AN: A quick one shot about Luke and his name. I hope you all like it! :)
Disclaimer: I do not own Tales of the Abyss. Namco does.
Some nights, when the fire was low and it was his turn for the longest night watch, Luke couldn't help but hate his name.
It was a good name, he would give it that. When said out loud, it easily rolled off the tongue, leaving an aftertaste of power and authority behind it that fitted the son of a duke. It was a fanciful name, one that, perhaps, had it been worn properly by another, by its original owner, it could have easily gone down in history as a famous and well-respected ruler, someone who had done right by his country in the best of ways possible. Had it been anyone other than him, he couldn't help but think as the glow of the coals he was suppose to be minding grew a bit dimmer, that had worn the name of Luke fon Fabre, it would have been a name they could have been proud of.
For him, it was nothing more than a death sentence and badge of failure.
Of course, now that the others had let some of their hatred for him fade, they would have been quick to point out that the Score had been the one to curse his name, and that even if it had been Asch who had borne the burden of the destiny that had been written out for him, almost nothing would have changed. Akzeriuth would have still been destroyed either way, only Asch would have most likely died with it, leaving the world to its fate of total destruction. Even if it had been someone else who had been named Luke, most likely, based off of everything they now knew, Akzeriuth and its people were destined to fall either way.
But even those kind words now from the ones who he was the closest to couldn't change the fact that, months ago, they had been right to blame him for the ten thousand murders that still continued to haunt him.
Very few of the faces he saw in the fire or his dreams were angry, for, at least in his own mind, most of them had accepted that, according to the Score, it had been their time to die. They were upset that their ends had been such violent ones, without even the slightest chance to say their goodbyes or put their affairs in order, but it was more the world that had allowed their destruction that their hatred was directed at, not necessarily him. They understood that he had been as much of a pawn as they had been, had been used, abused, and thrown away without another thought, just like they had been, and because his intentions had been for the best, if a bit selfish, for the most part, they could forgive him.
It was the others, the ones that couldn't wait for him to die and join them, just so that they could take their revenge, that awoke him in the middle of the night and left him shivering in terror until dawn.
Out of all of them, Mieu was the only other one who knew about his plight, and the small cheagle had been sworn to secrecy the very first night he had found his master awake, his forced promise to keep Luke's nightmares from the others born a burden and a blessing. Were the others to find out, Luke was sure it would just be a repeat of the kindness they had been showing since the incident and his subsequent change: he was trying to atone for his mistakes, he was doing his best every day to become a better man, and there wasn't a single person in the world who could now find fault with him. He was becoming the best of the best, and no one could ask anything more of him. Besides the words, Luke knew that, in their own way, each of his friends would do their best to help him get over what they believed to be a simple inferiority complex. Guy would offer to spar each night, so that they would both be too tired for dreams, Tear would offer a song to put him into a sleep too deep for them, Anise and Natalia would fight over who would make a stew that was delicious enough to drive such thoughts from his mind, and Jade would scare him badly enough that he would never want to sleep again, thus nullifying the nightmares completely.
With one of the false smiles he had become so great at giving these past few weeks, their efforts would be gratefully accepted until he could claim that the nightmares were no more, and then things would go right back to how they had been before. Only this time, the circles under his eyes would receive pitying stares instead of confused glances, the former of which was much harder to brush off then the later.
It was better then, he had decided, to weather the storm of nightmares almost completely by himself, the small, warm, fuzzy blue body that was already containing too many of his secrets for him his only support as he struggled to find a way to appease those that waited for him on the other side.
Some he had calmed with his efforts to destroy the Score, for anything that demanded the destruction of an entire town and its citizens for a false peace didn't deserve to have the people's ears. Others had come to approve of the sacrifice he had made to disperse the miasma, for in doing so, he had protected the family and friends that had outlived them, escaping the destruction of their home by traveling to other cities just weeks before for business or pleasure. A few, seeing how determined he was to spend the rest of his days atoning for his sins, had decided that what the others had told him was true, that by doing the best he could each and every day, by never forgetting them, he would eventually earn their forgiveness, which was all he could ever want.
But as each twisted face that despised him disappeared from the group that hounded him night after night, the ones that remained only doubled their efforts to make him pay.
Eventually, though neither he nor Mieu had said anything, the others began to catch on, though whether or not they had figured out the exact reason for his distress was never known to the replica. Meals, which had once been simple fares so as to save their precious gald, soon became more elaborate and filling, with each night's cook demanding that they all stuff themselves, though their eyes always found his when they spoke. Instead of the usual quiet or insignificant chatter that had become their norm, the others began asking Tear for a song or two as they prepared to sleep, something joyful or soothing to help smooth the passage into their dreams. He was given the easier watches, either the first or the last when before it had been the third or fourth, when others were sure to be with him, either awake due to a lack of fatigue or just their natural tendency to rise early. During battles, he was often asked to stay closer to Tear and Natalia, so as to better protect them should an enemy break through the front lines, and between each fight he was kept towards the center of the group, happily surrounded by cheerful friends that he could tell were acting almost too strange to not be normal. Through these efforts, which he knew he could neither fully accept nor deny without risking questions that he had no stomach for, his nightmare did soon begin to fade, though the times they were appeared were no less terrifying.
But even with these efforts, even as the nightmares faded from appearing every night to only once or twice a week, Luke knew that it would be futile to try to fully rid himself of them. Out of everything else, it was the nightmares that made him hate his name the most, for if he had had any other name, he knew they never would have been quite as nerve-wracking as they actually were. For every night, as the spirits that hated him visited him again and again, they were quick to remind him of his greatest weakness, the fatal flaw that had been the reason for their downfall.
Every night, the ghosts of the ones that he had killed reminded him that his name meant 'Light of the Sacred Flames,' and combined with the images of the people he had failed and the friends, the ones he traveled daily with, the ones he had come to love as family more then anything else, dead by his hands due to some future mistake, they reminded him that fire was only destined to burn.