Fandom : Fate
Rating : T
Pairing : Medusa X Diarmuid
Genres : Humor, Romance
Characters : Medusa, Diarmuid
Preview : Prejudices are not always right. As fate pulls together two very different people, an unlikely romance blossoms. Prequel to the “When Mystic Eyes Meet Mystic Face” series.
He had known her before he even met her. Frankly speaking, no warriors of any eras would not be familiar with the legendary monster whose gaze could turn men into stone. For a long period, she had been a blasphemy to gods and terror to humans until a young hero of great valor finally ended her sinful existence.
That was common knowledge.
In the time of the war, he had not been privileged to meet her face to face. An order from some high figure in the Mage Association had brought an abrupt end to the 5th Holy Grail War, coupled with the Grail itself being sealed away for good. Though it was not exactly that he rejoiced at the news, being able to cross weapons with heroes from all times and ages was itself a miracle, the termination of the brutal war brought him a sense of relief. Blood would no longer be spilled on this already blood-soaked land of Fuyuki.
Since he had never seen her before, it struck him as great surprise to find out that Medusa was such a beauty. Her attire consisted of a black turtleneck and a pair of form-fitting jeans. Though modest, her choice of dressing was a charming compliment on her luscious curves which his keen eyes did not fail to notice when her tall figure entered the shop. Her overly long hair was tied back by a loose ribbon and flowed like in a lavender fountain as she bended down to take a book on a lower shelf. How such gorgeous beauty could be associated with a sly, venomous creature as snake, he wondered.
Her eyes were probably her most valuable asset. Despite the brief moment their eyes met, Diarmuid already found himself captivated by the striking color of amethyst. As his heart skipped a beat, his instinct took an alarm as he remembered well and through how men were captivated by her gaze and turned into stone. A silent exhale of relief when no traces of magic was detected, the knight resumed his relaxed state. It was safe to assume that the pair of glasses she was wearing was no ordinary object; they served as a seal to her demonic power so that she could mingle with normal humans.
Her sharp glare, accompanied with her oddly shaped pupils, gave him a mild chill; it was not long before she noticed she was being eyed by a man, and a former Servant on top of that. Medusa had mistaken his silent admiration of her beauty as a sign of challenge; at least, that was the meaning Diarmuid could decipher from her icy glare.
Fighting was strictly prohibited and even friendly sparring was restricted after the end of the Holy Grail War. A short conversion between the two mythical figures helped him confirm that notion to Medusa. She seemed to accept the idea; nevertheless, while she did not see him as an adversary that she either killed or died fighting, she maintained her cold and distant demeanor.
For her to be on good terms with him (as he and the King of Knights were) was no easy task, the knight of the Fianna mentally took note.
Though she was dismissive and indifferent, it was still a pleasant surprise for Diarmuid that a fellow Servant applied for a job at the bookstore he was working. Of all the Servants he had the privilege to get acquainted to, there was only Cú Chulainn who seemed to enjoy working; the others were either too indulged in their wealth to bother themselves with working or so well supported by their Masters that they did not need to get a job. For him, the former Fianna knight, he was already grateful that Cú Chulainn’s Master had taken him in and provided him with a decent amount of mana to continue his existence, he could not burden her with his living expenses (he ate little and needed only a few sets of simple clothes, though). That was why he had taken upon himself the responsibility to find a job and contribute to the income.
It was a small but nice bookstore he was working at. The elegant decorations caught his eyes and since there was a need for workers, he decided to take the chance. Funny enough, he who was the first warrior of a group of fighters was very interested in reading. Books were his other passion besides sharpening his skills and back in the old days, he often came to Oisín’s place to borrow the poet’s books (and got himself in a rather sticky situation when other warriors caught him going to the poet’s tent alone at night). The owners of the shop were an old couple who, due to health problems, needed some assistants in taking care of the shop and a (presumably) young man was much welcome.
Sometimes after his employment, Medusa appeared at the front door, seeking for a job. The old man was quick to receive her while his wife, after some moment of hesitation, was convinced by her decent manner and finally agreed. The old woman’s reservation about taking Medusa in was understandable; any wives would think twice about hiring a woman with such beauty while their husband was around. In Diarmuid’s opinion, worrying about the husband’s fidelity was a small thing compared to the fact that they had just welcomed an ancient, ill-reputed creature into their store.
So far, no fighting had occurred. Like Diarmuid, Medusa also abode to the rule of non-violence and it appeared that she earnestly wanted to maintain the peace after the termination of the war. Still, the atmosphere between them was relatively tense. He approached her with cautious politeness and she replied with cold, ever business-like attitude. Conversations were almost non-existent and whenever they had to exchange some information, “Yes/No” questions were much preferred. Their awkward distance and silence were noticed even by the old couple and once, they asked him about the reason for their two employees’ lack of interaction. Diarmuid’s answer was that she was rather shy around the opposite sex. This was not entirely a lie, though. According to her legend, it was fine to assume that her aversion to men was rather intense.
However, Medusa’s apathy did not prevent him from stealing a few glimpses at her lovely figure whenever he had a chance. Strangely, he was pretty sure he felt her icy gaze fixing on him when he was surrounded by the female customers.
During the war, he had only heard about her from other Servants. Saber and Cú Chulainn were those who had actually tested her battle skills. Though they did not quite approve of her style of combat, they both agreed that Medusa was a fearsome opponent. Because Diarmuid believed in the validity of their words, he was struck with profound surprise that Medusa was pretty clumsy in normal life situations. “Clumsy” was only a mild way to put it. If he had to put it into words, “disaster” was the first to come to his mind whenever she tried to get a book on the higher shelves. She who could stand on high walls and jump from building to building could not balance herself on a 3-meter ladder. It was either her falling hard on the floor or the entire shelf of books tumbling down. Sometimes, both. Thanks to her nature as a Servant, Medusa did not suffer from any grave injuries like normal humans would if they were in her case. Nevertheless, cleaning after her mess was tiresome and it was fortunate (for her, not him) that the owners were rarely present at the store to witness their employee’s “destructive behaviors”.
He politely offered her a hand to help her up the first time she fell off the ladder. Her head hung in what he could surmise was embarrassment and shook lightly. He took that as a cue and lived her alone to collect herself; instead, he set out to rearrange the scattered books. Her silence he accepted as an unspoken gratitude.
The second and third time her clumsiness got her into accidents, Medusa still kept her distance, all the while refusing his offering hand. The forth was almost the same. It was not until he pointed out that her unusually long hair that kept getting her into troubles that Diarmuid earned her very first response. A muttering “thanks” from her usually tight lips was not much; yet it was a promising sign. The Irish hero suggested that pulling her hair into a pony tail might be helpful (he did think she should have a haircut but restrained himself from speaking out the idea, knowing how the woman treasured her hair). Her silence did not tell him whether she appreciated his suggestion.
The next day she came to work, her hair was tied up into a pony tail with a violet ribbon. The color well suited her hair. Moreover, he was given a perfect view of the slender curve of her back. Maybe he should stop checking her out. Such was never a proper manner for a knight, well, former knight to be more precise. He just could not help it.
That man was starting to get on his nerves. Fairly speaking, he had not done anything to directly offend the Irish hero; it was just his frequent visits to the shop that aroused a kind of irritation in Diarmuid. He was not sure this word really described his feelings but for the time being, he could only name it ‘irritation’. He did not usually experience this sort of emotions with regular customers but…
The first time the man set foot into this store, he came to find a rather rare book. Diarmuid was busy arranging the books on the top shelves (he had taken upon himself the task of cleaning and arranging the books since it spared him the sight of her falling off the ladder) so Medusa was in his servitude. Though the book he wanted had been sold out days ago, the man shown not the slightest sign of annoyance despite he had claimed that book was of great importance to him. There was something in the way that man flashed his smile at Medusa that struck him as a bad premonition, which he was able to confirm later as the man shown up at the shop more and more often. His focus was entirely on Medusa and Diarmuid was ignored the whole time as if he was invisible. Diarmuid did not mind being ignored; it bugged him that the man’s intention was rather obvious. The Lancer just could not explain why his attempt to court Medusa so profoundly exasperated him that only his mere sight could provoke Diarmuid’s anger.
One thing Diarmuid noticed was Medusa did not welcome the man’s presence anymore than he did. Somehow, it gave him an inward sense of delight.
The man proved to be quite a persistent fellow. Many a time he had himself turned down by the icy Greek beauty (who happened to be a Greek monster). Not getting the cue, he kept on advancing while Medusa kept on withdrawing, all the while not bothering to hide her blatant indifference. But today he was taking it too far. Noticing the gleam in her oddly shaped pupils, Diarmuid started to fear for the man. However distasteful a man he might be, he did not deserve to be turned into a stone statue. In a fit of pity, Diarmuid approached the pair, hoping to drive the man away before he earned Medusa’s fury.
His right arm felt a strong pull and before he had a chance to react, he heard a female voice speak up.
“I’ve told you already. I have a boyfriend. This is my boyfriend.”
Was that really Medusa’s voice ? Were those arms hers ? Did she just proclaim him her boyfriend ?
Questions were reeling in his mind. Too much information and too little time to digest. Since when did he have a girlfriend ? Not to mention that said girlfriend happened to be a man-hating Gorgon.
His purpose in approaching the pair forgotten, Diarmuid was struck speechless. The man, who sported a similar look of perplexity, began to eye Diarmuid from to toe. The more he inspected the former knight, the more he flushed with what Diarmuid could define as defeat and jealousy. In the past, he had encountered several times this kind of expression. The following actions varied : some challenged him to a duel (and experienced defeat a second time); some gave up and walked away.
“You only say he’s your boyfriend to drive me away, eh ?”
The man was sharp he had noticed the awkwardness in the way Medusa held onto Diarmuid’s arm. Anyway, it was not that difficult to see the confusion so obviously written on Diarmuid’s face.
The grip on his arm tightened and Diarmuid could tell that Medusa was really infuriated; the pair of glasses serving as a seal of her power was dangerously on the verge of being put off. This fellow really had no idea of what mortal peril he had stepped into, otherwise he would not have endangered himself by trying to woo a woman as Medusa. Diarmuid feared for the man’s life. On one hand, he wanted to say something harsh enough to drive the man away; on the other, whatever he said at this moment only meant he had conceded Medusa’s lie. A knight should not lie and Diarmuid was, of course, found no comfort in lying.
A not-so-gentle tug on his collar was immediately followed by the sensation of Medusa’s lips on his. Her pair of full, pouty lips that rarely opened since Medusa was not a loquacious type now slightly parted for her tongue to lick his bottom lip. Swept away by the sweetness of her mouth, Diarmuid more or less forgot the fact that Medusa had forced herself on him. Damn if she wasn’t a good kisser.
That man must be really pissed off to be forced to watch an intimate show in which the actor and actress were too focus on their little acting that they did not mind an awkward audience. It was only when the door was slammed hard that the pair of Servant snapped out of their trance. Cheeks flushed, lips swollen and the ecstasy seemed to linger in the way they were hesitant to restore the usual distance. A moment of silence and the only sound heard was the gentle rustling of the old curtain. Finally, as Medusa turned on her heel, she left behind s short statement :
“They do that on television.”
It took him a while to figure out what she meant by ‘that’.
Neither spoke a word about that incident for the following weeks but Diarmuid was sure both of them remembered it to the smallest details. At least he did.
Plus, that man never showed up at the entrance again.
The weather was certainly bad today. It had been raining since early in the morning and appeared to get heavier and heavier with each hour passing. Though he was not particularly concerned about the weather, he had heard the weather forecast at the subway station on the way to work. There was a storm coming.
Customers were scarce on days like this. In fact, there had been only one in the whole morning and afternoon. He had considered closing the store early but the idea had been delayed. To tell the truth, Diarmuid did not know what to do after leaving the shop. Cú Chulainn had agreed on a date with his master; other Servants also seemed to be occupied. It was lonely, he admitted, as he did not mix well with people in this era and could only turn to those from ages similar to his own. A ‘generation gap’, perhaps.
But Diarmuid was not the only case. As far as he could tell, Medusa did not mix well with the modern era either. And that was partly the reason he wanted to spend a little more time with her, even if she was not very open to conversations.
Diarmuid was putting the curtain down when he saw a blur figure gradually coming to focus. It was Medusa, Diarmuid could immediately tell. Leaving behind a brief note, Medusa had left the shop to bring an umbrella to her Master who had forgotten to carry one. Knowing well how deep the bond between Medusa and her Master was, it did not surprise Diarmuid to see the usually cold and indifferent Medusa hurry out in the middle of the heavy rain just to give her Master an umbrella.
Droplets of water formed a small pool on the wooden floor. The freezing rain did little to affect her, being a Servant and all, but from head to toe, she was soaked like she had just been out of the swimming pool. Since she had brought only one umbrella, Medusa had come all the way back here uncovered. It was either she had forgotten her own umbrella or she had not cared about getting wet at all.
Upon returning, she did not say a word and went straight into the bathroom. Diarmuid was more or less used to her silence so he did not make any comments. Instead, he went to take the mop.
Some moment later, Medusa came out, dressed not in her usual clothes (which were already drenched with water anyway) but in a bathing robe probably belonged to the shop owner. Her hair, wrapped in a towel, was dripping with water. A few violet strands got loose, dangling in front of her features. It was actually a lovely sight, to see her after a shower, fresh and clean and Diarmuid could not help but linger his gaze on her figure. She noticed but paid him no mind and went to take the hairdryer in the cupboard. For some minutes, there were only the sounds of the pounding rain and the noises of the old instrument.
He watched the sight of her fumbling with a few tangled locks with half amusement, half curiosity. How she managed to keep her hair untangled in combats despite letting it loose most of the time was a mystery to him.
His suppressed chuckles did not fail her hearing and Medusa shot him an icy glare. He uttered an apology and approached her, offering his help in dealing with the stubborn knots. She hesitated for a minute, contemplating her alternatives and finally handed him the comb.
His fingers glided smoothly through her wet locks, down the entire length and stopped at the knots. Carefully he disentangled them. Combing Medusa’s hair reminded him of the time he had spent eloping with the woman who would later became his wife. The traveling lifestyle allowed them little luxury and to a princess who had never had to comb her own hair like Grainne, it was a huge challenge. So, whenever he had the time, Diarmuid would seek to compensate for her hardships by tending to her hair. Grainne always told him how she loved the way he gently combed her hair.
In doing her hair, he noticed the layer of hair at the back of her head was still damp since she was not able to properly dry this part.
“May I ?”
She was a tad confused when being asked. The damp sensation was not in her favor and slowly, she nodded her head.
He swept aside her fountain of hair and tended to the damp locks at the back of her head. She was rather sensitive here; he attained the knowledge by seeing her raising a few goosebumps. It was an actual surprise that Medusa would be open enough to let him, a man, touch her, even if it was just the hair. He tried not to associate this change of attitude with the kiss incident. It was hard not to, especially when he could still recall the flavor of her tongue and lips on his own.
“I was about to close the store anyway. Why didn’t you just go home with your Master ?”
She held onto her silence, a sign he interpreted as a refusal to start a conversation. That was why he was surprised to hear her soft, velvet voice.
“Sakura’ll stay at Saber’s Master’s house. It’d be a burden to her…my presence…”
Diarmuid had seen Medusa’s Master and Saber’s Master together once or twice and the chemistry between them was pretty obvious, even to outsiders. What startled him was the way her voice trailed off at the end of the sentence and the lingering bitterness in her tone. He decided not to dwell deeper into this subject.
“And you- did you say you were about to close the store ?”
“I’ve already done.”
“Why are you… “
She did not finish her question, having already realized the reason. She had left a note saying she would be back and he had stayed to wait for her.
“Cú Chulainn and his Master are on a date. My presence would only disturb them. Besides, I have no particular thing to do at home.”
“So we’re the same.” Medusa spoke softly, as if speaking to herself.
He made no comments.
As he finished, he gave a slight tap on her shoulders.
When she stood up, her long hair had been neatly braided and tied into a bun very similar to Saber’s. Medusa curiously checked her new hairstyle in the mirror.
“You don’t like it ?”
She gave a faint shake of her head.
“I do think it helps you avoid accidents with the ladder.”
His light-hearted humor earned him a glare. Maybe glaring was part of her nature, being a Gorgon and all.
“My clothes aren’t dry yet.”
Medusa gave a vague statement and sat down on the nearby chair.
“It should take about an hour, I guess.”
“What are we supposed to do in the time being ? Since we’re both going to stay here.” The purple headed Servant ask, her eyes wandering off to vacant space between shelves.
He could not answer her question. Partly because he did not know the answer himself. He had finished every tasks required: books had been arranged in their proper shelves; the floor had been swept and cleaned. Simply, there was nothing else that needed taking care of. Partly because he was startled by the difference in the use of pronouns. Up until now, it had strictly been “you” and “I”; this was the first time he heard her refer to them as “we”. How should he react to this spontaneous change ? Should he express his surprise ? Should he let it pass like it was nothing out of the common ?
Her sitting posture expressed idleness but her eyes were boring attentively into his figure. Though there was no trace of magecraft, Diarmuid still experienced a stiff tension from her gaze. It left him uncomfortable so he opted to avert his eyes. Somehow, his sight unintentionally landed on her lips, which provoked in him the memories of their intimacy days before.
It seemed that Medusa saw the faint blush on his cheeks when she abandoned her seat and came to his side.
“How did you feel about it ?”
“By ‘it’ you mean…” It was awkward when she was invading his comfort zone, especially when she was having a strange look in her eyes.
“The kiss the other day.” She said matter-of-factly.
“Felt good, no ?”
She kept advancing toward.
“It was kind of…uhm… good.” Diarmuid stammered to choose the right words while slowly backing off. “Why did you… well, kiss me ? It was really sudden.”
“I did say they did it on TV. It helped chasing off that annoying human.”
“That was not really the point. There were plenty other ways…”
He was speechless.
“Want to try it again ?”
His back touched the shelf and Medusa, without regarding of personal space whatsoever, stood in front of him with only a mere few inches separating her chest and his. It was not like he was focusing on her bosom; it was just her cleavage was the first to catch his sight. Seriously, Diarmuid had a feeling that he was being a pervert.
“You don’t want it?”
A tinge of disappointment in her tone. Or was he imagining ?
As soon as the last syllable escaped from his mouth, he immediately felt her lips on his. It also took him by surprise but unlike the first time, he was quick to adapt and welcome her invading tongue. Soon, they found themselves engaged in a primeval and sensual rhythm of licking, sucking and lacing of tongues. The sensation was intense and foreign at the same time. It had been a real long time since he kissed a woman with such passion. He did not mean to compare Grainne with Medusa. Grainne was gentle and shy and he was endeared by those traits of hers. Medusa, on the other hand, was fiercer than any women he had known. Her fervor was overwhelming and he could not help but be swept away. Strangely he found the pleasure in it and tried to reciprocate the sensation to her, utilizing all his experiences. A soft moan at the back of her throat spoke of his success.
There was a pleasant silence when their lips parted, connected only by a thin string of saliva. Medusa licked her lips and smiled for the first time since starting working at this bookstore. Her smile, he admitted, lacked the innocence but again, he was remined that Medusa was far from being a normal woman. Her countenance possessed a frigid pulchritude but as soon as she smiled, the icy façade melted and her second nature was revealed: Medusa was a lustful beauty that aroused men’s instincts and coerced them into committing crimes. Diarmuid was under such effect and he was scared by it. On one hand, there was an alarm ringing at his conscience, warning him not to proceed further into this circumstance; on the other, an equally strong force urged him to follow his desires. God knew at this moment he wanted it so much.
“You do enjoy it.”
A mischievous smile adorned her lips as she, having crossed the border between them, boldly snaked her arms around his waist. The front of her body pressed against his, hard enough for him to feel her womanly curves underneath the bath robe. He knew she could probably feel something from him too.
“Can’t argue with you.” He admitted.
“Feel like advancing a little more ?”
Her knee brushed his thigh suggestively, her eyes locking with his, demanding a reply.
“If you’re fine with it.”
“All of these are not enough to tell ?”
“Where’s preferable to you ?” He looked around, searching for a possible place for them. “The sofa?”
“Anywhere’s fine.” She smirked. “I’m going to be on top anyway.”
“Were Greek women more fond of the top position?”
“Were Irish men not very fond of being ridden by a woman?”
“It can be a new and exciting method. Doesn’t hurt trying once or twice.”
“Since it’s your ‘first time’, I’ll be gentle to you. One more thing, I do like being carried.”
He responded to her demand by snaking his arm under her knees and gently lifted her up, his other arm resting on her back for support. Things were progressing at an abnormal speed. It was hard to believe some minutes ago, she was still cold and distant; yet, at this very moment, the fearsome ancient Greek creature was being scoped up in his arms, flushed and eager to engage in intimacy with none other than himself.
By the way, she was a bit heavier than he had imagined.
There was no romance.
There was no romance, only raw lust. Tongues lacing, hands boldly roaming, two bare bodies bonding in the most primitive way. There were no figures of Heroic Spirits; only a man and a woman giving into their desires. At this moment, nothing else in the world beside the steady rhythm of their conjoined bodies mattered.
Passion buried for thousand years awoke. Vehemently, the flame of their lust threatened to set their beings ablaze.
Deafening thunders were roaring and the storm had yet to show any signs of calming down. No matter how violent the weather outside was, inside the store there was only a pleasant heat and a musky scent of sweats. Aside from heavy breathings and the crackling of the old sofa, it was strangely quiet.
He had never had to catch his breath like this in hundreds of years; not even the fiercest battles could wear him out this profoundly. Though fatigue embraced his being as he was lying on the sofa and spent, it was not necessarily too bad a feeling. That aside, when the urge decreased, his heart began to swell with affection. Affection was s strange emotion. Somehow, it brought back nostalgia- he had fallen in love before and quite deeply he might add; however, time had already swept it away, leaving behind a vague trace. It was for such reason that affection struck him as familiar and foreign at the same time. All of sudden, he wanted to strongly embrace this woman who was nestling against his chest, sharing with him what little space the sofa could offer.
She was extremely beautiful. It needed not to see her nudity to have that fact confirmed. Yet, her pulchritude had never astounded him to such extent. She had been cold; she had been seductive; her cruelty and passion he also had witnessed but never before had she been so innocent as she was now, asleep on his chest. Right at this moment, Medusa was neither the ruthless monster nor the Servant Rider; she was the purest embodiment of youth and beauty that Diarmuid was fortunate enough to claim.
His fingers found their way through her locks of violet hair. The neat bun from earlier had been undone in the heat of sex since he had wanted to feel her flowing hair as it streamed down like a curtain over their naked bodies.
A soft scent elegantly rose from the damp, musky air trapped between the closed window and the many bookshelves. Curiously, he weaved a lock of purple with his fingers, inhaling the scent. Her hair smelled like the fresh fragrance of spring fountain.
“You’ll have to comb my hair later.”
Her glassy lavender eyes behind the pair of glasses met his golden ones. Though awake, Medusa did not bother to move, finding his chest a pleasant pillow for her head. Her manicured fingers fondled the bite marks she had left on his collar bone. He, on the other hand, had also littered her bosom with some prominent hickeys. She had not minded his little ‘revenge’.
“If you enjoy it.” He smiled softly and proceeded to take off the pair of glasses that prevented him a straight look into her eyes. Medusa stopped him.
“I really want to see your eyes without the glasses.”
“I’m sure you’ve already been familiar with my legend.” Her tone expressed a grim edge as if he had unintentionally scratched a touchy part.
“I have confidence in my resistance to magecraft.”
“You’re no Saber, don’t you know ?” She asked, with a tinge of sarcasm.
“Mine isn’t quite far from Saber’s. As a matter of fact, I could be summoned as Saber, too.”
“If you insist, then feel free to.” She replied, dropping her hands.
Her eyes without the glasses were even more mesmerizing. The oddly shaped pupils were an exotic touch on the lavender irises. At first, they gave a chill sensation on the person beheld. However, the more a person looked into her eyes, the more he found himself hypnotized by the bewitching magecraft. The legend about men being lured by her gaze and turned into stone was true and he, Diarmuid, was under that very effect. And though he was yet a statue, for he could still the warmth and smoothness of her skin, he could tell something strange was occurring to his body. Something that made a part of him hard, stone-hard.
Medusa leaned forward, her eyes a mysterious gleam and her lips a cunning smile as she whispered into his ears.
“I see you didn’t boast of your magic resistance. But…”
A sudden jolt was sent through his being and his face became crimson as her hand ghosted over his thighs.
“There’s a problem here. Some part of your body is apparently not very magic-resistant.”
He silently gulped upon catching the peculiar glints in her eyes.