Disclaimer: If I owned Tales of the Abyss, the brotherly fluff would be more prominent -- kind of like what would have happened with oyako in Tales of Symphonia if I owned that.
Authors' Note: I'm not sure how far I'll take this, but to satisfy my craving for some seriously brotherly Guy and Luke interaction, I'm starting this little series of brotherly moments between them, starting from when Luke was "born" and found at Choral Castle, and going until . . . well, possibly even into when the game starts, though this is mainly to show how Luke started from being born a replica -- basically being a baby even though he looked ten, all sweet and innocent and whatnot -- to being the selfish, spoiled brat that we first meet at the beginning of the game. I'll never go out of age-order, though I may skip several years between chapters.
It's probably obvious, and I know that I state Luke's age in this, but nonetheless Luke is ten and Guy is, therefore, fourteen.
Edit: Fixed the ending, so it's not going against canon so much anymore. For those of you who saw it before, sorry about that!
If you read, please review!
Bonds of Brotherhood
One: The Rescue
Guy didn't know why he'd insisted on coming along.
It wasn't like he liked Luke very much. Sure, he understood why the kid was so distant and cold all the time -- Duke Fabre was a bastard, and in his typical bastard fashion he separated himself from Luke constantly. And when he wasn't distancing himself he was insulting Luke, criticizing him constantly on how he could act better, look better, be better. But even so, Luke was cold and distant himself, only ever really open with Natalia, and even though Guy was assigned to be Luke's personal servant and to take care of him no-matter-what, Guy didn't particularly care to. Thing was, even if Guy understood Luke's reasons for wanting to emulate his father's stone-cold bastard nature, it didn't mean that he had to like the kid for who he was.
So he didn't really know why he'd insisted on going on the rescue mission to look for Luke at Choral Castle, just that he had and that was why he was there, roaming by himself, looking for a mop of red hair on a scrawny ten-year-old body. Guy sincerely doubted he'd find Luke on his own, but the rescue party of guards and knights was a little much to handle at the moment, especially since they reminded Guy of the guards that used to surround House Gardios -- the ones who'd be looking for him if he'd been the one to go missing.
Guy tried not to think about it too much. Just look for the kid, and listen for calls if he's found somewhere else, which he probably will be, Guy thought as he pushed open a door leading to another vacant room. It's not like you've ever been particularly lucky any-- Guy froze, his eyes widening at the sight of a small, red-headed form curled up in a corner, knees drawn up to his chest and a head rested upon them. Or not.
"Luke?" Guy called. There was something about the way the kid was curled up into a little ball that made Guy hesitant to just walk over or to shout for the guards. Looking closer, Guy could see that Luke was shaking, and with how pathetic the kid looked Guy couldn't help but feel pity. Poor kid was probably terrified. For all his coldness, Luke was only ten, and being kidnapped and then abandoned at Choral Castle was probably more than his faux tough exterior could handle. "Hey, Luke, it's just me. You okay over there?"
Luke tensed before his head snapped up, wide green eyes focused on Guy. There was something in those green eyes that made Guy stop dead in his tracks, and though it took him a moment, he was able to place exactly what it was. Fear -- true fear. It wasn't fear masked by a tough façade, or fear fueled by anger. He was genuinely afraid, and that was showing in his eyes clear as day.
"Hey," Guy said, lowering his voice and crouching lower to the ground so that he was more on Luke's level. He was close enough now to reach out slowly, to put one hand on Luke's arm -- an arm that was still wrapped tightly around his knees, as if he was afraid that if he uncurled he'd be hurt. "It's okay. No reason to be afraid anymore, okay? It's me -- Guy. You remember me, right?"
Luke's stare showed absolutely no hint of recognition, but Guy could see that the fear was fading into something else -- and this time, Guy couldn't exactly place the emotion there. But as Luke relaxed, the corners of his lips began to tilt upward a little into a smile, though his eyes looked a little unsure beneath the other, unnamed emotion, as if he wasn't sure if he was supposed to smile or not.
It was at that moment that the door was shoved open with enough force to knock it back against the wall, and Luke jumped at least a foot in the air, letting out a squeak of fear. Without really thinking Guy was on his feet, spinning so that his back was protecting Luke, one hand on his sword hilt. He relaxed when he saw that it was the guards, and held up both hands in defense.
"My apologies, gentlemen. I thought you might be a threat."
"Did you find him?" one of the guards asked, disregarding Guy's apology entirely. Guy wasn't really surprised.
"Yeah," he said, stepping aside in an attempt to show them Luke -- an attempt that turned out being futile. Luke had moved to his knees, and quickly reached out to grab Guy's legs, using Guy to shield himself from the guards. "Luke, what are you doing?" Guy twisted back in time to see Luke shake his head, his big, green, puppy-dog eyes (since when did Luke have puppy-dog eyes?) aimed straight up at Guy.
It was then that Guy recognized the emotion he'd seen before. Trust. Luke trusted Guy.
"Is he all right?" a different guard asked, sounding unsure. "He seems to be acting . . . strange."
"I think he's just scared because of whatever happened here. He doesn't appear to be hurt." Guy carefully extracted his legs from Luke's hold before crouching down before the boy again, looking him straight in the eye. Every now and then, Luke's eyes would dart over Guy's shoulder to look at the guards, looking fearful for that instant, yet would then return to lock with Guy's own blue irises with complete and total trust. "Hey, Luke, you ready to go home now?" Luke's stare was as uncomprehending as ever, and Guy sighed a little, nodding once. "I'm going to take your silence as a yes. Think you can walk?" Another blank stare, and Guy decided that -- at the current moment -- it'd be best not to try Luke too much. He'd just been rescued from a kidnapping, after all; it'd be okay to take it easy on him for a little while. "All right, then, no walking. How about I give you a piggyback ride instead?"
"Are you sure about that?" Guy rolled his eyes at the guards, figuring he was safe since the guard couldn't see the action. "Perhaps one of us should -- "
"He's terrified of you right now," Guy pointed out, turning so that his back was to Luke. When Luke didn't climb on, Guy reached behind him and gently took Luke's small hands, pulling Luke's arms loosely around his own neck. "It's best not to scare him, don't you agree?" When Luke was holding on to Guy's neck, Guy reached back to loop his arms under Luke's legs, effectively pulling the kid onto his back before standing up. Luke gasped in Guy's ear, and Guy chuckled, grinning as he turned his head slightly to lock eyes with Luke again. "It's okay, Luke," he said. "You're safe. I've gotcha." Luke nodded and placed his forehead against Guy's shoulder, his arms still wrapped securely -- but not painfully -- around Guy's neck. With one nod toward the guards, Guy shifted his hold on Luke only minutely so that it was more comfortable, and then led the way out of Choral Castle.
During the coach ride, Luke stayed right up against Guy's side, never moving. And once they returned to Baticul, Luke refused to get out of the carriage unless he was riding on Guy's back again, holding on tightly and burying his face in Guy's shoulder. It wasn't a problem as far as Guy was concerned until they returned to the manor, and it was time for Luke to see his parents. When Guy tried to set him down, Luke held on, and refused to look at Susanne or Duke Fabre.
"What's the matter with him?" Duke Fabre demanded, his voice rough and none too friendly. It was only because of years of practice that Guy managed to keep his tone polite and his expression scowl free.
"I'm not sure, Your Grace. He's been like this ever since we found him. He refuses to say a word." But with how angry you seem it doesn't surprise me that you're scaring him even more.
"Luke?" Susanne stepped closer to Guy, who took a step back in response. Susanne threw Guy a look of mingled apology and irritation before returning her attention to the boy on Guy's back. "Luke, please look at me, sweetheart. Everything's okay. You're home now."
Luke didn't move -- didn't lift his head from Guy's shoulder at all. Guy had no idea what was going on -- Luke's actions seemed to go far beyond pure fear -- but he felt bad for Susanne, who looked honestly hurt at Luke's rejection. However, his sympathies didn't extend toward Duke Fabre at all, who seemed more offended than hurt at Luke's behavior.
"Put him down," Duke Fabre barked. "The boy can stand on his own two feet."
"Yes, Your Grace." Guy slowly lowered himself to a crouching position, and released Luke's legs to reach up and try to pry Luke's arms from around his neck. "Come on, Luke," he coaxed. "You want to see your Mother and Father, don't you?" Guy felt Luke shake his head against the base of his neck and he swallowed, looking up to Susanne with apology. "I apologize, madam. I'm not sure if it will make you feel any better, but I really do think that he's just retaining some fear from when he was kidnapped."
Susanne nodded, though she didn't seem mollified by Guy's words at all. "Perhaps he should see a doctor," she murmured, and then nodded once. "Yes, he should probably see a doctor. Luke?" Susanne reached out, and Guy tried not to flinch back due to the offered hand. "Come to Mother, Luke. Let us go see the doctor, to see if anything happened while you were away."
Guy finally managed to pry Luke's arms from around his neck, but he found that he couldn't exactly let go of Luke's hands; although Luke was standing, he was relying heavily on Guy, wobbly and uncertain on his feet. Guy furrowed his brow, looking at Luke's moderately panicked expression and trying to sort out all the facts in his head.
"Madam," he said slowly, "if I may, perhaps it would be best if I took Luke to his room, and the doctor made a house visit."
"Why? Is there something wrong with him?" Susanne's voice was drenched in worry, and she took a step closer. Guy shifted to put more distance between them, causing Luke to stumble a little.
"I'm not exactly certain, but I think that, well . . ." Guy hesitated, and then shook his head. "I'm not certain. It just might be best if Luke is somewhere where he'd feel more comfortable." Not that Guy thought that Luke would recognize his room any more than he seemed to recognize the rest of the manor, but Guy figured it was probably the best option at that point.
Duke Fabre seemed to want to disagree, but after exchanging a look with Susanne, he nodded, saying gruffly, "Take him to his room, then. The doctor will be along shortly."
"Yes, Your Grace." Guy let Luke climb onto his back again, but he'd barely taken two steps when Duke Fabre barked out another command.
"And put him down. You may be his servant, but that does not mean that you need to cart him around, Guy."
Guy didn't want to follow that particular order, but knowing that he had no choice, he nodded once and lowered Luke to the ground again. As soon as Guy released Luke completely, Luke wavered, and very nearly toppled over; it was only Guy reaching out to catch him that stopped him from falling completely.
"Easy there, Luke," Guy said. "I've gotcha."
"He's been through a very traumatic experience, dear," Susanne spoke up, looking over at her husband with a sternness that Guy rarely saw. "If he needs to be carried until he recuperates, then so be it. Guy, if you would? And please, wait with him until I arrive with the doctor."
"Of course, madam." Guy pulled Luke onto his back again, ignoring the way that Duke Fabre scowled at both of them as he carried Luke out of the entrance hall, and the comment that he heard Duke Fabre give to Susanne just before the door shut: "That boy isn't supposed to be in Luke's room."
Of course. Only the maids were allowed to enter Luke's chambers -- no other servants were permitted, despite the fact that Guy was supposed to look after Luke. Well, whatever Duke Fabre thought or wanted, it didn't matter -- at least, not at the current moment. Susanne had given Guy permission, and besides, it wasn't as if Luke was letting go any time soon. The younger boy nestled his head in the crook between Guy's neck and shoulder, letting out a tiny sigh.
"You've had a rough trip, haven't you?" Guy asked, but once again, Luke didn't answer. "Well, it's over now. You've got nothing to worry about. It's all smooth sailing from here." Though somehow, Guy doubted his words. After all, if his hunch was correct, Luke was going to have a very rough time ahead of him, especially with how demanding Duke Fabre was regarding every aspect of Luke's life.
Guy removed one arm briefly from under one of Luke's legs to open Luke's bedroom door, and thereafter walked in to set Luke on his bed. This time, Luke willingly let go of Guy, sitting back on his bed and looking about the entire room with wide eyes. Just as he had with everything leading up to that point, Luke looked around him with absolutely no recognition, and touched his soft bed covers gently, as if in wonder.
"You really don't remember anything about this place, do you?" Guy asked quietly, but Luke merely looked at him, frowning a little bit in concentration. Guy frowned in response. "And even though I really don't want to assume this, I'd even go so far as to say that maybe you don't even remember how to ta - "
A knock on Luke's open door drew Guy's attention away from Luke, and he bowed politely in the presence of the doctor and Susanne, who hovered just behind the doctor with an anxious look on her face. "Well then, now that you're here, I suppose I will take my leave," Guy said, his eyes flickering between Susanne and the opposite side of the doorframe. He wasn't sure if he could squeeze by without touching her, but he thought that if he flattened himself against the doorframe, he might just have a chance. But as he walked toward the door, planning to put his plan into action, a strangled cry from Luke stopped him:
Guy stopped, turning slowly back to look at Luke. Maybe the kid hadn't forgotten how to speak after all. "Luke? You have to have a check-up with the doctor now."
"Guy." Or perhaps he had, because although Luke opened his mouth to say more, he didn't seem to be able to. Instead, he looked at Guy with puppy-dog eyes that looked as if they were on the verge of filling with tears, absolute panic written all over his face. It was an expression that was so unlike the Luke that Guy remembered that it left Guy baffled, but nonetheless feeling like Luke had clutched Guy's heart in his fist and was tightly yanking on the strings. Guy looked briefly over at Susanne with a helpless expression, and then looked back at Luke. "No, Guy."
"Luke, I can't stay here. I'm not allowed." No matter what he said, the pleading expression didn't leave Luke's face -- and, as if to drive the point home just how terrified he was, Luke's lower lip began to tremble. "Luke . . ."
"Guy, it's all right." Guy looked back to Susanne, who looked distinctly troubled, but nonetheless sincere. "If Luke truly wants your presence, then you can stay this once. Just please try not to get in the doctor's way."
"I would never dream of it, milady." Guy gave Susanne another sweeping bow before turning back to the bed, walking over to sit down beside Luke. "Okay, Luke? I'm staying. It's going to be all right." Luke nodded once, wiping at his eyes, but looking up at Guy with a watery smile. Forget baffled; Guy was completely and utterly bewildered by Luke's behavior. He was acting more like a toddler than a ten-year-old kid, and certainly more emotional and sensitive than the Luke Guy had spent the past nine years knowing. It was as if he'd had a complete and total personality transplant along with the kidnapping.
Well, whatever happened, I think I might like him better this way, Guy thought, putting one hand on Luke's shoulder as the kid recoiled into him, away from the doctor. I don't know him very well yet, but I already like him if he doesn't have a massive chip on his shoulder all the time.
"All right, Luke," the doctor said gently, giving Luke his best smile. Guy looked down, and saw that Luke didn't return it. "We're going to start with some very basic questions . . ."
In the end, it was decided that Luke had amnesia, likely due to the traumatic events of the kidnapping. And it wasn't normal amnesia, where he only forgot his name and place of origin; no, it was most likely complete amnesia, causing him to forget how to walk and talk and function as a normal human being.
Of course, Susanne was an absolute mess of worry and sympathy for Luke, though her illness prevented her from sticking around long enough to really help Luke with anything. Duke Fabre, as per usual, didn't seem to care beyond how it would make Luke look in the face of the Kingdom of Kimlasca. And while all of the rest of the servants, Pere included, felt sorry for Luke, it wasn't as if any of them were going to spend the time around a ten-year-old who acted more like he was two instead of ten. They had their own chores and duties to attend to -- their own tasks.
But Guy's primary job was to babysit Luke. He was there to keep Luke entertained when Luke wasn't studying or participating in court. Teaching Luke was now his job, even if no one had given him the task specifically, especially since the nurse who had originally raised Luke was no longer at the manor, having been dismissed by Duke Fabre long ago. If Luke didn't remember how to talk, well, Guy had to teach him. And if he didn't remember how to walk, well, Guy had to teach him that, too. Luke was virtually a blank-slate now, more of a newborn child than one who was almost a teenager, and it fell to Guy to fill in that blank-slate as best he could.
"Okay, Luke, easy does it," Guy said, taking Luke's hands and gently pulling him off his bed. Luke wavered, but when Guy let go of his hands, he managed to stand upright. "See?" Guy said, grinning broadly. "Standing up's half the battle. You're already halfway to walking!"
Luke returned the smile, though his smile was a bit sheepish. "Really?" He'd been picking up on little words here and there -- remarkably fast, as far as Guy was concerned, but perhaps that was just his memory coming back to him.
"Yeah," Guy said, and reached out to grasp Luke's upper arm gently, balancing him. "Now, just pick up your left foot, and put it in front of you . . ." He showed Luke how to do it first, and then watched as Luke cautiously repeated the action. "That's it, Luke. You're getting it."
It was funny, in a way, how he was helping the kid he'd hated just a few weeks prior -- a kid he maybe still did hate, if he took a moment to himself and thought back on the destruction of Hod. But when Guy looked at the pride in Luke's green eyes, or the innocent smile that tugged on his lips when he realized he was walking, he found that it was hard to think of ruined villages and murdered families -- downright difficult to think of plans of revenge. No, it was much easier to push that aside for the moment, and instead focus on the ten-year-old that was just learning how to walk.
Guy had work to do.