The minute he saw her, Gilgamesh knew he'd seen her somewhere before. Blonde hair tied in a low ponytail, a little lock of hair that refused to lie flat with the rest of her bangs, green eyes he could drown in; he'd definitely met her before but he couldn't place where.
The boarding school he was sent to while his parents went on their latest archaeological dig this time seemed comfortable enough. He'd always had expensive tastes and his parents wanted the best for him, so he guessed that worked out in his favour. Flashing a grin to his new classmates, he introduced himself, red eyes darting around the classroom as if to pick out familiar faces. Indeed he managed to pick out two, the petite blonde girl and the black-haired boy sitting next to her. That mole under his eye looked familiar somehow and the way he somehow recognised them threw him off slightly.
When he was done introducing himself, the blonde girl stood up and for the first time, he noticed exactly how small she was.
"My name is Arturia Pendragon and I am the class president. I will show you around the school later."
Gilgamesh couldn't hold back a small laugh at the way she carried herself. Arturia was definitely charismatic but she was also tiny and he almost couldn't believe that such a small girl carried herself with such authority.
"Class president? Such a big role for someone so tiny," he smirked.
"If you would take your seat and allow us to begin our lesson," she replied calmly, though Gilgamesh didn't miss the way one of her eyes twitched.
He smiled to himself throughout the lessons. It seemed he'd found a nice target to tease and taunt. As promised, Arturia and the boy who sat next to her approached his desk once they were done for the day. Before he could open his mouth to say anything, she cut in.
"This is Diarmuid and he'll be the one showing you around the boy's dormitories. We'll take you around the school now if you're ready to come with us."
Arturia walked in front of the two boys, pointing things out to Gilgamesh as they walked around the sizeable campus.
"Doesn't someone as small as you get tired walking around this place?" Gilgamesh smirked.
"Not all of us are as weak as you," She replied coolly, picking up the pace as they headed to yet another wing of the school.
As they walked faster, Diarmuid nudged Gilgamesh lightly.
"Never make Ria angry. You don't want to see her when she's angry," he whispered.
Gilgamesh just smiled as he followed them. Living here sure was going to be eventful.
He flopped on his bed once Diarmuid had shown him to his room, hastily saying that he was late meeting someone called Kayneth. Gilgamesh's luggage had been brought to the room while he was out but he couldn't be bothered to unpack yet. He'd do it sooner or later; probably later rather than sooner. He was tired from the day's activity, having just arrived at the school after a flight and a long bus ride that morning itself. Sleep came to him easily.
He was wearing golden armour and he was invincible. His Master was too reserved for his tastes but what could he really expect from mongrels anyway. In this war for men, there was a singular woman on the battlefield. Saber. He'd been inexplicably drawn to her because of this unusual occurrence and laughed when he discovered that she was the feared King of Knights, the most powerful Servant in the Saber class. King Arthur was in fact a naive little girl. He would crush her and her ideals and make her his.
He woke up with a jolt. The woman in his dreams looked so familiar to him. Saber? He tried to place her and realised that she looked like Arturia. But that was preposterous. That dream must have been due to an overactive imagination and his exhaustion yesterday. That blonde hair and those green eyes couldn't belong to the same person. And if they did, he must have somehow imagined the class president in his dream.
Shaking his head, Gilgamesh dragged himself to the common bathroom to wash up. He couldn't look anything less than perfect and he smiled at his reflection as he gelled up his hair. If this school was anything like his last, he'd have girls falling all over him within a week.
The sight that greeted him when he entered the classroom was something that stopped him in his tracks. Arturia looked like she was laughing at a joke that Diarmuid had just told and she just looked so radiant. She'd left her hair down that day and Gilgamesh thought that she was truly beautiful. Her eyes shone like jewels and he vaguely wanted to make her smile at him that way.
It was probably the most cheesy thing that he'd ever experienced but yes, Gilgamesh had probably fallen for Arturia practically at first sight. Now all that was left was getting her to smile at him.
"Hey, Pendragon, want to have lunch with me later?" he asked with his signature smirk.
"Do you seriously think you're going to get lost on the way to the dining hall? And those earrings are not allowed, you'll need to take them off," she replied without more than a glance at him.
Gilgamesh shut his mouth at the rejection. Oh well, he couldn't expect it to work the first time and they'd just met yesterday. He was left to contemplate that little lock of hair that stood out on Arturia's head during lessons that day, thankful that he'd gotten himself the seat behind her and he was free to stare at the back of her head as much as he liked. He'd meant to ask if he could sit with her for dinner but she left with Diarmuid at an alarming speed and Gilgamesh never thought someone that small could move so fast that even Diarmuid nearly struggled to keep up with her.
Red eyes could only follow her footsteps as Gilgamesh sighed and made his solitary way to the dining hall.
He was impressed as he watched her battle the giant monster with Rider and Lancer. Who knew such a delicate figure could hold her own against this abomination created by the deluded Caster. This was a war for mongrels and he smirked as he watched, denying his Master's request to join the battle. No, the mongrels can take care of themselves. He was a King and he would not stoop so low. But among the mongrels there seemed to be one pure breed, the shining sapphire of the battlefield and her golden sword.
This time, Gilgamesh sat up in bed immediately when he woke up. He couldn't have mistaken that stubborn lock of hair and that small stature this time. Arturia Pendragon was Saber, the wielder of Excalibur from his dream. But surely he was just imagining things. It was completely nonsensical that they were kings engaged in a war for something as ridiculous as the Holy Grail. He must be imagining things. Even Diarmuid made an appearance in his dream as Lancer and Gilgamesh began to question his sanity. Maybe a cold shower would snap him out of it.
All Gilgamesh's advances on Arturia failed to get her attention. She ignored notes passed to her or balls of paper flicked at her during class. The most of a reaction he ever got from her were green-eyed glares when he playfully tugged on that stubborn lock of hair as he snuck up on her from behind. He grinned at her reaction, wondering why he was happy that she even reacted to him in the first place. Diarmuid had approached him one day asking him if he had a death wish and all he could do was grin back, earning a sigh and a shake of his head.
Meanwhile his dreams had taken him through betrayal and murder and if this was truly him, he wondered how he could ever have been so cold-blooded. Granted, he was still interested in seeking the most pleasure possible in life, but the way he was now, he could never have done any of the things he did in those dreams.
He was her final adversary and the last thing standing between her and the Grail. He made his obnoxious proposal. Wild dog as she may be but she was still the jewel of the battlefield and thus she was a treasure. All treasures belonged to the King of Heroes, therefore she belonged to him. However, his plans were foiled and everything crumbled. All he could do now was bide his time and wait for the next War. Hopefully the jewel would reappear and come into his possession. She was the real treasure, not the Grail.
Gilgamesh discovered what jealousy was like when he saw Arturia always by Diarmuid's side and how they seemed to be universally acknowledged as a couple. The way she leaned into him and was almost always smiling by his side made him green with envy. He couldn't deny that they looked good together but he couldn't stop his jealousy either. He tried even harder to get Arturia's attention but consistently failed so he more or less retreated into his shell, continuing to watch her.
The Geography field trip honestly interested Gilgamesh even less than the History field trip and he didn't understand the hype about going to see rivers and measure their depth or understand how they meandered but it was a compulsory component and he forced himself to go. It also meant getting to see Arturia in casual clothes so he guessed that was something good about the trip.
He was utterly bored out of his mind during the lecture preceding the actual field activities and he only looked up when he saw Diarmuid leaning over to whisper something to Arturia. He narrowed his eyes slightly. The two of them seemed close and Gilgamesh couldn't tell if they were actually dating or they were just close friends.
There was absolutely nothing interesting about the river and Gilgamesh lazily kicked small pebbles into the water. He noticed Diarmuid holding Arturia's hand whenever she was close to the water and he wondered just how protective he was of her. Surely she wouldn't melt if she got wet. He cast an appreciative gaze over her small figure. She'd braided her hair today and she was wearing the blue sweater that seemed to be her favourite. Gilgamesh gave a little smile as he saw her point excitedly at something across the river. She was so beautiful and yet it seemed that he could never have her. He turned his scarlet gaze away for fear of being caught staring.
When they broke for lunch, he heard Diarmuid tell her to wait where she was and not to go near the water and he narrowed his eyes at the other boy. Who was he to order Arturia around? He shrugged it off as he made to get his own lunch but he'd barely taken a step when he heard a sharp scream and a splash. He whipped around to see a blonde head struggling to keep above the water as the current swept it away and suddenly he registered what Diarmuid must have been saying to Arturia earlier.
"Don't go near the water when I'm not there to hold your hand. You know you can't swim."
Gilgamesh didn't even think as he rushed to the river bank and threw himself into the water after her. Reaching her and getting a hold of her was easy, getting back to the bank not so. Arturia just clung on to him tightly, refusing to let go as he tried to keep her head above the water so she could breathe. He was lucky that they were near where the river meandered and the current was slower. Clawing his way back onto the bank, he managed to pull them both out safely and he felt her shiver slightly as a cool breeze blew. As he picked her up to carry her back to the rest, he realised how light she was and he cradled her to his chest to keep her warm.
They hadn't gone that far downstream and soon Gilgamesh saw Diarmuid rushing towards them with thick towels the group had packed in case of emergency as he called Arturia's name. Getting her warm was the first priority and Gilgamesh held her steady as Diarmuid wrapped a towel around her before he pulled her in for a fierce hug. Gilgamesh noted the worry and relief in the other's amber eyes as he wrapped a towel around himself.
"Don't you ever do that again," Diarmuid scolded, voice shaking as he buried his face in her wet hair. "I don't know what I'd do if I lost you."
"It's okay Diar, I'm safe now," Arturia soothed as she hugged back.
Gilgamesh felt a pang of jealousy as he watched them and he averted his gaze. He turned away from the two of them and made his way back to the rest of the group, sitting down under a tree to dry himself off and keep warm. His thoughts were interrupted a while later as a small hand ran itself through his hair.
"Thanks for saving me," Arturia smiled, green eyes soft as she sat beside him.
"It was nothing," Gilgamesh replied as he looked at her. She'd never smiled at him before.
"We've been told to stay here while the rest of them finish the field activities. I thought I'd bring you some of the hot chocolate that was left," she said, holding out a flask.
Gilgamesh gave her a stunned look as he accepted the flask. He'd never actually held a conversation with her before and it was making him slightly nervous. He couldn't even put up his usual cocky exterior when she was beside him like this.
"You know, you actually look better with your hair down," she smiled, reaching out to ruffle it. Well, she had often endured him tugging lightly at that odd lock of hair so he guessed she was entitled and more than welcome to touch his hair.
Before he knew it he'd murmured a soft 'you too'. Curse him and his big mouth.
"I didn't know you paid attention to anyone but yourself, o arrogant one," Arturia teased.
Gilgamesh shut his mouth and he tried to keep his cheeks from flushing.
"Arturia Pendragon," he mused, changing the subject. "Interesting family name and you must have been named after King Arthur."
"So he does know his legends," she replied with a hint of amusement in her voice. "Yes, I was supposed to be named Arthur but I was born a girl, much to my parents' surprise. And I assume you must have been named after the King of Heroes, complete with the lack of a last name."
"Blame my archaeologist father. He wanted as accurate a name as possible for the son he was going to name after the site he was excavating," Gilgamesh smiled.
He felt the smaller figure shiver slightly as a cold wind blew and he reached out to pull her closer so they could share body heat. She smiled as she leaned into him and they stayed like that until the rest of the group could be seen making their way back. Gilgamesh nodded as Diarmuid rushed up and thanked him as he helped Arturia back on her feet.
He couldn't help smiling back at her when she flashed him a smile before she went off with Diarmuid.
They met again in the next War and he couldn't be more pleased. The mongrel who was her Master this time wouldn't stand a chance against him, or so he thought. How was he to know that mongrel bore the sacred Avalon. This time, they fought like they were supposed to in the previous War and she proved more than a match for him. Before he went there was something he wanted to tell her but then again some things are beautiful because they are unobtainable.
Gilgamesh woke up from this latest dream with a certain ache inside him. He'd accepted these dreams as flashbacks of a previous existence and now he'd achieved true incarnation. Arturia was Saber, the woman he'd fallen for during the War and also the girl he'd fallen in love with now but it seemed he was just a little too late. She already had Diarmuid to make her happy and there was nothing he could do about it.
He thought it was that way until he woke early one morning to take a shower while he had the bathroom to himself and he heard hushed voices in the corridor.
"Hush, Diar, someone will hear us."
"No one is going to hear us, Kayneth. No sane student wakes up this early."
Gilgamesh's eyes widened at the voices. There was only one Kayneth he knew and that was their History teacher and also their hall master. Why would Diarmuid be talking to the teacher with the formidable reputation for being fierce and strict in such a casual manner?
He found himself following them on their way back to their room, eavesdropping on their conversation. The way they smiled at each other, leaned into each other and held hands suggested that they were slightly more than just student and teacher.
"Kayneth, you are brushing my hair later."
"And why exactly should I do that?"
"Because you are the cause of my bedhead."
"Not my fault your hair is so soft."
Gilgamesh couldn't believe Diarmuid's petulant tone and the way Kayneth responded so lightly. He followed them back to Kayneth's room, eyes widening in shock as he heard something that sounded suspiciously like kissing and a muffled 'I love you'. He didn't realise he'd started staring blankly at the door until it opened and he found himself face to face with a surprised Diarmuid.
"You're... gay," Gilgamesh murmured, still stunned.
Diarmuid leaned against the doorframe, one eyebrow raised. "You took this long to figure it out?"
"So this means Arturia is single?"
Diarmuid sighed before answering. "Yes, but if you make her cry you'll have to answer to me."
When it was clear that Gilgamesh was unable to do anything but continue staring, Diarmuid continued. "Yes, I am giving you permission to ask her out, just don't do anything stupid."
"Diar, who are you talking to out there?" came a voice from inside as Kayneth opened the door to be met with the sight of Gilgamesh standing there as well. He stared for a moment before he fumbled for words to explain the situation.
"No... No I'm not..."
"Who do you think you're fooling, idiot," Diarmuid smiled as he pulled Kayneth in for a kiss.
When Kayneth pulled away, Diarmuid busied himself with adjusting the older's tie and brushing some dust off his lapel before pressing an affectionate kiss to his flushed cheek.
"Diar, what are you doing?" Kayneth protested softly, still mindful of the fact that there was another student watching this little display.
"Just showing off the fact that I am attached and he is still miserably single," Diarmuid replied smoothly, noticing that Gilgamesh was still standing there with a now averted gaze and slightly red cheeks.
"Always a little tease, I see," Kayneth smiled, ruffling the younger's hair lightly.
Diarmuid smiled back before taking Kayneth's hand and tugging him off.
"If you manage to bathe and get ready in time, Ria and I should still be having breakfast," he called back to Gilgamesh amid protests of 'Diar, someone's really going to see us this time'.
All Gilgamesh could do was nod and make his way back to his room as a smile spread itself across his face. Maybe beautiful things could become obtainable after all.
He cupped her cheek moments before he faded away and those three words were right on the tip of his tongue but he just could not make himself say them so he settled for a more cryptic expression instead.
Several evenings later, he walked into a classroom he'd thought was empty and noticed Arturia packing up her things.
"Ah, Gilgamesh, I was just leaving," she smiled.
Gilgamesh knew it would be a gamble but he had to see if she remembered the War as well. He felt that he had to confess his feelings for her, both past and present.
"Don't go… Saber," he murmured.
Arturia froze. "So you remember it too… Archer."
"Yes, I do," he smiled slightly, moving closer and hoping she didn't shrink away from him.
"You're different than you were then," Arturia murmured, meeting his red eyes. "When we first met, I was prepared for you to be arrogant but after you pulled me out of that river, I wondered what changed."
"Nothing really changed about me. I'm still arrogant and I always think that I'm the best." Gilgamesh paused as he reached out to cup her cheek. "I really did fall in love with you during the War, you know. I just couldn't bring myself to show it. That's what really changed.
Arturia Pendragon, I am in love with you and this time, I have the courage to tell you to your face."
Wide green eyes met his red ones as Arturia reached up to touch the hand that was on her cheek. After a while, she gave a little smile.
"I never expected this from the Gilgamesh I knew during the War, but coming from the one I got to know, I have to admit that I've started falling for you too," she murmured, leaning into his warm palm.
Her lips were soft as he leaned in to kiss her. He wrapped an arm around her waist as he pulled her closer and she brought her hand to his chest to steady herself as she tiptoed slightly to meet him.
When they eventually pulled away, she leaned against his chest and he nuzzled her soft hair.
"When you obtain the unobtainable, it becomes a thousand times more beautiful," Gilgamesh leaned down to murmur into her ear.
"I never pegged the King of Heroes to be such a sap," Arturia teased lightly.
"Don't judge a man by his flashy armour," he shot back, tugging her ponytail loose so he could run his fingers through her hair.
"Not even if he wore the flashiest armour you'd ever seen?" she grinned, reaching up to ruffle his hair.
"Not even if he wore the flashiest armour you'd ever seen," Gilgamesh smiled as he leaned in to kiss her again.
They stood there as the light of the sun faded from the classroom before it was decided that they might just be able to make in time for dessert. Arturia dragged Gilgamesh off in a great hurry because it was her favourite dessert being served and she wouldn't miss it for the world. Gilgamesh couldn't care less what was being served.
After all he was standing right at the beginning with Arturia and that was all that mattered.