Chapter 1: Not My Blondie
Not My Blondie
The Fairy Tail guild had been through so much pain and loss in the last seven...err..fourteen years; that damned time loss always messed him up. And as much as he regretted it, some of that pain was directly caused by him. When he thought back on that day, he still couldn’t actually believe he’d let it get so out of control. The Thunder Palace? Fucking Fairy Law?! He could have called it off at any point, saved everyone the pain he caused. He supposed though, that if any good came out of it at all, it was that he’d been kicked out of the guild, excommunicated. It had been for the best, he knew that. It had changed him in a lot of ways, gave him new perspectives and made him a better man. But Gods, he hated that he’d lost it like that; it ate at him nearly everyday for the last fourteen years. Out of all of the reasons he regretted it though, he hated most that she had seen him lose his shit, that her first impression of him had been of a power hungry, self absorbed dick, but that’s what he had been. She had been right in the middle of it all, had been so new to the guild, but fought like she’d always been there and had been hurt because of him, because of his arrogance. That sunspot of a beautiful, curvaceous woman. His Blondie.
‘No, not my Blondie’ , he internally corrected, ‘she’ll never be mine. No matter how much I want her’ .
He quickly shoved those thoughts and feelings back into the box he kept them in just like he always did when they reared their heads. He didn’t deserve her light and he knew that, not many people did. It didn’t matter how many times she had told him he was forgiven long ago, by herself and by everyone else, a part of him just couldn’t believe her. Aside from that year at Fantasia, she had been through so many horrible situations and battles. Problems always seemed to go looking for her, but she always managed to come out of her battles shining like the light of the guild she was deemed to be. Even if some of them took more time to recover from than others. He wasn’t sure there was anybody who truly deserved a woman like Lucy, but as far as he was convinced, he had lost all rights to be with her from the very beginning; when Phantom Lord attacked the guild and he’d said the only way he’d help was if Lucy became “his” .
He couldn’t help but physically cringe every time that thought arose. Besides, she always reeked of the fucking Salamander and they were fucking glued at the hip, arm, back, and fucking funny-bone. They were ALWAYS together and despite Lucy denying their relationship was anything more than a platonic partnership or best friends to anyone who asked, there had to be something else going on because he couldn’t understand why, in the five years since the guild had re-banded, she had only gone on a handful dates.
‘Which all ended pretty disastrously’ , he thought in dark satisfaction.
He didn’t deserve the loyalty of his team either, but he knew hell would sooner freeze over before he would be able to convince them of that; but, he wasn’t going any further down this hole of pity he found himself in this morning. This type of wallowing was reserved for late nights at bars around Magnolia while he drowned himself in ale and sought after a warm body to take out his sexual frustrations on. So with another sigh, he came back to reality and continued on with his day.
He sat at their self-appointed table on the second floor of the building watching the daily run-arounds of his fellow guild mates, bored out of his mind all the while his agitation grew by leaps and bounds.
He may have had his sound pods on and his music cranked all the way up, but seeing as he was a Dragon Slayer, he could still hear Bixslow cackling while his babies annoyed the piss out of Evergreen and as her screeching got louder his temper grew shorter.
He loved those idiots, he may almost never say it, but he really did. However, despite his affection towards them, if they didn’t knock it the fuck off in the next thirty seconds he was going to run so much lightning through them that they would be unconscious for the next two days. And just as he was about to make good on that promise, shimmering purple runes appeared plastered across their mouths without a single word uttered from their caster and there was silence. Beautiful, blissful silence. Thank the fucking gods for Freed. Apparently, he was already done with their shit this early in the day, too. He gave Ever and Bix a stern and cold look when the newly made mimes had begun to protest at the loss of their voices and promptly returned to reading the huge tome spread out on the table in front of him. Laxus smirked at the trio before he closed his eyes and turned down his music to focus on the sounds of the guild.
He wasn’t worried about the two idiots who sat across from him. He knew that the runes would disappear when they had calmed down from their stupid bickering, they always did.
He was, however, a bit surprised that the guild was almost peaceful. Well, as peaceful as Fairy Tail could actually be. There had only been two brawls this morning and they were both less than eventful. One between the speed freak and the fat plant magic dude over something to do with the little blue haired bookworm, Levy. He still wasn’t too sure on their names. It had only lasted for a couple of minutes before said bookworm came back from the library carrying a new stack of books and they promptly shut the hell up to dote on her. And the other was just a friendly brawl between Elfman and his little sister, who was fed up with his proclamations of manliness.
The rest of the guild seemed normal, but something was missing. Cana was sat in her usual seat at the bar hugging her barrel of booze as she all but chugged it. Mira was cleaning while humming to herself happily, his gramps had been away on council business for the past week, and everyone else was either on a job or hanging around socializing. He racked his brain for the reason it was so quiet today and it only dawned on him when he picked up a few familiar scents. A combination of steel and sugar, frost and mint, campfires, and fish started to grow stronger around the outside of the guild as the minutes ticked by.
‘Ah..Team Natsu’s just getting back from their mission. That explains a lot.’ , he scoffed, ‘just great. More goddamned damage reports for me to fill out for the old geezer.’
He internally groaned at that thought. He didn’t understand how they could break so many things at once. Maybe he’d fry Natsu a little bit for payment, later. He stood up and, deciding that now was as good a time as ever to go get started on the days paperwork, started walking towards his office with a goodbye nod to his teammates. Blondie would be up a little later anyways to clue him in on the full extent of her team’s most recent demolition.
With that thought, he froze mid-reach for the door knob outside his office. He couldn't smell strawberries. If he could smell the other idiots he should have been able to smell Lucy’s strong and delicious scent of warm strawberries and wild flowers. He took another sniff of the air just to double check and sure enough, there was nothing.
‘Where the hell is she? Did she get hurt on the job? Did some fucking Dark Guild abduct her again? Why does that happen so often?! What if she’s in the hospital and-LAXUS!’ , he mentally scolded himself, ‘she's fucking fine and you know it, you moron! She probably just went home for a damn bath!’
Almost as if on cue, the guild doors slammed opened to reveal the red-headed amazon, the flame-brain, the ice freak, and that annoying blue cat. He heard the tell-tale shouts of the guild welcoming home their returning nakama and offering congratulations on another job completed. He heard the four idiots shuffle to the bar and order their usuals from Mira, acting perfectly normal and with that he continued his way into his office, dropped down into his chair, and let out a groan as he all but slammed his head down onto his desk; stacks of papers trembling under the force of it.
‘This has got to fucking stop, man’ , he internally chastised himself, ‘Your obsession with Blondie is way the fuck out of line. Why the fuck did you let yourself get so attached to her!? She just helps you with the guild paperwork that the old man shoves off on you. You’re friends and guildmates. It's not like she's even remotely interested in you and even if she was, you can’t have her.’
And that's what he’d been telling himself for almost two years now.
The first year back since the guild had be rebuilt and they had all begun to come together again little by little, had been insanely chaotic. Even by Fairy Tail standards. The council had been destroyed in the battle with Tartaros and as much as they were a huge pain in everyone’s asses, they were needed to enforce order and laws. Without their presence, dark guilds had begun to pop up around Fiore like weeds and even years later there were still many that existed. So, Fairy Tail along with a few other guilds spent a majority of that year establishing a new council that would hopefully work just a little bit better than the last one.
The paperwork and forms had been a special kind of hell and because his gramps had only agreed to return to the guild as it’s master so that he could train Laxus for the position himself, that meant Laxus was stuck doing the bulk of said paperwork.
By the end of the year, there were more forms and file cabinets than office space; that’s when Lucy had decided to take pity on him and thank Mavis she did. He hadn’t seen much of her that year because her, Natsu, and Erza had been gone for long stretches of time searching for Gray to drag is sorry ass home. But, when they found him and they were all back for good Lucy started to notice the ever growing stacks of papers that would even sometimes reach out of his office.
One day he decided that he desperately needed a break and took the first week-long mission he saw off of the request board. He came back to the guild 4 days later with the job already completed and he was pissed off that it hadn’t taken as long as he’d thought. He thought about picking another one and just leaving again but he knew that he had responsibilities to take care of. He was still tense and wanted to do anything but the paperwork he knew would be in his office, but all of that tension left his body when he’d opened his office door and had been overwhelmed by the sweet scent that was Lucy. His eyes widened in shock when he saw that the stacks of papers had not only been reduced by half, but they were all organized by type of form and in the order that they needed to be completed. He could have broken into fucking song at what she’d done, he was so tickled. He had promptly found out from the guild’s files where she lived and marched over to her little cottage on the outskirts of Magnolia to profusely thank her. She’d been really surprised to see him there, but once she recovered from her shock, she told him that it really wasn’t a big deal and that being raised the heiress of the massive company her father had managed, she had learned to do legal paperwork from a young age.
He growled in annoyance at his idiocy and could have slapped himself for overlooking something that would have made the last year of his life so much easier. She then proceeded to tell him that she would be more than willing to help him with it whenever he needed and before he even thought about it, he took her up on the offer on the spot without hesitation. He remembered she’d giggled at that and shot him her signature heart melting smile before they parted ways.
The next two years had been great for Laxus. He had grown much better at filling out the counsel’s paperwork thanks to Lucy’s teachings and organizing. The only thing he really still struggled with was the finance side of it all, but she had taken the majority of the reigns on that because, one, he was terrible at it and two, she said she enjoyed it.
‘What a freak’ , he chuckled to himself as he remembered.
It wasn't until those two years had come and gone that he’d realized with every brilliant smile, angelic giggle, feathery touch, and kind gesture she’d shown to him during their hours locked in his office, that he’d fallen in love with the beautiful and kind celestial maiden.
She was so sweet and pure of heart that it was almost sickening at times, but he lived for the moments she would let her feisty nature shine through her walls unchecked.
It did really work anymore, but he still called her ‘Blondie’ just to get a rise out of her so she would push back at him; and while she may still blush at some of his cruder comments she usually retorted back with something almost just as crass and there were a few occasions where she’d actually managed to make him blush with her own sharp tongue, not that he’d ever admit it. Oh no, he’d take that to the grave.
From the day that he realized that was head over heels for her and up until today, two years later, he had watched over her and comforted her when she was upset at her team, her past, or more often than not, herself.
He’d find his mind straying at the possibility that she might feel the same way sometimes when she would look at him a certain way or do something for him that was just a little bit outside of the usual, and especially the times when her touch lingered just a little too long, but then the pain he’d caused would resurface in his mind and he new that could never be the case.
His inner dragon was never very pleased with his revelation and Laxus was convinced that said beast wanted Lucy more than even he did. It had found a suitable mate in her and was very adamant about claiming her before someone else came along and got her, like the Salamander.
He was quite certain the Flaim Brain’s inner beast also saw Lucy as a likely mate and that pissed both him and his dragon off.
Needless to say, the first time he had actually heard the beast in the back of his mind he promptly freaked the fuck out and that was years before he had even met Lucy. He tried not to run down to the guild library when he realized it had something to do with being a dragon slayer. Books had always been his solace ever since weird things attributed to dragon slaying magic had begun to happen to him as a kid after his old man had shoved the damn lacrima into his skull. After all, he wasn’t raised by a dragon like the other slayers in the guild, so he would take what he could get.
It was in the guilds library that he had found a pretty extensive collection of books on dragon slayers and their magic, courtesy of Levy when Natsu had joined the guild. He’d taken all the ones he hadn’t read before and went home. He remembered spending a week locked up in his house reading and learning about dragons, their mating rituals, and how that affected the dragon slayers.
It turns out that it's actually pretty fucking complicated. Yeah, he could’ve asked Freed to help him and he knew the man would have jump at the opportunity, but that would also mean that Laxus would’ve had to swallow his pride and he wasn’t very good at that.
So with much effort on his part he learned that dragons don’t have a particular season in which they mate, unlike most animals. They’re more like humans in the way that once they reach a certain age they become sexually active as they begin to search for another to spend their lives with. However unlike humans, dragons actively and consciously search out a mate and rarely rest until they find and claim one. They also truly do mate for life and they do so magically. Their magics and, inadvertently, their life-forces intertwine together so that one mate won’t ever be forced to live when the other has died.
But that’s just the dragons.
Dragon Slayer mating was just a little more complicated. But being simply stated both the human and dragon portions of the slayer must come to an agreement on an individual in order to make them their mate. The human side often seeks out a partner that can bring them happiness in life, in whatever form that happiness happens to come to the human. However, the dragon portion of the slayer seeks out a mate that would be able to put them in their place in both aspects of magic and behavior; not to mention the dragon must deem them suitable to bare and care for future offspring.
But it’s a multi-step process that requires the effort of both mates so of course, a mate bond can’t be created if the proclaimed mate doesn’t want it. So with that information he obtained almost two decades ago, Laxus came to the conclusion that he would probably always be alone.
The only two women he’d ever met at that point that could even come close to besting him in battle were The Demon-Mirajane and The Titania Erza Scarlet; and while at one point his dragon was clearly interested in Mira because she was undeniably strong and also had the potential to be a good mother, he was very against it due to the fact the he was pretty sure Mira was actually insane and had a few too many demons to talk to in her pretty little head. Luckily both him and the dragon could agree that they weren’t going to touch Scarlet with sixty foot pole. It would truly take a fearsome creature to tame that beast and it sure as hell wasn’t going to be them.
But all of that changed years later at the first Grand Magic Games the Fairies attended after coming home from Tenrou. When Lucy began that spell against the red haired bitch in his father’s guild during their match, his dragon practically began to purr from the amount of magic she truly possessed and wielded. Laxus himself, who had only noticed her nice figure, was surprised at just how beautiful she looked while she quite literally glowed and he was amazed that she not only had the power to open a passageway to another realm but she was able to open one big enough to send through planets to attack her opponents all the while holding out one of the Zodiacs to assist her.
She was amazing.
He couldn’t understand why her team didn’t talk about her magical abilities while the stories of their missions were recounted when a guild mate asked. But that was probably just because it was Natsu usually doing the storytelling and he was pretty centered around himself when it came to battles.
Over the next few years, he was disappointed that he could only find basic information on Celestial Magic and this time he caved and asked Freed if he had any books or knew of anything Laxus didn’t; but Freed wasn’t able to supply him with anything either because Celestial Magic had come to be considered a lost one and there was very little information on it that still remained.
Freed instead took some of the books Laxus had managed to find that he hadn’t. He had let his curiosity be known to her on several occasions while they worked on paperwork but after the war with Tartaros, she would always manage to politely steer conversations about her magic to other topics; something that he was pretty sure she didn’t do before then from what he had heard others in the guild say.
By the time he was finished with the amount of paperwork he had set out to complete for the day it was already dark outside. ‘Blondie didn’t show up today’ , he thought; just the slightest bit annoyed and a maybe a little worried.
Deciding that he’d had enough of the walls of his office, he made his way home taking his usual route, even though it was the longer one. Taking this way he would be able to hear if Lucy was home as he passed by her house. He just needed to make sure she really was okay and if he knew she was at home, then he would be at ease. Otherwise, the damn dragon who had become more active and harder to control as of late wouldn’t let him sleep; not that he would be able to anyways. There were too many nightmares his sleep could claim from missions and battles gone sour, and memories he didn’t want to relive.
When he got to her humble little cottage he stopped walking so he could hear down the cobbled road that led to her voice. His ears twitched slightly as he heard her talking to someone. He thought about not listening and continuing on his trek home but his curiosity won out as he tuned into her conversation.
“I’m fine, honestly!”, he heard her complain, “It’s just a couple of scratches, you don’t have to do all this. The only cut that needed dressing was taken care of before we even came home; and by you I might add!”, she tacked on sounding annoyed.
“No Princess,” the voice, he could now identify as her maid spirit, started, “If I don’t dress them properly you could end up with scars and I won’t let that happen if I can prevent it.”, she ended sternly.
Laxus heard Lucy exaggerate a sigh, “Alright Virgo, you win. But only because I really just want eat and then pass out.” Laxus chuckled at her defeat before he resumed his walking.
He didn’t like that she was hurt or that she was so exhausted, but she was all-in-all okay and that was enough to put him and the dragon at ease for the evening. So he walked home, took a shower, and dropped into bed to attempt sleeping.
The next morning Laxus woke up with a killer hangover and in some stranger’s bed. He tried to remember how he got here and was rewarded a painful throb behind his eyes for his effort.
He remembered waking up from a nightmare a few hours after he got home. He’d been drenched in sweat and trembling. From then, he promptly got up to go shower, threw on one of his old purple dress shirts, a pair of black slacks, completed the look with his signature coat, and went to the closest bar to drown himself in hard liquor. But after a couple bottles of whiskey he couldn’t remember a damn thing.
As he sat up in the foreign bed, he remembered what usually happened when he would go out drinking after having a nightmare. So he looked over to his right and sure as shit, there she was. Some nameless and unimportant woman with blonde hair was laid next him, stark naked. Every time he’d get blackout drunk, he’d wake up in the morning with a blonde haired woman next to him. And it was never the one he wanted it to be. He knew what drunk him was doing and he really didn’t appreciate it. He could definitely admire that this one had a few good curves and she was attractive enough but she couldn’t hold a candle to the radiant star Lucy was.
He could hear the woman’s breathing begin to change and saw she was beginning to stir awake so he grabbed his clothes that were strewn around the bedroom, found his coat delicately propped over a chair in the kitchen and left the apartment to try and find his way back home.
It was just a little past noon when he staggered up the path towards to guild doors and at the ever present smell of alcohol, his stomach churned a little; but, he continued walking, fully intent on just going up to his office to sleep this off on his couch.
He’d taken to wearing his sound pods less over the years and he usually just kept them in his office for when he needed a break from working, but right about now, he wished he had them because the guild was in full swing and that was the last thing his hangover needed. As he pushed open the guild doors he caught a wooden mug that would have otherwise hit him in the head and his attention was immediately drawn to Lucy as she sat at the bar. She was talking animatedly to Mira as she sipped the strawberry smoothie she ordered everyday. He was happy she was home, everything felt whole when she was.
‘How did any of us ever live without her before?’ , Laxus thought, ‘She’s such a big part of everyone’s life at the guild...she really is our light.’
It wasn’t the first time he had thought that and he knew it wouldn’t be the last. He made his way over to the bar and sat down with two empty seats between him and Lucy. He threw the mug he caught on the way in, into the dirty dishes bin and he folded his arms down onto the counter, placing his face into the crook of his elbow.
“Oi Mira”, he grunted simply, “hangover.” He glanced up from his elbow to see her smirking at him before she disappeared into the kitchen to fill his indirect order.
When Lucy got up from her stool to close the distance between them, his dragon purred to itself.
“Geeze Sparky”, she giggled as she placed the back of her hand to his forehead, feeling his temperature and he relished in the innocent touch, “you look like a fate worse than death. Did you drink a liquor store again?”, she teased.
“Don’t start with me Blondie ”, he emphasized, “its way too damn early to deal with all the sunshine that comes out of your ass.”
“Alright then, you grumpy dragon.”, she said as she retracted her hand and smiled, “I’m gonna go sit with my team, you should probably go sleep it off in your office after you finish Mira’s mystery drink because you’re burning up. Plus,” she continued, sounding apologetic, “Master called Mira this morning to say he would be back home before tonight.”
He audibly groaned at what she was implying which earned him another adorable giggle before she left to go sit with her destructive partners. He knew that once his gramps got back from his time with the council he would want to complain about it to him and want to know what exactly he’d been up to in the week he was gone. He never looked forward to it.
Mira came back and sat the horrible smelling drink in front of him. He didn’t know what was in it, nobody but Mira did, but nobody ever questioned it because it was the best cure to ever be found for a hangover. He was convinced that she had gotten the recipe from one of the demons that she took over and the one time he had actually asked her, her face cracked and she sent him an evil smile that sent a shiver straight up his spine before returning to her usual sugar sweet composure.
He’d never ask again and before the contents of his mug literal moved again, he downed the glass in two gulps. He gave the demon a ‘thank you’ grunt before he made his way up the stairs to his office.
It was times like that with Lucy that made him appreciate her so much. He may act like a loner but he really did want the affection of his family and she was the best at that. She knew exactly what buttons to push, could recognize when he wasn’t in the mood or was at his limit, and knew just how much space to give him.
His last thought before he passed out on the couch in his office with his arm thrown over his eyes was, ‘I’ll never find another like her’ .
Chapter 2: An Unknowing Confidant
An Unknowing Confidant
Lucy sat with her team for a few hours after Laxus swayed up to his office. She was really happy to see him again even though it hadn’t been for long and he was in a grumpy mood.
She hadn’t talked to him in almost two weeks because of her team’s mission and she had missed spending time with him; just like she always did when one of them was away for an extended amount of time.
She was stuck between wanting to laugh at him and worrying over the way he had shown up to the guild today. It was always a treat to see the mighty Laxus Dreyar in such a vulnerable state; but at the same time, she was concerned that something else was going on with him that he might be keeping to himself.
A few years ago, on one of her late night walks after she couldn’t sleep, she’d found him passed out in an alley, propped up against a wall with a bottle of whiskey in his hand. He’d had a split lip and an eye that was starting to blacken from a fight he must have gotten into.
At that point, she’d been helping him with his paperwork for almost a year and she considered them to be good friends. She still hadn’t known much about his personal life then because he didn’t like to talk about it, but to say she was surprised at finding him passed out in an alley would be a bit of an exaggeration. He gave off a certain vibe and this occurrence fit right into that.
Even though he was the Insanely Powerful Lightning Dragon Slayer of The Fairy Tail Guild and there wasn’t a person in their right mind who would dream of sneaking up on him, there was no way she was going to leave him there vulnerable to an attack. Not with Fairy Tail’s track record for attracting danger. He was drunk and unconscious and that didn’t sit well with her. So she decided to take him home.
She had only been over to his house one other time at that point, but she roughly remembered where it was. So she summoned Taurus to carry the massive man and they walked to his house. By the time they had gotten there, he had come around enough to tell her where he kept the spare key and she thanked and dismissed Taurus when they finally got upstairs to the master bedroom.
He sat barely vertical on the edge of his bed as she took off his coat and, with his help, his jeans. He swayed slightly as she cleaned up his cuts and Virgo brought her some ice for his black eye, but when she bent over to take off his shoes, the shattered key she always kept on a necklace and under her clothes fell out of her tank top and dangled between her and Laxus. It was a secret literally hung out in the air. If she had been wearing a t-shirt, like she knew she should have, this would have never happened, but she hadn’t thought she’d see anyone out on the streets at 3 am in Magnolia.
It felt like time slowed as he stared at the object dangling between them.
She saw the gears turning in his head as slow recognition began to show in his eyes and his alcohol flooded mind had made the connection with the obvious and suddenly his arms shot out; one to grasp the broken key and the other to take a firm hold of her wrist, to keep her from running away.
She remembered how pained he had looked as he asked her, “Lucy, this is one of your keys...why is it broken?” When she didn't answer right away he continued, “I don’t know a lot about your magic, but I do know that your keys are unbreakable...but this one is...its shattered”, he’d finished with a mumble as he stared at remains of Aquarius’ sacrificed key. But then he had looked up into her eyes, obviously waiting for a response and it was then that she had broken out into tears and let everything out for the first time since she had to summon the Spirit King, two years prior.
She had cried on him for a solid ten minutes before she started to calm and it was only then that she had noticed the position they were in.
At some point he had moved her into his lap, sideways. She was wrapped in his arms as he gripped her waist firmly to offer his support. When their eyes met again she saw that they were glossy with unshed tears and he thanked her for saving their lives as he pulled her into a tight comforting hug and then flopped down onto the bed and fell asleep.
That was the first time she had ever seen that side of Laxus and, even though he had been drunk, she was truly grateful to finally be able to tell someone, other than her spirits, what had happened.
The next day, he’d stormed into the guild, broke the doors off their hinges and had nearly drug her up to his office. It turns out that when he woke up that morning he couldn’t remember anything and the only clue he had to the events of the previous evening was that his bedroom had smelled of her.
It had taken lots of convincing to get him to believe that they hadn't slept together and that all she’d done was take him home when she’d found him, but once she’d got that through his thick skull he physically relaxed and thanked her for caring for him. She remembered that it pulled on her heartstrings to see him so worried and, not for the first time, she noticed how tired he looked and how worried his features were. She’d outright refused to leave his office until he opened up to her and surprisingly it didn’t take much convincing.
Truthfully, she was grateful he didn’t remember her admission about Aquarius because when she had seen the tears and guilt in his eyes when he had found out, it had only solidified her resolve to never let her guild know the truth.
Over the next few years, as they spent many hours and many nights in his office sorting through guild paperwork, they grew to be the closest of friends, almost inseparable when they were together. Her team had even elected her to be the one tell Laxus of the damages their latest missions had caused because she was the only one he wouldn't fry.
Well, he wouldn't fry Erza either, he wasn't stupid; but they would get into very heated arguments that often resulted with several dozen swords to his neck, so yeah, Lucy was the obvious choice.
Truthfully, she didn't mind; he was a completely different person when it was just the two of them alone, and she really liked him when he was like that. He was caring and gentle when she needed him to be, but he was also rough and charming when they would tease and poke at each other.
Not to mention handsome. Mavis, was that man a sight.
Over the years since that night she had confided in him, she had been consciously aware of her growing affections until one day last year when she realized she’d finally taken the plunge.
She had come to him after a mission and broken down to tears in his office. He had just let her cry out all she needed and then soothed her back to the real world as he cuddled with her on the couch. She had been upset that Erza had needed to save her on the mission because she failed to notice a mage that had snuck up behind her in the middle of battle, preparing a blow that could have been deadly. It had been a long time since she’d needed her teams protection like that and it had just brought up a lot of her self-esteem issues from years ago.
She was disappointed in herself for letting her guard down enough to be open, but what Laxus had said to her then, she would always remember.
“Lucy, look at me. You're an S-Class mage and you're one of the most versatile mages I've ever met. You've got the brains to always manage to keep the advantage in a battle and you kick some serious ass, but every once in a while even the strongest of mages need to depend on their team. Mine has saved my ass more times than I can count. You just remember, the next time you feel like this, that you managed to knock Gildarts Clive on his ass TWICE with your strategies during your S-Class trials and that's something to have pride in.”
It was with those words that she fell in love with him, no turning back.
He believed in her, he saw her as strong and capable, he held pride for her and that just meant more to her than she would ever be able to put into words.
The next time Laxus woke it was to a gentle knock on his door. He thought about just ignoring it to reclaim the sleep he was actually catching for once, but when the knock came again he remembered he was in the guild. So he sat up and called for whoever it was to enter.
The door cracked open revealing the beautiful Mirajane.
“Laxus, Master’s just come back from the council and he wants to speak with you. He’s in his office.” Laxus grumbled like a child, but got up nonetheless to go see his grandfather.
As soon as he stood though, Mira gave him a stern look and gestured to the tray full of food that she was placing on his desk.
“Eat this before you go.” she glared at him in challenge, “You haven’t eaten anything all day and I won’t stand for that.”
He nodded and thanked her as she left, knowing that if he didn’t comply she would probably throw him through a few walls as punishment. He was so in his head most of the time that he’d forget to eat on occasion and if it wasn’t for Mira and Lucy bringing up food to his office while he worked, he wouldn’t eat nearly as much as he should. They took care of him. At one point he would have found that to be pathetic and weak, but now it just made him feel like an important part of his crazy family.
Once he finished the tray, he looked around his office and sighed as he realized he hadn’t gotten anything done today. That just meant he’d have more to do tomorrow. So, he got up and strolled into the old man’s office down the hall and sat down across from him.
“What do you want Gramps?”, he stated in usual greeting.
“Nice to see you, too, my boy. You look terrible, are you feeling alright?”
“Just peachy, old man. Now out with it, there’s always something.”
Makarov looked like he wanted question him further on his exhausted appearance and the dark circles under his eyes, but instead he chose to innocently ask, “What makes you think I want you to do something? Can't a grandfather just want to catch up with his beloved grandson?”
“Not when its you,” Laxus sighed.
Master Makarov let out a pouty “humph” as he crossed his arms, pretending to be offended.
“Gramps…” Laxus growled out through his teeth.
The master chuckled to himself a little and then crawled from his seat to sit on his desk, cross-legged, before his smile turned mischievous and he stated, “Very well, our dear council has decided that they haven't taken up enough of my time and have sent a summons yet again for a meeting at the end of next week and I have decided, rather geniously, that I am not going.”
“Great for you” Laxus rolled his grey eyes, “Why do I care?”, Laxus asked, raising his eyebrow in suspicion. He had a sinking gut feeling that he already knew the answer.
“Well that's simple really, my boy. You wanted to be guild master, so you’ll go instead!”, Master stated triumphantly.
“Oh no. No fucking way am I going all the way to Era to do your job, old man!”, with a large tick in his forehead, Laxus complained, “ I do the paperwork, you deal with the council; that was our deal!”
“Come now, Laxus. I'm an old man, I won't live forever! Its time you start learning more about relations with the council. In a few years you’ll be guild master and I can finally retire!”, he said with a twinkle in his eyes, “This also just happens to have the additional benefit of me not having to do it! It's a win-win really. Quite genius,” he smirked.
The sigh Laxus let out could only be described as exasperated.
While he couldn't deny his grandfather's point that he was indeed going to need to know how to deal with the idiots at the council, he was also frustrated that the old man was just going to throw him to the sharks all so he could relax.
“Gramps, you can't just send me alone. I've never dealt with them before in a situation like this. I’ll completely fuck it up, you still gotta come with me.”
“I never said you were going alone,” he smiled deviously, “you're taking Lucy!”
The look on Makarov’s face was that of the ones often found on the demon barmaid when she was matchmaking and Laxus looked at his grandfather with an expression of disbelief.
“Oh no, keep your Old. Pervy. Nose. Out of it! What you've got runnin’ around in your brain right now ain't never gonna happen; so just stop right there!” Laxus scolded, pointing an accusatory finger at his grandfather.
“But Laxus!” he cried; tears comically trekking down his face, “I want great-grandbabies! I’m 101 years old, I’m not gonna live forever!”
“Maybe not forever,” he countered, “but you’ll probably out-fucking-live the rest of us at this rate. It's not gonna happen, I’m not just gonna start a family because you beg me with your crocodile tears,” he said as he placed his elbows on his knees and hung his head, finishing in a mumble as he ran his large hand over his tired features, “especially not with Blondie, that can't ever happen.”
The Master caught that last part even if he wasn't meant to have heard it and it only caused him to grow sad.
He’d been in this world for quite a few many years and he could recognize the signs and tells of when someone was in love. His grandson was very much so. He was pretty certain everyone but Laxus and Lucy could tell that they were both in love, but he knew the boy had never truly forgiven himself for the attack he’d set on the guild 14 years ago. It wasn’t likely that he’d ever be able to see that with all the good he’d done to make up for the bad, he deserved to be happy and the woman he loved would gladly make him that if he gave her the chance.
The old guild master found it almost tragic that Lucy and Laxus both knew they were in love but neither knew of the other’s affections. They were two of his favorite brats, if he had favorites, that is.
He hoped that by sending them on this brief journey together, without anyone from the guild around, that maybe something would happen between the two to put their relationship on the right track. He firmly believed the two would be good for eachother.
Sighing, he realized that maybe the man he had raised still wasn't ready to see he’d already atoned; but that didn't mean he wasn't going to try anyways.
“You’re turning 37 this year, Laxus --”, Makarov started, but was cut off by his grandson’s irritated correction
“No, I’m turning 30 this year, Gramps. Just because the damn Magic Council decided that it would be easier on their stupid fucking filing system for us to have aged like the rest of the world while we were frozen in time, doesn’t mean I’m ready to be 37.” He said sternly. “That makes you 94 by the way, so stop trying to pull the triple digit card with me!”
Makarov sighed in resignation, but pushed on still.
“Fine, my boy. No grandbabies...yet. But you’re still going and you’re still taking Lucy with you. She knows how to interact with the people on the council without making them want to plot out our painful deaths, yet another benefit to her heiress training. That and she seems to be able to keep your temper in line enough that maybe you won’t desemate the meeting hall. This, I’m telling you to do as your Guild Master,” his voice transitioned from assertive to endearing, “but as your grandfather, I’m asking you to begin considering what it is you want from your future because after you obtain the title you’ve sought after since you were a child, you will need something else to strive for.”
Laxus knew he wasn’t going to win this battle and he rarely ever did with his gramps. He was tempted to try anyways though, but his headache that had been absent when he woke up had come back during this conversation and all he wanted was to leave.
“Alright, Old Man. I give. Just….when do we have to leave?”
“The meeting is next Friday and it’s a day’s journey by train, which means you should leave the prior Wednesday in order to have some time to recover from transportation issues ,” Makarov added slyly, at which Laxus let out a warning growl, “so you have just under a week to get yourself organized and let Lucy know you’ll be going!” he clapped his hands together to signal he was done and Laxus froze mid-standup.
“You mean to tell me, you haven’t told her yet?” he let out another low, terrifying rumble as he stood up to his full, intimidating height.
But the Master just shrugged it off and simply stated, “I’ve only just gotten back and came right up to talk to you upon doing so. I figured I’d just let you handle it, she was just saying her goodbyes for the evening when I walked in. You might want to let her know sooner rather than later so that she doesn’t end up taking a long mission with her team and you end up going this alone,” he playfully warned.
“Tch. Whatever, Old Man; but that just means you’re doing my paperwork while I’m away”, he saw the Wizard Saint blanch and he chuckled. He knew the geezer hadn’t thought about that and now, feeling he’d at least won a small victory, he turned and walked out his gramps’ office, headed down the stairs and out of the guild.
The Master watched him go knowing the boy would do as told even if he didn’t want to. Laxus needed Lucy and just like he knew that the guild’s light could heal the oldest slayer of his past demons, he knew that Laxus could help Lucy too. The master could tell something had wounded Lucy’s soul and he’d wanted to ask her everyday what had happened, but he also knew from experience that the only way for her to heal was if she did it at her own pace. He was certain Laxus would be able to patch her up, somehow.”
And Mavis damn it all! They would make the most adorable babies in the guild and nothing was going to change his mind about that!
Chapter 3: She Smells Like The Heavens
She Smells Like The Heavens
Laxus wandered around Magnolia for an hour or so, just thinking. He came to the very annoying realization that his grandfather was, once again, right.
He didn't really know what he was going to do after he became guildmaster. He knew he would take care of the guild members, protect them from dangers. He also knew he wanted to improve the guilds reputation to attract younger mages into their ranks, because honestly, they were all starting to creep up on that age where they probably wouldn't want to take the month long requests anymore; especially those of them who hadn't been held on Tenrou for those seven years.
Sure, there were already a few new and young mages around the guild that he noted had some real potential at taking on the tougher jobs someday, after all, powerful wizards attract other powerful wizards and there weren't many who could claim to be stronger than Fairy Tail's elite members, but they were going to need more to keep the guild actually running.
Aside from keeping his family safe and ensuring that the guild had a next generation of members, he didn't have any solid plans for the rest of his life. Not professional and definitely not personal.
He knew very well what his inner dragon wanted because it whined about it all the damn time. It wanted him to pick a mate and do the whole white picket fence thing, but Laxus knew that the only woman he was ever going to truly want by his side was Lucy and that damn dragon refused to listen to reason about why that was a terrible idea.
The earliest interactions he'd had with her were less than great. Leading a coup against the home she loved, insulting her best friends (and her) frequently, having her turned into a living statue and threatening to shatter her...just to name a few of the first occurrences.
It didn't really matter that it wasn't like that anymore and that he got on decently with everyone in the guild because, in his mind, those were the things he felt most insecure about so he automatically assumed that she was hung up on the past as well. The horrible brute he had let himself be those years ago was still holding him back in some ways.
Even though he chose to act none the wiser, Laxus was also well aware of the reasons for his grandfather's meddling in his love life. Makarov really did want great-grandbabies to spoil rotten, but he mostly just didn't want Laxus to be alone after he died. Sure, he would always have the guild behind him, The Thunder God Tribe by his side, and as much of a family as they all were, having somebody to go home to after everything else was said and done was something very different.
So much of his time lately was spent reflecting or trying to map out his life. If he was a smarter man, perhaps he would have taken it as a sign or a warning that something would be drastically changing for him in the near future. And he was a smart man, but he was also very dense and stubborn a majority of the time. Something his grandfather would openly agree with.
After replaying the same conversation in his head for the twentieth time and not being able to come up with a solid answer of what the fuck he was doing with his life, he decided it would probably be best to get telling Lucy about their trip to the council over with. If he had to do this, he really didn't want to risk her going off with her team and him going alone to the meeting; he just knew without her, he'd electrocute everyone there. So, he picked up enough take-out for the both of them, from a restaurant he knew she liked, and made his way towards her house.
When Laxus was about five minutes away, he came across Freed walking away from the direction of her little house. It was odd that he was all the way over here when he lived only a few streets down from him, on the opposite side of town.
Freed noticed Laxus as they got closer and greeted his leader and old friend with a smile.
"Hello, Laxus. What brings you this way? Will you be paying Miss Lucy a visit this evening?"
Freed looked way too hopeful. Ever and Bix knew that he had feelings for the Celestial Wizard because they all knew him way too well after so many years by his side, but it was only Freed who knew the extent of them. He couldn't keep it from his best friend when the man noticed every detail of everything and was able to read him like the ancient tomes he read for "fun light reading".
Since he'd found out, he had been subtly and not-so-subtly hinting, suggesting, and even on occasion, out-right telling the Slayer that he needed to tell Lucy the truth about how he felt and that it was a shame for them to be kept apart by his stubbornness.
Freed greatly approved of the two wizards as a couple should they ever get together and that meant a lot to Laxus, but it was also proving to test his patience because even though Freed knew Laxus felt he could never be justified enough to have Lucy in that way, he wasn't able to hide the hopefulness that flashed across his eyes whenever Laxus did something kind for Lucy or spent time alone with her.
"Yeah, Gramps is sending me to the next council meeting in his place and he asked me to take Lucy along to keep me in check, I guess…", he said as he crinkled his eyebrows, realizing that when he said it outloud he sounded like a whipped boyfriend, at least this was just Freed, "and the bastard's making me tell her about it instead of doing it himself so I'm bribing her with food," he finished, holding up the take-out bags.
At Freed's understanding, albeit amused nod, Laxus returned back to his questions. He cocked his head to the side and asked, "What are you doing over here? Did you just come from her place?"
It wasn't like it was abnormal for Freed and Lucy to talk; in fact, they had become good friends over the years, bonding over books and other crap he didn't really have an interest in, but Laxus didn't think they had been close enough to spend time with each other outside of the guild. Neither of them had certainly ever mentioned it to him.
Freed chuckled at his oldest friend's curious nature and responded with tired humor in his voice, "Yes, I am just returning from her home. She asked me to accompany her when she retired from the guild this evening. It seems that she has finally reached her tolerance limit towards a good portion of the guild showing up in her home unannounced as she asked me to place a rune barrier around her property. Its mostly to keep her team from destroying it. The only people who can enter freely are The Master, her spirits, and of course, herself. Everyone else must receive an invite from one of those with indefinite access."
If Laxus was being honest, he was really relieved that she had finally put up some security measures around her home. It meant she was just that much safer and he could be a little bit more at ease. Plus it was a total bonus that the fire breather wouldn't be there all the time and she could make him leave at a moment's thought.
Once, after there'd been an almost successful attempt to capture her, Laxus had half heartedly, half jokingly, suggested they build a big scary tower, throw her in it, and the dragon slayers would take turns watching over her.
Natsu had been, very seriously, on board while Lucy had ignored them both for two weeks to give them what he deemed the most terrible punishment she could give, especially to someone who was wrapped around her delicate little finger. So...everyone.
Then when he'd finally swallowed some of his pride, she'd literally swept his feet out from under him, pinned him to the floorboards in front of the entire guild and reminded him she wasn't some helpless princess. It had been completely embarrassing and...well...a little arousing.
When Freed cleared his throat to speak, Laxus realized he had been lost in thought, "Pardon me, Laxus, but I think I will be heading home now." he held up a book that Laxus hadn't noticed before, "I have some new reading material I would like to see to."
Laxus could tell by the smell of the book that it was old and had been in Lucy's possession for many years. It smelt like when her spirits came through their gates. Its what he imagined the stars smelt like.
"Lucy's scent is all over that, it must be one of her favorites or something. So why do you have it?" he asked, genuinely curious.
Freed gave out a rare and genuine smile at the question and replied, "This is how Miss Lucy decided to repay my services after I refused her payment of Jewels. I did try to tell her that I was content to do the service as a favor between nakama, but she insisted that I must be repaid somehow. That is when she offered to lend me one of her books regarding Celestial Magic!"
"One of?" Laxus asked, his eyebrows rising, his interest thoroughly peaked, "You mean she has more? Ones that we haven't been able to find?"
Freed nodded fervently, "She has a great deal more! I believe most of them to be heirlooms from her mother, perhaps, but that is just a guess as she didn't speak much about how she obtained them. The few that she pulled out for me to see were all incredibly old and I could feel the intense magic that some of them contained." he thought for a minute before he added with a inquisitive edge, "You know, its a bit odd. She doesn't even keep them on Earthland, she has one of her spirits care for them in the Celestial Realm." The shine to the Rune Mage's eyes told Laxus that Freed was in a daze thinking of all the possible knowledge he could gain from her personal library.
Laxus was now very curious about several things but then he remembered the food in his hands and the reason he'd been walking to her house in the first place. Maybe he could get her to answer his questions if she was in a good mood tonight. With that, he spoke to Freed, pulling the Rune Mage out of his thoughts.
"I better get on my way before my bribe goes cold", Laxus gestured to the bags, "Let me know if you find anything worth sharing in that book?"
Freed only nodded with a small smile and said, "I believe Miss Lucy was just about to begin the end of her meditation as I was leaving. If you hurry, you might be able to catch her before she's finished." and he left with a knowing wink that was very uncharacteristic of him, and left Laxus wide eyed.
Laxus' heart quickened at the prospect of seeing her like that. He loved how she looked when she used her magic. It gave her a golden glow that was breathtaking and it sent his inner beast into a purring episode. Not to mention her meditations were a workout in themselves so right about now she would be glistening with sweat as her clothes clung to her body and her face would be flushed. Her cheeks tinted a light pink, breathing heavily so that her chest rose and fell with each intake and exhale.
The memories of her in such a state sent blood straight to his groin and he found himself half hard at just the thought. But he wasn't a teenager and he could control himself, so with some effort, he calmed down and continued on the short remainder of his trek.
He thought about why he loved to see her while and after she trained and it was more than the fact that he very much wanted to make her look that worn out and satisfied, in more intimate ways. It was that while she trained she would wear more of the clothes she used to wear.
Over the years she had taken to swapping out her skirt collection for pants or mid-thigh length shorts that were more practical for battle and, anymore, her chest was always covered up. In fact, he couldn't recall one incidence where he had seen even the slightest bit of her cleavage in the last 5 years.
'When had that changed?'
Even if he was glad that the rest of the world couldn't openly ogle her, he missed the view.
He soon found himself at her small home and stopped just at the edge of where he could sense the newly placed runes and was gifted by the sight of Lucy sat with her legs crossed in the middle of the open field that surrounded the cottage. Her eyes were closed and her head tilted back; a smile on her face as fuzzy golden lights moved around her. His breath died in his throat as she laughed and the wind nipped at the ends of her mid-back length hair. The light was reflecting off of her fair skin, making her look like she was glowing. It was by far, the most beautiful sight he had ever seen in his life.
Chapter 4: At Peace Amongst Her Stars
Lucy loved meditating. She loved the sensation of drawing her magic out of her body to have it dance around her like little golden, twinkling stars. It felt like stretching, in a sense.
It always brought her to a state of peace and contentment that had her feeling closer than ever to her Spirits. It reminded her of her mother and of the few happy childhood memories she still had; the ones where she was playing and laughing alongside both her mother and her father.
As a holder type mage, forcing her magic outside of her body had taken quite a bit of time to figure out and forming the raw energy into something more than untamable whisps took even longer and had been magically and physically depleting. Even with Capricorn instructing and guiding her every step of the way, she'd struggled with it for years, but she was determined.
He had told her that if she could master it and if she practiced it regularly that it would increase the capacity of her magic container and add to her stamina, which it greatly had.
She could now hold open five Zodiac gates in battle if she needed to and even more if she was just out walking around, mildly exerting herself.
It made for very fun and very….interesting outings. Ones that she deeply cherished.
It meant she could have more of her family out with her at once and in addition to the bonding time that made them all grow stronger as a unit, it also was like a little training session that helped her magical stamina. So really, everyone won and she knew she could only continue growing stronger in her magic with time. She’d once told Natsu, a long time ago, that if she’d trained hard with her spirits then they could probably be stronger than even him. She hoped to make that a reality, and maybe someday she would.
Regardless of how difficult it had been in the beginning, now that she had mastered it, forming raw magic power had become easy to her. It was something she could do with a small effort and a side thought. She could watch the golden globes fill out into the air around her as she manipulated them.
Even though she could form up to 75 spheres of her energy when she was really trying, she was only strong enough to move maybe 25 of them around at a time; so Capricorn still instructed her meditations to help her improve and grow even though he repeatedly told her how impressive she already was, as no Celestial Mage before her had ever been able to do what she could do now. He often looked so full of pride during their sessions that it brought even more warmth to her through their bond.
She was so close with her Spirits that she could hear their thoughts, feel their feelings, and in severe situations, feel their pain. Likewise, they could also hear her thoughts, and feel her feelings and pain. It made them an amazing team in battle with strategies not needing to be spoken and magical abilities flowing freely between spirit and keyholder without restriction, but it could also be a horrible burden to bare on both ends.
With pain being shared, sometimes it was hard to distinguish whose pain it was and sometimes it was even amplified because of the strong connection; each of them feeding off of the other’s agony until nobody could move or think, but thankfully that was a rare occurrence.
The first time she’d physically felt the pain of one her Spirits had been that day they fought Tartaros.
The day she destroyed Aquarius’ key.
When a Spirit’s key is broken, their links to the other worlds are severed and even though it doesn't kill them, it shatters any connections they may have had to the other realms and brings them unimaginable amounts of pain.
It is the ultimate price, and Lucy and Aquarius both paid it that day.
Lucy felt the excruciating anguish the mermaid had to endure for her sacrifice and Aquarius could feel that Lucy felt it too. In the time it took to break the key and break their connection, their pain fed off one another until the sacrifice was complete and Lucy could no longer feel anything but the gaping hole in her soul where Aquarius was supposed to be and had been since the first contract Lucy had ever formed. It broke her and tore her apart in more ways than one, but summoning, arguably, the most powerful being in existence wasn’t supposed to be a walk in the park. It was supposed to hurt, that’s what a sacrifice was; pain and loss. She knew that, but she hadn’t been prepared for the severity of it. Hadn’t been aware that it would leave her with a feeling of vacancy within herself that would never be filled again.
It had almost been too high of a price to pay.
Saving her guildmates, her family, made it worth the pain she supposed, but she still felt The Water Bearer's absence like a weight on her everyday. That was something the guild didn’t need to know and she knew her team would feel the most guilty about it, so she’d keep it to herself; she didn’t want their pity, just their love. She just wanted them to lead happy lives.
It had been hard to come back from that level of pain on top of her crushing grief for losing her oldest friend, but it had been harder still when the people she’d suffered to save all left to lick their own wounds far away from home. Not one of them had stayed.
The disbandment of Fairy Tail had sent her to a darker place than she had ever admitted to anyone; she’d felt a numbness that she couldn’t express. Losing Aquarius like that, she’d barely been able to stomach the thought of it; she didn’t know how she’d managed to actually live through it. It wasn’t like a contract between Spirit and Keyholder being nullified, that would have felt different. It would have left her with an ache in her chest and a sadness in her heart, not the crippling pain of a piece of her soul being ripped from her body as fuel for a magical door. That’s what had happened; that’s what a spirit was to their wizard.
When a contract forms, they become a part of each other. They share a piece of themselves, bare a portion of their souls with one another and Lucy wouldn’t wish the pain of missing a part of yourself on even her worst enemy.
Bickslow had once told her that her soul looked like it had a star inside of it for each spirit she was in contract with and she thought that sounded incredibly beautiful and she wished she could see it for herself.
She hadn’t asked him, but she wondered if it looked any different now that Aquarius was gone and sometimes she wondered if he would even bring it up if he noticed something amiss. She assumed he wouldn't; he was a jokester, sure, but he was one of her few guildmates that respected a person's privacy.
She laughed to herself. Her mind was running rampid tonight. Maybe that was why Capricorn had just decided to let her have fun with her meditations tonight as he observed her from the spirit world. Regardless of why he suggested it, she greatly appreciated the gesture.
She closed her eyes and took a deep inhale of the damp air and grounded herself to the earth around her. She reached out with her magic and pulled the ethernano in the air around her into her body. She let her magic containers overflow with power and when she felt she could take in no more she pushed it all out of her and away from her body, as far away from herself as she could push it. At first, it was just raw energy; untamable whisps lashing about all around her until she gripped control of it and it stilled, causing the air to appear as a bright golden shimmering sea.
Upon her exhale, she pulled the magic back towards her and filled her containers once more; stretching them, helping them to grow larger, stronger, denser. She repeated this with each inhale and exhale until she began to feel herself grow lightheaded. So, with one last inhale she opened her eyes and pushed it out farther than she had before and when the golden glow went still, she broke it apart and formed it into spheres.
She littered the sky with small magic orbs and swirled as many as she could in anyway they naturally wanted to move.
She smiled at the stray thought that danced through her mind about the first time Erza had seen her do this with her magic. Her warrior friend all-at-once looked like the wide-eyed child she occasionally did and said it looked like the stars came down to Earthland.
A breeze picked up, tickling her face and ruffling her hair, so she closed her eyes and laughed at all the different, wonderful sensations she was feeling at once. Warm from her magic, at peace in her thoughts, and happy in this moment.
It was the only secret she kept truly to herself, even from her other spirits, but sometimes when she did this, she would try to reach out to the Celestial World and to Aquarius. She would try to feel for the magic signature she knew better than any other, just to feel a connection. It never worked, but still, she tried.
Maybe one day.
She was so absorbed in the moment and in her magic that she let out a small scream when she felt someone activate the new rune barriers Freed had put up. When her concentration broke and she snapped back to reality, her magic quickly receded back into her, knocking the wind out of her, causing her yard to grow dark almost instantly and leaving her to see with only the light the moon provided. She felt Capricorn’s key warm on her hip, as he offered his assistance should she need it, but she called him off once she looked up and saw Laxus standing there with his hand resting against the barrier. He looked so handsome and in awe and more relaxed than she had ever seen him before. She decided she wanted to see it more often.
“Don’t stop on my account, Blondie. I was enjoying the light show.” He gave her a genuine smile that nearly made her swoon. “If that was how you train, I think I’ve been doing it wrong my whole life,” he joked.
She giggle at him as she ran the back of her hand across her forehead, ridding it of the beads of sweat and she allowed the runes to let him into her yard.
Once he saw them shimmer purple to signal his access, he stepped through and walked towards where she still sat in the grass, bags still in hand.
“Nah”, she smiled and passively waved him off, “that was just some fun I was having on my day off.”
“Your slave driver is finally giving you a breather, huh?” he asked as he came to a stop in front of her and fondly looked down.
With a small laugh she replied in mock exasperation, “When you work with Capricorn, there’s always room for improvement. So he keeps me on a pretty strict regimen, but once in a while, he does loosen up and lets me do something I want to, on my own.” She then noticed the bags in his hands and sweetly asked, “To what do I owe the pleasure of your company, Mr. Dreyar and whatcha got in those bags?” She looked excited and adorable as her big eyes grew a curious gleam.
He wanted to laughed at how she could so easily go from proper speech etiquette to slurring her words together all in one sentence and he shook his head slightly while he looked into her eyes.
“I have something I need to talk with you about and I figured if the bribe was good enough, you’d be more likely to agree.” Then he added, raising the bags in his arms, “Plus, I haven’t eaten much all day and after that amazing show I just saw you put on I bet you could use a good meal, too.”
Her cheeks tinted pink at his sincere compliment before turning completely red when her stomach growled at the promise of food. She said, “You...you bought me dinner?”
“I bought us dinner,” he said with a smirk as he heard her stomach, “that is, if you don’t mind?”
She quickly regained her composure, standing up, she said, “I don’t mind in the least!” She shot him a radiant smile that made his heart twitch just a bit, “Its actually quite the treat!” She dusted off her short skirt and continued, “Let’s go inside. I’ll take a quick shower and then we can eat, okay?”
“Sounds fine to me, Blondie,” although, he wouldn’t have minded if she stayed just like that. She looked good in that outfit.
“Alright then, Lightning Man,” She teased, taking a bag from one of his hands, “let’s go!”
Chapter 5: Don't Judge A Book By The Sleeve On It's Cover
By the time Laxus had finished setting the table with the take-out food, Lucy was shutting off the shower and he heard her as she slid open the curtain, opened the bathroom door, and shuffled down the hall to her bedroom.
He spent the remainder of the time waiting for her, looking around her apartment. He had been here on many occasions, but he still loved how “Lucy” the place was. It of course smelled strongly of her; strongly of Natsu too, not that he’d ever admit that it pissed him off. He tried to ignore that though and just enjoyed the feeling of a home she had created. Her style was simple yet enjoyable with a nice balance of things and free space. She kept it clean, but wasn’t a freak about it. It didn’t feel overwhelming but it did feel lived in. It was so unlike his own house that had only the necessities. He couldn't really bring himself to spend money on all the little things when he was hardly ever there. Even after all these years, his house was just a place to crash at. Though, if he did put more effort into the aesthetic of his home, maybe he’d spend more time there. He didn't know.
The last few times he’d been over for coffee and whatnot, he’d seen that the story she was still writing and rewriting after so many years was sitting out on her desk. She was almost done with it now, just finishing up the last few chapters and editing it. He’d read the whole thing by now, a little at a time, and it was actually pretty damn good. Nothing he’d pick up in a shop because it was so damn girly and romantic, but he couldn’t deny her talent. He decided not to go over to her desk to look at it this time, though, because last time...well he’d gotten caught and that bruise she’d given him for invading her privacy had taken a surprisingly long time to heal. Besides, since he was trying to convince her to go on a very long and boring trip with him, he thought it might not be such a good idea to piss her off. So he resigned himself to look out the window at the trees that surrounded her house.
He turned when he heard her come into the room and his eyes took in her fresh form. She was in black sleeping shorts that barely covered her ass, but she wore a light t-shirt that covered all the way up to the base of her neck. He could hear the dragon in the back of his mind enjoying the bare flesh. He appreciated the outfit discreetly even though he yet again wondered when her choices in clothing style had changed from revealing tops and flirty skirts to more casual and comfortable outfits. ‘Maybe it just changed as she got older’ , he shrugged off.
“You didn’t snoop around in my things this time, did you?” she asked with a raised eyebrow and a warning in her tone.
He chuckled at her and said, “No, I managed to restrain myself.”
She let out a huff of a laugh and he followed her into the kitchen, where the dining table was.
“So, Blondie”, he prompted her as they ate, “Nice runes outside, I ran into Freed on the way over.”
“Oh, yeah! I really appreciated him doing that for me! It’s been a long time coming really, I’m tired of people breaking in all the time. Erza, Gray, and Happy aren’t nearly as bad as they used to be and Wendy’s never really been a problem; but Natsu,” she let out an exhausted sigh, “he just doesn’t seem to get it, no matter how many times I kick him out or yell at him. He just seems to get worse the longer time goes on. It’s gonna be a little hard on him but he’ll get over it.”
Laxus scoffed and said, “Yeah that flame-head has never been one for personal space, but I think you’re too soft and lenient with him.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right, but he’s my best friend and aside from my spirits, he’s the one person who’s been in my life the longest. I guess I’ve just got a soft spot for him.”
Laxus heard her sad sign and decided to slightly change topics.
“Speaking of your spirits, Freed looked pretty damn tickled with that book on your magic. I could have swore there were stars in his eyes when he was going on about how you lent it to him and how many other books you have on the subject.” he was baiting her, he knew, but he was honestly so damn desperate to learn about her magic and why she never wanted to talk about it.
She giggled at the visual of a sparkling Freed and said, “Yeah, I have a pretty decent collection of books on Celestial Magics, but they don’t get much use other that sitting on a shelf and looking pretty.”
He wrinkled his brows, “What do you mean? Don’t you use them to study your magic; I know that’s what I’d do if I could find books on mine?”
He saw a brief look of sadness tinge in her eyes and he grimaced slightly. He hadn’t meant to insight pity of him in her and even if that isn’t what that look had been, it still left a sour taste in his mouth; there were few things he hated more than being pitied.
His words, of course had made Lucy feel slightly guilty for saying something so backhandedly. She knew Laxus would fight his was through ten battlefields if it meant, at the end of it all, he’d finally get some straight answers on what to expect of the rest of his life as a dragon slayer; a lifestyle and all-encompassing magic he never got a say in. She new, despite his claims otherwise, that he and all the other slayers were pretty desperate on information of their dragon natures. With no dragons left to talk to, they were all winging it at this point. So yeah, she felt a little guilty for implying she didn’t care about those books, but it wasn’t pity she felt for him because she knew he hated when people did that. So she tried to backtrack a bit.
“Well of course!” she clarified, “I’ve read through each of them several times and took from them what I could, but aside from that, I keep them with Crux in the spirit realm. I can’t keep them in this world. In order to keep them safe they have to be kept somewhere else.” Then she sent him a playful wink, “Plus I don’t really need them to be here when I can learn directly from the people actually from the Celestial Realm”, she said as she took her large key ring off of her belt and set it down on the table in front of her.
He ignored her efforts to keep the conversation light.
“When you say ‘keep them safe’ you don’t just mean the books, do you?” He asked seriously, grateful he was finally learning something different on the subject.
She was silent for a while and every moment she didn’t speak, the air around them grew thick with tension. She studied him for a few moments, her eyes calculating and he knew she was debating opening up to him. Not that he really cared if she wanted to or not, she was going to tell him even if he had to make her. He could see she had something she wanted to say and he very much wanted to know. He may be a nicer guy than he was when they first met, but he was always going to be an asshole.
Finally she caved in with a tired sigh, “No,” she admitted sadly, her tone growing serious. She danced her fingers over her keys in front of her, her mind somewhere else now, “I don’t. Keeping those books out of the reach of this world is the only way I know how to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands and the only way I know how to protect my spirits and other Celestial Wizards.”
She didn’t realize just how much she needed to express this out loud to someone. She had been collecting the books for years and hiding them away, concealing their magical signatures from this world, trying to protect the spirits and the remaining Celestial Mages, but the only person other than Master who knew was Yukino, because she was doing the same. She didn't know why she was telling all this to Laxus and telling him now of all times, but she found him so easy to talk to. He always seemed to want to listen to her; just yet another thing to love.
It was quiet for a few moments before she continued, deciding she could confide the truth in Laxus.
“There are still guilds and groups of dark mages out there that hunt down Celestial Wizards to use their magic for gain and old ritualistic spells. Yukino and I are the most sought after because we’re the strongest and the most known, both belonging to high profile guilds and teams. But that also means that we’re the hardest to catch, so sometimes, these dark guilds go after weaker Celestial Mages, using maybe three or four of them to complete their rituals.”
She was starting to fight back the stinging in her eyes.
“When I found out they were doing this, that they were killing those mages for no other reasons than their magic types and simply because they were easier targets than me…” She looked very seriously at Laxus then to convey her emotions, “I blew out the side of Mount Zonia…”
The Dragon Slayer’s eyes widened disbelievingly, Lucy never just lost her shit and destroyed things. He remembered that report though, it had been posted as the headline in every newspaper across Fiore a few months after the guild had disbanded. The results of the event had been so catastrophic that it had just been written off as an earthquake or the mountain caving in on itself. He’d actually walked through all the rubble that was there now a couple times on his was to and from jobs, and he’d never have guessed it was actually a person who’d done that much damage, let alone Lucy...small, gentle Lucy.
His mind suddenly stilled in realization, his blood running cold.
“Lucy...there was a village on that side of the mountain…”
“I know!” she cried out regretfully as she slammed her elbows onto the table top and threw her face into her hands. “And if Yukino hadn’t been with me...and summoned Libra to stop the boulders, they all would have died and it would have been my fault!”
She had never been so angry in her entire life as she had been in that moment she’d lost control of her magic. Angry at herself for her recklessness, pissed off at Zeref’s followers who kidnapped mages for their schemes, and absolutely livid that before the council had been obliterated they knew about this and had done nothing. She explained this all to Laxus, but left out that her magic had been uncontrollable for many months after Tartarus. Only Yukino and the Spirit World knew about it and bless her friend for never saying anything to anyone.
She sniffled and tired to calm herself down, there was no point in being upset over it now, she’d done it and tried all she could to make up for it.
“We spent two months relocating that village before we moved on.”
Laxus honestly didn’t know what to say. He’d always been absolute garbage at words when it counted and this was just way too much at once. It didn’t really matter though because before he even had the chance to make a jackass of himself, Lucy changed topics, but it was like she wasn’t even talking to him anymore. More along the lines of just saying it because it needed to be said.
“Actually, I feel like Freed is under some assumption that those books used to be my mother’s, but in truth, very few of the books in my collection were given to me by her. Most of them are ones I’ve confiscated from dark guilds after battles or from shady merchants on the black market circles.”
He just clamped his mouth closed to keep it from hanging open. ‘Come on you fucking idiot!’ he shouted in his head, ‘Say something...respond!’ but he couldn’t, he wasn’t really sure how to approach this topic.
Her voice was a whisper now, “Did you know there are only six known Celestial Wizards left in all the world? The numbers keep getting smaller…” she shook her head sadly.
“How’d you come up with that number?” Laxus finally managed to spit out. It wasn’t graceful, but at least is was something. It seems that he didn't know nearly as much about Lucy as he thought he did, or anyone else for that matter because she was letting all this out like she’d been needing to do it for a long time.
“Because I’ve met them.” she stated matter-of-factly, “When the guild disbanded, before I moved to Crocus and started working for Jason, I found myself at Sabertooth. I went to spend some time with Yukino. I was just trying to find comfort somewhere and we became good friends after we closed the Eclipse Gate. So, I spent a few weeks there regrouping. They offered to have me join the guild,” she took notice of the soft growl Laxus let out at the idea and tried to hide the small smile tugging on her lips, “but Fairy Tail was my home and my family. It was too soon after the disbandment to think about moving on, for me. Plus, I just knew we’d all come home one day.
But, Yukino and I traveled together for six months around Earthland trying to seek out others with our magic, but we came up with very few.” She drifted deep into her thoughts and Laxus was about to try to call her back when she jolted up and blushed a heavy red. “Oh Mavis, Laxus! I'm so sorry, you came here to talk about something and I've been venting this whole time. I’m so embarrassed…” She trailed off.
Laxus just ignored her apology for now because he needed a couple answers before she was done talking about this and he seemed to have finally found his tongue.
“Why haven't you told me all this before now? And why now? I mean,” he paused with a sigh, “I know you don't need to tell me anything but we’re good friends and we confide in each other often...so I guess I’m just worried about you. This is some seriously heavy shit, does anybody know? Have you at least been talking to someone else to help you get this out of your head? Because this is just...wow its fucked.”
Lucy was taken slightly aback at the worry in his eyes and the tenderness in his voice. He wasn't like that often and only when it was something… ’he thought was really important’ . She nodded gently to herself, now she understood.
“Master knows that I go looking for the books and why I keep them hidden.” She averted her eyes to the side.
“What about your team? Surely you've told them, right?” Laxus realized that he had no right to be irritated that the old man hadn't told him about this seeing as a guild master has to keep a lot of secrets, but he still was.
“They know what they need to.” Lucy shrugged, honestly believing that was a sufficient answer. Laxus, though just rolled his eyes and picked up a dumpling sitting on the table and threw it at her to grab her attention. It hit her square in the forehead and she shot him a death glare. He knew she was done with this conversation when she gave that short and vague answer, but he decided to push her just once more…
“I need to know...” He prompted and she tensed her shoulders. She knew what he was going to ask and she tried to prepare herself to both take the question and give out a sufficient answer. And sure enough...
He frowned at her, “You obviously haven’t told them shit; what I don’t get is, why? It would make the most sense for them to know as much as they could about...your activities, it could affect them directly and it puts you in danger. That and I really hate the idea that you do this alone. If you got hurt..and nobody knew..I just…” he couldn't finish the thought let alone the sentence.
Lucy was once again taken aback by his worry and she felt an immense need to comfort him, so she held back her tears just a little bit longer as she pushed out the last statement she could manage..
“I..my t-team..we..we don't talk about the time we were apart, much. Talking about it...it just…it brings back memories of Tartaros and that's too painful to talk about, even still.” she began to tear up and Laxus realized he had taken it too far, and even though he felt like shit, she needed to say it and he needed to hear it. Her hand went to rest over her chest in a clenched fist as she said, “Tartaros took something from each of us...and we only shared enough with each other to keep us safe as we became a team again.”
He opened his mouth to ask more questions, to probe deeper into her wounds. Every part of him telling him to heal her somehow, but before any noise could escape she cut him as she curtly stood up and silenced him with a hand slash through the air in front of her.
“Laxus, I can't talk about this anymore tonight.” She said as a tear escaped her eye, “I’m gonna go take a minute in the bathroom and then we can talk about why you came over. I just...I need a minute, please understand,” and she left without waiting for his response, not that he had one.
He sat there frozen for a few moments, staring at where she had just been. So much for her being in a good mood.
‘Had Tartaros really been that tough on them?’ He knew that Natsu had put up one hell of a fight, every last one of the guild members had. And he could understand why the first and third generation slayers would still be so torn up about it, they had finally found their dragons only to lose them again, all in the same day. The whole guild knew that. ‘But what happened to Gray and Erza..what happened to Lucy?’
Most people who had been a part of the battle had dealt with their issues over the years and opened up to their friends at the guild about it, but now that he thought about it, those four never did, and now he knew they didn’t even talk about it amongst themselves. They were the closest people in the guild. Something wasn’t right with that.
He supposed he could only wonder, he wouldn’t push anymore issues with her tonight, he shouldn’t’ve done it at all.
Chapter 6: It Could Be Fun
He couldn’t dwell on his thoughts much longer as she really had only taken a few minutes in the bathroom. He heard her walk down the hall and his eyes waited where she would appear. He was expecting her to be shut down when she returned but instead all he could see was softness in her eyes when she looked at him. He was beyond relieved and was about to apologize for his prodding when she spoke first.
“Thank you, Laxus”, she said sincerely, “Now, what was it that you came over to talk to me about?” She gave him a small smile to tell him she was okay.
‘So we’re not gonna talk about it, huh? I guess I can do that, it's probably better like this anyway. I need her to agree.’
“I..uh..well, we...Gramps, actually..Dammit.” He lowered his gaze and shook his head at his awkwardness, but when she giggle at him, his heart lightened a little and he tried again.
“Gramps is sending me to the next council meeting in his place.”
“Really? That’s great, Laxus!” She said excitedly, almost as if their previous conversation hadn’t happened at all.
“Yeah, except for the part where I know nothing about dealing with those bastards and am probably going to shock them all at least once before the meeting is over…” He was going to try to sell her on this a little at a time, then maybe she’d agree to go with him. He didn’t want to tell her it was the Master’s order and she really didn’t have a choice in going. For some reason it was important to him for her to want to go of her own will.
She let out a laugh at the thought of him zapping council members. “While I don’t doubt that could very well be a possible scenario, I think you’re gonna do great! It’s a big step in your training as Master and you should see it as a challenge.”
“Oh it’s definitely gonna be a challenge.” he grumbled at her optimism, “but just to be on the safe side, Gramps suggested that I ask you to come with me…so here I am. He said something about you being able to deal with them because you used to be an heiress or something along those lines.”
He saw Lucy narrow her eyebrows in suspicion.
“ Suggested ? That doesn’t sound like him.” she pinned him with a no nonsense glare, “He’s making me go, too, isn’t he?”
He huffed with a smirk, crossed his large arms, and shook his head. “You read me too easily, Blondie. It’s getting to be a problem if I can’t even throw a little white lie at you anymore.” He found it only a little unsettling when she did that, see right through him, but he secretly found comfort in knowing someone understood him so well, “I don’t want you to go if you don’t want to. Screw what the old man says. If you don’t want to go, no one’s gonna force you.”
“Now, who says I don’t want to go? It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten the opportunity to mess with the council first-hand. It could be fun!” She said with an evil smirk that almost made him laugh.
“Besides,” she added, “he probably just wants me go along because there’s not many people who could teach you about the new council members better than I can.”
He stared at her, his confusion prominent on his features. She kept throwing curveballs at him tonight, but now she was making zero sense.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I was one of the people who chose the council members out of a list of possible candidates.” she stared back at him with just as much confusion, “Didn’t you know that?”
His jaw hung open in utter shock. “You..you hand picked the members that are on the new council?!”
“Well, it wasn’t just me. Rufus Lore from Sabertooth and Hibiki Lates from Blue Pegasus helped too. They didn’t want the choices to be biased so they had people from three separate guilds select them.”
“I honestly don’t know what to say to that.”
“And I can’t believe you didn’t know…” They both stared at each other for a few moments, surprised. “But, like I said, that’s probably the reason Master wants me to go with you, because I know so much about them and I have information that could help give you an advantage.” she finished with a bright smile.
‘That’s not the only reason he wants you to come with me…’ Laxus thought as he recalled the conversation he had with his gramps back at the guild earlier, about choosing a future and doing it soon.
“When do we leave?” she jolted him out of his thoughts.
“Wait, you mean, you’ll go?” He spoke astonishedly, “You really don’t have to” he said dejectedly before he realize that it came out rude. He frantically tossed his hands about in front of him, “...not that I don’t want you there! Because that would be really nice..Its just that..I don’t..uuuuuugh.” He dropped his head in embarrassment as he threaded his fingers through his hair. He looked up at her when she placed her fist underneath his chin, forcing their gazes to meet again.
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath before he looked at her again.
“I just don’t want you to go if the only reason you’re doing it is because it’s an order. I’m the one who wants to be guild master, so really I’m the only one who should have to go.”
She smiled warmly at him. “Like I said, it could be a lot of fun. So, when do we leave?”
He smiled back at her and relished in the fact that she was still touching his face.
“We leave on Wednesday. So, that gives you five days to get your shit together, alright?”
“That’s more than enough time, I’ll have everything I’ll need by then.”
“Great, now let me help you clean up dinner and I’ll head home.”
She’d completely forgotten they had just eaten and that there was indeed a dragon slayer sized mess on her table.
She sweat dropped, “That would be wonderful, Thank you.”
They made quick work of the mess and Lucy insisted Laxus take the leftover food home with him since he was the one who bought it, but he had argued that she should keep it because they had eaten at her house, and after a long debate and almost “Lucy Kick”, he won the argument.
They walked together to her front door, awkwardly, as neither one of them really knew how to end the night.
“Thank you again for dinner, Laxus. It was very nice and I really was hungry,” she chuckled.
“It was no problem at all. Thank you for your company as always, and thank you for agreeing to go with me.”
She smiled at him again and said, “I’m sure you’re going to do great, you won't even need me there.”
He just nodded in reply and began to leave, but as he turned to walk out the door she grabbed one of his large hands with both of her much smaller ones, preventing him from taking a step. As his head snapped back to see why he'd been grabbed, she averted her gaze from his confused face and instead looked to where their hands were joined.
She ran the pads of her thumbs over his knuckles as she spoke, her voice was a whisper that he would have missed if he didn’t have enhanced hearing.
“I don’t always go alone.”
“What?” he asked as he moved his free hand to her cheek to make her look at him.
“The books. When I go hunting, I don’t...well, I don't always go by myself. Sometimes Erza goes with me when she’s not busy; she doesn’t like that I go alone either.” She tried to look away again but he wouldn’t let her, “It’s just...I know, now that you know, you’re going to worry and I don’t want you to; so, I just wanted you to know, I don’t always go alone.” Her brows briefly creased together in thought, “To be honest, I don’t even know why I told you all of that so out of the blue. You’ve always just been so easy for me to talk to.”
The both felt how intimate this situation had become and it didn’t help at all when Laxus pulled her into a tight embrace, firm against his chest, and nuzzled her temple with his nose.
“I'm gonna worry anyway,” he whispered back, “If I knew forbidding you from going would work, I'd do that, but I know you'll keeping searching regardless of what I think, so I won't. Just be careful, Blondie and promise you'll at least let someone know what you're up to. I'd prefer that someone be me, but…”
When he pulled back to look at her again, his eyes were dilated and his cheeks a light pink to match her own as he heard her heartbeat increase. He was about to lean down, closer to her face on instinct, when he felt her jump in his arms and push away from his embrace. She whipped her head around to look towards her yard and he realized that somebody must have activated the runes and alerted themselves to her.
The panic he had begun to feel subsided when he realized her jumping away from him wasn’t her rejecting him. He’d lost his composure and was about to kiss her...good gods this was going to be a long trip. With just the two of them.
He growled when the scent of the person who triggered the runes hit his nose.
“You can relax, Blondie. It’s just your pyro-partner.” he spat and as if just to prove his words true, a large fireball erupted from the darkness and dissolved against the barrier.
“This is going to be an exhausting conversation…” she sighed.
“Come on, I need to get going home. I’ll walk you down there.” and they left the porch and walked down the path towards where another fireball had been launched.
Chapter 7: New Boundaries
“Luce! What the hell is this?! Why are there runes all around your house?!”
Lucy was thoroughly irritated with her partner. She knew he was going to come over soon and she was going to have to deal with this scenario at some point, but she had hoped it would be tomorrow when she wasn’t tired and emotionally raw from her discussion at dinner. Plus, she couldn’t be sure, but Laxus had looked like he was about to kiss her and, unfortunately, Natsu’s presence had killed any chance of that. As a matter of fact, he had single handedly ruined every date she had convinced herself to go on over the years. ‘Not that tonight with Laxus was a date or anything, but that’s really not the damn point!’ So she was annoyed and their conversation about the runes and the space she needed wasn’t going to go as gently as she had originally hoped.
“Natsu, I had Freed put them up earlier today.” She tried for the calm approach, even though she knew it wasn’t going to work. It never did when he got like this.
“But why, Luce? Why are they here? Why can’t I get in?!” If anyone was going to be allowed through the runes at Lucy's house it would be him, right? Lucy was going to respond and try to explain to her very dense best friend, but it seems Natsu had finally noticed Laxus presence and shot more questions at her.
“Why the hell is he here? And how in the hell did he get inside?!” Natsu spat out his words with venom and began banging on the flashing runes again.
Lucy was done, at her limit, and so very tired of his behavior. It wasn't just tonight. Over the last year or so, Natsu's brawls with the older slayer had become more frequent and even though the guild only saw it as the playful rowdiness between guildmates it had always been before, the three mages present knew there was an extra edge to it now. Lucy knew when her partner was being playful and that was not usually how he was with Laxus anymore.
As for the two slayers, they could both sense the others nonverbal challenge regarding the blonde Celestial Wizard; not that Lucy ever knew exactly why things between them were so tense.
“Natsu, that. is. enough!” she yelled at him and his tantrum ceased, nearly instantaneously Laxus stood there slightly wide-eyed and surprised at her outburst. He hadn’t expected her to yell or for the idiot to listen. “Laxus is here because I invited him, we were having dinner! As for the runes, they are here because I need some space and nobody seems to understand what that means! They ,” she once again referred to the runes, “are here because you nearly burnt down my house yesterday! It took me and Virgo hours to clean up the mess you created and I can’t live like that anymore, Natsu, I won’t do it!” Lucy realized, now, that she was screaming at him and she had tears in the corners of her eyes. Natsu had his head downcast and his eyes hidden from the light. The fight gone from his posture resulted from Lucy's reprimand.
‘He almost did what?!’ Laxus screamed in his head. “I should beat the shit out of that little brat for being so reckless!’ but he wouldn’t, not tonight. By the looks of it, Natsu was getting enough from Lucy it seemed like it was hitting him pretty hard.
He suddenly felt like he was intruding on a very private moment so he decided it was time to leave. He considered gaining Lucy’s attention to say a goodbye, but he decided against it. They were having a conversation and a moment they needed to have and him interrupting it wouldn’t help at all. In fact, it would probably make it worse; Natsu had seemed to forget he was there and if he remembered he would likely get angry again. Even though Lucy couldn’t have heard it, it was so low, Natsu had growled at him when he had seen him. Making it clear to him that he was walking all over the other slayer’s territory; be it the actual land or the girl.
Even if in the last few years their fights had taken a slightly rougher turn, Natsu wasn’t usually like that and his fights with Laxus were always light-hearted; but this time was different, it involved Lucy without question and now Laxus had no doubt in his mind that the Salamander wanted Lucy as his mate.
His own dragon was livid and rearing for a fight at the presence of a challenger. So, he quickly left without a sound to prevent a horrible battle from occurring that neither he nor Natsu would be able to control. He listened to their conversation until he was too far away to hear and he made his way home to deal with all that the night brings.
Lucy didn’t notice that Laxus had left, but Natsu did and he could be calm now as he found his tense and rigid body relaxing slightly.
He had been on his way over to see if she wanted to pick out a job tomorrow when they went to the guild and was about to walk down the path to her house when the door opened and Laxus walked out. He’d been confused and a little irritated at the fact that they were alone together. It was bad enough that they locked themselves in his office at the guild when they worked on paperwork so that nobody would interrupt, but if they were here, alone...then that could mean there was something going on between them and Natsu wasn’t okay with that at all.
Ever since they had met in Hargion so many years ago, his dragon had always told him to protect her with everything he had. It had never told him exactly why, but Igneel had taught him not to question the stupid beast too much. So he didn't. When he had come of age, the dragon had only become more talkative and about…different things. It was in the last few years that that their relationship had changed, at least for him it had. When he came back from his year of training and run into Lucy in Crocus at the Games, he had been so happy to see her, but the first year back together, rebuilding the guild, and searching for Gray, she had been distant from him, almost cold. He never voiced it but he suspected it was because she was afraid he would leave her again and sometimes he’d catch her staring at him as if he wasn’t really there.
As soon as she had started truly letting him in again, she began spending hours and hours a day with Laxus up in his office. It was the first time his dragon had been angry at something that wasn’t a battle or an enemy. After some reflecting he had remembered Igneel’s teachings and came to the conclusion that his inner dragon wanted to make her his mate. However, not too long after that, his dragon, finally waking up to this side of its purpose, had also taken a bright shine to Lisanna. He was in love with them both and they both made him happy. So aside from the fact that Lucy was always denying harboring any more than platonic feelings towards him, the only reason he hadn’t made any real move on either of them was that his dragon couldn’t decide if it wanted Lucy or Lisanna. While Lis definitely had feelings for him and he did love her, some part of him wanted Lucy more. Even if she didn’t want him in the same way, he could still try. But he was forced to wait for his Dragon to make a damn decision and if it didn’t make one soon he had a feeling he would miss any chance with Lucy.
He only proved his own point when Laxus pulled Lucy into his chest and looked like he was about to kiss her. He fully intended on stopping them when he came face first into a wall of runes that were unmistakably Freed's magic.
Everything went downhill from there and now here he was, getting scolded by his best friend and love. He wasn’t dense like people thought he was, he just liked to keep his private life, private and he knew he had really screwed up with Lucy this time. He just hoped it wasn’t too late to fix it; he didn’t think he could take it if she shut him out again.
Lucy stepped through the rune barrier to get to Natsu. After all, she wasn't hiding from him, he would never hurt her on purpose. She was just keeping her house and fragile belongings from him.
She reached out and pulled him into a hug that he eagerly returned, keeping his head hidden in the crook of her neck like a sad child.
“Natsu, I’m sorry I didn't mean to scream at you like that. I’m just...I just lost my temper.” She held him tight and ran her fingers through the hair on the back of his head. Salmon colored locks that she had secretly always loved for their uniqueness and how they somehow just fit Natsu.
“No, Luce. I’m the one who should be sorry. I was acting like a little kid. I was freaked out that I couldn’t get to you. You know I feel like I have to protect you, and with you being somewhere I can’t get to, it just makes my skin crawl.”
She sighed at him; resting her face on his shoulder, head turned away from him.
“You don’t have to protect me, Natsu. Not like that, not anymore.”
“I know that, you haven’t needed me to save you in a long time. You’re super strong, Luigi and you’ve grown so much since we found each other in Hargeon.”
She laughed against his shoulder at his attempt to lighten her up with that stupid name and, Mavis, it always worked.
“The first time we destroyed buildings together.” She reminisced with a small giggle.
He smiled at her as she pulled back from their embrace to look at him but then a frown formed as he asked, “Did you really put these up because of me?”
His hands found a home on her hips and her wrists were resting on his shoulders, physical touches between them long since losing their awkwardness. Now being held by one another only brought comfort.
“It's not just you, Natsu. It's everything and everyone. You know how much I hate being alone, but I still need my space, okay?” He only gave her a nod as he looked away and she sighed again as she grabbed his chin between her fingers to bring back his gaze. “I’m not mad at you if that’s what you’re thinking and you’re still allowed to come over, it’ll just only be when I’m home. No more breaking in.”
That seemed to be what he needed to hear because she saw his face light up with his usual playfulness as he pulled her into one last quick hug and started to walk backwards the way he came. “Alright, Luce! I understand.” His smile was back in full swing and she was relieved. “I’ll go home for tonight and see you at the guild in the morning!”
“That sounds great, Natsu. I’ll be there around nine!”
He smiled and turned to leave.
“Wait, Natsu! I forgot to ask, why did you come over in the first place?” He sheepishly rubbed the back of his neck at forgetting the whole reason he came over.
“I came to ask you if you wanted to go on a job tomorrow.” his statement doubled as a question and he waited for her response.
She smiled at him and said, “That’ll be great, Natsu. But it's gotta be a short one, okay? Only a few days. I have plans next week!”
With that they said their final goodbyes for the evening and went their separate ways.
'Well that could have went better but it also could have went so much worse. So I’ll take it as a win.’ she thought to herself as she crawled into bed and fell into the first peaceful sleep she'd found in a long time.
Chapter 8: What's Your Problem?
The Beginning of Secrets
When Lucy got to the guild the morning after her heated conversation with Natsu, she found him outside on a bench with Happy, job flyer and train tickets in hand, and practically bouncing with excitement.
She found out that it was only a two day mission and they were just supposed to round up a few stray mages that had been evading the Rune Knights.
Now here they were and it was already Monday.
The job had taken an entire day longer than it was supposed to because one of the mages was an illusionist and had led them in the wrong direction for half of the first day. At least it explained how they were able to give the Knights a run-around. It was only with the help of her compass spirit, Pixis, that they were able to find the bastard because Natsu’s nose was being messed with by the spell; Something Lucy and Happy had ruthlessly teased and taunted him about, much to the Salamander's displeasure.
Regardless of the set-back, they finished the job, turned in the mages, and collected their reward (which surprisingly only been docked a few hundred jewels) The reward wasn’t anything all that great but they were doing this job more for the fun of it anyway. Its not like they really needed the money, they both owned their homes. So really this was just pocket money. Besides, if they really needed Jewels, they were both S-Class Wizards now; they could take a job off of the second floor and be done with it. Not like when she first joined the guild and struggled to make rent every month. The only reason they took one off the first floor this time was because S-Class jobs tended to take longer and Lucy needed to be back by Tuesday in order to pack. ‘But it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen! If Natsu and Happy don’t hurry up we’re going to miss the last train tonight back to Magnolia!’
“Luuuuce! Why are we hurrying anyway?” Natsu was grumbling behind her, “I’m tired, why don’t we just get a room here for the night and deal with the metal death trap tomorrow?”
‘Has he really already forgotten? He’s such a child sometimes.’ she rolled her eyes. ‘...Most of the time, actually.’
“We’re hurrying because I need to be back home by tomorrow so that I can pack and be ready by Wednesday morning. I’ve told you this four times since we left the guild!”
She heard Natsu let out a defeated sigh behind her at having to take the train so soon after a fight.
“You’ll be fine, Natsu. It’s only a two hour ride and I still have those motion sickness pills.”
“Oh, thank Mavis!” Natsu shouted to no one in particular and Lucy giggled at his relief.
They bought their tickets and boarded the train, cutting it really close. Lucy had to beg the young lady at the ticket booth to sell them so close to departure.
Natsu’s motion sickness was by far the worst out of any of the Slayers, even though Gajeel was a close second, so the magical motion sickness pills she had could only do so much as to keep him from throwing up everywhere. He was still in pain every time he had to be on a train, but at least with these the pain was bearable. Most of the ride home was spent in silence as Natsu tried to calm his stomach from his side of the cabin and only every once in a while would one of them speak up. They had been friends and partners for so long that the silence was comfortable and Happy just slept the whole way home curled up on Lucy’s lap.
When they finally got back to Magnolia, Natsu ejected himself from the window of their cabin muttering sweet “thank you’s” to the pavement while Lucy and Happy let themselves out the doors like normal people. As soon as Natsu was feeling a little better, Happy, deeming his best friend okay, took off to go find something to eat and maybe “accidently” run into Carla; leaving Natsu and Lucy alone together.
“Alright, Natsu. I’m going home now. I probably won’t see you until I get back.” She said to the grateful mess of her partner on the pavement below her.
Natsu suddenly got up from the floor and started walking along side her even though she'd said goodnight.
“Where are you headed to anyway, Luce? I don’t think I ever asked. Are you going searching again? I could go with you this time, you know, I’m not doing anything.”
“Natsu, I really appreciate your offer and I do everytime you give it, but that’s something I need to do on my own, okay?”
Natsu grumbled like he always did when they talked about those stupid books. He really fucking hated that she would never let him go along with her in case she needed backup, but he’d long since given up trying to convince her. He didn’t even really understand why she needed to collect them or why she had to do it alone, they were just stupid books after all. She could get books at the store and she still did that too. So he was just confused by it, but he knew it was hard for her to talk about. ‘I suppose we all keep our secrets now.’ he thought before he responded to Lucy.
“You say that, Luce, but I know Erza goes with you sometimes. Why her and not me?”
She could tell he was feeling dejected so she tried to lighten his mood. She giggled while telling him, “Erza demands to go when she finds out I’m going, which is usually only because of an intense interrogation session when she catches me packing a bag. Nobody in their right minds would ever tell her ‘no’ and even fewer would live to tell the tale! I’m not even sure Jellal could get away with it.”
Natsu let out a little laughter at this so she continued, getting back on topic, “Besides, I’m not doing that anyway.” she could tell he was about to ask her another question so she answered it before he could get it out, “Master is sending me with Laxus to the next Magic Council meeting and we leave Wednesday morning.”
Natsu stopped walking and it took a few more steps for her to notice, but when she did, she stopped too and now they were both standing in the middle of a dimly lit street with a good three or so feet between them
“Why is Gramps sending you two?” He was really not okay with them spending that much time alone, without anyone to prevent something from happening; without anyone there to prevent Laxus from making a move on Lucy before his dragon made it’s choice.
She raised her eyebrow at his sudden change in mood. “He’s sending Laxus to get a feel for what it’s like to be Guild Master and I’m going along to help him out, give him advice and such. What’s with you?”
“I just don’t like that you’re going to be alone with him.” Natsu mumbled.
'What the hell is that supposed to mean?’ She thought bitterly and she intended to find out. She was done with Natsu's weird distrust or anger towards Laxus and she wanted it to stop now.
“I really don’t understand what your problem is with Laxus. You’ve been acting like this for a long time when it comes to him, I just don’t get it! I've tried to figure it out, gone over it in my head again and again, but I still can't find a good reason for the way you act towards him! He’s a good man, Natsu, and he’s proven that over and over again.” Her voice was getting louder and if it wouldn’t have been the middle of the night she was sure people would have been staring, “He would never hurt me and you know that! He cares about the guild more than anything and the fact that you doubt I can protect myself even if he were a threat, really hurts me, Natsu!” She finished, placing her hand over her heart.
“That’s not what I’m worried about.” he said, looking away from her.
“Then what is it? Tell me, please!” she begged, “This has been going on between you two for far too long. I know you think I haven’t noticed you get upset when he’s around, but I have. Especially on Friday when he was at my house. So please, just tell me. Let me help, we’re best friends!”
“This isn’t something you can fix, Lucy!” He yelled back, which surprised her and she stumbled back a step, “It’s something between me and him and it needs to stay that way!”
“But I don’t understand why!”
“I can’t tell you that.” his voice was back to a whisper.
There were tears showing in her eyes as she turned away from him, her heart hurting and her mind confused. “Then I guess we need more space than I thought we did. I’ll see you in a couple of weeks, Natsu.”
“Please, Luce. Just answer this one question.” he thought back to the other day when it had looked like Laxus had been about to kiss Lucy.
“Why the hell should I?” she snarled, “You’re not answering any of mine.” but he asked her anyway.
“Are you dating him?” he asked as she started walking away.
“What the hell does that even matter, Natsu?” she called out to the night sky coldly and sharply, leaving him in the middle of the street with clenched fists before he, too, walked home, leaving a scorched trail behind him.
Neither one of them had noticed Bixslow perched on a rooftop nearby, having overheard the entire fight.
Laxus woke up on Tuesday to a clanging noise somewhere downstairs in his house. Not many people came over to his house and mostly every one of them rang the doorbell. So this noise was either a really stupid and unlucky burglar or it was Bixslow. Frankly, he kind of wanted it to be a burglar. That would at least be less exhausting. He loved the guy, really, they had been friends over twenty-five years if you counted their frozen-in-time stage. He also didn’t really care that Bix would let himself in every now and then because it wasn’t often and the dude still had boundaries. In fact, Bixslow coming over by himself usually meant he had something to say that skirted along the lines of important. So with a sigh, Laxus got up and went downstairs to greet his surprise guest, still in just his boxers.
He found Bixslow in the kitchen, a beer in his hand, leaning his back against the counter.
“What’s up, Bix?”
“Hey Bossman! I was beginning to wonder if you were home, I was making a lot of noise and you still weren’t showin’ up to yell at me.” Bixslow then noticed Laxus’ state of undress this late in the day and let out his famous tongue wagging grin. “Still in bed at this hour, huh? Get some action last night?”
Laxus just rolled his eyes at his friend, but then he realized what he’d said, “Wait, what time is it?”
“It’s two in the afternoon, man.” Gone was the time for jokes and now Bixslow looked serious. “Are you alright, Laxus? Did you have another night terror? You know you can tell me if you did, talking helps. Trust me on that.”
“No, last night was great actually. Nothing happened. Not even a single dream, I was just able to sleep and I didn’t have to get drunk to do it either. I’m just surprised at the time, is all.”
“Alright, if you say so, but if you ever need someone, seriously...” Bixslow trailed off.
Laxus decided to speed up this conversation, he overslept and now he had less time to run errands and get things packed before tomorrow.
“What did you need, Bix? You usually don’t just show up for whatever, but I’ve got a few things I need to do. I’m leaving town for a bit.” Laxus had expected his friend to go back to being a jokester but that’s not what happened, instead he seemed to grow more serious.
“Yeah, so I hear.”
“What do you mean, I haven’t told anyone.”
“Yeah, well last night I was sitting on the roof of some house by the train station when Natsu and Lucy got back in town.”
“Okay, and?” He tried to sound uninterested, but like with everything that involved Lucy, Laxus now had his full attention on the topic of her, especially since it concerned the Salamander.
“ And they got into a really heated argument. They were yelling and shit. She ended up crying and leaving him in the middle of the street and he looked like he wanted to destroy a forest or something.”
Laxus was ready to go throw that idiot of a fire mage off the nearest cliff for making Lucy cry, but for now, Bixslow was still here.
“And what makes you think I needed to know that?”
“Well aside from the fact that you’re so in love with the girl its fucking with your head,” Laxus just stared in shock with his jaw hanging open at his friends perceptiveness, “they were arguing about you, Laxus. About you and her going to the Council tomorrow.”
“They were arguing, about me? Do I even wanna know?”
“Probably not,” Bixslow admitted with a shrug, “but I think you should know that she defended the fuck out of you. She really cares about you and you obviously mean a lot to her. I mean, come on man, she defended you to the one person in the world she’s closest to. You gotta see the significance in that, right?” He was almost pleading now, asking for his friend to see the truth. He knew Laxus loved her, he'd never acted like that with any other girl, not once. But if he didn’t make a move soon, it was starting to look like Natsu would.
Laxus sat down at the table, looking at the floor. “We’re only friends, Bix. We can’t ever be more than that, it doesn’t matter how I feel.”
Bixslow was just glad he wasn’t outright denying his feelings. Maybe there could still be hope that his friend could be happy.
“Well I call bullshit,” he stated simply, earning an annoyed frown from the man he saw as an older brother, “but I’m not gonna fight with you about it. It’s your life, but I’m just warning you that if you don’t do something soon, Natsu’s going to and from what I could tell from the way he was acting during their fight, he knows you’re into her and he’s not happy about it. I have a feeling this is some sort of dragon thing I could never understand so I’m just lettin’ you know, alright.”
Laxus only gave him a small nod, still not looking at him and Bixslow just sighed.
“Alright man, I’ll leave and let you get ready for your trip.” he clapped Laxus on the shoulder on his way out. “Good luck with the Council Idiots. You’re gonna do great, Bossman. I know it!” and with that he was gone, leaving Laxus alone with his thoughts.
Chapter 9: The Beginning of Secrets
Lucy sat at Magnolia Station by herself as she waited for Laxus. She realized she was almost embarrassingly early but she wasn't completely sure what time they were supposed to be meeting.
He had only said Wednesday morning not when Wednesday morning.
So, she'd just assumed they'd be taking the first train out, that's usually what her team meant anyway. And if not, oh well. She didn't mind waiting, she was tired and could use the time to rest.
She spent all of yesterday trying to keep a very irate Loke from attacking Natsu. He was pissed off that Natsu had yelled at her and that she'd been curled up in a ball of sobs in the shower when he found her.
Once he'd managed to pry out from her what was really wrong, he'd immediately gotten up from soothing her to go punch Natsu's stupid face out the back of his head. He'd barely gotten through the door before she sent him home. She'd had to keep a very firm hold on his gate the rest of the afternoon and all night long just to keep him in the Spirit World.
When morning had come around, his resistance to her locking him away gave out and now he was being eerily quiet. So while she didn't have to hold his gate closed at the moment she was still keeping a close eye on him. She could tell he was still angry, just not so angry that he was going to act impulsively, (like burning Natsu's retinas with several overpowered Regulus attacks and permanently blinding her partner out of anger, for starters).
She also had to keep shutting Virgo's gate. The spirit wasn't happy that Lucy had decided to keep her mind occupied by packing for the trip herself because she couldn't fall asleep, lest she unleash Loke. The sneaky spirit just appeared more determined every time and when the bags were finally packed, Virgo appeared, collected the bags, and disappeared before Lucy could get out a single protest.
So even though Lucy had been having a very trying last few days, she was able to sit in silence at the train station while she waited. The first train of the day hadn't even arrived yet and the sun was just beginning to rise, so there weren't many people there yet and it was peaceful.
She felt Plue's key warm on her hip, signaling that he wanted to see her so she called him out and smiled when he was stood, wobbling, in front of her.
"Hey, Plue!" she cuddled the little dog spirit to her chest, "How are you?"
"Pun! Pun puuun?" the little spirit asked in a hopefully high tone.
"No, I'm sorry Plue. I wasn't expecting you today, so I don't have any candy on me. Plus, Virgo stole my bags again. But if you would like, you can stay out with me for a while and I can buy you some on the train when the trolley comes around, okay?"
Plue just let out his little wobbly dance as an enthusiastic yes and they spent the remainder of the time waiting, just talking. The citizens of Magnolia were used to the weird mages of Fairy Tail by now so they just smiled at her as they walked past and the station filled in little by little. Most of the town had come to really love Lucy in the past handful of years. She was kind to everyone and always gave a helping hand when she could. They were also really grateful that she had managed to keep Erza, Natsu, and Gray from destroying the town on most occasions. They could all remember what it had been like before the four of them formed a team together and the town's peoples' wallets really appreciated her.
As she sat cross legged on the bench facing Plue next to her, Laxus strolled into the station, his bag thrown over his broad shoulder as he smiled at how cute she looked when she was happy.
"Hey, Blondie", he called out to her, getting her attention, "you're early. Color me impressed."
Lucy just "humph"-ed at him and crossed her arms playfully. "I think I should be insulted that you thought I'd be late, Sparky."
"No, but maybe if you'd taken a few extra minutes this morning to look around you would have realized that you forgot to bring your bag." He teased her right back as he sat down on the bench, on the other side of Plue as the little dog looked between him and Lucy, confused. "We'll probably be gone for the better part of the week, you really should have brought something with you. I'm not buying you a new wardrobe for this trip." Although he may have momentarily entertained the idea of doing just that so he could see her dressed in whatever he liked.
"I didn't forget it! Virgo took it and she won't give it back!" Lucy threw her arms out to her sides in exasperation.
Laxus chuckled at her as he gently shook his head, "What do you mean she took it? Why would she possibly want to do that?"
Lucy just rubbed her temples, "She's upset that I didn't want help packing my bags yesterday, so as soon as I was finished she just showed up and swept them off to the Spirit World! Now she won't even answer my summonings. I think she's pouting." She rolled her eyes.
"Lucy, your spirits are so -" she cut him off playfully.
"Don't you say it. You finish that sentence and I will throw something at you. I don't really know what it'll be because I don't have anything at the moment but I will throw something."
"...Weird." he finished in a challenge, smirking at her.
Her muscles tensed in her powerful legs as she prepared to tackled him to the ground, but before she could do anything, Plue caught her attention. Wobbling worriedly, he asked her if Laxus was going to destroy things like Natsu and Gray did and if she wanted him to go get Loke.
She giggled at the little dog's well placed worry about her choices in battle partners, but before she could say anything she was cut off.
"Hey! Don't compare me to those idiots, I have self-control," Laxus complained, "well most of the time anyway…" he finished in a grumble.
Lucy just stared at him slack jawed while Plue slowly grew a huge smile and started to shake harder.
Laxus, not one that liked to be openly stared at, grew uncomfortable under their gazes quickly.
"What? Don't stare at me like that, I didn't even do anything. What did I say?"
"You can understand him?"
"Of course I can understand him, he's talking isn't he?" Laxus was certain he'd heard the weird little spirit talk. "I take it back," he said eyeballing them both, "you're the weird one."
Lucy was so confused. Nobody but her and Natsu had ever been able to understand Plue and it had taken her quite a bit of time to figure out how.
"Im sorry, it's just...I've never met anybody aside from my other spirits who can understand him."
Now it was Laxus' turn to be confused.
"What do you mean? I've seen him talking to Natsu and Happy plenty of times." and he had, he had just never been around the little spirit when it wasn't eating something, so Laxus had never had a reason to talk to him. The tiny little snowball, dog-spirit...creature...thing, could deceivingly pack away a lot of food and it did so every chance it got; usually eating candy.
"Well, yeah, Natsu can understand him but he was there when I first summoned and contracted Plue, so I always assumed that was why." Lucy thought for a second and then spoke to the very happy Plue, "Although now that I think about it, I think I've caught Wendy blushing a couple times when you've called her pretty. It must be a Dragon Slayer thing…" she thought. "We'll have to remember to ask her, yeah?"
"Pun!" Plue began dancing happily for a few moments before needing to take a nap from being so excited. Lucy just giggled at one of his many quirks.
"Is he gonna be alright?" Laxus asked with a raised brow as the train rolled into the station.
They both stood up, Lucy scooped the sleeping Plue up in her arms and began walking towards the train. "Yeah he'll be fine. He just got a little too excited." She smiled fondly at her little friend before she turned the smile at Laxus. "He loves making new friends and the fact that he'll be able to talk to you just made him the happiest I've seen the little guy in years! So thank you for that, you don't understand how much it means to me."
Laxus blushed at her words and turned his face away so she wouldn't see. Instead of responding to her he changed the topic seeing as she was walking towards the train and he hadn't bought tickets yet.
"They're not going to let us on that train without tickets, ya know. No matter how famous and handsome I am." he teased, "And I haven't bought them yet, Blondie."
"That's okay," Lucy said as she reached into her cargo shorts, which Laxus noted made her ass look incredible, "I bought them when I got here!" and she handed him his ticket. "You can buy them on the way home."
"Fine, but don't think I'm not gonna pay you back for these."
She just ignored him, knowing she wasn't going to let him, and instead gave a mock bow.
"Now, after you, Almighty Dragon Slayer!"
Laxus just played along with her as he walked onto the train giving his ticket to the man, "Damn right I am! I beat one of the top Wizard Saints in a fair battle and then squared off with a man-eating dragon, you should bow before me."
Lucy just chuckled at him. "That was like seven years ago, Laxus. Get over yourself." She shivered at the memory of the Jade Dragon, "Besides, I don't wanna talk about Zirconis; he used magic to burn my clothes off and then he tried to eat me. I prefer not to think about it."
Laxus scrunched up his nose in distaste, trying to recall events from nearly a decade ago, "What are you talking about? You were dressed when I saw you at The Gate and I was there when he disappeared." They walked into an empty compartment and sat across from each other.
"Yeah, but that was after that stupid dragon threw me halfway across Crocus completely naked." Lucy went pale at the memory and a near violent shiver wrecked her body, "It was completely humiliating. I ended up in a giant church bell with Natsu bouncing around Crocus and...I really just don't want to remember that."
Laxus didn't know what to say, 'Lucy got stuck with Natsu, naked inside of a church bell...as it flew over Crocus? What the actual fuck?' So he just sat there with a look of disgust and confusion plastered on his usually stoic face and Lucy blushed as she relived the awful memory.
"Oh, yeah! I almost forgot!" Lucy's shriek pulled him out of his stupor.
Right when Laxus was about to open his mouth to question her, she pulled a small bag out of her key pouch and tossed it to him. "Put two of those under your tongue every 6 hours." She instructed, like it was an everyday occurrence.
Laxus opened the bag and found small shimmering blue pills inside. "Like hell, Blondie. Why would I do that? I don't even know what these are, you tryin' to drug me or something?"
Lucy just rolled her eyes at his natural distrust of absolutely everything "They're motion sickness pills, idiot. I give them to Natsu when we take the train since Wendy's Troia spell doesn't work on him anymore. I just figured you might not want to be in pain for the whole day we're stuck in here." Seeing as she still didn't have her bags and that her books she packed were in said bags, she haughtily picked up one of the Sorcerer's Weekly magazines that the train provided.
"Who n' the hell have you been talking to?! I don't get motion sick!" The only people who knew that he suffered from motion sickness were his team and unfortunately, Mira, Juvia, and Jellal. He was seriously going to pummel whoever told her that.
"Whatever you say, Laxus." Lucy said sarcastically as she flipped to the first page of the magazine.
"Who told you that?" Laxus waited for her reply but she said nothing. "What so now you're just going to ignore me? Tch. Whatever. It's not like I care, anyway."
Lucy sighed dramatically, "I'm not ignoring you, I'm just waiting. And nobody told me you get motion sickness, I've just never met a slayer other than Wendy who doesn't turn green at just the thought of a train and I still can't decide if it's because she's a woman or if its because she uses healing magic. It doesn't really matter too much, I'm sure I'll find out someday."
"I'm not taking the damn pills," he stated in defiance as he glared at her, "and what the hell are you waiting for?"
Lucy gave the tantrum thrower across from her a blank stare, "I'm not your mother, Laxus, I'm not going to force you to take the pills. I just know they'll help. So take them or don't take them, I don't care." she gave him an evil smirk as she continued, "As for answering your question…" and with that the train jerked forwards signalling their departure, "I was waiting for that."
Laxus turned a light green at the train's movement, but otherwise he refused to show any signs of his predicament.
They spent the next fifteen minutes in total silence before Laxus gave in and popped two of the pills, feeling almost instant relief. But still, Laxus refused to look at her.
"Will you stop being a baby now? It's not like I'm gonna tell anyone…" she said, closing her magazine and moving the now awakening Plue to her lap.
"It's just...embarrassing. Having such a stupid weakness. I'm one of the most powerful wizards alive, and I have problems with fucking trains of all things."
"You're nowhere near as bad as Natsu is, you can at least sit upright. So that's something." She said sympathetically with a shrug. "My guess is that its not as bad because you're a Second Gen. Slayer. Although, I still don't know if Erik doesn't do well with trains because he's a Slayer or if its because there's so many people in a confined space and he can hear all of them at once. Poor Guy." She finished, deep in thought.
"Erik?" Laxus asked in confusion and then once understanding settled in, his voice was venomous, "You mean that poison eating freak with Jellal's group of criminals? The Dragon Slayer that tried to kill you twice? Why are you on a first name basis with him, hell, why are you on a real name basis with the bastard?"
Lucy raised her eyebrow at Laxus' outburst, she didn't think he knew so much about the-formerly-known Cobra or their history together.
"He's technically not a criminal anymore, and neither are any of the others in Crime Sorciere. They received a pardon, remember? Plus, he hasn't gone by Cobra in a while. Kinana finally convinced him to go by his real name again when he started swinging by the guild more." Her tone of voice was something of a mixture between trying to comfort Laxus and trying to ask why he cared about what she called Erik. "And you're just full of questions today…"
He knew that he was coming off as an overprotective asshole, but Laxus was pissed that she was comfortable around a guy like him. Not only was he a known murderer but he had personally tried to kill her at least twice, that he knew of. Sure the guy had redeemed himself a couple times over and had calmed down a lot since he started getting close to Kinana, the guilds other barmaid, but he didn't think Lucy was friends with the guy.
'Why is it that every dragon slayer alive, has some personal connection to her? It's like someone, somewhere wants me to die from high blood pressure.'
Lucy tried to explain when she realized, for whatever reason, this had really upset him. "It's not like I'm friends with him or anything. It's just, I've forgiven him for his past actions. The things that happened to him as a child, are things that I could never even begin to put into words; and I've only had the briefest of glances into his world. He's not really a bad guy, he was just forced into one awful situation after another." she pointed a finger at him to emphasize her point, "That goes for every one of the Oracion Seis members who joined Jellal."
The displeased sneer on his face told her she'd struck a chord in him that he didn't want to hear and he was silent for a while before he spoke up again.
"How can you do that?"
"Do what?" she asked, scrunching up her face.
"Forgive so easily. You've forgiven almost every single person who's fucked you over. You forgive your enemies and then you make them your friends. You turn them into allies who would die to protect you. I admire that about you, but it also confuses the shit out of me."
Lucy realized that he was no longer talking about Erik. He wasn't talking about the other members of Crime Sorciere, he wasn't even talking about Gajeel or Juvia. He was talking about himself now, and it broke her heart. His mind always went back to that day, to the mistake he'd made. Yeah, it had been a fuck up of royal proportions, but it was so long ago and everything had worked out. Why couldn't he just understand?
She reached out and touched his knee as she spoke to him, gently now, with care oozing out of her every word. Maybe one day, when she told him she'd forgiven him, that nobody was holding a grudge, he would really believe her.
"It isn't easy for me to forgive. I hurt just like everybody else does, and sometimes I feel like I may even hurt more because I care so damn much about everything. But that doesn't change the fact that those who have caused me and my loved ones pain are nothing less than people. Human beings, with their own life stories, their own beginnings, and their own tragedies. I give my forgiveness to those who wish to change and atone for their damages, not because its a matter of whether they deserve it or not, but because I know I would want someone to give me the chance if I ever needed it. I make them my friends and my comrades because most often, to succeed, they just need someone to believe in them and they need someone to make them feel normal."
She smiled at him as he tried to do his best impression of an emotionally stunted rock. "I truly hope that, one day, you'll believe me when I tell you that you've been forgiven by the guild and by me for a very long time, but until that day, I'll just have to keep reminding you."
She released his knee from her grasp and his lips quirked slightly upwards at the floor.
"You're the most amazing person I have ever met, Lucy Heartfilia."
She blushed at the sincerity of his statement before she replied, "Well of course I'm amazing, who else do you know that can make ugly old khaki shorts look this hot?" she winked at Laxus and he chuckled, his bad mood dissipating. "Now, do you wanna tell me why you've been asking me so many questions lately?"
Laxus sent a snarky smile her way as he said, "Well, maybe it's because you're finally giving me answers when I ask them. Its nice for a change."
She turned sheepish under both his comment and his deep gaze and rubbed the back of her neck comically, an uncharming habit she'd picked up from Natsu over the many years, "Sorry, I don't mean to be evasive. I'm just not the open book I used to be."
Laxus was going to try to find the words to tell her that she could always confide in him, and he would never judge her, but there was a knock on the compartment door.
"Hello?" the sweet sounding voice of an older woman called, "would you like anything from the snack cart today? We've got a good variety!"
Plue jumped to attention at her offer, as he had previously just been cuddled up on Lucy's lap, enjoying the feeling of her voice vibrating through her body while listening to her talk and Lucy chuckled as she followed the little dog to the door to open it for him.
"Pun pun puun puun!"
"Oh, Plue. You can't have the whole cart. You'd never be able to finish it."
"Pun pun!" he stated assertively.
"No. I'm not buying the whole thing, and don't give me that look! You get two sweets and that's it." She defiantly placed her closed fists on her hips.
Laxus watched amused as Lucy engaged her smallest spirit in what seemed to actually be a serious haggling ordeal. Plue would give Lucy and outrageous number of candies he wanted and she would counter with a very small and much more realistic one. They eventually settled on him getting two candies while he was here and two to take home with him.
Laxus was actually very entertained by the whole ordeal. It was like Lucy was arguing with a child, but that train of thought sent Laxus down a trail of a life with Lucy, a life where they raised a family and were happy together. He put a stop to it as soon as he caught himself. Her voice as she spoke pulled him back.
"His limit is five sweets before he gets sick, but he always insists on eating so much more." She was talking to Laxus but she looked fondly at Plue as the little spirit started on his first lollipop, struggling to open the wrapper. "One time I left him alone in a candy store for thirty seconds to talk to the owner and when I went back he'd eaten a whole section of the shop's chocolate bars. It was a disaster. He felt sick for a week, but he still hasn't learned his lesson."
Laxus just found himself staring at the way the morning sun was reflecting off her face through the train's window. He didn't even care if she caught him doing it, she was just too beautiful for a mere mortal man to look away.
'This trip with her just might kill me…or break me, whichever comes first' he thought before he willed himself to make conversation again.
"So what about Happy?" he stated ungraciously.
Lucy turned her head to look at the large blonde and she cocked it to the side.
"What about him?
"Well, with your little spirit, what about Happy? Why can the cat understand him? I've seen them hold some lengthy conversations." They only ever argued over whether candy or fish was better, but it could still be considered conversing, he supposed.
"Oh, right. Um well, like with Natsu, Happy was there when I made the contract and for the longest time I thought that was why; but after we all came back from Edolas I learned a lot more about the Exceeds. Turns out that Exceeds have a certain way with magical creatures! They get along with them pretty well and can talk to most of them."
"Oh, that's neat I guess." There wasn't anything else he could think of to say, this conversation was rapidly coming to a dead end.
Lucy giggle and added, "Yeah, Happy and I learned about that together actually, a few months before we all got frozen in time, we got separated from the others on a job and got lost in this really thick forest. We ended up walking right into a wyvern's nest and it wasn't all that thrilled to see us. The only reason we got out of there unharmed was because Happy offered it all of the fish he had on him if it let us leave. He actually made friends with the wyvern and goes to visit it once in a while." Lucy pinched the bridge of her nose and squeezed her eyes shut, "Gray and Natsu still don't believe us."
Laxus shook his head in amusement. "What about Erza?"
"Erza didn't care about that, she was just upset that we were 'slacking off' on the job…"
'What's with her lately? She's been sharing so much with me...is she finally starting to open up again, after all these years?'
"You should tell me stories about your missions more often, I like hearing about them."
"Thanks, Laxus." She left him as a pile of goo with the smile she shot him, "It actually feels nice to be the one telling them, for a change."
"Yeah, I've only ever heard Natsu talk about the missions your team goes on."
"So you listen to his storytelling, huh?" she teased him.
"Well, yeah, even if he's horrible at it, I still have to make sure you didn't get hurt on the mission." He said easily, forgetting she didn't know he worried so much about her when he wasn't around, "Especially when you don't come to the guild with the rest of your team when you get back. I usually worry until you come up to my office and I can see that you're okay."
As soon as the words left his mouth, he realized just what he'd let slip. Her face was redder than a tomato and his soon followed suit. 'Fuck! Why did I say that?! She wasn't ever supposed to find that out!" he thought in panic as her own thoughts ran through her head, 'Who just comes out and says something like that?! When he says things like that, it messes with my head and my heart...I had no idea he worried about me that much.'
"I-I mean..its j-just that it's impossible not to hear the flame-breather when he sh-shouts it for everyone to hear!" Laxus tried to amend helplessly as he looked anywhere but at her, but the words had already been spoken and it was too late to take them back.
"O-oh..of course, y-yeah!" Lucy was still beet red from the confession that had slipped so easily from his mouth and now there was an awkward silence in the air that even Natsu would be able to feel.
Laxus felt a desperate need to run from the compartment they shared to escape the tension he had created.
"I think I'm gonna go out and stretch my legs for a bit, get some food or... something…" Laxus told her as he stood up and moved towards the door.
Lucy sighed, grateful she would have some time to compose herself, "Okay, and you know, I think I'm gonna get some sleep to pass the time. I didn't catch much last night." and as if her words were magic, which they often were, a bright shimmering light encased the whole cabin in its warmth, revealing the one spirit she didn't want to see at the moment.
"Lucy! Your brilliant knight has arrived simply to bask in the glory that is your presence."
Laxus let loose a protective growl that only Loke was able to hear, but the lion spirit of The Zodiac paid him no mind other than a small smirk.
"Loke, I think you've officially ruined my eyes this time with your over dramatic entrance." Lucy complained as she rubbed the spots out of her eyes, her embarrassment forgotten with the return of her annoyance.
"Princess, your cold greeting wounds my heart!" Loke dramatically gripped his chest and fell to the floor pretending to be dead.
Laxus just resumed leaving the room, knowing that Lucy would be fine with her spirit there, but he decided to hang around outside the door for a few minutes to compose his flustered state and in-turn heard the bulk of their conversation before he went to find some lunch.
"Yeah, well your stubborn pride wounds my patience and energy levels." Lucy crossed her arms and looked away from him.
"My love, I've transcended between our worlds to give you a most heartfelt apology for my actions." He said to her, peeking his eye open from the floor at her feet.
"I've slapped you before, Loke. Don't make me want to do it again, I'm still upset with you."
Laxus was curious what his former guild mate could have done to actually piss off Lucy, she never hit anybody she didn't have to. Well, that wasn't entirely true. Kicking people that sneak up on her or piss her off seems to pretty much be a reflex for her at this point, he'd fallen victim more than once. But she didn't just go around slapping people.
The leader of The Zodiacs picked himself up from the floor with a sigh and plopped down unceremoniously on the bench, next to his key holder. The day she'd slapped him was the day she'd saved his life. The same day he'd pledged himself to be her protector forever. Loke knew she wasn't really angry at him for wanting to throw Natsu around a little, she was just irritated that she was forced to hold his gate shut.
She never forced her spirits to do anything, not really. Everything they did for her was of their own will, it was because they all loved her so much that they did anything they could to make her happy and keep her safe. She was the best master any of her spirits had ever been contracted to. Loke knew Lucy needed an apology from him and he was more than willing to give her a thousand if that's what it took.
Forced Gate Closures were one thing, Lucy would close their gates all the time when it came to him and Virgo, and even Taurus. She would send them back home when their antics were getting too much for her, but it was just her way of letting them know they had crossed some sort of line and they were always free to come right back if they chose to. But last night Loke took it way too far when he let his anger overwhelm him and forced her to take away that choice. He was almost ridiculously strong and it took a lot of magic out of her to keep him away when he was constantly banging on his gate, trying to get through. He would have done something he would have regretted had he been successful, though, so once again, she'd saved him.
Loke gripped her hands in his, "I really am sorry, Princess. My anger consumed me and I acted only on my instincts. I forgot to think and that caused you to do something you hate doing. It wasn't until I was able to calm down that I realized I had gone too far. So please, forgive my actions and let me make it up to you?"
She smiled at his apology, he always knew exactly what to say; so she sighed in resignation.
"You know I hate forcing you to stay home, aside from breaking my heart it really wears down on my magic levels." She stared him straight in the eyes as she reminded him, "Under our contract, you're stronger than you've ever been before and sometimes you still forget how much damage you can cause, especially when your head isn't on straight." She chastised as she poked his forehead several times. "If we were to have been in the middle of a battle and you acted that way, Loke, there could have been serious damages and you could have hurt somebody or even yourself."
"You're right, Lucy. I know that, and once again you've saved me from myself. I'll do whatever it takes to make this up to you."
She turned to Plue who was still eating his candy, unaffected by Loke's dramatic flare and asked, "What do you say, Plue? Does he deserve to be forgiven yet, or should I make him do a few things first?"
"Pun puun." Plue gave a mischievous smirk towards his fellow spirit and the lion paled.
"Plue, you traitor!" Loke cried in mock terror.
Lucy gasped excitedly, "You're keeping a secret from me? Now you have to tell! What was it that calmed you down enough to get you to stop banging on your gate?" she asked Loke.
"It was nothing, honest! I just realized I was being an idiot!" he threw his hands around frantically in front of him.
Plue gave out another "Pun!" to call the lion spirit a liar as he quickly gathered his remaining candy and disappeared with a poof of yellow light.
"Please, Loke!" Lucy cried to him with excitement as she shook his shoulders back and forth, "Tell me, tell me, tell me!"
Loke mumbled his reply so low that even Laxus couldn't make out his words, which only drew the slayer's attention in closer.
"Can you repeat that, pretty please?" Lucy asked as she craned her neck to look into the blushing spirit's eyes.
Loke just sighed and turned even redder. "Aries kissed me." he said with a small smile as he looked at his master through his eye lashes.
Lucy let loose a squeal and tackled Loke to the floor in pure joy. Her eyes twinkled as she pinned his arms at his sides.
"Tell me everything!"
Laxus rolled his eyes at the both of them and left his place in the hallway to go for his walk.
The lion just chuckled at the blonde straddling him. She was so weird sometimes, but he loved her enthusiasm. It was just one of the many things that made her 'Lucy'. She was close friends with all of her spirits and she made it a point to be a part of their lives just as they were a part of hers. This meant that she knew how Loke felt about the timid ram spirit and that her kissing him, regardless of the situation, was a big deal.
Lucy also knew that Aries was in love with Loke, but she was always too nervous to do anything about it; 'but is seems like that might be changing' Lucy thought happily.
"It was no big deal. Just one kiss, Princess, and then she turned redder than the reddest rose and locked herself in her house." It might not seem like much, but for Aries to be the one to initiate contact like that, it was a big deal. They both knew that, and Loke was actually over the moon about the whole thing.
"Oh, Loke! I'm so happy right now, this is wonderful!" She released his arms to clasp her hands over her heart. They smiled at each other for a few moments until Lucy climbed off of him and they resumed sitting on the bench.
"Don't go and say anything to Aries! She's finally opening up and I don't want her to think you're teasing her…" he said, worried that if Aries were to feel even more uncomfortable about it than she already did, that she would shut him out.
"I won't, I won't." Lucy waved her hand dismissively, "I know how much this could mean to the two of you. I'm just happy if both of you are happy!" He could feel the warmth of her love for him and Aries through the magical bond they shared as Spirit and Celestial Mage. "Although, you should probably talk to her soon so she doesn't get the wrong idea."
"And who might you be to give me such advice on love, Ms. 'I've been in love with the same guy for years and have done nothing about it'." Loke teased her playfully.
Lucy gasped in mock offence, "Like you're one to talk, Loke, you've loved Aries for half a millennium."
Loke let loose his charming laughter, "I've loved Aries for longer than that, Princess," he grew a bit more serious with his friend, "besides, I'm immortal. Time isn't really a problem for me, but it is for you, Lucy. You can't spend your life in silence."
Lucy frowned at the concern and serious nature he was showing, "Now's really not the time to talk about that, Loke."
Loke just gave her a small smile. He knew Laxus could very well be in earshot of their conversation.
"Very well, but we will be talking about it again, I promise you that. Now you should probably get to that nap you mentioned."
Lucy yawned in response and just nodded her head. She could feel his magic change as he was about to leave, but she reached out and grabbed his hand.
"Please, stay for a little while longer. I don't want to be alone." her small voice spoke.
Loke gave a small smile to the woman at his side, "I wasn't going to leave for long, Princess. I was just going to go steal your pillow from Virgo, but if you'd rather use me instead, I'd hold no protests." he teased her and she laughed, but all the same, she climbed into his lap to rest on him comfortably like she'd done many times over the years.
"Goodnight, Loke. Thank you." She said with a whisper and a smile.
He kissed the top of her head as he held her close. "Goodnight, Lucy."
Within minutes Lucy was asleep, showing just how much he had overdone it yesterday. He watched her take even breaths and thought back on all the things they'd done together over the 13 years they'd been contracted.
Just then, a bell sound rang and the air slightly shimmered gold. Loke looked up to see Scorpio sitting on the other bench looking worriedly at Lucy.
"What a surprise, Scorpio. I see you've gotten the hang of opening your own gate pretty well." he greeted his fellow spirit.
"Yeah, it's pretty wicked. Never been able to do that before. I can do loads more than I used to through my contract with Lucy, ya feel?"
Loke let out a kind huff of laughter at his long-time comrade, "Yeah, I do. What brings you here anyway?"
Scorpio frowned and stared at his key holder, "I just came to check on her, see that she's dealin' alright. Aquarius asks for updates once in a while."
"How is Aquarius anyway? She doesn't come around much anymore, we hardly see her." Loke asked, concerned for the mermaid spirit.
"She's doin' a lot better, but she's still pretty upset about the whole thing." Even though Aquarius pretended to hate Lucy for years, she loved her probably more than any of the other Zodiacs did.
"Yeah, we all are. So is Lucy."
"She says her soul feels like its been ripped apart."
Loke furrowed his brow. That's how Lucy described how she felt. This whole thing with Lucy, Aquarius, and The King had never happened before so nobody had a clue of what to do.
"I'll try to see if I can find something that'll help…" Loke offered, even knowing he'd likely find a whole lot of nothing.
Scorpio sat in silence with Loke for a few minutes, just thinking. He may primarily be a battle oriented spirit and played the bad boy routine, but he was also a strategist and a deep thinker.
"We have to tell her, Leo. Lucy deserves to know the truth about her family." Scorpio stated to his leader, everything about him serious, "I'm not willing to risk her life when it comes time for the E.N.D. all because we put off telling her what Anna did over four hundred years ago. She's going to be right in the middle of it, no matter what we do."
Loke just sighed, they shouldn't be having this conversation in the human realm, on a train; but he understood what Scorpio was saying and he had an undeniable point.
"Because Capricorn serves her line, he said he would tell her when the time came. He'll do it soon, so that we can be prepared. The King already gave his blessing." Loke reassured.
Scorpio sighed and rubbed his face, "Yeah, It's probably best that he does it. Aquarius will approve of that. She was there when this all began and even if she can't be there when it's over, she'll drown us all if we don't keep Lucy safe." Loke chuckled at the truth in that statement, "She still blames herself for Layla's death, and I don't think she would be able to take it if Lucy were to…" he couldn't make himself finish that sentence out loud.
Before Loke could respond, Virgo appeared with two pillows and two blankets.
With her face as blank as ever she addressed both of her comrades, "This is hardly the place for this discussion. Anyone could hear."
Loke sighed and Scorpio replied to the maid, "You're right, as usual Virgo. My apologies, we'll talk more about this another time, Leo. I'll be getting back to Aquarius, now."
"We should all be leaving," Loke stated, "her resting from my rampage won't do her any good if we all stay here too much longer."
"You two go," Virgo told the men, "I will finish tending to Princess and then meet you later." Virgo put down the cloth as she took Lucy from Loke's arms, letting him stand.
"You brought the dragon slayer a pillow and blanket too, Virgo? How nice of you. You don't even do that for Natsu." Scorpio smirked wickedly.
Virgo let a small smile play at the edges of her usually tight lips, "I'm just being hospitable, it has nothing to do with the fact that this Dragon Slayer is by far a better romantic match for my princess than her destructive partner."
Both male spirits chuckled at Virgo before they returned home, agreeing that Laxus would be better for their master and friend should it ever come to that. Virgo quickly saw to Lucy's needs as she slept peacefully, leaving a change of clothing for her when she awoke and the blankets for Laxus folded on his bench, before returning to the Spirit Realm.
Laxus returned to the compartment not long after Virgo disappeared. He found Lucy sound asleep, curled up into a ball and found the bedding left for him, though he didn't know how they got there. He was oblivious to any part of the conversation that happened after Lucy had starting goading details of Loke's love life out of the lion, he really didn't care about that.
Laxus decided he had nothing better to do, so he too chose to rest his eyes, gratefully taking the offered pillow.
Chapter 10: When You Let Her Go
The night Natsu and Lucy got into a screaming match just outside of the train station had not been a good night for him, not at all. For the first time in years, he cried. He found himself to be a horrible of combination of depressed and restless as he watched the sun rise over the treeline.
After his near rage had dissipated with the disintegration of a few rather large trees around his home, all he was left with was a sadness that felt crippling.
Dammit he shouldn't have yelled at her! He was just so frustrated that she didn't know what was going on and even more pissed that he couldn't really tell her about his Lucy/Lisanna Dilemma without making everything fucking weird. And he wanted to tell her so much because, aside from the part where she was a potential mate for him, she was his best friend and they told each other just about everything….or at least, they used to.
And since that all had happened, he really hadn't been up to do just about anything and that had tipped Happy off that something was wrong. Natsu didn't even want to go fishing! Natsu always wanted to go fishing! Okay, well maybe it was Happy that always wanted to go, but Natsu always went with him, and all of yesterday all he wanted to do was sit in his room and ignore everything.
Happy didn't know what to do! He'd tried everything he could think of to grab Natsu's attention. Fishing, fire...fishing, maybe some more fire, then a job! A job; Natsu didn't want to go on a job! He even suggested they go over to Lushy's and see if she'd cook them dinner, but Natsu had almost flinched when he’d said that. So that was out too.
He really did try everything, but all he'd get back in response was either a “Not right now” or a “No thanks, Little Buddy.”
He didn't know what else to do! His first thought was to go get Lucy, but Natsu didn't want to see her and he wouldn't say why. All he knew was that his best friend was sad. He hadn't eaten since they'd gotten home from their job and he hadn't even left his room once.
And so, as he sat on the edge of a fountain in the middle of The Magnolia Market, tail twitching worriedly and his ears drooped dejectedly, he could admit that he needed help. Maybe he should tell Master...or maybe he could call Gildarts? Wherever he was…
“Happy?” A sweet voice called called to him.
The blue Exceed snapped his head up in an instant upon hearing the first voice he could ever remember. He flew to her immediately after finding her kind face in the evening crowd and latched onto her neck as he cried his overly large tears.
“Lisanna!” he cried, nuzzling her for comfort, “Its awful, I don't know what to do!”
“What's the matter?” She asked him, not sure if she should be concerned or laugh because sometimes he acted like this over the smallest of things, like losing a fish, but the way she'd just seen him sitting so brokenheartedly, she figured he was genuinely upset.
“Lissy, its Natsu! He won't come out of his room or eat. I tried everything, he doesn't even want fish!” He wailed.
Lisanna frowned. Come to think of it, she hadn’t seen a whole lot of Natsu this past week. She knew that he and Happy had gone on a job with just Lucy several days ago because she’d run into Natsu at the guild that morning they left. Maybe something happened on their mission? She hadn’t seen either of them since then and Lucy almost always came to the guild in the mornings to talk to her, Mira and Kinana…but she hadn’t been in either.
She couldn’t help herself for hoping, maybe just a little, that something had happened on their mission to make them a little irritated with each other, just a bit. She knew that it was wrong and petty for her to feel that way, but by Mavis’ Gravestone, she was so hopelessly in love with Natsu and she knew everyone knew it.
It was honestly just humiliating at this point. She felt ashamed of herself for her feelings of jealousy towards how Natsu and Lucy acted together, how close and how at ease they were with one another. It was even worse when she could feel the eyes of guild members watching her watch them.
She didn’t want people to pity her like they had when she’d first come home and ugh! The way they would look at her when she came back...it was just so annoying! Not the ‘Oh, Lis, we’re so glad you’re alive’ look they’d give her with tears hanging from their eyes, because she had quite enjoyed that look, but the look like she was some ticking time bomb that was going to explode around Natsu and Lucy. She’d heard on one occasion, Wakaba and Macao whispering about her and Lucy like they were going to cause some sort of dramatic scene about Natsu and she smiled as she remembered she’d done exactly that. She’d promptly marched over to where Lucy was sitting at the bar talking to Mira and loudly asked her to go clothes shopping with her because none of her clothes from before fit her anymore. To the guild’s initial shock, Lucy had immediately accepted, forbid a pouting Natsu from going along, and they had left the guild arm-in-arm to go to the markets. They’d been fast friends ever since. But now...now she was spending more and more time debating with herself on what she was supposed to do.
She really did love Lucy like a sister and wished for her all the wonderful things in the world! ...but she didn’t want to give her Natsu. She could pretend all she wanted to, but she was still holding out hope that he would notice her the way she did him.
But the one thing she’d always failed to notice was that he already did and that he always had. It was just, that now, that look held more than just admiration. It held love, sadness and worry. It held his lust for her and his joy that she was in his life. When he looked at her his eyes held conflict deep within them, but they did the exact same thing when they would look upon Lucy too. However, Lisanna truly was oblivious to this being directed towards her.
Even if she didn’t want to give up Natsu, she knew she would if that’s what it came down to, if Lucy was who could make her Dragon Slayer happiest in the end, but she knew it would break her heart.
It already did.
When she’d gotten home from Edolas, what seemed like forever ago now, she’d immediately noticed how close Natsu was to the impossibly gorgeous blonde woman that was this world’s Lucy Ashley. He clung to her arm and her waist at every chance and for the most part, she let him do it. Initially, she’d thought they were a couple because, well...they’d kind of been in Edolas, sort of. She remembered she’d tried so hard to be cold towards Earthland Lucy, but she just didn’t have it in her. Both Edolas’ and her Mira had raised her better than that and Lucy was just...the sweetest. She even heard the rumors about Natsu sleeping with her frequently and it had made her cry a few times, even after Lucy had explained very angrily and very loudly to a meddling Mirajane that all they did was sleep. Nothing more or less.
She craved that kind of simple intimacy with The Fire Dragon Slayer, the kind he so easily gave to his teammates; constantly punching Gray in the face, excluded.
He would play games with Happy, go fishing with him and spend every possible spare moment with her favorite Exceed. When Carla would reject his advances, Natsu would pat him on the head and say something to always make his smile bright again. On occasion, Natsu and Happy would take an easy job, just the two of them, so that Happy could complete it. Something along the lines of entertaining a kid’s birthday party or delivering an important document that needed to get somewhere fast; any job suited to Happy’s skills to remind him he didn’t have to be a powerhouse to be an asset to their team.
For Erza, he would bring her new knives from towns he went through on his way to and from jobs. Occasionally, when even The Great Titania was having a bad day, he would make up some excuse that had them both either going on a job together so she could vent her anger when she wouldn’t admit that she needed to or sometimes he would convince her to just walking around town and he would secretly sniff out the freshest baked cakes in Magnolia and take her to those bakeries. When they would come back to the guild, Erza would always be in a better mood than when she left.
For Lucy, he would hold her when she cried and they’d talk and joke until she was laughing again. Then he’d spend the rest of the day with her and when she finally dozed off to a content sleep, Natsu would hold her through the night to keep her warm. He’d sling an arm over her shoulder when they had to take a mission in a chilly climate because he knew Lucy always got cold. Lisanna knew Lucy didn’t realize, but when Natsu went overboard on a job and they lost a lot of their reward because of him and Gray, Natsu would manage to sneak in some of his portion of the Jewel into her’s just to make sure she had enough to get by; knowing she would say no if he offered.
For Gray, they would fight and they would brawl. It didn’t seem like that was kind or loving to the outside eye, but Lisanna knew Gray could really get stuck in his own head sometimes. It was his biggest weakness and Natsu was always there to pull him out of his funk by letting Gray use him as target practice; Someone he could put a few misplaced negative feelings on and would still stick around. He tried not to make it too obvious, but occasionally, Natsu would pick a mission that was more suited for Gray’s skill set rather than his own, just to make sure his “rival” wasn’t left brooding at the guild bar.
And even though she wasn’t technically part of Team Natsu, for Wendy, he would throw her over his shoulder and run around the guild until she was a laughing mess, even when she wasn’t in a bad mood. The times when The Sky Dragon Slayer felt inadequate in her magic in comparison to the other slayers surrounding her, Natsu would drag her off to some secluded part in the forest and train with her for a few days, just to prove to her that she was strong, that she was an important pillar in their guild, and that she was loved by her nakama.
With Natsu Dragneel, it was in all of the little things he did that showed you he treasured you.
Lisanna noticed all of these things because she watched them all closely, but from a bit of a distance. Its not that they wouldn’t include her if she wanted to go with them on a job or a trip somewhere, but she found it hard not to feel out of place when she knew all of the things they did for one another and all she could think about was how she wanted Natsu to do those things with her.
But for once, it seemed it was Natsu who was upset. Maybe it was about time for somebody to do something to cheer him up? Why not her?
“It’s going to be okay, Happy.” she said to the still crying blue Exceed in her arms, she patted him on the back as she suggested, “How about I come over and we cook some dinner? Maybe try to drag him out of his room, hm?”
Happy sniffled as he rubbed his eyes, “Really?”
She shone a megawatt grin at him and said, “Really really! I’m thinking we make some of his favorite spicy noodles, what do you think?”
“Oh, that’ll work for sure!” Happy yelled enthusiastically as he spread his wings in his excitement and floated in the air, “Natsu loves spicy noodles!”
“Well, come on!” Lisanna called behind her as she jogged away, “We’ve got to get to the market before it closes!”
“AYE SIR!” Happy saluted before he sped off after her.
“Natsu?” Happy called into the dark house he came home to. He received no response so he sighed and walked the rest of the way inside with Lisanna trailing right behind him. “He's probably still in his room…”
Lisanna nodded and first made her way to the kitchen through the obstacle course of junk to put down the groceries and then she made her way towards where she knew his room was.
“Hey, Natsu?” she knocked gently on the slightly ajar door and upon not receiving a response she pushed it open the rest of the way and slowly walked into his dark room. “You in here? Happy’s really worried…”
But, again, no response came. So she walked a little farther into his bedroom and after a few steps she tripped over something in the middle of the floor and she fell. When she was certain she was going to hit the ground, she didn’t and instead found herself falling several seconds longer than she’d expected. When she finally did meet the ground again she let out a pained groan. That was going to leave a nasty bruise on her hip. Her shoulder popped as she pushed herself back up to a sitting position and when she felt what was beneath her fingertips she finally opened her eyes from when she had clenched them shut during her fall. Dirt? Why was she sitting in dirt? She looked up and was met with floor of Natsu’s house. She fell through a hole in the floor...no, a...a door? Yeah, she must of tripped over the open door on the floor...why was there a door in the floor?! Only Natsu…
“Lis!” she heard Natsu’s worry laced voice cry, “What the hell, are you okay?!”
She felt tentative hands hover over her, not quite touching her. Not wanting to cause her pain if she wasn’t okay, but wanting to touch her to make sure she was.
“I think so…”she rubbed the side of her face, “just...why the hell is there a hole in your floor?”
“I uh...well no one was ever really supposed to find out about that.” he rubbed the back of his neck bashfully after he pulled her up to her feet again.
“Why not…” she trailed off as her eyes fell upon the candle lit room before her. The surprisingly large room was a hexagon shape and the six tall walls were covered in letters and notes, pictures and mission requests. Shelves holding souvenirs and books...was that a maid’s outfit?
“Please don’t freak out. I know its kind of weird, all this stuff...Luce found some of these things when I used to keep them in the house, but that was years ago,” he was rambling, trying to fill the silence until she would say something, “and I kinda ran out of room up there about two years ago and I didn’t want to get rid of anything so I kinda of...well...dug a secret room.”
Lisanna gently ran her fingertips over several job flyers pinned to the wall, “I think this is amazing…” her quiet voice showing her surprise. She didn’t notice his shocked expression.
She looked a little closer and noticed that each wall had a theme. The one she was standing in front of now had pictures of the guild hall and of various Fairy Tail members lounging around the guild, partying, drinking. There were news clippings of when the guild had been destroyed by Gajeel and then a painting of him scowling and Juvia beaming done by Reedus that had a note pinned to it that said “Metal Head and Gray’s Stalker join the guild”. There was an article from the local Magnolia paper that was reporting on hundreds of strange orbs floating in the sky all around the city that Natsu had written on with big back letters, “Thunder Palace, Battle of Fairy Tail. I know Laxus will be home before we know it.” Attached to the article was a picture of Natsu bandaged up like mummy at the Fantasia Parade. The entire wall was filled with anything that had to do with Fairy Tail news and events. Layers upon layers of materials. Anything from a Fairy Tail mage blowing up a building to the Magazine cover that featured all the returning members of the Tenrou trip that were thought to have been dead.
She slowly pulled her eyes away and moved to look at the next wall. It was filled with all things Erza. Her becoming an S-Class mage, many pictures of her eating cake, a picture of her teaching a Young Natsu to read, the spelling tests she’d made him take in the process. There was the article from the Grand Magic Games about her incredible power and the sheer finesse she possessed as she slayed one hundred monsters. The destruction of The Tower of Heaven. There was a shelf hung on the wall that held a shattered magical staff that she must have broken at some point and Natsu had decided it was worth keeping. There were also several article clippings that vaguely sounded like they were referring to Jellal or Crime Sorciere.
The next wall for Happy; mostly just tons of pictures and job request from their earlier years. The one after that for Gray; lots of pictures of them brawling, but a few of them actually posing for them. He even had one of Gray’s many lost outfits that had no doubt just been stripped off without a thought at some point or another, folded neatly on a shelf.
Lisanna walked past them and continued around the room. There was a wall dedicated to Lucy and it seemed like Natsu had saved almost everything. Pictures, clothes, books...a pile of..rocks? He had hung several of her modeling shoots and framed a few of the articles she’d written for Sorcerer’s Weekly during the guild’s disbandment. It also looked as if Natsu was trying to create a map of where he might find Celestial Spirit keys. Adventures the two of them had taken together and things they hadn’t done yet that he wanted to. Lisanna could have probably spent days sifting through all of the things on that wall, but a side glance to the wall directly next to Lucy’s made her jaw want to hit the floor and her breath hitch in her throat.
That was...that was her! There was a painting of her on Natsu’s back as he gave her a piggyback ride through the park. She was laughing as she was clutching onto his scarf and he had a huge dopey grin on his face. She plucked it from the wall and held it to her chest as she continued to look. There was an article about the win she’d gotten one year in the games, her own mission requests that she’d taken with him and Happy over the years. Her sitting at the bar laughing with Lucy so hard that tears were trailing down her cheeks. Her decking Elfman in the face during a guild brawl.
The day she came home, her S-Class Trials she almost passed last year, all of the moments they’d shared together, gifts she’d given him. They were all right here.
“Why..why did you keep all of these things?”
“Its stupid…” he muttered as he blushed up a storm.
“This is so far from stupid! It beautiful and thoughtful, anything but stupid…” Really this seemed like such an un-Natsu-like thing to do, but she’d always known him better than most people so she was more in awe at how many things he’d managed to collected rather than that he’d done it in the first place.
She watched his gaze shift to a rather large picture of them with Happy and Gildarts on a riverbank, fishing; the biggest smiles on all of their faces.
“...Because they’re important. All of this stuff is, I don't want to forget.”
She stared at him, confused, for a moment before she asked, “Why would you forget?”
“I...well I really don't know...its just..well...it sounds weird when I try to say it out loud…” frustrated, he dropped down onto the small couch sitting in the middle of the room.
Lisanna gently sat beside him and rested her hand on his forearm in encouragement, “Try.”
So after what felt like an eternity of silence, he did, “I've just always felt...like I'm missing something. In my head, ya know? Memories or something important...I don't remember anything before I was with Igneel and the day I lost him is super fuzzy. It feels like there's kinda a wall in my head; like I should remember something, but I just can't. I guess I'm just scared that if I don't keep proof that I did all of this stuff, that I'll lose the memories and...I don’t know..leave or run away or... I don't want to lose my family and my friends. I lost Igneel...and for a while I lost you. I know you came back and you never really died, but to me you did and I can't lose anyone else. I don't think I could take it again...”
She frowned before a small smile graced her lips and she interlaced their fingers with one hand and with the other she brushed his hair out of his eyes while he stared down at his lap.
“You're not gonna forget about us, we'd never let you.”
He blushed a little but didn’t try to hide it when he rose his gaze to meet her’s.
“But what if it can’t be helped? What if it happens anyway?”
She gave him a bland and tasteless look to tell him he was an idiot before she knocked his shoulder with her own in a comforting gesture.
“Maybe you’ve never met us Fairies, but we kind of do what we want and change the inevitable all the time.” she half laughed, “Besides, your team would totally kick your butt back into shape. Haven’t you ever seen what happens to someone who tries to ignore Erza? Can you even imagine what she’d do if they forgot about her?!”
He laughed a little bit so she teased a bit more, “and I’m pretty sure Gray would be so angry that you forgot about that he’s won one more brawl than you that he’d freeze you in ice so cold it would take you a whole week to melt yourself out, all so that they could buy Wendy some time to figure out a way to bring back the memories.”
She laughed when he whined, “That score isn’t fair! The Ice Princess cheated during our last brawl!”
“And don’t forget about Lucy,” She definitely took note of the frown that immediately came back at the mention of his best friend, “she’d kick you so hard and so far that when you landed back on the ground all your memories would come back by themselves and then she’d drag you back home by your scarf kicking and screaming.”
When he didn’t say anything back she asked him, “Is Lucy why you’re so upset? Did something happen?”
He just shrugged his shoulders coldly and they sat in silence for a while. Then he asked her, “What would you do, Lis? Ya know, if I disappeared.”
She didn’t even have to think before she responded and quickly said, “I would search all over Earthland for you and wouldn’t stop until I’d brought you home.”
Her heartbeat increased when he smiled warmly at her and squeezed their still intertwined hands together as he opened his mouth to speak, but before he could get a word out, he was interrupted.
“What's taking you guys so long!?” Happy yelled from somewhere in the house, “Are you guys kissing or something? You must liiiiike each other!” He teased even though he couldn't see them.
Natsu watched as Lisanna awkwardly cleared her throat and refused to look at him. The candlelight flickering against her porcelain skin and the blush from Happy's teasing made her look sexy and he couldn't stop himself from pulling her into his lap with her legs straddling his thighs and leaned up to capture her lips in a kiss he'd long wanted to take from her.
At that moment Happy found them in the room and gasped with a paw over his mouth before he shouted, “I knew it!”, and then ran back to the kitchen, no doubt scheming how he was going to let this little tidbit of information slip to Mira in a way that would get him the most fish for his efforts as her little romance spy.
“Wha..what was that for?” She asked breathlessly.
“I just thought it was about time we gave him something to actually talk about.” He smirked up at her from where she hadn't moved from his lap.
She blushed harder but she laughed and stood from his lap to pull him to his feet.
“Come on, I'm gonna make you dinner. The time for moping is over.”
As the night went on and he ate dinner with Happy and Lisanna, he felt better a little at a time.
He decided that tomorrow morning he would catch Lucy at the train station before she left so that he could apologize for yelling at her and for being so weird. If she gave him the chance to, maybe he would explain to her why.
The next morning, Natsu woke up before the sun. He quickly hurried through his morning routine and left a still soundly sleeping Happy and scrawled note as he left the house to go apologize to Lucy.
However, the closer he got to the train station the tighter the knots twisting in his stomach got and by the time he was there all he wanted to do was leave. He wasn’t sure why he thought this would be easy, he’d never been good with apologies...or using words in general.
Just as he was about to convince himself to leave and deal with this whole problem later, he spotted his partner sitting on a bench by herself. He knew she was just sitting there and enjoying the quiet. She liked to do that when she could actually find it, but that was a hard thing to come by when you were a Fairy Tail member.
Even from the ways away that he was, he could tell that she was really tired. She probably hadn’t slept last night and he was left feeling guilty again. He knew it was because of him.
For many minutes he just stood there watching her every move and face expression. What could he possibly say that could make this even the slightest bit better, he didn’t know and he certainly didn’t want to make it worse. Gods if she were to actually hate him because of this whole thing...he couldn’t take it.
He watched her as the sun slowly rose and the light crept up from her boots to her knees all the way up to her golden hair. He studied her as she smiled brightly and opened her eyes, only to have the sun make her beautiful eyes seem five shades lighter. She summoned Plue then and they talked for a while, apparently Virgo was being weird again.
Just as he was trying to steel his nerves and go look her in her glowing eyes to beg her forgiveness and try to explain, he took a deep breath and his nose was flooded with the smell of an electrical storm.
“Shit…” he cursed under his breath. Laxus was here. There was absolutely no way he was going over there now. The whole point was to say sorry and if he was in the same place as the other Dragon Slayer right now all that would happen would be a fight that would get him into even deeper trouble with Lucy.
He saw Laxus walk into the station from the opposite end that he was on and was going to turn and leave before Laxus could scent him out, but the look he saw on the eldest slayer’s face was one that he had never seen there before and it had him rooted to the spot.
He studied intently as he tried to decipher what it was. He was just standing there, staring at Lucy, and she had no idea he was there yet.
His eyes were soft and his body relaxed. All the tension that Laxus always held in his face and in his shoulders was absent and his seemly permanent scowl was replaced with a gentle smile as he observed Lucy’s interaction with Plue. He’d never seed Laxus like this, like he was at complete peace.
For the first time, Natsu was seeing Laxus...unguarded.
Natsu could admit that he was the smallest bit amazed and in that moment he realized, Laxus was in love with Lucy. He didn’t want to admit it, but if going by his body language and the way the eyes of the man who never broke were so soft while they were looking at her, he had a feeling that Laxus might love Lucy even more than he did.
As twisted and as messed up as all of this felt right now, Natsu knew that they were all still family, still guildmates and comrades. He was upset that Laxus had a serious interest in Lucy, that hadn’t changed. However, there was a voice somewhere in him that reasoned if he was willing to lay his life on the line for the man, which he knew he was because Laxus was family, that he should be willing to give him a real shot at happiness, too. He’d never seen Laxus look at anyone that way and he didn’t want to be the one to screw up what could very well be his friend’s one chance at happiness. Being a Dragon Slayer himself, he knew how difficult it was to find a potential mate and Laxus was so unearthlandly strong that it was near impossible he’d ever find someone else that could both appease his dragon and be in love with. And Natsu...well he’d been astronomically lucky enough to find two amazing women his dragon could be in agreeance with.
He watched as Laxus called out to Lucy and the look in her own eyes was just as soft and her body just as at ease. He listened to their easy banter and the way their voices lilted and the way that they laughed.
As he stood out of site, leaning against a wall, he came to the decision that when Lucy came back home, he would apologize to her and then try to give her the space she was asking for. He couldn’t un-love her all at once, so he wouldn’t try to, but he could try to give her the opportunity to find what would make her happiest. Maybe it wouldn’t be Laxus, maybe it wouldn’t be either of them, but if he only knew this one thing it was that Lucy hated being treated like a thing or a prize to be won. It was why she had run away from her father in the first place. So a tug-of-war with Laxus would only serve to piss her off and Lucy was too precious of a friend to Natsu to even risk screwing that up. And who knew? Maybe if things didn’t work out with Laxus, maybe she would come to him.
But as he thought all of this, as his heart accepted that he was essentially giving up his claim on Lucy, his Inner Dragon purred in contentment at their internal war being over and happily settled on Lisanna and their intended mate.
So Natsu left the station quietly as Laxus and Lucy boarded their train, neither of them aware he’d been there at all and he decided to go to the guild early to see if he could spend some time with Lis and try to figure out the best way to break the news to her. Hopefully she’d accept and hopefully this would all be worth it in the end.
Chapter 11: Adjoined
By the time Lucy woke up, the sun was beginning to set. She ran her fingers over her keys that were placed above her head and Horologium told her it was nearly six o'clock. So she slowly sat up, still groggy, trying to get a feel for her surroundings. It quickly came back to her that she was on a train headed for Era when she saw her travel companion sprawled out on the bench across from her, obviously not fitting on it well. His head was resting on a pillow that was propped up against the armrest while his arms were crossed over his chest, one leg extended over the opposite armrest and the other propped up on the floor to his side, to keep him from rolling off the bench.
She wanted to giggle at his much too large physique but managed to keep her mirth under control. If she made too much noise his dragon slayer ears would most certainly wake him up and she knew that, like her, he usually struggled to sleep. So, while she would normally never even dream of leaving her keys anywhere but directly on her person or right next to her as she slept, she decided to forgo picking them up as to avoid their jingling. She stood up, picked up the clothes she knew Virgo must have left for her and went to change and find some dinner for the both of them. No person in all of Earthland would be stupid enough to try and steal something from right under a sleeping dragon's nose, especially that sleeping dragon. Well...maybe Natsu. And in all honesty, probably her too; but those were her keys and Natsu wasn't there. Her keys were fine, Laxus was getting some much needed sleep, and she was getting hungry.
After Lucy changed into her new clothes and dropped her old ones off back in the compartment, she wandered around the train, stretching her sore muscles. She didn't want to admit that she might be getting too old to just sleep anywhere and wake up fine and train benches were horribly uncomfortable. In fact, the floor was probably better.
There weren't many people on this train, and even fewer were still awake. Most of them foregoing consciousness to pass the time. On her way in the direction she assumed the dining car to be, she was called to by an old familiar voice.
"Lucy, my dear! Is that you I see?"
Lucy turned her head and smiled wide at who she found.
"What a lovely surprise, Mrs. Begonia! Where are you headed to?" Lucy kindly greeted the old woman she would frequently help grocery shop. She only lived a few houses over from Lucy and they met one summer while Mrs. Begonia was struggling with her load of bags. Lucy had helped her to and from the store ever since.
"I'm on my way to Peace Village, dear. My granddaughter has finally had her baby and I'm going to help her around the house for a little, just while she gets back on her feet."
"Ellie had her baby, how wonderful!" Lucy exclaimed, she had only met the old woman's granddaughter once before, but she was extremely sweet and a little older than herself, they had gotten along well.
"Yes, I'm quite excited to meet the next generation of my family! Now, tell me what you're doing on this train." the old woman smiled kindly.
"I'm getting off in Era, I have something there that needs attending to for my guild." Lucy explained, being as vague as she could without being rude. She didn't know who was on the train and she didn't want to make herself a target for an attack if there was someone who overheard and thought she had information they could get. She really hated getting kidnapped.
"Oh, how very responsible, Lucy! You've grown into quite the woman these past few years. I'm proud of you." Mrs. Begonia gave her a grandmotherly smile and patted her hand.
"Thank you, very much." Lucy smiled back at her.
"Oh, sit down, dear! Talk with me for awhile, won't you? I have nothing to do and only a little over an hour until my stop."
Lucy let out a kind laugh and moved to sit down, "I would love to! We haven't just visited for the sake of visiting in quite some time, It would be nice to catch up with you!" Lucy sat on the bench across from her, near the isle. "Were there not enough empty compartments when you boarded? You're more than welcome to join me in mine, if you would like."
The old woman just waved her hand dismissively, "No, no, dear. There are plenty of rooms left, I just prefer sitting out here, I get to talk to the passersby when I do." She winked and Lucy let out a small giggle, realising that's exactly why she was sitting here talking to the woman in the first place.
"I suppose you do, but are you traveling alone? I haven't been through the whole train, but I don't believe that I've seen your husband around."
"Oh no, he stayed behind in Magnolia. Someone has to tend to the plants and animals, we can't both leave." She chuckled.
"I'll have to make sure to check on him for you when I get home, then!" Lucy teased.
Mrs. Begonia laughed at the young woman, "That's probably for the best, sometimes he needs more care than our cows!" Both woman laughed for a little before Mrs. Begonia continued.
"Speaking of traveling, I do believe I saw your guild master's grandson, that handsome young lightning mage, on this train earlier."
Lucy laughed at her friends not so subtle prying for information.
"We're actually travelling to Era together, its a bit like a mission I suppose. Laxus has a task he needs to complete and I'm just going along to offer my support."
"He's such a kind young man." Mrs. Begonia told Lucy.
"I wasn't aware that you were acquainted with him, ma'am." Lucy's statement had the undertone of a question.
"Not very well, but he has been kind enough on more than one occasion to help my husband move around our farming equipment as he's passed by our house. Its heavy stuff you know. Almost impossible for us to move by ourselves anymore. Quite impressive that young man is with all of his strength."
'He's never told me that...what could he be doing on my side of town?' Lucy thought as she made a puzzled face.
Mrs. Begonia just laughed at the young woman in front of her, "So, he's never told you about that, huh? Just proves my point that he's kind; he isn't trying to get anything out of it other than the knowledge that he's being helpful. He never accepts our offers to pay him and I've only been able to convince him to join us for dinner once."
Lucy gave out a smile full of pride at how much Laxus had grown throughout the years, "I know first hand of his kindness, we have been good friends for a number of years!"
The two talked for about an hour before the conductor's voice came over the speakers
"We will be arriving in Peace Village in ten minutes. Please collect your belongings and be prepared to depart. Thank you for your business, we hope you've enjoyed your travels with us."
Lucy helped Mrs. Begonia gather all of her things and pack them back in their appropriate bags. With five minutes to go until the train pulled into the station, they idly chatted about unimportant things until a deep voice made itself known from a few feet down the aisle, the owner of the voice still out of sight.
"Well there you are, Blondie." Laxus bluntly called, his voice not even trying to mask it's tinge of annoyance, "I've been looking for you for the past five minutes. What did you do, run up and down the train? Your scent is everywhere, it made it hard to find you."
"You were sleeping when I woke up so I walked around and stretched my legs." Lucy rolled her eyes at Laxus as he came into view, "And hasn't anyone ever told you that smelling people is rude." she huffed.
Mrs. Begonia just stared between the two blond mages with interest while Laxus ignored Lucy to greet the older woman with a small bow.
"It's nice to see you, as always, ma'am."
"And you as well, young man!" she smiled kindly, "but what on Earthland do you both mean by scents?"
Mrs. Begonia wasn't an expert on magic but she was pretty certain that finding a person by their scent alone was not something a lightning mage could do.
Lucy looked a combination of amused and confused. Anymore, it was common knowledge that Laxus was a Dragon Slayer and he was known throughout fiore. So she found it funny that there was somebody in their own town, not twenty minutes from the guild hall, that didn't know about him.
Laxus gave the small woman a half chuckle, "I've got a good nose, it comes with using Dragon Slayer Magic."
Laxus and Lucy shared a look of amusement at Mrs. Begonia's dumbfounded expression.
"You mean that there is more than one Dragon Slayer that belongs to your guild?" she asked amazed. "I thought that fire mage that always runs around after Lucy was the only one who possessed such a magic."
Laxus looked at the woman curiously, 'Did she really not know?'
"Mrs. Begonia," Lucy asked for him, "there are seven dragon slayers throughout Fiore, and four of them are members of Fairy Tail, did you really not know?"
"Seven! Oh my, I feel so embarrassed. I can't believe there are so many powerful wizards nowadays and that so many of them come from Fairy Tail!" She exclaimed before she soon composed herself. "That just goes to show you what getting old can do, I find myself out of the loop all the time." She sweetly chuckled.
The train pulled into the station then and Laxus assisted the old woman to her feet as she thanked him.
"Fairy Tail is full of remarkable people," Mrs. Begonia said as people began to exit the train, "its a wonderful feeling knowing that such a kind and powerful guild watches over our city and keeps us safe."
Pride swelled in both of the mages at her words and trust. This time it was Laxus who responded.
"Thank you for your kind words, it means a lot to us that the city trusts us," Lucy nodded in agreement, "and I'm sure my grandfather will be happy to hear of it."
"Well, I had better get a move on before the train begins to leave again, I hope to see the both of you soon!" Mrs. Begonia said as she made her way off the train, Lucy calling out her farewells and congratulations behind her.
When she became lost to them in the sea of people the two mages receded back into the train.
"I had no idea you could be such a gentleman, Laxus!" Lucy teased as she bumped him with her shoulder.
With a chuckle, Laxus quipped back, "I may have been raised by a guild of perverts, drunks, and reckless idiots, but I still have manners."
"Well thank Mavis somebody in the guild does!"
"By the way, Blondie" Laxus taunted, "You managed to leave these behind when you snuck off." He dangled the glinting keys in front of her face. "Somebody could have taken them, you shouldn't leave them sitting around."
She snatched them from his grasp before he could move them away, much to his surprise, and smiled sheepishly at him, "I didn't forget them, I just didn't want to wake you up when I left. Besides, they were with you. There's probably no safer place than that." She said sincerely before she attached the large key ring to her belt once more, "Except for maybe on my hip."
He stopped dead in his tracks, "You seriously trust me with them that much, even while I was sleeping?" he asked her in complete disbelief.
She fixed him with an intense gaze as she turned her body to meet his still form, "I trust you with my life Laxus, of course I trust you with my keys! We're friends, nakama; we're family. I trust you wholeheartedly, you should have already known that." Her gaze turned questioning.
Laxus turned a color he would never admit to and failed miserably at hiding it from her, but all the same he thanked her.
"That means a hell of a lot to me, Lucy." he used her name to convey the gravity of his appreciation.
Lucy casually leaned in and wrapped her arms around his waist, acting like it was something they did everyday as she laid her head against his chest, "And you mean a lot to me, don't forget that."
She pulled away from him hiding her slight blush, "Let's go find some dinner."
Laxus led the way to the dining car with Lucy in tow, both of them blushing like teenagers. They spoke fondly of their friends as they ate and the rest of their train ride was spent in deep discussion back in their compartment. Laxus placed the silencing runes around the room that Freed had taught him to cast and Lucy shared all she knew about the council members and gave him some advice on how to go about the meeting. She would be attending the meeting, too, but would not be an active participant in their discussions, that part was for Laxus to do.
By the time the train pulled into the station in Era late that evening, Laxus had come to the conclusion that most of the people that made up the council were assholes. When he had questioned Lucy as to why these were the people she and the others had selected to enforce magic laws, she made two valid points. The first was that there were not many people willing to take on such a role after the last council had been completely obliterated. The second reason being that the current council, now compiled of both mages and non-mages, were of the most respected people across Fiore. She also explained to him how they were selected.
Hibiki had used his Archive Magic to compose a list of possible candidates for each position, Lucy had then given that list to her spirit Crux to narrow down the choices with further research while Rufus narrowed that list even further when he did recon work, committing all of the candidates actions and involvements to his memory. They had wanted to make sure they were all good people who had the skill to govern an entire population of magic users of all sorts. The three of them agreed that having anything close to a repeat of the Jellal/Siegrain situation, bless his pretty blue head, was not something they ever wanted again.
Lucy had been the one to make the final decision based off of the remaining people on the list. That last part had shocked him thoroughly; that was a huge responsibility and she just played it off like she had chosen between vanilla or chocolate ice cream, not the biggest influences in the magical world.
But now, here they were, standing in front of their hotel's receptionist who was trembling in fear under the force of a very ticked off Laxus.
"What the hell do you mean there was only one room reserved?! There should be two!" He boomed at the poor employee.
"I-I'm v-v-ery s-sor-ry sir-r-r…" the receptionist stuttered and coward, "B-but there was only one reservation m-made for a room with a king sized bed, under the names you have given me, s-sir!"
Laxus was about to threaten the young man behind the desk when Lucy cut him off.
"Laxus, don't you think you're being a bit dramatic about this whole thing?" For Mavis' sake, the poor boy was literally shaking.
"No, I don't!" he declared, "I'm going to throw that old perverted geezer so hard when we get back to the guild that he'll land on the other side of Bosco!" He was seething and Lucy found his embarrassment kind of cute. So naturally, she teased him, effectively making the situation worse; much to her amusement and the receptionists terror.
"What's the matter, Spark Plug?" the reception gasped at her brazen words towards the terrifying mage, sure that she would be attacked for calling him such a name, "Do you have such a big problem with me that you wouldn't be able to bare sharing a room for a couple of days?" she asked in a near sing-song voice.
"That's not it at all!" Laxus' eyes widened in embarrassment as he tried to correct himself, thinking he insulted her. "It's just the old man is acting like Mira again, meddling in other people's business!"
She was outright chuckling at him now, "I'm just teasing you, Laxus!" she turned to face the mortified receptionist, she smiled sweetly to try and calm the poor man, "We'll take the room, please."
He quickly looked between her and a shocked Laxus before he went and got the room key, giving it to the not-as-crazy Lucy.
Lucy smiled and handed the key to Laxus, "Here, you go up to the room and cool down," she told him with a giggle as he began to protest, "I'm gonna stay down here for a minute and see if they don't have some other room available. You didn't even ask the poor guy and as much as I like being around you, Sparky, I like my space too."
Laxus physically deflated at Lucy's reasoning, much to the relief of the receptionist, and he made his was to the room; Glad he wouldn't be forced into such a close proximity with the woman he was pining over. He'd gotten way too close to her on this trip as it was and it had only been a single day. He didn't think he would be able to control himself if he had to share a room and a bed with her. 'Damn that fucking geezer and his matchmaking schemes!'
Lucy watched the alluring blond dragon slayer's figure disappear up the stairs, captivated by the way his muscles moved as he walked.
"-m?... -am, Ma'am!" The receptionist's calls finally reached Lucy's ears.
"Huh? Oh! I'm so sorry, I was just...uh, well, in a daze." She said with a blush.
"It's quite alright, Miss. But, are you sure you're going to be alright" the young man asked, eyeing the stairs where Laxus had just been.
"You mean, with him?" Lucy chuckled, "No need to worry about little old me, he's just a little grumpy because our train ride was a long one. He's actually not usually that bad." She assured him, raising her voice to a shout towards the second floor, "Besides I could probably knock him on his ass a couple times if I felt like it." She was pretty sure she heard a vague 'Fucking in your dreams, Blondie' coming from a ways up the stairs.
"Surely you must be joking?" the receptionist asked, his wide eyes full of disbelief.
"Well, I've never actually fought against him myself, but I've faced off with scarier things than that overgrown coat of fluff" she laughed and dramatically shrugged her small shoulders.
He didn't look like he believed her but he needed to attend to the other hotel guests, "So, you wish to see if we have any unreserved rooms then?"
"Yes please, nothing too fancy. I just need the basics." she smiled and he liked her much better than he liked the intimidating dragon slayer.
After looking through the availability book for a few minutes, his smile grew and he returned his gaze to Lucy.
"It looks like we have one room left and it has just become available! It's a king's suite, same as the other room. Would you like it?"
"Yes, please! Thank you very much for looking." She beamed; making the man, who had already developed a small crush on the blonde bombshell, blush. Lucy didn't even realize she was pushing her chest up on the counter; cleavage visible or not, her chest was a sight most men would drool over.
"It was no problem at all ma'am!" he smiled as he handed her the room's key.
She gathered her few belongings and began walking away, but she turned back and addressed him again, "Thanks for the idea by the way!"
"I'm sorry?" he said completely lost.
"You gave me an idea of what to do tomorrow, I think I'll challenge Laxus to a friendly fight! See which one of us is stronger. Don't know why I never thought of it before, honestly…"
"No offense ma'am, but Fairy Tail mages are insane." He just stared at her in terror, she was going to die, he was certain of that. Facing a man renowned across Fiore for single handedly stopping entire dark guilds in their tracks, for successfully defeating one of the most powerful Wizard Saints, and none of the stories and tales ever did his physique and demanding presence justice. There was no way this small and soft looking woman could stand a chance against such a god of a man.
But she just laughed so hard at the poor boy that she clutched her sides, further proving his point on her sanity. "I'm not even going to try to deny that!" she said between breaths as she calmed down, "Because you're completely right!" She turned back towards the stairs and went to seek out her room.
"323...326...aha! Room 329!" she mumbled under her breath. 'This couldn't have worked out better...room 331.' she thought as she saw the room directly to the right of her's was the one that Laxus had the key to. There was irony in there somewhere, she was sure of it. She just couldn't place it.
She turned the key in the door and entered the room, unshocked to find that Virgo had already unpacked her bags for her and everything was tucked away in drawers and placed where she could find it when she needed it. 'Guess this means she's done pouting', Lucy slightly chuckled to herself as she picked out her pajamas for the evening and went to take a quick shower before she let Laxus know where she was and then went to bed.
When the day's travel was cleaned from her skin, Lucy dressed and returned to the bedroom, placing her dirty clothes in her, now, empty suitcase. She took the time now to study the room. It was simple, yet of high quality. It very much screamed 'you're here on business'.
Lucy then noticed the additional door to her room, one she hadn't seen before now. She realized that this door must connect to the room Laxus was in. There definitely had to be some higher-being meddling with fate right now, this was almost cruel. Or maybe she should just take it as a small gift. Truthfully she wouldn't have minded sharing a room with Laxus at all. Her feelings had been out of check the whole trip thus far and she wanted nothing more than to curl up into a bed and sleep next him, well, of course actually fucking him would probably top that list…'Bad Lucy! You can't be thinking like that, not right now, it's going to get you into a troublesome situation!' she let out a depressed sigh, 'Besides, he made it pretty damn clear his feelings about sharing a room with you. You're only friends, Luce. He doesn't feel the same.'
After a few minutes of clearing her mind of her flooding desire she decided to go be a dork and try to make Laxus smile after his freak out. So, she walked over to the adjoining door and, as quietly as she could, opened her side of the entrance. Mirth evident on her face, she left her room through the front door and walked the few feet to Laxus'. When she knocked he answered a few moments later, dressed in his own sleeping attire, long boxers and a white tank-top that clinged to his every muscle. She all but drooled as she raked her eyes over his exposed arms, and down his defined torso.
Laxus was enjoying her gaze. He knew he was hot, woman swooned over him on a daily basis and he could bed them with the slightest effort or sometimes, no effort at all. Sorcerer's Weekly had ranked him 'Sexiest Bad Boy' for the last seven consecutive years. There were many times that Freed would quite literally need to remove horny and obnoxious woman from his body while walking down the street, but Lucy was one of the few woman that had never outright expressed sexual interest in him, much to his dismay. Even most of the woman in the guild found him attractive, but he'd never once overheard if Lucy was attracted to him, let alone anyone else in the guild, during the times where her little girl group would gossip in some corner of the guild hall. So, watching her eye's caress his skin with hunger and seeing her tongue dart out to wet her lips was not only a huge boost to his ego, but was also the biggest turn on of the century.
Before he could even tease her about her obvious attraction to his body, she walked into his room, able to walk under his propped arm without ducking.
"Well, just come right in, Blondie…" Laxus said with a sarcastic mirth.
She just turned her head back towards him and gave him a mischievous smirk as she made her way to their adjoining door.
"Nice outfit by the way.." his intent was to tease her about her little black shorts and tight button-up pajama flannel but his words came out husky, full of his restraint. It did look good on her, though. It looked too good and that was currently the problem. The way the thin flannel hung over her goddess like curves, slightly straining the buttons over her chest, and the way the tight spandex gripped her rounded ass like his hands wanted to….his dick was now half hard and the aroused smell her body was supplying him with was going to take it the rest of the way.
Lucy wasn't faring any better from her end of the room, she had stopped in front of their shared door to look back at him once more before she went back into her room when she found him ogling openly at her. Her inner walls clenched under his hot gaze and she was rapidly becoming aroused. He was so busy trailing his eyes over her neck and breasts that he hadn't noticed she had stopped moving and was staring right back. Her eyes trailed down his minimally clothed body and her gaze rested on the growing pitch in his boxers.
'Oh good gods...his..he's turned on." her own realization aroused herself even further and when she saw a small jolt of movement come from inside his shorts she felt the cloth covering her sex grow moist. 'Oh fuck me, it twiched!' it was taking almost all of her self control not to rub her thighs against each other in attempt to relieve the pressure that was building between them.
Laxus wanted nothing more than to cross the room at the moment he smelt her become wet, it was a smell he wanted to memorize and he knew that just one taste of her and he would give into the dragon he was restraining and take her completely. He would fuck her, he would claim her, and she would be writhing in pure ecstasy by the time he was finished. If he kept standing there, he was going to lose himself to the dragon instincts that were desperately thrashing against the confines of his body. He was silently fighting a war from the inside out with himself and if he didn't at least move, he was going to lose.
He mustered up any remains of his strength and logic he could find and pulled his gaze from her, turning his body towards the small fridge in the room to get a bottle of cold water.
His movements snapped Lucy out of her sexual daze and she cleared her husky throat with a small cough. "I, uh.. I just came over here to, um, say that you were being a bit of a dick." she internally slapped her forehead for the brilliance of that sentence, that wasn't how she had meant for it to come out. "I just mean that it wasn't the receptionists fault there was a mix up with the reservations, he didn't deserve to be screamed at." she tried to clarify, sounding as non-accusatory as she could.
Laxus gulped down his water and suppressed his libido before he responded, "You're right." She had expected shouting, maybe for him to take offence, or at the very least a stern scowl, but him agreeing with her was not on the list. "That kid didn't deserve my temper, but gramps just gets under my skin constantly and this time he wasn't around for me to yell at. It wasn't a mix up, I'm almost positive the old geezer did it on purpose."
"Would it really have been so bad to share a room if we had to?" she wasn't going to admit why his objection had hurt her, but she couldn't help but ask.
Laxus let out a defeated sigh, his erection leaving as quickly as it came. He felt like he was cornered right now and one wrong word was going to royally fuck him over.
"I just...didn't want you to be uncomfortable." he told her in a low voice. It wasn't a lie, he really didn't want for her to feel out of place or forced, but he also wanted the same for him and sharing a room with her would have been torture. "I'll apologize to the kid tomorrow if that'll make you feel better…" He felt dirty, twisting his words to save face, so if saying sorry to the stupid kid at the desk would get rid of this awkward air between him and Lucy, he would swallow his pride just this once.
Just like that her bright smile returned to her, "It's not about what I feel, its about you doing what you feel you need to." Laxus didn't apologize often and when he did it was either because somebody was forcing him to or because he had really screwed up bad; but in this situation it was neither, he was offering to apologize because he thought it would make her feel better. She wasn't really all that bothered by his oneway yelling match downstairs, it had been a little embarrassing, but she understood why he would be upset. The Master could be absolutely frustrating. "But, if you really were to apologize to him that would definitely make me happy!"
He was glad her good mood was back, when she was upset with him it really ate at his mind. At least now it wouldn't feel so awkward.
"So then, Blondie, I assume you were able to find a room? Care to let me in on the big secret of where it is? Did they put you in the boiler room or something? Or maybe they cleared out a broom closet?" He playfully teased her, effectively bringing back the happy atmosphere between them.
Instead of responding to him, she smirked and turned back to the door that led to her room. She waited in front of it for a few seconds for dramatic effect and then opened his side of the door, walked into her room and plopped down on her bed.
"Fuck." he mumbled to himself as she disappeared into the room next door. This was still way too close. He had hoped that they would have found a room on a different floor, at least down the hallway, but it looks like fate wanted to be cruel to him and place them in adjoining rooms. 'At least there's a door that I can close, at least we're not sharing a bed…' he tried to reason with himself. It didn't do a whole lot of good, he was still nervous.
He walked through the door and leaned his shoulder against it's frame, surveying the room, "Now I really do feel like an ass," he grumbled, "he got you a good room. Now I gotta apologize."
She laughed at his ever present ego, "You know I don't even think he knew that the room he gave me was right next to yours," then she threw a decorative pillow at him as she teased, "He was very concerned for my safety, you know, such a sweet and innocent young woman travelling with behemoth of a dragon mage like yourself." her voice was that of a stereotypical damsel and it earned her the laugh she loved to hear so much.
He threw the pillow back at her and it hit her gently in the face, making her giggle. " 'Sweet' is debatable, Blondie, but 'innocent', never in a million years! You're too twisted in the head to be an innocent damsel."
"I feel like I should find offence in there somewhere!"
He laughed with her, but if he stayed any longer, it was either going to get awkward again or he was going to bury himself deep inside of her, so he spoke once more when their laughter died down. "Well, as fun as this has been, It's almost midnight and I want to catch some sleep." He stood straight once more and walked back into his room, "Goodnight, Lucy." he called out to her as he shut his door.
"Goodnight, Laxus." She smiled and got up to close her's before crawling under her covers and falling asleep with a smile on her face.
Chapter 12: Unhappy Mornings
The warm sunlight was beginning to shine through the window, signaling the start of a new day. Laxus was in a state of halfway consciousness as he tried to convince his brain to let him go back to sleep, but it was no use of course; once he was up, he was up. He could hear noise coming from all over the hotel as the people in the surrounding rooms got ready for their day. From the room adjoined to his, he heard a 'thud' and then a groan.
"I'm up, I'm up!" he heard Lucy complain, "You didn't have to throw me off the bed! Who made you my alarm clock, anyway!?"
There was brief silence before an unimpressed voice he was unfamiliar with, responded. "Miss Lucy, if I may be so blunt, I am by definition a clock. Aside from that, Capricorn was planning to send Leo to awaken you before I interjected, I thought you would want a relatively peaceful start to your morning."
Laxus quitely chuckled, 'being thrown off a bed is a relatively peaceful morning for her?' he thought, she could always make him laugh, even if it was at her.
There was a dramatic sigh from the neighboring room, "You're right, Horologium, Loke is way too much to deal with in the mornings. Thank you for waking me up." He could hear the smile in her voice.
If she was getting up he figured he should as well, so he sat up and walked to the bathroom to shower and dress. As he finished putting on his pants, Lucy knocked on his door. His stomach did a little flip at his excitement to see her.
"It's open, Blondie!" he called out plainly, his voice shielding his emotions.
When she opened the door he was going to greet her, but instead, the words caught in his throat at her outfit. She was wearing a short blue skirt with a tight black shirt that ended just under her breasts, showing off her toned stomach.
"Why are you wearing that?" He questioned her, realizing too late that he sounded like an ass.
"Well I know it's not the greatest outfit I've ever put together, but you don't gotta make that face…" she scowled.
"That's not really what I meant." he amended, slightly embarrassed, "It's just that you haven't worn an outfit like that in a long time. It, uh...it looks..nice."
She chuckled only a little, "Thanks I guess, I got dressed in the dark."
Lucy rubbed her eyes and yawned, even though she slept really well last night she still wasn't a morning person.
"I'm going downstairs to find some breakfast," She told him, "I just stopped by to see if you were up yet."
He pulled out the first shirt he saw in his suitcase and slid it on, "Oh, I'm most definitely awake," He teased, his mirth evident, "I got the privilege of getting to hear your wake up call this morning, too. You're scream sounded like a little girl."
Laxus watched as she rolled her eyes and picked up a pen from the nightstand. She chucked it at him, but he easily dodged the flying plastic. He turned to look where it had gone and it was stuck in the wall as if it were a dart.
"Not a morning person, huh?" he smirked at her, his head still turned but his eyes watching for more flying utensils.
"Fuck off, Laxus." was her only dry response before she turned to leave his room.
She accidentally rammed her shoulder into the door frame as she passed through it and when she mumbled a pained, "Shit…", under her breath and cradled her arm, he broke out into a fit of laughter.
"Say nothing!" she shot him an icy glare that might've scared anyone else, but he just continued to laugh to himself as she trudged down the hallway in her combat boots, mumbling about how all she wanted was a cup of coffee, or maybe five.
He finished getting ready and five minutes later, followed her down to breakfast. He found her curled up on a cushioned window bench, clutching a mug as she stared outside at the birds.
"If I come over there are you going to throw that cup at me?" he asked from a few feet away.
"Probably not, this beautiful drink is worth more to me than wiping that look of your face." she sent a small glance his way, "At least for now, so watch it." she said and then stuck out her tongue at him.
He pulled up a chair and propped his feet up onto the bench, "I always figured you would be a morning person, you're always so cheery when I get to the guild."
She looked at him unamused and deadpanned, "Laxus, you don't show up at the guild until at least noon."
"So, I don't like mornings either. Sue me." he shrugged his large shoulders.
"Then what the hell are you so happy for?" She asked with less of a bite than before, now that she was finally waking up.
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, "Because its gonna storm tonight." He said matter-of-factly.
She scrunched up her face in confusion before she set down her empty mug and stuck her head out the window, looking up at the sky.
"How could you possibly know that?" She called from partially outside, "There isn't a cloud in sight." She returned to her previous position and stared at him quizzically. Lucy knew it was going to rain today as well, but she could feel the masses of moisture beginning to build up in the sky, courtesy of the water magic she could control ever since her battle with Jackal. But she didn't know how Laxus could tell.
He peaked his eye open at her and smirked, "There's a whole bunch of extra static in the air, I can feel it clinging all over me." He reached a hand out and poked her in the middle of the forehead. When she sputtered he laughed at her, "And now it's all over you."
His eyes trailed up from her face to the air above it, only, when she looked up to see what was there she screamed when she saw the hair that usually sat tamely just below the middle of her back was standing completely vertical as it defied gravity and sparked every so often.
Her scream attracted the attention of the other guest and they were now whispering, no doubt about her and her horrendous hair.
"Laxus! What the hell did you do?! Fix it, people are staring!" She whispered harshly, she could feel the heat coming off of her face from her humiliation.
"Why would I want to do that?" He asked mirthfully, barely restraining his laughter.
"Just do it!" she whined and she forcefully punched his shoulder, but as soon as she made physical contact with the lightning mage a second time all of the static was naturally drawn back to him and her hair once again obeyed the laws of gravity. Laxus let out the loudest booming laughter she had ever heard from him and if she hadn't been so ticked off she would have been inclined to enjoy it, maybe melt into a very Juvia-like puddle.
She groaned as she fished through the sea of blonde that was her hair to find her way back into the light of the room.
"I should kick you through a wall for that!" she murderously growled at him.
"You'd never even get close enough", he purred, egging her on.
She sent him a wicked smirk as she reminded him, "I've done it before."
A slight grimace cross his features before his arrogant mask was back in place.
"That was a lucky hit, Blondie, you caught me off guard." he said, absentmindedly rubbing his stomach where the bruise had been, "It won't happen again."
Once, he'd pissed her off and during his laughing fit he'd let his guard down. The next thing he could remember was a searing pain to the stomach as he flew through the wall of his office and landed on the first floor with the whole guild staring at him incredulously. Well, everyone except for Natsu and Gray who laughed their asses off and Happy who cried something about 'Scary Lucy'. So he shocked them each with a large bolt and glared at everyone else.
Lucy also remembered that day, but she remembered the feeling of dread that settled over her as soon as she heard her teams laughter. She had kicked The Laxus Dreyar through a wall and then he'd been laughed at. She hadn't even thought about what she was doing, but when she realized what had happened, she'd been so sure she would have suffered the painful consequences. Instead, imagine her surprise when he came back with her favorite milkshake as an apology.
Now, they both shared a brief look before he chuckled and said, "Your kicks are inhumanly strong for a person your size, it's like your legs are magic or somethin'."
"I know they're pretty shapely, " she teased, inspecting her legs, "but I don't know if I'd go as far as calling them magical."
"I didn't mean it like that," he grumbled, mostly to himself, "and you call me the perv..."
She laughed her beautiful laugh and Laxus heard a groan from a few tables away. He glanced in the general direction it came from and was disgusted to find that most of the men and even some of the women present were hungrily staring at her bared flesh. He could even smell the arousal coming off a couple of them and it seriously pissed him off. Lucy was none the wiser to their ogling and was just looking out the window again.
"Speaking of your damn legs," he said, sliding off his large coat, "You might want to cover them before those men over there switch from ogling to groping."
"What are you-'oof'." she attempted to question him, but she found herself enveloped in his soft and heavy coat. When she recovered from her surprize, she looked to him with a questioning gaze.
"I'm not just gonna let them stare at you." he huffed, although just the slightest bit embarrassed by his jealousy.
She rolled her eyes at him, but kept the coat in place nonetheless, "They'd stare even if I was wearing a bag, it's just something I've accepted. It's no big deal."
"Well they shouldn't. It's fucking disgusting that they stare at you like you're dinner." He said, scowling fiercely at those still looking in their direction.
"Says arguably the biggest playboy in the guild." she skeptically gave him a once-over, "What makes me so different from all those girls that you bring home, huh?"
'Is that really what she thinks of me?' Laxus thought, disappointed, 'Can't really blame her though, even I'm kinda grossed out by the number of women I've woken up next to in the last few months.' Even though he slept around it didn't mean he looked at women the way these pigs were now, but then last night breached his memory. Never had a woman looked so good to him, but referring to her question, he could give her a fucking list of what made her different and better than every other woman in existence.
"You're my guildmate and friend, that's what." he felt like his list would probably freak her out, so he just decided to go with that. "And just for the record, there's only five women who've been to my home and not one of them have I slept with." He scowled deeply as refused to look at her.
She realized she might have offended him and even though that hadn't been her intention, she felt a little bad. "Five? I wasn't aware there were five women you even talked to, who's had the privilege of visiting your oh-so-secret house in the woods?" She turned to teasing him to lighten the sour air.
"The Old Hag, Ever, Mira, Erza, and you." He noticed her mood change, but chose to ignore it.
She shouldn't have been so snarky, he was just acting the same way he and his teammates did with Evergreen.
She chuckled to herself as she shook her head, "One time after your team got back from a job, Ever told me that the client had tried to hit on her so Bicks took off his helmet and put it on her head at the same time Freed put his coat over her shoulders."
Laxus wanted to stay upset about what she thought about his evening activities, but he remembered that mission pretty well and he smiled a little as he added, "Yeah Bicks flashed his eyes at him, too, just for good measure. Dude was a complete sleazebag."
They spent about an hour there. When the waitress came by to take their order, Laxus completely ignored her flirting, much to Lucy's surprise and the waitress' annoyance.
Laxus watched curiously as Lucy's keys glowed on her hip before they dimmed, she made a face and they glowed again, this continued for a few minutes before he quenched his curiosity.
"Why do they do that?"
"Huh..what?" Lucy asked as she brought her gaze back to Laxus once more.
"Your keys, why do they glow like that?"
"Oh, well, they're talking to me." she stated simply as she shrugged. She popped the last of her fruit into her mouth.
"Your keys can talk?" he asked, and realized it was a dumb question as soon as he'd seen the disbelieving look on her face.
"No, but the living, breathing spirits attached to them can."
"Oh, right. I guess that would make more sense." he looked down at his plate to avoid her mirth, and shoved the last of his steak into his mouth.
Out of nowhere Lucy groaned and not-so-gently connected her forehead to the tabletop, "Fiiiiine. I'm going, I'm going!"
"And just where is it that you're going, Blondie?"
"It's really more like 'where are we going', Sparkplug." Lucy rolled her eyes before they settled on her keys, "I have to go train because I've put it off for the last few days and Capricorn has so very politely asked if you would join me." her voice dripped with sarcasm.
Laxus grew a smirk and an inflated ego, "Did he now? I guess he wants me to give you a few tips."
"Don't go getting a bigger head than you already have. If he wanted that I would just train with Gemini today." She mostly said to herself, "He probably wants you to spar with me."
"Gemini is your weird little floating spirits, right? Are you saying you have me copied?" He was worried that the little devious spirits, that sometimes plotted with Bix's babies around the guild, would have told Lucy his thoughts on her, but he was equally impressed that she had managed to copy him without him knowing about it. He wasn't easy to sneak up on.
Lucy flushed with embarrassment at having revealed to him that she'd had him copied.
"Gemini has gotten a lot stronger, they can hold up to 6 people in their memories at once now. They always keep me memorized, and Natsu, Gray, Erza, and Wendy, too. The last spot, they change out pretty regularly. I let them have free pick over who it is they copy for that one, the most recent person they chose was you." She said blushing heavily.
"I can understand keeping Wendy; in case someone were to get hurt, but why have them keep your team memorized when they're with you on missions most of the time anyway?"
She beamed at him, his interest in her magic was nice. It wasn't the normal questions of why her spirits were so pervy or why she let them do whatever they wanted. His interest was genuine and she appreciated him for it.
"Because," she said, "that way I know what they're feeling and thinking if we ever get separated on a dangerous job. Plus," she giggled to herself, "can you imagine having two of any of them during a fight? The enemy wouldn't stand a chance."
Laxus' eyes went wide and his face slightly paled. He snapped his eyes to her's and very, very seriously said, "Only in emergencies! If I ever find out that there were two Erza's, two Gray's, and", he slightly shivered, "Mavis forbid, two Natsu's fighting on one of your missions, you had better be dying because I don't think I could handle the damage reports!" he finished running a hand over his worried face.
She placed a sympathetic hand on his forearm as she laughed, "No need to worry, I've only ever had to do it once and I made sure it was Erza since Im sure if Natsu ever saw Gemini turn into him, he'd want to fight himself to see who was stronger...which really doesn't make any sense." She sighed and shook her head. "And with Gray, well that's pretty much the same."
He sighed in relief before he prodded her for more information. This trip was proving to be great, he'd learned more about her spirits and her magic than he'd learned in years.
"So if they have me copied already, why would your goat spirit want me to spar with you?"
She blushed again and he liked how it made her look, "Because your magic is kinda...well, it's weird." He just quirked an eyebrow at her and she explained further, "I've got most of the guild's magic down to a science except for just a handful of people and you're one of them." She rubbed the back of her neck shyly, "You're magical ability isn't necessarily stronger than mine, in fact I think we might be about even in terms of raw power, but the lightning is hard for Gemini to control. There's really only a few people they have that issue with and with you I think it's got something to do with you having already been a lighting mage before your powers got amped up with the dragon lacrima…"
She saw the face he made when she brought up the lacrima, and inadvertently, his father. She quickly tacked on, "But that's just what I think, even Crux isn't really sure."
Laxus had no doubt in his mind they were at least equals magically, considering how much his inner dragon pinned for her, he just didn't like to think about the damn crystal behind his eye. He was grateful for it, sure. It had saved him more times than he could possibly count and he wouldn't be the mage he was today without it, but at the same time it had also caused him a lot of pain. Both physically and emotionally, it had scarred and hurt him.
"What're you doing copying guildmates anyways? Helping Mira with her scheming?" He half-joked. He was pretty sure she wouldn't do something like that, invade other people's minds...but there was a chance she was being bribed by the demon.
Lucy went tomato red and stared at him wide-eyed, rapidly shaking her head.
"Absolutely not! I would never invade a guildmates thoughts like that!"
He was relieved, to say the least, but he wasn't just going to let it slide. She was obviously embarrassed and there was fun to be had with that.
"Not even if The Demon bribed you?" He smirked at her.
"Especially not if it was Mira asking." She stressed. "I've been front-n'-center for many of her matchmaking attempts, and I would very much like to never have to do that again." She added, "Mira doesn't even know Gemini can read the minds of those they copy. I'd like to keep it that way..."
Laxus could only nod. He, too, had once or twice been cornered by Mira about his love life and he never wanted to do that again. He also didn't want to have to overhear the demon trying to get Lucy to accept the dates of her admirers again, either.
They got up from their places at the window and began to walk in, what Laxus thought, was a random direction.
"So, if you're not trying to get information on them, why have Gemini copy them?" He asked as they turned down a street that headed towards the forest, Lucy still leading the way. "Or are your spirits just doing it for their own entertainment?"
"I am getting information from them, though, just not the kind you're thinking about. On the days I work on combat skills, Gemi and Mini turn into the person they chose and that's who I work with."
"Why do that though, when you can just have the actual people from the guild train with you?" Once you got past the part where it was kind of creepy those two spirits could copy people's minds and magic perfectly and instantly, he had to admit they were pretty cool.
"Because not everyone is available all the time and it would be way too crazy trying to schedule meeting times with them when half the time, my team just takes spontaneous jobs." She explained and he guessed it made enough sense, "I just feel like I need to know how everyone in the guild fights and how to help them in a battle most effectively, if the need for it ever arose. I'm tired of losing battles when they count the most, I refuse to be caught off guard next time." She nearly whispered.
"Plus, having Gemini out for so long is good practice," She admitted, hoping he wouldn't judge her too much. "Especially when you factor in how when I spar with them, I'm not only using my magic to fight them, but that they're also using my magic to fight me. Its a hell of a work out."
Laxus just found himself, once again, impressed by the small woman walking by his side. What she lacked in sheer muscle she made up for it with the brain of a tactician.
"That's damn impressive, Lucy." he commended, "Nobody else has had the foresight to do something like this at the guild and I think that's really gonna help us out the next time we have to battle some crazy monster hell bent on ending the world."
Lucy smiled at him for his praise, but she mostly found it hilarious that they were all so certain they'd face some beast in the future. Such was the life of a Fairy Tail Mage.
"What has my life come to that I now anticipate monster attacks almost as much as I know I can find Cana at the bar?" she laughed wryly.
She didn't notice, but Laxus smiled down at her happily, "I certainly wouldn't want it anyother way. It would be boring without my life always swaying in the balance." he said facetiously.
She chuckled and to the other people on the streets of Era, the two blonds looked like a happy couple. They were both relaxed in the presence of the other and easy smiles graced both of their faces.
"This works out just fine anyway," she said after a minute of silence, "after a little chat with our receptionist last night I came to the realization that we've never sparred with each other. So I was gonna challenge you to a fight later today anyway."
Laxus raised his eyebrow, "You want to fight me? I think Natsu has officially rubbed off on you too much."
Lucy shrugged as she smirked his way, "Eh, maybe. But what's the matter, Sparkplug? Not up to the challenge?" She taunted, knowing it would work, "Afraid you'll lose to me?"
"You think a holder mage could beat me? You're on, Princess!
Then Laxus realized he had no idea where they were and he'd just been letting Lucy lead the way.
"Do you even know where we're going?" he asked suspiciously, "or are we just going to wander around all day?"
"Not a clue," she shrugged at him and then giggled at the annoyed look he shot her. "Pixis does though and he's leading me there." She said as she held up the silver key that she'd been fiddling with for him to see.
"Oh crap!" Lucy instantly stopped walking as they passed by a shop that caught her attention, "I forgot I need to buy something before we go." She turned and half-jogged into the store, "You wait here, I'll only be a few minutes." Laxus was curious about a couple things, but decided to just take up residence on an empty bench while he waited.
About five minutes later he saw her wander out of the store, her eyes searching for him. He tried to figure out what she'd bought and scowled deeply when he smelt what was in the bag. He snatched it from her hands as soon as she was close enough and tightly gripped her wrist she'd extended when she tried to get the bag back.
"What the hell are you doing buying this?!" he growled at her, "You don't smoke."
"Let go of me, you idiot!" she growled right back, "You're right, I don't," she frowned at him, attempting to snatch the cigarettes back again and failing. "I think cigarettes are gross, but one of my spirits really likes them so I buy them for him once in a while."
He looked her up and down for a second trying to decipher if she was telling the truth and he grudgingly handed the paper bag back to her once he was sure she was.
"What's your problem, anyways?" Lucy asked, "Don't you smoke cigars?"
"Not anymore, I quit." He shrugged, "they were fucking with my nose and it was hard to be in the physical condition I needed to be for the jobs I take when I would run out of breath so quickly. We can't all be Wakaba." That was the truth, but he also didn't want anything messing with Lucy's scent. He thought it was perfect the way it was and the lingering smoke would overwhelm the strawberries.
"Makes sense." Lucy shrugged. "I was worried about that too when my spirit first had me buy them for him, but then I remembered who he is and it really didn't matter after that."
"Which spirit is this?" He asked her.
"Guess you'll just have to wait and find out when we get there." She baited him.
They traded a few lighthearted verbal jabs back and forth before they came to a large open clearing. It was beautiful, with a nearby stream. Perfect, really.
"Wow, Capricorn...great find!" She said, and a second later the goat spirit appeared in a flash of light, with a respectful bow.
"Thank you, My Lady. I thought so as well." he smiled at her and then turned to the large slayer, "Nice to see you again, Mr. Dreyar."
Laxus just rolled his eyes and extended his hand, which Capricorn took in his own to firmly shake. They'd met on many occasions over the years and he found he really liked the spirit. As far as he could tell he was the only normal spirit Lucy had, aside from him being a humanoid goat, that is.
"I've told you before Capricorn, it's just Laxus."
"Of course." Capricorn nodded politely, "Now, Miss Lucy, are you ready to begin?"
She sent him a determined nod. Laxus didn't know it, but the discussion she'd been having with her spirits at breakfast was a serious one. As soon as Capricorn had requested for Laxus to join them, Lucy made sure that they were all aware she wouldn't be using the magic Aquarius had given her. It would rise too many questions out of Laxus and she knew he wouldn't accept a half-assed answer.
After the war with Tartaros, Lucy somehow had managed to retain the magic of the water bearer and nobody was sure why. She still had the mark across her collar bones as well, which is why she now wore only high collared shirts; to keep it hidden.
She spent months after the guild disbanded, secretly practicing the powerful magic as she traveled around with Yukino. The other Celestial Wizard also knew nothing of the events that had unfolded because Lucy had never told her and it had yet to be relevant enough for Yukino's spirits to tell her.
However, regardless of the fact that Lucy was now well skilled in Aquarius' water magic, she refused to utilize it unless she was in dire need. She still felt terrible guilt over breaking her oldest friend's key and even though it didn't kill Aquarius, it did confine her to The Spirit Realm and because no one had ever broken a Celestial Key before that day, nobody knew how long it would take her key to repair itself, if it ever did at all.
Scorpio had tried very adamantly to convince Lucy that Aquarius was okay with her using the magic and didn't blame her for needing to summon The King. He told her that when Aquarius found out that Lucy was now able to utilize her magic herself, she was actually happy and wished she would use it more often to protect herself. Lucy had refused though, feeling she wasn't worthy enough to wield her friend's magic and only agreed to training with it in the first place because it had been too powerful to be left unchecked.
But Capricorn had a twisted sense of humor and since she had refused to practice with water magic today if Laxus was joining them, he made sure that her warm-up partner was the one spirit she had that's weakness was specifically water.
"You may want to backup a little bit." She warned Laxus and when he just raised an eyebrow at her she pushed further, "No seriously, you're gonna want to. You're about to meet The Spirit World's Biggest Playboy and he's a bit...I wanna say, fervid?" she sweat-dropped.
Loke and Virgo then appeared of their own wills, next to Capricorn, to watch the spectacle they were certain was about to happen.
Loke grumbled loudly as he kicked the grass at his feet with his hands tucked in his slacks' pockets, "It doesn't matter what adjective you give him, I'm still gonna call him an idiot and trouble incarnate, but whatever you say, Princess."
Lucy just rolled her eyes at her loyal lion and pulled the cigarettes from their bag. With a strength Laxus didn't know the small blonde possessed she threw the cigarettes far into the sky above them and began a summoning.
"Open! Gate of The Burning Bird, Phoeniceus!" She shouted her chant and from the magic circle that appeared at her side, a large bird set ablaze with intense flames soared through it and passed her, into the sky towards the falling package.
Laxus admired what was the largest bird he had ever seen. It was beautiful, covered in flames Natsu would drool over. When the flames had licked his skin as the spirit flew past him, Laxus felt no pain, only a sense of comfort that he hadn't felt since he was a young child, around his grandfather.
Phoeniceus gracefully caught the box between his beak and nosedived back to his keyholder. He stopped inches above the ground with his massive wings causing a gust of warm air to pass through the clearing. As Laxus attempted to study the new spirit further, the flames it was already engulfed by grew so large it could no longer be seen, and quickly, there was nothing but ash at their feet.
Laxus stood still for a moment, not knowing where to begin processing.
"What was that all about, Blondie?" he asked, wondering why her spirit had combusted.
"He's showing off." Lucy stated tiredly, as she rubbed her temples, "Capricorn, can I go back to bed yet? I don't have the energy for him today." she begged.
"No." was all the goat spirit said, earning him a whine from his master.
"Come now, Little Star." a smooth, deep voice came from behind them, "I'm not all that bad and I haven't seen you in a while."
Laxus turned around to find a large, toned man, only wearing loose fitting pants, resting atop a few rocks nearby. He was darkly tanned and his features, defined. His stylishly messy hair was as red as the flames he had produced just moments ago and he was undeniably very handsome.
"Hello Nic," Lucy greeted tiredly as she also turned to face him, "sorry about not calling, I've just been busy." She was acting like this was taxing but she was happy to see him and they all knew it. Once Laxus took a second to think about it though, this should be taxing on her. She currently had four spirits out and three of them were of the Zodiac, but she looked as if this wasn't fazing her at all.
'Just how much stronger has she gotten since the last time I saw her fight?' he wondered as he recalled that she wasn't able to keep this many gates open even when she passed her S-Class trials.
"I know, Princess. I'm only playing. How's Natsu?" He asked with a smirk as he lit one of the cigarettes using his magic.
She chuckled at what she knew he was implying, "Still wants to taste your flames. He brings it up all the time."
"Make sure to tell him, only after the third date." he winked at her.
She laughed now, and Laxus was just observing them. This was the first time he had ever met The Phoenix and Lucy had only mentioned him a few times that he could remember. He briefly wondered if there was some celestial law that said all her spirits had to be either ridiculously attractive or over-the-top perverse.
"You know he'll never agree to that, right?"
Nic exhaled and smoke from his cigarette crawled from his mouth in the shape of a dragon before the wind blew it away. He slid his tongue over the edges of his teeth before he cockily responded, "You never know, maybe if I wait him out long enough he'll cave. After all, I do have an eternity and he's a very impatient man."
"Doubtful," Lucy laughed, "but you keep trying."
Laxus cleared his throat and gained the attention of the former feathery creature, "Weren't you a bird just a second ago?"
Nic's eyes unashamedly roamed over Laxus, "And didn't you see me reduce myself to ashes?" he asked, "I'm Phoeniceus, The Phoenix Spirit. But, that's much too formal for my tastes. You, handsome, can call me Nic." He said as he stuck out his hand in greeting and Laxus took it, shaking it firmly before releasing, "The real question, though, is who are you?" He took a moment to appraise the adonis standing in front of him, "Bulging muscles, rugged good looks, untamed blond hair, an air of danger, and a sexy scar shaped like lightning. You must be Laxus. I've heard a lot about you, obviously. I've been looking forward to meeting you."
Laxus, unaffected by the other male's obvious attraction, just raised an amused eyebrow, "Are you flirting with me, Nic? Hate to disappoint, but I don't swing that way."
"Never say never, Dragon Slayer." his mouth curved up into a cocky smile.
Lucy just groaned from where she stood, seemingly forgotten, "Don't take him too seriously, he'd hit on a rock."
"Don't be ridiculous, Lucy." Nic said as he moved to Virgo's side, draping a strong arm around her small shoulders, "Why would I flirt with sediment when I can bask in the beauty of the spirit who bends it to her will so flawlessly?"
Virgo's blank facial expression didn't change as she summoned her earth magic and hit him with a large pillar that sent the flirtatious spirit several meters away.
"Don't annoy me, Nic," Virgo remarked plainly, "We're here to train with the Princess. If you keep this up, there will be punishment." There was a brief excitement in her eyes that betrayed her threat and Nic laughed from where he landed, unfazed by her half-hearted assault.
"Do you promise, Virgo?" Nic teased and brought forth the slightest of smiles to the stoic maid.
"Are you two done yet?" Lucy complained, "Nic would you kindly finish your stick of chemicals so that we can start?"
"Of course, My Princess." The Phoenix smirked and returned to smoking his cigarette, relaxing in the grass.
"Who told you so much about me anyway, was it Blondie over here?" Laxus smirked down at Lucy, with a shit-eating grin.
"Oh gods, there's two of them!" Lucy cried as she crouched down into a squat with her head in her hands, "Today is the day I die!"
Laxus and Nic chuckled at her obvious discomfort and embarrassment before the spirit clarified.
"Nah, it wasn't so much Lucy as it was the Lion. Leo likes to complain about things, I like to eavesdrop. It's a great arrangement, really. Plus, Little Plue has seemingly taken quite the shine to you." Nic turned his attention towards the lion, "Isn't that right, little cub?" At Loke's dismissive eye roll, Nic grew a wide grin, "What's the matter, got nothin' to say?"
"What's the point in beating you to a pulp, if you just heal yourself as soon as I'm done." Loke grumbled as he turned his back.
"Come now, Kitten," The Phoenix taunted, and then loudly whispered, "I just like pullin' your tail."
"You aren't worth my time, you stupid bird." Loke pinched the bridge of his nose in annoyance.
Lucy rose her voice in warning, "I swear on the stars! If we don't start this colossal catastrophe of a training session in the next thirty seconds I'm sending you all far away from me and going back to the hotel to get more sleep!"
"Alright, alright!" Nic picked himself up off the ground, raising his hands in submission, "I'm ready, see?"
"Finally…" They all heard Capricorn mumble.
"Time to warm up then. Let's see what kind of fire you brought to the battle today." Nic said excitedly, "Don't disappoint me!"
"You're on, Nic." she returned his eager smile.
Chapter 13: Fire Does More Than Burn
Fire Does More Than Burn
Lucy expertly dodged the flamed punches being thrown her way. She knew Nic wasn't going all out on her because they were just sparring as a warm-up today, but she felt like he was making it too easy. Just because she wasn't going to use her water magic on him didn't mean he had to pull his punches. In fact, she felt he should be trying harder to knock her down for that very reason. There would likely come a time where she would find herself without the help of even the water magic and she needed to be able to defend herself without her last resort.
Capricorn always made sure she sparred with someone before they actually began working on her technique because when they had initially begun training, Lucy had a difficult time initiating fights and always found herself on defense straight away. Both Loke and Capricorn had agreed that because she was such a small person that her best chance in almost every fight would be to go on the offence immediately, outsmart her opponent, and keep the upper hand.
Even now, many years later, Lucy didn't like to be the one to start a fight because she was a pacifist by nature, but she'd learned over the years how to break out of her comfort zone in order to get the upper hand in a battle.
But if she had time to put all these thoughts together in the middle of fighting then it really was too easy, so the next time she saw Nic extend his inflamed arm at her, she huffed in annoyance and grabbed his wrist, twisted her body so he was pulled against her back and threw him to the ground using her hip.
He looked up at her from where he'd landed and smiled, "I like you from this angle, Princess. I think it suits you." he winked at her, jokingly.
Lucy smiled at The Phoenix and helped him to his feet, "Come on, Nic, you're boring me! You're not even trying to knock me down and your flames are lukewarm, at best!"
He gasped in mock offence, "Are you insulting my magic?" he smirked ferally, "It isn't wise to tease a wild animal."
"Well, then throw something my way that I might actually need to block, instead of sad little punches from a fledgling!" She taunted playfully.
He smirked widely, "Don't come crying to me when you get burned!" he shouted to her as he engulfed his body in flames once more and Nic, in his bird form, soared from the flames and into the sky.
Laxus watched Lucy fight her flirtatious spirit from the sidelines, where he stood next to her other spirits who were taking in her every movement and no doubt making mental notes on where she could improve.
The hits they were throwing back and forth were of low strength. He was well aware that brute force had never been Lucy's strong point but he was also aware of what she was capable of and had seen it with his own eyes many times. From what he could tell, she was blocking the spirit with ease and was exerting herself very little.
To be honest, Laxus was pretty bored. He had expected this to be more...exciting, or maybe slightly amusing, but all he was feeling at the moment was the want for a nap.
"I suggest that you warm-up as well, Laxus," the dragon slayer turned his head to look at Capricorn, "otherwise you will likely find it difficult to keep your footing when you spar with My Lady."
"I doubt that's gonna be necessary, Capricorn." Laxus said, "I was hoping for a bit of a challenge but it seems like she's not really with it today." he couldn't hide the slight disappointment in his voice, though he tried too.
"Don't underestimate our princess," Virgo added, "I'm sure she'll surprise you."
"Indeed," Capricorn resumed, "as uneventful as this fight may be, it is still necessary. She does not enjoy initiating a fight, especially amongst comrades. However, give it just a few more moments and I'm sure you will find yourself impressed."
"She'll knock you on your ass." Loke replied nonchalantly as he smirked; his eyes never leaving Lucy, "She likes to fight, she wouldn't have lasted this long at Fairy Tail if she didn't. She's really good at it, too. She just doesn't like starting them, but she'll fucking finish one every damn time."
Laxus' response was cut off when his attention was drawn towards the flaming spirit hovering in the sky. There was a loud animalistic cry from the bird that was then followed by a tornado of fire of untamable proportions rapidly spinning towards Lucy. The heat from the fire burning all of the vegetation in the clearing and causing the nearby stream to let off mass amounts of steam. Within just a few moments the surrounding area was covered in a dense fog created from the steam and the only things still visible was the spirit flapping its massive wings high in the sky and the tornado of fire that had made no signs of stopping. Lucy was hidden by the cover of mist and before Laxus could stop himself, his body moved towards where he last saw her, his inner dragon needing to have her in his sights. Before he could get more than a few steps in, there was a hand on his shoulder holding him back.
"Just wait and watch." the lion spirit reassured, retracting his hand from the large slayer when he was growled at.
Laxus was hesitant, but complied as he now watched on in interest. After just a few brief seconds ticked by there was a second tornado made of sand of equal mass and power hurtling towards the one on fire. They collided and the forces of nature bounced off of one another several times before they seemed to swallow each other, the sand extinguishing the flames.
After a very tense minute of waiting for the mist to clear away, Laxus finally spotted the golden crown of hair he was familiar with. He studied her from where he stood away. Her outfit had somehow changed in the minutes he couldn't see her. Her long hair was now pulled up high on her head and styled into a thick braid that was tied off with a large metal tip that he noted looked like a stinger of some sort. She wore a dark red skirt that stopped several inches above her knee and was held in place by a black belt. Her knee high boots looked to be made out of a layered metal that he quickly decided would hurt like a motherfucker to get kicked with, especially if it was Lucy doing the kicking and she had matching wrist cuffs. Black tights covered any flesh on her legs that would have been otherwise left bare. Her front was covered by a halter top styled black shirt that ran up to her neck, connecting to a piece of red cloth that looked like a jester's collar; her back left completely exposed. Laxus found his mouth actually watering at the sight of her.
He tried to tear himself away from his less than pure thoughts. Other than a couple scratches and her chest heaving rather heavily, she was fine...and she looked fine, too.
He smiled amusedly, "That's better. That's more along the lines of what I'd been expecting, but how in the hell did she change?" he asked to none of her spirits in particular.
Loke chuckled at his side, "It's called Star Dress. A form of Celestial Magic each of the Zodiac possess. Its a form that can be taken on by a Celestial Mage contracted to a Zodiac Spirit should they be strong enough and connected enough with each other. It allows for the mage to use their spirit's magic for themselves. Lucy's the first one in centuries capable of doing it and even then, no one has ever been able claim so many dresses before." Loke offered his explanation and Laxus' eyebrows raised slightly.
"She is currently utilizing Scorpio's Star Dress to nullify Nic's fire magic with what appears to be an altered version of his Sand Buster attack." Capricorn explained further and Laxus nodded.
"I remember seeing her do something similar before," Laxus raised his eyebrow at the three spirits to his left, "But I also remember her having a spirit at her side when she did it." He remembered watching her fight for her S-Class title from their camp base that year on Tenrou and how she had summoned her horse spirit to use his bow and arrow.
"She gets stronger all the time," Loke said as he smiled proudly, "she doesn't need us to be there anymore to use our magic. She can simply call on it and it comes."
Lucy looked around her when the mist cleared and saw Laxus holding a conversation she couldn't hear with the three other spirits she was currently keeping out in this world. Her heart warmed at the sight and at the smirk she found on Loke's face. Laxus had never treated her spirits any different than he would a guild member and had even told her that he thought of them as such, that as long as they were under her contract they were Fairies by extension.
Loke, of course was a member before she was and it had meant a lot to him that Laxus still viewed him as one. Her lion was just a little too proud to admit it, but he actually really liked Laxus' company. He told her once, that before they had created their contract and he'd just been your average Fairy Tail Member, he had actually been relatively close to The Thunder Legion. It had surprised her because, while she didn't know much about them before their assault on Fairy Tail, Erza and Mira had told her how closed off from the rest of the guild they really were. Being the womanizers that Bixslow, Laxus, and Loke all were they had found themselves going to bars together on numerous occasions when Loke had first joined the guild.
He had even helped Freed translate a tome or two seeings as he'd actually been around for the era that the language had been spoken and knew how to read it; not that anybody knew that at the time. And Evergreen, well Ever still wasn't Loke's biggest fan, but that was the same with just about everyone.
"Now's really not the time to get hearts in your eyes," Nic's voice teased from directly behind her, "you should really be more focused on our fight."
Lucy shreaked and jerked around to face him. 'How long was I spaced out?!' she thought in panic. 'I can't believe I didn't notice my own spirit sneak up behind me!'
Nic, who had transformed back to his human form, threw a flamed punch her way that was a stark contrast to the previous ones. This time he wasn't holding back. The flames were massive and the heat they gave off was making her sweat bullets.
"Sand Wall!" she shouted as she summoned Scorpio's magic. A huge wall of sand rose from the ground in front of her, barely managing to block the attack and the force of Nic's fist colliding with the barrier had her sliding back through the burned clearing several feet, her eyes shut tightly and her arms were held crossed in front of her face, protecting her from the impact.
A brief moment passed and Lucy slowly opened her eyes when she heard the soft chuckle coming from Nic.
Laxus eyes widened noticeably when Lucy casted the sand spell. Her spirits had been right, he was damn impressed. As a holder mage she shouldn't even be able to do shit like that; he knew she had that one spell she'd tried to use at the games, but he'd never actually seen it finished.
When the dust settled a bit after the impact of Nic's attack, Laxus was met with a sight that had his jaw dropping.
The sand wall that had originally been summoned hadn't disappeared like it should have, instead it had turned to glass; a dark glass.
"Holy shit, that's awesome." Loke mumbled next to him and he could only silently nod his agreement.
Maniacal laughter brought them back to reality and they then noticed that Nic was very much attached to the glass barrier, his forearm halfway through it, from where his punch had punctured the sand and he was in a fit of increasing giggles.
Everyone moved towards the impromptu sculpture in the middle of the clearing to get a better look.
"Looks like you pinned me, Princess. Although, I have to admit this wasn't how I imagined it happening." Nic joked as he tried to pull his arm free, but it didn't even budge.
Lucy ignored him as she stepped up to the glass wall. She placed her hand flush against the still warm crystal and stared at it with awe in her eyes.
"This is so beautiful," she spoke gently, "I can't believe we made this. I..I don't even know what thisis." Her gaze ran over the vast amount of colors that seemed to swim inside. "It reminds me of the sky in the Celestial World." She glanced at Capricorn, "What is this?"
"From what I can tell, My Lady, it appears to be a celestial lacrima." Capricorn sounded slightly confused, "I've never heard of them being forged like this; they're simply a natural occurrence, much like in your world. However, they are much rarer in ours. I must also admit that I've never seen one quite so large, they are usually no bigger than an apple…"
"I agree that this is pretty amazing, but what do we do with it?" Loke asked his celestial comrades, "We can't just leave it here, it doesn't belong in this realm."
"Perhaps we should consult The King?" Capricorn suggested to his leader.
"I don't really care what you do with it!" their attention once again being drawn to the spirit still attached to the object of their confusion, "Just get me unstuck!" Nic complained, now clearly frustrated with his predicament as he tugged increasingly harder against the crystal's grip, his escape unsuccessful. "My arm's already going numb." he grumbled.
A sadistic and feline-like smirk graced Loke's lips, "We could always just cut your arm off, that would be a fun afternoon activity."
"Shut it, Tabby Cat!" Nic scowled, "You're not cutting off any of my limbs! Just because I can regrow them doesn't mean it's an enjoyable experience; it. hurts. like. hell!" he chastised, knowing full well the Zodiac Leader was already aware of that information.
"That's exactly why I vote we should do it." Loke chuckled to himself.
Lucy flicked Loke on the forehead as she frowned, "You're not going to dismember him. You two have such a stupid rivalry." Loke just chuckled again as he looked down at his master, clearly amused. Lucy turned back to Nic, "Can't you just go home, or something? You can't really be stuck if you aren't here."
He sighed overdramatically, "I already tried that, it didn't work." he said as he glared annoyedly at the lacrima, "My gate tried to pull this hunk of glass back with me, probably because its celestial as well."
"I can probably help with that." Laxus spoke up from where he stood off to the side, watching their interactions. "I'd be able to cut through it with my lighting if it's just Lacrima like you say it is, but it'll hurt you because its fully enclosed around your arm." he warned Nic.
"That's fine, I'll heal." Nic affirmed, "Just get this off of me."
So, Laxus got to work cutting a hole in the lacrima around Nic's arm. After about forty-five minutes of lightning sparking against the lacrima and Nic gritting his teeth in pain, the phoenix was finally able to pull his arm free and did so with a victorious shout.
"Ha! Finally, I'm free!" He winked at Laxus, "Thanks, handsome. That kind of sucked, but it was definitely better than Leo cutting off my arm with a blunt sword like I know he wanted to."
Laxus just quirked his eyebrow in amusement at that statement. He could tell that the spirit was actually serious about that, but he also didn't seem to care too much. 'What a weird guy.' he thought.
"I realize that this is really cool and I'm just as confused about what happened as everyone else is, but now that I'm not attached to it, what are we gonna do? It would be stupid as hell to leave raw Celestial Magic sitting on the Magic Council's doorstep and we should probably get it away from the danger magnet," gesturing to Lucy, "before a dark guild senses it and shows up." he logically reasoned, getting an offended 'Hey!' from the small blonde.
"We should just take it back to our world." Loke said offhandedly.
"That still doesn't solve what we're actually going to do with it." Nic said, rubbing the red ring on his arm, "Do we take it to The King? Do we sell it to a spirit that can make something out of it? Do we keep it?"
They spent a few minutes throwing some ideas around and came to the consensus that they were definitely going to have to tell The King about this anomaly, but that he probably wouldn't want it or he would put it in a vault somewhere.
Lucy didn't like the idea of something so beautiful being locked away in some room for no one to see, so she had a different idea.
"Say, Virgo?" Lucy prompted as she cocked her head to the side in thought.
"Weren't you just telling me the other day how you were looking to refloor your kitchen, but couldn't find a material you liked?"
Laxus watched utterly taken aback as Virgo's eyes lit up in sparkles and an uncharacteristic smile spread across her face.
"Indeed I did, Princess. I'm glad that you remembered." she affirmed in a hopeful tone that was so different from her normal dry one.
"I think this would work perfectly, don't you?" she smiled at the maiden.
Virgo's smile widened marginally before she bowed deeply, "I most definitely agree! Thank you, Princess, it will be most beautiful in my home!" she rose from her bow and said, "I will be returning shortly, I must collect something." There was a shimmer of light and Virgo was gone.
Laxus eyed Lucy curiously, "Just so we're all on the same page, let me clarify." he prompted," This lacrima is a rare and expensive resource from another world that you have somehow managed to manifest and you're going to let Virgo use it as flooring?" he asked, sounding sceptical, like maybe she had an ulterior motive he couldn't see.
A sweet smile graced Lucy's face as she replied, "Yep!" in cheery tone and bounced slightly in place.
She saw that all four of her male companions were looking at her strangely, so she rolled her eyes and crossed her arms in defiance.
"Don't give me that look!" she told them, "She spends all of her time doing things for everyone else and nearly always refuses anything in return. Just a couple of days ago she was frustrated enough to complain to me about how remodeling her house was going and this is a much better idea than it being shoved in some dark room at your king's palace. This might actually make her a little happy." she looked all of them in the eyes, daring them to challenge the gift she was giving her friend, "If anyone deserves to have it, it's Virgo."
A look of agreeance crossed the faces of her spirits when they understood. To her, Virgo was worth more than some lacrima, all of them were. It wouldn't have mattered if the crystal had the power to grant wishes, if it had the potential to make her friend happy then she still would have given it to her. She would do that for all of them and they knew that.
"Good!" she beamed when she was certain she would find no objections in them. Then she grew a stern expression as she tacked on, "And if Stache-face has a problem with it, he can talk to me directly." she declared firmly.
A sound chimed and the air glowed, signaling the arrival of a Zodiac Spirit. They'd all assumed it would be Virgo, but were confused when Taurus was forcefully ejected through the magic circle with a scream and roughly landed on his rear. He looked terrified as he crawled backwards, trying to distance himself from whatever threw him through the gate.
Taurus first saw his fellow spirits and launched into a series of questions, "Why am I here?" he took notice of the large lacrima, "What the hell is that thing? And why is Virgo smiling at me?!" he shouted pointing his axe in panic towards where said spirit emerged, holding a large basket, and a slight grin graced her face.
Nic patted the bull's head in a comforting gesture and shotgun answered his questions in the order they were asked. "I don't know. That's a lacrima I helped make, thank you very much. And I'd assume she's smiling because she's happy." he laughed at Taurus, "Don't worry about it. Lucy's here so I'm sure Virgo won't hurt you, too much."
Taurus' head snapped to the right and found Lucy standing next to Laxus, she was trying very hard not to laugh, but both of them looked amused. His body went completely lax with relief at her presence. If she was there then Virgo hadn't brought him here to punish him for something, or so he hoped.
"Virgo, why is Taurus here?" Lucy questioned through an escaped giggle.
"This lacrima is much too large for me to carry by myself, I require assistance." Virgo stated simply and handed Lucy the basket, "I also took it upon myself to make lunch for you and the dragon slayer. You are getting tired, Princess. Now would be a good time to take a break."
"You didn't need to throw me through my gate," Taurus grumbled under his breath as he stood to his feet, "you could've just asked."
"Capricorn, Nic, Big Brother. I suggest you take this time to tell The King what has occured. I will meet you there shortly."
Not willing to argue with the sometimes terrifying spirit, Capricorn and Nic disappeared back to their world in a flash of light.
"By the way, Miss Lucy, your body looks rockin' in that outfit," the bull spirit said with hearts in his eyes, "but you would look so much hotter with my Star Dress on. You'd change into it for me wouldn't you? Pretty plea-" he begged, but before he could finish, Virgo grabbed ahold of his nose ring and dragged him off to help her. They made quick work of the giant lacrima and were gone within seconds.
Loke slung his arm around Lucy's shoulders and teased her, "He's right, you know. You do look wonderful in that, Princess, but you look even better when you wear mine." he shot her a sultry smile.
"Why are all my spirits perverts?" Lucy pushed Loke off of her and grumbled as she walked away to set up their lunch. Scorpio's Star Dress faded in a magical light as she went and she was back wearing her normal attire.
Loke turned his attentions to the only person that remained next to him. Laxus seemed to be taking everything in that just happened.
"Having fun yet?" Loke chuckled.
"I don't think I'd call this fun, but you're definitely an interesting group." the dragon slayer shrugged nonchalantly. "When will you be back?"
Loke answered with a knowing tone, "For someone who seems to be constantly worried about her, you sure seem eager to electrocute her."
"Don't be ridiculous, cub." Laxus grumbled, "I respect her way to much to actually hurt her in a fight, I just don't find many battles or jobs challenging anymore and I was damn impressed by what I just saw. I'm hoping she'll be up to par with me enough that we could be sparing partners."
"Does she know how deep your respect really runs? Do you even know, Laxus?" Loke prodded the slayer, hoping to gauge his true feelings for the celestial wizard.
"I don't know what the fuck you're talking about, Loke." Laxus snapped as he abruptly turned and walked away to avoid questioning.
Loke shook his head disapprovingly. Humans could be so dense and stubborn. "We'll be back in a couple of hours, enjoy your lunch and make sure she rests." he said as he shimmered back to his world to meet up with his companions.
He just wanted his princess to be happy.
After everything she'd done, she deserved it.
Chapter 14: A Fucking Goddess and A Total Idiot
A Fucking Goddess and A Total Idiot
Lucy decided they would be eating lunch by the river and she spent several minutes trying to find a spot up to her standards; which was proving to be difficult because Nic had burned the majority of the clearing. She couldn't even be annoyed at him, though, because her Sand Buster attack had dug up quite a bit of the ground; she was just as much at fault.
She smiled a bit to herself at the thought. She'd worked her ass off for years to be on the same level as her teammates and all of that hard work had paid off when she got her S-Class title a little over a year ago.
Everyone on Team Natsu, sans Happy of course, was S-Class now; Erza, of course had always been, but Gray had been the first to succeed in his trials out of the rest of the team. The first year after the guild rebanded there were no trials; they had all been too busy and Team Natsu had been absent for most of that year while they searched Fiore for the Ice Devil Slayer who hadn't heard about the re-bandment and was quite hard to find. The second year, though, brought back the trials and Gray had emerged victorious from his battle against Mira while Natsu had fallen to the sword of The Titania, but only just. The third year Natsu was nominated again and, to most of the guild's and her own shock, so was Lucy. Natsu had been ecstatic when he came across Gray as the S-Class mage he had to fight because that was exactly what he'd hoped would happen. They battled each other for over an hour at full strength until they had both collapsed to the ground in exhaustion at the same time. If only slightly, Natsu had more raw power than Gray did, but just like always, he had ran right into the fight without a strategy and so the two of them had been caught in a draw; Natsu was deemed S-Class and then accidentally burned down their ship in his excitement.
She, however, didn't pass that year because she had been unlucky enough to go up against Gildarts and he had easily overpowered her. She had actually been grateful for that outcome because she truly hadn't felt ready to take on the S-Class title at the time. The next year though, she'd been ready. She had spent every spare minute of that year training her magic, her body, and her mind and when she came across Gildarts during the trials for the second time, she'd knocked him on his ass not once, but twice. Gildarts had smiled at her once he recovered from his shock and declared her S-Class, because there probably wasn't a person alive who could actually beat him, and just like Laxus had told her that night in his office, that was something to be proud of.
Lucy had been the last of her human teammates to reach the life-long goal of many guild mages, but she didn't mind. She got there all the same and now she could proudly say she stood on equal ground with some of Fiore's strongest wizards.
Master Makarov had, at first, been over the moon that so many of his brats had become so strong so rapidly. There were more S-Class mages in Fairy Tail now than there was in any other guild and that brought in a lot of high-profile jobs, which meant more money for the guild. However, he'd realized something too little too late when The Magic Council had shown up on the guild's doorstep right after Lucy's trials. They expressed their concerns of the rapid rate The Fairies were growing in strength and demanded that Team Natsu and The Thunder Legion be disbanded on the account of them being so reckless in the past.
Makarov had then taken a look around his guild and realized that while there were indeed a lot of new S-Class mages in the last few years, it was his most destructive brats that now held such a powerful title. Gildarts, Laxus, Erza, Mirajane, Gajeel, Juvia, Cana, Elfman, Levy, Natsu, Gray, Freed, Bickslow, Evergreen, and Lucy. He realized it seemed like there were too many S-Class wizards in his guild, but it wasn't his fault that there were so many powerhouses in Fairy Tail that were at that level. He wasn't going to deny his children that title just because it made The Council uneasy.
Lucy remembered seeing the small master's face blanch as he realized that he, in fact, had two teams of wizards that were S-Class and they just so happened to be considered the most powerful teams in all of Fiore, even before they'd all reached S-Class.
Master Makarov had been able to talk The Council into keeping The Thunder Legion together because their real strength lied with each other. Yes, they were each powerful and experienced mages in their own rights, but they worked best as a unit and they were less of a ticking time bomb than his other S-Class team. He hadn't been so lucky with Erza's team. He vigorously tried to convince the council that separating Natsu, Gray, and Erza from Lucy was a recipe for terrible, terrible disasters, but sadly they hadn't believed him.
To be fair to the council, they really had thought they were doing the best thing, but after a week of Natsu burning down forests, Gray freezing entire towns, and Erza cutting through important wildlife populations at a rapid pace, they changed their minds and understood that they were better left as a team.
The Council did get something out of that horrible turn of events though, because they came to understand that, despite the team's name, the namesake was not in charge and neither was Ms Erza Scarlet. No, Lucy Heartfilia was the one who pulled the real strings and they'd put that information to good use once or twice since they found out. If they wanted Team Natsu to do something for them, the best chance they had was going through Lucy first, if they could find a way to get to her through all of her self-proclaimed bodyguards.
They actually didn't destroy things nearly as much as they used to because over the many years and battles they'd fought by each other's sides, they were nearly flawless as a team.
Natsu, Gray, and Erza were still the teams brute force with their "we can and will move mountains" mentality and Happy had the job of watching from the sky to remove them from danger they couldn't see coming. Lucy usually played the role of damage control so that her teammates could go all out and not have to worry, not that she minded, it was an important role and none of the others had the means to do it. She often used Aries' wool and Virgo's Earth Magic to create barriers to protect things that could be damaged, it really saved them a lot of money and made their master and clients happy.
They could all read each other's movements before they were even made, they knew which spells complimented each other the best and executed their movements to best aid another's attack or defend blind spots with a practiced ease and Dark Guilds would fall to them frequently.
Dark Guilds feared them as much as they feared The Thunder Legion and Lucy thought that was pretty badass, even if it annoyed Natsu to be compared to another slayer's team.
Her stomach growled, bringing her back into focus and she realized that while her brain had been reminiscing, she'd just been kind of wandering around aimlessly. After a few more minutes of looking for a place to sit down for lunch, she managed to find a spot that still had enough grass. So she ungracefully plopped down by the river bank and started sifting through the basket of food Virgo had given her.
She could hear Laxus as he came closer. She knew from her large amounts of experience with Dragon Slayers that, if she didn't want to fight for her lunch, she needed to pick out what she wanted to eat and just give the rest to him.
She wasn't sure how it was possible for a type of magic to change a person's appetite so drastically and she didn't know where any of them put the massive hoards of food they could consume, but in all honesty she'd stopped questioning it after her first few weeks of being around Natsu.
Even Wendy ate ungodly amounts of food. Not as much as her fellow slayers, but still enough to be amazing for a young woman of her petite stature.
She watched Laxus walk up to where she was sitting, a scowl on his face while he was off somewhere else deep in thought. With an amount of grace a man his size really shouldn't possess, he sat down at her side in silence.
"What's with the frown on your face?" Lucy questioned, wondering what could have happened in the last few minutes to change his mood so drastically.
"It's nothing to worry about," Laxus stated gruffly, "your cub just pissed me off, that's all."
Lucy decided on two sandwiches and an apple before she responded, "Ah, yeah, Loke has that effect on people." She sympathized, "I'm sure he didn't mean too much by whatever he said anyway, he just likes to tease." she said as she shrugged.
Laxus wanted to believe her, but there had been something in the Lion Spirit's tone that implied he knew something about his love for Lucy and that really unnerved him.
He glanced at her from the corner of his eye. She didn't look like she knew anything of his affections though, because she was happily munching on her apple, humming to herself. So if The Lion did know anything, it seemed he was keeping it to himself; he'd be wise to keep it that way, too, if he didn't want to have his face electrocuted.
He sighed loudly and picked something out of the basket without looking, he didn't care what it was, he wasn't picky.
There was a comfortable silence between them for several minutes while they just ate and enjoyed the summer weather of July. It was always a warm month in Magnolia, but it Era it was slightly cooler, and the gentle breeze was nice too.
Lucy spent those quiet minutes thinking about the man sitting right next to her, she watched from the corner of her eye as he quickly ate the remainder of the food in the basket. She had been happy to find out many years ago that, even though he was a slayer, he ate with manners; unlike her fiery partner who devoured all food in sight and flung it everywhere in the process.
"Are you ever gonna settle down, Laxus?" Lucy asked abruptly, taking him by complete surprise.
He choked on the sandwich he'd been eating and stared at her like she'd grown a second head. 'Where the hell did that come from?' he wondered, slightly panicked, 'How the fuck am I supposed to respond to that?!'
Here was the woman he loved hopelessly, had denied himself of for the past two years, and she was asking about his fucking love life of all things! As if this trip hadn't already been hard enough on his emotions and self control.
Lucy didn't look at Laxus, instead, she was finding the stream in front of them quite interesting.
"I know it's a really personal question, you don't have to answer." she tried to calm him from his frazzled state, "I've just started to notice a lot of our guildmates have begun settling down. Elfman and Ever are engaged, Freed and Mira are dating pretty seriously, Jet and Droy have both found women in town to date, Cana's dating someone she won't tell anyone the name of because she really likes him and doesn't want Gildarts to hunt him down; that's saying something about how much she likes him because Cana is the biggest gossip I know," she paused for a moment to think before she snickered, "and I even caught Levy and Gajeel eating each other's faces down in the library the other day." She turned to him now, studying him, not quite sure what she was searching for, "Almost everyone seems to have their eyes on someone, whether it's another guild member or just someone from town, but not you." she observed, "Most women throw themselves at your feet, you could have your pick of any one of them. So, I guess my real question is, why haven't you?" she finished and waited for his response to come.
He turned from her and stared at his hands as he clenched and unclenched them. He thought for a minute before he responded.
"It's not that simple," he sighed and wondered, not for the first time, if he should just tell her how he felt, what he and his dragon craved from her, "It's not the same as everyone else. Dragon Slayers take mates, our magic demands it. There's a whole process." he explained poorly.
She half-heartedly chuckled at him, "I already know about all that." She gave him an amused smile when he shot her a questioning look. "My best friend and partner is a dragon slayer and Fairy Tail is home to four of the seven known dragon slayers in Fiore, with the other three slayers visiting the guild often, I made it my business to research all I could on slayer magic."
He nodded at her explanation, that was a pretty solid reason.
"So you know how difficult it would be for me to find someone that was a compatible mate." he stated matter-of-factly.
"I understand that there's a process to create a bond after you've chosen someone, yes."
Laxus rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly, "Yeah, there's also a weird ass agreement that's gotta be made with the dragon soul merged with mine." Lucy nodded her head to signify she knew about that as well, so he continued, "We've gotta agree on a woman and that isn't the easiest thing in the world. The dragon needs a mate that could stand by my side as an equal and if you hadn't noticed, my choices are pretty slim up here amongst Fiore's strongest and well, I don't find many people enjoyable." he chuckled lightly to himself. "I know that sounds cocky as fuck, but it's honestly the truth and I'm pretty fine with it. I accepted a long time ago that I'd probably never mate."
Lucy frowned at the blond slayer, "That sounds like a lonely fate."
She waited for him to respond, but it never came. Instead, he seemed to be at a loss for words; like he was searching for something in himself and struggling with what to do, so she decided to prompt him again.
"You've never found anyone that might be a good match?" Lucy asked him, her heart aching increasingly more as their conversation continued.
Laxus shook his head, his voice low and tired, "There's only ever been two woman the dragon spirit inside of me has liked enough to want to take as a mate. One of them I don't see as anything more than a friend and the other...well, she's not mine to have." he couldn't look at her while he admitted that, so the moving water in the stream had his undivided attention.
A minute or so passed in thick silence as Lucy observed the man next to her. The longer she looked, the clearer it became to her.
"This woman," Lucy said softly, proud of herself for keeping the pain the realization had caused her from reaching her voice, "you love her?" Her question was almost a statement. She could see the love he held for this woman, whoever she was, as it swam in his eyes; it was undeniable. She was both sad and jealous.
Laxus went rigid at her words; his heart hammered in his chest wildly and his breathing quickened slightly. He thought about changing topics, knowing Lucy would drop it if he didn't want to talk about it, but he thought that if he could confess to her just this once, in a way that she wouldn't know it was her he was talking about, then maybe he could move on silently and leave her none the wiser. Maybe he could spare himself the sting of rejection and not put a strain on their friendship he cherished just as much as he loved her.
So he nodded, "With everything I am." he confirmed.
Lucy's heart broke a little while his apparent devotion to whoever this lucky woman was, was revealed to her. She wanted desperately for it to be her he held such a love for, but it couldn't be because he surely would have told her, 'Right?' she asked herself, 'but you haven't told him how you feel either, it could be you.' A traitorous stray thought ran through her mind before she could shake it away.
More than anything, though, she knew Laxus deserved to find happiness and as much as it would wreck her world to see another woman on his arm and a part of his life in a way she craved to be, she would keep her feelings silenced forever if he could just find happiness with this mystery woman.
She would see to it herself if she had to.
Her eyebrows narrowed together in interest, "Then why aren't you with her, if you love her like you say you do," Lucy asked him seriously, "why would you hold back?"
"Because she would never choose to be with me," he scowled deeply, pulling at the grass as a distraction, "not when she could be happier with anyone else."
"Have you ever asked her?"
She rolled her eyes dramatically, "Then how could you possibly know that? She could love you like you love her, but you're just too much of a dense dragon to realize it."
His eyes snapped up to meet her's, "I seriously doubt that. We have a past, and it isn't the prettiest one… I...I've hurt her before." his voice was a quiet whisper, it was obvious to Lucy that causing this woman pain had caused Laxus to hurt as well.
They sat there for a brief moment while past memories seemed to wash across his face.
"What's she like?" Lucy asked. The real question she wanted to ask was 'who is she?' But she knew he probably wouldn't tell her. It was probably for the best that he kept her identity to himself, otherwise she'd have a face to put to the woman her imagination was supplying in many intimate situations with Laxus and she just knew that would break her spirit.
No longer finding his food appetizing, he set it down; something Lucy took note of.
He swallowed thickly, he really was shit with words most of the time and he definitely wasn't good at the romance bullshit, but even still, he really wanted to find the right words to express to her how he was feeling. He didn't think he'd be able to do it to her face if she knew who he was talking about, so maybe just this once, words wouldn't be his enemy.
"She's an absolute fucking goddess."
"Wow, a goddess...it would definitely be hard for another woman to measure up to that." she half-heartedly chuckled to hide the hurt she was feeling.
"Gods, she's easily the most beautiful woman in Fiore," he spoke with conviction although he couldn't meet her gaze, "and her ass makes my damn mouth water."
"Forever the gentleman." Lucy mumbled as she giggled, at the very least, she could always count on him to be Laxus; no matter the situation.
"Her rack is no joke either," he admitted, trying to make light of a heavy situation, "it's gotta be one of the best I've ever seen."
"Wow, Laxus. Just wow," she said as she came down from her giggle fit, "make sure that if you ever do confess to this goddess of yours, that you tell her exactly that, with those exact words. I'm sure she'll swoon and confess her undying love soon after."
"I'll make sure to do just that, Blondie." He chuckled, then he shrugged with a smile on his face, "You know I'm shit for words."
"Indeed you are, Dragon Slayer. Indeed you are." she laughed as she shook her head back and forth.
"But it's really her eyes that suck me in." he admitted to the grass between his fingers.
"Her eyes?" Lucy asked, that was oddly romantic for the brute before her, but then again, he loved this woman so she supposed that wouldn't be so weird.
"Yeah, she's got these huge beautiful doe eyes that shine with so much life. They look like they hold the whole universe in them, they just reflect everything she feels and it's hard not to melt when you look at them."
She couldn't formulate a response, those are words she would have never guessed would come out of his mouth.
"What about you, Blondie?" he asked after a few moments of Lucy's silence, obviously done with being the center of their conversation.
"What about me?"
"I just bared my soul to you, come on, throw me a little bone." he joked, but he actually found he needed to know, "Who does Little Lucy Heartfilia dream about at night?"
She looked at him wide eyed for a few moments before she blinked and schooled her features.
She gave him a coy smile, "If you're not gonna tell me who your goddess is, I think it's only fair I should keep my secrets as well."
Laxus suppressed his beast's need to growl possessively, "So then, there is someone?"
Lucy faltered for a brief moment before she nodded in the affirmative, a sweet blush decorating her cheeks.
Laxus was having a bit of a difficult time just a few inches away from her. He wanted to blow up a tree. He knew he had absolutely no right to be possessive of her, but he was anyway. He had never noticed if Lucy had shown signs of romantic intentions towards any of their guild mates which meant her mystery man was probably somebody from town. He internally snarled at that. If that was the case, then the lucky bastard was probably just some ordinary guy; a non-mage. Lucy was a strong mage, some stupid little boy from town would break no sooner than she touched him.
She deserved to be with someone who could appreciate her magical talents and encourage her to keep growing in them not some pretty-boy from town that would knock her up and then make her stay home to play mommy. At least, that's the image his brain was providing him with; and it seriously pissed him off.
Lucy may often tell him what a good man she thinks he is, but the unavoidable truth was, he was selfish. His dragon-like nature made him possessive and standoffish most of the time and while he knew Lucy wasn't his woman, the dragon completely disagreed and it was pretty pissed off right about now at just the premise of her being with another man.
He wanted to throw himself in the river for the ridiculousness of it all. He loved her, his dragon demanded that he make her his, but he wouldn't allow himself to do it or even bring it up to her. She deserved more than him.
He was one big box of fucking contradictions. He couldn't have her, but neither could anyone else. She deserved happiness and would be a great match for almost anyone; but in the dragon's mind, no one other than him would be worthy of her inner strength.
"Tell me about him." Laxus' mouth moved without his permission. He didn't want to know about the fucking loser that had captured his blonde beauty's heart, but he supposed that as her friend he should have asked anyway. In reality, and not in his fucked up space called a head, friendship was the only relationship they actually had and it seemed he was in need of the reminder.
"Tell you about him? All I know about your mystery goddess is that she has a killer rack and ass and her eyes hold the universe." she giggled, "That seems hardly fair."
"Well then, how about a deal?" he proposed, "You tell me about this guy and then I'll tell you more about her."
She wanted to shake her head to tell him no, she didn't want to hear about this woman he loved, but as his friend she should listen to him. She should be someone one he could lean on and she'd already told herself that she would help him find happiness with this woman. She couldn't go back on that.
So instead of shaking her head she nodded just once and mumbled, "Alright."
She thought for a minute and the silence between them was palpable.
"He's a total idiot." she said with conviction. She was frustrated with this whole situation and since Laxus would never take well to being criticized or insulted, even by her, she was going to use this opportunity to do just that. It's not like he'd ever find out, so she went on a small rant, "He's dense and stubborn. He's aggravating and blunt and crude. He has horrible people skills and he always seems to know just how to piss everyone off! He's sometimes masculine in the worst of ways," and then she smirked, "not to mention his family is absolutely insane."
Laxus blinked one, two, and then three times at her. She painted this dude like a total prick, 'Why would she care about someone like that?' he asked himself.
"If he's such a pain in the ass, then why care about him at all."
She laughed a little too loud, "You say it as if we have a choice of who we fall in love with." She played with the grass between her fingers, "But he's more than all that. He's such a good man. He cares about his family with his whole heart and works tirelessly to take care of them all. He's nearly given his life time and time again just keep what he cares about safe." She thought about all she knew about Laxus and what he'd done throughout the years, "When I first met him, he wasn't in a very good place, but after some time passed he really started to show his true colors. He gives the best advice and despite being such a damn idiot all the time, he's actually one of the smartest people I know."
"Well then, he sounds like a really good man for you." was all he said in response through clenched teeth, but Lucy didn't notice the tension coming from him; she was too busy dealing with the dreamy feeling that had overcome her.
"I think so, too," Lucy chuckled brokenly, "I just wish he could love me back."
"How do you know he doesn't?" he asked, "Like you just told me, maybe you're being a dense idiot."
"No, he loves someone else." she said, openly broken, "I've never met her myself, but he tells me she's amazing and I just want for him to be happy, so I'll let him go and hopefully move on. I just haven't yet."
The scowl on his face was deep and dark. 'How could any sane man choose another woman over Lucy?'
Just as Laxus was about to speak, a key on her hip shone a bright gold and then Capricorn was standing in front of them.
"Lady Lucy, The King wishes to speak to you regarding the Lacrima." the spirit watched his master recoil at the thought of having to see The Spirit King again, after not having seen him since the day she lost Aquarius, "However, not today. He wishes for you not to have company when he does so," Lucy physically relaxed and mutely nodded. "So for now, My Lady, we shall resume your training for the day. If you will both follow me back to where we began this morning, we shall begin."
Chapter 15: A Storm To Bare Witness
A Storm To Bare Witness
Laxus wasn't quite sure how he ended up on his back looking at the sky, but that is most definitely what was going on.
One minute he and Lucy were standing on opposite ends of the clearing, getting ready to spar. In the next minute, Capricorn said go, there was a blinding light, Lucy disappeared, the ground gave out from under him, and then he was seeing clouds.
'Guess I was right about it raining tonight,' he thought as he observed the storm clouds that had started gathering. He heard Lucy's voice as she cleared her throat, pushed himself up to a standing position again and looked towards her voice. He wrinkled his forehead in confusion. She was exactly where she was when they started, she was dressed the same and the only thing even slightly amiss about her was the smudge of dirt he could see on her cheek.
'So how the hell did I end up on the ground,' he thought, 'I know she can't teleport. So what gives…"
"What was that this morning? Something about giving me some pointers?" Lucy's sing-song voice teased mirthfully.
"What the hell did you just do?" he asked genuinely curious and an odd combination of annoyed and impressed.
"If I told you, it would ruin the surprise!" she cryptically voiced.
He smirked at her. She was a different person when she fought. She let her feisty side drive her and he absolutely loved that side of her.
"Very good, My Lady." Lucy heard Capricorn's voice in her head, coaching her like he always did, "Make sure to keep him otherwise preoccupied while you lay your trap. You physically stand no chance beating an opponent of Laxus' size and strength so you must use your wits and take measured risks. His magical abilities are nearly unparalleled in Fiore, even by you. If he catches onto your plan, you cannot win."
All of her other spirits were watching this spar unfold from The Spirit Realm and they sent her their silent support, telling her they were all available if they were needed. Most of them admired Laxus, but they would be lying if they said they didn't want to show him up just a bit; the boost in their master's confidence would be a definite bonus.
When Laxus summoned his lightning to dance around him in preparation, Lucy called upon Capricorn's alluring Star Dress to enhance her speed and agility. It was one of her favorites, style wise. It was loose around the hips and allowed her to move freely; it also had the added bonus of making her look hot as hell, but all of her Star Dress forms did that. There was no way she could move faster than Laxus' lighting if he was really trying, but she wagered that he wouldn't take her seriously at the beginning and would want to test the waters, so to speak. By the time he would actually get serious with her it would be too late. Her trap would be set and it would be check-mate.
Laxus heavily swallowed the excess liquid his mouth produced when the golden light dimmed and he could see her. He always prided himself with keeping a level head in battles, but that was before his opponent was Lucy Heartfilia, his newly deemed Goddess. Even if she wasn't doing it consciously, she wasn't playing fair. That dress was way too sexy for a fight, he didn't know what it did exactly, but he did know what it was doing to him.
It was slit up past both of her hips and even with her thigh high-boots, it left little to the imagination and her perfect ass was peaking out of the sides. His eyes trailed up her torso to the first view of her cleavage he'd seen in a very, very long time and damn, if it wasn't a hundred times better than what he remembered. The rest of her chest was, oddly enough, covered in a wide net of chains that attached to a choker around her neck, holding up the dress. Her hair was in long beautiful thick duel braids and as he followed them up to her head he saw...
'Sunglasses….and horns?' he realized, 'This must be Capricorn's Star Dress then...but what does it do?"
He watched as she lowered herself to the ground, her thigh muscles contracting enticingly as she readied herself for an attack.
"Laxus, I think you're drooling." Lucy laughed from her crouched position.
To his mortification, he actually was. Not a lot, but drooling nonetheless. Gods help him, he was slowly turning into his grandfather. Between the hot July weather and hot blood pumping through his veins, he suddenly felt all too warm.
Lucy watched him from where she had perched herself as he threw his coat from his body and onto a nearby boulder.
She internally swore. Now she could see every one of his bulging muscles beneath his shirt as he moved and it was going to prove to be a distraction.
However, she was level headed by nature and was able to keep focused. She could recall the few times she'd actually seen the adonis in front of her without his signature coat during a fight and there were very few times where it was a good thing. It usually meant he was serious and that he wasn't going to pull his punches, so that really fucked up her plans; she'd just have to move faster than she'd anticipated.
Unfortunately for Laxus, she'd greatly misinterpreted the reason he discarded the coat. He wasn't at all as serious as he had unknowingly implied, just too warm.
He'd gawked at her enough now to be embarrassed for not being able to look away and he was internally lecturing himself. He was going to make a complete fucking fool of himself if he did this every time she donned a new form, and even if this was a friendly spar, his pride was too great to let him loose for such a carnal reason.
Without warning he shot a large bolt of lightning at her, but she'd anticipated it and easily dodged, using the comotion to whisper a summons for Virgo so that he wouldn't hear.
"You know what to do, Virgo." she instructed the maid telepathically from where she appeared underneath the earth, "Lay the trap, let me know when it's finished."
She felt Virgo's acknowledgment and then the draining of her magic levels. It wasn't a lot, but enough to feel it. She was going to have to keep Laxus busy for a while until Virgo could finish.
She was determined; she could do it.
"So Blondie, you gonna show me what that little dress of yours can do? Or are you just gonna keep dodging until you drop from exhaustion?" he teased her, but he did take notice that she was showing signs of being more tired than she should be since she'd just been dodging his attacks.
"You'll have to come over here to find out, Sparkplug." she tauntingly smiled.
He hesitated only for the briefest of moments because he knew she was planning something, she had to be. She always had something up her sleeve, but she was just standing there doing nothing. He couldn't hear or see anything off so in the next second he turned his body to lightning and appeared behind Lucy in a flash, a small clap of thunder announcing he'd moved.
Lucy felt his presence at her back and attempted to sweep his feet out from under him, but he caught her ankle as she went to move. With little effort he threw her body like a crumpled paper ball and her back collided roughly with a nearby tree.
She looked back at him with a newborn fire in her eyes as she spit the dirt from her mouth and it did nothing but excite him.
"Again!" she commanded angrily. Who was he to deny her request? So he flashed to her again, this time to her right. He sent a lightning charged fist towards her shoulder, but she moved faster than he thought she could and grabbed hold of his wrist and forearm, using his own force against him she threw him into the very same tree. It now had a very large dent in its trunk from their abuse and Lucy felt a little bad, afterall, it had been a beautiful tree.
Laxus regained his composure quickly and tackled her down to the ground, firmly holding her hands above her head and trapping her hips in place with his thighs so she couldn't squirm her way out.
"I've got you pinned, Blondie." His voice rumbled victoriously, "Whatcha gonna do about it?"
Lucy heard Virgo call out to her internally, "Princess, I have finished my task. Return your Dragon Slayer to the spot you marked when you first dropped him. The center of your trap is there."
Choosing to ignore the part about Laxus being 'hers', her eyes lit with mischief as she looked up at him.
"Not a damn thing, Sparky." She smirked slyly, "At least, not directly anyway."
Her clothes shimmered and once the light cleared he was gifted the sight of Lucy dressed in a sexy maid outfit as he pinned her to the floor.
'So many fantasies…' he gulped.
Before he could really process anything, the earth beneath them opened just enough to swallow her and she was gone as it closed up again.
Lucy hadn't actually called anyone out to fight today other than Nic, she'd only been borrowing their magic a little at a time, but as soon as he heard the signature sound of a celestial gate opening, he realized that he remembered just a little too late that her actual magic was summoning.
He looked up just in time to see Taurus lift him by the collar of his now dirty shirt and throw him twenty feet away with a measured ease.
'Fuck that spirits a strong bastard.' Laxus thought as he grit his teeth before he hit the unforgiving ground.
He stood with a small amount of struggle and cracked his back to realign his fucking spine. He glanced around and couldn't find Lucy. 'Oh she's definitely up to something...'
He looked back to the massive bull spirit that was running towards him with heavy feet and ran right back at him with a magic infused punch. He hit Taurus square in the jaw and the bull flew back several feet.
Laxus frowned down at his fist. Sure Taurus was a big dude, but that hit still should have sent him further than a couple feet. Hell, when he backhanded Natsu with minimal effort the idiot went further than that. 'Something's off here...'
He channeled his magic into his fist once more and sent a spell towards the bull spirit picking himself up off the ground. Laxus' eyes widened slightly when he saw that the lightning wasn't obeying him. Instead, as it drew nearer to Taurus it turned ninety degrees and struck the ground a ways off in the clearing.
Eyeing the spirit carefully he did the same thing with more magic power and watched as it took the same detour.
He was confused, he always had full control of his magic and of a fight. So this was new.
Taurus smirked at the Dragon Slayer and charged him once more. Laxus knew that without having full control over his magic it would be stupid to use it and make himself tired, not to mention it was dangerous. He was also pretty sure that if he turned himself into lightning to get away from the bull, he'd end up on the ground over there where his spells went. So, as Taurus came closer rapidly the only thing he could do was square his shoulders and prepare to take the hit. With a battle cry, Taurus shoved his shoulder into Laxus' abdomen and pushed him across the clearing, all the while the dragon slayer dug his feet down into the dirt in an attempt to stop their movement. Unfortunately, all he managed to do was slow the spirit down a bit and he found himself being tossed to the ground like a sack. He picked himself up once more, really it was about 5 times too many today, and he caught the smirk of the bull spirit as he faded back to his realm; his job seemingly done.
He looked around the clearing and the only other person he could see was Capricorn watching from the distance. He was about to call out to the spirit to ask where Lucy was when the ground around him began to tremble aggressively. Slowly, metal poles linked to each other by long draping chains, rose out of the ground ten feet from his exact spot in every direction. His eyes widened in shock as he looked down at his feet. He was standing in the exact same place he was when Lucy had put him on his back and the small crater he'd made when he fell down was proof.
He chuckled darkly to himself, 'She played me so easily. Right from the start.'
"Come out, come out, Little Blondie." he taunted, "You haven't won yet. You've fucked with my magic with all this metal, but I hate to break it you, I'm not down yet!"
He felt the ground shift beneath him only in the slightest and he assumed it was Lucy that was digging around down there. He planned to shock the ground with an intense amount of electricity when she got close enough.
'Stupid magic can't go running into the ground if its already there,' he grumbled in his head.
He charged up both his arms with his magic and when he sensed her near the surface he punched the ground with both fists, but right before they made contact, her arms shot out of the earth with metal shackles and clamped them down on his wrists. She did a somersault out of the ground, clasped two more shackles around his ankles, vaulted herself over his shoulders and clasped a large one around his neck. She tightened the chains with the magic she borrowed from Virgo and Laxus was sent to his knees, rendered stiff as he struggled against the chains that were attaching him to the surrounding poles. The lightning attack he'd been aiming at the ground was now surging through the metal and it shocked him painfully in the process. Usually electricity brought him no pain, but when it was being conducted like this it stung like a bitch. If he was anyone else it would have killed him.
"What the fuck!" he growled menacingly, "Get these chains off of me, I'm not a damn dog!"
"No, you're not a dog," she cocked her head innocently, "But you are a dragon."
He wanted to be angry she'd chained him up like an animal, but he was too fucking impressed with her at the moment. She'd played him from the very beginning. Knocking him down to mark a spot for Taurus to return him to after she'd successfully distracted him. All the while Virgo very obviously got busy making this horrible contraption. He fell for it like an idiot. A very awed idiot.
"I'm serious, Lucy. Get me out of here or I'll pull them out of the ground myself," he leveled her with a predatory gleam, "and then you'll be running."
"Well, what are you waiting for." She smirked excitedly, feeling the slightest shiver run through her at the threat, "I was under the impression that you'd be much harder to catch."
He licked his lips, hungry for the chase to come and he did just what he'd said he'd do. With brute strength, Laxus pulled the metal from the earth and stood to his feet. He broke the chain-linked shackles around his wrists, then his ankles, and then he yanked the one around his neck away like it was made of soft butter.
She took a few steps back from him as he took several forward. When he growled, she ran to get some distance and he smiled to himself. Now they were playing the dragon's favorite game.
They fought with each other early into the evening. He'd tracked her through the forest for a good hour before they fought again and every time he thought he had her figured out she'd take him by surprise with something he'd overlooked. He won more rounds than she did by quite a few, but now they were laying on the grass back at the clearing, completely exhausted as they tried to even out their breath.
It was silent for the longest time until Laxus laughed a genuine laugh.
"I can't believe you're fucking ticklish!" he howled in amusement.
She elbowed him in the ribs as she tried to keep her fake scowl in place, "And I can't believe you kept exploiting that!" her serious mask broke and she joined in his laughing, "You play dirty Laxus Dreyar!"
"So do you, Heartfilia!" Laxus complained, "Making me spin in circles like that was low, so very low."
"I only did that after you refused to stop tickling my neck with lightning!" She defended.
They laughed a bit more, sending verbal and physical jabs at each other until the air grew quiet once more. Lucy sat up and looked to Laxus who was resting with his hands behind his head, he looked completely at peace.
"Thanks for doing this with me today." She chuckled as she admitted, "I might've just found a good sparring partner in you, Sparky."
"Might have?" Laxus asked in disbelief, "Lucy, I'm actually tired and I'm pretty damn sure I'm gonna be sore tomorrow. I haven't had that kind of challenge in a long time. You're stuck with me now."
She laughed at him, "Fine, fine. I think I could find the time to teach you a thing or two."
"Whatever you say." he rolled his eyes playfully.
"Oh no…" Lucy whispered worriedly, bringing her finger to touch her lips.
"What is it?" Laxus sat up quickly, sniffing the air, "What's wrong?"
"If you're gonna be sore tomorrow, then I'm probably going to be dead!" Lucy flopped back down onto the ground dramatically, "I"ve never voluntarily trained so hard before, this could be it for me, I could die from this!" she complained as she threw her arm over her eyes.
He sent an unamused expression her way until she peeked at him from under her arm with a smile.
"You're as dramatic as Loke half the time. You do know that, right?" He asked seriously.
"Yeah," she chuckled, "he's a bad influence."
Not for the first time that evening, lightning streaked through the sky and left a thunderous reply in its quake, but this time it wasn't Laxus who had caused it.
Lucy smiled at the sky, it was dark and angry looking. Most people would have been running for cover right about now, but not the two crazy fairies who'd been waiting for it all day. Before Tartaros, Lucy used to hate storms. She used to hide indoors while it poured outside, but not anymore. She loved the feel of the water gliding down her skin, soaking her hair and her clothes because no matter how dark the sky got or how angrily the wind whipped her hair, her spirit always brightened. For the few hours that the rain would fall down unrelentingly, it would remind her of Aquarius and she couldn't find the same life-threatening exhilaration anywhere else but in the eye of a storm. She giggled to herself, remembering she was guilty of pissing Juvia off once or twice just so there would be a rainy day….or week.
Lightning flashed again and she looked over at Laxus as he stared at the same black sky, there was a hunger in his eyes that danced with his magic. She laughed out loud at his expense; Natsu always got the same look in his eyes when he saw a fire that wasn't his.
Lucy gently shoved the Lightning Dragon Slayer's arm.
"Go get your magical snack, Sparkplug. You look hungry."
He looked her over for just a brief moment. She was low on magic right now, he shouldn't leave her, but so was he and in the sky was a quick fix to that. Plus it had been a while since the last thunderstorm passed through Magnolia and he needed the lightning in his system.
He stood to his feet and looked down at her sternly, "Don't go wandering off, I'll only be a few minutes."
She smiled and got comfortable in the grass, she waved him off, "Don't worry. I won't leave, I'm waiting for the rain."
He nodded even though he didn't completely understand and Lucy watched as he ascended into the sky in a flash of pure energy.
For several minutes she admired the way he moved in the sky. Even with all the lighting that was streaking up there, it was obvious which one the Dragon Slayer was. He moved with such finesse and control. It was like he was attacking the lightning itself, which she supposed he kind of was.
She'd watched him during storms a few times over the years, but most of those times she'd already been out dancing in the rain and had just happened to notice that a certain streak in the sky moved too smoothly to be anything other than the graceful slayer she admired. He never saw her dancing, but she didn't mind. It was like she was harboring a pleasant little secret.
She stopped looking at his lightning form when she felt the first drop of rain hit her directly on the tip of her nose. She smiled widely and stood to her feet shakily, moving to the middle of the clearing to take all the storm had to offer.
In-between catching bolts, Laxus had been watching her watch him. By the way her eyes ran across the sky, he could tell she knew exactly which streak of light was him.
He'd be lying if he said he wasn't showing off just a little. They way she was watching him made his stomach flip and he'd done much more ridiculous things in order to get her to see him.
He watched her as she got up and started walking towards the center of the open field. Now he was just staring at her from far above, watching her smile at the clouds.
He may have never noticed her dancing in the rain before, but now, he definitely did. In every traditional sense of the word, she looked terrible.
Her already tight clothes were wrinkled and stuck to her like a second skin. Her drenched hair was plastered to her face and neck in a horrible knotted mess. Her pale skin was covered in red blotches from where the rain repeatedly pelted her, but all he could think was how beautiful she looked in that moment. She looked so at peace with the storm right then. Her eyes were closed and there was a large smile on her plump lips. Her arms thrown out to her sides as she happily span in place.
It was like she belonged in the rain.
He was too far away to really know for sure but it seemed like the water was drawn to her, like it was going against its natural fall to get to her. He just thought the wind must be playing tricks.
Once he had his fill of lightning he dropped back to the surface of the ground in a quick flash. He watched her twirl and move in the rain for several minutes before he found himself inching closer.
She smiled at him when he came within a few feet of her, but never did her steps stall. She kept to the rhythm only she could hear and was giving him the show of a lifetime. Her movements flowed with the wind and the water ran down her body. She was entirely too beautiful, even more so than normal.
He tried to contain himself, to resign himself to just watching, but everything today had just added up to be too much for him to control. He'd had to feel her soft skin under his rough hands all day as he chased her through the woods and they tumbled with each other late into the afternoon.
His self control completely snapped when a large flash of lighting in the sky lit up her features. The possessive dragon in him loved the image of lighting dancing on her skin.
So with his mind for once being in agreeance with his soul, he grabbed for her wrist and spun her around to face him. The look of surprise on her face nearly had him faltering, but he refused to think his way out of it this time. Before she could speak the question on her tongue, his lips were on hers and a possessive and intimate fire was set ablaze. He hadn't been allowed to savor when their skin touched while they'd spared, but now he was going to commit it all to his memory. The taut muscles underneath her silky skin, the firmness of her lips, the way her chest felt pressed into his, and Mavis, the way she smelled like springtime.
As soon as his face came within an inch from her own, her body went rigid. When his lips pressed against her she sucked in a surprised breath, but soon she found her body moving on its own. Her hands wound their way into his hair and she firmly tugged at the base releasing a knee-weakening rumble from him. She relaxed under his firm hands and kissed him back with the same passion he gave to her.
It still wasn't close enough. Years of pent up wanting, to touch him as she was in this moment, had left her more deprived than she'd thought. She needed to be closer to him, so with little thought she jumped on him. With her hands still in his hair she wrapped her muscled thighs around his upper stomach and deepened their kiss with her new dominant angle above.
She nearly sent her own growl at him when his hands trailed tauntingly slow up the bare flesh of her thighs. She felt nearly ravenous for him and he was taking his time. In retaliation she broke their kiss and gave his locks a rough tug downward to bare his neck for her.
The sharp intake of breath from him as she nibbled at his jawline and down to his collarbone caused her to tighten her legs around him in excitement.
In a flash of a moment she found her back roughly colliding with a tree and her lips being reclaimed. His hands easily found entry under her short skirt and he ran his calloused fingers over the smooth skin.
He quickly trailed his experienced hands over the curve of her ass and onto the exposed skin of her back, rubbing soothing circles as their passion slowed in intensity.
She pulled away to catch her breath and he took the opportunity to attend to her neglected neck. He trailed kiss after kiss over her throat and down to the dip of her collar bone.
When he licked the side of her neck she giggled at the sensation and electric eyes met chestnut brown.
He kissed the corner of her mouth in a sweet gesture of happiness and she smiled as she brought her forehead to rest contentedly against his.
Adrenaline coursed through their heads as they held each other in the rain silently, each enjoying the comfort of their close proximity and relishing in the aftermath of a long overdue moment of passion.
Lucy broke their comfortable silence, "What was that for?" She said breathlessly with a giddy grin decorating her features.
One hand still holding her up, he moved his other to caress her cheek as he pulled his forehead from hers, "You were too beautiful, no man could have resisted you right then."
"Lies," she giggled at him as she played gently with the hair at the nape of his neck, "I look like a Vulcan drug me into a cave."
"That doesn't matter." He whispered as he kissed her just behind her ear.
"I had a lot of fun today, and that...well that was so great, but can we go back to the hotel now? I'm suddenly finding myself really tired" She giggled through a sleepy yawn.
"Yeah, me too. I'll carry you back, just rest for now."
She muttered a tired, "Okay." and in no time at all she was sleeping against his broad frame.
He carried her all the way back to the hotel with her still draped around his chest, her arms around his neck, and her face tucked into the pocket of his shoulder. The whole way there a loving smile was displayed on his face.
By the time they arrived at the hotel's front doors he realized just how filthy the both of them actually were. The rain had done little to wash away the dirt they'd accumulated throughout the day. In fact, all it had done was smear it together. Their clothing was torn in places and they quite honestly looked like they'd been to hell. So he wasn't the least bit surprised when he saw the disgusted glares of a few hotel patrons and the worried gasp from the hotel clerk, the same young man from the previous night.
"Are you both alright?!" the man asked in concern, taking an obvious account of the sleeping blonde in his arms, "Do you need me to call the Rune Knights or something?"
Laxus nearly laughed, but kept his features schooled in public, "No, its not necessary. Merely a training session. But if you could send some food up to both of our rooms, it'd be appreciated."
Getting a "Yes, Sir." from the receptionist, Laxus gently ruffled the sleeping woman in his arms awake.
"Time to wake up, Blondie. We made it back to the hotel. You need a shower before you go back to bed."
She whined at him for disturbing her and he rolled his eyes. "Come on, Lucy. Wake up before I drop you on your ass. I ordered food."
"You wouldn't dare." She glared at him with one open eye. When he raised an eyebrow and smirked at her she tightened her grip around his neck and turned her head away from him, "I take it back, I know you would. I'll be good now."
"Will you at least walk on your own back to your room?" He asked, hoping she'd say no so he could hold her a bit longer. He wasn't disappointed.
"No. You tired me out, Dragon Slayer, so you get to carry me." She smirked against his shoulder. "Team Natsu rules."
He rolled his eyes, but a smile was seen on his features. He was just about to turn and walk up the stairs when he remembered he had something to do.
"Hey kid." he called to the receptionist still watching him, "Sorry about last night. It was my bad." He nodded to the young man and turned around before anything could be said back to him.
"Come on, crazy woman, let's go. Your gonna kill me when you see your hair." He chuckled, shaking his head.
As he walked away with a genuine smile on his face, the clerk stood shocked and the slightest bit confused. He'd heard a lot of stories about the giant man walking away from him. Stories of war and brute strength, of unmatched power and terrifying magic, but never had he been told of the gentleness he seemed to possess as well. The way he handled Lucy seemed a little strange and maybe a bit on the rougher side, but he was a seasoned mage so that was to be expected of his character. It was clear, however, that he treated her with great care and consideration.
From this night on, when the Lightning Dragon Slayer was brought up into conversation at this hotel in Era, the hotel clerk would tell people about the kindness he'd seen that was so different from what everyone thought about Laxus Dreyar and it was all thanks to the way he looked at one Lucy Heartfilia of the Fairy Tail Guild.
Chapter 16: The Voyeur
Laxus growled as his alarm went off, letting him know it was time to go meet with idiots at The Magic Council.
When he moved to get up, his arms and abs tightened in protest.
'Mavis, what happened yesterday…' he thought as he pushed through the pain to sit up. When he remembered the reason for his tired muscles, he smiled a dopey smile at the floor.
'Lucy…' he chuckled as he slid a large hand over his tired face.
He stood to his feet with a groan of pain at his tender muscles and made his way to the bathroom.
He normally was a terrible morning person, but yesterday's morning had been entirely too amusing and last night's kiss was still fresh in his mind. So today, instead of grumbling about everything from the lights to the neighbors, he went about his routine with a small bounce in his step and in no time at all, he was ready for the day.
Lucy woke up to a loud banging on her door.
"Come on, Blondie. Its time to find out how bad I'll piss off The Council!" the muffled voice of Laxus shouted through her door.
"Five more minutes…" Lucy groaned as she rolled onto her stomach and pulled the pillow over her head.
On the other side of the door Laxus rolled his eyes, "I'm going downstairs where the coffee is," he emphasized, knowing if anything could get a person out of bed it was that, "if I have to come back up here to wake you up again I'm going to throw you in the hotel's pool." and even if coffee wasn't a good enough bribe, the threat of being thrown into water was a good motivator. He walked further down the hallway towards breakfast when he heard her annoyed huff of acceptance.
Fifteen minutes later, Laxus could hear her clunky boots making their way to where he was, the same window where they sat yesterday.
When she got to him she glared and nearly fell down into her chair as she clutched her stomach in pain, but before she could say anything he handed her a cup of coffee as a peace offering.
"I hurt everywhere…" she groaned angrily as she took her first sip of the hot liquid. She was incredibly sore, but it didn't really matter because she was also proud of herself for being able to go toe-to-toe with a wizard she once though she would never be able to even be compared to.
"I'll deny it if anyone ever asks," he lightly chuckled, "but so do I."
She smiled softly, she didn't even care that her body was littered with bruises she'd hidden with her clothes. She thought they were necessary; proof that she could hold her own, but also a reminder that she could still get stronger. Most of the bruises and scratches were minor anyway. The large one on her back from where he'd throw he into that tree was the worst one she had. It hurt a lot, but nothing she hadn't felt before and certainly nowhere near to the worst she'd ever had.
The only thing she hoped for was that she could mostly heal before she saw Wendy again. If the blunette she saw as a little sister even suspected that Lucy was hurt she would drag her off to the infirmary to heal her.
Wendy had really come into her own after Tartaros. She was still all the things that very much made up the clumsy little girl she'd first met, but she was more confident, less apologetic, and much stronger than she was five years ago. If Wendy ever found out Laxus had given her such a bad bruise, regardless of if they were sparring or not, she would probably hurt him, and that's if Virgo didn't get to him first.
'Poor Laxus…' Lucy giggled quietly.
"Oi, what's so funny?" Laxus asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Nothing, nothing." She waved a dismissive hand, but at his demanding glance she continued, "I was just thinking that if Wendy sees me walking around like some kind of stick, she's gonna yell at you."
Laxus frowned slightly before he chuckled, knowing that the young Sky Maiden would do more than yell at him; she certainly packs a hell of a punch for such a small person.
"That kid certainly has gotten stronger. Give it a few more years and she'll be as scary as you, Erza, or Mirajane."
"I am not scary!" Lucy yelled in protest.
He looked at her blandly, "Your teammates literally call you 'Scary Lucy' when you get angry."
She wanted to argue, but couldn't think of anything to say because he was right. So she pouted instead.
Laxus rolled his eyes and gently pushed her leg under the table with his foot, getting her attention.
"I mean that as a compliment. It means you're a strong wizard and people aren't gonna mess with you."
She smiled a little, against her will. He was right about that too. She hadn't been kidnapped in over two years; there had been attempts, but none of them successful. They'd even become less frequent when word got out about her S-Class ranking. Even if she was outnumbered or overpowered, its not like she was ever too far away from help. One loud shout or scream and she'd have at least one pissed off Dragon Slayer at her side, kicking ass right alongside her. They never seemed to be too far from her for whatever reason.
They ate a light breakfast and despite their protesting muscles, they walked to The Council's headquarters. Neither one of them bringing up their shared moment from last night; both of them not knowing how to bring it up and neither of them wanting to make things awkward.
Laxus would have been lost if she hadn't been there. She navigated the halls with ease, and he realized that she'd definitely be able to, considering the amount of time she must spend here between having chosen the council members and getting into trouble with her team.
Just as they came upon the door the meeting would be held in, Laxus heard a voice call to them he wasn't particularly fond of.
"I thought I'd see Master Makarov here, but this is so much better!" the voice came from behind them and they turned around to be greeted by Sting Eucliffe's wide grin.
Laxus groaned in annoyance and Lucy gave Sting a big smile back.
"Nice to see you, Sting. It's been a while!" She said as she hugged the other blonde dragon slayer. Sabertooth and Fairy Tail had grown close over the years. They were dependable allies and most of the people in both guilds considered each other good friends.
"Yeah," he agreed as he released her from his hug, "being Master still keeps me busy, but I promise to visit you little Fairies soon."
She all but blinded him with her smile, "I can't wait! I thought we'd see you here. Did you come alone?"
He laughed loudly, and gave her a look saying that was a stupid question.
"You know I can't take the train alone. Who would drag me off when I got to my stop?" His motion sickness was on a level up there with Natsu and Gajeel. "I asked Yukino to come with me, so of course Rouge decided to tag along too, which means Frosch and Lector wanted to come and before I knew it we might as well've been a damn circus on a train and now I have a migraine." He babbled as he rubbed his head.
As soon as Sting said Yukino was here, she pretty much stopped listening and started looking for her fellow Celestial Mage. She was always excited to see her when she could.
Sting noticed her wandering gaze and chuckled before pointing a thumb over his shoulder, "She's just around the corner with Rouge and the Exceeds. They'll be here in just a-" he was cut off by her running past him excitedly to get to Yukino.
"Every damn time…" he chuckled to himself. The only problem with her doing it this time was that meant he was left alone with Laxus. Its not like he and Laxus had any problems, its just that Sting could never get the overly large slayer to open up and say more than a few words. It frustrated him to no end. He was a people person, could make friends with anyone, but the closest thing to friendship he'd come to with the man was that he'd finally gotten Laxus to stop giving him irritating nicknames; well, mostly.
"What's been going on, Flashlight?" Laxus asked tauntingly and Sting sighed.
"You know me, Sparkles," he quipped back, "same as always." And just like every other time they spoke, it almost never got past that unless they actually had something to talk about; it irritated Sting to no end, but didn't bother Laxus in the slightest.
Lucy ran around the corner and found the other Tigers making their way to where their guildmaster had gone.
"Yukino!" Lucy shouted excitedly and she waved down her friend.
"Lucy!" Yukino called back surprised, "What are you doing here? Its so nice to see you!" The two Celestial Wizards embraced in a bone-crushing hug and before Rouge could get too far away, the girls pulled him into it, too, knowing he would sooner have disappeared into his shadow.
When they let go of each other, Rouge was blushing madly. He was always so formal and reserved, both girls liked to ruffle his feathers a little when they could.
"Hello, Lucy." He greeted, his voice neutral, but betrayed by the small upturn of his lips.
She smiled at him, "Hello, Rogue." It had taken a long time for him to get comfortable around her after he found out his future-self had tried to kill her and had actually managed to kill her future-self, but he was more-or-less at ease around her now and that made her happy. She liked having friends.
She felt a gentle tapping on her leg and looked down to see Frosch staring up at her with bright eyes.
"It's The Pretty Fairy!" Frosch exclaimed excitedly and waited to be picked up, which she did quickly and spun in a circle as she hugged the little exceed to her chest. Frosch giggled happily and clung to her. Lucy was Frosch's favorite Fairy because she was so nice and she always had a pretty smile and sometimes she even had sweets!
"She's alright." Lector declared, "but nowhere near as awesome as Sting!"
"Watch it, cat!" Lucy grumbled.
Yukino giggled, "What are you doing here, Lucy? I hope Natsu and Gray didn't get you into trouble again."
Lucy laughed openly, her friends really had a bad reputation.
"No, not this time. I'm here for the Guild Master's meeting. Laxus is filling in for Master Makarov and I'm accompanying him." Lucy scratched behind Frosch's ear as she asked, "What about you guys? Are you going to the meeting too?"
"No," Yukino shook her head, "We just came to make sure Sting actually attended this meeting."
At her puzzled look Rogue clued her in, "He has 'played hookie' the last two meetings." he rolled his eyes annoyedly and huffed out, "He got scolded by The Council because of it. Nearly seven years of being Guild Master and he's still such a child."
Lucy giggled. Sting And Rouge never changed. They reminded her of Natsu and Gray a lot of the time.
"We're going to the park!" Frosch exclaimed excitedly, "Come with us! Come with us!"
"Ah, sorry Frosch, but I can't." She felt bad, "I have to go to the same boring meeting as Sting." At Frosch's crestfallen face she almost caved, but instead, she said, "How about this? If you guys are staying in town for the night, why don't we all go out and do something?"
Frosch's eyes lit up with excitement and quickly turned in Lucy's arms to look at Rouge. When the Shadow Dragon Slayer nodded yes, Frosch squealed happily and jumped down from the blonde's arms.
"I'll see you later, Ms. Fairy!" Frosch called and then ran off towards a rose bush that had a butterfly on it. Lector followed close behind to make sure his little buddy didn't get lost in the big building.
For about the millionth time, Lucy told Rogue, "Frosch has got to be the cutest Exceed in existence!" And Rouge gave her a small smile.
"It was so great to see you, Lucy!" Yukino spoke fondly, "We'd better get going though, before we lose Frosch and Lector. We'll see you tonight. We're staying at the hotel just the next block over, meet us there? Oh! And make sure to let me know if Sting somehow manages to weasel his way out of the meeting; Pisces has been dying to try out a new attack and Sting would make a great target."
At Lucy's confirmatory nod and giggle, the two Sabertooth Mages waved goodbye and left. Lucy turned around and wandered back the way she came, back to the meeting hall. When she got there, everyone had already filed into the room and the guards were about to close the door, she showed them her pass and they let her in.
As she slipped into the huge room, she saw Laxus and many of Fiore's most prominent guild masters sat at a large conference table with The Council Members and as soon as he sensed her come in he turned his head to look at her and she chuckled at his annoyed expression. Sting had elected to sit right next to his fellow Slayer and Lucy was going to count the minutes until Sting did something annoying enough to wear Laxus down and The Holy White Dragon Slayer found himself a twitching mess on the floor.
She sat off in the back, away from the table, so that she could observe quietly.
It was loud for several more minutes with everyone's mindless chatter. When The Magic Council Chairman walked in, everyone grew silent instantly and the meeting began.
It was times like this one that Laxus wished he had the ability to tune people out.
This had to be the most boring experience of his life and that was saying a lot, considering he'd sat through a countless amount of interrogations in his lifetime. The most boring of those were the ones Lahar had conducted himself, when the man was still alive. In an odd way, Laxus kind of missed Lahar's stuck up ass; the new Rune Knight Captain was on his shit list because he was a total idiot and on more than one occasion Fairy Tail had been called in to clean up his mess when a prisoner got out or they failed to capture a few dangerous mages.
Regardless though, the meeting was droning on. There hadn't been a single interesting topic covered, in his opinion, and considering that Sting had been slowly nodding off for the last half an hour, he could only assume he agreed.
They'd covered financial stand points, additions to rules, amendments to laws, they'd even covered a few issues for this year's upcoming Grand Magic Games.
They only thing keeping him from leaving or from insulting the Chairman out of pure frustration was that everytime Sting would be on the verge of dozing off, he would electrocute him just enough to cause him to jump, but not enough for anyone else to notice what he'd done. It had gotten Sting quite a few warning looks from Council members and it was only a bonus that everytime he did it, Lucy laughed a little from off in her dark corner where she was sitting.
After what felt like days, but had really only been about three hours, the meeting was declared over and the next one was scheduled for two months from now.
Laxus was one of the last people to leave the room, but when he did he found Lucy leaned against a concrete pillar talking to Plue in her arms, while Sting looked very annoyed at something. Maybe that was just his face, though.
"That was truly Hell on Earthland." Laxus complained as he approached the trio.
"You're telling me," Sting agreed, "I hate these things so much."
"So Yukino tells me." Lucy proded, "And she also tells me that Pisces would love to use you as a target practice, so you'd better stop skipping them." She scolded and then laughed at his blanched expression.
"Those stupid fish have always had it out for me! I don't even know what I did to piss them off!"
"I'm sure you didn't do anything," Lucy said comfortingly, "You just have that effect on most people."
Sting started to nod in agreeance but shouted "Oi! Not cool!" when he realized she'd just openly insulted him.
For a few more minutes, Lucy and Sting continued to poke and jab at each other while Laxus just observed them interacting. They seemed to have a sibling sort of relationship, that of an older sister and a younger brother. It was interesting to watch because every other sibling-like relationship she had, it seemed she took on the role of the younger sibling, the one to be protected.
"Come on, guys!" Lucy called as she walked away, "We're going to be late!"
"Late for what?" they both asked back in unison.
"We're all going to hang out tonight!" She said excitedly, "But we have to go get Yukino and Rogue first!"
Sting groaned out loud, and Laxus, internally, but both knew better than to argue with Lucy so they followed her back to the hotel the Sabers were staying at.
After they got to the hotel and deliberated a little bit, it was decided that they would all go out to have a few drinks. They found a local dive bar on the edge of town and stayed there late into the evening laughing, drinking, and telling stories. At some point during the fun, Yukino was embarrassingly wasted and Lucy volunteered to leave with her and the Exceeds to make sure she got to bed safely.
From there she walked herself back to her own hotel to take a shower and go to bed. She was a little tipsy but managed just fine, all those years in Fairy Tail had done wonders for her tolerance level.
Laxus stumbled back to the hotel about an hour after Lucy did. He was pleasantly surprised by this evening. Sting and Rouge were actually fun to be around when they were drunk. He wanted to do this again sometime and that really surprised him. When Lucy had turned in for the night, he had actually agreed to stay for a few more rounds of drinks because he wasn't nearly as drunk as he wanted to be and now he was glad he'd done so.
Laxus sighed, defeated, as he came upon the first flight of stairs. Stairs were always such a hassle when you mixed in alcohol. He debated just teleporting himself up to his room, but thought better of it. His aim wasn't the best when he was drunk. He would probably end up in the wrong room, or halfway through a wall. He didn't want to deal with that again.
So, accepting his fate, he wobbled up the three flights of stairs to his floor and fumbled with the key to his room. After a few attempts, the handle turned and the door opened.
Slowly he walked into his room, throwing his coat onto the dresser and absentmindedly throwing his shirt somewhere on the floor. He was about to faceplant into his mattress to sleep off the effects of the alcohol when he heard a small noise come from Lucy's room that sounded a bit pained or maybe frustrated.
With his inhibitions greatly lowered and his brain not telling him that seeing her while he was drunk was a bad idea, he walked the few steps over to their adjoined door. He knocked gently on the door and waited, but when no answer came, he knocked harder. With more force applied, the door inched open and he realized it hadn't been latched. He pushed it open the rest of the way and walked into her room, shirtless and very drunk. He looked around and became slightly worried that she didn't appear to be in the room, but just as he was about to leave the room to go look for her, his delayed senses picked up the sound of water running and it became obvious that she was in the shower. Registering that she was fine, he turned to go back to his room but stopped cold in his tracks when a long, low, sensual moan slipped from under the bathroom door.
A groan of his own escaped his mouth when he felt his restraint being tested for what felt like the hundredth time since they left together for Era. He wanted to walk back into his room, latch both her door and his so that he couldn't get to her and he wouldn't be tempted to. He wanted to forget that he'd just heard the sexiest sound escape her lips, lips that he knew must be an enticingly pink in color in this moment. He didn't want to think that if he just turned around and walked a couple of feet, that he could open the bathroom door and find her in the shower pleasuring herself. He imagined she'd do it slow, so slow until she became desperate and then she'd lose control and take herself at a fast and unrelenting pace.
Despite himself, Laxus found his feet moving towards the bathroom where her noises grew louder and hotter the closer he got. Now that he was really listening, his sensitive ears could hear every sharp intake of breath, every deep and pleading moan. He could even hear the slick sounds of her juices as her fingers pumped inside of her.
At some point he'd unbuttoned his pants and they'd slid down his legs, now pooled around his ankles. His hand ran up and down the length of his cock inside of his briefs as his other hand rested on the surface of the door. He kicked his pants away from his body in favor of a wider stance. He realized, on some level, that pleasuring himself to her noises was perverse and wrong, but he'd had too much to drink to really care and he was feeling too good to stop. He was about to slip his underwear off of his body to discard them with his trousers when a particularly loud and elongated moan came from her, and once again halting him where he was; palm on his shaft and thumb rubbing his tip.
"Oh gods, please…" her heated cry came, "Laxus! Ohhh…" his name a whimper on her lips.
A few moments passed by in a very tense fashion. He squeezed himself firmly in his underwear trying to ground himself to something as he stared wide-eyed at the wooden door in front of him, not believing his ears. Any chance of him still walking away, of him turning around and not walking through that door shattered with another plea.
"I need you...inside of..me," Her words reached his ears in breathless pants, "Laxus…"
Possessing no more control, Laxus quickly rid himself of his underwear and pumped himself slowly as he reached for the doorknob and entered the steamy bathroom. He nearly came from overstimulation at the sight he was greeted with. Through the glass doors of the shower, it was undeniably the most erotic scene he'd ever viewed.
Lucy was leaned forward, her large breasts brushing against the shower tile, her hardened and sensitive nipples causing her to moan when they touched the cool wall. One hand pressed against the tile in support, the other at her sex as it alternated between teasing her clit and pumping inside of her; hot water cascaded down her body as it dipped into all of her bare, exposed curves.
Lucy was so enraptured by her own ministrations that she was completely oblivious to the world around her.
She had taken several lovers over the years and sure, a couple of them had shown to be adequate in the bedroom, but she'd yet to find somebody who could make her lose focus the way she could when it was her own hand or toys giving her the pleasure.
She knew it might be a bit much to ask for, but she deeply craved someone who could repeatedly toss her over that euphoric edge, but so far none of her lovers had successfully satisfied her carnal needs. She always seemed to need so much more than what they could give, so she'd learned how to satisfy herself. She'd spent many nights getting to know her body intimately and she often joked with Cana that no man could ever compare, but that didn't mean she stopped craving one.
There was one man in particular she'd always wanted to lie down in her bed. With Laxus' sexual reputation she'd always wondered, even long before she'd fell in love with him, if he could be the lover she desired. However, it was those very feelings of love and admiration that she felt for the largest slayer that had prevented her from finding out.
They were guildmates, and that was a dangerous fire to play with. More than that though, they were good friends and friendships had ended from less. There had been more than several occasions where her limits had been greatly tested and as of late she was finding it increasingly harder to hide her attraction to him, especially while they sat so close to one another in his locked office. Twice in the last three months she'd needed to feign fatigue or illness just so she could escape the small space holding them in such close quarters; both times she went straight home and brought herself to a time stopping finish that sated her needs for only a short while.
And it was their constant companionship these last few days that led us to where we are now, with her in the shower and completely lost to the world around her.
She hadn't intended to come back to her hotel room to get off, only to shower and go to bed, but when she got in the shower her mind, as well as her hands, had begun to wander. She thought about all of the things about him that drew her in and enthralled her so greatly. The kind words he would speak to only her, the respect she could find in his eyes, his hardened muscles from living such a physical lifestyle, the poise he carried himself with, and the electric feeling that danced through the air and clung to her skin whenever he was nearby. The kiss that had stopped her world not even 24 hours ago.
She thought about the way he looked when he laughed, really laughed; the sound never failing to weaken her knees just slightly. She remembered all of the times she stole secret glances at him when the guild was at the swimming pool, or anytime she could, really.
Her memories soon turned imaginative like they usually did. With her mind's eye, she pictured him there with her, kissing her neck. One of his hands threaded through her hair and the other exploring her curvaceous figure. He slowly would make his way down her body, leaving a slick trail of hot kisses and by the time he reached her sensitive core she would be so close to her end that it wouldn't take him long.
Only, as her hand worked her clitoris rapidly and she was teetering on the ledge, she noted that the hands she imagined roaming her skin felt more vivid and intense than they ever had in her fantasies before.
Regardless of a nagging voice in the back of her head telling her something was different, her movements never slowed and suddenly the coil that had been tightening within her sprung lose and she came with a throaty moan of ecstasy. She was oblivious to all of her other cries for the dragon slayer, the last one was the only one she heard escape her mouth. When she heard a much deeper groan that did not come from her, her eyes snapped open mid-orgasm to find Laxus really there; the shower door open and him standing just outside, his hands on her body. He was completely void of clothing and his cock was standing at full attention. If she had been in a lucid state of mind, she would have pulled away, kicked him out, maybe called on one of her spirits, but she wasn't. So instead, she reached for him and clung to his body for support as she felt her body start to go limp and she finished cumming as she looked into his lust filled gaze, one of his hands tightly gripping her hip to hold her upright and the other was cupping the side of her face as he stroked her cheek.
After a couple minutes ticked by, Lucy came back to her senses and was all too aware of what had just transpired. Her conscious kicked in and in that moment, even if she would have been wearing ten layers of clothes, she would have felt exposed; so it didn't help that neither of them were wearing even a single item. When she tried to pull away from him to gain some much desired distance and to cover her body, he held her firmly and pulled her closer.
"Don't." His whisper teased her ear. "Don't pull away from me."
"Laxus, let go. This is humiliating." she pleaded as she averted her eyes, "Please just go away."
"I can't just leave after all that. I've wanted you for so long and then I get back to my room and hear you moaning my name," he told her as his fingers on her hip moved to suggestively stroke her inner thigh, "I nearly lost control…"
Her embarrassed eyes shot up to meet his glazed over stare. She couldn't help the hope that bloomed inside of her. Could he really have wanted her before tonight?
She sighed deflatedly.
Of course he did, most men would jump at the opportunity to spend a night in her bed. None of them wanted her though, they just desired her body. Maybe just this once, though, she wouldn't care about that. Maybe she would let him in and they could spend the night together. Afterall, she'd wanted him for a long time too.
"Lost control of what..?" she asked distractedly as he continued to tease her skin.
"Of my dragon." he purred into her ear and she went stiff.
'No, no no no.' she thought erratically, 'He can't mean...but..'
"This isn't a good idea." she tried once more to push him away, "Go back to your room, you're drunk. You'll regret this in the morning..." She said sadly. Then she added in a mumble, "That's if you even remember this."
He quickly snatched her hand from his chest where she was pushing against him and guided it down to his shaft. He placed her hand on him and began to use his own hand to guide her's in stroking him.
"I could never regret finally making love to you, Lucy." he stared intently into her eyes.
"Laxus, please. We can't be doing this."
"There's no point in lying to me," he told her seriously, "I can smell how much you want me."
"That doesn't mean this is a good idea." She tried again, "You're in love with someone, don't you remember? You should be trying to work things out with her, not doing this!" She said the words, but the force she'd wanted to go with them just couldn't be found. She was just too distracted by his touch that was slowly becoming more brave.
"That's what I'm trying to do, but she's being really stubborn about the whole thing." He said right before he claimed her lips, silencing any reply she might have had.
A good few seconds passed in shock at his admission, tears of happiness clouding her eyes as she realized that she must be his woman, his 'goddess', he spoke of yesterday. But she refused to let them fall, to make herself more vulnerable than she already was. She knew he wouldn't remember this tomorrow, she'd seen how much he'd drank tonight and she could only guess how much more he'd had after she left. Could he really love her? It was doubtful to her. It was more likely that his words were just sweet nothings and misplaced emotions, but he was offering himself to her and she didn't know if she'd ever get the opportunity again.
So she kissed him back as her strokes grew bolder and independent of his direction. He groaned into her mouth as she teased the ridge of his tip with her fingers.
"Laxus," she broke away from his lips and whispered seductively into his ear , "I want you to
have your way with me tonight."
Laxus met her eyes and looked into their warm honey-hue to see if she was speaking the truth and all at once his demeanor shifted; his storm colored eyes began to glow a vibrant yellow that pulsed with every breath he drew and even though she could no longer see his pupils, it was obvious he was staring at her intently, hungrily.
It startled her and suddenly she was reminded of how small she was compared to him. She thought about running from him, but she knew it would be in vain at this point.
She had read about this before, what was happening to Laxus now. With those words she'd spoken to him and intended to imply only a sexual coupling for the evening, Laxus' inner dragon had picked up on it and determined it to mean she wanted to be mated.
Laxus was gone for the moment and the dragon was left solely in charge.
"You will be mine tonight and forever," the deep gravelly voice of the dragon came.
At the initial sound of the voice, Lucy jumped a little. It was not the sound she was accustomed to when it came to the dragon slayer, instead it was a sound much deeper and much more feral. She knew that even if she wanted to stop this that she wouldn't likely be able to, not with a beast now in charge. The truth was though, she knew all about the mating habits of the dragon slayers. She knew that if the books she'd studied were indeed correct, that Laxus' dragon would not be taking control like this if he didn't feel the same way as the beast inside of him.
So she wasn't afraid. Not of him, not of his dragon, and certainly not of the commitment this would mean.
Laxus still wouldn't likely remember in the morning, but if this was how he truly felt then she knew it wouldn't matter and they could figure it out then.
So as he pulled her from the shower and into his arms, water dripping down her body and onto his, she felt safe and excited.
She kissed him deeply as he walked from the bathroom and into the bedroom and as he laid her down onto her bed he took in her beauty for all that it was. When he crawled on top of her and began to ravish her, she let him; because she wanted him too and tonight she would take what she wanted.
Chapter 17: A Dragon's Control
A Dragon’s Control
Lucy had always assumed that when taking a mate, that dragon slayers would be aggressive and dominating, but so far, that was not what had happened. She’d expected to be taken fast and hard, to feel empowered and overpowered at the same time, but there was nothing here but tenderness and a deep care between them.
His calloused hands felt wonderful as they roamed over her smooth stomach and squeezed her full breasts. He kissed her willing lips and she pulled his strong shoulders closer to her body to feel him flush against her.
When she raked her fingernails through his spiky blonde hair, she laughed as he began to purr to her. She giggled more when he turned his body on the bed suddenly so he was lying on his back and he pulled her on top of him in a straddling position. Both of her small hands reached out to roam over his defined pecs and chiseled abs.
She watched as his illuminated eyes began to trail over her body from this new angle and she became worried when he came to a stop at her chest, more specifically, her Aquarius brand. His hand reached out to stroke the slightly raised ancient symbol on her skin with gentle fingertips and his eyes began to flicker from the electrifying yellow to his normal grey intermittently.
She’d completely forgotten about it in her lust filled mind and she should have known that he would have been just as worried about it now as the last time he had seen it. She knew she was going to have to tell him eventually, but the next time she did she wanted him to be sober so that he would remember it this time. She also didn’t want his worry over the mark to prevent them from tonight, so before Laxus could fully come back into control of the beast, she lunged forward and roughly claimed his lips to distract him and it worked. When she pulled back, the eyes of the dragon were there again and unwavering in their brilliant glow.
However, she should have guessed that the dragon would still be concerned about it too and that he wouldn’t let it go so easily. Afterall, he was still Laxus, just a different side of him.
“A mark of the heavens,” the dragon stated sternly as his face was swimming in concern, “Why?”
“It doesn’t hurt anymore,” she stated dully, “you don’t need to worry over it.” That was true. It didn’t physically hurt her anymore, but when it had first showed up during the battle it had become a permanent part of her and had branded her skin. It had been raw and painful and anytime she would call upon the magic during the first few months of practicing to control it, it would burn her all over again and it would sear her skin and make her bleed. So now, even though there was no longer physical pain when she called upon the water bearer’s magic, it was scarred and there was nothing she could do about that. The dragon didn’t seem to like that he hadn’t known about her pain though, because he was looking at it with almost anger, but she could tell it wasn’t directed at her. He was angry at himself for not preventing it, not that he could have.
“Why?” was all the dragon repeated to her. He seemed to be a beast of simple words. His hands came to rest on Lucy’s hips and he waited for an answer, though he wasn’t willing to wait long. When she took longer to respond than he wanted he dug his sharp nails into her flesh, enough to get her attention, but not hurt her. She yelped a bit at the feeling and glared at him below her, but he just repeated it a final time, “Why?”
She sighed defeatedly and nodded in compliance, “I had to make a sacrifice to save the guild and to protect the world. It was a long time ago, but this brand is a reminder of what I did,” her eyes filled with tears and her voice quivered with an abundance of emotion, “a reminder of who I had to hurt.”
“When?” he growled as he very obviously was having a difficult time containing the temper a dragon was so well known for.
“Tartaros,” she replied quietly as she refused to meet his gaze, “in the cube.”
He snarled angrily at the name and the memories of the demons. Now was not the time to lose focus though, because he had a mate to comfort and claim. His human half was aggravatingly stubborn, particularly when it came to this woman and rarely ever was the dragon in control. He didn’t want to waste the opportunity to claim the woman they both wanted. So he reached out for her face and tugged her chin towards him so that her gaze met his own.
“So beautiful, so strong. I am sorry I wasn’t strong enough, I will protect you better from now on.”
Her face grew slightly sour at that and she drew back from him, “Don’t apologize to me, I don’t need protecting anymore.”
He chuckled lightly and turned them over in her bed once more, her head propped up on the pillows and his head nestled between her thighs.
“You will be mine, I will be yours.” he spoke to her, his rough voice as gentle as it could be, “I will protect you always, as you will protect me.”
Before she could think of anything to say back to him, he sunk his fangs into the inside of her strong thighs and it sent a small pulse of magic throughout her entire body, making her feel incredibly warm. Her back arched with mixed sensations. The initial pain she felt as his teeth pierced her flesh was long forgotten as his magic comforted her body and her mind, bringing her into a state of peace.
She was glad she’d read so many books on the dragon slayers because she would have been so confused as to what was happening right now if she hadn’t. It hadn’t been easy to find the books that weren’t already in the guild library, but it had been worth the hunt.
That bite was the first step in the dragon’s mating process. A precaution developed overtime to make sure two mates would be compatible in their magic. A small amount of magic was to be pushed into the dragon’s desired mate to help them adjust to the magical intensity associated with the more deadly elements, like fire or lightning. This was important because the third step was when their magics became intertwined and inseparable. If the two magics did not combine well, both of them could die. So this step was necessary. If there was no negative reaction to this stage, step two would continue. It was purely instinct, although Lucy thought Laxus’ choice of placement for the bite was interesting. Not that she was complaining, he looked so good between her legs.
The next instinctual stage of the mating process was one of intimacy.
Laxus was still between her legs, showering his bite mark with attention and soothing away any irritation with licks and kisses. She could see a small magic symbol beginning to form around where he’d bitten her. A golden circle with a lightning storm inside, it flashed with magic and Laxus looked up into her eyes with smug pride at what he’d done.
Her body would have two new magical marks on it when their mating was complete, but these two would be happier memories. So she smiled down at him and touched his body where she could as he began to climb back up her to claim her lips. He explored her mouth with his tounge and her own danced around his with a graceful practice.
She breathed heavily as he pulled away from her mouth.
“Incredible woman…” the dragon praised her.
He reached down and pulled at her hips to rest her ass on his large thighs, the giggle she let out in surprise died in her throat when Laxus pressed himself inside of her wet, hot center without warning and she moaned a deep throaty sound.
He pumped in and out in a steady rhythm, his cock naturally curved at just the right angle to rub against the spongy flesh of her inner walls with each thrust. She was building to a high she had never been able to reach with another person and she wanted nothing more than to lose herself with him inside of her. She wanted to grip him as she came and she wanted him to feel how good he made her feel.
She reached down her body slowly and sensually, his eyes caught every movement she made as her fingers found her clit and began to circle it slowly in time with his own movements.
He explored her body with his mouth, kissing her wrists, licking her neck, nipping her collar bone, sucking on her breasts. Everything he did to her added to the growing tension inside of her and with a few more thrusts from the man above her, she felt her pleasure peak and it felt as if a damn broke within her and she came around his cock with a vice grip, causing him to growl at the pleasurable new sensation. He continued to pump into her as she rode her high all the way down, his once carefully measured thrusts became erratic as he sought only his own release now that she had found her own. He became rougher and faster as he flipped her over onto her knees and took her aggressively from behind, slamming into her cunt with fervid intent. When he felt himself near the tip of his climax, he gripped one of her large breasts from behind and let out a dragon’s cry that shook the hotel as he rammed into her one more time before he spilled himself inside of her. Laxus rode out his own high with slower and gentler pumps into her and nearly collapsed onto her when he felt her come once again from the overstimulation of it all.
He pulled out of her and fell to the side, pulling her against him to rest and catch her breath.
“I love you, Laxus.” she whispered into his chest , knowing he would hear her.
The dragon simply nuzzled her neck with his nose and breathed in her intoxicating scent. She smelled completely of him now, no traces of The Salamander remaining and that had him purring in deep contentment.
“You are mine…” his voice rumbled in his chest.
He opened his mouth against her neck and licked the spot he planned to mark in order to complete the mating ritual of the dragons and she tilted her head to the side to give him better access. His sharpened fangs scrapped against her flesh, but just as he was about to bite into her, Laxus managed to gain back full control of himself.
“No.” he muttered as his eyes slowly dimmed from the flashing yellow to his calming grey once more. “Not you…” he spoke. Even though the dragon within Laxus was technically an extension of himself and not a different person and he’d been aware of everything that was happening, Laxus still wanted to be in full control of himself when he gave Lucy her final mark and when she would give him his.
His words spoken were directed towards the dragon, but Lucy took them to be directed at her and her heart shattered into pieces smaller than she ever thought possible. She recoiled from the man still holding her, pulling away from him to save what was left of her. To make matters worse, Laxus didn’t get a chance to explain what had just happened because the alcohol in his system that had been held off when the dragon had been in control, came back to him all at once and hit him full force. That, combined with the exhaustion he felt, caused him to see black before he could speak and he fell unconscious still in Lucy’s bed and left her extremely confused and heartbroken.
Lucy didn’t even feel like she was a part of her own body at the moment. She was crouched with her back to the wall at the far corner of her room, her hands hiding her mortified face as she tried desperately to grasp at an understanding of what the fucking fuck just happened.
She chanced a fearful glance at the room in front of her like it was going to jump at her. Oh Mavis, this was a complete nightmare. Yes! That’s what this was! That’s what this had to be. Nothing else made any sense. When she woke up, she would find that she’d fallen asleep at her desk at home again and she was drooling on her story. It wouldn’t be the first time this had happened. Well, not exactly this. Lucy didn’t think she had the imagination to dream up a fuck up this bad, but it had to be a dream! She didn’t want to keep living if this wasn’t a dream.
‘But how the fuck am I supposed to wake up from this!?’
From where she was sitting in her corner she could see everything, every detail of what had just happened.
Gods, she wanted to run! Run so far away from here, from him.
She couldn’t run, she couldn’t just leave knowing he’d wake up to this same disaster of a situation.
So in her desperation, she mentally called out to the one person who she knew would help her without judgment. One her most loyal spirits.
Not a moment later, the chained maiden appeared ready to be of service. However, finding her mistress naked and crying in a corner was not a scene she had been expecting. Quickly examining the room for threats she only found the room in disarray and The Lightning Dragon Slayer also void of his clothing, but unconscious on the bed.
“Princess, must I deal out punishment? Has the Lightning Slayer harmed you?”
Lucy sniffled and tried in vain to rub away the tears that kept falling from her eyes.
“Not in the way you’re thinking, Virgo. I promise I’ll explain everything later, but please, please help me make this look like it never happened!” She pleaded and trembled, “I know he won’t remember this when he wakes up, and he can’t ever, this is just too much!”
Virgo was very confused, but she would help her princess without question whatever the situation. Whatever ramifications came from this, whatever this was, could be dealt with later, but for now she could help by cleaning and by doing what was asked of her.
Lucy moved to stand up to help clean up the mess she’d made, but Virgo stopped her with a hand on her shoulder as she turned her around.
“All you must do, My Princess, is shower. I will care for the rest. We will leave when you are ready.”
Lucy eyed her spirit through watery vision and then threw her arms around the woman’s neck and clung to her fiercely, “Thank you, Virgo….thank you.”
As soon as Lucy shut the bathroom door and the water began to run in the shower, Virgo got to work. She picked everything up off of the floor, placing things back in their proper places and throwing away whatever had been broken. She packed up all of Lucy’s belongings, sans one overly large outfit for her to change into when she was out of the shower. Her princess looked as if she would be needing comfort for a while to come.
She looked around the room and admired her handy work. The only thing left to deal with was the dragon slayer. It wouldn’t do to leave him where he was. It would cause her mistress distress to see him there when she returned and if he woke up in her room, he would be suspicious that something had transpired. Besides, she had to make the bed.
So she gripped the slayer by his ankles and pulled him from the bed, not caring in the slightest when the back of his head roughly collided with the carpeted flooring. She wasn’t exactly certain what had happened, but her princess was upset, so someone needed to be punished and that was likely to be the man before her. She carelessly drug his limp body from one room to the other and threw him onto his own bed and turned to leave. However, as she got to their adjoined door she remembered his sense of smell and knew when he awoke he would likely piece together the events of tonight. She couldn’t have that, her princess had specifically requested that he not remember. She’d never let her down before and she wouldn’t start tonight.
She took hold of one of his wrists and drug him from the bed once more and all the way to his bathroom. She turned the bath faucet on and once the tub was full she filled it with obnoxious smelling fragrances and left him to soak. She would not be cleaning him, he would spend the night in the tub, soaking. When he woke he would smell only of, she looked at the labels on the hotel soap, summer daisies and bubblegum. He likely wouldn’t drown.
She turned off the faucet and left him there, returning to the next room to change the bed sheets, clear the air of any lingering smells, and wait for her princess.
Lucy found herself faced with another dilemma as she stood in the bathroom with the running shower.
She couldn’t seem to get in it.
She felt ridiculous! It was just a shower, but all she could see was the memory of him standing there, where he’d been not even hours before.
But she needed to shower, it was all Virgo had asked her to do; a simple task.
She nodded her head in acceptance and pushed passed her discomfort to get into the shower again. She quickly showered and tried to ignore all of her confusing emotions and the fact that she was scrubbing her skin harder than necessary. She could deal with her inner turmoil and hurt later, for now she just had to leave.
Once she was out of the shower and clean, even though she didn’t feel that way, she spent a good deal of time staring at herself in the foggy mirror before she reemerged to a clean bedroom void of Laxus with Virgo standing next to a clean pile of clothes.
“Everything has been seen to, Princess. You are set to leave whenever you wish. I have even called down to the front desk and have informed them you will be leaving.”
Lucy nodded distractedly, “Thank you, again, Virgo. You may go home, I will call on you later and explain everything.”
“As you wish.” the maiden bowed and disappeared back to her realm.
Lucy dressed quickly and sent her thanks, yet again to Virgo, for the comfortable sweater. She grabbed her keys and all but ran out of her room, not looking back.
It was only when she reached the hotel’s lobby that she came to a stop, realizing that she needed to leave some sort of explanation for her absence, otherwise, Laxus would likely panic and tear the city apart...and that would be disastrous.
Her stomach churned at still being there, but she made her way over to the help desk and asked the receptionist for a piece of paper and a pen. The woman quickly and happily compiled and Lucy haphazardly wrote out a half-thought excuse on why she left and gave it back to the receptionist.
“Please give this to the man in room 331. He’ll be down in the morning. He’s impossible to miss. Tall, blonde, built like a mountain, has a scar over his eye. He’ll probably look like a pissed off Vulcan on a warpath.” She turned to leave and then stopped and turned right back, placing a couple thousand Jewels onto the counter, “That should cover anything he breaks.”
She left the confused, and slightly scared woman, behind her as she left quickly.
‘Please! Please don’t let him remember!’ she cried out a mental prayer to the universe itself as she ran from the hotel to get on the next train that pulled into the station. It didn’t matter in the slightest where it would be headed to because she just needed to get away from here.
How could she have been so wrong?
Chapter 18: Life's Just Not A Fairy Tale
The cringe-worthy sound of a slamming compartment door and splintering wood was heard up and down the train-car. Any person of even remote intelligence had vacated the small aisle as soon as the angry mage had boarded the express train straight to Magnolia Station.
Laxus hadn’t had a mood this foul in a very long time. In fact, he couldn’t recall ever having a hangover this bad. He really needed to stop fucking drinking like he was twenty years old again because he fucking wasn’t. Very nearly rounding thirty years old now, it was glaringly obvious that he needed to start cutting back. That being said, this didn’t feel like an average morning after getting hammered. As a proud Fairy Tail member, he was very accustomed to that particular feeling...this was not that, this was just awful.
The pounding in his head was splitting, on a level he hadn’t felt since he was a child lying in the hospital; blood-soaked bandages wrapping his freshly wounded eye. He’d honestly forgotten the severity of pain he’d been in because, as it turns out, time really does dull the memory. His whole body ached in places that were just ridiculous and embarrassing for a mage of his caliber, especially since he hadn’t done anything extrenuating since his spar with Lucy. It almost felt like his whole body was fighting against him. From what he could tell, if it was something on him that moved or could think, it was fucking hurting.
It was just making it worse that he couldn’t remember why and he couldn’t help but try to figure it out, regardless of the protests from his throbbing brain.
Gods dammit he was tired of the fucking blackouts. He had woken up to knots on his head and soaking in a bathtub that smelled of horrible scented soaps with no idea of how he got there or the events that had led up to it. The last hazy memory he could vaguely conjure up was of Sting throwing Rogue through a window at the bar and the three of them getting kicked out….or maybe he'd pushed Sting and Sting barreled into Rogue, sending him out the window. It wasn't very clear.
On top of this all, his fucking dragon was pissy with him for no damn reason that he could see, but like god-damn usual, the little shit-head was being very selective of what it had to say; if it had anything it wanted to share at all.
So he was confused, sore, sick, had random welts on his head...and now, now he had to get on a motherfucking train to try and track down one Lucy Heartfilia who had run off in the night with a bullshit excuse hastily scribbled on a note.
This morning, when he’d woken up and by the grace of some god managed to trudge his sorry ass down to the hotel’s breakfast in search of food and caffeine, he’d been approached by a very wary looking hotel clerk who’d handed him a paper and then quickly scurried off; it only took a few seconds longer to figure out why the employee had been so eager to get away. Lucy knew this would probably piss him off and she must have forewarned the woman. On the piece of paper he’d been handed was Lucy’s familiar and effortless scrawl.
“ Had a personal emergency, didn’t want to wake you up.
I’ll be fine, don’t worry.
He collapsed heavily into his seat as the train jolted forward. Her note still lay in his pocket and he took it out to read it over again. Maybe he missed something, it just seemed so short and to the point; something Lucy was not. He liked to think he knew Lucy pretty well and from his abundance of experience with her over the years, sneaking off in the night with no real reason seemed very out of character.
That being said, another thing he knew about Lucy was that she was a runner. That’s not to say that she wasn’t brave or an incredibly brilliant mage in her own right, but its just that when she didn’t know how to deal with a situation or problem, she ran. There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with it, it was just the way she coped with the fucked up world they all lived in. It didn’t happen very often, either, because there were few things that her tactical brain couldn’t solve, but he did know of a couple of times over the years that she’d done it.
The First, of course, being what had led her to Fairy Tail; escaping the Konzern. Everyone knew about that, she didn’t hide it. She’d wanted a better life for herself and the only way she’d known how to get that at the young age of 16 was to run away from the life she’d had.
What most people didn’t know was that she also tended to get squeamish when people would become attached to her in more than platonic ways. It always turned his stomach a little sour, but men and women alike were drawn to Lucy. She was beautiful, kind, brilliant, and so much more. It was no surprise that most weren’t ashamed to try their hand at tying her down; there were so few people in the world truly like her that they would be fools not to. So far though, none had come close to succeeding, because she ran from that too. Postponing first dates until they lost interest, purposely taking long missions that created problems in scheduling times to see someone, “forgetting”, using the guild’s piled up paperwork as an excuse to stay hauled up in his office; he’d seen her do just about everything to run from relationships. He’d even confronted her about it one day and, in so many words, she’d explained that when she’d been an heiress people only wanted her attention or to be with her because of her social standing. Then when she’d left that life, she’d stumbled right into the arms of some of the most powerful people on the continent. People showed her attention and faked interest in her just to try to get close to Natsu, Gray and Erza.
If it wasn’t to get close to her friends, then it was to get close to her, just not in the ways she wanted. There was a couple of times that dark guilds had sent a person to get close to her just so that they had a higher chance of successfully abducting her; she’d used someone named Michelle as an example, though, he wasn't completely sure who that was.
There were other times and other examples of people trying to use her that had made her weary, so he couldn’t exactly fault her for not always opening up to new people. Even a person as forgiving as her has their limits.
So she was a runner, but she always had a reason. He just couldn’t figure out what it was this time and, yes, he knew her note was bullshit. He could see right through it. Personal emergency or not, the Lucy he knew would have woken him up. It was unlikely that she had a personal emergency that she couldn’t confide in him and it wasn’t likely that somebody close to her was having problems he couldn’t or wouldn’t already know about because they were both close to the same people. All either of them really had was the guild.
He was almost inclined to believe someone had actually managed to kidnap her and faked the note, but her scrawl and signature was just as meticulously perfect as it always was so he knew it was her. He was mostly pissed off that she thought that would actually work, that he would just let it go, like he didn’t know her inside and out. The amount of time they spent together was so much that he could decipher what her mood was just by the pattern of her heartbeat, the breaths she took in, or how she would fidget with the ends of her hair.
Her note was bullshit and he wanted to know why.
He tried reaching her Communications Lacrima twice this morning, but neither time had she answered.
It had briefly crossed his mind that maybe she was freaking out about the kiss they’d shared in the rain only a couple of days ago, but he didn’t really think that was it; at least, he hoped it wasn’t. She’d seemed to enjoy it as much as he had and, by the gods, did he enjoy it.
...but they hadn’t talked about it. Maybe they should have? Fuck if he knew how that was supposed to work. After that kiss, for the first time, he’d actually had the smallest glimmer of hope that they could work together. But now, that hope was extinguished again. He honestly couldn’t understand why she would have just run off, but he did know that he was going to find out.
So here he sat on this train, angry, alone in a locked compartment, with the window open just in case he needed to throw-up. He wouldn't be surprised if his stomach actually did launch itself out through his throat, it felt like his whole body was fighting with him.
He really fucking hated trains.
In the town of Hargeon, Lucy stepped off her train. She’d ridden it all through the night and late into midmorning. She'd ridden it as far as she possibly could, but this was the end of the line and it would be heading back to Era now. Since she most definitely did not want to go back, she was forced to get off. She'd been to Hargeon many times over the years and, aside from Magnolia, it was her favorite town. She had countless happy memories there with Natsu, and their team. She'd been on many shopping trips here with Lisanna and Evergreen because of the shipments the port town always got in. She’d bar-hopped here with Cana once or twice and there was little cafe here that Wendy just loved. She thought about staying here for a bit, just to sort through her brain a little and try to forget that night with Laxus had even happened.
Honestly, what had she been thinking?! That “The Thunder God” was harbouring secret feelings for her? That she could actually have some sort of dream happy ending relationship with him?
'Oh please!’, she scoffed internally , ‘Wake the hell up, Luce. Laxus isn't some knight in shining armor…this isn’t some fantasy.’
Even if it were a fairy tale, the princess never ends up with the dragon in the end. The princess is supposed to end up with the man who kills the dragon, a prince or a knight.
But she didn't want a Prince Charming, she ran away from that life. She escaped her beautiful cage so many years ago and had dared to enter straight into a dragon's den. Over time she'd fallen in love with one, gave her heart and soul to them all, and made the nest her home.
She didn't mean to make everything seem like a storybook, but her author's mind and wandering imagination made it so easy. Maybe she should write a fairy tale with a different ending, dragons always got such a bad rap.
She kept replaying the night over and over in her head and somewhere in her, she knew she was overreacting. Her and Laxus, both, were consenting adults...well her more consenting than him because of how inebriated he'd been, but he initiated it, his dragon had taken control and...then it was the human part of Laxus, the part of him she loved the most, that had pulled away. She honestly didn't know what she was feeling right now. All that she could register was numbness.
For the hour or so they spent in her hotel bed, she’d actually convinced herself that she was the woman he thought was a goddess; she’d convinced herself she was the woman he loved, but as she sat down on a small bench in a park she felt like such a fool. She remembered Laxus had mentioned that there was another woman the dragon had wanted. That was the woman Laxus had said he considered as a friend and nothing more. She reasoned that he’d been referring to her, because that’s the only thing she could think of that made sense. Why else would the dragon have tried to mate her only for the human part of Laxus to stop it.
Just then she got a call on her Communications Lacrima, she pulled it out of her bag and stared at it in her hand. It had been ringing all morning and she hadn’t answered it once. She didn’t want to answer it. What if it was Laxus? ...What if it wasn’t?
She sighed heavily.
There were plenty of other people who had a reason to contact her and she didn’t want to give anyone a reason to worry. So begrudgingly, she answered the call. If it was Laxus she would just find a reason to hang up.
“Hello?” she answered.
“Luce!” a voice called out from the com,”I've been calling you all morning, I was getting really worried!”
She sighed once more; it was Natsu. She didn't know if she should be disappointed or glad it wasn't Laxus. She did know that she didn't have the energy to fight with Natsu right now. As far as she knew, they were still at odds and she didn't want to tell him that he'd been right; she shouldn't have gone on this trip.
“What do you want, Natsu? I'm too tired to fight with you right now. So, if you called to question my choices again--”
“No!” Natsu said abruptly, and then there was a brief silence before he cleared his throat and spoke again, “I-I mean...I called to apologize…I was gonna wait until you got back, but I couldn't wait anymore. I hate fighting with you and I just want us to go back to the way things were...I'm so sorry, Luce.”
As he spoke, Lucy found that her heart hurt just a little less and she realized as she listened to his apology and his voice that all she wanted right then was her best friend. He was an idiot a vast majority of the time, and she still had a small bit of lingering anger towards him, but she could really use one of his hugs right now. He was always so warm and he’d just let her cry until she was ready to talk.
When he heard no response from his partner, he sighed deflatedly.
“I guess I screwed it up too bad this time, huh?” she heard his broken chuckle over the line, “I'll just go then.”
“No don't hang up…” she couldn't contain her whimper, “I just don't know what to say...I-I want to apologize, too. You were right, I shouldn't have gone.”
“Are you okay?” He asked worriedly.
“I'm fine.” she said instinctually before she corrected herself, “Actually..no. I'm not.” There was no point in lying to him, “I messed up.”
“Where's The Lightning Prick?” He growled through the com.
“...not here.” she sniffled, “I, um...I'm in Hargeon. He's still in Era.”
“I'll be there in a couple of hours, Luce.” he spoke to her in a comforting tone, “Just hang tight, okay?”
“Okay.” she said softly, then an idea popped into her head, “And Natsu?”
“Bring a job with you? A monster slaying one.”
“Monster Slaying, you're sure?” He questioned incredulously. It didn't matter how many years had passed, she still hated getting covered in monster guts. It was a strange request for her.
“Yeah.” She said with certainty, “The S-Class one I saw on the board last week. I need to hit something...and I kind of want to be gone for a while.”
“Uh..sure, no problem! You know I'm always fired up to slay some monsters!”
“Always, Luce. I'll be there soon.” He said before the com went dark.
Chapter 19: Into The Mountains
Hello everyone! Here's my latest chapter. I honestly wanted it to be longer, but I haven't posted in a while and I was starting to get antsy about it. Oh well, it can't be helped...more to come soon! Thanks! xo
Lucy felt herself being lifted in the air and pulled into someone's arms. When had she fallen asleep? Where was she last? Consciousness was slow to come back to her as she woke up.
She felt an intense heat soak through her clothes as the person started to walk and immediately knew she was safe in the arms of her best friend.
“You know, you really shouldn't just pick up sleeping girls in the park.” She said as she slowly blinked open her tired eyes, “That's a good way to lose a few teeth.”
She heard his familiar chuckle from above her and comfort washed over her, “Maybe you shouldn't sleep on park benches where you can be so easily carried off, you weirdo. I used to wonder why you got captured so often, it makes sense now.”
“Ha. Ha. Very funny.” She rolled her eyes, but smiled up at him nonetheless. She patted his shoulder, “Put me down, I can walk.”
“Nah, I think I'll carry you. You never let me help you anymore...and you look so tired, Luce.” he looked down at her with a small frown as he spoke, “Let’s get you to a hotel. You can rest and we’ll leave first thing in the morning.”
She could fight him about being carried, she usually did, but being held felt kind of nice right now, safe. So instead, she shifted in his hold so that her arms wrapped around his neck.
“I can sleep on the train, its fine. I just want to go.”
“I just got off that death trap and now you want me to get right back on?” When all he got in response was a small chuckle and her nuzzling her nose into his neck tiredly, he sighed comically, “...evil woman.”
After a few moments of silence he conceded, “All right, we'll go, but you’re eventually going to have to tell me what happened.”
“Yeah, I know.” she whispered, “...Natsu, I'm sorry we fought.”
“Me too, Luce.” he held her a little tighter as she drifted back to sleep, “Whatever this is, whatever's wrong, it'll be okay. I promise.”
With Lucy sound asleep they boarded the next train heading towards the Waas Forest.
Natsu was absolutely positive that Lucy being upset had something, if not everything, to do with Laxus. He wouldn’t say ‘I told you so’, not just because he’d done that once before to her and then sported a black eye for the better part of a week, but because she was heartbroken. He could feel it in his bones and he didn’t want to make it worse; he only wanted for her to feel better.
Lucy, on the other hand, did not feel like talking about what had happened in Era and she could tell it was practically driving Natsu up the wall. He wasn’t known for being a patient man and probably never would be, but she could appreciate that he was at least trying for her.
Two weeks passed by slowly and the two Fairy Tail wizards found themselves wrapped up in the most boring job they’d ever been on in their entire careers as guilded mages.
The job had started off just like most did; find a place to stay, speak to the client, try to figure out if they were being lied to or led into a trap, eat a big dinner, and then sleep until the morning when they would start completing their tasks.
Their client turned out to be the mayor of a town near the base of the Waas Mountains. He explained that the town was in the middle of an expansion and as such, people of all sorts were arriving to live there and help it grow; at least, they were supposed to. In increasing amounts, these travelers were disappearing without a trace somewhere along the mountain trails. Some human belongings had been found alongside evidence of large creatures and so The Mayor, in concern for his town and people, had filed a request to have the issue seen into. He’d assumed it to be a dangerous beast with how many people had come up missing and he wanted to be safe rather than sorry.
Armed with all the information the mayor could provide them with about the mountain range and the people who went missing, the two skilled wizards had set out to find the monsters to slay. Natsu had been excited to face a new adventure, and Lucy, to be too preoccupied to spend much time alone with her thoughts.
Neither had happened. Two weeks. Two weeks and they had nothing. No leads or hunches. They’d traveled through every passage, looked through almost every cavern, scaled more cliffs than Lucy was happy about and yet...nothing, nada, and zilch.
They searched and searched, but there was no sign of anything out of the ordinary and her and Natsu both were rapidly growing frustrated with the job and each other.
Now, beyond the point of ready to give up and doing their daily search through the mountain trails, they finally had a breakthrough.
While traversing up an incline they’d hiked multiple times before, they happened across a huge serpent-like creature sunbathing on a large boulder. Even with its massive body wound into a tight coil, recognition flitted across Lucy’s features and before her fire-fueled companion could begin his usual attacks or unleash even a cry of surprise, Lucy unraveled her whip and snapped it closed around his mouth to prevent him from shouting, or firing.
Natsu never changed. He lived to rush into a battle head first and fists ablaze, and normally Lucy just went with the flow, but not this time. He was going to follow the plan she was constructing even if he hated it. She was growing tired of this goose chase through the mountains and she wasn’t going to risk Natsu scaring it off into hiding. The creature was sleeping, it wasn’t posing them any real threat right now.
As Natsu struggled silently to get out of his restraint, Lucy studied the beast’s scales. It was heavily armored and the thickness of its highly muscular body told her it wasn't going to go down easily. If they could avoid pissing it off until they knew how to best take it down, that would be beneficial. She knew they could handle it. Together they could probably have the thing dead before it even realized it was being attacked, but that was besides the point. There was likely more than one, considering the amount of people that had gone missing, and if they waited until it woke up, it might just lead them to the others.
Lucy also had an inkling of what this particular monster could be and if she was right, then according to The Magic Council, it was an endangered species and they couldn’t just kill it. She was by no means an expert on animals of the reptilian family, but she did know someone who was. So their job, just finally proving to be going somewhere, would have to be put on hold until Lucy could get in contact with the one person she knew who could give her the answers they would need to complete this mission as best as possible. Natsu was going to hate waiting, but she didn't really care. He could suck it up because she wasn't going to go to jail because he liked to make abrupt decisions without care of the consequences. So she drug him kicking and, mutely, screaming a ways off the trail, away from the serpent, to fish out her Communications Lacrima from her pack that she had been religiously avoiding the past two weeks.
“If I let you out, are you going to be quiet?” Lucy asked her struggling friend, but her question was a warning that if he wasn’t, there would be consequences.
He mumbled a long incoherent string of frustrated words, but eventually huffed and nodded to signal he would abide by her terms.
She took a moment to gauge his truth, its not like this would be the first time he lied just to get out of her restraints, but she found the defiance in his eyes to be gone. She unraveled her whip, freeing him, and she placed her favorite tool back onto its place on her belt.
“What in the hell, Luce!?” he questioned angrily in an aggressive whisper, “The thing was right there! We could have killed it and been done!”
She flicked his forehead and aggressively whispered back, “Baka! You can’t seriously think that was the only one!”
He rubbed the stinging feeling out of his forehead and grumbled like a child, “Why do you always hit me? I don’t hit you.” at her disbelieving glance, he added, “...on purpose. It’s not my fault you walk right into my attacks...”
“I do not walk into...no, I’m not starting this old argument with you again!” With a frustrated groan, she roughly sat down on the trail and began searching through her pack for her Communications Lacrima. “My point is, almost fifty people have disappeared up here in the last two months. I know that thing is big, but I seriously doubt its the only one up here.” She glanced his way, “When was the last time we went on a monster quest and there was only one?”
Natsu crossed his bare arms and leaned back onto a tree behind him as he rolled his eyes, “Never.”
“Right,” Lucy nodded, “so there’s probably more we have to find and if they’re what I think they are, then we can’t kill them or we’ll get arrested.”
“And what do you think they are?” He played along as he watched her aggressively rummage through her bag for something.
“Amphipteres.” She answered promptly, “...where in Mavis’ goddamn name is it!?” she yelled in frustration.
“We’re supposed to be keeping quiet, remember?” he taunted with a snarky tone, but when she gave him a dark look he relented with a smug grin on his face. As she continued to look through her bag and her frustration grew by the minute he asked, “What exactly are you looking for?”
“My lacrima!” she threw her pack to the side in defeat, “I know I had it, but now its not in here!”
“Oh,” he said easily as he reached into his pocket, “here. I have it.”
She caught it as he tossed it to her and she looked at him strangely, “Why?”
He scratched his cheek absentmindedly, a gesture that she learned a long time ago meant he was hiding something, “Eh, no reason. It fell out of your pack a few days ago and I picked it up. Just forgot to give it back.”
In truth, he had taken it from her bag the second day on the mountain. It had rang nearly non-stop all the first day and she just pretended like she couldn't hear it, even when he brought it up. That night, when they had both been asleep, it rang again and woke him up, so he answered it.
It had turned out to be Laxus and as soon as Natsu saw his face, he hung up and tried to go back to sleep.
That had only prompted Laxus to call again. So again, Natsu answered, but this time he exited the tent he and Lucy were sharing, trying not to wake her, and stared blankly at Laxus for a solid minute while the blond slayer lectured him for Lucy not answering her Com. Natsu then bluntly informed him it was considered rude to call so late at night and hung up the Com before Laxus could respond. He’d pocketed the lacrima and kept it on him since. Laxus had called at least once every day since, but every time it was Natsu who answered and seeings as how the mission had been boring up until today, pissing off Laxus had been his only source of entertainment. He’d answer the com, smile at Laxus, and then just hang up.
“...Okay.” Lucy said, “Thanks I guess.”
“Why do you need it anyway?”
“I'm calling to get a second opinion.”
“We don't need help…” he grumbled.
“Well I don’t know anything about giant snakes. Do you?”
“Then we need help.”
“Why can't we just kill it?” he grumbled, “What even is a...Am-Amti...uh, Amphipiper?
“Amphiptere.” She corrected.
He shrugged, “Whatever.”
“Because it’s endangered, according to The Council.”
“I don’t even know what that means…”
“Honestly,” she pinched the bridge of her nose, “what do you even do when I don't go on missions with you?”
He shrugged again and pulled at his scarf, “Blow stuff up and then go home.”
She rolled her eyes and sighed tiredly. That sounded exactly like him, no surprise there.
“Didn't that snake look familiar to you?”
Natsu thought about her questioned for a while and then groaned when realization occurred; he knew that thing had looked familiar. Just turn it purple, give it wings, and he could imagine a highly annoying dragon slayer standing on its back with a shit-eating grin.
“You can’t seriously be calling that idiot.”
“Yup.” She said with a popping sound, pushed magic into her com, and waited for the person to answer. “He’s our best bet for doing this the right and safest way.”
Natsu protested in the form of what could really only be described as a whine as he slid down the tree he’d been leaning against. Might as well get comfortable; he had a feeling they wouldn’t be leaving for a while.
Chapter 20: Find The Harbinger
“I swear to whatever god you believe in, Shit-stain.” The hooded man slammed the captured Dark Mage in his grasp roughly up against a protruding stone wall, “This is your second and final chance to tell me exactly what I want to know. You’re lucky I even gave you a first. Most mages that stupidly stumble across me can feel their lungs slowly melting before they ever even see me; like your friends here.” he turned his head to gesture to the room behind him with at least fifty writhing bodies laying on the floor, rotting from the inside out. “But you, you have something that I need. Information, a name. So you’re going to tell me exactly what I want to know or I’m going to go searching for it in your soul myself. I will painfully tear you apart memory by memory until it becomes too much for your mind and body to handle and you die a slow and agonizing death.”
When the captured mage opened her mouth to yet again stupidly lie to her seemingly rabid captor, Cobra cut her off. Trailing elongated claws dripping with a mild toxin across the woman’s face as a warning to spill the truth. He hated liars. When he heard the woman whimper and her heartbeat stutter in fear, he retracted his claws, knowing he’d made his point.
“Now, tell me where I can find the man from your guild who used to do science experiments for The Oracion Seis.”
The mage tried to speak despite the constricting feeling of a firm hand around her neck.
“The Oracion Seis,” she managed to croak out, “haven’t existed in over a decade, they’re all dead. Fairy Tail killed them. Everyone knows that!”
Cobra slammed her against the wall once more, harder this time. “I don’t want The Seis! I want the man that used to cut them open and experiment on them when they were just scared fucking kids! I know he’s affiliated with your guild, he wore your emblem. Tell me where he fucking is!!”
“I don’t know!!”
“Fine, you had your warning.” Cobra tightened his grip around her neck to hold her in place while he searched her soul for answers. She was in her late fifties and had been pledged to this guild for at least 25 years if his sources were correct, which they always were. So if anyone in this pathetic dark guild were going to know where the haunting figure who plagued his dreams as a child was, it would’ve been this bitch.
“No!” she tried to shout, “I just mean… I don’t know where he is because he left the guild twenty years ago! He wasn’t around here long, but we all knew the twisted shit he would do to people. It was too much, even for us, so he got kicked out. I swear I don’t know where he is, no one does.”
His magic was never wrong and souls always told the truth; this woman had no idea where to find the man who had almost killed him as a child by making him a dragon slayer. Brain hadn’t actually done it, that piece of shit had never done anything himself. He always had someone else to do his dirty work. Cobra had already killed Brain years ago, right before The Seis had been beaten by Jellal and joined ranks with him. But it wasn't enough, he wanted everyone who had ever hurt him and the rest of The Seis as kids dead. The only loose end left was the monster who liked experimenting on scared, helpless children, and Cobra needed to be the one who killed him.
“Tell me his name!” he demanded.
“I never knew his name!” she spoke the truth again.
“You must have called him something! What was it?!”
The woman shook her head back and forth desperately, trying to convey that she didn’t know when suddenly she stopped and her eyes got big. She tugged at the hand around her neck, asking for his grip to loosen so she could speak.
“The others, they used to call him The Dark Raven because ravens are a symbol of bad luck, harbingers of death.”
Again, she told him the truth.
Cobra was still pissed that no one knew this bastard’s name, but at least he finally had a lead on a trail gone cold for the last five years.
“Thank you.” he told the woman as he released his grip on her throat and set her back down on her feet. When she was done wiping away the tears from her cheeks, he grabbed her face and blew a sleeping toxin down her throat and she collapsed instantly into a peaceful sleep. When he was finished laying her gently onto the floor he took out a dagger and quickly slit her throat. She still had to die, she was a dark mage of the guild he’d been sent in to eradicate, but she didn’t have to die in pain. Unlike the other souls he’d heard cry this night, her’s wasn’t inherently bad. She wouldn’t feel a thing as she slept. This was the only form of mercy he had to offer.
When he was sure everyone there was dead, he left. There was no point in trying to hide a mass murder. Besides, whoever found the newly made crypt would just think another dark guild had done it, it happened all the time. There was never truly honor among thieves, only fear.
Most people thought him a dead man anyway, it wouldn’t likely come back on him.
As he was walking away, about to disappear into the dark cover of the forest, his com started to ring.
Normally, he would just ignore it. The only two people that ever called him on this thing were The Blueberry and Kinana. If at all possible, he'd like to avoid talking to his oldest friend while he was no doubt covered in blood and he never wanted to talk to Jellal. His wants aside, he’d been awol for two weeks and that was typically the amount of time that Jellal would get tired of waiting for him to wander back to camp. So, he figured he’d answer the damn lacrima because it was most likely Jellal with a prepared lecture on why he shouldn’t just wander off, why he should tell someone where he’s headed off to, and how he hoped he was keeping himself out of trouble. He never listened to the advice, but he did have the speech memorized.
He pushed his magic into the lacrima and answered it.
“I’m not in the mood, Blueberry. What the fuck do you want?”
“Blueberry?” a voice he hadn’t expected to hear came from his com, “I’ve been called a lot of things, but I have to say...blueberry is a first.”
“Heartfilia?” he questioned, surprised.
“Hello, Eric.” Fairy Tail's precious little light smiled a welcoming grin at him.
“Why the fuck are you calling me?” he questioned, a tinge of worry cloaked by his abysmal attitude, “Kinana better not be in any trouble or I’ll gut every last one of you Fairies.”
“What…” she stumbled confusedly, until realization hit, “Oh, right! I’ve never called you before, this is totally weird. You must think...No, no need to worry, Kinana is fine!”
Cobra scoffed with indignation, “Great, well, since she’s fine, fuck off.”
He went to end the call without waiting for a response, but just as he was about to cut off his magic to the crystal, he heard her shout.
“No, wait Eric! I found an Amphithere!”
He sighed, annoyed, but he couldn’t deny his interest was peaked.
“Not possible, Fairy.” he rolled his eyes, “The last one ever to be seen was mine and its not exactly a secret that I don’t have her anymore. She's gone, probably dead.”
When Kinana started to gain back memories of her time spent as Cubellios little by little and the things that she'd witnessed...the things that she'd done, were brought back to the surface of her thoughts she confided it in Cobra and they both agreed they'd keep the information quiet until she was ready to tell the people she cared about; if she ever was.
“No need to play dumb, Eric.” she poked at him, “Kinana told me she used to be your Cubellios.”
He tried to mask his shock, but the humor that danced in Lucy’s eyes said he hadn’t been successful.
“Why would she tell you something like that?”
“Because we’re friends and sharing and keeping secrets is something that friends do.” she raised a perfectly sculpted eyebrow at him.
“Whatever, you said you found one. Tell me where you are.” he changed the subject for now. He felt uneasy telling anyone anything, just a product of growing up the way he had and living the lifestyle he did. Kinana, while not as guarded as him, still had her reservations about opening up to people. So the next time he saw her, he would ask what made Lucy Heartfilia so trustworthy with a secret that could change everyone’s perspective of her. Being an accomplice, albeit a semi-unwilling one, to an infamous dark guild wasn’t exactly the best image she could have in the legal guild world.
“Wait...what? You don't have to come. Really, Eric, we can handle this just fine. I just wanted to ask you a few questions about this creature before I send Natsu out on a rampage. I don't like hurting animals, I would like to avoid it if possible.”
“Do not send that flamethrower anywhere near those creatures.”
“Excuse me?” she quipped with a sharp attitude, “ I called you . I didn’t have to do that, don’t be a dick. The creatures are hurting civilians so something needs to be done. I wanted to give them their best shot at relocation or something like that so I called you. You know more about snakes than anyone else probably does, but I will do my job with or without your help.”
“Look. I like you a lot better than rest of your freak guild, but don’t push your luck with me. I earned my reputation and all the things people say about me, they aren’t lies. So I sincerely suggest not pissing me off.”
“You don’t have to act like that. Aside from likely being the only person alive with any useful knowledge on these creatures, I know Cubellios was one of the few things you care about. I just thought you might like to know there’s a chance the Amphithere are not all gone.”
He growled under his breath, feeling unsettled that a woman he’d only spoken to in passing knew so much about him. As a severely guarded person, it didn’t feel safe. The only reason he let her use his birth name in the first place was...well it was kind of like an apology. He’d tried to kill her a couple of times and since there was no way the words ‘I’m sorry’ were ever going to actually leave his mouth, he figured the only other thing he had to offer to her in repentance was a peace of himself he’d given to no one, but Kinana; the right to use his real name.
“Tell me where you are.” he demanded again, “Amphithere are temperamental little shits with a nasty ass bite, so you need to follow my exact instructions if you don’t want this to end with you in the hospital or dead.”
“The Waas Mountains.” she rolled her eyes at his hostility. Honestly, if it was a good man Kinana could see underneath all that snarl and bite, then it was buried way deep down because she sure as Mavis couldn't see it.
“I'm less than a day away from there. I want to see it for myself. Don't do anything until I get there or I swear I will spill every secret I know that runs through your soul.”
A shiver racked her spine, “Fine, just hurry up. We're gonna keep an eye on this one that we found and follow it when it wakes up to see if it takes us back to a nest, but you have my word I won't engage until you've seen it.”
“Its not you I'm worried about, Goldie. Keep The Salamander in check or I swear I'll find ice cold enough to imprison him for the next century.”
“Yeah yeah,” Lucy rolled her eyes, “not everything you say has to be a threat of death or mass humiliation you know. Just hurry up and get here, we're about halfway up the mountain and I'll call you if anything changes.”
She ended the com-call and sighed heavily. Cobra, well...Eric, wasn't a dark mage anymore and he'd been forgiven for his crimes and they'd even managed to work out their personal differences enough to be pleasant-ish towards each other. Still though, he held an intimidating air around him that just made her feel small and nervous, squeamish if you will, and it made it difficult to talk to him.
Maybe this was an opportunity to move past that and really get to know the guy under all the gruff that Kinana could see.
“Cobra's taking too long. I say we just go over there, poke the snake with a stick. It'll wake up and take us back to where its home is.” Natsu shrugged.
Lucy rolled her eyes, “I swear, honestly, if you weren't seemingly indestructible, you would have been killed such a long time ago. That is the worst plan I've ever heard. You don't poke wild animals, especially magical one's, with sticks and expect them to not eat you.”
“But I'm so boooooored.” He complained as he repeatedly banged his head against a tree trunk.
“He said he'd be here within a day, so he'll be here. Besides, I promised we wouldn't engage with it until he got here.”
“And what if he stood us up? Huh?”
“Cobra may be a lot of things, but a liar isn't one of them. He keeps his word, he'll be here.”
“Fiiiine. But if he's not here in an hour, I'm gonna start throwing rocks over there to wake it up.” Natsu grumbled.
“You do that and I'll tie you up again and leave you here until Erza makes me come get you.”
High up and a few trees down the path, Cobra sat straddling a branch. He'd been there for a little over an hour now, just listening and observing. It was a habit he couldn't break, mostly because he didn't want to. Thoroughly scoping out an area before a dangerous task had given him the upper hand more than once.
He'd actually finished surveying the area half an hour ago, but The Salamander wasn't paying attention, not using his draconic senses. He wanted to see how long it took the other slayer to catch his scent. It was taking a surprisingly long time. At first it had been fun, but it was slowly growing boring. He decided he was done fucking off, he wanted to see this supposedly extinct serpent.
“Well its a good thing I'm here then.” Cobra said as he launched himself from the tree branch and gracefully landed on the forest floor.
Chapter 21: Pile On The Problems
Sorry its been so long. I know I'm so very sporadic with my updates, but no matter how long I go between them, this story is never too far away from my mind. Enjoy the latest chapter and I hope you'll tell me what you think!
Half a day later found Natsu, Lucy, and Cobra silently trailing the large amphithere up the mountain once it had woken up. It had slept for several more hours - which was a ridiculous amount of time, according to Natsu’s constant complaining - but once it had woken up, it led them to the entrance of a hidden cave where they were now waiting to see if anyone was home.
Their cover had nearly been blown several times throughout the day due to Natsu and Cobra's bickering and ridiculous need to one-up each other. If Cobra quickly scaled a cliff side then Natsu had to do it faster. If Natsu wandered too far ahead then Cobra needed to go further. There were other instances that were ridiculous to her and her patience was nearing its end rapidly. She even had to specifically order Loke not to come out of his gate because she knew, she just knew that he would end up egging the two slayers on and the last of her patience would snap and she’d probably kill them all.
Well not really, but if they just so happened to fall off the side of the mountain...who could blame her. Besides at least then she wouldn’t have to deal with what she was right now.
Natsu was humming a highly annoying song that he knew she hated, but he wasn’t doing it to annoy her. No, he was doing it because as the minutes ticked by, Cobra was becoming more and more agitated by it. So before she could find herself in the middle of an explosion of poisons and fire, she interrupted Natsu.
“Natsu Dragneel, if you do not stop that incessant humming, I swear on Mavis’ very gravestone that I will tie you to this boulder and gag you for the rest of this mission and then I’ll leave you here for the bugs to eat without thinking twice about it.”
Natsu stopped instantly and Erik snickered, “I might just like you after all, Little Fairy. With threats like that you would have made a decent criminal.”
“You shut up, too.”
He chuckled silently, but said nothing else.
They all spent several minutes in thick silence, both Dragon Slayers listening intently as they tried to distinguish how many creatures were in the cave.
“With all the heartbeats and breathing I can hear I would say that there’s at least a few dozen of them in there.”
“No way!” Natsu objected, “Are your ears broken or something? It’s gotta be closer to a hundred!”
“You’re brain is fucking rotten mush if you think there’s any more than fifty in there!”
“Some Dragon Slayer you are if-”
“Shhhh,” Lucy harshly interrupted the immature squabble, “Don’t you guys hear that?”
Natsu and Erik listened closer, wondering what they could have missed that someone with normal hearing could have picked up.
“I don’t hear anything, Luce. Nothing but heartbeats and breathing…”
“How could you not...it’s getting louder…just listen.”
“What is?” Natsu asked after a moment of trying and failing to hear what she was.
“...that voice.” she whispered quietly as she started to move towards the cave entrance. Her eyes glazed over and her features flooded with curiosity.
“Luce, stop! We can’t go in yet!” Natsu tried to grab a hold of her arm to pull her back, but as soon as he touched her, her magic surged outside of her body and sent both of the Dragon Slayers flying through the mountain landscape, breaking several trees and colliding with many rocks.
“...Fuck.” Erik hissed as he pulled himself back up to his feet and used a tree to painfully pop his dislocated shoulder back into place. “Let’s not do that shit again.”
Natsu landed nearby and was seemingly fine aside from his now-ripped vest.
“What happened?! Where is she?!” Natsu shouted.
“Well, judging by how far away she sounds...she threw us about half a mile south of the cave. ...Fucking bitch packs a nasty punch, too.”
“Watch your fucking mouth!” Natsu snapped brashly at him.
“Not that its really her fault, she was obviously in some kind of trance.”
“Huh..what are you talking about? I didn’t see anything.”
“I honestly want to know. How is it you’re so dumb, yet still so alive? Her eyes were glazed, she was out of it, moving without thinking, hearing voices. She was under some kind of spell.”
“How do you know all that?”
Erik shrugged, “I’ve been around once or twice, you learn to pick up on things. We better get back if you don’t want her to become snake food.”
The cave was as dark as it was big, shadows hung on every ridge and surface, she could hear the amphithere starting to shuffle awake, but she couldn’t bring herself to care. She knew there was danger here, but the possessive need to reach the center of the cave was much too dense to focus on anything else.
She stepped deeper and deeper into the cave, able to hear but not see the large reptiles in the open space moving away from her.
Suddenly, a light began to gently glow a few feet away and the closer she got to it the more radiant it became. Somewhere in her muddled brain she recognized it as a Celestial Key, but she couldn’t pinpoint who it belonged to.
Her arm outstretched slowly and as soon as her fingertips grazed the cold metal, the key exploded in cosmic light.
Her movements becoming her own again, she rubbed the light out of her eyes and looks around the, now, enlightened cavern. It was deep and it was filled with at least a couple hundred giant a mphithere; it took a few more moments to process why, but they were running away...fast.
She didn’t know from what until she heard Natsu scream her name in terror. She whipped her head around to find him and saw he and Erik trying their best to push their way through an army of eight foot tall reptiles.
“Dammit, Lucy! MOVE!” he screamed again, louder this time, more manic.
It was only then that she became fully aware of what was happening. The amphithere were running from something extraordinarily massive.
She’d been drawn to a key, had barely touched it and summoned a huge spirit.
If she could just get to the key again, then she could close the gate or maybe at least figure out who it was, but the snakes were like a title wave as they pushed her farther and farther away.
But then, she heard it. The indistinguishable roar of power, full of rage and confusion.
She’d summoned Draco, The Dragon Constellation.
She couldn't even begin to believe it. His key was a myth, a scary campfire story told amongst Celestial Wizards. It wasn't supposed to be real.
Pain ripped through her arm as it was hit by the dragon's horned tail and she went flying to the ground. It certainly didn’t feel like just a story anymore. Draco was real and he was going to crush her if she couldn’t find a way to get out from under his feet.
She slowly pushed herself to stand again, clutching her arm in pain. She was so preoccupied trying to find a way out from under the dragon’s feet that when she did, she didn’t notice that half the ceiling was about to fall down on her.
“Luce!” Natsu screamed, running to her aid as was natural for him, “Move!”
He tackled her to the ground, away from the hazardous boulder and the jostling and the once again sharp pain in her arm fully awakened her.
All sluggishness was removed from the last of whatever haze she'd been in and now only panic remained.
“What the hell is happening?!” she shouted, not believing the scene before her.
“You summoned a fucking dragon!” Cobra shouted while nearly all of his attention was being focused on not being trampled by the humongous magical beast as it thrashed around it its confusion, “Fucking Dumbass! What were you thinking!?”
Lucy pushed Natsu off of her and got up from the ground, pulling him with her as she went, “Shut up! I didn’t do anything! I barely even remember walking in here!” She yelled back at Cobra.
“Well it looks like a dragon, but smells like a spirit, so you’d better do something ‘Celestial Summoner’ or we’re all going to die by being fucking stepped on! And I refuse to die from something so gods damned fucking stupid!” He growled, more frustrated than he was afraid.
“Come on!” Natsu yelled as he avoided yet another falling chunk of boulder, “We need to get out of here, let’s go!”
“The fucking beasts are blocking the only exit,” Cobra shouted, “What do you expect us to do?!”
Natsu’s fists lit aflame as he began running towards a wall, “Make a new one!” he unleashed a dragon’s cry that made the creature above them momentarily still in confusion and punched a hole straight through the side of the cavern to the outside of the mountain.
“Hurry up!” he shouted, running through his personally crafted exit and the other two mages quickly followed, eager to be away from the feet of a massive stomping dragon.
Once outside, they found themselves on an extended ledge, but still essentially trapped. They backed away as far as they could from the creature that had materialized out of seemingly nowhere. When they reached the edge, a decently safe distance away, they allowed a moment to take in the scene before them.
A massive black dragon, bigger than any of them had ever seen, was thrashing its body around in a frantic manner - trying in vain to free itself from the rock. It’s long slender neck trapped within a hole it’s head had made upon summoning itself in the much too small cavern. It had a mane made of hundreds of spikes of different lengths. It’s elongated sharp teeth and strong jaw were trying to find somewhere on the mountain to latch onto to pull itself free.
Lucy felt immense unease and quietly summoned a confused Loke to her side, to aide her in a fight she was sure they were about to find themselves in.
“Princess!” Loke cried loudly, his voice just barely registering above the loud - nearly constant - quaking of the mountain, “...How did you...Where are we?” he took one glance at the large beastly creature before them and placed himself protectively between his summoner and the dragon, “How did you manage to find Draco’s Key? He’s not allowed any human to come near him in nearly half a millennium! …I can’t believe he answered your summons…”
“I didn’t summon him! He summoned himself, in that tiny ass cavern and now he’s stuck and he’s nearly killed us a dozen times.”
Cobra watched them all, calculating, trying to anticipate everyone’s next move. He was trying to get a read on the dragon’s soul, but was finding it difficult to get a lock on it or to interpret it. It was beyond frustrating.
Natsu, for his part, was pretty much just stunned where he stood. After Igneel had battled with Acnologia, he’d never imagined he’d see another dragon. He didn’t know what to do; fight, run, make friends...he just felt overwhelmed.
“Draco!” Loke shouted out to the thrashing spirit.
Lucy quickly grabbed his wrist as he began walking towards the dragon cautiously, “What are you doing?!” she yelled harshly over the chaos, “He could hurt you!”
“We need him to calm down or he’ll collapse the entire mountain trying to get free.” He looked back at her with confidence, “He summoned himself, so he must want to speak with you, but right now he needs our help, Princess.”
Lucy took a few deep breaths to calm her nerves, it didn’t really help, but this dragon was a Celestial Spirit and she wouldn’t allow him to struggle any longer. She nodded to The Lion Spirit and he continued trying to gain the dragon’s attention.
After several failed attempts at trying to be diplomatic and get the dragon's attention with his words, he gave up. He fired a Regulus Blast that hit a rock near where Draco’s head was. The large reptile stilled completely to turn his head and see where the attack had come from.
“Leo…” the great dragon growled, recognizing the Zodiac Leader standing not far away. He snapped his large jaws in the lion’s direction, “If you aim even one more shot at me, I will eat you; one scrawny limb at a time.”
Loke crossed his arms in confidence, and tauntingly quipped, “How will you do that when your huge head is stuck inside of a mountain?”
When all he got in response was a threatening growl that promised extreme pain, he chuckled.
“No need to worry, Draco, we’ll get you out.” Loke offered, “Before that, though, I need to know why you’ve summoned yourself here. You have broken several Celestial Laws by coming to this world of your own volition as an uncontracted spirit and hiding your own key without explanation for a long as you have.”
Draco observed all who were present and then spoke backhandedly, “I do not need to explain my actions to the overly glorified rodent that you are. I came, solely, with the intent of speaking to the Heartfilia Heir when I felt their presence near my key. I do not require that you be here, nor do I wish for these two Dragon Slayers to be present. Take them with you when you go. I will not tolerate them.”
Natsu and Cobra produced objections of the dragon’s easy dismissal with shouts of, “No way I’m leaving!” and “Fat fucking chance, Scaly Bastard!”
Lucy watched on in silent contemplation. She was wary of the large spirit, but also wanted to understand his quick distrust of her friends and she was curious to know what matter was so pressing that he was risking invoking the wrath of The King to speak with her.
“I am not leaving, Draco.” Loke stated assertively, “Lucy Heartfilia’s business is my own as she is my contracted mage. I am bound to serve her for the entirety of her life, I do not take that lightly.”
“That...is highly unfortunate for you, girl. What might you have done to deserve a life long attachment to this whining kitten?” Draco addressed Lucy directly now, feeling satisfied when Loke face grew sour at the insult. It would seem, even though centuries had passed between their last encounter, it was still just as easy and amusing to get a rise out of The Lion Spirit.
Loke was about to protest to the insult placed on him, but Lucy stepped in front of him to speak to the dragon, “I may have righted an injustice that saved his life, but that is not pressing news. Would you please tell me how I can be of help to you? You sought me out, I would like to know why.”
He took stock of her demeanor, of how she held herself while addressing him even though she was obviously afraid. She stood tall and proud, confident in her sincere words and actions. She was everything he’d ever known a Heartfilia to be.
He inclined his large horned head towards her, “Very well, Heartfilia, but first, I wish to be free of this confinement.”
“You can just call me Lucy,” she smiled up at him, “but help with your predicament...well, I’m sure Natsu can help get you out.”
The Ancient Dragon quickly turned his piercing gaze over to the pink haired human standing not an arms length away from the Celestial Wizard. Taking a longer observation of him he recognized his features and his scent from many, many years ago.
“That is Igneel’s Dragon Slayer.” Draco observed aloud, “Why is he here?”
“You knew my dad!?” Natsu shouted excitedly, “That is so cool! You have to fight me!!”
Draco did not move as Natsu began to charge towards him because he was only in motion for a moment. Lucy quickly grabbed Natsu by his ear and he yelped in pain. She whispered something to him that even the ancient dragon could not hear, but all the same, Natsu sat down on the rubble scattered ground and pouted like a hatchling.
“...Fucking dumbass.” Draco heard the other dragon slayer scoff under his breath. He did not recognize this one and wanted to know from which dragon the man hailed.
“Who are you?” Draco questioned Cobra.
“None of your fucking business.” Cobra snapped
“I do not trust Dragon Slayers, insolent human, so you will tell me who you are and what Draconic Magic you possess or the first thing I do when I am freed will be to remove you from this mountain.”
“Are you seriously threatening me?” Cobra bared his teeth in response, “I will end your life so gruesomely that all you’ll know is pain!”
A star filled whip snapped through the tense air and attention from all parties was brought back to Lucy. She didn’t have control over Erik like she did over Natsu, so if she had to stop a fight between him and Draco, she would have to use force. She didn’t want to do that, though, so she answered for Erik and hoped for the best.
“His name is Cobra. He is Earthland’s Poison Dragon Slayer. He’s what we’ve come to call a Second Generation; not trained by a dragon, but has the ability to use the magic all the same. He channels his magic from a dragon lacrima implanted in him. He is a bit hostile, but he is somewhat a friend.”
“You dumb bitch, mind your own fucking business!”
“You need to hold your fucking tongue! You made it my business when you threatened harm upon a Celestial Spirit. I will not tolerate violence, from any of you.” She glared at him with such an intense ferocity that he found himself slightly backing down - it shocked him, he'd never felt that way before. Then she took a quick glance at everyone and cemented her warning. Natsu didn’t need it, though, he believed her just fine. He’d known her for far too long to think she wouldn’t make good on a threat like that.
Draco said nothing in response to their bickering, only observing the way she handled herself and those around her.
“Natsu! Get Draco free. Erik take a fucking walk if you have to, or go the fuck back to your guild.”
Natsu quickly got up from his seated position and got to work busting away the rock around the dragon.
“I’m not going fucking anywhere, so deal with it.” Cobra grumbled. Yeah he could go back to Crime Sorciere, but there was a living dragon right in front of him that wasn’t trying to kill them at the moment and he’d be damned if he was going to miss out on the potential for some answers to his magic.
Lucy rolled her eyes, but said nothing back. She simply waited for Draco to be free of the cave, all the while desperately trying to avoid the nonstop vibrations in her pocket from her Communications Lacrima that was more than likely Laxus trying to talk to her. She didn’t want to face him yet, not after the brief time they shared together that he probably didn’t even remember. Not after she covered up all the evidence...not after she ran.
About twenty minutes minutes later found Natsu and a huffy Loke removing the last of the mountain side causing their problems.
Erik, even though he refused to help, also refused to leave. So he was just sitting in a small amount of shade he managed to find, watching everyone else's work.
Draco stretched his long horned neck after being completely freed and noticing that the space on the ledge was still limited he decided to lay down to try to occupy less of it.
“Thank you for help,” Draco spoke as he got settled, “Now, we shouldn't waste anymore time. Tell me what you know of your family’s past so that I may fill what holes there may be after so many centuries, thus fulfilling my obligation to your ancestors.”
“That’s...that’s all you want to talk about? My family?” Lucy questioned incredulously.
“It is hardly a minute topic, but yes, that is essentially all.”
“Uh..okay,” She started roughly, “Well, there’s uh..its just me. My mom got sick when I was little and after a few years she died. Um, I ran away from my father’s estate when I was seventeen, disappeared for seven years, and when I came back, he was dead too.”
She thought about it for a while longer, “There’s really not much more to tell. Mama never got to tell me stories about her parents and my dad never knew his. I had to learn how to use my magic as I went along. Capricorn and Aquarius helped a lot, but I’m sure I’d be much better at it if Mama would have had time to teach me how to do more than just summon and form contracts.
Draco’s large slit eyes widened in surprise, an interesting expression on a dragon, “That is all you know? That is nothing, girl! This is unacceptable! You are the sole Heartfilia Heir, you should know your own history!”
“Then tell me what you know.” She said flooded with inquisition.
Draco sighed a big breath, jostling her hair, “I will, but not here. There is a lot to know and this place is not safe. There are too many possible ears listening that cannot know these secrets.”
“So you did all this, almost killed us a dozen fucking times and now you’re not gonna say anything?!” Cobra barked up at the dragon, “Well fuck you!”
Draco ignored him completely.
“Lucy Heartfilia, you will summon me when you find a more secluded place to discuss the past. Only you and Capricorn - The Sea Goat - may be present, your Dragon Slayers may not attend. I shall see to it that there will be consequences if you do not obey my terms. See to it that its soon, you’ve been kept in the dark far too long.”
With his command released, Draco faded away in a shimmering light.
“Get back here!” Natsu yelled at the sky, shaking a flaming fist, “Tell me what you know about my dad!”
Confusion creased deep in her brows, Lucy turned to Loke, “What did he mean?”
Loke ran his hands nervously through his wild hair, “I think it would be best to listen to him, Princess. I will help you and the others finish this job, but then you need to go back home and summon Draco again.”
She opened her mouth to object when she realized something that near broke her heart, “You know what this is all about, don’t you?”
Her lion averted his eyes, avoiding her pained gaze.
“If a spirit that’s been missing for centuries knows something about my family, then you definitely did...and you kept it from me…”
“Lucy, please, don’t be hurt. I’ve wanted to tell you, but it’s not my place. You’ll understand soon. Let’s just finish this job, go home, and it will all be cleared up. I promise.”
Lucy was silent for some time as she thought, “No. I think...I think you should go.”
“...What? No, I want to help you finish thi-”
“No, Leo. I think its best if you go home. I’ll call you after I know everything. We’ll talk then.”
“Forced Gate Closure.” She spoke numbly.
Loke disappeared with shock etched on his features.
She called him Leo…