Disclaimer: I do not own MGLN. I merely own the concept of ViCia...

Author's Note: This story is set before the events of "Never Been Kissed", so Vivio is twelve and Lutecia is sixteen. Mainly told from Vivio's POV, and sadly much of the ViCia here is one-sided... unless you feel like digging deeper into Lutecia's actions.

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Learn the Hard Way

The dark gray van was small and cramped; it was by no means a comfortable way to travel. Unfortunately flying in city grounds without good reason was prohibited, and since the mission had been resolved earlier Vivio couldn't call on Burning Glory and just fly home.

Darn.

They'd been out of city on the mission, actually, and now faced a four hour drive back; they'd be home, their driver said, by about one thirty. In the morning. The whole idea of coming home that late made Vivio twitch, even as Caro, Erio, and Lutecia accepted the news without even blinking.

Then again, they were older than her, sixteen to her twelve. They'd grown used to the long nights, usually getting only two to three hours of sleep or none at all when they were on a mission. It was their line of work, and one they accepted willingly. Vivio had only been along this time because they'd needed her firepower.

It was dark outside, and as Vivio rested her chin on her knees she tried to ignore the way the van's tires grinded over the unsteady road, making her whole body tremble and tilt. Erio and Caro were huddled together across from where she and Lutecia sat on one of the two impossibly tiny benches in the already small area, sound asleep and using each other as pillows. Watching them, Vivio smirked. "They do this often?" she asked, keeping her voice low.

"Who, Caro and Erio?" Lutecia yawned. "Yes, they do that a lot. You get used to it after awhile."

"Does it make you miss Ken?"

Just saying the name of Lutecia's second boyfriend left a bitter taste in Vivio's mouth and made her scowl; she'd never liked Ken, though she'd tried her best to hide it for Lutecia's sake. They'd only broken up recently, though Lutecia didn't seem to be missing him very much. The Belkan summoner studied her two friends a moment before chuckling. "Not particularly, no," she admitted. "Ken and I never had the best relationship. We didn't talk much. It was… you know… more of a physical thing, I guess."

"I bet he still regrets that he never convinced you to go all the way."

"Hmm, probably."

Lutecia yawned again, and Vivio snuck a quick glance up at her. The purple-haired girl was sitting on the bench, leaning back against the wall with her hands resting in her lap, gazing quietly ahead at nothing. Drowsiness had crept into her eyes, but sleep seemed to be eluding her. Vivio had taken a seat on the floor, believing it would possibly be more comfortable than being jostled around on a tiny bench.

She was soundly proven wrong as the van passed over a particularly deep pothole in the road, the result being that she was slammed backwards and her head cracked against the wall. "Ow!"

Lutecia perked up instantly. "Vivio?"

"Ooooohhhh…" Wincing as the back of her head throbbed, Vivio gingerly rubbed the sore spot and glanced quickly at Caro and Erio, relieved that her cry hadn't stirred them. "Mou, that hurt…"

"Are you all right?"

"Ow… yeah, I'm fine. No worries, Cia. Just a bump. Ouch…"

Lutecia didn't settle, studying Vivio quietly; the younger girl laughed. "I think I'll have plenty of bruises by the time we get home, and they won't even be from the mission," she joked, laughing softly. When her friend didn't reply immediately, Vivio frowned, looking up at her again. "Hey. Cia?"

A pair of warm, slender arms slid around her waist, and Vivio gasped as Lutecia effortlessly lifted her up and rested the smaller girl in her lap, keeping her arms tight around her waist. "There." Lutecia's breath was warm against the back of her neck, and there was a note of satisfaction in her voice. "Now you don't need to worry about bruises."

Feeling her heart slam against her ribs as heat rushed into her face, Vivio swallowed against a lump in her throat, her eyes wide and her body tightening up. She certainly had been held by Lutecia before, many times in fact; the two shared a close friendship that consisted of touching on equal sides, from a simple brushing of hands to a friendly hug and playful wrestling. Indeed, she'd even sat in Lutecia's lap many times in the past and never thought twice about it.

Now, though, she was hyperaware of everything, from the gentle feeling of Lutecia's breathing to the equally gentle sensation of breasts against her back. The older girl's warmth merged with hers in a way that made Vivio's mouth go dry. Thankfully her breathing had steadied, though her heart and pulse were still hammering faster than they ever had before. Gradually growing accustomed to the feeling Vivio cautiously leaned back into Lutecia's arms, gulping slightly as the summoner rested her forehead against her shoulder. "Cia?" Her voice came out as a squeak.

"Sorry." Lutecia closed her eyes, and Vivio distinctly felt her lashes brush her shoulder. "I'm tired. Just need to close my eyes. I'll move in a minute, Vi."

"It's okay." Vivio's voice trembled slightly, but Lutecia didn't notice. "You can sleep on me. We're friends, right?"

"Yeah… thanks, Vi…"

Lutecia's voice faded into silence, and she was out like a light. For a long, long moment Vivio sat that way, slowly absorbing the sensation of Lutecia resting against her in such a way, her hands lightly clasped together against her stomach to hold the younger girl firm against her. Slowly, she closed her eyes and leaned back.

Sleep didn't come easily to her, but eventually she drifted away without dreaming.

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About two weeks after that little episode, Vivio realized something that explained her reaction to Lutecia that dark night in the cramped van.

She was in love with her best friend.

And the feeling wasn't about to go away anytime soon.

After that night, Vivio had hoped—desperately—that everything would go back to normal, and she could interact with Lutecia the way she'd always done. No such luck. Her strange feelings around the girl and her physical reactions continued to endure, to a point where she'd started trying to avoid Lutecia as much as possible, if only to try and collect her thoughts.

I'm in love with Cia. I'm in love with my best friend.

Sitting on the rooftop of the TSAB Mid-Childan ground base, Vivio groaned miserably and dropped her forehead to her knees. She'd always been aware of the fact that her emotions for Lutecia ran deeper than just ordinary friendship, even when she'd been six years old. She willingly acknowledged that she had a crush on the older girl. So why the hell had it become something more? Wasn't just having a crush enough?

Apparently not.

She didn't hear the door open, nor did she hear the soft footsteps come her way; moving in a quiet fashion that was all her own, Lutecia lightly pressed a fresh can of vanilla Pepsi to Vivio's cheek.

The response was instantaneous.

"COLD!" With a yelp Vivio jerked her head up, and Lutecia quickly pulled the can away as the golden-haired girl stared up at her. "Cia?"

"Long time no see. You like vanilla, right?"

Lutecia passed the can to Vivio and sat next to her, letting her legs dangle over the edge as she clicked her own can of cherry Coke open and took a long drink. Vivio looked uncertainly at the older girl before looking away, absently playing with the can in her hands. Lutecia watched her out of the corner of her eye, and as she lowered her can she sighed.

"Okay, what's wrong?"

Vivio blinked, looking at her friend. "Wrong? Nothing's wrong. Absolutely nothing."

"Hmm. Let me rephrase that. Did I do something wrong?"

"You?"

"You've been avoiding me." Lutecia leveled a calm look at Vivio. "You look like you've seen a ghost whenever I enter the room. What's going on?"

"Uhm…"

Vivio fumbled desperately for an excuse; she had no intention of revealing her recent shift of feelings towards the violet-haired summoner, at least until she'd figured out what to do about them. "I'm… having personal problems?" she tried weakly, and had Lutecia lifting a brow.

"Personal problems…?"

"Yeah. Kind of." That's close enough to the truth, isn't it? "I'm… I'm trying to figure something out right now."

"Hmmm…"

Lutecia's neutral response made Vivio wince; she couldn't read the older girl's mood at all, as her face was notably blank as she took another drink from her cherry Coke.

She came out her to find me… I owe her that, at the very least.

"Cia…?"

"What?"

"… I'm sorry." Feeling absolutely miserably, Vivio looked back at her can. "I'm doing a lot of thinking right now, and I guess… I guess I didn't want to burden you with it."

There was a moment of silence as Lutecia contemplated this response; she sighed. Draping an arm gently along Vivio's shoulder, she pulled the smaller girl into a half-hug, so her cheek rested against her shoulder. Vivio blinked, felt her heart speed up and her face flush (again, dammit!). "Cia?"

"Don't apologize, dummy." Lutecia's voice was soft. "You didn't do anything wrong. I was worried."

"But…" Vivio blinked; she closed her eyes. "I… I really am sorry, Cia."

"I know you are. Stop apologizing already."

They sat that way for a moment, and Vivio took the time to enjoy the sensation; it didn't feel quite as panicking as it had the first time around. Lutecia sighed again. "Vivio?"

"Yeah?"

"If you ever need to talk to someone about whatever you're thinking about… you'll come to me, won't you? Because I'm you friend. And I'm really worried about you this time."

Vivio slowly opened her eyes, felt a surge of warmth in her chest even as the 'friend' word haunted her. "Yeah," she whispered. "I will. I'm sorry I worried you."

Lutecia smiled.

"Didn't I tell you to stop apologizing? And drink your Pepsi. It'll get warm at this rate."

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Vivio couldn't even muster up the energy to announce her arrival home as she closed the door behind her with a soft click; she slid her shoes off and left them to the side, all the while in contemplative silence.

She'd spent her whole walk home thinking about her situation, and only now was she truly realizing how daunting her task was. Lutecia was her best friend, and Vivio wasn't willing to do anything that might damage that relationship. Still, she was willing to take the risk if she really believed it would lead to something better. Beyond that, though, Lutecia was four years older than her and already had two relationships under her belt; she would never express much interest in someone Vivio's age, even if she'd mature in the coming years. And Vivio had never been in a romantic relationship of any kind; another strike against her.

Feeling her heart ache as her eyes stung, the twelve-year-old wiped furiously at her eyes.

"Mistress?"

The soft mechanical voice, a male, alerted Vivio to Burning Glory's presence as the dark blue stone flashed gently in the dim light, set in a silver ring band on her finger. "Yeah, Burning Glory?"

"May I suggest speaking to your mothers about what is causing you such distress?"

"Nanoha-mama and Fate-mama?"

"Yes. Often, when I need guidance, I speak to Bardiche or Raising Heart. I'm sure speaking to your mothers will soothe you."

Amused, loving her device, Vivio smiled. "I think I'll try that. Thanks, Burning Glory."

"Anything to keep my mistress happy."

Giggling, Vivio headed up the stairs and started towards the bedroom door, reaching it in a matter of seconds. Lifting a hand, she hesitated for a moment; she bit her lip, took a deep breath, and knocked quickly.

"Come in."

She pushed the door open, cautiously peeking inside. "Nanoha-mama? Fate-mama?"

From her computer Fate looked up, completing her most recent log of an off-planet mission; on the bed, Nanoha smiled at her. "Hey, Vivio. What's up?"

Vivio closed the door behind her, took a deep breath.

"Mama… I'm in love with Cia."

The End

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Sorry, no NanoFate family discussion with Vivio. If I'm lucky, I might be able to hit DezoPenguin up for it... maybe. (shifty eyes)

I have to admit this was quite fun to write, since I enjoyed telling the story from Vivio's POV. I felt it was only fair, since we saw Lutecia fall in love with Vivio, to see Vivio fall in love with Lutecia.

Read and review, please!