Nobody exists only in the present, everybody has a past that created who they are today. Marle's curiosity becomes a burden when she accidently learns the whole truth of Spekkio's origins.
A Spark of Life
A Chrono Trigger Fanfiction
By Jade Dixon
Dedication: To 'Points to Ponder' in the Chrono Trigger section of IcyBrian's RPG site. My answer to where Spekkio comes from.
In the end, it was Marle who couldn't contain her curiosity anymore. Strange, I had always thought that it would be Lucca. After all, she was the one with the inquisitive mind. But perhaps Marle's stronger intuition prompted her action.
She stayed behind after the others had left to rest following our most recent sparring match. None of them had stayed behind before, and they seemed especially eager to leave as they grew stronger. After all, at least in my Kilwala form I was somewhat approachable. An Omnicrone is somewhat more intimidating, I gather.
It's easy to underestimate the young princess. She's always so energetic and cheerful, that it's often easy to stereotype her as an immature child. In some ways she is, but in many other ways she is quite formidable. I've always found that she was very good with people, barring her father. Thus, she didn't ask me a blunt question such as, 'Where did you come from?' or 'What are you?' Instead she put the ball in my court.
Once Frog had exited for the street corner, she sat down in front of me and whispered a request that I felt compelled to obey.
"Tell me your story."
Despite not being a question, it wasn't a command. It was an offer of release. I had longed for an opportunity such as this for aeons. Gaspar knew my story, and I his; but here was somebody whom it would mean something to. And so I took her up on her offer.
"Once I was human, just like yourself, Lucca, or even Crono." Oh the irony. "I died under unusual circumstances, and my spirit was not ready to rest yet. Eventually, I was caught up in a Gate and sent here, where only the two of us live." Along with many guests, but few like the decor here enough to stay for an extended visit. Can't understand why. I mean, who doesn't like cobblestones, and lampposts, and buckets that send you to your doom?
"Seeing as how we had plenty of time on our hands, we used the old man's magic to create this lovely structure, and I made myself useful learning how to fully utilize my magic without a physical body." I saw her eyes widen at this. Cautiously, she poked at where my left leg was, and noticed for the first time that it just went right through. I finally sat down next to her, and smiled as only a monster can. "Didn't you wonder why physical attacks never hurt me?" I asked gently.
"You must get lonely," she said, and there was pity in her eyes. I was more than willing to accept it.
"No more lonely than I'd be with a real body, but yes, it does get lonely here." Then I grinned, not wanting to let her get depressed for my sake. "At least when it gets too boring I can liven things up by playing jokes on Gramps. You wouldn't believe how uptight he can get over a few itty bitty renovations!"
She laughed, and it was good to hear. I'd missed laughter. Not many people laugh while getting pelted with magic. "Well, I'll just have to visit more often, so that poor old gentleman won't have to get upset." She stood to leave. "I'll see you soon!"
She didn't realize how right she was.
They hadn't been the first people the old man had sent to me to unlock magic, but they were the ones I had been expecting from the beginning. I was not caught unawares.
When we first arrived in this place, there was nothing here. Gaspar began making the foundations of what would become our home, while I observed. I hadn't rediscovered proper thought patterns at this time, and merely floated aimlessly around the guru as he did his work; a softly glowing light that would be easy to miss. Gaspar certainly did for the first few days. Eventually he did take notice of me, however, and began to talk with me. Or perhaps he was merely talking to himself. Either way, listening to him speak, I began to remember my own language. With it came memories and emotions. They were not happy.
Luckily, I didn't become self-destructive, unluckily that was because I didn't have a self to destruct. It was eventually out of boredom that I began trying to communicate with Gaspar. This lead to me exploring my magic. Without vocal cords to conduct sound, I had to rely on my magical energies to artificially create noises. My first attempts sounded pathetically like Robo, but with Gaspar's encouragement I persevered and gradually learned to mimic human speech.
This, naturally, helped us both as we now had each other as companions to ease our loneliness in our new prison. Even when we discovered the power of the Gates, we did not leave; I because I had nowhere else to go to, and Gaspar because it was here alone that he could truly master his expertise.
Finally, I learned how to create a visual representation of myself. There were glitches at first, an arm too many, an eye too few, a colour the wrong shade, et cetera, but like with speech, I overcame my difficulties and mastered this new art. I played with my new ability a lot. Still do, in fact. I love sizing up newbies and presenting them with a form that matches their skill level. Just pick an equivalent monster that I had encountered in my travels (back when I was alive) and poof, instant challenge! Of course, I often tweaked the form a bit. Even I have never encountered a real red Nu.
I gotta say, these guys took being told their skill level was only equal to a Kilwala's pretty good compared to some other reactions I've received. But I digress...
As I have said before, I had expected this group to come traipsing through here looking for magic eventually.
And one day they came to me, and he wasn't with them for once.
I'd been expecting that too.
In fact, me an' Gaspar had talked about how to deal with this group, and this event in particular, quite extensively. From our unique and collective point of view, we determined that they would have to come here eventually. We also knew that if they did come here, Crono would die facing Lavos in the Ocean Palace. The question we faced was, could we afford to change that?
Unfortunately, we determined that it would be too risky. Too much depended on the spiky-haired kid's sacrifice. We had to let the kid die.
However, we still had our ace in the hole: Gaspar's newly finished Time Egg! Provided the group managed to make their way back here after the mess with Lavos, we could get them to use it to 'change' what had happened. Of course, there were still risks with that plan. If the changes happened immediately, then we could wind up with a paradox on our hands. But if they only rippled, or created an alternate timeline, then there was still a chance it would work.
And so, Crono died, the Ocean Palace party eventually returned, with Magus of all people in tow, and Gaspar was able to send them on their merry little quest to resurrect their fallen friend.
They were back much quicker than I'd expected. Heck, I'd half expected not to see them again, if I were honest with myself. But there they were with the living dead trailing behind them.
I'm a bit ashamed to admit that I was slightly disturbed seeing him at first. I mean, it's one thing to think abstractly about bringing back someone that should have died, but the reality was apparently more than I could handle. I don't think any of the others noticed, but Gaspar came to see me while they were asleep. Bugger tried to pass it off as just one of our usual conversations, but seeing how it's usually me that has to go to him, I somehow don't buy that. He tries to put on an aloof attitude, but he's a big softie.
By the Lamp Post, I wish I could sleep.
Marle couldn't sleep. She guessed that the adrenaline from rescuing Crono was still running through her system. She could hardly believe that they had actually succeeded! Imagine being able to actually change the past. On the other hand, Crono was sleeping like a baby. She couldn't decide whether to smile or frown. She was glad that he was able to act so normally after such a traumatizing event, but on the other hand, she wasn't sure he understood exactly how traumatizing the event had been. She got the feeling that he felt distanced from the entire disaster because he hadn't, pardon the pun, lived through it.
Maybe she should go join Gaspar and Spekkio? She hoped they weren't having a private conversation or something. She didn't want to intrude. But both Gaspar and Spekkio seemed to delight in having other people to talk to, so she didn't think they'd mind.
She rose to her feet quietly, so as not to disturb the others, and tip-toed over to Spekkio's door. She couldn't hear anything through it, so she opened it just a crack and peeked through. If it looked like they didn't want company, then she'd continue trying to sleep...
She didn't immediately see Spekkio, and Gaspar's back was turned away from the door.
"No, I'm not alright," a voice ground out, assumedly in answer to a question she'd just missed. It certainly wasn't Gaspar's, so it must be the voice of whatever being represented Gaspar's abilities. A frown creased her forehead. Odd... it sounded familiar...
"Do you wish we had made another decision then?" Gaspar asked in a soft voice. It almost wasn't a question, as if there could only be one answer.
A huff of air--fake, she knew, because how could an entity without a body breathe?--and then the sullen response. "No, of course I don't. Dammit, Gramps, you know as well as I do that it's better this way." A bitter laugh. "It had better be better this way..."
She had finally placed the voice, but it didn't make much sense. She looked back at her sleeping friends, frown-lines deepening as she tried to piece it all together. She must be mistaken.
Gaspar finally moved, pacing aimlessly it seemed. But she caught a glimpse of Spekkio's current form. And it was exactly who she had thought it was.
The red-head ran his hand through his hair, a nervous gesture that she had seen him make a dozen times.
"It's just," Crono-Spekkio continued in a defeated voice, "I'd hoped something would change for me, ya know? I never expected to come face to face with him like that. Never really thought that he might come back here, and that if he did, there would be no chance..." The boy trailed off, and shrugged his shoulders helplessly.
"No chance for you to be returned to life with him as the time ripples caught up," Gaspar finished for him, a pitying tone in his voice.
She was quite pleased that she managed to keep herself from gasping and giving herself away.
The rest of her was horrified as it dawned on her that Spekkio wasn't just assuming Crono's form to represent Gaspar's strength, which didn't make sense anyways, because Gaspar must be stronger than Crono, and wasn't anything like any of the other creatures that he usually formed...
While her thoughts raced, Spekkio's shoulders slumped, and Gaspar made a move as if to lay a hand on his shoulder, but aborted it at the last minute, seeing as it was useless.
"I know it doesn't mean anything, but I am sorry that things have turned out this way, Crono. You deserved better than to be reduced to a speck of light."
And the last pieces fell into place in her head...
--a sparkle of light hovering at Schala's shoulder as she teleported us away--
--a small globe of light leaving Crono's body, almost unnoticed as Lavos turned him to dust--
'Thank-you, Gaspar,' Marle thought bitterly, 'For preventing even rambling thoughts to allow me to deceive myself.'
"Heh," Spekkio--Crono--smirked. "That's the first time you've called me by my real name, Gaspar." It was an obvious ploy to change the subject, but Gaspar allowed it to be changed.
"Likewise, my friend."
After that, they moved on to lighter topics, but Marle wasn't listening any more. She'd moved back to her space besides Crono--the living, breathing one--and closed her eyes, pretending to sleep.
A speck of light, Spekkio. One of those two had a horrible sense of humour.
'It had better not be Crono,' she thought, with a bit of hysteria laced at the edge. 'I don't think I could live with that.' An extremely hysterical voice piped up that maybe Crono hadn't lived with it either...
She squat it. Hard.
Sleep didn't come to her that night.
Instead, she spent her time mulling over those last moments in the Ocean Palace. Crono's body crumbling to dust as the energy from Lavos' attack hit him mid-spell. The soft glowing light that remained after the beam had faded, hovering around the Zealot princess as she sent them to safety.
And by the time the others woke up, her tears had long since dried.
Marle didn't come by to visit me for a few days after Crono had been brought back. Probably too busy making sure he wasn't about to disappear on her again. Was I bitter about it? A bit. I knew by this point that there would be no coming back to life for me. It was a depressing thought. Luckily, by the time that she did start visiting me again, I had gotten all the 'why him and not me' crap out of my system.
Well, most of it.
A lot of it.
Okay, so I hadn't gotten it out of my system at all, but I had reached the point where I could hide it from others. It helped that she seemed to be a bit distracted herself. Well, the time where they'd have to face Lavos again was rapidly approaching, so I can't really blame her for being a bit preoccupied.
Plus she's got her zombie boyfriend to occupy her thoughts...
Must. Not. Insult. Other. Me.
Okay, so I'm still bitter. I even tried asking Gaspar if the bloody lucky bastard had a soul. After all, I'm my former body's soul, so maybe I was that body's soul too. Theoretically, they're the same one, right? No such luck. The freaking body was retrieved before his soul was ousted. The way Gaspar figures it, either an alternate timeline was formed immediately at that moment, or it'll form as soon as the ripples of change reach the End of Time. Either way, I'm tough outta luck.
Now they're off facing a monster spikier than my hair. I always kinda thought that I'd be with them, and I am in a way, it's just that it's not actually me.
And they'll either die, and I'll never see them again, or they'll win and go back to their proper times, and I'll still never see them again.
Cobblestones, I wish I had tear ducts at moments like these.
I waited as long as I could. Really, I did! But now it's all over, and it's time to go home, and I can't just leave things the way they are!
I make vague noises about wanting to say good-bye. Lucca frowns and tells me that I shouldn't draw things like this out so much, but Crono gives me a gentle, indulging, smile, and tells me that they'll wait at the Gate.
I nod to Gaspar on my way back to Spekkio's room. He looks a bit surprised at seeing me back, but doesn't say anything. I take a deep breath and enter the room.
For a moment, I seem to have caught him off guard. He's still in that foolish red Nu form so it's hard to tell. But he grins at me none-the-less.
"Back for one last spar? It'll be difficult on your own! I won't go easy on you. After all, I have to maintain my reputation as the Master of War!"
It's meaningless prattle. I lower my head, my eyes squeezed tightly shut, and my hands are fists at my sides. I let out a shaky breath. How did I ever think I could do this with composure? I bet Leene would have been able to...
"I was right you know..."
Soft, flat, only slightly shaky. He's wary now.
"Beg your pardon?" he queries me.
"At the fair. When we first met. You really are a true gentleman."
I'm not even looking at him, and I can feel his shock.
Well, what do you know? I've actually managed to make the Master of War speechless... Good grief...! I'm getting as cynical as Magus...
I open my eyes and lift my head to glare at him. My eyes must be blazing, because he actually takes a step backwards.
"You wouldn't have said a word, would you?! We would have left, never the wiser of who you really were, living in a happy little bubble because we'd managed to save the world! Never knowing what it cost you..." I fell to the floor, hands supporting my weight, tears streaming down my face now.
"You wouldn't have said a word..." I didn't have the strength left to scream that one. It only came out as a broken whisper. I knew I wouldn't have the composure to see this through...
"Marle...?" Not a speechless exclamation this time, but a concerned plea. And his voice is his own, this time. I see his human knees as he kneels in front of me; out of the corner of my eye I catch his human hands hovering around my shoulders, as if he wants to give me a hug.
I quickly get to my feet and shoot backwards. "How can you bear to be near me?" I whisper, horrified by the concerned look on his face. Confusion. It hurts to see his face.
"What do you..."
"I killed you!" My shrill voice cuts him off, and stops him in his tracks. His eyes must be nearly as wide as my own.
Suddenly anger blazes across his face, and I'm instantly glad he can't make physical contact because he reaches for my shoulders, and tries to shake them, but his hands go right through me. There isn't even a cold feeling. Bereft of their target, his hands form fists clenched tightly at his sides.
"Your fault?! How the hell do you figure that it's your fault?! Did Magus tell you that?! Or one of the others?! Why by the freaking Bucket of Doom would you think that it's your fault?!"
Bucket of Doom...? "None... none of the others know..." His yelling has reduced me to whimpering; his anger actually frightening me. I'd forgotten that even if he's Crono, he's still Spekkio. And Spekkio could crush me like a bug...!
I watch his anger deflate a bit, probably wondering how I know. Seeing him calm down is calming me down a bit too. I wipe the tears from my face and try once again to compose myself. This is a lot harder than I thought it would be.
"Why are you blaming yourself, Marle?" he's whispering now, probably making a concentrated effort not to scare me any more.
"I..." A sniffle; I am so pathetic. I steel myself. "I was the one who decided we should try to stop Lavos. I was the one who convinced you and Lucca that it was our duty to stop something that wouldn't happen until centuries after we were dead. No one was supposed to get hurt..." I didn't mean to actually say that! "I actually thought it would be fun..." I am so dead. I shudder and wrapp my arms around my middle. Nothing had turned out the way I had thought it would.
For a moment, there is silence.
"You were very naive."
Ouch. I guess I can't say that I didn't deserve that.
"But you grew up."
When I look up at him again, he's smiling softly at me. His eyes are still sad, but the smile is genuine.
"Honestly, I thought that an adventure to save the world would be fun too, at first. Lucca probably did, as well." He looks as if he's far away. How long has it been for him? "We all grew up."
"But you were the only one who died..." Pain lanced through his eyes as I said that. Score one for tact, Marle.
He shuffles nervously and stares at his feet. "I'd be lying if I said I didn't have regrets, I mean, nobody wants to die... But, you guys did manage to make things better. Mom won't have to deal with me never coming home now..."
I'm crying again now. Crying the tears that he cannot, for it goes unsaid that he'll never get to see her again, and that he'll never be mourned for.
"It's not fair..." I whisper.
"Marle." He sounds serious; I try to concentrate on what he's saying. "Please believe me when I say, it's not your fault. We all did what we had to do. Even my death played its part. You need to go home now, and enjoy the end of the Fair, and make sure that lug-head doesn't waste his second chance at life, okay?"
I manage a tremulous smile for him. He smiles back at me, and makes shooing motions towards the door.
"Go on now. The rest of your life's waiting for you."
I was reaching for the door before I realized there was one last thing I had to do.
Turning, I perform a graceful curtsy, despite the lack of skirt that would have made it look much better.
"Thank-you," I whisper. This time my smile's a lot stronger, even if my eyes are just as sad as his own. "I promise, I won't forget you. Ever." Then I turn and run out of the room, before I break down again.
"Done?" Crono asks me as I approach the pillars of light.
"Mmhmm," I murmur, still wiping the tears from my eyes. Lucca puts her arm around my shoulders in a comforting half-hug.
"See?" she scolds gently. "I told you not to drag it out."
I manage to pull myself together, and grab one of each of their hands. I squeeze tightly, never wanting to let go.
"Let's go home."
And I smile, because it's finally all over.
In Guardia, at the very top of Leene's Square, where nature and artificial structures meet, there's a very weakly marked path that trails into the forest.
Every now and again, the princess of Guardia will walk that trail, always alone. Sometimes she comes back smiling, and other times her eyes are red from crying.
At the end of the trail is a large rock with rough scratches engraved into its surface.
A friend left with only
A spark of life, but
Who will be remembered
Till the End of Time.
He never did find out how Marle figured out his secret. But in the end, Spekkio was glad she did. Even just knowing that he'd be remembered meant more to him then he'd imagined. He still wistfully thought of a time when he was free, but he didn't wallow in self-pity like he'd begun to, before Marle confronted him.
He hoped that she took his words to heart. She couldn't blame herself. He certainly had never even thought of blaming her. It was a shame that they hadn't talked about it sooner, but that's all one can do...
'Hmmm...' he thought to himself. 'I wonder if Gaspar would notice if I changed the walls to pink with puce polka dots?'
'Time to do some renovating!' Spekkio rubbed his hands together with glee, and got to work.
I had a couple of goals here: First and foremost, I wanted to answer the question of where Spekkio came from in a way that worked logically in the game. Hence, connecting the glowing sparkle that leaves Crono with the one that arrives in the End of Time with Gaspar.
Secondly, I decided to play around with writing in different points of view. First and Third person, as well as the focus and tense switched between sections. Was it too confusing or disjointed? I'd really like some feedback on that... (So far it's been pretty mixed. Some like it, others don't.)
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed it!