Standard issue disclaimer: Masaki Tsuzuki created, and Seven Arcs owns, Nanoha. I am not any of them. This is a parody, protected speech.
This story is dedicated to Manabe Jouji, author of Working Official Disqualification, to which this is a spiritual sequel. But I'm not him either.
Chapter 1 - Lindy
"Senior Admiral," Lindy Harlaown said, drawing out the word in the way used by a villain in a fantasy movie she'd watched with her children once. "Senior, yet." She slumped on the couch, staring gloomily at the table covered in bottles. They'd racked up quite a tab for this karaoke booth, and not even used it for its primary purpose yet.
"We're not all bad, you know," Leti Lowran reminded her with just a touch of asperity.
"I didn't say that. Fate-chan, you were listening, right?" the mildly inebriated officer asked her adopted daughter, who was seated a bit further down the couch from the two superior officers with her mother's feet up in her lap. The tall blonde was gently massaging one of them. "Did I even once say that all Senior Admirals are tin-plated dictators with petty delusions of godhood?"
"No, ma'am, you never said that," Fate confirmed obediently. "At least, not until just now." Obedient, but truthful.
"Tha' was just an example of the sorts of things that someone said I said," Lindy observed with grave deportment.
"I never said that you said that," Leti objected. "What I said was ... oh, never mind." She brushed her purple hair out of her eyes and chuckled faintly.
"Now she's laughing at me. You can't laugh at Senior Admirals, y'know. They take horrible vengeance," Lindy confided.
"I've never noticed any of the Senior Admirals you've laughed at taking any sort of vengeance," Leti replied dubiously. "Unless of course you consider gradually arranging matters so that you end up as one yourself to be a form of vengeance."
"Bloody well do." Lindy snorted. "Me. A Senior Admiral. Actually that's kinda funny, but not in a ha-ha way. I can't believe they're gonna make me drive a desk. A desk, Leti. How'm I supposed to protect the peace of the worlds from a desk?"
"Some people manage," Leti pointed out, then gently intercepted the drink that Lindy was raising to her lips. "You've had enough for a while. Oh, come on, Lindy," she said as her old friend began to pout. "You can't do the sort of work you do, get the sort of results you have, and not end up being kicked upstairs. You've made yourself too valuable to be out in the field taking those sorts of risks. It's a compliment!"
"Don't need this kind of compliment," Lindy said, still pouting. Then, with the mercurial change of moods that was quite common in certain lushes, she was beaming. "Much rather be told that I'm sexy. You think I'm sexy, right, Leti-Leti?"
"Oookay, if we've reached that stage of the evening, I think it's time for me to make my discrete exit," Leti said, getting up before Lindy could get grabby. "Make sure Admiral Latent Bisexuality here gets home safely, all right, Fate?"
"Of course," Fate nodded, resisting the impulse to call her Admiral Mostly Lesbian.
With a last wave, Leti went out the booth door.
"Leti's gone," Lindy announced gloomily a moment later.
"Yes, I know," Fate confirmed as she switched to massaging the other foot.
"Never used to run out on me like that. Atchally, the two of us were just like you and Nanoha-chan when we met, and Clyde kept getting in the middle of us like Chrono got in the middle of you two," she mused. "But we had the worst fights over him, which is different from you, I guess. The make-up sex was great, though ... ah man, that was more'n twenty-five years ago. Where the hell does time go? I'm in the frigging Time-Space Administration Bureau and I don't know this?"
She sighed and leaned further back on the couch. "You are very good at this," she complimented her masseuse. "Lots of practice on Nanoha-chan, right?"
"Actually, she taught me," Fate replied.
"Yeah, that figures. Damn ninjas."
"I need to talk to you seriously," Fate said suddenly.
Lindy grimaced. "Crap. Really? It can't wait?"
Fate shook her head.
"All right, where's the bloody sober-up pills?"
"In my coat pocket. I'll get them." Fate lifted Lindy's feet out of her lap and set them down on the couch before getting up to walk over to the coat rack beside the door. She took the bottle of pills out of the pocket before clicking the lock mechanism on the door and putting up its 'Do Not Disturb' sign. She then returned to the couch and handed Lindy the bottle.
Lindy opened the bottle top easily, shook two pills out, and slapped them to her mouth so as to avoid giving herself time to hesitate. Two minutes later, she let out a hiss of intense pain. "Sankt Kaiser!" she expostulated as her hangover hit her at once. The worst part had to be that she couldn't even take a hair of the dog, since she'd end up vomiting any additional alcohol introduced into her system.
"Are you okay?" Fate asked nervously.
"Yeah, yeah," Lindy said wearily. "The day they learn how to package this med with an instant hang-over relief is going to be a great one, though." She gagged a bit. "Not to mention doing something about the aftertaste ... all right. Magical Girl Serious Lindy is here. What's the matter?"
"Nothing's the matter," Fate said, sitting down next to her. "I just needed to talk to you, and this was the best opportunity."
"Needed to talk about what? Oh, no, don't tell me - you've found a third kid you want me to adopt for you? Fate, you're starting to go a little over-"
"No, it's not that." Fate drew in a deep breath. "Do you remember what happened after you offered to adopt me? Maybe a week or so later?"
"Yes, I remember. I'm not likely to forget." She reflected ...
It has been a long day for the master and commander of the Arthra; not a day composed of moments of utter terror as have been distressingly common recently, but one of the unending tedium that is its supposedly preferable alternative. Despite everything, she is glad that nothing is happening, for unlike some of her colleagues, she sincerely believes in her Bureau's mission of making the worlds safe, rather than viewing that mission as an excuse to fight (or perhaps befriend) strong adversaries, or as a path to power.
And so, in the privacy of her suite, as she strips off her uniform, neatly folding it and hanging it in the closet, she utters a brief prayer to the Saint King that this period of boring tranquility will continue, and not just because she genuinely requires these six hours of rest and recuperation. Naked, Lindy slips beneath the covers of her bunk, rolls onto her side, and closes her eyes.
They open again a moment later when she realizes that there is another warm body in her bunk with her.
Her eyes by now have adjusted to the darkness, and she can see the shock of yellow-colored hair peeking out above the covers, squashed up against the corner of the room into which the bunk is fitted. It's unmistakable. No one else on board her ship has hair like that.
"Fate?" she asks quietly. "How did you get in here?"
"... you don't change the access code frequently enough," comes the equally softly-voiced answer, though the girl's eyes, facing away from her, have not turned towards her. They may in fact still be closed. It's hard to tell.
"I see. I'll have to do better. Fate, why did you come in here?"
"In case you wanted me here."
A dreadful suspicion fills her soul, but she refuses, absolutely refuses, to allow it any purchase in her voice. "And why would I want you here?" she asks.
"Just ... in case."
"Would it be because I've told you that I want to become your mother? And this is the sort of thing you did for -" That woman, she almost says, but stops herself in time, because Fate does not need more wounds, and if she says it the way that she very much wants to say it, she will deal them. So insead, she continues, every bit as gently. "- your first mother?"
Silence, and a faint, possibly imagined tilt of Fate's head, are the only answers she receives.
She had her suspicions. When Fate collapsed on the Arthra's bridge, months ago, a full medical examination was performed, and certain disturbing facts about her were noted. But there were probably many ways that a girl, physically ten years old, might have a broken hymen. Indeed, considering her origins, it was even likely that growing an intact hymen might not have been part of the cloning process.
But now those suspicions are confirmed. And it is a good thing, she muses, a very good thing, that Precia Testarossa is either dead in a horrible manner or lost beyond all hope of recall, rather than captured and imprisoned. Because if she had access to her, there is no doubt in her mind what Lindy would do to her. It is a very good thing she cannot ... because the tenets of Lindy's faith teach that when one must kill, one must do so without passion of any sort, especially hatred. And she would not be able to do so.
She does not think of herself as a good mother. A good mother would not stand idly by while her child follows her into the career that killed his father and will likely kill his mother as well. A good mother would not do many things that she has done, in fact. But she is determined that for this child, she will be a better mother than she has been.
"I see," Lindy says, when she has mastered her passions for the moment. Then, "Fate, I would really appreciate it if you would look at me when I'm talking with you. It makes me a little uncomfortable when you don't."
Predictably, the implied guilt immediately prompts Fate to roll over so that she's looking at Lindy, and, on seeing that the older woman is seated in an upright position, she likewise rises to sit in the position dubbed seiza. It is a position of submission, Lindy knows, one that allows the head to drop quickly, as though awaiting a strike.
There will be no strike. She takes a deep breath, and rests a hand on her breasts. "This, all of it, is mine. I share it with whom I choose to share it. No one, with whom I do not choose to share it, has any right at all to even touch it. Any one who does so has committed a violation of my person, and should expect to receive a violation of their own."
Before Fate can respond to that, Lindy takes the hand on her own breasts, and holds it just over Fate's much smaller ones - carefully not touching them. "This, all of it, is yours. You share it with whom you choose to share it. No one, with whom you do not choose to share it, has any right at all to even touch it. Any one who does so has committeda violation of your person, and should expect to receieve a violation of their own."
After a moment to let the message sink in, she draws the hand back and rests it with the other on her lap. "I will not share any part of my person with you unless you choose to share yours with me. Do you want this? And before you answer, forget any arguments you might have about duty, about obligation, or even about wanting to make me feel good. Forget all that. All that matters is what you choose. Well? What do you choose?"
Fate stared at her for several minutes, before she was finally able to stammer out, "I, I don't, I d-don't, I don't know ..."
Lindy nodded. As she'd hoped. "Okay. Then that means that for right now, the answer is no. And that's all right. Now. You can stay here, in my bed, but there's no touching of anything below the waistline or above the knee. And I suspect that Arf is probably a bit frightened without you."
Without saying a word, Fate pointed downwards.
The gesture confused Lindy. Again, she developed a sudden suspicion. She coughed, said, "Please excuse me for one moment," and bent over to look beneath the bunk.
Arf was down there, teeth very much in evidence, meeting her gaze levelly and without a word spoken. The message was clear without them.
Lindy nodded, and unbended to sit on the bed again. "Let me revise my earlier statement. No touching of anything below the neck or above the knee ... at least on my part. Are these acceptable terms?"
Fate nodded quickly.
"All right. Good night then."
And so they slept. Eventually. And Lindy felt good about what she'd done. Perhaps this gesture of principle would serve as a mild expiation for what she'd done with ... all right, to Chrono when he'd finally earned his rank as Enforcer.
"I know about Chrono," Fate said quietly, drawing Lindy out of her revery.
"It's good to know that you've become close enough with your brother that he'll share things like that with you," Lindy said, just a bit mechanically, closing her eyes as she did so. "Are you going to call me on my hypocrisy, then?"
"What? No. I don't think you were a hypocrite," Fate replied, a bit thrown off.
"Fate, I had sex with my son. There's no getting around that. I violated the principles I described to you, I had violated them even before -"
"No," Fate said simply.
"How can you say that?" Lindy demanded.
"It's very easy. Only three syllables. Lindy. Mother. Chrono is a trained combat mage. If he really didn't want you to do things to his person, he had options. Unwanted touching will be answered with violence to the person who is touching, remember?"
"But I'm his mother," Lindy objected.
"So? Mother, there have been several times in my life when I've been angry enough with you to hurt you if you tried to touch me. The whole point of using magic, instead of mass-based weaponry, is that it's a lot harder to kill each other that way. Chrono understands this perfectly well, whatever he might say when he's crying."
"He was crying? Why was he ... Oh. He was crying a little afterwards," Lindy said softly, with realization. "Fate, did you -?"
Fate nodded. "It was five years ago. I was ... I was still coming to terms with who I was, sexually."
Lindy knew about that period, having once walked in on her daughter in flagrante delecto with Arf around that time.
"And he was having second thoughts about his engagement with Amy, and ... well, things happened. And he cried afterwards, and told me about it, and ... well, I set him straight, like I'm trying to do for you."
"What do you mean?"
"I've finally decided how I want to answer that question you asked me, that night. And the answer is yes." Fate reached out a hand and rested it on Lindy's knee. "I do choose to share my person with you, if you will share yours with me. Will you, Lindy?"
For a moment, all Lindy could do was stare. When speech returned, she said, "But I'm your mother."
Fate raised an eyebrow.
"Yes, that was a really weak argument under the circumstances, wasn't it?" Lindy said, rubbing her forehead. "Fate, what about Nano-"
"Nanoha does not own me. I do," Fate interrupted. "For the record, she knows what I am doing, and approves. That's the sort of relationship we have. That's the sort of relationship that you helped us to have."
She hadn't thought it was possible for her to be more uncomfortable, but here she was all the same. "You did it with your own hands, I didn't -"
"None of that matters. Forget all the arguments about why you shouldn't do it, Lindy. The only thing that matters is what you choose to do. Well? What do you choose?"
"Is Arf under the couch?" Lindy asked hoarsely.
"No, she's watching Caro," Fate answered.
Lindy drew in a deep breath. She suspected that she was making a horrible mistake. But if it came down to a choice ...
"Yes," she said.
And with a joyful sigh, Fate leaned forward and rested her lips on Lindy's own, at first gently and then with increasing urgency. Lindy's uniform jacket had already been opened, exposing her tank top undershirt. Fate gently tugged its hem out of Lindy's skirt and slid her hand up under it to caress her mother's breasts through the wiring of her bra. Another hand slid around Lindy's back as Lindy's own arms wrapped around Fate's shoulders, pulling them ever closer together.
The hand spent a moment pulling the undershirt out, less gently than before, before moving up to just below her prominent shoulder blades (as expected of a woman who emitted wings from time to time) in order to find and open the hook of that bra. Unfortunately, this taxed Fate's abilities, and Lindy pulled back from the kiss to murmur, "It unhooks in the front, actually."
"Ah," said Fate, blushing faintly.
"I just got tired of reaching back there -"
"I understand." In an eyeblink, the fingers of her left hand were unhooking the clasp on Lindy's bra, as her other hand came back around to push the hemline of the shirt up and expose the breasts, and the well-chewed nipples they bore, to Fate's eyes. She stared at them for a moment, almost worshipful in her demeanor.
"Fate?" asked Lindy quietly.
"She never let me do this," Fate said, her eyes now far away. "She made me do ... all sorts of things to her, down there, and did things to me, but she wouldn't let me near her breasts. I think if she had, then she would have had to ... but that's not important, now. I love you so much, Mother." And with that confession, she bent down to begin suckling at Lindy's teats.
Lindy fell back, eyes closed and jaw open at the pleasurable sensations that seemed to run directly from her breasts to her brain. There hadn't been any of this with any of her recent lovers. She was torn between wanting to warn Fate that she should probably minimize this, if this tryst was meant solely for pleasure, and the yearning to experience more of it, even though she knew that if she experienced to much more of this, she would surely fall helplessly in love with her daughter.
Fate didn't stop, moving between the nipples and delivering butterfly kisses to the slopes of Lindy's breasts as well, not to mention the sensitive flesh of the valley between. At the same time, her hands were slowly lifting up Lindy's skirt, past her knees, past the tops of her thigh-hugging stockings, until the panties were clearly visible. She blindly reached out to touch the fabric, brushing it to caress what lay beneath it.
Lindy went rigid, let out a hollow gasp, then collapsed against the arm of the couch.
Fate lifted her head from the breasts to stare at her in amazement. "Did you just -"
"Yes," Lindy sighed.
"How long has it been since you last -"
"Months," she sighed again.
Fate stared at her, mouthed the word ... and reached out with both hands to rend the panties so that their fabric fell from Lindy's hips, then dove down between her legs to begin licking quickly yet forcefully.
Months? Who could go without for months? It was hard for her to go without for a week!
Several orgasms later, she looked up to see tears flowing freely from Lindy's eyes. She was almost tempted to point out that clearly Chrono wasn't the only one who wept after good sex, but instead just pushed herself up to kiss her mother on the mouth once more, before raining down kisses on her tears. "You're wonderful," she said.
"So are you," Lindy said weakly, tilting her head to turn one of those tear kisses into yet another kiss on the mouth. "My turn now?"
"There's no rush, we have this booth until midnight," Fate reminded her gently. "If you want to rest and -"
Lindy gently swatted Fate on the cheek. "I'm in the prime of life, you rotten kid," she said, strength coming back into her voice. She pushed herself up by her elbows, rolling up and onto Fate as she did. "Let me show you how we used to do things back in the day ..."
She did that, and Fate was more than happy to be shown.
Much later, they strolled out of the karaoke club, leaving the owner to wail at the sight of what he was going to have to clean up before it was ready for use, and into the cold night air. Of course, they walked arm in arm, like young lovers. Or not so young.
"So, I feel awful asking this. In any family but ours, the question would be moot, but ... about Erio and Caro ..." Lindy asked, trailing off.
"No, I'm not planning to seduce them. Not until they're at least fourteen, and can make up their own minds." That was the legal age of consent on Mid-Childa, a legacy of the years right after the Unification War. "Honestly, at the moment, I'm more concerned with talking Erio out of this idea he has of entering the Bureau as a cadet, and ... what's so funny?
"When you get to be my age, you'll understand. No regrets?"
"Plenty," Fate answered honestly. "About what we've done? Not a one. I love you and I always will."
Lindy leaned close and reached up to caress her adopted daughter's cheek. "Anyone else who said something like that, I'd think they were being ridiculously optimistic. You? You're just stating the facts, aren't you? I love you, too," she added before Fate could reply. "And here we are at my digs for the evening. Good night, my darling. Try and get your six, you don't want to start coming into work late at your age. Or you'll never get to be a Senior Admiral."
"Yes, mother," Fate said, in a sickeningly sweet voice.