A new chapter means new changes. Just how will things go upon seeing the legendary Ace of Aces herself? Keep reading to find out! All characters are owned by their respective creators. Also, things might get a little warm in this chapter, so keep something cool nearby if you have to!
"Raising Heart, you can't be serious? That is THE Nanoha Takamachi you've all talked about?" Tenten definitely couldn't believe what she was hearing. "If that was true, then she's more than 10,000 years old! How in the world could she be alive?"
"It seems that this capsule kept her in suspended animation. But for it to stay active this long is just amazing." Tsunade was fascinated over the fact that an actual human being had been perfectly preserved for ten millennia. "If she really is alive then I'll need to do some medical tests to see how her body has held up over this time period. And don't look Naruto!" Naruto immediately turned his head simply due to the fact that Nanoha was of course completely naked. Although things were a different story for Bardiche.
"Why Bardiche, you naughty little ecchi." Tenten gave Bardiche a sly look and noticed a hint of red slightly dripping from his nose.
"I…I…uh…Lady Tenten, forgive me!" quickly covering his nose, Bardiche covered his eyes as his entire face was red.
"It's ok." She gave him a pat on the head and sent him a telepathic message. "I already know you were embarrassed to see Fate like that sometimes. You don't have to feel that way around me." She saw how embarrassed he was and just laughed. The capsule then went into another stage and got everyone's attention again.
"Reanimation complete. Final cleansing stage initialize." The glass capsule quickly flooded with water and swirled for a few seconds before draining again, taking any trace of the green viscous liquid. "Cleansing complete. Body temperature readjusted to 98.6 degrees. Scan of internal functions show subject is functioning at 100 percent. Lowering capsule and awakening subject." The glass from the capsule slid down finally revealing the newly reanimated Nanoha Takamachi. Everyone stared in awe as she slowly opened her eyes for the first time in 10,000 years.
Nanoha looked around at her new surroundings, looking at the people who awoke her after her long slumber. Her vision slowly cleared up with Tsunade being the first person she clearly saw. "Where…where am I?"
"Welcome back to the world of the living Miss Takamachi." Tsunade took her jacket off and draped it around the redhead to give her some modesty.
"Who…are you people?" Upon taking her first step out of the capsule, Nanoha nearly tripped and fell. Hinata and Tenten ran up and immediately caught her from falling. "And why does my body feel so weak?"
"From what I can tell you've been in suspended animation and it's caused your muscles to go lax." Tsunade did a quick scan of Nanoha. "Once we get a good training regimen for you, you'll be back up in no time."
"That's good and all, but I think she'd want to know who we are Lady Tsunade." Hinata replied. "But it seems someone else wants to talk to her first."
"Nanoha, you're really alive?" Raising Heart's voice was trembling, as if she was actually crying.
"Raising Heart?" Nanoha looked around until Hinata showed her the red gem device in her palm. "How are you?"
"I'm…I'm…" Raising Heart could barely speak as her AI was going into overload with emotion.
"Guess those personality upgrades really worked well." A small smile appeared on Nanoha's face, knowing at least one thing she knew was still with her. "I guess since you all know who I am; I should get to know all of you."
"We should give you the short form first." Tenten said as she and Hinata helped Nanoha to a chair to sit down. "I'm Tenten, that's Hinata, her little sister Hanabi, my brother Naruto, and that's Lady Tsunade." She then turned Bardiche around and got him to uncover his eyes. "And I believe you should know Bardiche here. He's had a little bit of an upgrade. Also Cross Mirage is here."
"As is Mach Caliber, Kerykeion, and Klarwind too." Kyu added as she flew up and introduced herself. "And I happen to be Kyu Vixen."
"Ok introductions aside, now where am I?" Nanoha looked around and tried to get a better view of her surroundings. "This seems like one of the TSAB's bunkers."
"It's exactly what it is. Only…it's now 10,000 years in the future." Tenten said. Nanoha's eyes went wide before she blinked a few times.
"Ten…thousand?" Her face was in complete stupor. "I've heard of sleeping in, but not for that long."
"True. But I guess now we should get out of here. I doubt you'd want to sit around in nothing but Lady Tsunade's jacket." Tenten chuckled. "My guess is you're probably hungry as well."
"I could go for that." Nanoha smiled as she slowly rubbed her stomach. Next thing everyone knew, the large console screen went online. "Shamal? What's she doing?"
The screen went active with a blonde woman in a green and white dress with a white hat appeared. "Hello Nanoha. If you're seeing this message then it must mean you're finally awake. Chances are by the time you hear this, many years have passed and hopefully the Great Mage War will have ended. This also means that you are the only one left of our time.
As you know the battles came to a climax here on Mid-Childa. You and Vivio were critically wounded in your battle against the last Lost Logia codenamed the Kyuubi no Kitsune. When we got to your location, your life signs were so faint that we feared you were dead. Unfortunately for Vivio...she was gone when we got there, most likely due to the battle with the Kyuubi."
"Vivio…my precious daughter…" Nanoha's eyes started watering at the hearing of her adopted daughter's name.
Kyu went white as a sheet the moment she heard that. She still remembered all of the destruction she caused in recent years, but she completely forgot about things over ten millennia ago. "I k-k-killed her…daughter?" She immediately felt her entire body run cold.
"I tried using Klarwind to do what I could to heal you, but you were at a point of no return. The only thing we had left was an experimental regeneration and suspended animation chamber. We designed it to help the body regenerate damaged organs and to preserve someone if we didn't have a particular cure at the time. The only problem is that simulations showed the regeneration process would take a minimum of 100 years to heal someone to full. With no other choice, you were put in the chamber and placed in a state of suspended animation to regenerate with no set time limit. With Mistress Hayate and Miss Fate gone, you were the only hope we had left in the event that the Lost Logia returned.
"Miss Nanoha, are you ok?" Hinata saw tears streaming and Nanoha trembling. Everything she knew was completely gone. Not just her friends, Fate and Vivio, but even her parents and siblings were gone too.
"We also secured Raising Heart as well and placed her in a separate bunker with the hopes that you would be able to find the bunker and our last weapon against the Lost Logia…the Device Conversion System. Miss Nanoha, I'm sorry that things have come to this. I know it was very tragic when Mistress Hayate died, and even more tragic when you had to watch Lady Fate pass on. But please know that both of them continue to watch over you, as do I, Vita, Signum, Zafira, Subaru, Teana, Erio, and Caro. The only things we could recover for you were the few items sealed in this chest. It's set to open to your thumbprint only.
Nanoha…wherever you may end up…I pray you'll finally be able to have a good life. And…it was an honor meeting you, and fighting alongside you. Thank you for everything! And please remember…a good cry helps wonders."
The picture faded and left nothing but static. Nanoha's face was buried in her hands as she cried her eyes out. There may have been times she had been by herself, but now she was truly alone. She couldn't turn back time and bring back the family she once knew.
"Nanoha? Please don't cry Nanoha." Raising Heart did all she could to cheer up her former master but it wasn't helping.
"Raising Heart…what do I do? I…I…I truly don't know this time!" Nanoha was clueless. She had nothing. The worst war of her life took everything from her. Not just her family and friends, but time itself. Time she could never get back.
"You…you can stay with us if you want." Hinata tried to see if she could help calm down Nanoha. "I mean, we're kind of our own family, and well…we'd be glad to have you join it if you want."
Nanoha looked up with red, teary eyes. "Hinata…right? Are you sure?"
"Look you're in a completely new world. Plus you probably know more about everything that we could even imagine. Also, all of us know how it feels to lose something precious." Tenten looked down and held Cross Mirage close. "I mean, I lost my parents when I was young. Hinata and Hanabi lost their mother. Lady Tsunade lost her brother and her lover. And Naruto…he's probably lost more than any of us."
"But we all stuck together and we're building our own way." Hinata's smile was somewhat soothing to Nanoha. "So, how about it?"
"Well…" Nanoha rubbed the tears from her face. "I guess I don't have much of a choice." She looked and saw an open cabinet with the chest that Shamal explained and saw the small thumb pad. "Guess we should see what's in that chest."
Tenten and Hinata got the chest for Nanoha, and while that was happening Hanabi was on the other side of the room tending to Kyu.
"Kyu-chan, what's the matter?" She saw that Kyu was completely torn apart inside.
"Hanabi…I…I was the one that did this to her. I was the one that killed her daughter and caused her to be put in that chamber. I…I can't…I can't." Kyu was so terrified that she couldn't talk straight.
"Kyu, listen to me. You're not that creature from back then. You're different now, remember?" Hanabi saw Kyu looking at her hands still shaking her head.
"No…no I'm not." Kyu's hands couldn't stop shaking. "Their blood…I…I remember…I can see it and I don't want to!" Kyu immediately put her hands on her head and curled up in fear.
"Hanabi, what's the matter with Kyu-chan?" Hinata saw her sister tending to Naruto's partner and saw the device shaking.
"It was that message. She's reliving her past memories." Hanabi held on to Kyu and tried to get her to stop shaking but nothing helped.
"Oh my…" Hinata ran over and took hold of Kyu. "Kyu-chan, it's over. It's in the past. You don't have to remember any more!"
"NO! Their blood…it's everywhere! Get it off me!" Kyu started struggling in Hinata's hands.
"What's wrong with her?" Nanoha was puzzled over seeing Kyu as she was a completely new Device to her.
"Nanoha…remember how that message talked about the Device Conversion System? Kyu was created from that system." Tenten hoped things wouldn't get worse. "Before she became what you see now…she was something else."
"What was she?" Nanoha knew it had to be bad if it was causing this much trouble.
"She was the last thing you ever saw…the Lost Logia known as the Kyuubi no Kitsune." Tenten said, causing Nanoha to freeze in her place. "Yes. They're active again. She had been sealed into Naruto 13 years ago, but just about a month ago, we found the DCS and she was extracted and reprogrammed into her new form and assigned as Naruto's partner Device."
"She must be like this because of the message." Nanoha knew exactly what it was. Kyu remembered all of the killing and destruction, and the memory of her attacking Nanoha and Vivio appeared in her core memory again. "She doesn't want to face me because of what happened."
"Seems like it." Tenten replied.
"Bring her to me." Nanoha said calmly. "I think both of us need this."
"Are…are you sure?" Tenten was worried that things were not going to be pretty.
"Yes. Please bring her here." Nanoha asked again. Tenten and Hinata looked at each other and Hinata just walked over with Kyu still screaming in terror.
"No…don't please! I…I can't…please!" Kyu tried breaking free but Hinata kept her grip strong. She handed her over to Nanoha and saw Nanoha's face had no emotion. Kyu truly felt like she was staring into the face of death itself. However Nanoha had other plans.
"It's ok little one. I forgive you." Nanoha pulled Kyu into her chest and just held her close, like a mother to her child. "No need to let the past haunt you anymore."
"But…but…blood…I…you…" Kyu was babbling as she was trembling, but she felt a sense of calm washing over her, slowing her and relaxing her.
"Kyu, right? I now understand. You're not that monster from long ago. You don't have to be scared. Everyone else wants to be my friend, and I want you to be mine too." Nanoha's voice stayed calm the whole time.
"I just…it's that…I'm so sorry!" Kyu's babbling turned to crying as she stayed buried in Nanoha's embrace.
"Memories like that are hard to forget. But you have to fill yourself with good memories so that the bad ones will be forced out." Nanoha continued to comfort the small Device. "And from what I've been told, you're a brand new and beautiful life created from that darkness. The one I hold next to me has done nothing wrong but carry a heavy burden she doesn't need to."
Tsunade watched the whole time as Kyu started calming down. "If I didn't know better, I'd say I was looking at Kushina and Grandma Mito. Her spirit is so soothing. She handled Kyu as if she were her own daughter. I guess this is what it's like to be a mother."
Kyu's crying started to temper off as she became calmer. "There now, do you feel better?" Nanoha held her back and looked at her with a bright smile on her face.
"Yeah, I'll be ok." Kyu continued wiping the leftover tears from her eyes. "Listen Miss Nanoha, if there's anything I can do to make up for back then, I'll do what it takes."
"You're really set on making things right?" Nanoha asked. Kyu shook her head stating that she would do anything. "Well, you can join everyone else and be my official tour guide of my new home. Also you have to clear up all your tears. It hides your pretty face. And finally, you have to keep being the best partner to your new Master, and always do what you can to help him. You do all of that and we're ok."
"I'll do it! I promise!" Kyu definitely felt better now that Nanoha had helped calm her and helped her get over that bad memory period. She looked back over to Naruto, still feeling the pain he had in his heart. "Naruto, I'll do everything I can for you. I'll help everyone find a way to bring you back. We all miss the real you so much!"
"Now that all that is done, I guess I should see what I have left." Nanoha turned her attention back to the chest left for her. She placed her thumb on the scan pad, releasing the lock. Inside she found three sets of clothes, her TSAB Uniform, four pictures, and what looked to be a small stuffed rabbit. "I guess Shamal was right when she said everyone would be watching over me."
"What do you mean?" Hinata asked as Nanoha took out the pictures. "Who are those people?"
"These are my family and friends." Nanoha said as she showed off the pictures. The first picture was of her, her parents, her brother, and sister right after she graduated high school. The second was of everyone in Riot Force 6. The third picture was just of her and Fate when they were just 9 years old. The final picture was of her, Fate, and Vivio.
"The girl with the green and red eyes. Is that your daughter?" Tenten had an idea, but wanted to confirm it.
"Yes. She's my adopted daughter Vivio. She always loved her Nanoha-mama and her Fate-mama. Although I think she felt I was a little too strict from time to time, since Fate was the one that babied her more." Nanoha let out a slight chuckle as she picked up the small stuffed rabbit. "This was the device I had made for her, Sacred Heart." Nanoha saw as Bardiche came down and looked at the pictures of Fate. "You miss her, don't you Bardiche?"
"I do. I still remember that day she died. I thought I could do more to protect her, but I failed." He lowered his head to remember his former friend and master.
"Don't forget, she did all she could to protect you as well. And her spirit lives on in you. Let that help you as you help your new Master." Nanoha told him.
"Of course Lady Nanoha." Bardiche replied as he went back to Tenten's shoulder.
"Ok, I can look at pictures later. I guess I better get dressed so we can get out of here." Nanoha chuckled as she grabbed a set of clothes. Naruto still kept looking away and Bardiche turned as well so she could dress. When she was done, she was now wearing a simple white skirt with a light peach blouse, and a pair of flats. However she still had a lot of trouble walking. "That's going to take some time getting used to." However Naruto went over and hoisted her onto his back.
"Thanks…for what you did with Kyu." Naruto's voice still sounded empty, but it did carry his thanks.
"Naruto, right? Well, I was glad to help. But why do you sound so troubled?" Nanoha asked as she wrapped her arms around his neck.
"It's a long story. But let's get going. I've sealed your trunk in a sealing scroll so if you need it, let me know." Tenten said.
"We'll come back at a later time after Nanoha has healed some. We may find more information later. For now take her over to the hospital Naruto. Hanabi, if you would, please go back to my office. There is a purple ledger that I need you to get for me. Bring it by the hospital when you're done."
"Yes Lady Tsunade." Hanabi went on ahead as everyone else slowly started making their way out of the bunker.
"I wonder just how much the world has changed." Nanoha said as they got to the entrance of the bunker.
"You'll be surprised, I can tell you that." Tenten knew she was in for a complete shock.
They got back to the village and headed immediately to the hospital so Tsunade could do a full examination on Nanoha. Nanoha had been completely overwhelmed to see how everything was so much different. There were no planes, copters or ships flying, nor were there any cars at all. She saw that there were no cell phones or people using PDAs as well. She was happy though that people had electricity and that the world still functioned like modern Mid-Childa. What surprised her most was learning about the whole ninja culture and philosophy. When she found out that chakra was now the new description of what she called mana, it led her to believe that she may fit into this new world after all. After a short walk through town, everyone arrived at the hospital and Tsunade had Nanoha checked into a private room. Hanabi met back up and brought the ledger that she requested as well. As for Naruto, after helping Nanoha to her room, he took off and went on his own. It was good because it gave Nanoha a chance to find out more about why he was so depressed. But that was after Tsunade's diagnosis.
"Well Nanoha, in terms of your internal health, you're in perfect shape. Whatever injuries you had have been fully healed. However I did notice something strange. Your aging has actually slowed due to being in prolonged suspended animation. It seems you now age 100 percent slower than a normal human." Tsunade explained as she overlooked her notes. "This effectively means your lifespan has doubled."
"That's interesting." Nanoha replied. "Well I did always have a knack for living."
"I see. Well other than that, you have lost a lot of bone density and muscle strength from the suspended animation, so I'm going to have you take a calcium supplement and a protein supplement for about one month. We're going to start you on a special muscle training regimen with some chakra healing to get you back up to speed." Tsunade looked over all of the notes on her clipboard. "Now the big question is…what am I going to do with you? I guess what I mean is what did you do in the TSAB?"
"Well, I was a Combat Instructor and Head of the TSAB Armed Corps Training Division for both Ground and Air combat. Even though I supervised numerous instructors, I still trained my own group of cadets as well after Riot Force 6 disbanded."
"Really, well, I hope you know that you've already been reinstated into the TSAB. You'll be on medical leave for the time being." Tsunade replied as she pulled up a chair and sat down to better converse. "Our own Hinata wanted to rebuild the TSAB and right now we're slowly restructuring our shinobi ranks. What rank did you hold?"
"For the longest I was a Captain, but Fate and Hayate wouldn't stop pressuring me to take promotion exams. So I worked my way up to Colonel rank." Nanoha answered back. "I'm assuming this is how I'll be reinstated?"
"Actually, after I did a complete assessment of your skills and knowledge, and considering you're the only person who knows more about this technology, I was going to name you my 2nd in command." Tsunade replied, making Nanoha go wide-eyed for a bit. "But that would be way too much for you right now. You'll be fine resuming your current rank Colonel Takamachi. But of course you'd only be called that on official business. Since you were a Combat Instructor, I'd really like to learn more about your training styles and regimen. The Devices have told us some of what you taught, but it's better to get it straight from the source."
"Well I'll be happy to share what I know. I mean you are giving me a new home and a new chance on life, so it's more than fair." Nanoha was more than happy to help, especially since it was to people who took good care of the Devices her friends formerly wielded.
"Great. After we get to see what you can do and see how it fares up to our own ninja skills, we may also start you with some shinobi training. See what I'd really like to do is have you take over training Hinata, Tenten, and Naruto, and possibly do some training with Hanabi as well. They have a very tough road ahead and I'm afraid learning on the fly won't help much considering what happened in their last mission." Tsunade saw Nanoha become more interested.
"What exactly happened to them? Is it also the cause as to why Naruto seems so down?" Nanoha saw Tsunade's face and knew she hit the mark.
"Yes. You see their mission is a multi-tiered mission. The first is to locate the remaining Lost Logia Bijuu that you once fought, and use the DCS to convert them just like Kyu. The only problem we have with that is the device was set up for 10 conversions. Kyu was the first, Bardiche and Mach Caliber were the second and third."
"Why was it needed on those two?" asked Nanoha.
"It ties in to the second part of their mission. I'll start with what happened to Bardiche. You see, he was actually activated by a boy named Sasuke Uchiha, who was Naruto's teammate. He was the last of his clan and pretty much considered this village's crown prince. But he was so consumed with power that he treated Bardiche as nothing more than a tool. When he lost two major battles with Bardiche, Sasuke became more enraged and nearly destroyed Bardiche. Luckily Tenten found our friend and created a new bond so Bardiche would have a chance to live." Tsunade explained. She saw a look of horror on Nanoha's face.
"How could anyone be so cruel? Especially to Bardiche?" Nanoha was astounded at what she heard.
"There's more. After Sasuke abandoned Bardiche, he deserted the village. Naruto and Sasuke's other teammate Sakura Haruno, tried stopping him, but something caused her to go with him instead. Now Naruto had the biggest crush on Sakura, and he would do anything for her. But she wouldn't give him the time of day. She was so infatuated with Sasuke. So at this time I sent Tenten, Hinata, Naruto, and Hanabi to retrieve the two. However Hanabi was to be accompanied by her cousin Neji. Now Neji had his own problems as he hated Hinata with a passion because due to an incident when she was three years old, his father lost his life and Neji blames Hinata for it."
"That makes no sense. Why would someone blame her for something she had no control?" Nanoha questioned.
"It has to do with a caste system in her and Hanabi's clan. You can ask her about it and I'm sure she'll explain it clearly. Now this is where things get bad. The team catches up to Sasuke and Sakura, thinking Sasuke is the only one needed to be stopped. At this point Neji finally starts his attack on Hinata and she's forced to retaliate in defense. Things are heating up until Sakura uses Naruto's feeling for her against him. She makes him believe that she truly loves him and accepts his feelings, only to throw him into the path of Sasuke who then uses an assassination jutsu to nearly kill Naruto." Tsunade continued. "Unfortunately, things get much worse."
"How much worse?" Nanoha knew things were bad, but she had never heard of problems this bad.
"Neji, Sasuke, and Sakura nearly killed my team with the help of three devices. Their names were Luciferon, Vulnificus, and Yersinia Kreuz." Tsunade answered back.
Nanoha couldn't believe it. She was sure that those three devices were destroyed when she was 9 years old. "How could they survive? Fate, Hayate, and I were sure we destroyed those three along with their three Masters!"
Tsunade shook her head negatively, "That we don't know. But all we know is that those three are the biggest threat to Naruto, Hinata, and Tenten. And that's also the reason for Naruto's depression as well. So you see why finding you was the help they needed."
"Lady Tsunade, give me two weeks to get back to fighting shape. If those three devices are involved, then they have to be destroyed. There's no telling what damage can be done since they're all together now." Nanoha was now filled with a new sense of determination as she had a brand new purpose in her life.
"Nanoha, are you sure? Naruto is the only person I know that could come back from the brink of death in only two days, and that's due to Kyu and his family bloodline. Do you think you can get your body back to that state so fast? Most people take at least two months minimum for bone density and muscle recovery." Tsunade knew it was possible, but she wanted to be sure Nanoha was up to the task.
"I was once at the brink of death myself when I was 13 and I was told there was a chance that I could never fly or even walk again." She clenched her fist hard and remembered the difficult recovery she had. "But I told everyone that I would walk, and I would fly, and I would be back to normal, and I let nothing stop me. If I can come back from that, I can come back from this."
Tsunade understood her resolve completely. She placed her hand on Nanoha's shoulder and looked her clear in the eyes. "Part of me wonders if you're Naruto's ancestor or something. He has the same determination and resolve, and hopefully he'll get it back soon."
Nanoha chuckled slightly and scratched her head, "Uh that's good, but there's no way I'd be his ancestor. I never wanted to date boys anyway. Plus…only one person had my heart and that person is long gone."
Tsunade looked at Nanoha slyly. She knew exactly what Nanoha meant by that. "I see. Then we'll end on that note. Tomorrow I'll have you relocated to your new residence. You'll be moving in with Naruto, Hinata, and Tenten. I'm moving them to a house on the eastern side of the village. With you there, Tenten's apartment would be far too small."
"Thank you Lady Tsunade, thank you for everything." Nanoha politely bowed. "I promise I'll help those three become the best they can."
"I know you will Nanoha, I know you will." Tsunade was confident that things were going to get better.
As promised Nanoha stayed overnight at the hospital and the next morning Tenten and Hinata met her to take her to the new house. Naruto had used his clones to move everything while the girls were out. However instead of going straight to the house, Tenten had another idea.
"You have hot springs!" Nanoha couldn't believe her eyes. Tenten and Hinata decided the first stop in Nanoha's new home would be the hot springs.
"Well, it would be a good way to help you get used to being here. Plus Kyu got excited and she wanted to take Mach Caliber as well. Speaking of which…" Tenten reached over and unzipped Hinata's backpack, allowing the two devices to stick their heads out. "We're here you two."
"We're here? That's great!" Kyu cheered in excitement. Ever since her first trip to the hot springs, she's loved going as much as she could. "Maki you're gonna love going!"
"Maki? Who's Maki?" Tenten asked.
"It's the nickname I gave Mach Caliber. Calling her by her full name is too long and complicated and spelling her name 'Machie' is stupid. So I changed it." Kyu replied. "But she's ok with it, right Maki?"
"I do like it very much." Mach Caliber, now called Maki, replied. "Kyu has been very nice helping me get used to my new form."
"Actually I like that name too Maki-chan." Hinata replied. "Thank you for the new name Kyu-chan. So Tenten, are you going to give a new name to Bardiche?"
"Uh I think he likes his name just fine." Tenten really had no intention of changing the name, and she was sure Bardiche would probably think it was crazy as well.
"Actually giving a nickname to a Unison Device is fine. Reinforce, Hayate's Device, always went by Rein because she thought her name was too long. But we can talk more inside in the hot water! Come on!" Nanoha was definitely impatient. After not being in a hot spring in over 10,000 years, she was more than ready!
Not being one to argue, Tenten took her advice. "Alright, I was told to always listen to my elders." She started laughing when Nanoha's face immediately had a grumpy look.
"I'm not that old!" Nanoha just turned her head and ignored the rest of what Tenten had to say after that remark. Though she was a good sport and just laughed it off.
After getting inside and cleaned up, the girls finally had a chance to sit and soak in the hot water. They moved over to a side of the springs that had some extra rocks so that Kyu and Maki could sit down and not fall to the bottom. Nanoha was enjoying this more than ever, feeling the heat radiating through her body.
"I have missed this feeling in the longest time!" Nanoha took a deep breath as the heat flowed through her. "This is so wonderful!"
"Well we're happy to come anytime you want." Tenten replied. "Plus since you're going to be living with us, this will give us a chance to really get to know each other."
"Yeah. I just wish Fate-chan was here to enjoy this. She'd really love it." Nanoha remembered how much Fate loved going to the hot springs as well, and always enjoyed sitting next to her too.
"Fate…that was Bardiche's former Master? Was she your best friend?" Hinata asked. She then saw Nanoha slightly turn red and start poking her fingers together.
"Uh, I guess you could say that. We were really close friends." Nanoha was slightly embarrassed because she wasn't sure how the two girls would take her relationship.
"She was your girlfriend right?" Tenten easily figured it out. "As obvious as your reaction, how could anyone not know."
"So how did you meet?" Hinata was definitely interested in that story.
"Well, it was back when I was 9 years old. When I first learned of my magical ability, I was searching for Lost Logia called Jewel Seeds. That's how I met Fate. She was actually searching for them as well. You see we actually fought each other to get them. Plus Fate was so indulged with pleasing her mother that she didn't care what happened to her, even if it meant she was tortured by her mother as well." Nanoha started. "You see Fate wasn't a normal human girl. She was an artificial human created to as a replica to her sister Alicia. Her mother Precia created Fate when Alicia died at a young age. Precia preserved Alicia in the hopes of finding a way to revive her, and she tasked Fate with the job of finding the Jewel Seeds to do so. However in the end that all failed and Fate found out that she was nothing more than a tool to her mother."
"That's so sad. Why is it that people have to suffer like that?" Hinata felt bad that another person had to be made to feel worthless.
"It's ok. She finally understood my offer to be her friend after that Fate had to go to some trial hearings because she was used like she was, but in the end she was adopted by Admiral Lindy who was over the Jewel Seed Investigation. She moved to my hometown and started going to school with me and we've been best friends ever since. But it was when we were 14 that my feelings for her started becoming stronger and I told her that I was in love with her." Nanoha started blushing again. "She then told me that she felt the same way and that's when we had our first kiss."
"That is really sweet. Hinata here has her own crush as well. Though she's having difficulty letting said person know." Tenten knew some slight teasing would get Hinata to tell everything.
"Ooh, who's the lucky person?" Nanoha already wanted to get as much info as she could.
"It's Naruto-kun." Hinata slightly blushed as she revealed her crush. "But he only likes me as a friend."
"Have you told him how you feel? Or maybe even kissed him yet?" asked Nanoha.
Hinata immediately became redder, and it wasn't due to the hot water. "K-k-kiss Naruto-kun?"
"I take that as a no. Tell me, do you think if you had an idea of what it feels like to kiss someone, it would help you feel more confident about confessing your feelings to Naruto?" Nanoha had an idea, but she wasn't sure it would really work. "Tell me, who's one person that you're really close to and trust."
"Um, well that's Tenten. She's my best friend." Hinata replied. "She's always been a help to me, and she's helped me with a lot of my confidence problems."
"Ok. Well then, I have a little experiment. It's a way to see if you truly have the confidence to confess to Naruto." Nanoha said. "I want you to do one thing to Tenten, and just one thing only."
"Wait, hold on! You're not going to have her do something bad are you? I mean I'm not that kind of girl!" Tenten backed away slowly for fear of just what Nanoha was thinking.
"Oh no, trust me it's nothing like that. All I want is for Hinata to kiss you on the lips." Both Hinata and Tenten froze at Nanoha's proposition. "See, Hinata's confidence issue reminds me of how Caro was around Erio. She really started falling in love with him, but she was still shy and afraid to tell him how she really felt. So I asked her who was someone she felt close to and really trusted, and it turned out to be Lutecia Alpine, a girl that we helped during our time in Riot Force 6. Turns out that after the whole incident, Caro and Lutecia stayed in touch and eventually became best friends. Well, after Caro told all of us girls how she felt about Erio, we knew we had to find some way to get her to overcome her confidence issue."
"But how does that have to do with Hinata kissing me?" asked Tenten.
"It's easy. If Hinata's confident to kiss her best friend, she'll be confident enough to confess her feelings." Nanoha simply said. "Plus it works out that her best friend is a girl, because not many girls are confident enough kissing another girl."
Tenten looked back over to Hinata and wondered if Nanoha really was right. Hinata was her best friend and she'd do anything for her, because she knew Hinata would do the same. "Well…I guess so. Hinata is my best friend and I do love her as such and I'd do anything to help her. Plus I know she'd do the same for me, so I'll go through with it."
"Well Hinata, it's all up to you. Do you think you can do it?" Nanoha waited as the ball was now in Hinata's court. Hinata turned and looked at Tenten and could see she was just as nervous.
"Tenten really would do anything to help me. Naruto-kun is hurting so much right now and I don't know if telling him my feelings would help him. I want him to know that I truly love him with all my heart and soul. I…I…I have to do this. If I can't then it proves I'm not confident enough to tell Naruto how I really feel." Hinata thought to herself as she came to a conclusion. "Ok, I'll do it."
"Hinata, you're not nervous or anything are you?" Tenten wanted to be absolutely sure this is what Hinata wanted.
"I'm a little nervous, but I know it's to help me find a way to help Naruto-kun, and I would do anything for him." Hinata took a deep breath to try and calm herself. She moved closer to Tenten until they were face to face.
"Ok so…do we just lean in and kiss?" Tenten asked Nanoha, hoping to get a little more advice.
"Pretty much. Although for some reason you two seem more tense than Caro and Lutecia was. I guess that's because they weren't naked when they kissed." Nanoha remembered, causing both Hinata and Tenten to fall over into the water.
"That doesn't help!" Tenten yelled back after she wiped the water from her eyes. "Ok, that aside…just do what you need to do Hinata." She closed her eyes and waited for Hinata to make the move.
"This is all for Naruto-kun." Hinata moved in close until her face was right next to Tenten. She still showed hesitation but it was all for her true love. She did whisper one final thing to Tenten. "Thank you for being my best friend, Ten-chan." With that she gently placed her lips upon Tenten's, feeling the warmth radiating.
Tenten completely felt her body loosen from Hinata's kiss. There were so many things running through her mind that she couldn't think straight. What had her spinning more was that Hinata just called her Ten-chan. She had never been called that by anyone. For now all she could do was just let go. But somehow she felt her bond with Hinata became stronger at that point. After Hinata pulled back, she opened her eyes, feeling a slight tingle in her lips.
"Whoa. That was…well…wow." Tenten was in awe at what she just went through.
"I didn't think it would feel like that." Hinata was still trying to comprehend everything as well.
"What? The feeling of the kiss or the feeling of squeezing up on each other while you're both naked?" Nanoha asked. That immediately had Hinata and Tenten on opposite sides of the hot spring. "Oh I'm going to have fun with this!"
"Ok that was mean." Hinata was almost under the water, her skin completely red in embarrassment.
"Yeah Hina-chan's right." Tenten added, realizing just how she addressed Hinata. Hinata turned and noticed it as well. Only Hanabi ever called her that. "Uh, Hinata, I…well that is…"
"It's ok. I'm happy you called me that." Hinata started to cool down as the red left her skin. "But that feeling, it was so…intense."
"That's usually how a kiss feels. Especially when it's shared with someone truly special to you. Now do you think you could tell Naruto about how you feel?" Nanoha was sure Hinata was different after all of this.
"I do feel more confident. But I don't think I could go and tell Naruto right this minute." Hinata knew now wasn't the time.
"Well it does take time. You'll know when it's right." Nanoha said when she noticed Kyu staring at Maki for some reason. Maki looked like she had a completely empty stare in her eyes. "Maki-chan, are you ok?"
"That felt weird. I feel all tingly." Maki never knew just what she had been feeling.
"Hmm, seems like you felt a little bit of what Hinata just felt with that kiss. Since you're her Unison Device, you're linked with Hinata. So you'll start to feel things she does. If she's happy, you'll feel the same. If she's hurting, you'll feel some of that as well." Nanoha told the little device.
"It was the same way I felt when…Naruto…" Kyu remembered the moment when Naruto's heart was broken and remembered just how much pain he felt. She could feel the same amount of pain and it tore at her very core.
"Naruto-kun…" Hinata couldn't help but feel bad for him. "I wish he was back to his normal self."
"We all do Hina-chan, we all do." Tenten sighed, knowing her brother was mulling through his depression.
"Don't worry. I'm sure both of you will bring him back to his normal self." Nanoha commented. "So how about we think about what else we're going to do today. Plus I want to get some of those interesting shoes you all wear. They look really comfy!"
Tenten and Hinata looked at Nanoha like she was crazy. "Hina-chan, I think that stuff she was in seriously messed her up in the head if she thinks a pair of zori are comfortable."
Hinata nodded in agreement. "You're right about that!" With that she simply sat back in the water and decided to just relax for the next hour.
So Nanoha Takamachi has officially become the newest member of the Konoha Branch of the TSAB and has become the newest member of the team of shinobi-mages. Just what interesting skills will she be able to teach Hinata, Tenten, and Naruto? And will she finally be able to confess her feelings to Naruto? Only time will tell.