Disclaimer: I do not own Fairy Tail in any way, shape or form.
Hello! This is my first Fairy Tail story I guess. You've probably seen a bunch of stories like this (I know I have) but I wanted to take a shot at it. I'm new to the whole Fairy Tail fandom, so I wouldn't mind any criticism. I hope you enjoy!
Prologue – Painful Memories
The memories had been drifting in and out of her mind ever since she boarded the train.
No; she started recalling them ever since she realized what needed to be done.
Fingers trailed absentmindedly through the rose-tinged blonde tresses that belonged to the girl snoozing peacefully on her lap. A content look was etched on her face as the young girl explored her own fairytale dream. The woman's forehead was pressed against the cool glass of the carriage's window; unfocused eyes watching the scenery fly past.
Her eyes closed once more as she delved into the memories which she wished were nightmares instead.
The smile on her face didn't quite reach her eyes as she entered the doors of her home (technically second, first being her actual apartment of course). She expected the sounds of her two close nakama brawling to greet her, but was instead met by unusually normal chatter.
She eyed all of the Guild members suspiciously before walking over to her usual spot at Mirajane's bar. The woman greeted her warmly before they both started to talk about trivial things, such as Mira's recent spread in Sorcerer's Weekly. (Mirajane's reaction being modest as the young mage drowned her in admiring compliments).
Behind her, a man cleared his throat, sick of wasting time by waiting for the chat to stop. Mira gave him a nod and a knowing smile (as if she already knew what reason he had to be there) before heading off to give Erza another slice of cheesecake. Lucy sighed and spun around on her stool to meet the face of her favorite rose-haired mage (not like there was any other competition for the title, with the exception of Edolas Natsu).
She noted that instead of the cheeky grin he would give her like usual, he wore a frown upon his face, his eyebrows furrowed as though he was thinking deeply about something. That meant that whatever he needed to tell her was probably highly serious. Her heartbeats quickened. Did he recall what had happened between them two weeks ago? She prayed to some deity that he didn't as he took a hold of her wrist and dragged her out of the guild. Through her worries, she didn't notice when Natsu looked back to Erza and Gray; both who caught his gaze and nodded.
Once they were outside the doors of the guild, Natsu let go of his grip and turned to her, his expression unreadable. She gulped, nervous at the topic she felt he was going to bring up. She decided that the being silent might be a better possibility for her to get through the conversation smoothly.
"So Luce…" he began, his tone a bit wary. Lucy's eyes widened as the fear within her grew. "We need to talk."
She meekly nodded in response.
"So you know how Lisanna's back right?" he asked her, his tone brightening up at the mention of her name. Lucy nodded once again, her fear dissipated and replaced with confusion. Why was he asking her such an obvious question? Though, the way he said Lisanna's name felt like a punch in the gut.
He brought his right hand up to scratch the back of his head, his expression… sheepish?
"Well, the team was just wondering if you could well…" he thought of how to phrase it in the least hurtful way possible. "Swap places with her?"
Lucy felt her heart sink into her stomach. "S-swap p-places?" she asked, hoping that she misheard what he had just said.
"Yeah!" he cried out happily, too caught up with thoughts of Lisanna to notice the hurt that flashed through Lucy's eyes. "We wanted to get the old team back together y'know! It's a pretty good opportunity for you too! You could go on a solo mission and get stronger and maybe find some more keys!"
Lucy tried her best to hide the despair that she felt pooling in her. She was getting replaced. They were just… throwing her away? Just like that? She fought against the tears that threatened to fall down her cheeks, not wanting to look weaker than she already was. She looked at him, giving him a wonderfully produced fake smile.
"I understand Natsu," she said, hoping her tone didn't sound rather forced. Pain was eating away at her chest as she gave a light giggle. The laugh was so undeniably fake, yet Natsu didn't notice, sighing at her fast acceptance of the matter. "Don't worry. I'm fine with Lisanna taking my place! You guys are old friends anyways!"
The grin he gave felt like another blow against her chest.
"Natsu!" a voice cried out from somewhere down the road, and both heads turned to see – coincidentally – Lisanna walk over, her beautiful smile making Natsu grin ever further. Lucy couldn't handle it anymore, turning her head away as Lisanna stopped right beside Natsu, who in turn, draped a muscular arm around her shoulders.
"Guess what?" he asked her excitedly, squeezing her gently. Lisanna looked up, her eyes wide and expectant. "You're back on the team!"
She gave an overjoyed squeal as she flung her arms around the Flame Mage. Natsu could only chuckled at the reaction, overjoyed himself that she could be back on their team. Lucy decided that it was the best moment for her to speak out before she broke down. She turned her head slightly to face the ecstatic pair, another perfectly executed fake smile adorning her face.
"Congratulations Lisanna! I wish you guys the best of luck!"
With that, Natsu and Lisanna grinned and thanked her profusely before entering the Guild to give the good news. Lucy shook her head and turned away from the guild, her legs already moving before she had even thought of it. She didn't know how, but she somehow managed to reach her apartment, and as soon as she got inside and slammed the door, she knelt down, her heavy sobs flowing down her cheeks as she sunk into her lowest point of despair.
She didn't show up at the Guild for about a week; maybe longer. Even she wasn't sure how much time had passed. Instead, she just tirelessly worked on her book, attempting to finish another chapter to give Levy to read.
It didn't help that every single morning; she had her face meeting the pristine white bowl as she threw up the breakfast she had just consumed. She thought that it was just a passing fever, from all the stress that she had put herself under that past week. No; even she knew that it wasn't a fever, but something much more important.
She shook violently as she dropped the stick on the ground, a small plus seen on it. Her eyes were wide in disbelief, thinking that there was no possible way. She wanted to believe it wasn't true. She wanted to believe that it was just another fictional tale that she had been reading.
No; she was still in reality.
"I'm going to be a mother," she whispered quietly to nobody in particular. Her eyes drifted down to the flat expanse of her stomach. As she placed a hand upon it, her eyes softened. "I'm going to be a mother."
She took a final deep breath before she entered the door. The peaceful scene that greeted her made a sense of déjà vu pass through her mind. Ignoring the sickening feeling that came after remembering what conspired two weeks before (morning sickness didn't help her at all either) she strode over to Mirajane's bar, hoping that young woman would know whether Master Makarov was there.
Placing herself on her especially reserved stool, she waited for her friend to come out of the kitchens. No sooner than a minute passed before Mira came bustling out, whistling a light tune as she carried a plate of pasta out. At the sight of seeing her favorite celestial spirit mage sitting in her usual spot, she gasped, nearly dropping the platter in the process.
"Lucy!" Mira cried, her voice laced in surprise. "You're back! Where in Earth Land were you? You were gone for two weeks!"
She giggled at Mira's reaction, knowing that it was just her kind and concerned nature kicking in.
"You worry about me too much Mira-san!" she said casually, waving her hand in a bashful manner. "I just took a break to write some more chapters of my book. God knows how long Levy's been badgering me about when I'd have it finished. Oh! I have a question to ask you Mira-san!" The waitress' eyebrow shot up in curiosity. "Do you know where Master might be?"
Mira was confused by the sudden question, though she didn't press the girl. "He's just in his office right now. He might be leaving soon though, so you might want to be quick."
Lucy threw her a thankful smile before hopping off the stool in the direction of his office. "Thank you Mira!"
"Lucy! Wait!" she stopped in her tracks, angling her head back to see Mira's worried expression. "Lucy, are you okay? Is there something wrong? You know that you can talk to me if you have a problem, right?"
Lucy stiffened slightly. She knew that Mira was just concerned for her well-being, but if she pried any bit more her secret might just slip out. Shaking her head at the pessimistic thoughts, she gave Mira a grin that could rival Natsu's.
"Don't worry about me Mira!" she stated in an overly-cheerful tone. Mira still had her suspicions, but just shook them off, knowing that Lucy was a strong girl that could handle her problems, whatever they could've been. Though, she might've had to do some snooping around to find out what they were.
She knocked tentatively at the door. At hearing the old man's voice saying 'Come in!' she obliged.
Master was sitting cross legged on top of his work table, stacks of paper surrounding his small body. His arms were folded across his chest as his eyes scrutinized her with intensity. There was a moment's silence before Lucy took a breath and spoke.
"Master, I need to ask you something," she began, her voice sounding weak. "Could it be possible for me to –"
Makarov raised his hand up, effectively silencing the frail girl. He had been expecting for her to visit him any day now, and he knew that the time had finally come.
"You don't need to ask me anymore questions my dear. Just please answer mine with honesty," she nodded and he leaned forward. "Why?"
Lucy lowered her head down in shame, feeling her guilt pile on top of her shoulders. She could sense the disappointment in his words and felt awful at her selfishness. "I – I'm a coward Master. I can't face all the pain that I feel when I'm here. I'm just – I'm just a coward that's running away from her problems, just like when I ran away from home. But I'm not leaving only for myself, but for someone that I love as well."
Unconsciously, her hands drifted to place themselves upon her abdomen. At the action, Makarov realized just who she may have been referring to when she stated '…someone that I love…'
He shook his head as he placed himself in deep thought. Who could the father have been? He wasn't going to ask her, but he was still curious. There were many possibilities, but there was only one he thought was plausible. But considering that the plausible possibility was next-to-impossible, even he wasn't sure of it anymore.
She jumped a bit when he spoke up again. "I'm not going to interrogate you any further, but I have one last question."
Lucy was surprised at Master's understanding. Tears welled up in her eyes as she realized that he was in pain at the prospect of letting her go, almost like seeing a father let his daughter go. Daughter. That single word resounded in her head as she nodded.
"How long will you be gone for?"
She faltered. Her mouth was open, poised to answer, but no words flowed out. To be honest, even she didn't know when. Thinking about it for a second, she sighed.
"I – I'm not entirely sure…" she muttered uncertainly, her voice borderline sheepish. "I think I'll be gone for a while. At least three or four years, though most likely more than that."
He nodded, motioning for her to come forward. Once she was close enough he grabbed her right hand and placed his own on top of her mark. She felt slight warmth over the area before he let her go. She looked down and was surprised to find it clean and well… empty. The dull pain that lingered in her chest throbbed as she looked at the skin, feeling as if she were abandoned once again.
She looked back to Master, who gazed at her with saddened eyes.
"The mark may be gone," he explained. "But the moment that you step back through the main doors of Fairy Tail, whenever that time will be, the mark will reappear. We will all miss you like a sister my child," he grasped her hand once more. "I wish you luck for the future, Lucy."
The tears that she tried so hard to keep burst out as she encircled her father figure in a tight embrace.
"Thank you. Thank you so much."
After her tearful farewell, she had one last place to visit before her long awaited departure from Fairy Tail: the library.
As she entered her peaceful sanctuary, so many memories caught her in their hold. This place was her own personal treasure trove, and she wouldn't be seeing it for a long time. Someone near her cleared their throat and Lucy snapped out of her daze to be greeted by the smiling face of her best friend.
"Hey Luce!" she greeted warmly, shutting the fiction book she was just reading closed. "What's up?"
She took a bated breath. "I'm leaving."
The sunny smile faltered as Levy blinked, clearly disbelieving her claim.
"You're leaving." She enunciated slowly, making sure that she was absolutely sure.
The small action made Levy gape, her head shaking in protest as she prayed Lucy was just playing a trick on her. When Lucy made no move to jump up happily and scream out 'Surprise!' she dropped the book and grabbed Lucy's forearms.
"You have to be kidding me. You're just joking around with me, right Luce?" Levy asked, her tone desperate. Lucy slowly shook her head, the guilt she had earlier eating her up once more as she was tortured by the reaction. "Luce! Tell me you're not leaving! Tell me! You can't be leaving! You just can't be! Y – you can't…"
"I'm sorry," Lucy murmured in an agonized voice before breaking down in tears. "I'm so sorry Levy! I'm just a coward! I'm running away from all my problems! I just don't want to cause any trouble for anyone except myself! I can't handle the pain anymore! I just don't want to see it! I don't want to see them!"
Levy immediately latched onto her and circled her within her arms. Both girls were crying their hearts out at their pain. They didn't care about how much time passed, but eventually, their tears dried. While she was still sniffling, Levy gave her a tight squeeze.
"Lucy. I honestly don't want you to leave," she whispered softly. "But it's your decision, and I have to be accepting of it. Just – just promise me that you'll come back to Fairy Tail. Oh! And that your book is finished by then."
Lucy chuckled weakly. "I promise."
The girls let go, but Lucy was surprised at the intense look Levy was giving her.
"Luce," she began, her tone determined. "Is there another reason why you're leaving the Guild?"
Lucy froze. Her throat dried at Levy's question. Surely she didn't figure it out. "Why are you asking?"
"Well, for starters, you didn't deny it just then. And second, you've been clutching at your abdomen ever since you started bawling your eyes out. You know that I know it now so there's no use hiding it." She stated matter-of-factly.
She sighed. "Why do you have to be so damn perceptive?" she muttered bitterly. "Please. Promise me that you won't tell anyone about this. Only you and Master know, so don't spill it out to anyone. Please!"
Levy nodded. "Promise."
Lucy's frown slowly turned into a sad little smile as she presented a small knapsack that she especially prepared to give.
"Once you see what I gave you, you'll love me forever," she explained, noting Levy's shock. "But, there's a letter in there as well. Could you read it out to people only when someone asks where I am?" Levy nodded in understanding.
Lucy gave her friend one last squeeze before parting and heading towards the door.
"See you later Luce." Levy murmured, her voice laced in sadness.
Lucy gave one last fleeting look at the building behind her. It held so many memories, both good and bad. A part of her heart was left there. It was her home. But, she just couldn't handle the heartbreaking pain. She was too weak.
She glanced down at her stomach, knowing that there was another person's wellbeing she had to think of before her own. She wasn't going to be lonely.
'The next time I come back, I'll be stronger,' she thought in her mind, her hand straying above her stomach. 'I'll be stronger for the both of us.'
The train's high pitched whistle woke her up, albeit groggily. When she looked outside the window, the familiar surroundings that met her eyes made them widen. A small tug on her jacket alerted her to the awakening of the little girl.
"M – Mama," a light voice cried. She looked down to meet large chocolate-brown orbs look up at her curiously. "Where are we now Mama?"
She looked back up to see the station once again, knowing that it was the real thing and not something conjured up from the figments of her imagination. She stroked her daughter's hair and gave her a reassuring smile to calm her down.
"We're at Magnolia Town sweetie," she said softly. She paused to look at the expression of curious wonder that came upon her daughter's face. "We're home."