Rosemary for a Forgotten Tomorrow

Chapter 2

Hikaru stepped out of the supermarket with her groceries in hand. It was already dark out but she wasn't surprised. She had taken a small pit stop at home to drop off her school things and change before heading out again to get the ingredients for dinner. "I'm thinking curry tonight," she said to herself as she began walking home. She hummed to herself as she walked.

Now what else should she do tonight? Homework of course. She did need to keep her grades up. Tomorrow was Sunday so maybe she should call Rin over to hang out. Hmmm maybe not. For some reason Rin had been really busy lately. Maybe she wouldn't have the time to hang out?

She fell silent as she walked along the empty road. There was no one around, odd for this time of night now that she was thinking about it. She heard a meow near her feet and looked down to see a cat. "Hey kitty," she bent down and reached out to pet the cat on the head. The cat rubbed against her hand and meowed in response to her touch.

"Wait a second. I have something for you." Hikaru reached into the groceries bag and dug around for the can of cat food she made sure she always bought for any stray she would meet. She pulled it out and showed the can to the cat with a smile. "Hang on, I'll have it open in a second."

The cat arched its back and a hiss tore out of its throat. Hikaru stared at the cat in surprise as it backed up a few steps before turning tail.

"What…"

It was then that a sharp searing pain ripped through Hikaru's side. She let out a choked cry and fell to her knees and clutched her side. She looked down to see blood on her fingers. Wha…what? Something had been fired at her!? She heard something hit the ground in front of her. Looking up, she saw the shaft of a highly decorated arrow sticking out of the pavement.

It was then that she realized that there were the sounds of footsteps behind her. Large footsteps. Powerful footsteps.

Swallowing to herself, she turned around and held back a scream. It was a giant. There was no other way to describe the thing that stood before her. A giant cloaked in red armor with grayish skin. Even in the dim light that was emitted by the lampposts, she could see his eyes. They were blank, pure white.

Whatever it was also radiated power. There was no other way to describe the crushing feeling that seemed to overtake her. He looked down at her, or at least she thought he did. It was then that he pulled a huge lance seemingly out of nowhere. A loud inhuman roar came out of the beast.

Hikaru's mind blanked and she spurred into action. She jumped to her feet and ran. She could hear the footsteps of the thing following her. This could not be happening. Stuff like this could not happen. She darted down a different street. When she did she heard the whistling of air near her ear. Looking to the left, she saw an arrow buried in the ground where she had been a moment before.

No way.

If she hadn't turned at the moment she did, that arrow would have definitely pierced her through the head.

That pushed her to run faster. Why were no one helping? Why did no one hear what was going on?!

She thought she heard a voice, a girl's voice but Hikaru wasn't sure if it was in her head or not. She did not want to stop. If she did, that thing…whatever it was would get her. Her sides ached and she soon her steps got slower and slower until she could barely walk anymore. The wound in her side felt like it was on fire. She slowed to a step and rested her back against a nearby lamppost as she slid to the ground. Her hand was pressed against her side, pushing against her bleeding side.

Thankfully it was gone, whatever that monster was. For now at least. Hikaru had the feeling it would be back. And she was just sitting here, against a lamppost, an injury in her side. A sitting duck if it came back.

She curled her other hand into a fist. Why? Was this really it? She was exhausted. She was never really athletic to begin with sadly. Adrenaline had taken her this far but that was as far as it could go. Tears pressed against her eyes. "I don't want to die…" she whispered to herself as the tears fell down her face. "I don't want to die…"

Her side was still on fire and she pulled her hand away from it to check the blood on it. Why was she so weak? Why were all humans so weak? That thing was not human, that was sure. It would be better to just sit here. Just sit here and wait for her to be killed by that thing or bleed to death.

No.

She could not give up. That wasn't the right thing to do. A part of her wanted to know. What was that thing? Why did it exist? Why hadn't she heard of a creature like this before? There was no way something like that could hide. "What is the truth…what is going on here…" she murmured to herself. What was the truth?

She thought she heard the sound of footsteps from far away. Deep, strong footsteps. Hikaru sucked in a deep breath. It was coming back. It was coming back to finish the job. She pressed her hand against her side again and struggled to get to her feet. She had to run. She had to get away. She fell to the ground, her head dizzy. No. She had to go. She had to move. She had to. She had to move.

I don't want to die.

I refuse to die.

It was then that she felt a change in the air. It felt like power was radiating around her. She could feel it gathering in front of her. It stared gathering into a form. Soon enough, a tall tan man materialized before her cloaked in red. "Now what kind of moron would needlessly call a Servant like me?" he spoke.

A small choked cry escaped Hikaru's throat. This…man had the same sort of energy about him that the other huge creature had. As if he heard her, he turned towards her. For some reason it looked like he was shocked to see her as much as she was to see him.

"What kind of idiot manages to summon the same servant twice?!" he snapped at her.

What? What was going on? Hikaru had expected him to attack her or something like the last one but he was just standing there, looking at her like he was…searching for something. For what? What was going on here?

"What…who are you?" she managed to get out.

That seemed to pull him out of whatever he was thinking. "Of course." A small smile tinged with something else crossed his face. "You're not the same no matter how I look at you."

What did that mean? Hikaru tried to push herself back but the lamppost got in the way as he walked over to her. "You can call me Archer," he said gruffly. "I am your Servant and you are my Master."

Master? It was then that Hikaru felt a searing pain on her left hand. She looked down to see a red tattoo like design etched on the back of her hand. What? What in the world was that?

"You're hurt."

Hikaru looked up to see the man, Archer as he called himself, suddenly too close to her for comfort. She sucked in a deep breath in surprise as he gently moved her more in the light. What surprised her even more was the fact that she wasn't worried he would do anything to her. It was like she knew him before. Like they were old friends despite never meeting this man before.

"Hikaru," he said, turning to look her straight in the eyes.

How….how did he know her name? She opened her mouth to protest but the sound of footsteps broke her away from those thoughts. They sounded closer now. Archer's eyes narrowed as he looked in the direction of the footsteps and back at her.

He gently picked up her hand and put it over her side. "Listen to me," he said quietly. "I know this probably will sound weird to you but…do you know what magecraft is?"

"Magecraft…" Hikaru stared at Archer and then she felt like she had to hit herself in the head. "Of course." She chuckled to herself. "Of course. I completely forgot." It's been forever since she heard that word used. Wait. Archer. Master. Servant. Her breath quickened and the pain from the injury in her side faded to the background. Her thoughts raced to the stories she heard when she was a child. With this happening so suddenly, her mind had gone blank to all of the stuff she had been taught and learned on her own. "You…are an Archer class servant of the Holy Grail War. And that thing…" She looked in the direction of the approaching footsteps. "That is another servant I'm guessing. A Holy Grail War has begun." She looked down at her hand. "And this….is the thing called a Command Seal…"

"Huh, you are a lot more competent this time around."

Hikaru placed her hand over her injury and she swallowed. It's been a long time since she had to done something like this. She wasn't even sure if she could pull it off. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. She concentrated on the wound and felt her magic circuits open up. She could feel her power flowing to her fingertips and to her wound.

"And you can heal as well…" Archer trailed off.

"Not too well," she murmured as her wound closed up. She looked up at her servant as she carefully got to her feet. "I'm better at healing others than myself. At least, that's what I've been told." She shook her head. The dizziness was still there in full force. Ugh.

She turned in the direction of the footsteps. Now that she had some idea of what it was, it didn't seem that scary anymore. Plus there was the little fact that she had somehow summoned a servant of her own…

She saw him looking at her out of the corner of her eyes. An emotion that didn't seem right on him was etched on his face. It seemed like he was staring at someone other than herself. Her thoughts went to the cryptic comments he had made. What were those about?

"I'll distract the servant, you go home."

Huh? Hikaru stared at Archer. She blinked slowly. "Uh…what? Hang on. Last time I checked, aren't you supposed to fight in these Holy Grail War things? Like…isn't that the rules?"

Archer sighed and lifted a hand. Hikaru thought he was going to pat her on the head but instead he flicked her in the forehead.

"Ow!" Hikaru clutched her forehead in pain and tilted backwards from his flick. "I thought servants were supposed to be nice to their masters and listen to them and stuff!"

"You can barely stand right now without feeling dizzy. Don't try to fool me, you're going to fall over right now but you are using your will to appear strong."

Hikaru opened her mouth to protest but Archer continued on. "If we're going to fight anyone, you need to be able to fight too. You can't do that right now because you were a scatterbrain idiot and completely forgot that you had this ability to heal in the first place!"

She winced. His words were cutting through any defense she could have made against him. Gah. "So….you want me to go home…"

Archer nodded. "Yes. You go home and rest. I'll lead this servant away." He hesitated for a moment and stared down at her. By the way his arms twitched slightly it was like he wanted to do something but he was stopping himself. He shook his head, the same small sad smile from before was there. "Just go. I'll be able to find you without any trouble."

Hikaru bit her lip but she nodded. She saw Archer disappear in front of her but she could sense him still. He was moving away from her, towards the footsteps. They were much louder now. Way too close for comfort. "You can do it girl," she commented to herself before she turned and began heading towards home. She could hear the cry of the creature from behind but she didn't turn around. She trusted Archer. She knew he would be fine, he would be safe. At least, she kept telling herself that.

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