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Fragments and Fallacies

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Diarmuid can hardly believe his luck, that he had been summoned back by his beloved Master, to a world without war. Changing classes must have offered more benefits than he could ever have imagined. Many times that morning he feared he were in a reverie, cursed to taste this paradise only for it to be ripped away at any second. He can’t let you go, so afraid of this fate and cruelty that he insists on being in contact with you at all times. If this weren’t some terrible delusion, if there was hope and good and love in this life as you had always told him, then he had to admit that even a device as wicked as the Grail had brought him happiness. That without it’s corruption and power, he would never have met you, could never have known the joy of your companionship.

Trailing along beside you dreamily, his train of thought is broken when your hand slips from his elbow. Immediately, he touches your arm as a loud meow is heard.

“Ah, have you met my son?”

His heart clenched, eyes landing on the cat that had come bounding around the corner, weaving between your legs as you crouched down. You had a son? He supposed that wasn’t unexpected...it had been many years. No, what was more concerning was the fact that they had apparently been cursed into a form of an animal, not unlike Congus...who in a boar’s bestial rage had gored him. Then there had been that swell of emotion beyond surprise, at the thought that you already had a significant other, a family of your own to which he would be secondary...it hurt. The logical part of his brain was swift to cull any notion of disappointment or jealousy that flickered alive, he had no right to these kinds of feelings after all...he himself had children with Grainne even if he had come to realise that marriage a tangle of twisted lovelessness and false consent.

No, if this truly was your offspring, it was his duty to do everything in his power to revert him to his true form. For anyone you cherished, he was surely obligated to as well as your loyal knight, as a true friend. Your happiness was paramount beyond his desires, so even if he might have to bite his tongue and watch you fall into another’s arms, he would do so with a smile however forced, however tinged with longing. Gods, melodramatically he felt like a drink already… He shook his head to clear it, focused on the fact that some malevolent monster had dared to inflict such an unjust punishment upon you and your family, let indignation and anger drown out his recently dashed hopes, desperately trying to quash any romantic captivation that had bloomed in his chest.

Diarmuid crouched down, trying to stroke the creature who stoutly dodged his affection. He supposed that he might be considered patronising, so guiltily he stood again as it continued clamouring for your attention.

“Is there no way to help him?”

“Pff, he’s just hungry, the diva. I just fed him tonight too...so don’t listen to him! If he’s lurking around outside begging for food, ask me first because 9/10 times I already put out his bowl.” you replied casually, with the same carefree, cheerful tone as always.

He admired your easy cadence, forgiveness of this calamity. Had it been him, he would have been boiling in rage and bitterness...perhaps time had calmed your wounds. But you had always been more mellow than him in that regard.

“(Name)...I pledge to you that I will do my utmost to break the curse on your son.” he promised solemnly as you gave him a confused look.

“Pretzel is cursed?”

“...I assumed so, but please correct me if I am mistaken.”

You two stared at each other for a moment, and through your bond he could sense your worry transition into immense bewilderment. The calico yowled loudly in the background, demanding attention. Then you burst out laughing, finally connecting the dots.

“Haha! No! He’s not my literal, biological son!” you clarified with a grin. “He’s just a stray neighbourhood cat I happen to feed!”

He blinked, watching you clutch your stomach, hooting and finally unlocking the door, stumbling inside still chortling. The relief that flooded him was unprecedented, but undeniable, he was sure you must have felt it ripple through your link.

“I still use modern lingo, sorry if I scared you.”

“There is no need to apologise, I am only glad the cat is merely a cat.” he replied quickly as you put down your bag.

You located your couch, plopping down as you turned in his general direction. Your expression was still mirthful, fond and amused. He made you laugh, made you happy. He took a seat close by, reaching out to place his hand over yours, to let you know he was there.

“How've you been? You feel like you’re in a much better place, Diarmuid.” you mentioned off handedly and he smiled. “Like...you’re more self assured. I’m glad.”

“Of course, I’m always in a better place if I’m with you, (Name).” he told you earnestly and you shut your eyes.

“You’re as flattering as ever, I see time hasn’t changed a thing.”

He hesitated, then intertwined your fingers with his. You didn’t live alone, he could see that much. The pair of larger shoes near the entrance, an enchanted jacket just like he used to wear dangling from the coat hanger...no, and somehow his previous trepidation returned. It was selfish, but who could control their heart? He had wanted, almost expected it to just be the two of you...he didn’t want to share. Not now when he had finally found himself, when he was sure of what he would wish for if he had to do it all again. That glass he had bought you, engraved with a Celtic cross looked well used, smelled like alcohol that he knew you never drank. You were wearing gloves but he was sure that if he had peeled them back, your hand would show two sets of Command Seals.

“(Name)...”

The door opened at that moment, and he snapped his gaze to the figure that breezed inside.

“Oi (Name), did you forget to feed Pretzel or something--?”

He stopped dead, crimson eyes landing upon the other Servant present. His first instinct was that there was an enemy right here in your his own house, touching his Master no less. But then he spotted how you faced the Saber, friendly, open, no fear through your connection. His mood soured regardless of there being no immediate danger.

You got up brightly.

“Lancer, you’re back early today! I wasn’t expecting you until later. Cu Chulainn, meet Diarmuid Ua Duibhne.”