Before beginning, I would like to thanks the people that helped me with this chapter and with the fiction in general. Thanks to Yuleen, because even if she doesn't like F/SN a lot, she still read it, commented and supported me. Thanks to gmsephiroth for betareading this, because without your help, this fanfic wouldn't be here.
This fic is based on the time after the Holy Grail, so there'll be a lot of spoilers. I came up with everything I wrote here, the only things that will stay the same are some of the characters backgrounds and everything that happened before this story.
Any comment or productive critic will be useful.
WARNING: Involves established fictional characters, which may or may not fit within the reader's preconception about said characters.
DISCLAIMER: Relevant characters and source materials belong to their respective copyright owners. The author lays claim to the rest. Use for non-commercial purposes only.
Every once in a while, Fuyuki City is the host of an epic yet dangerous event: The War for the Holy Grail.
In this war, seven mages risk their lives in order to get the legendary chalice that's said to be able to make any wish come true. Said mages are called masters, and each of them fight along-side one of the seven noble spirits of legendary heroes known as servants who will protect them and fight for them until the end.
One and a half year ago, this war unleashed itself in the city, involving yet again seven competent sorcerers along with their servants. After a continuous battle, the Holy Grail was destroyed, ending the war forever.
And that's how Fuyuki City became what it used to be once more. No longer has the news show mysterious accidents or damaged buildings; the citizens gained their confidence back and the remainder masters of the last war continued with their normal lives.
But there is one particular young master who wasn't able to settle his life back as it used to be.
- - -
Turning back the pendulum
Chapter I – A mysterious dream
-."You don't really know how important something is to you until you lose it".-
Today Shirou was late on his way back home after a long period at school and work. It has been a particularly tiresome day for the red-haired teen and his body was crying for a well deserved rest.
When he arrived at the Emiya residence, his younger friend Matou Sakura was already making dinner. She has light purple hair and dark violet eyes. Shirou smiled sadly at the sight of her; she have been coming to cook for him almost every day for more than a year, claiming that she liked it and paying no heed to his attempts to make her stop. She was the baby sister of his childhood friend Shinji who, like him, was one of the masters who fought in the last war but unfortunately, died in the process.
"Oh! Good evening Senpai, the dinner will take a little while, I just started, hope you don't mind…" She said shyly.
"Hi Sakura," He greeted her cheerfully, successfully covering up his sore mood. "And nah, I don't mind." He put his bag on a chair before excusing himself and going to take a hot shower. After dressing, he thought about going to the warehouse for a while; he always went there when he wanted to think things through.
He walked automatically to his destination and turned on the lights when he was finally inside.
Unlike other magi, who were good at magic and enchants, Shirou has the unusual ability of tracing things. He could transform raw metal into a fine stove or even create a sword from thin air. But even with this great ability, ever since the end of the Holy Grail he hasn't traced anything besides weapons, it was as if he had forgotten how to trace anything else.
Closing his eyes and concentrating, a sharp and Celtic looking blade formed in his hands impeccably. He grabbed it firmly and gave it a few swings with improved dexterity he picked over time and after finishing his normal training routine he made it vanish and sat on his work chair.
He frowned; mad, because once again he had failed. Even though he promised that he would move on, even though he swore that he wouldn't dwell in the past, even though… He couldn't forget what happened half a year ago, but mainly, he couldn't forget about her. He growled loudly, banging his head lightly against the window again and again.
All he could think about was his former servant, Saber. She was the heroic soul of the legendary King Arthur, hero of heroes and despite popular belief, a woman. Shirou knew now that he probably loved her since the first moment he laid his eyes on her, but fate, been as cruel as it is, took her away from him forever by the end of the war.
He found himself blaming Saber; blaming her for always being on his mind, for giving him this feeling of solitude and longing. He instantly squashed the idea and felt horribly ashamed that he thought of it in the first place. But how could he forget her after she said that she loved him before disappearing? She knew he loved her too but still… He wanted to show her how much he truly did…
He found it incredible that, even though they knew each other for not more than a few days, she managed to get the largest room in his heart.
Sighing heavily he looked outside his window towards the night sky for a while. Closing his eyes, he rested his head against the wall, long bangs covering his eyes slightly as he let the memories of the war he once fought doze him off.
- - -
Where am I?
Who are you?
"That's of no importance. Listen to…me"
"You must find a way to go back… b..ti…me, help...Artu…"
"The flow…o… f… time… must… be… loo…k… for a way…"
Wait! I don't get what you're saying!
"Emi…ya….Shirou… wake up."
"W-What?" He exclaimed, opening one eye, but before anything came to clear view someone slapped his head. "H-hey! What was that for?! I'm awake! Geez…"
"You were dozing off again, Shirou! Dinner's ready and I'm hungry so move your lazy butt!" An angry and hungry Taiga shouted.
Fujimura Taiga was Shirou's homeroom class teacher but she was more like a big sister to him. He knew her for as long as he can remember and she frequently visited and stayed for dinner.
The teen frowned slightly, confused. He rubbed his sore eyes. "Was it… just a dream?"
"Nothing, let's go, I'm kinda hungry too." He said, faking a smile.
- - -
As always, the enthusiastic teacher was eating her heart out.
With young Illyasviel gone, there was no one left to steal her food and the times at the table were a lot more peaceful. Shirou smiled at the thought of the little brat; she was one of the masters who fought at the war and even though she tried to kill him in the past, she quickly became a treasured friend.
"Seriously Shirou, you need a haircut! Your hair is getting over your eyes already." Taiga pointed out once again, making Shirou frown, but he didn't said anything. "And what's wrong with you anyways? You are so oddly quiet… not that you were the conversational type either..." Shirou just shrugged his shoulders as she took a rather large portion of rice and suddenly pointed her chopsticks at him, "You used to tell sister Taiga everything! Oh! What happened to my old-little-good-cute-brother?!" She exclaimed melodramatically.
Sakura smiled nervously and sweat dropped while Shirou glared at her, "It's bad manners to point at people…" Taiga ignored him and changed the subject to some random babble about a Japanese football team. Shirou sighed and resumed eating quietly.
After clearing the table, both females said their good-byes and went back to their respective homes, leaving the former master alone to muse over his dream.
That was definitely not a normal dream, he was sure there was something special about it. The voice he heard was so familiar… but he couldn't recall.
Getting the dishes on the larder, he gave his dream more thought. Whoever that was, he needed help and he wanted Shirou to go to the past but, to what time exactly?
When he was done in the kitchen, he sat down on the wooden floor at the dining room and meditated more, replaying the dream like an old film until an idea popped up in his mind.
"He wanted me to go back in time to… Arturia?" He thought out loud. The idea itself was mad, impossible, maybe even absurd, but it filled his pained heart with a tiny shine of hope that made him feel ten times better. The stranger had even said something that sounded like Saber's name!
But it was just impossible, right?
- - -
Next morning, Shirou was determined to ask Tohsaka, a close friend and former master, about a way to travel through time. After all, she was the most powerful magus he knew. She was a beautiful black-haired girl with sharp blue-green eyes that has every guy at school ogling for her. And how he was going to bring up the news to her, he has no clue.
"Tohsaka," Shirou called out at the school gates, pacing next to the black-haired girl casually.
"Oh, hello Shirou." She replied, a smug smile gracing her features. Some students looked at them weirdly, still not used to see one of the idols of the school talking to someone as random as him.
"I…" He started but paused, not really knowing what to say.
"I-need to talk to you, can you come to my place after school?"
He noticed her gaze fixed upon him, obviously trying to read his thoughts. "Hmm, sure…" Keeping his face expressionless he quickly nodded and attempted to walk away. "Shirou," She called out, grabbing his arm before he was out of reach, "is there something wrong?" She got closer to him and gave him a serious and mysterious look.
"No. See you later." He simply responded, this time with an underlying hint of nervousness.
"All right, later then." And with that, she walked away. He sighed in relief.
"When will you stop talking to that freaky woman?" Someone asked behind him.
"Wha-?" Shirou turned around and smiled at his good friend and school body president, Issei Ryudou. "Oh, hey there Issei. Why don't you get to know her better? You'll see she's not that bad-"
"And get diseased like you? No thanks." Shirou laughed at his joke and they began to walk inside the building.
"Say, Issei," Shirou started while they walked. The blue-haired teen looked up and pushed up his glasses to show he was listening, "What do you think could happen if someone travels to the past?"
Issei looked at him confused, obviously not expecting the question; he brought his hand to his chin in a contemplating manner, "Hmm, well, I really haven't thought much about that before but, hmm, maybe if that person starts to change things of the past that'd create a time paradox, right?"
The red-haired teen lowered his head a little. He was expecting as much, "Yeah, I guess that's what'd happen."
- - -
The school period had come and gone. Shirou didn't pay attention to what the teachers were saying, even though they were all talking about the oncoming final exams. His mind was somewhere else even when Taiga hit him squarely in the face with the blackboard eraser; thoughts of his dream and Tohsaka's reaction to his request invading his already worked up mind.
As he waited for the raven-haired girl outside the school gates, he wondered about all the possible outcomes the future conversation could bring about, but he soon dismissed them as said girl walked towards him.
She stared him right in the eyes, her green-blue eyes piercing his brown ones, and Shirou wondered if she could actually read minds. He quickly diverted his gaze to see an interesting light post. "Well, let's go." Rin didn't reply; instead, she just followed him until they reached his house without saying a word, her expression unreadable.
Today Sakura has archery practice and Fujimura has to start working with the final exams so they wouldn't be coming, leaving Shirou and Rin alone. How convenient, he thought as he opened the front door. "I'll make some tea." He announced, throwing his bag at a corner and walking towards the kitchen.
Rin sat down in the dining room silently, a rare threat, he noticed nervously.
The time alone put his mind to work on how he was going to start the conversation. Should he just ask for a way to travel through time? Or should he tell her about his dream? Or maybe he shouldn't say anything all together and forget that this ever happened. He sighed in frustration, getting burned in the process. He hissed and set the cups on a trail before making his entrance at the dining room. "Here's your tea."
She took the tea cup and put a mint-flavored teabag inside. "What do you want to talk about?" She asked; her tone as serious as her gaze.
Shirou took a heavy breath, "W-well, you see…" The girl raised a fine eye brow impatiently. "I wanted to ask you if you know for a way…" He paused, deciding to look at her. "…to travel through time."
Rin blinked twice, "What?"
"Do you know a magical way to travel through time? To the past to be precise." He asked again, faster this time. Even though his voice was firm and his eyes were honest, Shirou was feeling awkward asking her that.
"Is this… about Saber?"
His eyes widened slightly, "No, well… not exactly, but yeah, she might be involved." He blurted out, looking away.
"I thought you told me you were going to move on-"
"I know!" He yelled, a bit louder than he intended to, "I'm sorry, is just that… well, I just-can't." He confessed for the first time in one and a half year. "But it's not just about her. I… miss the thrill of the fights, the sensation of having to protect someone or just the fact that I could be useful in something big… I know it sounds stupid but that's how I feel."
His companion seemed startled at his first outburst but relaxed when she saw his pained expression. He seemed to relax slightly after that and suddenly remembered the other motive for this conversation, "But that's not the whole reason. I had a dream…" He explained, telling her what he dreamed and what he thought about it.
She stared at him for a while, not really looking at him as she was deep in thought. She took her cup of tea and swallowed the remaining content, continuing the conversation, "I can't believe this," She finally said, a smile forming on her pretty face. Shirou raised an eyebrow, "I had a dream yesterday too," She continued, her fingers playing with the already used teabag, "A voice told me to help you with some request…" Shirou's eyes widened, "I didn't paid attention to it though, even if I don't dream a lot I don't usually let one simple dream get into me but, now that you're telling me this..."
Shirou's heart caught up in his throat, a bit of excitement glinting in his deep brown eyes, "So…"
"Well, there is one way to travel through time but, I have never tried it and it's pretty damn difficult-"
"So you are going to help me?"
"I'm not sure if I should help you or not. This could be a coincidence, or even worse: a trap."
Suddenly he seemed out of words, he hasn't thought about all this been a trap.
"Listen Shirou, not a lot of wizards have the ability to communicate through dreams, only the most powerful magus or those born with the gift are able to do so."
"There's something… something is telling me to trust that voice, it sounded familiar somehow. I know I've heard it before."
"You can't trust someone just because it sounds familiar. Even if you do go back in time, that person didn't specify to what time exactly."
"I'm sure he wanted me to go to Saber's- to Arturia's time." He retorted with conviction.
Rin shook her head disapprovingly. "How can you be so sure about that?"
He looked away, not sure of how to put it in words. "I don't know. He said something that sounded like Saber's name but I didn't hear it completely. Besides, I can't ignore someone who's obviously asking for help." He replied in a low tone, looking at his hands.
A heavy sigh was heard at the other side of the table, making him look up. "You never change, do you?" She startled him a bit when she suddenly stood up, "If you are so sure about this, then who am I to deny you?" She said smiling at him mockingly, he smiled back, grateful that she was going to help him once more. "But I warn you: messing with time is a lot more complicated than it sounds, furthermore, for me to be able to send you to exactly the time you are asking for will be difficult and dangerous." She suddenly looked disturbed.
"Don't worry, Rin." He called, using her first name, "I'll make sure I don't mess up. As for the other problem, I trust you'll send me to the right time, after all, you are the best magus I've ever known." He finished, a genuine and reassuring smile adorning his face.
Rin looked back at him, lips slightly parted and a dumbfounded expression on her face and after a few seconds she burst out laughing, causing the red-haired boy to frown.
When the laughter finally died down, she whipped some tears away from her eyes and said, "Flattery won't take you anywhere, you know? And you are terrible at convincing… but all right, we'll do it your way. I'll need some time to prepare everything, in the meantime, make sure you are ready. Finish anything you have to in this time plane since maybe… you won't come back, understood?"
He gasped softly, but did not let his determination slip away. "I understand, thank you, Rin."
- - -
To be continued...
Hope you liked it :) Next chapter will be uploaded soon, till then~