Hello everyone.

Here's the new chapter.

First things first though...

There is something in this chapter that isn't necessarily common knowledge due to being limited to the Fate/Zero Drama CD and it revolves around how Kiritsugu chose to train Shirou.

Basically, what I've put in here, actually has a foundation in the materials available concerning the Nasuverse.

Anyway... now that that is out of the way...

Let's get on with the chapter.

Emiya Shirou felt his consciousness return to him slowly as his body kicked him awake due to the habit of waking early.

He was clearly tired but it took him a few seconds to realise why.

That's right, he'd ended up bringing a legitimate Vampire home after finding them lying in the park surrounded by empty liquor bottles.

Just his luck.

Forcing himself off his futon, he started to stretch out the kinks that had formed in his muscles, he had morning exercises to run through after all and then there was the matter of making breakfast for Fuji-nee.

He frowned as he considered whether the vampire would eat regular food or not… it wasn't like she would need it but it would help make Fuji-nee less suspicious of her.

Shaking his head clear of those thoughts, he simply accepted that he would just have to deal with it when the situation came.

At least it was still dark due to it being the winter months, but he still had to wonder where the woman would sleep while the sun was out.

Getting dressed, he made his way out of his room and into the living room, noting that the vampiric woman was now slouched over the table with several bottles of Sake scattered around her.

"Where did you get the Sake?" he asked, a frown marring his face as he remembered making sure there wasn't any in the house.

"Oh, it was easy enough to get it from next door," she responded.

Shirou for his part, found himself palming his face at that declaration.

Of course she stole it from the Fujimura house.

He shouldn't have been surprised by that.

"You know Fuji-nee lives there don't you?" he asked, wondering how the Vampire would react to that knowledge.

"She should've known better than to keep a drunk from their booze," the retort was made with a smug grin.

"… I'm not going to protect you from Fuji-nee's wrath when she finds out you stole her booze," Shirou declared bluntly, earning a dismissive gesture off the woman as she returned to being draped over the table.

"I'm sure I can manage… I've had to deal with Riza, Svelten and Chaos plenty of times over the centuries, how bad can she be?"

He had no idea who those people were, but he had a feeling he would rather not learn.

"Well, it's your fault if she decides to come after you with the Tora-shinai," he wasn't going to protect her from that horrific stick.

"Sure sure…" she continued before going quiet for a few seconds.

"So, how are you planning on opening your Circuits?" she asked him and he found himself frowning in response.

He had no idea how to actually open them properly, but if they were Magic Circuits then surely that would mean that running some prana through them should work to kickstart them… which meant he would just have to jury-rig his nerves one more time to produce the energy to kick start them.

"I was thinking of using my nerves one more time to try and kickstart them," he decided to admit to her.

"I guess that could work," she responded, "not the safest of methods but then again, with substandard teaching like yours, it's only natural you wouldn't have much to call on."

He couldn't stop a frown from forming on his face at that.

"Substandard teaching?" he couldn't stop himself from feeling offended that she would delcare what Kiritsugu taught him substandard.

It was just that he was a bad student.

"Of course, no half-competent teacher would let their student do something as stupid as turn their nerves into magic circuits," she continued, "honestly, I'm amazed you haven't accidentally burned your nerves beyond repair doing that."

He couldn't stop a grimace from forming on his face at that.

"What do you mean?"

"Nerves aren't made to channel Prana," she said bluntly, "that's why it hurts so much when you do it… it's basically like running acid through your veins."

He couldn't stop himself from grimacing at that comparison.

It really didn't sound anywhere remotely good when described that way.

"So what would you suggest?" he decided to ask her if she had any better alternatives.

"You could simply ask me to help you," she told him with a grin on her face.

"… I thought you said you weren't a magus," he pointed out.

"I'm not, but I do possess a Marble Phantasm," she declared, "so convincing the local prana to run through your circuits to give them a kick-start isn't beyond my abilities."

He could do little more than stare in disbelief at that.

The idea of having his circuits kick-started definitely sounded nice.

Of course, he had no idea what she meant by 'Marble Phantasm' but then again, when did he know of anything concerning magecraft?

"What would that need?" he decided to confirm.

"Just another little rest in Onee-chan's lap," she told him as she raised her head and offered him a grin, "plus, a little rest after."

He nodded in understanding.

"Could we do it later tonight? I have school today," he explained to her earning a small chuckle from the woman.

"Oh, you're worried about going to school?" she asked and he frowned, "you're a good little boy aren't you?"

"I'm not little," he grumbled even as he inwardly acknowledged that even though he tended to take the role of the adult between him and Fuji-nee, he was still just a child.

"My eyes tell me otherwise," she teased.

"… I'm going to exercise now," he decided to give up trying to argue with her.

She was a Vampire and as nice as she appeared, she was still a blood-sucking creature of the night who was likely even older than Gramps.

"Don't work too hard," she called out and he immediately left to do his morning workout in the Dojo.

XXX Tainted Steel XXX

Morning was certainly awkward as far as Shirou was concerned.

Fuji-nee had immediately gone ballistic upon realising Sumire had snuck into her home and looted her family's alcohol stash… unfortunately for him, he could only say that he had been asleep at the time.

The Vampire however, had simply dismissed the whole matter with a casual air before hijacking one of his spare rooms before the sun had finished rising.

"That woman is nothing but trouble," the grumbling Taiga muttered as he washed the dishes from breakfast.

Sumire had at least eaten enough to be mistaken as human.

"She needed help," Shirou decided to try and act as a peacekeeper, after all, she was willing to help him open his magic circuits so he was willing to at least attempt to cover for her.

"She clearly needs to go to an AA meeting," she responded with a frown on her face, "I mean seriously! She even admits she doesn't remember the last time she was sober!"

Shirou didn't know what she meant by AA but judging by the context, it probably wasn't a good thing.

"At least she doesn't seem to be in any danger," he tried to placate her but he noted that Fuji-nee only looked even more incensed.

"Just look at her! She's as pale as a corpse and was freezing when I felt her yesterday!"

He couldn't really argue with that part, of course, telling her that the reason the woman was so pale and cold wasn't because she was an alcoholic but a vampire wasn't something he could really say.

"It is her health," he finally decided to say, "as dad told me… you can't save someone who doesn't want saving."

He noted the flinch that she made at that claim.

"Kiri… Kiri said that?" she honestly sounded unsure with that claim.

"Yeah," he felt a sense of longing strike as he remembered everything his dad had taught him, "it isn't wrong to want to help people… but if they don't want your help then there is nothing you can do for them."

He noted the way her teeth grit in response to that claim.

But it was something his dad had taught him and while it wasn't really applicable in this situation, it could work to get Fuji-nee to drop the matter.

"So I'm going to help her how I can," he declared, "but if she doesn't want help with some things, then I can't force her to accept it."

Fuji-nee looked downcast at that declaration.

He could certainly understand why.

"Anyway, shouldn't you be getting to work?" he asked her, earning a grimace from the woman as she looked at the clock.

"I know… I know…" shaking her head, she rose from her seat with one last thing, "if she wakes up before I get back, try and talk some sense into her."

"Of course Fuji-nee," Shirou responded immediately, not that he expected to succeed when dealing with a Vampire.

XXX Tainted Steel XXX

The school day passed by at a snails pace for Shirou, though that was probably because throughout it he couldn't stop himself from thinking about the fact his magic circuits were going to be opened later that night.

Maybe he should've just let Sumire open them and dealt with the repercussions instead of waiting.

Eventually though, the day finally came to an end and he found himself rushing home in the hopes of arriving before Fuji-nee and having time to have his circuits opened.

Noting that the sun had already set due to the early nights of winter, he entered his house and immediately called out to anyone who was there.

"I'm home!" it was something he had taken to doing just in case Fuji-nee was already there, but this time it served a slightly more important purpose.

Silence reigned and he frowned as he made his way through the hallway and towards the living room.

Looking inside he noted that it was empty.

He released a frown before moving to search the house and quickly locating where the Vampiric lady was.

"What are you doing out here?" he asked as he moved to sit next to her on the porch, noting the bottle that was sitting next to her.

"It's a nice night, cool, the sky is clear and the moon is full," she said with a soft smile gracing her lips, "perfect for a relaxing drink in the garden."

Looking upon her, he found himself choking back memories.

It reminded him too much of Kiritsugu's passing.

"Are you all right?" her voice cut in and he nodded.

"Y-yeah," he acknowledged, "it's just… this just reminds me of the day Dad died."

Almost immediately he felt a hand land on his head, softly ruffling his hair and carressing his scalp.

"Then how about we go inside?" she said, "being reminded of your family's death is probably not the best thing for a child your age."

He nodded in acceptance before they both rose from their seated positions and made their way back into the living room.

"So… do you want to talk about him?" she asked and he found himself smiling.

"That… I guess that could be nice," he admitted before noticing she had gone to the kitchen and gotten herself a small glass that she poured some of her Sake into.

"Want a drink?" she asked him and he frowned.

"I'm underage," he stated.

"Suit yourself," she didn't try to press the issue but instead just closed the cupboard she had gotten the glass from and returning to the table and taking a seat, "so… what was he like?"

Shirou thought about it for a few seconds before finally deciding where he should start.

"He saved me," he said, it was the most fundamental aspect of their relationship after all, "back when the fire burned down my home and killed everyone around me, all I could do was walk forward… then I gave up…"

Silence continued as she sat silently and he decided he should continue.

"I just lay down to die… and then he found me," he couldn't stop the smile from gracing his lips at the memory, of the smile that adorned his adopted fathers face when he found him… the smile of someone who had just managed to save a single life, "he saved my life and when I woke up in the hospital later, he told me he was a magus and that he was going to adopt me."

He shook his head clear of it before continuing.

"He was a terrible cook," he admitted as his amusement at the fact erupted, "that's why I had to learn to cook for myself, otherwise we'd have just eaten microwave meals and take-outs."

"And what about his decision to teach you magecraft?" she asked and he found himself frowning.

"That was hard," he remembered how long it had taken him before Kiritsugu had given into his pleas to learn magecraft, "he kept telling me that I was better off not knowing it, that it only ever made life worse and that only trouble came with learning it."

"But he eventually gave in," he continued, "that was when he finally taught me the basics… though I never really got them down… so I guess I was a bad student."

"I doubt that," the woman stated with a frown marring her face, "from the sounds of it… he probably decided to pretend to teach you to get you to shut up about it."

Shirou felt his teeth grit at that claim.

He didn't want to believe that his dad had chosen to mislead him when it came to magecraft.

"What makes you think that?" he decided to ask.

"Because teaching someone magecraft without teaching them to open their circuits is like teaching someone how to swing a sword without teaching them about footwork," she declared, "it is the most basic requirement of magecraft and failing to do that is proof that he wasn't truly intending on teaching you."

Shirou couldn't stop his hands from clenching at that.

"You said it yourself, you're not a magus," he needed to defend his fathers memory.

"Exactly," he had to blink at her admission, "so the fact that I know how seriously he messed up is exactly why I doubt he ever intended to teach you properly."

He grit his teeth.

Kiritsugu wouldn't mislead him like that.

He was relying on him to live up to the ideals he had failed to before he fell ill.

There was no way he'd leave such an important mission to someone who wasn't equipped to fulfil it.

"You're lying," he declared firmly.

"If I'm wrong, then that just means he was an even worse teacher than I expected," she responded and he found himself glaring at her.

"Kiritsugu wasn't a bad teacher," he noticed her eyes widen as he said that, "I'm just a bad student!"

"Tell me, was your father's family name by any chance, Emiya?" her question caught him off guard.

"H-how did you know?" he couldn't understand why his dads last name was important.

"… you've got to be joking…" she muttered and he found himself frowning, "to think, I ended up being taken in by the fucking Magus Killer's kid."

Magus Killer?

"What are you talking about?" he couldn't stop himself from wondering just what she was talking about.

"Emiya Kiritsugu, also known as The Magus Killer, possibly the greatest modern day assassin in Magus Society," she declared and he felt his eyes widen, "I've only heard stories about him from a friend of mine, stories that included murdering his father, blowing up an aeroplane and demolishing a hospital all to get his targets."

He could do little more than stare in disbelief.

You can't save everyone.

That was something his dad had told him… he'd also admitted that he had done some things he regretted but to hear that he'd done things like that…

It didn't make sense.

"Why would he do something like that?" he needed to understand.

"From what I've heard, his father was studying my kind but one of his experiments broke free and ended up killing everyone on an island," she said, "the hospital thing was to drop it on an Apostle, as for the blowing up a plane… that is something I don't know the reason behind."

He couldn't stop himself from staring in disbelief.

The mere idea that his dad had done things like that was honestly scary.

"Still… don't think you understand just what he was capable of," she continued, "he was considered a monster even by some of my own kind… so choosing to sabotage the teaching of a child he doesn't even want to teach isn't outside the realm of possibility."

He didn't know how to feel.

But he shook his head.

"But why would he choose to teach me wrong?" he didn't understand why his dad would do something like that.

"I don't know," she said without delay, "understanding the mind of someone like that isn't something I can do."

He shook his head in disbelief.

"I can't accept that," it was the only thing he could say.

"Then don't," her response made him freeze, "I heard he went into hiding about fifteen years ago and no one has really heard of him since… so it's possible he changed in that time."

Shirou accepted that idea.

The idea that his father had changed and wasn't the same person that had done what Sumire told him he did.

"Now… come to Onee-chan!" he was jerked out of his thoughts as she spoke with an amused tone and patted her lap, "you want her to open your circuits don't you?"

He nodded.

As much as the conversation had cause him to question everything, he knew that opening his magic circuits would be one step closer to being capable of becoming the Superhero his father had wanted him to become.

Moving to her, he released a sigh before repeating the action from the previous night, letting his head rest in her lap as she started to caress his head.

After a couple of seconds he wonder just how long it would take before it hit him.

His body felt like it was on fire, like molten lava was being pushed through his veins.

He was certain the only reason he hadn't cried out was because of his experience with turning his nerves into magic circuits.

Almost as soon as it had started, the pain died down to a pleasant warmth as he felt twenty-seven channels of warmth running through him, cooling off as the sudden influx died down.

"And that's it," she said and he pushed himself back up, swallowing a few breaths as he tried to push off the phantom pain that had assaulted him, "now, you should probably rest for a little while."

"Y-yeah," he accepted her advice before sitting at the side of the table to her left and letting himself take a few breathers.

Time passed by slowly as he focused on both his breathing and his circuits, feeling the ease with which he could now activate them and the lack of excrutiating pain in doing so… there was a definite warmth that came with them, but that was nothing compared to the burning that he had endured up until now.

"So… you said you didn't know much about magecraft," he decided to question.

"Yeah, all I really know is that a magus uses magic circuits to channel prana and enact phenomena," she responded, "I don't have a clue how they do any of it though… so you'll just have to figure that out yourself."

He nodded in acceptance.

Naturally it wouldn't be easy.

"Plus… you have an innate reality marble, you're going to operate under different rules to normal magi," her declaration made him frown.

"What do you mean by that?"

"Reality Marbles… aren't something natural to humans or… well… anything that is a part of the natural order," she declared, "they basically run off their own rules and override the rules of the world itself."

He couldn't stop himself from frowning at that explanation.

"I thought you said a Reality Marble was me?" he asked, even more confused as to exactly what a Reality Marble was now.

"It kind of is… I mean, each Reality Marble is unique and tied directly to the user… they're basically the same thing," she seemed like she was struggling to explain it, "well… at least, when they're innate anyway."

"Are there other kinds?"

"There are artificial Reality Marbles," she responded, "but those usually take a few centuries to create at least… and since they're artificial, they're generally a little less unique than an innate one."

He honestly had no idea what any of that meant.

"Still, the best way to figure out your Reality Marble is probably to look at yourself and figure out who you are," she told him, "I mean, who you are at your core."

He frowned as he considered that.

Then he heard the front door open.

"SHIROU! I'm home!" he pushed those thoughts out of his mind as more important concerns assailed him.

"Hello Fuji-nee," he called out.

He was going to have to start making dinner now.

XXX Tainted Steel XXX

Fujimura Taiga felt a sense of annoyance well up as she looked at the Drunkard continuing to drink even as dinner was served.

At least she didn't seem to be doing too much to take advantage of Shirou.

If she was then she'd have quite a few words to say about it.

"So Taiga-san," the woman spoke up and she found herself staring at the woman that had invaded her little brothers home, "how well did you know Shirou's father?"

That was a strange qeustion to ask but she considered it wasn't unreasonable given that she had been chosen as his guardian after Kiri's death.

"Pretty well," she stated without hesitation.

"Do you have any idea why he would teach someone something dangerous but ignore teaching them the most basic aspects of it?" she noted that Shirou looked annoyed at that question but she felt a budding sense of familiarity at the question.

"I remember Kiri asking me about teaching someone something dangerous before," she admitted, "it was a hypothetical question about swordsmanship."

She tried to remember exactly what the conversation was about and finally brought the memory to the front of her mind, partly because she had always felt something was off about how he'd suddenly asked her it.

"He said that in a scenario where someone asked to learn Kendo and wanted to do so for the sake of becoming stronger, with the clarification that they had access to a real sword and could use it against actual people, what would I do," she decided to explain the scenario Kiri had presented her with a few years ago, "my answer was to teach them how to swing the sword but nothing else, that way they wouldn't be dangerous."

"What?" Shirou's voice cut in and she immediately faced him.

After all, she'd never heard him sounding so pained before.

Looking at his current state, she saw his skin was pale, his eyes wide in disbelief and his breathing was growing heavier, looking towards the woman that sat at the other side of her, she saw that the woman looked unsurprised.

"It seems I was right," she was about to ask what she was talking about before the answer clicked and her throat turned dry.

Looking at Shirou again, the hurt in his eyes was clear as day as she realised that the 'hypothetical' question Kiritsugu had asked her had clearly been aimed at something Shirou had wanted to learn.

But… but she knew Shirou, she knew he wasn't the type of person who would hurt people… she'd never seen any child as thoughtful and kind as he was.

Sure he could have his moments of snarkiness, but that was just a part of his character.

"What did you want him to teach you?" she had to ask, curious as to exactly what sort of betrayal of trust she was witnessing.

And to think, she had thought that if someone who put their all into this false craft wouldn't feel negative about being lied to… but of course, that was assuming they weren't a child who trusted their teacher implicitly.

Shirou kept silent and she found herself wanting to help him even more.

"You," she turned to the drunkard who simply sighed in response, "you obviously know what Kiri taught Shirou wrong, what was it?!"

It actually hurt that Shirou felt he could trust this woman more than her, I mean she was his sis! This stranger was someone he just met the previous day!

The woman kept quiet for a few seconds and she felt her teeth grit before she was given an answer she had never expected.


She noted the way Shirou's head jerked with a new look of betrayal adorning it.

Confusion seeped through her as she wondered why learning magic tricks would be such a big deal.

"Why would learning magic tricks be so important?" she found herself asking in disbelief.

"Not magic tricks," the woman confirmed before raising her palm up.

She was about to ask what she was talking about when Sake rose from the bottle sitting before her and started floating in the air.

She felt her throat turn dry.

"Magic… well, more specifically magecraft," the woman continued, "but given that normal humans aren't supposed to know about it, it's only natural that man would keep you in the dark."

She couldn't stop herself from swallowing nervously at that.

"Just who are you?" she couldn't stop the question from coming from her throat.

"My name is Sumire, The Twenty-First Dead Apostle Ancestor," the drunkard admitted with a shrug, "in terms you'd understand though… one of the most powerful Vampires in the world right now."


She felt her throat turn dry at that declaration.

She wouldn't believe it if it wasn't for seeing the Sake currently floating completely unsupported next to the woman, but it was right there.

"Shirou… did… did you know?" she had to ask the boy who simply released a sigh before nodding.

"Yeah… I found out after you left last night," his admission made her head feel light.

There was no way this was really happening.

"I will be blunt with you," the woman who had just claimed she was a vampire said even as the Sake returned to the bottle it rose from, "Shirou's adopted father taught him magecraft without the fundamentals… there was a good chance Shirou could have destroyed his nerves doing it the way he did."

She froze at that claim.

Destroyed his nerves?

"What do you mean by that?" she needed to be sure just what she was being told.

"I mean, if Shirou had kept practising his magecraft that way, he could have permanently crippled if not outright killed himself," the woman looked serious and she knew that this wasn't a joke.

It made her feel sick.

The idea that she had potentially put Shirou at risk by giving such an irresponsible answer to what she thought was a hypothetical question was hard to stomach.

That her answer would be different now that she'd learnt more about teaching and how youngsters tended to react didn't matter, she had accidentally put Shirou at risk and that was something she couldn't accept.

"A-are you correcting those teachings?" she wanted to know if this woman who clearly understood the thing Kiri had intentionally mistaught Shirou about was planning on doing anything about it.

"I can't," she felt a pit of despair in her stomach at that declaration, "I'm not a magus, I've done everything I can to help him now, but that's limited to opening the correct channels for performing magecraft… everything else is theory I don't know."

"And what about the damage to his nerves?!" that was the most important part as far as she was concerned.

"That was being done because he'd been taught to use them instead of the correct channels," the woman told her with a shrug, "now that his magic circuits are open he won't have to do anything that stupid anymore."

She felt herself calm at that claim before noticing the woman lifting the bottle of Sake currently set before her and taking a large swig of it.

She almost told her she shouldn't be drinking before remembering, the woman was apparently a Vampire.

It actually explained why she looked so pale, was so cold and Shirou of all people seemed unconcerned with her health.

Letting out a sigh of defeat, she slumped before looking at the young red-head.

To think that she'd just managed to destroy his faith in Kiri, that for all intents and purposes, she'd just revealed that not only Kiri, but even she had unknowingly betrayed him.

"Shirou…" she wasn't sure what to say.

"It… it's fine Fuji-nee," his voice was quiet, but there was a definite sense of loss there, "you didn't know."

She couldn't stop a grimace from erupting at that statement from him.

Just because she hadn't known didn't change her culpability in the situation.

"Sumire… why did you tell her?" his voice cut in and she looked at the woman.

"Because it was easier to than to try and hide it from her," the woman said without any sign of guilt, "besides, Secrecy is a thing only the mages associations, Church and other factions really care about."

"So you don't care about it?" Shirou sounded concerned as he asked that.

"Not really… as long as the people I tell keep quiet about it then I don't see what the problem is," and with that, the woman took another swig of her drink.

"Are you sure you're a vampire?" she had to ask.

"Yep," the woman responded without delay, "but there is a reason I'm known by the Church as 'The Water Bottle' and the other Ancestors always call me 'The Drunkard'."

Well, at least it appeared she wasn't the only one to point that out.

But there was definitely one more thing bothering her about the situation.

"Why Shirou?"

The woman simply looked at her with a raised eyebrow.

"He found me when I was planning on hunting," she felt a knot form in her throat at that, "he had an interesting presence so I decided to see what he was."

She had to blink at that.

"Interesting presence?"

"Long story, might tell you another day," the woman dismissed her without another thought.

But she supposed it wasn't beyond reason.

Looking back to Shirou she once again felt the tinge of guilt at the realisation of the damage she had caused him… shaking her head clear, she made her decision.

She was going to support him with everything she had.

Of course, she had already intended on supporting him, but now that she knew more about what had been kept from her until now, she was going to make an extra effort to make everything right.

Now if only she knew where to start.

And that's all for today.

Shadow Out.