Disclaimer: I do not own Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha
It was yet another bright, sunny day at the TSAB training grounds. Groups of mages of varying skill levels and ranks honed their magical and physical abilities on the provided grounds. Some of the more advanced soon-to-be Bureau mages trained amongst themselves to improve their level of control of their current abilities. Others who were a little more daring or adventurous attempted new spells under the careful supervision of instructors in barrier-protected rooms or platforms. Then there were the newer recruits who were still 'learning the ropes.' For many, it would be their first time training in the use of spells in combat situations. Many of them found it to be a much desired change of pace from the classroom or repetitive basic training activities. Yes, it just another, typical day…
Several squads of new recruits stopped in their training and turned towards the sound of the massive explosion. The more experienced mages didn't even flinch at the sound, continuing their training as if nothing happened. Of those who did look, all eyes turned towards one of the environmental simulation platforms a ways down the training fields. A large dust cloud was clearly visible, the local winds slowly pushing the cloud out over the water and dissipating the particles into the air. Those who were close enough to the platform could make out several bodies scattered about a rather sizable crater off to the corner of the platform. It would be a few moments before any of the bodies would begin, if ever so slowly, move or roll around. Some of the older mages, especially the instructors, merely smirked as they all knew all to well the cause of the crater. Curious eyes turned skyward a few dozen meters above the center of the crater at a lone figure. The white garb it wore stood out against the brown dust, the pink staff with red orb stood out even more. Many had heard of her, even more looked up to her. There were even those who feared her. And at this moment, that particular list was slowly growing.
"Alright everyone! Good job today in the mock-battle. I'll be looking forward to seeing all of you tomorrow bright and early for training. Dismissed!"
Below her, the mages who were doing a rather believable imitation of corpses groaned or moaned out a response if they could. The more durable of the group helped their comrades to their feet and slowly and carefully made their way off the training platform. Watching her students leave Nanoha Takamachi, the Ace of Aces, gracefully floated down to the bridge connecting the platform to the main landmass. As her feet touched the ground, her white and blue Barrier Jacket dispersed in a flash of light, leaving her in the standard issue instructor uniform of a long-sleeve, white top and blue skirt. A holographic display materializes beneath her raised hands without a word. Inputting a few commands the forest behind her vanishes, leaving behind the smooth, artificial platform.
With a smile on her face, Nanoha makes her way from the training grounds to the onsite dorms. Being an instructor for the TSAB had its perks. However, being one of the youngest mages to join the TSAB with a great magic potential and helping to close two Lost Logia cases in under a year had even better perks. The door to her current residency automatically opens before her, granting her access inside. She quickly kicks off her shoes by the door and steps into the living room. The place was fairly large, being more of a condo rather than a dorm room. A spacious living room connected to a fair-sized kitchen and a pair of glass doors led outside to a balcony with a short flight of stairs separating the two bedrooms and bathroom. The extra space was welcomed as she didn't live alone.
The sound of rushing feet drew the young lady's attention to the stairs. Before she could react, a pair of arms encompassed her waist in a tight hug.
"Welcome home, Mama!"
Bright blue eyes met green and red, a warm smile met one of happiness and innocence.
"Thank you, Vivio."
Vivio Takamachi, adopted daughter of Nanoha Takamachi, grinned back as she released her hold on the older woman. The older woman took notice that her daughter was still dressed in her light brown school uniform even though classes had ended a few hours ago. With that eternal smile on her face, Nanoha gave Vivio a pat on her head.
"Go and clean up, Vivio. I'll get started on dinner."
The young girl made her way up the stairs and disappeared from view. Nanoha continued to stare up the short stairs for a moment before turning around and heading to the kitchen. It was on busy (and lazy) days like this that she was glad they would buy enough groceries for the week rather than on an as-needed basis. The silence of the kitchen was broken by the quiet humming of a tune and then the sounds of cooking. A wok was set on the stove to heat up as the ingredients were prepared on the nearby countertop. As she cut the onion for the stir fry, she made it a point to make extra, as Fate was scheduled to be returning from her recent mission that evening and would more than likely appreciate a nice home cooked meal.
From the stairs, she could make out the sound of running water, meaning Vivio would be back soon. Her eyes wandered back over to the sizzling food in the wok, occasionally giving it a stir to keep it from burning. As she reaches for the temperature control, a communications video materializes next to her announcing an incoming call. With a flick of the wrist, Nanoha turns off the heat so she can give her full attention to the screen without fear of the food burning.
"Instructor Takamachi speaking."
The letters on the screen fade, giving way to the image of one Hayate Yagami.
"Good evening, Nanoha-chan. I hope I'm not interrupting anything."
"Ah, not at all Hayate-chan. What can I do for you?"
Before the she can respond, a small figure floats into view and waves, "Rein is here, too!"
"Good evening, Rein," she responds with a light giggle.
The Unison Device floats over and rests on her mistress' shoulder before Hayate speaks up, "Nanoha, do you remember that request you submitted a few weeks ago?"
"Of course," she replies with a nod.
"Well…I just heard back about it and I figured you'd want to know about their response right away…"
It would be another ten minutes before Vivio emerged from the stairs in her pink pajamas. The heterochromatic girl hops onto the nearby chair, her legs swinging back and forth. Across from her sat her mother, separated by a pair of plates with steaming hot food.
"It looks yummy, Mama."
"Let's hope so Vivio," she replies with a giggle, "Itadakimasu."
Nanoha's eyes wandered over to her daughter as she ate and took quick notice of what she was doing.
Said girl stopped her movements, realizing that she had been caught…again.
"Vivio, you have to eat your vegetables. Otherwise you won't grow up to be big and strong."
"But Mama…," she pleaded with her best puppy eyes.
Unfortunately for her, her best weapon of attack was useless against the Ace of Aces in this case.
"They'll be no desert tonight if you don't eat them."
The threat made Vivio realize the severity of her situation. Her gaze dropped down to the ominous pile on her plate, but no matter how hard she glared at it the vegetables were still there. Across the table, Nanoha tried not to giggle as her daughter tried to vaporize the vegetables with her intense stare. She resumed her own eating and soon was lost in her thoughts about the news Hayate had delivered earlier.
Several hours into the evening, the darkness that resided in the room would be temporarily banished by the light from the outside hallway. The darkness would quickly assert its control over the space as the door closed, sealing away the light from the outside. It would be the silence that would be disturbed next from the sound of heeled shoes being placed carefully on the floor. The invading form looks around the darkness, letting its eyes adjust to the environment before quietly heading for the stairs. A foot steps onto the first step when suddenly the light in the living room flickers on, illuminating the visibly startled intruder.
"Trying to sneak in unnoticed, Fate-chan?"
Enforcer Fate T. Harlaown turns her head and smiles nervously at her roommate, "I, um, didn't want to wake you since it's late…"
"Oh, come on. Did you really expect me not to be up?" she replies with a soft giggle.
The blonde girl chuckles and relaxes, taking her foot off the stairs, "You're right. I'm home."
A warm smile was offered in return, "Welcome back."
The pair made their way into the kitchen, Fate sitting on a chair and Nanoha rummaging through the refrigerator.
"I figured you'd be hungry so I made some extra stir fry," she remarks, pulling out the cold dish.
"Ah, that sounds great Nanoha. I don't think I could have gone another day eating on the ship…"
As the food was being heated up, Nanoha took a seat across from her long-time friend.
"Hm? What is it?"
"I, um, heard back from Hayate-chan today about that request that I put in earlier…," she responded while absentmindedly playing with her fingers.
That remark drew Fate's attention, "That sure too them awhile. So…what did they say?"
Nanoha took a breath before continuing, "Well…"
The rest of the week seemed to drag on for the pair. Although it didn't affect their work, the revelation was always in the back of their minds as they tried to figure out how to prepare for what was to come. Finally, the last work day of the week arrived and seemed to drag on forever. Nanoha and Fate arrived back at their place that evening and set about making the final preparations. The organized chaos would be disrupted by a floating display with an incoming call.
"Enforcer Harlaown speaking. Ah, Hayate!"
"Good evening Fate-chan. I hope I'm not interrupting," replies the short-haired girl.
She shook her head, "You aren't. I presume you're calling about tomorrow?"
"Very good guess. Although it's probably kind of obvious, huh?" she replies with a giggle, "By the way, have you told Vivio about it yet? It is tomorrow after all."
Fate shakes her head, "No, we haven't. We were planning on telling her when she got back today. She's out with friends at the moment and should be home soon."
As if on cue, all eyes turned to the opening door.
"I'm home, Nanoha-mama, Fate-mama!"
"Welcome home, Vivio," replied the two older women.
Making her way into the living room, Vivio paused as she saw the display, "Ah, hello Aunty Hayate."
"Hello there, Vivio. I hope you're doing well?"
Hayate returns the smile before turning her attention back to Fate, "Alright then. I'll leave you two to finish getting ready. See you tomorrow!"
The screen vanishes from sight, leaving Fate to look at a slightly puzzled girl.
"Preparing? What's going on, Fate-mama?"
Having heard her daughter return, Nanoha emerges from the bedroom and the trio sits down on the couch. Between the two, Vivio looks from Fate to Nanoha in hopes of an answer. Nanoha is the first to break the silence.
"Well Vivio, you see Nanoha-mama put in a very special request a few weeks ago. I just heard back earlier this week that they said it was alright."
Mismatched eyes blinked as she processed the new information, "Are…are you and Fate-mama leaving to go somewhere?"
This time Fate decided to answer the young girl's question.
"Yes, we are. Aunty Hayate and her family are also coming with us…along with you."
That response drew her attention.
"I'm going too? But where are we going?"
The two friends look at each other and grinned before turning to the rather confused girl and replying together, "To Uminari City."
It had taken a lot of talking and favors to make this vacation a reality. Given that they were in a completely different dimension, the holidays were very different from their home world of Earth. They had holidays that were completely new to them while at the same time didn't celebrate some of the ones that they did, which included Christmas. Acquiring the leave from the TSAB wasn't as hard as they had originally thought. Their track record as well as their involvement in the Scaglietti/Cradle incident made them pretty well known and many figured that they deserved a break. Getting Vivio out of school was a little more difficult, but Carim had lent them some help in that matter. This would be the first Christmas for Vivio and the pair wanted it to be extra special for the young girl, plus they hadn't been back to Earth in quite some time and wanted to see their friends and family again.
For the remainder of the evening, the trio scrambled about making sure that they had everything they needed for their two week trip. At the same time they tried their best to answer the numerous questions that Vivio was bombarding them with about the city, the world, and the people she was going to be meeting.
The next morning seemed to come all too quickly. Vivio sat on the couch and watched in partial amusement as Nanoha and Fate continued to run around to make sure everything was ready for the trip. Once they were satisfied that they had everything, the trio headed out to meet the others.
"Ah, Nanoha-chan, Fate-chan, Vivio!" greets Hayate as she sees the group heading over.
As they approach with bags in hand, Vivio sprints ahead and watches Hayate in a hug.
"Hello Vivio. Are you excited?"
"Uh, huh!" she replies with a bright smile.
Greetings are casually exchanged between the two groups. Hayate and her knights watch and can't help but giggle as Vivio encounters Rein and Agito in their full-forms for the first time. The young girl examines them in a mix of awe and curiosity, much to Agito's embarrassment. While Vivio is occupied with the two Unison Devices, the rest of the group engages in some small talk. Their heavy coats are left on their bags for the time being until an incoming message interrupts them.
"Pardon the intrusion, Lt. Colonel Yagami."
"It's alright. And you don't have to be so formal. I'm not on duty right now."
"A-ah. Um, we're ready to transport your group ma'am."
Hayate can't help but sigh as her rank and status seemed to intimidate some people.
"Understood. We're all ready here."
The group quickly gathers their bags and separates Vivio from her inspection of Agito a short moment before they get transported up to the awaiting ship. A moment later they all find themselves aboard one of the TSAB's warships.
"Welcome to the Claudia." came a male voice.
Vivio is the first one to respond by running at him, "Uncle Chrono!"
With a grin on his face, Chrono Harlaown picks up the girl as she runs at him and lifts her up into the air.
"Vivio! How are you?"
The girl giggles as she is hefted up and into his arms, "We're gonna see grandpa and grandma!"
"Is that so? I'm sure they're going to be more than happy to see you."
He sets the girl down as she holds onto his hand, turning his attention to the rest of the group.
"We'll be leaving right away for Non-Admin….er, Earth. You can just leave your things here for now. If anyone touches them, they're going to have to deal with me."
With a few nods, the group leaves their bags and heavy winter clothes behind by the transporter room before following the Admiral.
"Hmm…it's definitely been a while since you've been on a ship out of uniform, huh?" he remarks.
"It has, hasn't it? To think it's already been over 10 years," responds Fate, "Ah that reminds me. You were able to get some leave to visit mom for Christmas, right?"
The older sibling glances back, "It was a little difficult, but I managed to somehow. Don't worry; I'll be there for the party and through New Year's, too. Amy and the twins will also be coming."
"That'll be great! Do you know if Yuuno was going to be able to make it, too?" asks Nanoha.
"The ferret? He managed to get off from the Infinite Library for the same time so he'll be coming the same time as me."
Turning the next corner, the group finds themselves in the ship's cafeteria. They all take a seat to relax for the remainder of the journey. A tug on her sleeve catches Vita's attention. Turning her head, she finds the culprit to be none other than Vivio.
"Aunty Vita, come play with me!" pleads the young girl.
A nudge on her other side turns the knight's attention away from the girl for a moment.
"Go ahead, Vita-chan. We have some time to kill before we get to Earth," says Hayate.
Vita takes another look at the pleading Vivio before giving in and standing up.
"Ah, ok. Let's go."
As the pair heads to play, Rein notices them and stands up herself.
"Ah, Rein want to play, too!"
She speeds off after them, dragging a protesting Agito behind her. Laughter erupts from the table as they watch the group off. Signum is the first recover and looks over at Nanoha.
The Instructor turns her attention to the pink-haired knight, "What is it, Signum?"
"I know you've been telling Vivio about your family back at home, but have you told them about her yet?"
That question caught her off guard.
"Um, well I've been kinda busy lately. I did manage to at least tell them I'll be coming home for the holidays…"
"You mean you didn't tell them that they had a grandchild?" interjects Shamal.
Some time later the Claudia reached its destination and positioned itself in orbit around the blue planet known to the locals as Earth. The vacationing party met back up in the transport room and dawn their winter gear. Nanoha kneels down and helps her daughter with her coat.
"Is it cold all the time, Mama?"
Nanoha chuckles as she straightens out the collar, "Only during certain times of the year. Right now it's winter so it'll be cold and the ground will be covered in snow."
The mention of snow brought a smile to the girl's face. Ever since she had first heard of the mysterious white stuff, she had been very eager to see it for the first time. Plus she had heard of all the fun things she could do with it which made her even more eager to see it.
"I've already told Alisa and Suzuka that you'll be arriving soon," informs Chrono, "They should be heading out to meet you."
"Thanks for everything Chrono," says Hayate as she gathers her things.
He waves his hand at them, "Oh don't worry about it. That's what friends are for, right? You have better get going before Alisa starts having one of her fits."
Nanoha giggles, knowing all to well about her friend's little outbursts. She gathered her things and stood with Fate and Vivio on the platform. With the press of a button, they were on their way down to the Banning's villa. Hayate and her knights were then sent of to the Tsukimura's yard. Chrono lingers for a moment in the room before turning and making his way back to the bridge. Along the way he makes a mental note to start packing himself before his own trip to Earth in a few days.
On the planet below, Vivio slowly turns around in awe at the vast whiteness around her. She picks up a handful of snow and stares at it with wonder and the innocence of a child while Nanoha and Fate watch her with a smile on their faces.
Two sets of eyes turns their gaze towards the figure running at them, arm waving in the air.
"Alisa-chan!" exclaims Nanoha as she embraces her friend in a hug.
"It's great to see you again! We were worried something had happened when you stopped calling!"
"Nyahaha…well we've been pretty busy lately."
The short-haired girl sighs as she places her hands on her hips, "Honestly Nanoha! You need to relax more and stop working so much."
Nanoha only laughs nervously in reply. With a sigh and a shake of her head, Alisa gives Fate a hug.
"And you! You need to drag that girl away from her work and have some fun!"
Fate laughs as she returns the hug, "I try, but you know how she can be."
The pair both laugh as Nanoha looks on, her cheeks puffed out slightly, "Mou!"
As the laughter fades, Alisa notices that there was someone behind Nanoha. She knees down and looks at the young girl.
"Well hello there. Who's this, Nanoha-chan?"
Nanoha places a hand her daughter's nervous shoulder before she turns to Alisa, "Erm…well you see…"
They eventually managed to move into the house after calming Alisa down and explaining the story to her, plus having to reassure her that Nanoha was not some 'hustler,' as she put it.
Around the same time, another group of people found themselves in an all too familiar yard with a purple-haired girl waiting for them.
The two girls embraced, the Wolkenritter smiled as they saw the smile on their mistress' face.
"It's been so long since I've heard from you!' exclaims Suzuka as they break the hug.
"There's just been a lot things going on. It's been keeping us pretty busy."
She nods before walking over and giving each of the Knights a hug.
"It's great to see you all again! I'm so glad you all could make it. And…um, who might this be?" she asks glances at a nervous Agito.
"Oh, that would be Agito."
Suzuka looks over Unison Device as she walks closer, "Hmm…is she like Rein?"
"Yup! She's a Unison Device like Rein-chan. Agito, um, joined up with us a few months ago," replies Shamal.
Agito stares back at the unknown before her, not entirely sure what to do, "Um, hello."
The girl nods and pulls the rather surprised Unison Device into a hug.
Snickering could be heard over from the Wolkenritters as Suzuka broke the hug, "It's nice to meet you, Agito-chan. I'm Suzuka."
Still in slight shock over the sudden hug, Agito slowly nods in response.
"Well then, how about we get out of this cold?"
A round of nods was all she needed. The group gathered their belongings and ventured over into the warm house.
Meow. Meow. Meow? Mewww
"Aww, kitties!" exclaims Shamal as she picks up one of the cats into her arms and pets it.
The rest of the group giggles, having expected this reaction from her. Not wanting the other cats to be ignored, they all either bent down or picked up a cat to pet. Suzuka looks over at the blue wolf by the bags.
"Zafira, you don't have to stay in that form while you're here."
He glances over at his mistress who nods her approval. With a sigh, he shifts to his human form and stretches his bare arms over his head. Hayate walks over and presents a cat to him with a smile. Having been to the house many times before, he was well aware of the cats and had no problem with them unlike local dogs. Rather the furry creatures seemed to take to him. He accepts the cat and idly scratches behind its head, receiving several purrs of approval. Another cat trots over and takes residence on his foot.
Agito remained still watching in curiosity at their reactions to the furry creatures. Watching Signum smile as she pet the cat was a surprising sight to her. Her train of thought is broken as something brushes by her leg. Looking down she finds one of the cats purring and rubbing against her leg. Taking another glance at the others, she hesitantly reaches down and picks up the cat in her arms. The cat mews and looks up at the Unison Device who stares back at it cradled in her arms. Then without warning it leaps from her arms and onto her shoulder, enticing a yelp of surprise from her. It then proceeds to purr and rub against her red cheeks. The sound of laughter catches her attention as she turns to find all eyes on her. Realizing that they had seen the entire thing, her cheeks burn red in embarrassment as the cat continues to purr.
Back in another part of town, Nanoha and Vivio exited from the limo with their bags in hand. Inside the limo, Alisa and Fate watches them from the opened window.
"Nanoha-mama, isn't Fate-mama coming?"
Nanoha shakes her head, "Fate-mama is going to go stay with her mama because they haven't seen each other in a long time."
The girl turns and looks at Fate in the limo.
"Don't worry Vivio. Fate-mama isn't going to leave you. I'm just going to be staying in a different place close by while we're here," the blonde says trying to reassure the girl.
"Now, I want you to be good for Nanoha-mama. Can you do that for me, Vivio?"
Fate returns the smile before Alisa peaks her head out.
"We should get going before it gets too late."
"Alright. I'll see you two later!" waves Nanoha as the limo drives off.
Holding onto her daughter's hand, Nanoha walks through the yard and up to the front door. She reaches into her pocket and fumbles for her house key. The door opens with a soft click and allows the pair to enter the fair-sized residence.
The sound of running feet reverberate throughout the house as Momoko Takamachi appears from around the corner.
She runs up and embraces her daughter in a tight hug. Shiro Takamachi is the next to find his way to the front of the house, followed shortly by Kyoya and Miyuki.
"Ah! Welcome back, Nanoha," exclaims Miyuki.
From her mother's embrace, Nanoha smiles and waves back, "Hello dad, nii-chan, nee-chan."
"Momoko dear, you're going to crush our little girl," says Shiro as he watches with slight amusement.
"Oh my! I'm sorry Nanoha-chan," she says as she breaks the hug and takes a step back.
"Nyahaha…it's alright mom. I'm glad to be home."
"We're glad you were able to make it. I hope it wasn't too hard to get time off," remarks Kyoya.
"Um, it wasn't as bad as I had thought it would."
Miyuki giggles, "And I bet being such a powerful and famous mage helped a bit, huh?"
As they talked, Momoko tried her best to resist the urge to pull her daughter into another crushing hug. Some movement out of the corner of her eye caught her attention. Turning her gaze down, she locks eyes with orbs of green and red.
"Hm? And who would you be little one?"
All eyes turned to look at the girl that had somehow missed standing behind Nanoha. Having all those eyes on her was a little frightening. Vivio clutches Nanoha's pants as she sides behind her legs.
The other members of the Takamachi family froze in place and stared wide-eyed at the girl. Deafening silence filled the room only to be broken my Nanoha's nervous laughter.
"Nyahaha…um, this is Vivio. My, um…daughter."
Thanks to his quick reflexes, Shiro managed to catch his wife before she hit the floor after fainting. The two elder siblings continued to stare at their sister before Miyuki spoke up.
"D-d-daughter?! Nanoha! Wha...? Who…?"
"When did you get married, Nanoha? You never told us about it," contemplates Kyoya.
"Um, I'm not married…"
"But then…how? Oh my, you had a child before you even got married?! What were you thinking, Nanoha?! Who's the father? Wait…is it Yuuno?" theorizes Miyuki.
Under all the questions and accusations, Nanoha could feel her cheeks heating up, "No! It's not Yuuno!"
"When who? What was his name…Chrono?" ponders Kyoya.
Nanoha bushed even more, "No! He's not the father! I…argh!!! I can explain everything!"
Shiro looked up from where he was holding his wife who was beginning to stir, "We're all ears, Nanoha."
She lets out a sigh and looks down at her daughter who was staring back with a rather confused look.
"Why did I wait until now to tell them…," she mumbles to herself.
Later that evening, Fate and Hayate were glad that they had decided to take their phone calls while sitting on their beds. Otherwise they would be in a bit of pain if they had fallen over laughing on the hard floor instead of a soft bed.
"Mou! It's NOT that funny!" Nanoha yelled at her friends over the 3-way conversation.
"I-I guess Signum was right about saying you should have told them earlier," Hayate manages to get out between bursts of laughter.
"It really is your fault for not telling them," chimes in Fate.
At her end of the line, Nanoha was blushing red for the second time that day. It had taken her almost an hour to straighten out everything and calm her mother down. In the end they, especially her mother and sister, were ecstatic about being a grandmother/aunt. Vivio had also adjusted fairly well to her new relatives. She tended to hang around her grandmother quite a bit, although that might be because of all the sweets she kept offering her.
"Anyway, my parents have already said it was ok to have the party at their café, Midori-ya. The kitchen there is more than big enough to prepare everything."
"That's sounds great, Nanoha-chan. This party's going to be great!" exclaims Hayate.
"It has been a while since everyone's gotten together like this. I'm just a little disappointed that the Forwards couldn't have made it," sighs Fate.
"They really aren't the Forwards anymore, Fate-chan. Each has gone off to achieve their dreams. Besides, it would be hard for them to get time off this early in their career, let alone to a Non-Administered planet," responds Nanoha.
"True. Oh wow, it's pretty late. We should probably call it a night," states Hayate as she stifles a yawn.
"Uh, huh. Vivio's already a sleep with mom and dad. Poor girl tired herself out in all of the excitement today. Plus with the party she's even more excited. I want my daughter's first Christmas to be special!"
For some mysterious reason, an image of a pregnant and very round Nanoha decided to make itself known in Fate and Hayate's minds at that moment. Unable to hold back, both collapsed back on their beds and rolled around in a fit of laughter.
"What's so funny? You're laughing at me again, aren't you! Fate-chan! Hayate-chan! MOU!!"
Before anyone had realized it, Christmas day had snuck up on the quiet city. Out in the city, droves of people scrambled about in and out of stores. Last-minute shoppers and the forgetful rushed to try and find Christmas presents for friends and family. Others tried to take advantage of the last-minute super sales. Outside of the city, chaos had also decided to take a stop at a particular café that day.
"Shamal, can you check on the ham? I think it might need to be basted again."
"I can't seem to find the rest of the onions."
"Can someone get the fish out of the fridge?"
"What did you needed added to the sauce?"
"Someone turn down the heat before it burns!"
"Mistress, what do you want me to do with this?"
"Who took my knife?"
Vivio stood in the doorway to the kitchen and watched people frantically run around and shout at each other. She had originally pleaded to help them out earlier that morning but had been told that it'd be safer and easier if she just watched. They had been right.
"Zafira, did you finish slicing the beef?"
"No, no, 2 tablespoons, not teaspoons."
"Gah, stupid egg shell!"
"Fate-chan! Watch out for your hair!"
"Who has the flour?"
A tap on her shoulder draws the girl's attention away from the chaotic kitchen. Turning around, she smiles widely at the blonde boy. However before she could open her mouth, he places a finger over his lips indicating to be quiet. She closes her mouth and looks at him curiously. He gestures to follow him as he walks into the café dining area. Curiosity gets the better of her as she follows him. Once there, her smile widens even more as she sees several more people she knows.
"Alright Vivio. You don't have to be quiet anymore."
She wastes no time taking advantage of it.
"Uncle Yuuno!" she cries as she leaps up at him.
The librarian laughs as he catches the girl in his arms, "Hello to you, too."
A chuckle from behind him catches Vivio's attention. She lifts her head up to see who it was.
"Uncle Chrono! Aunty Amy!"
The married couple smiles back at the excited girl, "Hello again Vivio."
Yuuno sets the girl down as she runs over and gives the pair a hug. Her smile widens even more as she sees that they brought the twins with them. Moments later a visibly flustered Nanoha emerges in search of her daughter.
"How goes the kitchen battle, Nanoha?"
Her head whips around at the voice, "Yuuno-kun! You made it!"
He chuckles and gestures behind him "I came with Chrono and Amy on the Claudia. We arrived a little while ago."
Nanoha says her hellos to the couple before looking around the room.
"Have any of you seen Vivio?"
"Ah, yes. She's in one of the corner booths playing with the twins," replies Amy.
With a sigh of relief she collapses onto one of the chairs, "Ah, ok."
"It looks like it's pretty hectic in there," absentmindedly remarks Chrono.
"That's an understatement, though we're managing. Everything should be ready in time for dinner."
She eeps and jumps to her feet, "Guess they need me back in there. We could use the extra help if you're free."
The two males look at each other for a moment before Yuuno replies, "Um I guess I could help. Looks like you need all the help you can get anyway."
"Uh, I need to help watch the kids so I think I'll pass…"
"Oh, that's alright, Chrono dear. I can watch them. You go in and help them."
That was definitely not what he wanted to hear.
"Are you sure? I mean you watch them all the time and…"
The look he got from Amy was all that was need to make his decision as he hung his head in defeat.
"…I'll help, too."
Nanoha beamed as she grabbed their hands and led them to the kitchen, "Great! I'm sure the others will appreciate the help as well."
It would be a few hours, hot showers, and change of clothes later that everything would be finished. As the sun set in the winter sky, the extended family gathered around the feast before them. Shiro and Momoko had brought out several long tables so everyone could fit rather than displacing people amongst the café's various booths. At one end of the table sat the Harlaown family, with Lindy at the end surrounded by Chrono, Amy, the twins, Fate and Alf. Next to them sat the Takamachi family: Shiro, Momoko, Kyoya, Miyuki, Nanoha, and the newest family member Vivio. Yuuno sat next to them as the representative of the Scryer clan. Finally at the other end sat the Yagami family, with Hayate at the end surrounded by Signum, Shamal, Vita, Zafira, Reinforce Zwei, and Agito. As much as they wanted to be there, Alisa, Suzuka, and Shinobu were unable to make it due to their own family parties that evening. They did make it a point to say that they should plan another get together for New Year's at one of their houses. Everyone agreed to the idea and opted to plan for it after Christmas. The sound of a chiming glass silenced the random chatter as all eyes turned to the now standing Lindy Harlaown.
"First off, I would like to welcome everyone to this family gathering on this fine day. I believe our thanks can go out to the Takamachi's for arranging all of this and offering the use their wonderful café."
A round of applause erupted around the table, much to the embarrassment of Momoko. The chiming of glass once again brought about silence.
"Eleven years ago none of us knew one another. Many of us knew not of magic or the countless dimensions that existed out there. It wouldn't be until one young, brave girl would have an encounter that would forever change her life, the lives of those around her, and the lives of those that she would eventually encounter. Her introduction to the world of magic by one young man would affect us in ways we would have never imagined. She would guide the lost to the righteous path, bring light to those in the darkness, hope to the hopeless, and most importantly bestow the power of friendship and love to all she would encounter. Her determination and belief in the good of all has brought us together this evening as comrades, friends, and most importantly family. A toast, if you please, to that little girl with a huge heart: to Nanoha Takamachi."
Cheers erupted all around the table in high spirits in honor of the girl who was currently doing an excellent imitation of a tomato.
"Mou…Lindy-san! That was embarrassing!"
Laughter replaced the cheers only to make the poor girl blush even more.
…a young man laughed as he patted his friend on the back who came to his aid when he was in need of help and refused to give up.
…a family from another world laughed at their comrade and good friend who had showed them not to judge by first impressions.
…a girl who once was lost that was given hope, friendship, and a new life laughed at her best friend's reaction.
…a once non-existent family who had thought they were alone in their struggles laughed at the girl who showed them the power of friendship and meaning of family.
…and a little girl laughed merrily besides the one who had saved her from herself and gave an identity and a place to call home.
The laughter eventually subsided, sparing Nanoha from further embarrassment. Taking the opportunity, Chrono rose from his seat and raised his glass.
Across from him, his sister Fate stood.
At the opposite end of the table, Hayate stood with her own glass raised.
Yuuno stood next with his glass.
Nanoha then rose from her seat at the center of the table to join her friends.
They looked at each other with a smile on their faces. Soon the remaining glasses were all raised to join theirs in the toast. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Vivio staring down at her own cup of water.
"Did you want to add something Vivio?"
She looks up and nods, clutching her cup. With a smile, Nanoha places her glass down and lifts up her daughter in her arms. All eyes turned to the young girl, interested in what she had to add. Like the adults around her, Vivio mimicked their raised glasses.
"Merry Christmas to one and all."