I've decided to completely rewrite this story. For me, if I can't bring myself to read it over, then it must be changed.
I am literally rebooting this whole story. By the end of the chapter, I won't even know what I'm supposed to do.
As most days in Fairy Tail are, the sounds of Natsu and Gray loudly arguing could be heard a good way down the road. Of course, this usually resulted in Erza or Lucy screaming a "Shut up!", and then the argument immediately stopping, but alas, neither girl was here today. The remaining mages of Fairy Tail were left to fend for themselves, which mostly consisted of everyone hiding out in the drinks storage and Mirajane bravely defending her countertop.
Safely sitting behind the countertop, Mirajane looked down at Lisanna, who was torn between peering out over the counter and (most likely) risking her neck, or staying behind the safe stone countertop.
Ah, young love, thought Mirajane, and hid a smile behind her hand. Lisanna picked up on this immediately and whipped her head around.
"This means nothing!" she hissed.
Mirajane smiled. "Of course it doesn't," she said, kneeling on the floor so Lisanna could hear her. "But either way, if you do like him, you should confess."
Of course, if you don't, someone's going to get to him eventually, she thought to herself.
"But what if he says no?"
"Well, Lisanna, if you don't try it once, you'll never know."
"Yes, I knew a friend who aggressively chased a guy for 5 years. Turned out the guy was just going through a lot of angst."
"Um, I'll try then..."
"Alright, I'll get him over."
And with that, Mirajane, motivated by her new cause, strode around her beloved counter, and screamed out in her Erza voice, "BOTH OF YOU TWO IDIOTS BETTER STOP RIGHT NOW OR I WILL SELL YOUR SOUL TO SATAN!"
(She'd practiced this skill when she was still in her rivalry with Erza.)
Upon hearing a voice that sounded like Erza but not quite, Gray and Natsu concluded that this was obviously Erza with a sore throat (worse than a healthy Erza) and immediately followed proper protocal; i.e., grovel and beg for forgiveness.
Duty completed, Mirajane grabbed Gray by the ear (another Erza characteristic) and dragged him off to goodness knows where. From this, Natsu concluded that Erza was dressing up as Mirajane to see if Gray and Natsu did behave in her absence, and having learned that they didn't, was going to punish them individually. He felt ill at that thought and was contemplating his chances of survival when he noticed Lisanna next to him.
"Hey Lisanna! Are you here to save me?"
"Um, not exactly. You see, there's something I need to tell you."
"K, what is it?"
"Um...you see...Natsu, I like you."
Natsu blinked. "Well, I like you too. I like everyone. Except evil people, of course."
Lisanna sighed internally.
"No, I like you."
"...As in, like-like?"
Natsu thought about this for a moment. Lisanna was really pretty, to be honest, and she was really caring and would do anything for her friends. She'd also not hesistate to yell, but it was all for a good cause. He got a weird flutter in his heart when he thought about it. Wait, he got a heart flutter when he thought about Erza too. And Lucy. And Master when he was really mad. Wait. Were some of these flutters fear-flutters or love-flutters, or were they all fear-flutters? He hoped it wasn't all love-flutters.
"Hm? Oh! Um, I guess I...do too, I guess?" Natsu grinned.
Lisanna huffed. "You don't seem very sure. At all."
"Well, I'm not really sure of what happens."
"Oh. Well, I think that we needs to kiss first."
Natsu thought about it for a moment, and shrugged.
"Eh, why not?"
"Argh, I hated that mission!" Lucy sighed, as she walked back towards the guild with Erza. "The guy was so creepy, and there was this really weird snake!"
"Maybe so, but we were payed pretty well," said Erza.
"Yeah, I'll be able to pay my rent for maybe half a year! Ah, financial security..."
Erza nodded and pulled open the door.
"Hey guys! We're ba-"
The two girls stared and blinked for a moment.
Halfway across the guild, Natsu and Lisanna broke away from each other and stared at them.
"Um-ah-I'm sorry!" Lucy squeaked out and turned tail and ran away. Erza spun around - "Hey, Lucy!" - before spinning back around. Lisanna had already fled in the embarrassment, and Natsu sat alone on the bench, looking vaguely sheepish.
"Erza's back?" Levi stuck her head out of the alcohol storage. "Hey guys! Erza's back, it's safe now. And Lucy's back too-wait, no, Lucy isn't back, where is she?"
Erza jerked a thumb back. "Ran off."
"Um, ok, I'll go find her." Levi ran off.
I know I shouldn't be mad, she was his childhood friend, she did help raise Happy, I shouldn't be mad at all I should be happy right? I should congratulate them...
Lucy made it inside her room and reached for the chest which contained everything she had of her mother.
"Mom...I don't know what to do...what should I do?"
She reached for her mother's diary and flipped to the page where her mother talked about her. It always comforted her; it was like her mother was next to her talking about Lucy's childhood.
Today was Lucy's second birthday. She flung cake everywhere, it was adorable. Jude was able to make it back to celebrate, and he got cake all over his suit. I told him not to wear the suit, but he insisted on looking nice. Now he looks like a rainbow exploded on him.
Lucy smiled. She could still faintly remember when her father still cared.
I really like this world. I want to stay here forever.
Lucy frowned. "This world? What do you mean, this world..."
After much flipping, Lucy saw a tiny slit in the leather binding of the notebook. Carefully, she drew out a two thin sheets of paper.
My name is Layla. My surname is Shokan. I write this so I don't forget, so I still remember that world I left. It was such a nice world, but it was overcome with too much hatred. This world is better, it seems. There does not seem to be so much hatred and warfare. I write my history. I summoned. I summoned all animals that I had met at some point, dog, cat, dragon, everything. If I had met a summoning animal I could summon it. They wanted it. They all did. We stayed out of it all. We didn't help anyone and we died for it. I managed somehow, to escape. I don't understand why it was me. But I am grateful. Grateful that I managed to escape, grateful that I was able to meet Jude and have Lucy. I don't know if I'm safe here. If I could cross over, then the shinobi could too. I wrote the hand signs on another piece of paper. If I need to, I will save my family. I'll save them all.
Lucy reached out for the sheet of paper.
Do I really want to leave? There's Fairy Tail, with Levi and Erza and Gray and- Natsu.
She thought about Natsu. Natsu, who had helped her right at the beginning and broke the spell, Natsu, who had come back and saved her so many times, Natsu who was probably in a relationship with Lisanna...
Boar, snake, rabbit...
"Lucy! Lucy, Lucy, are you there?" Levi jogged up the steps to Lucy's room.
"Lucy, are you-"
Levi was definitely surprised to see her friend kneeling over a sheet of paper and folding her hands into weird combinations.
Lucy looked up and smiled.
"Sorry. I had to."
"Lu, what are you-AHH!"
A bright light shone through the room. When it had ended, Levi was standing, looked at a sheet of paper that was slowly curling in upon itself.
"Master! Master, Master, help!"
Makarov woke up and stared groggily at Levi.
"Master, Lucy's gone!"
"Well, that means she would be going on another mission, right? It isn't so strange, going on a mission right after another..."
"No, not that. She's really gone. She vanished in a cloud of light!"
"What!" Levi had never seen Makarov move so fast. "Tell me!"
"Well, she was making hand signs, and then she just vanished."
Makarov groaned. "I'm not quite sure what happened...I think I've read stories of hand signs, but that's what they are-stories."
"What do we do?"
"All we can do is wait. I don't know a thing about this, and I can't do anything about it. You said she just disappeared?"
"Is there any possible evidence left? Bring one of the-hm, hey, Gajeel. C'mere."
Gajeel slowly lifted his head from where he had been making his way through an iron lamppost. He slowly stood up, deliberately put the half-eating lamppost down, and made his way to the counter.
"Go with Levi here, she'll explain the rest."
Gajeel raised an eyebrow at Levi. Levi smiled nervously. Gajeel seemed to take this as some sort of sign. He turned, went back, picked up his lamppost, and made a gesture towards the door.
Levi laughed nervously.
"Ok, um...just follow me." They made there way to Lucy's bedroom, where Gajeel took a giant whiff.
"So, what do you smell?"
"Hmmm. There is the smell of girl-"
"What's that supposed to mean?!"
"It means that it smells of girl. All perfumey and stuff, I think. And then there's a weird musty smell, probably this old chest here, and then there's the smell of magic. It's really weird magic, though."
"Really, how so?"
"Well, it smells...ugh, I don't know how to describe it, but it's like, more fluid, like it's more connected. Argh, it's just really hard to explain."
"So can you track it in any way?"
Gajeel sighed. "The way I see it, your best bet is to get those Magic Council-whatever guys to come in and check it out. I can't get a single thing from this."
"Oh..." Levi sighed. "Ok, then, thanks."
Gajeel awkwardly patted her shoulder.
"Ok, start!" Kurenai brought her hand down.
Kiba was just ready to charge at Shino when a blond, busty girl dropped out of nowhere and landed unceremoniously on Shino.
Kiba stared. Hinata and Kurenai both stared.
And for the first time, Shino cursed. Loudly.
Tsunade stared in amusement at the girl who had managed to make Shino curse. The blond girl was struggling and whining and yelling at the two ANBU holding her. Problem was, ANBU were trained for this sort of thing and made no attempt to comfort the girl. If anything, they gave her menacing mask stares that shouldn't even be possible, but hey, ANBU. They were probably trained in everything.
Tsunade raised herself to full height and crossed her arms for full intimidation status (in every way).
"I am Senju Tsunade of the Sannin and Fifth Hokage of Konohagakure no Sato. And who may you be?"
The girl, now trembling, looked up. "I'm Lucy, Lucy Heartfilia, and my mother had a diary entry thing and she said her given name was Shokan and please don't kill me!"
Tsunade sighed. "Don't worry, we won't kill you."
"Yes. We might torture you mentally and physically up to the point where you wished you were dead, but killing you right now? No. We don't do that over here."
Lucy trembled and burst into tears. "But I'm just a harmless little girl!"
"And little girls can be dangerous spies." Tsunade nodded to the guards. "Place her into a cell and have him go into her minds. She might be needed as well."
"I'm not! I'm not harmful at all-"
Inoichi hated going into peoples' minds. Sure, it gave him information and everything, but sometimes, shifting through the mental muck? Ugh. Some people had really screw up minds. He'd tried going through that masked Akatsuki man on the rare occasion that they'd caught him, and dear gods. It was so full of fake cheer that Inoichi had been ready to initiate therapy, for both himself and the man.
He gathered up his courage and sifted through the girl's mind. A pretty, blond woman and man, a stern man, like the one from before, yelling, scenery, another man, but suspicious looking, a slave trade, a pink haired boy and a blue cat? A pretty white-haired woman, a redhead, another dark-haired young man with stripping problems...a girl that looked like the white-haired woman, the girl and boy kissing...a letter...hand signs...
"Welcome back Inoichi," said Anko. "How was it?"
"Well, it's a long story. I'll probably go tell the Hokage first."
"And she is telling the truth." finished Inoichi. "Strange as it may seem."
Tsunade nodded. "So she is of the Shokan clan...I thought they were a simple story, meant to tell children about impossible possibilities."
"In that case, will we be teaching her the arts?"
"I suppose so. If we can get her on our side, it will be very useful."
"Who will be her instructor?"
"Who's free right now?" Tsunade flipped through the schedules of the available Jounins. "Hmmm. Gai seems free this afternoon."
"Surely you don't mean-"
"Well, he is a superb teacher, despite his...qualities."
Lucy frowned. The blond lady had sent her to change into an outfit more suitable for fighting, and now she had to wait at this Training Ground for her instructor.
"I'm sure that this 'Maito Gai' should be here soo-"
"YOSH!" Gai leapt in. "Are you Lucy Shokan?"
"Y-yes," squeaked Lucy, mentally scarred at Gai's shiny bowl cut, bushy eyebrows, and green spandex suit.
"GOOD! Now, before you start, you will have to wear this." Gai held up a spandex suit.
Lucy fainted away.
"Fight! Fight! Fight!"
It had taken a good part of two years, but Lucy was finally able to fight with the ability of...a Genin freshly graduated from Shinobi Academy. She'd spent most of the first year doing rigorous exercise that would strengthen the body, and in the second year they'd added on learning about the Elemental Countries.
Another 3 years had been spent on fully preparing her for actual combat, if needed, and by that time she'd been able to make friends with the shinobi her age. She'd apologized to Shino, who was still slightly miffed at being used as a human landing pad, but Kiba had broken out in laughter and said that she should be congratulated, not forced to apologize. Hinata had rested a gentle hand on her shoulder and introduced herself politely. Tenten had introduced herself as well, and then Neji had arrived and formally bowed and introduced himself. Asuma arrived with his team and Kurenai afterwards, and then Gai and Lee had appeared. Lucy was thoroughly horrified at the idea that there were two of them, and in the resulting temporary vegetable state that was inevitably triggered by the duo, Kakashi had somehow given a wave and Naruto and Sakura had greeted her. Sai had come up to her and politely bowed and stated that she was a very beautiful women. Sakura had promptly pummeled Sai into the ground, and Ino dashed over to save Sai from Sakura's pummeling. Kakashi casually leaned over and whispered that Sai told every girl he met that she was beautiful, whether it was a lie or not since he'd been honest the first time he met Sakura and called her ugly.
Tsunade, at a bit of a loss for what to do with the ANBU, had kept the ANBU busy searching for another transdimensional jutsu. All the nations were peaceful, and the Akatsuki had showed no signs of movement, so there wasn't exactly a lot of heavy fighting to be done. Danzou, however, was the one to find one that required a link between dimensions, which was perfect because Lucy was from both dimensions. As far as Tsunade was concerned, as long as that jutsu worked, there was no reason to search for a better one.
"But Lucy, do you really want to go back?"
That was the main problem. Lucy wasn't exactly super excited to go back, but on the other hand, it was her home dimension and her old friends lived there.
She thought about how her mother had stayed in her new dimension, and never bothered to even try and go back to her old dimension, not even to see if there were any family members left. Layla had stayed in the new one, never looking back at all.
"...Yeah. I'm sure. Let's go."
It was supposed to be a peaceful crossing. They'd planned it out and everything. The jutsu did have the ability to 'aim' a bit, that is to say, connect in the general area of the spot where one was last located in that dimension, but it was a bit sketchy. They were only transporting 4 people - Tsunade had limited it to one team, and since Sai had backed out at the last moment (I'm really sorry, but Danzou-sama requested), leaving Team 7 consisting of 3 people ("Why is it always us that loses people?" "That's the circle of life, Naruto." "What?"), they had been chosen for the job.
Lucy had done the best she could and pictured the forest that was a way off. But of course the jutsu would select the exact last place Lucy had been, no matter what aiming was done, sending her, Naruto, Sakura, and Kakashi hurtling into her (not exactly big) bedroom, which was apparently barricaded off as an honest-to-God crime scene.
At least that meant there was a chance she'd still get her room back, after all.
"When you mentioned you'd disappeared for a while, you didn't mention that there would be an actual investigation of your disappearance. That, by the way, is still going on," mused Kakashi.
"What? What do you mean?"
"Oh nothing, there's just maybe 3 people barging up the stairs right now?"
"Yes, quite right, I think I'll let you deal with it." Kakashi stepped over to the window, opened it, grabbed the ledge, and swung himself out and over the window, landing perfectly on the roof.
"Yeah, we'll stay up here. I don't think we'll be safe here," said Naruto, copying Kakashi. Sakura gave Lucy a sympathetic wave before swinging up to the roof as well.
Lucy paused. On one hand, she could do that too, but on the other ha-
Natsu, Gray, and Erza stood in surprise as their guildmate stood before them, perfectly healthy and looking just as surprised as they did.
Well, thought Lucy, no chance to escape there.
So basically the whole thing got rebooted, so all these chapters are rewritten, which is pretty much what took me a good half of the year, lol. My life was basically school, summer assignments, and a sequence of events in which I somehow got myself dragged into not one, not two, not three, but 5 tv shows.