Okay, so this is a fic that was requested by one of my wonderful readers, firefox26. I liked the idea and it was something that could be kept short so it shouldn't interfere with 'Kurogane' or my One Piece fic, only taking up 3 to 4 chapters to be completed. Originally I was going to make this a one-shot, but the way it's writing makes me want to spread it over multiple chapters- plus it gives you guys a chance to get a glimpse at it sooner than if I did it all at once. Anyway, as a warning- there will be a lemon- so don't say I didn't warn you! I'll give another warning when I get to that chapter, in the meantime it should be safe enough, lol. So, I hope you all enjoy this little intro chapter!
Disclaimer: I do not own Fairy Tail or the characters, they belong to Hiro Mashima.
It was on a brisk autumn night that the petite solid script mage, Levy McGarden, found herself walking back to her dorms after a rather normal evening at Fairy Tail's guild hall; well, normal by Fairy Tail standards. She had spent much of the day on a mission with her teammates, returning to unwind with her friends for a few hours before deciding to call it a night after most of the men had broken into their fifth fight in a span of two hours, leaving her best friend, Lucy, as the blonde found herself busy scolding Natsu for another ruined outfit, her poor skirt victim to an errant fireball.
The city was calm, the air quiet and still, as most of Magnolia's residents had settled in for the night, leaving the short bluenette alone as she skipped through the streets, humming happily to herself to break up the silent atmosphere. As she neared the outskirts of town she found herself stopping for a moment as she thought she heard a faint rustling in an adjacent alley. After taking a moment to look around, waiting for any sign of life, she shrugged and continued on the road leading up to Fairy Hills, guessing the sound she heard was a stray cat or the wind rustling through the trees.
Unfortunately after only a few steps, she found herself pulled back against a hard chest, a sweet-smelling rag covering her mouth as she struggled to get free. As she inhaled whatever chemical the cloth was doused in, she realized her attacker came prepared for anything. The mixture he used was laced with magic that seemed to drain her own reserves, taking away any all chance for her to fight back.
"Come on, boys," she heard his ragged whisper not far from her ear, her body falling limp as he dragged her to the alleyway, "let's get to work sending a nice message to that Fairy Tail trash."
Levy felt herself panic when she heard their sadistic laughter, coupled with the feel of rope wrapping around her arms, she found herself truly terrified, far beyond any other time in her life. Oddly, she found an image of dark red eyes and unruly black hair flitting through her mind, her thoughts taking her to a time she had once ranked as the worst in her life.
"So, what should we do to her first?" a different voice asked after her attacker tossed her unceremoniously down onto the cold pavement.
"I don't care, just get going, who knows how long we have before someone finds us."
"Not long," a deep voice suddenly rang out, his voice obviously angry, though a slightly amused note could be heard.
Levy struggled against the drugs she inhaled, turning her face to the alley's entrance to catch the fuzzy form of a large man, his body cast in shadows making him appear all the more malevolent. She knew, though, that she was saved, and by those red eyes she had once feared. Just as her vision started to fade she caught the glint of a fang before the man let loose an enraged growl and threw himself at the men surrounding her. After that it was all black.
As she felt consciousness come back to her, Levy could hear the unmistakable grumblings and coarse language of her apparent savior, though his voice was oddly muffled because her head was firmly pressed against his chest. Slowly blinking open her eyes, she allowed herself to look around, gathering her bearings as she saw that Gajeel was carrying her back towards the guild hall.
"Ah, Levy, you're awake," Pantherlily's deep voice brought her attention up to the cat sitting on Gajeel's head, as well as the steady, yet concerned, glare of the dragon slayer.
"What the fuck were you thinking, Shrimp, walking home alone this late at night?" Gajeel growled lowly, his worry coming across more as annoyance if one didn't know him as well as she did.
"I could have handled it if they didn't have that drug," she answered back, crossing her arms stubbornly before looking away, a slight pout to her lip.
"Oi," the dragon slayer grunted, stopping in his trek through the streets to glare down at the girl, "but they did have it, yer lucky I happened to be nearby."
Levy could only sigh in defeat before turning her pout up to him, "I know, and thank you for saving me."
Gajeel shrugged, seemingly indifferent to her thanks, turning his face away as he frowned at nothing before moving to set her down on her own two feet. The short bluenette felt herself blushing when his hands grabbed for hers as she found it difficult to steady herself with the lingering effects of the drugs. She could feel his eyes boring down into her, but she kept her own gaze focused on the ground, pulling away once she felt confident enough to stand on her own.
"Come on, since you're obviously okay now, I'll walk ya home."
"Okay," she responded quietly, nodding before following him as he turned and headed towards Fairy Hills.
They walked in silence the entire way, Lily letting his eyes drift back and forth between the two with an amused smirk on his small face. It hadn't exactly been a coincidence that he and Gajeel had been in the area when Levy was attacked, his dragon slaying partner having taken off from the guild the second he noticed the young mage had left on her own, the Exceed following after, so they had been quite ready to intervene should something happen. He had to hand it to the gruff man, though, holding himself back long enough to see if Levy could handle the situation herself, only jumping in when it was obvious she had been overwhelmed. A few feet from that alley there was a brick wall with a rather sizable hole in it, thanks to his frustration.
"You should know by now yer a magnet for trouble," Gajeel suddenly grumbled as they began to climb up the hill to the ladies' dorm.
Levy only huffed in annoyance, her arms crossing over her chest as she looked away from him again, growling under her breath about knowing she was weak, and that he didn't have to point it out. Gajeel, of course, heard her, even if she hadn't intended for him to, and so he came to a quick halt and grabbed the girl by the shoulder, spinning her to face his narrowed eyes with shock written on her face.
"I didn't say that, idiot," he chastised, his hand moving to her head as he leaned down to face her, "I just said people see ya as an easy target because you look weak, not that you are weak... Tsh, I should know."
The bluenette glanced away with his slightly mumbled reminder of their past, before turning back to frown at him. She understood what he was trying to say- that she needed to be more careful, more aware of her surroundings- but she still couldn't help feeling that he was looking down on her because she wasn't a strong fighter like him. In the end she just nodded her understanding before turning back to the path leading to her home, the tall man silently following her.
"I promise I'll be more careful from now on, Gajeel," she suddenly stated, glancing back at him slightly as she walked, "so you don't need to worry about me."
The dragon slayer only stared at her back with a blank expression, his eyes slightly narrowed as he seemed to not believe what she had just said. Still sitting on his head, Lily suppressed his chuckle of amusement, the black cat knowing very well that his partner was still going to worry about her, even if he didn't admit it, and probably continue to follow her home every night he was able to.
When they reached the entrance to the dorms, Levy stopped for a moment, hesitating slightly before turning to face the quiet man behind her. His expression was still blank, but she could tell he was waiting to see what she wanted, a hint of confusion in his eyes as he watched fiddle with her hands for a second.
"Ummm, thanks again for saving me," she mumbled quietly, before launching herself at him, wrapping her arms around his waist in a tight hug, that he didn't return, and planting a small kiss on his jaw, the only spot she could reach when standing on her tip-toes. The shock of her gesture had him frozen in place, unable to even think about moving from his rigid position. Just as he felt his muscles twitching in preparation to somehow return a fraction of her affection, the short girl pulled away, turning to bolt into the building before he could say or do anything.
"Wha-?" was all Gajeel could say, even as his cat snickered atop his head. After a few minutes of blinking, his brain shut down, his heart racing, he forced himself to turn and walk away, his mind too far gone to even think of berating his amused companion.
The next day, Levy awoke bright-eyed and cheerful, ready to face a new day- at least until she remembered what had happened the night before. She felt her blush break across her face as she thought about the peck on the cheek, or jaw considering the height disadvantage; she'd gotten in the habit of hugging him, even if he didn't hug her back most of the time, but kissing him: that was new. The bluenette felt mortified, even if the whole thing was done out of simple thanks, she knew that for her it was just a hint of everything she had come to feel for the iron dragon slayer, and she had no idea what he may think about it.
With a groan of defeat, the solid script mage changed to head out to the guild, forcing her thoughts away from the night before as much as she could. She was surprised, though, when she left the dormitory to find none other than the very man she had been thinking about, casually leaning against the entrance. The sight of him had her stopping dead in her tracks, fighting away the blush she knew was staining her cheeks as she gaped at him in shock. When he sent her a confident smirk, she felt her heart skip a beat and her cheeks redden even further.
"Come on, Shrimp, let's get going," he called out, standing up straight as he signaled for her to walk with him, making it very clear that he had, in fact, been waiting for her.
"Yeah, to the guild, you normally get there around this time, figured I'd go with ya," Gajeel explained, his tone flat, as if he hadn't just volunteered to do something completely out of character without her asking him to.
"But… why?" She slowly asked, even as her body began to move to walk with him.
Gajeel only shrugged, apparently not willing to divulge his reasons for coming all the way to Fairy Hills to walk her to the guild. Levy figured it had to do with last night, that it was a one-time thing to make sure she was alright, or even worse, talk to her about what she did.
"So…." The dragon slayer suddenly started, trailing off as he frowned in thought, trying to find the words he needed.
"So?" the bluenette encouraged, her eyes glancing up to his as they made their way into town.
"You have a mission picked out for today, or anything?"
"Umm, no, not yet," she answered, curious about the sudden interest in her plans for work.
He only nodded in understanding, no more words coming from him to explain his question, leaving the pair in silence until they made it to the guild. As soon as they walked into the large building, Levy found her two teammates standing by the mission board, Jet just reaching out to snatch a flyer he had caught an interest in. Without hesitation, she quickly made her way to them, calling out to them just before she reached the two men.
"AH! Perfect timing, Levy! I just found us a great mission!" Jet exclaimed, holding out the flyer he held so she could take a look at it.
Just as she was about to take it, though, she found it ripped from her teammate's hands, her eyes following the glove-clad hand clutching the paper to Gajeel who stood behind her. Levy allowed herself to glare at the tall man, even as his eyes were too busy scanning the mission information to see her heated look, her mouth set in a stubborn frown as she silently wondered what he was up to.
"Great, I'm coming with you," was all the dragon slayer said before stalking off to Mira, giving her the flyer and signing him and team Shadow Gear up for the mission.
"Wait! What?" Levy cried out, running after him in the hopes of stopping whatever he had in mind.
"I'm going with ya!" Gajeel growled, turning to glare down at the girl, daring her to tell him no.
"But… but… WHY!?"
"After last night ya really think I'm gonna just leave you to those two idiots," he explained lowly, though not quiet enough to keep Mira from hearing him, the explanation sending her into a daze as her mind wandered to what could have happened between the pair the night before.
"Wha-? But…" Levy stuttered before finding herself cut off as Jet and Droy joined in on the conversation, their shocked faces thrust into her own as they began questioning her.
"What happened last night, Levy-chan?!" They practically hollered at her, catching her off guard as she stumbled back slightly to escape their penetrating gaze, her hands held up in front of her in an attempt to ease their concerns.
"Nothing happened, I'm fine, just a run-in with some thugs."
"Yeah, a run-in that could have been worse if I hadn't shown up," Gajeel snorted, turning his attention to the grinning Mira again, getting her back to recording their mission before they left.
Levy was left explaining what had happened the night before to her teammates, frantically trying to find a way to word it without making it sound like a big deal. Unfortunately it didn't matter what she said to them, they still went into a panicked frenzy apologizing for not walking her homes themselves, something that had Gajeel snorting behind her when he rejoined them.
"Yeah, well, let's go get this job done," the dragon slayer grunted, signaling to his own partner to join them after spotting the black cat playing with Asuka, "this shouldn't take too long as long as the two idiots don't mess it up."
"Hey! We can take care of Levy just fine!" Jet argued, "I'm thankful you helped her out last night and everything, but we can keep her safe on a simple enough mission."
"Uh-huh," Gajeel snorted in amusement, "from what I hear your missions usually end up with Levy doing all the work after you two screw up."
His point had the men grumbling in defeat, both hating the fact he was right and they couldn't argue it- not when Elfman was nearby ready to lecture them on their lack of manliness in protecting Levy, further proving the smirking man right.
"Fine, I guess we don't have much of a choice, do we," Jet said, giving in even as Levy's high-pitched protests were ignored, "just don't get in the way."
"I should be saying that to you," the iron mage teased, slapping the other man on the back with a laugh as he guided him and Droy out of the guild.
"Wait just a damn minute, you guys!" Levy hollered out from the bar, obviously tired of being ignored after spending the last few minutes trying to get their attention and give her argument against Gajeel going with. Her uncharacteristic curse immediately had the men turning to see her glaring daggers, primarily aimed at the stubborn dragon slayer she had a crush on. "Don't I have a say in this?"
"Of course you do, Levy-chan," Droy said, his chubby face tilted sideways in confusion at the girl before glancing at his other teammate for a moment, "we didn't really think you'd have a problem with Gajeel and Lily joining us."
"Well I do have a problem with it! He doesn't need to act like I can't do anything on my own just because I was attacked last night! We can handle this job without him!" Levy shouted, not caring that she was making a scene, and had the attention of everyone in the guild at that point. Even Lucy was watching with unrestrained amusement, her eyes darting between the bluenette and Gajeel.
"Oh, come on, Levy-chan," Lucy chimed in, "let him join you this time, you can prove to him that you're strong enough to take care of yourself."
Levy gaped at her friend, but had to admit the girl made a good argument, even though the glint in her eyes told her she had other thoughts on the matter that she wasn't about to say in front of everyone. After a moment of thought, the young mage growled in annoyance before stomping forward, throwing a quick glare at the blonde for getting involved, even if she was thankful the other girl didn't give out anything else that may add to her case.
"Fine, let's get this over with, then," she grumbled as she stalked past the men.
Little did she know that this one mission with Gajeel was only the beginning of a long four weeks of chaos, ending in a way she would have expected even less.