The summoning circle hummed in anticipation. Shirou stood wthin its perimeter, following Kiritsugu's instructions to the letter. Saber watched from the side, anxious to behold their servant. She had spent a week scrounging around for the relic in lower Britain while Shirou underwent intense training from Kiritsugu.
Naturally Saber was disapointed with the sudden change in plans. She wished to find the true grail as soon as possible, but she couldn't deny the wisdom of having a protector, Events had already proven that they were indeed on the map in the eyes of the other masters.
So she absconded from her home country to Fuyuki City to meet up with the other two with the relic in hand, a banged helmet, inscribed with the symbol of Camelot.
The summoning died down to reveal a figure taller than Kiritsugu with long platinum hair tied up into a bun. He wore the armor of a knight, and held himself the same. Shirou was quite impressed, but Kiritsugu appeared dubious.
When she first explained who they were summoning, Kiritsugu expressed his duobts over the strength of the servant, but Saber reminded him of the might of a certain Berseker, whose skill exceeded Archer's.
The knight bowed low and in a masculine yet comforting tone, asked of Shirou, "I am of the Saber class. Young lad, are you my master?
However, before Shirou had the chance to reply, he saw glimpsed Saber in his peripheral, and fell to his knees in deference. "Impossible! The king yet lives!"
Saber cleared her throat. "Um, Shirou, let me introdue you to my last and loyal knight, Sir Bedivere."
"How are we supposed to stop the grail?" Saber wondered why they had returned to Fuyuki City in the middle of their search for the true grail. "You realize Kiritsugu," she leaned closer and whispered in his ear, "that any chance you had of getting better are shot if we waste time here."
"I've reconsidered what Shirou suggested. He's right. And I just refused to see it. We can't let what happened ten years ago happen here again.
"But," Saber searched for some excuse to dispel this sudden notion to abandon the true grail. "Have you forgotten our plan? You were going to use the ultimate wish granting device to save the world! Before the corrupted grail ever has a chance to ruin it."
He turned on her, and snarled, "Don't think I don't know what's truly going on behind those green eyes of yours. You still hope to save your people, no, to save your tattered pride, because your ego is larger than damn Archer's! Your selfishness will be the end of us all. We weren't getting anywhere with the search. You can't argue differently."
"What happened to you? This is the best chance you've ever had to complete your goal. It's like you've turned your back on everything you believed in."
Shirou shook his head. He felt helpless. He saw the signs. The situation faced the very real possibility of exploding. He'd seen the two resort to fists before, and it was a scary sight. Then for the week following, both would nurse their wounds in silence, refusing to speak in each other's presence.
And he'd be stuck in the middle, torn in two directions, forced to choose a side.
"Stop it!" He glanced between both. "I know you never thought much of my dream. You said you've seen it all, that you've been there and done that, and I take your word for it. But it hasn't discouraged me." He faced Kiritsugu. "I still believe in justice for all," and turning to Saber he continued, "and I believe that heroes can exist. I believe we can do the right thing without killing, and without compromising our ideals."
Kiritsugu and Shirou were silent for a moment. At first they were tempted to dismiss his speech as childish ramblings and a result of full blown naïveté, but when they saw his determined expression and the fire in his gaze, his words hit home. For that brief exchange they too believed in his dream. At least until their adult cynicism returned, conditioned in them from when they first matured by the incredibly tragic hand life dealt.
Kiritsugu was the first to speak. "That's nice Shirou." He hated to be harsh, but the boy was on the path to destruction. And he loved him too much to see that happen.
"Shut up, fool." Saber might tolerate Kiritsugu's attitude towards her, but's she'd be damned if Shirou had to endure it as well. "Now that I think about it, what's the point of you even being here? It's not like you ever had anything constructive or positive to bring to the table. Ever since Irisviel died, you've been crotchety bitter man."
He slapped her across the cheek with blinding quickness and raised a finger. "Don't you ever speak of her again. It's not your place."
"Actually, I do have a right. I was there in the weeks leading up until the end. I was her sole companion. I was the only female friend she ever had!"
"You hardly qualify as female! It was a mistake ever pulling you out of that fire."
"Isn't that exactly what I said at the time?" She took a couple breaths, collecting her thoughts. "It's not to late however, to correct those past mistakes."
Saber reevaluated the wisdom of spending one more day with Kiritsugu Emiya. Following the fire she served him out of an obligation to Irisviel and to repay her deb to him for saving her life. But surely that debt had expired, especially considering the way he treats her. And tonight may have been the last straw.
She would never be humiliated in such a fashion in front of Shirou again. Kiritsugu knew no bounds. She was that close to challenging him to a duel, but it'd feel wrong fighting a terminally ill person and in front of the boy no less, who thought the both of them family.
Therefore she contented herself to depart the house, much to Shirou's displeasure, which he sorrowfully made known. Kiritsugu, at first appeared shocked, but his ego caught up, and he shrugged bitterly at her loud declaration. Saber had threatened the same thing many times before but it was almost impossible to actually watch her walk out the door. She wasn't kidding.
He also had to endure Sir Bedivere's intense ire and that was after Saber had called him off and told the loyal knight to remove his sword from Kiritsugu's neck.
Saber experienced a little guilt leaving Shirou behind like that, but they never shared the bond he and his adoptive father shared. Of course she'd observe and if necessary, protect him to the best of her ability.
On the whole, however, Sir Bedivere was a very capable knight, and he'd provide plenty of protection and would lay down his life if that's what it took, all to please his king.
And if Bedivere wasn't enough, then Shirou understood the importance of the item she slipped him before she left, when whispering to the boy her parting words.
Back to the present where she remained in the nearest park nearing twilight. The moon was already high in the sky. The fence on which she rested like a child surveying its playground, was robed with a blue shade of light, matching her dress.
She fumbled with the edges, savoring the feminine design, much more appropriate for a girl, rather than the coarse robes and armor she wore in life. Shortly after she came to accept she was stuck in the 20th century for good, she realized that she was actually blessed to a degree. Apart from a certain mage killer, she was delighted with this second chance so to speak. To be able to act herself, with no more disguises, and to raise a child honorably even if it wasn't hers.
Everything was just…right.
Until a rustle brought Saber out of her ruminations. A second later, a purple sack was thrown over her head from behind and before Saber had an opportunity to struggle, both figures were gone from the night with a shimmer.