Space, Time, and Death Chapter 1
"There are many ways of breaking a heart, stories are full of hearts being broken by love, but what really breaks a heart is taking away its dream."
Magus gasped, barely able to make out the red of his blood against the blue background of his hair before blackness took him. He felt as if he were dreaming, but he thought he could make out the sounds of battle, the clash of swords and chanted spells weaving past him, although he could not guess their source or how they came to him. He was not aware of time, but eventually he became aware of his breathing, that he raised himself, that his eyes had opened and the sight, once again, of his red blood and blue hair. There was also a glimmer of magic fading--a sparkle on the edge of glass as the small, long tube that had held a full tonic lost its magic and again became breakable. He raised his head--there were his allies of convenience, engaged with Lavos. Alfador knealt his side.
He shouldn't worry for her, knowing full well that she could not be broken while locked with Schala's feline spell. But for a moment he wondered, before regaining himself completely and returning to the immediate, to battle.
The last time he had met Lavos, he proved no match. He was left with nothing but the fading image of his sister, her face drained of vitality and her violet hair undone by Lavos' pull. That seemed ages ago, now, but the scene had burned itself into his memory and would not be erased. More than that, the memory was pecking at him like a buzzard, trying to see if his brain were still active, with no reaction. On it pecked and his brain could not find the connection, could not rise itself on its arms, although occassionally, it twitched.
After fighting Lavos, though, his memories seemed to reach out to each other and share their vitality. As one they rose, and punched him in the face.
Frog polished the Masamune to put himself at ease. He smiled slightly, content with having done the impossible. But, for the same reason incontent, for this meant a parting of ways. He was impatient to return to Queen Leene and protect her, as he had promised, but it had been so comforting to be around them all this time, to be accepted by this group, these friends.
A familiar small, furry presence knead into his back.
"Be that feline for, 'why doth thou pet the sword, when there be I?'" He smiled. He extended a hand slightly, and, as always, Alfador lept straight into the crook of his arm.
He raised a hand to pet her, but she bit the end of his finger, almost taking the leather off. He had forgotten. He pulled off his glove and pet her without protest this time. She didn't care about the coldness of his hand, but gloves she would not tolerate.
Here was another companion that would be gone, ere long... it was not comparable to the loss of the others with whom he had struggled side by side, but the loss of the cat sleeping under his cape, or twining around his legs to remind him when he got off course seemed symbolic of everything he would miss.
He continued petting Alfador as though nothing were wrong, looking up an instant before Magus turned the doorknob. Magus' presence was obvious not only because of his strong ki and magic aura, but because it was a presence branded on Frog's mind. His tolerance still wore thin without the others there.
"Amazing, you still treat her like that." Magus flicked the door away distainly, entering. "I did tell you she's a person, didn't I?"
"I am aware," said Frog. He stopped petting, and Alfador nuzzled his hovering hand. "But she is a person who acts remarkably like a cat."
Alfador looked up at him. She might have grinned, but as a cat she always grinned.
"Alfador, come." said Magus. He held out a hand. Alfador nuzzled as best she could into the crevices between Frog and his armor.
"Even the average cat would not respond to such." said Frog, smiling and stroking her ears.
She mewed innocently, a halo above her head.
"Ano..." Frog looked confused. "How dost she do that?"
"I knew it..." Magus ignored Frog's protests, catching the cat by the scruff of her neck and hauling her out of the tent. She made wailing noises that sounded suspiciously like swearing.
"All right." He found a clearing in the woods away from the others and threw her down in a motion that was half a light drop. "No more of this. Bring Schala here. Now."
Alfador turned her head to one side inquistively and flicked an ear.
Magus closed his eyes in restraint and slowly drew in a breath. His ear flicked as well--there was a sound almost like swords clashing and a shadow was instantly upon him.
He stepped back slowly, giving the Epoch more room to land than it needed. There was no one visible driving it--but he alone of the group realized that Epoch was more than capable of driving itself.
It landed softly with the noise of a golf club hitting dirt.
He stepped forward cautiously ... looking to Alfador, he found her wiping her face with a paw and ignoring Epoch and himself entirely. He approached--Epoch's canope opened of its own will. He glanced within.
In the back slept an Enlightened one. The Zealian dress was unmistakeable, a purple robe of soft materials, magic user written all over its demeanor in neat little ancient cursive. To the slightest degree it offset the baby sky blue hue of the long, flowing hair wrapped around the girl's neck like a scarf.
He stared at the shut eyelids a moment. He had demanded it. Here she was.
Were things supposed to be this simple...?
He didn't know what was supposed to come next. He reached out a hand and was mystified to find it brushing his sister's cheek, moving a stray lock from her face.
He was frightened, for a moment, that she wasn't moving. But that was absurd--he could feel her ki, slight though it was because of her sleeping, and her breath sighed softly against the Epoch's interior. He listened to it for a while.
"Alfador, become human."
He didn't look back at her. His eyes were still locked on Schala's closed eyelashes. Eventually he glanced over his shoulder, and there she was. It was like a picture from his childhood, his oldest memories when he was five years old. Her violet hair was tied up in that odd ponytail of hers, her dress was identifiable as Zealian but also looked ready to take a lot of romping around in, her face still sported the maddening, impish grin that he suddenly realized was all too cattish.
It was like a picture, but it promptly moved.
"Hey, Schala-samaaa!!" She landed beside Magus in a single, Frog-like hop. "Time for all good princesses to rise and shine!"
Schala mumbled and tossed a little.
Magus panicked. "You... you...!"
"Don't you just love me?" said Alfador.
"Not at this particular moment, no!"
"Alfie...?" Schala rubbed her eyes and pulled herself up a little. Magus flinched.
"Methinks he dinnae like that nickname." said Alfador.
"Who...?" Schala's eyes locked onto Magus'. He began making scary, harddrive crashing noises.
Schala broke her gaze, though Magus did not. She looked around and yawned. "Where am I?"
"1000 A.D., Schala-sama."
"Um..." Alfador stopped grinning for a brief moment with the effort of doing math. "It's 13,000 years after the fall of Zeal."
Schala blinked. "Oh."
"Wuh... wuh... wuh..."
"Is he all right?" Schala raised a blue eyebrow at the vampiric figure.
"He'll be fine." Alfador caught Magus by the crook of his arm and helped Schala out of the Epoch with her free hand. "Let's go surprise the others, shall we?"
The others were terribly surprised, though the shock was not at all helped by Alfador entering with a loud cry of "Make way for Schala-sama, Princess of Zeal! Cute, perky and SIIN-GLE!"
"That's enough, Alfador." said Schala, blushing.
"Schala...! You're all right!" Marle embraced the wistfully-smiling figure with what can unfortunately only be described as "glee".
"Lady Schala..." Frog smiled.
"What? Lady come back?" Ayla looked back and forth between Schala, Magus and the unknown person.
"Whiddget... whadda... hema... gd...d....vuhh..."
"Is he gonna be okay?" Lucca adjusted her glasses to better see the sight of Magus, Prince of Zeal, Leader of the Mystic Forces, Tall, Dark and Dumbfounded.
"Whuhhhkkk?! Alfador!! HOW?!!!"
"Brain system back online, we have confirmation." Alfador laid a hand reassuringly on Magus' shoulder and just barely got it back.
"'How' is a good place to start." said a mystified looking Crono, sitting down and ushering the others to follow suit.
"I think I know the how..." said Magus, calming himself. "What about the where and the why?"
"I've already explained as much as I could to Schala without her... well, doing whatever you're doing." She gestured at Magus. "But I might as well tell you all the short version..."
She drew in a big breath.
"Sleep," said Alfador, turning serious, "Is the home of us Dreams. It functions on a time scale separate from this world's--so that even though I have been locked in cat form for only a few years and Masa and Mune have been quested after for centuries, I am still the older. This is what let Kah Ray--the Black Omen, as you know him--appear to exist simultaneously from his creation to the end of time. He somehow enveloped himself with a portion of Sleep--"
"The Black Omen was a person...?" Lucca said.
Alfador nodded. "A creation of Lavos, through the Queen. Because we dreams only exist because of dreamers, the death of Lavos and the Queen caused him to dissappear in all times, rather than just crashing like a normal object."
"Get to the point." said Magus. "You brought Schala there...?"
"Right!" She grinned again. "Humans can go to Sleep if they wish. When you used Trigger to stop time, it took me only an moment to confirm her wish to leave, take her to Sleep, have her unlock me from my cat form, change into her form and take her place."
Magus nodded to himself. Alfador, no longer restrained, would have no trouble getting herself out of the Black Omen.
"I see..." said Frog. "As the underground palace may be the Black Omen, and Masa and Mune becometh children, mystic or sword..."
"Mystic?" Alfador looked perturbed. "That's our base form. No distinguishing features, no gender, easy to maintain."
"That is the how and the where," said Magus. "The why--?"
"Eh?" said Alfador. "Well, I rather like Schala-sama..."
"Why hide her this whole time?"
"Ah, well..." Alfador steepled her hands and studied them. "I rather like being a cat, you know? People don't try to kill you or talk behind your back. If they notice you, they just pet you."
She was met with silence.
"It's very relaxing..." she said.
Schala laughed. "Don't worry, Alfador. I haven't been gone all that long... it's not really a big deal."
Alfador glanced at Schala, as if noticing something.
"He's not dead, y'know," she said quietly.
They glanced at each other. Magus' breathing seemed very loud.
"I had no doubt, Alfador." Schala seemed, nonetheless, reassured. "You wouldn't act so casual if he were."
"Actually, I just might!" Alfador's grin was back. "After all, I only need you around to survive, an' he was kind of getting on my nerves..."
Magus glared at her. Schala just shook her head, smiling.
"But there's something wrong here..." Alfador abruptly turned serious again. "It is..." But it didn't last long. "--I haven't welcomed you all yet!"
She hugged Schala princessly, under the arms. "Schala-sama!! I missed you so much! We must have a slumber party! That is what girls do, isn't it?"
She tackle-hugged Magus. "J--Magusu-sama!! Don't growl at me! It's not attractive! What happened to your ears and eyes? They're not attractive either!"
She hugged Marle around the neck. "Marle-sama!! Are you and Crono-sama getting married? Don't think I haven't noticed! I wouldn't rush into it, there might be better! You are a princess!"
She hugged Crono 'round the waist. "Crono-sama!! You're looking flustered. You need a cough drop? Doreen gets them, don't ask me how, maybe it's better if you don't!"
She tried to get her arms around Robo. "Robo-sama!! Can I see the future?! I think that's where Doreen gets things! I really wanna know! But she can't time travel, an' Epoch's mad at me, 'cause I call him 'Wot', but then, she does too!"
She hugged Ayla lightly. "Ayla-sama!! You neat chick! Me digs! Oooo, I know you and Kino-sama must get married! He's so cute! Don't hurt him!"
She knocked Lucca over. "Lucca-sama!! Don't kill Crono-sama before his wedding day! You're his best friend, you get to be best man! ...maybe bridesmaid?"
She tapped Frog on the head, then hugged his human form. "Glenn-sama!! Maybe you get to be the best man? I get to be the best Dream! Masa and Mune can't come! They'll eat everything!"
They made no attempt to hide their surprise. Nevermind how easily Alfador thought it, seeing the small statured anthropomorphic amphibian suddenly turn into a tall, medieval young man was not a routine sight. Everyone gaped--though Lucca seemed to be gaping for some other reason.
"Jeez Louise, what a hunk." said Lucca, confirming the reason.
Glenn looked dazed a moment, then promptly fell over.
"Uh, it takes a while to get used to the balance..." Alfador brightened. "I wanna hug everyone again!"
"No thank you." said Magus through his teeth.
"I'm... human..?" Glenn stared at his hands. That really didn't help, because they were gloved. He removed one, just to be sure. His hand was white--probably from too much glove wearing.
"Does this mean I'm getting petted?" said Alfador.
"Ah... no." said Glenn. "Thank you..."
"Eh...?" Alfador glanced over her shoulder to look for the person he was talking to, then shrugged. "I just didn't want to bend over to hug ya. I've a bad back... too much bowing, probably."
"You do bow a lot." said Schala, smiling.
Alfador look startled, then bowed on one knee before her Princess. "My apologies... I'm too informal. Your orders, Hime-sama?"
Schala knit her blue eyebrows. "First, don't do that."
"Second..." she looked wistful. "...bring me my brother."
"It hast been a long day..." Glenn interrupted, having recovered and now in a very charitable mood. "Perhaps we should confront our new tasks in the morn...?"
Crono smiled, since he was almost always in a charitable mood. "I second that! I can't wait to hit the sack..."
"I think I'll stay up." said Schala. "Sleep is very... uh..."
"I took the song off, didn't I?"
"Humans need to talk to people, Alfie." said Schala. "And, besides you, the dreams don't seem very talkative..."
"Odd, I can never seem to get them to shut up. Ah, I know! They all like and respect you."
"That's nice to know." Her face still held that lonesome smile. She turned to look out the window, perhaps so she could let it go.
They each cleaned up and went to bed. Alfador changed back to cat form, but for some strange reason no one seemed inclined to let her sleep on their feet tonight. So, Schala pet her absentmindedly, staring out the window, eyes on the stars.
Notes: I've changed Chrono Trigger's plot up to this point a bit--namely, Alfador leaves Zeal with the group and guides them around. She helps out by, say, pushing certain switches at Ozzie's fort and other such stuff. It wasn't enough of a difference for me to bother typing up. She's good for moral support, too. I chose to make Alfador a girl 'cause originally she and Doreen were to be the same person. And yes I know I'm contradicting Chrono Cross and I don't care. ^_^; Also, since I'm an otaku I'll be using a lil Japanese, but I'll put the meanings at the end. In this chapter, -sama means Lord or Lady (it's an honorific denoting high respect) and hime means princess. I suppose I coulda just said Princess-sama or my lady princess, but it's more fun this way. Ki is fighting/life force. Use the force, Luka! Er, bad joke...
Chrono Trigger Fanfic