A/N: Based off a prompt I saw on tumblr. Should I keep it a one shot or expand? I'm tired. Majority wins, so...it's four in the morning, cut me a little slack. I should be sleeping because I have an appointment at the clinic tomorrow, but this happened.
Lucy had been aware of the man tailing her since she had left the bar she had been at over a half hour ago.
The blonde cursed herself as she made another false turn, speeding up as much as her black pumps would allow her to. Why oh why hadn't she taken up on Laxus's offer of an escort home? The blonde man who was her brother in all but paper would have definitely warded off any creeps, what with his six foot two, ridiculously muscular frame. But no, her stubborn streak had set in once again and was definitely going to get her into trouble if she didn't get some place crowded soon.
Lucy fiddled with her phone once again, silently praying that her last attempt at turning it on had been a fluke and the battery was still present enough for one phone call. Alas, the small rectangle remained blank, as did her face. This was bad. Very bad. Certainly, she knew self-defense, Laxus had spent years drilling it into her, but she was pleasantly sloshed. The last few drinks, one she vaguely recalled the bartender calling a 'White Russian', had been forced into her system by Bacchus and Cana, and would hamper her ability to fight properly.
Despair clawed at her chest as she wandered down streets she was unfamiliar with. She had passed known territory fifteen minutes back when she had made a left on Shumar Street. The road she now traversed was quiet and cold. The houses that lined the sidewalk were clustered and dark, no signs of life at any window. If she screamed for help, or banged at a door, she highly doubted anybody would come to assist.
She nearly squeaked as she heard the heavy footsteps get louder. Her stalker was getting close. Lucy began to run, ignoring the shooting pain in her feet in favour of putting more distance between the male and herself. Curse Cana for suggesting the blasted footwear! And the dress Bacchus had selected was doing little to help with the mobility issue-a tight, sparkly silver mini-dress that caught the light and did nothing to keep her hidden sheathed her body.
As she ducked into an alley and crouched behind a dumpster, she debated her options. She could either hide out til the morning came and call for help then, fight the man (the last option on her list, really), or...or wait til he passed and run back. She peered around the corner of the large metal container, assessing her escape routes. One way led to more residential area, and the other-
Her breath caught as she spotted a large, black framed glass box.
A telephone booth.
Adrenalin seeping through her veins, her shaky hands went for her purse. She made an effort to keep as silent as possible as she dug around for spare change. Her hands yanked out a small pile of silver coins, hopefully enough for one phone call.
She sat with bated breath as the man sped by, only pausing long enough to do a cursory glance of the alley before moving on. Lucy tip toed to the mouth of the alley, using a compact mirror to follow his movements. He made a hasty left, and she wasted no time in bolting across the street as quickly and quietly as possible.
"Oh, thank you Jesus," she breathed fervently, securing the door shut behind her. Lucy pushed in the required amount of money and lifted the receiver from the silver hook. Her trembling fingers pressed the digits to a number she had memorized long ago.
"Come on, Laxus, come on..." she bit her lip, staring out into the open. The phone rang once, twice, thrice...and finally, he picked up.
"Laxus! Oh, thank God," Lucy exhaled sharply. "Look, you-"
"Laxus?" a grouchy male's voice carried through. "The fuck is a Laxus?"
Dread filled Lucy.
She had misdialed.
"No..." she breathed. "No, no, no!"
"Listen, lady, if Tempesta put you up to this...never mind, I'm hanging up. Fucking drunks..."
"No!" Lucy nearly shrieked. "Please! Please don't hang up on me. I...please."
Silence was her response. Lucy sank to the ground, shaking with the force of her sobs. He had hung up. Her one hope had hung up. She barely had any change left, and the man could-
"...lady, you alright?" he was a little more awake now. Lucy blinked back tears as she replied, "No, I'm not. I've been followed by this guy for the past half hour, and I only had enough change to make one phone call. I was going to call my brother, but I misdialed. Please stay on the line with me."
"Yeah, sure," he was alert. Lucy could hear it. "Where are you?"
"I...I don't know. I was trying to throw him off my tail. I remember passing Shumar Street a while back, though," she offered. Awkwardly, she realized she didn't even know his name. "Er, my name is Lucy. Heartfilia. Lucy Heartfilia. I'm a psychologist."
"Jackal," he replied in an amused tone. "I'm a demolitions expert."
"Construction?" she asked, only to smack herself for sounding stupid. Of course he worked construction!
It seemed his mind ran along the same track. "No, accounting. Of course construction!"
"S-sorry, I'm just..."
"Yeah, spooked. I remember when Lamy, my sister-in-law, got tailed by this creep. She sounded pretty freaked out herself, but more so about the state of her shoes by the time she was done with the guy."
"She's a geneticist. Learned some freaky stuff in pre-med," behind his voice, she heard the sound of cloth rustling. Guilt flooded her. "Sorry, did I wake you up?"
"Yeah. No big deal, I was gonna get up early, anyway. There's a building on fifty-third that needs to be blown to bits, so I need to do a preliminary," his voice jumped slightly at the end. Perhaps he was in bed and turning over. Lucy began to paint a picture in her head. He must have been fairly muscular to work construction, and tall, too. Brown hair, maybe. And green eyes. He sounded handsome.
"What time is it, anyway?"
"Uh..." his voice sounded faint as he reported, "Around three. Jesus, what's a chick like you doing wandering around at this hour?"
She twitched. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Ease up, princess, I'm just saying," his voice grew louder, as if he had picked up the phone. "Psychologist, educated, pretty well off, I assume...shouldn't you be at home in bed reviewing...I dunno, case files? Or fucking your boyfriend."
Blushing at the crassness, she squeaked out, "No! No boyfriend!"
"No! I'm...single. I was dragged out by my friends for drinks. I just got my paper published," she couldn't help but allow a degree of pride into her voice. At twenty-three, Lucy was one of the youngest psychologists in the country to have her paper published in the reputable Fiore's Psychological Digest.
A low whistle resounded. "Nice going. What was it on?"
She heard what sounded like the muffled sound of wood meeting more wood. Maybe he was making coffee. "Pretty boring stuff. Mostly on the affect prison has on minor criminals over time."
Jackal laughed richly, and Lucy felt her stomach flutter in response. His laugh was nice, rumbling, and ignited a fire deep inside her. "Damn, maybe your stalker is one of those freaks."
When Lucy didn't reply, he spoke, unsure, "Y...you're kidding me. It..."
"Minor criminals," she whispered in horror. "They could have been released early on good behaviour!"
His breathing hastened. "What kinds of guys did you interview? What charges?"
"U-um...mostly petty theft, a few B&E, b-battery..." she trailed off. Jackal groaned. "Battery. Great. Where did you turn on Shumar?"
"Left. Then I just kept going til I hit, um...a park?"
"Oak Residential?" he panted. Lucy nodded, then realized he couldn't see her, so made an affirmative noise. "Are you...coming to get me?"
"No shit," he grumbled. "Wanna tell me what you look like? So I know?"
"Blonde, five three, I'm wearing a sparkly silver mini-dress and black pumps," she listed off the regular attributes.
"Not inconspicuous at all. Now where?"
"I...um...right! Right, till I passed a convenience store, then I went left again," Lucy's brown eyes widened as she saw a shadow loom over the opposite street corner. Jackal wasn't anywhere close to her location...that meant...
"Jackal," she whimpered, "I think he's coming back."
"Fuck!" he swore loudly. "Make yourself as small as possible and whatever you do, don't hang up. Take off your pumps. If he gets too close or gets in, bash him over the head and book it."
"I'm scared," she whispered. The shadow grew darker. The son of a bitch knew she was here. He was taunting her! Walking slowly to incite terror in her heart, to make her panic and fumble. He was succeeding, too.
"I know, Lucy," his voice was oddly soothing. "Just sit tight. I'll be there soon. I made the left, now what?"
"You'll pass Burr Street, make another left," she hissed, curling into a ball. Her hand dropped into her purse, digging around for her keys. If need be, she was not above going for the jugular. Between Natsu the lawyer and Mest the criminologist, she was covered for legal help.
"Tell me more about yourself."
"Keep you calm? Fuck if I know. That's what Zeref's always bitching about," Lucy jerked in surprise. "You know Zeref Dragneel?"
"...you know him?"
"Yeah! He's the older brother to my best friend, Natsu!"
"Oh, holy fuck," Jackal exclaimed. "You're Luce! Natsu never shuts up about you."
"Funny, he's never mentioned you."
"Yeah, we don't get along too well. Mard thinks it's ironic. The demolitions guy and the pyro hating each other."
"Professor Geer?" yet another surprise mutual friend. Just how many of them existed? This was getting increasingly odd. The odds of receiving help in the form of an unknown friend via mutual friend was...astronomical.
"I'll be damned. Don't tell me you know Tempesta, next."
"Nope, in the clear on that one," she smiled gently. Jackal laughed again. "Good! Here I was thinking I was saving you from your stalker, not gaining one!"
"Haha," Lucy laughed dryly.
"Speaking of, what's the status? Left or right on the left?"
"Right. You'll enter a street of dark houses. Just keep going straight after that. I'm in a black telephone booth. And..." her eyes flicked over, and terror seized her heart. The man stood, staring at her with a sick grin on his face. "H...he sees me. He's...smiling..."
"Okay, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuckity-fuck," Jackal sang. "Keep watching. So...what's your favourite song?"
"Really?" Lucy asked hysterically. Was now the time? The man was mad. Absolutely mad.
"Humour me!" he whined. "Distract yourself a little."
"Fine. 'Hot Blooded' by Foreigner," the man across the street made his slow way over, one step at a time. Dragging it out. "He's walking over."
"I'll be there in five, I swear. Anyway, that's my favourite, too," she could almost hear the grin in his voice. "Got a fever of one hundred at three!"
"I would certainly hope not," Lucy joked weakly. "And we are civilized people, use Celsius!"
"What's the conversion rate, then?" Lucy could hear him breathing heavily, and his words jumped, as if he was running quickly. The man was halfway across the street now. Lucy's hand fell discretely to her pumps, and she began undoing the silver buckles. "Um...half, I think? No, that doesn't make sense...a third, maybe?"
"Whatever. We'll search it later," the way he said 'we' calmed her a little. It meant he really was coming to help her. That she would be safe.
"Yeah. How old are you?"
Jackal replied slowly, surprise in his voice, "Twenty-six. You?" Lucy had startled herself with the question, not knowing why it was pertinent. Perhaps she was stalling, trying to keep this a normal conversation. "Three. Twenty three, I mean."
"Only by..." her voice caught in her throat as the man finally stopped on her side of the sidewalk.
"Lucy?" Jackal asked faintly. Lucy swallowed thickly. "He's here..."
Her hand dropped the phone, where Jackal could be heard yelling at her, and felt around for her shoes. Lucy stared at the male defiantly as he opened the door. She would not show fear. Instead, she would stall. She could do that.
"You're my type. And that dress...that makeup...those little glances you kept giving me. And the thrill of the chase! You little tease," Lucy felt her stomach roil but held it in. Her mind slowly began building a profile for him, and she squashed that. This was no time to analyze his past and behaviour. Now, she had to analyze his body. Wendy had always said that if the groin was unavailable, the next best thing was to hit the xiphoid bone and hopefully rip up his diaphragm. Where that one was, was a mystery.
"I was running away, if that wasn't clear," she silently applauded herself for keeping her voice stable. His mouth twisted into a sneer, and he stalked forward. Instinct took over and Lucy raised her foot, ramming him clean in the middle of his chest. She felt something crack, and he doubled over in pain. Anger filled his eyes as he wheezed out, "You're gonna regret that, bitch-!"
"Not as much as you will," another voice, so familiar to Lucy that she nearly wept, came from nearby. A fist lashed out, connecting squarely with the back of the stalker's head. "No fair," Jackal pouted. "You had all the fun incapacipitating him!"
"Incapacitating," Lucy corrected in a whisper. "You mean...incapacitating."
Jackal was not like what she had imagined. Tall and buff, certainly, but the rest? His blonde hair was swept to one side, covering one of his eyes and curling lightly at the end. As for his visible eye...it was a soft golden, unlike anything she had ever seen. He wore a leather jacket over a black shirt, and baggy cargo pants that were clearly worn. Bulky black combat shoes went up to his knees.
"Whatever," he shrugged off the coat, leaving him in a black tank top. He handed the material over to her, pulling out a zip-tie and marker. "Here. It's kinda cold."
When he was sure she had donned the coat, he knelt down and rolled him over roughly, tying his hands together. Lucy discreetly inhaled the collar of the jacket. Smoke, something metallic, and gasoline. It was surprisingly delicious.
"There we go," the blond grinned at his work. Across the stalker's forehead, in bold black letters, were the words, 'I AM A CREEPY PERV! CALL ME IN :)'
"Oh!" he wheeled around, extending his hand. "Sup? I'm Jackal."
"Lucy," she shook his hand tightly. "Thank you. So much. I don't know-"
"Small talk later, princess, you definitely came to the fucked up part of town. Come back to my place and we can talk," he offered. "Only if you want to. I can call your brother or whatever. My phone is charged."
"Your place," she responded immediately. Blushing, she backtracked, "Laxus is probably at home, he has work early. Don't want to worry him."
"Alright," Jackal tugged on her hand and led her up the road. "It's shorter this way."
Lucy glanced back. "Is it safe to leave him there?"
Jackal raised an eyebrow in disbelief. "He tried to assault you and you're worried he won't be safe?"
"Human nature!" she protested. Jackal snorted. "Would demand his blood, not safety. You're an odd one, princess."
At her pout, he shot her a toothy grin, "It's kind of funny. I like it."
She hid her red face in the collar of his jacket. "S-shut up!"
His fingers only squeezed hers in response as he began rattling off all the odd stores he had passed on his way to her.
Lucy had an inkling her life was about to get a lot more interesting.
A/N: I'm tired. Blegh. So, expand or leave alone?