Crawling to the Dawn
a Fate series fanfiction written by The Overlord Bear
Summary: Shirou Emiya ends up summoning a certain treacherous Knight of the Round Table as his Servant for the Fifth Holy Grail War, and said Servant is a somewhat sane Berserker to boot…a Berserker who then ends up wanting to smack some sense into him and a bunch of other people.
WARNING: MATURE CONTENT!
Previous Chapter: Broken Pride
First Chapter: E-Rank Luck
Chapter 4: And There Was Much Rejoicing?
The dishes were washed, Shirou kept his lips zipped, Archer was having fun pissing people off again, Sakura wasn’t freaking out, Berserker was manageable, and Fujimura-sensei wasn’t holding so much suspicion about Rin and Shirou.
Not so bad a situation, if Rin Tohsaka were to be asked about it.
Of course, just as things were going more smoothly, Rin just had to take what was probably her regular dose of bad luck once again.
“Oh, it’s Miss Tohsaka’s guardian!” Fujimura-sensei exclaimed, standing up to greet the maniac, because of course he was just that charismatic, even with him not even trying to hide his smirk whenever he saw her irritated at him. “Good morning, Father Kotomine!”
Tuning out the formalities between the flippant English teacher and the sadistic fake priest, Rin gave looks to Sakura and Shirou, who were both giving her head tilts and raised eyebrows.
Fortunately, Shirou narrowed his eyes when they focused on Kirei.
And then there was Sakura, whose eyebrows raised higher as she alternated looks between her older sister and her older sister’s guardian.
She wasn’t sure if they both felt the same way, but Rin could imagine herself and Sakura feeling a lowering in their respective opinions of their late father at that moment.
“Oh, I feel the same way, Father!” Fujimura-sensei continued, hands on her cheeks as she wiggled around and squealed with an oversugared smile and voice. “Our babies being all grown up and getting along so well with each other…” And then she did some overdramatic face covering with both of her arms. “…it makes me cry tears of mixed emotions!”
“Yes, fate is quite unpredictable, indeed,” Kirei followed, hands behind his back as he went on with that slithering drawl and that calculating smirk. “Though that makes it an even more worthwhile companion. I apologize for being unable to share your sentiments, then, Fujimura-sensei.”
“Oh, it’s no problem, Father Kotomine!” Fujimura-sensei answered, doing one more hard rub with her arm before giving Kirei a smile and a thumbs-up. “And really, you’re so polite! Rin tells me that you don’t visit her much, but she’s quite independent, and I’m sure that you’ve been helping her grow quite well, considering how she’s such a model student at school!”
Oh, if Fujimura-sensei only knew…
“I thank you very much for your gratitude, then, Fujimura-sensei,” the fake priest replied with a bow, and then he turned to look at his glaring charge. “Now, it pains me to have to give you a reprimand in front of such friendly people, Rin, but I believe I told you to contact me if you ever find yourself in trouble, no?”
“Huh? Something’s wrong, Miss Tohsaka?” the English teacher asked, followed by rushing a little too close to Rin’s face. “How can your teacher and crush’s guardian help you, then?”
“Wait, you’re in what trouble, Tohsaka?” the idiot Emiya then decided to ask, as not only did he not get that Kirei was speaking in cypher, he was also a pitiful brownie who worked too hard for his own good.
And Rin wouldn’t admit it out loud, but her decision to skip out on having the idiot visit Kirei and get registered also caused him to ask that dumb question. And of course the fake priest would know that the seventh Master had already summoned his Servant, even if he didn’t know who it was at first!
Meanwhile, Sakura was quiet, but she was giving odd looks, still adding to the attention which now painted Rin as the center of it all.
The current Tohsaka head sighed, and she was about to spin up a lie…
“Family issues are all I can say, even if it is quite of concern to you all, so I apologize. Though Rin and I can manage it just fine, so worry not.”
But Kirei beat her to it, as if he were milking all the opportunities, from small to big, to piss her off.
Really, his smile, no matter its size, often said it all!
Then again, Rin still had to keep him around because she wasn’t old enough to manage stuff like the family fortune yet. That, and he was also her teacher in certain aspects of combat.
As much as she hated to admit it, Rin owed some to Kirei for managing to get this far in life, indeed.
“Ah, and I believe you have a foreign guest here,” the fake priest then spoke, looking around and past the people in the dining room. “She was the one who answered the door, see, and I remember her going to the backyard or somesuch along with the little girl I accompanied for this visit to the master of this house.” And then he looked at his charge. “So yes, I forgot to mention this, but your presence here is merely an interesting coincidence, Rin.”
And he was getting some sick enjoyment off of it all.
Now, Rin and Shirou exchanged looks.
Rin raised an eyebrow.
Shirou did a shrug.
Suddenly, the doorbell rang.
“Ah, I’ll get it!” the idiot Emiya automatically declared and stood up, sliding and running out of the room.
Letting out another sigh, Rin decided to follow him, also planning to remind him about checking on Berserker and on Kirei’s fellow visitor.
Oh, and there was also a loud banging noise from the back.
Rin could only hope that Kirei didn’t do anything stupid at that point.
When Shirou Emiya opened the front gate of his house, he ended up making eye contact with a very beautiful girl.
She had emerald eyes, blonde hair tied up into a bun (and the cowlick sticking out from within the front part of her hair was also quite nicely eye-catching), smooth light skin, a slender figure, small yet straight pink lips, and a hard one-foot-forward posture that gave her quite a commanding aura along with her beauty…and even the maid outfit she was wearing seemed like it blended in well with that aura, making her look like quite a strange yet still powerful foreign beauty!
“Emiya-kun, I think you need to kick your brownie head back in and be polite.”
And so, Rin Tohsaka added yet another kick to Shirou’s poor kicked leg.
“I’m very very sorry!”
And as expected from Shirou, he went the extra mile as he apologized, going on his knees and placing his palms upon the cold soil by the open gateway where the impossibly beautiful maid stood.
Tohsaka sighed again at that, but Shirou didn’t care! He needed to offer great apologies, for great disasters can be caused by small mistakes!
“Worry not, you are forgiven,” he then heard the clearly regal voice of the lady (and she spoke with unaccented Japanese too!), and she sounded even more regal than when Tohsaka had her mask on at school!
“Wow, I’m feeling inadequate right now…” Tohsaka also remarked, though she didn’t inflict more physical pain upon Shirou. “A-Anyway, get up already, you idiot.”
The redhead complied easily after that, getting up and dusting his hands and pants before fully standing up to face the blonde maid.
It should also be noted that although Shirou noticed their height difference, with him being taller than the lady in front of him, he felt as if referring to his gaze at her as “looking down” would be more a big insult than a mere denotative description.
“I apologize for the disturbance,” she said with a bow, which made it harder to not listen to her, “But have you seen a little girl in purple with white hair and red eyes running by this place? She is my…Mistress…and she is a tad too mischievous for her own good.”
And there was silence from Shirou and Rin.
Suddenly, there was a high-pitched voice, one which clearly belonged to a little girl, as an actual little girl rushed into the scene, wrapping her arms around Shirou’s waist for a hug.
Meanwhile, there was Berserker standing right behind the little girl…and she was staring with a dropped jaw at the blonde maid, who was also staring with a dropped jaw at the whole scene.
And when the regal blonde looked at the rough blonde, a very intense staring session happened.
Like, really, Shirou didn’t get it much, but he could guess that there was something very important that he was supposed to know, and that something was a main cause of the tension that even a spectator like him could feel.
“Is it just me, Emiya-kun,” he then heard Rin whisper, a sweat drop going down one side of her face, “Or do they look like they’re related or something?”
Now that Tohsaka mentioned it, Berserker and the blonde maid did look similar. From physical features and down to even their presences, they were similar.
And Shirou wasn’t quite sure why, but that gave him even more of a bad feeling.
“Onii-chan is a Master?” he then heard the little girl hugging him whisper.
If the tension was just heavy air before, then it was solid ice now.
And then there was a growl, a growl growing from a low rumble to a rising grit, and it was coming from Berserker, who was emanating a visible red aura that started freezing Shirou’s blood, even though he could remember how he had a Command Spell affecting her.
Meanwhile, the blonde maid, who was seeming more likely to be a Servant in the Fifth Holy Grail War, started to have a sharper gaze, her arms rising and her forward foot sliding slowly along with that at her rough doppelganger of sorts.
Quicker than Shirou expected, Berserker’s aura exploded with her shout, and her eyes were covered by a glaring red that burst past her irises, a coloring that made her look more monstrous.
Shirou then felt the two females around him have a tighter hold on him as he held on to them tight as well.
The blowing sound of a gale could be heard as Berserker exploded in place, and there seemed to be the bursting sound of a gust as well, one that was heard as the maid shot one arm out and opened and closed her hand over something.
Shirou could smell the strong scent of magical energy in the air, and with fear taking over him, he tried to shout –
Berserker’s exploding aura flashed out as her eyes rolled to the back of her head, her body falling back-first.
And as quickly as that strong scent grew, the magical energy vanished as well.
Now, judging from the looks of his fellow spectators, Shirou felt as if they were all in agreement about how Berserker was still a terrifying sight, even while unconscious and with a more innocent-looking face.
Also, their open yet wordless mouths were shown to each other, piecing two and two together yet still at a loss about what to do next.
“We shall be taking our leave,” the blonde maid suddenly declared.
But in an unbelievable few seconds, he felt and then saw the little girl embracing him getting tugged and carried away from him with surprising force and speed.
The little girl was yelling too, but she quickly went inaudible to his ears.
“That was quite a breeze that passed by,” the visiting priest entered with a casual drawl and a raised eyebrow. “And I believe that your sickly friend here should get immediate medical attention or such.”
Shirou blinked with Tohsaka, and then they faced Tohsaka’s guardian, Sakura, and Fuji-nee.
“What was that shout, Shirou?” the English teacher questioned with fists raised in front of her. “And I may not like her, but why is Buzzer-chan knocked out? She looked like an okay sort of grumpy when we checked on her…Oh, and she broke your shed door like it was nothing! I’ll be teaching her a lesson about valuing another person’s precious property once she’s fully recovered, then!”
Meanwhile, Sakura just gave silent but wide-eyed looks, her lips pulled down and open with clear worry.
Shirou, hands left hanging in front of him, was about to chase after the strange duo that had just ran away, but the unconscious Berserker had him bearing heavier responsibility, especially considering how Fuji-nee was walking further into dangerous territory here, so he went to lift Berserker up and carry her to his room, which was right beside the room where her identity was further revealed recently.
Once he had her lying in his futon, the redhead found himself uncertain about what to do with the blonde. Palms hanging in front of him, questions like “Do Servants need to have their pulse checked while they’re unconscious?” popped up in his head, and –
“Just leave her be for now, Emiya-kun.”
And there was Tohsaka again, standing by the other Master-Servant pair, with her own Servant certainly standing by, though still invisible.
“And Archer, please shut your invisible mouth,” she added, one hand placed on her hip as she continued to focus her eyes down on Shirou and Berserker. “I am trying to salvage this situation as best as I can.”
“T-Tohsaka?” the third-rate repeated with more confusion.
“Let’s just pretend that everything’s okay for now, okay, Emiya-kun?” the school idol then told him, equipped with a convincing yet certainly fake smile of confidence on her face yet again. “We need to get those three out of this house, or, at least, not have them be too curious and find out about things that they shouldn’t find out. Understood?”
Shirou blinked, and then he put his hands down, eyes hardening with resolve as he went to follow Tohsaka’s orders and stand –
“On second thought,” the school idol interrupted, “Just stay there for now. I’ll be doing the talking to them. And to be frank, I don’t trust your mouth in situations like this, Emiya-kun.”
And she walked away, leaving the Emiya staring at her, his fists clenched as he felt some self-loathing rise up within him.
And then he looked at his Servant again, all as he wondered about how and why his life was going like this so far.
“…I believe you should have more confidence in Emiya-kun, Fujimura-sensei. He’s quite a hardworking schoolmate, as we all know, and for all his quirks, I think he can handle this well by himself.”
“Well, you got me there, Miss Tohsaka…”
Sakura had some relief about Fujimura-sensei easily believing her more charismatic older sister, but still, that didn’t erase her worry about her Senpai and his Servant, along with her sister’s involvement in all this.
That, and her older sister’s guardian did not help in easing Sakura’s worries. Sakura easily figured out that Father Kotomine was the War’s Overseer, considering what she had heard from Shinji and Zouken, but meeting him in person was a whole different experience.
She couldn’t fully explain it, but something about the man was…off.
What rang Sakura’s alarms, to be more exact, was how her older sister was so rebellious towards the man. The former Tohsaka, though estranged with the current head of her blood family, knew that Rin held respect for authorities, even if one of them were an oblivious man like their father.
And considering how Rin wasn’t dead yet (like their foolish father, whose death Sakura had learned about from passing mentions by that old worm and by Rin herself) despite having that sort of attitude towards her guardian, perhaps the man liked to show off how off he was, but not enough to drive Rin away.
Or perhaps her older sister felt as locked up as she was…but then again, she seemed so prim and proper everyday. When she wasn’t, she was burning with a fire that couldn’t be stopped.
Indeed, Rin still was someone Sakura considered out of her league, even though she felt some sick pleasure at the thought of her older sister feeling something close to the way she was feeling.
And if Rin were feeling like such, then perhaps their parents deserved some curses as well. Father was obsessed with being a magus, while Mother was just a yes-woman, after all.
But Sakura shook her head, remembering how her Senpai’s condition was still of greater concern. That would certainly be easier to deal with than her complicated thoughts and feelings about her older sister…
“I believe we need to take some time to have a conversation with you and your…friend in the bedroom, though, Rin,” the Matou then heard the priest say, which made her blink and widen her eyes at the phrasing. “I shall take my leave, though, for I have religious matters to attend to.”
Meanwhile, the Tohsaka looked at the priest with that scowl again as he walked away.
And although Sakura was feeling more and more jealous of her older sister and how she managed to make a quicker move on her Senpai, she genuinely felt bad for Rin and her need to deal with such an annoying guardian. They deserved better than that, of course.
Suddenly, a loud bang shook Sakura’s ears, making her turn her head to the side.
“I shall call you Rin-chan!” Fujimura-sensei declared with an index finger stretched out with a straight arm. Her face was also set in a rock-hard frown.
“…huh?” was the sisters’ synchronized response, complete with head tilts.
“But don’t take this as me going soft on you, young lady!” Fujimura-sensei continued. “I may not be so strict about letting young love among my students happen, but I will be strict if it involves my dear Shirou!”
And then there were sinking faces.
“I thought you were flaky, but I didn’t know you were this flaky…” Rin replied, that stiff smile turning back into a scowl.
“What did you say?” Fujimura-sensei questioned with hard eyes. “Is the school idol actually an evil witch, then?”
Meanwhile, Sakura just sighed, a mixture of exasperation and jealousy – and especially jealousy – rising up.
So the purple-haired girl decided to slowly pull away and fade into the background, leaving her Senpai’s house as the crazy princesses of the Fujimura and the Tohsaka began a shouting match within it…
Meanwhile, back at the Einzbern Castle within the Fuyuki Forest, Illyasviel von Einzbern wore closed eyes and a practiced smile for her Servant.
“It seems that you have learned too well from both your mother and your father, young lady.”
While the Master was sitting on the stone steps, the Servant was looking down from where she stood on the soil by the steps, her arms crossed as she did so.
“And it seems as if we met an essential part of your legend, Your Majesty,” the Master answered, still wearing that fake smile. “Along with finally meeting my big little brother, too.”
Saber growled at that, her fingers digging into one arm.
“Quite strange for your father to be so caring…” the Servant of the Sword grumbled with closed eyes.
“And quite strange for you to not understand the value of family,” Illya fired back, her eyes sharp and cold above that maintained smile.
“Do you not know a single line of my legend?” the King of Knights questioned with a lower tone, her eyes hard and open again, one of them having a twitch as well.
“Of course I know, Your Majesty,” the mocking Master answered. “That seemed to be your ‘son,’ Mordred, the Knight of Treachery, born from a forced encounter with your own witch of a sister.”
“Why do you test my patience, then, Illyasviel?”
“Because you seem to know more than just your legend, if you understand what I mean.”
Saber’s eyes stopped twitching, having frozen in focus as she felt dread creep upon her.
“Tell me,” Illyasviel continued, dropping her smile now, “How do you still remember whatever you knew about Papa during the Fourth Holy Grail War? How can you even hold such a strong aversion to him when you are supposed to know him only as a dead man after I summoned you?”
At that, the Servant of the Sword closed her eyes, her brow sweating as she reminded herself about how this was not the young and innocent Illyasviel she had met before the start of the previous War. She hoped that Illya would grow up to be as kind yet determined as her mother, but Saber began to have some more understanding about why the Einzbern even let Kiritsugu work for them in the first place.
After all, they wouldn’t have accepted someone who could not be as cold as them.
And Illyasviel was that man’s daughter.
“It does not matter whether you know of how I am able to remember my participation in the previous War,” Saber replied, eyes open again and locked with Illya’s. “I will admit that I am an irregular Servant, one who still bears the same strong desire to obtain the Grail for reasons I would like to negotiate with you later on, but…” She let out a sigh. “…I am simply worried that you may not be able to take knowing what sort of man your father truly was. And it appears that my worries have been unfounded.”
Illya’s lips pulled up at that.
“Hm?” the little big girl went, an eyebrow rising as well. “Did you think that I never knew about Papa being called the ‘Magus Killer?’ Grandfather told me about that in his rant about how he hated him, but he was also glad that he returned your still existing Noble Phantasm to the Einzbern.” And then she turned her head to the side, sneering. “Though he didn’t need to mock Papa right after he died in front of us…If I could, I would’ve strung that old toy by the balls…”
And Saber blinked.
Saber also realized that her jaw had dropped.
That was quite a lot to take in, indeed.
Still, Arturia Pendragon felt like a knot in her chest was untied.
“Well, in that case,” the smiling Servant said, though with eyes closed and arms still crossed, “I would like to tell you what I truly think about your father right now, then, Illya.”
“Oh?” the sitting Master responded. “Do tell me, then, Saber.”
“Alright,” Saber replied, letting her arms down and opening her eyes, “I have never been this frank about something, so please remember that my utterance of what I shall say next shows how strongly I feel about your father.”
“Just get to the point, you cowlicked King.”
“Your father was a cunt, you stupid girl.”
And then there was silence.
And speaking of silence, the maids of the castle had already finished repairs on the broken wall faster than expected. They were now standing between the Master-Servant pair, too, each halberd now held two-handed, forming a cross as well.
“We recently finished repairs on the castle,” Sella declared with a stern frown, “So please do not have your quarrel damage this castle again.”
“Yes. Sella. Is noisy,” Leysritt added with that usual blank look of hers.
Still, some wire wrapped around Sella’s ankle and a foot to Leysritt’s side showed how much Illya and Saber cared about that at the moment.
Author’s Note: If I make an update, then you can bet that I’m holding myself well enough out there at the moment. The quality of what I put out is a different story, though, so yeah, as usual, I’ll need your honest constructive feedback, dear readers.
And hey, I’d like to send my thanks to those who gave their thoughts on this so far and those who found this interesting enough to be tuned into. Also, I hope I’m not causing mood whiplash too hard on you all with how I’m juggling all these characters’ actions, thoughts, and emotions.
And now, since I don’t have much else to say, ’til next update, then.
Next Chapter: -in the works-