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A Fateful Holiday

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Disclaimer:Fate/Stay Night belong to Type-Moon and its respective companies. I do not own the properties or the characters contained within. This story is not written for profit, just entertainment.


"I'm sorry, Sakura, I can't make it home this year."

Matou Sakura's shoulders slumped as she looked across the room at the sherry eyes watching her sympathetically. She mouthed the words her elder sister just told her. Emiya Shirou shook his head and sighed.

Sakura replied, "Nee-san, please. There's no reason you can't make it. Didn't you say the Association's Clock Tower all but close down this time of year? Shirou, Rider, and I would love to see you."

"Sakura, I'm entering a critical part of my training," came her sister's stern yet somewhat weary voice.

Shirou walked over to Sakura and gently took the phone from her. "Tohsaka, the strain's going to kill you if you keep this up," he warned gently.

Sakura knew exactly what Rin was going to say next, about the responsibilities and hardships it takes to be a magus. That it was her responsibility as the keeper of the Seal of Tohsaka to do this. Shirou's eyes met hers and Sakura sighed, her shoulders slumping as she leaned against her lover's body. His free hand began to stroke her long, violet hair and she bathed in his strength.

That very strength that caused him to die for her only to be reborn thanks to the spirit of the Holy Grail.

She took the phone back from Shirou as Rin said, "I'm sorry, Shirou, but this is very important."

"Christmas is important, Nee-san," Sakura replied sternly, "And you didn't come last year either."

Shirou gently whispered in her ear, "She only came back right after I came back to life."

Sakura nodded and bit her lip as Shirou held her tighter. Once, it had been she who hated her elder sister, now it was Rin pushing her, and everyone else away. She'd been jealous, jealous enough to want her dead as she had watched her interact with Shirou. Now, she had both Rider and Shirou safe and sound.

However, her Nee-san stayed hidden in the Clock Tower while she learned magic beyond their wildest dreams. Her conversations with her elder sister had become more and more distant, revealing how utterly alone Rin truly was despite Sakura's best attempts. Rin was too stubborn, proud, and headstrong to admit it.

"I'm not Christian," Rin said dryly.

Shirou chuckled against her hair at this. Sakura replied, "Yeah, but everyone celebrates Christmas here."

"Don't make such generalized statements, little sister," Rin chided dryly, "But I've already had your presents shipped to Shirou's place, or should I say your place now?"

Sakura blushed and Shirou leaned over and said into the phone, "It's our place, Tohsaka, and yours too, if you'd come visit once and a while."

"I'm sorry, but I can't," Rin said softly.

Shirou demanded, "Can't, or won't?"

"I have to go, Shirou and Sakura, I still have a long day a head of me. I'll promise I'll call though," she said firmly, "Good bye."

"Good bye, Nee-san," Sakura said sadly before the phone went dead. She put it back in her cradle and sighed.

Shirou shoved his hands into his pockets and said, "Your sister is the most stubborn, pigheaded woman I've ever met."

"She just feels isolated and alone. Shirou, you have no idea how that feels," Sakura replied.

Shirou smiled and held out his palm. He closed his eyes and Sakura could feel the charge of mana before it began to fizzle. Sakura reached out and grabbed his wrist and poured the energy into him.

She gasped as more and more power siphoned from her to create something to being. Sweat trickled down his brow as his breath caught. She held him tighter and held her breath.

There was a flash and held in his hand was an all too familiar sword; the very same weapon that Rin had hesitated using against her two years ago. Shirou smiled, lighting up his whole face as he brandished the weapon, the shimmer of the blade making him glow.

"Yeah I do, Sakura, yeah, I do. And you know what? Heroes deserve happy endings," Shirou said as he held up the Jeweled Blade of Zelretch.

London, England

"I can't stand being there."

Tohsaka Rin closed her eyes and tilted her head up. Cold snow kissed her cheeks and lips, became entangled in her long, black hair. Her fingers were numb as she caressed the familiar etchings that only a special few could see in the corner stone.

"And I think I'm going insane, talking to a dead man cursed," she snorted dryly as she moved her hand from the all too familiar symbol and title she'd etched into the stone as well as the True Name under all of that. A chance taken, a path turned, someone saved from a horrid lonely fate while one path kept fighting. Alone.

"Well, I ain't going to fault you, Rin-lass, but you keep this up you're going to get your death of cold and Lea's enough of a whiner on her own, but she'd insist on taking care of you till you're well. Which means I don't get to spend the Solstice tupping my wee American lover, and that makes me one very unhappy Druid," an all too familiar Scottish voice all but purred in her ear.

Rin raised an eyebrow and said, "And it has nothing to do with the fact that Lea's a synchronizer and can make you even more powerful?"

"Och no, Rin-lass," Drustan MacKelter said as he grinned at her, "I'm taking her to meet my family for the first time, and you're invited too."

Rin waved her hand, replacing the glamour over the cornerstone. After all, it wouldn't look good for her to be arrested for vandalism, even if she was a mage; especially at the Tower of London.

Drustan's normally craggy features softened as he sighed, "Rin-lass, we're worried about you. The both of us."

"It's a needless worry, I assure you I am more than fine. After all, I am tied for the second position for top rank of our class," Rin said as she tossed her hair back.

Drustan grinned and said, "And you can beat that Aryan bitch, but the top spot is taken by that Irishman."

Rin found herself smiling slightly at Drustan's shimmering emerald eyes as he placed his hand on her shoulder. He said, "Come on, Rin, Lea's waiting and we're both starved."

"Oh, I'm sorry, you should have gone without me," Rin said as she shoved her hands in her pockets as Drustan directed her away from the impromptu grave.

Drustan snorted and said, "You're already wasting away, lass."

As they walked, one of the huge ravens of the Tower strutted by. It looked at Drustan and cawed loudly. The Druid tilted his head thoughtfully and looked at Rin. He looked back at the ebon bird, black eyes meeting shimmering emerald. Rin watched as they communicated on a level not even understood by the most powerful mages of the Association. It was primal, beating along the same wavelength of Gaia.

He looked at her and said, "Come now, Rin-lass, Lea's waiting."

Lea Murphy was small, gamine with grey-green eyes and long strawberry blonde hair. She reminded Rin of Saber ever so slightly, which was one of the reasons she'd been drawn to the other mage. The other was that she also used gems in magic as well, save she used crystals and not the cut gems that Rin was fond of. She was also Drustan's lover, an oddly matched pair because Lea was compact and short and Drustan was basically a human Oak: tall, broad and all around huge.

"Okay, so tell us why you're not coming to Drustan's parents with us again?" Lea drawled in her Southern American accent that Rin always found adorable.

Rin shrugged and said, "I have a lot of work to do here."

"Cach,Rin-lass, and cach again. There's no one here and you shouldn't be studying alone, hell, even that wanker Yukisato is going home," Drustan said as he waggled his finger at her.

Rin wrapped her crimson pea coat tighter around her to ward against the London Winter as she said, "There are still a few retainers and bookkeepers. I won't truly be alone."

As they turned the corner nearing Rin's flat, they passed a group of historically dressed Carolers. Rin paused to admire their 18th century costumes as they swung into "Silent Night". Lea started chuckling as Drustan scowled as they continued to sing.

"Jesus was a fooking zombie!" he shouted at them and shook his fist.

Lea rolled her eyes and looked at Rin. She said, "Here we go again."

"It's not the holidays unless Drustan at least shouts that at someone," Rin said with a dry chuckle.


Lea sighed and said, "I'm just as Pagan as he is, and I don't go around saying that."

"It's what makes Drustan, well Drustan," Rin replied as Drustan stopped heckling the increasingly more horrified Carolers and rejoined them.

"There, had to say my peace, lasses, now, let's get Rin home," Drustan said cheerfully as they turned another street.

Lea asked, "Are you sure you won't come with us?"

"You'd adore Scotland, Rin-lass. Tis the most beautiful country you'd ever seen," Drustan proclaimed.

Lea nudged him and said, "Ireland's pretty too."

"Aye, but not as pretty as Scotland, but, you should come with us, love," Drustan proclaimed with a grin.

Rin shook her head and looked away. They were getting closer to her flat. Yes, you two happily in love and while I'm the odd person out. I'd adore that, she thought dryly as she dug her keys out of her pocket. She said, "I'm almost home, I can walk the rest of the way by myself."

Drustan asked, "You sure?"

"Yeah, I'll be fine," Rin said with a tiny smile before Drustan grabbed her arm.

He said, "On the Solstice, the veils between the Living World and the Spirit World are the thinnest. If ye wish to have a conversation with yer hero, that's the night to do it."

"That's nonsense," Rin snorted.

Drustan grinned and said, "That's what a fat raven told me."

Rin shook her head and sighed, "You two have a safe trip."

"Aye, thank you, Rin-lass," Drustan said as he wrapped an arm around Lea.

Lea grinned and said, "He is right you know. Be safe, Rin!"

She watched them as they turned back into the night, arm and arm, both happy and envious for them. She shook her head and then turned back to her door. She unlocked it and stepped into her chilled apartment.

"I can understand her reasons for not coming, Sakura," Rider said in her exotic accent as she faced her Master. Sakura's misty amethyst eyes focused on the Spirit. Rider's long, lavender hair trailed behind her like a banner as she continued, "She loved Shirou as well, and seeing you happy makes her happy, but seeing him probably hurts her."

Sakura said, "She loved Shirou."

"She still does, just a different version of him," Rider replied as she sat down with her book. Those odd pale lilac eyes with their squared pupils met Sakura's through the glasses.

Sakura said, "Well, that's why Shirou traced the Jeweled Blade."

"What you're attempting to do is dangerous, but if it was anyone else, I'd say they couldn't do it," Rider said as she opened up the book.

Sakura smiled and asked, "But because it's Shirou and I?"

"Then you'll make your sister happy while saving a good man from a very Special Hell," Rider said with a shrug.

Sakura rubbed her hands together and Rider reached out and stroked the other girl's hair. Sakura asked, "What if he doesn't feel the same way about her?"

"A man doesn't fight, and die, that fiercely for a woman without a reason," Rider said with a smile.

Sakura hugged her Servant and said, "Thanks Rider, for everything."

Rider was soft and warm against her and Sakura smiled happily. However, the phone's shrill ringing broke her concentration. Both Servant and Master blinked as Sakura reached for the phone.

"Moshi-moshi," the violet haired girl greeted cheerfully, "Emiya residence."

"Um, och, lass, can ye speak English?" an lilting, rolling male voice said to her in English.

Sakura blinked and answered, "Yes, I can, just not very well."

"Well, I canna either, but that doesna stop me most of the time," he replied joyfully.

Sakura chuckled and asked, "Is this Drustan MacKeltar?"

"Aye, and you must be Rin-lass's wee sister, you've got a bonny voice, lass," Drustan replied.

Sakura flushed and Rider chuckled as she continued to toy with Sakura's long violet hair. Sakura replied, "Thank you, Mr. MacKeltar, but what do I owe this call?"

"Sakura-lass, it's Drustan. Drustan. Now, I'm getting word that you're about to pull some heavy magic for sake of your sister," Drustan replied.

Sakura stared at Rider with wide eyes. Rider tilted her head thoughtfully and reached out to put the phone on speaker. "Your Lady informed you of this, didn't she?" Rider asked.

"Wow, another lovely voice and another lass to talk to? This Shirou must be one lucky bastard," Drustan whistled softly.

"Shirou is not a bastard," Sakura replied coldly, bristling slightly. Rider stroked her hair and smiled.

Rider replied, "Oh, quite so, but you didn't answer my question. Did your Lady tell you about their plans?"

"Aye, how did you know?" Drustan asked in a soft voice.

Rider picked up her book and said, "Because she keeps tabs of warriors she marks, directly or indirectly."

"What are you two talking about?" Sakura asked as she looked from the Servant to the phone.

Rider answered, "The Morrigan, Sakura. Celtic Trinity Goddess of death, war, destruction and passionate love."

"Good call love, you know her?" Drustan asked in a reverent tone.

Rider shook her head and replied, "I know of her, there's a difference. I'm from a different pantheon and fallen. I don't carry much weight with any of the gods or goddesses anymore, sadly."

"Still, if you are what you say you are, it is a great honor to talk to you, my lady," Drustan replied in a rumbling voice.

Rider smiled and asked, "So, what brings you to call Sakura?"

"Because, as you said, my Lady tells me things in reward for my services to her. They tell me the best time to do this is the beginning hour of the Solstice, where the veil is the weakest between the worlds," Drustan explained.

Sakura looked at Rider in askance and the Gorgon explained, "December 21st, the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, and one of the days of the year where the fabric between realities is the weakest. He's right, I didn't think of it."

Sakura looked at Rider and said, "That's just two days away."

"Well, that gives you both time to rest and prepare," Rider said softly.

Drustan said brightly, "And I wish you the best of luck, all of you. I adore Rin and it kills me to see her like this."

"Thank you, for everything, Drustan," Sakura said with a tiny blush, even though he couldn't see her.

"Yer most welcome, lass, and good luck and happy holidays!" Drustan said brightly.

Sakura chuckled and said, "Merry Christmas!"

"Jesus was a fooking zombie! I donna follow that broken religion . . ." he grumbled.

Rider smiled and cut him off, "Blessed Yule and Solstice, Drustan, and thank you."

"Oh, yes, you're welcome and aye, I hope this works," Drustan said before the line went dead.

Sakura smiled up at Rider and asked, "What where you two talking about? The Morrigan and all of that?"

"It's a long story, but it has to do with Lancer actually," Rider said with a smile as she put an arm around Sakura's waist. "Come, lets tell Shirou about this."

Rin shut her book and checked the clock. She moved her glasses up to rub the aching bridge of her nose. She squinted and rubbed her forehead. She lowered her glasses back over her eyes as she looked up at the clock once again.

All Rin heard around her was her own slow breathing. She huffed and took her glasses off as she stood up. The clock read 10:34 PM.

It was December 20th.

She gathered up her red Cashmere wool double breasted pea coat and whipped it almost aggressively on her shoulders.

"On the Solstice, the veils between the Living World and the Spirit World are the thinnest. If ye wish to have a conversation with yer hero, that's the night to do it."

She chortled to herself as she turned off the library lights. The street and building lights poured in through the eerily quiet library, bathing her in a soft, wan golden glow. Shadows flickered back and forth all around her as she gave the vast room one last look.

If ye wish to have a conversation with your hero, you have a mere one hour and twenty-six minutes until you can.

She locked the door behind her and climbed up the steps that would lead her back into the normal world.

What would I say to him?

I'm being ridiculous, one doesn't talk to the dead. They're dead.

Rin looked up as she realized she was walking towards the Tower of London. She snorted and turned, heading back to her apartment. Drustan's a romantic, nothing more nothing less. I'm not fanciful. Besides, I should be in bed.

Shirou looked at Sakura and took her hands. He gave her a gentle smile and her misty violet eyes lit up. He squeezed her small hands and asked, "You ready to do this?"

"What time is it?" she asked as she stepped into his arms.

Shirou looked at the clock hanging on the wall and answered, "Ten minutes until Midnight. London time of course."

"It's weird doing this on English time," Sakura giggled.

Shirou smiled and replied, "Well, if this goes right, he'll land with Rin."

"How would we know if he does?" Sakura asked as she tilted her head thoughtfully.

Shirou answered, "Rider said I'd just know. Now, let's get started."

Snow drifted down from the sky almost like fanciful fairies, catching the faint street light and glistening despite the darkness. With the bright white on the ground, the light was reflected, casting everything in a ghostly day. The soft whistle of wind through the empty Tower only reflected the eerily beautiful mood.

Kneeling in the snow, holding a black candle in her hands was a slight nineteen year old girl. Her ebon head was bowed as pale hands clutched a black candle and a steel Zippo lighter. Above her head was a cornerstone with an odd runic symbol etched into the stone with Japanese characters below it. There was a snap and a hiss as a gold and blue flame appeared in the lighter. She lit the simple black votive and set it under the memorial.

Rin took a deep breath, the cold air filling her lungs like thousands of tiny needles. She reached into the brown paper sack beside her and pulled out something long and wrapped up in green tissue paper. The candle flickered, casting alternating gold and shadows against her features as she slowly unwound the paper around the item. The paper fell into the snow as she lifted up the slim stem of a red rose.

The red rose was laid in front of the black candle in the white snow.

She wasn't one for the symbolism in magic and generally ignored or was bored by the wizards who spoke in reverent tones during class. However, this wasn't spell casting or curse slinging. Nor was she charging mana into anything.

This was personal.

Red rose.

Black candle.

Red and black.

His colors.

Her colors.


She hadn't thought about it then, she'd been too upset at not summoning a Saber class to notice. Plus he'd been so damnedhaughty as his steel colored eyes glinted with amusement as he taunted her. Interesting little master he'd called her as he lounged in that careless pose on her broken sofa as she ran into the living room.

This is ridiculous, she thought as she stared at the carving of her command sigil in the cornerstone. "Drustan, you hopeless romantic," she snorted as she closed her eyes.

She rubbed her forehead and said aloud, "I was told that this morning I could talk to you. Something about the veils between worlds being the thinnest or some such nonsense. I don't know why I'm here because this is absurd."

She shoved wet hair from her face. Her thighs where starting to get numb from kneeling on the snow. "They say that graves are for the living, and I guess that's true. I'd . . . I'd figure that you'd like the Tower since you always liked high places. I would have carved it higher, but I didn't want to get arrested. Magus or not, I didn't want to deal with the Bobbies of London," she said aloud as the wind picked up, picking up strands of hair and whipping them against her face.

Her legs twitched and she shivered. She smiled and said, "Shirou and Sakura are happy together. Shirou died, your arm killed him, so, you got what you wanted, didn't you? Indirectly, of course. However, a Puppet Master gave him a new body so they're happy together and I'm glad for them. I just . . . it's difficult to be there. Rider is still there as well since Sakura can supply her endlessly now."

"This is ludicrous," she said to herself as she pressed her palms into her eyes until she saw stars. She moved her hands and looked down. The candle was flickering wildly now and she tilted her head back.

"Shirou mentioned that despite what you gave to him, that you'd be back and whole, fighting over and over through time. I don't think that's fair," she snapped, glaring at the cornerstone.

She laughed as the candle blew out. She shifted her weight until she was sitting down. Getting home wasn't going to be fun she realized with a laugh.

"I wonder what happened to turn Emiya Shirou into you, Archer, I honestly do," she said as she stared up at the cornerstone while curling her legs to her chest.

"A whole hell of a lot," a deep, velvety voice said in her ear, causing her eyes to widen and her heart to skip a beat.

The Heroic Spirit formerly known as Emiya Shirou, currently known to Tohsaka Rin as Archer, stared down at the young woman sitting in the snow before him. He listened to her talk to him via the cornerstone with her command sigil, his Servant Class and his True Name carved into it. Archer watched her call the whole situation stupid, but still talked to him even though she believed he wouldn't truly hear her.

He was still bent over her as she looked up at him with wide aquamarine eyes and her mouth parted ever so slightly. He smiled down at her as she spun to her feet. He rose to his full height as she reached out and poked his chest.

Her finger met hard armor and her eyes widened even more. He gestured to the cornerstone and said, "Thank you, for the grave. I really didn't get one last time I died."

That slim white finger poked him again. He chuckled and said, "Yes, I'm real."

"You're some odd hallucination brought on by lack of sleep or something," Rin retorted as she tossed her damp hair back.

Archer's eyes flickered over her. She was maybe a couple of centimeters taller, but it was the same Rin that summoned him two years ago. Her wavy black hair hit to her thighs now and was still pulled back by black ribbons. What concerned him was the fact that her black slacks-how he missed the thigh highs and the mini skirt- were soaking wet.

"Rin, you're wet and shaking," he sighed as he shook his head. Excellent choice of words there, hero, he thought dryly to himself as she continued to stare up at him. He amended, "You're soaked and freezing, Rin. You're going to catch your death of cold, whine and then I'll have to serve you hand and foot."

Her eyes narrowed as she snapped, "I am not going to catch cold and I don't whine. Besides, you serve me hand and foot anyway. You know, I haven't had a decent cup of tea since you decided to give Shirou your arm and proceed to die."

He folded his arms over his chest and retorted, "I'm sorry that my sacrifice interrupted your damn tea time."

"Well, yes, you should be sorry, damn it! Watching your alternate self and my baby sister getting all sickeningly sweet has been seriously trying, not to mention lonely . . . And then you show up and start bitching about taking are of me like I'm some flighty, useless, bloody invalid and not the . . ." she shouted at him.

Archer finished, "The genius mage you are."

"Exactly," she snapped before grabbing the lapels of his jacket and pulling him closer. She said, "If this is all in my head, then I'm not going to listen to your insolence but this is my fantasy so . . ."

He opened his mouth to stop her when she jerked him down with surprising strength. Her lips pressed against his, soft and cool. His eyes widened as her shockingly warm tongue flickered against his mouth. One of her hands gripped his hair and tugged ever so lightly.

He stared at her and she blinked up at him. She stepped back as her pale cheeks turned bright pink. She let go of him and shoved her hands in her pockets. She looked away and said, "If this was a fantasy, then . . ."

He ran a hand through his hair as his own face flushed. He cleared his throat and then grinned at her. Those eyes narrowed, gem bright and intense as she glared at him. He said, "You want me to kiss you?"

"Of course not. I was just cold and using you to warm up," she snapped before turning away.

Archer sighed and uncrossed his arms to gently grasp her shoulders. He drew her back to him until they were touching. He wrapped his arms around her. She tensed ever so slightly as she took a deep breath.

"You caught me by surprise, that's all Rin," he said to her softly.

Rin turned around to face him and wrapped her arms around his waist. She stared up at him and he reached out to smooth a wet lock of hair out of her face. "Are you going to vanish?" she whispered.

He held her tightly and stroked her hair. He rested his cheek on the top of her damp, chilly head and inhaled the scent of tea and cherry blossoms that was Rin. He closed his eyes and ran his fingers through the damp tangle of silky hair. He smiled ever so slightly and answered, "Only if you want me to."

Her eyes were wide and shimmering as her voice caught, "What are you saying?"

He held her tighter and said, "Apparently, in this reality, my alternate self is even more stubborn and hardheaded than I am. Even enough to defy the World."

"What did Shirou do? Is Sakura okay?" she demanded, staring up at him.

He laughed as he nodded, "They're both fine."

"How? What did they do?" Rin asked as she tugged his lapels and her eyes widened, "The Jeweled Blade . . ."

Archer smiled and said, "You were always brilliant."

She laughed and pressed her face against his chest. "I'm going to kiss them both, then I'm going to kill Shirou and then I'm going to hug them both," she snorted.

"They were worried about you," he replied as he looked down at her. Always slim, she was almost frightfully so right now. Her cheeks were slightly hollow and on closer instruction there were dark smudges under her eyes. "And no wonder why, you look horrible."

She lightly shoved at him but returned her arms around his waist. "Being a mage is difficult," she retorted, "You have no idea."

"You think being a mage is hard? Try being a Counter Guardian. Now that's a Special Hell; being a kill bot at the World's beck and call. Called on again and again just for the slaughter for the better of the World. Now, let's put things back into perspective shall we," he drawled at her.

Instead of retorting, she stood on her tip-toes and her hand went to his cheek. Cool and soft he sighed and looked down at the snowy ground. She smiled as she stroked his warm cheek with her shockingly cold fingers. "Well, I think it's sucked for both of us then," she said wiry.

He turned towards her caress and said, "You're still freezing, Rin." His eyes closed as he bent his head to meet her lips.

His first intention was to be gentle, but that intention was blown to hell with the first touch of Rin's tongue against his. One hand fisted in her hair while the other kneaded at her back. She nipped ever so lightly as her hand tugged at his hair.

Their lips moved hungrily against one and another as their tongues dueled. She pressed against him and he growled softly at the slim feel of her body against his. She nipped at him again as they came up for air. Breathing hard, he stared down at her. Her chest rose and fell heavily as she caught her breath as well. Her cheeks were flushed, lips swollen and her eyes were dark and smoky.

"I feel warmer now," she said in a hoarse voice.

He swallowed and said, "Let's get you inside."

She smiled up at him and said, "Shirou, lets go home."

Their fingers intertwined and his chest tightened as she led the way.

Archer scowled as he peered at the bare cupboards at Rin's flat. There was tea, a few boxes of instant ramen, oatmeal and a random box of chocolate. Seeking the fridge was even worse, just milk, cream and something in a Tupperware container that he scowled at. Picking up said infected container, he tossed it and its rancid contents into the garbage.

He heard the roar of the shower in the background as he turned on cold water to fill the tea kettle. From personal experience, he knew he had a while until she was finished. Probably washing all of that hair, he thought with a tiny smile as he carefully measured tea leaves into the tea strainer. He put the kettle onto boil and looked around the apartment.

There were various crystal specimens tucked in the many bookshelves lining the walls, most of the books he remembered from her library, just not quite as dusty as he'd last seen and cleaned them. He shook his head at the cold, barren fireplace that was, for some reason, fully stocked with wood, kindling and a blowtorch. There was a couch, a TV, stereo, DVD player with more DVDs that he remembered Rin ever having. Not to mention he had no idea that she was a Lord of the Rings fan at that.

On the mantle beside the TV there were various framed photographs. He tilted his head curiously at the one containing a smiling and blushing Shirou with his arm wrapped around a beaming Sakura's shoulder with Rider sporting a tiny grin and Rin looking as haughty as ever with Taiga spreading her arms and laughing in the back ground. He reached out and brushed his fingers over the happy image and snorted at Shirou's red cheeks.

There was another one of the Archery Club complete with everyone in their Gi's and holding their bows. Shirou was there this time, standing at the Captain's spot with a tiny smile on his face and Sakura beside him, this time her face pink. Taiga was proud and beaming at her team as he continued to look.

He picked up a photograph with a large teenage boy with freckles, curly chestnut hair and almost glowing emerald green eyes with his arm around Rin and another girl with strawberry blonde hair, dimples, round cheeks and hazel-green eyes. The blonde girl was blushing and laughing while Rin was looking elsewhere in the photo, her aquamarine eyes a little distant as she gazed away. There were very faint shadows under her eyes and her face was already starting to slim.

His index finger traced the hollow of the image's cheek as he looked towards the direction of the bathroom. The water was still roaring and steam was creeping from under the door. He absently set the picture back in his place as he headed towards the bathroom.

He stopped with his hand on the door as he blinked at the heavy oak door and dropped his hand back at his side. He turned away and walked towards her bedroom. He shook his head with a smirk as he noted the king sized, four poster bed dominating the room as well as the heavy chestnut Chester drawers, clothes press, vanity, and night stand. Like the ghost he almost was, he drifted towards the night stand and took note of the alarm clock.

Brow furrowing, he picked up the tiny glass bottle filled with some sort of murky dark brown liquid in it. He opened the stopper and sniffed. He blinked at the sweet smell of something like apples mixed with something heavy and wooden. He placed the stopper back onto the bottle and smiled faintly at the horn rimmed glasses sitting on top of a book on the stand.

Archer ran his hand through his hair and looked around. He was free, his contract with the World broken and he was here of all places. He was back where he started, with the girl that had saved him so long ago and he had no idea of it until it was too late.

Rin was perhaps one his biggest regrets. Almost as much as Ilya was, save he didn't let Rin die, but instead couldn't open his mouth around her. He'd gotten his wish and she went off to the Mage's Association and the last time he'd seen her while he had been alive was she'd visited him while he was imprisoned.

She had been dressed in a red suit, her hair flowing freely down her back as she looked at him with sharp yet sad eyes. Her cheeks had been hollowed then as well, her face, instead of sardonically sweet, had been stern as if her duties had hardened it. Their hands touched through the bars as he looked down at her and she up at him. Nothing was said except a promise to free him.

Then the Agents of the Burial Agency led her away, never to see each other in that time again.

Only to have another Tohsaka Rin fulfill that promise. A wiser Emiya Shirou had given him a second chance with all the knowledge he'd collected through the Throne of Heroes. It seemed that all of his roads led back to Rin and he'd be damned if he'd let her slip away this time.


Archer turned at the sound of his name, something he hadn't heard anyone call him in a small eternity, and stopped.

Rin was standing there, wet hair plastered and sliding around her body as droplets of water slid down the pale column of her throat to trickle to the fluffy yellow towel she had wrapped around herself. Her legs were long, shapely and lean, utterly perfect under the towel. Her face was still pink from the shower and she used one hand to hold the towel around herself.

He stared at her and swallowed as that carefully suppressed need grew hot like a forge within him. He stepped towards her and she looked up at him with smoky aqua eyes. She smirked just a tiny bit before he claimed her lips in a kiss.

She chuckled throatily against his lips as he growled just a bit in response.

She nipped at him again, a harder caress of teeth and tongue than their first kiss at the Tower. Her hand was fisted in his hair again urging him closer as one of his entangled in the wet silk of her hair. He slid his tongue against hers and almost shuddered. Even now, she held control over him as their mouths met and melded.

He slid his mouth from her lips, down her cheeks, sucking lightly at her chin only to lick her throat. Her gasp was loud as her arm tightened around him and she arched her head back to expose her throat even more. He grazed his teeth ever so lightly against the beat of her heart along her throat and she made a pleased little murmuring sound.

Between the frantic kiss the towel had given up the ghost and fallen to the ground. His eyes drank in slim limbs, flushed skin and the utter wonder of Tohsaka Rin naked against him. Her breasts were small, round, pert, and perky. The dusky rose nipples were already hard and erect.

She was tugging at his jacket and he moved his arms back to release the garment as he simply stared at her. He swallowed and said in a rough voice, "You . . . You planned this."

"Of course I did," she replied in a breathy voice, tugging at his hair to get him to travel lower, "You'd fret and fuss about things unless I put something into motion."

He swallowed as he looked lower, his eyes drawn to the juncture of her thighs to the smooth line bisecting the mound. His heavy pants were constricting as he gazed at the place he wanted to be more than anything. He was hard, hot and aching and Rin's hand was currently tugging at his hair.

She was bare and exposed with everything she had open to him, yet he was still armored and covered. However, he was vulnerable one. He lifted his head to kiss her again while his hands stroked heated skin and traced curves.

"Shirou," she murmured before gasping while his fingers stroked the soft underside of her breasts. He closed his eyes as she said his name again as his fingers traveled up to the points of her nipples. She gasped and dug her nails into his scalp as he rubbed the hardened point between his thumb and forefinger.

Against her lips he demanded, "Say it again, Rin."

"What?" she said as he lightly tweaked her left nipple. She hissed and nipped at his cheek then caught the lobe of his ear between her teeth. Hot spikes of pleasure and pain intertwined as she tugged at his lobe with her teeth. He bit back a moan as he continued to tease her nipples.

It was almost an impossible effort notto thrust against her as she bit down again, this time along his throat. He hissed at the sharp burn and tilted his head back as that hot tongue slid across the bite, soothing the sting. He kneaded her breasts and she gasped, her body arching to his back as he demanded, "My name."

"Shirou," she hissed as his right hand traveled down her body to rest on her slim hip. She pressed her face into his shoulder, but he could still see the high color in her cheeks as her eyes clinched shut. Frowning, he slid his hand lower and over to the center of her body.

She made a tiny sound and her legs pressed together as she gripped his hair and his shoulders. He looked down at her before carefully sliding his fingers over the smooth divide of her body. She made a muffled sound and continued to cling to him as he watched her.

He kissed her shoulder as he deftly slid his fingers into soft, damp folds. He moved his index finger to the hollow of her body to slide in the thick wetness that had nothing to do with her shower there. The urge to chuckle rose until he looked down at her with flushed cheeks and now trembling arms wrapped around him. His eyes widened with realization when she cried out when he moved his finger to stroke the sensitive nub at the apex of her folds.

Her legs parted with a gasp as he gently circled it until it swelled and hardened underneath his finger. He closed his eyes and kissed her again. His chest was tight as he continued to lightly stroke. He replaced his index finger with his thumb to slide it into her wetness. He bit his lip with a growl as he had to work his finger within.

His finger met slight resistance within the burning wet heat. He felt a tiny sharp pain at his shoulder from where she must have bit it. His eyes widened with realization as he withdrew his finger from her to slide it back up to that sensitive point. He looked up and watched her face as he gently caressed there with his slick finger.

She had thrown her head back as she now openly arched and writhed against his hand. He watched her with hooded eyes and a heavy heart. The nub within the folds was starting to withdraw from his finger as Rin's cries became louder and louder. He quickened the pace and pressed harder, using his thumb and middle finger to expose it more. She arched back with a scream before bathing his hand in spent passion.

He watched as Rin quivered against him before going limp. He gently slid his hand away from her as he stared down at her. She blinked misty eyes at him as he looked down at his sodden hand. "Shirou," she sighed as she leaned against him, her hands going to the facets of his armor.

Archer swallowed lifted his hand up to his mouth as he stared down at her. Virgin. Why the hell didn't she say anything about that? He opened his mouth to voice that question when one of her slim hands trailed down his body, past the waistline of his pants to where the damnable things where restricting him through the leather.

"Rin . . ." he began right before the she rubbed her palm against him. He arched back and moaned as her hand grasped him through the heavy fabric. He hissed as she kneaded her slender hand against him, her perfect nails biting into the leather surrounding him. He thrust against her hand and she chuckled before nipping at his ear again.

He reached down with the intention of grabbing her wrist and moving it away, but instead he simply wrapped his fingers around it to keep her from moving it away. "The bed's right over there," Rin whispered in a rough voice that served as a painful reminder of just how much he needed this. Needed her.

Despite the boldness of her hand still clasped firmly around him, making him writhe this time, her hand trying to loosen the armor was shaking. He swallowed and opened his mouth to speak again when her hand went to the zipper of his pants. Her breath caught and he moaned as he held himself still against the sweet agony as she began to work the zipper downward.

She started to move her hand into his pants when a shrill whistling stilled them both. Almost as one, they looked up and Archer blinked. Rin frowned as the whistling continued.

With shaking hands himself, he gently withdrew her hand. With a hell of a lot of regret, he lifted it to his lips and kissed it while the teakettle made its annoying demands. "Ignore it," Rin pleaded as she started to slide her free hand back down. He reached down and caught her wrist with a tiny shake of his head.

Rin pressed her lips together and glared up at him. He replied in an unsteady voice, "We need to talk."

We need to talk. Rin had her arms crossed under her breasts as she sat at her kitchen table. Archer had his back to her as he meticulously made tea. She was in her favorite yellow flannel nightgown and thick red robe because her boneheaded, utterly ridiculous, chauvinistic, epicallyretarded Servant had gotten spooked because of something.

She sneered, "So, what was so important for us to talk about to stop us back there?"

"You're a virgin," was Archer's blunt reply. His shoulders had tensed ever so slightly as he began to pour them each a cup of tea.

Rin sighed and said, "Yes, that was a condition I was hoping you'd help me remedy."

Archer's shoulders slumped as he sighed as well while turning to face her holding two cups of tea. He replied, "Rin, this isn't as simple as that. Not to mention I'm . . . well older than you among other things."

"It was very nice of you to realize this after you brought me to orgasm, wasn't it?" Rin snapped back at him.

His steel colored eyes narrowed as he practically slammed her tea cup and saucer down in front of her. He sunk into his chair and took an almost aggressive drink of his tea. He retorted, "Well, you came out of the shower wearing nothing but a damned towel. Not to mention that you forgot to mention the fact that you're a damned virgin. I'd already started and stopping with denying you would have been cruel, but it shouldn't have happened."

"Oh, now that's lovely. Despite your sarcasm, your supposed hatred of heroism, and your haughtiness, you're still, deep down, Emiya Shirou with your code of honor and you think that you would have been taking advantage of me," Rin all but shouted at him before taking a sip of her tea.

Archer glared at her and drawled, "I should have remembered that you're an arrogant little girl who puts on this front in front of everyone. You can't even take care of yourself properly, so why the hell did I think you could have a relationship?"

"I can so take care of myself," Rin retorted, "I did save Sakura and oh, yes, I had perhaps one of the most powerful wizards of all history say he was intrigued by me."

Archer's eyes met hers and she glared into them as she gripped her –damn it- perfect cup of tea. He asked with a tiny smirk, "Then why do you only have instant ramen in your cupboard? And I had to throw away some sort of plague in your fridge? And you could have found a lover at anytime here. Like that boy in the photo in there or something. So why the hell have you been moping like this?"

Rin's eyes grew hot and her chest tightened as she looked away. She gripped her tea cup and looked down at it. She whispered, "And how do you know exactly how I liked my tea when I never told you?"

"Because I was a fool who was too shy to open my mouth and tell a certain young woman I had feelings for her," Archer answered quietly.

Rin looked up at him as he stared at her intently with those grey eyes of his. She snorted and retorted, "Well, then you understand why, as you put it, I have been moping like this." She tossed her hair and added, "Besides, I was offering you, as you're so basically referring to it as, my precious virginity. As you said, I could have almost any man, and a good few of the women, here, but they're not worthy enough for my attentions."

"And I am?" Archer replied dryly.

Rin reached out and took his hand from across the table. She drawled, "You really do hate yourself that much."

"I'm not that Shirou," Archer said as his eyes bore into hers.

She smiled and replied, "I know. I prefer the harsh reality over the innocent dream, but yet, you still are. If you were as hard as you pretend to be, we'd be in my bed right now with my legs around your waist, wouldn't we?"

She giggled at the dusky blush that stained Archer's coppery cheeks as he looked away from her. "We should take our time though," he protested, "Make sure you're ready."

Rin cocked an eyebrow and replied, "I was ready when you appeared at the Tower, Shirou."

"We need to talk more about this, about us," Archer said with a tiny smile.

She shrugged and took her tea again. She smiled and said, "We can talk, but I will be with you tonight, even if I have to use a binding spell and rape you."

His eyes widened to twice their size, showing her all of their whites as his cheeks turned as red as the train he was wearing. She chuckled and said, "I know how low your magical resistance is and I can and will use that to my advantage." She held out her hands and said, "But, if it makes you feel better, we can talk a little, but be quick," her eyes narrowed as she smirked at him, "I will have you tonight."

Archer cleared his throat and swallowed. He did smile at her and said, "You're already looking better."

"I feel better. I have my partner back," Rin replied with a smile as she patted his large, long fingered and deceptively elegant hand, "And the most wonderful cup of tea I've had in over two years."

Archer smiled and said, "Good, but this is going to be unusual. I'm not exactly human and I don't have a contract with the World."

"So? Even better. I can supply you with mana tonight then," Rin said with a tiny, wicked grin as she sipped on her tea.

"What about you though?" Archer asked, "Won't it affect your magic?"

Rin shrugged and replied, "Not really, not unless you have to use something such as Unlimited Blade Works, and I think we can compensate for that."

"You have already figured all of this out then, haven't you?" Archer chuckled.

Rin tilted her head and asked, "Why do you think I took so long in the shower?"

"Your hair," he answered with a smile.

She grinned as she lifted a lock of it and replied, "Well, that is quite a large part of it, but I was thinking things through."

"Yeah, but sometimes your plans can fail miserably," Archer teased with a grin.

Rin shrugged and retorted, "Well, one of your abilities is Eye of the Mind, so I think we can manage."

"What about Shirou and Sakura? They're worried about you," Archer said quietly as he rubbed her wrist with his thumb.

She shivered as she began to relax under that simple touch. She looked at him and confessed, "I . . . I had trouble watching them together. Not to mention, you don't get along well with . . . yourself."

"We're two separate entities now. The events that made Emiya Shirou the man he is today are different than the ones that created me. We are two different people that just happened to start at the same point but went in two separate directions. That Emiya Shirou will probably marry Sakura and end up having a family while helping people. He'll be a good man, just nothing particularly special unless he is protecting what he loves," Archer answered with a shrug as he finished his tea.

Rin studied his thoughtful expression as she asked, "And you?"

"Your well being is my first concern now. Apparently, someone has even more interest in you than before," Archer answered with a tiny shrug and a sardonic grin, "But," his eyes focused on her, "You should visit your family. I would."

"Do you want to?" Rin asked quietly.

Archer smiled and answered, "I'm curious to see how events in this reality are turning out, that's all. But you need to see your little sister."

"You want to needle Emiya-kun," Rin snorted.

His smile was dazzling against his dark skin as he laughed with a tiny nod. "Well, I'm not going to say that I wouldn't enjoy it," he said with a devious grin.

She bit her lip for a moment before asking, "What are you going to go by then?"

"I think Archer would suffice not to confuse Sakura-chan or Fuji-nee, but . . ." he looked away.

Against her lips he demanded, "Say it again, Rin."

Her cheeks flushed as the recent memory sprang to mind. His lips against hers, against her skin, those long fingered talented hands doing things she'd only done to herself. Save better, much better. She stood up and moved closer to him.

He looked up at her as she wrapped her arms around his neck and bent so her head was resting against his broad shoulder. "When we're alone, you're Shirou. My Shirou," she whispered in his ear before licking it from crest to lobe.

Archer's breath shuddered as she kissed down his throat before nipping at where his pulse was now throbbing rapidly. "You know, it wasn't fair. You got me to climax while you didn't," she murmured as she nipped at the soft lobe of his ear again, "Shirou."

He tilted his head back to her and moaned throatily, "You're not going to give this up, are you?"

"Do you want me to stop?" Rin asked as she nibbled on his throat as her hands smoothed down the ridges of his armor to the waistband of his pants once again. She grinned as she took note in the raised ridge in the leather. She moved her right hand to gently rest on top of it. Her grin transformed into a smile as his hips bucked ever so lightly towards her hand. "Because, if you're nervous, I'll understand," she teased as she pressed her hand against him.

He growled as he arched towards her. Rin smirked and asked, "Well?"

He rose up almost faster than her eyes could follow and shoved the chair away. Rin smiled up at him as he pulled her into his arms. He tasted like tea as their lips then tongues met. His silvery-white hair was soft under her palm and fingers as she grabbed a fistful of it and gently tugged on it.

Mine, she thought possessively as their lips moved against each other's. Her heart was thundering in her chest as his hand moved gently through her hair while his other pushed her closer. Her cheeks flushed as she felt that ridge rub against her stomach. There were nervous flutters in her stomach as he lifted her easily off her feet, not even breaking the kiss.

He gently let her lips go before flicking his tongue over them and kissed her forehead. Her cheeks were burning, her heart was pounding and her stomach was twisting in knots as her breath caught. His dark grey eyes met hers as he carried her into the bedroom. She looked down and swallowed hard.

"Do you still want this?" he bent his head to her ear and whispered into it.

She nodded and swallowed. She whispered in a hoarse voice, "Yes."

Archer gingerly set her on the bed before moving away to close the door. She stood up and untied her robe before letting it slide to the floor. Archer's eyebrows lifted as he bent down, picked the article of clothing up and carefully laid it over the chair at the vanity. "You're messy, Rin," he said with a tiny shake of his head and a fond smile.

"And you're fussy, Shirou," she replied in a soft voice as he sat on the bed beside her.

He stroked her hair and she leaned into his solid form. His armor was hard against her cheek and she scowled at it. He took her hands and guided her to the facets of the breastplate. He whispered, "Here." Then he was kissing her again, gently this time, soft brushes of lips and tongue that made her shiver as her hands shakily began to unfasten the armor.

There were tiny metallic clicks as she worked the armor open. She pulled back away to remove the breastplate. She swallowed as sleek, hard muscles the same dusky bronze color as the rest of him were revealed. Her eyes widened as she noticed the raised, lighter colored scars that marred the perfection of toned body. There was a particularly vicious one right over his heart that was the size of a very familiar lance head.

Her fingers moved over the sleek scar as she said, "Lancer gave you this."

"And you saved me," Archer replied in a hoarse voice as he arched towards her fingers.

Rin's hands moved over the various scars ranging from cuts to other stabs, until she reached the one over his heart again. She lowered her head and laved her tongue over his warm, slightly salty skin. His hands entangled in her hair as he gasped and arched towards her mouth. She scraped her teeth over the scar and he hissed as he gripped her hair and almost arched off the bed to reach her mouth. She felt a slight tingle over her lips and tongue as she nipped the scar, a slight magical charge remembering the one who sealed it.

"God, you save me," he rasped as one hand left her hair to tilt her chin up to his face.

She smiled at him and replied, "As wonderful as I am, I wouldn't go as far to call me God."

"Tease," he hissed before pulling her close and grabbing the hem of her nightgown. She chuckled as she lifted her arms as he lifted it above her head. He smiled at her as he threw the gown away. His eyes flickered over her and darkened appreciatively.

The flush spread from the tip of her head and down to her very toes as he studied her. Rin swallowed at the tiny smirk that graced his lips. "No panties, Rin? Shameless," he said as he moved forward to kiss her.

Rin gave him a quick peck on the lips as her hands went to the waistband of his leather pants. "My turn," she said in a soft voice as she unbuttoned them before moving her hands to the fly. Archer shifted so he was lying down with his hips tilted up to aid her. Her breath caught as she guided the zipper over the hardened ridge and lower. He moved his hands to help push his pants past his waist and over his thighs. Rin swallowed as she pulled the leathers down and let them drop to the floor to discover he was as naked as she.

Her eyes widened as she took him in from the tip of his silvery-white head to his darkened steely eyes, the sleek bronze muscles, the scars, his long legs, broad shoulders and . . . there. Heart pounding, chest tight, she took in the part that was so utterly male and standing up at thick and hard attention for her nestled in pale grey curls. She gasped as she reached out and gently ran her hand over the hard length.

Archer arched towards her hand as his eyes squint shut. He was hard and hot in her hand, yet the skin was soft and smooth, almost delicate with darker veins running along its length. She rubbed her thumb down a particular thick vein that was right under the swollen, dark head that seemed to vanish halfway down. His hips jolted and his hands gripped the bedclothes rather tightly until the muscles in his arms strained.

This is going to somehow fit inside me, she thought as she swallowed while she stroked him from tip to base using a feather light touch. She could barely get her hand around him, not to mention his generous length stuck up from her hand. Archer let go of the covers with his left hand to wrap around her hand and himself. His eyes opened half way as he growled, "Harder."

"I don't want to hurt you," she said awkwardly as she blushed and looked away.

He gripped her hand so she had to grab him tightly as he moved their hands up and down. Her breath caught as he arched up. "It feels better if you use more pressure," he said in a hoarse voice.

She glared and retorted, "I've never done this before."

"That's why I'm telling you," he said between grit teeth.

Rin nodded as she grasped him and moved her hand up and down. Her cheeks were practically burning as he said, "That vein you rubbed at the beginning? If you want to tease, it's a good place to start."

"This one?" she asked with a smile as she applied a fair amount of pressure on it with her thumb.

He arched back, utterly beautiful with his body bowed up towards her with a tiny nod. He hissed, "Yes. Just like that, Rin . . ."

She smiled at him as she did it again. She moved her thumb up to rub the tip of the head in a tiny circle. "Rin, just . . ." he gasped as he grabbed her wrist and sat up.

Rin frowned at him and asked, "Now what?"

"My turn," Archer all but growled as he kissed her and rolled them so he was over her. Rin flicked her tongue out to meet his before nipping his lip. He kissed her openly and she returned each caress of lips and tongue aggressively, alternating with tiny stings of her teeth that made him growl.

When she parted for breath, she protested, "I wanted to see you come."

"Rin," he said softly as he stroked her hair, "That would take far too long."

Rin snorted, "No it wouldn't. Men climax very quickly you know."

His next words sent a tiny shiver up her spine, "I don't and I don't want your hands getting tired. Besides, I want to spend time on you."

"You did, after I got out of the shower," she reminded him with a frown.

Archer's smile was full of wicked promise that made tiny hidden muscles between her legs clinch in need. She squirmed as she felt even wetter than she did before, simply because of that look. He reached out and ran his fingers through her hair. He chuckled, "Now I get to teach you."

Rin leaned into his hand and said, "I'm not a complete innocent."

"Reading hentai and experiencing sex are two different things. First off, the fantasy's generally better, especially when it comes to your first time. It's going to hurt, and I'm sorry, but I'm going to make it as easy on you as I can," Archer promised as he continued to stroke her hair.

Rin ruffled her hand through his fair hair and replied, "I think part of the reason you became a hero was for the romanticism of it."

"No, I honestly wanted to save everyone, but . . . I'll admit that's the one thing that still really appeals to me about it. Saving damsels in distress, slaying dragons, that sort of thing," Archer admitted before kissing her again.

Rin wrapped her arms around him as he trailed his kisses down from her mouth, licking at her chin to make her squirm till he found her throat. She gasped as his lips ran up and down the column of her throat before lightly tracing the line of her pulse with a hot, wet tongue. She shivered as he kissed down to her breasts.

Warmth pooled in her stomach and headed lower with the first brush of lips against her left nipple. She shifted her legs and squirmed as she quivered from within. His hand moved to rest on top of her right breast to move his palm on her nipple in a slow, clockwise motion. She gripped his hair as he suckled on her left nipple, sending a spike of pure need directly into the aching hollow between her legs. "Shirou," she pleaded as he switched places with his hand on her left nipple and his mouth over her right.

He gently tugged her right nipple with his teeth and she arched up against him with a tiny cry. She was hot and shivering, body filled with need as he teased her breasts before licking down her body. She squirmed with a giggle as he laved her belly button. However, her chest tightened and her breath caught as he started to push her legs apart.

"Do you shave, Rin?" his voice was hoarse against her as he laid a kiss on the bare skin protecting her.

Rin squirmed and licked her dry lips. She whispered, "No, it's a weird magus family quirk . . . Sakura's like this too."

He kissed the line bisecting her mound and she squirmed as he licked her there with the blunt of his tongue. Then she felt him using her fingers to spread her open to him. She closed her eyes as her heart pounded. She burned as his index finger slid over her wetness.

"You're soaked," he proclaimed with a tiny bit of smugness as Rin turned her head away. He gently kissed her thigh before nipping it. The pain was sudden, sharp and enough to make her gasp before he soothed it away with gentle kisses. "Don't be ashamed, Rin. I'm glad you're like this. I'd stop if you weren't."

"You deserve this, too," she said as she kept her eyes shut as her cheeks felt like they were currently on fire.

She tried to writhe away when she felt a cool breath on her inner lips. He replied against her, his voice vibrating enough to make her shiver, "Not if you didn't want this."

Then he licked her.

Rin's eyes flew open as she bucked towards his mouth then tried to shy away. He laved his tongue over the aching point that blurred reality into sensation. She couldn't think, only feel as his tongue flicked wickedly over her. It was fast, overwhelming and she was barely aware of the half sobs she was making as he brought her higher and higher, body becoming wound tighter and tighter as it begged for release.

He licked faster which was enough to crystallize sensation to make her shudder and muscles tense and grip at nothing as she bucked to his face. She cried out as the tremors left her lying on the bed spent. She gasped for air as his tongue actually licked inside her to make her squirm before dragging back up there again.

"Shirou, please I . . ." she begged as she became overwhelmed by passion. She had to move away from Archer. She couldn't take it again. "Please, I can't . . ." she almost sobbed as he held her still, "I'll . . ."

He purred against her, "That's the point."

Then he drew her into his mouth and sucked.

Rin rose off the bed and screamed while her body quickened again and again. Yet he kept sucking as she shook and quivered with release. She screamed again until everything around her flashed black. She fell into the pillows, tiny bits of stars dancing in the blackness of her vision as she gasped for air. Her thighs were still shaky when she felt something slide inside of her.

She made a tiny cry of surprise at the small invasion before she realized it was just his finger inside her. Yet it felt so large, gently moving within the dripping hollow within her. She squirmed in discomfort as a second finger was added, carefully thrusting in and out. She felt a large, rough hand run through her hair and she opened her eyes to see Archer's handsome face in front of hers. His other hand was between her legs working to prepare her.

There was a tiny furrow in his brow and his eyes were narrowed as he watched her. Rin whispered, "What's wrong?"

"You're tight," his voice was a harsh growl.

Rin pulled him close and spread her legs wider for him. She swallowed as she was well aware of their size difference. Yet she looked him in the eye and said, "I want you inside of me."

He removed his fingers and kissed her forehead, her nose and then finally her lips. Rin wrapped one arm around him as the other entangled in his short, spiky hair. He whispered against her, "Wrap your legs around me."

Her legs circled around his slim waist and she made a tiny sound that was half way between a cry and a moan as it lined the thick head with her drenched core. He kissed her as he began to press into her. Rin cried out and dug her nails into his shoulder with the invasion. He pulled away from her lips with a shaky breath as the burning sensation of being penetrated only increased.

Ithurt and he was barely in her yet. She buried her face into his shoulder and held onto him tightly as his hips rocked up, sliding him out of her folds. Then he thrust down hard.

She yelped before biting his shoulder until she tasted hot copper.

She was shaking and it hurt and burned. She was too small around him. He wasn't fitting and it was stretching her far too much. It throbbed in time with her heartbeat. Tears stung her eyes as he lay still and panting with in her.

His breath was ragged as he said, "I'm sorry Rin . . ."

"You went too fast," she whimpered before hitting his back with her fist.

He snorted and said, "Ow . . . It would have been worse if I'd gone slower."

He lay still within her for several heartbeats as the burning faded and the sharp pain of being impaled settled to a dull ache. He rose up on his hands which made him slide interestingly within to hit something hidden inside of her that built an odd pressure. "Oh . . .damn . . . hold still, you're . . . oh damn," was all he could manage.

Rin watched him as his hips moved up to slide him out before thrusting down within. Her breath caught as she watched the almost painful pleasure cross his handsome features as he thrust in and out of her slowly. His muscles strained with every movement as the ache was an odd fullness that felt as if she could feel him higher up in her body than she thought possible. She moved in time with his thrusts and gasped as that odd pressure began to build. It was different than his mouth or his fingers, deeper and more intense, just a slower burn.

"Oh," she breathed against him as she moved her head from his shoulder only to notice the bloody teeth marks she inflicted there.

She dimly thought, If I have to bleed, then so should he, as they moved slowly with one and another. He bent his head down to claim her nipple with his mouth again, tongue flickering over the hyper sensitive point. Her core clinched in response and she arched toward him, writhing and needy.

His thrusts quickened and she gasped before making tiny cries. He was almost pounding her now, rocking them both hard into the bed. With each thrust there was a squeak of protest from the mattress that Rin heard dimly as she moved towards him.

The pressure grew and grew and suddenly stopped, leaving her tinkering on the edge with no relief. She cried out and tried to move to get that satisfaction, but not even his thrusts or her rocking helped. She gripped his hair and his back in frustration as she whimpered greedily.

Then he kissed her and his hand slid between their bodies. Her eyes widened as his finger began to stroke with the same harsh rhythm of their coupling. She grasped him as the deep odd pressure combining with the frantic push of his fingers sent her careening over the edge. She rocked back and forth with a scream as she was overtaken by her release. Her vision flashed black then white as she felt herself clinch around Archer tightly before bucking against him as everything exploded into nothingness around her.

His thrusts quickened and she kept her legs around him. She gasped as she opened her eyes to see her Servant tense and shaking above her. She stroked his back as she watched him. He felt bigger inside of her, almost impossibly huge before he thrust hard and shuddered against her. She whimpered at the grinding as she was filled with wet heat. He then collapsed against her, his arms holding her tight.

She stroked his hair as he caught his breath. He blinked bleary grey eyes to her before pulling out. Rin made a face as she felt his seed slide out of her body in a slow, wet burn and squirmed. He pulled her close and rolled so they were lying side by side with her slightly on top of him. She winched slightly at the pain between her legs and her still shaky thighs.

"It gets better," Archer promised in a soft voice.

Rin looked up at him and said, "It honestly wasn't that bad. Everything before was good, just the initial hurt, but I still came."

Archer smiled wearily and said, "I know. You almost pushed me out when you did."

"I did?" Rin asked with a tiny smile, "Oh, that could have been bad."

He chuckled and said, "It could have been." He was stroking her hair as he studied her, his eyes traveling down her body. He frowned as his eyes focused between her legs. Rin looked down as well to see some blood on both of their thighs as well as other various fluids.

Rin stroked his face and said, "You'd better not feel guilty. I wanted this. I wanted this with you."

He kissed her forehead and held her close. "Thank you," he told her, "for this. For everything."

"When I'm not sore, you can show your gratitude," Rin said with a tiny flip of her hand.

Archer tapped her nose and said, "When I can walk, I'll take care of you."

"Mmm, good. For I wouldn't trust anyone else to," she said as she curled up against his warmth. However, her nose wrinkled as she smelled something like salt, or rather, bleach with a hint of musk. "Hopefully soon. It smells like musky bleach here . . ."

Emiya Household

Fuyuki City, Japan

Christmas Eve

"Shirou, what's figgy pudding?"

Shirou chuckled as he Traced the filament in the burnt out bulb in the Christmas Tree. He looked at Sakura as English Christmas carols were being played on the radio. He shrugged and answered, "Probably a pudding with figs in it, Sakura."

"It's such a weird thing to sing about though," she said with a tiny frown as she looked over at Fuji-nee, who Rider was trying to gently pry a cup of eggnog away from the teacher.

Shirou shrugged and said, "It's a pretty song though." He held out his arms and Sakura slid easily into them. He hugged her and stroked her hair. "It's better than that creepy song about Santa threatening you if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake."

Sakura chuckled and said, "That song's not creepy, it's adorable."

"The concept of Santa is disturbing, Sakura. It's this one man who knows about all the kids in the world and threatens them if they've been bad," Shirou replied with a grin.

Sakura giggled and mused, "I wonder what Rin thinks of what we gave her?"

"I don't know, but I hope they're both happy," Shirou replied.

Rider's voice drifted over to them, "Taiga, you've had enough . . ."

"Oh, I'd better cut Fuji-nee off before she starts lamenting about her lack of husband," Shirou sighed.

Sakura giggled and gave him a kiss. "You're a good man, Shirou," she told him.

He winked at her and said, "I know, it killed me once."

As he walked over to his surrogate sister, a loud knock on the door stilled everyone. Sakura frowned and Rider stood to her full height. Rider asked, "Are we expecting callers?"

"I doubt it on Christmas Eve night," Shirou frowned as the knocking became louder and more demanding.

Sakura frowned and said, "I'll go answer the door . . ."

"Figgy pudding, what an absurd thing to sing a song about," Rin said as she pounded on the Emiya house door.

Archer was leaning against the wall and lifted his eyebrows at her. He replied, "It was a common food to serve during this time of year. It's just one line, not the entire song."

"Still, it's an absurd line and they're not at the door yet," Rin huffed before pounding some more.

Archer chuckled and said, "It is Christmas Eve."

"And you know how hard it was to get a flight to Japan last minute? We had to sit beside that dreadful teenager who swore you were some white haired demon hunter from some inane video game," Rin sighed before banging on the door even harder.

He studied his new lover and smiled at the short black pleated skirt she was wearing once again as well as her thigh highs. If she stood on her toes to knock on the door, he got a glimpse of white panties under the skirt. He smirked at the view as she repeated the motion. She was wearing an absurd red sweater with a giant Christmas tree, a jolly Santa Clause with bells sewn into the knit.

"What are you looking at?" Rin asked with a tiny grin and hooded eyes as she tilted her head back to him.

Archer smiled and answered, "That absurd sweater you're wearing."

"It's full of holiday cheer," Rin snorted, "Unlike you, who looks like some assassin or something."

Archer looked down at his black jeans, red dress shirt and the black double breasted duster Rin just bought him before leaving. They almost got a red one to match hers, but there was the whole demon hunter thing once again. He simply said, "I'm wearing red."

"Sakura's going to love it," Rin snorted as she began to pound at the door again, giving him another view of white panties.

Archer smiled as he said, "I think it looks ridiculous, but it's a good look on you."

"Ha, hah, very funny Shirou. I could have bought you one too," Rin retorted as she settled to her feet again.

Archer shrugged and said, "And I could have diced it up with Kanshō and Bakuya too. But I'm glad you're wearing your skirt again."

Her cheeks flushed adorably as she asked, "You like this skirt?"

"Of course. If you move just so, I can see your panties," he replied with a grin as the blush darkened.

She turned to face him and asked, "How long have you been watching?"

"Since you first summoned me," he answered as she spun around and started knocking on the door again.

Her pale fist pounded on the door as she said, "You're horrid."

"Shadowing you at school was interesting too," he confessed as he leaned forward to whisper in her ear.

Rin leaned back against him and he wrapped her arms around her waist to keep her against him. She tilted her head back to look at him with a tiny, impish grin despite her pink cheeks and sparkling eyes. She asked, "Oh, really then?"

"Yes," he admitted as he nuzzled her neck to make her sigh. He inhaled cherry blossoms and tea with a hint of an electrical charge like that before a storm in a scent that was wholly Rin. A scent that had become firmly imbedded in his hands, hair, clothing, and body as it should be.

She turned towards him with her eyes half closed and her face tilted up towards his. He moved down to give her a kiss when the door flew open. He stood up and Rin turned to the door as Sakura poked her violet head out. Misty amethyst eyes widened as a smile blossomed on the younger girl's face. She clasped her hands together, made a sound somewhat like a squeak and practically bounced on her heels before shooting herself like a rocket towards her sister.

Rin chuckled as she caught Sakura and held her close. The sisters embraced and Archer looked around at the all too familiar house. He put his hands in his pockets as Rin and Sakura giggled, laughed, and exchanged random happy noises that were only discernable by other women. Sakura separated first but she was still holding Rin's hands and beaming. She said, "You came, Nee-san! You said you wouldn't and you did and I'm so glad that you're here!"

Rin smiled as she squeezed her sister's hands and said, "I'm sorry, Sakura, I really am." Then they hugged again, this time both girls' eyes were misty with tears as slim hands stroked hair and patted backs.

"I understand why, Nee-san," Sakura said softly as she pulled away from Rin to wipe her eyes. She tilted her head back to the door and called out, "Shirou! Rider! You're not going to believe who's here!"

Rin looked back to Archer and he reached out to gently wipe a tear from her cheek. She moved back towards him when Sakura spun around to face him again. Her face lit up once again as she spied Archer and then firmly attached herself to him.

Archer cleared his throat and returned the hug as Rin chuckled. "I . . . what should I call you?" Sakura asked as she looked up at him with her odd violet eyes.

"Archer's fine. It'll cut down on confusion," Archer answered her with a smile.

Sakura reached up and pushed on his chest lightly with her fingers. Archer gave Rin an arch look and shook his head. "You're real. I mean, as real as Rider. I mean . . . it worked," Sakura said in a breathy rush. The sisters' eyes met and Rin nodded with a tiny look that probably meant, I'll tell you later.

"Taiga went to sleep on the couch, Sakura. So, who's here?" Rider asked as she came out of the door as tall and voluptuous as Archer remembered. Her oddly squared pupils set into her lilac eyes met Archer's face through a pair of wire rimmed glasses that blocked her Mystic Eyes. He automatically tensed in the present of the other Servant but Rider smiled and wrapped her arms around him.

His eyes widened while his cheeks started burning as Rider hugged him. He awkwardly embraced the other Servant and looked over shoulder at Rin's quirked eyebrow. He gestured uncomfortably from behind at Rider and mouthed, "It wasn't my fault!"

Rider let go of him and said, "It's good to see you alive again, Archer."

"It's good to see you not trying to kill me, Rider," Archer replied dryly as he stepped back from her.

Rider looked at Rin and asked, "Is he always this acerbic?"

"He used to be worse; he's trying to behave himself right now," Rin said archly with a tiny smile.

"You should have him trying to kill you," a voice that used to be Archer's said from the doorway.

Eyes turned steel grey because of repeated Reinforcement met sherry brown. Both men tensed ever so slightly as they took each other's measure. Emiya Shirou was now even in height with Archer, however he was a bit thinner and not as filled out as his alternate self. His hair was still a mop of short red and his skin was paler due to the fact he didn't misfire his magic circuits in his new body. Yet he carried himself differently, held his head a bit higher and his shoulders more squared. Save his sherry eyes were still bright and the younger Emiya smiled before holding his hand out.

"I put a blanket on Fuji-nee, that's why it took so long to get out here," Shirou explained with a smile as he kept his arm extended towards Archer.

Archer asked softly, "Did she get drunk again?" He slowly reached his hand out to his younger self, a possibility he didn't take. However, he was honestly glad to see how this version turned out as he shook hands.

"Yeah, on eggnog, Rider tried to stop her, but it happens. At least she didn't start crying about how she's getting old and doesn't have a husband," Shirou said with a grin.

Archer replied, "She's not that old."

"That's what I keep telling her," Shirou said as he rolled his eyes as they dropped their hands to their sides.

Archer snorted, "Not that she listens."

"Of course not," Shirou replied with a grin as he tilted his head and studied Archer much like how he'd just put Shirou under that same amount of scrutiny moments ago. "How're things going?" Shirou asked quietly as he gestured Archer into the house.

Archer answered, "Still surreal. I can't believe the two of you managed to do what you did."

"If anyone deserves happiness it's you and Tohsaka," Shirou said with that same innocent grin that hadn't graced Archer's features in years.

Archer snorted, "Well, You couldn't handle Rin."

"Oh no, she's too stubborn. I'm perfectly happy with Sakura," Shirou replied with a happy smile, "But, seriously, how are things going?"

The two of them walked to the kitchen, probably the most comfortable room in the house for both of them. He looked behind his shoulder to see Rin, Sakura, and Rider trail into the house, the three women talking and laughing together. Rin looked up and grinned at him before lifting her hand and following the two violet haired women into the living room.

Archer shrugged and answered, "I still wait for the World to call me back. This . . . Happily Ever After was something I wasn't prepared for. I was ready to erase my existence, not gain any sort of . . ."

"Happiness? Peace?" Shirou supplied as he leaned against the kitchen cabinet.

The former Counter Guardian nodded quietly as he looked around the kitchen. Shirou smiled kindly and said, "It's odd being here, isn't it?"

"You have no idea," Archer said as he shook his head with a dry chuckle.

Archer turned around and got out a tea kettle, a box of tea leaves, and a tea pot. He filled the kettle with water and proceeded to put it on the stove. Shirou continued, "Well, you and Tohsaka are welcome anytime in this house."

"Thank you," Archer replied as he began to measure out the Oolong tea leaves in the pot.

Shirou chuckled and shook his head. Feminine laughter rounded the corner as Sakura and Rin entered with their arms linked. Rin's eyes met his and they lit up like jewels before she made his way over to him.

"Oh, good, you're making tea," Rin said as she stood beside him.

Sakura giggled, "Nee-san, you just got here."

"I've been on a plane for eight hours. I need tea," Rin said as she tossed her hair and leaned against the counter beside Archer.

Archer smiled and said, "Yeah, I didn't want to hear you complain about it."

"Well, you exist to cater to my needs," Rin said as she idly studied her nails.

Archer chuckled as Rin looked at Sakura and asked, "So, what did you get me for Christmas?"

"Isn't Archer enough, Tohsaka?" Shirou replied with a startled laugh.

Rin's eyes flickered up to Archer's face in a mischievous light he was starting to know all too well. She answered, "Well, he's sarcastic and tends to be slightly over-protective, but he does make a good cup of tea and can cook."

"Don't worry Nee-san, we have presents, we were just hoping to give them to you in person," Sakura giggled as she shook her head, "But come on, you can put the presents you sent under the tree. I think Shirou and Archer'd like to talk."

Shirou smiled at Sakura and said, "Be good."

Sakura leaned forward and kissed the redhead's lips and replied, "I will, it's Nee-san I'm worried about."

Rin smiled up at Archer and asked, "I have a few minutes before tea, correct?"

"Yes," Archer answered, "I'll bring it to you when it's finished."

Rin's smile made his chest tighten ever so slightly as she moved away from him at Sakura's urging. The two of them walked out of the kitchen, giggling again. Shirou gave a shaky laugh and asked, "Is it safe to have those two together so much?"

"Probably not," Archer answered with a snort, "We're doomed."

Shirou rubbed the back of his neck and replied, "How can girls get so creepy?"

"Not as creepy as Santa Clause though," Archer drawled as he looked over at the tea kettle.

Shirou shivered and said, "Don't remind me." They fell quiet again, each of them standing at opposite sides of the kitchen, however the silence wasn't hostile. Shirou ran a hand through his hair and said, "We . . . we didn't get a chance to get you anything for Christmas . . ." He frowned and pressed his lips together as he looked at Archer.

Archer gave him a crooked grin and supplied, "Archer's fine."

"Okay then, Archer," Shirou said with a tiny nod, "But with all the confusion and everything . . ."

Archer held up his hand to cut his alternate self and said, "You broke me out of that Special Hell, gave me a second chance at something I thought I'd never have again. You brought me to Rin again. You gave me everything I could have wanted, Emiya Shirou."

"Good, so, you'll help me cook Christmas Dinner then?" Shirou asked brightly.

Archer was surprised by his own laughter, light and without dark irony tainting it. He nodded and answered, "Of course."