Birth's Meaning

A Tales of the Abyss Fanfiction

Written by Zero-Sennin


"I don't even have a past to lose, but I've still decided that I'm still me. It doesn't matter what you think. Here I am. If that's the source of the strength you're talking about, then I won't lose!"

"Well said. I will make those words your last, replica!"


The way he yelled at me at that moment, I knew that this was it. I knew that there was going to be no chance to convince him otherwise, no way to advance, except by winning.

Truth be told, I didn't want to have to do things this way. I could understand how Asch felt, even if I hadn't lived his life. I would be angry too – murderously so, even – if everything had been stolen from me by a 'dirty', forbidden, useless replica. This thought was nothing new to me, nothing new for me. I'd considered how he felt ever since I found out the truth from him…after Akzeriuth.

The Key of Lorelei whistled loudly as it flew at my face; with the advance notice, I blocked it easily. Asch snarled and extended a hand, blasting me with a red sphere of energy, then rose upwards with a slash, taking me with him.

"RENDING FANG BLADE!"

Despite the pain, I managed to flip myself in midair and landed safely, a decent distance away from him. He smirked and rushed again, intent on making sure that I wouldn't get a chance to fully recover.

But things had changed since then. Now, I was dying, the world was in more danger than it ever had been, and the clock was ticking on both those counts.

I couldn't afford to think of myself as inferior anymore. I couldn't let him stop me from moving forward. Not now!

"Now is all the time I have!"

"Now is all I have, too."

I had to win!


His blade swung straight down, as if he intended to vertically bisect me. I spun to the side and moved in with a thrust, but he reacted too quickly for me to catch him, and stepped back right as he recovered from his swing. His counterattack came soon afterwards – he rammed his shoulder into me, spawned a small burst of fire energy in front of him, and slammed his blade to the ground, letting his body drop with it.

"DEVIL'S INFERNO!"

The shockwave that burst up from the ground made me fly up a short distance. Much to my chagrin, I landed hard, right on my ribcage, and something cracked.

After a few moments, I pulled myself back up and punched the replica in the face, distracting him long enough so that I could cough up a bit of blood to the side. If he'd seen that, he would have eased up on me, and I wasn't having that. He actually looked serious this time around; no fear, no hesitation. He wouldn't kill me, but he wasn't going to lose without beating the crap out of me first.

I liked that.

He was finally, finally proving that he was my replica. He was showing that he had the will to stand up and fight against someone if they stood in the way of something he wanted, instead of whining and moaning uselessly. He wasn't letting me put him off his rhythm.

He was standing his ground, and putting every bit of himself into the fight.

"We're both real. You and I are two different people!"

Maybe we are both real, replica. Maybe we are two different people.

If you want me to acknowledge that, though, you'll have to win!

You'll have to show me why I should believe your words! You'll have to show me…why I should forgive you for taking everything from me!

I bounded forward, the Key ready at my side. With a yell, I swung downwards, bringing it to bear against the replica's sword.


My sword scraped against the Key for what must have been the seventieth time, sending a shower of sparks into the air. Ever since the initial exchange, after I'd hit him with a Devil's Inferno, we'd been fighting with regular attacks; Artes would be too risky to use until there was an opening. I'd been cut a few times, and so had Asch; the wounds, honestly, were fairly deep, and we were both bleeding.

Asch was still smirking at me, as if he was assured he was going to win, as if he didn't feel the pain, but I was no fool. After I'd gotten myself together from the punch he'd tossed at me, I saw the thin streak of blood that was still running down his mouth, the way he favored his left ribcage. I knew that both of our movements had gotten slower, though if either one of us had gotten careless, it would have been over then and there.

I was worried for a second, realizing that I was hurting him as I took in the full scope of his injuries, his movements, everything. At that precise moment, Asch's smirk disappeared, and he appeared as enraged as he usually was, burning a hole into my head with his eyes.

"Don't you dare," Asch's glare said to me, as if he sensed my reluctance. "Don't you dare shame me, and don't shame yourself! Are you going to quit now, after all your promises?"

That glare reminded me that despite everything else I felt at that moment, I didn't have the luxury of fussing too much about Asch's well-being. Van was going to destroy the world if I didn't push on. Besides that, if I did ease up, Asch wouldn't hesitate to run me over.

And I'd declared I wouldn't lose...so I had no choice but to ignore every reservation I had at the moment and fight Asch with all the strength I could muster.

It was the only way for us to understand each other now.

The only way that I could get him to see the truth.

I gripped my blade tightly as Asch and I pressed against each other, refusing to yield even an inch. I would have to break the stalemate before I could take him down, and I would have to do it fast.

Grunting, I backstepped, inviting Asch to attack me while I left myself open. He took the bait and pressed forward with a slash; however, he didn't realize that I'd stepped much farther back than it seemed.

I'd moved out of the Key's effective range, and he was still recovering from his attack. In other words, he was wide open, and I had a combination ready that would ensure my victory.

"RENDING THRUST!" I called as I dashed back into the fray. Despite his move to block my attack, I stabbed him, stepped forward and swept my hand to the sky, which spawned a wave of energy that lifted him up.

Then, I swung my sword upwards, cutting him again, and spun around on the spot before thrusting up at him, using another torrent of energy to add range and hits to the attack.

"LIGHT SPEAR CANNON!"

Finally, I felt my muscles tremble as I called a wave of Seventh Fonons, preparing for one last attack. Streams of light flowed upwards, all around me, striking Asch multiple times as they coalesced into a sphere of pulsing, swirling light between us.

It's over, Asch! RADIANT HOWL!

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! NOW...DIE!"


He…he'd done it.

Damn.

I hadn't been expecting this.

But…I wasn't as angry about it as I thought I would be. He'd kept his word. He hadn't lost.

That alone…proved that at the very least, he had something I didn't. And if that was the case, then he was right.

He and I…were always two different people. He was my replica, but he was not me. He wasn't the being that was called Asch the Bloody, or had been named by Duke and Dutchess Fabre as their son, Luke.

The only person that had hold on both those names was me.

It was time to let go of the past, and take back what was mine.

I stood up, having had enough of crouching in front of him like I was on my last legs. Even though my anger was ebbing, I still had to admit, I was pissed off – about the fact that I'd lost, not who I'd lost to.

In fact, if I'd lost to anyone else, I'd be even angrier than I was at first.

"Damn it…the original lost to the replica…."

I stared down for a few more moments, feeling my wounded ego throb incessantly in my chest, warring with the sense of pride I felt for the replica, before I tossed the Key at his feet.

"Take it."

He bent to claim it, holding it loosely in his left hand, and looked at me, mixed emotions playing across his face.

"Asch…I -"

Suddenly, his eyes darted to the door on the other side of the room; soldiers came through it as it slid open, and we both tensed up, knowing what was next.

The lead knight whipped his blade through the air and pointed it directly at us. "Stop! Hand over the Key of Lorelei!"

I snarled, bent down, and triggered the switch below our feet, opening the door that led out of the room and towards Van.

"I'll hold them off! Go!"

He hesitated for a second, then declared, "I'll fight with you!"

"Don't be stupid! Are these guys important?!" The idiot almost looked as if he was about to answer, so I cut him off. "Of course not!"

At first, it looked like he was going to still try to argue with me, but I tightened my glare, and he sighed, unsheathing his old sword with his spare hand and pressing it into my grip before running to the door. Once he got there, though, he turned around, a tight, forced smile on his face.

"Promise me…you'll survive! If you don't, Natalia and I will never stop grieving!"

I rolled my eyes. "Shut up! Fine, I promise! Now go!"

He finally left, and I forced the gate shut and stood, swinging his blade to get a feel for its weight. I could feel the dizziness from my blood loss start to overtake me, but I really could care less. Those damn knights wouldn't give two whoops in hell about my pain, so why should I?

Still, I knew…that I was probably about to do the worst thing I'd ever done.

I was about to break a promise.

"Humph. No time left…. I'm going to disappear soon."

The lead knight spoke again, much more irately this time. "Out of the way!"

I mimicked his action from earlier and pointed the blade directly at his head, fixing the fiercest scowl that I could manage onto my face.

"No. Your fight is with me, Asch – no, Luke fon Fabre!"


Because of our connection, I felt him die.

I didn't know how, but I knew that he did.

He stood and fought for me, and he'd died.

I'd bound him to a promise we both knew he would break, and he hadn't disappointed either of us.

The warmth that overcame me as we all walked forward – the warmth of his power, joining with mine – was accompanied by a voice, and I had to stop and listen to it as it drifted to me on the wind.

"It looks like…I had a little trouble. The rest…is up to you…."

I closed my eyes, and let all that he had given wash over me.

At that moment, I wanted to cry, scream, do anything to fight off the waves of anger and sorrow attempting to drown me. Asch was dead. Dead. As much as we'd fought, we were still original and replica. We had a bond, even if it was tenuous at best.

However, the reality of my situation gradually fought its way through my churning emotions. I could give up, but If I did, I had no doubt that Asch would show up from beyond the void just to kick my ass for it.

Van's the real problem, you idiot dreck! Don't waste time crying over this, it's not important!

The words, in Asch's angry, harsh tones, rang through my head, as if he were speaking directly to me again, as if he hadn't died, and shook off the last vestiges of grief from my shoulders.

I had to move on, and do Asch's memory proud. Grieving could come later.

Despite myself, I looked ahead at Natalia, feeling my own heart break as I tried to imagine telling her that Asch…and Luke fon Fabre…was really dead.

I was here, yes, but as my fight with Asch had proved, I was not Luke fon Fabre. He was.

And I was… his replica.

That didn't mean I was weak, though. He'd left me his legacy to assure that I wouldn't lose to Van.

His strength and mine were resonating now, and I was ready.

I strode forward, bearing the strength of Luke fon Fabre, ready to share the horrible news of his passing, and more than willing to unleash all of my - and his - power on the man that had used him, and me, for nothing but evil.

Van, you're going down.

I swear it.


This one-shot came to me while listening to Meaning of Birth and watching omegaevolution beat the crud out of Asch on YouTube. Between that and reading kick-ASS Abyss fics like Reflections and Phasis, this seed was planted very, very firmly in my mind, and I just needed the better part of an afternoon to get it out of my head.

Truthfully, I haven't played Abyss, and I probably won't for a while, since my PS2 is utter crud and I can't get a new one yet. I do want to play it someday, though, so humbly accept this little thing I whipped up based on lots of video viewing and my 'gut feeling' as a writer. Obviously, not all of it is game accurate, but that wasn't the point. I just wanted to make something enjoyable.

Until next time,

~ZS, the Masterful Reploid Hermit

Second edit created on September 21, 2009.