Chrono Cross

A Chrono Trigger Christmas
By Nekoken [ 01-05-01 ]

The figure shivered, pulling his collared hood closer to his neck, trying to keep the cold from his body. It didn't work. But then, he hardly expected it to. It was far too late for such a weak gesture; the cold and damp had already soaked through to his very core. His clothes were more like armor, soaked with snow melted by his own body heat and frozen solid by the wintry assault. You would have to be mad to travel in this weather.

Yet here he was, struggling through snow a foot deep, shielding his eyes from the rising wind. He thought he had started off almost a day ago from Algetty, but in this weather, he had a hard time telling where he was, never mind the time. Time was never something that really bothered him, anyway.

Until now, that is. Time was at the very center of his problems. Their problems, rather. Besides, he doubted he would sleep even if he did stop at an inn. He hadn't slept well in almost a month.

And so the figure struggled through a higher snow bank, and up a hill, still fighting against the wind. He was pretty sure he was nearing the end; if he remembered correctly, the Truce shouldn't be more than another 5 minutes. On a normal day, that is. He paused at the crest and shook his hands idly, trying to get some warmth into them. He could see the lights of the town through the swirling, gray snow, and a sense of unease fell over him. To be honest, he felt more scared and unsure now than he did when before Lavos, hands outstretched and ready to take what came.

At least with that, he knew what would happen. He knew what was going on, and was in control of what he was doing. He would die, or he would live. Either way, he was doing it for her. He started down the hill and towards the lights.

When he returned, he knew... they both knew what it meant. Or at least, they thought they knew what it meant. He had been ecstatic when they finally got the chance to talk it over, away from prying eyes, joking inventors and gloomy warlocks.

He remembered clearly the warmth of the hearth and the rain pounding on the sills as they sat in front of the fire. He remembered how nervous he was before he asked, how uneasy and unsure he felt. His heart was pounding in his chest in a way he hadn't felt since his first meeting with Magus.

And he remembered the answer to his question, and how happy he was when she had smiled back at him.

He smiled to himself, the memory warming him ever so slightly as he pushed on through the snow. The lights became clearer now, more definite. He was almost home. He knew no one would be there. He had left with hardly a moment's notice back before Thanksgiving. That was when he found out.

It was supposed to have been the day they asked for permission to announce the engagement, which required the consent of her father. He could hardly believe what was happening as walked through the outer gate, the guards saluting him. He was no longer nervous; not in the least. Her father had become much more accepting of him since their first meeting; he hardly could have risen to the rank he had without his assistance.

So it came as a complete surprise when she rushed out to him, tears streaming quietly down her face and onto the plush red carpet. There was no noise, no sobbing, just silent tears. And he just held her, quietly, comfortingly, not knowing what was wrong and panicking inside. But he couldn't bring himself to leave her. Finding out would have to wait.

He was glad he had held her; it was the last time he would be able to. She wasn't to marry him, not then or ever. For the good of the Kingdom, (he was beginning to hate that phrase) she was to marry a nobleman from Barton. So he had left, hoping that a post in Algetty might avert his mind. He couldn't bear the thought of being invited to the wedding.

His tears mixed with slush and trickled down his face before freezing solid. He trudged onward through the snowfall, forcing a path down the ice-covered streets of Truce. All around him, windows were lit up, radiating warmth and comfort, something he was sure he would never feel again. White and Silver streamers, the symbol of an Imperial marriage, flipped wildly in the winds, back and forth, as if struggling to break free from the poles to which they were bound. The wedding had been yesterday. December 23, 1000.

He lowered his head and struggled forward. He rounded the bend and continued past the frozen fountain, and headed for his own house. He sighed as he stood at the door, knowing no one would be there. His mother had gone to Lucca's to spend the holiday, but he didn't feel like going. And his fiancée...

"Well," he thought, "I guess I never had one."

He fumbled with the key through his heavy gloves. A second later, the door was open, but the key was still facing the wrong way.

She stood there, face red from crying, clothes unkempt and hair too heavy and stiff to move in the cold wind. But she was smiling. Smiling as she led him dumbstruck inside, smiling as she sat him down in front of the hearth, smiling as she helped him out of the heat of his gear and into the warmth of the fire. Only then did he find his voice.

"Marle? What... what are you doing..."

She shook her head. "I'm doing what's right, Crono. I... I couldn't do that, just because of what my father wanted. I couldn't do that, not when I care about you, love you. I won't do it. I didn't go through with it... I renounced my claim and left... but I... I... oh Crono...," she sniffled, and hugged him.

Again he held her as she cried, but this time, there was no feeling of panic or dread, no fear or desperation or urgency. Just the slow, reassuring warmth of the fire. He smiled.


Well, my original plan was to go a bit farther on with the story, but it seems to end well right there. But, in the tradition of Chrono Trigger, we have a multiple ending.


By the time he woke up, the fire had burned to embers, but he wasn't cold. He gently lifted Marle off him, and set her back down on the sofa, careful not to wake her. He walked over and knocked the grill to one side before reaching his hands into the glowing remains of the fire and taking a ring from the ashes where he had tossed it before leaving. He replaced the grill and moved over to her.

He placed the band in her open palm, and closed her fingers over the warm metal. He smiled again at the sleeping figure. "Merry Christmas, Marle. Thank you."

Crono closed his eyes, and leant against her. In a few minutes, he was again fast asleep.


Author's Notes

Well, as Christmas comes, I realize I have never tried my hand at a story that was pure romance. I realize now that there was a good reason for it - mainly, I can't write romance. Oh well... you only improve if you work at it. Thanks to all you brave souls that read this far, and may you have a Merry Christmas!



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