Author's notes: This was posted on the animesuki forms when my hard drives were down. My friend, Haru ( who made the Nanoha Fate Mega Pack ), requested that I post this on FF.N. Originally it was going to be an SNL chapter but for some reason I like it too much, so made it into a short story here. Although I think the quality of writing isn't up to par with my normal stories, I really think I captured Fate well here. I hope you enjoy this.
It was times like this that made me remember that I was a soldier. Hayate always gave me special permission, allowed me to do things that other soldiers never did... Days off, special spending money, a very large loft apartment to live in, even let me pick my own schedule out and make special request. It was the perfect life, always with the ones I loved. But it was little compared to what we faced in battle. People may complain about me getting treated too nicely, that the people of Section Six were soft... But the missions we took... It reminded us that we were given those things as a reward for our service, the duties that we do. It made us fight harder, train longer, reach farther... We had a happy place to return to, we can't die here. We can't die... Hayate gave us an order: "do not die" and I would do anything for her.
Times Like This
I was a soldier, I was fighting to protect the nameless people on this planet. The planet I didn't even know the name of... I was fighting and bleeding for them. Why? Because a relic was here, and someone was using it to dictate the people... It was wrong; I hated it. People were free... That is why I fight. But now, right now, it was hard.
So why? Why was I carrying the weight of Nanoha while I walked through this god-forsaken jungle? Her breath was rasp- she was in pain. I could feel a small trickle of blood from her mouth roll down my neck. I hated it. I hated everything. So simple... It was going to be so simple. Arrive, steal the relic, leave. Let the planet overcome it's own troubles once they had no overpowering threat to be used against them...
So simple... Nanoha, who could fight countless enemies at the same time and not get hurt...Who could fly in the skies with the greatest of ease... Who could make anyone smile with just a look...Was dieing.
From a war wound? From a grand battle? From saving a child's life? For self sacrifice?... No...
So simple. She was bitten by something that looked like a snake. That was it. So simple. Years of training, countless wars, and we were defeated by an animal I killed in under three seconds. She was fine at first, laughing it off and saying "Man I hope it's not poisonous huh? Nyahaha!" I had smiled then, calling her an idiot. We cleaned it, used our standard field antidote just in case, and went to sleep.
Her screams would forever be in my mind. Cries of pain, not moving, eyes glazed...Screaming for me, asking desperately for me to hold her. I was, She was in my arms, but she couldn't tell... She cried for me, yelling for me...Asking for comfort... But she didn't feel me, couldn't see me...
I hated it.
And here we are now...walking, carrying her through the thick jungle. Was there a town nearby? Would she survive?
...I don't know, but I kept moving forward. Because I was a soldier.
It was times like this that made me remember that I was a woman. Calm, planning my route, walking with the weight of my friend on my back. I had to take care of her, make sure she would be alright after this was all over. The jungle was thick and suffocating but I still pressed on. I wanted desperately to take to the air but I knew I couldn't. The enemy knows we can fly and would have some type of radar to track us if we went above tree level. Even so, the base camp I was looking for was inside the jungle itself anyway. I knew where it was, roughly, but to be honest I didn't even know what way I was facing. If I walked too far east I would meet an enemy camp... I could only pray I was heading the right way.
So I walked on, hoping it was in the right direction. Bardiche's scan would let me know if I got close so all I can do is walk.
Nanoha stirred lightly, gasping in my ear weakly. I wanted her to just sleep but deep inside I wanted to hear her voice again, some sign that she was still alive. Her words were weak but I still got what she was saying. She wanted water, something we didn't have much of anymore.
Sitting her down I shifted slowly so she wouldn't fall over and gently moved her matted hair from her face. "Here," I spoke to her, giving her a few swallows of the liquid. "I'm sorry, that's all right now."
"Please..." The single word ripped through me, the half open eyes and dazed look clearly told me she desperately needed more than what I had given her.
"I'm sorry," I whispered slowly, forcing myself not to cry. "That's all right now." I couldn't look at her anymore. She was in pain, probably so much that she didn't even understand it hurt anymore. She was sick, and had several moments when she chocked on her own saliva before throwing up today. If I gave her anymore she would just lose it and waste what I had managed to spare... Not that we had much left. But I had to. She needed me to take care of her. My heart ached as she pleaded with me, begging in half whispers for more, asking to be sat down, to rest...
I kept walking. I had to find help. I had to make her okay.
Her weight was on me even more, dragging me as I stumbled through the heat. How long had it been since I had drank anything? A day now? Two?I don't even know anymore. She needed it...she needed it... I was going to take care of her.
I fell. The ground was damp, sticking to me from the sweat. Bugs were biting me and my feet hurt so much I knew they had to be bleeding. The weight on me held me down even more. "Water..." The voice came again. It hurt...It hurt so bad.
"Here," I gently moved her and allowed Nanoha to drink the last of it. I also slipped her our last pill of nutrients. "That's all for now."
"More... Please, more..." Her eyes weren't open anymore and for the first time I noticed she had gotten pale. The bitten area on her arm was a deep red with flecks of white. She couldn't even think anymore other than to beg me.
"That's all for now." I lied to her as we started walking again, once more on my back. We had nothing left, I had given it all to her. She needed it... I was going to take care of her.
I was a woman, after all.
It was times like this I remember I'm a fool. Stumbling through the trees with Nanoha on my back had taken its toll on me greatly. I hadn't eaten anything other than field rations the past three days, and they were nothing more than a gummy granola bar overly packed with every source of protein, vitamin, and carbohydrate the body needs to function. I liked that part, but they never once considered the taste, and I could still feel it on the back of my throat. With no water to wash it down I constant gagged when I inhaled too deeply and almost wanted to throw it up. Fortunately I kept myself from doing so.
"Fate," Nanoha whispered to me softly. "I feel funny." Her words were weaker than ever. "Am I going to die?"
"No," I honestly didn't know if I was lying or not. "We're almost there. Today, I promise."
"Yesterday..." Her single word made me groan. I had said the same words every day since it happened and she finally realized that. "If I die," She continued to whisper, making me strain to hear her. "You can have my stuff... Nya...ha...ha..."
"Don't even joke," I scolded her but it landed on deaf ears. She had passed out once again.
I was such a fool. I kept walking because I knew we would get to the friendly camp. Why? Because I said so. No other reason. Just because I knew it. The thought came to haunt me even more now. I was an idiot, I should have drank some of our water, I should have rested more, I should have eaten more than I did... I should have... should have...
Hayate smiled at me fondly, offering her hand to help me stand. Yuuno was next to her with an amused smirk and laughter in his eyes. The two were laughing at my clumsiness of tripping.
The vision blurred as I saw some insect walk across my line of vision. 'Great,' I thought bitterly as the hallucination left me completely. Pushing myself up, I re-set Nanoha on my back and started walking again, trying in vain to ignore the vision of section six's halls around me as I trudged on. The light was flickering as my eyes started giving out as well. Black spots floated across my vision and hazed in and out.
"Fate..." My name again, cutting through my weak mind. "Leave me..."
I could... It would be so easy... Just set her down and go on my own... I would make it then... I could survive... No! "Shut up," I coughed out, pressing on.
"I love you too much," I felt the world spin as I stumbled. My stomach lurched but I bit it down. No longer could I tell what was real and what was fake. I didn't know where I was, nor what was going on. All I knew was the girl on my back needed me to walk.
To where? I don't even know anymore. I was such a fool.
How long? I don't even know anymore. I was such an idiot.
"Fate... Fate... FATE!" My name? I couldn't tell... Nothing made sense anymore...Just keep walking. "FATE!!! FAAATE!" Did I know that voice? Were my ears tricking me now too?
I couldn't... I can't...
Falling to my knees I let a tear roll down my cheek.
I'm sorry Nanoha... I can't go anymore... I'm so sorry...
I'm so sorry...
When I could see again the first thing I noticed was my vision was blurry. The lights hurt my eyes to the point of making me moan. After this I realized that I was very comfortable. It was strange, sleeping in the mud with bugs was never this pleasing before...
"Nanoha..." I smiled. She sounded so clear now for some reason.
"Thank goodness, you're awake." I felt myself be kissed lightly and embraced. "You were asleep for days."
"What...?" I finally managed to open my eyes fully and look around. The room was familiar, section six's hospital. "How..."
Nanoha took my hand. "You did it... You found the base. Tia found us and carried us the rest of the way. That was almost a week ago."
"You okay?" She helped me sit up and I promptly drank a full glass of water. "I'm starving..."
"I'm fine, just fine." Nanoha rolled up her sleeve, showing me a nasty looking large scar where she was bitten. "I was treated with the help of some of the locals. I was sick for a while but after the anti-venom got in me I recovered very quickly. You on the other hand..." She suddenly looked angry. "The hell were you thinking? You were severely de-hydrated!"
I gave her an odd look and realized that she was diverting her eyes now. "What is it?"
"I don't remember any of it." She confessed softly. "You saved my life but the only thing I recall was going to sleep after being bitten... Everything after that was nothing but a blur of pain."
"I see..." I realized I had an IV in my hand so I hugged her with the only one I had free. "Sorry."
"They said we walked for days. I was okay, considering, but you seemed really bad... Shamal said..." She hugged me tighter. "That you had to have walked for three days without stopping much at all... And from our rations, you didn't drink much...?"
"You needed it." It was a simple response but it seemed to make Nanoha cry. "Hey, don't do that... you know I hate that."
"Sorry." Leaning back a bit she wiped her tears. "I love you so much, I can't stand the idea of you being so kind when you were suffering..."
"Mm. I love you too." The words seemed to make Nanoha only cry more. "H-Hey, what is it?"
"Don't say that..." With both hands she wiped her eyes. "...Don't say that so casually..."
"I'm sorry." I looked down, feeling a cross between wanting to sleep more and getting out of bed to eat. "I won't say it anymore."
"That's even worse!"
I never understood her. "Do you want me to say it or not?"
Nanoha looked down sadly. "I'm sorry, I'm just... you know. Near death experience...Makes you want to be closer..."
"You can be as close as you want." I smiled at her fondly. "I wouldn't mind it either."
"The way I want to would creep you out... No, never mind, forget I said anything."
Reaching up, I touched her cheek. "Nanoha... Kiss me. Please?"
She looked shocked for the longest time, making me wonder if I had crossed the line. "Okay," She finally agreed, leaning over and doing as I had requested. "There. You owe me one now."
"Then I'll pay you back." I leaned towards her but found a finger on my lips. "No?"
"Yes, just later. I want Shamal to check on you. After that... Can we talk? About us?"
"If we can kiss again then?"
"Yes... Lots of times." Despite her earlier words she flecked my lips one more time before running off to find the doctor.
She liked me. I could tell it as clear as day now. Actually it was apparent that she had feelings for me for a while now... Why did I never notice it until we almost died...?
I was such a fool.
But no more. From here on... From here on I'll tell her every day. I promise you, Nanoha, I'll tell you I love you every day... Count on it.