Black. That's all there is. Black. It's surrounding and suffocating. She gasped, but couldn't draw any air into her lungs. She opened her eyes, but still couldn't see anything. Like she was blind. She screamed; tears were streaming down her face. She could hear the roars of her friends beside her somewhere in this black abyss. Why must this happen? The heat and the flecks of water were the only sensations she could feel.

"Siren!" Layla screamed. She tried to claw her way over to Jey or Siren. Her attacks were doing nothing but draining her of power. She felt something crawl against her stomach and she let loose a fiery roar. The darkness lit up for a split second. It was just enough time for her to see a black slug crawl across her mid drift. "Gross." She grabbed it and squashed it between her fingers.

Jey wasn't fairing as well. Her water washed the creatures away but did nothing to keep them at bay. "Layla…" she said weakly. Her water spread out and found Siren. Jey willed the water to pull the girl towards her. She heard Siren's sound of surprise. She grabbed Siren's hand and whispered, "It's me."

Siren, who still couldn't see, squeezed her hand, "Thanks." The word came out dry and through papery lips.

"You're welcome." Jey smiled even though Siren couldn't see it.

Layla was getting fed up and suddenly something appeared before her face. She screamed. A single high cry that pierced through the black.

"Quiet child! I have let you live for you may have some use yet. Don't make me change my mind!" The thing hissed. It raised a clawed hand and covered her face, "Now sleep!"

Layla let loose a withering roar before she fell limp, suspended in the air by some unseen force.

Siren had to hold Jey back. The Water Dragon slayer seemed to have renewed energy.

"Layla!" Jey roared. Her pupils turned into slits.

Siren wrapped her arms around her friend, "No! Jey they will silence you like they did to Layla!" Siren opened up her powers and tapped into Jey's feelings. Siren took away all the blind rage and released some calming feelings. The panic and exhaustion Jey was feeling was almost unbearable, but Siren gritted her teeth and struggled to disperse it. "I couldn't bear if I can't save you both." She felt Jey quit struggling. "I have to tell you something and I need you to tell the Master." Siren could sense Jey nod. "Marki, do you know anyone named Marki?"

"I think so."

"Tell her…tell her that her sister is in big trouble. They want both of us, me and Cacsey. We will be the key if you guys don't stop them. I think they'll take us to the place where the three roads meet, ask Rion where that is, and begin the ceremony there. From then you'll only have three weeks. No more, no less. If you can't figure out how to stop it by then you'll have to-" Siren couldn't get the words out.

"What will I have to do?" Jey asked, placing both of her hands on Siren's shoulders.

"You have to promise." Siren's voice hardened.

"Promise what?"

"Just promise!"

"Okay, I promise, now tell what I just promised." Jey demanded.

"You just promised to kill me." Siren said in a bitter-sweet tone.

"What!" Jey yelled.

"Too late you already promised." Siren felt a ghost of a smile sweep across her lips. "Tell everyone I'm sorry. Especially Nicholas and Igneel." She could feel the tears prick at her eyes, "Now I have to send you away. I'll only be able to send you, my magic isn't strong enough to send more than one person. Don't worry about Layla. While my magic isn't offensive, it'll be enough to protect her." Siren sighed and pushed Jey away, only touching her hands. "I send you back…to where your heart belongs!" Her magic flared so that is was visible, a bright yellow, and totally covered the two. "Good luck Jey, I'll send as many good thoughts as I can! This, I promise!" Siren was crying again. Jey was about to say something when she flickered. Her body flickered twice more before she vanished. Siren spotted Layla floating a couple yards away and made it over to her before the light of her magic faded. I just hope I can hold out till she comes back.

Lucy held her new baby boy in her arms. Natsu had just handed him to her after a half hour of showing him off to whoever walked by. She pulled the blanket down so she could see his little face better. He had her nose. "Hi sweetie, Mommy's here."

"Daddy is too!"

Lucy closed her eyes as she felt a headache approaching, "Natsu, you have to be quiet. The baby is trying to sleep after you carted him all around the hospital." She laughed when he quickly slapped both his hands over his mouth. He walked to the two and rubbed a hand over his son's blonde hair.

"Daddy is sorry." He whispered. Then he looked up at Lucy. He pressed a kiss onto her forehead, "I love you."

"I love you too." She tilted her face up and was rewarded with a kiss. "And I love our son." Her brown eyes filled with tears, she waved away the tissues Natsu was trying to hand her, "It's the hormones, and I'm so very happy," then her tears stopped, "Oh, we still have to name him." She pointed to the birth certificate on the stand next to the bed.

"Well he doesn't look like a Natsu junior…" At his wife's dark glare he shook his head, "I was kidding!"

"Our child should have an original name." Lucy said, running a finger across her baby's soft skin. "Samuel?" She suggested.

"No, how about Tyson?" he offered.

"Tyson? Hmm…" She lifted him up slightly and stared at his face before sighing, "He just doesn't look like a Tyson."

"He has to have a name! Let's see…" Natsu bent so that he was eye level with his child, "Riley."

The baby opened his eyes and gurgled, making both Natsu and Lucy coo at the infant.

"Riley, it's just perfect." Lucy grinned as she reached over for the pen. She printed carefully on the line 'Riley Dragneel'.

"Riley will be loved and feared by all!" Natsu said cockily, taking Riley into his arms. "Ain't that right son? You'll grow up to be strong like your Dad!"

Gray strolled in, hands in his pockets of the pants he amazingly kept on, "With any luck, he'll end up like his mother."

Natsu struggled to keep his temper in front of his son, "Who asked you, ice prick?"

"No one had to ask, ash head." Gray replied coolly.

"Why I outta-"

"Stop." Lucy commanded. "Give me Riley and then go fight." She held her arms out for the baby and once he was in them she made a shooing motion with her free hand, "Now go, I've got to nurse the baby."

"Yeah, you guys leave. She has to nurse the baby." Loke said, appearing in the room with a popping sound.

Natsu growled, "That means you too, you over grown cat!" He stalked over to the lion spirit and grabbed his ear; then proceeded to drag him out.

"My sweet Lucy, parting is such sweet sorrow!" Loke yowled as the door slammed behind the three of them.

Lucy shook her head with an amused chuckle. Oh the men in her life.

David paced. This wasn't out of the ordinary. He paced on an hourly basis, but this was different. Normally he prowled, much like his mother, now it was more slow and pensive. Siren should've been back a while ago. He suddenly stopped and slammed a fist down onto a nearby table. He should have made her stay and made Rion leave. Siren was, as much as he was reluctant to admit it, his only true friend. She was the only one who didn't run at his presence and even enjoyed his company. He had grown used to her unusual behavior and her innocent mind; yet there were times she even seemed…wise.

He traveled with the girl for over a month, and had gotten to know her quite well. Her favorite flower was a lily; she loved to eat wild blueberries; her favorite thing to do was to watch the stars at night and she loved to tease him.

He blushed, as his heart fluttered, what he was feeling was brotherly affection towards someone he had grown close to, right?

Never the less, he had to go see how she was and make sure she got her message to the Master like he promised.

David had just made his resolve when Igneel burst through the doors, he swore one of these days those poor doors would just break at all the abuse they take, with Nicholas right behind him. They hurried to the bar.

"Aunt Mira! Something took Siren and we think they took Layla and Jey too!" Igneel shouted. He slammed a piece of paper on the wood. "It threw this at my feet and shouted in some weird language." It was obvious he was in pain. He had just gotten his little sister back and now she was gone again. His heart like someone had torn a jagged piece and panic and despair oozed from it.

Alice, who had been back for a while, stepped forward with her hand over her mouth, "Oh Igneel…they said they were going straight to your house! I would've never let them go alone if I knew-"

He cut her off with a snarl, "You! You were supposed to be with them! You were supposed to watch them! This is your fault!" He stalked up to her and stabbed a finger in her direction, "If anything happens to my baby sister, I will never forgive you."

Alice's eyes widened, "Ig-Igneel! You can't mean that!"

He said nothing as he leaned to her ear, "I'm a man of my word." He turned and left, shrugging off Nicholas' hand as he walked by. Adrian came down from upstairs.

He looked around the eerily silent guild. His face said nothing. Eyes blank and dull. "My sister has been taken?"

Nicholas was the only one able to answer him, "Igneel said that her scent just stopped and there were signs of a struggle."

Adrian absorbed this, "Thanks, that's all I needed to know."

David was rigid, the shock flowing through his veins keeping him so. Siren, his friend, was gone? His face turned stony. He marched right up to Nicholas. "Show me where they were taken."


"NOW!" he bellowed. He knew it would make the grass head scramble. He turned to Alice, "You inform the guild master and you," he pointed to Lucia, "Notify the parents of the missing."

"Aye…" they both said.

Mirajane rested a gentle hand on David's little shoulder, "David, I know you feel responsible for her, but don't be too hasty…"

He turned his brown eyes to her blue ones, he stared hard at her before speaking, "I not only feel responsible, but she's my only true friend."

Mirajane frowned, "Now David, that's not true, you have many friends in the guild-"

David snorted, a rare sound to hear from the little boy, "Who? Who doesn't run from me every time I talk with them? Who isn't afraid that I'll sic my mother on them? Tell that there is one person in this entire guild that's my friend!"

Erza looked down at her child and felt tears spring to her eyes. Her baby was going through the same thing she went through. While it wasn't exactly the same, it was close enough to hit home. For once, she was unsure of herself. She wanted to go and comfort him, but at the same time she didn't want to make it worse.

But before anyone could say anything, a blinding flash of yellow filled the guild. Adrian squinted against the light, trying to peer into the center where he could make out an object.

His eyes widened and he ran forward, "Jey!"


TTFN~ ta ta for now~


Marina Rose