Okay, as I've been struggling to find a Beta, here's my first chapter sans any Beta-reading. I'm still re-writing the F/SN parts again to put my changes back in, sorry about that, I hadn't realized those hadn't been saved.
What does time feel like?
It’s a weird question, I know, but try to think about it for a moment. Can you define the sensation of time flowing?
Because I felt the absence of it.
I had no words to really describe what it was like to exist without time, language isn’t really built to communicate that.
One moment I’m driving home from work, the next I’m being assaulted by sensations without name, the color of sweet, the feel of purple, concepts and meanings and existences beyond counting. It was honestly horrifying… but while it lasted for an eternity, it also lasted quite literally no time at all.
And then it was over, there was pressure against my skin, something within me rising to meet it, sights, colors, sounds, motion-Pain.
My entire side exploded into pain as I slammed into something hard and unyielding, and my body gave first. There was a sickening crack and pain lanced through my arm and side.
Oh… I was screaming.
And then it really hit me and I clamped my jaw down hard, whimpering as tears flowed freely, rolling off of the broken limb.
Someone was speaking words at me that totally flew over my head through the pain, fucking hell that hurt. At very least an arm was broken, but my whole side was just a big mass of pain at the moment so I couldn’t really figure out more, “Wha-?”
“What in the name of the gods did I summon… you’re not even a proper wraith…”
“W-What-?” There was some… thing
in my head, it was like a big lump of something
just resting in there. It was a woman’s voice and she definitely wasn’t speaking English… but I understood her? What the hell?
Suddenly I was being lifted by the collar of my shirt, a pained noise escaping me at the strain the motion put on my broken arm. Lifted, I was met with purple and black robes and the lower half of a beautiful face, that much I could tell even through the tears of pain, “What is your name?”
“J-Jacob-? What- what’s going on?”
“Tch, obviously not the biblical one either…” I was dropped, though I was able to stand, if wobbly at first, clinging to my broken arm in an admittedly vain if reflexive attempt to stave off the pain, “Is there anything
you can do?”
“Not die… hopefully?” her lips pressed into a tight line as she frowned and I swallowed, my hear thundering in my chest and throat, “I really
have no idea what’s going on right now…”
“Hmph, I am you Master, child. Hold still.”
“Yes ma’am…?” I blinked stupidly as she spoke words that I had no hope of understanding, her hands raising in front of her. Magic? Wait, really? I stared as she made some gestures, speaking more incomprehensible word, the tears finally clearing from my eyes enough to see details… details like her outfit and my surroundings. We were in a Japanese style room, a circle on the floor around me with what could only be called runic inscriptions around it.
… there was a bit of blood on the floor beneath me. That couldn’t be good.
A soft dripping sound came to my ears and I looked, fear rising in my chest.
Yup, I was bleeding from my arm, rather profusely actually. I couldn’t tell where beneath the long sleeves but a steady trickle of my blood was falling from my knuckles.
… welp. This keeps getting better doesn’t it?
With a slow breath, I clamped down on the fear in my chest, trying to calm my pounding heart, fear wouldn’t help and would probably just make things worse. Especially with this woman’s attitude so far… another spike of fear at what she might do, but I forced it back down. Not the damn time for this.
… wait… I’ve seen her outfit before… where have I seen that before…? Focus brain, you know this answer. Focus because it makes it easier to ignore the fear.
She snorted and my train of thought was derailed, “Nothing, you have nothing.
How pathetic,” her voice dropped to a barely audible grumble, “… can’t even be made cute. Hmph.”
“Tch,” she reached into her robes, pulling forth a flask of… something. I tensed before I suddenly had to fumble to catch it with one hand, “Drink, it will fix that arm, stay here until I return.” I’m not ashamed that I trembled at the hint of anger in her tone. Something in me was screaming not human
at me, there was no other word for it, I instinctively knew she wasn’t something I wanted to anger.
She turned and walked away in a swirl of her cloak, and I fumbled with the flask in my hand, my heartbeat still furious and loud in my ears.
Waitaminute-… should I really drink this…?
I stared at the container in my hand even as I worked my thumb against the cork, trying to get it open with one hand.
Was this a good idea?
Counterpoint, did I have any other options?
Not really, I had no idea where I was, what was going on, was injured, and definitely dealing with something that could squish me with a thought. Said squisher-en-potentia had just given me something she said would heal me up, and given I had no reason to disbelieve my instincts at the power disparity, if she wanted me dead I’d be dead.
The cork came free with a pop.
Right, I’ll have to roll with this until I have a better idea what’s going on. If she’s going to kill me there’s nothing I can do to prepare for it in this situation.
I downed the potion.Man
it tasted foul and it was like I could taste it all the way down… but a burn started in my arm other than the throbbing ache of pain… and it spread through my veins from the point of greatest pain, my arm starting to tense despite my best efforts to keep it relaxed… and then there was an intense crack
and pain that earned a strangled gasp from me and a fresh wave of tears.
Ow. Just… fucking ow.
I looked at the arm through the pain, finding that it was flexing in the appropriate direction again. The burn was fading, taking the pain with it.
So that was good news…
With a shuddering breath, I rubbed the arm as my heartbeat finally slowed. I’m guessing she was my ‘summoner’… and gotta admit, I really didn’t want to make her mad. So I stayed.Gently rubbing my arm, I really took in my surroundings as I waited, rubbing the tear streaks from my face. Definitely Japanese themed, the paper walls and the beams… and I couldn’t shake the feeling that those black and purple robes were familiar…
I pulled back my sleeve, confirming that yes, my arm was healed. Magic… real magic… that was probably how I got here… Could this be a dream? Unlikely. I’ve never personally experienced pain that intense, my brain couldn’t fake that. So what the hell…
My brain was still spinning its wheels when the woman returned, I swallowed and stood a bit straighter. She was holding a… katana? Well, the place was
She threw it and it slammed
into my chest as I fumbled to catch it. Hell, it knocked the wind out of me! Really, really
glad that it was sheathed! Holy crap. That had looked like a casual throw for her!
“Here, maybe your pathetic swinging will make them laugh themselves to death.”
I coughed trying to catch my breath, “Um… could you explain what’s going on? I really don’t have any idea…” she scowled, but I took a breath and stood my ground, “I can’t do much if I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing or what the situation is.”
“Your summoning didn’t tell you?”
“Nothing that I’m aware of. As far as I can tell all I’ve got is understanding what you’re saying…”
My summoner made a face, “You are my Servant in the Holy Grail War,” my stomach fell, “Servant Assassin. As much as the term can be applied. You are going to protect this temple from other Servants while I achieve my goals.”
‘That was not good- that was not good-!’
I swallowed even as my heart raced, “That-… that’s probably not going to work-“
Her voice was hard, “I am aware.”
My chest seized up, “Right.”
I started to open my mouth, but I caught myself before I did something stupid, closing it shut, “No ma’am. Where to?” ’Don’t get killed. Need time to think. Go with it for now. Figure out a solution later. Panic later.’
With effort, I seized control of my rebellious breathing, forcing it slow and steady despite my thundering heart, making myself meet her eyes and hold the sword in my hand without shaking.
There was a moment of silence as she met my eyes, I don’t know what passed through her head, but she pointed, “Over there, guard the main gate and try not to be utterly useless.”
So this… this wasn’t good.
Was I dreaming? Caster? I was summoned by Caster? As in Medea?
I was supposed to be a Servant?
No. I wasn’t dreaming. I couldn’t dream in this amount of detail or that pain.
I’d asked that question before hadn’t I?
Fucking hell, my brain was running in circles. Alright, let’s take stock of the situation.
I’m sitting by an archway with a freaking katana propped against my shoulder in the middle of the night. I was at a temple on a mountain. It appears that I’d been summoned by Caster of Fate Stay Night as Assassin (Very Fucking Fake). I had been ordered to protect the temple pathway.
Could I do that? I didn’t feel like I could.
A scowl crossed my face, had being summoned increase my strength at all? I didn’t know. I had to test… with a small heave, I tossed the sword in my hand upwards, it traveled a few feet in a lazy arc before I caught it. Well, that’d determined a few things.
One, I hadn’t lost that little bit of skill I’d gotten from hanging out with the Color Guard in high school; and two, I wasn’t any stronger than I should be.
Right, so I wasn’t some sort of supernatural spirit-badass. Damn. Okay, I couldn’t actually defend the temple. What were my options?
Try and do the job? Not a good plan, last resort.
Run away? To where? I had no money, no passport… did I have my ID? I checked my pocket. Well, I’ve got my wallet, which means I do
have money, just not appropriate for the locale. Okay, go to the authorities? No… it was 2013 last I knew, but F/SN wasn’t set then. If I showed up, I’d be a duplicate if I even existed here. Okay, what would happen if I did it…? I didn’t know. Possible plan, better than trying to defend this gate.
I sighed, letting my head fall back against the archway, staring up at the night sky… … what if Caster used a Command Seal…?
My lips pressed into a thin line.
Then she used a Command Seal. I’d deal with it when that happened.
Right, any other alternatives?
Attack Caster? Pffffft. Nope. Nonoption.
Reason with Caster? … maybe. After she’d calmed down after getting me as a shit Servant it might work. But how? And for what? What did she want? To be with Kuzuki. What did I have that could help her? Information. What did I want? To go home and not die. What information did I have that was useful and what could I anticipate her using it for?
Considering her predisposition to using Shirou as a fucking wand… I blanched. Yeah, let’s say that’s a backup plan.
Go to other masters…?
… that might work. Rin and Shirou were good people, as was Sakura. I wouldn’t have to worry about them trying to kill me or fuck over the world with any info I gave them. I just had to leave here, not get caught by Caster, and figure out who the fuck they were.
… god damnit, did I have any good options?
A sudden streak of chill made itself known on my face earning another scowl from me. I closed my eyes and wiped the few tears away and took a slow, shakey breath. Panicking or breaking down won’t help, I need to think and be calm and logical.
Could I just wait? No, that was no better than doing my job. Hell I’d probably starve, and if I didn’t intercept Saber or the other Servants when they arrived I’d be in serious trouble with Caster, I doubt she’d let that go easily. And she’s already shown the ability to heal me up at least a bit… so that meant she could seriously hurt me without any real concern for killing me.
Yeah, no good options here. Fuck.
Pinching the bridge of my nose I closed my eyes tightly. What did I have?
Knowledge. The clothes on my back. Thirty dollars American. Various IDs and cards that likely were invalid in this time and place. A katana. Keys to a car that I had no idea where the fuck was.
… where was my phone?
… huh. Okay. Weird, I have everything except for my phone.
Regardless, what could I do with these things? Fighting was a no no. The katana would likely get me arrested with ‘fake’ IDs. Thirty dollars American could be useful, but it wasn’t significant. Clothes would be of no help, they weren’t strong enough to turn into rope or anything and I had no backups. Keys? Nothing useful.
Damn, alright, best option was to try and run and find either Rin or Shirou… hopefully I can speak Japanese because of the summoning… hoo boy. If I can’t find them within two days I’m going to have to call it quits and talk to the authorities and try and just get the fuck away from here… and all the while hope that Caster didn’t look for me to kill me. If she comes after me, I’ll-
A slow breath. Think. Focus. Logic, not emotion.
… I’ll tell the truth. I didn’t think she’d given me enough to reasonably expect me to do anything other than stain the tile. I can’t do the job she tasked me for, while I might be capable of helping her, that’s not the way, and I didn’t think she would listen to me. I couldn’t lie, and this would be my best chance for survival.
Still not likely, no, but fuck it all, I’ll take whatever I can.
With a slow breath, I lifted the katana in my hand and used it as a crutch to push myself up to my feet once more.
Right. No use procrastinating. It wouldn’t help to be a coward. I could feel a tear work its way down my cheek as I started to walk down the staircase.’Wha-…?’
Wiping it away, I realized that it was of panic and fear. Swallowing past the lump in my throat, I clutched the sheathed blade to my chest.
I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, I was going to die.
Here, in this city, likely tonight.
I stood no chance. I couldn’t survive. There was nothing I could do in a battle between Servants, nothing more than die.
But I couldn’t give up. I couldn’t
. Giving up… not trying… that was no better than dying.
It was because of that fear that I walked down the steps into the night.