This is just an odd idea I had, and was throwing back and forth with Elf from BL - I may just leave this as a one-shot, since I'm not sure I'd want to cover the ground the story would go into right now...
...but, nonetheless, here it is.
I'm Michael Mackenzie - you may remember me from such stories as...
...ok, so you don't know who I am.
You might have heard of my relatives living in Fuyuki-shi, however. Glen and Martha?
Yeah, I thought they'd ring a bell.
Those were the first words that Michael had said to Waver Velvet - or Lord El-Melloi II, as he liked to refer to himself as nowadays - right before Michael walked over and decked the (slightly) elder magus, right in the middle of his office.
Michael had found out about Waver staying at Glen and Martha's place, along with his once-Servant Rider, during the course of the Fourth Fuyuki Grail War.
The news had not gone down well - but then, Michael had been almost as poor a recipient when he heard of how his own father, David, had 'volunteered' the use of the couple as a place for Waver to crash.
Never mind that the result might have led to their deaths at the hands of a rival Master-Servant team...
"Look, I'm sorry, ok? Is that what you want me to say?" said Waver, as he had stood up again, nursing his forehead.
Michael 'spoke' to him with his answer. "Relax, it could be worse. Besides, it's only right of me to provide you with a fair warning - if you endanger any of the civvies in the Mackenzie clan again, I'll be even more displeased."
Waver wasn't in any particular hurry to do such a thing, for the time being, but the 'suggestion' was duly noted. "So, is there anything else, before I have you thrown out of the Clock Tower?"
"Ha," chuckled Michael, "You're not quite popular enough for that yet, I'm afraid. But fear not - now that I've gotten the un-pleasantries out of the way, I have another matter to raise."
Waver looked at him suspiciously. "Oh, and what would that be?"
At this, Michael smiled. "Why, to make me one of your students, of course..."
It had been three years since the 'altercation', and surprisingly enough, there had developed a kind of... well, if not camaraderie, than at least an ability to work together.
Michael had relatively few people at the Tower he could trust, and even fewer who had anything like the kind of open mind he wished to work with - and ironically, it was those whose minds that weren't an open book to him that were the most interesting.
Waver, in turn, had been just a tad on the loner-ish side recently - spending a lot of time in his office, or at home, or up in the Hellenistic Greek section of the British Museum - and quite frankly, needed a kick in the rear to get going again.
So, he had started to try and get involved with students and other magi again, pushing for reform, arguing over the same policies that had driven him to take off to Japan in the first place - and finally starting to re-write that treatise on thaumaturgy that the last Lord El-Melloi had cast to the ashes.
Also, Michael found that he seemed to be the right man for the job, when Waver wanted to look into certain matters across the UK, or further afield - not least when the rare emergence of new teeps took place.
Indeed, not long before Waver called Michael back to the Tower for a new assignment, he had been in Ireland, looking into the case of a newly-emergent teep - a first-gen kid who had been thrown in the deep end with no-one around to guide him through the emergence. Yet, in the four weeks Michael spent introducing him to the world of magic and sorcery, he had seen some potential in the lad.
He couldn't quite get over his jealousy at the brat having all five alignments, though.
And the little bastard knew better French than he did.
After telling the kid to check out the Association once he finished secondary school, and to look him or Waver up "if either of us are still alive by then", Michael had packed his bags - well, bag - and was back in London for the briefing.
"So, have a fun trip, Mike?" asked Waver.
"It's a nice place," shrugged Michael, glad at least that Waver didn't try to use that damned 'M2' nickname again. "kinda reminds me of some of the people you'd meet back in the Maritimes."
Michael was from a branch of the family which lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia - yet he had been parachuted down to spend a few months of each year in either Ontario or B.C. - the latter being a (slightly) better option in the winter...
Waver had that look on his face, the one which Michael recognised as one which meant Waver had a request that he wouldn't like to hear. "Go on, out with it," he pre-empted El-Melloi.
"Fine, be like that," he snorted, "and I was working up an excuse to give something other than an acerbic remark about the place I'm sending you to."
Well, that's reassuring. "Alright then," Michael threw up his hands. "take your time."
"I will," nodded Waver, with a hint of triumph in his voice - not quite enough to make Michael think he should have decked him a little bit harder that time, but close to it. "How is your Japanese?"
"About as good as my Swaihili and my Quechua, why do you ask?" came the reply - and for the record, Michael wasn't all too brushed up on either of those languages, either.
"Well, you know what they say is the best way to learn?" smiled Waver, as he pulled a return ticket out of his drawer.
Michael's eyes rolled. Oh, great.
It wasn't meant to go this way, Michael thought to himself, as he kept his breathing low and controlled, and his presence as well-concealed as he could, as he continued to run.
He'd been sent to Fuyuki-shi - the site of the infamous Grail Wars - to keep tabs on the course of events. Waver had his reasons not to trust the adjudication offered by the Church, and preferred to have one of his own men on the ground.
"Fine by me," Michael had said, "I've no use for some overblown trinket anyway." he was the kind of man who preferred to rely on his own efforts, and those of people he could trust, to achieve his aims - he had no use for some device that, if it was anything like the other kind of objects the Association got migraines over, was probably more trouble than the damned thing was worth anyway.
Here in the city, he had observed certain sites and groups that Waver had informed him about - as a former Master, El-Melloi had a fairly detailed account of the events of the last war, and at least some idea of who would try to get themselves involved in the next one... though he had been somewhat surprised that things were starting up again half a century early.
In any event, Michael had kept a low enough profile so far - and was currently checking up on one of the European representatives at this little farce, who already had her Servant summoned, a Lancer-class. It looked like she was arranging to meet the man who was set to oversee this waltz along the merry-go-round, and Michael was hoping to 'listen' in and observe.
What he didn't expect, however, was to sense the very creepy aura around the Kotomine church, or the very specific sense that something just wasn't right with that priest...
...and that was before Kotomine Kirei had tried to kill Bazett Fraga McRemitz.
She, and Lancer, had reacted at the last possible moment, and Kirei's attempt to cut her arm off with a Black Key was thwarted - but Michael was in no mood to risk exposure by staying any longer.
He couldn't stick the smug look on Waver's face if he ended up geting himself killed, after all.
Passing a rather stern-looking bespectacled man on his way back to his apartment - unlike Waver, Michael had made the point of avoiding a visit to Glen and Martha until the coast was clear again - he continued on his run, not willing to take any chances. This late in the evening, it was more likely that the magi actually trying to kill each other in this War would be active, and he knew that few if any of them would tolerate a non-Master magus in the crossfire.
He took out his mobile phone from his pocket - he had had to buy a new one here in Japan, since European ones didn't work on the networks here. He briefly considered calling Waver right away, reasoning that he could muffle the sound adequately enough, but decided against it. Would it kill that bastard to get with the program and not rely on a landline, so I can actually text him? he cursed inwardly, before putting the phone away again.
"H...." he slowed, as he heard the sound of a distressed voice.
A woman's voice.
One thing the Mackenzie magi were never all that good at was always remembering what more ruthless compatriots might say, when it came to risking one's mission when the potential damsel-in-distress scenario emerged. As all magi knew, it had a very bad habit of ending up as nothing but trouble.
But then, Michael thought, that's what makes us the good guys.
And so, he turned a corner, and went up to the source of the voice...
...when he saw her.
She was wearing an elaborate robe, the hood pulled back, revealing her light blue hair. Her ears were sightly elongated, pointing towards him as her head was lowered, her hands grasping along the ground as she struggled to move.
He knew immediately that she was a tsukaima - a Servant - and that she had to be one of the combatants of this Grail War.
And thus, he was supposed to not interfere, let alone intervene.
"Here," he 'said', as he lifted her up slowly and placed one of her hands on his chest. "Take what you need from me - just leave me enough to get you somewhere safe, ok?"
She looked up at him, almost shocked to find a magus present, let alone one trying to help her like this. She was weak, yet she was lucid enough to draw threads of prana from his chest and into her fingertips.
Michael controlled his breathing, trying to concentrate, and not pass out - whether through accident or design, she was drawing a lot more than he had expected.
"Come on," he whispered this time, as she released the link, and he carried her up in his arms. "Let's get you the hell out of here."
Waver was somewhat surprised to hear about the attempt on Bazett's life, and said something about making 'appropriate arrangements', but Michael only half-heard it.
Was the line flaky, or was he just tired?
In any event, he had left one rather significant detail out of the report - the part about rescuing the Servant and bringing her back to the apartment.
Wouldn't he like to hear that, Michael thought, shaking his head.
Hanging up the phone, he walked over to where the Servant was resting, and offered a cup of tea he had brought over - he himself preferred his trusty hot chocolate, but he had noted how tea seemed the safest bet in this country.
"Thank you," she said to him, reaching for the cup, "though there is little by way of sustenance I can derive from it."
Michael nodded, as he sat beside her. "I know - you need a source of magical energy."
"Indeed," she replied, "and thank you for that amount you offered when you found me. I... needed it."
He smiled, glad to be of help - even though he might have wondered what it was he was doing helping a potential combatant, anyway.
But then, he realised, this war is not what it seems to be. Not one bit.
"You are a magus, yet you have no Command Seals," she noted, "do you intend to become a Master?"
He started to shake his head, before stopping partway through. "No, that... wasn't why I came here. I have no use for such a 'prize', and my orders were to observe the events, without getting involved. But that..."
She sipped on the tea, and looked over to him. "Something has changed, then?"
He looked over to match her gaze - his eyes were a deeper shade of blue to hers - and noted how sharp a woman this Servant was. "Yes, it has. There's something very wrong with that priest in charge of things, and if a guy in his position is up to something, there has to be a bigger issue at hand."
"I see," she said, considering his words. She had had little time to consider the situation after ridding herself of her summoning Master - she was more concerned with simple survival.
"Look, even though I'm not supposed to, I have to do something. If that man, or others involved here, are really up to no good, I don't want to have any civilian casualties resting on my conscience." He was reaching a decision - a critical one - but he was not quite there yet.
"Well, it would be helpful to not try this alone - and I am in need of a Master," she pointed out, setting her cup down on the nearby table.
"Perhaps," he said, "but what of you - do you have any wishes for the Grail? Any nefarious schemes I ought to know about?"
She shook her head. "No..." she looked slightly to one side. "All I would like for is..."
She lifted up her cup once more, and held it in both hands before him. "...to have the chance to enjoy more tea."
Seeing this, he couldn't help but smile. "I suppose that can be arranged - but I should note that I'd want to find a way of sustaining you if I can, as a tsukaima, Grail or no Grail. I'm not keen on relying on outside help, if there is a way around it. Is that fine by you?"
She smiled, and he could feel something akin to relief emanating from her, as she heard these kind of words being used on her behalf. He didn't like the implication of this, however. "I believe so, although..."
He held his own cup in his hand, and waited for her to continue. "Yes?"
"I have heard fine words from men before," she simply said, "and have been left with nothing but broken promises. How can I..."
He put down his cup, and found himself holding onto her hand. "...see whether I will practice what I preach?"
He pointed to his temple with his free hand before continuing. "I'm sorry to hear that you've had a less than fulfilling time of it - but I hope that you can sense the kind of person I am in here", he tap-tapped the side of his head, "and if you aren't satisfied, I ask you to watch me act, and judge for yourself."
She was glad to hear this. "Perhaps."
"By the way," he asked her, "my name is Michael - if it's not a problem to ask, what is your name?"
She turned her head to one side. "In my past life, I was known... as Medea."
That one word was enough to make Michael see, all too clearly, why she had trust issues - and why he was determined to try and overcome them. "I understand."
"I know you wish to follow a certain path, but you should know that the one I have walked was somewhat less than noble, in comparison," she stated.
"Well," he replied, "you may have the appearance, memories, and form of the other Medea, but you still have self-will - the right to choose your own path, to decide your own destiny."
"Even though I have already shed blood in this place?" she asked him, with a mixture of daring and uncertainty.
He saw flashes of what her summoning Master had been like - and what she had done once the fool had squandered his Command Seals.
"For a man like that," he insisted, "I have no sympathy. All I ask is that, if I am worthy enough to be your ally, that you consider walking the path I have in mind."
She turned to face him, looking at him as if peering into his mind and soul, before eventually holding out her other hand, and nodding. "In that case, I offer myself, Caster, as your Servant - should you choose to be my Master."
He had reached the shores of the Rubicon.
There would be no going back.
"I guess there's nothing for it, then." He reached out his other hand to hold on to hers. "I, Michael Mackenzie, accept your offer."
With this, their hands glowed, as the Command Seals formed on his right forearm - an intricate pattern with three interlocking designs, one for each Spell.
Their hands released, and she held hers together on her lap, her eyelids closed as she felt the filament of prana send enough to fill her reserves once more, rather than just merely sustain her.
"You know," he said, "the last time I saw a live sports event back home, one of the team was called... the Argonauts."
She raised an eyebrow at this. "Oh, I see. And your opinion of this team?"
He winked. "I was rooting for the other guys."
"Just as well," she joked slyly, and laughed in his presence for the first time.
This damned shambles is only just beginning, he thought, and I'm probably in way over my head.
But you know what?
It just might be fun.