While I was so surprised to see six people review not so long after the release of the Prologue...I am very happy to have witnessed such a thing. I continued this because the idea kept bugging me over and over, and would not go away. So, I will write as ideas barrage me - but that means this may be abandoned at any time. In any case, many thanks to my first six reviewers: Moonshine79, visser2294, Vaarsuvius, BeatleBomb, DarkJediKnight, and XxMisaki_EndouxX. Many thanks. Here's the second installment.
Disclaimer: Fate/stay night belongs to TYPE-MOON Corporation.
I clasped my hands together so tightly that my muscles began trembling. I was sitting in the living room alongside of Saber, Rin, and Archer, but my eyes were shut to the world. Saber sat next to me, her back ramrod straight, and her eyes a cold, distant, dark, jade-green. Remembering what had taken place only twenty minutes before, I clenched my hands tighter against each other, and my brow furrowed deeply.
As soon as I had said those words, I saw Saber's expression drift from absolute and utter shock, to hurt, incomprehension, and then finally betrayal. Eventually, whatever expression she'd carried had fallen into an emotionless mask, and her eyes lost all form of emotion as well, aside from anger and indifference. No words were exchanged between the two of us after that, and it seemed that I had done her a great disservice. However, I knew in my heart – perhaps not my mind – that she was loyal to a fault. Yes, so loyal, she would service even those she viewed as scum to the very end as she had promised.
"I am Servant Saber," she had told me twenty minutes before, her voice like freezing ice. "It appears you do not recall me from the last war, Master. As you have summoned me, please allow me to become your shield and your sword in battle, and help you to grasp the Holy Grail for yourself in victory. This contract between Servant and Master has now been made."
If I had told her right then and there, I'm pretty sure she would have understood, or had attempted to…but I didn't. If I had told her, she would have forgiven me and tried to help, I'm sure…but I didn't. If I had…
All I can do now is understand the situation and react in the best way possible, but for some reason, all I could feel was anger at myself, at Rin for not coming to my defense, at Archer for not chastising me as I know he probably would, and at Saber for only thinking that I would easily forget her like nothing. "I didn't forget intentionally!" I strongly desired to say. I can't remember anything, not even my past! I couldn't even remember the woman who had raised me from when I was a child, or my father who had saved my life. I couldn't remember why my life had been saved, if I'd loved or hated anyone, who I'd wanted to be…
Eighteen years of my life had immediately vanished like nothing, and the only things I remembered were based off events I'd come across within the past five years. I remember Fujimura Taiga, but only because she forced me to, and even then, there were still bits and pieces missing here and there. I didn't really remember Matou Sakura, who was actually Rin's younger sister, at all. She had understood though, and had taken it well while helping me try to remember patiently. I was grateful to her.
Now, though, I could only sit still in that godforsaken living room with three other people and feel absolutely miserable. Why hadn't I explained? Why hadn't I helped reassure her? Why hadn't anyone helped me? Why did I always make the worst mistakes of my life at the most horrible times?
After slamming my hands down on my thighs, I lift my eyes up to stare at the surprised faces of the other three present in the room. As soon as I was about to speak, thunder clashed outside, and a burst of light fell down upon us from the outside. Within seconds, a cascade of rain fell down outside, clamoring against the room. I thought such a change in weather was very fitting for the torrent of emotions whirling around in me. All I knew for certain was that I needed to leave. I know in my mind that there are many things to discuss, and many things we must become aware of, but in my heart…I can't allow myself to stay in the presence of someone I have wronged so horribly. I don't know what I could possibly do to absolve that, so…I do nothing. No words can be said right now to rid her of that feeling of betrayal – I know that. I know that, so, that's why I'm going to go elsewhere for a while. She won't care. No one will.
Standing up, I turn to look at Rin. "I'm heading out for a while."
She looked up at me, wanting to stop me but knowing I needed to stew on what had happened on my own. The only way I would feel better, was to do something on my own, without the help from anyone else. I turn away from Rin, my eyes closing as I firmly walked past Saber. The clank of metal told me she had stood up as well, in preparation for following me. I turned back to her, eyes narrowed as I bit out,
"Where are you going?"
She said nothing as she turned to look at me in return, and anger struck me again, but only at myself. Why was I so stupid to make so many mistakes, especially to someone who obviously felt so much for me that she would abandon composure in order to hug me outright? I was a fool, an idiot, a pathetic man… I didn't want her near me…I didn't want her to have to deal with such an idiot.
"Stay here," I demanded, my voice harsher than I wanted it to be.
She stared over at me for a few moments. "I refuse. My task is such as to protect my Master from all danger. Would you be denying me my existence…Master?"
She made a good point, but I wasn't rational at that moment. I was tired, angry at the world and myself, and disgusted by my own actions. I could tell she didn't appreciate being in my presence either, so I would do us both a favor:
"You will stay here. That is an order."
"I refuse that order," she argued back calmly. Damn her for that calm composure. She continued: "As your protector, I must stay at your side. If you would prefer I stay away, then you must use a Command Spell to enforce your order. Otherwise, I must continue to stay by your side."
I stare at her in disbelief, and grit my teeth in anger. Why was she trying to make this so hard? I was doing her a favor – why couldn't she just accept it? I turn my gaze around to look at Rin, who turned her own eyes away to avoid eye contact. It seemed nothing would go right tonight…so I made another mistake –
"Do I have such a lowly knight as a Servant that she would disobey even the smallest of orders?"
I felt nausea rise up my throat as I saw my words hit her. Her eyes widened slightly, and I saw her gauntlets tremble lightly from her fury at my under-the-belt insult. That's right, I thought, looking at her while ready to throw up. I'm despicable. I'm horrible. I'm not the man you used to know. I'm not worth caring for. I should be killed where I stand.
"As you wish…Master," she choked out through her outrage. Rin stared at me, frowning when she realized what I was doing. She knew, but also knew this was nothing she could intrude on. I turn my head away from Saber, from Rin and Archer, and from the world as I walk away.
My steps sound heavy as I walk to the front door, and I feel my heart tear slowly into pieces. Tears run down my cheeks as I slip into my shoes at the front door, open it, and walk out. The door slams shut with a note of finality, and all that is left for me is the constant downpour of a heavy rain. I am drenched immediately, but I do not fear whatever may happen from it. I don't care about the coldness that was suddenly filtering into my body, and I don't care about the pain that was causing my mind to self-destruct. I only want to get away. I want to get away from my past, and from…her. She, who I have wronged so much in so little time, does not deserve to have to be with me. That isn't fair. It's, not, fair.
Eventually, I started to walk away from the house I'd been standing outside of for nearly ten minutes. I walk away, my auburn-red bangs of hair falling into my eyes, drenched from the rain. I walk away, feeling my heart tear more and more with each step. I wanted to get away. I wanted to die.
Without even realizing, I opened my eyes in surprise to see that I had ventured to my favorite spot overlooking the city. My hair was matted down, with drops of water falling down it constantly. Sparks of lightning danced up in the distant skies, with thunder causing the earth to tremble seconds later. The ferocity of the storm sparked my own fury at myself, and without knowing, two short swords were in my hands, sparking with magical energy. Bolts of energy frizzled around my traced weaponry, and I immediately dropped down into a fighting stance.
More lightning flashed in the distance, causing the area around me to shimmer and brighten. On the cue of the thunder, I shifted forward quickly, my right hand flicking the sword up to cut the air. I drew it back down, and slid my left foot forward, falling into a side dash as I quickly slammed my right foot on the ground and jumped high up in the air. The force of motion spun me around and I executed a strong side kick midair. Landing unevenly, I swiped the sword in my right hand back hard, and followed with a backwards swinging stroke from the blade in my left. I dashed forward, before executing a sudden 180 degree turn, my feet still sliding back against the grass with a shhh sound. Magic gathered in the bottom of my feet, and whirled away as I flew forward, my hair flapping against face and feeling like knives as they flicked against my skin.
My left foot flew forward, embedded itself into the dirt, and allowed me to shift into a sudden side dash. I felt my equilibrium shake when my right foot scraped against the ground and sent me flying off course. I hit the ground rolling, the mud attaching itself to my clothing and hair as I did. My traced weapons faded away as I pushed myself up slowly from the ground, and images flashed across my mind:
A word shouted in anger as a golden line of bright light arced away.
A stuffed lion.
The ivory skin and gentle curve of breasts.
Mud-like things grabbing at my skin and burning through.
The uprising of fierce flames flowing back and forth across an entire area.
"Agh!" I yelled out, clutching a hand to my throat as I began to throw up.
"No," I muttered, feeling more tears fall down my cheeks.
"No. No. No…No-o-o-o!" I screamed out in desperation, my fear winding tightly within me as I let out my anger and utter hopelessness. "A-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ah!"
My head fell down on the ground then – I no longer had the strength to keep it up. All my strength had withered away as dread and fear roared around within me. I wanted to cry. I wanted to have the world feel my pain.
"Saber," I whispered. "Saber… Saber… Saber…I'm, so…so sorry…"
I don't know how long I laid there with the rain pouring down on me, and my eyes closed shut tight from the outside world. I don't know how long I slept there on the muddy ground in the rain. All I felt was the coldness and the pain of having betrayed someone who seemed to think so much of me. How could I have…
Minutes passed to become hours, but it was the clank of metal coming near that awoke me. My eyes flashed open, but the cold rain had taken its due. My teeth chattered as I tried to get up from the ground. I felt two strong hands – one under my left arm, and one around my waist – carefully lift me up. My eyes slowly shifted over to see who my savior was, and I was surprised to see Saber's green eyes gaze at me.
"S-Saber," I hoarsely called out, my voice as ruined as the rest of me. "B-but…"
She said nothing as she wound my arm around her shoulders, and lifted me up. I felt us turn away from where I had lain and walk slowly towards the winding trail leading back down towards the city. So many thoughts were running through my mind – why had she come? What was she doing there? What was happening to me? – but the strongest feeling was that of my betrayal to her.
No, this wasn't right. She shouldn't be helping me. I had wronged her, and didn't deserve her good grace now. I…I didn't deserve it! No…
"No!" I shouted out, pushing her away.
Saber fell back a few steps, but quickly regained her balance. Her eyes were shadowed as she raised her head defiantly and approached me again. I crawled back away from her, my eyes probably wild with disgust for myself, and horror for her. "Don't come close!" I shouted. "Stay back! I don't want you near me!"
She stopped then, looking at me with a complicated expression. "…Shirou," she murmured softly, her voice panging with hurt and regret, though I had no idea why.
Wait, what happened to "Master"?
"Please allow me to assist you," she continued in a small voice, her eyes downcast. "You have been in the rain for far too long, and–"
"No!" I yelled out, mustering strength I didn't have to try to force her away. Get away from me, my mind whispered desperately. Forget about me! You don't deserve what I've done to you…
"Go home," I continued, my body trembling. "I've wronged you. I've hurt you. I didn't remember you. I don't deserve to even be in your presence. I shouldn't be–"
"Rin explained everything to me."
Her words cut straight through mine like nothing, and I blinked a few times as I looked up at her. Her head was bowed down, and saw her body tremble slightly as her knees hit the ground. I stared over at her, my eyes wide as I took in her entire disposition – her hair and clothes were drenched from top to bottom, and the way her shoulders slumped down so much made me feel horrible. Without thinking, my hand reached up to touch her, and it was only after I felt her soft, golden tresses under my hand that I realized what I was doing. Her head slowly lifted up, and I saw her jade-green orbs shimmer with unshed tears. Her gauntlet-covered hands reached for my extended one, and clasped it in between her own.
"Please forgive me of my actions, Shirou," she whispered softly. "I knew not of your amnesia, and had merely believed you to have forgotten me…us. I had thought I was the only one who believed what had happened to be something worthwhile, and paid no attention to the personality I should have known to be yours. I never noticed the surprise and confusion you expressed, and only thought of my own anger and pain. If you would only forgive me…"
I stared at her silently, unable to believe what I was hearing. She thought she was in the wrong? She thought that all the blame laid on her? She thought that she should apologize for her actions?
"Forgive you?" I bit out, wrenching my hand away from hers. "Forgive you? What do you have to apologize for? I'm the one who forgot everything! I'm the one who should apologize to you! I'm the one who should be pleading for forgiveness! Don't ask me to forgive you for something when you've done nothing wrong!"
Two drops of tears tracked their way down her cheeks, and her mouth tightened as she looked down. Great. Now I feel like I kicked a remorseful puppy.
"I should have told you," I muttered, causing her to lift her head back up. "And I shouldn't have insulted you. I know that, whoever you may be, that you are an amazing knight. I don't even need my memories back to know that. Please forgive me for those cruel words from before."
"Shirou…" she whispered, her voice filled with emotion.
"I'm also sorry I didn't tell you about my amnesia. Rin shouldn't have had to tell you. I'll apologize to her later, but, I just wanted you to know that if you don't feel I am suitable to be your Master, I understand. I don't want you to have to be with someone you can neither stand nor respect."
I bowed my head down deeply to her, clenching my fists tightly. I wasn't sure what her decision would be, but I knew that she should have the choice to decide on her own. She may have been a Servant, but she wasn't just a tool to be used – not to me. She was a person, regardless of what anyone might have thought. A person had feelings and emotions, and I was not about to treat a person like a slave. So, with my unwavering decision having been made, I impatiently sat with my head bowed and waited for hers.
Another clang of metal resounded and I felt her arms wrap around my body and pull me close. I know my eyes were side and I gasped. Saber buried her face into my shoulder, her breath hitching slightly.
"I desire no other Master but the one who has summoned me this time and the one before. I do not wish to leave your side, Shirou. Please do not force me to."
I suppose I hadn't known just how much I had been hoping she would stay, and the burden on my shoulders quickly alleviated. She had both forgiven me and asked to stay with me. I felt elated, and my face broke out into a wild grin. Despite the cold, I wrapped my arms tightly against the small woman, and rocked back and forth. Then, I did something that would embarrass me later –
I pushed her back gently, softly shifted her golden tresses out of her face, and gingerly pressed my lips against hers in a joy-filled kiss. I felt her body tense, her having been taken by surprise, before it slowly relaxed and pressed against mine. I felt her passion as she kissed me back, and smiled. I felt so elated – I couldn't remember anything, but I knew that this was right. This was right, it was definitely right.
I know she was surprised when I broke the kiss to start laughing out loud joyfully, but I saw her lips form into a small smile out of amusement. With that, we both sat there for a while, becoming even more and more drenched from the ongoing downpour of rain. Looking back at her, I smiled, and I swear that her shy grin became even larger.
"So," I began, as if starting a conversation in the heavy rain was the most natural thing in the world, "which knight were you? Obviously someone who had a lot of pride."
"Does it seem so?" she questioned, raising an eyebrow slowly. She didn't seem to mind the rain either. "I am not the only one with so much pride."
"Duly noted. So, will you tell me?"
"No reason not to. I will use it as a form of helping you to recall your past. Perhaps you have heard of the legend of King Arthur?"
Surprised, my mouth opened slightly. "Well, yeah, sure. Who hasn't?"
"I am that King Arthur in your legend."
She saw my confusion and slight disbelief. "It is nothing short of true. My name is Arturia Pendragon, the king of Camelot. I wield the sword of Excalibur as your legend stated. I'm not certain of what else I can say."
"Wow," I murmured. "The king? You were Arthur? You have Excalibur? Wow. So, hey, I've got to ask: you know English, right?"
I think that out of all the things she was expecting, it certainly wasn't that. "Yes," she said hesitantly. "It is my native tongue…"
"How do you know Japanese?"
"…I learned when I was with your father, Emiya Kiritsugu, and via the power of the Holy Grail. Why do you ask?"
I laughed at her confusion. She looked gorgeous on a normal basis, but when she seemed so confused and unsure, that just made her really, really adorable.
"You're adorable, Saber…no, Arturia. So powerful, amazing, smart, and beautiful…but right now, you're just so damned adorable."
Redness spread across her cheeks, and she turned away, her cheeks puffing out in indignation. "Have your fun, Shirou," she shot back, her voice strong and unwavering.
"I will, but for now, we should head back."
"Yes," she agreed, standing up and quickly moving to help me get up as well. It was slow going, but we found a way to move efficiently the further we traveled across the ledge overlooking the city. However, just as we were about to go down the winding path, the sound of shifting grass was made behind us.
Saber and I turned back to see someone glaring over at us, his or her red eyes gleaming with hatred. Saber and I stared over at the person, before she suddenly vanished from my side and reappeared in front of me, her hands in the position of grasping a sword I couldn't see. The speed with which she had moved had been phenomenal, and I realized that was something granted to her for having been a heroic spirit, and for having been so extraordinarily skilled in her previous life. I mean, if she was the king and had Excalibur…that meant she must have been pretty skilled. No idiot can be king and have so many successes.
Her grip tightened as the figure walked forward, and a flash of lightning showed up who the person was.
Saber gasped slightly and gritted her teeth as she growled out,
"…You! It's you–"