Chrono Crusade Fan Fiction ❯ Sacred ❯ Chapter 1

[ P - Pre-Teen ]

A/N: I honestly did not expect to write a post-epilogue fic. But images and feelings for it kept running through my mind until finally I wrote them down, and made some attempt to string them together… of which this is the result. This fic is based on the manga, and the epilogue of the manga. This was difficult because there are many ways to interpret the epilogue - did they die together? Did they die separately? Did he not die? Did they die right away after being reunited? There are a lot of theories, each belief different according to the person.
My own cynical belief is that she died first and he much later. I'd like to believe they died together, but have a hard time with that. But this fic is not about their deaths - it is about their reunion. I am not one of those who think they died right after they were reunited, I think they had at least a month together before her time ran out. Personal belief - I know opinions on this vary greatly. This deals with the evening they were reunited, and how they handle being together again.
It is also probably the sappiest thing I have ever written, and will ever write - I beg you to excuse me for that.
(One last thing! I have chosen to use the original Japanese spelling, Chrno, in this fic. I'm sorry if this bothers you - but to me he has always been “Chrno”, not “Chrono”.)
By Vitani FyreWolf
Tell them that we celebrated
experience until it made us sick.
Tell them that we sang songs
until the dawn, and not always joyfully.
Tell them even our sorrows
were magical and every pain
somehow a blessing.
Tell them that we loved
even while we lost and,
losing, we gained the
whole world.
David Wayne Dunn
Even after all of her hoping, her days of praying and waiting, she still couldn't believe it when it happened. Everything flew from her mind as she gathered herself and raced down the aisle, begging her feet to stay sure beneath her, stopping only briefly when a surge of pain tightened in her chest.
He lurched forward instinctively when she stumbled, shawl slipping from her arms and eyes closed tightly with pain, but she caught herself on one of the pews and recovered quickly, darting the rest of the way into his arms. Unused to being embraced, he was knocked off his feet and fell to the ground, attempting to absorb the shock with his body and not let it pass to her. He didn't mind, didn't feel any pain, because it was Rosette - Rosette - who was lying on his chest, sobbing helplessly, and that was all that mattered. How long had it been? He didn't even know. Too long.
She came to herself and gasped, pushing herself off of him and reaching her hands to his face in worry. Hair had begun escaping her loose braid, falling to frame her face with a soft golden light. “I'm sorry, you're hurt, I shouldn't have -”
Bracing himself on his good arm, he slowly eased into a sitting position, not responding to her apologies. When she didn't stop, he turned to look at her, taking her chin gently in his hand and bringing her lips to his, effectively shushing her. It was a simple reconnection, pressed against each other, not moving. Rediscovering touch. After a moment of comfortable silence, she pulled away and tilted her head up to look at him.
“So, you kiss me before you talk to me?”
Chrno blinked at her - even knowing Rosette as he did, that was not what he had expected to hear. He opened his mouth to attempt some sort of explanation, and this time it was her turn to shush him, with a finger on his lips.
“Don't worry, I'm not complaining.” She was smiling brightly, clear eyes still filled with tears.
A moment's trying, and he finally got his voice to work. “Rosette.”
The woman closed her eyes slowly, a blissful smile spreading on her face, savoring the name. “It is you.”
A brief puzzled moment, a chuckle, and he reached out with his one good hand to draw her to his chest. He couldn't hold her there very securely without two strong arms, but she fixed that by herself, shifting so that she rested completely against him. He let his chin fall to her head. “You needed to hear me to tell?”
Her response was muffled against his clothes, content and sure. “You're the only one who has ever said my name like that.”
When they finally brought themselves to let each other go long enough for them to stand, Rosette took his hand, leading him to one of the rooms. She didn't seem to want anyone to notice his arrival, and he didn't ask why - being able to follow her again was more than good enough for him.
He sat on the edge of the bed, watching her as she went to the door. She turned, her hand on the knob, pursing her lips as she looked him over. “I'm going to replace those bandages - no, I know you must have done them yourself, so they probably need redoing. I also need to let Elizabeth know that I am going to bed, she'll worry otherwise. Wait here… I… want to leave letting people know about you until tomorrow.”
His expression must have been forlorn, because she rolled her eyes affectionately. “Chrno, I have survived without you for seven years, I'll be fine for another few minutes!”
“But you have me now…” It sounded terribly inadequate, after everything that had happened.
She smiled, leaning her head against the doorframe. “I know…. and tonight, I want to keep you. Just to myself.”
So that was why. He gave her a look that told her he understood. He wasn't exactly up for more reunions quite yet, either. “…Don't be long?”
“I won't, I promise.”
Rosette was as good as her word, and when she returned she was wearing a modest nightdress and balanced a tray of food on one arm, biting one side of her lip lightly in concentration. It was only when he smelled it did he realize how long it had been since he'd last eaten. She noticed his expression and grinned knowingly. “Hungry?”
You must be hungry! Here you go! Oh, some things had changed so little. He accepted the tray. “Rosette… thank you. Have you eaten yet?”
She blinked - clearly it had never occurred to her. “Well, no, I was a little…. distracted. But that's okay, I'm not hungry anyway.”
He gave her his best `guardian' look, and she sighed. “Oh, fine, I'll go get some for myself…”
He was making her leave again! “No - that's alright, I won't eat all of mine. We can share it.”
The look she gave him was purely skeptical, and he shrugged innocently, which served its eternal purpose of bringing her guard down. She snorted. “Well, okay, but finish what you want first.”
There was a roll of clean bandages and a damp cloth on the tray, and she lifted them and moved to his side, raising hands to his head. She ran her fingers along the worn edges of the wrappings, and then seemed to brace herself before carefully beginning to undo them.
“You don't have to do that,” he mumbled through a mouthful of food.
As they fell from his face, she hissed softly, touching his scars and permanently closed eye mournfully. He tilted his head gently into her hands, trying to let her know he was okay. She sniffed once, trying to pass it off as a sneeze, and then busily put the used bandages aside. When she went to clean the wounds, she found that his long unruly hair kept catching on the cloth and her arms. “Oh, really -”
She set her cloth down and moved over to a desk near the side, opening a drawer and removing a brush. As she settled herself beside him and got to work brushing his tresses into a neat braid, he found he could close his eyes and pretend like it was seven years ago, and he had messed up his hair - probably trying to escape her fury - and she, seeing this, made him sit until she had fixed it again. There were differences, inevitably… Rosette carefully kept the brush away from the injuries on his face, using it very lightly for his bangs. Her movements weren't quite as sure as they used to be… it had been so long, and she had weakened… but once she started, the rhythm of the braiding seemed to come back to her. Her hands remembered.
“That's better,” she stated triumphantly when she was finished. He tried to look over his shoulder at it, but she pressed his face forward again. “I'm not done!”
In a few moments she had gently wrapped the new bandages about his head, now unhindered by stray hairs, and insisted that he allow her to do the same for any other injuries. There weren't many, which she seemed glad of… but the ones that were there made her bite her lip softly. He watched her as he ate, and wished he knew what she was thinking.
As if hearing his thoughts, she broke the silence. “Why?”
He paused, and lay the fork down, silently pensive. When he did not respond, she continued, “Why did you leave me behind, when I…” When I had so little time left. She didn't say it, she knew he understood. “I would have chosen to help you, I was ready to go with you…”
Chrno let her talk, his eyes sad and focused on the floor. When she finally rambled to a halt, he forced his voice out, barely louder than a whisper. “Do I really need to explain it?”
Rosette looked up and saw the pain on his face, and mentally berated herself for ruining the happiness of their reunion. “No - no, it's okay…” she smiled at him, reaching to run her fingers down his cheek. “I understand. I just… I was just being emotional.”
She wasn't lying. He probably thought she was, to make him feel better, but she really wasn't. He had always tried to keep her from what pain he could - he had thought that he was giving her the kindest gift possible when he left her behind - the rest of her life would be comfortable and safe. It was true she understood, but it hadn't made it any easier to bear. His company was more than twice worth her safety, but she knew he didn't agree. If he had given her the choice, she would have gone to fight beside him.
She had hated not having a choice.
“You sure?” He turned to study her face, and she grinned, trying to be lighthearted for him.
“Yes! I'm sorry, that's all over now - I shouldn't have brought it up. There are other things to talk about.”
She rose and moved to place the roll and cloth on the desk, and suddenly hesitated, fists clenched against the surface and breathing shallow. He noticed immediately and quickly set aside the tray, moving to stand and help her. “Rosette!”
The young woman turned, waving him to sit back down, smile tight. “I'm fine… this happens sometimes. I'm used to it.”
The look on his face was so familiar - she had seen it often during her youth, after each battle in which the seal was released. A mixture of guilt and grief, a deep sadness that had always made her want to return a smile to his face. Luckily for her, she had always been the best at cheering up Chrno. All he ever thought about was the pain he was giving her - he didn't realize how often she hated being the cause of his sadness.
“You've been gone so long, you must have seen a lot, done a lot - and you were successful, because you're back now. Tell me about it!” She settled on the pillows, and he removed his shoes and pushed himself back to sit beside her. He took the tray and held it out to her meaningfully - true to his word, he had only finished half - and she threw him a slight pout before beginning to eat.
“All right, I'll tell you - but you'll need to tell me about your life, too.”
That was how they spent the next couple of hours, trading stories and memories, listening more to the sound of the other's voice than to anything they were actually saying. Each had interesting things to tell, but in both accounts there was a gap - the other had not been there. No matter what had been going on, that was keenly felt in the telling. It hung in the air, the silent `You would have done this' or `this would have been interesting to you.' They didn't speak of it, they had no need to, and they made up for it in their own way. The entire time, they were touching each other in some manner - whether it was his hand resting on her knee as he spoke, or her head braced against his shoulder as she responded. Slowly, slowly, the missing pieces were falling back into place.
After a time, exhaustion began to take its toll on Rosette, and her eyelids grew heavy. Seeing her about to drift off, Chrno removed the tray from her lap and set it beside the bed, and then eased them both under the covers. She let him guide her, pressing into the sheets contentedly.
“Sorry…” her voice drifted sleepily from the pillow, and he smiled.
“Its fine - we can talk more in the morning.”
Getting settled was a little more difficult for him, and he shrugged off his ragged coat and tried to get comfortable with his ruined limb. Tomorrow he would also try and find some new clothes… there weren't too many men around the orphanage. He finally came to rest on his right side, Rosette lying on his left. When he lifted his arm to put it around her, she automatically rolled so that she fit perfectly in under his chin, emitting a small comfortable sigh.
“…Missed you.”
At that, her breathing evened out, and she fell into sleep. He murmured wordless agreement, and leaned forward to press his lips against her forehead before settling next to her on the pillow. He did not want to sleep, not quite yet - but he was perfectly content with lying there, feeling her heart beat against his chest. His hand found her braid - her hair had grown as long as his! - and he gently worked it free. This wasn't difficult, even one-handed, because it had been falling out of its tie the entire evening. He ran his fingers through the strands, and she shifted lightly in response, but did not wake. His Rosette had never been a light sleeper. She had become so beautiful… when she was younger, she had shone with all the brilliant fury of the sun. Now that was tamed, matured - sunlight became starlight.
His eyes slipped shut without his even noticing, hand stilling in her tresses as his breathing matched hers. It had been hard, trying to sleep during the years, always feeling that sharp sensation of something missing. That was filled now, like Rosette had crawled into the hole and curled up, claiming the space once again as her own. He wondered if she had felt the same way.
The soft light from the window fell on the two sleeping figures, unable to recognize them as weary fighters, battered and worn with time and difficulty.
Now, at least, they were no longer separated. A price had been paid, but still..
One more wrong was finally set right.
Someday you'll turn
the last page of your book of life
and read no more
the starry story of your dreams.
Someday you'll be gone,
but the grass you walked
on will remain and sing
like poets from the soil.
Someday you'll never see flowers again,
never kiss the soft petals,
never touch the tender leaves.
Someday you'll be dead,
but it won't feel like forever to anyone;
you'll live in the breasts of birds and men
like music that is pregnant
and wants to be born.
Someday, visions and dreams and life
and death are going to be married
(if they aren't already)
and you'll be where you've always been -
here, within me.
David Wayne Dunn