Seeing Nanoha's body awoke something inside of me that I had always repressed, always forced down whenever it came in my gut. Fighting was always something I had done, but there was a boundary, a limit, a line that was to never be crossed. Anger, rage, personal revenge, they had nothing to do with my job, and as such I never let them bother me. I was to fight who I was commanded to, to subdue them and bring them in for judgment. Never was I to fight for the sake of fighting, to hurt for the reason of hurting... But now... that didn't matter now. He crossed the line, he had killed the person who saved me, gave me a purpose, gave me feeling, gave me love. She was gone, and I felt nothing but rage. I would cry later; right now I had to avenge her, to kill the man who stole her from me. Gripping Bardiche hard, I glared at the person and felt a shiver run down his spine as our eyes met. No, killing him wasn't enough... It would never be enough to sooth the pain in my heart. I felt my throat tighten as his hands went over my ex-lover's stomach and my feet pressed hard against the concrete as I made my first attack.
6th Mobile Division: Redemption VI
Orca looked to the side when Fate vanished from his sight. Turning his head, a flaring yellow energy missed his neck by centimeters. Fate's body blurred, again ripping her sword against and through the auto barrier generated by him, turning his attention to the backside where Bardiche's blade failed again to make it to his skin. His mind worked fast, preparing to counter the next attack and did so easily when Fate tried to attack again from above. Thrusting out his hand, he reached out to grab the woman's neck but felt only air when he grasped for it. Seconds later Fate landed softly on the ground away from him, slowly placing Nanoha down. "Ha ha ha haaaaa." Orca shook his head in an amused manor. "I didn't even see you take her." His voice drug out the words, almost as if he was enjoying saying them. "Tell me, girl, could you be the one to finally challenge me?"
Fate shook, turning her tear stained eyes back at him and letting out a roar that rang from the bottom of her throat. The war cry scattered the dust on the ground next to her as she flashed forward once again. Her scythe bounced off Orca's shield and flared into zamber mode to prevent a counter attack from being released on her. The woman twisted in the air, snapping the handle of her weapon and making the pulsating blade break longways into two half-swords. The one in her left hand slashed downwards only to be punched away. Not giving up, she flicked her right one sideways and felt it flare through the shield but still being forced away from the body enough to do no damage. Her feet touched the ground for only a moment, being swept out from underneath her. The Azure Sea's body turned around in the spin kick and followed it quickly by grabbing her ankle and throwing her half way through the building next to them.
The rubble didn't have time to completely fall before Fate was already back to him, slinging her weapons rapidly. Orca grinned at her devilishly, pushing forward and grabbing her wrist to sling the woman over his shoulder. The force broke the ground under them but did nothing to stop the screams of fury still coming from her mouth. Raising her hand, Fate sent several glowing lances at her opponent in an attempt to make him gain distance. The attack worked long enough for her to reclaim her footing and move forward again. Halfway she was clotheslined in her run and found herself once more looking into the air. A punch shattered the ground where her head was just laying, forcing her to turn onto her stomach and go into a handstand, lashing her foot out. Orca bent completely backwards at the same time as his foot swept the area. Fate snarled loudly, flying at that level just long enough to attach one of her swords onto her boot and reclaimed her handstand. Turning quickly, she rotated her body with her legs spread apart in a hurricane kick. Orca leaned to the side, tried again to trip her, and flipped over her other leg when his attack failed.
Bardiche's other sword embedded itself into the ground, giving the blond a place to shift her weight and correct her stance. Now upright, she kicked out one more time before reclaiming the plasma blade in her other hand and ripping the first upwards. Orca grabbed the offending blade with his hand, smirking at her as he punched her stomach. The area flew around her as she rebounded against a wall some ten feet away from the battle. Again, she flew back into close quarters combat space before he could even fully register his attack had met it's mark. Growling hard, she flashed her weapons again and again, getting harder and faster with each swing. Time and time again her blades bled through the shield but couldn't seem to reach her mark. Her opponent finally caught her wrist again and turned her around, quickly grabbing her other and holding the woman tightly in his arms. Slowly he ran his nose from her shoulder up along her neck as she screamed and struggled to escape his grasp. "Delicious," He whispered to her softly, smiling to himself. "I wonder," he continued as Fate kept crying out madly. "Would you taste as heavenly as your lover did?" His tongue ran along her cheek. "No...she tasted much, much sweeter."
Fate's eyes dilated to the point where nothing but red could be seen. Images of Nanoha's torn barrier jacket flashed through her mind, making her break his hold and turn around, punching as hard as she could but not making it through the barrier he had. "I'll kill you!" In her fury she couldn't find anything else to say, repeating the same words over and over as she thrust her weapons at him. Each one ripped into the barrier, obviously moving faster than him, but never touching the man enough to cause harm. Finally she felt her hair being grabbed and soon found herself doubled over after a magical blast at close range. She knew whatever hit her had cracked a rib but the pain didn't register, didn't matter. Glaring at the ground, she noticed a basketball sized sphere roll over to them and flash a few times before exploding, blasting both of them far apart.
"Who's there!?" Orca yelled out though the smoke, anger that his battle was interrupted was evident in his voice.
" 'Fraid you messed with the wrong people," A female voice stated as the dust cleared. A tall woman stood, clad in a tight form fitting top and pink shorts that barely covered anything. The figure brought up her hands, cracking her knuckles before wiping her mouth with the back of one of them. Behind her a long tail swayed while shifting into a battle stance. "Nobody messes with my masters!" Arf glared at him with one fang showing over her bottom lip. Despite staying in child form for so long she didn't seem phased any to suddenly be so tall again.
"Her familiar," Orca smiled to himself as he was rushed from both parties. Fate was still in a blind rage while attacking, obviously not seeing anything except for him. The thought made him smile more, fighting back harder to avoid being hit for a while before finally kicking her familiar out of the way and blasting Fate point blank in her face. The attack was supposed to gain him some breathing room to taunt her but instead he found Bardiche's blade ripping across his arm in a searing heat filled roar of pain. Startled, he gave the woman enough time to form her own magical blast and fire it, slinging him several yards away to skid on his back. "What...?"
"AMF," Arf stated, holding her side in agony from the single attack landed on her. "Improved to become an area of effect in the air instead of emitting from a device. Did you think I was just hiding when you attacked? As soon as you came, I was already getting the one thing that could be our edge on you Azure trio!"
Orca laughed loudly as he stood. "Idiot, an AMF would hinder you as much as it would me!" His words stopped when Fate stood up again, re-igniting both of her half-swords. A yellow ring of energy was glowing around her throat, wrists, and both ankles as well. Stepping forward, she glared at him, eyes boring into his soul and crushing it with her presence. "An anti-AMF..." Narrowing his eyes, he glared at them. "So that's how you beat Jail..."
"Arf," Fate finally spoke to her familiar. "Stay away."
"I said stay away!" She screamed her words. Panting, seething, glaring, she focused her eyes on Orca. Both swords shook in her hands, mental images of Nanoha's battle flashing across her vision. "I'm going to kill him myself!" Running at Orca again, she leapt into the air and twisted around, slashing her sword diagonally at him. The Azure Sea leaned counter-side to the strike and turned his body around to dodge the follow up. Flipping backwards, he flew above a horizontal swipe and bent over as her other sword flashed again. Fate gripped both swords by their ends and thrust them both forward to give him no choice but to jump back and slide on the ground.
The dirt crunched under him as he slid away from Fate, blasting four magic projectiles at her as he did so. The attacks were knocked aside easily by the blond's swords but the force of the attack made Orca spin around at the end of his slide. The woman took a chance and ran at him, jumping at the very end as he stood and narrowly missed him with her double stab. Four more energy daggers sliced through the air, giving Fate just enough time to deflect two of them before taking the rest with the front of her body. Again the pain didn't register, only anger came from the attack and in her fury she swapped how she held her left sword and threw it at the man.
Orca narrowly escaped the attack, shoulder being sliced slightly as he literally dove out of the way of the surprise move. The blade embedded itself in the building behind them but was left alone by the two. Fate was already in front of him again, using her other sword to slash down madly. Orca twirled around her, slipping down to his knees and forming a dagger of energy in his hand as he did so. With a proud smirk from the move, he slammed the weapon as hard as he could, ripping straight through Fate's barrier and boot, pinning her foot to the ground. No yell of agony came to his ears, making him look up and meet the red eyes of the devil.
Fate's arm ripped sideways in an attempt to decapitate the shocked man but only succeeded in taking a few hairs off the top of his head as he ducked. Swapping stances, she moved her sword upwards at him instead. Orca moved back and made a desperate attempt to move his head to avoid a kick from the now free leg of Fate. The energy dagger still in her foot itched his skin as it flashed by him but soon found her other foot slamming into his neck fully. Wasting no time, Fate flew up in the air slightly before forcing herself down to choke him. Her other leg kicked downwards, stabbing Orca with his own energy in her foot. With a cry of anger Fate lifted her first leg and stomped her injured foot, forcing the dagger through her own body and deeper into his. The blond flipped back and landed on the ground, not feeling the grinding pressure on her trembling wound as it unknowingly suffered to hold up her weight.
Slowly Orca righted himself and grasped the dagger in his chest to dispell it. His opponent snarled once again, turning the handle of her weapon and making a yellow string of energy come out from it. With the new plasma rope she gathered herself for an attack that included throwing the thread behind herself to wrap around her previously disregarded sword. The man watched her rip it from the building and pull it over to herself in mid jump. Dodging backwards, he felt a rush of adrenaline curse through his veins from the thrill of the fight he was getting. Fate thrust downwards at him but missed once more. Her attack continued by using the force of the attack to propel herself in the air once again and swing her other sword down into the ground before finally moving into a third and final stab that also missed it's target. Again the man found himself ducking and twisting around Fate's mad kicks as she balanced herself on top of the embedded sword in the ground while trying to land a clean shot on his head.
Having had enough of the balancing act, Fate jumped off it and twisted around with her other sword, stabbing down and grazing Orca across the chest as she landed. The next moment she found herself sailing through the air from a hard kick enforced by a magic blast. Crashing back against a building, she let out her first cry of pain as she landed. Images of Nanoha struggling blindly came to her mind, feeding the flames she needed to push herself up and once again run forward. At the last moment she turned into a flip, grabbing her sword from the ground, and lashed out madly in an attempt to cut the man in half. Before the attack had time to land her enemy was already in the air, legs apart in the splits as the blade cut nothing beneath him.
Fate turned sharply, throwing Bardiche at him once again and having it deflected back at her from one of his magic energy daggers. Catching her sword, she threw her other to block a second dagger of his and caught it a once more as they ran. Bardiche was hurled at him again, clashing against the dagger a third and final time. Orca spun around as Fate sliced and placed his foot on her blade, pinning it to the ground and running up it to flip over her body. As he landed he turned and grabbed the blond hard when she tried to fly away, catching her around her waist and squeezing her. "I'll crush you in half!" His yell of triumph was cut short as a sudden screaming of pain filled his chest. Air escaped him and before long he felt as if he was choking, drowning despite not being in any water. Slowly he looked down and saw Bardiche's blade coming from Fate's lower back and felt it rip out of his when she pushed it deeper into her own stomach.
The two landed roughly, each barely standing up as the split apart. The woman turned and glared at him harshly, one hand pressed against the would in her stomach but kept a sick smile of satisfaction on her lips when she realized she had punctured one of his lungs. " You're mine now." She told him, sword shaking in anger still.
"Ah," Orca knelt against his will and tried his best just to breathe. "But your prisons...won't hold me for lo-aahhh!"
Fate twisted her sword in his shoulder before pulling it back harshly. "...No.. you aren't going to jail..." Their eyes met firmly once again as she slowly reached down and gripped his neck to haul him up to be level with her face. "I am going to destroy you here and now." The words paired with the still burning eyes made Orca feel something he couldn't remember the last time he encountered. Fear consumed his body as the woman prepared to strike again.
Arf tried as hard as she could to tune out the sounds around her as she gently touched Nanoha's cheek in a soothing manor. "Nanoha?" She asked softly, eyes starting to water. "Wake up... please wake up..." Moving to her shoulder she shook tenderly. "Nanoha... Please... Fate needs you..." Her beckoning stirred the female slightly. "Nanoha? Nanoha! Wake up!" She shook a little harder, tears brimming in her eyes. "Please!"
"Ar...fu...?" The word escaped her mouth slowly, eyes opening and looking around blindly. "Where am I?"
"In town," She told her, relieved that she was speaking. "Are you okay?"
"Sick," She replied, giving up her attempt to hold up her head and looked blankly up at the sky after letting herself fall back again. "He made me breathe something when he punched me...I think I'm poisoned... Can barely move."
Arf wiped her tears away from her eyes and scanned Nanoha's body as best as she knew how. "I think it's only a numbing poison... no wonder we couldn't see you breathing..."
"Nanoha!?" Fate's voice was shocked as she fell to her knees to cradle her lover. "But you... I mean... You was..." She ignored Arf's sad look at the blood covering her barrier jacket and instead fussed over the woman in her arms.
"I won't die from that," Nanoha told her while allowing her head to lean against Fate's body. "Mou, Fate, you think so little of me?" Tear drops fell on her cheek, shocking her. "Eh? Are you crying?" Ignoring her name being repeated, she spoke up again. "Wait, what happened to that man? Did you fight him? Are you okay?" Louder sobs answered her as she was slowly tilted to the side. "Fate? Fate?" Suddenly she found herself on the ground and heard pain filled cries next to her. "Fate!? What's wrong!? Arf, what's wrong with Fate!?"
"You idiot!" Arf was screaming as she lifted her master's shirt. "You shouldn't be moving! How did you get thi-..." Her words stopped suddenly, realizing that what she saw wasn't a trick on her eyes. "Fate you idiot! You idiot!" grabbing Bardiche from her, she brought up an M2D screen. "Hayate!? Yuuno!?" Signum answered her call but she cut off before she could say anything. "Fate's in danger, she may die soon!"
Suddenly Shamal's face was on the screen. "Can you bring her here!?"
"I-I don't think we should move her, she stabbed herself straight through her stomach!"
"What!?" Nanoha's voice drowned out the others, pleading as loud as she could around their conversation to get answers. "Fate? Where are you!?" She patted the ground around herself weakly until she found her lover's body and gripped her hand. "What happened!?" Fate only panted, looking up at the sky with a tired pain filled expression.
"Her adrenaline is wearing off," Arf noticed in worry. "Shamal please get here soon..."
"And they teleported here shortly after Fate left to get you," Yuuno was finishing up as they sat in the living room of their house. Thanks to the properties of the magic barrier their real home was unscathed from the battle earlier despite being destroyed within it. "The others got here not two minutes before you returned."
"Yuuno-kun," Nanoha whispered to him softly as she held onto him a little tighter. "Please tell me the truth... how is everyone?"
At first he wanted to lie to the scared girl but forced the feeling down as soon as it came. They knew each other too long, fought side by side more than enough to know how battles worked. If he lied she would know, and he didn't want her to worry about the people who were really okay. "The forwards are asleep right now. For the most part they are okay. Caro and Lutecia exhausted their cores to the point where they won't wake up but their bodies are in better shape than the others. Subaru has a little internal bleeding but will be fine in a week with the proper medicine. Elio got pretty banged up from what was apparently a close range blast... I think his face will scar lightly above his right eye."
"...You didn't say anything about Tia?"
"...Tia fractured her entire right hand, wrist, and arm all the way to her shoulder, which has severe muscle injury." He sighed softly. "She won't be able to use it for at least a month."
"She's going to miss the mage test," Nanoha looked down. "This is all my fault..."
"Don't even start thinking like that right now. There are more important things than some stupid test or you blaming yourself. You know that-"
"Pointing fingers won't solve any problems, I know, you've told me that before." With a sigh she leaned against him. "I'm sorry, I'm just trying to take my mind off Fate... How long has she been in there?"
Yuuno looked across the room towards the stairs. Shamal, not wanting to risk hurting Fate by teleporting, had to take up the operation right there in their house. "It's been almost an hour now. I don't know how long it will take but seeing as how this is a pure magical healing I wouldn't think much longer."
The pony tailed girl looked to the side despite seeing nothing but blackness wherever she turned. "She could get in a lot of trouble for this couldn't she?"
"More than you know." A new voice entered the room as Hayate nervously sat on the other side of Nanoha. "If anyone found out she would have her license revoked and probably serve jail time. The bill for restriction of magical healing was passed for a reason: If you mess up even slightly on internal organs or vital areas you could kill the person you are operating on or leave them permanently disfigured. What we went through when younger is highly looked down on now."
Yuuno nodded lightly. "Yeah, but right now we don't really have a choice do we?" To counteract his statement the upstairs door opened up to reveal a shaky looking Shamal. Instantly everyone ran over to her, including Nanoha who tripped over the couch and had to have Yuuno show her the rest of the way. "Well?" He asked timidly when she sat down on the steps with shaking hands.
"She's fine," Shamal eased their worries quickly. "She will have scars but she is fine..."
Hayate moved over and kneeled in front of the woman who doubled as her mother. "Are you okay? You look really pale."
Signum chose to answer for her partner while leaning over to pick her up since Shamal didn't look like she could walk anymore. "She's nervous. After an operation like that, who wouldn't be? Come on, Shamal, you need to rest."
"I want to see her." Nanoha's words were more of a command than a request. "Yuuno-kun, take me there please."
Yuuno shook his head and guided Nanoha back to the couch. "She needs to sleep, you know that." Although she didn't give him a response she still allowed herself to be sat down and returned to hugging his side for comfort when he joined her. "Nanoha, can you answer a few things for me?" He felt her nod and met Hayate's eyes for a little encouragement before he continued. "When you were attacked... Did you manage to talk to Skeith any?"
Nanoha gripped him tighter. "No... She wouldn't answer..." Slowly she buried her head against him. "She's gone."
Yuuno put his arm around his friend and thought hard. "Tri-Edge's data drain ability sucks not just magic but information and digital memory as well so it can effect devices too-" his words froze in his throat, eyes going wide. "That's it...That's it!!"
Hayate was startled at his sudden outbreak and in turn put her arm around Nanoha when she moved away from the suddenly excited man. "What's it, Yuuno?" She watched him stand and start pacing, a sure sign he was on to something.
"Don't you see!?" He asked, amazed, while turning to walk in the other direction. "It's all about information! Data! Electric signals and Astral Flow!"
Nanoha blinked, moving from sad and worried to confused and annoyed. "Astral-what- now?"
Hayate answered before Yuuno could confuse her even more. "It's what we call loading cartridges, when the compressed energy moves into something besides the shell." Turning to look back to Yuuno she went on. "But what does that have to do with anything?"
"Data draining! Skeith!" He threw out his hands, smiling ear to ear. "It all makes sense now! We can beat them!"
This did perk Nanoha's true interest. "Wait, huh?"
"Hayate!" Yuuno moved over to her and looked down at the girl. "Remember our original plan for Skeith? What we were going to do before Fate talked her down?"
"Um... Yes, you made some type of device to..." Her words stalled slightly before gasping. "The unison device you made!"
"What are you talking about!?" Nanoha finally cried out. "Someone tell me what's going on already!"
Yuuno sat by her again and took her hands. "Nanoha, when you were first controlled by Skeith, we made the discovery that she was a program. The Jewel Seeds were originally like our devices except they were meant to be worn as armor instead of used as weapons. This armor would allow people to use perfect AI to become the best warriors ever." he waited for a small nod to continue. "When we found out that we could remove Skeith's AI program from you and still leave the Jewel Seed grafted onto your body, I made a device to do that. Using Rein as a base, I created a type of gun that would literally suck all electronic data from something and put it into a unison device. We were going to use it to suck Skeith off you and then delete her information!"
Nanoha slowly caught on to his plan. "So you're saying we could use that to get Skeith off Tri-Edge?"
"Not only that..." Hayate ventured. "But if we timed it right, we could also take the Astral Flow with it?"
"Exactly!" Yuuno pointed at her. "Thus not only would Nanoha get Skeith and hopefully her vision back, but would also gain the power of a loaded Linker Core and give Tri-Edge mana burn in the process!"
"What are the odds of this working?" Signum asked as she walked into the room. "Sounds a little risky if you ask me."
Yuuno crunched the numbers in his head. "We would have to re-enforce the device and do a little altering to create a unison device for it to work..."
The short leader of the group put a hand to her chin and thought aloud. "True, the process of creating a Unison is extremely difficult... We were originally planning for it to fail to dispose of Skeith so we didn't really finish it properly..."
Nanoha panicked at their words. "So you're telling me this could possibly kill Aura!?"
"Skeith's real name, I just don't use it much since I'm not used to it- wait that's not the point!" She shook her head. "No, no way, I can't kill her!"
"Whoa, Nanoha, calm down girl." Yuuno put his hands onto her shoulders. "Trust me; I'll make it work out. All right?"
Slowly she looked down and nodded. "Okay... Promise me she won't be hurt?"
"Promise." Yuuno got a confirming nod and turned to Hayate. "The device is on Mid-Childa, what should we do?"
"If the two were sent here today to kill us that means they probably wouldn't check in until they succeeded in doing so. Once their report was late and they couldn't be contacted I think, logically, that the people in charge would hold back to create a better plan on dealing with us... So I say we should have about a week or two before we have to worry about another attack."
"But if we went back to Mid-Childa we would cause attention to us..." Yuuno looked over at the redhead in the room. "But you, you're not supposed to be here, so if you return today no one would think twice about it..."
"Understood." Signum nodded over at him. "I can get the device and bring it back here. Once Shamal is rested we can head back and get what's needed from her offices."
"In the mean time," Yuuno kept talking to himself. "I'm going to start re-planning." Holding up his hand, he called forth his book-type device. "I'm going to have a long few nights ahead of me."
"Whoa!" Hayate stood up and grabbed the book. "You're injured! You need rest first!"
"Hayate, I'm fine."
"No you're not, your chest is almost bleeding through the bandages!"
"I'm a grown man, I can handle this!"
"I don't care, you are not going to work on this until your body has had time to heal, or at the very least until Shamal can treat you a little! I command you to stay here and rest!"
"As a civilian collaborator, I don't have to take your orders." He reminded her
"I'm not telling you this as your superior, I'm telling you this as someone who cares about you deeply!"
Nanoha whistled out loudly when a sudden silence came around them. "I would have used the term 'friend', but apparently there's much more than that here."
"A-anyway!" Hayate stammered, turning red and looking away from everyone. "Yuuno, please rest for today. I'll help you tomorrow, okay?"
"...Fine." He looked away as well, slipping one hand into his front pocket and leaning a little to the side in a defeated pose. "But you have to rest too, you were beaten pretty badly."
"I had a barrier Jacket meant for combat, I'll be fine..." Her words trailed off, glancing over her shoulder at the man. "We should really equip you with a battle jacket instead of a normal one..."
Nanoha sighed out. "I want to get some sleep... Can one of you please get in touch with Arisa and Suzuka and let them know we're okay?"
"Ah," Signum nodded. "I'll get right on it."
"Tia?" Subaru's voice made the girl yelp softly in the semi-darkness of the night. "Sorry," She whispered softly as she made her way over to her. "I woke up and you wasn't there so I came looking."
"Idiot," Tia scolded her affectionately. "I could have just been in the bathroom."
"Mm, but after today I was worried..." The two held their breath when Nanoha rolled over on the couch and resumed her loud snoring. Arf's puppy form in turn walked around to reclaim her position on Nanoha's stomach and also went back to sleep. "Shamal-san really made her sleep on the couch?"
"She was just bruised and stunned, no real damage that couldn't be fixed by Yuuno-san's healing magic." Tia looked down at her arm and tried unsuccessfully to move her fingers. "Unlike me..." Sighing, she tried again to reach up and get a glass from the cabinet with her left hand. She found Subaru's hand quickly next to hers to stop a glass from tipping over and falling. "Dang it."
"Here, let me." Subaru got the glasses and filled them both up with milk before opening the cookie jar. "So," she whispered again, a little louder this time to be heard over the other girl's snores. "How is your arm? For real now that no one else is around?"
Tia bit into her milk-logged cookie and chewed before answering. "It hurts. A lot. Signum-san is supposed to be bringing me back some medicine from our planet to numb the pain. Right now I am torn between screaming out and ripping off my arm entirely."
"Eep... That bad?"
"Know the feeling when your nose bleeds and dries up?"
Subaru made a face. "And it's all scratchy and gritty and you can feel it when you breathe?"
"Mm. That's what my entire arm feels like... Yuuno-san told me I had hair-line cracks running all down it and into my hand. I can feel it, it's really creepy." She had to pause her talking when Nanoha moved over onto her back and started what Fate had dubbed 'the chainsaw snoring'. "Good god, no wonder Hayate-san sound-proofed their walls."
"I just can't get over Nanoha-san actually doing what Shamal-san told her. She hasn't seen Fate-san since before her surgery."
"I can kind of understand, since she can't actually see her you know? Even if she was in the room with Fate-san, it wouldn't help her any if she couldn't inspect to be sure she was okay. Speaking of, I heard Shamal-san used all magic healing?"
"You can't tell anyone." She got a small nod. "Yes, Fate will be perfectly fine tomorrow but will be weak and sore." The two finished up their late night snack and quietly made their way back to the room they shared. "Speaking of being okay and stuff, are you really fine? You're limping pretty bad."
"Mm," Subaru touched her side gently. "My stomach and ribs look horrible. Shamal-san and Yuuno-san had to do something to it but I'm not really sure what because they put me to sleep." She slowly got into bed and exhaled lightly in pain. "Come on, let's get some sleep." She felt Tia get next to her and the two looked up at the ceiling together a moment longer."I'd put my arm around you but I can't lean on my side." The small joke made Tia actually giggle out in the dark room.
"Ahhh, go to bed you idiot." they shared an awkward positioned goodnight kiss and slid deeper under the covers to get comfortable.
Nanoha slowly woke up and blinked her eyes a few times before remembering where she was. With a tender stretch to test her muscles she got off the couch and wiped her face with her hand. "Anyone up yet?" She inquired, greeted by silence. "Guess not," She spoke aloud again before heading towards the stairs by feeling around. Once at the wall she trailed her fingers along it until the hand rail was found and slowly walked up them once she got her bearings about where she was. Part of her wondered if it was even morning yet, making her request Raising Heart to give her the time. Now satisfied with hearing it was indeed morning and the sun was up, she felt her way to her bedroom. "You awake Sweetheart?" She asked the words timidly as she stuck her head in. Truth be told she shouldn't be bothering her right now but Shamal was no longer in the house so she had taken the chance to be with her fiancée. "Fate?"
"Mm," The blond replied from the bed. "Been awake for a while but my body doesn't really want to listen to me." She gave Nanoha a smile as she looked over at her. "Come here, just walk straight." Her lover did as she was told and reached out her hand to be taken once she was half way there. "A little more...there we are." Carefully she urged Nanoha onto the bed and hugged her. "You have no idea how happy I am right now."
"You have no idea how worried I was," Nanoha replied in turn. "How could you think I was dead? Couldn't you feel me?" The girl puffed out her cheeks in classic Nanoha style. "And then going and hurting yourself on top of that! If you wasn't injured I'd hit you!"
Fate's joy left instantly but she answered anyway, having planned what she was going to say ever since she woke up. "I'm sorry. I know I should have but... When I got to the forwards their battle was already over. After that I came here and saw Yuuno and Hayate already defeated. When I went to you, I just... I don't know, I panicked. I was already too late twice and you wasn't moving... I'm sorry." She let her head fall lightly and looked at the bed instead of at her fiancée.
"Fate... Will you answer a question for me? Something I have been wanting to ask since I found out you were okay?"
"Did you really...?"
"...Yes." She closed her eyes sadly. "I snapped... I don't remember much of it...But enough."
"You know why." Fate held her closer and almost started to cry. "Thinking that I lost you..."
"Fate," Slowly Nanoha pulled back. "Did you stab yourself to win?"
"Don't ask me that."
"Fate," Their words were repeating, trying to find some way to make this go about easier. "I'm very happy you are okay but...I'm disappointed at what happened."
"What do you mean?" Fate brought up her hand and gently touched it to Nanoha's, frowning sadly when the hand was removed from her reach slowly. "I disappointed you? How?"
"When something happens you are always the first to sacrifice. Not just here but back then..." She didn't have to say the words to imply that she was talking about that snowy day years ago. "And when we were fighting against Scaglietti... You never once thought about yourself."
"Of course not, Kitten, I was thinking of you..."
"I know that but... But it worries me. I worry about you." Moving her hand back, she touched Fate's and found her still willing to hold hands even after previously pulling away. "I have been thinking about this for a while now but I never found the time to talk to you about it... Fate, Darling, I think you have a problem."
"What do you mean? Nanoha this is really sudden, first thing in the morning, and I had a horrible night last night and-"
"I'm sorry. This can't wait." Nanoha took a breath. "Fate, I'm worried about our future together."
The words jarred Fate enough to cut off any other protest she would have. "Okay, I'm listening."
"I first noticed this when we were young." Moving slightly, she sat next to her fiancée and felt an arm being placed around her shoulders. "You would always come to me just to make sure I was all right. Even after simple things like long training, extra exercises, or even just simple missions. I remember you would always make me dinner, rub my back, make sure I was perfectly fine... but when you did them, you didn't do anything but sleep."
"I was tired," Fate offered, a little confused. "I don't really see where this is going."
"I'm sorry, I 'm not really explaining this properly." Nanoha took a breath and thought. "You have always relied on me for as long as I can remember. I don't mind, don't get me wrong, but it's gotten to a point where I'm worried about your well being...If I'm away, I worry so much about you it makes me sick." She chuckled to herself in light humor. "Poor Vita-chan always held my hair... That's not the point, though. What I'm getting at is I'm scared to leave you alone for a while because I'm worried you won't take care of yourself."
"... Sweetheart, I eat just fine and keep the apartment spic-and-span. Am I missing something?"
"No, no, it's...it's... oh I can't say it without being blunt."
"Be blunt, it's okay."
"Fate I'm worried about you if something should ever happen to me. I... really don't know what you will do. Whenever my life is threatened you always disregard your own in order to do something rash... Teleporting me to safety when that place was going to explode... Going Devil Trigger and impaling yourself to get even with someone who hurt me..."
"I love you, Nanoha, of course I would-"
"I love you too," She cut her off softly. "I learned the hard way that you would have to move on, when I thought you was dead. It's painful, so very, very, painful. Just thinking back on it almost drives me to tears...But I'm worried, if you was in that situation... what would you do?"
"I...I don't know... Nanoha... I know I'm a little too reliant on you...Just knowing you're there gives me all the confidence in the world, enough to actually take care of others as well." Fate looked over at the girl under her arm. "My decision to raise Elio, to get Caro transferred, to start healing Lutecia... But thinking if you were to ever not be there... It's too scary...I don't know what I'd do."
"Is it because of when we were little?"
"You saved me."
"You saved yourself, I just offered my hand." There was a small pause in the room. "Fate... Why do you love me?"
"What? Nanoha, where on Earth did that come from?"
"Answer me please?" She looked up towards the blond's face. "Is it because I was the one who helped you back on your feet?"
"No! No, no, at first maybe but no... Nanoha no. I love you because I love you. I'll admit that one part of our lives made me start seeing you but it was more, much more, that made me want to be with you... God, how long were you worried over this?"
"Just last night when I was thinking about all of what was going on."
Fate embraced Nanoha fondly. "Nanoha, I know I'm a little mentally off at times... I had a bad childhood and I cling to you because of it. I never knew it worried you like this, but for now on I'll try and be better."
"No more impaling yourself when you think I'm hurt or dead?"
"Trust me, I never want to go through that again."
"No throwing your life away if I'm not there?"
"I won't. I will never do anything that upsets you purposely. But please understand that it will take time."
"I know...I know, Fate." The two gave each other another small squeeze before Nanoha found the slight tears in her eyes being kissed away. "Fate?" She got a soft hum. "Can we...Be together a little while?"
"... Yes." Ever so slowly she laid Nanoha back onto the bed and gently climbed on top of her. "I'm still a little sore so..."
"Me too...so be gentle okay?"
"I love you..." Leaning down, she kissed her fiancée softly.
"I'm back." Shamal greeted the house as she and Signum walked in through the front door with several suitcases. "How is everyone?"
Elio looked up from the couch and turned his left eye over towards them. "I'm okay, I suppose." Despite his words the patch covering his right eye said otherwise. "Caro-hime and Lulu haven't woken up yet." Hopping off the couch, he went over to help the two women pull in all the luggage. "Subaru and Tia are in their room watching the television I think."
"Hayate and Yuuno?" She pondered as they sat down what they were carrying on the living room table. "I have to go back to Mid-Childa shortly so I want to be sure everyone is okay first."
Elio thought about it. "I think I saw Yuuno-san and Hayate-san leave for breakfast this morning so I don't think they are home."
Shamal nodded to herself. "That only leaves the other two. Assuming they are awake since Nanoha isn't on the couch?"
"I heard them talking in their room so I didn't bother them."
Shamal thanked the boy and walked up the stairs to make her rounds before heading back home. The two Stars members were treated quickly with their follow up exam and given pills to take for the pain and suffering they were going through. Following along, she walked down the hall and raised her hand to knock on the door leading to the bunny couple's room. Just before her knuckles rapped against the wood she heard a repressed gasp and repeating of names. Normally she would simply blush and leave them be, obvious to what they were doing, but after just being treated she could only think one thing: They were going to hurt themselves.
The door opened quickly, startling the two girls apart and quickly covering themselves up. "Nanoha! Fate!" Shamal started in instantly. "You two almost died yesterday! You should both be resting! I made Nanoha sleep on the couch for a reason you know! I expected more from you two! I told you not to stress your bodies!" Looking over at Nanoha, she let loose again. "With your body being the way it's in, and Fate having to be healed magically, you should know better! Can I not leave you alone for ten hours without you going against what I told you to do?!"
Fate opened one eye and looked over at Nanoha sideways "Ha ha, you're getting scolded," She sent to her lover telepathically before Shamal turned on her as well and started going off about taking better care of herself.
A sudden laughing at the door made all three turn to look towards the noise. Subaru stopped giggling all at once and flushed all the color from her face. "Um, sorry" She told them lamely. "I was just passing by and...okay, I'm going now." Quickly she limped away from the door, huge smile still on her face. 'Oh man, I'm not going to forget this for a looooooong time.'
Yuuno: The device is taking a little longer than I thought it would, I will need another week at the earliest to finish it.
Nanoha: It can't be helped, you're going out of your way to ensure that we will be okay, after all.
Fate: Come on everyone, time for training!"
Subaru: I can barely move...
Caro: I don't think I can walk...
Elio: My body won't listen to me...
Nanoha: Come now, we can't slack off because we almost died, we need to prepare for the mage test!
Lutecia: Next time on Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha's 6th Division: Moving Toward Our Goal.
Hayate: Yuuno, there's something I want to talk to you about...
Author's Notes: Sometimes things don't work out the way you want them to. The entire ending with Nanoha and Fate was completely different in my first draft. I re-wrote all of it to better fit the story, that's why it took so long for this chapter. Speaking of, we're winding down to the end of Redemption. If you want to know about updates, progress, or anything else with me you can always check out the forums at animesuki dot com. Under the Nanoha Current series section, Nanoha forums, Nanoha Fanfiction thread. If you ever want to ask questions to me or other well known authors here, come drop us a line and talk a while.