It all started when he was five. That was the year his magic finally did something about the horrible conditions he was forced to live in because of a senile old man with dreams of grandeur.
He didn't know his own name, because they always called him freak or boy.
His uncle came home one night, drunker than ever. Today was the day the big promotion was announced...and he didn't get it. After a few shots of strong booze, he came home in a rage. Petunia shed away from her husband, while shielding their son from his father. To be fair, she didn't expect her nephew to come in at the worst possible time that day.
Even she wouldn't intentionally harm a child, no matter how much she hated her sister.
Vernon took one look at the brat who was dumped on their doorstep, and saw red.
The child didn't stand a chance. Petunia took Dudley to the next door neighbor's house, and called the police. Her nephew would be extremely lucky to live through this.
Right before the child lost consciousness, a flash of light came from the house, and he disappeared.
There was enough blood and a dislodged tooth to convict Vernon Dursley of abuse and child endangerment. They assumed his ravings were solely because of the booze. They never found the child again, and Petunia did her best to raise Dudley by herself. Sometimes she wondered what happened to her nephew, but resigned herself to being glad that she was still alive, and that her son was safe from her husband's rampage once and for all.
He woke up in a dead area. The plants and animals were lying around him, rotting. Standing in the middle of this destruction was a man.
He had short black hair and strange clothes. But it was the eyes that drew him.
Those eyes were dead and sad. Like he was in a perpetual nightmare that he could never break free of. He stared for about three seconds before passing out from blood loss.
By morning, the man was gone, but all his injuries were patched up with expertly placed bandages. Beside him was a strange ring with what appeared to be keys. Each of them had an animal, and appeared to be made of a chrome colored metal. The ring itself appeared to be obsidian in color.
To his left was a bag...and instructions on how to use the keys. He looked at that first.
I do not know who you are, nor do I particularly care. The mere fact you survived being close to me long enough for me to bandage your wounds means you have a unique gift. Those keys will help you along they way.
My name...is Zeref. For your sake I hope we do not meet again anytime within this decade, because I don't think you'll survive my magic twice.
The bag contains two thousand jewels, which should be more than enough for you to make your way to the nearest town. The keys are considered Dark magic, so I wouldn't use them in public just yet until you learn how to summon properly.
Good luck, little one, because in this world you'll need it.
The boy took the keys and hid them under his shirt. The pockets in the shorts he had on were so worn out anything he put in it would fall out. He took the bag and started walking.
It had been an entire month since he landed in this world, and he had learned early on that he wasn't in his original world anymore...and he was perfectly okay with that. He didn't feel the need to return to be honest.
Any time that particular urge came to him, he remembered vividly how his Uncle almost killed him. If it hadn't been for his magic (another useful thing he had learned was that he had a large quantity of the stuff) he would have died at the very least.
He would always be thankful to Zeref, even if he was classed as the Darkest Mage to ever live.
If it wasn't for him, he wouldn't have survived this long, or found his aptitude towards summoning magic.
Which brought him to this point. In a fit of loneliness, he had managed to summon one of the weaker spirits through the keys Zeref had left behind.
The Rat spirit was most helpful in showing him how to initiate and summon the others. The only one he hadn't summoned at this point was the Dragon spirit, and that was only because his magic levels weren't ready for that step.
Dog had suggested Fairy Tail, mostly because word was that they allowed mages as young as him to join.
So he booked the first train to Magnolia.
Markov looked up when he felt the door open. He assumed it was Macao, who was due back today.
Instead it was a somewhat timid four year old with keys on his belt. Keys made out of what appeared to be mithril.
Mithril keys...where I have heard of those before?
"Can I help you lad?"
"I was hoping to join the guild," he said calmly.
"We don't allow civilians to join mage guilds."
"What about someone with magic?"
Markov looked harder at him. The child originally appeared four, but it was clear that he was around five or six. Clearly the misconception about his age was from neglect.
"Well that's a different story. What sort of magic do you have lad?"
"Celestial gate magic," he said shortly.
"We'll have to see a demonstration, but first why don't we get you something to eat," said Markov kindly.
He grinned. He didn't mind demonstrating his magic. Once he was done with his sandwich (Mirajane had made an entire plateful and it was gone in minutes) he went outside to summon one of the spirits.
Open, Gate of the Tiger, Kisa!
A large black and white tiger sprang out of the gate way.
"You rang kid?" she rumbled.
The boy hugged the tiger tightly. He liked animals, and Kisa had always let him ride her back when he got tired.
Markov's jaw dropped, but for a reason different that the boy imagined. He had finally remembered where he heard of keys made of mithril that summoned celestial spirits.
"Where did you learn Dark Magic kid?"
"Kisa isn't dark. Just because something is black doesn't make it evil."
"He's right. Those gold and silver keys reside on the Yang side of magic, while we live on the Yin. You can't live without something to balance the magic out."
"Where did you get those keys? I can handle someone using them in the guild, not all magic is evil, but if the council tries to bother you I have to know."
"The man who saved me gave them. He said I had unique magic, and that it would protect me until I could stand on my own."
"Did this man have a name?"
"Zeff, I think..."
Markov could accept that, since Zeff wasn't that strange a name. There had even been this one mage he knew named Red Shoes Zeff, who could manipulate his magic through his feet. (And yes people I am referring to that chef in One Piece.)
"Well then, we'll need a name and your age! Welcome to Fairy Tail lad!"
He grinned. This was the first time he had been accepted without question and people hadn't run from his magic.
Kisa left, happy to spend time with the brat again. Perhaps now they would have a name for him instead of kid or brat.
It was a week later when one of the kids finally gave him a name, since none of the adults could come up with one he agreed with.
Hoshi became one of the stronger mages in the guild in a short span of a few months. It took him less than a year to start taking A-rank jobs, and that without help. His spirits were soon a welcome sight to the guild.
It took him three years to reach S-class, by which time they had gained another new member. His name was Loki, and something seemed very familiar about him.
Because of that, Loki ended up having Hoshi as a roommate, though to be fair the boy helped pay the rent.
Hoshi was on a job getting rid of bandits, when he ran into a woman carrying keys. That was when the real trouble started.
"A fellow Celestial mage? Why don't I see what keys you have, hmm?" she purred.
Hoshi didn't like her voice. Clearly she intended to kill him and steal his keys if he lost. The first one she drew out was Gemini, which surprised him.
Open, Gate of the Rat, Yuki!
The large Rat sprang out of the key, displeased. While he was Hoshi's original summon, he didn't like to fight.
The woman's eyes widened, but a sneer quickly grew on her face.
"So you are the rumored Dark Zodiac Mage. Now I'm really interested!"
Yuki dodged Gemini's touch, and bit the woman's arm. She shrieked in pain, but threw another magic at him.
Yuki yelped, and looked at Hoshi, who quickly swapped him out for Padfoot, the Dog. Technically his name was Shigure, but the black dog reminded him of another dog, which was why Shigure allowed him to use the nickname.
Shigure took one look at this woman, who was vile and cruel, and snarled.
It took five minutes of biting, clawing, and slashing before the woman finally called Scorpio.
Who refused to come out because he was on a date with his girlfriend. Which meant she had to bring out Aries.
Hoshi had heard a rumor that Aries was friends with Leo, which was why he sent Shigure back and brought out Kisa.
It didn't take long for Aries to return to the other realm in defeat.
Hoshi sent out one final spirit to really cause problems. The Monkey retrieved the woman's keys, breaking her contract with them once and for all. She would have to find new Gold keys if she wanted to fight again.
Hoshi took out the gold keys, and then summoned the Dragon spirit.
"You called little summoner?"
"I have a question. Can I use both Yin and Yang keys?" he asked, holding up the three keys he had confiscated from that nasty woman.
The Dragon leaned closer, and looked carefully.
"It is possible for you to use these keys, however I wouldn't advise summoning more than one of us at a time. The drain would be considerably higher than what you are used to, and you might pass out before you are capable of doing anything."
"What if I were to train my reserves? Would that help?"
"Possibly, but be careful who you summon. Aquarius, for example, doesn't work well with anyone from our Gate, and refuses to work with anyone from hers except for Scorpio."
"Will I have any trouble with these three?"
"I don't think so. Aries is particularly timid, especially as the last person to hold her keys for long abused her. Scorpio is alright, but don't expect anything out of him if Aquarius is out. Gemini likes to play pranks, but that's about it. If you get your hands on the minor spirits, they shouldn't be any trouble."
Hatori bows, and returns to his home set. Hoshi then holds out Aries first.
"Open, Gate of the Ram, Aries!" he commands.
Aries comes out, still wincing slightly from the battle the day before. It would take a while to heal, especially since Leo wasn't around to treat her wounds anymore.
Hoshi took out the kit he always had on him, and carefully begins to treat her wounds. She winced, but didn't complain.
"I'm sorry I had to be so rough with you earlier, but I didn't want someone to take my friends away, especially out of greed."
"It's...it's alright. I'm used to it."
"You shouldn't be used to being hurt. I should know. It took me years for the others to get me used to that fact myself."
Aries looked at him in surprise. She never expected her summoner to have a similar background.
"Just because you're timid or afraid doesn't give people the right walk all over you. It just means you need the right friends to back you up and be by your side."
Once he finished bandaging her wounds, he put up the kit.
"What do you say Aries? Would you like to be my friend?"
"Aren't you a dark mage?"
"No, I'm a Yin mage. I've never used the keys to hurt others. Just because they are on the opposite side of the magic spectrum doesn't make my keys evil."
Aries nodded. She actually agreed with that sentiment.
"I'll work with you. Call me whenever you need help, I'm always available."
"Thanks Aries-nee-san!" said Hoshi, tackling her in a hug.
Startled, she tentatively returned his hug. She wasn't expected her new partner to be so nice, especially with how vicious he was in a fight.
Hoshi summoned Scorpio next. He worked out an agreeable schedule, and agreed not to call him again for at least another month. Waving good bye and telling him to say hello to Aquarius for him, Hoshi prepared to bring out Gemini. Somehow, he knew they would get along great!
Gem and Mini came out carefully. Hoshi hadn't exactly gone easy on them during the fight.
"So you guys are the twins! Cool!"
That threw them for a loop. They really expected Hoshi to be a nasty brute who used his keys for bad things.
Instead they found a happy-go-lucky kid who loved pranks and bandaged the wounds he gave them. Scorpio had declined the same treatment, though he appreciated the thought.
Once Hoshi finished a workable schedule with Gemini, they plotted on how to prank the guild once they got back. The amount of chaos they could cause with Gemini's skills just begged to be unleashed.
Markov raised a glass when he saw Hoshi walk in the door.
"Hoshi! How did the mission go?"
"It went fine until this nasty summoner tried to steal my keys. I beat her and now she can't summon for a while," he replied, holding up the gold keys.
He had learned something important. Gold keys used up roughly the same amount of magic as Mithril, even if they were easier to find. As far as he knew, he had the only complete set of Mithril keys around.
"Which ones did you get?" asked Mirajane.
"Scorpio, Aries and Gemini."
At the word Aries, Loki tensed subtly. Only Hoshi caught it, and that was because he had taken to observing Loki. Something about him felt so familiar, and Hoshi had yet to figure out what. He was getting closer though. Every time he gave Loki a hug goodnight, he felt his magic being drawn into Loki.
"Can you use those keys?" asked Mirajane.
"Open, Gate of the Ram, Aries!" said Hoshi with a grin. It would do her some good to get to know the guild. They had broken him out of his shell, so they could do the same for her.
Aries showed up, understandably nervous, and was immediately accepted as part of the Fairy Tail family. Once she got over her initial shock, she slowly came around. Hoshi made sure to stay within hand's reach, helping her to socialize. It was because of that he caught the look Aries shot Loki.
It was shock...and recognition.
Once Aries went home (considerably happier with Fairy Tail than she was in her last guild) Hoshi waited until they went home before he confronted Loki.
Probably why he hadn't brought any of the girls home. Loki had a deal with Hoshi. He could bring ladies home, but only if he gave him a heads up first.
"You're a Celestial Spirit, aren't you?" asked Hoshi.
Loki sighed, "Yes. But I don't have a master."
"Judging by the way Aries reacted to you, you must be Leo."
Loki nodded miserably. He certainly hadn't expected the new kid to find out what he was and retrieve Aries.
"It's not my problem whether or not you walk around without a partner. I won't tell anyone if you don't want me to. But if you need help, I want you to know you can always trust me."
Loki looked at him, surprised. He hadn't expected that reaction.
"Why? Most people would try to force me to join them..."
"I don't like abuse any more than I do forcing others to do my work for me. I had enough of that back in my own world. If you can learn to trust me, then I can learn to trust you," said Hoshi simply.
Loki stared at him.
"About two or three years ago, my uncle came home drunk off his ass angry over losing a promotion. He nearly beat me to death, and would have succeeded had my magic not intervened. When I came here, a man bandaged my wounds and gave me the keys I use. I came to Fairy Tail and have been there ever since."
Loki breathed a sigh of relief.
"I guess we're both outcasts then. I'm stuck here because I wouldn't let my previous master bully Aries anymore, and because I remained out she died while on assignment. One of the unbreakable rules is that we aren't allowed to kill our masters. So I'm stuck here even though the contract was broken by her death."
Hoshi thought about that.
"I don't know if I can help get you home, but perhaps I can help keep your secret. Anyone could have seen how Aries reacted to you if they were paying attention. And I can let Aries out to hopefully get over the abuse the last two masters she had. I know the guild certainly helped me on that front. I don't mind if she hangs out with you."
"How did you get her?"
"A mage recognized me and the keys I wore for what they were, and challenged me for them. I got the feeling she would have killed me if given the chance so I beat the Spirits she brought out and had Monkey steal all the gold ones she had. I've already signed the contract with them, so it will be difficult for anyone to take them from me."
And with that, Loki teamed up with Hoshi for missions. While he wouldn't sign a contract with him, he could team up with him like a normal mage.