I do not own Chrono Trigger or any of its characters, though I dearly wish I did so a sequel would be in the works. Set about 2-3 years after the first time warp (estimate at least 6 months to a year and a half to finish the games story-line)
"Talking with occasional emphasis, or emphasis"
"Unusual forms of talking with emphasis"
A sigh swept through the small office as its occupant finished his scribbling and dropped a fresh sheet of paper onto the small pile of completed forms. Leaning back into the hard chair he stifled a groan and flexed his fingers, trying to shake the clinging ache from the joints. Green eyes closed and his vibrant red-hair that refused to acknowledge gravity shifted slightly. Lean, fighting muscles protested his lack of activity for the last three hours and demanded loudly to trash the tiny, windowless room and destroy everything inside it's stuffy confines. Playing the fantasy out in his mind for a time the man let his handsome face slowly droop onto the desk.
Crono was not a fucking paper-pusher. He hated it with a passion, the only reason he didn't give in and lay waste to the evil objects was their purpose. Before him lay the beginnings of a decree that would grant the working class, which until recently Crono was fated to be part of, several new measures of safety and security in their jobs and made requesting inquires into their working conditions legal. Now if only the damn thing could be finished after one signing! But for this decree to have the support it needed it seemed that every faceless drone in Guardia castle, all her cities, and the guild heads all needed a signed copy. Snarling the red-head rose to his feet and began to pace.
He was a veteran of a war many could not comprehend, and it's scars lay plentiful and deep along his body and mind. The gall of humanity, whose constant cries about 'me, me, me', frustrated the young man to no end. Couldn't they understand? The world was so much larger then they knew, all they had to do was open their eyes. Alas they only ever seemed to look up from their tiny, immediate worlds when forced by profit or threat. He needed to get out of this suffocating space. Needed open air and sunlight, not the flickering illumination of candles. Resolving to do just that he scooped up his slender sword where it leaned against the wall, then grasped the doors handle and threw it open.
Striding through the wide halls of the Guardian castle Crono felt his mind grow more relaxed as he neared the exit. Perhaps simply because the mental trauma that had so infested this place for him was torn away the closer he came to leaving. He had been put on trial here, inside these walls. Tried as a traitor, a liar, and a brute after only hours before acclaimed as a hero. Well... perhaps that was only how you could look at it from his perspective. For the events actually took place four-hundred years apart as the history books recorded them.
A freak accident had thrown the man, then just a boy, into a different time as he tried to rescue a girl he had only just met. Lucca, his childhood friend with brilliance that would shine for generations (and they had come across some of her work still being referred to in the far future), had followed him after discovering a way for them to return. Then together they joined forces with an reclusive knight to save the queen of the time period, and restore the princess of their own time back to life. That was the second scar, the first time he had taken a life. Yes the creatures they had battled were evil, twisted things that drowned themselves in the blood of his fore-fathers like cheap wine, but they were still living, breathing creatures with minds and dreams of their own and his hands would forever be stained with their lives.
After saving the Queen and restoring the time-line Crono, Lucca, and princess Marle were treated as heroes. Glenn, the reclusive, cursed knight who joined them left before the celebration, unable to forgive himself for sins only he continued to hold against himself. Upon returning through the time warp Crono escorted the exposed princess to her home, the very castle he now was trying to escape. That time he entered the familiar halls only to be dragged to the ground and clapped in irons for 'running off' with the princess. His trial was a swift affair, no matter how many witnesses or friends came to praise his character and accomplishments the judge and jury would not be swayed. The gift of his fathers seed had stacked that deck firmly against him.
He had spent two days in a cell, waiting for the inevitable end, only to be rescued by Lucca again. Blasting her way into the prison with home-made explosives and technology the kingdom had never dreamed of she saved him from that cold, dark cell.
Stopping by the main doors Crono looked up the large staircase he had just descended. There, on that third step from the top a princess had thrown her inheritance away to join them in flight. Together they had managed to escape through another tear through time, and eventually clear his name, but he would always remember the looks, the assumptions others in this place had leveled against him inside these walls. Walking smoothly past the guards, perhaps some of those that had chased him not so long ago, Crono exited into the dazzling sunlight of the early afternoon. For a moment, as the last of the clinging discomfort fled from his shoulders Crono wondered if this was how Glenn had felt, the shame he endured forcing him to flee the place that should for all intents and purpose where he was most comfortable.
The cool woods called to him, memories of easier times, days spent laughing and racing through the trees and over soft grass and moss. When was the last time he had done that? Just did something for the sake of doing it. Smiling he felt his body begin to move on its own accord. His sheathed sword slid easily into it's customary place by his side, throwing off his rhythm slightly as it bounced out of time, but after years of having it at hand Crono knew no comfort without it.
Passing through the small field that kept the silent trees from infringing on the castle in a moment Crono let himself simply exist, his body reacting faster then conscious thought as he tore through the underbrush and swayed past grasping branches. Stretching his legs further he felt the burning, familiar pain begin to eat at his thighs and chest. Reveling in the sensation he continued to coax more speed, closer shaves, and finally reached the moment of perfect clarity he knew would never be reached while stuffed and hidden away inside. Brilliant green leaves formed a blurred tunnel around him and he heard the soft crunching of twigs and undergrowth beneath his heels. Frozen in time he saw everything, and felt his once legendary power awaken deep inside him.
Leaping onto the smooth bark of a looming tree Crono feed the whirling storm inside him, drawing it closer and closer to him as he jumped from branch to branch towards the peak of the green and brown mountain. When the branches began to sway and creak alarmingly under his weight he released the coiled power and shot upwards, a jagged flash of lightning following him till he grasped the very top of the tree and held himself, swaying back and forth, hundreds of feet in the air. Still not sated Crono drew on his power again, the ancient beast waking slowly after months of disuse.
Lifting his hand the man let his magic swarm and condense around the appendage. At first barely visible the electricity soon covered his hand in a small orb of flashing light and sharp, hissing 'pops'. Admiring the ball Crono continued to feed it, drawing more and more of himself into its depths. Soon his hair was flying wildly as the orb in his hand seemed to outshine the sun itself. Shouting the magician finally let the ball explode, jagged streaks of lightning ripping through the air around him, blasting limbs and trees into ragged pieces. The few licks of flame that ignited soon died as the well-watered trees extinguished them.
Exhausted Crono held his tight grip on the tree as he relaxed and felt his inner beast return to its disturbed slumber. Staring up at the sky the man let his mind wander. He missed a great many things, though he had gained many as well. A princess was madly in love with him, her father, the man who would have ordered him hung, quartered, or similar such fate a few years ago had graciously gave his blessing for their marriage. He, Crono Waise, was to become the prince consort, the second most powerful individual in Guardia. His feats of strength were many and widely acclaimed, though his knowledge of magic was still unknown, and he was praised for a sharp mind and just heart.
They always seemed to forget he was for all intents and purposes a mute.
His voice worked, occasionally, but the deepest and first of his scars saw that he never would use it lightly. His fathers hands had seen to that. Speaking was painful, his voice raspy and ragged when it worked at all. This lead many to assume he had been dumb in his youth, and that image had carried on for years. Lucca had saved him from that, a girl just as tormented and teased as himself for her unusual gifts, those gifts had lead to the very creation of Crono's 'voice'.
His vocal chords were damaged beyond repair, even Marle at the peak of her magical prowess had been unable to repair the twisted and maimed organ, but his fingers were nimble. For days, weeks, and finally months he and Lucca had met after school in the woods so she could create a form of communication for him. His voice would never be reliable, and he had felt that effect through the years, but to those closest to him he could be understood. His mother was the first to be taught after he had grasped the language, and he could still see her face as it broke into a smile of joy when they first exchanged a simple 'Hello'. Marle had learned some as well, once they began their adventures, but only two individual's could understand all the intricacies that Crono's fingers displayed.
One was a machine, a hulking being of terrifying power and intellect from the far distant future. A creation that could probably tear down the entire kingdom of Guardia by itself. A product created ultimately by mankind in their lust for power. The being had quickly grasped the concept and intricacies of Crono's tongue, though his own heavy hands could not replicate it. He was also one of Crono's closest companions that had joined him in a crusade through time. The cold logic of it's hardwired thinking had softened through the trials, and at the end Crono found he was more then proud to say they were friends.
The second was the inventor who taught him to be heard, if only to those who tried to listen. Her own hands, delicate yet often scratched from constant use, could talk with just as much emotion and finesse as his own. As children that had become one of their strongest bonds and they drew endless joy from holding discussions that no-one else could understand or intrude on.
What was he becoming? A figure the entire nation would look up to with awe and respect, yet he suspected that would only be till his back was turned. The tales of him were great indeed, but many would still view him as a peasant, a commoner gifted with quick hands and a strong arm, one who might have deserved a knightly title at best, but surely not one fit to rule over the nobles who ran this land and all it's wealth. He was intelligent, but many would not assume so with his disability, and written works are far to easy to forge for them to become his sole voice. He was a good man, but to rule a kingdom that was sadly not a major selling point to those already in power. Who was he to fool and blind a flighty princess with his good looks and handicap they would and did wonder.
Was that his desire?
Shrugging Crono released his grip and made his way back to the ground. Glancing over his shoulder to the castle he felt a momentary urge to return, to talk with his future wife. Her grasp of his language was still sadly lacking, they could converse in a fashion as he comprehended her words fully and she understood some of his, but the depth of them was missed more often then not. Leading to somewhat awkward catches in their talks as he had to slow down and painstakingly reform word after word.
Caught in a sudden desire for someone to talk to Crono turned his back to the castle, and instead headed south through the heart of the quiet forest. His destination far beyond it's reaches.
"Damn it... just... one.. more..." teeth clenched in frustration and strain the slender girl threw herself against the wrench again, trying to get the confounded bolt to make one last revolution. Stubbornly the metal refused to move despite her urgings. Resetting her feet the purple-black haired girl pushed with all her might. A sharp 'Twang' rang through her home as the wrench slipped and Lucca was sent sprawling past the edge of her latest creation in a heap of tangled limbs and bruised ego.
As if to torment her further with distractions there came a knock at the door as she rose, fire in her eyes and half a breath from melting the whole contraption into slag. Growling at the thrice-damned machine Lucca glanced at the clock. Who would be coming out here to the light-house at 2200?
'Who would come out here at all.' Shaking the morbid thought away Lucca picked herself up and brushed off some of the wood-dust and vainly tried to wipe the grease off her hands before striding to the door.
"I'm opening it already, hold your jets." she grumbled, fumbling with the lock as another polite set of knocks rang through the frame.
Finally freeing the deadbolt the inventor jerked the door open and stumbled back as a small bundle of orange fur was shoved right before her face. Falling back on her butt for the second time in the space of a minute she swore hotly before looking back up through her glasses at the intruder.
His hair always seemed to dance like fire when she saw him, even the splashes of mud and leaves couldn't block the brilliant red from standing out even more then her own purple hued strands. Standing there in torn pants, dirty boots, and a muddy jacket Crono smiled widely with glittering eyes as he offered the small cat in his arms towards her yet again.
"Crono!" her temper ghosted away in a flash as she scrambled back onto her feet, blushing slightly, and waved him in.
"You haven't been coming by lately, what's the occasion?" just a tiny white lie, the boy hadn't made an appearance at her house for almost a year. The had met in town a few times, and he had dragged her around despite her weak protests. Setting the cat down lightly, smile still plastered on his face Crono flexed his freed hands and began to talk.
"The castle got a little bit stuffy is all. I thought I'd take a walk and ended up near old man Johnson's house. This little guy was stuck up in a tree so I figured I'd bring him here. I don't think Jonnhy will ever forget that stunt we pulled our senior year." she'd never admit it, but Lucca loved watching Crono's hands as they practically danced. Subtle twists to his wrist and barely perceptible motions of the fingers inserting meaning and order to the otherwise random appearing movements. That she was the creator of those intricacies only made it more pleasing to see used so proficiently.
"That was totally your fault, 'I' would never have put the ignition source in his well." she replied, her own hands slightly slower as she practiced motions that she never used except with him.
"It was that or leave it out in the open!" the man protested, slipping out of his boots and closing the door behind him before heading to the couch. "I didn't want to make you start a new propellent from scratch."
"You did anyway!" she teased, using her voice instead of hands as his back was towards her.
Crono's laugh was rich, though still holding that raspy tone that always accompanied his voice, as he dropped his coat on the floor, exposing the light blue shirt he wore underneath, and lounged out on the couch. Stretching he lifted the cat that followed him the entire length of the room into his lap and then motioned for Lucca to join them.
"But I did 'try' and save it." he finished as she made her own way over the clutter of books, parts, and tools to the deep chair set next to the couch.
It was a good chair, just soft enough to sleep in (which she had on occasion) and angled just enough so that she and Crono could see each others hands without shifting their heads or bodies. When they had been just children she had set it up this way, and somehow through the years it was the only part of the house that had never been moved to make room for her creations, tools, books, or notes. It had always been special that way.
"I suppose I can give you points for that." she replied after shifting till she was comfortable. "And when will you stop dropping your clothes all over the house!" staring pointedly at the scabbard that now covered the other half of her couch as the boy simply grinned as he leaned further back and continued stroking the cat.
For a few minutes they simply sat there, enjoying a keen sense of nostalgia while the cat began to purr. Sneaking furtive glances Lucca frowned slightly at the lines that seemed to be growing along her friends face. They weren't from laughter, these creases told a story of far more hard looks and frowns then joy. Regardless he was still Crono, the tiny boy she had met in their adolescence and grew up together with. No hard lines would ever erase the quiet calm that surrounded him after their adventures, but Lucca found herself missing the open, younger Crono's features, the boy who hadn't shouldered the weight of the world and was still just a goofy teenager.
"Wheres your dad and mum off to tonight?" he asked after a time, the ticking of the grandfather clock the only noise besides the purring of the cat as it curled into a ball in his lap.
"Dad's off showing his latest wood-chipper that doubles as a household appliance for anything that requires 'Slicing, Dicing, or Mincing!'. They'll be back in a few days... unless he manages to blow up someones house!" she replied quickly, recalling a few details of the schematic that she swore her father overlooked on purpose.
"He's better then that. Though I'm sure you could have done even better." Crono praised, and Lucca felt a small tingle in her cheeks as she shifted slightly, wishing she had her helmet on to block off Crono's view of the blush.
"How's life in the castle?" she finally asked, studying the beginnings of the lines on his face again.
"A mess. The food is great, the beds are soft, and there is always something going on." he started, "Not a lot of good company for me though. Half the advisers talk around me or flat out ignore me, Marle still can't quite understand me well enough to get all my points across, but at least they try and pretend to include me in the whole running the kingdom business and aren't just dumping a shit-storm of paperwork they don't want to do on me."
Blunt and honest as always, Crono had never really seen point in lying. Most people didn't understand him anyway. Glad to see that feature had survived the gauntlet of Guardian politics Lucca sighed quietly.
"I suppose that would make anybody frustrated." she acknowledged.
"Doesn't that hurt?" he asked, indicating concern with a hook in his pinky.
"What?" she said, looking around in confusion.
Reaching over Crono took her left hand with his right and gently smoothed her fingers. Ignoring the sudden rush of butterflies in her belly Lucca tried to focus on the appendage as well. There, practically covered under a smear of engine oil, a small cut ran down the side of her index finger.
"Oh!" she stated awkwardly, "I must have scratched it while trying to turn that damn bolt." gesturing off to the pile of parts she had been assembling with her free hand Lucca tried to pry the bleeding portion of her anatomy away before she got blood on anything. Without hesitation Crono dragged her hand up to his mouth and gave the cut a long lick, grimacing slightly at the taste of the oil, then repeated the motion several times.
Her face beet red Lucca tried not to think about anything, tried to ignore how soft Crono's tongue was, how the tiny pinprick of pain was quickly washed away by his tender ministrations.
"Bolt A goes to part C, which holds the generator in place. Need more supports to firmly secure generator in place." rattling off the schematics from memory in her head to try and ignore the feeling blossoming in the pit of her stomach Lucca found the practice entirely futile as she started linking bolts and nuts to something far more vulgar. Her blush only intensified till she felt like her face would burn off.
Finally satisfied her cut wasn't bleeding anymore Crono gently set Lucca's hand back in her lap and grinned. "Spits the best cure for everything! My momma said so." he added playfully.
Almost missing the phrase in her heat haze Lucca managed to mumble, "Your momma's a quack.", somehow her uninjured hand found it's way to the cleaned finger and was slowly tracing the path Crono's tongue had cleared through the grime.
"You know damn well my mom's a genius." he replied, still with a tone of humor.
For a while after they simply sat and talked, two old friends catching back up on each others lives. She described her newest inventions, including her current problem with it's completion, and some of the town gossip. He went over more of castle life and the interplay of politics in the never ending power struggle, as well as his basic duties and assignments. They laughed and snickered, debated some of the motives of nobility, and discussing a few new ideas that Crono had come up with for bettering the kingdom. After an hour, feeling much better, Crono asked which bolt was giving her trouble.
Feeling perfectly comfortable and content Lucca motioned over towards the source of her earlier frustrations. Smoothly rising to his feet Crono deposited the cat into her lap, where it continued it's interrupted nap, before striding over to the machine. Picking up the wrench she had left laying on the workbench Crono lined up and slowly began to apply pressure to the handle. For a minute nothing happened, besides a light swelling of Crono's arm as the muscles tightened and bunched, then with a protesting squeal the nut began to move.
"One turn is good!" she shouted as an afterthought, and saw him jump. The wrench, sick, devious little bastard it was, slipped yet again and the boy went tumbling over the machine in a strangely familiar flight. With a crash Crono yelped as he smashed face-first into the floor, prompting Lucca to quickly jump to his assistance. As she rose the cat, irritated at the constant interruptions, began to whine in protest.
Stumbling over the feline Lucca managed to not fall on top of Crono as a loose piece of machinery slid under her foot, and was kneeling beside him as he rolled over and gave her a goofy grin. He had a small cut just above his eyebrow from the impact, and Lucca found herself fascinated with the brilliant red that looked almost the same shade as his hair.
"Ouch." he stated.
"Yeah I bet." she replied, trying futilely to drag her eyes back to his own.
"Did I cut my head?" he asked, running his fingers along the bruised portion of his anatomy.
"Y-yeah." she stuttered, trying not to blush.
With a growl Crono wiped a hand across his forehead, trying to pinpoint the source of his pain. After a few passes he gave up and shrugged helplessly.
'Have to stop thinking about him, stop staring at his lips, stop wanting to...' finally Lucca gave the boy a hand up before going back to fighting with her impure thoughts. 'He belongs to Marle. He's going to marry the princess.' A rocky type of balance found Lucca escorted Crono back to the couch and made him sit down.
"I'll go grab some towels." she said, turning back to catch his reply.
"That was kinda dumb of me... Should have paid more attention, don't worry bout the towels I'm not cut up that bad... Am I?" shaking her head Lucca slowly sat back down in her chair as the boy resumed trying to stem the tiny trickle with his fingers.
"You sure you don't want the towels?" she asked after another moment as Crono continued to struggle.
"No I don't want to get blood on any of your towels. I want this stupid cut to stop bleeding." he replied.
"Head injuries bleed a lot..." she mentioned, once again drawn to the boy's mouth as he tried to stem the blood. After a few more attempts Crono gave up and looked at her helplessly.
"Fine. I really didn't want to give you more laundry when it's not that bad, I know how much you love doing that." grinning he poked a finger into her side, making her squirm a little.
"I'm not ticklish anymore!" she bluffed.
"Shit!" yelping in mock terror Lucca tried to dive away as Crono launched himself into her with a flying tackle. The chair, not prepared for a force of that magnitude rolled onto it's side, spilling the friends onto the floor in a jumble of arms and legs. Still focused Crono managed to snare Lucca before she got to her feet, then dragged her down and began to run his fingers up and down her sides.
For a minute she just squirmed, biting her lip to try and keep the laughter inside. Crono knew exactly where to tickle her though, and inevitably she gave up and began to laugh as his assault continued. Smirking the boy continued for a long while, waiting until she was throughly out of breath and gasping before relinquishing his attack.
Still giggling slightly Lucca felt her whole body tingle, just a side-effect of the partial asphyxiation, it had nothing to do with her best friend lightly cradling her against his chest. Enjoying the sensation Lucca curled into a slightly more comfortable position where she could gaze into his eyes. There was laughter there, simple pleasure found in good times with good friends.
Noticing a thin streak of red along his face she lifted herself up for a better look. His cut had continued to bleed, and for all intents and purposes seemed dead-set to continue. Frowning at the blemish Lucca licked her thumb and tried to wipe away the red streak. A low rumble vibrated through her chest as Crono growled when she touched the cut.
"It won't stop bleeding." she mumbled, repeating the motion and meeting the same result.
'Maybe..' before she let her mind catch back up Lucca leaned further over and licked lightly over the cut, her tongue tingling with the taste of salt and copper and her heartbeat suddenly seeming to thunder throughout the room. A short chuckle drew her attention back to Crono's eyes as he lifted his hands before hers and began to sign.
"Told you my mom was a genius." Lucca could only roll her eyes and silently agree.
"Maybe..." she muttered though the cut seemed to agree with the boy as it halted its flow.
"All better. Right?" he asked.
Caught like a deer Lucca froze for a moment, her inner self warring. To lie and touch him again, or to be honest. Finally her better half won, and Lucca nodded before rolling off Crono's chest. Before she could get completely away the boy snagged her again and dragged her back down next to him, half-sprawled over him with his shoulder under her head. Perplex Lucca followed his eyes up to his hands where they began to dance.
"Just relax for a bit. I don't wanna get up right now. The damn couch is too far away, and you'll make me pick up the chair." chuckling herself Lucca dropped her eyes to the shirt-covered chest that lay spread out before her and tried to do as he asked. The act of relaxing was far more difficult then she imagined as his sent surrounded her, somewhat musky and carrying a tinge of pine from his woods-walking. Another rumble that vibrated through her whole body drew her attention back to his hands.
"Are you alright?" a strange question, considering they had been talking and laughing for well over an hour.
"Fine." she replied, her body betraying her as it inched a tiny bit closer to him.
"Good. I've been worried about you. Davey and the boy's are still leaving you alone right? Cause I can always come give them an earful... or something else." veiled threats and more then a touch of concern, a subtle twist that only she could see. Others might understand the words he made, but she could tell his mood, his tone, just from the tension in those long fingers.
"Of course. You know your the only boy who comes around here anymore." she admitted, somewhat sadly when she remembered his long absence.
"I figured you'd have snared some guy by now. Hell who can ignore a good-looking genius like you for long?" teasing yet consoling. Holding back a growing depression Lucca buried her face into his shoulder. How could he say that after doing it himself?
"No... No boy's seem to want anything but a girl with long legs and big breasts these days." noting the self pity in her voice Lucca almost wanted to take it back. But for the moment she wanted to be selfish, wanted Crono to feel a little bad about leaving her all alone for the better part of a year.
A light touch near her ear suddenly made her tense, scared and ready to run, but more terrified to lose the warmth that surrounded her here. When was the last time she had been held? Even just a friendly cuddle like this. Machines and science were her life, but she had learned that cold metal could never comfort her like even the simplest display of affection from another person. Slowly the fingers traced small circles behind her ear and Crono hummed quietly.
He shouldn't do that. Lucca knew how much a thing like that cost him. Laughter, chuckles, sighs, grunts, and even humming all fell into the category of things that caused him pain. Some more then others, and humming was something he had only done on one other occasion. The day she had been caught on the playground without him after they had been friends for the better part of a year.
The other boys, seeing her without him nearby, decided to take a years worth of tormenting they had been denied by his presence out all at once. That day her toy's were broken, her cheeks rubbed into the dirt, and her favorite skirt torn all at once. When Crono finally got away from the teacher who had detained him (for not speaking up in class!) he had held her, cradling her head in his lap and drawing those light circles behind her ears. When that hadn't been enough to quiet all of her tears he began to hum. Unlike the rest of his sounds Crono's hum seemed to evade the otherwise omnipresent rasp, a rich note that had finally lured her away from the dark closet she had retreated to in her mind.
Two days after Davey and his small gang had suddenly started avoiding her. Perhaps something to do with Davey's broken nose. That had set almost all the boys her age in the category 'Scared to look at her', as long as Crono had been around it was worth it, though now she was beginning to see the con's as he was drawn further and further away from her. While he was there she didn't want anything else, but his presence had become her crutch and without it she was left even more socially awkward then ever.
"You don't have too do that." she chided quietly, though deep in her heart she wished he would never stop. Never let her go, never stop that soothing gesture, and never stop the comforting rumble.
For once he ignored her completely, his hands still lightly stirring her hair, and his humming lightly rising and falling in time. Far quicker then ever before Lucca found herself drifting to sleep, all the loneliness she had been through for the year draining out and leaving her warmed completely through.
"You... should let me up. Otherwise I'll fall asleep." she whined quietly, more in protest of her own words then anything Crono was doing.
The humming drifted off, and she felt him shift and tense under her for a moment before he rolled her on top of him. Squeaking in surprise Lucca grabbed onto his broad shoulders as the boy rose to his feet, her tiny body cradled delicately in his arms. Turning the boy carried her effortlessly to her room and deposited her at the door.
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have kept you up so late. Not for something so silly. You mind if I crash on the couch for a few hours before heading back to the castle?" he was half-way turned to leave, already certain of her answer.
"Of course... You know it will almost be like when we use to do sleep-overs." she said, trying to feign excitement as the room seemed to crowd her with its chill.
"Hah! Those were good days. I miss them, we use to build cushion forts and play all night. Your dad would bring Lara down and let her watch as he played 'monster' with us way into the night." leaning back the boy closed his eyes for a moment as a wide smile graced his lips.
Smiling herself at the memory Lucca glanced over her shoulder to the dark room she hadn't slept in for two days anyway as she worked on the latest contraption. She should stay here tonight. Sleep in a real bed and wake up refreshed and ready to conquer the world. So why did the idea seem so depressing now? Crono, sensing a lack of response turned to head back to the living room. Suddenly feeling horribly alone Lucca shot out a hand and grabbed the edge of his shirt. Halting the red-head turned to regard her with his emerald eyes.
"Could we... do that again?" she asked, quiet and trembling.
"I don't see why not. Grab some blankets and I'll start construction immediately!" he replied with a smile.
Relief flooded her as Lucca nodded and scurried to bring the requested items, throwing a few pillows into the bundle as well. Tottering into the living room a few minutes later she found Crono knee-deep in cushions and throw-pillows as he started standing them up in the pattern they had decided was best years ago. Watching from the doorway for a minute Lucca focused on the intricate play of of his limbs and digits as he smoothly shifted and organized the building blocks into a small, covered fort.
"Almost done!" he signed, then paused. "I think we need more cushions. We've both grown more then a little since we did this last."
Indeed, unless they wanted to sleep with half their body stretched out on the floor. Kicking her mind into high gear Lucca started to devise a new arrangement that would better suit their now larger bodies. It was a comforting exercise, preformed in the presence of her oldest and closest friend. A minute or two later she was tossing him cushions and pillows and directing their placement, a few times he shot snarky comments or disagreed with her design. In the end it was half an hour before the cushions, pillows, and blankets were reorganized to both parties satisfaction. A row of cushions covered by a canopy of light sheets enforced by a few random tools and parts they found laying around the living room.
Practically wiggling with glee Crono quickly shucked his shirt before diving into the rickety construct. The cat followed with equal amounts of anticipation and Lucca took a moment to go change out of her oil-stained clothing into something more comfortable.
Glancing through her closet the girl felt a slight pang or regret that she had never purchased something a little more flattering. Her wardrobe was practical, created through the years with work and comfort in mind. With Crono suddenly staying over after so long she couldn't help but wish for something that would help her feel more attractive, in the end she decided it was best this way, because he would never be hers in that sense anyway. Not with the princess practically drooling over him. What could she offer that could possibly compare to the girls amazing looks, riches, and power. It was better this way, she would hate herself for stealing that bright future from the one who had earned it more then anyone.
Grabbing a pair of loose shorts and one of her dads old T-shirts she quickly changed and headed back to the fort. Today was a strange day, but one of the best she had had in far too long.
Rolling back and forth Crono adjusted and re-adjusted his long frame till he found a comfortable position, almost immediately the cat crawled up and perched on his chest, whining loudly. When petting the animal didn't placate it Crono pondered for a moment, then slapped himself on the forehead. The cat was hungry!
Swearing he would never forget to feed a pet again, though not for the first time, Crono wriggled out of the fort and clucked to the cat. As most of it's kind he encountered the cat was quick to tag along by his heels as he mad his way to the kitchen. Dragging a small saucer out from a cupboard from memory Crono slid the door to Lucca's cooler open and grinned as he spotted a small bottle of milk in the back. Grasping the container in his free hand the boy popped the lid off and took a wiff, then a quick swig of the contents. Pleased with the texture and freshness he lightly poured a sufficient quantity into the saucer as he set it before the cat.
Purring contentedly the small orange critter curled up before it's meal and began to lap up the treat as Crono re-capped the bottle and returned it to the fridge. Dusting his hands off the boy gave himself a mental pat on the back before heading back to the living room. Reaching it he heard Lucca's door open and turned in time to see her turn the corner.
Lucca was petite, a bundle of energy that seemed to run for days and days on end. His earlier question about Davey had been to try and reach the reason that energy seemed muted and dull. Scratching it up to a bad day Crono let himself appraise the girl for the first time in a year.
Everything about her was small, her entire body only coming up to his collarbone, but there was still obvious signs of their adventures in the faded scars that criss-crossed her exposed legs. The blemishes did very little to detract from the appeal of the otherwise smooth expanses of well-toned skin, and though she was short her legs looked anything but that as she walked towards him. While she didn't have a chest like Marle, Ayla, or some other women he could bring to mind it didn't do anything to detract from her figure, and the assets she did have were more then enough to give her a variety of pleasing curves hidden beneath one of her dad's old shirts.
Wide, hazel eyes, though hidden behind her large glasses he had seen them light up like stars before and he always strived to freeze those moments in his memory. She might not win beauty pageants, but no-one could say her face wasn't attractive, perhaps a tad long and narrow, but the core beauty was there. She always chopped her purple-black hair short, but was currently letting it swing just below her shoulders, and she had grown bangs that now needed to be pushed to one side to keep from interfering with her vision.
Looking back in his memories Crono compared the girl he grew up with to the one she had become and was pleased to say she was pretty. Not drop-dead gorgeous, but far and away more beautiful then the playground bullies or even himself had predicted.
Glancing at her legs again he felt a moment of sadness as he took in those scars. A total failure on his part as she had been thrown into danger multiple times on his account. Coming to save him time and time again, and though he returned the favors through the course of the adventure he hated that she was branded like him. Lucca never should have been exposed to that, he had been doomed to a hard life filled with hard choices from the start, she shouldn't have been forced to live through them as well. His fingers twitched and he wished for a moment that his magic had been capable of healing as well. He would never have let such marks last on her.
"Stop staring, your making me nervous. Like I have grease or something on me." she protested. Jumping slightly Crono realized he had been staring, at least for the six or seven steps it had taken her to reach him.
"Sorry. Guess I kinda got caught off-guard." he replied lamely. He noted a slight flush tinge her cheeks. Something that had been happening a lot since he had entered the house.
"No need to feel sorry. It was just... unexpected." she replied crouching to squirm into the fort.
'I will not stare at Lucca's ass. I will not stare at... Damnit.' cursing his male hormones Crono tried vainly to ignore her until she had slipped completely into the fort. 'She's my best friend! I will NOT make things weird.'
Confident he could approach the situation calmly and in control of his more primitive male tendencies Crono hit the lights then bent down and followed Lucca into the small shelter. There was some jumbling, some playful shoving and tickling, but eventually they managed to sort themselves into a familiar pose. Lucca once again curled up next to him as they stared up into the dark.
Crono hated the dark. It was impossible for him to communicate in it. But with just Lucca there he was able to relax. If there was only allowed to be one person in the world who understood him it would be her. He firmly believed that and loved her all the more for it. Because of that he had consistently refused to cross any boundaries with her. The chance of losing her was real and Crono knew that would be one of the greatest regrets of his life if he pushed her too far. He was also betrothed and Lucca knew that, so he trusted her to let him know if he started to cross those boundaries. That was what friends did, watched each others backs. He would do the same when she finally met the boy who caused her heart to pound, no matter how much he suspected he would want to wring the man's neck.
Musing lightly and enjoying the quiet sound of Lucca's breathing Crono gently ran his fingers through her hair. He had always loved doing that. Marle's hair was softer, longer too, but his fingers remembered the texture of Lucca's with perfect clarity. He felt confident that he could always tell it apart from any other. In response to his light stroking she had several small, content sounds, almost like one of his cats would begin purring. Enjoying the sound Crono continued to gently sift the fine strands through his fingers and rub behind her ears in smooth circles.
"If you... don't... stop.. mrrr..." he didn't need to hear the rest to put it together, yet his hand continued its lazy arcs as he felt her breathing slow through the expansion and contraction of her chest nestled against his side. More at peace here, surrounded by the smell of oil, musty books, and Lucca's fragile sent, then he had ever been in the castle Crono loosed a small sigh in his own contentment.
He could get use to this. That thought worried him slightly, though he brushed it off. He was happy, and Lucca seemed content as well. No lines had been crossed, and he would return to the castle tomorrow more refreshed then ever and tackle his workload with gusto the council had never seen before. Maybe they would let him set up a small house near the castle so he didn't have to live inside it's walls. The cold, grey sentinels would probably always make him slightly uncomfortable.
Playing with the thought he expanded it, building addition after addition. Finally filling it with himself and Lucca. Freezing he quickly scolded himself and inserted Marle. They would head to work early in the morning and return home after the work was done or put off for the next day. Then spend the night's talking and goofing off. For some reason though books kept getting left in random places, and small parts and tools began to show up in the house inside his mind.
He tried to imagine Marle building something, but the attempt just wouldn't work. He also realized that as the Queen she would need to be protected. Hidden away inside the walls and within easy reach of her subjects when a crisis occurred to guide and direct them. She would get out of the castle, that she had demonstrated through the years, but in the end her place was there. Sighing Crono let the fantasy of his own house fade. He was going to marry her, and maybe that would be enough to shake the penetrating chill of the castle, though deep down in places he didn't want to acknowledge he suspected otherwise.
What would he do? Running a kingdom was a daunting task at the best of times, and while it was not a particularly volatile time (he had lived through some.) Crono tried to think of all the things that he would be held partly or fully responsible for. The small piles of paperwork for each task began to pile up in his mind, higher and higher until he understood a bigger office would most assuredly be required. Marle would do her best to help him with the forms, he didn't doubt that, but her somewhat oblivious nature would force him to check what she had done to make sure nothing had been... slipped in while they weren't looking.
He was not a coward, though he wouldn't claim he was the bravest man alive either. He had stared down horrors from many times and places and always managed to move forward. He had been killed by a demi-god and brought back to life only to challenge his killer again. Yet those imaginary stacks of paper began to frighten him more then anything else.
How many lives could he ruin with a single stroke of a pen? One missed word or sentence. He could find lawmen who understood the text of decrees and could explain them in more common style, but how could he trust them not to perhaps not mention something to help forward their own agendas. He had seen it happen, and the nightmare that it evoked in trying to repeal the documents. The Kings word was the ultimate law, even if they were on paper. There were many steps along the way to making documents that changed the kingdom to insure such mistakes were caught early, but if they made it all the way through the same, tedious, daunting task would loom over any changes that became needed.
He was a fighter, and knew he would dive head-long into the mess and do his absolute best to never make a mistake. Unfortunately he still made mistakes, a vivid reminder having been displayed only a short while ago as he took in the scars that decorated his friend. If he screwed up this time it wouldn't be scars. It would be jobs, his citizens, relations with other countries, and his personal reliability to the people that would take the blow.
'Indeed, the pen is far mightier then the sword.' a quote Lucca had told him back in the days when all he wanted was to be a knight, a hero to the people. He had scoffed at the time, but now understood all to well how much more destructive one pen-stroke of his could be then all his other considerable powers.
Feeling himself becoming frantic Crono latched onto the only thing he could to steady himself. The rhythmic breathing of the girl... woman beside him. Finally feeling his mind calm as he focused on listening to every breath she took, committing the soothing sounds and sensations to memory. He felt her stir slightly and relaxed his grip from the tight claws it had become. A wordless note of comfort was his reward. Sighing again the boy stared up into the dark and tried not to think of what the morning would bring.
If only he could stay like this forever.
Well this is my first attempt at a truly more 'Romantic' story. I've had Crono and Lucca on the brain for a while now and needed to get something out. I'm mostly worried about Lucca's character, she is somewhat more needy and timid then I was expecting, but I was able to rationalize it a bit (at least to myself, you guys and gals will be the ones to let me know if I actually succeeded.) and she will brighten up once Crono starts coming around more often.
Crono is terrified. Yes he's going to inherit a kingdom and his kids will be the next ones to rule. Honestly I don't think that's something someone just accepts. Perhaps at first but after the first year or so Crono is now fully realizing what he will be responsible for and feels like he is lacking. He could forge a path ahead, but doing so may crush more lives then he has ever really held in his hands at one time (sure he fought Lavos, but then it was just him and six other people, or two depending on how you envision it, if they failed nothing serious changed in their time. Now he can crush hundreds of peoples dreams with one swipe of a pen.) so he is having his doubts and trying to gain space to consider his course of action.
Didn't touch on Marle much, but I won't demolish her character just cause she's not my favorite (I was somewhat negative this chapter, but these are all flaws that were demonstrated in the game.)
Thoughts on my solution to Crono's lack of talking in the game?
A few authors that have particularly inspired me to finally do a CT story: Unbalancedninja, Myshu, and Gibson18. If you liked this (or didn't) I would strongly suggest checking out some of their work as well.
Crono's last name is 'Orphan' in German. I'll let you stew on that one for a bit though.
So your thoughts and comments would be very much appreciated. Particularly concerning personalities. Thank you for reading and I'll try and get another chapter or two up in the near future (though now that I've got this out I should really go update the rest of my stories as well .).
Edit: added a brief addition at the beginning to explain the different forms of talking or thinking.