Disclaimer: I do not own Fairy Tail. Hiro Mashima and only he owns it.
All rights reserved for their respective owners.
~Destined for more than rivalry~
When Gray Fullbuster first laid his eyes on the pink-haired simpleton of a Dragonslayer the day he stepped into the hall of Fairy Tail, he knew immediately a link was established between the two. An inexplainable bond of rivalry and expectations from the other. Maybe it was his annoying rash attitude, or his loud and irking voice continuously challenging others, most of them indisputably stronger, to a fight, he didn't know. And when his ass was handed to him, he would be crawling back to his feet and scratch his head like nothing ever happened, as if he didn't just eat dust by a boot of Erza, or a smack-down from Mira and in the more, amusing cases, a straight hammer fist on the head by Gildarts or Laxus.
It was a nuisance to the usual calm and cool Ice-Make mage, who was never actually bothered before by someone's idiocy. Yet, Natsu Dragneel always accomplished to crack his icy patience and make him fight with the pinket, a fire burning inside his heart matching that of the Dragonslayer's when clashing heads with him.
The two wizards were more often at odds with each other than not, always the hand of one wrapped around the other's throat, with another hand balled into a fist and punching the living daylights out of their sworn nemesis.
It happened so many times, it became a daily routine for the two frenemies. A glare was more than enough for Pandemonium to happen inside the guild when Gray and Natsu faced each other down.
And still, as much as they hated each other's guts, when asked by almost every single individual they knew, Natsu, or Gray for that matter, would never have a different person by their side in a team fight.
Over the course of the years, the Dragonslayer knew every single muscle movement whenever the Ice Mage clashed, be it against him or alongside him, granted by the numerous battles he fought with Gray. Same could be said by Gray, who had memorized Natsu's entire battle style into his head. Upon even seeing the pinket's first twitch of a muscle, he could instinctively calculate his attacks and act upon them accordingly.
Such was the dynamic between the fire mage and the ice wizard.
They were the perfect Nemesis for each other.
And the perfect partner as well.
Which was why the current face down between two men, one with blood-caked billowing pink hair and the other raven-black hair, equally colored with specks of blood, was so heart-wrenching and painful to watch.
Gray Fullbuster, the notorious Ice Mage of Fairy Tail, was cradling his tattooed arm as a few resigned tears fell down his dirtied face. The black intricate tattoo pulsed with magic, roaring and screaming to its owner in barely restrained blood-lust. Across of the distressed ravenet, an evenly aged man, with features as horrifying as they were awe-inspiring, stared apathetically to his old and most beloved rival, smiling so feebly it was as though he was at the verge of tears.
"Gray..." Please, let that oh so familiar voice not speak to him. It was too painful to hear the deep and dark voice for the black-haired mage, who shook his head in denial when this... devil spoke before him. "You must put an end to this. Your own father gave you this power. For this specific reason, right?"
For this specific reason he said? Was he given the power of a Devil Slayer... to murder his own best friend!? Had he entirely lost his damn mind!? No! He'd search for a different way. An alternative where both of them would be smiling about, and living to see the dawn of another day.
In the war against Tartarus, dark revelations were gradually unraveled by the Fairy Tail members, who now better wanted to let some of them buried and never discovered again.
Marde Guille had gathered sufficient power through the course of their battle to activate the First Book of Zeref, an item of esoteric origins, and unleashed upon the world Zeref's most vilest and powerful creation ever; the Flame Demon E.N.D
Zeref's firstborn, son of darkness, prodigy of the Black Mage of Death and harbinger of destruction and havoc.
The consecration of E.N.D to Fiore was the one Fairy Tail ever expected to happen. A pillar of pure darkness shot from the remnants of Cube and penetrated the heavens with total malice, reddening the clouds sanguine and corrupting the lands into a barren wasteland of decayed life.
Inside the ruins of Tartarus's head quarters, a figure was enveloped by a sphere of darkness so evil, it was as if Zeref himself walked amongst the living, spreading his vile aura of death across all and everything.
Before the resuscitation of the Master of Demons occurred, Natsu and his group of friends were fighting off two Etherious. Amidst the battle, their rose-haired comrade felt the touch of malice seep into his heart when E.N.D's first page was opened, and plummeted to ground while screaming in agony, pain and coldness expanding through his body the likes he never experienced. He clutched his head, slammed it into the ground, turned over several times while screeching diabolically, clawing at his face as his eyes flickered from his usual onyx orbs to that of black screlas and red irises.
E.N.D's book rapidly went through pages, in the blink of an eye browsing through sheets of paper, each passing page like a needle drilled into Natsu's being, filled to the brim with excruciating pain. It felt as if his body was ripped apart, remodeled only for the process to rinse itself and repeat.
Both Etherious and Fairies were watching on mortified at the state of the roset, one group shocked from horror and the other paralyzed with recognition.
And finally, when the tremors died down, when Natsu's twitching body laid limp on the wet floor, and the darkness resided into the recesses of Cube, then they were allowed to let their eyes feast on the appearance of Natsu Dragneel.
Skin seemingly made of bronze, glimmering like polished rust, shone darkly, putting the former tan color to shame. When the pinket opened the lids of his eyes, the world was met with eyes darker than black, with seemingly no end to the pitch-black void that were his screlas. His eyes sported fissures in them, as if cracked like broken glass itself, going all the way to the ends of his eyes.
And to top it all off, a permanent cloak of fire hugged his body, seeping out of his body and fed by the coals inside his demonic stomach. Like a mantle of infernal power, it circulated around his form protectively.
For a moment, it seemed Natsu was there with them, as his eyes blinked in confusion to the whole ordeal. His brought his bronze hands to his face, examined them with narrowed eyes, and then dilated them almost like two full blood-red moons. The rest pretty much still resembled the aspects of a human, with the exception of the thin fibred tailing swishing around.
The commotion attracted the attention of Tartarus and Fairy Tail as members of both guilds poured into the messed hall from all directions, ultimately coming to a stop near Gajeel, Lucy and Juvia when the three gazed in awe at the newly transformed Natsu.
And they kept gazing at the former human Dragonslayer with disbelieving eyes, their brains trying to comprehend who was before them, only to fail miserably, forced to continue their gazing at the bronze humanoid demon.
And it unnerved the recently awakened E.N.D
It was then that Marde Guille decided, as suavely as ever, to step into the stage and kneel down before the Firstborn of Zeref, smiling his usual collected expression to the ground while he bowed his head to Natsu.
And his words only served to spread even more discord.
"Welcome back, oh great Master of Tartarus; first child of Zeref and God of all Demons!" He stole a glance to the Fairy Tail members, smiled victoriously at them and directed that same smile to his Master. "It seems you have some unwanted guests disrupting your welcome, my dark lord."
So, they disrupted him? That was what Marde Guille, a vaguely familiar acquaintance, proclaimed. So, if they proved to be troublesome, then that left him with only one choice.
Cleaning up the place and do the choir.
Before the demon could even take a step forward, ice blocked his way, painful ice shining with holy powers.
One person took the front stages and blocked the way of everyone with a single raise of his arm, who glowed brightly blue.
Gray stared at the Etherious turned Natsu with eyes clouded by a myriad of emotions; confusion, betrayal, pain and many more.
His best friend had turned against them.
He dared to betray them.
He didn't know when or how it happened, but he cared nothing for that.
It all came down to the fact that Natsu Dragneel had turned against them it seemed.
The showdown between the Ice Devil Slayer Gray Fullbuster and the Flame Devil Natsu Dragneel was coming to a nearing start.
First before he bashed the fool's head in, Gray inquired to the demon what had caused him to turn coats. The answer he received was simple, and confusing at the same time.
Did he claim that this was destined to happen then? A fight battled between men who saw the other as a brother? Where only one of them would emerge alive? He refused to accept such a cruel destiny!
And yet, here he was, after a gruesome and extremely lengthy battle for survival fought by Devil Slayer versus Devil, on his knees, with the Devil hovering above his form.
Their fight was unlike any other. The punches were ferocious by tenfold, the kicks by a hundredfold and the magic spells by a thousandfold. The land was torn asunder by ice and fire, scarring Fiore with a memento never to be forgotten ever again. Underneath the thunderings of the red lightning bolts, Gray and Natsu butted heads like vindictive deities of war and destruction, one fighting for the sake of his guild and the other supposedly turned to a mere instinctively active monster, frenzied by the thought of wreaking havoc again.
But when Natsu croaked out Gray's name at the peak of Cube's remnants, the Ice Devil Slayer momentarily raised his head and glanced at his old rival with fixated eyes. Natsu's voice resembled his old self again, light and full of mock, yet it proved to calm the Ice Mage to the point to just watch at Natsu and not hurl ice spells at him.
Despite the stoic and demonic features on his face, an undeniable glint could be discerned within those black eyes when Gray peered into them.
And most of all...
"Please..." Tears streamed down his bronze cheek as he lifted his balled hand. He was doing this against his deteriorating will, but found no will to overcome this. "Please, stop me before it's too late. Before I do something I regret..."
Then, his fist fell...
And blood was spilled on the ground, staining it as well with the sins demons carried with on their eternal voyage for devastation.
(A/N) Recently, I've been doing these kinds of things as excuses to loosen my fingers again from that ancient ice age I so affectionately called... my lack of musings.
So yeah, this is more of a scenario I envisioned when Gray the Devil Slayer would meet the possible Flame Demon Natsu(Come on, it's completely hinted to even who E.N.D is!...Right?
Ah well, I've nothing else to say, just came back from a little day out with my colleagues from work. It was fun, tiring too, but fun nevertheless.
So hereby, I'll depart.