Disclaimer: Don't own the characters or song, I am only in because it's getting interesting.
Shout Out: Having a bad day, and I want to share some of it with you. In a positive sense, because why not. Things are moving on the bad side and Saber is also going to the dark side (why not, cookies and milk), and things go kaboom in the night.
Warnings: AU-verse, no Xanxus, Saber Shows Her (Dis)Approval, Berserker Is Not Happy. Archer Is On A Warpath.
I'm havin' a bad, bad day
It's about time that I get my way
Steam rollin' whatever I see,
Huh, despicable me
I'm havin' a bad, bad day
If you take it personal that's okay
Watch, this is so fun to see
Huh, despicable me
('Despicable Me' by Pharrel Williams - movie Despicable Me)
He had nothing to live for anymore.
It was all their fault.
All. Their. Goddamned. Fault.
The word was cruel in its casual disregard of its parts, however small or great that way.
That shitty Grail War had taken from him everything.
First Aoi, and then Sakura.
Aoi, his first love and gentlest spring dream, torn from him by Zouken's machinations and those accursed worms.
Often time, he dreamed what would have happened if he hadn't rejected her for her own good. What if he had courage enough to pursue her, no matter what.
But he was a coward, afraid of pain - afraid to expose her to that ugliest facet of his personality.
So he distanced himself from her, electing to study and work away from where she lived.
Away from Fuyuki.
Away from her.
Time ought to be his ally in forgetting her, or at least in softening the pain in his heart.
He had known why had he forbidden himself to reach for her, after all.
But time was an enemy.
When she got married, it was a bittersweet moment in his life - bitter because he let the chance pass him and sweet because of the same reason.
He had hid himself in the room, his body jerking and shaking as the worms residing within its cavities gnawed through nerves and sinews and - at times - through his mind.
Returning back, for Sakura's sake was fruitless too.
('Too little, too late', a mocking jeer echoed in his mind.)
A shy, innocent little girl with Aoi's smile had already been thrown into the den of horrors and depravity under the Zouken Mansion in order to prepare her for her destiny of being the full-time member of Matou family.
Kariya willingly agreed to participate in the Holy Grail War. He had been already damned, but at least, for Sakura, there remained a glint of hope.
Were he to win the Grail –
-then all three of them could've put that nightmare behind them, once and for all.
(He hated those soft and kind green eyes, so trusting and hurt flashing through his mind, hated them with all the bitterness in his soul, because they belonged to the one who betrayed him - )
Her smile – their smiles where the only ones who counted anymore.
For them, he would chain the world and destiny and make them bow to his will.
(And maybe then, he would forget about those eyes haunting his sleeping and waking moments.)
And anyone in his way –
They would die an inglorious death, a dog's death so horrific even Alaya itself would willingly strike them from its own books in order to wipe their existence into nothingness.
Berserker snarled into Kariya's face. Red slit glaring with an effort to escape the man's hold, but despite his efforts, all his strength was for naught.
He didn't want to go.
Everything within screamed to not go, to refuse this command with everything he was.
Kariya, however, remained unperturbed.
"You will go and kill them."
A single working eye was glittering with madness and he tightened his mental hold onto Berserker, causing the entity to roar out in helpless rage.
Golden eyes watched the spectacle, apparently bored with everything, even though their owner was anything but. Lately, however, Lancer found himself able to lie to the people he was with exceptionally well.
" Are you done yet?" He questioned, the words bitter ash on his tongue.
This could go wrong in so many ways it wasn't even funny.
He bore Kariya's menacing glare stoically.
" Shut it, you dog. We will be prepared and we will kill them." A manic grin stretched over Kariya's face, disfiguring its lines even further.
"All those bastards who killed my precious Sakura. Yes, they will pay, and they will pay... dearly."
The last word was spoken out with an unearthly hiss, more of a supernatural sound than anything else.
" Fetch your master, dog. It's time for the revenge to begin."
"He is crazy!" Sola-Ui hissed at her fiancé as they walked to Kariya's room.
It was Kayneth's room at first, but then Kayneth returned from his walk with that - that abomination, and she, Sola-Ui Nuada Re Sophia Ri, had been forced to be placed under the same geas as her useless fiancé in order to keep her life.
That abomination – for this Matou reject was not worthy of any other address - dared to press her into the corner with threatening to kill Lancer.
(It was more like killing Kayneth, but the threat had been valid - kill the Master and Servant is as good as dead.)
Not wanting to lose their main weapon, Sola-Ui agreed under duress.
(For Lancer, she was willing to do anything. Kill, lie, steal, and if Lancer needed mana via the… transfer, Sola-Ui would've had not problem with supplying it, as much and as many times as the Servant would've requested of her.)
And oh, hadn't that rankled her something fierce. But something within her held her back - maybe it was the threat to Lancer's life (Kayneth was of no consequence, the fool,) and maybe it was that Berserker, ready, willing and able to break her neck at a moment's notice, but what remained with her, were the abomination's eyes. Or an eye, for one of them was already milky white on the scarred half of the face, indicating the worms were doing their duty in overdrive, devouring their captor at a frightening rate.
(It was only a question of time of when the abomination would finally collapse and let the out of the shackles geas forced them into - )
It was disgusting and fascinating, watching the process so close and seeing the man withering almost at a visible rate in front of their very eyes.
Sola-Ui would've rebelled if it weren't for geas binding her will to the goals of their captor – and his eyes.
That single orb, lightening from it's previous brown into pale blue mixed with gray... Sola-Ui wouldn't have admitted it under normal circumstances, but it… scared her.
That was not an eye of a rational person - but rather of one who wouldn't stop at anything until they reached their goal.
Kayneth's glare was unimpressed.
"That's nothing new." He bit out. Sola-Ui bristled. True, they weren't close, even if Kayneth had, for some reason, taken a liking to her, the feeling wasn't reciprocated.
But ever since that fateful row which landed them in the situation they were in now, Kayneth had seemed to visibly distance himself from her.
Normally, Kayneth as she knew him, would've puffed out and claimed that this was nothing for a mage of such caliber as him, promising that his unfortunate opponents would feel his wrath so they would rue the day they were born - but this Kayneth said nothing of that sort.
This Kayneth was cold and curt and the least helpful person in this sorry excuse of a situation they found themselves in.
Maybe it was because he blamed her for instigating the whole thing, but surely this was not possible was it?
It was Kayneth's sole fault that he was idiotic enough to fall for such an obvious trap like he had - Sola-Ui resolutely ignored the fact that if the situation were to be reversed, she, herself would've fallen into self-same trap just as easily -
"Keep your mouth shut." Kayneth's order slapped her back into reality and out of her Lancer-induced fantasies.
Sola-Ui sent him a glare before she schooled her face, ready to enter the den of misfortune that was Kariya's room.
"I didn't tell you had to fetch her." Kariya's dissatisfied remark snapped like a whip, causing the tension in the room to rise further.
Berserker had vanished off to do Kariya's bidding, and the only one in the room, along Kariya, was Lancer.
The ancient Celtic hero was standing behind Kariya's chair, as if he were his own Servant and not Kayneth's, something Kariya was sure it rankled the proud Magus something fierce.
Sola-Ui glared, but much to Kayneth relief, the troublesome woman kept her mouth shut. As much as he liked her, Sola-Ui could be very trying to deal with when she wanted to have something done her own way.
"But you also didn't say she was forbidden from attending." Kayneth snapped back, feeling a vicious bit of satisfaction as the man's moth snapped shut. It was a small victory, but victory the same.
Those disconcerting eyes zeroed on him. Matou was sitting behind the ancient desk, looking for all he was worth, like a CEO, albeit one that was clothed in shabby and shapeless clothed that hung off of his frame, exposing a tiny bit of collarbone in proves as Matou leaned forward, elbows on the surfaces as he interlaced his fingers in front of his mouth.
"Are you sure you want to go that route, Kayneth?" He spoke Kayneth's name casually, without any suffixes to boot. But those eyes, contrarily to the casual wording, were razor sharp, and firmly locked onto their owner's prey.
"I would dread to finish partnership with such an esteemed Magus as yourself just because of a small…" The white-haired man paused for a moment, the small shard of time seemingly stretching into uncomfortable eternity, before it was broken by his voice again. "Misunderstanding." He finished the word, not even caring that the pair was now outright glaring at him.
"But now that you two are here it saves me trouble to keep you in the loop." Shrugging, Kariya exhaled and leaned back, the leather creaking under the pressure of his back against the back rest of the chair.
"It's not like you have a plan or anything." Sola-Ui retorted snappishly, mulishly disregarding Kayneth's warning squeeze of her shoulder.
"Besides, attacking them as it were is a plain suicide waiting to happen." She paused as she looked at Lancer, giving him a brief smile before she glared back at Kariya.
"Tokiomi and Father Kotomine's protégé are allies. That means we have both Archer and Assassin - to Servants that could and would go against us. And excuse me for not pandering to your delicate sensibilities, but I am not quite certain your Berserker would make do through them!"
"Sola!" Kayneth snapped at his bull-headed fiancé, his face dark. Didn't Soila-Ui see she was playing with fire as it were?
Surprisingly, the Matou representative remained calm in the face of her unfavorable description of their current situation.
"That doesn't mean we can't attack the Servants and in meantime kill the Masters."
Golden eyes opened wide as Lancer jerked upward.
"Surely you aren't serious!" The Servant of Lance blurted out.
Three pair of eyes zoomed at him, and suddenly, Diarmuid knew how the mouse felt when presented to three hungry cats.
"Serious?" Kariya looked at him, bloodless lips twisting in a sardonic smile. "But of course, I am. However, maybe it's you that isn't serious." The Master of Berserker paused. "Or… maybe you are sympathizing with them?"
Ignoring the knot in his throat, Diarmuid shook his head. "It's not that! But that kind of warfare is dishonorable!" He snapped back, blood pounding through his ears.
Engaging Servants and in meantime, killing Masters.
Despicable, but efficient.
And there was Harry - unaware of the impending doom –
"This - !" Kayneth was also outraged. "This is not a way of Magi, Matou!" Unconsciously, his hands clenched in fists.
"Way of Magi?" Kariya chuckled. "It was a 'way of Magi' that took Aoi from me. It was your precious 'way of Magi' that destroyed Sakura's future!" His words, even if spoke in a lighthearted tone, held a poisonous bite that forced Sola to step back in shock.
"I don't give a damn about your precious opinions on how to acquire Grail War, El Melloi. I am aware that I am a substandard Magus at worst. So why should I follow your stupid notions on fighting head to head when it can only result in me losing the prize?" Kariya tilted his head as he grinned at him, the grin being as unfriendly as one could be, and about as warm as frozen pits of Hell itself.
"But if it helps you understand better, then we can say it's the fastest track for you two to getting rid of the geas I've placed you under. Isn't that happy news for you two?"
Kayneth remained silent. Matou Kariya was right in that aspect, but it still rankled him something fierce.
The luxurious living room they were currently in was a mocking counterpoint to the reality he was forced to accept - barely more than a servant to this reject of a Matou bloodline.
He opened his mouth to refute - and his world exploded.
"This was abominable." A feminine voice hissed into his ear, outrage of its owner at the culprit all too evident to the culprit in question, not that he cared about it.
"All is fair in love and war." Dull dark eyes glanced at the culprit's companion. The companion in question was clad in black business suit that vividly contrasted with golden hair and green eyes. The small woman was livid.
"Be glad we evacuated the building of the people." Kiritsugu wasn't in the mood to play appeasement games to his Servant, even if she was - theoretically - stronger than him.
"Not all of them were evacuated and you damn well know it!" Saber snapped at him.
"Well, you didn't protest much when you placed those explosives either – " Kiritsugu was interrupted by an aged well-mustachioed concierge of the hotel they had just witnessed the demolition of.
"Excuse me, are you Mr. Kayneth?" Kind dark eyes behind round spectacles looked at Kiritsugu who was in his usual bomber jacket and black jeans trousers.
Saber had to do a double take. Kiritsugu was as far from Kayneth's image as Pluto was a planet. How on Earth did that old man mistook him for Kayneth was beyond her understanding.
She opened her mouth to correct the man, only for Kayneth to embrace her over her shoulders and giving her a warning squeeze to be silent.
"But of course. Thank you for your warning, you really saved our lives." Kiritsugu praised the old man shamelessly, causing the tips of Saber's ears grow red with outrage.
The nerve of that shameless man! He practically collapsed the entire building on the top of Kayneth, and then he had dared to impersonate him, going even so far as to pretend to be grateful to the old concierge for the so-called timely warning! Was there really no bottom line to his outrageous behavior!
"Oh, no, no need. A kind person called us and cautioned us of the danger, so if to anyone, the thanks ought to go to them" The old concierge waved Kiritsugu's thanks away, his massive mustaches twitching in amusement. "And if I may, we have blankets over there, so wrap you missus in before she freezes from shock."
"Will do." Kiritsugu smiled at the man who then went on to check the other survivors. Then he looked at Saber from his side.
"So, how did I do?" He sent Saber a mischievous smirk, "Well enough for you to reward me, darling?" He drawled out arrogantly, and if they hadn't been in the middle of the crowd, Saber would've pulled out Excalibur in order to skewer the man.
"You, you - " Saber was truly speechless.
"Well, Kayneth and his faction won't bother us again, that's for sure." Kiritsugu sobered as he released Saber from his hold.
"Harry won't be happy with you." Saber cautioned him. Kiritsugu paused.
"But who says he has to know?" The question left Saber dumbfounded for a moment.
"You went over his head with this?" She croaked. Kiritsugu shrugged his shoulder. "But of course. Harry is a bleeding heart, and if things had gone his way, then he would have us all wrapped in a bubble wrap or something as not to harm each other. Kayneth was an arrogant old bag, and if he had to kill Harry to get to the Grail, he would've killed him, no questions asked. So excuse me, but I'd rather to have my best friend alive than that bleached old fossil."
"You mean your love interest." Saber coughed, and judging by tiny blush on Kiritsugu's cheeks, she wasn't far off the mark. Saber's mood improved. Even if she wasn't happy with the way Kiritsugu had done his thing, killing an opponent for the sake of his love interest successfully tickled the mushy part of her soul.
This time, it was Kiritsugu who coughed. "Well, that too."
"I am so telling him."
There was no doubt of who was that person in question.
Wide dark eyes snapped at her. "You are so not!" Kiritsugu snapped back, half shocked and half-terrified.
"But it's kind of romantic, don't you see?" Saber's smile became even more pleasant, catching the people they passed by in a short daze.
Kiritsugu shuddered. "If you want to witness me drawn and quartered, sure."
"Oh, ye of little faith." Saber mocked the messy-haired assassin. "Don't you know that love conquers all?"
"Death is kind of permanent, you know." Kiritsugu shot back, but then, he paused. Harry wouldn't kill him, but everything else was very much on the table… and that would be surely a fate worse than death.
Saber smiled an innocent grin. Slumping his shoulders in defeat, Kiritsugu just knew the contents of his wallet would be murdered in a very short - and efficient order.
"All right, what do you want?"
Saber's smile was positively glowing.
Archer's right eyebrow twitched. That was the third time when any and all sweets he had prepared in the evening vanished to Gaia knew where.
Both Xanxus and Gilgamesh knew better than to outright steal out from The Stash, and Kirei didn't have such a big of a sweet tooth - if anything, Kirei had been hinting that he ought to prepare Mapo Tofu Hell Version (and just this once, Archer contemplated to get along with the priest if only to see Tokiomi's misery first hand) and Father Kotomine and Tokiomi were also exempt from being guilty because Gilgamesh was surprisingly effective deterrent when it came to guarding snacks.
And Harry was not it either. The guy could eat practically unbelievable amounts of treacle tart, but he was moderate when it came to other kinds of sweets.
The other Masters and Servants were also absent.
And Archer knew for a fact he wasn't sleepwalking around, thank you very much.
But then, Archer got an idea. A Very Evil Idea, with capitals.
So for the next dish, he choose tiramisu. Only, he soaked the biscuits in the strongest alcohol he could find, along with equally as strong coffee to mask the flavor some. He had gone even so far as to hide the alcohol in the cream before assembling everything together.
He then left tiramisu in the fridge, with a remark it will be on the menu next day, so if anyone dared to eat on it in advance, that person would be exempted from getting a slice.
Then, all he had to do, was to wait.
Only he became very sleepy in the middle of the night… and Archer tried to remain awake, but no such luck. The urge to sleep was stronger than his own will this time, and Archer drifted off.
"Archer. What the fuck have you done this time?"
Dazed and nursing a hangover from hell, Archer frowned at the scowling brat in front of him.
No. Two brats. Two Xanxus' and Alaya have mercy, but did the brat really have to find out how to clone himself? One of him was already a terror, two of them would surely cause the world to collapse as it were.
They divided into three by now and then, everything swam. His head hurt as if someone was clonking at its innards with a giant, ten-ton mallet. His ears were ringing, and light was an extremely cruel invention of nature, designed solely to torture him.
He mumbled something unintelligible before trying to stand up and find the nearest toilet to worship the porcelain goddess hidden therein.
This was truly a hangover from hell.
Bless Harry and his chicken soup. No, really. Harry truly was the saint, having nursed Archer back to his well-being, even to Gil's and Kirei's disapproval.
"W-What happened? Archer managed to croak out as Harry put a cool compress on his forehead.
Harry gave him a disappointed look.
"Archer, if you wanted to eat the tiramisu by yourself, you don't need to hid it. We'd understand."
Had he eaten the tiramisu last night? But no, he just made it and he clearly remembered that he stashed it in the fridge –
"Didn't." He mumbled. "Jus' got it in the fridge – "
"You have a hangover and you practically reek of alcohol. And your shirt was…" Xanxus gave him a stinky eye.
True, instead of his black shirt he was now in a red one. Thus, someone had to switch them out.
And the only way the shirt needed to be switched out was if it was dirty.
Archer's brain clicked in gear.
Dirty shirt plus missing tiramisu plus him reeking of alcohol and having a hangover equaled to him being the culprit of massacring the said sweet in the middle of the night.
"But I didn't! I just slept!" He protested weakly. "Harry?" He made puppy eyes at his Master because Harry's words would be either salvation or damnation –
"You slept?" Harry frowned. "But your shirt was practically…
'… slathered in the cream', went unsaid.
Archer wanted to disappear.
"'M not that kind of person!" He insisted. "B'sides, I didn't eat it.
"Su - ure." Xanxus, the devil brat, drawled mockingly. "Next thing you will say is that you have an evil twin that stole your stash and framed you. How old are you, five? Admit it and we'll move on."
Archer glared at the brat, but had to admit defeat in that case.
However, when it was time to wash the shirt in question, Archer noticed that the hands that smeared the cream across the expanse of the fabric were decidedly smaller than his own.
But bigger still than Harry's own. And Archer got a bad feeling that he knew exactly who was the culprit in question.
A big tick rose at his temple as he roared a lion's roar, expressing his outrage at being so expertly framed by that fellow.
(Meanwhile, the Servant in question sneezed as he patted his full stomach. The tiramisu was to die for, and it was just a bonus point he could push the hangover on the white-haired fake Servant of the Bow in question.)