A Moment of Truth (Fan fic - set after UBW-Good)

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Unread postby Nerroth » November 30th, 2007, 9:11 pm

Einherjar wrote:Anyways this is fanfic, and I fanfics I guess you can just screw around with the character as long as it's not too off. I don't like Rin much anyways...(lol)



Way to slap me in the face with that one, there.


Nice to see that my efforts at trying to do justice to Tohsaka as a character have been so well received...
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Unread postby Einherjar » December 1st, 2007, 4:11 am

Nerroth wrote:
Einherjar wrote:Anyways this is fanfic, and I fanfics I guess you can just screw around with the character as long as it's not too off. I don't like Rin much anyways...(lol)



Way to slap me in the face with that one, there.


Nice to see that my efforts at trying to do justice to Tohsaka as a character have been so well received...


I'll put it this way: You fanfic is excellent. Honestly.
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Unread postby Nerroth » December 1st, 2007, 8:18 pm

Thank you.


It's just the way you phrased that point made it seem like you were having a go at me.

Sorry for over-reacting.
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Unread postby Nerroth » October 10th, 2008, 2:27 am

I've been continuing this at Beast's Lair for a while, so I figured I'd add the parts I've written there to this thread.

However, I'm not too keen on going over the formatting errors this board throws up with a fine tooth comb - so if you want to read a 'cleaner' version (in terms of where parentheses are not replaced with question marks, and so forth) please read the thread there.


Part 4


------------------------------------------------------------

it's pretty quiet in the house.

The dinner had already been eaten, and from the looks of things, the group was keen to hit the hay for this evening.

In other words, it was time to step outside again.


I don't know if they noticed yet, but each night I stayed as a guest at the Emiya residence, I waited outside, PSP and headphones - and mental training - at the ready, at least until midnight.

Not that my room was especially uncomfortable, mind you, but I just...

I couldn't risk the potential for...

...for...

...I can't say it.

But it doesn't matter.

It was warm enough in the evenings, and Shirou had that convenient shed of his on the grounds - ironically, where he had apparently snuck off to every night to practice his Tracing, when he still lived in this house regularly, before the move to Europe.

And by the time I was done with whatever level I had reached on the game I had - or finished listening to whatever album, or watching whatever UMD movie - the house was agreeably quiet and inactive, and thus I could try to get through another night without losing my sanity.


But on this night, while absent-mindedly wondering about whether I should ask Shirou if he'd ever consider setting up a wi-fi spot in the garage, I was interrupted by a now-familiar voice.

"Good evening."

I looked up, and saw a pair of plum-coloured eyes look down at me, bearing an expression which showed concern at what she was seeing..

...but whether it was an echo of her inner mind (which I studiously avoided peeking into uninvited) or something I saw in her facial expressions, she always carried what could only be a profound sense of... something which made me feel like I'd climb the Himalayas if it would only dispel it for just a moment.

Just a moment... if that is all I could do.


"Good evening, Sakura - I am surprised that you are up at this hour." I answered, in a rather lame attempt at deflecting the reasons why
I might be up at such a time.

It's not like I could blame it on jet lag any more.

And so it proved, as she said: "I noticed that you were not in the main residence, and I was worried that you might have been having trouble sleeping. It is not reassuring for an honoured guest to feel so inconvenienced like this..."


I didn't mean it like that, Sakura.

But then, if the roles were reversed, would I not be equally concerned?

Indeed, am I not
already concerned about what I see in front of me?


Sakura ...such an incredibly beautiful woman - one of only two I have ever met who could rival Rin in that regard - and with a seemingly endless supply of kindness and compassion to give. Yet, it seemed that she was spending every moment holding back, as if a dam was set in her very soul, one she could not bear to burst open.

But even then, I could see the cracks in the structure - so I decided that, since we were here anyway, I might as well try to help before it was too late.


"I am not quite ready to go to sleep just yet - but it's not a reflection on your hospitality, far from it. You have done so much to make me feel welcome, and I only wish that I could return the favour." That was my first effort.

And the next: "But while we are here, away from the bustle of the dinner table or the rush of the city, I wanted to ask you..."

My eyes close.

I breathe in.

I'm nervous.

But I have to try.

"...is why you always look so sad, Sakura."


For a moment, she stopped cold - almost looking past me, as I could sense more echoes, loose strands, flying from her mind.

Yet still, I held back my own mind's eye.


But Sakura stepped forth, and stood in front of me, as I had stood up to greet her (and having packed my PSP to some side, of course - having headphones stuck in one's ears at times like this simply wouldn't do).

She looked down, and then up again at me, into my eyes.

"Maybe... you see something in my eyes... that I recognise in yours."

It was not quite the same as blaring it out loud, but it was enough of a clue for me to fit together - and when it did, I felt like slapping myself in the temple.

Shirou.

It was hard to believe that I didn't let it sink in earlier - the way she looked at him, when she thought he, or Rin, wasn't looking, or perhaps the fact that even after this time, she still came to this place, every day, without fail, even when no-one else was here.

Why else would she spend so much time at the Emiya residence, away from her family household?


At this point, you see, I thought that was it - for a brief moment, I had been lulled into thinking there was nothing more to this.

Or, perhaps, I wanted to think there was nothing more.

But even then, a part of me knew that there was something more - much more indeed - but that I was increasingly afraid to know it.

"You know, I suppose it might sound somewhat hypocritical of me to say it - a classic case of not takng one's own prescribed medicine - but I would say that if there is someone you care for, but who is already... well, you know... then it might be better for you to learn to... to..."

To let go.

It was supposed to be either said out loud, or retained as an inner thought - but without realising it, I had said this to her mentally.


And any impact that my words might have had verbally, seemed amplified by the presence of my voice inside her mind.

And so...


...she let go.


But not of what I had expected.

Instead, my mind was opened to a world of utter terror and darkness.

Pain after agonizing pain, humiliation, degradation, suffering, abuse, callousness, bitterness...

...the cackling laughter, the calculated expressions, the frenzied violence, the shards of a hundred, a thousand, an innumerable number of violations and agonies.

And the
worms. the damned monstrosities which were even now swimming in her veins, driving her to distraction...

I could feel them in my own arms, through my legs, and...


...the moments passed.

I was on the ground, my limbs shaking, my cheeks streaked with tears.

And Sakura was reaching down to me.

"I'm... I'm sorry... You saw..." she stuttered, barely able to say anything.

But all I could do was reach out to her in turn, and for a time I couldn't measure, her arms and mine were interlocked, my head pressed against her shoulder, my mind trying to find some sort of latch on which to hold on.

"No, Sakura... I'm the one who is sorry."


------------------------------------------------------------


Time passed, and eventually we both recovered enough to allow us to stand up, and try to walk back to the residence - though we were propping each other up for support.

I whispered to her as we walked: "I know... that it might seem odd to hear this... but thank you."

"Th-thank me?" she whispered back, incredulous.

"Y-yes... thank you. I know... that you have not been able to tell any of this... to anyone. That you... have bottled it up... afraid. But... you don't have to be afraid... of me," I struggled in reply.

We stopped momentarily, and she turned her head to look up at me. I don't know what my expression was, but it was enough, whatever it was, to draw a smile.

A
real smile.

"That... that means a lot to me."

With that, we felt the wind increase, and turned to the task of getting back into the house.


A few minutes later, we were inside, and in my room - or it could have been hers, I can't recall.

Something about each of us trying to insist upon helping the other first, or something.

"Sakura..."

We stopped walking, and we both kind of slumped onto our forelegs, beside the bed - and before I knew it, my right and her left hand were interlocked.

Our faces were close to each other's.

"Sakura, you and I know... that it's not easy to let go of the past, and especially of the feelings the past has thrust upon us.

But I... if you want to... if you can try to take that step, than maybe I can try to do the same."

Sakura... you are the only woman - save one - who I would even try to do this for.

If you wanted me to.

"I..."

Her eyes were glistening, and I could feel something change in her consciosuness - after the burst of connection earlier, it seemed that a link of some sort still existed, and I could not stop it.

But I
knew that she wanted to have that connection there. What I could see in her mind, and what she could see in mine...

"...understand."

She smiled slightly, and her free hand was pressing against the side of my face.

I could feel the warmth coursing through the skin on my cheek, and I could sense that there was something within her that didn't mind this.

No, more than that - it
wanted this.

As much as, I knew, that I wanted it, too.

Her lips were so close.

So perfect.

So...


I shook, as if a pail of ice-cold water had been washed over my face.

I could feel them.

Those accursed things - the worms, which happily, greedily fed upon her physical urges and desires, and amplified them for their own benefit.

And the worst part was the terrible knowledge that they were not an isolated event - they were linked to a man, a monster, who I had never met, but who I knew must die.

"Sakura, this is not fair, for either of us."

I adjusted myself, so that her head was resting on my chest, her arms around my waist, and mine around hers.

"This is a big decision to make - a life-changing one, considering the circumstances - and if it is to be made, it should be for the right reasons." Or so I started to say.

And so I continued: "I know about them - and you deserve better than to have them affect you the way they do. Even if this decision you might take is your own, in mind, body and soul, they cannot, must not, be allowed to count as a factor."

I was building up to something - and not just in terms of what to say to Sakura, but in terms of how to save her.

For save her I can... or, at least, I can die trying.


I held on tightly, one more time, then stood up - to reach for my bags.

She didn't know how to react. "What are you..."

"Sakura, promise me one thing: do not, repeat not, leave this house until I get back, ok?"

A sudden request, but she was quick enough to nod and say "Hai..." - as well as being similarly quick to add "but..."

"Sakura, I know all too well now, how much I am asking of you, to do this next thing.

But please, if only for a short time... trust me."

She stood up, remained silent for a moment - but then nodded again.

"Ok."

That was all I could ask for.


So, I finished packing my bags, cooked up a suitably convenient cover story for Shirou and Rin ("Tell them I have to go to Hokkaido for a personal matter - and that I'll be back in a few days...") and I was off.

Well, almost off.

"Before you go..."

Sakura reached for my loose hand - the other was holding the bag - and leaned forth to place a kiss on my cheek, the one which her hand had rested upon a short time beofrehand.

She didn't say anything more, but nothing more needed to be said.


I was gone from the Emiya residence, and before the week was out, either I, or Matou Zouken, would be dead.
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Unread postby Nerroth » October 10th, 2008, 2:27 am


Part 5



------------------------------------------------------------


It was a reasonably fair summer morning, or at least about as fair as summer mornings got in the city of London - and considering that a certain young man getting up to make himself breakfast, and was still trying to make sense of all that had taken place over the past 24 hours, happened to come from a country with pretty much the same weather options found in the United Kingdom's capital, it seemed to him to be good enough to make do.

"Hmm, maybe I should try something a little different this morning..." he mused, perhaps not quite realising that he was talking aloud - but then, he'd gotten a little too used to not having anyone around to point this out to him.

Whether he would be faced with the prospect of getting used to a different social dynamic at home, however, remained to be seen.

Instead of reaching for the cereal bowl and the pack of bran flakes, or whatever type of cereal he felt like going for in the mornings, he opened the freezer and put a pair of quorn sausages into the microwave to defrost, while firing up one of the hobs and getting a frying pan and some vegetable oil ready.

Odd for me to go for this now, instead of at lunch-time, he thought to himself, but I guess it's not exactly an ordinary day!


Indeed not. After the moments of truth the evening beforehand, and the decisions made by all concerned in the aftermath, he was faced with the prospect of actually being able to try and form a romantic relationship with Rin - assuming that I didn't eat something odd yesterday and go dream the whole thing up, that is.

After mending fences with Shirou over the 'incident' which sparked the revelations, he had also been able to try and see about helping Sakura, after having been waiting so long for the penny to drop in her sempai's mind, to finally have a chance to see whether the wait was worth it.

As he put the defrosted quorn sausages into the pan, he breathed in and closed his eyes for a moment, before breathing out and continuing, as he made an unspoken wish that it would be - considering the choices that had been made to let this moment be so.

Of course, there were still many issues left to resolve - not least the matter of how Rin and Shirou would deal with what they had learned about Sakura's fate in the Matou household - but for the first time, the young man cooking his odd vegetarian meal could feel some measure of relief over the past, contentment over the present, and optimism over the future.

*knock knock*

"Hang on!" replied the man to the knocking, taking care to leave the sausages cooking steadily on the pan before going over to answer.

Good thing I shower and shave before breakfast.

He left he kitchen, keeping the door to the living room open, and went over and answered the door - to see a very friendly face.

"Good morning..."

Rin...

"Bom dia, minha querida," he answered, with a phrase straight out of his recently-bought phrase book.

Letting herself in, she held onto his hand and kiss his cheek as she passed the threshold, closed the door behind him, and looked over to the kitchen. "Still working on your Portuguese, I see. Should I expect a ticket to Lisbon or Madeira any time soon?" she answered.

So I'm not dreaming, after all.

"And on to Rio de Janeiro or S?o Paulo, while we are at it?" he said, gradually smiling more widely. "Might as well go and see about that new Unasul thing hey are cooking up down there..."

Just then, the sound of crackling not-meat could be heard from the kitchen, to which Rin noted "perhaps you should be more careful about what you are cooking right here first?"

"Okay then."

The two held hands and walked into the kitchen, and it looked like the sausages were coming along quite nicely.

As he went over to turn them over and get them ready, he started to wonder...

"You know, I was under the impression that you weren't much of a morning person - yet you seem fairly awake this morning," he asked, playfully.

She reached a fingertip to his back, putting just enough pressure for it to be less than painful, but more than comfortable, and replied "I think you meant to say 'would you like me to make you something, my darling?', didn't you?"

"Oh, that's right. How foolish of me. Would you like me to make you something, my darling?" he replied, conceding the point - for now.

Moving her hand to press gently against his arm, she said "No, thank you, I've already had breakfast - and I can't say I'm quite as used to that mycoprotein food product of yours as I could be..." in a tone which implied that no, she wasn't in any rush to get used to eating it either, thank you kindly.

He shrugged his shoulders, used to the range of reactions he got from meat-eaters.

"So, you've been up for a bit already, then?" he continued, watchign the change in colour on the sides of the sausages.

"I guess you could say that..." Rin replied, with a slightly shakier voice.

She then pressed more closely to him, her arms going around his waist, her head resting against his back.

"...although, I guess I'm glad that I was in a good enough state for you not to notice..."

The penny dropped, and he put the utensil down as he turned around to face her.

"Don't tell me you - " he whispered.

She looked up to him, with a telltale rim of moisture around her eyes - he really hadn't noticed any visible fatigue when she stepped into the room, but it was slghtly more evident now.

She had not slept all night.

"It... it took a while... to let things sink in..." she stuttered, and it was clear as day what she was referring to.

The news that her sister, who she had fought so hard to protect - albeit indirectly - during the Grail War, had suffered so much, for so long, and that she had been so good at keeping this from her, for such a long time...

"Rin..."

Suddenly, she steeled her nerve, and looked into his eyes with a renewed strand of determination.

"So, I suppose it's a good time to tell you to get ready for this!" she declared, while taking a printed sheet of paper out of her pocket.

She offered it to him, and his eyes widened as he read what was on it.

Sakura was flying to London.

That very day.

Yet more surprises, it seems.

He gestured back to the stove, and made a slightly flustered expression as he said "Well, I had better get on with this, then?"


------------------------------------------------------------



That afternoon, the assembled gang were making their way over to Heathrow via taxi - not feeling especially inclined to sit in a crowded Tube when the weather was actually nice for a change - and while Shirou sat up front while Rin sat in the back beside her new partner, the latter were not making much in the way of public displays of affection.

Things were still in that somewhat awkward stage where none of the three were quite used to the new dynamic - one which might well be shifted again, depending on what happened after Sakura arrived.

The taxi driver, noting the rather quiet nature of the group he was transporting, turned over to Five Live. "In football news, the Copa Libertadores final series ended in a result in favoue of Argentina's Boca Juniors, who defeated Brazilian club Gr?mio in a 5-0 aggregate result..."

Quite a pasting, thought the Irishman, who knew that Boca fans would now be hoping for their club to go one step further in -'08, and finally equal Independiente's record of 7 Libertadores wins.

Oh, that reminds me.

Remembering something he had wanted to mention earlier in the day, he reached into his backpack and dug out a paperback book, and offered it to Rin: "This is that book I was talking about before - it's pretty interesting."

"Oh, the 1491 one, about the New World?" she replied, as she took the book into her hands and read the information on the back cover.

"Fourteen ninety-what?" asked Shirou, turning to the side and facing back to the others. He couldn't recall if he had been told about this before - though he had a nagging feeling that he had been, but happened to forget about it.

"Ninety-one", replied his Irish friend. "It's about the way in which the view that archaeologists and historians have had on the peoples of the Americas have changed recently - with new excavations at the Norte Chico site in Peru, the study of the Maya and other Mesoamerican peoples in Mexico and elsewhere, and the other peoples in places as far away as the Mississippi and the Amazon..."

Shirou nodded along, but his eyes seemed to be glossing over.

Rin, in contrast, wondered about how often something to do with South America had come up in one way or other that day.

However, the taxi pulled up to Terminal 3 - where the JAL flight from Osaka-Kansai was due to arrive - and a more pressing matter asserted itself.

The three paid their fare and added a little extra for the driver, then headed into the terminal and to the first meeting any of them would have with Sakura since that last, fateful visit to Fuyuki-shi.


------------------------------------------------------------


The screen was showing that the flight had arrived on time, and it looked like there was already a raft of passengers from Osaka coming out into the arrival lounge - and Rin smiled a little at hearing her native tongue being spoken by so many people in the same place, so far from the Home Islands.

There was only one Japanese voice she wanted to hear, however.

"Mou, how much longer is this going to be - and where is Saber, anyway?" she wondered aloud. Saber had not been along for the taxi ride, requesting to make her own way to Heathrow via the Underground, having been busy with a study group at the Association keen to learn all that she had obligingly detailed about the political, social and other aspects of her former realm. She had found that the distance between the present and the events of the Grail War had allowed her to see that 'other' life from a fresh perspective - one which allowed her to reconcile the memories of that world with the new life she enjoyed in the 21st century.

"She said she'd be along shortly," replied Shirou, who was looking at a cookbook in the window of a nearby bookstore, not incoincidentally.

"I'm sure she would say that it wouldn't do to be unseemly enough to be here after Sakura showed up!" added the Irishman, who, like Rin, was glad to hear what to him was the beautiful language - French and Portuguese notwithstanding - spoken all around him.

However, his eyes' focus on the doors of the departure lounge meant that he missed the uncannily silent approach of a certain blonde lady who was smiling slightly at the comment.

"It is quite fortunate, then, for my new-found herald to speak thus on my behalf..."

He still had yet to get fully used to the Servant-turned-tsukaima's skill at showing up at such opportune moments - it must be nice to have Rank A Instinct.

He turned to nod to the new arrival, adding "Quite fortunate, Your Majesty. I'm glad to be of service, as always..."

Saber's pleased expression showed that, in his mind at least, her Rank B Charisma rating was, if anything, a certain underestimate.

"You're not wearing a crown now, Saber - and you certainly don't look like this lady here..." Rin teasingly added, as she lifted up a note with Queen Elizabeth II's likeness upon it.

Saber nodded to the likeness, and said "I neither served as Queen of sixteen distinct realms, nor as head of a large and varied Commonwealth of Nations - and certainly not for as long as the current monarch has, so perhaps it is just as well that I concede the point."

Noting the silhouettes of people that could be seen behind the glass doors, Shirou broke into the conversation: "There's another batch on the way soon..."

Can you hear me?

The Irishman in the group heard the voice in his mind - it seemed that the mental thread which had formed in Fuyuki-shi was quickly re-formed now that the distance was somewhat reduced from its hitherto trans-continental state.


Indeed I can, Sakura - and we are all waiting to greet you. How far through the gate are you now?
he 'said' mentally.


See for yourself.

The doors opened, and Sakura was the first person to emerge, and her face burst into a smile as she saw the assembled group, and carried her bags over to them.

"Hello, mina-san, it's wonderful to see you all ag..." she started to say, until she was caught slightly by surprise as Rin rushed over to her and held her tightly, with as big a sisterly hug as the elder Tohsaka could muster.

"Sakura... I... I love you, sis - and I always will!"

Rin almost shouted her declaration as she let slip her usually-airtight public cool, but then it was brushed off by onlookers as one of those airport moments.

After all, whether you knew more about the situation or not, it was just a kind of love, actually.
Last edited by Nerroth on February 1st, 2009, 1:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Nerroth » October 10th, 2008, 2:28 am

Part 6


------------------------------------------------------------


Summer, at a coastal city in Japan. Or at least, it seems to be Japan, but I've no idea which, if any, city it's supposed to be.

In any event, the people stepping out of the train station seem to be enjoying themselves. Some are waving to friends waiting at parked cars, or walking out with them into the sunshine, or some other thing.

I can't quite recognise anyone, but then, what are the odds that I would, anyway?

I'm still trying to figure out why my viewpoint seems to be that of some kind of floating camera, as opposed to somewhere one might find a set of functional human eyes - and no, I don't mean the kind one can 'use' via a familia-raven or something.

Oh well.

The 'viewpoint' shifts from the crowds to one of the cars across the street, where a man is waving to two female friends of his - but something's not quite right. Almost as if I'm watching one of those movies where everything seems to be normal, right until...

"
Tadaima!" calls one of the friends.

"Over here!" replies the man, until something makes him turn around, and look up to the roof of his car.


------------------------------------------------------------


BGM: Nobuo Uematsu, Advent: One-Winged Angel


A sliver of darkness has risen from the centre of the roof, and as it expands upward, it expands and twists as it begins to take shape.

A terrible, haunting shape - of a one-winged angel of death.

With flowing silver hair, an aethyric sword fashioned purely by his own indomitable will, and glowing eyes of sheer malice, he emerged with a fianl crunch atop the now-dented roof of the car, and looked down with contempt at the mass of humans below.

"
Tadaima, indeed."

He rose his blade skywards, and with a wordless movement of his lips, he summoned a broiling thunderstorm in what had been an almost-clear sky, while spreading a growing carpet of darkness beneath his feet.

At this, the crowd began to panic, as people tried to escape the vicinity - but the man at the car was stunned into immobility, while his friends tried to call for him, with a desperate, yet almost forlorn tone in their voices.

But the dark angel cared not. He foussed his eyes on the stunned man, and smirked as he drew his weapon to the side.

"Shall you be my first?"

Almost in slow-motion, the blade began to move in an arc, reaching for the unfortunate's neck...

...but then, another warrior seemed to appear out of nowhere, rushing from some unseen direction, to block the blade with an elaborate sword of his own.

"Let's see if you can handle
me first!" said the newcomer, with a familiar voice...

my voice!

Suddenly, the abstract perspective vanished, and I was there with that massive sword in my hands, blocking the dark angel's killing strike.

"So be it." was his reply.

He leaped into the sky, jumping far, far higher than a mortal man could, and I pursued - and I was matching his leap!

Stranger still, I instinctively knew how to use this weapon - which was not just one sword, but a collection of six, which could be split and re-combined at will.

For now, I kept the six blades as one, as I lashed out to strike him, the more-than-sparks of force bursting from the point along which his sword parried mine.

I pushed back from the clash, my feet landing at the edge of a nearby building, and launched myself forward, back towards him, almost willing myself to fly into the fray.

The crossed swords clashed, clashed, and clashed again, his expression of an almost detached arrogance unchanging, and only he knew what my own face betrayed.

As he returned my strikes, he declared "I have to say, this is the most... different... way I've seen this kind of thing happen, but I suppose I should be flattered at the comparison."

I didn't quite understand - but I couldn't stop to consider it.

He leaped along the side of a taller building - I couldn't tell how far in this city we had travelled, and I didn't know why my sense of location or direction was so poor.

When he reached the top, I was only halfway up the side myself - but he turned and raised his empty hand, where a dark sphere emerged.

"Let's see how well you play the role of yours!"

With that, he cast his hand forward, and the sphere turned into a wide ribbon of energy, which seemed to slice the outer wall of the skyscraper from the rest, as if he were cutting a slice of a block of tofu with a kitchen knife.

The wall quickly turned outwards, the upper section shuddering and cracking as it fell down towards me - and there was nowhere for me to try and latch onto.

All I could do was split the six-sword contraption into two pieces, and use them as a kind of shield, hoping to cut through those sections I could not deflect.

The sheer force of the wall fragments struck, and some were sliced by the tip of the blades, while others crashed into me, before falling off to my side.

I had hoped that I'd have enough forward momentum left over to try and orient myself towards another wall, or somewhere I could make a soft landing - but it wasn't enough. I fell to the concrete below, barely able to keep my swords in a position that wouldn't impale me, as I hit the ground with a bone-shattering
crack.


------------------------------------------------------------


A plum-haired young woman lay in her futon, in the guest room she had come to use more often at her senpai's house, but she could not sleep.

At least, she could not rest easily while asleep.

Nightmares and dark visions were nothing new, sadly - but this was different.

She saw a vision of destruction, but like nothing she had ever dreamed of before.

Almost as if...

...it was no dream at all.


------------------------------------------------------------


I tried to lift myself out of the rubble, and as my eyes came back into focus, I could see the dark angel was standing before me, his sword ready for the kill.

"I was expecting more of a challenge. You are not even standing upright. Here..."

A lance of blinding agony, as he used his sword to pierce through my chest, just beside my shoulder - and slowly lift me upright with it.

"...isn't that a little better?"

His arrogance was unbearable - his malice inconscionable.

"Is there anything else, whelp?", he asked.

he adjusted the sword slightly, and I felt further agony, as my body slid downwards, along the blade's edge.

"IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE?"

My eyes closed - and instead of the darkness I expected to 'see' behind my burning eyelids, I saw, in one moment of utter clarity, the reason why I was here.

And why I could not yield.


My eyes opened, and I fixed them at his.

"
Choukyuu Bushin Hakazan!"

At this, the swords at my feet rose into the air, dividing into all six components, all arrayed in a circle, pointing at the dark angel.

And in one moment of stillness before the strike, it was my turn to smile.

"Die."

A blur - I didn't even feel the exit wound as I dashed off the longsword, my free arm reaching for the hilt of the first floating blade. almost as if in a haze, I could feel myself grasp the weapon, rush across and slice the dark angel with it, then repeating the process with the second, third, fourth, fifth blade, attaching the pieces together with each strike.

And with the final piece, the blade was re-formed as one, and I made the final incision, impaling the angel clean through the chest, through where his lungs and heart would be, if he had any to begin with.

A moment later, his broken remains were fading away, as I reached for the gaping wound his now-vanished sowrd had left.

"When I am finished, you will be nothing but a memory."

He looked up, and smiled one last time, before the end:

"
Noli manere in memoria,
Saevam iram et dolorem,
Ferum terribile fatum...
Ille iterum veniet."

And then he was gone.

And the world dissolved around me.


------------------------------------------------------------


The main hall of the Makiri residence, and two figures stood opposing one another. One, a young magus from a foreign land, the other... barely registering as human, anymore.

Both stood still, facing one another, but not seeing each other - their minds locked in a bitter telepathic conflict.

Round one had gone the youth's way, but time was on the elder one's side.

It would only be a matter of time, before Zouken cracked the whelp's admittedly-formidable psionic defences...

...and his mind and soul would be utterly forfeit.
Last edited by Nerroth on February 1st, 2009, 2:00 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Nerroth
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Unread postby Nerroth » October 10th, 2008, 2:28 am

Part 7


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Back from the airport, gathered together around the table in the residency, Sakura was the centre of attention. With friends and loved ones to either side, she smiled contentedly, while reaching into one of her bags and placing a set of items on the tabletop.

"Oh, what's this?" asked Rin, who had not let herself get separated from her sister by anything more than a hands' length since she had arrived in London, and was intently looking at hwat it was Sakura was up to.

"Well, it's nothing too much..." replied Sakura, who turned to a medium-sized folder and opened it, "just something I thought might be an interesting idea."

As it opened, the group looked over, and smiled in unison when they saw what was on the first page - a picture of Sakura standing in an aquatic centre, beside a splashing dolphin!

She continued with "A friend of mine suggested that I take more time to explore the world around me, and I thought that bringing my camera would be a reasonable idea."

"That looks great, Sakura!" said Shirou, who was sitting closely, but not too closely - the questions which needed to be raised preventing him from knowing exactly what to do, even with something as relatively innocuous as the seating arrangements.

She turned to him and nodded, "Thank you, senpai!" before turning to the next page. Each one had a different picture on it, as well as an accompanying note in which Sakura had written about her experience that day. The one under the dolphin-shot had read "My first outing since nee-san-tachi flew back to the rengououkoku. The trainer said the dolphin-san liked me very much. It flapped its fin at me, and I blushed in response. It was a good day - maybe nee-san-tachi would like to go here when they come back to visit Japan."

Each image was spaced a week apart, taken either on a Saturday or Sunday, at a number of different places, right across Honshu - from the daibutsu at Kamakura to the Imperial Gardens at Kyoto, and from the reconstructed Jomon-era buildings at Sannai-Maruyama to the slopes of Mount Rokko and the walls of Himeji Castle - leading right up to the week before Sakura had come to London.

However, for anyone who cared to notice, some of the later pictures seemed to be taken at somewhat unorthodox angles - or rather, ones where Sakura herself was not shown in the traditional posing manner, if at all. But then, it could have been reasoned that she was obliged to take said photos herself, and the images in question were of particularly stunning scenes (especially one of an extraordinary hanami in what looked like Ueno Park) so there would probably have been nothing to it.

"So, has your time exploring been of benefit to you, Sakura," asked her Irish friend, "and are you ready to add more images and memoirs to your collection?"

"Hai!" she smiled and beamed, "Though I like the chance to go with all of you, here in London."

"Well, don't forget Dublin is only a short flight away," he added, "and you're long overdue a good Irish welcome - and the 99,999 others, to boot!" - a reference to the Irish expression C?ad Mile F?ilte, which he was sure he had explained some time in the past.

Surely.

"And in the meantime, how about we hit the town and go to a good restaurant? I know this fine Indian place..." he was thinking of the yummy channa masala already - much nicer than the stuff he had had to order when...

"They do serve meat at this place, yes?" piped up Rin, in no mood to sit through a meal with nothing in it that had not once walked and went moo.

With a hand up in the air, he relented and said "Yes, of course - but it's only a suggestion. What would you like to go for, Sakura?" deferring o the guest of honour.

"That sounds fine," she answered.

And with a wave of agreements all round, they packed up the collection on display, readied themselves to go out, and made for the dinner table.


----------------------------------------------------------


A few hours later, after royally stuffing their faces, the gang made it back to the residency, and started to break up into smaller groups - not least so that Sakura could have a chance to talk to her senpai.

At least, so was the plan.

Rin had gone into her apartment with Saber, and Shirou had gone down the hall and into his - leaving Sakura standing outside of her guest room, holding the doorknob in one hand, as the last member of the group stood with her.

"I'm nervous," she 'said', in a manner only he, through their shared mental link, could hear, "It's all so sudden - I mean, I..."

He looked down to her, putting his arm on her shoulder, "I know - it's been pretty sudden for them, too. It's still something of a shock for them to... to know what you and I know. But, if there is anyone that you should try to express your feelings with, it's that man in there," gesturing to the door down the hall, into Shirou's apartment.

With that, she looked up at him, and her expression changed slightly. "That's..." She was on the verge of saying more, but paused in mid-thought - and found that she wasn't sure how to finish.

"This is something you've wanted for a long time, Sakura, I know" he tried to remind her, "and you don't need to hide your feelings any longer."

"My feelings..." she turned over to look at the door, her head slightly bowed.

The Irishman reached over and gave her a gentle hug, trying to understand his own feelings. "And whatever happens, whatever decision you make, remember that for what it's worth, I'll always - always - be here for you, if you need me."

She held on to him, returning the hug, and he could feel the relief his words had given her. "I know."

He let go, stepped back, and out into the corridor. "So, are you ready?"

"Hai."

Sakura closed the door behind her, and walked over to Shirou's door, and knocked it. "Senpai?" she asked, to which a "Yes, Sakura... please, come in"could be heard on the other side.

"Oh, one last thing - I took the liberty of thought-proofing the walls of the various apartments - but with a code that will allow emergency messages to go through. If you need my help, or I yours, that will go through, but otherwise..." he started to find the going somewhat difficult in this latest train of thought.

She turned to him, and nodded, saying "Thank you", before opening the door and stepping inside.

When the door closed again, the Irish magus felt the numbing of the mind-link he shared with Sakura - proof that the damned spells worked, after all.

However, he found himself somewhat less complete, as a result.

He didn't have long to consider it, however, as Rin's door opened, and the raven-haired magus gestured for him to follow.

The three of them, himself, Rin and Saber, had much to prepare for.
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Unread postby Nerroth » October 10th, 2008, 2:29 am

Part 8


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(BGM: The Tudors soundtrack - Jousting)


Cheers had been emanating from the crowd, as the clash of lance and shield echoed across the jousting arena - but now, the onlookers were building up their anticipation, as the tournament reached its climax.

A dark horse with an immaculately-groomed mane was led by its rider to the far end of the tiltyard - its flawless complexion belying the price in blood and tears its master had extracted from the hapless knights who had fallen before him en route to the final.

Meanwhile, a dappled brown horse of similar bearing was led by its own rider to the opposing end - though the signs of fierce contest were more evident upon its flanks.

The role of the mounted knight in battle was diminishing across Europe - the folly of Agincourt and the rise of gunpowder had been steps along the path of what some might in later eras consider to be the evolution of war, but to many served as the lamented ending of an era.

However,
here, in the passion and skill of the tilt, the codes of knightly chivalry lived on!

Such noble ideals were far from the minds of the two contestants, however. Rather, the focus of each was set squarely upon the other, even while going through the motions demanded by protocol.

"Ladies, Gentlemen, the Black Duke!" announced the presenter, with a hand-gesture to the midnight-armoured knight to one side, who made little show of gratitude for the plaudits he thus received from the bayong crowd.

However, such was not the case for his silver-armoured opponent, as the host turned to introduce him: "And further, I give you His Majesty, the King!" The roars of cheers were greeted by a raise of the King's lance, as he nodded and saluted the onlookers.

With this, he led his horse to the Royal pavilion, and brought his horse to a stop before his lady... or, at least, to the seat where said lady would proudly sit, depending on the outcome of the tilt.

Or so the King hoped.

He drew the red ribbon tied to the lance and brought it to his lips, kissing it and uttering a quiet prayer for his lady's favour - a gesture which thoroughly unimpressed the Duke.

With a "Your Grace, Your Majesty, starting positions!" the King and Duke settled at the line, and prepared for the upcoming joust.

One might have expected some parting comments, or boasts, or some other form of verbal sparring in build up to the event, yet both riders remained utterly silent.

The flags were raised, as the moment of decision approached....


With the drop of the flag, the two horses reared into motion, and the game was afoot.

The knights carefully aimed their wooden lances, each seeking to break the defences of the other, while deflecting the opposing strike in the process. There would be no quarter asked for, or given - all knew of the bitter rivalriy between the King and Duke, though few knew the true stakes at play.

The distance vanished - fifty feet, forty, thirty, and the pace remained as fierce as ever, and the final adjustments were made by each in the heartbeats before impact.

Then, the clash itself - and the Duke's efforts had, in the moment, been found wanting. He was unhorsed by the crunch of the Kings' lance, and sent flying to the ground as his opponent managed to deflect the counter-blow, to the delight of the crowd.

"His Majesty wins the day!" proudly proclaimed the host, as a round of applause greeted the King's triumphal march, and he took a moment to look upon the vanquished.

The day may have been won, but the war was far from over...


------------------------------------------------------------


(BGM: The Tudors soundtrack - Hallucinations)


I felt a sudden lurch, as if my mind was run through a cheese grater, and soon all was darkness.

My eyes opened, and for a moment, I thought I saw a flowering of a cherry blossom tree, with the outstretched arms of a laughing, smiling woman with glistening plum-coloured hair...

...but as soon as I saw it, it was gone.

Instead, I was on my knees, on the floor of the Matou residence's main hall, and I could feel his mind boring down on me, as I knew my time was almost over.

"Perhaps I should give you credit - you are the first in a very long time to even dare challenge me, let alone hold your own so well in the contest." the dismissive tone of the hateful one burned along the walls of my skull, as my brain sought any refuge from its malice.

Zouken, however, took to the moment with relish. "Far more of a struggle than the last man who tried to take my investment from me... hahahahahahahaha!"


I could only half-remember the fallen magus from Sakura's own memories - a long-distant shard of something other than despair, buried by years of pain and humiliation.

"You rotting piece of filth, you didn't even have the good graces to live un-naturally as a Dead Apostle. You, nothing more than a rancid bag of worms, who are you to treat Sakura as your slave?" It was a terrible error to let my anger overwhelm my need to hang on, to concentrate, to not let him escape the mind-lock before time.

"Oh come now, if what you wished for was to free Sakura, you could have gone about it in a more productive manner..." he mocked, "...after all, I am in the market for an heir, now that my plans are rather more long-term than I had hoped."

His tone disgusted me. "Heir? Are you insane?"

"Quite," replied Zouken. "Shinji had his uses, but he's no good to me anymore, and even if he were, he could not serve as a legitimate father to Sakura's offspring - and besides, don't you think I should give her to someone who'll
love and cherish her?"

"You have no right to decide anything for her - you of all people!" I roared - my control slipping further.

"Ah, but don't you see, I know how she feels. I know that, even though you aren't Emiya, you might make for a worthy partner - and wouldn't you rather be the one to take care of her than the kind of man I'd otherwise select? Besides, you have potential, as evidenced in our little match-up. I can make you so much more than what you are, and all I'd ask... would be for you to take care of my adoptive child."

The very thought of agreeing to such a Faustian pact repulsed me - but was it a sign that he still didn't know about the plan, or that he had managed to somehow counter it?

"And even if I was foolish enough to agree to your plan, what then? You'd enslave me, along with Sakura, and deny her - our - children the kind of future they deserve... a future without YOU!" That last roar was a mistake, a mistake...

"Very well," declared the monster, as my defences finally cracked, and a tendril of nothingness stretched from his fingertip across the room to my temple, "if the current you will refuse, I'll find a better use for that mind of yours!"

I screamed in pain, as the tendril lanced through my forehead, piercing through the skull and latching onto my brain.

It was in my head.

It was reading my life like an open book.

And it was about to find out about...

clang.

"What... what is this?" I could hear him say, confounded at the block which appeared within.

No, not a block, a door - a gate!

I can see it.....

I can see it.


(BGM: The Tudors soundtrack - Main Title Theme)


My eyes flashed open, and the tendril was gone.

It looked at me - but it didn't just see
me.

"What... what is this?" it demanded to know.

But I said nothing. Instead, I felt that gate - that shimmering, alien gate, blocked up like a door, but with the faintest of cracks in the bottom corner, the merest hint at what lay beyond - pulsate and glow, with a metallic, yet un-Earthly sheen.

And I stood up.

"No... it can't... it can't be!" I had no idea as to what the gate meant, but as i stood and moved forward, the afterimages in Zouken's mind as the monster looked at me told how his mind interpreted his impending doom.

I could half-see it...

...I was rising from the ground, my skin shifting in colour, ripples of aurorae-like energy flowing from my torso to my arms and legs, my eyes aglow with green, aethyric fire...

...and a disc of alien metal, akin to that ringing the gate in my sub-conscious, forming at my back.

I lost track of whether this was a final, powerful mental projection I was somehow casting into his mind, or whether it was terribly real, or something else entirely...

...but soon, it didn't matter.

"Begone."

With that, the cut was made, and the fulcrum of Matou Zouken's centuries-old blight upon the Earth was rent asunder.

He burst into a thousand shards, each one taking the form of one of those accursed worms, as they each fell to the ground, dissolving into nothingness - as I felt his mind flutter and die.

I held on just long enough to watch him finally fade into the black, before my mental exertions gave out, and I hit the deck.


------------------------------------------------------------


At that moment, a purple-haired woman gasped as if coming up for air after being underwater, her hand pressed tightly against her heart.

Her heart, which had been violated by the first of Zouken's worms, that was where it started.

A wave of bliss and relief flowed through her body, as first the worm in her heart, then the others in her chest, abdomen, arms, legs, feet, toes, and head dissolved away - as did the bond on her soul their presence had left, the hunger, the trauma, the agony...

...it was all over.

She didn't need to think of how, or who, had caused this.

She already knew the answer.

And for the first time in what felt like a lifetime, she smiled.


------------------------------------------------------------


"Oh, so you can join us, after all," accompanied my groggy return to consciousness.

I was still in the main hall, but this time I was joined with Aozaki Tohko, who had been the one to make the quip, and the still and silent Ryougi Shiki.

The latter was holding an object in her hand - one I recognised easily.

"My Remembrance Day poppy," I said, "I'm glad you made use of it."

Shiki remained impassive, as she looked at the synthetic petals. "Its pin proved adequate."

She had used the tip of the pin the dot-stab Zouken - she could have even used her fingernails if she had so chosen, such was the power of her Chokushi no Magan, but it seemed appropriate to use an item which honours those who fought against another kind of monster to lay this one low.

But there were still matters to attend to. "Did you find the others, Aozaki-san?"

"Well, first of all, you should note that Shiki here had to deal with a few of the household's unexpected 'defences' before getting the job done - but, I'm feeling generous, so I won't add it to my tab," she replied, and I wondered for a moment what kind of 'defences' she had been referring to.

"Also," she continued, "the vat you referred to, the other rooms, they are all clean - we got everything. Oh, and the other one you mentioned would be here? He's upstairs - but before you go up, you should note that he's, shall we say, not a very healthy individual."

Instead of retorting, I decided to chalk that one up to being a major understatement, before the three of us went to the room in question.


------------------------------------------------------------


Matou Shinji was dying.

I had never met the bastard face-to-face before, but I knew, all too well, who he was.

But he, in turn, didn't seem to recognise me, or the others in the room with me.

"I... is that you, Sakura?" he said weakly, his head rolling to one side, his eyes glazing over. "I... I have not seen you in a while."

I had to resist the urge to go over there and smash his head into a bloody pulp - Despite how much he had earned it, that was not what Sakura would have wanted.

Instead, I walked over to the side of the bed, and looked down at his pathetic features.

"No, Matou Shinji. It's not Sakura." I said, coldly.

"O... oh, are you a friend of hers, then?" he asked, not quite making out what he was seeing.

"More than you ever were, you son of a bitch," was all I could say without screaming.

His expression changed, as he seemed to connect the dots in his mind. "I... it's not like that, I... I swear..."

"I know exactly what it was like, Shinji..." I 'roared' into his mind - as I focussed on making the memory transfer, "...and as a parting gift, I will let you know it, too."

Every moment of pain, of fear, of torture, that had flooded into my mind from Sakura's tortured soul, I poured it on into his.

He tried to shake it loose, to wish it away, but my mind would not relent until it was done...

...but in the process, I saw other memories, including some of what he had done, or tried to do, in the Grail War - how he
dared to threaten Rin... and how the Irish Lancer had put a spanner in the works!

Thank you, C? Chulainn. If you can hear me out there, know that you did the Irish proud that day.

And I saw the echo of a young girl's heart, where it had been thrust into his chest, and used in the formation of the Grail - but I had no sympathy for Shinji's plight.

What can a moment's agony in the Grail compare to years of abuse and violation?

I felt a wish to remove said heart, and give it a proper burial - but it was already gone, consumed by the formation of the tainted Grail.

The transfer was complete, and I released Shinji from my mental grip, and I thought of how I wished I could have done something for that girl - who deserved so much better than a fate like this.

I almost didn't notice when Shinji convulsed and shuddered, his heart giving way, the timer put on his body by the exposure to the tainted Grail running out, even without the shock of the memory transfer.

But it didn't matter.

He was gone, and would never hurt Sakura again.

"So, are we done here?" asked Tohko, ready to get going again.

I turned to them both and asked Shiki, "Could you please dispose of this?"

"Very well," she replied, as she used her more traditional blade to pierce the dot on the body, as it dissolved from existence, "but may I... keep the poppy?"

I smiled, and nodded. "Thank you, and of course. You are most welcome to it, and I can always get more."

After that, I addressed Tohko, and said "Yes, we are done here."

"Good!" she was relieved to get out of this place - she missed her setup at the Garan no Dou. "Oh, and when are you heading back to London?"

"Um..." I checked my watch. "Another day or two, I guess."

"If you hear anything at the Association about an Arcueid Brunestud, would you let me know? I've got a little project I've been working on, and I hear she might be of use to it - despite having an unfortunate taste for the wrong kind of red stuff."

Such a flippant attitude towards a being who was, reportedly, the last True Ancestor struck me as somewhat odd - but I agreed, all the same. "No problem."

With that, we set out to leave the Makiri residence, though as we were walking out, Tohko asked me another question: "So, what happened there at the end?"

I tried to answer - but in truth... I didn't know.
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Unread postby Nerroth » October 10th, 2008, 2:30 am

Part 9


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Closing the door behind him, the Irish magus entered the room, and saw Rin go over to sit beside where Saber was already resting. Following this, he took a seat in turn, facing both of them.

None of them were sure what to start with.

After a few moments of silence, Saber spoke first. "Do you believe Sakura will be..."

"...ready to talk to him? I don't know," he answered, as Saber's question began to trail off. "After such a long time, circumstances have been turned on their head. But, this is the conversation she's been waiting to have for far too long, so if now isn't the time, when will it be?"

"Quite so..." added Rin, unsure what else to say.

The Irishman shook his head and sighed. "You know, I just wish I had... been able to talk to Shirou properly about things. I mean, when he wanted to talk before I lost the run of myself, I should have been more ready to listen."

"There was something on his mind, then?" asked Rin, who was well aware of what he had told Saber of the event, but wanted to hear a more thorough explanation nonetheless.

"Yes," he replied. "Shirou was feeling... uncertain about how things were going between you and he, and he... he was finding himself thinking about something that had happened in the early days of your relationship."

Rin raised an eyebrow at this. "Early days?"

He nodded. "Yeah. It was to do with... the first time you and he were..." he turned to one side, trying to say it without conjuring the echoed memory, and feeling the bitter sting once more.

"O... oh, I see." Rin nodded slowly, while Saber blushed slightly.

"It was... when he was about to speak of it, when I saw a glimpse - and realised just why the thought was eating away at him. But... it made me so mad, the thought of... that I just snapped and let loose."

"Well, I did say that I'd get him back someday," Rin said half-jokingly, "but I didn't mean I'd arrange you to do it for me!"

He laughed while wiping his eyes with his hand, trying to wipe off the beginnings of fresh tears. "That's..."

"And in any event," she continued, "that was to help form the bond which would allow him - and us - not to die when trying to finish the seihai sensou - but I wouldn't have been with him if I didn't want him."

"I... I don't think that was the issue, Rin," he said, thinking more clearly about the situation, as the emotion faded somewhat. "There are other means by which such bonds can be formed - and in hindsight, I guess he wished that one of those had have been used instead. He hates the idea of being with anyone for anything less than the right reasons - an idea I wholly endorse - and he would have wanted the first time with you to have been more relaxed, more considerate, probably with a bit of reading up or something beforehand - and with no other reason but to express his feelings for you."

"Well..." she said, thinking over what had just been said. "I... I can't say I was too happy with how that went, but I didn't let it stop me from trying to move forward in the aftermath. And he... has done a lot to try and make the best of things with me for the duration of our relationship. Maybe I should have stopped to talk about this with him, but then you know how it's not always easy for he and I to express things properly to each other."

"I know," he answered. "I can't pretend I ever saw things as a disinterested observer, but I wanted to see you happy, if that was what you could be with him."

"But then," she said softly, "if things had gone differently, what of Sakura?"

A pause, before he replied. "I've always hoped that one way or another, Sakura will find happiness - whether it's in finding out if Shirou is the right partner for her, or, perhaps, if she ever felt the wish or need to move on."

Saber thought of this. "Do you believe she would be able to do so, in such an eventuality?"

"I... I don't know." The words weighed more heavily on his mind than he was quite ready for. "But in either case, I think that this is the chance for her to take the right step forward."

Both Rin and Saber nodded in response to this.

After another looming silence, Rin thought of something. "Wait - what do you mean by other means? To form a bond?"

"Oh, that?" he replied, his expression changing as he bright up the details in his mind. "It's something I've been reading up on here and there, just in case I ever needed to help out in keeping Saber with us. Not that I was planning anything, of course!"

He continued. "One method of circuit-bonding seems to involve using a specific incantation to re-direct dormant circuits from the magus to the tsukaima, or to another magus. Essentially you hold hands, press one's hand against the other's chest, or some such, make the chant, go into some kind of elaborate vision-scape where you see manifestations of each other's souls, and have the connections formed. I hear it can hurt the donor quite a bit if he or she isn't careful, however."

"I see," Rin said in response. "well, since we are here, I still need help to keep Saber going, and you seem to be ruling out the other option..."

"I am," he affirmed. "Even if it hurt, I'd still rather go for this method, rather than..."

"Yareyare," Rin sighed, "I get the picture. Oh, and thanks for the consideration, by the way - see, I'm learning!"

"Indeed!" he answered with a chuckle.

"Yes, so I assume you'll want to try this procedure, then?"

"If you and Saber wish it," he responded. "In fact, I was thinking of going with a variant in which I might be able to form a bond with both of you directly, as opposed to just one or the other. It might be more efficient in terms of prana transfer that way."

"Oh," Rin held a finger to her lips, assuming a haughty air. "so you want to be close to Saber as well, then? I'm flattered that you don't think I'm enough for you."

"Um... that's not quite what I was getting at..." he replied, very carefully.

Reaching out a hand to hold one of Rin's, Saber smiled and looked over at the Japanese magus. "You do not need to be so teasing of him, Rin."

"Sigh, I can't even have a little fun..." she replied, clasping gently onto Saber's outstretched hand, while their colleague looked on in a somewhat surprised manner.

"Is there something I'm missing here?" he asked.

"And you're supposed to be the mind-reader," Rin chuckled.

"Well," he rallied, "if you'd like to explain things to me, I'm all ears..."

Smiling, Rin stood up, taking one of his hands in her loose hand, and led both to the centre of the room. "I have a better idea.

Let's get started on this bonding ritual of yours."


------------------------------------------------------------


Not long afterwards, the three were sitting in the midst of a carefully-drawn-out chalk-drawn circle in the middle of the floor, as each sat at one of the even corners of the six-sided star pattern within. Each held onto the hand of the person to their left with their left hands, and to their right with the other.

Slowly, the chant began, as the runes on Rin's arm glowed, and the pattern on the ground began to follow suit.

The chant reached its culmination, and as all three closed their eyes, their minds were awakened to the vision-space forming between them.

With this, the bonding ceremony began...
Last edited by Nerroth on February 1st, 2009, 2:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Nerroth » October 10th, 2008, 2:30 am

Part 10


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BGM: Trevor Morris - The Tudors OST - England Reborn


Well, this was it. The battle was over. The victory won.


And yet...

...I didn't feel much like celebrating.


Of course I was delighted, now that Sakura was free - well, I'd have to see her and confirm it, but I was certain the task was done as scheduled - but after absconding from the Emiya-tei with little or no warning, and after all that had happened between then and now, I wasn't quite ready to face the spotlight just yet.

So, while I tried to walk to the residence, I found myself taking a more, well, circuitous route than one might otherwise travel.

Eventually, while walking, I noticed a quiet church - one that looked like it had not been used fully in quite some time, where...

...oh, of course. Now I remember.

It was the Kotomine church, which had played a key role in the five
seihai sensou-tachi, but was now a half-forgotten relic, once the grounds had been scoured of the morbid remains which had been cultivated there by the insane Kotomine Kirei.

I was never much of a churchie - to be honest, I'm fairly agnostic when it comes to the afterlife, the search for Akasha notwithstanding - but I felt a sudden wish to visit a place which had, whether the citizens of Fuyuki-shi knew it tot not, played a critical role in the fate of the entire city.

I walked along the path leading up the the entrance, noting the slight overgrowth in the treelines flanking it, and reached the front door. It was slightly ajar, but was still in a decent enough shape that it would open and close properly.

So, I slowly opened it, hearing the creaking sound it made as I did so, and I looked up along the walkway between the pews leading up to the altar.

I stopped cold when I realised that not only was a single candle lit upon it, but a silver-haired young woman was kneeling in prayer before it. Or rather, she
had been praying, until she noticed my entrance and fell silent, though her posture was unchanged.

"Forgive me, ma'am, I did not know anyone was present," I said, hoping I had not disturbed her.

"There is nothing to forgive, sir," she said in reply, as she stood up, trimmed down her attire in one graceful swoop, and turned to face me, "save that for which we each have to seek absolution."

Despite the fact that she looked like she needed several very large meals in short order to get her up to a healthy weight, and that she looked even more pale and sun-deprived than I was, she still possessed quite a striking nature - though I could literally feel the sheer sense of loneliness she seemed to have, weighing down upon her and seeping into the surroundings, where even a non-teep could feel it, were they present alongside me.

Her accent and facial features implied that she wasn't exactly a local, either.

"I understand." I stepped forth to greet her, offering my hand, and giving my name. "It is a pleasure to meet you, ma'am."

"Grazie,"she replied, gently taking my hand in return, before switching to English, "My name is Caren Ortensia, and I bear responsibility for this place until whichever time the Lord grants me leave of it."

"Your name fits you well, Caren - if I may call you that, ma'am," I continued, "and may I ask if, like me, you are from the
Oushu rengou?"

She smiled at the compliment, and nodded. "You may - and I was raised by the Church in Italy, before being called upon to these islands."

"I see," but something didn't quite add up. "but if I may ask, and I mean no disrespect by this, but how long has it been since the Vatican, or the local bishopric, has appointed a parish priest to the church? Much as I might wish the Papacy take the example of the Church of Ireland in permitting female priests, I was under the impression that such an emancipatory move has yet to be implemented."

Caren stopped for a moment, perhaps trying to gauge my intentions, or perhaps simply not used to hearing the sound of another person's voice, "There has not been a parish priest appointed for over two years, regretfully - but I consider it my duty to maintain the Lord's house until one is dispatched."

"I... I see," I answered, not wholly convinced. But then, this place had been under the remit of an agency which was, to put it mildly, not part of the Church that the Holy See was quick to welcome visitors on tours of the Vatican City.

Maybe she is from the Burial Agency, like the Kotomine priests? I wondered - though I was far from sure that simply asking Caren if she moonlighted in exorcisms and whatnot was quite the best idea, and trying to poke around her mind uninvited was not an option.

"Caren," I asked, moving to sit on the front row of pews, "would it be an inconvenience to ask you to sit with me? I have had a less than relaxing time of things recently, and I would be grateful if you shared this, well, pew with me."

She nodded and smiled once more, replying with "Of course," before sitting beside me and turning to face me.

"As you say," she added, "I am not a priest, but I am willing to hear your thoughts, if it pleases you to bid me listen."

"Hm," I said in response, "I am grateful, but the last thing I want is to 'bid' you do anything. I would only ask you to do what you wish to, Caren."

"Then you are fortunate," she replied, "for I would be happy to hear what you have to say."

I nodded and felt somewhat relieved. "Thank you."


------------------------------------------------------------


BGM: Trevor Morris - The Tudors OST - Whispers and Confessions


While sitting with Caren, I talked, in a very generalised way, about the issues I had on my mind - a little about my feelings of discomfort around Rin and Shirou (who I didn't speak of by name, I gave no names to the people and situations I spoke of), of my difficulty in coming to terms with the pain that Sakura had endured (naturally, I avoided detailing how I
knew of this matter) and that while the cause of her trauma was over, I spoke of how I wished to discover how best to help heal her wounds in the days to come.

Caren listened intently, and I could see a glimpse of something in her eyes - as if she was unused to hearing anyone speak of matters of care and compassion in her company. The expression was echoed by the stray sentiments I could feel emanate from her, and I felt sad to think of what cause she would have to feel this way.

"You have a fine line to walk," she finally said, after I had finished, "and yet I feel that you, despite your doubts, are well-placed to manage it. Or, perhaps, maybe it is that very doubt which is your ally, for it mitigates hubris and overconfidence, and fosters further effort on behalf of those you wish to aid through your actions."

I hadn't thought of it in quite that manner before.

"Well, I guess I'd rather have doubts and be proved right, than have none and be proven wrong," I mused.

"In that case, rather than remain here and suffer my inadequate company, perhaps it is time you went and broke bread with those you care about once more?" She was all too keen to speak loly of herself - a trait I found all too depressingly common in my time.

Such as each time I look in the mirror, for example.

"Caren, you are more than gracious, and your company more than welcome," I responded, eager to reassure her - and, indeed, to reach out and offer something I feared all too few people had been wise enough to offer...

...friendship.

"I will have to go and face the music, but before I go, I'd like to ask if you had enough time and inclination to let me be a friend - even if, with most of my time spent in London, it may be something of a long-distance friendship during your time here." I offered my hand once again, hoping she would feel comfortable enough to accept.

Mercifully, she did not hesitate, and took my hand once more. "I would be honoured, and thank you."

Reaching for a contact card, which had details for reaching me via email, post and whatnot, I handed it to her, and she accepted it carefully. "Regretfully, I have no such card to present to you, but I will find means to reach you, if that is acceptable."

"That's quite fine, Caren," I replied, more cheerfully than I had been before I entered the church. "Take your time, but I will be glad to hear from you nonetheless."

I stood up, bowed carefully, then prepared to continue my journey to the Emiya-tei.

But as I left, I said these parting words to Caren:

"I cannot speak for those you may have known in the time you have spent in your life before this - but what I can say is that I would be honoured to help you find some measure of happiness and companionship in the time to come, and that I am but one of many who would. So, again, if it pleases you, let me do what I can, Caren."

She smiled one last time, and simply said
"Si, genere," before I took my leave.


Yet, as I left, I felt a mild sense of... a third presence, somewhere nearby - but almost as soon as I had felt it, it was gone.

It was probably nothing.


------------------------------------------------------------


BGM: Trevor Morris - The Tudors OST - Visions of a Great Ruler


The light was fading, by the time I made it to the front porch of the Emiya-tei. Despite my renewed sense of... if not confidence, then at least the lessening of its opposite, my hand faltered slightly as I reached for the door.

However, as soon as I felt a certain presence in my mind - the renewal of a link I had not even realised endured so surely - the sound of footsteps approached, and before I had even knocked the door, it opened on the other side.

Facing me were three familiar faces. One looked concerned, but somewhat relieved to see me. The second was far less forgiving, eyebrow raised upon high and eyes glaring deep into my flagging soul.

And the third...

...mere words do no justice to how I understood her, and she I, at that moment.

But to those who cared to look, a calm, almost knowing smile was reaction enough.

"Great news," I said, in a desperate attempt to pre-empt a severe ear-lashing, "I found out Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis are gonna be on TV tonight!"

Rin looked on in disbelief, in a fit of apoplexy, while Shirou scratched his head and said "Eh heh heh..." somewhat meekly.

I was grateful for this much, at least - the chance to say in mind-speech:

"It's good to see you again, Sakura."

She replied to me along the mind-conduit in response,
"It's good to see you again, too..."

To finish the sentence, she looked straight at me, and 'said' my name...
and with that one word, I knew, that things would never be the same.
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Nerroth
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Unread postby Nerroth » October 10th, 2008, 2:30 am

Part 11


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BGM: Trevor Morris - The Tudors OST - A Queen's Loneliness


"It... it seems we have much to discuss, senpai." Sakura had taken a seat opposite from Shirou - she wanted to face him directly when talking about the matters at hand... and yet, neither of them had said much of anything for the last short while. Perhaps there was just too much to cover for either of them to know exactly where to start.

Nevertheless, she knew that there was something she had to say - something which she herself was not quite yet at the finish line of understanding - but that she wanted him to hear.

"I'm sorry, Sakura", he answered, morosely. "I... I really don't know what to say.. about any of this."

She reached over and took his hand, and held it gently. "In that case, senpai, please let me try to say something."

"Un," he nodded, looking over at her, intently, almost as if he was looking at her for the first time, despite the years they had known each other.

But then, he had learned recently that he did not know her nearly as well as he ought to have done.

"Senpai," she started, trying not to fumble the words, taking a deep breath before continuing. "Y... you know that I did not have a very positive time at the Makiri-tei when growing up."

He was stunned at the sheer level of understatement in her words, and once again felt the grief at not knowing - or not even thinking to ask properly.

"So, I did not have many ways to be away from that... place. However, I did not wish to impose myself on anyone - no-one needed to see the side of the Matou that I..." she stopped this time, her hand slightly trembling, and Shirou tried to reassure her.

"I'm here, Sakura," he said, trying to sound as assured as he could, "I... I'm here."

"Hai," she replied, squeezing onto his hand. "And that... for such a long time, that was all I could have wished for. Even... being able to eat with you, and with Fujimura-sensei... to spend time with you at the Emiya-tei and at school... the times when no-one else was there with us, while we washed dishes in the kitchen... it was so much more than I could have ever hoped for."

"And yet," he said, sadly, "I was too blind, too stupid to see anything. I've never been good at even imagining anyone would like me, least of all..."

"It's not something I blame you for, senpai," she continued. "If I had said or done anything to you, even if you had any kind of feelings for me, I could not bear to think of what ooji-sama would have done to you, or what nii-san..."

Being reminded of that wakame bastard made Shirou feel like retching, not least when he thought of how many times he had paraded around like a fool in front of him, and Shirou had not for a microsecond suspected the terrible things he had done. Had he known, he would have smashed his face into a pulp a long time ago...

"But... then the seihai sensou came, and so did Saber-san, and you and nee-san..." she was trying to build up some momentum in her train of thought, so that it would be able to carry her words through, but it kept veering on the edge of de-railment.

Shirou looked down when he thought of Rin. "Tohsaka..."

"I... I was happy for you, senpai. At least... I wanted to be. More than anyone, I wanted you to be happy, to find the kind of love and kindness that you deserve - that you in turn can give so freely to all of those around you. And nee-san..." she breathed in and out once more, before continuing, "nee-san is like no other woman, so much more than I ever could be - and she deserves a man like you too."

"Sakura," Shirou said, unwilling to let that second-last comment slide. "Tohsaka is Tohsaka - indeed, sometimes she can be a little too much Tohsaka, if you know what I mean - but you shouldn't feel second place to any woman, even though I..."

Sakura nodded, and smiled, as she remembered what she was trying to build up to. "You're skipping ahead in my story, senpai."

"Oh, sorry," Shirou said, before double-taking and asking "Wait - what do you mean? You ...you lost me."

With that, Sakura chuckled slightly, holding her other hand to her mouth, as she started to feel a lot less nervous than she had when talking about the story so far.

"After you, Saber-san and nee-san left to come here, I fell into a kind of routine. Ever since the seihai sensou, nii-san had acted differently, and ooji-sama did not speak to me often - and I spent time with Fujimura-sensei, meeting her at the Emiya-tei, which I tried to look after in your absence."

"Sakura, you didn't..." he tried to say, before she raised her hand.

"It's fine, senpai. I felt better there than anywhere else, and I wanted you and nee-san-tachi to be comfortable during your visits back to Fuyuki-shi."

"I understand, Sakura," he said, almost grateful that even the residence had been a boon for her, although he himself was half a world away - though bitterly regretting even that line of reasoning.

"Not yet, senpai," she added, "but we are starting to get there."

"We are? I... didn't think there was anything good about my being in London while you were here, alone." Every day he had spent here, at the Association, in this country - was it all a terrible mistake?

"Ah, but you see," she continued, "there was something - something wonderful, though at the time I did not know it."

"Wonderful?" he asked, still nonplussed.

"Hai," she said. "something that, when I discovered it, changed my life forever, and helped me realise what I wish I had known all along."

Shirou felt a renewed sense of hope with her words, but he still didn't know what she meant. "What is that, Sakura?"

She took her hand back, the one that had been holding his, and held it over her heart.

"That I am never alone."

Almost as if on cue, she felt an alarm in her mind - no, not quite an alarm, a connection, bursting through the wards in the walls and showing her visions of...


"We have to go to nee-san's room now, senpai!" she suddenly said, bolting up and pressing her hand to the side of her head.

Shirou jumped up in turn, ready to go, but as he went for the door, he asked "Hai - but what is it you..."

"...just go, now!" she insisted, in a far more commanding tone than normal.

They ran out of the apartment, down the hallway, and burst through Rin's front door...


------------------------------------------------------------


BGM: Trevor Morris - The Tudors OST - Murder in Urbino


I was in the vision-scape - floating on what seemed to be the surface of a sea, or lake - but given how dark it was, perhaps it was an underground one.

Somehow, I was floating quite easily, and I didn't have any kind of buoyancy aids on - though I declined to test the salinity of the water, just in case it had Dead Sea-like properties.

In any event, I was not in the water alone.

Shoals of electric fish were gathering around me - apparently forming circuits they stuck to diligently, three concentric circles, and a thin ellipse at the top of the outer circle, all with myself in the centre.

Each seemed to 'hum' at a unique frequency, but rather than producing a deafening cacophony of sound, were perfectly harmonized in synchronicity.

It was quite something.

I looked upwards, and I could see the roof of what looked like a massive underground cave - and an immense plume of flame emanating from one of the side entrances.

What rode in after that flame was even more astounding - a ferocious-looking dragon, riding the air currents it seemed to generate by its very presence.

It banked to one side, as it flew in a circuit overhead, flying between the second and third circles of fish, and revealing two minute - or perhaps they were simply minute compared to the impossibly large frame of the dragon itself - figures riding on its back.

"Banzai!" shouted one, the person in front - and as I tried to focus on who it was, I was somewhat confused as to why it looked like... Rin, wearing some elaborate
mahou shoujo outfit, waving a star-tipped wand in her hand.

And who was that behind her?

"Gaoooooooooooooo!"

Let me say that when you see a miniature version of Saber wearing a lion-suit and waving a giant chunk of meat in her paw, the first thing that comes to mind is not whether or not the meat is really a soya alternative.

Odd that I would think of that, though.

"I hope this isn't the same vision they are seeing," I said, to no-one in particular, "there'd be too many really odd questions to answer."

"Hai," said a cheerful voice, from somewhere very close...

I looked to one side, and saw a tiny version of Sakura, dressed in an immaculate pink Western-style dress,
and with a crown resting on her head.

And yet, she seemed the most normal thing in this whole experience.

"Fancy seeing you here,
hime-sama," I said to her, as she smiled and curtesyed in response.

"He-he," the mini-Sakura chuckled.

"Oi, oi!" I could hear being shouted down from the mini-Rin riding on the dragon above. "Let's go. FIGHTO!"

"GAO GAOOOO!" gao-gao-ed the lion-ey Saber, and any thoughts of how staggeringly cute the three mini-ones were paled as the drake shifted course, diving down towards me, with claws and teeth bared...

...until its descent was blown off-course, by the sudden formation of an aethyric vortex in the centre of the cave.

The anomaly grew and increased in power, churning the waves and shaking the surrounding formations of rock, and before long a massive new object emerged from within - or rather, the vortex itself seemed to solidify and assume the shape of something I had only seen before in the deciding moments against Zouken, months before.

"The gate..."

There was a slight crack in the corner of the iris blocking the gate, the one which had been formed in that last encounter - but this time, cracks were forming all across the rest of the inner surface. With each new rupture, I could glimpse an impossible other-world beyond, one which no human being was supposed to know...

...and yet, one which seemed to call me onwards, ever-increasingly.

The force assailing the iris dramatically increased, and its surface glowed with an alien light before bursting into a million fragments, each falling around me and into the water.

The dragon was gone - the fish were gone - the mini-ones were gone, yet I did not know whether I simply could not see them, or if they had vanished altogether.

All I was focussed on was the raging portal above, the intense pulsing of energy as I felt myself being lifted out of the water and into the event horizon...

...and when I crossed the threshold, I briefly wondered if I would ever return.



------------------------------------------------------------


BGM: Trevor Morris - The Tudors OST - The War Room


"Shirou! Sakura!"

Rin called over to the two arrivals, as she and Saber were trying frantically to cast... something that would undo what was going on.

The Irish magus was floating in mid-air, his back arched, arms at sixty-degree angles from his body, palms outstretched, his head facing the ceiling, and his eyes aglow with an alien green fire.

His entire body was wreathed in bands of the same type of energy, with pulses of some kind of metallic flash travelling along his skin every three or four seconds - but not like any metal any of them knew.

His mouth was gaping open, and none of them knew what was happening to his mind.

"We..." Rin tried to explain, "we were in the midst of a circuit-bonding ceremony, and in the midst of the vision-scape we saw this... this thing."

Sakura nodded, and understood. She had seen glimpses of the unearthly gate, and the terrible vortex, in her own mind - a result of the mental link she retained.

Then, the pulses accelerated, and the bands concentrated a his eyes, before a sudden flash, followed by a loud thump, as he hit the ground hard.

Rin rushed over to check his pulse, as Saber and Sakura knelt beside him, and Shirou went to get a first aid kit.

He got back just in time to see his friend wake up.

"I understand..." was all he said at first, until he reached over and took one of Sakura's hands, and looked at her eyes intently.

"I saw them, Sakura."

With that, she gasped in shock, covering her mouth once more, as tears began to roll down her cheeks.

"Y... you mean..." she stuttered.

He answered, as the others in the room stared in utter disbelief.

"Yes, Sakura.

I saw them.

And they are alive."
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Unread postby Nerroth » October 25th, 2008, 11:41 pm

Part 12


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When it is dark enough,
you can see the stars...

- Charles A. Beard


------------------------------------------------------------


As it turned out, SG-1 and Atlantis were actually going to be broadcast on a slightly different day.

But I didn't mind. For there was something else being broadcast on TV instead.

Something even better.

"Which one are they showing tonight?" asked Sakura, who was sitting beside me, as Shirou and Rin were parked over on the other couch. It had taken some rather convoluted explaining to try and avoid imminent pain and destruction at Tohsaka's hands earlier that evening, but now that dinner had been eaten and things had settled down a bit, I hoped that it would be a good time to take in a more pleasured distraction.

Or, in my case, a more inspiring one.

"This is my favourite of the whole series - it's called 1968... and it's about a flight that changed everything." Well, at least for those with an eye to look beyond the mundane, and marvel at the events which took place during that historic voyage from the Earth to the Moon.

As the episode progressed, it showed two parallel, yet widely different tales. On one side, the full range of war, civil unrest and political assassination told all too clearly of the many, many serious problems that mankind faced in 1968. On the other, the labour of tens of thousands of individuals, set in motion years before by the will of a lost chief executive, and bearing the scars of the loss of Apollo 1, was set towards launching three men on a journey like no other taken in the history of mankind.

Indeed, the dark tone of much of the year was evoked through the black-and-white images used to portray the parts of the episode set on the surface of the Earth.

And yet, I found that when a certain set of words were quoted in the episode, my eyes were turned to the one who, without either of us realising, were moving our hands closer to one another:

Some men see things as they are and say why...
I dream things that never were... and say why not?

And her eyes were resting back at mine.

"Wait for it, Sakura," I reassured her, in a 'voice' only she could hear.

"Hai," she nodded, as we both turned back to see the episode unfold.

And so it did - Almost as if fighting the tide of human history, the momentum of self-destruction that our species falls so easily to, over and over and over again... but not enough to stop the immense might of the Saturn V from lifting Apollo 8 atop a pillar of flame, and set it upon the first stage of its course towards destiny.

(And towards the part of the episode filmed in colour, to boot.)

Even though it's not a real view - as in, one taken from the ISS or a shuttle or some other source, there's something about that sight of the curvature of the Earth that... just
does something to me. Like I can't but feel the tear streaking down the side of my cheek at the glimpse at what we - all of us - truly are.

And as my eyes closed for the briefest of instants, I felt the echo of how I wasn't the only one to feel the call of that glimpse of eternity.

It was that moment that I realised that there was something more to this link that was shared between she and I. I can't just hear her...

...I can
feel her.


------------------------------------------------------------


Lord, we have not spoken as long...
or as often as we should.
I have often been about other business.
If I wanted forgiveness, I should ask for it, but...
for all that I have done...
and for all that I am yet to do...
there can be no forgiveness.

And yet, I think I am...
I am not an evil man.
Though evil men pray loud enough...
and seek penance...
and think themselves closer to Heaven than I am...
I shall not see its gates, Lord.
Nor hear your sweet words of...
salvation.

I have seen Eternity, I swear...
but it was in a dream...
and in the morning, it was gone.


I know myself, for what I am...
and I throw my poor soul upon your forgiveness...
in the full knowledge that I deserve none...
at Your loving hands.

- Sam Neill, portraying Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, from season 1, episode 10 of The Tudors


------------------------------------------------------------


BGM: Trevor Morris - The Tudors OST - Wolsey Commits Suicide/Finale


(Note: The following segments contain scenes of a mature nature. Reader discretion is advised. If you prefer, after reading this segment, you might wish to jump to the last segment directly.)



After it was done, Shirou and Rin headed off - completely oblivious to what had been going on (though still able to crack a "at least they didn't say 'please be advised there is a Crimson Moon!'" joke at the end) - and Sakura went on ahead, as I did the whole brush-teeth get-ready-for-sleep thing.

Or, as it was otherwise known, the brush-teeth pretend-to-go-to-sleep-but-really-get-my-stuff-from-my-room-and-go-hide-in-the-shed thing.

(I had been in my room earlier, trying to practice the sound-thought-proofing spell that Tohko taught me, but I wasn't sure if I was quite ready to test it. Little did I realise that it was already working all too well.)

A short while later, I went back to my room. I opened the door while looking downwards, closed it behind me, then turned around...

...when I saw her.

"Oh, my God."

She was sitting up on my futon, wearing a delicate off-white night-dress, with a dark-coloured band forming the shoulder straps, and another circling the waist. Her legs were curled to either side, her hands gently resting on the sheet just behind her, with strands of her hair flowing over her right shoulder as she looked over at me.

Her eyes were aglow, and she was looking over at me with the softest of smiles - and I gasped at how I had never seen anything - anyone - more beautiful in my entire life.

But it wasn't just her physical appearance that made her so. It was the kindness, the care, the passion, the intricacy that I could feel in her mind - the kind I knew that she saw in mine, whether I deserved such accolades or not - that struck me the most.

I stepped towards her, and as I stretched my hand towards her, she stood up gracefully and reached out for mine. Her steps were so delicate, moving towards, then with me, as we heard the song - the same song - in our minds, and began to dance...

"There are so many things... so many questions I want to ask... so many things I want to say... to clarify..." I 'spoke', as we moved in tandem, stepping back and forth beside the futon, "but I don't know... I don't know where to..."

She smiled more widely, and moved her face closer to mine.
"I already know them all... every one..." she held my hand more tightly, her other hand resting at my side, as mine rested at hers. "...and I want you to know my answer."

At this, she reached over and kissed me - our lips connected, and our heads tilted to either side as our tongues caressed each other's. Slowly at first, the kiss lingered, until she increased the pace, holding me closer to her, as we lowered ourselves to sit upon the edge of the futon.

The hand that was holding my side moved to follow the curve of my back, and I could feel it even through the shirt I was wearing - and my own hand carefully moved along her side, up to her arm and down along to her fingertips.

She pulled back, and reached the other hand - the one which I still held onto - up to the side of my face, as she looked into my eyes, and I could feel her mind soaking in the feelings I was currently outpouring, just as I in turn was soaking in her passion and emotion.

"Earlier today, before you came back here, I decided to take a bath," she 'told' me, and I blushed at the thought. "When I was there... I thought of you... I thought of what I felt just before you left that night..."

She moved to point with a fingertip to her chest, towards her heart, before moving the tip downwards to her stomach.
"and I felt it stir me."

Her mind opened further, and she showed me the memory - she had stirred herself thinking of me, and I could feel the after-effects of the sensation she felt when said stirring reached its climax.

"For the first time..." she continued, "I felt everything... all of it... it was all for me."

My mouth opened in the shock of realisation. The worms... those accursed things that had stolen so much from her... now that they were gone, her feelings, her sensations, her desires... they were hers alone, as they always should have been.

"And it was all... for you." She reached over and kissed me once more, this time just resting her lips against mine, before she pulled back again.

Her fingers reached over to the left side of her head, as she unfurled the ribbon which was tied into her hair, before placing it to one side.
"All of who I am... I want to share with you... and therefore...

all of your kindness... all of your care... all of your desire... all of your passion...

give everything you are... to me."


"Sakura..." I said the word aloud, as the groundswell of emotion building in both of us burst into overdrive, and we almost jumped down onto the futon together, kissing and holding each other passionately.


------------------------------------------------------------


We sat up again, and she reached out and lifted at the edges of my shirt, my arms stretching outward as she lifted it off and threw it aside. After this, I reached my hands to each of her shoulder straps and carefully slid her nightdress down to her waist. Her skin was immaculate, her shoulders gently proportioned, her breasts full and tender, and as she traced a hand upon my chest, I felt how she was more than content with my own torso, despite my own misgivings.

We lay down once more, pressing closely to one another, and the pace slowed, as my hands moved from her fingertips to her palms, and up along her arms to her shoulders and back again. I could feel both sides of the touch - the sensation coursing through my fingertips as they moved, and the echo of the feeling upon her skin at each point of contact. I had no idea that this kind of connection was even possible, let alone that she and I could share this kind of intimate bond... and yet, there it was.

And it felt completely natural.

With each touch, I could feel the ebb and flow of firing neurons and stimulated skin and muscle, as if she was somehow guiding my movement in just the right way to excite her properly.

I lifted my chest back slightly, and continued to caress her, moving from her shoulders to the side of her neck, then down the sides of her spine before moving across her waist to her abdomen. I could hear her breathe that bit more heavily as I continued, her eyes closing and opening, her lips almost moving as if to speak.

I reached her breasts, and cupped them carefully, my hands curling and stretching to caress the surface, as I moved down and placed a kiss upon one of the more sensitive areas. My lips surrounded her left nipple, as my tongue slid upon the enclosed tip, each touch sending pulses of pleasure into her body.

Then, she took my right hand, and moved it along her abdomen once more, this time heading towards a different destination.

"Here..." she whispered, as our hands slid underneath the half-removed nightdress.

She twitched and moaned as my fingertips moved with her guidance, and I tried to follow her lead as carefully as I could, while synchronising the movements of my tongue and lips with those below.

The intensity of her passion washed over me, and I felt this incredible sense of being totally awake - as if every moment I had spent in my life prior to this had been something I had merely sleep-walked through. I had heard or read about the kind of impulse that takes over in some men when in such intimate moments, causing them to lose the run of themselves - and I found that in my case, it seemed to send me in the opposite direction. The intensity of the passion made me even more lucid, more focussed, on what it was I wanted to try and do... for her.

I kissed her breast one last time, before I lifted up, and I took in the incredible sight, all the way from her hips to her beautiful, wonderful face. "Now... here..." she added quietly, yet firmly, as she pressed her two inner fingers against mine, and guided them yet further.

I could feel the warmth, the moisture, the softness of the flesh that my fingertips were surrounding, and I felt the rush of sensation she felt as she led them inwards.

"I... feel it..." she blushed while looking towards my face, and I knew she felt how it was for me, also - similar, yet different, to the way her own fingers recorded the sensations.

As I moved my fingers, and the rest of my arm along with them, she pushed her hips forwards and backwards slightly, matching the movements, as her breathing became deeper and more assertive. "I... feel it!" she said again, more loudly this time, in keeping with the more vocal and passionate moaning I could hear from her.

I moved more quickly, and more firmly, just enough with each increase to build upon the feelings washing over me from her, almost overwhelming me with their intensity.

The buildup was coming - I could sense it - I could hardly believe it...

"Nnn... Nnnnnn... Aaaaaaa... Aaaaaaaaaaa... Aaaaaaaaaahhhhh!" She cried out, as the climax hit - her walls quivering around my fingers, and a rush of moisture pouring over them from deeper within.

I in turn gasped for air, as if coming out from beneath the surface of the ocean, in the midst of a broiling tempest.

"I... I never imagined..." I said, panting, as she opened her eyes and looked over me with a smile the kind of which I had never seen before.

What she said next astounded me. "So this is how it feels... to come for my first."

Her first...

This was the first time she was making love... the first time...

...and the first time for me, also.

"Sakura... that means..." I tried to say, before she placed a fingertip to my lips.

"I am inexperienced,
itoshii," she said to me, "so please take care of me."

Yes, Sakura. Let this day - this moment - be the beginning of your true life.

But let it not be the end.


------------------------------------------------------------


The nightdress, and the rest of my own clothes, were off to one side, and we were together... interlocked... making love.

I had been slow and careful when she guided me in the outset - doing everything I could to avoid any pain or discomfort - and mercifully, there was no such un-pleasantries in the event.

I was so relieved, the nervousness I had felt about... this action... washing off, as she looked up and gave me a knowing look that told me she knew that I would get it right all along.

We were moving backwards and forwards slowly, her lying on her back and facing up to me, her arms alternating between caressing my arms, my shoulders and my chest, her legs wrapped around my hips and above my own outstretched legs, as I leaned forward, running my own fingers over her breasts, along her sides, and through her hair.

Inside, the feeling that my fingers had sensed earlier was completely eclipsed by that enveloping me, and the pulses of sensation within her own body at my presence were an order of magnitude higher than those I had felt her emanate beforehand.

"You feel wonderful..." she said to me, and I felt a further rush of relief at her words - and at the sentiment behind them.

I felt as if each constituent piece of the event...

every movement of our bodies...

every flutter of her eyelids...

every sound of her voice...

every wave of sensation I felt cross the invisible link between her and I...

every burst of emotion in her mind that raced towards mine...

every step we took together on the path of mutual intimacy...

was an instrument in a symphony orchestra, performing the most intricate of pieces.

The kind that tugs on your heart-strings and sets the hairs on the back of your neck alight.

The kind that takes you on an avalanche of sound, a torrent of mental imagery and a kaleidoscope of emotional states...

...before culminating into a single, distilled fragment of perfection, that sends one's soul to flight.

And that unlocks the door between the mundane and the sublime.

And the most wonderful part of it was...

...that I knew it was the same for her, too.

She guided me further, drawing me in deeper, bringing my body closer, as I shifted position and lay down towards her. I ran my fingers through her hair as we kissed, her arms holding tightly to me, her fingers pressing into my back as we gathered pace and momentum.

"Sakura..." I 'said', not wanting to break the kiss, and thanks to the blessing of the mind-link, not needing to. "Watashi wa... anata no..."

She reached up her hands to my head and lifted it back, as her hips drew me on further and further, her eyes locked with mine. "Tell me," she said, "I want to hear it... I need to hear it... I have to hear it!"

She already knew what I wanted to say, but just as she needed to hear me, I needed to tell her.

"
Aishiteru yo!"

At this, her feelings exploded, and she clamped onto me as she tried to hold her gaze just long enough for her to say what she, in turn, wanted to say to me.

"Watashi mo... Watashi mo... AISHITERU YOOOOOO!"

That was it.

Her eyes rolled upwards, and my eyelids clenched down, as we both shook vigorously, quivering inside and out as we each reached climax.

We held on to one another, breathing in and out, trying to catch our breath, feeling the aftershocks of the extraordinary level of feelings roll around our minds and throughout our bodies.

"I mean it, Sakura," I said at length, as we both got enough wind back to breathe somewhat normally again. "Every word."

"I know," she said, and there was that smile again. "and so do I."

And there it was.

A glimpse of Eternity.

A chance for something incredible.

A lifetime we could spend as one.

Before I even knew it, I was in tears, of the purest joy - and I didn't even realise it until she wiped it clear with her fingertip.

"Did I... was I..." I had to ask, despite the overwhelming evidence to hand.

But then, she knew that, too. "You were more than I could have ever wished for..."

Her expression changed to a more playful one, and suddenly she grasped onto my hips with her legs, before rolling me onto my side, and then onto my back.

"But don't get too tired just yet,
itoshii."

And so, once again, we reached out for one another, and began to follow the music, and dance as one...

------------------------------------------------------------


BGM: Trevor Morris - The Tudors OST - The Passion of King Henry



"Egao saku kimi to dakiattetai,
Moshi tooi mirai wo yosou suru no nara,
Aishiau futari shiawase no sora,
Tonari dooshi anata to atashi sakuranbo..."


Those words were on my mind - thankfully, not directly linked to the music they typically accompanied - echoes of the most compelling dream, as I awoke, Sakura's warm body beside mine.

I looked over, and marvelled at how beautiful her face was - and how it looked so peaceful, with her eyelids closed, as she lay at rest.

Soon, she opened her eyes, and focussed on me - and I saw how her smiling face was even more amazing.

"Did you see it?" I asked her. "The dream..."

She nodded, as she reached over to me. "Yes... I saw it all... and it was incredible."

A dream of us spending a lifetime together, in the form of an endless dance - during which the backgrounds shifted, as did our ages, as we took in glimpses of what could be. And even at the dreams' end, when we saw the two of us reaching the end of our lives, we were still reaching out to one another, there together for the last dance... before we went on to find what awaited us in the hereafter.

And the more I thought of it, the more I knew I had to try.

"It doesn't have to be just a dream, Sakura," I said, holding onto her hand, as I took the lunge and said what I wanted so dearly to say. "Let's start, from right now, and begin a full-on relationship. I love you so much, Sakura - in fact, I feel that what I thought I felt for... before we met was the illusion I had always tried to tell myself it actually was. And I want to be with you, more than anything, more than anyone... so long as you..."

I felt my head drop slightly, as I fought back the doubts over what I was about to say next. "...can find a way to love me more than anyone else, too."

She sat up, and I joined her as we sat at the edge of the precipice.

"I..." she started to say, "I want that to happen, very, very much,
itoshii. You mean so much to me, and I don't want to let you go..."

No, Sakura. Please, don't say what I fear you are going to say. I willed myself not to 'say' it - the last thing I would want is to try and act in any way to oblige her to make such a choice - but I didn't know if she 'heard' me or not.

"...but before I can do that, I need to do something I should have done a long, long time ago."

She looked at me, and I could sense the resolve in her mind, even as I knew - I
knew! - that she wanted to throw that thing away and jump into what was right in front of her.

"I need to confront how I feel... about
senpai."

Of course, it was something that was all too easily understandable. She had devoted her heart exclusively to Emiya Shirou for a long time, and even though she may have felt the wish to finally move on, those kinds of sentiments and built-up feelings don't simply evaporate overnight...

...no matter how much I want them to.

But then, how easy would it be for me to live with letting go of my feelings for Rin? Would it be as easy as it is now, or would I feel it again the next time I see her?

All I knew was that I'd rather try and find out this way, than not.

But...

...I shook my head, and realised that with all that Sakura has gone through - all that she has been forced to deal with compared to myself - that I am not the one who should even try to help decide this.

"I understand, Sakura."

I held her hands towards me, and kissed the knuckles gently.

"If you aren't ready, that's ok - and if it turns out your future will one day be with him, instead of... then I'll accept it." It was hard to say that, but not as hard as I thought it would be.

"
Itoshii..." she sighed, and I knew that she was on the very edge of saying what I desperately wanted to hear her say - that she'd deal with it another way, and be with me from now on.

But the truth is, that I don't want it to be this hard a decision for her. I want to be her number
one choice, with no competition - despite how pathetically egotistical that sounds.

And for that, I'd wait as long as it takes.

"So, when we step out of this room, let us be friends - and let us hope that sooner rather than later, you will find your answer, one way or another." I tried to sound more assertive with this, even thogh I was pre-emptively trying to paper over the cracks I'd start to feel as soon as the reality of losing her sank in. "But no matter what happens, I will always - always - be there for you, in whatever way I can... for as long as you wish me to be."

A tear formed in her eye, but she nodded and affirmed this. "
Hai."

But she wasn't finished with me yet.

She reached over and kissed me, then asked me the question: "So, while we are still on this side of the door..."

I returned the kiss, and she had her answer.


I'm going to curse myself the moment you step through that door, Sakura, I said to myself.

I'm going to be a shell of a man, without you... without this. I'm going to be more lonely than I have ever been.

I probably won't be able to face them either - either from what they are, or for what they represent.

But...

for you, it will be worth it.

And now, right now, for as long as I can hold you...

as long as I can express how I feel for you...

everything I am is yours, Sakura.
Last edited by Nerroth on November 7th, 2008, 6:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Nerroth » October 26th, 2008, 6:39 pm

Part 13


------------------------------------------------------------


"Ok, just what the hell is going on here?" Rin's shock at seeing the floating spectacle recently was compounded by the conversation he former-floater and Sakura were just having... and just why his words had drawn such a reaction from her imouto.

She wanted answers.

She didn't quite get the ones she was expecting, however.


"I... I don't know how to put what happened to me in words - or at least, ones which wouldn't take a week to try and wring out," the Irishman said, "but when I... make more sense of it all, I promise I'll try and tell you, all of you, what I can."

Rin was not convinced. "You know enough to talk about 'them' - whoever they are - and to clarify that said creatures are alive. Maybe you could start by telling me about them?"

"That..." he sighed, "is not as long a story, but still a long one - but before i get to that, there are some things we need to clarify, right now."

Before Rin continued, he turned to Sakura, and asked her "did you do what you needed to do, Sakura?"

All eyes turned to her, as she shook her head. "I did not get to finish what I wanted to say, but..."

She looked around, to each of the assembled people in the group, before continuing. "...I am ready to do so now, if you do not mind."

"Are you sure, Sakura?" asked Shirou, "I thought that you wanted to..."

She nodded, more assured now if what he wanted to say. "Hai, senpai. What I have to say... is for all of you."

At this, he nodded back in agreement, as the others waited to hear what she had to say. "Senpai, the feelings that I had for you... they had been very strong... for a long time. After everything which had gone before, I thought that I would continue to feel that way for the rest of my life."

Rin looked slightly downcast, sad to hear such words from her sister. "Sakura..."

"It's ok, nee-san," Sakura insisted, "but it is odd how senpai kept rushing to the end of my story, also..."

At this, she smiled - and the mood in the group lifted somewhat.

"In that case, please finish your tale, Sakura," added Saber, whose words were enough to ensure the others would indeed let her get to where she wanted to go.

"Thank you, Saber-san," Sakura replied, before going back to things. "But when all of you came to visit Fuyuki-shi, I found that for the first time, I had the chance to do something I never expected I could do..."

She looked over to the one she had called 'itoshii'. "...to move on."

Rin raised an eyebrow at this, while Shirou looked surprised, and Saber simply blinked.

"However, at the time, I... held back. I was not ready to confront these pent-up feelings I had towards you, senpai," she turned now to face Shirou, "and I let the chance slip away. But, in the months between then and my arrival here, I have... come to realise that making that choice was a mistake."

She stepped forward to Shirou, and held onto his hand. "I will always care deeply for you - you will always be a part of my life that I will greatly cherish..."

At this, she let go, and stepped back again. "..but you are not my itoshii, senpai."

Shirou said nothing for a moment, before he finally smiled and nodded. "I understand, Sakura."

"But... Sakura..." Rin tried to say, not expecting her to say this - especially after what she had thought she knew about Sakura's true feelings.

"Rin..." the 'itoshii' said, shaking his head. "I guess there's no need to continue this effort anymore."

She rounded on him, glaring in response. "What?"

"Look..." he continued, trying to hold back a chuckle. "you know, the ironic thing is, that up until now, you were the only person I had known who I could never sense even a stray thought or sentiment from - usually I have to try and filter those out from others. But now, after the circuit-bonding, I can sense what I should have known all along."

"Oh really," she asked, in a cold tone. "And what is that, exactly?"

"You really want me to say it?" he asked, all too mindful of the wrath he risked calling down upon himself.

"I'm all ears!" she insisted, refusing to let him back out now.

"You broke up with Shirou, and rushed into a relationship with me, because you wanted Sakura to have a clear run at him," he plainly said. "You said it to me yourself, and I was too caught up in the moment to notice. 'If I had known, I would have tried to get them together in the first place...' - and I, without realising it, led you right down that path, because that's what I thought, too."

"Didn't I also say that I had let myself get into a relationship what wasn't ideal for either Shirou or myself?" she shot back, her anger evident.

"You know that's not true!" The evidence was there in her mind for him to see all too plainly. "Yes, the two of you have had fights, and disagreements - but that's because neither of you have agreed to do what I should have insisted you do for ages now - and actually sit down, and actually fucking talk to each other! And I mean really, really talk, lay things out in the open, and actually try to work something out!"

"Oh, of course," she responded, icily, "which is why you were quick to insist we do that - oh wait, no, you were too busy having a crush on me, hah! And now I don't even know if what you were saying to me was anything other than a lie!"

"You just don't get it, do you?" he was only digging his own grave, but it was too late by now. "I was crazy about you - ever since the moment I met you - but when I was in Japan, I realised that I was being a fool to continue following down that road. But when we came back, I let myself be that fool, again and again, because the one chance I had to reach for something more was gone!"

"Itoshii..." Sakura sighed, heartbroken at the sight in front of her.

"No, Sakura," he turned to her, but not able to look up at her for fear of what the sight of her upset would do to him. "this time, please, let me finish."

"H... hai..." she nodded, sadly.

Feeling even worse than he was beforehand, he turned back to finish this charade. "I was doing the same thing for seven months that you wanted to do now - to bury the truth for the sake of another.

But neither of us need to lie anymore."

"You..." she walked over to him, her fists clenching.

"YOU BASTARD!" she lashed out and slapped him on the side of the face, twisting his head to one side and leaving an imprint of her hand with the force.

"That's not fair..." she sobbed, knowing that despite the fact that she did have feelings for him, that what he said was all too true.

Saber walked over to comfort her, while looking sharply at the one who had been on the receiving end. "I wish you had not seen fit to lie to me, no matter who it was you thought you were protecting."

His head slumped, the words laced by the further, bittersweet irony that in the end, none of it was even necessary.

"I don't think this is something any of us can avoid a share of responsibility for," said Shirou, who was still trying to make sense of it all, but could not help but feel guilty at the unwitting role he had played at the fulcrum of events. "None of us had the whole picture, and we each tried to act in the way we thought would be for the best - but instead of trying to grasp for answers and bottle things in our own heads, we all should have sat down and worked this out together."

He was right - and said as much in a way that showed a glimpse of the kind of man he had tried to become over the years, since meeting the man who showed him what to aim for... as well as what not to forget to keep foremost in one's mind.

The group let this sink in for a few moments, not saying anything, before Rin steadied herself and started the ball rolling again. "Right, so at least we know that the circuit-bonding worked - the important thing is that Saber is that little bit more secure her prana supply than she was before."

"Indeed," Saber added. "I feel the additional thread providing me with support, for which I am most grateful."

"That's good," said Shirou, relieved that things would be a little easier for them to help Saber now.

"I'm glad you think so, Emiya-kun," Rin winked, "but don't think that's going to get you out of playing your part, too."

"T.. Tohsaka?" he said, surprised.

"Well, after we have that nice, long, all-of-our-cards-on-the-table talk we'd really do with having, and we decide what kind of way we want things to be, going forward."

He sighed, falling back to the typical you-win-Tohsaka response that he was all too familiar with - the chance to straighten things out notwithstanding. "Hai, hai!"

"And you..." she turned to the 'itoshii', "I guess this means our record stands at one day, one bonding ceremony, one view into the bizarre and one act of violence?"

"It certainly seems that way," he replied, as they reached the point that was now inevitable - but necessary.

"Look, I'm... I'm sorry I hit you," she said, somewhat more subdued.

"It's fine," he answered, "I've had worse."

"Well then," she asserted, "if you want to avoid worse in future, you better take care of my sister, ok?"

Sakura walked over to him and stood beside him, reaching for his hand, as the two looked across to each other, and back over to Rin. "If that's what she wants, despite my many failings..."

"So long as he tries to overcome them, nee-san, I'd be quite happy to let him do so," Sakura smiled in a mixture of joy and relief, feeling a great load finally lift off of her mind.

"I am certain he will not forget the benefits of honesty and openness in future, Sakura," Saber said, using just the right tone to indicate she was willing to renew her faith in him, but that she was not doing so lightly.

"Indeed," he bowed, "Your Majesty."

"So, now that we've settled that matter," Rin pointed out, "maybe now you can tell me about who you saw in that... whatever it is you were caught up in? And what we're going to do about figuring out why you were floating in my room sporting matching ribbons of weird energy, that would be nice to clear up, too."

"Of course," he answered, "but before I go into it, I have to talk to Sakura about this alone. The matter in question is one that the two of us need to agree on before we can tell you what's going on - but I promise you, we will tell you once we are ready, if it's not too much of an inconvenience."


"Meh," she shrugged. "I guess now is as good a time as any to sit down with Emiya-kun, so I can wait for you to do what you need to do."

She clearly wanted answers sooner rather than later, but given the circumstances, slightly later would suffice.

"Ok then," he agreed, relieved, yet already thinking of the conversation to come. "Do you want to come with me, Sakura?"

"Hai, itoshii," she replied, "it won't do to keep nee-san-tachi waiting."

So, for now, Shirou and Rin stayed in her room, while Saber accompanied the others into the hallway.

"I will go to my own apartment now," Saber said, "I have paperwork the historical research group wished me to revise, and tardiness in one's responsibility is an enemy worth confronting."

"Good luck, Saber-san, and thank you for everything," replied Sakura, who gave her a heartfelt hug.

Saber, returning the hug, smiled. "I will always be there if you need me, Sakura."

"I really am sorry, Saber, about..." he tried to say, before she interrupted him.

"The matter is already settled. Therefore, concerning oneself after the fact is also one's enemy."

He stopped, and simply nodded. "Can I still be grateful, then?"

She responded favourably this time. "I can accept that, yes."

"Thank you," was all he could say, but it was enough.

"Until next time," she smiled, before turning and walking down to her apartment.

Once again, Sakura and her itoshii were left alone in the corridor.

"After you, my lady," he outstretched his palm, facing towards his door.

"Hai," she answered, smiling, as they both walked over and entered the apartment.


------------------------------------------------------------


They sat down together, holding on to one another, for the first time in over seven months - but it felt as if they were never apart.

However, before they could celebrate the moment, there was an important matter at hand.

"I'm sorry I didn't tell you about them... before..." she said, shyly, deeply regretting not revealing the truth to him earlier.

He held on to her tightly, reassuring her. "Well, at least now, I have been able to learn about them in a more positive way than how it would have been before the vision."

"Can you... show me?" she asked, the hope rising in her voice.

He smiled and focussed his eyes on hers. "Of course."

A new image appeared in Sakura's mind - of a distant place, almost half a world away in distance, but quite distant from any side of the Earth known to most of humanity.

She saw the entrance to the massive underground complex, in the shadow of where the mountains and rivers met the verdant rainforest.

She saw the alien pattern formed out of the surface of the subterranean lair, as the vision took her towards an intricately-arranged structure within.

She saw the glowing green light from within - framing the structure, and surrounding the two most notable pieces of the jigsaw.

Two elliptical pods, formed out of a green, viscuous substance, held suspended by delicate, yet firm threads connecting them to the structure.

She was shocked, as she could not only see the pods... but could feel the steady pulses within.

The pattern was unmistakable.

The vision dissipated, and she looked over to him, with so many questions, so many concerns...

...but with an incredible sense of joy.


They were alive...

...they
are alive.
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Unread postby KratosIrving » October 26th, 2008, 8:59 pm

:shock:

Damn, Nerroth. I think it's obvious at this point, but EPIC story here man.

Chapter 12 had me confused about this Irish guy's relationship with Rin, but now this chapter sets that to rest, along with a great couple of topics for the next chapter to continue on.

Great work, and keep 'em coming! :D
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Unread postby Nerroth » October 27th, 2008, 3:40 am

Yay!


A Moment of Truth Timeline

(Please note that while this timeline is intended to cover events as shown so far, it is necessarily incomplete - as there are further story elements yet to be added. Additional details will be included as they appear.)

*14 September 1987: Seonac Proinsias Ó'Conaill (English: Jonathan Francis O'Connell) is born in the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, Ireland, to Niall and Sadhbh O'Connell. Seonac has latent sorcerous ability, yet is unrecognised since his parents have none - he is a first-generation magus.

*3 May 1997: Seonac chooses the Confirmation name of Tomás (English: Thomas) - but in truth, his own theological convictions are less than clear. (He only picked it because he was obliged to pick something.) The fourth name is quietly tucked away, and mostly forgotten.

*5 June 2001: Although he does not realise it, the first steps towards the emergence of his latent abilities are taking form. He has a mild sense of when someone has a positive, negative or neutral disposition towards him, but he mostly writes it off as down to him not being all that popular a kid in the first place. (It seems that thinking more about the history of Europe and arguing about the existence of God with one's school counselor than indulging in your typical pubescent talk about 'birds' and so forth form a less than universally admired combination...)

*14 September 2003: On his 16th birthday, Seonac's telepathic powers manifest themselves. The shock of the realisation, coupled with the sickening cacophony of thought-patterns confirming how ridiculed he is by many of his peers, overwhelms him - yet he is terrified of the thought of actually telling anyone about his ability, convinced he would be either locked into a mental institution or treated as a medical experiment... or both. Over the next few months, he sees a number of specialist psychologists, yet he tells none of them of his ability. Fortunately, he does not have to - one of the specialists is a member of the Dublin branch of the Mages' Association. Correctly determining his likely specialty, yet ill-equipped to train a telepath, the magus sends for assistance from the Clock Tower in London.

*11 November 2003: Michael Mackenzie, telepath magus from Nova Scotia, and one of Waver Velvet (Lord El-Melloi II)'s most trusted colleagues, arrives in Dublin to meet Jonathan in person. Michael informs Seonac of his nature as a magus, of his speciality as a telepath, and his rare alignment (possessing all five main elements). Over the next few months, Michael trains Seonac in the basics of controlling his mental abilities, and explains the path that Seonac may choose to walk as a potential member of the Association. Michael also helps to inform Seonac's parents of his ability, which they learn to accept, as they attempt to nourish their son's gift. In addition, noting the Remembrance Day poppy worn by Michael on the day he arrived (and the time taken by Michael to honour the Canadian fallen) on the day he arrived, Seonac gains a keen interest in Canada itself - though his French teachers are less impressed by Jonathan's habit of picking up French-Canadian expressions...

*29 January 2004: Michael is summoned back to the Clock Tower suddenly, telling Jonathan to look for him or Waver Velvet "if either of us are still alive by then" - Seonac does not see either until he eventually leaves Ireland for the Clock Tower.

*February 2004: Fate/Stay Night, UBW-Good ending. Heaven's Feel 5 takes place in Fuyuki-shi, Japan. At the war's end, Tohsaka Rin and Emiya Shirou form a relationship, while collaborating to sustain Rin's latter Servant, Saber. Matou Shinji, whose body was corrupted by exposure to the Grail, becomes an invalid, set to eventually succumb to the same weakening that took the life of Emiya Kiritsugu five years previously. Matou Zouken withdraws into seclusion. It is unconfirmed whether or not Michael was present as a silent observer during these events, though it is likely that he would have been the one to contact El-Melloi II first, concerning the need to dismantle the Grail System. While Rin and Shirou's relationship develops, Matou Sakura gradually spends less time with either - citing the need to take care of the Matou household, though hiding a deeper motivation.

*June 2005: Seonac graduates from his secondary school in Dublin, while Rin and Shirou finish high school in Japan. All three, along with Saber, plan to move to London.

*12 August 2005: Seonac moves into one of the student residences in London, and makes his first visit to the Clock Tower. There, he meets Michael once more, and is introduced to Waver. The discovery that much of the Clock Tower's campus lies directly beneath the British Museum is a welcome piece of news, as is the opportunity to (eventually) take the Eurostar to Paris to see the Louvre!

*21 August 2005: Shirou, Rin and Saber fly into London, and set themselves up in the same residence - though do not run into Seonac while there, not least since the latter returns to Dublin every second or third weekend, and has unorthodox hours of study in any event.

*14 September 2005: Seonac's 18th birthday - spent somewhat anti-climatically, in the event. Most notably, while in a cafeteria, Seonac meets Shirou for the first time. The two strike up a conversation, and soon get along well. Seonac makes a mental note to make time for Japanese language modules while at the Association, as Shirou tells him of the others who have joined him from Japan.

*24 September 2005: Seonac is introduced to Rin and Saber - and is heartstruck at first sight. While he curses the inordinate bad luck to feel so strongly towards Rin, he buries such feelings, and gradually forms a set of friendships with her, Saber and Shirou. He notes how Rin seems to be the only person he cannot sense anything from - while he has a rule of not looking into another's mind uninvited, he usually has to try and screen loose thoughts and emotions 'broadcast' unwittingly from non-teeps. He is uncertain as to why this is.

*16 March 2006: Seonac invites Shirou, Rin and Saber to visit his family in Dublin, and takes them on a tour of some of the more notable sites of interest in and around the city (the Chester Beatty Library, the Book of Kells, Trim Castle etc) and recommends other sites for future visits.

*27 April 2006: Shirou invites Seonac to join them on a visit to Japan - to which Jonathan readily agrees. The group save up enough money for the trip (Rin making a point of rationing her Tohsaka trust fund, in order to practice self-sufficiency) over the next several months.

*5 November 2006: The group fly into Kansai International Airport in Osaka Bay, and travel to Fuyuki-shi, where Seonac is introduced to Fujimura Taiga, Ryuudo Issei... and to Sakura. The two feel an instant attraction, but neither are ready to act upon it, due to the lingering feelings each have for their unrequited objects of affection. Uncomfortable with staying in the residence, Seonac spends several hours each night secluded in the work shed.

*7 November 2006: AMoT, part 4. Sakura discovers Seonac in the shed, and events lead to his terrible discovery of the truth behind Sakura's fate with the Matou. While the two almost kiss, he pulls back, insisting that she have the right to make such a decision free of any trace of Zouken's terrible legacy. Resolving to destroy Zouken and confront Shinji, he hurriedly leaves the Emiya-tei and heads to Misaki-shi, insisting Sakura stay at the Emiya-tei until he returns. Although neither realise it at the time, a lasting mental link has been formed between the two, though its presence is highly dependent upon distance.

*8 November 2006: AMoT, parts 1 (segment 3) and 2. Seonac is led to the Garan no Dou by Kokutou Mikiya, and commissions Aozaki Tohko and Ryougi Shiki to assist him in disposing of Zouken. Seonac stays at a hotel in Misaki-shi, planning to return to Fuyuki-shi the day after.

*9-10 November 2006: AMoT, parts 6 and 8. Seonac attempts to hold Zouken in a mental duel - which Sakura unwittingly sees as a 'dream', due to the mind-link - long enough for Ryougi to erase his existence, and Tohko to scour the mansion for any traces of worms. Eventually, Zouken's powers prove too much for Seonac, who is on the verge of defeat... when a hitherto-unknown presence amplifies his abilities, allowing him to turn the tide long enough for Ryougi to make the kill - using the Remembrance Day poppy given to her by Seonac. As Zouken is destroyed, all of the worms in Sakura's body disappear, and her life is changed forever. Once the Matou mansion is scoured, Seonac confronts the now-dying Shinji, and projects the terrible memories inherited from Sakura into his mind. Shinji dies, taking the results of his may crimes with him, and his body is disposed of. Seonac is put up in the hotel that Tohko and Ryougi are staying at in the Shinto district.

*10-11 November 2006: AMoT, parts 10 and 12. After settling accounts with Tohko - at the expense of a ruinous loan taken out with the aid of an Association-loyal aide at the bank - Seonac stops at the Kotomine church, and meets Caren Ortensia, whon he befriends. For a moment, he wonders if another presence had been nearby, but dismisses it. He eventually returns to the Emiya-tei, where he is confronted by a highly skeptical Rin, tries to reassure Shirou... and discovers both the mental bond connecting he and Sakura, and that the feelings blossoming between the two are stronger than either had realised. Later that evening, he and Sakura become intimate, spending the night together, and confessing their feelings for one another. However, while they are on the verge of launching into a new relationship, Sakura holds back, wishing to confront her feeling for Shirou once and for all before deciding whether or not to finally move on.

*11 November 2006: Seonac, Rin, Shirou and Saber fly back to London. Jonathan curses letting the chance to be with Sakura slip away, while Sakura soon realises her mistake, and who she truly wishes to be with... but is afraid to take that step, still wishing to settle matters regarding Shirou first. Too late to discover the truth, Seonac buries his own feelings for Sakura, attempting to convince himself that nothing has changed, and that Rin is still the one he pines for - an effort made easier by his genuine feelings for Tohsaka.

*November 2006 - June 2007: Seven months pass, during which Seonac has become buried in the work he has had to take up in order to pay off the ruinous loan he took out to pay for Tohko's commission. Shirou, Rin and Saber find it more difficult to make the time to meet with him - although on one of the few occasions, Jonathan volunteers his flight to Dublin, recommending Rin and Shirou visit Brú na mBóinne. Seonac teeters on the brink of insomnia, his dreams haunted by what he once saw in Sakura's mind - and yet, the more positive dream he shared with her is lost, along with the hope he might have had that Sakura would one day ask for him. Being a half-empty kind of person has its drawbacks, it seems...

*19 June 2007: AMoT, parts 1 and 3. At length, Shirou manages to corner Seonac - the former wishes to talk about relationship troubles he has been having with Rin. An image from one of the earliest days of Rin and Shirou's relationship flashes into Seonac's mind, and the nature of it causes his patience to shatter. He strikes Shirou and knocks him out, immediately rueing the event, before fleeing the apartment block and hiding in a nearby lecture hall. He is found by Saber, to whom he confesses his 'love' for Rin - or rather, the person for whom "I let myself be that fool, again and again" - and lets slip about what he had found out about Sakura, as well as his role in freeing her. And yet, he still holds back from telling of what had happened between he and Sakura - still wishing to leave the door open for her chance to confront Shirou herself. Rin and Shirou overhear the conversation, and are devastated. Ostensibly due to a 'realisation' that things in the relationship were currently rocky, but more truly out of a wish to let Sakura have her chance, Rin breaks up with Shirou. After she vents her frustration at Jonathan for keeping the truth about Sakura's trauma from her, she pays off the outstanding loan, and agrees to start a relationship with Seonac - who is too caught up in events to stop and wonder why she is rushing into things. In any event, he convinces himself that this is for the best - now Sakura has her chance, and he has the potential to be with Rin.

*20 June 2007: AMoT, parts 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13. Sakura arrives at Heathrow - having been rushed onto an overnight flight at Rin's insistence. The group take time to re-acquaint in a more casual setting, doing to diner together, before Sakura and Shirou are left to discuss matters. Rin takes the opportunity to have Seonac play a role in helping to sustain Saber - as his reserves would be a significant benefit in this regard. Agreeing to a tripartite circuit-bonding ritual, Seonac, Rin and Saber sit in a chalk-drawn circle and enter a shared vision-scape, as Sakura begins to reveal her feelings with Shirou. However, events are interrupted as an alien portal appears in the vision-scope, and Sakura - sensing the event through her mind-link - rushes with Shirou to find Seonac in the midst of an... unexplained phenomenon. When he is released from it, he finds that the circuit-bonding had succeeded - he can now sense thoughts more clearly from both Saber and Rin - and asserts that "they", beings only he and Sakura are seemingly aware of, "are alive." In a tempestuous set of revelations and confrontations, Sakura's true feelings are revealed, as are those of both her 'itoshii', Seonac, and Rin. Eventually, the latter two agree to end the attempt to form a relationship, while Rin and Shirou agree to " have that nice, long, all-of-our-cards-on-the-table talk we'd really do with having". Seonac and Sakura, together at long last, go to their room, where he shows her a vision of "them" - revealing a pair of pods located in an intricate, unearthly structure, deep underground in a distant corner of the Earth...
Last edited by Nerroth on August 4th, 2009, 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby KratosIrving » October 27th, 2008, 3:52 am

Jesus your storyline is long and involved.


Anyhow, I've been in an on/off process of my own fanfic, but I don't know if I'll ever post it, due to the fact that I found one really similar in it's beginning chapters here: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4264602/1/Waking

Plus, that author's grammar and scripting of the story is so much better than mine, I feel quiet inadequete when I compare the two. :(
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Unread postby Nerroth » October 27th, 2008, 4:45 am

KratosIrving wrote:Jesus your storyline is long and involved.


Doesn't seem like that when you're the one writing it...


Anyhow, I've been in an on/off process of my own fanfic, but I don't know if I'll ever post it, due to the fact that I found one really similar in it's beginning chapters here: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4264602/1/Waking

Plus, that author's grammar and scripting of the story is so much better than mine, I feel quiet inadequete when I compare the two. :(


Well, all you can do is give it a go, and see where it takes you.

As a good friend of mine kindly told me, "no good writer is ever satisfied with his own work - but that doesn't mean that we aren't." If you feel you can do better, that's usually a good thing, but if someone can find your writing to be compelling, you're on the right track!

(Not that I'm too good at believing that myself, but anyway...)
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Unread postby Nerroth » October 27th, 2008, 4:16 pm

Part 14


------------------------------------------------------------


11 November 2006
Emiya-tei
Fuyuki-shi, Japan



Earlier today, I went with nee-san, senpai, Saber-san... and with itoshii... to the station, from where they would travel to the airport for their return flight to the rengououkoku.

Before he left, itoshii asked me if I kept a diary, or had any plans for how best to take up my spare time. I said that I had neither - so he presented me with this diary, and with a larger folder. He said that it might be a good idea for me to take at least one trip a week, or fortnight, out to see some of the various sights and attractions that my homeland has to offer. "If I can't be here to go with you," he said to me, "then go for the both of us - and use these to keep a record of your journeys, so that you will always be able to look at them and remember the positive steps you take from this day onwards."

Even now, as he was set to go half a world away, after promising to let me do what I said I needed to do, he can be like this - and when I came back here, I began to realise how the choice I had made... was a mistake. But, now he has gone, thinking he has to hide how he truly feels for my sake, how can I tell him the truth - and how can I tell senpai what I now know I need to say in order to do this?

Then, I remembered the last words itoshii whispered to me, as he hugged me for the last time: "When the time comes, don't tell him on the phone, or by text, or email, or even by letter. Go to him, talk to him face-to-face... and find your answers."

And so I will.

But until then, I will use the folder to store my pictures, and my thoughts about the places I will go...

...and the diary will be for the thoughts I wish to keep to myself, the ones that itoshii will miss the chance to share with me in person - but will at least be able to read here, when I can reach out for him once again.


------------------------------------------------------------


18 November 2006
Suma Aqualife Park
Kobe, Japan



I am writing this from the first place I have decided to go since itoshii-tachi left - I hope the pictures I have taken will develop well. The dolphin-san was my favourite part of the visit - though the sea otter-tachi seem to have fun here, also.

I notice how I have that strange feeling that something within is missing - ever since I discovered the hidden bond, I cannot help but notice its absence. But, it won't do to let that feeling stop me - and even though itoshii is not here to see these things with me, I am enjoying my time here, and remind myself that each week is one that takes me closer to the day that I will no longer be by myself... and that even though most of the people I care for are far away, I am never alone.



------------------------------------------------------------


1 December 2006
Emiya-tei
Fuyuki-shi, Japan



Today I made an appointment to see a local doctor - I have been feeling somewhat out of sorts lately. I had been on an excursion to see Rokko-san, but I started to feel unwell and decided it best to end the visit early and come home.

Home...

I have not been back to the Matou-tei yet, with the exception of the trip I made to retrieve the appropriate paperwork regarding the title deeds, and other items I need to gather now that I am the head of the Matou. I plan to contact the Association, have them acquire most of the relevant collection of materials present - and then sell the mansion.

That place will never be my home again.

So, I stay here at the Emiya-tei - and strangely, I had not been comfortable with the idea of actually staying here full-time, even though senpai insisted I was always welcome. Perhaps it it because it made me think too much of senpai... and nee-san... that I could not let myself do this.

But now... when I am here, I can think of another person with whom I share memories of this place.

Itoshii and I talk regularly now, at least once a week, usually on Sundays. He sounds tired, though he always makes an effort to sound positive on the telephone. I know that each of us are holding back when we speak... but why can I not just tell him what I want to say?

Waiting for the chance to see him again in person is not easy.


------------------------------------------------------------


3 December 2006
Emiya-tei
Fuyuki-shi, Japan



I...

I should have written this yesterday, when I learned the news - but I didn't know... I didn't know what to do.

The doctor examined me, and confirmed the reason why I was feeling the way I am - and at first, I couldn't believe her!

But, she showed me the results, and assured me it was true... and perhaps she saw how much of a shock it was for me, as she also asked me whether I needed time to make a certain kind of choice...

...Never!

The very thought made me so angry.

Though I did not expect this, I knew that I would never give up on the legacy that itoshii and I have created.

I was embarrassed at my outburst, and apologised - but the doctor simply smiled, saying "Your child is lucky to have a mother like you."

My child... our child.

Oh, itoshii...

I didn't know how to write this, until now - and I still don't know how to tell you.

But even now, I can promise you, until the day I work up the courage to tell you the truth...

...I will take care of our little one.


------------------------------------------------------------


14 February 2007
Emiya-tei
Fuyuki-shi, Japan



It's Valentines' Day today - and while I cannot share it with you, itoshii, you still managed to give me the most wonderful gift.

Today, I had an ultrasound taken - for the first time, I could see my little one - no, my little ones.

I have twins!

One boy, and one girl.

I could hear their little hearts beating, itoshii... my beautiful little treasures.

I have the video file stored on a DVD, so that you can see them for yourself.

And when you do, please, I beg you... forgive me.

I am so afraid to tell you, itoshii - even though I know that I have nothing to be afraid about, that I know how large a heart you have (and when I close my eyes, I can remember resting my head on your chest, and listening to its gentle beating) and that you deserve to be a part of this...

...and that I need you here with me, itoshii. Even without my little ones, I would still need you to tell me every day that you love me, and I need to tell you the same, too.

I am trying to work up the courage, itoshii...

...but even so, I am giving our little ones all that I can.


------------------------------------------------------------


30 April 2007
Emiya-tei
Fuyuki-shi, Japan



I can't...

I can't...

I can't... write this.

Can I?

It's so hard - even to think of it is tearing me apart, and I need to stay strong more than ever.

The doctors...

They said...

that our children are in trouble.

They don't know why, but they said that there's a risk of a m-

of a m-

a m-

But I can hear them, itoshii.

Their little hearts, beating away - if I concentrate hard enough, I can hear them!

Don't let them leave me...

...don't let them leave me.


------------------------------------------------------------


19 May 2007
Emiya-tei
Fuyuki-shi, Japan



I don't understand, itoshii.

I don't understand...

...how can it be like this?


Two days ago, I... The heartbeats...

the feeling...

that I get from them...

it was...

...gone.


But... it's not fair, it's not FAIR!

Why aren't they here?

Itoshii...

I tried to save the... remains... so that I could... bury them.

But...

when I tried, all that came out...

was the fluid...

and the placentae...

but the little ones, itoshii...

the little ones...

they were not there.

And now, I don't know what...

...


I buried what I could, itoshii - but I don't know if I should have.

I don't know...

I don't know.


------------------------------------------------------------



20 June 2007
Student Residence A
London, United Kingdom



For so long, I have waited to tell you, itoshii...

...but I never imagined that you would be the one to tell me!

Our little ones are alive!

I could see them - thanks to the vision you showed me, itoshii.

They are safe, and while they are far away, in a place neither of us have ever imagined existed, I know where they are.

Now that I have you, itoshii... I will never let you go.

And together, we will go to our little ones...

...and bring them home.
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Unread postby KratosIrving » October 27th, 2008, 6:23 pm

Heheh, good to see my guess was correct for twins. :D

Now I just want to know where the hell they are at!
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Unread postby Nerroth » October 27th, 2008, 11:41 pm

Well, there are clues in the parts written thus far - but things will be somewhat more clear as the story progresses...


...when I actually write it, that is.
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