Dedication: To Mishini I dedicate this story. Thank you for all the support you've offered over the past months and for being an awesome friend. Happy birthday in advance.

Artworks: I got my friend, Monkey, to do a picture of Amarith. You can link to it from my FanFiction profile page, or go to my deviantArt gallery (username's Shadow-Countess).

Disclaimer: Fairy Tail and all related characters belong to Hiro Mashima. I own nothing save this plot and my character from the upcoming Revival of the Forgotten, Amarith Sorano. And the random Josh Atwell, Miyako Takashi, Rena, and Evelyn I threw in for fun.


May I have this Dance?
An Amarith Sorano & Hibiki Laytis Three-shot

Chapter I
Deeply Flawed

By Shadow Countess

~.~.~.~

There is no perfection without flaws, no imperfection without strengths. When he discovered her, he was swept away by her balance of perfection and imperfection. She was deeply flawed, but had strengths, and when combined, she was a myriad of uniqueness he wanted to understand and keep for himself.

~.~.~.~

26th September; 07:00

Eyes of rich violet fluttered, dark lashes dusting her cheeks, as she scanned her surroundings and took in the school courtyard. All was silent, still, yet each step she took up the marble steps to the school door was weighed with wariness and caution.

Each rustle of leaves, each crack of branches, each whisper of wind, drew a tensing of muscles from her. Slender fingers coiled around the strap of her bag. Nails dug into the lined flesh of her palm to leave crescent-shaped marks of white. Leaves danced in the wind that lifted.

She sucked in her lower lip and nibbled on the soft flesh. The memory of her past, of that day ten years ago, was still fresh in her mind, refusing to leave, always lingering and haunting her tortured mind.

It had been on a quiet day like this when she was ambushed on her way home from dance class. Dragged into a deserted alley and beaten up for what little money she had. She had lain on the ground, curled up and sobbing, till he came. Loke had stepped forward and helped her up, had brought her away for medical treatment, had looked after her.

Loke...

Amarith sighed. Since that day, he had become more than her dance partner. He had become her best friend, her knight. He had waited for her, rain or shine, regardless of how late it was, to walk her back to the orphanage they had called home. He was always smiling that easy, relaxed smile of his, always there to soothe her ruffled mind and dispel her fears.

She hadn't needed anyone else—he was enough for her. Until an errant car and a drunk driver swooped down and stole him away a year ago.

It wasn't fair.

After his funeral, after having her life and heart shattered, she had transferred to Blue Pegasus. No longer could she stay in Fairy Tail when every nook and cranny held memories of Loke and his smile.

While Fairy Tail was the town's public dance school, Blue Pegasus was the established institution recognized worldwide, and had produced many renowned dancers. It was reserved for the rich or the talented, and Amarith classified under the latter category. Having grown up in an orphanage, abandoned by her parents, she was far from wealthy. But she was an accomplished Standard dancer who could win awards and increase the school's reputation. And so, she had received a full scholarship that covered everything from food to housing.

It was a difficult step to take, but she had taken it. Without a backward glance, she had left her past and her memories behind, leaving the orphanage for Blue Pegasus' dormitory. Yet, she held no regrets. With Loke gone, she no longer had any attachment to the building and its residents.

A tingle of fear and dread shimmied through her thin frame as she moved down the corridor. It was too quiet, eerily so. Though she had always come earlier than the others, the school was never empty. The Trimen—Hibiki Laytis, Eve Thylm and Ren Akatsuki—were always around, waiting to spring on her with flowery words and lighthearted dedications. The way they did to every other girl they meet.

The paintings of famous personnels lining the walls stared down at her, lifeless eyes scrutinizing her every move. Shadows leaped out at her; light reflected off the marble flooring glinted like yellow eyes of demons. The chandeliers hanging on the ceiling reminded her of the cobweb-coated candelabrums decorating haunted houses occupied by witches.

She shook her head. Her imagination was running amok again.

Softly, nervously, she pressed down on the gold-weld handle leading to the locker room and slipped in. One hand fluttered along the wall in search of the switch as darkness engulfed her. Panic strangled.

Why weren't the lights on? They always were. She bit back a cry of despair before flicking the switch. A breath of relief tickled her lips as light flooded the space. Since young, she had held a gripping fear of darkness, and could not sleep without having her bedside lamp switched on. Light was her comfort.

Her locker, formed from white metal, was the one furthest from the door since she was the last to enroll in the school. A frown touched her delicate features upon her noting of the note taped to the door. She detached it to read the words:

Sorano-san,

I hope you would enjoy the chocolates above your locker.

Your secret admirer

Eyes thinned; she reached for the box of said treat. Unlike the other girls who kept their lockers opened to boys and gifts, she had always locked hers. Lifting the cover, she gazed down at the heart-shaped candies. A pause, and she tossed them into the bin. She needed neither attention nor gifts, and they could have been spiked.

I prefer truffles anyways.

26th September; 13:00

Tender notes of the famous Moonlight Sonata drifted through the air, announcing the start of the much loved lunch. Instead of the shrill bell used by every other school, Blue Pegasus had opted for a different classical piece each day. Not that she minded.

With a quick murmur of 'See you later' to her partner, Josh Atwell, she made her way down to the locker room for the sandwich she had made before school. She preferred eating alone in her dance room with no one but books and music for company; she hated the hustle and rush to the cafeteria. It was too noisy.

And, despite the change in environment, it brought back undesired memories. Loke had always been the one holding her hand and dragging her down for food in spite of glares from girls of his harem.

Even though she and Loke had shared no affection, no love, no dates, they were siblings who had constantly looked out for each other. Amarith shook her head. It was time to get over him.

Her flats clacked against the marble ground with each step she took. There was no one in the corridor or locker room since nobody bothered to prepare their own meals. But she had to, if she wanted to save every cent and second. The former was for books and dance tapes not covered by the school; the latter was for dance.

If she wanted to keep her scholarship, she had to dance twice as hard as the others and win awards. Else it was goodbye. Though Fairy Tail would be more than willing to take her in once more, she didn't want to go back. She had come to realize that Blue Pegasus was indeed a much better dance school though it lacked the friendliness Fairy Tail overflowed with.

When the door to her locker swung open, she found herself staring. On her rows of neatly arranged tapes was an intricately wrapped box with an envelope attached. Horror dragged through her. Her locker was locked so how did it get there? She frowned, broke the seal, and pulled out the letter.

Please enjoy this.

The tips of her fingers ran over the typed words of black. A sigh.

Discarding the silver-colored wrapping and opening the box, she found herself looking down at rows of perfectly round truffles. Ignoring the sirens of warning going off in her head and giving in to temptation, she picked one up and popped it into her mouth.

The initial bitterness and eventual sweetness—a combination she loved and craved for—brought her to heaven.

Still, she threw it away. Though she would have loved to finish the entire box, her dance instructor would have a fit. Sharing it with the other girls was out of questions—they would only scorn her for treasuring something so common. After all, they were filthily rich. Truffles were nothing but everyday food for them.

30th September; 13:20

"Miss Sorano?"

There was only one person in the entire school who addressed her as 'Miss' instead of 'san'. Head tipped up to glance at the Latin dancer three years her senior. "Yes, Laytis-san?" Eyes of deep amethyst stared into gray-touched orbs of blue.

"You look absolutely stunning today. And your dance is downright beautiful."

A wane smile. "Why, thank you." She had long lost count of the number of times he had come up to her with those words. A gifted dancer and the heir of the Laytis Enterprise, he spent his free time visiting the tiny rooms the school was composed of, watched dances, and complimented girls on them. And she was one of his many playthings...

He cast her a smile and moved on to another target. Amarith stared down at her book, mind awhirl. Hibiki Laytis was the type of girl Loke had been and, ironically, had warned her against, yet she was harboring a secret, childish crush on him.

She liked him, and, for as long as she could remember, she had been following his career in the dance world. He was the moon of the dance world, and she was one of the many stars admiring the moon. He was out of her league.

She too knew that if she showed the slightest bit of interest, he would turn his attention to her, give her all his care and concern, and shower her with gifts before turning to someone else. She would become nothing but another faceless member of his harem.

Despite his good intentions, he had no heart; only infatuation, and mayhap lust. Though it hurt her to admit to it, she knew it was the truth. And she had to forget him and his killer smile.

10th October; 07:10

It was another one of those days of aching muscles and exhausted mind. She had pushed her body to the limit during foxtrot practice the day before, and had stayed up late into the night watching dance tapes. An unhealthy pallor tinged her alabaster skin; dark circles adorned her eyes.

And she was in pain. The vigorous dances performed had formed blisters that hurt despite the layers of gauze wrapped around them. She would have taken the day off for rest and recuperation, or at least stagger up the stairs, had years of training not coached her otherwise.

And the other girls would accuse her of seeking the Trimen's sympathy—no one else, not even her partner, would care about her. Even after nearly a year, few in the school had accepted her. Even Josh viewed her with disdain. She was a class beneath them, and they were determined to make her remember that.

Tucking her long tresses behind her ears, her gaunt figure leaned against the door. She sighed, dreading the day's training. It was going to kill her.

Amarith Sorano, remember who you're dancing for. For him. Since young, she had given herself mental prep talks to get her spirits up, to make life less dreary, but it didn't seem to work just then. Eyes closed; she hobbled to her locker.

Corners of lips turned downwards into a scowl of displeasure; pale flesh pressed together to form a thin line. There was another gift—a dark blue box—above her locker. This time, the note held a simple line of 'Hope you like this'.

Flicking the catch and pushing the cover back, she found a silver bracelet with a single charm hanging off it. A tiny heart of red.

Tears formed, unbidden, within those orbs of molten amethyst. It wasn't fair. She had to work herself to death and still not afford the things she wanted, the books she yearned for, while others could frolic their time away and burn money on worthless things like jewelries. Fingers coiled and clenched into fists.

Once again, she tossed it into the bin and walked away without a backward glance.

13th October; 13:15

"Miss Sorano, why aren't you having lunch?"

Said girl lifted eyes dark with weariness, blurred gaze focusing on the features of Hibiki Laytis. "I'm not hungry," she mumbled quietly before lowering her face onto her bent elbows, head resting on a large bean chair.

The morning spent doing underarm turns had strained her thin ankles and cracked several blisters, starting the bleeding once more. Had the pain not been so severe, she would have gone to the bathroom and changed the bandaging.

"Would you like me to fetch your sandwich?" he offered, sitting down on the ground beside her.

At his words, she shifted her head and opened an eye to stare up at him. So he noticed. Yet, there was no trace of haughtiness in his suggestion, the usual mock and disdain she had come to associate with the students of the elite institute. Especially when they spoke of her difference to them. A 'No, thank you' died in her throat.

"Please," she whispered, "thank you." She needed food, else she would collapse that afternoon.

He shot her a disarming smile, patted a hand to her shoulder, and left. Caught in a daze—both from sheer fatigue and him—she dimly observed that he had not asked for her locker combination before a whirl of black sucked her into its depths.

Hibiki entered the room, a velvet box and a brown paper bag in his grip, only to find Amarith slumped over the beanbag, fast asleep. A gentle smile touched his countenance. She needed to rest, having appeared drained and lifeless for many days.

She's pushing herself too hard. The worry that accompanied the thought flittering across his mind surprised him. Sure, he had always been one to flirt and tease, but never had he truly worried about a girl, especially one who showed no interest in him.

A slurred murmur caught his attention. He watched as a shock jumped through her body; her form trembled.

"Loke...Please...don't go..." Tears formed beneath her lowered eyelids to tumble down the contours of her countenance.

"Miss Sorano, please wake up."

Two skeletal hands clung onto his arm when he reached to touch her shoulder. Eyes, gleaming with tears and pain, flew open and stared unseeingly at him. "Loke!" was the cry of despair that escaped her parted lips before she got into control of herself. A blush of pink touched her cheeks. "I'm sorry...I was dreaming."

Head of blond locks shook. "It's alright. Please enjoy your meal."

She received her belongings with a quiet 'Thank you' and a timid nod of the head. Strands the coloration of dark straw danced. "You don't have to keep me company."

"Chasing me away?" The grin that followed the question was amiable though, in truth, he was unnerved by her reaction and the shout. It wasn't one of mere fear. It was one tangled with longing and deep-seated agony. It was common knowledge that one revealed their secrets and weaknesses in sleep, and the encounter showed him that Amarith was hiding more than she showed.

"Maybe." She returned his gesture with a weak smile of her own. "Don't you have to eat too?"

"My instructor always releases Miyako and I fifteen minutes before lunch to grab some food then. Never liked the crowd, especially when lunch can be spent with lovely ladies like you."

At the institute, the starting dancers enrolled in large classes of thirty students to learn different dances with an instructor, and the teacher-student ratio decreased with the increasing difficulty of the dance taught. Those who had reached professional standard worked with a partner and a personal instructor.

Amarith scoffed softly. "Why are you alone anyways?"

"Aren't you company?" He reached to play with her locks; she drew away like a startled fawn caught in a spotlight. "Sorry."

"It's alright," was the calm assurance, yet guarded eyes watched him warily. "I meant, why aren't you with the other girls? Or Thylm-kun and Akatsuki-san?"

"Eve and Ren went skirt-chasing, and the other girls were held up by them. I wanted some time alone."

The smirk that graced her features was brief, vanishing as swiftly as it had come, but it had, nonetheless, appeared. "Aren't I company?"

He chuckled; she recoiled at the sound. The laugh was like music, silky, smooth, and heartbreakingly perfect. "I like this side of you, Miss Sorano." Smoky eyes danced. "By the way, I found this in your locker." He handed her the box of purple velvet and an envelope.

A brow curved. "What is this?" The gold-tinted catch was flipped upwards, the lid slowly shifted on its hinge. "Pretty..." she breathed quietly, running the tips of her fingers over the pale purple crystal carved into the shape of a seashell. She loved shells and the sea. Loke had once made her a necklace using seashells picked from the beach. It was still in the box filled with items she treasured. "Thank you."

"This isn't from me."

Lips coiled into a tiny smile. "I know. Thank you for the attention."

"Anytime."

13th October; 19:30

"Sorano."

At the call of her name, Amarith lifted her view to find her path blocked, three of her fellow dancers standing before her. "Hey," she greeted wearily and brushed stray strands of buff out of her eyes, "what do you want?"

"Why did Hibiki-kun spend lunch with you?"

Amaranthine eyes blinked, narrowed, and raised to stare into the midnight blue depths of the one standing before her. "I believe you should ask Laytis-san, not me, seeing he came up to me."

"In case you don't know, you don't ask guys about things like this." Miyako's tone was condescending, mocking, as she sneered and cast a distasteful glare in Amarith's direction.

Amarith rolled her eyes. Miyako Takashi was the daughter of Tanaka Takashi, the Japanese man who had founded Takashi Mobile, the company controlling the nation's communication system, and was one utterly spoilt brat. She was not the best dancer out there, but money had gotten her into Blue Pegasus and contacts had made her Hibiki's partner—the Laytis and Takashis worked closely in business.

And she was a member of Hibiki's harem who was overprotective of him and hated the mere sight of Amarith.

"Of course you don't. You go around hounding girls, no?" A brow arced.

"So you were playing innocent, you little slut." Dark blue eyes held purple ones in an unwavering stare.

"Look who's talking," came the disdainful scorn. "Tell me you haven't done anything sluttish, or has your darling Hibiki-kun gotten tired of you?"

Miyako gasped as though Amarith had lifted a hand and slapped her across the face. Evelyn and Rena—Miyako's best friends, and Eve and Ren's partners respectively—stared, dumbstruck. Even Amarith was surprised by her retort, the adrenaline-fueled retaliation that was sounded on an impulse.

"What did you just say?" Takashi demanded harshly, enraged.

"You heard me," was Amarith's frosty reply. She knew she was acting on adrenaline, on impulse, and would live to regret her rash actions, yet the foreign, but not unpleasant, tingling drove her on. After all, she had always taken their insults lying down, let them stomp over her like one would do to a doormat, and she was tired of it.

"How dare you insult my Hibiki-kun!"

Amarith's only response was a deriding laugh, and an 'Are you sure he's yours?'

19th October; 16:50

Legs of slim muscles pulled into a stretch as she lowered herself into a split, hands gripping the barre for support. Josh had gone off for a cup of coffee, leaving her with her whims. Her dance trainers were slipped off and ditched in a corner while she went into a series of rapid spins, those performed by ballerinas: she had dedicated eight years to ballet before deciding to devote all her time to ballroom dancing.

"Lovely."

The voice and clicking of heels against the floor caught her attention, drawing her to a halt. Gaze shifted to the one standing at the doorway. "Laytis-san," sounded the greeting. "What brings you here?"

"The cafeteria's made a fresh batch of lemonade so I brought you some." One eye closed into an impish wink. "You're gorgeous when you dance."

A smile tugged at her lips. "Thank you."

25th October; 20:00

Eyes narrowed against the fierce wind whipping through the space, threading through her loose mane and gamboling beneath her skirt. With one hand pressed to the flapping cloth of deep green, she made her way down the stairs and towards the large gate of the school.

"Laytis-san?" came the startled gasp upon recognizing the figure lounging against the brick wall.

"I thought you were never appearing, Miss Sorano." He reached out a hand for the bag slung over her shoulder, sliding it out of her grasp.

Her heart skipped a beat. Her breath hitched. He had never looked this good, this pleasing to the eye. She had never seen a white, perfectly ironed oxford shirt contrast so wondrously with black jacket and pants. Yet, despite the wild tango going on within her, she tipped her head upwards and looked him in the eye, a mask of cool composedness slipping over her face. Curls of fawn dangled behind her back.

"I was foxtrotting," she explained, "why are you waiting for me anyways?"

"Eve, Ren and I are visiting the dance club recently opened in town, and I was wondering if you would honor us with your company. We would like to see you dance."

Amarith frowned and twisted her fingers.

"There's no one else from school besides us three, though Ren had invited Sherry," Hibiki added, reading her reluctance. Only a blind would miss the hostility the girls in school treated her with, though no one said anything within his earshot to uphold their sweet, endearing images.

"Sherry from Lamia Scales?" Lamia Scales was another dance school.

"The one and only."

Another pause, and Amarith nodded her agreement. "Sure."

She had met Sherry during the nationals and had found her civil enough. Though Sherry's dance lacked techniques and precisions, she made up for it with burning love. Eve and Ren had always treated her alright, like any other target of their flirting—she doubted they cared about status when it came to girls—but had never swept her away the way Hibiki did.

"Thank you."

25th October; 20:30

One step into the club and she found herself regretting her rash decision and cursing her impulse. She should have known better than to agree to whatever whimsical ideas the three heirs had. The dance club was different from the ones she had visited with Loke, the only ticket to its interior being a famous name. Every inch of marble flooring, every bit of decoration, every taste of atmosphere screamed elegance and class. She felt like a beggar, out of place, with her simple dress.

Silently, she followed the others to an unoccupied table, eyes fixed to the ground to prevent unnecessary gaping, and ordered a glass of piña colada. Ren and Sherry took to the dance floor; Hibiki wandered off after paying for her drink, leaving Eve to keep her company.

Lilac-hued eyes watched as Hibiki glided off to chat with the other girls within the room. Heart ached, knowing full well he would return with one of those beauties encircled within his arms. He viewed her as nothing but another member, though unofficial, of his harem. And when compared to the other ladies of wealth and sophistication, she was nothing.

"Don't give your heart to Hibiki, alright? You deserve much better than him." Eve's uncharacteristically grave voice broke her daze and dragged her out of her reverie.

She jumped. "I have no idea what you're talking about, Thylm-kun."

"It's Eve," he corrected with a smile and a tip of head, "It's alright, Amarith-san. There's nothing wrong with liking him—Hibiki's always held a charm over innocent girls. I'm just telling you to turn back before it's too late. Don't love him; you're too pure to be sullied by the likes of him."

"Flirting with me, Eve-kun?" She shot him a rare, playful smirk before taking a sip of her drink to cover the unease contorting her heart and stomach. Was it love she felt for Hibiki? Or simply, infatuation?

"Just a suggestion. Have you seen what he's like?" Two pairs of eyes, periwinkle blue and ripe plum, watched the table where Hibiki was holding court, girls sitting around him with adoring gazes and simpering smiles.

Thin shoulders pulled into a brief shrug. "I know. With you three, especially him, there's only infatuation." She cast Eve a slight smile. "I won't let him play with me, not that he would care for the likes of me. Laytis-san only likes beautiful women." Eyes were a shade of blackish-purple. "I won't let him hurt me, and...I have experience with playboys: my best friend was one."

Eye frowned, detecting the use of past tense with her best friend, but chose to overlook it. "Don't sell yourself short. You are beautiful."

A wane smile of disbelief. "Maybe."

He paused, and offered her his hand. "Shall we dance?"

Amarith agreed, and let him sweep her off in a flurry of rapid jive steps. She had never known that the boy, a year younger than her age of seventeen, could dance so well, but here he was, leading her in an exhilarated mess of blurs. Though she shouldn't have expected any less from the heir of the Thylms and a top-notched Latin dancer. She herself was a competitive Standard dancer, but had invested much time and energy in learning Latin dances, and had excelled at them.

The pressure on her heavily bandaged feet—blisters had formed on top of blisters over the past days—was excruciating, but she danced through the pain with a smile dancing on her lips.

From across the room, Hibiki watched as Eve led Amarith in his favorite, and best, dance. Eve was an extraordinaire at jive, but she too was marvelous, constantly moving and matching him step to step in a series of twists, turns and spins.

He could finally understand why Bob, the principal of Blue Pegasus, had been so eager to get his hands on her—Amarith had turned down the offer many times prior to her final agreement. She was a totally different person on the dance floor. She was a burst of energy and passion, a phoenix instead of the usual dove. Her regular partner was squashing her potential, for never had he witnessed such a spectacular dance from her before, not even on the competition floor.

He had to dance with her.

Paying no heed to the protests of the other girls, he stepped forward and asked Amarith for a turn when the song ended. Eve shot him a terse look that he brushed off. The younger boy had been searching for a jive partner who could keep up with him, and upon discovering Amarith, wasn't too willing to let her go.

Or so he thought. In truth, Eve didn't want Hibiki to shatter the heart of the naïve girl who had gotten deeply caught in his net, in spite of what Amarith had said. That, and well, he did want to jive with her, and one would not be at her best with a broken heart.

"Can you salsa?" Hibiki questioned when the first note struck. The only reply he received was a roll of tainted eyes and a soft 'If you do, then yes."

He soon discovered that Amarith Sorano could salsa like a dream. He spun her out before twirling her back, their bodies bumping against the other. She arched a brow in his direction, a coy smile curling her lips as she retaliated with a body roll into his space. Hibiki laughed. Amarith was more relaxed and less restrained when dancing. She was freer. And the emotions she radiated simply overwhelmed him.

She was utterly transformed.

Spin, step, twist, la sombra...Dancing with her was like holding a ball of flames in his arms. A ball of flames that could read his every lead and signal. Dress flared as she performed a series of rapid underarm turns. Miyako was no match for her, both technique- and emotion-wise.

And, Amarith's eyes were a brilliant shade of violet, not darker or lighter than usual, but infinitely brighter. Those orbs danced along with her, burning and sparkling with life, as she performed a particularly violent head snap.

He was mesmerized.

Halfway through the dance, she glanced up at him, sensing a shift in his hands. He was going to do something unexpected. Hibiki's dancing style was largely different from Josh's, having incorporated many freestyle moves instead of sticking to the clichés. And she enjoyed the fun and challenge.

There was a pause, and she jumped to execute a lift. Unfortunately, it was the wrong move to do with her present state of lethargy and the battered condition of her feet. The jump-split was performed flawlessly, but the landing jarred her injuries and tore several blisters apart. Searing pain raced through her; she swayed and let Hibiki hold her up.

"I'm sorry," Amarith choked breathlessly, "I need to rest."

Wordlessly, he swung her into his arms—she was dreadfully light—and carried her to the couches tucked in a corner of the room. Eve followed. Ren and Sherry paused in their dancing to head over as well.

Laying her on the sofa, Hibiki surveyed her ghastly, pain-riddled countenance with a frown. Her feet...He frowned, not liking the specks of red that dotted her white stocking. Disregarding her protests and the weak shoves aimed at his arm, he removed her heels and flinched at the blood-soaked cloth wound around her feet.

"What the hell?" he swore.

She shook her head; beige-hued locks bounced. "It's nothing, just a little blood."

"Just a little blood?" was Hibiki's echo of disbelief. "Do you need to die from blood loss before admitting it's not just a little blood?"

"I'm used to it," she snapped tiredly and probed her frame into an awkward sitting stance. Her head spun dizzily but she ignored it. "I thank you for your attention, but I have to go back and fix this up."

Hibiki made no move to stop her, only allowing hardness to cloud his eyes and preventing Eve from interfering, as she forced her heels back on with a crease of brows, gripped the armrest for support, and got onto her feet. There was a quiet whimper before she passed out from a combination of pure fatigue and the acute pain rocketing through her once more. He caught her in his arms, breaking her fall.

"Why didn't you stop her?" Eve demanded harshly, "you knew her body couldn't take it."

"And you saw how stubborn she is. It'll only hurt her pride if we baby her, so it was better to let her taste defeat and give in. I was going to follow her back and catch her when she faints, though I didn't expect it to be this fast." Hibiki lifted Amarith's limp form up and headed for the door. "You three head back first; I'll bring her to the hospital."

"I'm coming. I agreed to invite her, so she's my responsibility as well," Eve voiced.

Ren nodded. "I'll head over after driving Sherry home. It's not nice to abandon a lady, is it?"


Summary for Chapter II

One dance, one mistake, and one night, was all it took for him to discover her, to see past the layers, to notice the kindred spirit lying beneath the worn out cover. But he couldn't reach out to her the way he wanted to, couldn't hug her close, couldn't call her his. Because she was afraid of him, afraid of getting tangled in his affairs, afraid of getting abandoned and thrown away like a discarded rag doll.

She didn't want to be shattered again.


Authoress' Note: To be continued...

This started out as the toughest one-shot ever, with absolutely no plot in mind. Before a plot bunny came for a visit and before I knew, it lengthened into a two-shot, a three-shot, three one-shots, and finally, I decided on three two-shots. The completing chapter for this two-shot would be posted soon.

I threw Amarith in because everything that has hogged my mind for the past days was mushy scenes between Hibiki and Amarith. Scenes that will never be written. That, and I couldn't imagine Blue Pegasus (and Hibiki) without her, I pointedly refused to hand him over to someone else, and I really wanted to write about him.

Also, to the best of my abilities, Amarith will not be a Mary Sue. She has flaws that will be revealed with the progression of the plot. And the weird coincidence between Eve and Evelyn, Ren and Rena was an accident. Pure accident. I only realized this...coincidence...after I posted the story.

This is my first Fairy Tail fic, so feel free to review and criticize as you deem fit. I'm open to critiques so long they're objective and constructive. Anonymous reviews are welcomed too! And if you've come late in the show, know that I won't mind an individual review for each chapter.

Thank you.