A/N: I don't often do AUs, but...well...have you ever read a single line and it inspired a whole story? That's what happened. I credit the graphic novel "Chosen" by Tsukiyono, and the first lines: "That man, his fingers were long and slender, and they could reach places none other could... He was a beautiful man with dark hair and fine eyes, but what really attracted me to him were his elegant hands that carelessly held a cigarette to a face filled with cynicism."

Disclaimer: Fairy Tail is owned by Hiro Mashima.

Burning Fingers of Ice

a Fairy Tail fanfic

by Rhov

They were strong hands that could mold ice as if it was clay, and long, cold fingers...fingers that could reach in deep and touch everything, leaving behind an iciness that burned the soul.

When she first saw him, those fingers were holding a cigarette. The autumn night air was so cold, his frosted breath and tobacco smoke mixed into a fog that encircled him. It made this dark devil look like an angel as the smoke refracted the glow of city lights and created a halo around his spiky black hair.

She had stepped out of a friend's apartment and onto the building's roof to get some fresh air after some idiot set something on fire. Funny how the taint of cigarettes that she normally hated, a stench that on any other night would make her cough purely to point out to the smoker that she wanted to breathe, on that night smelled sweet.

He caught her eye, and she saw the waxing moon glint off blue ice. His eyes were enchanting, so dark yet so light, like a mystical creature out of a fairy tale out to hunt the poor little lost girl. He gave the young woman a nod, nothing else, then turned back to the skyline and city lights. She wondered if he lived here, or maybe he had been at the party and she just did not notice him. She also wondered why he was standing out there shirtless in near-freezing weather. Just looking at his pale torso in the frosty night made her feel colder. She tugged her fur coat around her body tighter. He took notice of the shine of mink.

"You look a bit too uptown for this neighborhood, lady," he stated. "Ya dress like that, you'll just get mugged."

"Overdressed for a party," she explained curtly, hoping that a gruff answer might compensate for her obvious aristocratic accent.

"It's cool," he shrugged, looking back out over the city and down toward the traffic crawling below. "Rich girls know what they want, and I like being spoiled."

The lady scoffed softly at his confident tone. "Who's offering?"

"I'm just saying, I don't care if that mink was from Mommy Dearest or from your pimp. It's all good." He took another drag and let the smoke linger deep in his lungs. "You don't mind, right?" he asked in an afterthought as he exhaled.

She gave a shrug and replied with the same thing he said. "It's cool."

The woman walked to another area of the roof, although still on his side of the barrier. The air felt good, but this dark stranger troubled her thoughts. There was something about him, the shirtless body, the slight slouch as he rested on the roof barrier, the cynicism in his demeanor, the tattoo on his chest, one she knew well.

"Hey, that tattoo," she called over, making the man turn around to her. Damn, why did that tat have to be on his chest like that, as if screaming to look at the tight pectorals and washboard abs? "Did you get that inked at Mira Mirror over on S-Class Street?"

"Yeah," he said in confusion. "How did you know?"

She removed her knitted glove and showed him the same design on her hand, but she had the ink done in pink, whereas his was quite appropriately midnight-blue.

"I'll be damned," he laughed. "Same tattoo. It's like the lyrics to a bad love song or something. Hey, what's your name?"

"Lucy. You?"

Before he could answer, there was suddenly a shriek and a crash from the door she had recently exited. They both looked back at the same time only to hear the woman's best friend Levy yelling at her boyfriend to stop fighting with the pyromaniac. The woman smacked her forehead and mumbled, "Stupid Natsu!" She had unfortunately brought an old friend from school to the party. She thought he was "mostly harmless," as Douglas Adams once described humanity in general. Sadly, Natsu was a definition all of his own. Some wondered if he was even human.

"Quite a party," the smoking stranger chuckled. "That's Gajeel's place, right?"

"Yeah, I'm friends with his girlfriend."

"Ah, Levy," the man nodded. "I know her a bit. Well, I mostly know how she whinnies like a pony in heat when those two are at it...which you might want to suggest to your friend to cut it down to only three times a week, preferably weekends since I work late those nights."

"Doing what? Stripping?" she teased.

He jolted and looked over in surprise. "How'd you know? I don't think even Gajeel knows." He then smirked slyly. "Unless you frequent the South Pole Club. Maybe you and your sorority sisters are paying my way through college."

"Eww, no!" Lucy cringed. "Wait, are you serious? You're really a stripper?"

He shrugged and looked back out at the city. "It pays well, especially if you can dance. You'd make a killing with that rack of yours. Put a bunny or cat suit on you and the men would throw their money at your feet just for a pat on your ass."

"No thank you!" she sneered, sticking her tongue out at the disgusting suggestion.

"I figured as much," he muttered. "Daddy paid your way through college and probably bought you that mink and an imported car for your birthday. Maybe a pony too, right?"

Lucy stiffened at his assumptions. "The coat was my mother's before she passed away. I don't drive, I didn't go to college, I cut all ties with my father when I was seventeen, and I've worked damn hard to make the rent, harder than taking off clothes and twirling around a brass pole."

He paused and eyed her again in a new light. "Too bad."

"What?" she asked haughtily. "Are you upset that I can't be your sugar-mama?"

"No, too bad a lovely lady like you lives around this neck of the woods. You deserve premium tea served on fine china in a penthouse, not a can of cheap beer in a roach-infested tenement. Also, it's too bad I can't sweep you out of this life and give you the spoiled world your father did...although I'm guessing he messed up somewhere along the way."

"Messed up...yeah," she mumbled sardonically. "If you count never being there and then suddenly telling your seventeen-year-old daughter that she's to marry a thirty-something tycoon the day after she graduates high school as part of some damn business merger as messing up, then he did a good job at that."

"Seriously?" he gawked. "I thought arranged marriages were, like, outlawed by the Constitution or something."

"Hah! No, they're actually somewhat common amongst those privileged upper class families people despise so much. It's not the life I want, though. Besides, I live in a decent enough place on the west end. The rent is good, and the building is cute."

"Well hell, maybe you should invite me there so I can see the good life."

"You wanna?" she offered boldly.

He dropped his cigarette in shock. The svelte blonde sauntered over, picked it up, making sure to show plenty of cleavage while bent over, then rose and gave the stick a puff.

"Huh! Not bad. I've never tried smoking before," she stated offhandedly. "How about this? I've got a bottle of rum at home. I'll make you a mojito and we'll pretend we're vacationing on some tropical island. How's that for a sugar-mama?"

His eyes roved over her body slowly. "Any way you can sweeten that deal a little? I'm nearly convinced you're not a serial killer."

She returned the sweeping inspection, and damn did those tight abs and tattooed pecs clench it! "I think I can make it worth your while. Only if I get a free show."

"A show, eh?" he chuckled. "Sorry, I don't give free strip teases. If I get fully naked, it's either for business or for pleasure. So which would you prefer?" he smirked.

Lucy leaned in and stroked her finger from the back of his ear to his chin while trying to give him her most sensual gaze. Slowly, she purred, "Pleasure!"

Lucy realized they probably annoyed the hell out of the taxi driver on the way from Gajeel's rundown flat to her west side apartment complex. Luckily, she had no desire to ever add "sex in the back of a taxi" on her list of things that would make her dad keel over from a heart attack if he ever read her blog. There were plenty of things she had done that would give him an angina attack, if not a full out coronary.

She got a little more information out of her sexy stripper on the ride, muttered between kisses and cigarettes. His name was Gray Fullbuster, although she wondered if that was a stage name he went by at the stripper club. I mean, "Gray" as in Fifty Shades, "Full" because damn did she want him to make her full, and "buster"...she chuckled at all the many sexual innuendos that could be applied to that term. Still, Gray Fullbuster was the name he gave, so that was how she knew this long-fingered man.

They got to her apartment, and that fifteen minute drive across town was as good as foreplay. Lucy was horny as hell, but she was not stupid. She had asked earlier if Gray was prepared, and of course he wasn't. While she fixed the drinks, he ran to a corner store to buy condoms. When he returned, they had all they needed: a nearly-full bottle of rum, a few beers sitting in the fridge, some leftover wine from Thanksgiving, and a pack of twenty ribbed condoms.

Fuck...ribbed condoms! Her pussy clenched just thinking about it.

They did not know much about one another, yet in under ten minutes that bottle of rum made sure they were drunk enough to stay convinced that this was a good idea. Then Gray began his routine. She had been joking about the free show, of course, but the professional stripper put on some music and began a dance. He used Lucy's lamp as a pole, sliding his lithe body around it, although obviously he could not do the stunts he did on the stage. Mostly he danced...and stripped...and teased.

Damn! She would have chucked her father's inheritance at him if he had danced like that for her in a club. She felt immensely blessed that this guy was all hers...at least for that night. It only cost her four mojitos and cab fare.

By the time Gray was down to a thong—what the hell was he doing wearing a thong under those baggy black jeans?—Lucy was hot, drenched, and wanted to pounce on him. They hit the bed hard, and that was just the start. He was like a starved man, and she got the sense that he had probably gone a long time without a partner. She had to slow him down a few times, telling him to keep playing and not rush into things until she was ready.

If his cool demeanor and icy eyes caused "lust at first sight," then perhaps "love" entered the picture when his fingers entered inside her.

My God, this is pure heaven, thought Lucy as she squirmed on the bed. And this is just his hands!

Those fingers were cold, even after a few strong drinks and plenty of wild groping. That chill penetrated her burning heat until she could feel them intensely, every movement they made, every time he curled his fingers to find her spot, widened them to spread her more, or added more fingers until practically his whole icy hand was inside her.

They were long fingers, and they reached to places no other man could feel. They drew out levels of passion Lucy never knew were inside her. Those fingers that held his cigarettes with elegance, that could caress like silk or thrust like a piston, those fingers burned her up inside and scorched her soul.

Those thrusting fingers drove Lucy to heaven twice...just his fingers. Then Gray laid back against her pillows and said, "I gave you a show. It's time to return the favor."

She gave him way more than a strip tease or lap dance. She slid on his pole with acrobatic tricks she had learned over the years. He watched her dance with a smile that never faded, only twisted into a sneer near the end. Oh yes, he definitely loved her show...

And the encore!

When the sun rose, those fingers were once again holding a cigarette, puffing away in satisfaction. He laid in bed with her, both of them worn out, naked, and oddly comfortable for two people who were strangers just a few hours ago.

"This is a nice place," he commented casually. "I haven't seen a single rat or bug."

"Perhaps I could share it," Lucy said with a sneaky smile. Gray jolted so hard, some cigarette ash fell onto his chest and burned him. "Hey, it's a joke. I don't move that fast, Ice Prince."

"Ice Prince?" he asked.

"You're the star of the South Pole Club, right? My friend Erza frequents there. She said something about Ice Prince, one of the dancers. That's you, right?"

"Um...well...yeah," he admitted. "Damn, that's a stupid stage name. My manager gave it to me."

Lucy placed her hands behind her neck. "Maybe I should go watch you do your stuff. I'd have to beat up all the other girls, of course."

He barked a laugh and took another slow drag. "Sorry, but if you pick me, you pick up the baggage of that damn job. I'd quit if the pay weren't so sweet."

"We do the missions we have to," she shrugged.

His eyes slid over. "Missions? Are you a detective...or a spy, and I'm the dupe you sleep with to get your hands on the bad guy? Or maybe you're some high ranked military officer out with the civilians for some kicks. Mission sounds...well, like you're something of a mercenary." He took another long puff. "I would love to do something wild and crazy like that, rather than working at the college cafeteria through the week and the strip club on weekends, and another side job at Makarov's Deli on Magnolia Street."

"Ooh, I like that deli," she laughed. "I've never seen you there."

"I just started a few weeks ago, needed the extra money." He crushed out the cigarette, rolled over toward her, and propped himself up on his arm. "So, Lucy Heartfilia, what do you do for a living when you aren't partying with metal-heads or fucking total strangers?"

The blonde rolled her large, brown eyes at that. "I'm not a party girl, and I don't sleep around," she told him as firmly as she could, despite all evidence pointing to the contrary. "My job...well, to be honest, I guess you could say it's something in between charity work and being a mercenary."

"No shit," he laughed. "How'd Daddy Warbucks' baby girl end up in a job like that?"

"A friend from school, Natsu. He was the only person who stood by my side all through the issues with my father, and when I ran away he was there for me, brought me in to the place where he worked, got me a job. He protected me during a time when I was really ignorant and horrible naive. He saved my life a few times, too. He's a bit of a flame-brain, but he's the sweetest guy I know."

"I hate him already," Gray grumbled jealously.

Lucy smiled over at him. "We could use one more on our team. You have to put up with a pyromaniac and a lady who carries more illegal weapons than the Mafia, but they're good people. You look strong. You definitely have endurance," she purred lasciviously. "If we could do more missions, make lots of money, maybe you can quit that job at the club."

"I happen to like dancing."

"I'll install a brass pole in this room."

"A single customer?" he smirked. "I'm not used to that..." His hand stroked down her golden hair. "...but I could probably adjust."

"One month of dating, five dates minimum," Lucy told him sternly.

"Is that the job requirement?"

"If you want to move in, yes. You have one month to convince me you're not a serial killer."

"Nice," he laughed wryly. "You like taking in strays, huh?"

"I'm a one pet type of owner. I used to have a guy who thought he was the king of beasts. Sadly, his head was always in the stars. I wouldn't mind trying an ice prince. To be honest," she confessed, "I don't do this too often, and I've never moved this fast with a guy before but..." She hesitated and looked aside.

"But what?" Gray grinned, leaning in and urging her on.

"But...well, to be blunt, you're the hottest guy I've ever met, and you were damn good last night." She felt herself blush to say something that crude.

Gray rolled over on top of her and caged Lucy in with his muscular arms. "I'm damn good in the morning, too."

He kissed her, and his hand played through her hair. His kiss left Lucy humming, and somehow with this man, ice could make her melt.

"So do I have the job?" he breathed hotly into her ear.

Lucy moaned as his ice fingers drifted down her stomach, between her thighs, and slipped into her again. "I give you bonus points on endurance," she said in a sensual tease.

"Then I have to show you that I'm a hard worker."

His fingers slipped inside easily. Those two fingers could reach in until Lucy felt him scratch against her back wall. The shock made her yelp loudly. He found something of interest back there, and he began to play with it, sending her instantly bucking harder into his hand.

"I never quit early," he whispered as he sucked on her neck. "I punch in..." He thrust in harder, making Lucy shout. "...and punch out on time. I'm also willing to work overtime, as long as it takes..." he mumbled as his mouth worked down to her breasts. "...until the job is finished. I'm also willing to come in early, if that's what you desire. Anything you want of me. Satisfaction guaranteed!"

Gray's mouth worked one breast, his hand tweaked the other, while his fingers thrust and sought out the best results. His thumb rubbed circles on her clit, and Lucy cried out at just how good it felt.

"My God, I can't believe you're this wet inside," he moaned. He pulled his fingers out, making her whine in protest. He showed her the drenched hand and stickiness that stringed between his fingers as he spread them apart. "Just look at that, Lucy. You're a messy girl for someone living on the west side." Then he licked the juice off, sucking each finger, then sliding his tongue between the fingers in a tease. His tongue flickered between the fingers, and his eyes stared as hard as ice at her.

"Please, lick me, Gray," she begged, unable to take it.

He smirked at his effect on the blonde. Then his head slithered down, and she felt a burning hot tongue replace those icy fingers.

"So sweet," he hummed, sending vibrations straight into her core.

It took less than five minutes to send Lucy soaring. She probably woke up all of her neighbors, and on a weekend morning, too. She didn't care! They had their spouses and partners, and the thin walls let her hear every thump, hump, slap, and even purrs from vibrators. Lucy had not had a boyfriend in ages. It was payback time from the busty blonde who everyone said would end up an old maid!

"I love it when you clench on me," Gray moaned as she came down from an orgasm. "For a woman who is so soft, your muscles sure are strong."

"Gray..." she moaned, only half conscious after such vigor.

"Hush, I still have to prove I'm a hard worker," he chuckled as he climbed back on top and positioned himself.

"You're bad at following safety rules," she warned quickly.

He backed away. "Ah, well, I'm still new to this particular job."

"Don't tell me you're a virgin," Lucy laughed.

"Sorry, toots, you don't get that pleasure. However," he said as he moved over to the nightstand and pulled out the box of condoms, "the last lady I was with...well, she had an injury that made her unable to have kids. We were both clean, so we had nothing to worry about. I guess I got into a bad habit of doing it...naked."

"Well, you better make sure you keep your armor on with me."

He glanced back at her with a lascivious gleam in his eyes. "I'll try my best."

He opened a square packet and handed the rolled up circle to Lucy. She took the rubber, slipped it onto his arousal, and unrolled it snuggly over his length. She gave him a few thrusts to make sure it was on tightly, then leaned back and spread herself wider for him. Gray gazed down at her, but instead of pouncing, his face looked troubled.

"I've never done this sort of thing with a girl I don't know," he admitted, "but somehow..." His hands ran down from her chest, along her sides, and down her thighs, carefully spreading them more. "It's like I know you, like we were best friends in a previous life."

"I believe in reincarnation," Lucy told him. "Maybe we were nakama in a previous life."

"Nakama," he chuckled. "Damn, I haven't heard that word since my days being an anime geek."

"Fruits Basket, Ouran High School Host Club, Skip Beat, Vampire Knight, Azumanga Daioh..."

"Bleach, One Piece, Inuyasha, Full Metal Alchemist, Black Butler, Death Note, Elfen Lied, Hellsing..."

"My God, you're an otaku."

He laughed in amazement. "You too? Damn, this is crazy." Gray shook his head, and his hands ran back up to her breasts. "How...how is it possible that I'm falling for you? We just met, I thought this would be merely casual sex, yet already I don't want to let you go. I don't want it to be a one-night stand." His brow tensed up. "Is that totally creeping you out? Sorry if it is."

"No, I...same here," Lucy confessed, and she traced his tattoo with her fingers. "I want to get to know everything about you, Gray. It's like I'm being pulled to you. Red string of fate?"

"Red string," he nodded. "That's the best explanation I know."

"In a previous life..."

He leaned over and pressed himself against her, hovered right on her wet threshold. "I hope we were lovers in that life too, because if not...I missed out on the best thing in the world. That's not a mistake I'm going to make in this life." Then he thrust in, and Lucy cried out a yell that supplicated to the gods of cyclical rebirth.

His voice was familiar, like the voice of the "dark stranger" that always filled her dreams with raw lust. His touch, those burning fingers of ice, were caresses she had always wanted. The way he fit inside of her, the way he thrust just slowly enough to make Lucy want more, then flipped them both so she could ride on top at the pace she wanted, then flipped around to a different position, seeking out what drove Lucy insane, finding it like second nature...it was like he already knew everything she desired. Then the way he moaned, how his face tensed up in that moment of sweet agony, was like a movie of the past Lucy had seen a hundred times.

She knew this man. Somehow, she knew his name really was Gray. It wasn't a stage name. She knew things about him she shouldn't know. Lucy couldn't explain it, but she knew him! As he made love to her twice that morning, she knew she would always know him, in this life, in the next, throughout the ages. Lucy didn't know how the Red String of Fate worked, but it drew her to Gray Fullbuster.

They spent the rest of the weekend watching reruns of Rave Master and Hetalia. And sex. Lots of sex.

This is not the end of their story, because all ends are beginnings of another tale. Lucy's life with Gray...well, that's another story.