Like a lot of Yuuno's problems, this particular episode was Chrono's fault.
"You're a nice person, Yuuno." He had said one day.
Yuuno had known the man long enough to understand that Chrono didn't give out compliments unless it was for one of two reasons:
1.) He was going to ask for something.
2.) He was working his way around to an insult.
"But women don't look for niceness in a man." The young admiral continued.
So it was number two.
"'A nice person' is an expression they use pityingly to some one so shallow and uninteresting that they sense no mystery in him."
"… Did you come all the way here just to tell me that?" Yuuno replied with a sour expression. "And I suppose being a jerk is much more effective?"
Chrono idly stretched out his left hand. His wedding band sparkled under the fluorescent lighting. "I'd say it was."
"…" Yuuno couldn't refute that. "So you're just here to gloat, are you?"
"Of course not, Yuuno." Chrono took a seat on the edge of the librarian's desk. "I'm just here to help out my old friend."
'With friends like these…' Yuuno thought bitterly. "So, how do you propose to 'help'?"
"It's simple," Chrono said. "Being the nice guy hasn't done anything for you in ten years, so you just have to change your image."
"Simple, you say…"
"Look," Chrono pulled a crumpled up piece of paper from his pocket. "Here's a list of the kind of guys the ladies go for. You just have to act these out, and I'm sure you'll find one that lands you a girl."
Yuuno glanced at the numbered items on the paper. "You can't be serious…"
"Oh, I am. Have I ever led you astray?"
"Yes." Yuuno replied bluntly.
"… Ok, maybe I have, but give it a try. What do you have to lose?"
"Like you had that to begin with, Ferret-changeling…" Chrono muttered.
"What was that?"
"Oh, nothing." Chrono carelessly waved his hand. "Anyways, I'd say the potential gain outweighs the risks. Give it a try."
"…" Yuuno had to admit Chrono did sort of have a point. And the older male was married, after all. What right did a perpetually single guy have to refuse advice some such a source? The long haired boy sighed. "I guess I'll give it a shot."
Chrono nodded in satisfaction. "That's the spirit. You won't regret it."
Yuuno wasn't too sure about that.
He failed to see the grin on Chrono's face as he left. 'I wonder how this'll turn out.'
1.) The jerk: give everyone you run into the cold shoulder. Treat them like insignificant bugs not worthy of your time and attention. Girls take this as a challenge and will try to make their way into your heart.
"… Such an extreme choice right off the bat…" Yuuno muttered. "Well, if being nice doesn't work, perhaps the opposite will."
There was a knock on his office door. Yuuno swivelled around in his chair, back facing the entrance. He answered, trying to keep his voice as flat and uninterested as possible.
The one who entered was the pink haired swordswoman and leader of the Wolkenritter, Signum.
"Greetings, Scrya." She said. "I'm here to pick up the material I had requested."
"It's over there." Yuuno said in his attempted uncaring tone. He gestured with his hand to the table on right side of the room. Signum walked over to it and picked up the book that was there.
"This is indeed the volume I requested." She said. "You have my gratitude." And with that she left the room.
"…" Yuuno sat in silence for a few moments before letting out a long sigh.
Result of attempt #1: NO REACTION
2.) The tsundere: At first, act all standoffish. Begrudgingly fulfil requests, but make sure to remind the other person that "D-D-Don't get the wrong idea! I-I-I didn't do it because I like you or anything!"
Another knock on the office door heralded the arrival of Vita, the fiery redheaded destruction meister of the Wolkenritter.
"Yo!" She announced. "You got that book I asked for?"
"Yeah, I got it right here." Yuuno tried to say in an irritated voice. He held out the book, which Vita took."
"Thanks." She said. "I'll be sure to come see you again."
This was Yuuno's chance. "D…"
"D-D-Don't get the wrong idea!" Vita interjected. "I-I-I'm not coming just to see you! I-I-I'm just here to get some information!"
And with a face matching the colour of her hair, Vita stormed out of the room.
"…" Yuuno was left speechless.
Result of attempt #2: PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE
3.) The shy bookworm: Shouldn't be much of a stretch for you! The key is to act super meek while hiding behind a book. It targets the woman's maternal instincts. It's super effective!
"He's been playing his kids' video games again, hasn't he…?" Yuuno wondered aloud.
Yuuno didn't have to wait long for the next knock on the door. He quickly grabbed a random tome, opened it to a random page, and pretended like he was reading it. Then, as weakly as possible, he answered.
"Good day, Yuuno-kun." This time the visitor was the gentle blonde healer of the Wolkenritter, Shamal. "I'm here to get that medical reference book we talked about awhile back."
"O-oh yes, I remember…" He said while peeking over the top of the book. "It… it's right on the shelf over there…" He made a quick glance to the far wall, and then returned his gaze to his book. Shamal just looked at him for a moment before heading toward the bookshelf. She skimmed her finger across the spines of the books until she came to the title she was seeking.
"Here it is." She said, pulling it off the shelf. She made her way back over to the front of Yuuno's desk. "Thank you, Yuuno-kun."
"N… No problem." He answered without raising his eyes. After a few breaths, he realised Shamal wasn't leaving. "Was… was there something else?" He glanced up and immediately saw the twinkle in her eye.
Warning signs went off in Yuuno's brain.
Shamal held her index finger to her chin, as if deeply considering something. "Yuuno-kun, how would you like to drop by our house later? I have this cute outfit that would look wonderful on you!" She said with a radiant smile.
'ABANDON SHIP!' Yuuno's mind shouted.
"Ah, thanks for the offer, but…" Yuuno dropped the book and sprang to his feet. "I'm really busy today, so many people making appointments and all… So we'll have to do it another time! Well, I hope that book is useful to you! Come back any time you need something, ok? See you later, Shamal-san!" While talking, Yuuno had led Shamal out of his office. He quickly shut the door behind her. Yuuno leaned up against the door and slid to the floor.
"That was dangerous…"
Result of attempt #3: ABORTED
4.) The play boy: By taking advantage of your girlish, bishonen looks, use your charm to sweep the girl off her feet. Shower her with praise, and dazzle her with your smile. Carrying a rose is a must.
The next girl to enter Yuuno's domain was none other than the matron of the Wolkenritter herself, Hayate Yagami. Yuuno got up and went over to meet her.
"Hey, Yuuno-kun. Sorry for dropping by suddenly like this." She said. "I hear my knights have been relying on you a lot lately. Sorry for all the trouble, and thanks for the hard work."
In one smooth movement that he had practised a few minutes ago, Yuuno pulled the ribbon from his hair and carefully removed his glasses. He pulled Hayate in and stared longingly into her eyes. It was as if the surroundings had turned into a mixture of sparkling bubbles and cherry blossoms.
"Oh, it was no trouble at all." Yuuno said with a voice as deep and seductive as he could muster. "Especially since it meant I got a visit from a beauty such as you. God may be missing an angel, but I have no intention of giving her back." He finished by flashing a smile that fully exposed his pearly whites. A little twinkle appeared as the light hit them.
Or at least it should have, considering Yuuno had spent five minutes scrubbing his teeth.
"…" Hayate just stood there, utterly dumbfounded. Yuuno wondered if this meant it was working, but Hayate's mouth became contorted and her eyes began watering.
Yuuno panicked. He didn't mean to come on so strong as to make her cry! He jumped back.
"Ah! I'm sorry, Hayate! I didn't mean to…"
Such a noise escaped the girl's mouth. She moved one hand to cover her lips and the other held her waist. She wasn't crying at all. It soon got to the point where Hayate couldn't hold it anymore, so she let it out.
"BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" She laughed, not even trying to restrict the volume. "That… was… priceless… Yuuno-kun!" She managed to get out between fits. It was Yuuno's turn to be dumbfounded.
"I… uh…" He couldn't get a word in over Hayate's laughter. At one point it seemed she calmed down, but like a CD changing tracks, she soon started back up again.
She managed to get out an "I'll see you later" and made her way out the door. Her merriment could still be heard long after she left the room.
"… Maybe it's because I didn't have the rose…" Yuuno pondered after the laughter stopped.
Result of attempt #4: FAILURE
5.) The depressed one: Be so gloomy that others have no choice but to comfort y-
"Bah, I should have never listened to Chrono." Yuuno scoffed at himself as he crumpled up Chrono's list. It's not like he'd have to act for this last one anyways. He dropped his head face first onto his desk with a resounding thump.
"What a lousy day this has been. Not only did I not get any work done, Hayate probably thinks I'm a weirdo now, and I've failed completely at re-inventing myself." Why was he even trying to reinvent himself, Yuuno wondered. He wanted to be more appealing to women? That was never really the problem. It was one very specific woman he wanted to be appealing to.
A soft rapping emanated from the door. Yet another visitor.
"It's open." Yuuno called, not finding the strength to lift his head.
"Sorry to intrude." A familiar voice spoke. Yuuno recognised it as his good friend, Enforcer Fate Testarossa Harlaown.
"Ah, Fate. What can I do for you?" Yuuno's face remained planted in his desk.
"… Are you ok?" Fate asked.
"I'm fine." He replied.
"Did something happen?"
"Not really… it's nothing for you to be worried about." He sighed. "If I recall, you were looking for a certain text about Ancient Belka, right?"
"… That's right, but..." She said with a tone that didn't even try to hide the fact that she was concerned.
"I'm sorry, but I haven't been able to track it down yet." He apologised. "Give me some more time and I'll have it for you ASAP."
"That's fine. I'm not in a rush anyways... Are you sure you're ok?"
"Yeah, just tired."
"If you say so…" Fate hesitantly turned to leave. She knew something was up. Whatever it was, she had a feeling her brother was behind it…
Yuuno wasn't sure how long his head remained attached to his desk, but at some point he decided to call it a day. The obscurity of his rarely used apartment was oddly appealing at the moment.
However, he was so out of it he failed to hear the door creak open. As such, he was unprepared for the surprise attack. A light tap on the shoulder followed by well-known "Yuuno-kun" had him standing at attention.
"Waaah!" He squeaked. He twisted around to his guest. The brunette with the long side tail chuckled softly.
"Nyahaha. Sorry, for startling you, Yuuno-kun." She said.
"Nanoha? What are you doing here?" He asked, regaining his composure.
"Am I not allowed to be here?" She tilted her head to the side and asked.
"Ah, no, that's not it." Yuuno stuttered. The cuteness of the head tilt always hit him hard. "I just wasn't expecting you. Did you need something?"
"I came to check up on you, actually." She said. "The others were worried about how weird you were acting today."
"Oh… that…" Yuuno put his hand to his face. "Sorry, it was nothing… just something stupid…"
"Fate-chan got the whole story out of Chrono-kun." Nanoha explained. "He was just teasing you again."
"I know," Yuuno sighed "But what he said had a ring of truth…"
"Don't be silly!" She took Yuuno's hand and looked him in the eye. "You don't have to change at all, Yuuno-kun. Because this Yuuno-kun is the Yuuno-kun I adore the most!" And she smiled that dazzling smile of hers. It was one of the reasons the young librarian had fallen in love with her in the first place.
"Thanks Nanoha." Yuuno smiled back and gave her hand a light squeeze. "That means a lot coming from you."
"Hehe." Nanoha withdrew her hand and latched onto Yuuno's arm. "It's pretty late now, so I bet you're hungry!" She said. "Why don't we go get something to eat?"
"Sure, I know this nice place…"
And so Yuuno's day ended on the highest note. He decided to let Chrono live… for now.
I got the inspiration for this after seeing a series of screen shots posted on 4chan's /m/. I'm pretty sure it was from Legend of the Galactic Heros. It had this old looking dude saying the same lines Chrono did at the beginning. We all know 'nice guys finish last', but being a nice (single) guy myself, I refuse to believe that!
I wasn't too sure what word I wanted Nanoha to use at the end there. It was originally 'love', but I thought it might be too strong of a word. Just using 'like' felt too weak. So I settled on 'adore', which I think is something of a middle ground. If it were japanese, she'd definitely use 'daisuki.'
Anyways, I hope my attempts at humour got across and that you enjoyed reading this fic.