Summary: In years to come, her children would ask, 'how did you and Daddy meet?", and she would blush and say, "I burnt down my apartment complex."
Levy McGarden was a lot of things. She was a trustworthy friend. She was almost embarrassingly short. She was honest. She was quick witted and smart. However, although she was all these things and many more, there was one thing Levy McGarden was not. And that was good in the kitchen.
No matter how many times the poor young woman tried, she just simply couldn't stop her food from becoming a blackened charcoaled mess that would requires tons of oven cleaner to remove the evidence from the bottom of the contraption.
She was ashamed to admit it, but just a few weeks ago she had managed to burn water, a feat she hadn't even thought was possible, but somehow she had managed to do it.
Her total lack of cooking skills was a running joke amongst her small circle of friends, and although she would usually laugh along with them, tonight she felt nothing short of stressed.
Why on Earth couldn't she be blessed with her mother's skills in the kitchen? The woman was something akin to a goddess in that department and was the owner of a rather successful restaurant franchise. She knew her mother would probably have a heart attack if she knew that her eldest daughter normally survived on the various take out stores near her home, and that she was having difficulty cooking a small lasagne for two.
Grumbling lightly about the unfairness of it all, the blue haired 23 year old donned her rarely used oven-mitts and tentatively pulled open the door to her oven.
Her light blue eyebrows crinkled in confusion as a large cloud of smoke billowed out from the contraption, sending her reeling backwards, lest she wanted to endure a coughing fit. Her lasagne had only been in the oven for about fifteen minutes, surely there was no way it could have already begun to burn?
After prodding at the food with a heavily scorched spatula, she decided that unless she wanted to suffer from yet another bout of food poisoning, then she better leave it in for a while longer. Besides, she still had to get ready after all.
With a newly found spring in her step, the petite young woman spun the timer on her oven and then happily bounded out of the kitchen.
By the time she had entered her bedroom, the lasagne bubbling away in the oven was already a distance memory.
Humming as she skipped, she couldn't help the mega watt grin from spreading across her face. She had been looking forward to this day for the better part of three months, and, although she would never in a million years admit it to anyone, had been crossing the days off on a suspiciously heart shaped calendar, (which she hid under her mattress, away from prying eyes). Today was her one year anniversary with her long time boyfriend, David Eversford, and she knew he was the man she wanted to marry.
He was, in every sense of the word, absolutely perfect. With his dashing good looks, charming personality and impeccable manners, and both her parents approved of him! He was every girls dream man and she considered herself extremely lucky to have snatched him up. As she ran a brush through her blue locks, she allowed her mind to wander back to the day they had met, an almost dreamy smile clouding her features.
They had met on a rainy day. She had been attempting to lug four bags of shopping home in the torrential downpour and as such, hadn't been able to put up her umbrella. She was thoroughly soaked to the bone and freezing cold to boot, but she still ploughed on through the storm. She had been tempted to try and ride it out under a bus shelter or something, but something told her that the storm would be a long one, and there was no way she could stand outside in the freezing cold for hours.
She was only a few blocks away from her apartment block when she saw him. Well, that was a lie. She didn't see him, at first all she saw was his car. She stepped into the road to cross, but saw the car and took a step backwards, deciding that she didn't particularly want to be run over, thank you very much. Unfortunately for Levy, she didn't step back quite far enough and the car was driving dangerously close to the curb. Before she even had time to scream, the car had driven through the inevitable puddle of water that had piled up beneath the curb, and Levy and her bags of shopping with submerged in dirty sewage water.
Seeing that he had accidentally splashed a poor innocent woman, David had reversed, apologised profusely, offered her a ride home, and…well, the rest was history
Although she had had the most terrible cold for a week after the event, Levy was glad that he had splashed her. She was, without a doubt, the luckiest girl in the world.
Gajeel Redfox knew, without a doubt, that he was the unluckiest man in the world. He'd known this for a long time now, since he had turned seven really. He didn't know what it was, but for some reason Lady Luck seemed not to like him at all. Every time he thought he was finally getting a break in life, something would immediately come and knock him back on his ass.
He slapped a large hand over his mouth to cover his yawn as he slouched into the kitchen to try and drum up some coffee. It was only 8 o'clock and he was already close to collapsing, how the hell was he supposed to survive another seven hours of this?
"I shouldn't even be here," he growled as he slammed down the tiny handle on the kettle, causing it to start boiling his water.
Leaning against the counter, he used his fingers to count off exactly how many late shifts he had done this week. If he remembered correctly, (although considering how sleep deprived he was, he guessed it could have been more), this would be his fifth late shift and he knew there was no way in hell that his pay check at the end of the month would reflect all his hard work.
"Fucking Blondie," he muttered, wrenching open a cupboard and fishing around for his favourite mug, not really caring that he may have shattered a few others whilst he looked for his own. He was supposed to have been on early shifts all week, but something that involved a wager with Laxus Dreyar about who could down the most alcohol in ten minutes at the bar on Friday night had ended in him switching shifts with the blonde devil. Oh, he had protested the results of the bet when he finally sobered up. He was drunk after all! You can't trust a drunk mans words, but noooo, nobody would listen to him and instead he had to face Laxus' smug smirk as he signed the official shift swap sheets the following Monday.
The only thought that kept the man relatively sane was that he would get his revenge one day, and Laxus would rue the day he ever tried to mess with him.
"Still plotting against Laxus, huh?"
Gajeel snapped his head up sharply and found two other members of his team grinning at him knowingly.
"Fuck off Salamander. Stripper," he said, nodding respectively to the two men as he spoke the nicknames he had personally chosen for them, "I'm not in the mood."
"We can tell," Stripper, otherwise known as Gray Fullbuster, noted, stepping further into the kitchen, "there's almost an aura of bad energy surrounding this place cause you, you know?"
"When are you gonna learn," Salamander laughed, otherwise known as Natsu Dragneel, completely ignoring the look of absolute fury on Gajeel's face, "nobody can out drink Laxus-"
"I resent that!"
Another voice joined the mix and all three men looked up to see the only woman on call that night enter the kitchen.
"Oh yeah," Natsu corrected, "nobody but Cana can out drink Laxus."
"Thank you," the brunette smiled appreciatively before hoisting herself up onto the counter, "he still moping about it?"
"Yup," Gray answered, fumbling about in the cupboard for his mug, "jackass won't shut up about it. Laxus this. Laxus that."
It was only due to the fact that they had all been on a team together for the better part of three years that Gray knew to duck as Gajeel hurled his mug at the poor man's head.
"You know," Natsu pretended to look innocent as he leant against the counter, "for a man of the law, you're pretty violent."
"Fuck off!" Gajeel spat before storming out of the second exit.
Yup, it was a certainty, he was definitely the most unlucky man in the world.
She wasn't an expert, but she did think she looked rather good. Donned in a light yellow dress with a plunging neckline that stopped just below her knees, and a pair of strappy black sandals, she thought she looked perfectly fine for a nice romantic dinner between the two of them. She had even taken the time to put on horribly revealing lingerie set her younger sister had given her for Christmas last year. Tonight was going to be a special night after all, and she wanted to put some effort into her appearance. She often worried that David might not like the fact that she didn't often wear pretty dresses, or spend painstakingly long hours on her hair and make up. But apparently her fears were fruitless, as here they were, a year later and as happy as ever.
At exactly five minutes past eight, she heard his traditional knock and she all but hopped to the door. Every time she saw him, she always felt a sliver of electricity jump through her body. With his long curly brown locks, chocolate eyes, angular jaw, and ever so muscled body hidden under his clothes, he was something of an Adonis.
"David!" she smiled as she opened the door to greet her lover, "you look great."
And he did, dressed in a smart black suit with a dark red bow tie, he looked as if he were about to jet off to a fancy party somewhere.
"Come in," she took a step backwards and let him in, not noticing that he had yet to say a word, "you know, I didn't think you'd get so dressed up for this. I mean, I know it's our one year anniversary but really, you're making me feel underdressed!"
Giggling lightly, she signalled for him to sit on the couch while she disappeared to get them something to drink. It was a good thing that she had already begun to dance off to get the drinks when she mentioned their one year anniversary. Otherwise she would have definitely known that something was wrong. At the mention of the word anniversary, his mouth dropped open and his eyebrows shot up, almost disappearing into his hairline.
"Shit," he mumbled, running a stressed hand through his curly locks.
"Hmm?" Levy asked, reappearing with two glasses and a bottle of rather expensive wine. It wasn't usually to her tastes, but it was David's favourite drink and she knew he would appreciate it, "did you say something?"
He sighed before answering.
"Look…Levy, can you sit down? We…" he gulped, "we need to talk."
Something about the tone of his voice told her that what he was about to say, wasn't going to be good news. Still, she took a deep breath and smiled brightly at him. She loved him. He loved her. Right?
"Sure," she gently sat down, placing the glasses and bottle on the coffee table in front of her, "what is it?"
Glancing furtively at his watch, he began, "I know this is going to be hard for you, but I have to do it. I can't pretend anymore…"
"David?" she reached out and clasped his hand in her own, "what's the matter? You can tell me anything, you know that right?"
"I can't do this anymore," he spat out quickly, jerking his hand away from Levy's and standing up abruptly, "I can't do us anymore."
With those five simple words, she felt her world begin to crumble around her. She could only stare at him as he babbled on.
"I've been feeling like this for a while now, and…and it's not fair to you. I can't keep stringing you along like this. I care about you too much and-"
Something that sounded like a mixture of a sob and a chuckle fell from her lips, "you care too much?" she repeated quietly, "David if you care so much why are you doing this? On our anniversary no less?"
"Truth is," he mumbled, kneading the back of his neck with his hand nervously, "I'd completely forgotten about that. I'm sorry."
She shook her head wildly. This couldn't be happening to her. The best thing about the last year of her life couldn't be leaving her. This had to be some sort of dream…no, some sort of nightmare.
"David, I love you," she croaked, "please…don't…"
"There's someone else," he said bluntly.
For all it was worth, he could have punched her in the stomach. She felt physically winded by his words.
"I've been seeing her for almost two months and I know I should've ended it with you as soon as I met her, but I couldn't. I'm so sorry Levy but I can't do this anymore, I can't keep hurting you like this."
"Two months?" she repeated quietly, feeling the tears beginning to fall from her eyes, "so, all those times," she gasped for breath, "all those times you held me and told me you loved me these past two months, they were all a lie?"
"No, no Levy," he stared at her with pleading eyes, "I did love you! I do love you, I'm just not in-"
"Stop!" she grabbed the throw spread of her sofa and fisted it in her hands, "don't say it. Don't you dare say it."
David stood awkwardly watching his now, ex-girlfriend whimper on the sofa.
"I," he coughed, "I hope we can still be friends and-"
"Get out," her voice was barely over a whisper but he heard her loud and clear, "just go David. I don't want to see you again. Ever."
Not needing to be told twice, he quickly apologised once more before dashing out of her apartment. She half hoped that he'd return in a moment, saying it had all been one big joke and he loved her dearly and that he could never cheat on her. But she knew he wouldn't.
Still crying, she stood up shakily. She picked up one glass and the bottle of wine from the coffee table and then slowly made her way to her bedroom.
He was gone.
The man she had wanted to marry was gone, and he wasn't coming back.
By the time she reached her room, her howls of anguish were loud enough to wake the neighbours.
The lasagne of course, was long forgotten.
Being a fire fighter wasn't all that it was cracked up to be. Sure, the pay was decent and you made friends that lasted a lifetime, (as much as Gajeel hated - and boy did he hate it - to admit it). But the hours were lousy, the coffee budget didn't stretch far enough, and there could be nights after nights where you didn't get a single call. Meaning you and three other poor souls were left hanging in the fire house for nine hours doing god knows what.
Still, as much as he complained he knew that he wouldn't want to work anywhere else. Although, he did often find himself wishing that they got more work. The most exciting job he had had in the last week was rescuing a cat from a tree. The cat had been an odd blue colour and Natsu had taken a liking to it. The last he had heard, the cat was living with Natsu and had been christened "Happy".
The almost deafening sound of the fire alarm ringing jerked Natsu, Gray, Cana and Gajeel into action at about 9 o'clock.
"Alright," Natsu whooped as he grabbed his protective coat and began to run towards the truck, "I call shotgun!"
The feeling of adrenaline pumped through all their veins as they ran for their truck. There was just something strangely exhilarating about putting your life on the line to combat the bright orange menace more commonly known as fire. Even Gajeel couldn't help but grin as he hopped onto the back of the truck as Gray set the sirens whirring.
Finally, some action.
It always amazed Gajeel how, whenever a fire appeared, people would soon flock. And sure enough, when they arrived on the scene the parking lot of the apartment complex was packed the brim with spectators who were all staring in shock at the burning building before them.
"Okay," Natsu said once they had all gotten off the truck, "Gajeel, Cana you deal with the evacuation, get everyone from the building separated from the idiots looking. Make sure there's nobody left in the building. Me and Gray'll deal with the fire."
On a normal occasion, Gajeel probably would've rather eaten his own fist than take orders from Natsu, or anyone else for that matter, but in a situation like this, order was needed and Natsu outranked him.
"Cool!" the pink haired man grinned before slapping Gray on the back, "let's do it then!" the two ran round the other side of the truck to grab the hose, leaving Cana and Gajeel to deal with the public.
Thankfully it only took Natsu and Gray about 15 minutes before they managed to squash the fire before it began to spread throughout the whole apartment complex. As it stood, only a small corner was still burning, and judging by its size, that could be dealt with within ten minutes.
Gajeel and Cana were charged with evacuation duty. As well as putting out the fire, making sure all the people were evacuated a safe distance away from the building was also extremely important. Still, that didn't mean Gajeel had to enjoy it. He hated dealing with whiny kids crying about their burnt teddy bears. Or angry old couples, demanding that he tell them when they could go back home, as if their home wasn't burning to a crisp right before their very eyes.
"Alright!" he roared, deciding that the polite approach Cana was going for, ("Hello, how are you? To your knowledge, has everyone you know of been evacuated from the building? Can you see them here?"), simply wasn't working.
"Look around you, are all your family members accounted for? Are all your neighbours accounted for? If not, and only if not, please step forward immediately!"
There was a scuffling sound as everyone began looking around to make sure everyone they knew was there. For a second, Gajeel thought he had gotten off lucky and that for once everyone had evacuated the building and he wouldn't need to do a daring rescue mission, but no. Lady Luck couldn't even give him that.
He jerked his head upwards to find a middle aged man stepping forward.
"Levy McGarden, she's my opposite neighbour and…oh God…I can't see her here!"
Gajeel narrowed his eyes and step forward, tugging his fireproof helmet over his head as he went,
"What floor and apartment number is she in?"
"F-floor 4 and apartment number 19C. Oh God, is she going to be okay? Is she…"
Gajeel didn't even bother listen to the rest of what this man had to say, instead he simply groaned. A quick glance up at the building told him exactly where she was. Of course the one missing person would be in the only place that was still on fire.
Lady Luck you bitch, he growled to himself as he began to make his way into the building, almost missing Cana's shout for him to be careful.
It took him about eight minutes to run up the stairwell to get to the fourth floor, and with every step he took he could feel the heat becoming warmer and warmer. Instinct told him that the fire must have originated on the fourth floor, and he was becoming increasingly more worried that it originated in this Levy person's apartment.
Her door was charred when he reached it, telling him that he was right. Her apartment had been the originator. Sighing, he unhooked the axe from his back and without hesitation, ran at the door with it. Thanks to the fire damage, the wooden was a lot less sturdy than what it would have usually been and snapped in two rather easily, sending him barrelling into the furnace that he assumed would have once been Levy's lounge. There were three doors leading off from the lounge. One had been completely burned through, and from what he could see, was once a kitchen. A fearsome fire was raging in the kitchen and he quickly ruled out the chances of her being in there. Even if she was, there was no way she was coming out alive.
"Oi? Levy? Are you in here?" he bellowed as he ran through the rapidly burning living room and pushed open the first door, which led to a bathroom. He quickly strode into the bathroom and pulled back the shower curtain.
"Great," he mumbled, exiting the bathroom and running to the next door, just once, once, he would've liked to find his missing person in the first room he looked in.
"Levy?" he yelled, pushing his way into the next room and finding a bedroom. What he saw made him double take. Lying in bed, seemingly undisturbed by the raging inferno that was surrounding her, was a small blue haired young woman. As he walked deeper into the room he noticed an empty bottle of wine lying on the floor next to a glass.
"Oi!" he called, tugging a fireproof blanket from his rucksack and wrapping her in it carefully. He couldn't help but notice she was dressed rather nicely for someone who had planned to just get drunk and full asleep, "wake up Jesus Christ!"
She simply stirred, causing him to growl before easily scooping her up into his arms and make a mad dash for the exit. Now air had been let into the apartment, he knew there was only a matter of time before the fire grew even wilder.
What the hell were Gray and Natsu doing down there?
He made sure the blanket covered her petite body completely before tearing through the living room and out into the corridor. Whilst the blanket would protect her from burns, he needed to get her out of the building before she inhaled too much smoke.
With her in his arms, it took him twelve minutes to exit the building, and it didn't help that every now and then she would fidget and stretch her arms and legs out, inadvertedly slapping or kicking him with every movement.
By the time he made it back outside, the fire on the fourth floor was almost completely doused and the girl in his arms began to stir even more.
She was an odd little thing he decided. With bright blue hair, she looked like someone you'd expect to see in a comic book. Though, he supposed he'd seen worse - Natsu did have bright pink hair after all. Without warning her eyes shot open and he found himself staring into the most expressive pair of eyes he had ever seen in his life. They were a warm chocolate sort of colour and he could see her innocence in them.
She blinked exactly three times before speaking.
"Oh dear. I burnt the lasagne didn't I?"
A/N: The idea of all the Fairy Tail characters as fire fighters wouldn't leave me alone, so voila! And you have to admit, Cana would be a hot as hell fire fighter. Review please ^_^