Rating: T for themes
Chapter Rating: T for themes
It was raining when they pulled into the train station in Magnolia. “Oh no, it looks like Juvia’s at it again. I wonder if it was because Gray rejected her again.” Wendy said amused.
Lucy perked up at the name. “Gray? As in Gray Fullbuster?”
“Yeah, how do you know the ice-make mage?”
“He’s a really good friend of mine. A lot like my older brother. A friend of Virgo’s actually sent him to meet me for some reason.” Lucy lightly shifted Natsu so that he was sitting up, and the boy groaned. She stood up from the bench and grabbed their luggage from overhead. “Anyway, Gray and I are pretty good friends, but I didn’t know about any of this magic stuff, so I guess I didn’t know him that well.”
“Lucy, that’s really not fair to yourself — you know a side of Gray none of us do. But besides that, master just called me back from a job because we recruited another dragon slayer. I was wondering if it was Natsu, but now I am not so certain.” When Lucy looked at her in confusion, Wendy explained further. “I can smell another dragon slayer here. Smells like metal.”
Natsu groaned when the train came to a full stop before he stood up, rushing out of the train, not looking back. Lucy shook her head and waited for Happy to jump on her shoulder. When he had settled down, she walked out of the train with Wendy following behind her. “Luce! What took you so long?” Rolling her eyes, she chucked his pack at him and then turned to Wendy.
“All right, so where are we going?”
Natsu’s nose twitched. “Why do you smell funny?”
Wendy chuckled and waved her arm to tell her to follow.
The walk to the guild was quiet and surprisingly so. But Natsu looked like he was trying to figure something out. “Natsu, knock that off, you look like you’re in pain.”
“Oi, be nice to me Lucy.” Lucy groaned as his arm crossed her shoulder. But she was glad that she didn’t have to make him sling his arm over her shoulder to get the guys’ looks off of her.
They had unknowingly walked into the guild and it was extremely noisy. The first thing that Lucy heard was a cry of her name. Then she heard an unfamiliar voice.
“Gray, your clothes.”
He ignored her, running over to Lucy and picking her up, spinning her around. “Hands off!” Natsu yelled at him and punched him in the face.
“You wanna go pyro?”
“You bet stripper!”
Lucy put a hand to her face. “Boys, please.” They didn’t listen, however they didn’t get a chance to when Erza walked over and smacked their heads together. “Ya shoulda listened.”
Wendy walked over to the bar in the back, which was being manned by a familiar face. “Mirajane?”
“Is master here? I have someone he would like to meet.” Mira looked up then and winked, she winked at Lucy.
“Let me go find—”
“You brats made a mess again!”
“Oh,” the platinum haired woman giggled. “I guess I don’t have to.”
“Oh, there is a new recruit yes?”
“Yes, master.” This came from Erza who was glaring at the now standing boys. Natsu was leaning against Lucy, using her as a way to hold himself up.
The short, white haired man’s gaze zeroed in on the pink haired boy and he hid behind Lucy. “Natsu. Been a few years huh? Still wild as ever I assume.” Lucy laughed and the short man’s gaze landed on her. “You must be the new recruit.”
“Ah, so it’s you who is Gray and Erza’s little sister.” Lucy smiled at that and nodded. “Yes, Wendy, Carla, Natsu, Happy, Erza, Gray, and of course Lucy, follow me.”
Lucy set her bag down in the spare bedroom Natsu had. She remembered how when they were younger, when he was nearly twelve and she was nearly ten, he kept disappearing for months.
She turned around at the door creaking open. “Did you build this yourself?”
“Yes. I made it so I could add on too.” He was leaning in the doorway and grinning at her.
“Well, I’m sorry for intruding. If we could take a few jobs, then I will find an apartment and get out of your hair.” She hated that she had to depend on him for so much, but when she said that he frowned.
“Luce,” he walked over to where she was seated on the full size mattress. “You don’t have to do that.” Natsu kneeled down in front of her. He grabbed her hands and rested his head on her bare thighs. “You’re always welcome here.”
“But it’s your and Happy’s home, I don’t want to take that away. It’s your place to escape to.”
Natsu got up and sat on the bed next to her, pulling her into a hug and nuzzling into her neck. It was funny how much of an animal he could be sometimes. “Yeah, but why would I ever want to get away from you Luce? Besides, you can make sure this place stays clean.”
He pulled back with his shit-eating grin that Lucy knew so well and she smiled, rolling her eyes at her best friend. “And the truth comes out.”
“Yup, and you cook the best food Luce! So I wanna keep you around for a while.” Lucy leaned into her friend and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
“Then I better get unpacked. At least all we’ll have to spend money on is food with whatever money we make from jobs.” Natsu watched as his friend began to unpack, mumbling to herself. “I need to get some sheets and a comforter, then maybe a few other things for personal touch. Maybe I’ll ask Virgo to bring me some stuff from the—” Lucy cut off and looked at a point on the wall, her head tilted and a confused look on her face. “Celestial realm? How did I know that?”
“It’s ingrained with your magic.” Natsu leaned back on the bed as the blonde continued about her unpacking. If he was being completely honest with himself — yeah, as if he would do that — then he would admit to what Mira had claimed over by the lake. He had fallen for this girl. But she didn’t need to know that.
Natsu grinned when she turned to look at him and she smiled back. “Thank you Natsu. I don’t know if you know how much it means to me that you’re letting me stay here.”
“Really, Luce. My door is always open. No matter what. All right?”
“All right.” She looked out the window, to see that it was still raining. But that was only the beginning of the flood.
“Hey Luce!” Lucy turned around from the bar with a solemn look, trying to prepare herself for what she would see. “Me and Flare are gonna go out today. And,” Natsu looked over at the red haired woman with a conspiratorial look. “We need the house tonight.”
“Ah, okay…” Lucy watched as Natsu turned his bright grin on the model like female right next to him. It had been nearly a year since they — no, since Lucy, joined Fairy Tail. Natsu had already been a member.
Erza went to Natsu from where she had been seated at one of the tables in the room. “We’re supposed to go on that job today Natsu.”
“Just go without me.”
“It specifically requests you Natsu, we can’t.”
“Sorry Erza, I have a date.” With that, Natsu walked out of the guild and Erza turned, stomping over to Lucy.
“What is going on with him?” Lucy shrugged at the question. She honestly didn’t know. Natsu had met Flare after she had tried to kill Lucy on a job. After talking with Lucy, Flare had admitted that she was hired for whatever it was she had to do, just so that she could go back home. Lucy had helped the girl get back home, no strings attached — except “please don’t kill me” and they had become friends. Well, sort of.
A month after that, Lucy had gone home to see Flare and Natsu on the couch making out. She had gaped for a full minute before she turned around and slammed the door behind her, running to Levy’s dorm in Fairy Hills. Lucy still wasn’t used to their relationship, and they had been dating for a full two months.
“I wish I knew Erza. Either way, can I stay with you tonight?”
“Yes, Lucy, of course you can.” Lucy tried to smile her thanks, but all she could think of was the fact that she was being kicked out of her house, again. It was the third time this week. She had already started looking at apartments. Erza looked at her with pity and Lucy couldn’t handle it.
“Actually, I’m gonna take a job. Can I just take the one that asked for me and Natsu?”
“Sure. Do you want me to—”
“No!” Lucy took in a breath. “No, I need some alone time. Thank you, Erza.” Erza gave her the flyer and Lucy left to go pack. She didn’t bother leaving anything behind this time. She knew she would just find an apartment when she came back.
Walking away from his house, Lucy looked back over her shoulder, a sigh escaping her. When she got to the train station, the man who had recently come to recognize her was working the ticket station. She walked up and smiled tightly at him. “One ticket please.”
“No one going with you today sweetheart?”
“Nope. Just me.”
“Well, you be careful. 70 jewels please.” Lucy pulled the jewels out of the purse resting against her hip and the man looked at her in concern. “You aren’t gonna try and weasel a discount?”
“Doesn’t matter, you wouldn’t fall for it anyway.” Her reply was monotone and the man leaned over the counter.
“What’s wrong Lucy?”
“Nothing.” She left the jewels and snagged the ticket from the man’s hand before turning around and stalking onto the train, finding a seat.
The entire ride was uneventful and she made her way to the clients house, which was over by where she used to live. She knocked and the door opened to reveal a man with deep red hair. “Igneel?”
“Lucy? Where’s Natsu?”
She looked down. “He couldn’t make it.” Igneel grabbed her shoulder and pulled her into a hug before bringing her inside. “But I’m here to take the job.” Igneel looked down at her hand.
“Do you still have your ring that he made you?” Lucy’s hand flew to her neck, where the ring hung on a necklace hidden inside of her shirt because she didn’t want Natsu to know about it. He had asked her once recently why she still wore it when she had so many other rings and she had replied with a simple ‘because you made it for me.’ He had grimaced and turned away. When he looked at it again after that, it was with some weird emotion she couldn’t place. So, she hid it.
Another knock sounded at the door and Igneel looked at it confused before going to open it. A blue cat flew in, straight for Lucy and hugged her chest. “Lushi! You left me!”
“I’m sorry Happy!” She hugged him and coddled him like a child. She hadn’t meant to leave him behind, but she had been in such a hurry to get out of Magnolia and away that she had forgotten about him.
“Well, now we have Happy, so it should be just fine.” Igneel turned to look at Lucy before frowning. “This might be a little uncomfortable for just you Lucy. I need you to go to the party your father is having tonight and give this to him.” Lucy nodded, taking the necklace Igneel held out. “Oh and Lucy, happy birthday.”
Tears filled her eyes as she remembered that today was indeed her birthday, and that not one other person, besides Happy, who had said the same that morning, remembered. “Thank you Igneel.”
“Now, you can use the spare bedroom to dress. Do you have something appropriate?”
“I will ask Virgo to get me something.” And Lucy did exactly that. She gripped the fabric in her hand, frowning at herself in the mirror. It was the same dress she had worn at her suitor’s ball, only fixed and clean. The slit in the side was still there, but not all the way up to her waist like it had been when she had ripped the dress. Lucy was uncertain of the look on her.
“You look beautiful princess, do not worry about a thing.” Cancer had done Lucy’s hair, and Gemi and Mini had done her make up. Virgo was right, she did look beautiful, but the person she wanted to see her was far away. She smiled ruefully at her reflection before she remembered the etiquette lessons Aquarius had given her as a child.
When Lucy walked into her childhood home, she released a heavy sigh. Happy sat on her shoulder and was holding the necklace for her father. Lucy looked around to see a lot of the people that had been at her suitor’s ball. She got to the door and was stopped by one of the guards. “Name please.”
“Lucy Heartfilia; I’m just here to see my father if you would get him for me.”
“Of course miss, just a moment.” One of the guards, the one who had done all of the speaking, walked off to find her father and Lucy fidgeted nervously. She had no idea how her father would react to seeing her after the year she had.
“My dear Lucy. Happy birthday, sweetheart.” Lucy curtsied for her father, an automatic response that her father chuckled at and Lucy looked up at him.
“Thank you father.” She took the necklace from Happy and then held it out for her father. “Igneel requested that I give you this.”
Her father took the necklace and Lucy turned around to leave. “Will you not stay?” Her father put a hand on her shoulder. “Enjoy the party at least?”
“I would love if I could retire in a room. It has been a long day and I am weary. But for the party, no, I will not stay.”
Her father nodded and put his arm through hers. “Then I shall walk you to your room so we may talk a bit if that is okay with you.” Lucy smiled and her father took that as an okay. “So, how is that boy of yours doing? The pink haired one?”
“Mm, yes, has he made a move on you yet?”
“Ah, no.” She chuckled nervously. “He actually has a girlfriend.”
“Yeah.” Her father didn’t talk more as he thought about that. But his hand that was still holding the necklace she had brought him went in front of her.
“This is actually for you. I have one for the boy as well. Protection charms if you will. I will have someone bring his to you in a moment. Please darling, rest.”
“Thank you father.” Lucy grimaced as she turned the knob, afraid she was going to find a barren room. Instead, it was exactly the same as she had left it a year ago. Of course, it was cleaner than it had been when she went, throwing things around for Virgo to pack. She laughed at the thought before laying on the bed, falling asleep in her dress.
Lucy was still in the dress when she got on the train back to Magnolia. Although it had been five days since she had left.
Her dress was tattered, worse than it was the first time she wore it. She had bruises and cuts, and even a broken leg. But she had to get back. She had somehow ended up in a fight, then tied up in the woods, and then a fight again. She had no idea where Happy had been during the first fight, but when she screamed out in pain from the bones in her leg shattering — the guy she was against’s specialty was shattering bones — he showed up and flew her out of there.
She was wearing three necklaces now. Her ring, her charm, and Natsu’s charm. Protection charm my ass. Protection from what?
Suddenly there was a man sitting across from her and she looked up to see Loke. “What are you doing here?” She didn’t say it annoyed or angry, but just a tired question, and the orange haired man looked at his mage in concern.
“You’re injured Lucy. What happened?”
“I don’t even know.” Lucy had fallen asleep after that when Loke looked to be deep in thought, and when she woke up they were pulling into Magnolia station. It was raining again, and Lucy gave a small smile before the pain registered in her brain and she groaned.
“Let’s get you to the guild. Happy, you get her luggage.” Loke said.
Loke carried her all the way to the guild before walking in. “Where’s Wendy?”
“I’m right here Loke, what’s— oh my!” Wendy rushed over to Lucy, who had fallen back asleep. “Wake her up! Right now!” Her voice was laced with panic as she assessed the state Lucy was in. “We don’t have time, lay her down. How long has she been injured?”
“I’m not sure. She couldn’t call any of us out for some reason.”
“She even has two protection charms on, they should have stopped something like this.” Wendy watched as Loke laid her on the ground where he stood and tried to wake her up. “Damnit Lucy, wake up!” Wendy had tears in her eyes. “She’s going into a coma. If we don’t wake her up now we may lose her. She needs excessive heat. Where the hell is Natsu when you need him?”
“Would lightning work?” Laxus asked and Wendy shook her head. He stood with his hands poised before they dropped to his side. No one knew what to do. If master were there he would have been able to help, but he wasn’t, and no one knew where Natsu was; they hadn’t seen him since the third day Lucy was gone.
Just then, said pink haired man walked in the guild. “Is Lucy back? I can smell her. I’ve got something to tell her!” He seemed really excited about whatever he had to tell her.
“Good, you’re here Natsu!” Wendy called and Natsu looked at her kneeling on the ground. Happy and Carla were next to her, and Loke was crouched down, blocking Natsu’s line of sight. “Come here, we need your heat. You need to burn her!”
“Burn who?” Natsu walked over cautiously and bent down to see Lucy. His heart was racing as he saw the desperate state she was in. “What happened?” This time, Erza came and answered.
“You didn’t go with her is what happened.”
“We don’t have time for a fight! We will lose her if you don’t burn her now! Burn her right leg.” Wendy was being commanding, and everybody backed off, including Erza. Natsu looked at Lucy’s leg, which looked completely fine, but he trusted Wendy so he did as she said.
Lucy woke up screaming in pain, and when Natsu began to pull back, Wendy told him to continue. He did, but it was an internal struggle for him. He didn’t want to hurt her, but he had to.
“Nat— Natsu.” Her hand reached for her neck and she unclasped a necklace, giving it to him. “For you.” Her voice was croaked and Natsu pulled back, despite Wendy’s protests. He took it and she smiled at him. Natsu could focus on inspecting her now, and he saw that she was in the dress from her suitor’s ball. Why though, he didn’t know. He saw that there were two more chains on her neck and he followed them down to see that one was the same thing she had given to him, only a slightly different pattern. The other was the ring that he had made her.
“Luce?” His voice cracked when he saw the state she was in, but Wendy had already begun healing her. Loke left, leaving Natsu to watch over her. But not without making sure that Natsu put the necklace on. If Lucy was going to give it to him in her near-death state, then he better take it and wear it right then.
Lucy grimaced when Wendy went to her leg and her hand was clenched in a fist. Natsu grabbed it and made her use him instead. When Wendy was done, she turned to Natsu. “She needs to rest, but she needs someone to watch over her. Will you do that Natsu?”
“Yeah, I’ll take her back to the house to rest.”
“No!” Lucy’s exclamation startled those around her. “Can we just stay in the infirmary? Please, Natsu.” Her eyes were wide and Natsu nodded.
Natsu picked Lucy up and brought her to the infirmary, laying her down on one of the beds.
Natsu hated to see her that way — broken and hurting. Natsu had left Gray watching over her while he went home to shower. It had been three days, and she was still on bedrest. Her luggage was still not unpacked, she wouldn’t let anyone take it to Natsu’s house. Natsu looked around his house. There was a bunch of random crap strewn around and he could already hear her scolding him about for just leaving it around. There were cups on the coffee table. About ten. Three had lipstick stains on them.
“Damnit!” Natsu swiped at the dishes on the table, the glass shattering on the floor.
“Natsu!” Happy flew into the room in a frenzy. “What’s wrong?”
“Why didn’t she come get me?” Natsu turned to look at his friend. “I would’ve come had she just asked.” He sunk back onto the couch. Happy flew over to him, landing beside him and looking up at him in concern.
“Natsu, she had Erza ask you. You ignored her every time she tried to tell you something. You would interrupt her or just plain walk away. She gave up after a while Natsu.” Happy put his paw on his friend’s knee, trying to comfort him.
The door burst open. “She’s asking for you.”
“She’s awake?” Natsu ran after Gray, Happy following closely behind.
“Yes, stupid pyro. How else would she be asking for you?”
Natsu ignored the dig, favoring instead to run ahead and into the infirmary. “Luce.”
She looked up with a smile. “Hey Natsu.” He couldn’t breathe, all he could think of was that his princess was okay. She was okay and in front of him. “I just wanted to let you know that I’m moving into an apartment.”
He really couldn’t breathe. She was, what? “What? Luce, no.”
She put up a hand. “I’m not debating this. You and Flare won’t have to worry about me anymore that way and Happy can always come stay with me when you have her over.”
“No Luce. Flare and I aren’t together anymore.”
Lucy looked up shocked. “What?” Natsu leaned down at the tears in her eyes, dragging her in for a tight hug.
“I’m sorry. I know you were good friends but I just—”
“Natsu, what happened?”
“She got annoyed that you came before her, said you should always put your girlfriend before other girls. And I told her no, that you always come first. So after that we kind of broke it off. I’ll always put you first Luce. You should know that by now. After all,” he said with a sly smirk. “You are my princess.”
Lucy looked at him in shock, “yeah. And you must protect me my dragon.” The two hugged tightly until Lucy grimaced. Natsu stepped back to let others in but she put her hand out onto his arm. “No, don’t go.”
“I won’t. Would you like to come see everyone else?”
Natsu helped Lucy to stand up, making sure she was leaning on him. When they walked out everyone looked at Lucy excitedly. “Are you feeling better Lu?”
Lucy smiled at her friend, nodding as she held onto the pink haired man beside her. “I’ll be fine. I just need to rest.”
“What you need,” Wendy interjected. “Is warmth, but we don’t have enough heating pads to heat your entire body.”
“Oh, then Luce and I can just lay together!” Lucy looked up at Natsu, who was grinning like he had just won the jackpot. Instead of arguing about it, she just nodded, leaning further into him.
“Good, now, you two should get going. Have fun now!” Lucy was confused at the last part, but she just shrugged it off.
Natsu picked her up and carried her to his house. The two laid down in Lucy’s bed, Natsu on her left with an arm slung over her waist.
“Let’s do something. Just us.”