Post MGLN A's/Pre-StrikerS. Spoiler-free...somewhat. Song available in LJ.
- Peer Raben, 2046.
Fate T-Harlaown killed for the first time when she was sixteen.
It was not her fault, but she had refused - and still refused - to believe it wasn't.
Because it was her own magic that she had called forth.
Her very own hands that had slain.
It did not matter that it had even been a freak accident, when someone tripped over someone amidst the chaos, pushing and pulling in the confusion, the sudden earthquake and explosions, and her scythe that had somehow jarred into the neck of the person they had wanted to arrest.
A person who was frozen and defenseless when Fate leveled the tip of her scythe close to his flesh moments before.
But no, that did not matter.
She had killed, and blood was upon her hands.
For the first time in her life, she did not want to touch Bardiche.
For the first time in her life, she pushed Nanoha away.
And for the second time in her life, she felt like she wanted to die.
But Chrono, her dear, dear brother; his words were sharp and biting.
"You cannot die now; you owe it to the person you had killed."
So she lived.
She lived, but she was not living.
She was not sane.
She had not been sane.
But she did it and hated herself for it, anyway.
Wreaking havoc and destroying Asura was a sane option compared to what she did. Killing again was a more logical choice compared to what she did.
But she did it, anyway.
She could have stopped.
She should have stopped.
But she didn't.
There was silence in the room.
A terrible, terrible silence.
She had not spoken.
Nanoha had not spoken.
Neither had spoken for hours.
It wasn't until Nanoha's phone rang that the brunette did get up from where she sat, at one end of the bed, opposite Fate.
The brunette slipped out of the sheets that covered her partially, picked up her shirt on the floor and slipped it over her bare body, before brushing loose brown hair out from under her blouse.
Blue eyes didn't - couldn't? - turn to look at her. For the longest time, neither had even glanced at the other.
But now Fate did turn, and watched in silence.
Watched the slim contour of her - victim? - best friend as the other reached for the handphone, looking at the screen for one short moment, before pressing the device to her ear with a soft beep.
"...Yes? Nanoha here."
A soft, unreadable voice.
And the blonde watched.
The white, slightly crumpled school shirt hugged that slender frame loosely, but leaving her bare from waist down.
Fate could see the slight red marks on those legs, testament of how roughly she had treated her.
But Nanoha had not said anything.
She did not try to stop her, had not tried, had instead encouraged it.
But Fate should have stopped herself, anyway.
Because sleeping with Takamachi Nanoha was not one of her acceptable ways to lose her fucking mind.
Killing for the first time was not a forgivable excuse to go crazy and force herself on her best friend.
It was awkward and stupid and she knew she had hurt her -- and stubborn, stubborn Nanoha never said anything to the end, and even after that. But actions never lied, and the way Nanoha had trembled and shut her eyes said more than words would ever say.
And Nanoha had let her, anyway.
The taste of the brunette had almost been addictive.
Nanoha's soft voice continued to float in the room, breaking the strange silence, and all Fate could think of was the gentle tone of the brunette's voice and how soothing it sounded to her ears.
Another soft beep, and the phone was placed back on the table.
But the brunette did not turn.
Burgundy eyes traced that figure. Watched the warm light of the afternoon sun wash over that body, soaking into pale skin, and thought she had not seen anyone as beautiful as her.
Fate did not know what spurned her to move.
She did not know what made her stand and wrap her hands around Nanoha's shoulders, crushing their bodies close; that clothed back to her bare front.
The brunette stiffened almost reflexively, a soft gasp of surprise escaping her.
Nanoha's hands reached out to touch her arms, hesitantly.
The blonde pressed closer, inhaling a unique scent - a mix of faint perspiration and Nanoha's own - burying her nose into brown hair.
And she spoke, asking a question that she did not even know was at the tip of her tongue.
"Do you hate me?"
Fate half-expected her to say yes, for everything she had done.
But the reply was astonished and disbelieving, Nanoha's fingers gripping at her arms.
"No! No, I..." The brunette faltered, and Nanoha's hands trembled. Her next words were a whisper. "...How could you think that?"
Because she did not deserve forgiveness.
Because she did not deserve her.
But no words could ever undo what she had done - killed, raped - and she knew that.
"Let me take care of you."
She did not understand why she had said that.
She did not understand the meaning of her own words.
The brunette had paused at that.
"Let me take care of you," she had repeated, hold tightening protectively. Possessively.
Hands squeezed her arms lightly.
Fate felt the tension leave Nanoha's shoulders, a soft sigh escaping, and the brunette leaned back against her.
"That's not necessary, you know," she had said, quietly, a hint of wry amusement in her tone.
Fate knew that, of course. Nanoha was perfectly capable of taking care of herself.
But that was not what Fate meant.
The blonde had meant something, something that even she did not understand, but she knew she had not meant that.
"Let me take care of you," she repeated for the third time.
Then Nanoha sighed, softly, and turned around in her arms.
Hands wrapped around her waist.
The brunette's face buried into the curve of her neck, brown hair tickling her skin, and warm breath was on her flesh.
Despite herself, she felt a shiver run down her spine at the sensation.
"...Okay," Nanoha had said, in a voice so soft that the blonde wondered briefly if she was imagining things.
The figure in her arms was warm.
There were times – and frequent ones - after her first kill, when Fate would wake up in the dead of the night.
The cold sweat that dotted her forehead and soaked her shirt, the bile that rose up her throat and the blood that she kept seeing on her hands always made her rush to the toilet, vomiting sometimes nothing and everything; and each time she would wash her hands again and again till her hands felt raw and red but still bloody.
One time she had even punched the damn mirror, just so she would not see her reflection on it. But it had only backfired, because she saw multiples of her own fragmented face, and red - blood - colored eyes.
Her hand had trembled with the sharp, throbbing pain, but she did not notice.
Her eyes tore away from the broken mirror, and to the sink.
And for a moment, she had stared at the broken shards of glass that were there, just there, and considered.
For just one brief moment, she considered.
Then Chrono's blunt words came back.
"Will you run away now, little sister?"
Her hand that dripped with blood curled into a tight fist.
She did not touch the glass.
The next day in school, she had acted perfectly normal and cheerful, despite her hand, which she kept pocketed in her skirt.
And because Fate knew Nanoha did not buy her act, the blonde hung out with a few people all the time. Avoided the brunette the whole day.
But it had proved useless, because Nanoha came over to her apartment (which was empty then, with her family out on duty) after school, and she had not noticed.
When Nanoha cornered her and saw her messily (was she ever messy?) bandaged hand, blue eyes had turned misty, and the sadness - the disappointment - that was so very clear in that gaze made her lose her mind.
Did Nanoha knew just how crazy she made her?
Every word, every quirk, every expression; everything about Nanoha affected her so much that she just stopped thinking, and the last remaining shred of sanity was ripped away from her.
That was the first time Fate took Nanoha.
Sometimes Fate would still wake up feeling terribly cold and nauseated.
But there was a soothing hand on her back now, a soft, gentle voice that calmed her down; and arms that would wrap around her and keep her warm.
Nanoha had not left her alone for a long time.
No, not since the time she saw that bandaged hand.
The dreams grew less frequent.
But Fate was still merciless towards herself, and never failed to remind herself of how it felt to have her device slice through flesh.
Nanoha was oddly and strongly persistent in getting her to stop.
And one day, the whole thing degenerated into a full-blown argument (was it their first serious quarrel?), despite the fact it was more one-sided than anything else.
Somewhere in all the confusion and frustration, Fate finally could not stand it and just had to ask.
"Why don't you just give up?"
She simply could not fathom the thought of Nanoha being there, trying to support her even after what she had done.
And Nanoha just smiled, a little gently, unrepentantly, and said, "Why should I?"
Fate had many replies for that.
She was just an artificial life being, a clone, a fake.
She killed someone.
She raped her.
She hurt her.
Brown eyebrows had creased at that, and Nanoha reminded her calmly, logically, that they were all not true, except for the last one.
Fate was not a fake, as Lindy had told her once before. She was merely born in a slightly different manner.
She did not kill someone; that accident was just a horrible set of coincidences.
And it was not rape, because Nanoha had accepted, Nanoha did not try to stop her, and had allowed it.
But yes, the brunette had acceded, Fate had hurt her.
That agreement pierced into the blonde more than she cared to admit.
Nanoha was quick to continue, tugging her close, not giving her any means of escape.
"As long as you won't forgive yourself," she said softly, with beautiful ocean blue eyes so very intense and furious, "you will continue to hurt me."
Fate turned bolt still at that, and Nanoha took the chance to caress her cheek in a way that a best friend would not do, and crushed their lips together.
That was something she had not considered.
The thought of it had not even occurred to her till Nanoha had mentioned it.
The kiss was rough and soul-consuming and Fate did not notice when she was pushed down to the bed.
Fate T-Harlaown was someone who had many scars.
Some small, some big, some visible, some not.
Some would never fade.
Or so she thought.
Nanoha always had a knack of proving her wrong over and over again, and had never hesitated to do so.
Some did fade, despite the fact both knew they would never truly disappear.
But nowadays, Fate doesn't think about the blood on her hands.
She doesn't try to.
Sometimes, Nanoha would grasp her hand, thumb brushing over the faint scar at the knuckle - from that time she punched the mirror - before kissing it, and press that hand to her cheek.
And then there would be a smile, gentle and impish and beautiful.
It was always at this point that a thought would occur to Fate.
She could do anything and everything, if it meant seeing Nanoha smile.
Even to live, truly live, when she did not want to.
A/N: This fic was inspired by a little conversation between my beta and I. I have very little to say here actually, though I think I should mention the fact that Fate has a much more higher probability of actually killing during missions compared to Nanoha. While I imagine Fate is an almost sure case, I believe it is still somewhat questionable for Nanoha.
On news of other fictions...or 'The Blue Sky', more specifically -- because I did not personally reply to most of the reviewers/readers then due to various reasons, so here, if they are reading this, do let me express my gratitude and thanks. The popularity of that fic honestly astounded me, and I did not think it would affect people that much. And the fact TBS had inspired another two NF fics had caught me very, very off-guard. In anycase though, I am glad to hear that people have enjoyed (or angsted at) that little fic. Thanks for reading. :D
And where RoE is concerned, yes, I will confirm right now that the rating of the fic will be changed to M when I post up chapter 2...which would be uploaded by end of October or early November, I hope. Exams are fast approaching, so I'll likely to be very inactive...or very active, curse my habit of procrastination...where writing is concerned.
All in all, I hope this fic had been enjoyable...and reviews, of course, are always appreciated.
Till next time,