"Hurry up mama!"
"I'm sorry, Vivio, training ran a little late."
Nanoha was hopping on one leg, trying to pull her shoes off with one hand while unbuttoning her jacket with the other as she made her way to her bedroom. Knocking the door open with her shoulder, she stripped down and blindly tossed her uniform onto the bed before diving into the closet. Following closely behind her was a reproachful looking Vivio, cheeks puffed out as she watched her mother.
"We're gonna be late mama!"
"They won't mind too much…help mama find her shoes."
With their combined efforts Nanoha managed to get herself dressed in record time. As she started to head to the bathroom, though, Vivio impatiently grabbed her hand and tugged, making it quite clear that they weren't going to waste any more time. With a light sigh Nanoha relented and was lead by her daughter out the front door.
"Tiana, what are you doing?"
The girl jumped in her seat, surprised that she'd been found. After ten minutes of wandering, Fate had finally managed to find her aide sitting at a workstation, with several reports and documents pulled up on the screens in front of her.
"But you were off duty an hour ago. We'll be transferring planet side soon, too."
"Well, I had a lot of work piling up, so I just…thought…"
Tiana trailed off slightly, realizing that Fate saw right through her excuses. She reddened a little in embarrassment, glancing down at her feet to avoid eye contact.
"It's just…I haven't seen any of them in so long, and everyone will have changed so much. What if everything's different now?"
"Tiana…they're still the same people that you remember, no one's forgotten about the time you spent together. It's natural to feel a nervous like this, but you'll only have more regrets if you don't go."
"I know, I know. I'm just being stupid."
The two remained silent for a few moments, letting the time tick by.
"I really do have a lot of work to –"
"No more work. That's an order."
"Nice work today, Nakajima."
"Thank you, sir!"
Subaru enthusiastically saluted her commander, her cheerful attitude more bubbly than usual, if that was even possible. He just smiled, more than used to her antics. She wasn't the most professional person to work with, but she had that infectious happiness that made working with her interesting, at the very least.
"Shouldn't you be off soon? I thought you had a reunion to get to."
"Eh? What time is it, Mach Caliber?"
'We have five minutes before the transport leaves'
"What?! Sorry sir, I have to go, sir."
"You're excused. Don't want you to be la -"
Subaru had already taken off before he'd finished, sprinting out the door.
"That girl definitely is a handful…"
"Mach Caliber, Gear Excelion!"
"Hey, wait a minute! You haven't been granted permission to use that!"
"Not bad today, but still pretty sloppy."
Vita was looking over her trainees, who looked rather worse for wear. Between the dirt, bruises and scratches, not to mention the pockmarked training ground, it looked like trainees had just been through a battleground and not an obstacle course.
"I have to leave early, so I'm ending practice now."
The group looked like they were ready to cheer and celebrate, but they'd learned to hold it in while the instructor was still present. Few people ever made mistakes twice when Vita was training them, if they wanted to last long.
"But I want twenty laps before you head in."
A loud, collective groan came from the trainees, who scrambled to their feet and started to jog. Vita smirked slightly, before she turned to leave. As a parting comment, she yelled back over her shoulder.
"If you slack off, I'll know!"
"I can't believe everyone managed to get time off today."
"It'll be nice seeing everyone again."
Hayate walked down the corridor, chatting happily with Shamal about the reunion that she'd been planning for months. It wasn't easy to find a time when everyone could get together, after all. Zafira was walking alongside them, emotionless as ever, but Hayate thought she noticed his tail wagging just a little faster. Rein, on the other hand, was of course making no effort to hide her excitement as she flew circles around the group.
"I was a little worried about today's incident though. It's good that we cleared things up so quickly."
"My, Hayate has it rough being in charge."
"Hahaha, it's fine. I can handle it."
Rein suddenly stopped in front of the two, though she was still bouncing up and down.
"Let's goooo! Rein wants to have lots of fun!"
"You should come, no one will mind."
"Why would I want to go? I don't care about seeing any of them."
Signum was finishing up her reports from her latest mission, all the while trying to talk Agito into coming with her afterwards. The Unison Device was being as stubborn as ever and was adamantly refusing, though she probably just didn't want to admit that she wanted to go.
"You already know everyone, I don't see the problem."
"I just don't wanna."
Agito sat in grumpy silence for a minute, but started to fidget slightly.
"The brats gonna be there too, isn't she?"
Signum's eyebrow quirked slightly, and she smirked a little.
"Hmm? You want to see her again?"
"W-what?! What are you implying? I don't care about that stupid brat! Why would you even say that?!"
"You two take care of yourselves now."
"Don't get lost or anything."
Erio and Caro's colleagues from wildlife preservation, were seeing the two off as they got ready to leave for Midchilda. They were taking the departure a little too seriously, though, considering they would only be gone for two days.
"We'll be fine, we already know the way."
"Yeah. We'll be back by tomorrow afternoon, so we'll see you then."
The two kids received quick hugs before they were finally allowed to leave. All-in-all, the whole scene looked very much like two parents sending their children on a camping trip; not that Erio or Caro noticed.
"I haven't seen Fate or the kids in so long!"
"I know what you mean. It feels like forever since we've met any of them in person."
Arf and Yuuno were walking from the transportation center, having just arrived from the Infinity Library. With a large yawn and stretch, Arf relaxed herself as they waited.
"Nanoha said she'd come meet us here, right?"
"Yeah, with Vivio, right after she got off work."
Both looked around briefly, but saw no sign of the mutual friend or the little girl that would be accompanying her.
"Don't worry, she'll be on time."
"Yup, no way Nanoha would be late."
Our past and present, the choices we've made, the paths we take, and the dreams we reach for. This is who we are. We are here.