"..." Quint knew that he shouldn't have held off looking in the attic. Good Light, the place was a mess. Sometimes, he wondered what Michelle, the old woman that had been the previous owner of the shop, had been up to beforehand. "Ugh. Time to clean." The dust in the attic caused the old robot to sneeze a few times as it clogged his filtration system.
"Most of this stuff is just pure junk, anyways." The green-clothed robot sighed, taking his hat off and smacking it a few times to clean it. This only caused more dust to lodge in his system, making him cough this time. "There's got to be something in this box worth selling - hm?" He squinted, wiping his glasses off on his jacket.
He supposed he shouldn't have been surprised to see it in a fortune-telling shop of all things, but it still startled him. "A pocketwatch? I thought these things were ancient." Quint picked the watch up, studying it a few times. It was fairly old-fashioned, with a stopper on the top to set the time. What puzzled him was the card written on the back.
"Think of a place in your heart where things can change, and believe as you press the button, to see that moment again. You have eight minutes to alter anything that you so wish. Please use this gift wisely, lest you fall into further despair," the robot read out loud from the card in the back.
He walked downstairs, stuffing the pocketwatch into his pocket as he walked downstairs. Seriously? They expected someone to believe that? He believed in time travel; how could he not? But he didn't believe in magical artifacts that could allow time travel without complicated physics.
Quint paused, adjusting his glasses as he glanced at himself. There was one thing that he would change, were he given the chance. But the Time Skimmer was broken, and he honestly did not know if time travel worked that way. Quint, whose name had once been Rockman or "Rock" Light, pulled the watch out of his pocket.
Hm. It was stopped. Frowning, Quint pushed the top of the button, in an attempt to get it moving. Even if it didn't work, he could at least fix it and sell it.
And suddenly, everything around him changed.
There was a surprised shout.
The robot whirled, looking at the white-haired elderly woman in a dress staring at him. "Michelle Phare" was written on her nametag. "How did you get in here like that? You just appeared!"
"Um..." He didn't formulate a response as he ran out of the fortune-telling shop, noticing the date on the front door as he ran. His core pulsed. It was six years off. He was six years in the past, the day that he had been...
Could it possibly be?
And he'd probably already wasted almost one. Oh dear.
Deciding not to logic everything out just yet, Quint teleported to a set of coordinates that he knew by memory. The instant he landed in the room, he knew he was in the right spot as he spotted the familiar laptop-looking device protected by a force field. Unlike last time, however, he knew the password to the field by heart. Scooping it up and tucking it under his arm, Quint all but ran out of the room, miraculously avoiding the robot sentries.
His destination was just around the corner, and the moment he entered, he quickly looked around, sighing with relief as he noticed that the only other person in the room was a boy dressed in blue strapped to a lab table.
"Rockman?" Quint called gently, calling to the boy.
The boy blinked, seeming a bit dazed, but still alive all the same. "G-Get away... whoever you are..."
Quint ran over to him, quickly releasing the bonds and scooping his not-much-younger self up off the lab table. Rock whined a little, rubbing his head, and stared into Quint's face. "Who are...?"
"No time." Quint physically opened up the Time Skimmer in front of a confused Rock, staring at something for about a minute.
"Hey...?" Rock asked again, eyeing Quint's hat, glasses, slacks, and green jacket, before studying his hair and eyes. "Why do you look just like me?" There was a hint of suspicion in his voice. "...Copy...?"
"Not Copy." The robot dressed in green didn't even glance over at the other. "You can call me Quint. And Rock, I hope to Light that you never have to use that name in your life." Satisfied with what he found, Quint snapped a few panels shut on the Time Skimmer and booted it up, making a few adjustments and shoving it into a confused Rock's hands. He was almost out of time.
"Who... who are you...?" Rock asked, peering at the Time Skimmer.
Quint gave a sad, gentle smile. "I'm you from a future where I didn't save you." Mildly, he wondered where Dr. Wily was, and why Rock had been left unattended. He didn't remember much from this event, only the dazed feelings and the pain of forced reprogramming.
The strangest confused expression crossed Rock's face. "What are you talking about?" The dark-haired boy winced, gazing at Quint.
"Just what I said, kiddo."
The Time Skimmer flashed, and Rock disappeared from view. Quint teleported away to a cliff that he had always enjoyed spending time in, watching the sunset, before pulling the pocket watch out and looking at it. The eight minutes were almost up. But it didn't matter to him. He dropped to the ground right there, heaving as he began to cry. He'd done it. He'd prevented a version of Rock from ever suffering his fate.
He was still crying when his surroundings shifted ever so slightly. Startled, he stood up, peering around, then teleported back to the shop. It was just how he had left it. It seems that altering the future had not changed much.
Quint searched through the shop, finding his own Time Skimmer exactly where he had placed it -- and then blinked, as he noticed something. It look just like it had before he had traveled with the stopwatch, but now there was something... fake. Wrong about it. He studied his own hands. They, too, seemed fake and wrong. Then it hit him.
"I'm not supposed to exist," he realized. "And neither is this Time Skimmer." That was why everything seemed wrong. "This isn't my past or future." No. This time belonged to the other Rock, the one that never was kidnapped and reprogrammed into Quint.
He needed to leave, before it was too late. He booted up his own Time Skimmer up, relieved to find that it still worked. As it booted, he carried it upstairs to the attic, moving to the place that he had found the pocketwatch. He'd leave it there for someone else to find.
Holding the Time Skimmer, Quint stepped outside the shop, walking by people as if he didn't exist. He wasn't sure why, but he wanted to go to the same clifface. Not caring if anyone else was there, he sat down, closing his eyes and confirming to the Time Skimmer he wanted to head back to where he came from.
He never heard the voice calling his name.
At the same time, Rock stared as the savior he had not seen in over six years vanished in a flash of blue light.