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Aozaki and Tohsaka: The Book of the Four Faces (FSN AU)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Jaenera Targaryen, Jun 27, 2020.

  1. Jaenera Targaryen

    Jaenera Targaryen I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Disclaimer: I do not own the Fate franchise it belongs to Kinoko Nasu and Type-Moon.

    Aozaki and Tohsaka – The Book of the Four Faces

    Prologue

    "Trying to lose me is pointless, you know."

    Sakura Tohsaka looked back over her shoulder at the redhead older woman following her through Osaka's back alleys. No, more than that. She was a witch, just like Sakura was. What an amazing thing…and in a way, scary too.







    Maybe one day, she'd be as amazing and scary too. That would be so cool.

    "I'm not trying to lose you." Sakura said. "Just taking the long route. I don't want the police to notice us. They're not very nice to me or my friends. Or to people like us…"

    Sakura trailed off, muttering unpleasant things about the police under her breath. Touko Aozaki hummed in understanding and what might have been a touch of sympathy, but said nothing. Sakura didn't speak up again, and instead continued to lead the way through the labyrinth of alleys and side-streets out of the way of Osaka's main thoroughfares and more prosperous and built up districts.

    And it certainly looked the part. The buildings all around were all of cheaply and quickly-built hollow block construction, plastered and painted over to give the impression of concrete. In many places even that was crumbling away, exposing the cheap building materials beneath. And much of what wasn't crumbling away was stained by years of grime and pollution.

    Glass windows were grimy in ill-maintained frames, and more than a few were broken or just gone. Some of the latter had simply been boarded up, though a few were left as they were, gaping and staring blankly into the open.

    And while there might be no piles of garbage lying around, the streets might be paved, and there weren't any ruptured pipes leaking water clean or otherwise onto the ground, the air hung heavy in the area. It wasn't just the closeness that came with how bunched together the buildings were, or how narrow the streets were either. It was also the people, and there were quite a few of them around, of varying ages and both genders.

    They didn't look particularly destitute, but neither did they give the impression of urban prosperity. Their clothes looked worn, and in many cases patched over more than once and in several places. The expressions on their faces and the way they carried themselves reflected that too, eerily – or not – matching the clothes they wore.

    No hovels or makeshift shelters could be seen, though some of the people in the streets could be seen sitting on thick stacks of cardboard, dirty strips of sheet metal visible here and there. But of course: hovels and shovels needed to be quick to setup and take apart, just in case they needed to leave in a hurry, one way or another.

    The same went for their belongings, which were never kept in a single place by any of the people here.

    Speaking of which…

    …their eyes followed Touko warily, expressions set and unfriendly towards someone who was clearly an outsider. In particular, her clothes might not be top of the line fashion, but they were of good quality, a rarity in these parts of the city, and making her stick out in her surroundings.

    They'd be even less friendly too, if not for Sakura clearly leading the way. More than a few waved at or gave her a few words of greeting, the nine-year-old girl returning them with familiar disinterest, after which the locals kept their distance, somewhat reassured.

    People can be such sheep, but even sheep know about strength in numbers, and closing ranks around their own.

    After half an hour of walking around in circles – or so it seemed – they arrived at an old and rundown factory. The brick walls had been all but completely stripped of plaster, the windowpanes were all gone, the doors and the frames falling apart. Sakura slipped through a pair of doors barely hanging on their hinges, and began whistling in a pattern even as Touko slipped in behind her.

    There was the sound of rustling and light steps, and at a flicker of movement, the two witches looked up. A pair of heads looked down at them from the second floor, dirty faces wearing curious expressions on them.

    "Oh hey, Sakura." One of the two said. "Who's the old lady?"

    One of Touko's eyes twitched at that, though the children just ignored her obvious annoyance. Then again, that really shouldn't be a surprise. They lived a hard life, so they wouldn't scare easily.

    "This is Touko Aozaki." Sakura said, gesturing at Touko. "She's got a job for us."

    There were more footsteps above, and then an older boy was leaning against the rusty second floor railing. "Really?" he asked. "That sounds…interesting. What's the job? And how much will we get paid for it?"

    Sakura shrugged. "I don't know." She said, before gesturing at Touko again. "Miss Aozaki said you can talk it out."

    The boy peered down at Touko, who met his gaze evenly. The staring contest went on for nearly a full minute, the children just looking on curiously. It was the boy who gave way first, looking away with a shrug, before looking back at Sakura.

    "…anything else?" he asked.

    Sakura shrugged again. "She's a witch like me." She said. "Maybe it's better to let Old Man Nakajima take care of this?"

    The boy hummed and hawed for several moments, and then gave way with a sigh. "…that's…probably the best idea…" he conceded, before stepping back from the railing. "…alright, I'll be right down."

    Touko looked at Sakura curiously as the boy turned away and went for the stairs. "Old Man Nakajima…?" she asked.

    Sakura shrugged yet again. "He's the elder around here." She said, before giving a small smile. "And…he's a witch too…like you and me…"

    Touko raised an eyebrow at that. "Really ?" she asked, before giving a small smile. "Now that sounds very interesting."
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________

    The present day

    Oil hissed and sizzled as strips of bacon cooked in a pan over a stove. Sakura stood nearby, busy beating eggs with a dash of milk in a bowl with a fork. Pausing for a moment, she added a pinch of salt and a touch of pepper to the egg mash, and resumed beating.

    A timer rang moments later, and Sakura was pausing again, setting the eggs aside and picking up a pair of tongs. She used them to take the bacon off the pan to drain into a bowl nearby, before adding more bacon to the pan. Once again, oil hissed and sizzled as the bacon cooked, while Sakura resumed beating eggs in a bowl.

    "Morning, Sakura." Caules cheerfully greeted his girlfriend as he walked into the kitchen, fresh from the shower.

    "Morning, Caules." Sakura said, not pausing her beating until Caules was next to her. Even then it was brief, and only to return a quick hug and a peck to the lips before she was getting back to breakfast, while Caules was walking away and then busying himself with making coffee and toast.

    "…we're running low on strawberry jam." He remarked a few minutes later, after a glance at the condiments platter while setting the table.

    "…uh…the grocery list's on the fridge's door." Sakura said, while putting the egg mash down and turning the bacon.

    "Got it."

    Sakura put another pan on the stove, and waited for it to heat up before adding just a touch of oil. Caules meanwhile added strawberry jam to the list of things that needed to be bought come grocery shopping on the next weekend, and then was back to setting the table. Then the sound of hissing and sizzling doubled, as Sakura poured the egg mash into the frying pan.

    Caules turned back to the coffee…

    …only to abruptly come to a halt as the cat walked by unconcerned, Julia nibbling at her food bowl before stepping into her basket and curling up, looking on as her owners busied themselves with preparing breakfast.

    "Two more days until the weekend." Caules observed as he prepared coffee for himself and Sakura.

    "Hmm…" Sakura hummed in acknowledgement while placing serving platters on the table. "…here's to hoping the weather holds…winter's coming to a close, but you never know with these things…"

    "Well, that's true." Caules agreed, taking a seat while Sakura pulled off her apron and placed it in a clumsily-folded pile on the countertop. "Speaking of not knowing, don't forget about that presentation you have to do at eleven today."

    "Huh?" Sakura asked in confusion as she also sat down. Then her eyes widened in realization. "Oh, that presentation…yeah, thanks for reminding me. It's done, but I might forget to bring it with me later."

    Caules shrugged and smiled. "No problem." He said.
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________

    "Hey, you two."

    Caules and Sakura stared. Not at Flat, for all that he was unusual, even by Clock Tower standards (though Sakura's master at one point remarked that Flat was probably just a savant), but at what he was carrying.

    It was a cylinder of some kind, about a third of Flat's size, made from glass except for the ends, which were made from metal. Ports and valves jutted out from the metal here and there, and a sickly green fluid of some kind filled the cylinder. But that wasn't what had Caules and Sakura staring. No, they were staring at what was inside the cylinder.

    It was…

    …well, they didn't know what it was. It looked like a pale caterpillar, if caterpillars were as long as a man's arm and as thick as a bodybuilder's thigh. Some kind of proboscis jutted out of its head (?), though it didn't seem to have eyes, feelers, legs, or whatnot.

    "What is that?" Sakura asked, her expression deadpan (not that Caules' own expression was any different).

    "Oh this?" Flat asked back, while hefting the cylinder for emphasis. "I don't know."

    "…Caules…help…please…" Sakura breathed, stepping behind her boyfriend and gently pushing him forward.

    "…uh…Flat…" Caules began uncertainly. "…if you don't know what it is, where'd you get it from? And where are you taking it?"

    "I got it from Professor Waver." Flat cheerfully replied. "It's from some kind of experiment they were running in Lab 137, on loan from the Department of Botany. Now that they're done, Professor Waver asked me to give it back."

    "How on Earth did…no, never mind." Sakura said with a sigh. "It's Lord El-Melloi II."

    "…that's Professor Waver." Flat said with a smile.

    Caules sighed, and taking Sakura aside, gestured for Flat to go ahead. "See you later, you two." He cheerfully said as he walked by.

    "Right, see you." Caules said with a wave.

    "Watch your step!" Sakura said in concern, before glancing at Caules once Flat was out of earshot. "…shouldn't we have come with him?"

    "I'm…not really sure…" Caules said, the words coming out as though it hurt him to say. "…Flat…can take care of himself…but…yeah…um…"

    "…and what on Earth was that thing?" Sakura asked after a moment. "That was…creepy. And I used to spend a lot of time in master's workshop, with – artificial – body parts lying around. Those people over at Botany are…well, never mind."

    Sakura looked around warily at that, and with a sigh, Caules placed an arm around her shoulders while leading her away. "Come on." He said. "We're going to be late. As for Flat…well, if Lord El-Melloi II thinks he can handle it just fine on his own, then…I…guess…it's fine…?"

    "…Caules, that didn't sound really confident at all."

    Caules fidgeted and sighed. "Yeah, I know." He said, before pushing his glasses back up his nose. Then changing course, he led Sakura around to follow after Flat. "Come on…let's go make sure he doesn't hurt himself or something. So long as we don't actually step over Botany's threshold, we should be just fine."

    "Hmm…yeah…that's probably true."

    About fifteen minutes later, there was the sound of breaking glass, a loud inhuman roar, and screams. All in all, just another day over at the Clock Tower.
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________

    A/N

    Hey, hey, hey, I'm back!

    Let's start this off slow, but don't worry. We'll get into the action soon enough, as well as why Sakura seems to have broken away from Touko here and now. It only looks that way, but that's enough about that.
     
    wellis likes this.