AN: This was written for the '100-Theme Challenge' posted by the group Flames-and-Asches. My theme was 'Family.' It was going to be longer, but this is just how it turned out. I hope you all like it!

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


For a long while, silence reigned between the two red-haired young men, their mirror green eyes glaring at each other from a distance of several yards apart. If anyone was to have seen them now, fear would have sent shivers down their back as they fought to scurry out of range of their glares, sure in the knowledge that soon, one of the two would be dead.

It was a shame, really, for to anyone out of the know, it would be a battle of brother against brother, twins fighting with blades a battle that could have been much easier won with words.

It was Luke, the younger of the two, that made the first of the many moves that would eventually make up their twisted tango, his sword rising above his head for a powerful swing that, if it hit, could slice into his opponent, leaving him the uncontested victor. However, as if it was nothing more then the next step in a dance, the next line in a familiar song, Asch, the elder of the two young men, simply stepped to the side, his solemn face lightening into a demeaning smirk as he did so. Twisting his own blade to pierce the other's side, it was with a ringing laugh that Luke caught the weapon on the edge of his own, sending sparks flying as he twirled to once again face his twin.

From there, it was anyone's game.

Luke was smaller, lighter, faster then Asch, his sword a hummingbird of pecks and stabs that only just barely made their mark, leaving hundreds of small cuts across the other's back and chest as he dodged the worst of it. Asch, using his age and greater experience to his advantage, was slower, but with more powerful blows, a snake snapping for the bird that irritated it, snarling as the greater portion of its strikes missed but crooning in delight when one or two hit, leaving deep, if short, wounds in its wake. It was a vicious battle, one more than worthy of the legends it might have one day inspired, had there been anyone brave enough to have recorded the details for posterity. It was a terrible sight to behold, and one that would have ingrained itself into others minds for the rest of eternity, but for the fact that, within just a few minutes, it was all over.

For neither young man could keep the smile off his face, nor could they continue through the laughter that racked their bodies as they collapsed onto the padded gym floor.

Within moments, healers had scrambled to the boy's sides, tittering and trilling as they examined the marks the two had brought out on each other's skins with the supposedly 'dull' practice blades, amazed at the sudden shift in atmosphere between them. When they had thundered into the practice ring, their eyes burning and lusting for revenge, it had been clear that some otherworldly force was driving them, pushing them closer and closer to that line that both had been teetering on for so long, the line between both of them living in harmony or killing one another in their sleep, an act they both sometimes wished they had done long ago, when they had inhabited the same womb. Now, however, whatever being that had been driving them had been paid in the blood that was still seeping from their scrapes and cuts, and peace reigned once more.

"Hey Luke," Asch called to his younger brother as he allowed a nurse to attend to the bleeding cut on his neck, his eyes rolling as he blocked out the sound of her worrying, "after we're done here do you want to pick up the others and go see a movie?"

"Sure," Luke replied with a wince as the woman before him poured some antiseptic over his arm. "But we are so dead when we get home and Mom sees what we did to each other."

"If she sees what we did to each other," Asch pointed out with a brilliant smile, the gears in his mind turning as he came up with the perfect plan.

"If is good," Luke agreed, his own smile growing to match his twin's. "If is very good."

Brushing off the helping hands that had been offered to them, the two young men, arms draped over the other's shoulder in a show of companionship, happily walked from the gym together, their voices low as they tried to find the perfect way to avoid their mother.

They might occasionally be enemies, but above all else, they were family first.