She could feel the sliver of breath as he yelled in desperation, the tug of his hands through her hair, grasping then slipping, finding no hold, and then the ground swallowed her and she was gone, leaving Natsu kneeling forlornly on the ground, harsh breath tearing holes in the still sky.

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Darkness.

It swirled and ebbed, tugging and twisting around her, spinning her endlessly and endlessly.

Lucy tried to scream, but found her mouth held shut by some invisble force - she couldn't see, she couldn't scream, she couldn't breathe.

She panicked, flailing against the darkness that pressed close, closer.

Until light appeared, starbursting across her vision in supernovas, shuttering her eyes against the glare.

Fresh air filtered across her face, and she slumped to her knees in relief, resting her forehead on her forearms as she gulped in heavy gasps of air, head bowed.

Slowly her senses returned, and she could register the fact that she was out of the swriling darkness.

Darkness.

She shivered - it had been so cold, so empty. So desolate.

She slowly worked herself to her feet, her body twinging with cold and aches - what the hell was that?

She found her answer when she felt a firm hand grasp her hair and pull her to her feet, squeezing a startled yell from of her parched throat.

Which was when she became aware off where she was - the roof.

With Asinath.

Shit.

The town spread below like map on parchment, and her eyes widened as she finally realized the true devesation on Asinath's power.

Rock formations that before had stood tall and proud now lay shattered across the cracked ground, and dust hung in the air in heavy wreathes, cloaking the ground in swirling mists that choked and shook with the winds harsh blows. Buildings had simply been shattered where they stood, and beautiful shrubs and trees that had been in the essence of blossom had been torn from the ground as if by a wrathful giant, and tossed like forgotten playthings across the wide expanse of now empty land.

The city was no more.

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Natsu grasped wildly at the ground, but it was no more than dirt and rubble, no sign of Lucy having ever been there.

He scrabbled wildly at the ground, feeling the bite and tear of rocks slicing beneath his skin, until he felt a strong arm around his chest, pulling him up and away, and another, significantly armoured hand turn his chin silently towards the rooftop.

Two silhouettes stood, harsh against the glaring clouds, a splitsecond for him to burn the image into his mind before one fell.

Lucy.

She sank to the ground, her hair shadowing her face, and he strained to get to her - something was wrong. Something was really, really wrong.

Asinath smiled across the distance, directly at him, and he felt his blood boil as Asinath reached down, casually, almost bored, to grasp a full handful of that blonde hair Natu loved so much, pulling her to her feet.

Even across the expanse he heard her pained yell.

He started towards her again, and now there were two arms across his chest, one armoured,a nd one bare - and both shook with as much emotion as he felt welling up inside.

He was going to kill that bastard for so much as daring to touch Lucy.

Asinath smirked and pulled her closer to him, every line of his body melding to hers, raising his left hand triumphantly.

Something glittered.

Lucy's keys.

He gripped them surely in his fist, the gold and silver of Lucy's hardearned keys glinting in the last light of the day, before leaning down to whisper something into Lucy's ear, something that Natsu, even which his advanced hearing, struggled to pick up across the width.

But he saw her reaction, saw her stiffen and straighten, tense to pull away - something was wrong. Something was really, really wrong.

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Asinath pulled her close, his breath steaming down her neck. She supressed a shudder and pulled away from him.

He pulled her even closer, and she whimpered when she felt his moist lips brush her ear.

"My dear Lucy Heartfilia", he whispered. She tensed and tried to pull away, but beneath the guise of her hair he had a firm grip on her neck, his nails biting in to the fragile flesh.

"I need you to do something for me", he hissed. Somewhere behind her she heard an all too familiar tinkle. A gasp brought about her revelation. Her keys.

He seemed to sense her distress and she felt the smirk pull agianst her hairline.

"Call them", he whispered.

"Call them or I will break each and every key, and scatter them to the depths of Earthland. No one will ever find them again. And your friends shadows will go with them."

She swallowed thickly, before giving a miniscule nod, her voice a wavering whisper.

"I can't... I can't call all of them at once."

Asinath regarded her coldly, before hissing in her face.

"Well you better damn well try."

She didn't want to. She really didn't want to - but the shadows. Her spirits.

She couldn't let him hurt her friends. Never. She would never let him hurt her friends.

She drew herself up, drawing her shoulders back, her mind whirring a mile a minute, planning already as she reached for the keys in Asinath's clawed grip.

He smirked and threw them, and she barely caught them before they flew off the edge, herself peetering dangerously on the edge before regaining control, her feet finding purchase on the marble roofing.

Natsu and the others stared up at her from below, worry etched plainly into the creases of their faces, and it didn't escape her notice that Erza and Gray held Natsu back.

All three of them stared at Asinath, anger drawn plainly across their faces.

She fought to pull her mouth into a reassurring smile, tearing her eyes from Natsu's confused face.

With a deep breath she pulled the first key that she felt from her belt - Loke.

She swung the key wide, murmuring the incantation to the sky, as a familiar golden glow speared the sky.

Loke swung into existence next to Natsu, playboy grin stretched wide across his face, suit impeccable and glasses perched on his highbridged nose. He swept his hand wide and flourished, turning to address Lucy - and instead finding himself facing three upset Fairy Tail mages.

His eyebrows skewed in confusion, and his golden eyes flitted across the town, the mages, Asinath and finally, Lucy, once, twice.

His jaw set in stone as he recognized the situation, and his weight settled more firmly on his bent knees and he braced for a fight, only to have Erza frown, and shake her head ever so slightly at him.

Looking back up at Lucy he could see that she had already summoned two more spirits -and the strain was beginning to show on her face, sweat beading her hair to her forehead, eyes skewed in concentration.

Taurus and Aquarius hovered anxiously next to him, eyes darting and assessing as Lucy seemed to shiver, clutch one more key in a trembling palm and held it out from her. Her eyes screwed shut, her lip moved in a silent plea, and then everything was lost in a brilliant explosion of golden light.