Into the Roil
Disclaimer: I do not own Chrono Trigger. I do however listen to the music quite often. And we wonder why I can't stop writing this...
The sun was rising upon yet another day, and Magus was awake, and fully capable at rising with it. He was anchored to the spot, though. Watching Schala sleeping peacefully, with no danger lurking, no dark future, was something he couldn't resist. He hadn't heard the black wind rustle through and ruin his day since Lavos. In fact, he believed that he could quite well get used to this. Peaceful days.
He inhaled the morning air, and smelled that summer was fully arrived, warmth and life were in the air. He heard birds outside, making their little racket of noise, as well as the ocean's regular rhythm.
Never once did his eyes leave Schala, and her regular breathing, eyes shut, face soft with sleep, mouth open slightly.
This is how it remained until around half an hour later, the sun came in through a crack in the drapes, and fell across her eyes, making them scrunch up a bit at the sudden unwanted glare. It was a sweet sight for Magus. He smiled as he shaded her eyes with one of his ungloved hands, with it's unusual long talon-like nails, calloused from a life-time of weapon use. You could see the veins underneath the skin, tracing out a pattern, a bluish color under the pale white.
Smiling, Schala opened her eyes, still with a soft appearance from sleep, and she yawned, white teeth flashing.
"Thank you," she said simply, after the yawn was over, sleep-muddled, not remembering her uneasy night. Not that it would last.
"No problem," Magus replied, murmuring it, voice containing something unreadable. In fact, he was quite determined not to push her today, but quite certain that she would make a decision he approved of. Well, a decision that he fully supported and would encourage, at any rate. I wouldn't approve of any girl deciding on me...were his thoughts on that particular matter, truth be told.
At his tone, though, Schala tensed a little, remembering at last, and becoming discomfited already. "I should take a shower," she hurriedly said, sounding lame even to her. She wriggled out of his secure hold, and scurried out of the room, collecting some comfortable work/play clothes on her way.
Magus couldn't help but smirk to himself at her antics.
Cocking his head, his ears perked at the sound of the shower running. The smirk turned to a thoughtful smile, as he stretched langorously before sitting up.
Even though he preferred showers, he decided a little magic wasn't a bad way to go, and he shook his hair out, removing dirt and oil, then shaking out the rest of himself, seeming like a cat coming out of water. Except he was clean at the end of it, without being damp, and without the scent of the cleansers used for manual cleaning of oneself. All that was left was his natural aroma, which had the spicy exotic scent that others seemed drawn to. He dressed quickly, not bothering with the screen, as there was no danger of anyone becoming embarrassed at this time of day by barging in, and Schala being in the shower.
Dressed in black, as he usually did, his boots a new pair, made of a dark brown leather, he wandered down to the kitchen, as cooking seemed to have become his job, and he didn't complain. He preferred not eating toast for breakfast every day, since Lucca was safest with that, although sometimes it burned anyways.
Soon enough, Lucca drifted in, smelling frying potatoes mixed with bacon and onion. She of course made a beeline to the coffee pot, preparing it.
After starting the pot, she leaned against the counter and studied Magus as he continued to cook, and ignore her presence in the room. At last, she whistled appreciatively, making him glance at her. He was currently one handedly juggling the eggs he was going to put into the skillet, plucking them from one hand, and cracking the shell, before dropping them in.
"Did you need something?" he asked her, mildly irate, but not really caring one way or the other.
"Just enjoying the scenery," Lucca mildly retorted, giving a pointed look to his not fully buttoned shirt, where you could see pale skin, and the amulet on a chain which he had received from Schala so long ago. Then she nodded towards his hands, gloved once more in soft leather, and their amazing feats he made seem so common place.
Rolling his eyes, he snarked at her, voice mild as well, since it was still early, "Of course you would."
Shrugging Lucca brought down plates, took out the cutlery, then went to set the coffee pot, with three mugs, cream and sugar onto the table. She didn't hesitate to pour herself a cup, adding a little cream and a lot of sugar to it.
"I have to say, youth suits you," she mumbled around the cup, taking her first swallow.
The food being done, Magus doled out portions, somewhat tempted to skimp on Lucca's portions, and after a brief internal struggle, made them evenly distributed plates, then set the table. Just as he sat down, and began to pour his own coffee, Schala arrived, still a little damp in the hair from her recent shower, but fully dressed in her loose, yet comfortable clothing. Her hair was down for the time being, until it dried naturally, or she decided to help it along.
As it were, they ate peacefully in a comfortable silence, each one contemplating what they were going to do for the day.
Magus knew he was going to train for an hour or two, as he did every day, no matter what. He couldn't stand not to. It had been ingrained in him too deeply. After that, he figured he could help out with whatever, or just lounge, maybe fish off the dock that was connected to the southern part of the island. Fish hadn't been on the menu for a while now.
It occurred to him how odd it felt for such domesticity in his life to be a regular thing. It almost bothered him. Wonder if I could pick up a trade, since evil sorceror warlord isn't very popular recently.
Schala was going to check on the garden, even if she didn't actually have to water it by hand, there was always weeding to do. Weeds never stopped their invasive process, and if she missed a day, they ended up with a foothold, and didn't give up as easily. Then she figured she would help Lucca or Magus with something.
Lucca, on the other hand, had no doubts about her schedule. She just couldn't figure out how to go about it. She was going to completely rebuild her vehicle, and it was going to take hours of contemplation, sketches, drafts, and most likely, swearing peppered throughout the entirety of the process. She was particularly good at the swearing part. In fact, she was proud of how her vocabulary had expanded since their time travelling ventures, being able to swear in dialects long forgotten, or not yet invented. Before then, she had been forced to resort to yelling regular words loudly when she ran out of other things to say. Well, at least on off days when her creativity was running low.
The dishes were washed by Schala, there was a rotation of duties regularly. All in all, things ran quite smoothly, and everyone got along well. As well as Magus got along with anyone who wasn't Schala, at any rate.
The day dragged on, simplicity somewhat aggravating, yet appreciated. Magus always practiced before the heat of the day sunk in.
His ferocity was sometimes watched, other times not. It was fascinating. Sometimes it was forgotten how he was a machine tuned for death and destruction. Even watching him, it was still forgotten, since there was no actual organism in front of him to face his wrath. Even if it was imaginary wrath. Looking too hard could make one wince in sympathy for the fictional thing in his way, for sure.
In the middle of his session, he felt a familiar rustling in his mind. It made him go cold, and stop where he was, and summon his cloak. Wrapping himself in it, darkness seemed to cling to him more than usual.
It was the black wind, rustling quietly, but seeming to laugh at him, mocking him for it's return.
Grimacing, Magus almost snarled to himself, and began swinging his scythe around with a vengeance, his implement of destruction ripping through the air. He wasn't sure he really wanted to know what was coming.
Of course, it couldn't be that simple. Instead, he saw the Masamune, gleaming in his mind. That means the damned frog knight, he growled to himself. What could he possibly want now?
Now that the day was over, fried fish eaten, air circulating through the open window, Magus' fears were confirmed. He just didn't know why the damned self-righteous knight was so dangerous yet.
"I was going to invite Glenn over tomorrow!" Lucca announced, excited at the prospect. "It's his birthday!"
Magus rolled his eyes again, "Can he even count?" was his disgruntled reply.
Lucca shot him a look, while Schala appeared confused by his sudden dark mood. "Don't be grumpy," Lucca scolded. "You're just mad because he has such better manners than you."
"Who's cooking?" Magus suddenly asked, eyes flashing warnings.
"Why wouldn't you cook as normal?" Lucca asked, knowing he was the best out of them by far, even though Schala beat her, their best intentions didn't always turn out very good.
"You seem to have forgotten, but he doesn't like to eat what I make," he growled out, voice low.
"He's probably gotten over that by now," chided Lucca, sounding mildly uncertain. "But you'll make his cake?"
"Why would I do such a thing?" asked Magus, snide all of a sudden, in a mood Schala hadn't had too much of a chance to observe before. "I hate the over-puffed frog."
The last part had slipped out, but he figured, as he face-palmed mentally, that Schala was going to find out some time. All he received was a confused look.
"Because it is the nice thing to do, and I'm asking you pleasantly?" Lucca suggested hopefully. At the derisive look she received, she decided it was time to bring out the big guns. "Besides, Schala hasn't had a chance to make cake yet, so I think it would be a wonderful learning experience!"
Magus groaned at this, and glancing over, saw a look that implied that Lucca had thought correctly.
Rubbing the bridge of his nose, he sighed. "When do you want me to start?" he asked, sounding defeated.
"Could you make it tomorrow some time?" Lucca asked, more like telling him to do so.
"Fine," Magus drawled out, getting up and walking out of the kitchen, well, stalking out to be precise. Which Schala had seen plenty of times.
Getting up to follow, Schala suddenly turned, looking apologetic. "Could you get the dishes?" she asked Lucca, who sighed, and nodded, giving a tired smile and waving Schala on, knowing that the girl was going to follow her brother.
In his room, he was pacing, and that was how Schala found him.
Okay, technically Lucca had lied. She had already invited Glenn over, and the knight had graciously accepted the invitation. She had just wanted to get Magus to agree to it at least a little, pretending that it was still in the process. But she forgave herself her transgressions. It seemed to be turning out fine. And Magus would actually make a cake!
Well, maybe a little guilty. She had managed to use Schala against him, and the trusting girl had fell into the trap beautifully. Cake and Magus was definitely the right bait, Lucca thought impishly. She didn't really know how they actually felt about one another, but she sensed their absolute caring for each other.
Jumping up suddenly, she ran for the door, haphazardly nabbing her helmet off a peg by the door on her way. She was going to tell Crono and Marle the good news. She was grinning already.
The next day found Magus brooding next to the window, staring out of it before dawn fully began. He didn't relish the idea of Glenn coming to visit. The damned frog had a habit of destroying what he was working towards.
Truth be told, Magus didn't really blame Cyrus for any of the events, although the man had been quite the hassle. Magus blamed Glenn. It was always Glenn who was the thorn in his side. For a decade that frog had been the Queen's lackey, working behind the scenes, crying over the dead Cyrus, using it as an excuse to fuel his hatred of the Magus and his fiendish troops. All the while spouting an endless stream of self-righteous blather.
Magus despised the frog.
He could always sense the hate the frog held for him as well. Especially when he had been healed by the misbegotten creature every so often. It came through via transferrence while being healed. The magic wasn't as effective, and took more effort. The caster's feelings were apparent through the connection of magic bouncing off of each other, like echoes.
Magus was glad he couldn't heal. His disposition would have been too transparent otherwise. The others had been forced to just deal with him, without actually having to truly understand what he felt for them.
Either way, his dark aura ended up waking Schala up as well. She could feel his unease immediately. In her vision, she could almost see the tendrils of shadow wisping about him.
"Magus?" came her questing voice, uncertain in the pre-dawn light.
He didn't answer her. His mind was other places. Dark places she was beginning to see. Dark like when she had first met him. It worried her to see him in such a way.
So she tried again, getting out of bed, to approach him, calling out once more, voice a little more frantic. "Magus?"
Finally he noticed her, head swiveling to meet her gaze, eyes impassive and haunted. She could see the black wind blowing through those eyes.
Instead of saying anything more, she just finished approaching him, and nestled herself in close to him. She remembered the black wind. It's voice was a study in pain. So she drew him back to the bed, and he followed as if half-asleep. There she held him close, for once being the source of comfort, rather than the comforted. As if they were children once more. And as when they were children, he was still as she held him, until the spell was broken, and he clung to her for a moment before remembering himself.
"We have things to do, sweet sister," he muttered, choosing those words to cause her to recoil. It didn't work the way he thought it would. Instead, she held him closer, his head buried in her chest, as a child seeks warmth. Magus let her get away with it. There was nothing for him to protest against, truth be told. He enjoyed being nestled close to her. Able to hear her heartbeat, light and steady.
"We can begin the day after the sun finishes rising," was all she said back, after a few minutes silence. Almost an afterthought.
After being held for a while, the warmth overcame the both of them, and they fell back into slumber, sleeping longer than usual being the outcome. It was late morning by the time they both groggily opened their eyes, limbs tangled, foreheads touching, bodies arched towards each other.
Staring at each other for a moment, they both jumped out of bed almost simultaneously, grabbing clothing, throwing it on, and running downstairs to fulfill their usual routine. Only to find Lucca in the kitchen, slowly eating toast and jam, looking to be in a good mood, despite her distaste for having to toast her own toast.
"Isn't this unusual?" she spoke around some toast, a few crumbles flying out, her grinning at finally catching the perfect siblings sleeping in. Looking disheveled, as if they had just woken up. "By the way, your shirt is only half tucked in there, magic man," cackled Lucca.
Snarling, Magus glided to the coffee pot violently, poured himself a cup, and added his cream, then drank the coffee just as viciously, before stalking out of the kitchen, tucking his shirt the rest of the way into his form-fitting pants.
Schala helped herself to toast and jam, unworried by Magus' bout of anger. She had dealt with him and his temper when he had been Janus. Besides, this was a lot less terrifying than Magus when he was truly in a fury.
"What's got him in such a tiff?" Lucca asked, after a moment more of thoughtfully chewing her toast.
"Black wind," Schala answered succinctly, starting in on her toast, a glass of juice next to her.
"..." Lucca stared at her blankly. Until finally she couldn't hold it in any longer. "What exactly is the 'black wind'?" she burst out, exasperated, fingers emphasizing the 'black wind' part. "I mean, we've heard him mention it before, and it never makes any sense! He just has to be mysterious all the damn time!"
Schala took a bite of toast and slowly chewed it, and then a careful swallow of juice. She had to think about how to phrase the black wind.
"The black wind is a foretelling of misfortune," was how she began. "It is almost a prophecy of sorts, and will give hints as to what will befall. It is never a good sign."
"So what, he felt it blow through and got his trousers in a tangle?" Lucca questioned, mildly huffy at the violence in her kitchen, ruining her already bland breakfast. Lunch. Brunch. She waved her hand impatiently, as if swatting flies.
"It isn't so simple," Schala scolded gently. "It means something bad is going to happen."
"Well, he can handle himself," Lucca amended, eyes downcast for a moment.
"It might not be him," Schala added on quietly.
Lucca's eyes shot up, and bore into Schala. "What exactly does that mean?"
"...the black wind can warn him of misfortune to befall others, it doesn't have to be related to him," Schala explained. "He just has to be in their vicinity to become aware."
Letting loose a breath, Lucca shook her head, before getting up and downing the rest of her coffee. "Sounds rough." Then she left the room, heading out to her workshop.
As for her part, Schala sat at the table, and finished eating her breakfast, still worried for Magus, if not the reason of the black wind. She made her way to the deck, and watched as Magus tore through the air, rending invisible enemies with extra force this morning. It was entrancing, and it seemed almost as if he were trying to tire himself out deliberately.
Watching him work for an indefinite amount of time, the day slipped past. Magus was practicing longer and harder than usual.
Eventually Schala noticed that she had been leaning against the deck railing for a while, by her sore elbows. Looking at the sun in the sky, she scurried away to the garden to take care of it.
Magus, for his part, was angry. He couldn't quite say why, he just was. Perhaps it was because that after he finally started to trust in the peace he found, it felt as though it were being torn away forcefully. It may have been a premature fear, but it was ingrained into him. Good things always come to an end. Usually sooner rather than later. So as much as he tried to turn it from his mind, it kept coming back to haunt him. The black wind shuddered through his mind, teasing and taunting, mildly warning. Nothing so overwhelmingly despairing as the feeling of Lavos, or the loss of his home, but still there. He could still stand up to this, mere ripples in comparison the the wave he was used to.
Finally, after hours of endless movement, even he stopped at long last. It wasn't to rest, however. It was to begin meditation. The training of his mind, and that was exhausting in a completely different way. Leaving him drained mentally, and physically was somewhat the object he had in mind.
After a while, it was the end of that as well. It was into the afternoon, and he had promised the filthy woman to bake a cake, if only to make his sister happy.
Cursing to himself, he realized that it may have been her aim to use Schala's curiosity against him. Lucky for Lucca, he was a bit too tired to take out his wrath upon her. Instead, he wandered inside, slothful, to the shower. He was glad he hadn't taken one in the morning. He would have just needed another one after his efforts. Clean clothing was also a must.
His laziness extended to not using his innately more advanced magical abilities to just clean himself and his clothing. Besides, nothing quite replaced a hot shower.
So he took some of his dark clothing from his dresser, which didn't hold much, and left his boots in the shared room. The wash closet was empty and inviting to his sweaty self. Not bothering to close the door all the way, he turned the knob to start the water, and after adjusting it to a hot setting, he stripped himself, but left the amulet he wore on. It never left him, ever. Testing the water with his hand, he stepped in, and slid the curtain that held the water in shut.
Magus faced the water, letting it run over his mouth and nose, eyes, ears and hair. He let it shut out all outside noise, so that the only sound was the muffled noise of running water. He imagined himself a part of it's flow, a void of nothing, just movement.
Eventually, his more conservative nature kicked in, and he washed himself thoroughly, although his hair took the most time, being as long as it was. Turning the water off, he wrung his hair out gently, and shook off a bit, his movements like a cat, although much more langorous. Actually drying himself off once more was mainly devoted to his hair.
Hanging the towel to dry, he didn't bother with his gloves or boots, he just headed downstairs, to find Schala reading a book in the living room. She looked up, sensing him, rather than hearing him. Since he never made noise as he moved around.
"Ready to make that blasted cake?" he asked her, voice grudging, but softer for her.
"Ready and willing," she told him, smiling in anticipation. Also hoping that she could help him get over the distress of the black wind while doing so.
Magus inclined his head towards the kitchen, a silent gesture. They moved to the kitchen slowly, and he began to explain what they were to do.
Different flours and sugars were set into preparation. Then eggs and fruits. Even if he hated the frog, he would make a good confection just for his sister. She wanted to learn, and he would be damned if he steered her wrong.
The time spent making the cake was soon over, and the frosting was started. Then everything was set to cool for a while. It was a white cake, and the frosting was a light green color, with thinly sliced candied lemon slices garnishing the top. All in all, a pretty cake.
Then it was time to start dinner. Lucca had stopped in during the end process of the cake, and warned them that everyone was coming to the celebration, so there would be a need for a larger amount of food.
This caused Magus to swear violently. He had expected such a thing, but it still rankled.
Sheepishly, Lucca amended her statement, saying that Crono and Marle, at least, would be bringing some food with them. So he needn't bother making too much extra. This caused another bout of swearing anyways. Backing away, hands up in an apologetic manner, Lucca quickly escaped the kitchen and his acidity. Schala followed her out, smiling in her own apologetic manner. Lucca shrugged at the gesture, and warned her that it would be a couple hours, but then they would have company. In fact, Lucca was on her way to grab everyone now.
Wandering back into the kitchen, she found Magus on a rampage almost, violently grabbing things out of cupboards, and putting other things away.
"Did you want help making dinner as well?" she asked almost timidly, unsure how to interrupt his tirade against all humanity.
Staring at her for a moment, as if unsure of how to respond, he finally found his voice. "I would enjoy your help with dinner."
a/n: You know, I actually had this chapter completed a long time ago. I just didn't realize. I'm a huge jerk. And wanted to leave it on a cliff hanger for the horrifying spectacle of Magus cooking for the hateful Glenn. Who can guess what is exactly going to happen? Why it is a little wind blowing through to ruin the mood? (besides my inability to make things actually boring happy...)