flightstone: (Default)
Cherry ([personal profile] flightstone) wrote2013-02-06 04:58 pm

[Fanfiction] Strategy Game (Incomplete)

Title: Strategy Game
Fandom: Tales of the Abyss (AU)
Characters/Pairing: Asch + Luke
Rating: G
Description: Neither of them could sleep, so Luke attempts to pry Asch away from his paperwork long enough to have a talk. And a game.

Note: I just used the Roman alphabet. Please imagine they are meant to appear as the corresponding letters of the Fonic alphabet.


"What do you want?"

The night air leapt into the room like a physical presence. Asch imagined the fonons in the room immediately transforming into ice shards and embedding themselves in the carpet. Luke stood on the other side of the window, arms wrapped tightly around himself, teeth chattering.

"C-couldn't sleep."

Was he kidding? It was that quiet time between midnight and dawn. Everyone should have been sound asleep - Luke had retreated to his own quarters ages ago, not long after dinner. It was during these hours that Asch found it easiest to concentrate on his work, because the chance of him being interrupted diminished greatly. And yet here he was. An interruption.

"That isn't my problem," Asch replied.

Luke let out an annoyed huff, and a cloud of steam with it. Just leave it to Asch to be obstinate even when he was freezing his butt off. "Maybe not, but your light was on, so I knew you were awake! The knights have all the doors locked. Just let me in, okay? It's really cold out here."

"If you'd stayed put, you wouldn't have to worry about any of that."

"Yeah, but I still wouldn't have been able to sleep! Not since..." Luke's voice trailed off. After a minute, he set his jaw and fixed Asch with a pleading look. For all he knew Asch was having an even more difficult time adjusting than he was, the face looking out at him was impassive and closed off. Asch watched him, saying nothing.

Luke stood there for about a minute, waiting, before another gust cut right through his jacket. Maybe Asch was right. Maybe he shouldn't have come out here at all, but he sure wasn't going to march himself back to his room now. That'd be the same as giving up.

"So, can I come in?"

Before the last word had left his mouth, the window was already slamming shut. Luke just managed to push back on the pane in time to prevent the latch catching and squashing his fingers.

"Hey, what the hell!? Come on, Asch!" Swinging it back, Luke glared inside, only to find the other redhead retreating to his desk. Choosing to take this as a concession rather than a dismissal, Luke hauled himself over the side and closed the window behind him.

It was one of the larger guestrooms. Looking around, Luke recognized the wardrobe as one of his favorite childhood hiding places. Everything else was tidy and boring. There were few signs the room was even being lived in. Even the bed was done up neatly and heaped with pillows. He wondered briefly if Asch had intentionally straightened things, or if he simply hadn't touched them to begin with.

Luke walked over to where Asch was sitting, already busying himself with paperwork. Probably so he wouldn't have to talk to him. Well, that wasn't going to work.

As if to root himself to the spot, Luke set a hand down on the desk top. "Hey, don't tell me all those documents are so important you can't take the time to sleep."

Asch turned one eye towards the offender, then returned to what he was doing.

Luke frowned, "Would it kill you to at least take a break?"

Asch outwardly ignored him, but Luke continued undeterred, "Look, I can't sleep and you're not sleeping. How about a game or something?" He gestured vaguely to the side table, knowing better than to suggest they actually sit and have a conversation.

Asch snorted. "A game."

So he was listening after all. Heartened, Luke glanced from Asch back to the table setup. "Isn't that what that thing is? With all the land dreadnoughts?"

"If that's what you're going to call it."

"Then show me how it works."

"What for?"

"Because..." Luke trailed off, "Because if you don't I'm not going to move from this spot!"

"That's childish, don't you think?" Asch had finally swivelled to face him.

"You should be used to it, since you're always reminding me what a kid I am," Luke retorted. "Come on, one round and then I'll leave you alone."

It was true that Asch hadn't slept a wink. Nor had he tried to. In fact, he hadn't gotten up from the desk in the past five hours - not until Luke showed up at least. Maybe it was time for a break, as little as he liked to admit it. Besides, ten or twenty minutes and Luke would likely give up and go back to his room. He couldn't imagine him actually wanting to stay here.

Sighing, Asch rose to his feet and stalked towards the table. "Only one round. Hurry up."

Luke fought back a grin and followed Asch over to the table where two metal cases sat back-to-back, each one housing a pair of grids, a compartment full of small wooden markers, and a set of gleaming model landships of various shapes and sizes. Luke didn't know the names for all of them, but a couple of the pieces looked like the same type of ship as the Tartarus. Or close enough.

"So, what first?" Luke asked, taking a seat.

Asch fixed him with a skeptical look, "You've really never played before?"

"I wouldn't have asked if I already knew how to." Luke's response was met with a dismissive wave.

"Fine. 'Landship' is strategic in nature. The entire board is a map. The object of the game is to accurately guess the coordinates of your enemy's vessels so you can destroy their fleet."

Asch began rearranging the pieces on his board, and Luke, nodding at the explanation, followed suit, scattering ships across the playing field and hoping there wasn't some important rule Asch was conveniently forgetting to mention.

"Wait a minute. How am I supposed to do that if I can't see where your ships are?"

"That's the point."

"But if this were a real battle, couldn't I just look out of a porthole and tell my men to shoot at you? Or better yet, scout the area in the Albiore and--"

"This isn't real life, it's a game." Asch answered. "You can't see my fleet. It would be the same as giving orders from the throne room."

"...Oh. Still seems kind of stupid if you ask me." Luke commented, picking up one of the models to get a better look at it.

"Did you want to play this or not?"

"I did--I mean, I do!" insisted Luke, setting the piece back down on the playing field. "Why don't you go first?"

"F-16."

"What?"

"F-16." Asch repeated impatiently. "You put a mark on the matching space - on the field with the models. The other map is the one you use to predict where my fleet's located."

"Oh, right! Well, you missed anyway. How about... A-5?"

"Miss. C-15."

Luke hesitated. "Err...do I tell you if you got one of my ships?"

"You say 'hit'. Don't tell me anything else. Until your ship is completely full of marks, it's still operational."

"Makes sense. Hit, then." Fetching another marker, Luke placed it on his unlucky ship. It'd only been two turns and already Asch was ahead of him. But as the game wore on, despite how much he tried, Luke found his attention on the game slipping and could no longer tell which one of them was in the lead. It didn't help that half of Asch's responses were muttered under his breath. Typical. Luke cast a glance at his original who had his chin propped up on the back of one palm - focused or bored, though Luke suspected the latter.

"Hey, Asch?" he asked, returning his attention to the ships.

"What is it now?"

Luke continued to stare at the pieces in front of them. "How have you been?"

Asch frowned, studying his own board. "What do you mean?"

"With moving back in with Mother and Father and everything. You live here, but you're never really around."

"Usually I'm not. I'm at the castle. You know that."

"I know, but..."

"Does this have something to do with you showing up and saying you couldn't sleep?"

"No!" Luke's head shot up, and too late he realized Asch was staring at him, expecting some kind of reaction, "Not really. ...Maybe a little. I mean, I didn't lie when I said I couldn't sleep, but maybe there was another reason for me standing around outside the window."

"Besides being an idiot?"

Luke rolled his eyes, "Maybe I wanted to talk to you."

"Why?"

"Why not?"

After a moment Asch repeated, "Why?"

"Do I really need a reason after all we've been through?" Luke sighed. "Asch, we both belong here! Even if you don't think we do. Isn't that enough?"

"So that's what you came here to talk about? Why you and I belong here?"

"No!" Luke inwardly groaned. "And that's a real 'no'. ...You're really bad at this aren't you?"

Asch grunted.

"It doesn't have to be anything big. Just stuff. Whatever comes to mind. That's what family's supposed to do. They spend time with each other and talk to each other."

"Depends on who you ask."

"Which is all the more reason for us to!"

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