Disclaimer: I don't own Fate/Stay Night. All materials used here belong to their respective owners, not me.
The infinity of the multiverse, viewed through the Kaleidoscope of the mad Wizard Marshall Zelretch, or through the eyes of a watchful deity, contained a thousand worlds. Some were familiar, filled with humans being of various types, some were unfamiliar, with only empty and barren wastelands in the place of human cities. Others were utterly unrecognizable by any eyes, being too warped and weird for anybody or anything to understand.
The familiar ones differ from one another in small ways, and much larger ones. In one world, King Arthur, wielder of the holy blade Excalibur, was as male as the stories of his life said. In another, the proud King of Knights was a woman in disguise. In a third, that woman was a stunning beauty, a lily in white, who ruled as a woman from the start of her legendary and prosperous rule. In yet another, she was a tyrant in black armor whose gender didn't matter in the slightest for those unfortunate enough to suffer her murderous reign. The same legend, split across gender, time, space, and choice.
The familiar worlds of the multiverse could be separated from one another be something as small as a single choice. That was why the multiverse was so vast. A single choice could change a world's history, or stop it entirely.
In one such world, one of the many, a single choice changed the fate of a boy, destined to be a hero. A choice made in the bowels of hell.
Hell. A holy artifact could unleash it, who would have thought it? Black mud, tainted with red, poured across the landscape of the Fuyuki like a flood of bloodstained and filthy water. It drowned the city; the bile from the guts of the destroyed Holy Grail gushed forth and took the lives of hundreds in a single eternal instant of wrath. The earth and the sky echoed one another as the very air itself turned a bloody crimson and a hateful black. The rage of the creature lurking within the artifact was unleashed. And it was unwittingly unleashed by a single man's decision not to unleash that evil creature. Ironic.
That wasn't supposed to happen. None of it was supposed to happen this way.
Flames spurted in grouts from buildings closest to the epicenter of the disaster, transformers and power lines overloaded from charged magical energy that caused explosions that mixed with the screams of the residents.
This wasn't what he wanted.
All the innocent people in those buildings lay dead or dying. Drowned in mud, blood, twisted steel, or slowly being burned to death in the blazes unleashed by the black mud that came from the ruined Holy Grail. And the cause of those deaths? Of all of this agony? The dreams and ideals of the very man who had unwittingly unleashed hell by his very attempt to stop it from being unleashed. After a hard fought war between legends, he had used his authority as a Master to order his Servant Saber to unleash the Noble Phantasm Excalibur to destroy the tainted Holy Grail, and the abomination that wore his wife's face that lurked within it. He had stopped a greater catastrophe by using Arturia Pendragon as his weapon against her proud will, ultimately destroying her dreams of salvation just as his were destroyed, but he didn't realize the cost of saving the world.
He had learned the cost, but he never wanted this to happen.
Kiritsugu Emiya had never wanted anything like this. He had been trying to save everyone. That was his dream, his reason for fighting. The sole purpose the Holy Grail had picked him to become a Master in the first place. It was why he had summoned that knightly woman and broken her with his last commands. And what did he have to show for it? Nothing. He had lost his wife, Irisviel. He had barely escaped from the single most deadly fight of his life with the crazed Executor, Kirei Kotomine. And he still had lost everything he had held dear, and gained nothing. Save for the cold knowledge that he had saved the world from the beast called Angra Mainyu. And that was nothing approaching a comfort after losing his wife, his mistress and only protégé, and his dreams of being a hero.
Not that he could tell anyone any of that. Even if he had a person who could understand what he had done and why, he was incapable of speaking. He stood frozen in time and in his place, only his neck capable of movement, swiveling as he gazed in stark horror at the destruction of the city that until a few moments ago had been the site of the battle between some of the greatest heroes and monsters that the world had ever seen.
And he couldn't even do anything, nothing to fix the devastation, nothing to stop it. All he did was mutter denials as he saw the vengeance of Angra Mainyu upon the world that he had been trying so hard to save.
"People, innocent people!" Kiritsugu muttered lowly, as he shook his head back and forth, the dead and the wounded came to his shocked and barely functioning mind. "I-I have to…" He trailed off helplessly as he began to sprint down into the wasteland of broken ideals and metal before him.
The burning embrace of the hell that he had created welcomed him with the snarl of flames as broken timber fell into pits of fire spawned from destroyed homes.
If he could save one person, if he could make a difference in even one life, there might be something that the Magus Killer could cling onto, something that could give him a reason to live for another day. Something, anything, that could give him some semblance of order, of purpose, again.
For the moment, it was all he could think of in his shattered world. Find and save anyone possible. Anyone.
Kiritsugu ran past sparking wires onto what was the front of a quaint house, kicking in the charred front door. He nearly cried out as he saw scattered bodies, a small family, a man, a girl, and a boy. Those lives cut short, because of him. Because of a war they had nothing to do with.
My fault. Repeated in his mind, again, again, and again. All my fault.
Kiritsugu scrambled for the boy, half buried under what was left of the roof, and he began digging. He ignored the splinters of wood as they jabbed into his skin, spilling his blood. Dimly, somewhere in the back of his mind, he realized he couldn't even feel the pain anymore. And even with the flames nearby, he was icy cold. Completely numb . The boy was rapidly freed by Kiritsugu's hands, which were curled into claws as he hurled the junk off of the child and heaved him into Kiritusug's arms. The boy had hair as brown as Kiritsugu's, and a simple blue shirt and khakis on. His eyes were wide, fixed in an expression of terror. Trembling fingers reached for the neck, for any sign of a pulse.
"Please" the Magus Killer whispered.
Nothing. No feeling of blood under Kiritsugu's fingers, no heartbeat, no life.
Nothing for Kiritsugu to try and hold onto to give his sanity an anchor.
"Grah!" Kiritsugu howled as lay the boy down and staggered on his feet, as he shuddered and shook his head. Eyes darted from left to right, a man, a girl, and a child lay dead. A table stacked with plates, with eaten food stood in the corner. They were having dinner? A family late night snack? The man had a wedding ring on his finger, he could see the glint of gold. If the father and the children were here, where was the mother?
Kiritsugu turned and sprinted outside, back to the flames and the ruins. A woman, there was a woman trapped out there. Maybe she had had to leave for some reason or another. Kiritsugu couldn't bring himself to wonder or care what she might have been doing, only the thought of someone to rescue kept his body moving.
He charged along the remains of the sidewalk, his snipers eye's tracking over everything. A pale hand was sticking out of a pile of concrete. It was too slender to be a man's hand.
Kiritsugu scrambled over to her, and began digging again. His hands caught onto metal shards heated into being glowing orange. Smoke hissed from his palms, and Kiritsugu saw that they were healing. Avalon, the Ever Distant Utopia, the EX ranked Noble Phantasm. The sheath of the woman he had used, it was healing her betrayer.
He didn't care. Why would he if he could use it to save this woman. He would gladly use anything to save someone after all he had done.
Kiritsugu heaved a chipped metal plate off of the woman, which ripped the skin and muscle off of his hands, baring the white bones, and even that was healed as he dug through the dirt. And he then choked.
The woman was dead. From the angle of her body, her spine had been snapped by the storm of falling metal. Kiritsugu gurgled as tears filled his eyes. The woman had died covering her baby with her body. The child was only a few months old, and the face starting back at him bore the same innocence as Illya's. The blood covering the babe's face tainted that innocence.
"AHHHHHHHH!" Kiritsugu howled into his hands, as the Magus Killer broke down and sobbed. His mind and will finally shattered by the knowledge of what he done, that he had caused all of this suffering.
After a long moment, the machine that was Kiritsugu Emiya, seemingly dead of all human emotions, stood and scanned the area. Tears still flowed down his cheeks. Even he couldn't shut off all of his emotions, try as he might to do so.
Near heart of the blast. The hall. Kotomine and I. The Grail was above. Need to move away. Less likely to find survivors at the core. When the mud spread. There might be survivors. Kiritsugu thought to himself, his mind stuttering and stopping as he tried to regain the iron-control that had saved his life a thousand times over his career as an assassin.
There was nobody to save at the heart of the blast; he needed to head towards the edges. Away from here, away from that dead baby-Illya.
Away, just away from that.
And so, the choice was made, and that world halted in its rotation for just a moment. A single grain of rice can tip the scales, and a single choice made by a man in a ruined world of his own accidental devising, can create a new section of the multiverse. Kiritsugu Emiya's choice to turn and walk away from the center of Angra Mainyu's devastation changed his world from being one just another world bound to the whims of Fate.
Kiritsugu's stride was more like a robot's than a man's, as he stormed across the ground, his coat flapped in the breeze he storming walk created. His mind was finally stable enough to judge a person's condition with a mere glance. Structural Analysis could be used for more than just field stripping a rifle after all.
A dead man, brain crushed by blunt force impact. A child, burned to death. A woman, stabbed by falling timber… He saw everything clearly; he was Reinforcing his eyes to enhance his ability to see.
And tears still flowed down his face, into the collar of his suit.
A flicker of movement caught his eye. A boy with red hair, clad in a white jacket and little blue jeans, stumbled through the devastation.
He was alive.
Kiritsugu stopped and stared at the boy for a second, his stunned mind completely stopping for a second in disbelief at having found his goal at long last. Before restarting abruptly as beam from the rubble began to tip over towards the boy.
Time-Alter Double Accel. Kiritsugu's trademark verse hissed through his thoughts.
And a tunnel vision effect started, as his eyes zeroed in on the boy and nothing else. For the boy, Kiritsugu was likely a brown blur that went into a flying tackle, which knocked the poor lad out of the way in a fraction of a heartbeats time.
And the beam, now denied its victim, crashed into the ground, a cloud of dust flying into the air.
The boy was still in his grasp as Kiritsugu clung onto him for dear life. "You're alive, you're alive, you've ALIVE!" Kiritsugu sobbed into the child's shoulder. "Thank you, thank you." He rocked the red-haired boy in his grasp, his shoulders shook with sobs of relief.
He had it, at last. Something, someone, to give him a purpose to get out of this mess.
And he had saved the boy from harm, Kiritsugu realized as he drew back to scan over the child's body. Only a few scratches and some dirt were on the boy as he glanced up into the child's confused golden eyes and smiled.
The ramifications of the choice began to become clear rapidly. Because he chose to leave the area around the heart of Angra Mainyu's blackened curse, Kiritsugu Emiya, drunk on shock and pain, never stumbled across the Golden King and the murderous Kirei Kotomine. Kotomine never saw the condition his rival had fallen to, Kiritsugu never saw Kotomine alive.
And Shirou Emiya was rescued several moments early. A few moments, saved him from collapsing. His mind still lay blank from trauma, but his body still functioned enough for him to walk. And because of that single change, Kiritsugu never gave him the artifact that would shape the origin of the Hero of Wrought Iron.
Avalon remained in Kiritsugu Emiya.
Hey. I've finally decided to throw my hat into the ring! This my attempt to join the world of Fate/Stay Night fanfiction. Remember when you are reviewing that this is my first story, and that there are going to be mistakes because of that.
From here on out the chapters will be longer, and they will be posted on weekends.
Flames will be ignored, but please review.