The first of a number of Nanofate fics I’ll be doing.
“How do you deal with being separated from Fate-mama so often?” Vivio asked. “I miss her every day and I still have all my friends with me.”
The question was posed on a fairly ordinary morning as Vivio was getting ready for another day of school, with Nanoha, the doting mother that she was, sitting across from her at the breakfast table.
“Well, I have my other friends around as well, don’t I?”
“I don’t think I’d be very happy if I couldn’t see Einhart-san for this many weeks.”
“It’s just a part of growing up, Vivio. We talk every day and still get to spend plenty of time together whenever she comes back. When we enlisted we knew what we were getting into. When you love someone, you can’t hold yourselves back just to stay close. And besides, I have you with me, so I’m fine.”
As Nanoha said the last sentence she began giving Vivio a hug, patting her on the head at the same time. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that the question came from the fact that Vivio was missing Fate herself and was worrying about her future with Einhart.
Given that neither of them intended to be an Enforcer or even to join the TSAB, they’d probably be just fine but it was an understandable worry given what she saw from her mothers.
Vivio was clearly happy to be comforted and moved deeper into the hug. Perhaps it was for her own benefit and perhaps it was because she believed Nanoha needed the physical reassurance but both came across as reasonable possibilities at the moment.
After letting Vivio go, the two finished up their breakfast and Nanoha bid Vivio farewell for the day as usual. She had her own job to do, of course, but Vita was covering the early parts of instruction, so she could take it easy for a bit before leaving.
I don’t want to deceive Vivio by making things seem too simple but I can’t exactly make it clear how much it hurts to be away from Fate-chan for so long.
Nanoha had learned long ago that she needed to properly communicate how she was feeling. Not doing so nearly cost her this fantastic life she had managed to build up and she never wanted something of that scale to happen again.
But how could she tell her beloved daughter how painful the months without Fate were? The number of people who knew about that could be counted on one hand. Even fewer knew how often Nanoha cried herself to sleep, perhaps only Hayate and Fate herself.
Nothing she’s said to Vivio had been a lie. They both entered their respective departments with the knowledge that they’d be frequently separated. Ever since her accident, Nanoha and Fate had established near-perfect communication and they’d been strong even before that. Neither was unaware of what the other was going through and neither had any regrets. They both enjoyed their jobs, even if it was hard for them to be separated so often.
But that didn’t erase the wistfulness, the desire to go back to the past, that sometimes arose when Nanoha was left alone.
That vain wish to return to their middle school days.
Those days where they had missions which would last a week at most.
Those days where they’d be able to talk to each other constantly.
To kiss each other constantly.
To touch each other constantly.
She could remember those times so clearly. And while the desire to return to them was no more than a passing one, something which would disappear faster than Fate herself could move, it was reflective of the difficulties of this whole thing.
It wasn’t causing problems in their relationship or anything. Nanoha and Fate almost never fought and even when they did, it wasn’t serious. Their bond was unbreakable. It was just… hard.
The worst part, perhaps, was that neither of them would change it for the world. They loved their jobs and wouldn’t give them up just to be with each other more often, at least not for quite some time. Nanoha was practically born to be an Instructor and the same was true for Fate’s role as an Enforcer. There just wasn’t any way around the pain of the situation and for someone as prone to facing problems head-on as Nanoha, it was a bitter pill to swallow.
Ah, I really don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have Vivio.
Nanoha sighed as she continued to idly sit around, not doing much other than thinking. Those years between graduating and the founding of Riot Force Six, before she’d gotten the chance to live with Fate whenever the woman wasn’t on her missions, those had been the hardest. Vivio meant the world to her and while she’d never call either of them a replacement for the other, having the girl around helped keep her functional when her longing got particularly bad. She was no longer at that point where she felt dead inside in the month’s between their seeing each other in person, both due to Vivio’s presence and due to the fact that their shared house made it easier to meet as soon as Fate got back.
Nanoha suddenly got a notification that a call was incoming. Initially, she assumed that it was Hayate since her friend had told her to expect an important memo later. Instead, it was Fate.
Fate was beaming and Nanoha couldn’t help but brighten up herself, even with the negative thoughts that had been coursing through her head for the past half-hour.
“Hey Fate-chan, what’s the occasion? You usually don’t call me at this time of day.”
“Well, I kinda just wanted to talk to you,” she said, leaving Nanoha somewhat thankful that both of them had been feeling particularly melancholy today, not just her. Not that she wanted her wife to be upset but the shared emotions helped her feel more normal. “Also, I wanted to tell you that my return’s been moved up! I’ll be coming back tomorrow and I won’t have another mission for at least a few weeks!”
Nanoha immediately started sniffling, thankful that Vivio had already left. She wouldn’t want their daughter to see her start to cry just from those simple words, even if they were happy tears.
“I’m very glad to hear that, Fate-chan.”
There was no part of her that didn’t mean it.
“I’m sorry that I end up leaving you and Vivio alone so often, Nanoha. I know we both went in aware of this but eventually, I want to be able to settle down on Mid more often.”
She said it with a smile, though it did seem a bit off, a bit wider than Fate’s beautiful, softer smiles that Nanoha loved so much.
“I’d love that Fate-chan but remember not to rush yourself. I wouldn’t want you to be at home every day if you weren’t going to be happy in the process.”
Her wife nodded in response. Ah, she was so cute. As great as these calls were, they could be torture at times, seeing and hearing her while being utterly unable to touch her. The knowledge that she’d return tomorrow dampened those negative thoughts, if not removing them entirely.
“So, what were you doing before I called, Nanoha?”
“Oh, just thinking about things after I sent Vivio off to school. She asked how I dealt with you being gone since she couldn’t imagine being apart from Einhart-san for that long.”
Fate chuckled slightly.
“I was thinking about the exact same thing. Teana asked how I deal with it. It seems she and Subaru have been having a bit of trouble managing things.”
This time it was Nanoha who laughed.
“I suppose it’s not a shock that those we care about would end up with the same struggles as us.”
They didn’t talk for a few minutes after that, simply smiling at one another, enjoying their shared company. It’d be so much better in real life but what they had here wasn’t bad, not in the slightest. Even calling it better than nothing would be a disservice; it brought the both of them immeasurable joy. Every second they spent together was worth every hardship they’d endured throughout their lives.
“Well, Fate-chan, I think I ought to get going. If I don’t head out to work soon, Vita-chan won’t be pleased.”
“Yeah, I should probably sign out too. Love you.”
“Love you too.”
Nanoha didn’t know when Fate would decide she was ready to switch positions, leaving her on Mid year-round. She had no way of being sure that her own job wouldn’t change in the meantime. Hayate was always trying her best to get justification to keep them together but it wasn’t as if Riot Force 6 would be reforming anytime soon. The future was uncertain and Nanoha had no clue when she’d be able to spend time with Fate every day once again.
But that was fine. The strain could be hard but it was more than worth it. She wouldn’t abandon her current life for anything and as she’d shown time and time again, she’d do her all to protect it.
She finally finished getting ready and began to walk out the door, preparing to fly over to the training grounds. Things would change and she’d welcome those changes with open arms but she was perfectly content now. As always, thinking about that was how she made it through the painful times. Was some loneliness worth it for the best wife and daughter a woman could ask for? Absolutely. She wouldn’t trade them for the world.