AN:Another TotA fanfic! Yay! While I was watching the end of the game, I couldn't help this really weird feeling that Luke might not be Luke. That feeling inspired this, and even though it's not my real head-cannon, it's interesting enough. I hope you all like it!
Disclaimer:I do not own Tales of the Abyss. Namco does.
"I've been wondering if you're ever going to tell them."
For a long while Luke just stared at Jade in confusion, a single eyebrow raised at the tone the man had chosen to use when he finally chose to greet him after such a long length of silence. Tilting his head to the side, also lowering his voice so that he matched his counterpart's, leaving the others in the Albior without knowledge that said conversation was taking place, it was with a curious smile that he replied.
"I'm not sure what you're getting at Jade," Luke whispered with a shrug, "but I've told you guys everything. What else am I-"
"Luke," Jade cut him off with a snap, his eyes narrowing dangerously behind his glasses. "If that is the name you now wish to live by, there is nothing I can do to stop you, for it is just as much yours as it was his. But at least do the others, do me, the courtesy of explaining which Luke you are so we can deal with the fallout while all of us are still together. At the very least, after everything that's happened between us, even if we aren't your favorite people, you owe us that at the very." Turning away from the red-haired man to look over the other five people and cheagle that shared the cockpit with them, it was with a sigh that he continued, gently shaking his head as his mind jumped between anger for the returned Luke and pity for the friends that were laughing before him. "More than one heart is going to be broken tonight, and all of them will shatter in different ways, so I would much rather be here to pick up the pieces in person, while we're all together, then try to do it through a letter or one at a time. So please Luke, if you would." Gesturing towards the rest of the group, Jade allowed his body to sink back into its chair, certain that now that the man had been called on his bluff, he would reveal himself to the others without much fuss.
"You think I'm Asch," Luke said slowly after a long while in thought, his mind racing with ideas even as his voice showed the confused wonder that was his main emotion.
"I know you are," Jade replied with a nod, his glasses catching the light to hide his eyes. "There is only one way for you to be alive, and that is for the contamination effect to have consumed Luke and used his energy to restore life to you. Otherwise, you would have remained dead, and no one would have come home to us tonight."
"Jade," Luke said quietly, leaning forward so as to block his face from the others, "I am Luke. The Luke that you and the others spent a year and a half traveling across the world with. I'm the one who struck down Master Van, and I'm the one to whom you offered your left hand. Jade, I'm me."
"Oh really," Jade asked with a quirk of his eyebrow, those his tone was slightly less hostile at the mention of the farewell he had given the replica almost two years ago today. At the very least, the man sitting before him had their Luke's memories. "If that is so, then perhaps you wouldn't mind explaining your existence to me?" Although stated as a question, Luke knew that there was to be no escaping this interrogation until the older man was satisfied.
"I'm...I'm not really sure myself, to be honest with you Jade," Luke sighed as he allowed himself to lean back into his chair, his eyes closing as he struggled to find the words he needed. "When Asch died, part of him became part of me. His thoughts, his memories, they became almost like a book I could open and read whenever I wanted to. They were familiar, and it's weird to remember the same event from two different perspectives, but they definitely were Asch's. I think..." Here Luke's logic failed him, forcing him to use stumbling words that that by no means captured what he was truly thinking.
"I think Asch did something, just before we went to go fight Van on Eldrant, to make it so that I wouldn't be absorbed if he died. Something to do with our fon slots, and making them just out of sync enough that he could still contact me, but everything would be one way. I couldn't contact him, but he could talk to me whenever he wanted, could take control of my body, and could even send me things. And I think that's what he did. I think Asch sent me himself just before he died, and that's why the contamination effect never killed me."
"Unfortunately," Jade said after a long pause to allow them to collect their thoughts, "there is not enough research to either confirm or deny everything you just told me. Other than yourselves, the only other perfect isofonic replicas to ever exist were the Star cheagles, and for them, the effect showed itself to be in full effect. Perhaps the ambient energy of Lorelei..." Allowing his words to trail off, it was with a couple of minutes of silent musing that Jade half accepted what the young man had said as truth. Slim as it might be, there was a slight possibility that a reverse contamination effect could have taken place, with the original nourishing the replica for another life. Unlikely as that might be, it was still a possibility that he had to take into account.
"Have I proven to you who I am," Luke asked tiredly, the trip down memory lane with memories that didn't belong to him seeming to drain him of his previous joy at being alive. His frown deepening as Jade shook his head, it was with a steely silence that the young man waited for the older one to continue.
"What was it that Tear said to you before we left Eldrant," Jade asked seriously, the lightness from a moment ago gone from his voice as he leaned forward to be closer to his object of observation. "After she told you to come home, what did she say?"
"She told me she loved me," Luke said after a moment, his cheeks flushing a brilliant red as his eyes darted over to gaze at the melodist, much like they had been doing before Jade had interrupted him. "She told me to come home, that she would be waiting because she loved me."
"And what about yourself," Jade asked even quieter, forcing Luke himself to lean in so that he could make out what the other was saying. "What are your feelings on her, and what do you plan to do about them?" Another test, Luke was sure, for it was obvious what Jade was digging at. Asch had loved Natalia, had loved her since they were children, and there was no chance in Shadow's realm that he would give up an opportunity to be with her. Shrugging, a real smile making its way back onto his face, Luke turned so that he was once again looking at the soldier, his eyes soft as he watched her softly laugh at a comment Natalia had made from besides her.
"I love her Jade," Luke murmured softly, dispelling the last of the other man's doubts with just four words. "I love her, and if she'll have me, I plan on marrying her. Maybe not for two or three years, until after she's come of age and the world has settled down some more, but one day I will."
"And what are your feelings for Natalia," Jade asked out of pure curiosity, his suspicions gone at the noble's declaration of his feelings for the descendant of Yulia. "With your dual memories, what are your feelings for her?"
"I love her too," Luke said with a shrug, as if this admission was much easier than the one before. "I love her just as much as I love Tear, but even if they don't want to admit it to themselves, it's clear that Natalia's moved on and fallen in love with Guy. Eventually, these feelings will fade back into the feelings I've felt for her most of my life, with her as nothing more then an annoying but cherished childhood friend, and things will go right back to normal." Turning to smile at Jade, it was with a strange look in his eyes that the young man asked if his interview was over.
"It would seem that, happily, I've finally been proven wrong," Jade said with a small returning smile of his own, slowly raising himself to his feet so that he could move to a better seat in the Albior. "I'm glad that you're back Luke, and I'm sorry for doubting you." Turning on his heel, Jade quickly inserted himself into the middle of an argument that had sprung up between Anise and Natalia, claiming that he was acting in the interest of defusing the situation while at the same time making it much worse.
Allowing the raised voices to take the focus off of himself for once, Luke fon Fabre's smile slid from his face and was replaced with a deep, uncharacteristic glare as he turned to look out the window.
Not once had he lied to the Necromancer. He was Luke, he was in love with both Tear and Natalia, and he did intend to make the melodist his wife one day. His memories told him that he had been the one to deliver the final blow to Master Van, ending the conflict that had gone on for far too long. He had eight and a half years worth of memories, seven wasted in the manor, a year and a half spent traveling with and becoming friends with the people in the flying machine with him. He was who he had said he was.
He was Luke fon Fabre. But even with all of that said, he wasn't the one they wanted.
Allowing a single longing glance to be sent Natalia's way, it was with a wrench of his heart that he watched her and Guy exchange a seemingly hidden look, their heart seen through their eyes even as they both tried to deny what was there. Although it pained him, he was glad that the princess had fallen for the duke, for not only would he be good for her, able to make her smile in a way he never could, but it also made his own job a whole lot easier. Turning his eyes back to the window, it was with gritted teeth that Luke reburied the memories that were clearest to him beneath the ones that were slowly becoming the ones that he was to live his life by. Forcing the foreign fuzziness to slowly continue to fade from the thoughts that he needed, it wasn't long before Luke turned to smile once again at his friends, just glad to be alive.
Before he had faded out of existence, the replica had forced his original to promise that he would make sure that his friends were well taken care of. And Luke, formerly known as Asch, was more then willing to do anything it took to keep that promise.