Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 14 – Fear
“…Thank you for breakfast.”
Rin placed her fork upon the table and leapt down from her chair. Half of the ham and eggs and salad remained on her plate.
“…Rin? What’s wrong? Are you not feeling well?”
Archer looked at Rin with a dubious expression. Tohsaka Rin tended to be a light eater in the morning, but she had eaten even less than usual this morning.
Her shoulders trembling in shock, she turned her head and timidly responded by muttering “…It’s nothing”, and then left the living room.
For some reason, Archer couldn’t follow after her. His unsteady back dropped into a chair.
Perhaps sensing the strange atmosphere between the two, Sakura placed the toast she had been eating or her plate and directed a questioning gaze at Archer.
Archer thought about when she had kicked him in the leg at the entrance the day before yesterday. If that was still unresolved, then he could understand her attitude this time to a certain extent. But…
There was difference between this time and the last. Previously, she had been angry. This time… She was scared.
Within Archer’s memories, numerous gazes of hate rose beneath their eyelids.
Anger, hate, resentment, contempt.
Fight, defend, wound. So many of the eyes that turned to that result were full of disgust.
Those eyes served to curse Archer. Out of a myriad pool of emotions, the one that had risen above all was the desire to hurt him.
From children, it was a look of terror.
With anger and hatred, Archer was viewed still seen as a human being, and responded to accordingly.
But fear… that emotion… It was as if his body, his heart, were made into some distant being, unable to reach people or their emotions. All that he had done- what had it been for? He lost the reason, over and over again.
He took up the sword in order to save people. But to the side of the children who were watching Archer were the corpses of their parents, now mere things.
For whose sake was this sword wielded for? A life where he could not protect, only destroy. The power he had used desperately to protect the children, had, in the end, carved deep scars in their hearts.
The look in Rin’s eyes had been that fear. The terror children hold, the terror they direct at beings unknown…
A facsimile of that.
Archer laughed in self-derision. Then, all the more so. It was exactly because they were people he had to protect that they had to face each other. What could a man, who tried to flee from that, have to still call himself the strongest?
Sakura waved her as Archer stood from the chair. A cheer at his back, he strode forth exultantly.
“A magical lock, huh… Hey! Rin! Open Up!”
Waiting at the cave of the sun god… The door to Sakura and Rin’s room and been sealed by Rin’s magic. Knocking it down with brute force was unacceptable, and there was no response from his master to Archer’s knocks and calls.
“…Honestly. It’s going to be a siege at this rate.”
He placed his back against the door and sat down. The sharpshooter would bear it. There was time for happiness.
Well, to be exact, a bowman and a sharpshooter were different things, but in this situation it was of no consequence. Archer crossed his arms, and waited for his small master to give in.
Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 14.
Even when he had given his all to protect them. He was hurt and abused by the people he had protected. He was feared by the children he protected. The smiling face that tried to assuage their fears merely increased them.
Humans can only measure things in terms of their own existence. So they need time. Time to understand each other, to understand what protected them. Time to recognize an important person.
For him, there was none.
Even when he spread his hands completely apart and held up the vast shield he had created, there were limits to what he could protect.
He could never stop running, all for the sake of protecting as many smiling faces as possible.
The pathetic antics of running through battle. He hid his wounded heart and smiled desperately. He tried to protect the happiness of strangers, and chased only an idea. He left what was important behind.
Before he knew it, those antics had become the idea itself.
Notes after the Jump!
The sun god bit is based on a story about Amaterasu, god of the sun, who retreated to a cave, causing the sun to go out. The other gods held a party outside to lure Amaterasu out.