I groaned low in my throat as a sudden beeping sound interrupted my dream of eating a life sized marshmallow. Movement came in my arms when Syn pulled away from me to lazily reach out and slam her hand down on the offending alarm clock. As her body moved, I found a mouthful of Syn's hair being pulled from my lips. Coughing slightly, I reached up and ran my hand down between the back of Syn's head and my mouth, pulling the rest of the strands away before I choked on them. Before long, soft snoring sounds came again and I realized that my girlfriend had gone back to sleep with one arm still laying on the dresser on top of the now silent clock. Although tempted to sleep again, I slowly sat up and rubbed my eyes with one hand while shaking Syn slightly with the other.
Syn made an annoyed sound but still sat up, staring with blank eyes at the blankets around their waists. Vivio crawled around her to get out of the bed and stumbled to the bathroom. The lights coming on made the one still in bed hold up a hand to block it from blinding her. She allowed herself a few more moments to wake up before finally getting out of bed and picking up yesterday's blue jeans to pull up on her legs. The button was fastened and her extra long nightshirt with the words "This is my sexy lingerie" on it was tossed on the floor to cover the only part of her carpet she could see. After raiding a drawer she put on a baby blue colored bra and fastened it just as Vivio came back into the main room of her apartment.
Vivio, now seemingly fully awake now, gave her girlfriend a peck to the cheek before she began changing into her clothes. "You know," the blond spoke softly as if to not disturb the quiet of the peaceful morning. "Waking up along with someone is really, really nice."
"You said that before," Syn yawned when she tried to speak. "But yes, I think so too... you should stay with me more often."
Vivio tied the string on the front of her khaki pants and nodded. "You're welcome to stay with me too, when we get back in a few days. Where do your parents live anyway? I didn't even think to ask."
"A few miles from the capital." She paused a moment. "I wonder if Daddy knows your job."
Vivio grinned. "This is going to be interesting." She looked at her girlfriend a moment and then picked up her suitcase. "Ready?"
"Ready." Syn got her duffel bag and her car keys. "Let's go then."
Six hours and three minutes into the trip, Syn finally pulled over into a small home-town restaurant parking lot and quickly got out of her car. Vivio followed suit and the two stretched widely before hunching over and popping their backs. "Please," the blond spoke around a groan while walking to the building. "Tell me we're almost there."
"Half way." Syn smiled as best she could when her girlfriend groaned loudly. "I never said it would be fast."
"If you didn't drive like a little old granny-"
"I was going twenty over the speed limit!" Syn stopped her complaining when a peppy ring tone made Vivio reach into her pocket to pull out her phone.
"... It's my boss," she revealed with a confused tone. "I wonder what he's calling for..." With a push of her button she brought the phone to her ear and stood next to the entrance of the diner. "Hello?" She listened for a few moments silently while looking at Syn's curious face. "I'm not sitting down, but lay it on me anyway." Vivio smiled at her own little joke before suddenly going stiff. "No way…. Really!?" Her feet began to pace before she even realized it and a smile spread out over her face. "Yes! Yes, I'd love to! That would be really fun!" A few more nods came as she held the phone with both hands. "Yes… Yes, email it to me as soon as you can, I'll read over it and be ready to sign when I get back from Vacation… Okay, yes, thank you!" With another nod, she smiled and closed her phone before looking up at her girlfriend. "You will never guess what I was just offered?"
Syn raised an eyebrow. "Sounded like a new apartment. What'cha so worked up about?"
"Key just offered me a voice acting job on their newest project! Key!"
Syn blinked. "Wait… that hentai game company that published a few of those animated shows?"
Vivio bobbed her head as she walked by Syn and started pulling her through the door so they could get something to eat. "Yes, they have amazingly pretty art and storylines that are really deep!"
"Yeah, but could you seriously do the voice acting for a sex scene?" She smirked when her friend put a finger to her chin in thought. "This I have to see. Can I listen to you rehearse?"
"You'd love that, you perv." Vivio poked Syn's side and was pleased at the small laugh that came paired with it. "That makes me really happy."
"Well, it's a big company right?"
"Not that," the blonde told her honestly. "You've started accepting the things that make me happy a little more easily… Thank you."
Syn scratched her cheek and felt a small ting of blush come from the words. "Yeah well… Let's get something to eat and get back on the road?" Her eyes went to look at her partner and rolled her eyes at the smug look she was getting. "Not a word, Anal Queen, you have a long way to go before I'm watching your movies while eating chicken." Crossing her arms, she gave a playful glare at Vivio, who was covering her mouth in a giggle.
"Are we there yet?" Vivio asked softly while sliding her seat back so she could bend over forward to stretch.
Syn tried to keep her eyes on the road instead of the girl touching her toes. "How can you do that?"
"What?" The blonde blinked when her question was answered by another.
"Bend in half."
"I stretch every day before and after I work out, of course I can bend in half." She winked at her girlfriend, who turned a dark red when she caught a double meaning in that wink. "So, are we there yet?"
"Yeah, almost... This is my hometown here."
The blond looked out the window and took in the community. A small town atmosphere embraced them, but still somehow managing to look newer than most of the country towns she had seen before. "No wonder you have an accent."
"I ain't got an accent!" Syn growled darkly. "Snippity uptown girl."
Red and green eyes tried to absorb everything around her. Couples walking down the street together holding hands, others walking their pets and even a few people who waved at her when they noticed she was looking. "Seems really nice."
"Mom wanted me to make lots of friends and have a good life after she settled down from the big city. They moved here a little before I was born... My old school is up here on the left." Her words trailed when she saw Vivio's happy expression as she got to see where she had grown up. 'That girl's so weird.'
Turning back to Syn, Vivio stretched out once more and rubbed her legs. "You live in town or nearby?" She watched with interest as they turned down a road and into a small community. "Down here?"
"Right here." The blue haired one pulled into a driveway and parked. Both of them gratefully got out of the car and stretched out again before walking. "This is why I don't come home that often."
Nodding, Vivio walked to the back of the vehicle and took the offered bags from her girlfriend. "Thank you." Turning to the front door, she saw an older version of Syn walking over to them. The same color blue hair flowed out behind the woman and crystal clear eyes accepted her warmly. After the mother and daughter had a long hug they turned to her and she bowed polity to them."Nice to meet you, My name is Vivio Takamachi."
"Elena Virage." The mother gave the younger girl a hug, much to Vivio's surprise. "You are a cutie. Way to go Syn."
"Mom!" Syn blushed darkly. "Don't start in on me, I just got here."
Elena laughed lightly and welcomed the girls into her home. "Honey, come here, the girls just arrived!"
Vivio nervously rubbed her hands together and waited for Syn's father to come to them as her mother took their bags to Syn's bedroom. As the man turned the corner, Vivio's eyes went wide for a brief moment before blushing darkly.
"Dad, this is Vivio, Vivio meet..." She slowed down and looked between both of them. "What, have you two met or something before?"
Vivio coughed. "Uh yeah... we met once... when I was working at a club." She got softer when Elena came back into the room. "Awkwaaaaaard."
"So," Syn spoke up with her arms crossed. "You two have met before."
Vivio shook her head. "It's not what you think! We just talked to each other."
Syn's father, Kaith, nodded his head. "It was when my group returned from a successful mission. I haven't seen them in a long time and to celebrate the win they all went to a club. I went with them, not knowing where they were going to go, and ended up being at a strip club."
Elena hummed to herself, looking between Vivio and her husband. "Vivio, what did you do while there?"
The blond smiled lamely. "I know it won't be very believable: I was assigned to his room but he told me he was married and asked if we could just talk... we ended up discussing politics and the how way that the T.S.A.B was heading wasn't as clear as it should be..."
Although Syn looked as if she didn't buy the story for a moment, Elena took the opportunity to give her husband a hug. "I'm sorry I ever doubted you Honey!" She cooed at him happily. "I was so shocked when you told me where they took you!"
The daughter of the group blinked before looking back over at her girlfriend. "So you just talked to each other?"
A nod. "Mmn. I remembered him because we spent almost three hours just chatting. It's not very often that you get to have an intelligent conversation at a place like that. I suppose he remembered me because I wasn't what he expected?" She tilted her head to the side curiously.
Kaith smiled at her and put a hand onto her shoulder. "You are a rare girl indeed. Putting aside your job, you tried to make a stranger comfortable. I can accept that is your job if Syn does." He looked at his little girl questioningly and got a confirmation in the form of a nod. "So, Vivio was it? It's a pleasure to meet you again."
Syn scratched her head and used her free hand to place upon her hip. 'This is one interesting day... I don't know if I could handle knowing my girlfriend gave my father a lap dance..." A full body shiver coursed through her before she excused herself to get the rest of their things from the car. Vivio followed quickly and stood next to her as the remaining luggage was taken out. "I almost fainted when I heard that," the taller girl spoke up while giving Vivio something to carry. "I was gonna be sick"
"You? I was going to scream when I realized that you and your mother knew I had been in a room to service him. I still can't believe this, oh lord, what if he had paid me?" Bringing a palm to her face, she gave a sigh mixed with a growl. "I'm still so embarrassed. He saw me at work!"
"At least he doesn't have your pornos." Syn closed the trunk and began walking back to the door. "Just the thought... ugh, I lost my appetite."
"Better here than at the dinner table." She followed her friend through the house while looking around. "So this is where you grew up, huh?" She hesitated a moment so she could take a step back to see a baby picture of a naked Syn in a small kiddy pool. "Oh wow, you were so cute!" Turning to her friend, she smirked. "Whatever happened?"
"No looking at my pictures!" The girl got behind her friend and nudged her along. "Bedroom. Now."
Vivio giggled to herself and looked around the room she had been forced into. "Very nice."
"They changed it when I moved out." Suitcases were placed on the floor in favor of walking around to inspect everything. "I haven't been here in about three or four months now." A teddy bear was picked up off a shelf and smiled at. "First time I've ever taken someone to meet my family. I hope you enjoy it here."
"I'm sure I will."
"So, Vivio." Elena began conversation after everyone had been seated to eat dinner together. "Tell us a little about yourself?"
"What would you like to know?" She testingly tried a bite of her food before looking at it with a new interest.
"A little about your job and what you do when not at it?" The mother offered a place to start.
Having expected it, the girl ignored the furiously blushing girlfriend and began. "I'm an adult entertainer, as you know. I do everything from guest appearances at clubs, like when I met Kaith-san, to bars and video stores to increase my fan base. My main job is running a web page as well as releasing movies. I generally work about ten to fifteen hours a week, including takes and updating. When I'm not doing that, I'm traveling around to visit places to try and get new fans."
Both the parents hummed at this but Elena kept going. "So, is Syn one of your satisfied subscribers?"
Syn coughed loudly around the spoon in her mouth before grabbing a napkin to hold to her lips, eyes scrunched together in pain as if she had just snorted some of the hot soup up her nose. Ignoring her girlfriend, Vivio simply smiled and replied. "No, she's very shy when it comes to watching me. I normally have to ask her to view things with me." A pleasant tone was in her voice, enjoying the easy-going attitude of the mother and the gasping daughter across from her. Waiting for her to calm down at try to take another careful bit of soup, Vivio went on. "I do want to get her to do the camera work for me though." Just as she planned, another gasp and chocking sound came.
Elena beamed at the guest in her home. "Oh, how sweet! You two must be very close."
"Yes ma'am!" Vivio closed her eyes and smiled brightly. "She's taken a few pictures of me, I'll show you on the website later!"
"VIVIO!" Syn shrieked.
"Oh my, how wonderful!" Elena cooed happily. "I'd love to see them."
"MOM!" Syn yelped in disbelief, eyes wide.
"Yes, yes." The blond continued. "I'll give you a free subscription!" This time she had to giggle as she was pulled back towards Syn. Harsh whispered demands not to do so were whispered into her ear, but Vivio only looked up at her and reached to thread her fingers through the blue strands. "I won't show her, if you let me fix your hair tomorrow?"
Elena gasped happily. "Oh, you play with her hair too?"
"Yes, yes!" The woman and girl clasped each other's hands. "Her hair is so poseable! I love putting it in twin tails!"
"And braiding part of it down her back!"
Syn leaned back in her seat and covered her eyes with her hand. "Dad, make them stop..." Much to the girl's horror, the bonding of her mother and girlfriend continued even after dinner was over. Only a few short minutes passed by before she found herself sitting in a chair with her hair being fussed over by two star struck females. Small repressed whimpers escaped her lips as her locks were pulled and clipped into place before being removed, braided, and re-clipped in different areas. Before long she found her nails being done by her mother and -much to her secret delight- her feet being massaged and toenails painted by Vivio. Her father, who normally helped her in these situations, was left helpless by the combined wrath of the new friendship formed between the two girls at Syn's expense. Another hour passed before the torture from her mother and girlfriend was over and she was able to finally collapse onto her bed to rest. "No more..." She whined sleepily.
Vivio bent over to pick up her laptop case and sat on the bed next to her with a grin. "I like your mom." She was growled at half heartedly. "Really, I told you that your hair was awesome. Besides, you were squirming when I did your feet."
"Shut up, that's embarrassing." Syn hmphed at her and was about to roll over to pretend to ignore the girl but stopped when she noticed Vivio typing. "What are you doing?"
"I have my computer set to auto upload the file on my webpage but I forgot that I need internet access to allow it to do so. Can I jack into yours here?"
"Yes." Syn brought up her hand. "Arika, allow my friend access please." A monitor came in front of her hand and she typed a few things onto it. "There, you should be set. It'll register your computer."
"M2D?" Vivio asked with a small twinge of sadness in her voice. "Been so long since I used that.... anyway!" She shook her head and began to type some more. "There, I'll tell it to update now... Oh wow, my chat room is packed."
Syn pondered this. "Horny people on before thanksgiving. How sad."
"Aw, don't be like that. Some of them are just lonely."
"In a sex chat room?"
"Touché. But really, there are a few people here who are regulars. They don't ask for me to do things, they just talk with me. I'd go as far to call them friends. I can't give them any favoritism though, because that's not really professional. Instead, I give them my other email address that isn't my personal one but isn't a work one. We talk just like normal people."
Syn moved to put a pillow under her head, resting her cheek on it and closing her eyes. "How many are like that?"
"Five or so."
"How many are in that chat room?"
"Sixty, it's the limit. Otherwise it gets so clustered nobody would be able to hold a conversation."
"So there are fifty-five horny people." She smirked when her butt was slapped. "Are you going to talk to them?"
"No, I'm a guest in someone's house." Vivio mused while inspecting her site to ensure that the video was up. "I just need to tell them the video is there."
"Go ahead and chat." Syn yawned lazily. "I'm going to fall asleep at any moment anyway." She forced herself up to go to her suitcase in favor of something to change into. "Want your bed clothes?"
"Um... Yeah." Vivio grinned at her. "I'm going to give them a little show to make up for not talking with them." She adjusted her web camera and giggled.
Syn rolled her eyes but still moved to the other side of the room so she wouldn't get caught changing before sitting on the bed to enjoy the strip tease herself. 'I guess this has its benefits...' She blushed darkly as underwear was tossed on her face.
Vivio groggily opened one of her eyes and looked across the room with hazed vision. The covers were pulled up mostly to her nose, making it hard to see much else besides the empty spot next to her where Syn used to be. Slowly she made herself move to a sitting position and rubbed her eyes with her left hand to try and clear them. Now with a little more focus, she sniffed and rolled out of the warmth that the blankets offered her in exchange to get her clothes for the day. Her suitcase was opened and a pair of nice looking jeans were pulled up before a green sweater covered her top. Now dressed, the girl yawned loudly and looked over at the clock to see how early it was. What met her eyes, however, was that it was already a little past eleven in the morning. With a small gasp she quickly left the room and walked down the unfamiliar halls before reaching the stairs to descend into the bottom floor. The sound of laughter made Vivio turn to the left and enter into the kitchen area to find both Syn and her mother playfully talking together while they prepared what seemed to be an insanely large meal. The younger of the girls noticed her and turned to face her girlfriend with an amused look. "Morning, Bed-head. Sleep well?"
The blond quickly moved her hands to her hair to finger comb it as best she could. "You should have woken me up," she complained softly when Syn was close enough.
"Vacations are meant to be slept in." Syn replied simply.
With a small blush, Vivio allowed Syn to gently push her to the table to sit down. "Not when I'm a guest in someone else's home." Despite the complaint, she soon found a cup of a steaming pinkish liquid placed in front of her. "What's this?"
Elena answered this time as she reached into a cabinet to get some spices down. "It's a hot drink, kind of sweet, kind of tangy. It'll warm you up really good."
The Christmas eyed girl in the room took the offer and slowly brought it up to her lips to smell it. A light wisp of cinnamon greeted her along with a scent that she couldn't quite place but seemed good enough to try out. After a small sip of it she licked her lips and drank once more. "It is really good."
"Told'ja." Syn's accented voice made Vivio smile again, once more bringing the cup to her mouth and inhaling the fragrance while drinking. The warmth was pleasant going down and her nose cleared up, making her temporarily forget that she had been sniffing the past little while. "So," Syn continued when she was back into the kitchen. "When will everyone be here?"
"Between now and an hour I suppose." Elena heard the beeping from her probe thermometer go off and she raised her hand to bring up a monitor to check the temperature of their turkey. "It's done Syn, could you take it out please?" The smaller one nodded and looked around a moment before finding the potholders to protect her hands. The oven door was opened and an audible gasp came from Vivio when the large bird was placed on a setting point on the counter top. The mother stepped to the side to allow Vivio a chance to inspect it closer, mouth open in awe. "We have having a lot of people over," the older woman told her guest with an amused tone. "Some of them are bringing side dishes and a large country style ham. Not to mention cakes and pies and dinner rolls. Make sure to eat your fill okay?"
"Yes ma'am." Vivio nodded to her and moved out of the way again. "Is there anything I can do?" Her question was cut off as the doorbell rang out.
"Syn, be a dear and get that," Elena told her daughter with a nudge. "They may need help carrying in some food."
"Come on, Vi." Syn pulled her friend along with her. "I don't know these people either so I'll feel better if you're with me."
Vivio laughed and clasped her hands behind her back as Syn opened the door. "Welcome!" She greeted cheerfully, only to be greeted with silence. The small pause made Syn look questioningly at the little red headed female standing at the door. Turning her eyes to Vivio, she felt a small pain in her chest at the sudden fearful look on her girlfriend's face. "Vi...ta?"
"Vivio... Vivio!" The smaller one lunged forward only to be sidestepped. The grapple missed and Vivio was already crouched down, springing forward and out the door, only to crash headfirst with someone else.
The momentum made the two people fly past the three steps leading up to the house and instead land roughly on the concrete pathway leading up to it. "Ow!" The voice made Vivio freeze again, looking down at shock into dark brown eyes. "...Vivio?"
"Aunt... Hayate." Instead of moving away, she just stared down at the person below her before a hard blow to the head made her look back over at Vita.
"You idiot!" Vita yelled at her, pulling Vivio's face close to hers. "Where the hell have you been? Huh!? You know how hard we look for you!?"
Syn chose that moment to pull Vivio away from the two strangers and helped her to her feet. "First off, who are you people?" She demanded to know. Behind her she felt her shirt being gripped and when she turned, she had just enough time to catch her girlfriend when her shaking knees finally gave out. "Vi? Vivio!?"
Hayate slowly walked over to the shaking girl and knelt down, ignoring Syn's demand for her to give the girl room. "...Vivio...?" A slow hand came up and touched the girl, making her break into sobs. "...Come here." To Syn's surprise, Vivio all but fell into the awaiting arms. One hand went to the girl's head and stroked her hair while the other rubbed her back in a small circle.
The blue haired female looked in shock before standing up and rubbing her forehead with her index finger and thumb. "Will someone please tell me what is going on here!?"
Hayate spoke softly to Syn while still hugging Vivio. "Are you Elena-chan's daughter?"
"I'm Hayate... Vivio's aunt."
"Aunt..." Syn looked down at the crying girlfriend. 'The way she talked before made me think her family was dead...' Vivio finally tried to calm herself down and slowly stood up with Hayate's help. She looked at the short brown haired girl but couldn't seem to form any words to say to her. After a few moments Syn finally shivered and crossed her arms. "Well if we're all going to stand around and say nothing, let's at least do it inside." She got a curt nod from the red head and the group slowly made their way to the still open front door where Elena was waiting for them.
A few minutes later and Vivio found herself sitting on the couch staring into the cup of wassell that was keeping her hands warm. Although she was hunched over, staring over her cup and to the floor, Hayate still sat next to her along with Syn on the other side. Vita was a little bit away, sitting in a chair with a glare that was mixed between wanting to hug the blond and hitting her again. Finally Vivio spoke, voice raspy from her earlier crying spell and tight throat. "How did you find me?"
Hayate took the question before Vita could scold her. "We never stopped looking for you, but I honestly didn't know you were going to be here."
"Why what?" Hayate asked back gently.
"Why did you keep looking?" Her voice picked up a little as she tried to fight back another wave of tears. "I told you not to!"
"Vivio," Hayate took her hands. "When you ran away-"
"Whoa!" Syn interrupted them instantly. "Ran away!?"
Vivio swallowed but still answered. "I didn't just leave... I left them a note and sneaked off..."
Syn stared at her in shock before leaving back on the couch and rubbing her temples. Hayate spoke up again to continue where she left off. "When you left us, we were really worried. We searched constantly but couldn't find you... No places were rented with your name, nor job applicants anywhere..."
Vivio gave a small smile that held no humor in it. "I used my middle name only to get my apartment and I don't use my name at work."
"So," Vita picked up. "We each took turns going to different cities when not on missions to try and find you. Privacy laws prevented us from using our positions to sniff you out. It was hard, you know."
Vivio looked down again. "I told you not to..."
"Like we wouldn't!" Hayate scolded her before stopping to settle down again. "Vivio, we all love you, we couldn't-"
"That's why!" Vivio yelled, making both Syn and Hayate jerk slightly in shock. Tears began to form in her eyes again, rolling down her cheeks and dripping onto her wrist and into her drink. "I couldn't handle it... Everyone..." She sniffed hard and tried to talk while her breathing started getting hard again. "Every mission, every battle, every training exercise, every....everything!" She shook her head. "Everyone I loved, always getting hurt, always risking their lives... I just knew that someday... it would be like that again..." She felt Syn take her cup when she started having trouble holding onto it and instead bent over more, hugging herself. "I couldn't deal with it! Every day, wondering if you would survive, wondering if I would answer the door to see an officer giving me that look again!" The memory of standing by her parent's graves as they were lowered into them came back into her mind. "I couldn't go through that again! I had to get away, to forget everything!" Her throat hurt even more, making her stop her yelling to try and let it relax so she could inhale again over the body shaking cries.
Hayate sat quietly for a moment before slowly nodding. "It's hard, isn't it?" Her voice was soft, filled with sadness. "Every day, worrying if everything will be okay..." She testingly moved her arm to place around Vivio's shoulders and took it as a good sign when she didn't pull away. "But it's something that we just have to bear... we have to trust in everyone, that they will come back to us." Her niece looked over at her with puffy red eyes and a shaking lip. "Vivio, you can't think about them not coming back to you... but that they are coming back to you..." Leaning forward, she hugged the crying girl softly. "Every time we were on a mission, they would talk about coming home to you." She felt Vivio go stiff but she kept on, voice kind and motherly. "When I'm out there, I think about coming back to look for you... to find you and bring you back to us... just as we all want to come back to you."
Vivio broke again, throwing herself against Hayate and holding her tightly, sobbing out apologies over and over again whenever she had enough air to do so. The woman holding her rubbed her back again and spoke gently into her ear once more. "Shhh... Its okay Vivio. I understand your feelings...But running away wasn't the answer. You should have come to me,.. I'm your aunt you know."
"St-"Vivio's works were stuttered. "Still?"
This time Hayate's eyes moistened. "Yes. Yes, you silly girl." They hugged once more and Hayate finally caved into her desire to cry. Loud gasps of air were taken as they two hugged each other tightly. "I missed you so much! I felt like- like a part of my life was missing!"
"I'm so sorry!" Vivio buried herself deeper against her aunt's chest.
Syn waited patiently for the outbreak to end and offered her hand to hold when they two finally parted. A helpless look was given to the blond but an encouraging squeeze of the hand showed her that she was there for her in any way she could. After getting a nod, the blue haired one got up from the couch and walked to the kitchen to lean against the refrigerator. "I feel so helpless..." Syn looked over to the wall where the soft crying sounds from the group could still be heard. "This is obviously some huge part in her life but I can't do anything."
Elena gave her a soft look before turning back to the lunch she was preparing still. "Sometimes you being there is the best you can do for someone. Even if you can't give her advice or make her happy again by doing something, simply letting her know that the option to go to you is available, it's okay."
"I know but..." She sighed and shook her head. "It makes me think just how little I know her..."
"You two haven't been dating long at all. You rushed head first into everything; don't you think it's a little obvious that you don't know everything about her? Part of a relationship is figuring it out."
Syn stayed quiet a moment before slowly nodding. "I can't believe she ran away though... well... I always knew that porn stars normally had really bad childhoods and were generally... I guess 'not right' in the head would be the best term I could use right now... But she was so happy looking, so... normal." She closed her eyes. "And she actually had a past that would normally make me not try because I would have thought she would have too much emotional baggage."
"Do you regret it?"
"No," the reply came honestly. "Vivio is Vivio. I knew there would be a lot to accept if I got with her and I decided that I would. She tries so very hard for me, it would be an insult if I didn't for her." She blinked at the sudden fond look she was getting from her mother and blushed slightly. "Don't give me that." She held out Vivio's cold cup of wassail. "Refill so I can offer it to her to sooth her throat." The doorbell ringing once more made the daughter place the cup on the counter and walk to the front door to welcome a pink haired woman along with a short haired blonde.
Over the span of an hour and a half, Vivio slowly began to stop crying and was able to hug everyone as they made it to the gathering point. The questions were held off until all of the old forwards were gathered along with Hayate's family. In order to give the girl more time to settle down and get used to being next to all of her old friends whom she had grown up with, Elena and Kaith started getting everyone together at the large dining room table to prepare for their thanksgiving meal. Plates were passed around and after a buffet style trip around the kitchen, everyone sat together after a little bickering of who got to sit next to Vivio. Finally the girl gathered her nerves and began to tell her story.
"I Guess I should start at the beginning?" Taking a moment to get a small sip of her drink, she closed her eyes a moment before looking around the table. Hayate, Vita, Signum, Shamal, Zafira, Subaru, Tea, Elio, Caro, Syn, and the two parents she had just met were all looking at her with a gaze mixed with curiosity and encouragement. After using the moment to think about her words some more, she finally continued. "Well… After I ran away I found a little place that would let me stay without putting up a deposit on rent… I got a little behind on my bills and I couldn't really afford to eat much of anything… Job hunting was really difficult, as no one really wanted to hire an inexperienced young girl…" She half expected someone to interrupt her tale, but no replies or questions came just yet. "I, um, found a job that paid for a little bit of work" Scratching her cheek, she tried to debate explaining her hated first experience or not.
Syn spoke up then, making everyone look at her for a brief moment. "But those jobs didn't pay well enough so you had to find another one, right?"
Taking the offered escape route to skip the unpleasantries, Vivio nodded and went on. "Right. I did, however, meet someone by chance who saw what I did and… Well, he took me away from the place I didn't like and introduced me to my current job."
Shamal spoke up when the girl paused a moment. "What is your job?"
Vivio used her food to give herself some time to build up the anticipation before finally smiling at them. "I'm in adult entertainment." The expected silence came and she continued to eat at her lunch to give everyone a moment to let it sink in. Finally, Subaru asked the question that was on everyone's minds.
"What, you shoot porns?!"
"SUBARU!" The collected shouts made the blue haired girl wince and sink back in her chair, a light shade of blush along her cheeks.
"Yes," the simply reply made everyone turn back to Vivio. Her eyes closed and a smile was on her lips. "It was scary at first, but now it's actually a really fun job. I've made a lot of friends who look out for me, can laugh while I'm at work, have lots of free time to do whatever I want and… whatever I want really…" She trailed off when the shocked looks didn't go away. "I'm used to this, go ahead and take a moment." Going back to her food, Vivio began to nibble on a few things on her plate.
"This…" Everyone turned to Hayate, who seemed to be the most affected by the words. "This isn't true, right?"
Vivio gave her an apologetic look. "Sorry, Aunt Hayate, I'm telling the truth. It's nowhere near as bad as you think, though. All of the really weird and bizarre things everyone is thinking right now is not true, so don't linger on them. I'm very well respected at my studio, I can pick and refuse any jobs I want, it's insanely sanitary and I have full benefits as well as a registered nurse on site that I can visit any time for free. I'm very healthy and- Aunt Hayate are you crying?"
"My little girl…"
"Oh don't be like that…" Vivio leaned over and hugged the woman, getting a tight hug back. "Really, it's not bad at all. I'll explain it in more detail later okay?" She got a nod and another close embrace before Hayate finally pulled away and wiped her eyes. "So," Vivio tried to keep going so everyone wouldn't linger on that part too long during lunch. "I work, have a steady paycheck that's rather nice now, and do everything any other normal girl does. I go out with friends, watch movies, and even have a really understanding girlfriend." She smiled over at Syn, who grinned back with her support. "Any questions so far?" She could tell right away that everyone wanted to ask at least one thing. "I'm serious: it's a nice job. I can go into details later, but right now let's not focus on that."
Signum, seeming to have recovered the fastest, spoke up next. "How did you hide from us for so long?"
"I only used my middle name to register things. My apartment, bills, and letters all go to a girl simply named Hayate." Turning to look at her aunt, she smiled lightly. "Work keeps my name a secret and I know how the missing people thing works so I worked around it… I'm sorry."
Vita scoffed across the table but Tea spoke up next. "How did you meet Syn if you were avoiding the military? Elena is one of Hayate's close friends."
Vivio smiled playfully. "I didn't know she was connected like that. I knew her mother was in the service but I never expected their paths to cross since everyone I knew was such a high rank and Miss Virage was retired… But I met Syn at a bar." Her lips turned into a small smirk. "Syn was drunk as a skunk and was trying to bed me." She allowed a moment for Syn's father to send a disapproving glare while the mother laughed at the situation. "She passed out on me after I bought her a few rounds so I took her home to sleep on my couch. I couldn't just leave her there, you know?"
A nod came from Subaru. "Just like your parents."
The blonde smiled at them after eating a little more of her dinner. "So, Syn and I had a nice start at a relationship, hit a rather bumpy part midway, and somehow managed to smooth things out again. We're currently trying to adjust to each other as best we can… That basically brings us up to speed. Everything else is every-day life activity."
Vita spoke up next, finally voicing the question that had been lingering on her mind. "So now that we found you, what are you going to do? There are rooms at the base, as well as jobs." The question was spoken like a statement, her stubbornness showing through as always.
Syn went stiff as everyone looked at her girlfriend. 'The base is almost a ten hour drive one-way from home... If she moves away...'
Vivio didn't answer at first, but rather looked at everyone around the room. "I know I was stupid when I was younger, thinking that running away would fix my problems... But Hayate made me realize something; that loving someone doesn't mean just fearing for them, but rather trusting in them. I know that it will be hard for me to get back used to speaking with everyone again after so long… Feeling these things that I grew up with but pushed away." Closing her eyes, she thought about it.
"Vivio," Hayate's words made the blond look over at her. "You can stay with me as well."
Smiling at her adopted aunt, Vivio shook her head softly. "I would like to be with everyone all the time but..." She looked over at Syn and smiled fondly at her. "I have things here as well... I created a life for myself, all on my own, by not giving up... I know some of... well probably all of you, don't like my job, but it's not really so bad. I came all this way, made myself known, made friends... I know it's a life that you probably wish I didn't have, but Nanoha-mama always told me to never give up. If I left it now, I feel like I would be quitting for the easier life... Syn here helped me recover everything and understand what it means to live and love. I can't ask her to leave her great job to come live with me over there, nor can she ask me to stay here... So I must go with what my instincts tell me..." She smiled at them happily. "I'm going to continue living my life at home, and ask for a part-time transfer to the area where the new division is. I'm sure I can spend at least a week a month down there."
A collected sigh of acceptance came from most everyone in the room, save for Hayate, who was looking down with sad eyes. "I see..."
Vivio gazed at the woman for a few moments before noticing that their plates were empoty. "Aunt Hayate, want to take a small walk with me?"
"...Yes." The two stood up together and walked to the door, stopping just a moment as Vivio whispered something into Syn's ear before catching up. The cold air greeted them outside, making each one huddle into their jackets before starting to walk aimlessly long the sidewalk of the small community. "It's been a long time since we've taken one of our walks, hasn't it Vivio?"
"Mmhn." She nodded and moved to walk closer together. "...I'm really sorry about what I did."
"I know..." A small spell of silence washed over them before picking back up. "I really missed you. I thought about you all the time... how you were doing, if you were eating alright, if there would be a moment where you would call to check in with me..."
"...I'm sorry." Vivio looked towards the ground yet again and watched the cracks move along the stone as they continued along their way. "There were many times where I tried to dial your number but I always hesitated before finishing it. I knew you would come and get me, even if I told you not to... Then I would be right back where I was. Foolish pride, stupidity, there are many things you could call it. I was just trying to push everything away before I got hurt again."
"With your background, losing both of your parents at the same time... I can't even begin to understand what went through in your mind... I'm sorry I wasn't there for you."
"You were hurt." Vivio told her softly, stopping at once. "Everyone was."
"It doesn't matter. I should have been-"
"Hayate!" Vivio's word broke, making the woman turn to her. "Nothing could have been done." The look in her eyes made Vivio finally realize what had made the girl so sad. "Did you... blame yourself?"
"...Every day." She reached to wipe her eyes and turned to look over the area they were at so she wouldn't have to stare into the heterochromic eyes. The trees swayed in the light wind, leaves falling only to be swept into the ever moving current of air. "I always wondered if I could have stopped you from running away… could have helped you in some way-"
"You were the best aunt any girl could have asked for." Vivio moved to stand by her again and looked out over the community along the hillside with her. "You still are. Knowing that you were out there somewhere gave me strength. I kept telling myself: When I'm able to meet her again, I'll have her tell me that she's proud I never gave up." She looked over at Hayate and saw that she was silently trying to fight back tears. "You were always there for me, but I know... Even if you weren't in the hospital, I still would have left. It wasn't because you weren't there to stop me, I just..." She sighed. "I can't make any excuses, I was stupid." Her eyes dropped down to the sidewalk again, watching a small trail of ants move around their feet to continue along their way.
"Let me be there for you now." Hayate placed both hands on Vivio's shoulders. "Please. Please quit and come live with me?"
Vivio leaned into the offered hug and held her crying aunt while trying not to lose it herself again. "I'll stay with you when I come visit... but my job is part of who I am. I know you don't like it-"
"I hate it!" Hayate countered, voice angry but not at the girl in her arms. "My little girl..."
"I'm a big girl."
"You're my little girl!" Hayate interrupted, shaking her head and speaking quickly. "I want you back, I want to look after you, like they wanted me to!"
Vivio wiped her eyes. "They would be proud of me for living, even if I made a mistake."
Hayate couldn't deny that. "Even so...I don't like it."
"Syn didn't either." Vivio revealed while starting to walk again, now holding Hayate's hand.
"What changed her mind?"
Vivio looked up at the sky, watching the soft white clouds ride the breeze. "I wonder..." She smiled at them and turned back down to see where they were going. "Maybe she finally understood that I love her, that my job is work and nothing else... I guess everyone else is going nuts right now over it as well. But my life isn't as bad as people may think... I have a really nice apartment, I've been promoted recently to the point where I will actually have enough money to spend on things that I don't even need, and I have a lot of friends as well... Even more that I can finally face everyone again. Aunt Hayate, don't think that my life was really bad. I had some hard times, but I kept going. Even if you're upset, I hope I can explain it all to you..." She smiled softly. "I'd like you to accept it as part of who I am."
Hayate sighed and rubbed her eyes with her middle finger and thumb. "This will take some getting used to on everyone's part."
"I know, right?"
Giving in, the older woman looked up at Vivio and sighed. "Just promise me you will come stay with me as often as you can? I can even arrange for you to be picked up so you won't have to drive."
Vivio nodded happily. "Nothing would make me happier than staying with you as much as possible." The two looked at each other a moment before hugging once more. "I love you, Aunt Hayate."
"I love you too, Vivio. If you ever need anything at all, please come to me."
The two pulled back and looked at each other fondly. "There is one thing that I'd like..."
Vivio smiled sadly at the two glimmering stones in front of her. A pretty gloss covering made the words engraved so carefully onto them stand out even more. Her parent's names were lined with marble that sparkled in the sun's setting light. Ever so carefully, the girl knelt down before them and brought her hands up to clasp in front of her chest while closing her eyes. 'Mamas... I'm finally here. It's been a while, hasn't it?' A small tear escaped her eyelashes and ran down her cheek. 'I'm sorry about that. You see, life has been a little challenging for me... It's been a wild ride, but I've always held strong. Just like you taught me, Nanoha-mama.' Opening her eyes, she looked at the well kept area and smelt the fragrance of the incense they had burning. ' I've come a long way, and grown up quite nicely. I'm sure you would be happy, Fate-mama, I have your way of thinking. I can just tell it when I need to calmly decide on what I should do.' Vivio slowly closed her eyes and re-opened them a moment later. 'It's strange, I had so many things that I wanted to say to both of you but now that I'm here I can't seem to find the words... I guess I should tell you how happy I am right now. I've met all my friends again and was forgiven for a past mistake. I feel like a new person now, and I know that my future will be wonderful. I even have someone who loves me. Imagine that, someone who can put up with me.' She grinned to herself and bowed her head again, smiling. 'I will tell you in detail about her later, when I come back... I have so much to say. Right now, I just want to let you know that I love you both. So much. Thank you for everything you've done for me, and for teaching me right from wrong and... and everything. Just everything. I love you, Fate-mama, Nanoha-mama.'
As she opened her eyes a small breeze blew her hair across her face, bringing with it two soft feathers that were as white as snow. They both stopped and lay before her, crossing each other just between the two graves. With a smile, Vivio looked up at the sky and could feel the warmth in her heart that she remembered when her parents used to hold her as a child.