[Siegfried x Karna] Sharing Warmth

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Source: pixiv.net

Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandom: Fate/Grand Order

Rating: T

Pairing: Siegfried x Karna

Genres: fanfiction, fluff, humor

Characters: Siegfried, Karna

Summary:

Siegfried needs warmth. Karna is warmth.

Surrounding Chaldea was a boundless area of rocky mountain ranges, gnarly trees that had only branches on which snow clung instead of leaves and blinding white. Siegfried didn’t know how the outside world, the actual world, was like – he had accidentally overheard the Doctor and Mash discuss a few times but hadn’t really paid any attention – but here, in this world where Chaldea resided, Chaldea itself was the only spot where life could be found, and even that was a bit stretched since the major population of this facility wasn’t qualified as ‘living’.

The inhospitable, desolate environment, of course, didn’t bother Siegfried at all; he had seen, had been to, worse areas, being a traveling knight during his lifetime. Moreover, in Chaldea it was always bustling with all sorts of activities that it was impossible to be distressed over the lifelessness of the landscape. What bothered the fabled Dragon Slayer was the weather, trivial as it might sound. Under normal circumstances, Servants weren’t affected by temperature, and even in the most severe condition, a number of them were still wearing entirely weather-inappropriate outfits – bearing too much skin or burying their whole bodies in fur. The same could be said about Siegfried: his outfit wasn’t the most covering, showing most of his chest and back and not once had he felt the slightest touch of chill. However, all had changed when Siegfried’s Master succeeded in his third stage ascension. Fafnir’s blood flowing in his veins had given him both significant boost in all stats and draconian features: he had grown a pair of curved horns, wings and, to his own embarrassment, a scaly tail, all of which he still hadn’t figured out the uses for; it wasn’t like he would use his horns to gorge or his tail to whip his enemies – that was unsightly and unknightly. And his wings could only carry his own weight in a short distance at best, never minding another. His youthful Master was quite fond of his new half-dragon hybrid look though, and he had openly announced Siegfried his “coolest-looking Servant”, much to a couple other Servants’ chagrin. As long as his Master was pleased, he guessed he didn’t mind Elisabeth’s childish nagging or the looks of disdain from a certain King of Heroes; the king had nothing but insults and scorn for just about everyone in Chaldea anyway, deeming them all “lowly mongrels”.

Siegfried supposed it made perfect sense that once his humanity receded for him to lean toward the slumbering dragon inside, drawing its powers and using them with more ease, he would share its weaknesses, too. Dragons, big and small, were creatures of fire and even the strongest of them wouldn’t fare so well in freezing weather.

In short, Siegfried felt cold. Much as he was bothered by this newfound affliction, he didn’t breathe a word to his Master; the young Magus had already had his hands full with fixing the singularities and seeking required items (most of them painfully rare) for his Servants’ ascensions, so Siegfried wouldn’t want to add to the heap of responsibilities. This issue of his was entirely personal, as he appeared to be the only Servant to be at inconvenience. Kiyohime seemed comfortable enough in her usual thin kimono, but again he and Kiyohime were fundamentally different from each other – her full-blooded while him only a human imbued with dragon blood.

So, the Dragon Knight dealt with this matter in his own way of solving most problems in his life: if he could not fight it and triumph then he would endure it with all the stoicism his years as a knight had trained him with. It was not something fatal, Siegfried told himself, and his stats as well as fighting capability were not reduced so he could still go to battles when his Master required him to. Compared to that, his own discomfort was trivial.

Nonetheless, he still subconsciously expressed some reluctance when asked by Karna for a sparring session.

Siegfried and Karna had been summoned to Chaldea in the same occasion. Needless to say how elated their young Master had been to see their forms materializing in front of his eyes; the chance of summon each of them was abysmally low and it could be a miracle itself to get them both at once. Their Master had declared that he had used up all his luck in this lifetime, jumping into the magic circle right after the completion of the ritual, flinging his arms on Siegfried’s shoulders – he would have done the same with Karna but for the fear of being charred by the Lancer’s cloak of fire. His grin had been so wide that Siegfried had feared that it might hurt.

Perhaps his Master’s delight has been contagious, perhaps he had been immensely pleased with this unexpected turn of event, Siegfried had felt a warm tinge of happiness in his heart. He couldn’t remember the last time he had felt such a pleasant feeling. Always putting others’ needs and wants before his own, such was the essence of his knighthood, and he had followed that way of life to the extent he had forgotten how it felt to be happy on his own, not because he had fulfilled others’ wishes, making them happy. When he looked to his left side, Siegfried saw a small smile clinging at the corners of Karna’s lips, and he knew it was mirrored on his own.

Not so long after their collective arrival, on a random day when they had scavenged some time to relax before the next fighting chapter began, Karna had asked Siegfried to spar with him. There had been no malice or challenge in his even tone, only an earnest desire to cross weapons with a worthy opponent. Naturally Siegfried had agreed; he too had been yearning for a chance to see for himself if the son of the Sun God Surya was as great a warrior as history had recorded.

It didn’t surprise Siegfried in the least that Karna had chosen the vast landscape outside Chaldea to be their fighting ground. Siegfried would have suggested the same location for two reasons: one, the training ground in the facility, although huge, was never not crowded. The number of Servants were growing by the week and not all of them were taken to the battlefield, so naturally, those who found themselves off-mission would want to sharpen their skills or simply have some constructive fun with a like-minded fellow. Siegfried didn’t fancy the rambunctious atmosphere and closed, crowded space – his Master had told him that he might be a little claustrophobic, and he suspected neither did Karna. Another reason was that both his fighting styles and Karna’s were highly destructive in nature, therefore a large space in the wild where they could stretch their limbs freely was much preferred than an indoor area. When Karna suggested that they headed out of Chaldea, Siegfried simply nodded.

From then on, they had been continuing their sessions on a weekly basis at least, or whenever they could procure some free time and wanted a little exercise. The Saber had enjoyed them to a great extent; the Lancer had proven that he was true to his legend and much more. Siegfried had an impression that he had crossed swords with Karna before, perhaps in a different timeline, but even if he raked his brain, he couldn’t recall it. That didn’t matter though; to be able to encounter an opponent of such caliber, Siegfried considered himself extremely fortunate in spite of his pathetic E-rank luck.

It hadn’t posed a problem to Siegfried, fighting in this lethal weather that would normally kill a mortal, until recently. He felt the sharp blade of the chill acutely in his marrows and to say it was inconvenient was a blank understatement. Much as he tried, the Saber sometimes failed to contain the light quiver in his arms. Needless to say, his sparring companion had seen right through him.

Karna, being Karna, had to point it out. “You are shivering,” he said.

Someone else might find the Lancer’s bluntness offending but not Siegfried. He hadn’t detected any malice the first time he had found himself at the receiving end of Karna’s straightforwardness, and over the time, he had grown rather fond of this particular quirk. Honesty made for a more relaxing relationship.

It was no use hiding things from Karna, who was hailed as a walking lie-detector, so Siegfried opted for the truth. “I’m cold. It wasn’t an issue before but after my third ascension, I’ve inherited more of Fafnir’s traits. Being susceptible to cold weather is unfortunately one of them.”

If Karna was someone else, he might suggest the Dragon Slayer do something about the cold, perhaps putting on more fabric or covering his bare chest, but this was Karna and it’d rain candies in Chaldea before he said such things. Instead, to Siegfried’s surprise, he simply stepped closer and took the Saber’s hand into his slightly smaller one. Karna’s fingers were long and delicate and it was a mystery how he was able to wield his enormous lance with them. However, such thought did not occur to Siegfried until their sparring session was over, late into the night. Right now, all that was on the Wandering Hero’s mind was how warm Karna’s skin was. Not the kind of warmth that made you uncomfortable but the pleasant warmth like the first sunlight signifying spring’s arrival after a long, arduous winter. That kind of warmth had spread from his fingers – where their hands were connected – to his every muscle and bone like a gentle stream of water chasing away the cold that had been nestling in his body. Siegfried could help neither the small sign from his lips nor the blush on his cheeks.

“Do you feel better?” Karna asked, his face still wearing that serenely emotionless mask. Yet somehow Siegfried could detect an iota of concern in his voice. It could be his optimistic imagination though.

“Yes, it’s really warm,” replied Siegfried. He didn’t clarify whether “it” referred to Karna’s hand or the bloom in his heart. Unconsciously he touched the light on his chest with his free hand while the other remained in Karna’s, daring to interlace his fingers with the Lancer’s nimble yet powerful ones. Karna didn’t comment on Siegfried’s remark or object to the small gesture.

The vast barren landscape outside Chaldea suddenly became small and its flesh-biting blizzard seemed a little more tolerable.

The Wandering Hero’s cold could only be warded off for a while but not vanquished and so from then on Karna continued providing Siegfried with his sun-warmth in a similar manner: touching. Somewhere along the line, Karna’s touch extended to other parts of Siegfried’s body, not only his hand. And he did it so casually, so naturally, that Siegfried almost couldn’t believe it had happened. One late afternoon, after a satisfying fight, Karna asked in his usual, familiar even tone whether Siegfried felt cold. Siegfried was about to open his mouth when he had to swallow his words back because a warm palm was pressed against his chest, right on the pattern of light. Jaws slack and speechless, he searched Karna’s face for any unordinary signs and found none, his face still pale and beautiful and showing no visible emotions. Yet he was touching Siegfried’s chest, causing his dragon heart to jump in surprise and then thump wildly against his rib cages. He wondered what was in Karna’s mind if he felt his raging heartbeats.

And if he really did, he said not a thing; the riddle of whether Karna was aware of his effect on his sparring partner remained Siegfried’s to be solved.

Karna did ask for his permission if he could touch the Saber’s back. It might be cold, he explained, feeling the need to assure the Saber as it was a sensitive spot for him, pun not intended. Siegfried momentarily tensed, startled by the sudden offer, and then relaxed. Indeed it was a spot he’d rather have no one touch, not even his past lovers. The only time it had been touched, with the tip of the betrayal blade, he had ended up on the side of an untrodden road, bleeding to his death. Yet Karna would never hurt him in such a cruel manner, stabbing him behind the back, and he trusted Karna and his sense of fairness and honor more than he trusted anything in his life. Then, with a light nod, Siegfried gave his consent.

For a millisecond Siegfried thought he had been scalded, that despite his trust for the revered Indian Heroic Spirit, Karna had tried to harm him. It had felt so hot where Karna’s hand made contact with his skin but Siegfried soon came to the realization that it was an overreaction produced by the very sensitive, very human part of him that had been neglected by touch for so long. The heat quickly faded into a warmth which was just a notch higher than the one he had grown accustomed to. It made his toes curl and a strange sensation traveled down his spine. Siegfried wasn’t sure what it was but he didn’t like it, so he tried to quench it down with the shameful thought that he had hastily doubted the purity of Karna’s intention. Seeing how he was unable to restrain a soft moan from escaping his throat, Siegfried was sure he had failed.

It took a while for him to notice that Karna had retreated his hand. The heat pooled on his leaf-shape patch of skin and wormed its way into his flesh. It would keep him warm for days, he didn’t doubt, while Karna was taken on a new mission.

Karna was as expressionless as ever but somehow, by a trick of light or a transient hallucination, he thought he had seen the Lancer’s lips form a tiny smile. His heart skipped a beat; his gaze was magnetized towards those pale, thin lips. Had they always looked so tempting or he had only realized it just now? Tempting enough to touch them with his own lips, feeling the texture, tasting the flavor, if there should be any. What was wrong with him? Siegfried mentally slapped himself. To harbor such thought toward his respectful opponent and companion, how could he?

Fortunately for him, Karna saved him from dwelling deeper into his own embarrassment and probably not finding his way out: he brushed his hand on Siegfried’s wings, making the Dragon Knight nearly jump out of his skin. “Can you fly with these?” he asked, his tone hiding a childish curiosity.

“Not really far,” Siegfried answered, feeling the urge to scratch his… horns, “and I’m unable to carry an extra weight.”

He was not sure if Karna’s soft hums were of disapproval or something else. He seemed to be quite fascinated with Siegfried’s wings, smoothing his palm over the thin, velvety skin that made up most of the wings or lightly picking a scale with his fingernails. He had probably never seen a dragon in his life before, and Siegfried had heard that the Eastern concept of a dragon was vastly different from the Western one.

The Dragon Knight nearly dropped his jaws when Karna asked him for a demonstration.

At the end of the day, Siegfried obliged the Lancer’s request, seeing no point in not granting such a simple wish and disappointing a friend although he found the notion that Karna would be disheartened by something so trivial very unlikely.

Siegfried was not fine. The blizzard had been raging outside the walls of Chaldea for a few days, resulting in the temperature dropping abysmally lower than normal, which, of course, was bad news for Servants with draconian traits. Even Kiyohime, who never appeared to care about the weather, was complaining. For Siegfried, it was another example of how his E-rank luck was trying to screw with his life. Between the diving temperature and Kojirou’s snores (the Assassin usually didn’t but it appeared to be a temporary condition caused by the weather; otherwise the Japanese swordsman was fine), Siegfried had been having sleepless nights.

Technically, Servants didn’t need sleep. Nor did they require food, drinks, rooms or entertainment. Nonetheless, here in Chaldea, the staff had aimed to provide the majority of the population the living conditions as human as possible. Servants were spirits now, but they used to be flesh and blood and though some of them might never admit it, they did miss being a human and indulge in mortal pleasures. They might not need food to fill their stomach, but their taste buds delighted in flavors. They didn’t drink to survive but to enjoy the pretense of getting lightheaded from alcohol. And some, like Siegfried, found comfort in having a feather-soft mattress under their back after a hard fighting day and just drifting off to dreamland.

Siegfried hadn’t known he was having circles around his eyes – or capable of having them for that matter – until Karna pointed it out. Their young Master was quick to confirm that.

“Oh my gosh!” exclaimed the magus in a rather dramatic tone – such was his flair. “Did you not sleep well, Saber?”

Shame burnt his cheeks hotly for allowing such trifle to concern his Master. “I’m sorry, Master…” he opened his mouth, ready to brush the matter off by telling his Master that he was alright and it wasn’t something worth his attention.

“He’s been cold,” Karna said matter-of-factly.

“Karna…” Siegfried groaned softly. Some time ago he had shifted to calling the Lancer by his true name instead of his class like the normal courtesy between Servants. In turn, Karna had grown used to addressing Siegfried by his name.

His Master’s face lit up as if he had made a great discovery. “Right! The weather has been beyond horrible these days. I keep hearing Kiyohime’s complaints but have never realized that you’re affected too. Sorry, Saber. What terrible Master I am.”

“No, Master. It’s not your fault.”

“Siegfried can come to my room.”

Eh?

Did he hear it right, Karna’s suggestion, or were his ears deceiving him?

“Brilliant idea, Lancer!” the young magus applauded. “You’re the only occupant so there’s plenty of room, it’s super-warm and Siegfried’s half-dragon so he should be fine.”

“… half-dragon so he should be fine”, what was the meaning of that?

Karna nodded in agreement.

While Siegfried was busy picking up his jaws from the ground to voice his protest, his Master had already made the arrangements for his moving into Karna’s room.

Thus when the night came, the Wandering Swordsman found himself wandering the corridor outside Karna’s room, his pillow in hand. The door was closed, and no sound was coming from the inside. Should he knock or just wait? It would be rude if the Lancer was taking a shower or doing something private.

The door was noiselessly pushed open and Siegfried’s dilemma was solved. Karna’s sharp gaze softened to see the swordsman towering awkwardly in the glaring fluorescent light, a pillow stuffed under his arm. His glacial eyes sparked with amusement when they lingered on the white pillow case, decorated with a chubby dragon. There was only one Servant whose pastime was embroidery in Chaldea and sometimes, he’d give out his products to those he deemed a worthy warrior. Karna himself had a towel with a sun sewn on it.

Karna opened the door fully in an inviting gesture and Siegfried wordlessly entered.

Karna’s room was about the same size as his and Kojirou’s but the sparseness of furniture made it appear more spacious. This was due to a rather unpleasant fact that his cloak of fire tended to spread fire to the things around it and to prevent such a grievous disaster from taking place, his room was especially insinuated to be fireproof and furniture was kept to minimum. Having led a minimalistic lifestyle, the son of Surya had never breathed a complaint.

“So… we’re going to sleep on the floor, aren’t we?” Siegfried asked after scanning the place and finding no sight of a bed. Frankly he didn’t mind lying on the marble tiles; soon as he set foot inside the room, he had immediately felt the gentle warmth – Karna’s warmth – dancing on his skin. Having been a traveler in a dark age for most of his life, he found this to be a luxury.

“Not really,” answered Karna before laying his cloak of fire on the floor. Without its fluffiness, the Lancer looked really thin and fragile, as if he could be easily swept away by a gush of wind. Siegfried could trace the outlines of his protruding hip bones underneath the skin-clad suit. His face felt hot for no obvious reason. Karna lied down on the cloak and gestured Siegfried to do the same.

Fire could not harm a dragon, Siegfried had learned that from his battle with Fafnir. That explained why when his skin was touched by Karna’s cloak, although he immediately knew it was neither fur nor fabric but a flame mystically shaped and weaved into a piece of garment, he wasn’t burned. The distinctive heat of fire was there and were it not because of his dragon blood, he would be instantly reduced to smoking charcoal. The grim realization did not deter him from curling on the cloak so that he could get the maximum contact. It felt so nice, really, to have the heat coursing through his body, chasing away every vestige of the cold. The dragon in him reveled in the fire, energized by it. Siegfried nuzzled his cheek into the cloak, feeing blissful sleep descending on his eyelids.

Never did he know that from a short distance from him, Karna was watching his exposed back with a smile.

The nights after that, they continued sleeping in the same room even after the blizzard had passed and Siegfried was no longer plagued with chill. He hadn’t felt it for a while; Karna’s warmth during the night was more than sufficient to keep him well during the day. Still, he was hesitant to return to his former dwelling: for the very first time in his life he had harbored a selfish desire. After having spent most of his existence being a wish-granting hero, to want something for himself was a foreign and thrilling experience. As long as Karna was willing to accept him, Siegfried was determined to indulge himself, and as far as he was concern, the Indian Heroic Spirit didn’t seem to mind.

Days turned into weeks and weeks to months since Siegfried’s migration to Karna’s room. During that time the distance they’d put between their bodies out of a taciturn agreement had grown shortened little by little every night so that every morning, they woke up just a little closer to each other than the night before. Neither paid any mind to their body’s tendency to gravitate towards the other, thinking it a natural occurrence, until one day…

Siegfried woke up somewhat disoriented, not knowing what time it was or whether it was day or night; there was neither clock nor window in Karna’s room – their room now – to tell the time. Judging by his grogginess he assumed his Master wasn’t in need of him; otherwise his Servant system would flare in full operation in response to the Master’s summon. In a rare bout of indolence, the Saber decided to close his eyes and treated himself to some more sleep when he was jolted by a newfound realization. He was pretty sure he had he had kept his arms by his side when he drifted off to sleep last night, and yet at the moment he found his left arm in a rather compromising position: draping on someone’s waist, with his hand splayed over said someone’s stomach. Okay, it wasn’t “someone” since this room had no third inhabitant. Siegfried’s face felt scorching as though his skin was set aflame, and he’d rather face Fafnir one hundred times than learn what had happened during the night for him and the Lancer to be loosely spooning. This position spelt intimacy and though Siegfried wasn’t abhorred by the idea of getting intimate with Karna (maybe because it was Karna and not someone else), the thought of them lying together, back to chest, and sharing more than just warmth had never crossed his mind. His era had had a less than accepting attitude towards intimacy between two men and Siegfried doubted if Karna’s had been any different. But time had changed, and humans had become more tolerant of one another’s differences. It was the knowledge the Grand system had given him, perhaps so that he wouldn’t experience a social shock. He hadn’t thought it was necessary, seeing that he had not been exactly averse to that kind of relationship as a human. As a Spirit, he had even fewer reasons to care. This thing between him and Karna was just… overwhelming, to say the least, but not necessarily bad.

On a trivial side note, Karna’s waist was really small, or should he say “slender”; he was not stranger to the Lancer’s figure – the spearman’s outfit didn’t leave much to imagination, but to actually trace its hard curves… Thin and fragile though might he look, Karna was still a man in every sense and his body didn’t possess the softness of a female one. Siegfried preferred the hardness anyway, as it was partially proof of his merit as a warrior. And to hold a warrior in his embrace, feeling his waist fit into his hands… Verdammter Mist! He had to stop this train of thought before it got out of hand. It was… indecent to think about your friend and companion that way! What had gotten to him these days? Had he been possessed by some unknown force lurking in Chaldea? His magic resistance wasn’t the highest of all Sabers but it was certainly not that bad.

Anyway, first thing first, he had to take his disobedient arm back and put some appropriate distance between himself and the Lancer. Quietly as the shadow of the moon moved so that Karna wouldn’t be roused from his sleep. And then he only needed to think this was a passing incident and act like it had never happened. Just like that and they were back to friends and sparring partners.

“You’re awake?”

A voice drenched in silky drowsiness startled Siegfried, causing his dragon heart to skip several beats and race up to make up for that. Almost at the same time, a hand quickly caught his wrist midway so that any hope of quiet retreat had become a pipe dream. The Dragon Knight felt as though he had been caught red-handed, pun somewhat intended.

“Ah… y-yes… I j-just woke up,” Siegfried stuttered. He was mildly relieved Karna had his back to him so he couldn’t see the Saber’s flustered face.

“We have a day off,” Karna casually replied. “Master informed me no mission is carried out today so every Servant has the day to do whatever they want.”

Siegfried had no idea while Karna was telling him this – actually he did understand why Karna was telling him this: yesterday he had missed the Master-Servant session – but what puzzled him was why Karna was using such a relaxed tone. Was he not aware that the Saber had had his arm around his waist and they had been spooning throughout the night? Was he not offended by such an unchivalrous and disrespectful act?

“What’s your plan?” Karna’s voice once again disconnected him from his thoughts.

“I… Actually I don’t have any plan.” Five minutes ago he hadn’t even known that their Master allowed them a day to do as they pleased.

“Good, I have a plan,” Karna said, and to push Siegfried to a whole new level of confusion, his hand catching Siegfried’s wrist pulled with a subtle yet unyielding force so that the Saber’s arm resumed its former position: on Karna’s waist. Siegfried was pretty certain that was a deliberate act; he just failed to fathom the message Karna sent him. So, not only was he not offended, but he actually… encouraged the intimacy? Whatever it was, it made Siegfried blush so hard the tips of his horns might be turning red.

Karna, whether genuinely ignorant of his effect on Siegfried or feigning to be, continued seamlessly, “I’m thinking about spending the morning replenishing our energy with sleep. How does that sound?”

Others might be surprised by Karna’s proposal but not Siegfried. For his time of acquaintance with the Lancer, Siegfried had learned that he was quite a sleepworm whose greatest pastime beside fighting worthy opponents was holing up in his room and slumbering the day away. He had knocked on Karna’s door one day only to find the Heroic Spirit flesh out of sleep even though it was mid-noon.

Wait, the key word in Karna’s sentence was “our”. Did he mean for Siegfried to join him?

“You mean, you and I?” Siegfried blurted, somehow getting his hope up for no sound reason.

“Yes, unless you are occupied with another plan.”

Karna’s hand hadn’t let go off his wrist but he could sense a molecule of hesitation. “No, I have no plan,” Siegfried answered truthfully. Sleeping didn’t sound too bad, especially with Karna. Especially with Karna spooning against him. Gott, what had happened to him?

“Good. How about a little fun after lunch?”

Blood rushed hotly to Siegfried’s face. “A little fun?” he echoed, his mind running amok on what this “little fun” could be.

“A spar outside, how about that?”

Right. A spar. What else could he be expecting? Siegfried mentally exhaled a sigh of relief. “A spar would be great. Since Master won’t be expecting us, we could fight to our heart’s desire.”

It was likely his imagination running wild but he heard Karna’s light chuckles. They were contagious and Siegfried soon found himself smiling. They were decidedly his favorite sounds.

After a while, Karna became quiet, his body going lax and inching closer to Siegfried’s, his back pressing against Siegfried’s bare chest. The warmth seemed to go all the way into his heart. It made him lightheaded and drowsy. Sleep found his way back to his eyelids easy enough.

Little could Siegfried guess this was the beginning of something special.

Epilogue

I had considered myself extremely lucky to be able to summon both Siegfried and Karna in one go. Perhaps I had used up all my luck in this lifetime and if I ever became a Heroic Spirit (unlikely) or a Counter Guardian, I would be granted with an E-rank luck. Perhaps the fabled wish-granting Hero had heeded my wish and the Hero of Charity had decided to show his charity. It was impossible to tell really; all I knew was that I was on clouds nine to have the both of them in my little party.

And the icing on the cake was the two seemed to get along pretty well. The biggest pain in the ass was having two archenemies on the same team. Trust me I’d been through that once. On a good day they’d go at each other’s throat every chance they got, giving me a migraine and grating the nerves of every other Servant. On a bad day I’d have to use a Command Spell to stop them from killing each other. In the end I was forced to give up both of them for peace’s sake. And so I’d clasped my hands and thanked The Man Upstairs I hadn’t summoned both Karna and Arjuna (how low was the odds?).

I felt terribly bad once I’d learned Siegfried had been enduring the cold. My poor Dragon Knight, too polite, too gentle to demand his Master’s help even though it was my responsibility to keep my Servants in their best condition. While I was raking my brain for a solution, Karna offered one. A perfect one, if I might add. The world needed more people like this ethereally beautiful Lancer, who was always so eager to give his help to those in need.

So far, so good.

Wearing a beam on my face, I strode to Siegfried and Karna once the battle was over to give them my congratulations.

“So, how’re you doing? No longer feeling cold?” I asked.

“Thank you for your concern, Master. I’m not cold anymore and ready to fight in full strength.”

That was just Siegfried being Siegfried.

“I’m just wondering if you’d want to move back to your room. Kojirou made a passing comment the other day about the room being too empty without you. I think the guy kinda misses his roomie.”

Soon as the words left my mouth, I felt a surge of heat licking my back. An enemy’s sudden attack? How could this be? I was having Siegfried in front of me and Karna a few steps behind my back; how could they not sense anything and act? Taking a gulp, I whipped my head to see what had just happened. To my surprise, there was no sign of a threat, just my Lancer casually leaning against his over-sized spear. The heat kept rolling though and I soon realized the source was Karna’s eyes. Had I ever mentioned that he could shoot sun beam from his eyes?

Oh, allow me to clarify myself. Karna wasn’t shooting sun beam at my back – he was too nice a Servant to try that; in fact, he was just standing there, leaning on his giant spear and staring at us with his glacial blue eyes. And yet somehow in his stare I could feel the heat. I knew I wasn’t imagining because when I turned to Siegfried, the big guy was giving me one of his smiles that spelt “I’m sorry”.

He really needed to change his habit of over-apologizing.

But why was he apologizing anyway?

“Sorry, Master, but I think I’d like to stay at Karna’s.”

Wow, wasn’t this the first time I’d ever hear him express his preference. Before, when it came to personal matters like this, he’d merely gone with whichever assigned to him. That was definitely an innovation.

“Well, that’s fine as well,” I said to him, patting his armored shoulder. “Karna’s is good. Fire and dragon, can’t find a better match.”

Just like that, the heat on my back vanished.

Siegfried lightly bowed to me and walked over to Karna’s side. He flashed Karna a smile, and the son of the Sun God instantly returned the gesture with a small but genuine one. Wasn’t that something new? I hadn’t seen him smile at any other Servant. Then Siegfried leaned down a little and whispered into the Lancer’s ears, which broadened the smile on his lips.

Looking at them, I couldn’t help an inkling that there was absolutely something going on.

Huhm, very interesting.

End

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