A/N: Surprise, I decided to do this quick fic before posting the sequel to Burning Crusade, believe me Archer and Rin fans will want to read this

A/N: Surprise, I decided to do this quick fic before posting the sequel to Burning Crusade, believe me Archer and Rin fans will want to read this! Anyway, I'll be doing it in the form of connected one-shots, short and to the point. This is basically here to give some insight on the past I gave Archer in my fic, an important plot-device in the sequel. Please enjoy!

A Cold Hand Offered in Cold Times

The sky was crying, crying along with the magi who won the war. The Holy Grail war had been over for three whole years, each one as excruciating as the last. He missed her to his very soul, the jagged pain of having your love ripped from you tearing at his already shattered soul. Few knew, few other than his diseased father. Not even Fuji-ne could comprehend his deepest scar. He died that day of the fire, the war his father Kiritsugu had participated in. He was a corpse walking, pushed onwards by the drive to protect others. She had changed him, if only for those few short times. It was almost cruel.

He didn't know when it started, but he suddenly felt them all slipping through his grieving fingers. No… he did know when it started. It was the day he had come back from his ritualistic walk, an almost hypnotic habit that displayed his robbed soul. He should've known the moment his foot landed on the clean wood of the entrance to his home, his prison. It was the day Ilyasviel von Einzbern passed away from her illness. As he knelt beside her corpse, he tried to remember being told, only to come up with hazy memories of his life for the past three years. Then he made the mistake of asking. Fujimura had slapped him, still crying in grief. He wasn't sure about Sakura's reaction; her eyes were simply glued to the floor.

He was a corpse, even more so now that the girl who was his little sister was gone. He only had Fujimura and Sakura left, just like the old days, the before time, the long-long-ago. Only difference was his ritualistic walks that, now that he had lost two precious people, sometimes kept him out for exactly twenty-four hours, on the dot. This made for an interesting visit when Rin would stop by. She was going through similar pains, but her concern for him kept her grief at bay. He remembered hearing her cry one night, but his hollow self found little reason to care. Yes, few knew that he stopped being human long ago. Well… Rin did hit pretty close when she tried to describe him to Saber. A person that cares for himself no longer, a corpse pretending to live, that's what he was, now and forever.

Now the sky was crying, crying along with the hero of the war. His home was in shambles, the rain mixing with whatever concoction you'd curse the scenery with. Blood, mud, splinters, unseen malice, lust, you name it, it was all mixed together. He had managed to kill the beasts, but barely. His once white and blue shirt was now black and red, his blue jeans splashed with blood and mud. The sick poetry that went along with the scene only made his cries more barbaric, more animalistic.

"WHY," He slammed his bleeding fist into the ground for the umpteenth time, "I WASN'T STRONG ENOUGH, I WASN'T GOOD ENOUGH TO SAVE THEM!" His dreams were shattered, all for not now. How could he protect random people when he couldn't help those closest to him? Suicide had always seemed so disgusting to him, a cheap way out of a situation he could bare. However, now it seemed so sweet, an idea made of gold. His golden eyes, darkened by the pain of loss and self-loathing, went to the dagger laying next his fist. It was still stained with the blood of the beasts, but it looked as good as a goddess.

Thump

His eyes widened at the foreign sound.

Thump

It sounded again, a boot? He looked around, read to slay whatever madman decided to prolong his plummet into sweet oblivion.

Thump

Thump

Thump

The sound stopped, the owner of the rather loud boots stopping to look down at the shattered boy. His body was covered in magnificent white armor, a short cape covering his left side from the pouring rain. Flipping the cape back, he slowly offered his hand to the boy, mirroring the scene that took place when he first met his Servant, the woman who held his heart. However, this time was vastly different. This man, though his face shielded by a rather demonic white helmet, gave off a strong coldness, "Human," His voice was hollow, echoing through the chaos, "is it power that you wish for?" The sound of the rain seemed to fade, all the boy's senses focusing on the mysterious man and his hand, "Do you wish to be that which cannot be beaten?"

"W-Who are you?" The boy asked in awe. He was far from being a good magus, but he could still feel the unearthly power radiating from his form.

"I will ask you again; do wish to be this Hero of Justice boy?" There was the slightest movement of his hand, commanding him to take it if he so wishes. It didn't take another word; the boy slowly took his hand, flinching at the lack of warmth and abundance of calluses.

"Make me stronger," The boy's eyes sparked with life, "make me strong enough to beat even the strongest of Servants." He received only a nod in response, "I am Emiya Shirou, who are you?"

He was silent until he reached up, removing his helmet to reveal striking ice-blue eyes and snow-white hair, "I am Gallium, Gallium Tenbatsu." His ice-blue eyes froze over as he stared down at Shirou, "I will make you the bone of your sword, steel will be your body and fire your blood. You will create over a thousand blades, unknown to death or to life. You will withstand great pain to create many weapons, yet your hands will never hold anything. This, I, Gallium Tenbatsu, swear on my life." With that, his grip tightened and he shook Shirou's hand once.

'Little did I know that that night, among the dead bodies of Fuji-nee and Sakura, I would no longer be Emiya Shirou. No, from that moment forward, I was known as Tracer, apprentice to one of the greatest angels to ever live.'