Author's notes: For those of you who are waiting for the sequel to my first story, please don't kill me! I'm still working on it but condensing the prequel into one chapter put me off a little so I decided to work on something else to get back my drive to write. Now that I'm done diverging, I should be able to focus more on the sequel.
If any one is new to the fanfiction term I used, AU means alternate universe.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to MGLN or its sequels, whether it is the anime, manga or sound stage.
Vivio rolled her tomato around the plate with her fork for what seemed to be the hundredth time. Her other hand had her face rested on it while her eyes seemed to be focused on nothing. It was not that she did not like tomatoes, they were not bitter at all. Nanoha, being her mother for the past fout years could see that something was bothering her daughter.
"Vivio?" The called person bolted her head upright, coming out of her trance. "Is there something wrong?" Nanoha's voice and face were lanced with concern while she had her chin rested on her interlaced fingers, ready to listen to her daughter's troubles. Vivio narrowed her eyes and looked away, contemplating deeply.
"Does Fate-mama really love me?" Nanoha's head reared back a little from the question. Vivio's eyes were now fully open and looked deeply into Nanoha's. She did not want comforting words but the truth, even if it hurt. Nanoha thought about it for a second before taking the safe approach.
"What makes you say that?" Vivio nearly heaved a sigh of relief. She had expected her mother to sprout affirmative words without thinking. Knowing that this conversation would go somewhere, she recounted the event at the end of school to Nanoha.
"Hey, look. It's that girl again," a boy snickered to his friend as Vivio walked past them, heading home. She had been getting the occasional comments about her family, since she was not really their biological child. She had not really cared about them, she was happy with her life and the love showered from her mothers.
"That comment's getting cold. The really good part is how one of them said, "I'll be your mother too," and then runs off with her work to never see her again," the other boy replied with a very cheeky tone. Vivio stopped dead in her tracks and clenched her fingers. Making fun of her mothers was crossing the line.
"Oh, you mean the blond one? I guess she got tired of her and threw her away like a toy."
"Don't you dare insult my Fate-mama!" Vivio had stomped over to them and threw her left hand to her side while bringing her right fist in front of her. Her eyes glared at them an intensity that would have made a toddler wet him or herself. The boys raised their eyebrows at the retaliation before laughing.
"Sure…" one of them said while he shook his head mockingly and rolled his eyes. "She comes for one parent-teacher meeting and then disappears from the rest. If she's not tired of you, I guess she's sick of you." Vivio's rage soared at that moment and she drew her arm back, ready to strike. Another hand grabbed onto her arm, halting her intention.
"Vivio, forget about them." She turned her head to see Rio, her good friend. She brought her arm down, breaking free of the hold and looked at the ground. She could not believe that she almost resorted to violence although she had promised Nanoha that practising magic would only be for sport or self-defense.
"Besides, they probably don't know that if it was not for your Fate-mama kicking the criminal's behinds, they would have lost theirs' by now," Rio continued with a hint of pride in her tone.
"What the heck are you talking about? I'll have you know that I've been training with a dagger master and I can perfectly defend myself!" one of the boys retorted while brandishing a tiny blade. The next thing he knew, it was knocked out of his hand and Rio's fist was in front of his face, a smug look on hers.
"Just so you know, her mother's probably a hundred times faster than me. Vivio, ignore these losers and let's head home." Vivio nodded quietly and turned away. While she was glad the boys had been put in place, their words had some truth in them.
Fate was not really with her.
"I see," Nanoha said slowly, deep in thought. Vivio had returned to her solemn look from earlier, her hands uncomfortably gripping each other under the table. "Vivio, you do remember that we have been exchanging video letters with Fate over the years right? Why do you suddenly miss her so much?"
"I… just feel that it's not the same without having her in person by my side," she started with some strain in her voice. "When we were living together in that room, although mamas would only be with me during lunch or at night, I was so happy when your came back. It felt so blissful to have both mamas playing with me, protecting me and sleeping together."
Vivio looked like she was on the edge of tears with her eyes starting to water. Nanoha knew that it was time to stop prodding and answer the question. "Vivio," she began gently. "I might not know what Fate-mama is thinking about all the time, but I do know one thing about her. She never breaks her promises. She promised to be your godmother and she will fulfil that position. Like what Rio said, she's busy making this place safer for us."
Vivio nodded slowly, absorbing what Nanoha just said. "I understand that Fate-mama's job is important," she replied softly. "Sorry Nanoha-mama, I should not have doubted her." Nanoha gave her a heart-warming smile and stood up to clear the plates. When she reached over to pick up Vivio's , she said something that almost made her drop the plate.
"Mama, I want to join the TSAB."
Vivio slumped against the closed door in her room, heaving a sigh of relieve at the same time. After she had said that sentence she felt as if Nanoha would interrogate her. Not ask her with the gentleness of a mother, but grill her like a criminal. She replayed the events in her mind again, wondering again how Nanoha did not blow her top.
After taking a few moments to recover from the shock, Nanoha slowly sat back down and gave a puzzled look. "Why the sudden decision, Vivio? I thought that you liked to practice Strike Arts with your friends for fun?" Her tone was calm and her body was relaxed. Now Vivio took a moment to collect herself. She knew that working in the TSAB was very dangerous yet her mother was not stopping her.
"Umm… Well… I… think that I should be more disciplined," she began, her voice shaky. "What if I can't control myself next time and really assault someone?" Vivio was not looking at Nanoha in the eye and she caught onto this. She read a little more into it and understood. She would try once, just once to sway her decision.
"What about school? Ca-"
"Don't worry Nanoha-mama, I'll still attend school," Vivio interrupted quickly.
"That's great to hear but it was not what I meant." Vivio had a confused look on her face so Nanoha continued, "Can you really juggle both at the same time?"
"Mamas did the same when they were my age, so I should be able to." The speed which the reply was given surprised Nanoha, she had expected some pondering. In response, she smiled again at Vivio. Her daughter had thought this through, there was no reason to reject her.
"Okay Vivio, I'll bring you there to register before I go to work on Saturday." She could see Vivio's face brightening up. "However, because Fate and I did the same thing, I know how taxing it can be. If you ever feel that it's too much, just tell me and I'll fill in your resignation letter." On other days, Vivio would huff that she could handle it but she was too happy then.
Thinking about it now, that was a pretty weak reason. Vivio did not dare to give her real reason in case Nanoha thought that she still doubted Fate. In fact, she wanted to become an Enforcer aide. She would be able to test Fate's love for her. If Fate really loved her, she would accept her as her aide. As a bonus, she would be able to see Fate in person frequently if she was accepted.
Nanoha placed Raising Heart on the table before going to sit on the couch. "Raising Heart, please start recording."
"Yes, my master," she replied as she glowed.
"Fate, I know that you've been refusing to come back here other than for a few days every six months when the ship needs maintenance. Although there are teleporters on the ship and in Mid-Childa headquarters and you get a free day every two weeks if you're not working on a case, you don't do so. You might be afraid of Vivio not loving me as much if you're too close but… she misses you."
Nanoha's voice started to get teary as she continued, "As her mother, I just want her to be happy. Other children love both parents, so I don't see how our relationship will be impacted if you came back more often. I might not be able to change your thinking but maybe Vivio's actions will. She has decided to join the TSAB as a part-timer. She tried to give me a reason but I did not buy it for a second.
What she really wants is to become an Enforcer's aide so that she can see you more often. While I'm sure that she won't push herself too much like I did, the road will be long and hard. You work so hard in the TSAB to ensure that your family stays safe but if your daughter doesn't feel that way, don't you think that you've worked too hard?
That's all I have to say now. I really hope you rethink your work schedule. Despite the heaviness of this conversation, I wish you the best of luck in whatever you choose to do next. Goodbye." She gave Raising Heart the queue to cut the video and stood up.
"Raising Heart, please send this to Bardiche but do not tell Vivio about it. If there is a response directly to this message, please keep it from Vivio as well."
"Yes, my master."
She smiled at her device and said, "Thank you."
"Vivio? Hey, are you alright?" Rio looked at the sleeping girl, her head on the desk. She glanced at Corona who also shared a worried face. It became alarmingly often that Vivio would fall asleep on her table once it was recess or school ended and today was another day. Although her burden had increased significantly after joining the TSAB, she still did not forgo Strike Arts practice with her friends on the weekends.
This fully packed her week, going to school or practising her techniques in the morning to early noon, followed by gruelling training until nine thirty at night which she would then do her homework before going to sleep. Many times they had asked her to skip practise and use that time to rest but she would have none of it. She could see her efforts coming to fruition, now that Rio and Corona needed a handicap to go toe to toe with her.
Today would be Vivio's most important day so far as well. After five months, she had skipped the D and sped past the C rank examinations, mostly due to her potential and practice beforehand. Today, she would be taking the B rank examination which was considered an impassable wall by many. If she could pass it, then only the A rank examination would be left before she met the bare minimum to become an Enforcer aide.
In addition, the topics and techniques tested for the A rank examination would only be taught to those who were B or above. If she failed this, she would have to wait another six months to take the test again. She could not afford to lose any more time, the average time needed to transition from B to A was a year and about half of the B rankers did not make it even after two years.
Rio knocked on the desk, waking Vivio up. Her vision was still woozy as she blinked it back to normal. When she lazily looked at the wall clock, her head bolted upright and she was filled with panic. "I slept for thirty minutes?! I still have to get my uniform form the drier at home!" She quickly stood up, pushing her chair a great distance back by the sudden movement and started to run to the door, surprised when a hand held onto hers.
Her head turned back to see what had gripped her, tracing the hand back to Rio. "Umm… Rio, whatever it is? Can it wait? I'm kind of in a rush here…" she said anxiously as she bounced on her toes.
"Sure, if you don't want your uniform," she replied in a matter-of-factly tone. Vivio stood there, bewildered by what was just said as Corona presented her the brown clothing with both hands, the cloth folded up. Now Vivio was glancing back and forth between them, although her face was still filled with shock.
"Your mother came by here while you were asleep. She told us to pass it to you and this video card as well. It looks like she won't be home for a couple of days," Corona explained as she handed both items to Vivio. Rio released her hand and she took them and slowly sat back down, albeit not before walking a little to pull back the chair.
Vivio then took out her device, a stuffed rabbit on the outside, from her bag and placed it on the table. She noticed that Rio and Corona were leaving. "Umm… where are the two of you going?" she asked with a tinge of fear in her voice, worried that she had offended them somehow.
"We've already had our lunch during your nap so we're leaving," replied Rio as she shrugged and continued towards the door. Vivio continued to look at them as they left and when Corona suddenly turned around, she jerked a little.
"Good luck today," she said with a blink before catching up with Rio. Vivio relaxed and thanked the heavens for her two friends as she inserted the video card into Chris, her device. As it was loading, she took out her lunch box and started her meal.
"Hello Vivio," came Nanoha's voice from the video. "It looks like an instructor fell sick on the job so I'll be covering his duties for two days. It's kind of ridiculous that AAA ranked mages can fall sick, huh?" Nanoha asked with a giggle. Vivio also smiled a little from the ludicrousness of it. "Anyway, they need me to stay overnight in case an emergency pops out so I'll only be back tomorrow night.
I've left some money on the table for your meals tomorrow. Take care of yourself, okay?" Nanoha tilted her head a little and smiled. "I love you." The screen display blacked out and the card was ejected. Vivio sighed, knowing that she would have to sleep by herself tonight. She had a room to herself but knowing that neither one of her mothers would not be in the same house was completely different. She dreaded that feeling.
Vivio leaned against the wall, trying to catch her breath. The giant spherical machine that she was hiding from kept rotating its head, trying to locate her. She was at the hardest part of the test, taking down a robot which could generate a strong shield as well as fire mid-ranged attacks. Although the test had been made easier for one person, she was approaching her limit.
A lot of time had been wasted trying to combat the machine. She had tried to come at all different directions but its sensor was too good and it kept firing at her. She could charge straight in and avoid all of its attacks but she would not have enough speed to break its barrier after dodging so much. Trying to compensate the lost in power by loading two cartridges had cracked the barrier. She was sure that if she did that again, the robot would go down.
However, she had expended so much energy before that she felt really tired. Chris, now her bracers and knee pads, mentally prodded her, telling her that her body could only withstand one more burst of power. She bit her lip, knowing that there was still the long road she had to run past to get to the finish and there were still a couple of drones she needed to destroy. If she loaded another cartridge to finish this robot, she would not be able to summon anymore magic which would prevent her from finishing the remaining drones and failing the test.
A barrage of her normal attacks could work but time was of the essence. If she did not leave now, she would not be able to cross the finish line either. Vivio sent her thought process into overdrive, trying to find a way out. She lifted her head when she remembered something. The robot only raised its shield when Vivio made an attack. When she launched a sonic shooter at it, it immediately raised the shielding although it would take some time to impact. It meant that the robot was sensing when a hostile force attacked and then raised its shield. With a new plan, Vivio got up and started to run to the finish line.
The examiner was surprised by this, rearing her head a little. Had she given up on it? Coming to the finish line without destroying that robot would fail her. The examiner sighed, another one had lost the B rank.
Vivio had Chris reroute her magic to detection while she was running on the road. Now she could sense the robot's attacks quite some distance away and avoided them while getting closer to the finish. When she saw the last two drones approaching her, she changed a quarter of her magic back to offense, charging her right bracer and smashing through the two of them with ease. She noticed that the attacks from the giant robot had stopped and smiled.
Converting almost all her magic back into offense, she started to focus it. Five spheres of magic started to build around her as she continued to advance to the finish. When she could see the examiner, she shouted, "Ma'am! Takamachi Vivio is going to put everything into this attack! Please support me afterwards!" The examiner blinked, not sure what she was going to do but regained some confidence in her. If the taker was going to do something reckless, they had to report it and she had done so.
With six seconds on the clock, Vivio loaded three cartridges and her spheres glowed brightly from the massive power up. She then used her remaining magic to push against the ground, propelling her towards the finish. In mid-air, she turned around and aimed at the spot where the giant robot was. "Sonic Shooter, Assault Arc Shift!" she screamed as the five bolts we launched one after the other, each of them arcing towards the robot.
Loading that many cartridges was not for power, but for distance. Since her shots would dissipate slowly, she would have to give them more energy to go further. She was not worried about the lack of power though. Since the robot had stopped firing at her, she reasoned that she was out of its sensor. Without any living beings nearby, it would not detect their usual power surge when an attack was released and would not raise its shield.
Two of the five bolts grazed the target while the other three struck it directly, leaving three craters in it. Right after that, Vivio crossed the finish line, barely awake as her body continued to sail through with its momentum. The examiner casted a holding net to catch her, lowered her to the ground and smiled as she brought the screen displaying the aftermath of her attack and the timer.
"Good job, it's no longer functioning so it's counted as destroyed and you did it with half a second to spare." Vivio chuckled weakly as she tried to sit up. Now she was truly drained, she had not practised loading three cartridges at once often and her body was not in the best condition when she did so. "Although you could have hurt yourself by launching your body like that and having no magic to break the fall, you did tell me about it so you won't have too many points deducted."
The examiner then tapped her communicator, discussing with the secondary examiner about the result. Since they were only examining one person, the result could be calculated much faster. Vivio, now sitting on the ground, had Chris return to his standby form and patted him, thanking him for bearing with her. He waved his arms, signalling that it was fine. Now she felt her body tense up as she waited for the result of her examination.
After a couple of minutes which seemed like hours to Vivio, the examiner cut off the communication line and turned to her. "Takamachi Vivio," she began. "Through your actions at the final part, we have deducted five points." Vivio felt her shoulders sag, dreading what she was going to say next. "However, for your strategy of tricking the machine's sensors, we award you three points. Therefore, you have passed."
Vivio blinked, not believing what she had just heard. She would be one step closer to seeing Fate every day. Only one more examination separated her. Although it would take longer to study and train for it, looking at it in terms of number of tests, it didn't seem that far. She wanted to jump for joy or punch the air with her fist. It felt surreal, being so close to her goal. Happiness threatened to explode from within her.
Then her vision went black and her body collapsed onto the ground.
Her eyes opened slowly to reveal a hazy vision of the hospital's ceiling. Blinking it back to normal, she turned her head to the right where she saw Chris in one of the outer pockets of her bag, apparently in sleep mode. Turning to the left, her eyes widened in disbelieve as she saw Fate rising from a seat and approaching her.
"Vivio, I'm glad you're awake," she said as she reached the bed. She bent down and held her daughter's hand. Looking at her clearly, Vivio could see that Fate was still in her black Enforcer uniform.
"Fate… mama?" how weak her voice sounded surprised even Vivio herself. Nevertheless, she tried to sit up, clearly struggling as her whole body shook while attempting the feat. Fate used her other hand to push Vivio back gently and softened her facial expressions further, if that was even possible.
"Don't try to get up Vivio, you should rest now," Fate said in her motherly tone as she pulled the blanket back up as well. Vivio did not resist as she was shocked by the sudden warmness her body felt. After blinking slowly a few times, she regained her bearings and squeezed Fate's hand as she was getting up. Fate stopped her movements as she turned her head back to face Vivio.
"Fate-mama, before you get the doctor, I need to ask you something." Fate gestured for her to continue. "Did you come straight from work?" Fate smiled a little before answering.
"Yes, Vivio, I had to if not Nanoha would do something drastic." She chuckled before continuing, "When Bardiche and Raising Heart received the message that you were admitted here, I immediately contacted Nanoha and told her that I would make sure that you were fine. She looked as if she would have dropped her duties to see you if I had not done so. Luckily, I had just finished a case so I was free to do so."
Vivio smiled a little at how overprotective Nanoha was of her. By this time, the doctor had entered of her own accord and started to read Vivio's vitals. Fate went back to the seat and waited patiently for the result. Although she already knew it was a case of exhaustion, they could not determine how bad it was until Vivio woke up. After finishing the tests and scribbling some notes, the doctor turned to Fate with an assuring face.
"Your daughter's going to be fine, she just needs thirty-six hours of rest before she's back to her best." Fate let out a breath that she did not know she was holding and Vivio's body relax considerably. The doctor was about to leave when Vivio called out to her. "Yes?" she asked as she turned around.
"Can I complete my resting at home?" The doctor smiled as she thought to herself, 'As expected from a Takamachi.' She had been one of the few to guide Nanoha through her rehabilitation all those years ago and the determination to get out of the hospital as soon as possible the crippled girl then showed resided in her daughter.
"Of course, I just need a signature here and your mother here can bring you back." She flipped the paper on her clipboard to the discharge papers, which she brought due to a gut feeling, and handed a pen to Fate. However, Fate was startled by what Vivio said and looked uneasily at her instead of taking the pen.
"Vivio, are you sure that you want to do this? If you're here they can attend to you immediately if anything crops up."
"Fate-mama, you will have to go back to the house to sleep tonight, right?" Fate nodded at the question. "I really don't want to be alone without any mama with me. Although I will get through, I just feel as if I am alone, just like before I met Nanoha-mama." Fate saw that Vivio's eyes started to water so she grabbed the pen and signed her name.
The doctor checked that everything was in place and left the room. Fate then turned back to Vivio and asked her to sleep while she was bringing her back to the house. Vivio complied as her eyes closed and her head tilted to the side. Fate then proceeded to carry her to the car with one hand under her back and the other under her knee pits.
Fate had been driving for quite some time but her gaze was mostly on the mirror that showed who was on the rear seat. She had placed Vivio's bag in the car boot and Vivio herself was stretched out on the rear seat. Unable to take it any longer, she took out Bardiche and placed him in the special hole that resembled his shape. "Bardiche, please activate the autopilot and bring us to Nanoha's house."
"Yes sir," he intoned. Fate then climbed through the gap between the two front seats and squatted in the space between the front and rear seats. Looking closely at Vivio now, she could tell how tired she was. Her breathing was deeper than usual and her eyelids were closed tightly. She had received Nanoha's message regarding Vivio's actions and felt a little guilty about it but seeing the state her daughter was in up close caused her heart to wrench.
Caressing Vivio's hair, she could also tell that Vivio's hair had changed for the worst as well. It felt completely dry and the simple action of running her hand though it caused a few strands to come out as well. Fate remembered when she was working part-time for the TSAB the stress had caused a similar effect and tears started to well up. She was putting everything into her work that she forgot how her daughter would feel.
She had just assumed that Vivio would be fine with it as Erio and Caro were. The two of them were living on another planet yet nothing about them being a family changed. Looking at how she was sorely wrong about this made her start to sob. Now she was worried that Vivio would suffer the same thing Nanoha did when she was eleven. Seeing her first and best friend in that state was painful enough, seeing her daughter like that would tear her apart.
"Sir, we have arrived," Bardiche said. Fate reached out her hand to retrieve him.
"Thank you, Bardiche." She placed him back in her pocket and opened the car door. After getting Vivio's back from the boot, she came back and lifted Vivio up again. Making her way to the house, she silently promised Vivio something. It was time to make good use of those teleporters.
Tucking Vivio in gently, Fate lifted her head a little and placed a pillow under it. She then unslung the bag on her shoulder and placed it on the floor. Taking Chris out of the pocket, she adjusted Vivio's arms a little and slid Chris into them. Seeing the two of them sleeping together reminded her of the peaceful look six year old Vivio had. Smiling at the fond memory, she leaned in and gave Vivio a goodnight kiss.
Getting up from the bed and walking towards the door, Fate's foot accidently knocked onto the bag she left on the floor earlier. While she herself did not trip and fall, the bag toppled to the ground and let out a sound as the books inside followed. Fate stiffened as she turned around slowly, afraid that she had woken up Vivio. Unfortunately, Vivio's eyes started to open slowly. "Fate-mama?"
"Yes, Vivio?" Fate had fully turned to face her as Vivio stirred a little on the bed. She looked as if had something to say but was hesitating now. Fate bent down and gave Vivio her comforting look and said, "Vivio, just say whatever's on your mind. Fate-mama and Nanoha-mama will be there for you."
Vivio thought about it for a little longer before deciding to take the plunge. "Fate-mama, can you sleep with me tonight?" Fate reared back a little as her pupils dilated, indicating her surprise. Vivio saw this and frantically continued, "If you don't want to its fine, I-"
"No, Vivio, I don't mind. Just let me change and I'll join you," Fate interrupted. Vivio relaxed as she gave a sound of approval. The bed was not too small for the both of them anyway, Nanoha had bought a bigger bed since Vivio also asked to sleep with her every night until she was eight. Fate went to the closet in her room and took out her nightgown and pants before heading to the bathroom.
Vivio slowly shifted herself to the side of the bed so that Fate could just slide in. Now that she thought about it, it was quite silly for her to still need Fate to sleep with her. However, she missed the warmness that Fate had emitted earlier at the hospital so much that she just blurted out her desire. After pondering more on it, she noticed that Fate was taking longer than usual. She was about to force herself up to look for her when Fate came back.
"Fate-mama, did your superior call you for work?"
"No, rather, I called her," Fate replied as she entered the bed and tucked herself under the blanket. She then shifted herself to face Vivio and continued, "I've just applied and received three days of leave so I can be with you longer." Vivio gaped at the statement. "Also, I'll come back whenever I can instead of waiting for the ship to require maintenance before I do so."
Vivio stared wide-eyed at Fate as realisation sank in. "Fate… mama… Are you serious?"
"Yes, Vivio. I'm sorry that you had to almost break your body for me to realise how important you are to me and how much I've hurt you," Fate replied, her voice getting teary at the last sentence.
"No… It wasn't that bad. I don't feel any pain at all and I should be able to walk around tomorrow. I'm just a little tired, that's all." Fate made a sound of agreement as Vivio shifted a little closer to her. "Fate-mama, can we cuddle each other to sleep, just for tonight?"
"Of course, but we can do it any time you want." As they embraced each other, Vivio reached a sudden realisation. Although Nanoha would lecture her and hound her to quit the TSAB once she returned, she would happily listen to her. Fate would be coming back more often to see her, she no longer needed to work herself to the bone to do it. In addition, sleeping with Fate had recaptured that feeling she had been longing for, the feeling of eternal bliss.
In short, she felt as if it was heaven on Mid-Childa.
Author's notes: Thanks for reading and hopefully I will continue to publish fanfiction. Until then, this is farewell.