A/N: I think I forgot to mention that there was an Omake Epilogue to Artist!Fate. But this is the last chapter, really. Enjoy!
Omake 4.1- BadCook!Nanoha + SweetGirlfriend!Fate
The two girls giggled as they walked cheek to cheek to the studio. "Precia-san won't mind?"
"She'll be with Father for a while yet." Fate unlocked the door and tugged Nanoha in with her. She kissed her gently before tugging her up the stairs to her room. "Your mother won't mind?"
"She's used to me sleeping over at friends' houses." Nanoha smiled as she looked around. "This is... cute. Your room."
"Really? I think it's beautiful. Know why?" Fate hugged her from behind, swaying their bodies together. "Because you're in it now."
Nanoha laughed and turned to Fate. "Before, you said you'd try my cookies if I made some with my own recipe... right?"
Fate was still smiling as she sat down with Nanoha on the bed. "Yeah... did you make some?"
Nanoha nodded and pulled a bag out of her larger purse/bag. Offering it, she said, "A second birthday gift."
"Awww... Thank you." Fate opened the bag and smiled at the pristine perfection that was the heart and star shaped cookies. Holding one up, she said, "I'll be eating then."
For a few holy moments, it was like a little piece of heaven in her mouth. And then she bit into it.
And all hell broke loose.
Fate ran from the room and opened a water bottle with lightning speed. She downed nearly half the bottle before coughing to get the crumbs back into the right pipe.
"It's no good, huh?" Nanoha leaned on the doorframe of Fate's room, looking utterly dejected. "I guess there's a reason we don't put chili in chocolate chip cookies..."
"Chili? That's what that was?" Fate looked at the half finished cookie in her hand. Walking over to Nanoha, she murmured, "Sorry, it's not that it's not... good... I'm just... umm... bad about handling hot stuff. It just... took me by surprise is all."
As if to prove her point, Fate put the rest of the cookie into her mouth. She then chewed painfully, ignoring the tears stinging her eyes. After swallowing, she said, "See? It's not bad at all. It's rather..."
"You don't have to lie to me. I know it's bad." Nanoha sighed and flopped down on the edge of the bed. "I have no sense of personal taste."
"That's not true at all. Come on, don't be so hard on yourself." Taking a deep breath, Fate ate another cookie, managing to devour it with only a slight wince. By the time the fourth cookie went down, her tongue had numbed and the level of heat radiating from her mouth had stabilized to an endurable state.
Nanoha watched in silence as Fate calmly finished the bag of cookies.
"Ah, you know what? Precia-san will want to try some when she gets home, so I'll save the last few for her." Fate sighed as she set down the cookies on the night table and finished the last of the water in that bottle. After licking her lips, she felt decidedly better and turned to Nanoha. "Thank you for the cookies, Nanoha."
Nanoha broke into tears and cried into Fate's chest, whispering apologies and words of regret. Fate held her, saying nothing one way or the other.
"If you get sick," Nanoha's eyes glistened with conviction as she looked up at Fate and promised, "I'll stay with you and nurse you back to health, I swear."
Fate smiled weakly. "All right. I hope it doesn't come to that, but all right."
Omake 4.2- BirthdayGirl!Nanoha
"Are you peeking? You're peeking aren't you? Mou, I want it to be a surprise!"
Nanoha giggled. "Just tell me what it is already, Fate-chan." A surprised look softened into a sweet smile as Fate removed her hands from Nanoha's eyes and instead kissed her gently. When Fate stepped back, Nanoha saw that they were in Fate's room. "Fate-chan, what...?"
"Happy Birthday, Nanoha."
Nanoha opened her mouth to retort that her birthday was yesterday and it had been celebrated by a nice gathering at her family's bakery, but Fate seemed to have something else planned. "Come to think of it, you said you had a really big surprise for me for my birthday but you didn't give me anything... or did you...?"
Fate laughed. "Yeah, sorry, I'm a little late. It couldn't be helped- my timing was bad. But I want to give it to you now, so pretend it's still your birthday, okay?"
Nanoha giggled, swinging Fate's hand back and forth. "Every day I get to spend with you feels like my birthday."
"You must be very old then."
Before Nanoha could retort, Fate retreated, walking over to her closet. At Fate's offhand request, Nanoha sat down on the edge of the bed and waited. While waiting for Fate to take out whatever surprise she had in store for her, Nanoha looked around the room. A few weeks ago, this room had been an absolute mess, but a little teasing went a long way, and by the time Nanoha had made her third visit to the room, it was as neat and orderly as a hotel room, except cozier.
"All right, here it is. Sorry for the delay."
Nanoha's eyes widened as she looked at the larger rectangular box that was almost as tall as Fate. Standing up, she walked over to the box and muttered, "You didn't get me a life-size android or something, did you?"
Fate snorted with restrained laughter. "As if I could afford something like that with what I make- even if those were for sale. No, it's just the only box I could find that would fit it. Go ahead, open it."
Nanoha looked again at the yellow wrapping paper covered box and the lacy pink ribbon. With a lopsided grin of amused resignation, Nanoha slowly pulled on the ribbon, undoing the bow. She then painstakingly unwrapped it in such a way that the paper would be preserved.
Fate grew antsy just watching her. "Mou, you take forever. Just rip it off all ready. It's not even very expensive wrapping paper."
Nanoha giggled. "But it's the first present Fate-chan has ever given me! I want to save the paper anyway."
Fate sighed and started pacing, her eyes darting towards Nanoha's calm ones every so often, watching her pull off the paper little by little. And then once it was off, painstakingly opening the box itself.
Nanoha stopped when she saw the case within the box. Saw the glimmer underneath the cushioning. "Fate... you didn't... you didn't /really/..."
Suddenly, Nanoha's pace increased dramatically and in ten seconds flat, the case was open on her lap and her breath had hitched as she ran her fingers over the instrument. It was a black guitar with gold trim. "Fate..."
"Do you... do you like it?"
Nanoha looked up at her, her face void of any emotion other than mind-blown surprise. "How...? Why...?" Gathering her wits about her, she formed a coherent question. "How much did you pay for this? It must have cost a fortune."
"Ah... The price isn't important. Nanoha? Do you like it?"
Nanoha nodded slowly. Her hand caressed the instrument again. "Why a guitar?"
It was then that Nanoha noticed that Fate was holding up her yellow pick, Bardiche. "Will you teach me how we can make music together?"
That was when it occurred to Nanoha what Fate had done. Each had a piece of a puzzle, each had something the other needed to make music. To make music that was beyond just the mediocre level.
Nanoha smiled. She took the instrument out of its case carefully, setting the case down on the floor. She then scooted away from the edge of the bed and tuned it by ear. Once she was ready, Nanoha held the guitar out to one side and patted the part of the bed that was showing between her legs. "Come sit here."
Curious, Fate obeyed, watching as Nanoha locked her into place by taking hold of the guitar with both hands. One hand went to Fate's and guided it to the guitar strings.
Fate shivered as Nanoha's breath grazed her ear, whispering instructions. "I'll start by teaching you which strings are which then."
Fate looked over at Nanoha.
Nanoha smiled and kissed her. "Thank you. I'm sure we'll be making music together for a long time to come."
"Y-Yeah... Yes..." Fate smiled broadly, realizing what Nanoha meant. She would have hugged Nanoha if their positions allowed them to do that easily. Since she couldn't, she merely kissed Nanoha's nose. "Let's... Let's make music together."
"Only with you, Fate-chan." Nanoha settled her chin on Fate's shoulder. "Only with you."
Omake 4.3- Auction!Fate
The hall was ahustle and abustle with people from various backgrounds, all looking for new pieces to add to their collection.
"And now... the last piece of the night! We have here a beautiful piece from one of our younger artists, titled simply, "A Woman and Her Dog." The strokes are of top quality, perfect, precise, and yet with an essential flow that permeates the whole piece. The color choices, the contours of expression, none are worthy of complaint. So! Let's start the bidding at 25! Remember, all proceeds go to helping the church by request of the artist. Now do I have a bidder for 25? Ah, yes, the man in the black shirt. I have 25... do I have 30? 30! Yes! 35? 35, come on people, 35 anyone? Ah, the woman in the yellow dress-"
"What are you doing?" Fate hissed at Nanoha, making a grab for her hand. "Put your hand down!"
"But I want it too!" Nanoha grinned as the price went up again, and she bid once more.
"Nanoha... how much are you going to raise the price? What if you don't get outbid, you'll have to-"
"And that's 150, this is great folks, excellent. Do I hear a 155? Going once, going twice, ah, the woman in the yellow dress again. 155! Going once, go-"
Tired of the silent auction, Nanoha's contender for the piece shouted out, "250!"
"Oh, goodness gracious, we have a bid for 250! Can the woman in the yellow dress beat that? No? Then, going once, going twice..."
"Fate!" Nanoha slapped Fate's arm. "What's the point if you buy it?"
Fate protested, "You got me all wound up! Now I want it too..."
Fate's eyes widened. "He still wants it? Just who is this other person?"
"Probably someone who likes investing in young artists with potential."
Fate sighed. "I suppose it wasn't meant to be. They can have it."
"You sure gave up fast."
Fate rolled her eyes. "Oh quiet, you."
"Sold! To the man in the black shirt for 310! Thank you very much, sir. Please go to the front desk to conduct the exchange. And that's a wrap folks! I hope you'll enjoy the other items we have at this auction, not just the art- although we have some wonderful selections this year..."
"Come on." Fate tugged Nanoha's arm as her eyes followed the man. "I want to meet this person that would bid for an item up from 25 to 310."
Nanoha giggled. "You're not going to say I helped? Well, you were the one that bid 300..."
Fate didn't respond as she waited for the man to pick up the covered portrait after writing a check for it. As he turned to walk away, he stopped face-to-face with Fate. Nervously, she bowed and introduced herself, "Ah, good evening. I was the artist for the piece you bought and I was just wondering who was the one who thought my work was worth so much?"
"A mere 310 is nothing for me. I'm always happy to help out the church. But you've got a good hand at art and I recognized it as such. Nothing more." He held out his hand. "The name's Graham. Yours, young lady?"
"Ah... Fate Testerossa, sir."
"Testerossa is it... well, Miss Testerossa, I'll be keeping an eye on you. Do you have your own studio?"
"Ah, no," Fate flushed but continued hurriedly, fishing through her purse for a business card, "But I work as an apprentice at one. Ah, the address is here."
"Ah... Precia-san is it... Yes, I can see her influence in your work, now that I think about it." Graham looked over at Nanoha. "And this was the model for your piece?"
Fate nodded as Nanoha bowed. "Ah... yes, sir, she is."
"Mm... Commendable. You two must be very close. I can see the chemistry between model and artist in the final works. Miss Testerossa, will you promise an old man something?"
"Ah... yes, sir?"
"Can I trust that you will always keep the feelings you had when you made this piece and never betray those feelings?"
Fate smiled with resolute confidence. "Without fail."
"Good answer." Graham chuckled. "Perhaps I shall visit you in the near future, Miss Testerossa. Well then, have a good evening."
"Ah, you as well, sir."
As Graham walked off, Fate watched him go for a good few minutes before her legs failed her. Nanoha worriedly held her, asking if she was all right, asking what was wrong...
Fate merely answered, "I talked to Graham. The Graham. He bought my work. He's interested in my future works. This is it, Nanoha." Fate turned appraising eyes on Nanoha. "And it was all because of you. Thank you, Nanoha. Thank you so much for walking into my life."
Nanoha smiled back with equal warmth.
"Well, I suppose you should thank Yuuno too then, for jumping down your shirt. I may have never stopped to get to know you otherwise."
They looked at each other in silence, before they both burst out laughing.
These were the good times.