A/N: Guess who's back writing a new AU! Weee!
Okay, so a lot of people have messaged me about this already, mostly on Tumblr, some on . I've got this on my profile as an upcoming project. A lot of my followers already knew this was coming. This fic is on my 2015 Checklist. So I figured, I'll go for it for NaNoWriMo 2015. And here it is! I'm still writing the thing - it's a lot smaller than We Are young. Only 50k to 75k words planned. It was originally planned to be three long chapters, but I decided to split them up to shorter ones for convenience.
So yep - this "Sparks", my Fairy Tail Dance AU. It's inspired by a lot of things - musicals, movie musicals, dance movies. Think "Make Your Move", "Rock of Ages" and the "Step Up" franchise. It's got some references to modern music, so I hope y'all like it. I wrote it to play out like a movie. I hope I can keep up with it.
This first chapter is more of a prologue, really. A first meeting between main characters. I won't give away too much. Enjoy!
. SPARKS .
"Just A Small Town Girl"
(...living in a lonely world;
She took a midnight train going anywhere.)
It was almost 2 AM. While streetlights were still alight and there were plenty of shops still open for business, the streets of the big city were mostly empty because most people have already taken shelter from the pouring rain.
Juvia loved the sound of rain, usually - but tonight it only made her feel worse. She didn't know where to go, and while there were lots of open establishments, she was afraid to enter. The sounds of the raindrops hitting the asphalt roads were loud, almost deafening.
She was lost - but that wasn't her biggest problem yet. The worst part is that she was scared. It made it hard for her to think of what to do, of how to get herself out of this mess. When she gets scared, her mind fills with too much information - details - she starts to think too hard: how did things get to this? Where did she go wrong? Why was she even here? What in the world was she thinking when she left home alone for this big concrete jungle where a stranger pretends to befriend you before stealing everything you have, and others do nothing to help? How could she fall for that? She was 22 years old - she was supposed to be an adult now. She should have been able to do something, she should have known what to do right away, she should have-
She tried to get a grip of herself, but it was hard to do it when she felt all these eyes on her - people from inside the shops, people walking safely under their umbrellas - she must look pathetic, all wet and dripping outside in the rain, clutching her small bag so the contents wouldn't be wet… Every so often, these loud vehicles would pass by, fast and making her jump, distracting her train of thought.
She needed to get somewhere quiet, a shade without prying eyes. Juvia looked around and started to trudge along a downward slope, heading into a spot in town where she could see less lights and cars. It wasn't the smartest move, but at least… there… she could think. Maybe.
The street was a mess of closed shops and tall apartment buildings. Only very few lights were on. Juvia was familiar with less-privileged areas, and it seems like this was one of those places. She'd expect people in the darker alleyways, but even those people would undoubtedly take shelter themselves.
See? It was darker and quieter; even with the rain, she was now thinking a bit clearer. She looked around, contemplating if she should stand under one of the buildings' main entrances just to get out of the rain, when she turned her head and saw a darkened street. There, in what looked like an abandoned building, was something of an open parking space.
Juvia hurriedly ran towards shelter. She breathed out in relief as she finally got out of the rain and had time to gather herself.
First, she checked what was left of her belongings on her bag: her purse with some emergency money (it had some cash, but not much), her ID wallet, her phone (it was dead, and wet from the rain so probably busted too), her planner and a few pens and notebooks, a cheap mp3 player and earphones (which were thankfully saved from the rain but she's not too sure), hairbrush and some emergency supplies, wet tissues and an equally wet handkerchief...
This is all that was left - but it was better than nothing, she firmly decided, now that she was feeling slightly warmer in the mostly empty parking lot. She looked around, there were two cars and a beat-up van. There was a door too, but the lights were off. To the far left, there was a staircase going up.
Deciding that she was too tired to worry about the technicalities, Juvia walked towards the staircase and sat on the bottom step, leaned against the railings and tried to keep herself warm.
She didn't know how long she had been there, but she must have fallen asleep despite her wet state, only to wake up to an unfamiliar voice.
"Levy? It's 3 AM, did you get locked out?"
Juvia sharply looked up, and saw a man, close to her age, with raven hair, dark eyes and a surprised expression on his face.
She only stared, speechless in both shame and fatigue, while the man raised an eyebrow and spoke again, "Crap. Sorry, I thought you were someone else. Uh… are you here for someone?"
"U-Um, actually, Juvia-..." she then hurriedly corrected herself - "Ju- I… I, um… uhhh- j-just... taking shelter... from the rain."
"Ah." the man nodded. "Yeah, it's pourin' out there, huh? I didn't even have my umbrella. Now my jacket's soaked." he chuckled, indicating a wet black leather jacket in his arm. Then he looked her up and down.
Juvia felt uncomfortable. Here she was again: she must look pathetic, huddled to herself and shivering in the bottom of some old building's staircase.
"Are you okay?" he asked, and she heard the genuine concern in his voice.
"Yes, Juvi-… I just… got caught in the rain for a while." she answered, intentionally excluding the part that she just arrived in the city, got mugged and got lost.
"You from 'round here?"
She shook her head.
"From uptown, then?"
She shook her head again, biting her lip. "I… just arrived in the city…" - there, another fact out. She tried hard not to break down and keep the 'mugged and lost' part to herself for a while longer.
"Wow, and look at the welcome you get." he sighed, as if in perfect sympathy. He actually sounded like he'd had the same experience. Had her situation been a bit better, Juvia would have asked about that. This time she kept quiet. "So you got nowhere to go yet?
"There is… somewhere, but… the rain, and… and Juvia-… I'm kinda… new…"
"You got lost?" he guessed.
Juvia closed her eyes and nodded. He figured things out fast. Did she really look that helpless? Finally she also sighed and admitted, "My things were also stolen."
"You landed in the bad part of town." he clicked his tongue. She looked back up at him, about to ask if that was a normal occurence, but she was cut off when he continued, "You wanna go stay inside for now? You can sort things out in the morning."
"Do… do you… l-live here?" she asked, looking up towards where the staircase led. The door at the top of the steps was closed. Besides, the building looked abandoned when she first saw it.
"Yeah. Err… It doesn't look like much but it's home. C'mon, it's warmer inside." he said, offering a hand. "You can change into something else too."
She thought for a grand total of five seconds before deciding that dying of hypothermia at the bottom of a staircase was not the way she wanted to go. So Juvia accepted his hand and let him help her up. His grip was strong and firm, but when she looked at his face closely, she saw that he looked very tired.
"What's your name?" he asked. Before she could answer, he snorted. "Wait. Sorry, askin' you to come in without introducing myself. Of course that's suspicious. I'm Gray."
"Juvia. Juvia Lockser." she answered, hugging her bag and coat and following him up the stairs.
"Right. Juvia. You 'round the neighborhood when the rain started?"
Gray was just making conversation now, she knew. He stifled a yawn as he fumbled with his keys and unlocked the door.
"Come in." he said softly. It was dark, and he didn't turn the lights on. Instead, he gently guided her by the elbow to walk with him to another set of stairs. "Sorry, I'm on the 4th floor. Hope you don't mind stairs."
"N-No, it's fine. But… Ju-… I'm getting the floor wet-"
"S'okay, we'll clean that up tomorrow. I mean, later." - this time he yawned again. Juvia felt terrible - here was this obviously tired man and he was helping a stranger. She expected him to be like the others in the city, who didn't care about her when she asked for help.
There was another staircase… and another. "We're here. Good news: no more stairs."
Then they were walking along a hallway with three doors on each side. Gray led Juvia towards one of the rooms. She realized that they were probably in an apartment building, but she must be wrong there too because Gray's door wasn't locked.
When they got inside, Gray cursed. "Aw, shit. Cana." he sighed, then lowered his voice to a whisper. "Uh, wait a sec."
Juvia looked around as he headed towards the lone bed on one side of the room. She couldn't see much, but the room looked mostly empty but a bit messy. She saw that there was someone already asleep on the bed, a head of long dark hair peeking out from under the thick blankets.
Gray looked closely at the woman with a frown. "Why're you even in my room?" After a while, he finally sighed in defeat. "Would you be fine with the couch?" he asked Juvia, and she only nodded timidly. At this point, she wouldn't want to intrude or demand anything. The strange building was warm and cozy - a far shot from the bottom of the staircase.
"I don't think you've got extra clothes and you'd wanna get out of that one. Uh, shirt and boxers okay for you?"
Juvia nodded again. She didn't know who this man really was, but he sounded honest and he was helping her and she wasn't about to complain.
Someone she knew would have scolded her, saying that she was too trusting but she shook that off firmly - she had a long day. She couldn't be picky now.
The next few minutes were a blur - he led her to a bathroom down the hall so she could change and told her she can dump her wet clothes in his laundry basket and she can use the dryer in the morning. When she finished, he was already waiting outside, having changed into cotton pants and a shirt, carrying a bunch of pillows and sheets.
"Couch is downstairs. Sorry for that."
"It's… it's really no problem." she said, shifting in place. She felt slightly uncomfortable in someone else's oversized shirt and a pair of boxer shorts she had to tie tightly so it wouldn't slip off from her waist. She clutched her wet bag to her side. "Thank you for this, Gray-sama."
"Oi, what's the -sama for?" he chuckled. "Let's just go get some shut-eye. I've had a hell of a day."
'Same here.' she wanted to say. She wasn't sure if she did so. She was tired now.
She followed him downstairs. He didn't bother turning the lights on as he led her towards the couch. It looked big and comfy. In the dim light from the windows, Juvia saw some bean bags and throwpillows strewn around the coffee table.
Gray handed her a pillow and a fluffy blanket. "Here, I'll be on the floor."
"Gray-sama won't go back to his room?"
"You saw it, my bed's taken. 'Sides, you won't like being alone here when you wake up in the morning. Believe me."
"Really, just... take it. I'm so sleepy I can crash anywhere and won't even give a damn 'bout it."
The couch, the pillow and the blankets were so warm that Juvia could practically melt in them. She saw Gray make himself comfortable on the floor beside the couch.
"Night." was all he said before turning to his side, with his back to her. He really must be tired.
Maybe she replied. Her eyelids were dropping. She was about to fall asleep.
"Gray-sama?" she asked softly. There was no reply, but as she watched the unfamiliar man's shoulders rise and fall steadily, she realized he had already fallen fast asleep.
So Juvia just closed her eyes and simply whispered, "Thank you."
end of ch. 1
A/N: Can you imagine the fade to black sequence at the end? It's totally there. I know it's short. But hopefully it'll get you looking forward to some more. Next one's coming in a couple of days! :D
Next Chapter: "All That Jazz"
Guess who performs it because we're getting the first musical number. Oh, and breakfast. Of course there's breakfast first.