My red eyes slowly opened, squinting as they tried to focus. I could see clouds floating in the sky above me and I couldn't help but let out a long slow groan as I sat up. My hair picked up small strands of freshly mowed grass in it as it dragged across the ground. 'What... where am I?' The questions came at once and I swallowed thickly, realizing my throat was parched. 'I feel like my whole body was scrambled...' Moving one hand to rub my eyes, I placed the other on the ground beside me and yelped when I realized that Bardiche was in Haken Form minus the plasma glow of his blade. "B-Bardiche? What... what happened to us?"
"Memory blocks for the past twelve hours are missing, sir," the device told her helplessly.
"...Why am I in my barrier jacket?" Fate slowly stood and stumbled back to her knees when her vision swam in front of her. "Ugh... Bardiche, can you scan me?"
"Already have sir; condition green."
"Thank you..." Fate took a long steadying breath and felt a little better when she exhaled it. "If I'm here, then the others might be in danger... I think this qualifies as a time to engage in flight without permission... Let's go, Bardiche!"
Fate leapt into the air and twisted once to stabilize herself before looking around from her bird's eye view. "I'm in the park in the town, so that means the base is westward." After nodding to herself, she took off and formed a small barrier around herself to block most of the wind gushing past her.
"Incoming communication, sir." Bardiche informed her, popping a monitor up and to the side of the woman's vision.
"Connect." Fate replied easily, relieved that she was being contacted.
"Unidentified mage, you have entered a restricted air flight zone in military use. State your name and land immediately or you will be fired upon."
Fate blinked at the harsh command and looked at the man she didn't recognize on the screen. "Fate T. Harlaown, lead enforcer of Section Six on my way back from a battle. I need a status update for the past twelve hours."
The man typed a few things on a floating keyboard before glaring at Fate. "There is no mage by that name stationed here. Please land at once."
Fate growled. "Look, I was knocked out in battle and have no idea what is going on, I need a status update!"
Again the man frowned. "Land right now, mage, or you will be intercepted. This is your last warning."
The blonde sighed and cut the communication off, flying to the front of her familiar base. 'I'll have to find Hayate or someone to find out what's going on.' As she started walking to the door, Signum exited it and stood in front of the blond. "Signum, thank goodness." She offered her friend a relieved smile. "I was knocked out some time ago and--"
"How do you know my name?"
Fate stopped talking for a few seconds, looking at her friend with a slightly open mouth. "Signum, please, I am seriously worried that--"
"Answer my question, mage. You entered a military base without permission after being warned that hostile action would be taken. This is a restricted zone."
"Signum, this isn't funny!" Fate's voice started shaking, fear settling in on her. "Please, I am really worried here; I don't need this!"
"I need to restrain you and take you so you can be questioned. Will you come with me quietly?"
"Signum!" Fate shouted now, tears in her eyes. "Why are you doing this; I need your help right now! This isn't funny!" When the woman didn't reply, Fate averted her eyes and moved to walk past the girl. Signum's hand lashed out to grab the blonde, only to be avoided nimbly with a glare. Before the warrior could make another attempt, Hayate made it to them, already in her Barrier Jacket. Ignoring the reason why Hayate cut her hair, or the fact that she looked shockingly younger to her, Fate addressed her friend. "Hayate, will you--"
Hayate pointed her staff at Fate and glared at her with serious eyes. "Put down your weapon and identify yourself."
"What...?" Fate felt her legs shake but managed to keep herself standing. "Hayate... What is going on?" The tip of the staff lowered slightly when a tear fell from Fate's eye. "I don't... understand... Why are you acting like this...?"
Signum looked at Hayate and then back at the blonde who was on the edge of a breakdown. "I think the best course of action right now would be for you to come with us for a while and get some questions answered. Why do you know our names and why are you insisting that we know you?"
"Nanoha..." Fate's voice was soft, unsure of herself anymore. "I want to see Nanoha and Vivio."
Hayate positioned her staff in a less threatening way and put a hand on her hip, judging the woman in front of her. "Why do you want to see Nanoha-chan?"
"Please. Just please, okay? I need to see her..."
Signum stood behind the woman and put a hand on Fate's shoulder. "Mistress, I can take her from here."
"Please," Fate spoke again. "Just let me see them?"
"Who is Vivio?" Hayate asked, making Fate stiffen. "Okay, okay... I will ask for Nanoha-chan to come to the interrogation room, if you come along quietly."
"I don't think she will cause any trouble." Hayate told her friend. "I would prefer that this went smoothly…Now, can you tell me your name?"
"Fate." The red eyed girl finally spoke up. "Fate T. Harlaown."
Regarding the last name as a coincidence, Hayate simply nodded. "Signum, please escort Fate-san here to the interrogation room. I will get Nanoha and ask her to accompany me there."
Signum nodded and addressed Fate again. "Please disarm your device." She watched Fate recall her staff and place the gem in a slot on her left glove. "Thank you. This way, please." Putting her hand on Fate's back, she began to lead her.
Silence hung over the two as they slowly walked across the base while Hayate flew off towards the training field ahead of them. No words were spoken during the long walk, and Fate felt a little bit of relief when she entered into the air conditioned building after a few minutes of walking in the direction Hayate took off in. Together they went to an elevator and Fate ignored the strange look she got when she pushed the button for the correct floor. After exiting, she made her way to the room and opened it, seeing Nanoha and Hayate already sitting behind the desk in the room.
After sitting down, Fate looked at Nanoha's questioning face and felt her heart break completely. "You... don't know who I am, do you?"
Nanoha looked at the woman in front of herself and slowly shook her head. "I'm... sorry? I don't remember you..."
Hayate spoke up, giving the woman a confused look. "Fate-san, could you please answer some questions for us? We have gone out of our way for you so much already." Fate nodded sadly, eyes still focused on Nanoha. "You told our contact that you were stationed here, am I correct?"
"Yes. Bardiche, could you?"
"Yes sir." Several monitors popped up, displaying Fate's I.D and information.
"Lightning one," Signum noted. "That is my call sign."
Fate didn't say anything. Instead, Hayate continued where she left off. "This looks too good to be faked... She even has our friendly unit code...It says here you live... In Nanoha's room."
Fate nodded again. "Yes, along with Vivio."
Nanoha shook her head. "Who is Vivio?" She almost flinched when Fate looked as if she had just lost her will to live. "I-I'm sorry, I didn't mean to upset you." She glanced at Hayate with a confused expression and leaned closer so she could whisper. "What happened to this girl?"
"I don't know," Hayate replied back softly. Turning back to Fate, she spoke up again. "Fate-san, you said something about being knocked out? Why are you in battle mode?"
Fate was looking down at her hands on the table, talking so softly she almost couldn't be heard. "I don't know... I woke up and have no memory of the battle I was in or how I even got there... The last I recall was dropping Vivio off at school."
"That name... why would that person be in my room?"
"She's our daughter," Fate revealed, voice breaking again. "You... You really don't remember me? Nanoha?"
Nanoha swallowed and leaned back, stammering over her words. The woman in front of her was obviously upset because of this, but she honestly couldn't remember anything. "Tell me something I would remember?"
"Our marriage?" Nanoha shook her head at Fate's words. "Adopting Vivio? Growing up, swapping ribbons?" When Nanoha kept shaking her head, Fate started getting desperate. "Anything? You saved me from my mother--" When Nanoha's eyes widened slightly, and Fate felt a small bit of hope. "When we were nine, I attacked you for the jewel seeds!"
"I... I remember that, that was when I met Yuuno-kun and found out I was a mage..."
Fate nodded, reaching over and taking both of Nanoha's hands, much to everyone's displeasure. "Yes! And Arf, my familiar! Suzuka and Arisa!"
Nanoha shook her head, unsure, and pulled her hands back. "How... can you know what happened on Earth..."
"That was me! The girl with pigtails! We fought and fought and you kept trying to get me to talk to you, and then when I was captured I came to help you against my mother. You offered your hand and saved me!"
Nanoha shook her head again. "But I... that girl died." This time Fate shook her head. "I remember it... I was yelling at her... to take my hand... and she didn't... she reached for her mother and was pulled into the void..."
"No... no, I reached for you. You saved me!" She felt Signum place a hand on her shoulder and she sat back down. "This isn't happening..."
"Fate, could you look at me...?" Nanoha leaned forward and ignored her friend's glances. Gently she touched Fate's cheeks and looked into her eyes. "I remember... those eyes. They were so very sad...."
Fate leaned lightly against the palms and placed her hand over Nanoha's. "I didn't die... Why is everything so suddenly different... I don't..."
"Lets talk somewhere more comfortable," Nanoha requested softly. "Hayate-chan, I don't think she is a threat. We need to let her settle down and try and figure out why she knows all of this. I think we should help her."
Hayate let out a breath but agreed anyway. "You always were one to help people no matter what... But I agree, this is a very confusing situation."
"Okay then, let's go to my room, Fate-chan. Signum, could you watch my students for an hour?" She got a nod and a very thankful look from Fate. "Let's go then." her hands pulled back and moved back under the table. A moment later she moved back and ran her palm over a small orb on her chair, gliding over to a shocked Fate. "Fate-chan?"
Fate felt everything stop, seeing nothing but Nanoha in a wheelchair. The questions around her started to fade out and she felt as if sand was pouring all over her body before she collapsed to her knees and then to the floor. The last thing she heard was her name being shouted and Signum trying to catch her.
Fate moaned as a cool, damp washcloth was moved over her cheeks. "Wha...?"
"Don't force yourself," a gentle voice warned her softly.
"Shamal..." Fate spoke up, resting easier when the familiar voice was heard. "I had the worst nightmare... I went home and nobody remembered who I was... Nanoha was in a wheelchair..." Her red eyes slowly opened and she looked at the doctor. "It was horrible."
"...I'm sorry to say this, but that wasn't a dream." Shamal gave her patient a sympathetic look. "Fate-san, was it?"
The blonde closed her eyes and stayed silent for a long moment before answering. "...Yes."
"Can you answer some standard questions for me?"
"Do you hurt anywhere?"
"No headache or sore joints?"
"A little sore, but nothing bad."
Shamal clicked her tongue and scribbled on her pad. "Do you have a medical record I can review?"
Fate finally spoke up again after accepting the fact that she was still where she was. "Bardiche, please give Shamal my records." She watched a monitor appear before her and Shamal inspect it.
"They told me you said you knew all of us?" Shamal read over the information before her, staring at the perfect notes and then seeing her name by the doctor who treated the woman. "I see you know me as well, not just my name."
"Yes..." Fate sat up and moved her feet off the bed to sit. "You always treated me. I'm sure you'll find anything you want to know in there... Nanoha isn't here, is she?"
"No, she went to finish training her students, but requested me to contact her when you woke up. Were you expecting her to be here?"
Fate shook her head and stood, looking down at her Barrier Jacket before dismissing it to her normal enforcer uniform. "Shamal, I'm going to the training grounds, if you need me please contact Bardiche, okay?"
"I'm sorry I can't let you go without being escorted..." Her words trailed when the blonde looked at the floor sadly. 'Well, if both Hayate and Nanoha don't think she is a threat, then I'm sure she won't be any danger. Taking a breath, Shamal began to close down the monitors. "... Tell you what; you are my last patient today, so, how about I walk with you?"
"Thank you, I would like that." Fate allowed the woman to collect her things and close her office before walking along the hallways with her.
"So, how much do you know about us?"
Fate kept her eyes ahead, wondering how exactly to answer that. "You took care of me since I was nine... I remember getting my flu shots every year and being put on diets when I ate too many snacks..." A small smile came to her lips at the bittersweet memory. "We met back in the Book of Darkness incident--"
"How did you know about that?" Shamal almost stopped walking. "That is classified information."
"I was there." Fate replied back simply. "You and I didn't fight much, that was mainly Signum. I met Hayate then as well, on Christmas Eve back on Earth..." Fate finally looked over at her. "Am I in some sort of fantasy world?"
"Or are you in the normal world with a fantasy memory?" Shamal answered back. "The possibility of this isn't unheard of, although rare."
"There have been others like me?"
"Time-space distortion, a rare occurrence when going from subspace to normal space. However, those situations have been nothing more than losing time, not entering in alternate realities where only they have changed. Your situation is unique and I can't really offer you any more information until we understand why you have these memories that aren't real."
Fate had to run a few steps to catch up. "They have to be real, I experienced them all."
"The possibilities are too many right now. I will research it, though. Hayate already requested my help in the case."
Fate felt a small smile on her lips. "She doesn't change." The doctor returned the smile and continued the small walk to the training field, where Nanoha was sitting before the active training barrier. "Nanoha-chan."
Nanoha glanced over her shoulder and grinned before moving her left hand over the control orb of her wheelchair to turn herself around. "Shamal-san, Fate-chan, hello. Have you collected yourself, Fate-chan?"
Red eyes stared at the girl before her. "I am trying, but everything is so confusing..." Taking a step forward, she knelt down to be on a more eye-level with her friend. "When you had that accident, way back when we were twelve... is that when you lost your ability to walk?"
"Shouldn't you know that if you've been with me all this time?" Nanoha replied back easily, curiously testing the girl.
"The Nanoha I know... fought through it, and didn't give up. I helped her every day until she could walk again." Her gaze softened. "I'm sorry..."
Nanoha blinked and made her chair move back a little. "Thank you, but I am fine. I am a tactical teacher and spell developer. Your Nanoha was the same?"
"Stars leader and special task trainer. She lead a unit as well as trained forward students and normal recruits... She also shoved all her paper work off on her poor students." Judging from the laughter in Nanoha's eyes, that part stayed the same. Before she could continue the conversation, a flashing red monitor appeared beside Nanoha, demanding attention.
"Nanoha-chan!" Hayate's face appeared on the screen. "There are some drones near the bridge leading into the city. They are a new model, probably a test run, but I need three or four people to launch an attack while we defend in case it is a feint!"
Fate looked at the screen, eyes on the drones. "That's... not a new model."
Nanoha turned back to Fate. "You have seen these before?"
"Of course... They were Scaglietti's, a prototype for the more advanced drones."
Hayate addressed Fate now. "You have encountered them before, correct?"
"Yes." She nodded.
Hayate eyed the woman hard. "You said you were stationed under me, right?"
Fate set her eyes, knowing that tone of voice. "Ma'am!"
"What is your rank, Fate-san?"
The blonde pulled Bardiche and recalled her just recently discarded jacket. "SS. I can handle them all by myself while recording their motions for you. Requesting permission for personal flight."
"Hayate-chan!" Nanoha interrupted sharply. "We can't just send her--!"
"Nanoha," Fate spoke up, smiling at her lovingly. "I want to talk to you when I get back, okay? I'll treat you to Fuji's." With that, she flew into the air, twisted, and headed off to the combat site. 'If these are here, and if what Shamal said was true...' The drones came into sight and she ignited her scythe. 'Then Scaglietti is alive...and if I have indeed lost time in my transfer, then that means that the horrible war hasn't occurred yet."
The blonde entered the combat area and flew around several small beams of magical energy shot at her from the robots. Spinning and twirling, she made sure that her cameras were catching the capabilities of the new units. Although she herself knew exactly what they were capable of, a small part of her mind was still wary of her situation and was actively looking for some type of influx in their power range. Finally, after several minutes of dodging, she began attacking as well, cleaving through drone after drone with her scythe as well as magical daggers shot from a distance.
Thunder clapped around her in the sky and red eyes looked upwards as bits and pieces of metal fell to the water below her. 'That's strange; it wasn't cloudy a moment ago...' Another attack was made and small drops of rain started falling around her, making the woman try and wrap up the situation before the rain got too hard.
The mage struck down the last flight unit and floated in the air, looking around for what was making her feel so uncomfortable. A bolt of lightning illuminated the area for a brief moment, revealing a figure in the air not too far from her. "State your name!" Fate yelled out at the person.
The mage flew closer to her, revealing a pre-teen form. Fate stared, her grip on Bardiche loosening lightly. Dark purple armor was covering the boy's body, matched by a lighter shade of the same color. Four translucent wings were buzzing behind himself to keep him afloat and in his right hand, a matching spear was gripped at the ready. "Er..io?"
Erio lifted his head lightly, staring at the woman before him as a harsh gust of wind scattered the rain all around them. "I see you've heard of me. I don't recall you, though."
"Its me... Fate." She flew towards him but found Erio lifting his spear to point at her. "Erio?"
"Fate?" He smirked. "What an ironic name. Tell me, Fate, how are you able to take out this small army by yourself? Section Six's top mages are still at the base."
"You don't remember me either..." Fate realized with a bit of despair.
A metallic voice rang up in the storm then, calling Fate's attention. "On alert, sir."
Fate nodded and gripped her weapon harder. "Erio, why are you here?"
"Just observing. The doctor wanted me to see how the new models would hold up in combat."
"So you're with him." She knew it before she said it. Granted, Jail had been looking for him before she found the boy, but something was different... "That armor...it looks like something Lutecia could summon?"
"Oh? You know her?" His cocky attitude was apparent. "Why yes, she gave me this."
"So does that mean... Caro is there as well?"
Erio seemed even more interested. "You seem to know a lot."
Fate licked her lips, tasting the rain on her tongue. "It's nothing..."
"Is that so?" Erio observed her a moment longer before a monitor appeared next to him. "Doctor, I have a new opponent here who seems to know us. Should I bring her back with me?"
Jail ran his hand through his light purple hair. Yellow, catlike, eyes looked over at Fate from the display and a smirk appeared on his face. "How interesting! How very interesting!" He looked back at the monitor showing Erio and smiled widely. "Do not engage her, but send her a little gift from Lutecia."
"Roger that." Erio cut off the display and looked back over at Fate. "Seems you get to see another day," He taunted, flinging out his hand for dramatics. "I'll see you around, Fate." With that, he flew backwards a moment before turning completely and darting off into the dark sky.
Fate swallowed thickly and finally lowered Bardiche. The rain splattered over her face and was starting to blur her vision. "If Erio and the girls are with Scaglietti, then… what else is different from what I know?" Giving a short sigh, Fate turned around herself and put up a small barrier to keep the rain off of her as she made her way back to base. Landing on the helipad, she walked to the door and through it before letting down her shields and shaking her head to try and sling the water from her hair.
The familiar path was followed, hands rubbing her arms to fight the chill of the base's air conditioning on her wet body. When she entered the debriefing room, she felt a little odd that nobody was inside. 'Should I have gone to the command room directly?' Her question was answered when the sound of boots clicking on the smooth floor came to her ears. Fate turned her head and leaned back a little to peek outside the doorway she was standing in, seeing not only Hayate walking towards her, but Nanoha at her side.
Giving them a small smile, waited for them there. "Hey," she greeted when the girls were close enough.
"We thought you would return to the training field," Hayate told her lightly. "But you landed where you were supposed to and even came to the right room..."
"I've told you, Hayate," The blonde spoke softly while moving to sit inside the room. "I live here; I'm just... not where I'm supposed to be." Saying the words aloud seemed to finally start to drive the fact into her mind.
Nanoha made herself comfortable next to Hayate as she sat and leaned forward on the table, looking at the woman in front of her. Small drops of water were dripping from her hair and the ruby red eyes were downcast once more. "Thank you for fighting," Nanoha voiced her thoughts, getting looked at. "Did you get hurt?"
"No," Fate shook her head lightly. "Something like that won't hurt me."
Hayate leaned back in her chair, crossed her arms, and looked up at the ceiling in thought. "Thank you for your help, Fate-san. We got a lot of information that will help us prepare for the next battle."
Fate turned to look at the other girl. "I know that voice, you're wondering what to do with me now."
Hayate looked at the blonde and felt a little off at having been read so easily. "Yes, I am. I think I can spare you a room for the meantime, under surveillance for the time being, I'm afraid. I hope you understand."
"A powerful mage comes out of nowhere, claims to know everyone and may be from another world with no proof of any of this... I understand completely, Hayate."
"Thank you." Hayate nodded. "I'll show you to your room, I'm sure you want to take a while to settle down."
Fate glanced over at Nanoha. "Actually, I'd like to talk with Nanoha a bit... can I offer to buy you..." she trailed off and looked at Bardiche. "Bardiche, how much money do I have?"
"None, sir. Your bank account will not connect."
Fate looked down dejectedly. "I should have realized that sooner."
Nanoha smiled lightly. "How about I cook for you instead? You can come to my room for a while."
"Nanoha-chan." Hayate whispered softly to her in a firm, disapproving voice.
"Its okay," Nanoha replied just as soft, but with a lighter tone. "You know that the battle in the past, when I first got my magic, really upset me... I still have nightmares about not saving that girl... and even if she can lie so well, her eyes make me feel the same as they did back then... She's scared and confused."
Hayate looked at Nanoha's determined face and slowly exhaled. "Okay, I won't stop you… But please understand I have to watch her, even if I do trust you and she fights for us."
"I know, you're just protecting everyone." Nanoha took Hayate's hand and gave it a small squeeze before looking back at Fate. "Shall we?"
"Yes," Fate stood and walked out of the room with the two girls. Her red eyes looked down at Nanoha's wheelchair and realized that there were no handles on the back. Instead she seemed to be in an almost a small vehicle. Several orbs were on her left hand-rest and one was on her right, which Fate noticed was never used. From the lines on the side of the device, she could tell it held many storage containers and the wheels seemed to be very sturdy. Judging from the handicap laws, Fate could only imagine that stairs probably wouldn't even be an obstacle for Nanoha's chair.
If the brunette noticed the staring, she didn't say anything. Instead, Nanoha stayed quiet until they were back on the bottom floor of the main base. When the elevator doors opened, both she and Hayate groaned at the same time. Fate blinked but followed their gaze to two people standing at the receptionist desk of the main lobby.
The man of the group turned and looked at them before standing his full height, smirking with an attitude that made the blonde suppress a shiver. "Yo, midget." He hailed Hayate with a voice full of sarcasm. "And Wingless as well, hello." He looked down at Nanoha, who frowned up at him.
Fate felt anger rise in her chest when she heard the names and stood in front of the two out of instinct when addressing him. Her eyes went to the man's badges on his uniform to check the rank before talking to him casually. "And you are, sir?"
"Salute your superiors." He stated flatly.
"When I see one, I will." Fate shot back, astonished at his rudeness to someone he'd never met.
Hayate interrupted, getting straight to the point. "Why are you here, Lexus?"
"Enemy units were engaged by an unknown mage, who landed here." He looked at Fate. "Is that her?"
"I engaged." Fate told him simply.
"You got yourself a mage ranked over A; I'm impressed, Midget."
Nanoha chose this time to interject. "She is stationed with us; if you have no other business, then leave, Lexus."
Fate stepped in front of Nanoha more and glared. "Do not call her that; it is rude."
Lexus smirked. "So?"
"I don't like you. Please leave." Fate said the words softly, but the man still chuckled before turning and waving over his shoulder.
"See you around, Midget." With that, the man and his unknown partner left the building, laughing at a joke that the three women missed.
Fate looked over at Hayate, who seemed to be holding herself back quite a bit. "Who was that?"
"...Long story." The smaller woman whispered, annoyed.
Nanoha decided to answer as they started moving again, heading to the side exit that was closer to the residential building. "Lexus commands a division much like ours. We focus on Lost Logia and Relics; whereas he combines the air, sea, and land forces into one 'super fleet' that can help any situation... Which is what we were supposed to do as well."
Fate thought about it a moment. "So why do they have that right instead of you?"
Hayate picked back up. "He has triple-A ranked air, land, and sea mages. Even though I'm an SS ranked mage..." She looked up at Fate, who claimed to be the same rank.
"I don't mind," Nanoha spoke up when a small delay made her notice what was bothering her best friend. "When I had my accident, I went from the top flight Ace to being..." She looked to the side. "A 'wingless' bird who can only train students."
"That's... that's horrible." Fate almost stopped walking. "How can he call you that!?"
"I'm used to it by now. It annoys me more than anything." Nanoha shook her head.
"That doesn't give him any right to--"
Hayate interrupted the rant before it could start. "Anyway, he has the best mages, so he gets the best support. His budget is twice that of mine and he doesn't miss an opportunity to rub it in my face."
"If I disband my unit, he will get my base for his to expand, as well as my funding. He will get promoted as well, I'm sure."
Fate looked down at the ground. "How low can you get... Just because I wasn't here."
Hayate glanced to the side, taking in Fate's angry and sad face. "You were there in your world. I'm sure I'm happy there."
"...You believe me?"
Hayate stopped at Nanoha's doorway and crossed her arms with a teasing smile. "Do you know Nanoha's password to enter her room?"
Fate stepped to the hand scanner, knowing she wasn't stored in it. The small password screen was to the left, just like always. Lifting her hand to touch the numbers, she stopped and thought a moment. 'It won't be her birthday, nor mine... She hasn't met Vivio yet so it won't be hers...Of course it would have nothing to do with me, so maybe Hayate?... No, she never used Hayate before because it would be a security risk...' Licking her lips, she pressed a button on the small screen to bring up the keyboard for the alphabet. Her first choice was Arisa, which was beeped at. Secondly she tried Suzuka and got the same result.
Pausing a moment, she thought hard, back in the past where she was on Earth with everyone else. 'She told me she felt isolated... loved but not being a part of it. She always said she felt left out despite everyone always smiling at her...' A grin came to Fate's mouth and she started moving her hand once more, typing out the word carefully: Happiness
The confirmation beep came and the door slid open, making both Hayate and Nanoha look at her in shock. "Back then," Fate told them softly, looking over her shoulder. "Nanoha wanted something more, something that she could have but also give to everyone else. When she could teach people, she would share it with them and use it to help guide their lives, just as she helped guide mine. I told her then, that more than anyone else in my life... She made me the happiest..." The girl looked down, lightly embarrassed. "I just thought that part of you would stay the same, even if I wasn't there to say it..."
After a small moment of silence, Hayate waved at Fate and Nanoha. "Well, I'm going to handle the paperwork. Nanoha-chan, please take care of our guest." She got a nod. "Fate-chan, I'm assuming?" This time Fate nodded at her, also smiling at getting the familiar honorific added to her name. "Until I deem it otherwise, you will be stationed here. I'll need you to fill out forms tomorrow and talk with Shari-chan and Yuuno-kun about your situation... And we'll just go from there." Patting the girl on the back, she grinned and went on her way.
Fate watched the girl walk from them and waved lightly when the girl turned to press the button on the elevator. "She's the same."
Nanoha moved herself into her apartment and felt the blonde follow her in. "How about my home? Is it the same where you come from?"
Expecting the difference already, Fate shook her head lightly. "No, it's different. Hayate designed it herself and we picked out our furniture. Of course it will be tailored to fit just you." Her eyes scanned the area, taking in the new room. The layout was the same, as were the locations of the furniture, but the similarities ended there. The furniture itself was different, and was obviously meant for someone in a wheelchair. The small kitchen area had less under-the-counter storage and instead was laid out to let Nanoha move with ease. The small stairway to their raised bedroom was replaced with a slight ramp, and there were less traces of the frills that Fate was so fond of.
"Please, make yourself at home." Nanoha told her while going to the kitchen. "I'm sure you're hungry, I'll cook us something. "
"Ah, I'll handle it!" Fate stopped when Nanoha glanced over at her. "Oh... I'm sorry, that must have sounded weird to you."
Instead of commenting on that, Nanoha went back to inspecting her refrigerator. "We need to have something yummy to celebrate me meeting my best friend from another world. How does roast chicken sound to you?"
"If I asked you to get some things from my pantry, would you know where to look?"
"Possibly," Fate went to the small pantry and opened the double doors there before picking up the containers. "Here, should I get the orange and butter as well?"
"Orange? For a chicken?"
Fate felt a small giggle come and she welcomed it gratefully. "Yes, you love orange chicken... May I?"
Nanoha nodded smiled. "Yes, please." watching the blonde move around her kitchen, she felt an odd feeling in her chest. "This is so weird, I can't even imagine what it's like for you."
"Its strange," Fate's motions slowed slightly but she picked back up almost at once. "Everything is the same but slightly different at the same time."
"You said we were really close."
Fate nodded and moved beside Nanoha to share the cutting work with her. "You're my wife."
"... I see." Blushing darkly, Nanoha glanced up at Fate. "How long have we been together?"
"A few years. We started dating when we were about fifteen or sixteen. I asked you to marry me and..." Fate chuckled lightly. "You fainted. Dead on the spot, it was so nerve wracking."
"Nyahaha, that sounds like me. Was our wedding pretty?"
"Very. Everyone was there..." Trailing off, she looked down at Nanoha again. "Speaking of, do you train Subaru?"
"Subaru-san? Oh yes, she's in my group. A little bit of a cry-baby but she's getting better."
"I'm sorry, I don't know a Tea. Is she in my group in your world?"
"Not anymore. Subaru, Tea, Erio, and Caro were your forwards."
"Forwards?" Nanoha pondered this while moving to preheat the oven. "I don't have any forwards here, just my standard group of fifteen."
"I see... I guess that makes sense." Fate tried to shake the feeling she was getting.
"So, Fate-chan, in your world, we're married and you said we had a daughter?"
Fate did stop this time. "...Yeah. She's adopted."
Nanoha flinched. "I'm sorry, did something happen?"
"No, never mind. Tell me about your day?"
Taking the change of topic in stride, Nanoha went on. "It was normal up until you came in. Woke up, started training students, had lunch, then met this really weird girl from another universe who says she's my wife."
"Sounds like a winner," Fate played along. "You should keep an eye on her."
"Make sure she doesn't hit on me." Nanoha stuck out her tongue, pleased at having someone to talk to for a change.
"And carry you up to the bedroom and raid the bottom drawer?" Her words made Nanoha physically recoil in shock, eyes wide and cheeks suddenly burning red. Fate blinked a moment before realization finally dawned on her. "Oh... Wow, that was a really awkward thing to say."
"H-How did you... I mean..." Nanoha face palmed. "Married. Right."
"... I'm sorry." Fate shifted uneasily and averted her eyes to look at the food she was preparing.
"It's... It's okay." Nanoha moved around Fate to start preparing some side dishes while the blonde catered to preparing their main course. "Just... Wow, that's embarrassing."
"Don't be embarrassed, we both picked them out, so--"
"Fate-chan!" Nanoha almost shrieked. "That's even worse!"
"Oh! Oh, I'm sorry. I'm just... wow, this is awkward." The blonde put her hands on the counter and leaned on it slightly, eyes downcast.
Nanoha felt her ears burn. "Tell me some more about yourself? You seem to know everything about me but I don't know much of anything about you. Some wife I am, huh?" She laughed at the small joke.
"It's okay... Uhm, what do you want to know?"
"Everything... I want to know what my wife is like." Nanoha said the word again, liking that she could use it in context, even I it was a joke.
Fate paused and turned to gaze down at the girl in the wheelchair next to her. Slate blue eyes were misted lightly, probably from the onion she was cutting. 'That's right... I was Nanoha's main support all those years... the one who never gave up on her, the one who always stood beside her... The one who loved her the most when she felt so alone, and understood without needing to hear anything...'
"... My name is Fate Takamachi Harlaown. You took my last name and I changed my middle. I met you when we were nine..." Fate's story continued all throughout their cooking, even spilling over into their dinner together. Fate's words almost never paused, and the curious eyes of Nanoha begged for more every time she thought Fate would stop. As the time went by, they moved from the kitchen, to their dining table, to sitting on the couch together after Fate carefully carried Nanoha to it.
Finally, after several hours, Nanoha found herself hard pressed to stay awake despite wanting to know more. When the blonde noticed, she simply smiled and bent over to pick her up off the couch. Carrying her like a princess, she moved to the bedroom and saw Nanoha's wheelchair move on its own behind them. Laying the girl on the bed, she smiled down at her and simply said her goodnight before making a promise to meet her for breakfast the next day.
After leaving the room, Fate leaned against the door and sighed longingly. "Nanoha... I miss you so much."