"What if (Almost) Everybody was Shirou's Servant" by Mereo Flere
Some people might question the wisdom of using up a command seal to call forth a delinquent servant. Even if you were like Shirou, who happened to have an unusually large amount of them compared to most masters that participates in the Holy Grail War, there was still a limit to the number of commands that he could give. He had started out with eighteen – three for each of his servants – and he had already used up three to rescue his servants in the previous day.
If he used all of his command seals up, he would have no way of keeping his servants under control except his natural charisma. That might work for Saber, whose honorable nature would likely keep her duty bound to him as a knight, but the others were probably more likely to do their own thing. There was Lancer to consider, after all; the blue haired warrior seemed intent on creating a new legend on his perverseness whenever he left Shirou's eyes. Rider also liked to play around, and while she didn't seem to have any malicious intentions so far Shirou needed to make sure that she didn't go too far.
And then there was Archer. Archer definitely wouldn't listen to Shirou. Psychic bastard or not, Shirou just felt like he would have trouble dealing with Archer.
Shirou knew he would have to keep some command seals in reserve. At the same time, however, he also couldn't let his servants think he was too afraid to use them.
Of course, he wasn't so reckless that he would do it in the classroom, immediately after his talk with Luvia. Instead, he went to the rooftop – a place that was deserted since it was almost time for classes to begin. Still, he looked around to make sure that nobody else was there, just to be safe.
When he was satisfied that nobody else was around, he raised his arm and gave his command.
"Archer, by the power of this command seal, I order you to appear before me!"
A bright flash of red light blinded Shirou for a moment, but he knew when he opened his eyes that Archer would be there. The thing was…
"Shirou, you idiot!"
He hadn't been ready for what Archer would appear like.
Shirou had known about Archer's circumstances, how the bowman had accidentally taken Saber's potion instead of his own. He knew Archer would be a girl – and had even guessed that she would be a pretty girl, considering how most of the heroic spirits he'd seen had could have passed for models; with long, messy white hair, a tan complexion, and an athletic build, Archer would probably appeal to the kind of people who liked wild girls.
He simply hadn't expected Archer to be nude. Well, not completely nude; she still had a blanket, after all, wrapped around her body. If not for that, though, Shirou would've been able to see everything.
"Archer, just what were you doing?" Shirou said, looking away with a blush. Archer was a girl now, after all, and it wasn't right to just stare at her.
Archer's eye twitched. "Oi," she said angrily. "Don't start being the one blushing here! You're the last person I want to get that reaction from!"
"It's a legitimate question!" Shirou shouted back, crossing his arms as he glanced back at her. "I knew that you got turned into a girl, but to be only wearing a bedsheet…"
At that moment, Shirou noticed something strange about the blanket. Shirou didn't remember owning such a blindingly bright golden blanket; in fact, he had never seen one in his life like that.
"Where did you even get that blanket?"
Archer thought carefully about her answer. Saying it belonged to an elementary school boy would only bring about unfortunate implications.
"It's…my noble phantasm."
"Your noble phantasm is a bed sheet?"
"Even if you don't think much of me, I'm not that stupid," Shirou said with a frown.
"Haven't you ever heard of the golden fleece?" Archer said, hoping that her past self would buy it.
"But that looks more like silk." That was because it was. "Besides, Caster would've recognized you if that really were your noble phantasm."
"How in the world would you know something like that?" Archer didn't remember being well versed in Greek mythology when she was in the Holy Grail War.
"I looked it up on the Internet after you revealed the others' identities. By the way, did you know that nobody seems to know that King Arthur was actually a girl?"
Shirou blinked. It seemed that Archer was lost, for once. "Ah, the Internet is like a series of tubes that-"
"I know what an Internet is."
"Oh," Shirou said. "So… are you going to tell me what you were doing?"
Shirou frowned. If Archer didn't want to talk, Shirou couldn't make her… well, not until he used a command seal anyway, and that would be cheating. It was probably something embarrassing that she wanted to keep a secret; naturally, if he could figure out what it was on his own, he could freely tease her about it.
Still… what could it be?
"Ah," Shirou said, eyes widening as the realization hit him.
It should have been obvious from the start. Archer was a psychic bastard; there was no way she would've simply "accidentally" grabbed Saber's potion. That could only mean one thing: Archer had wanted this from the beginning.
That was why he didn't have any problems with this high school plan. When they had first come up with it, Shirou had been sure that Archer would have called it stupid, but that hadn't been the case at all. While Archer didn't make it completely obvious, Shirou could tell that Archer had been looking forward to today.
And now, he understood why.
"You wanted to be a little girl all along, didn't you?"
"I'm not here to judge," Shirou said, holding up his hand. "It's okay; you're free to do whatever you want with your own body."
"But you know," Shirou said, nodding his head sagely. "There's a time and place for that sort of thing…"
"Shirou," Archer said, glaring at the boy. "Shut up."
"Though that still doesn't explain where you got that blanket."
Archer wanted to kill Shirou.
This wasn't anything new, of course. The only reason she hadn't killed him yet was because Shirou hadn't done anything stupidly heroic yet – just plain stupid. Perhaps a part of her still had hope for him, a faint desire to see him walk down a different path all on his own...
Right now, however, she really wanted to kill him, more than she ever had before.
Strangling him with the blanket was something she considered. It would offer Archer a great deal of satisfaction, allowing her to strangle her past self with her bare hands. Still, it left the opportunity for him to use a command seal to tell him to stop. Throwing Shirou off the roof also wouldn't work, Archer realized. Besides the command seal issue, she had survived many falls in her own lifetime. She could wait until his back was turned and take him out in one strike... but that would feel anticlimactic.
In the end, she decided to let him live.
"Look," Archer said, rubbing the bridge of her nose as she tried to figure out a way to convince Shirou she wasn't some sort of pervert. "This isn't what you think."
"It isn't?" Shirou said, tilting his head. He frowned - he had been so sure of himself too.
"Of course it isn't. What man would even want to become a high school girl?"
"A lot, actually," Shirou said. "I mean, people have changed sex before, even without a magic potion."
"Well, yes," Archer admitted sheepishly. "But... look, would you ever consider it?"
Shirou frowned. He didn't really see why his opinion would matter to Archer. Still... "Well, never before," Shirou said, crossing his arms. "But, now that I think about it, it might be an interesting experience." After all, how often did you get a chance to be in a body that wasn't your own?
Archer stared at him, horrified. "No. No it isn't," she said angrily. "Don't think about it. And don't ever dare bring that up to anyone."
"But you were the one that asked."
"Apparently, it was a mistake. Never mention it again. Just know that I didn't want this."
"Well then, if you didn't, how did you get to be this way then?" Shirou asked.
Archer thought about it for a moment, seriously considering the question for the first time. Originally, she had thought it was an honest mistake on her part, but... "It probably has something to do with Rider," Archer said with a sigh.
"Rider? What makes you say that?"
"I don't know," Archer said, eyes flickering over to something behind Shirou.
"...just a hunch, I suppose."
"Greetings Archer. Greetings Master."
On one hand, Shirou was glad that he didn't have to use up a command seal to summon up Rider. On the other hand... he really didn't know what to make of her sudden appearance on the rooftop.
At the very least, there was nothing wrong with her clothes; Rider was wearing the school uniform properly like she was supposed to, even removing the blindfold that she always had on. However, she kept her eyes closed, which made him wonder exactly how she was supposed to operate the camera she held in hands. There was also the question of why she had chosen now and here to appear - or what that strange bag set behind her was.
Still... he decided that the most important thing was finding out what she was doing.
"I'm taking pictures of Archer," she explained as she snapped another picture, perfectly capturing the expression of an annoyed maiden on film.
"And why are you taking pictures of Archer?"
"Because he turned into a girl."
"...and that's supposed to be a reason?"
Rider turned towards Shirou with a confused frown. Then, after a moment... "Because he turned into a cute girl?"
"Just what would you do with pictures of Archer anyway?"
"What wouldn't I do?" Rider asked, surprised that the question even came up.
"Well, look at them for example," Archer said, bluntly. "Your eyes aren't even open."
"Well, that's just how cute a girl you are."
"That doesn't even make sense!" Archer said, throwing her arms up in frustration. "Were you always like this?"
Rider didn't even hesitate before giving her answer. "Yes."
Archer sighed, shaking his head. Shirou, on the other hand, blinked, wondering what what Archer had meant.
"Always?" he said. "Did you two know each other when you were alive?"
"No," Rider said, shaking her head. "I never met him before you summoned me."
Archer coughed, deciding wisely to change the subject. "Anyway - what do you think you're doing?"
"Didn't Master already ask that question?"
"I mean before this. I know you're the one who caused all of... well, this," Archer said, gesturing towards her new body.
"...you have no proof of that."
"You're not denying it."
"No," Rider said, without a hint of shame. "No I'm not."
"I also know about the bucket of water."
"...ah, so you heard about that."
Archer frowned. "Yes. Yes I did."
Shirou scratched his head. "Wait. Bucket of water?"
"Long story," Archer said. "One I'd rather not go into."
"But you're the one that brought it up," Shirou said with a frown.
"Quiet. I didn't mean for you to hear it, anyway. More importantly," Archer added, staring at Rider. "I want to know what you were doing."
It was best to be prepared, after all. While she doubted that Rider would be completely honest, Archer also doubted that Rider would've been idle in the time that they had been apart. She had half expected Rider to just barge into Gilgamesh's home whenever it would've been most inconvenient. Still, whatever Rider had done instead couldn't have been anything but trouble for Archer.
"...ah," Rider said. Pocketing her camera, she brought up the bag - waving it in front of the servant with the bow as if to taunt her. "Well, I felt a little guilty about getting you wet, so I decided to get you some new clothes."
Archer frowned. That didn't seem to sound too bad... except, where would Rider have gotten some clothes? "The stores aren't open right now, not that you would have enough money... don't tell me you broke into someone's closet?"
"Don't worry," Rider said. "I only broke into one of ours."
Together, Archer and Shirou blinked. "Ours?"
"Specifically, I broke into Caster's closet."
It seemed like Archer's knowledge of the other servants was... incomplete, to put it mildly. Sure, she might have had a fair grasp of what their combat abilities were. She knew, whether through her own experiences or their legends, what their noble phantasms were. However, there were things that neither her previous life nor the history books could prepare her for.
To begin with, Rider was a predator, preying on anybody as she desired. Caster was apparently into cosplay. As for Assassin, there had been that katana comment earlier that had made everybody suspicious of him, and to be honest she was still surprised that King Arthur had secretly been a girl.
What was next - Lancer not being a pervert?
No, probably nothing that extreme.
Still, Archer had to deal with the fact that Rider was trying to get her to wear a familiar looking sailor uniform - and, if Rider had her way, make Archer do things "in the name of the moon."
"No. Absolutely not. Get that thing away from me."
"But you're naked," Rider pointed out, pushing the costume towards Archer's face once more.
"No thanks to you," Archer reminded her - though that only served to put a smile on Rider's face.
"You do need to put clothes on," Shirou said, nodding his head. "We can't have you running around in just a blanket, after all."
"Look on the bright side," Rider said. "It's cute."
"That isn't a selling point," Archer said. "Besides, it doesn't even look like the school uniform!"
"Well, we have to do something," Shirou said with a frown. "It's just clothes, Archer."
Archer narrowed her eyes at her past self. "I still have my dignity, Master."
"You're a naked girl on the school rooftop," Rider said with a smirk. "Dignity isn't exactly what I would call this."
"Now that's wrong," Shirou said, shaking his head. "He still has that blanket."
"Are you sure?" Rider asked - suddenly holding up a golden piece of cloth in her other hand.
Archer blinked - and then looked down. "What the - when did you manage to get that?"
"Taking things off of young maidens without them noticing is a special skill of mine," Rider said confidently. Somewhere below them, Rin complained about a draft again.
"I'm not sure you should be so proud of that," Shirou said weakly, taking care not to look in Archer's direction again. Unfortunately, the soft blush that accompanied that action only served to annoy Archer further.
"Hey, stop that. I'm still a man on the inside."
"I can't help it! What, do you want me to look?"
Archer scowled. "No - but I don't want you treating that me that way to begin with. It's weird!"
"Well, you don't have any modesty at all now! Just put on some clothes."
"That's right," Rider said with a nod. "You don't have any other options now, do you?"
Archer narrowed her eyes at Rider. She was right, unless she could magically make clothes appear out of thin air.
"There is something I can still do," Archer said with a triumphant grin, slapping herself in the forehead for not remembering such a thing earlier. "I'm still a servant, remember? All of us can call forth the clothes we were summoned in."
Then, to prove her point, she held out her arms - commanding her old outfit to reappear. A moment later, the familiar weight of red and black clothing fell on her, and for an instant Archer believed she had foiled Rider's plans.
That was when her pants, far too loose around the waist, fell to a crumpled heap at her feet along with her underwear. Were it not for the loose shirt and jacket, her hips would have still been bare to the world.
Silence briefly filled the air. Nobody knew exactly what to say at that moment. Rider, however, knew exactly what to do.
To be honest, both Archer and Shirou should have expected that.
"Good job, Archer," she said, giving the other girl a thumbs up. "This is even better than what I had planned for you."
Archer's eye twitched again. Things really couldn't get any worse, could they?
"Hey, aren't those my boxers...?"
Caster knew what she was supposed to be doing: fetching the perverted dog that happened to be nicknamed Lancer. While she had no problems with what he was trying to do - removing a girl like Saber's pants was an admirable goal on any day - the way he had gone about it was reckless. Running in the halls would only gather attention. Doing it shirtless was even worse. Bursting into a classroom and shouting at the top of your lungs, however, was the absolute worst idea he could've come up with.
Maybe it would've worked if it were some other woman. There were many women who fancied the idea of a handsome man like Lancer appearing before them and demanding them to undress so that he could ravage her. However, this was King Arthur; even if the Arthur happened to have been a girl all along, such a crude frontal assault would only offend Saber. In the end, Lancer had only managed to get himself caught by a teacher, who was probably lecturing him right now about proper school protocol.
She didn't know. Caster wasn't there to see what was happening to him because halfway there Caster realized something very important: Saber was wearing pants in the first place.
This was a grave issue indeed. If there had been one thing Caster had been looking forward to today, it had been the fact that Saber was going to be in a school uniform.
Saber probably still was wearing one. However... it held no meaning if it was the male's uniform.
The thought horrified her. There would be no panty shots if she was dressed up as a man; a simple breeze, easy enough for her to muster up with her magic, would be able to flip up a skirt. When it came to pants, however... wind strong enough to tear off Saber's pants would be just as likely as to rip Saber's panties away - assuming Saber was even wearing some to begin with.
It just wouldn't be the same.
Still, she held out hope that she had misheard what had happened. Maybe Lancer had said "Take off your panties!" instead. It certainly made more sense; why would he want to take off just Saber's pants, after all?
Nonetheless, the uneasiness of Caster's heart wouldn't leave. Temporarily postponing the mission to retrieve Lancer, Caster resolved to see the truth with her own eyes.
It didn't take long for Caster to figure out where Saber was, and it took even less time to meet her; Saber had been heading to the office, which Caster had been originally going to begin with. It was then her fears were confirmed - without a doubt that was the same kind of uniform Shirou had been wearing this morning.
It still looked good on her... or rather, him, Caster reminded herself. In Caster's mind, there were precious few things in this world that would look bad on Saber. However...
Unacceptable. It was still completely unacceptable.
"Saber," Caster said, barely able to keep her anger from leaking into her voice. "Why... why are you wearing pants?"
"Oh, Caster," Saber said, blinking as he spotted his fellow servant. "What are you doing here?" he asked, apparently missing Caster's question.
Caster narrowed her eyes, throwing Saber momentarily off balance. Then, when she was sure she had his attention, she repeated her question again.
"Why are you wearing pants?"
Again, Saber blinked, before laughing weakly. "Ah... about that," Saber said cautiously, sensing that Caster was acting strange. "Well, you see... you gave me the wrong potion..."
"And?" Caster said, tapping her foot, as though that wasn't an acceptable explanation at all.
"And I'm a guy now?"
"And?" Apparently, that wasn't an acceptable explanation either.
"...and it's wrong for guys to be wearing girl's clothing?" Saber tried, in case Caster hadn't made the connection.
"Not at all!" Caster frowned; really, Saber of all people should understand the appeal of crossdressing. "Seriously, what would even give you such a stupid idea?"
"If clothes were meant to be worn by anybody, we wouldn't assign them by gender," Saber pointed out.
"That's what makes it moe, though," Caster said, impatiently. "Besides - I distinctly remember you going out in a girl's uniform anyway. What happened to that?"
"Oh, that," Saber said, even as he wondered what this "moe" was. "Rider said she needed it and gave me this."
That traitor. She was the one that promised Caster the opportunity to see a cute girl in a sailor uniform in the first place. To think that Rider would be the one to take that dream away...
That was a betrayal of the highest order.
Angrily, she stomped towards the rooftop where she had detected Rider with her magic. As she walked up the staircases, she thought about what she would do when she got her hands on Rider. There was a lot she wanted to say - a few things she wanted to yell, and with so little time before class actually started she knew she would have to pick and choose.
...however, when she kicked the door to the roof open, none of the words came out. Instead, she could only stare at the scene in shock - the image of a tanned girl draped in clothes far too large for her burning into Caster's eyes. It was only when her original target - Rider - spoke up that she remembered why she came here.
"Oh, it's only you, Caster."
"You scared me for a moment," Shirou said with a sigh of relief, apparently here as well. "But wait, weren't you going to go get Lancer?"
Caster looked at Rider who was already facing her, though only for a moment. Her eyes immediately went to the girl that had caught her attention, examining the her closely. There was something familiar about her to Caster - though Caster was sure she would've remembered such a moe moe girl.
"What is it?" The brown girl scowled - and in that instant everything fell into place.
"That's... Archer, isn't it?" Caster asked.
Caster closed her eyes, thinking deeply for a few moments. In the end, she couldn't completely forgive Rider for taking away Saber's panty shots, but math never lied; two moe moe characters were greater than one.
"Rider... good job."
The last thing Archer needed was for Caster to show up and encourage Rider's antics. Really, could things get any worse?
"Rider... is that from my closet?"
"That's it!" Archer stomped her foot, refusing to let the two women do with her as they pleased. "I am not letting you guys use me as a dress-up doll!"
"Oh?" Rider tilted her head. "But it's not like you have any choice. You already summoned your servant clothes... and you saw how that turned out."
Caster nodded. "It's true," she said, a conspiring smile on her face. "Don't worry - I have a sailor uniform here that would be perfect for you. You're a transfer student anyway, so you can just say it came from your old school."
Archer crossed her arms, forming an X above her head. "No - absolutely not. Never. Not going to do it."
"Be reasonable," Shirou said, looking at his watch. "There's not much time left... and you really, really need to put on some clothes. You can't just run around naked in school."
"Be reasonable?" Archer repeated, laughing at how wrong that sounded coming from Shirou. "What about this situation is reasonable at all?"
"Well, it's not like you could just, I don't know, magic clothes out of thin air, right?"
"No, I guess not." Archer sighed, and resigned herself to her fate. Then she blinked. "Wait - what did you say I couldn't do?"
"Run around naked in school?"
"No - after that."
"...magic clothes out of nowhere?"
Archer smiled. "Well... as it turns out, I can do that."
"I meant other clothes," Shirou said wearily, looking back at the boxers that still seemed strangely familiar. "Ones that fit."
"So did I."
Shirou blinked - but before he could tell Archer she wasn't making any sense he had to close his eyes. He had to; just as quickly as she had summoned them, Archer had sent the shirt that had been barely protecting her modesty away - along with the rest of her outfit. "That's not getting dressed! That's the opposite of getting dressed!"
Archer rolled her eyes. "Of course. To put clothes on, sometimes you need to take others off."
"...what?" Shirou said.
Archer didn't answer her younger self. Instead, she focused on the uniforms that Caster and Rider were wearing, engraving the image of them into her mind. Then, with a few alterations, she began to weave a new outfit around her outfit - not with a thread and needle, but with magic.
"Trace on," she whispered, even as she wondered why she hadn't thought of this before.
It didn't appear instantly. The uniform wasn't something he had committed to memory before - and considering he needed to make a few changes he could only go layer by layer, inch by inch. To make sure it actually fit, she even had to move around a bit - stretching a little to make sure it would hold up under normal movement. The clothes did appear, however, albeit in a flashier display than she had intended (for some reason, there had even been a gust of wind in the middle of it), but in the end, she was now as dressed properly for school as Caster and Rider were. Maybe a little more, considering that she didn't have a blindfold on her head.
With a triumphant grin, Archer looked to Caster and Rider. She expected them to be disappointed; after all, they wouldn't be able to dress her up now that she was fully clothed now. Instead...
She took a step back. For some reason, Caster's eyes were shining, and Rider... she was wiping her mouth with her sleeve for some reason.
"That was amazing," Caster said in an excited tone.
"What was amazing?" Shirou asked, still not daring to open his eyes.
"A perfect magical girl transformation if I had ever seen one," Rider said, nodding in approval.
"You two..." Archer face palmed. "Couldn't you have at least pretended to be disappointed? For my sake?"
"Why would we be disappointed?" Rider asked. "I mean, there will be plenty of times to dress you up later."
"No, there won't."
"Yes," Rider said, a tone of finality in her voice. "There will."
Archer sighed. It would be impossible to keep Rider from trying something like this again. In the end, Archer would just have to remain vigilant against her from now on.
"By the way," Archer said, looking at Caster. "Apparently, you were going to go pick up Lancer?"
"Oh, that," Caster said, with a wave of dismissal. "I'm sure he'll be just fine."
"I'm telling you, it's not what it looks like!" Lancer said, pounding his hand on the desk.
The stone faced teacher didn't seem to believe him, though he didn't say as much. Instead, he raised a doubtful brow in response to Lancer's statement. "Is that so... then tell me, what was it? What explanation do you have for trying to sexually harass another student?"
"I wasn't trying that at all!" Lancer said. "Okay, technically that was harassment, and sure I could see how it could get sexual... but I'm telling you, I'm not a pervert!"
Suddenly, someone behind him laughed. "Is that so?" a familiar voice said, sending chills down Lancer's spine as she spoke. "That's not the impression you gave to me yesterday."
"Yesterday?" The teacher's brow went higher... but Lancer had stopped paying attention to him, instead turning around to confirm what he had already known.
"...Ilyasviel!" Lancers pupils went wide.
This was bad. This was very bad. What was she even doing here in the first place? Any moment now, Berserker could burst through the walls and attack him, or worse...
"Really," the girl said, pressing a finger to her lips, smiling devilishly at the legendary spirit. "Forcefully taking liberties with a pure maiden in the park against her will... how can you say you aren't a pervert, Onii-san?"
...she could do something like that.
Lancer knew he had to warn the others. He knew he had to tell them that Ilya - and possibly Berserker - was here. They wouldn't be safe if he did nothing.
However, there was something even more important that he had to deal with first.
"I know what it looks like," Lancer said to the teacher, though he dared not turn around and face him. "And I'm telling you...
"I really am not a pervert!"