AN: Okay, so, just so you all know, this is a super-future fic. Like, this take place about two hundred years or so in the future. So, obviously, it has original characters. There is actually a funny story behind this, but I'll add it at the end. I just wanted to let you all know that the characters aren't game characters, but I hope you read and like it anyways!
Disclaimer: I do not own Tales of the Abyss. Namco does.
"Hey Jason, heads up!"
Ducking to avoid the ball of muck and gunk that his friend had thrown at him, it was the strongest of his glares that Jason turned from the family portrait that he had been observing to look at the three people that stood behind him.
"You do know where we are, right? Show some respect."
"Yes, Jason, we know exactly where we are. The house of the legendary heroes, your Great-great-grandparents, and the reason we are all alive today. We would not be here if it was not, as you are fully aware." It was Christiana, the only girl and Malkuthian of their group, that responded to his furious demand first, her eyes rolling even as she swept her unruly blonde hair from her face, raising an eyebrow as she took in his rigid gaze. "What are you so upset about, anyway?"
"Yah dude, come on, chill. It was just a dust bunny. It won't hurt anything that hasn't already been destroyed." Phil, the thrower of said ball, was the one who spoke up next, his head tilted to the side as he insisted on using the slang that some of the more common citizens of their age had invented, leaving his vocabulary, in Jason's opinion, severely lacking, especially considering his position as both the next in line for the Kimlascan throne and his cousin. In part because he refused to believe that he would make a good king, and in part because he firmly believed that all teenagers had to rebel at one point or another, Prince Philip was the loudest of them all, his quick wits and tongue being put to the sole purpose of being used for his own enjoyment. "I was just playin' around."
"Perhaps," the quiet voice of their final friend said from the shadows, Quinton's glasses catching the light in just the perfect way to hide his eyes, sending shivers down the other's spines as triplet thoughts of just how ghost-like he actually looked crossed their minds, "he is afraid of waking the spirits that tend to haunt these kinds of houses."
Wrinkling his nose, it was with another slight tremble that Jason turned back to the faded painting that hung on the wall, hiding from his friends the fact that the creepiest member of their group was also the one that was most correct with his guess. When he had suggested to his friends that they take a few weeks to travel to the deserted castle at the edge of his family's land, he hadn't truly thought that any of them would have agreed to go, for it would have forced them to leave behind the many comforts that they had all be raised with. So, it had been much to his surprise when the others had jumped on the chance, glad for any to escape the palace and the many responsibilities that came from living there. But even with his friends surrounding him, he still couldn't shake the feeling of emptiness and unwelcome that had pervaded his senses since he had entered his ancestral home.
"How about we head to the attic and see what we can find there? I'm sure that if there are any ghosts here, they're sure not to bother us there." Letting out a slight laugh as he led the way towards the set of stairs that Jason had been doing his best to avoid, it was with a smirk that Quinton nodded at him, his eyes flashing a challenge that he couldn't help but accept. Giving the picture one last look, his eyes just able to make out the slightest hints of familiar red and green that were still the main coloring in his family, it was with a gulp that he turned to follow his friends.
In the end, it wasn't that bad.
When the castle had been built by his great-great-grandfather, it had been created as a gift to his wife, as a place for the two of them to escape when the pressures of the world had become too much for them to bear. Although small in comparison to the palace and manors back home, it was still sizable, giving the group days worth of exploration to cover the entire place. However, after she had died, his great-great-grandfather had abandoned the place, closing it off to all but himself, allowing it to fall into ruin. The family had never had the heart to destroy it, instead allowing it to remain standing until nature itself had pulled it down. Although treacherous from decades of neglect and decay, the building had been well built, created with the best technology of the time, and so was still safe enough to be in. Holes had fallen through the roof, giving them ample light to see by. Each following the close to the other, their hands gliding over the slim cased wall in an attempt to remain as far as possible from the holes that littered the stairs, soon enough, the four found themselves staring into the most cluttered room of the castle.
"Dude, your ancestors had a lot of stuff," Phil said is awe as the teens twisted their heads in a vain attempt to see the walls, their eyes wide as they took in the piles of broken items that littered the grounds and were stacked upon each other. Wooden crates that things had been placed into the room had fallen apart, scattering wood fragments and knick knacks everywhere, leaving few places left untouched by the clutter. Shaking his head as he followed the others onto the small clearing by the stairs, it was with a shrug that Jason continued to educate his friends on his family history.
"This isn't all theirs you know. After his wife died, my great-great-grandfather continued to allow people to use his home as a storage place, even having a special wooden staircase built so that they could reach the attic without disturbing the main halls. Some of the people that used this attic died before they could retrieve their things, while others just forgot that they were even here. Who knows? We might even find some interesting fontech in here."
"Fontech," Christiana asked eagerly, her eyes lighting up at mention of the ancient technology. "I agree with Jason," she said primly, turning to the other two boys with her head held high and her eyes darting about the ruins before her, "we must search this entire room until everything has been discovered. We could even clean up the place a bit, in case Jason one day decides to reclaim the castle for himself." This having been said, it was with an eager smile that she turned to the mess, beginning her search whether the others joined in with her or not.
Sharing confused glances and identical shrugs, it was with triplet smiles that the boys joined into the search.
For the rest of the afternoon, the four teens slowly made their way through the clutter, throwing anything that was to be destroyed later through the holes in the walls and pocketing the knick-knacks that caught their eyes. Laughing at the things that they found, exploring items that had lasted for almost two hundred years, it wasn't until night was about to fall that they made their greatest discovery yet.
"Hey guys, what's this thingy here?"
Turning as Phil's words echoed through the cavern, it was with similar feelings of curiosity that the other three followed his voice, weaving their way through the half cleared maze to find him in a tucked away corner. All around him were riffled through crates, their contents scattered on the ground around him in piles. As they approached, their own eyes immediately settled upon the things that most interested them, almost pulling them from the group to continue their exploration on their own. However, seeing the item that Phil held within his hands, it was finally with great measures of control that they knelt next to him to examine the strange thing that their friend had found.
"It's a wedding topper," Christiana finally said in awe after a few moments of silence, her nimble fingers reaching out to pluck the antique from Phil's hands, holding it up in the failing light in a vain attempt to get a better look at it. "It's an old one too, perhaps even from before the castle was built. Who's do to you think it is?"
"It could very well quite possibly be anyone," Quinton pointed out with a shrug, his fingers playing with the edge of his glasses as he spoke. "With everything that's in here, who knows how many generations have put aside items for later, only to never return for them. For all we know, that could have been the topper of a poor, poor bride who never lived to see her wedding, and whose spirit even now continues to haunt this very house. But, if I had to guess, I would say that it probably belonged to your great-great-grandparents Jason, the very ones that are probably still watching us today."
Jumping as Quinton's words were punctuated by a groan as a gust of wind shifted the wood around them, it was with quick words of agreement that the others swiftly decided to leave for the camp they had set up about half a mile away, pointing out with nervous tongues that it would be dark soon, and didn't they have to get an early start in the morning anyway, so that they could begin the journey home? Nodding and trying to hide the fear that had suddenly sprung up within them, it was only minutes before the group had reached the main halls, the double doors swinging eerily on their squeaky hinges. Tightening his clenched fists, it was with a slight jolt of surprise that Jason found himself clutching the topper, the item somehow having made its way into his hands in their mad scramble to exit the suddenly creepy ruins. Turning so that he could place it on the nearest table, for one moment, his panic feld, prompting him to hold the decoration up to the failing light that was beaming in through one of the last panes of glass that remained, his voice an almost whisper as he read the words that were suddenly seeable.
"To those that kept their promise..."
Shrugging, it was with the greatest care that Jason placed the topper on the table that had been placed before the faded painting he had been studying earlier, its existence forgotten from his mind until then. Glancing once more at the picture that had retained his ancestor's images for so long, it was with a slight smile that he finally made out the blue eyes that occasionally popped up in his family line, such as in the youngest of his sisters. Twisting the topper slightly so that the little figures matched up to their painting counterparts, the green-eyed male on the left and the brunette woman on the right, their overjoyed smiles somehow still preserved on the fragile painted clay, it was with one last look that Jason fon Fabre, one of the last living descendants of Yulia Jue, raced from the home his great-great-grandfather Luke had built for his wife Tear, and the memories that still inhabited it.
Even if he had held a secret desire to live in the crumbling castle surrounded by selenias, the young Duke knew that it would never be his: it would always be theirs.
AN: Okay, so here's the funny story I mentioned earlier: while browsing DeviantArt, I found a comic called 'The Eternal Debate,' which was created by Cat-Alin. Now, with some pictures, I like to look at the comments, and while reading them, I found one posted by Joaleana that mentioned how she hoped one of the future games would have the wedding topper that I described with the words I wrote on it to tell who it was that came home. This was way too cute to ignore, so, after asking her permission to use the image she gave me, I wrote this. I hope you all liked it as much as I enjoyed creating it! :)