The first time Hakuno saw Gilgamesh as more than just someone who would kill her was after their defeat by Lancer. She’d known that Gilgamesh wouldn’t kill her for no reason. At least, not as long as she was entertaining, Hakuno knew that her problems were entertaining enough for Gilgamesh to want the story to keep going. Though she was always a little worried that he enjoyed her life the way that someone enjoyed a kind of boring afternoon drama. If there was something better, he’d end the contract himself regardless of promises.
She also didn’t trust him not to just kill her on some imagined offense because she’d managed to get a blanket for her sad little corner of the room where she was supposed to sleep while the golden servant lounged around on his stupid throne, which was in the corner of the room where the bed used to be, but clearly that was more important.
She wished she had the courage to speak her mind to him.
She was in a bad mood already, and honestly, the blanket felt like it was going to be enough of a fight.
Gilgamesh didn’t even notice it as he slumped into his giant throne, and Hakuno just headed to her corner, feeling exhausted down to her bones, and sore, but she sure wasn’t going to complain aloud.
She grabbed the blanket around herself, sighing as she thought about that bed. She hadn’t complained to the others about her servant. After all, it wasn’t as if there was much that anyone could do, and for another thing…she wanted to deal with him herself. She glanced over at him, sitting on his throne with his eyes half open, looking at his wine goblet. He seemed strangely despondent for a man who clearly was under the impression that the sun rose specifically to greet him in the morning.
If Gilgamesh noticed her looking at him, he didn’t show it, but he did start talking.
“This isn’t good. While it has been a delight to experience the dilemmas of the weak, there is a limit… and to be pushed about by some second-rate Servant…it’s almost disheartening.”
He was glaring at her as he said it, as if it was her fault or something that…
But it was her fault.
Hakuno knew that she was a half-baked mage who, by all rights, never should have gotten as far she as she could barely remember getting, and it had been her misdirection, her bad planning that had caused their loss more than anything else. Yes, he’d degraded, but…she couldn’t just pass off all responsibility just because of that. She still resented his cheerful declaration that she was suddenly in charge of powering him up again, she couldn't deny she had her hand in this.
“I should have worked harder,” she muttered, leaning against the wall and closing her eyes. “I wasn’t giving enough support and direction. If I was better…”
But Gilgamesh’s voice was suddenly sharp and cold as it cut through her monologue.
“Fool. How many times must I tell you not to consider us at the same rank. Your conceit is tremendous. My recovery and your growth are completely separate matters. Don’t even dream that we fight together.”
“I wasn’t saying we’re on the same level!” That was out of her before she could stop herself.
She knew that they weren’t companions. He’d told her as much from the start. He was only there because he was hoping that her misery would entertain him until she couldn’t take it anymore, but her protests completely died at the look that he was giving her.
The killing intent she had felt from that Lancer was nothing compared to that look in his eyes. Lancer’s was a threat of pain and blood and death that would last. This was something that felt to Hakuno of gold and blood and something so old that it had never even been given a name by any human. It wasn’t a threat. It wasn't even a promise. It was an absolute. She would die.
She couldn’t even apologize for her outburst. The most she could do was sit there, back against the wall, waiting to see just what was going to happen and what he was going to do.
“Mongrel, sew you mouth shut and keep that loose tongue in place. If you were a retainer of mine, you’d have been beheaded by now…. However…”
He paused, closing his eyes.
“Currently, I cannot claim my usual glory. I am nothing more than a normal king, descended from my Gorgeous throne. For that degree of irreverence, you should be profusely dosed in water to cool that flame of defiance. Be grateful for that.”
Hakuno looked up suddenly, sure that the Gate of Babylon was suddenly going too open a throw the equivalent of a bucket of water on her head, but nothing happened. The ceiling stayed intact without so much as a ripple.
For a moment, she just sat there, waiting, until a sound broke the tension. Gilgamesh started laughing. It was the same sudden, almost joyful sound he had made when she’d given him her command seals, and it made her stomach sink slightly. She looked back down to see him leaning against the side of the throne in his mirth.
She failed to see what was so funny.
“Oh, little mongrel, not yet,” his voice was soft, but his grin was far too toothy for her liking. “All punishments must come in their good time. But yes…I must judge as an ordinary king, descended from his Gorgeous throne…”
He continued making that illogical, stupidly elevated point, and he’s just throwing 'Gorgeous' around…
Did he…like that class name that Lancer gave him?
She’d sort of seen him as someone who was immune to flattery, if for no reason other than the force of an ego so large that any flattery just seemed normal to him, but there he was, playing with that class title like some new toy.
Gilgamesh shifted from his throne, taking the goblet of wine and drinking it, obviously thinking about something. Hakuno should have just let him talk. That was what he really wanted anyways…
“However, despite your pretense…it is good that you reflect on your own failings, rather than placing the blame for your defeat on your Servant alone. It is there that you have shown your merits and stayed my hand. That constant questioning of oneself leads to servility, but there is also a discerning form of humility there. I believe it is referred to as a submissive disposition…”
A shudder worked its way up Hakuno’s spine. There was no way that she had a submissive disposition. Particularly not to this Servant. Even if he could kill her in an instant, realizing where she could improve rather than just throwing all the blame on someone else and pretending that she was perfect wasn’t submissive, and if he repeated that she was going to tell him just that regardless of if it killed her!
But Hakuno knew better than to push Gilgamesh further. He had decided not to kill her, but she had no idea how far that was going to get her. Thankfully, he hadn’t noticed the anger on her face, or if he did, it amused him too much.
He was snickering to himself too much.
“I suppose that Lancer was right, sadism excites this ‘Gorgeous’.”
He…really just liked that class name didn’t he?
But…he had said something else that interested her, and if he was in the mood to talk, she was going to use it.
“A lot of masters blame their servants for things, don’t they?” Hakuno said thoughtfully. “Even when it’s really just their fault with bad planning and stupid choices….”
She frowned at the lack of memory. It was one of the many things, like Leo, and her connection with Rin that made her feel like she should remember something. Hakuno could see Shinji treating his Servant like crud. He treated everyone like crud, and he’d definitely blame them for anything bad that happened, but there was nothing to base it on, other than a feeling.
“Mages are proud for mongrels, and in their absurdity put themselves above all that they can. It is natural then, that they would refuse to examine their own deficiencies, and rather force them on their own Servants.” Gilgamesh said. “Such behavior has grown more common. I would suppose that you saw plenty of it on the Near Side.”
“I wouldn’t know,” Hakuno said, not liking that feeling of bitterness that came into her tone, and she decided to just keep going. “Did…did you have other Masters…ones who acted like that?”
That wasn’t pushing into his past, was it? Well, it wasn’t his real past, so she supposed it would work. Besides, Gilgamesh seemed like he was in the mood to chat, and he'd never told her she couldn't ask specific questions.
“If I did, they are not worth recalling,” Gilgamesh said, shrugging and taking another drink. “I have acknowledged no one as worthy of that title to begin with, so their petty attempts to protect their dignity have never mattered.”
No one had ever been worthy… That…sounded about right for him.
Hakuno couldn’t see Gilgamesh like Gawain, who was loyal to Leo regardless of the situation, or even Hans, who, regardless of his anger and clear hate for Kiara still served her faithfully. Gilgamesh wasn’t going to do that.
Therefore, how could her improving have anything to do with his reclaiming his own lost powers? He didn’t even see himself as her Servant. He was an observer. Even that statement about her reflecting on her failings… Gilgamesh was more or less commenting on how she dealt with defeat as a person. Judging her value separately from how it affected him.
It didn’t really make her feel better about how she’d done, but at the same time, it did remind her that this was her fight.
Hakuno looked up from her thoughts, realizing that Gilgamesh was still watching her. His red eyes bored into hers, the slit pupil giving her the uncomfortable feeling that she was staring down something that at some level really wasn’t human.
He was waiting to see her reaction, she realized. He wanted to see if she was going to get offended over being told that she wasn’t worthy of him. He was testing her. Well, she wasn’t going to give him that show.
“I wonder what a worthy Master would be for you,” Hakuno said carefully.
“Such a thing will never exist,” he said, looking back into the wine glass.
He seemed remote again, and Hakuno guessed that the conversation was over now. She hadn’t given him whatever he’d been looking for, but he didn’t seem overly disappointed. Just…bored.
But…he still wanted to call himself the ‘Gorgeous’ class. It was strangely…self-conscious. Then again, she was looking at someone who had literally summoned himself a golden throne to sit on in a tiny little room that felt like a converted storage closest.
It almost made him seem human.
“Hm, did you say something?”
Had she said that out load?!
“Nope,” Hakuno said, shaking her head quickly.
It was a bad lie, and she knew it, and he clearly knew it too give the look that he was giving her.
If she was right, she was on dangerous ground. But at the same time…she hadn’t really expected him to be flattered by something so stupid. In the Labyrinth, and when they’d met, Hakuno always felt that she was dealing with someone who honestly felt nothing about killing, and would have killed her as easily as a monster. He was more of a storm than a man.
But seeing him talking about that…It made her realize that maybe, just maybe, it was actually possible to understand the Servant that she had contracted with in sheer desperation.
“I guess even kings have their secrets…” she muttered.
“Hm? You mean like the Secret Garden that you summoned from Rin?” Gilgamesh smiled, but it was more like he was baring his teeth at her. “I have no dark past, if that is what you are considering, but of course I have my secrets. As many as there are stars in the sky. I am one who gathered all the treasures of the Earth and no lack of liasons…though nothing I would tell the public. A king’s legend though, is what people make of it, so you cannot see that as a delusion, or even something that I would tell you.”
So he was more or less telling her to figure it out for herself.
He did have an SG though, Hakuno realized. Even if…from the sound of it, she’d be more likely to be able catch a falling star than to learn the things that he was hiding.
At the same time…she wanted to try. Gilgamesh, whatever else he was or had done, was fighting for her, even if it was just because he was bored. She wanted to understand him, and…for the first time, she felt that it might be possible to do it.