I was 8 years old when I got my first piercing. It was painful and bloody, done haphazardly by Metalicana after I begged him. I wanted to look like the son of a bitch and got a sound beating for it. He snapped my wrist like a twig and pierced by nose in 6 places simultaneously, forming needles from his fingers. I whimpered and whimpered and fucking whimpered some more, but at his kick, I fell silent like the night around me.

Lesson learned, no one wants a weakling. If you can't handle pain, go off to your little corner like a bitch with your ass in the air. Metalicana taught me that, convinced me he was strong even if he ran away like some goddamn coward with his tail tucked between his legs, scampering off 'cause he can't handle me and my ton of baggage, runnin' cause he was scared of a lil boy.

Fuck him, I don't need anyone.

But I'm not some pansy with daddy issues, fuck it if I was. Guys like me don't get those shit cases of excuses, they're all a crock of crap. Fucking pointless, they'll get you nowhere. I know that, the people I worked with knew that, and I thought everyone did, but she didn't.

No, SHE was too busy in her happy little spell, life like some bird, chirpin' like a robin.

I ripped off her wings and she spat blood at me, defiant even if my claws could dig into her breast and pull out her heart, beating as fast as hummingbird wings. No, she didn't deflate even if she was scared out of her wits, her eyes half focused and hazy, broken in a lull of fear and half consciousness. I laughed in her face, the blood smearing her cheeks and lips dripping off, her little vest gone.

The chant filled my head: No one needs a weakling; fuck Fairy Tail, I had done them a favor.

But, she wasn't weak, was she? No, she was fucking unbreakable, unbendable, big. She was GIANT, larger than me even with her eyes half focused, judging me like she was a cardinal and I had confessed my sins, staring down at me from her spot on the tree, wrangled up like she was Jesus Christ, some kind of sacrificial maiden for the monsters of the night to snap up and devour. When she coughed, I felt the blood on my face, wet and raw, probably ugly like I always have been, deep down. She looks at me with those eyes, those fuckin' eyes and I want to scare her so bad that she'll dream of me for years, dream of how I broke her.

So I wipe the blood off my face with my thumb, lick my fingers and the cut that's dripping down her cheek, even if I know that it'll heal faster because I've done so. Her face is fragile in my hands and I feel like I can crush her jaw with a small twitch and she CRIES, mixing in the tears with the metallic sting of her life liquid, pouring down on me like Rain Woman was there. She tastes pure like fresh water from a clear creek, the red draining out of her with how hard her heart is pounding. I have one hand on her chest, keeping her from even thinking of squirming and just continue cleaning her skin with my tongue, like some kind of monster, mopping up the death that pounded from the woman he destroyed.

Fuck her, she's the reason that, the second I realized that we weren't gonna win, I felt a sense of dread pass through me. It was the same kind of dread I felt when Metalicana, the bastard of a father, left. The same kind of oozing, disgusting, and toxic fear passing through my veins, thicker than mercury and quicksilver, sharper and more terrifying than the claws he would sharpen in front of me while I nearly pissed myself in fear. I had to face her again and I never wanted to look into her eyes. I never wanted to see that judgment and the sadness that flooded those orbs boring into mine, constantly reminded of the boogeyman from under her bed.

And the moment I stepped foot into Fairy Tail, I felt the thick membrane of dislike pounding onto me like I was in the center of a gravitational pull. These people acted like they were sunshine and love, happiness and all hand holding but I know they have their dirt. Fuck, we all do, and they look at me with their holier than thou eyes, sitting upon their pedestals. And SHE is there, hiding behind furniture and walls like something could protect her from a MONSTER like me. The resentment starts to leak in, and I head off on mission after mission, desperate to get away from their gazes, like I'm boiling in my own sin. And, of fucking course, they have to catch me, have to give me a beating.

Damn it to hell if I didn't understand. Fairy Tail is full of it if they think that they're better than anyone else. They haze just like Phantom hazed, just like I hazed and they try to pretend that they're better? What's the point as long as you're beating someone to the ground; does it matter if you have a reason? Sure it doesn't, you're still kicking- you still feel the connect of flesh with your foot, the crack of bones as their skin gives, peeling and flaying away from your fist with the force of your blows. It's all the same, but they hide behind their morals and their excuses, shit that people like me don't get, pretending that they "love" when they all want to feel the crunch of cartilage under their hands.

And they're ruthless when they want to be. Hell, I heard the lightening before I felt it, the sizzling of flesh. Thunder was something I'd never been scared of; stupidly believing I could fend off metal's natural enemy. The smell of my skin and the burnt clothes on my body was disgusting, wafting off of me like steam from a kettle.

But I took it, because fuck it all if I didn't understand.

Yet, when he turned, when that shit eating grin showed up on his face and he aimed the bolt at her, I don't know what happened. I felt the spring of my muscles like I was some animal, desperate to defend and I took the hit. It hurt like a bitch and socked me right in the chest, deeper than any wound I could bounce back from, but I took it like the bastard I was, and her little body was shaking so hard when I walked off and she had the NERVE, the NERVE to try to thank me. As if you ever thank your monster, your nightmare.

"Thank you, terrifying dream, for waking me from the fear that you gave me."

Give me a break, I knew the way of the world, but slowly, I felt the webbing of my protection, the ease of which I moved give way to a different way of thinking; perhaps I didn't know the world, maybe there was a different kind of life out there. She composed my thoughts; I found her hands warm and forgiving, her eyes not fearful but curious, easing the wounds shut with fragile fingers, piecing me back together without even fucking TRYING as she bent my brain in all angles.

Sometimes, I wanted to break her and hate her, to shake her and get her away from me and I don't know why. I don't make bonds, or at least, I didn't used to. And when I'm alone, munching as loudly as I please in the dank nothingness that is my apartment, I can remember everything I learned: No one wants a weakling, the way of the world is dog eat dog, it's a fight to the top and fuck you if you aren't. Things changed a bit when I got Lily, but he knew the way of the world too.

He was just like me, after all.

But, as I'm sitting at the counter, drinking dishwater beer and eating scrap metal, I see her hands folded in her lap after she was announced an S-rank candidate, her aura smelling thickly of defeat, and I can't help but stand on my iron bones as I make my way to her, can't help but lift her and tell her I'll lend a hand. I can't help the fact that I want her to succeed so, so badly that my gut twists and I look into her eyes. Everything I ever learned flies out the window as I look into those deep, brown orbs, so surprised and caring, so shocked and grateful and the happiness bubbles in my belly like some vortex of heat, boiling in my veins with a pleasant buzz. My head is pounding, telling me "Good job" and "You're a softie" in the insides of my scrambled mind, but I can't deny that I like holding her up, moving her closer to a heaven I don't deserve to see, inching her to the clouds, putting her where she belongs after I took off her wings.

I sometimes wonder if she has the scars on her shoulder bones, if she licked her wounds for the weeks I was absent from her life, if she forgot that she was really some kind of bird or angel, a being above me because she had the wings I never had, the wings Metalicana had, the wings all amazing creatures have.

I know she's bigger than me, bigger than anything I've done. She is bigger and more important than I ever was, especially when I trussed her up like a peace offering, licking at her life liquid like an animal. Because even then, when I pulled away, it was HER blood that formed a thin, red string of dank gore and saliva between us, her that began this strange understanding between us two that spun my head and made me want to make splinters and shards from the heart beating so treacherously in my chest when I saw her. I know I'm in too far because even when I didn't know her, even when she was just a pretty little fairy ripe for an offering, I was drawn to her. I was drawn to her and I raped her of her naivety, removed the innocence she held in her heart, that belief that no creature like me existed. Or, at least, I raped her of the belief that no creature like me (some demon made of iron scales for skin, cold and unforgiving) existed in her fragile bubble. But she still found it in her to forgive me, and all I had to do was take a thunder bolt to the heart?

Sometimes, I try to convince myself that I really don't give a fuck, her fault for being so open, like a split wound. But, hell, even I'm not dense or dumb enough to believe it when I run after her, putting my ass on the line YET AGAIN for her sake, trying to be worthy of the forgiveness she so easily bestowed upon me, wanting to stitch shut, suture the bloomed red bruise on her faith.

I'm not exactly selfless, but I would sooner see myself dead than her, and really, if I'm honest with myself, I haven't got a single goddamned clue as to why. I try to tell myself that it's NOT because I'm arse over elbow in love with the fucking pixie or the fact that her smiles at me make my veins twist up in my ribcage. No, it can't be that. But, chasing after her, cursing her for being stupid enough to believe that I don't give a lick of care for her feelings, I know that it was so much deeper than repentance and I really hate that.

Fuck, when the hell did I get so goddamn soft? I'm such a fucking sap, running after a girl who barely hits the base of my throat when I'm slumped over, so tiny in stature and huge in influence.

I'm not stupid, that girl could get stronger than I could if she just tried. Words are the most profound and dangerously fucking powerful magic there is. It's like air, like fact, and you don't fight against fact. It's like trying to scoop the entire ocean up in a thimble; you just can't do that shit. She could trap her enemy in a tiny 3 foot by 2 inch box and they'd be forced to conform to the stupid thing, forced to succumb to the will she set, the rules she'd make. She could easily have a man fall to his knees if she had the sadistic streak I did.

But, damn it, how could she be so…so stupid as to rely on me and trust me? Hell, even with the rumors, I never thought Fairy Tail could be so kind. Suddenly, I scoff in my run, smelling her weakening scent of tears and unhappiness, the trail she leaves me, as I feel the scar on my torso move, right in the symmetry line of my chest. Okay, so Fairy Tail isn't kind, but she sure is. And I'm in the middle of cursing her again when I hear her scream, too damn close for it to be a prank and too damn far for it to be aimed toward me and I RUN like there's hell on my ass.

I run like I never ran before and, let me tell you, Shorty, beautiful Shorty, lying on the ground with a sword above her face, about to smash down and break her all over again, is not the sight I wanted to see. I don't even have a chance to think, running on primal instinct as I rush in front of her, spewing out some words I'm sure are sappy as hell but worth it when I hear her happy purr and smell the courage returning to her.

And even if I'm so furious I could kill the devil if he flounced up to me, I keep my cool because, fuck, that's just what guys like me do, and she analyzes the situation, tells me what she knows, calms herself down too fucking fast to be normal. The feeling of her back against mine, that warmth that she radiates makes me feel like I can win any battle, even if I just have a fucking sewing needle at my disposal. But, Shorty is too important to be cut down and I send her off when I see that it's not a cake walk, chant in my head that, even without that warmth there, the ghost of her skin on me will drive me forward.

As if I had anything to worry about. Shorty runs off, tears running down from her eyes for a completely different reason than the last time I saw them, and leaves me a giant chunk of iron, heart replacing the O. The surprise shows in my face before I grow grateful at her offering and smug at her murmur. I heft it up, happy at the promise of food and feeling giddiness settle in my body at the meaning. I bite down, right in the center, hoping she knows that I got it, that I UNDERSTAND as I hear her muttering "Please don't die" in my direction, fueling me with more than what I need.

I face them down, win, as I had to because I would never forgive myself if I didn't and lay on the ground, slightly fucking OUTRAGED that I can't get up but still feeling the smugness of a victory. And as she runs up to me, her voice screaming my name in her raw throat (which, by the way, sounds fucking INCREDIBLE), kneeling down at my body with her soft hands running over me, I just throw everything I learned out the window. Fuck strength, fuck Metalicana, fuck it all. She's more than I deserve and more than I need but I'll take it because I'm a greedy bastard and I AM arse over elbow in love with the damn pixie. And you know what? I may not be one of the good guys, but I still want to be her hero more than I've ever wanted to be her boogeyman.

On top of the bed, rather than under it.

Written to/Inspired By: Soil-Pride ("I've always backed my words with what I do, I'll always bite my tongue to comfort you. I'll be my superhero number one, I'll save me from myself. Lover what do you have for me? I'll be your superhero number one, I'll save you. I'll save.)

Taking a break from the fluff and sweetness, I must admit, I LOVE evil Gajeel. Even being kinder, he was still a ruthless killer. Yes, there was mercy in him, and there were horrible things that happened to him as a child, but he was still sadistic, foul mouthed and cruel. Gajeel is not gentle even when he tries and he is not eloquent, nor suave. He is primal, animalistic, predatory, but there is that part of him, that small part that Fairy Tail, Pantherlily and Levy brought out in him that is a singing, white suit wearing, guitar playing (looks homemade to me, so he's also a craftsman), dorky and awkward man, trying to fit in and atone for the sins he committed.

He is such a complex character and I am so ridiculously in LOVE with the entire concept of Gajeel. I mean, really, he needs to become real. He is such a BAMF and a nerd and, oh, if a man like him existed and I met him, I'd dye my hair blue and tell him we're meant to be! For now…I accept the fact that I will probably be forever alone. T_T I have no regrets with this one though. Honestly, I am completely satisfied with it, crude speech, nasty curses and all.