Say My Name

Fate and Nanoha meet by the harbor so Fate can ask the hardest question she's ever had to ask. 'How can I be your friend?'

Date: 2018-02-21
Pose Count: 12
Fate Testarossa 2018-02-21 21:58:51 88946
    It's been a little over a week and a half since the events of the Garden of Time... And for all this time it seemed as though Fate Testarossa had fallen entirely off the radar. With no more Jewel Seeds, and no more vicious mother to hunt them down for, she's had a lot to think about and probably needed more than just some time to think, but also some time to grieve. So there had been silence. No sign of the heir to the Testarossa name. Nothing. ... Until one destined morning.
    Bardiche pinged Raising Heart a series of coordinates and nothing else. No words, no explanation. Just a place and a time. The harbor, at noon.
    It's an unseasonably warm day, and the little bridge overlooking the harbor has such a lovely view of the sea... That's where Fate waits, dressed in a simple button down black blouse and white shorts. Clearly not here for a fight.
Nanoha Takamachi 2018-02-21 22:22:08 88947
Nanoha Takamachi has mostly been busy with A: School and B: Helping out at Midori-ya. She knows that Fate Testarossa needed a little time. And besides. She wasn't alone. She knew that much. She did have a general time in which she'd try to contact Fate-chan, first. BUT before that day came....

Raising Heart got a ping from Bardiche and Nanoha Takamachi relaxes a little over it. Because she WAS starting to worry a little bit for sure.

Nanoha Takamachi, however, gets the ping when it's just after school. Nanoha's parents get a text that she'll be a little late getting home, and she books it for the bridge spot. Yuuno?

Yuuno is along in the backpack. Yuuno still doesn't know where that last Jewel Seed is, but as far as he can tell it isn't a danger and may not even be in his lifetime. He's hilariously wrong about that. But that isn't the point right now.

Nanoha Takamachi is running towards the bridge because she doesn't wanna be /late!/. This is important!

"Fate-chan! Fate-chan!" she's calling from down the way as she spots the blonde twintailed girl.
Fate Testarossa 2018-02-21 22:30:09 88948
    Fate isn't alone. Some distance away, settled on a park bench is the familiar figure of a red-haired young woman. But Arf is keeping her distance, albeit tense. It is in her nature to fret over Fate, at threats both perceived and actual, and considering how long Nanoha and Fate had been at odds, it is only natural the wolf-girl be there for her master.
    Fate. though, is looking out across the water when Nanoha's voice reaches her, and she tenses faintly on hearing it. Wondering if she's even ready for this, she turns, and offers an unsure smile as the other girl approaches.
    "Ah... You're here." She murmurs, before her lips purse.
    "... All this time, you said you wanted to talk to me. ... Here I am." Now she's giving the chance, here and without threats of violence both implied or overt. Just... A chance to actually talk.
Nanoha Takamachi 2018-02-21 22:45:11 88949
Nanoha Takamachi does notice Arf and gives a big wave at Arf. "Hi Arf-chan!" she says. Arf-chan. Yuuno, peeks out, and slips out of the bag and goes over to the bench near Arf. He gives a tiny paw wave.

Nanoha Takamachi smiles at Fate and then she sees the unsure smile and then there's a sudden wash of confusion over her face.

Then a deer in headlights look. Then a seriously harder blush. "Oh!..." she says. "I...I saw. You. From, Over there and I got closer and saw your face and--- I completely forgot..."

"What I was going to say..." she mutters like an idiot for a moment. She then seems entirely unsure of herself. Because admittedly. She's also used to meeting Fate-chan pre-empted with warnings about Jewel Seeds. She tries to gather her thoughts for this long moment. BUT she needs to say. Or ask something.

"Fate-chan. What are you going to do next?" she asks with wide eyes. She asks. "I mean. It's ok-okay to not have an answer for that. I didn't either. When teachers asked me that. Nearly two years ago." she says quietly.

This is probably not what she wanted to say that she forgot, but it's a start!
Fate Testarossa 2018-02-21 23:02:00 88950
    Even from a distance it's clear this is incredibly awkward for Arf. There's a little clearing of her throat and the wolf-girl turns her head away trying to very pointedly act like she's not there when Nanoha greets her. This meeting isn't for her anyway it's for Fate, she tells herself.
    "It's okay." Fate says gently when Nanoha forgets everything she had intended to say. "I think... I forgot everything just now, too." She admits. Then comes the question. Fate rests her hand on the nearby railing and turns her head to look back out to sea. And then it flashes ever so briefly. That melancholy look in scarlet eyes.
    "I don't know." It's an honest answer. Now without her mother, without her purpose, she has no real direction anymore. And what's worse are the thoughts that begin to run through her head as she tightens her grip on the railing.
    That girl said to me once 'I want to become friends.'
    "This new for me. Freedom. I'm not sure what to do with it."
Nanoha Takamachi 2018-02-21 23:26:27 88951
Nanoha Takamachi turns to the sea, too. But she's seen it a lot. Since she was little. She's lived on Earth, afterall. She isn't from space. Like Yuuno and Arf and Fate-chan is. Fate-chan hasn't. It's still pretty everytime she sees it though.

She gently looks down at the water. Mainly at her and Fate's reflections. She has questions too. But they're all. Confrontational. Or Show a lack of trust. 'Are you going to go back to work for Riventon?' 'Will we really have to fight again?...'.

She wants to trust in Fate, so she doesn't ask those. "...I didn't know I wanted to do before. As I said. But then I met Yuuno. And Raising Heart. And that changed." she says quietly. "-and then I..."

"Met you." she says. "Fate-chan. Did you know your eyes are always look so sad?..." she says quietly. "Even when. We we're fighting. They always seem. Sad." she says quietly. "I wanted to help you. And understand. Why they're so sad." she says as she looks up and towards Fate. "-and when you told me. You we're trying to make your mother happy. I could understand that. But. The... seeds we're. Dangerous. No one should have had them. And I knew that at the minimum. They'd hurt your mother." she says quietly.

"-and then your eyes would be even sadder." she says. She nods curtly.

"What you should do Fate-chan. Is do what you want to do. And go. Where you want to go." she says. "And if you don't know where that is.. I.. I can make a suggestion. or two. But I also..."

"I don't wanna push you Fate-chan. I mean...."

"I'm hoping. You don't go back to. Riventon." she does admit. "It'd just mean. We need to fight again. And I don't want to. Fight you Fate-chan. I want to be. Your friend!" she says with wide eyes.
Fate Testarossa 2018-02-21 23:53:44 88952
    And once again Nanoha raises the topic of Fate's eyes. It is not the first time Nanoha has spoken of them and the depths of the sorrow within them. It pulls Fate's attention from the sea to glance at the other girl from the corner of her gaze.
    That girl is definitely kind... Fate thinks to herself.
    Nanoha had always been, concerned first and foremost with Fate and for no reason deeper than simply caring. Fate's eyes cast downwards, bangs shrouding her face in a brief shadow.
    She can make much better friends than me...
    The blonde draws a steeling breath.
    I caused trouble for so many people...
    Fate should do what she wants to do, but after everything she has done, does she even deserve that? What has she done to earn this new freedom except make other people hurt and miserable? Her hand trembles where she holds onto the banister as she refuses to look at Nanoha now.
    That is why...
    "... Thank you. Your kind feelings made me very happy..." She says, voice lower than a whisper. "But..."
    There is a hestitant beat. As though she were unsure or unwanting to say what comes next, but Fate Testarossa manages.
    "We cannot be friends."
    She could never see it without looking in a mirror. The way her eyes betray her true feelings, the scarlet depths brimming with an utter misery as soon as the words leave her.
    "I wouldn't know how to be your friend even if you gave me the chance."
    How many times has it been? That I have stretched my hands out for the things I wish for... But I couldn't reach them...
Nanoha Takamachi 2018-02-22 00:26:44 88953
Nanoha Takamachi has heard this before. She has heard it more than once. 'We Cannot Be Friends'.

We Cannot Be Friends.. She didn't believe it then, she doesn't believe now. MOST CERTAINLY not now. That is to say. Those words don't catch her off guard. She does twinge at bit at it. Those are not the words she expected. She nrgs.

"I didn't. Thank you. Did I?..." she says quietly. "For coming to help." she says. "Those others there. We're from a group called Virtue. Virtue helps people. They came because I asked for the help..." she says. "But..."

"I didn't ask you. And you came to help anyways. I didn't want you to have to. Fight your mom." she admits.

"Because. I don't think. I could fight my mom. If I was in the same shoes." she says quietly. "But that's. What.. friend's do Fate-chan. They come help each other and support each other! And...".

"...take them to places they're not supposed to. To make sure they're okay." she says quietly. "--and split things they're trying to capture..." she says.

"And..." she closes her eyes and... she sniffs. "...This whole affair has been so hard." she says finally says quietly. Before Fate can do much. Or say much, she's more or less- trying to hug Fate.

And burying her face into her shoulder. "Everything was so hard Fate-chan." she says as she begins to cry. "I never told anyone that before." she says quietly. She's not exactly bawling her eyes out loudly. But she is clearly crying.

"Hard for you. And me and..."

She trails off.
Fate Testarossa 2018-02-22 00:42:15 88955
    Fate is silent for a long moment. Nanoha moves in to close the gap, arms go around the slim blonde and... Fate does not tense. There is yet another hestitant beat as the redhead buries face against her shoulder, before Fate's arms wrap their way around Nanoha's shoulders.
    She holds her like that without words for a good, long, moment. No words. There aren't any words that need to be said for just a few moments. It can't just end like that.
    This time... This time I need to reach out my hands.
    "... Nanoha." Fate whispers.
    Is being a friend so easy? As simply as being there when needed. As simply as whispering a hurt girl's name when she needs to hear another voice the most? Can Fate really do it?
    "Please don't cry."
    If I am able to grab hold of that precious thing I want the most...
    "N... Nano... ha." It's the only word Fate can find. Everything else but that girl's name sticks in her throat for a moment.
    "Is it really that easy?"
Nanoha Takamachi 2018-02-22 01:32:18 88956
Nanoha Takamachi doesn't move for a bit. She still isn't bawling her eyes out. But she does sniff. "I'm sorry." she says. "Just. Everything. Collapsing in on me at once. Not your fault. Just. The only person I have to talk to about this. Is Yuuno. And he's just kind of a space ferret." she says softly.

She sniffs. "Fate-chan. You say we can't be friends but... I disagree. You've helped me countless times. Something horrible. Would have had happened to me if you didn't. Save me from that hospital" she says quietly.

"If you don't know... what to do... I'd like you to come to Virtue with me." she says quietly as she swallows. "Lindy has ways to help you settle in. I don't think you'd be the first person she'd help settle in form something like that." she says quietly. "-and you deserve a chance. To do good things too, Fate-chan." she says. "On your own terms. Because you want to."

It takes her a moment but she does lift her head.

"Please...?" is all she can ask. She isn't trying to give Fate a lecture about pushing help away after all.
Fate Testarossa 2018-02-22 01:44:38 88958
    And Fate is still holding Nanoha. This whole time. Now it's her turn to tremble slightly, but she doesn't let go.
    I will definitely use both of my hands to hold it tightly...
    "This is... All so new to me." She replies. "... But the only person I've had to talk to is my wolf."
    Fate's lips purse at the request, and she considers it. And decides, for now, to tuck her nose in gainst red hair with a soft sigh. "I've... Never had any friends other than Arf before. Let's... Take it one step at a time?"
Nanoha Takamachi 2018-02-22 02:13:20 88961
Nanoha Takamachi nods a bit. "One step at.. a time." she says as she sniffs and wipes her eyes with a sleeve as she nods. "That's always fine Fate-chan. No one wants to hurry you right now." she says. "You should...."

"Do you remember that curry shop? Rashmi-chan's family owns it. You should go visit. I'm sure I'm not the only one, that wants to be your friend Fate-chan." she smiles. "-and Koji-kun frequents there too! And some others too." she says quietly.

"But you can visit. When you feel ready." she nods gently.

"-and I wanna get to know Arf, too. And Yuuno could do with another friend that has to be an animal too. Even if he's kind of like a boy being a ferret..." she says quietly.

She eyes Yuuno. She looks back to Fate. Yeah. Nanoha is still upset at that. You jerk space ferret.

A pause. "Fate-chan. Do you want to. Come to my family's bakery?" she asks. "I can get you... a cupcake." she says with wide eyes. "Before you have to go for the night..." she says quietly.