Hey guys. Just though I'd try out a new fandom and this idea has been stuck on my mind ever since the dragons appeared. Hope you like it and don't forget to leave a review!
Disclaimer: I do not own Fairy Tail.
Ch.1: Until We Meet Again
The air was filled with ash and decay; a faint metallic scent still lingering from the old blood stains on the broken cobblestone of the Flower Blooming Capital of Crocus. The ruins that were in its place were a morbid mockery of the famed name; there were no flowers to be seen here. All that was left were the dilapidated remains of buildings that once thrived with life.
A cloaked figure flitted through the fallen structures, a wraith in the wind. It ignored the scent of death that had seeped into the air, moving with single minded purpose. It abruptly stopped upon reaching the center of the decrepit city.
Stone turned gray from ash and fire, the once stunning Mercurius Palace was nothing but a pile of rocks, slowly turning to dust. In the blink of an eye, hundreds of years of history were ruined as if it were merely a castle made of sand.
The dragons had left absolutely nothing standing.
Even now they flew in the overcast skies above, roaring in triumph at the lands that they had conquered so easily from the weak humans. The figure melded in with the shadows of a broken wall with practiced ease as they soared past. Waiting silently, the hooded person clenched their fist tightly as the pack overhead finally flew away from the fallen capital before moving forward.
Weaving through cracked pipes and large fragments of stone, the figure made their way to a small clearing that was protected from view by a fallen tower. In the opening lay several rows of graves made clumsily from pieces of broken wood. Each was lovingly carved with a name and the symbol of a graceful fairy with a curious tail.
It was here that the mysterious figure finally pulled off their hood to reveal a mane of long blond hair, dirty and in disarray. Her dull eyes looked at every grave, and she slowly walked down each aisle before coming to a stop to crouch in front of the last grave. She gently rested a hand on the marker, tracing the curved letters that spelled the name 'Natsu Dragneel.'
"Lucy, we can't stay here too long. We have to move on," Leo's voice said softly as he materialized behind her with a flash. There was unspeakable sadness in those hazel eyes as he gazed down the line of graves. His heart clenched as he wondered, not for the first time, how things had turned out this way.
The blond remained silent, staring blindly ahead. Her face was gaunt and dirty fringes shaded dull eyes. She made no move to answer the lead Zodiac Spirit.
"Nii-sama is correct, Hime. We must leave before the dragons come back. Perhaps, if we look for survivors-"
"Survivors?" Brown eyes focused on the maid, narrowing dangerously, at last giving a response. "There are none. I haven't seen another human in over a year. Anyone left has either joined them or been enslaved. So please, tell me, what would be the point in that?" Her voice seeped with resignation and resentment.
Leo gave a soft sigh, "We can't lose hope, Lucy. That's the last thing they would want us to do."
Lucy stood abruptly, wobbling at the sudden movement, slapping away Leo's hands when he tried to steady her. "Hope?" She gave a dark deprecating laugh, full of loathing. "How can there be such a thing, anymore? The time of fairy tales and magic are over, Loki."
Leo and Virgo could only watch quietly as their master exhaled deeply, eyes clouded as she lost herself to bittersweet memories of a happier time. Back before death was at her heels and bitterness didn't taint her heart. Long gone was the cheerful blonde who gave determined smiles in the face of adversity. That girl had died with the last of her friends, years ago.
Mages were all but instinct in this new era, having been targeted in the initial onslaught. Of course, Fairy Tail had been one of the first guilds to fall. Despite the utter hopelessness they had been faced with, the entire guild still chose to fight to protect the civilians of the capital, even if it meant their inevitable deaths.
Not for the first time, Lucy wished they hadn't been so gallant, so brave, so determined. She realized that those very traits are what had defined their guild, yet that knowledge did nothing to soothe the rancor within her. If they hadn't been so, would they still be alive, sitting with her now? Or would they have died much earlier? It was useless to ponder, but these days Lucy found herself wondering such things all the time.
In the end she was all alone, and no amount of reminiscing would change that fact.
The world was essentially ending, and all she could do was stand on the sidelines and watch as everything went to hell; the last one standing, but powerless as always.
She was disgusted with her weakness and self-hatred burned within her. It had been years since the Grand Magic Games, yet she still lacked the power to make a difference. Too weak to protect what matters most.
Lucy was just so tired of it all. Running at the smallest sign of danger; drowning in painful memories; pining after people long gone; and trying so damn hard to hang on when she had lost the will to live long, long ago.
But what could she possibly do about it? Even if she could instigate a rebellion with what was left of humanity, they wouldn't even be able to defeat a single dragon let alone ten thousand; especially now that all the dragon slayers were dead. What could normal people hope to accomplish when even dragon slayers couldn't kill them? All that would do was led everyone to an even earlier death.
Leo and Virgo shared a worried glance as they watched brown eyes darken rapidly. They knew that their master's psyche was in a dangerous state. One could only take so much hardship before they inevitably broke. There was nothing they could do for her, other than be there for her. But maybe that just wasn't' enough.
Lucy knew that her Spirits could tell just how weary she had become. These days, it was getting harder and harder for her to push herself to do what was necessary to survive; gathering food, resting regularly, hiding from the enemy…when all she wanted to do was sleep and never wake up.
She hated Acnologia, the dragons, and Rogue enough to kill, but even that scorching animosity was dimmed by the utter despair that suffocated her.
Lucy exhaled a small sigh, noticing their anxiety and gave them an apologetic smile, small but sincere, knowing that she was unfairly taking her frustrations out on them. "I'm sorry, that was uncalled for. Don't worry, though. I promise I'll leave soon so can you please give me some time alone? Tell the others not to worry. I just need some time to…think," she breathed out.
"Alright, Lucy," Leo replied. He hesitated a moment before continuing, "Lucy, just know that you can call us out anytime. We spirits will always be there for you." Beside him, Virgo gave a firm nod in agreement.
The blonde blinked in surprise at the admission before she gave them a smile, a mere ghost of her once bright grins but genuine nonetheless, "Yeah. Thank you."
As they disappeared, Lucy turned a considering look to her satchel before pulling out an abused tome out of its depths. Just touching the book sent a chill up her spine, its dark magic somehow sucking out the very warmth from the air.
In her hand Lucy held the one and only Book of Zeref.
Swallowing in trepidation she opened the book, stifling a gasp as the action sent a sudden gust of wind into the still air. Taking a moment to let the moment pass, she quickly flipped to the page that held a hand drawn picture of a very familiar gate.
The Celestial mage knew that what she was doing was dangerous and forbidden. If her spirits knew what she held they would never allow her to keep the book. If anything, they would find any possibly way to destroy it.
But Lucy couldn't allow them to do that. It had taken her a long time to muster up the resolve to even consider turning to such evil magic. It was her only option left now, her only way to possibly reunite with Fairy Tail…her family.
Dying in this apocalyptic world was not their fate. She wouldn't let it be.
Lucy took tentative steps, gazing in awe at the towering gate before her. She almost wanted to laugh. Even with all that destruction that had raged around it, the Eclipse Gate still stood tall, not even a scratch on it.
Walking up to it slowly, she rested a hand on the cool maginium metal, glad for once at Rogue's arrogance. Not a single dragon stood guard in front of the great doors much to her relief. Of course, the shadow dragon slayer most likely thought she had died years ago. With no Celestial Spirit mage left, there would be no one left to control the door.
The blonde pulled a clenched fist to her chest, closing her eyes as if in prayer. "That's right," she murmured quietly. "This life that everyone fought so hard to protect can finally be used to help them. That's why -!" She opened brown eyes that gleamed with determination bringing out her key ring.
The air quivered with energy as Lucy focused all her magic into the golden keys. Sweat slid down her brow as she concentrated on breathing in and out. With a flash of light all the Zodiac Spirits stood around her in a semi-circle, regal and powerful. Panting heavily, she regarded their looks of indignation.
"What on Earthland do you think you're doing, Lucy?" Leo shouted angrily, "Using all this magic at once could kill you. Not to mention what you're trying to accomplish. Zeref's magic is forbidden for a reason."
"I'm sorry, Lucy-san. But you can't do this!" Aries' normally soft voice was raised in her horror. "Please don't do this!"
"Lucy-sama, I beg you to reconsider. This is nothing more than a fool's errand," Capricorn said frantically, all but begging the girl.
Aquarius sneered as she grabbed a fistful of the heaving girl's cloak, pulling her closer so they were face to face. "You got a lot of balls, girly, trying to pull this crap on us. Do you even understand what it is you're doing?"
Lucy looked at her with unfocused eyes, giving a grim smile, "I do and I'm sorry. But I have to do this." The Water Bearer held her gaze, unmoved. "Please," the Celestial Mage breathed out piteously.
Aquarius could see the resolve in that gaze. She'd been with Lucy long enough to understand that nothing could change the girl's mind now. With a clenched jaw, the spirit shoved the girl away from her roughly, "Do what you want. I don't care."
Lucy turned to look at all her spirits, at all her friends. Perverted Taurus, considerate Virgo, kind Sagittarius, diligent Capricorn, shy Aries, tough Aquarius, mischievous Gemini, indifferent Libra, odd Pisces, quirky Cancer, fun Scorpio, and loyal Leo. How could she possibly express to all of them how much she loved them?
All of her spirits were speaking all at once, trying frantically to dissuade her. The buzzing in her ears made it hard to understand them all and she knew they were quickly running out of time. Her magic wouldn't last much longer.
"You knew all along? About what this gate can do?" she asked, question swallowed by the din of voices.
Leo held up a hand to silence them all, the only one to hear their master's query. "Lucy…you're right, we did. But how could we tell you about it? We've known for a long time that you were planning to use this gate but you can't do this, Lucy. If you do this you will die," there were tears in his eyes. "Please," he whispered desperately, "don't do this."
Lucy gave him a heartbreaking smile and raised a hand to cup his cheek, brushing away the tears with a thumb. "I'm sorry, Leo. But you know I can't do this anymore. Even if it doesn't work, I have to try." She brought her face close to his, touching her forehead gently to his, "Please, Loki," she whispered.
Leo closed his eyes in acceptance, slowly backing away to join the rest of the spirits. Each of them gazed back at her in solemn approval, despite their inner anguish, finally understanding that their master could not be dissuaded. "We understand. May the stars forever guide you."
"Thank you," Lucy murmured softly, tears slipping down her cheeks.
A golden light shown from the spirits as they flew into the gate, pushing its enormous doors open with surprising ease. From the opening emerged a blinding white light, filling the dilapidated surrounding with a harsh glow. Once the doors were fully open the spirits disappeared, their golden keys clinking as they fell to the floor.
"Until we meet again."
And with that, Lucy Heartfilia stepped into the light and the Eclipse gates closed behind her.
Lucy slowly blinked open her eyes, only to stare in wonder around her. Before her stood the vast starry skies of the celestial realm, unworldly in its infinite beauty. Looking down, she saw a translucent walkway that seemed to stretch into eternity. She began to walk forward.
"What doust thou think thee are doing, old friend?"
Lucy stopped in her tracks at the voice and was greeted by the sight of a humongous knight with gold and turquoise armor as he materialized from thin air. Gone from his face was the usually shit eating grin he sported, replaced by a stern look that seemed out of place on his normally genial face. His large mustache shook as he spoke, his deep voice reverberating in the still air.
"Changing the future," Lucy replied, voice cold with purpose. Her once bright eyes were cloudy with loss and pain. Never before had he seen the girl so utterly defeated. But there was the smallest spark behind those eyes and it gave him hope. Or it would have if it hadn't led to this meeting.
"Thoust cannot change what has been."
"I will." She continued forward and kept moving toward the glow in the distance, walking right under the King of Celestial Spirits that had attempted to bar her way.
"T'was written in the stars. Destiny cannot be changed." His proud stance became weary as his shoulders sagged, looking like the millennia old being he was. The sky seemed to darken around them, as if the very stars were dimming, "We are sorry for your loss, but what has happened is destined to be. All beings are powerless to stop fate, even we spirits."
Lucy stopped in her tracks, shoulders tense, taut as a wire, "Written in the stars?" She questioned voice barely above a whisper. "Destiny? Fate?" She twirled in place, eyes flashing in anger, "Screw that!" The yell echoed in the vast realm around them.
"You think that this was meant to be?" Her voice shook as she advanced on him, fist clenched and trembling in rage. "In case you haven't noticed, this world is done for. Look around! The dragons have taken over everything and everyone is as good as dead. With Acnologia and Rogue controlling them it's only a matter of time."
Tears poured from her eyes and it was all she could do to not simply scream in frustration, because if she started, she may never be able to stop. "Fate? She can go fuck herself for all I care!" She bit out her words spitefully and they burned with hatred.
The Celestial Spirit King stood in silence and could only watch as his 'old friend' slowly broke down. She was just so lost, her soul completely shattered. There was too much pain and sorrow for a being so fragile.
Lucy gulped down greedy breaths, trying to breathe past the desperate sobs that threatened to burst out. The sobs turned to shaky chuckles until suddenly she was full out laughing, hysterically, a cracked smile on pale lips, "Anyone I ever gave a damn about is gone. Why? Why am I the only one alive? Always the one left behind…"
Her morbid amusement faded but the silent tears didn't stop and she slowly fell to her knees, "I just can't do it any longer, Celestial King. Not without everyone. Not without Fairy Tail. Not without Natsu."
The silence was deafening. How was he to respond to that? Any words he could utter would never reach the girl. Even if he tried, they would be empty. Nothing but flimsy excuses.
Lucy raised her head and glared at him with defiant eyes, "If this is fate, then I will rewrite the stars myself! A future like this, with nothing but fire and death, is not our destiny! I won't let it be!" She pulled herself up and raised her fist awkwardly, "And if you get in my way, I'll take you down or die trying."
The great celestial being was silent as he considered the young maiden's words. The world was dying. And without any Celestial Wizards alive, the Celestial Spirits would forever be doomed to their realm, to exist in limbo for all eternity with no world to watch over or safeguard. An existence without a purpose was a fate worse than death.
The Great Spirit King looked down at the small girl before him. He looked at the claw marks that marred her once beautiful face and the burns that scarred her neck. Even with the thin cloak she wore he could see the empty folds of where her right arm had once been. Still, she stood tall and not once did she avert her gaze. Her eyes finally gleamed with life. This was the Lucy Heartfilia he knew. Stubborn. Proud. A fighter.
The Spirit King crouched and placed his palm before her, silently urging her to step on. Once she had he slowly raised her up so that they were looking eye to eye. "We know that thoust cannot be stopped. Ye are a stalwart lass. But ye must understand that one does not meddle with the powers that be. If ye do this there will be severe consequences, old friend."
Lucy felt the hair rise on the back of her neck at the ominous words but refused to falter. "Then, I will take them." Her breathe caught and she inhaled shakily for fear she would start bawling again. "I would do anything for them," her voice trembled and she watched him with misty eyes.
The ruler of all Celestial Spirits gave a deep sigh as he brought her back down, closer to the light than she once was. "We understand. Though we cannot aid thee directly, we bid thee good luck. And while ye may not believe us when we say this, thou art a true child of the stars. May they forever watch over thee." He held a clenched fist to his heart and gave her a deep bow.
Lucy blinked in wonder at the display and swallowed with difficulty. The King of all Celestial Spirits was lowering his head…to her? It was truly humbling and she would never forget how much he was doing for her in overlooking this. She was essentially breaking a fundamental law of the world.
Lowering her head, she reciprocated the bow. "Thank you, hige-oyaji" she whispered, her voice cracking in emotion. Lucy lifted her head and gave a weak but genuine smile which he returned full force at the familiar form of address. She turned and continued onward to the light, head held high, not once looking back.