Three weeks later…
Brilliant stars shone on the black sea above Fastoon, cool night breezes flowing over the dunes, carrying the sweet, spicy smell of desert plants. The whole scene was warmly lit by the silver light of a full moon. It was beautiful, but the beauty was lost on the small figure sitting on an old wall.
Clank sighed. In the distance, he could see the glow from Fastoon city. The sounds of a city drifted over, ships engines, horns, laughter. And somewhere in that now vibrant city, his best friend, his soul brother, his family. Clank knew what he had to do was right. It was logical.
So why did it hurt so?
There was the crunch of sand underfoot behind him, and someone sat down next to him. Clank didn't look up.
"Hello, Ratchet. I thought you were with Jasmine."
"I just wanted to wander for a bit. I've been so busy lately I haven't had time to explore."
"How is Shona? Is she settling in alright?"
Ratchet smiled. Clank couldn't help but notice how happy his friend was, how he almost seemed to glow from within.
"She called me 'daddy' yesterday. It's funny, I've been all these places, done all this stuff, but the thing I'm most proud of is a little girl calling me daddy. I hope she's happy with me and Jasmine. After what she's been through, she deserves a little happiness."
"That is good." Ratchet noticed the sadness in Clanks voice.
"What's wrong, Clank?"
Clank was silent for a moment.
"Do…you remember back at the Great Clock? What I told you when we were flying away?"
"You said you wanted to hold off staying at the Clock until I found…my own family…" Ratchet's voice trailed off, and when he spoke again, it was heavy and dull. "You're leaving, aren't you?"
"I am sorry, Ratchet…"
"No, I understand, really."
Ratchet smiled, though his eyes were still sad.
"Everyone needs to find their home, the one place they fit. I wouldn't be a good friend if I stopped you going back to where you belong."
"You are taking this quite well."
"I guess I knew this would happen one day. I just hoped it would always be "one day". You've…you've been a good pal, buddy. If I hadn't found you…" Tears poured openly down his face. "If I hadn't found you, I'd still be stuck on Veldin. Everything I am, everything I've been…is all thanks to you. I wouldn't dream of stopping you, Clank." He closed his eyes and bowed his head. "We've had a good run."
Clank held out his hand.
"I…guess this is it, then…"
Without a word, Ratchet leaned over and hugged him, as he had so long ago back at the Clock. Only this time…Ratchet sighed. It was for real.
"I have summoned the Zoni. They will take me there." Behind him, three Zoni flashed into existence. "Do not think of this as goodbye. It is not like I will never see you again." A blue glow surrounded him, lifting him into the air. "Think of it as…Au revoir."
Clank smiled at his old friend.
And was gone.
For a while, Ratchet was still, playing back old memories in his head. The first meeting, the defeat of Drek, of Dr Nefarious, Clank springing him from jail…All these and more clouded his head. He felt alone, more alone then he ever had been…
Then someone placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. He looked up.
"What's the matter? I thought I saw Clank heading out this way earlier, where is he?"
She saw the look on his face, and understood.
"He's gone, isn't he?"
"He just left."
Jasmine's fingers entwined with his. She kissed his cheek.
"Cheer up. You can still visit him, can't you?"
Ratchet brightened up.
"Yeah, that's true. And he's where he belongs now."
"And so are you."
Ratchet smiled and squeezed her hand.
"Yeah. Come on, lets go back. It's cold out here."
They got up and left, walking hand in hand back towards the lights of the city.