"To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause"
"Ahh, look how jealous everyone is of me!" Alfador gripped poor Glenn's arm tighter, grinning and pretending to laugh at amusing remarks he wasn't making. Glenn was trying to juggle a new wardrobe and their groceries in his free hand. He was now sporting a nice new Medieval style outfit, complete with armor, helmet, the Masamune on its proper position at his right hip and a large question mark at its proper position directly above his head.
"Whyfore dost thou--" said Glenn, before being interrupted by more fake laughter from Alfador. He sighed and gave up on it.
Schala jogged up to them and bent over, catching her breath. She obviously wasn't used to jogging.
"You should rest, Schala-sama. Perhaps I should carry you--"
"That really is unneccessary, Alfie." Schala smiled, standing up straight again. "Princesses aren't made of glass, you know."
"Yeah, they're made out of sugar and spice and everything nice." Alfador caught her chin in her hand. "Although I never did understand that. I'm made of Dreamstone, anyway..."
"I need to do some clothes shopping. I see you've already done yours." Schala smiled at Glenn, making him squirm slightly. "It was hard finding you."
"Oh, you like my new look?" Alfador posed. "I think it's very modern!"
"You look... ah..." She tried not to look too harsh. "...like Lucca..."
"Well, Marle's outfits aren't as domestic, y'see, and Crono... well, he wears guy clothes. At least I guess those are guy clothes..."
"Yes... I recall Father wearing something similar..."
"You're right!" Alfador caught Schala by the arm and dragged them both to the nearest clothes store. "Of course, your father always was a bit odd."
"That's why he made you, if I recall."
Glenn's squirming had progressed to fidgeting to an all out, no holds barred attempt to free himself. Perhaps giving up was the wrong choice and running like hell was the correct one.
In Truce, there was no convenient, lonely cape to stand upon. There were no dramatic castles, cathedrals or, well, dramatic buildings of any kind. Magus took to standing at the end of the dock, examining the water, letting the breeze wave his cape dramatically, hoping the fish smell wouldn't stick in his hair.
To have spent his whole life for this... it would have been one thing to emerge from the shadows at the dramatic key moment and slay Lavos, staving off the certain doom that awaited his sister and announcing himself to be her brother among the afterglow of victory--funny, that seemed really stupid now. He must have come up with it when he was still Janus, before the world had hardened him, and forgot to change his views.
"I go up to her and say, 'Schala, I'm not Magus, I'm not a prophet, not even a false one. I'm your brother. I've been looking for you for so long I've gone insane and I hope you'll take that into account and forgive me for... everything.'"
"I go up to her and say, 'I know I've been nothing but trouble to you... well, to everyone. But I am sorry. I am... I don't know what to do. But I am sorry.'"
"'I guess it's really too much to ask you to forgive me... I'd like to hope you don't hate me... you said not to hate mother, so....?'"
He daren't even whisper the words; he was mouthing them.
"'I go up to her and say..."
Magus turned and waited for Alfador to run down the length of the dock. It occurred to him that she could have just appeared beside him instantly. If he were still Janus, she would have.
"We're eating dinner, Janasu-sama." She twirled. "You like my new outfit?"
He stared. "You look like an idiot groundling."
"Ah, good! I fit in!" She grinned so widely Magus had to feel just a bit better. Maybe it was the idea of her fitting in. She had bright violet hair that almost swept the ground, gemlike eyes and unnatural energy. If she ever managed fit in, it probably meant she'd gone insane.
Magus swept back to the sea, staring out across it. So many years had passed--for the world, but not for he--since he had stood like this, gazing out across the sea in contemplation. That was when he was bereft of everything. Now he had gained what was most important back. Hadn't he?
He'd taken it for granted that Schala was his sister and Alfador was his cat. Nothing would change that. But, when that was true, he'd been just a boy. Snotty, but not evil. Now that he was an adult he had to face the fact that they were both adults as well. He couldn't expect their unquestioning devotion. He wasn't sure he could even give it.
"Janasu-sama? Dinner?" That's right, he'd forgotten about her. Her presence was no greater than that of any other person until she wished it to be.
"I'm not hungry."
"Janasu-sama, don't be so anti-social! And... well, I can't say I'm afraid you'll get skinny, goodness, where did you get all that beef ... but still, you ought to eat!"
He glanced over his shoulder. She had her hands on her hips and was tapping her foot. He didn't recall her being so much of a school teacher, but then he had only know her as a human for a few weeks. Perhaps she didn't need to act it when she towered over him; now she could perhaps--by someone with poor eyesight, he supposed--be taken as someone normal.
He moved from the edge of the dock, past her. "Let's go."
Magus was conspiciously absent from dinner that night; not that he ever ate with them, but tonight his absence was as conspicious as light's absence from a cave.
Dinner was quiet. Schala was trying to decide for herself why Alfador was so obviously avoiding the subject of her brother. She would say "Don't worry, it's been taken care of, just wait." Alfador was also absent from the dinner table.
Perhaps Janus was abducted to Sleep as well? There seemed to be no end to that place. Although the dreams felt comfortable in it, Schala could not help but worry that some day she would wander into that giant darkness and never find her way out. There was more than enough room for a small, skinny Zealian boy. But why continue to hide him? Could there be some danger outside of Sleep that might still threaten him?
There was no explanation she could form that did not worry her. For this reason, glad as she was to be in the real world again, she could not make herself relax for even a moment.
It did not help that she seemed to be casting a gloom over the others. They could try to ignore their anxiety, but they could not ignore her figure at the end of the table, pretending to eat and lost in her own thoughts. In an effort they were being, if possible, more loud than they usually were.
There was a small "crick."
They halted mid-sentance, casting a sudden silence. All of them at once started looking for the source of the small noise. Perhaps they'd imagined--
"My pendant..." Marle cupped it in her hands, staring at it with disbelief. "It... it's cracked..."
Magus had led them into Guardia Forest. It was easy enough to get lost in if you strayed from the main paths and was far away enough from everything, in this spot, to be undisturbed. He wasn't quite sure why he had brought Alfador; perhaps because he knew she would follow anyway.
He leaned against a tree, quietly. Somewhere to his right Alfador had tamed a hetake and was petting it.
He was so in dread of the moment of Schala finding out, he considered for the moment the idea of letting Alfador--no, perhaps someone with tact--tell her instead. But he was just as quickly filled with the dread of that moment he next saw her, afterwards.
He was a fool and he knew it. To strive for this for how long--and now, to finally reach his goal and run from it. What did he have to be ashamed of? He'd made all his decisions with her in mind...
Still, he knew, somewhere, that they weren't the decisions Schala would have had in mind.
He turned back to Alfador, who was kneeling with her back to him, and again he hesitated. Now here was the ultimate testimony of his stupidity. Worrying what an object designed to protect him thought of him. It didn't matter what she thought of him any more than a sword should care who it killed.
He barked her name, expecting her to jump, but she gave no response. A few more attempts, and he walked haughtily over to her, kneeling beside her suddenly as he caught her expression.
He had seen this expression on her once, but not as a human. When he was sucked into the time gate, away from everything he knew, the last thing he saw was a small purple cat charging at him with that expression on her face.
That sort of blank... surprise... surprise and horror...
Her hand was frozen on the hetake's back and the creature was growing nervous. Her mouth was opened slightly, slackened in the manner of sleep or death.
When talking didn't work, he yelled. When yelling didn't work, he shook her. When shaking didn't work, he just held her at arm's length, a hand clenched around each shoulder, studying her expression for any change. He stood there, tensed, his world dissolving except for his sight, his sight dissolving except for his ability to detect movement and that last sense concentrated so tightly on her face that, were she a normal person, it would have found any number of random twitchings and slight movements. But she was a dream; once her mind had left her body, it seemed a mere model of a living form.
It reminded him frighteningly of the way Crono was when they saved him, locked in that tight moment, that endless second, with a look like this one on his face.
Finally all in one moment her conscious snapped back into her form and collapsed, one hand clawing into his arm for support.
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