Disclaimer:

Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha is the creative property of Seven Arcs, whom created this wonderful anime/manga series. Anything not attributed to Seven Arcs belongs to their respective owners, such as other series, references, and vice-versa. This story is written purely just for fun, guys; please for God's sake, don't sue me! I'm just a college student with too much free time on his hands! On the other hand, any specific author created characters I created for this fic (despite how unoriginal they may be at times) are mine. So without further ado, let's get on with the show!


La Frontière d'Extase was and is still the best worst mistake in years at Night Town, a municipality of the Cranagan Metropolitan Government's twenty-three special wards. Now, why in the Goddess of Mysteries would some doofus name their city "Night Town" (other than the obvious that the perpetrator was drunk off his bullocks)? Well, even a redneck druid from the country would get it, right? Night Town: promiscuous adult activities, an infinite strip joint with casinos, grand entertainment, night clubs, drive-thru marriage churches, restaurants, hotels, and errata to the point where any God fearing person would convert over to the dark side. By the way, happy hour was twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three-hundred sixty-five days in the average standard solar cycle, so those who need to throw a party better come on by, so at least read the travel brochure.

We, savvy?

Savvy.

An eclectic cabaret club in the grand, freewheeling style of the legendary Moulin Rouge, La Frontière d'Extase was a pretty darn jazzy, ritzy place that smelled of old gangster films and hopeful melancholia, and best of all, an escape from the ordinary of reality. If a customer came in feeling under dressed, the staff would be happy to cast a temporary Glamour on he or she, so that they would feel welcomed and become another fabulously colorful performer in the sea of music and the throes of passion. After all, the world is but a stage and all are actors and actresses on the long road of the fool's journey.

That said, everyone who came here has a long, long history with the club. The encounter might have appeared to be by accident or by coincidence, simply following the lead of one's friends or the word, but the club's vivacious owner and gorgeous hostess, whom were one and the same, will champion any night: that there were no such absurd things, only inevitability. As for one particular man, tonight dressed in a white and black pinstripe suit sans fedora, his own history here could be traced back ten years.

Normally, a social drinker, he was one never to be caught dead on the scene without a broad or two in his sights, for he was an exemplary louse, who preferred his women one-night-stands and dancing in vogue. Alcohol just happened to come with the territory. Thus, it was most unusual to see him, for any who knew of the Lone Wolf, drowning away with the ever strange, melancholy ranks of Les Mis. They never seemed to leave the bar, which was good for business, technically, even if some of the poor wretches did manage to drink themselves into the emergency room.

I don't want to set the world fire

I just want to start

A flame in your heart

"He~y, Master, how about another shot?" asked the wolf, cheeks flush with indulgent rapture.

The bartender, smartly dressed to match the retro decor, a tall, severe tough guy with long hair tied into a ponytail by a blue ribbon, who looked overqualified for his job frankly, paused in his idle polishing of a shot glass. It was hard to tell where the man's eye line was going most of the time with his cool black shades, but if he was fixing a look at a certain someone, they knew instinctively. Suffice to say, the man in the pinstripe suit was not an object of interest.

It was the smell: some designer perfume that seemed to drive man and woman wild, and the ever lingering, pungent sweetness of her favorite peculiar rose champagne. Even with the many delights and pleasures available to one's disposal here, that woman was a rare and uniquely wonderful drug to be savored at the slightest encounter.

"Mmm~, mon chéri," she was a feast for the senses, irresistible, and hard to believe, completely legal, "if you promise me that child will be your last one for the night, Yukarin will put it on her tab just. for. you~."

Why, just being with her brought back memories from the balmy haze of nostalgia from a younger pup, but his aspirations had not changed much in the time passing, and she, too, seemed impervious to the flow of seasons, to his relief. He was still as bewitched as ever by her, the mere sight of which had stolen his young heart then. If he was a wolf, then she was the moon, and surely, this was as close as he would ever be to true love.

"What's the occasion, Yukarin?" his tongue lulled, eyes roving and hunting. "I thought playing favorites goes against d'Extase's policy?"

Others might have recoiled at such intense longing, but she basked in the attention, with a lilting laugh.

"And you should know best that the border bends rules by just existing. Life is to be enjoyed, and today, I believe marks your second anniversary, does it not?"

Instantly, the mood took a downturn for the worst. There were many reasons why mere mortals would sell their souls away into indulgence and pleasure. In the wolf's case, he was just trying to cope, and just maybe, just maybe --- forget.

"The moon is most beautiful when bathed in the rays of the sun. The wolf gives chase under the palanquin of stars. He howls so frighteningly, coveting what was lost that none save the moon hears of his sorrow. Come, mon chéri, entertain me, mmm~, with a story this imperishable night."

It appeared he could run no further for the moon had come to him.

Fine, then let's get this over with.

"But, first off, you're getting me a drink, honey~. ...Strongest thing you've got. I don't want to be sober for this."


Hic!

H-Hey, do I have to start this all from the beginning, really? Like, really-really? I am kinda inebriated here.

Oh, people are most honest you say when we're pissed drunk? Okay, I get what you mean, Yukarin.

Still, you already know me pretty well, right? I've been what, comin' here for like, ten-somethin' years now? Yeah, even before I got the uniform from Ol' Aunt Sammie. ...Aw, shoot, don't be like that, Yukarin!

All right, all right, I promise I'll stop trying to kill the mood.

Now, how should I start? Just a little somethin' to set up the atmosphere.

Hmmmm...

Ah, I got it.

Picture this.


Of XVII and XVIII

Talk 1-1:

"Life is like an assembly line."

An Experimental Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha AU(?) fanfic by James "Ray" Edwards

Technical Assistance and Advisory provided by Tempest Dynasty


Most people have the privilege of knowing where they came from, a beginning, a little history they can draw on to define themselves, see? Okay, okay, sorry for going Professor Gransenic of Existential Philosophy 619 all a sudden, but even a dirty pack rat colonial can put his brain to better use. Well, aside from figuring the optimal method to reposition myself strategically into your lingerie tonight or guess-timating how to put a round into a target, standing uphill, from 500 m away, the old-fashioned way. I take on all challenges with equal lack of motivation and jaded cynicism of higher authority, but hey, that's enough circular speak.

Yes-Miss, I am 1000% authentic colonial rat from a failed settlement, evac'd out just days before the Bureau wrote off the entire place as N.A.W. (read: expendable), and you know what happens to those places... Sorry, if my vernacular jumps wildly all over the place from gutter trash, army talk, to somethin' like intelligent civilian conver-HEY! WOO-HOO! I'm so dr~unk~! Hic, now, where was I?

...

Not gonna talk about the orphanage. Nope. Not gonna talk. But it only confirmed that I fell into the other category of sentient human being, the defective FUBAR'd kind with a huge deficit in something called "Luck". See, I am like a Laarty that doesn't know where it was made or what it's parts came from, 'cept that I must have been assembled at some-where, some-when. Nothing more to it, but it proves that...

"Life is like an assembly line."

Some invisible hand is putting you together into something, and you have no idea how it's going to turn out. All you can do is hold on to the seat of your pants and try to watch for the hammers coming down the line.

But yeah, like I was saying, only good thing that came out of that orphanage was the name that really belonged to me, my real name.

"Vice": still brings a smile to my face every time I think back.

O~oh, wanna know the name on my birth certificate? Hmm, maybe I'd tell ya if you married me, Yukarin. Whad'dya say?

...

Aww, don't play with me like that. I am the one whose an old ornery geezer five-star s***bag general! How about a kiss, instead?

...

Oh, well, damn. Alright, I'll keep going.

Now, how the heck is an orphaned brat whose just barely educated supposed to make it big in the huge, scary world without a penny to his name and no friends to speak of? Easy: you sign your life away to the Bureau. A one-way ticket out of the slums, three square meals a day, a steady paycheck, benefits, a career, and all past wrongs forgiven as long as you sign by that dotted line and abide by your obligation to Auntie Sammie.

Kinda makes you wonder what kind of a screwed up world we live in, don't you think so, Yukarin? A paramilitary organization that lets kids as young as nine volunteer to sign their lives away to "fight the good fight"? Crazy. But, if you've got the ability - that's all they really care about, right? Results.

Suffice to say, I was not smart enough at the time, so it was grunt work for me. Do I regret it? Hell no. I am a simple kind of guy, remember? Keeps me in shape, let's me work off my stress, sharpens my wits, and I get paid to put scumbags in body bags? Best eight years of my career. Honestly, I feel bad deciding to lat move over into air wing to fly things, though I have to admit, you do get to meet some pretty cute fly girls and metal-minded jumpsuit babes.

...

Don't fret, Yukarin, you're still the only gal I've called beautiful in all things upon heaven and earth.

...

By the way, I noticed that funny thing, you know? Looking back now... Like, my whole life, it's like people have been trying to box me up, but I end up ripping out of the stuffing, the packaging, and the wrapping, people start crying, yelling, scream...oh, and it gets butt ugly.

No wonder I'm a ten year Sergeant, right? More actions, commendations, medals, ribbons, but I just have to go keep mucking things up for me.

What do I think of my platoon, right now? Hnn, SRT-4's a decent bunch of knuckleheads, 'toon sergeant's a-tight-asshole but a good enough asshole, even if he doesn't like my kind... Oh, and our CO is a way too moto gold bronco - that girl needs to calm the hell down and stop picking on me.

If she likes me, it's a darn funny way of showing she cares, making big vapid doe eyes at me all the time, like she's hanging on to every word I say. That makes me nervous, you know, and that's bad since it's my job to fly the bird! She should be looking to the SFC for guidance, not me, even though I do have the most combat experience, more than that of the entire platoon combined.

Damn. If I only "behaved", I would so be a Staff NCO by now.

...

Crap, I'm sobering up. I think I'm going to go home.

...

What? I can't because I haven't gotten to the good part yet? It's Saturday morning, and I am on vacation for the next ten days!

...

Fine, fine, in that case, why don't you have the Master cook up another "ice tea" for me, and we'll get to the part where the new chapter in this Bohemian rhapsody really starts?

...

Yup, the day "The Star" walked right into the starving wolf's den, is what.

...

Pfftttt, I know, it sounds so bad - that it's good. And you're right: today would be our second anniversary. I can remember it like yesterday when I woke up and got the phone call...


To be continued...


Author's Notes:

It is what it is. A jousei-style, exploratory origin story about Vice and Laguna: a young single man trying to raise a six-year old girl by himself. Don't worry this episode was just the "calm before the storm".