Author's Notes: I must apologize ahead of time. I'm a terrible writer and this is an awfully long fanfic. I have a lot of other work to do so this was kinda rushed. Okay I'll be honest it was kinda written on spur of the moment but I've thinking and putting these pieces together for a couple months in my head. It's just only recently I wrote this down on my computer. In the future I may rewrite it but until then. You've been forewarned so please no flames I already know I'm bad.

This is also the first time I'm doing a mainly romance or even a shoujo-ai pairing. I've read a lot of shoujo-ai pairings but this is my first time writing it.

Also this is very important to people who have not read the A's to Strikers Manga. There are some spoilers, but you don't need to have read it to enjoy this story. I've mostly omitted any story or action that has or will occur in the Strikers anime.

At the very least I'm hoping this will compel other Fate/Nanoha fans to come out of woodworks and post their own fanfics, because we are seriously lacking in them. I want to thank Estrea for all their wonderful work. I've been keeping track of your Fate/Nanoha postings and it was thanks to you that I was inspired enough to write this. Also to Rah or Azfixiation I liked your fanfic Fragile, but I was a little disappointed that it wasn't Fate/Nanoha. Still it was a good fic and I liked it. Thank you both for your work.

Also even though this story is rated T, that's only because I want to be on the safe side. It's probably suited for all ages.

To my Naruto fanfic fans if they come here: I know I know I haven't updated in like forever please bare with me but don't hold your breath, as a senior in college it is absolute hell with all the work I have. Where did I get the time to write this you ask? I have no idea.

Words in Italics are taken directly from the Magical Girl Nanoha anime.

And finally the story.

Title: Fate's Secret Love

Author: IzanagiMikoto

Series: Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha and A's

Pairings: Fate Testarossa/Takamachi Nanoha

Description: This story follows Fate's first meeting with Nanoha to the hypothetical end of Striker's. It is about Fate's growing feelings for Nanoha as well as her pains.

Completed: Yes, but there's a possible sequel or epilogue, much shorter in the works.

Fate's Secret Love

"Love is like a flower budding, growing, and finally blossoming." – IzanagiMikoto

Fate's POV

I'm onboard shuttle leaving her behind. We haven't launched yet but it's only a matter of time. It was the most painful decision I ever had to make but I knew I had to. I wave goodbye to everyone from my window.

I still remember the first time I met her. She was collecting Jewel Seeds, the Lost Logia, and interfering with the important mission given to me by my Mother, Precia Testarossa.

At first she was only an obstacle, an annoying interference. She wasn't even a proper mage. I could tell and it wasn't simply because I outclassed her in our first meeting.

When I met her again in the hot springs I was startled when she asked my name. Before, it had never occurred to me that knowing her name would be important, but over time my feelings and opinions slowly changed.

As we battled again and again for the Jewel Seeds I began to respect her. I started to notice things about her, admirable qualities that I didn't know if I still had. She was like a shining beacon of light reaching out to me who had fallen into the darkness.

I knew I wasn't happy with the person I had become or the things I had done, but if it was for Mother I was willing to commit any sin just to make her happy.

When all of the Jewel Seeds had been found I challenged her to a battle: the wager, our respective Jewel Seeds. She didn't have to accept my challenge but I knew she would because that was simply the type of person that she was.

When it came time to fight I could barely contain my anxiety, and dare I say happiness. It was strange, as we continued to meet I found myself looking forward to our next meeting. It slightly saddened me that this would be our last meeting, or so I thought.

Our last battle surprised me. She had come so far in such a short amount of time. She had truly become my rival, an equal worthy of my full power. Still it never occurred to me that I might lose. Only after she survived my strongest spell did a sliver of doubt enter my mind.

For whatever reason I wanted to take her full strength, perhaps it was a shadow of my pride or honor that compelled me to do so. The next thing I knew I was falling, crashing into the ocean. It was only by her grace that I survived; there was no way I could have regained my energy with the water drowning me and Arf too far away.

As the realization that I had lost began to sink in I felt my strength leave me once again. Knowing I had utterly failed my Mother was enough to make me want to drop back into the ocean but I knew she would save me again. And also I didn't want to look so pathetic in front of her. She was the victor and as the loser I had no rights. However Mother wouldn't let go of her precious Jewel Seeds. Even after everything I still believe she loved me.

I was standing on the bridge of the Asura when my Mother's face appeared on the monitor. Knowing that the Time Space Bureau had failed to capture Mother filled me with joy, which was quickly squashed by her revelations.

I saw her protecting Alicia's capsule.

Don't you dare come near my Alicia.

I vaguely recalled a memory or was it a dream where my Mother called me Alicia. However the only thing I noticed was how protective Mother was being towards the person in the capsule. Her eyes had a soft look I could barely remember and her hands were so gentle as she caressed the capsule.

and also to the doll I created to play as my daughter.

What? I didn't understand.

Are you listening? I'm talking about you, Fate.

Shock surged through my body like an electrical current through a lightning rod.

Even after I went to the trouble of giving you Alicia's memories, only your appearance is the same. You were such useless, unusable scum… my little doll.

It's a lie, right Mother? I couldn't believe her until Amy revealed that my Mother lost her true daughter, Alicia Testarossa in an accident. As my origins were brought to light I began to loose my strength again. My name wasn't given out of love; rather it was the name of my Mother's project.

In the end, the life of an artificial product is just as it sounds… nothing but a product.

Is that all I was?

Alicia smiled much more sweetly than you.

I tried to smile my best Mother; I tried to do my best for you.

She'd speak out of selfishness every now and then, but she always listened to what I had to say.

I didn't want to be greedy Mother. I didn't want to bother your important research. I did listen to what you said, and I tried to do it but I failed.

Stop it…

Nanoha's sweet and caring voice tried to sop my Mother but it was no use. My Mother was being honest and some twisted part of me was thankful for at least that. But my uneasiness began to build. When I learned the truth it felt like I had been stabbed with a knife straight into my heart which might have been true in a way. Stabbing the heart requires significant strength and when it's stabbed it doesn't bleed out to much as the heart's muscles tighten around the blade. I'm sure that would have described me perfectly. Stabbed by my Mother's words I showed no outward signs that I was bleeding and breaking on the inside.

Alicia was always so good to me…

I tried Mother, I tried.

Fate, in the end, you were really nothing but an imitation of Alicia.

Please… Mother…

Even after I gave you her precious memories, you were no good.

Please Mother… Don't say it…

You were nothing but a doll made for my consolation while I was working on bringing Alicia back to life. And that's why I no longer need you. Vanish from the face of this world!

The good times and not so good times flashed through my mind. My… no Alicia's memories of a kind and caring mother they were followed by my memories of being beaten.

I could hear faint echoes of Nanoha's voice trying to stop my mother but it was no use. I couldn't hear her and neither could my Mother.

I'll tell you something good, Fate. Ever since I created you, I've always…

I could feel the uneasiness threaten to spill over in my heart. I could feel my hope waning. A small part of me, perhaps the realistic part of me knew what she would say but that didn't make it easier. Nor the fact that I couldn't accept it until my Mother said it.

hated you!

Bardiche slipped from my hands and I finally lost all my will as I collapsed. I only wanted Mother to be happy was my last thought as my consciousness slipped away.

I don't remember being brought to the infirmary or Arf bringing me there. I was alone in my thoughts.

I wanted to live… because I wanted Mother to accept me. No matter how often she told me I wasn't good enough… no matter what bad things she did to me… I just wanted her to smile at me. Even though she's so clearly abandoned me now… I'm… still clinging to her.

There's nothing wrong with wanting your parents to love you. It was only natural to want their love, but could I ever claim to be normal. Even my existence in itself is a farce.

I thought about Arf and all the times I ignored what she had to say and…

that white-clad girl I've run into so many times… She was the first person who could fight me as my equal and face with such uprightness and honesty… We've met many times already… and fought… And she called out my name countless times… Time and time again…

It was thanks to her that I was able to pull myself out of my depression like she did. Even though it was hard she confronted me time and again. She gained strength and experience. She never faltered. I wanted to start over again. Can I be like her, Bardiche? Bardiche's only reply was to give me the means to fight as it reformed. That's right, nothing comes so easily. I would have to find out the answers for myself.

Fighting next to Nanoha, fighting with her, instead of against her made me happy. In the midst of everything I was only happy around her. Still I hadn't forgotten my sadness or depression I was simply holding it back.

When we reached Mother I could only tell the truth. All the feelings I had kept back even if my Mother didn't want to hear it.

I… am not Alicia Testarossa.

I may just be a doll you created.

However, I… Fate Testarossa… was born by you and raised by you.

I am your daughter.

If you wish…

If you wish, I will protect you from anyone or anything in this entire world.

Not because I'm your daughter.

But because… you're my mother!

It was my last ditch effort to reach out to my Mother, but…

I'm not interested.

It was her honest and immediate reply. She was going to Alhazred with Alicia. As she fell I thought of going with her. If Arf hadn't held me back I might have followed her. When the castle began to collapse I realized if I wanted to follow her I didn't have to do anything but wait. Still when Nanoha held out her hand towards me like an angel I couldn't help but reach out and grab it. Just the sight of her caused me to do a complete 180 degrees. She's a strange and mysterious girl I thought as she carried me away.

I tried to move on but it was hard. Not only that but I had a trial to face. Luckily Chrono and Captain Lindy helped me out. I don't remember much after that but I remember Chrono telling me I was to be transferred to their main office. Before I left I needed to see her. Chrono setup a meeting on a bridge with a view of the pond.

While we waited I felt nervousness and anxiety completely overtake me. I was afraid she wouldn't come. We weren't friends, barely comrades, what reason would she have to come. As time drifted by like pond's waves I couldn't help but think that way. She wiped away all my previous fears by calling out my name.

Fate-chan!

Had anyone ever called my name that way? Arf only called me Fate like my Mother yet the way they said it was completely different. Just hearing Nanoha call out to me like that brought a smile and blush to my face. I was hardly conscious of it yet I couldn't help but feel this way around her.

I was sad we would part but I hoped, no I knew we would see each other again. There were so many things I wanted to talk to her about, but I couldn't put it into words. With the opportunity standing right next to me I didn't know what to say.

I confessed my desire to be friends with her as well as my inability to start such a process. She told me all I had to do was call out her name.

Look straight into her eyes and clearly say her name.

Was it really so simple? I fumbled in the process of saying her name but I eventually did it. I felt slightly embarrassed. It wasn't that hard to do but it was foreign and new to me that I wasn't sure of myself. Tears of happiness crawled into our eyes, another first for me. Following that Nanoha embraced me. It was so similar and yet so different from all those times I had been held by Arf. I thought the feelings swirling around me like a maelstrom were simply the product of our budding friendship, but perhaps then my heart knew what I didn't.

When I want to see you… I'll be sure to call out your name.

So … please call out my name, too.

Next time when you're the one in trouble, I'm sure I'll be the one to save you.

I meant every word of it. I wanted to save her so I could repay my debt, but I knew there was no way I could. Nanoha had given me so much that I couldn't even know where to start. Soon it was time to go. She held out her pink ribbon to me.

This is all I can give you… so I'll remain in your memories.

I was so touched that I had to give her mine. As we left I couldn't help but think there was no way I'd ever forget Nanoha. When I returned there wouldn't be a need to. When Arf and I returned to our room on the Asura I immediately tried on Nanoha's ribbons. Arf said they looked good on me but I couldn't help but think about how pretty Nanoha looked with them on. Then I began to wonder what would Nanoha look like with mine on?

Over the course of six months I exchanged videos with Nanoha and her friends. At first I was worried that Nanoha might forget me, but when Chrono came in with the first video I nearly ran him over in my attempt to retrieve it. I began to count the days when I would return to Nanoha's side. I was so excited I must have watched her videos a dozen times a day. When my school uniform arrived I probably spent no less than an hour in front of the mirror everyday. Arf would just laugh at me.

When I finally returned to Earth I went to see Nanoha right away, but she wasn't at her house. It was only when I heard from Chrono that I learned Nanoha was fighting someone. I rushed straight to her side and I managed to save her from a girl in red clothes.

I flurry of emotions welled up in me at the sight of Nanoha covered in blood, her barrier jacket dispelled, anger, sorrow, fear, and joy filled me. I felt anger at the person who had harmed Nanoha; sorrow that Nanoha was hurt so badly; fear that Nanoha might've been hurt worse than I thought; and joy that I would finally be able to carry out my promise.

Next time when you're the one in trouble, I'm sure I'll be the one to save you.

I intended to carry out that promise even if my opponent was a little girl. I wasn't going to hold back, she was more dangerous than she looked if she cornered Nanoha so badly. Although sadly things as it turns out didn't go according to my plan. Bardiche was damaged badly and I couldn't prevent them from stealing Nanoha's core linker. At the time though I thought they might have killed her, it was only natural after all someone's hand was protruding from Nanoha's chest.

I didn't know what to do. I wanted to scream and cry for my failure. I didn't want to lose someone I love every again. Eventually I got over Nanoha's attack mainly because Nanoha herself reassured me she wasn't hurt badly. It was only because I was near Nanoha that I could get over my failure. However it would be a long time before I truly got over it. My fears for Nanoha's safety persisted throughout this case. Eventually my memories of that night were slowly replaced with Nanoha and her friends Suzuka and Alisa.

Our time of peace was tainted by the ever looming presence of the Book of Darkness. I found myself wishing that danger would never visit us again and that I could spend the rest of my life in peace with Nanoha, my friends, and family.

Whenever I encountered the Wolkenritter a surge of righteous fury would swell in chest, especially after Bardiche was upgraded. I felt with my Assault Bardiche I could take on the world. I was very skilled in long range barrages but I excelled in close combat and with my Assault Bardiche I could trade blows with the Wolkenritter face to face. Not only that but in close combat I felt as if I could make them feel the weight of my feelings like a sledgehammer. It was an exhilarating experience.

When I was trapped in the Book of Darkness I was tempted to just give in. My mother was happy along with my older sister Alicia. It was paradise, it was everything I had ever wanted or dreamed of, or so I thought. I quickly realized that one thing was missing. Something that was irreplaceable. Something I couldn't afford to lose. Even if the Book of Darkness recreated her like it did my Mother and Alicia I would know she was a fake. I admit the idea of my friends and family did lead me towards the truth but it was the thought of never seeing Nanoha again that pulled me out in the end.

With the case resolved the Wolkenritter were no longer our enemies. I was glad to have Hayate and her Knights as our friends rather than enemies. But I'm sure if Nanoha wasn't there I wouldn't have even tried to reach out to them. I might have considered Signum a rival but I would never have considered being friends with her if Nanoha hadn't reach out to me first.

Hayate was a sweet little girl and her knights were good people but no matter who I met I knew I would treasure my friendship with Nanoha most of all.

After the Book of Darkness case someone decided we should all go to the hot springs. Coincidentally it was the same one where I formally introduced myself to Nanoha. As I reminisced I barely noticed everyone had disrobed and entered the hot springs. I knew we would be naked but somehow that fact had escaped me. As I took off my jacket I saw the faint outline of a scar. I immediately realized that it was a remainder of my Mother and I instantly became ashamed. I hugged my jacket closer and began running through dozens of excuses to tell everyone why I couldn't go into the hot springs. The only one that didn't seem completely insane, stupid, lame, or unbelievable was that dinner left me with an upset stomach. I knew my mother (Captain/Admiral Lindy) would instantly suggest I go lie down in my room. She was so caring and patient, so different from Precia. Even though they were so different I couldn't help but love them both.

I was about to voice sudden illness when Nanoha poked her head in front of my face. I barely heard the words coming out of her mouth. Instead I was focused on the lack of distance between our faces. As I took a step back I saw her thousand-watt smile light up like the sun and suddenly lost my ability to speak and my ingenious, foolproof plan flew out the window.

Nanoha asked me what was wrong. I couldn't lie to her but I didn't want Nanoha to know the truth. So I told her it was nothing. I continued to disrobe with Nanoha watching me. I was now more aware then ever about my current state. When I heard Nanoha's shocked gasp I wanted to cry. Of course, anyone with scars like mine would seem ugly. That was why I always wore capes, why I never wore sleeveless clothes. I was on the verge of breaking down when Nanoha beat me to it. She was crying softly in my back telling how sorry she was. It was then that I realized Nanoha didn't think I was ugly at all. Instead she was trying to comfort me. Her tears were for my past pains. This would mark the third time I've cried tears of happiness in my life. All three instances revolved around Nanoha. The first time was when Nanoha accepted me as a friend on the bridge. The second time was when I realized Nanoha wasn't going to die and that the Wolkenritter had only taken her core linker.

I turned around and hugged Nanoha tightly, crushing her against my chest. I had long forgotten all about our state of undress at the moment and was ever thankful that no one else was in the changing room to witness our dramatic scene.

Nanoha offered to make up an excuse for me but somehow I had gotten over my fears. I was now eager to get into the hot springs for an unknown reason that I couldn't pin down.

As I went inside I found that everyone was in the process of rinsing themselves. Nanoha instantly volunteered to wash my back and for that I was thankful. By volunteering she had cut down the possibility of anyone else seeing my scars. Even though I had gotten over my initial fears I wasn't sure if I was ready to share it with everyone else. Aside from Arf no one else had seen the scars on my back, not even my new mother Lindy.

Nanoha's gentle hands glided over my back and I felt my eyes close in barely concealed bliss. Her magical hands were like tendrils of fine silk, and her motions were calming like a gentle breeze. I found myself leaning back into Nanoha's hands with a blush on my face. I was completely unaware of my actions until Nanoha asked if I wanted her to help me with the front. If I wasn't red before I was sure I resembled a tomato now.

The thought of Nanoha touching my front generated countless images and fantasies from my overworked imagination. I shook my head so fast I must have dried my hair off faster than Arf normally did when she shook it off in her animal form. I hastily washed the rest of my body and turned to return the favor to Nanoha.

I glanced at her back and was filled instantly with the image of an angel. I was hesitant to touch this heavenly being as she sat before me in all her naked glory. I'm sure I must have taken a little longer than necessary to admire Nanoha's body… Who am I kidding I must have standing there like an idiot with a dreamy look on my face for several minutes. It was only by a miracle or perhaps by the shear grace of God that no one noticed, not even Nanoha.

As I began to wash Nanoha's back I couldn't help but feel a surge of emotion every time my skin touched hers. Her skin was so different from mine. It was a different shade, a little pinker than my pale white. Most of all her beautiful skin was unblemished. I knew her body hid scars from every battle but I couldn't see any of them. I vaguely wondered if Nanoha would taste as sweet as she looked… I mentally slapped myself immediately for thinking such perverted and dirty thoughts. Several dozen more mental slaps couldn't stop the fire inside. Since I couldn't take my mind off of her I had to resort to more physical means.

In retrospect I guess slapping myself wasn't a very good idea since the sound echoed throughout the hot springs and everyone turned to look at me, including Nanoha. I stared at Nanoha's face as she asked me what was wrong. She rushed towards me in order to shield me from the others, but I wasn't even thinking about my scars. I was trying my best not to look down... As you can already guess I failed, miserably. As soon as my eyes drifted from Nanoha's face to the rest of her body my brain shut down and I fainted. Only after Arf told be that I had a bloody nose later confirmed that I had been thinking naughty thoughts.

Oh my God! I avoided Nanoha for as long as I could, which unfortunately wasn't very long. Whenever Nanoha entered the room she would search me out like she normally did. The only trace of me would be a sudden gust of wind from my timely exit. I couldn't be around Nanoha until I got my feelings under control otherwise I knew I would imagine her in ways not proper to be voiced. As if it wasn't bad enough that I dreamed about her when I was by myself I desperately didn't want her to know the truth. I could barely believe the truth myself, having only realized it recently.

How could I be attracted to Nanoha? She was my best friend and on top of that she was another girl. I didn't think there was anything wrong when it concerned other people's sexual preferences, but when it pertained to me I couldn't help thinking I had somehow violated Nanoha's trust. Perhaps I had. Was I secretly lusting after her without her knowing? Had I taken advantage of my status as a girl to admire Nanoha without her knowledge? Instances where I had been allowed to see Nanoha in a way no boy would normally be allowed flew through my mind. Had I always been attracted to her? I didn't think so but I couldn't trust my memories at this point.

Eventually Nanoha caught on and soon we began playing a game of cat and mouse. I had never been good at these games but it was soon apparent that Nanoha was. One morning when everyone was having breakfast I woofed down my meal in an unladylike manner that drew more than one pair of eyes. The reason for my new eating habits was because I knew the last person unaccounted for was Nanoha. She was a heavy sleeper but she was also so very cute when she… SLAP! Sorry about that.

Aside from my strange, new eating habits no one suspected anything, well at least not the truth. Some people noticed I had been acting strange around Nanoha but not why.

When the door slid open I bolted as soon as I finished my meal. I dared to look back over my shoulder as I went for the only other door in the room. I noticed it wasn't Nanoha but one of the hot spring's employees. Then where was Nanoha? It couldn't take her that long to get ready although I knew Nanoha wasn't exactly the first one out of bed. My questions were answered when my escape route door opened up to reveal Nanoha. I slid to a stop in front of her with a shocked expression on my face. I was sure that by current expression mirrored a deer caught in the headlights. I had gravely underestimated Nanoha's tactical planning and her ability to foresee my moves. In other words I was screwed.

Before I could make a tactical retreat Nanoha with her ever present million dollar smile grabbed my hand and whisked me away so quickly that I barely felt my feet touch the floor. When we got to a secluded room I felt like I was being interrogated. Nanoha was pulling out the big guns I realized when she cut off my escape route and started to pout. I knew what was coming next but I couldn't fall victim… too late. Nanoha had unleashed the dreaded puppy eyes look and I felt my heart soar. She was just too damn cute.

I considered flying out the window but I could let this ordeal get any bigger. People might start thinking I was a spy or something. I was about to spill everything to her before I caught myself just in time. If I told her the truth I might jeopardize my friendship with Nanoha. I was pretty sure she wouldn't hate me but I wasn't completely sure. In fact I only realized it now that my current life revolved around Nanoha.

Whenever I was alone and bored I wondered what to do. The obvious question was to call Nanoha up. Whenever I went training the obvious reaction was to ask if Nanoha was available. Even though Signum would probably be a better sparring partner I immediately thought of Nanoha. As soon as I entered a room I searched out for Nanoha. Whenever I felt a gentle tug on my arm the logical conclusion was that it was Nanoha.

I was able to get through my Mother, Precia's loathing for me, but I knew I would never recover from it if Nanoha hated me as well. So I did the only thing possible I gave her my best puppy eyes look as well. Thank God Nanoha reverted to her normal self. She told me how cute I looked and hugged me. Phew, case closed. Uh oh, she's a litte too close, bad Fate, bad bad Fate.

Moments later Nanoha asked me if anything was wrong. Crap. I told her it was nothing and she retaliated with asking if she had done something wrong. I nearly jumped her when I told her she was mistaken. Nanoha couldn't possibly have done anything wrong. I wanted to blurt out the rest but I couldn't. Nanoha's searching look told me she didn't believe that was all. However I was thankful when she told me she would wait until I was ready for me to tell her the truth. I was thankful that Nanoha was considerate enough not to press me. I didn't think anyone else would let me off so easily. The others were so very nosy and immature sometimes.

We rejoined the others and continued our vacation as if nothing was amiss. With such powerful people as our new friends and comrades I didn't think I would ever have to revisit that night where I thought I lost Nanoha. I was naïve. There were still people who desired the power of the Lost Logia and there probably always will be.

It was a few years later that I had to revisit that nightmare. By now we all had different jobs working for the Time Space Bureau. Today was the first time in awhile that we would all be together. I tried my best to always be near Nanoha when it concerned work. My fear that I could lose Nanoha eventually waned with time. It got to a point where I could barely remember what Nanoha looked like covered in blood. Eventually the day came when I was rudely reminded.

It was by sheer coincidence that criminals decided to attack a Time Space Bureau planet side base to steal a particularly powerful Lost Logia. We had all decided to meet at this base. When I got there I could barely hear Vita screaming or notice her crying. All I saw was Vita was holding Nanoha's broken and bloodied body. Surrounding them the snow continued to build up as the flames from the base illuminated them.

Waa… Waaah… Idiot hang on!

Vita's words lacked there usually bite.

So… it's okay…

Even in her current state Nanoha still tried to comfort others.

Medical Team! What are you guys doing? Get over here! She's going to die!

Nanoha's bloody body and Vita's frantic screams reignited the long lost righteous fury in my body. All this time it was like a flicker of a candle suddenly burst into a supernova in my heart.

Signum and the others had already left in pursuit of the criminals. Shamal hadn't arrived otherwise she would be healing Nanoha right now. How ironic I thought. I had trained so long and hard with special training from my brother Chrono to prevent something like this from happening. In the end I forgot to learn healing spells. It just never crossed my mind. I had to get out of there. I had to find the people who did this and make them pay, but most of all I couldn't watch Nanoha like this. I wanted to be by her side but the enormous fear that she might… I couldn't watch that and if it were up to me I wouldn't have to.

I easily caught up to one of the criminals who broke into the base. He was carrying the Lost Logia. I immediately recognized him as a rogue agent for the Time Space Bureau. After leaving the Bureau he had joined a criminal organization and used his top secret information to help them stay one step ahead of us. I didn't know that all his efforts had been for this day to break into the base and steal a precious artifact.

As soon as I saw him I descended like an avenging angel. It was foolish the way I fought. I didn't wait for backup; I didn't hold back; I didn't have a plan. All I was thinking of was making this man pay! I could have easily ended up like Nanoha but I could see my cold fury permeate his body. I could see him shrink away in fear of me. Raul Zod, a seasoned veteran, an A class mage was backing down against a thirteen year old girl. I bathed in his terror.

I used Bardiche's Arc Saber to cleave through his device and deep into his chest. It was as if the Grim Reaper's golden scythe had descended upon him. For Raul Zod I might very well have been a goddess of death in his eyes. Signum would have been proud of my slash. It was smooth, forceful without any wasted movement and at the same time putting all of my power behind the strike. It's a miracle I was able to pull off such a delicate and precise maneuver correctly in my berserk state.

When his body lay in the snow unmoving I ripped the Lost Logia out of his cold hands. It was only then that I noticed I was covered in blood, someone else's blood. I called Vita via telepathy and asked her about Nanoha's status. She told me Nanoha was in surgery. I could her Vita's sniffles through our line and I could tell she was trying to be strong. Me on the other hand I was standing there under the snowfall crying silently. I made sound whatsoever but the tears were falling like two steady streams down my face.

When I got back to the base I gave the Lost Logia to my brother and went for a shower. I desperately scrubbed Raul's blood off of my body. I didn't want to taint Nanoha with his presence. I also didn't want Nanoha to have to see what I had done when she woke up. I knew Raul could have still been alive but if he was I knew he was dying. It would have been right to leave him out there dying in the cold but I knew Nanoha would never approve. She was a much better person than me. After I got out of the shower I told Chrono what had happened and he sent some men to the location. Raul ended up surviving and luckily for him so did Nanoha. If she hadn't survived I know without a doubt that I would've broken into prison just to kill him. I would have walked over to his hospital bed and pulled the plug. I wouldn't have hesitated because if Nanoha had died I know the better part of me would have died as well.

Later I found out that Nanoha had been incapacitated by a bomb Raul and his cronies had planted. In order to distract the Time Space Bureau as much as to soften us up in case we proved a problem during his retrieval of the artifact.

As I sat by Nanoha's bedside a week later I feared she would never wake. The doctors told me she just needed rest but the illogical fear consumed me. Despite her harrowing experience a little while ago she seemed to be in a peaceful slumber now. I ran my hand through her chocolate tresses.

I knew without a doubt now that I loved her. I could never voice it but I could at least be honest to myself. I, Fate T-Haraoun am in love with Takamachi Nanoha.

I thought about everything we had been through. I knew being with Nanoha made me happy but on a day like this I was forced to realize how important Nanoha was to me. If I were to loose her in anyway it would break me. I didn't want to admit it but knew it was the only way. I needed to distance myself from Nanoha. I knew Nanoha liked being a combat instructor for the Time Space Bureau. The only way to do that would be to apply for long term assignments. Ironically it was a job I was interested in.

I needed something to remember her by and I knew this would be my only chance so I took it. I had entertained thoughts of kissing Nanoha on the lips but I didn't know if she could ever return my feelings so I couldn't ask that of her. Instead I settled for a peck on her cheek. She was softer than I could have ever dreamed and her warmth flowed through me. My hair draped over her like a golden veil. As I left I didn't notice a few of my strands had been left behind nor did I see Nanoha's eyes twitch.

Two years later and my chance had finally come. I was being assigned in a post far away from everything, from Nanoha. These past two years were wonderful but by dreams were plagued with visions of Nanoha's death. It wasn't unusual for me to wake up sweaty from a nightmare. When I was at a sleep over it didn't seem so bad, especially when Nanoha held my hand. Still Nanoha would comment in the morning that I seemed to toss and turn a little in the night. When she got too worried she would wake me up and I would tell her it was nothing.

I entertained the thought of being stronger to protect Nanoha but I knew I would never be strong enough. I had failed twice already while in retrospect Nanoha had succeeded in saving me from my Mother, Precia and the Book of Darkness' dream world.

I decided I would leave after Amy and Chrono's wedding. I was happy for them, extremely so. If anyone deserved happiness it was those two. Even if there was only a year's difference in their age it took Chrono awhile to work up the courage to ask Amy out. She had always treated him like a little brother so he was afraid that he was ruining their relationship. It could have turned out bad especially when they work so well together on the same ship. Thankfully Amy reciprocated his feelings.

I still remember the girls scrambling for Amy's bouquet. It made me laugh along with the rest of the Wolkenritter. They didn't join the others for obvious reasons. It surprised me that my mother, Lindy didn't seem that eager to join them either. Perhaps her first husband, her true love was enough for her. While living on Earth she didn't display any interest in having a personal life outside of being a mother to Chrono and me. Well she had lots of friends still working for the Bureau but it would be more precise to say she wasn't interested in her own personal romance, although she was interested in everyone else's love life. Something she was able to connect with Hayate on. Those two helped out Chrono and Amy with their schemes although I'm fairly confident it was unnecessary, still it was amusing to observe.

In the end the one who caught the bouquet was Nanoha. I faintly remember some mentioning Yuno. I knew they were talking about the usual things. Probably about how cute a couple he and Nanoha would make. I knew Yuno had some interest in Nanoha but he didn't seem like he was ready to pursue it yet. Nanoha on the other hand I had no idea what she wanted. She had approached in the past by various admirers and had gently rejected them. I followed suit when approached by handsome young men. When I saw them take my rejection I briefly wondered how I would look if Nanoha had rejected me. I knew I couldn't deal with being hated by her but would I survive a simple rejection. No, by now I had become too greedy I couldn't settle for Nanoha saying we should just be friends so why not save myself the grief and not ask at all. Besides I already knew the answer, at least in my head. Besides even if I hated to admit it, Nanoha and Yuno did look good together. I also knew that if Yuno did work up enough courage that he would treat Nanoha well in a manner that she deserved.

I'm walking away from my friends now, it's been a month after Chrono and Amy's wedding. I was crying a little earlier but I've long since recovered. Hayate's crying a little so is Elio. I'm his guardian but my mother Lindy is the official adopting parent on paper. He's a cute little boy that I decided to take care of after an incident involving Lost Logia robbed him of a home to return to. Vita's trying not to cry, she's turned away now so I can't tell but I can hear sniffles. Signum and the others are seeing me off with a smile, respecting my decision. Lindy smiles in that motherly way and I desperately want to rush into her arms and confess all my secrets but I dare not. Next to Nanoha's rejection I fear her's the most. She's given me a home and family I don't want to disappoint her by being different. She hasn't voiced her opinion on the topic but I dare not arouse her suspicion. Chrono and Amy are sad to see me go but like Signum and the others, they respect my decision. By the way where's… oh there she is. Arf in her miniature form is trying to get on the shuttle before being dragged back. I pat her on the head and hug her. This will be the first time I'll be without Arf for a long period of time but I reassure her that I'll be back home soon. I don't know if that's the truth or not but I'll try. The only one missing is Nanoha. I would have liked to have seen her before I left but perhaps it's for the best. After all she's the only one who could stop me. At this point with all the emotional highs and lows flying around I might just break down and reveal the truth to her.

So there you have it. I'm leaving without saying goodbye to her, my most important and treasured person. I gently touch my lips and wistfully remember the time I kissed her cheek in the hospital so long ago. I bitterly wished that I had kissed her on the lips but it's too late for regrets so I crush them with my remaining mental strength. I lean my head into my right hand as I look out the window to my right at my friends and family.

I glance at my hand and wonder how I could have ever hoped to have had a normal relationship with Nanoha. I was an artificial human, did I even have the right to that kind of happiness? I gripped my shoulders in an attempt to hug myself tightly as tears threatened to spill out. I was literally a test-tube baby. I was merely a product of my Mother's research. No, I was trash, I didn't deserve Nanoha. Yet I desperately didn't want to leave her side! Was I making a mistake? I don't know. I don't know anything anymore!

"Fate-chan."

My head snaps to attention so quickly that I fear I might suffer from whiplash. I stand up and turn around. Sitting in the seat behind me is Nanoha with that smile I love on her face.

"Nanoha…" her name escapes my lips like the whisper of a nun in church addressing her god.

Because what Nanoha's looks like to me, a goddess. At fifteen years old she's beautiful enough to have her own fan club. Thankfully they take the job of beating off unwanted attention. I don't have one but there are rumors of it existing outside of my knowledge. Just a glance at her is enough to enthrall me, to reduce a puddle of mush on an all time gleefully happy high. She's addicting like a drug, her very presence.

"Fate-chan?"

Hearing my name sounding so beautifully in her musical voice brings me back to the present.

"Nanoha, what are you doing here?"

I can barely hide my excitement at seeing her again. My body, especially my face betrays the joy at seeing her. I thought I had buried these feelings enough that I could control them but I know it's not from a lack of control rather its Nanoha presence that is too strong.

"I wanted to give you something before you left. You didn't think I'd let you leave without saying goodbye?"

"Of course not," I reply as I see her come around.

We're standing in the aisle now. It's a good thing this is a private shuttle that my mother Lindy arranged. I wonder if my mother arranged this? I wouldn't put it past her but does that mean she suspects?

"Here," Nanoha says simply as she holds her right hand out to me.

I look down at her hand, it's her white ribbon. I remember our first parting, it only seems fitting. I reach into my hair with a smile and untie my ribbon. I reach out with my right hand to exchange our ribbons once again. This time it almost feels as if we are secret lovers exchanging some kind of code or present with hidden meanings. I know what Nanoha wants to say even before she says it.

"Remember the last time we did this?"

"Yes."

"It's so we'll have something to remember each other by and so that we won't be lonely. It's a promise that we'll meet again soon."

"I know."

I also know that Nanoha always keeps her promises even though I've failed her twice she continues to keep them.

"Thank you, Nanoha."

I tie her ribbon around my hair into a ponytail, Nanoha does the same.

"Thank you Fate-chan."

Then she hugs me. It's not sudden but it surprises me all the same. I wish she hadn't though. The selfish part of me never wants to let her go. It wants me to scream to the world my love for her. It wants me to keep her away from Yuno. It wants me bind her to me forever.

I can smell the cinnamon shampoo she uses. I can feel her body mold itself against my own and I'm reminded of all the times I found my way into her futon or vice versa on all those sleepovers.

"Goodbye Nanoha," I say as I break away slowly.

My lips accidentally nip her ear but she doesn't say anything so I don't either. As I'm about to sit down I feel Nanoha's right hand on my left hand.

"Nanoha?" I ask turning back towards her.

Unshed tears teeter on the edge of her eyes as she leans towards me. She couldn't but she is. I'm shocked to the core. Friends don't kiss not like this. Does that mean? Tears slip out of my eyes as I lean into the kiss. As I feel her lips on mine caution and any sense of self-control are abandoned as I devour her. She has to know that I wouldn't be settled with a mere peck. She kissed me and I can't hold back. Unfortunately we have to breathe so we break our kiss. We both nearly stumble backwards but I pull Nanoha towards me in time. I hold her close with my arms around her waist just as much to steady her as it is to steady myself. I was wrong she tastes sweeter then I could have ever imagined.

I almost feel as if I want to run outside and confess everything I've been holding back to the world, but Nanoha's arms around my neck hold me back.

"Nanoha, I-um… that is…" I'm prevented further embarrassment from my inability to inarticulate my love for this girl by Nanoha herself.

"I love you, Fate-chan," my siren softly says.

Despite it being soft I almost feel as if everyone in the base could have heard my goddess' declaration of love.

"Me too, I love you Nanoha…-chan," I reply.

It's as if some enormous weight has been lifted off my shoulders. If this is a dream I pray I never wake; if I'm awake I pray I never sleep. I've heard those words before in a poem or story and I feel they describe my situation perfectly.

"How did you know?" I ask shakily, the reality of all my dreams being realized hasn't stabilized yet.

"I remember that time I was injured two years ago."

I remember it perfectly even though I have conflicting emotions about it.

"I remember that while I was in the hospital I had a dream where you kissed me."

The rigidness in my body tells Nanoha all she needs to know. It wasn't a dream.

"When I woke up I thought it was only a dream but then I found golden threads in my hair and I realized…"

How careless I was to leave something of myself behind to incriminate me. Still I wonder if some unconscious part of me has always wanted to be caught by Nanoha. If that's true I can't help but thank my subconscious for having the courage to do what I never could have done.

"I promise you," I say as I grab Nanoha gently by the shoulders staring into her tearful eyes. "I'll come back to you."

Nanoha's smile gets wider and brighter and even more beautiful if that is at all possible. Is it possible for a goddess to be even more beautiful when she has already reached for perfection? If she's not perfect then I wish to know all of her imperfections so that I may worship them. I pray that I am the only one allowed to know all of her secrets.

"I know you will."

Now I'm really leaving. Nanoha's rejoined our friends outside in visitor's lounge parallel to the shuttle. I can see them swarming her, wondering where she's been. I can't tell what she's saying but when they all look at me and wave I could tell she told them she was saying goodbye to me.

Nanoha and I have decided to take things slowly and that we'll tell our friends and family soon. How soon I don't know, but I'm grateful that my lover is willing to wait until I'm ready. As the shuttle starts I look at Nanoha, we're smiling that secret way that only lovers do. As her face eventually vanishes from sight I lie back in my chair and dream dreams of Nanoha and I. For now they're only dreams but I hope that they will be visions of the future waiting to be realized. I vaguely wonder how Nanoha looks in a wedding dress. I thought that her catching the bouquet foreshadowed her eventual future with Yuno but now…

This marks the fourth time I've cried tears of happiness with Nanoha and hopefully not the last.

"I promise as soon my mission is over, I'll return to you. Faster than the speed of sound, faster than the speed of light. I'll return to your side so quickly it will be as if I never left."

I know that this will be a promise I will definitely be able to keep.

The End… for now…

Author's Notes: Please review so I know people are actually reading it. Your input is important to me because it will help me be a better writer to suit people's needs. Plus I feed off of your reviews. It tells me whether or not it was good at all or if I should abandon writing completely.