A/N: Just as I promised, much faster update, mostly because I'm currently in a very creative state of mind. I've already written something like 1/3 of the next chapter. Nothing much to say here besides that, have a good read.

The Meaning of Us

Chapter 4

By: Caelion

'Why won't you let us help?'

Nanoha opened her eyes sharply when a vivid memory of Hayate's pleading voice came to her once again. She had to believe that she had chosen the right thing rejecting her friend's offer. She had her doubts many times, she had even regretted her decision back then and for a little while she wanted to call the leaving girl but her voice was weak. Too weak to be heard. It was too late anyway. The trip had already ended, they were coming back home and Hayate was somewhere entirely else.

Meanwhile Fate shifted in her seat one more time, careful not to look at her right. In the end she couldn't resist the urge and she cast a furtive glance at the brunette sitting next to her. The girl's face was unreadable, her gaze was wandering somewhere behind the window of the car they were sitting in. Nanoha's left hand was gently holding a cage with Linith, standing on the middle seat between the two girls. Only Fate's sheer fear of the girl's reaction was holding her from putting her own hand on top of her sister's. And then she realised that for some time she didn't know what was going in Nanoha's mind. Not that she didn't want to know, she just couldn't find the best way to approach the brunette. Although they still had over half an hour before reaching their house, she decided to wait for now, the time before going to sleep was probably the best to talk with Nanoha. Besides, she didn't really wanted their parents to know yet. No, if it was possible then she wanted to do it alone.

After their arrival, at ten pm, they managed to unpack their things rather fast. Nanoha was rarely speaking during that time, laying the blame on her tiredness when Momoko tried to talk with her. Even if it was a family trip, Fate and Nanoha spent rather little time with their mothers. They wanted to have some fun with their, mostly childhood, friends and the two women understood it perfectly, hanging out with Lindy for those three days.

Fate decided that having a talk with Nanoha in the brunette's room would be the best. Familiar place could make the girl more open and maybe a little less reserved. In fact, the blonde had to consider every single detail she could. And so she had also decided to not hug her sister suddenly before going to sleep and, what was harder than she expected, to keep some distance between them. Just in case. When they finished unpacking their things from the car, Nanoha went to her room and Fate followed her in silence. When they reached the door, the brunette put her hand on a knob and stopped abruptly. "Um, Fate-chan," She started shyly, looking everywhere but at Fate. Her voice was weak and trembling when she spoke again. "I think that Arisa-chan was right back then," The blonde's stomach twisted, as if she knew what her sister was going to say. "We really need to stop sleeping with each other." And it was done. "I really don't want people to call you a freak or something." Nanoha finally raised her head and looked at Fate, smiling. No, stop it, take away this fake smile; But the brunette continued. "Besides, we're already too old for this and-"

"I understand." Fate interjected, her tone was somewhat cold, even if she didn't intend it to be that way. But she didn't want to hear the rest. She looked at her feet. Had she lost her chance to talk with her sister? "Can we... talk for a while before going to sleep then?" She tried one more time, her voice was filled with hope she didn't want to give up so easily.

The brunette stayed silent for a while. "I'm sorry Fate-chan, I'm a little tired today."

Tired. Okay. That's it. She lost. "Good night then." Fate said with almost no emotion, then she turned around and left.

"I'm sorry, Fate-chan..." Nanoha rested her forehead on her door, opening them and stepping inside. Her room was filled with familiar scent, the one that made it a unique place to her. She put her things on the floor, deciding to unpack them the next day, made her bed and changed her clothes. Instinctively, she reached her hand to open the door but stopped in the midway, remembering what she said a while ago. She felt a sharp sting of pain in her heart as she turned the light off and lay down on her bed. The sheets were cold and it somehow felt empty with only her lying there. Nanoha curled up and closed her eyes, pulling the cover up to her chin. Snuggling up to her pillow, she felt a faint scent of her sister. It was comforting to her but still something was wrong, going to sleep before was different than lying alone like this. She missed the warm that Fate's body gave her every night. Nanoha immediately regretted her decision but it was necessary, wasn't it? At least she tried to justify her action in that way. She could do something stupid again and she had that much luck only that time. Besides, maybe Arisa was right? She said it before but it wasn't really what she was thinking. But suddenly it became clear to Nanoha that someone really could see her relationship with Fate in that way. She herself didn't actually mind what strangers were saying about her, she cared for her friends' words much more instead, but what about her sister? She knew that the blonde was a strong girl but if one knew her weak spots they could hurt her easily. Nanoha didn't want to see Fate hurt. Yet she had to do it, she had to hurt the girl now to avoid doing it later, probably in much more painful way. But still she hated herself for doing that.

The night was hard for Nanoha. She couldn't fall asleep, no matter how much she tried. Many times she reconsidered going back to Fate, falling on her knees and begging the girl for forgiveness. She even got up from her bed once and went to her sister's room but stopped before opening the door. If she was so weak that she couldn't even sleep alone then how was she going to handle her life without Fate in it? It was obvious to her that they would finally come to the point where her sister would get married and would leave their family house. Even if a thought about someone else 'having' Fate was quite terrifying to her, she had to admit that it was the most plausible scenario. In the end, she came back to her room and cried herself to sleep.

For the first time in her life Nanoha was glad that she was completely alone at home. Momoko went to work in the bakery, along with Kyouya and Miyuki, while Precia had to go on the meeting at the University. Fate just went somewhere when everyone else had left the house. It also made Nanoha realise how miserable she became in the last few days. She stopped talking to her friends and immersed in dark thoughts that her mind was constantly bringing out. At first she wanted to go somewhere, to take a long walk through the park and think about everything one more time. Which one was it already? She didn't know. She changed her mind, however, after looking at her reflection in a mirror and decided to stay at home. Her eyes were sunken, somehow devoid of their old shine, her skin paled significantly after an almost sleepless night. The sight was bad, to say the least. No, it was plainly horrible and for the first seconds Nanoha didn't even recognize the person she was looking at. Was it really her reflection? She went back to her room and decided to stay there for a while. She came out when she was sure that the house was empty.

Nanoha went to the kitchen to prepare her belated breakfast even if she wasn't so hungry. Only out of habit she opened a fridge and saw a few, neatly packed sandwiches with her name written on a piece of paper. Had one of her mothers prepared her a food? She looked at the paper and recognized her sister's writing. There wasn't anything else on the back. She put the piece into her pocket and started eating the first sandwich. It was sweet, filled with cottage cheese and honey, Nanoha's favourite food. The taste cheered her up but she felt down almost instantly when she realised how kind Fate was despite the brunette's recent behaviour. However, after eating all sandwiches, she had to admit that she felt better than before. Her sister was still thinking of her and it gave her strength to make everything all right again. Even if she knew that things would not be the same any more.

Never had Nanoha been particularly concerned with her look. It became clear to her when she tried to give herself her a 'normal', daily appearance. She had only a few cosmetics and nothing that could help her with masking her current state. A few years ago Fate had stated that Nanoha had a natural beauty and putting make up in her case wasn't necessary. The blonde, on the other hand, had an impressive collection of different lipsticks, powders and other cosmetics that could help her with achieving the look she wanted. The fact that Fate had rarely used them was a mystery even to Nanoha, as the girl stated that she bought them 'just in case'. The brunette didn't have much choice. Either she had to spend the whole day in her room, including lying to her mothers and thinking up a story of being sick, or she had to go to Fate's room and borrow a few of her accessories. The choice was rather simple and Nanoha didn't wait for her conscience to kick in, scolding her for taking others' things without asking.

It was also the time when Nanoha learned that putting a good looking make up was harder than she thought. She had needed it only a few times in her life and usually it was Fate who would help her with it. In the end, she had to spend almost an hour in Fate's room, trying to figure out how to not overdo it. Twice she had to wash away what she had put, mostly because it gave her a look of a cheap hooker. Finally, when she gave herself a semblance she was satisfied with, she threw out all tissues and swabs to a small rubbish-bin under Fate's desk.

The day was long and boring for Nanoha. In the end she decided to take a walk to the park. Sitting at home and depressing herself wasn't the best thing to do in her case so she decided to breathe some fresh air. The weather was rather fine, the sun wasn't shining too hard and occasional clouds on the sky made the temperature fairly tolerable. Add the light wind, blowing from time to time, and the weather was more than great for a walk. Holidays made the streets full of children and young people, hanging out together during their summer break. Nanoha passed by a small shop with ice creams, then she stopped and turned around, deciding to buy herself one. She choose a chocolate one with a lot of toffee icing. Satisfied with her choice, she turned to the park and started walking slowly, delighting in her ice cream. She sat on a small bench after a while, got rid of a guy, who wanted to take her on a date, and took a long breath. Sitting there and listening to birds' singing was truly intoxicating. Nanoha was surprised by how such small pleasures could change her mood so significantly.

She didn't want to bring out her depressing thoughts again. Not yet. Just for a while she wanted to forget about every bad thing awaiting her. She just needed to be careful to not fall asleep in the middle of the park. Slowly, her mind started to drift towards Fate. The blonde's smile, her gentle voice and her beautiful eyes. All of it filled Nanoha's heart with indescribable warmth and guilt in the same time. She had hurt her sister badly and she had to find a way to make things better again. And then she came up with the greatest idea in the world. How about making dinner for the rest of her family? Nanoha was pretty good at cooking, although traditional dishes were Fate's forte, she herself knew a few foreign ones. Besides, making dinner, not only for her mothers but also for her sister, could show the blonde that she still cared for her in a way, and it was good to show her gratitude for the breakfast. She decided to make something simple that everyone liked. Lasagne? No, it was too much work for her alone, then how about spaghetti? Yes, it was a good choice, over the last few years she managed to develop her own recipe for the best spaghetti. The dish somehow reminded her of a guy who ended up in jail for smuggling pasta. It was a rather loud case back then.

She made a quick list of the things she had to buy, checked if she had enough money and went to the closest grocery shop. She bought some fresh tomatoes, a pack of pasta and some mince meat. She went back to her, still empty, house and started to prepare the dinner. It was almost 1pm, time was passing by rather quickly and everyone would come back soon, it was a matter of fifteen minutes up to half an hour. Precia came back a while before Nanoha managed to prepare everything and, despite the brunette's pleadings, she helped her daughter with the rest, in the end rewarding her with a hug. Nanoha couldn't help but smile as the two waited for the rest of the family. Momoko, Kyouya and Miyuki came back after a few minutes, surprised and glad that the dinner was ready. "So now we're waiting just for Fate-chan." Nanoha informed when everyone took their seats.

"Ah, Fate called me some time ago," Momoko started. "She said that she will eat with her friend." She gave her daughter an apologetic smile.

"Ah, in that case..." Nanoha looked down. Damn it. She should had checked that first. "Let's eat then." She sat down and took her fork.

"Mm, tasty!" Miyuki couldn't hold her excitement. Nanoha just smiled sadly. "Don't worry," Her sister tried to cheer the girl up. "I'm sure Fate-chan will eat it after she comes back."

"Thanks." The younger brunette answered, getting back to her dish. Eating without Fate wasn't that good. Then again, doing almost everything without her sister wasn't the same.

After the dinner Nanoha was literally shooed away from the kitchen by Momoko and for some time she was just walking around the house without any particular purpose. Going back to her room meant staying all alone with her dark thoughts, sitting with her parents could expose to them that something was wrong with her. She was about to pass Fate's room again when she stopped and opened the door, stepping inside. And she felt something she hadn't noticed ever before. The room was literally filled with the blonde's presence. Although Nanoha was the only person there, she could easily tell that it was where her sister lived. Somehow this knowledge calmed her down and she started to wonder how could she miss this earlier. She had been here so many times and yet it was the first time she felt like this. She closed her eyes and inhaled Fate's intoxicating scent. She sat in the blonde's swivel chair, rotating a few times before lying on her bed. She had to admit that she was clearly addicted to her sister. It wasn't going to help.

After almost half an hour spent in Fate's room, she decided to go back but stopped in the midway to the door, remembering that she threw out everything she used to put her make up to her sister's rubbish-bin. Leaving all proofs of her activities like that wasn't the best idea if she really wanted to hide her 'original' appearance. She crawled under the desk and started to take out the things she threw. Suddenly, she spotted something that called her attention. It was a small brochure, like the ones that people often distribute near the University. She took it out and started to read.

Fate came back home in the evening. She had been being to Hayate's for the almost whole day, consulting with her friend the case considering her sister. She had a great opportunity to rethink everything and, together with Hayate, she came up with a plan of bringing the old Nanoha back. It wasn't really complicated, in general, she had to talk her sister into meeting with Hayate again and then combine her forces with the shorter brunette. In the meantime she also needed to pull out as many things from Nanoha as she could. The only problem was Nanoha herself. If she really was avoiding Fate then she probably had a good reason to do it. Despite this, the blonde had believed in her success. She had to do it. After all, she couldn't let her beloved sister fall into depression, could she?

The sudden change in Nanoha's behaviour made Fate only more determined to find the way to reach to the girl. Of course, it wasn't like that the blonde herself was unaffected by her sister's more and more strange acting. The sudden confession the night before left her more confused than anything. In fact, that night she was close to tearing her hair in frustration. But she wasn't mad at Nanoha. No, she was mad at herself. Because she was unable to see the reason behind the brunette's actions. No matter how much she tried she just couldn't see why would Nanoha want to distance herself so suddenly. And the morning after that she came up with, as Hayate described it, the most weird reason she could find. During the trip they were eating more traditional meals so Fate decided that the lack of sweets drove her sister crazy. The thought itself was stupid enough for the blonde to throw it away and forget but it gave her an idea she would probably never get by thinking only in rational way. And so she made some sweet sandwiches for Nanoha, hoping that it would cheer the girl up. Had she succeeded? She didn't know.

After coming back home, Fate entered her room and changed her clothes for the clean ones. A bath would also be a good idea but she was kind of running out of time. It was already 9pm and she wasn't sure if Nanoha was asleep or not. She checked her general appearance one more time, quickly finger-combed her hair and, taking a deep breath, she went to her sister's room. She knocked at the door lightly and waited for response. "It's me, Nanoha, I... wanted to talk with you." Silence. "Can I come in?" She tried once again.

"Yes, you can."

She finally heard in response. Slowly, she opened the door and peeked inside. It was rather dark, with a small night lamp as a source of light. But the blonde could tell that the room hadn't changed at all from the last time she was there. Although it were only a few days, to her, it felt like a lot more than that. Fate stepped inside and spotted her sister immediately. Nanoha was sitting on her bed, resting her back on the wall behind her. She looked normal. Too normal. Dressed as always, with her hair tied in an off-centered ponytail. The blonde closed the door but decided to keep the distance so she sat down on Nanoha's chair. She opened her mouth, not really sure how to start, when she spotted a brochure lying on her sister's desk. "Studies in USA?" She read the title and her eyes widened when she realised what it actually meant. "Nanoha, why do you have this?" She asked, her voice shaky.

Nanoha looked through her open window. "I'm sorry, Fate-chan, I wanted to tell you earlier but-"

"What do you mean by 'I wanted to tell you earlier'?" Fate stood up, breathing heavily. It was too much for her. Why was it even happening in the first place? She opened her mouth to speak but Nanoha was faster.

"I want to go, Fate-chan," She started and Fate's voice seized up. Wait, don't finish this sentence; The blonde's mind pleaded as she stood there with her mouth open. "I want to study abroad." The brunette said, finally looking at her sister, another weak, fake smile on her face. Was it everything? Was it going to end like this?

"Why?" That was the only thing that Fate managed to say.

"Because America has so much more possibilities." Really? Was it all just about possibilities? "And it will be better that way."

Fate had expected Nanoha to say almost everything but this. It shattered everything she and Hayate were working on. All of the blonde's hope was suddenly gone. 'It will be better that way.' Did it mean that she was just an obstacle for Nanoha for this whole time? Had she been unwittingly hurting her sister for all those years spent together? "I'll... go now." Fate stammered finally and walked out of the room in silence.

As soon as she closed the door to her own room, she felt tears coming to her eyes. She leaned herself on the wall, resting on her hand, and thought once again about her sister's words. It hurt; every single word Nanoha said hurt her; It was already far too much for Fate and she knew that bottling up her feelings wouldn't do anything good. So she didn't even try to stop herself from crying. She collapsed on the floor, with one hand still on the wall and the second one wiping her tears. Again, why was Nanoha so determined to stay away from her? Had she done something wrong before? Had the brunette hated her and lied to her for all this time? If there was someone Fate couldn't live without then it was definitely Nanoha. They were twins, inseparable, they understood each other without words, they had spent their whole life together, why she wanted to leave so suddenly?!

Tears were still running down, so much that the blonde couldn't wipe all of them when the door to her room opened. "Fate, are you asleep? I wanted you to- Fate? What's wrong?" The blonde felt a pair of warm arms wrapping around her and a pleasant scent of her mother's perfume hit her nose. "Shh, it's okay," Precia started to gently soothe the blonde. "Let it all out." She tightened the embrace and Fate instinctively lied her head on her mother's soft bosom. The warmth surrounding her was somehow comforting and after another few minutes of sobbing she finally calmed down, still snuggling up to the woman. "Do you feel better now?" Precia asked gently, stroking the girl's back with her hand lightly. Fate nodded her head in response and her mother continued. "Could you tell me what happened?"

It wasn't an easy question. It wasn't like Fate didn't trust any of her mothers. In fact, she trusted them to no end. But asking them for help meant no turning back. Not that she had any other possibilities left after her last talk with Nanoha. And she still was feeling some of her determination. "Okay," She said after a while of silence. She wiped her tears, most of them already dry, and looked into her mother's eyes. "I'm worried about Nanoha."

She told Precia everything she knew, except for the studying abroad thing. She wasn't sure if her sister really wanted to do it and, in addition, she didn't want to worry her mother more than it was necessary. The woman listened to Fate's story carefully, asking some questions from time to time. There were a few times when tears were appearing in the blonde's eyes while speaking but Fate tried her best to not cry again and to not miss any detail she knew.

"I see," Precia scratched her chin, chewing mentally all the things that her daughter had just told her. "So she's been acting like this since the beginning of the trip?" She asked and Fate nodded her head. "I'm going to tell Momoko about it, okay?" Fate nodded again and stood up along with her mother. "And where are you going, young lady?" Precia's voice was a little lighter and cheerier, making Fate cheer up herself a bit.

"Um, with you, mother?" She asked with an innocent expression.

"You better go and get some sleep." The woman put little more serious expression on her face and turned around to left the room but stopped suddenly. "Oh, or maybe you want to sleep with us tonight?" She added.

"You're joking, right?" Fate stared at her in disbelief.

"Come on, give your mother some love," Precia smiled and the blonde realised that her mother wasn't joking at all. "It must be pretty lonely here anyway."

Resistance was futile, wasn't it? Stubbornness was something that Nanoha definitely took after Precia. "Okay, I'll wait for you in your bedroom." She gave up finally. Was there even a point in fighting? Her mother was right, sleeping alone wasn't something that Fate was accustomed to. And if she really wanted to help her sister, she had to be well-rested at least.

"Has she told you something?" Momoko asked when her wife stepped into the living room. Precia nodded her head in agreement and sat on a sofa, next to the brunette, putting her arm around her.

"It's just like we thought." She answered and repeated all she heard from Fate, drawing circles with her hand on the other woman's arm in a reassuring way. Momoko snuggled up a little and let out a sigh full of worry.

"What are we going to do?" She asked, taking a hold of her wife's hand. "She's our daughter, we need to help her."

"I wonder," The other woman seemed lost in her thoughts for a moment before continuing. "I think we should wait until Nanoha decides to come to us."

"Will she come?" Momoko asked with concern.

"She will." Precia answered calmly and kissed her wife's temple, tightening her hold around the woman. "She is a strong girl but she will finally come to us." After a minute of silence she added. "But I think that we should prepare for some news we weren't expecting before."

The two stood up when the third person entered the semi-dark room. Nanoha stopped in an entrance when she saw that her mothers were going to leave. "Um, do you have a while before going to sleep?" She asked, playing with her fingers nervously.

Momoko gave Precia an 'oh my, you were right' look and both sat down again. "Of course we have." She sent her daughter a warm, motherly smile.

Nanoha also sat down, but in one of the two armchairs, and looked at her lap. After a short while she raised her head and looked at the two women. "I... want to move out of the house." She stated finally. Silence filled the room, so deaf and thick that Nanoha could almost touch it.

Momoko turned to Precia, who in turn raised her eyebrows lightly. The black-haired woman looked at her daughter and said. "If that's the case then we're not going to stop you." Wait. What? Had Nanoha heard right? "But before," This time Momoko spoke. "Please, tell us why do you want to do this."

So they were not going to let her go without explanations. "I thought about studying abroad." She started and took out the brochure she found in Fate's room earlier, handing it to Momoko. "They have a very good specialisation closely related to astronomy." She waited for her mothers' response and, when none was given, she continued. "It would give me a lot of possibilities in the future."

"I understand," Momoko started, closing the brochure. "But a year ago you didn't even want to hear about studying anywhere else than Fate." Nanoha looked down on her lap again. "Why so sudden change of decision?"

She couldn't avoid this question, could she? "I... hurt Fate-chan." Nanoha clenched her fists, trying to avoid crying by any means. "I hurt her a lot," She continued and felt that her defences were going to break. "And I don't know if I should stay with her any more." She finished, gritting her teeth, feeling hot tears running down her cheeks.

Momoko wanted to stand up and hug her crying daughter but Precia stopped her. When the girl calmed down, the woman asked. "Why did you hurt her?" Her voice wasn't demanding and accusing but gentle and soft, making Nanoha break down in tears again. It would be much easier for her if the woman started shouting, but the sympathetic tone she was using made the girl's will to stay strong only weaker.

"I..." Nanoha started but stopped, choking with her tears. She was about to say it, wasn't she? For the first time, she was going to spill out her secret. But she couldn't hold it inside any more, she had to let it out. She repressed the next wave of sobbing and rubbed her eyes with her hands. She took a few deep breaths and spoke again. "I'm in love with Fate-chan." And it was all said. She shut her eyes tightly, fearing her mothers' reaction but only silence met her. Carefully, she opened them once again and looked at the two women. But... why were they smiling?

"You did it sweetie." Momoko stood up and came closer, pulling her daughter in a tight hug while Precia did the same.

For a few minutes Nanoha couldn't form a sensible sentence. She was just staring blankly at the empty sofa before her. Were they... not going to shout at her? Were they not going to call her a freak? But instead they were... congratulating her? Why? She was in love with her own sister, she definitely wasn't normal, why would anyone want to congratulate her? But the reality was totally different. Her mothers weren't angry at her even in the slightest. Nanoha felt as if a huge burden fell from her heart. But wait, there was one thing she wanted to know. When she finally managed to gather her words, she asked. "Have you known about it before?"

"No, we haven't." Precia answered honestly, stroking her daughter's head one more time before sitting back on the sofa.

So why did they accept it so easily? "Then why..." Nanoha started but changed her mind. "You're... not going to... hate me?" That was the first time she saw a sheer anger on Precia's face.

"Have you really thought for all this time that we're going to hate you for falling in love?" This time the woman's voice wasn't gentle but sharp and scolding. "I don't remember rising my daughter in that way."

Nanoha shifted in her seat and looked at her lap, feeling her face becoming more and more red. "I'm sorry..." She stammered silently. Yes, she thought that for the whole time. And now, when her mother asked her about it, she felt ashamed of herself. Had she really been that blinded by her fear?

"Nanoha," Momoko started before the silence became unbearable for the girl. "We would never hate you for this." She sat down next to her wife, taking the woman's hand.

"We have made this family so you and Fate could be happy." Precia continued with milder voice. "I won't blame you for being scarred of your feelings but I'm disappointed in you that you thought of us so lowly."

"I'm sorry, mother." Nanoha looked down once again but she had to admit that after this scolding she felt a little better. "I won't ever doubt you again."

"I hope so." Her mother's tone was already devoid of anger. "But there is still one question left."

Ah. That's right. She had told them that after all. Nanoha's stomach twisted and the girl grimaced when she realised what Precia was going to ask her. "Yes?" She asked with uncertain voice. She definitely wasn't going to like the next question.

"What are you going to do?" Momoko spoke calmly. "If you want to run away from the problem then we are in no position to stop you. You're an adult after all. But the question is: Are you prepared to face the consequences of your recent behaviour?"

Just as she thought. But the truth was that she herself didn't know what to do any more. "I don't know." She answered honestly and once again felt weak and clueless about what to do next. "I just don't know..." She looked at her mothers with pleading eyes. "I want to be with Fate-chan again, I want her to be happy but I fear that I may end up hurting her," This time she didn't try to stop herself from telling everything. It was already too late anyway. "I don't want to hurt her again," She continued. "And I don't want to leave her..." Her voice started to get weaker and she felt new tears coming to her eyes but she quickly wiped them before they could spill.

"Then tell her." Precia answered simply.

Nanoha looked at her, not believing her ears. "What?" She asked after a while and quickly composed herself. "I'm sorry, what?"

"Tell her your feelings." The woman repeated. "You owe it to her." Then her expression darkened. "Or maybe you want to tell me that you were going to lie to her again?"

Nanoha shaken her head in disagreement. No, she was not going to do so. But to be honest, she didn't think about confessing to her sister either. To her, it was the most crazy idea she heard that evening and, in addition, it didn't come out of her own mouth. But her mother got the point. If lying to Fate was not an option then how could she explain everything to her? And that way Nanoha came to the next point. She owed her sister explanations. But if it had been that simple than she would had done it much earlier. "I don't know how she will react," Her doubts started to overcome her.

"You'll never know until you try." Precia answered without hesitation.

"But... She may hate me for this..."

"Do you really think that Fate would be able to hate you?" Her mother asked, sighing silently. "She can't even sleep without you."

Nanoha couldn't help but giggle. "How did you know?" She asked when she realised that she missed that detail in her story.

"By accident." Precia gave her a smile but her expression became serious again when she saw that her daughter's mood fell down once more.

"But what if she rejects me? Will I be able to love her as a sister again?" That was definitely the most difficult aspect of the whole case. If four years hadn't take her love away then was there a way to do it?

"Will you be able to forgive yourself for not even trying? It's true that in the end it will be her decision but at least give her a fair chance to answer."

Again, it was something she had never thought about. But still, there was one thing left on her mind. "I am not worthy of her. I'm a deviant who fell in love with a member of her family, things like that shouldn't even happen yet..." She stopped, feeling that she went too far this time.

"...Yet we are not able to chose a person we fall in love with." This time it was Momoko speaking. "And I don't think that you are not worthy. You have a kind, loving heart, you care for your sister, you put her well being before your own. I think it's very noble of you." Precia nodded her head in agreement.

It was all so confusing. She wanted to do it but she feared to do it. And she had even gained the support of her mothers. Moreover, they were almost pushing her to confess her feelings. Something she had never, ever dreamt about. All she had to do was to gather her courage. Was she able to do it? She closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths. "If... By any chance... She says 'yes'," She stopped, wondering how to formulate the rest of the question but Precia forestalled her.

"You have our full support."

In all honesty she didn't believe in that scenario. And maybe because somewhere deep down in her heart she felt that her sister could feel the same, she decided to tell her. No more waiting, no more thinking, faster than all her second thoughts. She got up but was stopped by Precia. The woman gave her a quick hug. "Do your best." She kissed her daughter's forehead. "Fate is in our bedroom right now. Use as many time as you want." She released the girl and stepped aside, letting her go. Nanoha took another deep breath and made the first step.

"We did the right thing, didn't we?" Momoko asked with concern when their daughter left. "Oh my god, our daughters are in love with each other! What are we going to do?" The realisation finally hit the woman as she hid her face in her hands. It was a part of her that Precia loved, she was always able to react in a right way before getting carried by her emotions.

"Everything to make them happy." Precia answered, hugging her wife.

"You believe in love, don't you?" Momoko questioned when she calmed down.

"If I didn't then I wouldn't be here with you now." She responded and gently kissed the other woman.

What was taking them so long? Fate was lying on her back, ready to fall asleep, looking at the celling. She decided to wait a few minutes longer before going to sleep. On the other hand, she was excited. She felt like the next day could change her life forever. She trusted her mothers and believed that they would find a way to bring Nanoha to her normal self. Her sister was truly everything for the blonde and every thought about separation made her sick. Suddenly, a light knock pulled her out of her thoughts. What was wrong with her mothers? Knocking to their own bedroom? "Yes?" She answered and the door opened.

Nanoha stepped inside hesitantly, stopping after a few steps and closing the door. "Fate-chan..." She started with a shaky voice. "I... There is something I need to tell you."

A/N: And it's done. It came out more angsty than I expected and I finished it with more nasty cliffhanger than I intended to. It was supposed to be divided into two shorter chapters but I decided to make one longer. I thought it would be better that way.

Now, a thing about characterization. I'm not entirely sure if I managed to keep heroines in character. It's true that there are some differences between my story and canon but it's mostly due to AU issue. Anyway, sometimes one person can't see some obvious things but the other one sees them rather well. If you see an OOCness not resulting from totally different setting (Fate was not abused by her mother, she didn't have to fight with Nanoha and they were together right from the beginning) then please, drop me a message about it. Constructive Criticism is always appreciated and I take it rather well.

One more thing, 'a guy who ended up in jail for smuggling pasta' is a reference to a certain pathetic villain from the series (aka Jail Spaghetti) and somewhat an indication of my, sometimes strange, sense of humour.

With that said, 'till the next time!