A Lazy Head Start
Thing we lost to the flames - things we'll never see again.
Bastille; Things We Lost in the Fire
Under the bright morning sun, a distraught Lucy made her way to Fairy Tail.
Usually at this hour Magnolia was a quiet city, since not many liked to rise with the sun. Yet, the young blonde liked to be up and about early in the morning, specially when she had such an energetic group for a guild. Fairy Tail is known for the ruckus and destruction is carries along, just like snow brings cold, and an union like nail to flesh. Quite frankly, she loved it that way; as to why getting up so early in the morning. Because no matter the time, something must be happening at the guild given it's members.
However, now she was only concentrated on her own thoughts, not really watching her surroundings at all, but from the usual memorized path. It was almost late morning, and the birds chirped and sang happily, since it was one of those light days when the world seems to take a deep breath and you can concentrate on the peace of it. Such tranquility that the wind is just a soft whisper and the sun is comforting. The rhythmic sound of her combat boots against the pavement was soothing because there were no other pedestrians going by, and her own steps were simply familiar. The town too was nice to look at this hours since it looked as if out of a painting with all the pastel colors, scenery and serenity.
But wonder, why such young woman would be thinking so much instead of enjoying such a morning? Well, Lucy's mind was on something else that would be to come in a few months, yet the same event already occupied the mind of most guild members. And that would be the S-Class Mage Promotional Trials.
After the incidents at Tenrou, the guild has gone a long time without any new S-Class mages to go around, specially now that they are trying to regain the lost time. As to why the Master announced the trials six months in advanced. And there were only four months left.
Lucy at first was reluctant, but she was thinking her way around it, thinking that maybe, just maybe, she should give it a try. It was somewhat late to start training and taking on missions right away, but she had to, because now she was convinced that she could make it to S-Class.
So much for being clever - she was leaving everything until the last day.
Master Makarov had announced that this year he would allow ten contestants, and in the larger number, the contestants had to pair up with each other since this year there would be two winners. Meaning that depending on the team there would be higher chance of winning for everyone. And Lucy was sure that given the right partner she could do it.
Everything had changed drastically since the seven years lost and the Grand Magic Games. She too had changed for the better. Her magic was stronger, and somewhere she also had her second nature. She had grown immensely as a mage, and she was sure she could prove it. This would be a great chance to demonstrate her advances and show that she was not the weak Celestial Spirit mage everyone made her to be.
Because the truth is that Lucy knows that even though she is a loved member in the guild, and even though she was in Erza's team, she was not of the same level of any of the rest of the gang. Stronger than Happy, yet Wendy is younger and she too could easily last longer in battle than Lucy. To her it was frustrating really, and she really wanted to show the rest how much she'd grown.
Lucy's mind was running on a frenzy, as she was trying to come up with a training schedule that could meet her demands while also giving her time to go on missions. Capricorn would be of help, and she could train during her trips. Still, the youngest Hearfillia's mind was clouded and she was confused. There were so many things that could go wrong. If she was unprepared, or if she was as weak as the others thought it could influence her much. What if I don't have enough magic power? she thought, her hands fumbling with the end of her whip. I could be an easy target too. Maybe they will try to get rid of me first. Oh, what am I thinking, I don't even know if the Master is considering me for this! What if he too thought I still needed time to prepare? What if I'm just too late to start worrying over this?! Her brow furrowed deep in thought, as she kept on fighting herself. But what if -
She broke out of her reverie when she was suddenly shoved harshly as someone went past her in a hurry into the open doors of the guild. Not enough force to knock her down, but enough to push her aside. As if coming back to Earth, she mumbled a 'sorry' but she doubted the stranger heard her, and she then noticed who it was.
None other than the Lightning Dragon Slayer, Laxus Dreyar. Why he was in such a hurry, she had no idea. And truthfully she didn't care. Lucy was now frowning for his rudeness, her brown eyes boring into the dull colored coat as he disappeared into Fairy Tail. His haste made no sense to her whatsoever, given that he was never in a rush, and he was already an S-Class, meaning that he didn't need to race into missions to get into the exams. It was not of her business, so she dropped it, deciding to dismiss what just happened.
Quickly now she made her way up the front steps and into the same doors Laxus had gone by in the past second, yet when she came in he was no longer in sight, and the guild was half empty. At least some were still asleep and others were doing missions. The majority was crowding the main board trying to find easy fast jobs that allowed them to come back and do another almost in the same day, probably with very little rewards. It was always like this at this time of the year, just that Lucy had never worried over this too. I have to start thinking positive! I would have been named Lucky if I were a boy! I can't seriously be worrying this much. Have little more faith...
Settling for a positive attitude now, Lucy smiled, greeted by the same coloring and homely image the guild presented to her. Hardwood polished floors and walls lined with green tapestry that boarded the guild's insignia in orange lightened any day. The strong smell of beer and ale clung around, combined with the welcoming scent of Mira's cooking was just very familiar and something she was so used to by now. The tables were in rows, only a few with mugs or cups lying around empty. And at the end, just next to the staircase to the basement, was the bar, were a cup of coffee awaited to be the official start of another day.
Apparently no one from her group was around now, which gave her a few more minutes to relax and ease before coming up with her game plan. So smiling at the white haired woman before her, Lucy took seat in a stool and twirled.
"Oh, hello, Lucy-chan, what can I serve you this morning?" Mirajane asked, a cute tilt to her head with a smile as she placed the glass she was cleaning down on the counter.
"I would like to have some coffee, please." The Celestial Spirit mage said.
"Coming right up!" and with that Mira left for the other end of the counter. Lucy wanted to have a more private conversation, so pushing herself forward on her elbows she leaned across the bar.
"Mira-san, may I ask you a question?"
"Sure!" the other girl chirped, smiling brightly with her soft tone.
"Do you think Master is considering me for the S-Class...?" her voice drifted, a little ashamed that she after all was caught in the curiosity, and knowing that Mira was a very close confidant to the Master she could probably offer some answers.
"Are, are," Mira smiled at her reassuringly. "No need to be shy, Lucy!" bringing the coffee over, Lucy looked down at the copious mug Mira was offering her. In the dark languid substance she could make out the reflection of the bright lights of the guild, and Mira's expectant blue eyes.
Lucy sighed slightly, capitulating to the power of a tender, understanding gaze. "I want to be on... the S-Class trials and I was wondering if the Master was considering me as one of the candidates..." her words drifted off at the end, but this time Mira caught them and she laughed softly.
"Master is always thinking of us! Of course he is considering you!" Now Mira's smile widened and Lucy smiled back. The older mage never failed in bringing her mood up. "And if you're still worrying I'll bring you into the topic more often!" she winked at the blonde, and as Lucy laughed she took a few more empty cups to continue her cleansing, leaving Lucy to sip her coffee quietly. She was watching the guild with particular interest, seeing that during her little chat more people had joined the crazed pandemonium that was becoming the message board, and she had to laugh when a fight broke over a peculiar easy quest.
"-but I got it first!"
"Yeah, but you took another one after!"
"I looked at it first!"
"I brought it up first!"
"Hey, I was looking for that!"
"No - wait I had it!"
The mages grew louder, and Lucy couldn't agree more that it sounded more like the usual business. Somehow in the mist of it all, a small blue head bobbed towards Lucy, followed by a little white cat with wings. "Lucy-chan!" the young girl called, holding up a mission.
Lucy turned at the sound of her voice and smiled at the young girl as she made her way over, Carla flying forward to sit in the counter next to Lucy. "Hello, Lucy." The white cat said politely as she made herself comfortable.
"Ohayou, Lucy-chan!" chanted Wendy with her friendly nature.
"Picked a mission?" Lucy asked, taking another sip of her coffee before placing the hot mug on the counter and smiling at both the young girl and the cat.
"Hai! Carla and I will leave for one today! Seems easy for me to do..." the cute girl drawled. "I want to work on my magic if I'm going to participate on the S-Class exams again!" Smiling brightly at Lucy she sat on the stool next to hers.
"I understand," Lucy told her, placing her mug down once more. "Every time we go on a mission as a group we destroy everything and have to pay up half of the reward." Wendy shrugged, knowing so. "I will do the same thing myself, if I want to have my rent for this month. Anyway, what's your mission about?"
Wendy frowned slightly and looked at the piece of paper, slightly wrinkled from her hold. "Well it's about taking some merchandise safely from Hargeon to Acalypha. And it'll be all by train, so I guess it would be easy." Looking up, she met Lucy's chocolaty gaze. "Easy enough, right? And the reward is 800,000 jewels!"
Now Lucy looked at the same piece of paper uneasily. "800,000 jewels for escorting?" It was a little suspicious, because if the job were just as easy as described, then it should not have such a reward. Carla nodded.
"I thought it was strange too," the cat added.
Wendy didn't falter. "I think that they don't know what they're paying or are just plain rich."
The young girl was right in the latter, given that it was always a case like this, however Lucy worried over the Sky Dragon Slayer. It was on instinct really, but she didn't want to let Wendy go on her own. The Celestial mage knew she couldn't do anything about it, given that she was clearly not invited into Wendy's solo adventure, and she too was not supposed to plan with this. She needed to make her own missions, and no matter how worried she was for the younger sister that was her companion, she didn't want to interfere with Wendy's plans. So without further dodging, she smiled and said: "I guess so."
Wendy was just such a caring young girl and Lucy had taken a like to her immediately. Now with the upcoming events she was still a little concerned over the other mage, but she was sure Wendy could handle herself even better than Lucy could. At least, all Dragon Slayers could, and she was sure Wendy was terrific. In the Grand Magic Games she had fought Cheria and if the God Slayer had not had the power to heal herself Wendy would have surely won.
"What about you, Lucy-chan? Are you planning on joining the exams?" her enthusiasm was clear in her voice and Lucy laughed.
"I think I will. Everyone is already training, so I guess I will do so too."
"That's great, maybe we can practice together some time?"
"Sure! When are you leaving?" her coffee was getting cold, but Lucy was not really into it right now.
"Today afternoon. This way I can take the train to Hargeon today and be there by early morning. After that it would be another two days traveling from Hargeon to Acalypha. And from Acalypha I will take the train right back to Magnolia."
"Sounds good, and it's short."
"Yeah, it will only take me four days max."
"Hmm." Carla harrumphed, causing Lucy to laugh again.
"Don't worry, Carla, if anything I'll be there to help you out!" she offered, seeing the cat smile slightly at her.
"How come no one else took that mission when the payment is so much?"
Carla scoffed. "Everyone is looking for missions of about a day. They don't care for the reward."
Wendy smirked at Lucy. "Doesn't matter though, it's better for us!"
Lucy just grinned at the always smiling girl before her. Wendy understood what Lucy was going through with her rent, even though she herself could pay Fairy Hills. That just made their bond stronger, since at least on their team only Wendy seemed to bother over her rent at all. The rest acted as if millionaires, destroying what they wanted and not even mentioning their rent due every thirty days.
"I'll -" BANG!
Lucy was unable to finish her sentence when the slamming of a door made the top half of the guild shudder. The wood frames looked still, but upon placing her hand on the bar she could feel the waves resonating. Whomever had done that was clearly in a terrible mood and was really uncaring with how it was viewed. Silence fell and the atmosphere thickened, all eyes on the stairway from the second floor. Automatically everyone wanted to see who had slammed the door with such force. Now the fight over the missions had stopped, those who were eating looked up, and those at the bar like Lucy, Wendy, and Carla were fixed to look at the same spot. Lucy was about to say something when heavy foot steps became louder as they reached the top of the stairs, and then the descent was followed by slight creaking of wood. The thuds were slow, indicating that that person was trying to compose themselves. Beside Lucy, Mira walked over and placed a tray on the counter, forgetting all about the drinks she still had to serve while also watching wide eyed. Finally the shadow of a body fell over the bottom steps and Lucy found herself looking at Laxus.
She looked at him questioningly after how he'd brusquely shoved her earlier, and now with the door slamming. Whatever was bothering him had to be bad. He was the reserved and calm type. Lucy couldn't imagine him making a tantrum, but obviously something was really getting the best of his facade. Now when she looked at him Lucy could see just how much he was restraining himself.
Even with his coat on the spirit mage could see him clenching his fists, his nails probably digging into his palms. The Lightning Dragon Slayer was looking down, but when he raised his head, everyone who was busily staring at him looked away, trying to be a little more sublime with the matter, and clearly looking to stay out of Laxus's bad side. Yet much to his chagrin, Lucy didn't look away, as she was still studying him when he met her eyes.
Her gaze went from his clenching fists, to his squared jaw, to his stormy eyes. For some reason he knew she was watching him, and so he turned to meet her brown warm stare. In a second of hesitation his lips parted by her bold gaze, but then he glared at Lucy before turning away quickly. It was such a strange succession that he didn't know what to do actually. It had been a long time since anyone other than the Master looked at him when he was in an angered state.
Lucy, however, was unfazed by his harsh behavior as he walked away, his steps the only audible thing with all the silence. She watched until his figure was erased by the outside light, already out from the guild as quickly as he'd come. As if on cue, havoc broke. Now that he was not there everyone noisily returned to their tasks at hand, talking about the weird occurrence. The Spirit mage was brought back by the words of Wendy, who was now talking to Mira over the same thing everyone else was thinking.
Mira shrugged, a small frown and letting her eyes wander to the stairs in which Laxus ghost was still standing a few seconds ago. Her dark blue eyes questioning. "Master must have had a fight with Laxus-san. " Placing a glass down, Mirajane continued to pick up her neglected tray and load it with drinks. "Whatever it was must have been something really bad to bother Laxus that much." Her soft tone trailed as she went her way around the bar and smiled at Macao.
Mira was gone again, and now Wendy spoke to Lucy.
"Why would Laxus-kun act that way?" she asked.
Lucy shrugged. "I'm not really sure."
Wendy twirled on her seat, her white knee-length dress flowing around her lightly. The Air Dragon Slayer gave a hop as she jumped from the stool and beamed at Lucy. Carla too stood and bobbed her head. "Gomen, Lucy, but we must head back and start packing if we plan on leaving this afternoon."
"Carla is right, we have to head to the station early!" the younger girl graciously added, while also picking Carla and nestling her in her arms.
"Good luck!" Lucy wished her, as Wendy started making her way across the guild.
"Sayounara, Lucy-chan!" shouted Wendy, her figure smaller in the distance, yet Lucy could tell she was waving.
"Take care!" was the answer of the blonde, who now turned on her stool to watch her.
Well, Lucy thought to herself. I need to pick a mission if I want to get things going! Clasping her hands, she stood now, ready to face the crowd at the main board. She needed to find a job easy enough for her on her own to do, and also difficult enough for her skills to be tested.
As she approached the bundled multitude, Lucy noticed that it was scattering, unlike the state it was in a few minutes ago. Perhaps the strange happenings of the morning had everyone like her confused, because now the voices lowered. There was no silence, but people spoke in hushed tones about Laxus's exit. Before she stepped into the crowd, she rearranged her belt and took a deep breath. Alright, let's do this!
She pushed her way through the rest of the morning, trying to read all the quests that were flying around from member to member, each discarded after the other for the next wizard. Only when Jet starts a fight with Droy does she look down to see herself standing on a mission. Picking it up, the blonde brushed the dust of boot prints in it and smiled.
Finally she had her first mission.
Special thanks to Deathsembrace137 for proof reading! Check out her awesome story A love of Lightning if you want more Laxus X Lucy action! This is my first Fairy Tail fanfic. Please review and tell me what you think of this first chapter! Should I keep going?
Ohayou: casual form of Ohayou Gozaimasu, which means good morning.
Arigatou: when said alone it is casual of good-bye.
Hai: means yes.
Gomen: is a short form of Gomenasai, which means sorry/pardon.
-chan: and -kun are informal, almost affectionate equivalents to -san.
-san: is a generic prefix, like saying Mr. or Ms.
-sama: is an honorific prefix, suitable for someone you respect.
Are are:is to say 'hey,hey,' or 'alright,alright' - in context used as 'wait a second'.