Disclaimer: I don't own Lutecia or Vivio.
Author's Note: This is the sequel to Never Been Kissed, taking place two years later; so Vivio is fifteen and Lutecia is nineteen. Also, this is dedicated to DezoPenguin for being awesome inspiration and fun to talk to and for writing an omake I requested, and Tarma Hartley, for reviewing while I was having a bad day and making me smile.
"Your mother and Genya-san are…?"
"Not so loud! I'm still having a hard time putting it together myself."
Caro stared at Lutecia for a long, long moment; she gripped the table and giggled helplessly, dropping her face to the surface with a clunk as her friend slowly sank down in her chair. "Don't laugh," she hissed, taking a gulp from her cherry Coke. "It's bad enough Erio had a howling fit."
"I-I'm sorry, Lu-chan, it's just…" With a breathless laugh Caro sat up, wiping at her eyes. "I mean, the image is just…. How long have they been together?"
"Only a month or two." Lutecia's fingers twitched, and she gripped her bottle again, needing to still herself. "Only counting how long I've known about it. So it could be longer. Mom won't tell me. Every time I ask she just gets this sly smirk on her face."
"You mean… you don't think they…?"
"I refuse to discuss my mother's sex life, thank you very much."
The pink-haired summoner swallowed the giggles that rose in her throat, gulping down a mouthful of water gamely as Lutecia twitched at the mental images forming in her head. "I'm happy for her," the other woman sighed out, running a hand through her hair. "I really am. I just… I'm both disgusted and annoyed, I guess."
"Disgusted because it's your mom and you can't think of her that way?"
"Well, that makes sense." Curious, Caro leaned forward. "But annoyed? I'm surprised, Lu-chan. You don't get annoyed easily unless someone's teasing or flirting with Vivio."
At the mention of her younger friend (many jokingly referred to her as her younger half), Lutecia stiffened visibly; her fingers tightened around her Coke bottle before she took another drink, coughing a little as the liquid burned its way down her throat. Grimacing, the nineteen-year-old looked sheepishly at her oldest friend. It only took Caro a few minutes to get her message. "Oh, right, right," the Mid-Childan summoner murmured, propping her elbows on the table. "Sorry. I forgot."
"Hey, I choose to be alone." Sighing, Lutecia held up her hands in defeat. "My choice. I suffer the consequences. It's what I get for falling in love with someone four years my junior."
"Regretting that kiss?"
With a miserable groan, the Belkan summoner rubbed her temples with her fingers, feeling the ache throb at her skull. "I'm not stupid, Caro," she muttered. "In general, I'm good at knowing when I'm going to regret things. And no. I don't regret kissing her." Lutecia sighed, wincing as the headache kicked in. "I wish I did, but I don't." She smiled humorlessly. "I don't even regret falling in love with her after that. I just regret that I can't be the one for her."
"Lu-chan, the only one who believes that is you." Caro looked quietly at her friend, feeling a throb in her chest. The woman, she decided, was blind. Couldn't she see the emotion that shone in Vivio every time she was near her? "And for the record, pulling away from Vivio isn't making your life any easier."
"It's for the best. She's too close to me; she never notices anyone else when I'm around. If I'm gone, she'll open her eyes a bit."
Caro felt the argument rising and swallowed against it, frowning despite her efforts. Obviously Lutecia was fully aware of her friend's disapproval but chose to ignore it, pushing her chair back and standing, snagging her cherry Coke as she went. "Come on; I still have to give my report in to Fate-san, and I'd like to do it before Vivio starts poking around her office. She knows that's the only place I go on a regular basis every day and she's been staking it out."
Mentally, Caro chalked one up for Vivio.
Now if I could just get Lu-chan to realize her feelings aren't as one-sided as she thinks…
Fifteen-year-old Vivio Takamachi was annoyed.
She was very, very annoyed.
She'd been in a bad mood for about a week; the amount of time that had passed since Lutecia Alphine, her best friend and closest companion for the last nine years, had started avoiding her as if her life depended on it. It had been subtle, at first; claiming she had missions, she was too busy, so on and so forth. Vivio had been a little hurt at first, but she'd brushed it off. Lutecia was older than her, after all, and her missions were more demanding.
But lately, it had been getting worse; to a point where Lutecia would leave the room if Vivio entered it. And frankly, the fifteen-year-old had had enough. All she could think was that she'd somehow slipped up and revealed her feelings to the older girl, and now her feelings were being rejected.
Which really hurt, when she stopped to think about it.
But back to the task at hand.
Vivio leaned back against the door to Fate's office, arms crossed loosely over her chest and a scowl on her face. She was determined to confront Lutecia, and she was determined to do it today. She didn't care if the other girl didn't return her feelings… well, okay, wrong, she did, but Lutecia had been her best friend for years. If anything, she didn't want to lose that.
And Vivio had a secret weapon; Fate had gone home early today due to a cold, bullied into it by Hayate and Nanoha. Of course, Lutecia didn't know this yet.
The sound of footsteps and soft voices made the younger girl look up, and for a moment her heart bounded as she glimpsed Lutecia, chatting quietly with Caro and absently sipping from her Coke. For a moment, she forgot how to breathe.
Then Lutecia looked up; she froze as she saw the younger girl. Vivio took a deep breath and straightened up, her hands falling to her sides and smiling quietly, though it didn't quite reach her eyes.
Begin emergency evacuation sequence.
Lutecia gulped a mouthful of Coke and choked on it, coughing; Caro thumped her lightly on the back, aiming a smile at the younger girl over her friend's head. "Hello, Vivio! Long time no see! I hear you've been doing well during your training."
"Thanks, Caro-nee." The smile came naturally as Vivio looked at the woman she considered a sister. "But Nanoha-mama never takes it easy on me, even during our days off."
"Good for her." Caro laughed. "I didn't expect her to. Your breathing back to normal, Lu-chan?"
Glaring at her fellow summoner, the purple-haired woman cleared her throat and grimaced as her throat burned. "Yes, I'm fine. You startled me, Vi."
The next instant Lutecia could have kicked herself; the nickname came as naturally to her as breathing, but it didn't help her cause to use it every time she saw Vivio if she was trying to establish distance. But in that instant a light came into Vivio's eyes, and her smile was true, and Lutecia was walking on air.
And promptly crashed back to the ground when she realized she wasn't supposed to be feeling this way.
Caro had been watching discreetly out of the corner of her eye the whole time, formulating a quick plan that she could successfully pull off in a few minutes. The idea was risky and had its draw-backs, but if it worked out Lutecia would finally confess…
"Hmm? Caro? What's with that look on your face?"
The pink-haired summoner came back to reality as Lutecia snapped her fingers in her face; satisfied, the other woman pulled her hand away. "Vivio was asking you a question."
"Huh? What?" Caro blinked a few times, before looking at the younger girl. "What is it, Vi?"
The girl giggled. "I was asking, how are things going with Erio-nii? You two have been together for awhile now, right?"
Caro blinked several times before she allowed her face to flush lightly. She squirmed a little and inched closer to Lutecia, who noticed her odd behavior immediately and unwisely chose not to ask her about it. She jumped slightly as the pink-haired woman gripped her sleeve between her fingers. Eh? Caro? She shifted to mental speak without thinking. Um, what are you…
All thought process ceased to exist as Caro leaned up and kissed her.
A few minutes passed before Caro pulled away, smiling sheepishly at Vivio, who was gaping at the pair. W-was that your tongue?! Lutecia sputtered, her face turning bright crimson. W-what are you thinking, Caro?!! What's the big idea?!
Soundly ignoring her confused and deeply blushing friend, Caro ran a hand through her hair and laughed nervously, still with a light shade of red dusting her cheeks. "Actually, Vi, Erio-kun and I haven't been together for awhile. Um, you see…"
"I get it." Vivio held up a hand; a smile was on her face, but it seemed frozen, and her eyes were dark and unreadable. "Though I'm surprised you two managed to keep quiet about it. Fate-mama's gonna be devastated that you didn't tell her yet, Caro-nee."
"Eh?" Lutecia was horribly confused, feeling as if she'd missed something extremely important; she looked at Vivio, but she couldn't read the younger girl's expression at all.
"So, um…" Vivio backed up a step, forcing her smile to last a little longer. "I have to go. Fate-mama went home early today 'cause she isn't feeling well, and I promised Nanoha-mama I'd help out with some extra chores so she can rest. Yeah. Bye."
In this case, teleportation was a quick and handy escape, even if her mothers and Aunt Hayate would scold her later for using such a draining ability.
For a few minutes Lutecia stared dumbly at the place where Vivo had been standing; with a groan of misery she stepped to the side and slumped against the wall, sinking down, so her face was shielded by her arms. "Caro, I don't know why you kissed me," the Belkan summoner whispered, "but it didn't help my situation in the least."
"On the contrary, I think it helped significantly." Smirking, feeling a little guilty but pleased with herself, Caro knelt in front of her friend. "Lu-chan, that look on Vivio's face? That wasn't the look of a friend who walked in on two of her other friends going at it. That was heartbreak."
"… And how the hell would you know that?"
"Because you've had that same look on your face for months." Gently, Caro gripped Lutecia's wrists and lowered the other woman's hands so they were eye-to-eye. "Lu-chan, Vivio loves you. If you aren't still sure of that yourself, go after her. That's the only way you'll get any answer."
For a moment Lutecia said nothing, uncertainly meeting Caro's eyes; finally she sighed and tilted her head back. "At the very least, I should go after her and apologize," she murmured at last.
Caro smiled. "That's my girl."
"Hmm? Lutecia? When did you get here? I didn't feel your teleportation."
Lutecia stiffened slightly before turning and smiling nervously at Fate T. Harlaown looked at her curiously. The woman didn't look any worse for wear, except for the fact that her voice was a little rougher than usual. "I just arrived. Sorry, Fate-san. I didn't mean to barge in like this."
"Now, now, don't apologize." Fate smiled and coughed, grimacing as Nanoha curiously poked her head in from the hallway. "This is just as much your house as ours."
"Thank you." Lutecia smiled, albeit weakly. "Um… is Vivio here? She said she had to come home…"
"Vivio? Oh, yes." Fate nodded towards the patio. "She's out in the backyard. But you should be careful. She seems to be in a bad mood."
"Yes… I figured. Still, I'll take the risk." She smiled briefly. "Thanks again, Fate-san."
With a quick, respectful bow, Lutecia stepped out onto the patio and set out across the grass to where Vivio lay beneath the tree on her back, gazing up through the branches. After a few minutes, Nanoha shot after the younger woman. "Ah, ah, ah," the blonde enforcer murmured, snagging her partner by her shirt collar. "And just where are you going, Nanoha?"
"No, no. They need privacy."
"But Vivio was really upset, and Lutecia-chan doesn't seem much better!"
"That usually happens before the confession."
Nanoha looked at her blonde partner pleadingly. "Can we just… you know… watch from the door? Just to make sure they don't hurt each other?"
Fate sighed. "Alright. But we just watch."
"Okay, okay! I get it."
At the soft sound of her old friend's voice, Vivio shot up, wiping at her eyes furiously. She stared uncertainly at Lutecia for a moment before turning away angrily. "What're you doing here, Cia?" Her voice was carefully level and emotionless, but Lutecia had seen the tears on her face. She sat quietly next to Vivio and hesitated only a moment before taking a deep breath. "Listen, Vi…"
"You don't need to explain anything." Vivio knew that speaking was a bad idea, but her mouth didn't seem to be attached to her brain anymore; she was babbling without even knowing what she was saying. "I'm happy you and Caro-nee found each other. Although I'm a little surprised, since Erio-nii seemed ready to propose to her the way things were going…"
"… But I guess that's how love works, you know, so I hope you guys are happy together and…"
"Vivio! Will you just be quiet for a minute and let me talk?!"
In all their years of friendship, Lutecia had never even raised her voice slightly, and now that she was Vivio couldn't help but jump in surprise, looking at her friend with wide eyes. Satisfied, Lutecia scowled a little and brushed loose strands of hair out of her eyes before steeling herself for what she was about to say.
"Caro and I aren't… together. We never have been and we never will be. I don't know what she was thinking or what she was trying to do, but I've never been into her that way and she's still very much in love with Erio." She held up both hands as if in defense and apology. "So what you saw… that was all a big misunderstanding, or joke, or whatever."
There was a moment of silence as Vivio stared uncertainly at the grass, quietly running her fingers through the strands for a moment; finally she took a deep breath and looked at Lutecia. "Alright, I'll give you that," she said at last. "But… Cia… why have you been avoiding me? Did I do something wrong? Because if I did, I'm sorry! I take it back, I'm sorry—"
"Wait, wait!" Lutecia covered Vivio's hands without thinking, desperate to get her friend to stop talking; Vivio blushed but held her gaze. "Look, what's going on, it isn't you. You didn't do anything. I just…" She frowned and ran a hand through her hair. "I'm going through a bit of a rough time right now."
"… Cia, I'm sorry, but I don't understand…"
She was going to have to confess after all, wasn't she?
Lutecia took a deep breath and slowly released Vivio's hands, resting them on her knees as she rocked back on her heels. She closed her eyes, inhaled deeply, and opened them again.
"… I'm… in love with someone. And… I feel like I shouldn't be in love with them. But despite that, I'm still in love with them." And this is probably confusing the hell out of you right now, isn't it, Vi? Lutecia laughed shakily. "But now that I'm thinking about it, all I'm really doing is hurting them."
Vivio hesitated a moment before speaking; even if it killed her to know the object of Lutecia's affections, she couldn't bear to see the older woman in pain. "Why don't you tell me about the person, Cia? Maybe… maybe I can help." She smiled uncertainly as Lutecia stared at her.
Lutecia smiled back uncertainly, twisting a strand of grass and breaking it off so she could run in through her fingers. She figured it couldn't hurt to drop a few hints; Vivio was certainly smart enough to figure it out on her own. "Well, first off, this person is a she. She's younger than me by a few years, so I'm always worried that I'll lose her to someone her age." She laughed sheepishly. "I've been in love with her for about two years now, since she asked me to give her a first kiss because I was her best friend. I don't regret it, either. So that's about it, in a nutshell."
During this time, Vivio had been listening intently to her friend's description; as it had gone on, her eyes had widened, and a slow smile had curved her lips as Lutecia continued to talk. For a long moment her throat didn't work and she couldn't speak as Lutecia gazed at her quietly, apprehension and hope in her eyes.
Thankfully, her body didn't fail her.
In a quick, fluid motion Vivio tackled Lutecia, her arms coming tight around her neck. The motion of Vivio going forward and Lutecia standing still resulted in the inevitable tipping back of the older woman; Lutecia instinctively snaked one arm around Vivio's waist as her other hand went back to brace her so the two didn't fall. "Vi?"
"… I love you, too, Cia."
Lutecia blinked; her eyes softened slightly as she carefully straightened up, her other arm winding around Vivio's waist in a gentle embrace. They sat that way for a few minutes before Vivio pulled away, so her forehead was resting against Lutecia as her free hand gently played with long purple strands, her other hand still gripping the back of Lutecia's neck. "Ne, Cia…"
Lutecia smirked quietly, moving her shoulders in a slight shrug even as her eyes glowed. "Since you asked so nicely."
Leaning forward, Lutecia touched her lips to Vivio's in a chaste kiss, a gentle brushing of skin against skin; but after a few minutes, Vivio wasn't satisfied. She leaned in closer, gently brushing her tongue against Lutecia's lips and murmuring softly as the older woman complied and their tongues brushed together.
The kiss was notably longer than the one they'd shared two years ago; after a few more minutes had passed, their lungs in desperate need of oxygen, the two parted but didn't release each other. Vivio smiled, gently bumping her forehead against Lutecia's again. "Ne, Cia…"
"Hmm?" Lutecia was still smiling.
"Wanna be my girlfriend?"
Lutecia laughed softly, and Vivio smiled.
"I'd love to be your girlfriend, Vi."
... Holy crap, that was long...
And four years isn't a major age difference.
Read and review, please!