Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Disclaimer: I do not own Fairy Tail.
A/N: warning(s): AU. Female!Smarter!Darker!Stronger-than-canon!Natsu. Natsu is raised by Acnologia, NOT Igneel.(So don't expect her to be as friendly or warm!) Possible OOCness. Scenarios involving possible adult themes/language/violence.(It's a world of dragons and magic, and Natsu's not entirely the same.)
The Sunflower hotel-Natsumi internally grimaced at the name-was an old building that had somehow elbowed its way between another old, converted warehouse and a block of apartments. It was small too. Having only five rooms not including the lobby and stacked on one another like a house of cards.
"You must be piss poor." Natsumi said, as tactless as ever. She saw Lucy flinch, muttering an apology of sorts that the pinkette barely even heard. "Can you not afford better?" She inquired, eyeing Lucy's clothes with an assessing gaze.
"Uh…" Lucy retreated into herself a little more, raising her arms as though shielding herself from the other girl's daunting stare. "Wh-why are you staring at me like that?" The blonde said, the faintest hint of a blush dusting her cheeks.
"Hm. Hurry and get your shit, the sooner we get back on the road the better," Natsumi brushed past her, not even sparring a second glance and heading straight for the receptionist. "You."
The woman behind the counter paled, starting to tremble under Natsumi's...dangerous...demeanor. "Y-yes?" She managed to squeak out, accompanied by an 'eep!' when the intensity of the glare increased. "I need information, and you're gonna give it to me. Understand?"
"Y-yes, ma'am!" The receptionist hurried to say.
Lucy felt a sweat-drop form on the corner of her head suddenly feeling sorry for the other woman.
"Sorry for the slight mess, not that I was expecting company or anything…" Lucy explained with a sheepish grin opening the door of her tiny rented room. Her embarrassment ebbing away momentarily when Natsumi stepped further in and turned almost immediately pinning her with yet another fierce look that sent shivers down her spine.
"Nevermind that. Earlier you mentioned something about being a mage," Natsumi cut straight to the point eyeing the golden keys clasped onto Lucy's belt. "How good are you?"
"Huh? O-oh, well you see, I-"
"Hopefully good enough to pass Natsumi's test at least!" Happy chimed, shamelessly scratching up the already peeling wallpaper on the walls without a care in the world.
"Hey, watch it with those claws, will you!?" Lucy hollered, fixing the feline with a stern gaze before registering his words. "Wait, did you say...test? So then there is a test to become a Fairy Tail wizard?"
Natsumi let out a derisive snort, folding her arms against her chest looking thoroughly unimpressed. "No, but there damn well should be. And if you're going in under the guise of my recommendation, I'm going to make sure you're not just deadweight-" She developed a feral looking grin of delight "-I'll beat out whatever weakness you have within you and then some."
"Eek! Wait, you're gonna beat on me!?" Lucy shrieked, paling. Were all Fairy tail mages this scary?
"Oh don't be such a wimp." Natsumi said with a scoff, the power-hungry gleam in her eyes sending a shiver down poor Lucy's spine while the cat Happy seemed unaffected.
"C-can't I at least have a day to mentally prepare?" The blonde muttered, a small little internal voice wanting to object altogether.
"No." Natsumi deadpanned.
"You'll go easy on me though, right?" Lucy said, trying for one of her patented puppy dog stares.
"No." Natsumi repeated, looking a tad miffed at the suggestion.
"Y-...you won't like, k-kill me...or anything, will you?" Lucy prodded when the almost murderous look brewing in the pinkette's eyes suddenly became more potent.
"..." The two girls stared at one another. The only sounds between them being Happy's carefree scratching. A nervous sweat broke out along Lucy's forehead the longer the silence went on.
"SOMEBODY HELP ME!" Was the fearful screech as the hotel staff watched Lucy get dragged by her inch-heel boots down the stairs and out the front, a small little blue cat trotting along after the two girls. Natsumi was unfazed by the other girl's mournful cries, fixing the front desk receptionist with another sharp glare when the older woman seemed to debate on calling the police.
"Uh…"She hesitated, barely letting out an 'eep!' of terror before slamming the phone back down and cowering underneath her desk.
"Wimp." Natsumi tutted, still dragging Lucy along, heading for the outskirts of town now. "I saw a field nearby, we can train there. We'll start out small given your obvious lack of physical talent...five punches ought to do."
"Aye!" Happy agreed, smiling while Lucy continued eating a faceful of dirt.
If Natsumi were to be completely honest with herself, this Lucy girl didn't look at all cut out to be a mage; she was bright, cheerful and painfully weak. Utilizing Celestial spirit magic? Was this girl serious? Natsumi wasn't one to pull her punches, as Lucy would learn the hard way.
"All someone has to do is get a hold of those keys and you're pretty much dead, especially with how you leave them hanging out in the open like that." She said in a bored drawl once they made it to a clearing nearby, going so far as to spit on the heaving blonde after knocking her down into the dirt. Lucy gagged a few times after just one punch, then made a comment over how she was a little out of practice leaving Natsumi thoroughly unimpressed by the girl's efforts.
"If you're going to call yourself a mage of any caliber then get your ass up off the ground," Natsumi said, impatient and looking every bit the monster she was described as in the Sorcerer's Weekly. Lucy actually looked a bit frightened now-wobbling as she stood back up. "First thing's first, we definitely need to work on your physical strength, or rather your lack of is what I should say…"
"Um, would it kill you to go a little easier on me …?" Lucy mumbled, her comment easily being swept aside by the other girl in favor of landing another punch that sent the blonde flying back into a tree. "I...I think I just broke something…" Lucy muttered, sliding down and back onto the ground.
"Why the hell didn't you dodge? I held back and everything!" Now Natsumi was fuming, leveling the weaker girl with a look promising nothing but more pain, especially if she showed no improvement.
"M-maybe we could *cough* take a break…?" Lucy suggested, mustering whatever courage she could to meet the other girl's harsher stare. Lucy wondered if all Fairy Tail mages were this cruel, or if she was just unlucky enough to run into the one who is.
Natsumi looked ready to spit out a refusal, her sharp eyes lingering on each ugly looking bruise for a moment. "...Fine. Only because you're no good to anyone half-dead," was the pinkette's muttered response. Turning away with an irritated huff, either choosing not to hear or just altogether ignoring the relieved breath that fell from Lucy's lips.
'Geez, what the heck's her problem anyway? You'd think she was prepping to go to war with someone?' Lucy thought, a tad miffed while looking over her injuries. Thinking back to the many different articles she'd read on her dream guild, Fairy Tail.
"I wonder...is someone like that really a Fairy Tail wizard?" Lucy wondered aloud, giving out another sigh. 'Sure, some of them seem more like loose cannons based off of what I've read and stuff, but she's just so...intense. And mean.'
"So, you wanna join the Fairy Tail guild?" The way Natsumi spoke back at the restaurant, all the while looking at Lucy with the same level of disgust and disdain as when Lucy saw a cockroach in her hotel room a few towns back. "I assume you're a mage then. What kind of magic do you use?" The question was one Lucy had been expecting, so she figured she was well prepared.
That wasn't the case, as Natsumi was quick to smother the embers of her ambition. Laughing as soon as Lucy brought out her keys.
"So, your whole gimmick is that you summon someone else to do the fighting, then take the credit. Wow, and people say I'm mean." Natsumi had retorted with a smirk, throwing a sideways glance towards the little blue cat accompanying her while Lucy frowned. The blonde's cheeks puffing a little in a slight show of irritation.
"For your information," Lucy had been quick to defend both herself and her precious keys of course! "While some celestial spirit mages may be content using their partners as shields, hiding behind them, I am not. I fight alongside my spirits the same as if I were fighting along potential guildmates."
Whatever follow-up, scathing remark Natsumi seemed about to say must have died in her throat on the way out. The sharp, slanty eyes glancing towards the top of Lucy's head, moving so fast Lucy was barely able to catch it. Almost missing the muttered hiss of 'troublesome blondes' under the pinkette's breath before watching her slide out of the booth.
Lucy didn't understand it. The strange behavior immediately got pushed from her mind when Natsumi demanded to be taken back to her hotel, insisting they hurry. Natsumi goes on to say that the sooner Lucy was ready, the sooner they could elave together and return to the guild.
Only now Lucy was having doubts.
"Oh, what's that about a member of Fairy Tail? Are you looking to join, little lady?" A voice-definitely male-called out form behind her. Startling poor Lucy and causing her to jump a bit.
Lucy let out a yelp, whirling around towards the bushes. Blinking dumbfoundedly at the person now standing there with a smirk on his face and an odd, knowing gleam in his eyes. It was seriously disturbing, if she were being quite honest.
"W-who are you?" Lucy demanded. Her hand moved to hover over her keys.
"Ne, ne, Natsumi?"
Happy stood just outside the small circle of shade where the dragon slayer had taken refuge from the bright, warm rays of sunshine and 'feel good' energy, as she called it, radiating off the townsfolk they passed by. His tail twitching every now and then, regarding the pinkette with something akin to hope in his eyes.
"You really think Lucy's cut out to be a Fairy tail mage then?"
Happy's brows furrowed together, his head tilted to the side. Watching his friend take a bite of a stolen apple.
"But...you're training her. And you even said-"
"I say a lot of things, don't take it all at face value, Happy." Was her flippant response. The little feline seemed to ponder a response, his ears folding against his head, unable to keep the conversation going between them any longer.
"She's bait, nothing more. I'm not looking to make friends with anyone, especially the likes of her."
Natsumi's words, along with the cold look in her eyes seemed to make Happy shy away.
The poor little feline thought of how nice Lucy had seemed, even to someone like Natsumi who wasn't all that good at making friends. A part of him figured this might have happened, but it still hurt a bit knowing Natsumi refused to try.
"I-is it...because of what happened with Lisanna?"
As soon as he'd said it, Happy wished he hadn't.
The look Natsumi gave him was downright horrifying. His ears pressing back against his head, having momentarily perked in curiosity, with his tail wrapping around him. Fear radiated off the small creature in waves.
A few seconds went by in which Natsumi's features softened, just enough to where Happy was no longer trembling.
"Happy, I-I'm sorry…" Natsumi muttered awkwardly, unable to look in his big, watery eyes at the moment.
Her fists clenched when Happy didn't speak again. The cat's expression remained crestfallen and hurt.
"Natsumi…! Please, you have to stop hurting everyone!"
Natsumi felt something cold settle in the pit of her stomach.
"We're your friends, remember?"
It was for the best. Natsumi had always been better off alone.
To Natsumi the differences between them were as clear as night and day. To Lucy, however, that was simply not the case.
From the moment they first met in Hargeon Natsumi could already tell, as both a wizard and a person, Lucy was a lover not a fighter. Whereas Acnologia had taught her early on the more blood she spilled the better-Kill those who would hinder you early on, less you regret it later down the line-there would be less obstacles that way. For Lucy, she only sought a way to make new friends.
"I'm Lucy. Lucy Heartfilia. "The blonde introduced rather cheerfully, her face beaming at Natsumi who was still a complete stranger at the time. One that a rather large crowd of fangirls had immediately grown nervous and parted for at the mere sight of earlier that day.
"I'm a mage. I'm actually looking to join a guild by the name of Fairy Tail, maybe you've heard of it?" Lucy continued chattering away all smiles and sunshine, even going so far as to invite Natsumi with her to the diner.
The two sat, with Natsumi eating in silence. Lucy continued prattling on about her dreams and such, talking about how 'awesome' and 'incredible' the mages of Fairy tail all were. Natsumi only continued eating, not knowing when exactly her next meal would be.
Things were always awkward when she entered the guild hall, and not even Mira could fully mask the unease Natusmi's presence caused her.
It was during Natsumi's fight with Bora-the Fairy Tail mage impersonator-Lucy learned the hard way, not everyone wanted to be friends. And not everyone cared who got hurt.
The loud snapping of Bora's spine was enough to send shudders rippling throughout poor Lucy's spine, as she stood off to the side with the small little feline Happy. The surrounding goons were all horribly beaten, no-even from the distance she was, Lucy could tell they were no longer even breathing.
Natsumi had massacred everyone in an instant.
"You did well, I suppose," Natsumi began casually-like she wasn't drenched in another human being's blood, like she hadn't just killed dozens-with a smile on her face. "As payment, I'll take you to Fairy Tail, and as a reward for surviving training you can even use my name as a recommendation."
"Hm?" Natsumi arched a brow, noting the way Lucy's hands trembled, clasped over her heart. "What is it?"
"How what? How did I break a spine so easily?" Natsumi inquired, with a grin so vicious it made poor Lucy's skin pale.
"It's quite easy if you know where to hit actually, the real satisfaction comes from that snapping sound it makes-that's when you can see the fear in their eyes after all." Natsumi went on to say, either not caring or oblivious to the gathering tears in the blonde's eyes.
She was scared of her, scared of her power.
'Good.' Natsumi thought, satisfaction swelling inside her. Only the fear was soon snuffed out by righteous fury.
The pinkette barely had time to blink before a slap echoed across the empty battlefield, the skin of her cheek stinging from the impact. 'Did that little bitch just-' Natusmi's thoughts were interrupted by Lucy's voice, the hesitation and fear gone. Replaced with moral outrage and...was she sad?
"How could you do that!?" Lucy screamed.
Happy watched the interaction unfold with uncertainty in his eyes.
Natsumi, surprisingly, allowed the blow looking at Lucy with deadened eyes.
"Those were living, breathing people!" Lucy cried, actually shedding tears. Natsumi didn't understand where her sense of outrage was coming from.
"And they would have killed you had I not intervened. Remember?"
The girl needed to wake up to reality and realize not everyone was out to make friends. That her naivety would ultimately be her downfall. That things weren't as prim and proper as they might've been back home.
"That's not what I mean! That's not what I…"Lucy's voice left her, looking at Natusmi with something akin to desperation; A multitude of emotions flashing through her eyes, and not a single one Natsumi was familiar with.
"Don't you feel anything?"
Whatever else the blonde had said was quickly drowned out by Natsumi's thundering heartbeats, taking her back in time-
"Don't you feel anything?"
"You...you killed him…"
-causing an unsettling amount of grief to spill into her next words. A hand reaching to grab onto Lucy's when the blonde reached for her. Eyes cold, sharp and unforgiving.
"No. I haven't felt anything in years."
She could never understand the look of devastation on Lucy's face after she said that.
To Natsumi the differences between them were as clear as night and day. To Lucy, however, that was simply not the case.
They both had the same eyes-eyes that spoke of betrayal, hurt and pain-and that's why Lucy couldn't just leave it alone.
So, Lucy took the offered hand the pinkette gave to her, grasping it with a confidence she didn't think she possessed anymore.