Forbidden to cry.

Since the funeral of my mother I was forbidden to cry. After the coffin with body of Marisa Gaiz was buried my father gave me hug and said:

"Auris. Today is the last day you will see my tears. It was my weakness's fault that you mother died in that bombing, so from today on I forbid myself to cry. I will use everything in my grasp to gain position and strength and become powerful enough to protect you and world around you. In the future I may seem ruthless and cold but please remember I do that in order to defend everyone.

I was so touched by the determination in my father's voice. So astonished by the passion that glimmered inside his eyes, so I made vow on my own,

"Don`t worry daddy. Auris will help papa, I will grow into strong girl and definitely help you. So from today on I also won`t cry. Never."

So did I. No matter how hard my life became I never allowed my tears to flow. Even when I was beaten up by upperclassman I never shed tears. I stayed absolutely calm when the entire class laughed at me when father was working late and I was the only child whose parent didn`t come to our class meeting. My face didn`t flinch when my boyfriend broke up with me telling me that "he have no intention to became life-partners with freak like me."

And I didn`t cry during your funeral, father.

I still hear those whispers: "…what a freak, her father died and she can't even mourn for him", "…maybe she was the one who killed him, what a bitch", "…well. What did you expect from Gaiz daughter, he was a bastard himself, who betrayed everyone, so it`s a form of karmic justice to have such creepy daughter."

I forced myself to stay calm, to ignore those horrible words. Wrong, they're all wrong. I will not shed tears for you father because even though I despite every bad choices you made, I still love and respect you. I will keep the promise I made with you and not a single tear left my eyes when I watched how your coffin disappeared under countless throws of soil. I waited for the ceremony to end and only after I left Clanagan cemetery.

After father`s death everything become even harder for me. Even though I had no part in my father`s deal with Jail Scaglietti, I was still daughter of a "corrupted high-ranked officer" so I every order that HQ gave to me was very difficult as if they WANTED me to fail. Well I can understand why they did that – if I fail command will have an excuse to send me far away from Mid-Childa out of the eyes and minds of civilians, officers and OF COURCE media.

I never complained. I have completed every task they gave to me and despite soul-crushing hardness I never let myself to cry. I smiled, I argued, I even laughed when my subordinates, who still were loyal to me threw a birthday party for me. But I never allow myself to show my sorrow or weakness.

Because I forbidden to cry.

A few years after the JS incident the higher-ups decided that I had cleared myself so they give me a promotion and a new assignment at the Department of Interdimensional Intelligence and Support (DIIS). Our task was the gathering of information and providing support to army and Enforcer corps. It wasn`t a heroic job. We didn't fight the bad guys, we just gathered information about them and gave it to field brigades of enforcers and provided support and medical aide. We weren't even allowed to participated in the rescue team job. Still, I was proud of my work. Because my team and I were able to participate in helping numerous people like my father and mother always wanted.

Then I again meet Hayate Yagami. She was assigned as DIIS overseer.

In the beginning I wasn't amused be this event – which is what I directly said to her in our first private meeting. She replied that she too don`t like being the advisor to a "little bad girl". After that war is started.

I used every opportunity to warp information that I gave to her. I delayed deliveries of equipment and medication as long as I could and I never missed a chance to speak out of loud about the "Book of darkness" incident.

Hayate also didn`t sit and take a slaps. She turned a normal store inspection into a pure nightmare, moreover, she carried them out every week. And I often heard how she sweetly ask me how I feel about "corrupted higher-ups".

That struggle lasted for almost five months when sudden incident help turn situation around.

It was already 10:20 PM and I thought I was the last person (expect the guards) in building when Hayate stormed in my office. Her breath was heavy and her cheeks stained scarlet but my attention was involved by folder, which she carried in her arms.

"What`s wrong, lieutenant-general?" I asked calmly.

"Almost nothing, director Gaiz," she answered sweetly, "just a minor case of incompetency.

"Oh, that so?" I raised my eyebrow.

"It is," she opened a folder and pulled a large pack of paper out of it, "It`s your yesterday report about that band of drug dealers."

"Yes, I personally edited information that was gathered by my subordinate."

"Oh, what a lovely addiction to work. But I'm afraid I found some 'mistakes'."

I cursed inwardly. She was right; I did some "corrections" to the gathered information to be short – I changed a little address of targeted building. It didn`t affect the entire operation, because standard procedure for actions of such proportion required entire block to be isolated. So criminals won`t escape but Hayate will be forced to met consequences for destruction of an innocent toy store. But for some reason she don`t buy this. Well, maybe because I already pull this trick o her.

"And what mistake do you mean, lieutenant-general?" I managed not to show my displeasure to her.

"Oh, I mean this." She flipped pages and show me, "You maintain that the drug produced by this factory was called "Foul eye".

"Yes."

"But you know, I do my homework: "foul eye" requirz for its creation the extract of juice of rare flower – Abikharan`s Rod and this flower can`t survive under temperature higher than 5 degrees C. That means this factory, judging by scale of this cartel's operations, required a large orangery with powerful freezer. And I must say that the size of a building where presumably holds a factory doesn't meet that criterion.

I cursed again, I didn`t add information of "foul eye" creation process in my report, so it meant that Hayate was forced to go through many and many information sources, impressive I must admit.

"I see," I started slowly, -"But I must notice, that such reaction shows incompetency of your troops, lieutenant-general, Yagami."

"Wha…" she almost gawked, but quickly calmed herself and continued more steady "Can I say, what do you mean, director Gaiz?"

"Well, our department job is to gather information, edit it and send it to the army, yes? But that doesn`t mean that we must to take your hand and guide you to the goal. As you can see I just noted this place as "most probable" not as a target. I can recommend you to inspect this food shop`s store," I pointed to the "right" building. "Actually, if you give me some time I can even show by arrows a path from TSAB HQ to destination point."

"Oh, so generous," she give me a dazzling smile, "But I think I can do it myself, moreover, I think I will keep this report and show it to my subordinates. We just love to read absurd stories sometimes."

She closed the folder and tried to take it but I quickly grab it myself.

"If you love absurd stories so much I can advise you to go to a book store for school graders. I won`t allow you to mock my work." I forced my grip on the folder and tried to pull it to me but she wouldn`t allow that.

"You do it by yourself," she snarled and added more strength to her arms, forcing me to stand from my chair.

It became a literal power struggle between us when we tried to pull out folder from our opponent's arms. But the first to give up was the pitiful report. With loud "screesh" the folder was ripped in half and we, shrieking and fell on floor. For ten seconds we just sat there, breathing heavily and staring at each other. And then Hayate burst out laughing. I was unable to resist and followed her example. When the storm come to an end we stood up, adjusted our clothes, then Hayate broke the silence.

"I feel so stupid now. It`s more like a kid`s quarrel than an adult talk."

"I heard a saying: adults – just grown up kids."

"Maybe, maybe," Then she became serious, "Director Auris Gaiz, I think we must rethink and rebuild our relationship. Our never-ending quarrels affect overall efficiency of TSAB forces. And for starters please take my deepest apologies," she bowed and then stretch her arm toward me.

"And you too, lieutenant-general, Hayate Yagami, please take mine apologies for my behavior."

I stretched my own arm and shook her hand.

After this our relationships change dramatically and from being my bitterest rival Hayate turned in my greatest helper. She never refused to help me to get more equipment for my subordinates through the web of bureaucracy. She always was the first to lend help and she was just great woman.

Slowly she got her way into my heart, and for the first time in a long time I have person in my life that I could call a friend.

But we never thought that our newborn friendship would evolve even further.

It all started when, during the break, she asked me:

"Why are you always so stoic? Everybody who works with you for a long time notices that your face never shows any sad expressions. Whenever you get hurt you just tightly compress your lips and your voice loses any trace of humanity. You know Auris, it's not a bad thing to ask somebody for compassion."

Normally I'd never answer that question. I always thought that my vow to my father must remain only between him and me, but for some reason (now that I think about it the reason was your gentle smile) I decide to answer. I told her everything: my mother's funeral, father's oath, my own promise, school days, beginning working for the TSAB, the JS incident and father's funeral.

During the story she didn't say anything, just chewed on her lip, but her eyes were set firmly on my face. When I finished she stood from the couch, came close and… gave me a hug.

For an instant I froze. I wanted to push her away and give her a few VERY unpleasant words about her behaviour but I found myself utterly unable to move. Her warmth burned me, melting away my resolve to fight. This tender embrace, this soft warmth…

It was a feeling that I already forgot – sensation of comfort, sensation of protection. I was unable to resist the urge to enjoy this situation. Ah yes, now I clearly remember that nobody embrace me since mother's funeral. What a pitiful woman I am.

"You had such a sad life Auris-san." Whispered Yagami. "You didn't expect to love or be loved, you throw away your humanity just because you want to pretend to be strong. You know everybody has the right to cry, to be sad, to mourn, there's nothing wrong with it. Long ago I heard one memorable phrase: when people stop crying they became monsters. So please, stop torturing yourself."

But I still wasn't able to break my promise despite the fact that my heart wanted to burst out the feelings that was storming inside. I looked up and met her gaze and my eyes said everything to her.

"Mou," she pouted. "You're so stubborn. Okay, it's decided then, tomorrow we take the day off and go on vacation."

"B…but what if somebody sees us together? Didn't we make a deal to hide our true relationship from higher-ups?"

"He-he, so you're afraid that your boyfriend will get jealous?" Giggled Hayate.

I'm sure that was the first time in my entire life when I blushed.

"I… I don't` have a boyfriend or girlfriend… or friend." The last word I nearly whispered.

Hayate's smile changed from teasing to reassuring.

"I AM your friend, Aury, so cheer up."

"Aury?"

Her smile again became a mischievous one. She let me go and made two steps back.

"Yup. 'Auris' is just SO formal, we need to get closer to each other. So let's call ourselves Aury and Hayate, how about it?"

"DEFINETLY NO!" I shrieked.

"Okay, but still we HAVE to go on vacation tomorrow. If you're so afraid about secrecy how about this plan? I can invoke a sudden inspection on DIIS tomorrow, and you will have no other choice to confront me personally, won't you? DIIS has five stores across the city, normally it will take about five hours and fourteen minutes to inspect them all – fourteen minutes for each store and time for the road between them."

"You point?"

"How about we increase this time to nine hours? We will have three hours and twenty minutes for fun."

"And how about the report?"

"Let's just keep him as a souvenir. Or as a proof our undying love."

"Shut up. Please!"

"He-he, so it's decided then. So I will wait for you tomorrow around 9 AM in front of TSAB administrative centre. Don't be late."

"Hey, wait I didn't say yes!"

"Oh, your mouth didn't, but your heart yes. I repeat – don't be late tomorrow."

After that she turned around and left my office. I sighed and continued to work, I still needed to complete my report and search for some information. And moreover make preparation for tomorrow events."

That day was… how can I say it… turbulent. Hayate surely enjoyed herself – not only did she turn entire stores inside out, but she actually GROPED me every time she got the opportunity, moreover when we were INSIDE DIIS buildings.

After inspection of first store she dragged me to the game club and forced me to compete with her in fighting games. But I get some form of revenge when total score was totally in my favour at the end.

After the second inspection I found myself watching CARTOONS in a local cinema. I can't properly recall the name of the cartoon, it was a show about never endings battles between cat and mouse… Tim and Berry or something like that. But Hayate really liked that show and I was totally fascinated by how beautiful her face filled with child-like happiness was.

At the end of the day we had gone to the amusement park. I think Yagami made me go through every attraction that park had. Roundabout, shooting gallery, vending machine and etc. etc. etc.

When we left the park I was totally exhausted, covered in sweat… and happy. Despite the every odd thing that filled this day, I've never felt myself so… alive. If I made some mistake, my only punishment was teasing remark. I was able to laugh at jokes like a fool, eat ice cream and cakes. I was able to do everything that I had forbidden myself to do before today.

And for the first time in my life I forced back tears of happiness.

Hayate saw that and give me a pinch on shoulder.

"Mou, you're a stubborn girl aren't you? If you want to cry out of happiness then just do it."

I give her a smile (my first sincere smile I give to her).

"Sorry, no can do, lieutenant-general. My promise is still my promise and I've never broken it."

"Well, at least you can shed some happy tears in order to repay me for this wonderful day."

"Hey!" I shouted. "Wonderful day? You actually GROPE my a… uh, private area."

"I can`t help, Auris-chan, - Hayate grinned, "You have SUCH cute butty."

I yelped and my face flushed bright red.

"S-s-s-shut up."

"Make me, u-fu-fu-fu."

Looking at her laughing face I felt the anger aroused in my chest, but then I decided to payback Hayate using her own methods. I stormed forward, grab her shoulders and crush my lips on her.

After a few seconds my brains reactivate. What in the interdimensional plane I am doing? K-kissing a GIRL, moreover HAYTE YAGAMI of all people. But everything became very complicated when Hayete (who stood flabbergasted with eyes shot wide open) regained her senses… and hugged me and return the kiss.

When we broke apart my breath was heavy and face stained with red. To my little comfort Hayate`s expression mirrored my own. When we calmed a bit it was Hayate who broke the silence.

"Wow, it was incredible. It seems you're quite skilful in erotic stuff, Auris-chan."

"N-no I… I am not. I-it was my first kiss," I almost whined, blushing even harder. To my utter surprise she flushed too.

"M… me… mine too."

"Oh. So we each other's first. He..he," I tried to laugh to hide my deep confusion. I never suspected that Hayate never kissed anybody before that. "W-well. It was very good."

"Really?" Her face flared up "You really think so? I wasn't doing anything wrong?"

"No. You were quite a good kisser and your lips were so soft and w…warm."

Oh my. Is it my imagination or are my glasses started to melt? For a few minutes we just stay still and tried to calm ourselves down.

"Auris," Hayate looked in my eyes, while her lips trembling her gaze was firm, "How about we repeat this event next week?"

"Gladly," was my instant answer.

It became some type of weekly ritual for us. The route was always the same: inspection, video game salon (or movie), park, and kiss. After the third "inspection" I took a part in the planning of the entire "date". After the fifth one I decide to take control of it. And after the eighth I admitted my love to her.

I didn't know who was more flabbergasted by this confession: me, because I can't believe that I at last managed to gather enough courage, or Hayate who lost her ability to speak due to shock. After a few moments of heavy silence my heart dropped. It seemed Hayate didn't love me in the same way as I did for her. I again, as numerous times before that, suppress me tears and prepare for leave… When she flung her arms around me and pressed her lips to mine.

When we parted she looked directly in my eyes and gave me answer that I longed for.

"Me too. I love you too, Auris-chan."

Then we didn't follow our normal procedure and go to our apartments, but instead we went to a hotel.

I never intended to have a homosexual relationship and like every girl in my class I wanted a handsome and rich man, but when Hayate pressed our naked bodies together I stopped thinking about everything and drowned myself in passion and love.

When our bodies lost every capability to continue and we lay in each other's arm, gasping and sweating, Hayate suddenly said:

"I think I must send a "thank you" note to Catherine-chan."

"Catherine-chan?" I asked in surprised, "Wait, you mean that weird albino girl whom Captain Takamachi dragged into your group?"

"Yup, that's her. You know she was the one who gave me my assignment to this place."

"How?" That perked my interest, "If I remember correctly, she worked in the Staff department."

"She already became head of the Staff department. It's hard to believe that two years ago she was a lost, sad girl who was found by Nanoha-chan. And now she is Nanoha-chan's peer and even studying illusion magic under Teana tutoring."

"So she was the reason behind my suffering," I playfully narrowed my eyes.

"Hey," Hayated poked me, "You mean behind the unimaginable happiness."

"Okay, you win," I smiled and kissed her again.

"Good night Auris-chan," she yawned and snuggled close to me.

"Good night, Hayate," I murmured while gently hugging her. The feeling of her voluptuous and warm body in my arms was almost unbearable and I was afraid that everything was just a dream. But it was true, her smell, her warmth and her love – everything was real.

I didn't know why, but I again don't let tears of happiness to flow. Maybe because I was so foolish to think that this happiness would last for eternity. Maybe because I thought that Hayate's love would forever protect me from sadness. I don't know and I never will.

Because today I receive message that, lieutenant-general Hayate Yagami died in a terrorist bombing.

I didn't want to believe that she died, I didn't want to recognize the truth that everything she worked for crumbled and I definitely didn't want to admit the fact that she left me alone. I wasn't able to save her, and I don't have the power to make a proper investigation into this incident and I wasn't able to make time to attend your funeral.

When I stormed in her casket was already buried. All I could do was to stay and look at your tomb, and because of our promise to go to top positions, I can't even mourn about you properly. It's the end for everything, for dreams, for happiness, for love.

And I can`t even shed a single tear for this.

"You!" A furious roar reverberated behind me. I turned around and my gaze meets the hatred-filled eyes of captain Vita. "What are YOU doing here, four-eyes? Did you come to gloat?"

Her voice dripped with venom and was filled with disgust but her words were the most painful to hear.

No, I came to mourn someone who was precious to me. And now I can't even do that.

"Everyone knows that you hated Hayate. You always wanted her to disappear, to get out of the way of your path!"

It`s a lie, lie, lie! I loved her, more than anyone, I never wanted to let her go and every path that lay before me was worth it only if I could go through it together with Hayate!

"What? You still here?" Snarled the red-hair, her lips twisted, "If you want to cry out of delight than FUCKING get your ass out of here!"

I wanted to hit her, really. I didn't care that she was AAA class and I didn't have any trace of magical power it didn't matter to me at all. I wanted to make her swallow those horrible words. But I can't do that, if I did, my and Hayate's work to cover up would become meaningless. I can't show any sign of despair about her death and to my utter disgust now I must show SATISFACTION about her disappearance. It's not fair, not fair, NOT FAIR!

"C-captain Vita! W-what are you doing!" Suddenly a new voice pierced an unpleasant silence between me and short captain. We turned and see a tall albino yellow eyed women who dashed toward us. Catherine de Volga – chief of the Staff department, latest updating to their group. As always she seemed almost scared, and when she stopped she didn't have courage to stare directly into mine or captain Vita's eyes.

"I-it`s a funeral, h-how could you said s-such a horrible words to anybody?"

"Why are you defending her? That four-eyed bitch always…"

"Captain Vita!" she suddenly shouted, startling both of us. "Please stop. I can understand your situation, but saying such horrible words at Miss Hayate's funeral is just unforgivable. Moreover you insulting director Auris based only on rumours is just unfair. Apologize to director Auris right now, Captain Vita!"

For a few seconds Catherine and Vita stared in each other eyes, but then Vita turned away.

"Okay, I am sorry, director Gaiz, I said something really disrespectful toward you. I was deeply affected by…by" her voice broke and tears start to leak. The Albino woman's face instantly lost any trace of anger and she kneeled before redhead, hugging her and gently whispering words of consolation to her.

"Shhhh. Vita dear. I am here, I am here for you. Mourn, there's nothing wrong in crying for your beloved friend, I am and every of our friends are here for you."

It's not fair. I also want to cry for her, I want to say out loud how I missed her, how I loved her, how I wanted her back. I'd gladly give anything I achieved just to get Hayate back. And I can't. I lost all the chances to mourn for peoples I care about the most.

I turned and go away. I didn't want to be here, and in the entire dimensional planes there now didn't exist anybody who cared for me. Now I only have my oath to my father and my promise to Hayate.

When I returned to my office it was already past 10 PM. I was tired, mentally exhausted and my stomach twitched in hungry pain. I felt sick: I could never imagine that there existed so many people ready to gloat about the death of someone. The reminder about the Book of Darkness incident, about her connection with General Graham, about the patronage of admiral Harlaown and the Saint Church. How few in numbers were the men and women who remembered her hardworking nature, her resolute actions during the JS incident. How many people today praised me with my soon-to-be promotion. I sighed, hyenas always promise their loyalty to the lion when he is strong and always stab him in the back when he was weak.

I slumped in my chair and tried to relax. Tomorrow will be a very hard day, since Hayate's death a new overseer needed to be commissioned. At least it will be a temporary overseer because, as I hear, HQ recognizes my efforts and decided that DIIS can now function without careful watch. Just a couple of days ago I was so glad to hear it, but now… without Hayate the world seems so empty.

I looked up. The cieling in me office was always carefully washed. Despite whispers that I was a "perfection freak" in truth I just suffer from a powerful allergy to dust. It was white, clean and empty. So empty. Bitter irony of my life that the promise I gave my father turned my existence into something as empty as the ceiling in my office. Just work, work and work – no friends, no happiness, just the notion of compulsion that forbid myself to cry so I could become strong, respectful and famous.

Only my time with Hayate showed me true happiness and true strength. And now she's gone. I open my drawer to get some soothing pills, and suddenly froze. On the top of the papers and disks lay a red ribbon. Hayate's present – the same red ribbon as her own. She was dark red when she gave it to me and I became just as red as she when Hayate herself tied it in my hair. I carefully lifted the ribbon, holding it in both my hands. The ribbon still held the warmth of her hands, the smell of her perfume and the feeling of her love.

The last thing Hayate left in this world.

The reminder of her death forced me to shudder in pain. I clutched my chest moaning and sobbing, but tears won't come. Why? WHY? WHY-Y-Y? I am some type monster? Why can't I cry when my most beloved person is dead? Is it some type of curse, or am I just condemned to not being able to have human feeling? What else in this world is left for me?

Tears finally burst out. Now I broke oath to my father. I laughed bitterly. It seems everything that I hold dear to me is starting to disappear.

Through my tear filled vision there suddenly sparked a blink of red. I froze when I suddenly understood what it was. Hayate`s ribbon that still lay in my hand.

That's it! I still have my promise to Hayate. To rise through the ranks and gain the power to protect everyone. Yes I must live in order to defend her vision of the future. And her good name.

I stood, now regaining my confidence and wiping my tears. I looked down on the red ribbon and gentlely touch it to my lips. Thank you Hayate, I love you so much.

My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of explosions and distant screams. The roar quickly came nearer and after a few seconds the door exploded with a thunderous roar, the power of the impact sending me flying to the floor.

In the middle of dust cloud and rubble that littered the floor stood captain Vita. Her barrier jacket was active and her hands gripped her infamous hammer so tight the staff was soiled by blood. Her eyes were glassy as if she almost didn't understand what was happening around her. But something in it was certain: her hatred. She almost radiated the astonishing wave of loathe, and the target of her feeling was undoubtedly me.

"You!" She bellowed. "It was you-u-u!" She charges toward me raising Graf Eisen over her head, preparing to deliver the killing strike. I didn't try to evade the blow, it was hopeless. I could see the armed soldiers appearing behind the enraged knight, aiming their staffs at her. But it's too late. I closed my eyes and prepare to receive the bone crushing strike of battle hammer.

I`m sorry Hayate, I can't fulfill my promise to you. It seems I am just a loser to the end.

Suddenly I was overwhelmed by a wave of warmth. That presence, I know it… it… it was…

I didn't feel how captain Vita's strike shattered my head, blast my brains apart and smash my upper body, I didn't feel pain. All I felt was Hayate's gentle embrace, the warmth of her body, her tender lips on my own. My last moment was filled with joy and the very last tears in my life were tears of happiness.

X-X-X

Epilogue

Four hours later.

Work in the morgue never was pleasant. Sergeant Hilbert Dolvert always cursed his lack of a talent that never allowed him to get a more prestigious role in the entire TSAB Mid-Childa machine. His work was dirty, stinky and often gave him nightmares. Moreover he wasn't a heartless guy and his heart always ached when he watched people in despair, when they recognized in the mutilated corpses their beloved ones. And now, this incident.

As if the death of famous officer Yagami Hayate wasn't enough now they were stroked with another tragedy. For some reason one of the Wolkenritter, the Captain Vita, charged in the head of DIIS (a very creepy woman)'s office and splat her brains all over the room. DIIS head's bodyguards weren't amused by these events and almost ripped the short captain's body apart in a devastating volley. And now the entire TSAB was all ears. Man, this will be a long night.

His sombre thoughts were interrupted by sounds of steps. The door opened a bit and a slightly embarrassed woman looked in.

"Ah, um. Hello." She slipped into the room and Hilbert yelped and immediately stood when he recognize the head of the Staff Department. "Can I come in?"

"Yes, ma'am. Of course ma'am." Howled sergeant Dolvert.

"Easy, sergeant." She raised her hands almost in a protective gesture, "Please. There's no need to be so formal.

"As your wish, ma'am." Replied Hilbert.

Hilbert relaxed a bit. It was hard to believe that such a shy and weak looking woman could be the head of an entire department. She still held her arms near her mouth palm forward almost trying to shield herself from him. Her eyes were red and her nose has swelled. After careful look at her, the morgue overseer noticed that the woman chewed on something.

"Is that gum?" He asked carefully.

"Ah-eh?" She was startled by his question, but quickly calmed down. "Oh, it is. Yes, it's gum. It always help me calm down. And now… about those deaths…"

She suddenly became silent and sniffed. Dolvert understood that he made a mistake and quickly spoke.

"I'm sorry, ma'am. It was a tactless question. Please forgive me."

"Oh. No-no." She waved her hands. "It's nothing. Err, can I have a look at Director Auris Gaiz body?"

"Yes, ma`am. Allow me help you."

Hilbert turn around and guided the albino director (to be more correct her hair was a very bright color of ash gray) toward one of freezers. He pushed a button and with a low hum the stretcher went forward, revealing a black plastic bag. Content of the bag was clear to both of them, but when he stretched his arm to unzip the bag Dolvert was interrupted when she put her arm on his shoulder.

"Um, sergeant, can I investigate her body privately?" Her face brightened. "You know, you can go home, I suppose you are very tired. I will clean everything up and lock up when I leave. If someone will try to scold you for leaving your post, just send them to me.

"Eh, really? Oh, I mean, thank you ma'am."

The superior officer give him a nod.

"No problem. Now, dismissed."

Dolvert quickly picked up his property and dashed away leaving the keys on the table. Catherine de Volga didn't look away until he left and the door closed. She turned back to target of her visit and then her facal expression changed dramatically. Her dull yellow eye shined bright, her tightly compressed mouth turned into a broad smile and her hand resolutely unzipped the bag. Then she bent over and greedily inhaled the smell.

"A…aaah. The smell of dead flesh. I missed it so much." She spent almost three minutes savouring the aroma of Auris Gaiz's dead body. After that she made a step backward and, while smiling like a little girl, she started to speak.

"You know Auris-chan… Can I call you like that, just like Hayate? Aha, you didn't say "no", so I can. Back to the deal. You know, I can't even say how grateful I am to you. It's your stubborn refusal to cry helpped me convinced Vita-chan that the main perpetrator behind Hayate-chan's death was you. Ufufufu. When you left us Vita and I went to a café where I revealed to her "unchecked and unfair rumours how you seduced Hayate and then killed her". Ah, her hate-filled expression when the drugs kicked in…oh, pure bliss. I'm so sorry that I missed the chance to see how your office was baptized in beautiful red." Catherine clutched her chest for emphasis.

"It's so sad, I wasn't able to lick your warm and tasty blood. But your smashed body's wonderful smells almost makes up for it. Wow! What a sight! She friggin smashed your entire head, neck and left shoulder to bits!" Catherine giggled and licked her lips.

"Auris-chan do you want to hear the secret." Catherine gave Auris's body a mischievous blink. "First the script of the plan was to give the role of first victim to you, and Hayate would go to your side after a month, when I was able to create an "incident" for her. But you know she has too many friends on her side to sooth her and overtake the sadness of her loss. You on the other hand, became totally alone, and I always took a GREAT pleasure seeing how you try to remain calm when you almost wanted to scream in despair."

Then Catherine de Volga face twisted in a grimace of sorrow.

"But you know, I am also in despair. After such hard work, after such efforts my soul was crushed. I was so happy when I was able to get it imperceptibly but SUCH a disappointment."

Her lips twisted and she spitted out her gum.

"Hayate's flesh has SUCH NASTY TASTE!"

The something that Catherine spat was not gum. It was an index finger.

"My soul was crushed, really. It's too cruel to do that to me, and after I worked so hard to keep your relationship a secret. So I will punish both of you." She gave Auris almost apologetic smile.

"I didn't really want to do that, but bad girls must be punished. So today I will give to the mass media edited information about your and Hayate lovey-dovey deals. I can almost predict the headings of newspapers. 'Lesbian relation of corrupted TSAB officials' or 'DIIS gets in bed with ground forces'. I think, Auris-chan, after this your and Hayate's reputation will be ground into the dirt for maaaany years. I think I'll also dispose of that annoying pink-haired knight-girl and that familiar. Nothing personal, but after Hayate so brutally crushed my heart just soiling her reputation can't facilitate the pain in my heart."

Catherine's facial expression again turned into smile.

"Well, goodbye. Now you can cry as much as you can in the afterlife, A-u-ris-chan." With these words she closed the freezer and turned towards the exit. And before she left the morgue she turned lights off, leaving Auris Gaiz in eternal darkness.

Author note: Again, thank to 00-Raiser for Beta-reading. Originally I wanted Hayate and Aris to be a enemies and Catherine plan send both of them down to the point when they both destroy each other.

But I wasn`t sure that I can handle it properly, moreover making Catherine kill two lovers make her much eviler.