„So, what I've been meaning to ask you for a while now… Have you ever been really drunk?", Cana asked as she plopped down next to Lucy without any other words of greeting.
„What do you mean?", Lucy asked, confused. She held her glass up, which was filled with one of Mira's favorite cocktails, which didn't have a lot of alcohol in it, but wasn't just soda, either. „You've seen me drink alcohol before."
„No, I've seen you take a single glass of wine and start a long term relationship with it over the course of an entire evening. I mean have you been drunk?" To emphasize, Cana took a large gulp from her mug, the contents of which weren't visible, but had an unmistakable smell.
„Well, sort of. I mean… not like I was puking or going crazy, but…"
Lucy felt herself blushing at the blunt statement from the card mage. It wasn't that not drinking too much was anything to be ashamed of, but it made her feel a little awkward, considering who she was talking to. „So what?", she asked defensively. „You're going to scream to the entire guild how cute that is, again?" She didn't like admitting it, but she was still a little embarrassed from that time when she'd told the resident alcoholic she'd never had a boyfriend before.
„Oh no. I'm going to broaden your life's experiences", Cana said with a smile that looked like it was supposed to be sweet, but just… wasn't.
„Meaning?", Lucy asked warily.
„I'm gonna get you drunk", Cana announced proudly.
„Um… no thanks." Lucy didn't know quite how much Cana really drank, but from the amount of times she'd seen her down an entire barrel of wine and then asked for more, she couldn't help but think that drinking with her wouldn't be good for the summoner's health.
„Don't just dismiss it. Drinking is fun, and it can show you a whole different side of yourself. Besides, always drinking by myself sort of makes me feel as though I were an alcoholic…"
As though? Lucy chose not to correct her, but she was pretty sure that that skewed image of herself couldn't be a good thing for Cana in the long run.
„Well, I don't need alcohol to have a good time. A little can be nice, but there's no reason to overdo it." Lucy looked around the guild to see if there was anyone around who might rescue her from the conversation, but it was already evening, and the guild wasn't very crowded.
„That's not the point. The thing is, if you've never been drunk before, you're not gonna know when to stop if you're at a party or something. You need to know your limit, so you can avoid embarrassing yourself", Cana explained. Of course, getting Lucy drunk was a completely altuistic goal… right.
„But if I get drunk with you, now, then I'll embarrass myself in front of the guild", Lucy said.
„Look around you", Cana said and Lucy complied just in time to see Gray hit Natsu in the face with a floorboard. Elfman was yelling something about real men, while Nab was once again lost in his staring contest with the request board. „I don't think there's a better place for such an experiment, now is there?"
Cana did have a point. The sight of Natsu attacking Gray with a bench definitely made getting drunk sound quite appealing. Never mind Happy trying to look menacing holding an overturned mug, the former contents of which were still dripping out and getting purple stains all over his fur.
„Well…", Lucy conceded, a drop of sweat on the side of her forehead. „One more crazy person is probably not gonna make much difference, but that still doesn't mean…" She had meant to continue that Cana's premise of needing to have been drunk at least once didn't really have that much merit, but was interrupted by Cana rubbing a lemon slice on Lucy's hand and salting the spot, then handing the slice to her.
„What are you doing?", Lucy shrieked. And where had the lemon come from?
Wherever it was apparently Cana had more of those, because she was currently salting her own hand, and putting two tiny glassed filled with a clear liquid on the table between them.
„Introducing you to a good friend of mine", Cana said, and gave loving glance to a bottle that had seemingly appeared out of nowhere, as well. „He's called Tequila. You lick the salt, drink the shot, all in one go, of course, and then you bite the lemon and suck on it."
„…And I'm doing that, why?"
In the background Juvia was trying to put out a burning table, only to have a boxershort-only clad Gray collide with her, making her shriek and turn beet red all in one go.
„Lick, swallow, bite, it's a good combination in many situations", Cana said with a smirk, and then proceeded to follow her ritual exactly the way she'd outlined. Lucy still wasn't quite sure whether she wanted to participate, but her hand was full of salt already, so she might as well just go through with it.
She did, and while the salt and the lemon made it sort of bearable, neither could quite hide the fact that the drink tasted like paint thinner smelled, and made Lucy's tongue feel strange.
„I don't think Tequila and I are gonna become friends", Lucy announced.
„No?" Cana only looked mildly disappointed. „Give him another chance, this might convince you."
Again, Lucy had no idea where the bottles or the glass had come from, but before she could say anything a large glass was in front of her, the contents of which were a gradient from red to yellow, and Lucy would be lying if she said it wasnt pretty. Cana put a straw and a tiny umbrella in it and grinned at the celestial mage.
„This one's gonna convince you", she said with confidence, and while Lucy still didn't really want to play along with this stupid plan, she couldn't help but be curious at the pretty concoction. She took a sip from the straw and immediately liked it. It was sweet and fruity and barely tasted like alcohol at all. A big improvement over the shot.
„This is nice", Lucy said as noncommittally as she could.
„Then drink up, I have a few others you're gonna like." The smirk on Cana's face should really have been enough to tell Lucy that she should've just gone to sit at another table. Maybe the burning one. But she did really like the taste of that drink.
Four cocktails later she wasn't sure why she had ever said no to Cana's brilliant idea. All of them tasted fantastic, and Lucy was beginning to wonder how people ever bought drinks that didn't have umbrellas, tiny glittering palmtrees or slices of fruit on them. She'd also stopped wondering where Cana was getting everything, as the amount of bottles of all shapes and colors on the table grew and had moved on to admiring the Tarot mage's talent for mixing the drinks.
„What are you guys doing?", Elfman asked as he passed their table on his way to the bar where his sister was. One shirt sleeve was singed, but other than that he seemed to have weathered the fight well. Odd. Lucy couldn't recall seeing Elfman even enter the fight.
„I'm showing Lucy what fun alcohol can be", Cana said, barely looking up from constructing her next masterpiece. It was blue.
„Ah. Alcohol's for real men", he announced, and turned to leave.
„Wait", Lucy said and he turned back. „Does that mean, we're not supposed to be drinking it, cause we're girls, or did you just get your genders confused again?" Lucy waved her index finger in a loopy circle to indicate her and Cana.
„I mean, this one's not so bad, and I'm all for having a catch phrase, but seriously, half the stuff that comes out of your mouth makes no sense", She emptied the glass she'd been holding before she went on. „And people tell you that. Why don't you listen to them?" He looked surprised, and opened his mouth to answer, but Lucy wasn't done.
„And you know what? Manly is not the only attribute you can use to describe good things. Also, not everything is manly, just because you're doing it", she took a large sip from the new glass that had mysteriously appeared in her hand, and was delighted to discover that it tasted of coconut. „I mean, just read a book. Or several. Broaden your vocabulary. It would make talking with you so much easier."
She spun back around to face Cana, trying to ignore the fact that the room around her seemed to be lagging behind her movement. „Well that was sort of mean", he drinking buddy said, but Lucy wasn't in a listening mood. Lucy liked talking, and right now seemed like the best time ever to discuss some things she'd always been wanting to say.
„How do you do it?", she asked Cana and left a pause that seemed to call for an answer, cutting the brunette off when she was starting to actually attempt one. „I mean, you consume your body weight in alcohol daily, and you never get drunk, never mind that, but let me tell you something, one day, your liver is just gonna say, ‚Bye Bye, I'm out', and then you're dead, and then I'll say I told you so. But you won't hear it, cause you're dead, which is why I'm saying it now, but that's not the point." She took another large sip before leaning in closely and pointing her finger at Cana's face, to emphasize her point she hadn't made yet.
„My dad had this… business partner. And he always smelled of alcohol, more than you do, actually, although he probably didn't drink as much, cause I can't imagine he had the time, but anyway… he was huge. And sweaty. And he thought he was such a good friend of my Dad's that he always needed to hug me when he came around…" Lucy shivered, but caught herself again. „Well, childhood trauma, not the point, point is."
She needed a moment to collect herself, because for a moment she didn't really know herself what the point was, but then she remembered. „Alcohol makes you fat. And you look like that", she waved a hand at Cana's scantily clad shape. „And that doesn't make any sense."
„Well, it depends on what you drink. Also what you have to eat, besides that", Cana said with a slightly amused expression on her face, apparently choosing to ignore the first part of the speech.
„Hm", Lucy said and crossed her arms. Then she uncrossed them again, because she wanted to take another sip from her glass. Which appeared to have switched flavors again. And color. And shape.
She abruptly stood up from the table, which wasn't such a good idea, since she had to lean on it quite a bit to make the world feel right side up again, but it thankfully didn't take too long. She was a girl on a mission, and she couldn't rely on all the people she was going to see to come along at her table. She spotted her first target a few tables away, a little off from the former fighting area, sitting next to Juvia, who didn't look like she could form a coherent sentence right now.
Well good for them Lucy was coming. And she had a lot to say. Coherently.
„Gray!", she said and braced her hands on the table in front of him, leaning her face maybe a little too close to his for Juvia's comfort.
„Yes, Lucy?", he asked, eyebrows raised and looking at her sort of sideways.
„I get that it's from your training, and it's a habit that you got from your master, and you're an ice mage, so you don't really feel cold, and I can even accept that you somehow have the skill to undress yourself faster than the eye can see, but there's just one thing I don't get."
She sat down on the table where she'd previously put her arms. Apparently Juvia didn't like that pose, as well, if the growl from the other side of the table was any indications. „Imagine the scenario. One second I'm talking to Gray, who's wearing pants, and then the next second he's not wearing pants. You'd imagine there'd be pants lying around somewhere, but they're never there!" She hopped up from the table again, this time bowing down to be on his eye level. Somehow a glass was in her hand again, even though she couldn't remember taking it with her, but that was secondary right now.
„Where do they go? Do they vanish to some alternate dimension? Do they just stop existing once they're not in contact with your body anymore? Commit suicide cause they've somehow broken the clothing honor code, cause they failed to cover you? No they don't, because when someone points out to you that you're not wearing clothes, like now, by the way," He looked down at himself, sitting only in his boxer shorts, when Lucy was reasonably certain he'd been wearing a shirt at the beginning of they're conversation. Monologue. „Then you somehow manage to find them again. How do you do that?"
It took a moment for Gray to pick up on the fact that this was now his cue to answer, but even then it didn't look like he knew how to react to that tirade, other than blinking a few times. „Uh… I just find them again? I don't spend that much thought on it, to be honest."
That answer was far from good enough, but she was distracted by a flash of blue fur. As she turned around she noticed that Cana had followed her, and was watching her actions with a look of barely concealed glee on her face. Well she'd already been talked to, now it was someone else's turn.
As she walked towards the flying cat she noticed her favorite Dragonslayer was standing around staring at her. „Natsu, sit down, you're next." She didn't look to see if he complied with her directions, but pointed her finger at Happy, instead.
„Happy, you're the cutest, most irritating thing… ever", that was supposed to be a smarter sentence, but whatever. „But you need to stop calling me a weirdo. Cause you're a blue flying cat. That talks. Perspective." The speech had somehow been longer in her head, but it was good enough at that point.
„Natsu", she said, wheeling around, and almost, but not quite loosing her balance. He had sat down and staring at her with a doubting look. She sat down at the table opposite him and stared at him intently for a moment. „I'm going to tell you something very important, now, so listen carefully", she announced. He didn't look quite comfortable with that statement, but if he knew what was good for him, he'd stay right where he was. He knew, apparently.
„At my house, on the ground floor, facing the street, there is something called a door. That's a hole in the wall, with a large wooden plan in front of it." She mime the shape of it. „It's used for entering or exiting buildings." He looked at her with an expression halfway between amused and confused. „I'm explaining this to you, because you evidently don't know", she continued. „Anyway next to the door, there's a row of little buttons, and one of them has my name on it. And when you press that button, then inside I can hear a sound. That device is called a doorbell. And if I hear that sound, I will come down and open the door, so you can come inside." She took another sip from her glass, the umbrella poking at her nose, which led her to frown at it for a moment.
„And if you enter the house in that manner, you will not be kicked in the face." She was still looking at the umbrella. There was something she could to about being poked by it, of that she was quite sure, but what… „Or maybe you're into that, I don't know. Like Virgo…"
An idea popped into her head, and she turned around quickly again, yelling (probably louder than she really needed to: „Juvia!"
The water mage looked up with a frightened look on her face. „Juvia does not want Lucy-san to yell at her", she said timidly. Lucy was already standing up again and going back to her and Gray's table, all thoughts of Natsu already long wiped from her mind.
„I need you to make a puddle. Not a big one, just big enough. If it's really tiny, she'll be pissed."
The lost look on Juvia's face would've been heartbreaking had Lucy still been paying enough attention to her surroundings to care. „A puddle of… pee?", the water mage asked very quietly.
„No no no, I meant the part about being pissed fig… figar… figuratively." It took her way longer than it should've to be able to pronounce the word, and even then it felt strange as her lips wrapped around it. „I just need some water. Regular."
Juvia looked at Gray doubtfully, but he said, „oh, I want to see where this goes", with a grin. Nodding, Juvia raised her hand and let water rain from her hands, forming a puddle in the middle of the table. While she was doing that, Lucy fumbled with her keys, which were being particularly stubborn for some reason, but then freed the one she was looking for.
The celestial mage dipped it into the water and used her magic to open up a gate to the spirit world. Through which promptly the most disgruntled spirit in her arsenal appeared.
„Hey! What'd you call me in here for? I'm a water spirit, you little boyfriendless idiot", Aquarius announced, looking in the direction of one of the pillars in the guild, which was oddly more scraped than all the others.
„Oi, over here, bitch!", Lucy yelled, and crossed her arms. Somehow Cana managed to save the glass from Lucy's gesturing, but she barely noticed.
„What did you just call me?", Aquarius said, and turned around with such a murderous glare on her face that Juvia yelped and hid under the table while Gray was going very pale.
„You heard me. I mean, what is up with that attitude of yours? So I don't have a boyfriend, and you do, congratulations, no one cares. Since I have his key, now, and I know I don't summon him very often and I don't summon you very often, so in the five minutes at a time you're here could you stop bitching about being apart from him, cause you have all the time in the world!"
Aquarius narrowed her eyes, but Lucy just kept right on talking. „I mean, did your previous owners let you get away with the sort of crap you pull on me? Cause I doubt it. You know, I try to be friends with all my stellar spirits, I really like you guys, but if that's not your thing, fine. But you could at least show some common courtesy, that's not too much to ask." The water spirit's haughty glare seemed to say otherwise, but Lucy didn't give a shit at this moment.
„And I realize that what you do may not be an exact science, and I don't mind getting wet, too, if you're helping me, but stop targeting me!" she yelled the last part right in the spirit's face and got a noncomittal shrug as her answer.
„Hm. Maybe. But no promises." It was the best she'd ever gotten out of Aquarius on this subject, so she waved her key to dismiss her, upon which she promptly left.
Well this was certainly a liberating experience.
Now where had that glass in her hand come from, again?
As her partner and best friend Natsu sort of understood why he'd been the one asked to take Lucy home, especially since Gray was busy dealing with a traumatized Juvia and everyone had agreed to separate Cana and her endless liquor supply from the summoner. But knowing that didn't make dealing with her any easier. She was flitting around him in a manner that made him think of her as a blonde happy, and she was making random observations about all the houses they passed. Loudly.
„Lucy, people are sleeping", Natsu tried. He wasn't usually that concerned what his environment thought about him and his nakama, but making noise in a battle or on assignment was a little different from drunk Lucy being obnoxious.
„Well, not if I'm loud enough", she said with a mischievous grin.
„Please don't try"
She pouted at him, but stayed quiet, anyway.
Just when he thought he might actually get her home in one piece, he found that she had somehow climbed on the edge of the boardwalk and was no walking right next to the river, her balance precarious at best.
„Lucy, come down from there", Natsu said, taking her hand to try to pull her back down.
„The people on the boats always tell me to be careful or I'll fall, but I never do", she said the last bit in sort a singsong, thankfully in a much quieter voice than she'd had before.
„Well, then let's make sure it stays that way." He put both hands around her waist and lifted her off, with no resistance from her at all. He put her down on the ground next to him, making sure he was walking on the side with the water and not her. Natsu took two steps before he noticed she wasn't coming along, still standing at the spot he'd put her with a dreamy smile on her face.
„You're always so protective. Like, when you're walking me home… and… other times", Well, good to know he'd made such a memorable impression on her. Of course all the other times were being overshadowed by him making sure she didn't fall into the river next to her house. Much more memorable than defeating monsters or dark guilds, for sure.
„Come on", he said, gesturing for her to come closer, and she fell into step behind him.
„You're cute, when you're like that", she said. „My big scary dragon slayer, who always takes care of me." She wrapped both of her hands around his arm and Natsu wasn't quite sure what to make of that. As he felt his cheeks getting hotter, he sort of wished the side of drunk Lucy that felt the need to explain the concept of a door to him back.
He almost breathed a sigh of relief when they reached Lucy's house. At the door she fumbled for her keys with one hand, while pointing at the door bell with the other. „That's where it is, if you ever wanna not be kicked in the face", she explained, and then started giggling uncontrollably, and he couldn't even begin to make sense of her in that moment. He really hoped she'd be back to normal tomorrow, and he'd need to have a word with Cana, either way.
„Well, try to go to sleep, and not get into any trouble, okay?", he said when she'd successfully found her key and turned the lock. Getting it into there had only taken her three tries. „Good ni…"
He had just turned to leave, but was spun around suddenly, and before he had any time to react he felt soft lips pressing onto his. This close he could smell the alcohol on her even more intensely, and her movements were sloppy, but they were still enough to make his brain momentarily stop working.
When it sputtered back into working order, he gently pushed her back and looked into her flushed face. And dammit if he wasn't blushing as well. „Night", she said with a content smile. She turned to open her door, leaving him to his confused thoughts about what the hell had happened right now, but then she turned back around.
And proceeded to puke on his feet.
A/N: Thanks for reading this far! This is meant as a one shot for now, but I might add some more drunken exploits, because this was a lot of fun to write in the middle of the night. Let me know what you think, and if you're interested in any more of this