'I still can't believe our visit is over already…' Charles had said this a number of times leading up to his, Mary, and Faye's departure. The Pendragons were standing in Haneda Airport, their luggage in tow and the incredible hustle and bustle of the building causing Rin some level of anxiety despite the emotional departure.
'Me, too.' Arturia was tearing up, and Rin couldn't help but find it a bit cute. She didn't get that emotional easily, so this was an interesting change of pace. 'Two weeks have never gone by so fast.'
Mary hugged her daughter, Charles soon joining them in a group embrace. Faye, naturally, hung back, but shifted around to speak with Rin as the family chatted quietly amongst themselves more words of melancholy and hope.
'So, I'm telling her after you're gone.' Rin tried to hide her irritation, but it didn't go as well as she would like.
'Yes. Please.' Faye at least had the decency to pretend to be a bit ashamed…even if Rin knew it was likely an act.
'She's not going to be happy.'
'I decided, in this case, it might be easier to ask for forgiveness when I see her again in London during your visit. I'd rather my sister have a moment to consider how I treated her this last week despite housing Morgan within me now.'
'Hm.' Rin crossed her arms, hating that she was beginning to see where Faye was coming from. 'Your way of trying to prove you want to make amends?'
'Exactly.' Faye snuggled in to Rin, holding her arm and causing the Tohsaka girl to tense up.
'I'll miss you, Rin. I look forward to seeing you in a month's time.'
'You need to stop it with the jokes. You've been ridiculous all week.'
'Is that what you think?' Faye tightened her hold on Rin's arm. 'I wasn't lying when I said I want you.'
'Sure.' Rin rolled her eyes.
'Heh.' Faye let Rin go. 'We'll talk again soon. Take care of my sister.'
'That's the plan.' Rin maintained her distance emotionally as best she could. She didn't dislike Faye. Not really. The last week of her visit was anything but torturous by any stretch of the imagination. The Pendragons were more than happy to have Rin with them on all their excursions throughout Fuyuki and, later on, in Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo. The group got along extremely well, even if Faye typically kept quiet unless she had one on one time with Rin or Arturia.
What unsettled Rin about Faye were the thoughts the girl knowingly put in the Tohsaka heir's mind. She kept bringing up that night, and not only that, but her flirtatious remarks toward Rin, when she felt she could get away with them, were becoming more and more overt. She treated Arturia like gold, but snuck in suggestive remarks to Rin whenever the opportunity arose. She kept insisting Rin convince Arturia to have another "special evening" involving the three of them, and Rin didn't like the fact she couldn't wholeheartedly refuse the thought no matter how committed her verbal denials were outwardly.
Thus, Rin knew she needed to build a wall around herself when it came to Faye. There was no way she would put Arturia in such a position again unless her girlfriend proposed as much herself…which would certainly be nearly impossible once she found out about Morgan…
'Thank-you.' Faye smiled faintly, and it was more authentic than usual, as if she really would miss Rin as Charles, Mary, and Arturia shifted their attention.
'Rin. I don't think I have the words to express how happy we were to meet you.' Charles extended a hand, and Rin took it, shaking with the father of Lily cordially. He had a strong grip, but Rin almost welcomed the firm shake.
'It was my pleasure.' Rin bowed a touch once Charles let her hand go. 'You have a wonderful family, and I'm so happy I was able to help you have a good time in Japan.'
'So polite, as always.' Mary sighed happily. 'We'll really miss you, Rin.'
'The feeling is mutual.' Rin grinned. 'Thankfully, we'll see one another again during my orientation in London soon enough. That makes this a little easier.'
'True!' Charles guffawed. 'Please let us know what night we can host a dinner for you and Lily…er…assuming things continue to go well.'
'Charles!' Mary slapped the man's arm, and he howled dramatically, obviously not meaning any harm, but his words stinging a bit regardless.
Rin had sensed as much from Arturia's modern day father more than her mother that he struggled with the longevity of the relationship Rin claimed to have with his daughter. As much as he appeared to understand they currently had feelings for one another that were definitely romantic, he had made similar blunders throughout the week when haphazardly mentioning Arturia having her own children someday or something about her getting married. The worst part of it all, honestly, was that Rin knew he didn't mean to be hurtful. He was simply conducting himself like any normal father would, looking out for his daughter's future and overall well being. He was making comments based on social normality and, admittedly, the natural order of things. Rin was more than aware that men and women were drawn to one another, on a biological level, in order to ultimately reproduce and extend their legacy as they ventured toward inevitable death.
For sentient beings, like humans, there was no doubt a semblance of relief knowing an opportunity was being given to future generations to carry on family traditions, knowledge, and the like. As a mage, Rin was even more sensitive to this fact. Charles didn't know about Magecraft, and the possibilities it could create for a relationship as unconventional as Arturia and Rin's. Therefore, he likely viewed Rin's love for Arturia as a dead end to his legacy on an unconscious level, and perhaps that was partially responsible for his comments in relation to the perceived briefness of his daughter's relational status.
That being said…Rin was only encouraged to prove him and the rest of the world wrong.
'It's absolutely fine, Mary.' Rin calmed the poor woman down. 'That could be said for any relationship.'
Charles mouthed a "thank-you" to Rin, shaking his head in annoyance with himself quickly thereafter. He'd be a good father-in-law, Rin imagined. And then she practically felt a puff of smoke fume out of her head as her cheeks burned crimson.
Where did that come from…?
'We'll look forward to it. I can't wait to show you where I grew up, Rin.' Arturia stepped next to Rin and took her hand, interlocking their fingers and holding her tightly.
'I can't wait to see it.' Rin smiled earnestly now.
'I'll make a feast.' Mary all but promised.
There was a momentary break in conversation then, and Charles beckoned both Rin and Arturia to give him another hug. Mary did the same. And even Faye openly embraced Arturia and Rin.
'Goodbye, Rin.' She murmured in Rin's ear so affectionately it gave the Tohsaka girl goosebumps.
With that, Arturia's family was soon proceeding through security, Charles and Mary waving to Arturia and Rin periodically until they could be seen no more. Rin thought she saw Faye's hand tentatively go up in a shadow of what her parents were doing, but it was hard to be sure considering the constant deluge of other people moving through the airport. When they were completely out of sight and, presumably, preparing for a rather long trip home, Rin looked to Arturia, and saw that her eyes were misty again, cheeks flushed with restraint.
'It was nice having them here, wasn't it?' Rin gave Arturia's hand a light squeeze.
'It was. Really.'
'Even Faye?' Rin raised a brow teasingly, wishing there wasn't a weight in her stomach in the shape of Morgan.
'…C-can we not talk about that right now?'
Arturia tried to sound irritated, but beyond her flushed cheeks, she seemed to take the joke in good humour, laughing to herself after a moment.
'I'm glad you're with me, Rin. I didn't realize I missed them so much until they left again. I guess a large part of me still wants to be with them more often than not.'
'I can see why you'd feel that way.' Rin and Arturia began making their way out of the main part of the airport and toward the bullet trains available for a fairly direct trip back to Fuyuki City. 'Charles and Mary were perfectly wonderful parents, and Faye…well, she kept things interesting. I can say that with confidence.'
'Faye was fine.' Arturia sighed. 'I'm glad she opened up to me after so many years. It felt like there was a wall between us for a while there, and…I'm happy we can be sisters again. I like the idea of being more open with her about my life and what's happening in it.'
Rin's jaw tightened, and she allowed her thoughts to traverse through the multitude of scenarios involving telling Arturia about Morgan. None of them were projected to be overly positive, but part of the Tohsaka heir suspected Faye might have taken the right approach by waiting until she was gone to give her little sister time to process things.
'What is it?' Arturia asked suddenly, her observational skills, when it came to Rin, unmatched.
'I'll…we'll talk about it on the train.'
She didn't want to wait a moment longer. Rin was frustrated enough holding out on her girlfriend over the past week. The least she could do was take the first opportunity to be honest with Arturia rather than purposely withhold information.
'So?' Arturia wasted no time whatsoever. She could likely tell something was weighing on Rin. 'Are you finally going to say what you've been meaning to tell me since the festival ended?'
Rin almost wanted to laugh. Knowing one another so well could be seen as a bad thing in this particular scenario, but Rin was also glad she couldn't successfully "lie" to Arturia. She didn't want to. Not ever. She knew what that felt like…
'I…held back for a reason, just so you're aware.' Rin settled into her seat on the bullet train, sitting across from Arturia, who had her arms crossed expectantly. The train was just beginning to move, the powerful hum of the impressive mode of transportation somehow soothing in its own way. The train was relatively busy, but not to the point that Rin and Arturia didn't have their own seats and couldn't turn to face one another.
'I am. It's why I didn't bother you.'
'I'm sorry.' Rin breathed out. 'It's Faye's fault.'
'Oh?' Arturia's expression hardened. 'I guess I shouldn't be surprised. What did she do?'
Rin had to try and not sigh again. Outside of constantly trying to flirt with Rin and hint at truly wanting another "group session" of some kind?
'…It's honestly a little hard to say.'
'Really?' Arturia became a little more tentative. 'Now I'm worried.'
'Don't be. I mean, I don't think you need to be. Not completely, anyway.'
'Rin. This isn't like you.'
Rin grimaced. Arturia was right. Rin wasn't one to mince words. She said what was necessary to get the results desired. She didn't care how others felt, ultimately, if her ambitions were met. At least…that's how she wanted to be. It's how her father wanted her to behave. Unfortunately, Rin had a bit more of her mother's natural empathy to deal with than anticipated. Throw Arturia into the mix, and the Tohsaka heir was an emotional wreck.
Rin lowered her voice and leaned in a touch. She needed to do this. Come what may, the Tohsaka heir was willing to help Arturia through whatever came next for her mentally. That's what a significant other was for. That's…
'I'll just come out and say it, then.' Rin didn't give her mind a second to overthink the matter further. 'After that night…apparently Morgan le Fay manifested within…er…Faye? Similar to what happened with you? So, throughout the entirety of the week…ahem…a part of Morgan was with us.'
Arturia's expression didn't change immediately, which seemed a little odd, considering what Rin had just revealed. She began to nod slowly, closing her eyes and seemingly registering the information relayed. Her past temperance as a king was on full display, perhaps, and it impressed Rin to no end. But then the other girl began speaking, her tone levelled and controlled.
'…I see.' She started, a deep breath following the simple confirmation. 'Then it is as I suspected.'
'What!?' Rin couldn't control the volume of her exclamation, and she quickly looked around to confirm she hadn't drawn too much attention.
Arturia brought her index finger to her lips, stifling a smile as she "shushed" her girlfriend.
'Flustering you remains quite elating.' King Arthur was the primary speaker right now, clearly. It made sense, considering the subject matter.
'You…you knew?' Rin still couldn't believe it. If Arturia had even an inkling, Rin couldn't tell. It sort of bothered her, in the moment.
'No. I "suspected". I struggled to believe it could be possible, and based on how Faye was acting, overall, I had trouble confirming as much, but something changed about her since that night. The Lily within could tell, and the Arthur part of my personality certainly sensed a strangeness about my sister that was almost frightening but difficult to place. She…hid any change quite well, that devious sister of mine.'
'Huh. So, you had an idea…' Rin crossed her arms, leaning back in her chair and searching Arturia's face. She seemed so poised. Definitely not a scenario the Tohsaka girl had anticipated, but it was welcome, regardless. 'How do you feel about it all?'
'Conflicted.' Arturia shrugged, her mouth tightening. 'I thank Lily's relationship with Faye for making the situation more tolerable than it might be otherwise. Based on this past week…I'm under the impression Morgan is attempting to make amends in some manner.'
Rin let that comment sit for a beat before replying. She thought about the quiet, awkward girl that Faye could be. Considered one of their last deep conversations regarding her potentially authentic regrets.
'That's the question, isn't it? What she did to me…to my kingdom…it was no small thing.' Arturia grimaced. 'Yet, holding a grudge in this day and age…seeing how you and your sister managed to reconcile, I am met with a difficult decision. Emotions cannot be killed so easily. Past pain does not simply vanish. What she did…I am incapable of forgetting. Nor what she endured as the elder of the two of us…'
'Those are…definitely fair feelings to have.' Rin acknowledged, and Arturia smiled hopefully, her expressions a montage of thoughts and complicated reactions.
'You're too kind. I feel like a child. If Faye wishes to procure forgiveness, I should provide it. So long as she behaves, there is no reason for me to cause strife within my own family in the present day.'
Rin knew that made sense logically, but…
'It's not that simple, Arturia. Based on what you told me, it's anything but an easy situation.'
Arturia shook her head.
'Nor was what you and Sakura went through. True, it was on a smaller scale, but the emotions tied into the confrontation are no less valid. I want to forgive her. I want to bury that agony. Allowing myself to…to engage with Faye in such a way during our…er…unique night might have been proof of this.'
Rin bit at her lower lip, a cruel image of Faye and Arturia complicating the entirety of the discussions, if however briefly.
'Unbelievable.' She sighed. 'To think you're even able to go through something like this with such a level head. I was expecting a far different conversation.'
'Were you?' Arturia grinned. 'Would it be correct to say I've impressed you, then?'
'Obviously.' Rin chuckled.
'Good. That's what I was going for.'
Rin's eyes fluttered at the thought, a tightness in her chest forming as she took Arturia's pretty features in. To think this girl still wanted to please her in such tiny ways? Rin couldn't stop counting her blessings. She felt the heat filling her face, frustratingly enough, and diverted her gaze shyly.
'Are you kidding? You always impress me…'
'And I'll always want to, Rin.' Arturia grinned handsomely. 'There's little else that gives me more joy.'
Rin exhaled sharply, her breath taken away by the sheer charisma her girlfriend could exude, at times. Once she calmed her pulse to a reasonable degree, she felt she could reply without her voice shaking with affection.
'I have a couple of weeks' worth of catch up, I think.' Arturia shrugged. 'I loved having my family with us, but I missed this time together – moments with just you and I, Rin.'
'Me, too…' Rin admitted, a ping still lingering in her heart. 'But are you sure you're okay with everything regarding Faye?'
A shadow passed over Arturia's features, but she nodded subtly.
'I'll need some time; time Faye purposely allowed me to have before seeing her again. When we travel to London together, I'll have my answers then. I intend on engaging in a proper discourse with Morgan at that point, and we can go from there, I believe.'
'Okay.' Rin favoured that idea.
'Thank-you for being so kind to my sister, by the way.' Arturia went on. 'She certainly warmed up to you…beyond that ludicrous night.' Some pink found Arturia's cheeks, adorably.
'I liked your family. I'm glad they seemed to approve of me as well.'
'More than approve.' Arturia replied proudly. 'The way my father went on about you when we discussed our relationship? Naturally, he has his reservations tied to concerns over my future wellbeing, but the fact both Mum and Dad so willingly embraced our current infatuation for one another is proof that they truly think highly of you. As they should.'
'Thank-you.' Rin could only say in the face of such compliments. 'I tried.'
'You don't need to "try".' Arturia chuckled. 'Who you are, at your core, Rin Tohsaka, is a brilliant young woman, in every way, that any would be fortunate to know, let alone have as a lover.'
Arturia was really coming at Rin with all of her kingly allure. If Rin wasn't already sitting, she was sure her knees would have weakened to the point of losing her balance. It had been a while since King Arthur was on such display. It was overwhelming. It was…nostalgic.
'Are you trying to soften me up for a particular reason?' Rin crossed her arms, attempting a haughty attitude to hide the flailing romantic within when it came to Arturia.
'I am.' Arturia laughed brightly, leaning in and lowering her voice to almost a whisper. 'It's been almost another week, Rin.' She said almost dangerously. 'And I have you all to myself tonight. Need I say more?'
Rin's eyes widened, the blush encapsulating her face all over again. An immediate tingle found its way into her groin, and she shifted her position upon her seat in response.
'…No. You don't.'
Great. Now the day was going to drag.
Thankfully, Rin was wrong. She should have expected as much. Any time spent with Arturia was valuable, and as she and her girlfriend settled back into "normality" within Fuyuki City, Rin treasured every passing minute with the girl she had fallen for. As interesting and fun as it was to have Arturia's family visiting for a bit, Rin had to admit that she quite liked simply having the Pendragon girl all to herself as well.
It didn't take much to clean up Arturia's apartment, but her resources, as far as food and drinks went, had been diminished greatly, and that meant doing some shopping. Rin promised to let Sakura know when she was free for another dinner, and as the Tohsaka girl and Arturia prepared for their trip to restock her apartment, Rin sent her sister a quick text notifying her that she was fairly available for the next while until it would be time to truly prepare for the trip to the Clock Tower…
That would be the next drastically pivotal moment in her life, Rin supposed. Ever since she could understand anything, she had wanted to follow in her father's footsteps and make him proud. Continuing whatever Tokiomi Tohsaka couldn't finish had always been the goal…Rin just never thought he would be lost so early in his life. Rin never imagined she would succeed where her father failed. The Clock Tower was the next logical step, and while Rin was elated and ready to press forward in her professional life, she hadn't imagined being capable of so much contentment outside of work.
Rin blamed Arturia, of course.
Yet, it wasn't necessarily a terrible thing. Just a change in perspective – one Rin didn't necessarily mind. She now found value in the everyday. There was joy to be discovered in the mundane. Even going to the grocery store to pick up a few things was exciting because of who she was able to do it with. Browsing for food. Picking out new clothes. Restocking something as basic as shampoo or toothpaste was an outing to be had with the person she loved, not a chore that needed to be completed, like before.
As Rin and Arturia picked up the various things they needed from the Shopping District, Rin realized that beyond the love she felt for Arturia, which still seemed brilliantly new and exhilarating, there was something else that had leveled within their relationship that Rin didn't know she would value as much as she did in this basic collection of moments: safety. Security. Comfort.
Love was wonderful, especially new love. The honeymoon phase is so intoxicating that Rin could see how some people might end up chasing it forever (and failing to find it everlasting, sadly). Rin knew she and Arturia were still in such a phase, but she could also tell that the foundation of their relationship gave her a sense of security she hadn't had in any other relationship until now.
Her father's love had always felt transactional, even if Rin still didn't want to admit it. Her mother's love was distant, plagued by her own struggles with the burden she thought she could bear as a Tohsaka. Sakura's love was ripped away, the scab only recently beginning to finally heal after so much trial and tribulation.
Arturia's love…was eternal. Transcendent. Time and death itself stood not in its way. To some, Rin's relationship with Arturia might seem young, and risky to invest too much of her person in, but Rin knew the truth. Rin was completely aware of what she and the other girl had endured together. That changed the depth of one's love. It morphed it into something difficult to fathom unless it could be experienced personally. They had fought a Holy Grail War together. They had changed Fate itself, some could say.
Thus, Rin simply felt fortunate. Blessed. Impossibly happy in contrast to the girl she had been prior to meeting Arturia Pendragon.
The summer days would go on in weightless bliss until the Clock Tower. Then, Rin would welcome the path to adulthood with open arms, knowing she wouldn't venture into that unknown world alone. It brought a smile to the Tohsaka heir's face as she took Arturia's hand, the reincarnation of the King of Knights beaming with pride, adoration, and a clear sense of safety as well.
'Don't you dare let go of me, Arturia.' Rin grinned devilishly with a sly look in her eyes.
'Is that command I hear, Rin?'
Rin laughed, tightening her hold on Arturia like her new life completely depended on her.
'It absolutely is.'
Arturia also laughed, her joy the most beautiful sound Rin could think of.
'Then, come hell or high water, I will fulfill your command…my Master. My best friend. My fairest maiden. My lover.'