A/N: Oh my... I'm sorry for this terrible delay, when my holidays started I took too many projects in the same time and ended up loosing interest in some of them. But now I'm back and I'm determined to finish what I started. I hope that this almost 6k words long chapter will repay you for the time you had to wait.

eries326: I'm glad that you gave it a chance but still I need to say it. They are biological sisters. It's a major part of a plot and I don't want something that important to be unclear. It's okay to ask about things like that though, it's a sign for me that I probably overlooked the matter and didn't make it clear enough. I'll pay more attention to it in the future.

Thank you for your comments and have a nice read.

The Meaning of Us

Chapter 2

By: Caelion

Einstein's theory says that, for given object, time passes by the fastest, when the speed of this object equals zero. But even knowing this, Nanoha still looked at her wrist watch as she was sitting on bench in front of Fate's faculty. And time had never passed by for her as slowly as in that moment.

This day the two had their last exams. Nanoha has already finished hers and she was waiting for her sister. Finally, they were able to spend whole days with each other. It was their small tradition since elementary school. When Fate finally came out of the building, the brunette couldn't help but run to her, showering her with questions.

"So, how was it? Easy? Difficult? Did you do well?" Nanoha's eyes were literally sparkling.

"It was pretty easy, the questions were long however, that's why it took me some time to answer them." Fate smiled at the brunette, took her hand and both of them started walking side by side. "So now, when we have some time for ourselves, how about going for a walk instead of heading home?"

"Sure, we have almost two hours until dinner." Nanoha said, her voice more cheerful than usual.

"You look really happy, has something good happened to you today?" The blonde asked mildly.

"Hm, not really, I guess I'm just in a good mood." Nanoha stopped for a while, lost in thoughts. "I think it's because our holidays just started." She added happily and offered her sister a big, honest smile.

"Um, you're right. From now on, we can spend a lot of time together." They were walking slowly with their hands clasped together, ignoring strange looks that other people were giving them. Nanoha was humming lightly while Fate was listening to her joyful melody. Finally, they entered the city park. They turned into an empty alley and sat on the bench in the shade of a large tree behind them.

"So, Fate-chan, how do you want to spend the holidays?" The brunette asked and rested her head on Fate's arm.

"I wonder..." The blonde looked at the blue sky above them and spoke again. "Our mothers haven't made any plans for this year yet. Maybe they want us to organise something on our own?"

"Do you think so?" Nanoha pondered on the question. "Then I want to go somewhere just with you." She said and realised how possessively it sounded. "If you'd like to, of course." She added quickly.

"I would." Fate responded without hesitation. "I have always wanted to see Kyoto with you."

"It's a good idea, we could visit all those big shrines." She said and opened her mouth to add something else when her phone rang. "Oh, wait a second Fate-chan, I've got a message." She picked up the device from her purse and started reading. "It's from Hayate-chan, she invites us for a dinner tonight. Do you want to go? We haven't seen her family for a while."

"Fine with me," Fate answered. "I'll finally get to talk with Signum-san, she spends more and more time in her dojo lately. We just have to tell mothers that we won't eat at home today."

"So how about going back now?" Nanoha asked and got up. "We need to change our clothes anyway."

"Ah, good evening, Nanoha-chan, Fate-chan." Hayate greeted them as she moved to the side, letting them in. Then she quickly excused herself and went to the kitchen, called by Shamal's voice.

"Pardon the intrusion." Both sisters said in unison as they entered Hayate's house. "Good evening, everyone."

"Ah, Testarossa." Signum suddenly appeared before them. "It's been a long time." She said in her usual, serious tone but still offered her a small smile.

"You still call me that." Fate reciprocated the gesture.

"Of course I do. This story is too funny to forget it. Besides, Nanoha-san said that she still has those pictures."

"Nanoha! You were supposed to keep it a secret!" The blonde's face became red as she turned to her sister.

"I'm sorry Fate-chan, I couldn't stop myself from telling her." Nanoha tried to explain herself with the best innocent smile she could put on her face.

"Nevertheless," Signum faced the brunette this time. "I'd like to borrow your sister for a while."

"Go ahead, I'll go and help Hayate-chan in the kitchen." She started walking but suddenly froze, stopped by an angry voice.

"Hey, guests should stay away from work." A small, red-haired girl entered the hall, as the two women left. "Hayate wanted me to keep an eye on you, so you won't do anything unnecessary."

"Um, did she?" Nanoha laughed nervously. 'Crap, she saw through me.' "How are you doing Vita-chan?" She changed the topic, ruffling the little girl's hair. "You grew taller again."

"Oy, stop it!" She tried to escape but the brunette was faster.

"You're not running away this time." Nanoha sang, hugging the girl. "Fate-chan went to talk with Signum-san so you have to accompany me." She said and stood up, holding Vita's hand. "How cute!" She added when the child pouted. They both went to a large guest-room and sat on a huge, black sofa. In fact, only Nanoha was sitting on the sofa while Vita was on her lap. "Hahaha, I have always wanted to have a little sister!" She laughed, still hugging the other.

"Hey! I told you to stop it! Don't you have Fate to hug?" The red-haired one was really annoyed.

"I do, but with Fate-chan it's different..." Nanoha stopped and got lost in thoughts for a while. "I mean, she is an adult now but as a child she was also very cute." She said with a mild voice. "Just like you!" She added and hugged Vita once more.

"Dinner is ready!" Hayate's voice suddenly rang out in the house. The little girl sighed in relief as Nanoha got up and went to the kitchen along with her, soon joined by Fate and Signum. The amount of food prepared were incredible, then again, there were six people eating and one dog. Zafira was already enjoying his portion, meanwhile Hayate and Shamal were waiting for the rest.

"Nanoha-chan, Fate-chan, do you want a helping? You've both ate quite fast." Shamal asked after some time when both sisters thanked for the meal.

"Ah, thank you very much, Shamal-san, but we're already full." Nanoha answered and Fate nodded her head in agreement.

"Go ahead if you change your mind, I'm afraid we've made too much again."

"So, how about a dessert?" The smaller brunette asked when everyone finished their meals. She got up and went to a fridge while Shamal and Signum started cleaning the table. She came back after a while with a big, chocolate cake, decorated with cherries.

"Let me help." Asked Nanoha when Hayate took a knife and started slicing the cake. Soon, everyone had their piece.

"Here, open your mouth." Fate tried to feed her sister with a cake.

"Fate-chan, it's embarrassing." The brunette complained, as others tried to hide their laugh, but still did as she was told. "Mou, be careful at least." She groaned when some chocolate was smeared on her cheek. "You did it on purpose."

"Of course I did." She glanced at the rest and, when she was sure that no one was looking, she quickly licked the chocolate from Nanoha's cheek.

"Ha! I saw you!" Hayate's voice made the two literally jump in their sits. "What's with this being all lovey-dovey behind my back?"

"Eeh? Hayate-chan, but we-" Nanoha tried to inefficiently explain their actions. In result, both she and Fate ended up red as tomatoes, left at Hayate's teasing mercy. And Hayate had no mercy at all.

"Mou, Hayate-chan can be really cruel sometimes..." Nanoha groaned while walking back home along with, still red, Fate.

"I'm sorry Nanoha, it was probably me who went too far this time." The blonde apologized.

"Ah, don't worry, it's not the first time she teased us about it. I guess we're just a little... closer than most of sisters."

"Do you feel uncomfortable with it?" Fate asked with a little fear apparent in her voice.

"I told you, Fate-chan, I would never feel uncomfortable with you." As if to prove her words, she gripped Fate's hand harder and moved closer to her.

"I'm glad." The blonde looked at her sister in a caring manner. But still she couldn't help but feel that something was off. Nanoha was acting strange lately. She was often lost in thoughts, apologizing for things she shouldn't apologize for, somehow she seemed more distant than before. To sum things up, Fate was just plainly worried.

They were walking in silence, side by side, holding hands. By the time they left Hayate's house it had gotten dark. The only source of light were street lamps, illuminating everything with yellowish tones. The area they lived in was far from the city centre. The street they were walking through was empty at this hour, only with some cars passing them by from time to time. Suddenly, Fate let go of Nanoha's hand and pulled her closer to herself instead, putting an arm around her.

"F-Fate-chan?" The brunette were surprised by the action.

"It's getting a little cold. You've left your coat at home again." The blonde's voice was full of concern.

"Ah, I'm sorry." Nanoha relaxed a little and laid her head on Fate's arm. Her sister was always so caring. The brunette closed her eyes for a longer while, enjoying the other girl's warmth. Her heart started to beat faster and her mind again immersed in hope that they could stay like this , as if she could hear Nanoha's thoughts, tightened the hold around her. And yet another feeling appeared in the brunette's heart. Fear. She feared herself, her own, growing feelings towards the blonde. She felt tears coming to her eyes but the grip around her tightened even more. Nanoha opened her eyes and looked around. They were almost home. She gathered all her strength and tried not to cry. It would only worry her sister more and the brunette wanted to avoid it. She took a few deeper breaths and thought about their evening with Hayate and her family. The happy memories instantly cheered her up a little, she was back to her normal self by the time they reached their front door.

Their mothers were already asleep in their bedroom. Not wanting to wake them up, the two quickly washed themselves and went to Nanoha's room, ready to sleep. The room was slightly different from Fate's. Walls' colour was a mixture between light red and orange with creamy celling. There were many photos of both sisters and their family, along with their friends.

The two laid down on a bed which was placed on the same side as window, looking onto the east, opposite the door. They were finally getting comfortable when Nanoha shifted herself. As Fate's head was now on a level of her breasts, she hugged the blonde once again, pressing her tightly to her heart.

"Nanoha?" Fate's muffled and surprised voice, caused by the sudden contact with her sister's bosom, reached the brunette's ears.

"I'm sorry, I just wanted to hold you like this." She answered silently. "But if you don't like it then I'll-"

"No, it's not that. I actually... kind of... like it." The blonde tried to hide her embarrassment. "It's just that... I can't breathe."

"Ah! I'm sorry!" Nanoha loosened her grip and lowered her head a little. She almost let out a small sigh when Fate nuzzled her chest while getting comfortable again. "Fate-chan, it tickles!" She whispered and giggled as she felt her sister's hot breath on her bare skin. Although the window was open, the air inside the room was quite warm. Nanoha was in her favourite pink pyjamas she got from Fate, with a few top buttons undone, while the blonde was in an elegant, black night gown which was also a gift from her sister.

Silence filled the room when the two finally settled and were lying, holding each other tightly. Nanoha was gently stroking Fate's head and the other was just lying still, eyes closed. "Fate-chan," Nanoha suddenly started conversation.

"Hmm?" Fate responsed, her voice already a little sleepy.

"Your hair smell nice." The brunette whispered, taking a deep, long breath, inhaling the scent to prove her point.

"Thank you," A small smile formed on Fate's lips. They liked complimenting each other, sometimes they were saying it just to tease the other and sometimes it was a good way to cheer themselves up. "And I think that from now on I'm going to sleep only in your breasts." She added after a while.

"Pervert." Her sister said with playful tone.

"I can't help it, I like the feeling." Fate snuggled up to her a little more.

"Hey, don't say it as if it was our first time doing this." Nanoha faked her anger again.

The blonde smiled to herself and decided to drop the bomb. "But the last time we did it your chest was still flat."

"Fate-chan! Don't laugh at this, yours are bigger anyway." Nanoha groaned but still smiled. "But I'm so proud to have such a beautiful sister."

"Ah, thank you, I feel flattered." Fate hugged the brunette closer. "I love you, Nanoha." She whispered silently but still loud enough to let the other hear it.

The sudden statement made Nanoha feel like her heart was about to jump out. 'Calm down, calm down, she is your sister so calm down.' She chided herself in her thoughts. "I know, silly," She responded after a while. "I love you too." 'Yes, I love you too, Fate-chan.' She shut her eyes and hoped that her sister hadn't noticed her increased heartbeat.

Nanoha slowly opened her eyes and lazily looked around. It was already morning, the sun rays illuminated the room with bright light. The air coming from the open window was still chilly so she pulled up a cover a little higher. She had to be careful to not wake Fate up. The blonde was still sleeping soundly, clung to her breasts. She looked around once again, this time fixing her eyes on a clock standing on her night-table and she felt her stomach twisting a little. 'Damn, it's already eleven o'clock!' She wanted to quickly get up and wake her sister up when she suddenly remembered that her academic year had ended the day before. With a sigh of relief, Nanoha laid back and closed her eyes once again. In that case it, wouldn't hurt to sleep a little more.

She was ready to drift into sleep again when she heard Fate's sleepy voice. "Nanoha..."

'Crap, I woke her up, silly me...'

"It smells so nice..." The other continued, still half asleep.

"Fate-chan..." 'Wait, is she still dreaming?' Nanoha realised but her cheeks became a little red anyway.

"Mm, it's so soft..." Fate mumbled and buried her face into Nanoha's bosom even more. "Come 'ere, I want to eat you..." She said after a while, almost drooling on the brunette's chest. Then, she bit her lightly in a fold of her tender skin.

"Ah!" 'Fate-chan!' Nanoha squealed from the action, burning in embarrassment. Just what kind of dream was her sister having?

"Nanoha?" Fate's suddenly awakened voice broke the short silence. "What's happening? Are you hurt somewhere?" She looked at her sister's bright red face. "Oh my, you have a fever," She said, touching Nanoha's forehead with hers. "Did you catch a cold? I told you to wear your coat at night-" She tried to cup the brunette's cheek, but her hand was shoved away.

"I'm okay!" Nanoha raised her voice. "It's just..." She looked at the girl's confused expression. "Ah, never mind, I need to go to a bathroom." She quickly got up, put her slippers on and ran out of the room.

"O- Okay..." Fate stammered, taken aback, sitting on the bed.

Nanoha splashed some cold water on her face and rested her hands on a wash-stand. 'Fate-chan... you silly girl...' She straightened up, still panting a little, and leaned against a cold wall. 'No, wait, it wasn't her fault. She was just having an extremely realistic dream.' She tried to explain her sister's previous actions. 'It was me who thought about it in a wrong way...' She felt her gloomy mood coming back. 'No, I can't think like this.' She washed her face once again and leaved the bathroom.

Fate was still in the bed, hugging her knees and looking through the window when Nanoha came back to her room. She turned her head when the door opened and the brunette couldn't shake the feeling that her sister looked kind of sad. 'Great, now she's sulking and it's my fault. I need to cheer her up somehow.' She slowly walked to the bed and sat down. "What is so interesting outside?" She asked with voice a little milder than usual, trying to start a conversation. When the blonde looked down, averting her gaze, Nanoha gave up and went straight to the point. "Ne, Fate-chan, please, look at me." When the other raised her head, she stared into her deep, red eyes for a while and started again. "I'm sorry for earlier," She took Fate's hand and continued. "I've behaved like a dumb and you only wanted to help." She moved closer to her sister. "Forgive me?" She looked into the other's eyes once again and kissed her cheek lightly.

"Nanoha... Of course I forgive you, but..." The blonde paused, looking for right words. "I... also apologize. I was too insistent when you might have... not... needed it," She sniffed lightly and a single tear appeared in her eye, but it was quickly wiped by Nanoha. "I just... care about you... a lot." She said silently after a short while.

"It's okay, Fate-chan, I know you do, I shouldn't have acted like this." She squeezed the blonde's hand.

"So... how about telling me what exactly happened?" Fate asked curiously with a little happier tone.

"Um... you know... how to... put it..." Nanoha's face became red in an instant and she subconsciously covered the bitten place with her hand. "You were saying... strange things..." She said finally.

"Did I sleep talk? Really?" The blonde could hardly hide her excitement and, when Nanoha nodded her head lightly, she continued. "What did I say?" She moved closer to the brunette. "Oh, come on, don't be like this," Her playful mood was already back and the other started averting her eyes. "Hm, in that case..." Fate stated mysteriously. "...punishment awaits!" With that she pounced on Nanoha who didn't expect things to go this way.

"Aahhahahaha!" She cried out while the blonde's hands were tickling her mercilessly. "Fate-chan! Please, stop it!" She tried to escape but she got pinned down to bed by her sister.

"Now, do you have something to tell me?" Fate looked into Nanoha's blue eyes and smiled mischievously. "Or... maybe you want to choose the next spot to tickle?" She asked and straddled the brunette. "Do you want it here?" Her left hand moved down and rested on Nanoha's ribs. "Or here?" She undid two more buttons of the other's top and tickled her tummy lightly. Then she placed her hand back on the brunette's arm.

"I-" Nanoha started but the third voice made her stop.

"Nanoha! Fate! What do you want to-" Suddenly the door opened, revealing fully clothed Momoko and Precia. "-eat?" The two mothers froze, staring at the two girls in bed. Nanoha was lying on her back with almost all of her pyjamas' buttons undone, while Fate was sitting on her waist, still pinning her sister down. "Dear," Momoko turned to her wife.

"I know, honey," Precia answered immediately and gently put her hand on the other's arm. "Let's give them some time." With that statement, they both left the room.

"We weren't doing anything!" Nanoha shouted with bright red face, when she finally managed to break free from Fate's grip who, on the other hand, just stared blankly at the empty place before her.

Then the blonde laughed lightly. "They... thought that we are a couple, again..."

"Yes, and whose fault was this?" Nanoha asked, crossing her arms.

The beginning of holidays gave Fate and Nanoha much more time to hang out together. It were already three days after the end of the academic year and yet there wasn't a single time, except for going to the bathroom, when the two sisters were apart. Time was passing by really quickly for them as they tried to do everything they wanted to do, but couldn't, during their studies. They have already visited cinemas and theatres, done some shopping together and went to a club along with the rest of their friends.

The Sunday morning was peaceful and quiet. Nanoha was sitting on a deckchair in a garden, on the back of the house, while Fate and Momoko were preparing breakfast. Precia was still sleeping, Kyouya and Miyuki were helping their father in the bakery.

Nanoha raised her head and closed her eyes, basking in warm sunlight. The weather was great for a walk. Making a list of things-to-do-today in her mind and trying to remember it, Nanoha added taking a walk as the next point. Maybe it was only a coincidence but Hayate had shown Fate a certain place lately and the blonde wanted to take her sister there. She was trying to think up some new activities for the rest of the day when she heard Fate's voice.

"Nanoha! Breakfast is almost ready, go and wake up mother!" She shouted from the kitchen, which window was on the same side as the garden.

"Okay, give me a second!" Nanoha got up and went up the stairs, straight to her mothers' bedroom. She knocked lightly, opened the door and entered the room. Curtains were drawn which, along with black and white walls, made it pretty dark inside. Precia, dressed in a long night gown, was lying in the middle of a large bed, her long hair covering almost one half of it.

The brunette came closer and, looking at her mother's peaceful expression, she almost stepped back, not wanting to wake her up. Slowly, she sat down in front of her and gently placed her hand on top of Precia's pale palm. It was warm and soft, with long fingers, resembling Fate's. She lightly squeezed it and whispered to her mother's ear. "Mom, wake up, it's already morning."

The other opened her eyes slowly, looking around with still sleepy gaze. "Nanoha..." She focused her sight on her daughter. "Good morning, what time is it?" She asked, also squeezing her hand in return.

"It's half past nine," Nanoha said, looking at a watch above the bed. "Fate-chan wanted me to wake you up, she has almost finished preparing breakfast." She explained.

"Ah, okay, give me ten minutes, I'll be right there." Precia rubbed her eyes, then got up and went to a drawer on the opposite side of the room.

"I'll go downstairs then." Nanoha said and left the room. She went to the kitchen but stopped in the midway and turned back. She leaned against the wall, opposite the door to Momoko and Precia's room and waited for her mother. The other came out after a few minutes, already dressed.

"Nanoha?" Precia stopped, a little surprised, and looked at the brunette. "I thought that you went to the kitchen already, did you wait for me?" She asked and closed the door to her bedroom.

"Um, I just thought that we don't talk too often lately." She said the first thing that came to her mind and realised that she didn't even know why she came back.

"Do you have something you want to talk about with me?" She smiled warmly at her daughter and gently put her hand on the brunette's arm. "I want to help you in every way I can."

"No, I..." Nanoha thought for a while. "I've remembered how the three of us used to sleep together after papa's death." She averted Precia's eyes. "It made me feel a little nostalgic." She said finally and felt that her heart suddenly became lighter after this small confession. Her mother, in return, pulled her into a quick hug.

"I understand," Precia almost whispered. "I just want you and Fate to be happy." She said with mild voice. "It still can be hard sometimes, don't be afraid to tell me what's wrong."

"I know mom, I won't." Nanoha responded and smiled finally.

"So, what is this secret place of yours that you wanted to show me?" Nanoha leaned down, looking at Fate, who was lying on her bed and reading a book. "You said that we can go after breakfast." The blonde giggled in response, slowly getting up. "Hey, what's so funny?"

"You really act like a child sometimes." Fate answered, laughing even more at pouting Nanoha. "Okay, okay, I'm sorry." She said finally, taking her sister's hand and leading her outside. "It's not far from the university, how about going for a walk?"

"Sure, the weather is great today, isn't it?" Nanoha's mood changed almost instantly when warm breeze hit her face.

"Mhm, it is." Fate just smiled and looked at the sky, not letting the brunette's hand. They were walking for about twenty minutes in silence when she spoke again. "We're almost there, it's in this short alley we always pass by." They turned into the said street and walked for a while before stopping in front of a not large building.

"A tea-house?" Nanoha read a signboard.

"Hayate-chan showed it to me some time ago. She said that her friend owns it." The blonde explained as they went inside. "It's a really nice place, I wanted to take you here sometime but our university schedule was standing in the way." The shop was small, with a counter opposite the door, a few, empty tables and many shelves with different kinds of tea. There was no one inside. Calm music, playing in the background, made the atmosphere serene and disconnected from the world outside.

"You're right, I like it." The brunette looked around curiously. "Look, Fate-chan, there is so much tea here!" She went to the biggest shelf enthusiastically, dragging Fate along with her.

"I'm glad you like it." A tall, blond-haired woman with European features, entered the room, smiling lightly. "My name is Carim Gracia, I'm an owner of this little shop, how can I help you?" Then, she spotted Fate. "Ah, Fate-san, good to see you again." Next, she turned her head towards Nanoha. "So you must be Nanoha-san, Hayate-chan told me about you, nice to meet you." She bowed her head a little.

"Ah, nice to meet you too." Nanoha smiled and bowed back but reached her hand anyway to shake the blonde's.

"What would you like to get?" Carim asked after the introduction. "You just can buy a tea and take it home or you can try something here. I can prepare you a drink."

"We'd like to try something new." Fate answered immediately. "How about white tea, Nanoha?"

"Sure, I've never tried it." She responded.

Carim quickly wrote something in a small notes and took a short ladder which was hidden behind the counter. She took a small box from the highest shelf and opened it. "If it's your first time drinking white tea then I'd recommend you this one." She handed them the box. "How do you like the aroma?"

Nanoha was first one to smell it. She inhaled the scent and closed her eyes, opening them when Fate reminded her that they are still in the shop. Carim giggled at the remark and leaded the two to a small table when they decided to try the tea she gave them. "Please wait a few minutes, I'll bring your drink shortly." She said and went through a door behind the counter.

"How come that Hayate-chan has never said anything about Carim-san?" Nanoha asked when the blonde left.

Fate thought for a while and answered. "I have no idea, she usually tells us if she meets someone interesting. Then again, she probably has a lot of friends we don't know about."

"It's possible." She looked at the window, then at her sister again. "By the way, is it just me or Carim-san doesn't look like Japanese? She speaks very fluently and all but... She's somehow not of this place."

"Hm, now when I think about it, Hayate-chan told me that Carim-san came here from England about seven years ago. But they met each other only three years ago."

"A foreigner?" Nanoha raised her eyebrows. "Really? Maybe I should ask her to help me with improving my English." She could hardly cover her excitement.

"I would do it with pleasure." The other blonde entered the room with a porcelain pot of tea and two matching cups.

"Ah! Carim-san!" The brunette almost jumped in her seat.

"Don't worry." The other one responded. "I'm used to people being surprised that I'm not Japanese." She smiled warmly at the two and put the pot and the cups on the table. "I hope you'll like it. Now, I'll be in the other room."

"Thank you, Carim-san." Fate answered and started pouring lightly yellowish liquid into Nanoha's cup.

"Mm, it smells good." The brunette inhaled the scent, then took the cup and slowly started to sip the tea. "And it tastes well." She closed her eyes and enjoyed the drink while Fate was filling her own cup before doing the same.

"Mhm, it really does." The blonde confirmed after taking a sip. "Do you want to buy it? We can learn how to prepare it."

Nanoha opened her eyes and smiled. "It's a good idea, and maybe we should buy some more for aunt Lindy before we go to visit her."

They were drinking their tea for a longer while before calling Carim to pay for it. Nanoha insisted to pay but Fate was faster. "We'd also like to buy more of this one." She added before handing bills to Carim. "The white would be for us. Could you also recommend us something as a gift for our aunt? She loves green tea."

"Flavoured or not?" The other asked and took the ladder.

Fate hesitated for a while. "Um, no, she..."

"...flavours it herself." Nanoha finished, giggling along with her sister and making Carim laugh a little.

"I understand," She took another box and opened it. "Here's something she may like."

It was already dinner time when Nanoha and Fate came back home. Each of them carried a neatly packed bag of tea, one for themselves and one for Lindy.

"Ah, you're back already," Momoko greeted them in the front door. "Perfect timing, we have a surprise for you." She smiled and leaded them to the guest-room. On a large couch there was sitting a tall woman with ocean-green hair tied up in a high ponytail. Next to her was a young, orange-haired girl.

"Fate! Nanoha!" The girl stood up and hugged both sisters tightly.

"It's been a long time, Arf." Fate returned the gesture along with Nanoha. "Good afternoon, aunt Lindy." The two moved to the woman, who stood up in the meantime, and bowed lightly.

"Good afternoon," She returned the bow. "Now, don't be so formal." She gave them a warm smile and also greeted them with a hug.

"Um, aunt Lindy, we have a present for you." Nanoha started when they ended their greetings. She looked at Fate and, when the blonde nodded her head, she handed the small package to Lindy.

The older woman reached out her hand but stopped and saddened a little. "But I haven't bought anything for you two..."

"Don't worry, aunt Lindy," Fate assured her. "You've helped us a lot, we owe you so much."

"Ah, don't say that," She responded but cheered up. "Is it really okay for me to take it?"

Nanoha smiled honestly. "Of course it is, we've bought it for you after all."

Lindy finally took the package and carefully looked at it. "Can I open it?"

"Of course, we hope that you'll like it." The brunette answered and observed her aunt as she slowly started to unwrap the present.

After opening the bag, Lindy looked inside and her expression brightened up instantly. She took a deep breath, inhaling the scent. "White tea?" She asked and, when the two nodded their heads, she hugged them again. "Thank you so much, but still I don't have anything to return your kindness." She thought for a while. "Oh, that reminded me," She looked at Precia and Momoko, who were watching them silently. "Have you told them already?"

"No, we wanted to wait for you." Precia responded.

"What are you talking about?" Nanoha interjected but was silenced by Fate.

"It's a surprise I was talking about a while ago." Momoko explained and let her wife speak.

"We, I mean Momoko, Lindy and I, want to take you on a three-day trip to hot springs." Precia finished and watched her stunned daughters. "Lindy's friend owns a resort not far from the city. A hotel is a rather big mansion so you can also invite your friends. We have already talked with Shamal-san, she said that Hayate-chan and the rest would be more than pleased to go with us."

"Um, mother, are you serio-" Fate started, still not believing in Precia's words, but had to stop immediately when Nanoha's scream filled the room.

"Mom I love you!" The brunette ran to her mother and fell into her arms, almost falling on the floor along with the older woman. It wasn't too long until Fate did the same.

"Actually, you should thank Lindy, it was her idea." Precia said but still returned the gesture.

"Is it really okay to invite our friends?" The blonde asked when the hugs ended.

"Of course it is," Replied Lindy. "We'll have the whole resort reserved only for us, you can take whoever you want to."

"Then let's call Suzuka-chan and Arisa-chan!" Nanoha took Fate's hand and started walking to her room. "And we should also invite Yuuno-kun." She added after a while. "And Subaru-san."

"Um, Nanoha..." Fate started. "Don't you think that it's a bit-"

"Oh! I forgot about Teana-san, do you have her number?" The brunette asked with excitement.

Fate opened her mouth to say something else but her common sense told her that resistance was futile. "Yes. Yes, I have..."

A/N: Once again, I'm soo sorry that it took me so long. Some parts were a real pain in the neck and I found myself changing them over and over again which finally resulted in taking a break from writing.

There is a one more thing I'd like to say here. I'm not an expert in Japanese culture. I did some research but I'm pretty sure that some things I put here are pure absurd for Japanese people. If you see something like that then please, let me know about it. I just felt obligated to say it as I don't want to insult anyone's culture.

The next chapter is where the real fun starts and I'm kind of excited about it so I think that I'll manage to write it quite fast.

So, 'till the next time.