Fate/Bonds Beyond Humanity

*Checks the number of favorites/follows and comments* Awesome.

Made some mistakes in the first chapter but since they didn't stop the enjoyment of the story I consider that an absolute success.

Sidenote: is Kiritsugu a prototype John Wick?

2- There Is a Devil in The House.

…..

Russia, one year ago.

It was a cold day when her father took her on one of his trips and it became colder when they landed in Russia. She had just graduated from highschool and made known her intent to go to the Clocktower, the main center of studies of all spellcasters, to further her research.

It is not supposed to be permanent and while her family managed to avoid the attention of the main powers of the supernatural thanks to her father… but with her decision the patriarch of the Emiya family needed to act and prepare his eldest child.

Now, Illya was not a weak flower and since she wanted to go and travel her father started to teach her how to survive, they had other trips before but this one was different. On the previous ones Kiritsugu taught her how to survive, on this one he was going to teach her how to kill.

"How many targets?" They were on a rooftop, she had her eyes closed and was using her magecraft to observe those inside a building. It was a warehouse on the docks of a small city, the snow was falling but she was not feeling the cold.

"I counted thirty… four so far. No! Thirty-five!" She then opens her eyes and looks at her father. "Are they really dangerous? They look like normal humans to me." Her purple winter clothes were still enough to keep her hidden and starve off the chill of winter.

"Appearances can be misleading." The man had a mop of black hair and was completely dressed in black with a long coat, he was carrying a sniper rifle on his hands and placed it in position directly towards the building. "Most of them are human, that is true. But our target isn't and he is controlling those men, our job is to find them and take them out."

"How are they being controlled?" Kiritsugu was preparing the scope of the rifle, it was highly advanced and would be the main tool they would use to identify their target.

"Vampires have a naturally cold skin and low body temperature. That is because their body doesn't have the same functions they would have as a human, the heart stops working, only a couple the organs are used and the rest is consumed or transformed." Kiritsugu spoke calmly and bluntly but also avoided the question.

It was like he was not talking to his daughter but with any other person on the street. He explained more differences between normal people and vampires, then he goes in detail how the scope and the heat vision worked.

"You know all the positions with magic but that is not useful to be subtle or to take out the vampire, you need to use both it and the appropriate equipment." He positions the rifle, gesturing for her to take the position. "Once you identify who is the one with the lowest heat signature, you take the shot."

"Where? On the head?" Illya got prepared, learning to use such a weapon took a whole month most of her vacation during highschool was spent on a shooting range..

"That would be optimal but not viable in most cases. Vampires have three weaknesses that we can use in such cases: 1- sunlight, UV lights, hard to come by in countries like these and it is the reason why some of the more active vampires hide in the poles. 2- blessed weapons, the prayers and powers of the many gods work against those with origins of shadows that are nonhuman, the christian God's are the most effective ones."

He pulls something from his coat, it was a huge bullet and gives it to Illya. The young woman didn't hesitate and placed it on the rifle preparing the shot.

"That will be the tool that we will use today. You don't need to go for the head with this bullet, any place above the waist will do." Kiritsugu then pulls out spy glasses and checks the positions himself. "Try to find someone pale, the eyes don't need to be red though."

"So… like me but also not." She gives her father a coy smile but the man didn't care, he was on work mode and Illya hated it. "You said three weaknesses. You only told me two."

"The third one is garlic." Silence.

"You are joking." That was unbelievable.

"No, they are extremely allergic to the stuff." The way his face remained stoic made the girl second guess herself. "It is not enough to kill them but it is a good distraction. A smoke grenade that is made to use garlic is good enough to separate a vampire from a crowd or to force him to deal with a certain degree of pain while you attack." He messes with his pockets for a bit but then stops and places both hands on his spy glasses. "It's efficient, easy to use and mostly harmless to humans. An efficient counter."

"How and why would someone try garlic on a vampire in the first place?" She couldn't keep the disbelief of her voice.

"When you are trying to kill something that doesn't die with common weapons you end up trying a bit of everything." Kiritsugu's logic was sound if anything else.

Both stalked the warehouse for a few more minutes, when at home her father was also the silent type but his presence this time was more… cold. As cold as the russian winter, there was nothing else but the mission at that point and Illya had a part to play.

The younger Emiya sighed and closed both eyes, inside the warehouse a small silver bird made of string turns its head. It was a magecraft that she shared with her mother but it was not really useful for combat… unless Illya was the one using it since she had more than enough mana at her beck and call.

Engel Rid: Angel's Poem was something that she took gusto in learning, it was extremely versatile and if she wanted she could use her hair as material to create different kinds of constructs which she can connect her conscience to and use as familiar for spying.

The bird flew high, keeping itself close to the roof, it was capable of moving with precise movements that a real animal needed to be trained intensively to be able to imitate while staying practically silent.

She was trying to see anything suspicious but the men inside were just chatting and moving some boxes around the containers. One was talking on what he was going to do in the weekend, other was telling his friend that his son took his first steps, the other-

"Illya." Her father snapped her out of her trance. "Don't bother using magecraft to identify the vampire, the smarter ones are great actors." He points at the scope. "This is the only tool you can trust in this operation. The alternative is to kill everyone else in the warehouse."

Illya almost choked at the way her father spoke, it was almost as if the lives of those below were worthless… no, it wasn't that. It was worse, they were acceptable losses as far as he is concerned, if she didn't find the vampire he was going to move and kill everyone if needed.

"What-" She almost couldn't speak. "What did the vampire do?"

Kiritsugu's posture changed, he didn't want to tell her for some reason. After a minute deliberating the man lets out a sigh and looks at her, his eyes still cold. "This vampire is responsible for some traffic, traffic of people. They are good for blood and money for them and their allies."

Illya blood frozen at the information. 'Traffic of people'... she started trembling and just thought of such an event… it is easy to just think of such things when it is far away but now.

She placed her eye on the scope once again, Illya was determined to find the vampire. It took a few minutes and even then she watched the movements of the individual for another few until before she was sure it was the one she was looking for.

"It looks like a human male, blond hair, slim with a sharp face." She described while making the scope go in normal mode so she can see the details.

"Which floor?" Kiritsugu asked.

"Second."

The being was pale, maybe even paler than Illya, his body was not of a fighter but with a vampire that was no guarantee. The most skilled ones could transform their form, the most powerful could break a building with their bare hands, as far as the duo was concerned that one may be one of those.

"Do you have a shot?" The question came suddenly, Kiritsugu was not wasting time.

Illya had the shot but she froze again. 'What if he isn't the vampire?' The question pops on her head and she starts to tremble again.

Kiritsugu watches all that for a while, he says nothing and just uses his spy glasses to watch the target. The older man knew that was the vampire, he had already scouted the place and got ready for the eventuality that Illya couldn't go through.

He would give his daughter one more chance. "If you don't take the shot, people will die." The girl looks at him again but he doesn't look back. "Even if he is not the target he is still a criminal, his death will probably save another ten lives."

"But- You said-" Kiritsugu cuts her off.

"They are being controlled, yes. I didn't lie, they are being controlled by money and ambition, the oldest tools of man. Even magic can't be as compelling as the promise of a better life." Kiritsugu finally looks at her. "On the Clocktower, you will be in a nest of vipers, those there are cruel, dangerous and more ambitious than any of the men here. If you are not ready for that you will have a fate worse than death… on the other hand, it's safe to say that none on the Clocktower did as much damage as that vampire did and still does every day."

That was all the absolute truth, investigations in the target confirmed it, the vampire had lived for at least three centuries and had started to work in such jobs way back when slavery was common pratice. All the monster did was to keep going when most of the world stopped.

The trembling had receded, in Kiritsugu's mind that was good. "You can't hesitate Illya, if you do someone else may die, even if it's not you."

That did the trick, the girl aimed, took a deep breath to calm her heart and took the shot.

The bullet had been blessed by a truly faithful priest and therefore had a high level of holy power. With such a bullet there was no need for a perfect shot. Illya still hits the vampire in the head.

Kiritsugu acted fast, he threw the gun on the ground while holding his daughter in a hug. The cold and cruel mercenary was gone, replaced by the concerned father. "It 's okay." He said in a whisper while his daughter started to cry. "It's okay Illya, you did it. The vampire is dead, you saved lots of people today, their gang is going to fall apart without leadership and soon they all will be arrested."

His words confronted her and he started to escort her out of the rooftop. She was having difficulties walking so he started to prepare to carry her.

While he moved he placed a hand on his left pocket, there was a cellphone there on silent ready to send a message. Once he pressed 'sent' Kiritsugu changed all his focus on taking care of Illya.

Meanwhile panic was starting to spread in the warehouse. "BOSS IS DEAD!"

"WHO KILLED HIM?" "THE SHOT CAME FROM OUTSIDE!"

Before the criminals could organize themselves or kill each other the door opened with a loud impact, a group armed and equipped almost like an elite force entered guns blazing.

They had helmets and masks that cover their faces, they also had glasses to protect the eyes, bullet proof vests, rifles, machine guns, pistols and knives on their legs or belts. All of them were dressed in black, almost like apparitions who came from hell.

They moved in coordination, even if there were just ten of them their synch was enough that when taking a shot there was another following up with a third watching their backs. The thirty-four criminals in the warehouse stood no chance with just pistols and the odd shotgun.

The new group neutralized those on the lower floors easily and then approached the second one with cirurgical precision. When there were only five men left standing they moved to surrender, it was refused with bullets, killing all that owned the warehouse previously.

The victors then started to open the containers, there were indeed people inside them, young men and women of all ages and nationalities. They were taking out with care but their saviors hadn't said anything yet and that was starting to scare some.

The leader of the group approached and started to take out the helmet and mask. She was a woman with short dark hair and sharp eyes, she was pretty but age was starting to show on her face, that or the stress of the life she had chosen to live.

The woman then gave a practiced smile, it was fake but it still worked on the victims. "Hello," she spoke in english, but when many didn't react she repeated in other languages. "hello…"

It didn't take long to find that some spoke english, hebrew, russian and others,this made it a little difficult for communication and she raised an open hand. With the signal another two took out their helmets, they looked like unsuspicious men but they started to speak in turns in different languages.

They separated those that spoke different languages, joining them together with those that did and it even helped to find some that knew each other. In total there were at least fifty people there and the woman started a pich.

They would help in any way they could, those that wanted to go back to their homes but those that wanted to stay and fight against the injustice that happened to them they can, they will receive training, clothing, documents and everything else they need to start.

She repeats the speech five more times, pointing out that every single member of their group was someone like them, someone that didn't have a home until they made one. Those words were powerful for all could see that she was speaking the truth.

In the end they all left the warehouse and Illya wouldn't know the decision that those people made, unless she asked for above them, hidden from view, was that same bird that was the eyes of the girl.

It disappeared once that there was no one else in the premises.

..

Shirou was trying to avoid his sister's eyes, it was clear that Illya was still in a bad mood after what happened two days ago. He honestly couldn't tell what annoyed her the most, the fact that he almost died or that he didn't manage to get back home early and got on that whole mess because he didn't get home when he said he would.

The breakfast was silent this time, the table of the kitchen was almost completely full with only the patriarch of the family missing. The food wasn't made by Shirou… he is grounded.

For the first time in his life, he is grounded, even if he is sure that the event was completely amusing to his mother because she was not angry at all.

Of the women on the table only half of them wanted to rip his skin off at that point. "Sella. Could you please pass me the rice?" Illya asked and Sella did by extending her hand by the other side of the table, getting the container that was at Shirou's side and then placing it in front of Illya. "Thank you."

"You are welcome Illya-sama. It is the least I can do for the best child of the family." The two of them were going all out on their barbs but Shirou could take them.

In a way it was deserved, if he hadn't stopped to help on the repairs nothing of what happened would have happened… not that he regrets it. The stray could have killed Rias if she had gone alone. He wonders if the devil was better.

When he got back home his mother was throwing a small fit, Illya was panicking, Liz got a giant ax out of nowhere and Sella was moving around getting the first aid kit and covering him in bandages.

Once he told the story of why he was covered in blood, wounds and looked 'half dead' their attitudes changed. His mother was surprisingly supportive of the whole thing. "He came back alive and well, that is what matters." Well was relative in his opnion but he would take that.

Liz was nonchalant about the whole affair. "Shirou is growing up." Was her input but he can see she was relived he was safe.

Sella's on the other hand. "ARE YOU INSANE! FIGHTING A STRAY LIKE THAT! YOU HAVE NO FIGHTING EXPERIENCE!" What followed next was a fifteen minute rant that he committed to memory.

Illya's reaction was the one that really hurt. "..." She looked at him, turned around and went to bed. No comments came in the following day, not directed at him at least. She wasn't talking to him for the first time since he could remember and insisted that he should be punished.

While Iri disagreeded Sella insisted as well that Shirou should lose his cooking privileges for a month, Iri decided that he would but only for the week. Bless his mother, he loves cooking and she knew it, he would go insane without the kitchen for a month long.

The day after the events, he couldn't leave the bed, both because his family wouldn't let him and his body would protest any effort.

Iri took some blood out of him, she was going to use her speciality, alchemy, to separate the components and make sure he didn't catch anything on the sewers. Shirou couldn't disagree with the logic and just layed there.

His mother was the best healer of the house. Her family, the Einzebern, were mostly alchemists specialized in homunculus and that translated to a lot of medical knowledge. Enough that he had her help developing EM.

Now he had recovered completely but there were still questions that plagued his mind, he finished his food but didn't move from the table, instead he just stared at his mother.

After a while Shirou asked her. "Why did you never tell me that devils looked so…" He trailed off and Iri gave him a small laugh.

"Human?" Iri just giggled a bit, finding her son's confusion amusing. The rest of the table stayed quiet. "Shirou, let's be realistic here for a second. Who would you sell your soul to? To someone that looked obviously evil or the one that was attractive enough to… get your 'motor' going so to speak?"

Shirou got red at the comment. "So… are all the devils…"

"Attractive? Mostly are. They were made to be." Iri said easily.

"When Lucifer fell," Illya started, speaking to him for the first time, "God stripped him of many of the blessings he gave while sparing his son's life."

When it was obvious that was all that his sister was willing to tell him, their mother just rolled her eyes and continued. "Say whatever you want for the first Satan but the guy was persistent, the most complete records state that he said and I quote: 'If I can't beat you now, I will prove you wrong'. He was referring to the worth of mankind or so many scholars believe."

Shirou stayed silent for a bit trying to process the information, it didn't fit in his head. "If he lost all his blessing how would he do it? How he created the devils as a race."

"Not all, most." Iri places her cutlery down, Sella starts to move to wash the dishes while the older woman debates where to begin. "Lucifer was unable to create devils by himself, but he was one of the oldest creatures to ever exist, being there at the beginning of creation. Thanks to that he was there when Lilith was created."

"Lilith?" Shirou heard that name before but he can't remember where.

"She was the first woman, made to be equal to Adam… that is what the church will tell you." Irisviel's face was serious at that point. "It is hard to pin down the truth, only those there would be able to tell you. Maybe she was a goddess, a demon or really a human that was to be the wife of Adam but she was there, she was different and there were consequences. All that is know for sure is that she was powerful, cunning and had a chip on her shoulder against the chirstian God."

"That is it? A chip on her shoulder?" Shirou couldn't believe that was the best anyone could come up with.

"Her reasons were her own," Irisviel tone made clear that he shouldn't interrupt her now, "all that anyone is sure is that she teamed up with Lucifer to make the devils in unholy union. They became the parents of the first family of devils and then they promptly killed them."

"WHAT?" That shocked Shirou.

"They wanted to create the perfect beings." Irisviel explained. "So they tried a lot of many methods. Exactly what I don't know but they ended up using lots of sacrifices and energy to have Lilith give birth to many different types of devils that are today the 72 pillars… or what is left of them since the civil war." She cuts Shirou before he asks. "I don't know the details and you should ask them if you want. Our family had nothing to do with devils and other supernatural stuff in general because Kiritsugu and myself wanted you and Illya to grow safely into the people you wanted to be. Nothing else."

"But that changed when Illya-sama started to exhibit evidence that she had a lot of mana." Sella decides to say, still doing the dishes.

"Yes." Irisviel nods solem. "At that point we needed to teach her and you magecraft to at the very least make sure you were able to defend yourselves… Illya is an oddity in the supernatural and we dealt through a lot of pain to make sure that all the channels of it could only call her a 'normal human'."

That was a hard pill to swallow for the only male in the house, he didn't know that was the reason why they started to teach them magecraft, his father just offered and he just said yes because he wanted to learn with his sister.

"Are devils dangerous?" He couldn't help but ask.

"Yes they are!" Shirou turns to see Illyaviel looking straight at him. "Look what happened with you! And that stray business! That is dangerous!"

"Now, now Illya, calm down." Iri was all smiles again but anyone on the table would call that one strained, it was still enough to force her daughter to stop. "The truth about Lilith and many other things could be solved if angels spoke more with humanity. Do any of you know why they don't?" Everyone on the tables shooks their heads. "Angels can lie, but they can also tell the truth. Good and evil are subjective. Devils are dangerous? Sure, they are powerful… but so is anyone with a gun when compared with normal people."

For a second Iri turns her head up, her eyes filled with curiosity before she lets out a giggle. Sella then stops washing the dishes. "Irisviel-sama!" She called but the woman was already waving for her to calm down.

"Relax Sella, we are about to receive some guests, that is all." With that said they heard the doorbell. "Shirou, could you please be a dear and go answer the door?"

He could tell that his mother's eyes were full of mischief, one way or another he was expecting something to happen, something it was going to be funny for her.

Once he opens the door he sees her once again, long red hair, blue eyes and a smile that could stop the heart of most men. This time she was accompanied by another girl… he could see the whole temptation angle.

With long raven hair with a ponytail tied by an orange ribbon she had violet eyes, was taller than Rias and bigger… Shirou was not a pervert but these days he was starting to doubt himself. The fact that she was in a black t-shirt and white pants that fitted her figure plenty didn't help.

"Good morning Shirou-kun!" Rias greeted him. Unlike before she wasn't in a school uniform but in a form fitting green t-shirt and a black miniskirt. "I am glad you have recovered, I didn't know if you would be well to receive visits but I wanted to talk to you about some things."

"Ah. Thanks… How are you?"

"I am just dandy!" She rolls in place. "Since you healed any wounds all that I had to recieve was a purificator of blood just in case the rats had any poison. But outside that I am good as new."

"Ahem." A small cleaning of the throat to the side turns their attention to the other girl at his door.

"Right! This is Himejima Akeno," Rias gestured to the new girl who made the traditional japanese bow, Shirou scrambled to answer in kind, "she is my queen and second in command. And this is Shirou-kun."

"It is a pleasure to meet you." Akeno said with formality and a gentle smile. "It is nice to know the one that helped Rias here to deal with the rat problem. She didn't stop talking about you the whole day yesterday."

"Don't exaggerate Akeno." Rias chastised her friend before turning back to Shirou. "I would like to talk to you and extend an offer. Are you free?"

"I-" He didn't have time to answer.

"SHIROU! INVITE YOU FRIENDS INSIDE!" Came Iri's voice from the kitchen.

"I guess I am?" Shirou opened the door for the newcomers to enter.

"My, my, what a cozy home you have." Akeno commented, he couldn't disagree. The simple but big couch, the chairs around the TV, pictures of the family all around. Rias approaches and looks at one.

"That is your mother?" In the picture was the whole family, even his father. "Then this must be your father?" It was obvious she had a question but was being polite not to ask.

"Yes, I am adopted." Shirou just says. "Let's just get that out of the way. Follow me please."

The boy felt he was about to enter a lion's den, his mother had some quirks and this was not the first time their home had visitors, Illya used to call some of her friends once in a while, but now it was his turn… Shirou knew that there would be teasing, his mother had been waiting for this.

Entering the kitchen he already knew that all had been planned, Shirou would like to say it was because they were receiving devils but that wasn't it. The table had now an extra chair with two of them on one side, at the laterals there was one chair for Liz… and on the other side was his.

And he knew it was his for on the small space on the other side of the two isolated chairs were his smiling mother, grumpy sister and a not amused maid. After years of not bringing friends his family, at least his mother, was planning to milk this for all it was worth.

"Please, come in, sit down." Irisviel offered. Rias and Akeno look at each other then the king of the peerage looks at her fellow red hair with a raised eyebrow.

"They knew you were coming… boundary field around the house." Akeno gave an amused smile.

"Ara, ara~ I didn't detect anything and that speaks highly of the skill of the maker."

"Thank you!" Iri also smiled and for some reason Shirou felt a sensation of dread. "It is good to be recognized for something one does. My name is Emiya Irisviel and I am the mother of this house. Who may you two be?"

"It is an honor to meet you Emiya-sama. My name is Rias Gremory… or Gremory Rias if you prefer the japanese tradition." Rias gives a polite bow and Akeno follows suit.

"Himejima Akeno and I have to say that you have a nice house ma'am." The smile in Akeno's face didn't change but Rias got a bad feeling. "I suppose it was expected of such a lady that raised the knight in shining armor that rescued my foolish king."

"Oh my, Shirou didn't explain how he pulled off such a daring rescue! Please do tell!" Irisviel's smile didn't change but both red heads could tell, the white and black haired woman were starting to hit it off.

"Mom!" "Akeno!"

The reactions of both teens only made the Emiya matriarch and her accomplice smile more but there was someone that was not amused.

"Can I ask why a devil came to our house?" Illya demanded to know glaring at Rias. The green eyed girl then fixes her posture.

"Illya." But before anything else happens, Irisviel takes the stage. "Lower your tone young lady, they are visitors." Her eyes bored on her daughter, it was not a suggestion, it was an order and the young woman turned her head and relaxed on her seat. "Good, now apologize to them."

"I will not." Illya grumbled. "These devils placed my brother's life in danger. I want to know why there is a devil in the house and then I want them gone!"

"If I may." Rias offers. "While the danger to your sibling did come from devils and I should have stopped him from following me I must admit that Shirou-kun did save my life." Then the devil lowers her head. "That situation got out of control because I underestimated the lack of intel and overestimated the last Second Owner before me and my peers care in taking care of Fuyuki, for all that I apologize."

"Don't." Everyone turns to look at Shirou.

"Shirou-kun?" Rias was confused.

"Don't apologize Rias, I followed you on my own volition after knowing the risks, if you want to blame anyone, blame the magus who was irresponsible in calling you." Shirou looked at her and Iri gave a small clap with a huge smile.

"I am so proud of my boy!" And she meant it. "Please, sit down. Sella, could you please serve us some tea. Do you two have any preferences."

"Any tea is fine." Rias said.

"Green if you can." Was Akeno's preference.

"I shall work on them Irisviel-sama." Sella prepared pots and cups, Shirou was getting ready to help but his mother stopped that.

"You are still grounded Shirou." Her smile didn't change. "It's not because I'm proud of you that you should risk your life like that." He lowers his head and sits on the chair he knew was his.

"Grounded?" Rias asked. "Emiya-sama, please if he is being punish-"

"Ah ah ah~ He should be more careful… besides it's the first time he is being legitimately grounded. I have to say it was a true experience." There was teasing in her voice.

"Ara, ara~ The first time? He must truly be a good boy." Akeno praised Shirou, making him go red.

"Thank you Himejima-san! But the credit doesn't go just to myself, Sella here taught him politeness and how to move around the kitchen while Liz helped him develop a sense of responsibility."

If 'politeness' is to reach perfection in the kitchen and 'responsibility' is doing anything the younger maid didn't want to do then it was actually true, not that Shirou minded.

There was a bit more of small talk, nothing much, Iri managed to put Rias in a situation that Akeno had to tell the story from her perspective.

Rias was about to die, surrounded by a huge horde of rats when Shirou summoned her, the last attack of the heiress of the Gremory house was literally her last ditch effort. In many ways, both of them got lucky, if Shirou had taken too long Rias would be too tired to help or dead while Rias was literally against the wall with no escape.

Shirou was sure that if she hadn't shown up he was going to die, maybe taking the stray out with him but he had nothing to cause the damage he needed at that point.

"Thank you Sella." The maid started to distribute the tea, ending with hers and sitting down. "Now that we are all settled down," Irisviel stares at Rias,"what is the heiress of Gremory doing in my house?"

This attitude was completely different than before, from loving mother and housekeeper now there was someone else sitting on the table. someone that knew blood and death in some way, shape or form.

For Shirou the transformation was jarring, for Illya it was unexpected, the maids were not surprised, Akeno was still smiling but now it was rigid while Rias…

The pureblood devil was smiling, this was expected. "It is an honor to meet the wife of the Magus Killer, Emiya Kiritsurugu."

"'Magus Killer'?" Shirou never heard the title before, Illya and the maids were looking at him with pale faces but Irisviel was still the same. "Why- Why did you call dad that?" The title was ominous in many ways.

"Shirou," Irisviel got his attention. "your father made a living of taking out dangerous elements, most of them abhorrent people who were a danger to mankind at the least and to the world at worst." The teenager wasn't liking that.

"Dad… kills people for a living?" He had the concept of 'walking with death' hammered on his head and he believed in self defense but killing for a living? He didn't like that.

"To be more precise," Rias decided to interfere, she didn't like to see Shirou distressed, "your father is know in many circles as someone to call when someone is doing something that will harm innocents, he also has a habit of recruiting anyone that he saves to join his organization"

"The security firm…" He realized that was a cover and then he looked to the rest of his family. "I was the only one that didn't know?" Frustration brewed on his voice.

"You are a sweet boy Shirou." Sella showed her sadness on her face. "Unlike your sister you didn't need to enter on this 'world' yet you did, we-"

"Me and your father only." Iri said, letting her mask slip a bit. "Nobody else made the decision, Illya got to know when she decided she would go to the Clocktower and I was going to tell you but… the truth is that I hesitated."

"And now I talked too much…" Rias sighed. "I am sorry, I thought he knew." She looks at Shirou. "Was that your first real fight?"

"It was… It doesn't matter anyway, the stray needed to be stopped." Shirou's eyes showed his certainty. "And whatever my father is doing… I chose to believe in him."

"That is a strong resolve." Rias said with a smile before looking to the matriarch again. "If you wish I can leave and we can talk another time."

"Resolve or not it can be dealt with later." Irisviel stared at the devils again, her eyes no longer showing care or warth. "What do you want?"

The question was direct but the answer was not simple or short to the point that Rias had gone with a plan for the conversation. Now the situation was different, she knew that Shirou was an unconventional magus but he was too innocent in a sense.

'With a person like that,' Rias thinks while creating a magic circle to pull some paper from her the other side connected to her office, 'It is better to be direct.' She placed the papers on the desk and passed it to Shirou.

Her fellow redhead didn't hesitate to pick them up, there were two kinds of paper, the first was a sealed envelope with a symbol, letters in gold that read 'Kuoh' in the front, he separated those and focused on the other bundle of papers.

It was a contract, he counted the pages and saw that there were at least five pages. The whole thing was made by hand and he started to read. "What is this?" Illya asked, losing her patience.

"Shirou's abilities, they impressed me in many ways. The scalpel that he used to heal my wounds being only one of the weapons he made correct?" Rias was looking at Shirou who nodded, the rest of the family knew of his abilities but said nothing. "In that case I wanted to formally extend a request so that we may form a pact."

"WHAT?" Illya jumped to her feet and even the maids looked shocked, Iri just raised an eyebrow.

"The terms," Shirou said. "Is that you give me materials and I make weapons for you… I will have to refuse them."

"Before you truly refuse please finish reading." Rias requested but Shirou just raised his own eyebrow. "Notice that I didn't state 'weapons' to fight. We devils have a huge problem when it comes to our medicine, it is slow for the most part. Many devils died in the civil war because there was no efficient way to close wounds or heal people with the exception of phoenix tears."

"Phoenix tears?"

"We really should get you a dictionary with the general terms, Shirou." Iri says, with a smile. "Think of them as an elixir from video games."

"That… is a fair comparison." Rias says and then shrugs. "Anyway, you created something that could heal me and then allowed me to heal you. That is what we want and I mean we because Lucifer himself was interested."

"THE DEVIL HIMSELF?" Now Shirou was panicking.

"Calm down Shirou." His mother placed a hand on his. "That one is dead, it's just a title now."

"What? The devil is dead? How?" He really wanted a crash course on the story of the supernatural.

"Basically 'God' happened." Akeno said with a smile.

"Anyway, the name is now just a title." Iri said, her smile growing. "And her brother is that said devil."

Rias lets out a groan while Shirou takes a couple of seconds to process…

"So… her brother is 'the' devil?" Shirou made quotation marks with his fingers. "What does that mean?"

"He is the boss of them all." Iri said, still smiling.

"Ah!" Everyone stayed silent waiting for a reaction. "What?"

"That is it?" Liz was the one asking.

"Yes, I mean, her brother is the king of the devils."

"Maou is the term we use." Rias had a huge smile on his face.

"Sure, Maou. Fine by me." He then picks up the envelope. "And this?"

"Oh, it's an invitation to join Kuoh academy with full scholarship." Rias said as if it was nothing. "Another part of the pact, I will take care of any educational necessity you have."

"OKAY! NO!" Illya was frustrated at this point. "What are you planning?"

"What do you mean?" The devil asking and Illya really wanted to punch her perfect teeth.

"You come here offering a pact of all things and now tuition on the biggest school of the country." The elder sister slammed her hands on the table. "WHAT IS YOUR GAME DEVIL?"

This time she was not reprehended, the matriarch also wished to know. Fortunately Rias had no evil intentions.

"I also attend that school, going into my second year next term in fact." No reaction from most but Iri tilts her head. "Kuoh has become, especially in the last few years, a type of recruitment center. It isn't only us devils who use it, it is a place where the talented people of the world can come together and form bonds to help themselves in the future."

"That is a lie." Illya pounced on facts. "Kuoh has been a school for girls for generations!"

"Yes but the college division always accepts everyone and the next term the school will be co-ed!" Rias also raised to her feet, both her and Illya glared at each other's eyes. Neither red or blue retreated. "It is expanding and it is a place that one day will surpass even the Clocktower!"

"With mundanes? Normal people running around?" Illya found that hard to believe.

"Yes!" Rias doesn't back down. "We already have to hide from the world, more separation can only be bad! Shirou is right to blame the magus who called me first! While the stray in the ley line was dangerous and harmful the fact is that WE almost died!"

Neither of the young women was going to back down, they were not going to blow yet but if someone doesn't do something they will.

Shirou's looks to his mother but the woman was thinking, not paying attention to the events on her table, Akeno looked happy to let the chaos grow and the others wouldn't dare to challenge Illya with guests on the house.

"And…" Shirou directed all the attention to himself. "How do we keep the secret."

Rias' smile grew. "I am glad you asked, if you would please open the envelope..." He does just that, putting the contents on the table there was some paper but what called attention was a pin.

It was small, the size of a nail but it was shining, he picked it on his hand and immediately started to use his magecraft, structural analysis. Since it was nothing related to his origin or that he created it took a few seconds. "It is-" Before Rias could explain Shirou started.

"A mass produced pin made from the efforts of ten magus in conjunction with devils and yokais with the goal of identification. This one was crafted one month ago and enchanted last week by a person called Jaken who used yokai magic, its purpose is identification for those that know the supernatural. It's a flower like design based on a sunflower..." His analise didn't surprise his family, the pin itself coupled together with the fact that it had loads of contributors was what turned the white haired heads to look at it curiously..

To the duo of devils it was the other way around, Shirou description had gone beyond what both of them knew and Rias' smile just grew more during the explanation. While she recovered from their ordeal she asked questions and did research on magecraft and she knew some things… including the basics of projection, structural analysis and reinforcement.

She couldn't use them, as a devil she had other ways to apply 'reinforcement' and projection was something beyond her but structural analysis was something that her brother said was good to superficial analysis and nothing more. What Shirou did was beyond superficial.

"How did you do that?" She couldn't stop herself from asking.

"That was structural analysis, a basic magecraft." Iri said easily.

"Yes, I know. But he managed to gasp so much from it…" Rias trailed off, still looking to Shirou. The boy for his part just shrugged.

"I told you that I'm not like the usual magus… I'm over specialized." He then picked the papers from Kuoh and placed them on the envelope. "I… think I won't accept them. I like Homurahara, for all its faults." Besides he felt that if he left the academy would fall in disrepair.

"About that…'' Akeno trailed off and all looked to her, she took her time to finish her tea. "Homurahara Academy will have to be closed down."

"WHAT?" This time Shirou was the one on his feet. "WHY? WHAT ABOUT THE STUDENTS? AND THE STAFF?"

"Shirou-kun please calm down." Rias didn't want to make him worry.

"Yes Shirou, sit again so the poor girl can talk." With the prompt of both Rias and his mother, she accepted that.

"Because of the stray and our fight… the structure is not as sound as it should be." Rias explained. "With the damage that the stray did, a team of specialists is going to be called from Kyoto to help fix any damage to the ley line and while the repairs happen it is a terrible idea to have anyone around."

"So the school will be closed?" After all that happened, Shirou could hardly believe that was the end of Homurahara.

"Yes, but you don't need to worry about the staff." Rias assured him. "They were victims of this as well and, while I can't do it for all of the students, I swear on my pride as a Gremory that I will see the whole staff employed by the beginning of the next term."

There even Illya felt that there was nothing to say, the devils were taking responsibility for their mess and they were cleaning it. Shirou picks the envelope once again. "Is this because of the pact thing?"

"No. That was because I want you close to me." Rias said that straight to his face.

"WHAT?" But it was Illya that didn't like it.

"Gremory-san…" Iri looked at Rias with her sharp eyes. "Do you want to court my son?"

""WHAT?"" This time most of the table asked, only Shirou and Akeno remained silent, the first by being in deep thought while the later was enjoying the show.

"I mean," Rias focused in composing herself, "it was not my intention-"

"Are you saying my son is not good enough?" Iri pressed, it was just a tease but no one besides Akeno could see that. The Queen really likes her new acquaintance.

"No, Emiya-sama, he is without a doubt a upstanding man-"

"Mother! I can't believe you are entertaining that idea!" Illya wasn't liking this conversation, not at all.

"But Illya, your brother rarely brings company at home. Now we have a girl who is interested… and I want those grandchildren." The determination of Irisviel's voice was at such a level that anyone paying attention got silent, it was enough that even the heroes of old would look at it and say 'give the woman what she wants'.

"Okay." Shirou finally says, making Rias and Illya lose it then and there.

"WHAT!" "SHIROU-KUN!"

"What is wrong?" Shirou was startled by the screaming, he had no idea what transpired around him. He spent the last few minutes focusing on the contract in front of him and now his inattention brought up more confusion. "I decided to accept the pact." That brought everyone back to the matter.

Rias recovered her composure, Illya grabbed the contract and started reading it, Iri pretended she won the argument. After a while the older Emiya sibling said. "'This contract will last until the line of Emiya Shirou stops or until the parts violate it…' You are making a deal with his whole family?"

"Of course. Even if Shirou-kun doesn't pass his knowledge his potential contribution will warrant the protection and gratitude of many devils." Rias was putting herself as the personal benefactor of Shirou's descendents and as the heiress and future head of the Gremory that goes far. "Even my brother agreed that if EM can be mass produced then that is more than warranted."

"Before we sign however…" Shirou drew attention to himself again. "I need to show you something."

When Shirou got up his family already knew his intention, he was not a normal magus and what he was about to do was the ultimate taboo. They didn't stop him.

Rias and Akeno got up to follow while Illya and Iri followed them in turn to make sure that nothing would go wrong.

The backyard of the house was big, there was once plenty of space for another smaller house on it but a shed was built. That shed was Shirou's and once they reached the door he turned the doorknob, the boundary field accepted its master and allowed entry for all at that point.

Shirou honestly didn't care that much for the security but his family insisted and he had no reason to disagree. Unless he was inside the shed or opened the door then it was not going to open easily, repealing all invaders with some… nasty stuff. Curiously the house had a tamer protection with just a repellent to bounce off any would be invader and an alarm connected to his mother, father and Sella.

But his father was a… cautious man to say the least. Shirou didn't know all his misgivings and he was obviously less aware than he expected but he understood that the man was cautious, the house's security proved it.

There were mundane alarms, emergency supplies and even guns hidden somewhere, Shirou never understood why before but now he did. The biggest thing was the other boundary field, the one around the neighborhood, going to all sides for at least five kilometers. It is not for nothing Iri knew they had visitors coming.

Once inside all could see what the place looked like, it was filled with weapons, bladed weapons of all shapes and kinds. Swords of all cultures, spears, naginatas, daggers, knives, axes, any kind of blade that Shirou could research about and try to replicate.

Shirou moved to the end of the room, there was forge there, with hammers, towels and other equipment. "Most of them are normal weapons, the special ones are here."

He opened a wall behind the chimney, it was easy to access since there was no fire but nobody would look there without already knowing what they were looking for. Pulling out a box, big enough a person could hide inside, Shirou places it on the ground and opens it.

There it was, the original EM together with other weapons, a katana with a brow sheat, a two handed european sword, a rapier and a needle of all things. "May I?" Rias asked for permission, Shirou nods.

"Yes but don't touch the needle. That one is still an experiment and I am having difficulties to make it work as I want." His fellow redhead moved to the rapier, picking it up.

Akeno knew that her king had some training with swords and took a few steps back. Rias looked around and then started to move the blade around with elegance and practice. The sword itself is elegant, with a handle made of silver with a leaf pattern, it was a good sword, light and Rias felt that there was a trick to it.

Part of her wanted to put mana on it and see what it could do but she didn't want to be rude and it also could be dangerous. "Why do you have so many normal weapons?" She asked while doing the routine.

"Training and also I tried to put spells in a complete weapon… I failed, badly." The number of swords he broke was considerable, at least he could reuse the steel. "So I tried the other way around, to place a weapon around the spell."

"That went wrong too." Iri said with a smile. "I still remember Shirou working in the details, he was observed to make something that could work for a few days."

"ANYWAY!" Shirou interrupts before his mother says anything that would embarrass him. "I know it is possible to do it, but it is like making a cake. You can't just throw the ingredients and have the cake, there is an order and other factors. EM was made on the way of placing the spell first. It was my mother's healing spell by the way."

"So when you healed me and I healed you we were using your mother's spell?" Rias was doing fast stabs with the rapier before she stopped. "And this one?"

"It would be easier to show." Shirou goes to the wall and picks up a lumberjack's axe. "Can you hold it defensively?"

"Sure." Rias was holding it now above her head on vertical. "That will do?"

"Yes." Shirou then gives an overhead swing with the axe, the blades clash but Rias feels nothing.

"I'm sure that you were putting your strength there." She comments.

"I was. The spell on the rapier helps it to absorb all the impact, all the force against it, on the blade." That made the devils look at the sword impressed but also nothing that it was now shining a little. "The impact stays in it for a while, turning to light… but too much will break it. It can help survive car crashes but after that bit breaks, too much damage."

"That is incredible." Akeno exclaimed. "If you could put that on an armor and high the resistance."

"Unfortunately that comes to the first bad thing about me… I can only make swords so far when it comes to improving them with magecraft." Shirou said depressed, the first thing he did once he succeeded with the rapier was trying to make a glove or something similar… every attempt failed.

"What? Why?" Rias could also see the potential.

"Shirou is very connected with the concept with swords and please leave it at that." Irisviel tried to end the conversation.

"But the EM is not a sword... or it is?" The concept of sword is flexible after all and what is a scalpel or a knife if not a smaller sword. "He can only make more EMs with you present Emiya-sama?"

"Sadly yes, I need to be there in the forging process and it takes time and a lot of energy. I fell unconscious after holding the spell for so long." That was what made the tool less viable; it was too hard to make because the only way of it being efficient is if a master of healing supplies the initial source.

"I will go to Kuoh anyway, a friend of mine is going to study there and I have no problems with it… but if you want to take back the pact I won't judge you. The fact is that I can't produce more EMs without risking my mother and I refuse to do that." Shirou blamed himself for it, more than once he wondered how easier it would be if he could use normal magecraft.

"No, the offer stands." Rias places the rapier on the box, it still glows a bit showing that the 'damage' was still there. She picks the katana next. "Maybe the reason why you didn't manage to make better weapons was the lack of materials? Most of them are normal steel."

Starting another routine Shirou could see that Rias was more familiar with the katana than the rapier. "Kiba-kun could also help him." Akeno comments.

"Because of his sacred gear?" Shirou asks and while Akeno raises her eyebrows in surprise Rias already guessed why he knew. "I met him that night and saw his sword. I have to say that a sacred gear that can make swords is kinda frustrating."

"Shirou… is that an iota of pride that I hear?" Iri asked.

"Maybe? I don't know… I kinda wished I had it really." It would certainly make his tests easier.

"Don't bother." Illya's voice cuts through the forge. "Sacred gears are just cheats and shortcuts. He may be able to make better swords than you but I doubt he can use them better."

The comment was weird for many, even though her mother didn't know where the certainty of Illya came from, she ended up chalking it up as faith in her brother. Rias on the other hand took it up as a challenge.

"I know Shirou-kun is good but Kiba is also strong. He has been training for the last few years under my brother's own knight, Okita Souji." Rias brags a bit.

Few japanese people knew the name of Okita Souji, the leader of the shinsengumi, someone that the historical records report has died of tuberculosis. Known as an exemplary cop and fighter with a superb technique the man is still acknowledged in the country until the modern day.

"So… Shirou will still win." Illya speaks certain.

"We will have to schedule a spar one of these days." Rias offers while placing the katana on the box. A thought enters Shirou's head while she does it.

'She was also trained by him, maybe not completely but enough to be comfortable with a sword.' It is a shame that she didn't use one...

"Anyway, I still want you as my contracted magician. I will watch your back and give you materials." Rias extends his hand for him and he doesn't hesitate to shake it.

Illya didn't like that and left, there was nothing for her there. Iri had no problems with the developments and invited the devils to stay for dinner.

"I appreciate the offer but we need to go soon." Rias said with a bow. "On vacations I like to spend time in the underworld with my family and I just wanted to talk with Shirou-kun before I go."

"Ah, but a good business can't be closed until both parts share a meal." Nobody knew where the woman heard that but she just shrugged. "One day you will have to ask Shirou to cook you something, I can guarantee he will beat any other chef you ever met."

With that last exchange and the contract signed the two mother and son of the Emiya family escorted the devils back into the house and soon to the exit.

"Shirou-kun I will be back a little before classes start and once they do we will talk about the kind of materials that I can find for you." Rias bowed to the matriarch again with Akeno following her example.

"Emiya-sama if you need anything you can feel free to call for myself." The queen offered a pamphlet to Iri who took with a smile much to Rias' fear.

"Of course Akeno-san, feel free to drop by if you want. I believe we will enjoy our future conversations."

With that the duo was gone and the Emiya family was left with their own devices. "Congratulations Shirou!" They barely closed the door before his mother hugged him.

"For making a deal with the devil?" Even he knew that there were not many parents that would like that.

"It's because they don't know what that means for a magician, any magician parent would look with pride… or envy." All magicians, be either magus or spellcasters wanted to be the greatest one and become a sorcerer after all. "But that doesn't matter right now. Just know that technically speaking you just 'one upped' 90% of the Clocktower whole population."

"I did?" Shirou needs more information on what is common for magus. "... mom… about dad…"

"If you want to I can tell you everything, or not and just tell you that your father is a good man." Irisviel closed her eyes with a beautiful smile, it was one full of love. "When we are traveling, you should see Shirou. Your father is always doing his best to help people. He doesn't always succeed but he tries his best and he does it while building a life for us and them."

There was one person in the whole world that Shirou owed everything, his father. The man saved him from a fire, took him in and introduced him to his family. When his sister was going to learn magic he gave Shirou the choice, 'Do you want to learn it too? It will be hard and dangerous but we won't force you. Your sister has to but your life is yours.'

Yes, he was a kid when the offer was given but if his sister was in any danger he would want to understand it, fight against it.

Emiya Shirou never regretted his decision, even when he discovered his element and origin were the same and they were incompatible with most stuff he just grinded his teeth and found his own way. It was not easy and it is still a work in progress but he is doing it.

"Fine… I will believe in dad. But that old man owes me an explanation."

"Oh I agree completely." Iri was all smiles until they made it to the living room and she looked at a door in the corner. There were two boundary fields around it, the first was similar to the one on his forge, the second was like the spell on the pin and made that only those with magical abilities could see it. Iri looks at Shirou again. "You need to talk with your sister."

"I want to but…" She was still mad and Shirou couldn't do anything about it. "She doesn't want to talk with me right now."

"I know Shirou… but try anyway." Iri gave him a sad smile that almost broke his heart. "I don't want her to leave angry…" 'She may never come back' was implied to both.

There were still weeks before Illya left but that was more because of her own decision, there were no real breaks on the Clocktower, one can enter and leave their courses whenever they want.

'Come on Shirou, think. There has to be a way for her to forgive me.' Once again his mind goes through the process of calming down and trying to dissect the situation. Cooking was out, he was both grounded and he already cooked plenty for her on birthdays and other days. Just asking for it? No, his sister wasn't the kind to forgive that easily.

What he needed was a gesture, some way to show that he cared and he would be careful in the future… "Mom I'm going back to the forge!".

"Did you have an idea?"

"Yes! See you at dinner!" He raced to the forge and Iri stood there smiling.

The matriarch then sits down and turns on the tv, she was at home and she planned to live the supposed housewife life and watch some soap opera. "Are you going to forgive your brother?"

It was not out of nowhere she asked the question, all the boundary fields of the house were hers and she could feel everyone outside and inside. She knew that Illya was at the door.

"I will come back you know." The daughter felt she needed to say. "I'm just worried."

"I know you are." She pats the side of the cough and her daughter approaches. "I'm too… Shirou… he is too nice."

That was the first time Shirou had fought someone to death, stray or not. That was not in the plan, in any plan that they developed in case Shirou wished to go deeper into the moonlit world there were other ways to present him with such a situation.

Safe ways were devised, targets were a dime ,a dozen and Iri just needed to call her husband and in a few days Shirou would be walked through the basics until the moment he would have to face reality. Now that is impossible.

But the youngest Emiya was different from his family, not just by blood. "You have no idea how I wished that you two didn't need to learn magecraft… that world has too much blood."

"I am sorry." Illya says lowering her head but her mother starts to pat it.

"It's not your fault. It was never your fault… the world is just cruel like that." And they both knew that Irisviel meant it. In her more serious moments the older woman was truly wise, part of it was thanks to her birth.

As a homunculus from a family that was trying deperedaly to revive their success and she was the fruits of their labor but she was also their failure. Irisviel would never be another 'Justeaze', a woman and homunculus that had possessed true magic but she grew into her own person. A good and wise mother, something the legendary homunculus never was.

But on her 'birth' she was given many of the memories… It was in these memories, the pain they brought that made her beg and plead until she managed to convince her husband to don't allow the beginning of a ritual that promised suffering and death.

Even when they fought to stop the disaster, and they succeeded, another had happened and in the middle of it there was a boy, a survivor. "Your brother is different Illya, you know it. His origin and element…"

"If you haven't done it Shirou would have died." Illya tried to console her mother but it was not her that needed it.

"It was your father. But even then the boy he was is not the man he will become." Iri remembered examining Shirou after that fire, that cursed fire.

"Even if he is an incarnation of 'sword' that is not what makes him 'Shirou'… isn't it? At least not alone."

"Three elements were there on that dark day." Irisviel remembered it like it was yesterday. "The boy who survived, the cursed fire that burned him and the sheath that saved him."

"Avalon." Illya whispers the name in reverence. In a way Illya going to the Clocktower is dangerous because she was an anomaly buf if discovered it wouldn't be impossible to 'make' someone like her… If the information that Shirou had Avalon was leaked to the supernatural community in general there would be a lot of people trying to get their hands in such a unique 'specimen'. "Are you going to tell him about it?"

"It isn't like a sacred gear, it can't be detected that easily… not unless king Arthur decides to come back from the dead." It is funny for Illya that was the one that showed more signs of being an anomaly while Shirou was the one truly bizarre.

Sacred gears were things that pop every other day, many have been studied. The effects of Avalon and its constant exposition in a human being? That was new and that was dangerous but Shirou was not the true owner and thanks to that fact they were not that prevalent. Except for the fact that Shirou never got sick ever since he started to live with them but that was something so small that nobody would even bother to ask.

"Illya, why are you going to the Clocktower? Why really?… You never showed interest in the Root." The origin of all human souls. Was it a creation of God? Or the planet? Sorcerers are said to have tapped on it and gained great powers but to truly reach it is to become a god with all knowledge that exists and it was the goal of all in the Clocktower. But in a world where gods run around in droves and monsters were a common thing there were whispers that the thing may not even exist.

"I don't care about it." Illya denied, not taking her eyes off her mother's. "But I don't like the state the world is in right now and I want to know how to fix it."

There was more there, Iri was sure but she also promised a long time ago that whatever the path her daughter wanted to take she would let her. "Shirou is still working on something in the backyard… he is not done, but if you want to go now..."

Illya decides to go, there was no point in being angry and their time was short since she still planned to leave.

Opening the door she sees Shirou working, there was a tool box to his side with tools all around him but what he was working on was something that they both started together but never had managed to finish.

A telescope, it may look simple and easy to make but that was not supposed to be a normal telescope but the result of Shirou's and Illya's efforts on making one that could by itself pierce the clouds and ignore the world's lights to watch the stars at any hour and any time.

The older sibling always liked to watch the stars, it was her hobby and for years she had difficulties in the cities but she always enjoyed it.

But creating a telescope capable of piercing the clouds had some disturbing implications such as 'can do clouds, can do walls' as Liz pointed out when they started the project. Illya was sixteen at the time and got the importance of the information, the thirteen year old Shirou didn't but Illya was too embarrassed to explain.

It was their first work together, Illya did try to help him on making his swords and he tried to help her develop her alchemy but they had zero compatibility on their crafts.

She needed to make the material herself, while she refused to make homunculus in consideration to half of her family but she could still work on transmutation… It was slow going and the main reason why she was leaving, since the part of her family that worked on alchemy focused only on homunculus, she wanted to expand her horizons.

Of course there were attempts of her part to try and make different kinds of metal for her brother to work with but forging was complicated, even if she gave him a better metal than iron or even steel the difficult of forging the different metals was just random, as in their points of heating were too different or they were too frail.

Even in combat he couldn't help her. Instead of fighting directly Illya opted for range while for Shirou it was suggested he go for the path of the sword and to be as close quarters as he could.

Of course the siblings were alike in their woes. Shirou tried to make strings for her sister to apply her magic and avoid the need to use her hair and he succeeded… to an extent. Her hair can still make the better familiars in comparison and she had to use more mana with them for anything.

Every so often both siblings tried again and again to make something for each other but never anything felt right or was truly 'complete' and while the years passed they both just kept trying.

Seeing Shirou work on their telescope made her wonder where the old thing was… knowing the redhead, he must have put it in his workshop somewhere and she just never noticed.

For a while she just stays there and watches him work, the tools he was using were old stuff he found in the garage when they moved in. After starting to learn magecraft Shirou decided to fix the tools, taking away the rust was not hard for him and he used them to take care of the car and anything in the house that needed repair.

He had just finished assembling the telescope completely and she decided to make her presence known. "I can't believe you kept this old thing."

Shirou was startled by his sister's sudden appearance. "Illya!" He bumps into the telescope and it would have smashed into the ground if he hadn't managed to catch it.

Suffice to say that Illya was amused, the telescope was actually smaller than she remembered… or she grew up. Looking at it now she was taller than it. "What are you doing?"

Not willing to reject a gifted horse Shirou just accepts that his sister is talking to him. "London is way more industrial than Fuyuki and the Clocktower can be stressful… I want to finish this so you can look at the stars there."

Nodding and accepting everything her brother was saying Illya gets closer and starts to see his work.

Mechanically it was fine, Shirou assembled it again to perfection but the magical side was the main reason why they haven't worked on it. "You are old enough to know what Liz wanted to say years ago." She affirms with a grin.

"I had this idea: what if we used this as a camera and the lens was in the tallest building? Then the only thing we needed to worry about is the boundary fields to protect the lens and the spell on it can be the one you made before." Shirou's explanation left out a lot of details, he was also not considering the dangers or the implication of such equipment.

'He was not looking at it on the practical side,' thinks Illya, 'he is seeing it just as a way that I will use and enjoy.'

Magecraft was close to the mundane, to close in some ways that millennia ago there was a fear that the craft would lose its potency the closer the technology got from the fantastic. Fortunately that never happened but what Shirou was suggesting was the creation of a mini telescope with high tech capabilities by just placing a lens in the tallest building.

Either he really doesn't see the implications, good or bad, or he trusts Illya that much with it. "For all that we actually need a second lens and you suck at enchanting." She teased.

"I know but I figured that I could make a second lens once I had the exact measures of the telescope… what gave me away?" Shirou knew she already caught his lie by her smile.

"You are the worst liar in the world." She found it funny and endearing. "Why did you assemble it?"

"I wanted to make it work, to apologize. By the time I thought about a second lens the thing was already properly set." He worked carefully, he didn't want to damage their little project.

Illya was worried for her brother, he was too nice and anyone could take advantage of that, especially that devil. "Shirou… can you promise me something?"

"Sure Illya! Just ask!" No hesitation again, she dearly hopes his disposition doesn't be his ruin.

"Promise me you won't become a devil." That surprised him.

"I already rejected the offer-"

"But she will make it again someday." She interrupts him, eyes full of passion. "Just… promise me, no matter what she does, begs or offers, you won't become a devil."

The redhead can see that the promise meant much to his sister, he didn't know why but wrote it off as just concern. "Sure Illya. I promise I won't let anyone make me a devil."

With that security Illya gives her brother a smile, a kind one full of joy. "Now we just need to get to work on this."

"The spells you make should still function, we just need to find another lens and then you can place it on a building somewhere."

"Well… we can just make one!" She grabs him by the arm.

"Oi! Illya calm down!" She was using too much to pull him to his forge.

"None of that, we have work to do and it's not going to be easy. How are you with glass- Oh! I better get the stuff in my workshop! You start with the forge and…"

And so began the Emiya siblings project, a last endeavour of love before a departure.

...

Irisviel watches her children going into the forge, she sighs thinking on the disaster that the whole thing was.

Shirou was going to enter into a pact with a devil and not any devil but a Gremory of all things, the meaning and implications were so many that she couldn't help but feel a headache coming.

Picking up her phone she checks for any new messages. Maya, her husband's second in command sent her a reply. Apparently Kiritsugu was in one of those jobs again, the ones where he disappears for days or weeks at a time deep in another realm… literally another realm of reality. From the message she got he had gone somewhere in America to deal with an Aztec crisis.

'For the love of goodness one would think with that many goods in the world it would already have gone kaput.' She thinks while moving to her room passing Sella who just gives a small bow. Iri doesn't like being treated with reverence but the serious maid still did the gesture from time to time.

It didn't matter, if her husband was busy she needed to prepare and cover her family's bases. Rias Gremory looked and acted decently enough and the file she received from Maya indicated that she was a lucky girl if nothing else but not a bad one, a little spoiled but that is more like the norm when it comes for this generation of devils.

There was a time the devils were many, rising from the pits of hell, their births being influenced by their creator, Lucifer… then he died.

Without their master, maybe by design or maybe because of the time passed and whatever methods used lost effect, the devils started to have a huge deficit on their number of births. There is the argument that it was because they lived too long lives and that was the natural order of things and the original Maou was messing with the births until his death.

For that argument the fallen angels, the yokais and many other long lived creatures were the counter since they never presented the same problem, it is even theorized that normal angels also would reproduce normally if their polices weren't strict.

During the war both sides could easily replenish their numbers… then things shifted, the devils lost their leaders and God himself was gone. An eternal war suddenly became way more finite.

Now Irisviel could agree with the argument the descendents, the direct heirs of the fours Maous had in continuing the war even if she didn't like it. Heaven was split with more fallen emerging by the minute, God was hurt, few knew even now he was actually dead and they always had the more versatile armies.

All that and considering they didn't know their own problems fueled the fire, it lasted until it was noticed the sudden presence of a lower birth rate. Once that was discovered it led to a civil war that led them to almost extinction and now everytime a new pureblood devil was born they treated it like a major event and did everything they saw as necessary for them.

Letting out another sigh, Iri entered her room, the bed was enormous for both her and her husband… except that they met so much in the exterior that they never really used it…

The room itself was calm and cozy, there was a closet full of clothes, a bookcase that was full on her side with a lamp for night reading. Kiritsugu's side had a laptop and a few magazines of motorcycles. She is happy he was getting a hobby, if he only worked he would go insane.

Above their bed was a painting, it was the picture of a castle surrounded by forests. If anyone that knew her story looked at it they would suppose it was a memory of her home… She hated that place but it was a good cover.

The parents of Emiya family agreed in a single rule absolutely: no guns in the house. Before the rule was 'no weapons' but once their children started to study magecraft that became hard for Shirou.

She stands on the bed and takes out the portrait, the safe box behind it also had its own set of boundary fields with alarms of many kinds and a lot of lethal alternatives for anyone that was not from their family. The fields were so dangerous that every member had a little of their blood used to avoid accidents of any kind, even if they didn't know about the safe that is just how dangerous the fields were.

But the real danger was inside it, Irisviel bit her tumb and placed a little blood on a specific corner of the wall, inserted the digital code, then the manual code and then did a movement with her finders using the blood of the same wound that was on the wall. The safe opens revealing another safe, that one only needing the use of her finger print… and had a field that killed anyone that didn't have blood on their hands with an added bonus of blowing up if the print was not from her or her husband.

Inside there were a lot of different things, documents, money, passapots, gold bars… they were bait. If by some reason their house was breached, their defenses overwhelmed and the safe itself open this would dissuade suspicion but the vault was bigger than it actually appeared, its true prize was on the fake wall at the back.

It was not what Irisviel came to collect, it was a small book, once that is on her hands she sits on the bed and flips the pages trying to find a name. The book had the names of many allies that the Emiyas could call with the means of calling them.

Considering the devil situation she needed someone expecifc to verify the character of Rias Gremory. A devil of trust would do but they never had many deals with those anyway. Fortunately Kiritsugu did have some other 'friends' on the supernatural.

Finding the name she takes notes on a notepad on the side and rips the page off. The call will only be made on a burner, no reason to give that person her number.

The small book goes back to the safe and she closes it easily since all systems were connected and she exits her room to ask Liz to buy a burner phone.

Unfortunately their security measures worked against them in a small aspect, it didn't allow them to check the danger inside the safe, it had been almost ten years since it was forged, ten years connected to a ley line, slowly feeding on the mana as it was made to do.

There was once a plan, a plan for a war. The plan was stopped, many of the tools destroyed but this wasn't, both the mother and the mercenary knew that one day it could be useful. It was a hope born of an impossible dream.

What they didn't know was that their hope gave the object the chance to gather mana, it was already sinning in a golden glow getting ready to be used. Maybe not for what it was intended but it 'wanted' to be used.

After all the cup was a 'holy grail' and its function is to bring out a miracle.

…..

Days pass by and the time has come for the daughter of the Emiya family to spread her wings. The whole family minus the father that was still in one of his jobs moved to join her or to say goodbye at the airport.

Fortunately and unfortunately the small city of Fuyuki didn't have its own airport yet. Maybe in the future but not at that moment. It was fortunate however that the family didn't mind spending a couple more hours together. It helped the fact that the driver was Liz instead of Iri.

The journey was peaceful, they were in a simpler standard van that fitted the whole family and the luggage. On the front were the maids with the rest of the family in the back, Iri wanting to spend more time with her children. It was also time for her to go, while Kiritsugu and the others were the boots on the ground from their operation she was the accountant.

Unfortunately the mercenary couldn't go back to Japan yet, the situation in North America got solved and he returned to Earth safe and sound but once he heard what happened to Shirou he decided to make plans to help him instead.

With the protection of the scion of the Gremory house they had time and the father wanted to help his son settle in the moonlit world in the best ways he could. Training, studies and a target. That was what he needed but he also needs to set up the best conditions possible not to mention lead a 'security' organization.

It would take time but he would do it for his son. Iri didn't disagree with her husband and rushing to challenge the problem is not a good idea, Shirou is not Illia and they needed another approach for him.

Even now while she talks with her children she can't help but think 'He is too kind for this world'. How she wished that her children lived normal lives.

Shirou himself was also enjoying the ride, trying to not think that once it was done he would be without his sister, his mother and one of the women who raised him for the first time in his life.

He was used to having his mother traveling with his dad but this was the first time his sister and Sella were going to be away from a long stretch of time, even when his father was training his sister they were out for just a couple of weeks at a time.

Now he is going to be home alone with just Liz, a prospect that wasn't unpleasant but still strange.

Shirou literally can't remember his life before his family and now most of it is away from home while he stays. It made him wonder, 'what I will do?' Not only in that moment but in the future too.

The redhead was not one to think much about the future but for the first time he did and he had no answer. That didn't stop him from enjoying this last ride.

Sella was at her sister's side watching the interactions between her mistress and her children, her eyes ignoring the road completely both trusting in her sister's skill and concern.

'Will the house still be there once I got back?' She didn't know how long they would stay in London, the times of study in the Clocktower were actually defined by their own students. One can stay, join a departament and then leave without trouble but they also can stay in more permanent bases to gather resources, prestige and money.

The older maid was 100% sure Illya didn't care about any of that, the nobility of the Clocktower was also some of the worst people on the planet.

Sabotage, backstabbing, murder, inhuman experiments, there is a reason why Kiritsugu insisted that Illya was prepared to go to such place and that Sella is acompaning her. There are even plans for fast extraction and agents that worked for him in positions to help or call in case something happens with them.

The emergency protocols were so many that the markets she would buy groceries and her recommendations for where Illya could spend some time and relax were already defined.

Emiya Kiritsugu made a living of 'taking care' of magus and he was taking every precaution in case Illya's name was discovered.

Sella won't be serving Emiya Illya in the exterior, she will be serving the last survivor of a dead family, Illyasviel Von Einzebern.

'Today is going to be Shirou cooking dinner', Liz was already thinking about what she is going to eat later. That was an attempt from her to avoid thinking on unpleasant topics.

Shirou was not the only one that was going to be separated from their sibling for a long period of time. Looking at Sella from the corner of her eye the short haired sibling had to hold herself back from breaking the steering wheel with her superhuman strength.

She takes a discrete deep breath and focuses on the road.

When homunculi are made they are not that different from a character in a video game, they have attribute points that need to be distributed to exercise their primary function.

Sella was made to be an assistant, she is capable of doing complex tasks with ease, has a great degree of knowledge in both simple tasks or support spells that include the complicated healing and the creation of boundary fields. She also was great in management and a skillful cook.

Leysritt was the opposite of her sister and she knew it, where the elder was made to be a multifunctional and skilled helper Liz was the muscle. She can lift a small car over her head and her pet halberd, the equivalent of a love child in between an axe and a spear, was heavy enough that if it fell to the ground it would leave a print.

The short haired woman on the car never envied her sibling and she knew for a fact that Sella never envied her either. They are both the two sides of the same coin, the brains and the brawl, she hits and Sella keeps her going.

But now they are being split for the first time since Irisviel had saved them. They were going to be far away from each other, Sella in England and her in Japan.

Taking another deep breath she starts to park the car. They reached the airport, time to say goodbye.

Then Liz feels a hand on her shoulder, it was Sella's and the older sister gives her a small smile.

It was not going to be a 'goodbye', it was going to be a 'see you soon'.

Once they parked the car and the luggage was taken off the chat diminished, they were on the final stretch for a while.

Airports were usually full of people and this one was no exception, either for business or pleasure there were many arriving and leaving, not to mention the staff for the airport mall and, of course, the security.

Japan is one of the countries with the best security on the planet when it comes to its airports. If some had some kind of contraband on their bagages then there was a good chance that it would be found and confiscated.

That applied more for those without magic, no machine would be able to pass by a well placed boundary field that got the seal of approval of the Magus Killer himself. The man used so many kinds of guns that if he didn't have such precautions he and his associates would have been arrested one hundred times over.

Finally this small family trip came to an end, at least for two of them. Both younger siblings didn't want the rest of their family to go, they could understand it and live with it but that didn't mean they wanted it.

The elder Emiya sibling also didn't want to go, not really but she had to hold in her beliefs and there was stuff she could only get on the exterior.

When the hug came she hugged her brother back, he was just a little smaller than her now, just a couple of centimeters. 'If he grows a little more do I call him onii-chan?' It would be a good joke.

Once the hugs and goodbyes were finished the older members of the family moved, it was funny for Illya that the older siblings were leaving the 'nest' while the younger stayed at home.

But the pairings made sense, Illya would admit, even if just to herself, that she is a slob. She doesn't like to clean her room, or do chores or anything similar. There is also the detail that she was one of the worst cooks of her family only losing to her father in that department.

If Liz was the one going with her there is a high possibility that both would be doing the minimum and living by take out… her mother would never allow that.

In a way Shirou is the opposite of his sister, the responsible one when it comes for the stuff of the house and with him Liz can do the minimum while keeping him away from troubles. Illya feels pity for the fool that for some reason gets in a fight with her.

"Try to stay in one piece Shirou." She gives her brother one last smile.

"Come back soon Illya." Was the redhead request.

And with that Illya, Iri and Sella go to the gate for their flight. The line was huge, many tourists marching for different planes with their suitcases passing by x-ray machines. "Excuse me, miss."

One of the security officers calls to her, he was a man with a forgettable face but the fact he called almost made her jump in panic. 'Did a boundary field fail?' Her father was going to kill her. How many times he made her check them again and again.

"Could you please open this briefcase?" The man, with another two close to him by just in case of something.

Illya sighed and got ready to explain once she opened the purple bag, the smile on her face huge. It was the telescope, it was not that she forgot something or made a mistake, the machine just confused it with something else.

Once it was checked the man bowed his head. "Sorry by the trouble."

"Nah, it 's fine." She was just giddy that the thing got finished in time, for her it was never going to be a problem.

Joining together with her mother and Sella the three of them embark on the plane, Iri got ready to take a nap while Sella started reading a book.

Part of Illya was excited to start her journey, she was going to put and apply everything her parents taught her to change the world, to make it safer for her family.

Yes, Illyasviel Von Einzbern was ready, her eyes getting sharper when she thinks on all she will need to do, London is just a small stop, the Clocktower is just a small stop, something for her family to not worry about.

Illyasviel has her own plans but first she will need to enter in contact with some… 'friends' she made in previous trips.

…..

The sun was not up yet but his eyes were already open, Shirou took a deep breath and started his morning route, push ups, sit ups and then to the bathroom. There was no need to rush, it was early and there were not many in the house anymore. Once all his needs are taken care off he goes for the kitchen.

"What to do today?" He asks himself. Since he was the only cook in the house he needs to make enough for two and the schedule is going to have to be changed since today is a 'special day'.

Liz tried to help once making coffee… She is banned from the kitchen.

"Shirou." She hears the short haired woman.

"You are still banned!" He was not going to risk it.

"At least let me set down the dishes." Liz enters the kitchen, still on her pajamas.

"Fine." She doesn't get up so early usually.

"You shouldn't do too much today Shirou. Today is your first day of classes."

Yes, it was April and Kuoh followed the same calendar and format that most japanese schools did but with plenty of additions because of its unique format. During the last week he waited for RIas to make some kind of contact, she sent him a gift in the form of a new cell phone with her number already saved and a small note 'We talk at school'.

He already had a new phone but he was not going to throw away the gift so he donated his 'old one' and just accepted that it was part of the pact.

"By the way, you don't need to make lunch for me today." Shirou's brain stopped at that comment.

"Wait, what? Liz you don't need take outs, I can-"

"I got a job." The smile on her face was full of pride.

"Oh… I didn't know you were looking for one." Shirou commented.

"Yes. I can't just stay here alone since you are going to be out. It will be boring." He can't disagree with her there.

Breakfast was mostly a silent affair but Shirou was happy for Liz, she refused to divulge the details saying that she would tell him after her first day and if she would stay on the job. Shirou decided to just shrug and accept her choice.

Since Liz was going to her own job Shirou decided to make a bento for her too, he was all for it. From their time without their older sibling Shirou knew that Liz was getting antsy. They had some games and she could help him with sparring but that could only do so much.

Thinking about sparring made him think about the kendo club. 'At least now I don't need to explain he was leaving.' He just hopes that Rias has come through and got a job for his sensei and everyone else… Is the tiger on Kuoh now? 'Oh god I will have that conversation anyway.'

"Shirou." Liz snaps him out of preparing the bentos. "You need to start to get ready. You are going to be late."

Looking at the clock on the wall he notices she was right. Time flew by him and he barely noticed. "Thanks I will go get ready."

"I will take you to school today so don't worry too much." Unlike when his mother made the offer on the last day of his previous school Shirou just smiled and said.

"Sure."

In his room he starts to get ready and once he is done he stands in front of a full body mirror. His new uniform was neatly on, the black blazer covering the button up shirt, matching black pants and a black ribbon tie. The brown shoes he got were a little tight but nothing he couldn't ignore.

All in all he was now ready to go until he felt someone messing with his hair. "You really should push it back, you know?" Liz was there and he turned around. She was dressed in jeans and a long sleeved shirt all button up, it was enough to cover- BAD THOUGHTS.

"And I always say that it would make me look like a douche." The woman shrugs and take out his tie. "Liz?"

"It doesn't suit you." She said while opening two buttons of his shirt exposing a black shirt. "Better."

He looks to himself again and sighs. It was not the uniform proper but it was good enough. Looking at it now he was almost dressed like he was going to Homurahara, the color was different but he could almost see his old uniform… he is going to miss his old school and that surprised him a bit.

Shirou picks a bag and goes with Liz to the car, they were going to use Iri's, she didn't mind.

The trip was a short and peaceful one, once they were close enough that they could see students Liz let him down. "Shirou," she calls for him, "good luck. I see you soon."

She left before he could say anything. 'Must be really excited for the job.' Shirou smiles, he is happy that she found something to do.

With that he marched to the gates of Kuoh, there were many students getting in and the security- Before he crossed the gates he smelled it.

There was a boundary field around the school, not only that it was a strong one with lots of different smells meaning it was made by different beings.

Rias' smell was mixed on it, and there were others too, none too unpleasant. The smell of fire burning the woods, the smell of salt water, the smell of a… something else, he can't identify the last one properly.

But all that made him sure of something else, there were more devils in Kuoh, every single one of those smells was similar to Rias' on that degree. Oh, there were other, weaker smells too but they were not the main ones tied to the barrier.

"Shirou?" He hears a familiar voice and turns around to see his friend, Ryuudo Issei. "You managed to join Kuoh too? I mean, of course you did."

"Issei, It's good to see you." The two friends shake hands.

"Did you hear what happened to Homurahara? To think there was such a risk of fire from a damaged gas pipe."

"I didn't know that was the reason." He almost can't believe that was the excuse they used.

"Anyway, I'm glad to see another familiar face around here. I saw some of our colleagues around but there were too many people, I couldn't reach them."

"I'm happy about it." And also afraid that many of the kendo club were here and he would have to say. 'Sorry but I'm leaving… or not joining?'

"Let's go, the opening ceremony is starting." Most openings are in gyms or halls but Kuoh have them in the open on a stage.

Up on it- 'IS THAT LIZ?' It took all of Shirou's self control to not scream then and there. On the stage was Leysritt, dressed in a tracksuit, around here were other people that must be teachers. He could see even Fujimura-sensei and Souichirou-sensei on the stage, the tiger looked a little nervous but still happy while the man… has the best poker face Shirou had ever seen.

The man looked inconspicuous with his square glasses and a blue suit but Shirou always felt… that he was too easy, almost as if he could do nothing that could surprise the guy. No one ever challenged the man in his classes either.

Soon the speech begins. Shirou can't help but think. 'This is going to be a weird year isn't it?'