Of Magic and Mayhem Chapter 4

Becoming a Royal Pain

By CuteLucca and Ghost

“The purpose of life is to fight maturity.”

-Dick Werthimer

Jacious walked straight toward the throne room, letting Lucca led the way.  He was too caught up with being in an actual castle... a castle with over 1000 years of history.  I must be dreaming...truth exists in dreams...green tea....

As she knew the way and the castle inside and out, Lucca pretty much ignored her surroundings. However, she seemed quite amused by Jacious' reaction and periodically glanced back to make sure he hadn’t stopped to ogle some maid’s breasts or admire a painting for too long.

Jacious paid Lucca’s glances no mind as he ran his hand along a wooden banister.  “Spotless...I should have brought my laptop instead of leaving it in my pack...I could be recording everything.”  He did a three-sixty.  “Even the walls look like they haven't been altered to look younger.  They look as old as the castle, but contrarily clean.”

“This castle has been constantly inhabited for about 700 years. Regular maintenance keeps it in good shape.”  Lucca looked around a bit, as though rediscovering the castle. “And while architecture isn't my thing... I do like this place.”

Jacious nodded slowly as they neared the throne room.  “Well, some castles back in my time haven't been kept up. Those that are...they're masterpieces of the Medieval ages.”

Lucca turned around, a look of disbelief on her face, “Why wouldn't you keep up a castle? I mean, they're massive, expensive, defensible and versatile. Give them a few upgrades and additions every hundred years or so and you've got a valuable property.  People would climb all over each other for the chance to live here in Guardia castle.”

Not knowing the exact details, he shrugged.  “They were abandoned, and where I come from, we have better security than castles. Not only that, we don't have one actual ruler where I come from.  Hell, royalty almost doesn't exist!”

Lucca tapped her chin in thought, intrigued by those words.  “Hm. A different form of government? Communistic like 65,000,000 BC, or technocratic like 1999? Otherwise... it's all been monarchy throughout the history of this world.”

He rubbed his chin, considering this.  Apparently, the people here did not have much trouble with government as his world did.  “Only those, eh? We have what is called a Republic...a government whose rulers are elected by the people. It's not a bad system actually, though things can be rough, but who said anything was ever easy?”

Interested but short on time, Lucca replied, “You'll have to tell me more about it later. For now... the royal family awaits.”  With a smile, Lucca bypassed the throne room entirely and knocked twice on a small wooden door in a dark corner near the back.

Crono’s voice came from behind the door.  He sounded like he was trying not to laugh in pleasure.  “Just a second!”  There was much shuffling and giggling heard within.

Jacious stared at the door, a bit perplexed by the sounds he heard.  “Were they doing...what I think they were....umm...doing?”  They wouldn't would they? Stupid, they are married after all.

Lucca shrugged and said nothing, but her face darkened. It seemed that Crono was still a bit of a sore subject for her.  She turned to the door, “Don't worry guys, it's me. And I brought someone you should meet.”

Jacious cleared his throat a bit red from embarrassment, “Never mind...forget I asked.”

Marle called from behind the door, “Oh! Lucca! We haven't heard from you in a while!”

After a moment the door opened, revealing the flashing smile of none other than Crono himself. He wore his regular citizen’s clothing, always keeping himself part of the working class of Truce, although they were a bit disheveled as though he’d hurriedly put them on.  “Lucca! So glad you could drop by!”  He pulled her into an embrace.

Jacious stared, blinking once.  He does look just like Goku... it's scary...

Lucca hugged Crono back, a bit awkwardly.  “Yeah, hi, Crono, Marle. I'd like you to meet Jacious, here. He's... a bit of an anomaly.”

Marle nodded her head once by way of acknowledgement.  “Nice to meet you, Jacious. Are you Lucca's...” she giggled in a way only Marle could, “...boyfriend?”

Jacious’ face instantly turned a shade of red that could  be matched only by the color of Dreamstone.  “WHAT!!! Me and her?”  Hesitantly, he added, “Please, I'd rather defuse a nuclear bomb with five seconds remaining.”

Lucca flushed crimson yet again, but she bit her tongue, casting a searing look at Jacious.  To Marle, she said, “Please ignore him. He hasn't had his medication yet today.”

Marle made a worried face, “...Oh, okay...”  She stepped back from Jacious.

Jacious crossed his arms, a bit perturbed.  “Lucca...I don't need medication.”  He turned to Marle to rectify Lucca’s claim.  “Please don't listen to her...I'm afraid she's hit her head one too many times on Epoch's canopy today.”

Crono kept his grin, a small chuckle escaping his lips.  “Anomaly, eh? Would you care to talk in the kitchen downstairs?”  He leaned in, his voice sinking in volume, “or is this a more hush-hush matter we should take inside our room?”

Lucca replied in the same tone, “Definitely hush-hush. If you don't mind...”

Crono nodded, making an inviting gesture.  “Please come in then.”  His face was serious as he nodded Lucca through the door. “I suppose this is something serious, to affect you this way.”

Marle beckoned them into the room, kind and inviting as ever, “Please, make yourselves at home. I'll go get some drinks.”  Gracefully, she moved from the room into an adjoining chamber.

Jacious looked down, pondering.  I'm gonna get a kamehamea if I'm not careful...  He grinned as he stepped inside.  “Thanks for the hospitality, man. I really appreciate it.”

Lucca frowned, “This IS the king you're talking to, remember…”

He shrugged, not bothering to turn to Lucca, “I'm not used to kings remember? Besides, it's hard to believe they even would want to be called royalty given Marle's reluctance in even wanting to be called Nadia…” he covered his mouth, “crap....”

After examining the stranger, Crono turned his attention to Lucca.  “I'm guessing he isn't from this time line?”  He glanced back at Jacious, “because he sure doesn't dress it.” He crossed his arms, “And he does know a bit...”

Lucca groaned, shaking her head.  In an annoyed tone, she scolded Jacious. “You see now why I didn't want you talking to anyone.”

Jacious looked down a bit, muttering, “Sorry, but this IS Crono...”

Lucca nodded, “Right. Crono is fine. But Joe civilian out on the street hasn't seen as much as Crono has.  If you let anything escape, you could be in a large amount of trouble.”

Marle returned with four cups of a pungent-smelling tea, “Have I missed anything?”

Crono nodded, finally taking a seat.  “Just that we do have an anomaly on our hands.”  He kept his eyes on Jacious the entire time.  He looked to Lucca expectantly, “and Lucca was about to tell us all about it, right Lucca?”

Lucca looked to Jacious for a moment, her expression undecipherable. Finally she sat down and addressed her hosts, “Essentially, what it boils down to, is that Jacious, here, was some sort of observer to the whole battle against Lavos.”  She nodded in Jacious’ direction, “He says we were in some sort of... game in his world, and he could actually control us and our actions.   Obviously, I have considerable difficulty believing him, because he would be Fate if this were true.  And I doubt Fate would be nearly so...”  She sized him up, “unimpressive.”

Jacious waved his hands in the air, grabbing the room’s attention, intending on clearing up a point.  “I wasn't controlling actions! You got that all wrong!  It was nothing more than a computer program whose story was based on your adventure...”  He glared to Lucca.  “Hey wait a minute...you're no supermodel yourself.”

Crono blinked, his eyes on Jacious, “That's a bit farfetched indeed.”

Lucca crossed her arms with a hmph.  “Well, you seemed to like staring at my butt enough.”

Crono managed to smirk at their conversation. “Are you sure you're not an item?”

Lucca turned red, having momentarily forgotten Crono and Marle were in the room as well.  Marle snickered at Crono's words.  The royal couple didn’t know whether to take this emergency to heart, especially with the way the two seemed to “get along so well.”

Jacious crossed his arms, mimicking Lucca.  “Well when it's right in front of my face, it's hard NOT to stare.”

Crono leaned forward and whispered to Lucca, “You know, he might be your type...you guys act like you're married.”

Lucca ground her teeth hissing, “We are NOT an item!  Shut up! You know I can't...I don't...”  She fell silent.

“Umm,” Jacious looked around the group, “hey, did I miss something here?”

Marle cleared her throat. “Well, Jacious, is it? Why don't you tell us YOUR side of the story?”

Crono nodded, leaning back in his chair, taking Marle's hand.  “Wes, we'd love to hear it.”

“Err...” he rubbed the back of his head, “Well...should I go back to my childhood or maybe not that far back...”  Looking to Lucca for help, he asked, “Would they even understand it?”

Lucca sat back, face blank again, eyes locked on Crono and Marle's interlocked hands. Hearing Jacious' question, she replied, “They've dealt with all the time travel and strangeness I have. Tell them.”

Jacious agreed and turned to the royal couple but not before noticing that look in Lucca's eyes.  He had seen something similar in high school, among girls who saw their boyfriends go out with other girls after they broke up.  He knew it all too well since he had been the person they'd talk with to cope.  However, he seemed to be little more than en ear to complain to, and he never got any dates for his trouble.

Clearing his throat and stifling his thoughts, he began.  “Well...I was born in the kingdom of Zeal...approximately 12004 BC. When Lavos attacked in 12000 I fell through a gate that took me to another world...a world in which you became a video game.  Of course, I had no recollection of this place...I hit my head when I landed and lost my memories, taking the name Patrick Simmons as my own.”  He made sure they were following before continuing.  “When I was sixteen, I played a game released in 1995AD of my world for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System Platform...this game was called Chrono Trigger.”

Marle frowned, “So, like Magus, you were pulled through a gate to... not just another time, but another world.”

Jacious nodded his head, “Yes...something like that, Marle.  I played it through...and when I got to Zeal, I began to have flashes of memory and dreams about it. I thought they were just game-induced dreams, but they were so vivid, and I saw my parents there too....so I knew...”  He gave a smile, feeling proud of his heritage, though not of its recent history, “I was a Zealot, which explained my blue hair.  Because of this, I studied Science and, in short, found a way to come back on a one-way trip.”

Lucca crossed her arms.  “Or you could just be psychotic.”

Jacious gave a half smile.  “Hmm... and you could actually be a woman under those clothes...but just ACT like a man.”

Marle tapped her lips with her index finger.  “Are you... absolutely sure you haven't been here your whole life? That you’re not just under some sort of... delusion?”

Crono agreed, “Yes, for all we know, you could be a wandering lunatic.”

“Well then,” he leaned back in his chair, his arms crossed confidently, “ask me a question that happened in your adventure...ask me to show you my magic.”

Lucca, surprising everyone, came to his defense.  “Yeah, he knows way more than anyone should who wasn't part of our original party of seven. Somehow, whether he's from another universe or not, he was privy to all the events of our adventure.”

Jacious looked at the mad scientist in disbelief. “Umm...thanks, Lucca.”

Crono had no complaints, “Well if Lucca says you're the real deal then I believe her.  She’s smarter and wiser than I am, after all.”  He gave Jacious a grin. “Welcome to our world, Mr. Simmons.”

Jacious smiled, “You can call me by my ‘real’ name.  I'm Jacious Sram.  In fact, I sort of prefer it.”

“Alright. Jacious it is.”

Lucca laughed, “I never said he was the real deal...just he knows a lot. It could just be a party trick for all I know.”  She smirked at Jacious.  “Maybe you could find a job with Bekkler.”

Jacious frowned and held out his hands. A fireball formed in the left. An ice block formed in the right.  “Is this a party trick?”  Before she could respond, he whipped his arm forward and dropped the ice down her shirt, grinning.

Crono turned and whispered to his wife, “Do you think she deserved that?”

“Augh!” Lucca yelled, hopping out of her chair.  She danced in discomfort as the ice slid between her breasts and down her belly and lodged itself above her belt.

Marle turned to Crono, whispering back, “I have no idea what's between those two... they're acting like children.”

Jacious got a kick out of the whole scenario and laughed, holding his gut since if felt like it would burst.  “Hahah that was...oh man....hehehe...perfect!”  The ice hissed and boiled away as Lucca concentrated her fire magic to evaporate it, glowering at him.

Crono nodded, “They need a time out...or maybe a night on the town....they act like...” he smiled, “the same...”

Lucca swiped a hand through the air above Jacious' head.  He sniffed the air, smelling something burning.  It didn’t take him long to realize his hair was on fire, or at least, singing.  “Ahh!” he patted his head wildly, “Put it out! put it out!” Suddenly he stopped, remembering his magic, and summoned a handful of water which he dumped over his head.  There was a hiss and a puff of steam as the fire was extinguished.

Marle had been smiling tenderly at Crono, but found herself laughing in hysterical humor at witnessing Lucca’s attack on Jacious.  Crono raised his hand after calming down his own fit of laughter.  “Lucca, do you really think you should be abusing your boyfriend like that?”  He couldn’t keep the chuckle out of his throat.

Jacious turned around to glare at Lucca, his hair still dripping from his own cure. “I have a right mind to burn away all you wear at this very moment...”

Though she was tempted to push Jacious face-first onto the floor for that remark, she suddenly realized how immature she was acting in front of Crono and clammed up.  She pursed her lips and sat down, snorting, “You're just looking for an excuse to get me naked.”  Smiling at him, “It's OK, all the guys do.”

Jacious clenched his fists and sat back down as well, not caring to look Lucca in the eyes.  He growled, “Like you've got something to show.”

“More than you do, skeleton boy,” Lucca bit back.  “You've probably never seen a naked girl in your life.”

Marle folded her hands into her lap, “Well, as charming as this is...”

Jacious turned, glaring at her, “No, but there are those that have seen you...”  He smiled evilly, “Oh, and the stories they write...and you call me a skeleton?  I could pop a boner for ya!”

Marle, Crono, and Lucca all turned to Jacious, shocked.  Lucca was the first to speak.  “You could... what?”

Jacious gulped, his eyes widening.  He turned red.  Using his magic, he made three little dots appear above his head as he stayed silent.

Crono stared at the two quarrelers, turning a bit red at their discussion.  “I'm going to stay out of this for my own reason... it's called diplomacy.”

Having the look of a rather offended woman, Marle nodded toward Lucca, “You have my permission to kick his ass.”

Lucca nodded back at her, a feral smile growing on her lips, “Thank you, Marle.”  She pulled a frying pan from out of nowhere and WHANGED Jacious over the head.  Jacious slumped from the chair to the floor unconscious.  He would have looked like he was sleeping if it weren’t for the large bump on his head.  Lucca sighed in relief after the act, and turned to Crono with a sheepish smile.  “Well. What should we do with him?”

Crono leaned back into his chair, rubbing his chin, repeating her question as he thought. “What should we do with him?”  He cleared his throat, “Well, I guess I need to make a decision.”  He eyed Lucca with a small smile, “And I think I know exactly what to do.”

She felt her heart sink. “I hate it when you get that look, Crono.”

Crono’s smile changed into an evil grin. “I officially put him under your charge.”

“WHAT? I can't baby sit him!”  She was standing in front of the king before she knew she left the chair, “I have things to do, places to go! ...Guys to date! ...Other guys!”

Marle sighed, making a dismissive gesture with her hand, “Lucca, stop kidding yourself.”  Lucca cringed as she heard the truth.

Crono frowned at his friend’s reaction. “Lucca...is he really that bad?”  He added thoughtfully, “I could put him in the dungeon if you prefer.”

Marle looked upon her friend with sympathetic eyes, “You need to let the past go, Lucca.”

Lucca's eyes narrowed, and her voice was tinged with something like anger, “You don’t know anything about me anymore, and you didn’t know anything then.”

The king of Guardia looked between the two women, “Wait, am I missing something here?”

Marle and Lucca glared at each other... Marle sympathetic, Lucca just pissed.

Crono waved a hand in front of their faces.  “Hello?  Women, please. I don't want holes burned through the castle walls.”

In moments, Lucca broke her gaze and turned to Crono.  “No, don't put him in the dungeon. He hasn't... done anything wrong, really.”

Crono was relieved to say the least, both for the castle and Jacious.  Think about it.  Two of the most powerful women in Truce could have started a fight right there.  Fire and Ice flung in anger would have been hell in a hand basket.  “Alright...so what would you have me do with him?”

Lucca sat back down, “I was kind of hoping you could take him off my hands before he drives me crazy...He won't stop making comments about me, and he's rude.”

“Face it, Lucca, you weren't exactly the perfect lady...I think you were encouraging each other,” Crono said, giving her the truth.

Lucca pursed her lips, “So you're going to make me watch the new town psycho. I knew I shouldn't have brought him here!”

Crono looked to the ceiling, his brain’s gears turning in an attempt to find a solution.  After a moment, he found one. “How about a deal, Lucca?”

A deal was something Lucca wasn’t expecting.  “What?”

Crono got the same plotting, smiling look as before, “Five days...” he was silent, staring into her eyes.

Lucca was silent, waiting for him to continue.

Marle sighed, shaking her head.  She left the room to deal with some personal matters.

Crono continued, “I want you to have him stay at your place five days...if you still can't stand him by then, send him to the castle. We'll lodge him here.”

Lucca made a face, “What, are you... testing me or something?  You're not my brother, Crono, it's not your job to impart 'valuable life lessons' to me.”

Crono wagged his finger, acting just like a big brother. “I just think that you two should at least learn to tolerate each other. From what I saw, he wasn't the only one giving the comments.”

Lucca gave a pout and groaned, “Well, I had to defend myself.”

“Besides,” Crono said, “you whacked him on the head.”  He looked down at Jacious’ unconscious form, “You're lucky his skull didn't crack.”

“His skull is even thicker than yours, Crono,” she moped.

Still not being taken in by her pout, he tried some psychology, “Or maybe you're actually afraid to do this...”

“Afraid?!? Me?!? Lucca the Great?”  She pointed an accusing finger at Jacious, “Of a pasty crazy boy I found wandering on the road?”

Crono hid his smirk, knowing he had won. “I think you're afraid of him. In fact, I don't think you think you can handle him for five days.”

Lucca was furious, “Can't HANDLE him? I can’t believe you're saying that! I can handle anything!”

King Crono crossed his arms. “Pshh... yeah right. You sure weren't saying that a minute ago...”  He sighed, “I should probably give him to someone who's more capable...”

Lucca almost fumbled over those words, “More... capable?”  She frowned, “Everyone's against me now. I can't believe this shit!” Lucca turned and looked angrily at Jacious' body, giving it a kick.  Jacious got a pained look on his face, whimpering slightly as he grabbed his side in unconsciousness.  Lucca didn’t seem phased, “It's all your fault.”  Crono could not tell to whom she had directed the comment.

Crono frowned, the warrior in him talking, “Kicking a man while he's down, Lucca?”

Leaning down, Lucca threw one of Jacious' arms over her shoulder, and, staggering slightly under his weight, she began to walk from the room.

Seeing her struggle, Crono stood.  “Would you at least like me to help you back to your place?”

Lucca cast a glance back at Crono, “I know what you're trying to pull, here.”  She kept walking, and said without turning, “I don't need your help with him or with my social life.”

A smile came to his lips as she moved out of sight.  Score one for me.  As Lucca and Jacious left, closing the door behind them, Marle reemerged from where she had hidden during Crono and Lucca’s conversation.

Marle leaned against her love, “You're insidious, you know that, Crono?”

He turned to her, a smile on his lips.  “I can be, but I think it was for her own good, don't you? They're so much alike that they shouldn't be driven apart so fast.”

Marle looked at the now closed door. “I think they're both too stubborn for their own good. But you're right, I saw... something.”  She put an arm around him and sighed.  “Were WE that bad, Crono?”

He grinned, putting his arm around her waist to keep her close, “I don't think we were quite that bad....but that doesn't mean we were very good either.”  He tapped her nose.
And I know there are times when you were very naughty.”

She giggled and pushed his hand away, “I hope you're right about those two.”

Crono leaned forward and kissed her lightly on the lips.  “So am I. Something tells me they might be just as much of a pair as us... hopefully more... Lucca deserves someone to love.”

Marle nodded thoughtfully, musing as only a woman can, “Yes... yes she does...”

Almost an hour later, Lucca continued her trek back home with the large paper weight, err, with Jacious in her grasp.  She was almost home, but that didn’t take any of the irritation away.  Fortunately, though, her charge was waking.

He moaned lightly, stirring somewhat, “Oh gods my head....did someone catch the license plate of that frying pan?”  He squinted his eyes, trying to shut out the blood driven pounding, “Dammit... oh my head… what happened?”  He opened his eyes slowly, looking around, vision a bit blurred at first.  “Where am I, anyway?”

Still lugging him along stubbornly, Lucca said nothing.  She knew they were over three-fourths of the way back to her house.  Having said nothing thus far, she didn’t see a reason to say anything now.

Jacious felt his feet dragging on the grass and the situation became a bit more clear.  He spoke up, “Hold on...I'm going to try to stand...” His vision was still a bit blurred.  “What happened anyway?”

She didn’t even let him get his feet fully on the ground, and kept walking doggedly.  “Stop struggling or I'm dropping you here.”

“Dammit...Lucca,” he growled, “Will you at least answer me?”  His tone expressed slight annoyance.  “You're freaking me out here.”

She looked hurt for some reason. “Just make a comment about my breasts already, and let's save ourselves the bother of a conversation.”

Jacious found himself rather confused, “What did you want me to say? I honestly haven't looked at them, myself.”

“I don't know!” she sputtered, “Just... leave me alone.”

He bit his lower lip and nodded.  “Alright...”  He smiled slightly.  This doesn't feel too bad...

“You're enjoying yourself too much back there.” Lucca realized and said aloud.  She stopped, turning her head to him, “Can you stand?”

Jacious stood up slowly on his own two feet, wobbling from the slight feeling of unbalance.  “Yeah...I'll be fine. I just need to rest after a bit.”  He looked down, feeling ashamed. “Look....I didn't mean that boner comment... it just came out.”

Lucca flushed slightly, “Yeah, well, that was a great first impression you left on the royal family.”  After a pause, “We're almost back home.”  Grudgingly, she added, “I'll get you an icepack or something for your head when we get there.”

“Thanks, I guess.”  He walked with her, regaining his senses with each step.  “Well...what happens now?  Obviously I'm not in the dungeon.”

Smartly, she said, “No wonder you're a scientist.  Your powers of observation are unmatched.”  She let out a snort, “I have no idea. Crono says I should keep an eye on you for a few days.  Which is something, I'll have you know, that I'm not too happy about.”

Jacious rolled his eyes, “Well if you don't want me, then I'll just go camp out somewhere. I am a bachelor you know. I don't need anyone...”

“Oh right, like I'm going to let you wander around alone.” Lucca said.

“What? You think I can't do it? I've always had to care for myself since I was a kid. Do you really think I'd grow up to become less independent?” He countered.

Lucca crossed her arms, not fully admitting the truth, “Not that. I'm afraid you'll say something to someone which will get you in trouble.”

Jacious threw his hands up into the air, giving up.  “Fine... I don't want to have you being worried about me.”  He continued to walk, stumbling slightly as he regained his balance.

“Besides,” she added, making sure to stay close enough in case he fell, “you think you'll manage to find Magus without Lucca the Great's help?”

Jacious let out a small chuckle, “You're right.”  He turned around, a small smile on his face, “Where would I be without you?”  He winked, “You were my favorite after all.”  He turned, continuing on the path.

Lucca stopped walking, taken aback.  After a moment, she jogged to catch up to him.  “Well, ah... thanks. Really.”  They finally reached her house after a few more minutes, and Lucca quickly disabled the seven deadbolts and locks with deft, practiced fingers.  Behind the door, which creaked open slowly, the house sat silent, undisturbed since they'd left it.

“Crono!” Jacious said suddenly.

The sun was setting at that point, and it was quiet and peaceful, filling the living room with a warm orange glow.  Lucca, mildly surprised, gave Jacious a confused glance. “What about Crono?”

Tanking his time in answering, Jacious sat on the couch, relaxing his head as he leaned back.  “Oh....just some pervs writing some spicy scenes involving you and Crono.”

Lucca rolled her eyes, “There were never any 'spicy scenes' between me and Crono. One fling in high school, and that was the extent of it.”

“Interesting indeed,” he cleared his throat, and changed the subject, not wanting to dredge up a sore subject. “and thanks for allowing me to stay here...even though you're a bit of a psycho...”

She plopped down beside him on the couch, kicking her boots and socks off across the floor. Surprisingly, her toenails were painted bright red.  She laughed slightly, “Gotta be a psycho to end up stuck with the likes of you.”

Jacious looked down, eyeing her feet, “Wow...you paint your toes?”  He blinked, looking at her, chuckling.  “Touché...you know for a girl...you do look like a girl sometimes?”

She rolled her eyes, “What, my figure didn't give it away? Just because I dress like a guy doesn't mean I'm not still feminine in other ways.”  She leaned close to him, her breath on his ears, which he found himself enjoying and flushed red because of it. “I'll share another secret.”

He held his hands up defensively.  He stared at her, his mind wondering what it could be. “Alright.  I'm listening.”

Lucca pulled down one side of her collar, baring her shoulder. Jacious found himself looking and saw her bra strap, which, he was surprised to note, was a delicate black lace. She quickly covered it again. “One look is all you get for free.” She grinned.

His eyes widened, getting over the shock, “What... huh... was that lace? Why...”  He  began twiddling his fingers, “not that I wasn't totally amazed, but why'd you do that?”

She laughs, loud and hard this time, “Because I'm sick and tired of you and guys like you assuming I'm just this big brain wrapped in a meaningless meat bag of a body.”  She frowned. “Maybe I could have put that more delicately.  In any case, there's more to me than meets the eye. And if we're going to get along, you'd do well to remember that.”

Feeling a pang of guilt, he spoke to her softly, “Look, we might be arrogant and stubborn... and beat the crap out of each other... but at no point did I ever think you were just all brains.  He shrugged, “Look, with legs like yours, you better be a cute girl, and I will remember that.”

She suddenly looked to the ceiling, her face turning a bit red, “...thanks. Maybe this won't be so bad after all.”  She suddenly whipped her head around to him, remembering, “Hey. Did you want that icepack? Or a drink or something?”

He held out his hands indicating a size, “A plastic bag will be fine. I can supply my own ice.  This... living together thing… will be awkward to say the least.”

“Oh right, you've got shadow magic. Almost forgot,” she said, snapping her fingers.  “And I know this will be awkward, but maybe if we're not trying to kill each other, it'll be easier.”

He smirked, “Yep. Ice, fire, lightning, and kick ass shadow...”  His face fell, “I only know the weak spells though.”

“Well, if anyone can help you there, it's Magus,” Lucca said, holding a finger to her chin.

“True, and he is the closest thing I have to family....”  A thought came to mind, “Speaking of which, where's the fun of not trying to kill each other? At least the verbal attacks should stay.”

“Heh, I don't know how he'll react when he sees you. I make no promises for your safety.”  She placed her hands together in a prayer motion, “And no matter what, I'm too delicate a blossom for my ears to be tainted by your pornographic turns of phrase.”

He crossed his arms, a half smile on his face, “Right...you forced my hand by calling me a skeleton.  You brought that on yourself.”

She mimicked his actions, “Oh, so you're blaming ME for the words that come out of YOUR mouth?  Yeah, that really gives me confidence in your responsibility.”

The smirk stayed on his face, “You bet your ass I am, and the look on your face when your words backfired....that was perfect!”

She stared at him.  “Backfired!?! Hah! All you did was put your foot in your mouth.”

Jacious tilted his head from side to side, “I could say something right now...oh, and it would be naughty....but of course you're such a delicate lady who shouldn't be deflowered by my words.”

Lucca smirked right back at him, “I've heard more witty retorts from Ozzie. And that's just sad on your part.”

Jacious rolled his eyes, “Bite me.”

Lucca did the same, “I would, but I think you'd enjoy it.”

Jacious looked at her with an audacious look in his eyes.  “I probably would. Care to test that theory?”

Lucca was quick to counter, “What, and ruin my carefully cultivated image of a kind and gentle young lady? I think not!”

He nodded, “You're also a grease monkey. Don't forget that.”

Lucca lifted her nose in pride, “And proud of it.”

“I'll stick with programming thank you.”  He poked her in the chest, “Of course you couldn't write a "Hello World" program to save your life.”

“Have it your way.” She turned to face the room, sinking into the couch a bit. The sun had set and the sound of crickets and a cool evening breeze wafted through the window. Stars were beginning to twinkle beyond the trees.  “I'll admit I’m not much of a programmer. Although I did manage to get Robo working after a few hundred years of inactivity... twice!”

Jacious sat there in silence for a few moments, enjoying the view from the window. “It's...peaceful...”  He looked down, “All other comments aside...thanks for letting me stay on the couch...”

“Well, you're my guest now,” she admitted. “According to my mother, the guest should always be offered the host's bed. So you can take that, if you want, and I'll sleep down here.”  Lucca seemed somewhat uncomfortable, “I don't know much about entertaining guests, I’m afraid.”

A wry smile formed on Jacious’ face, “Oh...well, it's customary to sleep with the guest the first night you know...make sure they're comfy and everything.”  He shook his head, laughing lightly, “but seriously, go to your bed.  You need your beauty sleep.”

Lucca rolled her head to look at him, “Need my beauty sleep, do I?  Implying something?”

Jacious continued to smile, “Nope.  Nothing at all ma'am.”

“Can't be that bad if you want me to sleep with you, hm?” she said, to his chagrin.

He blushed, his words coming with a slight stutter, “Umm... yeah....”  He cleared his throat.

Lucca chuckled, “Are you this 'dashing' with all the girls you meet?”

He shrugged, admitting, “Not really... I really didn't date girls.”

“Ah,” Lucca nodded, “you’re out of practice then.”

“Girls didn't want to date me in high school, and since I was determined to come here... I didn't want to risk starting something because it'd just hurt us both in the end.”  Jacious said solemnly.  “Besides...dating in high school was nothing but a damn popularity contest.”

“Heh... I can agree with you there.  Hard as it is to believe, I've never been that popular with the guys around here.  They're intimidated by my sheer brilliance.”  She adjusted her glasses.

Jacious raised his eyebrows.  “You're kidding me? They won't even get up the balls to ask you out?”

She confessed, “I don't think they even wanted to. Besides, ever since... third grade or so I was stuck on Crono. I wouldn't have noticed if they had.”  Lucca fell silent, staring into space.

Jacious folded his arms across his chest, “Guess they don't know the old saying about smart guys and girls...if they did they'd sure to at least ask you out....” After a moment, he turned to the other issue. “Crono, eh…that's the look I saw...you're still stuck on him, aren't you?”

Lucca sank lower in the chair. “I... don't know. It doesn't matter now anyway, he's with Marle.”

Jacious sighed, seeing all too well what she was going through.  He saw it enough in high school. “Lucca, you should try to let go.  I know what happens to girls who can't get over old boyfriends...you don't deserve a lack of happiness… no matter how much you can be a pain.”

For some reason, Lucca chose that moment to let it all off her chest. “I don't know if I even like him anymore! I... I think it's more frustration that I was trying for years and then Marle comes along and snatches him away in just a couple months. What does she have that I don't?”  She took a deep breath and continued, “And I mean... they're STILL totally hung up on each other! It's disgustingly sappy! You'd think after three years the novelty would have worn off.  I can't even stand to be near them anymore. It just reminds me how badly I failed.”

“Lucca....”  Jacious words were soft, but firm as if speaking from experience, “don't look upon them with jealousy or envy...I've done that with a lot of the couples I see. It made me angry but I knew that wouldn't solve my problem.  So, my advice is to be happy for them...besides, you'll be an Aunt one day.”

“I know…” Lucca groaned, “Yeah, that's exactly what I want to think about, her and him screwing each other's brains out.  Thanks for the nice mental picture, bub.”

“Sorry. You have hatred in your heart about that, don't you.”  I guess I act as sacrifice...she's gotta let it go if I force her to.  Jacious changed his tone, seeming rather upbeat about the thought, “Just imagining them in bed screwing while you're sitting on the sidelines.”

The room was so dark now Jacious could hardly see. Only a tiny sliver of moonlight illuminated a spot on the floor. He felt the couch shift, though, as Lucca leaned forward and cradled her face in her hands.  In a tired voice, she said, “What are you doing?”

Confused, he asked, “What do you mean?”

“Why would you say that? You want to hurt me?” Jacious could swear he heard her voice crack.

He tried to reassure her with his words.  “Of course not... you just need to accept the truth... just let go and move on.  Who cares that they're making love.  They're married... you'll be married to someone one day too.  You’ll be married to someone you love and cherish, and you'll have your family.”

She sighed, “I have let go. I'm just a sore loser and have nobody else to worry about.  Since the whole Lavos thing I haven't been out much. I just work on my inventions. It used to be enough. I wouldn't even think about anything else... well, other than Crono.”  With a sigh,  “Maybe I just feel like I'm getting nowhere.”

He pondered on this, tapping his lips with a finger.  “Hmm... it sounds like you need to get out.  You need something to free your mind.”

“This is stupid.” she confessed, “I'm sorry I'm dumping this all on you.”

Jacious let out a humored chuckle, “Lucca, if I didn't care, do you think I'd listen? I did this a lot at home...girls would tell me all their problems, so I'm sort of a counselor.”

“Hehe,” she laughed lightly, “and you said you weren't popular.”

He frowned, “I wasn't that much.  I basically was at the right place and the right time. They'd forget me soon enough. I asked this one girl I'd talk to a lot to the prom...she said I was the last on her list, which goes to show.”

“Hmm.” She looked up to the ceiling again and said bluntly, “People suck.”

“You said it.” Jacious said with a nod. “Why do we even bother with them?  I mean...it's like there's only one thing that comes from relationships...and that's the act of mating...for what?  To further the population....?”  He shook his head. “Maybe I've become a bit too cynical.”

Lucca nodded, slowly.  “You're not the only one. It's all sex and violence. And yet...why do I feel like I need to be a part of it?  If we recognize these human errors, shouldn't we be able to suppress and move beyond them?”

 “Well, if we view emotion like energy, then if we suppress the energy we use for emotion, it must go somewhere according to the law of conservation of energy.”

“Or keep it bottled up inside until we snap, hm?”  Lucca flopped back into a more comfortable position. The crickets faded in and out, and small silver clouds reflected the lights of Guardia on the horizon.

Jacious nodded, feeling tranquil. “Something like that...I don't feel like snapping...and maybe that's why I took martial arts.  There's a pleasure in fighting, yet there's also pleasure in the darkness... weird, eh?”

“I've always liked the dark…” Lucca said, starting to sound sleepy.

Jacious found himself smiling at her, a vague shape in the darkness.  He grabbed his blanket from the previous night and draped it over her.  “You better sleep for now, Lucca.  We'll talk in the morning.”

“No, no,” she argued with a yawn, “I'm awake.”

Jacious gave a light smile.  “Don't push it.  We don't need you sick. Besides, as a proper host, and as your guest, I insist you take the couch...you're already comfortable as it is.”

“I'd hate to steal your bed...” Lucca said sleepily.

Jacious placed a finger on her lips, “Quiet.  No buts about it, okay?”

“Hmmm...okay...” her voice faded out, and she slowly sank onto her side, pulling the blanket around herself.

As the first beam of sunlight crossed her face, Lucca shifted, vaguely wondering why her bed felt so different.  The birds were chirping and the winds were but light breezes outside giving the warm ground a slight drop in temperature.  It was another beautiful day in the kingdom of Guardia.

Jacious snored lightly, a blanket covering his lap.  He leaned back in one of the larger chairs, facing Lucca as she rested. His head lolled to the side, as if keeping an eye on her through the night.  His eyes twitched as the first rays of the sun fell on his face.

Lucca’s eyes fluttered open, and spotting Jacious propped rather uncomfortably in an armchair, the events of the previous night flooded back to her.  She groaned and pulled the covers over her face, regretting confiding pretty much everything in this strange young man.

Jacious groaned, his mind in that area between sleep and consciousness, “Black hole the sun... just go away already.”  He says, partially awake, “I won't give in...I won't say anything... I told her I'd not tell a soul... so go away...”  He shifted, turning his head to avoid the light.

Lucca slid out of bed, enjoying the feel of the sun-warmed hardwood floor under her feet. She caught his words and was genuinely touched.  A smile formed on her lips and quietly, she left the room.

Jacious felt the reflection of the light from the countless metal bits in the house, and these force him fully awake.  He sat up in the chair, rubbing his neck.  “That's going to be sore for a while...oh it's stiff.”  He looked to the couch; Lucca was nowhere to be seen.  “Guess she got up, early as always.”

The smell of waffles, so he thought, wafted in from the kitchen, grabbing his attention and arousing him to the waking world fully.  He got up from the chair and walked to the kitchen, a smile plastered on his face.  “Good morning, Lucca. Sleep well?”  He rubbed his neck in discomfort.

Jacious heard muffled curses as he approached.  It appeared that Lucca had tried terribly hard to make an appetizing breakfast, but the waffles were misshapen, the batter was too lumpy, and she'd managed to burn most of the food.  However, she still turned with a plate full of the least unappetizing results, and put a brave smile on. “Here. I made these. It's okay if you don't want them.”

Jacious looked to the breakfast with a longing smile and forced himself not to drool.  It seemed like forever since he had waffles.  “Hey, you got any syrup with those?”  He took the plate and placed it on the table.  “We can split 'em.”  A broad smile was on his face. “And how'd you know I like waffles?”

She looked about anxiously, focused on the syrup.  “Syrup? Damn, I knew I forgot something... I have butter... and some molasses...”  She blushed. “How’d I know? Just a guess... I just got lucky.”

Jacious guided the stressing Lucca over to the table. “Well you put a lot of work into making those.  I'll take a bit of molasses and a bit of butter.  Just tell me where it is, and that'll be my part of the cooking.”  She went through this trouble...why?  What happened to her ‘special’ breakfast...hmm.

“Butter's in the fridge, molasses are in the cupboard over the stove.”  She sat at the table, still looking horribly nervous.  She bit her thumbnail nervously.

Jacious nodded, coming from his thoughts, “Yeah, gotcha.”  He opened the fridge, wincing, “I wonder if some of this stuff learned to reproduce yet...”  He grabbed the butter and placed it on the table, getting the image of the refrigerator out of his mind.

Lucca was having second thoughts. “Listen, these probably aren't any good. I mean... you're my guest, I thought I should make something, but I don't make much other than my usual breakfast...”

Jacious grabbed a jar of molasses from above the stove.  He placed that on the table and gave Lucca a small pat on the head.  “Relax.  Stress makes your wrinkles form faster.  Eat already.”

Lucca felt her face, “Wrinkles?  I don't have wrinkles! I'm not even 21 yet!”

Jacious laughed, “That's the point. Just relax.”  He placed some waffles on a plate for himself, letting her have the rest. He put some butter and molasses on them and looked to her.  “Want me to take the first bite? Are you really that nervous?”

She stared at her plate.  “I don't have much luck with cooking.  I can mix corrosive acids and complex chemical washes with the best of ‘em, but put me in the kitchen and you're asking for trouble.”

He cut into his waffles with a fork and held the bite to his mouth.  “Well here goes nothing.”  Putting them in his mouth, he chewed them contemplatively, and swallowed. “Hmmmmm... interesting.”

Lucca watched him expectantly, waiting for the worst.

Hmm...a bit overcooked...and the batter was a bit sour...not bad though.  Jacious smiled.  “Not bad at all, Miss Ashtear.  If it had been me cooking, I might have been killed.”

Her eyes widened in utter amazement, “They're... okay?”  She cut a bit with her fork and ate them slowly in disbelief.

Taking another bite and swallowing, he replied, “Yep. Look, if it makes you feel any better, I'm not going to die of food poisoning, and I doubt you are either.”

Lucca laughed in relief, “Well jeez.  That's a load off my mind.”  With that, she ate the rest of her food with gusto.

He smiled and joined her, finishing his plate, “Well then, Miss Ashtear, how do you feel on your first victory?  Ready to try again some time?”

She seemed much more relaxed than before, “We'll see. Maybe next time I'll even try boiling water.”

He laughed at that and folded his hands together in front of his mouth, “Now...you want to get out of the house, right?  Let's go on a bit of an adventure.”

Lucca found herself caught off guard. “Where?”

Jacious cracked his neck, feeling it loosen up considerably. “I was thinking of visiting the 12,000 era.  Then maybe 600AD.  Then 2300.  And lastly prehistory.  I think that'll be a great way for you to enjoy science as well as just enjoy a break from the daily grind.”

Lucca’s rather developed sense of logic was refusing the adventure. “But... we shouldn't just go gallivanting through time like that. Everything tied up so perfectly after Lavos.”  However, logic be damned. “But I so want to.”

Jacious still tried to convince her, though it wasn’t needed. “Well all we'll be doing is visiting some people. Besides, who are we to say it isn't supposed to happen?  I mean, maybe this is part of… fate?”

“Uhm. I... well...” Logic hated being damned.

He pouted, “Please...I'll do just about anything for this chance.”

Logic had no choice and was damned anyway. “Maybe just one stop in 12,000 wouldn't be too bad... and I'm the only one here allowed to pout. It just looks foolish when you do it.”

Jacious held up his hands, “Alright, alright. So, when can we go?”  He seemed rather giddy and upbeat.  “I wonder if he'll try to kill me...that'd be cool.”  He corrected himself, “I mean, I'd like to spar Janus.”

Lucca found herself slightly sickened with his comment. “Cool? You do realize Magus is about fifty times more powerful than you, right? If he wants to kill you, he will.”  She added, “And I recommend you not call him Janus. That makes him a bit... edgy.”

“You do realize I don't fear death right?”  He crossed his arms.

“Oh, how typical, now that I've gone out of my way to be pleasant to you, you're going to go and get yourself killed?”  She couldn’t believe her ears.  The fool really wants to spar Magus?

Jacious once again raised his finger and quoted Magus, though Lucca didn’t know it. “If history is to change, let it change. If the world is to be destroyed, so be it. If it is my fate to be destroyed, then I must simply laugh.”  He smirked, holding up his hands to placate her. “I'm just kidding. I won't die.”

With a deep sigh, and against her better judgement, she nodded.  “Well then... let's go out to the shed. Epoch's there.”  Then, groaning, “I know Crono's gonna kill me for this.”

CuteLucca's Fanfiction
Ghost's Fanfiction