Rin snapped awake. For a moment, she thought she was back in her manor, dreading another day of pretending to be someone she wasn't. She no longer had to feign the ideal. She wasn't preparing for a war she hadn't suspected being involved in during her lifetime. Where she lived…wasn't empty anymore. She wasn't alone.
Rin crawled out of a double bed, the sheets tight around her slender form. She immediately went for a brush on the small bedside table, combing it through her hair which she had allowed to grow past her waist now. Arturia said she liked it long. That's all it took.
Once her hair was tamed to some degree, Rin placed the brush back down and let her gaze linger on a golden framed picture of herself and the young woman she still loved more than anything else she could possibly imagine. It was quite a few years old now. Three, to be exact. Near it was another, smaller framed picture of Sakura and Shirou, Rin's little sister showing off a glimmering diamond ring that the Tohsaka heir had helped the hopeless man pick out. Rin couldn't hold back a smile. The wedding's date was still to be determined, but she had to give credit where credit was due: Shirou had really stepped up. They seemed happy. Very much so. Rider was still just as involved as before, making the unorthodox relationship always a riveting subject of discussion when it came up in earnest.
Rin's eyes rested on the ring in the small picture for half a second, and then she stripped naked, evaluating her form in the full body mirror across the humble room. The scars she had obtained through not one but two Grail Wars (no matter the difference in scale) were finally fading a considerable amount, but she could still feel the biting cuts from various swords of legend as if they had occurred the day prior. When making love to her, Arturia rarely failed to take note of the blemishes, and only recently stopped apologizing anytime she saw them. She took particular responsibility for the freshest gashes, even though she really didn't need to. There was no way for her to know what the Clock Tower would ultimately try when the individuals at the top learned of King Arthur's presence among them…even if it took them some time to make their move.
Rin decided to wear a white tank top with some beige shorts. A part of her stomach was exposed, but that was fine. Arturia liked that, too. Finally, Rin threw on a small blue zip up sweater Arturia had purchased for her last Christmas. It was one of her favourites. It reminded Rin of the brilliant blue on the dress Arturia had been wearing when the girls had first met.
Once she was dressed, Rin made the bed, ensuring a pair of stuffed lions were nestled at the head of it. Rin or Arturia never failed to do this. It was like a promise that they would be together again by the end of the day no matter what paths they took throughout.
Rin then wanted to brush her teeth, loving the sight of her toothbrush resting against Arturia's in their unassuming bathroom before she extracted it from the porcelain cup Mary had bought them as a housewarming gift (one of the many items the Pendragons had generously provided). Again, the mundane aspects of her life she once took for granted held that much more value for the Tohsaka girl as she prepared for the day. Even if this wasn't something of a special day, Rin couldn't believe how much she revelled in the life she and Arturia were building together.
She proceeded downstairs onto the main floor of the tiny townhouse she and Arturia were renting in downtown London. They had been living in the space for a little over a year now, and it felt cozier than any grand manor Rin had once inhabited. They had picked out furniture together, kitchen appliances, silverware – everything that was needed to comfortably live together. They may have slept over at one another's place more times than they could count while in Fuyuki City, but this simply felt so much more real. Rin loved it. Truly.
If only there wasn't a small weight in her chest at what today entailed.
The faint smell of tea greeted Rin as she stepped into the dimly lit kitchen. The sun didn't get through the front windows until evening time, otherwise, the apartment was fairly dim without lights. Still, Rin left herself in the dark, taking the time to create her own drink as Arturia had done hours before her, apparently.
They had agreed to this today. Arturia would go first. She would need some time alone; especially after that secondary war within the Clock Tower. Seriously, what had those fools been thinking? Then again, with Morgan involved, how could anything but chaos ensue? Rin still couldn't believe she had met –
A loud series of tonal beeps and a vibrating phone upon the kitchen table interrupted the Tohsaka girl's thoughts. She began boiling some water and then went to her device, upgraded to a smart phone no matter how reluctant she had been in doing so. Still, she had to admit that, once she got the hang of it (which definitely didn't take much longer than the majority her age), it was a useful improvement. Rin quickly observed that she had a few messages. She was on a small break from the Clock Tower (after everything she had been through, they owed her that much), so thankfully, there was nothing from her various professors and/or mentors, but Faye, Sakura, and Arturia's names remained notifications worth observing, the latter being the most recent transference of information.
Rin checked Faye's first, knowing she might need the most time to consider an appropriate response.
Faye: I want to see you, Rin. Please. I know my sister says she forgives me, but she still feels distant. I miss you. I miss Lily. I miss everything. I was such a fool. Such an insulant, selfish fool. I can't say it enough. So, I won't stop. What can I do to remove this guilt? How can I move on properly? It's torture. Could we have another drink together soon? They seem to be the only thing that helps. I want you. I do. Perhaps that's why Lily feels distant. Well, part of the reason. I hate that we can't be as we were before. I hate this sin. I hate this regret. I'm free, at last, but hardly. When can we have a drink together? My treat. I want to see you. You're so alluring. The way you stood before them all one after another. Enchanting. It almost makes my actions worth it. Almost. Please reply as soon as you can. Thank-you. Take care of my sister, as I know you will. I shouldn't have done that to her. Her past life's wounds were all torn open anew. I am a failure. It's late. I'm sure you can tell. Well past midnight. But writing you helps. I'm sorry. I'll talk to you soon. No rush. That's a lie.
Rin read over the message three times. It was evidently a train of thought. Sent at two in the morning. Poor Faye. What she had been through at the Clock Tower…it hadn't been fair. Not really. She was vulnerable, and the most ambitious of the mages within the den of Magecraft and might took advantage of her weaknesses as mages were trained to do. Part of Rin could respect it, but more of her loathed the concept. She cared about Faye. That was irrefutable now. She also hated her. Again, irrefutable. A complicated relationship, to say the least. Fitting, all things considered.
Rin moved on to Sakura's message. She wanted to give Faye's text time in her mind before replying.
Sakura: It's today, isn't it? Good luck, Sister. I'm sorry I couldn't be more help. I love you.
There. Much simpler. And what was Sakura talking about? Rider had been indispensable during the most recent war. It may have been playing dirty, if someone wanted to get technical, but considering who Rin ended up facing, she had to utilize every available option to overcome the challenges the Clock Tower saw fit to throw at her.
Rin: It is. Thank-you. Arturia has been struggling, but I think today will help. I hope it will. Take care. I love you, too. Very much.
Rin couldn't keep track of how many times she had inwardly thanked her good fortune for being able to reconcile with her sister. It felt like just yesterday that they were fighting one another tooth and nail within the bowels of Mount Enzou. Fortunately, that was in the past. Rin had managed to reforge her relationship with Sakura. She didn't have a broken family anymore. Not completely. She missed her little sister terribly, since moving to London. Perhaps one of her few regrets as of late…
At last, Rin checked Arturia's message. As was typical of her when she was withholding any semblance of weakness and vulnerability, it was short and to the point.
Arturia: I'm here safe and sound. I'll see you soon. Travel well.
Rin: I'm about to head out. Are you okay?
Rin watched as three dots appeared under her response. It was rare for Arturia to be looking at her phone. She must have been struggling. Rin decided she would take her tea to go in that moment. She began putting it all together, eventually transferring the hot beverage into a travel mug before hearing her phone ping her again.
Arturia: I am.
Arturia: But I think I'd prefer you were here.
Rin's chest swelled. She wanted to give her girlfriend space with something so raw and deeply personal, but she knew this might happen. Arturia had become more fragile, as of late. She wasn't the same King Arthur as before. She was more willing to give in to her emotions, and thus, this wasn't an entirely unexpected outcome.
Rin: I'll be there soon, my love.
Rin increased her pace from then on out. Very little caused her to panic more than Arturia's wellbeing. She was foolish to think Arturia should venture to such a place alone no matter how much she insisted.
Rin burst out of her townhouse and down a small set of stairs. It was an overcast day with the scent of rain in the air. She should have grabbed a raincoat. Summer storms could be nasty in London. Still, her sweater would have to do. She didn't want to keep Arturia waiting a second longer. It was already nearly a two and a half-hour trip. Rin would use the time to consider her response to Faye, she supposed, rather then constantly chastise herself for letting Arturia go on such a pilgrimage without her from the beginning.
Arturia stared at Rin's words upon the screen of her phone until a droplet of water from the sky interrupted her state of mental disconnect. She felt pathetic, but anything was better than the discomfort she felt from being alone before the grave of King Arthur in Glastonbury Abbey. Since arriving in London, Arturia had considered such a trip, but life had a way of becoming all consuming, especially when events at the Clock Tower quickly spiraled out of control the way they did.
Nonetheless, Arturia wasn't exactly upset she was granted such an opportunity, in the end. No matter how psychologically violent the entire occurrence was, she felt she could put her past as King Arthur to rest, finally. Thus, the trip to this very place. Hence, the emotional turmoil she now found herself in as she stared down at the inscription upon a sign that marked a tomb that was and wasn't her own.
Time had been merciless. There was nothing left of the site but dilapidated buildings of old. It was a tourist point of interest. The life of King Arthur was one to romanticize and observe with a certain level of ignorance Arturia couldn't help but find insulting. She had lived it. She had endured the pain such a life brought her.
But it was over. She was able to have her final words with the most influential of her knights. She should have been grateful, for it was all another opportunity few were able to have, but the finality of it bore down on her tired soul.
Time moved forward. Without Excalibur, Arturia's body was aging past the point she had been familiar with. For Lily, it was normal enough. For Arturia, it was further evidence that she was now so very much a human. She was taller than Rin now. Her breasts had grown notably larger. Her face had matured. It was unsettling. It was frightening. Arturia thought she didn't fear death after experiencing it a number of times now, but this life felt much more finite. It felt that much more valuable. She didn't want to leave Rin. She didn't want to grow old. She didn't want to count down the days before the cold end would embrace her…
According to the most loyal of her knights, she had finally learned to understand human emotion. As he faded from existence once more, he did so with a smile on his face, knowing his king had discovered what it meant to live.
Part of Arturia wished she never knew of such vulnerability. Death was so much more frightening now. The thought of not speaking with Rin again…impossible to imagine.
The site of King Arthur's tomb only drove this fact deeper into her heart. Life was finite. From the moment it began, the ending approached without yield. The most recent war gave Arturia so many chances to tie the knot on a multitude of threads she thought forever snapping in the wind. She had to do the same for her own existence as Lily and the remnants of King Arthur.
Arturia placed her phone in her trench coat's pocket, feeling the tiny box that shared the space within. The rain began to pick up, and the Pendragon girl sought shelter within one of the destroyed buildings nearby. It wasn't perfect, but reduced the number of pellets that sprinkled her person.
She had wanted this time to reflect and connect with her past, but the fragility of her soul hadn't been accounted for. Seeing all her knights again – specifically her "son" – had reopened wounds she didn't understand the depths of. This place spoke to her in whispers that made the late king anxious. She wanted to see Rin. She needed her chosen partner in life. She feared what thoughts would invade her psyche if she didn't.
'…It was meant to be a gift.'
'They all reside within the Throne of Heroes now, waiting for the true battle for humanity. I thought this would be a good opportunity.'
For your own amusement?
'To cleanse your soul for what is to come.'
…You speak of a greater threat.
'I speak of a time where your power will be a necessity to the survival of the human race.'
It is rare for you to be so serious.
'Such is the reality of the situation. I've had my fun. But even I can't turn a blind eye to what is fated for this world.'
…What of Rin?
'Hahah! Your first thought. Of course.'
Will she be spared?
'…In a way.'
So, this calamity you allude to will not come in her lifetime?
'It is hard to say. An anomaly within an anomaly. How can one truly know what will transpire? I look forward to it, regardless.'
And my men?
'Versions of them, at the very least.'
…Will I see her again?
'Back to the girl.'
'Riveting until the end.'
'It is not impossible.'
'So, until then, I want you to live. This life is yours now. You have earned a rest, my king.'
That is my intent.
'And then, when the time is right, I want you to heed the call of the last Master.'
…By my honour.
'Heh. You've made me proud, Arturia Pendragon. I look forward to seeing you again.'
I cannot say the same in earnest, but…take care of yourself until then, my infamous court jester.
Arturia breathed out shakily, Merlin's seemingly final words sinking in. Part of her struggled to believe he spoke the truth, but it was unlike him to be so solemn. She had no choice but to believe something was coming. Something beyond her and Rin's lifetimes but that might involve them both.
Did Arturia feel relief? Could Merlin's timing have been any better? Was she so selfish to believe she was deserving of yet another chance at life…with Rin no less?
Time would tell. For now, Arturia had to do as that silly mage suggested. She would live this life as though it were her last. She subconsciously played with the small, soft box within her coat once more, the rain mercifully maintaining little more than a scarcity of droplets upon the earth. The young woman then checked her phone for the time. Still a while to go before her lovely lady would make her appearance. Perhaps Arturia could distract her mind from the fragility of the situation by recalling the journey she and Rin had been through until this point. It would be a pleasant trip down memory lane, and a fitting journey considering what the King of Knights had planned…
Rin paid her taxi driver handsomely, as she had promised. He performed brilliantly, navigating out of London and to Glastonbury in record time. He had easily shaved forty-five minutes off the trip due to his knowledge of backroads and knowing when it was safest to go a little faster than the legal speed limit generally permitted.
The rain had picked up to the point of being annoying, but Rin didn't care. She rushed away from the taxi as soon as she was done with the driver and pulled her hood over her head. She quickly scanned the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, and when she didn't immediately see Arturia, she brought out her phone. She didn't bother to text, going straight to calling. When Arturia didn't immediately pick up, a small wave of panic revisited Rin, and she even went so far as to channel some mana into her legs in order to move around the eerily vacant tourist space as hastily as she could. It was only when Rin found the love of her life seated within the least compromised building of old that she was able to catch her breath properly. Like an angel in an abandoned church, Arturia was nestled in a corner, her head resting against the adjacent stone walls that had no roof to connect with.
Rin could believe that Arturia fell asleep as well, for she had been quite restless over the past few months. Getting an entire night's rest was unheard of for the poor woman, the impacts of the smaller scaled Grail War clearly affecting her mental state perpetually. There was likely something uncanny yet comfortably familiar about this place, and the silence of the outdoors surely brought Rin's king some peace – enough to rest for a time, at least. Rin almost didn't want to disturb her.
Rin allowed herself a moment to stare upon the woman that had mercilessly stole her heart. She really had become even more beautiful somehow. She was maturing and somehow progressively enchanting with every passing day. Her blonde hair and emerald eyes remained physical aspects that Rin was completely attracted to, and her body had developed in an unexpected way that sometimes could be intimidating, but ultimately ridiculously arousing to explore and consider on the most normal of days. This wasn't even mentioning the considerate, gentle, strong, ambitious, wise, innocent, and overall impossibly alluring personality that came with the beauty that was Arturia Pendragon.
Rin tenderly moved a strand of golden hair from Arturia's cheek, and her long lashes fluttered open almost immediately, that warrior within ever prepared to defend herself no matter what the scenario. Yet, Arturia's stern expression softened quickly thereafter, and it was replaced by an unhindered smile that Rin knew now was reserved for her and her alone.
'Rin…' Arturia shuffled on the spot, apparently disoriented for a moment as she took in her surroundings.
'I'm here.' Rin grinned, noting the rain had saw it fit to at least subdue its downpour for the time being.
'You are.' Arturia stood up, pulling her trench coat tight and looking ever so gallant within it all the while. 'I…somehow found some rest while I waited.'
'I'm glad.' Rin took her lady's hands in her own, tickling the top of them with her thumbs. 'How are you feeling?'
'A bit better, thank-you.' Arturia nodded.
There was a moment of pause, and then Arturia took a step past Rin, keeping one hand with the Tohsaka heir and pulling her along encouragingly.
'May I show you something?'
The two girls moved through the abbey quietly, the history engraved within the space powerful in its silence. Rin felt closer to Arturia Pendragon than ever after meeting all her knights in person. They had a unique and completely different perspective of the woman that was their king, fleshing out the complexity of Arturia's life for the Tohsaka heir impressively. This next step was an inevitability, although one Rin hesitated to follow Arturia through. She knew King Arthur was with her now, but the finality of this moment felt frighteningly fragile. What would happen to her and Arturia once they crossed over this hurdle?
The sun decided to pierce through a small sector of clouds in this very moment, as if urging Rin to proceed with her king. The golden, ethereal light that stayed the rain allowed for the late Master and Servant to make their way to the marker of King Arthur's tomb, the sign atop the land almost insulting to Rin in how basic and unceremonious it was. Yet, her heart ached, and she found herself tightening her hold on Arturia, regardless, for all it represented.
'Thank-you for coming, Rin.' Arturia didn't turn away from the grave, and Rin could only stare at the patch of brilliantly sun kissed, green land.
'Always…Yes. You would say that.'
'Because I mean it.'
'I know you do.' Arturia chuckled flippantly. 'After everything we have endured, I have no doubt you will be by my side until the end.'
'Exactly.' Rin's eyes began to tingle, for some reason, and she wiped at them with her free arm stubbornly.
'Yes. This is what I needed. The very embodiment of the present and future by my side in order to let go of the past – the same past that Merlin thought it necessary to confront me with before…'
'Before?' Rin raised a brow.
'A discussion for another day, I think. I don't want to ruin the mood.'
Rin's inquisitive mind almost didn't want to let that go so easily, but she recognized how important this was for Arturia, and against her nature, allowed the subject to be glossed over.
'Heh. You have grown so much, Rin.'
'No more than you.'
'True. We've…been through so much together. I was thinking of it all before I was finally able to sleep. Considering all our memories gave me the peace I needed to rest, and…with you by my side here and now, I think I can, at last, say goodbye to the King Arthur of the past.'
'I'm glad.' Rin breathed out in relief. 'As difficult as it was to face some of your knights like that – especially…especially Mordred – I can understand the need to hash it out to find some closure. Although I can hardly imagine going through such a gauntlet of emotional taxation.'
'Without you, I would have lost to despair, I'm sure.'
Rin didn't doubt it. All the most famous of the Knights of the Round had something to prove, to some extend, but none more than Mordred. Rin shivered thinking about that girl. She was…truly something else.
'This is the end.' Arturia released Rin, kneeling in front of the marked tomb and touching the ground ritualistically. 'I now understand human emotion better than ever before, and I have found my new place in this world. Goodbye, King Arthur of old. Fare thee well, for the time being…'
Rin gazed upon the back of Arturia. She thought she could almost see the burden of her crown being lifted into the golden light around her. She had been through so much, and the Tohsaka girl prayed she would finally have the rest she deserved. The rest Rin wanted to help provide.
'You did well.' Rin encouraged. 'You were a good king and…and the best Servant I could have ever asked for. Now, I want you to focus on your new life – a life I hope you'll continue to spend with me.'
'Oh, Rin.' Arturia sighed with a lightness in her tone, and something in Rin stirred, her intelligent mind daring to imagine what felt like an impossibility. However, Arturia pivoted around with a smooth movement, staying in a kneeling position and looking up at Rin, causing the girl's heart to hold in her throat.
'W-what? Did I say something so foolish?' Rin stammered haughtily, crossing her arms and attempting to hide the girlish dreams threatening to show on her face.
'Not at all.' Arturia was smiling at Rin. It was an expression the Tohsaka girl would never tire of. 'It's just…fitting that you said such a thing in this moment.'
'Oh? How so?' Rin continued to quiet her racing mind, but when Arturia began digging through her coat pocket, the Tohsaka heir's eyes widened, and she suddenly forgot the simple act of breathing.
'Because I think it is time I tell you something, Rin.' Arturia brought out a tiny, maroon box, opening it before Rin and allowing the incredible shimmer of a brilliant diamond ring to reflect the rays of sun blessing this moment for a king of legend.
'Oh, my God…!' Rin covered her mouth. It felt like a dream – one she didn't want to admit she had endured a multitude of times.
'My Rin, you have made me the person I have always sought to be. You are my other half. You are my best friend and closest comrade. I wake up joyful knowing the first person I am gifted with seeing is you.'
The tears came quickly for Rin, and she remembered when she struggled to produce such things. When she had actively sealed her heart after losing her whole family.
'I, Arturia Pendragon, better known as the late King Arthur, have never known true, untainted love before meeting you, Rin Tohsaka.'
Rin withheld the urge to sob. It was hard to see without constantly wiping the tears filling up her eyes. She allowed her king to continue without interruption.
'You have caused an upheaval upon everything I thought I knew. I thank the powers that be for bringing you into my life with every given opportunity. I wish to live the rest of my days linked to you in the most holy and binding of ways. A king should always have a queen equal or better than he…or she, in this case. Thus, Rin Tohsaka, I humbly present you with this ring that hardly embodies a fraction of my love for thee…'
The glimmer of the diamond dazzled Rin's ocean-blue eyes, and her heart trembled in her throat. It was brilliant. Rin wasn't one for ritzy jewellery, but what this particular accessory represented couldn't be considered average by any stretch of the imagination. Arturia had limited herself not, for the purity of the humble rock couldn't be calculated, and if Rin hadn't made it clear that she disliked oversized gems on rings and the like, she was sure Arturia would have gone further.
But none of that mattered. Not really. Rin's mind was in a frenzy as she watched Arturia's soft lips utter what she didn't know she was waiting for, her girlfriend's own eyes shimmering with tears as well. She was that in love. She loved Rin that much. It felt otherworldly.
'And with this ring, I ask of you, my Rin: would you do me the honour of marrying me and becoming my queen forevermore?'
Rin attempted to form words, but her voice had long been lost. Thus, she resorted to nodding fervently, presenting her shaky left hand to Saber and feeling the girl's soothing touch slowly slide the ring onto her finger, the weight of the band bringing Rin to her knees. She hugged Saber tightly, feeling the girl's heart press against her own.
'M-my king, I think I've been yours since the first moment I saw you…' Rin whimpered, holding Arturia as tightly as she could without hurting the other woman. 'Yes. Of course, I'll be your queen. God…It would be…my greatest honour.'
The two young women parted, staring into one another's eyes as Arturia placed a hand upon Rin's cheek, caressing it tenderly with her thumb.
'When it is legally permitted, I want to officially make you my wife, Rin.'
Rin bit at her lower lip, nodding slowly.
'Just hearing that word gives me goosebumps. Your wife…Oh. But what do you want to be? My husband? No. You don't consider yourself a male anymore, I suppose. Hm.'
'Do you have a preference?' Arturia raised a brow curiously.
'Hardly.' Rin laughed, seeing a slight moment of relief pass over her lover. 'As long as you're Arturia Pendragon, it truly doesn't matter to me.'
'I'm…happy to hear that.'
A wave of panic overtook Rin, and she began to speak quickly as she explained her thoughts.
'I-I'll get you a ring as well. Even if we can't be "married", we can at least dissuade anyone from thinking otherwise, correct? Then again, it might get complicated at the Clock Tower. Everyone already knows we have a relationship that's more than just a friendship. Hmph. Whatever. We can do what we want. It's nobody else's business. I'll just – '
Rin was easily silenced when Arturia leaned in to kiss her, the act deep and full of love. Rin hummed as she felt her lover's soft lips upon her own. A stifled groan slipped through her throat as she experienced the familiar sensation of Arturia's taste. When they parted, Rin could only see Arturia basking in light from heaven, and all felt right in the world at last.
'To the rest of our lives, Rin, my fairest Crimson Maiden.'
Rin took Arturia's hands, holding them between their two bodies as she agreed wholeheartedly.
'To the rest of our lives, Arturia…my King of Knights.'
Fate/Stay Night: Heirs
A/N: Thank-you, everyone, for making it this far. Fate/Stay Night remains my favourite anime universe, and Rin and Saber also remain my favourite anime characters after years, and years, and years of being into anime and manga. This was my first fanfiction ever written, and it was a pleasure to basically completely redo it a few years after its original completion. I am much happier with this version, and I hope my lovely readers are as well be you an original fan or a new one.
Now, clearly I've set something up for a sequel where we go into exactly what happened once Rin and Arturia made it into the Clock Tower. But there's enough content there for an entirely new story that I intend to write after I finish with some original work that I will hopefully manage to get published. Please look out for my young adult book that is tentatively titled "Pink".
Thank-you again for the consistent words of encouragement, constructive criticism, and amusing comments. I will miss posting and interacting with you all. It was an absolute pleasure. Please take care until the next one!
Love, Eh Mattissimo ^.^