Archer sat alone at the edge of a company building, watching his younger, stupider self with Rin, the two of them basking in their survival of the Fifth Heaven's Feel. No doubt they would be having some live affirming sex later on that night, lucky bastard.
God, how many thousands of years had it been since the last time the Counter Guardian last had sex? Perhaps that was the real reason he was such a sarcastic asshole. He really needed to get laid.
"With the Grail gone, I'll soon be heading back I suppose." Archer gave a long sigh. He could already feel himself being pulled back to Throne of Heroes. With his Archer Class's Independent Action trait, he could resist for a little while, but not that long. He was struggling to buy himself every moment, so that he could watch just a little bit longer. "It was nice seeing you again, Rin. I wonder how many thousands of years it will be before I am summoned by another Rin in another timeline. It will probably have been so long that I will have forgotten your name again."
"You'll also probably have forgotten why you fight as well, that's usually why Alaya sending you back here." A deep and slightly familiar voice said from Archer's right. The Counter Guardian had noticed the man a while ago but hadn't reacted to him. Mostly because he had forgotten the man's name, which was kind of embarrassing really. The elder looking man was wearing a sharp business suit and had vivid red eyes. More importantly, his radiated power and wisdom in a way that few living creatures could. Probably because he wasn't quite a living creature himself. "Hello again, Emiya-san."
"Hello, Wizard Marshal." Archer replied. "I'd offer you tea, but I don't seem to have any. Nor do I have the time to make any either."
"Yes, your soul will return to Alaya soon enough, won't it." Zelretch said with a nod of the head. "Though if you would like to extend that period of time before you return to it, I could offer you a proposition of sorts."
Archer raised an eyebrow and glanced at the old man. "I'm listening."
"There is a particular World I have been keeping my eye on. A World where the Human Order had died out a long time ago. Yet somehow human life still clings to this World, and the beings within it have developed their own Foundation for magecraft." Zelretch explained, giving Archer a sidelong glance. "I'd like to see if Human Order can be restored in this World, or if such a thing is simply impossible."
"So, you want me to try to rekindle hope for the hopeless." Archer huffed, though he had to admit, the offer was curious. Normally, when Alaya decided that a timeline was to be abandoned, the total extinction of all intelligent life occurred rather quickly. So to hear that one such world still hung on to life was rather surprising in itself.
Perhaps if the World really was outside of the Human Order, it might provide a means of escaping his eternity. At the very least, Gaia's influence there should be weak enough that Archer's soul wouldn't be dragged back to Alaya's immediately. He might be able to live out a small lifetime there. A vacation of sorts. Might even be able to relieve some stress, if he could find a good enough woman there.
"Alright, so what's the catch?" Archer asked. There was always a catch. Nothing in life comes easy.
"Your body won't make the trip. I'll have to send your soul alone and you will need to get a new body once you get there… the old fashion way." Zelretch admitted.
"Is that all?" Archer asked. Having to have another childhood didn't sound too bad. What was eighteen or so years of growing up to a man who had wondered from battle to battle for time immeasurable?
"You will also be cut off from Alaya's Mana, reduced to the strength of any other normal human there." Zelretch added calmly. "It is also questionable how that world's brand of mystic arts will affect you. But that is about it."
"Not really deal breakers." Archer said as he watched Rin and Shirou go inside Shirou's home, into a single bedroom and closing the door behind them. A slight desire to kill his younger self returning to the old soul as he figured what has going to happen behind those closed doors. "Sure. I'll do it. Though you know you will have no guarantee that I will even try to save this hopeless world of yours. Its equally likely that I just fuck about for a few years enjoying my vacation."
"Maybe, but I don't think so. After all, no matter how much time has passed for you, you are still Shirou Emiya, the hopeless want-to-be hero." Zelretch said with a small smirk. "Now then, since you have agreed!" Archer was shocked as the Wizard Marshal slammed his hand against the Heroic Spirits back, burying a jewel into the man's back and knocking him off of the roof.
Archer hardly had time to gather himself as the jewel ripped his soul from his temporary body before sending it on to another world.
Now he remembered Zelretch.
"This is why I hate it when we have to go to Atlas." Glynda Goodwitch grumbled as she stood in the auditorium next to Professor Ozpin. "It isn't enough to just do business and move on with our lives. We have to go to these pointless social parties."
"Stopping to enjoy the arts every once and a while won't kill us, Glynda." Ozpin said with a smile and a sidelong glance that the woman.
"It isn't the arts that bugs me. It's the company. These people have no understanding of how the world is and listening to them makes me want to scream." Glynda said, crossing her arms, one of her fingers tapping out a slow rhythm as her frustration continued to build.
Ozpin could only sake his head. Talented and intelligent as Goodwitch was, she was still new to the political game, having been a field agent until her recent addition to the staff at Beacon. Time would probably serve to quell some of that fire in her blood. Ozpin would be sad to see it go.
"A consequence of dealing with the Atlas Elite, I'm afraid." Captain Ironwood said, as he squeezed himself in beside Glynda. Or was in Commander Ironwood now? I might have even been Colonel. She honestly didn't remember or care. Whenever he brought it up his movements in military ranks in an attempt to impress her, she just rolled her eyes and did her best to change the subject to something relevant. "While it is outside of your tastes, try to remember that most of these men and women here are powerful backers… and they also tend to be prideful. A wrong word or two and they might do something stupid out of pure spite."
"I am well aware of that." Glynda said with a sigh. "They behave worse than children."
Ozpin chuckled. "Worse than team BNNA(banana)?" The Headmaster said, citing a particularly obnoxious group of students that was currently enrolled in their school.
"At least with our students I can punish them for poor conduct. I can't get away with handing out detentions here." Glynda said.
"I'd say not." Ironwood chuckled as the lights dimmed down. "Looks like tonight's entertainment is starting."
"What exactly is the show anyways? I don't recall receiving a programme." Ozpin asked Ironwood. Ozpin kept his usual knowing smile on his face. The same one he often wore in public in order to give him the look of a man in control of things. He supposed he might be as fake as many of the others in the audience.
"It's just the Schnee's kids. Their parents drag them out to sing just about every chance they get. Just another stage for their family to show off on." Ironwood said with a shrug.
Two children walked out onto the stage, a girl and a boy, both around eight or nine years old and both with white hair. Though that was where the similarities between them ended. While the girl had the pale skin and baby blue eyes commonly associated with the Schnee family, the boy's skin was far darker, as if heavily sun burned, and his eyes were a deep silver color.
The girl was dressed in a beautiful white and blue gown that looked exactly like the one her mother had been wearing when Ozpin had seen her earlier that day, which showed just how much like her mother the girl was. Meanwhile the son had forgone the usual white and blues of the Schnee house and was wearing a black suit with a red button up shirt and a black tie, as if to further contrast his sister.
Looking at the two of them, it would have been hard to say that they were even related, let alone siblings. Even their hair, which would have been considered similar at first glance was contrasting. The girl had the same flawless snowy white as her mother, while the boy's hair was more ashen gray than snowy white.
"Is that boy really a Schnee?" Glynda asked, noting his different appearance.
"You aren't the first person to ask that." Ironwood chuckled. "Truth is, his father had blood work done on the boy when he was born in order to 'make sure he was in good health', because he couldn't quite believe it himself. Even though he never doubted the girl's relation. Shirou and Weiss Schnee, the twin son and daughter of Opal and Jacques Schnee. And trust me when I say, if you don't believe that he is a Schnee just from looking at him, you definitely won't believe it if you get the chance to talk to him."
"Oh, and why is that?" Ozpin asked, admittedly curious about any individual with silver eyes. Even if the boy was not part of the bloodline of the silver eyed warriors.
"Because the best way to describe him is 'down to earth' and a 'sarcastic little shit'." Ironwood said, a smile on his face. "Frankly, it's a breath of fresh air when dealing with these Elitist types, though some of the things he says make it hard to keep a straight face. Kid says the darndest things."
"Then I'll have to make sure to meet him properly." Ozpin said as the singing started. The light and sharp voice of Wiess contrasting with the deeper flowing voice of her brother as the two sang a duet.
Shirou stood near the back wall throughout the majority of the dinner party with his two sisters, Weiss and Winter. He was mildly entertained, watching the aristocratic elite of Atlas, viewing the entire thing as a circus where the clowns didn't even realize they had on rubber noses. All the while he would hum a tone that he had in his head.
Classical music had been something pushed onto both him and his sister by their mother, who had been big into music before she was married. It became something of a hobby and like with any other hobby that Shirou took part in, he picked it apart, analyzed it to its fullest, and mastered it… or close to mastered it. That was the thing about art, there was always room for making changes, and you could never be one hundred percent sure that there isn't a better way.
"Shirou, straighten up your shirt, and stop slouching so much." Weiss told him, trying to be discrete. "You're going to embarrass us again."
"You need to loosen up Wiess, how many people in this room do you think we will end up seeing again before next year, at the earliest. Don't let their opinions get to you." Shirou said with a shrug, half considering pulling down his tie just to see his sister's frustrated twitch.
"It isn't their opinions that we worry about." Winter said, maintaining her ladylike poise as she glanced towards where their father was speaking with military officials and bit wigs from the city council. "You know how angry father gets when you don't behave yourself."
Shirou glanced up at his older sister. She was only a few years older than Shirou and Weiss, being fourteen to their nine, and in truth, she and Weiss both looked like miniature clones of their mother. The only difference being that where Opal and Weiss's faces were more semantical, Winter's hair parted in a much more dramatic way. Something that Winter was a little self-conscious about, even though everyone told her that she looked fine. After unlocking her aura, she started training at the Beginner Division of Altas Academy, though she secretly hated it there, and the special treatment she was given. Not that she could let anyone know that. Shirou and Weiss were her only confidents.
"Let him get angry, it might help him to relax a little. I honestly worry for the old fart. He really needs to take that stick out of his ass before he hurts himself." Shirou joked.
"Shirou!" Wiess hissed, trying to school her worried face. "Don't say things like that. Do you want him to punish you again?"
"I honestly couldn't care less." Shirou said with a small shrug. "The man hits like a little girl."
Wiess was about to respond to his comment but Winter cut her off. "We have company." The oldest sibling hissed through the side of her mouth before putting on a most ladylike smile. "Commander Ironwood, it's a pleasure to see you tonight."
"It is good to see you again as well, Ms. Schnee. I hope your time at the Academy has been going well." Ironwood said, as he approached the three children, along with two individuals that Shirou had never seen before.
"It has been going well. I'm really proud to be a part of it." Winter lied through her teeth with the effortlessness of a pro. "But please Commander, just call me Winter, there are too many Schnees around here and I am afraid it will get confusing."
"Only if you agree to drop the Commander. I get enough of that at barracks." Ironwood said with a charming smile. Then Ironwood took a step back in order to wave towards his company. Winter smiled up at the man. They didn't know Ironwood all that well, but he was still someone who was genuinely kind. Or they thought it was genuine. "Winter, Weiss, Shirou, allow me to introduce Director Ozpin and Professor Goodwitch of Beacon Academy."
"It's a pleasure to meet the Director of such a prodigious Academy." Weiss said, quick to give a bow, since she was not yet confident enough in heels to curtsy.
"It is a pleasure to meet you as well." Ozpin said with a polite smile and nod, though not giving into the whole routine like some at the party might have.
"Hm… so you are instructors of the next generation of Huntsmen and Huntresses." Shirou said, giving the two a small twisted smile, one that his sister immediately recognized and dreaded. "Must be a chore looking after all those deluded children who see themselves at the heroes in their own personal fairytales. I can only imagine how hard it is to wake them up to the real world."
"Shirou!" Wiess snapped at her twin brother in frustration. Goodwitch's jaw dropped slightly, unable to believe what Shirou had just said. Ironwood, being more used to Shirou's antics, only closed his eyes and shook his head with a smile on his face.
"I'm sorry about my little brother. He has a tendency to…" Winter started to apologize but stopped when Ozpin started to chuckle.
"I have to admit, it is difficult to bring some of our more enthusiastic students down to Remnant, but it isn't all that bad. Better to deal with people who believe themselves to be working up to becoming heroes than those who simple don't feel like working at all." Ozpin said, seeming not to be offended.
"I'd think that it is better for people to not believe that they can save the world. It makes it much easier on them when they find out that they can't. Fewer long walks to the closet that way." Shirou said with a shrug, using military jargon for suicide.
Ozpin's smile faded. "Yes. We do have a problem with that." He admitted. "But there are still plenty more who believe in what they are doing, and who wish to keep hope alive. No matter how many times they fail. To quote an old student, 'we fight so that everyone may someday be happy.'"
Shirou's smile faded slight into a sorrowful look. "Everyone happy. Impossible. There are only so many seats for happy people in this world, and no were near enough for everyone. Anyone who claims to be fighting for happiness is either an idiot or a hypocrite. Probably both."
"Shirou! Stop being so rude!" Weiss hissed as she pulled on her brothers arm. "Apologize to Professor Ozpin this…"
"That is quite alright, Ms. Schnee. I don't take any offense." Ozpin said, holding up a hand to stop the little girl. "Shirou, just because what you say is correct, don't mean its right. Just because an ideal is impossible to obtain, doesn't mean it isn't worth pursuing."
Shirou stared at the man with a look of puzzlement for a few seconds before a grin split his face and he started to laugh out loud. "That was almost the exact same thing he had said to me, and just like then it sounds more absurd than convincing."
"Shirou, what are you doing. Stop laughing." Weiss said, looking around the room. "You're drawing too much attention. What is so funny about what Mr. Ozpin said anyways?"
Shirou just turned to her and smiled. "Don't worry about it, little sister. I'll explain when your older." He chuckled, waving her off.
Weiss puffed out her cheeks slightly in indignation. "I'm not your little sister. I'm five minutes older than you are."
"Perhaps, but what is five minutes compared to five inches." Shirou teased, patting her head in order to call attention to the difference in height. Even in two inch heels, Shirou was still taller than her.
"You…" Weiss growled, her manners forgotten at her brother's teasing. She attempted to kick him in the shin, only for Shirou to casually step out of the way, causing her to lose her balance and start falling backwards.
Quick as can be, Shirou slipped back around her, and caught her before she could hit the ground, holding her up and close to him with one arm. "Careful there dear sister, you are still getting used to the heels." Shirou said, still grinning his infuriating grin. Weiss's pale cheeks lit up with embarrassment, then with a final half scream, she slapped Shirou hard in the face before ungracefully scrabbling away from him. Then realizing the scene she had just caused, she began to tear up and dashed out of the room, Winter running after her. "Well, at least tonight wasn't boring."
"I'll say." Ozpin chuckled as he watched the two sisters leaving. "I can't even imagine how things will be when you become head of the Schnee Dust Company."
"Hmph, like that would ever happen." Shirou said with a slight shake of his head. "I'd rather do something a bit more productive with my life than being the CEO of one of Remnants largest companies."
"Oh, like what?" Ozpin asked the young boy, wondering what kind of dream such an unusual child had in mind.
"I'm thinking of becoming a baker." Shirou said, scratching his chin. Ozpin couldn't help himself, he started to laugh.
"Shirou!" Jacques Schnee said as he approached them.
"Oh no, here comes the fun police." Shirou said, rolling his eyes. "Hey dad, I was just discussing some philosophy and ethics with Professor Ozpin here. I'd invite you to join us, but I doubt you're interested."
"I thought you said you would behave yourself. You are embarrassing the family name." Jacques said in a harsh tone, glaring down at his son.
"Oh come on, you treat the family name like my sisters treat their favorite dresses. What's the point in even owning it if you are too afraid of wearing it lest you get it a little dirty." Shirou said with a shrug, the smile still on his face. "You need to lighten up, go play some rounds of golf or something. Oh, and shave off that stupid mustache while you're at it. It makes you look like a want to be porn star."
The were gasps of pain as people close enough to hear what Shirou said struggled with all their might not to laugh. Jacques however, was not laughing. His mouth was clenched shout and his entire body was shaking with barely contained anger. His entire face was turning purple, and his porn star mustache was trembling. Jacques grabbed his son's arm and began to drag him towards the exit without a word.
Shirou didn't resist, just turned his head back to Ozpin, a grin still on his face. "Maybe I'll talk to you again sometime, Professor. As one cynical old soul to a juvenile youth who still believes in fairytales." The boy said, waving the man goodbye. Ozpin watched him go, shaking his head all the while.
"Well… that was a thing." Goodwitch said as the boy disappeared through a back door.
"I know. He never fails to liven up the party." Ironwood said with a soft sigh. "Too bad it looks like the entertainment portion of the party is over. But… There is probably still time for one last dance before we go." Ironwood glanced over at Goodwitch hopefully.
The blonde teacher gave the man a look over her squire rimmed glasses, before sighing and offering him her hand. One which he gladly took with a look of a child who had just woken up to find it was his birthday.
Ozpin just stood back, smiling to himself and thinking about the child he had just met. "Shirou Schnee… what an interesting individual."
This is why I usually don't go with Archer classic. Because he just basically goes around trolling everyone and trying to get everyone to hate him as much as he hates himself.
I do personally like the opinion that Archer is only an insufferable asshole because he hasn't had sex in hundreds of years, and watching girls fling themselves at Shirou is his real motivation for murdering his younger self.
I can't remember where I first saw that, but it is hilarious.