Together with House-Husband, Part 1, Chapter 41 – The Cost of a Dream, The End.
It was a dream he had always followed with no detours. That very dream was thus: “I want to save someone from their suffering. I want to protect someone’s smile”.
There was nothing else inside him but that very dream. Thus, it was not long until the dream turned into a wish to save even more people.
As the act of saving people, however, was limited to what a human could achieve, there were things he had to cast aside.
He was close to someone.
The day he left to discover the dream in his heart, the person he had spent so much time with was no longer enough.
“Sniff… Sob… Ar-… Archer…?”
Perhaps surprised at the disappearance of warmth, Rin looked up at Archer. Her eyes may have sensed that Archer was looking at “something” else, and her tears overflowed.
“Ah-… No, no!”
She desperately clung to Archer’s arm. Her eyes, clouded with tears, spoke strongly. That was something she could not stand.
His chest ached at the memory. But Archer was already “that”. Even with the glittering, dear treasure before his eyes, Archer could not betray the memory that had shaped him.
Gently, but firmly, Archer separated from Rin and stood.
“Sniff… Ar-… Archer-san? Don’t… Don’t go!”
“…I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be back. I’m greedy, so I’ll take everything I can. So bear your tears for just a little.”
“I’m a cruel man…”, he thought. The woman from that day would have definitely told him to drop dead. It was only natural to be hated.
“…Stupid…! Make sure you come back…! *Sob*…!”
“Ugh… Sniff… Take care… But, but… When you get back please be with us… Always. It’s a promise… Okay?”
Even still, the two were telling that cruel man they needed him.
He was so happy, it was maddening. But that faith was too much for him. He nodded once to their questions, and then entered spirit form and kicked off the floor. A moment later, he was in the piercing winter air. His honed ears shut out the distance, but still captured their sad voices.
“…You shouldn’t be close to them anymore.”
Someone inside of him warned him.
“…It’s too late for that. ‘Til the very end, all I will do is protect this treasure with all my strength. That’s all I can do.”
The wind of Fuyuki City, pregnant with the stench of blood, caressed his face. Archer felt that a day when that wind would blow fiercer was near. Yes, the beginning of the Holy Grail War. That also meant his parting with the two was close.
“You should have known it would be like this from the beginning. Oh Archer, where did you break?”
He was disturbed that he was already questioning himself.
“…From the beginning? I’m just a-“
A hero would not be an exaggeration. He felt joy and he felt sadness.
…and he felt blessed.
“Just a human, it seems.”
Together With House Husband. The Price of a Dream: End.
On the long, long road, he was always alone. Even so, that fate was alright with him. To him, happiness wasn’t something he needed. Making someone happy, or rescuing someone was his “joy”. That alone was enough.
But the happiness he had gained through what he needed and what was needed, and the warmth that should have been lost long ago in Fuyuki City… he recalled them.
That irregularity was a miracle that should never have existed. The man here at this moment was a human. He remembered where his happiness dwelled. He was just a man.