Hikaru blinked back tears as she gazed up at Archer's face. If she hadn't used her second command seal she knew he would have dived in after her. He was fighting against it hard, with the same vigor he had used to try to defy the first one she had used to make him drop her. No matter what he did though, she knew he would be unable to fight against it. Command seals were absolute after all. Plus if she hadn't done it everything would have been ruined. Not after all this. Not after they had come this far.
"I'm sorry," she whispered one last time as she shut her eyes. Just looking at his heartbroken face just filled her with regret. It wasn't her fault. She had to do this! He would understand. Hopefully. It'll be better soon…everything will be better soon.
She felt herself smash into the black mud. It gave way and accepted her within in. Opening her eyes, she saw she was now floating in darkness. A very familiar darkness. A quick look around told her there was nothing. Just her in what seemed to be a pitch black ocean. No. That wasn't right. The bluish tone was there. It was stronger than before but black was still the prominent color.
"I bet you haven't been able to decorate much since my last visit!" she called.
A giggle came from behind. Hikaru whirled around and smiled as she gazed at the girl that looked exactly like her. The tattoos on her skin were still there but they were even lighter than before.
"Yes well, my roommate doesn't allow me much room for decorating I'm afraid," she laughed.
Hikaru grinned. "I guess not." She pushed her hair out of her face. "You called me didn't you? You called me to the mud so I would touch it." Her eyes fell to her feet. "And obtain your memories, what your plans were, and the truth about this Grail…" She looked around. "This place, you've been calling me from within the Grail the entire time."
The girl nodded. "Yes. Unfortunately, I am unable to leave the Grail. The only way I could contact you was through dreams, well until now." She cupped her hands over her chest. "I'm sorry. For everything. It's because of me that you were thrown into this War and suffered so much." Her eyes were filled with pain.
Hikaru shook her head. She kicked off and floated towards the girl and hugged her tight. "No. Don't be sorry. You've helped me so much. I…I would never truly be myself and find out the truth about everything if this did not happen." She pulled back and rubbed the back of her head sheepishly. "Although I feel kind of bad now…"
Her eyes betrayed surprise for a moment before she chuckled. "Oh. That. Don't worry about it." She put her hands behind her back. "I knew what I was doing when I decided to go through with this. It doesn't matter much to me at all, as long as he is happy."
A twinge of envy went through Hikaru. "You did this all for love…" She stared down at her hand. "Compared to what you did, I'm a mess. Honestly, I could never do this. You're strong."
The girl reached out and grasped Hikaru's hand in her own. "No. You are me and I am you. Even if I was never real, we have the same essence. Don't doubt yourself. When push comes to shove, you have strength too."
"I bet no one else has been scolded by themselves before like this," Hikaru laughed.
Her smiled slipped away. "I…I left him up there. I made him do it. His face. I knew it was tearing him up inside but I did this…he might never forgive me for something like this. This was cruel…so cruel." She shut her eyes tight. That was the one thing she truly regretted. If only she could have gotten here without his help.
"He will," she promised. "I know he will." Her expression mirrored Hikaru's. "The fault lies within me in the end. There was no other way I could have this done…ugh." She gritted her teeth and doubled over.
Hikaru reached out to support the girl. "Hey! Are you okay?"
The tattoos on her body seemed to pulse and get darker. "Well, looks like he is getting feisty again. I've been trying to hold him back this whole time but it seems like he wants to try to push back even harder. He should know better than to try something like that."
Hikaru nodded. "Yeah. But that's why I'm here right? To help you fix the Grail."
The smile was back as she straightened. "Yes. That's the reason for everything."
"To grant a wish," replied Hikaru. She also smiled. "Well then. Let's take care of this." The girl grasped Hikaru's hand in her own. Hikaru almost bit her tongue as she screamed as her mind was filled with knowledge. Lives, history, possibilities, all of it flowed into her mind in a huge jumble. She couldn't extract one piece from another, they were all connected and all flowed into each other.
"Whoops! Sorry! Better?"
Hikaru sighed in relief as the torrent of knowledge trickled to only what she needed. "Yes. Better."
"Sorry. I know I overwhelmed you before by accident too. Transferring this is hard even if we are the same person. You have what you need now correct?"
Hikaru nodded. "Yeah." She shut her eyes as she went through the information given to her on how to truly use and harness the power she was born with. She took a deep breath and focused on opening all of her magic circuits.
She felt the grip of the girl on her hand tighten. "Sorry. He's fighting back now. I'll try to hold him off of you as much as I can."
Hikaru nodded to show she understood before she began searching through the other worlds for other versions of her, all with their own distinct powers and pasts. She could feel it all flowing through her. All of the hardships, all of the suffering, the pain, the hatred, it all flowed to her. Not only that though. The good times, the love, the friendship, the happiness, all of that flowed through her as well. Powers. Magical skills, that they had been born with or acquired throughout their lives, all of that flowed through her as well. All of it. She was a combination of all of the versions of her as well as her own person.
"We can do this," spoke the girl. Her voice was weak and distant but it was filled with hope.
Yes. We can do this. Hikaru opened her eyes and stared deep into the darkness that surrounded them. This darkness, this corruption, it was not match for her and she knew it. She lifted a hand and threw the power of her magic circuits behind it, threw every bit of power, every ability that the other versions of her had, all of it she channeled into one blow.
"I knew there had to be at least one," whispered the girl. "At least one who could purify. Even if she died young…this is enough."
Hikaru reared back her fist and punched the darkness before her at full force.
Archer stood against a tree near Shinji and Rin. They were arguing about something (well, more like Rin was yelling at Shinji) but Archer did not hear any of it. In his mind he replayed the last couple of minutes over and over again. He could have grabbed her. He could have jumped in after her so she would not have to fall in alone. Something. He could have done something to help her. If only the command seal wasn't in place. Why? Why did she do that? What did the Grail do to her? Was what she did truly her own choice or was it the will of the Grail?
Powerless. He looked down at his hand. What was the point of having power if he couldn't use it to protect the person he loved?
"What in the world!?"
Rin's sudden outburst made Archer look up. Even if he didn't want to do it, Hikaru's third command seal was still in effect. He needed to protect Rin and Shinji. He froze as he stared at the Grail. The contents pouring out of the cup was no longer black and oozing. Instead what poured out seemed to be pure clear water. As soon as the water touched the mud, the mud turned into the water as well.
"It's been purified?" Rin stated what Archer was thinking.
How? How could she do that? How did she remove the corruption of the Grail?
The questions were thrown out of his mind as he spotted Hikaru near the base of the floating cup. She was lying on her back, unmoving. Not even thinking about how dangerous it could be, Archer ran to her. The ankle-deep water splashed in his wake but nothing else happened.
He kneeled next to her body and gently put an arm around her shoulder and propped her up. Feeling his touch, she opened her eyes. "Archer," she whispered. "You're here…you listened to me."
"Not like I had a choice." He gently flicked her forehead. "You idiot. You didn't have to go off by yourself. We're a team."
"Sorry." She shut her eyes and sucked in a shuddering breath. "I'm sorry. But…I need to know. The wish. If…if we could be together, do you still want that? Do you want that granted?"
Archer swallowed. Her voice was so shaky and it was getting softer and softer with each word. "Yes," he whispered. "Yes."
She smiled and shut her eyes. "That counts…that has to count. She has to make that count." She opened her eyes again. Archer felt a lump in his throat. Her eyes were open but they didn't seem to be looking at anything. "I'm sleepy…so sleepy…Are you still there Archer? I...I can't see you..."
His grip on her shoulder tightened. He wanted to beg her not to go to sleep. He wanted to beg her to stay awake, shake her, and do everything to stop her from closing her eyes. "Well you did just purify the Grail. You deserve a nap," he said instead, giving her a smile.
She giggled. It was so weak and seemed to drain her of all of the strength she had left. "I'm sorry," she whispered again.
"Don't be. You did well. You were great."
She smiled again. "You really think so?" Her eyes lids began drooping. She struggled to keep them open but the more she tried the harder it was.
"Just close your eyes," he whispered. "Sleep. You're tired right? Just...take a nap. You'll be fine then."
"Okay..." her voice was like a soft, gentle wind. "...Goodnight...Archer..." She closed and did not open again.
Archer clutched her tightly to his chest. No. No. No. This was not what was supposed to happen. He was supposed to protect her, keep her safe until this was all over. Not this. This was not supposed to happen at all. I never could protect her. Always. Always I am helpless as she sacrifices her life.
"Please don't cry Archer. She's not gone."
Archer heard Rin gasp. He looked up in surprise. That voice. He knew that voice. "It can't be…"
Standing before the grail was her. She looked the exact same, from the long wavy brown hair to her sparkling eyes. The brown school uniform she wore that made her look like an NPC. All the same. It was all the same. She put her hands behind her back as she gazed down at Archer. It was then that he noticed that he could see the Grail behind her. She was transparent but he had heard her voice.
"How…" he whispered. "how are you…"
"A lot of work went into this," she replied. She pointed to Hikaru. "She's alive. Don't worry Archer. She's just very tired that's all. She ended up expending a lot of her prana to purify the Grail. It might take a while for her to wake but she is alright. I made sure of it."
A quick look down confirmed it. Hikaru was still and felt deathly cold but he could see her chest was moving slightly as she took slow breathes in and out. He sighed in relief and hugged her tight. She had not been taken away from him. She had survived the War. "But you…I saw you disappear…I held you and you vanished. You were crying."
"What is going on here?" Rin had stepped closer. "Why does this girl look like Hikaru?"
"You never change do you Rin?" she laughed.
Rin stared at the girl in surprise. "What? Have we met before?"
She shook her head. "Technically we've never met but I saw from Hikaru that you are the same. Thank you for taking care of me again."
She rolled her eyes when saw Shinji scramble away. "And Shinji is the same too. Anyway, it doesn't really matter who I am but I guess you could call me Moon Cell Hikaru. At least that's what she was referring to me as." She pointed to sleeping Hikaru. "When I was in the Grail, I was connected to all of the knowledge of the world, including information about other worlds as well. The Moon Cell records all possibilities after all.
"I learned about the Hikaru from this world. As well as the power that she possessed but had forgotten about. And I thought about you Archer. How you were unhappy that I would need to give up everything. How we couldn't be together. I…I just wanted to give you a happy ending to everything."
She gazed down at Hikaru's sleeping form. "I dragged her into the War. While I was fading away in the Moon Cell, I sent a part of myself through the Grail to the Grail from this world, the knowledge to do it was recorded in the Grail as well. I knew the Grail from this world was corrupt and I needed to start attempting to purify it. I'm also the one behind your unusual summoning Archer. I didn't let you rest. I had enough control then to force the Grail to summon you to her."
"So the only reason Hikaru became a Master…"
"Yes Rin. All because I made it so." She shook her head. "I'm sorry Archer. I did this all without asking you. I was watching through her eyes though. When she slept at night, I contacted her through dreams. I couldn't do it often though but I tried. I selfishly imposed my own wish onto her." She chuckled. "Although I shouldn't be surprised that she ended up having the same wish as me in the end."
She crossed her arms in front of her chest. "I didn't expect side effects to happen though. Gilgamesh was connected to the Grail through the corruption and since I was bringing information from other worlds with me, he ended up remembering the version of the Moon Cell where he ended up with me-Hikaru, instead of you Archer." She shook her head. "That confused things up greatly-for her at least. Thankfully though, Gilgamesh understood when he touched the black mud-I was able to transfer some information to him. He will find her someday, I know it."
"But anyway, that's it really. I did all of this so that this Grail could grant your wish of being together with me-Hikaru at least. Even if it is not me, she is me and I am her and I am okay with that."
Archer did not know what to say. All this time. All of this was because of her? The reason he was here, it was her. "Hikaru…" he began. "This Grail. Granting that wish..."
She shook her head. "Don't you worry about that Archer. I know what I am doing. I know the limits of this Grail." She winked. "I know how to make it work, don't worry about it."
Of course she did. She had two weeks to figure it out after all along with the knowledge brought over from the other Grail. All he could think of was how proud he was for his old Master. He wanted to talk to her more, talk about old times. He paused in mid-thought when he realized that he could see the Grail clearer through her now. She was fading away.
"Oh. Looks like my time is running out." She looked down at her hands and shrugged. "It seems like I am going to keep being absorbed by Grails no matter what," she laughed. "Although this time I think it's really going to end." She kneeled next to Archer. "I'm hoping you can forgive me. For acting on my own again."
"Always. You were always my idiotic Master," replied Archer with a sad smile.
She laughed as she gazed down at the sleeping Hikaru. "Take care of her." She leaned towards his face and he thought she was going to kiss him on the lips but at the last second, she diverted and kissed him on the forehead. "Those lips belong to her now." She pressed her pointer finger against her own as she got up. "Oh and one more thing I need to tell you. She obtained my memory when she touched the black mud the first time." She glanced over at Rin and then at Archer and winked. Archer felt heat on the back of his neck. The liar comment made sense now.
"I hope you explained to her about why that mana transfer happened."
"I didn't have to." She spread out her arms wide. "And with this the Fifth Grail War comes to an end with a winner!" she announced. "And a wish granted as well. Don't you regret anything now Archer. Live please. Live and be happy."
Those were the final words of Moon Cell Hikaru as her body faded away, taking the Grail with her as she granted the wish she had worked so hard for.
Archer bid hello to the nurse on duty as he walked past her desk. She waved. "You're a couple minutes late today." She made a tsk sound. "A girl does not like to kept waiting."
"That's why I hurried here. I think she will understand," he replied.
The nurse rolled her eyes. "I bet she will."
Archer chuckled as he walked to the room and pulled open the door. There was only a single bed in this room, near the window. The curtains were open, and sunlight lit the room. "Hey Hikaru," he whispered as he closed the door behind him.
He held up the bouquet of flowers that he had brought with him in a small vase. "Your aunt works me hard. I never thought she could be such a slave driver but when she puts her mind to something, you know how she gets." He set the vase on the table before he sat on the chair next to the bed. "She's also been making comments about how she wants to settle down and have a family." He rolled his eyes. "Your aunt never changes, does she?"
No response of course.
Like every other visit, Hikaru looked like she was just sleeping except she was much thinner now than before. IVs and other medical devices were attached to her to monitor every little thing. He reached out and grasped her left hand. The command seals were still there, in gray, the only real proof that she had been a participant in the Grail War. Well, and the fact that he was sitting near next to her.
He spotted a crayon on the ground near the bed. He retrieved it and put it on the table. "Alice came by yesterday after I left didn't she?" He looked up at the wall behind her bed. It was almost covered from floor to ceiling with crayon drawings from a child's hand. He noticed a new one near the ceiling. Alice had probably gotten help from a nurse to get that one up there. "That was the one she drew for you yesterday wasn't it? Fighting a dragon. I can't say I've done that but you make a pretty good knight Hikaru. Well, good bait for the dragon." He laughed. "Only you would trip while running towards a fire-breathing dragon."
"Rin came by the house yesterday. She told me she is holding off her return to the Magus Association. She wants to wait a little longer. Something about scolding you about making her wait so long. I would advise you to stay asleep as long as possible. Rin's wrath is not something you would want to face-although I doubt she will yell at you as much as she did me." He fell silent as he massaged the gray command seals.
After a couple minutes of silence he pointed to some small light purple flowers that were stuffed in between the roses and carnations in the bouquet he had brought with him. "The florist got me today. He said I should add those into the bouquet. Rosemary flowers apparently." He shrugged. "Told me in the language of flowers they mean 'remembrance'. Other than that it could mean that 'your presence revives me'. Silly right?" No answer of course. He gritted his teeth as he pressed her limp hand against his forehead. "It's almost been two months. How much longer are you going to sleep? She said you would be fine. She said you would wake up. So please...can you please wake up?"
Nothing. Like always she did not hear his pleas. He gently put down her hand and got up. "I'll see you tomorrow Hikaru." He kissed her forehead, like he did everyday. He paused. Did her fingers just twitch? No. It was just his mind playing tricks on him. Just him hoping for something that was not true.
"I need to get more sleep." He turned to walk away but another twitch of her fingers stopped him. He knew he was not imagining it this time. He grabbed her hand and held on tightly like it was a life line. "Hikaru? Can you hear me? Hikaru! Please open your eyes."
No response. No. he could not have imagined it! He couldn't have! Nothing though. She didn't stir. He gritted his teeth. No. Nothing. He just imagined it. Just a muscle spasm. The doctor said that it happens sometimes.
He was about to release her hand when saw her lids flutter. No. He did not imagine that! His grip on her hand tightened and he held his breath. Slowly, ever so slowly her eyes opened. Her lids opened and closed in a slow manner as she seemed to get her bearings. They began to focus and she looked around in confusion until her eyes settled on him.
"A…..A…Archer?" her voice was incredibly hoarse but it was her voice. He didn't care if she sounded like a dying frog. It was her voice. He could hear her voice again.
"I'm here," he whispered. He pressed her hand against his forehead. "I'm here."
"Are…are you crying?"
Archer rubbed the tears from his eyes but they would not stop. "No. I'm not. This is…sweat from my eyes. That's all."
She smiled. The same smile he always remembered. The one he fell in love with. "Good morning," she whispered as Archer hugged her tight and refused to let go.
Well, that's it! The end of Rosemary for a Forgotten Tomorrow! This was such a fun story to write(and my first fic for Fate). ^-^ Hope everyone enjoyed it! I had a bunch of ideas planned out for the ending but I decided to go with the happy one instead of something depressing and angsty. Thanks for sticking through to the end to read this everyone! It really means a lot to me!