I know a lot of people are probably like, "Wha?! What is this!? I thought the story was over!" It is! Well, the main plot is. The thing is that I had a ton of material planned out for cute scenarios and interactions between Archer and Hikaru along with some stuff planned for various other characters that just did not make it into the story due to the short time span that the story took place in (including a plotline involving Shirou…).
So instead of letting it all go to waste, I decided to just write it all out and put it all into its own separate story-thing! Most of them will be one-shots (I will try to keep them chronological) but there will be some multi-chapter ones in here as well. Mostly fluff, because hey, why not? XD There will be some more serious chapters too thrown in. My update speed won't also be the speed demon it was for the main story since I am going back to school in a week. Thankfully since they are mostly self-contained it shouldn't be too horrible waiting for the next chapter release…
And for people that are wondering, yes, the GilgameshXHeroine story is in the works. It'll probably be a while before I get it written out though.
"I can't take it anymore!"
Hikaru flung her notebook into the air along with the various loose sheets that was spread out on her desk. She would have thrown the textbook up in the air too but it was heavy and with her luck it would land on her head.
This was hard! So hard! She rested her head on her desk. "Why!?" she cried. "This stuff is so hard!" She stared at the gray command seals that adorned the back of her left hand. "Stupid Grail War," she murmured. The Grail War had cost her two weeks of school, plus another two months when she was in a coma after she had purified the dang thing. Due to that, she was ridiculously behind in school to the point that it would probably be easier to just take the rest of the year off and try her second year again next year. Unfortunately, Aunt Nomi did not get that memo as she pulled some strings to keep Hikaru in the same grade by using a story that she was being home schooled for a semester and would return to classes in the fall if she got a good grade on her exams.
Hikaru was surprised when the school actually accepted that condition although it was probably because Aunt Nomi had dropped the fact that she had connections to the Harwey family. Since Leo had paid for Hikaru's medical expenses, Aunt Nomi thought that meant that they could call on the Harwey family for help whenever she wanted. Hikaru highly doubted that the Harweys would care about Hikaru's education but the threat worked so here she was trying to learn and cram all of the information she had missed out on for the past two months so she would be able to attend school again at the start of the second semester.
"Stupid school, stupid Aunt Nomi, stupid Grail War! I wish none of it happened!"
"You don't mean that do you?"
She jumped slightly and twisted around in her chair. "Oh, hi Archer," she squeaked.
He stood in the doorway with a tray holding cookies and a glass of milk. "I brought you food because I thought you were working hard but it seems like I was wrong."
"I was working!" she said quickly before he could walk away with those cookies. They were obviously freshly baked and still warm. "I'm just tired." She got up and began picking up the papers and notebooks that she had tossed. Archer set the tray down on the dresser before he got down on the floor to help her.
"Why do I need to bother with this anyway?" she grumbled. "I lost two months! How am I supposed to teach myself that much material in a span of a couple of weeks!?" She hated to admit it but studying was not one of her fortes. Studying for exams was torture normally; this was insane, cruel and inhumane.
She froze in mid-rant when she noticed the look on Archer's face. "Oh but I don't regret doing what I did!" she said quickly. "Yes, I may have lost two months but that was because of how reckless I was!" She grasped his hands in her own. "I don't regret it one bit." She smiled up at him.
She knew Archer felt guilty for making her lose two months because of him. It wasn't his fault at all though! It was her own, hers and the Moon Cell version of her. Both of them had been reckless to grant the wish. He was just the recipient of the wish! A bystander to her stupidity! "Are you done for the day?" she asked as she got to her feet and set the stack of papers and notebook back on the desk.
Archer had taken up to working odd jobs here and there to help Nomi out plus he said he didn't really know what to do with himself since the job he had when he was alive was not something he wanted to get into again. It kept him busy which was good but he wasn't in the house much and Hikaru missed having him around all the time. It's different now though, she reminded herself. They were no longer Master and Servant. He was her…her...boyfriend.
She could feel her face heating up at that thought. Although it had been over two months for him, for her it was less than two weeks (she had been discharged from the hospital early due to her healing ability) and it was still weird for her to think about. Plus it wasn't like they had been doing anything remotely "romantic" since her release. He had been busy with work and taking care of the house and she had been focused on trying to memorize everything and catch up on what she had missed.
Perhaps that was why she didn't feel awkward that he was living under the same roof as her. He had suggested moving out but Aunt Nomi had none of it. She forced him to stay as a condition of giving him identification and a false birth certificate (Nomi's connections at work again). What surprised her was that instead of taking on the name he had when he was alive he decided to just stick with Archer and tack on Emiya as his last name with his reasoning being that he didn't want to be confused with another Shirou. Whatever that meant.
"You're thinking weird thoughts again."
"Gah!" Hikaru covered her forehead and puffed out her cheeks. "Can we get past the whole flick-forehead thing!?"
He chuckled. "I'm sorry. How about a cookie to make you feel better?" He plucked a cookie off of the plate and held it out flat in his hand like one would feed a horse.
She pouted but took the cookie from him and took a huge bite. Oh yes. That was the stuff. It was so gooey and soft and just perfect.
"I think I'm forgiven?"
She nodded. "Yes you are. You didn't answer my question before though."
"I need to work in about an hour."
Hikaru frowned. "But…today is the summer festival…"
"Don't worry. I made sure I would be done by tonight. I'll meet you at the festival okay?" He grasped her hands. "Please don't look at me like that. Tonight will be great."
Hikaru frown of disappointment lifted slightly. "Yeah. I'll see you tonight." Yeah. He was right. The summer festival tonight would be great. She looked down at the ground. "Also. I just thought of something." She sheepishly rubbed the back of her head. "Technically, tonight is going to be our first real..." She swallowed. Could she say it? Actually say it? "d…d…date."
He was silent. Ack! Didn't he see it the same way? She glanced up at him and saw he was gazing down at her. She could feel her face turning red at his intense look so she turned her eyes to the ground. "W…what's that look for!?"
"Nothing," he replied. "You're meeting up with Rin before the festival right?"
"Yeah. We're going to be putting on yukatas together." Hikaru had been surprised when Rin had said she was going to stay in Japan for a while longer. Something about how she needed to take care of an idiot. Hikaru did not get it but Archer had agreed with Rin.
He put his fingers under her chin and gently tilted her head up and kissed her on the forehead before he released her and headed for the door. "I'll see you tonight," he said before he left.
"Yeah," she replied with a smile. She touched the spot on her forehead where he had kissed. "He hasn't kissed me on the lips since…"she murmured. What did that mean? No way. Did that mean he did not like her anymore like that!? No. She was just overthinking this. There was probably a perfectly good reason why and he would tell her when the time was right. Or he would give a reason why he didn't like her like that anymore. Ack! What if Aunt Nomi was forcing him to stay here due to what Hikaru did for him and he was only pretending to be nice!?
Okay. Now she really needed to stop. She turned to textbooks and notebooks on her desk. "Well, I can try to cram a little more before tonight!"
"Ack! Can you not trip over your own feet!?"
Rin grabbed Hikaru's arm to steady her before her friend could face plant into the asphalt. "Uh thanks Rin." Hikaru's face was burning as she straightened out and adjusted her yukata.
"Honestly what are we going to do with you?" Rin laughed. She wore a red yukata was accented with a black sash.
Hikaru puffed out her cheeks. "Nothing," she huffed. "Nothing at all." She rocked back and forth in her black geta sandals as she craned her neck to look at the crowd of people streaming through the huge tori gates to enter the festival grounds.
"He said he would be here soon right?" asked Rin. She crossed her arms. "Rude of him to keep you waiting Hikaru."
She shook her head. "He's been busy. I'm sure he would have gotten off early if he could." OShe instinctively went to twirl a lock of hair around a finger but didn't find any as she had put her hair up in a bun that was held with a long blue flower pin.
"Honestly, he's getting his first real date and this is how he views it?" Rin shook her head.
"R..Rin!" Hikaru protested. Rin was grinning at Hikaru's red face.
"Anyway. You want to go have some fun? Archer has a phone now right? He can contact you on where to meet later."
"Yeah." That was one of the first presents Nomi had given him along with his identification. "But I think I'll wait here for him. Why don't you go have fun Rin? I feel bad for making you wait on me." Rin was about to protest but Hikaru eyes lit up slightly when she spotted Rani in the crowd. She waved and the homunculus spotted the two girls and walked over.
"Hello Rin-san, Hikaru-san," she said, bowing slightly. Her yukata was light purple with a gold sash. Like Rin, Rani had also stayed in Japan although for a completely different reason. Apparently, since the Einzbern had no use for her, her "professor" had told her to stay in Japan and learn about the world and culture. According to Rin, Rani had transferred into the school as well and Rin had ended up helping the girl out on the first day and a weird friendship had blossomed out of it. Hikaru had met her a couple of times over the past couple of weeks and she had taken Rani under her wing as well. Hikaru was surprised to find out that Rani was actually pretty kind albeit a bit clueless about the world. Not having to fight each other for a cup changed a lot.
"I came to enjoy the festival as it seems to be an event that many Japanese go to to enjoy but I am not sure how one is to have fun at this sort of event."
"Oh boy." Rin face-palmed.
Hikaru had to agree with Rin's sentiments. "Why don't you go with her Rin?" suggested Hikaru. "You can help Rani learn how to have fun. I'm going to stay here and wait a little longer for Archer."
"Are you sure?"
Hikaru nodded. "Yeah. It's fine. Give Rani a good time. I'll just be slowing you down and stuff by checking my phone all the time."
Rani tilted her head to the side slightly as her lavender eyes looked back and forth between Hikaru and Rin in confusion. "I do not understand why Hikaru-san is waiting. Wouldn't it be fun if all three of us were together? Why is she waiting?"
"She just wants this summer festival to be a special date with her boyfriend." Rin's expression betrayed her amusement.
"I do not understand."
Rin shrugged and put her hands on Rani's shoulders and pushed her towards the festival stalls. "I'll tell you when you are older Rani." Before Rani could begin to argue against the claim that she was old enough, Rin began pushing Rani harder towards the stalls. "We'll see you later Hikaru. Have fun on your date!"
Hikaru waved goodbye to Rin and Rani before she leaned against one of the pillars. She checked her phone. Five minutes. She could wait five more minutes. She smiled to herself. This reminded her the time she had waited for him outside the supermarket during the War. That was such a long time ago. "At least nothing bad will happen this time," she murmured to herself. She looked up and scanned the crowd for Archer's white hair. Nothing.
She checked her phone again. Another five minutes. She could give him another five minutes. She sighed and adjusted her yukata. Maybe she should not have worn this one. It was white dotted with pink and blue flowers with a dark blue sash. "Maybe I should have went with something that was one color only." Maybe that pin in her hair was too much? Yeah. It was probably too much. She reached up to pull it out when she heard her name.
She looked up in surprise as Archer hurried over to her. "You're late!" she scolded but the grin on her face said otherwise. "Hmm? Archer?" He was staring at her wide eyed. "Uh, you don't like it?" She knew she should have gone with the solid blue one instead of letting Rin talk her into getting this one!
"Uh no, I like it," he stammered. "It looks good on you." He looked away sheepishly. "You look…cute."
Cute!? No way. Did he really just call her...cute!? Her eyes locked onto the ground. She knew her face was on fire. "Oh...uh…thanks." Calm down Hikaru. This was nothing! It was just a compliment! She lifted her head once she knew her face was not a tomato anymore.
"Sorry for being late. I got held up." From the look on his face, Hikaru knew he was not lying about being held up.
"But you're here now." She checked her phone for the time. "And we have some time before the fireworks show. There are a couple of stalls I want to check out."
"You actually want to play some of those childish games. You do know most are rigged right?"
Hikaru puffed her cheeks. "I'll have you know I am a beast at goldfish scooping! It requires skill!"
Archer rolled his eyes but he was smiling at the same time. He held out a hand. "Shall we then? We can play some of these silly games."
"Great! There's usually a huge giraffe in one of the booths. It has eluded me for years but with you by my side I know I can win it!"
"How many stuffed animals are you planning on getting tonight?"
"All of them!"
"Hikaru this is-"
"Shhh!" Hikaru lifted a hand to silence him. Her eyes were narrowed, focused on the task at hand. Her left hand clutched the paper net tightly while the right held a bowl. Her eyes darted back and forth as she watched the goldfish swim back and forth lazily in the box.
Archer shifted slightly and Hikaru glared at him. He held up both of his hands in a gesture of apology. She turned her attention back to the goldfish. After a couple of seconds of watching the goldfish swim around, she struck with a battle cry.
"YA! YA! YA! YA!" Every single time she cried out she scooped a goldfish into a bowl. She got ten the bowl before the paper net broke. She grinned like she won the lottery.
"That's a new record," laughed the attendant.
"My skills have gotten stronger!" Hikaru handed the bowl of goldfish back to him. "And here you go! Thanks again!"
"No problem," said the attendant as he put the fish she had caught back into the box.
"I'm surprised," said Archer. He picked up the bag filled with various small trinkets he had won for her along with the huge stuffed giraffe. She had thrown him at every single game booth she laid eyes on and he won something at every single one of them. Even though he no longer had the abilities of a Servant he had the skills he had in life so winning all of the games had been child's play for him, even if most were rigged.
"Surprised about what?" she asked. She pulled her phone out of her the small blue pouch that hung from her wrist. "Ack! It's almost time for the fireworks show. We need to get to my super-secret spot so we can see it and not worry about people getting in our way."
"I'm surprised that you wasted your time perfecting a skill such as goldfish scooping instead of something more productive."
She glared back at him unamused. "I'll have you know that it took me a couple of tries to perfect the ability to even get one." A small smile. "Aunt Nomi used to take me. She laughed at me when I tried the first time. I didn't even get one. I spent all of the money Aunt Nomi gave me trying to catch one. Took me two years but I did it!" She grinned to herself. "Aunt Nomi was so impressed about that." She shrugged. "Sadly she never got to see my real skills though. She never came to a festival with me after that."
"Did you go to the festivals alone?"
She nodded. "Yeah. I mean, I usually saw a couple of classmates and I hung out with them for a little bit and stuff but I came alone."
Archer stopped walking and stared at her back. "That's…"
"Oh, don't worry about that. Really. I'm fine Archer! Now come on. We need to hurry and get up there before the fireworks begin!"
He began following her again. That was just…sad. He had noticed that she didn't seem to have any close friends besides Rin. He still wondered sometimes how that was possible with her personality. She should just attract people to her.
"Hang on," he said as she veered to the left, away from the direction that the crowd was traveling to a line of trees that went uphill.
"Oh come on Archer. Let's not make this a pity party about me! We have a fireworks show to watch! We need to get up this hill!" She pointed in the direction they needed to travel. It looked to be the most shady place possible, with trees that cast long shadows and the only light came from the moon overhead.
Archer shook his head and gestured to her feet. "You're limping slightly."
She looked down at her geta sandals. The area between her big and second toe was red. "Oh yeah. I'm not used to wearing these. I'll be fine though."
He sighed. Why did girls feel the need to wear uncomfortable shoes?
"I don't like that look!" She backed up a step. "You are not going to carry me!"
Why did she have such a hatred of him carrying her? It wasn't like he was going to jump through the trees or anything crazy like that. He was just thinking about carrying her up the hill. That's all "Listen," he said. "At the rate you are going, we're never going to make it there before the fireworks end. Plus how do you expect to walk uphill on rough terrain in those shoes? Plus you can barely see where you are going. You are going to most likely trip on the way up!""
She bit her lip as she looked down at her feet. "Well I usually don't wear a yukata when I go to the festival," she mumbled. "So I'm in sneakers..."
Archer's eyes widen. She didn't usually wear a yukata? So, she had ended up getting dressed up for him tonight? He rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. Well then. He walked over to her side. She jumped back slightly and stared at him in distrust. He rolled his eyes and kneeled with his back to her. "Get on," he murmured.
She stared at his back dumbstruck. "Wait…what?"
"Well, you don't seem to be wanted to be carried bridal style so piggyback? You do want to see fireworks right? You are going to need to carry that giant giraffe of yours though."
"Oh. Well umm, okay," she relented.
How was this any different than him carrying her bridal style? Even with all the knowledge he had, he had no idea how a girl's mind worked.
She hiked up her yukata as she stepped over him and pressed up against his back. She then grabbed the giraffe and held it under one arm by the neck. "Ready," she murmured as he put his arms under her thighs.
"Hikaru. I have one question. Are…are you wearing a juban underneath that yukata?"
"Huh? No? Why?"
"No reason," Archer said quickly as he stood. He had forgotten how thin yukatas were and Hikaru was pretty well endowed in that area. Don't think about it, he chastised himself. Of course the more he tried not to think about it, the more he thought about it. Dam it, why did he decide to carry her this way? He should have just went with his usual bridal carry and ignored all protests.
"You're really quiet," she murmured.
"It's nothing," he replied. "Do I still keeping going up?"
"Yeah. Keep going. We're almost there. The trees will thin out soon." He was painfully aware of her shifting on his back to point in the direction they needed to travel. Stop thinking about it!
Thankfully, like she said, the trees did thin out. They were now on a small hill that overlooked the river. There were many people clustered on the shoreline but there were only the two of them on the hill. "I'm surprised this is even here." He kneeled so Hikaru could stand.
"Aunt Nomi found this spot." Hikaru sat on the grass and kicked off her shoes. "She said it was our special spot and that I was only allowed to bring someone special to me here." Even in the weak light, he could see her face turn red. She began plucking up grass absentmindedly as he sat down next to her.
"Well then, I thank you for showing this to me." He rested his hand on top of hers.
Like always she was so adorable when she was flustered. He was about to tease her more when the first firework soared up into the sky. Her eyes widen and sparkled as she watched the fireworks dance in the sky.
"So pretty," she whispered.
"Yeah," he agreed. His turned his attention away from her sparkling face and gazed up at the sky. It was beautiful, he had to admit. So many colors and shapes. She had been right about this location. The perfect view.
He turned to her. "Yes?"
"Thanks for everything," she gave him a wide smile before she leaned in and kissed him on the lips. She retreated and stared at him in confusion. "What?"
"Nothing," he said. He was shocked. This was the first time she had kissed him of her own volition since she had woken up.
She frowned. "Did I do something wrong?" She bit her lip and turned her attention back to the fireworks. "Sorry," she whispered. "Not reading the mood right am I? I really do stink at this kind of stuff. I'm sorry. I'm being a bother..."
What in the world was she apologizing for? "Hikaru. You did nothing wrong. You aren't a bother at all." He interlaced his fingers with was wrong with her?
She shook her head. "But I have to have done something wrong!" she insisted. Her eyes were wide with worry now. "You..you haven't kissed me on the lips since before my coma. I have to done something wrong." She looked away and began ripping up more grass. "You can tell me Archer. You can tell me that you don't like me anymore and that you are being nice and stuff. I can take it."
What in the world? Where was she getting these kinds of ideas? "Hikaru. Look at me." He put both hands on either side of her head and forced her to look at him. "I just wanted to give you some time. To get used to things again. You were out of it for two months." He didn't want to overwhelm her but it seemed like it did was give her the wrong idea. "Trust me. I still love you." He released her and hugged her tight. "I did not visit that hospital every day for two months for no reason Hikaru."
He let her go and saw that surprise was clear on her face. "Oh. So that's all it was." She smiled to herself. "I feel stupid then for overthinking. I knew I was!" She laughed. "I knew I was." She rubbed her eyes as she gazed up at the fireworks. "Woah! Did you see that one Archer? It was blue! And that one! Green!"
He smiled as he gazed at her sparkling face. Yes. This was the girl he loved. The one that would get excited about little things and worry about everything. "Hikaru?"
"Hmm?" She turned to him.
He kissed her on the lips. "I need to thank you for everything."
She stared at him in shock for a couple of seconds as she tried to process what he said before she then grinned. "You're welcome! Oh man! Did you see that firework!? It was shaped like a star!"
Yes. Gazing at her smiling face, under the fireworks, everything was perfect. She leaned over and rested her head on his shoulder. He put an arm around her shoulders as they gazed up the fireworks overhead.
"By the way, I'm going to be carrying you home in the usual way."