|Apple & Cinnamon
Author: Sechskies PM
Gray/Lucy. Drabble series — Of ice and keys, and snippets of their moments that will never be told. / 06: The dam is breaking, and all she can do is pray. Following a botched mission, Lucy is forced to deal with the terrible aftermath.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Friendship - Gray F. & Lucy H. - Chapters: 6 - Words: 7,704 - Reviews: 150 - Favs: 76 - Follows: 58 - Updated: 06-03-12 - Published: 02-14-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7834120
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Oh, wow. I've been playing too much FF recently that I've forgotten most about this pairing. I'm really sorry, guys. Stupid Mashima keeps breaking my heart every chapter he does recently, so I needed to get away from the FT fandom for a while. The bad news is I got too obsessed with playing FFXIII-2 that I developed another ill-fated love for the Noel x Serah pairing (anyone with me? *echoes*) — much more than GrayLu at this point, to be honest (blame Mashima!). The good news though is... I have no plans to add anything to that fandom, because I love you guys too much to just up and leave my GrayLu fanfics. I hope that's good news to anyone who cares. xD
Okay, moving on~
This chapter is notably different from the others, but I hope you still like it. If you're curious, more of this will be explained at my A/N below (yes, I'm not done — deal with it). Props to WinterMelon Pearl (failure, insanity) and my dear friend Hitomi (keeping control) for the prompts.
Oh, and a sweet li'l shout out to my new buddies, Hachibukai and ILoveCelestialIce! I'm really sorry for suddenly going AWOL on you. Work sucks and FF rules, but I love you guys, so I'll be sure to PM you both at FB once I've wrapped up everything at work. *blows kisses*
Standard disclaimers apply.
Rated T for angst, self-loathing, and slight mentions of gore/violence and death.
You've been warned.
Apple & Cinnamon
She sits in the dark, back propped against the wall, eyes glazed over and distant, as if she is a hollow shell, a breathing human without a soul. The sound of the clock ticking away seems to echo across the empty area, and when it rings, signaling a new hour, only then does she make the slightest of movements — a soft fluttering of the eyelids, dried lips parting for air, and fingers twitching faintly as she slowly lifts her hands to her face.
With a somber, almost expressionless mask, she stares at them silently for a few seconds, studying the lines, the small scars, the fresh scrapes, and... sees something else.
Something faint, something dry, something red.
A pang of pain and guilt instantly flashes across her features, but she remains frozen, lacking the energy to do anything else. When her eyes begin to burn at the dreadful sight, she quickly shuts them tight, purses her lips in an effort not to give in.
One, two, three minutes pass, she doesn't budge.
Eight, nine, ten minutes after, she begins to feel numb.
Releasing a shaky breath, she moves to a fetal pose, head settled on folded arms as she hugs her knees close to her chest. She tries to calm herself in this new position, closing her eyes once again to welcome the soothing darkness, but finds that there is something already playing under her lids, unwanted images being conjured by her restless mind.
The pile of immobile bodies.
The bloodied sword held by a hooded figure.
They won't go away...
A small whimper escapes her mouth, and she bites her lower lip to keep herself from making any more sounds. Returning to her previous stance, she pulls at her pigtails to her nose, golden tresses dull and lackluster. She takes in a few large whiffs in hopes that the smell of her bubblegum shampoo will overwhelm her sense of dread, take her back to her quaint apartment where it's safe and peaceful and happy, always happy—
The horrid stench of death.
The rotten smell of fear.
They won't go away...
The dam is about to break, but she suppresses it still. As she buries herself further into the shallow corner she is in, she moves her hands to cover her ears, pushing the tragus to her ear canals in a wretched attempt to block out any outside noise. It works at first, and she almost relaxes, but the comfort, she comes to find, is short-lived.
The piercing screams from afar.
The frantic cries of help.
They won't go away...
By now, she is trembling, the Goosebumps on her skin more apparent, and she sends a silent prayer to the heavens, begging her mom, her dad, her spirits not to make her let go. She can't have that — not when it all happened because of her naïveté, her weakness, her failure. She can't cry; she won't do it. Right now, more than ever, she won't grant herself the luxury.
She doesn't deserve it.
As she pulls out her fingers, she is quick to identify a new voice in her ears that she has involuntarily blocked out along with the rest of the outside world. The sound is faint, yet deep, and it seems to instill a familiar bit of warmth within her, but she cannot recognize it at the moment. Trying to distinguish where the dull frequency is coming from, she gazes up to find a hazy, spiky-headed silhouette approaching. Her eyebrows crease, and she blinks; the blob gradually takes shape into a vision of Gray now kneeling before her, looking aghast and worried. His shirt is gone, his bare chest displaying a few gashes and dirt marks, his persona battle-weary. She can tell with his moving lips that he is trying to say something, but only the faint ring of his voice manages to enter her ears.
"It's okay, Lucy, I'm here. You're safe now." he continues to repeat as he moves his hand to gently rest on her shoulder and another to cup her cheek. A frown mars his face the very instant his skin touches hers, not liking how it's so cold, even for him. Where was Natsu?, his unsteady eyes seem to convey. Why wasn't Loke with her? Why didn't he find her sooner?
The pained expression she sees on him is almost unbearable, triggering something in her senses. Her body goes rigid, and she desperately clings to that last sliver of strength within her, repeating her resolve in her mind like an endless song because she's suddenly feeling nauseous, her eyes are starting to burn again, all her pent-up feelings are threatening to engulf her, swallow her whole, drown her over and over and the dam, the dam is breaking—
"I'm sorry." she blurts out, breathless and heartbreakingly lost. Gray says nothing, only strains to give her what he hopes is a comforting smile, and it is all that she needs to finally, finally shatter.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry."
Tears now trickling down uncontrollably, cold hands shakily reach out to him, and he takes her in his arms, his bigger frame encompassing her quivering body. She latches onto him frantically, nails digging hard to his bare skin, never letting go, and he hugs her closer, tighter, and just as desperate.
"I'm sorry, please don't leave me. I'm so sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so—"
"Shhh... It's okay, Lucy. It's not your fault," he tells her, struggling to ignore how his heart breaks at every apology she chokes out, a painful reminder of their failure, his failure. "I'm here. Everything's gonna be okay, I promise you that."
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry—"
"We're gonna get over this, Lucy. Everything's gonna be okay..."
In a way, we're not that different,
Like two wings of a butterfly.
So when you break, I fall too,
But together, we can reach the sky.
06.03.12 ~ First published.
06.04.12 ~ Proofread the chapter. Me lazy. xD
First off, don't kill me. I wrote this in the midst of my GrayLu depression, so my mind couldn't really conjure any happy thoughts about them back then.
Second, I've envisioned this as a darker take on a 'mission gone wrong' and how exactly will it affect Lucy. I wanted to write her experiencing something painfully real the first time (death), subsequently leading her to seriously reflect on her weakness and punishing herself for it. The manga is regrettably too light to make her dwell on that (and I'm still pissed off that she called forth Urano Metria like how Naruto does his Rasengan — why was her effin' training effin' off-screen?), so I felt the need to make one for myself. I mean, really, Lucy's got one of the best magic in FT-verse, but she's the most useless character there is. It's like Mashima put her there for purely random sexy shots and mindless fanservice. Heck, even the Exceeds are more useful than her. *sigh*
So, where was I? Uh, yeah. Basically, this chapter is an aftermath of a traumatic botched mission. Lucy blames herself for it and tries to take it all in like a good tough cookie, but her resolve crumbles (no pun intended! xD) when Gray shows up, and in her frenzied state, apologizes to him for failing her part of the mission — which was NOT to let their clients die (sort of). Yeah, why didn't I just put that up instead of this weird, fragmented chapter? T_T
Review if you like, and if you're still here reading this, thank you for putting up with my rambles. :)