[@Asch][AU] Black Dreams

isofonherder:

They cry together, for a while, until Luke slumps into him in sleep and he’s run out of tears. It’s still a while until the shakes quit; he just keeps his arms around his replica, listening to the gentle breathing of sleep. It helps.

Eventually he starts getting drowsy himself, so rather than sleep there in the back of the wagon, he manages to extract himself from the blanket enough to pull away, and - with a lot of effort - lift Luke over to the makeshift bed in the center of the wagon. Then he retrieves the blanket and snuggles down beside him.

The drawers rattle. The wagon jumps at a particularly bad bump. He curls closer to his replica, thinking of the darkness and of lights put out, and finally falls asleep.

Luke awoke late into the morning the next day when it was far too hot to be comfortable under a thick quilt and snuggled up next to someone else. He stubbornly kicked the sheets off of him before sitting up, seeing that he was still in the back of the wagon he had been put in last night. The boy who looked just like him was curled up on the bed next to him. When he saw him, lying there, he flashed back to the manor where everyone around him lay motionless. He jerked forwards and shook him vigorously, fearing for the absolute worst that this boy now too was motionless.

His fears were groundless as the other boy awoke, and Luke gave a very heavy sigh of relief that he was okay and moving. He made small vocalizations, before the back of the wagon opened up and there were people that he didn’t recognize. The heat only seemed to intensify after that. “They’re finally awake!” a young woman called out.

“Get them some food and water, we don’t want them dehydrating out here in the desert.” a man grunted as he turned and walked away.

(Source: replicatedviscount)

3 hours ago · 16 notes · Reblog
#isofonherder #au 

[@Asch][AU] Black Dreams

isofonherder:

Luke’s attempts to comfort him only make it hurt more - there’s a brief stop at the little kiss on his forehead, but then he can only bawl harder, squeezing tight into Luke’s shoulder.

He should stop crying, he thinks, but he can’t. There’s too much. Luke trying to help is too much, the simple act of one person trying to comfort him overwhelming. He rocks a little and his sobs abate into silence, but the tears don’t stop. They just soak into Luke’s shirt and the quilt wrapped around them.

No, no, no that didn’t work, that didn’t work! Luke was left speechless as he had completely run out of options to help the boy who looked just like him to stop crying. He had, somehow, made things worse, and it distressed him to the point of crying. It wasn’t very hard, or loud, but it was enough where tears rolled down his cheeks and he hiccuped into the boy’s shoulder. It didn’t last long though, as low energy reserves hit empty and he cried himself to sleep in the other boy’s arms. The other boy had gotten to sleep for a good portion of the day, Luke had been awake the entire time. His grip on the boy loosened and he slowly slumped into him, breathing slowing down as he drifted off into unconsciousness. Despite the horrific tragedies that occurred earlier that day, his dreams for the night would be peaceful and pleasant, as he was right next to the boy who looked just like him- the boy who was warm and safe.

(Source: replicatedviscount)

16 hours ago · 16 notes · Reblog
#isofonherder #au 

[@Asch][AU] Black Dreams

isofonherder:

All he can do is watch, a little shocked, as Luke undoes the knots and climbs out of the harness. There’s a bit of pride there too, though - even if his replica is basically mute, he’s clearly not stupid if he can figure out something like that at barely a month old. It gives him a lot of hope, too.

And then Luke scoots over to him and curls up without a care, and that’s when he can’t stop the tears anymore. He wraps his arms around Luke’s shoulders to pull him close, squeezing, shaking, sobbing into his hair. It all comes crashing down suddenly and it’s too much, too much to know that there’s no one who can help him anymore, not with this, not with everything else it will take to get Luke passing for his physical age. To raise him, because that’s what it is.

Luke’s hair is washed clean of blood, and still smells a little of the expensive soaps at the manor. He cries.

At first, he went rigid stiff at the sudden shift in atmosphere (warm and cuddly to mournful and sobbing was quite dramatic). Though the more the other boy cried, the more Luke could feel and… sort of understand his pain. The sound of his cries were most unpleasant, but he could hear the anguish laced in each wail. So he relaxed, wrapping his arms around the boy’s torso and nuzzled his head into the crook of his shoulder. He held onto the other boy like this for several minutes, the crying failing to cease in this time, and Luke was beginning to grow a little distressed that embracing was not enough to calm him.

He chewed on his bottom lip, panicking slightly until he recalled something that his mother had done to calm him down whenever he was upset. Using one of his hands, he placed it on the top of the other boy’s head, and gently smoothed down his hair, repeating the action slowly (though he was using just a little too much force). That didn’t seem to particularly help either… 

Determined, Luke went to his last resort. He wiped off the boy’s tears, pushed his bangs back, and then gave a kiss to his forehead (a token of affection his mother had used a few times). There… that had to have done it, right?

(Source: replicatedviscount)

17 hours ago · 16 notes · Reblog
#isofonherder #au 

[@Asch][AU] Black Dreams

isofonherder:

He obligingly looks up, just in time to see the star go whizzing by. It was hard to see them in Baticul; even at the top of the city, there were enough lights to drown out all but the brightest stars. The little smile that comes to his face this time isn’t trying to comfort Luke, or even himself.

(He just has to keep moving.)

Luke’s sneeze catches him by surprise, but after a moment, he lifts the quilt over his replica’s shoulders, so that one side is hanging over each of them. “It’s just us now, replica,” he says, not sure if the boy can understand him at all or not. 

He didn’t want this extra him, this replacement that’s fallen into his lap as a new burden to carry. But if it weren’t for this innocent, bright-eyed boy in his place, he would probably be dead right now. It feels awful, knowing that he only survived because of something like this. Like a part of him - a lot of him did die.

"I guess you’re carrying the light for both of us, Luke."

Luke grasped hold of his edge of the quilt and pulled on it a little, wrapping the quilt around his shoulder tighter for more warmth. It wasn’t sufficient, however the boy with the same face next to him was radiating heat, so now it was a question of getting closer. That harness those weird people put him in made it… awkward to move around in. He let out a very frustrated whine when he couldn’t get closer thanks to the harness, but stopped and paused to see how it was wrapped around his body.

Certain straps went in specific locations, and other straps intersected with others. They all formed patterns, and when he took a closer look at one of the knots, upon inspection he found that it could be undone easily. With a few more knots undone, the rest of the harness fell off of him and he was free to move about as he pleased.

So he scooted over so he was sitting right up against the other boy’s side, giving him a big smile before resting his head on his shoulder as he wrapped the blanket back around him. Soft, warm, and safe… it almost felt like his mother was there…

(Source: replicatedviscount)

18 hours ago · 16 notes · Reblog
#isofonherder #au 

[@Asch][AU] Black Dreams

isofonherder:

"The other one’s still sleeping off the worst of it - he didn’t get up until ole Liz waved a hot bowl of stew under his nose and he went right back to sleep after." Urushi sways a little, side to side, and swings his cane. "She said he ate like he’d hadn’t had a hot meal in months and actually thanked her before he passed out again. If they’re really royalty, then they don’t act like any royalty I’ve ever heard of."

"Good, hopefully that means we can put him to work once he gets up." Noir turns away from the two men, who glance at each other and shake their heads slightly. "Load ‘em up, men! Get the nosy one on the cart with sleeping beauty and we’ll get out of here."

——

The cart is moving under him when he wakes up, and the pillow under his face is coarse, but after sleeping on the side of the road or in trees for the last few weeks it feels like heaven. He’s warm under someone’s old, patchy quilt, and his hair isn’t sticky with blood anymore.

It’s only a particularly large bump that convinces him to raise his head and look around. The inside of the wagon is mostly small cupboards and drawers, all latched and locked shut. In the far back of the wagon…

…Is his replica, staring out the back end at the stars. There’s a couple straps around his torso, a makeshift harness, presumably to keep him from bouncing out. Some part of it is almost comical.

He climbs out of the makeshift bed and wraps the blanket around his shoulders, before sitting at his double’s side.

The straps wrapped around the young boy formed a small harness that kept him partially suspended. Whenever the wagon hit a bump in the road, he would sway around as if he were on a swing. He had been kept occupied by the motions themselves, enjoying them as if he were on a regular swing on the playground, until they had moved out from under the cover of trees and he could see the stars up high in the sky. Millions of glittering gems that sparkled brightly, along with those big, green glass rocks that floated up there too.

Then the boy who looked just like him took a seat next to him, wrapped up in the quilt that he had been sleeping under. Luke made eager vocalizations as he nudged at the boy’s arm, before pointing upwards at the sky. A shooting star whizzed across the skyline and Luke laughed, clapping his hands happily. He was smiling, happy, carefree, as if he had already long forgotten the tragic events that took place earlier that day.

He then abruptly sneezed, loudly, as the temperatures steadily dropped as it went deeper and deeper into nighttime. He had been changed out of the bloody clothes, but he didn’t have a blanket to crawl under like the other boy did. 

(Source: replicatedviscount)

2 days ago · 16 notes · Reblog
#isofonherder #au 

[@Asch][AU] Black Dreams

isofonherder:

He’s tired, too tired to move, to tired to fight back against these potential kidnappers. It’s all he can do to not pass out, and he’s too scared to scream.

Who would come, anyway?

All he can do is hold tight to his replica, hands fisted in the cloak wrapped around the other boy, meeting the eyes of the three people standing over him. Being a royal child put him in a position to command most adults, and it shows a little right now, in his refusal to act intimidated even when he is.

When he finally finds his voice again, though, it’s small and weak and scared. “I’m not going back,” he says. “I can’t.” 

The three bandits look at each other. The woman’s face - the girl’s face, she can’t be older than her late teens, really - softens, just a little. “Relax, kid. Ransoming’s bad business, anyway. Tends to get people like us killed. If you don’t wanna go back, we ain’t makin’ ya.”

He nods, but even so, it’s a minute or two before her words make sense. He leans against his replica, burying his face in his double’s shoulder, and for the first time in forever, he lets himself relax. Consciousness doesn’t last much longer.

“Amnesia, huh? I’ve never heard of a case this severe before. Poor kid must have seen unspeakable things if he’s traumatized this bad.” The man with the belly button- York- muttered as he scratched the back of his head. “You sure it’s just amnesia and not a head injury?”

“That we know of.” Noir replied cooly, looking at the young boy toying around on the floor. After the debacle in the Capital, the trio retreated, along with their ‘guests’ back to their temporary domicile. A massive circus tent just outside of the city that was in the process of being taken down. “All we have at the moment is the other boy’s word on the matter. I don’t exactly trust it, however, it’s not as though we have much choice.” 

“Neither of them are talking, I can’t get so much a name out of them.” The short man- Urushi- grunted, shaking his cane away from Luke who had crawled over to examine it. “What are we going to do with them? We’re leaving for Malkuth tomorrow.”

“Take them with, of course. We always need more hands. Besides, having royal blood on our side will always come in handy later.” Noir crossed her arms. York looked a bit baffled at that.

“What about this one?” he pointed down to Luke, who was now tugging at York’s coat tails.

“We’ll have the troupe members educate him in turns until his memory comes back. We just need him to function. Worst case scenario, if he’s gone permanently soft in the head, hand him a push broom.”

“Cold as ever I see.” York sighed as Noir laughed dryly.

(Source: replicatedviscount)

2 days ago · 16 notes · Reblog
#isofonherder #au 

[@Asch][AU] Black Dreams

isofonherder:

He couldn’t walk, he couldn’t talk - how could anyone ever believe that this pitiful replacement was the Luke they had lost? How could anyone believe that that was him?

But he is pitiful. He is pitiful and it is clear that he doesn’t understand what’s going on, so when the screams start behind him, the real Luke turns back to his replica and pulls the wobbly child up. 

"I guess I can’t exactly leave you here, can I," he says, more to himself than to the other boy. He abandons the empty scabbard, pulls free his tattered cloak to wrap it around the boy’s bloodstained white clothes. If the kid doesn’t understand, maybe he won’t remember, the same way he’s forgotten so much of what happened not long after he was born.

If that’s the case, Luke might have to envy him.

He turns around, in position to offer the replica a piggy-back ride - he’s done it for Natalia, before, and it’s the only way they’re going to make any time. He’s bone tired, but surely, it won’t be too long until he can find some alleyway to sleep.

(He doesn’t think the replica will wander off, somehow.)

"Come on, get on. We’re going for a ride." 

The boy had come back, and feelings of unease melted away as he was given the opportunity to cling back onto him. He pulled himself back up to his feet and grabbed hold, only for the boy that looks like him to sweep him up off the ground, and onto his back. Luke immediately readjusted his grip on Asch to keep himself from falling off, and then clung tightly, out of fear of being dropped, out of fear of being left behind. The boy that looked like him was giving him a way out.

Over the wall, across the royal plaza, down the elevator into the commons before hiding out in a back alleyway where they were now hidden and safe. The boy that looked like him dropped him onto the ground with a hard thud, and he whined loudly before sniffling, ready to cry again. He was tired, scared, hungry, and wanted his mom, but now he was in a strange place with a strange person and he didn’t know what was going to happen.

“Ma…” he reached out and grasped hold of the boy’s tunic. “Mama…” he started to cry once more. Somewhere, deep down, he understood that his mother would never be moving again. Death was funny that way.

“-Fleeing from the upper levels in the middle of an attack on the royal family. Even for children, that’s suspicious.” A man had stepped out of the shadows. Tall, yet pudgy with a bizarre getup that showed off a protruding belly button.

“Not to mention they’re covered in blood.” A second man came into view, short, stout, with a cane and a top hat. “What do you think, Noir?”

“They have royal red hair and green eyes. My guess is survivors. Take them, they’ll be useful to us.” A woman off to the side issued the command.

(Source: replicatedviscount)

2 days ago · 16 notes · Reblog
#isofonherder #au 

[@Asch][AU] Black Dreams

isofonherder:

He was home. The gates are sealed shut but it doesn’t matter - he still has a way in, up over the wall by the servant’s gate, and it’s not the most glamourous homecoming but he’s home.

(If only he’d looked up and seen the smoke, he’d think later. If only.)

He drops into the familiar courtyard, and turns away from the wall - 

That image will remain forever. The slaughtered bodies of the maids surrounding the scene are only background noise. The only thing that matters is his mother’s body, his replica, clinging to her hand, and Guy, standing over them with a thin sword, drawn and bloody.

That’s the only thing that matters, when he lifts the stolen sword strapped to his back free and runs, a scream in his throat. Guy turns, just enough, a look of the most incredible shock on his face - 

It’s not about revenge, or protecting the replica who is the only person still standing. The only thought he has is if I don’t kill him I’m going to die.

(This isn’t coming home. Coming home is his mother’s arms and Natalia’s smile and Guy, not like this, not with a sword through his stomach. Coming home is not this awful dream.)

He lets go of the sword. Guy falls. He wants to fall, too. But he’s still royalty, with a royal’s training, and he’s never been taught that there’s just one assassin. He keeps on his feet.

"Come here," he says to the replica, too weak to be an order.

(His family is dead. This mockery of him is all he has left.)

"We need to go." Somewhere, somehow, away from this place.

(He is never coming home again.)

The blond servant had been cut down, and he too lay motionless on the ground with blood seeping out from under him. Luke started to tremble, making distressed vocalizations as he tried to shake Guy awake as well. Guy wouldn’t move, mother wouldn’t move, everyone around him had stopped moving and he didn’t know what to do! His screams and sobs were drowned out by the sounds of the manor’s remaining walls collapsing into ruin.

Through the fire, and dirt and blood and smoke somehow that voice managed to reach him. He looked up, and saw a boy that looked just like him standing just a ways away. 

Someone that moves…!

The boy forced himself to his feet and awkwardly stumbled over to the boy who looked just like him in a panic. Luke clung to his clothes and held on tightly, as if somehow him holding on would keep him from stopping motion like all the rest. He shook violently as he continued to cry, failing to understand the boy’s words of urgency. It became apparent, what the other boy wanted when he shoved him off, and started to hurry away.

Luke cried out for him, tried to follow after but he didn’t understand how to walk. His feet gave out from under him after a few steps, and all he was left able to do was awkwardly crawl after the boy that looked just like him. His hand slipped in a pool of blood and he crashed into a maid’s corpse. He then started to scream.

(Source: replicatedviscount)

[@Asch][AU] Black Dreams

Death was absolute.

It was impossible to dispute, as no one in life ever gets out alive in the end. Everything has to have its end, as nothing can last forever. However, death was also a concept that was difficult to grasp and understand, especially for the mind of a young child. A victim of trauma after a brutal kidnapping, that’s what everyone had said about him. So traumatized in fact, that he forgot nearly everything, including how to walk and talk. 

That day had started out like any other ever since he had come back to the manor. He had been woken, dressed, fed, and then various tutors and teachers tried to reteach materials that had since left his head. It always ended in tears, which would require the Lady of the manor to come over and soothe the frustrated child. She’d bribe him with a treat, or sing to him, or perhaps give him a new toy to play with until everything was calm once more. Then it was a walk to the gardens where young Princess Natalia would be waiting for them.

The sky turned dark red that afternoon.

Smoke billowed out of the manor as a series of small explosions went off. The upper floors collapsed into the ground, entire sections burning in raging fires, leaving the staff trapped and ultimately, doomed. 

“M-Ma…” Small hands tried to shake the corpse awake. “M-Mama!” His voice cracked. Tears streaked down his caked cheeks, washing away dirt and blood he was coated with. Fires razed through the broken manor behind him, sections collapsing into piles of smoldering debris. Corpses of the staff and guards littered the royal grounds; blood soaked the soil.

A shadow eclipsed him, and he looked up to see the older blond boy standing there with a blade in his hands. “Mama…!” He pointed back to the slain woman, holding back a sob. 

Maybe Guy could fix this, he could fix anything. 

[@Luke][AU] Deviations

scionoflorelei:

The younger Luke didn’t like that idea. “Do I have to?” he huffed, already getting the chills, especially after hearing about everything Van had done to his older self. “And how long do I have to… fawn over him?” The word had him sticking his tongue out and making a face. It was a bit surprising how quickly he’d gone from practically worshipping Van to being outright disgusted by him.

He frowned a minute. “…Act normally… you mean that snobbish attitude and all. Alright… At least I can talk to you guys normally in here now. Not like I’m not used to hearing voices anyway. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep it up, though, if they’re already suspicious.”

He blinked a bit, wondering where the others were. Did it take longer going down then it did going up? “The others might be showing up soon… not sure how it takes longer going down then it does going up.”

“Until I direct you otherwise,” Luke reiterated to the youngest redhead, though his attention was diverted to the set of stairs that lead up and out of the basement when there was mention of the group. Yes, they should be here soon, unless for some reason they already engaged in combat with Arietta. It was unlikely, but with how long this conversation has managed to last, that seemed to be the case. Luke didn’t want to exactly press his luck with extending this conversation further as gauging time seemed to be a challenge for him in this timeline. “Right… go on and meet up with them, it’ll give us some time to evade Van.”

“What?” Asch quirked his brow.

“Van will be here shortly and will apprehend Arietta. He’ll then escort the rest of the group back to Kaitzur. It would be for the best if we avoid him.”

“Agreed. Let’s go, we’re wasting time.” The God-General turned heel and started to walk away. Luke looked back over at his timeline counterpart and gave a small smile, reaching out to pat the top of his head.

“You’ll be okay, and we’ll meet again soon.” he gave a nod, and then turned to chase after Asch.

(Source: replicatedviscount)