2018-06-22 - LOTUS INCEPTION: Lera Camry

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Title: LOTUS INCEPTION: Lera Camry

Fate arrives to wake Lera up, by coming to terms with someone she lost.


Lera Camry, Fate Testarossa, Meria Camry, Frederick Camry

Rigate, Rigate Region, Midchilda
OOC - IC Date:

6/22/2018 - April 27, 2015

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

The Rigate region of Midchilda is the sort of place that someone with even the barest level of familiarity with the planet may recognize. After all, it is something of a premier tourist region: snowy peaks, skiing, fishing, and some of the most striking scenery on that planet draw tourists when the season is in. Thus, when Fate arrives, she may find it familiar -- like looking at a post card.

It may not make sense, at first, though.

The Algernhorn looms, with its slightly hooked peak, in the background. That wall of granite and ice forms the majestic backdrop to a two-storied, wooden country home. The roof is peaked, with sloped roofing and wooden beams visible from the outside. It is a spacious home; the sort of place that takes money to acquire, though not the ostentatiousness one might expect of the fabulously wealthy.

The reason, however, that Fate has found herself in the Rigatian Alps makes herself known on the front door of the house. Lera Camry steps out, wearing a sweater -- because it is cold, in this world, a pleasant late spring chill -- and with her hands at her side. She tilts her head, before her amber eyes light up brilliantly.

"FATE!" she calls out, yells, and then she is running towards her with a huge grin on her face. Like, in fact, she hasn't seen her for months.

Because, to Lera, she hasn't. The taller girl will, unless stopped, scoop Fate up -- spin around -- and hug her tightly.

<Pose Tracker> Feito [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

There's something mystical and wondrous about Fate Testarossa's trip through the scar in the World Tree. At some points her hair gets caught and tangled. At others she scrapes a knee - but she's truly enjoying it. This path between dream worlds. The blue light wholly encompasses her vision, as she squints and forces herself upright. For now she's all smiles - even as she picks bark out of her hair, lacing her fingers through to work out the tangles.

Only to discover her clothing has changed. Somewhat at least. In this world she's the Fate Testarossa that Lera Camry knew. She's wearing a yellow and white striped shirt - a light black jacket over that - a white skirt - and black sneakers.

In her hair though are blue hair ribbons tied to look like bows.

Fate puts her hand there to check, relieved...

Relieved that she could at least take that with her.

The area - it reminds her of everything she grew up with. Rigate is not Altseim but it is the mountains on the same world. Beautiful - majestic... and... she at least has the sense she's on Midchilda - somehow.

Fate turns around, then double takes, "Oh! A house!"

Fate looks behind her - the majestic mountains - then in front of her again - a house. Where did the tree go!?

Not questioning this. Fate takes a step towards it... But before she can even reach it.

Lera opens the door with Fate's fist extended. And the girl's face lights up - all smiles. "Lera!" For once in her life - Fate looks so happy. Genuine. Pure. There's nothing held back in that smile or that face.

Which is when Lera rushes her before she can take another step. Swept up in her hug - she's spun around. Giggling lightly.

"I missed you too!" Fate says sincerely as if sensing what Lera means by the gesture, her arms wrapping around her in mid-air.

Realizing though that they're still in a dream - she doesn't want to shock her right out of it. So instead she clears her throat. "Sorry to drop by unannounced - it's okay right? You don't mind? Ah..."

A second later she unwraps an arm to put a hand to her forehead, "Little dizzy...! That's okay though!"

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

In a way, it is sad that Lera isn't aware in the moment. She notices, of course, that Fate looks unreservedly happy. She notices that Fate smiles without any hesitation. But, given the world that she knows, she assumes the reason is the same as hers: that she hasn't seen Fate for months, ever since Broken Ground was retrieved and she returned to Midchilda to see her parents.

She spins her, and then she sets her down on the porch. It is a large porch, and there is a swing. In the cool breeze, that swing sways lightly. Lera looks down at her, head tilted to the side.

She shakes her head quickly.

"S-Sorry," she says, with a sheepish laugh. "I, um, got a little carried away, y'know? And you don't need to apologize for anything! I, uh--"

She looks around for a moment, before she looks back down at Fate. "...I wasn't sure if you'd be able to come," she says. "It's been so hard to get here, and... I've missed everyone a lot! But, um--"

She looks back into the house. "Mom'll be so excited to see you again! And--and you can meet Dad, too!"

<Pose Tracker> Feito [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Fate stumble steps once she's set down before regaining her footing. Straightening upright - she smiles at her, "Oh! It was hard but - somehow - I managed!" Holding up a finger, "I just don't think I can do it again - or describe how I did it - I just somehow did!"

Well that's certainly on the level and not suspicious at all.

"And everyone says - 'Hi'! They miss you too! I wish I could have brought them. All of them..."

And then Lera says it - Dad.

Her expression doesn't quite fall. More that it freezes mid-word. She's still smiling after - though she's a little more subdued. "I'd like that."

There's this singular moment of awkwardness - where Fate can be caught in this internal debate. Her eyes down.

However it's no contest really. Maybe it'll be sadder or more painful if she waits - but if there's a chance at all of Lera coming to terms with her life like she did...

Then she'll give her that.

After just a moment's thought she lifts her eyes and smiles again, "... You know what - there's a lot I have to say - and tell you about. It can wait though. Can I go see your mom again first... and meet your dad?"

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Lera tilts her head, blinking a couple of times. She finds it odd, but not suspicious. After all, Fate is not terribly dishonest; she is certainly not terribly sneaky. The end result is that it seems odd, and that leaves Lera confused -- but finally, she smiles, and decides to accept that.

She does, however, notice the freezing of her expression. That confuses Lera more, even if she misunderstands it. (How could she understand it?) She opens her mouth, for a moment, and then she closes it. She hesitates, before she nods quickly. "Don't worry," she says, "He'll be happy to meet you!"

She misunderstands, of course.

Lera extends a hand downward, towards Fate. She holds it out, waiting.

"And I wanna hear all the things you have to tell me," she says. "And about how everyone is doing! Ren, Endo, Nanoha... and Setsuna. And you, and everyone back at Miss Lindy's! I miss all of them, y'know?"

<Pose Tracker> Feito [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"You think so?"

Fate doesn't. Fate suspects that everyone in this realm will know why she's here.

She suspects that her presence will make them all sad and on edge.

And yet... she takes that hand without hesitation.

"Oh - yes - definitely! All about them... though first I want to hear all about you!"


Frederick Camry is all smiles as he sees Fate Testarossa. "It's so nice to meet you. My daughter has told me so much about you..." And yet Fate sees it in his eyes. That little hint of sadness.

She knows what it means.

After all she's here to take his daughter away from him.

"You can stay as long as you like of course." Frederick reassures her. Hoping she'll choose to make this a long visit rather than a short one. "But I understand this is your home planet too... if you'd like to do some sight-seeing but..."

He looks towards Lera and suddenly is all smiles again, "But let's talk about that later. Of course you'll be staying for dinner right?" He gives Lera a wink, "It's fortunate that we always make extra on Pad Thai night."

It's an Earth dish - but somehow - it's here.


Well not so much - it's Lera's favorite after all.

Fate is all smiles - but she caught the sudden shift. "Pad Thai? She loved that so much back on Earth... um... It's so good to meet you. Lera's told me so much about you too..."

Though not really so much - only how...

"How you inspired her quite a lot... to becoming the mage adventurer she is today..."

Frederick offers a chuckle, "Please - she gives me too much credit. I'm not even half the mage my daughter is." Fate smiles, "I don't think it has to do with how good of a mage you are... just how you went adventuring... searching for lost artifacts and relics of bygone civilizations... those stories meant a lot to her growing up. I'd say it's because of them... that she went to Earth. And so it's because of them that I was able to meet her."

Fate's eyes lift to smile at the man, "I guess what I'm saying is - thank you. Because of you I was able to meet your daughter. If I hadn't... I don't even know where I'd be today."

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Lera looks sideways at Fate, and she hesitates -- before she grins. Her head nods once. "Let's see, then! All about them... well, you've met Mom. Dad's an archaeologist. He's really smart--and gentle, and kind, and..."


Lera sees the look in her father's eyes, and she smiles up at him. She looks up with adoring eyes, and then she scratches behind the back of her head. But, why do they make Pad Thai here? She briefly wonders about the strangeness of an Earth dish.

Briefly. She loves it, after all.

"It is my favorite, y'know?" She tilts her head to the, and then she looks towards Fate. Fate explains a little -- and then her eyes widen -- and she looks between them. "A-aw, you two, you're embarrassing me! I-I mean... it's true. If it wasn't for Dad, then..."

She looks down, fondly. "...I'm not sure I'd have gone to Earth." She keeps smiling. But, there is something sad there. There is a pain, in her heart, that she can't fully explain. "...I... don't know what I'd have done without you, Dad."

<Pose Tracker> Feito [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Frederick looks briefly stunned. "I..." Like he hadn't expected this girl who was here to take his daughter out of the dream to understand fully his connection to his daughter's life. What he meant to her even in his absence. "... you're welcome. I'm glad my daughter was able to be there for you." After a moment he clears his throat, and smiles at Lera, "You should get used to it Lera - given your mother."

Fate's head lightly tilts to the side. She's certainly met Meria, but she hadn't known Meria to be that embarrassing. It's in that moment perhaps she realizes that... there's a reason for that.

Fate understands all too well that grief does funny things to people.

Frederick claps a hand lightly on Lera's shoulder, "Well you won't have to find out for a long - long time Lera. I'm home for good this time."

Fate doesn't say anything. Instead looking towards the kitchen. "Pad Thai..." She says in wonder.

Not knowing Midchildan cuisine very well though she can't gainsay it.

After a moment she perks up to smile again, "You have a lovely home. Thank you for your hospitality."

Maybe she's trying to change the subject?

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.


Lera looks between them. She doesn't understand the words, but she understands more of the mood. She lets it sink into her; she realizes that there is something here that she is missing. It feels just out of reach, like something she grasps for and cannot clasp -- or something she looks for, but finds it missing. Still, a smile crosses her lips.

She looks towards her father, then, and smiles. She rests her hand on his and nods. "Y-Yeah," she says. "Maybe, um..." She looks back towards Fate for a moment. "...You hungry? I bet dinner is almost done."

Which is when there is a clamor -- and Meria Camry approaches, hair in a tight bun. She looks different, in this ideal world of Lera's; a few less lines on her face, her hair a little looser, her smile coming more easily. She still looks like a shorter, slightly plumper version of her daughter. She is also wearing sweats.

Meria Camry, even in a fantasy of her daughter's mind, dresses like a slob at home.

"I hope it's done soon!" she says. "Oh, hello, Fate. Glad you beat the dimensional nonsense. I'd offer you my cooking, but it's all his."

<Pose Tracker> Feito [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Fate realizes she hasn't eaten since Breakfast with the Testarossas... After a moment she smiles. "I could definitely eat."

Frederick plants a kiss on Meria's cheek, "Look who's here..." He doesn't notice of course that she's dressed like a slob because Meria Camry is the woman he loves - including the fact that she's a slob.

"Oh - Oh yes! Yes... I definitely beat it. Just like... just like you were able to..."

She makes a little fist and hooks the air like it was a simple opponent for her to defeat it.

Frederick actually manages a proud smile, "The special ingredient is a father's love and care."

Fate actually seems surprised like that's a real thing, "Oh! Is that the secret? I'm having trouble with my apple pies..."

Frederick looks at Lera, like he's sharing a secret with her in that moment, "What a coincidence... I have one of mine cooling on the window sill right now..."

<Be Careful. Pie Thieves Abound Sir.>

Chimes Bardiche. And Frederick laughs, "That must be your device. What was his name again? Glaive Guisarme?" Fate clears her throat and smiles, "Bardiche." "Well it's nice to meet you Bardiche. It sounds like there's a story in that..." Fate smiles, "Oh there certainly is..."

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Lera's eyes widen for a moment. While she told her parents about Fate, she didn't tell them everything -- even if Meria was shocked to learn that Precia Testarossa had, somehow, survived. She looks, hesitantly, at her father. "Y-Yep!" she says. "Quite the story, y'know?"

She laughs, sheepishly, as she looks back at her dad. She gives him a brief look -- and a raised eyebrow. His secret ingredient, she thinks, might be a little corny. It is, however, sweet. And the smile on her face says as much.

"C'mon, Dad," she says. "Let's get things set up!"

"Good!" Meria says. Then, she slides next to Fate. She leans over and whispers to her: "I see that Bardiche has perfected his pie sensors. Good... good. We'll need to discuss this further!"


Dinner comes.

The Pad Thai is glorious; not only is it Lera's favorite food, but it is her ideal Pad Thai. The noodles have just that right amount of bite for al dente; there is a subtle spice from the sauce; the peanut crumbs give it a little crunch, along with the vegetables. Lera digs into it with a single-mindedness.

But she does look up, part way through. "Fate's actually had this sometimes!" she says. "Back on Earth. Right, Fate? But... it's never quite as good as here!"

Meria laughs. "Mm-hm!" She nods. "It was quite the wonder when this just started showing up on Midchilda..."

Lera nods, before she looks at them. "But, um... Fate's always been a good friend of mine! Ever since... everything that happened. I thought... you know, just the idea I'd never see her--or my other friends again, or Earth again..."

She looks down. Then, she looks to Fate. "...It was scary, y'know?"

<Pose Tracker> Feito [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

<I have. I also know that the Cake is a Lie.>

He learned that during a duel with Nanoha after all.


Fate is mid-noodle slurp, and she's happily doing so. Eating with a certain single-mindedness. Only stopping to smile and wipe her chin. "Lera introduced me to it. Before her - I ah - mostly ate junk food." Mostly because she was driven to not have time to always sit down and eat. But also because... Arf loves junk food.

<It's good that you're eating properly now Sir.>

Frederick gives Meria a conspiratorial look, "Yes - a true miracle." That wink he gives make it definitely seem like he had a hand in it.

Fate stops eating for a moment though when Lera says that, "Lera... of course we were going to see each other again. Whatever happens - there's nothing that could keep me away from you..."

Frederick chooses that moment to say, "Calen are you finished yet? We have company you know..." And a younger voice pipes up, "Coming!"

A door opens at that moment - the child is a few years younger than Fate, with dirty hands. "You should wash up - but meet Fate. She's a friend of your big sister." "Oh hey! You've come a long way..."

Fate's eyes are just glued to the younger boy that Lera never mentioned. It takes her a few moments to realize...

In reality... he never existed.

"It's nice to meet you Calen." "You're younger than I pictured you." He says a little precociously rather than saying likewise. "Only a little older than me." "Ah! Well... I can see why you'd think I'm older... I started learning magic when I was very young."

Frederick mentions as an aside pointedly towards Fate, "Calen takes after his mother, always fiddling with something in the workshop... I bet one day he'll be Midchilda's preeminent Maester." Calen complains as he soaps up his hands in the sink, "Daddddd...."

And Fate just watches...


BGM Change: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eZVfY3TX2c

It's late, and lacking a guest room - Fate is staying in Lera's. She has the window open right now, leaning against it as the moonlight pours down around her.

She wears a smile - but it seems a little careworn. As she converses quietly.

<Is it time?>

"... It has to be now. We have so many of the others to find Bardiche and... with every passing moment who knows what's going on outside..."

After a moment, she offers this lengthy sigh.

"I wish I could give her more time..."

Turning around, she looks in Lera's direction, beginning softly, "Lera... does anything ever feel off for you? A feeling you can't explain... like you look at someone in your family and... you just hurt... and don't quite know why?"

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"One day, when I'm through with the world... the cake will never be a lie," Meria promises, mysteriously.


"I've wondered about that, you know," Meria says to Frederick, giving him a knowing glance. She isn't fooled by that. She cracks a smile, sitting back in her chair. She looks, for the moment, happy.

And Lera smiles, when she watches her parents together. It feels right, she thinks, for her mother to be so happy. But... why? Why does it feel strange and distant, somehow, to see her mother and father together? Hadn't it always been this way?

Her mouth opens -- and then closes, though, when she looks at Fate. She hesitates, at the words; then, she smiles. "...Yeah. I meant what I said, y'know?" she says. "That... I'd always be with you guys. That we'd stay friends, forever."

But why, then, does it feel like she failed?

She starts to look down -- until Calen enters, and she turns her head, to see that head of brown hair, but amber eyes like hers. She blinks, and then she grins. "Mm-hm," she says. "It's true! A regular prodigy. He takes after Mom, and I take after Dad..."


Lera stretches, as she walks out of the bathroom adjoined to her room. She has a white T-shirt and shorts on; the T-shirt has the Rigate Giants logo on the left breast, though it's faded with time and wear. She tilts her head. She had heard Fate and Bardiche talking, but not the specifics of the words.

She beams at Fate, happy, despite a few of the doubts that linger in her mind. She feels them as little thorns, dug in and refusing to leave, but so out of place.

So when Fate calls them out -- when she describes, so perfectly, what she feels -- it's a shock. Her amber eyes widen, and they give the truth that comes better than anything Lera could say. She knows that feeling; she knows that pain. She knows who Fate means.

"I..." She trails off, and then looks down. "...I mean, yeah. I... I figure everyone does, sometimes, y'know?"

<Pose Tracker> Feito [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

The look Lera gives her says it all. The moonlight leaves a bright outline around Fate as she keeps one hand on the window sill. She's still - but she smiles. "When I woke up a few days ago I was back on Altseim in Midchilda. It was just Mother... Linith... Arf... me..."

Her neck makes a half-turn towards the window, "... and my big sister. Alicia. Whenever I looked at her... I felt the same way. I had trouble letting Mother hug me too... they all told me I must have just had a nightmare..."

Her hand slides along the grain of the windowsill's wood. "And maybe I tried to believe it for a while... but it wasn't like that..."

There's a knocking on the door. Fate freezes for a moment. And Frederick opens it. He's bearing two plates with a smile. "I brought up two slices of pie... a la mode of course." The melting ice cream is evidence of that. And his eyes level on Fate as he hands Lera a piece of pie. "You know I was thinking what you told me about the adventure you two had back on Earth. And it just reminded me about when I was younger - travelling.". Sometimes I just... rushed into things without being mindful of the consequences. More often than not it put me into some real hot water."

He gives Fate a really hard look, "I just thought it was something to be mindful of."

Fate gives him a long look before prompting quietly, "She deserves to know." And Frederick says mildly with a hint of sadness creeping into that, "Don't you think she deserves to be happy more?"

Fate says quietly, "Tell her." Frederick doesn't get angry, more sad as he counters, "There's nothing to tell."

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Lera's eyes widen, slowly.

She may not be able to identify what feels wrong, here, but she can see that what Fate tells her is wrong. She knows, through personal experience and the injuries to prove it, that Precia Testarossa is dead. She opens her mouth, but she stays silent for a moment. "Fate..." she finally manages. "Your mother, Linith, Alice, they're..."

But, no, Fate explains: that it was an illusion. That it was something she wanted to believe, but it wasn't real. Her eyes widen, as she almost begins to understand. The knock, then, is an interruption in the truest sense of the world: it stops her from askng more, and it stops her from thinking on it further. That the knock was so perfectly timed...

She doesn't, yet, wonder about what that means. She looks at her father, taking the slice of pie in her hands. Her mouth opens for a moment, and then closes. What he says makes sense...

...and yet...

It's Fate's quiet voice that, in the end, reinforces that doubt. Lera's amber eyes drift away from Frederick, to look down at Fate. Then, they look back, until they meet the same amber eyes. She tenses, her hand clutching the fork a little too tightly.

"...Tell me what, Dad?"

<Pose Tracker> Feito [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Frederick casts Lera an unhappy look. As if he were disappointed - not disappointed at Lera. Never that. Just... disappointed it came to this.

Some things once done - can never be undone.

"If you're asking that there's no helping it..." There's a sigh, as he runs his free hand through his hair. "We just wanted you to be happy... Lera."

Taking a few languid steps towards the bed, he suddenly looks tired as he settles himself down on it. Patting her down to take a seat.

"And maybe I wanted the opportunity to spend some time with my daughter without... anything coming between us."

It's unclear in this moment how much of this is the Book of Darkness... and how much of this is perhaps some lingering will.

Fate doesn't say anything for a few moments, then says, "I'm sorry." Frederick closes his eyes, "You don't need to apologize. You're just trying to do what you think is best for my daughter. I can't hate you for that. I can't even find fault in it."

Motioning for Lera to sit down, he waits for her to do so then... "I wanted this for real you know. It was just... the only way to have it. Even for a little while."

Opening his eyes, they're glimmering a little under the moonlight with droplets of water. "This isn't real Lera. Think about it for a while and you'll know where you are..."

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Lera takes a bite of her pie, the spoon turned upside down and stuck into her mouth. She pulls it out slowly, and then rests it against the plate. It hits with a clang, and she looks down at the plate for a moment.

'We just wanted you to be happy.'

Her eyes stare down at the plate, which doesn't feel so real. It feels numb between her fingers -- and she slides it onto the nightstand, before she looks back up at him. Her eyes shift, turning to look at Fate for a moment. She looks bewildered, before she walks to the bed, and takes a seat next to him.

"Nothing was going to come between us," she says, quietly. "C-C'mon. You know that," she says. "Nothing..."

She quiets down, though, as he explains. Her eyes lift, and she looks up at Fate. She locks eyes with her, as the realization sets in: that what Fate said is true, that this isn't real. Because, in the end, her father was the one that she looked at and felt that pain so sharp that she could almost double over. She turns to look at him, and her eyes are wide. "I don't--I don't understand. I don't know what..."

The protests come fast, but then they die out on her lips. Her voice catches. "...I--I was with my friends on Earth," she says. "We were fighting something, and--" The image of Signum and Vita turning into so much light comes back. "--and before that, there was... there was a lot of stuff. I... I didn't leave Earth. I stayed there with my friends. Because... because you weren't..."

She looks down, and a handle rises, trembling, to cover her lips.

<Pose Tracker> Feito [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Frederick's lips pinch together for a moment when Lera says that, suddenly overwhelmed, before he slowly finds the words, "I wish that were so."

Lera locks eyes with Fate, and Fate just rubs a hand across the windowsill. She doesn't say more. No more prompting. They let it come out at her own pace. And when Lera finishes, Fate closes her eyes. "We're inside the Book Lera - or something... created by the Book. I found my way out of... where I was... and came for you..."

Frederick reaches out a hand towards Lera as if to comfort her, then let's it drop for a moment. Fate continues quietly, "Some things within these worlds... I think it's just... the Book trying to make us happy... but... not everyone is like that..."

Fate turns to look at Frederick, a little pointedly. "I may never be Precia Testarossa's daughter. I accept that now..." She allows herself a smile, "... but I found out that I was Alicia Testarossa's little sister. And that was so wonderful... I feel lighter. Lighter than I have in a long time."

Fate slowly moves to take her slice of pie a la mode from Frederick, "Thank you for the pie. I'm glad that I met you... but... I think I should leave you two alone for a little while..."

Fate opens the door of Lera's room. Then slowly closes it behind her.

Frederick inhales once. "It was selfish of me - but your old man wanted to see you again. I meant every word I said... you've become such a fine young woman. Even if you found... something in the stories of my life... it feels like I've had very little hand in that."

After a moment he wraps an arm around Lera from the side, it feels like a test of sorts - to make certain she won't just reject it. "I'm proud of you Lera... and I love you."

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Lera's mouth clamps shut, when he corrects her. She stays on the bed, but she pulls her legs up, knees against her chin. Fate has seen it before; she does that when she gets worried or on edge. She looks sideways at Frederick, and her eyes start to widen. There is a hint of alarm there, as she realizes the power that the Book is expressing -- to be able to make the boundary between life and... where he was more porous. "It's... it's the wish. The one that girl, Hayate Yagami, made."

She looks back at Fate, when she speaks. "You... you met her? Then..." She looks down, though, as Fate excuses her. But, she nods. Even if she feels that same feeling as before, that pain in the bottom of her chest, she doesn't argue.

This is a talk for two.

The door closes with a click.

Lera is quiet for a moment, while he explains. It settles in, finally, how this isn't normal; that she is talking to someone that she hasn't in almost thirteen years. Someone that she thought about every day of her life, but that she can't say she knew. "Mom told me a lot of stories, y'know?" she says, quietly. "I was... I was too young to get it, at first. Even at the funeral, I didn't understand. But Mom was..." Her breath rattles, as she thinks about it, and remembers that day.

His arm is around her, and Lera didn't pull away at first. But, she takes a second, before she leans against him, her head on his shoulder. She feels her face getting hot, around her eyes, and her lips strain into a line. She fights back a sigh.

She squeezes her eyes shut. "I love you, too. But I got older, and I realized... I missed you. And you'd never see me grow up. I--we'd always miss you. And I carry it with me every day."

<Pose Tracker> Feito [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

All Fate answers is with a nod and a smile. Whatever sadness that world brought her...

It seemed to have done her a world of good.

But for now the door is closed and the two are alone.

"I'm sorry I wasn't there for you... it feels like I missed so much."

When Lera leans against him, her other arm joins to lace around her.

"You know back then as I lay dying - I thought it'd be nice to just have one more day where we could be a family again. One more day between father and daughter."

His eyes still glimmer some, as he sniffs, "Maybe I miss carrying you around a little - but I don't regret how long it took for me to have that one day. Some things back then... I could say them and you just wouldn't understand... or remember. And now you can..."

Taking a deep breath, he says quietly, "Lera... I'm glad you missed me enough to bring me back to you. But I also know now... you can't stay here. You deserve to live your life. To find your own happiness. Not to just dwell upon what you could have had with your father."

He looks her straight in the eyes as he says, "That's all I ever wanted for you - you know that right?" He eyes her, and his lip curves up in a smile, "I'm glad you and your mother made up. Tell her she deserves to find happiness too for me. A last message from her adoring husband."

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"It's not your fault. It... it wasn't anyone's fault."

Except maybe fate or chance, but that isn't a bitterness than she has in her. She looks up, peering from his shoulder to look at his face, and she shakes her head against his shoulder. "I-I know. I didn't... I didn't really understand a lot of things, then. About--about your side of the family being from the Autonomous Region, about how you and Mom met. She tells the story a little differently than you, y'know. More explosions in hers."

She cracks a slight smile at that, but it's only a ghost of the usual one. She looks down at her lap, as he points out the truth: she can't stay here. As much as she wants to.

She bites her lip. "I know. I'll tell her." Lera's voice grows quieter. "We're--we're doing okay. It took us awhile to figure out how to get by with just us two. I-I know I have to go, but..." Her lower lip trembles, and she wipes at her eye, but there are already tears rolling down her cheeks. "...I want more time. I want to know who you were. I don't--I don't want to lose that again."

<Pose Tracker> Feito [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"She would." Frederick has a ghost of a smile there. "She fell in love with the adventure - and I fell in love with her." That doesn't seem to be criticism, if anything he's still adoring.

"Ah Lera..." Frederick says it so quietly, "I know. I know because I wish we had more time too. That's all everyone wishes they had kiddo - and the one thing noone has. More time."

Drawing her in close he says it quietly, "We all get exactly as much time as we're allotted though - same as everyone else. A lifetime. That I got more - it's a real miracle."

Drawing back after one fierce hug, he puts his hands on her shoulders, giving her a serious look. "If you stay here much longer though - you won't be able to go back. And your friends - loved ones - they're all out there. Caught in their own dream. Or in the world outside during whatever is happening right now. Don't make it a choice between your old man and them."

Now he smiles warmly, "Even if it was - to that daughter of mine I'm so proud of - it'd be no contest. Right?"

He keeps holding her gaze with his own tear-filled one for a few moments, "And know that your father is rooting for you."

He doesn't need to say no matter how it turns out - he'll still be proud of her. Because she doesn't need to earn it.

He already is proud. It's simple fact.

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"That... that sounds like her," Lera says with a little laugh.

She sniffs, though, and she looks up at him. She hugs him back, head buried against his shoulder. "Y-Yeah," she agrees. "It is a miracle. I--I never thought I'd have the chance to..." Hers chance to do something that she has trouble putting in words. It never felt right in front of a gravestone; it never felt right all the times she visited the cemetery. She looks back up, tear-filled eyes blinking. Then, she smiles, slowly; she wipes at her eyes with a hand, before laying it atop one of the ones that he rests on her shoulder.

"I won't let them down," she says, quietly. "It's... it's what someone with the proud Camry name would do, right? Go save the world, again." She smiles, now, through her tears. "You and Mom gave me that. I meant it, when I said that the best parts of me came from you. I love you, y'know? And..."

She wipes at her eyes, again, and then launches forward into one last hug, head buried against her chest. The words she never found in the last thirteen years are there, finally, and hard to say... but not impossible, the way they once were.

"Goodbye, Dad."

<Pose Tracker> Feito [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Before he'd told Lera that it feels like he had very little to do with how she was brought up. Had very little hand in the best parts of her. But that's in part humility in action. If Lera wants to take pride in such things as her father... "It is." He says finally, when it comes to the Camry name, "It's what I'd do."

Then who is he tell her otherwise?

"You know that girl Fate... when she told me that I inspired you in some way..." It's one thing to hear it from Lera who's been trapped within the dream, her perceptions skewed. It's another thing to hear it from someone else who knows his daughter. To know his daughter was talking about him

"It made me happy. It made me happy to know that I got to be a part of your life beyond just... what I got. That I had some hand at all in making you the wonderful - special girl you are today..."

He closes his eyes for a moment, "I was happy."

When Lera launches that last hug, his eyes are still closed. His arms wrap around her so tightly, as he lightly rubs her back for comfort. And then - "I love you."

He becomes ephemeral in that moment, first his tears that are wet and hot - glimmering like stars, then the rest of him slowly. A million million tiny sparkling blue fireflies.

"Goodbye Lera."

And then he vanishes.

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

She looks up, smiling still, through the tears. It's a little thing, she thinks, hearing that he was proud of her; that he was happy, to have touched her life, even when he was gone. She blinks, though, as the hug becomes less tight -- as his form becomes more corporeal. The swirl of blue lights that flutters up around her. Without his weight, Lera leans forward, but she doesn't topple.

The lights vanish after his words. Lera raises a hand, palm against her mouth, and she sobs into it. Her fingers curl, and she stays leaning forward in a room that is, suddenly, quite still.

The house grows quieter and more empty now. With Frederick gone, the house has that sensation of being empty that comes naturally. The wooden frame of the home settles, which makes the door to Lera's room come ajar, with a soft creak.

She looks up at the door, bleary-eyed, but standing up slowly. As she rises to her feet, a last pair of blue fireflies swirl up around her head, and then wink out. She reaches up, to the gold necklace around a green gem, and her fingers curl around it tightly.

<Pose Tracker> Feito [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

As Lera looks back at the vision of her home, a voice behind her starts softly, "I'm sorry... when I found out that you knew who I was..."

Fate shuffles her feet, "I... was worried... in a world where you have everyone... in your life... where the only thing seperating us is one problem solved... one adventure..."

The world is better for her today than it was yesterday - because she is Alicia Testarossa's little sister. Because she was worth enough for the real one to come back and save the failed - fake doll.

That the effort put into that by a member of her family... it made her realize that she has worth beyond the labels Precia placed on her.

"...it felt like if I gave you more time - you might never break free on your own."

She was worried because... the world outside certainly doesn't seem like a better one than the one in here for Lera Camry.

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

The voice surprises Lera -- and yet, it doesn't. Frederick told her that the Book was behind this, and all of this was an illusion. If the illusion has broken, then continuity is something that begins to unravel and fall apart. Lera turns around on a foot, and finds Fate there, feet shuffling, as she explains.

She wipes at her eyes a few more times. She has a portion of her composure back -- enough to help her step forward, and then kneel down next to the shorter girl, so she can see her on her level.

"It's okay," she says. "I never... I never got to talk to him. Not since I was so little that I barely remembered anything he said, just... an impression of what he was like, y'know?" Her expression is saddened, but her smile stays. "And it was a nice dream. But..."

She falls quiet, again, debating what to say.

"...He's right. There's so many people waiting for me. Counting on me. On us," she says. "I can't stay here, and he's... even if he's gone, he's still with me. But the others aren't gone."

Lera hesitates, and it seems that she isn't done with hugs today, because she pulls Fate into one. "You're not. And there's a lot more we gotta do, y'know? So... so thank you, Fate."

<Pose Tracker> Feito [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Lera draws Fate into a hug, and Fate hugs her back ferociously. Squeezing her so tightly.

"I'm so glad you're with me Lera..."

She broke free for the rest of them after all. Even if she was happy - things just aren't complete without them.

Alicia did say she's glad the reason she's leaving them is love.

"That you got to see him again... speak to him... it's truly wonderful... the best kind of dream. It's just... time to wake up."

Eventually letting go, she smiles at her. "And I'm happy to be the first person to tell you - Good Morning."

Taking a step back, "When I last spoke to Alicia the World Tree was just there... I brought out Bardiche and..."

<I never thought it would become - 'Key Mode'.>

"Don't sulk. You were magnificent Bardiche." Fate turns around and bumps right into the World Tree and marvels - "Oh. I guess - I took care of it for good! That makes things easier."

The world tree has a deep scar in it - passage for both of them. She holds out a hand to her, "Ready Lera?"

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"Y-Yeah..." Lera's voice shakes, a little, as she agrees. But then, sits back, and looks at Fate. "Good morning, huh...? That does sound nice."

He would have left, too, she thinks. That gives Lera the reason that she needs to stand up. She does; parts of the house shift and fade around her, as she does. Her hands extend -- and a long, two-paned sword of gold and silver appears in her right, and a clockwork shield on her left. The two Devices hum, energy glowing.

<Ready, Ground?> Sky asks.

<You know it.>

Lera turns, and then blinks at the fact that the World Tree is now where her living room was. Her eyes widen. "Ah, it's so big--" But, she sees the scar on it. A twisted, ugly thing; a thing that reminds her of how she came here and what she has to do. But, still, she hesitates for a moment.

'And know that your father is rooting for you.'

She smiles, slowly, and nods. "Ready," she says, as she takes the first step forward.

<Pose Tracker> Feito [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Dream the world. Not this pallid shadow of reality. Dream the world the way it truly is.

When they enter. Something changes. It's like the dulcet call that lulls most people into dreaming has not passed away... but is lesser at least. For those who have chosen to leave. Like some narcotic woven mist in the air has momentarily receded.

It's an interesting trip for the two girls - like passage through a wardrobe into another world. The tree is an organic thing. The passage feels like it would be alive - if the tree itself weren't dead. At times they have to flatten themselves against the side. At others then have to go down on hands and knees. It feels more like spelunking in a cave.

Soon enough though - there's blue light shining on the other side.

"I really don't know how to pick where we go... who knows where we'll turn up next?"

Fate certainly doesn't - though she has her own hopes...

And then, they cross over to the other side. As the light starts to clear, "Well... whoever it is... I'm sure it'll work out."