"Kimi ni aitakunatta nara"
- Donna Burke & Kevin J. England, MGLN OST.
I want to see you.
"So you have seen your family?"
Nanoha managed a little smile, hugging her knees.
"Yeah..." A pause, and her voice cracked. "Thank god they are fine..."
Fate, who had only just unbuttoned her shirt, glanced at her.
The blonde studied her for a moment; that saddened, distant expression.
Then she climbed up the bed, plopping herself by the other's side, and pulled her into a hug.
Slate blue eyes closed, head coming to rest against Fate.
No words were said, and the room was suddenly silent.
Fate tightened her hold, pressing a gentle kiss to the soft brown head.
Nanoha - her stifled cries - broke the silence in the room.
The blonde held her close, murmuring sweet nothings to her.
It wasn't very long before the crying subsided, and Fate smiled a little as Nanoha sniffled.
"Better?" She was still holding her, and Nanoha had leaned against the blonde fully.
The brunette's face turned inward, and buried into the curve of Fate's neck.
"Yeah," the response came.
Thick but clear.
Fate's smile grew a fraction, even as she stroked Nanoha's back up and down gently.
"...Thanks for staying over, Fate-chan."
"It's alright. You didn't want to be alone, and since your family is at the hospital now..." The blonde trailed off. They were currently at Nanoha's residence...on Earth. The rest of the Takamachi family was still in Mid-childa, receiving treatment. The house and the coffee shop were still a mess from a certain kidnapping incident, and Nanoha had been in no condition to clean up then.
Nanoha pulled away slowly, and the other released her.
The brunette rubbed at her red eyes, wiping away her tears.
Fate couldn't resist a tease. "Crybaby."
"No I'm not," protested the girl, voice cracked but indignant, and she continued to rub at her eyes.
The blonde chuckled, and took hold of Nanoha's hand. "Don't do that. You will ruin your eyes."
A faint pout formed on Nanoha's face, even as Fate wiped away remnants of tears gently.
"...Suzuka and Arisa said they would come over tomorrow morning," the blonde said after a moment.
Blue eyes blinked.
"To help clean up," continued Fate, head cocked slightly; indicating the house.
There was a pause before Nanoha replied, voice softer.
Concern flickered in burgundy eyes.
Then Fate clapped her hands once, and Nanoha glanced at her.
"Time to sleep," announced the blonde, and lifted the blanket to cover the other, pushing her down to the bed.
Blue eyes could only blink as the soft blanket was pulled up to her chin.
"We have to be up early tomorrow for cleaning, remember?" Fate reminded, a smile on her face.
Blonde hair tickled Nanoha's cheek.
The brunette could only stare.
Burgundy eyes, warm and gentle, gazed back at her.
Nanoha felt the tears form at the corner of her eyes again.
"...Yeah." Her voice cracked.
Fingers grasped at strands of long blonde hair.
The strands of hair in her hand felt soft and silky.
"I...?" encouraged Fate quietly.
"What...was I like?"
Nanoha averted her gaze.
"That day...with...Takeru...san..." Her voice was a trembling whisper. "I..."
Blonde eyebrows creased slightly.
"That name," Nanoha said suddenly, "that...nickname of mine...I really lived up to it, didn't I?" A bitter tone, "That 'White Devil' name..."
The hand that fisted in blonde hair tightened.
"Tell me, Fate-chan..." Blue eyes turned back to her, searching. "I want the truth. Just the truth."
For one long moment, the other couldn't respond.
"...When..." Fate paused, and searched for the right words. "When I saw you, I couldn't recognize you. You changed so much that I was surprised." A faint, sad smile.
A pair of blue eyes so cold and dark.
Nanoha's expression hadn't changed; but the desire for honesty was still there.
"I was really surprised. I...understood that you were really angry, but..." The blonde stopped, at a sudden loss for words. "Then when you said you were so close to...killing...him, I knew you weren't just angry."
"I hate him," Nanoha turned away, voice shaking. "I hate him."
"I know," the soft reply came. There was the brief rustle of movement, and Fate settled herself beside the other, one side of her cheek resting on her palm as her elbow pressed onto the bed. Her other hand was laid across Nanoha's stomach.
"...I was really like a devil then, weren't I?"
Burgundy studied distant, saddened blue eyes.
"White Devil..." murmured Fate, tasting the sound of it on her lips.
It sounded strange.
"No," the blonde said after a moment, and saw a flicker of surprise in Nanoha's features. "I don't think so, Nanoha."
Her voice was soft and gentle.
"Not a devil, Nanoha," she said quietly; her hand moving to caress the brunette's cheek. "That name doesn't suit you."
"But...!" A slender finger was pressed to those lips.
"...You are an angel." Faint smile.
That day, you were a fallen angel." The words were becoming easier to form, now that Fate found the right name.
Battered, broken wings...
"You reacted that way because we were hurt by him. You were worried...and you were angry."
White feathers painted black...
"A vengeful, fallen angel..."
A soft kiss was pressed to Nanoha's forehead.
Warm breath blew onto skin.
"...And today, that angel is healing." A faint smile that grew a fraction. "Her wings are mending."
Blue eyes blurred with tears.
Her chest felt heavy, and tears threatened to spill.
But strangely enough, her mind was clear and fresh, as if light had washed away the darkness.
"Finally," murmured Fate, as their faces closed. "You are smiling again."
Before Nanoha could reply, the blonde stole her breath.
No other coherent words were spoken that night.
When she woke up, she felt fatigued and sore, yet strangely refreshed.
Sunlight peeked in from the small openings of the curtain.
Her dreams were not dark for the first time in a few weeks.
The blanket covered them, but she felt the hands around her bare waist tighten a little, bringing her a little closer to the other - and her nose almost touched the blonde's neck.
Rough cotton grazed her back.
The bandage on Fate's wrist...
Blue eyes darkened momentarily.
And the other, as if sensing that even in slumber, leaned closer.
Nanoha glanced up, a flicker of surprise in her features.
Burgundy eyes were closed, and blonde hair was spread across the bed, almost wildly, a stray hair perched on her shoulder.
The brunette smiled a little.
Nanoha couldn't recall a time when Fate looked more peaceful. Not that the blonde didn't usually look like that, but this was the most peaceful yet that she had seen.
Slowly, she disengaged herself from the other.
Careful, Nanoha chanted to herself, don't wake her up...
She managed to sit up halfway; her progress halted by the fact Fate had her hands around her.
The blanket pooled to her waist.
Her cheeks warmed.
Nevermind the fact she wasn't wearing anything right now, the sheet that was dragged slightly lower revealed smooth skin of the sleeping girl and - she was staring - she tore her gaze away, pulled the blanket up and covering the other.
Until it reached the other's nose, that is.
But even then her cheeks did not see fit to cool down.
Probably because she herself was still very much bare right now.
Very quietly, she tried to remove Fate's hand from her waist, and succeeded at lifting the hands off her -
"...And where are you planning to go?"
One burgundy eye opened, and the brunette wondered if she imagined the glint of mischief in there.
"F-Fate-chan! Y..." she stammered, flushing; and hands wrapped around her again. "You are awake?"
The blonde, in the meanwhile, nudged the blanket downward again.
"Couldn't breathe," she groggily said, indicating at the blanket. Her hands pulled Nanoha towards her, and back to the bed, close to her.
"Oh. Er.." A dumbfounded response. "Sorry."
"Mmn, don't worry about it." Burgundy eyes closed, and Fate's chin rested atop Nanoha's head.
And after a moment of silence, it became clear to the brunette that the other was drifting off to sleep again.
"Hmm..." A sleepy acknowledgement, but it looked like Fate had no plans to move from their comfortable position.
Nanoha tried a different tactic. "Didn't you say Suzuka-chan and Arisa-chan will be coming over?"
"I did," came the mutter. Burgundy eyes were still closed. "I told them afternoon."
"Nn...asked Bardiche to inform them sometime last night..."
"What? When?" Nanoha leaned back, and stared at Fate. "I don't remember you saying that."
The blonde let out a small grunt at the sudden lack of heat, and deep red eyes opened to look at her.
At first there was slight irritation, then a moment later rare mischief flickered in them.
She suddenly didn't look so sleepy anymore, and before Nanoha could react, the other was suddenly above her; hands pinning her in the middle.
"...F-Fate-chan?" And despite herself, Nanoha's face warmed further. Their skin did more than just graze each other, and last night's incident was still very fresh in her mind.
Burgundy eyes, warm and mirthful, gazed into hers, as if she was stripping her bare even on the inside.
Then the faint, husky reply came.
"I don't think you noticed anything else when I was touching you, Nanoha."
A long, long pause.
Nanoha's face turned cherry red; and her blue eyes, for some reason, were fixed on Fate's bare shoulders.
There was a moment of silence.
Actually, a very long moment of silence.
It was so long that Nanoha had to struggle with herself internally, but she eventually glanced back up to look at Fate.
Blue eyes blinked.
The blonde was...well, her mouth was clamped shut, and she appeared to be trying very, very hard to suppress a grin.
Their gaze met again, and Fate let out a chuckle.
A snigger this time.
Nanoha could only stare in confusion, and for a moment, she wondered if last night's events had worn her out more than -
Realization dawned on her. "Ah...!" Nanoha glared accusingly. "You're teasing me!"
The blonde laughed outright then, unable to hide it any longer.
"Fate-chan!" whined Nanoha. "Mou...!"
But the other wouldn't stop laughing, not until she was out of breath.
"Ahaha..." Fate wiped the tears of laughter that formed at the corner of her eyes, still snickering. "Your face was so red..."
Another burst of laughter.
A pout had formed on Nanoha's face by now, and she turned her head to a side, intent on ignoring the girl above her. "Hmph."
"Sorry..." Fate composed herself, controlling her mirth. "I couldn't help it." Another snigger.
The blonde was ignored.
Fate knew to stop laughing then, and she did, but she couldn't stop smiling. "...Forgive me?"
She grasped a few strands of brown hair, tugging lightly. "...Please? Nanoha?"
Slate blue eyes glanced back at her for a moment, before looking away huffily.
Fate's smile widened a fraction.
Her head lowered, and Nanoha stiffened when she felt lips brush against her neck.
"...Please?" It was a soft murmur against her skin.
A hand strayed downward.
Her breath was hot against Nanoha's flesh, and it almost burned.
"You..." Another gasp. "...cheater."
The blonde smiled.
"Only with you."
So in reference to the second scene, I sort of imagined Fate as a tease (closet-tease, rather). And a very good one, at that, if she actually sets her mind to it. I don't know why, but I've this feeling she's the type with a wicked sense of humor that only comes out once in a blue moon. A scene of Fate with a teasing nature is rare (non-existant as of yet?) in itself, so hopefully this will be a trigger for future Fate-is-a-prankster/teaser fics. -looks amused - I think they would be very interesting and...of course, I meant fics done in a believable way, not in an ooc-way.
This is a somewhat short chapter, since I can't think of any other relevant stuff or whatsoever to write, so, meh. And about the chapter dedication...I'm willing to bet a particular reader is very surprised about it - but I'm also willing to guess that she will probably figure it out once she read the chapter. XD
The first version for the ending of the first scene in this chapter had been incredibly, painfully awkward, and I had been trying to fix it since, ah, three-four weeks ago? Now, see, the thing about Nanoha and Fate is that I can see the pairing happen, but I can also see it not happening. There's like this...little fine line that separates the two of them where I need to squint very hard to find. I had been mulling over the scene for a long time, pressing delete and backspace many times. Nngh. I managed to go through it eventually, though it was rather awkward. But once the couple fact was established, the second scene moved more smoothly.
So that goes without saying. Sheitarou was a life savior with her review, to say the least. That phrase just made something in my head click, and I did a total change for the ending of that scene. Vengeful, fallen angel. Precisely what I needed. One that I believe works better than the previous version. So the credits goes to you, Sheitarou. Thank youuuuuuu. XD
And in response to the subject of Triangle Hearts...well, I was aware MGLN was a spin-off from that anime/game, but I hadn't bothered to research into it too much. I knew the Takamachi family was involved in something not very good, but I hadn't realised it was assasins. But even so. I cannot see them trying to teach a nine/eleven/sixteen year old girl about killing, let alone say it's all right to kill and not care about the consequences.
I won't say I see them trying their very best to not expose Nanoha to things such as killing, as I've gotten the impression they value independance a lot, and trust the kids to act on their own judgements. So while I can see them pointing out killing will change her in many ways, I can't see them encouraging her to kill. Hurt in the name of self-defense or to protect, yes, but kill? No.
Nanoha is a compassionate girl by default; and killing someone will hurt and scar her; no matter what ethical values she hold. No matter what satisfaction she may feel at first, once realization sinks in, she would change. Fate knows that, Chrono knows that, and anyone who knows her would be able to tell. And considering I'm the author, rather than satisfaction, I would have written something like a sick, cold, empty feeling in her stomach.
Lastly. -twitches- Considering it is a spin-off, I am willing to accept what happened in Triangle Hearts as canon but...that's just it. It's a spin-off, and unrelated to MGLN series. As it is, from what I can see (and assume) from the MGLN series alone, her family do not seem like that kind who would say, "Oh, killing is fine. Just do it." Can you see that? If you do, I won't say anything...but I can tell you I can't see that happening. So, meh.
In anycase...it's done. The last two months were the most productive times I have in terms of writing. I won't claim any new fics will come out anytime soon, though I will admit I do have some random scenes here and there...and my dear, dear beta encouraging non-too-subtly for that not-yet-created AU fic...
BUT ANYWAY. I hope the fic's an enjoyable read and...it's nice to see the fandom getting active with fanfics. Very nice indeed. Kind of makes me wonder who will be the first to pull off a long canon or AU high school fic which is Nanoha/Fate centric...I think it would be something to look forward to, indeed. (And...good grief, I seem to be turning author notes into very long notes every time. Blah. Maybe I should dedicate a section in...uh, LJ or forum or...somewhere for some one-sided essays about MGLN.)
All in all...thanks for reading and reviewing. If there comes another chance, I will probably make another appearance. XD