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fate/national

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A man clad in leather and khaki rises amidst charred rubble. He lifts the loaded glock in his hands into the air, and only then does information rush into his head in a blast of pressure. A brief vision of blooded stripes flashes before his eyes.

He knows in that moment that he is an Avenger-class Servant and that his True Name is United States of America. As to who or what summoned him as Avenger, he is unsure.

Knowing this, Avenger releases the safety on the glock in a well-oiled motion and scans the perimeter as a precaution.

The sky is thick with dark clouds tinged flame orange, skeletal buildings jutting out from the horizon like spines along a vertebra. Drifts of unidentifiable debris extend in all directions for several hundred feet before petering out into dusty plains. He only registers days-old traces of Servants in the vicinity; no humans anywhere in sight.

Still cautious, he lowers the glock and instead inspects his body. Though he is vaguely aware that he existed long beyond the 20th century -- long enough to at least know that he now stands in an era beyond the Age of Humans -- he is clad in the fabrics of the second World War which once consumed the world in that very century.

Beyond that, his memories are a frustrating grey void.

Regardless of his current state, Avenger feels a faint pull in his gut.

The pull ebbs slightly when he walks down the crest of rubble he stood atop. When his feet meet dusty ground, he marches at a military pace in the direction his gut seems to compel him towards. This pull, while different from that of the Holy Grail compelling its selected Servants towards a Holy Grail War, feels nearly as strong and laden with magecraft, he notes.

He continues like this for what could be hours or days. Soon, the landscape flattens out into a uniform plane of dust, and Avenger finds himself wondering if he walks not on Earth but on another planet entirely.

And then, just when life has flattened itself into the grey void around him, a figure becomes visible in the distance.

The pull in his gut grows more intense when the figure turns to meet blue eyes with green.

Before he knows it, Avenger stands a mere step away from the strange figure and reaches out a finger to stroke along the figure’s cheek.

The stranger is clad in clothes which seem to exist somewhere between a long pirate coat and a gilded Victorian suit. Rich taffeta and jewels cascade over his shoulders like fountains of solidified wealth. And, judging by the intense energy which emanates from the figure’s core, this man is a Servant.

The knowledge of the nature of Servant classes rushes into Avenger’s mind as if it is familiar knowledge.

“Ruler,” Avenger smiles mirthlessly. “You must know who I am.”

Ruler’s eyes flash gold for a moment. His eyes widen.

“Avenger.”

His voice hitches in his throat.

“True Name: United States of America.”

Avenger would be tempted to say, “ You have the man, the one and only ”, except that he doesn’t understand where such thoughts arise from. So, he remains silent.

Ruler approaches Avenger cautiously, his gilded boots almost gliding over the distance between them. When he sees that Avenger isn’t poised to attack him, lily-white fingers ghost along Avenger’s cheek and his body unconsciously leans into the touch.

“Are you truly the darkness which the Holy Grail holds within?” The question isn’t truly directed at Avenger. “I would’ve never supposed that we’d see each other in this manner, and yet…”

“We knew each other before our summoning.” The statement is a bygone conclusion to Avenger.

Something flashes in Ruler’s evergreen eyes. “Yes. We shared a special sort of relationship.”

A special sort of relationship. Avenger feels that Ruler is withholding information from him.

“My True Name is United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,” Ruler continues, eyes meltingly warm. A chill spreads through Avenger’s body. “I do not understand either why we are here or who or perhaps what summoned us, but either way I hold no desire to see you come to harm.”

"Perhaps you could provide such answers yourself, Ruler." 

The lilted voice came not from Avenger but from above.

Avenger and Ruler jump back just in time to avoid the katana which cleanly slices the earth where they’d stood in two. A dark-haired Servant dressed in a pink hakama and a dandara-patterned blue coat lands on his feet with said katana brandished. The light-footed assailant narrows his eyes when he sees Avenger standing by Ruler’s side.

“Sakura Saber,” Ruler says frostily towards the enemy Servant. “Or, rather, Japan.”