucca with a more forceful look.

"I don't know, dad! The- the way she vanished didn't seem like the Telepod. Not entirely, at any rate. Her pendant seemed to affect the transfer somehow... But how could a piece of jewellery affect the transportation?"

"Well, what the hell are we going to do now?" cried Taban. "I don't know who she was, but we have to get her back!"

Lucca, however, seemed to be lost in her own world. "And her face was so familiar... Where have I seen it before?"

Crono, his face set, walked over to the Telepod. He grabbed the pendant and turned to Taban and Lucca. "I'm going to go after her," he announced. "You just do whatever you did before, and I should end up in the same place, right?"

"I'm going, too!" Joe shouted, racing up to Crono. He didn't want to sit around while Lucca tried to figure out what happened with the Telepod and built the Gate Key, so he decided he'd better go with Crono.

Lucca looked surprised for a moment before nodding and she and Taban started working on getting the Telepod ready for teleporting again.

"Alright guys," said Lucca, holding a screwdriver with her teeth. "I don't know where this will send you, but since that pendant seems to be the key-" She used the screwdriver to mess with the circuitry a bit. "- hang on to it as hard as you can, got it? As soon as I can figure out another way to open that rift, I'll be right behind you."

"Right!" Joe and Crono both said in unison. A minute later, Lucca and Taban started the process over again, while the two boys held tightly onto the pendant. Crono's hands were a bit closer to the actual jewel, but during the transfer, they held on as tightly as possible. The lightning almost seemed to arc into Crono almost as much as it did the pendant, but still he held fast.

With a repeat of the ripping sensation and sound, the two of them suddenly found themselves floating in the void of the Gate, Lucca's voice echoing after.

"Be careful you guys!"

Joe meant to respond, but his voice was stolen from him as the Time Gate closed, sending them hurtling four hundred years into the past.

A/N: Alright! Here we go with the COMPLETE REWRITE of my first-ever fanfiction. Already there's some big changes, the most notable of which being that Joe has no idea how he got there. And the change from First Person to Third Person. I was originally going to write in First, but it just flowed out of me in Third.

I've got some big notes (sorta) of the changes and similarities between this and the original. There's only five things remaining the same on that list: 1) Joe remembers all about Chrono Trigger the game; 2) The Conservation of Time Theorem is loop-holed; 3) The story takes place in Chrono Trigger; 4) The world is much larger than the game showed; and 5) ...That's a Secret.

Well, I suppose that, technically, it's six, as he's still getting Fire Magic. But it's normal Fire Magic, and not "divine" or "Flare" magic. I even have a when for each Tech he learns already planned out. And while he still recalls everything about the game, he's not just going to go "Oh, and here's where this-and-such is happening, so we can just go around." He's going to be quieter than his earlier incarnation.

Let's hope I don't get writer's block on this one for the next five years, huh?