Notes: This is actually first of four parts of the second chapter. I'm just too lazy to write the next three. Need more motivation.
"Aa—chaa…" Rin sighs.
She glances down at Shirou warily as she flicks her hair back before adding, "Emiya-kun, it must be very fun to keep playing the idiot, isn't it?" She places her hands on her hips, hiding her disgruntled expression behind her honor student mask before she slinks over to him, shaking a finger and scolding, "If you keep up this attitude, having allies for this War will not be easy, Emiya-kun."
"What—I d-don't know what you're talking about," Shirou stutters out nervously, his hand still slick from 'Arturia's bodily juices. He shakes nervously as Rin leans in, too close for comfort. Her soft lavender scent is always present to remind him of her femininity and his feelings about her as the untouchable, beautiful school idol.
Shirou wonders why all of his familiars—his Sabers—are just standing or sitting there, watching this interaction between two magi. They watch him patiently and silently, as if studying this man who was to be their master and making a variety of different judgments about him. He tries to retort, "I…"
But Tohsaka gives him no opportunity to even come up with an excuse.
She doesn't look at him as she turns around, flipping her rich, ebon locks back as she does so. In a rather contrite tone she mutters just loud enough for Shirou to hear, "Perhaps we could talk again tomorrow. We both have much to think about, and I believe you have much to talk to your servants about. I hope we could become allies, Emiya-kun."
Without another word, Tohsaka walks out of the living room, getting ready to leave.
As Shirou stands up to see her out, she adds, "I wonder, how exactly are you maintaining four servants of this magnitude, Emiya-kun? Even if you," she looks pointedly at Saber, "are capable of defeating multiple foes, if it becomes an elongated war, you will fall without some way of maintaining all of your Servants' strength. Think on the idea of becoming allies, alright? I won't push the matter tonight."
Shirou tries to stop her.
His hand rises, reaching for her, but stops half way. There is much on his mind, especially the casualties. But there is also a torrent of confusion in his head; he has learned so much in a single night. His hand falls as Tohsaka's form disappears into the darkness of the night. The moon darkens; his only way is dimly lit by the alabaster skin and golden hair of the beauties within his house.
How did it even come to this?
Shirou turns back from the gates of his home and walks back through the doorway, seeing his four Servants staring pensively at him. He grimaces.
He attempts to suppress a growl, but it rumbles through his throat anyway, "I'm going to bed; I'll deal with you all later." For all their ethereal beauty, these girls—for they could be nothing else in his mind, not spirits and certainly not men—cannot distract him from his present debacle. It is already 2 A.M. in the morning.
Shirou grits his teeth, pushing down a yawn even as he blinks sleepily. As an afterthought, he adds, "You can have whatever room you like in the house. I'll see you tomorrow morning." Really, four familiars are just too much, he sighs.
He wonders how magi deal with even one familiar; he certainly could use some advice about now. Maybe if he goes to sleep now, this entire mess will solve itself by morning.
Shirou groans as his eyes split open. He blinks. Maybe it is just his imagination. He lies back down, hoping to grab at least a winking hours before he will definitely be awaken by Taiga.
He hears the sound again. It is clear in his mind: a sound of human knuckles rapping against a wooden door softly. He grabs wildly for his alarm clock; the entire room is unlit. After a few slothful swipes, he grabs the clock and squints down at its digital display—2:15 A.M.
Shirou does not bother biting back another groan, but he sits up and scratches his head slowly. Yawning, he says loudly as the knocking came a third time, "I'm coming…!"
He stumbles through the darkness. Thankfully he isn't the type of guy who clutters up his room with useless junk; there is nothing to trip over or stub his toe against.
As he slides his door open, he attempts to blink the sleep out of his eyes. This causes him to not see who is outside his door when he asks, "What is it…?"
"S-Shirou…!" A voice flutters into his ears—a young girl's voice. It is too high pitched, too sweet to be like that of regular humans, like all the physical attributes of his Servants, but this voice is young. That's strange; the girls he has summoned earlier are older than the owner of this voice. Intrigued and with his mind not catching up to his situation, Shirou opens his eyes and looks for who is at his door.
He sees only a lock of blond hair, floating in the air. Wait… that's not right. He frowns, furrowing his brow in confusion. He squints closer and realizes that the weird lock of blond hair is attached to a blond head that barely reached his waist.
As articulate as someone who has died at least once in a single night and stayed up to such an early time in the morning, Shirou asks intelligently, "…Huh?"
It is his Servant Saber.
She stares up at him, round, emerald eyes sparkling despite the lack of light. Her expression is meek, something of a wild contrast from her previous calm and resolute attitude. But none of those differences measure up to his current debacle: somehow she has actually become younger. From his foggy, tired perspective, Saber now looks not a hair over twelve years old. From somewhere, somehow, she has found and donned on a set of blue pajamas that are just two sizes too large for her. The baggy clothing hangs from her shoulders loosely and…
A tiny hand that is the same size as Saber's is tugging and holding onto the hem of the shirt of her pajamas. Shirou's eyes travel from the hand, which is almost completely covered up by a worn sleeve before finally seeing his Servant Arturia's face. She is covered in a baggy, dark-blue track suit that is obviously his and too big for her. Arturia looks like she is dragging the jacket around, the sleeves especially being too long for her arms.
When their eyes meet, Arturia's lips parted immediately, and as her eyes widen in surprise she let out a soft, "Meep!" Then she shrinks back, shivering as she hid behind Saber. After a moment, she peeks out again. Her golden eyes stare at him in a strange mixture of awe and fright.
As for Shirou, his eyes shift downward, by some unfortunate reflex, and brush against Arturia's bare legs and… she is wearing nothing else? He forces his mind to focus and turns back to Saber. Then Shirou begins to pinch his nose. This is too early for this. Why hasn't this problem solved itself? Why is it becoming only… stranger?
Where did Arturia find his old track suit anyway? She isn't wearing anything else under that jacket…
…He forces himself to stop thinking about it.
Closing his eyes, Shirou counts to ten mentally. Several questions filters through his mind, like 'why are you wearing my clothes?' and 'why are you all so tiny now?', but he asks the one that comes to the forefront of his thoughts. So he asks as gently as a tired man can, "Why are you here, Saber? Arturia?"
"N-no reason at all, Shirou," Saber answers as firmly as an intimidated, twelve-year-old girl could—with a lot of stutter. She turns away from him, looking back at Arturia. After that half-second of interactions that Shirou almost does not catch, Saber turns back. She tries to stand straighter and puffs out her chest, but it all looks very comical to Shirou, before she adds, "Servants must insure the safety of their Master! Where else would we go, Shirou?"
"I—" flap, flap.
Shirou's eyes swayed from Saber to Arturia, who immediately noticed his glaze. She takes on the look of a child is caught with her hands in a metaphorical cookie jar. As she shrinks away further behind Saber, Shirou turns back to Saber and says, "I think you—" flap, flap.
Shirou turns to Arturia faster this time, seeing her waving her rather long sleeves around like wings. Again, she notices his glaze almost instantly, and shrinks away rather contritely.
With a frustrated, yet cute, growl, Saber turns around and grabs Arturia's sleeves. She takes her time, rolling up both sleeves with meticulous care, an expression on her face that only a child with pure determination could have. After her careful ministration for several minutes, Saber wipes her forehead and turns back to Shirou, "Phew! That should take care of that."
"Uh…" Shirou blinks slowly, "Like I was saying, you—" flap, flap. Shirou can't bring himself to glare down at the now adorable girl, but he also feels a trickle of frustration as he turns to her again.
Seeing his expression, Arturia mumbles, "I didn't do it… it rolled down by itself, Shirou."
Too overwhelmed by the cuteness, Shirou goes back to pinching his nose, but Saber does not notice this.
Instead, Saber turns around and crosses her arms on her chest, staring at Arturia intensely. The target of her impassive, kingly glaze relents after a moment and raises her arms, presenting herself to Saber. Saber sighs softly and redoubles her efforts to roll up Arturia's sleeves. After she is finally done, she pats the sleeve—
—Only for the sleeve to unroll itself rapidly.
She pouts, but attempts to try again, only to be stopped when Arturia takes her arms away. Muttering softly, yet still with the grace of lost royalty, Arturia whispered to Saber, "This enemy is too strong…"
Shirou comes to the conclusion that perhaps he should just ignore this. It will solve itself in the morning. That's it. He should just ask his questions and go to sleep. If these girls are really his familiar spirits, then they should understand. Long sleeves… that's nothing to worry about at all, right?
"Saber, Arturia," Shirou says rather impatiently, over the flapping sounds of Arturia's sleeves as she attempts to evade Saber's attempts to roll the sleeves up, "You should go back to your own rooms."
"But—!" Saber begins to protest, only to have Arturia interject.
Arturia pouts up at Shirou, "We are here to protect you. We are your Servants, Master."
She says so in the firmest voice possible, as if even speaking back to her Master like this is draining on her. On the other hand, it seems as if speaking so, interjecting in favor of Saber and raising her voice against her Master, is such an amazing accomplishment for her. Even Shirou sees this.
His expression softens, but Shirou does not give ground. He crosses his arms and shakes his head, adamant in his security, "Look, we're at my house alright. It should be safe here, no one will just come in and attack me in my own home."
"Ah…" Arturia backs up, hiding behind Saber once more. She is clutching onto the fabric of Saber's pajamas harder now, and does not even peek out to look at Shirou.
Immediately, Shirou feels his heart jump and finds that he feels like a horrible person—like he had just kicked a newborn puppy and then congratulated himself by eating some candy stolen from the nearby playground. He instinctively backs up half a step, but does not budge, "Besides, how are you supposed to protect me when you look like that? How did you become like that in the first place?"
…He is only digging his hole deeper.
Almost immediately, Saber's lower lips tremble. The corners of her eyes begin to water, but she wipes her face against the sleeves of the worn pajamas that are just too big to fit her. Even though she still holds a semblance of the calm and noble warrior-king just an hour before now, she can't help but let her shoulders droop. In a soft, almost inaudible tone, she mutters, "Shirou doubts my strength…"
Whatever Shirou had felt a moment before, it comes back now with an exponentially greater strength. He feels like a horrible person, but to have two girls sleep in his room? That's almost as bad as if Taiga comes in tomorrow to find the grown version of Saber in his bed!
"This… urk!" Shirou chokes as both girls look up at him with tear-filled eyes, all his arguments lost in his throat. "A-at least… tell me how you are like this?" He asks, in a desperate attempt to buy some time for his heart to catch up to the pure cuteness he is witnessing.
"Mah, mah! I can answer that for you, Shirou… onii-chan!" A voice calls to him from within his room, a voice identical in every way to Saber and Arturia's.
Shirou flips on the lights as he turns around.
He sees on his futon only his Servant, Lily. Except…
…Lily is only wearing one of his dad's old shirts. It is one of the more formal shirts that he kept clean and ironed out; it is a button-up, white, and collared long-sleeve shirt. That alone would not cause Shirou any worry; in fact, if that is all then Shirou would have just tell her to get out of his bed and go sleep somewhere else.
That is not the problem at all. The problem that faces Shirou like a flaming fist of god is that Lily is wearing nothing else at all, posing on his futon. She must be thinking that she is posing seductively, and maybe she is, despite also being the same physical age as Saber and Arturia, but Shirou is just too tired by now.
Lily swings her leg around, displaying to Shirou a gratuitous amount of smooth, pearly skin, before spinning and flipping out of bed and landing right in front of him. After giving a bow and a twirl, which she could only do so because Shirou stands there so very shocked, Lily holds up a figure and uses her other arm to support the other. It looks vaguely like a lecturing posing which Shirou thinks that he should recognize, but he couldn't seem to remember where he saw it last…
"I'll explain, onii-chan!" Lily explains perkily, but with a slow, smooth rhythm that makes her words seem almost like a song, "Do you know how Servants mold and use prana?" Without waiting for Shirou's confirmation, she continues confidently, "Well, at that one point when I use it, I have to 'Hmph!' Instead of 'Hmph!', I used have to 'Kyah!'" She explains thoroughly, before pointing at Saber, who blushes. "Saber had a problem with 'Kyah!'; she keeps 'Nyah!' instead, so it took us longer to do this!"
"No, no, no," Shirou mutters. He pinches his nose quickly, feeling like he is about to burst for some reason, "I mean… why did you take this… form?"
Lily blinks at Shirou before tilting her head slowly, "Don't you want us to conserve prana, onii-chan? This way, we barely use any prana in this form! Isn't it great, onii-chan? It's a skill I learned a long, long time ago…"
He doesn't even want to think anymore.
This doesn't make any sense. But at the same time, the way Lily bounces every time she made that strange onomonopia causes his heart to bounce in sync. Maybe something is wrong with his body? He tries to stay in good shape, so that can't be the problem.
"Urk!" He clutches his chest. As a final effort, he asks the question he will later come to regret, "W-why are you calling me onii-chan? S-stop it!"
Lily tilts her head again, blinking her wide, emerald eyes innocently, "Why shouldn't we call you onii-chan, onii-chan? To anyone else, you appear to be our onii-chan, right onii-chan? What's wrong, onii-chan?"