Hello there my lovely readers. Gamer here with my very first Fairy Tail fan fic to ever be published. This story will have three chapters that will all be posted tonight. Also, this story is rated MA for chapter 2 which will contain explicit scenes. Feel free to skip since chapter 2 doesn't add to the plot. Now, without further delay, let's get on with the story.

Natsu's been acting strange.

Really strange.

If you thought a fire eater with a talking, flying, blue cat was strange, then Natsu's recent behavior was twenty times worse.

For the past two months or so, Natsu hadn't gotten into any brawls, hadn't unnecessarily destroyed any buildings or even randomly lit things on fire.

Most would be glad for the sudden change in Natsu's destructive behavior, but it just felt… wrong somehow.

At first, Gray didn't mind the peace and quiet. But it all changed when he went to visit Lucy one night and saw something that changed his whole perspective on Natsu's change in behavior.

When Lucy hadn't shown up to the guild hall that night, Gray decided to check on her. Natsu hadn't been there either, so naturally Gray thought they were together. He walked up to her apartment and using the manners that Ur had taught him, entered the building through the front door. As he walked up the stairs to her apartment, his mind thought of all the things the celestial mage and the dragon slayer could've been up to. Some thoughts were more sinful than others and he shook his head to clear the thoughts. He silently prayed that he didn't walk in on them in the act. That would be way more embarrassing than unconsciously stripping in public.

When he knocked on her apartment door, he waited patiently for an answer. He heard her small footsteps gradually get louder as she got closer to the door. Gray was ready to greet his blonde friend with a smile when she opened the door. But the sight before him had strangled the words wanting to leave his lips, holding them in a vice like grip.

There, beyond the door, was the former debutanté Lucy Heartfilia.

Hair disheveled.

Wrapped in a blanket.

Red faced.

Puffy cheeked.

With eyes that held enough unshed tears to raise the sea level by a foot.

Gray had no idea how to approach the delicate situation that he threw himself into. Crying girls weren't his strong suit.

"Gray…" His name left her lips in a whisper so soft he almost didn't hear her.

"Lucy…" He whispered back, not knowing what else to say. Lucy, who was always smiling and laughing and supporting others through their own traumas, was sitting in her dark apartment.



Gray walked into her apartment without being invited and silently closed the door behind him.

"What's the matter Lucy?" He softly asked her, afraid to break the spell that was cast over them by the silence.

"I was just reading a really emotional scene in this new book I got." She refused to meet his eyes and turned away from him to walk into her bedroom. He followed after her on instinct and placed a hand on her shoulder. The action itself caused her to stiffen under his gentle touch.

"You don't have to lie to me." He told her. "I'm here for you." It seemed that those four words were all it took for her to unravel. Unable to hold herself up any longer, she fell to her knees and brought the blanket tighter around her quivering body.

"Natsu…" She choked out before her voice was overcome by sobs. Gray knelt on the floor beside her and wrapped his arms around her the best he could. He waited for her to continue. The way Lucy said his rival's name already caused his blood to heat up despite being an ice mage.

"Take all the time you need." He whispered in her ear and rubbed soothing circles around her back. Lucy let go of the blanket surrounding her frame and chose to hang on to Gray's shirt, clutching the dark fabric tightly between her fingers.

"He hasn't spoken to me in two months Gray. One day he just stopped laughing with me, stopped pulling me on ridiculous missions, stopped breaking into my apartment." She paused for a moment to compose herself as more tears spilled from her eyes. Lucy already felt another lump form in her throat. "He's my best friend, Gray. My best friend can barely look me in the eyes anymore." She finished and continued to sob into his chest.Gray sat there, stone faced as he thought about everything Lucy had just said.

Natsu was the reason she was crying.

"I don't know what I did to him." Her words barely came out in a whisper. "I can't apologize for something I know nothing about."

"It's gonna be alright." Those were the only words Gray managed to whisper in her ear. He lightly stroked her hair until she fell asleep from exhaustion. When he ensured that she was sleeping, he placed her in bed as gently as he could and pulled the blankets up to her neck. He left her apartment, locking the door behind him with only one mission on his mind.

Tomorrow, he was going dragon hunting.

And that was how Gray Fullbuster found himself at the front door of Natsu and Happy's shared cottage. He knocked rapidly on the door and got no response. Happy had told him that Natsu was home before he made his way there.

So he knew the bastard was around there somewhere.

Gray walked around the side of the house where he saw the pink haired idiot sitting by the lake.

"Oi, Flamehead!" Gray yelled at him upon approach. Natsu ignored him and continued to stare mindlessly into the lake in front of him. "What's the matter with you?"

"I'm not in the mood." Natsu hadn't even made an effort to move a muscle when he answered Gray.

"I don't remember askin' you that. What's up with this lame ass attitude?" Gray demanded to know. Seeing Lucy so…broken gave him a new drive.

And the rage that came with it was in no mood for Natsu's bullshit.

"It ain't any of yer business." Natsu finally got to his feet and stared at Gray. Even with Natsu only being an inch shorter than Gray, they stared directly into each other's eyes. The glares that were painted on their faces could trick any civilian into thinking that they were members of two opposing dark guilds.

"Move outta my way." Natsu ordered and Gray didn't even flinch.

"Not until you start talkin'." Gray refused and was then on the receiving end of a punch straight to his jaw.

"I said move." Natsu demanded again with a fury burning in his eyes. That fury soon turned to slight shock as Gray recovered from the surprise attack and rammed his fist into Natsu's stomach. The air was knocked from the pinkette's lungs as he glared at Gray.

No more words were exchanged between the rivals as they charged at one another.

No magic was involved as they sent blow after blow.

No explanation was given as bruises upon bruises covered their bodies.

"You have everyone in the guild worried about you." Gray breathed heavily. His shirtless chest was covered with dark coloured bruises. His left eye was swollen and his top lip had a split that was bleeding.

"I'm just trying to figure some shit out." Natsu also panted. His overcoat was thrown into the lake after being torn and his abdomen and chest were dotted with light purple bruises. His right eye was almost swollen closed and his bottom lip was busted in two places.

"Fairy Tail's your family man, we got your back." Gray sat down on the grass, tired from their pointless fight.

"If it was that easy don't you think I would've come to you guys already?" Natsu sat down as well. Fighting was just a way both guys blew off steam, even if it was for no legitimate reason.

"Look, everyone understands how you feel about Igneel. That must've felt like crap…" Gray had no idea what to say at that moment. The battle with Tartarus left scars on everyone, whether physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.

Natsu lost Igneel after barely having a conversation with him for over a decade.

The other dragon slayers were barely able to give a proper goodbye to their own parents.

Gray's father was being controlled and he was forced to fight him.

Juvia was forced to kill the demon controlling the love of her life's father.

Erza has been chained and whipped.

Gajeel almost drowned in poisoned water.

Laxus nearly died when his body was overfilled with bane particles to save the citizens in the surrounding area of a battle.

Elfman blew up the guild hall.

"That's...that's not it." Natsu shook his head and stared into the lake once more.

"It's Lucy...ain't it?" Gray asked without looking at him.

"How'd you know?"

"I stopped by her apartment last night to check on her. And we talked."

"What'd she say?" Natsu asked even though he was afraid of the answer.

"That answer depends on you telling me what's wrong with you. If losing Igneel ain't the reason you're actin' like this, then what is it?"

"I don't know!" Natsu gripped at his hair and held his head down. "It's these...weird feelings that won't go away. Before, it's been easier to ignore them, but since the war ended, she's all I ever think about. I know all of you guys think I'm stupid and dense… but I'm not. I know I have feelings for Lucy but I don't understand it! She's my best friend, my… my nakama." Natsu paused briefly to lock eyes with Gray. "I'm not supposed to feel like this." He threw himself back into the grass.

"Sounds like you've got it bad." Was all he managed to say.

"Yeah, I know. And I don't wanna do anything about it because I might ruin our friendship. I don't wanna lose her." Natsu stared up at the sky. The sun hadn't reached its highest peak as yet, signaling that it was morning.

"Well don't ya think it would be smarter if ya didn't ignore her?" Gray asked him sarcastically as Natsu sat up and folded his legs. "Look man, I don't wanna get involved with whatever you two have going on. But when I saw her last night… she looked so broken down. I've never seen her cry like that before. And she's been doing it behind closed doors. No one knows that she's hurtin' cause when she's around us she's always smilin'." Gray looked at his rival.

"You better sort out whatever feelings you have for her today. Erza set up a mission for us, so be at the guild in another hour or so. I'll keep her busy for as long as I can so you can clear the air with Lucy." Gray told him before standing up. Natsu stood up as well when Gray turned to leave.

"Hey, Gray?" Natsu stopped him and turned his face away. "Thanks."

"Make her cry like that again and I'll end you personally." Gray didn't bother to look at him before he continued to walk away.

"What happened to your face Gray?" Lucy rested both her palms on his cheeks when he entered her apartment.

"Just got in a fight. It's nothing serious." He waved her off and held the door open for her to walk outside.

"You and Natsu huh?" She asked but didn't meet his eyes.

"Yeah." He saw her visibly tense at his answer.

She wasn't ready to see him.

"Did Erza tell you what kind of mission it was?" Lucy asked as she walked side by side with Gray to the guild hall.

She couldn't take another silent rejection.

"Just something about a priestess that exposes the pain and suffering of others." He answered her.

She needed more time.

"Sounds like forbidden magic." Lucy shivered at the thought. 'No one needs to know the kind of pain I went through. Gray knows too much as it is.'

"Gray…" She whispered and gently placed her hand over his to stop him. She couldn't bring herself to look him in the eyes as they stood right outside the guild doors. "I'm sorry about last night. I don't know what came over me and I know it was wrong for me to push all of my problems on you but-" Lucy was cut off when she was pressed into a bare, yet cool chest that she saw was also covered in bruises.

"Don't apologize for being human." He whispered to her.

"Your clothes…" She couldn't help but giggle at his surprised look as he looked around for his shirt and pants. Lucy quickly wiped away at the stray tear that had fallen from her eye and patted at her puffy cheeks just a bit.

"Hi everyone!" Lucy smiled brightly when she walked into the guild.

'What the hell?' Gray thought to himself as he followed the blonde inside. Wasn't she just crying a moment ago? How was she able to change her mood so quickly? And how many times had she cried before she composed herself to smile?

But it wasn't a smile.

It may have showcased her pearly whites and reached her eyes, but it wasn't a smile.

It was a mask Lucy professionally wore so that no one worried about her.

But Gray had seen the mask fall just last night.

"Did you get into another fight, Gray?" Ezra's voice rang through his ears. He snapped from his thoughts to see the redhead standing in front of him with Lucy at her side.

"Natsu and I just had a pointless brawl." The ice mage rubbed the back of his neck.

"Is everything okay?" Lucy asked him when she saw that he was zoning out.

'Lucy can't be serious right now…'

"Oh my gosh Gray! Your face!" The voice of Wendy approached them with Romeo at her side and Happy and Carla in her arms. Without asking, she placed Happy and Carla on the floor and immediately started to heal his wounds. "Is that any better?" She asked him once she saw that his bruises faded and his cuts disappeared.

"Yeah I'm fine. You guys seen Natsu?" He asked to stray the conversation away from him.

"Right here." The pinkette approached them, only giving a small smile as a greeting. He glanced at Lucy to see that she wouldn't even meet his eyes.

"Are you guys coming on the mission with us?" Lucy asked Wendy, Romeo and the exceeds.

"Um...well…" Wendy started to fumble over her words as a light blush coated her face. "Romeo and I were heading out on a mission when we ran into you guys." She said as she finished healing Natsu's wounds, once again without asking.

"You going with them Happy?" Natsu asked his best friend.

"Aye. The place their going has a lot of yummy fishies that I could catch." Happy's mouth drooled.

"Let's get going then." Erza said. She was either oblivious to the tension between the best friends or she just chose to ignore it.

Even on the train ride, Lucy decided to sit next to Gray to allow Erza the privilege of knocking Natsu unconscious.

By the time as Natsu woke up, Erza, Lucy and Gray had already walked for almost two hours. Erza had dragged Natsu by his collar until he woke up. At least the three conscious mages engaged in conversation so it wasn't quiet. They discussed a plan of action for when they encountered the priestess. They knew the type of magic she used, but they didn't know how it worked or how to stop it.

"How long was I out for?" Natsu groaned when he woke up.

"Long enough for us not to be annoyed by your voice." Gray joked to lighten the mood a little.

"Like your voice is any better." Natsu rolled his eyes and dusted the dirt from his pants.

They continued to walk and walk, the conversation slightly dying now that Natsu was awake.

"How much longer until we find this woman?" Natsu whined for the umpteenth time that day.

"Could you knock him out again?" Gray pleaded with Erza.

"I'm honestly considering it." The redhead glared at Natsu. "You're awfully quiet Lucy, is everything alright?" Erza asked the blonde.

Before Lucy could answer though, a voice disturbed them.

"It seems as though that her heart is heavy with grief, as are all of yours as well." A woman spoke as she emerged from the forest's trees.

"Who are you?" Erza demanded, already taking a battle stance.

"My name is Yami, the priestess of misery and sorrow." The woman spoke. Beautiful, dark hair fell to her shoulders and her lips were curved into a genuine smile. She had the eyes of a mother that cared deeply for her young ones, an amber color that possibly glowed in the night time. She wore a simple, white kimono that touched the floor around her feet and covered her small hands that were at her side. Her light complexion made it possible to see the pink tint her cheeks had.

"Your cruel acts have caused pain within the lives of many." Erza stated, requipping into her white bandaged top with red kimono pants that had flames at the bottom. She held her twin blades in her hands and glared at her opponent.

Without any more words, Erza charged directly at Yami and swung her twin blades at her. Yami simply dodged and sent a kick at Erza which was blocked by her swords. The force on impact, however, was enough to knock Erza back a few feet.

"Fire Dragon's Iron Fist!" Natsu called out his attack and ran straight towards Yami. He decided on an uppercut, but wasn't prepared for when she flawlessly backflipped to avoid it.

"Open, Gate of Golden Bull, Taurus! Gate of the Scorpion, Scorpio!" Two doorbells sounded and both spirits walked out ready for battle.

"Just like we practiced guys." She instructed her spirits and looked over at Gray.

"I'll make you so proud that you'd give me a smooooch." Taurus readied himself.

"Rock on Lady Lucy. Sand Buster!" Scorpio yelled as his sand covered Taurus' axe. As the bull spirit swung his axe, sand covered it to strengthen the impact and launched Yami into the air.

"Ice Make Cannon!" Gray let his cannon ball fly towards the now airborne Yami who wasn't able to dodge the attack.

She landed on her feet slightly shaken and was surrounded by the Fairy Tail mages.

"I will show you why they call me the Priestess of Sorrow." She said coldly while looking at Natsu. Out of nowhere a snake like creature slithered its way to Natsu.

"No!" Lucy shouted.

Whether he still wanted to be her best friend or not…

Whether he scolded her to her grave or not…

Natsu was still her nakama.

And Fairy Tail protected their family.

Lucy moved with a speed no one knew she possessed and jumped in front of Natsu. The snake wrapped itself around her instead, coiling about three times around her neck.

"Lucy!" Natsu, Gray and Erza shouted simultaneously.

"Not so fast!" Yami shouted back. "If any of you take another step I'll crush her throat." The priestess challenged any one of them to take another step. "I preferably wanted the young dragon, but the star child will work." Yami muttered to herself.

"Lady Lucy." Scorpio said firmly, silently awaiting his next order. Over the time Lucy had her spirits, she formed a connection with them that worked almost the same way as telepathy. Their minds were connected and her spirits felt every emotion that she did. They understood exactly what their gates had to be opened for, even before Lucy touched their key.

"Close, Gates of the Scorpion and Golden Bull." Lucy whispered as to not startle Yami into accidentally killing her. Both of her spirits left with frowns on their faces as she forced their gates close.

"What are your motives?" Erza demanded to know, swords clutched tightly in her hands.

"Too many in this world hide their pains and troubles. My only goal is to exploit that pain, thus ridding Earthland of another isolated griever."

"The way you word it makes it seem like your acts are noble." Gray glared at Yami who only let out a laugh in response.

"My powers are misjudged by those who have not witnessed it as yet." Yami's snake forced Lucy to turn and face her.

"You better let her go!" Natsu roared and called fire to his fists, still not taking any steps forward.

"Patience young dragon." Yami simply said with her eyes still closed. "It seems the celestial mage has been through more pain and heartache than any of you know." The priestess opened her eyes. "Tell me, child of the stars, why do you hide away your pain to please others?" She genuinely asked.

"I don't know what you're talking about." Lucy avoided eye contact with the priestess.

"Very well then, I guess this is a rare occasion." As Yami finished her sentence, three other snakes burst from the sides of the snake-like being that was wrapped around Lucy. It took hold of Gray, Natsu and Erza and wrapped around their necks the same way it did to Lucy.

"Your friends shall now experience in detail, the memory of your pain. Every tear you shed. Every heavy pull on your magic power. Every time you felt helpless. Every time you locked yourself away."

"Please, just let them go." Lucy started as tears pooled in her eyes.

"I will do so if you tell them what became of the mermaid." Yami looked down on her. Lucy stayed tight lipped as a lump formed in her throat. She refused to cry.

Not in front of them.

"The hell's she talkin' about?! What does Aquarius have to do with this?!" Gray shouted, but stopped immediately when he left the snake wrap itself tighter.

"You will find out soon enough, demon slayer. As will Titania and the young dragon." Yami told them before closing her eyes. "Let the secrets between these mages be no more. Allow the onlookers to become one with their hurting friend. May her pain become their sorrow." She spoke and soon, everything was black.

Thunder clashed loudly in the darkened sky as rain poured down onto the Heartfilia mansion. Standing in front of a gravestone was a young, blonde child in a frilly pink dress.

Little Lucy Heartfilia.

Her tears blended with the puddle in front of her as she tightly gripped the ends of her dress.

"Why'd you have to go mommy?" She whispered and fell to her knees to start crying all over again.

Natsu, Gray and Erza were there.

They were actually inside of Lucy's memory.

They stood at three different angles of the memory, each with stone cold faces.

They were unable to wipe away all the uncontrollable tears that fell from their eyes. It was no secret that Lucy had been utterly heartbroken from Layla Heartfilia's death.

So why did it feel like a part of their chest had been ripped out and stomped on? A part of them felt…empty.

The memory faded and soon, the spectators visions were rippled before it cleared once more.

Little Lucy Heartfilia was standing outside of a large, brown door. She was holding what looked like a rice ball in her hands. She took a deep breath as if she was gathering up courage before she opened the door and walked inside.

At the end of the room sat Jude Heartfilia at his paper cluttered desk. Lucy walked up to the desk wearing a smile that her friends had come to love dearly.

Even though she was only around nine or so, how were they able to tell that it was fake? They weren't able to tell the difference before, so why did this smile seem so...wrong?

"Look daddy! I made a rice ball with your face on it! I made it special for you daddy! It's not good to work on an empty stomach." Little Lucy smiled brightly at Jude. It was like she was trying hard to impress him.

"Mhm. I'm busy right now, come back later." Jude answered her as though he wasn't even aware that it was his daughter speaking to him.

Little Lucy's smile dropped a bit at his response. "Okay." Then a small smile returned to her face as she still attempted to gain her father's attention. She walked up to the desk and placed the rice ball on top. "I'm just gonna leave it here in case you get hungry. Today's special you know? It's my-" She was cut off when Jude abruptly stood up and looked over her from behind the desk.

"LUCY!" He yelled at her.

It felt like their hearts had stopped beating when he stood up. Their legs were shaky and large lumps of fear caught in their throats.

"Is this what she went through as a child?" Erza managed to whisper. Her body was shaking uncontrollably just the same as Little Lucy's. In a strange way, it reminded her of the Tower of Heaven.

"Don't you ever listen?! I told you I'm busy!" Jude continued. His hand slapped at the rice ball and it broke apart on the floor.

"I'm sorry."

Little Lucy's broken voice made the members of Team Natsu flinch.

She started to walk away from Jude, but manifested enough courage to turn around and look at her father. "Um...daddy?"

"Stop being such a pest!" He yelled at her once more, the force of his voice caused Lucy's eyes to well up though she didn't cry. "I don't want to eat your silly rice ball! If I get hungry, I'll call the chef. Now go study your business lessons and stop hassling me!" He continued to yell even though Little Lucy had already ran out the door to his study. "You hear me?! No more interruptions!"

It was only when she was out of sight by her father did she start crying.


She continuously wiped at her eyes to rid them of the tears that kept falling.

Once again, Natsu, Gray and Erza were at the mercy of Little Lucy's tears. Their hearts ached and their throat was sore from crying.

"Today is...my birthday." Little Lucy cried out once more before closing the door to her bedroom once she was inside.

Their eyes widened. Lucy had mentioned that her father forgot her birthday before, but this was just cruel. How could a light such as Lucy be raised from a darkness such as Jude. Lucy never went into detail about what happened that day, and now they saw why.

The memory rippled once more and when it cleared, it showed Lucy once more. But this Lucy looked about thirteen or fourteen years old. Her bust wasn't as big as it was currently and her hips were narrower than they were now.

Silent murmuring could've been heard, but it was assumed that Lucy couldn't hear what it was since not even Natsu's dragon hearing could understand it.

Lucy was walking down a hallway in her father's mansion. She heard whispers coming from the kitchen. When she peered her head inside, she saw two of her father's maids talking to each other. From Lucy's memory, their names were Ms. Tanners and Ms. Winfield. The part of the conversation that Lucy overheard was devastating.

"I understand that Master Jude misses Madam Layla, but the way he treats Lady Lucy is so unforgiving." Ms. Winfield folded her arms as she leaned against the countertop that she was supposed to be wiping down.

Ms. Tanners stopped sweeping to look at her fellow maid. "I heard that he can't even look at Lady Lucy because she looks exactly like Madam Layla. But I agree that it's no excuse, the poor girl can't control the way she looks."

After that, Lucy didn't want to hear any more. She didn't want to hear anything else from them. Tears formed in her eyes as she speed walked away from the kitchen to her bedroom.

Yami didn't give them any time to react to the memory before it rippled and another memory reanimated itself.

"Open, Gate of the Crab, Cancer!" A magic circle appeared in front of teenage Lucy and a 'ding dong' sound was heard.

"What can I help you with Ebi?" Cancer said as he clipped his scissors.

"I want to change my hair." Lucy bluntly told him.

"Any suggestions Ebi?"

"Go wild." Lucy said, on the verge of tears. "I just don't want to be blonde anymore." She managed to choke out before Cancer got to work.

In little to no time, Lucy had short, jet black hair that curved underneath her chin to frame her face.

"It looks great." Lucy managed a small smile and looked in her full body mirror before she sent Cancer back. As soon as his gate closed, she fell to her knees and gave herself a small smile. Silently, she sat there, without daring to look away from the mirror.

Though Lucy smiled in the mirror, they were able to feel all the tears that wanted to pour from her eyes. In her own way, Lucy's life was rough. She may not have been enslaved like Erza, abandoned like Natsu, or lost both her parents and master by the same demon like Gray, but Lucy had her own challenges.

At the age Lucy was at now, she was still alone while the others had Fairy Tail. They had a real family while she was stuck in a house with no love. Only a father that ignored her because of her appearance and maids and workers that weren't able to show her any compassion.

Even back then, she cried on her own.

But smiled in the presence of everyone else.

"What did you do Lucy?" Jude asked in rage when he got a glimpse of Lucy's new hairstyle.

"I decided to try something different." Lucy smiled, hoping to ease his anger. "Is it okay?"

"It is most certainly not okay!" He yelled at her. "Have your spirit change it back this instant before I take away your keys!" Jude slammed his fist on the table, causing Lucy to jump along with the plates and silverware. They were barely able to have a decent dinner without something going wrong.

"Did you not hear me Lucy?!" Jude yelled when Lucy didn't move, unaware that she was frozen in fear.

"Y-Yes father." Lucy whispered and cursed herself for stuttering. "Excuse me." She pushed out her chair and left the room.

They felt their appetite leave them as Lucy pushed her chair back. First he isolated himself from her for looking like Layla, and now that she did something about it he was angry?

As Lucy walked into her bedroom, she felt a flood of emotions overwhelm her. Rage, sorrow, hatred. But they were all for different reasons.

Rage for her father's cold shoulder yet hot temper.

Sorrow for not having her mother with her to confide in.

Hatred for being the splitting image of Layla Heartfilia.

As Lucy looked in her full body mirror, she let hot tears fall. The tears that held anger and bitterness.

"Why did I have to look so much like you mama?" Lucy asked herself out loud. "Why couldn't I have looked different?"

As far as Fairy Tail was concerned, Lucy was proud of her looks. But at that moment, they felt that she truly despised them.

Yami had appeared before them just as they were. Spectators to a show that wasn't theirs to watch.

"Why are you doing this to Lucy?" Gray growled out, still restrained by the snake.

"You all look far less threatening with tears pouring out of your eyes." Yami let out a dark laugh at her own joke. "As you can see, the child of the stars had been holding back with the things she had shared with you. While my initial target was the young dragon, the star child proved much more interesting. It occurred to me that all of your pain had already been shared with each other, except hers." Yami paused her speech to allow Lucy's team members to see her.

"Lucy!" They all shouted at once. The snake was still wrapped around her yet she had fallen to her knees, barely conscious. She looked drained.

"Please let them go." They heard Lucy whisper, too tired to yell. They didn't know what she was seeing, but tears spilled from her eyes. How could she still worry about them when she was the one that looked near dead?

"What're you doing to her?!" Natsu raged, still having tears spill from his eyes since teenage Lucy had not stopped crying.

"It is merely a side effect from my magic, young dragon. For me to use my powers, the magic power of the star child had to be used. So the longer we're here, the more of her power is used." Yami explained with a smile.

"How much longer?" Erza asked through clenched teeth. The longer they watched Lucy's memories, the less time she had. Magic powers were linked to the wizard that held them. So if the power ran dry…

The wizard would die.

"I suppose I could hurry along, but where's the fun in that? I want you all to know the secrets and lies that the star child tells you. That is the only way to bring the world one step closer to cleansing."

Before any of the other mages could answer, another memory appeared. Though this one was only a memory Natsu shared with the blonde.

The flora and structure of Tenrou island would not go unnoticed by the Fairy Tail members that were there. However, seeing Natsu's lower half crushed by over sized boulders was not something that any of them ever recalled.

No one had known about the way that fight progressed.

"It's no use, I'm stuck!" Natsu grunted then let out a yell when the boulder refused to move.

"I'll summon Virgo to help set you free!" Lucy said with determination. Then, her eyes widened before the life in them drained.

Natsu, Gray and Erza all let out grunts to suppress the much louder sounds they wanted to make. A splitting headache hit them full force. It felt like their head was going to explode.

"No!" Lucy gripped her head in pain. "Now is not the time to run out of magic power."

"Lucy behind you!" Happy yelled out and soon she felt the looming presence of the villain they were fighting.

"Run away!" Natsu shouted at her once he spotted the Grimoire Heart member. But Lucy didn't have the strength to move in time.

Kain Hikaru of the Seven Kin of Purgatory had slammed this palm directly into Lucy's back, sending her to the ground.

A sound of pain escaped Ezra's lips as they all fought their hardest against the bruising pain that overwhelmed their backs.

Lucy had let out her own strangled cry at the pain.

"Leave her alone!" Natsu yelled and kept trying to push at the rocks that held him down.

"Relax little guy, you've got a front row seat to tonight's execution." Kain said smugly as he watched Natsu get angrier and angrier.

"You bastard!" Natsu had yelled at him.

Though they were only there to feel Lucy's emotions, Gray and Erza didn't need a magic based connection to know that Natsu was seething.

Happy had flown towards Kain with determination on his face. "Let her go! Take that, and that, and that, and that." Happy repeatedly pounded his tiny fists against Kain's broad body.

"You'll join her on the grill soon enough." Kain said and smacked Happy away into a rock.

"I gave it a shot but he's too strong." Was all he managed to say before the exceed slipped into unconsciousness.

"Happy…" Lucy whispered.

How was it that Lucy could genuinely care for others that way? She was literally an acting punching bag for Kain and yet she ignored her own pain to call Happy's name.

"Get outta here Lucy!" Natsu yelled at her once more. The pain in his voice was so heartbreaking. "You've gotta chase down that brawn or we'll lose him! Don't worry about me, just keep running and don't look back!"

Natsu should've known that Lucy wouldn't have run away.

"No way…" Lucy tried to stand.

She was too stubborn for that.

All Fairy Tail members were like that.

Natsu gasped and watched her every move with wide eyes.

Before Lucy could get anywhere, Kain raised his large foot and stomped on her back. "Ahhhhhh!" Lucy screamed in pain.

"Lucyyyyyyyyy!" Natsu yelled. He remembered this moment vividly. He hadn't been able to protect her. And the pain in his back only added to the fuel of his agony.

Kain continued to stomp on her, then gripped her head in his large hand.

"Arghhh!" Gray let out a strangled cry at the sensation of his head being pulled at.

"I refuse to run away. I won't do it." She said stubbornly, her bangs covered her facial expression.

No tears fell from any of their eyes at the memory. Lucy had refused to cry though she was in so much pain.

Kain lifted her head so that Natsu would be able to see her face. "I'd rather stay here with you."

She smiled.

Her skull was on the verge of being crushed and her back bone was close to breaking.

But she smiled.

She smiled through the pain.

"I can't think of anything that would make me happier." Kain squeezed her head again and she let out a choked scream.

She kept smiling.

They felt a sensation through their chests when she looked at Natsu. Erza recognized it as the way she felt around Jellal.

With all the pain coursing through her head and back, there was genuine love in Lucy's heart for the man in front of her.

"It seems that she has an infatuation with the young dragon." Yami looked over to Natsu. "That's a quite interesting discovery. I had thought that it would be the naked one or maybe even the lion."

"Loke?" Erza asked and Yami nodded.

"All your questions will be answered in due time. Won't it naked one?" She changed her facial direction to Gray. "It seems that she has confided in you at one point." Yami smiled when Gray scowled.

It had only been yesterday.

So the memory would've been fresh.

"Ah!" Lucy's scream of pain was muffled underneath the water.

"Lucy!" Loke's yell was heard as he looked around for her.

This was Tartarus. Lucy's body was moving with the currents. Erza, Gray and Natsu felt…tired. Tired beyond belief.

The kind of tired that someone would be feeling if they had decided to keep up with Jet during a foot race.

"What…the hell…is happening?" Gray panted heavily.

"It's the strain…of keeping two zodiac gates open." Erza managed to breath out.

"How the hell does Lucy do this…all the time?" Natsu struggled to ask.

It felt like they barely had energy left to keep their eyes open. It felt like they pushed their magic power to its limit.

Lucy emerged from the water, taking a deep breath. "You won't beat me! Not until I've saved my friends!" She yelled with pure determination in her voice.

"This happened when we were trapped. Lucy was the only one that didn't get…caught in it." Gray told them.

"We never knew how she saved us." Natsu whispered.

Lucy held out another golden key and started to push magic into it.

"She's trying to open a third gate." Erza grunted out. The pain was starting to become unbearable. It felt like they weren't using their magic anymore, but life itself.

"Ahhhhh!" She yelled.

But it wasn't for effect, it was for the pain that was rippling through her body. The sheer, agonizing, pain.

"Ahhhhh!" Erza was the first to let out her scream. It felt like her body was screaming to be put out of its misery. The strain became near to unbearable.

It felt like the power limit had been broken.

"What is she-" Virgo turned to look at her. "Princess no!" The distress in her voice was worrying as she pushed her enemy aside to face Lucy.

"Open! Gate of the Water Bearer! Aquarius!" A doorbell sounded.

"Ahhhhhh!" Natsu and Gray both yelled out their pain simultaneously. It felt like their bodies were wanting to collapse and give up, but an unknown force was preventing it.

"You're going to push yourself too far!" Virgo yelled for her but was too far away to stop her.

"You can't open three gates at once!" Loke's panicked voice filled her ears.

The water level around Lucy lowered as she stood with Aquarius' key between her fingers. The hand that held the key was stretched forward and her right leg stood in front of her left, both slightly bent. She refused to show tiredness and a look of pure will power overtook her face. Some of her hair covered her right eye with a bang and the left looked stone cold.

It felt like every ounce of power and energy had been ripped from their bodies. They watched as Lucy fell to her knees, and thought that the spell didn't work.

A large, blue wave surged behind Lucy, and the mermaid spirit had materialized from it.

"You're even stupider than I thought." Aquarius said with her usual scowl on her face.

"Stop this at once." Erza had demanded when Yami appeared before them again.

"Not when the good part has yet to come." She smiled coldly. "The pain is over, now comes the suffering. The tears. The misery that she recently endured on her own."

Aquarius' blue waves kept pushing back a force as Lucy knelt beside her.

Immediately they were hit with uncontrollable tears.

"I don't care if you hate me! You're still my friend and I love you! There's nothing you can say that will change that! Stop trying!" Lucy cried loudly.

"Quit acting like a damn child! You can lose every single friend you have or you can just lose me." Aquarius said with a stern, unwavering voice. Her tone overpowered Lucy's crying.

"What matters most in life? Keys? Memories? Your guilty conscious? Or is it this? The strength to make sacrifices, to protect the ones you love even if it hurts you. If that's it, then break my key right now. Natsu isn't coming!" That last comment of Aquarius' speech seemed to snap Lucy from her sorrowful state. Though she didn't stop crying, Lucy stood to her feet.

"It's all on you!"

"Pick your words carefully girls, they will be the last ones you ever have." Jackal's obnoxious voice made an appearance along with his maniacal laughter.

"I love you Aquarius. I love you so much." Lucy said through her tears.

Sorrow and love were the only two emotions they felt. Lucy had pushed the pain in her body aside to only focus on those two things.

"Yeah, I know! Now do it!" Aquarius pushed her.

"AHHHHHHHHHHH!" Lucy yelled, pushing power through to Aquarius' gold key. "OPEN, GATE OF THE KINGGGGGGGG!" Lucy yelled out as a golden light enveloped her.

Then, Aquarius' key broke.

Until only the top of the key where her symbol lied was all that remained.

Tears kept pouring from their eyes as they watched the memory fade away. They were all too shocked to react.

"That's not true." Natsu growled, the first to recover from his shock. "Lucy wouldn't break Aquarius."

"Oh?" Yami appeared. "Well perhaps I shall show to you the conversation she had with the lion after the war.

Lucy stood in the middle of her apartment, once again crying. But silently. A light shown beside her before Loke materialized.

He had bandages covering the parts of his body that his black suit allowed anyone to see. His glasses were missing and his hair even more resembled a lion's mane the way it was messed up.

"You're not escaping this conversation Lucy." He narrowed his eyes at her. "Everyone is highly upset with you." He referred to her spirits.

Lucy broke down on the floor and cried her eyes out even more.

"I didn't want to break her! Please don't be mad at me!" She pleaded with him. "I love her so much and I love all of you!"

"Lucy." Loke kneeled in front of her and placed his hand on her shoulder, his voice softening. "That's not what I'm talking about. No one blames you for that, not even Aquarius. That's not why we're all mad."

"T-Then wh-what did I d-do?" She asked between sobs and Loke's face hardened once more.

"What the hell were you thinking opening three gates at once?" His face was stone cold, almost scary even.

"I had no other choice." She stopped her tears to look at him clearly. She accepted the hand that he offered to help her to her feet.

"You could've closed one of our gates first! Lucy, I know that as your spirit I'm supposed to accept your decisions." He paused to collect his words. "But that was the most reckless thing you've ever done!"

She barely flinched at his raised voice. "I needed all three of you Loke!"

"You could've died!" He yelled back at her. Her voice didn't waver at all.

"Don't you think I know that?! I know that opening more gates than the limit allows would've killed me!"

"Then why'd you do it?" His tone changed to a whisper. His eyes glassed over.

"Because no one was coming. Natsu wasn't coming to save me that time." Lucy let her tears fall. "Fairy Tail needed me." Lucy's eyes opened wide at what happened next. Loke pulled her into his chest and wrapped his arms tightly around her.

"Everyone in the celestial world was screaming at you. Everyone was crying when they saw that you tried to open three zodiac gates. Some even tried to lend you their own power beyond the gates. We understand that Fairy Tail needs you, but so do we. We're living beings with feelings and emotions. We have wants and needs as well. You're the kindest Master most of us ever had." He looked down at her. "We needed you too."

Their chest constricted painfully as they listened to Loke's speech. Silent tears left their eyes. Lucy felt awful for the pain she caused her spirits.

Loke dropped to his knees but still clutched the bottom of her shirt tightly in his hands.

"I'm sorry Leo." She said to him and ran her hand through his hair. "I'll be more considerate next time. Please don't cry."

"You have to promise me that you'll talk to someone about this. Keeping this to yourself isn't healthy." Loke looked up at her when he dried his eyes.

"I promise." She smiled at him. She let him cry a bit more before sending him back to the spirit world.

She lied.

She never spoke to anyone.

Lucy was wrapped in her light blue blanket that was usually on her bed. Tears poured from her eyes once more as she held the Aquarius key in her hand. She pressed a kiss to the symbol on it before placing it on her desk.

Right after, she heard a knock on her door.

Gray knew exactly what this memory was. He looked over to Natsu to see what his reaction would be. But the dragon slayer looked…numb. Like he was just waiting for everything to end.

Lucy walked over to the door and opened it, looking up at the person on the other side.

"Gray…" She looked up at the ice mage that stood looking at her with slightly widened eyes.

"Lucy…" He whispered back.

Gray didn't have to look at Natsu to see that he was hurt. Hurt because he wasn't there for her when she needed him. All because he was too stupid to realize he loved her.

Natsu Dragneel was in love with Lucy Heartfilia.

The rest of the memory played out just as Gray remembered. Tears and all.

Just like Natsu, he too had to relive a painful memory that he shared with Lucy.

All of the memories had finally faded.

When Natsu Gray and Erza blinked their eyes again, they saw Lucy.

She was lying on the floor.


Yami's snakes were long gone, as well as the priestess herself.

"Lucy!" Erza was the first to react to the unconscious blonde. Gray was next, he ran to her side and dropped to his knees. All of their eyes were still red and puffy. Nose and cheeks stained red from the tears. Lips slightly chapped from dehydration.

"She's so weak." Gray said when he looked at her pale face. He picked her up in his arms and stood up.

"Lucy…" Natsu whispered, but it came out as more of a sob.

"Why didn't you tell us?" Erza whispered next, body shaking.

"Ow, shit." Gray cursed. He felt an insane amount of heat pass through a key on Lucy's belt. Then, Loke materialized beside Gray, looking distraught.

"Is Lucy alright? I felt her magic power being drained and something was blocking me from coming out." He asked. He looked a mess. The jacket for his tuxedo was missing and he didn't wear his glasses. His hair was still messy and the top button of his white dress shirt was opened.

"She's fine." Gray answered. "She just needs to rest."

"Who did this to her?" Loke demanded to know. He glared and looked around the area.

"She's long gone. And she covered her scent somehow." Natsu answered when he found the strength to walk over to the bunch.

He briefly looked down at Lucy in Gray's arms and looked away right after.

'I don't deserve to love her.'

"Why did she hide so much from us?" Erza asked.

"She didn't want any of you to worry. You've all had your own problems to face." Loke tried to explain.

"That is no excuse!" Erza yelled. She felt all of the pain that Lucy did. All of her sorrow. Her misery.

"Aquarius." Gray started. "Is she really gone?" He just had to know.

Loke reached down to Lucy's key pouch and unhooked the Aquarius key for them to see. Lucy had refused to remove the broken key from her ring.

"It was the only way to summon the King so that he could release the spell on you guys." Loke said after placing the key back in its hook. "We should probably head back to the guild. I can carry her if you want." He referred to Lucy.

"I got her." Gray said before starting to walk off, everyone else following behind.

They arrived at Lucy's apartment just when the base of the sun came in contact with the horizon. Gray gently rested Lucy on her bed before the group made their way to her front door to talk.

"I need to talk to you guys while we tell the guild about this. I want Lucy to know that Fairy Tail has her back and I wanna make sure that everyone's on board." Loke quietly said to them. They nodded in agreement and Loke opened the door for them to exit.

"Not you Natsu." Gray pushed the pinkette back inside the apartment.

"The hell do you mean?" Natsu's irritation didn't go unnoticed.

"You better fix this shit when she wakes up." Gray glared at him and closed the door; leaving Natsu alone.

His dragon senses heard Lucy start to stir in her room. Natsu had to force himself to move from the front door. He heard her feet lightly touch the floor.

"You should probably rest a bit more." He leaned in the door frame of her bedroom.

"Natsu…" Lucy whispered when she turned around to face him.

"Why didn't you tell us about Aquarius." He asked firmly, lips pressed into a straight line.

"I don't know what you mean." She avoided his gaze.

"Enough with the lies Lucy!" He raised his voice a little at her. He tried not to let the way she flinched affect him.

"I didn't see a reason to." She whispered. "I could've found her on my own."

"But why didn't you come to us?" His voice sounded as if he was pleading to know. "You told Gray that you were hurting, but couldn't tell me?" He instantly regretted saying that as Lucy's eyes hardened.

"You haven't looked at me in two months, let alone spoken to me and you're upset that Gray comforted me?" Her voice broke as she tried not to cry. She fought and fought and fought her tears back.

She refused to cry in front of him.

"That's not what I meant." He ran his hand through his pink hair and sighed.

"I think it's time for you to do some explaining." She pointed a finger at him. "You tell me why you've been ignoring me for the LAST TWO MONTHS!" She seethed.

She wasn't going to cry.

She wasn't going to cry.

She wasn't going to cry.

"I had some feelings to sort through."

"You could've talked to me. I knew how much it hurt to see Igneel like that." Her tone softened upon mentioning his late adopted father.

The tears won't fall.

The tears won't fall.

The tears won't fall.

"It's not about Igneel." He face palmed as if he was distressed.

"Then what is it about?"

Don't let your mask slip.

Don't let your mask slip.

Don't let your mask slip.

"It's difficult to put into words." He gripped at his hair.

"Then don't use your words." She looked up at him with her big, brown eyes.

Natsu took a deep breath in before he looked at her again. She looked like a blonde goddess, ready for war. Her fists were clenched at her side and her hair covered her right eye once more. She looked like the same warrior she was when she opened three gates, and that's what gave Natsu his courage.

He closed the distance between them in three long strides. He looked down at her as she looked up at him.

"Natsu?" She whispered up to him at his close proximity. The way his eyes were screwed shut and his lips were turned down in a frown, it looked like he was having an internal battle with himself.

He grabbed her by her shoulders and opened his eyes. His onyx pupils looked near black as the sun set further.

Then, he pressed his lips to hers in a firm, yet passionate kiss.

Well that right there concludes the first chapter of my story. The final two chapters will be posted TONIGHT, so stay tuned. Make sure to like my story and follow my page to read more of the awesome stories I have planned out. Gamer, out!