Only phrase with 'this quotation' are thoughts. Anything else in italics are flashbacks.
"Lucy, lets go on a mission!" the rambunctious fire mage screamed into her ears. "For the fiftieth time Natsu, Levy and I planned today to discuss our favorite books! Go ask someone else". Natsu looked down in disappointment, then around the guild. Who else could he ask? Gray? No, not a million years. Icehead's mocking tone already played inside his head. 'What, you need help with a quest? I guess all that heat finally melted both your brain and muscles for good'. Quivering in rage, Natsu was almost tempted to just go start a fight, but decided against it. After all, Erza was already in a really bad mood this morning (why, he had no idea!).
Mavis giggled from across the room. 'He's still so easy to read.' Floating up to the table they were situated at, she decided this was a perfect opportunity. "Excuse me Natsu, but you haven't asked everyone here, have you?"
"…" Levy and Lucy gave each other smirks, wondering how long it would take him. "…But Gramps would never come on a mission with me, he's always busy with master stuff!". When Mavis realized he was being serious, she gave a sweet look and said "I didn't mean him. Would you like to go on a mission together?" Noticing his raised eyebrows, she added "You don't actually need a partner to help with the fighting, right? You just need some company." "Alright" he agreed with a grin, "it'll be a blast!".
As he walked towards Mira and the request board, muttering something about bandits, she contemplated the past (and how things should have been), as she often did nowadays.
"How much farther to the rendezvous point?" asked Natsu. "Be patient boy, Master told us we couldn't attack until absolutely everyone gathered anyway" answered a tall and bulky, serious looking man. "You don't want to disappoint her, right?"
"Of course not Boris, I'm just anxious to get this battle over with and return. Besides, I'd rather she be disappointed than injured".
Mavis turned around from the front of their troupe, examining the mages gathered behind her. There were only 14 of them, but she chose the strongest available. "Do not worry, we will win. Zeref has sent some of his strongest to Crocus, but the allies we are meeting are also powerful. Have faith in yourselves."
Everyone nodded to her, but she noticed Natsu's eyes retain their resolve. 'Your concern is appreciated, but could you be anymore obvious?' she wondered. 'Some of the others are already catching on to us.'
After a half hour of walking in silence, a man suddenly appeared sprinting down the road. "Identify yourself!" yelled Boris, taking up a stance in the front of the group.
"Nector Hodge, from Midnight Raiders!" he panted. "You're Fairy Tail right?" A few nods. "They ambushed our meeting spot! Please, help us! Zeref must have sent hundreds of his demons!" Mavis broke into a sprint, the other members following her lead. Natsu ignored the foreboding feeling of despair which settled itself into the pit of his stomach.
"Is this the place?" asked Natsu. They had left Crocus, where the mayor had hired their help, hours ago. Mavis looked towards the cave, situated in the dense hills they had trudged (or floated) through for hours. "Presumably. The request did state the bandits had taken shelter somewhere in the surrounding hills. This is the only good spot we've found so far."
"Alright, then let's go!", and he surged forward. She just smiled. What was there to be worried about? She was positive he could handle anything in there, judging by the extremely weak magic power she felt inside.
…And was rightly proven so when men came out seconds later screaming about a fiery monster. "And don't come back here unless you want another beating you thieving bastards!" Natsu yelled after them, flames lacing his body.
Mavis chuckled lightly. 'Now this is more familiar.' "We spend four hours trekking this area and you beat them that quickly?"
"Sorry but they really didn't put up much of a fight!" he answered, scratching the back of his head.
"Apparently not. Time to return already it seems." For the journey back, Mavis mulled thoughts around in her head. 'I had hoped Natsu might remember something near Crocus, but it seems not. He leaves me no choice but to visit that place then'
As they arrived back to Crocus and collected their payment, Mavis made her mind up. "Natsu, let's explore the town for a bit!"
"Uh, okay." 'She sure is weird sometimes.'
They walked through the market, then the housing districts. Natsu noticed Mavis seemed to walk with a purpose. 'Does she know where she's going?'
Rounding a corner, Mavis paused. Natsu would have bumped into her had she not been a spirit. "What is it?" he asked. She turned to him, a small frown visible. "You should recall this place. Think hard, Natsu, please remember something." Confusion emerged on his face. "Wh..what are you talking about?" "It's time for you to fully understand", and with that she placed a hand on his head and closed her eyes. "Delve deep, and remember." Before he could protest, a flood of images cascaded through his mind. Sounds, even smells played around and around, not appearing in any order or form. He tried to focus in on something, but failed. And as quick as it started, it slowed to a comprehensible flow.
'Is…is this a memory?'
Blasts of black magic plunged through people as they ran through the streets. Demons sprinted through alleys, a horde of chaos. A monster in the center of the town square, released its roar, stood on its hind legs, giving the look of an enraged feral beast. A gust of wind spliced some cuts and knocked it down, and a mage appeared to the left.
'That man…I recognize him!' realized Natsu.
Shouting to some people behind him, he hollered "Natsu, protect Mavis and get out of here!". 'Huh, me?' The memory continued, much to his horror. 'What the hell is this?' Mavis came running into view, casting something bright at the swarm of demons. "Everyone, stand firm!"
'WATCH OUT!' he frantically screamed, but what could he do? This was but a memory.
As the beast previously limp on the ground sprang from its position, a pillar of flame flew through its abdomen. Mavis flinched as her companion, drenched in blood, appeared beside her. "Natsu, get her out of here NOW!" Boris yelled, casting more wind magic.
As the memory evolved, it became clear that the Fairy Tail mages were not doing well. Already three of them were visibly dead, spread across a plaza. The other guilds had lost most of their mages earlier in the fray as well. "We need to leave", Natsu found himself urgently speaking, staring into her eyes. His tired demeanor surprised her though– how long had they already been fighting? "One of our allies' scouts detected Deliora and another host approaching rap…" Surprise flickered as he was tossed through a nearby building like a ragdoll.
'I…I'm here? What am I doing here? This is so long ago'.
"Full retreat!" Mavis's voice echoed across the town, with a bright barrage of white sparks sent to the skies. With a quick of blast of light from her hand, aimed at the beast's head, it hit the earth hard. She rushed to the crumbling building where Natsu lay defeated inside. "He has to be alright" she mumbled, approaching the entrance-way. A demon rounded a corner and charged her, but was quickly emerged in her magic.
Before she could turn, another demon rushed from behind. And another from the front, where its companion lay. Another from above. More from all sides. The last thing she heard was her name being called, presumably from Boris or another friend. 'This is how it ends, Natsu?' was her last thought before the black void surrounded her.
Natsu was trembling. He opened his eyes to find Mavis staring at him, the most minuscule smile displayed on her face, but with sad eyes. More memories had gathered in his mind, playing out their scenarios. Scenes in the guild, a few missions, even Fairy Tail's founding. But he just couldn't get that image out of his head. "I'm…so sorry. I…you…" he stuttered, tears flowing freely, head down.
"It's quite alright. Now you're back though." He glanced up, astounded to see a genuine smile now being worn. "I would have helped you the second you entered Tenroujima, but your mind wouldn't have recovered without the right circumstances."
"Is that why you've kept accompanying me?" he wondered.
"Yes. I had hoped being around me would bring your memories back slowly, but you needed a bigger push. I assumed correctly that this place would work."
"But how did I survive?"
"I'm not sure. But Zeref must have thought you dead, or his minions would have searched instead of advancing towards East Fiore."
The smile plastered on her face remained, as she examined him ponder. "Don't worry about it. What happened back then is over. And now we're together again." How could he resist returning her giddy grin when he too now remembered what they once had, and what they would now keep. 'We might not know all the answers, but that's alright.' At the moment, they were just two mages returning to their guild with fond cheerfulness and warm hearts. 'Thank you, Mavis'.
I decided I wanted to write another chapter to this. If I feel like it, I might add another of their return to the guild with more humor, but next weekend, and only if I have time. Now it's back to calculus and other work :(
Again, please review and let me know what you think! Thanks for reading.