Disclaimer: Stop assuming I own Fairy Tail. I don't even live in Japan!
Rated T: For suggestive themes and, well, depending on how far in the gutter your mind is (and mine is at the very bottom at all times), this thing is kind of full of innuendo. xD Tread carefully, I guess?
Author's Note: Hello everyone! This idea very randomly popped into my head and I just had to write it. I'll get back on my other stories as soon as I can. xD Anyway, this is something a little different from my usual writing, but I hope you enjoy it regardless. It was pretty fun to write! Thanks for even clicking on the story!
On another note, is the new font for this website driving anyone else crazy?
This document as not yet been edited. Please don't attack me if my typos are egregious.
Okay, yeah, read on.
A Wooden Heart by HawkofNavarre
I never thought that the day I first met him was going to be particularly special. It had been the same old routine, with sweet Mirajane picking me up in the morning, cleaning the floors, and then it was back to the closet with the mop, the bucket, and my oldest friend, the dustpan. Honestly, in a guild like Fairy Tail, it was common for unusual occurrences to happen, but getting taken out before night was rare, so when the darkness of the closet lifted in the middle of the day, I was pretty shocked.
"Why doesn't Natsu have to clean?" the boy was saying as he opened the door.
"Don't worry about Natsu, Max. He'll be getting his own punishment!" a haughty girl with red hair announced from behind the boy who now clutched me in his hand.
"Fine, fine," he muttered, dragging me out behind him into the main area of the guild hall.
He began sweeping as he spewed out a few complaints underneath his breath, but I could hear them all. At the very least, he didn't have such a vulgar mouth, something that I appreciated. To be honest, the first thing I really noticed when he took me from the closet was how soft his hands were. They were smooth and soft, almost like imprints didn't exist among his skin, like he didn't have fingerprints. It was only when I realized my bristles were picking up sand that I understood he was a sand mage, one who had lost control of his attack and made a big mess in the guild hall. Yes, Erza did not like messes. It was no wonder Max was stuck here with me.
"He started it, so I don't know why I have to clean up," the boy whined some more, cleaning a corner of the room. "Natsu always gets into fights, but I hardly do and I always get the short end of the stick!" He paused in his sulky mood, glancing down at me gingerly before grinning to himself. "Well, I guess you're not such a short stick."
Were I a human, I would have laughed, because come on, that was punny! However, I did not possess a mouth or a nose or anything of the sort that resembled a meat-consuming hole, so I could not laugh, but I did appreciate his sense of humour. I started to pay more attention to him because he was pleasant, even when he was grumpy.
After that, Max was relatively quiet until he started humming. He kept in tune most of the time and I didn't recognize the song, but I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it even more that he was handling me with respect and care. He didn't slam my head on the ground in his anger or even clutch my shaft with an inappropriate amount of force. The job that day was easy and didn't have to be endured.
"You know, sweeping is more relaxing than I thought it would be. It's actually kind of nice," Max commented casually as he kept his eyes on the ground. Most of the sand seemed to be gathered together now and it was time to grab the dustpan. All I could think was that he was such a nice boy and that I was immensely glad he was having a good time sweeping. After all, sweeping was my favourite activity and I couldn't really take a liking to someone that harboured ill feelings toward something as wonderful as sweeping.
I was placed back into the closet, Max leaning me against the wall in a comfortable perch while he set down the dustpan next to me. Just before he closed the door, he gave a wide smile, glancing into my home for a moment.
"Getting in trouble…wasn't so bad…"
I didn't really get to see Max again until a couple years later when he was older, more handsome and more mature. I had seen him a few times when Mirajane took me out to clean, but never close enough to actually observe how much he had grown. He couldn't have been more than thirteen or fourteen when he had first picked me up and now he looked like a fine young man! How did I know? Well, Max rambled enough about how he'd become the Social Event Coordinator for the guild, and though we had only met once, I felt extremely proud.
"I don't even care that I have to stay late to clean up," he proclaimed as he swept the area around Cana's half-naked body. "I'm just so glad that everything went so well!"
With the amount of beer left on the floor, it seemed inevitable that the mop was going to have a lot of work to do tonight, but I was so absolutely taken by this wonderful sand mage that I didn't have time to feel sympathy for my friend mop. His happiness was contagious and I just wanted to wriggle my bristles so I could do a little dance. Of course, we all know I couldn't, so I just had a good time collecting dust in the hands of Max Alors. He was a great stick handler, I tell you. Nobody locked their wrists like he did, nor did they touch my shaft in quite the same way.
Oh, well look at me going all fan-girl over Max! You can't blame me though, right? I mean, you'd probably feel the same way, had you been in my position!
Anyway, that night of cleaning was the first of many. Fairy Tail continued to have events that were managed and organized by Max, most of which I can only conclude were quite fun considering the mess those people left behind. Really, though, I hardly minded the long, hard nights because I was able to spend more time with Max. He smiled all the time, told jokes and made himself laugh as I laughed internally right along with him. Once he was even cleaning my bristles and starting singing that I should "shake my booty". I wasn't sure what a "booty" was, so I simply attempted to shake my bristles. In the end, Max had done most of the cleaning and I had not succeeded in shaking in anything, but he was too happy to care.
I was always exhausted after a long night of work, but Max made it all bearable. We had so much fun together that when the lights of the guild hall went out and the door to the closet closed, I couldn't wait to go to work again. I was just waiting for the door to open so we could sweep together once more.
It was another late night when Max took me out to clean the guild hall in a rather solemn demeanor. He hadn't been himself for a quite a long time, but I wasn't surprised. Everyone had heard about the disaster that had occurred during Fairy Tail's S-Class test. Personally, as much as I liked sweeping with Max, I also really missed sweeping with Mira. She had been great company over the years.
Unfortunately, I couldn't convey this is Max, so he was left feeling lonely during this late, late night. He seemed so worn down, like the weight of sorrow had eroded the spirit he so exuberantly exuded before the disappearance of so many in the guild. It ate at my wooden heart.
"I can't throw parties when nobody's happy. Even I don't remember how to be happy," he admitted, sweeping more roughly than usual. I didn't hold it against him, even if it hurt. He was hurting too. "But doing this reminds me…of how much fun we all used to have."
His face broke out into a weak smile, a smile full of pain and despair of memories past. "I loved cleaning up after events because everyone was together and everyone was so happy, but now it just seems so pointless."
I wanted to tell him that it wasn't pointless, that he was wrong and that he wasn't alone. I wanted to tell him so badly, but all I had was a slightly splintered wooden shaft and a bunch of bristles that desperately needed to be cleaned. I didn't have arms to hold him, a voice to reassure him, or a hand to put in his. Max made me forget that I was a broom and that sweeping was work. He made me forget and all I could do was remind him of a lighter past. Now, all I wanted to do was console him and it made me excruciatingly aware that I was just a broom.
"But…out of everything, doing this is what gives me the most comfort," Max said softly as he stopped sweeping to look at me in his hands, "because it's you that keeps them alive for me. Every celebration ended with you and every one of them remains with you."
Then the room was quiet, save for the sound of my bristles brushing the floor. I wanted to cry then. I wanted to wail out all the agonizing pain that was coursing through me because Max hurt and his pain was mine. But yet again, I was just a broom…just a broom that loved this man named Max.
I honestly had no idea what was going on when I was suddenly yanked out of the closet by Max, but that quickly changed when the guild hall came into my view. Chaos; a kind I hadn't seen in a long time—seven years, to be precise. People were fighting, people were drinking, and people were on the floor. It was a beautiful sight. Everyone was home.
And, well, it was clear Max was hammered because of this, not that it would take much. The sand mage could be fully inebriated after only two mugs of beer. So basically, he was completely smashed and for some reason went to retrieve me from the closet. I was flattered, but kind of confused. I had never been taken from my sanctuary during a celebration or party—maybe the mop was sometimes, to clean up various spill hazards, but never me, the broom. What reason did Max have to bring me out now?
"I love 'is broom!" Max proclaimed in a drunken slur. "Yeknow, when evr'yone wuz gone, this broom is all 'at kept me going!"
Some of the guild members looked at Macao quizzically, who shrugged. "Hey, I can't watch everyone all the time. I've got a kid too."
"Me and tha broom! I love tha broom!" Max began to sing, dancing and taking off his shirt as he smothered me. I was rather bewildered, and, admittedly, a bit flustered for a wooden stick.
"Stripping is Gray-sama's signature!" Juvia shouted in devastation. I didn't know her very well, but she almost seemed offended by the fact that Max was removing his clothes in front of everybody.
Max simply ignored her and continued dancing with me, twirling me from one hand into the other and somehow boogie-ing his pants and underwear off. I wasn't sure when it had happened, but the sand mage ended up stark naked while we did the waltz amongst the disorder that was occurring in the guild hall until he passed out on his face, butt high in the air with my shaft embedded right between his cheeks.
…I bet that made him sound really gay, huh? But trust me; with the amount of time he spent leering at women in the hot springs, Max isn't gay. I swear, I am privy to the knowledge of all the breasts he's seen to this day, despite the fact that I ended up sticking out of his colon more than once. I'm glad he at least had the consideration to clean the tip of my handle as I was not exactly fond of fecal particles.
Of course, none of this is really the point of why this part of the story is significant, but bear with me.
I was glad everyone was home. Reuniting with Mira was actually one of the happiest moments of my life, but what was even better was that I didn't go back into the closet that night. In fact, I didn't go back into the closet for a long time.
Max took me home the next day, which was an odd journey, considering I had never been outside. I can't say if the air was chilly or warm as I was particularly insensitive to temperatures, but it was moist and I didn't really enjoy the way it was affecting my grain. Max's hand felt sticky against me, something that had never happened within his light touch before. It wasn't something I cared to experience again, but I'd do it if it was for Max.
When we got to his apartment, I couldn't help but admire the ambiance of his place. Quiet, calm, and relaxing…all things Max when he was in solitude.
He placed me against his bed as he got ready to sleep, leaning me on the side of his headboard. Before he turned out the lights, he glanced at me, smiling softly.
"You know…I can't help but feel like this is all a dream—that everyone's actually home, but when I've got you by my side, I remember that this is reality. It's like you chain me to this world, like you keep me on Earthland when I want to go away," he chuckled, maybe a little embarrassed of himself. "It's a funny thing to be so attached to a broom…"
He didn't say anything else as he turned off the light, but he didn't need to because it was a funny thing to be attached to a broom. We didn't have any other purpose than to sweep. I was an object and he, a man. We were never meant to be, and yet here I was in his home, next to him where no one else had ever been.
Love is such a bittersweet thing, especially when it's bitten by irony.
As I said before, being outside was not my favourite thing, but Max started bringing me to every place he went except on missions. It almost seemed like if he didn't have me nearby, he thought that everyone who had come back would disappear. Maybe that's what he thought—he never actually let me know. All I knew is that I spent time in places that I had never been before and I got to experience it all with my favourite person ever.
The most exciting event occurred nearly right after the missing members of Fairy Tail had returned at the Grand Magic Games. A lot of members who I hadn't really had contact with were fighting, and let me say, they were pretty amazing. I was proud to be the one who kept their floors free of dust. For the rest of us who weren't part of the competition, we celebrated hard in the stands. I remember being high in the air with the roars of festivity reverberating down my shaft. It was a glorious moment where I felt like more than a broom; it was a moment where I felt like one of them. It was the best feeling of my carved life.
This, of course, is in the event of neglecting all that stuff that went down afterwards with dragons and everything, but let's not get into that right now.
Anyway, nothing really changed after that. Where Max was, I was unless he went on a mission. When he was on a mission, I was safely in his room where I became good friends with the lamp on his night table. I only saw the dustpan from time to time when we cleaned together, though instead of catching up, it opted to complain about how annoying the wash bucket was becoming, and I hardly ever got to see the mop anymore. I suppose it would be rather hurtful to them to say that I didn't miss them much, but it was true. Being with Max was the most wonderful thing that could ever happen to me.
I don't know how long his attachment to me went on, but it was for a long time. One day, though, the strangest thing happened.
Max forgot me at the guild.
When he leaned me against the wall, it was something I didn't even take note of. Humans needed their hands for things and Max put me aside often. The difference was, he always came back for me until that night. I didn't know where he'd gone or what he was doing and I didn't know that I should worry because nobody else seemed to be concerned for him. Still, I was scared. He'd never forgotten me before. How could he now?
"Oh, what are you doing there?" Mira asked when she spotted me. I really wanted to tell her that I didn't know, that Max had forgotten me, but, you know, I kind of still had problems in that area.
So Mirajane, the kind soul she is, picked me up and brought me home—and I don't mean Max's house, I mean the closet. It was place I hadn't been in such a long time that it was strange to be in such a dark and dank place again and I almost felt like I didn't belong. Even when the dust pan, bucket, and mop greeted me with such enthusiasm, I couldn't feel glad to be there. I didn't fit with all the other cleaning supplies anymore; I belonged with Max.
Max never came to retrieve me. In fact, Mirajane was the only person I really had contact with since the night that he'd forgotten me as she swept the floor everyday with a smile. All I could do was miss him and miss being in his room, though I do have to say that some interesting things happened while I was in the closet.
You know that small girl, Wendy? Yeah, she broke a cup and was so ashamed that she hid the pieces in the wash bucket, apparently forgetting that she was part of a guild that shattered things a lot bigger than a tiny cup on a daily basis without batting an eye. That dragon slayer was so cute; she kept coming back to the closet everyday to stare at the broken glass and feel guilty until Mirajane popped up behind her and found out what happened. Needless to say, Wendy had needed a lot of reassurance to get it into her head that breaking a cup was nothing to feel bad about.
Master's grandson, Laxus, came into the closet once in a while to think. He turned the bucket upside down and made a seat for himself, often contemplating things for hours at a time. I think he liked the silence that the walls brought there. I have to say, though, he wasn't exactly the most riveting guest. He could sit the same way for the entire time he was there and hardly ever changed his facial expression from that stoic look. Occasionally he would smirk, but most of the time his visage was serious and stony. I seriously couldn't tell you even what I thought he was thinking about because I honestly had no idea. The only time he really amused me was when he was trying to leave without getting caught. Mira was usually behind the bar, very close to the closet, so he was always on the look-out for her. His best visit was probably when he opened the door and Lisanna was standing right there. Laxus slammed the door shut so fast while taking a step back that he slipped on the wet mop, landed with his behind in the bucket, and knocked over a container of cleaning solution that ended up pooling underneath his body.
That was a great day, I gotta say.
Now, the most interesting thing that happened was that night when two drunk people came stumbling into the closet. One of them I recognized as Natsu, the reckless dragon slayer who'd gotten Max into trouble the day I met him. The other one—I think her name is Lucy—she was one of the girls Max hadn't seen the breasts of, but wanted to. Well, regardless of who they were, they were a male and a female and they were making out in my closet. Lucy's back even hit me and knocked me to the ground, which I did not appreciate at all. The only reason I wasn't so irritated afterwards was because they were so drunk and caught up in their…activities…that they didn't notice anything around them. I won't go into details, but when they were done, the closet was a mess. Human affection was a strange thing.
Although all of these things were rather amusing, it didn't take away the loneliness I felt without Max around. Even after parties, he wasn't the one who swept anymore. It was always Mira or some boy named Romeo who really liked to talk about his dad and his best friend, Wendy. There was nothing wrong with them, really. I enjoyed being with them, but I missed Max so badly. I just wanted to be in his hands again, trying to dance with him and listening to his soothing voice. Max, Max…
"Ah, gotta sweep!" Romeo exclaimed, grabbing me from the dark closet with enthusiasm. He wasn't so bad, but his singing voice wasn't exactly something to jam to on a nice summer day.
Feeling weary and sad, I succumbed to just doing my job instead of yearning for fun Max used to bring me. I gathered the dirt into one small area and Romeo left me by the counter while he scurried off to get the dustpan.
And then I saw him.
But he wasn't alone. This man I wanted to be mine had found a new partner to enjoy life with. She was a brunette, thin, and tall, just like me…except not like me because she was a human. She could reach out and hold him, laugh at his punny jokes, and likely had nice breasts he could look at. She made him smile. She…she made him happy.
"What in the world was the dustpan doing behind the mop anyway?" Romeo seemed to think aloud as he took me from the counter, but I wasn't focusing on what kinds of things my fellow inanimate objects had been up to.
I watched Max leave the guild with her, a huge grin on his face, I couldn't shake the feeling that he was leaving me behind again. Long ago, he'd said that it was strange to feel attached to a broom and I had told myself that it was true while reminding myself that I was a broom. And so I told myself the same thing again, because it was the truth. He was a man and I was a broom.
So I let go because it was the proper thing to do, and just as I was in the beginning of this story, I am but a broom that sweeps. There is one difference, though. Today, I am a broom that knows the feeling of loss and regret, understanding that the love I had felt between us was one that never should have existed in the first place.
Also, can I just point out you just read almost 4k words through the eyes of a personified broom?
And that's it. Thank you for reading!