I was nervous to say the least. I know that we've done rehearsals before, but now that I was actually standing in front of the altar, it felt different all at once. I resisted the urge to smooth out my white wedding dress or to play with the blond hair that was pulled in a designed bun allowing for a ponytail. It felt a little weird, but it looked so very pretty. My eyes turned to the door, down the long aisle behind me as soon as I heard The Wedding March being played. Fortunately, there were two different versions of the song for same-sex marriages, but it still had the effect that made me swallow nervously. The church we were in was excessively large and the entire ground floor seemed to be filled to the brim with people we knew. Despite the crowd, I only wanted to see one person. As the doors opened up, I was finally allowed to see her for the first time today.
The Proof of Us
Nanoha felt her cheeks color lightly as she carefully walked down the aisle. Her wedding dress was slimmer than Fate's, not swaying far from her body as she moved. Frills lined the gown and came up to her breasts, where they vanished once meeting the revealing front. Her dress looped around and went up her back and over her shoulders, but left her arms to be covered by the long silken gloves. Her hair, as always, was pulled into a side-up. Pink ribbons and white flowers decorated the top of her head and along her ponytail.
Fate was looking at her girlfriend in awe, and she could tell that her expression matched the one on her lover's. The red eyed girl's dress was elegant and free flowing, poofing out from her waist before softly floating around her. A giant matching bow design was at the small of her back and matching gloves went up her arms, almost to the bare shoulders. The blond had opted to have a wedding veil, held in her hair by flowers. Once Nanoha made it to the stage the two took a moment to stare at each other for a few moments before Chrono cleared his throat lightly. The two girls instantly flushed and looked at the admiral, who had the power to wed military personnel.
"Dearly beloved," He began with a serious expression that softened when he saw the two girls beaming at him. "We are gathered here today to witness the vows of love exchanged by these two women."
Nanoha gazed into the red eyes that were looking straight into her soul. As they stood together holding hands, a memory came before them: two young girls standing on a bridge, lost in their own world. To anyone passing it looked as if two friends were saying goodbye to each other, but only they and a few others could really understand the deeper meanings. Fate didn't understand the term then, and requested to know exactly what a friend really was. Nanoha spoke the words for the first time then, forever changing their lives: "Just call my name."
"Marriage is the union of two people in heart, body, and mind. It is intended for their mutual joy – and for the help and comfort given to each other in prosperity and adversity. But more importantly – it is a means through which a stable and loving environment may be attained." Chrono continued his speech, both women before him nodding slightly, agreeing at his words.
The slightly taller blond gave Nanoha's hand a small squeeze as they reflected back on the time they spent together growing up. Her friend had been the one to offer a hand, to reach out when she only knew pain and loneliness. That one motion had forever impacted her, changed her life for the better, and gave her a reason to live. If only to make the blue eyed girl happy, she vowed to try her best at obtaining a new life in which to make her goals obtainable.
"Through marriage, Nanoha and Fate make a commitment together to face their disappointments – embrace their dreams – realize their hopes – and accept each other's failures. They will promise one another to aspire to these ideals throughout their lives together – through mutual understanding – openness – and sensitivity to each other."
Their eyes stared into their girlfriend's, recalling their past dreams and failures. The painful time waiting for every video letter to arrive in the mail, the excitement of seeing each other again after so long, the second hug they ever shared after Nanoha was hurt in the first battle against the guardian knights. It had started quickly, almost bypassing simple friendship and going straight to best friends with no pause in between. They shared a connection that the other girls didn't have and embraced it fully. Before they even understood what love was, they were feeling the effects of it. A strong desire to be together, fighting as hard as they could to protect their love from harm, striving against the odds just to be able to see the other's smile.
"This is a beginning and a continuation of their growth as individuals. With mutual care, respect, responsibility, and knowledge comes the affirmation of each one's own life happiness, growth and freedom. With respect for individual boundaries comes the freedom to love unconditionally. Within the emotional safety of a loving relationship – the knowledge self-offered one another becomes the fertile soil for continued growth. With care and responsibility towards self and one another comes the potential for full and happy lives."
Staying together had never been an easy task in their earlier years. They both chose to become part of the military but went into two very separate divisions. Nanoha chose the path of an instructor while Fate opted to take the people Nanoha trained and watch over them in her stead. An Ace Teacher and an Ace Enforcer; a combo feared by many. They complimented each other nicely, working off the other's abilities and strong points to further help them along. Their separate paths led them apart at first, but both knew that once they made it, then they would be able to spend more time together as adults. It was a sign of dedication that they didn't understand yet, but knew felt right in their hearts.
"By gathering together all the wishes of happiness and our fondest hopes for Nanoha and Fate from all present here, we assure them that our hearts are in tune with theirs. These moments are so meaningful to all of us, for what greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together – to strengthen each other in all labor – to minister to each other in all sorrow – to share with each other in all gladness."
When they were finally ranked high enough they found themselves brought together again by Hayate, who was standing not far from them in the place of a bride's maid. At first it seemed almost too good to be true; each shocked to be wearing the same uniform amidst all their friends again. Their room was large but at the same time felt a little small. Having spent a lot of time apart, it felt weird for them both to suddenly be living together. Despite the obvious complications arising to officially living together, they fell into place quickly. Each tailored to the other, taking turns keeping their room neat and doing simple things such as cooking for each other.
"This relationship stands for love, loyalty, honesty and trust, but most of all for friendship. Before they knew love, they were friends, and it was from this seed of friendship that is their destiny. Do not think that you can direct the course of love – for love, if it finds you worthy, shall direct you."
Time went by so quickly for them, seeming as if their lives would continue like that forever. Waking up in the same bed, telling each other good morning and hugging before the start of the day, and meeting whenever they could to share a meal together. When Vivio came into their lives it only seemed to solidify what everyone was already saying about the pair. They didn't have to announce it to anyone, not even themselves. They both knew they loved each other, and it had been there for so long that they didn't feel the need to hold back anymore. Nanoha-mama and Fate-mama adopted the child together, and spoke the words for the first time when Vivio was curled between them: I love you.
"Do you, Nanoha, take Fate to be your wife? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon her your heart's deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her as long as you both shall live?" Chrono asked gently, looking at his long time friend.
Nanoha nodded quickly, voice almost not coming out. "I do," the two words made her heart flutter, mouth turning up in a bright smile as Fate beamed at her.
"Do you have a symbol of this devotion?" Chrono asked, trying hard to keep his voice neutral instead of breaking with joy.
"Yes," Nanoha turned to look at Yuuno, her best man, and received not only a golden ring but also an honestly proud smile. "With this ring," she began as Fate lifted her hand. "I thee wed..." Somewhere in the back of her mind she remembered that she was supposed to remove the glove first but she still went on, unable to stop the words. "I promise to always be there for you, in all of our good times and our bad. To be faithful and loyal, to hold you when you're sad and laugh with you when you're happy. I promise that my hand will always be there for you to hold." Her words started to break, a small tear of happiness running down her cheek. She gave the hand a small squeeze and had to force herself to look at Chrono and nod to show her vow was over.
"Do you, Fate, take Nanoha to be your wife? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon her your heart's deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her as long as you both shall live?"
This time the red eyed girl smiled. "I do." Her soft voice somehow floated around the room, making people tear up at the meaning behind them.
"And do you have a symbol of this devotion?"
Fate turned to Erio and slowly picked up the golden loop from the velvet pillow he was holding nervously. "With this ring, I thee wed..." Her hand was shaking, barely managing to slip it over Nanoha's gloved finger. "I promise," Her voice did break and she had to take a moment to wipe her eyes embarrassedly. Smiling in a small apology, she got a loving look back that showed that Nanoha didn't mind at all. "I promise," She tried again, meaning every word. "I will be there for you. I will always love you from the bottom of my heart. I will..." She struggled to remember the vow that she had written herself but found that it wasn't coming to her. Not one to give up, she simply smiled again and went from her heart. "I will always, always try my best to make you happy. I promise to keep you smiling as much as possible and... and Nanoha, I swear that I will always call your name." The last line made the blue eyes looking at her mist with tears. Both girls lost their reserve and hugged each other fiercely, smiling so hard their cheeks hurt.
Chrono cleared his throat after a few moments and the two girls shyly let go and reclaimed their places, trying to act as if nothing happened. " In as much as Nanoha and Fate have consented together in marriage before this company of friends and family and have pledged their faith – and declared their unity by giving and receiving a ring – are now joined. You have pronounced yourselves wife and wife but remember to always be each other's best friend. And so, by the power vested in me by the Time-Space Administration Bureau, I now pronounce you married – and may your days be good and long upon Mid-childa...You may now kiss the bride."
Nanoha reached up with both hands to lift the veil covering Fate's face. Her shaking hands carefully fixed it so it wouldn't fall back down before looping around the girl's neck. She felt two arms slide around her waist and be pulled closer, their silken gowns pressing together as their lips joined. Applause came at once, drowning out their soft hums as the two girls reluctantly pulled apart. "We're married..." Nanoha whispered softly, eyes sparkling. "We're married!"
Chrono once again cleared his throat after the two girls kissed again and stayed where they were, looking at each other. "Congratulations," He told them softly so only they would hear. "I'm proud of you both." Fate gave her brother one more thankful look before joining arms with her new wife and slowly walking back down the aisle. Behind them Caro and Erio joined arms to follow before Hayate and Yuuno did the same. Tia and Subaru were the last to walk arm-in-arm before Chrono began to announce the reception after they all made it through the double doors at the front.
"Congratulations!" The word came yet again to the pair of brides at the reception. The two girls smiled brightly at Vice, who raised his cup of punch to them in a small salute. A small conversation lasted before the male excused himself to go about doing other things.
Nanoha laughed out again, looking around the large table by them as they walked past it. "So many gifts... I can't believe this many people showed up."
"Well we did have an open invitation to anyone who wanted to come. We only sent cards to our friends, but... wow." Fate blushed lightly when someone she didn't know congratulated them as he walked past. "I never expected this many to turn up." They were outside of the elegant church given to them for use on their special day. The sun was shining, bringing a comfortable warmth to most people but making the ones dressed up a little uncomfortably hot. "I'm glad I didn't wear that black dress now," she mused to herself as she spied Shamal fanning herself with her hand.
"Cheers," A new voice came paired with an arm around the blonde's shoulders. Signum smiled at her friend and raised her small glass of champagne to her. "Congratulations, Testero...I guess I really can't call you that anymore, huh? Dropped your maiden name for hers."
Fate blushed darkly. "Signum, you're a little tipsy aren't you?" The older woman shook her head and smiled, showing that she was. "Mou, don't get in any trouble okay?"
"Sure." Signum gave them both a hug before going off on her own.
"Fate Takamachi Harlaown," Nanoha said her wife's full name with a giggle. "Sounds little funny still."
Fate gave her wife her normal caring smile. "Nanoha Takamachi Harlaown sounds funny too. I'll never understand Earth's weird naming changes due to marriages."
"Fate-mama!" Vivio's voice rang up, making the woman instantly drop her eyes to scan the ground for the small girl who came just to her waist now.
"Hello, Vivio." Fate smiled down at her daughter.
"Mom!" Nanoha moved to hug her crying mother. "Aw, come on, don't do that..."
"My little girl..." Momoko sniffed and dabbed her eyes, taking in the sight yet again of Nanoha in the wedding dress. Lindy came up next to her and smiled at Fate as well.
"Mom," Fate greeted softly, receiving a hug.
"Ne, ne!" Vivio patted Nanoha's leg after the silent emotional moment went on too long for her liking. "Can we leave now? I'm bored."
The group laughed to themselves before Nanoha kneeled down. "Just a while longer, Vivio. Don't you want some cake?"
Vivio debated with herself mentally before nodding. "Mmh!"
Fate looked over at the extremely delicate, several layered wedding cake. "Now that you mention it, we should probably do it soon... A lot of people have left already so there should be enough for those who have stayed."
Nanoha nodded. "I can't wait to cut into it." She gave her parents another hug before taking Fate's hand to lead her over to the cake. Vivio tried to follow but was scooped up by one of the older women to keep the younger child in check for just a little while longer. Once they were behind the table looking out over the yard full of people, Nanoha raised a champagne glass and tapped it with a fork. Amazingly the small clinging sound carried over the dull roar of conversation and several people quieted down before gathering in front of the girls. "Hello everyone!" She called out to them brightly. "Thank you all for coming. I know it's hot and all so we're going to start the second half of the reception now."
Fate joined in, standing by her wife. "Please enjoy the meal provided by the church as well as Hayate's newly re-formed division." Her soft tone was loud enough to be heard, cheerfulness making her speech much more perky than normal. "So... Without further ado..." She picked up the overly large cake knife and held Nanoha's left hand with her right, the handle between them both. The slicing of the cake was made together, getting cheers from the people standing by them.
Nanoha bumped Fate's hips playfully as they slid the knife out, getting an amused, happy look. Their first piece was placed onto a plate courtesy of Momoko and the two newlyweds walked a little ways to the side to do the customary feeding. The brown haired one cut a small bite sides portion off and held up her fork for Fate. "Say ahhhhhh..."
"Ahhhhhhh." Fate closed her eyes and was rewarded was icing smeared over her nose and cheek, followed by the chuckling and laughing of the majority of the crowd. "Nanoha!"
"Hahahaha!" The girl tried to hold back her laughing and was rewarded for her traditional prank by getting a face full of what was left. The act caused the people to laugh more, before going about getting their cake and food.
"Silly," Nanoha managed out, reaching up to wipe some cake from Fate's face at the same time as hers was cleaned a little as well. The two looked at each other for a few moments before licking the creamy substance off each other's fingers. After a small giggle they began to seriously clean each other with napkins and sit together to share a second slice that Lindy had waiting for them. "Here you are, Mrs. Harlaown."
"Thank you, Mrs. Harlaown." Nanoha replied back, taking the offered bite before feeding Fate as well.
"I guess it's about time," Fate spoke softly, seeing as how most of the crowd was gone now. Only a few dozen people were left, mainly consisting of immediate family and friends.
"Yeah." Nanoha agreed happily, the idea of getting their week long honeymoon underway making her excited. She shifted her dress and bent down to speak to Vivio, who was sleepily clutching her leg. "Vivio, could you tell Grandmamma that Fate and I are about to leave?"
"Yes ma'am." Vivio nodded at her before trotting off to fulfill the requested action.
"I kind of don't want this day to end," Fate whispered, looking around at the people surrounding them and the decorations hanging everywhere.
"I know what you mean," Nanoha whispered to her fondly, looking down at their wedding dresses. "I'm happy but still... I may only wear this dress once more in the future... And only see yours again then, maybe."
Fate blushed, taking both of Nanoha's hands and holding them. "But we're married now." Her lips turned up again just from saying it. "Now, for the rest of our lives, we'll be together."
"Yes," Nanoha gave Fate's hands a squeeze, looking from the red orbs down to the golden bands on both their fingers. "These bands are proof of our love."
"The proof of us," Fate agreed softly, moving to kiss her new wife once more before Vivio returned to them.
"Mama, mama! They said they are ready now!"
Nanoha smiled down at her daughter. "Okay, be a good girl while we are gone okay?"
"Mmn!" Vivio nodded and closed her eyes as she was petted.
Fate gave Vivio a hug after Nanoha let go and kissed her cheek as well. "We'll be back in a week, after our honeymoon, so be sure to play lots and have fun okay? We'll call every night, promise."
Vivio laughed. "Okay. I promise."
The two women watched Vivio run away from them and around the corner before joining hands and carefully making their way as well. When they turned the corner they saw all of their friends lining the sidewalk leading to Fate's car that was decorated with several "Just married!" signs as well as wash-off marker all over it in designs and notes wishing them well. "Ready?" Nanoha asked excitedly.
"Ready!" Fate replied in turn, scooping up Nanoha in her arms to carry her as she ran as fast as she could in her dress and heels while being showered in rice thrown by their loved ones. Their laughter rang out brightly as the sun reflected off the rings of the newly weds, showing the world that they were forever connected together.
Special thanks to the other half of Sataurial productions, Mercurian Angel, for proof reading. Be sure to check out her deviantart page: Mercurianangel –dot- deviantart –dot-com.
Dedicated to the people who put in all the hard work and time to bring us the "Nanoha and Fate Megapack volume two." You can find it at www –dot- nanofate –dot- net.