I sat alone in my room, the dohicky in my hands as I absentmindedly went over my research. I could hear the party my Sekirei were throwing down stairs for Rin and Saber. I had decided against going down myself as my presence would probably cause things to escalate and Miya would have to step in, plus I had some research which I still needed to do.
Or at least, that's what I kept telling myself.
The conversation I had heard in the baths kept playing over and over again in my head. For most of it, Rin had been either friendly or cold and calm, like when she was explaining what she had done to me over the years. But there was one thing she said that had just a hint of something more behind it, a crack in her self control.
I want you all to know that I hate you, she said. All of you. I will never forgive any of you for this.
That had been personal. And it was a small wonder why considering what she had claimed just before that. I still had trouble believing it though. I racked my memories trying to prove her wrong, but no matter how much I thought about it, I could only come to one conclusion.
In all the years I had spent with Rin and Saber, I had never once laughed.
I had smiled. I had felt mirth. I had appreciated things in spite of what she might have said. But I had never laughed at anything. The thought was strange and unsettling to me. How had I never noticed this before? I should have known, I should be aware of myself enough to-. My thoughts cut off when I realized it. No, no I wouldn't have. I don't think about myself.
My two former lovers had told me this time and time again, but I had never really listened. It just hadn't been relevant to me. Of course I should focus on other people. That was the right thing to do. If I made other people happy, I would be happy, and therefore everything would be fine in the end. It had only been somewhat recently that the idea that others might have been concerned about my personal well being had come into my mind. Homura's passionate declaration a few hours ago in particular drove it home. I had been with my Sekirei for a few months, but it had taken all of that time for me to realize just how much my behavior was distressing them. I wasn't supposed to hurt other people and yet… by doing what was right and natural for me, I had somehow done just that.
The cognitive dissonance of this fact filled me with a sense of disquiet, an uneasiness that I couldn't shake. But it was even worse than that. I didn't want to think about it but my mind could only follow that path down to a terrible thought.
I had spent several months with the Sekirei. I had spent several years with Rin and Saber. Several years, all the while they had been trying to, well, make me better. How Rin went about it might have been questionable, but the effort was still there. I never laughed once with them.
The plastic on the device in my hands creaked as I griped it. How much had I hurt them?
These thoughts were pushed aside when the door to my room opened, and my body became tense at the sight of the two women in question walking in. "Oh? Is this were you have been hiding, Emiya-kun?" Rin asked in a cheerful voice.
Considering my most recent thoughts, I suddenly found myself with a lack of things to say to the two women now that we were alone for the first time in months. There were so many things going through my mind, I was a little surprised when I blurted out. "Why are you here?"
There was only the briefest moment of stiffness on their parts before they relaxed, and Rin continued in her playful tone. "Well, we had our fill of the party, so we came up here to see you. Of course, I expected you to have better manners than that, even after all this time."
I briefly considered just accepting her brush off and moving on, but I couldn't. I had to know. "Rin, you know what I mean. How did you find me?"
The magus looked at me flatly for a moment, but Saber was the one to respond. "We had reasoned that you had returned to Japan when you fled, to keep away from the Mage's Association's influence. When we became aware that a member of the Archibald and Fraga families had gone missing in this city, it seemed like a good place to start looking. It was only a mater of investigation after that to find where you lived."
Rin shot her an annoyed glace before giving a sigh. "Really Emiya-kun, I would have thought that you would have had enough sense to run after the first encounter. But I guess that there was too much keeping you here."
I tried to ignore the subtle jab while I thought about this. That was certainly a how, but it didn't quite explain the why. Someone else might have pointed out that them wanting to be with me was why enough, but I could tell that there was more going on. Still, seeing them here felt good. "I… thank you for coming. I missed you, no matter what you might think."
Saber gave a concerned frown and moved closer to me. "Why would we think otherwise?"
"I believe he is referring to that group of excitable aliens down there." Rin said dryly. "Why, they even have a schedule for who gets him and when. It seems that after having the two of us, Emiya-kun can't be satisfied by just one woman."
Saber blushed a little at this, and I frowned. "It's not like that. Things just… got out of hand. Besides, technically I'm still part of your harem, so logically that means their part of yours as well." Rin blinked in surprise and sputtered a little at the comment. I couldn't help but chuckle at little at the response… until I saw Saber looking at me out of the corner of my eye, her expression a mix happiness and melancholy. I realized what I was doing and the laughter died instantly, a cold pit settling in my stomach. I looked down at the ground, and it was a while before I said in a soft voice "I never really did laugh with you did I?"
Rin got over her embarrassment quickly, her eyes focusing on me. "Now why would you say-" she paused, and her eyes widened in realization. "You were eavesdropping on the baths, weren't you." It was not a question, and her tone had taken a chill to it.
I shifted under the scrutiny of her gaze. "Well, really I happened to find Homura and Miya eavesdropping first, but… yes. It was… enlightening."
Saber grumbled, but she still looked a little embarrassed. "That was not meant for you to hear." She said quietly.
Rin's expression lingered for a moment long before it shifted again, changing into the controlled smirk she used when she didn't want anyone to know what she was really thinking. "I would imagine. So Emiya-kun, how does it feel to know that I manipulated you into who you are now? You're probably angry, but it was a rather clever bit of work on my part if I do say so my-"
"…huh?" Rin said, thrown off balance by my unexpected response.
"I'm sorry that I never listened to you two. About me." I was somewhat upset about what Rin did, but I understood why. There was something else that weighed more heavily on me at the moment. "5 years we've been together, and I never thought how much I was hurting you by… being me. I never tried to change for you, in spite of all you did for me. I didn't… I wish…" I had to swallow down the lump in my throat. "I wish I could have been someone you made laugh."
The room was dead silent. Rin and Saber looked at me with wide eyes, their mouths open. Rin in particular had lost her composure, her body trembling slightly as she tired to form words that wouldn't come. It was something the two of them would have never expected me to say, and I had no idea how they would respond.
Whatever I was thinking though, I didn't expect Rin's face to slowly twist into one of anger and for her to clear the distance between us to slap me.
"Rin!" Saber said in shock as I reeled back. Looks like she wasn't expecting it either.
"No! You don't just apologize for this!" She screamed at me, her self-restraint gone and her eyes wet with tears. "All those years I was trying to make you better, you don't get to say that now! Not to me! Not after I failed you!"
"Rin, what…?" I said as I stumbled back from her. She wasn't making any sense. "I thought you were trying to-"
"I didn't want you like this!" she continued to yell. "I wanted to make you an actual person, but the best I could do was turn you into your father! You're not realizing this now because of anything we did, your doing it because… because…" her voice started to hitch, as if she couldn't continue.
It was Saber who finished in a sad tone. "Because your Sekirei made you able to realize it." Her fists were clenched at her sides as she said this, her knuckles white.
The Sekirei bond. It had done more for me in a few months then they had managed in a few years. It was breaking their hearts to see how useless they had been compared to the bunch of alien women who had stumbled into my life. The fact that only the Sekirei's connection to me had gotten myself along to the point where I realized how much I had hurt the two women in front of me only made it worse.
"Why couldn't I help you?" Rin said bitterly, looking down at the floor. "Why wasn't I good enough?"
I stole a glance at Saber for help, but I saw the look of shame in her eyes that told me she felt the same way. I wanted to tell them they were wrong. I wanted to tell them they had done all they could for me, that they were better to me than they ever should have been. But I couldn't. I wouldn't have even known that was the case if things hadn't turned out the way they had. "I, I didn't mean for this to happen." I said helplessly.
"We know." Saber said softly, her eyes starting to water as well. "This isn't your fault. But the truth remains; your Sekirei are better for you than we were."
I felt like a knife twisted itself in my gut to hear my Saber say that.
"And you know what the really kicker is, Shirou? The real reason I'm here?" Rin said, still using her bitter tone. "I'm here to take you home. The Clock Tower has tasked me with putting you as a Sealing Designate under my care. I had to make a lot of promises, too."
My mind worked rapidly at that. She had did it. The brilliant woman did as she promised and found a way for me to come home. She found a way for everything to be right again…
But then she found me, and the mess I had gotten myself into. Bringing me home would mean the Clock Tower would find out about the Sekirei and Jinki, which would likely lead to the death of the former and the misuse of the later. They couldn't bring me back, and by the sound of it, Rin would be ended if she came back without me. Not only that, she had found me with several more women who had managed to succeed with me where she and Saber failed. In this one day, she had gone from getting me back to losing almost everything, and there was nothing she could do about it.
I felt another knife twist in my heart for my Rin.
"But the Sekirei have made that impossible." Saber said, her voice becoming hard as she regained control of herself. "Now our only option is to run."
"Why?" I heard myself say despondently. "Why can you stay?"
"Because they took everything from us." Rin said, venom leaking into her voice as she spoke of the women downstairs. "I can't go back because of them. And… they took you away from us." She took a breath to calm herself down. "No, if I stayed, I'm not sure I could keep myself from hating them, even if it really isn't there fault. Besides, what's for us here?"
There was only one thing. "I am." I said.
The two looked at each other before looking back at me. "All things considered, I don't think that it is enough, Shirou." Saber said sadly.
I hung my head down, frustration and helplessness burning in my chest. I choked out the one thing I could say. "I love you."
"Really?" Rin said, her tone not quite believing. "How do we know this isn't another thing which those aliens gave you?"
"No!" I shouted as I slammed my fist into the wall, it being my turn for the emotions inside of me to burst forth. "I've always loved you! I wasn't always right about it and oh God if I could I would give anything to go back to those days and do things right, but I always loved the two of you!" The two flinched back at my outburst. I lowered my voice somewhat, but it was still filled with everything I had held inside since I first saw them. "I've missed you. I've missed you so much. Just… please don't go."
There was silence between us, the air charged with all that we still wanted to say. Then Saber took a step towards me and slowly pressed her lips to mine. It did not stay slow for long, as soon the kiss turned fierce, arms wrapped around each other as the strain all our time apart came crashing down. Moments later the embrace was cut short and I found Rin standing close to me, her own mouth finding mine with same amount of desire and passion as I had with Saber. The three of us then fell ungracefully to the floor, too concerned with other matters to care about anything else.
There were no words other than cries and moans to be had after that. All the emotion that we had locked inside of us was brought to bear as we consummated. Nine months of worry and separation. The joy at seeing each other again. The despair of what had happened. The frustration and anger at the unfair world. The desperation of what we wished things could be. We gave all of it to each other, and for that time we were one again. All that night, there was only one thought on our minds.
Please. Please don't let this night end. Please don't let the morning come and take this away from us.