Commuter Kidnapping

Fate approaches Nanoha for what was intended to be a brief but very important chat, only to get pulled along for a bus ride, just narrowly evading Arisa and Suzuka and awkward questions in the process after an emotional backhanding.

Date: 2017-09-19
Pose Count: 22
Fate T. Waldia 2017-09-19 12:36:56 83016
    It's early in the day. Classes haven't started yet, but for some people, school is not an option. Fate Testarossa does not have time for homework or study. Her tutoring from Linith was enough to teach her everything she needed in life, right now, and that means no school uniform, no commute to any of the big regional Tokyo schools, and unlike most other girls, a relatively free morning.
    Relatively. She still tirelessly hunts the Jewel Seeds, and right now, Arf is running a search spell in another part of town. Which means she's alone. And she has some time.
    Believe it or not, the saying 'know thy enemy' applies very well to Fate's life; having learned of Nanoha Takamachi's sheer grit and determination first-hand. She's studied the girl a bit. She knows the route she takes to go to school.
    This morning... Fate Testarossa stands herself right in the center of that route. And she waits.
Nanoha Takamachi 2017-09-19 12:45:41 83017
The Bus route Nanoha takes arcs across Tokyo to pick up VARIOUS children and she has stints where she's walking between stops and overall it's just drudgery any normal kid is used to by now and she really doesn't think nothing much of it.

She has her head down sometimes in thought. Yuuno doesn't come to her to school and stays home and does whatever it is space ferret things do.

She's walking to the next bus stop- pondering texting Rashmi. or Koji- and trying to find out how their meeting with Lindy went.

This is when she looks up and blinks once in confusion...

"..Fate-chan?.." she says lowly to herself as she looks around and she looks back. Fate probably hasn't pulled a batman disappearance when she wasn't looking. She seems hesitant. This is not the norm. Is it a trap? Is Fate going to actually talk to her? Or is she going to barrier and they're gonna have a fight right there?

Raising Heart is beeping in her head to be cautious. She's that much. But she's still going to approach.

"Fate-chan?..." she asks softly. "..are you waiting for someone in a shop..?" she asks looking for nearby stores. She figures. 'Maybe Arf is in one.' and this is what this is about because that's best case scenario given things maybe.
Fate T. Waldia 2017-09-19 12:54:03 83018
    In an instant, a normal school day commute turns tense. Fate isn't looking at any of the store windows. No, as soon as Nanoha looks up, Fate is already staring intently at her, scarlet eyes half-lidded with a workaholic fatigue and that ever present, tired, melancholy.
    A soft ping from Bardiche indicates the stalwart Device's current non-aggression before he goes silent as usual; never speaking up unless he has something incredibly important to say.
    "No." Fate answers, simple and direct. "I was waiting for you."
    It's for the best Arf is in another part of town.
Nanoha Takamachi 2017-09-19 13:10:29 83019
Things Arf is doing. Dog girl things probably. But that doesn't concern Nanoha right now. Because. Fate was... waiting for her? Her? Nanoha? What? She blinks a bit. Bardiche seems to ping non-aggressively. Raising Heart... hesitantly pings back. It takes a moment.

There is a soft blush there. But. It's only a moment as she seems thoughtful. "Why were. You waiting for me? Did you want to talk...?" she asks quietly.

She hopes talk. Please talk Fate. Talk your heart out. Please don't let this be a fight. Or a trap. She's hoping so much for it.
Fate T. Waldia 2017-09-19 13:22:09 83020
    A blush? It doesn't escape Fate's notice, but if she has any reaction to it, she shows... Nothing.
    Why is her face red? She thinks, obliviously to the other girl's feelings and desires. It's easier to not think about those. To shut those out and focus solely on herself and her goals. But...
    Nanoha makes that increasingly hard.
    With every passing encounter, every time the other girl so earnestly reached out, Fate can only stonewall someone for so long, before her gentle nature gives in. "You're going to be late if you just stand there." She says at first. Before she steps aside. She waits for Nanoha to continue before... She starts to follow. "You make things hard for me."
    It's not the most subtle conversation opener.
Nanoha Takamachi 2017-09-19 13:32:54 83021
Nanoha Takamachi blinks and opens her mouth, then closes as she takes a deep breath. "Yes, I will!" she suddenly says as if realizing as she begins walking down the way. Fate's following her. And she's talking. This is really odd. But it's also...

Really, really nice for the moment. It beats walking with Suzuka and Arisa who always seem to question her recent odd behavior. Well. Not recent. But they do question it. Oh god. What if Fate follows her to that point? She'll have to explain Fate to Suzuka and Arisa and oh god how is she going to do that? 'Hey guys, this is my rival who I fight for magical artifacts from space.'

Yeah that'd go down well.

She head tilts. "Make things hard. How?" she asks. "Not like. You make it easy for me. Either." she shifts.
Fate T. Waldia 2017-09-19 13:38:31 83022
    Nanoha's friends must really care about her. To prod her as they do. But no, today she has a different walking partner. And Fate's lips purse into a thin line. This is not easy for her by any stretch.
    "My purpose." She says.
    This is a business chat. Or at least it's begun like all the others. Fate has tried to reason with Nanoha in the past after all but it always ended the same. The pigtailed girl was always determined regardless.
    Nanoha already knows they whys of Fate's duty though. She need not explain that. But she opens up a little more. It's just a crack but it's there. "... Mother is unwell."
    Yes. Her mother. The woman she seeks out the Jewel Seeds for. The one who took advantage of all the magical girls leaving for D-Point to hold Tokyo hostage.
Nanoha Takamachi 2017-09-19 13:52:41 83023
Nanoha Takamachi is walking her usual pace. It isn't a fast pace. Fate can easily keep up. She blinks. "Your purpose?..." she asks. That sounds. Ominous. Robots, Things have purposes. People have goals. Fate isn't secretly a robot. Is she?

She taps her bottom lip at that thought bubble as she shakes it off. Fate isn't a robot. She's certain of that much. "I know what you mean. Just..."

"Don't you mean. Goal? What you want to do, Fate-chan?" she asks.

She listens even more when Fate says that her mother is 'unwell'.

"Unwell?..." she asks. "Is. she sick?" she asks. She kind of wants to bet it's the Jewel Seeds doing that to her. And part of her wants to go told you so! I so tried to told you so. But that's also a terribly mean thing to say to someone.
Especially when they go out of their way to uncomfortably talk about it.
Fate T. Waldia 2017-09-19 14:08:06 83025
    Unfortunately for Fate, she has no idea just how correct she is in saying her 'purpose'. It is what she was born for after all. But that is another matter entirely, as she keeps pace with the red-haired girl.
    It's an honest answer, forthright and direct as Fate's gaze casts downward. "She tries to hide it from me and stay strong." Given further, with a beat's pause. Though she does not state the cause. "She always told me, as a Testarossa I should remain strong."
    So naturally, Precia would never allow such weakness to be seen.
Nanoha Takamachi 2017-09-19 14:24:31 83026
Nanoha Takamachi follows along. Precia is getting sick? And she's hiding it? She sighs a bit. She doesn't know what to say. Precia isn't a nice person. She knows that much. Nice people don't threaten a bunch of people in a vurnable position during the worst possible night of any year. But. She's still Fate's mom. And you don't wish that on other people. Getting sick. Just because they're mean people. What good does that do?

No Good. That's what.

"...Is there anything I can do...?" she asks softly. "To help?" she asks with wide eyes as she stops in front of a bus stop sign. Time to wait for the bus now.

She stands even though there's benches over there. "...but... our weaknesses are sometimes what makes us who we are..." she says quietly.
Fate T. Waldia 2017-09-19 14:29:58 83027
    "I can't be weak." Fate denies, tone firm and without wavering.
    She is strong. She is a Testarossa. she comes from a line of strong mages. She cannot let Nanoha see any weakness in her. At least that is what she thinks. And perhaps why she answers so quickly at first, before she gives a beat. "For her sake."
    Fate truly cares about her mother, in spite of whatever Nanoha may think, that is a true fact. But her lips purse. She knows she cannot ask Nanoha to give up on the Jewel Seeds. The girl is as determined as she is, that is something she has grown to learn. And even respect somewhat.
    "I don't know." And that too is true, if she cannot ask Nanoha to stop. "As it is... We're going to keep fighting over the Jewel Seeds." Another truth as her eyes remain downcast.
    "I don't like having to hurt you."
Nanoha Takamachi 2017-09-19 14:56:24 83028
Nanoha Takamachi remembers that Rashmi mentioned that Fate was trying to 'sneak looks' at her. While she was looking down trying to not make Fate uncomfortable in the curry shop. Then she says 'I don't like having to hurt you.'. She /knew/ Fate was good! and this confirms that much to her. Not that. It changes much right now.

But it sure pulls her out of the confused slump she was in leaving the curry shop that day.

"I..I don't like having to hurt you, too, Fate-chan!" she says. "But. I can't let you. Take the Jewel Seeds, and take them to your mom." she says quietly.

"And I'm sorry it's that way. But. It has to be that way. For now." she says quietly.
Fate T. Waldia 2017-09-19 15:05:54 83029
    Yet more truth. Fate does not like the physical harm she must cause others in the line of her duty. She is far gentler than the dark and unfeeling image she projects, and just telling Nanoha this is a small display of vulnerability. But there it is. Nanoha is just as determined; just as Fate had also anticipated.
    "I don't know how bad it is. She won't open up to me." A pause. "She wasn't like this before. She... Wasn't always like how you saw her.''
    Fate was there, after all. That day of the eclipse.
    "Mother is kind... Gentle." Fate is deluded. "Something changed after the accident but she would never tell me."
    Her fist clenches as she stops walking. "This is for herself. Everything is so that I can see her smile again. Everything I do, is for mother's sake."
    "It has to be that way."
Nanoha Takamachi 2017-09-19 15:19:10 83030
Nanoha Takamachi blinks. "...accident?" she asks curiously in thought. She's not aware of any accident. She sighs a bit. "But...she's your mom. Why won't she..." she shakes her head a bit and then she siiiighs even more. Oh! The bus!

She finagles onto it. She also drags Fate with meaning. if Fate doesn't follow along, she'll take her hand and tug her along. Onto the bus! Which means either Nanoha will get there early enough to avoid Suzuka and Arisa. oooor Nanoha will need to figure out how to introduce Fate to them both without seeming off.

"So she's... collecting. The Jewel Seeds. To cure herself?" she asks quizzically at the far back corner of the bus. No prying people there.
Fate T. Waldia 2017-09-19 15:25:13 83031
    There's the bus. And there's a gasp from Fate- who had not been expecting to be taken by the hand and pulled aboard. There's a fumbled moment of dealing with fare before she's yanked to the back. Hopefully there will be no awkward introductions to Nanoha's friends, but once at the back of the bus her expression has changed. It's colder.
    Her intent had been to get that much off her chest and leave Nanoha at the station. This throws her plans off. Now she must deal with further questions, some of which she has no answer for. Some of which she may not want to answer at all.
    "I don't know." Not knowing makes her hands clench again. Be her mother's purpose to seek a cure or to seek something else, she's clearly telling the truth.
    "She leaves me out of her plans. It's probably for the best."
Nanoha Takamachi 2017-09-19 15:33:23 83032
Nanoha Takamachi now realizes this is a bus so Fate can get off the stop BEFORE hitting the final one she has to be out on. Ha! She's smart! Seriously! This makes her relax a little. She shifts a bit. "You know. You can get off. If you want. I'm just. Trying to be friendly. To talk to you. Without. Needing to fight. or pretend you're not there like. At the curry shop. Because I wanted you to have a good time." she says.

"Because just because we need to fight. Doesn't mean. We can't talk. When there's nothing to fight over." she says.

"Oh..." she finally says, shifting a little. "I'm sorry." she says.

"Why is it. For the best...?" she asks.
Fate T. Waldia 2017-09-19 23:15:25 83035
    "We're talking now, are we not?" It's a blunt reply, as Fate settles in to a seat. She hadn't expected to be kidnapped for the commute. She had wanted to end this encounter on her terms and Nanoha just derailed that. And then Nanoha brings up the curry shop. It was perhaps the most awkward meal Fate had ever had. And it did not help with Koji's insinuations.
    Glancing away, there's a small hiss of breath that filters through Fate's teeth as she squeezes her eyes closed. "You always want to talk."
    "Don't you get that's why it makes this so hard?"
    Because the more Nanoha does it, the more Fate worries about actually opening up. What she's said now has been too much already. But Precia's plans for the best.
    "A good daughter shouldn't question her mother." And that is why Fate says it is probably for the best. "I'm sure she's still the same. She's just... Sick. I just need to bear with it and support her the best I can."
Nanoha Takamachi 2017-09-19 23:43:56 83040
Nanoha Takamachi didn't hear those insinuations. At the shop. She got the idea something was said but she never heard it. Nanoha Takamachi listens and head tilts juuuust a little. "Why does it make it so hard? Because I want to talk?" she asks. "I know you don't want to hurt me. But that's going to happen anyways as long as we're fighting over Jewel Seeds." she says.

"So why not talk?" she asks softly.

She shifts at the back of the bus next to Fate. She's kind of used to the ice queen act by now. Even if this is particularly severe version of it.
Fate T. Waldia 2017-09-20 00:16:05 83047
    "I've already said too much as it is." Fate says, side-glancing Nanoha from the corner of her gaze. She has talked. Far more now than she ever has before to Nanoha, how is that not enough for this girl? It is frustrating beyond words now.
    Her fingers clench at the hem of her dress, knees squeezing together.
    "Because you want something I can't give you."
Nanoha Takamachi 2017-09-20 00:34:26 83051
Nanoha Takamachi shakes her head. "You haven't said too much. You've said exactly what you wanted to, Fate-chan." she says silently. Nanoha Takamachi is akwardly silent for at least a few more seconds before she asks. "What is it you think I want?" she asks.

"All I want to know. Is why you always seem so sad. And upset. and sad. And what your mom wants with the jewel seeds. Because. Fate-chan. They're dangerous. They never /do/ anything good for anyone that touches one." she says.

...Except maybe Umino.

Maybe him. Maybe.
Fate T. Waldia 2017-09-20 00:53:37 83054
    Fate hasn't said everything she's wanted to say. No, a dark look overtakes the blonde's expression, grip tightening to wrinkle the hem of her dress as her hair shrouds her face in shadow.
    Fate would tell Nanoha what Precia wants with the Jewel Seeds if she could, but it's an answer she does not have. But as per why she always looks so sad, that much she can give.
    "I haven't seen mother smile since I was very little. I want to see her smile again. For that I will go to any lengths." Fate's eyes squeeze shut as the bus begins the slow. Nanoha is in the way of her mother's happiness. The thing Fate wants so dearly and desires the most in this world. For Precia Testarossa to smile again- to feel her mother's loving touch and embrace rather than the sting of the lash and the woman's exhausted scorn. And if Nanoha remains in the way...
    These things Fate keeps reaching for... She will never be able to grasp them.
    That is what I want. And as long as we keep fighting, that's what I can't have. And that is why..." She pauses, rising to her feet and making for the rear exit of the bus as it swings open.
    "We cannot be friends."
    It's the last thing she has to say as the doors close and a familiar blonde and purple-ette board from the front.
Nanoha Takamachi 2017-09-20 01:04:44 83057
Nanoha Takamachi frowns. She tries to imagine Precia-- the Precia /she knows/ smiling and all it does is come off as creepy and sadistic. But once again she can't really judge Fate for wanting to see her mom smile. Maybe there was a time that Precia wasn't like this? There was some accident Fate mentioned before. She frowns.

And then. That's why we can't be friends. She blinks a little shocked at this, but-- she tries to say something, but Fate is on and....

Ugh, Suzukua and Arisa and she just flumps down.

"Hey Nanoha-chan!.... why are you sitting at the back of the bus?" "Yeah, it looks like you just lost your ferret or something. Everything okay?" Arisa says following Suzuka.

"Yeah. Yeah. Everything is fine." she lies. Like usual, to her two friends.