Here I go, starting a new multichap fic when I have one going on already. XD So this is a little High School AU I thought up a few days ago and just decided to roll with it. I don't really have anything solid planned out yet, so we'll see where it ends up going.
If you're already familiar with my work, you'll know my update schedule varies. I'll try to not have too big a gap between chapters, though.
Enjoy this first chapter! Please make sure to tell me what you think in the reviews! :)
Seventeen-year-old Lucy Heartfilia had a lot to say about life. One, it was pointless. Two, it gave people too much hope. Three, it can snap into pieces at any time without warning. That was how it was for her. That was how it had been for the past eight years.
"Lu-chan, are you alright? You seem to be spacing out over there," her best friend, Levy, told her. The bluenette waved her hand in front of Lucy's face, trying to get her attention. "You know how that always works out, don't you? If you don't listen, Loke-sensei will catch you and ask you a question."
"Oh, sorry Levy," came Lucy's reply.
Lucy sighed, rubbing her temples. She mentally groaned, trying to pay attention to the English class she was in. There was only one more class for the day after this one before she and her friends would be going to hang out in town. Lucy was excited. It had been a while since she had been able to meet up with people after school. Her father never allowed it.
Her father never allowed anything.
Lucy shook her head, not wanting to think about her old man. That never did her any good, and she knew it.
As soon as the bell rang, Lucy scrambled out of her seat, stopping once to bid her teacher goodbye and grabbing Levy's hand to lead her to their next class.
"I actually have to…" Levy said, looking towards the front door. "I promised Gajeel I would compare homework answers with him."
Lucy followed her gaze curiously, her eyes landing squarely on a pack of boys she recognized from the grade yearbook. There was a boy with slick dark black hair, and besides him was a tall, muscular guy with tanned skin and piercings. To his right was a shorter, goofy looking salmon-haired boy who was currently talking to him.
Lucy smirked, seeing how Levy's gaze was directed mostly towards the guy with the many piercings.
"I see," she said, nodding once towards her friend. "I'll go on without you, then. Have fun!" Lucy shot her a wink, before gliding away, ignoring the multiple protests she got from the shorter girl.
As she walked towards the door, her eyes involuntarily made perfect contact with the pink-haired boy's. He didn't seem to notice, going back to what Lucy presumed to be an argument with the black-haired boy besides him.
After school that day, Lucy gathered with her five other girlfriends, sliding into a seat at the table outside an ice cream parlor. Lucy played with her spoon, mixing the creamy chocolate and the specks of caramel together for the perfect blend she loved so much. It was rare for her to get a chance to enjoy a bowl of ice cream like this, and she was not going to let anything ruin it.
"How are you girls doing," Mira asked, arriving at the table with her single scoop of vanilla ice cream. "I heard you were out with Jellal yesterday, Erza."
Erza visibly blushed. "Mira, you do not need to feel pressured into exploiting me like that," she said simply, taking a bite out of her own dessert. Mira shrugged, not seeming to be bothered by her words.
"You know you like it," Cana teased.
"Juvia is happy for Erza-san," Juvia smiled.
"Yeah Erza," Lucy grinned. "No need to feel shy about it. We all are avid fans of your boyfriend, and you have our approval."
"Thank you, Luc- Wait, what boyfriend?"
The girls sniggered.
"Everyone's pairing up slowly, it seems," Mira muttered under her breath, but everyone could hear her.
"W-what's that supposed to mean?" Levy stuttered, making the others raise an eyebrow at her.
"Seriously, Levy?" Lucy laughed. "We all know about how you feel about Gajeel Redfox."
"Oh! Isn't he in the English class after ours?" Erza questioned, humming in thought. "Big, bulky, and with many piercings? Am I talking about the same boy as the one that has caught your eye?"
Levy's eyes widened, swiftly punching Lucy in the side. "Lu-chan! You traitor!"
Her best friend's eyes shone with mirth. "Sorry not sorry, Levy-chan!"
"You guys have English with Loke-sensei, right?" Mira asked. "Lisanna's in the second class. The one after yours."
Lucy nodded. "Yeah. There are two English classes, right? Class 1 and Class 2."
Erza nodded. "Yes. We're in Class 1, and Gajeel and Lisanna are in Class 2."
"Juvia and her Gray-sama are in Class 2 too!" Juvia suddenly exclaimed.
"Oh right. He's your boyfriend, right?" Levy said. "I think I saw him with Gajeel today."
Juvia nodded enthusiastically. "Yes!"
Lucy couldn't help the massive grin erupting onto her face. Her mind was officially occupied by something other than her father, and was more than grateful for the distraction her friend's provided. No one knew about the situation with Jude. Not even Levy. And Lucy was content in keeping it that way for a while.
That happiness was quickly sucked from her once she got home. Lucy breathed a sigh of anxiousness, slipping her shoes off and walking slowly into the living room where her father was undoubtedly waiting for her.
"Lucy," Jude started, not turning to look at her. His large chair's backside was currently facing her. "Where were you?"
Lucy gulped. "I was out with my friends, Father," she said quietly, playing with her fingers. "You had told me you would be working till late, so I thought it would be okay if I-"
"You never asked me. Nor did you inform me of your absence for the afternoon."
Lucy gulped back an angry retort. She ran through the list of possible replies she could give to the older man, before settling on an uneasy "I apologize."
"You are a Heartfilia girl, Lucy," Jude continued as if he hadn't heard her. "I don't want you socializing with people of less social standing than you. You may not understand at your age, but who you talk to has a big influence on how you appear to the world."
"They're my friends, Father," Lucy protested.
"Good thing they're only your friends, Lucy," Jude said. "I can't imagine how it would be if you were to suddenly decide you were to become the girlfriend of someone of less social class than you!"
Lucy bit her lip, not answering.
"Furthermore, I wish to plan a few marriage interviews for you in the coming future. Let me know which dates work best for you."
Not wanting to hear any more, Lucy quietly huffed, turning on her heel and swiftly walking out of the room.
She instantly made a beeline for the grand staircase, wanting to get inside the safety of her room as soon as possible. She ignored the worried looks she got from the other maids and workers of the household and quickly entered her bedroom, slamming the door hard behind her.
Lucy fell to her giant four-poster bed, completely willing to spend the entire night there, drowning in her tears.
The next day of school ran smoothly for the blonde, except the fact that her thoughts always seemed to drift to her father and their conversation from the day before. Lucy tried to forget about it and focus on the day before her, but it was proven much too difficult.
When it was time for English class, Lucy trudged into the room with Levy and Erza on either side of her.
"You've been acting a little weird all day, Lu-chan," Levy said pointedly, giving her best friend a concerned look. "Is everything alright?"
"I'm wondering that too, to be honest," Erza added.
Lucy gave them both a reassuring smile, though both of them could sense it was a little forced.
"Nothing's wrong, girls. But thank you for the concern," Lucy said.
Levy and Erza nodded, taking their seats in the middle of the classroom. Lucy went to hers too, which was right behind Erza and to the left of Levy.
She sighed, directing her attention to Loke-sensei who was just about to begin the lesson.
As he started to educate them on proper nouns and pronouns, Lucy let her mind dare to wander back to her previous thoughts about her dad.
Tears begged for their release, but Lucy willed herself to not give up so easily. Her hand flirted with the pencil she was holding, twitching it a few times in her grip.
Then, without realizing what she was doing, she began to write on the desk.
Father's at it again. I don't know what to do anymore. He keeps scolding me for the choices I make. Yesterday I went out with my friends and I didn't bother to tell him. When I came home, he started yelling at me because he doesn't think my friends are of enough social class to be having any contact with me. Well I'm sorry, Father, but I love my friends and you can't do anything about it.
Sometimes I wish I wasn't born into this family. If I wasn't, then maybe I wouldn't have to suffer in this way. Everything's been going wrong since Mom died. Everything. I don't know what to do anymore. I need help. I'm going crazy. I cry myself to sleep too much. Is this normal? Am I okay? Is what I'm doing acceptable? Am I really just seeking attention like my father claims?
Lucy froze, suddenly realizing what she was doing. She set her pencil down, putting her face in her hands and sitting there for a while. She drowned out the voice of her young teacher, her mind completely occupied by her out of control emotions.
The class dragged on for another half hour before the bell finally rang, signaling it was time for the final period.
Lucy rubbed her temples, rising from her seat and grabbing her things. She gave Levy and Erza a small smile before walking up to the door. The boys from yesterday were there again, and Lucy was able to make out a bit of their conversation.
"... Flame-brains, you know what I mean," the black haired boy said.
"Oh shut up you icy freak!" The pink-haired boy yelled back. "It isn't like your girlfriend is anything special!"
The other boy scoffed. "Juvia is great," he replied simply, crossing his arms and raised an eyebrow. "You have no room to talk. You haven't had a single girlfriend in your entire life!"
"Oi!" the pink-head retorted. "I'm single 'cuz I wanna be!"
Lucy spared a glance at the duo. She had recognized her friend's name in the raven-haired boy's speech, meaning he must be the infamous Gray Fullbuster. Juvia's boyfriend of three weeks. Lucy didn't recognize the other boy by name, but she had seen him more than enough times after class to know that he existed.
"Natsu!" a familiar voice said. Lucy then turned to see Lisanna Strauss, Mira's younger sister, waving out to Gray and the pink-haired boy.
"Oh, hey Lisanna," he said. Lucy presumed his name was 'Natsu' from what the white-haired girl had just said. "What's up?"
Lisanna glanced over to where Lucy was, shooting her a quick wave and smile. "Hey Lucy!" she said in her usual cheerful demeanor. Natsu then looked over, catching Lucy's eye as well, but saying nothing.
Lucy forced a smile. "Hi Lisanna," she offered, quickly nodding once before walking out of the classroom.
She could faintly hear Natsu say, "Who was that?"
"Lucy, can you come in here for a second," Jude called out to his daughter later that afternoon. Lucy groaned, walking into the room and rubbing her eyes. She looked at her father with an expectant look.
"Well here I am. What is it that you want, Father?"
Jude beckoned her forward, holding out a few documents and papers.
"I'd like for you to look through these promising bachelor candidates I've picked out for you," he said, giving the papers to her with a curt nod. "Let me know which ones catch your interest, and I'll set up meetings with them."
Lucy looked at her father in shock.
"Father, I never agreed to any of this," she said quickly. "I'm not even eighteen yet!"
"But you will be soon," was her dad's answer. "And I want to be prepared for the day of your marriage, for it is coming sooner than you think."
"I'd like to choose my future husband for myself, thank you very much!" Lucy cried. "I want to marry for love, Father! Not for your business deals!"
"You will soon learn to love these men," Jude said back.
"I want to choose my own partner!" Lucy retorted.
"Lucy," Jude started in a warning tone. "This is what's best for the family. You need to learn to accept the fact that things can't always go the way you want."
"Oh trust me, Father," Lucy bitterly replied, "I've learned that well enough over these years. You never let me do anything I want anyway. Everything's about the business for you."
"The Heartfilia Railroad Company is-"
"I really don't care," Lucy interrupted in a low voice. "I want to have a life for myself. I don't want to be kept under the shadows of the business anymore. I don't want to marry anyone yet!"
"You have to."
"I will marry when I see it fit!" Lucy said.
"You will follow my orders!" Jude suddenly snarled, his voice getting dangerously louder. "You will not back answer to your father! You will choose a few men from this list and I will set up meetings with them."
Lucy stopped. Her eyes filled with hot tears, but she willed them not to escape.
"Go back to your room," Jude continued, turning back around and looking out the large window in front of him.
Without a word, Lucy retreated with the documents in her sweaty hands. Once she was safely outside Jude's office, she broke into a run, headed straight for the comfort of her bedroom.
The next day, Lucy trudged through her classes like usual. She was somehow able to keep up with the conversations she had with her friends, but found it hard to keep up her concentration in class.
Finally, it was time for her favorite subject. English.
Lucy walked into Loke-sensei's class, taking her regular seat and opening her notebooks and papers. She willed herself to listen to the entirety of the class, taking notes and copying down what Loke was writing on the board as per usual.
Then, she saw it.
Right where she had written her vent the day before, there was new, fresh writing. Lucy's eyes widened as she realized she had forgotten to erase the things she had written about her father yesterday. She silently cursed herself for being so stupid.
But it looked as if whoever sat in her seat in Class 2 had taken the liberty to erase what she had written themselves.
And leave a little reply in its place.
Well that sucks. Your Pops sounds like a pretty strict guy. Sorry, you probably weren't expecting this. I shouldn't've done this. Bleh, whatever. Here I go.
You're completely in the right here, ya know. Don't let what your dad says get to ya. I know whenever my adopted dad gets on my nerves, I just take a deep breath, count to ten, and go out for a walk. Maybe you could try something like that. Make it a routine, ya know? Whenever your daddy does something bad to ya, just go outside and get a bit o' fresh air.
You must really be brave. I can tell, and they call me the most clueless guy around! Having to deal with all of this every single day must be pretty tiresome, eh?
I'm sorry about your mom. I guess I know where you're coming from. A bit at least. I never knew my real parents, but when I was taken in it was… nice. Yeah. Nice. Your mom must've been nice too. And pretty. Because I'm sure that you're a very pretty girl.
Nice people are the best, don't ya think?
About crying yourself to sleep and worrying about if what you're doing is normal… don't worry, it is. I would do the same. I have done the same. And I'm not a big cryer, either.
You can do it. I believe in you.
Feel better soon.
Lucy tried to stop the tears from falling. She didn't do anything for a while.
After almost the entire class period had passed, she quickly erased the message the mysterious person had written her and quickly wrote her own little reply.
Whoever this guy was, he had made her feel good. He had made her feel better.
So for the rest of that day, she didn't force any smiles. She laughed genuinely. She let herself enjoy her last class.
That day, she went home feeling happy.