Disclaimer: I don't own the characters or lyrics or techniques herein.
Shout Out: Another chapter and this time, the culprit was Gil. Looking back, on the story I will have to do some beta-reading, but considering that the story has to go on, I am bravely threading the depths hitherto unknown. The players are ready, and the next chapter, the Grail War will begin in earnest. So… Family Scuffles, Xanxus Has No Self-Preservation Instincts (Ditto Tokiomi), Protective Gil, Cuddles Ahoy.
Warnings: AU on multiple scales, No Beta (First version will die when I will have time to beta-read it).
Even when the city sleeps, the buildings are always under construction
city plans are being carried out
the snakes bite each other, the morphed looping lines
stirring up the endorphin, now Go Go Go
the spirits rise into the night sky
This marching and religious beliefs are like a quiz that has overlooked the common sense
Like a quiz
('Seijatachi' /'Saints' by People in the Box (intro from anime Tokyo Ghoul))
Golden eyebrow twitched.
Never, ever in his life, would Gilgamesh have expected to find a person that was more annoying than Tokiomi.
But there he was, and driving the residents of the church insane with his presence.
And no, he wasn't thinking about Kirei. The young priest was complete and utter lamb in comparison with the hellion that was his and Harry's spawn.
Xanxus Gabriel Potter-Kotomine. The unholy terror with an uncanny ability to rouse the aggro of any and all the people he was confronted with, with some rare exceptions.
Both Harry and Sakura had to be complete saints to deal with that menace on an hourly basis.
Gilgamesh, however, was of a far shorter fuse, not that the brat really took note of that - in fact, upon stumbling on that little brat, the brat in question took a supreme advantage of it, and much to Gil's frustration, he seemed to be immune to his attempts to intimidate him.
His first meeting with the nuisance was a good example of this particular characteristic. If it weren't for Xanxus being Harry's adopted child and as such, by (unwilling and unaccounted for) proxy, Gilgamesh's adopted nephew, Gilgamesh wouldn't have let the little gnat live in any way, shape or form.
Gilgamesh was lounging on the couch, lazily wondering how to aggravate Archer further. It seemed that every time Archer was agitated to the boiling point without any recourse but retreating into the kitchen, the food was he had cooked came out much more delicious than usual.
Both of the priests and that fool of his Master had vanished to who knows where, but right now, Gilgamesh didn't really care about following them to find out their plans, however foolish and feeble they were. He could always bully Tokiomi into spilling the beans, so to speak.
Yawning, he prepared himself for a long, nice nap, distantly regretting there was no decent sunspot anywhere in the house. Fireplace was a very poor substitute for sun warmth. As for the outside, the air was too polluted and heavy, stinging with smog and carbon dioxide emissions that left a bad taste on his sensitive tongue.
For a moment he contemplated to dismiss the armor, before waving away the thought. The armor wasn't such a hindrance, despite it looking as such.
Closing his eyes, he pondered at the strange time he found himself summoned in. The air was polluted, and technology has advanced since the end of his reign, but Gilgamesh could almost hear the screams of the Earth beneath his feet, her voiceless complaints about the burden she had been carrying for so very long, and still continued to carry. It made him tense and almost restless, heaven and earth overturned in their position -
And then, something heavy and warm fell on his stomach, causing Gilgamesh' s eyes to jerk open with the shock because someone dared to jump onto his stomach.
Not that it hurt the ancient King of Heroes any, but the indignity and the disrespect shown by the gesture rankled. Red eyes glared into red ones, willing the culprit to combust with terror but no such luck on either side.
Oh, and of course, the culprit also interrupted his nap. Can't forget that, nope.
Both he and the child spoke almost at the same time.
A tense pause.
"The fuck you are doing here, scum?" Oh, the kiddo had balls. Gilgamesh would've been impressed if it weren't for the brat's frankly atrocious manners when he greeted and most importantly, interrogated his person.
"That ought to be my question, little mongrel." Gilgamesh smirked.
The child flared almost instantly. "I ain't a mongrel!" The red-eyed brad hissed out, glaring, and jeez, it was hard to keep the anger at the brat's indignant posturing.
And then, the brat spoke again.
"Scum." Okay, Gilgamesh mood plummeted down again.
"Tired of living already, huh? Well, can't be helped." He commented as he grabbed the kid by the scruff of his shirt and easily hauled him off his body as if he were an unruly puppy.
The little mongrel was a child, some six years old, if Gilgamesh wasn't mistaken. Male, with red eyes and black hair and stubborn as a mule to boot.
And there was still that disconcerting feeling of heaven and earth having been overturned, the source of it coming right off of the brat.
'Oh?' Gilgamesh's eyebrows lifted in interest. It wasn't often he met people with their Gift Activated so early like this boy's. In fact, almost nobody in this era, aside Harry and his companions used their Gift.
Gilgamesh's insight was never wrong. But right now, he still had to teach the little brat to respect his betters.
"You dare to call this King a scum? Brave little mongrel." He growled at the kid.
"If you grovel, maybe I will feel merciful enough to just cripple you, what do you say?"
"And just why would I do that, you weirdo?" The kid shot back, and there was a spark of something, the kid apparently preparing for his escape.
Never, ever in his entire life, was Gilgamesh called weirdo. He was perfection incarnated, thank you very much, and even insinuation that something may have been wrong with him ensured the one that voiced it would suffer the most painful torture imaginable.
"You - !"
Gilgamesh was ready, willing and able to open his armory to skewer the brat.
Luckily for the little mongrel, Harry came into the living room just at the right time to spare him from Gilgamesh's wrath.
"Gilgamesh, can you come here for a moment - What the hell are you two doing?" Harry exclaimed, appalled at the scene. Weill it did look a little too cruel, what with Gil's hold on the mongrel's ratty clothes and all.
The little mongrel twisted in his hold, before beaming at his little brother.
"Harry! I've come to visit you, but, I've found this strange weirdo in the room. What have you done now, sei stupido turista!? Is he another of your strays you are so fond of gathering?"
Gilgamesh's tolerance was officially busted. The brat dared to complain, dared to defame him, and then he criticized Harry's taste in choosing family. Untolerable!
A stray! The little brat dared to call the King of Heroes a stray out of all things!
"How dare you, you mongrel!" Gilgamesh thundered, readying himself to throw the little gnat in question against the floor. The little gnat tensed in anticipation of his undoubtedly painful fate.
"Gilgamesh, NO! He is your nephew!"
The red-eyed duo froze in the midst of the movement. Then, they simultaneously looked at each other doubtfully and with much suspicion vivid in their facial expressions.
Finally, they both pointed at each other with a finger.
"This scum/mongrel is my uncle / nephew!?" They asked in unison stereo.
Has Harry officially lost his mind!?
Undaunted, Harry gifted both of them with a stern glare.
"Gil, you are my big brother and I love you, but honestly, let go of Xanxus before he spontaneously combusts -
"Wouldn't be a bad idea - " Giglamesh muttered, but Harry continued
" - and Xanxus - how many times have I told you not to dive-jump on the couch?"
"You mean this is his standard practice?" Gilgamesh asked, half-annoyed and half-curious.
"Sadly, yes." Harry glared at the culprit in question. The culprit merely turned his head away and haughtily sniffed, deeming his sin a completely normal and acceptable occurrence.
"He was nearly skewered by Kirei that one time, Kuzuki almost busted him and he was plain lucky with Kiritsugu that one time - "
"Hey!" Xanxus protested.
"Shut it!" Harry snapped at him, green eyes alit with anger. "If I hadn't known better I would've thought you were outright baiting them into attacking you!"
Gilgamesh's eyebrows rose at that comment. Harry's … friends were assassins, and that stupid brat was truly taunting his luck what with his… choice of entertainment.
And then, Harry smiled. But that was not a kind smile - instead, this smile was more of a cat that was about to play with its prey than anything else.
"Shall I tell them to up your training menu, son?" He purred out, causing Xanxus' eyes to widen with horrified alarm at the consequences of his actions.
Gilgamesh was so, so proud of his little brother. That smile was truly terror-inciting one, as befitting of the adopted little brother of King of Heroes!
Gilgamesh sent a smug smile to the brat as he planted him, none too gently on the floor.
Xanxus glared back at him and when Harry turned around, he mouthed one single word to Gilgamesh's face.
Gilgamesh's lips stiffened as he glared back.
Oh, the war was so on.
(And no, he would not under any circumstances, admit the little mongrel in question had any familial ties to himself!")
A week later the said war was still on.
Red eyes glared into equally red ones. The Golden King was glaring at the tiny brat in front of him. The little mongrel didn't have the common sense of backing off, and Gilgamesh had been increasingly tempted to just perforate the brat via hail of weapons from his Gate and be done with it.
On the other side, Xanxus was just about done and done with the arrogant overblown bag of gold with no fashion sense - seriously, golden armor? - who tried to snatch away his Harry's attention away from him. It was already more than enough that he had to contend with those three assassin bastards of Harry's - he allowed this just because they were Harry's friends and nothing more - but this jerk-face was a big NO on all fronts.
"Ah, look at them, they are just like brothers," Tokiomi outright cooed at the pair, causing their heads to whip back and twin red glares pinned the stupid idiot Magus on the spot. At the same time, Harry palmed his face in exasperation. Seriously, did Tokiomi, when Harry was in his proximity, lost all his survival instincts or something?
(For some reason Gilgamesh always abstained from violence when in Harry's presence. Of course, when Tokiomi discovered that little tidbit he milked it for all it was worth….)
"WE ARE NOT BROTHERS, YOU SCUM / MONGREL!" The twin roars echoed through the room, and the killer intent generated in this moment from the duo was such the two could be mistaken for demons. The picture wasn't made any better what with numerous weapons poking out of the golden circles in the room, all of them aimed at that Tohsaka fool, and Xanxus' claws also made an appearance in all of their multi-coloured glory.
A faint scent of urine permeated the room, when Tokiomi's knees knocked together before he gracelessly slid onto the floor, ready, willing and able to beg the demonic duo for mercy.
Silvery white eyebrows arched heavenward when the newcomer saw the scene.
"Brotherly bonding time again? I understand that Tokiomi makes for an oh so tempting target, but really, can't you two do a Scrabble or Risk instead?"
The glares of two 'brothers' in question zeroed at the impudent man.
"You just offered your unworthy carcass to be this King's entertainment. Rejoice, mongrel, your wish to be a Hero is about to be granted." Gilgamesh snarled, with Xanxus grunted his assent as the two prepared to...Have fun with their newest victim.
(Tokiomi fainted. Nobody paid any attention to him.)
Their would-be victim was suitably unimpressed... and had their own weapon at hand.
"Okay, But no cookies for you two!"
The fires of hell and brimstone vanished as if they hadn't existed in the first place.
No cookies… truly a horrifying prospect.
"What was that fucking Risk game again, scum?" Xanxus finally grunted out as he crossed his arms on the chest as he glared at the intruder.
(Harry's note to self: Never. Ever. Let the two in question play Risk. Or any other game that dealt with conquering something. Because the two of them were obsessive little shits who were not above cheating like it was going out of style. Well, Xanxus cheated, Gilgamesh had that Golden Rule of his, which was like Biggest Cheat Ever. )
(Later in his life, Xanxus became an indisputable champion at poker and other card games. Nobody - ever - could prove that he was cheating in any way, shape or form. Not even Reborn.)
(Learning to out-cheat The Golden King took proverbial big brass balls the size of Jupiter and an ungodly amount of skill. (Which Xanxus had zealously cultivated to the extreme.) Everyone else after him? Pffft, amateurs.)
Gilgamesh found a brief reprieve when the little mongrel got busy with his prank war against Tokiomi's eldest female offspring - in fact, he may or may not have covertly helped little Rin with some of the more… exemplary retaliations against the little mongrel.
It was like a quiz - a funny and entertaining one - and if Gilgamesh was faintly reminded of Enkidu when the little mongrel went against him - well, nobody had to know.
It shattered the monotonous days a little, brought some excitement in his life, as boring as it were. It was only for so long one could bear Tokiomi's kowtowing and all those intrigues weaving around this place. Even if the war had been halted for a time, courtesy of Harry's unintentional appearance in their lives, Gilgamesh knew the show had to go on, and it was only a question of time - of not if, but of when things would amass themselves to the critical point big enough to explode in their faces. But if in between Gilgamesh bade his time with baiting the little mongrel and Kirei, well, this was no one's business but his own.
No harm in having some appetizer entertainment before the main course.
All the players were in their places. Of course, Gilgamesh was aware of Tokiomi and Father Risei conspiring behind his back, and while it was a distasteful thing, he let them do their thing. He was a King, and any and all the tricks they would attempt to realise would prove useless against him anyway.
That Berserker mongrel also vanished back to its pitiful Master.
There were Rider and his Master too, thankfully sequestered back at their base, along with Saber and Kiritsugu. The man was an occasional visitor, but he seemed to have some kind of beef with Kirei, much to Gilgamesh intrigued amusement and Harry's long-suffering glares at the duo in question. Tokiomi's wife was also prompted to evacuate to the safer place as to not become collateral in the war along with Rin, while Sakura stubbornly stuck with Xanxus, much to Aoi's dismay.
It was only for so long Gilgamesh could tolerate the flood of mongrels milling around and salivating after his little brother.
He had known this was a natural way of things - his little brother was similar to him, after all. Even if Harry himself tried to deny it, Gilgamesh had seen it - and with his perception of things as they were, this little fact was practically screaming into his face. And even if he hadn't had the perception as such, Harry's friends were a good indication what was happening.
True, they were a little bit too broken for Gilgamesh's tastes, and when he would find out just who dared to break them to this degree, this person would rue the day they came into existence.
(Those impudent mongrels dared to try and break his little brother, and that was unacceptable.)
It was a shame this war had separated them to different sides so cruelly, just for the sake of a wish. Pityingly, Gilgames shook his head as he looked at the sleeping city underneath him, all those mongrels beneath his feet unaware of the war happening behind the curtains, like a beast which was waiting to explode onto the surface in the burst of adrenaline.
All the prayers… for what? Would people still pray if they had known the truth of the things? Would they hold to their common sense or would they allow themselves to be swallowed by madness?
Red eyes swivelled up, to stare at the distant horizon, a dark line separating the earth and the sky somewhere in the distance, studded with an occasional light. Everything had its own end. Closing his eyes, Gilgamesh inhaled.
For the first time in a long while, he felt unsettled by that fact.
'Not him. Never him'. A single thought - a prayer, perhaps? Floated toward the darkened sky, like a lone spirit among hundreds of others, unaware and invisible from its companions.
"Gil?" A question floated to him, and Gilgamesh turned, looking at the yawning Harry behind him
The ex-wizard was wrapped into blanket, his dark hair comically messy as he squinted at Gilgamesh with half-asleep green eyes. Gil was frankly surprised the puppy pile let Harry out of their clutches, considering the kids unanimously deemed Harry as their cuddle toy at night.
Harry looked like little ghost, small and fragile, while swathed in the volumes of the fabric covering him, and once again, Gilgamesh felt that tiny prickle of both fondness and protectiveness over him.
"Harry? What are you doing here, little brother?" Gilgamesh asked, his voice soft as he held his hand out to Harry. Slowly, harry accepted it, allowing Gilgamesh to pull him toward his body.
Sleepy green eyes widened at the King's cold hand.. "The hell, Gil! How long have you been camping here for! You are practically freezing!" Harry fretted, as he immediately unfurled the blanked over the King. His body involuntarily shivered due to the abrupt change of temperature, but he stubbornly wrapped both of them into the fabric, intent on sharing the warmth with Gil.
"Why are you not sleeping yet?" Harry queried, glaring at his self-proclaimed big brother who looked at him with an amused smile on his lips.
"I am a spirit, remember? I don't require sleep. Not really." Gilgamesh chuckled as he ruffled the unruly hair, causing Harry's glare to worsen before the ex-wizard swatted his hand away.
"And besides…. Night is a good time for thinking some things over." Gilgamesh sobered as he looked toward the horizon again. "And trying to become icicle." Harry snarked at him. "I don't care that you are a spirit now, but you don't need to practically freeze your ass off!"
Gilgamesh rolled his eyes. Sure, he was in his casual attire, but as a spirit, he was immune to human maladies connected to low temperatures, such as cold.
"I cannot get sick." He patiently repeated, but his heart was warmed by Harry's show of concern. How long was since someone sincerely scolded him with his own well-being in their mind?
"Still!" Harry grumbled, but he didn't protest when Gilgamesh wrapped him into his embrace.
Gilgamesh shook his head.
"Hey… What was Uruk like?" The question came from below his chin, causing Gilgamesh to look at Harry, surprised.
Harry was flushed and looking anywhere else but directly at Gilgamesh. It was kind of cute, him trying to divert Gil from his gloomy thoughts, even with such an awkward change of subject.
"Why are you asking me this?" Gilgamesh knew, of course, but he couldn't help but want to hear it directly from Harry's own mouth.
Green eyes looked up to his own red ones. "You don't look like you want to go to sleep anytime soon. And it's bad for you to be alone with your thoughts. And… I just want to know you better." Harry finished, his cheeks now blazing red with mortification as he snuggled against Gilgamesh's warming body.
"You know, this is the most useless thing you could've asked me about." Gilgamesh remarked, amused. His remark earned him a small pinch on his side.
"It's not! It's part of you and I - well, I am curious if the stories did it justice. And who else to ask if not the one who lived in it?" Harry's voice held a little bit of irritation, before it smoothed out into innocent curiosity, the likes of a kitten that encountered a feather for the first time.
For a moment, Gilgamesh was at a loss.
For all of Gilgamesh's knowledge power and wisdom, Harry had asked him of something so inconsequential to share that it may as well be dust below his feet, so useless it was.
Gilgamesh found his mouth curving into a soft smile. Such a foolish little brother he had. But much to his surprise, he found himself thinking that he wouldn't want to have Harry any other way.
(Though he still refused to admit that Xanxus was his nephew in any way, shape or form.)
The Gate behind opened and casually, Gilgamesh retrieved a chair out of it before it closed again. The chair was more of a simple throne, made out of white marble inlaid with red marble and gold. The throne/chair was cold to the touch, but Harry's amazement at such a simple item was palpable.
Tugging Harry along, Gilgamesh sat on the throne, with Harry sitting on his knees, with both of them securely wrapped in a blanket.
"Did you know that I had a lion?" Harry shook his head, surprised at the sudden fact from Gilgamesh's personal life. "You did?" Gilgamesh nodded.
"But lions are carnivores. Why didn't it eat you?" Harry persisted, now really curious.
Gilgamesh snorted. "It knew better. But one of my favorite things to do back then was to sit in this chair with him lying on my lap and watching nature."
The night passed slowly while Gilgamesh talked about Uruk and his people and of ancient times when he reigned as King to his people.
"You really think that you could separate me from my Master?" Golden eyes glinted as Avenger grinned a demented grin at his opponents.
"You who cannot even bear my mere presence? Keke, how…. Interesting. How funny! How amusing!" White teeth flashed in a mocking grin.
"I am Angra Mainyu. All the World's Evil. I exist everywhere, in every heart of every person in this world. Do you really want to exterminate every person, from the unborn babies to the old people on the verge of death, just for him?"
They were silent. Only their burning eyes glared at him, attempting to pierce him with their mere gazes.
Avenger - no, Angra Mainyu - laughed yet again.
"Then let's find out if you have the courage to do so! Mugen no Zangai!"