Hey y'all! I'm Mysty Midnight and I'll be your author for the next 10 chapters or so.
While I own this (not so) fabulous plot, I don't own Fairy Tail nor any of it's awesome mages.
"Get back - I'll protect you!"
Protection is something she has always seemed to need. They look at her as a delicate princess in need of a knight to rescue her. And she'd once looked at him as her knight. Since the minute they'd meant, he's been saving her. A damsel in distress is in need of a hero who is destined to save the helpless girl forever and always. But life is not a fairy tale. This time, she would not be the burden or the observer, but a hero too.
"You're not going to fight alone."
He clenches his fists. She has proven to be strong and helpful, loyal and funny, and those were the reasons why he loves her. But she's fragile too. Through his life he has faced many difficult paths, getting wounded and hurt through the journey, but he isn't going to allow that to happen to her. He won't forgive with himself if he failed to defend her and she got hurt.
He opens his mouth and begins to protest but it's drowned out by a blood-curdling scream. They're running out of time. He has to hastily step forward, otherwise the lives of all their beloved will be lost. But their entwined fingers are stopping him. Her fingers are cool against his blazing hot skin, as per usual. He can easily release himself from her grasp, but the thudding in his heart is preventing him.
"Please," he chokes out, on the verge of tears.
"I'm not going to reconsider."
Her hands don't tremble and her face shows no traces of fear. While in one hand she's linked with him, in her other she holds the only weapon she has. It's not a sword, nothing of the sort, but through her life it's given her that sense of security.
She reaches up on her tiptoes and captures his lips. It's a scorching kiss full of passion and longing as well as all the feelings and thoughts that had gone unsaid. She puts in no urgency in the kiss, showing him that this isn't a goodbye. They will always be with each other; whether this world or the next, it no longer mattered as long as she was by his side.
They reluctantly pull away from one another. They both have tears streaming from their wet eyes but only he bothers to wipe them away. He plasters on a grin for her.
"Guess it's now or never, huh?"
It was the same nonchalant and arrogant attitude that she loves. She nods at him and grips his hand. Together, they stroll into the forest to face whatever fate has in store for them.
I - Fiery Encounters
So this is what freedom tastes like, she thought, taking a sip from the mug in her hands. Yes, she was finally free from all the rules, the orders and that prison she had once called 'home'.
Lucy had always thought about running away but it had taken nearly eighteen years for her to finally put the plan in motion. And here she was now, in a Diner far from her father's house, alone and drinking a cup of hot chocolate that was definitely not good for her health. Freedom at last.
She paid for her food with a few jewels and left the Diner, backpack slung over her shoulder. She stepped onto the pavement and looked around the beautiful town that shone in the sunlight. She had stumbled into this quaint town last night. The first thing she had found was the local Inn which looked innocent and cute. The owner, an elderly woman named Hilda with many wrinkles, had frowned disapprovingly at her short skirt and tight top but had given her a room for only 1200 jewels (per night).
Lucy knew she couldn't stay in the town forever; she was already thinking of where to go next. It was obvious she had to leave this town and go to another town, farther away, where her father would never find her. She'd move to a different country if it meant she would never be found!
And this town, like many others, was boring and mundane. The townspeople seemed not to mind or even realize their town's dullness. The most interesting thing that possibly went on in this godforsaken town was assumingly, at the most, the days when the Grocery sellers sell ripe tomatoes.
As a child, Lucy had dreamed about living in a meek little town, like this one, where all the people got along and always said hello to one another as they passed. She had wished that she would get a small little house, a job in a bakery or as a teacher, and then meet the man of her dreams whom she would marry and have a billion kids with. As the years flew by, she saw no luck that would bestow her and give her the chance to live out her dream. Her father had imprisoned her in the spacious mansion, with no intent of letting her out to live the life of a small-time girl. She had been provided no amusement; it had driven her to the extent to yearn for, not the simple life of a commoner, but for adventure and adrenaline.
A large crowd of people caught her attention. They were all oo-ing and ahh-ing at something in fascination. Paint drying was fascinating for these towns-people, but still, Lucy was curious as to what they were all crowding around.
"Hey! Stop pushing!" someone shouted at her when she tried to squeeze through the crowd. Lucy ignored them and continued forward, getting squished against many people in the process – some of whom tried to grope her back; and there she had thought all townspeople were nice and neighborly!
Finally, she saw what they were all awing at with captivation.
In the centre was a guy, around Lucy's age. He was lean yet muscular, his six-pack clearly visible to all because he wore no shirt, just a black waist-coat and a white scaly scarf, along with a pair of short white trousers and black sandals. His fiery pink hair was bright in the sun, in comparison to his black eyes which were dark like coal.
But they weren't staring at him because of odd appearance. The boy was juggling fireballs. He played with them like they were the usual tennis balls you juggle with, not blazing flames that could burn you to a crisp. He threw them around, gaining speed, and Lucy watched in amazement. Then, for the final trick, the boy threw all the fireballs up and when they all fell back down…
He caught them all in his mouth. And swallowed.
He… he ate fire! Lucy thought it shock. No… that can't be! The fire must be fake! The boy burped, and a few clouds of smoke escaped his mouth.
Then, just when Lucy thought it couldn't get any stranger, she heard a squeaky voice shouting from up above. For a minute she had the idiotic thought that angels were calling out, applauding the eccentric act, but then she realized how foolish she was being. She tilted her head up at the cloudless blue sky to spot the source of the voice.
Were her eyes playing tricks on her? She shielded her eyes from the glare of the blazing sun in order to see more clearly. No, it's still there! Apparently her eyes weren't weakening. There really was a sky-blue cat with angelic white wings flying around above the crowd.
And also talks, because then the same squeaky voice came from the cat, joyfully shouting, "The carnival is coming! The carnival is coming!"
From its tiny green backpack, the cat took out some flyers and tossed them around. "Watch the fire-eating, fire-breathing Salamander perform again at the Fairy Tail carnival!" it squeaked again with excitement.
Oh, so he works in a carnival! Lucy thought in realization. He really is strange. A flyer floated down and she grabbed it. The flyer was colourful, with bold letters saying 'Fairy Tail Carnival'. The 'Salamander' was on the flyer, cheeks puffed up and actually breathing out fire, along with the flying cat.
Come to the Fairy Tail Carnival! It read. Food, games, rides and much more! For two nights only! Watch our circus perform at 10!
A carnival that doubled as a circus? So cool! she thought with a grin. Never had she once been to a carnival or seen a circus. Her father had thought of the thing as being ridiculous and the people being filthy illiterate commoners with no other skills. Not that he would have taken her out anywhere that excelled his standards – he was too absorbed by his work. Lucy wouldn't have been surprised if he was too consumed by his work to have even noticed the absence of his one and only daughter.
You're never too old to go to a carnival, Lucy told herself. Maybe she could stay in the town for another night or two…
She wondered into an alley – a shortcut to the Inn – and thought about what other acts would perform. The Salamander was incredibly cool, but would everyone else be as fantastic as him? And what other tricks could he do, anyway? Lucy was dying to find out.
Being lost in her thoughts, Lucy was an easy target. A figure lunged at her, his claws latching onto her bag and ripping it off of her, pushing her to the floor. Hastily, he ran. "Hey!" she shouted, pushing herself up. "My bag!"
She pushed herself up and with determination she pursued after the man who had stolen her bag. Her bag had all her possessions. All her jewels, clothes, and some precious items her mother had entrusted with Lucy before she had died…
Someone ran past her with great speed. All she saw was a glance of pinkish hair. The Salamander!
Suddenly she found herself in a ring of fire. The fire danced around her, heat waves jumping around and making her feel dizzy and faint-headed. There was no escape. She wasn't the only one in the ring of fire, Salamander and the thief were there too. The thief was looking around for an escape, fearful and sweating with panic.
"Give her bag back," Salamander told the thief, giving him a glare more scorching than the flames. His carefree attitude was gone and he was frightening the thief - and Lucy, a little.
The other man was taller than Salamander but no match for him. "I told you to give her bag back!" Salamander shouted. Unexpectedly, his hands were suddenly drenched with fire. He balled his hand into a fist and looked like he was going to take an aim at the thief.
Fire-breather, fire-eater, fire everything! Lucy thought in shock. His hands were covered in the dancing red flames. He's really amazing! The thief seemed to think so too, because he dropped to his knees, tears running down his face, and dropped her bag also. "Okay, okay!" he cried. "Don't hit me!"
Salamander's hands were no longer covered in flames now and they were no longer surrounded with fire. The thief, no realizing this, got up and ran away. Lucy looked around, glad to see that the town was still intact, the only trace of the fire was a circle of black soot. The towns-people were all staring at her and the Salamander with shock, whispering to their friends and chattering in hushed voices.
"Here," Salamander said to her, holding out her bag. His hands, she noticed, weren't burnt or covered with soot. She looked back at his face and saw that he was grinning. Huh?
"Um, thanks," Lucy said with slight hesitation. This Salamander character is really strange. Just a second ago he had looked so scary! She took her bag and hugged it to her chest. The keys were with her again. Who cares if he's weird? He got my stuff back! She smiled at him. "Really, thanks so much!"
… … …
Less then ten minutes later she's back at the Diner, but this time with Salamander and his pet cat who introduced himself as 'Happy'.
"Faahhnks zo mwuch," Salamander said to her with his mouth full of the meal she was treating him.
"You're welcome," she said to him, watching with shock as he practically inhaled his food. The same went for Happy, whom she had also treated to a meal because he was just so cute. "Slow down, Salamander," she said as food flew around everywhere. Oh no, is it in my hair?
"Whaah?" he said, looking up from his plate. Thankfully, he swallowed before continuing to talk. "Why do you keep calling me that? My name's Natsu."
"Natsu?" she repeated. "Oh, so Salamander's your stage name." Natsu nodded and then started to eat again.
Natsu… it means summer, doesn't it? Lucy thought. It suited Natsu; he kept smiling and grinning a bright smile. And his hair was a wonderful color – like the beautiful cherry blossoms her mother had planted in their garden which she just loved.
"Natsu's a pretty name," she thought aloud. He looked up from his food to glower at her. "I- I mean it's a really cool-" wait, is calling his name 'cool' considered an insult since he controls fire? "- I mean, it's a really nice name," she said, nervously laughing. He really does have a fiery glare.
Natsu just carried on eating. "I'm Lucy," she told him and he nodded into his food.
Incredibly, he was already finished with his large meal and let out a loud burp with caused the water in the glasses to vibrate. "Pardon me," he said after. Well, at least he has some manners.
After an awkward silence, he spoke again to say, "You should be more careful with your stuff."
"Aye!" Happy agreed. "Someone might take it again."
"Don't worry," she told him, a blush of embarrassment covering her cheeks. "I'm keeping an eye on my bag from now on."
Happy and Natsu shared a smirk which had Lucy more than confused. They really are a strange bunch, she thought. But at least they care about me. Just to be sure, Lucy glanced down to her feet where she had placed her bag.
It wasn't there. Panic spread across her face and her heart stopped beating for a ¼ of a second before it resumed beating when she heard stifled snickering. She looked back up, furious to see that they were giggling.
"You idiots!" she shouted at them, blood rushing to her cheeks as and smoke coming out of her ears. "You- you -" she stopped, unable to find a certain word to describe the buffoons. Instead, she let out a string of unladylike words (crude swears and utter nonsense). "Give it back, you baka!"
Still sniggering, Happy pulled out her bag from the seat beside him and flung it at Lucy. Being completely surprised, Lucy flailed her arms around but was unable to catch the bag, allowing it to smack into her face.
This only made Natsu begin to howl with laughter and clutch his sides from all his heckling. Happy joined in, rolling over the table with actual tears in his eyes.
She clenched her fists in sheer annoyance and resisted rubbing her sore nose. No, that would only make them chuckle harder. She hastily stood up, actually stomping her foot, and grabbed her bag. With a swift turn she began to leave.
"W- Wait!" Natsu called after her, trying to get rid of his painful laughter.
Lucy quickly turned. A hopeful smile lit up her face in anticipation of an apology.
"You said you'd pay," he told her.
Lucy almost cried out in irritation. Gah! They wouldn't even let me make a dramatic exit! She slapped down some jewels on the table to cover the cost of the food and turned on her heel to leave.
Again, she was thwarted, but this time it was because Natsu had scrambled off of his seat to grab her wrist. His grasp on her was soft and gentle, yet incredibly strong. Reluctantly, she turned to face him again, now with an aggravated look upon her face. "What, Natsu?" she asked through gritted teeth.
"Aw, don't be like that! Look, we're sorry!" he said in apology.
"Aye, really sorry!" Happy insisted, standing also. His wings were retracted so he was on his feet, making Lucy realize just how tiny he was. He was too adorable and the pout that he started to give made him almost impossible to insist.
Her gaze returned back up to Natsu, who was also giving the exact same lost puppy-dog look. The pet takes after the owner, huh? It looks like it's the other way around…
"Okay, okay!" she told them, "Apology accepted."
Happy clapped out of accomplishment and Natsu did the same. "Don't forget this!" Happy said before she could leave.
"What?" She looked down at the small bipedal cat and saw him holding out the flyer for the carnival. "Oh," she said, crouching down to take it from Happy.
She smiled at the flyer Happy and Natsu sure were a pair. They were like best friends but more. They even did things in unison. She stood back up and noticed Natsu was studying her face. "Well?" he expectedly asked
"Are you going?" There was a barest whisper of hope in his voice. Hope that she would go?
Her voice got lost in her throat. Is he… asking me out on a date? Lucy couldn't help but beam at him. "And see your amazing fire skills? Of course I'm going!" she told him.
He grinned back at her and Lucy left, wondering why her heart was beating so fast.