Faith and Determination
You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true. Richard Bach
So, you dare to challenge me with that battered body of yours?
I hear her words. Somehow, despite it all, they manage to penetrate through the haze. And I have to wonder. What exactly do I plan to accomplish with this? Lavos annihilated us only a few short minutes ago, and I was at full strength then. What can I possibly do against it now? I shake my head, still unable to comprehend the absolute power that we faced.
The creature is unimaginably strong. Many foes I have battled since I first left my house that morning so long ago. I have grown stronger since then, I think. All of us have. Spekkio would be proud of us, Im sure. Even he had to admit that we're a force to be reckoned with. But none of the strength weve gained can possibly compare with this beast that hovers menacingly in front of us. My head still reels from the effort of standing. Never before did have I appreciated what it means to be free from pain. If I ever leave this palace, I will have a greater respect for this gift. If I ever leave....
I could run away. She wont notice; she needs to remain with Lavos to accomplish her goal. Its what Lucca and Marle would want; its what Schala wants. I could probably even take Lucca and Marle with me; its not that far. I could go back with them. Iwe would be safe, and we could let the future be what it will.
But I cant.
Every time I think of that horrible picture: the world burning up, torn apart by this hideous thing . How can I let that happen? If something can be done about it, is it not my duty to try? If I do escape, if I live, will I ever be able to live with myself? Knowing that I did nothing?
I didnt come this far; struggle all that way against so many seemingly insurmountable obstacles, only to stand back and do nothing when it all matters most. I am not a coward, and I never have been. Retreat is not an option; I knew that from the moment I stepped into that blasted timegate. What I have done, what all of us have done: all of it was unavoidable. It had to happen; we were meant to change time for the better. And now, we must stop this thing from destroying our world, our future. I must try. There is no other option. If I succeed, I succeed. And we will live our lives, knowing that we have done what had to be done. If I fail, I fail. I do not know what will happen after that. But the world will be a better place for my having made an attempt.
I am the only one who can, now. Marle and Lucca, Magus and Schala, all of them kneel there, powerless before this creature I will not let it have its way with my friends. I march forth, not knowing what I can do. I can barely stand; wielding a sword is out of the question. It takes every last bit of my concentration to walk, to remain upright; I cant possibly focus my energy on magic. That creature took it all from me; I have nothing left. Nothing except faith and determination. And so it is with faith and determination that I will fight against the darkness.
Lavos notices me; I watch as it focuses its attention on me. That light I can feel it passing through me. Its not pain I feel, but an emptiness that penetrates every fiber of my being. It threatens to take away all that I know, all that I feel, all that I am, and turn it into nothing. It tells me to join the darkness. It tells me the darkness is everything, all-encompassing. It tells me there is no hope for the future. Part of me wonders if the creature is right. My efforts dont seem to be doing anything against the creature. It notices this, and continues its mental assault. You are nothing. The message bores into my brain with all the persistence of a young child. But I am not nothing. I am Crono! I have done so much already. This is but one more obstacle on the path to victory. Lavos, you wont stop me now! I surge forth with renewed confidence.
The creature has made a mistake, and it knows it. I can feel its rage, and it pours its rage out through that light. The feeling of emptiness is growing stronger, but I ignore it. I see nothing but that creature. I raise my hands, an invocation to the gods or whatever beings watch over us. They will give me strength. All those who fight against the darkness will give me strength. And together, we will triumph.
Somewhere in my mind, I hear Lucca and Marle screaming at me. They want me to stop, to run away and be safe. But why should I stop? What purpose would it serve? What is my life worth if I simply stand back in the face of evil? I would tell them this, but talking would take too much effort. As it is, I can already feel my hold on reality slipping; the scene before me begins to blur and fade. Lavos changes shape before my eyes. He becomes my father, whose face I remember vividly even though he died when I was only three. He becomes Lucca, my oldest and dearest friend: the girl who always had the most interesting ideas. He becomes my mother, who never was the same since that day, but who always cared. He becomes Marle, the girl who has become... something more than a friend. He becomes all of my other friends and companions in turn. And he becomes all of the adversaries I have faced in my travels. He forces me to relive all of my memories as he devours them for himself. All of them will be nothing more than memories now.
I can hear the creature laughing. Not physically, of course: I can no longer hear anything from the world around me. I know Lucca and Marle are still screaming beside me, begging for me to stop. But I can no longer hear anything except that hideous laughter inside my head. But that beast is wrong. I see a picture in my mind: three shadows standing before Lavos. They deliver a powerful blow, and the creature screams in pain. Over and over they hammer into the thing, with every last ounce of their strength. I cannot see who they are. But I know now, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Lavos will fall. And I know that my efforts have not been in vain.
The emptiness threatens to swallow me completely, but I am at peace with myself and my actions. I have made the right choice: through my actions, the path to Lavos' defeat lies open to my friends. Lavos fades from sight, and I see a light all around me; a different one than the cold light from Lavos. This Light, it feels so different. The warmth it exudes, the calm, the peace, the goodness. I look around. My sight is not what it has been, but it appears to be coming from me. The pendant begins to glow, as well. Is this what gives us all our life? This Light? Is my Light what will save my friends and allow them to save our future? If so, I give it freely. The pendant; Marles pendant . It begins to float of its own accord, and I can no longer feel anything.
I open my eyes to see light all around me. All I can feel is cold. Are you supposed to feel cold when you die? I always assumed youd stop feeling everything. But maybe I was wrong about that; Ive been wrong before. My eyes are still adjusting to the light; its too bright for me to see anything, but Im aware of the presence of others around me. None of them seem to be saying anything; it seems almost as though theyre waiting for me. How nice; I never expected a welcome party. I wish it were a bit warmer, though. Ive even got my coat on and its still cold. Maybe theres a reason for it. I dont know. Its not something I ever thought about before. I guess Ill have plenty of time to think about these things now, though.
My eyes begin to adjust to the light, and I can make out the faces of those surrounding me. What? There they are: Lucca and Marle, standing over me in anticipation. But how are they here? Theyre not supposed to be here yet. Theyre not dead. They cant be dead! I saved them myself! In panic, I look past them, at my surroundings. I am at the summit of a mountain, and all around me I see the desolation that is the future we are trying to change. Has something gone wrong? This is very strange, and Im frightened, confused. I'd ask for clarification, but I'm struck dumb with shock.
I raise my head, to try to get a better picture of where I am, and in response, I hear Marle cry out with joy. Crono! Welcome back!
Back? But I havent gone anywhere yet. I havent even been here before! Besides, none of you are dead! But if youre not dead, and Im here, then But Lavos killed me, so you cant be here. But you are here, so then Lavos My head begins aching and I decide to stop thinking about it. Whats happening? Where am I? Why are you here? Youre not supposed to be dead I trail off in confusion, still unsure as to what all has transpired.
Lucca looks pained at this. You dummy! You wouldnt believe what we had to go through for you! Go through what? What are you talking about; whats going on? Are you all even real? It feels like you are; the cold is starting to seep through my clothes, and I dont think Im imagining that. So if Im not imagining that, then you really are here talking to me. But why am I not dead, and why are we in the future? I turn back to Marle, confusion written all over my face.
She looks down at the ground, tears beginning to form in the corners of her eyes. We we knew this day would come . She collapses to the ground beside me and embraces me tightly around the neck. I know Im alive now, because Im beginning to have trouble breathing. You mustnt you cant do that ever again! She begins to cry. I would say something to calm her down, but her position makes it difficult for me to say anything in return.
Lucca also drops down beside me, her hand on my leg. I look into her eyes to find tears there as well. You mess up again and we wont save you . She also begins to cry, and I have no idea what to say. The idea of two pretty girls crying over me is at once amusing and comforting, but I dont entirely like it; Id rather they werent unhappy. Especially not over me.
Marle, Lucca, I I begin, but Marle only hugs me more fiercely, and Lucca also throws herself on top of me. I cant help but find the situation amusing, but I push the thought to the back of my head; now is not the time for levity. Besides, my amusement is rapidly suppressed by a burning need to breathe. need air .
The two of them look embarrassed and sit up beside me, still sniffling, and I take a few moments to breathe. I see a figure behind them looking amused at the whole situation. It looks like... Magus? I shake my head to clear it and he's no longer there. It seems strange, but I dont even bother wondering what it was I saw. The day has already been very strange; the sun could disappear completely and it wouldnt surprise me a bit. I catch my breath and begin to try to puzzle things out again, but it still doesnt make sense to me. I give up; surely they know more about it than I do. Ill ask them.
Wait, wait. The last thing I remember was standing in front of Lavos and getting erased. Then all of a sudden I wake up here, somewhere in the future, with both of you standing here, crying over me. I think its safe to say that Im thoroughly confused. Will one of you explain what the heck is going on? I throw my hands up, appealing to both of them to help me understand; my head hurts enough without having to figure out a confusing situation.
So they tell me that I was killed by Lavos, and that they woke up without me in the Earthbound village. They tell me that they were kidnapped by Dalton, and that they had to get back our stuff. They tell me that he added wings to the Epoch, which can fly now. And they tell me that they resurrected me here on Death Peak, with the help of that strange clone from Norstein Bekkler. And I dont know how much of it to believe. It all sounds so strange, and yet it doesnt. But after sitting here listening to them, I realize I dont really need a detailed explanation; its all very simple.
What has happened to us was nothing short of a miracle. A miracle that happened because we had enough faith in ourselves and in each other to make it happen. Were all alive and in good health. We can now go anywhere in time to find the tools we need. We survived Lavos assault, and we stand here together now, ready to try one more time to kill it, on even footing this time.
Will it happen? I cant say. But then I remember the vision I had, of three figures destroying Lavos and bringing peace to the future. Was I one of them? I dont know. It doesn't much matter. And Im not going to worry about it. The experience has taught me to be faithful; for if we believe in ourselves and in our friends, we can work miracles.
I see Marle glare at me, annoyed. Crono, are you even listening? Theres so much you have to know!
I appeal to Lucca, looking for some support from the other corner, but to no avail. You can be so irritating, sometimes! She shakes her head at me and I.... I just sit here.
Now all I need is to figure out how to stop getting henpecked. Maybe if I believe it will happen, it will stop. I dont know. But Im grateful for their help, even if they are teaming up against me at the moment. Im proud to say that I saved them because I believed in myself. And they saved me because they believed in themselves. What goes around comes around, I guess.
Lavos, youve caused so much pain to everyone else. Now its gong to come back and haunt you. Well make sure of that.
I've noticed a distinct lack of introspective fanfics on the net; so many of them focus on some new adventure that the team has to go through. Very few look into the minds of the characters themselves. This one does so, quite literally.
I tend to pick subjects that jump out at me; Crono's death and resurrection was one of the first to do so. It's obvious from the dialogue what the other characters feel about the situation. But what does Crono himself feel? What are his own thoughts as he braves death? And how does he react to the miracle of being brought back?
The very nature of first-person, present-tense, stream-of-consciousness style writing makes it a challenge. Technically, such a piece of writing wil l always be weak, and so perhaps it isn't the best way to measure skill. But I seek to tell a story, to open a window into how a character thinks, feels, and reacts. I feel that I have done so here.
I apologize for any script errors; my memory isn't perfect. I hope you enjoyed reading this. Comments, criticisms, flames, and feedback of any sort can be sent to Jonath6946@aol.com; I'd greatly appreciate any and all of it.
My thanks to all the writers out there for giving me inspiration to write.
Thanks especially to Nightsong for taking the time to go over this FF with me. The tips he gave re-affirmed my belief that I'm headed where I need to go, and have also helped make this a stronger fic.
The characters are all Copyright Square and their creators, and I lay no claims on them whatsoever. My thanks to all of them for not shutting down FF authors.
*bows and leaves*