AN: Although I love Tales of the Abyss (literally just logged my 300th hour playing the game today), there are two scenes that seriously piss me off: when everyone looks down on Luke after he freaks out after killing his first human, and after everyone gets all mad at him after he accidently destroys Akzeriuth. However, after thinking about it a bit more, I came to the comclusion that everyone was so annoyed with him about the former because they had already experienced their first kills. It's that line of thinking that led to this. I hope you all like it!

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

Jade's first was when he was five.

It had been a small, barely grown bird, an unlucky monster that had been blown into his family's garden by a westerly wind that was stronger than usual during that time in Keterburg. He had been playing in the yard, his family's high walls blocking off the outside world, allowing him to roam unattended while his mother cooked dinner. Using a stick, he had carefully flipped the bird over, exposing its soft stomach and revealing its twisted wing, the bone obviously broken by the horrid sounds the creature had been making. Naphrey, barely more than a toddler at the time, had hurried to get their parents, claiming that their father would know what to do to save it.

He had had other plans.

When his sister and parents had returned a minute later, there was no sign of a bird. The only thing that was there was Jade, a bloody stick, and a burning pile of feathers that, if one listened closely, was still squeaking.

As his sister started screaming, tears running down her face as their parents attention was divided between making sure the fire didn't spread to the rest of the house and asking him whether the blood was his, Jade had just pushed his already thick glasses closer to his face and smiled.

Guy's first was when he was eleven.

At his own request, Pere had come up with one excuse or another and had gotten permission from Lady Fabre to take him out of town, away from his duties as Luke's minder for an hour or two to help the aging gardener collect some plants he was sure would be lovely come spring. Her attention divided between her infant-like son and some problem with the maids, she had, not unkindly, waved the two of them off, just reminding Pere that the two of them had to return before dark, lest they get cut off from the upper levels of Batical for the night.

Guy, who by that time could have no more harmed the Lady then he could have his own mother, won over by her constant kindness, had thanked her in that charming way of his and had set off at a run.

Although he had left the manor many times during the time he had been working there, running errands for one nobel or another, it had been years since he had left the city, preferring to stay close to his targets so that, should the opportunity ever arise, he could exact his revenge for the death of his family. However, with the day already promising to be slow, he had decided to take advantage of the situation and find a way to stretch his legs and remind himself of who he really was. With Pere by his side, neither of them having to watch their every word lest it give them away, it wasn't hard to remember his lineage.

It happened as the sun was beginning to sink into the ocean, sending them hurrying back to town and their enemy's home.

A group of men, dressed in rags that did not match the expensive swords that hung from their waists, had stopped them at the entrance to the city, demanding what they claimed was a new entrance fee that had been enacted that very day while they were gone. Without waiting to question their intent, Pere, with Guy quickly following, had drawn his sword and attacked.

Although his every move had been defensive, allowing Pere to take care of the actual killing, one of the men had managed to slip past his guard, his sloppy swordwork somehow managing to find an unlucky weakness in Guy's defense that had allowed his opponent's sword to nick his side. Gasping in shock as a wave of physical pain unlike any he had ever felt raced through him, without thinking, Guy had pulled the knife from his belt and thrust it into the man's neck.

His arms wrapped around the man's shoulder, he had just stood there, the man's blood soaking into his shirt, and watched as he bled out through the hole Guy had put there.

It wasn't until an hour later, after telling their stories to the guards, a pair of travelers that had come upon them vouching for their tales, that he and Pere found themselves back in the manor, standing before the Lady as she fussed over their every scrape and scratch, her hands fluttering as she tried to do everything that they needed at once without actually doing anything. Luke, knowing in that childish way of his that something was wrong, but not understanding it, had just wrapped his arms around Guy's waist and hugged him.

His face still wet with tears as he returned his charge's hug, for the first time, Guy couldn't help but wonder if he really could, when his chance finally came, hurt the little boy that stood in his arms.

Tear's was when she was thirteen.

It had been an accident, nothing more and nothing less. An unfortunate series of events that just so happened to line up to end in a loss of life. The trainee that had died was dead because of his own faults, and while his death was tragic, it was something that, in the end, would turn out for the best. It was nothing to waste time or tears over, so the best thing she could do was move on.

That was what Lagretta had told her. Tear wasn't so sure she was right.

Biting her lip to keep the tears from falling, Tear bowed her head as she passed the broken section of railing that was tied off with a rope, flimsy protection against the danger that awaited two steps too far over. Rushing down the hall, refusing to meet anyone's gaze, knowing that it would either be accusing or filled with pity, Tear quickly reached her home, the shaking of her hands only stopping when the reassuring click of the lock reached her ears.

Lagretta had been right that it was the trainee's own fault that he had died, for he had been the one to attack her, not the other way around, but the fact still remained that her initial reaction, to push away the grasping hands and kick out to put space between her and her jealous peer, was the reason he was dead.

Leaning her head against the door, the taste of blood filling her mouth as she bit through her lip, a whimper tore itself from her throat as, for the first time since she had taken up her training as a soldier, Tear allowed herself to cry.

Natalia's was when she was when she was fifteen.

An arrow through the eye.

Swallowing thickly, Natalia forced a smile as she made her way through the camp, waving and congratulating her men on their latest victory in the border skirmishes that had been happening recently between Kimlasca and Malkuth. Lending her healing artes to the easier of the wounds to heal, she clasped the hands of any and all who wanted her touch, bestowing her royal blessing to those who gave their lives to serve her.

An arrow through the eye.

When the crowds that had surrounded her finally dissolved, some to the meal hall, others back to the infirmary to rest, Natalia took advantage of the momentary respite and went to the tent that had been set up for her at the edge of camp, as far from the border as they could get her. Asking for a moment alone from her escort, Natalia forced a deep breath into her clenched lungs, forcing her chest to expand with cleansing air that, hopefully, would heal her.

She promptly threw up into the chamber pot that had been set up in the corner of her room, gagging as wave after wave of bile burned her throat as the memory floated before her eyes.

Her caravan had been attacked by a group of bandits, a group of seven poor, unfortunate souls that had chosen them as an easy target, only to find that the unmarked guards were in fact Kimlasca's finest. Unwilling to sit by and let her men risk themselves for herself, Natalia had strung her bow, grabbed an arrow, and shot it into the fray, hoping against hope that she hit someone who was not one of her own.

She had hit the bandit's leader. In the eye. With her arrow. Killing him instantly.

Spitting one more time, Natalia unplugged her waterskin and drew a mouthful from it, the warm, leathery taste an improvement over the acid that had lain on her tongue. Tilting it back again, she drained the skin before pulling a handkerchief from her pocket, wiping the remains of her last meal from her lips before pushing herself upwards, her back automatically straightening as she pushed the image from her mind. Breathing in a shaky breath, she crumpled the soiled fabric into a ball before stuffing it into her pocket, determined to keep her weakness hidden for as long as possible. Walking back to the entrance to her tent, Natalia smiled cheerfully at her escort as they led her to the archery range.

She might have killed a man, but her duty to her people came before anything else.

Anise's first was when she was twelve.

She had just been appointed a Fon Master Guardian, one of the most elite Oracle Knights that one could be. Higher than the God-Generals, higher than the Maestros, she answered to no one but Fon Master Ion herself.

It was exeralliterating, but terrifying at the exact same time.

At Dist's suggestion, she had traveled to the outskirts of Daath to test out the newest of Tokunaga's features that he had just added, a 'gift' from him to her, his only acquaintance in the Headquarters that actually seemed to like him, to celebrate her rise in power. Agreeing with the older, semi-strange man, she had eagerly set off, her thumb running over the small metal spikes that stuck out from her dolls' hands and feet, curved inwards towards the paw so that they would serve a variety of uses, from picking up and throwing things to scratching the enemy, all of which she was sure would come in handy in the times to come that she was guarding Ion.

She had just reached the forest when a growl rang throughout the air, sending tremors down her spine as she enlarged Tokunaga, clambering onto his back so that she could see the approaching enemy through the gaps between the trees. Snarling out a curse, she had lept into battle, her doll already swinging his newly clawed arms even as a fonic arte formed on her lips, sending a blade of darkness ripping through the monster that had tried to sneak up on her before it could even move, shattering its spine just moments before the spikes sunk into its flesh, easily finishing off the wolf that had dared try to challenge the newest of the Guardians. A flood of excitement rushing through her, Anise had jumped to the ground from Tokunaga's back, her smiling widening even more at the prospect of getting to see the dangerous creature she had just destroyed without a single thought.

The smile froze on her face even as bile rose within her throat, a reaction to the picture that was now cruelly spread before her, an all important piece to her puzzle that she had been missing falling into place now that she could look it in the eyes and watch it die.

it was a child, one no older then she was herself, though obviously it was the son of one of the citizens, one who had remained a civilian instead of choosing to enter the Order when he came of age. His body had laid twisted in the shadow of the dog, a mangy old mutt that she could now see would have posed her no harm even if it had been out for her. Whether his final expression had been one of rage or confusion, she would never know, for part of his face had been torn away by one of Tokunaga's claws, a shredded piece of flesh that even in his shrunken state had hung from the spike, almost taunting her as it waved slowly back and forward in time with her movements. Her entire body shaking, Anise had done the only thing she could have, had run racing from the forest as fast as she could to the only person who could ever make it all better.

Mohs had been quick in the clean up, and even after a young mother came to him, begging for help in finding her lost child, he had remained calm as he promised her assistance that he knew would be useless to offer.

Although Mohs had been quick to promise her that it was okay, that there had truly been no harm done, for, according to the Score, it had been his time to go, the deep sense of guilt, one that she had just continued to dig deeper and deeper with each day she reported to Mohs about Ions' movements and ideals, never seemed to go away.

Nor would it ever.

Van's first had been when he was three.

And his people had never let him forget it.

It had been during one of his tests, one of the many experiments that his fate, the one that had been written for him in the Score, had declared he was to be put through, that the machines began to malfunction, going into overload even as he tore at the wires that connected him to it. Screaming for help as one wrapped itself around his wrist, cutting into his skin as he struggled to get free of the imminent explosion he knew, just knew, was going to happen, it had been with eyes wide with disbelief that he watched the men his father had turned him over to that morning race from the room, yelling order after order for protocols he never could have understood. Begging, pleading, for help as his struggles drew blood to the surface of his skin under the copper wire, his words fell on deaf ears, for a moment later, the three-inch thick steel doors slid closed before him, leaving him to face his death alone.

"Damn you kid, but I can't just let you die like this."

Watching with a different kind of amazement as the man untwisted the wire from around his wrist and lifted him into his arms, a feeling of safety settled over Van as the masked scientists ran towards the door, his fist already reaching out to pound on the metal that separated them from safety. Raising his voice to be heard over the high pitched scream of steam forcing itself from one of the pipes, he called for them to open the door, quickly turning frantic as his calls went unanswered. Twisting as a piece of metal flew through the air, the man turned his body so he was twisted around Van, the child pressed close to his chest as a stream of curses fell from his lips.

"Damn it kid, if I die because of you, I'm gonn-"

His words dissolved into screams as the machine exploded, and the world turned to white.

It was hours later that they shifted the rubble enough to find him, still clenched in the grip of his unwilling savior. He was burned, he was scratched and scraped, he was almost dead from exposure, but he was alive. The other man wasn't.

That scientists was the first on the long list of people who had died because of him, and out of them all, he was the one Van regretted the most.

When Luke's first came around, it had been with almost scathing acceptance that they told him to stay back, to hang up his sword when it became clear that he wouldn't be strong enough to fight, to kill, when the time came. It had been with a slight shock of surprise that he refused their proposal, instead gritting his teeth and mourning in silence when his blade was dyed red with more human life. He had finally learned that to kill was to live, and for them, that was enough.

But in the deepest parts of their hearts, all of them could remember their first kills, for it had been at those exact moments that they had taken the first of the steps that would lead them to becoming the seemingly cold-blooded killers the world needed them to be.