The Sage
Chapter One
Back Again?

Summary: Time Travel! A far more powerful and mature Natsu Dragneel finds himself in the body of his seven-year old self, the day he joined Fairy Tail.

"...and that's why I'd like to join Fairy Tail!"

Makarov Dreyar could not help but stare incredulously at the young pink-haired mage sitting in front of him, magic literally pouring out of him. That wasn't even the strangest part about the boy, however – no, the strangest part was his calm, intelligent face that had no place on a young child. His eyes shone with confidence and wisdom that could only be attained through years of experience.

Who was this boy? Makarov thought to himself, raising an eyebrow, shifting in his seat, made of books stacked on top of each other.

"So you're telling me you're a Fire Dragon Slayer..." Makarov began, and the boy – Natsu, he recalled – nodded. "And that you want to join the Guild because your dragon abandoned you, and it seems like fun?"

Natsu nodded again, his facial expression not changing. Makarov couldn't help it – he burst out laughing. He toppled backwards, the tower of books crashing to the floor, but he didn't give a damn. His sides hurt from the amount of laughter coming out of him. He continued for several minutes, stopping only to catch his breath.

Natsu's fists clenched, his magic levels raising for a second in anger at not being taken seriously, but it quickly stabilized as he took a calming breath. This isn't like last time, he reminded himself. He was far more powerful and mature this time. Something like this would not ruin his 'cool and collected' personality that he so desperately wanted to have. Last time, he had been a laughingstock, barely being taken seriously in battle. If he was going to go through all this again, by the Gods, he was going to be taken seriously!

At last the Master's laughs slowly became chuckles and then hiccups until eventually he stopped completely and stared at the rose haired boy, who stared back at him defiantly, challenging him to laugh again.

Honestly, Makarov hadn't wanted to chortle, but he couldn't help it. The boy in front of him, looking the same age as one of his other new recruits, a boy named Gray, looked so serious and had a facial expression that didn't match his body at all... it was ridiculous. But he forced himself to calm down. Even though the boy's mannerisms had caught him off guard, it was nothing to be made fun of. He hadn't missed the twitches coming from the boy, of course, but to remain so calm at the age of seven when a man laughed at you... he felt a tiny bit of respect attach itself to this boy.

It helped, of course, that the amount of power that came off him was unthinkably great. It absolutely destroyed the amount of magic anyone in his age group at the Guild, or anywhere perhaps, had. It was greater than Gildarts, one of the most powerful mages in his guild, and in a couple of years, with the right training, could possibly match his and the other Wizard Saints.

But quality was better than quantity – he had already decided that the boy would join the guild, but he needed to test his power, to see if he was just a walking mass of magic or if he was a trained fighter that could become something truly incredible in the years to come.

"Come outside with me," his face was serious, and revealed none of the thoughts he was having. "I'm going to test how strong you really are."

Natsu felt a moment of surprise at this new event. This had definitely not happened last time. Last time, it was through constant duels and fights through his years at Fairy Tail that the other members and Makarov had been able to gauge his skill level. But this was a totally unexpected turn of events, though he should have expected it. He had noticed, of course, the amount of magic he had was completely different as to what he had when he really was seven, fifty-seven years ago. It seems, Natsu thought grimly as he followed his psuedo-grandfather outside to the training fields, that I am not going to be able to simply do the same things over again in the same way.

He had known that from the beginning, of course. He could not remember enough events in his past life to be able to perfectly redo his past, but he hadn't wanted to, anyways. There were so many regrets that could be washed away, so many things that could be changed, that he knew that he wouldn't be able to stop himself from doing those things. It was why he hadn't attempted to hide his magic levels, or act the same as he did before the Magical War. He was prepared to make changes, but he hadn't expected the changes to happen so soon.

Shaking his head to clear it of unnecessary thoughts, he noticed that his future master was standing across the field, his magic rising.

Wait... Natsu blinked, unable to understand what the hell was going on. Master's going to fight me? Emotions ran through him, the most prominent being fear (Master was known to be one of the ten most powerful mages for a reason) and excitement (he had never been able to fight the old man before, and although he wouldn't be able to win, this would definitely leave an impression).

Oh, yes. Natsu did not doubt for a second that he was going to lose. He had only arrived in the past this morning, after all. His body was unsuited to the powerful spells that he had been able to use in the future/past and although he had a little less magic power than he had in the future (he didn't know why, but he'd make damn sure he regained it, and a little more), he didn't have the control. So a spell that was only supposed to drain a thousandth of his magic could take a hundredth instead, and Natsu wasn't sure what the effects of that would be on his fighting capabilities right now.

But even so, he was going to make sure that the master remembered him and make sure that he became an S-ranked mage as fast as possible. After all, it would be no fun going after small time bandits with the magic he had at his disposal.

"Natsu Dragneel," his master began, snapping him out of his thoughts. He noticed, out of the corner of his eyes, that a rather large crowd – civilians and future guildmates alike – had began to gather. They were obviously interested as to what was going on, and why it looked like one of the most powerful mages in the world was about to fight a seven-year old. "I apologize for not making this fight more fair, but the only other ones who could match your magic are on missions right now. As of right now, I'm the only one who can test your power, and I'm more than willing to. I have never seen Dragon Slayer magic before, and you seem to be a very intelligent and strong mage. If you can manage to fight me for thirty seconds, you will not only be allowed entrance into the guild, but you will start off as a B-class mage." The master's eyes glinted, and Natsu heard snickers in the crowd. Obviously, none of them believed he would last two seconds, let alone thirty. He smirked, more than willing to destroy that presumption.

"Rules?" He asked, the crowd jeering and laughing even further when they heard him. It was almost as if he thought he could provide a challenge to a Wizard Saint.

"Try not to severely injure or kill me," Makarov chuckled at his own joke. Macao entered the field, acting as a referee, though no one seriously thought this match would need one.

"Three... two... one... begin!"

Natsu immediately jumped backwards. Makarov had not wasted a second, leaping forward in an incredible burst of speed, his right fist extended to where Natsu had been a second ago. Natsu didn't miss the small grin his master had on his face – he was quite pleased that he hadn't been knocked out in the first hit. Natsu scowled, not enjoying being taken as a joke. Makarov hadn't even used his Titan magic yet.

Fine, Natsu grinned inwardly. Makarov is obviously doing this to test my magic. If he won't his magic, neither will I.

Leaping back into the fray, Natsu immediately engaged the old man in a hand-to-hand fight, their speed unknowingly increasing by the second. The rose-haired boy was having a difficult time. The master delivered brutal blows and his balance was severely thrown off by the fact that he was two feet shorter than he usually was. He had been able to retain his balance when walking, but in this fast paced fight, it was taking all his concentration not to topple over.

Makarov, on the other hand, found himself absolutely astounded. He had at first believed that the boy would fall victim to his first attack, as most people were caught off guard by his speed. But no, the boy had quick reflexes and had been able to dodge it easily. And then, instead of using his magic like the old mage thought he would try to, he began to fight him in hand-to-hand – and held his ground! Obviously, the old man was not using his full power, but the fact that this boy could handle half his power was astounding. Most A-ranked mages couldn't even do that! He noticed quickly that the boy seemed to be off-balance, but passed it off as first battle jitters, seeing as the boy probably had never been in combat before this event, although this was not serious.

The old man knew that the boy would not use his magic, which the wizard desperately wanted to see, until he himself did. He knew that from the look the boy had thrown at him when he first attacked with magic. A look that contained annoyance and plainly said 'don't take me as a joke!'

After this more than incredible fighting, the guildmaster was inclined to oblige. The saint jumped and grew. It was an absolutely terrifying sight to behold, but Makarov noted that the boy didn't seem surprised nor did he seem afraid. He actually seemed to become happier, as if the sight of Titan magic was something to be pleased about!

The boy proved his thoughts to be correct when he laughed, revealing sharp canines (probably an effect of his dragon parentage, Makarov thought to himself) and lit himself on fire.

Dully, Makarov realized that they had already been sparring for five minutes, something that only Gildarts could claim to have done before. Realizing that he would have to end this battle quickly if he didn't want his reputation to go up in flames, no pun intended. His fast slammed into the ground where the boy was, expecting to end the battle with that blow, but found himself not only shocked but honest to god excited when he saw flames shooting out of the pink haired Dragon Slayer's feet as he jetted himself into the sky to go face to face with the Fairy Tail master.

"Well, well," Makarov laughed heartily. "Who would have thought that a little runt like you could actually amuse me! Hahaha! You have proved yourself to be powerful enough to join Fairy Tail, but I think a little thing like 'pride' is going to force you to continue this battle?"

The boy's normally cool exterior cracked and he grinned widely, his answer to the question being a large ball of fire that was shot from the boy's mouth.

Holy shit, Makarov stared at the ball of fire in awe. It was huge, bigger than any fire that Macao or any fire mage that he had ever met could produce. This was the power of someone who could easily be an S-rank mage now, if he so wanted to. But power wasn't everything, Makarov thought to himself, narrowing his eyes and searching for the scarf-wearing boy. He had easily dodged the fireball, but it seemed as if the boy had a sharp mind as well, not bull rushing as many his age would and instead using strategies.

Yes, yes! The old man's excitement was obvious to anyone who cared to look. This power, this skill, this cunning was far beyond anything he could have expected from a seven year old, or even an adult mage. Not only that, but this boy was nothing like his son – from the brief conversation Makarov had had with him, and the loving words that Natsu had said about his dragon, Igneel, it was clear that this boy had a heart of gold. He could well be witnessing the birth of Fairy Tail's strongest wizard.

But back to the fight – he could not afford to be distracted, there were appearances to keep up after all, and there was no need for people to begin questioning his ability to fight. He decided to bring things up a notch and used his magic sensing abilities to find where Natsu was. It wasn't difficult, the boy was like a solar flare in the night sky, it was impossible not to see him. He was like a giant homing beacon. He was going to need to teach the boy how to suppress his magic.

Whirling around, he quickly avoided the boy's flame-encased punch and sent a giant elbow to the back of his skull, but in a flash of fire and sparks, he disappeared.

What the hell was that? Makarov was beyond stunned. That was teleportation magic... how could the boy do that? The skills the boy was demonstrating were beyond incredible. To put it bluntly, the poor old man was nearly shitting himself in excitement. This boy could bring a whole new era to the guild...

But it was time to get down to business.

Closing his eyes, he sensed the boy to his left and avoided a haymaker, forcing the redhead to fly even higher to avoid a headbutt. Considering the old man's head was approximately fifty times the size of the boy's, it was a smart move.

Natsu was panicking. Shit, shit, shit! Just when things had been looking good for him, he found out that he couldn't use any of his Combination Element attacks. Then his flame teleportation (he seriously needed to think of a name for that spell) drained him of an incredible amount of magic, approximately 100 times the amount that it usually took. It was understandable, the spell was quite hard to control and it had been a surprise when he found out that he could cast it at all. What was worse was that he couldn't remember his old attacks! They had become useless when his enemies stopped being lowly grunts and more of the super powerful 'I can level entire towns with a flick of my finger' type, and he had resorted to combination attacks, as well his Ice Fire and other types of flames. But without the physical training, he could not use his other flames, and thus was left without many attacks except for the simple ones.

Shit, I really need to learn remember or learn more attacks soon, Natsu thought desperately, barely avoiding a fist that would have tossed him into Edolas had it connected. Unconsciously, he had began going higher, and therefore was surprised when the flames on his feet began to sputter. He had gone really high up, he thought worriedly. The lack of oxygen was going to kill his makeshift jetpack, but if he went any lower he would be in striking range of the master.

Fuck it all, Natsu decided. He had shown all the techniques he could use/remember to his master, and he was running low on magic energy. He might as well go out with a bang.

His head flew backwards, and his gut expanded.

"DRAGON SLAYER'S PHOENIX FLOWER!" he roared, hundreds of burning hot fireballs launching themselves at the Master, who stared at them in interest before demonstrating amazing athletic skill and dodging them all, except one, which he reversed back to Natsu, who simply stared at the old man, realizing that the old man had never seen him do this.

He swallowed the flames whole, stunning the crowd (who had been stunned from the beginning, when Natsu had dodged the master's first attack) and roared.

Magnificent white hot flames launched themselves at the master, and Natsu attacked again while his Master was distracted, using another one of his attacks that he had remembered in the last few seconds.

Raising his hands and taking a deep breath, knowing this was going to knock him unconscious, he concentrated a large amount of firepower.

"Armageddon!" he cried, exhaustion settling in. The old man stared at him, and then glanced at the sky, which had suddenly turned bloody red. Natsu smirked, falling to the ground rapidly but he allowed the last bit of fire he had to slow his descent before turning upwards, wanting to see the fireworks.

Massive fireballs were being dropped from the sky at speeds that threatened to beat the speed of light. There were hundreds, possibly thousands, all aiming for one poor Titan-using guildmaster.

That was the last thing he saw before the world went black.

Author's Note: Hey guys! It's Sage with my first story after I deleted the other one I had which was pretty embarrassing and terrible. Anyways, this story is pretty much 'Natsu travels back in time' blahblah. It might follow canon for a while but yes, it will eventually diverge though some plot points will stay the same. Anyways, if you're wondering why you didn't get to see more of Natsu's spells and fighting, it's because he can't remember them (it's been, what, fifty something years? Give the guy a break!) and only recalls his elemental combinations and other stuff. But don't worry, that WILL change very soon, and Natsu will not only have his old arsenal of spells, but plenty of others, including one that I thought of right now but was unable to fit in here, a spell called – wait for it – Fire Golem! Hell yeah!

Er, yeah. Anyways, the pairing is 99% guaranteed to be Natsu/Lucy, unless something happens, like Lucy becomes a bitch in the manga or does something to make me really dislike her, though I doubt that's going to happen. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed and please leave constructive criticism and excessive flattering (just kidding! But not really) in the reviews.

Oh, another thing. Natsu's not a dumbass in this one. I mean, yeah, it can be endearing at times, but more often than not it's really frustrating and annoying. So expect stupid moments at times for comic relief, but most of the time, he's the mature Natsu who went through a Magical War.