"Indeed it has." The goddess said taking a sip of a glass of wine. "I belive the last time we spoke you denied me yet again."
"Wonder why." Gil said crossing his arms. "What is all this anyway?"
"To think that this was what he would've wished for." She said looking around. "I mean his own happiness is one thing. Instead of dying in the dirt he'd live to a ripe old age surrounded by his closest friends. Yet he also made a point to wish that the lives of his teachers were as happy as they could be. The two Grails would be alive, and even the Mage Killer. Most shocking of all Gilgamesh was that you were able to convince a mere mongrel that you were worth making happy."
"He's no mongrel." Gilgamesh snapped.
"Weren't you the one that said that you will ever have one true companion and equal?" She raised an eyebrow.
"Andrew is and is not my equal all at the same time." Gilgamesh pointed out. "He always compared himself to my two previous masters. One would bow to my every whim. And the other thought of me as a tool. I was able to prove him wrong but Andrew was never that way."
"I seem to remember him insulting you on multiple occasions." Ishtar pointed out with a chuckle. "Trust me, your adventure with him has been the most entertaining tale to watch since Alterra walked the earth."
"He may have insulted me, but he never did it to demean me." Gilgamesh pointed out as he leaned back in his chair. "He did the same to the people he cared most about, and for him specifically that was a sign of respect." Gilgamesh leaned forward on the table. "So tell me 'goddess'" He said in a mocking tone, "what is it you want from me?"
"It's simple." Ishtar pointed out. "I'm here to simply see what you do next. None of this is my design. This is the Root showing the wish of its chosen hero."
"So it chose Andrew?" Gilgamesh asked as he leaned back.
"No." Ishtar said shaking the head that was not her own. "This is your wish Gilgamesh."
"Bullshit." The servant pointed out. "If it were my wish I would stand at the top of the world with everything beneath me. Not this domesticated drivel."
"That's because your wish, was for his to come true." Ishtar said before picking at the turkey in front of her with a fork. "Something that I never saw coming."
Gilgamesh could see the things that he may not have wanted, but that Andrew would've wanted for him. He wasn't feared by the Emiya household, instead he was accepted into it. He had the only woman to truly enrapture his heart, and his last friend in the world smiled beside him. This may not have been Gilgamesh's wish, but it was one he'd be happy to live his life in. "So what do I need to do to make this happen?"
"Give up." Ishtar said putting her hands on the table. "Your attack was more than enough to destroy Angra Mainyu. The little shit. But if you keep the attack going and destroy the key to the Root then it will all be lost."
Gilgamesh was about to agree when he remembered something. "People will die, won't they?"
"By the millions." The goddess said as she looked at her hair that fell over her shoulder. "But you will finally get what you've wanted all these years. What treasure could compare to this?" She asked looking around with a hint of disgust in her eyes.
The King knew what he wanted to do. He wanted to say yes and stop his attack all at once so that he and everyone else could live happily. But it wouldn't be everyone else, would it? So many people would die and that's not what Andrew would've really wanted. He would've wanted to save everyone he could, even at the cost of his own life. And Gilgamesh knew that was what was going to happen. The mage had poured every bit of mana he had into the servant, just so that he could use Ea. There was no coming back from that. "And if I keep that attack going?"
Ishtar's face soured. "Then you'd destroy the key to the Root and everything will stay exactly as it is. Your friend will die, you will return to your place on the Throne of Heroes and the day will be saved. All the other servants will disappear as well and Avenger will have been separated from the Root." She said lazily.
Gilgamesh nodded his head as he stood back to his feet and walked to where the window was. The streets were empty, the illusion broken. He would never see this place as truth. It would only ever exist as a lie. "I guess my answer is obvious." He said turning back to the goddess who smiled her wicked grin.
"Good." She said before raising her fingers to snap them. "May the gods have mercy on you."
"I've never asked for any." Gilgamesh said with a smile.
Back in reality Gilgamesh snapped back into place. Still blinded in one eyes, holding Fabius in one hand and the all-powerful Ea in the other. He could see through his Enuma Elish that Avenger had already been obliterated and the miniature version of the Root was all that was left. He could feel the eyes of the world fall on him, but only one pair mattered. "Andrew." He said as he hung his head. "I'm sorry." He raised it again, his single red eye staring into the power he was emitting with a righteous commitment. "Gate of Babylon!" He screamed as seemingly all around him was covered in golden disks that ad blades and other weapons piercing through them. In a single rush a hundred-thousand blades slammed into the ground around The Key ripping it to shreds.
He pulled Ea away as his attack faded, leaving nothing behind. He turned his head and looked where his friend was laying and watching. With his enhanced vision, he could see the smile on Andrew's face. It wasn't that he was happy, but the smile beamed with the pride the mage felt at seeing his friend save the world.
He started to walk back towards the downed mage. It only took him a minute but it felt like an eternity. All around Andrew he was surrounded by friends, Alia holding tightly to his hand. Shiro watching over him to make sure he was safe, and Rin trying in vain to save him. "That's enough Rin." Andrew groaned. "That's all I needed to see." He said. His muscles had deteriorated so much he looked sixty pounds lighter. "Thank you." He said, his free hand gently touching hers before tears freely fell from her eyes.
"Master." Gilgamesh said in greeting shocking the others around him. "Your final order has been completed."
"I always knew it." Andrew said slowly. "I always knew that when push comes to shove, you were a hero." His eyes slowly drifted to Aliya who gripped his hand tightly. "Sorry, it had to end this way. Promise me something." He said trying to squeeze her hand.
"Anything." She whispered as she prepared to hear the last words of the man she loved.
"Live for yourself." He said before coughing. "Not for some idea of vengeance, but for you. Please Alia, promise me you will live as more than some doll." He said as tears fell from his eyes.
"I swear it." She said resting her forehead on his chest and crying.
The dying mage looked up at his two teachers who were holding one another in sadness. "Don't give me that look." He said with a smile. "Don't tell me you wouldn't've done the exact same thing."
"You weren't supposed to die you idiot!" Rin shouted. "I was supposed to give you your damn certificate!"
Andrew smiled at the thought of how that moment would've felt. He didn't regret his choice, he never would. "Thank you, both of you, for everything." He said looking at them. "You saved me from the dark put I had fallen into. You gave a damn and you saved me." He said as he started to get choked up. He tried to tense as he felt his heart skip a beat, and then another.
"I guess this is it for me." He looked up at Kiritsugu. "Does it hurt?"
"No." The Assassin said shaking his head. "It will feel like you're just falling asleep."
"Falling asleep." Andrew said as he shut his eyes with a smile. "I'd like that." He said as his heart stopped and the slight grip on his hand disappeared.
Gilgamesh turned his back to the others and started to walk away. "Hey!" Assassin shouted. "If you ever once cared about him, you won't leave him here!"
Gilgamesh stopped and turned his head slightly. They could see the tears freely falling from his eyes before he looked towards the sky. "He deserves a king's funeral. And there is only one place he belongs." He said turning to look at them as Vimana flew beside the king.
The group walked into the tomb under the Euphrates. None of them said a word during the short flight, but they all knew where Andrew was being taken. Gilgamesh didn't feel the need to explain himself and he carried Andrew's body himself. The king led them into a torch lit tomb. They remained lit through a series of leylines that ran under what was once Uruk.
Gilgamesh stood in front of a sealed casket. He knew about when people supposedly found his remains, but they weren't his. They were his father's. He looked around the room, in life he refused to enter this room because he refused to accept his own mortality. It had been constructed by his advisor's orders, and when he found out he had them all flogged. He looked to Alia and nodded.
The small Einzbern bent her legs and tried to lift the casket but found she wasn't strong enough. "I can't." She said between breaths.
Shiro took a step forward and held his arms out to Gilgamesh. The King reluctantly handed his fallen friend to the mage before turning to open the casket. He thought it was strange looking at his remains. Even with his one eye he could see the markings that marked his as the one true King of Heroes. "Hand him to me." Gilgamesh said quietly as Shiro returned the young mage.
Gilgamesh placed the American beside his own remains and picked up the top of the casket himself.
Outside of the tomb the group breathed heavily at the loss of their friend. Assassin started to fade away first. "Dad." Shiro said turning to look at his father one last time.
"Shiro." Assassin said sadly. "I'm sorry I failed you as a father. If I had known what you would go through I would've taught you better."
Shiro found himself speechless but someone else was able to respond. "Even though you didn't teach me any magic, you still instilled the drive that led me here." Archer said strongly as he walked towards his father. He held his hand out and for the first and only time shook his hand man to man.
"Archer." Rin said as tears fell from her eyes. "Keep up the good work Rin." The servant said with a smile as he started to fade away. "And you better treat her right." He said narrowing his eyes at his younger self.
"I will." Shiro said pulling the girl into a hug as the two servants vanished.
Alia walked over to Gilgamesh who was watching the sunset in the distance. "Thank you for staying with him." The King said sadly.
"He was proud of you." Alia spat out quickly.
"And he loved you." Gil replied. "Honor his wishes woman…" he said earning a gasp from the king. He only ever referred to her as a doll. "be someone that can look back at their life with a smile."
"Can you look back on your life with a smile?" Alia asked as she saw the king's body starting to fade too.
"No." Gilgamesh said shaking his head as he turned to look at everyone with the setting sun behind him. "These few months though, I can honestly say were the happiest I'd ever been." And as the light of the sun faded so too did the Gilded Hero.