A Wish Gone Awry
"Excuse me?" Lucy cried indignantly, all of her seemingly sympathetic thoughts disregarded. "How is it our fault?"
The Lady flinched. "A-ah yes… You- you know how you said 'everyone makes' mistakes?" She appealed weakly to Lucy. The celestial mage nodded cautiously. "W-well, when I cast the spell that would tell me what Gary here-"
"It's Gray," the ice mage growled.
"S-sorry." The Lady giggled nervously. "Anyway, when I cast the spell, I may have overdone it slightly, and the radius of the spell may have expanded into our thoughts at the time."
"What does that mean exactly?" Erza asked with a quiet intensity that sent the tension in the room to near unbearable levels.
The Lady stared deeply into her cup. "When I asked what Gar- Gray what he would wish for, I'm sure you all started thinking what you would wish for if it was you that I had asked," she said softly. "I need you all to tell me what you were thinking then."
Lucy's eyes lit up with understanding. "W-wait, so you're saying-"
Happy leapt in front of the celestial mage with his paw in the air. "I was thinking that I would wish to go fishing with someone like me!" He said proudly.
"I was thinking…" Erza rested her chin on her hand thoughtfully. Her expression rapidly darkened as she thought back. "As I recall, Natsu had been picking a fight with Gray when the monster snuck up on us. Because of the distraction Natsu had caused we were taken by surprise and could've been injured. I was thinking something like 'if they'd get along together, things like this wouldn't happen'."
Lucy was frowning in thought as they all looked expectantly to her. "I remember thinking 'if Gray and Natsu would just get along we would actually earn some money'… or something like that," she said slowly.
The Lady swallowed. "All our thoughts mixed together along with the wish to create…" Her voice trailed away as they all turned to look at the happy cat-boy who was too busy staring at Gray with adoring eyes to notice.
"Does that mean that Natsu looks like that because of Happy?" Lucy asked in a hushed tone.
"Hey! Why me?" Happy cried huffily.
"Because," Lucy said exasperatedly. "You said you wanted to go fishing with 'someone like me'. The 'like me' part being key here."
"No," Happy shook his head adamantly. "I said I wanted to go fishing with someone like me, not someone like you, Lucy."
The celestial mage looked as though she was barely reframing from throttling him. "In other words," she said from between gritted teeth, "someone who is similar to Happy, someone cat-like."
Erza's eyes lit up. "That's why Natsu is behaving the way he is! He struggles to 'get along' with Gray in accordance to what Lucy and I were thinking."
"There's a big difference between 'getting along' with someone and the way that Natsu is acting!" Gray snapped.
"It might have something to do with what Natsu was thinking," Erza said ponderously.
"Maybe Natsu was thinking 'I want to be as close to Gray as possible and touch his body at all times!'" Happy suggested brightly.
"I seriously doubt that was what he was thinking," Lucy replied flatly. Gray had to agree, he thought that the only thing that was probably going through the flame brain's mind at the time was the sound of the wind blowing through something hollow.
Lucy turned to The Lady suspiciously. "If that's all true, then it means that your thoughts must have gotten caught up in there somewhere as well. What were you thinking at the time?"
They all looked to The Lady expectantly, she suddenly looked rather uncomfortable. She laughed nervously. "Well, when I realise that the spell was going wrong all I could think was 'I hope this will all be forgotten."
Gray felt a headache coming on. "So the reason I can't remember anything from then is because you wanted me to forget it?"
"It's not like I planned it! I didn't realise what I'd done until afterwards!"
"That's no longer the issue!" Erza cut across the building argument. "We need to how to undo what has been done."
The Lady looked suddenly stricken. She fiddled around nervously before startling them all by standing rather suddenly. "Oh look!" She cried. "We're all out of tea! I'll just go make some more!" She seized the mostly full tea pot and dashed out of the room before any of them could even open their mouth.
"She's even weirder than you Lucy," Happy said with an air of someone commenting on the weather.
"What was that?" Lucy ground out with a threatening aura. "Who's weird? Hmm?" The celestial mage eyed the blue cat darkly before turning to the red headed mage beside her. "What do you think of her Erza?" She asked more sedately.
Erza answered after a long moment of contemplative silence. "She seems to be telling the truth," she admitted grudgingly. "It's pretty far from our original theories though."
Lucy nodded her agreement. "What does that say about us?" She said with a small smile.
"I can't believe she knew this whole time!" Gray cried angrily. "And she never said a word."
The impulse to stand and pace out his anger and frustration filled him once more. His hands shook slightly as he clenched them into fists at his sides. Aside from his humiliation from being accused of being a pervert and lusting after his rival, he was pissed about Natsu's current state, he wasn't the Natsu any of them knew, he was someone else entirely.
"Hmm…" If Gray was startled by the sudden purr in his ear he was alarmed to feel a warm hand suddenly creeping up his thigh. His head twitched slightly and he blinked, slightly shocked, and more than a little put-off, to see Natsu's face right next to his. "You look so sexy when you're mad," the dragon slayer purred.
As Fairy Tail's strongest team they prided themselves on being prepared for any situation. There were so many different talents within their team that it rarely occurred when there was something that they couldn't handle. This was one such occurrence. Gray honestly didn't know how to react, so he settled for simply sitting there with his mouth open in shock.
The room was trapped in a painfully awkward silence. Lucy seemed to be trying to pretend that she hadn't heard what the cat-boy had said and that she hadn't seen where he was touching the ice mage. The fact that even her ears had gone red ruined it. While Happy's eyes were nearly bugging out of his head in shock, if anyone had cared to look closer they would have noticed the knowing smirk on his sweet little face.
Neko-Natsu took advantage of Gray's frozen state and wrapped the ice mage's limp arm around his own body before snuggling contentedly into Gray's side. The warm sound of his extremely pleased purrs filled the silent room.
"Sorry for the wait!" The Lady bustled into the room with a fresh pot of tea, completely oblivious to the atmosphere. She made herself comfortable in her chair before she paused and stared at them all. "Did I miss something?" She asked, looking from Erza, whose face was blushed a deeper red then her hari, to Gray, who seemed to be trying to impersonate an ice sculpture with a deeply disturbed expression.
Lucy let out a small nervous laugh. "Nothing happened," she said waving her hands in front of her. "We were just waiting patiently…"
The Lady peered at her in confusion. "Okay…" She cleared her throat nervously. "Yes, well… moving on…" She adjusted her glasses again, snapping Gray out of his stupor with her irritating delaying-tactics.
It seemed that Erza was reaching the end of her patience as well. "You were about to explain how we can undo the spell," she prompted with a dangerous edge to her voice.
The Lady sighed heavily and adjusted her glasses. She cleared her throat. "I really didn't want to have to tell you this, but…" The Lady took a deep breath. "The spell cannot be undone."
Gray froze, the lady's words ringing in his head. It can't be undone? That's not right. There must be… Natsu can't. It felt as though something was squeezing tightly around his heart, constricting its beating and freezing the flow of blood in his veins. He unconsciously tightened the loose hold that he'd had around Natsu's body, pulling the cat-boy even closer. There has to be something!
"What do you mean?" Lucy cried. "There must be something!"
Erza stood slowly, the temperature in the room dropped rapidly as she glared fiercely at The Lady. "There must be something we can do," she growled. There was a flash of light as she summoned a single shining blade. "Or else we have no further use for you."
"No please!" The Lady shrieked throwing her hands up in front of her. "Just let me explain!"
Erza sunk slowly back into her seat, laying her sword across her lap with a silent threat glinting in her eyes.
The Lady quickly wiped the little tears that had gathered in the corner of her eyes before taking a deep shuddering breath. "There are two parts needed to grant a wish," she said shakily. "First, is the wish, the desire for something that feels impossible to be made possible. The wish is the driving force of the spell. It cannot be some passing thought, or a petty fancy, a wish is made up of nothing short of what we long for most."
The Lady paused, taking a fortifying gulp of tea before she continued. "The second part of the spell is a magical spark. A wish isn't granted by simply chanting a spell, the magical spark opens up the flood gates of the heart allowing the deep longing buried there to give the magical energy the form of a fully realised wish."
"I don't get it," Happy mumbled.
The Lady waved her hand dismissively. "The exact details aren't important. What I'm trying to explain is that my magic simply started the whole process, it was you"- she looked directly into Gray's eyes- "who brought it to its fully realised state."
"I don't understand what you're trying to say," Gray said.
"What I'm saying is that you're the only one who can reverse the spell's effects," The Lady replied heavily. "It was your wish, and you're the only one who can undo it."
The room was silent as the Lady waited for her words to sink in. She shuffled around nervously before speaking once more. "I didn't say anything because I didn't know what was going to happen," she said apologetically. "I thought after the magic had settled the extra effects would wear off leaving only your wish…"
"Um, I have a question." Lucy said quickly. "You said that a wish is someone's deepest desire, if that's true, than how can our 'thoughts' have gotten mixed up? From what you said it seems like it shouldn't have affected it at all."
The Lady turned thoughtful. "That's what I thought as well, but since it hasn't faded…" Suddenly she beamed up at Gray. "It must mean that your wish was really strong."
Gray blinked. "What do you mean?"
"The force of magic that was released from you wish, snaring all our thoughts, and my inability to control it… it must mean that you really wanted it to come true." She smiled.
For some reason Gray started to blush, it made him sound kind of desperate. Really desperate. How could he not even remember wanting something that much? Shouldn't he still feel that longing? Or was that all erased when the Lady wanted him to forget?
"I still don't understand how I can undo the spell," Gray said. "How am I supposed to change him back to normal?"
The Lady leaned forward, her expression suddenly intense. "The magic is still at work. Your wish still hasn't come true, the only way for your friend to be returned to normal is for you to finish it and realise your heart's desire."
Gray still wasn't getting it, and he was about to open his mouth to question The Lady further when Erza stood from her seat, signalling for the others to rise as well. "Thank you for your help, we will figure out the rest ourselves."
They all headed towards the door, the group uncharacteristically quiet as they sensed the dark aura surrounding Erza, everyone but the Lady, who seemed relieved that they were finally leaving.
"One more thing," Erza said pausing in the doorway. She spun around and punched the Lady square in the jaw, sending her flying. "That's for not immediately telling us the truth."
I feel really awful about leaving you all hanging for so long. I'm so sorry! There really is no excuse for such behaviour.
Thank you all so much for your patience. I feel like I need to do something to make it up to you all, but I'm really not sure how…
Rest assured, I have actually started writing chapter six already, so it really shouldn't be too long before I post it. Actually, I'm kind of excited to finish writing it, so it should be ready for your reading pleasure shortly.
Once more, my deepest apologies, I'm a horrible person. *hangs head in shame*