A/N: Sorry for delay in updating. I'd like to take a moment to welcome Angel back home from her summer break and thank her once again for proof reading my chapters. I'm sure everyone else is happy to hear this as well, judging from everyone asking where she went for my past few chapters...
Dear Mom and Mama. I know you probably thought I wouldn't write to you while I was in training, but I have a little extra time today because our instructor Kayen got called to meet with some higher ups for the rest of the day. I know you're probably worried about me so I'll go ahead and ease your troubled minds and tell you that I am just fine. This isn't anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be, judging by the two weeks that I have been here. I kind of imagined the standard boot camp. You know, crawling in the dirt, jumping jacks at four in the morning, that kind of thing. Instead, I have this really bizarre instructor who is making us do things that I don't really understand. He focuses on you knowing our partners more than I think is needed, but at the same time I am learning a lot of things I never knew. Honestly, I'm not sure if he is a really bad instructor, or a really really good one. Anyway, my partner -as you know- is Syn Virage. She's a... spunky type of girl. She is very open minded and doesn't hesitate to speak her mind. At first she got me into a lot of trouble but now she is really holding back for me, I can tell. She's really energetic, but not hyperly so. I can talk to her for hours and not really hit a dull moment, which is good for our sake -trust me on that one. All in all, I have to say that even though this is hard... I'm actually enjoying it in a strange kind of way. I'm living my dream, you know? I have a really great friend, my first partner ever, and I'm experiencing the military that my mamas love so much. I hope you two are making it fine over there. I can't wait to see you again. Your daughter, Vivio.
Vivio looked over at Syn as the girl sleepily rose up from her bed. Wild blue hair was sticking up all around her, making Vivio laugh to herself lightly. "Hey," she greeted her lightly. "How was your nap?"
Syn mumbled out an incoherent response while climbing down from the top bunk. A long stretch was made as she walked over to the other desk in the room and sat down in the chair backwards. "I never thought I'd say this, but I'm actually a little bored." One hand went up to rub her blue eye. "I normally never take naps."
"Well, we did do a lot this morning... It's almost dinner time, want to get something to eat?" Her room mate nodded at her and rolled her way over to the dresser to get some clothes. "Ugh," Vivio fanned her face when Syn got closer to her. "You reek, go take a shower."
"Hey you don't smell too pretty either." Syn growled at her. "You smell like sweat and dirt."
Vivio looked at her a moment before laughing. "To the showers then."
"Pass." Syn stood and started picking out some clothes. "We're just going to get dirty again anyway."
"Oh come on, we haven't taken a nice relaxing bath since we got here." Vivio took out both of their standard issue military uniforms and handed Syn's to her. "Here. Let's go take a nice hot soak and change into these, then wash our training uniforms." Syn gave her a weird look but the blond insisted, pushing the clothes out more. "Come on, it'll be fun."
"... Okay." Syn gave in reluctantly and accepted the clothes. 'I didn't really like baths but I guess it won't hurt to keep her company... besides, if her mother keeps leaving us brownies and cookies, I'd feel bad if I wasn't a good roommate to her.' Her eyes glanced at the half eaten plate of snacks they received the other day before walking out of the room with her friend. "I wonder why she leaves them for us while we're training and not at night when we're in the room?"
"Huh?" Vivio looked at her oddly. "What do you mean?"
"Oh! Um, nothing." Syn flipped some of her hair over her shoulder, a sign that she was embarrassed about something. "Anyway, what do you think about our training so far?"
The blond sighed out during their walk to the bathhouse. "I'm still really confused at the training. I mean, I don't really mind talking so much... but really, why do I need to know what your favorite color is?"
Syn rolled her eyes. "I felt like falling over when he asked you that..." She grumbled to herself. "I can't believe he made us do push ups because you didn't know..."
"Purple wasn't it?"
"Dark purple." Syn opened the door and held it for Vivio, who smiled at her thankfully. "I don't get along with light colors."
"I figured, everything you own is dark." Vivio looked up at the sky as they walked across the base.
The blue haired girl gave her an odd look. "Why do you always do that?"
"What?" She blinked and glanced over at her friend.
"Stare at the sky? You do it in the room too when you're by the window."
"Oh," Vivio hummed to herself. After a small mental debate if she should share the embarrassing reason or not, she blushed and began her story. "My mama really loves the sky. She's in the air force, and she said that she learned how to fly when she was nine."
"Mmhmm." A small nod confirmed her words. "She was fighting something, probably ranked double-A or so, and Yuuno-san -ah, he's the one who taught Nanoha-mama at the beginning- told her to fly so she just... flew."
"That's... kind of annoying." Syn interrupted with a growl.
"I know, right?" Vivio grinned at her and together they entered the large bathhouse of the base. "But anyway, on her planet, flying was unheard of. She dreamed about it ever since she could remember, and when she could fly, she fell in love. I guess I just sort of inherited it after being raised by her."
Syn hummed to herself, placing her clean clothes in a cubby hole next to everyone else's. Taking a note of her number, she began to strip down. "You're going into the air force?"
"Navy, like my mother." Syn pondered this. "I wonder why we were teamed together under this crazy instructor if we are going into different divisions?"
Vivio hummed to herself to show that she was thinking the same thing. A small bit of silence came over them as their clothing was removed. The blond finished first, placing the dirty articles in the slot above her clean ones neatly while Syn crammed hers in her own. Together they walked to the showering section and claimed two stalls that were side by side. Raising up her hand, a warm spray of water came down upon her. At once, she pressed the up button next to where the water was coming from to make it a few degrees warmer. Beside her, Syn knocked hers down to get a cold stream to flow along her body. The combined forces made a thick fog hover around their stalls as the air battled to create condensation on everything around them.
Syn quickly wet her hair and started rubbing shampoo into it, using her fingertips to massage it into her scalp before gripping the blue mass behind her and lathering it. Once done, she reached for the soap and moved it along her body, cleaning herself quickly. After a fast rinse she looked over at Vivio, who was still just working on her hair. "You're so slow." She rested her arms on top of the stall divider and watched the girl move to rinse her hair.
"You're just fast." She closed her mouth as the soapy water ran over it and quickly turned around so the spray was beating on her face. "I got soap in my eyes..." She heard a snicker which made her smile to herself. "Why so fast? Don't you enjoy showers?" Her body turned to finish rinsing off the soap.
"Hate them." Syn reached back to wring her hair out. "I don't like my hair being wet."
"It's heavy," Syn sighed out with slight annoyance. "I'd do anything to keep my hair dry."
"I see." Vivio started to clean her body. "Do you want to leave?" She looked away so she didn't have to show her disappointment. "I can bathe alone, it's okay." The girl almost bit her tongue when she realized how that sounded.
"It's okay, I'll stay." Syn sighed to herself. "A little while won't hurt." She heard a happy sound come from her partner.
"I'll put your hair up in a towel while we soak."
Syn smirked. "Thanks but I don't like people touching my hair."
"Oh? Why?" Vivio looked over at her friend, who blushed darkly and turned away. 'Ohhhh, she's like Fate-mama I bet.'
Vivio rolled to the side of a blast that blew up a small clot of dirt where she had just been standing. Her hair flew around as she quickly righted herself to a standing position. The glass orb in her hand crackled slightly from the maneuver but held together for the girl carrying it. Bringing up her arm, Vivio slashed her swallow across a robotic drone and leaped through the black smoke left from the small explosion. As soon as her feet hit the ground a set of magical binding chains sprang to life, ensnaring her left ankle and ripping the girl up into the air. The glass ball in her arms fell from her startled grasp and dropped several feet to the ground, where it shattered just under a safety net shot out from Syn's bow. Immediately the drones around them shut down and Vivio was released to fall onto all fours with a grunt.
"Pathetic." Kayen walked over to Vivio and frowned hard at her. "Congratulations, Takamachi, you dropped the data pack that would have given the T.S.A.B the information needed to successfully complete the mission. How do you feel?"
Vivio looked down, feeling a mix of anger and frustration well up in her stomach. The simulated mission was too hard for their current level, even with two people attempting it. " I'm sorry, sir." She replied as firmly as she could. "I... I messed up."
"It wasn't completely your fault." Kayen informed her, moving his gaze to Syn, who was just close enough to join the conversation. "Virage didn't shoot down the traps."
"I thought she could handle them!" Syn countered sharply.
Vivio turned to her. "I'm not good at that! My style is more of a 'cut through them', not a 'dispel magic traps'!"
"So you're blaming me!?" Syn shouted back at her, gripping her bow tightly. "You're the one who dropped the orb!"
"Privates!" Kayen's shout made both girls stop their arguing at once. "You win as a team, and you fail as a team. Both of you should have known what the other could and couldn't do in the situation." He looked at Syn and noticed the expression on her face. "What do you have to say, Virage?"
"Sir," She reported, eyes fierce. "With all due respect, this simulated mission is way above our level." She saw Vivio nod slightly out of the corner of her eye.
"This exercise," Their sergeant told them calmly, "Was watered down to reflect your current mage levels. You didn't fail because I gave you too strong of a mission, you failed because you didn't work together enough." He brought up a monitor for them, which started to play a footage of the same mission they had just done being, taken on by two different people. Vivio quickly recognized the two mages doing it from the family albums she had seen all her life and the pictures around her house. "This footage was taken several years ago, showing two mages who had this mission set at a mage level above their current rankings. They completed it in record time, with a perfect score, having never attempted it before."
Vivio felt her stomach tighten, watching her god-mother easily slash her way through the obstacles she had just struggled with. Behind her, a ten year old Nanoha was blasting her magic bullets as fast as she could. They swirled around Fate alarmingly fast, taking out everything around her that could possibly harm the girl while Fate handled anything that might have given her partner any trouble. Next to her, Syn let out an awed whistle, speaking her thoughts aloud. "Wow, they must be child prodigies... But the one doing ranged support... she seems reckless."
"That just shows how naive you are." Kayen snorted at her, getting a repressed frown. "The ranged mage knew every move her partner would make before she made it, and the close combat mage didn't worry about being shot by friendly fire because she trusted her partner with her life. The combined force was enough to fluently counteract anything that could have offset them. I'm sure you know their names, Takamachi?"
Vivio clenched her fist. 'Stop comparing me to them!'
Syn put a hand on her hip. "Well, if we're going to be like them, you need to trust me more, Takamachi."
The blond snapped, turning to Syn and shouting at her. "Shut up, Virage-san! I can't trust you with my life while you have that smart-ass attitude of yours!"
Glaring, Syn turned to face the one screaming at her. "Don't jump all over me like that, I didn't do anything to piss you off!"
Kayen yelled at them again, making each slowly turn their gaze back to him. "I see I will need to help you again. Both of you, come with me."
Syn scoffed at the dirty look she was receiving from her partner and turned away to follow her instructor. 'What's her problem? She didn't have to get so pissy because I stated one of her flaws.'
Green and red eyes stared at the ground a few feet of the person they belonged to. Her left hand held up her device and a silent command to it made it shrink back into a ring form, covering her left middle finger. The rest of the way to the science development lab was made in silence, each girl trying their best to not look at each other. When they finally made it to their destination, Vivio felt a ting of embarrassment when she saw Shari in there as well. The older woman waved discreetly to Vivio, but Syn took notice and gave her partner a questioning glance. Still mad, Vivio snorted at her and turned her gaze before anything could be said about her being pampered. Taking offense to the rude act, Syn crossed her arms and looked away once more.
"Here we are." Kayen stopped walking, making each girl halt as well. The man picked up two yellow bracelets from a shelf and turned to the girls, giving each one. "Put these on on."
"What are they?" Syn put the device onto her left wrist since her right was occupied by her device in it's compact bracelet form. As soon as Vivio slid her wrist through her's, both of them shank to cling to their skin firmly. A yellow line of energy connected the two devices, making each girl bring it up to look at. "What is this?" The blue haired girl moved her hand more, feeling it tug on Vivio's.
"That," Kayen informed them while crossing his arms. "Is a device that I give to my more troublesome students. The bracelets sync with it's wearer's linker core, much like an intelligent device does. It then sends signals to the other bracelet to detect how in-sync your cores are. Depending on this, the bind will turn green to allow you two to move freely, yellow to make the bind not be able to expand, or to red, which makes the bind shrink."
Vivio moved her hand to look at the yellow bind connecting them, pulling Syn's wrist in the process. The girl, already annoyed at her, pulled back. The bind between them turned red and shrank, forcing them to take a few steps closer to each other. "Oh great," the blond growled. "This is going to be fun."
"Stow it, Takamachi." The bind shrank again, now forcing their wrist to touch each other's. "Son of a-!"
The blond exhaled angrily, pulling her arm closer to her own body only to have Syn tug back. "You two," Kayen made them look at him. "Will be bound to each other twenty-four hours a day, every day, until the bracelets get enough data to let me know you are working together. Understood?"
"Yes sir." The girls replied at once, voices a little begrudgingly.
"What was that!?"
"Yes sir!" They shouted at the same time, focusing their annoyance onto their instructor and making the chain bind between them glow yellow and loosen a little.
"I can't believe this," Syn muttered around a mouthful of food. The two were sitting next to each other at one of the long tables in the cafeteria for lunch, being embarrassed by everyone around them who saw their bracelets. She stuffed a few fries into her mouth and chewed angrily. "How humiliating."
"At least you have your dominate hand free." Vivio countered her in a harsh whisper while trying to eat her food with her left hand. Her right was bound to Syn's left so tightly that their bracelets were touching each other's to make it look as if they were holding hands. The contact made each of them even more annoyed, not giving them a chance to even consider working together to allow it to loosen. Vivio put her hamburger into her mouth and took a bite out of it. A small groan of annoyance came when she felt some of her dressings on it around her mouth and she quickly wiped it off with a napkin.
Syn smirked at her. "Can't even eat without getting your face messy?" She got a growl for a response. "Don't growl at me."
"Then don't make fun of me."
"Learn to take a joke."
"Learn to not be an ass!"
"God, why are you so pissed today?" Syn took another bite of her meal, choosing to not look at her anymore. "We failed that mission and you just went nuts!"
"You struck a nerve, alright? I thought you of all people would understand."
Syn chose rather to ignore her instead of ask what nerve she had hit. "Fine, whatever." She grabbed her drink and slurped on it through the straw, getting nothing but a suction noise and watered down soda. "I need a refill."
"I don't want to get up." Vivio grinned to herself before she felt a sharp jerk on her wrist, making her fall onto the floor and literally be dragged behind Syn as she made her way to the soda fountain. "You jerk!" Syn only smirked proudly to herself.
"I want to take a shower." Vivio spoke softly as they walked tiredly from the evening's training session. Each one of them sported a few extra bruises from where they tripped over each other while trying to do their routines and generally failed what they were trying to accomplish.
"I just want to get in bed."
"I need to clean," Vivio pointed out. "We got really dirty."
"No offense, Takamachi, but I am really not in the mood to cram myself in a shower stall with you while we're bound together." She held up her hand to show that their bracelets were, once again, touching each others. "I just want to go to our room, get in bed, and sleep this off. Tomorrow we'll forget that this day ever happened and go back to being a team."
"If you want to do that, you could just apologize to me and then go to the showers." Vivio tried to reason with her.
"Apologize for what!?" Syn demanded loudly. "I don't even know why your panties are in a wad today!"
"Jeez, just forget it!" Vivio tried to storm off, but ending up pulling on Syn's wrist, making the girl stumble to catch up. When they finally made it to their dorm, Vivio sat on her bed and sighed. Syn sat next to her and attempted to cross her arms before realizing that she couldn't.
"This is driving me nuts!" Her hand went to her wrist, where she started clawing at the device. "I can't deal with this!" She tried in vain to remove it, ending with nothing but a sore wrist to show for it. Vivio held up her left hand and summoned forth her swallow, placing it onto her lap. "You're going to cut it off?" Syn laughed at the idea. "Good luck re-attaching your hand."
"I'm going to polish Serge," Vivio retorted while reaching under the bed to get her cleaning kit out. "I always wipe it down at the end of the day, you know that."
"It's not an intelligent device, it doesn't care if it's clean or not." Syn countered.
"Then why do you clean yours so much?" Vivio shot back at her, wiping down the staff of her double bladed weapon with a cloth.
"Don't get smart with me."
"Why not, your smart mouth gets us in trouble all the time!"
Syn stood up, making Vivio's weapon fall off her lap when she was pulled up as well. "Stop being such a bitch!" She turned to look at her blond partner. "I didn't do anything to you today!"
"I told you, you got on my nerves!"
"How!?" Syn demanded, getting up to the girl's face. "I don't even know what set you off!"
"Comparing me to my mothers after I made a mistake!"
Syn looked at her blankly for a few seconds before frowning. "How the hell was I supposed to know they were your parents!? Huh!?"
"You should have!"
"That's not a reason!" Syn threw her free arm out in annoyance. "If they are your parents, why not act a little bit more like them and do better then!?" She knew the statement would only infuriate the shorter girl and she wasn't disappointed when she suddenly got a fingertip against her chest.
"Watch your mouth, Virage!"
"Or what, Takamachi!?" She pulled her hand back when Vivio moved it closer to her side. The action made Vivio jerk her arm back, taking Syn's body with it. The two collided and quickly found themselves pushing off of each other, trying to gain dominance of their bound up wrists. Their feet tripped over each other and Syn slammed Vivio against the wall, only to have herself pushed back against their dresser. Each girl yelled and struggled to get a grip on the other in an attempt to get them into some type of submission hold. Blond hair was pulled on when Vivio bent down under Syn's arm and she used the position to push Syn back onto the wall before catching a knee into her gut. Grunting, she slipped from the hold and tried to punch Syn, missing and catching a glance across her own chin. Having had enough, Vivio lunged forward, trying to get Syn onto the floor so she could get even.
Their balance was once again toppled and both girls fell hard onto the bed, only this time stopping when Syn let loose a blood curling scream of pain. Vivio stopped at once, eyes going wide when she saw Syn's back arch under her and mouth open again in a silent yell. "Vi-Virage-san?" She watched the girl roll over weakly and felt sick to her stomach when she saw the blood stained sheets beneath them and on top of her earlier discarded weapon. "Virage-san...? Virage-san!?"