I was excited to say the least. Ever since my religion classes at college, church was just something that I did because it was expected of me. My father was a youth group leader, my mother was lead of the 'lady's nights', and I was normally the most active in the youth group. At least I used to be, until I moved out on my own. Back then it was a reason to get out and do things, where my parents weren't constantly keeping tabs on my health.
Looking over myself in the mirror one last time, I smiled. The vast majority of my clothes were dress-up because of the school dress code, but I still had some 'Sunday best' that I wore just once a week. Currently I had on one of my favorite white dresses that had a blue design on the sleeves. A small sash was around my waist just for flare and high heeled white shoes graced my feet.
"Nanoha," Caro's voice made me look to the door and smile at the pink dress wearing Caro. A floppy pink hat was on her head, accented with a white flower, and one inch heels were covering her feet, complete with a small 'puff ball' on the top of them. "Shouldn't we leave for church?"
"Fate-chan is coming to pick us up." I informed her happily, adjusting Raising Heart to fit properly on my neck. The device gave me a good morning and I replied back mentally.
"Nanohaaaa?" Fate's voice came from the living room, making Caro and I walk to her. "Mou, I knocked on your bakery for like five minutes, I got worried and let myself in."
I had to stop a moment to take in Fate's attire. Instead of black, she was wearing a bright white dress that had many frills and lace splashing out all over it. Short sleeves that poofed over her shoulders met bicep-long satin gloves to cover her arms. I could tell she was wearing high heels as well, and a white frilly choker was around her neck, sporting the ever-present silver cross. To top off everything, she had on a Sunday Hat complete with a blue ribbon on it and white flowers on one side. "...Wow." I breathed out, amazed at the girl.
Fate put a hand on her hip. "I don't always dress Gothic, you know."
Caro pointed at her. "But isn't that a Gothic Lolita dress?"
The blonde grinned. "You're as sharp as Nanoha is, you know that?" Caro seemed proud of the comparison, and Fate turned to look back at me. "You look very lovely. As do you, Caro."
"Thank you," we both replied at once before I picked up my purse and moved to leave with her. At that moment I noticed that Fate had someone behind her, and after the blonde finally stepped to the side and pushed Erio forward, I couldn't help but smile ear to ear.
Erio adjusted the collar of his white dress shirt and went to fiddle with his tie before Fate gently smacked his hands. The young boy was wearing a suit and glossy black dress shoes as well. His face was colored like his hair and after getting complimented by Caro, could only stutter out a response.
Once outside, Fate opened the door to her car and allowed the two children in first before adjusting the seat for me. I made myself comfortable and grinned to myself while looking at Fate's car a little more. She had cleaned it since I last rode and everything shined brightly. I didn't know much about cars, but I could tell that this one probably cost more than I made in a year's time. If anything, my parents would appreciate Fate's work ethic... even if she was unemployed.
"You're grinning." Fate accused when she started driving us.
"Nya haha, its nothing." I looked out the window and smiled some more. "It is across town, off Main Street, the huge church there."
"You're catholic?" Fate groaned.
"Nothing, just memories of Rome."
Caro took that moment to speak up. "You've been to Rome, Fate-san?"
"Lived there for a while. Nice place, but Japan is a lot better."
I thought about it. "So you were born in France, lived in England, went to Rome, and now you're in Japan?"
"I was in America for a while too," Fate mused while making a turn. "Why, want to go to Rome? You have summer break soon right?"
"Next week." I paused. "Wait, I can't go to Rome!"
"Why not?" Fate smirked, one of her fangs showing over her bottom lip. "Let's go. Caro, you want to go to Rome?"
I turned around. "Caro!" She sank back, but couldn't hide the expression on her face. "Mou, don't tag-team me!"
Fate opened her mouth, but closed it immediately. I could tell she held back a joke and I then realized that she hadn't once taken my hand or flirted with me. Caro was too young to really understand the girl-girl thing, but at the same time I knew that Fate was okay with hiding it. "Thank you, Fate-chan."
"So you'll go?" She smiled.
"No! Thank you for something else!" I blushed hard, realizing that I couldn't openly say it. Despite this, she seemed to understand and simply nodded, shifting gears to slow down enough to turn into the church parking lot.
"This place is huge..." Fate looked around and I grinned. True, we went to one of the largest churches in town, but I never thought much about it since I was here ever since I was born. "Where should I park?"
"The teenagers normally park near the back." I pointed and Fate followed, pulling up next to a large group of people I knew. A steadying breath was taken as everyone suddenly started awing at Fate's car and we got out at the same time. "Hey everyone," I greeted them.
"Nanoha?" They all asked at the same time while Erio and Caro filed out of the car as well.
"Uhm," I sheepishly moved to stand next to Fate. "Everyone, this is Fate-chan, Caro-chan, and Erio-kun." I turned to my friends. "These are some of the youth group." I started pointing. "Ryo, Seiji, Cye, Kento, and Rowen."
Seiji instantly moved forward, grinning at Fate flirtingly. "Hello there, Fate-san. I'll show you around, if you'd like?"
Fate's fingertips twitched lightly but she still put on a smile to die for. "Why thank you very much for the offer, but Nanoha here has already told me she will take me around to meet everyone." The turn down was soft and subtle but the rest of the guys still started laughing.
I took Fate's arm and started urging her to walk. "Well, I need to find my parents since I haven't seen them in a while. I'll see you guys in class." Fate followed and we walked together down the sidewalk to the front of the building, where we were instantly greeted by the same two men that I have known all my life. I introduced my friends again and Fate, to my surprise, gave a perfect little curtsy. I could never seem to get that down in heels without wobbling it seemed.
Once inside the building and waving to a few people, I lead the small group into the main lobby, moving to the middle-ish section where my family always sat. "Mom, Dad," I greeted them, making them look towards me and break into smiles. Hugs were given and I once again introduced Erio along with reminding them who Fate was.
"Oh," My father looked at Fate and nodded. "You were the nice young lady who brought Nanoha to the hospital. Thank you again for looking after her."
Before I could reply, Fate spoke on my behalf. "Oh, really, she looks after me. She's such an independent girl." The comment made both my parents happy it seemed and we all settled down onto the padded church bench.
"So," My mother spoke up. "Fate-san, how did you meet our daughter?"
I thought back to it and felt my cheeks color darkly. The first time I met Fate was in my store when she tried to pick me up. I didn't count the situation before that, as the memory was repressed for the most part. Not knowing how Fate would reply to that, I looked over at her and hoped for the best.
"Well," Fate began, noticing my nervousness. "I stopped by her bakery for a snack and then ran into her later that night while I was out on the town. We spoke for a little bit and the next day she was so kind as to make me some delicious cinnamon sticks for my dinner party at my house."
My father seemed impressed. "Dinner party? What do you do for a living, Fate-san?"
"A little bit of everything. I love to learn new things so I go from place to place just long enough to find out everything about it." She tilted her head to the side and smiled cutely, making me blush even more. "But I write as well. I have a few books published and that's where my main money supply comes from. I just can't sit still, if you know what I mean."
Fate writes? The news was new to me and I was curious if she was serious or not. If it were true, I just had to get my hands on one of her books.
After several moments of chatting, everyone finally started sitting on the benches and the song leader moved to the front of the room. Silence was soon achieved and he spoke up loudly, giving a page number for a song to let everyone outside know they would start services soon.
I held the book for Fate and noticed that Erio was clumsily trying to do the same for Caro. The song started and I joined in shortly, followed by my family. What shocked me the most, however, was the sudden voice ringing up beside me. Fate's voice was as smooth as silk, loud but not overpowering. Despite this, the octave range that she held suddenly became fainter as everyone began looking around to find out where the angelic song was coming from.
I couldn't help but stop singing, looking up at Fate with wide eyes as she sang. My heart almost melted at the sound, and in the back of my mind I knew that everyone was also looking at her as she sang, eyes closed and heart spilling into the hymn.
I have never, in all my life, heard a song so beautiful.
When the song was over I looked down at Nanoha to see if we would sit again or if we remained standing for another song. It was then that I noticed that not only her but many people around me were all staring. Confused, I blinked and whispered down to my girlfriend. "Why is everyone staring?"
Nanoha seemed to snap out of her trance and literally almost jumped in place. "Uhm, no reason, your voice was just... really pretty."
We all sat down on the benches again and I glanced over to the left, where Nanoha's parents were looking at me in appreciation. I gave them a smile that was returned and then looked forward again, noticing a few people turning back around as well. I knew I had a nice voice, as I've been told this many times. I had a small flash back to my past and felt a bittersweet smile come to my eyes. I wonder what he would think if he knew I was in church again, singing.
By the time I snapped out of my memory, Nanoha took my hand and pulled me along with her. Apparently the kids and teenagers were going to their Sunday school and she wanted me to tag along. We dropped Caro and Erio off at a younger class - much to my nephew's displeasure of being separated in a strange place- and I followed Nanoha and a crowd of college kids to a fairly large room that had tables in a square pattern, leaving and opening at each corner for someone to walk into the middle.
We sat down and I looked to the side as the chair to my right was pulled back as well. To my surprise, Hayate sat down and smiled at me. "Good Morning," she greeted in a pleasant tone.
"Morning," I smiled but kept my fangs hidden. She knew I was a vampire, but if she was here then that meant that there were probably other Paladins stationed in the church as well. Figures. "So where are your friends?"
Hayate shrugged helplessly. "I just started coming here so all I know is that they're somewhere in the building, in one of the adult's study groups."
"Hmmm...." I looked over at Nanoha, who was staring at Hayate, seemingly expecting her to spontaneously turn into a wolf and start biting people. I gave her a small nudge and she jumped, blushing so bad I thought she would pass out.
"Hello, Nanoha-chan..." Hayate meekly tried to start conversation. I had told Nanoha that Hayate was originally assigned to kill her, but turned on the paladins when I offered to protect her. In return, she had helped me rescue her a few days back.
"Hello Hayate-chan..." Nanoha gave an uneasy look but at least didn't look scared.
The class started shortly and I was spared playing middle-man for the two girls. I half paid attention to the man speaking and half thought about my current situation. Chrono had been tagged by Paladins and was attacked by someone who resembled my master from the past. Tea was a vampire genetically created by the Paladins who could fight evenly with my stage one self. To top it off, she turned against the Paladins and was with me when I attacked. Hayate was in the same boat, turning on her upbringing after being trained by them for so long. In the span of only two months I had made myself a target for the people I had been trying to avoid for countless years.
I needed to get a step ahead of my enemies and somehow control the group of traitors who were suddenly on my side. Granted, I didn't care if Teana died, but I promised to protect Hayate. In order to get everything in line, my bank account would have to suffer a little... But then again, I had a half-off coupon from my informant, and I planned on making sure to get the most out of it.
Nanoha was suddenly asked a question about the lesson going on and I came to her aid when she looked down at her bible to try and find the answer. The teacher looked at me and smiled, asking me to introduce myself to the class since I was a visitor. After doing so, I started to partake in the conversation, even going as far to actually start teaching the instructor things that he didn't know.
After all, I've read the bible more times than I'd like to admit.
Author's Notes: I'd like to take this chance to tell everyone that I have been granted permission by FUNimation to release my fics as novels. The conditions were that they would be for non-profit and only available to people on a website ( which is NanoFate[dot]us ). The number of books printed will help me when I pitch myself to FUNimation as an official writer for the series they hold copyright too. I won't make any money off of these books, but it will help my portfolio. Currently only AlternativeS and PS!Vivio are available, but I plan on releasing Saved By The Bell when possible. Also in the distant Future, Vampire!Fate will be released as a hardback novel (That will probably span well over 300 pages). If you would like to purchase a book, then you can go to NanoFate[Dot]us and look on their news section for the information link, or you can email me directly at satashibookrequest[at]gmail[dot]com . The novel releases are different from the FF.N releases, as they are re-beta read and have some added/changed scenes. Thank you for your support!