A/N: Anyone asks how I did this, simple. I just thought of almost every scenario in the Negimaverse that could go with the Nanohaverse, and I discarded them, and went with that only Averruncus would show up in this. Result: Innovative and hopefully likeable with other readers. I have however yet to decide when this will happen in the Negimaverse. Help, anyone?
At least Averruncus spoke the truth about Caro being turned back to normal. When she woke up, Caro found herself in the infirmary, all dizzy and her vision was blurry. When did I get here? What happened to me?
The door to the infirmary opened to reveal Shamal, and as soon as the doctor saw that the girl was okay, she rushed over to give her a big hug, almost choking Caro. "Caro-chan! You're okay!"
"Shamal-sensei… you're choking… me…" Was the weak whisper from the little summoner.
"Oh, sorry." Shamal eased up on her and looked at Caro. "It's just like he said." That did of course confuse Caro. "You've been petrified for seven hours."
"Seven hours!?" Caro exclaimed in shock. Looking at the clock, she found herself completely confused about what happened. "How come I was petrified!? What happened while I was out? Did we get the dealer?"
Shamal let the barrage of questions slide by at first, until she made a grimace. "The dealer managed to escape. Even Fate-chan couldn't get to him. Tracing him was not successful. He seems to have bounced off into forty-two different locations, spread all over the region."
"Oh…" Caro sounded disappointed in that they failed to get him.
"We did get something positive out of it." Shamal said, having a minor smile on her face.
"And this is what we got from him?" Hayate asked Fate as they watched the card being inspected by Shari and her trusted scanner for Lost Logia. "I was hoping for something more out of this."
"I know, Hayate." Fate responded to her. "But we were up against an unknown S+ level mage with no device of his own. It granted him higher mobility and he had more close quarters combat training than we had." The blond enforcer felt herself ashamed for going against such an opponent. But it wasn't the swift movements of his that made Fate think of Averruncus, or the high level control of his magical powers. It was those eyes of his, lifeless and no emotion behind them. For some reason, it reminded her of herself when she was with her mother, Precia. Before she met Nanoha. Maybe…
It's a possibility. But he wasn't as subtle as she was back then. This Averruncus was far more open, working as a dealer in Lost Logia. And there was probably much to doubt that he was going to stay in the city at all. "It's not your fault, Fate-chan." Hayate's voice made her snap out of her trance. "I'm sorry, were you thinking of something?"
"Sorry." Fate apologized at her friend. "I didn't mean to faze out like that."
"No, we're good." Hayate said before both of them got a telepathic message from Shamal. The doctor seemed to address everyone who worked in the field.
"Everyone, Caro has woken up now. She's in the infirmary right now."
"What are we waiting for?" Hayate said as she went for the door. "Is everyone else coming?"
"Sure." Vita answered her whilst being with Nanoha at the time. There was no need for the instructor to answer.
"You bet." Subaru answered for her and Elio. The boy had been worried to near death about Caro.
"Of course." Teana responded.
"I'll be there as soon as I can." Signum said last. "I've got some final things to attend to here."
"See you there then, Signum." Fate said as the two commanders left the room, leaving Shari alone with the card. The scientist watched the card for something out of place with it. Only problem was, there wasn't one thing out of place, it was everything. There was nothing familiar looking about it, no recognized pattern of magic from it. But a closer look up gave more details. What the words said, she did not know. But she got a name from it by the letters that spelt out in front of the beautiful horned girl with long hair holding a fiddle.
"Shirabe…" Shari repeated the name, and gave a small smile. That is a very pretty girl. Could she be in a relationship with Averruncus? Maybe this card is just a sign of their… She suppressed a squeal when the door opened to reveal Griffith walking in. "Kya! Don't scare me like that!"
"Sorry." Griffith said. "Is that it?" He asked her as he approached her to take a closer look.
"Ah." (1) Shari answered. "There is nothing familiar about it." She turned off the scanner and took out the card to hand it to Griffith. "I'm going to see to Caro now, so could you take this to Yuuno-sensei to see if he could make something out of it?"
"Sure." Griffith took it, putting it in his pocket, since he deemed it safe enough (plus, a briefcase would be noticeable) and left the room.
As the officer went for the door, he was stopped by a stern woman's voice from behind him. "Hold it." Signum was leaning against a pillar, having her hands behind her back, and an eye closed, the other eyeing him with suspicion.
"Is something the matter"? Griffith asked her.
"For a moment I thought you really were Griffith, until I remembered that he is off base for the rest of the week." Her accusations had his eyes widened. "You're a fake. Care to tell me who you really are, or shall I have to drag you in front of Testarossa and Hayate so we can take off your disguise?"
Griffith gave a small sigh, which was almost inaudible, and removed his glasses, closing his eyes at the same time. When he opened them again, it was not his normally green eyes, but piercing blue ones that stared back at Signum. "I didn't expect someone at all to find me out that fast."
"You must be Averruncus." Signum stated, opening her second eye.
"That I am."
At the infirmary…
Caro was being overlooked again by Shamal. The doctor has worked with very few cases of petrifaction. "Hmm. No signs of reoccurrence or remaining pieces of stone skin. You're going to be okay."
Caro felt relieved. The checkup felt like forever. "Thank God, that's over."
"You can never be too careful." Shamal stated a familiar quote known to many a grown up person. "At least in cases like this. You're the first case I know of that petrifaction has worn off completely, and I don't want a cute little girl like you having stone skin on you for the rest of your life, now do I?"
"No, ma'am…" Caro said after imagining herself with such a condition. Soon afterwards, the others came in along to see to her. "Everyone…"
"You're okay, Caro." Fate said, walking up to give the girl a hug. "You did do some good out there today, at least."
"Did I?" Caro asked her guardian.
"You managed to help us get an identity on him." Fate said with a genuine smile. "Even if one is incapacitated, help can be given."
"How so?" The girl was very confused at this point.
"You should have seen Elio." Fate motioned to the boy who stood stiff at the entrance, having a telepathic chat with the others. "He managed to hold him there until I came. Bravest thing I've ever seen."
"Come on, Elio!" Subaru told the boy at the entrance, whilst she was standing somewhat closer to the two members in Lightning Team. "She's your partner. How come you're not coming over to her?"
"I'm trying here." Elio responded, trying to get his leg moving. "But I don't seem able to move."
"Stuck?" Teana asked him, joining in.
"Need help?" Vita asked him, standing behind, and when he felt a foot on his back, he could only say one word at that. "Uh oh." Scratch that, it was two words. Vita gave small kick from behind, sending the boy forwards and collapsing in front of Caro and Fate. The two of them looked at him before they started giggling.
"That's no good, Vita-chan." Nanoha, coming up from beside the knight, made a sarcastic scolding. "You can't just push people about."
"He was nervous, he wanted to see her, and he couldn't move." Vita retorted with a smirk back at her. "Give me a reason why I shouldn't have done that and I apologize."
"Never mind." Nanoha said with her own, hidden smirk. Elio did hear that comment and started to cry inwards.
I get worried over my partner and then everybody picks on me… "Sometimes you're just mean."
"Ah! Your voice cracked again!" Subaru pointed out for him.
"Did not!" He retorted.
"There you go again!" Teana said, joining on the fun of this one.
"Did he?" Fate turned to see her little brother. "You're growing, Elio-kun."
"Who's voice is cracking?" Shari, having come from the science room came in and asked.
Let's leave them for now…
"And you would be…?" Averruncus said with his dead tone, though it was still Griffith's voice.
"Sub Lieutenant, Lightning Two, Signum. Knight." The pink haired one responded at that. "You encountered Lightning Team earlier today."
"So I take it Fate Testarossa is the leader of that team?" Averruncus inquired from her.
"That is correct." Signum said. "I wasn't able to be there due to having paperwork, but after seeing the reports on you, I think I would like to cross blades with you."
"Honest, straight to the point and a sense of honor." Averruncus said in a somewhat lighter tone. "Just as expected from a knight."
"One thing though." Signum went back to the main subject. "How come that you came here? I got security just a shout or telepathic call away and they could be on you in about twenty seconds."
"Then why don't you do so?" Averruncus tempted her to do that very thing. However, she couldn't bring herself to alert them. "I see." Averruncus said when he noticed her hesitation. "You're curious. Well then, I shall answer just one question."
"How come that you're here?" Signum asked him again, looking stern at him.
"I came to take back this." Averruncus procured the card which Shari had given him.
"I see." Signum said. As much as she wanted to know more, he would only answer one question, and he had done so. But she had seen a loophole in what he had said. "I'm going to a few assumptions about that card. Assumption #1: That is not a Lost Logia."
"Correct. This is originally from where I come from." Averruncus answered her.
"Assumption #2: It is most likely a sign that you have a form of contact in battle or other matters."
"Correct. Shirabe who is displayed on the card is what is known as a Partner to me." He said, maintaining his tone and posture.
"Assumption #3." Signum said yet again, but having to change this one. "A partner is a vital component in your style of magic, as some sort of protection."
"Yes." Averruncus said. "You ought to be one yourself."
"In a way, I am." Signum said.
"Good thinking seeing through my way of answering just one question, as well." Averruncus said, turning back to the exit. "Nice talking to you, Sir Signum." The title with which he addressed showed a high remark of respect. Personally, Signum wanted to see what he really looked like, because there were no pictures taken of him. Seeing him walk away like that, disguised as Griffith did however put some shame in her.
"Signum, what is taking you so long?" Hayate's voice came to her as Averruncus went through the door. Signum decided to leave him alone for now.
"Sorry. I'll be there now." Signum began to rush to the infirmary to see to Caro as well.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed this chapter. This story will be written in length with accordance to plot evolution. This is as far as I could go here for now, but you might get more next time.
1 As far as I'm concerned, people tend to say 'Ah' in Japan when they confirm something. Signum does it in the anime, so I had Shari do so as well.