Chapter Four: Slipstream

All Lucy can feel is pain.

She tries to keep up with her step-mother, but her sprained ankle forces her to to take small, quick steps and soon she's lagging behind. Aquarius' vice grip practically rips her arm from the socket in her efforts to hurry her along. Lucy resigns herself to being towed in the slipstream.

At least the walk is short.

Mercifully, Aquarius drops Lucy's arm the moment they're inside Mira's dress shop. The blonde tries to rub some feeling back into her shoulder. She finds the seamstress silently studying her from across the room.

"Hi Mira," Lucy says, guiltily dropping her hand. She doesn't want her friend to worry about her injuries.

Mira sits behind a worktable, using a piece of chalk to trace an outline over a section of black satin.

If she's surprised to see Lucy back so soon—a mere two hours since she'd caught her and the Crown Prince kissing in her changing room—she doesn't let it show.

"Good afternoon, ladies," Mira says, a warm smile gracing her features. "It's been a while."

"Mira, how enchanting you look," Aquarius simpers, drinking in the seamstress' lovely gray linen dress and the navy grosgrain bow threaded through her hair.

"You also seem to be in fine spirits, Lady Aquarius. What can I do for you today?"

"I have excellent news, I'm here to be outfitted for the upcoming ball."

Lucy has never heard her step-mother sound so carefree before. Despite her aching limbs, she's feeling a bit giddy herself – she hasn't been shopping for new clothes since before her father died and is forced to make do with her step-sisters' castoffs.

Aquarius drifts over to the selection of feathers that Mira keeps in small baskets to use as embellishments. She selects a peacock one, running a finger along the barbs.

Mira cocks her head to the side. "The ball?"

Aquarius twirls the plume between her fingertips, making it whirl in a kaleidoscope of indigo and iridescent jade.

"Yes, the Prince's 25th birthday party. I need four costumes."

"Prince Natsu's party?" Mira repeats slowly.

"That's right." Aquarius nods happily, making the feather spin even faster.

"Sorry, I can't do it."

Lucy can feel the smile slipping from her mouth. She gapes at the dressmaker.

No, please. That's impossible. Mira, you have to help me.

She tries to convey her need, but her silver-haired friend just shakes her head slightly. Lucy dimly registers Aquarius beside her, making a small, strangled sound.

The feather stops spinning.

"What do you mean 'you can't do it'?"

Mira shrugs, sending Lucy an apologetic glance. "I'm sorry, Lady Aquarius, but it's impossible. I'm closing down the shop next week."

"You're closing down th—" Aquarius bites off the words, taking a steadying breath. "How could you? You're a seamstress, aren't you? This is your job. You sew clothes for a living."

Mira sighs, her shoulders slumping. With a slow, deliberate movement she puts aside the piece of chalk. She opens a drawer, fishing out a rag. She meticulously cleans her hands the way a crow picks at roadkill.

Lucy notes her step-mother shifting her feet impatiently, her cheeks flaring at how slow Mira's being, but the tailor doesn't pay her any mind.

When Mira's finally finished, she inspects her nails, spreading her fingers wide in front of her. "It's not my job, actually. My sister's getting married in Crocus in three weeks and it'll take me at least ten days to get there, if the weather holds. I'm not missing my own sister's wedding."

Aquarius stares at Mira as if she's gone mad. "You're choosing a mere sister over the social event of the year? Does word not spread to Crocus about such things...with traders or minstrels or the like? Surely your presence is required here."

"It's not, but I'll be sure to pass your complaints along to my sister about how inconvenient her wedding date is for you," Mira replies, flashing her teeth. Her voice like poisoned honey. Deadly and sweet.

She selects a pair of scissors, barely bothering to glance up. "Now if that will be all, I'm afraid I must ask you ladies to leave. I have some work to finish here."

"Mira, please. It's summertime. Is this not your busiest time of year? Surely earning good coin is far more important than attending a simple handfasting ceremony. Ten days of travel time there, a visit, then traveling home…" Aquarius tilts her head as she does the calculations. She clasps her hands together as if in prayer. "Why, you'll be gone for an entire month! Just think of all the money you'll be losing. Why not send word ahead now that you can visit your sister in the fall, when you have fewer customers?"

Her sudden concern over the seamstress' livelihood is an act that fools no one in the room.

Mira remains engrossed in her work, tugging at the fabric as she makes her incisions.

"Most weddings take place during the summer, in case you haven't noticed," Mira replies. The soft snick, snick, snick, of the scissors seems to emphasis each word. "At any rate, I own my own business and can close whenever I please. I delivered the queen's dress to her today. Two weeks early. Anyone who needed a costume placed their order months ago. You must've been a late invite."

It takes a full thirty seconds for Aquarius to register the words. Her face darkens.

"You can't do this to me! I'm the Lady of House Heartfilia and you're nothing more than a servant!" She fumes, snapping the peacock feather in half. "You have a week to sort out my order and yet you make no attempt to do so. You're taking off to Crocus and leaving me high and dry! What of my daughters? What will I say to them when they hear of this?" She rips the feather to shreds, mangling it in her hands.

Mira rolls her eyes. With a heavy sigh, she leans an elbow on her desk, propping her head up by the heel of her hand.

"Lady Aquarius, I can't solve all your problems for you. Especially not the ones concerning your daughters. I'm a working woman and don't have that sort of time. Although I understand your need, I simply can't be of assistance. Try Onibus or perhaps Kuniga. They're a bit further north," she jabs her shears in the proper direction. "Perhaps they can help you."

"Onibus is nearest and that's still three days away!" Aquarius bristles. "And their clothier is half-blind and old!"

"Helga? She died last winter. I hear she found an apprentice before she passed on, though."

"You'd send me to an apprentice!"

Mira pauses her work, running a critical eye over the onyx material. Lucy can tell by the shape she's making a man's vest. One panel cut, she sets it aside.

"I'm not sending you anywhere, Lady. I'm merely explaining your options."

"You have given me no such thing, you miserable bitch!"

That gets the dressmaker's attention.

Mira jumps up from her chair, tossing the swath on her desk the way knights throw down gauntlets.

"I really don't appreciate your tone and I don't need your business. So again, I'll kindly ask you to leave." Mira hisses, stalking around her desk to the front door. She yanks it open so hard that the wind chimes twist around each other, clanging haplessly.

Still holding the scissors, she flourishes an arm toward the street. The metal catches the light, pointing the way.

It's the first time Lucy's ever seen her step-mother at a loss. Aquarius is stunned into silence, her face a burning crimson as she struggles to regain her composure.

"Fine then," Aquarius sniffs, smoothing down her dress with one hand and adopting a haughty air. "Come, Lucy. We need to get on the road early tomorrow."

She opens her right fist, letting the colourful bits of crushed feather swirl down like snowfall. She steps over them as if they're excrement in the street.

"You're paying for that. Even a miserable bitch like me isn't giving away free feathers," Mira announces, her voice low and sizzling. She gives an agitated kick with her heel so that the door slams shut behind her and the wind chimes twist even more, strings knotting so that the brass bells look ineptly melded together. She marches back, holding out her hand.

Aquarius stares at the upward-facing palm, and for the briefest of moments, Lucy's afraid her step-mother might spit on it.

Tension ripples around the room like a maelstrom. Lucy's heart racing in trepidation as she watches the two women face off. The seconds tiptoe by, as if time itself is anxious to leave and the Fates couldn't care less if the three of them were left stuck, glaring at each other for the rest of eternity.

The tension lodges like a thorn inside her throat.

Even though she's on edge, Lucy doesn't want to leave. She feels as though all hope of seeing Prince Natsu again will crumble to ash and be swept away the moment she walks out that door.

Mira remains frozen, blocking the exit.

Aquarius is taller and leaner, but Lucy would put her money on her friend. Mira has a spark of a demon inside of her…

Lucy finds herself not knowing what to do, what to say. The pressure inside the small space is becoming untenable. No one is actually doing anything.

Aquarius stares and stares at Mira's upraised arm, then abruptly spins away, moving back to the worktable. She fumbles at her waist to unfasten her coin purse, pulling at the drawstring ties. The contents pour out in a waterfall of gilded copper, silver and gold. More money than Lucy has seen in years. Maybe not a king's ransom, but certainly enough to turn any head.

"There. If common decency can't convince you, Miss Strauss, than perhaps petty bribery will. This is every bit of coin I have. The party is in two weeks. I can't afford to waste anymore time."

Mira comes beside her, bracing both hands against the sideboard as she leans forward, coolly regarding the fortune in front of her."You can't, can you? But as I said, this isn't my problem. One dress would be difficult enough and you need four."

"She doesn't need a dress," Aquarius decides, sliding her eyes to Lucy.


"Sorry, child," she says airily, not sounding sorry in the least, "but if the choice is three dresses done or none, then we all must make sacrifices."

Lucy feels the world tilt as her step-mother's words slam into her full-force. She should have known better than to get her hopes up. This is so typical of Aquarius! Always looking at her step-daughter as though she's the sacrificial lamb.

"It was my helping Queen Mavis today that secured an invite to the ball in the first place! As well as that money you're throwing about!"

"You'll do as you're told as you've always done, Cinderella." Aquarius says, her cerulean eyes darkening to azure, her voice calm and measured. Too calm. The calm before the storm. Threat eddies beneath each syllable.

Lucy shivers in response, her body tingling. Welts from her scars seem to rise up beneath her homespun dress, prickling at her like goosebumps. She can feel the phantom sting of a hundred prior tortures webbed into her flesh.

… And Aquarius' eyes promise more to come if she doesn't fall in line.

Biting the inside of her cheek until she tastes the coppery tang of blood, Lucy nods obediently.

Mira's expression is grim, her mouth a tight slash as she regards the pair. "Three dresses, four. It doesn't matter. It's impossible. Even for me."

"Then you're useless to me!" Aquarius slams her fist on the table, making the jewels tremble and clink together. She finds a 2-cooper mark to pay for the destroyed feather and flicks it away from the pile. It skitters to the table's edge, just shy of falling off. She grabs a handful of coins, angrily stuffing them back inside her pouch.

Mira tugs on her step-mother's sleeve, halting her.

Aquarius stares at the clothier's hand as if she has leprosy. "Just what do you think you're doing?"

"I'm thinking..." Mira murmurs, trailing off. She lifts her hand away, waving it in dismissal. "Oh, nevermind. You haven't been nice enough to me to earn it."

"Earn what?"

Mira eyes the coins once more.

"I really shouldn't bother, but knowing this is an important event and invitations are rarely handed out…" she shrugs, "If I had help, I might be able to do it. Do any of your daughters know how to sew?"

"I do," Lucy offers quickly, "I make almost all the clothes at the Keep. Levy and I are both decent with a needle and thread."

Aquarius nods in agreement, letting the coins slide back down to the table as she ponders the question.

"Minerva is a very good cook, but she lacks patience with detailed tasks like sewing. She's a disaster and refuses to sit still for long periods of time. Sorano was still so young when I married Lucy's father. I taught her some basics but I doubt she'd remember much more than how to sew a button by this point. She hasn't practiced in years. If you give Lucy a bolt of cloth, she can make anything you desire. And...Levy, did you say? I think her name is Lacey." She shakes her head as if the name is of no consequence. "But the small blue one has mended dresses for me before and even makes bone corsets."

Mira plucks up the three gold coins. She rubs them between her fingers like a magician about to perform a slight-of-hand trick.

"Here's my offer then. If you want these gowns sewn, I have eight days until I have to leave for Crocus. Lend me Lucy and Levy to complete the work. If they are as skilled as you say, you'll have your costumes ready or near enough that the two of them should be able to finish everything on time without difficulties."

"Done!" Aquarius blurts out loudly. The blood rushes to her step-mother's face and Lucy surmises she's embarrassed at how resounding her voice is, filling the small space.

Mira clears her throat. "I will also take these," she adds, stretching out to select six silver pieces.

"Wh...wha..," Aquarius splutters. "Three gold should cover the cost and then some!"

"I charge a fee for working overtime. It's my best offer, take it or leave it."

"This is robbery!"

"Robbery is such an ugly word. I prefer extortion."

Oh Fates save us, we're dead. We're all so very dead.

Even as the thought forms, Lucy is intervening, laying a restraining hand on her step-mother's elbow before she can lunge at Mira and choke her to death.

"Mother, you were going to give her all your money. Is this not the better bargain?"

"I don't recall asking you for anything, Cinderella," she snaps, sloughing the arm off.

"No, you just expect Levy and I to sew these gowns for you," she mutters under her breath.

Her step-mother hears.

"You're coming to the ball, too! This benefits all of us," Aquarius reminds her.

Lucy starts in surprise that the blunette is being the logical one. She considers the advantages of getting into an argument with the older woman.

There are none.

Truth be told, she wants to see Natsu again more than anything. She hitches her hip against the desk, trying to subtly take the pressure off her ankle. She almost sobs with relief when the pain ebbs. There's more than the ball to consider – being able to sit and sew will accelerate her healing far faster than doing chores at the Keep.

To Mira she says, "Please allow me to help you in any way that I can."

Aquarius crosses her arms in front of her chest, drumming her fingers against an elbow.

"Then we're agreed, Lady Aquarius?" Mira asks.

Aquarius nods, her teal locks falling over her shoulder. She brushes them back. "I want more than simple gowns then," she declares. "You shall provide masks, feathers, fans, whatever adornments needed to ensure we make a spectacular entrance."

"Of course, milady," Mira bows deeply. The moonlight strands of her hair sway in a way that somehow reminds Lucy of the tarot card Cana gave her.

Before she can get too mired in thought, Mira speaks.

"With time being of the essence, why don't I take your and Lucy's measurements now? Then we can discuss costumes. Your two other daughters can come by first thing tomorrow morning to pick their own designs and I can proceed from there."

"Fine. It's about time we got down to business." The blunette flounces over the the wooden box in the center of the room and stands on it.

Mira pushes a quill and piece of parchment into Lucy's hands.

"If you can mark everything down for me, it'll make the job go faster," she explains.

"Oh, yes. Yes, of course." Lucy hurriedly writes Lady Aquarius at the top of the page.

Her step-mother raises her arms as Mira wraps the tape measure around her, dictating numbers to the blonde.

"Bust, 89 cm. Waist, 64 cm. Hips, 92 cm. have a perfect hourglass figure."

The compliment seems to mollify some of Aquarius' ire at paying an exorbitant fee for four outfits.

By the time Mira's done with both women's measurements and a few rough sketches of the dress that Aquarius wants for herself, the sun is sinking into its lower zenith, casting slants along the walls – dusk-grays interspersing with melting tangerine creams.

Aquarius chooses a show-stopping ensemble, large and elaborate. Lucy isn't sure if it's because her step-mother wants to get back at Mira for the high cost or simply because she wants to stand out at the gala.

Both. It's probably both.

Mira pins a sample of cloth to the charcoal design she's made. "Lady Aquarius, I have an idea. Why don't you leave Lucy here with me? We can begin our work tonight and be up at first light without wasting travel time. I have an extra bedroll in my room. Every extra minute we spend working is a blessings to the Fates at this point."

"You want Lucy to stay out all night? With you?"

"Working with me," Mira stresses. "The sooner we start, the sooner we'll be finished. I have dressed Minerva and Sorano before. I think it's safe to assume that their choice of costumes will be complex for something as grand as Prince Natsu's birthday celebration."

Aquarius can't argue with that, but Lucy can tell that she wants to. The debate is clear on her face. The blonde has never been allowed to stay out past sunset, and only then on market days. Her step-mother keeps her under tight watch. To be given hours of unsupervised freedom is like a gift itself.

… One the matriarch seems reluctant to grant.

"Tonight only," Aquarius finally concedes. "You may well be past your prime, Mira, but Lucy is not. A young virgin of twenty-two shouldn't be gallivanting around Magnolia. She's the sort that attracts all kinds of trouble, and I won't be held responsible for any she brings to your doorstep. I rest easiest when she's under my care."

Mira pointedly ignores the past your prime remark. "I understand your concerns, Lady. You have nothing to worry about."

Lucy bows to her benefactor. "Thank you for paying for my costume, mother. I apologize for my earlier display of temper. I will work hard to ensure you and my sisters have the most beautiful attire. I will sew my own dress last and make sure the design is simple."

"I'm glad someone here can display proper respect for their betters," Aquarius replies, fussily patting at her cornflower tresses. She steps off the wooden box.

With the money exchanged and the deal made, she has no further reason to linger. She clears her throat. "Well, I guess I'll take my leave of you both. I'll be here first thing tomorrow with my daughters and Lacey. We can see what progress the two of you have made by then."

"Of course, I'm sure we'll have made an excellent start. Safe travels to you," Mira says.

"Very well then," her eyes cut into Lucy's. "Behave yourself or I shall hear of it. And I wouldn't go easy on you just because we're family."

As if you've ever gone easy on me, Lucy thinks, but none of her thoughts reach her face.

"Of course, mother. I strive only to be a good daughter and worthy of your pride."

Aquarius snorts at the impossibility of that. Without another word, she pivots on one heel, exiting the shop.

Mira goes to barricade the door, hefting the iron bar in place. She pulls the flowery curtains closed (they're a hideous vineyard green with obnoxiously large cabbage roses...a pattern that Lucy suspects Mira hadn't been able to sell so instead repurposed as window dressings).

The seamstress slumps her shoulders. "Fates preserve me. I never believed that would work!"

"What do you mean? That Aquarius would pay for so dearly for the costumes?"

Mira prances up to Lucy, locking the smaller girl in a bone-crushing hug.

Lucy doesn't know what's gotten into her friend, but returns the tight embrace. "Mira, what's going on?"

Mira grabs her hand, lacing their fingers together. "Come. I'll show you," she says, pulling her across the room.

The dressmaker plucks a lantern off the wall, leading the way to the back of the store. At the end of a long corridor, she opens a door, waving Lucy inside.

With the light behind her, Lucy can only make out dark, lumpy forms. Mira raises the lamp higher, and a wedge of gold spills into the gloom.

Bolts of cloth. Dress forms. Furs and feathers.

Piles of fabric are folded and pressed into various shelves. Overcoats hang from hooks beside her.

It's a storage room. Nothing overly exciting.

"Is there something we need in here to make Aquarius' outfit?"

"Look closer," Mira trills, coming to stand next to her. She hooks the brass lantern over one finger, swinging it like the pendulum of a clock. The shadows jump and dissolve as four dress forms come into view.

Lucy moves closer, not sure if she believes what her eyes are seeing. "What is this?"

"These..." Mira drawls triumphantly, "...are your family's costumes for Prince Natsu's party."

"But...but...:" Sure enough, the exact outfit Mira had been sketching for Aquarius only moments ago is there, resplendent and glorious.

"How in the world...?"

"Cana," Mira replies smugly. "About eight months ago, she came to visit me. She said you would need costumes and asked me to start making them right away. She paid in advance and assured me that Aquarius would offer even more for them," she chuckles, shaking her head in wonder. "She was certainly right about that. I'll be able to buy Lisanna an amazing wedding gift now."

"Cana arranged all of this? For me?" Lucy feels her eyes grow misty.

"Yes. She loves you a lot, you know."

No, she hadn't known. Friends, yes. But to do something like this…

The tears slide unabated down her cheeks, her throat clogging. Mira throws an arm around her shoulders, hips bumping as she pulls her into a side hug. The two women silent except for the sound of muffled choking as Lucy struggles to compose herself.

Mira dabbles at her cheeks with a handkerchief, the way a mother would with a child.

It makes Lucy cry even harder.

After several minutes, Lucy pulls back, sopping up her face with the square of cloth.

"Wait a minute, so Cana used her tarot cards and predicted I would be invited to Prince Natsu's birthday party? And she knew exactly what costumes Aquarius, Minerva and Sorano want for the gala?"

Mira winks. "Now you're getting it."

Lucy's still caught up in a backwash of puzzlement. "But...what was all that posturing about Lisanna's wedding? Why did you tell Aquarius that you needed my and Levy's help with the costumes if they're already sewn?"

"Ahh..." Mira sighs, looking sheepish. "That was an act. Cana gave me careful instructions on exactly how I needed to handle Aquarius."

"That was all acting?"

"I think I missed my calling…" Mira flourishes a bow. "It was one of the things Cana needed me to do."

"What other things could Cana possibly need for you to do? Isn't this enough?" She makes a sweeping gesture with one arm to encompass the garments in front of them.

To be able to go to the ball, to dance with Natsu, to move their burgeoning relationship forward…

It's more than she ever dreamed was possible.

Instead of answering, Mira squeezes her waist, drawing Lucy away from the storage room. They stand in the hallway, near the changing room where she'd kissed the Crown Prince that afternoon.

Mira pointedly ignores the blue-curtained room. "How's the ankle?"

"It hurts," she admits.

"Come on, we're going out. I know a healer who can fix you up and we can eat some supper."

"That sounds wonderful, but I don't have any money to pay for it."

Mira huffs a laugh. "That's not a problem."

"Mira, I can't take anything else from you."

"Lucy, you don't have to worry about a thing. I feel bad, actually. Getting you to try on Lisanna's dress under false pretenses."

The words stop her in her tracks. "All of this was planned?"

Lucy leans against the wall with a thud. She's dizzy. Her entire day...meeting Natsu, feeling heat for the first time, the kiss…

So much for having free will. She rubs at her temples, struggling to comprehend everything Mira is telling her.

"So you didn't actually need me to try on your sister's wedding dress? And Prince Natsu and I…" she can barely choke out the word, "...kissing. Did Cana see that, too?"

Fates help her, how deep did the card reader's magic go?

"No," Mira says hastily. "Maybe. I don't know. You'd have to ask her that. All I know is that Cana ordered the costumes and instructed me to get you into the shop this afternoon using whatever excuse I could manage. I didn't know why she wanted you here until I caught you and the prince making eyes at each other. I certainly didn't know you'd start making out in my changing room."

"Oh my gawds, I could just die." She feels herself sliding to the ground, skirts bunching, exposing her legs almost to the knee. She can't be bothered to yank them back down.

Mira is kneeling beside her, running a soothing hand over her hair. "Lucy, I know this is all overwhelming, but this is a good thing. You met the prince today. He seemed smitten by you. You get to go to the grand ball and who knows what will happen after that? The costumes are sewn, so instead of having to deal with Aquarius and your step-sisters for a week, you and Levy can be here with me! I only have a few orders left to finish and with you and Levy helping me, we'll be done in no time. It'll be like a vacation for all of us. As for Levy, I'm sure that once she hears of this, she'll be looking forward to spending some quality time with Gajeel."

Lucy's mind can barely keep up with everything that Mira's telling her, but she murmurs blurrily. "You know about Levy and Gajeel? Did Cana tell you about that, too?"

"No. He did."

Lucy hadn't even known that Gajeel and Mira were such good friends. Her life at the Keep had made her blind to so many things. She folds her knees to her chest, resting her head against them.

"This is a lot to take in."

"I know." Mira stands, reaching down for Lucy's hand. After a beat, the blonde takes it, allowing her friend to pull her back up. "The Fates work in mysterious ways, but once we've gotten a good meal into you and your ankle fixed, I think you'll be thanking me."

"I don't need any of that to thank you, Mira. You and Cana have done more for me today than anyone else has in my entire life," she says sincerely. Her head is buzzing and heart is thumping inside her chest as she tries to untangle it all, but she trusts her friends implicitly.

Mira beams at her. "Good. Now...let's get you changed out of that hideous dress and head out."

Thirty minutes later…

Lucy sits – a borrowed yellow dress on her body, a steaming bowl of stew in front of her, a tankard of ale at her elbow, and her bandaged foot propped up on the chair across from her.

Fairy Tail is the liveliest place she's ever seen. Crowds of people of all stations surround her. Rich merchants mingle with minstrels. Highborn ladies in silk gowns stand in small groups, fanning themselves and drinking from dented metal goblets, seeming happy to do so. There's people shouting, laughing, toasting. The sort that tell bawdy jokes and thump each other on the back at the end of a punchline.

"I can't believe you've never been to an inn," Mira shouts over the din, dropping a half-loaf of crusty brown bread on the table before sitting down next to her with her own helping of stew.

"I've never been anywhere before," Lucy says, smiling brightly at all the chaos. She loves it here. "Aquarius never saw fit to let me go anywhere aside from the Keep and the market, and I've never had the time or money to go exploring, anyway."

"Marry the Crown Prince and you needn't worry about money at all."

She's happy she can't blush, but her tone conveys her embarrassment. "I'm not going to marry him!"

"Oh?" Mira arches a skeptical brow. "But kissing him in a humble dress shop is okay?"

"It was more than okay," a low voice says from behind them.

Lucy knows that voice. She knows that burning applewood and brimstone. Smoke and spice. Her heart races and every ounce of oxygen leaves her lungs.

With a slight smirk on his face and his onyx eyes sparking with mischief, Prince Natsu ruffles her hair, sending heat flooding through her.

"May I join you?"

A/N: I know it's been way too long. I'm so sorry! I have missed you all so much. This chapter has always been part of my original plan, as I liked the idea of Cana and Mira conspiring together to help Lucy, but it would not come out properly. I hope you enjoyed it and it was worth the long wait!

Inspiration came from Satyrykal, who sent me a link to a bunch of Yuri on Ice AMV's. Every time I got stuck, I would watch another AMV and the music combined with one of my favourite animes kept me going. Thank you, Satyrykal!

This story is a gift for her and if you haven't seen her writing on this site, you have to check her out. She's writing a story for me, also a Fairy Tail fairytale, called The Edge (based on Beauty and The Beast) as well as many other spectacular Nalu stories. She's phenomenal and I can't recommend her storytelling enough.

I appreciate your feedback, likes and follows more than words can say. I had originally thought this would be a short fic (hahahahaha, like I can write short fics?) but now I'm hoping to keep it around 10 chapters. I hope you'll stick around to see what happens next!

I have another ongoing story, Request Board Romance that is longer. It's a Nalu/Gajevy/Jerza humour and romance fic. Feel free to browse if you like!

Shout outs to my reviewers from last time: icanthelpbutfangirl (x2), monitorchick, Rein Serenity, Guest, stranger1999, Larissa, Slash2104, FreyjaBee, Duchixx, noseinabook145, Firefly9917, JAKEDSNAKE, itsxoi (x2), Lodemai04, aspiringgeek, MasterGildarts, it-actually-kate, Guest, YukiMC, FireFlameFly101, ABT4Life, mayu05, ShanaHollows, Mystic Stars, AzmariaMinohi, KJacket, Sanspree, Bs. Trinkets (x2), Stubenhocker, Anna5949, stellarflame, Katnibal94 and of course, Satyrykal!