Skip to main content

[Fanfic] AlternativeS

254 replies [Last post]
Satashi's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/17/2009
Posts: 595

Chapter 1
If people are interested, I'll post more ^^

Red eyes slowly opened, squinting as they tried to focus. Clouds were visible above and the girl laying on the ground let out a slow groan as she came to. Blond hair kept small strands of freshly mowed grass in it as Fate slowly sat up. 'What... where am I?' The questions came at once and the girl swallowed thickly, realizing her throat was parched. 'I feel like my whole body was scrambled...' Moving one hand to rub her eyes, she placed the other on the ground beside her and yelped when she realized that Bardiche was in battle form minus the plasma glow of his blade. "B-Bardiche? What... what happened to us?"

"Memory blocks for the past twelve hours are missing, sir." The device told her helplessly.

"...Why am I in my barrier jacket?" Fate slowly stood and stumbled back to her knees when her vision swam in front of her. "Ugh... Bardiche, can you scan me?"

"Already have sir, condition green."

"Thank you..." Fate took a long steading breath and felt herself feel a little better. "If I'm here, then the others might be in danger... I think this qualifies as flight without permission. Let's go, Bardiche!"

"Yes sir!"

Fate leapt into the air and twisted once to stabilize herself before looking around from her bird's eye view. "I'm in the park in the town, so that means the base is westward." After nodding to herself, she took off, forming a small barrier around herself to block most of the wind blowing on her.

"Incoming communication, sir." Bardiche informed her, popping a monitor up for her.

"Connect." Fate replied easily, relieved that she was being contacted.

"Unidentified mage, you have entered a restricted air flight zone in military use. State your name and land immediately or you will be fired upon."

Fate blinked at the harsh command and looked at the man on the screen she didn't recognize. "Fate T. Harlaown, lead enforcer of section six on my way back from a battle. I need a status update for the past twelve hours."

The man typed a few things on a floating keyboard before glaring at Fate. "There is no mage by that name stationed here. Please land at once."

Fate growled. "Look, I was knocked out in battle and have no idea what is going on, I need a status update!"

Again the man frowned. "Land right now, mage, or you will be intercepted. This is your last warning."

The blonde sighed and cut the communication off, flying to the front of her familiar base. 'I'll have to find Hayate or someone to find out what's going on.' As she started walking to the door, Signum exited it and stood infront of Fate. "Signum, thank goodness." She offered her friend a relieved smile. "I was knocked out some time ago and-"

"How do you know my name?"

Fate stopped talking for a few seconds, looking at her friend with a slightly open mouth. "Signum, please, I am seriously worried that-"

"Answer my question, mage. You entered a military base without permission after being warned that hostile action would be taken. This is a restricted zone."

"Signum, this isn't funny!" Fate's voice started shaking, fear settling in on her. "Please, I am really worried here, I don't need this!"

"I need to restrain you and take you so you can be questioned. Will you come with me quietly?"

"Signum!" Fate shouted now, tears in her eyes. "Why are you doing this, I need your help right now! This isn't funny!" When the woman didn't reply she walked past, then shoved her away when a hand moved to grab her. Before the warrior could make another attempt, Hayate made it to them, already in her jacket. "Hayate, will you-"

Hayate pointed her staff at Fate and glared at her with serious eyes. "Put down your weapon and identify yourself."

"What...?" Fate felt her legs shake but managed to keep herself standing. "Hayate... What is going on?" The tip of the staff lowered slightly when a tear fell from Fate's eye. "I don't... understand... Why are you acting like this...?"

Signum looked at Hayate and then back at the blonde who was on the edge of a breakdown. "I think the best course of action right now would be for you to come with us for a while and get some questions answered. Why do you know our names and why are you insisting that we know you?"

"Nanoha..." Fate's voice was soft, unsure of herself anymore. "I want to see Nanoha and Vivio."

Hayate positioned her staff in a less threatening way and put a hand on her hip, judging the woman in front of her. "Why do you want to see Nanoha-chan?"

"Please. Just please, okay? I need to see her..."

Signum stood behind her woman and put a hand on Fate's shoulder. "Mistress, I can take her from here."

"Please," Fate spoke again. " Just let me see them?"

"Who is Vivio?" Hayate asked, making Fate stiffen. "Okay, okay... I will ask for Nanoha to come to the interrogation room, will that make you feel better?"

"Mistress!?"

"I don't think she will cause any trouble." Hayate told her friend. "Now, can you tell me your name?"

"Fate." Fate finally spoke up. "Fate T. Harlaown."

Ignoring the last name as a coincidence, Hayate simply nodded. "Signum, please escort Fate-san here to the interrogation room. I will get Nanoha and ask her to meet you there."

Signum nodded and addressed Fate again. "Please disarm your device." She watched Fate recall her staff and place the gem in a slot on her left glove. "Thank you, this way, please." Putting her hand on Fate's back, she began to lead her.

Silence hung over the two as they slowly walked across the base while Hayate flew off towards the training field that was near where they were heading. No words were spoken during the semi-long walk and Fate felt a little bit of relief when she was entered in the air conditioned building. Together they walked to an elevator and she ignored the strange look she got when she pushed the button for the correct floor. After exiting, she made her way to the room and opened it, seeing Nanoha and Hayate already sitting behind the desk in the room.

After sitting down, Fate looked at Nanoha's questioning face and felt her heart break completely. "You... don't know who I am, do you?"

Nanoha looked at the woman in front of herself and slowly shook her head. "I'm... sorry? I don't remember you..."

Hayate spoke up, giving the woman a sad look. "Fate-san, could you please answer some questions for us? We have gone out of our way for you so much already." Fate nodded sadly, eyes still focused on Nanoha. "You told our contact that you were stationed here, am I correct?"

"Yes. Bardiche, could you?"

"Yes sir." Several monitors popped up, displaying Fate's I.D and information.

"Lightning one," Signum noted. "That is my call sign."

Fate didn't say anything. Instead, Hayate continued. "This looks too good to be faked... She even has our friendly unit code...It says here you live... In Nanoha's room."

Fate nodded again. "Yes, along with Vivio."

Nanoha shook her head. "Who is Vivio?" She almost flinched when Fate looked as if she had just lost her will to live. "I-I'm sorry, I didn't mean to upset you." She glanced at Hayate with a confused face and whispered to her. "What happened to this girl?"

"I don't know," Hayate whispered back softly. Turning back to Fate, she tried again. "Fate-san, you said something about being knocked out? You are in battle mode?"

Fate was looking down at her hands on the table, talking so softly she almost couldn't be heard. "I don't know... I woke up and have no memory of the battle I was in or how I even got there... The last I recall was dropping Vivio off at school."

"That name... why would that person be in my room?"

"She's our daughter," Fate revealed, voice breaking again. "You... You really don't remember me? Nanoha?"

Nanoha swallowed and leaned back, stammering over her words. The woman in front of her was obviously upset because of them but she honestly couldn't remember anything. "Tell me something I would remember?"

"Our marriage?" Nanoha shook her head at Fate's words. "Adopting Vivio? Growing up, swapping ribbons?" When Nanoha kept shaking her head, Fate started getting desperate. "Anything? You saved me from my mother-" When Nanoha's eyes widened slightly, Fate felt a small bit of hope. "When we were nine, I attacked you for the jewel seeds!"

"I... I remember that, that was when I met Yuuno-kun and found out I was a mage..."

Fate nodded, reaching over and taking both of Nanoha's hands, much to everyone's displeasure. "Yes! And Arf, my familiar! Suzuka and Arisa!"

Nanoha shook her head, unsure. "How... can you know what happened on Earth..."

"That was me! The girl with pigtails! We fought and fought and you kept trying to get me to talk to you, and then when I was captured I came to help you against my mother. You offered your hand and saved me!"

Nanoha shook her head again. "But I... that girl died." This time Fate shook her head. "I remember it... I was yelling at her... to take my hand... and she didn't... she reached for her mother and was pulled into the void..."

"No... no, I reached for you. You saved me!" She felt Signum place a hand on her shoulder and she sat back down. "This isn't happening..."

"Fate, could you look at me...?" Nanoha leaned forward and ignored her friend's looks. Gently she touched Fate's cheeks and looked into her eyes. "I remember... those eyes. That were so very sad...."

Fate leaned lightly against the palms and placed her hand over Nanoha's. "I didn't die... Why is everything so suddenly different... I don't..."

"Lets talk somewhere more comfortable," Nanoha requested softly. "Hayate-chan, I don't think she is a threat. We need to let her settle down and try and figure out why she knows all of this. I think we should help her."

Hayate let out a breath but agreed anyway. "You always were one to help people no matter what... But I agree, this is a very confusing situation."

"Okay then, lets go to my room, Fate-chan. Signum, could you watch my students for an hour?" She got a nod and a very thankful look from Fate. "Lets go then." her hands pulled back and moved back under the table. A moment later she moved back and ran her palm over a small orb on her chair, gliding over to a shocked Fate. "Fate-chan?"

Fate felt everything stop, seeing nothing but Nanoha in a wheelchair. The questions around her started to fade out and she felt as if sand was pouring all over her body before she collapsed to her knees and then to the floor. The last thing she heard was her name being shouted and Nanoha trying to lean over to reach her.

~**~

Fate moaned as a cool, damp washcloth was moved over her cheeks. "Wha...?"

"Don't force yourself," a gentle voice warned her softly.

"Shamal..." Fate spoke up, resting easier when the familiar voice was heard. "I had the worse nightmare... I went home and nobody remembered who I was... Nanoha was in a wheelchair..." Her red eyes slowly opened and she looked at the doctor. "It was horrible."

"...I'm sorry to say this, but that wasn't a dream." Shamal gave her patient a sympathetic look. "Fate-san, was it?"

The blonde closed her eyes and stayed silent for a long moment before answering. "...Yes."

"Can you answer some standard questions for me?"

"Yes."

"Do you hurt anywhere?"

"No."

"No headache or sore joints?"

"No."

Shamal clicked her tongue and scribbled on her pad. "Do you have a medical record I can review?"

Fate finally spoke up again after accepting the fact that she was still where she was. "Bardiche, please give Shamal my records." She watched a monitor appear before her and Shamal inspect it.

"They told me you said you knew all of us?" Shamal read over the information before her, staring at the perfect notes and then seeing her name by the doctor who treated the woman. "I see you know me as well, not just my name."

"Yes..." Fate sat up and moved her feet off the bed to sit. "You always treated me. I'm sure you'll find anything you want to know in there... Nanoha isn't here, is she?"

"No, she went to finish training her students, but requested me to contact her when you woke up. Were you expecting her to be here?"

Fate shook her head and stood, looking down at her Barrier Jacket before dismissing it to her normal enforcer uniform. "Shamal, I'm going to the training grounds, if you need me please contact Bardiche, okay?"

"I'm sorry I can't let you go without being escorted..." Her words trailed when the blonde looked at the floor sadly. "... Tell you what, you are my last patient today... How about I walk with you?"

"Thank you, I would like that." Fate allowed the woman to collect her things and close her office before walking along the hallways with her.

"So, how much do you know about us?"

Fate kept her eyes ahead, wondering how exactly to answer that. "You took care of me since I was nine... I remember getting my flu shots every year and being put on diets when I ate too many snacks..." A small smile came to her lips at the bittersweet memory. "We met back in the book of darkness incident-"

"How did you know about that? Its top secret."

"I was there." Fate replied back simply. "You and I didn't fight much, that was mainly Signum. I met Hayate then as well, on Christmas eve back on Earth..." Fate finally looked over at her. "Am I in some sort of fantasy world?"

"Or are you in the normal world with a fantasy memory?" Shamal answered back. "The possibility of this isn't unheard of, although rare."

"There have been others like me?"

"Time-Space distortion, a rare occurrence when going from subspace to normal space. However, those situations have been nothing more than losing time, not entering in alternate realities where only they have changed. Your situation is unique and I can't really offer you any more information until we understand why you have these memories that aren't real."

Fate had to run a few steps to catch up. "They have to be real, I experienced them all."

"The possibilities are too many right now. I will research it, though. Hayate already requested my help in the case."

Fate felt a small smile on her lips. "She doesn't change." The doctor returned the smile and continued the small walk to the training field, where Nanoha was sitting before the active training barrier. "Nanoha-chan."

Nanoha glanced over her shoulder and grinned before moving her left hand over the control orb of her wheelchair to turn herself around. "Shamal-san, Fate-chan, hello. Have you collected yourself, Fate-chan?"

Red eyes stared at the girl before her. "I am trying, but everything is so confusing..." Taking a step forward, she knelt down to be on a more eye-level with her friend. "When you had that accident, way back when we were twelve... is that when you lost your ability to walk?"

"Shouldn't you know that if you've been with me all this time?"

"The Nanoha I know... fought through it, and didn't give up. I helped her every day until she could walk again." Her gaze softened. "I'm sorry..."

Nanoha blinked and made her chair move back a little. "Thank you, but I am fine. I am a tactical teacher and spell developer. Your Nanoha was the same?"

"Stars leader and special task trainer. She lead a unit as well as trained forward students and normal recruits... She also shoved all her paper work off on her poor students." Judging from the laughter in Nanoha's eyes, that part stayed the same. Before she could continue the conversation, a flashing red monitor appeared beside Nanoha, demanding attention.

"Nanoha-chan!" Hayate's face appeared on the screen. "There are some drones near the bridge leading into the city. They are a new model, probably a test run. I need three or four people to launch an attack while we defend incase it is a front!"

Fate looked at the screen, eyes on the drones. "That's... not a new model."

Nanoha turned back to Fate. "You have seen these before?"

"Of course... They were Scaglietti's, a prototype for the more advanced drones."

Hayate addressed Fate now. "You have encountered them before, correct?"

"Yes." She nodded.

Hayate eyed the woman hard. "You said you were stationed under me, right?"

Fate set her eyes, knowing that tone of voice. "Ma'am!"

"What is your rank, Fate-san?"

The blonde pulled Bardiche and recalled her just recently discarded jacket. "S. I can handle them all by myself while recording their motions for you. Request permission for personal flight."

"Granted."

"Hayate-chan!" Nanoha interrupted sharply. "We can't just send her-!"

"Nanoha," Fate spoke up, smiling at her lovingly. "I want to talk to you when I get back, okay? I'll treat you to Fuji's." With that, she flew into the air, twisted, and headed off to the combat site. 'If these are here, and if what Shamal said was true...' The drones came into sight and she ignited her scythe. 'Then Scaglietti is alive...And he is smart enough to figure out why I am in this alternate reality.' She set her brow and engaged, activating several cameras around herself. 'And that means that these people here have no idea of the war about to happen...'

The blonde entered the combat area and flew around several small beams of magical energy shot at her from the robots. Spinning and twirling, she made sure that her cameras were catching the capabilities of the new units. Although she herself knew exactly what they were capable of, a small part of her mind was still wary of her situation and was actively looking for some type of influx in their power range. Finally, after several minutes of dodging, she began attacking as well, cleaving through droid and droid with her scythe as well as magical daggers shot from a distance.

Thunder clapped around her in the sky and red eyes looked upwards as bits and pieces of metal fell to the water below her. 'That's strange it wasn't cloudy a moment ago...' Another attack was made and small drops of rain started falling around her, making the woman try and wrap up the situation before the rain got too hard.

The last flight unit was struck down and the mage floated in the air, looking around for what was making her feel so uncomfortable. A bolt of lightning illuminated the area for a brief moment, revealing a figure in the air not too far from her. "State your name!" Fate yelled out at the person.

The mage flew closer to her, revealing a pre-teen form. Fate stared, her grip on Bardiche loosening lightly. Dark purple armor was covering the male's body, matched by a lighter shade of the same color. Four translucent wings were buzzing behind himself to keep him afloat and in his right hand, a matching spear was gripped at the ready. "Er..io?"

Erio lifted his head lightly, staring at the woman before him as a harsh gust of wind scattered the rain all around them. "I see you've heard of me. I don't recall you, though."

"Its me... Fate." She flew towards him but found Erio lifting his spear to point at her. "Erio?"

"Fate?" He smirked. "What an ironic name. Tell me, Fate, how are you able to take out this small army by yourself? Section Six's top mages are still at the base."

"You don't remember me either..." Fate realized with a bit of despair.

A metallic voice rang up in the storm then, calling Fate's attention. "On alert, sir."

Fate nodded and gripped her weapon harder. "Erio, why are you here?"

"Just observing. The doctor wanted me to see how the new models would hold up in combat."

"So you're with him." She knew it before she said it. Granted, Jail had been looking for him before she found the boy, but something was different... "Who's armor are you wearing? Is it Lutecia's?"

"Oh? You know her?" His cocky attitude was apparent. "Why yes, she gave me this."

"So does that mean... Caro is there as well?"

Erio seemed even more interested. "You seem to know a lot."

Fate licked her lips, tasting the rain on her tongue. "Its nothing..." After a moment of silence, Erio gave a two finger wave and turned, flying off into the now developing storm and out of her sight. "If they are with him already... What else has changed?"

Giving a short sigh, Fate turned around herself and put up a small barrier to keep the rain off of her as she made her way back to base. Landing on the helipad, she walked to the door and through it before letting down her shields and shaking her head to try and sling the water from her hair.

The familiar path was made, hands rubbing her arms to fight the chill of the base's air conditioning on her wet body. When the debriefing room was entered, she felt a little odd that nobody was inside. 'Should I have gone to the command room directly?' Her question was answered when the sound of boots clicking on the smooth floor came to her ears. Fate turned her head and leaned back a little to peek outside the doorway she was standing in, seeing not only Hayate walking towards her, but Nanoha at her side.

Giving them a small smile, waited for them there. "Hey," she greeted when the girls were close enough.

"We thought you would return to the training field," Hayate told her lightly. "But you landed where you were supposed to and even came to the right room."

"I've told you, Hayate," The blonde spoke softly while moving to sit inside the room. "I live here, I'm just... not where I'm supposed to be."

Nanoha made herself comfortable next to Hayate as she sat and leaned forward on the table, looking at the woman in front of her. Small drops of water were dripping from her hair and the ruby red eyes were downcast once more. "Thank you for fighting," Nanoha voiced her thoughts, getting looked at. "Did you get hurt?"

"No," Fate shook her head lightly. "Something like that won't hurt me."

Hayate leaned back in her chair, crossed her arms, and looked up at the ceiling in thought. "Thank you for your help, Fate-san. We got a lot of information that will help us prepare for the next battle."

"I know that voice, you're wondering what to do with me now."

Hayate looked at the blonde and smiled. "Yes, I am. I think I can spare you a room for the meantime, under surveillance for the time being, I'm afraid. I hope you understand."

"A powerful mage comes out of no where, claims to know everyone and may be from another world with no proof of any of this... I understand completely, Hayate."

"Thank you." Hayate nodded. "I'll show you to your room, I'm sure you want to take a while to settle down."

Fate glanced over at Nanoha. "Actually, I'd like to talk with Nanoha a bit... can I offer to buy you.." she trailed off and looked at Bardiche. "Bardiche, how much money do I have?"

"None, sir. Your bank account will not connect."

Fate looked down dejectedly. "I should have realized that sooner."

Nanoha smiled lightly. "How about I cook for you instead? You can come to my room for a while."

"Nanoha-chan." Hayate whispered softly to her in a concerned voice.

"Its okay," Nanoha replied just as soft. "You know that battle in the past, when I first got my magic, really upset me... I still have nightmares about not saving that girl... and even if she can lie so well, her eyes make me feel the same as they did back then... She's scared and confused."

Hayate looked at Nanoha's determined face and slowly exhaled. "Okay, I won't stop you. But please understand I have to watch her, even if I do trust you and she fights for us."

"I know, you're just protecting everyone." Nanoha took Hayate's hand and gave it a small squeeze before looking back at Fate. "Shall we?"

"Yes," Fate stood as well and walked out of the room with the two girls. Her red eyes looked down at Nanoha's wheelchair and realized that there were no handles on the back. Instead she seemed to be in an almost a small vehicle. Several orbs were on her left hand-rest and one was on her right, which was used to steer herself. From the lines on the side of the device, she could tell it held many storage containers and the wheels seemed to be very sturdy.

If Nanoha noticed the staring, she didn't say anything. Instead, she stayed quiet until they were back on the bottom floor of the main base. When the elevator doors opened, both she and Hayate groaned at the same time. Fate blinked but followed their gaze to two people standing at the receptionist desk of the main lobby.

The man of the group turned and looked at them before standing his full height, smirking with an attitude that made the blonde suppress a shiver. "Yo, midget." He hailed Hayate with a voice full of sarcasm. "And Wingless as well, hello." He looked down at Nanoha, who frowned up at him.

Fate felt anger rise in her chest when she heard the names and stood in front of the two out of instinct when addressing him. Her eyes went to the man's badges on his uniform to check the rank before talking to him casually. "And you are, sir?"

"Salute your superiors." He stated flatly.

"When I see one, I will." Fate shot back, astonished at his rudeness to someone he's never met.

Hayate interrupted, getting straight to the point. "Why are you here, Lexus?"

"Enemy units were engaged by an unknown mage, who landed here." He looked at Fate. "Is that her?"

"I engaged." Fate told him simply.

"You got yourself a mage ranked over A, I'm impressed Midget."

Nanoha chose this time to interject. "She is stationed with us, if you have no other business, then leave, Lexus."

"Quiet, Wingless."

Fate stepped in front of Nanoha more and glared. "Do not call her that, it is rude."

Lexus smirked. "So?"

"I don't like you. Please leave." Fate said the words softly, but the man still chuckled before turning and waving over his shoulder.

"See you around, Midget." With that, the man and his unknown partner left the building, laughing at a joke that the three women missed.

Fate looked over at Hayate, who seemed to be holding herself back quite a bit. "Who was that?"

"...Long story." The smaller woman whispered, annoyed.

"Long story short," Nanoha began when the three started moving again, heading to the side exit that was closer to the residential building. "Lexus commands a division much like ours. We focus on Lost Logia and Relics, where as he combines the air, sea, and land forces into one 'super fleet' that can help any situation... Which is what we were supposed to do as well."

Fate thought about it a moment. "So why do they have that right instead of you?"

Hayate picked back up. "He has a triple-A ranked air, land, and sea mage. Even though I'm an S plus-ranked mage..."

"I don't mind," Nanoha spoke up when a small delay made her notice what was bothering her best friend. "When I had my accident, I went from the top flight Ace to being..." She looked to the side. "A 'wingless' bird who can only train students."

"That's... that's horrible." Fate almost stopped walking. "How can he call you that!?"

"I'm used to it by now. It annoys me more than anything." Nanoha shook her head.

"That doesn't give him any right to-"

Hayate interrupted the rant before it could start. "Anyway, he has the best mages, so he gets the best support. His budget is twice that of mine and he doesn't miss an opportunity to rub it in my face."

"Why?"

"If I disband my unit, he will get my base for his to expand, as well as my funding. He will get promoted as well, I'm sure."

Fate looked down at the ground. "How low can you get... Just because I wasn't here."

Hayate glanced to the side, taking in Fate's angry and sad face. "You were there in your world. I'm sure I'm happy there."

"...You believe me?"

Hayate stopped at Nanoha's doorway and crossed her arms with a teasing smile. "Do you know Nanoha's password to enter her room?"

Fate stepped to the hand scanner, knowing she wasn't stored in it. The small password screen was to the left, just like always. Lifting her hand to touch the numbers, she stopped and thought a moment. 'It won't be her birthday, nor mine... She hasn't met Vivio yet so it won't be hers...Of course it would have nothing to do with me, so maybe Hayate?... No, she never used Hayate before because it would be a security risk...' Licking her lips, she pressed a button on the small screen to bring up the keyboard for the alphabet. Her first choice was Arisa, which was beeped at. Secondly she tried Suzuka and got the same result.

Pausing a moment, she thought hard, back in the past where she was on Earth with everyone else. 'She told me she felt isolated... loved but not being a part of it. She always said she felt left out despite everyone always smiling at her...' A grin came to Fate's mouth and she started moving her hand once more, typing out the word carefully: Happiness

The confirmation beep came and the door slid open, making both Hayate and Nanoha look at her in shock. "Back then," Fate told them softly, looking over her shoulder. "Nanoha wanted something more, something that she could have but also give to everyone else. When she could teach people, she would share it with them and use it to help guide their lives, just as she helped guide mine. I told her then, that more than anyone else in my life... She made me the happiest..." The girl looked down, lightly embarrassed. "I just thought that part of you would stay the same, even if I wasn't there to say it..."

After a small moment of silence, Hayate smiled at Fate and Nanoha. "Well, I'm going to handle the paperwork. Nanoha-chan, please take care of our guest." She got a nod. "Fate-chan, I'm assuming?" this time Fate nodded at her, also smiling. "Until I deem it otherwise, you will be stationed here. I'll need you to fill out forms tomorrow and talk with Shari-chan and Yuuno-kun about your situation.... And we'll just go from there." Patting the girl on the back, she grinned and went on her way.

Fate watched the girl walk from them and waved lightly when the girl turned to press the button on the elevator. "She's the same.

Nanoha moved herself into her apartment and felt the blonde follow her in. "How about my home? Is it the same where you come from?"

Expecting the difference already, Fate shook her head lightly. "No, its different. Hayate designed it herself and we picked out our furniture. Of course it will be tailored to fit just you." Her eyes scanned the area, taking in the new room. The layout was the same, as were the locations of the furniture, but the similarities ended there. The furniture itself was different, and was obviously meant for someone in a wheelchair. The small kitchen area had less under the counter storage and instead was trimmed to let Nanoha move with ease. The small stairway to their raised bedroom was replaced with a slight ramp, and there were less traces of the frill that Fate was so fond of.

"Please, make yourself at home." Nanoha told her while going to the kitchen. "I'm sure you're hungry, I'll cook us something.

"Ah, I'll handle it!" Fate stopped when Nanoha glanced over at her. "Oh... I'm sorry, that must have sounded weird to you."

Instead of commenting on that, Nanoha went back to inspecting her refrigerator. "We need to have something yummy to celebrate me meeting my best friend from another world. How does roast chicken sound to you?"

"Sounds wonderful."

"If I asked you to get some things from my pantry, would you know where to look?"

"Possibly," Fate went to the small pantry and opened the double doors there before picking up the containers. "Here, should I get the orange andd butter as well?"

"Orange? for a chicken?"

Fate felt a small giggle come and she welcomed it gratefully. "Yes, you love orange chicken... May I?"

Nanoha nodded smiled. "Yes, please." watching the blonde move around her kitchen, she felt an odd feeling in her chest. "This is so weird, I can't even imagine what its like for you."

"Its strange," Fate's motions slowed slightly but she picked back up almost at once. "Everything is the same but slightly different at the same time."

"You said we were really close."

Fate nodded and moved beside Nanoha to share the cutting work with her. "You're my wife."

"... I see." Blushing darkly, Nanoha glanced up at Fate. "How long have we been together?"

"A few years. We started dating when we were about fifteen or sixteen. I asked you to marry me and..." She grinned. "you fainted. Dead on the spot, it was so nerve wracking."

"Nya haha, that sounds like me. Was our wedding pretty?"

"Very. Everyone was there..." trailing off, she looked down at Nanoha again. "Speaking of, do you train Subaru?"

"Subaru-san? Oh yes, she's in my group. A little bit of a cry-baby but she's getting better."

"... Tea?"

"I'm sorry, I don't know a Tea. Is she in my group in your world?"

"Not anymore. Subaru, Tea, Erio, Caro, and Lutecia were your forwards."

"Forwards?" Nanoha pondered this while moving to preheat the oven. "I don't have any forwards here, just my standard group of fifteen."

"I see... I guess that makes sense." Fate tried to shake the feeling she was getting.

"So, Fate-chan, in your world, we're married and you said we had a daughter?"

"Yes."

"Adopted?"

Fate did stop this time. "...Yeah. She's adopted."

Nanoha flinched. "I'm sorry, did something happen?"

"Our first child... No, never mind. Tell me about your day?"

Taking the change of topic in stride, Nanoha went on. "It was normal up until you came in. Woke up, started training students, had lunch, then met this really weird girl from another universe who says she's my wife."

"Sounds like a winner," Fate played along. "You should keep an eye on her."

"Make sure she doesn't hit on me." Nanoha stuck out her tongue, pleased at having someone to talk to for a change.

"And carry you up to the bedroom and raid the bottom drawer?" Her words made Nanoha physically recoil in shock, eyes wide and cheeks suddenly burning red. Fate blinked a moment before realization finally dawned on her. "Oh... Wow, that was a really awkward thing to say."

"H-How did you... I mean..." Nanoha face palmed. "Married. right."

"... Sorry."

"Its... Its okay." Nanoha moved around Fate to start preparing some side dishes while the blonde catered to preparing their main course. "Just... Wow, that's embarrassing."

"Don't be embarrassed, we both picked them out, so-"

"Fate-chan!" Nanoha almost shrieked. "That's even worse!"

"Oh! Oh, I'm sorry. I'm just... wow, this is awkward."

Nanoha felt her ears burn. "So, um... Hey, am I any good?"

Taking the chance to turn the topic playful, Fate nodded lightly. "Yeah. Really good." Looking over at her friend, she smiled.

"Tell me some more about yourself. You seem to know everything about me but I don't know much of anything about you. Some wife I am."

"Its okay... Uhm, what do you want to know?"

"Everything... I want to know what my wife is like."

Fate paused and turned to gaze down at the girl in the wheelchair next to her. Slate blue eyes were misted lightly, probably from the onion she was cutting. 'That's right... I was Nanoha's main support all those years... the one who never gave up on her, the one who always stood beside her... The one who loved her the most when she felt so alone, and understood without needing to hear anything...'

"... My name is Fate Takamachi Harlaown. You took my last name and I changed my middle. I met you when we were nine..." Fate's story continued all throughout their cooking, even spilling over into their dinner together. Fate's words almost never paused, and the curious eyes of Nanoha begged for more every time she thought Fate would stop. As the time went by, they moved from the kitchen, to their dining table, to sitting on the couch together after Fate carefully carried Nanoha to it.

Finally, after several hours, Nanoha found herself hard pressed to stay awake despite wanting to know more. When the blonde noticed, she simply smiled and bent over to pick her up off the couch. Carrying her like a princess, she moved to the bedroom and saw Nanoha's wheelchair move on its own behind them. Laying the girl on the bed, she smiled down at her and simply said her goodnight before making a promise to meet her for breakfast the next day.

After leaving the room, Fate leaned against the door and sighed longingly. "Nanoha... I miss you so much."

A.
A.'s picture
Offline
Joined: 08/14/2009
Posts: 3737

I'm really looking forward to the new chapters of this fic, thanks for sharing this great story here, I'm happy to know that now you can load the page.

NanoFaito's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/20/2009
Posts: 172

this is good! Well done i look forward to the future chapters! :3
i feel bad for fate and nanoha but still the story and the flow is there so its interesting to read. i really like this story. keep up!

btw i really feel like punching that guy who call nanoha wingless! HOW DARE HIM!!

Alicia Testarossa's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/15/2009
Posts: 404

Wow...just....wow. I secede all my rights and authority as writer. I am probably not the only one thinking this, but as embarrassing as it is to admit it, it cant be helped. But there is just *no* way to match this level of skill. Once again...Well done ^.^

langrisser's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/22/2009
Posts: 1380

A great fic you give us Satashi, well done. :3

Satashi's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/17/2009
Posts: 595

Haru wrote:
I'm really looking forward to the new chapters of this fic, thanks for sharing this great story here, I'm happy to know that now you can load the page.

Yeah, it was annoying when I couldn't reply or anythingt here T_T

NanoFaito wrote:
this is good! Well done i look forward to the future chapters! :3
i feel bad for fate and nanoha but still the story and the flow is there so its interesting to read. i really like this story. keep up!

btw i really feel like punching that guy who call nanoha wingless! HOW DARE HIM!!

XD Just wait :p I'm happy you like it!

Alicia Testarossa wrote:
Wow...just....wow. I secede all my rights and authority as writer. I am probably not the only one thinking this, but as embarrassing as it is to admit it, it cant be helped. But there is just *no* way to match this level of skill. Once again...Well done ^.^

aww >///< you're embarrassing me

langrisser wrote:
A great fic you give us Satashi, well done. :3

thank you very much <3

Satashi's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/17/2009
Posts: 595

I was awake before Bardiche rang out his alarm to tell me it was time to get up. In fact, I had spent the last little while staring at the ceiling of what I knew to be a forward room. Nanoha had given me my room number and Hayate set it to accept me sometime last night when I was having dinner with my friend. Although they called it a 'special room for important guests', I still couldn't help but feel awkward. Here I am, in my home base, laying in a bed that didn't belong to me. I was still slightly in shock from everything that had happened, but I knew that I had to put it behind me and look for a solution rather than mope around.

Alternatives II
By: Satashi

Fate walked down the hallway leading to Nanoha's room briskly. Having being given clothes to wear, the blonde found herself in a standard base uniform that didn't fit quite right but still felt better than her dirty enforcer attire. When she made it to Nanoha' door, she stopped herself from just entering now that she was stored in the device via password, and instead knocked.

"Come in!" A perky voice came from inside. The door swished open and Fate looked around, spying Nanoha at her tiny kitchen. "Good morning, did you sleep well?"

"No, but I rested enough." Fate told the truth, which got her a look that was mixed between sympathy and amusement. "Did you sleep okay? you didn't wake up too early did you?" The blonde smelt the freshly baked biscuits and bacon before she saw the pan on the stove and light in the oven.

"I woke up on my own, don't worry." Nanoha waved her hand over her wheelchair control orb and went to the refrigerator. "How do you like your eggs?"

"Scrambled... mind if I join in?"

"Some hostess I am, letting my guest do all the work."

"I like cooking." Fate moved by Nanoha and started cracking shells. "You want yours over easy with extra pepper, cooked in the bacon grease right?"

"That's kind of creepy." Nanoha mused, not sure if she was enjoying this or was weirded out by it. "Tell me, how did I make the biscuits?"

"If you're referring to adding in honey, I know your mother taught you to do that when you were young."

Nanoha hummed and simply watched the girl cook. "I'd really like to meet me in your world. It must be nice having someone know so much about you."

"You're about the same, from what I can tell..."

"...I'm sorry, I was being selfish. We'll get you back, don't worry. I'm sure Hayate-chan will want us to meet with her first thing this morning."

"What about your students?"

"Vita-chan can handle them for the morning lessons, this is more important. We have to get you registered while you are here so you won't be in trouble. Last night's battle will be covered by the civilian collaborator contract, but you need to be in the records for now on."

"Yeah..." Fate finished their breakfast while Nanoha removed the now cooked sides. "I just realized I won't have my rank anymore..." Her lips turned up into a small grin. "Should I salute you?" The joke made Nanoha giggle to herself and Fate took comfort in hearing the familiar sound.

Just as soon as the two sat down together, A beeping sound came from Nanoha's wheelchair. "Raising Heart, connect please." The command allowed a monitor to appear in front of the girl and Hayate's image formed on it almost instantly. "Good morning, Hayate-chan."

"Morning, Nanoha-chan." Hayate replied back in kind. "Could you please bring Fate-chan to my office this morning?"

"Already planning on it." Reaching up, she tiled the screen to show Fate was next to her. The blonde smiled and gave a small wave which was returned. "Do you have any idea on what could have put her here?"

Hayate shook her head. "I haven't had time to do anything other than talk to everyone in our room last night. Shamal seems to think she could have come through a dimensional rift, but the chances of that are so low it’s hard to believe. Anyway, I have some people on it. For now, I need her signed as a collaborator before the T.S.A.B swoop in and try to have her signed on. Is that okay, Fate-chan?"

"Yes, that is fine." Fate nodded at the screen. "Nanoha was just telling me that."

"I see," Hayate looked back over at Nanoha. "Well then, enjoy your breakfast. I'll ask Vita to train your students today for you."

"Please." The two friends nodded at each other and the communication was cut off. "See? Hayate-chan is always on top of things."

"She is." The blonde agreed and a small bit of silence passed over them as they ate, interrupted only by raising Heart's update on the weather, Nanoha's schedule, and the sounds of utensils tapping their plates.

Once breakfast was over, the two girls headed down out to take care of their business, stopping once they reached the front door. "Raising Heart wasn't kidding when she said high chances of rain today," Nanoha mused while looking out at the drizzling rain.

"Seems so," Fate brought up Bardiche and the device answered her silent call to allow an umbrella to form, casting a translucent yellow barrier above them. "Shall we?"

Nanoha gave Fate an amused look but still allowed girl to hold the shield over them both as they walked to the adjacent building. From there they went up to Hayate's office and the blonde found herself answering questions that both made her grin and sigh out at the same time. Once the paperwork was completed Hayate gave a satisfied nod and began ushering them downstairs once more so they could go give Fate her official ranking test. Their trip was interrupted just moments after they left the main building by Lexus standing in front of them, an umbrella held over his head by none other than a reluctant looking Teana.

Lexus greeted them with a smirk and stepped forward to Fate, making Tea move along with him. "Hello there, Blondie. I did some research and it appeaser you aren't with the T.S.A.B. yet."

"I am a civilian collaborator, and don't call me Blondie." Fate frowned at him but still let her eyes drift to Tea for a brief moment.

"My assistant, Teana." Lexus pointed to the girl. "Not worth anything on the field but she's helpful when I need someone to carry something for me." His words made the girl with him bite down a growl. "Anyway, Hot Legs, why not join my battalion? I have much better resources then these clowns. What do you say?"

"My name is Fate." The woman stated firmly.

"Ooh, my destiny, I like that."

Nanoha chose that moment to interrupt. "Don't hit on my friends."

"Jealous I've never hit on you? Can't see what fun you'll be without moving your hips arou-" His words cut off when a palm connected firmly with his cheek.

"Do not address my friends in such a manor." Fate told him, voice going from her usual soft tone to holding a faint edge to it. "I won't tolerate anyone insulting people I care for."

Lexus licked his lips and looked at Fate with a new interest, left hand going to touch his slapped cheek. "I want you even more now. Have you taken your mage exam test yet?"

"I have not," Fate answered simply.

"Tell you what," stepping closer to her, he forced Teana to lean the umbrella to keep him dry, even though her back was now getting wet. "Let me review you. If I win, you join my battalion, in more ways than one."

Fate felt her body grow stiff, red tinting her cheeks when she realized what the last part meant. Despite this, she still didn't move from him, and answered back calmly. "When I win, that girl with you will join our battalion, and you will address Hayate and Nanoha by their ranks."

Lexus laughed loudly at her. "Well spoken! Fine then. Wingless, we will be using your training field. Let’s go, Babe."

Fate nodded and began walking as well, ignoring the astonished look on Tea's face at her sudden involvement with people she didn't even know.

The training area, now free from its morning inhabitants, was quickly changed to form a fake city on it, leaving Fate standing on one building on the east side while Lexus was on the West. The blonde ran her thumb over Bardiche and felt her clothes shift and change around her before forming a barrier jacket to protect herself. 'I don't care if you harass me,' she thought bitterly as a monitor came up in front of her, informing her of how the ranking test would work. 'But I will never forgive anyone who insults my family or friends.'

On the sidelines, Hayate stood with crossed arms. Monitors floated all around her and a firm frown was on her face. "This isn't what I had in mind for today."

Nanoha nodded lightly, moving her hands out to make sure all the necessary information would be recorded and documented. "He is a triple-A plus mage. Fate-chan said she was S, but her performance last night would only suggest a double-A... Was she holding back so she could record for us?"

"... For her sake, I hope so..." Her eyes moved to look at Tea standing next to them. 'And why did she bet that that girl would be transferred to me...? I'm getting too laid back in my old age.' Smirking at the inside joke, Hayate finally pushed the screen to confirm the battle to start. 'Good luck, Fate-chan.

Fate looked out over the make-shift abandoned city from her position on top of a large office building. The screen by her stated that the test was now in progress and she gripped Bardiche a little tighter. "Bardiche?"

"Scan complete, sir." He spoke back calmly. "Enemy is across the field, coming at running speed. ETA is three minutes."

"How impatient, he should have waited for us to come to him." The blonde moved her hand out and placed several binding spells along the ground. "He isn't powerful enough to test us properly... Looks like we will have to be evaluated again once this is over."

"Sir," Bardiche's tone made Fate hesitate leaving the building. "Our situation is weird, please do not be careless."

"...You're right." Fate lifted her hand once more and focused, forming several daggers of energy around herself. "As weird as everything has been, I can not afford to be careless... Especially after he called Nanoha that."

"Yes sir."

Fate frowned to herself and leaped off the building, dropping down to the ground and darting forward. Lexus made it just as she expected and began dodging the sprung traps, twisting and jumping through the yellow binds. When the last one was sprung, his left leg was snared, making him look back in shock. Taking the opportunity, Fate engaged and swung her scythe down hard.

Lexus yelled as his barrier jacket ripped open and barely managed to block the next attack, leaving himself open for several yellow energy daggers to break his auto barrier. The male broke the bind on himself and jumped back, recollecting himself and staring at the blonde who didn't press her advantage. "What's the matter!? Scared you won't do as well after a surprise attack!?"

"Bardiche."

"Yes sir." The device was lifted and circles appeared around them, forming small darts of yellow energy that burst forth, triggering several trap spells that were placed as Lexus retreated.

"Che, you would be a smart one." Making a taunting motion, Lexus smirked at her. "I want you even more now. Tell you what, join me and I'll even let the whore come too."

"Sir." Bardiche's voice made the blonde stop before she lunged at him.

Taking a breath, Fate cooled down and spoke at the man again. "Why are you such a pervert?"

Lexus shrugged. "Guess its in my DNA." Fate twirled Bardiche and walked in a half circle on the mostly destroyed road. Lexus made the other half as they circled each other slowly. Their eyes met and each ran forward. Lexus reacted faster, drawing his device and pointing a gun at Fate and shooting. The magical bullet met it's target and hit the blonde square in the chest before ripping through her back side. "What-the!?"

Fate appeared behind the man as her after-image faded away. A small moment was taken to charge her attack before she slashed her scythe down, the blade pulsating larger than normal. As the man fell forward, Fate caught his collar and pulled him back so she could whisper into his ear firmly. "If you [I]ever look at my wife in a perverted manor again, I won't hold back." When her words were done she let go of him and allowed him to fall onto the ground defeated.

As monitors appeared around Fate, Lexus smirked to himself through the pain in his back. 'So, she does have a weakness...'

~**~

"Fate-chan!" Nanoha's voice made the girl look up and smile at her.

The blonde walked up the ramp leading to the instructor observatory and stood next to Nanoha, red eyes scanning the video image feeds all around her. "Sorry for having to run earlier. Hayate needed me to fill out paperwork and schedule another testing time."

"No problem, she told me before she went to the field to get you. I had to deal with Teana's transfer anyway. Did you get an earful?"

Fate felt a small smile come to her face. "Yes, Hayate scolded me for making that deal and was going to turn it down but Lexus expelled Tea from his base."

"At least my work wasn't for nothing then. I already have her situated in my books."

Fate licked her lips as the screen came up. "Hey...can I ask a favor?"

"Mm?" Nanoha tapped the floating keyboards around herself to make the students training on the field have to swap tactics.

"Can you place Tea with Subaru?"

"Why?" Nanoha looked over at Fate curiously. "That would be a very awkward and inconvenient move for all of our parts. Subaru is a close combat mage while Teana seems to use a pistol. I need to consider Teana's points before I transfer away from where I placed her."

"...Please?"

Nanoha blinked and looked up at Fate once more. "...Why?"

"Its just... in my time, they are forwards... placed directly under your personal training. They improved more than anyone I've ever seen and... well, Tea is my partner when I go on long distance missions."

Nanoha leaned back in her wheelchair and rubbed the bridge of her nose. "The C-ranked mage you forced on me is now suddenly one of my best students who runs with a S ranked mage?"

"Yes."

"Hayate-chan was right, you're really annoying." With a grin, Nanoha glanced up at Fate before typing on her keyboards again. "However, your request will [I]really throw me off. I can't justify this, it just doesn't make any sense."

Fate leaned against the guard rail and looked out over the training field with distant eyes. "I know the feeling."

The blue eyed girl stayed silent for a long moment before heaving out a long sigh. "Hayate-chan is going to yell at me for this."

"Thank you. I will train them myself."

"Nooooo, you're a civilian collaborator, not an instructor. Jeez, does the other Nanoha have to keep you on a leash as well?"

Fate smirked, a playful tint coming to her eyes as she turned to look over her shoulder. "Yes, yes she does."

'What have I gotten into?' Nanoha thought while tapping away on her keyboards. 'I was fine with it when she was just affecting me, but now she's barged into my work and... Maybe Hayate-chan was right, maybe she is here to throw us off balance for some reason...' Eying the blonde looking out over the field, she felt a small tear at her heart. 'But nobody can pretend to be that sad and confused... Even with that smile on her face, I can tell she is about to cry. Just like that girl so long ago, her feelings pour out through her eyes... as if she's screaming for help but can't form the words...'

"You're sighing an awful lot today," Fate told her softly before turning around completely to sit against the railing. "I'm sorry for being so selfish."

"No... I just... I don't know." Nanoha shook her head. "Fate-chan, I'm sorry but can we meet up later? I need to focus on my students."

"Yes, I'm sorry." Fate's tone turned sad almost at once.

'Aw, she probably came to me because she felt alone...' Before Nanoha could speak up again an new voice called Fate's attention.

"Fate." Signum walked to the bottom of the ramp and met the blonde's eyes. "I need you to come with me for a moment."

"Okay." walking down ramp, she gave Signum a curious look. "What is it, Signum?"

Signum stopped to get a drink from a vending machine and waved her device over it again, putting in enough credits for Fate to get one as well. "Mistress Hayate requested for me to accompany you to the bank to set up an account, as well as try and get some more information from you regarding your situation."

Fate picked her drink and smiled while bending over to get it. "You don't trust me."

"I don't."

"I understand." Fate fell into step beside her and walked along the sidewalk. "Later... Lets have a sparing match."

"Why?" Signum eyed her without turning her head.

"Because you and I both can feel someone's emotions when fighting them."

"How do you know that?"

"Because..." Fate whispered softly. "You're my role model. The one I always looked up to and sought advice from."

"... Fine, we will spar later."

"Thank you, Signum."

"Don't thank me yet." A small giggle made her look at Fate curiously. "What?"

"I'm just relieved... Everyone is the same."

"...We can get lunch while we're out too."

"Thank you."

~**~

"That was awkward." The understatement made Signum repress the urge to scoff at the blonde trailing her. "I'm sorry, really."

"You could have at least come up with a story before we got inside the bank." Signum spoke back flatly, clearly annoyed at the embarrassing act. "I thought Hayate and you would have surely discussed what you would put down on the paper. I'm sure Nanoha is thrilled."

"I can't help it, it was instinct!"

"Writing down that you are married and live with the top instructor on this planet isn't something that comes as instinct. You're lucky Nanoha played along with it. I'm sure you saw how embarrassed she was."

"...Yes." Fate sighed and sat in Signum's sports car, closing the door almost too softly to latch. "I've caused so much trouble since I showed up... I really don't know how to apologize for it all."

"Start by thinking more." Signum started the engine and looked over her shoulder to back out of the parking space. "Am I really your role model? I expected better."

"...You don't have to rub it in." Fate's tone made the older woman exhale a defeated breath.

"Okay... Okay, I apologize for getting upset. Don't get all whiny on me... How do I normally deal with you when you do this?"

"Honestly?" Fate inhaled deeply to calm herself down. "You ruffle my hair and tell me to get over it. If its really bad, you'll hold me and kiss my forehead."

"I wouldn't be caught kissing someone's forehead."

"I know." Fate felt a little of her energy come back. "You always hide the fact that you do it. Not even Vita knows, and you do it to her too."

Signum stiffened slightly. "That's very creepy. Knowing things about me that I do not wish you to is very unnerving."

"Yeah," Fate looked out the window. "I've been getting that all day. No matter how casual I try to be, it still freaks people out when I talk like I've known them forever... Tell me, Signum... If you were in my place, how would you handle it?"

The swordsman hesitated her response, rolling the question over in her head as she drove them down the roads in the capital. Finally, after contemplating it for several long moments, she answered. "I would tell you something that there was no way you could know unless we were as close as you say. Having people support you and take you seriously without doubt would be the best way to stay stable."

Fate nodded. "This is embarrassing."

"Say it."

"You have a cosplay fetish, and Shamal dresses you up when you make love. Hayate makes them for you, and you pose in them to satisfy her and not let her know what you two do with them... Also, you-"

"Okay!" Signum interrupted her, cheeks splashed red. "Did you have to pick something sexual? Why not say something simple like..."

"You have a mole on your inner thigh that looks like a star? Because anyone who bathes with you would know that."

"...You impress me." Signum nodded to herself. "But might I ask... How did you get that information?"

Fate grimaced. "When we were younger I caught you two doing it several times but I never understood it until after Nanoha and I made love the first time when we were sixteen... I couldn't look at you in the face for weeks."

"So we don't...?"

"No!" Fate almost shrieked, blushing herself now. "I'm dedicated to Nanoha! Fully!"

"Good..." Signum felt a small grin come to her face. "Well then, Fate, how do you feel now?"

"...Better." Looking at her lap, she played with her fingers. "I'm sure you will understand more when we spar tonight but... I'm glad you gave me a chance. I don't like it when you don't trust me."

"We'll discuss that topic more over lunch, where do you want to eat?"

"Well Fuji's isn't open yet so....."

"Fuji's?"

"Yes?" Fate thought about the bar. "Oh... That's right, I directly had an impact on that place... Since Nanoha isn't an Ace and I wasn't there to find it... Kuhn couldn't have opened his bar." Groaning, the blonde leaned back in her seat. "I don't know then, you pick."

"Okay." The woman flicked her wrist and turned on the car's blinker, moving over to take a turn. "I know a good place."

~**~

Hayate looked up from her monitor when a knock came at her office door. "Come in." Her words granted Fate access and she smiled at the woman walking up to her. "Ah, special collaborator Fate." Standing, she walked over to the front of her desk and saluted. "Allow me to officially welcome you to my base."

"Thank you," Fate saluted back before getting casual. "I'll do anything I can to help while I'm here. Thank you again for helping me as well."

"I have people on your case already, investigating where you woke up and searching for anything that could be related. We don't have much to work with so the best I can say is that I'll contact you the moment we find out anything."

"Thank you." Fate smiled lightly. "I really appreciate this, Hayate."

The shorter girl leaned forward, inspecting the cut on Fate's cheek. "What happened to you?"

"Signum got a lick in." rubbing the spot lightly, she smiled. "We had a little sparring match."

"As long as you don't get hurt. Do you need to go to Shamal?"

Fate shook her head. "I just need a bath. By the way, could I get a small advance on my pay? I need to buy a few things while I'm here."

"I'm sorry, but you're only stationed here. I don't have any control over you except for your duties. Your pay comes from the T.S.A.B directly. I can loan you some of mine though."

"Ah, I'd feel bad... Maybe I can just borrow some clothes from Nanoha until I get my first check."

"If you change your mind, don't hesitate. By the way, did you really put down Nanoha as your wife on the bank application?" The embarrassed look on the girl's face made Hayate put a hand on her hip. "I'm sure Nanoha won't mind, but please don't get her upset okay?"

"I won't."

"Nanoha is... very weird in that area." Hayate thought about how to word what she was thinking. All the time growing up she felt like she wasn't part of her family. Same with the times I've known her as well. People love her, I love her, but she has never truely felt love before. You know what I mean?"

"She desperatly wants someone to be in love with her. I know, she was like that with me as well."

"But you were there... you weren't for my Nanoha. Do you get what I'm saying?"

Fate nodded. "I love my Nanoha. I would never cheat on her, even if its with the same girl in another time line. She is Nanoha, but she's not my Nanoha."

Hayate smiled and gave a relieved chuckle. "Thank you, that makes me feel so much better. I was worried that when you left... it might hurt her."

Fate started walking with Hayate as she closed down her office and walked towards the door. "Don't worry, I don't think she'd fall for me that easily. Nanoha and I danced around each other for years before we started dating. In fact, it was you who brought us together."

"Really?" She tilted her head curiously.

"It was at a sleep over, you dared her to ask out her crush to the dance at school. You got her phone and called her crush and... my phone rang. I remember looking at it and slowly picking it up. I brought it to my ear and looked at Nanoha, who quickly turned away from me and looked down at her lap... Then she meekly told me hello and asked if I had a date yet. It was the cutest thing you would have ever seen. I thought she would pass out, her ears were so red."

With a giggle, Hayate shook her head. "That would be so amusing. Nanoha is so independent it is hard to imagine her all shy blushy."

"Blushy? Is that a word?"

"Its a technical term." Hayate smiled as they walked to the residential area. "Nanoha normally takes a bath in her room so I'm sure she won't mind you taking one there as well. She doesn't like people offering to help her, gets really touchy about it."

"Sounds like her."

"I know, right? One time I offered to carry her to the bathtub and she got really upset. She never lets anyone carry her anywhere, its like her pet peeve."

"Really?" Fate stopped walking and looked at her with a confused look. "I carried her to bed last night and she seemed rather pleased."

"You carried her?" Hayate shook her head. "No, no, nobody carries Nanoha. They would lose their arms."

Fate scratched her head before placing her hand on her hip. "Odd, maybe she was just too tired to say anything."

"Must have been being polite," Hayate agreed. "Anyway, I'll see you tomorrow."

"Okay," Fate nodded and left the elevator once it was on her floor. The short walk was made and she found herself standing in front of Nanoha's door. 'I hope she isn't upset about earlier...' Taking a breath to steady herself, Fate knocked on the door leading into Nanoha's loft. A call from inside bade her entrance and she made her way into the overly large room. "I'm back," she called testingly, seeing Nanoha move over from behind the kitchen cabinets and face her.

"Welcome back," Nanoha smiled in greeting "So, you're registered here, miss Takamachi?"

"I... didn't mean for it to turn out that way. I'm sorry..."

"I don't mind." Nanoha mused, turning her chair around and going back to the kitchen to finish preparing her drink. "You could have told me beforehand, though. I was contacted in front of all my students as I was dismissing them. Now they are all asking me weird questions."

"I'm sorry..." Fate looked down.

"Don't get all pouty on me. Like I said, I don't mind. I'm your wife after all, that's kind of neat. I've never even been on a date and now I have a wife. I should call my parents."

"Nanoha!" Fate felt herself blushing, a fact that the girl didn't miss. "A-anyway, um..."

"Make yourself at home. Want anything to eat or drink?"

"Uhm, a drink would be nice."

Nanoha smiled. "What would you like?"

"Don't suppose you have scotch?" The girl cocked an eyebrow at her. "I don't drink often, but I could use something to mellow me down right now."

"Sorry, don't have any. I have some frozen daiquiri mix and some rum?"

"Thanks but I can't handle the sweetness." Fate moved to the large couch and fell down on it.

Nanoha moved over to her and lifted her arms. The wheelchair shifted and two bars came out for her to grab, allowing the girl to easily move so she was sitting on the couch as well. "So," Once she was set, the wheelchair moved away from them. "Other than looking like a nervous wreck, how was your day?"

"Bad... Good... I'm not sure." Looking down, Fate moved her hands out in a helpless gesture. "I mean, everything is going okay and my day wasn't really that bad, it's just..."

"You're not where you want to be."

"Yeah... which is weird, because this is exactly where I want to be."

"Tell me," Nanoha picked up a pillow from the couch and sat it on her lap. "What do I normally do when you're upset?"

"Rub my back and make advances on me." Fate smiled at the thought. "You're really physical. I remember you telling me that you couldn't express how you felt with words so you tried to do it in a way that would show me."

"Wow, that's interesting." Nanoha leaned forward to make Fate look at her. "So a massage?"

"I- I couldn't-"

"Its okay, you're my wife after all." Nanoha laughed at the statement. "That's so weird to say, I like it. Come on, lets go upstairs and I'll rub your back. Its the least I can do for you fighting for me this morning. Besides, I heard what you said to Lexus."

"A-Ah, that was... Just instinct."

Nanoha smiled more, asking a question fondly. "Am I always in your instinct?"

"...Yeah, you could say that. Not a day goes by without me thinking about Nanoha."

The girl leaned to Fate more. "Then let me help you out for a change. Lets go upstairs... Carry me?"

Fate hesitated, blinking at the innocent eyes gazing at her. "Okay." Nanoha held out her arms and wrapped them around Fate's neck when the blonde shifted to slide hers under Nanoha's body. With ease, Fate lifted her up and stood, walking around the coffee table to avoid the girl's wheelchair. 'But Hayate told me...'

Nanoha leaned against Fate briefly before wrinkling her nose and pulling back. "Ew, you stink."

"I didn't have time to shower after my session with Signum," the blonde mused lightly. "I was hoping you would let me take a shower, as well as borrow some clothes until I can buy some for myself?"

"Sure, I don't mind." Nanoha felt herself being sat on the bed and she placed her arms behind herself to prop up. "Should I tell you where I keep my clothes?"

"Well, considering we split our drawers and closet and agreed on where to place them, I'm not sure. But then again, you kept the other stuff in that drawer, so I'm assuming nightgowns in here." Fate opened the top drawer of the nightstand and pulled out a pink button up. "I don't suppose you took interest in nighties did you?"

"They reveal too much." Nanoha replied simply.

"But you like showing off." She got a curious look and a blush. "Ah, you see, the Nanoha I know always... flashes..."

"I flash people!?"

"Not that much! Just like... short skirts and stuff..." Fate scratched her cheek. "It really makes me frantic... you told me you do it just to see me blush most of the time."

"...Most?"

Fate looked away. "Sure you're not uncomfortable?"

Picking up on the shy tone, Nanoha leaned forward with a grin and looped her hands under her knees to pull them up so her feet were on the bed and so she could rest her chin on her knees while holding them. "Is that why you got so upset about Lexus talking to me like that?"

"...Yeah, I'm.. just really protective... not really the best thing in the world when courting an exhibitionist." Fate flushed and shook her head. "I shouldn't-"

"Tell me more." Nanoha's words made Fate look back at her with a shocked expression. The girl on the bed simply smiled, eyes not wavering. "We're close enough to have sex, right? What is it like? What am I like?"

"Y-you're..." Fate stammered, closing the drawer and opening the one under it, getting a pair of sweatpants. "Its... I dunno... just..."

"You're really shy, aren't you?"

"...Yes, please don't tease me like this."

"Isn't that what I'm supposed to do?" Nanoha giggled to herself. 'No wonder my other self does that, she looks so adorable when she's stammering.' After letting the girl frantically try to think of something to say for a few moments, Nanoha continued. "So... Fate-chan?"

"Y-yes...?"

"If I wore a short skirt tomorrow... would you protect me?" Resting her cheek on her knee now, Nanoha simply looked up at the girl for an answer.

"D-don't say silly things." Fate finished raiding the drawer for clothes and made her way to the bathroom and the connected shower. "I'll be out in a bit, okay?"

"I'll be waiting." Nanoha watched her new friend close the bathroom door with a smile on her lips. 'How interesting...' Reaching over to Fate's discarded enforcer outfit, she placed it over her shoulders to get a little warmth. "Raising Heart, can you turn up the temperature two degrees?" The orb on her wheelchair flashed and confirmed the action. "Hmmm..." The though was vocalized as the sounds of the shower sprang to life behind her. 'She's such a cute girl, and very possessive.'

Closing her eyes, Nanoha allowed herself to fall to the side, plopping down on the bed while still hugging her knees. 'The other me is so brave... but then again, if it meant having someone honestly get flustered over me then...' An honest smile came to her lips. 'Someone getting protective because I belong to them... Wanting nobody else to see what is theirs.' A giddy laugh came from her as she thought about it. 'I'd love to see that. Just hearing her say that to Lexus today made me feel warm... And her claiming me as her wife...'

Rolling onto her back, Nanoha looked up at the ceiling with her arms spread out. 'I've always wanted someone to do that for me. To honestly be interested in me, to ask me how my day was all the time and not get bored of hearing the same stories...' Looking up at the white ceiling, Nanoha listened to the sounds of water hitting the shower floor. 'Fate-chan knows everything about me, even my most embarrassing things. She's seen me naked, made love to me, and still smiles that way whenever my name is mentioned.'

Letting her head fall to the side, Nanoha looked at her nightstand. 'I've waned to have this feeling for as long as I can remember... To be gazed at with love and acceptance... To be told I mean the most in their life.' Pushing herself up, she scooted so she could move her legs off the bed and sit by her drawer, opening it up and rooting around until she found a see-through white bra. 'If I put this on... would she look at me like that?' She ran the lacy fabric over between her thumb and forefinger. 'For some reason, I feel shy... like her seeing my body would make me really embarrassed... Is that what its like when wanting someone else to see you like that? This feeling... of excitement and happiness?'

Looking at the undergarment for a while longer, Nanoha shook her head and put it back into the drawer. 'I can't... My heart is beating so fast.' Holding her hands together over her chest, she stared at the floor with a dark blush. 'I want her to see me in it but... I don't. I'm scared she may not find me attractive... but I know she does! It's not fair, she knows me inside and out but know so little about her!'

Nanoha frowned and laid back on the bed once more. 'I want to know her more...I want to understand her like she does me... I want... I want her to refer to ME when she speaks my name.' A firm nod came at the thoughts. 'I was sent an angel out of nowhere, and I don't want to let this opportunity pass.' Gripping the enforcer jacket that fell off her shoulders, she moved it to become a makeshift blanket over her. 'She was sent here for a reason...I want that reason to be me.' Hugging herself, Nanoha closed her eyes happily as the water cut off from the bathroom. 'This is the feeling I've longer for, for so long.'

Nanoha looked over at Fate as the door opened, smiling to herself as the blonde walked into her bedroom. Slightly damp hair was still being dried and the black tank top Fate had picked out lightly flashed her stomach as her hands fussed with her hair. A pair of matching black shorts were claimed as well, completing Fate's evening wear. "You look nice in that," Nanoha said honestly. "You like black don't you?"

"Black, purple, and gold, my three favorite colors." Sitting on the bed, Fate went about combing her hair with the brush she had nicked from the bathroom. "If you're cold, you should adjust your heat or you may get sick."

"I did, it just takes a moment for it to happen. Besides, I like your jacket, it’s nice." The girl smiled innocently. "Enjoy your shower?"

"Yes, thank you. I needed one after today." Fate continued to mess with her hair until it was tangle free, then pulled it into a ponytail to stay out of her way until it dried completely. "What time is it?"

"A little past nine."

"Shouldn't you be doing your evaluations for today? Don't let me keep you."

"I had to take care of it earlier when I transferred Teana into Subaru's room. Turns out they trained together for a while. I accepted Subaru after she failed her B-rank mage test. Teana was accepted into Lexus' base as a low level cadet as well. She has been doing odd jobs around the base, but not much actual combat or training." Giving a light sigh, she shook her head. "This is going to be such a headache."

"I can help." The blonde shifted so she was sitting next to Nanoha. "I know I'm not an instructor, but I can still assist you. It’s not like I have anything else to do. Go over tomorrow's training plan with me, I can be on the field as you instruct."

"Do you normally help me out training?" Nanoha stretched out her upper half before moving to a sitting position with her legs out in front of her.

Fate glanced at Nanoha's legs before shaking her head. "No, I only sometimes go on the field. Maybe once a week or so for special training or a demonstration. Generally I'm too busy doing my office work or making rounds..." Looking at her friend, she finally let out a small sigh. "Can I ask something tasteless?"

"Go ahead." Nanoha leaned her hands behind herself and braced on them. "I know what you're going to ask anyway."

"... How are your legs? Is it painful?" Not being able to help herself, she traced a finger along Nanoha’s left shin. "I'm sorry, but it’s so sad seeing you in a wheelchair..."

The girl gave a small giggle at the questions. "No, no, no pain. I've been like this for several years now so it’s just common place now. Besides, I have this entire room customized just for me. All my shelves are the right height, and Raising Heart was incorporated into my Smart Chair. She can change shape to fit my needs, allowing me to do anything from easily getting from my chair to couch, bed, or even from the ground to my chair. She can move very fast, which is always fun to do. Honestly, it’s not much different from walking. Mid's handicap laws are a lot better than Earth’s and the technology is so great, it’s not really a hindrance at all. Besides..." Nanoha leaned forward and ran her hands down her legs, purposely catching Fate's finger between two of hers. "I got like this from magical damage, not physical. I still have active nerves in my legs, so I can feel everything just like normal; I just can't move my muscles."

"I...see." Fate thought about this while Nanoha played with her finger. "That makes me feel a little better." Her red eyed looked at the hand teasing her finger by running her's along it. "You're just like her."

"I am her," Nanoha countered simply with a smile, tugging on Fate's finger playfully. "I owe you a back rub."

"Ah, you don't have to-"

"Really, come on." Nanoha pulled on the finger between hers a few times, urging Fate to move closer to her. "On your stomach." She watched Fate reluctantly lay down and shifted herself so she was sitting beside her friend. Palms pressing against Fate's back, she began to contently rub. "Sorry, I'm not very good at this. If I press too hard let me know."

"I like it hard." Fate mumbled down into her pillow. "I'm weird like that."

"I see," Nanoha pressed down a little harder, getting an almost instant sound of pleasure. "Hey, Fate-chan?"

"Hmm?"

"Tell me more about yourself."

"Like what?" Fate rested her cheek on a pillow and closed her eyes.

"What do you like?"

"Mm?"

"Like..." Nanoha thought about how to expand on her question. "Your favorite food?"

"Roast chicken."

"Drink?"

"Dr.Pepper, on ice in a glass only. Scotch on the rocks for alcoholic."

"Clothes?"

Fate chuckled. "You're an inquisitive little thing tonight." The hands on her back pressed down and ran up her spine, making her almost fall asleep while answering. "Anything black. I like skirts, stockings and pantyhose. Denim is nice, and if I can get away with it, shoulder less, fuzzy shirts."

"Shoulder less?" Nanoha hummed. "And you say you don't like me being revealing?"

"You're different..." Fate yawned, moving her hands under the pillow and getting comfortable.

"Underclothes?"

"Black and lacy...I like frills." Fate started to mumble as Nanoha went to her shoulders.

The girl sitting on the bed smiled to herself, watching Fate's sleepy face slowly start to drift off as she rubbed. 'Well, now I know what clothes to buy you while you're here... It's not much, but it’s a start. I can make a run to town during lunch and have Vita cover for me if I'm a little late, she'll understand.' Several minutes passed by in silence before Nanoha heard soft snoring sounds. Her hands paused and she curiously leaned over to look at Fate, smiling happily at the cute sounds she was making. 'She's adorable when she's asleep... Well, sleep sweet, Fate-chan.' With that, she pet Fate's back twice before carefully shifting get in her wheelchair and then pull the covers over the girl.

Alicia Testarossa's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/15/2009
Posts: 404

There is nothing more I can say that hasn't already been said. All in all...incredible. I can honestly say that I felt the same feelings that Fate had. Shizuru would attest to me screaming at my monitor saying "What the hell you guys don't remember?!" then me feeling silly when I glanced over at her looking at me with a look that said "...baka..." XD

As a side note Satashi, I'll send you a message on fanfiction instead since for some reason my e-mail is going crazy atm x.x That and I found 22 of my 27 Harddrives and after almost 12 hours of searching I still havent found the last 5 which probably has the ones we are looking for. I'll just attach metal detectors on my cats I guess. orz

langrisser's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/22/2009
Posts: 1380

Another great chapter, thanks for your hard work. :3

NanoFaito's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/20/2009
Posts: 172

awww.... so sweet , so warm and so touchy.
Heck yeah fate beaten that jerk Lexus! Hate him totally to the very core!
I love this! thanks for the fast release!
It was so awesome that i glued myself in front of the monitor reading the chapter 2 twice!

Satashi's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/17/2009
Posts: 595

Glad you liked it ^_^ Lexus was made to be a jerk hehe. Read it twice!? Well, I guess I'll have to give you something else to read tomorrow, hmm?

NanoFaito's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/20/2009
Posts: 172

nyahaha as long as its awesome i can wait for it. :3

signum x shamal was some surprise for me. To me its always signum x hayate more than signum x shamal.

Satashi's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/17/2009
Posts: 595

I always kinda pictured them as a couple who parent over Vita and their puppy Zafira (though I'm a big believer in human!Zafira)

NanoFaito's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/20/2009
Posts: 172

hm~~~~ it been some time since i last checked any fan fics site... maybe i should check them out for some nice fan fics. any sites you can recommend? i lost all the fan fic sites during my last format.

not to forget a very fitting image you use for this chapter.

Deady's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/16/2009
Posts: 62

8DDD!!
ah satashi here too
with a fic <3

this post made my day
and yes do want more from u~

Spoiler:
p.s btw u are one of the reason i start reading other nxf fanfic
and normal book ofc .. i never do that b4 unless it was academic related
i love your work :3
GJ~

Satashi's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/17/2009
Posts: 595

awww that means a lot ^_^ I'm really happy you like my stuffs that much!!

Satashi's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/17/2009
Posts: 595

I awoke with a start, eyes snapping open as I felt an arm snake around my side. There was movement behind me and I almost grabbed the hand moving up my front to break its fingers before I remembered that Fate-chan had fallen asleep in my bed. Although I was content to sleep on the couch, I ended up thinking the bed would be big enough for both of us, and thus I had simply claimed the left side as my own while letting her sleep. Now Fate was behind me and my breath caught in my throat as her hand slipped in between the snap together buttons on my night shirt. I felt her palm touch my stomach and slide upwards, popping the catches loose as it went up. 'Wait!' my mind was functioning but my body wasn't listening. I could feel Fate's other arm slide under my pillow and her breathing against my hair. Her leg slid between mine and bent at the knee, raising upwards until I let out a small squeak at the feeling. 'St...stop, I'm not ready!' My mouth wouldn't open and my heart was thumping hard in my chest, right under the palm that was pressing on me enough to be considered a loose hug. The movement slowed down until it stopped altogether, Fate's gentle snoring now being muffled by my hair. I still couldn't seem to move my body, however, and I stared across my bed with wide eyes and a pounding heart while being embraced from behind. 'I'm... scared to move.'

AlternativeS III
By: Satashi

Nanoha gazed over the pink and white pillow her cheek was resting on and watched the sun rise through the extra large windows that made up most of one wall. Fate was still asleep behind her, breathing peacefully against her hair in a steady rhythm. Just as the sun's rays started to creep onto her bed, the radio on her nightstand cut on to deliver the sounds of a popular song.

Fate groaned at the noise and shifted as she tried to wake up. "Few more minutes..." Her request was mumbled lightly while stretching out. The brown haired girl suddenly found it easier to breathe as the hand went away from her chest. The warm body behind her moved and rolled over onto her back, allowing Nanoha to sit up and look down at the girl. "I was sleeping so well, too..." Red eyes struggled to open as the blonde sat up as well, looking over at Nanoha with a glazed expression.

"Ah, g-good morning." Nanoha manged out, hand going to grip both sides of her nightshirt to close it enough to snap together. "You can go back to sleep, you don't have to get up this early."

Fate looked at the girl blankly before sighing out. "For a moment..." Her sentence trailed, eyes looking away.

"...I'm sorry." Nanoha felt a small pain in her chest. "I... thought you would like to sleep in this bed. I- I was going to sleep on the couch but thought the bed was large enough to..."

Realization dawned on the blonde's face. "I have really bad sleeping habits. I'm sorry, did I make you uncomfortable?"

"N-no!" Nanoha lied frantically, waving her hands. "I didn't even realize it until I woke up! Uhm, I-I'm going to get dressed now, you can go back to sleep."

"Eh? No, I promised I would help you train remember?" Fate moved so she could crawl off the bed and stood up in a long stretch, revealing her tone stomach as the tank top rode upwards. "I don't have spare uniforms to wear so I guess I'll put on the standard 6th Division one Hayate gave me... I don't think it would be wise to walk around in my enforcer outfit when I don't hold the rank displayed."

Nanoha watched the girl move to the closet and open it, taking out both of their clothes. "Um, thank you."

"At the risk of sounding rude, would you like help getting dressed?" The blonde smiled happily, offering the clothes to Nanoha.

"N-No!" Nanoha shook her head, blushing hard. "I can get dressed!"

"Ah, okay." Fate nodded in understanding. "I'm sorry, I'll just go change in the bathroom, okay?" Giving a small wave over her shoulder, Fate turned to go on her way.

The girl on the bed opened her mouth to protest but the memory of Fate's palm on her chest made her stutter out incoherently and allow the blonde to leave. 'Oh wow... I haven't been this embarrassed since...I don't know when.' Turning on the bed, she gripped the bars offered to her by Raising Heart and moved into her chair. 'I've never been held like that before... I don't think I slept more than an hour the entire night.' a light sigh came as she opened a drawer to get a change of underclothes.

Nanoha's hand paused over the garments, a thought running through her mind that made her ears turn a light shade of red. 'I'm still so excited about Fate-chan paying so much attention to me... The way she held me so casually while she slept, is that what its like to fully trust in someone? I wonder...' Before she could change her mind, Nanoha shifted through the drawer and found a bright, neon pink pair to put on. Wheeling herself to her closet, she opened a drawer and shifted through her old skirts, finding one that she wore when she was a little younger and not quite as tall. 'I feel so dirty all of a sudden.' The though made her giggle while changing clothes, getting situated just as Fate came back into the bedroom.

"About ready?" The blonde asked lightly while smoothing out her skirt and double checking her pantyhose.

"Ready, just need to do my hair." Nanoha got a hair band and began to scoop up the mess of hair to pull up before Fate popped her hands lightly, making her let the brown hair drop.

Fate picked up a brush from the nightstand and moved behind Nanoha, making the girl give up control of her hair and quickly started coming it for her. "I swear, you really need to take better care of your hair; you'll get split ends if you don't brush it properly." After being allowed to treat the tangled mess, Fate brought it up and combed the strands back to make a perfectly centered cheerleader-style high ponytail. "There, perfect."

"I feel lopsided," Nanoha complained slightly, looking in the mirror and seeing the hairstyle.

"Because the side of your head weighs so much you have to balance it out with a mop of hair." Fate smiled at her joke and moved to push Nanoha's chair before realizing that there were no handlebars there. "Ready now then?"

"Yes," Nanoha moved her palm over Raising Heart and glided down the ramp leading to the ground floor. "And we still have time to get there before everyone else."

As the two made their way out of the building and to the training field, Fate inhaled the crisp morning air deeply. "One thing that doesn't change is the tranquility of the morning."

"Yeah." Nanoha nodded in agreement.

Fate hummed to herself as they passed the few people that were out so early and wondered why they all looked away from them. "I wonder what's wrong?"

"What?"

"Everyone we pass looks down at you then glances away."

"I have no idea." Nanoha almost sang the words before stopping to turn to face Fate. "What do you think?"

Fate glanced down and almost did a double take. "N-Nanoha!"

"Yes?" She tilted her head to the side lightly.

Fate leaned down to her and whispered to her frantically. "Your skirt is too short, you can see your panties!"

"So?" Nanoha smiled cutely up at her.

"But... but...!" The blonde stammered back in shock, unsure of what she just heard.

"Fate-chan won't let anyone look." Nanoha reached up and touched Fate's nose in an open flirt. "So I can wear this small skirt, right?"

"N...No! No you can't!"

"Why?" Nanoha tilted her head lightly and gave her best innocent eyes. "A little peek never hurt anyone."

"Because!" Fate shook her head. "I don't want... You just... Don't!"

Nanoha smiled brightly, eyes shining with happiness. With that, she turned and began moving again, smiling even more as Fate suddenly began walking in front of her. 'I don't think I will ever get tired of this feeling.' Her palm snapped back on her control orb when Fate stopped walking, forcing her to come to a sharp halt. "Fate-chan, don't stop so suddenly." Moving around her, she looked at what made the blonde hesitate. "Well I'll be. Teana and Subaru are already practicing."

Fate looked at her watch and smiled to herself. "In my world your training session starts as soon as they get to the field, regardless if you are there or not. Those two took it upon themselves to make the most of their time, not because they are supposed to, but because they both desire something."

"What's that?"

Fate began walking again, subconsciously shifting in front of Nanoha again. "Teana has a goal of being recognized. She wants everyone to know what a Lanster is capable of. Subaru..." The girl hesitated her words. "In my world, she idolized you because you showed her how to be strong... however, I don't think you could have been there when that happened..."

"I met Subaru a long time ago," Nanoha revealed as she went to her instructor's podium near the field. "She had her arm broken after being in an airport that was on fire. Poor thing was seriously hurt..." Nanoha looked over at Fate with a questioning glance.

"I know she's a cyborg."

"Ah. Then you'll understand. I heard her crying as I was visiting someone else in the hospital. I felt like I needed to help the small girl, even if I didn't know her. When I went in, she tried to hide, thinking I would consider her a freak if I saw her exposed wires. She was older than I thought she was, but she was crying so hard I felt as if she needed more of a talking to rather than pampering. I stayed and talked with her for a few hours, listening to her story and in turn sharing mine." She patted her legs to imply which story it was. "When it was over, she said she was amazed I didn't give up being in the military. When I told her I would never give up on something that meant a lot to me and my friends, she seemed really awed. I told her if she took that path like her family did, I would personally train her and... well, here she is."

Fate felt a small bit of contentment in her chest at hearing the story. "Good, its nice to know some things still work out okay. Tell you what, I'll head to the field and play with them. Would you mind setting up something for us?"

"Sure," Nanoha brought up her monitors with the help of Raising Heart. "What would you like?"

~**~

Hayate looked up from her desk when a knock at her door came. "Come in," she addressed curiously. When Fate walked into the room she smiled and stood to greet her. "Hello, Fate-chan."

"Hey," Fate saluted the girl. "Nanoha said she had some things to take care of so I thought you might want to get lunch together. Do you have time?"

"Certainly." Hayate reached back to get the purse from her desk. "Where did Nanoha-chan run off to?"

Together, the two made their way to the door. "She said something about needing to shop in town. I offered to go with her but she insisted to go alone."

Hayate glanced over at her new friend as they rode the elevator down to the first floor. "Your tone seems a little...miffed. Did something happen?" When the blonde looked away, Hayate was about to say never mind, but when the small hints of a blush came along with fidgeting, she pressed on. "Seems like an interesting story."

"How do you always know when things are interesting?"

"Sixth sense, get used to it. So tell me, what makes the girl from another dimension upset at my little Nanoha-chan?"

Fate waited until they were outside the building and heading to the parking lot nearby before answering. "It's silly." Her weak attempt at not explaining was deflected almost at once, leaving her no choice but to go on. "It's just that... Nanoha is purposely riling me up today."

Hayate unlocked her car and looked over the top of it. "Nanoha-chan? Purposly upsetting someone? Sounds a little weird to me." The two got in and closed the doors before getting comfortable. "What is she doing?"

"Well... Yesterday I made a comment that my Nanoha is a little...well... she's not exactly shy of her body. She likes to flaunt it, mostly in short skirts and letting people catch little glimpses of her underclothes. Anyway, your Nanoha seemed embarrassed at first but I told her how it always made me so frustrated, trying to make sure nobody saw my wife, you know?" Propping her chin up on her palm, Fate stared out the passenger side window as her friend drove them into town. "Today she wore bright flashy panties and a skirt that is so short its really perverse. You can see her plain as day and she took every opportunity she had to make me stand in front of her."

Hayate took a moment to let this soak in, blinking several times as she tried to absorb this information. "Wait, so Nanoha-chan... Is purposely flashing people?"

"Just to make me get embarrassed," Fate finished the thought for her.

"Because you told her that's what your Nanoha did?"

"...I guess, it makes the most sense. She told me that she knew I wouldn't let anyone see her, so... I mean, I know its none of my business, but she's still Nanoha, even if she's not my Nanoha, you know? I can't just... let someone see her."

"I see..." Hayate sighed out. "She seems to have taken a liking to you."

"...Yeah."

Hayate looked over at the blonde before turning her attention back to the road. "Should I talk with her about it?"

Fate didn't answer for a long time, rolling the question over her head and all the possibilities it could hold. After a while, she finally replied with what she thought was best. "We probably shouldn't worry about it; I won't be here for too much longer, hopefully, so it shouldn't be a problem."

"My boyfriend agreed to help us figure this out-"

"Boyfriend!?" Fate looked at her in shock.

"...Do I not have one in your world?"

"Well, you dance around with Yuuno but-" When Hayate grinned at her, Fate felt a bit of pride in her chest for the girl. "Well I'll be. I wonder how me not being here effected that."

"Not sure, but he's very interested in you. I'm sure we will get you home."

"...Thanks, that means a lot." The two shared a pleased look before turning to gaze back out the window and listen to the soft music playing in the car.

~**~

Nanoha hummed happily to herself as she placed a bag of clothes on her bed. 'I got Fate-chan enough to last her a while, I hope she likes them all.' Taking out the garments, she held up her choices again. A few shirts that were light enough to be worn in the summer but still warm enough to last through the changing seasons they were going through. A few skirts were placed on the bed as well, followed by underclothes that she hoped would fit the girl's ample chest. 'Well she did say she liked black so at least it was easy to match things up.' Her attention turned when a familiar rhythmic tapping came on her door. "Come in, Hayate-chan!"

"Hello, hello!" Hayate waved as she entered the room. "I saw you pull in from my window at the office so I thought I'd see where you ran off to, leaving your little puppy all on her lonesome."

"Vita-chan can handle training just fine until I get there." Nanoha stuck out her tongue. "She's not a puppy."

"Follows you around as much." The two shared a giggle at the inside joke and Hayate sat on the bed. "Oh, doing some shopping?" She held up a shirt and whistled at it. "Wow, nice brand. I really like the design."

"I got it for Fate-chan, she can't afford anything to wear yet."

"I see." Hayate looked down at Nanoha and sighed out lightly. "You know, you really should change skirts."

"Why? I like this one." Nanoha laughed to herself. "Its amusing."

Leaning forward, Hayate propped her elbows onto her knees and thought for a moment. "You know, I didn't really believe it when I heard, but seeing you actually doing it is rather unnerving."

"What do you mean?" The girl turned her chair to face Hayate directly. "What's wrong?"

"Nanoha-chan..." Judging her words, the girl met her friend's eyes. "I think you're getting a little too clingy on Fate-chan"

Nanoha blinked in confusion, then laughed. "What do you mean? She's lonely, she needs someone to be there for her. I'm her wife-"

"You're not her wife, Nanoha-chan." The sudden firmness made Nanoha instantly pay more attention to her. "First you let her carry you around, then you let her stay in your room overnight, and now you're... exploiting her to get attention."

"I'm not exploiting her! What makes you say that!?" Nanoha moved closer to her, eyes and tone of voice clearly stating she was displeased in the word choosing.

"Nanoha-chan," Hayate reached out to take Nanoha's hands. "I know she's lonely and all, but you're the one who's craving the attention. You don't even know her, yet you're doing everything in your power to make sure she's always thinking about you. Don't you think that's a little unfair to Fate-chan?"

"I don't see what you mean."

"For goodness sakes, Naoha-chan!" Hayate raised her voice in an exasperated tone. "You're flaunting your panties like a cheap hooker just because Fate-chan said your other self did it!"

"If I was flaunting them, its none of your business!"

"You're only doing it so Fate-chan will protect you!" Hayate made sure Nanoha's eyes were still on her. "Did you already forget why Fate-chan fought Lexus the other day!? He was treating you like a tramp and she went and fought him just because she wanted to protect your image! And here you go, flashing everyone because it makes you feel special to have someone who will look out for you. That's insulting to Fate-chan's meaning isn't it!?"

"That has nothing to do with this!" Nanoha let go of Hayate's hands angrily. "Could it have crossed your mind that I want people to see them!? I don't exactly have a lover you know. If it gets me attention from someone who already likes me, what's the harm!?"

"If you wanted to attract someone, you would have done it in another way! You're doing this because you know it would give you attention from her! There's a differnce!"

"Even if I was what gives you the right to tell me not to!?"

Hayate stood and threw her arms out. "Nanoha-chan, listen to yourself! you're defending yourself like this has been the way you are for years! You're trying to be someone you're not just so Fate-chan will look at you. don't you see a problem there?"

"NO!" Nanoha shook her head. "I do not! Listen, we're not all lucky enough to have the love of our lives so casually stroll into our lives and click into place like you did. I was given a second chance, Hayate-chan! Somewhere out there, there is a person just like me who has this perfect woman who loves her more than anything and is living a happy life that could be mine!"

"Exactly!" Hayate cut her off harshly. "And that person wants her Fate-chan back! We're all working hard to send her home while you're pawing her up! She loves that Nanoha, and you're trying to become her!"

"...Leave."

"Nanoha-chan, I just-"

"Please leave." Nanoha turned around and went silent, staring at the floor.

"...I'm sorry I yelled." Hayate walked over to her friend and put both hands onto her shoulders. "Please, Nanoha-chan... I just don't want to see you hurt, okay? I love you." Leaning over, she kissed the brown hair in front of her. "I'll tell Vita-chan to cover the entire lesson for you, so please try and-"

"Hayate-chan," Nanoha's words broke. "Just... just please leave."

"...Okay." Hayate gave the shoulders a squeeze and left the room, rubbing the bridge of her nose while trying to wipe away tears before they formed. 'That could have gone a hell of a lot better...'

Nanoha slowly raised her hands, letting her chair shift forms so she could brace enough to move to her bed. Sitting there, she picked up a black and gold bra that she had picked out for herself and looked at it a few moments before tossing it to the foot of her bed. 'I am being myself,' She thought, moving so she was face down onto a pillow. 'I'm not doing anything I don't want to, Hayate-chan just doesn't understand what its like to be alone...' Pressing her face against the pillow harder, she felt a small damp spot appear near her eyes. 'I'm not so desperate for love that I'd change who I am just for one person am I?' Her breathing broke when a sob came from her mouth. 'I didn't put myself on display just for her, I did it because I... I...' Pulling the pillow closer, she used it to muffle her crying as it slowly started to overtake her. 'I'm so pathetic...'
~**~

Nanoha felt a hand on her head and slowly opened her eyes when a petting motion was made. "I assume," Vita's voice came from beside her. "That you didn't just fall asleep after a shopping trip?"

"Mm." Nanoha stayed laying down, face half buried in her pillow.

"You going to start talking or am I going to have to sit here for a while?" Vita scooted so she was sitting right in front of the laying girl and leaned back, propping her hands up behind Nanoha so the girl couldn't roll away from her.

The blue eyed girl sighed out and wrapped an arm around Vita's waist. "Vita-chan, do you think I'm a bad person?"

"Everyone has a moment where they do something bad. Its what we do after it that's important." Her tone was light, casual as she looked up at the ceiling. "What did you do that's so bad?"

"I'm... trying to cheat."

"Cheat what?" This time the smaller girl looked down at Nanoha's face and noticed that she had been crying.

"Fate-chan."

"Ah, I finally got to talk to her today. Seems like an okay person, I guess. How are you cheating her?"

"... I'm... Its hard to explain."

"Then start talking." Vita rolled her eyes. Nanoha smiled lightly and pulled the girl closer. "You know, normally the person doing the hugging is the one trying to comfort."

"I prefer this." Nanoha took a deep breath. "Fate-chan is from another universe or time-line or whatever, right?" She was hummed at. "So, I was talking to her and... Well, she's married to me over there."

"So I've heard."

"I just... kind of latched on to that...I don't know, I was just looking for someone to love me and all of a sudden this girl appears that I'm supposed to be with... I guess I tried to skip the whole 'fall in love' part of relationship and jumped straight into the 'you'll understand everything about me' part."

Vita looked back at the ceiling and kicked her legs lightly off the bed. "You do realize she isn't going to stay here, right?" The arm around her waist pulled her closer. "I see."

"I'm a bad person."

With an annoyed sigh, Vita began patting Nanoha's hair again. "Nanoha, don't be stupid. It is a strange situation and you acted the way you did because you were... I don't know, but you did it. If you feel sorry for it now and know you made a mistake, why dwell on it?"

"Grown ups are complicated."

"I'm older than you." The remark made Nanoha smile again and Vita moved a strand of hair from the closed eyes. "Nanoha, just be yourself. Do what you want because you want to. Just because there is a woman who is telling you strange things doesn't mean that you are a different person. I don't think I'd like a Nanoha who was trying to be something that she's not."

"...Thank you, Vita-chan." Nanoha opened her eyes and curled around the girl. "Why is it you always know what to say to me?"

"If I knew, I'd use that to talk to Signum and Shamal to get them to stop treating me like a kid."

Nanoha smiled knowingly at the remark. "Be happy they care so much."

"Yeah, sure. Now, are you going to help me in tonight's training or what?"

Nanoha sat up and rubbed her eyes. "Yeah, I think I'll be able to. Thank you so much for covering for me."

"Its what I'm here for." Vita hopped off the bed and put a hand on her hip. "But I do want to say something."

"Yes?"

"Don't grab at smoke, you can't hold it."

The words made Nanoha look down a moment before meeting Vita's eyes again. "I want to try anyway, even if I know the results."

The smaller girl groaned and began walking away. "Don't expect me to buy the alcohol that night 'cause I ain't doing it."

Nanoha giggled and reached out to grip Raising Heart's offered bars to get into her chair. "Yes you will." She got a snort and the girl felt her spirits lift considerably. 'Even if I know she is going to leave... I want to experience this for what it really is... without cheating.

~**~

Fate let out a breath as Nanoha called the mock battle to be over. In front of her, Tea and Subaru almost collapsed in relief, panting hard and almost chocking on the air they were breathing in. "Good job," she praised the two while glancing over her body to find out where she was struck at. After a few moments, she noticed that her camp had a dirt smear on it from Subaru's kick. Granted, it wasn't a hit that would have effected her any, but the exercise was just to touch her, not damage.

"Don't you think..." Subaru fell back onto her butt and placed her hands into her lap. "That this is a little too intense?"

"No, not really." Fate replied back, walking over to them. "But I did overlook one thing?"

A monitor showing Nanoha's image appeared beside them. "What was that, Fate-chan?"

"Tea is still using her old gun, and Subaru doesn't have her roller blades. I'll talk to you later about them." Turning to face the pair again, she addressed them while Nanoha busied herself with checking in on her other students. "You two are working well together, but can still use some improvements. Tea, you need to try and distract your opponent more so Subaru can get in clean hits."

"Its hard when she moves so erratically." The remark made Subaru laugh nervously.

"That's part of having a partner. You have to learn how to read body movements. In time you will be able to tell what Subaru will do before she does it, but the same principle will apply to different people as well. Control over your bullets will mean the difference in your team getting hurt and succeeding. Subaru, your hesitating too much. Have more faith in yourself."

"Yes ma'am."

Tea met Fate's eyes and nervously waved her hand when the blonde tilted her head lightly as to ask what she was going to say. "Ah, its nothing..."

"Go ahead."

The gunslinger scratched her cheek. "Uhm, I was just wondering... Why did you have me transferred here and paired with Subaru? I mean we know each other, but still... That's going a long way for a low ranked mage."

"You're only low ranked because you haven't been trained," Fate answered easily. "Trust me when I say that I know your potential. Nanoha does too, or else she wouldn't have allowed me to train with you two personally this time."

"...I see."

Fate let her barrier jacket dissolve around her. "You two go take a shower and rest up for tomorrow. Be sure to eat enough okay?"

Subaru hopped to her feet. "No problem I'm starving!"

The blonde allowed herself a smile at them before taking to the air. Flying over the trees, she left the training area and landed on the walkway to make it over to the instructor's area. As usual, the woman had several monitors all around her, blue eyes scanning each screen for a few moments before nodding and moving on to the next one. As she made it to the wheelchair, Nanoha opened her mouth to speak before the girl could say anything. "I'm sorry about ditching you earlier, I got distracted by things I had to take care of."

"No problem, I had fun being with Hayate. Vita was here afterwords to keep me company."

Nanoha nodded. "I have some things for you at home, want to come over and join me for dinner while I give them to you?"

"Eh? You didn't have to get me anything!"

"I wanted to." Nanoha turned her chair to face Fate and smiled when red eyes dropped briefly. Moving her hand down between her-now long- skirt, she giggled. "Perv."

"Ah! I wasn't... I mean..."

"If you want to look, then it will be in private." Nanoha looked back at her monitors, hands going to make some notes on her students. "I won't let anyone else see just to rile you up." Fate stayed silent, observing the girl in front of her until Nanoha glanced at her again. "What?"

"Nothing, I'm just.... happy, that's all."

Nanoha blushed. "that I offered to show you? Perv."

"Not that! I...Nanoha!"

"See? I can make you blush too." The words were proud, and the girl who spoke them let the topic drop there. Going back to her notes, she let Fate stand there and wonder just what she meant. "Okay students," She addressed, making all the people on the screens stop and look at her. "I'm calling it here tonight. All of you did well, I'll be working with you in groups tomorrow so get plenty of rest, okay?"

Fate could see each face look as if they had just been told they would be checking if their barriers could withstand divine busters while blindfolded. 'I guess she's just as strict here as she is back home... I wonder how she'll do that while being in a wheelchair?' The students all saluted and Fate turned to walk with Nanoha after the girl finished closing the training field down. "Good day?"

"Very," she answered back contently. "I learned a lot today. I feel much better."

"Oh?"

"Secret." Nanoha teased her. "I hope you like what I got you."

Going with the change in subject, Fate moved her hands behind her back and clasped them together. "I'm sure I'll like anything you got me."

"... I'm glad." The soft words made Fate look down at her but disregarded it when the girl seemed content and happy.

When Nanoha's room was opened, Fate took a moment to pull off her boots and rub her feet. "I prefer heels, as weird as that sounds." Red eyes went to Nanoha's feet and she knelt down. "Shoes?"

"Oh, yes, please." Nanoha allowed the girl to take off her blue and white boots. "That feels so much better."

"Do you get cramps?"

"Yes, its not very fun."

Fate stood back up and followed Nanoha up to the bedroom. "I'll rub your legs for you?"

"I'd like that, very much. Here!" Nanoha picked up the bag that she had stuffed the clothing in earlier and handed it to Fate. "I hope it all fits."

"Aww, Nanoha." Fate began taking the articles out one at a time, inspect each one with a smile. "Thank you, they're just what I would pick out." reaching back in, she pulled out a bra/pantie set that made her blush. "Oh wow, I don't think that will fit."

"Erk... that's... that's mine. sorry." Nanoha took it and felt her cheeks burn. "I guess I was distracted when I put them in the bag."

"Aw, don't be shy, it would look really nice on you."

"Really?" Nanoha looked up hopefully. "Mean it?"

"Of course." Fate answered back simply, as if it were common place for her to say things like that. "Black and pink really works on you, it brings out your eyes." While talking, Fate continued to inspect her new clothing. "I can't thank you enough for this, it was really a problem for me not to have anything and no money."

"I'm just happy to help." Nanoha leaned back in her chair and watched Fate hold a shirt to herself, smiling in the mirror. "You know, you're really cute."

"Thank you," Fate beamed at the compliment, still looking at her new clothes happily.

"Next time, lets go shopping together."

"Sure," Fate answered again, not really paying attention to what she was agreeing too. Her interest was on a skirt that she was considering putting on the next day.

'Even if you are leaving, you're here now... I'll let you go when I have to... until then, I'll be selfish...' Nanoha smiled and moved past the girl. "I'll start cooking, why don't you take a shower and change into something more comfortable. Will the nightie fit you?"

"It sure will." Fate held up the see-through black fabric and smiled at it brightly. "It's so pretty! It matches these boy-shorts perfectly, thank you so much!" Turning, she gave Nanoha a hug. "I really appreciate this, you just don't know."

"Thanks, that felt nice."

"Well, I'll hug you again once I'm clean." Fate patted Nanoha's head twice before going over to the bathroom, new clothes in hand.

~**~

"Yuuno, hey." Fate's greeting made a male glance over to his side, stopping his walk to the main building of section six. "My name is Fate Harlaown."

"Ah, you're the girl." Yuuno offered his hand, which was shaken with a little discomfort from the enforcer. "Hayate has told me about your situation."

"Thank you for helping me." She made a motion with her hand and the two began to walk side by side. "I really appreciate this."

"You're welcome, I am ahead of work at the library so I needed a vacation."

Fate held back a small chuckle. "You and your 'vacations'."

"Oh? Am I like this in your world too?"

With a nod, Fate smiled at the fond memories. "Yes, you would often come pick up Vivio to take with you. Nanoha and I would use that time to have some peace and quiet. Not that she's normally that bad, but... she's really energetic. If she couldn't sit still and read books for hours on end, I'd swear she had ADHD. I guess she stores all her energy up for quick bursts." She got laugh from the male at that statement.

"So who is Vivio?"

"My daughter." Fate nodded at him when he opened the door for her. "I wonder how she's... oh, hello Nanoha." Fate looked down at the woman. "How was morning training?"

"Went just fine. It went a little longer than I had planned but everything is on track. I decided to give them the day off, lord knows they need one. Subaru even asked if she could borrow a bike from Vice to go into town. Seems like Teana knows how to drive one."

"Yes, she has a passion for the things." Fate clasped her hands behind her back. "We often talk a lot on our missions about cars...and...bikes..."

"Harlaown-san?" Yuuno held out his hand to keep the elevator doors from closing. "What is it?"

Fate stood still, thinking as hard as she could. "Wait a second... the recent android attack... Section six not being that old...Day off..." Her red eyes went wide. "Vivio! Nanoha, we have to get to Hayate!" Running into the elevator, she hit the top button and hopped in place as it began to move.

"Fate-chan? What's wrong?"

"Vivio. Erio and Caro found her in the sewers a few months after the base opened up. It was when Tea borrowed Vice's bike and... oh my god, my little girl is all alone..." When the doors opened, Fate ran forward and opened Hayate's door without knocking. "Hayate!"

The girl sitting at her desk jumped lightly at the sudden intrusion and gave Fate a shocked look. When no apology came paired with the frantic running for her desk, Hayate looked at the screen in front of her and smiled apologetically. "I will have to call you back, I have some issues to contend to." Closing down the window, Hayate looked over at the blonde. "I hope this is very important, I just got a call about an illegal lifepod that-"

"That's just it!" Fate interrupted. "That was Vivio, we have to find her before the numbers do!"

"Numbers?" Hayate stood up. "I think you need to fill me in on some things."

"Lets go to the chopper, can you contact Subaru and Tea?"

Nanoha threw out her hand to grab Fate's arm as she walked past. "Whoa! What is going on!?"

Fate took Nanoha's hand and pulled her along so the girl had no choice but to follow. "You come too, this is important." The one in the wheelchair in turn grabbed Yuuno's arm, pulling him along for the ride.

Hayate closed her connection with Vice and nodded at Fate. "He'll meet us on the roof. You told me earlier that you are behind your time period right?"

"Yes, by almost three years." Fate walked faster when the elevator door to the roof was opened. "Space-Time really threw one over on me. Now," Red eyes looked around the helicopter and saw Vice come running out the stairway door. "Good, I'll explain everything once we're inside."

Yuuno sat next to Hayate and leaned over to whisper in her ear. "Its not like you to let yourself be dragged around like this."

"I'm skeptical too, but I can tell she's honestly scared. If she knows about this life pod, then it may help us take down Scaglietti... By the way, hi."

Yuuno grinned and shook his head. "Always a fun time with you."

~**~

"So let me get this straight," Hayate stated as she looked at the broken open life pod amidst the wreckage of a traffic incident. "You're telling me that there is a little girl wondering the sewers from here, holding relics with her. Also, this girl is the reincarnation of the ancient belkan leader?"

"A clone," Fate corrected. "She was born from the same genetic material."

"Born? Artificial mages aren't born, they're created." Nanoha moved so she could be between the two girls.

Fate shook her head. "Not her. She and I are the same; artificial mages created by Project F. We are clones of original people but made in a way that makes us different. I am a clone of my sister, Alicia. I have her memories and her body, but I was made using the systems of Project F. My mother was the one who started it."

Nanoha sighed out. "Okay, so, this girl... She's in danger isn't she?"

"We found her first last time, but there are people looking for her. The relics are sealed so we can't trace them... wait... Bardiche?"

"Yes sir?"

"Can you lock on the sealed relic?"

"Tracking... Faint trails of magic are in the vicinity. A trail proceeds."

Yuuno looked impressed. "Your device can track sealed relics?"

Fate nodded. "Barely, but yes. We recently got upgraded for it, but that's not the point. I can track Vivio from here, but the numbers will be on the streets, including Lutecia and... Erio."

Hayate turned her head to look out the end of the tunnel where they were standing. "I'll have Nanoha-chan's students start sweeping the area. Yuuno, could you assist with your area scan magic?"

"Of course."

Turning to look at Nanoha, Hayate nodded at her. "Nanoha-chan, take the chopper with Vice and give covering fire if needed." She got a salute so she turned to Fate. "Fate-chan, I'll let you go after the child. Contact me immediately upon her retrieval. Lets get to it girls!"

Yuuno groaned and followed Hayate. "I'm a guy you know."

"Mostly." Hayate replied back absently, eyes ahead of her. "I'm counting on you, Yuuno."

"I won't let you down."

Fate brought a hand to her eyes and a pair of yellow sunglasses came to her call, wrapping around her head. "HUD activated." Bardiche stated the fact. "Displaying magic trails."

At once, Fate's yellow tinted vision was covered in a swirling mist of purple. " There must have been a fight here, the traces of magic is everywhere...Bardiche, can you limit the display to only the relic?"

"Not without losing the trail."

"Figures..." Fate frowned and turned around in a slow circle, glaring at everything around her. Red eyes shot across the ceiling and the walls before finally stopping near the ground on a grate that was disconnected from the concrete. A short jog allowed her to kneel down and move the grate the rest of the way and look into the small hole. "Bardiche, where does this lead?" A small map came up along her vision and spun until it reached the pipelines. "Perfect, this is where she went."

Standing up, the blonde held out her hand and formed small daggers of energy around herself before launching them into the wall, breaking it open enough for her to crawl into. Once past the bottleneck, she fell into the opening and onto her side. A light grunt escaped her lips as she stood. 'I need to clam down. Rushing myself and doing something stupid won't help me find Vivio any faster...' Her eyes strained to see the light purple mist barely hovering over the ground. "Bardiche, any life signs?"

".....Yes Sir. Can not give a direct distance due to the mass of interference."

Fate nodded and ran forward along the maintenance walk of the large tunnel. Her eyes switched from the ground to in front of her constantly, making her stop and look around at every intersection to find the path her daughter took. After having to backtrack several times to find the path again, she found a ladder leading up to an open manhole cover. A single leap cleared the distance and Fate landed in a back alley, looking everywhere before finally seeing a small child walking away from her, covered in only a tattered shirt and dragging a chain behind herself that seemed to be wrapped around her tiny wrist. "Vivio!?"

The girl froze in her tracks, slowly turning around. Dirty blonde hair moved lightly and heterochromic eyes looked to where the voice was coming from. Upon seeing Fate, Vivio took a step backwards, and then another. Her legs shook in fear and her throat tightened when she tried to swallow. When Fate took a step towards her, Vivio turned and scrambled to get away, falling once and picking herself up only to have an arm loop under her stomach and pull her into the arms of the mage chasing her.

"Vivio! Are you okay!?" The girl in Fate's arms struggled more, crying out desperately while trying to get away. "Vivio! Calm down! Its me! Its Fate-mama!" Her only response was another cry and weakening clawing at her arms. "Vivio, Darling, calm down. I won't hurt you. Please. Vivio. Vivio, calm down." Her words came paired with the girl slowing her attempts to get away, but not for the reason Fate had hoped it to be. Red and green eyes rolled up in the girl's head and she slumped forward, unconscious from struggling too hard. "Vivio..."

Fate gently shifted the girl and undid the chain on her wrist. "She should have had one with her, but her leash is empty..." Her eyes looked at the structure of the chain and how it was looped. "Its almost as if she was carrying three with her..." Ignoring this for the moment, Fate turned back to Vivio and inspected her as best she could. "Thank god, you don't seem hurt too bad..." An urge to follow the path back to find whoever was chasing her daughter was repressed. Instead, she stood up and looked toward the sky, flying up to stand on top of a tall building. "Nanoha! I found Vivio!"

A monitor appeared in front of the blonde, displaying Nanoha's face. "I have a lock on you, we're bringing the chopper to you now."

"Be careful, I don't remember this exactly, but I know the helicopter was attacked in my time." Before Fate could continue, Hayate's image appeared on her own monitor.

"Fate-chan, I need backup! Engaged in combat with three mages!"

"Just three?" Fate shook her head. "What's going on..." The helicopter came into view and she quickly flew to it, landing in the opened door and running a few steps to drop her momentum. "Nanoha, take care of her."

Nanoha watched Fate gently lay the sleeping girl on the seats of the aircraft. "This is her? the artificial mage?"

"Yes, Vivio." Fate turned and looked at Nanoha with a pained expression. "I can't be with her right now, please watch over her..."

"Yes." Nanoha nodded and let Fate run out of the door before pushing the button to close it back. The rustling wind noises stopped and Nanoha moved to look down at Vivio, carefully moving strands of hair from the child's face. "She is too young to have gone through so much..."

~**~

Hayate grimaced as she blocked an attack and countered with one of her own. The blast sent her sailing backwards a few feet and she skidded slightly before stopping. In front of her stood three people with a male who was no older than ten keeping the lead. He wore fire red armor on his body that reflected the light brightly as flames flickered off of the metal. A helmet covered his head and the upper half of his face, angling down just over his eyes. Behind him two young girls stood, one with flowing purple hair and the other with short pink strands. "The trio, huh?" Hayate mused while staying on alert for surprise attacks. "I didn't expect to see you here."

"We just want the relics," the pink haired girl told Hayate lightly. "Please let us take them without a battle."

Hayate smiled at her. "Sorry little girl, I can't allow that."

"Hayate!" Fate landed next to the girl with a small crouch before standing and looking at the people in front of her. "Erio, Caro, Lutecia?" The two girls looked at her curiously while the male smiled. "What are you three doing?"

"We," Erio spoke for the group, "are trying to reclaim the relics that were stolen from us."

Fate walked forward, ignoring the fact that the two summoners went on guard. "Ifrit...You shouldn't have him yet."

Caro looked shocked but Erio just smiled more. "You know a lot about my armor."

"I do," Fate told him softly. "Erio, why are you working for Jail?"

"I'm not," He told her simply. "Jail helped me and my friends in the past. Right now he assist us and we assist him when needed. You could call it a mutual understanding."

Fate looked back at the girls. "Caro, Lutecia, same with you?"

The purple haired one spoke first. "How do you know our names?"

Fate thought about answering honestly but chose not to. "I read reports. My name is Fate."

"Well then, Fate-san," Caro voiced, holding up her left hand. "May I request the relics that were taken from us?"

"I'm sorry, I can't allow-"

Caro nodded, the gem on her hand glowing. "Ifrit, please."

Erio's armor suddenly flared to life with fire, making Fate take a few steps back from them. "Well then," Erio smirked, reading his spear type weapon. "We will be taking what's ours back if you don't mind."

~**~

"Nanoha!" Vice's voice made the woman in the helicopter quickly turn from Vivio to look at the pilot's seat. "We have a magic signal from a rooftop three hundred yards from here!"

"A charge attack!?"

"Think so, can you block it? I'm going to try and lose the lock!" Vice shifted the aircraft to the side harshly.

Nanoha grimaced and slid the belts on the seat holding Vivio, frowning as the small girl winced in her sleep at being restrained. "Sorry Vivio, but you have to be safe." With one more fast check of her passenger, Nanoha moved to the side of the helicopter. "Raising Heart?"

"Yes, my master." The wheelchair moved on its own, locking in place on the floor as it moved downward and to the side to form a small torrent. The metal on the helicopter shifted and formed a glass shield to block the wind.

Nanoha scanned the area and saw the ball of glowing energy on top of a building close to them. Her hand raised and her blue eyes focused hard, forming several layers of barriers out in front of herself. The pink magical circles followed her hand, each one growing thicker and thicker with each passing second. Moments passed and the blast was fired,crashing through several of the barriers and closing in on the aircraft. "Vice, brace for impact!"

The last shield managed to stop the attack but the force made the chopper spin a moment before starting to stabilize. "Go back!" Nanoha commanded, putting her hand out again and forming a circle to materialize several magenta balls of energy. "I can get them!"

Vice grimaced. "No can do, the attack scrambled my equipment. I need to pull us before another one stops it all together. We can't risk it with a civilian on board!"

"Dang it..." Nanoha growled and glared at the building, sending her attacks to distract them so they could get away. "You're right, retreat for now." Her hands moved over her armrest of her wheelchair and two monitors appeared before her. "Subaru, Teana, what is your location?"

Teana answered first, obviously running down a street. "We're a little bit ahead of your chopper, heading to the building!"

Nanoha smiled. "Good. Engage and restrain the tar-" Her words stopped when the people on the building leapt off, falling to the top of another office before seemingly disappearing into it. "What in the...?"

"Nanoha-san?" Subaru asked curiously.

"...Never mind, the two are off my radar and out of visual..." Nanoha looked at the building once more before allowing herself to be pulled back into the main hold of their aircraft. "Teana, Subaru, we are going to make a landing nearby, meet us at these coordinates; we have precious cargo on board."

"Ma'am!"

~**~

"Erio-kun!" Caro's voice made the boy fighting Fate jump back to land near her. "I just got contact from our friends, they had to retreat after their attack failed. Requesting our assistance, they found what we're after."

"Right." Erio spun his spear and met Fate's eyes, wiping a streak of blood from a cut on his cheek. "Nice playing with you Fate. We have to go now."

Fate put a hand on Hayate's shoulder when she moved forward to keep them engaged in combat. "Right."

Lutecia hummed, glancing over at them, before smiling. With a small wave, she stood between the two people and formed a magical circle. Seconds later and they vanished from site.

"Fate-chan!?"

Fate twirled her cloak and slapped away something on her uniform before reaching out and grabbing a buzzing insect in her hand. "They're going to track us using this. With it, we can lure them anywhere we want to continue this fight. Right now, we need to get the relics Vivio lost in the sewer. Can you deploy Nanoha's students that are in the city to search for them?"

Hayate stared at the blonde for several long moments before she grinned proudly. "Well thought out. I'm impressed." Fate nodded at her and formed a containment unit for Lutecia's insect, placing it inside and sealing it.

~**~

Fate opened the door to the hospital room and stepped inside quickly, almost not closing the door behind herself in her hurry. "How is she?" She asked softly while making her way to Vivio's bedside. The small girl, no more than four years old, was fast asleep on the bed. Eyes closed and breathing steady, Vivio showed no signs of knowing she had company.

"The doctors said she will be fine," Nanoha told her friend in a quiet voice as to not disturb the girl's sleep. "She has a few scrapes and bruises but mainly she seems to have over exerted herself trying to get away from the people keeping her."

"I see..." Fate sighed out thankfully while pulling a chair up to sit by her. Red eyes noticed a small plush bunny laying beside the girl and smiled at it fondly. "You got her a stuffed animal?"

"Mmn, I thought she could use a friend to be there for her when she woke up."

"Mama..." Both girls looked at the girl sadly.

"...Hey, Fate-chan?" Nanoha looked over at her. "This girl, Vivio, she's... our daughter in your world right?"

Fate slowly nodded. "...Yeah."

Nanoha looked back at the small girl, curiously taking her in. "I see..."

The blonde shifted uneasily in her seat. 'I can't take care of this Vivio, I have my little girl waiting for me back home... But Nanoha isn't really capable of taking care of a girl Vivio's age right now... Between her job, not having me to share responsibility with, and her being more limited in this universe...'

"To be honest, I don't really know what I'll do." Nanoha moved her eyes from Vivio over to Fate. "I know I took her in, but things are different here. I'm not sure if I can handle raising a child on my own." A long breath was taken. "For teh time being, we should let the church look after her. Maybe they will have someone who can help her."

"...Yeah." Fate agreed softly, eyes downcast. 'I can't force her to make the same decisions she made in my world... If she can't handle it, then I'm sure Vivio will be placed in a loving home that will take care of her.' Fate nodded to herself. "There are a few things about her that we have to take care of, first." Fate stood up and moved to the end of the bed. "We should talk about this at home while Vivio rests."

"... I'd kind of like to stay with her a little bit longer, if that's okay."

Fate blinked, but still agreed. "I don't mind... I think I'm going to meet with Hayate, though... I'll see you later?"

"You're not going to stay with her?"

"She's... I can't raise her, and she doesn't know who I am." Fate told her sadly. "She's not my daughter."

"...But that doesn't mean that you don't feel attached to her, does it?"

Fate looked down sadly. "Of course it doesn't. Maybe that's why its so hard to leave right now...Nanoha, I can't stay here."

Nanoha gave her friend a sad smile. "Even though its hard to leave?"

"Its harder to stay," Fate whispered softly as she started walking to the door again, closing it gently behind herself.

The woman stared at the door for several long moments before a scared, weak voice beside her once again called for her mother. "Don't worry, Vivio," Nanoha whispered softly down at her. "I'm here, don't be scared." Her palms were placed around Vivio's small hand and she felt her lips turn up when the girl tried to grip one of her fingers. "I'm here..."

Alicia Testarossa's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/15/2009
Posts: 404

*ahem* what I failed to tell you on messenger Satashi before I cast my sleeping spell on you. To answer the question of what I would say to Nanoha. I would say this: You consider Fate strong do you? Understand that shes the weakest of all of you. She is like a child who has been torn away from everything she once knew. She tries to sustain herself by protecting others. Nanoha, Fate will always protect you...so that she can remain...herself.

Great story once again. I look forward to its completion ^.^

langrisser's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/22/2009
Posts: 1380

Again, a great chapter. :3
I see the inner conflict of Fate and Nanoha, and the pain it brings to them.
Whatever the end will be, it will be a bittersweet one : either Fate stay in this world and abandon her Nanoha and her Vivio, or she return to her world and leave the alternate Nanoha and Vivio. One of the two Nanoha will suffer in the end, so I'm curious on how the story will end.

NanoFaito's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/20/2009
Posts: 172

argh so busy in the office until i didn't manage to read it until now.
i'm kinda sad for nanoha and vivio in this alternative world...
i'm curious how you would end this.

Nura's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/18/2009
Posts: 209

Finally, I have read the 3 chapters. Well, it´s a really interesting story, it reminds me some chapter form Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis ;) (all about parallel universes and stuff like that). Like Langrisser said before, I think it will have a bittersweet end. But, anyway, I really like it ^^, it´s really well-written and I´m just waiting for the next chapter.

Satashi's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/17/2009
Posts: 595

Dedicated to Alicia Testarossa

I looked up at the morning sky from my wheelchair as I moved along the sidewalk leading to the main part of the Saint church. The air was crisp and held a taste to it that others said they couldn't place. I knew what it was, as the sky had always been a part of me. It was the fall season coming, bringing with it cooler weather and the pretty colors of leaves before they fall. I liked this season best and I couldn't help but smile to myself as I made it into the church after someone held the door for me. Upon entering I saw sister Schach looking around herself frantically and I couldn't help but go over to her to ask what was bothering her so much.

AlternaticveS IV
By: Satashi

"You lost her?" Nanoha asked, honestly shocked at what she was just told. "How do you lose a little girl!?"

"I'm terribly sorry," Schach bowed embarrassedly. "I went to check on her and she wasn't in her room. I don't think she could have made it too far..."

"I'll help look." Turning her chair, Nanoha moved herself in the opposite direction. "Contact me if you find her, okay?"

"Thank you, Nanoha-san."

The girl in the chair sighed out in a mixture of worry and annoyance. 'I can't believe they lost her... Poor thing must be scared out of her mind...' Nanoha licked her lips and tried to repress a worried feeling. 'She's so young, I hope we find her so we can help her...If I was a little girl, where would I go?' Her blue eyes looked out a window she was passing.' I'd want to be outside, away from everyone else...' Turning, she headed down another hallway and out through a door leading into a small outside area in the middle of the church.

Passing a flower bed, Nanoha looked around and did a double take when she thought she saw motion out of the corner of her eye. Moving to a large tree in the middle of the tiny park, Nanoha saw Vivio hiding half behind the tree holding the stuffed rabbit she had given her. "Hello there," Nanoha spoke softly, making Vivio move behind the tree more. "I see you found the bunny I gave you." Vivio looked down at her friend and then slowly turned back to Nanoha, nodding lightly. When no words were given, Nanoha tried again to talk with her. "My name is Nanoha... what's yours?"

"...Vivio." The single word was said softly, laced with a slight bit of fear in it.

"Vivio... that's a really nice name." Nanoha smiled at her. "How old are you, Vivio?"

"...Don't know." The answer made the older woman want to bite her tongue. "Where's my mama?"

"Can't find your mama?" Nanoha asked softly, instantly reflecting back on Fate. "That's not good... How about we look for her together?" Offering her hand out, she kept smiling at the blonde in front of her until she slowly came out from hiding and walked over to her to accept the hand. "What does your mama look like?"

"...Don't know..." Vivio sniffled, looking down. "...Scared."

Nanoha placed her other hand on top of Vivio's gently. "Don't be scared; I'm here with you, okay?" She got a small nod but Vivio's eyes still clearly told how she felt. "...Are you hungry, Vivio?"

"Mmn." A small nod came paired with the sound.

"Do you like waffles?" Nanoha smiled again, getting an interested look. "Why don't we go someplace where we can eat some? Bunny-san can come too." Glancing down at Vivio again, Nanoha felt a twinge of sympathy when she noticed the girl was only wearing a shirt that went to her knees. "Do your feet hurt? Want to sit on my lap?"

"Mmn..." The girl looked down a moment but her mis-matched eyes turned back up, looking at the outstretched arms of the woman leaning towards her. After several seconds of debating with herself, she raised her arms and allowed Nanoha to lift her and place her onto the older woman's legs.

"There," Nanoha praised her with a smile. "Isn't that better?" One hand went to Vivio's hair and patted it softly. "We'll get you some clothes after we eat, okay?" Vivio turned and looked back at her curiously. "Don't worry, you're safe okay?"

"Nanoha-san!" Schach's voice came as the woman ran out into the garden. "I saw you from the window."

"I just found her," Nanoha explained happily. "We're going to get something to eat; she must be starving, I'm sure she hasn't eaten since at least yesterday morning."

"I'll take her-" Schach reached out to Vivio but pulled back when the girl cried out and hugged Nanoha, hiding her face in the woman's breasts. "Ah..."

"Don't be scared, Vivio." Nanoha tried to sooth her and repress the shock of suddenly being held onto. "You're here with me, I won't go anywhere." A red and green eye looked up at her, each moistened with tears paired with a scared sound coming from the child's closed mouth. "I promise, you're safe with me." Nanoha leaned down a bit and stroked Vivio's hair. "Relax, everything is okay now."

Vivio slowly nodded and placed her face back against Nanoha's chest, holding onto her just in case. "Mmn..."

Nanoha looked back at sister Schach with a helpless expression. "Guess it can't be helped... Lets go to the kitchen and get her fed."

"O-Okay..."

~**~

Nanoha watched with interest as Vivio looked at her fork and butter knife with a helpless expression. Clumsily the girl tried to cut off a bite of the food but only succeeded in moving it around on her plate. Before tears came to Vivio's eyes, Nanoha forced herself to stop watching the adorable act and lean over to take Vivio's plate. "Here, I'll help you." Easily, she began to cut up the waffles into bite sized pieces. "There you are, Vivio." Nanoha moved the plate back to the girl and felt rather proud of herself when she got a cheerful sound mixed with a chomp of food. "You were really hungry, huh?"

"Mmn!" Vivio stabbed another bite, holding the fork in her closed fist.

Schach leaned over to Nanoha while looking at Vivio. "Ne, Nanoha-san..." When the older woman shifted closer to her, she began to whisper. "What are we going to do with her? We know she's an artificial mage so she doesn't have parents..."

"I'm not sure exactly," Nanoha whispered back just as quietly. "We need to find someone who can take care of her." Turning back to Vivio, Nanoha watched the girl eat bite after bite, getting more and more syrup on her face. Not being able to help it anymore, Nanoha got a napkin and moved next to Vivio again. "Here, you're making a mess of yourself..." Vivio allowed her to wipe her face, making content sounds at being pampered.

Now with a clean and full child to contend with, Nanoha allowed Vivio to is on her lap once more. Together along with Sister Schach, they went down the church hallways and to a room where they kept a few spare clothes for children. "Anything in her size?" Nanoha asked curiously, holding Vivio by her sides while the girl looked around with interest.

"Yes, this should fit her." Schach pulled out a white shirt with blue sleeves. "And here's the matching skirt." A blue skirt was offered as well.

"Change clothes, Vivio," Nanoha told her gently. With a small motion, the woman lifted Vivio from her lap and placed her down onto the floor. When she was looked at helplessly, Nanoha gave her a sad smile. "Want me to help you?" A nod answered her. "Lift your arms for me."

Three minutes and a clothed Vivio later, the small group went back into the hallways and headed to the front of the church. "I'll contact you as soon as we find someone." Schach spoke happily. "Thank you for your help, Nanoha-san."

"Wasn't a problem at all." Nanoha smiled at Vivio next to her. "I have to go now, Vivio."

"Waheh?" The girl grabbed Nanoha's wheelchair and shook her head. "No!"

"Don't worry, Sister Schach will take good care of you." Nanoha tried to smile again when Vivio started crying openly. "Vivio, don't cry, you'll be just fine." The loud crying was mixed with sobs and broken half words despite the two older women trying to sooth her.

"Vivio, we will have lots of fun together," Schach promised as best she could. "Don't worry, you'll be really happy here!" The crying got louder when Schach placed her hands on Vivio's shoulders. The small girl moved away and held onto Nanoha's leg tightly, shaking her head and crying out even more.

Nanoha looked helplessly at Schach and got a hopeless look in return. "I guess it can't be helped then... I'll look after her for the time being."

"But Nanoha-san...Are you able to care for such a young girl while on the base?"

"No," Nanoha shook her head, moving a hand down to stroke Vivio's hair in an attempt to calm her. "But I can't just leave this child after everything she's been through... It seems like she trusts me and I'd hate to think what would happen to her if I left her like this... she may try to run away again, and keeping her under lock and key would be no better than whoever had her beforehand..."

"I see..." Schach rubbed her hands together. "If there's anything I can do to help just let me know."

"I will, thank you." Taking a deep breath, Nanoha leaned forward to the still sobbing girl holding onto her. "Vivio," the gentle voice saying her name made Vivio look up at Nanoha, sniffling heavily. "Would you like to come home with me?"

"...Mmn." Nodding, Vivio looked up at her with shaking red eyes stained with tears.

Nanoha nodded and carefully started wiping away the tears on Vivio's face. "Okay then, we'll stay together for a while then, is that okay?" Another nod and hum came, paired with a noticeable lift in the girl's spirits. "Then lets head home together." Taking Vivio's hand, she nodded at her friend once more.

~**~

"It's not much, but its a start," Yuuno finished while glancing over the monitors in front of himself. "At least we've managed to narrow down the rift you came through, Harlaown-san."

"Please, call me Fate." The blonde offered happily. "Thank you so much, Yuuno, you have no idea how much better I feel after hearing this."

The male grinned. "We're just getting started, but it seems like we have a clear direction on where to go from here. If everything goes absolutely perfectly smoothly, then I'd say you will be on your way back home in little over a month."

"A month..." Despite the time frame, Fate couldn't help but smile broadly, red eyes shining with a light that she hadn't shown once since she arrived. "I'd wait forever if it meant I could go back to my family one more time."

A beeping sound rang up, making Hayate look up from her desk. "Speaking of, Nanoha is contacting us." A button was pressed and Nanoha's image appeared on a screen along with the loud yelling of a small child. "Na-Nanoha!?"

Nanoha looked at her friends on the screen embarassedly. Vivio was clinging to her tightly, yelling without shame at the idea of being removed from Nanoha's arms. "Uhm... Help me, please?" She asked, blushing hard and offering a light smile.

Hayate laughed happily at the sight and nodded at her friend teasingly. "We're on our way. Try not to make the girl cry too much before we get there okay?"

"Mou, not funny, Hayate-chan." Nanoha pouted at her as the connection cut off. turning back to Vivio, the woman tried again to reason with her. "Vivio, don't cry so much okay? I will only be gone for a few hours. I promise I will be back.... Aw, please Vivio? Pretty please?" Her attempts at requesting leave fell on deaf ears as Vivio shook her head, clinging harder to Nanoha's legs. "I have no idea how to deal with a crying child..."

The door to Nanoha's room opened and Hayate walked in along with Yuuno and Fate. The woman in the lead crossed her arms and looked at Nanoha with an amused smirk. "Well, this is an interesting sight. Nanoha-chan is babysitting, and not doing a very good job."

"Ha, ha, ha." Nanoha gave a sarcastic laugh. "What do I do? She refuses to let me go."

Fate took a step forward and picked up the small stuffed bunny that was on the floor. "Vivio?" Her voice was soft and light, making the small girl tense up before turning around. At once, Vivio screamed out in terror and literally scrambled to climb up on Nanoha. Clinging to the woman tightly, she pressed her face against Nanoha's chest and sobbed out.

Hayate looked down at the blonde curiously. "Not very good with the children, are you?"

"I...I don't understand." Fate stood up completely and walked to Nanoha, offering the bunny to Vivio. Instead of taking it, Vivio started to shiver, hugging onto Nanoha more and crying out. "Vivio?"

Nanoha took the plushy and gave Fate an apologetic look. "She seems to be scared of you for some reason."

"It seems so..." Fate answered back softly. "I better move away..." True to her words, the blonde turned and walked away, hiding behind Yuuno.

"Vivio," Nanoha spoke to her in a caring tone. "Don't be scared, nothing will hurt you. See, bunny-san says its okay." Her hand made the plushy bounce lightly in the air before Vivio took it and held it close to her chest.

Hayate moved forward this time and knelt down next to the two, looking at Vivio with curiosity. "You have very pretty eyes, Vivio."

"This is Hayate-chan," Nanoha introduced the still sniffling girl to her friend. "She's my best friend in the world." As an after thought, she looked at Yuuno and stuck out her tongue playfully at him. "And that is Yuuno-kun, my... best male friend in the world."

"Hello, Vivio." Yuuno greeted with an over dramatic bow that made Vivio forget the current problem she was facing.

Fate held back saying anything and instead watched the small group talk to Vivio, distracting her for a moment so she could calm down. 'I wonder what made Vivio so afraid of me? Was it because I grabbed her when she was running away? Does she think I will hurt her?'

"Vivio," Nanoha spoke up again, rubbing the girl's back. "I really have to go do my duties now." At once Vivio's eyes started to mist up.

"So," Hayate interrupted the waterworks. "You get to stay with me for a while, until Nanoha-chan can come back. It will be lots of fun!"

Yuuno glanced over at Hayate and whispered into her ear so no one else could hear. "Are you able to watch after her right now?"

"A small break won't kill me, at least until Nanoha finishes her training." Hayate picked up her voice again and opened her arms up. "Come on, lets go have some fun, okay Vivio?"

Vivio looked from Hayate to Nanoha, giving a small whimper at the idea of being transferred. "Its okay," Nanoha promised her. "I will come pick you up in a few hours. You don't want to be a selfish girl, do you?"

Another displeased sound was made but Vivio did allow herself to be plucked from Nanoha's lap and cradled against Hayate's body. "There," Hayate cooed at her. "We will play dress up!"

Nanoha rubbed her forehead. "Ah, I need to get some clothes for her as well."

"I'll get them," Fate spoke up again. "I got my first paycheck for the missions I did, so it won't be a problem."

"No, no, I'll pay for them." Nanoha shook her head.

"Its okay, my money won't be used anyway later on. The least I can do is get some clothes. Should I pick up some groceries while I'm out?" Fate moved to the kitchen and looked around to see what she should buy.

"Fate-chan!" Nanoha turned and moved over to the girl, blushing. "Really, you don't have to-"

"Shush," Fate replied simply, pulling up a monitor and starting to make a list. "I want to." Looking over at Nanoha, she smiled down at her and leaned over to touch her nose in an imitation of what Nanoha did to her earlier. "Should I bring back some ice cream for her?"

"I... guess so." Nanoha reached up and took the finger in her hand, holding onto it. "Thank you... Fate-chan."

"You're very welcome." Letting Nanoha hold onto her finger, she looked over at Vivio, who quickly turned away from her to hide against Hayate. "Well, I'll be off then... Can I borrow your car, Nanoha?"

"Certainly."
~**~

Fate shifted the many bags in her arms as she opened the door leading into Nanoha's loft style room. "I'm back," she called out contently, only to be shushed by the girl sitting on the couch.

"Vivio is taking a nap." Nanoha revealed in a slightly hushed voice. "I finally got her to sleep so I'd like for her to rest up."

Fate smiled at her as she dropped off the groceries on the kitchen cabinet. "Remember that when she's wired at three in the morning." Opening the bags up, she started placing random things into the small refrigerator. "Don't get up, its not much."

"You didn't even look to see if I was," Nanoha complained lightly as she leaned back onto the couch."

"I know you." Fate hummed while finishing up the small task. Once completed, she picked up the plastic bags containing Vivio's clothes and walked over to Nanoha. Sitting beside her, she started holding up the outfits in turn. "What do you think?"

"Very nice," Nanoha inspected each set of clothing happily. "This should last her."

"I got a few things for me as well. Yuuno said I would be here for at least a month longer if there are no delays. I'm honestly expecting it to be longer, but one can hope, right?" She held up a see-through pink nightie. "I got this for you." Handing it to Nanoha, Fate started rooting through the bag. "There are matching panties in here somewhere...Ah," Holding them up, she smiled.

Nanoha felt her cheeks burn as she inspected it. "Wow..."

"Is it too much?" Fate asked with a hint of concern in her voice. "I wanted to get you a little something since you've been so helpful and kind to me. I wasn't going to do lingerie but I was in the store and it really... reminded me of you." She smiled lightly and looked away with a slight hint of embarrassment. "I think it would look really nice on you. Something pretty for a pretty girl, you know?"

Nanoha felt her heart skip a beat. Holding the sheer fabric to her chest, she looked down and stammered out her response. "Th-thank you..." Knowing that even the tips of her ears were red, she shyly glanced over at Fate. "I'll... wear it for you sometime."

"Mmn, I'd like that." Fate replied back casually, placing Vivio's clothes all back into one bag while placing hers in another.

"S-so..." Nanoha fidgeted, trying to repress the thoughts of having someone actually wanting to see her in something sexy. "A month, huh?"

"Yes, its nice to have a time frame. I'm sorry for imposing on you like this. Hayate gave me my own room and yet I've been here the past few days."

"Its okay..." Nanoha finally folded her gift and placed it beside herself. "Really, its nice to have company. It gets... a little lonely here by myself."

"I'm sorry." Fate shifted to sit closer to Nanoha. "I wish I could help with that."

"You are..." The woman looked at Fate and then back to her lap, leaning ever so slightly closer to her. "What do we normally do in times like this?"

A happy smile came to Fate's lips as she reflected back. "Really want to know?"

"Yes?"

Fate leaned closer to Nanoha and smiled teasingly, a hint of playfulness in her eyes. "Kiss. Simple kissing while holding each other. Smiling, light flirts, sometimes tickling each other... just enjoying being next to each other."

Nanoha thought on it, smiling at the idea. "What's it like?"

"I can't... really describe it." Fate leaned back onto the couch and soon found Nanoha laying back as well. Out of instinct her arm went over the other girl's shoulders. "Oh, I'm sorry."

"No!" Nanoha reached up and grabbed Fate's hand before it left. "I mean, its okay... its comfortable, you know?"

To the blue eye'd girl's delight, Fate simply smiled and nodded. "It is; you always were a snuggle slut."

"Snuggle slut?" Nanoha laughed when saying the words. "That's sickeningly cute, in a weird kind of way." Leaning onto Fate more, she played with the fingers on her shoulder with her own. "So... are you a snuggle slut as well?" The blonde looked up at the ceiling and pretended to think about the question. 'She's so casual about being close like this... I love it.' Nuzzling against the blonde's neck, Nanoha inhaled deeply. "You smell nice."

"Tried on perfume while at the mall. Guilty pleasure you could say."

Nanoha arched an eyebrow at her. "You wanted to get me a gift and tried on perfume, then bought me lingerie?" She grinned. "And you even smiled when I offered to show you my underwear... perv."

"Ah, no, that's..." Fate felt her words stop in her throat, unsure of what to say.

"Its okay," Nanoha replied back contently. "I don't mind... I think its cute." Shifting her head to rest on Fate's shoulder, she gazed at the blonde. "You're so pretty and shy, so its really cute to think that you have a dark side."

"H-hey now..."

"Hm?" Nanoha interlaced her fingers with Fate's.

"Nothing... just for a moment I could swear you really were her." Fate told her softly, voice suddenly getting a little sad.

Nanoha felt as if she had been slapped. A mixture of annoyance and jealousy mixed in her chest and she pulled away from Fate. 'Why won't you look at me for who I am?'

"Nanoha?" Fate asked, unsure as of why the girl suddenly pulled away from her so fast. "Is something wrong?"

"No."

Fate grimaced. "Uh oh... What did I say? Was the nightie too much for a gift after all? I'm sorry, I'll-"

"Its not the nightie." Nanoha replied back a little snippier than she had intended. "Its just... ugh, I don't know. I'm sorry, I'm just in a weird mood I guess."

"Oh... Okay..."

"Fate-chan," Nanoha reached out for the blonde when she went to stand up. Looking up into the now sad eyes, she couldn't help but sigh out. "Um... Remember the other day you said you would hug me again after you got out of the shower?"

"...Yes?"

"I could use that hug."

Fate instantly moved back down and wrapped her arms around Nanoha, pulling her close. "Silly girl, if you had a weird day and are in a mood, you can always have a hug."

Inhaling Fate's scent, Nanoha slid her arms around the girl's waist and held on tight. "Thank you."

"Anytime." Fate moved back enough to rest her forehead against Nanoha's. "Anything else you would like? How about a leg massage?"

Nanoha smiled, blushing happily at the closeness of Fate's face. "I would love that, very much." Fate slid off the couch and smiled up at her, slowly running her hands up Nanoha's leg before gripping the stocking and ever so slowly peeling it down. 'Oh my god that's such a seductive sight.' Nanoha's eyes went wide and she hid her face behind both her palms, gasping at the bold thought that ran through her mind.

"Nanoha? What is it?" Fate asked curiously, getting a furious shaking of Nanoha's head in reply. "Silly."

~**~

Nanoha looked over her shoulder when she heard rustling sheets behind herself. Vivio, lost in a sea of blankets, was struggling to find her way out. A small grin came to Nanoha's face as she moved herself over to the bed, watching the act curiously for as long as she could before knowing Vivio might get scared." Here, I'll help," she spoke up and noticed the struggling stopped at once to allow her to free Vivio.

The small blonde took in a large breath once her head was clear of the fabric and she turned to look at Nanoha, her hair frizzing in all directions from static electricity. Small arms reached out in a request to be picked up and Nanoha obliged her, pulling the girl into her lap and moving back to her desk to try and do some of her work. "Did you sleep well, Vivio?"

"Mmn."

Nanoha shifted the girl so she was sitting sideways on her lap and held up a finger in a 'no-no' motion. "When you're agreeing with a female, you say 'yes ma'am' okay?"

"...Yes ma'am?" Her words made Nanoha smile, which in turn made Vivio giggle and close her eyes happily. "Yes ma'am."

'Her vocabulary doesn't seem to be that bad... but she seems to only want to make sounds to communicate...' Nanoha reached up to touch Vivio's nose, getting a smile again. "Vivio, are you hungry or anything?"

"No ma'am."

The older woman looked impressed again. "Is there anything you want to do?" The girl thought about it a moment before tilting her head to the side.

"Don't know."

"TV?"

"Hmmn?"

Nanoha moved so she could go downstairs, past where Fate was taking a nap on the couch. "I think I have lots of channels." Raising her hand, she made a monitor appear above the table. A horizontal one apepared in front of Vivio, who looked at it curiously. "This one moves the channels up and down. The volume is here, okay?"

"Yes ma'am." Vivio looked at it a moment before turning to the side when Fate mumbled something in her sleep. At once Vivio shrieked and lunged at Nanoha, almost falling into the floor in her attempt to hug onto the older woman.

"Vi-Vivio!?"

Fate slowly sat up. "What is it...?"

"I don't know, Vivio suddenly got scared." Nanoha held the shaking girl.

"Vivio?" Fate sleepily moved over to Nanoha and reached out to stroke the girl's hair. "Don't be scared, you're fine here." When her hand touched the blonde, another shriek came and Vivio buried her face tighter onto Nanoha's chest. "She... really seems to be terrified of me..."

"Seems so..." Nanoha sighed. "Vivio... Vivio, look at me okay?" Reluctant eyes turned up to see the girl speaking to her. "Fate-chan is a good friend of mine... She won't hurt you, I promise."

"No." Vivio shook her head.

"Vivio," Nanoha tried again. "I promise you. Fate-chan is a good girl."

Fate leaned forward slowly, offering a smile to the girl who still tried to lean away from her. "Vivio, would you like some ice cream?"

"Oooooohhhhnn...." A sound that was mixed between wanting and dreading came at the same time, making both of the older girls repress laughture.

"I'll get you some," Fate promised. "Would you like to go with me to the ice cream store?"

Vivio shook her head frantically but Nanoha nodded. "That sounds like a wonderful idea! Vivio, will you be a good girl and bring Nanoha back some ice cream? Pretty please?"

Vivio looked terrified but the gentle look she was getting made her slink back and meekly nod. "...Yes ma'am."

"Be a good girl for Fate-chan, okay?"

Fate stood and reached up to pick up Vivio, who instantly reached back for Nanoha. "don't worry, I'll protect you," Fate told the struggling girl. "Vivio, please don't move so much, I can't hold you."

"Down!"

Nanoha held up a finger again. "Say please when you want a request, okay?"

Vivio sniffled. "Down... Please..."

"Okay," Fate sat Vivio down on the floor but took the girl's small hand in hers. "But you have to hold my hand, okay?"

Vivio looked at Nanoha one last time, tears in her eyes at the thought of being alone with Fate. The woman in the wheelchair smiled at her and leaned forward to try and ease her fears. "I promise you, Vivio, Fate-chan is nice. Okay?"

"...Yes ma'am..." Vivio almost whispered out, looking back at Nanoha the entire time Fate walked with her to the door.

~**~

"Here we are," Fate spoke softly as she parked her car outside of the mall. "The best ice cream in town is in here." Reaching over, she moved the seatbelt from the squirming girl's lap. "There you go." Opening her door, Fate slid out of Nanoha's van and walked around to Vivio's side to help her down. "Hang onto my hand, okay?" Instead of taking Fate's hand, Vivio gave her pleading eyes. "Mou... stay next to me, okay?"

Vivio walked next to the older woman down the parking lot, every now and then running a few steps ahead so she could jump over a puddle on the ground left over from yesterday's rain. "Don't run, Vivio, you could fall." Fate told her in a soft but firm voice. The little girl ignored the heading and tried to jump another puddle, ending up falling down when she slipped in the water. "Mou, Vivio..."

Running up to the girl, Fate gently helped the crying child to her feet. "Are you okay?" Making sure the girl didn't land in the water, Fate sighed at the lightly skinned knee. "Aw, poor girl." Her hands dusted off the dirt. "Not bleeding, thankfully." when Vivio kept crying, Fate bent down lower and kissed the sore spot. "Pain, pain, fly away." Vivio hiccupped and looked at Fate curiously. "Does it still hurt?"

"Mnn..." Shaking her head, Vivio brought a finger up to her mouth.

"Good." Fate moved forward and hugged Vivio so she could lift her up and balance her against her hip. "There, I'll carry you the rest of the way so you can rest, okay?"

"...Yes ma'am."

Now with Vivio in tow, the blonde made the rest of the way into the mall. Lights from the nearby arcade distracted Vivio enough for Fate to have a pleasant time of carrying her through the food court and to the ice cream section there within. A greeting was made and Vivio turned to the small shop, eyes going wide at the sheer amount of candy and toppings on display. "Hey," Fate started. "I'd like a Pecan's Passion in a 'to-go' container, as well as a combination of sweet cream, cookie dough, chocolate chips, fudge, and a brownie, also in a waffle bowl." Turning to Vivio, Fate smiled at her. "What do you want?"

The question took her by surprise and Vivio placed both of her small hands onto the glass covering the ice cream and toppings. The amount of choices she could make overwhelmed the girl to the point where she just looked up at Fate hopelessly. "Um...."

Fate smiled at her. "Want me to pick for you?" The idea seemed to make Vivio nervous but she still slowly nodded, unsure if she was making the right choice or not. When given the go-ahead, Fate looked at the choices again and spoke up, easily recalling her daughter's favorite selections. "Chocolate and sweet swirl ice cream with chocolate chips, caramel, and crushed cookies in a chocolate covered waffle bowl." The words made Vivio make an excited sound as she turned from Fate and back to the people behind the counter. "Look, Vivio," Fate mused, leaning the girl closer. "See? That’s going to be yours." One hand pointed at the mess of yummy goodness being mixed together with spades.

"Mmn!" Vivio's eyes stayed on the treat until Fate paid for them and picked up the two bowls to hold in one hand as well as carry the plastic bag containing Nanoha's bucket by her fingertips. The two went to a small table and Vivio found herself being sat down in a seat and handed a spoon.

"Don't eat too fast, you'll get a headache and might make yourself sick, okay?" Fate knew the words would be ignored so she added in another line. "If you get sick you won't be able to eat anymore, you know?" That seemed to do the trick and Vivio's eager attempts to get to her treat slowed to the point where Fate was confident enough to slide the chair forward. "Enjoy."

Watching Vivio eat the cold treat made Fate smile brightly to herself. 'It’s amazing, being able to see my daughter so young again... I wonder what Vivio would say if I told her I got to see her four year old self make a mess of herself in a food court...' The idea made her giggle as she ate. ' I should take a picture to show to her girlfriend.'

Several pictures and a very content Vivio later, Fate found the girl walking next to her back towards the door. When they were almost there, Vivio stopped and grabbed Fate's skirt. A small hand pointed next to the arcade at the merry go round. Bright lights were blinking and music was playing just loud enough to attract attention to it. "Can I?" Vivio asked, hope laced in her voice.

"Yes," Fate gave in at once, walking with her over to it and giving the man there a few dollars to allow Vivio to ride. Holstering the girl up, Fate sat her on a plastic horse and looped the safety belt around her waist. "Gold on to the pole, okay?"

"Yes ma'am," Vivio almost shouted, bouncing to see if she could make the ride start any faster.

'And I thought Nanoha was just like herself... Vivio is exactly the same as she was when she was younger.' The ride started and Fate stood next to Vivio's horse, one hand on the child's back. Around and around they went, making the older woman a little disorientated since her body wasn't actually moving.

When the ride finished and Vivio was lifted from the horse, the girl gave Fate large puppy dog eyes. "Again?"

"Sorry, but other people want to ride as well." Fate held Vivio with one arm looped under her and balanced the girl against her side. "See?" Her free hand pointed to the line of kids waiting to get on. "We have to let them ride as well, right?"

"....Mmn."

"We'll come back another day," Fate promised her. "We'll take Nanoha as well."

"Un!" Vivio smiled happily, missing the fact that she was being carried by the blonde all the way back to the van, where she was placed in the seat and buckled in.

Alicia Testarossa's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/15/2009
Posts: 404

Yaaay! I get a little vivo icon *squeals* Really wonderful family time, I can only imagine what would make Vivio so scared of Fate, its almost as if...

We'll have to discuss this later Satashi! XD Wonderful as always.

langrisser's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/22/2009
Posts: 1380

I don't know what to say, other than it's another impressive chapter. :3

It seems I'm not the only one to see the way Vivio react to Fate may be hiding something, you sly fox ! (^^)
But I will not express the theories I have in mind about it, I don't want to unvoluntarily spoil the story with my conjectures, but I have one or two theories on the subject.

A.
A.'s picture
Offline
Joined: 08/14/2009
Posts: 3737

Thanks for sharing another chapter Satashi!

I've a quick question, how old is Vivio in Fate's universe? I'm asking this because she already has a girlfriend there... which makes me think that she's following the steps of her mamas way too close xD

Take care~

Satashi's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/17/2009
Posts: 595

about 16 or so, which makes Fate an old hag already! XDD

Alicia Testarossa's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/15/2009
Posts: 404

*gasp* So Fate would be like 31 already! I no wonder she went down 1/2 a rank from S+ to S. Must be the old age catching up. That's alright it happens to the best of them lolz *pats Fate*

Satashi's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/17/2009
Posts: 595

I awoke before Raising Heart's alarm went off, thanks to the small bundle clinging to me shifting. Groggily I opened my eyes and blinked a few times before shifting the covers to see Vivio huddled against my chest, one of her small hands gripping my shirt. The sight made me smile fondly, and I was reluctant to move away from her. Slowly I pulled my shirt from her loose grasp and sat up. I slide my arms under Vivio and moved her to the other side of myself, placing her near Fate's back and under the mass of blonde hair that was strewn over the pillows before turning to brown and leading up to my head. I giggled quietly and scooted over to the side of the bed, grasping Raising Heart's bars to pick myself up. I felt a weird sensation on my scalp that I wish I hadn't ignored. When I allowed myself to flomp into my chair, a searing pain came mixed with a startled cry from Fate-chan.

AlternativeS V
By: Satashi

"Nanohaaaaaaa." Fate groaned as she climbed over a dazed Vivio who was still half asleep. "Sweetheart, you know better than to sleep back-to-back with me."

"Ow... I'm sorry, Fate-chan." I rubbed my head ruefully and watched the still groggy Fate pick up the tangled mess of hair between us. Brown and gold strands were mixed like a bad quilting job, knotted in several places. "I didn't think about it."

Fate seemed to be waking up more and sighed out. "Sorry, I was lost for a moment."

Nanoha repressed an urge to reach out and hug the girl when she realized what Fate meant by that. "Can you undo it?" She asked instead, blue eyes going to Vivio who was sitting up now as well.

"I think..." Fate sat Indian style and started to pick at the clutter. "I'll have to break a few of our hairs." Her fingers quickly worked, narrowing down the situation until she had no choice but to grip the hair and start tugging. Once their hair was free, she sighed out in relief. "There."

"You're quite skilled at that." Nanoha mused, inspecting the tips of her hair.

"Get used to it." Fate yawned again and laid down, taking Vivio down with her. The child seemed to be lulled back to sleep immediately and held onto Fate's nightie. "Sleep face to face or back to front...."

Nanoha blushed softly. "Face to face sounds nice..."

"Mmn..." Fate managed to mumble out as sleep started to overtake her once more. "I'll be there later, have a good day."

"You too, Fate-chan..." Nanoha smiled happily. 'Wow, its like waking up next to your wife...' The thought made her grin as she moved around to get her uniform on. Several minutes passed as she dressed in silence, glancing over at the bed every now and then to see Fate and Vivio sleeping peacefully. 'Its going to be a good day.'

Heading to her field, Nanoha saw a forest setting already displayed on the training grounds. Curiously, she brought up her monitors and saw both Teana and Subaru already in a mock battle against each other. "Good morning," She greeted them contently.

"Ah, Nanoha-san!" Teana looked nervous. "Um, sorry for activating the field before you got here..."

"It seems," Nanoha mused, making each girl go stiff in fear of being punished. "That Fate-chan was right about you two. Could each of you report to my podium outside of the training area?" Both girls saluted, eyes wide in fear.

When the monitor cut off Teana looked at Subaru. "I told you we should have waited!"

"But... I thought she would be proud." Together they walked to where Nanoha was waiting for them.

"I just got transferred here too..."

"...I'm sorry, Tea."

A low groan came. "Its fine, I agreed to it anyway..." Standing before Nanoha, each one saluted once more."Ma'am!"

Nanoha held up her hands, a white card with a red X on it in her left, and a necklace with a clearish blue gem on it in her right. "I'd like to introduce you to your new partners."

~**~

"What the hell?" Lexus looked up at Nanoha's training field, seeing a flying blue road of magical energy along with a girl skating across it yelling out at the top of her lungs in excitement. At the same time he saw countless orange spheres of energy flying around near the bottom. Teana was dodging bullets from Nanoha while countering with her own. What he noticed the most, however, were teh matching barrier jackets each one sported. "Instructor!"

"Yes?" Nanoha turned to look over her shoulder before groaning. "What do you want now?"

Lexus stood by her and pointed. "What did those two do to deserve custom jackets and storage devices?"

"They're intelligent devices," Nanoha mused with a hidden smirk. "Teana Lanster is a prodigy. Combined with Subaru and the two have already become some of my best students. We had the devices made specifically for them."

"You can't make an intelligent device in under a week for Lanster."

Nanoha shrugged. "Fate-chan had the schematics with her. We just employed them."

"That contracted mage had that information!?"

"She's very smart." Nanoha took the opportunity to rub it in. "Not only was she recently marked SS- by the bureau, she gave us the information for both Mach Caliber as well as Cross Mirage, the devices. Teana is capable of outstanding illusion magic and Subaru has almost doubled her skill since the two have been together."

"Che..." Lexus scoffed at her.

"And you are here because?" Nanoha asked after enjoying his annoyance.

"There was an artificial mage that was recovered from a recent investigation. An investigation that your team was on before it was even reported."

"Is that so?" Nanoha breathed out, shrugging again.

"I have papers requesting that mage." Lexus held out the documents.

"What!?" Snatching them, Nanoha looked over the certified request form that was signed by TSAB staff. "She's a living person, you can't treat her like an object!"

"According to the law she has human rights, but she is still underage and the church you love so much has already put out an adoption request. My base will simply look after her until one is found."

Nanoha glared. "You can't have her."

"Oh? And why is that, Instructor?"

"Because.... Because..." Nanoha looked up at him challengingly. "I have already filled out the forms to become her legal guardian!"

"Ohhh? Can I see them then?" Lexus crossed his arms when the girl went pale. "I see then. Well, I'll just be on my way to talk to your base leader to get ownership."

"You can not own something that is alive," Fate's voice came to their ears as she walked forward.

"I have every right to-" Lexus stopped talking when Fate met his eyes.

"If you touch her, I will cut off your hand." Fate warned, voice firm.

"She will," Bardiche's metallic voice came up from Fate's glove.

Lexus snorted. "I'm sure you will. However, I still have the papers stating-"

"Bardiche," Fate cut him off. "Show this man Vivio's adoption records." A screen appeared, displaying pictures of Vivio and the documentation of both Nanoha and Fate's written agreement to take the girl into their custody as legal guardians. "A dollar short and a day late, Lexus."

The man glared at her hard, crumpling the papers in his hand as he made a fist. "Who the hell are you, and why are you suddenly in my life?"

"That's classified." Fate retorted harshly. "Leave our base. Now."

"I'll be watching you," Lexus challenged her as he walked past, hitting Fate's shoulder as he went.

Once the man out of hearing range, Fate looked down at Nanoha. "If he investigates my claim, he will find out that I don't have her as my daughter in this time line."

Nanoha looked like she was about to be sick. "I... I don't know what I should do..."

"Nanoha, calm down." Kneeling, Fate put both her hands on the girl's shoulders. "Don't worry-"

"How can I not worry!?" Nanoha almost shouted. "I've only had Vivio for a few days and already I feel like... like... Fate-chan, I can't raise a daughter, I don't know how to!"

"Take a breath." Fate told her sternly, looking into Nanoha's eyes until she finally tried to breathe properly. "We will think of something."

"There's no time!" Nanoha shook her head again. "He could very well go to the people above Hayate-chan and get Vivio transferred to him! He will treat her like a thing." Her eyes looked at Fate once more. "I... I have to do something."

"I can contact the church," Fate offered. "I can become her legal guardian until I approve of a foster home for her."

"But you don't even exist on this planet!" Nanoha shot the idea down. "You were only able to get a bank account because you said you were married to me and were escorted by military who's base you were in! If you try to get a child under your care they will need more than just a recommendation!" Realization slowly started to sink in on the girl. "I'll have to do it... Oh god, I'm going to adopt a child..." Tears came to her eyes and she tried to blink them away. "Fate-chan, I'm scared..."

Leaning over to hug the girl, Fate though about what to say. "Nanoha, you can be her guardian without being her mother... I think there is some sort of law stating that you have a certain amount of time to adopt or something..." The blonde tried to rake her memories for when she tried to adopt Caro and Erio.

"...Will you come with me?"

"...Yeah." Fate took a deep breath. "I dropped Vivio off at Hayate's office this morning so I could help you train."

"I see..." Taking a steadying breath, Nanoha tried to get herself collected. "I wonder what Vivio will think about all of this."

Fate gave the girl an honest smile. "Vivio," she told her softly. "Will be very, very happy."

"...Really?" Nanoha thought about it. "She really will?"

"Of course," Fate added. "You are saving her."

"Saving?"

"This isn't just changing your life," Fate whispered to her lovingly. "You're changing hers as well... Taking her away from pain and loneliness, offering comfort for when she cries, and making her smile every day when she sees you."

Nanoha felt her eyes moisten yet again. "... I really am, aren't I?"

"Yes." Fate nodded, massaging Nanoha's shoulders encouragingly. "You are changing her life, making sure nobody like Lexus will ever harm her."

The words made Nanoha calm down noticeably. "...Yeah." Reaching up, she touched Fate's hand on her shoulder. "Thank you, Fate-chan. I don't know what I'd do without you."

"The same thing," Fate replied without hesitating. "I know it."

"...Thank you." Nanoha wiped away a tear. "I needed to hear that."

"Whenever you want to hear the truth, I'll give it."

"Fate-chan..." Nanoha brought Fate's hand to her lips and gave it a small kiss. "Thank you, for being here for me."

"Always."

'Always,' Nanoha thought to herself as she let go of her hand and moved to head towards Hayate's office. 'Please, Fate-chan.'

~**~

"And you're done," Hayate informed Nanoha once the signature was on the paper. "All I need to do is show it to the church to make it final." Taking the document, she had it scanned and sent to the church via her device. "But I must say...this is a huge step for you. Why did you want to do this?"

Nanoha looked down at Vivio in her lap and noticed that the girl was still confused about what was going on. "Well...Lexus forced my hand but... I don't know, I just... when the thought of her being with someone else actually was put in my face I couldn't deal with it. I don't know what I'm going to do but... there are a lot of single mothers out there who raise children on their own, you know? I can swing something..."

"You'll do just fine," Fate encouraged her. "I know because I've seen it." the words worked as she planned and Nanoha noticeably lightened up. Before she could offer any more advice, however, a sudden knocking on the door came. Hayate blinked but allowed entrance, smiling when Subaru and Teana saluted everyone.

"Sorry for imposing, ma'am," Teana began. "We just wanted to thank you personally for allowing us to have these devices." Subaru nodded eagerly at teh words.

"Thank Fate-chan over there," Hayate mused. "She had all of the information for Cross Mirage, down to the smallest detail. Mach Caliber was already being designed as it was and the specifics Fate-chan had really helped."

Teana looked confused. "Ma'am... Why was this device fine tuned to me? It does everything I could ever want..."

Fate waved it off, not wanting to reveal the fact that Teana was her partner in her world. "Don't worry about it."

Nanoha looked at Subaru. "Subaru? what is it?"

Subaru laughed and scratched her head. "That little girl, she's the one that was rescued right?"

"Yes. Vivio, introduce yourself,"

Vivio tried to bow from her place in Nanoha's lap. "Hello. My name is Vivio, I'm six years old."

"Nice to meet you, Vivio." Teana and Subaru spoke at the same time, making each girl blush. "So," Subaru continued. "Are you looking after her?"

Nanoha nodded. "I just sighed the official papers."

"Papers!?" Subaru gasped. "You adopted her!? Nanoha's a mama!?"

"Mama?" Vivio repeated the word, turning to stare at Nanoha in shock.

"Ah...um..." The flight instructor looked down into Vivio's wide eyes. "If... you want, you can call me that."

"Mama....?" Vivio tried the word, her little voice breaking halfway through.

"Yes?" Nanoha tilted her head to the side.

"Mama!" Lunging forward, Vivio hugged the woman's neck tightly. "Mama!"

"Awwwwwwww!" The blue haired girl held up her hands and cooed. "That's so cute!" Her ranting was stopped when Teana elbowed her, not very discreetly, in the ribs. "Hey, ow..."

"There, there, Vivio," Nanoha soothed the girl clinging to her. turning to look at a smiling Fate, she couldn't help but grin as well. "Wow, hearing her say that..."

"Really makes your heart flutter, doesn't it?" Fate finished for her.

Slowly Vivio moved from Nanoha's neck and reluctantly sat down again. "Mama..." She was smiled at so she turned to look at Fate, the girl who slept with her and her mother.

"Oh! I'm, um...." Fate felt he heart break a little. "I'm like an aunt. Nanoha-mama's good friend, like Hayate." She pointed at the other girl.

Vivio seemed to take this information and process it. "Nanoha-mama," She pointed at Nanoha, who nodded. "Aunt Hayate..." She looked at the leader of the base and was given a peace sign. Now encouraged by this, she happily turned to Fate and pointed. "Aunt Alicia.”

~*To be continued*~

NanoFaito's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/20/2009
Posts: 172

wow you work fast :3
another nice chapter but its kinda sad to see fate couldn't tell vivio to call her fate-mama.

A.
A.'s picture
Offline
Joined: 08/14/2009
Posts: 3737

Alicia? Wow, what a cliffhanger, I'm confused now.

Please update soon, this fic is great.

langrisser's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/22/2009
Posts: 1380

Wow, nice cliffy at the end, now things are more mysterious than before, and I love mysteries. :3