Not as it seems

"Give the order, my master!" Saber cried, "Spend your last command seal and let us be done with it."

"Saber, I order you. Destroy the Holy Grail!" Shirou cried though the tears in his eyes.

With a mighty scream, Saber swung Excalibur towards the waiting portal and rent it asunder.

"It is done, my master." Saber replied. "I'm sorry, Shirou."

"For what?" Shirou asked.

"It seems that despite all we have fought for and the challenges we have faced I am still being called back to my own time. Please forgive me, Shirou." Saber begged.

"Saber, please don't hate yourself. If you must hate anyone let it be me for giving you such a painful order." Shirou replied.

"That is one thing I could never do, Shirou. Though I am still angry at myself." Saber admitted.

"Why is that?" Shirou asked.

"I am angry at myself that it is only now that I have learned that it is ok to be selfish for once in my life, if for no other reason than I have earned it. But there is more, I am angry at myself for locking my feelings for you deep inside myself and robbing us of what little time we did have." Saber pined.

"I guess it was inevitable that we were put together wasn't it, Saber?" Shirou remarked.

"It would seem so. We both suffer from the same flaw, the inability to think of ourselves before anyone else, even if it causes us immense pain or sorrow. I'm sorry, Shirou. I know that is not something you or I will be able to change and will invariably lead to pain. Forgive me, Shirou!" Saber cried out.

"For what?" Shirou asked, confused.

"For this." Saber said as she threw her arms around Shirou and returned the kiss from the night before.

Shirou was left in awe of the beauty who had just surrendered her heart to him.

"I'm sorry, Shirou. I know this will only increase your pain, knowing what have you lost. Forgive the selfishness of this woman who has fallen in love with you." Saber whispered through her own tears.

"There is nothing to forgive, I guess we're both being selfish in our own way right now." Shirou admitted.

"I'm sorry, Shirou. I know we had to destroy the Grail but I can't help but feel we have made a grave mistake in doing so and thrown away our one chance at happiness." Saber lamented.

"I know, I had that feeling too." Shirou added.

"I'm sorry, Shirou. My time is short and I do not think I can delay my return much longer but please permit me to be selfish one last time?" Saber requested.

"Anything for you, Saber." Shirou promised.

"Please, I want to hear you call me Arturia one last time." Saber requested.

"I will always love you and keep you in my heart, Arturia." Shirou replied.

"You do not know how happy you have made this woman, Shirou. I beg you to forgive me for leaving you, my only excuse is that I would pay any price to be able to stay." Arturia said sobbing, "Please, just hold me one last time?"

Shirou did so without a second thought, pulling a grieving Arturia into his arms and sheltering her as best he could with them. Arturia simply used her arms to hold on to him, afraid to let go.

"Shirou, there is one last thing I need to say…"

"I love you, Shirou" Saber whispered as she faded out of Shirou's arms.

Having bottled up all the pain and despair until now, Shirou's legs gave out and collapsed under him reducing him to a broken hearted heap.

"Arturia, why? Why did you have to leave me all alone?"

***************************************************************************************************************

Arturia awoke to find her propped up against a tree on the edge of a bloody battlefield.

"My King, you are awake!" A knight in white exclaimed cheerfully, "How are you feeling?"

"A little better. I dreamed a little, it was an… invaluable experience." Arturia replied.

"Sire, just hold on, reinforcements are coming and we shall take you back to Camelot." The knight replied, a little off balance.

"Bedivere, I'm sorry but there is something you must do for me now." Arturia returned.

"What is your order, my liege?" Bedivere responded.

"You must take Excalibur through this forest and give it to the Lady of the Lake. Go with haste, my knight." Arturia ordered.

Bedivere took the sword and scabbard and mounted her horse to do as her King had commanded.

"I shall rest my eyes until you shall return, dear sister." Arturia whispered after the retreating figure.

******************************************************************************

Shirou somehow found the strength to get up and stumble home with Illya still in his arms. He lay her down in his bed and laid out some of her clothes for her in the morning. He then stumbled outside and plopped himself on the porch and abandoned himself to his sorrow.

Behind him Rin walked slowly, having recovered enough mana to heal enough wounds to allow her to get around unimpeded. 'That poor boy, I hate being right but he set himself up for this. He deserves better than this after all he sacrificed and suffered through.' She came up behind Shirou and simply put a comforting hand on his shoulder.

"She's gone, Rin. And she's never coming back." Shirou sobbed.

"I know. I'm sorry, Shirou. I knew but it was just too painful to say. Knowing didn't make it easier for me either." Rin comforted him.

"For you?" Shirou asked.

"Yes, that night Archer died that idiot took something a lot more than my chance at the Grail with him.' Rin said, a tear forming in her eye, "And to think I loved that colossal idiot."

"I'm sorry, Rin." Shirou whispered.

"It's my fault, I knew it could only end this way and yet here I am forgetting I knew better. To be honest, I'm not sure who the bigger idiot here is, him for getting himself killed needlessly or me for falling in love with him knowing the only possible outcome." Rin sobbed.

They both just stayed as they were sobbing themselves into exhaustion. They fell asleep right where they sat.

******************************************************************

"Good morning- huh?" Sakura greeted them slightly bewildered.

"Oh, good morning, Sakura." Shirou yawned.

"Are you ok, Senpai?" Sakura asked.

"Yeah, why?" Shirou lied.

"Well, you seem a bit depressed." Sakura said, ignoring Shirou's sleeping on the porch next to Rin.

"I'm just a little tired." Shirou deflected.

"GOOOOOD MORNING, SHIROOOOU!" a familiar voice rang out.

"Oh, hey, Fujimura-sensei." Shirou replied.

"Huh? This isn't like you, Shirou? What happened? Did Saber dump you?" Fujimura teased, not realizing how close to the truth she had come.

"I'm sorry, Sensei, but Saber… left." Rin cut in.

"SHE WHAT? After I was kind enough to invite her to our table! The nerve!" Fujimura raged.

"Actually…" Sakura interrupted.

"Hey, Sakura. Is that tofu I smell? Come on let's eat!" Fujimura chimed.

With that everyone sat down at the table for breakfast in a subdued silence.

*****************************************************************************

Arturia was awoken by the sound of galloping hooves and saw Bedivere returning from her task.

"It is done, my lord." Bedivere confirmed.

"Thank you, you have fulfilled a Kings command and for that you should be rewarded but I fear I instead am leaving you with a curse. A poor reward for a life of selfless service, I'm afraid." Arturia responded.

"What is it, my King?" Bedivere asked.

"Please look after Camelot. I know you can rule it ably but I fear that I have given you a curse that not even the darkest of magics can ever compare to. I pray it doesn't destroy you like it did me and you are still able to find happiness." Arturia commanded.

"I'm honored, my King. But I fear I am not worthy." Bedivere protested.

"You are the finest of my knights and I can think of none who is more worthy of this cursed blessing. I am honored to have called you sister." Arturia insisted.

"As you wish, my liege." Bedivere acknowledged.

"I fear my sleep this time shall be a bit… long." Arturia said, "Have you ever dreamed Bedivere?"

"A few times, my liege." Bedivere replied.

"Have you woken up from a dream only to wish you could return to it?" Arturia asked.

"On occasion, my lord." Bedivere answered.

"Is it possible to do so?" Arturia asked.

"I've done it myself a few times. The dreamer need only want it…" Bedivere replied.

"Ah, good night, my dear sister." Arturia sighed, closing her eyes.

"Do you behold, the continuation of your dream, my King?" Bedivere asked the King's peaceful form.

************************************************************************************

Rin went back to her room when a certain book fell off the shelf with a loud noise. Annoyed, Rin went to put it back until she happened to the notice the cover read, "The Grail Arcanum". She picked up and noticed a page had been book marked and read it.

"It can't be, but why?" Rin asked herself.

***************************************************************

"Greetings, Arturia!" A voice greeted.

"What, there is only one who is permitted to call me by that name." Arturia yelled.

"My apologies, Saber!" the voice continued.

"There are only a few people who know me by that name and they are forever lost to me." Aruturia raged, "Stop tormenting me so!"

"I'm sorry, I digress. Do you know why you are here?" the voice asked.

"No, why have I been brought to this… room or whatever it is?" Arturia challenged.

"You are here because of a certain wish you had, something about rewriting history, was it?" The voice reasoned.

"Yes but how did you-?" Arturia gasped.

"Is that still your wish?" the voice went on.

"WHO. ARE. YOU? I'VE HAD IT WITH YOUR GAMES!" Arturia raged, reached to her side.

"Arturia, have you already forgotten who gave you the power to wield that forgotten blade?" The voice asked.

"It can't be. I destroyed you and disappeared." Arturia said shocked.

"Come now, an artifact older than man itself? Destroyed?" The Grail continued.

"But then what did I destroy then?" Arturia asked.

"Kotomine was indeed accurate in saying that the Grail when summoned would use the most destructive means possible to fulfill the holders wish but only so far as he went." The Grail clarified.

"What do you mean?" Arturia asked.

"The Grail would indeed have been summoned but the use of a human life in the summoning would've tainted it so it would be as he described. So for all intents and purposes he was telling the truth but not all of it." The Grail explained.

"But if that wasn't the real Grail why did I disappear after destroying it?" Arturia asked, not entirely getting it.

"You see, technically it was the Grail but by destroying it you not only defeated the last remaining servant but you also destroyed a version of the Grail thus calling you back to your own time. However, I was unable to manifest before you returned to your own time and so you were cheated out of your wish." The Grail finished.

"Cheated? But if I got cheated out of my wish, why am I here talking to you?" Arturia asked.

"A fair question with a simple answer. I'm here to give you your wish."

********************************************************************

After finishing up breakfast and cleaning up Fujimura and Sakura left leaving Shirou wondering what to do with his day. He eventually decided to go for a walk and eventually found himself standing on the bridge where he and Saber had ended their first and only date.

"This was your favorite spot, wasn't it?" Shirou asked.

**********************************************************************

"My wish?" Arturia asked in shock.

"I don't see what is so hard to understand about this, it's pretty simple." A familiar voice said.

"Archer? What are you doing here?" Arturia asked.

"Waiting for you to make your wish, of course. The sad thing is Shirou is selfless to a fault, he knows how much pain Rin is feeling. So what does he do? Instead of using his wish to bring you back he uses it to bring me instead." Archer replied.

"That sounds like Shirou alright." Arturia admitted.

"It's pathetic but at the same time it did make my obtaining the Grail pointless." Archer continued.

"What do you mean?" Arturia asked.

"Can't you see the resemblance? Well, I'll break it down for you, thanks to him managing to save both Sakura and Illya, he changed his future." Archer revealed.

"You can't mean? You mean, you're a version of him from the future?" Arturia asked.

"One of them yes, how else do you think I was able to teach him how to develop his Magus powers?" He responded.

"Okay, so what now?" Arturia asked.

"You make your wish and I grant it, pretty straightforward." The Grail replied, "Do you still want to redo the selection of the King?"

"No, I've lived enough for others it's time I lived for myself, please, I beg you. Send me back to be with Shirou, for good this time." Arturia pleaded.

"More than happy to, you've earned it, Arturia. Are both of you ready?" The Grail asked.

"Yes." Archer and Arturia answered in unison.

*****************************************************************************************

Archer and Arturia both awoke to find themselves in a familiar forest. They shook the dust off themselves and got up realizing where they were. They both started walking out of the forest and towards a place they know all too well.

Rin was drinking her tea when she heard the door slide open.

"Shirou, I thought I told you that I preferred the triangular tea bags as opposed to the square ones." She complained.

Hearing no reply she went on, "Now what am I going to do with YOU!"

"WHY YOU LITTLE, I SHOULD STRANGLE YOU FOR WHAT YOU DID TO ME! I TOLD YOU TO SLOW HIM DOWN BUT NO; YOU HAD TO GO AND TRY TO KILL HIM! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW… much… pain…" Rin finally paused bursting into tears.

She finally just flung herself onto Archer and just sat there sobbing for a few minutes before gaining her composure again.

"I'm willing to forgive you this time but only if you make me a decent pot of tea." She said with a cunning smile on her face.

"Now, Saber. What are we going to do with you?"

Arturia swallowed nervously not entirely liking where this is going.

****************************************************************************

Shirou finally wandered his way back home and had just gotten his shoes off when he was approached by Rin.

"Shirou, I need your help with something." Rin asked, already knowing what his response would be.

"Sure, what is it?" Shirou asked.

"Well, um I can't exactly explain it, it's one of those things you need to see to understand." Rin replied.

"Ok…" Shirou responded, not entirely sure what she was driving at.

Rin took him to Saber's room and saw his confusion.

"This is- There's nothing in here." Shirou protested.

"You'll see. Oh, just get in there." She pushed him impatiently.

***************************************************************************

Shirou was a little confused by Rin's behavior but decided to indulge her for now. He looked around the room and he didn't see anything except for-

"Saber?" Shirou asked.

"Oh, Shirou. You already forgot what I asked you to do for me when we parted?" Arturia asked.

"Arturia, is this real? Am I dreaming? If I am please don't wake me up." Shirou asked.

"See for yourself." Arturia offered as she threw herself into his arms.

"You really back aren't you?" Shirou asked.

"Yes, and this time I promise you I'm not going anywhere."

They both just sat there in each other's arms enjoying each other's company.

***********************************************************************************

"I know you've probably heard this before but that is a romance that will always be at the kindergarten level." Archer remarked.

"Are you kidding, I've been saying that to myself the entire time." Rin shot back.

Rin, how are we going to explain her sudden reappearance and the fact that there is yet another boarder here?" Archer asked.

"You worry too much, who do you think you're dealing with?" Rin asked.

"Right, I had forgotten." Archer said quietly.

"And don't you forget it!" Rin yelled.

"As if I could." Archer mumbled.

"I heard that!"

*******************************************************************

"I'm glad you're back, Arturia." Shirou whispered into her ear that night after having moved into the same bed.

"Me too, I wouldn't give this up for anything in the world." Arturia replied.

"I love you, Arturia." Shirou whispered.

"I love you too, Shirou." Arturia whispered back before snuggling up to her lover and falling asleep.

"I will be yours now and forever more." Were her last thoughts before sleep took her.

Shirou lay awake admiring the beauty that lay snuggled up to him for a while before sleep took him as well.

**************************************************************************

I do hope I got all the characters spot on, even the minor ones. Yes, sue me I'm sappy but I was not satisified with how the

original anime ending went. I wanted my ending to be one of those over the top kind of endings and well here it is, sappy to the

core.