Disclaimer: I don't own MGLN.
Author's Note: This is DezoPenguin's fault, really. He wrote his Christmas NanoFate fic "Memories under the Mistletoe", which I requested, and I couldn't help but come up with something myself. On a side note, this is also dedicated to him... since around the time I started this, things were a bit rough for him. So, here's hoping this little bit of Christmas fluff makes him feel better... and maybe I can get an omake out of it. :)
(I'm joking, though. I won't ask unless he really wants to do it.)
The Christmas Locket
"Hey, look. Snow."
Caro's soft exclamation made Lutecia glance at her, her burgundy eyes gleaming with amusement as the pink-haired woman tilted her head back and opened her mouth, sticking her tongue out in an attempt to catch a snowflake. Snow was a common element on Mid-Childa and fell at the same time of year as it did on Earth.
It wasn't a bad time to be outside; the snowflakes were only innocent flurries, the sky above a gentle gray blanket, a light chill in the air and the breath fogging in front of people's faces as it left their lips. It was comfortable.
Unable to resist even at twenty years old, Lutecia followed Caro's example and opened her mouth, feeling a snowflake melt on her tongue. Hearing her friend's soft giggle, she glanced at her. "What? I can do it too, you know."
"You're such a kid."
"The pot calling the kettle black."
Caro stuck her tongue out at her fellow summoner, but her face was glowing and she was smiling. She stretched leisurely, closing her eyes. "So, Lu-chan, how does it feel to be twenty?"
"The same as it did when I was nineteen, honestly." She slid her hands into her jacket pockets. "Though it was kind of nice to only be three years older than Vivio instead of four for awhile."
"That's right… her birthday's in April, isn't it?"
"The twenty-second, yeah. I was off-planet at the time, but I managed to get a call in during her party."
"I remember. Her whole face just lit up the moment she saw you, even if it was just onscreen. Fate-san told me later that it was a wonderful surprise."
Lutecia had only been twenty for a few days; her birthday, December 16th, had come and gone already. Now with it out of the way, she could think about the upcoming holiday; and the inevitable Christmas party that was held at Nanoha and Fate's house every year regardless of weather or time.
"Speaking of which, is Erio going to make it back in time?" Lutecia blew out a breath, amusing herself by watching the mist evaporate in the air. "He's been gone for a few weeks now, and we just got a notice that he was on his way home."
"No, unfortunately. He's not due for a few more days. He'll only miss it by a day or two." Despite it, though, Caro smiled. "He promised to call, though."
"But you're still coming tonight for Christmas, right? Fate-san's heart would break if you didn't."
"Of course I'm coming. I always do." The smile on Caro's face became playful. "Looking forward to your first Christmas as Vivio's girlfriend?"
Lutecia's face flamed immediately, and Caro howled with laughter. "Gives that mistletoe a whole new meaning, eh?" she teased, smirking.
"We never got caught under the mistletoe as kids!"
"What, and you're letting the opportunity go now that you're dating?"
"… I never said anything about that…"
"Well, if you don't do it, you know she'll do it." Caro chuckled. "She's sixteen now and she's got new levels of confidence."
There was a moment of silence; Lutecia gently kicked a snowdrift and watched the flakes twirl into the air and get carried away by the wind, her gaze contemplative for a few minutes. Finally, she spoke. "I'm not sure what to give her, actually," she admitted. "I want it to be special."
"You could give her a ring." Caro blinked innocently as Lutecia stared at her. "Make it a long engagement."
"I think I'll wait a few more years, thanks." Despite it, Lutecia felt a small thrill at the thought of proposing to Vivio.
Caro studied her longtime friend for a few moments before sighing to herself, amused and pitying; she thumped Lutecia lightly on the back, draping a friendly arm along her shoulders. "Lu-chan, my advice? Don't think about it too much. You have a bad habit of over thinking everything you do, and it makes you miss the small things."
Lutecia said nothing to this, narrowing her eyes thoughtfully.
Don't think about it too much, eh?
The apartment was empty when Lutecia got home, shaking herself lightly to clear her hair of the snowflakes. The place was empty and quiet; Lutecia shared the apartment with her mother, but Megane and Genya had been sent on a mission a few days earlier. Megane had been devastated over missing Christmas, but her daughter had assured her she'd be fine. She wouldn't be alone, anyway, she'd reminded her, and Megane had been soothed by the time she'd left.
(Personally, Lutecia figured that the mission was an excuse for Genya to get her mother alone for some serious talking. But then again, she was just guessing.)
Shrugging off her jacket, Lutecia draped it carelessly over the couch as she passed through the living room, knowing she'd come back to get it in a few hours when she had to leave for the party. Her feet carried her into the kitchen, where she set to work putting together a cup of hot chocolate, only half thinking about the process as she went along.
While Christmas was considered a holiday in Mid-Childa, it didn't carry quite the same significance as it did on Earth, and Lutecia knew that if push came to shove she could still get some last minute shopping done. The problem, again, was that she wasn't quite sure what to get; even when they'd just been friends, Vivio had always been difficult to shop for. It didn't take much to make the girl happy.
And that's the problem right there, I want to make her happy.
Sighing mentally, Lutecia blew lightly on her chocolate to cool it a little before taking a sip, leaving the kitchen in favor of her room for some serious thinking. Caro had told her not to over think it, but she didn't know what else to do.
The room was slightly dim but not dark, and she decided against turning the light on since she was perfectly capable of seeing without it. Taking another gulp of chocolate she sat down in front of her desk, leaning back in her chair as she set her cup down. Lutecia was beginning to feel like a dog chasing its tail, and for a moment she gazed ahead blankly, completely zoning out as her mind wandered.
For a brief moment, the sun broke through the dark clouds; a weak stream of sunlight spilled through the window, and a gleam of gold caught Lutecia's eye.
On the desk lying under her lamp was a locket. It was simple in design; oval-shaped and small, attached to a gold chain. Curious, Lutecia scooped the locket up and studied it for a few minutes. She'd bought the thing on whim when she'd returned from her mission, liking the look of it but not knowing what she'd use it for. She wasn't one for jewelry, and even then she preferred earrings to necklaces. Popping the lock, she clicked it open and noted idly that she hadn't put anything in it yet.
That's when the idea hit her.
She stared at the open locket for a moment as the pieces came together; a slow smile came across her face and she stood, walking across the room and rummaging through her bookshelf.
"Hopefully Mom hasn't looked at the photo album recently, she's always misplacing it…"
Sixteen-year-old Vivio Takamachi resisted the urge to bounce impatiently on her heels, knowing the action was something more akin to what a kid would do than a teenager. She couldn't help it, though; people were starting to trickle in for the Christmas party, but she still hadn't seen any sign of Lutecia yet. Having not seen her girlfriend since that afternoon, she was understandably anxious to reunite with her again.
"Calm down, Vivio." Amused by her daughter's antics, Fate laid a soothing hand on her shoulder as Nanoha chatted happily with Miyuki and Yuuno, gently playing with little Nami. "She'll come. Just be patient."
"It's love, Fate-san." Caro came to stand beside the blonde, smiling in understanding as Vivio glanced at her. "You're never patient when you're waiting for the one you love to show up." The pink-haired woman paused, peered out the window, and grinned, waving. "Speaking of which, there she is."
Even before Caro finished speaking Vivio was gone, throwing on a coat haphazardly and shooting out the door before the summoner had closed her mouth. Anticipating her greeting tactics Lutecia caught the younger girl easily in her arms, but slippery ice and snow didn't provide much support for them, and they went down into the snow amid shrieks and laughter. Vivio pulled away and planted a chaste kiss on Lutecia's lips, giggling. "You're all white," she whispered.
"Because you jumped me." Still laughing herself, Lutecia sat up, returning Vivio's kiss as snowflakes fell around them. "You need to warn me when you plan to do that."
"Mou, you like it! Otherwise you'd complain about it more often."
The two got to their feet and started back to the house, Lutecia glancing briefly over her shoulder to assure herself that her surprise friend was still in tow before falling in step with Vivio. As they stepped into the house she lifted her voice. "Hey, Caro! Guess who followed me home! Can I keep him?"
Confused, Caro weaved her way through the crowd to greet her friend; the next instant she let out a cry of delight, running right into Erio's arms. "Erio-kun! You said you weren't due a few more days!"
"I pulled some strings." His arms came tight around her, and he grinned. "I didn't want to miss Christmas with everyone."
"Does this mean I can't keep him?" Lutecia teased.
Caro laughed happily, snuggling into Erio's embrace as the crowd closed around them, greeting Erio. Thankful for the distraction Lutecia slipped quietly away; in the chaos, she'd lost track of Vivio.
However, Vivio hadn't lost sight of her for a second. Seeing the lost look on her girlfriend's face, the light-haired girl came easily to her rescue, reaching out and gently tugging on her hand. "Come with me a second," she murmured, keeping her voice low. "I've got something for you." Lutecia followed her, eager to escape the noise for a moment; she'd never been much of a people person, even when she'd gained the confidence to handle such situations. Her fingers twined tightly with Vivio's and gave the younger girl a wordless boost of confidence.
They made their way into the kitchen, which was thankfully empty at the moment; Lutecia let out a quiet breath, and Vivio smiled. "You've never been good with crowds," she murmured. "They've always made you nervous."
"Why do you think I always let you lead the way?"
Vivio laughed, but it faded quickly. She was feeling anxious again, but she'd made it this far without faltering. "Wait here a minute, Cia," she said, and darted up the stairs. Lutecia had noticed her nervousness immediately but chose not to say anything yet; she had a pretty good idea of why Vivio was anxious, and she could relate to it.
There was a clatter upstairs before Vivio came back down, and now her confidence seemed to have returned somewhat as she handed the little box to Lutecia. Curious and forgetting her own nerves for the moment, the purple-haired woman slid the top off and stared at the diamond earrings that sparkled up at her. "Vi…?"
"You said you liked them when you saw them." Vivio resisted the urge to rock back on her heels, a bad habit. "So I thought I'd get them for you."
"But… these were—"
"Yeah, I know." She laughed, albeit nervously. "I helped Nanoha-mama and Vita train some of the recruits during my free time and did paperwork for Aunt Hayate for some extra money."
For a moment Lutecia continued looking at the earrings; then she yanked Vivio into a tight hug, smiling against her hair. "Thank you," she breathed. "They're gorgeous, Vi."
Vivio relaxed in the embraced and returned it happily before stepping back so Lutecia could put them in, brushing strands of hair back so she could see them. "What do you think?"
A happy smile lit the younger girl's face. "It was definitely a good idea that you got your ears pierced when you were eleven. They look great on you, Cia."
Lutecia laughed. Giving Vivio a few minutes to enjoy her success, she reached into her pocket and closed her fingers around the locket. "This took me awhile to figure out," she admitted ruefully as she produced the box and gave it to Vivio. "I was definitely over thinking it."
Curious now, Vivio glanced briefly at Lutecia before opening the box and pulling the locket free. It was small and simple; the chain was short, so it could easily fit around her neck without getting tangled in anything. Sliding her finger under the lock, she popped it open to get a look at what was inside, wondering what Lutecia had come up with.
And she couldn't believe her eyes.
The picture had been taken by Megane, not long after Vivio had befriended Lutecia when they'd been kids. They were sitting under the tree in Vivio's backyard, sitting side-by-side. Vivio's happiness was apparent; the six-year-old had latched onto Lutecia's arm, resting her cheek against her shoulder and grinning happily at the camera, her eyes glowing, one hand interlaced with Lutecia's.
Lutecia wasn't looking at the camera. That had probably been her intent, in the beginning, but she hadn't liked focusing on it; it made her nervous. The expression on her face the moment the picture had been snapped, though, wasn't one of anxiety or fear; the older girl was looking down at Vivio, her eyes soft and a small, content smile curving her lips.
Vivio swallowed the sudden lump in her throat. "I didn't know you kept this," she whispered. "You said you didn't like it."
"I was camera shy at the time." Lutecia shrugged, feeling awkward and hopelessly nervous. "But you were crazy about it. Your heart broke when you lost your copy of it. I took it to a shop nearby and got it resized so it could fit."
Vivio had lost it when she'd been thirteen, and she had, in fact, been heartbroken. She hadn't known Lutecia still remembered.
Eyes shining, she looked at the older woman and smiled. "Could you put it on?" she asked. "I couldn't reach the clasp even if I tried."
Lutecia's eyes softened. "Sure."
Stepping closer, Lutecia took the locket from Vivio and placed it around her neck, Vivio sweeping her hair up and out of the way to make it easier. The clasp clicked easily into place, and Lutecia pulled away. "Perfect," she murmured.
Grinning, Vivio reached for Lutecia's hand and squeezed it, delighted when her girlfriend returned the gesture. "Let's get back," she said. "Nanoha-mama will think we snuck off to make out at this rate."
Amused, Lutecia allowed herself to be led back towards the living room. By chance she happened to glance up when Vivio was leading her through the doorway, and she smirked quietly to herself before stopping. "Ah, ah, ah," she said. "Hold on a minute, Vi. We've got a tradition to follow."
Lutecia pointed. Curious, Vivio followed her finger.
Her eyes lit up when she saw the sprig of mistletoe hanging above the kitchen entrance, and a slow smile spread across her face as Lutecia gently yanked her back, one arm sliding around her waist. "You know, Nanoha-mama can probably see us," she murmured, her arms coming up to encircle Lutecia's neck.
"Don't particularly care."
Delighted, Vivio let out a soft laugh. "Good, because I don't, either." She leaned in. "If she starts freaking out, Fate-mama can head her off, anyway."
"And if she reaches me, I'll just say I was following tradition."
Their lips met beneath the mistletoe, amidst cheers and calls from their family and friends.
And it was perfect.
I made Vivio and Lutecia's birthdays up off the top of my head, just to show time has passed since they got together. So yeah.
Read and review, please!