AN: Seriously, these two have so much stuff going on between them that they really just need to kiss and be done with it. As far as I'm concerned, they're both idiots for letting everything happening without telling each other how they really felt. Anyway, hope you all like it!

Diclaimer: I do not own Tales of the Abyss. Namco does.

"You need to be more careful Luke," Tear would harshly scold him as she healed his wounds, her face twisted into a mask of annoyance and anger as the others stripped the corpses from their latest battle of money and supplies. "You could have been seriously hurt, pulling a move like that."

"I know, I know, I'm sorry," Luke would reply, his voice a mixture of annoyance and repentance, both upset over and cowed by her sudden attitude towards him. "I will be, in the future."

Of course, to Luke, her words would be just that, only words that they all knew he would forget in the heat of the next fight they found themselves in, bits of disturbed air that had gone in one ear and right out the other. However, the others could see behind the cold soldier's mask the girl wore around her like a cloak, and so could read the meaning of the words that she refused to say but always meant: You scared me. I thought I had lost you.

"Damn, you can be cold, can't you?" Luke's words would be said in a joking manner, perfectly timed to hit a nerve that he knew would bug her, but still he would say them, just to get a reaction.

Said reaction would vary from time to time that he picked at her, sometimes going, within the same day, from completing ignoring his jabs to an over the top argument that would only end with hurt feelings on both sides. Eventually, they would get over the former and apologize for the later, but with all the levels in between the two extremes, it was always a show to see which way Tear would swing.

Of course, to Tear, the petty blow would be nothing more then that, nothing more then an attempt to gain a rise out of her that she tried to ignore but occasionally rose to. There was no other meaning behind it then to annoy and bug her, and eventually, she would find a way to ignore him. But to the others, there was a reason behind Luke's behavior, a meaning that was so painfully clear that it was only natural that Tear would miss it. Even if she hadn't been dense, she wouldn't have seen it, for she was too far wrapped up in it the middle of Luke's reason. In a way, it would be fair to say that she was his reason, for to them, it was clear as day: Please don't lock me out again. I just want to be close to you.

"Luke..." she would whisper quietly in the night, her voice failing her just as she was about to reveal her heart.

"Tear..." he would respond with a similar tone, his body closing a couple more of the inches that stood between them, though each one was larger than the oceans their travels forced them to transverse each day.

Although both of them would quickly change the subject, coughing and blushing and claiming some ridiculous event or idea as the reason they had called for the other, it was clear to the rest of the world, and at those few, rare moment, to the two of them too, that they were both hiding something. For them, it would be the quick change of subject, but beyond a passing flash of wonder and confusion, they would accept the other's decision to move on, pushing the abrupt turn of the conversation from their mind and playing along.

But to everyone else in the world, especially the ones who had spent more than a year traveling with them, it was the way they had said the others' name and what they didn't say that would speak the loudest. It would be the smallest of twists as they turned to face each other, their faces slightly closer than many would consider proper, but not so close as to allow someone to intervene. It would be the silence that filled the space around them when both found that their tongues had fallen mute, and the disappointed dissipation of said silence when one found the ability to speak again. It would be in the way their eyes met and held for the briefest of moments, and the blush that followed after.

In everything they did, said, and kept silent about, the subtext, to everyone but them, was obvious. For them, everything had a message that the world could read, but that the other always missed, no matter how clear it was. It was always the same, simple phrase, but one that neither of them had the strength to say in plain words. So, they left it up to everything else to say it for them, to say those three little words, that one little phrase, that would change their worlds forever. Their subtext always said I love you.