Lucy's Fairy Tail
Disclaimer: I do not own Fairy Tail (I own a broken heart at this point.)
A/n: My poor, poor babies. I have cried so much for you precious things you lately. With the end of Chapter 416, I began to worry for Lucy the most. In response, this. She needs Fairy Tail more than I can fully fathom. I hope, since we need it too, our hearts are connected with hers. (God, am I a sap. Look what Mashima-sensei has done to me.) Enjoy my post-Tartarus feels world.
The slam of her apartment door, followed by her feet hitting the pavement; the wetness blocking her eyes, and the fresh wind tousling her hair, it getting trapped in the back of her throat; are overrun by her heart falling out of beat. And since the tears started, her body's been on autopilot. Lucy is running after Natsu and Happy because it is the only thing she can do.
The young woman follows along the edge of the canal that leads a way out of town. She is not being careful, barely able to see where she's running, and the cobblestones are uneven. Lucy's boot catches between two stones; her balance is thrown turbulently and she sways severely. Before she realizes what is happening, Lucy falls into the canal.
The shock of the water wakes her brain up a bit so that she can start thinking again. She knows she won't catch up to the two of them this way. She knows they left town, but she doesn't know how. Natsu would not have taken the train. But would they have flown so quick into the journey? She cannot catch up to them the way things are. Maybe one of her keys can help her get along. The Celestial Spirit mage reaches for her hip, except, her keys are not in their normal pouch and attached to her belt; she must have left them back in her apartment when she bolted without warning. And she left the remnants of Aquarius' key behind. Lucy finally turns her head back the way she had come. She was left behind, however, (she glances at the exit to town) she doesn't want to become his remnants. The letter was a promise between them: to be the sum of their parts- strong.
Lucy hears the boatmen who traverse up and down this canal everyday, who have warned her everyday not to fall in, calling out to her and offering their help getting her out. But she only fell into the shallow edge of the canal, so she jumps up and clambers up the side, back to dry stones. She turns back to them with a smile though, waves goodbye, and ultimately dashes back to her apartment.
Natsu's not the only one to say goodbye to the effervescent blonde. A couple of days later, Erza, Wendy, and Charle stopped by.
Lucy makes the four of them tea, since she feels as if Erza has something important to say.
"Lucy," the Equip mage asks, "have you seen Natsu or Happy lately? I thought they might be here since they were not at their house."
Lucy widens her brown eyes just a bit. "No. They left. Didn't you get his letter?"
The Celestial Spirit mage suddenly realizes that she was the only one to get a letter, the only one to get a goodbye.
"Natsu and Happy left me a letter. In it, Natsu said that the two of them were leaving, to train. And that they probably won't be back for a year or so. They've been gone for at least a couple of days."
"Hmm, it's not completely unexpected. And they are not the only ones who have left."
"What do you mean, Erza?"
Wendy, who has been sitting silently on the couch and who has not touched her tea, speaks softly. "Lucy, Master has decided to disband Fairy Tail."
Lucy's body goes numb, her right hand suddenly very very cold.
Erza continues. "There was so much damage done to the guild, it would be too hard to rebuild it again. And without a Magic Council, it is unclear how guilds are even going to be policed now. Plus, people are leaving. Besides Natsu and Happy, Gray left almost immediately after we got back; Juvia followed him. Gajeel could not stay either; he left yesterday."
"Lucy, are you going to be okay?" She had not noticed she had started trembling, but Wendy did.
"But what is everyone going to do now?"
The Sky dragon slayer and Equip mage shared a look.
"I imagine we will all go back to what we were doing before Fairy Tail, only stronger," remarked Erza.
"But I don't have anything to go back to…" Lucy whispers.
It took her a while, but Lucy eventually made it to the ruins of the guild. She hadn't totally expected anyone to be there, based on what Erza said, yet she may have hoped not to arrive alone. Master Makarov was standing at the edge of the crater that marred the center of Magnolia. Beside him, were the Strauss Takeover siblings. Saying their goodbyes.
Mirajane noticed Lucy's approach, regarded her with a heavyhearted smile.
"It'll be okay, Lucy," the two friends hug. "We'll all see each other again."
Lucy nods, but does not reply as they break apart. She moves to hug Lisanna though.
The younger Strauss sibling reassures as well. "Just let us know if you ever need us…"
The blonde is sensitive, "you too…"
Elfman hugs her last and then they bid her and the Master one last farewell before walking away.
Lucy is left alone with the Master until Laxus and the Raijinshu appear from the opposite direction the siblings disappeared.
No preamble with Laxus Dreyar. "Gramps, I'm taking these three and we're going to get stronger. I have to protect them."
"I understand," replies Makarov. "You have grown into a magnificent mage. And I am proud of you and your friends. Freed, Bixlow, Evergreen, take care of one another."
The two Dreyar men, with their crossed arms, look between themselves. On spur of the moment, Laxus drops to his knees. He hugs his smaller grandfather, the man who mostly raised him, close to his powerful chest. Freed nods with closed eyes. Bixlow smiles. And Ever smirks. Then the two men part.
With a final wave back, the Lightning dragon slayer and his team are heading away from this place.
A simple wind blows through the crater then.
"…So it's true. You've disbanded Fairy Tail, Master."
"My child, with our last battle, we lost more than this guild. More than its tables and chairs, wooden beams and glass windows. The wounds Tartarus left on us may never fully heal. But I believe the path to follow, for the moment, is each our own. So that we may discover what are wounds and what are determination. Yet…Lucy, my child, I am sorry for I fear you have lost the most after all…"
Lucy does not see Fairy Tail in these stones.
Almost a month has passed since the guild known as Fairy Tail broke down.
The blonde Celestial Spirit mage is dirty, sitting in her apartment, a smidgen scratched up, but she is also in a pleasant mood. She has just successfully completed a high profile mission all on her own. One that paid handsomely. So now she was sitting cross-legged on her floor, counting her jewels. At first, when she was finally up to it, she had only taken small jobs, just enough to pay for rent and food, for the first few weeks. These jobs usually only lasted a day and she came straight home to her apartment. It was an empty apartment though. Each mission away made that more and more apparent. Then a couple of bigger jobs took her away longer and longer. The jewels also kept piling up. She felt, not better, but more than she had. Her musings led her to her latest mission and its more dangerous elements. Lucy may no longer be a Fairy Tail mage, but she was still a Celestial Spirit mage of great capabilities, and now she had the paycheck to prove it. (She was quite possibly living in the S-Class tax bracket!)
Lucy set down the last bill she had just counted and blew a stray strand of hair out of her face. She started to survey her surroundings. She saw her desk and bed, either one could be waiting for her. In the end, she stopped her gaze at her bed; specifically, the young woman glanced at the doll sitting on her bed.
Lucy stood up to walk over and sit down next to the doll. Then she picked it up to stare at it in her lap.
"You came back to me, Michelle. I think, with time, we can all be in those places again. Just like you said."
Lucy was beginning to think out loud.
"Maybe that's what we need."
She was looking at Michelle, seeing the rewards for her hard work out of the corner of her eye, yet her mind saw something else.
"A place to be again…I think I can begin to make good on our promise now, Michelle. If I continue with missions like this, I can save up more money. Because, Natsu won't be destroying half the town and loosing half our reward. Because I won't have to buy extra food in case Gray or Erza stop by. I may be on my own, well almost on my own," she fondly gazes at first Michelle and then her keys, "but I have belief. Let's get Heartfilia Mansion back!"
It seems since Tartarus, Lucy's conviction is at her strongest, because after two handfuls of back to back S-Class type missions, Lucy has enough jewels to make an offer on the abandoned mansion that was once her childhood home. Not all of the missions were successful; some ended with her bloodied or even passed out from magic exhaustion. She could still manage to summon three spirits at a time, but it drained her rapidly; she had only had to for two missions, and both missions had Loki staying behind of his own power in order to get her back to either her hotel or her apartment safely. However, the Celestial Spirit mage worked hard at each mission, Aquarius' words cemented in her ears: 'Stop relying on others! Only you can save your friends now!'. And Natsu's hope branded across her eyes: 'So take care of everybody alright!'. The reward from her employer may have been piles of jewels, but Lucy's actual reward was the awareness that she had grown stronger, that she had more power, and that she was able to do things that would make her friends proud.
With the last successful mission four days behind her, she packs up her savings, a couple of extra outfits, and Michelle to peek out of the top of her bag. Her keys are already on her belt, and her whip. The apartment is in pristine clean condition as she leaves it behind. Lucy catches the first train out of town, towards the mountains. Three days later, her offer has been accepted and a Heartfilia once again owns the extravagant mansion and its surrounding, sprawling lands.
The first friend to show up is Levy, along with Gajeel, Pantherlily, Jet, and Droy. The visit is not surprising; Lucy has been writing to her fellow bookworm almost everyday. The group arrive just as the sun is setting, so Lucy and Levy head into the kitchen, followed by Jet and Droy, to cook something for a cordial dinner. Levy merely has to ask and her two Shadow Gear partners are elbows deep in vegetables. Gajeel and Pantherlily appear uninterested in the proceedings, but after some grumbling by the Iron dragon slayer, and some shouting by Levy, Gajeel and Lily help out too. After their somehow more than modest meal, the group splits up; Jet and Droy rush off to explore the mansion, Gajeel and his partner head for a nap under a tree, and Lucy and Levy take a walk on the grounds.
The two women wander in and out of the path's lamplight.
"Lu-chan, I'm so glad to see you. Your early letters were so sad, but now you seem happy, in this house. Are you lonely at all?"
The blonde shakes her head. "I'm not as lonely as a was. Even though it's pretty much just me in this big old house, I know that I can still find you guys. And that someday I'll see everyone again. Plus, it's been a lot of work restoring this place."
Levy seems hesitant to bring up the next topic. "Have you heard from Natsu and Happy?"
"Not yet. You and Gajeel haven't run into them, have you?"
The blue haired girl shakes her head this time.
"No, but I'm pretty sure if there was a reason to be worried, Gajeel would know."
They walk beneath another lamp.
"So, Levy, about your last letter. What is it that you couldn't write and had to say in person?"
"….Lu-chaaan! Gajeel and I finally kissed for real and I think we're together! But we haven't kissed since and I reeeaally wanna do it again!"
Levy was a bit indignant, Lucy started laughing.
"It's not funny, Lu-chan!"
"Oh Levy, I'm just so happy for you. And if you really want to kiss Gajeel, you should just do it. I'm sure he really wouldn't mind." She kept laughing and her friend kept grumbling.
But when they made it back to the mansion, everyone said goodnight, headed off to separate rooms Lucy had prepared for them, and Levy did just up and kiss Gajeel before running to hers. He had no complaints. Lucy laughed some more, since she had a feeling more interesting letters were to come.
"Gray? Juvia?" Lucy shields the sun from her eyes in her spot in the garden, book dropped beside her.
"Lucy!" is the shouted reply.
"Juvia!" she jumps up.
The Water and Celestial Spirit mages run into each others' arms.
"Juvia, you look great!"
"Juvia has been basking in the love of Gray-sama. It does wonders for her complexion."
"That's not exactly what's been happening. How are you, Lucy?" he says, hugging the blonde once she parts from his partner.
"I'm doing fine, Gray. But I want to hear about you guys. Come inside and we'll talk about your journeys."
Their discussions begin friendly and light, but it is only so long before matters turn more serious. Lucy asks about the wounds of a lost father, only to be reassured that the two of them are working through it together. (Lucy is ecstatic to note that when it is mentioned, Juvia smiles softly and Gray and he gently takes the Water mage's hand.) Gray inquires as to how Lucy is handling herself and the seeming abandonment of what she used to know; she becomes a little subdued, yet she manages a smile, happy to talk about all the improvements she has made towards the world she owns now. The two end up staying a few days, more than Gajeel and his troupe did. Lucy hugs them tight when they leave, whispering invites in their ears for returns and staying in contact.
The splendor of this place will always stun Erza Scarlet. She stares around in awe as she walks toward the gigantic double doored entrance. Just as she is walking in, a hooded figure begins walking out. Until the wind lifts his hood and blue hair is revealed.
"Jellal?! What are you doing here?"
"E-Erza…" is his so elegant response. He finds that happens a lot around her. He was even blushing.
The one who was going to wave as he disappeared off her lands suddenly made an appearance. "Erza! You made it a day early!"
"Lucy, what is Jellal doing here?"
"He was looking to do some research on some things and I said he could use my father's library. If I had know you were going to be early, I would have let him know so that he could escape without bumping into you, kind of like what he is trying to do now."
And it's true, the former criminal was slowly inching away from the Equip mage.
"Erza, I must go. I have the other members of Crime Sorciere to attend to." The scarlet haired young woman is still in a bit of shock so she just sort of nods in agreement. Jellal inches further away. "If only I was not scarred by my past which can only further hurt you, I may wish to stay by your side for your visit with Lucy." Erza nods again. Jellal calmly places his hood back upon his head. He makes one last glance at Erza. Then he takes off (he may look like he is walking, but the speed of his retreat makes that less apparent).
"Wow, Erza, parting really is such sweet sorrow," Lucy has to keep everything in so as not to laugh out loud. The Equip mage nods again.
Later, Lucy is able to get verbal responses from her powerful friend. They work together to unpack all of Erza's supplies.
"You last job must have been pretty easy for you to get here sooner than expected. What did you bring me this time?"
You see, when Lucy had finally bought her mansion back, she had had to move out of her apartment to begin renovating the larger home. Erza had been the one she had turned to in that hour of need. The two ladies had worked hand in hand to get all of the blonde's furniture transferred to the Heartfilia estate, including her large, comfortable bed. Then Erza had stuck around some for the heavier of the lifting in rebuilding. It had been one of the more delightful months of her settling in.
"My last job had me in Joya, which is known for its textile trade. I was able to do a little bit of shopping and bought some fabrics. I thought we could work on some patterns for the mansion."
"That's great Erza! Let me see, let me see!"
"Alright Lucy. Would you like to get started right away?"
Lucy and Erza were still working hard so they were suddenly excited when Wendy and Charle showed up for their own visit. It did not take long; all four were soon busy at work creating curtains and tablecloths together.
The week went by in a flash and ended with a more homey feeling mansion, plus a great sense of accomplishment for the group of friends.
"Wendy, Charle, here are some extra snacks and a couple of maps I found in my father's study. I packed them up last night for you."
"I hope you have fun traveling with Erza for a while."
"Call if you need us, Lucy," replied the Equip mage.
"See you next time!"
"That's enough! I'm staying with Lucy from now on!" the girl with short, white hair declared.
"Lisanna, sweetie, we can work this out."
"Yes, let's talk like men!"
"Not helping, Elfman."
The youngest of the Strauss siblings turned to her older brother and sister, fists clenched and cheeks puffed.
"I'm done talking," she huffed. "And I'm done taking jobs with you. All you ever do is worry about what is going to happen to me, even though I can help; I'm much stronger now. And when you're not doing that, all Elfman ever does is talk about Evergreen."
"I do not!"
"Mira-neesan, I just want to grow up. Being with you two forever won't let me. I love you, but I think we should take a break from each other for a while. I know you wanna go a little crazy with your training and you can't do that with us around. Elfman definitely wants to go find Ever."
"I do not!"
"And you really think you can do all this with Lucy?"
"Yes! All she has is space! I can do whatever I want!"
Mirajane was really listening to her sister, even if she felt apprehensive about the whole thing. Finally, she smiled her patented soft smile. "If that's what you want, we'll ask Lucy about you staying."
Lucy, who had heard the outburst going on on her front lawn but had decided to stay out of it, was more that happy to have Lisanna stay at the mansion. She assured her that the teen could have whatever room she liked, wander through any of the wings whenever, and use all of the grounds to do her own training. She also assured Mira and Elfman that their younger sister would be well cared for, and that they themselves could stop by to stay anytime. A few days later the older Strauss Takeover mages did leave, Lisanna stayed, and even separated from one another for their own paths.
Lisanna moving in was great for both her and Lucy. They got to know each other better. Lucy finally had some one to talk to in person more often. Lisanna got a chance to train her powers to her own abilities. Sometimes the two of them even grew their magical strength together.
But the time with just the two of them was fairly short. Other former Fairy Tail mages were making more and more frequent visits, staying longer each time. And, after a while, Mirajane and Elfman returned from their individual journeys ,were proud and excited to see how much Lisanna had grown without them, and all came to an agreement that they too would live in the mansion.
As it turns out, Lisanna was not the only free-spirited mage to run away to the Heartfilia mansion. Cana showed up out of the blue, desperately hoping to get away from Gildarts, seemingly skipping behind her.
Apparently, while on her own, Cana had entered the same bar her erstwhile father had just about passed out in. The Card mage had reluctantly taken him back to his room and sobered him up. When he awoke from his drunken stupor, he went into his super clingy mood to hug his daughter close to him. The two ended up traveling together after that.
But Cana had finally had enough of her father's weird attachment.
Lucy invited her to stay.
They both had to pry Gildarts off for his hug goodbye.
But he knew it was for the best and the Crash mage once again left alone for a long trip.
"Glad that's over," Cana stated.
"Goodbyes are man!" shouted a voice from the roof.
The female friends glanced up to see an intoxicated Elfman waving an enormous Fairy Tail banner, which he then jammed into the top of a spire so it could wave freely.
The blonde looked back at the brunette.
"Mira probably has more booze in the banquet hall, if you want some. Hopefully Macao and Wakaba didn't waste it all on Elfman."
"I believe I will check into that offer. Thank you, Lucy. See you inside."
Lucy is immobile in her shock. The back half of the west wing is rubble before her. She glances downward, to the two mages at the center of this destruction.
Her Script mage friend runs to stand next to her; she's a bit out of breath from all the running she has been doing.
"Oh no, Lu-chan! Your house! Gajeel! You get your beaten iron but up here and apologize to Lucy!"
Bixlow suddenly appears on her other side. "Laxus really did beat your iron boyfriend's ass. Right, Cosplay-Queen?"
Not to be excluded from anything involving Laxus, Freed joins in.
"His strength has vastly increased to the point of Laxus never being beaten by anyone," he comments.
Finally, the blonde becomes responsive once more. She sighs. "I should have known when your four showed up and Gajeel challenged Laxus to a fight that it would only end up destroying part of the guild again." She signs again. "It's just the usual." Lucy turns around from the mages still in a battle, both refusing to quit while the other still stands, and walks further into the part of the building that is still structurally sound…for now.
The Celestial Spirit mage bypasses Max, sweeping up the dust Vijeeter's dance is kicking up. She curves around the table Reedus and Warren share to discuss something trivial. She stops only when she gets to the north wall of the banquet hall. Nab stands there staring at the wall, specifically the bright orange Fairy Tail symbol Reedus had painted there two weeks ago.
"Is Romeo not back yet, Nab?"
"Haven't seen him yet."
Just when it seems the conversation is going to stall out, the young boy in question comes dashing over. There is a small girl in a cowboy hat trailing behind him. They both have flyers in their hands.
"Here, Lucy-neesan! New jobs to post!"
"Thank you, Romeo." The blonde woman takes Asuka's papers from her. Then the three of them, Lucy, Romeo, and Asuka, start taping up the flyers to the symbol.
When they are finished, Asuka finds her parents, the Sharpshooter mages: Bisca and Alzack Connell, at a table nearby and they begin to play together. Romeo gets a hair ruffle from Lucy before he too jogs off to find food. Nab stares at the wall harder. He's still standing there hours later.
The laughter is loud and raucous in the hall (Ever wishes Elfman would stop egging people on with his speeches). It smells of spilled beer (Kinana insists this time it was Laki's fault for making her laugh so hard). It's even snowing in one corner, into the waiting mouths of some of the younger mages (Juvia had only to do a a little begging to get Gray to start a new activity for the day). There is a crackle of energy in the air as fist after fist hits the wooden table (Jet and Droy were the latest losers to challenge Erza to arm wrestling). And even though it has been happening more and more lately, not everyone is used to the sight of Gajeel and Levy sharing kisses (they started out as pecks and always ended as smooches).
Lucy's face crinkles when there is a knock at the door.
No one knocks anymore. There has not been a real knock at the door for over a year now. This one seems to echo throughout the entire building.
Dornbolt, perched closest to the foyer, jumps up to maybe answer it for everyone. Master Makarov shakes his head slightly.
The young woman notices that no one else is interested in seeing who it is. So the Celestial Spirit mage heads out of the banquet hall herself, and down the hallway to the main entrance. She is almost to the door when there is another knock. She notices it is just a bit gentler this time. Now hesitant, she lets them swing open and light pour in.
Lucy smiles into the gold.
Her tears come streaming out.
"Welcome back, Happy…Natsu…"
"It's good to be back at Fairy Tail."
Their hug happens like it is meant to.
"Home with Lucy, who took care of everybody."
A/n: I could not write "The End". Not with what is likely going to happen next. I'm not ready.