Disclaimer: I don't own them, Type-Moon and Nasu does.
Author's Notes: Yes, this is the same Elf who is one of the mods on Beast's Lair and this story has been on Beast's Lair for a while. I'm posting it here for shits and giggles, and to maybe let the people who've just seen the anime get a better feeling about the characters. Read the VN, it's a lot of fun.
Also, crack pairing ahoy here!
This story sort of grew from discussion on the Beast's Lair forums and I started writing it to show that it could be done. However a major part of this came from the idea of what would happen with the Servants having to adopt to the modern world. Some of them would adjust swimmingly, then there are cases like shown below. I took a lot of inspiration from soldiers returning home from war and not knowing how to cope. Especially in the case of the hero here.
Also, if you favorite, please take the time to write a review. It's really easy to do. It's nice to know you like the story, but please critique. It makes the writer better.
Steel and Cherry Blossoms
The vibration of the motorcycle shook her to her very core as her field of vision seemed to grow smaller as she increased speed. She wanted to drop the hammer and let her new beloved bike go as fast and hard as it could go, but she already gathered enough attention anyway. Still, she was smiling ear to ear as she nimbly moved the Hayabusa through Fuyuki City's streets.
Hot air whipped through her long, braided hair and passed through her jacket, but the former Rider class Servant was thankful for its armor as she rode. Rider knew all too well that with one miscalculated movement that she could easily lose her new life. Her smile melted from her face as she gripped the handlebars, moving her booted foot to shift the gear as she had to slow to her destination.
Rider had a purpose, but she knew she couldn't do this alone.
There were other former Servants who would be more than willing to help her, but they lacked any finesse to get what she needed done. Power had its uses, but Rider needed someone more who thought before they charged in screaming with a bladed weapon. She needed someone who could notice things that she couldn't, plan accordingly and adapt if needed.
Most of the former Servants would fail miserably at that, and one of the ones that could Rider wouldn't trust. The other she wasn't too keen on trusting either, but she knew if she presented the situation properly he would cave in. Just how to present the problem would be the problem.
After the miracle of the Fifth War that had given Servants and fallen Masters a second chance at life, most of the Servants happily reintegrated into Fuyuki's society. Romances blossomed, second chances were granted and mostly everyone was happy. Everyone except my former Master, she thought as she slowed her bike. Her true Master's situation had not changed, if anything it had gotten worse and Rider was not going to let her go through the same hellish existence she had.
Rider stopped the bike at the address given. She looked up at the small brick building looming before her. There was a neat, simple sign in black that simply stated "Repairs" in both English and Japanese. The windows reflected plenty of light and she knew that above the shop there was a small apartment for the shop owner.
Out of all the other Servants, Servant Archer had distanced himself as much as possible from his former Master and everyone else. Rider actually got the information about the former Servant from several girls in Sakura's class who were giggling about it at the library that Rider worked part time. She had pressed for more information and suffered through the girls swooning over the "Handsome Archer-san" before she gotten what she had needed.
She parked the bike, turned off the motor, propped the kickstand and dismounted. She pulled off her helmet and rested it on the seat before pulling off her beloved purple, white and black leather racing jacket. She tossed the jacket over her shoulder before collecting her matching helmet and headed into the shop.
The only sound in the room was a chime of bells above the door announcing her arrival. Sitting at a work bench bent over an antique oak clock was Archer himself. Sweat made his skin glisten and part of his white hair was falling in face while other was in its normal spikes. Steel grey eyes flickered up to her, narrowed and his hands dropped from the clock and under the table.
Rider studied him and adjusted her glasses to make sure her eyes wouldn't petrify him as he stared at her. The last time they had met had been a battle and they had crossed blades. For an Archer, she had been surprised with his skill in close ranged combat even though he was slower than most of the other Servants. However, unlike Saber who had been pure instinct in battle, Archer calculated and could maneuver around any trap that she would attempt to lure him in. It had gotten to the point where she had to take off her Gorgon Breaker to petrify him with her eyes.
That had only slowed him down, and to her amazement he had been able to move still.
They stood in their silent dead lock for countless moments before Rider smiled ever so slightly and said, "Hello Archer."
"Rider," he replied in a rough voice.
She looked around and asked, "May I set these down please?" She nodded to her jacket and helmet. He blinked and the scowl deepened in his features before he pointed to a tidy desk with paper work towards the front of the shop. Rider turned around and walked over to the desk.
She had the urge to scatter the painstakingly neat paper work to see his reaction, but quelled it as she draped her jacket over the office chair there and set her helmet in the seat. She turned to look at him with his hands still hidden behind his work table. She tilted her head and said, "I'm not going to attack you, Archer."
"Can't be too careful," he replied as his eyes narrowed at her.
She smiled at that, placed her hands on her hips and said, "No, you can't, but the war has been over for a long time now."
"Hn," was his taciturn response, however he brought his hands back to the table to continue to work on the clock.
Rider moved over to the antique and examined it. The dark reddish wood was polished to a high enough sheen where she could see her reflection. Archer had taken the face of the clock out and the mechanisms were currently organized on the table as well as a set of delicate looking tools. For someone who would have been an Epic Hero, Archer seemed to be good at tasks like this. Then again, none of us know his true identity, she thought to herself as she ran her fingers over the wood.
"What are you doing here, Rider?" he asked as she moved her fingers off of the clock.
She answered, "I need help."
"Don't we all?" he replied in an acid laced voice as he stared at her.
She sighed, drew a deep breath and fought against the urge to punch him. She answered, "Good point, Archer. However, some people need more than others. I'm sure you are aware that with the change in events there are still loose threads."
His eyes narrowed, but he said nothing. Rider took that as a sign that he was listening and considering her words. Good, she thought as she readjusted her glasses. She pushed a stray lock of her lavender hair off her shoulder before eying him again.
"Why me then? There are six other Servants you can ask for help," Archer said with a frown.
She smiled at that and said, "Two of those I don't want anything to do with due to past history, one of which is too arrogant to do anything for anyone other than himself, one I know nothing about, and two of which charge into battle with a scream waving a bladed weapon. No, I need someone with a bit more finesse."
"I attempted to kill the person my Master allied herself with," Archer replied in a flat voice. She noticed that his eyes flickered down and his hands clinched into fists before relaxing on the table again. She briefly wondered what he was thinking, if he was reacting in guilt or anger for failing.
She said, "Honestly, your attempted betrayal is one of the reasons I'm here."
Archer's eyes narrowed as he asked, "For what?"
"I want you to help my Master," Rider said as her eyes met and held his.
Archer froze as if she had taken off the glasses blocking her Mystic Eyes before taking a deep breath. His shoulders tensed as he flexed his fists and said, "I doubt you're talking about Shinji."
"I want you to help Sakura," Rider said evenly as she looked him in the eye.
Archer felt tension spring through his shoulders, down his spine, arms and legs as those oddly beautiful pale violet eyes with their square pupils met his. He knew the enchanted glasses Rider was wearing would protect him from the dangerous effect of Rider's eyes, but still seeing them so open and naked was enough to make him pause. He mentally shook himself as her words entered his mind.
As a boy, Sakura had been like family to him. She had helped nursed him when he had the acid burn on his shoulder and helped shoulder his cooking and cleaning as well as keeping track of Fuji-nee. Then the Fifth Grail War hit, he had met Ilya, Ilya died and he threw himself into his hollow ideal saving as many as he could. He grew farther and farther away from both Sakura and Fuji-nee, becoming closer and closer to Rin and Luvia Edifelt.
He frowned and asked, "What's wrong with Sakura?"
"It's a long story," Rider said as she looked away, a faint flush tinting her cheeks.
Archer looked back down at the clock, grabbed his smallest Torx screwdriver and began to work on it again. He tightened a screw that was holding onto one of the more intricate gears. He stared at the gear for a moment, sighed and looked back at Rider. He set the screwdriver down in annoyance.
The sensible thing to do would be to kick the Gorgon out of his shop. However, her words and expressions were staying his hand. I can't let this go, can I? he thought to himself as he clinched his hands into fists before relaxing them. He sighed and opened his eyes before he realized he had closed them. Rider was watching him expectantly with those unblinking eyes.
He said, "I'm not going anywhere."
"What do you know of the Matou bloodline?" Rider asked as she folded her arms under her breasts.
He answered, "They're a dead magi, no circuits left. Or at least none active."
"And what do you know of the Tohsaka line?" Rider asked in a soft voice.
Archer took a deep breath and answered, "Sakura is Rin's younger sister."
"How long have you known?" Rider asked as she smoothed a stray lock of hair that had escaped from her braid from her face.
He sighed and answered, "Since after this War. I put two and two together and got four. There were hints here and there, not to mention Rin has a matching hair ribbon in her bedroom that's the exact copy of the one Sakura wears in her hair."
"You deducted from a hair ribbon?" Rider asked with wide eyes.
Archer shrugged and said, "And a thousand other little things too. I did follow Rin a good deal in noncoporial form during the War."
"So you noticed a lot then," Rider said in a soft voice.
Archer raised his eyebrows and said, "Not to mention I know Rin very well. So, apparently the Matous made a deal with the Tohsakas and received Sakura in the process."
"From my understanding yes, I don't know all the details," Rider admitted.
Archer felt his lips quirk up as he snorted and said, "I know magi. They're self-serving bastards who only care for themselves and their pursuit of knowledge. They kill their emotions and isolate themselves for power."
"So, will you help Sakura?" Rider asked as she placed her hands on the table and leaned forward.
Archer sighed and said, "I really don't have a choice, do I?"
"You could say no," Rider said as her eyes met his again.
He chuckled darkly, shook his head and replied, "No I can't." He picked up his screwdriver again to set to work on putting the gears back together. He whispered his personal spell to Reinforce his eyes before asking, "What's the situation?"
Rider answered, "Matou Zouken has control over Sakura due to his mage craft. He has . . . experimented on her as well as other things."
"What do you mean by experiment?" Archer asked as he put down the screwdriver, picked up a pair of pliers and started on a very small cog. With his eyes Reinforced like this he could see the tiny notches in the brass from when the gear was originally manufactured. It was a beautiful clock and there was something soothing about the work he was putting into it.
He heard Rider take a deep breath and answer, "It is . . . personal."
Archer gritted his teeth and took a deep, calming breath. In his existence and tenure as an Ally of Justice, there were several reasons why someone would answer a question with "it's personal" and none of those were ever favorable. Especially with women, he thought darkly as he adjusted the cog before putting the tools down. He looked up at her and simply said, "I see."
"Do you?" Rider asked sardonically.
He smirked again and answered, "Those words never mean a good thing when a woman is in trouble. I'll help." He gritted his teeth as he picked up the pliers and tightened a nut. He replied, "I might be an asshole, but there are lines that I'll draw."
"Thank you, Archer," Rider replied and through the corner of his eye he could see her bow.
Archer straightened up from the clock and replied, "Now, since we are going to save Sakura, I need to know details of what we're dealing with. What happened to Sakura stays with her unless she's ready for someone else to know, however I need to know what I'm dealing with so I can plan accordingly."
Rider's face brightened to a smile as he bent down to continue to work again. He ignored the radiant smile as she replied, "Good. Zouken is apparently centuries years old, I'm afraid I don't know all that much. I do know he is controlling Sakura with some sort of mystical worm implanted in her body."
Archer felt his stomach twist in disgust at that and he said, "I think I know someone who can give me more information, especially if Zouken is that old."
"Who would that be?" Rider asked with a frown.
Archer's lip quirked up in a parody of a grin as he answered, "Kotomine Kirei."
"The priest?" Rider asked as she tilted her head.
"False priest," Archer answered with a dark chuckle. Once the initial bad gears were replaced, putting the rest of the clock together was going rapidly. He looked at Rider and said, "Put your finger right here and lightly press."
Rider leaned forward, lavender hair trailing on the table as she pressed on the nut in question. "It's beautiful," she said in a soft voice as she looked at the clock with a smile.
He smiled himself and replied, "It is. A lot of care and love went into building this."
"You respect that," Rider said, her voice not making it a question.
He nodded and said, "Yeah, I do. The owner does too."
"How unlike most of the heroes here," Rider said with a shake of her head, "I have my idiosyncrasies, but you are an enigma to me, Archer."
He smirked at that as he tightened the clock around the bolt Rider was holding into place for him. He replied and said, "Yeah, I'm odd."
"So you are going to talk to the priest?" Rider asked him as she backed away from the clock.
Archer nodded and said, "False priest, but yeah." He chuckled at the irony of the situation. Rider frowned at him but said nothing. He grabbed the cloth beside his tools and wiped his hands off. He said, "Once I get information and a plan, I'll come find you."
"You'll know where I'll be?" Rider asked with a tiny grin.
He replied, "You sort of stand out. We all do."
She chuckled at that and said, "True. I work at the Library Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday."
"And you street race on Thursday and Friday nights," Archer replied as he put his towel down beside his tools.
Rider's eyes shot to his face as she asked, "How did you know that?"
"I worked for Fujimura Raiga to save up enough money to get this place," Archer said with a shake of his head.
Rider opened her mouth to reply when the chime above the door sounded. Archer looked up and felt his stomach drop. Standing in the door way was one Sensei Fujimura Taiga and Mitsuzuri Ayako. Archer's former guardian smiled at the sight of him and nearly bounded over to him. Archer resisted the urge to flea as far and fast as he could, but instead looked over at Rider who was practically glowing as she approached Ayako.
The teenage girl swallowed and her amber eyes widened as she physically took a step back from Rider. She was dressed in blue jeans and an olive green tank top to stave off the summer heat. Her fox colored hair was pulled up in a pony tail, exposing her neck to which Archer noted Rider's eyes lingered on for a moment. Rider smiled as she gently placed her finger under Ayako's neck and asked, "Are you eating well?"
"Hi Archer-san, we've got some repairs for you," Taiga said with a smile as she lifted up a duffel bag that had arrow shaped bulges all through it. She asked, "So, could you take this for me, it's kinda heavy?"
Archer rapidly wiped his hands again and took the bag of bows from her. He set it on the clear part of his work bench and opened it. He felt his shoulders slink in annoyance as he looked at the broken parts in front of him. He ran his finger over one heavy crack in a carbon bow and shook his head. He remembered the students in the Archery Club being more careful with their bows.
"So, can you fix them?" Ayako asked as she tried to move away from Rider, however the Gorgon was persistent in her stalking.
Taiga clasped her hands behind her back and swayed back and forth, causing her green skirt to sway with her. With a knowing smile she said, "Archer-san can fix anything."
Archer swallowed as Rider stood so close to Ayako that they were almost touching. There were two high spots of color on Ayako's cheeks as Rider smiled down at her. He ignored Taiga's comment and cleared his throat. Taiga moved closer and asked, "So, when can you have these fixed, Archer-san?"
"When do you need them? Summer break's only has two more weeks right?" he asked as he looked away from Taiga. She was leaning closer towards him with a smile and her lashes lowered under her eyes.
Ayako said, "Yeah, could you have them done by next week Archer-san? I would like to get training started before the new term starts."
"Of course. Fujimura-sensei, I'll charge my regular rates," Archer said, the formal title rough against his tongue.
Taiga giggled, waved her hand and said, "Archer-san, how often do I have to ask you to call me Taiga?"
"Every time we meet, Fujimura-sensei," Archer replied as he tensed.
Taiga asked, "Could you deliver those when they're finished to the school?"
"Of course," Archer said.
Taiga grinned and said, "Great, you know my phone number so call me when they're ready!"
He swallowed and quietly nodded. Then she reached out to lightly touch his arm and said, "Grandpa wants to know if you'll come work for him again."
"It depends on what he wants me to do," Archer said with a tiny smile. He had honestly enjoyed working for the yazuka leader for the past few months until he had enough money to buy this place. "He knows how to call me."
Taiga pouted and mumbled something like, "Well, I don't . . ."
Archer ignored that and then looked at Ayako. Rider was still smiling at her and getting all too close. Archer said, "Well, I'm going to get to work on these then. I'll let you know when they're finished."
"Thank you Archer-san," Ayako said as she took a step back from Rider.
Taiga winked at him and said, "You're the best. Hey, you want to go to dinner some time? I know someone who's an excellent cook and would probably love to meet you."
I seriously doubt it, Archer thought dryly as he simply smiled and politely said, "I'll think about it, Fujimura-sensei."
Taiga pouted for a moment before smiling again. She said, "Well, take care Archer, come on Ayako, let's go get something to eat!"
She moved to grab the girl's arm and Rider smiled and said, "Be sure to eat well, Ayako."
Ayako flushed even more before bowing her head at Archer and nearly making a run for it out of the shop. Once they were gone, Archer raised his eyebrows at Rider and she raised her eyebrows at him. "The teacher seems quite taken by you," she said with a slight grin.
Archer smirked and retorted, "And you're taken with Ayako."
"Mmm," Rider said with a smile before it fell. She rested her chin on her knuckles and said, "I'll be ready once you come up with a plan Archer."
He nodded and said, "I'll find you."
After he had closed, Archer headed for the Chinese side of town to a certain restaurant that had a very infamous reputation. The owner spoke very poor Japanese, but during his travels in his lifetime, Archer had forced himself to learn Chinese (both Mandarin and Cantonese), English, and Korean. He spoke English the best out of the three languages and two dialects, but then again he had spent a good majority of his life in England. However, he spoke and read enough Chinese that the infamous restaurant owner couldn't bully him and use his ignorance of the Japanese language as an excuse to over charge him.
Not that anyone tries to bully and overcharge me now anyway, Archer thought dryly as he opened the door. He towered over most men of average Japanese height and with his darkened skin, grey eyes and white hair he stood out among a crowd despite his decidedly Asian features. The restaurant was nearly empty except for the one Asian man in Fuyuki that would be taller than him.
Kotomine Kirei was sitting in a booth in the back, dressed in his full cassock despite the mid-July heat wave eating a giant plate of mapo tofu. Even at this distance Archer could see the sweat beading down the older man's gaunt features as he ate the deadly, spicy concoction. As if Kotomine sensed him, the older man looked up, dark eyes fixing on Archer. The false priest smiled at Archer and made a languid gesture to the other side of the booth. Archer moved over to the priest and sat down, the burning spice already burning his nostrils.
"Servant Archer," Kotomine said in his rolling, deep voice with a smile as he rested his white spoon against the dish. As a teenager, that voice both enraged him and puzzled him, but now that he was vastly older Archer felt a perverse fascination towards the false priest.
Archer replied, "Kotomine Kirei."
"If it was any other Servant save for Gilgamesh or Lancer, I would ask how you knew where to find me," Kotomine said with a smile as he picked up the spoon again. With a smile he asked, "Would you like to dine with me?"
Archer eyed the fiery mixture of bean curd and dangerous spices that almost seemed to be glowing from the white dish that Kotomine was eating. He felt as if he was a teenage boy again with the priest almost daring him to eat the insane food. Archer briefly wondered if Kotomine had somehow burned all of his taste buds eating the sludge. He inwardly shrugged, squared his shoulders and said, "Actually, yeah, and I would like some sake as well."
"Oh? Well it's a rare thing to have someone who wants to dine with me, especially here," Kotomine said with a smirk as he lifted his hand up to signal the waiter over.
Archer replied, "Well I'm curious to see if this is as bad as Rin says it is."
"I haven't seen or heard from my student in a while. How is she?" Kotomine asked as the old Chinese man made his way over to them.
Archer shrugged and said, "I'm pretty sure she wants you dead. I don't know, I moved away shortly after Lancer moved in with Rin."
Kotomine's eyes narrowed at that and Archer resisted the urge to snicker at the priest. The Chinese man made his way over to him and Kotomine opened his mouth to order, but Archer said in Chinese, "One mapo tofu with one bottle of sake."
The old, rotund man blinked at Archer before scowling at him and nodding. Without another word, he shuffled away. Kotomine raised an eyebrow and said, "You don't look Chinese, Archer."
"I traveled a lot when I was alive," was his reply as he calmly folded his hands on the table.
Kotomine said, "I'm still surprised that any of the participants of the War would seek me out."
"I want answers," Archer replied, "And since this is stuff about the Fourth War you're the person I should ask."
Kotomine smirked ever so slightly and asked, "Not Saber and Gilgamesh?"
"The answer to that one is obvious," Archer said dryly as he looked at Kotomine. The other man chuckled ever so slightly before digging into the mapo tofu before him.
The priest paused to wipe a bit of sweat from his forehead and asked, "So what do you need to know?"
"I want to know about Matou Zouken," Archer answered.
To his surprise, Kotomine actually scowled as his spoon hovered centimeters from the sludge in the bowl. "The vampire," Kotomine said before looking up at Archer, something along the like of disgust lurking in normally unreadable eyes.
Archer's eyes widened as he quietly asked, "He's a Dead Apostle?"
"I'm surprised you even know what a Dead Apostle is, Servant Archer. You say that term to any of the other Servants and they would cant their head in confusion. Even Rider," Kotomine said with one eyebrow raised as he looked at Archer, "Then again, you are the enigma. The one Servant that his true identity is unknown, even to him."
Archer smirked and replied, "I know exactly who I am now, Kotomine Kirei."
"Oh?" the priest asked as he tilted his head at Archer.
He nodded as the round Chinese man brought out the tofu, sake and sake cups. He held out one of the ceramic sake cups to Kotomine and he took it. Archer opened the bottle of rice wine and filled each cup full. He placed the bottle where Kotomine could easily grab it and stared at the food. He picked up the ceramic white spoon and brought the first bite to his lips.
Archer was an expert on pain. As a teenager he had forced a magic circuit in his body every night and it felt as if someone was shoving a hot rod into his spine. As an adult when he tried his first projection he practically lost his left arm. There were times when he used his Tracing abilities that caused swords to poke out of his body. He had overtaxed his body so much that he had burned his skin. Then there was a myriad of injuries he had withstood. And getting stabbed by the stupid Irish bastard.
However he nearly gagged when the first bit of spiced tofu hit his tongue. He swallowed quickly and grabbed the sake shot. He poured it down his mouth, swallowed and the intense inferno was quieted. He took a deep breath through his nose as he took another sip of sake just to cleanse the reactive spices. Kotomine was watching him with the slightest bit of a grin on his face, and knowing him, Archer was sure he was enjoying Archer's suffering.
Archer whispered, "Trace On." Then he Reinforced his tongue to keep the tofu from burning it and from him tasting it. He continued to eat and Kotomine simply shook his head before picking up his spoon again as well.
"I won't ask you your identity, but why are you asking about Matou Zouken?" Kotomine asked before taking a sip of sake.
Archer smirked and answered, "I have been asked to take care of something and he's heavily involved."
"Is Rin aware of this?" Kotomine asked with a thoughtful expression.
Archer shook his head and said, "No, she's not. If you end up telling her, I can deal with her."
There was that slight chuckle again as Kotomine shook his head. He looked at the tofu and mused, "Zouken is a disgusting creature. Perhaps you should talk to 'it' as well."
Archer stiffened at Kotomine's words and glared at the priest. He replied, "It has a name.
Her name is Ilya."
"She will die soon," Kotomine said matter-of-factly, his eyes meeting Archer's and holding them.
Archer retorted, "No she won't. She's already found a way around that."
"You seem quite close with it," Kotomine said before taking another bite. Archer noticed that the platter was almost empty. He looked back at Kotomine before taking another bite himself.
"She housed my soul inside of her. It doesn't get much closer than that," Archer replied with a smirk.
Kotomine said, "That's very true, Servant Archer. It's no wonder you have an attachment to it as well."
Archer knew that he was being baited so he took a deep breath and mentally focused on all of the swords he had in his records. In his mind he flashed through each one, their name, their composition, and their abilities as he said, "I'm surprised you're not more attached to her. After all, she almost gave you exactly what you wanted."
"And Emiya Shirou took that away," Kotomine said with a shake of his head, "Yet in his folly we are both here."
Archer snorted, "The boy's a fool."
"Is that what prompted you to attempt to kill him?" Kotomine asked as he scraped up the last bit of tofu in the dish.
Archer found himself smirking as he answered, "Partially."
Kotomine did laugh at that before shaking his head and stating, "You are truly an interesting man, Servant Archer."
"I want to know about Zouken," Archer said as Kotomine was brought another platter of mapo tofu. Archer's platter was still half full and he wasn't in any hurry to eat the sludge.
The priest said, "He's ancient, perhaps from the First Grail War. His form of mage craft is rather disgusting. What do you know of mage craft?"
"More than I'd like to admit," Archer answered.
Kotomine's eyebrow lifted again and asked, "Do you know about Magic Crests?"
"Yes, Rin has one. They are how most magi families pass down spells and family secrets, as well as other magical functions," Archer answered, "They can also be painful."
Kotomine nodded and said, "You should have learned that much from Rin. Well, the Matous use worms to use their magic. Disgusting, but effective."
Archer steeled his expression so Kotomine couldn't read him. Kotomine did look him over and his eyes flashed ever so slightly before he continued, "The worms are implanted in the body, and need to feed."
"I take it they don't eat normal food," Archer said with a shake of his head.
Kotomine smirked and said, "No, they don't. I don't know the exact details, just Zouken is a rather disgusting man. Speaking as a former member of the Burial Agency, if he was dealt with . . ."
"What suffering would that cause?" Archer asked with a tiny smirk as he rested his spoon against the dish as he met Kotomine's eyes, "What joy would his death bring you?"
Kotomine's face spread out to a slight smile as he replied, "I do have my limits, Servant Archer. However, killing something that sought immortality that hard and denying him his wish is a joy all its own."
Archer laughed at that and shook his head before looking back at Kotomine. He stood up and pulled out his wallet. He pulled out enough for the sake and his share of the tofu. He replied, "Well, I'll let you know how this turns out then, Priest."
"I hope you do. I look forward to it," Kotomine said as he wiped more sweat off of his brow.
Archer stepped from the booth and said, "So do I."
Ironically, he found himself meaning it.