This came thanks to my sister playing Tales of the Abyss and I
happened to be there watching Luke talk to Jade.
Disclaimer: I do not own Tales of the Abyss.
At Night, After Battle
He was awake again. Jade gave a slight wandering gaze over to the body in the other bed nearby to hear the slight shallow breaths of the redhead. He must have had a bad dream again, Jade mused lightly, still pretending he hadn't noticed Luke's abrupt movement. The boy moved from his bed and pawed in the darkness at the walls and kept breathing unsteadily.
In that aspect, Jade found himself thinking slightly, they were similar. They were both murderers at least at the age of seven. However the huge difference between the two was that Jade felt nothing at the deaths of those who had fallen by his hands (except his teacher, who was the only one exception of his sins). However, Luke felt the need to regret all of the people he killed, even the ones who he had only killed due to self-defense.
Which led Jade's thoughts to carelessly flout back to the day, where they were surrounded by bandits from a careless approach of walking down a path to gain some items that could not normally be discovered. Luke's face had been so determined when he called down his mystic arte and a loud cry came around as five men would drop from the Radiant Howl, and others followed due to jabs from Holy Judgment and Absolute. Luke's face had been determined then, but now Jade was sure it was stricken as though it was going through some form of ailment.
'Luke is too kind', would be a suitable quote from either Tear's or Guy's mouth when concerning the boy's nightmares. Guy had known and probably stood awake at the nights listening to Luke from his bed like Jade did, and probably also knew how much it hurt Luke inside to take another person's life. Tear knew, from the beginning, that Luke would have nightmares, and although she couldn't stay at night listening to the hard breaths of a certain redhead, she would be there in the morning, lightly greeting Luke with pancakes made especially by Anise.
Luke then moved again, slightly stumbling in the dark in a careless manner as light objects got knocked to the ground. Luke cursed and fell to the ground with a loud sigh. It was the sigh of giving up for the night, which meant he wouldn't think about it too harshly. For the moment at least, Jade knew Luke would stay on the ground for a bit longer, just zoning out into the darkness. Though tonight, it seemed he was in the mood to whisper to himself, there were times like these too of course. Luke liked talking to himself for some strange reason, and while Jade could not comprehend the reason, it made things easier into understanding the red-head even more then what was already understood.
Jade had to move a little bit, but it went unnoticed by the redhead, as the boy did not pay much attention to details in the first place. Not that it was easy to notice when Jade moved, Anise once even went as far as to calling him a ninja.
"Heh...I wish I could stop having these dreams." Luke's whisper seemed pathetic, and Jade knew that it was. Although Jade very rarely had actually emotions, there seemed to always be something when it came to Luke. For the moment, the red-eyed man felt irritation at the redhead replica. Jade wasn't exactly sure why, as he rarely had any control of the few emotions he had, but Luke seemed to bring out the worse and best sides he had ever known of himself. Jade then wondered if he felt annoyed if only because of Luke's incredibly sad sounding voice. Or perhaps it was because these nights happened too often for Jade's comfort, either way, Jade knew he was a little annoyed.
Luke moved from the ground and seemed to be thinking something again, pulling his hair back uneasily. Luke's actions were always slower during these time of nights, and he was always more sluggish in the morning. He also woke up late because of these nightmares. There was a light alarm in the back of Jade's mind when Luke opened the door and closed it softly, despite the creek that had been in the door earlier that night. When Luke didn't wonder back in fifteen minutes, Jade gave a slight groan to himself and stood up from his bed.
"...Would it really be wise to follow him?" Jade questioned, staring as Guy was already at the door, looking incredibly sleeping. The guardian blonde man looked back to the other man and rubbed the back of his head for a moment, looking away.
"I just don't think Luke should ever be alone during nights like these." He replied slightly, giving a sigh and Jade merely nodded in acknowledgement.
"If that is really true though, then why do you bother giving him the illusion that he's alone at night after he's had his nightmares?" Jade asked lightly, though it was hard to tell as he held his usual monotone harshness in his voice. Guy flinched at the question and looked away momentarily then back to the door.
"Heh...I guess you're right about that." His hand left the knob and then he looked closely at the genius across from him. "What are you doing up?"
"Oh, I just thought I'd help myself to a glass of milk. After all, my bones are growing quite bitter in my old age." Jade played his dry humor across the playing field and Guy just gave him the look that he usually got from the blonde. The look as in 'I don't believe a word you say', but Guy just nodded and Jade managed to leave the room.
"Heh, even Jade has a kind side after all."
Luke was just standing outside of the inn, staring up at the sky with a small dull look on his face. The little idiot was probably thinking he was weak again. There were quite a few visible motions on Luke's face that Jade knew by heart, as it was easy to read the red-head. Jade knew especially when Luke was over thinking on certain things, then again, it wasn't only Jade who could tell that. In fact, he was pretty sure that everybody knew, and the only person who was semi-clueless was Natalia.
"My Luke, what are you doing up so late?" Jade walked over to the redhead who seemed to jump up at his appearance. Luke cast a glance in the older man's direction and then looked back at the sky momentarily before back down to earth.
"Nothing." He looked away purposely, trying not to talk to anyone at the moment. He probably wasn't up to it, but Jade didn't really care if he was up to it or not.
"I see." The man just left it alone though, knowing that some things couldn't be pried so easily, even with someone with the 'spiritual' age of seven years old. Luke seemed to grunt lightly from the comment and looked back at the sky for a moment.
"...Jade, what do you think happens when you die?"
"The body decomposes and for seventh fonists the seven fonons in their body dissipate back into the fonon belt." Luke gave him an annoyed stare and then looked away again. Jade felt himself smirking slightly, knowing that wasn't what the boy wanted to hear.
"What about the soul? I mean...everyone has one right? Even...replicas, right?"
"Who knows?" Jade shrugged, knowing very well that there was no way to answer that question. At least, no way that Jade knew of, not that really truly cared. If he was to die and go to a Hell or Heaven, then he would accept it, he wasn't exactly sure and he really didn't care.
"..." Luke looked down again and pushed his hair up again, giving a timid sigh for a moment.
"It's not something to worry about, if that's why you're staying up so late." Jade made the comment, knowing very well that wasn't the reason Luke was up and about.
"Yeah, I know that!" Luke yelled, giving a slight growl in frustration that Jade suspected was more from a lack of sleep then irritation at him. Luke then looked away again, this time turning around and stomped his way to the inn, hopefully back into bed. Jade then felt himself look up to the dark sky that Luke had stared at so intently.
Nothing important, just the lights formed by unknown gases of energy that made a brilliant path to guide lost souls in the night. Perhaps Luke felt comfort in looking at them, it was a common practice for normal people. Perhaps Luke could feel forgiveness from a universal body more then from the bodies of Auldrant. Which was somewhat ridiculous, but Jade also knew that humans were that way, they needed to find a way to be forgiven.
Was it ever possible to actually be forgiven though? Luke was the type of person who, even if he were ever fully forgiven for every blood drop he spilled from his fellow human beings, Luke would never actually ever forgive himself. Those souls who even managed to make a move to kill someone else, those souls who were forever inwardly kind, they could never forgive themselves for being a victim. It wasn't really possible, was it? Jade felt somewhat sympathetic for Luke, having never really truly met someone like him, as people like that usually died early or kept to themselves to the point society called them outcasts.
Jade moved back into the inn, feeling the air trying to cool in on him and back into the room, noticing immediately that Luke was turned away from Guy and hiding his face in the pillow. Guy was also twisted away from Luke, but much more visibly asleep then the redhead. Jade pretended to fall recluse to the blankets in his bed and sighed to himself as Luke jumped from his bed, this time breathing a little harder then before. Those were from trying to stop himself from crying, Jade knew. He wondered how descriptive Luke's imagination was, as this happened every once in awhile as well. Not that Jade could blame the teen, he wasn't really even a teen, and was still a boy.
Luke pawed at the walls again, this time just leaning against them as he found a comfortable spot and staring around the dark, dank room. These nights were the most troublesome of them all, Luke could never fall back asleep until the sunlight peered through any window in the room. He was breathing hard again, holding back what could have been sobs by visibly biting unto his calloused knuckles. While it was somewhat random, Luke's actions were always as such on nights like these. The other obviously didn't know what to do to get rid of the stress that always built around the temple of his head every time he thought about it too much. The boy didn't know how to get rid of the everlasting guilt and angst that came from caring of the others around you, of all the humans that lived.
In that aspect, Luke was the strongest of them all. Even Natalia didn't have as much as a problem eliminating obstacles known as oracle knights or bandits as much as Luke did. Surprisingly, Luke was the kindest of them all. However, in that sense as well, Luke was also the weakest, and it really only showed at nights like this. Luke fell to the ground again, this time clawing at his hair in frustration and messing it up purposely and even going as far to tear little bits and pieces from his skull. Like a child, Jade couldn't help but think. But that's what he was, a child.
"Go away, go away, go away-" the small whisper taunted throughout the room as Luke cried to himself, hoping that saying it out loud would make the demonic images of death and blood fly away. It was then Jade thought of the war scene they had seen a month ago and couldn't help but think that, that helped fuel Luke's imagination in gory details. Luke stopped after his fifteenth whisper and whimpered slightly, realizing the pain of biting on his knuckles too hard. As much as Jade was used to this, it still gave him slight annoyance and something else.
Luke stood up again, his mood feeling random at the moment and crawled down into his bed, covering himself with the blanket and forming as close as a circle as he could. Warmth...yes, Jade supposed, that would help you feel forgiven. If you stopped feeling so cold and numb, you would feel a little better. Because you knew that you could only feel this right way if everything was all right. It took a few minutes, but Luke fell asleep and Jade knew that the boy would wake up in a few more minutes because of more details that would come from nightmares to be remembered.
It didn't take long, Luke moved again, waking up with a loud gasp and another forced back sob. This time Luke didn't move from his bed though, instead he lay and shook in a way that would make others believe he was going into a seizure. It was both strength and weakness to be able to hide all of this away, the glasses-wearing man thought to himself, a strength to hide but a weakness to come out when you were alone. If the redhead were ever truly alone...well...needless to say, even Jade feared the prospect of that idea. Luke moved then, falling to the floor and moving over to Guy's bed for a second, looking at the bed with some contemplation then shook his head. Perhaps when Luke was younger, he would sneak into Guy's bed when his mother's bed was preoccupied with his father. While Jade did not know what comfort that brought to any children, he did know it was also a common human practice.
Luke then moved to Jade's bed and whispered softly, "Are you awake?" Jade did not answer, not feeling any reason to bring out the effort. Luke hesitated and decided to sit at his bed, facing towards Jade's, still whispering and there had been times like this as well. "Replicas have soul, right Jade? You couldn't make something animate without a soul...right?" Luke had asked him the question many a time when he thought Jade was asleep, and the genius never an answer to give him. It must have brought the redhead comfort, to talk to someone. Again, another thing Jade did not have the pleasure of really knowing, but had also known it was a common thing for normal people to do. "I...I always feel bad...I know I said I would never hesitate, but I always hate it when we have to kill another human being." Luke looked down and went at his hair again, as though it was frustrating him to the point of wanting to cut the entire thing off his skull.
It probably would never be possible, Jade thought. For Luke to feel like he was forgiven. Not because of the many hundreds that he's killed, but because Luke thought it impossible. The boy was a fighter, and he would remain that way to protect the world, the people around him, and himself, all for the sake of living. While it may had not seemed that way, Luke had a very strong will to live. Even the redhead didn't know it, but even with all of his torment and frustration, Luke continued living instead of giving up. Jade decided then, there was no cure for Luke.
"Thanks for listening." Luke said finally, as the sun seemed to start filtering through the window and his eyes were struggling to keep open. Had the night really passed that fast, and had Luke really been talking to him the entire night? While Jade did not understand why he was something like a mentor to the redhead, he could feel that it was something Luke needed to do. It was one of those things he could only do alone, yet not alone. Luke managed to flop down and his eyes closed in a restless future sleep, finally able not to dream of anything anymore. After knowing for a fact that Luke was asleep, Jade stood up and gave a deep sigh. These nights were getting more and more troublesome, but at least Jade could survive a night or two without sleep (His record was around 50.2 hours before he started to get a little...off. Yulia pray for the soul who crossed him in those times (Peony and Dist both had scars hidden in their bodies from said moments)).
"Another full night?" There was a creak that only Luke had managed to evade from the door. Jade pushed his glasses up, and stared at the teenager girl who peered into the room.
"I'm afraid so, I think it would be best if you made your special sausage along with your pancakes this morning Anise." Anise gave a somewhat sad smile and looked over to the sleeping redhead and nodded to the military man.
"I'll do that then! And don't forget to say you're welcome!" Anise slipped out as fast as she came in and probably started to cook. Jade felt a slight raise to his brow and wondered when Anise was standing outside the door. Actually, it was fairly early, perhaps he should tell her not to cook just yet. Jade then turned over to Luke, giving the boy a dull stare and almost perversely enjoying as there was a sudden chill in the room where both the other occupants shivered.
There was no such thing as a cure for kindness, especially the kind of kindness that Luke held. It was impossible, and it was something that shouldn't be cured for in the first place. The only thing that they all could do, was probably make sure he was never really truly alone. He was sure that there was some silly quote about "Time healing all wounds", and as ridiculous as that was, it was the only thing that could start recovery. True, Luke would never have the scar on his mind gone, and he would forever probably have the guilt of deaths in the back of his head somewhere, but at least Luke had friends. He also had Jade, even if the older man would never admit it or tell it to the little idiot.
"You're quite welcome Luke." Jade then moved out of the room, on his quest to prevent the spoiling of Anise's wonderful cooking from cooling. While in his sleep, Luke smiled.