A chapter looong overdue but hopefully it will be good enough to make up for the wait. In this chapter, Saber will have his long-overdue conversation with everyone's favorite creepy uncle Kariya. I hope you all enjoy.
Abandoned Fuyuki warehouse, midnight, 3rd person POV
"You. You're the one that killed that old worm right? While I thank you for that, I need to know. What did you do with Sakura?!" Kariya asked furiously, and somewhat justifiably. While clutching his numb left side. Now that Saber thought about it he did basically just kidnap Sakura. Abusive family or not Kariya was rightfully concerned for the young girl.
"Calm down Kariya, Sakura is perfectly safe and happy along with her brother. My master is currently keeping her well-fed, entertained, and above all safe from any outside influence." Kariya seemed to stand down, at least for a moment. Up until he asked exactly who Saber's master was.
"You left Sakura alone with the fucking Magus Killer?! Berserker kil-" Saber covered Kariya's mouth before he could finish his command.
"No no no, calm down, please. It's not as bad as it sounds like I swear! Kiritsugu's a piece of work I'll admit but he'd never harm an innocent child… Honestly, I'm more worried about what comes after. I came here to strike a deal with you Matou Kariya, will you hear me out?" Kariya struggled for a good bit but reason ended up prevailing. If this servant wanted to kill him he could have easily done it long ago. Instead, Saber was giving him a choice in the matter, a choice he would at least listen to.
"Sakura still cares for you, it would be a tragedy for you to die for something as meaningless as this war so here's my offer. Tomorrow night I will fight Rider, Lancer, and Assassin myself." Ignoring Kariya's disbelieving look Saber continued. "Your botched training as a Matou mage along with your connection to Berserker is slowly killing you." Saber didn't mince his words, Kariya didn't deny it either, he knew all too well just how little time he had left.
"If you let Berserker fight against me with the other servants I can free you of at least one of those burdens. After which I know someone that may be able to help you with the former. At the very least it will extend your lifespan to close to what it used to be." In the end, it was a matter of simple fact. Kariya had everything to gain and basically nothing to lose, whether he trusted Saber or not, it was in his best interest to play along.
"...Fine, I'll take you up on your deal. I just have one question, what about Tokiomi's servant? The golden Archer." The broken man's hatred for the magus was as clear as day, though he was also somewhat afraid of the golden servant himself having seen what he was capable of.
"I'm not going to lie, there's a higher than 0% chance that Gilgamesh will kill Tokiomi by the end of the day." Even if Saber wanted to save the magus, which he was still on the fence about. He probably couldn't without risking the plan.
Sensing Kariya's growing panic Saber held up his hand. "Don't worry, he won't touch Rin or Aoi, he only really dislikes Tokiomi for being 'boring' as he says." Tokiomi's personality alone would have been enough to get him killed off. Using a command seal on Gilgamesh merely accelerated his death sentence.
"Hm, good riddance, I only hope that little Rin can recover after something like that. Speaking of which, do you plan on reuniting the sisters?" Kariya could go either way with this one to be honest, while he'd love to see the two sisters together again he understood that her family's betrayal took its toll on Sakura. She might not want to return to her old home, or even see it again.
"Eventually yes, and hopefully their mutual older-brother figure can help them reconnect?" Saber tried to start up a conversation, hoping to begin an at least somewhat friendly relationship with the broken man.
"Older brother? No, they probably think of me as more of an Uncle honestly. Besides, I'm not exactly a great role model for them anyway. What about you? You sound like you speak from experience." Kariya grew a bit awkward, his own question doing the same with Saber.
"I-I guess so, while I grew up as an only child I did have a little sister to take care of somewhere down the line." Even though Illya was actually his older adopted sister, she definitely acted like the younger of the two. Especially after they reconciled with each other. "Now that I think about it, we're not so different you and I." Saber finished, a rather dark memory resurfacing.
Flashback, or forward…Multiversal tIme travel my dudes.
Emiya Estate, 3rd person POV
"You can't be serious Shirou! I know you're verifiably insane but this is too much even for you." Rin yelled out what would soon become her most common phrase. Even Illya who was usually all for chaotic misadventures simply stopped to look at her younger/older brother with a completely flat face.
"You want to commission Aozaki Tokou to build me a new body? Come on big brother, she's basically the most exclusive artisan in the moonlit world how are we supposed to contact her, let alone pay for something like that?" Toukou's prices were usually on the exorbitant end of unaffordable on a good day. Asking her to drop everything and build a fully functioning human body for a mere homunculus within a year was only going to raise that price tag even further.
"W-well, contacting her isn't too difficult. The combined reputations of the Tohsaka's, Matou's, and Einzberns should be more than enough to get her attention at the very least. The issue is with her going rate if she even asks for money and not something even more valuable…No." Rin said in morbid realization. Shirou couldn't possibly be that much of an-
"Would access to thousands of noble phantasms and a reality marble qualify as suitable payment?" Damn you Shirou and you're suicidal hero complex! And the worst part was that it was actually a viable suggestion, albeit an extremely dangerous one.
"If we get found out we'd be the most wanted people in the moonlit world. A sealing designation would be a mercy, at least then we'd be able to claim Hermit status and mostly be left alone. But considering your particular magecraft could put you on the same level as a servant...I highly doubt it would be that simple." Rin counted off everything that could go wrong with the idea.
"While I'd personally be ok with that if it meant saving Illya, I think we should acknowledge that the worst-case scenario isn't always the only one. Would Ms. Aozaki really sell us out if she were to have that kind of opportunity in front of her?" Shirou raised a good point, magi were known for their greed for knowledge, so long as they were careful with their information it shouldn't get to the point that Rin feared.
In the end, he would have done anything in order to save his new little sister. Not to mention Sakura's own predicament with her current body, the worm Zouken was still alive(if you could call what he was a living being) and just as dangerous. Perhaps he could get a two for one deal?
Back to the past/future with Saber
"I risked life, limb, and soul in order to protect my own sisters from their fates. Thankfully it never came to that but if it did I was perfectly prepared to sacrifice myself for their sake." Just like he'd do tomorrow. If it meant the safety and prosperity of his old/new family then he'd happily give himself up without hesitation.
"Hm, I wish that I had summoned a heroic spirit like yours...Then again I'd hate to see someone like you contorted into some insane Berserker." Honestly, what was Zouken thinking with that one? Berserkers are almost guaranteed to be either weak or uncontrollable servants, barring some insane catalysts or a Master with an inhuman prana capacity. Kariya summoning Lancelot of all people was a complete fluke.
"...Sure, just keep thinking that." Saber's own experience with Berserker's proved otherwise. Then again that could have just been their collective shitty luck working its magic. "Thank you again for understanding, just remember to come to the Einzbern castle tomorrow night, hopefully, this cursed war will be over by that night's end."
And with any lu- "Nope, not tempting it." Saber muttered before running off to Einzbern Mansion to check up on his master and his master's master. Hopefully, Iris would be grail-free and as energetic as ever by the time he got there.
Hours later, Einzbern Castle
"Master I'm back, have you finished the ri-Oof!" Saber was cut off by a silver Iri-shaped missile, the now even more energetic Irisviel hugging him to near-death...Which was rather impressive considering his parameters, was this some kind of new reinforcement magecraft?
"Welcome back Saber! I feel so much better after that stupid cup was taken out, when we took a look inside it there was a bunch of black sludge in it…" Iris visibly shivered. Yeah, having something like that in what was basically you're soul would disgust pretty much anyone.
"That's good to hear, but where's Kiritsugu?" He asked as a matter of course though Saber had a fair idea of what happened. The procedure most likely tired out Kiritsugu more than anyone else, unlike Irisviel, the 2nd rate magic-user didn't have inhuman prana reserves.
"I think the stress of taking care of two kids and performing the ritual finally got to him. Right now he's just sleeping upstairs so we should probably leave him to rest." Right, Saber had forgotten that he'd basically left Sakura and Shinji to poor Kiritsugu since Irisviel was out of commission all day.
"You're right, and you don't have to force yourself either Irisviel. If you want to rest with Kiritsugu then go ahead I'll take care of the children while you two sleep." Saber said kindly, Irisviel was energetic now but that ritual would let it's toll be known later. Once the adrenaline ran out she'd go into advanced prana withdrawal and would most likely be stuck in bed for several days.
Irisviel's face softened before she responded. "Thank you, Saber, truly. What you've done for us. I'm not sure that we'll ever be able to repay you." She said sincerely, truly unable to think of a way to thank their greatest helper. And to her despair, she knew that the only thing that awaited Saber is nonexistence the moment the grail was destroyed.
"All I need to make this worth it is the guarantee that you, master, Illya, Sakura...And Shinji too. I want all of you to live long happy lives from now on. So long as that happens I'm more than happy with giving myself up for that to become a reality." Hearing his solemn determination Irisviel couldn't help but shed tears, the emotional rollercoaster that she experienced finally catching up to her.
A few more minutes passed before Irisviel finally collapsed from exhaustion, falling into Saber's waiting arms. 'It will all be over soon. And as far as I'm concerned it has all been worth it. Rest well Irisviel, old man, you've earned it.' Saber thought with a smile on his face as he took Irisviel to where his master was sleeping and laid her down next to him.
'And the kids should be asleep by now. I should still check up on them at least.' Hopefully, they'd adapt quickly to their new home but considering how they grew up...Especially Sakura, she was probably having a hard time.
To Saber's surprise, it was actually Shinji who had it the worse, he was shivering heavily and twitching in his sleep. Sakura had a frown on her face but besides that, she seemed to be sleeping well.
Seeing this Saber walked up and tucked in Shinji's blanket, an action that calmed the child down well enough to stop his shivering. Despite his past Saber had no ill will towards this version of Shinji so it was nice to see that he was doing better.
He tried to do the same with Sakura but instead found her staring directly at him. "Thank you for doing that big brother Saber. Big brother Shinki looked afraid…" She said with a small voice, almost inaudible even in the completely silent room. "I-If it's not too much to ask, can you tuck me in too. Please." The desperation in her voice nearly broke Saber's heart, and definitely broke whatever will he had, not that he minded.
"Of course, and I'll even do you one better." Tucking her into bed first Saber set up his own area as well before getting in. The wrought iron Servant was lying alongside the now blushing Sakura while placing his hand on her head, massaging it up until she fell asleep. "Good night Sakura, and may you have many more in your future." Saber said before leaving the bed, he still had things he needed to do.
A hero's job was never done after all.
There we go! I finally got another chapter in, granted it's a smaller one but hopefully, I'll be able to get another one out for a different story now that I have a little vacation going on. The next story being my Konosuba fic, of course, gotta keep that franchise alive and well.
Anyways, I hope you all enjoyed the chapter, see you all next time!