A Man Without His King

"Some say that after the great pass away, they’re reborn into the world so they can live a long, normal life."

Waver’s been having the same dream night after sleepless night. Snapping awake in a cold sweat, the archmagus grit his teeth and dragged a shaky hand down the side of his face, ignoring the moisture that clung to his palm when he pulled away. The image even to this very day still clung to Waver like a thick coat of paint, and no matter how hard he tried to scale it, minimize it, or erase it completely, it inevitably returned.

He didn’t give a damn if Iskander was technically a mirage structured by mana, he swore that the scent of sand, sweat and grit remained embelished on that stupid T-shirt Waver tried many times to unsuccessfuly burn. The fire would be ready, but it was his tightly clenched fingers that couldn’t let go of the stubborn cloth. The only thing left behind by the Kind of Conquerors.

Waver got up with a frown that looked far too bitter on such a delicate face, and proceed through his morning routine. Drink coffee, pack a handful of smokes, and step into his robe before boarding the next stop to the Clock Tower as the well-renowned lecturer known as El Melloi II. The ‘II’ of his title the only part he really cared about. Not the first time he was mistaken for the actual Archibald bastard, and irritatingly enough, some of his colleagues like to point out the grumpy persona the two of them have grown to share. Like sharing a name wasn’t bad enough.

These flurry of thoughts fumed inside Waver’s mind as he nodded curtly to a flock of young female students, who giggled and blushed like the dim-witted tramps they were. As usual, he made it to the packed lecture hall in the nick of time, and went through the curriculum without a single glance given to the stack of notes habitually held in his slim fingers.

All in all, when Waver finally got home as the blue sky rusted into a dull orange, it was another boring day.

Maybe it was just ‘one of those days’, but why would the past couple months qualify?

Could be chronic depression, could be the natural stress that came with being a low-born magus who attained such a high status in a system that cared more about blood than ability, and yet neither of these struck Waver as being the root of the problem. He’s always been a kid who saw the glass half empty even when it was full, and since the 4th Holy Grail War, this aspect of him only grew. No, it wasn’t anything to do with his current situation, it all laid dusted over in the past. With a far dead man that was greater than life itself.

A sudden pain burst in his chest, and he instinctively clawed at his too-obvious ribs as if he could compress the pain back into the nothing it came from, into the nothing it should be.

"God fucking dammit…"

Before Waver could realize what his body was doing, he was already kneeled in next to his bedside, bony fingers rustling beneath the mattress for a large ziplock. When he heard the crinkle of well-used plastic, he retrieved the object and practically ripped the bag open. Waver buried his face into the white fabric, the shirt damp with long held tears. All the memories he wanted to forget came back to him in a hurricane of guilt, anger, and everything else he simply refused to let himself express.

As Waver recalled the feel of his wayward servant’s hand on his head, the loud, hearty bellow of his laugh, and the sight of Iskander’s large figure flake away in a cloud of gold, he asked himself: How can I be a proper retainer when I only keep selfishly silent?

Waver must of cried himself to sleep, because when he awoke the light of a new day blinded his dry eyes. Drowning in the morning’s stillness, Waver Velvet felt like the loneliest man in the world.