Disclaimer: I don't own Tales of the Abyss: Namco and other legal copyright etc. holders do. No infringement intended or money made, please don't sue.
This is a fic that plays around with the perfect isofon phenomenon and the whole stuff with their connection to Lorelei and so on and so forth to cause Luke and Asch to kiss and make up.
And then watches the fallout.
Um… on the one hand, I don't want to spoil the ending, but on the other I feel obligated to give you some warning that although there is no character death in this fic there will be a lot of other death. It's a happy ending. Happier than the game's. For the major characters. Think about what that implies, okay?
Even the fact that he'd just killed someone became unimportant. There were other people here, alive, and one of them was pointing a weapon at him and they barely registered except as scenery, possible obstacles.
"I know you." That was what mattered, and he realized that nothing else had ever mattered before. His life had been pointless, day after day, waiting for something that never came until he'd accepted that maybe there wasn't a purpose to life. Maybe this was what everyone else went though.
But his life did have meaning, and he'd found it.
The other person called him Asch, but, "That's not your name," Luke said as the sword pressed against him, drawing a bit of blood but that also simply didn't matter. "Who are you?" He reached out in wonder: he had to know.
He growled (angry? Why?) and the sword started to cut deeper. Luke flinched but couldn't pull away: he hated that the pain had made him flinch and close his eyes. "It hurts… this isn't a dream." That brought a smile to his lips, replacing the o of wonder.
"Stop! Our orders were to keep him alive!'
The other person thought he would kill him? "Do you want me dead?" He asked, head tilting in question.
"What?" He seemed to think Luke was insane.
"I would die. If you wanted me to, I would. Who are you? Why do you matter so much?" He was able to touch him, just his clothing, but it was solid and real as the sword. His eyes left his to look at his hand (he didn't realize until afterwards, treasuring the memory, that his fingers looked slightly wrong), and that seemed to be a mistake.
He withdrew the sword and swung.
The next think Luke knew he was in a cell with, yes, their names were Tear and Jade. "Do you know who that was?"
"God-general Asch the Bloody." Jade seemed distressed for some reason. It wasn't like him.
"That's not his name, and what do you know!" Luke sprang for him, but found he staggered partway.
"Be careful Luke, they didn't heal you fully. I just started when you woke up. Come on, lie back down." Tear guided him back, forcing him to lie down. He let her, he had to be healed so he could find him.
"I have some theories as to why he looked like you, but they wouldn't explain your reaction. Unless…"
"I need more information. I don't want to distress you with unfounded speculation."
"I'm already distressed. He looked like me? I guess he did, huh." Luke lay back, momentarily distracted by reliving the memory. The feeling of Tear's healing arte reminded him for some reason. Wait, he felt Tear's arte? It wasn't just the feeling of being healed, it was a… a feeling he couldn't describe. It was right somehow, and that was the only way he could think of to say it.
"You didn't notice?" Tear asked when she was done.
"No. I wasn't… there was something about him, and I was paying attention to that instead of anything else. It felt a bit like your arte, only… more. He was… Like me," Luke realized. "Only I don't know why I felt like that. I didn't even really notice anything that wasn't important to that. I would have thought I was dreaming, everything seemed so unreal, if he hadn't stabbed me." He seemed to be good as new. "Jade. Who is he?"
"He felt like Tear's arte? You sensed his fonons?" Jade was just guessing, and Luke sighed.
"I don't know why I expected you to be helpful," he muttered. "So how do we get out of here?"
There were other feelings, he soon learned, but they all felt incomplete. Even Tear's artes felt impure somehow, although they were better than nothing. "Oh healing power, First Aid!" Luke frowned as he felt it affect Jade. Yes, it was better than nothing, and better than having it cast on him, but it wasn't enough.
Both of them were staring at him. "What?"
"Nothing, I mean, it's not surprising, since you're a seventh fonist." Tear just shrugged. She shouldn't be startled but she was. Luke was acting strange.
Luke thought that Tear was acting strange too, but it wasn't worth asking about. "Come on." He headed right for the next monsters he saw. Her other one was trickier, the currents were strange as though to keep people from copying it, but it felt more right.
Oh yes, it felt very right. The battle over, he fell to his knees, almost shivering with delight. Oh, that felt good!
Tear's jaw had dropped. "Luke, how did you do that? That was one of Yulia's fonic hymns, do you even know what the words mean?"
"No, I just did exactly what you did." He stretched and got back to his feet with a smile. "I think I figured it out. Is this what people mean when they say that something makes them feel alive?"
"Luke, are you feeling alright?"
"I've never felt better. No, I've never felt this good before. Except when he was here. I'm going to find him," Luke promised himself. "I'm going to find out why he doesn't like me and fix it and then I'll always feel like this." He smiled to himself. "Come on, let's get going!"
Guy was here? Guy was his friend, but seeing him made his heart sink.
"Luke, what's wrong?"
"It's…" Luke backed away. "I can't go back home. I have to find him," he pleaded.
"Him. He looks like me and he feels like me. That fonon stuff people talk about, that's it."
"His fonons feel like yours?" Jade again.
"Yes, now that I've figured out what fonons are. He felt the same as me. He… I didn't feel alone."
"What do you mean, alone?" Guy seemed puzzled, but there was a hint that if anyone but Luke had said that he would have drawn the conclusion that Guy, a servant, didn't qualify as company when he was the only person who was ever with Luke but Master Van.
"It's not… You're my friend, but… This was something else."
"His fonons are the same as yours?" Jade asked again.
Luke closed his eyes, focusing on the memory. "Not exactly. Mine are all exactly the same. His are the… first through sixth fonons," he was pretty sure he got that right, "plus some like mine, but the amounts add up and if you mix them together they feel the same."
"You're entirely composed of the seventh fonon?" Now Jade knew what was going on, and he didn't seem to like it.
"The one in those artes. Yeah." Without any concern for Jade's feelings Luke pushed him for answers. "You know what's going on! Tell me!"
"Luke, have you heard of… Never mind, you wouldn't have. There's a process known as fomicry where a replica is made of another person that is identical except they lack their memories and are entirely composed of seventh fonons. If…"
"When Malkuth kidnapped me. I don't remember anything before then."
"Wait," Guy asked, looking between him and Jade. "Are you saying Luke isn't Luke? That's a pretty serious allegation."
"He's right. I knew his name wasn't Asch. It's Luke." Luke frowned. "So what's my name, then?" He looked down at his hands, flexing them. "If everyone mistook me for him, no wonder he's angry with me."
"Luke…" Ion came up to him. "It's not your fault."
"Calm down." Guy forced Luke to look at him. "You're you. That's all that matters."
"It's not. It never was. But it will be." Luke straightened up, resolute. "I just have to find him."
When they got to St. Binah Luke made Guy sneak out of the inn with him. "Guy…"
"I get it…" Guy sighed. "Van was the one who brought you back. We're going to meet up with him in Kaitzur, so let's talk to him there before you do anything silly like run away."
"Master Van, oh, right." He was going to be in Kaitzur. "He's the commander of the six god-generals, right? So he is with Master Van?" Luke sighed with relief. "He'll know what's going on. He'll help me apologize so he won't be mad at me anymore."
"I… Don't know about that."
"Nothing. Let's get some practice in, okay? I can't let you let your strike artes get rusty just because you're a fonist now."
Luke smiled. "Thanks, Guy."
"What?" Guy stepped back a pace in shock.
"You said thanks."
"What? I say thanks… When people do something special. That's how you do it, right?"
"You're helping me train and you're going to help me find him. So, thanks Guy."
Guy was silent for a strangely long time. "You're welcome," he said quickly, in the instant Luke opened his mouth to ask what was wrong.
"Master Van!" The trip had been disappointing. Tear had learned another fonic hymn, finally, and he'd learned it from her, but Arietta hadn't answered any of his questions.
"Luke! It's good to see you."
"Master Van, you know him, right? He works for you? Where is he?" Luke's excited questions poured out, and he didn't notice Van's eyes turning dark.
"Let's talk about this in private."
"Vandesdelca!" Tear's knives were out.
"Tear, no!" Luke stared her down. "I don't know why you two are fighting, but Master Van wouldn't do anything wrong. If you're his enemy then you're my enemy."
Tear grimaced but put the daggers away. "I want to hear how you explain this."
Guy spoke next, ruefully. "Well, I am responsible for him." Perhaps Jade was the only one who noticed that Van had looked to Guy for support.
"Luke is my friend." Ion wasn't backing down either, and Van's slight reaction to this deepened Jade's frown.
That frown vanished when he spoke. "And since I am the creator of fomicry and Luke's disappearance was blamed on Malkuth I'm afraid I also have an interest in the matter."
"What?" Tear exclaimed.
"He's my teacher, and he said he wants to talk to me in private. Tear, you're his enemy, and Jade, you're from Malkuth. Ion, Guy, you're my friends, but if this is something that Master Van thinks I need to hear first… There are some things that are just private." Luke wasn't budging. Turning back to his teacher, he pleaded, "Master Van, can you tell me now?"
Van sighed. "Certainly. I had hoped to wait a little longer, but if it can't be helped then it can't be helped. Let's go to the back room where we can talk privately."
When the door was safely shut Luke sat down and stared down at the floor. "I'm not angry, Master Van. I know you had a good reason, and it was hard enough when I didn't know he was out there. Now that I know he is I miss him. It feels like I'm empty inside, I miss him so much." His arms wrapped around himself and he would have had to fight to hold back tears if Master Van hadn't put a hand on his shoulder.
"I'm sorry, Luke. There is a reason. What do you know about the Score?"
"Not a lot."
"It's not your fault. Everyone was working to keep you ignorant of what it really meant. The Score said that Luke fon Fabre would die, in this very year, sacrificed so that Kimlasca could win a war against Malkuth. Your father and uncle raised him, and then you, knowing this."
"That… explains a lot. So you made me so that he could live?"
"…Yes. I'm sorry, Luke. I've grown to care for you too, but the Score is absolute. But perhaps, with the power of hyperresonance you and he share, it could be overturned. I wanted to save him so that others would no longer have to die like he was destined to and my parents did."
Luke stood up and hugged him. "I'm not angry. I think I'm happy."
"I always felt like a stranger. That I was a failure because I couldn't do even basic things. That I didn't have a purpose. But there's a reason for that, and I do have a purpose. I'm very happy," Luke realized. "Thank you."
"Are you sure?"
"If I was born to save him, and to help you fight the Score that tried to kill him and took your parents away, Master Van, then that's a good reason to be. Did you make me?" He looked up hopefully.
"Not personally, but I had you made."
"Oh." Luke was a little disappointed. "It… Father was never my father. It would be nice if you were. But being my teacher is more than enough. You trained me, you visited me, even though you knew it wouldn't be used. I always looked forward to seeing you, Master Van."
"Luke." The hand that had been removed, startled, when Luke took the liberty of hugging him returned to his shoulder and Van smiled at him.
Luke smiled back, but then it dimmed. "I want to see him again." The force of that need! "But… I don't want him to be sad. If I die and he still hates me then he won't be."
"He's strong, Luke. I'll find a way for you to meet him."
"Oh, thank you!" He wasn't crying he wasn't, not even a drop. He didn't cry, not even when he was so very happy. He stepped away from Master Van and rubbed some dirt off his face, that was it. "What do I need to do?"
"The fate the Score intended for him is cruel, Luke. I don't want to tell you. You'll have nightmares. Anyone would. They want to use your power of hyperresonance, as if you were nothing but a weapon."
"They were going to make him kill." And die. "I won't let that happen. I'll do whatever it takes."
"When we return to Baticul, they'll send you to Akzeriuth before too long. It will happen there. They will probably read you a, shall we say, selected segment of the Score. But, if we arrange things right, there's a way for him to talk to you that we can take care of at Choral Castle, and we could travel to Akzeriuth together."
"Really? Travel with you?" Yes, really. "But would he want to talk to me? I think he hates me."
Van sighed. "When he went to visit them his family had been utterly taken in by you. His own family didn't know that their son had been replaced by an imposter. In fact, your father was happier that 'Luke' had come home an infant, it meant he had an excuse to keep his weapon safely locked away and meant that you didn't have much of a chance to discover the truth before it was too late. He doesn't want to fact the fact that his own family never truly cared for him. So you became the target for his anger at the pain their actions caused him."
Luke sighed as well. "That's sad. I hope… I hope that… But just seeing would be more than enough." He shouldn't get his hopes up, this was already almost too much. "Would you be there with me, when I die? Or would that be too dangerous?"
"I'll be there, Luke. I promise."
"Thank you." He even bowed, first his head and then a proper bow. He needed to change the subject, this was too much. "What do we tell the others?"
"What do you think, Luke?"
"Guy deserves to know the truth, he was his friend too, but I don't think he'd be happy just letting me die."
"Gailardia is a good friend, isn't he?"
"We knew each other growing up. Luke, I think you deserve to know the whole story…"