Chrono Continuum Chapter 42

All's Fair...

By Cain

Hello, readers. It's come to my attention that many (or at least some) of you have written to IcyBrian, to convince him to let me write a story over fifty chapters. You should know that the issue is resolved. His advice was to go over fifty, in fact. As such, please leave him alone. But feel free to send me any further opinions you have on my story.


1002 AD

"Well," Rakin stated, stifling a yawn, "I think it's about time to hit the sack."

Hotwire and Lauren simply nodded in response, their eyes drooping. For the last half-hour, Rakin had been telling parts of his adventure, and about the other Time Travelers (leaving out Lucca) and they had been telling him what they knew about the Kingdom, which wasn't much. He didn't know much more now than he already did, except that the Kingdom was technologically advanced in the future.

Rakin stood, and walked over to the fire, which was already dying down. Looking around, he saw that Hotwire and Lauren were already asleep. Turning back to the fire, he stomped it out, to make sure it wouldn't start a forest fire. He waited for a moment, for his night vision to kick in. Once it had, he walked over to the pile of leaves he'd gathered, and settled down. In a moment, he was fast asleep.


"You can't win, Rakin..."

Rakin turned around. Nothing. He was surrounded by darkness, standing on darkness. The voice echoed throughout the nothingness, taunting him.

"You can't win," the voice repeated, causing Rakin to spin around again. This time, he saw something. A vague form, as black as his surroundings, but somehow visible. The form spoke again, chilling Rakin to the bone, "It's a matter of power. I have it. You have it. Your friends don't. My allies do. Even if you survive this foolish quest, your friends will all die. Believe me, I know."

Rakin had had enough of this person's doomsaying. "What do you know? Who are you?"

"Why, Rakin, isn't that obvious? I am Valiod, your nemesis... and your friend. Will you not join me?"

"Are you... are you the Almighty One?"

Valiod laughed. "You are as intelligent as I had hoped. My ranks would be much improved with you among them."

"What do you want with me... With us?"

"Only you... Your friends are of little use to me, save the Magus perhaps. But you are the key."

"I'll never help you, no matter the reason."

Valiod laughed, as if Rakin had just said the dumbest thing he had ever heard. "Oh, you will, young prince... Whether you know it or not..."


Same Time


Rakin sat upright, in a cold sweat. He looked around, panting. Someone had called his name. He jumped when the voice came again.

"Rakin, are you alright? You were crying out 'No' in your sleep. I came over to check on you."

Rakin sighed as his night vision adjusted, and he saw who had come to check on him. "Lauren. I'm fine. Just a nightmare." He sat up against a nearby tree. "What are you doing up? Was I that loud?"

Lauren shrugged. "I'm a light sleeper. And..."


"I had a nightmare myself. I'm not very good at falling back asleep once I wake up. It takes me a while."

Rakin nodded. "Okay. Do you mind if I try to go back to sleep?"

At the shake of Lauren's head, Rakin thanked her, and lied back down. He closed his eyes, and began to drift off... "Rakin?"

Rakin's eyes opened. "Yes, Lauren?"

"Thank you."

"For what," Rakin asked sleepily.

"For... saving me... back there. I... I knew those guys. They were trouble, everyone knew... I didn't tease them or anything... I guess I was in the wrong place when they got hopped up."

Rakin didn't know what "hopped up" meant, but he had an idea. "No problem... I would've done the same for any damsel in distress."

There was silence then, and Rakin thought Lauren had accepted that as the end of the conversation. She hadn't. "Rakin?"

Rakin sighed. "Yes, Lauren?"

"Have you ever... been with a girl?"

"Isn't that question a bit personal?"

"Sorry... just wondering..." She sounded hurt.

Rakin sighed again. "No, Lauren... I haven't. Why?"

"Well... Neither have I."

Rakin raised an eyebrow, although she couldn't see it. "Why are you telling me this?"

"Have you ever wanted to?"

Rakin sat up. He turned to see Lauren sitting at the edge of his makeshift bed. "Well... why do you ask?"

"Well, Rakin," she began, "I'm... feeling lonely tonight." She reached up to her neck and undid a button on her sweater.

"Whoah, whoah, whoah, there," Rakin almost shouted at her. "What do you think you're doing?"

"Rakin... I... want you," she replied, as she began to undo another button.

Rakin made a stopping gesture with his hands, although it was probably hard to see in the dark. Only now did Rakin realize he could see perfectly in the darkness. Ignoring that new ability, he told her, "You don't have to do this. Really. I didn't save you in return for a reward. Like I said, I'd have done it for anybody. Even a guy." He tried to chuckle, but it didn't happen.

Her hands began to move more quickly. There were a lot of buttons on that sweater, but she was undoing them with record speed. "It's not like that, Rakin. Really. I want you." She scooted closer to him.

Rakin scooted away. "This isn't... Lauren, I... why... just stop, Lauren," he told her firmly.

His words were completely ignored. She finally undid the last button and began to slip off the sweater. Rakin quickly grabbed the sides and yanked it back onto her shoulders. She simply smiled, and reached to his own shirt, started trying to get it off him. Finally, he told her forcefully, "Stop, Lauren. This isn't the time or place, and... I know it might seem right to you, but... You're in shock. Yeah. Shock. You're just looking for comfort and... relaxation, but this won't do anything."

This time she obviously heard his words, but tried to ignore them. "But, Rakin, even if it is that, I don't care. Come on. I need this. You want this, I know you do. Can't you just enjoy this one night, and forget about the troubles of the world for as long a time as your endurance can hold out?" She leaned forward, and kissed him, passionately. Rakin's eyes closed, and he sank to his back, with her on top of him. It would be fine. What could happen. Even if it wasn't love, wasn't he entitled to this one small thing if he was going to save the world? His eyes snapped open.

"NO," he yelled, and pushed her off of him. He stood up, and looked down at her on the ground, at her hurt expression. "No, Lauren. I'm sorry. It's just not right. It's not. Maybe when this is all over... maybe... I don't know. But here, now, it's just not right. Can't you see," he pleaded with her.

Her gaze turned to the ground, and she stood up. She picked up her sweater, which she had somehow discarded during the kiss, and put it on. She didn't even bother to button it up. He reached out to put a hand on her shoulder, but she reached up with surprising speed and slapped it away. She finally looked at him, her eyes filled with tears, and anger as well. "Oh, I can see alright. What's the matter? Is a girl who you found on the street not good enough for a prince? I take it that a thief is, then? What's worth rejecting me that she has? Do you just like the tin foil suit? Or does the metal hand turn you on?"

"No, Lauren, it's not-"

"The hell it isn't! I'll tell you something, Prince Rakin. You'll regret that. That's a promise." And she stormed off into the forest, fists clenched. Rakin took a step to go after her, but a voice stopped him.

"Don't bother. She'll be back in the morning." Rakin felt a metal hand on his shoulder. "And when she gets back, it'll be almost like it never happened, except a bit of a cold shoulder. If you try to say something, she'll find a way to quickly change the subject. But one night, when she feels too lonesome to care about morals again, she'll try it again. Who knows, she might even try the 'Make the boy jealous' trick."

Rakin turned around, and looked at the thief. A small white roll of paper was sticking out the side of her mouth. It was smoking. (This is a cigarette, by the way) "How long were you watching?"

Hotwire shrugged. "Pretty much the whole time."

He sighed. "I did do the right thing... Don't you think?"

Hotwire leaned against a tree. "I think you're just about the most foolish male alive."

Rakin glanced at her in surprise. "What?"

"Do you know how many guys would kill to get a woman all over him like that? Let me tell you from personal experience that the number is far higher than you or I could count."

"But, she was vulnerable. It wouldn't have been right."

"I agree, Rakin. And I respect you for it. But don't go spreading the story around like that. It might get you a reputation."

Rakin nodded, and sat down against his tree. Hotwire flicked away the smoking roll of paper, and sat down against hers. He glanced at her, and smiled. "You know what, Hotwire?"


"You may have the name Hotwire, and you may wear a skin-tight suit, and you may have long hair, but I've got to tell you something. You are the biggest tomboy I have ever met."

Hotwire chuckled. Then her expression turned serious. "So, was she right?"

Rakin looked perplexed. "About what?"

She held up her metal hand, and flexed the fingers a few times. "Does it turn you on?"


"Don't you ever have a thought that originates above your waist?
-The two main characters of the movie "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels". (I couldn't find a quote.)


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