A/N So this only took what, a week? Sorry guys. Difficult time at school. Hey, but the chapter this week was awesome beyond words, right?
-title comes from Miranda Lambert's Gunpowder and Lead. So maybe it doesn't fit the situation at all...don't care! The one lyric worked!
-referencing a lot of books that probably don't exist here, guys. Ignore the gaping plot hole.
If he wants a fight well now he's got one, and he ain't seen me crazy yet
It was no secret to anyone who asked that Levy McGarden had feelings for Gajeel Redfox, and that the feeling was entirely mutual. However, it was also no secret that the two of them would deny it until the day they died, for reasons the rest of their guild would never come to comprehend.
It was also, however, widely viewed as a great source of entertainment to the rest of the guild when Gajeel started acting like a possessive boyfriend.
It had been about a year since the rather explosive end of the Grand Magic Games. Nothing much had changed in the guild, some new members and some old, some more brushes with death – nothing out of the ordinary. Asuka finally learned to walk on her own, and caused more destruction than Natsu ever had (up until that point, anyway.) All in all, it was a good year for Fairy Tail.
And then the world hit a certain point on its axis where everything seemed to grind to a halt for one particular individual; and Lily, wise Exceed that he was, liked to say it was the day Gajeel woke up and realized that Levy was actually desirable to other men.
It was funny, how, in such a short space of time, the definition of the word 'threat' had shifted from 'huge, hulking, ultra-powerful mage with no regrets on killing' to 'skinny guy with glasses and a good book'.
"Oh, so you've read the Game of Thrones series, then?" The boy in the library leaned forward on the counter, grinning elatedly at his success in finding a pretty girl who read sword-and-sorcery novels.
Levy laughed, the sound like a wind chime. "Oh, just the first one," she confessed. "I always hate to admit it, but I've got a real pension for sappy romances."
His face fell for a moment. "You mean, like, Twilight?"
She coloured. "N-no!" Levy argued, waving her hands desperately. "No, not like that at all! Like, Jane Austen." Her face went dreamy.
Gajeel watched the two chat, hands clenched into fists so tight his knuckles had bypassed white and were shooting straight for translucent. "Are you going to say anything?" Lily asked, almost too amused to keep a straight face.
Gajeel's studded brow twitched. Levy gave one last particularly pretty laugh and waved at her conversational partner, floating over to where he was waiting. "Sorry for keeping you," she apologized with a grin that said she wasn't sorry at all. "You know how I get when someone talks to me about books."
"Whatever," Gajeel grunted. He was out the door in seconds, Levy following quickly on his heels. He hated it in there. It smelled like paper and ink and Levy and good things and that's why he didn't like it in there, damnit.
Glancing behind him, he noticed Levy was practically skipping in excitement. "The hell are you so happy for?" He asked, after watching her in amusement for a time.
She hummed. "Oh, nothing." With a sunny grin, she said, "It's a beautiful day, isn't it?"
He grunted again. Damn people and their damn positivity. Where did they get it all from, anyway? Like that damn bunny girl, and the flame brain, and even Lily. It was like some people were born with these with these unstoppable wells of positive energy inside them. And no, it wasn't nice to hang around positive people for a change. It was annoying. It gave him a headache.
Speaking of bunny girls and unlimited bounciness, there came across none other than Lucy Heartfilia on the journey back to the guild. "Morning, Levy!" She called with a bright smile, bounding over. She and Levy clasped hands in excitement.
"Lucy!" Levy said in delight. "You'll never guess who I ran into at the library this morning!"
As the two fell into chipper chatter (chipper chatter, that was good, he should put that in a song) Salamander came up beside him. "Yo," the flame-brain said, looking less positive than usual.
Gajeel acknowledged him with a grunt, and they fell into step behind the two girls. "What's got you so dumb-lookin' today?" He asked. Natsu shrugged his shoulders, holding his hands behind his head and looking vaguely at the ground.
"Been thinking," he said. Gajeel snorted.
"Don't try too hard, you'll bust your brains."
Natsu glared at him. "Shut up, Gajeel. Like you ever do any real thinking."
"I do think."
"Yeah, about the next awful song you're gonna write."
Gajeel squawked in indignation, but before he could manage to get any words out, Natsu continued. "I've been thinking about Lucy."
"Ho ho?" Gajeel stopped being annoyed and let his lips turn up into a grin. "What kind of thing you been thinkin' of? Never mind, don't tell me, I don't want to know."
Natsu shoved him. "Hey, shut up, man! Like you haven't been thinking about Levy, either!"
At that, Gajeel sputtered even more than he had at the song comment. He couldn't believe that the dense idiot actually picked up on something like that. "You – I don't-"
"He does," Lily supplied. Gajeel jumped, he'd completely forgotten the small back cat was flying along beside them. Natsu grinned in triumph, and Happy swooped over.
"Ooh," he grinned, and with a roll of his tongue, started his famous, "You liiiiike her-"
Gajeel reached up, snatched the Exceed out of the sky and tossed him over his shoulder. Natsu yelped, running back to make sure his friend was okay. Gajeel crossed his arms, grumbling angrily about all manner of things.
Unbeknownst to all – except Lily, who knew all – Levy was watching them from over her shoulder with a half-smile playing on her lips. She was half-pretending to listen to Lucy, who was still talking away with no idea as to the events unfolding behind them. With a satisfied look, Levy turned back to her friend. "Sorry, what were you saying?"
"Everything is going according to plan."
Levy paced her apartment, artfully stepping over the books strewn across the floor and only half-paying attention. She was rubbing her hands together, mind lost in whatever scheme she was concocting.
Lucy watched her in amusement, sitting cross-legged on her bed. "Your plan?" She asked skeptically. "Levy, no offense, but you sound like an evil mastermind."
Snickering, Levy waved her friend away. Then she caught her foot on a heavy tome and tripped, stacking it on the soft carpet. Torn between amusement and genuine concern, Lucy continued. "So you really heard them?"
"Yup." Levy picked herself up. "Don't worry, Lucy. Gajeel is absolutely interested." She artfully refrained from mentioning what Natsu said; Lucy could figure that out for herself later.
"And your plan is...?"
"To make him jealous and give him the kick in the rear he needs? Yes. Absolutely."
Lucy shook her head. "You know, I don't know if that's such a good idea. I've been reading up on dragons, you know, since the whole Grand Magic Games incident? And from what I gather they're kinda possessive."
"That's what I'm counting on," Levy sang.
"But what if he gets violent?" Lucy persisted.
Levy stopped to think about it. A devious smile broke out on her face. "Well, I'd be flattered."
"Levy!" Lucy threw a book her way, and the smaller girl ducked easily. "Come on, just promise me you won't overdo it, okay?"
"Relax!" Levy laughed. It's not like I'm actually going to go out with anybody." She shrugged. "I don't want anyone but him, I'm just tired of waiting for him to make a move!"
"Then why don't you just make a move?"
"I am making a move! And getting a little revenge as I do so!"
Lucy could only sigh and pray that this did not backfire in any way.
They were at the library again the next day, Levy having somehow managed to succeed in cajoling Gajeel to carry the 'big heavy stack of books' for her. She was perfectly capable of carrying them on her own, always have been, and was pretty sure Gajeel knew that, too. But she credited his compliance to her puppy-dog eyes. People thought she didn't know she was using them. Boy, were they wrong.
There was a new guy at the counter today, this one with straw-coloured hair sticking up in all directions. He was skinny as a scarecrow, with a pair of thin-rimmed glasses jammed on his nose. Why did all these guys wear glasses?
Glancing over her shoulder at Gajeel, she saw him pointedly looking out the window. But his body was tense, and she could feel his annoyance radiating towards her all the way from where she was standing. Levy fought back a grin. Perfect.
Doing a quick scan of the stack of books by his side, Levy pulled her glasses out of her pocket and gently slid them on. Sidling over to him, she made sure to lean on the counter a little more provocatively than she was used to.
"Hi!" She said, in a voice not too loud but loud enough to get Gajeel's attention. "I was hoping you could help me with something?"
The boy glanced up half-heartedly, probably irritated that he had to stop his reading. But he gave a double take at the pretty mage before him. "Uh..." he managed. "Yeah?"
Normally, Levy would have been incredibly uncomfortable with this kind of behaviour. Years ago, she wouldn't have believed herself capable of it or even had the confidence to try. But the years of watching Lucy had changed her, and well...
She gave one last glance over to Gajeel, who was glaring at them hotly.
Desperate times called for desperate measures, right?
"Yeah, I was looking for the new book in The Mortal Instruments series, but I can't seem to find it anywhere," Levy said, twirling a lock of hair around her finger. Lie: she knew where it was. It was at the bottom of his book pile.
Scarecrow lit up, pulling it out. "You mean this?"
"That's the one!" Levy cheered. "I've been looking for it all afternoon! Gosh, you must be my angel or something."
He flushed, giving her what was probably supposed to be a seductive grin. "Or maybe I'm your Shadowhunter."
She nearly flinched. False: Shadowhunters were the descendants of angels, not angels themselves. Did this guy even read the books?
Taking it from his outstretched grasp, Levy managed a sweet smile. "Yeah, I suppose you are," she said, in the quietest purr she could muster. Please let that work.
Mavis must have heard her, because the next second Gajeel was towering behind her, his mere presence making Scarecrow look like he was going to piss his pants. "You done, Shorty?"
Levy beamed. "Yup!" Dropping the new book onto the pile he was already holding, Levy gave one last flirty wave to her library friend. "See you around, Shadowhunter."
Gajeel's face went from shock to anger to confusion to disgust back to a straight face all within the space of a second. Levy caught it all from the corner of her eye, and had to physically restrain herself from breaking out into song.
She was winning this fight, all right.
The next day, she went back to return the books. Gajeel complained loudly about how it was impossible that she read through them all that fast, but carried them back without her even needing to ask. Scarecrow wasn't in, but another boy with chubby arms and headphones blasting helped her pick books from the shelf. She had no intention of reading the sappy teen fiction, but Gajeel's reaction to her leaning the other boy's shoulder was worth it.
Scarecrow was in the day after that. Levy went to go peruse the shelves (she was looking for something real this time) and only realized in retrospect that leaving Gajeel alone with the skinny kid was probably not the best idea.
She was in the process of choosing between Vanity Fair (her 20th time) or Pride & Prejudice (her 150th time) when the sound of glass shattering caught her attention. Shoving both books back on the shelf, for she had copies of them both somewhere in apartment anyway, she dashed back into the main lobby.
Many people in the room were staring at Gajeel, who was standing with his shoulders hunched and tense beside the window – which was broken into the suspicious shape of a person. Like someone had just been thrown through it.
"We're leaving," Gajeel growled, grabbing her arm roughly and dragging her out. Levy yelped but allowed herself to be pulled out, looking behind her to see Scarecrow picking himself out of the rose beds.
She probably should have been mad. Ignoring the flutter in her stomach, she turned back to Gajeel. "What did you do that for?" She asked, attempting to sound angry.
Gajeel muttered something about annoying bratty sticks. "He was bein' a jerk," he said, when Levy continued to give him a piercing glare.
"Well, what did he say?" She asked.
He went red as a cherry tomato, let go of her arm, shoved his hands in his pocket and stalked away, leaving Levy feeling confused and slightly more elated than she should have.
He was jealous.
Gajeel tried to restrain himself. He really, honestly did.
But what was he supposed to do? The damn jerk leaning up on the counter like that, all sleazy looking (or trying and pathetically failing, anyway, Gajeel had seen fish with twice the appeal of that idiot) and talking about how he was going to ask Levy out. Which was bad enough, except that he also started talking about what he was going to do after, and it was at that point Gajeel seized the back of his jacket and tossed him out the window.
But it was only a one story library. He felt justified.
What made it worse – the shrimp kept asking him to carry her damn books. Like she couldn't carry a stack twice her size with no problem. He was pretty sure half her battle-power had been transferred to book-carrying-power at birth.
But he couldn't say no, either, because that meant leaving her to the claws of library predators.
"Shaddup, Lil," he growled. Lily watched his friend in amusement, small arms crossed.
"You have a problem, Gajeel."
"Yes, you do, if you're referring to these indivuals as 'library predators.'"
"They are!" Gajeel snapped. "It's like they took stalking lessons from Juvia, I don't even want to think about what would happen if one of them actually took an interest in her-"
"You'd throw them out the window again?"
It had happened three times since Scarecrow. Gajeel was fairly certain they were just baiting him now. Like someone said, "I'll pay you twenty jewels if you can get Gajeel Redfox to throw you out the library window!" He couldn't believe some of the things they'd said to him. And yet, no matter how much he told himself that they were only saying these things to get a rise out of him, he still couldn't stop himself from reacting.
They stepped into the library again that afternoon, falling into a routine of sorts. Only today, Lily had decided to join them, as said library had been filing complaints against Fairy Tail. He sulked in the corner like usual, now not even bothering to hide that he was standing right beside the patched up window. They'd tried boarding it up, but after Gajeel tossed a guy clean through the wood, they decided glass was perhaps less dangerous.
Levy asked him to wait, like she always did, reminding him not to do anything violent. He made no promises, and she rolled her eyes slightly and sashayed off to peruse the aisles. He watched her as she left, eyes following her movements.
"You're staring, by the way."
Gajeel started. "Am not."
"You can't argue like that," Lily said. "It's riddled with fallacies. You'll never convince anyone with that childish retort-"
"I said shaddup, Lil."
She caught the corner of his eye, and he focused on her. She was talking to someone, someone he didn't recognize. His eyes narrowed. No, he definitely didn't know this guy.
He was a nerd, sure. But a good-looking one, although Gajeel hated to admit it. Dark hair perfectly combed back, glasses framing a nice face, chiselled jaw. The collared shirt and suspender collaboration he was wearing did nothing to hide his fit physique, and Gajeel was convinced he was one of those jerks who knew he looked good and tried to downplay it while simultaneously uplaying it.
He watched their conversation with eyes like a hawk, straining his ears to hear. Levy's words were indistinguishable; her soft voice was all he could discern. The new guy had a deeper voice, and although Gajeel couldn't hear at all what they were saying, Levy was blushing and fiddling – something she hadn't done at all before.
New Guy left her to browse while wandering over to Gajeel. Said dragon stiffened and started a mantra in his head not to punch the guy's light's out right then and there. A few regular patrons gathered around, whispering to themselves. This was it, he could hear them. Shit was about to hit the fan.
"That's Levy McGarden from Fairy Tail, right?" New Guy asked, jerking his thumb back.
Gajeel grunted. "Couldn't 've asked her that yourself?"
He laughed. "Well, I didn't want to come off as not knowing who she was, and look like a jerk."
"Yeah, that's her," Gajeel growled. "What do ya want her for?"
"Oh, nothing," New Guy hummed. "I'm opening a book shop in town, and she's the expert on books, right? I'd love to get her opinion."
Oh, he was opening a bookstore. How nice. Gajeel wanted to sock him. "She's a little busy, you know, bein' a mage and all."
"Ah, yes," New Guy nodded. "She's very multi-talented."
"She's wonderful, isn't she?"
Gajeel twitched. Just as her was about to retort, New Guy opened his mouth again, and the words that rolled out hit him like a steamroller.
"You don't deserve her."
Lily started jumping from his perch of Gajeel's shoulder. "Excuse me, sir, but-" he started in a polite tone. But he stopped when Gajeel pivoted on his heel and walked right out the door.
Levy came around the shelf, coming face-to-face with a floating Lily and smug-looking man in glasses. "Gajeel?"
You don't deserve her.
The words echoed in his head, rattling like chains. You don't deserve her. What a prick. What did he know, eh? What, did he say he owned a bookstore?
Gajeel stormed down the paved streets, 3 o'clock air cold against his face. Sleep was not there to visit him. He lay awake for about two hours, staring at the same spot on the ceiling – until he had the brilliant idea to go give the guy a piece of his mind.
You don't deserve her.
What a stupid, pretentious, righteous, self-preaching, dumbass -
The words were leaving him, flying out the window right along with his rationality. With every passing second that he didn't find the damn bookshop, was another second his rage threatened to boil over.
You don't deserve her.
There was a bookshop over there. Was it his? He didn't know. Should he even bother talking to this guy? He was clearly beyond any sense of thought process. For what was probably the first time in his life, he was filled with the kind of unbridled, passionate rage that was the fuel of Salamander's fire. And all the while, those words echoed in his head like church bells.
You don't deserve her.
If he had to destroy every bookstore on Magnolia, then so be it.
Levy woke up that morning to someone knocking repeatedly on her door. She groaned, throwing an arm over her eyes. She'd stayed up way too late last night, re-reading the Harry Potter series for what was the millionth time (That's right, she read the whole series in one night. Thus was the extent of Levy's powers.)Even though her clock read noon, it was still too early for someone to be waking her up.
"I'll be out soon, Erza," she slurred, because who else would be banging on her door like a drill sergeant?
"It isn't Erza!" Lucy's voice came through the wood. "Open up, Levy!"
She sounded mad, and it was enough to drag Levy from her bed and across the apartment, finally opening the door. Lucy stormed in, eyes steely.
"Your plan backfired," she informed Levy coldly. "Like I told you it would."
"Wha?" Levy scratched her head. Her brain wasn't functioning yet. "What do you mean? What plan?"
"Your 'Get Gajeel Jealous' plan!" Lucy snapped. "It worked all right! And now look what we have to deal with!"
"What? Lucy, what are you talking about?"
"Every bookstore!" The spirit mage cried, grabbing Levy's shoulders. "Every bookstore in Magnolia, iron pillars smashed through the windows. And guess who wasn't at the guild this morning?"
Slowly, understanding dawned on Levy. "No way... he wouldn't. He wouldn't do something like that."
"I don't care about that!" Lucy yelled. Shaking Levy's shoulders, she wailed, 'How am I supposed to get my books now?!"
Levy blinked, head lolling around. "That's what you care about?"
"Yes!" Lucy shrieked. "And thanks to you-" she let go of Levy to point accusingly in her face – "I have no place to find books except the public library!"
A slow smile creeped up on Levy's face. Lucy stopped her hysterics to stare at her friend in awe and fear. "No way. Lev –you can't be happy about this."
"I'm not," she protested, but the huge grin growing across her cheeks told a different story. She was remembering her conversation yesterday. Didn't that guys say he was opening a bookstore in town?
Lucy collapsed. "I don't believe you," she moaned. "I'm in a crisis and you're happy."
"I'll send up Natsu," Levy soothed, stepping over her. She couldn't stay here, she had an iron dragon slayer to find.
"You're still in your pyjamas."
...all right, she had an iron dragon slayer to find in five minutes.
Dashing into the guild hall, Levy was not surprised to find most members milling about, talking about the escapades of last night. From her run down the hill, she'd caught sight of the town and noticed smoke rising from quite a few places. Although still reeling in shock that Gajeel would actually go that far, she still had butterflies with machine guns in her stomach.
"Where is he?" She asked anyone who would listen. Nobody knew, not even Wendy. It appeared that he'd vanished.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the three Exceeds talking and raced over to them. "Lily!" She cried. He held up a paw.
"Before you start," he said. "No, I don't know where he is."
Levy deflated. "Do you know why he did it?" She asked. Might as well get some information. "I mean, apart from the obvious."
Lily's face was pensive. "Your friend – the one from the library – he said something to Gajeel, and I don't think it went over well."
"What?" Levy's brow furrowed. "What did he say?"
Lily looked hesitant to answer. But at Levy's persistent gaze, he gave up. "He told Gajeel, er, I believe the exact words were, 'You don't deserve her.'"
Levy's happiness was shot from the sky like an air raid. Biting her lip, she tried to ignore the surge of anger she felt at the guy who'd been hitting on her yesterday – a guy she hadn't even liked. Why, if she had heard that, she might have been the one out destroying bookstores.
"Right," she said. "I'm going to find Gajeel."
Turning on her heel and dashing out the doors, she just barely remembered to toss over to Natsu, "By the way, Lucy needs you."
The way he jumped to his feet in a heartbeat made Levy smile, and put a glimmer of happiness back in her. Yes, she was going to find Gajeel. He had to be somewhere, even if it took all day to look for him.
It took approximately four hours to circle the circumference of Magnolia. Since she guess he wouldn't be anywhere inside the town, she jogged around the outskirts of town and had almost made it in a full circle and was close to giving up when she found a dark figure slouched down against a tree.
She walked over to him. If he acknowledged her presence, he didn't say anything. "Gajeel?"
He made a noise in his throat, and spoke with a tone she couldn't quite recognize in his voice. "Surprised you actually want to see me."
No, it couldn't be...was he guilty?
Silently, Levy made her way over to him. Standing directly in front of Gajeel, she placed her hands on her hips and waited, waited until he had no choice but to look up at her.
"Whaddya want, Shrimp?" he growled. Her eyebrow twitched at the nickname, but she held her ground.
"You're a real idiot, you know that, Gajeel?"
"What the hell?" He bristled. "You-"
"If a guy says you don't deserve me, are you actually going to believe him?" She said sharply. Anger at the other guy was seeping through, she couldn't help it. Gajeel made to argue back, but instead sunk lower against the tree.
"Lily told you?"
He refused to meet her gaze. "You don't actually believe that, do you?" she asked softly. He didn't answer her. "You do!" She yelled, stomping her foot. "You do believe that, and it's the dumbest thing I have ever heard! I mean, that's – you could just as well say that I don't deserve you, because you're strong and I'm not-"
He was looking at her now. "Oi, Shorty, that's not-"
"No it is the same thing!" Levy cried. "You hear how ridiculous that sounds to you? Well, that's how ridiculous it sounds to me when somebody says you don't deserve me." She was so mad, she was practically blowing steam out of her ears, but the words just kept coming. "And you know what? If I ever caught someone saying that, I'd – I'd fill their mouth with cement! If all they can give is ungrounded insults, then they shouldn't be talking at all!"
Chest heaving, she finished her rant. Gajeel was staring at her, mouth covered. But she could tell even beneath his hand, he was grinning. She gave him a look. "Shut up."
His gaze shifted over to the city. "So you're not mad about..." he gestured in Magnolia's general direction. "That?"
She snorted, and it was a very un-Levy-like thing to do, but she did it anyway. "Please. If I were you I'd have done worse."
"So I heard." He was grinning again. "Cement in his mouth, huh?"
"And if I ever see his punk face in this town again, I'll-"
She was cut off by a hand reaching off and grabbing her wrist, pulling her down to her knees in front of him. They were on eye level now, and for the first time she could look at him without craning her neck.
His breathing was heavy. Hers wasn't doing much better. Swallowing, she managed to get out, "You really are in idiot, Gajeel Redfox."
He didn't answer. Instead, he leaned forward and kissed her.
It probably wasn't they way she envisioned their first kiss going, leaning against him with her hands balanced on his broad shoulders and the setting of the sun behind them. No, it definitely wasn't the way she imagined it, but holy Mavis. Was it ever better.
Yup, books just didn't compare.
They stood outside the library next morning, Gajeel faithfully accompanying his new girlfriend (oh, he would never tire of saying that, and if any nerd questioned it he would smack the word in their face and rub it in until their nose broke) and stared up at the sign tacked in the front doors.
Or, rather, the picture of him covered with the huge red block letters, stating NOT ALLOWED.
"...you've gotta be kidding me."
Levy was laughing. "Well, that's what you get for throwing people out of windows! I'm surprised they didn't do it sooner." She turned to him, grinning widely. "I guess you'll just have to wait out here while I grab my books, huh?"
He didn't answer her, leaning in closer to the sign and squinting his eyes. Levy made a face. "Gajeel, you can't seriously not have been expecting this."
"Naw, it ain't that," he said, titling his head. "But couldn't they have found a better picture?"
And Gajeel shows us his inner Flynn Rider. "They just can't get my nose right!"
I know it's shorter than the others :( My inspiration ran dry. I've been spending the whole past week doodling Rogue onto my homework and projects and getting strange looks from my classmates. (I tell them I'm not crazy, just in love with a guy who has an evil shadow, but they just don't believe me!)
Once again, not proofread. I literally just finished typing it and am going to post asap. Please forgive errors!
And thus concludes my trilogy, which was really only supposed to be a one-shot. Hope everyone enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing it!