To make a long story short, my Pen-drive died, taking with it a lot of my unpublished works, though i kept my notes separate thank god.
To keep from going insane, I'll be rewriting some of my older works, and publishing the few that managed to survive, like this one.
Fake x Fate
The Sky was burning.
If he listened closely, he could hear the voices calling out to him from between the crackling of the flames, begging, pleading with him to save them.
He recalled the final moments of a Mother and child before they were crushed beneath debris, unable to do anything but turn away and stagger desperately into the inferno.
The Sky was crying.
He recalled the final moments of the man he would come to call 'father', unable to do anything but vow to take up the man's flawed dream, burning the sight of his relieved smile into his mind.
He recalled a house, too large for one, yet constantly filled with the raucous laughter of a girl too old to be a child, yet too immature to be referred to as a 'woman'.
The Sky was Shining...
He recalled the clash of steel between Knights of Legend, a flash of Red & Blue that no mortal warrior could ever hope to compare. On one side, a savage beast in the shape of a wily hunter, on the other, a cracked reflection of a tainted ideal, an existence he could not deny, but refused to accept.
He recalled the maddened howl of the Bronze Giant, the greatest of heroes brought low, once again, by the whims of a woman. He recalled the beautiful monster, her form resplendent even as she savagely tore her opponents apart.
He recalled the coy magus, her elfin beauty concealed behind a hood, her love for a mortal man once again leading her to damnation at the hands of Death's Left Hand, the skull-faced killer ever-lurking in the shadows.
He recalled the final moments of the Lady Knight, his servant and protector, her emerald eyes, now a tainted gold, still burning with the pride of a king as he drove a dagger between her ribs.
The Sky was Darkening.
He recalled the final moments of the sisters, both of whom held a special place in his heart. A place he'd been forced to close at the sight of the elder laying in the arms of the younger, her aqua eyes rendered dim and lifeless by the darkness that had corrupted her sibling over the years.
He recalled the broken smile of the younger, her eyes tainted red by the darkness as she glanced at him, thanking him for ending her suffering even as he pulled the dagger out of her heart.
The Sky was Rotting.
He recalled the dark tower, that ominous, oppressive existence that had been festering beneath the city like a cancer for close to a century. He recalled standing before it, ready to wipe it from the face of the earth. He recalled the Golden King, proud as brass and bright as gold, his splendor matched only by his arrogance as he sought to keep him from his task, his countless treasures gleaming in the darkness as he stood before him, the final obstacle.
The Sky was falling.
He recalled the last moments of the Snow Fairy, her pale skin unnaturally cold, her crimson eyes forever shut by the King's first strike, having taken the blow meant for him.
Why would she do such a thing? Had she not suffered enough? Had he not promised her that he would save her? That he would stand by her side, no matter the odds?
"Silly Shirou…" she'd laughed, her smile shattering his heart into a million glass shards "It's the duty of the elder sibling to protect the younger, right?" her small hand cupped his cheek "Besides…I told you before…you shouldn't wish for the impossible."
He could not accept that. He REFUSED to accept such a fate. Howling his denial of such a world to the heavens, he had charged the Golden King, his forgeries clashing with their originals even as the Dark Tower lit up, like a beacon in the night.
Shirou awoke with a yell, his eyes wide, his body slick with sweat as he struggled to calm his racing heart, his vision swimming in and out of focus as a burning sensation raced up his left side. 'Dammit…!' he hissed, teeth clenching as his right hand gripped his cloth-clad left shoulder, fighting down the urge to scream despite the contrasting feelings of burning numbness from the limb itself and what was akin to countless ants crawling into his body where it connected to his shoulder.
It wasn't the first time his arm had given him trouble, hell given the situation he should be glad he was alive to feel any pain at all. Though then again, dying at the very least meant he wouldn't need to suffer like this.
'No.' he muttered, eyes hardening as he continued to grip his shoulder, even as his breathing slowly leveled out 'No running away…that's the coward's way out…'
With one last rasping breath, the pain began to ebb, the ants slowly receding, leaving only the uncomfortable numbness that seemed to permeate his entire left side.
'What time is it anyway?' he wondered, turning his attention to the nightstand, only to grimace as the digital clock confirmed that yes, he had well over an hour until he had to get up. 'May as well make the most of it…' he reasoned, tossing aside the sheets with a grunt & rising to his feet to begin his morning workout.
Fake-Life 1: False Start.
"Morning, Shirou." A voiced called out, the redhead looking up from the stove as his caretaker strolled into the room, dressed, as always, in his usual grey yukata with haori "You're up early."
"Morning, Azazel-san." Shirou replied, the redhead, now clad in a school uniform, not taking his eyes off the stove, more out of a desire to avoid looking at the man than concern for the food "Breakfast will be ready in just a bit, so have a seat."
"If only Vali was as well-mannered." Azazel chuckled, suppressing a yawn as he shuffled over to the table, picking up the morning paper while Shirou turned his attention back to the stove with a sigh.
It had been six months since Shirou had awoken in a private hospital run by one of Azazel's numerous 'subordinates', the man having brought him there when he'd stumbled across him 'lying half-dead in the gutter'. Despite the Faker's concerns, the man hadn't asked too many pertinent questions, which was good, as Shirou doubted he'd be able to answer them.
Fortunately, there was no need to lie to preserve secrecy of Magecraft, as one of the few questions the man asked was how he'd come to possess a Holy Shroud. At first, Shirou assumed he was speaking to an Executor of the Holy Church, as only members of the Burial Division would recognize the Shroud of Martin for what it was. When he'd posed the question however, Azazel had merely laughed at him.
That, and the fact the man clearly wasn't human, had reassured the Faker that he wasn't about to be made an 'example' of.
Not that the man's inhumanity meant anything to the Faker. After rubbing elbows with Counter-Guardians, Demi-Gods & the personification of All-The-World's-Evil, whatever Azazel was, at the very least he hadn't tried drinking his blood or strapping him to a dissection table.
Oh, make no mistake; there was no denying the man was powerful. Even slouched over like he was, casually reading the morning paper while dressed in a yukata & haori, he radiated Prana like an active Noble Phantasm and Shirou didn't doubt for a second he was holding back.
The Man's species aside, Shirou was more concerned with how he'd gotten from the caverns beneath Fuyuki City to a street in Kuoh City, a sentiment seemingly shared by Azazel, who went out of his way try and contact Fujimura Taiga, Shirou's Guardian in Fuyuki, to verify the redhead's claims, only to drop another bombshell on the boy.
There was no Fujimura Taiga. There was no Old Man Raiga, no Fujimura-Group. Even the staff at Homurahara had never heard of an 'Emiya-Shirou', and a call to the hospital shot down any hopes of him being listed as a 'survivor of the fire', the reason being that there never was one.
There never was a Holy Grail War, the Einzbern never teamed up with the Tohsaka & Matou to recreate the Heaven's Feel and so the being known as Emiya Shirou was never 'born'.
Faced with the reality of being stranded in a world where, for all intents & purposes, he did not exist, Shirou naturally went into shock, until Azazel spoke the words that had rocked him to his core:
"So kid, you wanna come with me?"
And so, for the second time in his life, Shirou found himself in the care of a shady, middle-aged man that, by all rights, should not have been able to just walk out the door with him, no doubt using whatever influence he possessed, material & otherwise, to have papers made in Shirou's name, including a birth certificate, passport and even a hanko for any official documentation he may receive in the future.
The similarities to Kiritsugu didn't stop there either. Indeed, there were times when it physically hurt Shirou to be around the Azazel, though thankfully they were few and far between. One of the key differences between them, other than the fact that Azazel was clearly a foreign non-human obsessed with local culture, was that his slothful nature stemmed from his laid-back attitude rather than a curse slowly eating away at his body. Not only that, while Kiritsugu could be kind of a drag, Azazel was almost disturbingly likable, always obsessed with the newest thing on the market.
'It's almost like he's the bastard child of Kiritsugu & Fuji-nee…' he mused, chuckling as he set the food on the table, recalling his guardian's childhood crush on his father, and how they'd both compete for the man's attention
"Mm, perfect as always, Shirou." Azazel complimented, his eyes dancing as he eagerly dug into the humble, in Shirou's opinion, breakfast "I swear your cooking could lead a Saint to sin."
"You're exaggerating." Shirou scoffed, the two of them continuing to dine in comfortably relative silence before he noticed the man suppressing a yawn "Were you working late last night?"
"Ah, one of my cute subordinates passed away some time ago." Azazel sighed, his good humour vanishing, replaced with a grim frown. "And to top it all off, it turns out the reason behind it was due to them running around carrying out errands for another one who's been scurrying around my back for some time now." He took a sip of miso soup "It hasn't gotten to the point I need to step in personally, but if he keeps this up I may need to have him cool his heels for a bit."
Shirou shivered but said nothing, more than used to such conversations after a lifetime accompanying Fujimura Raiga whenever the old man had desired some company. You didn't associate with the head of a Yakuza group, or cohabit with the man's Granddaughter, without learning to filter certain troubling turns of phrase.
"Shouldn't you be heading out?" Azazel wondered, glancing up at the wall-mounted clock for emphasis, Shirou's eyes widening in alarm as he realized he was running late "Don't worry about the dishes, I'll sort them out."
"In that case, I'll be off." Shirou conceded, rising from his seat, making certain to pick up his packed lunch from the fridge before heading on his way, Azazel turning on the television just as the Faker shut the door behind him.
For the first month or so since awakening in this new world, Shirou had done nothing but try to determine just how much it differed from his own. To his relief, the two were almost eerily similar, possessing similar histories & events that had led to the formation of modern society, so it wasn't as if he had to deal with any culture shock on the mundane front.
The Magical side of things, however, was a completely different story, evidenced by the first time he'd tried activating his circuits, only to almost kill himself as the ambient Mana surged into his body, forcing him to trace several blades in order to avoid death by Prana Overload. It was a good thing he'd had the foresight to keep Archer's Arm wrapped up; otherwise he was fairly certain the damn thing would have devoured him on the spot.
As it were, however, that brief experiment had made it very clear to Shirou that either the Laws of Magic were different in this world, or Gaea's influence wasn't as strong. Personally, Shirou was aiming towards the latter, due to the fact that, despite some time passing from his rushed trace, the Traced blades hadn't disappeared until he'd consciously ordered them to do so, leaving only one to monitor in his room until it finally disappeared a few days later.
He wouldn't be able to confirm his suspicions until he came in contact with this world's equivalent of the Association, but from what little he'd managed to observe, and the presence of various non-human entities he'd sensed wandering around town, Shirou had soon concluded that, as bizarre as it sounded, this world's Age of the Gods had yet to end, and indeed had persisted to the modern era.
For less experienced Magi, such a thing would have been seen as a dream come true, a chance for them to take their research to new heights, and perhaps even achieve their clan's goal of reaching the Akashic Record. For Shirou, who had experienced first-hand the power of those who lived through the Age of Gods, it was a daunting prospect.
Still, all work and no play made Azazel bored, and so, despite Shirou's wishes to the contrary, his inhuman guardian had enrolled him at a local high school in the hopes of preventing him from 'Missing Out on (his) Rosy High School Life'. This, more than anything, proved beyond a doubt in Shirou's mind that whatever else Azazel may be, he had to be somehow related to Taiga, as she was the only person capable of saying something so corny with a straight face.
And so, despite his protests & countless hurled objects of a sharp, pointy variety, Shirou found himself walking through the gates of the prestigious Kuoh Academy three months later as a Second-Year Transfer from Fuyuki City.
Ominous name & decidedly Western themed Architecture aside, the school wasn't all that different from Homurahara. Indeed, Shirou soon found himself drawing parallels with his Alma-mater to the point he found himself looking for familiar faces in the hallways, only to hurriedly avert his eyes in order to be mistaken as a creeper by the multitude of young women that filled them.
That was one area where Kuoh differed from Homurahara, as at its founding it had been a prestigious All-Girls School, famous for catering to the Educational Needs of Exceptional, both in terms of looks & academics, Young Women. The Academy had stood the test of time for generations, refusing to open the gates to male students until fairly recently, when the Director, for reasons Shirou had yet to find a valid explanation for, had decided to make the school Co-ed, allowing boys to enroll for the first time in generations.
No one was entirely certain just what had affected this change in policy. It certainly wasn't due to lack of funds, nor was it acceptance rates. Indeed, the entry requirements for Kuoh had actually been LOWERED in order to improve the male turnout for the year…which Shirou was ashamed to admit was probably the only reason Azazel had managed to enroll him, given his lack of school documents.
In order to compensate for this, despite Azazel assuring him that his tuition was paid in full, Shirou had fallen into his old role as 'Fake Janitor', helping out the various clubs and faculty members where needed, never asking for anything in return. Needless to say, this quickly endeared him to most of the Seniors & Staff members, earning him the, slightly more flattering nickname of 'Handyman Emiya' and, more embarrassingly, the 'Kuoh Brownie'.
It also brought him to the attention of the Student Council, a prospect that was both refreshing, in that the President reminded him a lot of his friend, Ryuudo Issei, and concerning, as she, and the entire Council for that matter, not only weren't human, but from their scent were an entirely different species from Azazel.
Fortunately, much like his caretaker, they seemed content to masquerade as ordinary humans, so for the moment he'd kept his apprehensions to himself. It certainly didn't hurt that the scent of Sona and her clique didn't send him racing for the hills, unlike a certain redheaded sempai that seemed determine to speak with him for some reason these last few months.
Kuoh Academy: Student Council Office.
"Okay," Shirou grunted, his Ochre eyes narrowing in concentration as he examined the mess of wires before him, a screwdriver gripped in his free hand "I think I see what the problem is."
"Sorry to bother you with this, Emiya-kun." Shitori Sona offered, the reserved President looking up from her paperwork to see what the redhead was doing over the rim of her glasses.
"This is the third time it's broken down this month, Kaichou." Meguri Tomoe groaned, the Secretary glaring at the offending Heater "We really should call in a repair-man."
"We wouldn't be able to even if there was room left in the budget." Ruruko sighed dejectedly, the Treasurer slumping morosely across her desk "Kaichou already allocated the budgets for this semester, so there's nothing we can do."
"We wouldn't have to do anything if the last caretaker hadn't been caught hiding cameras in the girl's locker rooms." Shinra Tsubaki opined, the Vice-President's hetero-chromatic eyes flashing in silent anger at the recollection "Honestly, how a pervert like that managed to slip through the cracks for so long is beyond me."
"You mean like how the Perverted Trio are still running rampant?" Tomoe teased, earning a frown from the older girl "Honestly, I'm surprised Kaichou didn't have them expelled from the start."
A sentiment Shirou, and most of the female student body, agreed with, given what little interaction he'd had with the trio of idiots that were unanimously reviled by pretty much every decent human being on campus, staff and student alike.
One of the many downsides of the lowered entry requirements that had quickly raised its ugly head was the fact that, out of the comparatively small handful of male students that managed to pass the exam & earn a place within the hallowed halls of Kuoh, there existed a sizable number who had only done so because of Kuoh's reputation for housing 'babes'.
Case in point, The Perverted Trio, a Trifecta of Stupidity composed of Matsuda the 'Perverted Paparazzi', Motohama the 'Three-Size-Scouter' & Hyoudou Issei, the 'Self-Proclaimed Harem King'.
Somehow, despite all logic, the three of them had managed to garner over 30 detentions and a suspension apiece within the first month of enrollment for peeking & taking illicit photos, though thankfully they hadn't seen fit to try anything of a more physical nature.
A good thing too, otherwise Shirou wouldn't have been the only one with something to say. Nor did he doubt for a second that he wouldn't be the only one letting his fists do the talking.
Some might find this a surprisingly harsh opinion, especially anyone who'd known Shirou in his past life. And truth be told if the trio showed any remorse for their actions, he might not have held them in such low regard.
But no, not only did the three stooges refuse to show remorse for their actions; they honestly believed it was their God-Given right to violate their classmates' basic human rights to satisfy their base urges.
Even putting aside what he'd learned of Sakura's upbringing, Shirou had never been the sort to avert his eyes from wrongdoing, and it didn't get worse than sexually harassing someone. He therefore felt wholly justified about breaking Issei's nose when the little shit had invited him to 'Join Us in the Search for Oppai-tenment'.
Hell, he hadn't even gotten a detention for it, if anything it had only served to improve his own reputation among the staff & student body, to say nothing of Sona's opinion of him.
"Tomoe, Tsubaki, that's enough." Sona intervened, silencing her fellow council members with a stern look before turning to regard Shirou "Well then, Emiya-kun, can it be fixed?"
"Mm," Shirou confirmed with a nod, subtly adding the finishing touches to the heater before closing his circuits "I'd still recommend getting someone to give this a proper look-over if you're not going to replace it. As it stands, this is a temporary fix at best."
"I'll see about making arrangements before the Winter Term rolls around." Sona mused offhandedly, gesturing towards Tsubaki, who diligently made a note of the issue for their next meeting with the faculty "Thank you for your efforts, Emiya-kun. Rest assured; you shall be compensated for your assistance."
"There's no need for that." Shirou countered hurriedly, hoping to dissuade her before things turned into an argument, only to flinch as Sona adjusted her glasses pointedly.
"Emiya-kun," she cut in, her tone all-too-similar to Rin's whenever the Elder Tohsaka sibling felt the need to point out why Shirou was an idiot "While your generosity is to be commended, I cannot in good faith allow you to walk out that door without some form of reimbursement for your time. Not only would it reflect badly on the Student Council, it would mark you as a patsy for anyone looking to shirk their duties."
"I understand, Shitori-Kaichou…" Shirou sighed, rubbing the back of his head absentmindedly "I just don't like the idea that I'm getting paid for something I did on a whim."
"As expected of Kuoh Academy's Brownie." Genshirou Saji chortled, the sole male Council Member smirking at the redhead from the side "Truly, you're a credit to us all."
"Ara, didn't Gen-chan also take advantage of Emiya-kun though?" Tomoe opined, heedless of her colleague's look of alarm "After all, weren't you supposed to fix the heater last week?"
"Saji…" Sona intoned, the boy in question freezing before slowly turning to face the bespectacled president, only to flinch as her glasses ominously reflected the light of the room "Is this true?"
"I think I'd better leave." Shirou opined, wincing as the scent of Sona's power, which had been permeating the room, slowly increased, the Faker wishing Saji all the luck in the world as he made for the door, only to freeze as a familiar, intimidating scent hit him right in the face.
It wasn't a bad smell by any means. Indeed, it carried the sweet undertone of honey that Sona & the rest of the council, sans Saji, gave off. However, unlike Sona, whose power smelled like running water, this scent had every fibre of his being screaming at him to run like his life depended on it.
The last time he'd smelled something like this, he'd been facing off against Gilgamesh before the Greater Grail, the corrupted vessel on the verge of giving birth to 'All the World's Evil'. It was therefore rather off-putting that the owner of the scent possessed such a friendly smile.
"Ah! Emiya-kun!" The tall, buxom redhead greeted, her blue-green eyes brightening cheerfully at the sight of him, a sentiment shared by her dark-haired companion, though her smile carried a hint of mischief "Good afternoon-!"
Shutting the door in her face & locking it for good measure, Shirou proceeded to ignore her surprised exclamations & the bemused looks of the Student Council as he calmly crossed the room to a window, which he proceeded to open & climb out of, pausing only to shut it behind him before turning on his heel and sprinting off into the distance.
"Well…" Tsubaki mused, unable to hide her amusement as Saji seized the opportunity to escape Sona's sight by rushing to open the locked door "That happened."
"Indeed." Sona mused, torn between her disapproval of Shirou's behavior & her amusement at the look on her rival's face as Saji showed her in "Good Afternoon, Rias, Akeno."
"Good Afternoon, Sona." The Gremory heiress returned the greeting, her Queen, Himejima Akeno smiling as she inclined her head at "Was that Emiya-kun earlier?"
"You just missed him." Sona supplied, gesturing to the windows for emphasis, hiding her amusement at her friend's ensuing pout behind a disapproving frown "Was there something you needed him for?"
"Not really." Rias sighed, shaking her head in exasperated disappointment "I'd just like to know why he always tries to run away whenever I try to talk to him."
"Maybe you did something so terrible to him in the past he developed a fear for you?" Akeno opined, not even trying to hide her amusement at the "Maybe he drummed up the courage to ask you out, only for you to carelessly trample over his feelings when you rejected him?"
"Akeno!" Rias chided, flushing at her Queen's imagination "Stop making me sound like the villain in a bad soap opera!" she huffed crossly "Besides, I honestly can't recall ever meeting him before."
"I wouldn't be surprised, considering he only enrolled at the Academy this year." Sona opined, accepting a folder from Tsubaki, Shirou's picture attacked to the front page "He transferred from Homurahara in Fuyuki city, but was forced to repeat a year to make up for his lackluster marks."
"So he's technically a 3rd year, Kaichou?" Ruruko noted brightly, earning a troubled look from Saji, "You'd better get him something nice as thanks for fixing the heater, Gen-chan."
"Ara, so the Brownie of Kuoh strikes again I see." Akeno mused, ignoring Saji's splutters in favor of the aforementioned heater as Rias ran her fingers over it as if testing for dust "Well?"
"Mm, there's no doubt about it." Rias confirmed, her expression unreadable as she drew her hand back & turned to face Sona "It's faint, almost non-existent really, but I can detect some traces of the same magical signature we've been sensing on and off around campus the past few months."
"I see…" Sona mused, her expression just as unreadable as Rias' as she adjusted her glasses in thought "I had my suspicions, but I never would have imagined a Magician would be so daring as to sneak into our territory, especially given recent events."
"You think he could have been affiliated with Raynare's group?" Rias pondered, crossing her arms beneath her considerable bust, much to Sona's irritation "It would certainly explain his wariness around me, and not all of her accomplices were accounted for, Freed Sellzen being a prime example."
"Possible." Sona mused, shivering slightly at the mention of the insane exorcist "Though from what little we know, it seems Sellzen hates Magicians just as much as Devils, so it's unlikely Emiya-kun would have had any involvement with him."
"Could he simply have moved here without knowing this territory was under the protection of the Gremory & Sitri clans?" Reya suggested "I mean, none of the residual magic we've sensed around campus has been remotely offensive, right?"
"True. He only seems to use it to gain a better understanding of the inner-workings of the machines he repairs." Tsubaki opined as she adjusted her glasses "In cases where the magic lingers, it seems to be strengthening faulty components until such time they can be replaced."
"Ara, it would seem his reputation as a 'Brownie' is well deserved after all…" Akeno mused, licking her fingers with a sultry smile, "I can only wonder what secrets he may be hiding…"
Sona said nothing, more than familiar with the antics of her friend's Queen, even if she shared her thoughts on the matter. No matter how highly the staff & student body spoke of him, no matter how well-intentioned his actions may be, the fact remained that Emiya Shirou was an unknown Magician that had somehow managed to slip under their radar in the wake of the 'Twilight Healing Incident'.
True, Rias' 'Occult Research Club' had resolved the issue swiftly, garnering the Gremory two valuable new addition to her peerage in the process, but it didn't change the fact that, somehow, no less than Four Fallen Angels & a squad of Stray-Exorcists had managed to sneak into their territory.
Such a slip-up could be fatal in the future. Hell, it HAD cost Rias new peerage members their mortal lives, so it was only understandable that, even if it turned out he wasn't a threat, Sona wouldn't rest till she learned just what rock Emiya Shirou had crawled out from under.
"For now, I propose we merely adopt a 'wait and see' approach." She suggested, Rias nodding her head in agreement "If it turns out he's simply ignorant, we may consider approaching him." Her glasses flashed ominously "Should his intentions be less than noble, however…"
Her implication was clear, though Sona was surprised to note quite a few people in the room seemed troubled by the prospect of having to kill Emiya Shirou. Herself included.
Kuoh City: After Hours.
"I'm heading off, Master." Shirou called out, the Faker waving in passing to the owner of Azazel's favorite bar, where he worked part time in order to earn some spending money "I'll see you tomorrow!"
"Take care kid!" the mustachioed owner called out, nodding his head from the bar, where he was dutifully cleaning a glass with a clean rag "Tell 'Az' to stop on by sometime, will ya?"
"I will." Shirou called out, stepping out of the bar only to curse as he found himself standing in a rainstorm, the Faker holding his book-bag over his head as he raced for the nearest shelter.
'Of all the times to forget an umbrella…' he muttered, part of him considering using projection to trace one, only to scoff at the idea moments later, imaging the look on Rin's face at such a use for his one skill, his good mood souring instantly at the memory of his first true mentor in Magecraft.
'Where did it all go so wrong?' he wondered, gazing up at the cloudy sky, part of him wishing it would wash his memories away, just like it had that day Kiritsugu had pulled him out of the fire.
If he closed his eyes, he could still see them, see the faces of the people he'd vowed, and failed, to save, from Saber, who had vowed to fight on his side only to die with his dagger in her chest, to Sakura, poor, beautiful, broken Sakura, who had tearfully voiced her love for him as he cleaved her head from her shoulders.
He remembered Shinji's terrified screams and Kotomine's mocking praises. He recalled Lancer's feral grin, Archer's judging gaze. He'd lost count of the times the memory of Berserker's mad howl had shaken him from his fitful slumber.
And most of all, he remembered Ilya's sad smile as she lay dying in his arms.
He'd cast aside his dreams for her, forsworn the borrowed ideals of a hero of justice, sacrificed friend, foe & even his left arm, all for the sake of preserving the smile of a sister he'd never known, who had spent her entire life hating him for a crime he'd never knowingly committed.
It hadn't been enough, after everything he'd sacrificed, it hadn't been enough to save the one person he'd wanted to save above all else.
He recalled snapping, unleashing all the grief, all the anger, all the resentment he had on the Golden King that stood in his way, wordlessly voicing his denouncement of such a world with each blow.
It could not have been called a wish, he had been in no state to coherently voice such a thing, but the sheer fervor with which he denied the world around him struck a chord with the taint at the core of the Greater Grail, giving it all the incentive it needed to manifest a wish.
He had denounced the world that had crushed his dreams, so Angra Mainyu sent him to a new one.
A pained cry snapped him out of his thoughts, quickly followed by the familiar sound of live steel digging into flesh. As if on autopilot, he found himself racing through the rain, urged on by the fading cries for help, pulling up short just as he reached the scent of blood, his eyes narrowing as he peered around the corner.
Lying face down in a growing pool of blood was a Priest, the back of his vestments laced with numerous cuts. Standing over the man was another, younger priest, this one wearing a black overcoat & a crazed expression as he leered at a blonde youth in a Kuoh Academy Uniform sans the blazer.
"Yoo-hoo~" the grey-haired priest called out, his features crazed and mocking as he smiled at the blonde teen "It's been a while, hasn't it? Did you miss me? Prince Shit of the Shitty Devils?"
"Freed Sellzen-!" The blonde spat, Shirou's eyes widening as he recognized Kiba Yuuto, the unofficial 'Prince' of Kuoh Academy, and one of several 'nonhumans' he'd seen associating with she-who-must-be-avoided "What rock have you been hiding under all this time?"
"It must be fate!" the priest, Freed, crooned, his voice sending shivers of disgust up Shirou's spine as he gyrated perversely "I can't help but shed a tear at such a joyous reunion!"
"Unfortunately for you, I'm not in the mood for any of your bad jokes." Kiba muttered, Shirou's eyes widening as a magic circle appeared before the blonde, a sword manifesting itself in his hands.
"That's perfect!" Freed, cackled, waving his own sword overhead, the blade lighting up with a golden aura even as he leered at the blonde "I was getting bored just running around killing priests…!"
"That light-!" Kiba exclaimed, his handsome features twisting in a mixture of alarm and utter loathing as he gaped at the weapon in the deranged priest's hands "That aura…it can't be-!"
"Oh but it can!" Freed countered with a sneer "Nice timing! As penance for your previous actions against my noble self, let's see which is stronger: Your piece of shit Demon Sword, or my Holy Blade, Ex-Cali-Bur~?!"
The Sky was crying…
And I'll end it there for now.
As you can guess, this isn't the usual 'Shirou' thrown into the DxD verse fic. No, this one follows how I'd perceive a Bad End(?) for the Legendary Lost Ilya-Route to go. And considering most of Ilya's route was absorbed into Sakura's, it makes sense that Shirou would come out of it with Archer's arm.
Now, let me get some things out of the way.
First: NO. Shirou will NOT be joining a peerage. It's been done to death by people with a lot more talent than myself & I have nothing against it but for this story Shirou will remain 100% human...or as human as a man made out of swords can be.
Secondly: Shirou won't be spamming Noble Phantasms. Even UBW Shirou couldn't do that without Rin's help and this one has Archer's arm latched onto him. At the very best he can trace simple weapons but other than Kanshou & Bakuya anything else will require the use of the Artificial Phantasm.
Thirdly: As you might have surmised, things got pretty fubar this route. I'll go into more detail as time goes on but let's just say Shirou's choices had huge consequences, as expected of a protagonist. Needless to say, those consequences have made Shirou different from his canonical self somewhat & so explain any deviations from character.
Fourthly: There will be considerable changes. Normally I'm not one to rock the boat but in the wake of the aforementioned catastrophe I've decided to live a little and have altered certain events, as would be expected of throwing a wrench as considerable as Emiya Shirou into the works. No spoilers but let's just say bitches gonna die.