A/N: I'm very pleasantly surprised by the positive feedback for "Your Princess Is In Another Castle", so thank you so much to all who have reviewed so far! Gray/Lucy is my Fairy Tail OTP, but Loki/Lucy comes in at a close second. Here's a little Valentine's treat for you guys! I don't celebrate Valentine's Day myself, but I imagine Loki takes the occasion very, ahem, seriously. Read on to find out what this means for poor Lucy.
UPDATED 14/2/2011: Many thanks to DayDreamerJxD for pointing out the error in the phrase at the end. Now fixed. :)
YOU CALL IT MADNESS
"I can't forget the night I met you
That's all I'm dreaming of
And now you call it madness
But I call it love."
- Nat King Cole
Lucy doesn't want to wake up on this dreaded morning, knowing it is just another glaring reminder that she doesn't and will probably never have a boyfriend. Eventually she drags herself out of bed anyway – the only thing worse than a single loser is a single loser who spends Valentine's Day hiding under the blankets and moping over her sad life.
What to do today…choices, choices, she muses sarcastically as she brushes her teeth. She's in no mood to work on her novel. She's not particularly keen on going to the guild either; it's bound to be swarming with lovey-dovey couples. Then again, there's probably no harm in stopping by to check the request board. Perhaps she'll get lucky and score a mission that could take her mind off her loneliness. And earn some extra cash to get that cute top she's had her eye on. This last thought cheers her up to an extent.
As she steps into town, however, her heart sinks a little. Magnolia is a city that makes the most out of celebrations, and Valentine's Day is no exception. Shiny red cupids, hearts and bows adorn most of the display windows. Chocolates, teddy bears and flowers are being promoted at special prices. Most depressingly – at least to Lucy – couples litter the streets, most of them indulging in shopping, sightseeing and rather squicky PDA. A large crowd makes its way to the town square where some parade or event commemorating the day is undoubtedly being held. Lucy doesn't even bother to turn her head to see what this year's event is.
Among the crowd of hand-holders and kissers, she sticks out like a sore thumb. Her heart sinks lower until it reaches the pit of her stomach, and she sighs. She's positive people are whispering and making fun of her behind her back.
Lucy stops at a store window, takes a deep breath and tries to rally her flagging spirits. Chin up, girl! There's no point in walking around like a zombie, she scolds her reflection. Go to the guild, get a mission and beat the hell out of it.
She is about to do just that when she notices two girls staring at her from the other side of the glass, pointing and giggling. Instantly, she forgets her resolution, turns and stalks off.
Exactly what is wrong with being single on Valentine's Day? Since when is it a crime? She can't be the only person on the planet without a significant other today, right?
As she fumes her way through the streets, more people turn to look at her, smiling and chuckling among themselves. Even the older shopkeepers and stall vendors shake their heads at her and exchange looks of disapproval.
I hate holidays! she thinks savagely. Above her head, a gathering of storm clouds crackles ominously.
A pretty young brunette throws Lucy an amused look as she passes by. "…what the heck she was thinking?" she whispers to her boyfriend, gesturing discreetly at Lucy.
Lucy's brow twitches. "Yeah, so I've got my own way of celebrating, alright? Deal with it!" she snaps at them, and stomps the rest of the way to the guild.
Thankfully, there aren't as many people there as she expected. Everyone is probably spending the day in town, partaking in the day's festivities. Natsu is sitting at the bar counter with Lisanna and Mirajane at the other end of the room. He seems to be in the midst of telling a funny story, talking and gesturing more enthusiastically than usual if that is even possible.
Suddenly he glances sideways and sees Lucy standing at the door. He immediately bursts into laughter and points at her.
Needless to say, this isn't the kind of welcome Lucy had been expecting.
Lisanna and Mirajane are gracious enough to keep calm. Instead, they settle for matching sympathetic expressions though Lucy is highly suspicious of the way their lips twitch slightly as though they're trying to contain their own laughter.
Is everyone out to torture me today? Lucy wonders miserably. She makes her way over to where Natsu is now rolling on the floor and clutching his sides. "Stop making fun of me, asshole!" she hisses at him.
"But, but Luce…" Natsu's so breathless he can't speak for laughing. "You…and…on Valentine's Day!" He dissolves into another round of laughter, and rolls around a few more times for good measure.
Lucy moves to kick him but is stopped by Lisanna's placating hand on her shoulder. "Hang on, Lucy. He's not worth it," Lisanna assures her.
"That doesn't mean he gets to have a good laugh about the way I choose to spend Valentine's Day!" Lucy rages. She folds her arms and glowers at Natsu.
"Well…" Lisanna and Mirajane exchange a Look. Lisanna pauses before replying, making sure to choose her words carefully. "You did pick a strange way to show it this year…"
"Oh come on, not you guys too?" Lucy says exasperatedly. "Just because you have Natsu and Mirajane has Fried fawning all over her, you all get to write off my pathetic love life?"
"I'm sure it can't be that pathetic," Mirajane says soothingly. Lucy just glares at her.
"It's just…it's so not you, Lucy," Lisanna said in what Lucy can only perceive as a pitying tone.
Lucy's blood pressure is climbing so rapidly at this point that she's surprised she hasn't had a heart attack and keeled over. She plants her hands on her hips and frowns fiercely at the others. "Look, I am an independent woman, and I don't need anyone telling me how I should or should not celebrate Valentine's Day! These are modern times and I'll do what I want without anyone laughing about it!" she finishes, striking a defiant pose and feeling a rush of triumph.
Just then, Gray walks in, sees Lucy and bursts into a heinous fit of laughter.
"That's it!" Lucy shrieks. Lucy makes to run and pummel the hell out of Gray but finds herself held back by Lisanna and Mirajane.
"Just let it go. They're both lacking in the maturity department, after all," says Lisanna, rolling her eyes. "But seriously, Lucy, you and Loki? I'm kind of surprised that you didn't say anything about it." She pouts slightly, looking hurt.
Lucy stares at her in confusion, not sure that she heard correctly. "Me and…Loki? What are you talking about?"
"Yeah Luce, how long have you two been together?" Natsu calls from his position on the floor. "I can't believe you didn't tell us!"
"We're supposed to be nakama," grumbles Gray, who has now graduated to hiccupping.
Lucy is getting more confused by the second, and turns to Mirajane for an explanation. The older woman simply shrugs and smiles cheerfully. "I wasn't that surprised when I found out, to be honest. I assumed you wanted to keep things private. That Loki can be quite flimsy when it comes to commitment, isn't that right Lucy?" she says, winking at the blonde.
"Guys, what are you talking about? Loki and I aren't dating! That would be like…blasphemy!" Lucy protests.
Natsu and Gray exchange a smirk. "Right, Luce. Talk to the scarf," says Natsu skeptically.
Lucy resists the urge to slap her own forehead. "For the last time, I think I would know if Loki and I were together!" It's pretty clear what's going on here: somehow she's entered some kind of parallel universe, and she'd really like to go home now, thank you very much. She'd be lying if she says she's never thought of Loki that way before, but this is just plain ridiculous.
She shoots the other girls a desperate look and a silent plea for salvation. Really, she doesn't deserve so much crap in one day.
Mirajane scrutinizes her closely, and seems to decide that she's telling the truth. "So, are you saying that you didn't have anything to do with it?"
"With what?" Lucy is this close to exploding. "Is this Cryptic Talk Day too? All I wanted was to take a nice, quiet walk here but no one will leave me alone! What's wrong with spending Valentine's Day alone?"
"Alone?" Gray and Natsu chorus, looking confused. There is an awkward pause during which Mirajane looks as though something has clicked in her brain.
"Lucy, have you been anywhere near the town square today?" she asks.
"No, why would I?" Lucy replies irritably. She's still peeved about the whole situation. "It's so full of couples there today, you can't even breathe."
Everyone exchanges another significant Look. This does not go unnoticed by Lucy. "Whenever you guys feel like filling me in on what's going on, I'll be here waiting," she deadpans. "Who's been spreading rumours about me and Loki?"
Everyone looks at Mirajane, who sighs.
"Come with us. There's something you need to see."
"Something" turns out to be not as bad as Lucy is dreading.
As in she's-going-to-have-to-move-far-away-chop-off-her-hair-and-change-her-name worse.
A gigantic billboard has been erected on the upper side of the tallest building in the town square. Looming over the curious crowd gathered below, it is adorned with a blown-up picture of a smiling Lucy that's clearly been cropped from Weekly Sorcerer and Photoshopped dismally so that her original clothing is now substituted with an ill-fitting red flamenco dress with heart-shaped polka dots. Standing next to her is none other than Loki, dressed in a male equivalent of her flamenco costume. The fact that he still has his sunglasses on and is striking a flamboyant pose makes Lucy want to hurl.
She actually does throw up in her mouth a little when her eyes travel to the bottom center of the board where an inscription is emblazoned in a festive font:
"To my beloved Lucy, may we sizzle in the heat of our everlasting love! Te amare por siempre!"
"And they call us idiots…" Natsu and Gray snicker somewhere behind her.
Just when Lucy is about to die of humiliation, the heart-shaped polka dots light up and start to blink in synchronization.
Lucy's reached her limit. "LOKI!" she screeches.
Said perpetrator appears instantly before her, beaming beatifically as if he has not just blown what was left of her dignity to smithereens. "Lucy, my love! I see you've found my Valentine's Day present to you." He waves proudly at the billboard. "What do you think? I'm considering it my greatest masterpiece."
Lucy lunges, and this time no one is able to stop her.
The next morning, the headline on the front page of the local newspaper reads: "COUPLE CHARGED WITH ILLEGAL ADVERTISING, PHYSICAL ASSAULT AND DESTRUCTION OF TOWN SQUARE."
A/N 2: 'Te amare por siempre' translates to 'I love you forever'.