Before you read I suggest to youtube the ff songs first: Whatever it takes by Lifehouse and Everything by Lifehouse, I suggest you listen to them from the moment I flash their lyrics... don't worry it doesn't have to be exactly on time it's just to help the atmosphere a bit ^^
A strangled smile fell from your face
Oh it kills me that I hurt you this way
And the worst part is that I didn't even know
Now there's a million reasons to go
But if you can find a reason to stay
-Whatever it takes by Lifehouse
Sometimes it's only the outer shell we see…
It's been two years since we broke up. Two long and painful years of immersing myself with work, two years of missing her, and two years of loneliness.
"I'm sorry Nanoha… I really just don't think I'm ready… I don't want to see you and Vivio painfully waiting for me each night for my return." She was in tears now. "I'm… sorry."
It played over and over like a broken DVD player in my head. The very scene that seemed to just shatter my world into pieces, to say the least.
Over and over, this scene replayed in my dreams and woke me up in the middle of the night to realize that I myself was wet over the tears I spilt in that dream.
I curled up onto her side of the bed trying to feel her warmth even by just a little bit, trying to whiff her smell even though I know it's long gone, and trying to remember the memories we had both happy and sad.
Vivio is almost eight. She's spent the last two years asking me the same question: "Where is Fate-mama?" To tell the truth… it hurts.
And my reply to that question would always be the same. "Fate-mama left us for a bit. She'll be back soon."
It was a lie I've tried to tell both myself and my daughter, the lie that has kept me hopeful for her return.
How many times have I cried myself to sleep just thinking about her? I couldn't count anymore.
I shouldn't have said that everything was all right back then. I regret the fact that I told her a lie that seemed to be the most 'rational' thing to say.
They say you don't know what you have until you've lost it… and I've lost what I have. I set it free myself with the simple reply: "I understand."
Ever since she left everyday became a routine for me. A never-ending cycle of work, taking care of Vivio, and going home. Even if I would immerse myself with work… I couldn't get her out of my mind. I would rather die than to forget her for even one second.
There were times when Vivio came up to me with a worried expression on her face and I would ask what was wrong. She would just hug me and tell me that everything was going to be all right… I would just cry and hold her tightly.
Some mother I am, huh?
There were times when I wondered what would happen if I just vanish from the world. However, I have two people to go home to and I do not want them waiting in vain for my return.
But those were facts I have to forget at the moment. I am currently assigned on a mission to subdue a scientist doing illegal research here in Midchilda. He's pretty tricky.
I broke down a door with my roundhouse kick to announce my arrival in the control room.
He looked at me and smirked. "So… the white devil has finally shown herself."
I paused for a bit, hearing my infamous nickname. "We are here to place you under arrest. Come with us quietly and you might be offered the chance to change."
"I don't think so…" He walked towards the wall, "After all… it will be my pleasure to play with you."
I didn't need for him to say anything else. His short speech is already an act of defiance against us. I immediately subdued him and knocked him out.
"You may take him." I told my subordinate.
It was then that I felt a bit of pain on my right thigh. It felt like a big ant biting me but… it's just an injection with the contents half-pressed in… or so it would seem. I'll probably have to go and have it checked out by Shamal later.
I removed the needle carefully and immediately proceeded to the next room to clear my mission.
His cyborgs are actually quite a match for me… although they could have lived normal lives it weren't for this guy's programming. Five against one, each one desperate to eliminate me.
While getting on the helicopter I felt a small tinge of pain. It was probably from that syringe the doctor managed to inject me with...
As part of protocol we had to have a check-up from the hospital to double-check our health. I went straight to Shamal right after getting debriefed from our previous mission.
"… Do you always have to look this horrible when you come after a mission?" Shamal asked, noticing the bruises all over my body.
She was probably used to it by now. Fate and I would usually come here after a mission and we somehow always looked like we went through mud for a week.
"Nyahahaha… I'm here for an examination. I hope I'm not bothering you."
She smiled as if some sort of miracle happened. "I wouldn't let my favourite-almost-always-bruised-girl miss it if she herself comes here. You rarely come here especially when you're in a hurry to get home."
I let a small smile form on my lips. "I wouldn't really want to worry anyone you know."
"All right. Just lie down there." She said, prodding me to lie down on the bed.
A holographic screen showing my vitals, blood pressure, and a lot of other things were shown in front of me. I couldn't really decipher all of it but I knew the basics.
"You seem normal, aside from the bruises." She noted, typing away at the keyboard.
I gave her a nod and sat up. "Thanks Shamal. I'll be going now."
Before I could get up she grabbed my shoulder and looked at me pleadingly. "Nanoha… just this once… can you please rest?"
I didn't know what to answer to that. At first I thought I should decline but maybe this should ne one of the times I actually do Shamal a favor.
"Ok, ok. Just one day, all right?"
"Just one day." She replied.
"I'll take a leave tomorrow then."
After that I left.
One day… I guess I can wake up a bit later than normal tomorrow.
And then… what do I do?
Shamal popped her keys on the holographic keyboard and called Hayate to clear Nanoha's schedule tomorrow.
"Hayate-chan, Nanoha is taking the day off tomorrow. Could clear her schedule please?" Shamal asks normally.
"All right… Nanoha taking a break to—wait what? Nanoha taking a break?" Hayate asks back, surprised.
"Nanoha is taking the day off tomorrow." Shamal repeated.
"Nanoha and taking a break is never usually put in a sentence together. How did you manage to pull it off?" Hayate asks, discombobulated.
Shamal shrugged. "Honestly, I don't know how, but at least she's giving herself some rest. I honestly just don't want her to drop out of the sky due to fatigue."
"Good point. All right leave me to clearing her schedule." Hayate sighs in a bit of relief. "Ever since Fate left her… she's just grabbed all the work she can get."
The words played around on my head like a broken tape recorder. It was driving me nuts.
"I'll always come back for you. Always."
Words that always meant the world to me because she always did come home for me like promised. Until two years ago.
I can't manage to let go of her even now…
Even though I said I would…
"Nanoha-mama…?" Vivio called out to me, snapping me out of my thoughts.
I gave her a smile. "What is it Vivio?"
"…You look sad." She pointed out.
I let out a giggle. How could I lie to my own daughter who saw through me even before?
"It's nothing Vivio. How about some dinner?"
"Un! I want some caramel milk too, please!"
I poked her nose. "After dinner."
She pouted but nodded happily anyway.
Morning came to me like usual but my body felt really heavy. I didn't mind too much it was just probably from the mission.
I silently went back to sleep.
Vivio entered Nanoha's room to greet her a 'Good morning' but instead she was just greeted by the abnormal temperature her mother was giving off. Nanoha couldn't quite respond properly to her daughter, her slumber went undisturbed even though Vivio was already trying to shake her mother awake.
Vivio was ready to surge in a state of panic but she remembered a certain doctor who would come rushing any minute. She opened a holographic screen and contacted Shamal.
Shamal was just surprised to see Vivio almost in tears across the screen. "Vivio? What's wrong?"
"N-Nanoha-mama… she's… she's… really warm… and… and… I can't wake her up." The child tried to say in between sobs.
The doctor didn't know what quite to say. First of all she examined what was first and foremost wrong with the situation, which was Nanoha not waking up on a day off.
Nanoha and not waking up isn't put in a sentence when she was given a day off! –The doctor thought to herself.
"I'll be right over. Can you stay strong for me now, Vivio?" Shamal said to Vivio, trying to reassure her that everything will be all right.
"Un…" Vivio replied weakly, but there was a small hint of determination in her voice.
My body feels like ten tons of steel… and did it get colder? I don't remember putting the temperature that high.
I tried getting up… but my body would just curl up and deny me in response.
It felt painful to move.
Vivio should be in school by now…
I guess this is déjà vu for me. Maybe… I was just meant to be the third wheel here. Just like back home… I would always be left alone in the house and everyone else would be running the bakery or training at the dojo.
"Fate-chan…" I muttered breathlessly.
40.5 degrees Celsius! How does her body keep up with it? – Shamal thought to herself dumbfounded, while holding the thermometer.
"Fate…chan…" Nanoha muttered to herself.
"Vivio, I want you to go to school today, all right? Nanoha-mama will be ok. I'll call uncle Yuuno for you.
"Un!" Vivio replied.
Shamal spent a moment to look at Nanoha and at the same time thinking of how Nanoha is going to pull through. After arranging Vivio's schedule for today, Shamal immediately rushed Nanoha to her clinic and she was determined to find the root cause of the situation.
She had to.
People were relying on this person. And most of all…
She was waiting for Fate.
I was being moved somewhere. I wanted to struggle but I couldn't find the energy to do it. What I can do was open my eyes slowly to at least see who was moving me.
"…Sha…mal…?" I managed.
"Everything will be fine. I'm taking you to my clinic." She replied.
"If…you…say… so…" I managed but that took all of my remaining energy and I eventually passed out.
Hayate was one of the first people to visit Nanoha along with Yuuno and Vivio.
"How is she?" Hayate asked.
"I don't know how her body is handling the temperature but we'll have to rely on her stamina for now. I'm still personally looking through her data." Was all Shamal could give.
Actually Shamal wanted to give more information but she couldn't.
Because she didn't have it.
"I see… I'll tell everyone later." Hayate replied.
Yuuno and Vivio remained silent throughout their visit, neither of them knew what to do exactly in this kind of situation. Yuuno didn't know how to convince Fate on going home.
Déjà vu… It's just like when I was a kid. Always left alone.
I felt really small.
There was one person who changed all of that for me… but right now…
I don't know.
Hayate was talking to Shamal, her tone was mixed with worry and sadness.
"I've told everyone already… including Fate." Hayate said in a pained voice, almost like she didn't really want to remember the conversation.
"Fate better not bail out. She better come." Vita intoned sternly.
Hayate giggled. "Let's just wait and see."
"The others are coming tomorrow too, right?" The red-head asked.
"Yeah, let's visit with them all tomorrow."
A few hours earlier…
"Fate-chan… You need to come over here, Nanoha-chan is sick…" Hayate said in a commanding voice.
Fate was, in a word, shocked to hear Nanoha's condition. She really wanted to go; however, something was stopping her.
She didn't know what it was.
"I… can't make it." The blond said, tilting her head forward so her bangs can cover her eyes.
Hayate wasn't surprised with the answer, but that didn't stop her from trying to convince her friend to visit. She had to try.
"… She's been muttering your name whenever she could. She just wants you home Fate-chan." Hayate said.
Hayate was filled with grief when she saw that Fate wasn't going to budge. "I hope you know what you're doing."
What in the world am I thinking? Am I just running?
I would go to Nanoha in a heartbeat… no matter where she was just for her to be happy. The moment Hayate told me what happened to her… my world just shattered.
Didn't know how to face her.
I received another call. It was from Vivio… of all people who would call me.
"Fate-mama!" She called in an angry tone. "You can't just leave Nanoha-mama like this!"
I was surprised at the tone she was using on me.
"I'm sorry Vivio… I really can't come. I…" My voice faltered.
Was it because I was lying to Vivio? Or was I just tired telling the people I care about lies?
"Fate-mama is a big idiot!" She shouted in annoyance and closed the call.
… I didn't have a mission. I wanted to go… I just didn't know how I would face her. Not after what I did.
I laughed at myself for being such a pathetic coward. Even children scolded me now.
I woke up to people's chattering.
"Ah… she's awake." A familiar voice said.
Chrono? What is he doing here?
"If she didn't Shamal shouldn't be keeping her here." Another familiar voice said.
"What am I doing in Shamal's clinic?" I asked weakly.
"You came down with a really—Wait you still have a fever." Hayate corrected herself.
"No wonder I feel like a block of concrete." I joked.
"I wondered how you were going to manage a 40 degree fever." Shamal butted in.
"Nyahahaha… Sorry for worrying you guys."
"No problem!" Hayate said, winking at me.
I feel like sleeping again…
"Thanks for coming…" My tone was weaker now.
Shamal put her hand on top of my forehead and says, "You can sleep. Don't worry about us."
"This is the first time I've seen Nanoha in this kind of state." Chrono stated.
Hayate nodded. "Yeah… Any word from Fate?"
Chrono shook his head lightly grunted at the question. "The more Fate postpones this… the more the person on this hospital bed is going to suffer."
"Testarossa should stop running." Signum says nonchalantly.
They all continued chatting with each other the entire day until visiting hours ended. All of them left with one question in mind: what is Fate doing?
I really want to visit her. I just didn't know what was stopping me.
"Fate?" Chrono was through the communication screen now.
"What is it onii-chan?"
"What are you going to do about Nanoha? You honestly can't just abandon her like this you know." He went straight to the point.
"… But…" I tried to counter.
"Fate you don't have any missions at the moment because I want you to visit Nanoha." He retorted.
My lies weren't going to work against him.
He sighed. "You know I visited her she was muttering you name whenever she has the energy to talk. Nothing is going to change if you're going to continue moping around like this. "
"… I… don't know how to even look at her anymore onii-chan…" I finally confessed.
"Silly. You're just looking at the scary things you see when you take your eyes off the goal."
He was right. I was being stupidly prideful. I need to be where I belong… that's with Nanoha.
His face turned red, which I giggled at. "D-Don't mention it. Now get going. I'll talk to your captain for you."
I'm coming Nanoha.
"Hayate! I think I found the cause of Nanoha's fever!" Shamal announced with pride.
"Well? Don't keep me waiting!" Hayate said, eager to help cure Nanoha.
"In her last mission she mentioned getting pricked by an injection's needle right? I just found its properties in her blood. It contained a poisonous flower that originally came from your world. It's called a 'Duranta Erecta.' I believe we have the proper medicine for the plant here." The doctor replied cheerfully.
"That's good news! Does that mean we can finally stop worrying?" Hayate asked.
"Yes." Shamal announced proudly.
"Thank goodness…" Hayate sighed out in relief.
The doctor couldn't help but smile and at the same time feel bad for her current patient. After all… she had friends that worried about her and a lover who seems that she cannot make up her mind, a stubborn lover if you will.
This is what the world was like when she left two years ago: cold and painful. I know I can't give up because I know there is one… no two people waiting for me to get better. I can't leave them like this, not when I still need to get her back.
I need to get better soon… the sooner I get better… the sooner I can demand for her to come home.
More than anyone else… I want to see Fate-chan… my Fate-chan. I want to see the eyes that I first fell in love with twelve years ago.
I want to look into them again. I want to look into the eyes that first accepted me as a person. She's waiting for me.
I'm currently aboard Claudia, as per onii-chan's request. Saying that he wanted me to get there as soon as possible.
Find me here
And speak to me
I want to feel you
I need to hear you
You are the light
That's leading me
To the place
Where I find peace
You are the strength
That keeps me walking
You are the hope
That keeps me trusting
You are the light
Into my soul
You are my purpose
And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me, "How could it be any better than this?"
You calm the storms
And you give me breath
You hold me in your hands
You won't let me fall
You still my heart
And you take my breath away
Would you take me in?
Take me deeper now
And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me, "How could it be any better than this?"
Cause you're all I want
You're all I need
-Everything by Lifehouse
The only thing separating me and Nanoha now… was the door. I twisted the doorknob and silently opened the door. I saw Nanoha who was struggling with just breathing. It was painful to see her like this. I held her hand and looked at her.
I walked towards her and sat beside her.
I noticed every single one of her features. I held her hand and I felt every centimetre of her hand, including her warm hand… It stilled me, even when she was unconscious.
She held me tighter, as if recognizing my presence.
I somehow knew that the person holding me was Fate. Call it my gut feeling or whatever but I longed so much for her touch. I wanted to feel her. I wanted to tell her that whatever problems she was going to face I was going to be here for her.
I was going to protect her.
"Hey…" I started out weakly.
She was a bit surprised to hear from me.
"…Hey…" She replied.
I giggled. "Isn't it supposed to be me who is sick here?"
I reached out blindly for her lips to silence whatever excuse or apologies that was going to come out of her mouth. Telling her everything was something that I was going to do.
"You know… I really didn't want you to go back then." I said.
A teardrop followed by more pressure on my hand came after that. I sat up and embraced her.
"You're such an idiot. Facing your problems alone, what am I going to be here for then?" I continued.
She continued crying, hugging me tighter.
This is the person who I confessed to… the person who meant the world to me… and the person who gave me purpose.
I ran my fingers through her hair, hushing her a bit. I slowly raised her head and looked at her intently. How long has it been since I've said those three words? Two years?
It was an eternity before I could say them again.
"I love you."
She continued crying. I didn't have anything to dry her tears with like last time.
"Nanoha, Nanoha, Nanoha, Nanoha…" She said, crying harder with each time she said my name.
It was also the first time in an eternity that I kissed her.
I put my finger on her lip. "Tell me all about it when we get home, ok?"
She nodded lightly and continued hugging me.
Shamal slipped the medicine back in her lab gown's pocket. She decided that she didn't need it anymore after hearing what was going on in the room. She opened her communications link with Hayate.
"Eh? Why are you back so soon?" Hayate asked, dumbfounded with Shamal's early arrival.
A content smile was etched on Shamal's face. "Nanoha received the best treatment compared to what these pills could ever have given her."
Hayate stared at Shamal to see if she was mentally sane. But after the thought clicked into her mind she gave an understanding nod and returned to her work.
Why was it that I always wanted this woman?
I didn't know the exact answer to that question.
But… what I do know with all my heart was that I won't abandon her again.
She was asleep again. It was more than enough for me to witness her features up close again. I'll never let go of this hand again.
Maybe… she was right before… maybe… I should have let her hold my hand because I broke my promise of never letting go.
It was too late for a 'maybe' I needed to be with her now, to support her.
The next day came fast for everyone who was eager to see if Fate really did manage to gather all of her courage to visit Nanoha. One of these people was Signum, although she hardly gave up any emotions.
"Let's surprise them when they get home." Hayate announced while piling up what's remaining of her paperwork.
"See? What'd I tell you? She came just as predicted." Vita said with pride.
I want to be with this person eternally.
She was the one who could make my heart skip a beat.
She makes my breath short.
She held me dear.
I could never repay her for the kindness and understanding she has shown me. And more importantly: I could never repay the love she has given me. I…
I love her.
Shamal came in with a thermometer in hand and a doctor's face.
"Just here to check her temperature since yesterday." Shamal looked at Fate who was shaking in anxiety for the results. "She looks better… it shouldn't be that bad."
Fate looked up as if Shamal answered one of her mental questions.
Shamal aimed the gun-shaped thermometer at Nanoha's forehead and let technology do the rest. A smile etched on her face when she got her results.
"It finally went down. She's healing naturally now." The doctor announced with a sigh of relief.
"Uhmm… what do you mean it 'finally' went down?" Fate asked.
"You see… Nanoha-chan has been keeping a stagnant thirty-nine to forty degrees celsius fever. It was making everyone nervous. This is the first sign of improvement she has since she's been admitted here." Shamal explained.
This calmed Fate's nerves. Knowing that Nanoha would be somehow out of danger was something relieving for her.
"Thirty-eight degrees celsius." Shamal said, again reading Fate's curious expression.
How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Tell me how it could be better than this.
Nanoha has finally awakened from a peaceful sleep. She really did look better from yesterday…
"How are you feeling?" I asked.
"I've been through worse." She replied with a light giggle.
"Mou… that's not an answer you know." I retorted.
"Nyahahaha… well how about… 'I'm fine now that Fate-chan is here'?" She asked.
I could feel blood rise to my cheeks. She always could think of a way to make me embarrassed.
How cute… she still gets embarrassed over the tiniest things.
She was always someone who made me feel whole.
"Fate-chan… come closer." I requested.
"Eh…? Did you want something?"
She leaned closer.
She leaned in until her ear was near my mouth.
"I love you."
Her face turned beet red at my declaration. It had been too long since we could smile like this. How exactly could I be with this person and not be moved by what she does?
I wanted to know how exactly it could be better than this.
Love restores. We have heard of many tales of love's power to heal, and we are skeptical of them, for we are human and therefore prone to deny the existence of things we do not understand and cannot explain.
- Love-in other words, Harper Lee
Nanoha was finally discharged from the hospital the day after I arrived. To tell the truth, I was a bit relieved. I'm walking side-by-side with this person who my whole life seemed to revolve in. Vivio is here too, clinging tightly to Nanoha.
Time flew by as we idly chatted, catching up on what I missed the past two years. I reprimanded Nanoha for drowning herself in work.
"No wonder your fever was that high!" I scolded.
She makes an innocent expression and says, "Mou… but Fate-chan I was so bored…"
I poked her forehead lightly. "No excuses."
She puffed out her cheeks and said, "Mou… Fate-chan is so unfair…"
"You can't just go and overtax yourself like this you know." I explained.
She looks at me and smiles. "I understand, mother."
Mother… My face flushed.
"Nyahahaha… that's what Fate-chan get's for being a bossy mother."
And just like that… we somehow arrived at the familiar front gate of our house. It was rather nostalgic after being away for quite a while, but I noticed that our lights were on. Nanoha and I glanced at each other and I carried Vivio who was already complaining about the distance we've travelled. With one last look, we smiled at each other and went in.
"Tadaima." We both announced.
"Okaerinasai, you two." A familiar, motherly voice said.
"Mom?" I respond out of intuition.
She smiles impishly and says, "Correct."
I looked around to see that there were more people in the living room. Everyone was here and not only that they seemed to have already prepared dinner too before we arrived here. And Nanoha joined them, like she new this was coming.
I couldn't help but ask, "What's the occasion?"
"You're welcome back party, of course." Hayate said, tugging me to the side.
At first I didn't know how to react to that, but after a while I just warmly received and carved this moment into my memory. I put Vivio to bed after realizing that she's asleep.
There is only one kind of love—love. But the different manifestations of love are uncountable…
-Love-in other words, Harper Lee
She was relaxed tonight. I noticed that she more at ease now that she's home. She changed into her familiar black and purple lingerie and lay down beside me.
"How long has it been since we've have a relaxing day like today?" I asked her, slowly hugging her in the process.
"It's been a long time, too long." She said, holding my hands as a response to my actions.
"Let's just lie down like this a bit longer…" I said, nearly dozing off.
"Yes. Let's." She replied in a low but joyful voice.
It's been said that true love is one that learns to wait… and I suppose these two have waited forever to be in this joyful state. Truly there is no other thing stronger in this world than the red strings of Fate and the might of the White Devil.
A/N: OH YEAH IT DIDN'T HAVE TO END IN A FRIGGIN LEMON 8DDD HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR. OH YEAH IT'S FINALLY DONE *_* AFTER THE LONG WAIT. I'm so sorry this was a big ginormous writer's block for me . Till we meet again. Yeah.. I should get to finishing the others too ;_; Blame the god of plain old laziness XD *sigh* This really took its time ;_; I hope it goes and fulfills a good fic. - is what I should be saying to NanoFate*dot*us people
But to people: I hope you enjoy this ^^ Criticism is welcome just so long as they aren't flames for flames will be used for making mah steak!