I originally posted this on the "TFF Omakes 3" thread in the "Mechanics of In Flight" forum. It was apparently good enough that they told me to publish it outside forum threads.
In this, Minato is a separate person from Shirou, with Shirou being a year or two the elder. For purposes of the story (plus I'm not familiar with Japanese naming standards), Shirou's birth-name is Akira Sahashi (it's gender neutral).
(takes place after ch 1 of IF, I won't rehash what GB did because it'd be too long. Read chapter 1 of In Flight by Gabriel Blessing if you want context.)
Ash and Blades part 1
I hefted my tool bag shortly prior to leaving my apartment. It's been a few months since the…awkward…reunion with my biological mother. It took a few more tests by independent companies before she accepted that her eldest son was actually alive and then she introduced me to Minato and Yukari.
My younger brother, Minato was agreeable. Our first meeting was kind of awkward, though not as the one with Takami so I was counting my blessings. Neither of us was used to the idea of a brother. Perfect strangers, but there was polite speech between us. He's a student that's already failed his entrance exams twice. Between his quick-to-trust personality, politeness and experience with failure to meet the strict entrance requirements of an educational institution, I felt a little like I was talking to a version me that was unrelated to magecraft.
Yukari, my little sister, was a different awkward. She obviously has an admiration of Minato, if I'm reading it right, that she felt I was intruding upon. I don't blame her, I feel like I'm intruding. She's about three years younger than me, two younger than Minato, so she would have no memories of my existence before the fire, even if Minato had trace memories. All she would have to go on would be Takami's word and I doubt such a subject would arise often.
Then the arguments started, first over my name. Takami had insisted I return to my birth-name, Akira Sahashi, but I adamantly refused. All I have ever thought about myself centered around the name 'Emiya', the name of my savior. That argument nearly destroyed what little progress had been made between myself and my biological mother.
The second and final major argument was over my lifestyle choice. Unlike my siblings, whom had plans for college, I chose to enter the workforce as an independent repairman. Takami insisted that I finish my education so that I could have a respectable job, like researcher or engineer, but I told her that neither appealed to me. Then she asked how I'd support myself with such a meager job and I told her that I could because I'm good with mechanics.
Between the story I told of being kicked out of school, having two girlfriends, and my claims of mechanical knowledge, Takami must have thought of me a delinquent. I suppose I could more easily pass for one, by physical build and hair color alone, than the average Japanese male my age like Minato.
She was skeptical until I proved my skill by repairing a number of increasingly complex machines, even a couple in MBI, quickly and efficiently. Takami even suggested I work solely for MBI, though I turned her down. It would be unfair to other people if I was capable of helping but was obligated not to. I did let Takami know that I would let MBI hire me to fix things though, just not exclusively.
My first (official) job as a repairman was actually at Minato's apartment complex. Minato had been able to suggest me to the landlord and I offered my services cheaply, so the older man decided to let me try. When my quality of work greatly surpassed his expectations, he offered double my rates, something I had to aggressively haggle him out of, and said he'd spread my name around to other landlords as a reliable repairman.
That's where I was heading today, where I started. I'd received a call yesterday, one of the tenets moved out suddenly and he wanted me to give a thorough inspection of the room and repair anything damaged, reporting any kind of vandalism there might be. I was confused at first but assumed he'd had a bad tenet in the past.
My biggest surprise was when he handed me the key to Minato's single. My mind raced. 'Has the Clocktower found me?It's only been a couple months and I've been laying low here in Japan.'
"Um, Sir, what were the circumstances of Minato-san's departure?" I asked, barely keeping my voice in Minato had been abducted by virtue of contact with me, then Takami and Yukari might be in danger too.
The landlord looked at me for a moment, "Oh, that's right, Sahashi-kun is your brother.I'd forgotten because of your names, Emiya-kun. Breech of contract, two days ago. He had a girl with him in the room. Shame he had to go but rules are rules. I gave him a week to vacate and he did it yesterday. He left this forwarding address," he held out a paper with the address of an 'Izumo House' here in the north sector.
Relieved somewhat, I went about my assigned task. Nothing was amiss or in dire disrepair, Minato wasn't careless or malicious with other's things. Since I was just here last week too, there wasn't anything really to fix. One thing did bother me though. It was faint, but the 'scent' of honey lingered.
In the months I've lived in Shin Tokyo, I've noticed that there were more of those 'not-human' beings than the one sent to the airport with Takami. Mostly I just detected the 'honeyed-scent', that they all seemed to have in common, peripherally. I took a small comfort in that if my pursuers ever tracked me here, they'd have to sort through several dozen 'not-humans' to find me. They seemed to be loyal to, or at least affiliated with, MBI. While at MBI proving my skills to Takami, I noticed a higher number of those 'not-human' scents, but I said nothing. So far I've avoided meeting any of them, save for the ashen-haired woman who smelled of blood, Karasuba, I think Takami called her.
Sometimes though, I felt as if being watched through predatory it eyes. Often coincided with the faint scent of blood, but it only ever lasts for a couple seconds before both sensations vanished.
'But what could they want with Minato?' I thought to myself as I was walking to Izumo.I'd started going straight to Minato's supposed new residence immediately after finishing my job for his old landlord. Thankfully, I didn't have anything else scheduled for today.
Several blocks away from my destination, the scent hit me: blood. Cautiously, I traced Kanshou and Bakuya in my tool bag. The last two times I'd encountered creatures with 'scents' as steeped in blood as the current one, my life had been threatened. This time I'd be at least somewhat prepared.
Or so I thought, as I approached ever closer, new 'scents' kept appearing, like I was about to enter a nest. I could barely separate the impressions gleaned from the number of scents: blood, a sour tang of regret(?), fire and smoke, clean linen, something that reminded me of brand new plastic(?), bear, and flowers.
When I finally laid eyes upon the inn, I was expecting a dire situation. Instead, I found a peaceful old Japanese style building. It was approaching noon so I hoped it meant that the residents were partaking of lunch. Cautiously I walked up to the door and knocked twice.
There was a brief space of time before the door slid open, revealing a woman with lavender tresses and dressed like a shrine maiden. She was also the source of the 'blood' and 'regret' I'd been sensing. I released the small breath I'd been unconsciously holding. 'Not Karasuba'
"May I help you?" she asked. The words were sincere though, she may have been irritated with the timing of my arrival.
"My name is Shirou this Izumo House? I heard Minato Sahashi moved there yesterday and this is the address."
She eyed me warily for a moment, "Izumo House this is, please come in, we were just finishing lunch. I am Miya Asama, the landlady here."
"I will be in your care."
As she lead me down the hall, a wave of nostalgia hit me. I was reminded of my home in Fuyuki but quickly pushed the thought from my mind.
Before one last corner, Asama-san stopped and said, "I am unaware of your relation to Sahashi-san, Emiya-san, but remember, violence in Izumo house is FORBIDDEN." As she pronounced the last word, she turned towards me and I could've sworn that a demon head mask, a Hanya specifically, manifested behind her.
I froze briefly, the malice of the projection provoking a fear I'd long since then it was gone. The next words from my mouth surprised me, not "How did you do that?" or "What are you?", but "Could you please do that again?"
"Do what?" She asked innocently as she turned the a brief second the smile on her face mirrored Karasuba's exactly
I followed her and found Minato seated at a table with a few others, prominently women, though there was one other male, silver-grey hair, and overall androgynous features, in a dressy-casual button up white shirt and dark pants. Two of the three females at the table appeared close to mine or Minato's age and…well endowed… as a polite way of saying it. One had long brown hair with part tied in a side ponytail and wore a pink long, purple, sleeved shirt with a large yellow star centering on her chest, with jeans that only went to the knee. The other young woman had brown hair cut at the chin, and wore what might have been based on a shrine maiden's outfit, but altered (greatly shortened) the skirt length. The final female at the table, offering a spoonful of food to Minato, was a girl, couldn't be older than eight, with long blonde hair and a plain white dress. Minato sat between the shrine maiden and the young girl. The kicker was that Minato was the only human in the room, excepting myself.
"Sahashi-san," Miya called, "You have a guest."
He turned around rapidly. I doubt he was expecting company so soon after changing residences.
"Hi Minato-kun," I spoke before he could respond, "I just came from your former apartment, glad to see you're alright. Though," my voice dropped slightly, "I would like an explanation, like who the girl is." I may not have had that big of a relationship with any of by 'biological' family, but it seemed that I'd developed a strong sense of devotion to their well-being.
My brother's stare was a lot like cornered mouth flopped open and closed like a fish removed from water."Ah…yes, Shirou-san, this is Musubi-san," he gestured towards the shrine maiden on his left, "And this is Kusano-chan," he pointed to the blonde girl.
I looked at Musubi, honing in on her 'aura' among all the others, it made me think 'bear' for some reason and it also matched the residual 'scent' back at the single, "Musubi," I decided against trickery because I didn't want to waste effort without a certain payoff, "What are you?" Also, I'm not too good with subtlety.
"Musubi's a Sekirei. A fist type," she happily chirped back at me. Around us the others, barring Kusano who probably didn't understand what was going on, reacted negatively to either my question or her response: Minato sat gaping at her, the other male pinched the bridge of his nose as he sighed, the pony-tailed woman gaped at me and Miya frowned slightly.
"Musubi," Minato cried, "Remember, we're not supposed to tell anyone about that."
"Oopsie," Musubi apologized, tapping her brow with her fist, which was wearing a heavily padded fingerless glove.
If I had any doubts about the credibility of Musubi's answer before, Minato's direct response seemed too real for him to be acting. Sekirei…a wagtail if I recalled correctly.
"So that's what you're called," I mumbled, "Well it's nice to have a title rather than using 'not-human' as a reference."
"Hey bro," the pony-tailed girl called out to me across the table, "Sounds like ya' knew something already, right? My name's Uzume, by the way."
"Hello Uzume, I'm Shirou Emiya, and to answer, yes, I did know something already."
"And…" she egged me on, "C'mon don't be all cryptic. You an Ashikabi?"
"Nope. So spill, how'dya' know about us bein' "not human"?"
"You knew?" Minato asked awestruck.
"You don't think that Takami believed that error from that DNA analyzer blindly do you? Of course she interrogated me like a spy. And she brought a Sekirei to 'motivate' me if I wasn't giving the right answers."
"Ok, I think we're missin' context. What are you talking about Bro?"
"Yes, Emiya-san, do tell."
"My apologies," I replied, figuring I owed at least something for learning a secret of such apparent importance, "I'm Minato's elder brother, biologically. A DNA analyzer malfunctioned when I arrived in Shin Tokyo, matching me to two MBI employees. One was Takami Sahashi. The other…actually I don't know. But anyway, because of said malfunction, Takami thought I was trying to infiltrate MBI and was prepared to rip answers out of me."
Uzume looked between Minato and myself, "I don't see a big resemblance."
"But if that's true, why would she doubt those results?"
"But Minato-sama and Shirou-san have different names?Musubi is confused."
"We all thought he died in a fire…fifteen years ago," Minato answered.
The grey haired male visibly shrunk at the mention of death by fire. His 'scent' was also of fire
"Short story, I lived and was adopted by the man who pulled me out of it. But I'd forgotten my birth-name and gave what apparently was my nickname 'Shiro' instead."
"So all your papers have you as someone else while your DNA says you are someone who should be dead. Figures that Takami would be upset, so who was with her, the Sekirei?" the male said.
"You know too Kagari?" Minato seemed even more shocked. I felt it wrong to point out that Kagari was another Sekirei.
"I've worked as Takami's assistant at MBI a couple times. Things get overheard," Kagari responded.
"I think Takami called her Karasuba," a cup shattered, and there were a couple gasps, "But I might be wrong. Ashen hair in a ponytail. Perpetual smug grin. Carrying a nodachi."
"That's Karasuba-sama," Musubi shot out gleefully, unlike the others in the room.
"So what happened, Bro?" Uzume asked, "Well obviously you lived but…"
"Oh nothing much, she held a sword to my throat and I threw a knife at her head. At least she stopped laughing, even if it missed." I rubbed my throat thoughtfully, "Maybe I should invest in a straight razor, that sword gave a clean shave."
The room fell quiet as everyone absorbed what I said.
"Threw a knife at the Black Sekirei's head?" Uzume muttered, "Sahashi, you need to invite him here more often. This guy's a riot."
I spent about another hour and a half at Izumo before deciding that I should probably get going. The time was spent talking with the residents and helping the landlady clean up the mess caused when the cup broke. Kagari retired to his room fifteen minutes or so after my arrival. I heard he works at a Host Club in the evenings so his presence at lunch was abnormal.
I couldn't get much more info about Sekirei, not that I needed to. I did learn, however, that Kusano must be part guard dog after teasing Minato a little about the young girl. The good news is she has a strong lower jaw and a healthy mouth full of teeth, as I could tell by examining the deep imprints under my jeans on my left calf.'I hope there isn't anything that she might get sick from,' was my thought because my job isn't often clean.
Aside from violence, coarse or crude language is not allowed in Izumo House, at least in the presence of children. Miya used…whatever it was, on Uzume, once when the pony-tailed Sekirei suggested I have "stones the size of bowling balls" in a brass variety, and again on the same person moments later when my curiosity towards the mask instead of horror provoked Uzume to repeat herself, because Kusano was in the room.
Before I left, I handed Miya my business card: 'Shirou Emiya: Repair Wizard' with a list of trades that my skills encompassed (electrical, plumbing, etc) and my contact information.I also whispered for her to read the back, where I had written a note for her. It'd taken me a few minutes in the bathroom and several failed attempts before I was able to get all of it on one card.
It is my request that you watch over Minato-kun for me. Aside from your landlady duties I know you are a Sekirei, or at least more similar to Sekirei than human, with power that surpasses Karasuba. Call it my sixth sense and I know that including you and Kagari, there are six Sekirei here, not that Minato-kun is aware. Keep him ignorant if you have to, but please keep him safe. Call if you have any problems.
It took me almost two hours to stroll back to my apartment. I could have taken a cab or train, but I decided to enjoy the brisk early spring weather.I counted a dozen Sekirei that entered my range at different points in my trip. So nice to have a name for their species now.
In the last several blocks, a Sekirei of 'blood' filled my senses. Looking around, I didn't see Karasuba and the 'scent' didn't dissipate as it had the other times I'd smelled 'blood', it got stronger. I almost missed a second scent, one of steel, underneath because of the similarity and because of how strong the 'blood' was by comparison.
My door was locked but my senses said the two Sekirei were inside. None of my wards were set off or broken, so I could hope it wasn't an ambush. 'Hope.' As I unlocked with my right hand, the other was reaching into my tool bag for Kanshou. The door swung inward.
"I don't appreciate it when others sneak in Karasuba," I called, stepping into the apartment.
"Ooh…" a voice I didn't recognized spoke, "Sounds like…he knows…Karasuba."
"Sahashi-chan is full of surprises," I heard Karasuba say. I entered the dining room and the two Sekirei were seated at my was dressed no different than our first meeting at the airport, nodachi included. Beside her, the second Sekirei had short hair a lighter shade of grey that fell wildly about her head. The second Sekirei wore a black, kimono-like outfit as well, but it hung loosely off of her body, revealing bandages wrapped around the entirety of her body below the neck. The only other distinct characteristics about her were the studded dog collar and the clawed gauntlets with barbed blades instead of fingers.
"We've been waiting for you, Sahashi-chan. We let ourselves in." Karasuba said with her smug grin, although there was some color to it as well.
"Don't call me that," I warned, "And if you wanted to visit, you should have called ahead. I'd have had something prepared to offer. Does tea sound good?" I moved towards my kitchen, the defining reason I chose this apartment, and pulled some bags out of the cupboard. I set the tool bag down.
"You seem…unbothered," the second Sekirei noted, the halting seemingly a part of her regular speech pattern, "Or…unsurprised."
"Well, yeah, I have ways of knowing when someone breaks in," I said, putting water on the stove to boil, "And I don't think Takami would let any Sekirei that serve MBI near this apartment if I'd be endangered by it." The second part was just a rudimentary guess, the Sekirei were affiliated with MBI but not directly employed by it for the most part. The only Sekirei I'd seen serving MBI directly was Karasuba, and probably this newcomer.
Karasuba raised an eyebrow, "Oh, and how did you learn about such a fact, Aki-chan?"
"Last warning, Karasuba, my name is Shirou Emiya. Care to tell me why you're here? Or who the other Sekirei is?" I kept my tone polite as I pulled open a drawer and palmed a utensil: a non-serrated butter knife.
"I'm…Haihane," the other Sekirei replied. "It was…Black's idea," she pointed a claw at Karasuba.
"Aww," Karasuba groaned in mock-sadness, "You let on too soon. Aki—"
Whatever the Sekirei was going to say was cut off as the altered butter knife embedded itself in the table right in front of her. The smug grin morphed into a genuine smile as she pulled it out and held it.
"Thank you, Shiroi-chan."
'Wait was she planning for me to do that?' I thought. The idea of being manipulated so simply was annoying, but not so much as her using my birth name.
I sighed, "Okay Karasuba, what do you want?"
She cocked her head and opened a grey eye at me, "Since you know about Sekirei already this should be simple, how about you work for MBI—"
"—As the Ashikabi of the Disciplinary Squad?"
"But Black," Haihane whispered, "The director…has already…chosen that person. Red…already has…wings."
"And you don't, that's why you're here and she isn't. This one is excellent material too."
"Of course not," Karasuba's smile returned to the smug grin.
Haihane stood up, "Sorry Black…I'm going back…to MBI. Your plan…too risky." She turned to me, "Thank you…for putting up…with us."
"Suit yourself," Karasuba called to Haihane as she exited the apartment. "Now, Shiroi-chan, about my offer."
"Not interested, I'm a simple repairman," I answered, pouring hot water into cups with a tea bag in each.
"Is that so?" Karasuba asked, the humor leaving her voice.
A hiss of steel leaving the scabbard.
On reflex, I grabbed my chef's knife from the rack and spun, reinforcing it to the max and planting my feet.
Karasuba slammed into me barely a moment later, forcing me to backpedal, her blade cutting nearly halfway through my own. 'Damn, and these knives took forever to find on the market.'
There was glee in her eyes, "So you do have hidden skills, Shirou-chan. Why waste such talent on the weak masses? You could be so much more." The color on her face had risen further. Her breath was hitching.
"Because a hero's duty is to the weak!" I reinforced my legs and arms a little and pushed forward. My blade broke, and I began losing balance at the sudden shift. Her sword met my neck and stopped. She pushed me till I was pinned against the counter.
She stroked my face with one hand, "So naive. But that's minor. You are the one I've chosen and that fact will not be argued." She leaned forward and pressed her lips to mine.
Light. Wings of light, of a dark purple hue, erupted from her back, originating right between her shoulders.I felt my od being siphoned but the drain stopped the instant I noticed. Then there was pain.
Reflexively, I shoved and she stumbled backwards, a thin film of blood on her lips. The wings were gone but had really damaged the counter top. I found my lower lip bleeding, 'She bit me!'
"Forever and ever, until this world burns," Karasuba muttered dreamily.
A buzzing in my pocket startled me to my surroundings. I fumbled briefly and put it to my ear, "Shirou Emiya, Repair wizard…"
"Congratulations!" the voice shouted, and I pulled the phone from my ear. It sounded caught between excitement and irritation."You have been selected as one of the few to participate in the Sekirei Plan to herald in the New Age of Gods. Now please hand the phone the Karasuba, Akira Sahashi."
"Wait who is this? How do you know that name?" I turned the phone to check the number and saw a man in a white suit and cape seated in a grand chair. "Oh I can view pictures too."
"It's not just a picture, Akira-san," the man in the image said, "Your phone is on speaker-video call. You've fixed high level machinery, you should be aware of the functions of a cell phone. Hand the phone to Karasuba."
I took on a serious demeanor, "Yes, Director."
"How could you have gone against my careful plan? I even picked Natsuo to be the Squad's Ashikabi. We can't have our ace put her loyalties with a non-employee."
"Too late, he's my Ashikabi already. Don't worry, he'll be returning to MBI with me today. I've had no change of heart over the D-Squad, a human more to my tastes simply caught my eye."
"Oh? In that case, bring him in immediately."
"Understood." Karasuba replied before hanging looked at me like a child sizing up a new toy to break."Well then, Shiroi-chan, you're coming with me. How hard and painful the trip becomes is up to you." That smug grin was back.
I'll see about getting the next part up as soon as I can.
Thanks for reading, please review.
edit: I hate FFN formatting sometimes. when i pasted this, it cut out the last word of some sentences and the first word of the following sentences, making the story harder to follow. I am sorry, I think I have fixed it all but I may have missed something. If in any of my chapters the flow seems broken, please let me know and give me the sentence(s) in question and I'll have it fixed ASAP