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The tendrils wrapped about his form squeeze tighter, and Kazuma seems to instinctively understand. Gyze fought, and Gyze won, and now-- now-- it's too late. The ritual is complete, and he can't defy it.

There's a chill in his veins, like his blood is freezing, all the warmth and passion crystallizing little by little. It makes his limbs and head heavy, makes him feel like if he weren't suspended he'd simply collapse into himself. He can even hear it in his thoughts, like background static, crackling and humming.

He gave it all up. His potential, his future, his... everything. Chrono gave it all up for him. Kazuma only knows because slowly, slowly, Gyze is pouring into him, and the memories of the fight are becoming his own.

They're-- coming together, he realizes. It's not like a Diffride at all. It's more than that. His chest is starting to fill with something, something he can feel sticking and burrowing. It's starting to twist his heart out of shape, starting to make it-- foreign-- inhuman.

They're coming together, yes. Gyze envelopes him, sinks into his skin and muscle and bone, invades everything Kazuma is. It blankets his mind, his soul, his very being, horrible and powerful and strangely deliberate. Of course, it's so much power, too much power, especially for someone like him, small and squishy and so, so fragile. One wrong move and Gyze would obliterate that small-squishy-fragile him altogether.

It's not as agonizing as he would've figured. It's... sort of interesting, actually, feeling his core shifting farther and farther away from itself, feeling his everything melt down, feeling Gyze mixing into him more and more.

It's all so vast. It stretches out beyond him in all directions, endlessly, uninterrupted. He's becoming a part of it, becoming just as vast, and a shiver runs through him.

"I'm sorry."

Chrono, standing before him, says nothing.

Water laps at Kazuma's ankles, but he can't feel it. There's nothing else around them. No trees, no dunes, no animals. Just water and a grey sky and silence.

"I wanted to do something. I wanted to save you, just like you saved me." He reaches up with the butt of his palm and wipes a bead of dark muck from the corner of his mouth. "I really screwed that one up, didn't I?" With a sniff and a wince, he stares down at the stain on his hand. This image of Chrono is just that, an image, but he still finds he can't meet his eyes. "God... what was up with that awful play, anyhow? You had to try and be a big damn hero? You're better at this game than that." He laughs, but tears slip out with it. "Why'd you go and do that? When you've already done so much for me?" There's a choke, and everything collapses. "You didn't have to go down with me, too, you idiot!"

Kazuma flinches and gasps as Gyze gropes around in his form, leaving swells of energy that expand and contract, pushing and pulling like they just can't settle quite right. It forces something out of him, out of his heart, something warm and sticky and pink-feeling. It gushes out without pause, like a barrel with a hole shot through it, mingling with all the blackness and strangeness in his guts. He can feel Gyze trying to patch it up, smooth it over, but each attempt causes a leak somewhere else.

It's Chrono-- it's everything Chrono had ever given him-- it's love, love, so much love-- there's boundless room for it, even as his heart bends hopelessly out of shape. How could anything in this universe ever think, for even one split-second, that it could suppress all of it? Chrono's passion, Chrono's determination, Chrono's love-- they've been embedded so deeply into Kazuma, they've taken root and become his own, thriving stunningly, effortlessly. Nothing could weed them out now.

For as much as Kazuma becomes Gyze, he realizes, Gyze becomes him as well, and he closes his eyes. Gyze can't possibly come out unscathed. His love will attach itself to all that power, warp it in return. His love will grow vast with him, become something wider, something beyond comprehension.

He expects a struggle, but it never comes. Gyze's presence clings closer, and it's suddenly so full of promise. He smiles and sighs and lets it wash over him. Something new is going to come of them.

s̮͔͞o̵͈o̩̟̜̣͇ͅn͍͚̫,̨͚̝̤̟̙ͅ ̟̱w̧͍̲̖͈̣e̢͈͍̮̪̯ ҉̭̣wil̼l͇͚̺̞̯ ̜͚̞̯ͅs͔̻̤͎͎̤ee̸ ̬̫͕͕͙̟h̻̺̹ḭ̼̠̣̬̝͡m͈̙͉̥ ̧̮̱̦ạ̴̲̲ͅͅg͈a̗̘̝̘̦i̳n͏̺̱̝̜̞.̭͕̯͓̙̤

Kazuma nods.

Until then-- they patiently meld-- waiting-- waiting.