The Empty Nest Part 3

By The Storyteller

"Hi, Crono! Umm… I'd hate to say it, son, but you smell like seaweed and sweat…"

Crono smiled and shrugged, and turned his blushing cheeks away from his mother. He gasped suddenly as a carriage came around the front of the castle, where they had been standing.

"You two guys gotta go to… Truce?" the driver called.
"Is this carriage for us?"
"The king sent for a carriage for two people, I'd say you guys are the two he's asking about."
"How nice of him!"

Crono helped his mother into the carriage, and took the seat beside her for the slow ride home.

"So what did you and Marle do, Crono?"

Crono shrugged.

"You guys just went for a walk? Looks like you guys were playing in the sand."

Crono nodded sheepishly, remembering the events of the night…

"You kids… so where did Lucca run off to? I thought I saw her leave early."

Crono nodded, and shook his hair like a bush, releasing sprays of sand.

"Cute…" she said. She yawned, leaning over to stretch her aching back. Crono noticed the glittering piece of jewelry that hung from her neck, a somewhat thick, round piece of hard rainbow material, that hung from a silver chain.

"What's the matter, Crono? Looking at my jewelry?"

Crono nodded.

"It was a gift, from one of the most charming men in the world…" she said, sighing.
"Is this the place, miss?" The driver called. Crono's mother took a peek out the window, and spotted her home, the shape of the roof reflecting the light of the moon.
"This is it. Tell the king I said thank you!"

Crono opened the door of the carriage and jumped off, with his mother following him. He walked her to the door, and they watched as the carriage pulled away, rolling back toward the castle grounds.

"Crono, I have to tell you, this was one of the best nights of my life..." she said, as she opened the door to their home.

* * *

"She's home!" the man whispered to himself, as he jumped behind the staircase in the upstairs room. He listened carefully to the conversation that ensued, about some strange party... he suddenly heard footsteps ascending the stairs, and searched frantically about for a place to hide. He jumped under Crono's desk and tried to conceal himself in the dark.

The footsteps were slow and seemed to echo throughout the night as Crono made his way into his room. The man shuddered as Crono walked over to his window and shut his shades, blocking out the moonlight. He watched as Crono kicked off his boots and jumped into his bed, and immediately started snoring.

"And this must be Crono..."

The man surveyed Crono's room, staring at his simple ceiling. It was perfect. If he could get up on top of the roof somehow, the height and location would be prime in order to see exactly what he was looking for. The man prepared to exit his hiding place, until he heard a strange creak on the stairs. He remained there, in his location, as he watched another figure ascend the stairs.

"Crono?" the voice asked. There was no reply. The figure walked over to the bed and tapped Crono on the head. Crono groaned and turned over to see who was there.
"Marle?" Crono asked.
"No, it's me."
"Wucca?" Crono asked again, remembering to put on his accent.
"Yeah. You think I could stick around here tonight?"
"Why? You scawed?"
"A little. It's lonely when your parent's aren't home, you know? I started hearing things, and I though I saw a shadow or something outside the house... you know, just to be on the safe side..."

The man winced, knowing she had actually seen him.

"Okay Lucca. You sweep hewe."
"Thanks, Crono..."

Lucca immediately unbuckled her belt and let it fall to the side of the bed. Crono moved over in his bed and Lucca hopped in, pulling the covers over her while Crono tried to nod off again. Lucca herself relaxed her mind, letting it wander, until an old memory presented itself.

"Hey... Crono... Hey!"
"Do you remember way back when..."
"I can still remember the look on your face, Crono... priceless..."
"Lucca tawk too much. Meesa tiwed."
"Oh, oh, yes, you were tired all right... tired as hell... but it was fun, wasn't it..."
"Yousa no... cwush Cwono..."
"No, no no... I don't have a crush on you. I love you. But only as a best friend."
"Good. Meesa wuv Mawle now."
"For real? You're back with her? Since when?"
"At da pawty."
"Aww... that's so sweet! So why haven't you snuck out to go and see her?"
"Mawle was tiwed. Cwono do good..."
"Ha ha ha... I figured you couldn't keep your hands off her for long... so tell me..."

Lucca continued onward with the conversation, as they laughed, talking as best friends would. The man, however, just sat under the desk, eagerly awaiting the moment when they would fall asleep, but it seemed as if it would never come...

* * *

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world...

"What is this blasted machine?"
"You should have asked Lucca to tell you how to use it!"
"Lucca was watching some floating crystal invention. She didn't want me bothering her."
"Wonderful. Just great. Where are we now? Stuck on some island in the middle of the ocean, in a flying machine that won't work. This is just terrific. Brilliant work, Taban!" Lara yelled sarcastically.

Taban stumbled out of the Epoch's cockpit and examined the outer shell of the ship. The night had been going so well! Taban had planned it to perfection. He would take Lara across the oceans so she could see the world with an aerial view, as opposed to the simple ferry. Then, he would take her to one of the most relaxing beaches on the southernmost tip of the southwestern continent, to enjoy a quiet evening picnic. After that, he had planned a series of attractions to see all over the world. But now, all of those plans to celebrate a 20-year marriage were ruined, and Taban hadn't even the chance to surprise his wife.

"This is insane, Taban. Absolutely worthless. What a wonderful night... stuck in the middle of nowhere! Happy Anniversary, Taban! Happy happy happy!" Lara yelled with an insane, yet sarcastic laughter.
"Do you honestly think I meant for this to happen?"
"If course not! You would never want this to happen when you have such an important event like a science convention to go to. Oh no, God forbid that you miss your chance to see your wonderful inventions!"
"Damn it, Lara! Quiet up!"

Taban had removed the chrome covering on the outside of the Epoch with a screwdriver he had always kept in his pocket. He carefully examined the wires and their locations, and attempted to realign them. He took several sets of wires and fixed them, though he couldn't see well in the dark.

"Relax, Lara, things will go as planned. I promise. I'll have this whole thing fixed in a jiffy."
"Always your stupid machines..."
"Lara! Do you want to go home or not?"
"Yes, I want to go home! I'd rather be anywhere than in this dank, filthy machine! I should have gone with Noah to that party at the castle... At least that would seem like SOME sort of anniversary celebration!"

Taban looked up from the wires to see his wife's tear streaked face. He had planned so hard for the perfect anniversary celebration, but his efforts were in vain. After a pause, he decided not to let the night go to waste.

"Get out of the machine, Lara. We're going somewhere else."
"Move it. We've got celebrating to do."

Lara, confused, jumped out of the Epoch and landed carefully on the ground. She watched as Taban grabbed a large container off of the second back seat.

"What? What are you taking your invention for?"
"Lara, who carries their inventions in a picnic basket?"
"A what?"

Taban lifted the basket and removed a large cloth that was covering it. Sure enough, the basket was visible. Lara couldn't understand why she didn't see it earlier.

"Taban... I had no idea..."
"Planned to perfection! Absolute perfection."
"I'm sor--"
"No, don't say it. There's nothing to be sorry for. Come on, its a beautiful evening! I think there's a meteor shower tonight. Come on!" Taban said, smiling. "I think there's a beach just south of here."
"You really had the whole night planned out?"
"Lara, if you really thing I'd forget a whole 20 years, you don't know me as well as you think you do."

Taban took her hand and walked Lara towards the beach. The sky was a deep blue-black, and the stars shone brightly above in the clear dark sky. Lara took full notice of her surroundings, from the waves crashing against the shore, to the thick gathering of trees inland.

"Wait! Look!" Lara said, staring inward towards the center of the island.
"A cabin?" Taban asked.
"Yeah... you see it? It looks strange..."
"Who would be living in the middle of nowhere?" Taban asked.
"You know what? I'd bet mapmakers stopped at this island while they drew up maps of the world. This could be a landing spot for travelers from years and years ago."
"I don't know. Come on, let's go check it out." Taban said.

They went toward the cabin and made their way in, lighting candles to help aid them as they prepared to explore the inside of the cabin. Lara pushed the heavy wooden door open, cringing from the high pitched squeak that rung into the night. As Lara walked in, the candle flame lit up much of the room.

"Taban... I think someone has been in here recently..."

Lara looked at the dark, disorderly room. On the far wall was a large bookcase, packed with a series of books, none with titles. At the far corner was a desk, covered with scattered papers and books, with a small lantern in the upper corner. Lara approached the desk cautiously, and glanced at an open book that sat on it.

"Hey Lara, look at this!"

Lara's attention turned to a photograph on the wall. It was a man standing next to a woman who was holding a baby. The photo looked old and worn, and barely visible in the dim light.

"Remember that old thing that I was tinkering with years ago?"
"That thing that took those picture thingies?"
"The camera. Look at this. I remember this photo."

Lara, uninterested, turned back toward the open book on the desk. Examining the open page, she noticed the date was from that very day. She scanned the lines of the page, and looked up in shock.

"Lara, do you see this picture? This is Lara and Crono, back when Orin was still around."
"As if that is surprising enough..."
"What, you're not surprised? Do you not realize that this is where Old Starkiller's been staying for the past... 17 years?"
"Not anymore."
"Look at the passage."

Taban took the book in his hand and read the open passage:

Orin's Star Digest
Final Passage

After years and years of waiting, the comet I've been searching so long and hard for will finally make itself known this week in the night sky. However, from my quiet vantagepoint here on this desolate island, the comet will be minimally visible. This is why tonight, I will finally be leaving.

It's taken years and years of hard work and studying to come up with the multitude of theories that I've recorded in my books over the past few years. And, if tonight's event goes smoothly, they will all be proven. Just imagine... a lifetime of studying gravitational forces, all summed up in the path of a simple comet...

Then and only then will all of it be worthwhile. So tonight, I go home, back to where I started my studies. Who knows? I might just be able to visit old Taban, and using my theories, he could help me build a vessel that would send me into space.

"Like hell." Taban said.

Then again, there is one problem. The wife. Imagine her, almost eighteen years later... probably fat as a hog and poor. Then again, she's still all mine, there'll just be... more of her. And that kid. Considering the math, my son should almost be nineteen or twenty. He'll probably be the same as his mother... undisciplined, weak, and stupid. But he's mine, too. It's only natural that a man takes back what belongs to him.

So I go now, as I finish this final passage. I can almost guarantee that I'll be back within a month. The wife will provide all I need until I return. I leave you, Star Digest, alone, but in comfort, knowing that there isn't a soul in the world with bad luck and worse navigation to find this island. I rest peacefully, knowing that your pages full of my secrets of the stars will remain secrets until I see fit to reveal them.


"So he's going back. What, he hasn't ruined his wife's life enough already? Now he has to return? And then he has the audacity to claim that I might help him with his stupid mission to visit the stars."
"He couldn't just stay gone." Lara replied.
"You know what really burns me up? The fact that I was the one that had those two meet."
"Yeah, I know... I remember that Orin was always so nice, until they were married..."
"Orin was never so possessive, so driven... he had that flare, I always knew he wanted to visit space... but when he became the way he was... I never knew him to be like that, Lara, he was never like that."
"I know. I know."

* * *

The man could take it no longer. He had been sitting under Crono's desk for more than an hour, listening to one of the most vulgar and obscene conversations he had ever heard. Since when did unmarried children know so much about adult activities?

"Don't even ask me what I was doing. Something just comes over you, you know?"
"So what if Magus is a little... well... irresistible? I still hate his guts, but... you know..."
"No, Isa dunno."
"If you were a girl, you'd understand. We like it when guys sing..."
"Me sing?"
"NO! No, no no no... you shouldn't sing... not with your voice and all... I mean, no offense, but your voice is a tad... annoying."
"Mawle no tink so."
"That's because she only listens to you grunt."
"Vewy funny, Wucca."

The man lifted himself off the floor, pushing the heavy desk off of his back. Crono and Lucca perked up in an instant, Lucca reaching for her belt to grab her gun while Crono drew the sword he had rested under his pillow. They both stood ready to attack, staring at the silhouette of the person who had been hiding. They stared in confusion as the man shouted orders at them.

"Young man, you are FORBIDDEN to have girls in this household! You are no longer to leave this house EVER AGAIN! Is that understood?"
"Who are you?" Lucca asked.
"YOU KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT! Just because your father isn't around doesn't mean you won't be disciplined! You will keep away from this household unless I AM PRESENT! Now listen to me, and listen well! Crono, you are grounded until you are old enough to step on your hair! And that pretty little blade of yours is now mine!"
"Crono? Crono, what's happening?" Crono's mother asked, as she could be heard rushing up the staircase. She stopped suddenly as she saw the shapes of people she had not expected to be in Crono's room.
"Crono? Who are these people?"
"Miss, it's me, Lucca... I came up because I didn't want to be alone at home since Mom and Dad are gone..." Lucca said shyly.
"That's okay, Lucca, you know you're always welcome here. But who is your other friend, Crono?"
"We don't know who he is, Miss..." Lucca said, still holding her wondershot, pointed straight at the strange man in their house.

Crono moved himself off his bed, his sword still pointed high enough so he could attack in an instant. He slid over to his window, pulling open the shades to let the moonlight in. As the soft aura of light floated upon the face of the assailant, Crono's mother gasped in utter horror.

"Hi honey." The man said.
"I'm home." he said sweetly, a glistening white smile planted on his familiar face.


Part 4

Chrono Trigger Fanfic