Disclaimer: I do not own Fairy Tail.
A/N:So finally back! Been caught up in a lot of personal stuff, so it's nice to finally have a breather. As of right now this chapter in unbeta'd, so...yeah. I apologize for any mistakes that might have slipped by me.
Tales of the Past
"….And so that's why we've invited Wendy, Carla and Cobra to join us." Erza finished after a long-winded explanation, thankfully leaving a few of the more disturbing aspects regarding E.N.D.'s appearance. Cobra silently thanked her since there was no way in hell he would ever do it in person.
From where he stood beside Wendy, Cobra could already feel the stares-awed, wary glances-a plethora of thoughts washing over him, flooding into his ears. He winced a bit at the volume, a feat only noticeable to the master of the guild. To say Cobra was shocked by his unusually short stature would have been the understatement of the year.
'That guy was part of Oracion Seis?'
'What the hell kind of magic can he us?'
'Why'd Erza have to bring him here?'
'Can we even trust him?'
"Oi, Salamander! What the hells the big idea bringing not one, but two Dragon Slayers back to the guild!?"A boisterous yell cut through the crowd, followed by the stomping of feet. Before anyone knew it, Gajeel had all but stormed down the stairs and made a beeline straight for Natsu pushing his forehead against hers, yelling some more. "You trying to prove your better than me or something? Coming back with all these other Dragon Slayers..."
Natsu growled right back. A condescending smirk on her face. "Considering how I kicked your ass last time, I think that's proof enough don't you?"
"That was a cheap shot, and you got lucky punk!"
"What'd you say, you stupid screwdriver!"
"I said piss off, Ash-for-brains!"
'They're like a couple of children...'Cobra thought, a sweatdrop appearing. He looked back and saw some of the guild now swarming around Wendy, who was given a much warmer reception he noticed. He didn't really care much though, merely turning on his heel and heading for the door.
The chaos from the crawl started by Natsu and Gajeel helped cover his escape.
From her spot in the crowd, Natsu suddenly stopped right in the middle of punching Elfman square in the jaw. The brute of a man was sent flying with more ease than before, startling some of the nearby members, and Natsu a little bit as well.
"Haha, nice try!" She laughed triumphant, diving right into things with Gajeel and Gray next.
As usually her fist lit up with flames to combat Gajeels own steel beams and the strippers ice. The three charged, sparing no words, giving out a battle cry. Only unlike previous times where they all would have been blown away, at the last second Natsu felt her power surge. The flames of her hands glowing brighter, wilder, hotter.
"Fire Dragon's Wing Attack!" She watched, eyes flashing a glittering gold for just a split second. Her attack hit with devastating force, easily knocking the two powerful mages back and through the wall even. The surrounding chaos stopped, silence washing over the guild hall.
"D-did Natsu...just..."Wakaba stammered, cigarette dropping to the floor.
From where he stood, Makorov frowned, his booze left forgotten for a moment observing the damage as well as Natsu's sudden confusion. There was an ominous feel to her magic just a moment ago. He glanced towards Erza recalling her account of the being that seemed to possess Natsu, saying it must have been an after-effect of Nirvana.
'In theory it may very well be the case, however...'He couldn't quite shake the feeling of dread he had.
Magnolia was a happy place. With it's cheerful people and sunny weather, Cobra could immediately see how a guild as boisterous and annoyingly bright as Fairy Tail had come to thrive. Then again, that doesn't mean he would do the same. Just looking at all the happy-go-lucky idiots was enough to make him gags.
Kids walking around, holding the hands of what he could assume were parents, laughing. Couples strolling alongside the river, chatting. All of them, their thoughts beating on him like the pounding of drums. He just wanted to make it stop.
"Well now,"A cheery voice said, drowning out the crowd and stepping out from some alleyway"Aren't you that Cobra-san from Oracion Seis?"
He froze momentarily, actually surprised someone recognized him right off the bad. Even the Magic Council had trouble keeping tabs on him, let alone identifying him. Turning he saw an unfamiliar face.
"And just who the hell are you supposed to be?"He spat instead of answering. The girl adjusted her glasses stepping closer, ignoring his own question which irked him greatly. He flinched, shuddering a bit when she latched herself onto his arm almost purring in delight. "Get off me!" He snarled, pulling away.
"Mmm~Sorry,sorry, you just have such a nice physique there!"She said, shrugging nonchalantly. "A big, scary bad guy like you sauntering about, not an everyday occurrence you know?"
Cobra glared. There was something off about this woman.
"What's your name?"
"Hai, hai, introductions are important yes?"Cobra frowned, his ears twitching absently. "That being said you're a Dragon Slayer, yes?"
He remained silent, listening to her train of thought.
"The name's Daphne."
He arched a brow, as though wondering if that were supposed to have some significance to him.
The two stood staring at one another. The usually bustling streets seeming to have quieted down, much to Cobra's relief. People appeared to be clearing out. Only Daphne was standing still, staring at him with something akin to interest in her eyes. He didn't know why though, like Natsu in their own battle her mind was filled to the brim with non-stop talk of dragons-
He froze. Eyes going wide.
Her face darkened, reminding him of Brain when he was in the mood for one of his 'experiments'.
"Hai,hai, I require your assistance with something Dragon Slayer."
A strangled sound of pain tore itself from his throat, something powerful-magic-slammed into him from behind. He fell forward, unable to move. His violet eyes drifting shut, barely able to distinguish Daphne's voice anymore.
"Not to worry, I only need your Dragon Lacrima really. Hai, hai, to power my weapon I just need to cut you open and see what I can find."
In the recess's of her-Natsu's-mind E.N.D. felt strongest. While she may not have been anywhere near the level of full power, thanks to Nirvana the process of her recovery had thankfully been sped up. Well, Nirvana and the other factor.
("You like to be in control.")
She did, she wouldn't deny it. Those with a thirst for power tended to be that way, even so...how long since someone had spoke such words to her? Calling her out on it. Pinned down the way that he was. He should have been cowering, completely at her mercy.
Yet the flickering fire in his eyes spoke of a defiance she had yet to fully crush within him. That unbending will she swore to break the next time they meet.
His face. His eyes. Even his lips. All of it tied together, reminding her of that human-
"Elijah."She hissed the name like venom, glaring down at her open, claw-like hand with malice in her eyes. "How long must you haunt me for?"
The interior of Natsu's mindscape had changed signficantly, as it was no longer barren and completely dark. Now she was at least sitting in a chair surrounding by what some may consider a room of sorts; black and white tiled floor, elegant hanging chandelier overhead with a few scattered torches along the shelves of books. Each book held a different memory of Natsu. Some even containing her thoughts and feelings towards certain individuals such as her teammates.
E.N.D. was in the process of sorting through it all. Lifting her gaze and letting it sweep over the room before her, sighing. 'When I first 'woke' I was overcome with primal urges as expected, however I had assumed to be overcome with the need to kill my sister...'Her train of thought was left open-ended, pondering her next course of action. 'It was fortunate I had a failsafe just in case.'
What she hadn't counted on was the split of her personality the way that it did.
"It seems I must speak with my 'tenant' as soon as possible."
With that thought in mind, E.N.D. slowly rose from her chair in the middle of the room. She channeled what little strength she could muster, reaching out to an invisible tether and pulling on it-
She called out to her other half, an image swirling to life in front of her showing said girl now sitting at the bar, munching on some fire chicken courtesy of a smiling Mirajane. E.N.D. heaved a sigh of exasperation knowing full well the changes that would be occuring for the pinkette in the way of power-levels, and her inability to realize exactly what was going on with her own body.
When there was so response, E.N.D. tried again.
"Natsu!!"Sure enough, Natsu pasued mid-chew, looking up and around.
"Did you say something Mira?"She questioned, blinking. The white-haired girl only frowned, shaking her head. "Huh, I could have sworn I heard..."
E.N.D. was growling now, her teeth bared in slight annoyance.'It seems I am yet able to establish a strong enough mental link with this...imbecile...as of yet, though unfortunate it cannot be helped.' Her golden eyes glinted ominously. 'Drastic measures must be taken.
Cobra's senses came back to him in a muddles mess of emotions and colors; anger and annoyance at being knocked out so easily. Swirls of colors and thoughts assaulting his mind. A groan of pain spilling out from slightly parted lips moving a hand to touch against where he felt a pounding headache. He stilled, his arm refusing to budge when he tried to move it, held in place by something cold and...metal?
"Hai, hai, now let's see what's inside..."A familiar voice whispered just Cobra's eyes fluttered open catching a glimpse of silver. A knife. Just as it was about to cut into him.
"Oh my, awake already?"Daphne said, amused, looking up from her small incision. Cobra glared through the pain, gritting his teeth when the sharp blade ran against his skin, infused with magic, cutting him open like butter. "Well no matter, it's better this way anyhow...you see-"
A scream tore itself from Cobra's throat. His head slammed back on what could have been a table.
"I was going to use one of those so-called dragons they have over at Fairy Tail-they have like three know, can you believe it?-even had someone to help me with it." Cobra thrashed wildly, expression pained. "Then you came along-no one would think it suspicious if a criminal up and vanished right?"
"S-stop..."he groaned, blood pooling onto the table, dripping off the side.
Daphne's expression slowly morphed into something darker-more frightening, almost mimicking Brain's. Cobra gasped, inhaling sharply, eyes misting over during her little game of 'operation'.
"They didn't believe me..."Daphne started to say one point, it was a bit after Cobra thought the room was spinning. His limbs felt sore and drained, no longer struggling against whatever was holding him down. "...said I was crazy, they said dragons don't exist...!" Blood covered fingers closed around his jaw, swerving his face back around, his eyes locking with her own crazed ones, suppressing the urge to shudder when a pang of fear shot through him.
"I'll show them though, and you're gonna help me. Cobra. Dragon Slayer."
Her thoughts were pouring in his ears, drowning out her words even. They were all so horribly descriptive and chaotic. Depicting all the things she had planned for him, her dragon-like drones, everything.
The first thing Natsu noticed was the barren landscape surrounding her. It was similar to that of a desert; empty. No sign of life anywhere. Annoyed, and secretly thinking she had somehow been tricked, she snapped.
"Where exactly am I!?" There was still no one around to address the question to, not in physical form anyway.
"A memory. The connection you felt between yourself and your new comrade is not entirely without a form of validation--"
"Huh?" Natsu muttered with a frown looking up confused. E.N.D. heaved a sigh.
"You know him as Cobra, but I knew him by another name..."
As E.N.D. spoke, Natsu let her eyes sweep across the great expanse trying and failing to spot anything of significance until somehow, amidst the rolling waves of sand and heat, she saw...a bed? What was a bed doing here of all places?
Wordlessly she ran towards it figuring she would finally get some answers if she did. What she saw lying within, pushing aside the soft curtain, was not at all what she was expecting.
It certainly looked like Cobra to her; same soft looking caramel colored skin, sharp, slanted eyes. His hair was the same shade of red if not a little darker. His features were more relaxed though, as opposed to the usual scowl he always seemed to wear, here he actually looked...at peace.
Without thinking about her actions, Natsu reaching a hand forward lightly running her fingers along the sleeping mage's cheek. Only to recoil when he inhaled sharply, shifting his position ever so slightly. He made a soft noise of contentment that Natsu could have sworn made her heart skip a beat.
Natsu couldn't help but blink in fascination. Both at how tender E.N.D.'s voice sounded, and how eerily similar her E.N.D.'s own Elijah was to Cobra in the way of looks thus far.
"When I couldn't reach you by normal means, I was left with little choice but to establish a link of sorts based on a point of connection-in other words-through showing you this memory-like dream I have established a means of mental communication. There are things which you and I must discuss, namely the recovery of our powers, as well as the significance and the one called Cobra in this time and-HEY!"
The explanation went over Natsu's head, absently reaching a hand forward, letting her fingers brush along soft crimson strands. E.N.D. was raving, but she couldn't bring herself to care much. Being dragged into a dream-like place with only the voice of someone you thought to be an enemy made Natsu less trusting of the others motives, despite her attempts to assure it was only 'temporary'.
"Don't touch him!"Was E.N.D.'s first aggravated snarl, just as Natsu's fingers brushed along his cheek.
"How is he here?"She found herself asking. She was surprised when he didn't stir from her her touch. "If what you're saying is true, then...this isn't Cobra right? This is...that Elijah guy?"
"Elijah is already dead. I killed him close to 400 years ago."
Natsu gasped. Her eyes widening, tearing her gaze away from the sleeping mage and up towards the sky-she didn't know where E.N.D. was, or how to make her appear-shouting.
"What!? How can you say that so nonchalantly!" Natsu bellowed, eyes flickering to E.N.D.'s own glittering gold for a moment or two. "Didn't you care about him? Why's he here if he wasn't someone important to you!"
Through their newfound link, Natsu could hear E.N.D. sigh, sounding more exhausted than anything else.
"I already told you, this is but a memory of a dream I once had a very long time ago. It was before I had actually even met Elijah in person; he had been cursed." Natsu was still looking quite lost, struggling to comprehend the waves of information being thrown at her so suddenly. "Just as your Cobra is, very soon you will be faced with the same difficult task. In time your memories will return, along with your strength and Curse power, believe me when I say this for the sake of we etherious Cobra must die."
"Where is it? There's no lacrima!?" Daphne said, frustrated, slamming her now bloodied hands down on the table. Cobra made a small noise similar to a whimper, his insides burning, his vision blurred and disoriented. Blood coated fingers wrapped around his chin twisting his face to hers.
"Where. Is. Your. Lacrima?"Daphne asked slowly, barely contained rage seeping into her every word.
The irony taste of blood coating his lips doing little to push back the wave of nausea that settled over him. He could have sworn Brain said he had the lacrima implanted somewhere-was it closer to his heart perhaps?-shaking his head weakly to show he did not know. Daphne regarded him with disdain.
She released his face, turning on her heel to leave the room.
Cobra watched her go from the corner of his eyes. A shaky breath leaving his lips the moment she was gone, struggling to sit up on the now blood covered table. When he did he shuddered, head swaying when he gagged, forcing the upcoming bile to recede immediately.
"Ngh!...huff...huff...A-aaa!"He winced, an especially sharp pain lancing through his veins from a particularly brutal gash in his side. His shirt had been torn to shreds so that she would have a more 'clean cut' as she put it.
'This is...nothing...'He thought to himself, frail breaths of air passing through his lips sliding off the table, purposely crashing onto the floor below suppressing the sudden urge to cry out from the pain. His hands clamped over his mouth, screwing his eyes shut for a brief moment.
'Have to...keep moving!'He thought, pushing himself onto trembling legs.'Have to get back to-'
His train of thought stopped. Where exactly was there for him to go back to?
Trembling, his ears twitch hearing Daphne's footsteps. He tensed leaning up against the wall, his eyes sweeping across the room, stumbling and grabbing the first sharp object he saw. The blood made things difficult, causing things to slip around a bit more. He heard the click of the door opening and acted on impulse-just like back in the R-system-
"-couldn't find the lacrima, so I-AAAAAHHHH!"Daphne screeched, a sharpened blade embedded deep into her leg making her drop down onto the floor, allowing Cobra the chance to spring past her. Adrenaline rushing through his veins, barely noticing there were now two individual thought patterns being heard until-
Cobra gasped, the tiles turning slippery as he ran. He fell, skidding along the fresh sheet of ice. He was on his knees, backpedaling in an instant. Years as a slave taught him well, already bracing for the backlash he was sure would come from acting out. He was shocked, to say the least, when familiar navy blue eyes met his, equally wide and even a bit horrified at seeing him of all people.
Cobra swore that if he weren't still stuck with that crazy bitch, Daphne in some way. He could have very well cried out in relief at seeing that dumb, powerful iceblock standing before him. Shirtless and all.
Hope you liked it. Review please!
Question: What do you guys think of the development between E.N.D. and Natsu? Do you guys like a more evil!E.N.D. or would you rather see her turn out somewhat good? Which one should Cobra start to fall for first?
Also as a bit of a sidenote thing, whoever can guess what movie I was inspired from with the last scene between E.N.D. and Natsu, will get a little bonus piece for next chapter!:)