Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Crisis
Chapter 26: Full Circle (Epilogue)
A month had passed since that day, and life had continued on. The city was in still in the midst of rebuilding, but things were returning to normal for the citizens of Clanagan and Mid-Childa. That went for the military, too, as units were re-organized, promotions and medals were handed out, and classes resumed in the academy.
One particular new class had sprung up in the days since, and found a whole host of personnel eager to sign up, both new and old. The thirty students went through their motions with their wooden training staves, under the watchful eyes of their teacher. The older members knew she was strict, while the younger ones were just discovering that.
From the head of the class, she looked them over as they worked out. "Okay, break with your partners and spar for five minutes, taking turns practicing the new technique!" She began to walk through them, observing, advising, and correcting as needed.
"Are we doing it right, Arisa-sensei?" one particular young woman asked in mild amusement.
"Lift your staff a bit more when you follow through, student Nanoha," Arisa told her, grinning. "And don't go easy on her, student Fate!"
"Yes, sensei!" Fate replied smiling.
"And student Yuuno, if you don't get more aggressive on your partner, I'm going to give you an extra lesson myself again," Arisa threatened.
The young archeologist turned a bit, looking sheepish as he had clearly remembered the last time Arisa went off on him; he could still feel the bruises. Hayate took that moment to strike, thrusting her training staff between his knees and quickly turning, flipping him onto his back.
"I think he'll get it sooner or later," Hayate told her teacher in amusement, adjusting the white belt on her training gi.
The class laughed at that, even Erio as he trained with Caro, but all quickly resumed their sparring under their tough, but fair, teacher.
Arisa blew her whistle after five minutes. "Okay, that's for today. Hit the showers, and we'll resume again tomorrow."
The class turned and bowed as one to their sensei, then headed for the side rooms.
Nanoha paused before entering the woman's side. "Yuuno-kun, remember our appointment for later, okay?"
He nodded. "I'll be there!"
"Oh Yuuno-kun, you can enter the woman's side if you want," Arisa told him slyly. "But only if you come as a ferret!"
The girls laughed, while Yuuno blushed and sighed. She just wouldn't let him forget that.
Shamal slid the paper envelope across the table to her patient, watching her reaction closely.
"This is it?" Fate asked, although she knew the answer already. She picked it up, turning it over, but not opening it.
"Yes, the results of the DNA testing and comparison," the doctor told her, then noticed Fate's hesitancy. "As I said before, it's up to you whether you want to know for sure."
"Part of me still does," Fate responded. "But now, for some reason, I'm not so sure. I have a family now, and I've been wondering if I should even allow the past to hold me down. My mother's single-minded pursuit of what she wanted hurt a lot of people. I don't want to repeat that mistake." She stood up. "Thank you for doing this for me, Shamal. I'll hold onto it for now, and decide later if I want to look."
Shamal stood as well, placing a hand on the other woman's shoulder. "I don't think these circumstances are quite like your mother's. And regardless of what's in that envelope, your friends and family won't treat you any different."
Fate smiled and nodded, thanking her again, then left the office.
Shamal sat back down, bringing up her computer screen again. She wondering what Fate's reaction would be if, or when, she ever did look. In one respect, the Wolkenritter doctor thought Fate would be happy to learn that the test showed 0% DNA match between Fate and Jail.
But after having learned that much, Shamal got curious. She hooked up to the main archives, looking up the time period when Precia was on Mid-childa before Alicia was born. It was a long shot, but running it through what records there were, eventually revealed someone with a 72% match. Because Fate was a clone, she expected a bit of genetic drift, but that was still a high degree of DNA correlation.
Still, there were even more surprises in store when she queried when and from whom the sample in the database had been taken. She still didn't know how it had happened, and perhaps no one would ever know. But she filed it under one of her pet projects to follow up on. Perhaps one of these days it could lead to some interesting answers.
She glanced up at her screen to confirm it again. The sample had been taken many years ago, from a young Lt. Clyde Harlaown.
Hayate had a feeling what this meeting in the Judicial Advisor's office would be about, and had made sure to be prepared for it.
"Congratulations on your promotion, Lt. General Nakajima," she told him, saluting, which was returned by both Genya and Judicial Advisor Leone Fiils.
"Thank you, but I still don't think I can fill General Kiil's shoes," he told her, somewhat embarrassed.
"I think you'll do fine," Leone told him. "As the one who successfully organized the city's defense, I couldn't recommend a better person to fill that spot. Ralgo was a good man, and I'll miss him. But I think he'd be proud of what you'll do in his place."
"I agree," Hayate added, smiling, remembering with fond memories the time she and the Wolkenritter had been assigned to escort the three.
"But that also brings me to my second recommendation, and why I asked you here," Leone told told her. "Mizetto's spot as Bureau Chief of Staff is still empty as well. I am told she was rather fond of you, and you have an exemplary record. Would you take the position?"
She had a feeling that was going to happen, and part of her really wanted to go for it, however... "I'm honored that you would consider me. But I'm afraid I have to decline. At this time, I feel there are things that require my attention, closer to the front. Still, I have a recommendation of my own." She tapped her communicator. "Send her in."
The door opened and a women entered and saluted, although obviously still confused as to why she was there.
"Judicial Advisor Leone Fils, I hereby recommend Auris Gaiz for the position," Hayate stated, causing the woman's mouth to open in shock. "She has excellent organizational skills, and her loyalty is above reproach. She would make a great asset to the Bureau in that capacity."
Leone sat back in his chair. "Interesting. I have seen her file, and even though she has a partial mark due to the Regius incident, her testimony afterward was vital in helping us wrap up that incident. And your word does carry significant weight, Lt. Col. Yagami. If she wants the position, I will talk it over with the council."
Auris finally managed to close her mouth, and at Hayate's encouraging nod, saluted again and stated, "I would be honored."
The Judicial Advisor nodded. "Very well, if you ladies will excuse us, I will need to contact the council. I will let you know the results of their deliberations."
Hayate saluted again, and the two women stepped outside, the rest of the Wolkenritter waiting there for them. They promptly started applauding after the door had closed.
Auris turned on Hayate. "Why? I always got the impression you didn't care much for me."
"I've been keeping tabs on you since the JS incident," the bemused Lt. Col. explained. "You've been doing very well, and I have a good friend who believes in second chances. Also, if you hadn't approached me and offered the use of that Einherjar cannon, we never would have been able to pull off what we did."
"Hayate is right," Signum added. "You saved us. She is repaying the trust you put in her."
Auris chuckled. "The cannon was destroyed shortly after firing anyway, just as Vita predicted. I was wondering what my next project would be." She bowed. "Thank you."
"Don't mention it," Hayate told her, smiling. "I'll be looking forward to you taking care of things here when I'm gone."
The other woman looked up. "Gone? What do you mean?"
"She's put in a transfer request, to move to the Naval division," Vita explained, amused. "I think her aims got a bit bigger than a single planet."
"I just want to get a better feel on what's going on through the Bureau, and I can't do that here," Hayate clarified, a bit chagrined. "And I want a larger field of view, to better deal with incidents like this before they become too big."
"Her rank will change to Commander!" Rein announcing, cheering.
"Well, best of luck to us both, then," Auris added, saluting, then noticed Hayate offering her hand. She took it hesitantly.
Hayate shook it, smiling. "Agreed, best of luck to us both!"
"How goes the research?" Suzuka asked, entering the lab.
Shari stopped typing away and stretched. "Not very well, I'm afraid. I can't see a way of removing the relic pieces from Nanoha nor Vivio. Enough magic damage seems to trigger some sort of emergency function in the device, which forces its separation. But while Vivio might survive that due to her Saint's Armor, Nanoha would be severely injured."
"But it's not hurting either one of them at the moment?" the junior technician asked, standing beside her teacher.
The senior tech shook her head. "No. And it's actually helped heal Nanoha, who has said she is no hurry to have it removed. So I might leave it in her for now. But she is concerned about leaving it in her daughter. So I'll keep looking." She paused, then turned around in her chair to face her junior. "Oh, I have something to show you!"
She stood up and headed across the lab, opening a door that Suzuka knew led to an experimentation chamber. It had been closed and locked for awhile, but she knew Shari had been using it off and on.
"Back to that again, hmm?" Suzuka noted as she entered. "You seem to spending an awful lot of time on that lately. Although it does look quite a bit more complete lately."
Shari stepped up to the object in the chair and began fiddling with a few things. "I had some parts from those Alhazard robots sent here, to study and see what I could use. I think you'll be surprised."
Suzuka studied the hairless series 14 android sitting in the chair. Some parts of her skin were cut away, revealing the circuitry within, with various wires hooked up. But what surprised Suzuka the most, was the fact that its eyes had opened and moved to focus on her.
Then it spoke. "Hello."
"Um, hello," Suzuka replied, startled.
"What is your designation?" the android inquired in a female voice.
The purple-haired girl's eyes blinked. "I'm Suzuka Tsukimura. And you are?"
"I do not as yet possess a designation," came the almost monotone response, then she/it turned back to look at Shari and blinked.
Suzuka looked at her teacher. "You do know you're starting to get the nickname of 'Mad Scientist' around the base, don't you?"
"I can't help it!" Shari replied. "The new directives coming down from the bureau state that they are looking for limited versions of alternate forces. Magic will probably always be the base of the TSAB, and the largest part of it. But I think they are recognizing that some other varied forces could come in handy. So that's let me and Mariel tinker with some new stuff." She finished adjusting something and stood back, studying her creation. "But she's right, she does need a designation. Have any ideas?"
The junior technician looked it over. "She was one of those series 14 androids Jail built? How about calling her Juyon. Or maybe Juyo for short. It's fourteen in my native language."
"Well, what do you think?" Shari asked her creation.
"Designation 'Juyo' is acceptable," the newly-named android said after a moment. "Updating databanks."
"I think she likes it!" Shari giggled, pleased.
"The answer is still no," Signum replied, as she walked down the street.
"Aw, come on, I saved your life back there!" Vice informed her. "That's gotta entitle me to at least one date."
"And I saved your life in return," she told him. "So now we are even. As warriors, we owe each other nothing."
Secretly, she was a bit amused by the attention. At first she hadn't really realized what his increasing attentions meant, until Hayate had told her. And now she was left wondering what to do about it.
"Okay, so we don't owe each other anything," he admitted. "Then, as a fellow warrior, I would invite you to share food and drink with me, in order to better our relationship off the battlefield as well. Laguna thought it was a good idea, too!"
She considered it, stopping before a store. "Very well, I see no harm in doing as much."
"Yes!" Vice cheered, handing her a ticket to a restaurant. "Then I looked forward to your company tomorrow evening!" He started to run off, but partially turned back to wave at her. "I'll pick you up at 6pm!"
The Belkan Knight sighed as he turned a corner and vanished, then looked down at the piece of paper in her hand. She felt as if she had just entered a world of combat that she was a novice in. She'd have to talk to Hayate later about this, although she was dreading what Vita or Shamal might say.
At the very least, she was going to keep Levantine ready.
"Alright, I'm heading off now," Fate announced as she stepped into the living room after having come down the stairs.
"You weren't here very long," Teana noted.
"I just had to drop something off," Fate replied. "Are you guys okay with watching Vivio today? Nanoha and I won't be back until much later this evening."
"Leave it to us!" Subaru told her. At first, it was only going to be Caro and Erio watching her, but Subaru suggested the Strikers make it a team effort, as a fun group activity since they rarely had time for that. Although she partly had to drag Tea into it.
"Fate-mama!" Vivio called, as she came around the corner with Erio and Caro. She took off running to hug her mama's leg.
"I'll be back later tonight," Fate told her, leaning down to hug the girl. "But you be good for your babysitters, okay?"
"I will!" she replied, beaming.
Fate stood up and waved, then headed out the door, leaving the Strikers alone with the young girl they were supposed to be taking care of.
"So, do you wanna watch a movie?" Subaru asked, pulling up a holographic screen list. "Nanoha gave us the run of the place for today."
Erio sat down next to her. "How about the new Von Dumm movie?"
"Ooh, good choice!" she agreed. "Lots of cool mindless action! I watched it a few days ago with Wendi and Nove."
"How are your sisters?" Teana asked from the kitchen, grabbing some drinks.
"They've been recognized as lawful combatants, for helping to assist in saving the city," Subaru replied. "They are getting licenses to use their powers to help others as the need arises. Most of them have plans to assist me and the Disaster Planning and Humanitarian Aid as needed."
"What about Quattro and the others?" Caro inquired, setting Vivio up with some coloring books
Subaru selected the movie and put it on pause for the moment until everyone was ready. "Back to the rehabilitation facility for now, but their service was recognized, too. They were instrumental in helping to save a lot of kidnap victims. If they complete their rehabilitation, they could enlist in the Bureau as part of one of the new alternate units."
"Hard to believe it wasn't too long ago that we fought them as enemies," Teana remarked, placing the drink cans on the table and sitting down beside Subaru. "Reminds me of something Nanoha once said: 'The best way to defeat an enemy is to make them your friend.' I didn't really understand that until lately."
"I wonder what Nanoha, Fate and Yuuno are doing today, anyway," Subaru mused aloud.
"Probably a three-way date," Teana joked.
Caro blinked as she sat down beside Erio, her face openly displaying the fact she was trying to wrap her mind around the concept. "A three-way date? How does that work?"
"Oh, you know," Subaru hinted, drawing the joke out. "It would be like... you, Erio, and Lutecia all being lovey together in a group."
The young summoner appeared to think about the implications of that, cheeks slowly turning red.
"What do you think about that, Erio?" Teana asked, grinning.
"I, uh... I'm gonna go make some popcorn," he said quickly, getting up and retreating to the kitchen.
The two older girls laughed, and even Caro began to giggle.
"The repairs and upgrades seem to be progressing nicely," Amy told her husband as they entered the bridge of the ship. "This is going to be your new ship?"
Chrono nodded as the oversight tour brought them to the captain's chair. "The original captain of the Ventek was close to retirement anyway, so he offered me the use of it. Even still, the upper brass wasn't too excited about giving me another ship after the way I messed up."
Amy swatted him. "Oh stop that. No one could predicted the encounter would go that badly. And it turned out that most of the ships survived."
"11 out of 20 is barely most, and even then most of them were severely damaged," he told her, sighing, then held up his hands in a defensive motion. "Hey, just telling you how the brass sees it. Although sometimes I agree with their judgment that I should have just sent a few ships against it to test its defensive measures before committing the whole fleet. If I didn't have Hayate vouching for me, and didn't manage to evacuate the council and other higher-ups from Mid-Childa, then I probably wouldn't still have my rank."
"You can always count on Hayate to bulldoze her way through the bureaucracy for her friends," Amy agreed, then paused. "Say, isn't that your first officer and helmsman? Something seems odd about their behavior...."
Chrono glanced down to where Lucino was hesitantly approaching Griffith behind his back. He turned around and froze when he saw her. Their eyes met, then their heads dropped for several long moments. Then Lucino angrily shoved a data pad at him and took off after he accepted it, her cheeks red.
"I'm not entirely sure," Chrono replied. "They've been like this for a long time now, and it's almost like they've been avoiding each other outside of passing status reports back and forth, regarding the ship repairs and refits. Neither Griffith nor Lucino elected to explain why, when I asked."
Amy bit her lip. "I wonder...."
"I thought you'd be here," Nanoha stated, sitting down on the park bench next to him, looking across the bay to Marine Garden. "How are you feeling? Have you decided on anything?"
Yuuno reached down to take her hand, causing her to smile. "It's been a lot to think about, I'll admit. I never really had a family in the traditional sense; children of the Scrya belong to the whole clan. But then I met you and your family, and I felt a closeness that I never felt before. There was something between your mother, father, brother, and you, that didn't exist in my clan. I guess, even back then, I felt like I wanted to be a part of it."
"I felt the same way," Nanoha admitted, watching the boats on the water, sun shining. "Back then, I felt myself drifting away from my family, but then you came, and I felt a part of something again. You've always been special to me."
He gazed at her and smiled. "I think that's why I want give this a try. I don't know how things will work out, but I'd like to be a part of your family. We can take it one step at a time." He chuckled. "After all, I do like Fate, too. I've always wanted you to be happy, and she seemed to do that for you."
"You've always liked me, hmm?" Fate teased, coming out from behind a tree. "How much?"
"Fate-chan!" Nanoha exclaimed in surprise, as the two on the bench stood up.
Yuuno blushed, holding his free hand behind his head as Fate came up, unable to think of words to say at the moment. But that problem was solved as Fate took his cheeks in her hands and put her lips to his. Nanoha's mouth opened and closed wordlessly in shock.
"Well, that wasn't too bad," Fate said at last, releasing him, then looking over at Nanoha. "You've already kissed him, so it's my turn. If we're going to do this, then I need to try him out, too, right?"
A fourth figure appeared, although shorter than the others. "I am collecting fascinating data on human mating rituals. I believe this is called a 'threesome'?"
All three young adults flushed red, while Fate stammered out an "Alicia!"
The holographic girl smiled. "I believe I have been successful at 'teasing' as well, wouldn't you agree, sister?"
Nanoha giggled. "She got you there. After what you just did, you deserved it, too!"
Fate and Yuuno joined her in laughter, then the golden-haired girl grabbed his hand and started to pull him away.
"Well, shall we get our three-way date started?" she asked, smiling.
Nanoha turned to go with them, when Alicia spoke up again. "Wait, may I speak with Nanoha alone for a bit?"
"Sure," Yuuno replied, taking a silver bracelet off his right wrist, inlaid with a sparkling azure dodecahedron jewel. He tossed it to Nanoha.
"We'll catch up at the park entrance," Nanoha told them, as Fate continued to pull Yuuno away, then turned to the holographic girl. "What did you want to talk to me about?"
"I've thought it over for awhile, but I still don't understand," Alicia started. "So I would like to ask you again. How did you break the hypnosis I had over Yuuno on that day in the library?"
Nanoha's cheeks, which had begun to return to normal color, flushed slightly again. "Well, you said a couple of times that your hypnosis had heightened Yuuno's desire. While I think you meant to increase his craving for knowledge and archeology, I took a chance that it had affected his other desires as well. A greater one. Or at least I hoped."
Alicia nodded slightly. "I don't think I completely understand, but I feel as if I am coming closer. Thank you, Nanoha."
The young woman smiled. "It's my pleasure, Alicia-chan. Now let's go rejoin the other two, and you can learn a bit more, alright?"
The holographic girl nodded again and disappeared, as Nanoha went to catch up to her two dates.
Arf watched from the shadows, smiling, and wiping a tear from her eye. Detecting the subtle sounds of footsteps, she turned her head back to look at the figure coming up behind her.
Zafira smiled back at her, and the two left to enjoy their own outing.
"Mom, Dad, we're here!" Nanoha called as she entered her old home a week later. She was highly nervous about this, but Fate took her hand and gave it a squeeze in support as they removed their shoes. Yuuno also gave her a supportive smile and a thumbs up.
"Hey, the magical squirt's back!" Kyoya announced, as the group entered the living room.
"Oh, and she's brought the ferret again!" Miyuki teased, looking him up and down. "I must say, he looks nice. But I think I prefer his ferret form better!"
Yuuno sweat-dropped, as Nanoha surged forward and hugged her brother and sister.
"Whoa, someone is happy to see us," Kyoya noted, chuckling.
"Did our letter worry you that much?" Miyuki asked, stroking her sister's hair. "As I told you, we were just held for a short while, and then let go. We never knew what they really wanted. But interpol is tracking them down."
Nanoha pulled back and dried her eyes. "Sorry, yes, I was a bit worried, but I'm just glad that you're alright."
"Oh, who's that?" Miyuki asked, noting the younger girl hanging onto Fate and studying the new people in curiosity. "She's so cute!"
"Did Nanoha bring someone new?" Shiro asked, as he and his wife came over to the group to see what the fuss was about.
"Nanoha, who is this?" Momoko asked hesitantly.
Nanoha took a deep breath and took her daughter's hand, bringing her to stand in front of the group. "Mom, Dad, Kyoya, Miyuki... this is my boyfriend Yuuno, my girlfriend Fate, and my daughter, Vivio Takamachi."
Shiro just barely managed to catch his falling wife.
As the title said, we've come full circle, which was largely my attempt in this. The idea was to take another adventure-filled romp around the block, combine as much stuff as I could into one unified theory, and build onto what I felt the main themes of the Nanoha series were.
From the start, to me, Nanoha has always been about family. From Nanoha's standard one, to Fate's relationship with her mother, Lindy and Chrono and their adoption of Fate, Hayate's group, and many others. It's aim seems to be to show many different types of familial relationships, and thus that all of these "alternate" family setups can work just fine. It's my own theory as to why Seven Arcs doesn't really answer those shipping questions, because they have their own theme for the show, and they don't want to upset the fans. If Cardcaptor Sakura was about romantic love, Nanoha was about familial love. Just my personal opinion, anyway. =)
Still, relationships are a part of family, so I began to address that here. And with the ending scene, showing how things have come full circle with the new Takamachi family meeting the old one. (you'll also remember the first scene of chapter 1 was Nanoha listening to a letter from her mother, asking for a visit). But nothing is easy, and the 3-way relationship may not be perfect. I do want to write more shorts in the future dealing with the issues. But I also believe in moving slowly. =)
Oh, and Hayate will take over the world someday; but I just figure the girl wants to have some fun first, before then. She's got priorities. :P
Signum/Vice was just something I was toying with, after hearing about it in another fic. I did notice that in the Strikers anime, there is a picture showing Vice, Laguna (the girl he shot that he apparently knows), Alto, and Signum. So I thought maybe there could be something there. But honestly, it may or may not happen. Just something I'm playing around with for humor, heh.
As for Lucino and Griffith, well, things are bit awkward between them right now. If you'll remember, she kissed him, thinking she was going to die.
For those keeping score, I managed a line or a mention for about every character except two: Lindy and Lutecia's mother.
What's in the works now? I have ideas for a en episodic sequel of sorts. Each chapter will be a self-contained short story, dealing with particular cast members. "Recollections of a Lost Age" will kinda fit into this category, as I plan to rewrite it a bit, and then finish it.
I also have a spin-off planned tentatively entitled: "Lyrical Magical G-Squad." Arisa will shine more in the spotlight this time, along with an odd assortment of lesser used characters, in a new adventure with her new golem unit taking place on Earth. Current characters planned: Arisa, Suzuka, Vice, Alto, Lindy, Kyoya, Miyuki, and maybe Arf, and then possibly one of the cyborgs, but haven't decided which(possibly Otto). By the time I get that done, I may do another short time-skip, and start a series focusing on Vivio (but no real concrete details on that yet).
Anyway, thanks for reading! I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!