A/N: I realized that some of my "kid names" might be confusing.
Taury=Taurus, Cancy=Cancer, Aquary=Aquarius, Scorpy=Scorpio, Sagie=Sagittarius, Virgie=Virgo, Ariey=Aries.
Everyone in my family had a childhood nickname, but around high school we decided to go by our real, adult names, so I imagine the same here.

Disclaimer: I do not own Fairy Tail, but I'm willing to adopt the cute Lion.

From Kitten to Lion

a Fairy Tail fanfic

by Rhov

"One day, my son, you shall inherit my position as the Lion. You shall be leader over many powerful Spirits. Until that day comes, you must make friends with the other Zodiac children. They are your nakama."

"But Papa," little Leo whined, "I don't wanna play with the others. They're weird."

"Oh?" the elderly Lion asked in amusement. "How are they weird, my son?"

Little Leo pouted and scratched the head of his new puppy, Nikora. The white Canis Minor looked up and, instead of a bark, he said "Puu-puun!" Nikora didn't look like a dog. A bug or snowman, maybe, but he made one crazy looking canine. For once, little Leo wished he could have a normal pet and a normal friend.

"Taury is a stupid cow who flips up the girls' skirts at school. Cancy has all those weird legs and says ebi all the time, and the teacher got him in trouble for running with scissors. Gemi and Mini are just babies, so I can't play with them. Aquary shoots the water hose at us whenever we go by her. The only way we can walk by the kiddie pool without getting drenched is to send Scorpy first and have them make sandcastles while the rest of us sneak by. Caprico is a big bully, he head-butted me yesterday, and those little horns hurt! Sagie only wants to play hobby-horse, and he shot me in the forehead with a suction cup arrow and Ariey laughed at me that it looked like I had a big kiss on my forehead, yucky!"

The older Lion chuckled and roughed up his young son's messy ginger hair. "Kisses aren't too bad, son. You might like them one day."

"Gross! I tried to give Virgie a kiss and she punished me."

"Little Virgo punished you? How?"

"She tied me up to the tree in the playground. Papa," the young boy pouted, "I wanna meet new kids. Aren't there any other kids?"

"Not in the Spirit World. I have a friend in the Human World with a child. She's younger than you, but perhaps you two can be friends. I'm going there with Capricorn and his son today, so you can come as well."

Little Leo pouted. "So long as that stupid Caprico doesn't head-butt me again," he grumbled.

Leo followed behind his father, proud to be walking beside the leader of the Zodiac Spirits, a man everyone respected. Lyra and her toddler daughter sang out greetings to him. Even ancient Crux nodded in respect before falling asleep again.

He heard a little girl shouting nearby. "Leo Junior! Leo Junior!" He looked behind him just in time to see a tiny girl with pink hair running forward. She tripped on a clump of grass and went sliding. "Owwie!" she pouted as she slowly pushed herself up and flipped back her rose-colored hair. "Ah, good you're not gone, Leo Junior."

"Virgie," he sighed, "how many times have I told you, you can just call me Brother."

The tall and graceful Spirit of the Maiden stepped forward and helped her little daughter up. "Be careful, dear one."

"Yes, mum. I just wanted to see Leo Junior before he left for the Human World."

"Gah, Virgie!" little Leo cried. "Seriously, I hate being called Leo Junior."

Her bottom lip quivered as tears made her eyes look even more huge. "I'm sorry."

He sighed. "Now, now, you're acting like Ariey."

"Will I be punished?"

His mouth dropped. "Huh? Punished? No! Just... just don't call me Leo Junior ever again, okay?"

"But... but your daddy is Leo the Lion, and you're Leo too, so if I just said Leo then you wouldn't know which one I meant."

"That's why I said just call me Brother. We're practically like brother and sister anyway."

The graceful Maiden mother chuckled. "Indeed, you play well with my daughter, little kitten."

"Oi, don't call me kitten either!"

"Ah, Virgo," the older Leo said, suavely taking her hand and kissing her fingers. "You're as divine as ever."

She smirked at his flirtations. "And you, old friend, have a tongue that could almost win over this Maiden."

"It's a shame your adopted daughter is slow at picking up your gracefulness."

She smiled tenderly down at the pink-haired girl sloppily wiping her runny nose. "I'm thinking of sending her to finishing school. Those places always turn out girls more suited to be a maid than a maiden, but it might improve her behavior and balance."

As the adults spoke, Virgie thrust out a box to little Leo. "I heard you were gonna meet a girl in the Human World. Give this to her."

"Why? What is it?"

"Just something for her to wear. Girls like ribbons. If you're going to someone's house to visit, it's polite to bring a gift."

"Gee, thanks Virgie."

"Do I get a kiss goodbye?"

"Yuck! I don't wanna kiss girls," he said, sticking out his tongue.

"You tried to kiss me last week."

"Because Taury dared me. And you tied me up before I could do it anyway. I ain't kissing girls."

The Maiden tittered as she looked down at the two children. "I remember when you were that age, my dear Leo. You kissed all the girls."

"He'll eventually grow out of his aversion to the fairer sex," the Zodiac Leader chuckled. "He's still at the age where all girls have cooties."

"I heard Aries' daughter in quite enamored with your son."

"That crazy old Ram had a kid? Who the hell did he convince to bear him an offspring?"

"Leo, you really are behind the times."

"Because old Aries and I have always been rivals. You know how much he's hated me through the years. Maybe our kids can be friends, though. Is she cute, old Aries' girl?"

"An absolute doll!"

"Leo!" a man called.

They turned and saw the Zodiac Goat waiting with his son. The Lion and his son waved goodbye to Virgo and Virgie.

"Capricorn, is everything ready?"

"Yes, great Leader," the Goat nodded with high esteem.

The two children glared at each other.

"Happy birthday, Caprico," Leo greeted coldly.

The Goat Spirit shoved his glasses up his nose with a haughty air. "Why are you coming, little kitten?" he snapped.

The ginger boy growled deep in his throat. "Don't call me kitten, you horn-stunted four-eyes!"

"Son," both fathers warned in unison.

Caprico pointed at the young Lion. "I don't want a little kitten like him there for my ceremony," he demanded. "Layla Heartfilia will be my owner, not his. I don't even know why the Lions have to come."

His tall father explained it. "Upon changing of leadership for any of the Zodiacs, the great Leader must be present."

"Fear not, little Caprico," the older Lion smiled magnanimously. "My son will be playing with a friend. You'll have Mrs. Heartfilia all to yourself."

He stubbornly turned his head away. "Like I care about that Human woman."

A hoofed hand smack the back of his head. "With an attitude like that, I'll make you wait another year before declaring you my successor."

He readjusted his glasses onto his nose and rubbed out the back of his head. "Sorry, Father. Sorry, great Leader. Sorry, little kit-...uh, Leo Junior."

Then a faint voice echoed through the air. "Open the Gate to the Goat: Capricorn!"

"That's our cue," the Goat stated.

"We'll meet you there," Leo nodded, and they watched the two Goats vanish. "Well now, son, you get to learn a new form of magic: opening a gate on our own. We can do this sometimes when we sense our owner in dire trouble, and if the owner is powerful enough. Even then, it's a huge challenge, and only powerful Spirits can succeed. Coming out under our own magic in a non-emergency situation is only possible for two Spirits: the Spirit King and the Leader of the Zodiacs."

"You're stronger than that old mustache man, Papa!" he cheered.

The Lion laughed and scratched his son's hair. "I wish! And show respect to your elders. Are you ready? Pay attention."

In a flash of golden light and powerful magic, little Leo saw they were in a large house. He gawked at the soft carpet below him, the paintings of past ancestors hanging on the walls, and the massive crystal chandelier dangling above them.

"It feels different here," he whispered.

"The Human World was not meant for Spirits to live in. The longer we stay, the worse it gets, until we feel pain. But we can stay for a while safely, unlike Humans who cannot enter the Spirit World at all. You'll be fine, son."

Then he saw a beautiful woman... no, a queen! She must be a queen! She held herself with poise and grace. Her golden hair was swept up with curls hanging around her flawless peach skin.

"Master," Capricorn introduced, "this is the Leader of the Zodiac Celestial Spirits, Leo the Lion, and his son and heir, little Leo."

"Greetings and salutations, Lions," Layla Heartfilia said with a musical quality to her speech. "It's an honor to have you in my home, Leo. Your son looks just like you. Surely, he'll grow up to be popular with the ladies."

The Lion swiftly lifted her hand to his lips. "Alas, if only my key could fall into your tender hands, Lady Heartfilia, then I would retire with full confidence that my son should never know the brutality of a harsh owner. Seeing you, I hardly blame Capricorn for passing his will onto his son at such a young age. Little Caprico will sure grow strong and gentle under your guidance."

"As smooth as Aquarius warned me," she smirked. "Little Leo, my daughter is waiting in the next room. She's a little headstrong, so I'm sure you two will get along well."

The boy trotted off while the older Leo barked a laugh. "Are you making a quip against a Lion's pride, my lady? Capricorn, I truly envy that you have an owner like this. Why in the name of Zeus are you retiring?"

"My days of fighting are over, old friend. I know I leave my son in good hands. Now, let us begin the ceremony of exchange."

Leo peeked into the next room. It was wide and filled with toys. Across the play area, a glass door had been opened, leading to a balcony overlooking a sprawling garden and distant misty mountains. Standing on the balcony staring intently was a small girl, no more than four years old. Leo frowned; he had been told she was young, but he didn't think she'd be this young!

He cleared his throat to politely gain her attention, and she looked around with a start. Her hair was golden, her eyes huge and the color of chocolate drops, and her cheeks still soft from baby fat. If the woman he met earlier was a queen, surely this little girl was a princess!

Leo felt his chest tighten. What was this feeling? Fear? He was the son of the Spirit of the Leo Constellation! What had he to fear of a mere Human? Yet when she grinned huge, the tightness increased.

"Mama told me I'd get a new friend today," she said cheerfully. "I'm Lucy. What's your name?"

"Uh, Leo," he said hesitantly.

"Mama has friends over. I'm not allowed in there when she has company. Hey Leo, do you wanna play?"

"Sure." Suddenly he remembered the present in his hands. "Ah! This... it's for you." His cheeks went hot as she took the box.

"A gift? Thank you! What is it?"

"Open it!" he urged. He was also curious what Virgie got.

She tore off the wrapping and opened the box. "Waaaah! So pretty!" She pulled out a blue ribbon. "I love this color. It reminds me of the sky, and the sky always reminds me of the stars. I love the stars. Do you know any of the constellations?"

He felt smug suddenly. "I know all of them."

"All eighty-eight? That's so cool. You must be really smart. Hey Leo, help me get this ribbon in."

She pulled part of her hair to the top of her head, and Leo diligently tied his nicest bow with the blue ribbon. However, when she let her hair go and looked in the mirror, the ribbon slipped from the top of her head to the side.

"Waah, it's lopsided," Lucy pouted.

"But it looks good that way," Leo insisted. He thought she would look good with her hair done any way.

"Really? It's pretty?" she asked, her brown eyes gleaming. "Do you think I look pretty with this ribbon?"

Again, his cheeks felt hot and his heart fluttered in a funny way. "Yeah, you... look really pretty... wearing it."

This wasn't fear. It was a strange feeling, though, something he never felt around the other Spirits. Maybe it was just the Human World. His father said that being in this strange world did weird things to Spirits. Maybe the heat in his face and the racing of his heart were all symptoms. That must be it! He was just sick.

Lucy giggled as she checked out the ribbon in the mirror. Satisfied, she turned around and bowed, an oddly refined gesture coming from a child so young. "Thank you very much, Leo."

Then she leaned forward fast and gave him a kiss on the bottom of his jaw, which was as high up as the four-year-old could reach standing on her toes. Now he realized his whole face must be red. Lucy covered her mouth and giggled at his astonished expression.

"You're nice, I like you, I'm glad we can be friends," she said, all in one breath. "Hey, can I touch your hair?"

"Huh?" Touch his... hair?

"It a pretty color and fluffy. It looks like a kitten."

"I am not a kitten," he snapped, but instantly covered his mouth. "S-sorry. I get called a kitten a lot."

To make up for yelling at her, he bowed so that his head was low enough for her to touch. He liked the feel of her tiny hand running through his hair, even if she sometimes snagged and pulled at the strands. He glanced to her face. She was smiling, but her eyes were strangely serious. Seeing her looking at him with such intensity make it hard for him to swallow. Then her hand reached an area that sent a shiver through his body. Unconsciously, a low rumble stirred in his chest. He pulled away fast. He didn't want to purr around her. She obviously thought he was just another Human boy. If she knew he was a Celestial Spirit, that smile might fade away.

"Your hair is really nice. I won't say it's like a kitten, though," she decided.

"No, it's okay," he muttered.

"I'll say it's like a lion!" she decided joyfully.

He jolted and looked worried. Had she figured it out so easily?

"Lions are cool. I saw one at the zoo. They have manes that are sorta like your hair, but they're big and fierce and roar really loud. Have you ever seen a lion?"

"Well, in a way," he admitted uncertainly.

"We should go to the zoo to see the lions one day, but I have to stay home today. Hey, what should we play?"

"I don't know any Human games," he said, giving it serious thought.

"Human games?"

He cringed that he had said it that way. "Uh, uh, I mean... you know... games normal children play."

With a tilt of her head in confusion, Lucy tittered. "You're funny. You wanna play Fairy?"

"I've never heard of that game."

"I'm the fairy, and you have to catch me, but you can't touch me. You have to corner me. If you can catch the fairy without touching her, then the fairy grants you any wish. Try to catch me!"

With a squealing laugh, she ran off. Leo felt the predatory lion in him roaring up. A game of hunting a fairy, eh? But he couldn't touch her. A part of him wanted to. He wanted to know what a Human felt like. Her hair looked soft, and he liked seeing it tied with his ribbon (well, Virgie's ribbon, but he was the one who gave it to her). He wanted to pet her hair too, but it was too weird asking something like that.

He ran after Lucy, and she screamed with a little fear and a lot of fun. They ran through the play room, then escaped into a hall. Servants stood out of their way and smiled at their little princess having fun for a change. Leo kept after her, never letting her get too far ahead. He realized he could have nabbed this child at any moment, but she had chosen her game well. He couldn't touch her. He had to chase after her and slowly corner her until she gave in.

He wondered what he should ask of her. What could a Human girl give to the son of the Leader of the Zodiacs?

He suddenly saw a good area to corner her. Some stairs went down from a higher level, making a sharp L-shape, and there was a door just under the stairs that he guessed led to a broom closet. Now the lion cub had to chase his little gazelle. He ran faster, sped ahead of her, and stopped in a doorway she was about to race through. Lucy stopped short with a gasp that he had moved so fast. Then she yelled a laugh and scurried off another way. He raced ahead again and blocked another escape route. Slowly, he backed her up, forcing her toward the stairs. He had to jump the banister and chase her back down when she tried to make a break up the steps and to the upper level.

At last she was stuck in the corner. Her eyes were wide, searching one way and another, panting hard as she realized her doom was stalking closer. In desperation, she opened the broom closet to escape. When the door opened, brooms and buckets began to fall out with a rumbling clatter.

"Lucy!" he shouted in dread.

She gasped as she saw the cleaning supplies avalanching toward her, but her feet could not move fast enough. Then she saw a glow, and suddenly she was off her feet. The supplies in the closet clattered nearby, yet she had been whisked away and now was held safely in the arms of her new friend.

"Leo," she whispered in awe.

He looked at her in worry. "Are you hurt?"

"No. Leo, you... you saved me." She grabbed his shirt and buried her face into it. "You saved me! I was really scared."

Slowly, the tightness he had felt earlier in his chest loosened and heated up. It didn't feel like a sickness anymore. It felt wonderful, soothing, like pure liquid happiness flowing through his veins. He wasn't sure why, but suddenly he wanted to protect this girl from every fear and pain in life.

Was this like the bond his father talked about? But the Zodiac Leader said that such bonds only formed with a Human who had a Spirit's key. So what sort of key to his loyalties did this little girl have to make him feel this way?

"I guess I lose," he laughed softly as he set her back down onto her feet. "I grabbed the fairy instead of cornering her."

"No, you win," she decided. "I was already yours."

Although she meant it innocently, something about those words made little Leo blush.

"So," she grinned massively. "What wish do you have for the fairy? My daddy is rich, so I can give you just about anything."

He knew his wish now. "I don't want money or gifts. I want to protect you and be your friend forever." The words just came to him, yet he spoke them with ardency. He truly did want to be with her forever.

"I want that too," she agreed. "When can you come over to play again?"

"I don't know," he pouted. "I live in... uh... a place really far away."

"Well, I'll keep waiting for you, and the next time we can be together, we'll play Fairy again, okay?" She giggled and punched his arm playfully. "I won't let you catch me too easily next time."

"Y-yeah," he blushed. "I'll be stronger by then, though. You just wait and see!"

She hummed and looked around. "You gave me a gift, so I should give you a gift, something so you never forget our promise. I don't know what, though."

"You really don't have to," Leo insisted.

"Oh! The library is over here. How about I give you one of my favorite books." Before he could protest, she raced off. "I love to read. I like old stories, myths and legends and fairy tales. I wish I could be a princess in a fairy tale and have my shining knight whisk me away." She searched the shelves crammed with books. "Here, this one." She handed over an old book with a thick cover. "Mama has read it to me so many times, I know it by heart, so you can have it."

He took the book and opened it to a random page. "Thanks," he muttered.

"Leo!" his father called from far off.

They both looked over with a slight dread, realizing their time together was over.

"That's my dad. I have to go." He pouted as he looked down at her. He knew he might not get to see her again. The Key to the Lion's Gate belonged to someone else. He suddenly felt jealous of Caprico, who would get to be the Spirit of this little girl's mother.

However, little Lucy grinned happily. "I had a lot of fun."

She leaned up again to kiss his jaw, but this time he bent over so she could reach his cheek. However, their timing was off, and her lips landed on his mouth. Both of their eyes went wide as they felt their lips connect. She pulled back fast with a gasp and covered her mouth, while he froze in horror of having accidentally taken her first kiss.

"Leo-o-o-o!" the shout came again.

"Lucy?" a woman sang out too.

"I'm sorry," little Leo cringed with a mortified flush on his cheeks.

Lucy's eyes were huge. "Was that... your first kiss? Did I just steal your first kiss?"

"That's my line!"

Her hands dropped, and he saw that she was not angry or saddened of having experienced her first kiss. No, instead she was blushing and smiling. "So, we gave each other another present, something only we can share."

Leo's throat tightened until he couldn't swallow. A present, huh? Their first kiss!

Then the two adults entered the library. "There you children are!" the old Lion grinned. "Playing in the library? Or did little Lucky Lucy managed to get my son to read a book for once?"

"Papa, I..." He sadly looked back down to Lucy. "I wanna stay longer and play."

He had a soft, paternal smile. "I know, son, but we must head back. The Human World isn't safe for us. In a few more minutes, you'll begin to feel the pain. We should go before that happens."

"Tell him goodbye, Lucy," Layla Heartfilia said to her daughter.

Lucy smiled up to Leo. "I already did," she said with a mischievous smile. "I'll see you again someday, Leo."

"Y-yeah," he blushed.

"Come, my son. Back to the Spirit World. I hope you had fun playing with a Human today."

Lucy gasped suddenly. "You're... a Spirit?"

Leo bit his lower lip. Would she hate him now? He heard that some Humans looked down on Spirits, saw them as tools to be used, nothing more. He didn't want to destroy his new friendship just because she was a Human and he was a Celestial Spirit.

"That's... so... cool!" Lucy screamed, and she began to cheer in joy. "Mama, Mama, I have a Spirit friend! Does he have a key? I want his key!"

"Silly," Layla chuckled. "He's too young to have a key."

"But I like him and he's my friends and I want his key so I can see him every day."

Little Leo blushed. Of course someone as sweet as Lucy wouldn't hate him. She was the rare sort who would probably love her Spirits. He wanted more than ever to stay with her, be her friend, protect her, watch over her, and maybe return the kiss she gave him.

"Time to go," his father said, and put a hand on his shoulder.

He felt the flow of familiar energy. He gave Lucy a light wave goodbye as the Human World faded away. Suddenly, they were back home. Leo looked down and was glad to see that Lucy's book managed to make it into this realm. He squeezed it to his chest, cherishing it and the memory of his first Human friend.

"A present from the young Heartfilia heiress?" his father asked.

"Stories from the Human World," he nodded. "Hey Papa, when I grow up, can I be Lucy's Spirit?"

"You want that too, huh?" He smiled with a slight sadness and clasped his thin shoulder. "Such things are not for us to decide, son. We assist whoever Fate chooses to hold our Key. But if you study hard and learn to be powerful, you can break through your gate at any time, and then you can go see Lucy whenever you want."

"Really? Okay, then I'll study super hard from now on."

The Lion roared a laugh. "That girl had a better influence on you than I thought. Well, I have to go to a meeting with the Spirit King. You can go play with Pisces and Libra, if you want. Or maybe you want to play with Virgie and Aquary," he teased. "Oh, but I guess they're girls and have cooties, right?"

"No, they're just girls," he muttered. "Girls... aren't so bad."

"But little Ariey might try to kiss you."

"Nah, she's too shy. But I guess maybe kissing isn't so bad either."

His fatherly eyes narrowed at the boy. "You didn't kiss that little kid, did you?"

He kept his eyes on the book. "I like Lucy," he mumbled. "She's sorta cute."

Old Leo sighed and shook his shaggy mane. "My, my! I have a feeling that some day you're going to like the Human World more than the Spirit World. Well, I need to hurry. Go and play."

"I wanna read a little," he muttered and drifted off toward his bedroom.

"Want to... read?" The Zodiac Lion's mouth dropped in amazement. "Just what sort of girl is that Lucy Heartfilia anyway?"

Little Leo flopped on his bed and flipped through the book. There weren't many pictures, but the stories were griping, tales of gods of old, legendary heroes, epic villains.

"Odin, Thor, Freyr," he said under his breath.

He spoke the names out loud as he imagined what each must look like, these gods that the Humans once worshiped. Now those deities were reduced to legends printed in a book, yet they could still be loved by a little girl like Lucy. Then he flipped a page, and this one had a picture. He looked at the old drawing, and he read the name below.

"... Loki."

It had been thirteen years since that day. He had to admit, he forgot about her at times. A brief meeting in childhood, playing together for less than an hour. All he had to remind him was that book. He had read through it so many times, he knew the stories by heart. Still, he forgot her name sometimes. He recalled only one impression: there was someone out there in the Human World who loved Spirits.

That small hope for mankind helped him when his father retired in weariness and sadly left his son to deal with Karen Lilica and her abusiveness. It was not the legacy he wished for his son, but an aging Spirit like him could not keep up with her hateful ways. The little kitten had grown up to be a powerful Lion with both strength and a sense of justice.

The memory of the little girl who thought having a Spirit friend was "so cool" made him determined to find a new owner for himself and Ariey... uh, Aries now. When he learned of Karen's death and was trapped in the Human World as punishment, recalling the book of ancient heroes and their troubles eased the fear that he was, in essence, abandoned by the Spirit World and left to die. And so he took on a name from the stories, the name of a man who belonged with neither gods nor j├Âtunn, a man who was punished by being bound with poison slowly dripping onto him, so that it was never enough to kill him but just enough to cause him intense pain... just like the pain he felt living in the Human World, slowly being poisoned by this realm. He called himself "Loke."

He found a group who took in anyone with a sad past but a love for justice. Most importantly, it was a mage's guild with no Spirit Mages. He wanted to forget everything: forget the guilt of having caused Karen's death, forget the friends and family in the Spirit World, forget it all. Work, wine, women... all distractions to forget the fact that he was dying in a world where he felt utterly alone.

But his name... when someone called him Loke, he remembered that book and the cute girl with her lopsided ribbon. He remembered that not all Humans were bad.

Then she entered into his life. It took him a while to recognize her. It wasn't until he saw the Gold Keys. Taurus, Cancer, Aquarius... he knew from his old friends that Lucy Heartfilia, the same Lucy who he had sworn to protect, now held their keys. And here she was!

He noticed the bow first, the same blue ribbon set lopsided. Her face had changed, and she grew to become a lovely woman. Surely, she didn't recognize him. He doubted any Human could remember all the way back to being four years old, and he had tried to disguise himself, cutting his orange hair short, wearing sunglasses, even changing his name.

He wanted to remind her, but he was dying. If she found out that he was here, if she remembered that childhood promise... to what disastrous lengths would she go to in order to save him? He couldn't let that happen, so he ran whenever he saw her.

Yet he could not leave her to be hurt. After all, he had sworn to protect her. When Phantom Lord attacked, he was ready to put his life on the line to save her. When he saw her getting accosted by perverts, he leaped forward to rescue her. As they ate ramen together, he almost told her about their shared past, but told her something worse instead... that he was dying.

Maybe she forgot that childhood promise, but she rescued him anyway. Although he had tried so hard to keep his distance, their bonds of friendship were powerful, and on that day he got to see proof that this little girl had grown up to become a powerful Spirit Mage. He was accepted back into the Spirit World and reunited with his friends. His father looked weary from three years of dread, yet he smiled happily that his son now had the little girl he had liked since childhood.

Now he was hers. Lucy never brought up that memory from childhood, but that was fine. They were friends now, she was his owner, and he had learned how to break through his gate to rescue her in her direst times.

He kept his promise.

He might have grown from a kitten to a Lion, but she was still the same lovely princess. For now, he enjoyed the smile she gave him when they fought together. She was the only woman who could make him blush, this girl who stole his first kiss. He swore that one day he would steal more. He would chase this elusive Fairy, corner her without grabbing her, and steal her heart.

The End