A/N: I was going to do a holiday special (as I still will but for next christmas XD) but I decided after a week had passed Christmas that perhaps it would be better to give to my fans (all two of you out there who I greatly appreciate) what they actually want. That want being the Chapter 4 that is six months over due. I'll give no estimate of when chapter five will be out for if I do so likely we won' t see it til 2010. For now please enjoy.
Magical Babysitter Lyrical Zafira
In Which Zafira is Manipulated into Taking a Field Trip
If asked Zafira would be hard pressed to list his interests. If he was forced into answering he'd probably say taking naps. If he was feeling fancy he'd say taking naps in exotic locations, exotic locations being the occasional nap taken in Hayate's office. If the person insisted that naps couldn't be the only thing Zafira enjoyed he'd simply reply that a guardian beast had no business doing much of anything that did not pertain to his master. Zafira truly did enjoy napping even if the other Wolkenritter couldn't understand why he always did it. Zafira, however, hadn't napped in weeks.
The reason was not, as many would expect, Zafira's young charge. Vivio was, on the whole, a very well behaved child. She did what she was told with very little fuss, a hold over, Zafira suspected, from her time with Scaglietti. No, rather than Vivio, it was the "ace" pilot who was causing no end to Zafira's misery. The former sniper and his eternal sugar high while no end of amusement for Vivio was also no end of poor influences for her. Any moment of peace Zafira might have had was spent ensuring Vivio wouldn't grow up thinking it was okay to completely ignore any and all responsibilities. It was the fault of that man, the man as sinful as his name suggested, that Zafira was being forced to face his biggest fear.
Though perhaps the blame didn't fall entirely on Vice. Perhaps the blame also fell on one Griffith Lowran. If the second in command of long arch hadn't been such a push over Zafira could have merely spent the day watching Vivio draw pictures that only she understood, as he was again left to do Ana's job as the maid/nanny was on her day off. But no, Griffith, despite having the coolest head Zafira had ever bared witness to, had okayed the event. Zafira didn't know who to fault more, the one who had come up with the idea or the one who had allowed it to happen.
Nevertheless, Zafira cursed both men equally as he and a bouncing Vivio were strapped in for the ride of terror. As the engine roared his very very long life flashed before his eyes, the day's previous events coming into focus above all else.
1 hour earlier
"Rejected," Zafira didn't even look up from the slab of meatloaf the cafeteria mages called food. To be perfectly honest if the head cook mage didn't have muscles to rival his own and a fiery rage that might accidentally pummel the cafeteria he'd have complained long ago about the quality of the food when Hayate and the captains were away.
"You haven't even heard it yet," Vice whined like a little kid and even took the time to stop stirring his mashed potatoes in a circle to pout in Zafira's direction. The pout came out warped as he was a grown man and not a small child.
"We don't need to hear it to know it's a bad idea," Griffith stared at Vice over the rims of his glasses, "The mere idea of you suggesting anything is bad within itself." Griffith removed his fork daintily from his meatloaf and pointed it at Vice, "Especially since all your ideas involve alcohol."
"Cut it please Zaffy," Vivio tugged on Zafira's shirt and pointed to her hunk of meatloaf. Zafira wordlessly and dedicatedly began to cut the meatlike substance.
"It doesn't involve any booze this time," Vice raised his arm as if swearing in the Belkan Church, "On my honor."
Griffith pushed up his glasses so the light glinted off of them and spoke in a matter of fact fashion, "Your honor is only worth slightly more than what's in your wallet." Vice forgot that in order to swear on one's honor one needed to have honor in the first place.
Vice pretended to file his nails and look disinterested though he couldn't keep a playful gleam out of his eyes, "At least my wallet's worth more than your apartment, though I guess it doesn't matter seeing as no woman will ever step foot in it."
The cool headed Griffith was no more, bright red embarrassed Griffith had taken his place. It was unfortunate for the lilac haired man that Vice knew his every weak point. "Just because I don't have a girlfriend doesn't mean I couldn't if I didn't want to! I'm a very busy man I just have too much to do!"
"Zaffy more please!" Vivio held her tray out to her guardian, obviously proud of herself for remembering to say please. Zafira complied and went off to fetch more as Griffith and Vice continued, loudly enough for him to hear even from far away.
"Oh yeah," Vice leaned back in his chair with a grin stolen from the Cheshire Cat plastered on his face, "It's definitely how busy you are that's keeping you from asking Shar-"
Potatoes were flung into Vice's face from Griffith's fork, "That's enough of that." Level headed Griffith returned to power once more.
Vice wiped the potatoes away without even a thought, "So anyway-" Zafira returned with more food for Vivio, "-I think it'd be awesome if we took a field tri-"
"-Rejected." Never let it be said that Zafira was indecisive.
Vice flailed, doing his best impression of a dying fish, "Come on! You didn't even hear me out!" Vice seemed to forget that they never heard him out when they didn't have to.
"There's no need to hear out such a thing," Griffith glared over his glasses, "You're not taking Vivio to a bar and that's that."
"Zaffy-" Zafira's shirt was tugged on again, "-What's a bar?"
"..." Zafira paused searching for the right words, using alcohol would inevitably lead to the explanation of the substance which wasn't something he cared to do. "It's a place."
"I don't want to take her to a bar!" Vice slammed his hand on the table growling at Griffith.
Vivio took this in, nodding to herself as she tried to figure out the mysterious "bar" from Zafira's three words. "What kinda place?"
Zafira gave her three more words to ponder, "An adult place."
"I want to take her flying!"
"...?" Vivio tried to imitate Zafira and Griffith's blank stares but had to add in a confused glance as she truly had no idea what was going on and was still on the subject of the bar..
"... In your helicopter?" Zafira blinked, still unsure how to react to Vice's latest exclamation.
"Of course!" Vice stood up in a dramatic pose, one leg on his chair, his arm gallantly punching the air. "There's no better way to nurture a love of aerial exploration than to take her up into the sk-"
"Rejected," Zafira returned to his meal.
"Don't reject me before you hear me out!"
Griffith sighed, "But Vice you're the one who's admitted to being incapable of even remembering where you're going when you're in a plane..."
Vice rolled his eyes though he didn't bother to deny Griffith's claim, "That's not the point. The point is Zafira need something to do with Vivio other than coloring and I'm providing a viable activity."
"I need to entertain her, not put her in harm's way-" Zafira sipped his tea before setting it down with a stern look cast in Vice's direction "-and putting her anywhere near you and a helicopter can't be a good idea."
"I'll have you know I was voted safest pilot of the year once!" Vice stated this likely false fact proudly.
"Who voted you that?" Griffith eyed Vice like a skeptic eyes a ghost, looking for any sign of falsehood.
"A committee of who?"
"A committee of myself!"
"THAT DOESN'T COUNT!" Griffith smacked his hands on the table and stood up, drawing the eyes of every person in the room much to his embarrassment. He quietly sat back down and fiddled with his fork.
Vice smirked, though smirks should not be attempted by those with little evil in them as it came out humorous looking, "Oh? It doesn't? Well then you've left me no choice," he sighed dramatically and leaned back in his chair. "Oi~ Shari~" He waved over at the table where three of the women of long arch, Lucino, Alto and Shari, were eating their lunches.
The bespectacled mechanic looked over at the men's table. It appeared only they had had no reaction to Griffith's earlier outburst. "Yes Vice?"
"Griffith loves you-"
"-r hair. Care to tell him who your hairdresser is?" Vice grinned and Griffith fell over.
Shari and her subordinates found it funny at least as they were giggling. "I'm afraid that's a secret Griffith~" She winked at the men before turning back to her food.
The brown haired devil folded his arms and grinned, "So do I have approval Griffypoo~"
"This has to be illegal," Griffith growled as he set his head on the table dejectedly.
"...I still haven't said I'd let you," Zafira hadn't. Even if Vice had badgered Griffith into giving him permission Zafira sure hadn't.
"Vivio~" Vice waved a lollipop in front of the six year old, "Wanna go up in the sky?"
The little girl followed the sweet up and down until Vice finally stopped it in front of her face. She quickly grabbed up the sweet and unwrapped it, sticking it in her mouth. She didn't understand the question Vice had asked her but she understood he was the candy man now. So of course she nodded.
Vice's grin turned devilish as his head turned to Zafira, "You saw her Zaffy~ "
"Love you too buddy."
"Zafira," Griffith yelled from across the helicopter, above the roar of the engine, "Are you and Vivio buckled in properly?"
Zafira couldn't open his mouth for fear a most unbecoming and girly scream would leave his lips if he dared. Zafira had never told anyone of his fear. It was foolish and childish really. After all, who'd ever heard of a flying wolf who was afraid to fly (then again who had ever heard of a flying wolf). It wasn't the act of flying that had him afraid as much as was the act of putting complete faith in another person. To put it simply Zafira had trust issues, though merely calling them that was like calling Nanoha's hero complex mere helpful tendencies.
Zafira had never truly trusted anyone, not even the other Wolkenritter who, while Zafira had something akin to trust in, had never had his complete trust. This was an arrangement he was fine with. If nothing else he was confident in his ability to protect himself and that had always been enough. The exception being... planes, well truly any aircraft. Putting himself in what was essentially a metal cage and then trusting the pilot wouldn't send him careening down to the ground was beyond his willing capabilities.
Zafira wondered what it was like to have nary a care in the world as Vivio did. He was quite sure now that the girl didn't know how to be afraid nor how to be distrustful. Was this blind faith wise? Zafira could not answer. He couldn't decide who was better off, the trustful child or the faithless adult.
Just as he had begun to calm himself down with the joy Vivio had found, the helicopter leaped into action. There was no warning, the engines roar didn't increase or decrease in the slightest. No rather the entire machine merely lurched up, yes lurched. Zafira had always thought that the flying machine was supposed to do nothing more than gently rise up not shoot like some sort of rocket.
"This is your captain speaking," Vice's voice came over the intercom, "please hold tight to your seats 'cause I can't grantee anythin'."
"VICE!" Griffith shouted towards the cockpit fortunately loud enough to drown out Zafira's whimper. "What are you doing?"
"We're flying!" Vivio bounced up and down in her seat, staring righting out the window stationed across from her. "We're flying we're flying we're flying we're FLYING!" Pure joy radiated from her, pity it wasn't contagious.
An mantra emerged from Zafira's lips, well not as much a mantra as a long howl of fear and misery. Vice apparently took it as pleasure and decided at that point he would zoom about happily and preform a move Zafira could only describe as the loop de loop of horror! Were helicopters suppose to be able to do such things? Surely there were some laws of physics being broken here!
They zoomed along the countryside though Zafira didn't care to look out the window Vivio was intent on naming everything they flew past. "Grass! Tree! Cow!" Zafira sincerely hoped Vivio merely had good eyesight and that they were not in fact that close to the ground. But they probably were and they were likely going to crash and burst into flames and that was going to be the end of his 400+ year lifetime, a helicopter crash of no great importance, such thoughts spun through Zafira's head as his companions enjoyed themselves.
Vivio listed tree for the fifteenth time when the helicopter began to tilt to the side. Zafira did not like this at all, Zafira liked to remain upright at all times, that was the way he was meant to go after all. All the turning was beginning to make him feel sick and Zafira began to suspect he was going to see his meatloaf again.
This showed on his face apparently as Griffith acquired an alarming look on his. "Vice! Land the helicopter Zafira's going to be sick!"
Vice must have heard the alarm in Griffith's voice or perhaps he just didn't want barf in his baby, either way he brought the machine to a halt and opened the door just in time for Zafira to run out, retreating into his wolf form as he did and promptly lose the entirety of his lunch.
"Aww poor Zaff Zaff." Smack. Smack. Smack. Vice whacked Zafira's back in what he surely thought was a comforting manner. "Don't worry the way back should be easier."
"I'm walking." Zafira was not going back into that thing. Not as long as Vice was at the controls.
"But we're at least a good thirty miles from the base," Griffith tried to talk sense into Zafira but Zafira would have known of it.
"C'mon Zaff," Vice ruffled Zafira's mane, "I'll go double speed for the way home so we'll get there in half the time."
"D-double speed," without his permission thoughts began to pass through his head and a terror wretched through his body. Double... speed.
"Yeah!" Vice took Zafira's repetition as the go ahead to talk more on the subject, "I'll just pump up the speed no biggie."
"Pump up... the speed." Zafira felt faint, the whole world was getting blurry, the mere thought of going faster was making him rather dizzy. Zafira wasn't sure he could support his own weight much longer.
Vivio clapped her hands together excitedly. "Zaffy's so happy he went to bed!" Indeed the might wolf had gone into a dead faint.
Griffith fell to his knees and shook Zafira about. "Eh?!?! Zafira! Zafira!"
"Heh," Vice chuckled and shrugged. It wasn't that he didn't it was that he didn't think it was a big deal, "he'll be fine after he gets a little rest."
"This is all your fault Vice!"
"Yeah yeah just help me load him into the back," Vice was already dragging Zafira over.
"Let's just hope you haven't frightened Vivio out of air travel," Griffith grumbled as he took up Zafira's other half.
"I want to go even higher!" Vivio reached towards the sky.
"You've created a monster."
And as Zafira was roughly bound in the back so he wouldn't slide all over the place he remained right between the being of awake and of sleep. And one final thought passed through his head before he went off to the more peaceful land of slumber. The thought being that he was about to have a nap in a very exotic local indeed.
A/N: I have no doubt that Vice's helicopter did in fact break several laws of physics as to what a helicopter can do but please remember what you see is what Zafira thinks is happening not what is actually happening XD. The silly wolf exaggerates.
While I can't promise a release date I can promise a title as I've been sitting on Chapter 5's title since chapter one.
In Which Griffith Loses his Mojo