I stand by a lot of what I said in the previous BONUS, though as I said in the post-chapter A/N, I did make mistakes. More on that later. Anyway, because I'm in a bit of a writing fever, I decided to write another alternate ending, this one occurring between Chapters 2 and 3.
"I guess I shouldn't be surprised by this," I said.
The Red Dragon Emperor, who stood a decent distance from me (not far enough, though, but he didn't need to know that), shook his head. "You really shouldn't."
I blew out my breath. "I take it this is for Redsmith?"
He nodded. "I'm not gonna defend what she did—not now, at least—but you still hurt her." He growled. "And you need to pay the price."
I felt something. Something I didn't like. As though some force was trying to push me down, or erase me from existence. I didn't know what it was, but I didn't like it.
Luckily, I'd come prepared.
Before anything serious could happen, I flung a dagger at him.
My aim was true, and the boy/dragon howled as the blade of the weapon sank deep into his leg. He dropped to his knees, and the presence that had been about to overwhelm me dissipated.
As I steadied myself, Issei tried to grab the hilt of the weapon, only to snarl when bits of electricity emerged from it when his hand brushed against it.
"What the fuck—?"
"It's specifically designed to weaken dragons, Issei," I explained calmly, taking satisfaction as his expression turned to one of shock. "And I've many more just like it."
I assumed an appropriate stance. "Now," I said, "Sit back and enjoy the show."
Not exactly a great badass line, but hey, I'm not one for great dialogue or speeches (those Root-damned shirts!).
I began the incantation, and his expression became something close to resembling, well, fear. With a snarl, he grabbed the hilt, roaring in pain as he fought tenaciously to rip it out. Sparks of electricity danced around him as it fought back, but he kept going—and I kept reciting.
With a final roar, the dagger came free, and in the split second it took him to crush it—so great was his rage—I finished the incantation. The strange presence came back with a vengeance, but before it could do anything, it had vanished once again.
I had done it—barely.
Letting loose a sigh of relief, I looked straight at the boy, who was struggling to his feet as blood poured from the wound I had inflicted.
"Welcome," I said, spreading my hands, "To my Reality Marble."
I was disappointed when his reaction was one of annoyance rather than awe.
"You think this makes you invincible?" he asked, leaning slightly on his uninjured leg. "My presence is massive enough to keep it from making a difference."
Presence, huh? Interesting. Still...
"Even so, the fact that we are in here keeps your presence from doing anything more than that. You won't be willing me out of existence, Issei."
His eyes narrowed and he flexed his left arm. Nothing. He tried again. Still, nothing.
"You were too close to me," I said calmly. "If you'd put more distance between us, I would have lost."
"Is that supposed to make me feel better?" he snarled. "I've got plenty of other tricks up my sleeve, too, asshole."
I smirked. "I've no doubt you do, but so do I, and do you really wish to face anymore blades that would inflict even greater pain upon you specifically because of who's inside you?"
He hesitated, and I decided to get down to business. "But that's not important right now. I brought you here for another reason entirely, Issei."
"And what reason is that?" he hissed.
"To show you this."
I held up the blade, and his eyes widened before he turned his head away. We both knew what it was, and what it could do.
"That won't work on me," he said. It was clearly a lie.
"Prove it. Look at it."
I advanced on him, holding the sword up in front of me as I did so. I stopped right in front of him, his head hung low as he refused to look up. I would have none of that.
"Issei," I said. "Look. At. It."
For a moment, I thought he would refuse again, but slowly—very slowly—his head turned upward and he stared into the splendor of Excalibur's pristine blade.
There was silence, total silence within the confines of my Reality Marble as his eyes hungrily absorbed the image in front of him. Finally, his leaning on his uninjured leg gave way and he fell to his knees, his head once again hanging low.
Banishing the sword, I got down on one knee.
"Issei," I said. "Look at me."
Once again, his head slowly tilted upward, and I saw tears in his eyes. His whole body was shaking.
"Where were you?" he asked, his teeth gritted.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Where were you when I needed you?" he snarled. "You call yourself a hero, but when I needed one the most, you weren't there."
He clearly wasn't used to this. This was a young man who did not handle showing his emotions well.
"I'm not much older than you, Issei," I said gently. "What could a younger me have done?"
He lowered his head somewhat.
I decided to throw him a bone. "If Zelretch had sent me to the point in time where I could have helped you before your life took a turn for the worse, I would have done everything in my power to help you in any way I could. If he had sent me to the point in time before you were sent to the academy, I would have done the same. But he didn't: he sent me here after you'd already enrolled in Kuoh, and had spent most of it belittling and mistreating people whom, in another time and place, I have come to care about. Thus, the only help I can offer you is the kind you would utterly hate, but desperately need."
No answer from him. I went on. "Where I come from, your sister—Karasuba—was very much like you: bitter, hateful, and destructive. When she saw that your parents' memories had been tampered with, she wanted to kill every devil in the school, maybe everyone in the school. I was tasked with stopping her, but when I saw how she interacted with your parents, I saw something more than just a monster. I saw someone who needed help. And I gave it to her, even if it was in a way no one had expected, and will no doubt lead to grave consequences: I made her my Queen."
His eyes widened. "Wait, you made my sister a member of your Peerage?"
I shrugged. "It was the only way I could help her without having to kill her, and she doesn't seem to care much: she likes Illya, and it makes it harder for Shirone to avoid her."
"Why are you so harsh with me, then?"
"Because she hadn't done any damage yet, and just wanting to hug someone and pat their head isn't exactly as bad as chasing them with a pair of trucker dildoes, Issei."
He grunted, looking unrepentant. "You're still annoyed by that?"
"I would like to ensure you don't take anyone's chastity without their consent, Issei," I said, an edge in my voice. "We both know your blaming her for what happened to your mother is wrong, as is your attempt to isolate her. How would you feel if someone did that to you?"
"They have," he snarled.
"And you don't like it, do you?" I asked. "So why do the same to someone else, especially when, like what happened to you, it involves spreading a lie about them?"
His face grew pensive. He obviously hadn't expected that.
"Well," he finally said, "What should I do?"
I took a deep breath. "Contact her boss, clear things up with him, and make it up to her."
He cringed. "What if she leaves?"
"She very well may," I replied unrepentantly, "But if she does, that's on you. This behavior needs to stop, and if it takes losing something—or someone—you value, then so be it. This is not the kind of help you want, nor is it the kind of help I want to give to you, but it is the kind of help you need, Issei."
I stood up. "And it's entirely probable that she won't leave. She has every reason to hate the person who arranged the attack in the first place, especially since she seems to be rather fond of your mother, so she has plenty of reasons to stay. You really need to stop misjudging others, Issei."
His expression turned hopeful.
"You really believe that?"
I nodded resolutely. "I do. Now..."
I placed a hand on his shoulder. He fidgeted slightly, but didn't attempt to retreat or brush my hand away.
"...It's time to get back up."
He tried, but the leg injury made it difficult. "A little help?" he asked. He obviously wasn't proud of saying such words.
I smiled. "Sure."
He leaned on me, and we began making our way back to the house, my Reality Marble dispelling as we did so. In hindsight, I was really glad we had agreed to fight this close to his house.
Memories of my fight with Sirzechs had instilled in me a fear that certain opponents could break out of my Reality Marble, and I had no doubt that this Issei could do that. But, he would have had to exert a lot more power to do it, and with his house being so close and no seals and restraints placed around us to absorb the shockwave that unleashing such power would create (unlike the arena where I had fought the Great Satan), breaking out would have not only blown his house down as though it were made of playing cards, but would also have killed his mother, Redsmith, and possibly Vali, though not the ORC or the Student Council (they were away at the moment). That, and like with Sirzechs, I would have made damned sure to hit him with as many anti-dragon swords as I could muster before he vaporized me, with one specifically targeting his family jewels. With his home, his family, his girlfriend, his ability to reproduce, and possibly his life on the line, he wouldn't dare try to break out.
Huh, I guess I can be smart every now and then. Rin would be proud. or she'd call me an idiot who had a flash of insight every now and then. Something about how even a blind monkey can sometimes find a banana, or something like that. She really was a tsundere.
No, this kind of ruthlessness would be more comparable to my father. Would he have been proud? Maybe. Would I have been proud? I would like to think I would not.
"You know," he said, "I kept wondering what it would be like to see Excalibur. I know what it does, but I always thought it was just fiction, that it would never affect me."
"And now?" I asked.
"Now, I'm glad I was wrong."
We continued walking, but just as we reached the door, he said, "If you tell anyone, I'll kill you."
I couldn't resist a chuckle. "You're such a tsundere, Issei."
He gnashed his teeth, so I added, "Fine, I won't tell a soul." Suddenly, I remembered something. "If it's any consolation, you still handled seeing it better than Saji did."
He scoffed. "The runt? What did he do?"
Runt, huh? I kind of liked that nickname. Might be nice payback for depriving me of a more badass title. "He shouted 'Aniki', threw his arms around me, and started crying." I shuddered. "And since he did it in a classroom, so many people saw it."
A ghost of a smile appeared on his face, and he let out a bark that I would later realize was a laugh. "I'll bet that led to rumors."
"It very much did."
So, yeah, you can consider this an alternate in-between if you want. I'd been wanting to have Shirou show GAIWP!Issei Excalibur for a while, but after my deduction, that went on the back-burner and I wanted Issei to get a little scared before he got another chance. This was a softer, less vicious version of that. As I said in an updated version of the last BONUS, a number of facts I'd neglected and forgotten were pointed out to me but someone who can judge that story far more objectively than I ever could, but since I liked where I went with it and still feel that some of my claims hold water, I decided not to delete or replace it, but I also decided to go ahead with this little scene.
As for how I depicted the workings of both stories, I'm pretty sure I just fucked up even more than Gabriel Blessing did with that infamous Fragarach scene in his story In Flight, or maybe more than a lot of the other FSN fanon concepts he and Third Fang created or spread. I am not an expert on anything Type-Moon related, and as one reviewer said to me in a PM, I'm too straightforward. But then, this was more about pulling Issei's head out of his ass than showing good understanding of lore, and for what it is, I am still proud of it.
And in case you're wondering, no, I'm not going to do a full-blown alt!fic in which Shirou is sent to GAIWP when Issei is a kid or at the start of the series. I lack the tenacity to make a really big story, and frankly, too much would already change if that happened: Issei would be less of a dick with a big brother like Shirou around to guide him, which would cause things to wrap up rather quickly, I think. That, and I'm not an expert on DxD either, though I do kind of wish that DxD!Tiamat met FGO!Tiamat. It would be amusing to see all of the draconic characters from DxD kneel before the Great Mother.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this. I really enjoyed writing it. If you have a strong enough opinion either way, I'd appreciate a review or a PM. Bye!
(06/01/2022) I decided to add that little detail, since, even though the UBW would probably weaken Issei's ability to use his presence, I think he still has enough power to break out if he really tried, but the risk would be too great.
(09/03/2022) I have recently lost all respect for Third Fang, both as a writer and a person. He has clearly demonstrated an inability to take criticism, constructive or otherwise, while also being a total hypocrite. If you feel this makes me a hypocrite, feel free to say so and why you think that is. I don't condemn people for having opinions, unlike Third Fang (at least from what I've seen), even if I may disagree with them.