Notes: This fic is inspired by a drabble on Archive of Our Own called, "No One Knows," by Tinamachina. It's M rated, but I encourage others to give it a look.
This fic also picks and chooses things from Radical Dreamers and Chrono Cross and interweaves them a bit into character appearances and such.
I hope you enjoy!
A cool breeze whispered between the branches of fall-ravaged trees, their leaves pirouetting to the ground as night set in. Lucca loved this time of day, when the treetops would all but glow with the sun's last rays, contrasting with the deepening shadows at their base. Most evenings she could be found on the porch swing in front of her house, watching the world grow sleepy and quiet around her. The infant in her lap stirred, and Lucca drew her knees onto the bench, pulling the child closer before she began to hum softly, eyes closed as she leaned her head back. She remained in her peaceful reverie, humming a songless tune, as the golds of twilight faded into the purples of dusk, until she felt the presence of another within the shadows of the coming night. The melody stopped, and she smiled.
"I was wondering when you'd show up," she said, never opening her eyes, only running her fingers through the child's hair. There was no response, but she didn't mind. He would speak when he had something to say. "I found her a few months ago, in the woods. I half expected you to be here within the hour, but it seems it took you a bit longer than that." Still smiling, she opened her eyes to look at him.
He stood shrouded in the dark of the forest, but she could see him well enough to note that he hadn't changed at all. His cloak hung heavy from his shoulders, and his long blue hair swayed softly in the mild breeze. His face was still that of a man hardened by years of war and loss, eyes full of anger and torment – and red as the blood of those who'd foolishly stood against him.
Most would cower in fear at the sight of him, and they were right to. But not Lucca; she'd stopped being afraid of him a long time ago.
"Would you like to see her?" It was a question that didn't need to be asked, but even he needed encouragement at times.
He hesitated a moment more before gliding into the light and next to Lucca. She wouldn't pretend to know what he was thinking or feeling as he stared down at the child wrapped in her arms – such things were closely guarded secrets with Magus – but she anticipated what he would ask when the silence broke.
"Why is she…" He trailed off, leaving Lucca to pretend she didn't hear the dismay in his voice.
"I don't know." She was careful to keep an even tone; he desired no one's sympathy. "There was a flash of light, and there she was. I wouldn't have believed it was her, but even I can recognize her unique aura of magic." She stole a quick glance at him, but his face betrayed nothing of his thoughts. "She also had this."
Slowly, she pulled the pendant from her pocket and held it out to him. The sun had long sunk below the horizon, but the Dreamstone still managed to catch the last of the failing light, illuminating the mark of Zeal etched upon its surface. His face remained unchanged, but Lucca saw a flash of something she couldn't identify in Magus's eyes as he reached out and touched a gloved hand to the pendant. He lingered there a moment, a gesture so gentle those who only knew the Magus described in history books would believe him incapable of making.
But History didn't know what had created Magus, and History didn't know the hollow pain brought from the pendant's last thrum of magic.
With his fingers still on the pendant, his gaze moved once again to the sleeping child in Lucca's lap, and her heart broke slightly when she saw his lips purse and his face harden.
"This isn't her." He turned abruptly, walking back to the depths of the night. "She's not..."
"Complete." Lucca knew her interruption was not appreciated, nor was it what he was going to say. But he needed to hear it. "I don't know why she isn't the same, or whole. But it's definitely Schala." Standing and meeting his eyes, she softened her tone before continuing.
"I'll take care of her here. You can see her whenever you want to."
He scrutinized her and the child a moment more, then slipped into the darkness from which he'd emerged.
It wasn't long before he came again, though he made sure he wasn't seen. His aura was as distinct as Schala's, so Lucca knew he was somewhere in the shadows, watching from afar. As Kid grew older, she seemed to sense him too. Her reactions to him were unpredictable, sometimes crying and sometimes crawling or walking toward where she felt his presence. He would vanish when she got too close, leaving Lucca a bewildered and frustrated child to soothe.
It wasn't until Kid was nearly three that Magus spoke to Lucca again, appearing behind her late at night as she worked on a machine in her home.
"That shadow trick of yours is new." She didn't pause in her work when she spoke, only reaching behind her to grab a wrench. "It's neat, but it puts Kid on edge when you just show up and lurk around."
"Kid? That's what you call her?" His voice was as strong as ever and filled the room. Lucca gave her project a final tweak before standing and turning to face him, wiping grease onto her tunic. She noted he was wearing his hood, and she didn't need to question why.
"I know it's not very creative, but it just sort of stuck. I tried to call her Schala for a while, but it didn't –"
A creak in the floor interrupted her, and she and Magus turned toward the stairwell to see Kid crouching behind the doorframe leading to the stairways.
"Sis…" Kid began, but then shifted her eyes from Lucca to Magus. She let out a small gasp, eyes widening and face tightening, before she ran back up the stairs toward her room. There was a thump as her small legs betrayed her and she fell, soon followed by the click of a door closing. Lucca grimaced, knowing Kid's retreat would cut Magus deeper than he would ever admit. He tugged at the cuff of his glove, a habit Lucca knew meant he was wrestling with something within himself.
"I shouldn't be here," he said, voice hard and cold, the leather of his glove creaking from the tension. He turned to leave and the lamplight reached within his hood and caught his eyes - eyes haunted by the wraiths of his past and darkened by the mockery of his failures. To those who knew nothing of him, they were demon's eyes; a glimpse into Hell itself. Lucca, however, knew the truth: the only demons there were his own, and she refused to let him leave with yet another gnawing at his throat.
She reached out and grabbed his wrist, knowing but not caring how bold such a gesture was as he abruptly stopped. He didn't pull away or even stiffen, but leveled her with a gaze that would make a weaker person tremble. A moment passed as Lucca gathered her thoughts, and she sighed before continuing in a soft voice, eyes steeled to his.
"She remembers things, sometimes. Usually in her dreams. Nothing concrete, but glimpses here and there. She'll tell me about a world of ice and magic, and a kind princess that lived there. Sometimes they're nightmares of an evil queen and a terrifying beast, or…of a man in a hood that makes the princess cry." Lucca paused, acutely aware of the growing shadows in her home. Shadows she knew weren't cast by the light of the lamps. She chanced a cautious glance to the side, before turning back to Magus, whose face was masked by unnatural darkness.
"But her worst nightmares aren't about any of that. The worst are about not being able to find someone she's lost." His fingers curled into a fist then, the sudden movement surprising Lucca enough to let go of Magus. But the shadows began to recede, and when she could see his eyes again they were softer than she had ever seen them.
"It's not you she's afraid of," Lucca was nearly whispering now. "She's afraid of what happened when you were the Prophet, and she's afraid she'll never find the important person she's looking for."
Magus still left that night, but he didn't stay away as long as he did before. When next he appeared the hood was gone, replaced instead by a golden mask and eyes the same shade of blue as Kid's.
Lucca smirked at that; he always had a new trick up his sleeve.
Kid darted across the bridge leading to the orphanage as fast as any five-year-old could, eager to get home to her Sis.
Something happened at the castle a few weeks ago – there was so much fire and screaming, and so many men covered in heavy metal. Sis had pulled all of the children inside and forbade them from going outside for hours. Eventually, someone Kid recognized came to their door – a guard that used to escort the King and Queen when they would visit. He was covered in blood and smoke, and spoke to Sis in hushed tones that Kid could barely make out.
"Guardia is lost, Lady Lucca. We can't find them, but it's likely that the King and Queen are – "
Lucca put her hand up and glanced sidelong at the children, stopping the guard before he finished.
"Dead," Kid finished in her mind. "Crono and Marle are dead." The thought came in a voice that wasn't entirely her own, and Kid's heart clenched even though she didn't really understand what "dead" was. Sis had explained once that it's when something can't move anymore, but that hadn't seemed so bad before.
Sis thanked the guard and closed the door, telling the other children that everything was fine and to go back to playing. The others did as she bade, and only Kid saw that Lucca was quietly crying.
Sis hadn't been the same since. She tried to pretend she was fine, and the others were too young to tell she was lying. But Kid knew, and she wanted to get home quickly to make Sis smile again. Finally reaching the edge of the forest, Kid froze before she cleared the last of the trees.
He was there. The strange man that made her skin prickle before she even saw him, whose eyes she could feel on her whenever she was in the room. He called himself a magician, but she didn't care for his spells. She didn't think she liked this man, this…Magil. Even his name felt like a trick, even though Sis said they were old friends.
With a deep breath, she quietly walked until she could see the house, still shielded from sight by a few trees but able to watch. Magil must have just gotten there when Kid sensed him, as Lucca had just come out of the house. He took a few steps forward and paused as his hair and cloak swayed in a breeze Kid was certain wasn't there.
"You feel it, don't you? Your 'Black Wind.'" The voice that came from Sis was not one that Kid had heard before. It was small and frail and hollow, something Sis never was.
But it was the mention of "Black Wind" that made Kid's heart leap to her throat and her head throb, phantoms echoing in her mind. This feeling happened so often when Magil was here, and it made her dislike him even more.
Kid couldn't dwell on it long though, because Sis started to sob. It was loud and full of a kind of pain that Kid didn't understand, the fire from the lamps outside the door suddenly flaring brighter. Kid wanted to run to her Sis then, but didn't get the chance.
Magil reached out and drew Sis to him. It was stiff and awkward, obviously a foreign gesture to him, but it was an embrace all the same. Sis continued to wail into Magil's chest, and as the lamplight died back down, Kid knew he provided comfort she somehow couldn't. The knowledge stung.
She did not like Magil.
Time passed, and Kid noticed a change between Sis and Magil. Lucca allowed him to assist her in her workshop – a privilege once only granted to Kid. There was always an extra chair at their crowded table, in case he deigned to grace them with his presence. He even got his own bed while Kid had to share hers.
But it was the subtleties that ate at Kid. How close Sis stood to him, her smiles and small touches even while he scowled. He visited more often, sometimes bearing gil for Lucca, and occasionally even a gift for Kid. The more he came around, the more something inside of her stirred. Something that told her to stay close to him while screaming for her to get away. It clawed at her mind and soul, and she told herself it was because she hated this man. Hated him for taking Sis from her, for making her hair stand on end and mind swirl when he was near. She hoped he would go away and never come back. But she knew he wouldn't; Sis didn't want him to.
"Sis, do you love Magil?" Kid blurted out one morning while helping to set the table. There was a slight pause in Lucca's movements at the question, but she never answered. Instead, she smiled, morning light glinting softly from her glasses, and told Kid to gather the other children.
The answer came a few weeks later, when Kid descended the stairs late at night to find Lucca and Magil locked in a kiss before the door. Silently, Kid retreated back to her room, mind buzzing as the two sides of her warred. There was a soft click as the front door closed, the weight of his aura lifting soon after. As it faded, her mind fell silent again.
She despised Magil.
Cold. Everything was cold and dark. She was surrounded by the darkness, drowning in nothingness. Yet, somewhere in the void she knew there was a place she belonged to. But she couldn't see it. She was trapped in something that hungered for that world – her world. She had to get out, had to protect that place and the people – the person – in it. But she was so tired. So she remained there, in the darkness, feeling that world fade away as a tormentous screech echoed in the icy blackness.
Kid bolted upright in her bed, heart racing and tears stinging her eyes. This was not the world of darkness – the full moon peeking through the window assured her of that – but she could still feel the cold. Could still hear that piercing howl. She stumbled out of bed, mouth dry as desert sand, and walked to the hall on legs shaking as though they hadn't been used in millennia. She got to the stairs, but before she could descend, she heard her name and stopped so suddenly she nearly lost her balance.
He had said it. So hushed it clearly was not meant for anyone else in the house to hear. Anyone but Lucca, anyway, whose low voice was barely noticeable even in the still night. It was then that Kid noticed the door to Lucca's room was ajar.
Her dream forgotten, Kid quietly made her way to the door, crouching down and peering through the opening. Sis would be livid if she caught her, but Kid had never heard Magil say her name before.
The silver-blue of moonlight bathed the room, gleaming delicately off of the various tools and machinery scattered about the floor. On a chair in the corner of the room was Lucca's helmet and hammer, and next to that a scythe that made Kid's blood run cold. The voice that screamed, "Run!" pulled at her, but Kid stayed where she was. On the bed, among crumpled sheets that pooled around their unclothed bodies, were Lucca and Magil. Lucca's back was turned toward the door, her head obscuring most of Magil's face.
"I know it's difficult, but Kid is her. Do you have to keep searching?"
Her? Kid's breathing was shaky as she struggled to quiet and control it. "I'm Her? Who?
"You said yourself that she isn't complete," Magil replied, and his tone was unlike any Kid had heard him use before. It was warmer, a tinge of sadness thread within it that made the voice that pleaded, "Stay close!" drown out its rival. "I don't know what kind of magic brought her here, but it didn't bring all of her. I can't abandon her Lucca; any part of her."
Lucca shifted closer to Magil, her hand coming to rest on his pale chest. Kid's breaths came shallow and fast as everything around her began to spin.
"Well, I know it's useless to try to stop you, so I won't bother. Just promise me you'll always come home, okay? Or I won't forgive you!" Lucca punctuated this with a sharp jab to Magil's ribs, eliciting an amused snort from him. He grabbed her wrist and rolled on top of her, smirking as he quipped something about not taking orders from anyone before he captured Lucca's lips with his own.
Kid had stopped listening though, upon seeing Magil's face. She had never seen what was behind the mask he always wore, but even so she knew that his features had changed. Pointed teeth flashed within that smile, his ears similarly sharp. His chin and nose were longer, and the shimmering river of his hair came to a peak at his forehead. White hands ended in claws, his body covered with a macabre latticework of scars. But none of that was what had caused Kid's breath to catch in her throat, sweat beading on her forehead.
It was his eyes.
Red had replaced the blue that was so similar to her own. Red that looked like blood in the darkness. Fear gripped her chest as the voice that screamed "Run!" nearly overpowered her.
"It's him!" it screeched. "The Prophet! He's here and he'll ruin everything, just like before!"
Kid didn't know who this "Prophet" was, but she was trembling. The world had fallen away and in its place a woman's cruel laugh echoed, heralding hopelessness and deep sorrow. Hands that weren't hers (But they are. They're ours) were covered in blood that soaked into the rich purple fabric of her sleeves, staining them black, while the screams of a doomed kingdom's people surrounded her (My fault, my fault). In the center of it all was a monster made of mountains, pulling her toward it, toward the darkness and despair…
The name was uttered in a quiet, breathy moan, but the sound of it hit Kid like thunder, sharply pulling her from her trance to the present. Blinking, Kid realized she was still crouched outside of Lucca's door. She wasn't sure how much time had passed, but her legs ached from the position. She looked back toward the bed where Lucca was still under Magil (Janus), her hands twisted in the sheet of his hair while he moved above her. Kid rose hastily to her feet and hurried to her room, not fully understanding what she was seeing but certain that it was time to leave.
As she drifted back to sleep, it was not the darkness she dreamed of. Instead, she dreamed of a life above the clouds with a small hand in hers, and eyes that were neither blue nor red, but as green as the grass under her feet.
The irony was not lost on Magus, as he stood there among the embers and ashes of his almost-life. She was made of flames, commanded infernos as easily as others breathe. It permeated her being beyond her summons, into her every movement, every sentence. He had drawn comfort from her fire. Had even dared to love it.
Yet the fire that protected her through the end of the world and warmed the depths of his blackened soul had taken everything away.
He had known Lucca was lost the moment he emerged from his portal and into this time earlier that night. The Black Wind assaulted him before his feet touched the ground, taunting him with the message, caustic tendrils coiling within his chest, choking him more than the heavy smoke in the forest air (Gone, gone. You bring only death). In denial he'd risen from the ground and flew as fast as he could, acrid bile searing his throat. He ignored the mask that slipped from his face and fluttered to the forest floor. It wasn't important. He had to get there, to her (our) home and prove that cursed wind wrong. He hadn't flown in this time in years, because it scared Kid, but...
Magus felt her weight as she clung to his cloak, telling him something between her sobs that he only half listened to as the burden of reality settled upon him. He had found her in the rubble, cowering from the dying flames that surrounded her. He pulled her out and into the night air, soot covering her face and arms, skin blistered and raw. He had no doubt that Lucca protected Kid to the last of her dying breaths. The pain of his loss was intense enough to leave him numb.
"Kid," he croaked through dry lips, tongue lifeless wood in his mouth while he pulled at the cuff of his glove so forcefully it threatened to tear. She looked up, tears cutting harshly through the black that covered her face. "You said you saw who did this?"
She still feared him, he could feel it as she looked up at him, but he ignored the sting it brought. She shifted her gaze to the ground and nodded slowly.
A familiar feeling flared to life, washing over the grief that moments before had threatened to bring him to his knees.
He pushed everything else down, down where all the years of hurt lay, into the darkness at his core, embracing the rage like a lover. His eyes burned as they glowed crimson, and he was dimly aware of the dark energy crackling at his fingertips as he looked from what remained of the orphanage to the child at his side.
He noted coldly that she was about the same age he was when he lost his home, his sister. His innocence. He knows that he cannot leave her – this girl who is and isn't Schala. Who smells of fire and the woman now lost to the cruelty of time.
"Come, child," he began, voice dark as midnight as he turned and walked back toward the forest. "There is much to be done, and much for you to learn."
Hatred. Revenge. Magus knew these allies well. It would seem his fate was to be consumed by them, smothering any normalcy he foolishly sought to achieve. Kid hesitated a moment, but he was unconcerned. Afraid or not, she would follow, much like he'd followed Ozzy off that mountain so long ago. Children were simple like that.
Kid glanced toward the sardonic glow of all that she once knew before rushing toward him, fists curling into his cloak with unsteady but determined hands. He knew he would be staining her heart, twisting her the same way he had been, but bloodlust was all he had to offer. All he knew.
With a blink his eyes were blue again, and a flick of the wrist brought a new mask to his face. A smirk made of malice played at his lips as they slipped into the shadows that defined him.