Just when you thought it was over!
AluciusDawn: I do think that Yuuno could get Nanoha, Fate, or any other girl if he really tried, but the original piece that kicked off this fic had Yuuno as the fandom saw him. I wrote it to comment on how even though people have a habit of 'pairing the spares', I rarely see Yuuno put with anyone. The canon doesn't help either, as Yuuno only ever had ship teases with Nanoha, and rather than pairing him with some one else like they did with Chrono, he was just pushed off into the background. This portrayal struck home with several people, so I set off to pair him off and let him have a happy ending.
FluxBlade and NGMT-R: To be honest the idea of him just binding her didn't cross my mind. This is likely because I had the idea for the finale firmly planted in my head, so I never considered other ways for it to play out. Your point is valid, though, which is why I went back and revised this ending to have Yuuno be more proactive in resolving the situation, among other things. I hope this will be more to your liking!
Yuuno resolved himself. He knew there was only one option for him.
"You're right, Miyako." He said, slowly walking closer. "No one on that side ever cared about me, so why the hell should I care about them? If you're willing to accept me, I'll gladly serve Hummer."
"You're a smart man, Yuuno." Miyako grinned, lowering the gun. "You're honest with yourself too. I really like that."
"What about her?" Yuuno asked, meeting Shari's gaze. "I doubt she'll just close her eyes to everything."
"Oh I'm sure Master can make her see things differently." Miyako chuckled. "Everyone has a breaking point."
"That's true." Yuuno nodded as he stood directly before the two girls. "You've gone past mine."
Before she could react, Yuuno brought up a hand and opened his fist, an orb of light appearing in his palm. Normally used to light dark areas, this time the spell had a blinding effect, causing Miyako to reflexively withdraw her hand from Shari's neck to shield her vision. Yuuno used that opening to pull away the brunette, who had closed her eyes as instructed.
The orb in his hand quickly disappeared, and when it did Yuuno's now free hand shot out and snatched the gun from Miyako's grasp before she recovered. The raven haired woman cursed as she blindly groped for the weapon, only to find herself wrapped up in binds.
"…Wow." Shari gawked when she regained her wits. "That was slick."
"Damn it!" Miyako growled, blinking rapidly until her vision returned. "You won't get away with this!"
"It's over." Yuuno frowned. "Just give up."
"… Why did it have to be this way?" He muttered sadly.
His lament was interrupted when he heard something clatter against the ground nearby. He looked to see a round object come to rest some what close to them.
His body reacted on its own even before his mind recognised it as a grenade.
He jumped so that he was between Shari and the weapon and then dove at her as it exploded. The two of them fell down an incline, the eruption licking at Yuuno's back. A sharp, searing pain registered as the scent of burnt flesh and hair assailed his nostrils.
Ignoring his own condition, Yuuno looked at the girl below him. He was pleased to see she was unharmed, if a bit shaken up. She just looked up at him in shock, and he managed a pained smile.
Amidst the ringing in his ears, Yuuno could hear the vehicle approaching them. He assumed the driver had thrown the grenade and was now attempting to recover the Light of God. Biting back the pain, he looked behind him and saw the jeep moving right for them.
Gathering as much magic as he could, the librarian erected a barrier that the vehicle promptly smashed into. The collision activated the air bag, which exploded out with enough force to knock out the driver. Aside from the crackling flames, everything was silent.
"Yuuno! Shari!" Yuuno eventually heard Fate call. He vaguely registered her moving towards them before he blacked out.
Soon after Yuuno found himself lying face down on an infirmary bed, the burns on his back had been treated and he was told that they were only superficial and would heal cleanly. His hair hadn't been so lucky, however, for his long ponytail had been thoroughly roasted, the charred ends scratching the back of his neck.
"Isn't that great news?" Fate tried to sound comforting. "You won't have any lasting scars."
"Yeah." He muttered.
"… Y-You should be healed up in no time!" Fate tried again.
"Yeah." He muttered.
"Well, we've managed to find out the location of Hummer's base!" She said. "We're assembling a strike force now! We don't have to worry about the mole anymore either. Apparently he was just a loose end that she tied up…"
"… What happened to her?" He asked.
"… She was killed in the blast." Fate sighed.
"… I caused that…" Yuuno muttered. "She could have run if I hadn't bound her…"
"No, don't blame yourself for that." Fate asserted. "She was going to be disposed of regardless of the outcome. The driver spilled everything, that's how we knew where the base was. The coordinates for it were loaded into the jeep's GPS too."
"I… I'm sorry, Yuuno, this is all my fault." She lowered her head.
"No it isn't, Fate." Yuuno sighed.
"But I'm the one who gave her permission to wander the base, and I helped her get closer to you… It's my fault I fell for her lies…" Fate wiped at her eyes. "It's my fault you're here."
"No, it's not." Yuuno would have sat up if he had the energy, but instead he reached out and took Fate's hand. "In the end I'm the one who let myself get deceived. You were just thinking of me and trying to help so stop beating yourself up over it."
"Just… It's okay, Fate." Yuuno's voice wavered a bit. "I'm just mad at myself for being so stupid. I should have known that no girl would show interest in me unless she was lying so she could use me…"
"… Yuuno…" Unable to think of comforting worlds, she just squeezed his hand instead. She wanted so desperately to cheer him up and make him feel better about himself, but she just didn't know how she could do it.
"Excuse me!" A cheerful voice said as the door opened. Shari walked in, only to frown at the atmosphere. "Hey now, the patient can't recover with such a gloomy mood in the room!"
"Shari?" Fate gawked, baffled by her aide's demeanour under the circumstances.
"You're not helping Fate-san, so please shoo for a bit." Shari pulled her superior up and pushed her out of the room. Stunned, Fate just stared at the door as it closed in her face.
"Now then professor." Shari pulled up a chair. "The doctor said it'd be fine for you to sit up, so come here." She pointed at the chair.
"Shari, what are you…?" Since he didn't move, Shari gently pulled him up herself. Seeing there was no point objecting, Yuuno sat in the chair, still unaware of the girl's intentions.
She stood behind him and he felt her hands move through his hair. What felt like a comb followed and he heard the metallic clink of scissors. And thus Shari went to work chopping off the ruined parts of his hair swiftly with skilful hands.
"You're good at this." Yuuno noted after sitting in silence awhile.
"I've had lots of practise." She said simply. "You shouldn't let it get to you, professor."
He said nothing.
"Don't let one bad experience ruin things for you." She went on.
"… Seems I've had nothing but bad experiences…" He muttered.
Shari sighed. "Well then, shall I teach you how to get a girl to genuinely fall in love with you?"
"I don't think that's possible."
"Just hear me out." She smiled softly. "The first step is to have confidence in yourself. Normally you have a lot of that when you're not having a bad day."
"Being a nice guy earns you major points too." Shari went on. "Next, don't make light of her passion. Then let her see the way your eyes sparkle when you really get into something and let her see you work first hand so she'll have her socks knocked off by just how talented and knowledgeable you really are. Also, show her how much fun it is to just chat with you and match wits with you over a game."
Something clicked and Yuuno tried to turn his head around, but a firm hand stopped him as another lock was cut.
"Finally," she almost whispered. "And this is optional, by the way, just icing on the cake… selflessly use your own body to protect her from certain death. With all those things I guarantee you'll capture her heart."
Shocked, confused, and a little hopeful, Yuuno spoke. "… But don't you have Griffith?"
"Griffith?" Shari laughed. "I think you're misunderstanding. Like I told you, we've known each other since we were kids. I think I traumatized him, though, so I wasn't surprised he ended up marrying a nice, reserved girl like Lucino."
"Oh." Yuuno suddenly felt extremely dumb. "So… uh… did you mean what you were just saying?"
"Yup." She smiled. "And I hope you don't think that I'm the kind of girl who would lie just so she could use you."
Yuuno reflected on that and saw no reason to doubt her. As long as he had known her, she had always been so straightforward and honest about everything, even if it was something that might get her labelled as a weirdo. Her bright smile was far too pure to be hiding something.
"I don't…" He said.
"Good." She put her scissors down and handed him a mirror. "So then, what do you think?"
He looked into the reflection, but didn't focus on his hair. He could see the girl with the gentle smile behind him and in her normally playful eyes he noted the seriousness in them along with a hint of anxiety. It was clear her intent was genuine.
The thoughts he had during their chess game resurfaced. He had been drawn in by those qualities of hers, hadn't he? Believing she already had some one had blocked him from pursuing those thoughts further, but since she was giving him the green light, he was going to step on the gas.
"I like it." He smiled. "To show my gratitude, once we return from this assignment would you allow me the honour of treating you to dinner?"
The face in the mirror brightened considerably after relief washed over it.
"I'd love to." She said. "It's a date!" Grinning from ear to ear, Shari gathered her supplies and went to the door before turning to face him. "There's still a little bit of work that needs to be done first, but I'll be looking forward to it, Yuuno!"
Fate just stared as her aide opened the door and pranced down the hallway while humming some tune. She looked to her old friend for answers, but he only smiled at her.
"… What just happened?" Fate asked.
"I have a date." Yuuno replied.
Checking her inbox, Fate's smile grew larger as she saw a certain name on the list.
"Hey Nanoha!" She called. "We got a picture greeting from Yuuno!"
"Eh?" Nanoha cried as she hurried into the room. "Really? Let me see! Yuuno-kun's only ever sent us text letters during the holidays!"
Chuckling, Fate opened the message, filling the screen with the image of a couple. She had her arms wrapped snugly around his neck while his hands circled her and rested on her hip.
"It's already been a year." Fate mused contently.
"Still keeping his hair short, I see." Nanoha noted.
"Yeah, she likes cutting it for him." Fate nodded. "They truly are quite the pair. Working together, they've really helped the technical division advance by leaps and bounds.
"I'm glad for him." Nanoha smiled. "I've never seen Yuuno-kun so cheerful before."
"You're right." Fate said, putting an arm around her wife's shoulder and drawing her in closer. 'Way to go, Yuuno.' She thought. 'You've finally found your happiness.'