Disclaimer: I don't own Nanoha or Fate/Stay Night. If I did, Kotomine would spend his time building a harem. He certainly has the time for it.
Fate/Lyrical Night II
The Curtain Rises
I felt Lancer's presence fade quickly; it had only be a single unsuccessful attack, and the boy had immediately withdrawn. It seemed as though he hadn't expected a full confrontation, or perhaps his master was far too cautious. Whatever the reason, he had left, and I knew he was too fast to pursue. Besides that, I had more pressing matters to attend. Turning, I stood and faced the young girl who sat unmoving on the floor. Her long blonde hair and sharp red eyes seemed vaguely familiar, but from where I could not recall. Regardless, the command seals upon her hand confirmed that she had summoned me.
"I am Saber. I am here in answer to your summons," I said. No doubt the girl was aware of this, but I was used to keeping up with formalities. "I ask of you, are you my Master?"
Her reaction wasn't what I had expected; perhaps my experience had made me too accustomed to those with more initiative. Still, her wordless staring was slightly unnerving.
"W-what?" the girl stammered out.
Ah, a response. That was a start.
"It was your summons that called me, correct? The command seals on your hand are proof of that," I stated, feeling slightly uncertain now. Her surprised expression upon seeing the stigmata confirmed my suspicions.
"I apologize, Master," I said, and bent down to kneel to the girl. Her lack of knowledge would definitely be a hindrance to my odds of victory; nonetheless she summoned me, and was thusly my Master. By my honour as a knight, my loyalty was to her. "I am a servant of the Saber class. It would be best to call me Saber."
"I'm…uh…F-fate. Fate Harlaown," she replied.
"Harlaown," I repeated. She was still obviously confused, and it was clear it would take a great deal more time before she would understand the magnitude of her situation. That time would not be now, though, as I felt a more immediate problem.
"Another Servant approaches," I told her, and leapt through the open doorway.
I wasn't confused, not at all. I was doing perfectly fine. It was the world that decided to turn upside down and destroy everything that made sense. Okay, calm down, just work this through. This all had some relation to magic, that was obvious. Then these markings on my hand – Command Seals – apparently that made me a…Master? And Servant…that must be what she and that boy were.
As I came to that conclusion, I immediately scrambled to my feet. She – Saber, she said to call her Saber – had said another Servant was here. That would mean she was going to fight again. I had to stop her.
I stumbled out of the storage shed just in time to see the clash of weapons from the far side of the courtyard. Saber's pink ponytail and silver armour told me what I had expected, but her opponent…I recognized her from the school, the one that had been fighting that kid. Now that I had a closer look she appeared to be a young women clad in black, her hair looking the same shade as mine.
I barely caught a glimpse of blood fly from Saber's sword before the blonde haired servant vanished from sight. The cry drew my attention to a girl that I'd overlooked. I saw a faint red glow flash from her hand, and quickly noticed that she had markings that were similar to mine, although she had far fewer. About to call out to her, I realized that Saber hadn't lowered her weapon – in fact, it looked like she was going to attack the girl.
"Saber, stop! STOP!" I yelled out. Saber seemed to hesitate, but complied anyway, sheathing her sword. At least she would listen to me, something I was grateful for. I hurried to Saber's side, and was surprised as I recognized the other girl.
"Nyaha…" she laughed nervously, scratching her cheek lightly, "And you're Fate Harlaown? I didn't think you were a Master too…"
She clearly understood this whole thing better than I did. She was in my year, too, so I felt fairly safe in trusting her.
"Um…I still don't really know what that means," I said.
She tilted her head slightly to one side, giving me a dumbfounded look.
"I mean, I don't really understand what's happening, and then there's all this fighting, and I was attacked – I thought I was killed – and then Saber showed up, and said I was her Master, and that she was a servant, and I have these marks on my hand, and…and…"
Takamichi just kept looking at me as everything just spilled out, a slight amount of pity on her face. When my rambling started to die she reached out and grabbed my hand, trying to pull me away. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Saber stiffen and grip her sword, and I looked over as she shot me a look of warning.
"W-wait, where are we going Takamichi-san?" I asked. She gave me a smile before explaining.
"My mentor, and the adjudicator of this war. He can explain things better than me."
I cast another glance at Saber who returned a disapproving glare. She said nothing, though, so I decided to follow.
"Come on, let's go Fate-chan!"
Harlaown was a liability, unfortunately. Choosing to spare another Master, and then trusting her so easily, it was foolish. Hopefully once she had been properly informed she would cease such rash decision. It was fortunate that I'd been able to subdue the other servant so quickly; although, I had found it odd how she had hesitated upon seeing me…
I was standing outside a small church covered in a heavy hooded overcoat, having chosen to wait outside while Harlaown and the other master had entered. True, I'd been initially skeptical at the other girl's intentions, but this church was neutral ground during the war. My Master would be safe as long as she stayed within it, I would not need to protect her.
With no duties to fulfill, my mind took its time to wander, recalling the last time I'd seen this city…
I walked slowly as I left the church, Takamichi slightly ahead of me. Behind me, I felt the priest, Scaglietti, watching me intently. He'd definitely done a careful job explaining the details of this ordeal, and though I had answers my head was no less certain than it was before.
I sighed lightly as I thought to myself. The War of the Night Sky, a battle to death between seven Masters and seven Servants all to obtain something called the "Book of Darkness". The book itself sounded entirely impossible: an artifact with enough power to grant any desire? And then these three Command Seals on my hand, which supposedly formed a contract that tied Saber to me and marked me as a Master in this war. To be able to force any command on a servant - it sounded twisted.
Still, it was his final words that shocked me the most. It wasn't right for me to even be thinking of fighting, let alone killing. I wanted no part of this, and had said as much. He'd laughed at me, and said "Your tenth birthday is soon, isn't it? Are you going to celebrate it the same as your birth, then?"
I glanced at Takamichi's back as she opened the church doors. I'd seen her surprised and curious expression but she hadn't asked anything, for which I was thankful. What did this Scaglietti know? The fire that had wiped out almost half the city ten years ago, and my…birth…less than a week before…
Saber's serious expression greeted me as I stepped outside. She seemed slightly expectant, but of what I wasn't sure. The sun had already set, and the chill night wasn't helping my mood any. Wordlessly the three of us started walking together, Saber and I back home, and I assumed Takamichi to hers.
"So who taught you to use magic?" Takamichi asked suddenly, breaking me from my reverie.
"Taught? I really don't know much magic at all…but my mother, she was a magus."
Takamichi gave me shocked expression that was becoming fairly standard in our conversations. "So you're a novice at magic too?"
She looked almost ready to scold me, but a motion from Saber silenced the both of us as she looked on ahead.
The street was barely lit, save for a few scattered street lamps, and I could see nothing ahead of us. Saber stepped in front of me, holding the hilt of her sword, and we watched tensely.
As a figure stepped into the light, I let out an audible sigh of relief. She was a little girl, younger than Vivio, but with a smile that was just as sweet and innocent. Her hair was short and bright pink, and she was wearing heavy white and pink winter clothes. Overall, not a very threatening sight.
"You scared me Saber, I thought -"
I was immediately frozen stiff at the sight of the massive black claw that had sunk down beside the girl. My mind thought briefly about screaming at the girl to run, but she only continued to smile sweetly at us, even as a massive black dragon dragged itself into sight. Standing only on its hind legs, it was easily four meters tall and towered over everything around it.
"Hello, you must be Saber," the girl said suddenly, giving a short curtsy. She gave me and Takamichi a quizzical look, tapping a finger to her chin as she thought. "Is one of you her Master?"
I was about to respond when Saber cut me off. "Who are you?"
"Oh, I'm sorry," the girl said, her smile breaking wider. She still looked the picture of innocence, which only brought a deeper chill within me. "I'm Caro Lu Rushe, and this is Berserker."
The dragon growled deeply, starting to lumber towards us.
"Really, Berserker?" the girl asked, like she understood the beast, "Well, okay, but don't play too rough."
Saber didn't wait. Casting off her coat and drawing her sword in a smooth motion she charged, quickly closing the distance. Sword held low, she swung it upwards to the dragon's stomach. It was faster than it looked, though, and in a flash had blocked the blade with its forearm, driving Saber back a meter through the sheer force of its swing. Its other claw slashed heavily downwards, and Saber barely blocked it in time.
I could only watch helplessly, watching as the dragon relentlessly attacked, Saber barely able to keep her guard up. Her arms were bleeding even though she had never been hit; the strength of Berserker was too great.
"Saber…no!" I yelled to her. She wouldn't hold up if this kept going; without a doubt she'd be killed. She showed no sign that she'd heard me though, and continued to press on.
She was getting hurt, trying to protect me. She was going to die to protect me. I couldn't let that happen, not for my sake. I wasn't worth that pain.
"Fate-chan!" I heard Takamichi yell as I ran forward.
At the very least, if I died, Saber could find a better Master.
"So you're awake, ne?" a voice asked quietly beside me. Painfully I opened my eyes and saw Takamichi sitting beside me, looking worried. Glancing around a little, I recognized the surroundings as my room. How did I get here?
"You had us worried."
I tried to sit up, but my entire body felt like it was on fire as the searing pain shot through me. Glancing down I noticed that my whole upper body was wrapped in bandages, from my chest to my stomach. I felt the heat rushing to my face as I realized that it meant someone had undressed me.
"Don't move," Takamichi said reproachfully, "you're hurt pretty bad. Although…you are healing rather quickly, considering. There must be a lot of latent magic running through you."
"Thank you," I managed to murmur.
"Just don't do something that stupid ever again."
The door to my room slid open, and I looked up to see Saber watching me. Takamichi made a small gesture and rose to her feet, leaving the room as Saber stepped over to take her place. She looked angry.
"Why did you do that?"
Her tone made it clear I couldn't brush this off.
"I just…don't want to see anyone get hurt in front of me. I couldn't watch you get hurt…" I mumbled, my body aching slightly as I rambled, slowly making my way closer to the truth. "…I'm not worth getting hurt for."
Saber watched me intently, never breaking from her serious look. She didn't look like she was going to kill me herself, though, which was a good sign.
"You are my Master," she said slowly, like she was trying to get those words to sink in, "It is my duty to defend you. As long as I am your Servant, I will protect you."
"Let me be your sword."
A/N: I got writer's block. Do you know how awkward it is to get writer's block when the story is already handed to you on a silver platter? Signum posed an interesting problem, though. I mean, I had just declared that I would make the characters stand out more. What is Signum's personality though? She's an overly serious, honour bound knight. Crap.
Oh, and before I forget, thank you for the reviews! You have no idea how uplifting it is to know that people are actually interested in this. Hopefully I won't disappoint.