Beforehand: Yet another story posted here that was originally done in ten installments over at Anime Suki. This one follows Vivio, in her P.O.V and later swaps to Syn's. I generally don't like Original Characters, but since Vivio has no official schoolmate friends or anyone her age, they have to be made in a story focusing on her. Syn is a blue haired, feisty little thing with a quick mouth. She was made by Keroko and was accepted by most all of the writers in the fanfiction circle around Anime Suki. If you don't like Original Characters (Syn is the only one)then this story isn't for you, but if you want to give it a shot, then I hope you'll enjoy this look on Vivio's first mission. This story goes out to The Shiny Sword, who is on vacation at the time of posting (we miss you, TSS!), Keroko- for creating such a loveable character, and to my friend Evil Rick, who just posted his first story on : Vita, Shadows of the Past.
I smiled wryly at the army before us. Countless people were marching in line along with types of machinery that I had never seen before. Bi-pedal mechs, tanks, some things that I couldn't compare to others, and much more were steadily moving in a pace that didn't waver.
"So, Vi," Syn asked beside me while gripping her device. Her tattered body was stained in blood, hair matted to her skin, and smelt of dirt and grime. "Are you ready?"
I couldn't help the sarcastic grin that came to my face. I wasn't fairing much better than her. My barrier jacket was ripped and torn near my shoulder, blackened by crusted blood and sticking to my body. My hair had long since fell from the ribbon holding it and flowed out behind me in the places that weren't tangled together in mud. "Ready as I'll ever be, Syn."
My friend got in front of me and I placed a hand on her back. "Vi, just in case we die..."
"Don't say it." I lifted up Falling Soul and aimed it at the people who were coming to kill us and the people we were to protect. "Tell me when we get back home, okay?"
"... Yeah." I could feel Syn's cocky attitude emitting from her body once more and a bow wrapped around my glaive. "You promise to listen?"
"Of course." I nodded and narrowed my eyes. We both knew this would probably kill us, but neither of us would let that stop us. We had a promise to keep now, and I would do anything in my power to hear what she wanted to tell me.
I always heard that people's lives flash before their eyes when they stare death in the face, but this was my first time to experience it. As we raised our combined devices, I saw the last week blur across my mind's eye.
To make a mother proud (An Anime Suki multi-part short)
I stood in front of Aunt Hayate and saluted her with a bright smile on my face. Syn was next to me and was practically radiating pride. The leader of the re-formed mobile division was looking at us with a serious expression, eyes glaring at the two of us. "Sky One, Sky Two," She called out code names out with a voice that I rarely ever heard. She was all business and even my partner got serious when she heard the expression. "I have a mission for you two."
Hayate stood from her desk and walked over to us. We were still only twelve years old but because of her shortness, Aunt Hayate was only a head lengths taller than us. "This is an important assignment, and I will tell you straight up: sending you two is against my better judgment. The situation, however, has left me with no choice." A screen appeared next to her and she pointed to it. "An allied planet is in a state of a civil war with itself. A world war of sorts. The allied peace treaty on this planet has collapsed and they are rebelling against the peace they have with the T.S.A.B. They have many lost logia registered to them, and are using their power to fight the people who are rebelling against the uprising."
Syn nodded and I followed suit. "What is our goal?" My partner asked when there was a slight pause.
Hayate frowned. "They need mages to help them defend until we can send a more suitable force-"
The words struck a nerve deep within myself and my partner. At once we lost our serious attitudes and we both protested at the same time. "What do you mean 'more suitable force!?" I demanded the loudest. "Aunt Hayate, you know-"
"Silence, forwards!" She barked at us loudly, making each of us sink back. She had never yelled before and I could tell right then that she really didn't want to send us. "You will arrive to give a morale boost but you will not engage the enemy. They have many numbers and mages to spare. They have an army of rank Fs and Ds."
Syn snorted. "We're both AA, we'll be fine."
I thought Hayate was going to slap Syn for a moment, but her hand didn't move. My friend still flinched, obviously catching the intention of the glare sent her way. "Need I remind you that several Bs together can fight an S-ranked mage for training and still force her to use full shields to defend herself? Ranks mean nothing against numbers. That is why you will not engage."
I saw a pause and took the chance to speak my mind. "Then why are we going if not to help fight?"
"As I said," she went on, now pointing to the screen that showed us what would be our base while there. "They are desperate and losing hope. Until our force comes back from their current mission, I can't send enough help to turn the tides of the battle. While you are there, you will give them the hope to keep fighting for a few days. I will dispatch everyone else as soon as they return. War isn't always about fighting, but also about mentality. You will not understand what your appearance will do for them until you see it for yourself."
"Ma'am." I nodded at her.
"You will leave at once. I have your preparations already complete so you won't need to take anything with you other than your devices. Here are your data packs." I accepted the screen that flew into Falling Soul and nodded. Aunt Hayate looked at both of us and before I knew it I had a hand on my shoulder and a scared aunt looking down at me. "Please be careful. You are going into a war field... You could die."
Syn answered before I could: "We'll be fine. Vivio and I kick ass."
I looked at my partner and grinned at her. We were on a space ship heading to our destination and I felt an urge to say what was on my mind while I had the chance. "Can you believe it? A mission that is going to require several top ranked aces and mages! And we're the first dispatch!"
Syn grinned and bumped her fist against mine, a trait we picked up from our mothers. "We'll show them, Vi. This will be our big debut." She brought up her hand and made a monitor appear in front of herself. "It says we're to meet with the leaders of the forward lines first and be given our assignments from him. Hayate already sent him our profiles and our barrier jackets have been programmed with their ally signals. We should be ready to go."
"Mmn." I nodded and looked at the planet we were approaching. My first deployment with Syn, my first real mission, and the first time we would be able to make due on our vows to do our mothers proud. We had large expectations of us and already we felt as if we were behind. When our mothers were twelve they were already triple A plus and well into the way of being given special treatment and being fought over by divisions. They were child prodigies and it showed.
Syn and I were several ranks below them, almost no real experience, and sheltered beyond belief. But that would change now. Hayate sent us to provide moral support, but we could do much more. We could show everyone that we weren't just little kids. "Syn," I spoke to her, taking my friend's hand in mine. "Let's make a dramatic entrance."
Syn grinned and clenched her fist in anticipation. "You got it, Vi!"
A screen popped up in front of us to display the captain of the ship we were currently on. The two of us saluted him and were told to head to the teleportation area to prepare for dispatch. Syn nodded at me and together we made our way.
The first thing I noticed when we appeared on the planet beneath us was the screaming. Several people were running around, orders were being barked out, and an explosion made us both look up to the sky. "Syn!" She nodded at me and we took to the air immediately. "Falling Soul! SET UP!"
I heard Syn call out to her device but I was too busy slashing the mage in front of me. My hand pushed out and the shock of my attack gave me the few seconds needed to power the blast that scattered the debris in the air. The two air mages were shot back and I followed them.
Several arrows of energy landed around me and I twisted and turned, cutting through the people in my way. My device quickly told me who was friend and who was foe and after a while, I recognized their types of standard jackets so I could fight more freely.
Several more arrows blazed around me and people behind me fell to them. My glaive saved someone's life next to me and I twirled around, dodging a blast and charging my own. "Clear the path!" I screamed out, making several people turn and look at me in shock. "NOW!" My words made the people on my side retreat quickly and I smirked at the shocked faces of the people advancing as arrows rained on them from above. When their attention was diverted I released my blast and loaded a cartridge to make it more powerful.
Screams of 'retreat' came shortly but Syn and I continued to fire at them from long range, more for flare than actually meaning to do much damage. After all, we were there as a morale boost. Might as well show them what we're made of.
After we stopped, Syn joined me on the ground and together we walked toward the base that was looking at us in awe. Two twelve year old girls had just saved their lives and I was sure that we looked a lot more powerful than what they had imagined when they begged for help to Hayate. "Hello," I greeted them.
Syn saluted. "Team Sky, sent by Mobile Force Six. We are your back-up."
Silence came before us for a full five seconds before a sudden roaring of cheers followed. Syn and I were surrounded and our hands were shook repeatedly by several people. Names blurred around me, but I couldn't help but feel a swelling of pride in my chest. 'So this is what Mama goes through every mission...?' I smiled brightly and stated my name a few times, blushing when I was quickly hit on. I wonder what they would think if they knew I wasn't even a teenager yet... My blue haired friend bumped against me and grinned, tapping her fist to mine in a congratulations for a job well done.
"So you are the mages." A voice made everyone calm down at once and a man walked forward through the splitting crowd. Several medals decorated his chest and his rank was several above mine, making both me and my partner salute him instantly.
"Sir!" Syn stated with a pleased tone in her voice. "We fought back the enemy."
"Tell me, private," He stood in front of us and frowned darkly. "What was your mission?"
Syn blinked twice before answering, a little unsure of why she was getting a death glare. "To-to come help you, sir."
"You!" He snapped, making Syn flinch. "Were supposed to report to me immediately upon arrival! You were not to fight here, you were to use your flight magic to aid the caravan bringing us our supplies! Did you do that, soldier!?"
Syn looked shocked, and her hand twitched, trying not to wipe the spit off her face. "N-no sir..."
"Thanks to you two not following orders," he glared at me as well and I felt the look go into my soul. "Our supplies were overran and taken."
I felt a deathly still air surround us as the news came. Several soldiers started cussing to themselves while others walked away to either sit down or kick something in anger. The one in charge continued his talking, making me realize exactly what the situation was. "We have no food, and are almost out of ammunition for our devices."
I opened my mouth to reply but Syn was quicker than me. "Sir, we can fly to-" to her shock, as well as mine, Syn was slapped hard. Her face ripped to the side but quickly came back, eyes glaring hard as a trickle of blood went from her cracked lip.
"If it were that simple we wouldn't be in this problem!" Her yelled at her, nose touching hers. With no other reply, he turned and walked away, muttering. "What the hell were they thinking, sending me kids?"
I quickly moved to Syn to inspect the damage but found her not willing to allow me to in front of everyone. "What's his problem?" She asked me, annoyed.
The reply came from a man still standing next to us. A brown haired soldier that I realized was the same one I saved from an attack earlier spoke to us with a depressed tone in his voice. "They have us on lock-down here. Now that they know we have flying mages, they should have already secured the skies. If you flew up, you would be shot down within seconds."
"I can teleport," Syn stated.
"Can you transport multiple objects?"
My friend's face fell so I picked up. "Can you not get more and have us guard it?"
"Supplied are already limited... It'll take a while before any more can be spared to us." He gave us a light smile and waved before walking away himself, pausing to point to a tent not too far off. "You two are stationed in that tent there."
I knew some planets were under developed compared to what I was used to, but this was the first time to have ever experienced it. I had just assumed that if they wanted something, it could be teleported to them via a transporter. I never once thought that people would have to rely on trucks or helicopters...
"This bites," Syn sighed out. "Our first mission and we already screwed up."
"Don't worry, we'll think of something..." I glanced over at her and slowly took her hand to pull her to our temporary shelter. Our tent was nothing more that something to keep the weather off of us and offer some shade it seemed. It was small, had nothing in it, and was quite bleak.
"We have our supplies," Syn whispered to me she she tossed in our two backpacks. Sleeping bags were put on the ground and we took a small inventory. Standard field rations, a small medical kit, cartridges, a single change of clothes, and nutrient bars filled one pocket. I hated those things, but I knew that if it came down to it, I would be thankful they were there.
"We need to do something," I stated the obvious. "We won't get back up until a few days."
Syn fell on her sleeping bag and put her hands behind her head, looking up at the ceiling. "You know, Vi?"
"I thought it would be different." Her tone changed and I sat beside her to listen. "Mom always told me stories about other planets, like how the food was so different to ours, how the people acted strangely, how sometimes they were greeted like heroes..." She licked her lips and frowned when her cut was moistened.
"No point in thinking about that now, right? Let's plan our next battle?"
"Hayate told us not to engage."
"We already screwed that one up, huh?" I grinned down at her and she slowly smiled back.
"Yeah. It's not too late! Let's make up for messing up and show them that we're capable of this!"
I was bored.
I made my formal introduction to the man in charge after giving him a while to cool off and was briefed about the situation along with Syn. Apparently we were on the front line, one that was starting to lose. The base was mostly surrounded but couldn't be evacuated because it was a strategic point in their operation. Hayate had originally planned for us to just make an appearance, escort their supply truck, and then fall back to the reserves until the rest came.
Well we screwed that one up.
Syn and I were stuck here now and we could only wait for any new orders, although I doubt we would be getting anything. A few people were pissed at us while another handful were obviously doubting the little girls they saw.
As I got back in our tent, I noticed that Syn had already placed a barrier around it and had turned on the hand held temperature control unit. I felt a little cooler inside than out and got a lame smile from her when I gave a questioning look. "It's hot," She told me simply.
Barriers could insulate depending on how strong you wanted to make the magic. Syn had, apparently, just made it enough to stay invisible. It wasn't much, but it was better than nothing. "They're still a little mad." I told her while sitting down beside her.
"Figures." Her eyes closed. "We can't do anything until the base gets some kind of orders. I wonder when that will be?"
"I don't know." I looked at her a moment before shifting to sit behind her. My hand went to finger comb her loose hair and I got a sigh for my troubles. "You like it."
Syn didn't answer me but I could feel her body relax as I stroked her hair. The silken strands were only a little knotted up, and split apart at my gentle urging. "Vivio, why do you like doing that?"
"I don't know, I guess it calms me down. Nanoha-mama would do this to Fate-mama whenever she was stressed."
"And then proceed to do what made them known as "the bunny couple" ?"
I blushed. True, we were young, but both of us were wise beyond our years. Growing up in a military base and training with people twice to three times our age really spoiled our childhood. Although I've never had a boyfriend, or girlfriend for that matter, I was... a little interested in it. "Are you suggesting that we do that?"
Syn chuckled softly and leaned back against me a little more, allowing me to put her hair into a high cheer-leader style ponytail. "Pervert." I smiled and giggled.
Maybe I was, just a little.
It has been an entire day since we arrived now. Morale in the camp was low despite us being there with them, which I understood. When they said they were out of food, they were really out of food. I felt horrible that I had something to eat in my backpack but at the same time I knew that I could give everyone on base something to eat and it would be nothing more than half of a bite. That wouldn't do anything at all, so Syn and I just stayed quiet.
"I'm bored." Syn spoke up idly in our tent. "Want to train?"
"We can't while on a mission, you know that." I was polishing Fallen Soul in his weapon form without much interest in doing so. I kept my weapon perfectly clean at all times, just as Nanoha-mama did. I guess it became a habit over the time I've had a device.
"We could do it mentally. Come on, Vi?"
I looked at Syn's hopeful eyes and sighed. "Okay, just for a little bit." I placed my weapon down next to us and turned to face her. Syn sat on her knees and I scooted close with my legs on either side. Our hands touched lightly and we slowly laced our fingers together. Her forehead met mine and I felt her breath on my lips. Inhale... Exhale...Inhale...
Our breathing matched after a few moments and I felt the link with her establish. We were suddenly in the air over a river, both in barrier jackets and holding our weapons. I was aware of her body being close to mine but at the same time my mind was telling me exactly where she was in the air. She attacked first, drawing the string of her bow and forming an arrow into it, smiling at me respectfully before shooting.
"Excuse me!" Someone poked their head into our tent, shocking both of us enough to gasp and fall apart.
I fell on my back, hands escaping my friends, and groaned while bringing my fingers to my head to rub my temples. Having such an intense mental connection broken so suddenly always gave me a migraine. "What?" I asked a little harshly.
"Oh, sorry, I didn't mean to intrude..."
Syn answered before I could. "Keep your fantasies to yourself, we were sparring mentally." She rubbed her head ruefully. "What do you need? Can we help you?"
"The sergeant wishes to see you." The man looked at us one more time before continuing. "He's in the middle of the base."
I nodded at Syn and we both picked up our weapons before heading out of our tent and into the warmth of the sun. I spotted the man at once and we both saluted when close enough. "Reporting, sir." I stated crisply.
"I just got word about troops coming towards us. I would like you two to be at the front line."
Syn saluted and was given permission to speak freely. "Sir, I am a ranged mage. I would do best in the middle or near the end of formation."
"Are you not fast enough?"
"Sir, I have more defense than maneuverability."
He snorted. "I wouldn't have guessed with those little fairy wings of yours." I grinned and had to bite my tongue not to laugh. Syn was touchy about her barrier jacket, that I had personally helped make, and the cute little wings on it were normally a point that most people avoided talking about. Back at the base we were both highly respected, but here it seemed as if we were being treated as we are... twelve year old privates.
Syn narrowed her eyes but didn't say anything. Instead, the man continued. "Fine, take your back position. Do you have any problems, Vivio?"
"No sir, I am best at mid to close range."
"Good. Go to where everyone is gathering and prepare to fight." He glared at us both, hard. "And do your job properly this time, will you?" He turned his back on us and I stuck my tongue out at him.
"This time, Vi." Syn held up her bow and grinned. "Let's show him and Hayate both that we are more than capable of doing missions on our own!"
She was always so confident, but almost never overly so. Seeing her standing there with that look on her face filled me with pride as well, and I couldn't help but smile at her. "Yeah! We'll show them!"
They say that the military brain wash people to make them better fighters. I was never one to believe this, as everyone I knew was really nice and loving. You would never know that Nanoha-mama was called 'The White Devil' if you just met her on the street. I guess that's why this was so surreal to me. I didn't even feel it when I ran into battle with the others, didn't even think about what we were going to do. I knew that we fought for the happiness of others and that's what I thought about.
When I killed someone right in front of me, when I loaded a cartridge to overpower a weaker mage, when Syn's arrows showered around me to protect my body from the ones who tried to surround me...
I didn't understand death, nor did I fear it. Not because I was cocky or stupid, but because I had been around it so long. People bragging about their counts after a mission, the newspapers saying that peace had been brought back thanks to the mages battling... It was common, and I didn't know if that scared me or not.
But right here, right now, I could only embrace it. The people on this planet were being wrongfully repressed, being hurt for other people's gain. I didn't like that, and that's why Syn and I trained.
I slashed someone and loaded another cartridge, blasting a group who tried to charge me. When they fell I took to the air and shot several blast down on the ground to scatter the mass trying to loop around our meager forces. Syn's arrows saved me once again and I twirled around them, following the controllable projectiles until I was in another group of people.
I couldn't imagine what they thought when they saw me. A girl, no higher than their stomachs, in a barrier jacket, holding a device. The next thing that happened, a multi-colored swirling ball of energy formed between them and exploded around, sending people reeling back.
It was then that I felt a sharp jab in my shoulder. A magically enforced blade ripped through my jacket and I felt my stomach lurch when I saw it drip blood on my front side. It was a small dagger, the size of a throwing knife, but it still freaked me out.
The owner of the weapon was shot quickly by Syn, who landed next to me and loaded a cartridge into her bow. Seconds passed slowly before I found myself several yards back in the midst of our own battalion via Syn's teleportation. "Vi!" She pulled the blade from my shoulder and looked at me with panicking eyes. "Are you okay!?"
"It hurts," I told her truthfully while flexing my fingers and then opening and closing my hand. "I don't... think it did much damage."
"It went clean through, you idiot!" Her voice broke and her eyes were shaking.
"We can't let them think they hurt me, or it won't matter if we win this or not right now." She knew I was right but I could also tell she didn't want to admit it. "Syn, we need to do something, fast."
"... Okay." She hefted me up in the sky just as a medical team came running to us. Together we hovered and held out our devices, loading a few cartridges in them to boost our power.
Several arrows appeared around us and I nodded briefly, dashing forward in the air as she fired. The barrage brought screams from all around, but when it finally cleared and they were able to see the damage done, I was standing there with my own device, pointing it into the thick of things. "Starlight Canon!" I screamed out the attack, bracing myself and yelling as it ripped all around me.
The force was retreating, and when my blast died down, I stood there and glared, watching them run. I had a barrier up, in case they tried anything, but I also knew that they needed fear if we were going to hold out much longer. Our forces were dwindling and we had no food. If they attacked us constantly we would surely be over ran. This way, they knew we were serious and would probably hold off on another attack so they could plan.
"Vi!" Syn landed next to me after a while and I nodded at her, turning and flying off above everyone else but at a low altitude so they couldn't fire anything at us without endangering their own troops.
When we landed at the base I finally let myself look at the wound, groaning when I noticed a thick red area around it, flecked with white. "Oh no..."
"Damn it!" Syn grabbed me and holstered me into her arms, running to the medical tent. The girl never cussed, despite being such a smart ass, and I knew that it probably looked as bad as it was starting to feel as my adrenaline wore off. "Hey! Help!" She yelled, bursting in the tent. "Help her!"
"Syn, I'm okay." I noticed that the world was starting to spin a little.
"I'm... I'm... " I felt strangely hot all of a sudden and black spots flecked my vision.
"VIVIO!" Syn's voice was wavering, despite my best efforts to hear her. "Vivio! Help her!"
As pain took over, the world grew darker as I was laid on a table. Voices faded as they talked, something about restraining, spasming, and poison...
I was terrified to say the least. Vivio had been in that hut for the better part of three hours and for some reason I felt worse when the screaming had died off. Several other soldiers came and went from the tent. Some were worse than others but right now I could only focus on worrying about my partner.
"Excuse me," The words made me turn to see a doctor standing next to me and I quickly stood up. "Are you that mage's friend?"
"Yes ma'am, how is she?" It was hard to keep from screaming but deep down I had faith in her to pull through. That feeling was keeping me sane right now.
"She is resting. I did all I could to stop the infection and right now all that is left is for her to ride out the medicine as it is purged from her body."
"Can I see her?"
"I would like it if you could move her to her bunk, if you would. I need the bed for others." She turned and walked back into the building and I suddenly felt like punching the woman. I was thankful to her for saving my friend, of course, but she didn't have to sound so...indifferent about it!
I cooled my head briefly before walking through the doors and moving over to a panting, sweat covered Vivio. Her eyes opened slowly and obviously took a great effort to remain that way. Gently her hand was lifted and a small smile came on her lips as she made a fist.
I tapped my fist to hers softly and she closed her eyes again, allowing me to scoop her into my arms. "So help me," I whispered to her so no one else could hear. "If you ever make me cry again, I'll hit you." Vivio didn't reply but I still felt a small change in the way she was breathing against my neck.
I carried her across the camp and went into our tent to lay her onto the sleeping bag. Her hair was matted and sweat was still clinging to her skin. What I noticed the most was the inflamed white and red area around her wound. It would probably scar, leaving a blemish of her otherwise perfect skin.
"Do you want me to wipe you off?" I asked her, not really expecting a reply. She didn't disappoint me and simply closed her eyes once more. My hands went to her shirt and slowly undid it, smiling softly at the simple white bra covering her chest. "Silly girl, you don't have a reason to wear one of those yet." My tease made her lips twitch lightly and I smiled down at her, reaching for a washcloth in my backpack. ".. Let's get you clean..."
I slowly wiped off the sweat along Vivio's neck and shoulders, careful to avoid anywhere near the glistening wound. She had some type of balm on it and I didn't want to risk wiping it away. Instead, I moved over her chest and sides, taking the dirt and grime with my cloth. Her skirt was unzipped and slid down so I could do her legs as well. Once the first pass was complete I left the tent and searched for some water. I found a pump not too far away and drew just enough to fill a small pan that came in my backpack for emergency cooking.
Vivio was just as I had left her, but was now covered in a new layer of sweat. Her eyes were closed and breathing sounded painful. "Vi..." I knelt down next to her and dipped a rag into the water to wet it and then wrung out the extra. I slid it over her cheek and my friend leaned towards it lightly. "Like that?" I realized that I was whispering to her now for some reason.
I never thought I'd be in this type of situation. I knew that we would get pretty banged up on some missions but other than the standard bruising from training, I've never seen her hurt before. A weird sensation pulled at me and my chest felt tight when she whimpered. I pulled my hand away from her wound and apologized softly for getting too close to it.
The sponge bath lasted for only a few minutes and the drying didn't take much longer. I put on her spare pants and left her top bare save for her bra that I moved one strap down and away from the cut. Now with nothing else to do, I simply sat next to her and fanned the girl to try and make her more comfortable.
I awoke the next morning by a low groan coming from next to me. I have heard it many times before and knew at once that it was Vivio's snoring while she battled against waking up. My eyes opened and I saw her slowly sit up and wince, bringing a hand to her shoulder. "Don't push yourself," I told her while I sat up as well. "How are you?"
"Sick," She replied simply, rubbing her eyes. "But more over, just tired."
"Go back to sleep."
I pushed her back down and held her good shoulder firm when she gave a half hearted attempt to move. "If you need something, let me do it for you."
She grinned. "I need to to go the bathroom."
I almost fell over. "... Fine, I'll walk you." I embarrassingly helped her right back up and aided her in slowly putting on a shirt. "Your breasts are getting bigger," I lied to her, trying to make her feel a little better.
"Because Syn-chan rubs them," She teased me right back, but yelped when I accidentally touched her.
"Sorry..." She slowly got her smile back and opened her eyes, leaning heavily on me to stand. " Can you walk okay?" She testingly took a few wobbly steps while I held on to her but after the third one I simply lifted her into my arms. "I'll carry you."
"Syn, I can walk..."
"I don't care." I glared at her, daring the girl to challenge me, and won rather easily. Her head leaned against my neck and her good arm went around my shoulder so she could cuddle me.
"You stink," She informed me.
"You do too." I replied simply as we exited our tent. The base was semi quiet, save for a few people making reports and shift changes. The way to the restrooms were made without incident and a few minutes later we were back at our tent. "I want a shower."
"No fair..." Vivio looked up at me with a pout when I laid her back down. "If I can't shower, you can't either."
"Where is the logic in that?" I took some of our nutrient bars out from our bags and broke the seal on one. "You need to eat."
"I'm hungry," Vivio looked at her injured shoulder and gave me a lopsided grin. "I can't move it."
"I'll feed you." I simply broke off a piece and laughed at the long gummy trail that was left between the torn off chunk and the rest of the bar. "Yummy."
"Har har." Vivio allowed me to place it in her mouth and she chewed slowly. "Ugh, it hurts..."
"Chewing... it hurts my neck when I bite down..."
I looked at her shoulder and saw that the injury did, in fact, swell up her neck a little. "Will you be okay?"
Vivio grimaced and swallowed thickly, coughing and gagging a moment before I gave her some water to drink. "Thank you..." She coughed once more and shook her head. "I can't eat these things." Her stomach growled at her. "Well... no pain, no gain, right?"
I shook my head and sat close to her. "Here, I'll help." I put a bite in my mouth and chewed it, grinning at her. "Open up."
"Come on, don't be a baby." I glared at her and she rolled her eyes before opening her mouth and allowing me to give her the bite.
"Eww, our tongues touched."
I blushed darkly and looked away, ripping another bite off the bar. "Shut up. Don't tell anyone."
I heard her giggle and I looked over at her, getting a cute smile. I felt my cheeks color more and she leaned forward, placing her lips on mine and rolling her tongue in my mouth to get the food. She chewed once and swallowed it, cheeks turning red as well. "Hey, Syn?"
"Hm?" I took another bite, not looking at her.
"Thanks for always being there for me."
I blinked and looked at her. Our eyes met briefly and I had to turn away, suddenly embarrassed. "Be quiet and eat."
"Mmhmmnn." We kissed again and I gave her the food.
Another day passed by us without anything eventful. We spent most of the time making rounds with a search group, but in general it was peaceful. Well, peaceful to an extent. The air at the base was alive and I could tell a few people were debating if they were pissed at us for losing their supply trucks or happy that we were fighting alongside them.
One thing was for certain, though, people were getting restless. Going without food for three days would do that, I suppose. Vivio and I were rationing out supplies just incase, and were about to break down and cook one of our M.R.Es.
I glanced over at my partner and frowned slightly when she touched her would again. She looked over at me and smiled to ease my worries but I still felt a little worry flash through my body. Her weapon arm was useless and unfortunately, she was more of a melee fighter than I was.
"What is it?" She asked lightly.
"Don't worry, I'm fine."
"I know." She looked at me for a moment before hugging her knees. "Think they'll be here soon?" I asked her, trying to lighten the mood.
"Should be here today sometime, if their mission was completed in the time they said it would be their last communication before we left."
"Then it'll end today." I sighed out and went to reach for my drink but sirens blared to life around me and screams ran thick in the base.
"They have an army!" One of them yelled out. "Countless! They're coming now!"
Vivio looked over at me and I nodded, running out into the fray. Several starving soldiers were trying to scramble together and fight, but it was clear when we saw them in their current state. Four days without food, there was no way they could fight off an army.
... If we didn't fix our mistake, everyone here would die.
I walked with Vivio toward the head sergeant's hut and saluted when he finally looked up from his desk. Currently there were a few people around the furniture, each looking as if they were going to kick something at any given second. "That bad?" I asked curiously while taking a place next to the table and looking down at a map of the battlefield around their base.
"Even an idiot can see we will be over ran if they get close enough to flank us."
Vivio pointed to an area away from the small base's front entrance. "It narrows down here thanks to the mountains. They will have no choice but to bottle-neck for a brief moment."
The men scoffed at her words. "That's why we chose this area for our base, private."
I could tell Vivio was mad at the words but she didn't let it show to them. "As I was saying, Syn and I can wait for it and use a mass area-of-effect spell once they start to get through. It will divide their forces, the first part can be fought off by you, the middle part will be destroyed, and the last flank will be delayed."
They looked at us with a cross between doubt and annoyance. "Can you two do something that powerful?"
Vivio smirked. "Takamachi Nanoha is my mama. If I couldn't blow up this small of an area, she would disown me."
I had to bite back a snicker at their astonished looks. "I will be with her as well." I got their attention on me and I put a hand on my hip. "I specialize in ranged attacks. With Vi's power added to mine, I can make quite a big boom."
They hesitated before speaking again. "Will this hurt your battle performance?"
"Well," I looked at Vivio's arm, which she couldn't even lift without wincing. "Actually, if-"
"No sir." Vivio cut me off and continued before I could say anything else. "Going by the information we had before we dispatched, our backup is supposed to be here shortly. They're probably already on a ship heading this way."
They nodded and turned to talk to each other while I glared at my friend and forced a mental connection. 'Vi, you can't fight like that!'
Her red eye looked over at me but she kept facing forwards. 'I'm stronger than that.'
'I won't let you.'
'You can' stop me.' Even though she wasn't actually speaking, I heard the amused tone lacing her thoughts. She was smiling just lightly and her hand reached over to hook one of our fingers together. 'I have to show my mama what I'm capable of, so she will stop worrying about me so much.'
I couldn't really say no to that, as I would have said the same thing. Despite us both hating being in our parent's shadows, we still wanted to make them proud of their children. 'Mou, you've been around me way too long, Vi.'
'Because Syn is my partner.' She gave my hand a quick squeeze and let go before they turned back to us and approved our plan.
I knew it would be a scary sight, hovering in the air while looking at an army of mages march towards us, but never really expected something on this caliber. They apparently really wanted this base, for whatever reason they needed it on this planet, and it showed. Several hundred units were coming toward the few hundred waiting at our backs.
"Syn, you scared?" Vivio looked over at me nervously and bit her bottom lip.
"Honestly? Just a little." It would be stupid not to be. Our mistake on the first day had lead us here. Our disregard for Hayate's orders could have very well condemned them all. Now we were doing something that she had forbid us to do, yet again, and this time it could get really bad. Vivio was hurt to a point where she couldn't even hold her weapon in her main hand and after doing this attack, I would be drained of a lot of my magical power. If our backup didn't come really fast, we would be in trouble. "Hey, Vivio?" She hummed at me to show she was listening. Looking over at her, I felt the feeling in my chest come again. The same feeling I've had for a while now, enhanced by our experiences together over the last few days. "In case anything happens... I want to tell you something."
"Don't," Her word made me close my mouth and, for a moment, I felt hurt. "Tell me when we get back, okay?" Her eyes met mine and she smiled at me, cheeks coloring ever so slightly. "I have something I want to tell you too."
"Right." I nodded firmly at her and turned back to the army, now going through the area we wanted them too. "When we get back..." I held out my hand and formed my bow-type device. My eyes narrowed and I started focusing my magic to gather. I felt Vivio get behind me and wrap an arm around my waist. Her heartbeat thundered through her chest and into my back, locking onto mine and beating in unison. Just as her mother could suck magical energy right out of the air, Vivio could control the flow of energy around her and direct it as she pleased. I felt her powers flow into my body and gather in my device, forming a multi-colored circle under us.
The crack of energy pulsing in my veins made my body ache. The surge was draining me physically and the hand holding onto my bow was starting to burn. "Ready, Vi!?" My voice came out as a yell to be heard over the roaring magic swirling around us. I felt her nod against my back and I pulled back the newly formed string on my bow. "Hrunting Breaker!" I released the arrow and felt the energy rip from my body. The clouds above us scattered and the ground us shook with a fierce roar. Several blueish streaks of energy rained from the heavens onto the army heading towards us. The mountain area they were passing through crumbled and the barrage made the neat ranks flair out into chaos.
Vivio fell first, and I went after her almost immediately. Our powers spent, I barely had time to loop an arm under her waist and stop our fall before we both collapsed onto the ground. The people around us were cheering at the destruction and running all around to press the surprise ambush attack. I slowly pushed myself up and shook my head to clear it. The blast had sapped almost all of my magical energy and I could tell that Vivio was drained as well. She sat up and wobbled, holding onto her shoulder with one hand. After we both made it to our feet I gripped my bow and formed an arrow into it, shooting at the people who were trying to push through.
My partner took a breath and ran forward, holding Falling Soul with her off-hand and slashing it as best she could while injured. The enemy was already starting to put pressure on us and our weakened state didn't help matters any. Vivio downed one more person and fell weakly to her knees. Blood was pouring from her wound and her body was shivering. "Vivio!" The name didn't come from my lips, but at the same time it sounded familiar.
I looked as Vivio turned away to see the face of her worried mother flying at us as fast as she could. My friend's body went slack with relief and a warm smile came on her face. "I knew they would come..." She breathed out in satisfaction. "We'll be okay now."
I saw it before she did. A soldier we had thought to be down for the count was in mid leap towards Vivio's turned body. The sun's light reflected off the claws of his fist weapon and everything felt like it was going in slow motion for me. Vivio's eyes widened, her arm moving up her device to block. I started running for her, voice lost in warning. Falling Soul slipped from her bloodied fingers as her arm gave out under the weight of it. I could tell right then that Nanoha wouldn't make it in time. My body stumbled as I lunged forward, phasing through the air in a short-length teleportation.
The pain was instant, ripping through my back like a fire trying to consume me. It took my mind a few seconds to catch up with my body and when it did, my feet gave out under me. Vivio's body broke my fall and I saw the man lurch to the side seconds later, followed by Nanoha.
The fall sent glass through my veins, a burning, searing pain in my chest. The attack made me turn around from the force of it and I was laying on Vivio, facing her but having difficulty seeing her eyes.
What's your name?
I felt her breath in my ear. Soft but scared, gentle but so firm... She was trying to tell me something but I couldn't quite understand it.
Your mama is an Ace too?
Mmn! We should be friends!
Vivio was trying harder now. Her arms were pulling on me, breathing just a little harder.
We're going to show them, Vi!
We'll make everyone see us for our own purposes instead of our mother's!
Was she...crying? The warm liquid seeped onto my face through my hair and ran down to my neck. She was still talking... What was she saying...? It's getting hard to hear anything...
We're going to be a team!
I just heard! We're officially partners from here on out!
I felt her cheek on mine, her tears on my skin, hear shaking breathing on my neck. She was trying so hard to tell me something... I want to hear it Vivio...
Don't worry, I'll take good care of Syn.
And I'll take good care of you, Vi.
The world grew darker and the arms embracing my body seemed to be pulling me into her soul. I no longer felt the pain, no longer heard the rustling wind of her words in my ear, but I could understand her now...what she meant.
Because Vivio is my most important person.
The cries of the girl holding her friend drowned in the war around her. Nothing held meaning anymore. Not the mission, not the outcome, nor the people trying to tell her it would be alright. Nothing mattered but the still girl in her arms, the ache in her heart, and the feeling of having something stolen from her. Mis-colored eyes closed tightly and she pulled the girl closer, throat tightening in pain from the scream still coming from it. No comfort came from her mother's words, no safety was found in the embrace from behind. The only thing she knew was unmoving form in her arms, and the fact she would never be able to be with her ever again.