It wasn't going to be one of my good days, that much was certain. Waking up this morning was one of the hardest things I have ever done, and that's saying a lot considering how many times I've pushed myself up on the battlefield. My whole body felt weak, numb and my eyes refused to focus on anything around me. Brushing my teeth and getting dressed took me almost twice as long as it normally did, even with Fate not being there to talk to. I had slept in to almost six in the morning, which was normally the time the training started for my forward soldiers. Now I was flying to the practice field, barley able to hold myself up in the air. The training area already had the imitation city on it and the sight made me smile despite how awful I felt. Seeing my students take it upon themselves to start training without me being there really made my heart warm.
Nanoha landed roughly on her observer's stand and weakly moved her hand out in front of her after catching her balance. "Good morning everybody." She greeted them hoarsely. Disregarding her voice, she continued. "Sorry I'm late, I had a little trouble getting out of my apartment this morning."
"No problem!" Subaru grinned at her through the screen. "We were going to try some target practice but none of us know how to work the computer that well so we just decided to go with combat."
"I see," Nanoha typed a few commands out. "I don't think I will be able to join you today so I will just observe."
"Are you feeling okay?" Carol spoke up as she leaned forward to look at the display in front of her. "You look a little dazed, Nanoha-san."
"I feel fine thank you." Nanoha smiled at her. "I appreciate your concern."
"…Okay," The pink haired girl didn't look like she quite believed her.
"Well then," A few more buttons were pressed and simulation enemies appeared in the city. "Your mission today is to eliminate thirty targets. Use whatever methods you want but be sure to finish within an hour."
"That's one target every two minutes!" Tia cried out in shock. "Even if there are four of us, they're always set to be slightly above our skill level!"
Nanoha smiled at them. "Then I'll give you sixty five minutes."
'She's a slave driver!' Subaru winced. 'Even if we've progressed more than twice the rate of other people at our level…'
"Up to it?" Elio asked as he looked at the targets hovering above the ground in front of him. Light rain drops started to fall around the group.
"It will be difficult now," Carol replied uneasily as the rain picked up almost instantly. "A morning shower won't last long but it'll still cover the time we have to finish this… I'll give everyone water repellent magic to keep us from getting bogged down with rain."
"Thank you!" Subaru gave her a thumbs up.
"Carol is always handy," Tia agreed as she loaded her twin pistols.
"Ready?" Nanoha asked from the display. The students all nodded at her sternly. "Go!" her hand pressed a button and the machines all took off. With the video display of herself gone the instructor of the group brought a hand to her mouth and swallowed thickly. 'Why did it have to rain today of all days?' The wind blew around her harshly, making the drops of water sting against her skin. 'Of all the technological advancements on this planet you still have to have some type of device to hold to simply block rain… and mine is at my apartment.' She shivered as the rain beat against her and for a moment debated going into the training field to sit in one of the buildings. The idea got better and better and when she finally decided to do it she realized that if she moved right now that she was probably going to throw up.
"I knew you would forget to bring it this morning," A voice came up beside her and the rain suddenly stopped beating on her. "I swear, sometimes you really worry me."
Nanoha looked to the side to see Fate standing next to her, holding in her hand something that resembled a handle that extended up to form a clear semi-spherical shield above them that blocked out the water. "Fate-chan," She greeted woozily. "I thought you had officer stuff to attend to this morning?"
"Cancelled due to the flu going around. A few of our members can't show up so we just postponed it to a few days down…the...road… Nanoha-chan you don't look good."
"You look pretty too when you're sopping wet," She teased as she made use of her friend being there and leaned up against her.
"Really, are you okay?" Fate shifted her umbrella and put a hand against her friend's neck. "Nanoha you're really hot."
"It wasn't a compliment." She shifted the shorter girl around so she could look at her better. "Nanoha-chan, are you feeling okay? For real?"
"Fine," Nanoha stood up properly to prove her point, but ended up falling over a few moments afterwards. The blond tried to catch her as best she could but both ended up falling to the wet ground. "Nyahaha… I slipped in the water." She found that laying down was a lot better than standing up so she decided to stay that way.
"Nanoha-chan? … Nanoha-chan!?" Fate shook her lightly. "H-hey! Nanoha-chan!" The umbrella was dropped quickly in favor of holding the panting girl. "Say something!"
"Nyahaha…." She looked up at her with flushed cheeks.
Fate waved her hand out, getting a few displays in the air. "All of you continue your current task and when you're done use the rest of the day to rest your bodies. Something's wrong with Nanoha-chan so I'm taking her to Shamal."
"Will she be okay?" Subaru asked as she pressed her back against a pillar to avoid the beams being shot at her.
"Yeah, she's a tough cookie." Fate let the displays fade and scooped up her friend, who was trying to protest. "Shush, you're going straight to a bed and a change of cloths." The girl hovered lightly in the air and sped through the rain. Fortunately the doctor's office wasn't far from the training ground so the trip didn't take very long at all. Cold air greeted the pair as they entered, making Fate shiver since she was more wet than dry.
"I'm going to throw up," Nanoha muttered, curling her body up against Fate's as best she could while being carried to try and find some warmth. "You have about…. Thirty seconds to put me down…"
As pleasing of the thought of putting her down to avoid such a scenario was, Fate pressed on, flying down the hallway and giving the receptionist an apologizing look for leaving the trail of water in her wake. Upon entering Shamal's normal room, the blond looked up startled since they didn't bother knocking. "She's about to lose it," Fate called out as Nanoha covered her moth and swallowed.
"Right there," Shamal pointed to the side towards the bathroom with her pen, as if this was nothing new to her lately.
Fate managed to get her friend to the bathroom with just enough time to get the girl's sopping wet hair out of the way before she lost whatever breakfast she had eaten that morning. "You could have at least got your ponytail going this morning…" She made a face when Nanoha coughed a little. "Ew, gross…" She tried better to keep the hair out of her way.
"S-sorry…" Nanoha breathed shakily a moment before leaning back over. "Not again…"
The blond closed her eyes and gave her friend a few moments to recover before looking back over at her. A deep feeling of worry filled her chest as Nanoha simply nodded and allowed herself to fall over to the side, too weak to even keep herself up anymore. "Hey now…" Fate reached over and helped her back to a sitting position. "Here, let me clean you up a little…" She got a washrag from the stack of them on the counter and wiped her friend's face off with it. "There you go…"
"Thanks…" She fell against her and panted. "I'm okay now, please take me back to the training field."
Fate actually laughed out loud. "Oh yeah, we're going right now." Lifting her, she carried the girl back into the main room where Shamal was cheerfully awaiting them by a bed. "Here you are Nanoha-chan, lay down." She sat the girl on the bed and looked at her weakly allow her head to roll to the side. Seeing her friend so tired made her instantly lose the humor and get serious. "I've never seen someone look so…weak… just from the flu?"
"Well, Nanoha-chan is a special case," Shamal sighed, hooking up something to the girl's wrist to take her pulse. "Most everyone here is used to the flu and although they still catch it, their bodies are used to fighting it off… Since Nanoha is from a medium-technology planet that's never had to encounter our diseases before…"
"She's more vulnerable to them, huh?" Fate took her friend's hand between hers and rubbed her thumbs over it. "She was already asleep last night before I got home so I didn't get to talk to her. I was a little worried that she was in bed a few hours earlier than normal but…"
"…'N dun forget…" Nanoha muttered, making both of them look at her. "Su…ru… load car….'an Fate…. Blueberry muffin…"
Fate blinked. "Isn't it a little too early to have hallucinating flu dreams?"
Shamal was more amused by the sleep talking than the weird dream the girl was having. "She's just cold and confused I think." Leaning over, Shamal moved the wet hair from Nanoha's face. "Nanoha, wake up for me please?"
The brown haired girl opened her eyes slowly. "Are we there already?"
"Yeah," Shamal lied happily. "They're training really hard so I need you to try hard for me too okay?"
"Tell me how you feel, and be honest."
The girl looked at her a little confused before moving her eyes across the room and trying to get her bearings. "I'm cold."
"Oh wow, how did she even manage to get to the training ground this morning?" Fate wondered aloud as she gently stroked her friend's hand.
"Her body probably just gave up after she got sick just now and everything crashed on her all at once." Shamal pet the girl lying down. "Does your tummy hurt?"
"How about your joints?"
"How cold are you?"
"I'm hot." Nanoha looked rather uncomfortable. "I'm sweating."
Shamal blinked. "Hot flashes? That's not good." She watched the girl's body shiver even though she just complained about being too warm. "Let me get her some medicine and then take her straight to bed after a warm shower. She'll be a little weird to deal with until the medicine kicks in. Combination of being sleepy and sick, she's just a little confused."
"I see." Fate watched over her friend until the doctor came back and handed her a small bottle of pills. "Anything else I should do?"
"Try and get her to eat, keep her warm, lots of fluids, the usual you know." Shamal gave her another bottle of liquid medicine. "And you need to take two table spoons of this every twelve hours."
"What for?" The blond looked at the clear bottle and frowned darkly when she turned it over and saw the liquid inside move like a thick molasses. "Eww..."
"Its grape flavor," Shamal informed her happily.
"Why do I need this?"
"So you won't get sick as well. I trust you were vaccinated?" She received a nod. "Good. Then I'm almost a hundred percent confident you'll get out of this perfectly fine as long as you drink that."
The girl sighed. "Yes ma'am." She scooped up her friend who was already asleep once more. "As unorthodox as this is, do you mind if we go through your window? I'd rather get her out of the rain and into some clean cloths as soon as possible, not have to run around the building…"
"We'll keep this between us," Shamal winked as she waved her hand. One of her large glass windows de-formed, allowed them access to the outside. "But only this once okay?"
Fate smiled. "Thanks." With that, she flew up slowly and exited the window, quickly making a beeline to her balcony, which was a straight shot from that angle.
"Those two are such a bad influence on me," Shamal mused.
The girls landed on the balcony a few moments later and were inside the loft apartment soon afterwards. "We're home," She told her friend as she walked over to the bathroom. "We're going to take a shower okay?"
"I just took one," Nanoha protested weakly. "I need to go train…"
"You were in the rain silly girl." Fate sat her friend down on the walk-in shower floor, too afraid that she would fall over to allow her on her feet or anywhere else. "Undress."
"I'm not in the mood," Nanoha closed her eyes and leaned against the shower wall. "Maybe later."
Fate felt her cheeks color a little, wondering just what Nanoha thought she had meant when she said that. A few minutes later she finally managed to pull the last article of clothing from her friend before setting the shower heads and the water temperature. "I guess we'll go ahead and get clean too since we're warming you up." Fate sat on her knees with the sick girl in front of her, directly under the six shower streams falling on them. "I'll wash your back."
"Mm…" She nodded sleepily and allowed the girl to do just that. Slowly the time went by and after she had her hair washed, Nanoha simply gave up trying to sit still and instead leaned back against Fate. "I don't feel good…"
"Are you going to get sick again?"
"Nuh-uh," She made herself comfortable by resting against Fate's neck and shoulder. "Can we stay like this for a little while?"
"Sure," The girl shifted awkwardly so her legs went on either side of Nanoha and her arms around her stomach. "Is this okay?"
"Yeah…" She leaned back more against her. "Being held by Fate is always okay."
"D…Don't say things like that when we're naked…"
"Why?" Her voice was getting sleepy.
"Because…" She couldn't come up with any reason that didn't make it sound perverted.
"Nyahaha…" The giggle was weak, but still made Fate smile lightly and cuddle the girl.
"Well… I guess its okay."
"Thank you," Nanoha closed her eyes and put her hands on top of Fate's. "If I go to sleep, will you carry me to bed?"
"I will," She felt her lips turn up into a smile. "Although I need you awake to dry you off."
"I'll sleep wet…" her voice trailed off.
Fate sat there contently holding her friend while she dozed off. The serenity of the situation began to get to her as well, forcing the blond to cut off the water before she fell asleep along with her. Nanoha regained enough of her senses to properly dry herself off but still had to put an arm around Fate to make it to their bed before collapsing onto it. "Stay awake for a bit okay? I'm going to get you some water, do you think you can eat anything?"
"Not right now…" Nanoha sprawled out on the bed, making Fate instantly flush dark red and look away since the towel had fallen from her.
"O-okay!" She hurried to the bathroom quickly, filling up a glass she grabbed from their nightstand along the way. Once back, she helped her friend to a sitting position and fed her the pill. "Good girl. Sleep now."
"Sleep with me?" Nanoha weakly kept her eyes open. "Please?"
"Yes sir?" The mechanical device answered promptly from its place on the nightstand.
"What does my schedual look like?"
"All clear? Bardiche, check again, I should have several things on it."
"Doctor's excuse for Fate T. Harlaown and Nanoha Takamachi last three days for Fate and six days for Nanoha, sir."
"… Thanks Shamal." Fate looked down at her friend, who was still looking at her through half closed eyes. "Okay, Nanoha-chan. I'll sleep with you."
"Yay," She smiled, reaching out a hand for her.
Fate took the offered hand and allowed herself to be weakly pulled into bed, where she got under the covers with her friend. At first she went to make herself comfortable but soon found Nanoha's hand around her stomach and cheek resting against her chest. "Na-Nanoha-chan?"
"Hm?" The arm she was laying on reached out a little until it found Fate's hand, where she interlaced their fingers.
"U-um… I don't mind cuddling with you but…we're both naked right now and well…"
"Does it bother you?" Nanoha looked up at her quizzically.
"N-not really…It's just that…" She blushed furiously when her friend slid her leg up against hers, almost straddling her thigh now. A cute content sound made her realize that the brown haired girl next to her was already going to sleep. 'She's sick...' her mind told herself repeatedly. 'Don't you dare think dirty thoughts!' Nanoha's hand on her stomach shifted as her body turned more on its side, ending up with it placed on top of her breast. 'She's sick and asleep… don't think dirty thoughts…' With a yawn, Nanoha stretched out lightly, unconsciously groping her. 'Oh god, I'm going to have a nose bleed...'
Fate was awoken rather unceremoniously an hour later when the girl laying on her suddenly decided to scramble off and crawl to the end of the bed, where she fell into the floor. Coughing sounds made Fate instantly wake up and dart towards her friend who had her hand tightly over her mouth. Her heart melted at the sad scared look Nanoha was giving her. Quickly she helped her stumble into the bathroom, where the poor girl sank to her knees and proceeded to attempt to throw up but not quite succeeding. After almost a minute of panting and coughing Nanoha finally fell back against her room mate and looked up at her with watering eyes. "You okay…?" Fate asked softly as she wiped away the tears.
"No…" The girl closed her eyes and winced as her breath caught in her throat. "It hurts…"
Fate leaned forward and kissed her forehead. "I know sweetie. You'll get better soon, I promise. Think you can go back to bed?"
"I don't know," She replied honestly. "I feel it coming again…" Nanoha whimpered lightly, allowing Fate to help her lean forward again and cough harshly. "Ow…" She sniffed sadly. "I have …nothing left…why am I doing this still?"
The blond rubbed her back soothingly. "Just your body trying to do what it can…okay?" After getting a nod she once again took the girl into her arms and carried her to bed. "You need to get covered, can you sit up for me a moment?" another nod answered her and Nanoha held herself up as promised. A light pink nightshirt was placed over her head and once her arms were threaded through, she allowed herself to fall over onto her back. "Just a moment dear." She looked at her sadly before grabbing the liquid medicine on the night stand and measuring out her dosage. "It's eight now so I'll take my next dose around dinner time…" She spoke to herself as she looked at the small plastic cap/measuring cup. "…Here's to health." She took the medicine quickly, disappointed at how slow the syrup-like substance left the container and into her mouth. Once she swallowed thickly several times the girl coughed and went to the bathroom to drink as much water as she could stand to get the taste out of her mouth. "Grape flavored my ass…"
Fate looked up as a monitor display appeared to her side, the black screen proudly declaring that Shamal was trying to contact her. The girl set down the book she was reading and stroked Nanoha's hair lightly before 'pushing' the button on the display to accept the call. "Hello Shamal," She greeted her.
"Hello there Fate, how are you doing?" The doctor smiled at the sight of Nanoha laying on the couch with her head on Fate's lap. "And how is my favorite little sick girl?"
"I'm almost twenty," Nanoha muttered out, opening one eye to look up at her friend. "I'm not a little girl anymore, Shamal."
"Aw, but you always came to me for everything! It was so much fun watching you grow up with Fate and Hayate!" Her face fell a little when Nanoha was apparently too weak to tease back. "How are you feeling?"
"Dead," was the simple response.
"She's been dry-heaving all day," Fate informed her. "She refuses to eat anything because she's scared she'll throw it right back up."
"My, that's not good. Nanoha-chan, try to eat something okay?"
"No." She replied against Fate's stomach, curling up.
With a sigh, the girl on the screen crossed her arms. "Can't be helped then. Fate-chan, she'll probably be starving tomorrow sometime so try and take advantage of that to feed her something really nutritious okay? Preferably soup to ease her throat and some type of bread or crackers to help settle her stomach."
"And you take your medicine as well?" The look on the blonde's face was all the answer she needed. "You'll thank me later. Oh! I talked to Hayate already, and your squad has been given leave for three days, then Fate will take over training until Nanoha is ready to return."
"I'll be there tomorrow," The brown haired girl muttered, half asleep.
Fate gave Shamal a small nervous look. "I'll keep an eye on her so she won't try to go anywhere... She won't let go of me, actually, so it's no problem."
"Mmhmm," She agreed. "When she sleeps she holds onto me for a while then gets hot and pushes me away but when I get out of the bed, she'll call for me mentally when she wakes up and realizes I'm not there."
"Aw, how sweet!"
The girl's face tinted lightly. "A-anyway…" She didn't think of it like that before.
"Okay, I have other patients to check in on so I'll cut this off here." Shamal gave Fate a break on teasing. "Get better soon Nanoha-chan."
The girl in Fate's lap gave a small hum before closing her eyes again when the monitor cut off. "Fate-chan, I had the weirdest dream just now."
"Oh?" Fate went back to stroking her hair, happy to have Nanoha to talk to. The day was almost over now and the only conversation she's had with her friend was nothing more than random gibberish and sleep talking. "What was it about?"
Nanoha took a slow steady intake of air. "I was caught in a rock-slide on some random planet…I was trapped under the stones and survived for three days off nothing but water brought to me by a lone Mexican jumping bean…"
Fate looked down at her friend a moment before reaching over to the table stand and picking up the medicine she was taking. "What is in this stuff?"
Groggily Fate helped her friend back to the bed, where they both collapsed down in a heap. The blond shivered as her counter part panted out, a light shine of sweat on her body. They had just returned from another one of Nanoha's sudden sick moments, where she managed to successfully lose the small bit of toast Fate had forced on her a little earlier. "Fate-chan…" She panted out weakly. "I'm hot…"
"The air is on sixty-eight honey… You won't get better if you freeze to death."
"Fate-chaaaaan," Nanoha sniffed. "I don't want to be sick anymore…"
The red eyed girl sleepily pushed herself up and looked at the clock on their nightstand. The digital timer told her that it was currently two in the morning, a whole three hours since their last trip to the bathroom. "Come on sweetheart, get in bed properly and cover up."
Nanoha made a few unintelligent sounds, showing that she was already drifting back off to sleep. She opened her eyes lightly when she felt herself being moved and gave her friend an apologetic look. "Hold me, Fate-chan?" She asked softly when she was properly laying down.
"I thought you were hot?"
"I need a hug…please?"
"Always." Fate moved over close to her and held her friend. "Whenever you need a hug, just open your arms."
"Thank you…" She closed her eyes lightly and cuddled up against the blond. "Ne, Fate-chan?"
"I love you."
Fate opened her eyes slowly, giving across the room and running her fingers through the girl's hair. "I love you too, Nanoha-chan." The words made the girl happy, as she was suddenly gripped a little tighter. "Now go to sleep before you start saying weird things."
"Loving Fate isn't weird," She whispered, moving back just enough to tilt her head up. "We're both girls, but that's okay."
"You're sleep talking again, sweetheart." Fate closed her eyes. "Please don't get my hopes up like this."
There was a small silence before Fate suddenly felt herself being kissed. Her eyes snapped open and looked down nervously at the girl who was pulling away lightly. The two gazed at each other again before the blue eyed girl smiled and cuddled back up against her chest. "Good night."
"…Yeah. Good night, Honey."
Nanoha giggled as best she could. "I like that pet name…"
The girl held her sick friend and ran the words over and over in her mind. The smile came to her lips slowly, but she didn't want to resist it. 'She loves me…' Her mind told her ecstatically. 'Now… If only she'll remember saying it tomorrow…' The thought made her lose a little of her hope but the lingering taste on her mouth kept her spirits up. 'Wait a minute… Suddenly Fate's face looked a little grossed out. 'Why did our first kiss have to be right after she threw up…?' She wiped her mouth regretfully, trying to get rid of the thought. 'Mou! This isn't fair!'
To be continued...