Together with House-Husband, Part 1, Chapter 32 – A Smile That Won’t Disappear.
“Mmm… Uuu… I’m sleepy…”
“It’s almost time for the New Year’s Bell…”
“Heh… Finally giving up?”
“Ugh… Archer, tell us a story. Until the New Year’s Bell…”
“I see. Then how about one about the bell? As time goes by, people find it hard to separate themselves from and cast away things. In Buddhism, this is called Klesha, or polluting thought. It is a concept of the body and mind that expresses people who invoke the six faculties and six impurities, and including the three elements, love, hate, and neutrality, there are thirty-six. People further apply the concept of the difficulty of attachment to the future, present, and past of their lives. Consequently, there are considered to be one hundred and eight klesha. The New Year’s Bell in Buddhism borrows the divine protection of a hundred and eight gods of Shinto and Buddhism, and by ringing the bell one hundred and eight times, the klesha…”
“Mmm…. *fast asleep*…”
“…I guess they were tired. Well, there’s no way they would have been able to stay up this late. Heh heh heh…”
A rough hand gently strokes their heads. And then..
“…Too bad. …The New Year’s Bell… huh.”
The hawk-like eyes stare at the two small, sleeping faces in his arms.
“…Just what am I doing… I suppose it’s rather unusual for me to be here this long. …Even though I cast away my own ideal, I must have come here to kill myself- Emiya Shirou. That wish is why I was drawn into this war.”
It’s strange, though. The two sleeping faces, and the thought that they needed him. They were eliminating the urge to kill coming from within the red knight. It was very similar to something he could not remember.
“The past, present and future… I’ve been reduced to a guardian… It should always be the same way. So, perhaps there are things… I can’t remember.”
Within the giant archive know as the “record”… Even if he read it, he would not be “aware” of it…
No. The individual known as Emiya who had been called to the Holy Grail War was trying not to be aware of what was inside that record. It was something very, very important… Maybe it was there.
“Ooh… Huh..? Archer…?”
“…You’re… Scowling again… Geez…”
Rin rubbed her tired eyes and stood unsteadily, and then pulled Archer’s face into the shape of a smile.
“Heh heh heh… You’re always scowling, Archer. You’d be better looking if you were always smiling. You’re our great Servant!”
“So… Always be looking good, okay?”
“…Heh… Ha ha ha ha ha! Okay. You don’t need to tell me. But, when you when you two are careless, it reflects on me. So be good. You are my master, right?”
“Wh-, what was that!? The great Rin is always good!”
“Ooh… What’s wrong, Nee-san..”
“Ah… The New Year’s Bell is ringing! Hey, scowly! How come you didn’t wake us up!?”
“Ahh, that’s mean… I wanted us to hear it together, too…”
“My angels are much too cute. I couldn’t take my eyes off you.”
“…… Take care of me this year, too, you two.”
“..Ah, yeah!” “Yes!”
Your smiles that saw me off that day were unlike what was inside me then, at that very moment.
Surely…some of that remains… So one day, I want to remember the meaning those smiling faces held.