The Empty Nest Part 5

By The Storyteller


Taban rubbed the sleep from his eyes and stretched, cracking his back as he twisted from side to side. He looked over to Lara, who lay asleep on the small cot inside the cabin they had found. He was careful not to disturb her, as he stood and grabbed his tool belt and a sandwich from the picnic basked they brought with them. He walked outside, squinting as the sun's morning rays invaded his eyes. The Epoch, his vehicle, shone brightly in the distance, the sun bouncing off each chrome ripple in its exterior. He approached it, reaching in his tool bag for the proper equipment so that he could fix the broken machine.

As he searched around the interior of the Epoch, he found globs of mud full of straw and leaves and various other strange foreign objects. The dried dirt had drowned out the color coding of the wires, leaving Taban clueless as to where each wire was meant to go.

"Okay… this worked once, it should work again… right?"

Taban randomly pulled the plugs and placed them in other sockets. He started tying in various wires to the strange golden box that was in the center of the strange display before him. Within minutes, Taban had totally re-arranged every wire inside the Epoch, without a single clue as to what he was doing. Before long, Lara had awaken, and made her way to Taban's location.

"Morning, hon. Sleep well?"
"Yeah, but that bed was awful. I felt like I had a bowling ball under my back the whole night!"
"That's my princess, always feeling the pea under the mattress."
"Oh you… Did you get this machine fixed?"
"I hope so. Why don't you start it up for me?"
"Just get into the front seat and tap the lever on your right."

Lara jumped inside the Epoch and tapped the lever. Suddenly, the Epoch's insides began to spurt, and sparks flew, as the entire machine started to hover.

"It's working!" Lara yelled excitedly.
"YES! Okay, jump in the back seat. Where is the chrome covering?"
"I don't remember where you put it!"
"I think it's in the back seat!"

Lara reached back and found the large chrome sheet, and handed it to Taban. He fumbled as he put the piece back in its place, shoving the screws in hurriedly, as he anxiously awaited to make his trip home. He finished and jumped inside the Epoch, as Lara waited in the back seat. Taban vaulted himself into the driver's chair and proceeded to accelerate. Within a second, he was at the Epoch's current full speed.

"Uhh, honey?"
"Yeah, I know."
"We're barely going walking speed."
"Yeah, but it'll get us home eventually, right?"

Lara sighed, as the Epoch continued to sputter, flying forward slowly but steadily on the trek home.

* * *

"Are you done packing yet, Crono? We have to get to the castle! It's almost 4 o'clock!"

Crono rushed through his closets, searching for any item that might make his night out more interesting. He knew he was in no danger, but his mother insisted that he bring anything valuable with him to prevent Orin from taking it. She insisted on Lucca doing the same. As a result, packing was taking forever, and Noah feared that they would be unable to make it back to the castle before the early darkness of a fall sunset.

"Come on, Crono! Aren't you worried?"

Suddenly, Lucca burst through the doorway, carrying a large bag in her shoulder. She dropped it in the doorway and reached for the array of guns she kept at her belt.

"I've come prepared!" she cheered.
"Put those things away before you get us all killed! CRONO!"

Crono suddenly ran down the stairs, tripping over the last step as the weight of his bag pulled him to the ground.

"Finally! The coach has been waiting out there forever! Hurry up!"

Crono's mother stormed out of the house, as Crono tried to pull himself up from the floor.

"Jeez, Crono, your mom really needs to relax…"
"Mama stwange. Isa no worry none."

The three traveled the short distance to the castle, and were greeted quietly by the king and Marle on the front steps. Without hesitation, a large group of well dressed servants rushed toward the coach, racing to be the first to grab a parcel. All of the servants in the castle were very uneasy, after the king promptly fired one of the servants the earlier night. The lucky few who managed to get their hands on the bags sprinted into the castle, headed for the rooms designated earlier. The rest of the servants were left standing nervously, until the king finally nodded, and they dispersed.

As Crono and Lucca ran off into the castle, Crono's mother let out a relaxed sigh. She had been insanely nervous about the arrival of Crono's father, fearing that he might attack her at any moment. She knew that most of her fears were superfluous, but she couldn't control them. She felt like he was going to come at her from all sides, jumping from windows and from behind trees, falling from the sky to land on her and jump at her.

The king sensed her discomfort and placed a gentile hand on her shoulder.

"It's alright now. You're safe in the castle. The guards are all on duty. If you ever get the feeling that someone is watching you, relax, because it's probably one of my men."
"Really? What about right now?"

The king snapped his fingers, and a well-disguised guard suddenly fell from one of the trees. He smiled and climbed back upward hastily, gone from sight as soon as he had come. Noah turned and rested her head on the king's shoulder, as he slid his arms around her. Finally, she had found a moment's peace.

* * *

"Time to party! Look at this! Giant beds, pretty curtains, even paintings on the walls! This place kicks ass!"

Lucca eyed the room where she would stay for the night, as she dropped her bags on the floor and threw herself on the bed, reveling in the softness of the mattress.

"You get bored with it eventually, Lucca." Marle replied, sighing.
"Come on... even staying in the basement with the knights... that was cool, but this is cooler!" Lucca exclaimed.
"Yousa no go cwazy, Wucca." Crono said, trying to calm her down.
"I can't help it. Why didn't we stay in these rooms back when we were first together? Why'd we all have to sleep in the knight's quarters?" Lucca complained.
"You think I know, Lucca? My dad just decided to go and give everyone the good rooms. You should see the room he assigned Crono's mother!"
"Whassa room he give Mom?" Crono asked.
"He gave her his room! He's taking one of the guest rooms!"
"Wha? Yousa papa stwange man…" Crono said, wondering why his mother was getting such special treatment by the king.

Marle sighed and sat on the bed next to Lucca, grabbing a pillow. She sighed thoughtfully as she rested her head on the fluffy cushion.

"Whassa matta, Mawle?" Crono asked, noticing Marle's strange mood.
"It's just… something's wrong, Crono. Dad's been acting funny since last night."
"How?" Crono asked, sitting down.
"Well, he's been all happy and stuff… he's just not himself, you know?"
"Well maybe he's got a girlfriend or something." Lucca suggested.
"Nuh-uh. No way. Don't even joke, Lucca." Marle said. "Dad doesn't need a girlfriend."
"Why not?" Lucca asked.
"Come on, Crono, Lemme just show you your room…"
"Hey, come on…"

Crono jumped and stood at attention, as he grabbed his bags and left behind Marle, who marched quickly out of the room.

"Cripes… don't gotta be so anal about it…" Lucca whispered to herself as the door slammed shut behind them.

* * *

Orin stood silently in the darkness of the closet. He had sensed the children approaching, their loud voices spouting out vulgar conversations. He silently damned them… all of them… for coming so close to finding him, when he was so close to where he needed to be. It would be a few hours until his comet would approach… a few short hours until he was able to prove his theories about interplanetary forces, gravity and the like…

He silently cursed himself for choosing that room, the room which was now assigned to Taban's child, the room where he was now stuck, unable to move. She was out there, relaxing, her childish mind filled with childish things, her young ears sensitive to any possible sound that Orin would make. She could hear him move… hear him breathe… hear his thoughts…

Suddenly, the closet door flew open, as an arm shoved a heavy belt upon a hanger. The arm pulled a bunch of other hangers out of the closet, and slammed the door shut.

"She didn't even notice me!" He whispered to himself, before his brain realized that she could hear him, and kept him silent. He looked up, at the belt that she had hung, and noticed the thin wire hanger struggling to hold the belt up. As his eyes refocused in the dark, he saw that several gun holsters were attached to the belt… each with its own gun.

He reached up carefully, sneaking one out of its holster, handling it with extreme care and caution as he brought it down to his level. He'd never handled a gun before. The sensation he felt at that moment was intense, like he had a new feeling of power, of rebirth. A grin came upon his face as the idea formed in his head.

The door opened again, as Lucca reached inward, hanging up her shirt for the next day. As she reached for the next day's pants, Orin quietly stood, cocking the orange gun that was revealed to be Wondershot, and holding it to the back of Lucca's neck.

"Don't move."

* * *

Crono and Marle walked briskly in the hallway, headed towards the king's bedroom. Crono had wanted to check on his mother, to be sure that she had settled in. Marle trudged quietly, still unsure of her father's strange behavior. She sighed from time to time, buried deep in her thoughts. As the two ascended the stairway leading up to the king's room, Crono questioned his sweetheart.

"Hey Marle, what's the matter?" Crono asked, making sure that nobody was around before speaking.
"The last thing my dad needs is to have a girlfriend." Marle replied quietly. "Dad has too much to do. He has no time for a woman. He's lucky if he has enough time for me."
"Well, chances are, he isn't seeing anybody anyway. Maybe he's just a little tipsy… that's all. Or maybe he just happens to be in a good mood."
"Yes… He couldn't be doing anything strange on me, right? I mean, what would he do? Date your mother?"

Crono and Marle both burst into laughter, as Marle opened the door to her father's bedroom. It was then that she saw Crono's mother, wrapped in the arms of the king, the two interlocked in a kiss.


It was then that Crono fainted.

* * *

"Wh… what… who…"

Lucca felt the cold barrel of the gun at the back of her neck, with the pressure of the gun's holder behind it. She quivered, chills of terror shooting down her spine as her assailant held her there.

"You know who I am."
"You're Crono's father, aren't you!"
"Whatever. Hold still!"

Lucca could barely breathe. She hadn't an idea of what to do… she could try casting a spell, but charging it would take too long. All of her guns were now in his hands. She was defenseless.

"What do you want me to do?" Lucca uttered, her voice wavering.
"I want you to build me a telescope that will let me see out of this window."
"A telescope? What for?"
"Mind your business, young lady. And don't even think of screaming, or else Taban will have to do without his baby girl…"

He kept the gun pointed at her as he walked backward toward the closet, pulling out the supplies he had brought with him into the castle. He dropped them in front of her, at her feet, and grinned, as he told her to get to work.

Within an hour, she had managed to build the hulk of the telescope, using his instructions. The machine itself was lopsided and weak, since Orin didn't know much about what materials would be best to use. The movements of the machine made it squeak and creak at a high pitch, making Lucca cringe each time she heard it. Still, Orin forced her on, holding her own gun at her head in close range. He even forced her to use the lenses of her glasses within the machine, so he could see.

Over two hours later, she had assembled the machine in its entirety, ready to stare on into the night sky.

* * *

The king had called the guards, ordering them to lift Crono into the nearest bed. Crono's mother and Marle sat at his side, while the king paced worriedly at the foot of the bed. Crono's mother was nearly in tears. She hadn't told Crono that she had had any relationship with the king. She felt it was her fault that he fainted, since it was her that surprised him so much.

Marle sat, staring into Crono's sleeping face. Crono had only joked… now, what was to happen if his mother and her father became closer? They would become… SIBLINGS!

"It was all my fault!" Crono's mother yelled, as she burst into tears. She ran out of the room, as Marle stared onward.
"Noah!" The king called, as he chased her.

Marle sighed, and looked back into Crono's face. His eyelids started to flutter suddenly, as if his mother's yells had gotten to his brain. He awoke, and sat up, looking around him.

"Crono, It's me, Marle!"
"Marle… so… so it was all a dream?"
"So… my mom… your dad…"
"Don't remind me."

Crono groaned, feeling as if his brain was throbbing within his skull. Marle reached her arm around his shoulder, offering him a gesture of comfort. Surprisingly, he looked away, a strange look of disgust on his face.

"This is going to take some time." Marle said to herself. "Come on, Crono… Let's go check on Lucca. She's probably studying some science channel on the Media Crystal…"

Crono nodded, as Marle pulled him up off the bed, headed towards Lucca's room.

* * *

Lucca pulled the telescope up to the window. She tried to steady the unstable machine, positioning so that it stood upright, but it kept shifting over because of its one short leg. Sighing, she gave up, and looked backward toward Orin.

"There's nothing else I can do."
"Fix it."
"God damn it, I can't! Could you please let me go?"
"Sit down and shut up! My comet's coming in fifteen minutes!"

Lucca groaned as she plopped downward onto the bed, holding her face in her hands. Orin kept the Wondershot pointed at her, ready to fire at any moment.

Orin jumped in the air with surprise as the door opened, and Crono and Marle walked inward.

"SHUT THE DOOR!" he yelled. He pointed the gun, once again, at Lucca's head, ready to shoot and kill. Marle complied and shut the door, standing against it as she stared at the man and his menace.
"Who are you?" She asked worriedly.
"So YOU must be little Marlie, eh? Daughter of the king. His little princess. So how's mommy eh? PRINCESS?"
"My mother died, you twit!"
"She did?" Orin asked confusedly. "I suppose I've been away from civilization for way too long…"
"It certainly seems like it! Why are you holding a gun to my friend's head, here?"
"SHHHHH! Ten minutes more, and I'll be laughing in ALL of your faces! HA HA HA HA!"

Crono and Marle stood and watched as the man laughed maniacally, the time of his discovery drawing near.

* * *

"Go away!" Noah cried, from the inside of one of the castle's many bathrooms.

The king opened the door slowly, to see Noah, sitting in the corner of the bathroom, her knees pulled into her chest. She sobbed into a wad of toilet paper, refusing to look at the king.

"Noah, don't be so sad! Crono will be fine."
"I knew it, King! Crono and Marle are still with each other… if me and you were together, it would keep them apart…"
"Why? There are no laws against such relationships."
"You know how kids are, though… they'll start thinking strange things… like incest and all that…"
"Well then… why not let our kids be?"

Noah looked upward, into the king's eyes.

"For the children?" Noah asked.
"The needs of our children outweigh our own."
"You're right. You are. I've tried to give Crono the best all his life, and if your daughter is the best thing for him, then it's up to us not to intrude."

Noah looked up at the King's solemn face.

"Good thing we never got too close, right?"

The king took her hand and helped her to her feet, before guiding her out of the bathroom. As the tears dried from her face, she giggled, thinking of the king and the night of the party... she knew that she was well on her way to falling for him, even though she'd barely known him a full 24 hours. Even though she knew she would want to spend her days with the king more personally, her heart was set on her son. As they approached Crono's room, she sighed, expecting to see her son lying there. Instead, the room was empty.

"Where's my son?!?"

* * *

"This is getting tedious, Taban. This is really, and I mean really annoying."
"We're over water, Lara… I can't fix this thing now. There's nothing I can do right now."
"Just… Just press something, damn it!"

The Epoch sputtered as it flew over the ocean, slowly moving toward Truce. Lara grew restless, anxious to get home after the failed anniversary retreat. Taban himself grew restless, in dire need of a mug of ale and a nap. He yawned, stretching his arms upward, trying to move his bulky legs… until his knee accidentally nicked a small lever on the side of the front seat.

The Epoch started flying at a speed it had never reached before, throwing Lara against the back wall of the Epoch. She was pressed against it, the force keeping her pinned there.

"WHAT DID YOU DO???" Lara cried.

Taban kept trying to steer the machine, but with every move he made, the Epoch made a drastic turn. The machine was out of control, headed towards Truce and beyond at speeds uncontrollable…

* * *

"Here it comes…"

Everybody stood in the room in awe. Orin had taken Lucca aside, holding her at gun point, while Crono and Marle waited in the back. Neither of them dared to make a move, knowing that Orin was fully capable of pulling the trigger, killing their friend.

Orin held the gun towards Lucca as he stared into the telescope, pushing it outward. He had managed the focus it on his comet, as it approached the planets in the distance. He grinned brightly as he watched the orange tail of the comet streak across the heavens, headed toward his planet…

"Five… four…"

* * *


Taban pulled at the control stick, turning it accordingly, falling from his seat, as the Epoch dramatized the turn and started flying on its side. His eyes went toward a strange prong that stuck out of the window of the castle…

* * *

"Three… two… YAAAAAGH!"

Orin was suddenly thrown to the corner of the room, thrown when the outside force of the Epoch collided with the telescope. All three, Crono, Marle, and Lucca, managed to either grab their weapons or charge a spell in Orin's moment of weakness. The telescope had broken from the window and plummeted toward the ground, its eyepiece leaving a painful mark on Orin's eye.

* * *

A crash in the distance suddenly alerted the ears of Noah, who was still looking around the room to find where the assumed comatose Crono could be.

"CRONO!" she cried, running out of the room, the king running behind her, calling for guards from any and all corners of the castle.

They ran towards Lucca's room and opened the door, to see the three young kids leaning over a strange figure in the corner.

"So how do you like having a gun pointed at you, idiot?" Lucca said, grinning.
"How did you sneak into this castle? Why'd you do it?" Marle queried.

Noah approached the huddle, looking inward, to see the shaggy, brown figure of her ex-husband on the floor.

Much to everyone's surprise, Noah smiled.

"Finally, Orin… you're going to jail. Just where a dirt bag like you should be."

A troupe of soldiers filed into the room, pushing past the teenagers to grab the assailant. The king grinned as he announced the list of violations that Orin had made, from trespassing to assault, to theft, as Noah stood laughing at her ex-husband, as if a great weight had truly been lifted off her shoulders.

* * *

"Alright, Dad, out! Come on. We gotta get somewhere, we know some friends who have to hear this story."

Lucca motioned for her father to leave the Epoch, but he sat there, petrified. Lara, in the back, was no better. She stared, wide eyed, into the face of her daughter, still trying to gain control of the fact that she was on the ground.

"Oh please, guys. Imagine falling from the sky and being caught just before hitting the water! I've done that. I've almost died, for cryin' out loud! Come on, we gotta jet."

Lucca grabbed her father's arm and tried to tear him from the seat, pulling him out of the Epoch. She did the same with Lara, helping her onto the ground, before hopping into the front seat.

Meanwhile, Noah stood, her arms wrapped around her son, thanking him for being so strong while Orin posed a threat. Crono, however, wasn't at all worried, except when a gun was pointed at his best friend's head. Other than that, Crono felt like Orin was nothing.

"Miss Noah… Crono and I have to go… we have places to be, friends to be with, ya know?"
"Yes, yes, you kids should dabble in all of that teenage business… just don't stay gone forever like you did last time, okay?"

Noah placed a kiss on her son's cheek, and one on Marle's, before sending them on their way. The king then turned to Crono's mother, taking her hand in his. From his fist, he let lay a thin golden chain, with a small prismatic charm. It was the necklace made from the rainbow shell.

"Our guards confiscated this upon the arrest." The king said, smiling. Noah stood, surprised, unable to look into his eyes.
"I... I can't take this. It wouldn't be right of me."
"Take it, Miss Noah. Please. As a remembrance of the night we shared, perhaps?"
"Well... Oh, alright..."

Noah giggled as she took the charm and put it in her pocket, and turned toward her children, as they jumped inside the Epoch. Suddenly, from above, a voice could be heard…

"What? How did he escape?" The king said, noticing Orin peeking out of a window in the tower leading to the jail area.

Marle's face suddenly turned red, as she fell into Crono's chest, embarrassed.

"So, Crono… you noticed…"

The eyes of every parent went wide and angry, as each parent looked at their respective child. Crono knew it, the secret was out… he took Marle's hand and rushed nervously inside the Epoch, where Lucca had it already started.

"CRONO! Didn't I teach you better?" Noah yelled, as the Epoch hovered away.
"NO, TWO MONTHS!" The king cried.
"ONE YEAR!" Noah yelled.
"TWO!" Taban cried.
"FIVE!" Called the king.

And as the Epoch took off into hyperspace, each parent insisted on battling to see which child would be grounded the most for engaging in adult affairs…

And such is the word of the Storyteller.

Alrighty. Lemme clear a little bit up here. This story took me FOREVER to work on. I finished the story that came after this one months before finishing this one, and I do write my stories in chronological order. This story was a tedious, long, annoying task to battle. But here I am, wasting my winter break to finish it… but alas, nothing bad about finishing an old story, eh?

Just to clear up something about Orin's name… see, when I named him, I had been watching an episode of the Daily Show featuring a bunch of jokes about some dude named Orrin Hatch. They said something like "His parents named him Orrin because they hated him." That sorta stuck in my head, and here we are now, with a character named Orin. Of course, I didn't realize that Orin was one letter short of Orion, which should have been the reason for naming a character so associated with astronomy. Ah, well, bugger.

I know, this story blows… put it this way… if you could see the end to this story as part of a movie, like I do, you'd think it a whole lot funnier. Then again, this is one of my first stories that isn't dedicated solely to comedy. I actually aimed for something dramatic in this one. Why the hell would I have Crono and Marle getting it on at the beach if I didn't want it to be mildly serious? I don't know. I still suck as a writer if you ask me.

The story that takes place after this one was much more enjoyable to write, and will be much more enjoyable to read. It's the one story out of my whole collection that I am truly, 100% proud of. This one happens to be the pride of my collection.

Then again, it's a sexual comedy, involving some strange stuff… but it involves Magus, so at least my fellow women won't mind. I hope. (Crono and Magus yaoi, anyone?)


Chrono Trigger Fanfic