Story: The Sword and the Staff (chapter 2)

Authors: bleeding.blade

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Chapter 2

Title: Chapter 1

Twenty-four months after the end of the Fifth Holy Grail War...

She dreamt of horses. In her dream, she heard the clink of steel on steel, smelt the tang of fear and flesh, tasted the acrid hope that burnt the air before a battle. She had hated ithad hated the sight of torn limbs, gutted bodies and vacant eyes. But it was all she had known, and with it her life had been given a purpose. She was a king, perhaps the greatest of all. In her, nobility and tragedy had married to bear a legend. Somewhere in the distance, a horn sounded

Saber woke up with a start. Around her the house was quiet. Already the dream was beginning to fade. Not that it mattered. She knew it by heart. She'd had it almost every night for the last few weeks. She couldn't remember exactly when it had started—just that it had begun several months ago. It had seldom come in the beginning. But as time had passed, it had occurred with greater and greater frequency.

She got up and silently made her way to the garden. In the cool damp, she could almost pretend that the Japanese dawn was a British morning.

She longed for her land.

She looked at her palms. She had no gift for Reading, but the calluses on them had always foretold her destiny. She'd been a warrior all her life. Even after the dream of Camelot had crumbled—long after its legend had turned to dust—she'd fought in its name.

But even that war was lost to her. Not even the Sword remained. As for the calluses, they had faded long ago.

She longed for the grip of a solid blade.

She looked towards the house and thought of its sleeping inhabitants: the girl with the silver hair and the boy with the reddish mane. She thought of the boy.

She loved him.

She loved him, but somehow as the months passed, it had seemed to matter less and less. He loved her, and, he couldn't see her—couldn't see past the girlishness of her façade. To him she was just a girl—a woman to be coddled and protected. But she'd been born a king and raised a warrior, and what she needed was a kingdom and not a pedestal.

Not that she understood what she felt. All she knew was that her life had begun to seem unreal to her, and that her dreams felt more like home.

If she'd been better versed in the language of emotions, she would have known that what she felt was despair: despair over a life bereft of meaning and purpose. And in its absence, love could only echo hollowly in the void.

She loved the boy, but he was becoming unreal to her, just as she was becoming unreal to herself. And, with her eyes fixed on the rising sun, Saber sighed and gave herself over to her desolation.


Shirou woke with dread in his heart. Sitting up, he knew that he wouldn't find Saber in the house yet again. For months, she had grown increasingly distant. It wasn't that she loved him any less, but he felt that he was losing her somehow—that they were all losing her, including Saber herself.

He wished Rin were around. She would have known what to do. But Rin was away and had been away for a year and a half. She had gone on to pursue her studies in magic while Shirou had gone on to live a life of normalcy. He still had access to his magic but had little use for it in his life.

He certainly could use some now, if it meant being able to revive what he and Saber had used to share.

He couldn't pin down exactly when it had happened. He remembered the day that Saber had come back to them. Months after the Fifth Holy Grail War had ended, when the bitter pangs of his longing for her had subsided to a dull ache, she had come back. None of them knew why or how, and neither did she, but he could remember his elation and hers. They were reunited finally, with no War to stand between their happiness.

The euphoria hadn't lasted though. Not too long after, Saber had grown withdrawn and listless. It pained Shirou to see how helpless and impotent their love seemed in the face of her growing melancholy. It pained him even further to watch Saber struggling valiantly against it for his sake.

It was not the ending he'd wanted.

It was not the beginning he'd desired.

With a heavy heart, Shirou got up. Another day had begun.

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