Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners
Fandom: Fate/Grand Order
Pairing(s): Siegfried x Karna
Genres: fanfiction, AU, humor
Characters: Karna, Siegfried, Tamamo no Mae, Yan Qing. Other Servants may make an appearance or be mentioned.
Siegfried and Karna went on a date.
Karna stood in front of the oval mirror in the staff bathroom, adjusting his pose with awkwardness for the fifth time in the last ten minutes. The mirror’s surface was scratched and stained by God-know-what because while the cleaning person their owner hired did a splendid job of keeping all the bathrooms in the shop in hospital’s standard sanitation, he always seemed to forget the lonely mirror in the staff bathroom. Didn’t think the staff needed the mirror perhaps? Or afraid that it was a cursed object serving as a gateway to the neither world? Anyway, as it was inappropriate to utilize the mirrors in the guest bathrooms, Karna just had to make do with this sadly neglected fellow. He considered asking his employer for a replacement but on a second thought, the staff didn’t have a practical need for a mirror anyway. There was no female in the staff and neither he nor his colleague Diarmuid stayed longer in the bathroom than needed to finish their business.
The sorry state of this mirror had never bothered him up until now, when he was in need of its aid to take a body picture of himself, or to use the 21st century youth’s vernacular: take a selfie.
Don’t take it wrong. If Siegfried belonged to a rare species that held an aversion to smartphones then Karna was of a nearly extinct race of youths who didn’t immerse in the social media culture. He still had a Facebook account though, which Tamamo had created for him at the start of their freshman years. His avatar was a Paint drawing of a sun and hadn’t been changed since Tamamo told him to choose an avatar and he just randomly picked one from Google Images. He had only shared a couple posts about Indian mythology since the account’s creation and in fact, hadn’t logged into his account for so long he wasn’t able to recall the combination he’d used for password. Maybe Tamamo remembered it, but Karna had no need to reactivate it.
So, why did a person who didn’t care about social media, who had neither a Twitter nor an Instagram account and certainly who wasn’t going to create a Tinder or OkCupid profile any time soon want to take selfie? Well, the answer lied in last night’s “big” celebration his best friend had been determined to give him. As per her promise, Tamamo had shown up at his door at six o’clock sharp and dragged him into a bus that went straight to downtown. Thus began a long, long journey through eateries and clothing shops that ended the same almost every year: the two of them, with too much fine wine in their bellies and too many shopping bags on their arms, couldn’t take a bus because the last bus had gone long ago and had to hail a cab.
But, did that have anything to do with Karna’s taking a selfie in the staff bathroom? Everything, really. The outfit he had picked for today was Tamamo’s meticulously chosen birthday present while they were at a fancy-looking boutique which had caught their eyes on their birthday-shopping spree. His best friend had virtually squeed, freaking the meek salesclerk a little, when Karna emerged from the changing room in that outfit. Gotta be proud on my superb fashion sense, she’d said. And so the girl had asked for a picture of himself in her present. Karna, being Karna, was unable to deny his best friend’s demand.
“Need a hand with that?”
The door of the bathroom creaked open and his friendly, reliable coworker wedged himself in, a half-full bucket in one of his arm and a well-used mop in the other. By the look of it, Diarmuid had just finished cleaning up and was ready to end his shift. All he needed to do was to change out of his uniform and waited for the evening guys to come and hand over, which would happen a few minutes from now.
“Ah yes, if you don’t mind,” Karna replied, feeling somewhat sheepish to be caught while about to take a selfie and very much urged to give an explanation. “My friend wants me to wear this since she chose it for me.”
“Not at all,” Diarmuid said, flashing Karna a smile as he went to dump the dirty water down the toilet bowl and put the mop and bucket in a corner. “Is that your best friend who often takes you to shop and pick your clothes?”
Karna nodded. About two third of his clothes had been Tamamo’s choices because Karna was a guy who was content with passing his four college years in a couple plain shirts and ripped jeans plus a pair of well-worn sneakers, and Tamamo, as his best friend, had taken upon herself the responsibility to make up for Karna’s impoverished fashion sense.
“Bordeaux color suits you,” Diarmuid said, holding out Karna’s phone. He angled himself a bit before the light flash. “She has good taste. There you go.”
Karna received his phone, taking a quick look at his photo and hit the button “send”. A few seconds passed and he got a reply from his best friend, which was a slew of heart emoticons. Typical of Tamamo. That lit a smile on Karna’s lips as he put the phone in his pants pocket.
“By the way, your Prince Charming has already arrived and been waiting for you outside.”
Prince Charming? What Prince Charming?
It took Karna a whole minute to get Diarmuid’s joke. Once he realized just who his coworker referred to, Karna elbowed him in the ribs, earning a few good giggles from Diarmuid. “Don’t forget to come home by midnight,” Diarmuid teased.
“I won’t, Fairy Godmother,” Karna stressed, sliding through the door.
Once outside, he spotted Siegfried relatively easy by his tall stature and impressive silver mane tied in a ponytail. He was sitting in his usual seat in front of the counter, tapping his forefinger rhythmically against the mahogany surface. Ideas for his next song probably. The man was dressed handsomely himself, with a sleek black leather jacket, a pair of washed jeans and polished ankle boots. On the neck of his white shirt hung a pair of sunglasses, probably for style rather than function. Karna also spied a pair of black fingerless gloves on the counter, next to a ring of keys.
Karna’s heart speed just went up a notch.
“Hey,” Karna greeted, causing Siegfried to turn his head. He felt the man’s appreciative gaze linger on him. A bud of pride blossomed in his chest as he silently sent a thankyou to his best friend.
“Oh… hey,” Siegfried greeted back. “You look fine today.”
“Thanks. And you too.”
“Shall we go?”
“OK, but by what?”
Siegfried flashed him a smile in place of a reply and jerked his head to motion Karna to follow him, which the younger man did. The bells chimed when the two of them passed through the entrance.
It was already dark outside and the streetlights had been turned on, pouring their white light onto a majestic vehicle parked adjacent to the shop’s door. Karna couldn’t help but widen his eyes and let out muted gasp as he marveled at the gorgeous sleek black motorcycle, falling in love with it by the second. He had had such passion for motorcycles since his pre-teen that at one point, he had seriously considered pursuing a motorcycle-related career, like a mechanic or a racer. Reality has squashed both as he had found out he had talent for neither but it didn’t relinquish his love for the two-wheeled vehicle. With his carefully monitored budget and many a future plan, he only ever indulged his hobby by a weekly subscription to a motorcycle magazine, with each issue kept mint and neatly stacked on a respected place of his bookshelf, and several moments spent admiring a particular model every time he happened to pass a vehicle dealership.
“Glad you seem to like it.”
Siegfried’s voice nudged him back to the reality.
Something round was thrown at him, and Karna caught it with the deftness of an amateur basketball player. A plain black helmet, he quickly realized, looking pretty unused with its plastic surface free of careless scratches. Looking up, he saw Siegfried had a similar one over his head as he already sat on the motorbike.
That the sleek and beautiful machine suited him was the first thought going through Karna’s head. Somehow Karna always had an impression that Siegfried would be better off riding a motorbike than driving a car. Must be something about his air, which whispered a soft but audible “wild”. Just as short and coiffed hairstyle would not look too good on him, neither would a car, no matter how fancy it might be.
Once Karna had sat on the saddle with his helmet securely on, he asked Siegfried a rather cliché question: “Where’re we going?”
Siegfried had untied his ponytail in order to wear the helmet. His unkempt silver hair cascaded down his back, making a contrast with his leather jacket. Pressed close to his back as Karna was at the moment, he could tell Siegfried was wearing a light perfume. The soft, musky scent, so different from the clear scent of soap and shampoo clinging to his hair and body whenever he visited the shop, entered his nostrils, making his heart flutter. He was thankful Siegfried couldn’t see his face now, for no amount of excuses could justify the blushes flaming his cheeks.
“Better not ruin the magic of surprise,” Siegfried replied smoothly. His voice sounded muffled by the helmet, and soon was drown by the engine roaring to life. Karna held onto him just a little tighter. It was for safety, he reassured himself, and not because he could feel Siegfried’s firm abs beneath all his layers of clothing. Those days laboring at the gym really paid off, did they?
And just like that, they enjoyed a quiet and peaceful ride to the suburban area.
To be continued