School of Lyrical
Chapter 2 – Ready
Rune looked up at the apartment complex before her. Slung over her shoulder was a backpack, full of mostly clothes and some other things. She took a drag from her cigarette.
"This the place Crea?" spoke Rune aloud
"Correct." Responded a soft, young female voice
"Well guess it looks nice enough…" she took a last drag and then flicked the spent cigarette, it landing on the sidewalk, "well guess I'l go say hi."
Rune casually strolled into the building and made her way up to the right floor and then sashayed to the room Crea had logged. She knocked and started to habitually search for her smokes.
"I think we agreed no smoking?" said Lindy quickly opening the door, her smiling face creeped Rune out
"Right, right… Old habit is all." Confessed Rune dismissively
"Of course. How many did you go through already?"
"About half a pack." Stated the female voice as Rune opened her mouth
"I see. Well come in, I'll show you to your room."
"Traitor." Mumbled Rune as she followed Lindy upstairs, "Testarossa already left?"
"Fate left this morning. She should be back in some hours. But first…" Lindy gestured to a box laying on the bed, "Your school uniform. As you insisted I got you the boy's uniform."
"Really? Well thanks for that."
"You can thank me by remembering all the rules." Stated the mom eeriely happy
"Yeah, yeah. You talked my ear off last night, no need to suffer that abuse twice."
"Well then. Make yourself comfortable." Said Lindy ignoring Rune as she walked out
"Hmph. More annoying in person… At least the room is nice enough."
The 'home' seemed awfully quiet Fate noted as she entered. A quick check in the kitchen revealed a note from Mom that she had gone out for a bit. The blonde wondered where Rune was as she headed upstairs, she should've been here by now. Unless the troublemaker had scurried off to go find trouble. Sometimes she really wondered why they were friends… She went into her room and dropped her bookbag on the bed. The day was more or less the same, only scattered with talk about Rune. Everyone had decided to give her sweets as a gift when they met her tomorrow, Fate only hoped Rune did like sweets or it would be very awkward… The blonde gathered her towel and a change of clothes as she went down the hall to the bathroom, starting to undress along the way. She opened the door and had taken about a step before she froze.
"Yo, Testarossa." Said Rune casually
Already in the bath was Rune who offered a casual wave. Strewn about the floor was various articles of clothing and resting near the nude Rune, on the tub edge, was a silver fang with a pair of dragon wings; Crea. Rune sat up in the tub, giving Fate a really unneeded view of her upper anatomy, and looked at Fate's level of undress.
"Still can't believe you wear black Testarossa. Would've thought you wore a thong too."
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" yelled Fate annoyed as she used the towel to hide
"Taking a bath obviously." Stated the silver-haired as if it couldn't be anymore obvious, "Wanted to join me?"
"No! You're supposed to lock the door not just leave it unlocked!"
"Eh. Minor detail. Really if this bugged you so much why do you keep staring?" offered Rune with a sly grin
"W-why you…!" gasped the blonde horrified as she stormed out
"That was unkind." Noted Crea, "You angered your host."
"Testarossa is to nice to kick me out." Replied Rune shifting to get the soap, "You logged that right?"
"Correct." Answered the device in a disappointed tone
"Perfect. Totally worth it, she comes off so damn cute all flustered."
Crea didn't answer as her owner started to lather with the soap.
The next morning was really awkward. Not wanting to be caught in the same situation Fate slowly opened the door before doing anything. Still she managed to not make a repeat of last night. She was forced to wait downstairs for Rune however.
She takes really long…
"I wasn't sure what Rune-chan likes so I packed a little bit of everything."
"I'm sure it's fine Mom. You, ah, did take…"
"Her cigarettes? Already taken care of." Stated Lindy with a smile
"You are so horribly cruel Lindy." Stated Rune bitterly
The annoyed smoker came down the steps her own bookbag slung over her shoulder. The boy's uniform looked a little uncomfortable. The blazer fit just fine, although it was unbuttoned, but the dress shirt seemed to be clinging to her buxom bust. The slacks and shoes were alright though; Fate rarely saw Rune not wearing pants.
"Just a precaution. Here's your lunch." Offered Lindy
"Hmph, yeah sure…" the girl took the offered box lunch and slipped it into her bookbag, "Shall we go already?"
Every step Fate took outside home the worry grew in her heart. A million different ways the first meeting could go horribly wrong popped into her mind. It was silly really, they were hardly friends but she wanted everything to go smoothly. Due to Rune's delay Fate was a bit behind schedule and everyone was waiting. And all taking a look at the very out of place Rune.
Really has to be hair… mused Fate
"Yo. Rune Juril, nice to meet ya." Greeted Rune in a slightly flat tone, "I guess you can just call me Rune-chan or whatever it is."
"Rune-chan." Noted Nanoha almost as if testing the word, "I'm Takamachi Nanoha. Just call me Nanoha!"
"Yagami Hayate, nice to meet you Rune-chan. Call me Hayate."
"Arisa Bannings. I'm fine with Arisa."
"I'm glad to meet you Rune-chan. Tsukimura Suzuka. Just Suzuka is fine."
"Alright let me see if I can get this… Nanoha, Hayate, Arisa, and Suzuka, right?"
"Perfectly done." Offered Fate, "If maybe improper but…"
"Yeah, yeah. Lindy went on about that too. But it's just not something I'm good with."
"It's alright." Stated Nanoha, she stopped and leaned forward to examine Rune's necklace, "This is… Special?"
"Oh right, nearly forgot." She took the necklace off and held it in her open palm, "This is Crea, my device of course."
"Greetings." Stated the winged fang device
"Well nice to meet you too." Nanoha held out her own necklace, "Raging Heart."
"Hello." Stated the sphere
"Pleased as well and so is Reinforce."
"So they aren't mages?" noted Rune glancing to Arisa and Suzuka
"Ah no, no. We've been Nanoha's friends since we were young."
"Not to be rude but, I don't think it'll be good to be late on Rune-chan's first day…" suggested Arisa
"Ah, right! Sensei will be mad if we're late again!" yelped Hayate as the girls ran
The rooftop of the school had been their secret little lunch spot. It was out of the way and they could talk freely and not worry about eavesdroppers. Maybe the only real downside Fate noted was the wind. Rune's first day reminded her of the first day she attended school with Nanoha, well almost, but he general feel was there. The group sat around eating and chatting, except Rune sitting against the fence guard and testing the various foods Lindy had packed.
"What do you think of school Rune-chan?" asked Nanoha turning to face her new friend
"It is really what I expected. Seems a school anywhere is always the same thing." The silver hair patted her pocket and frowned as she noted it was empty
"Fate-chan mentioned you smoke." Commented Arisa noting the action
"That I do. Lindy took all my packs it seems. Traitorous Crea never can hide anything." She set the mostly empty boxed lunch aside and interlaced her fingers behind her head, "I guess she also mentioned my other habits?" Arisa nodded and Rune smirked, "Just as well I suppose."
"Fate-chan seemed rather evasive of how you two met though…"
"Nanoha!" choked Fate quickly swallowing, It's just nothing important is all!"
"Oh she is now is she?" Fate gulped at the glint in Rune's silver eye, "Testarossa shame on you for not telling them!" Rune made 'tsk' sound and waved finger scoldingly, "I guess she is just embarrassed."
"Why would she be embarrassed…?" murmured Suzuka curiously looking at Fate, and soon everyone was giving her the same look
"Well you see… Testarossa is really my only friend. I just don't get along well with most people. So I guess about a, oh, week after I joined the Enforcers everyone organized a party. A formality ya know?" Rune sat up and propped her head up with her hands, "So there may be a wee bit of drinking going around…" the silver-haired focused her gaze on Fate who was beginning to blush, "And we, well… kissed. Several times I think. I'm sure Testarossa was drunk but boy, she could kiss. Tasted nice too." Stated Rune licking her lips for effect, "And that is how we met. Odd way to become friends, huh?"
Rune laughed as Fate blushed deeply and stared down at her lap, fidgeting nervously. All her friends were staring at her in varying degrees of shock. There was a long period, or what felt long, of dead silence as Rune just gleefully watched at the effects of her bombshell. Slowly the friends recovered and looked at their lunches, thinking of how to respond Fate guessed. She had started counting how many creases were on her skirt."That was Fate-chan's first…?" spoke Nanoha softly
"I suppose so. I never asked." Answered Rune in Fate's place
"… I see."
"That made you friends Rune-chan?" asked Hayate
"Odd way yes. We started to talk after that… It's a boring story though."
"But that wasn't your first…?" inquired Arisa next
"That is another story. But no."
"Sorry… It isn't something I like sharing." Spoke up Fate lifting her head, "It's very embarrassing, since everyone thinks the first should be… Special."
"Ah don't be so gloomy Testarossa." Dismissed Rune casually, "Anyway I recall you mumble a name between kisses… But what was it…?" she paused in thought for a moment, "Hmm… Nope. Can't remember. But you certainly weren't imagining me kissing you."
"Fate-chan has a crush?" asked Nanoha curiously looking at Fate whom was blushing again
"Well that is only normal Nanoha-chan!" noted Arisa knowingly
"But… Who?" wondered Suzuka aloud
"Well if Fate-chan was drinking… And thought it was someone else…" Hayate paused and considered Rune carefully, "Maybe someone who has long hair or a bang? Or someone dressed like Rune-chan?"
"I-It's nothing at all! I'm sure Rune is imagining it!" dismissed Fate quickly
Too quickly as she felt all her friend's eyes stare at her, as if trying to read her mind. Fate gulped nervously. She just knew Rune would've done something like this! The rest of lunch passed in silence, Fate suspected each was thinking who her crush was. As the bell rang and they got up to leave Nanoha looked at Fate."Fate-chan before we go take Rune-chan to the shop, can I ask you something?"
Nanoha nodded and smiled as she bounded off to speak to Arisa and Suzuka. Fate lagged behind wondering what was so important and secret that Nanoha didn't want to say it aloud around friends or just ask telepathically.
"What did you want to talk about Nanoha…?"
Fate and Nanoha hung far back from their friends en route to the Takamchi family coffee shop. Nanoha glanced to Fate then the ground and back before she spoke.
"Well Fate-chan you're my closest friend so I feel I can request this from you…"
"What is it Nanoha?" asked Fate now highly curious
"Well some other girls do it and… I trust Fate-chan with everything so, uhm…" the brunette fidgeted nervously, "Would you, just maybe, be comfortable… Pretending to… Date me?"
"D-Date you Nanoha?!" gasped the blonde nearly yelling, she scolded herself as her unexpected reaction seemed to hurt Nanoha and she hastily added, "What do you mean?"
"Its something Arisa-chan told me. She said it's to help ready yourself for real dating and I… I thought Fate-chan would… But…"
"I didn't… Nanoha, I wouldn't… Mind. I was just surprised is all Nanoha."
"Is that so…?" said Nanoha sounding happier, "I'll call you tonight then Fate-chan?"
"Of course Nanoha. I'll be waiting." Smiled Fate reassuringly
Fate lay on her bed, dressed in a nightgown, staring up at the ceiling in thought. Nanoha had set the "date" for tomorrow night, Sunday, and told her to dress fancy like a date. She had protested it was much too early for her to be ready but Nanoha countered: "It's good practice Fate-chan!"
"So looking forward to your 'date' Testarossa?" offered Rune
The blonde sat up and noted Rune standing in the doorway dressed in a long nightshirt. She nodded and laid back on her bed."Well enjoy it Testarossa. Might as well be as close to the real thing you'll ever get."
"What do you mean Rune?"
"Don't play dumb." Stated Rune slyly, "I remember exactly what you said. I remember it like it just happened. You were thinking of Nanoha."
Fate bolted upright and opened her mouth to deny it but one look at Rune's face was all she needed. She knew.
"… Why did you pretend you didn't?"
"I'm nice enough to not let everyone know your sexual orientation. As far as I know, only I know." The silver-haired paused a moment, "Here is my advice Testarossa. Use this experience well to see how she feels. You don't have a lot of time, just a few dates."
"What makes you say that?"
"Before I came here I noticed someone else was scheduled to be coming in a few weeks or less. A one Yuuno Scrya, and I know a little about him and his past from Lindy. He's coming to see Nanoha I can guarantee it." Rune sighed and shook her head, "Know this. If you don't find out, you'll regret this for the rest of your life. Don't make that mistake Testarossa."
And she was gone. Leaving Fate alone with only her thoughts.
"Didn't even comment on my nightgown…" she groaned and fell back with a flop, "Then she's serious." Fate closed her eyes as she hugged the covers close, "Nanoha…"