Disclaimer: This is a fanfiction in all purposes, and I do not own anything of the original/canon anime series.
Author's Notes: This is a story after Force, a prequel I've written since four months ago after an unexpected encounter and remembrance of an old anime, Nanoha.
Originally meant as a one shot, it has grew to such lengths that I have no choice but to separate them.
It is still unfinished (Final Chapter), but will be so in roughly two weeks time. Every day I will be posting a chapter right until the end of story, and perhaps with good luck and hard work, a special date.
And so we begin... the story of Hayate Yagami.
The Two Goddesses
There was peace, and then there was war. Then… nothing.
Darkness reigned. Silence was the dominant element within a forgotten life pod lost somewhere among the blowing sands of time. Within layers upon layers of metallic casing lies a little world excluded from its larger counterpart, complete with its own unique air of solitude and carelessness to life. Inside that tiny world slept a book and a boy wrapped by life liquid, blissfully unaware of the many harsh storms pummeling against durable metal. It was as if time never existed, but then time arrived. Light repelled the eternal darkness as magical runes encircled the sleeping book, prompting for its inanimate consideration to awake. It looked ancient and browned; its cover a faded black that was almost white. Then, as if being read, the book opened as pages began to flip.
[... System boot up complete. System scan, no errors. Begin verification of current situation.]
The light flickered and faded, and for a brief second the silent paradise was saved, only to be disturbed once more as the book reactivates.
[Verification impossible. Current time unknown, current coordinates unknown, one human life form detected in TX-03 Super Life Savior.]
[All signals transmission return failure. Last Resort distress signal activated, return failure. Last known time year 0082 month 12 day 24 1913, last known coordinates identify Mid-Childan St. Hilde Academy of Magic.]
A pause. It was as if the book was reluctant to perform the next step. A response that was too human.
[Accessing temporary memory bank. Begin data validation, selected time year 0082 month 1 day 1 0000. Begin playback.]
The magical runes vanished as light reassembled themselves before the open pages to produce a hologram. Then, the still images began running.
It was a dark, lightless room lit only by the bright screens behind her table. Standing before her was a stubborn, beautiful woman who had just proposed the most ridiculous thing she heard since birth. She immediately thought of it as a joke, although years of experience told her that secret visits at midnight were never laughable. But tonight's visit was… She would have cut off her ear drums to check whether she was hearing right.
"What did you just say, Nanoha? I must be getting old; my ears aren't as sharp as they were before." Her tone was joking and light, but both their eyes were so deadly serious not a laugh could be heard from that chilling space of silence. Computers droned on monotonously as if to appease something unspeakably dreadful.
"… I wish to clone myself."
Silence. Utter silence. Not a pin to be heard. She gritted her teeth so hard that she wished it would break; at least the pain would blind her a few seconds from reality. She took a deep breath once, then twice, then settled on the coldest face she could muster and answered, "Captain Nanoha Takamichi, I did not hear what you just said, and do not wish to hear a single word from you any longer. Leave, now."
Nanoha moved not an inch. She stood firm and faced her friend with a terrible determination that could not be ignored. There was the shadow of a haunted look that lurked briefly for the merest of second, but Nanoha took a step forward and bowed ninety degrees. With a solemn tone she spoke once more, "I need your permission on this… Hayate. Please."
"And I'm the second last person in the world to ever permit you such foolishness. Leave." No one bothered mentioning who was the last.
"I need to do this. It can't be helped."
"There's no other way. If it ever happens again, I want to be there to stop it. I'm the only one who can do it, you know that."
"Oh!" Hayate Yagami laughed sarcastically, "How cocky. Playing the master of destiny now, aren't you? Didn't you always say that you believe in your friends and families? That you believe in me? Since when has that changed?"
"Hayate… Fate, she…"
A million emotions ran through Nanoha's face, but sadness seemed to be the greatest of them all. Suffering came a pretty close second, and pain a quick third. Hayate has never seen Nanoha looked so terrible, had not expected to see such an expression on her face, had not even thought it possible to exist in her friend, but she was wrong. She should've known. Her friend was strong in body and heart and soul, but even Nanoha is just…
Ever since that incident, everyone had seemed a little less cheerful. Less energetic. The belief that was once strong was rocked at its foundation, and bonds began to drift apart. Subaru quitted her position and went off to travel with Touma, to everyone's complete surprise. Vita left Mid-Childa to protect the world Earth, in accordance to Fate's wishes as well as her duties. The others resumed their daily lives, but just for a little bit… everyone lost a bit of their feelings. Only Nanoha managed to hold everyone together, bringing her smile and happiness across worlds even though she was everyone's biggest concern, even though she was the one who should cry her loudest.
Hayate cursed herself for the millionth time to miss the very obvious: despite of all her smiles, her warmth, her strength, or her beliefs, Nanoha has never recovered her heart, not since Fate lost her right arm to that incident. That, and something else too.
The brunette touched briefly Raising Heart that on her neck and straightened up with a force that alarmed Hayate as she leaped backwards from her seat. Under usual circumstances she would never have believed it possible for Nanoha to assault her, but tonight was a far cry from ordinary. For a few tense seconds Hayate glared at Nanoha, ready to enter Unison Mode should the brunette tries to do anything –
And then she cried. The Ace of Aces sank to her knees and wailed and wailed unlike anything Hayate has ever heard until she closed her ears with both hands to shut the horrible noise out of her head, and yet it just wouldn't stop. Dumbfounded, Hayate simply stared at Nanoha as she cried, her body moving forward with arms extended to wrap around the shaking woman, her own eyes began to water a pain that she swore to forget…
The sobbing stopped. Hayate let out a sigh and she chided gently at Nanoha, arms still wrapped around the trembling woman, "I could never refuse someone from my hometown, can I? Full of favoritism and all."
Nanoha said nothing but to tighten her grip around the Commander and hid her face deeper. It has been long since she has shown her moments to weakness to anyone.
"I… cannot promise anything, but I will try. That is… all." It was a decision she prayed as hard as possible not to be wrong. The jerking shudder came to a sudden stop, and then came the most chilling words Hayate ever heard from her friend,
"It was only your consent that I wanted... needed. The rest… I will handle them myself. I don't have much to lose anymore, no longer. If this is what I need to do to make things right, then I…" Her hug tightened, and for a moment Hayate had the delusion that her life was being choked out of her lungs. Is this it? The very reason Nanoha came to her was because…
Nanoha smiled hollowly at the shocked Commander and turned, her back heels already facing a still kneeling Hayate and quickly retreating, but even then there were traces of the Nanoha everyone loved lingering just around the corner of her lips.
I'm sorry… and thank you.
Those were the final soundless whispers of today, even as the shocked Hayate knuckled her fists in attempt to clear her mind, under the wrappings of cold air and chilly atmosphere, of glaring bright screens and a silenced Rein,
There were the traces of her friend, Nanoha. Just traces, Nanoha.
[Playback complete. Saving record to permanent memory, event designated codename 'The Beginning'. Next selected time year 0082 month 1 day 21 1733. Begin playback.]