Part 277: Matou Sakura (III)
"I'm sorry, Saber. We're not patrolling tonight. I'm worried about Sakura."
"Understood. I will follow your order."
I thought Saber would object, but she readily accepted my proposal.
Music: Tender Scenery
"Please do not misunderstand. Sakura is not the only one who is sick. You are exhausted as well, so please rest for tonight.
The extra time will help you replenish your magical energy. You are not to push yourself."
Saber reaches out for her tea.
"So, Shirou. Have you a reward for your considerate servant?"
Saber makes a cute request with eyes full of expectation.
Aw, now there's a good Saber. Treat? Does Saber want a treat? Good girl, Saber!
"But it's no good if it takes me a minute to do it."
The only weapon I can use has to be prepared beforehand using my "strengthening" magic.
If I'm attacked by surprise, I'll have no way of fighting back.
If I can shorten the time to around thirty seconds, maybe I'll be able to do something
"Maybe I'll ask Tohsaka about it. She might know how to quickly make a Magic Circuit."
Well, I can't ask her just like that. Who knows what she'll demand in return?
I hear footsteps.
The person is walking slowly.
The person coming here under the moonlight is
"Senpai ? Are you still awake?"
Sakura, who looks much better than earlier tonight.
My mind blanks out.
Sakura's wearing something I don't recognize.
It takes me completely by surprise.
It must be the change of clothes Fuji-Nee prepared for her, but seeing her in something other than her uniform makes my head spin.
" Um, Senpai?"
"OhYeah, I'm awake. Are you okay, Sakura? It's cold outside."
"Yes, my fever's almost gone. I came outside to refresh myself and heard a sound, so I thought it might be you."
"I see. Then all that's left is to warm yourself up and go back to sleep. That's good."
I turn on the stove I just fixed.
This should warm up this place.
"Here. It's still pretty chilly in here, but it's better than outside.
Um, if you're not sleepy anymore, I can keep you company."
"Okay. Then please excuse me, Senpai."
Sakura comes in, her steps steady and sure.
Good, it looks like she's really better. That's a relief.
Music: Madder Red Town
"You're right. You got mad and said you'd rather fix the VCR Fujimura-Sensei cut in half.
But you couldn't throw it away, right?"
" Well, I guess this stove wasn't the only obstinate one."
It was broken, but it looked fixable, so I just couldn't leave it alone.
"You don't listen to others once you set your mind on something, Senpai. You seem sensible, but you're actually very stubborn. Did you know that?"
" Hm. Am I stubborn?"
Sakura likes it rough?
You didn't listen to me earlier, either."
Even though Sakura's criticizing me, she's in a good mood.
Well, I'm too happy to see her doing well to care about that.
" I'm sorry. I was too angry to think straight."
"You're right. You were just as mad at me as at yourself. Yes. I'm causing you lots of trouble. But I really was sorry because I thought I did something awful."
Sakura is perfectly composed.
It's probably partly because she just got over a cold, but she's not merely putting on a strong face. This seems like the "real" Sakura to me.
"I remember when I was a child.
I always stayed in the house and couldn't say what I wanted. I thought everything would work out if I didn't say anything."
" But it didn't do any good. I didn't want to worry anyone, but never speaking worried Nii-san and my dad even more."
" I see. But it's true that you cared for your father and Shinji, so I bet they knew how you felt. There are things that can be communicated without words."
So what about you, Senpai? I don't hear much about when you were a child."
"Uh, me ? Hmm, I don't think I was too different. I was always running throughout the town during the daytime, making meals for my father, and messing around with stuff here at night."
I get embarrassed, so I scratch my cheek.
Does it mean I'm a failure as a man if I haven't changed from when I was a kid?
"Wow. You were running throughout the town?"
"Yeah I thought I was patrolling the town. I admired helping the weak and crushing the strong."
My battlefield was mainly in the park.
I think it was an everyday thing to fight with children my age against people older than me.
Hmm, now that I think about it, a smart and devil-like person was in my age group too
"Sakura. Smiling like that reminds me of all the stupid things I did, so please stop. It's pretty embarrassing."
"It's not embarrassing at all. I would've been your sidekick if I met you as a child.
A shy person like me needs someone to drag her outside."
" A sidekick?"
Oh. Well, I might have trained Sakura every day if she'd been with me as a child.
I would've run by the river or sat in the dojo with her.
That's pretty much what a sidekick would do.
Under my watchful eye, Sakura would become strong, and then she would turn into a devil like
A chill runs down my spine.
Good. I'm really glad that Sakura is modest.
Even his mental image scowls when he thinks badly of her.
Music: Madder Red Town
"Huh? Oh, I was out of it. I was just talking to myself, so please don't worry about it."
" Okay. That's fine, but, um Can I ask you an awkward question?"
" ? Okay, what?"
" I heard this from Fujimura-Sensei. Is it true that you were adopted into the Emiya family?"
"Huh? Didn't I tell you? I'm adopted, just like Fuji-Nee told you."
"U-Um, Senpai? That means "
"Well, it's true, and it's nothing I should hide. Why are you asking such a thing?"
"Oh, did Fuji-Nee give you the wrong idea?
Well, it might've looked that way when I first came here, but it wasn't hard on me, and there was nothing I didn't like."
"Then was it fun for you, Senpai?"
This is the first time I've been asked this question.
After that fire
My first year here was spent healing my wounds.
And after that
My time until now has been spent in constant motion.
I studied magic to be more like Kiritsugu,
and I ran around the town, looking for the reason why only I survived that night.
I never had time to wonder if I was enjoying myself.
"Hmm, I don't know. I don't know if it was fun for me or not. I just wanted to be like my father."
Sakura asks timidly.
"Yeah. Is that weird?"
I answer while scratching my cheek.
"No, I don't think so. It's amazing that you're so sure of yourself."
Her words are calm.
I usually get embarrassed from such words, but her words hit me so much that I'm tempted to thank her.
My head blanks out from the sudden question.
But to answer seriously
"No. I'd get mad if you do something bad. I'd get more mad than anybody else."
I'd probably be first in line to scold her.
Sakura nods in relief.
Seeing her smile makes me think that something like this happened before.
As I see her off, I try to remember where I've seen that smile before, but my memory fails me.
"I remember now."
In a sudden flash of insight, it comes back to me.
Yes, it was
Music: Ever-present Feeling
It happened during the summer two years ago.
I continued to refuse every time Sakura offered to come help me at my house.
But Sakura did not give up and kept visiting my house with obstinacy you would never expect from her.
I gave upwell, Sakura's effort beat me to be exact, but I called Sakura to the shed and admitted my defeat.
"You beat me. I lost, so I'll give you this."
It was an old key.
I gave Sakura the key to my house that I kept in the shed which Kiritsugu used to use.
Surprised, Sakura tried to refuse.
She said something ridiculous about how a stranger couldn't possibly accept such a gift.
"Hey now. You're coming to help me every day, so you're no stranger.
Please feel free to use this. Um, it would help me out if you did."
I forced the key into her hands.
And that's when I saw it.
" Okay. Thank you, Senpai. This is the second gift I've received from someone dear to me."
Sakura smiled happily as she nodded.