I decided to re-vamp this fanfic…I've had a lot more time to fall in love with the Fate series and it's alternative routes. So I've corrected any errors on my part and done some revisions. Hope you will enjoy.
Synopsis: Set in between the Fate Stay/Night anime story line. What if Rin had gone back for Archer while he was fighting Berserker? What if she had reached him before her command seals disappeared? Set in Rin's POV.
"Listen to me Archer, it doesn't have to be for long but I need you to try and slow him down for a little bit."
"Tohsaka?" Shiro seemed to be both bewildered and protesting all at once.
"That's absurd," Saber interjected, but I couldn't spare either a glance, "Have you lost your mind Rin? Archer can't take on Berserker by himself."
They were reprimanding me for being so foolish, yet I didn't have a choice, "You keep him busy and we'll escape, ok?" I instructed my servant.
"That's the wisest course of action," Archer agreed, "If you can escape first Rin then I should be able to follow. Independent operations like this happen to be a specialty of the Archer Class. Let's be clear on something, if all you want me to do is buy you time, I can do that. However, would you be disappointed if I just destroyed him instead?"
"Archer…" my voice was shaky, somehow I knew even then what would happen but I had to support him no matter what, he wanted to fight, "Go ahead if you want to take him, take him."
"Excellent," Archer said with a smile, "I hope I won't disappoint you."
I'm running as the scene continues to play repeatedly through my mind. I can hear Shiro and Saber running behind me as we pass through the dense fog and head deeper into the vast forest.
What was I thinking?
How could I have just given Archer the go ahead to stay and fight Berserker even though he was undoubtedly unmatched? I was supposed to uphold the Tohsaka name and win the Holy Grail. So how was it that I was running away now, leaving my servant to face Illyasviel von Einzbern and that creature?
"Which way Rin?"
I'm not sure whether it was Shiro or Saber who had asked the question but my automatic reply is, "Follow me!"
Follow me? This entire forest is a deep and endless maze and I'm only half certain that I can recall the way out.
I wince, holding my wrist as the pain courses through my body. My command seals—the one remaining link to Archer—are pulsating indicating my servant's life force, our bond is weakening. If I lose them then that will mean…
"Rin, it is your duty to uphold the Tohsaka name…"
My father's words echo through my mind and I stop running. As if startled by my reaction Shiro and Saber come to a halt.
"Rin, what is it?" Shiro asks with concern evident in his voice.
"Rin, is Archer…" Saber doesn't know just how to breach the subject.
"No…not yet…" I murmur, my eyes fixated on my hand, the command seals weakening before my eyes, "It seems he's still putting up a fight."
He's fighting so hard. He's fighting for you, you foolish girl…
My fists clench. It's up to me to uphold the Tohsaka name. Even if I fail, I have to try. I muster up all of my strength and I don't give them any choice.
"Shiro, listen to me," I begin, standing perfectly still my back to them, for when I turn it will be clear the choice I have made, "follow this path, there's an abandoned house. I saw it on our way in. Take Saber there and regain your strength the best you can."
Shiro has returned to the formalities. I turn with a stern look on my face and Saber can already read my expression. She opens her mouth in protest but I shoot her down.
"Don't let anything happen to Saber, you got that?" I sound angry, but I'm really trying to cover up my fear, "Don't let everything that Archer has done for us be in vain. And Saber, I'm counting on you to keep Shiro under control until I get back."
"Archer's waiting for me," I try to sound brave, covering my command seals with the palm of my hand as if to keep them from fading away, I nod in determination and run from the protests heading back to the Einzbern mansion. Shiro won't leave Saber's side in her weakened state and there's no way for either of them to catch up to me.
Archer, I'm sorry that I was disappointed with you when I first summoned you. Even though I wanted to summon Saber and not you…oh please, please don't disappear!
"Now I understand, he is the most powerful servant of all," stated Archer as he prepared himself for the blow that Berseker would launch with his sword. As his body crashed into the castle wall he took the pain and pushed it down, standing and slowly walking toward his enemy.
Archer, I'm coming! I don't know what I can do, but I have to try! My father died for the dream of obtaining the Holy Grail for our family and I have to try as well…wasn't it I who said that I've been ready for this war all my life?
He could feel his body falling through the ceiling and plummeting to the stone floor beneath with a sickening thud as broken stone fell around him. Coming down the stairs was the mistress of the manor and Berserker's master, Illyasviel von Einzbern.
"So do you still think it was wise to take on this fight?" her voice was taunting him as he lay on the floor before her.
Yet his mind could merely flash to the memories which he had currently come to possess. Of that stupid boy and of his master who had given him her approval to enter this fight.
"I thought that I was free from all that…"
Illyasviel stopped short in disbelief, "He's alive?"
The mansion was in view, but it seemed as though it were a lifetime away. Portions of the castle turrets had been blown away, the echoing of stone falling to the ground entered her ears.
I'm almost there…just a little further!
And then the most devastating sound rang out, "Berserker, stop playing around with him! I want you to kill him before he kills you!"
I can do this! I just need to use a reinforcement spell to increase my speed…
"My fate may be inevitable," announced Archer, slowly standing before Berserker and Illyasveil, "You can go easy on me if you want Berserker, but in the meantime…" he continued, creating his twin blades in each of his hands. "I'm going to take two more of your lives!"
I clasp my palm tighter over the back of my hand where my command seals are violently pulsating, this attack, whatever it may be will fully eliminate all of Archer's mana.
Oh God, I'm not going to make it! No, I will, I have to!
I hear a vicious shatter and at first I feel my heart plummet but I persevere because I can still feel Archer's life force. The doorway is ahead and darkness engulfs my form.
"I can't sense him anywhere," murmurs Illyasveil in annoyance, her eyes scanning the darkness. Just then the light of the moon pours in through a recently formed gap in the ceiling and a smile appears on her lips as the light's path reveals the shape of her enemy knelt on the floor behind her. "I guess that the moon goddess isn't on your side today."
Yet Archer continues to kneel unnerved by her taunting, "Many times I have withstood enormous pain to create thousands of weapons. And yet those hands that have braved so much will never hold anything. So as I pray now, I call forth—
A disturbance occurs turning the focus of battle toward a new and unexpected opponent as shots like gun fire ring out hitting Berserker head on.
I stand in the doorway firing one Gandr Shot after the other. Panting in both relief and excitement that I've made it before my servant could do something stupid and end his servitude to me in this war. My gaze shifts to meet his and as I do a quick assessment of his current state I know now that I have barely made it in time.
My blue eyes meet dark orbs which show both astonishment and…admiration? No of course not, I'm delusional from the current exhilaration coursing through my veins. Yet the look on Illyasveil's face is enough to put even a smirk on my own.
"You?" she hollers in astonishment, "What are you doing here?"
It's as though this child cannot assess the situation. Yes that's right, a child, but a ruthless master nonetheless. Why am I here? Surely, no human stands a chance against a servant but there's no time to sit and truly contemplate my true objectives.
"Archer," I command, changing the direction of my shots to shoot past Illyasveil. I aim wide because I don't believe in necessarily killing a master, yet she's managed to cause me a great deal of trouble tonight, "Can you stand?"
"Yes Rin," replies my servant as he stands taking in my appearance and that of the wide eyed child before us.
"Good," I confirm, assessing our current situation. As I had already ascertained, this child was not used to losing and was currently demonstrating her age by barking out orders. But she was a master nonetheless and I can't underestimate her for even the slightest second. I reach into my pocket, my fingers clutching a few of the precious jewels that I had been saving for such an occasion.
Get ready, Archer…
Berserker lets out a roar already heeding his master's orders to destroy us no matter the outcome. I'm only going to get one shot. My grasp tightens around the trump card within it. I quickly raise my hand aiming for the ceiling directly above Berserker and fire several Grandr shots. It's enough to distract our enemies. I jump back to avoid the debris and I can see Berserker's eyes glowing though the darkness and the rubble shoots across the room as his massive form protests. His sword looks as though it belongs in a slaughter house awaiting its next kill glimmering in the moonlight, the room shakes violently from his impressive mana. The debris falls from the opening in the ceiling and I shield myself but it is an unnecessary action.
"Archer!" I exclaim in an emotion somewhere between excitement and awe, his arm wrapped securely around my waist lifting me toward the ever growing hole above us and toward the moonlit sky. I'm relieved that he has remained so agile throughout the duration of his fight and quickly gather my bearings, holding the jewels within my grasp casting a spell to release their energy I aim them at the creature below.
Berserker is able to deflect two of the three jewels, but the last one hits its target and detonates as we rise above the smoke cloud and into the night.
"Archer," I turn to face my servant as he guides us across the night sky, "This entire area is a barrier, I've managed to buy us some time, long enough for me to replenish your mana and heal your wounds."
He obeys my orders as we safely land and for the first time other than uttering my name he speaks, "You came back?" He sounds unsure of how to breach the subject, still holding that cool regard.
"Of course I came back," I announce, trying to play it off as no big deal while we sit on the forest's floor, his back resting against the trunk of a great oak tree, "Now be quiet, I need to concentrate."
I close my eyes, yet I can still feel his gaze on me, "What?" I grumble impatiently, knowing that now is not the time for small talk and if I don't concentrate and Illyasveil finds us before my servant is healed, we're going to be in a great deal of trouble.
"Why would you come back, Rin?" He sounds sincerely bewildered.
I let out a sigh, "I don't know," I begin, placing my hands in my lap and trying to look everywhere but directly at him, "I guess I got used to having you around," I honestly can say.
"You truly are a curious master, Rin," he informs me and I believe I can see the trace of a smile, "Perhaps that Emiya kid has gotten to you."
"Shut up," I protest, "And remember," reprimanding him due to my unease with the situation, for I don't really know what possessed me to do something so reckless, "if you disappear, Archer, then we can't win the Holy Grail."
He watches me out of the corner of his eye and there's that look again. That look of admiration? For me?
"Now be still and let me heal you…" I order but my command is far more gentle than before. I close my eyes and place my hand to his shoulder to create a point of contact between servant and master, starting to chant.
I can feel him sigh as if letting go of something from within and his words catch me off guard…
"I'm sorry to have disappointed you, Rin."
I keep my eyes closed more tightly, my forehead wrinkling in concentration, feeling his mana replenishing.
"You didn't disappoint me, Archer," I whisper, "If anyone is a disappointment it's me. I forgot the importance of being a master and allowed for her servant to bare all of the responsibility," I explain, opening my eyes and regarding him, "It won't happen again."
"Rin, as a servant," Archer begins, he looks tired and needs more time to rest before we meet with Berserker, "I am your weapon in this war. And as your weapon you must realize that in battle I—
"Archer," I find myself interrupting him, my fists clenching the fabric of my skirt in anger, "just rest. You're no good to me if you're not here and I'm not giving up this battle just yet."
He closes his eyes, a smirk on his lips, "I'm happy to hear you say that Rin. Very well then, I will follow your command and then—
"And then," I've made a habit of interrupting him, "we will meet up with Shiro and Saber and formulate a plan to take down Berserker. But first we need to survive the night. So just get some rest and I'll continue to mask our presence."
"You've got it all figured out haven't you?" he asks with a chuckle, "Then have you already figured out what it is that makes Hercules so mighty in battle?"
"You'll excuse me if I'm not very good with guessing games tonight," I murmur in frustration.
"The fact that he was given immortality shouldn't have slipped your mind, Rin," stated Archer, his eyes still closed as he spoke.
I can feel my eyes widen as realization dons on me, "Of course but no servant is truly immortal, surely, he must have some limit."
"Now you're beginning to think like the master I have come to enjoy," he was teasing me now, "Hercules was given twelve lives, Rin."
I arch an eyebrow at the smirk on his face and feel myself smiling with pride, "How many lives does he have left, Archer?"
"I was able to take four of his lives. Perhaps I would have succeeded in taking five if a foolish girl had not interfered."
He's smiling and there's no ill will in his voice as I watch him out of the corner of my eye realizing that I made the right decision.
Father, perhaps your foolish daughter is starting to grow up. Perhaps there is more to this war than just creating a pact with a servant…perhaps…
But my thoughts are starting to come to an end and I realize now that the adrenaline has died down I'm tired. If I only close my eyes for a few minutes, surely that would be alright. My eyelids begin to drift and open, drift and open, all the while focusing on my companion, his peaceful face, his silver hair and his presence. Yes, I'll just close my eyes, if only for a moment…