Disclaimer: I do not own Fate Stay Night, and the introduction is based upon the ending of the UBW route in the FSN visual novel.

A.N. As people have been asking about this here are some explanations for some of the things that go on in this fic.

- I didn't spell-check this before I put it up. Sorry to everyone that had to look at some of the glaring errors in the previous version. Hopefully (fingers crossed) its been fixed now.

1. Shirou can trace Caliburn as it was one of the weapons stored in Archer's UBW that Shirou 'memorised' back in the 5th grail war. I saw no reason for Shirou being unable to drag this out when he could trace everything else in there.

2. Shirou traces Caliburn as he summons Saber as he does not know that Avalon is inside him. In the FSN game Shirou goes through the whole UBW route without ever once realising that he holds the sheath of Excalibur inside him.

I'll answer questions from now as they come after new chapters.

Prologue

5th Grail War- Brilliant Years, Unlimited Blade Works True Ending

And so, his task completed, the red swordsman faded into the sunrise. Within moments only memories of his existence remained.

" -- Hn. In the end, I never got to voice all my complaints."

For the girl he left behind the sudden parting was expected but painful nonetheless, but her stubborn nature soon reasserted itself and she wiped away her tears.

Something that was only to be expected.

Having seen an expression like that upon his face there was no reason for Rin to feel down, and after saying a silent goodbye to the golden horizon her servant had left behind she rushed over to Shirou's side.

Because his face at the time had reminded her of a certain youth. Everything was bound to turn out alright.

10 years on - London

10 am, and Tohsaka Rin was not in a good mood.

"Shirou? Are you sleeping in again?" Her voice was waspish as she knocked on the door to Shirou's room.

Silence answered her.

Getting aggravated she tried the door. Locked, just like the bathroom had been. No helping it then.

"Alright Shirou! You asked for this!" Her hand formed a gun shape as he pointed her index finger at the doorlock. "Gandr, Zweistellung!"

The storm of gands ripped through the heavy pine like paper, making matchsticks of the wood around the lock, and the rest of the door for that matter. Ignoring the carnage she had created Tohsaka Rin stepped through the smoking ruins of the door. Shirou could trace a replacement later anyhow.

"Alright Shirou, what in the world were you... thinking... Eh?"

Instead of finding a cowering Emiya Shirou, Tohsaka Rin unexpectedly found herself alone in a cluttered room. When she took the time to calm down and look more closely she realised that someone had hastily packed for a journey, scattering clothes and magical aids all across the usually meticulous floor.

"What the..." Shocked was putting it mildly. Where had Shirou gone? Why had he gone? And more importantly what was that idiot thinking, not telling her? At that moment she spotted a conspicuously placed envelope upon the crowded work bench beside the bed and picked it up.

Inside was a short letter addressed to her.

Dear Rin

By the time you read this I should be halfway to Japan. I didn't tell you I was going because I didn't want you to worry about anything. You have that report you need to finish for the old man anyway don't you? So just keeping working and I will be back before you know it.

Stay safe.

-Shirou

Halfway through reading the letter Rin's hands had started trembling, by the time she finished they were clenched so tightly that the paper she held in her hands was torn in two.

"Shirou..." she whispered in a cold voice.

Rin's eyes darted around the room as she mentally listed all the things that were missing. The ceremonial dagger she had given him as a birthday present four years ago, Basic Summoning Volume I and II, a curiously empty shelf on the far wall where Shirou usually left his combat gear, and... A bottle of quicksilver? The only thing he could use that for was drawing magical circles. A book on summoning, a prana-filled dagger, components for drawing magic circles. That added up to...

"Shirou, you IDIOT!" Rin shouted, then she ran out to start getting ready to go to Japan. Fuyuki was her family's territory and if her suspicions were correct she needed to get back as quickly as possible.

The Holy Grail War, a conflict between seven mages (usually seven she reflected as she remembered the damned priest, you could never tell what kind of person would come leaping in) for the greatest of prizes. She had believed the whole thing to be ended with the last war when her servants had destroyed the grail, but that cursed artefact seemed to be stirring once more, pulling in her lover in the bargain.

Don't die before I get there Shirou, Rin thought as she packed. Don't you dare die.

At the same time in Eastern China

On the banks of the mighty Yangtze River a cloaked man stood surrounded by flames. A pale hand was raised and the fires climbed higher, reaching up as if to touch the night sky.

Then the chanting began.

"-- Hear me.

If thou wouldst serve under me, my fate will be entwined with thy blade.

If thou wouldst hear these words under the laws of the grail, come.

For the river of war flows once more.

It calls to thee who followed its path.

By the memory of conflict held in this blade I abjure thee.

Let blood rain from the sky again.

Come forth, my servant!"

With that ringing cry the incantation was ended and the flames flared up in an awesome pyroclastic display before suddenly flickering out. The sudden loss of the light blinded the mage, and the first he knew that there was someone before him was when a powerful hand clapped down upon his shoulder. A grip of steel delivered by a hand that would have been at home on a giant. Alarmed by this sudden abuse of his person the mage tried to shake it off but the attempt was futile.

The huge figure examined the mage. Fierce brown eyes looking him over as a booming voice asked, "I would ask thee, are you my master?"

"I am Bao Wei, mage of the Green Dragon clan. Who are you?" the man gasped out. He was out of breath from hyperventilating.

"I am the servant of the steed, Rider."


Chapter 1

Day 1 - Fuyuki City

At a bus-stop in the suburbs of Fuyuki a bus stopped and a tall, brown-haired man got off. He was carrying a large duffel bag and a long package wrapped in cloth hung across his broad shoulders, made to seem even broader by the bulky grey trench-coat he was wearing to counter the winter chill.

Once he was off the bus drove off leaving Shirou by himself on the deserted road. He was surprised to see the old neighbourhood so quiet. Before it hadn't been unusual to see at least five or six people out and about even at this time of day when everyone was busy with school or work.

"Well, it has been four years I suppose," muttered Shirou as he started walking.

As he made his way to the house he had once called home Shirou took the opportunity to examine his surroundings. On the surface not much appeared to have changed. A few new houses here and there, a new slide in the neighbourhood playground, not much different from how it had looked in his high school days. Over it all however hung the strange quiet he had felt back when he first arrived.

Shirou looked up from his thoughts and found himself standing in front of the still familiar gate. A faint smile appeared on his face as he remembered the times he had had in the house. All the good times and the not-so-good times. He had gone through it all with one person or another coming into his life to help him along. Out of them all however one person still haunted his memories. The blue swordswoman who had erupted into his life that night 10 years ago. The girl who had disappeared without a word at the conclusion of their last battle together, leaving behind regrets about what could have been.

The golden-haired knight who was the main reason for his return to Japan.

The thought made Shirou remember what he had come here to do and he shook his head in self-admonishment. He had a lot of things to do if he was to see her again and wallowing in nostalgia wasn't one of them. If everything went right he would be able to see her in person soon anyway. Time to get with the program and start working.

When he unlocked the door Shirou smiled as he noted that the house had been well cared for in his absence. Someone had swept the floor recently and the air smelled of nothing more than fresh air. There were even some fresh flowers in the vase by the entrance, something even he hadn't often remembered to do when he lived here. Happy with the way his childhood home had been treated in the years he had been away Shirou made his way to the living room.

"Gotcha!" came the sudden cry.

A wooden practice sword swung through the air Shirou's head had occupied half a second ago. Shirou himself was already crouched down and jumping forward, tackling his masked attacker and bringing them down hard.

"Ooof!" The masked attacker let out a grunt of pain as her back hit the wooden floor. Having winded his opponent Shirou was able to suppress the woman relatively easily.

"Alright who..." Shirou began as he noticed the familiar hairstyle peeking out from behind the mask. "Fuji-nee?"

The masked attacker coughed and wheezed as she regained her breath. Then she took off the black balaclava and glared at Shirou. "Ahhhh. No fair Shirou. That really hurt you know" Shirou shook his head at the childish whining but Taiga continued. "It's not fair for you to get so strong either. I trained really hard since the last time too..."

Shirou couldn't help but smile as he saw that sulking face from his younger days. Yeah, everything was as he had left it. To cheer her up again Shirou decided that the time had come to reveal one of the secret weapons he had bought on the way.

"Sorry about that Fuji-nee. Will you accept this as a suitable apology?" He pulled out a strange package from his bag.

Taiga's eyes went bright and she leapt on the offering like a cat. "Oh? Could it be? ... Haggis!" There was a cat-like grin on her face when she turned around again. "Anything else in that bag of yours for your dear sister?"

Shirou laughed and got up. "Sorry Fuji-nee, the rest of its all my stuff. How have you been?"

Taiga smiled and stretched out a hand. Shirou grabbed it and pulled her up, and then they went into the living room as they talked.

"Everything's been the same as usual around here. Dad is still going strong and the rest of the guys are fine too. Oh, and Raiga wants to see you by the way. He says that the next time you come by he might be dead." Taiga laughed as they took a seat. "Of course that's what he said last time the old maniac."

"I will swing by sometime later, but I'm gonna be a bit busy for the next few days." Shirou poured some tea from the teapot that was already laid out on the table and took a sip, putting the cup down hurriedly once he had tasted it. Taiga's skills in the food department hadn't changed either. "How are things at school?"

"Hmm?" Taiga took a sip from her own cup but didn't seem to notice anything strange about the taste. "Oh schools fine, Ayako sensei is doing well too. Those first years adore her even when she's being all stern with them saying things like 'Kurosaki-kun! If you don't wake up I will make you run 50 laps around the field!'." Taiga smiled. "It still feels a bit strange to work with my former student but she is really doing a good job." Then, an annoyed expression crossed her face. "Although she does keep calling me 'Taiga-sensei'. Even though I tooold her not tooo!"

Shirou mumbled the words 'Ayako-sensei' to try them out and shook his head in disbelief. Both he and Rin had known Ayako was going to become a teacher but he had forgotten about it until Fuji-nee had brought it up now. It just didn't seem right to call Ayako 'sensei', especially when she was working at the same high school they had all attended.

"So Shirou-chan what are you and Tohsaka doing these days?" Taiga asked as she decimated the biscuits. "Still working as a mechanic over there?"

For a minute Shirou had no idea what Fuji-nee was talking about, then realisation struck. "I'm only working part-time as a mechanic these days Fuji-nee" The lie came out smoothly, virtue of constant practice. "These days I mostly make custom equipment for people. Rin is working on her PhD." Of course everything he had just said wasn't precisely a lie. He was a fully qualified mechanic, and he did do some work repairing cars and making parts, but most of the work he did had very little to do with machines. On top of that, Rin? PhD.? It was probably a good idea to distract Fuji-nee before he had to get too specific about their lives.

"Hey Fuji-nee is Sakura in town? Things didn't turn out so well last time I talked with her." Shirou frowned when Taiga winced upon hearing the question.

"Sakura is still here but... She most likely doesn't want to see you." Taiga frowned in displeasure. "What happened with you guys anyway? She used to enjoy being with you so much but nowadays she gets all angry if I even mention your name in a conversation. Not that I've talked to her very often lately."

Shirou sighed. He would have thought that four years was enough time for her to forgive and forget, but apparently that wasn't the case. Then again, the last words she had spoken to him at that time were as painful as ever. So maybe it wasn't that strange for her to hold a grudge.

"Just forget about it Fuji-nee. It's not something we can do anything about." Taiga looked like she wanted to say something but Shirou pleaded with his eyes for her to let it go. Sighing a deep sigh of her own Taiga returned her attention to the snacks on the tray. Relieved by this Shirou grabbed a cookie for himself.

"Awww, you aren't going to come over for dinner?" Taiga reminded Shirou at this moment of an eight year old girl who had just heard that her dad wasn't going to be home for her birthday.

"Sorry Fuji-nee, I will be over there the day after tomorrow. Really!" The really was a response to the doubtful stare Taiga gave him. "I'm just too tired today and I have a lot of work to do tomorrow sorting out my passport and all."

"Well... I guess..." Taiga still looked sad.

Shirou sighed. Some people never changed. "Tell you what Fuji-nee. Come over tomorrow morning and I will make breakfast for you, 'kay?"

"Really? I haven't had one of your breakfasts in years! Almost forgotten what they taste like because of that." In the midst of her greedy rapture Taiga suddenly froze and fixed Shirou with a glare. "You are going to make rice right. Not some British junk like toast or anything."

"It will be rice Fuji-nee. Since it's the first time in a while I will even make some extra side dishes. Now get going already, it's late and I need to sleep." Shirou waved Taiga off, waving until she had disappeared around the corner.

Closing the door Shirou leant back against the wall and closed his eyes. He really was tired from the journey, having spent 12 hours in a plane from Heathrow to Japan, then 2 hours in a bus coming to Fuyuki. Nevertheless he forced his eyes open again and began unpacking the things he needed to start the task he had come to do. This was a chance he wasn't going to pass up even if it meant going without sleep for a week, one day was nothing.


Four hours later Shirou was done. In the old shed out back the faded circle had been resketched, with quicksilver marking out the cardinal points. All that was left now was to begin the summoning itself.

Taking up position upon the Northern pole of the circle Shirou calmed his breathing. He needed to clear his mind, turning his consciousness away from the outside world to focus upon the world inside his soul.

"I am the bone of my sword."

His circuits came to life, filling him with power. Now to harness that power and turn it to the creation of the one item that he needed in order to make this whole ritual succeed.

"Basic structure analysis, complete.

Material analysis, complete.

Recreation of history, complete."

A golden light began to form in Shirou's hand. Taking the form of a sword he had glimpsed ten years ago.

"-- Tracing..."

The light grew brighter and brighter, reaching the point where Shirou had to turn his eyes away from the weapon forming in his hand. After a few seconds that seemed like an eternity the light began to fade, and an ornate sword was revealed.

"... Complete." Shirou looked down at the sword resting in his hand. Then and now this sword was one that never failed to move him when he saw it, and he involuntarily whispered its name.

"Caliburn..."

Shirou felt his legs give way as his weary body complained. Pushing himself to his limits though he stood back up, he still had to get through the rest of the ritual.

Carefully examining the area where he had collapsed he scanned the circle for any damaged areas. Seeing none he got up and took his position at the Northern pole again. This time he thrust Caliburn in front of him so that it pointed straight towards the Azoth dagger he had placed at the other end. Preparations all done he then started the main act of the day.

"-- Hear me.

If thou wouldst serve under me, my fate and shall follow thy blade.

If thou wouldst hear these words under the laws of the grail, come."

The shed was once more filled with light, this time a pale blue that brought to mind a cool breeze dancing across a mountain lake. Unmoved by this Shirou continued the chant.

"For I am the one who challenges fate.

I follow my one path, waiting for ones arrival.

You who once fought by my side.

Answer the call of thy blade.

Come forth, my servant!"

With that the summoning was concluded. Caliburn shattered in Shirou's grasp, the image that he had created unable to withstand the strain of such a difficult magic working. Across from him the Azoth shattered as well, the blood red jewel that decorated the hilt exploding into a million little crystals. One after another the components that Shirou had used to draw the circle self-destructed or evaporated away. What was left behind was... Nothing.

Shirou collapsed onto the ground, the realisation of failure striking him harder than his fatigue. He had just expended what amounted to four years worth of his magic for nothing. Bringing his left hand to his face he stared at the markings that had appeared on them just two days ago. When they had first appeared he had been filled with hope and excitement at the thought of seeing her again. Now it looked like he was doomed to lose this war before he had even begun.

"Goddamn it... I guess a mere ten years of schooling wasn't enough to do this properly," muttered Shirou to himself. Right now his feelings were a curious mix of anger, frustration, sadness, and a hefty dose of embarrassment. If Rin saw him right now she would most likely call him an idiot and start lecturing him about preparation and caution.

Then, from outside the shed, there came a voice he had heard only in dream for the past ten years.

"Oh, I don't know about that Shirou." A clear voice full of amusement and affection. "You just misplaced me by a few spear lengths. Apart from that I seem to be fine."

Shirou stayed prostrate for a long moment, making sure that he wasn't dreaming. Nope, he was awake. Tears glistened in his eyes as he realised that this was real, the summoning had worked.

"Saber? It is you right?" His voice was choked with emotion.

Silver armour came into view, shining in the moonlight. The face above it was one he remembered as if it were yesterday, the green eyes identical to those that he saw in some of his most treasured memories.

"Servant Saber, here to answer your call." A beautiful smile lit up the knight's petite face. "I ask you this Shirou. Are you my master once more?"