"'Cause I still believe in miracles, I swear I've seen a few, and the time will surely come when you can see my point of view. I believe in second chances and that's why I believe in you!"
The somewhat groggy redheaded third-grader reached for her phone alarm, turned it off, and shook the cobwebs out of her brain.
Opening the curtains, Nanoha took a moment to watch the sky. "Aw, it looks like there might be rain later..."
As she went about her morning routine, though, she bumped into Kyouya, who had a serious expression on his face. "Nanoha, I'd like to talk to you in private for a few minutes."
Toothbrush sticking out of her face, Nanoha stared at him questioningly.
"It's about last night. Specifically, about you coming home so late."
Nanoha cutely furrowed her brow as she tried to remember, being a bit slow to fully awaken on cloudy days. Kyouya perfectly timed a mental countdown. Reaction in three... two... one...
Nanoha's brow promptly unfurrowed, and her body language became the college textbook definition of anxious. Slowly and deliberately, Nanoha finished brushing her teeth, before turning to face him. "Yes, big brother?"
Kyouya took a moment to precisely choose his words - or perhaps it was merely a pause for dramatic effect, Nanoha could never be sure - before saying, "You're a good kid, and I'm certain that you didn't lie to us about why you left and were then so late coming home. On the other hand, something seems a little off. I don't think you told us the entire truth, either."
At this point, he leaned against the wall and heaved a sigh. "Is there anything else you'd like to tell me?"
Nanoha gulped, before hanging her head in shame. Seeing this, Kyouya explained, "Listen, I'm asking because I care and I'm worried. I didn't bring it up last night because we were too relieved to have you back."
His expression softened a bit as he added, "You're not in trouble unless you've done something wrong. While we would've appreciated it if you'd at least left a note that you were going to check on the ferret, you know our parents are pretty relaxed about it when compared to most. That man, Guy Shishioh, said he was a federal agent. So if it's something that you're seriously not supposed to tell us - top secret information or something - then I won't press you about it."
Nanoha took a moment to absorb what was said, then spent a few minutes trying to figure out how to verbalize her thoughts, and then said, "It's kind of top secret, I think, but not for the reasons you think. I'm kind of in a grey area. I mean, I wasn't exactly told not to tell anyone about it, but I'm really not sure that I'm supposed to, either..."
Kyouya raised an eyebrow. "Are you doing something that would seriously upset our parents, Miyuki, me, or anyone else you know?"
Nanoha rapidly shook her head. "No, I promise it's not anything like that... It's... Well, you know how you and Miyuki aren't really supposed to tell anyone else about your ninja training?"
"I think I understand what you're getting at, although I'm curious about what someone of your age would be into that calls for that kind of secrecy."
At that point, Nanoha just blurted out, "I volunteered to help the ferret and the magical space police deal with a missing property case!"
Kyouya paused, raised his eyebrow, mulled it over, and under his breath muttered, "And yet that is still not the weirdest sentence I've ever heard out of your mouth."
Then, back at normal volume, he said, "I suppose I can accept that. Between dinosaurs trying to wipe out humanity in the seventies, alien machine invaders in G-Island City, the existence of beings with superpowers, and some of the out-there things I've seen on my occasional missions, magical space police isn't really that big of a stretch. I'm guessing that the damage at the vet is related to this missing property case?"
Nanoha nodded, very relieved that a) he was taking it so well and b) she'd gotten it off of her chest. Kyouya opened the bathroom door and went into the hall, speaking over his shoulder as he left. "I suppose if anyone's equipped to help them out, you are. If you want to talk further, I'll be around to listen."
He then stopped. "One thing, though - promise me that if things get to a point where you need our help or support, don't you dare hesitate. Got me?"
Nanoha nodded very quickly. "I promise, big brother!"
A light teasing tone in his voice, he commanded, "Swear it on your Kamen Rider Den-O poster!"
Snapping to attention, Nanoha faux-seriously declared, "I swear this solemn oath by Momo-chan!"
Kyouya actually laughed at that. Not a chuckle, but a hearty, honest-to-god laugh. "And we all know that oaths sworn by Momo-chan are unbreakable. Now c'mon, let's get some breakfast. I'll keep your secret as long as doing so doesn't hurt anybody."
The little girl nodded, accepting that. Then she promptly followed him down to breakfast. After all, her superhuman senses had caught the smell of eggs. And as the Takamachi family knew very well, where there were eggs, there would soon be a drooling Nanoha.
Rule number forty-three of the Takamachi household: do not attempt to stand between Nanoha and eggs. It will end poorly.
Kyouya suddenly stopped. "One last thing."
"Yes, big brother?"
"I want to have a talk with that ferret later on..."
Nanoha hadn't had a chance to speak with Yuuno since they'd come home last night, primarily as a result of Momoko going into cuteness overload and basically monopolizing the poor critter for most of the night.
That Yuuno proved clever enough to do any trick short of using The Force didn't make her any less enthusiastic.
And then, after breakfast, Nanoha brought Yuuno some cookies before she left for school... at which point Kyouya went outside with him, intent on further discussing the circumstances of the situation.
"So you're actually an alien human in ferret form in order to more effectively heal yourself?"
Yuuno nodded. "That's right."
"And you're working with Nanoha because..."
"She has extraordinarily great magical power, in addition to her other abilities. To be perfectly honest, though, I just wished for someone to help me."
"I see. And you don't have any ulterior motives in being around my little sister?"
Yuuno tilted his head in confusion. "Like what?"
Deciding that Yuuno was exactly what he appeared to be - a good-natured young man, Kyouya replied, "Never mind, just... older brother stuff. I'm sure it'll come to you in a few years. Speaking of, just how old are you?"
Yuuno paused for a moment. "I'm not sure about conversion to Earth years, but somewhere around Nanoha's age."
Meanwhile, at school, Nanoha was reassuring her friends Alisa and Suzuka that the ferret was fine and at her place. However, she once again had to hide the full scope of the truth from them. While she still wasn't very comfortable with it, she realized that it was for the best, at least for now.
She'd brought Raging Heart with her on the chance that she'd encounter a Jewel Seed at some point in the day, but she was nonetheless startled when she heard Yuuno's voice in her head.
'Nanoha, are you free at the moment? I'd like to tell you more about the Jewel Seeds, if that's all right.'
Huh? Yuuno? How are you inside my head?
'Oh, I'm sorry, I meant to tell you before that as long as you have Raging Heart with you, you can communicate telepathically with other magic-users like myself.'
It's not a problem, you just surprised me, that's all. I'm sure that anything you can tell me could be helpful later on. So then, what have you got?
'Where I come from, the Jewel Seeds are ancient artifacts. From what I've been able to learn so far, they're normally activated by a wish or desire of someone holding them, and they continually become more powerful over time.'
An infinite energy source that keeps getting stronger? Sounds a lot like the Zeo crystal to me.
'Right, except that the Jewel Seeds appear to be pretty unstable, and it looks like they have a tendency to self-activate and go berserk in search of someone - or something - that can fully wield its power. And if that power should ever be misused or fall into the wrong hands...'
Yuuno didn't finish the thought, and Nanoha didn't need him to.
Don't worry about a thing, Yuuno, I'll be there to help you every step of the way!
'I... I want to apologize again, for getting you involved in this. I just need a little more time to rest, so that my powers can return to full. I think... just a few days will be enough. After that, I'll continue on alone.'
I'm afraid I can't let you do that, Yuuno.
Though she couldn't see it, Yuuno tilted his head a bit in confusion. 'What do you mean, you can't? You'll be in danger time and time again, like last night, and we can't count on another superhero being around to back you up.'
Inside her head, Nanoha huffed a bit. If I'm not there with you, then you'll be in even more danger than without me. Besides, I think we'll be able to pull through with just the two of us. On top of that, you're alone and don't have anyone else to help you. My dad taught me that if someone's in need and you have the power to make a difference, then helping them is a no-brainer!
Yuuno realized that this girl was incredibly stubborn about helping him, so he just smiled and 'said', '... Thank you, Nanoha.'
So... want some snacks when I get home?
'Eh? Sure, I guess. Thanks!'
A few hours later, on her way home, Nanoha froze, as she felt a powerful energy pulse.
Yuuno, what was that?
The ferret narrowed his eyes and began a teleportation spell, intent on making his way towards Nanoha. 'That signals the activation of another Jewel Seed. Let's head over there and seal it as quickly as possible.'
With a determined nod, Nanoha ducked into an abandoned alleyway before rocketing into the sky so she could get a better view of the city. Taking a moment to steady herself for the upcoming influx of information, she cast her x-ray and telescopic vision about the city, searching for the Jewel Seed - and by that, it's meant 'anything conspicuously out of place'.
At the same time, she activated her super-hearing, and nearly passed out from auditory overload. Even so, she forced herself to stay conscious, searching for any indication of -
Terrified screams from the park. Target found.
Turning her gaze in that direction, she spied the form the Jewel Seed had taken. Having apparently possessed an animal of some kind, it now resembled something between a wolf and a boar.
Just as she was about to fly over there, a glyph made of green energy appeared around her, and after a flash of light she found Yuuno on her shoulder. "Let's do this, Nanoha."
With a great big smile, she agreed. "Right!"
Deciding that she might as well transform now, she struck a pose out of Ultraman and yelled, "Raging Heart... Set! UP!"
As before, she was enveloped in a pink flash of light that erased her civilian clothes and put her in her barrier jacket, with magic staff in hand.
Now that others would have trouble identifying Nanoha by her obscured face and muffled voice, she flew at the Jewel Seed as fast as she could go without making a sonic boom.
"Hey, Jewel Seed!"
The beast looked up at the noise, and promptly got a white-gloved fist colliding with its face.
The Jewel Seed sped backwards through the air, crashing through several trees and leaving a rut in the ground.
Landing, Nanoha muttered, "Note to self - next time, hold back a bit more..."
Then, in the blink of an eye, she used her superspeed to appear right next to the monster, before kicking it high into the air.
Then, without moving further, she looked at her device and said, "Since there's nothing to break in the sky, let's keep it there and minimize property damage. If you would, Raging Heart?"
"Ready. Standing by."
With a smile, Nanoha took a shooting stance and aimed Raging Heart at the falling Jewel Seed with one hand. "Lyrical magical!"
The device formed several pink spheres before shooting the target with them at a high rate of speed, timing each hit so that the Jewel Seed beast was knocked further into the air just as gravity would've reasserted its hold.
Observing that it looked pretty battered, Yuuno decided, "Okay, now's the time to seal it!"
"Roger that, Yuuno!"
Rocketing into the air, Raging Heart blasted the beast with the sealing spell, reducing it to a Jewel Seed and a cute little dog.
"Serial number 16, sealed."
Nanoha deftly caught the animal and lowered it to the ground, setting it near the woman who'd screamed. Taking a second to check her for injuries - and then taking another second to chide herself for not having done that first - Nanoha was relieved to find none.
Reversing her transformation and returning to her civvies, Nanoha asked, "I guess that's a good day's work, huh Yuuno?"
Yuuno nodded. "I couldn't agree with you more."
As they began heading home, Nanoha asked, "Hey, Yuuno, when do you think you'll be able to show me your human form?"
"I could now, but I'd rather wait a few days, so that my magic will be fully recovered."
If you enjoyed this fic, then please leave an encouraging review!
If you hated this fic and everything it represents, then... lie to my face and leave an encouraging review anyway!
Now for some quick notes/replies.
A few of you have wondered why I'm not listing this as a crossover. The primary reasons for that are a) marketing - meaning that more people are likely to see it and check it out if I leave it in the main MGLN category, and b) even though it's obviously a Superman fusion fic and there are occasional crossover characters/events/elements/chapters/etc., I don't personally consider this a crossover story. It's a fic with crossovers, yes, but in my mind that doesn't necessarily make it a 'crossover fic'.
A few others among you have voiced concerns that Nanoha's too overpowered, since she not only has Kryptonian powers under a yellow sun, but her uber linker core from canon. I understand and appreciate these concerns. Just stick with me like you have thus far, and I don't think you'll be disappointed.
I was also surprised by how much support GL got. Which is to say, I'm surprised that at least three of you had even heard of GaoGaiGar, much less wanted to see a fic starring him. If I get a total of ten reviews asking for a GL fic, then I'll do one.
Also, special fan points to anyone who can catch all the references to other works. Yes, including last chapter's, too. What can you do with these fan points? Review and find out!