Chapter 4: Lucy is emo, Grey is mostly confused, Natsu is pissed, and Mira is in trouble (with Erza). Also, Jubia becomes Lluvia.
Guess what I do not own Fairy Tale. The End.
Lucy bit her lip as she stared out the carriage, the scenery all too familiar and at the moment, most unwelcome. In a few more hours she would be home (well, at her father's home anyway) and would begin her preparations to face an unexpected and largely unknown evil. Makarov had promised to send Polyushou to help her, and had given her the diary of the last known stellar spirit to face Kydan. It was encouraging to have proof that this had happened before, successfully. It was not encouraging to realize that the former spirit mage had written in an unfamiliar language. What she knew was this: that Kydan's original defeat had resulted in him being banished to an alternate dimension (something akin to the spirit world, yet also more like a prison) where he could no longer harm the inhabitants of this world, or in theory, any other. However after a few hundred years (383, Lucy reminded herself wryly) the alternate dimension broke, and another needed to be made. And for whatever reason, the next alternate dimension would be created by the union of the…
"Me-Until-3-Nights-Ago" and "What-Better-Not-Be-Natsu," Lucy whispered, being careful not to wake up Happy, her companion in the carriage and until she faced Kydan. Once Happy understood the magnitude of the situation, (and after a swift glance at Natsu, who nodded his approval) Happy had followed Lucy with just one question: Why can't Natsu come? Lucy couldn't deny it: traveling without Natsu just didn't feel right. Yet here they were, bumping along in a godsforsaken box on wheels, isolated from all the people that she cared about and depended on, preparing to face an evil at the level of Zeref, and she was whining about how wrong it felt when Natsu wasn't at her side? Gods, how selfish could she be? Lucy shook her head and with a glance down at her faithful feline-like friend, began to stoke him gently. It wasn't just that she and Natsu were apart; there was no point in lying to herself. It was more how they hadn't said 5 words on the subject of their Drunk-Fuck Adventure (Lucy had to stop herself soon, the bitterness in her nicknames was becoming blatant) since it had occurred. It wasn't that he wasn't with her now. It was that she didn't know if he was ever truly with her.
Lucy sighed again, noting with disinterest as her breath fogged the glass. It was raining. And she might never see Natsu again.
"Is anyone going to tell me where we're going?"
Natsu and Erza answered the frustrated Gray as one.
Gray mumbled under his breath and began to turn to Lluvia for help, before realizing swiftly that out of all his recent ideas, that would vie (with listening to Makarov that fateful three nights ago) as the worst. It had only stopped raining about 10 minutes ago, and by the glaring daggers she was shooting him (and towards Erza too, for whatever reason) he judged that it probably wasn't safe yet. Yet he could see Lluvia was beginning to be curious as well. For the last few minutes she had lessened her glaring and was spending more time observing their surroundings, with a look almost like confusion on her face. Regardless, Gray thought it was time to try again, in a slightly different vein."
"So uh…do you guys know what we're doing?"
They didn't answer, although Erza (forgetting herself and Lluvia's still lingering wrath for just a moment) looked back and grimaced, silently communicating her mutual confusion. The grimace also said "Stop talking about it Gray. You know what it does to Natsu." Yet she caught Lluvia's scowl soon enough, and whipped her head around, leaving Gray to reflect on their hurried departure from Fairy Tail. Makarov hadn't been explicit with the directions, although he had talked at length with Natsu. And whatever they had discussed had sent Natsu into a nearly three-day funk, along with endowing him with an incredible sense of purpose. Gray wasn't sure he liked the new, get-your-shit-done Natsu. For one thing, he hadn't fought with him for days. Hell, they hadn't even bickered since yesterday's dinner.
That was far too long for comfort.
"We're going the wrong way."
Erza and Gray whipped their heads around to Lluvia, who had just uttered her first sentence not laden with bitterness or outright anger since Thursday night. Lluvia, who apparently knew where they were supposed to be going. They gaped.
"Natsu? We were supposed to take the left path at the last fork. We should turn back."
Natsu didn't stop walking.
"Natsu. We're going the wrong-"
"No we're not. Because we're going to get Lucy."
At this, Erza and Gray suddenly felt a hell of a lot more up to speed. They might not know what was going on, but Makarov had made it quite clear to them, in the midst of his ambiguous ramblings, that one thing must not happen. Natsu must not come into contact with Lucy. That meant until…whatever was going to happen had happened, they could not see, interact, or communicate with each other.
Natsu half turned around, sensing the verbal (and perhaps physical) battle to come. Gray shot Erza a look that uncharacteristically read damage control, please. Erza nodded slowly, and put out her hand to gently clasp Natsu's shoulder.
"Natsu…Lucy has her mission and we have ours. Makarov has stressed the importance of her being able to act with complete independence, and if we don't complete our mission, than she will fail as well. You know-"
"And what is our mission, Erza? Do you even know? Tell me, in your own words, what Makarov told you that we should be doing."
Gray sympathized as Erza's eyes shot to the side. His first instinct had been to say "Fool's errand" and leave it at that. If something was going down here, it wasn't where they were told to go, that was for sure.
"We are to locate and identify the two people essential to the ritual. If we fail, Lucy will be the first to die." Lluvia's spoke with a blandness that didn't fit the nature of the utterance. Yet the point was made.
Natsu swore, loudly, and yelled, "And just how are we supposed to do that?"
Gray silently agreed.
"Well it can't be too hard to-"
The inhuman roar shattered the tension of the group. Erza cocked her head for a moment, something about that roar seemed familiar but it was Natsu and Gray who recognized it first. Paling in unison, Gray whispered "Mira" before Lluvia physically lifted him from the path and dropped him into the hedge hemming the road, proceeding then to leap behind it herself. Natsu slunk behind Erza with the few seconds he had left. Mira hadn't had her demon form back for very long, but its recent re-appearance had reminded everyone just how terrifying Mirajane could truly be.
Erza swiveled her wrist, flicking around a sword in preparation. She didn't think Mira was coming to attack them, but if Mira was demon, it was better to err on the side of caution.
"Laxus! Laxus…" Mira stumbled into the clearing surprisingly not the demon the quartet of doom plus 1 had expected, but as the lovely young woman she was widely known as. Lovely and bedraggled – her black dress was torn around her knees, and recent tears had caused her makeup to run and splotch her face. Erza recalled her sword, and suddenly, violently wished for Lucy, who was far better with handling girly emotional matters than she was. What was she to do with an upset Mirajane?
"Mira?" Natsu poked his head out from behind Erza, concerned about the woman's tears. "Mira, what's wrong?"
Mira looked up at her teammates with a look reminiscent of a deer that sees the hunter just as he releases the arrow. Such was her sorrow that she wasn't even fazed by Grey and Lluvia's sudden emergence from the hedges.
"Mira? Are you-"
She threw up her arms, startling them. "It's Laxus. He just took off!"
Her audience shared looks, all confused. Grey found his voice first. "Uh, wasn't Laxus banished or something? A while ago?"
Erza made to glare at him for his insensitivity but before she could make eye contact she realized his shirt was off again, and ended up glaring at Lluvia instead. Realizing that was just as bad, (and potentially dangerous) she quickly looked to the ground before she could screw up again. Ok, what was wrong with her? Looking at Grey had never bothered her before…
Thankfully, Mira wasn't upset. If anything, she was embarrassed. "He was just…visiting…but then he freaked out, and I couldn't catch him. I don't even know exactly what was wrong. He just started muttering stuff about there being no time left, and then he took off."
Erza's gut clenched, and the slow sensation of doom spread from the tightness throughout her body. Natsu's face had become a hard line, and she knew he was thinking the same thing. Oh gods, could it be Laxus?
"Did he say anything else?" Natsu's voice matched his face – a hard, thin, line that booked no nonsense. Erza could tell Mira was surprised, but not too taken aback.
Mira nodded grimly. "Yes. But that was the weirdest part…he also said something about the skies. About how he had to take to the skies, or head to the skies. Something like that."
Now even Grey got it. His eyes widened as Lluvia's narrowed, both taking in the information and coming to the same conclusion. Laxus was, unfortunately for Mira who may or may not have just come from a clandestine romantic tryst with her old friend, the Champion of the Skies. All they had to do now was to find Laxus and some willing virgin (maybe Mira could do?) and then they were in business.
Mira sighed and shook her head. "I just don't know what he was talking about. He was so strange…it was like he himself didn't know what he was saying." She smiled ruefully, and shrugged her shoulders. "But now that I've found you Natsu, it'll be ok."
Natsu stared back at her, mouth wide open in dumb confusion. "Huh?"
Mira nodded. "Yep. 'Cuz you were the one he was looking for." She furrowed her eyebrows. "Actually, I'm a little surprised he hasn't found you yet…he was pretty determined."
Gray looked over at Erza, for once ahead of the game. When he actually paid attention, he was quite bright, and fairly intuitive. Erza of course, was Erza. For a moment their gaze held no trace of recent awkwardness, just a shared, unnamable suspicion. Oh no, she can't mean…it can't be…
Mira looked at her friend's faces, all of which were displaying some sort of uneasy confusion. "Oh sorry, I hadn't gotten to it yet – you're the reason he's heading to the skies in the first place."
Panic and denial began to simmer inside of Natsu then, choking his reply and his confidence, while beginning to move against his sanity. No. No. No.
"He said that he had to aid you, or something. That you were going to be fighting soon and he had to help you." She cocked her head to the side. "You were going to be someone's champion, maybe?"
With perfect synchronization born from years of exposure to each other, Erza and Grey moved expertly to restrain Natsu. Grey and Natsu attacked in tandem.
"Ice make, prison!"
Natsu's flame not only melted the ice igloo, but also sent Grey's body flying backwards through the air. Yet even as he flew, he attempted a counterattack before his body would come into contact with a tree, or the ground.
"Ice make, spe-"
Thunk. At the same moment that Grey's back hit a tree trunk, Erza brought down the hilt of her sword on Natsu's head, knocking him unconscious. She caught him as he sagged to the ground. She cringed as she watched Lluvia cry out and run over to Grey, but it had been necessary. Although she could surely take Natsu in a fair fight, time was of the essence, as was speaking to Mira without Natsu's interference. Anyways, who knew what Natsu would do if it turned out that he really was the Champion of the Skies? Doing her best to ignore Lluvia as she embraced Grey's fallen form Erza fixed her infamous glare on Mira.
"Now. You were saying?"
Ahhhh sorry guys - I know I haven't updated in almost a year and in my heart of hearts, I had planned on dropping this totally. In my defense, this was supposed to be a one shot plus prologue. Maybe I shouldn't put out this teaser, especially bc there isn't anything too interesting here, but I wrote it, and here you are.
I will say - Lluvia is a way sweeter name than Jubia, so we're just gonna switch that up now. Sorry guys. But this is fanfic. Not too worried. :)
Also, I haven't read the last, oh, 60 chapters or so? I know that Gerard comes back and is good or something, but this is AU (and fanfiction, hello how are you) and he's not here. :)
Gomen nasai for it taking so damn long. Enjoy :)