Summary: (Tales of the Abyss)(Lukear) Sometimes, you've just got to dance.

Spoilers: YESH.

A/N: Due to this being written in the span of a little under a half an hour, a few things from the scene are improvised and modified accordingly.

Slowly, his eyes came into focus. A hand—his hand; another hand—not his; silvery-white, and a… wonderfully blue sky.

He was alive.

I am alive…

The moment kept replaying in his mind, and the words running through his head like a joyful song of praise. He had rid the world of the miasma, gained the Jewel of Lorelei, and…

He was alive.

He had been so scared—a feeling of fright beyond words—as he steadily raised the Key of Lorelei over his head. He knew he had to do it, but why the consequence so great? Ten thousand lives, plus that of his own, all sacrificed for the well being of all those inhabiting Auldrant—original or replica.

Then, after that, he did witness part of himself… fade unto the scenery around him—a horrifying premonition of death like no other.

But for the moment, he was alive.

Just as they had boarded the Albiore, the evening sun rose and set, giving full stage to the darkened azure blanket that captured the sky overhead as they set their course for Belkend. Try as they might, the moon and stars alone were not enough light their course, so the group was forced to suspend their travels for the night on the nearest stretch of clear lands.

Once docked, everyone began to strategically stake out an appropriate sleeping place—or object, as there was a couch and a few chairs. Jade was the first to claim the couch, explaining how his old back had been aching and aching ever since they had begun climbing those seemingly everlasting flights of stairs. Naturally, his claim went unchallenged as they all knew if they even tried to argue, they'd be smited in a second by his cunning comebacks and creepy, sugary sweet tone. Anise took the floor next to the couch, Tokunaga as her full body pillow. Tear chose a spot somewhat close to Anise and Tokunaga, where she'd later snuggle up to the great doll in the darkness. Natalia managed to find a quilt-like blanket and set up next to Anise just to keep everyone in the same general area while Noelle pulled up a chair she'd learned to sleep comfortably in.

Guy chose a conveniently placed corner—away from the women.

Luke, on the other hand, couldn't find it within him to sleep, he had to be awake.

So as everyone seemed to wind down and all got quiet, he slipped outside, closing the door with what he thought was a soft click, but the Necromancer's fierce red eyes opened abruptly in the darkness. "Where is that boy going now?" he sighed in a whisper.

A hair's length separated Tear and the wondrous fabric of Tokunaga as she heard Jade mutter. She frowned and sat up, knowing full well Jade was concerned for him, but preferred to teach—though he rather detested it being called such—through experience. "I'll go see what he's up to…"

Weaving her way through the shadows, narrowly avoiding stepping on everyone, she finally found the handle to the door and slipped outside as well.

Meanwhile, Luke had run off into a field of high grass, savoring the moment as the blades of grass swayed gently in the nightly breeze, brushing softly against legs as he gazed up at the stars.

Tear spotted him, but approached him with subtlety in lieu of the admonishment he deserved for doing something so foolish. Then again, a lot had transpired in one day…

When she within arm's length of him, she asked him quietly, "Luke, what are you doing out here, by yourself?"

He whirled around, as if startled, to look her in the eye. He blanched, then smiled—she wasn't here to lecture him.

"It's so pretty out here," he said, his smile growing. "I… I never noticed before how many stars there are."

Tear bit back a wide array of dry remarks and replied, "I guess it really does take a near death experience to make one truly appreciate the little things."

"Yeah… I…" he trailed off, as laughter began to overtake his speech. Luke turned from her, his laughter dissolving into what sounded like stifled sobs. She picked up on this, and placed a stable hand on his shoulder.

"Luke… are you okay?"

"'Okay'? I… I'm…"

Unexpectedly, he swept her hands into his, bouncing on the tips of his feet as tears spilled from his emerald eyes. "I'm alive, Tear! I didn't have to die! I got to live! I'm so happy!"

Her words caught in her throat as Tear found herself near breathless with surprise. The redhead went on joyfully, "I never thought that I'd live to see another day or beautiful night when we entered that Tower, I knew I was going to die when I hadn't even really lived. I thought I was going to finally pay the price for Akzeriuth, and I accepted that but… when it came down to it…" he shook his head, enveloping her in an embrace. "…I'm alive, I can't believe it!"

As he held her tightly in his arms, she felt a warm flush come over her entire body. She paused, "Luke… you're shaking…"

"I know," he said. "I know."

A moment passed before he let her out of his hold, but firmly kept her hands in his. "I can't stop shaking, Tear; dance with me."


He cupped his hands around hers, and spoke as if it was his dying plea. "No one's watching, please?"

It took a lot to get to her, through all the shields she'd accumulated throughout her years as a soldier, but on that night, under the navy sky, her heart went out to the boy she'd once spited and secretly wished dead. How he had changed…

Tear's eyes softened; a rare smile graced her features. "Just promise me you'll never do anything like that again. You had me… all of us so scared."

He wrapped one hand around her waist and kissed her tenderly.

…But he never returned her promise.