Genre: Family, Romance, Friendship, mild Drama, some Fluff
Pairings: Natsu/Lucy (others optional)
Main Characters: Laxus, Lucy, Natsu, other main Fairy Tail cast
Developing sibling like relationship/feelings between Laxus and Lucy
Additional summary: A well intended deed from an old friend may cause Lucy to lose everything and everyone she holds dear. Unless…
It was a regular day at the guild.
Levy sat at one of the tables in the back, her nose buried in a new book. Beside her was Gajeel, snacking on some metal scraps, and Lily, enjoying his glass of Kiwi juice.
Jet and Droy were at a table close by, sending the iron dragon slayer jealous glares. Not that the dark haired man noticed or cared.
Cana was located near the bar, drinking from her usual barrel of beer.
Macao and Wakaba sat with her, joking around about the good old times.
Other assorted members, currently not out on a mission, were similarly goofing around the guild hall, doing what they usually did.
Mirajane was happily tending the bar, while trying to cheer up Master Makarov, who sat across from her, a huge stack of papers piled in front of him.
The old man had been fighting with the paperwork for the council for hours now.
Why did being Guildmaster have to come with all this paperwork?
And why did it have to be so complicated?
His children caused a lot of chaos, he knew that. The council knew that. Hell, all of Fiore knew that!
Why, oh why was it necessary to put it down in such detailed writing? The damage reports he could handle – after about the fifty-sixth of those, one kinda got the hang of how to fill them out. But all these other ones were a pain in the ass!
Claims about the disturbance of peace, demands to explain and justify the need for excessive force, tax forms for the guild hall, the half yearly report for the magic council,… it was endless!
And everything was always so convoluted and complicated, not to mention laborious.
He missed the times when a Guildmaster could simply walk up to the council, take care of business and be done with it.
Now it was all bureaucracy this and paperwork that and 'please fill out form 28b'! And since he never got it right on the first try, the council would send even more paperwork to correct the mistakes made on the first batch, which – naturally - came with additional cost.
He felt like crying.
Despairing over another one of the never ending sheets of paper, he was momentarily startled when he heard the boisterous shout of Fairy Tails resident fire dragon slayer.
"We are back!"
So, Team Natsu had returned from their mission. The Master felt a headache beginning to set in as he wondered about the damage his most destructive band of children had caused this time. More paperwork. More bills. He was really getting too old for this.
And he couldn't figure out this darn section in the tax report before him.
Did they mean for him to list the income of every one of his brats, or the accumulated money from missions? And if so, then did they mean all missions, or just the ones that had been successfully completed? Or just the S-Class missions?
His frustration finally got the better of him and the old man screamed, throwing his hands in the air.
"Aaargh! Why does this have to be so complicated?!"
Lucy, who had made her way up to the bar when she and the rest of her team had returned from their last job, (their pay cut once again because her friends forgot to hold back while fighting in the city and damaging houses, again!) nearly spilled her just received drink at the Guildmaster's outburst.
She looked at the short man, only a few seats beside her at the bar.
"Is something wrong Master?"
Mirajane, who stood between the two on the other side of the bar, smiled softly.
"Don't worry Lucy. Master is just having trouble with the paperwork for the council."
At that Makarov moaned pitifully.
"Paperwork for the council, paperwork for the city, paperwork for the guild… its endless. Why do I have to be tortured like this? Why?"
Then the short Fairy Tail master started banging his head against the bar's surface, further disarranging the papers before him. One of which fell to the floor. Seeing this, the blond celestial wizard stood and picked up the half filled out tax form from the ground, her eyes flitting over it.
"Master, this isn't right."
Makarov paused in his attempts to dent the wood of the bar with his head and stared questioningly at Lucy.
"What do you mean?"
Her eyes still on the paper, Lucy sat on the stool right beside the old man and began explaining.
"You made a mistake here, in fact, you made several."
She pointed to a certain part of the form in her hand.
"See, this section here deals with property, not people. And here you need to list off all resources that are used exclusively for the guild and its members. And what you wrote down there," then she quickly searched through the papers laying haphazardly around before them, grabbing one of them after a few seconds. "- actually is information needed for this form."
She looked at her Guildmaster, only to see him staring at her with huge, sparkling eyes.
"Lucy, my dear, could it be that you have experience with these… matters?"
There was an unmistakably hopeful tone to his voice. Lucy nodded.
"My father made sure I knew all about running a business, and, well, a guild isn't that much different. At least when it comes to the management side of things, like paperwork. If you like, I could go over some of these and see if I can find some ways to save on money. Rule number one when dealing with matters like this, there are always loopholes. At least that's what Father used to say."
Now Makarov's face held and expression of complete and utter awe and admiration. Tears of wonder were gathering in his eyes.
"Are you saying, you would actually do this paperwork for me?"
He looked at her like a puppy begging for a treat. Lucy nervously shrugged her shoulders.
"Sure, I mean, if that's ok. I can do this."
With that, Makarov could no longer keep himself in check.
"Lucy! You are an angel sent from above!"
And he launched himself right at her, snuggling his head into her bosom. The blond's face heated in embarrassment and anger, but before she could throw her perverted Master off, Mira quickly plucked him from her chest.
"Master, I'm gonna get angry!" She scolded.
But Makarov apparently didn't hear her, mumbling the words "no more paperwork" and "so soft" over and over.
Lucy resignedly shook her head over their Masters behaviour and returned her attention to the stack of papers in front of her.
"Better get started."
And so began Lucy's little part-time job as Fairy Tail's very own specialist for all things dealing with paperwork and Guild-Management.
The Master was at first just happy that he didn't have to wrestle his way through the nightmare that was bureaucracy anymore, but quickly became overjoyed when the city lowered the monthly cost for the Fairy Tail facilities, due to one of those little loopholes Lucy had mentioned.
He insisted that from then on, Lucy use his office whenever she did his paperwork, as she deserved some peace and quiet while helping him out.
Then he had to put Erza in charge of stopping Natsu from barging into his office whenever Lucy was working in there, after the first time the salmon haired dragon slayer had sniffed her out there and dragged her back down with him.
The old man shook his head amusedly as he looked down at all his children from his place at the banister of the second floor.
Team Natsu had undertaken two major and well paying missions this month, and somehow managed to cause only a minimal amount of damage. This had left Lucy, for once, with enough money for her rent and other necessities. Which was why she answered with a firm "No." when Natsu had attempted to take her on another mission shortly after the team made it back from their last one.
"But Luuuuuce! This mission sounds like its gonna be tons of fun! And we can do it without Erza and the pervy popsicle!"
Naturally, Gray – who was currently missing his shirt – had heard that remark and was in Natus's face only seconds later.
"What was that, Lizard boy?"
Natsu pressed right back.
"You heard me Ice Princess!"
"Wanna go Flame Brain?"
"Bring it on Frost Fart!"
Some punches and kicks later and half of the guild was involved in the brawl.
Makarov was contemplating if he should put a stop to it, when he saw the beautiful celestial mage approach him from the side.
"Lucy my dear, is there anything you need?"
She smiled at him.
"I was actually wondering if I could hide out in your office for a while. As soon as Erza is finished with her cake, she will probably stop the fight, and then Natsu is going to pester me about taking this job again. I'm afraid that he is gonna wear me down sooner or later, and after our last two missions, I was really hoping to catch a little break. I figure if I can evade him long enough, he might get distracted with something else and forget about the mission."
The Master suppressed a smirk. Ever since Lucy had started doing the guilds paperwork, she had a little less time for her fire breathing partner. Based on the many times Natsu tried to break into his office while she was in there and then – after being intercepted and pummeled by Erza – spent the rest of the time sulking until Lucy was finished with her work, Makarov could easily deduce that the dragon slayer was using the mission as an excuse to spend more time with the girl.
/Ah, young love./
He wondered when those two would finally get together. It couldn't be too much longer now.
Makarov knew that, despite popular believe, Natsu wasn't completely oblivious to his beautiful partners female charms, as well as his own ever growing feelings for her.
The way the Master saw it, the only reason those two weren't together already, was because of their closeness, as strange as that sounded.
Right now Natsu didn't crave a deeper relationship with Lucy, because they were together all the time anyway. They went on missions together, they hung out at the guild together, Natsu and Happy were over at her place all the time. Hell, if what Mirajane had told him earlier was right, the little moron even snuck into her bed and slept beside her from time to time.
Lucy was his partner and best friend. Natsu had pretty much secured his place in her life, and right now, having her close to him was all the dragon slayer needed.
Her constant availability to him was probably what kept him from maturing, in a way. Natsu may not be as dense as most believed him to be, but he was innocent when it came to matters of sexual desire. Which made sense to Makarov.
After all, Natsu had Lucy. They were closer to each other than anyone else in the guild. No one in Fairy Tail was a serious threat to his position in her life, so there was no need for Natsu to change their current relationship. To ingrain himself even deeper into her life.
Of course, the physical aspect would come in time.
Lucy was a desirable young woman and Natsu was a healthy and (however slowly) maturing young man, who would some day wake up to his feelings and carnal desires for her.
The old Master just feared that with the way things were going, it would be some time still until he would see these two openly expressing their love for each other.
And they did love each other, of that he had no doubt.
It was just a matter of realizing that there could be even more than what they already had. But that was something they both needed to do, because Lucy was just as bad as Natsu.
Actually, the blond might be even worse than her partner, Makarov thought.
While Natsu might be slow in waking up to his feelings and desires for her, as soon as he did, he would act on them. Makarov was certain that the destructive dragon slayer wasn't the type to waste time when it came to something he wanted, and as soon as he learned of the full extent of his want for his partner, he would do everything in his power to get her.
Lucy, on the other hand, would probably be far more reserved. She would obsess over 'what if' scenarios and all the possible ways that her feelings for him could change things and what all could go wrong. She would be battling fears of rejection, whenever not in a state of denial. And in-between those times, the pretty young woman would keep her feelings close to her chest, hidden from everyone else.
Because Natsu was someone who mostly acted without thinking and Lucy thought out every possible avenue before she acted. It was one of the reasons those two made such a good team. But in this singular circumstance, this difference between them made Natsu the one that needed to start off their romance.
Lucy's voice brought him out of his musings and made him look up at her questioning eyes. He realized she was still waiting for an answer and suddenly, an idea hit him. He smirked.
"Why, of course Lucy. Feel free to use my office to get a little break from your partner. In fact, I think after all the work you have been doing for me, you deserve a vacation. How do you feel about going away for a few days?"
Lucy blinked, beyond surprised at this sudden turn of events. She quickly waved her hand in front of herself.
"Oh, no, that's really not necessary, Master. I-" But the old man just jumped down from his perch, landing beside her, and started ushering her into the direction of his office.
"Nonsense child, everyone needs a little breather from time to time. And I know just the place for you to get away from the chaos for a bit."
"But Master, I don't-"
"Yes, yes. You will love it, I'm sure. Don't worry, I will just make a quick call and check if you can stay a few days. Do you want to leave tonight already?"
Lucy was trying to get the man to stop and listen to her.
"No Master, I don't want to leave for some vacation today!"
The old man nodded.
"Right you are, you will need at least a day to prepare and pack. So I will see if I can arrange your departure for tomorrow!"
They had at this point reached the Master's office and he happily gave the blond celestial wizard a little push into the room.
"That's not what I meant-" Lucy got no further as the door behind her closed and she heard the old mage's merry voice through the wood separating them.
"Don't worry Lucy, I will take care of everything. You just relax here for a bit and if Natsu starts asking for you, I will tell him you are helping me with matters concerning the guild."
Lucy wearily rubbed her forehead, sighing softly. She just wanted to avoid having to go on another mission, she didn't need a whole vacation!
/Oh well, I probably won't be getting through to Master right now, so I might as well enjoy a little peace and quiet here and take a little nap. I will try and talk Master out of this later./
Nodding to herself, Lucy walked to the comfortable couch in the big office and laid down to get an hour or two worth of shut-eye.
On the other side of the door, Makarov was rubbing his hands in glee. He had the perfect plan to help his two children and speed things up a bit.
Wasn't there a saying stating that 'absence makes the heart grow fonder'?
And Natsu's recent behaviour indicated that the boy was getting closer to understanding that he wanted more than friendship from Lucy. The less time the girl spent with Natsu, the more possessive and clingy he got.
So, if Makarov arranged for Lucy to be gone for a few days, that would surly push the dragon slayer over the edge and force him to confront his feelings for her.
He cackled almost evilly as he made his way downstairs to look for the guilds communications lacrima.
/Mira should know where it is./
When Lucy woke up an hour and a half later, she felt refreshed enough for round two of 'convince the Master to cancel whatever arrangements he made for my vacation'.
She got up and was out the door, ready to go looking for the little, old man, only to stop in her tracks when seeing who was sitting in the chair outside the office, usually occupied by Erza, and listening to the music from his lacrima-player.
"Oh, Laxus. What are you doing here?"
Upon noticing Lucy, the blond dragon slayer took off his earphones, hung them around his neck and shrugged his shoulders.
"Erza was needed for some kind of last minute mission and gramps didn't want the little idiot to barge into his office and disturb you. So I got guard duty."
The celestial mage sheepishly wrung her hands together.
"Sorry Laxus. I'm sure you had better things to do than babysit me."
He shrugged again.
"It's no big deal. Bix and Ever were kinda getting on my nerves anyway. And it's always fun to pound Natsu."
A slightly sadistic grin spread over the older blond's face and Lucy laughed nervously, averting her eyes. It wasn't that she was scared of Laxus. Ever since he had showed up on Tenrou island to help them and rejoined the guild, he had proven himself to be a true member of Fairy Tail. He wasn't the man he had been when she joined the guild all those years ago, she knew that and had long since forgiven him for his actions back then.
She didn't believe in grudges anyway. Holding on to them was way too tiring.
But the fact was that she didn't really know much about the man before her. They hardly ever interacted or spoke with each other and she was unsure of how to act in his presence. Since Laxus had rejoined the guild, she had come to see him as an honorable, loyal and powerful man, who she honestly admired. And she didn't want to say or do anything that might leave a bad impression with him.
Bad enough that he had been forced to sit in front of an office just so she could sleep undisturbed.
/He probably thinks of me as a nuisance already./
So while she was trying to come up with something to say that wouldn't make her sound like an imbecile, her gaze landed on the mission board for S-Class requests. And while she didn't even try to read any of the flyers up there, one word, or rather, a name, sprang out to her.
Eyes widening in recognition, she all but ran over to the board and ripped down the flyer.
Laxus watched curiously as the girl read over the mission request. He was surprised, to say the least. Lucy didn't strike him as the type who was interested in the more dangerous S-Class missions. Maybe the pink haired moron was rubbing off on her. It still seemed unlikely though. But on the other hand, what did he know? It wasn't like him and Lucy had spent any quality time together in the past to get to know each other.
Partly his fault, he admitted to himself.
Every time he saw the young celestial wizard, he was reminded of the time Phantom Lord had attacked Fairy Tail in order to kidnap her. And with that came the memory of his demand in exchange for his help. Not something he was proud of.
Her skittish behaviour around him didn't exactly ease his guilty conscience. He couldn't blame her for it, though. Unlike the others, she hadn't known him before his 'fall from grace', as he liked to call his behaviour back then. By the time Lucy joined Fairy Tail, Laxus had already been too deep in his downward spiral of anger, jealousy and an obsession for power for all the wrong reasons.
It stung a bit that she was able to forgive Juvia, who had kidnapped her, and Gajeel, who had beaten her during her captivity, with such ease, and yet she still wasn't comfortable in his own presence.
It was one of the reasons why he hadn't objected when his gramps asked him to guard his office in Erza's place. He was trying to make amends.
If he could just get her to stop being so damn nervous around him, maybe even get to know her a little.
He just needed an opportunity to spend a little time with her. That shouldn't be too hard, right?
He was pulled out of his inner musings when Lucy suddenly appeared right in front of him, the mission request she had been reading clutched tightly in her hand.
"Laxus, please go on this job with me!"
The man blinked, surprised.
/Well, isn't that convenient./
to be continued...
Alright, the new story is finally up. I'm really excited about writing this one and I hope you all will be equally excited about reading it.
Now for some fanfic recommendations:
- A Summer Fairy Tail, by Nardragon: Modern World AU. Natsu/Lucy pairing. Very humorous and romantic. Status: complete. Though there are some hiccups in with the grammar (sometimes the author forgets some words), the story is still decently written and over all very enjoyable. Apart from Lucy and Natsu, other pairings get their time to shine as well. Such as Gray and Juvia and Gajeel and Levy.
- The Astrologist, by NavyBlueWings: Also a modern world AU. Natsu/Lucy pairing. Status: ongoing. Instead of Mirajane, Lucy tries her hand at helping her fellow guildmates find love. With the help of her knowledge in not only psychology, but also astrology, she seems to be doing rather well. But what about her own chances at romance. The story hasn't progressed that much yet (plot-wise), but so far I can say that it is very well written and the characters are also pretty in-character here.
- Fairy Academy, by Biofawriter10: Another modern world AU, that has the gang in highschool. Natsu/Lucy pairing. Status: complete. What I liked about this story the most is the rather unique way the author made Natsu and Lucy realize their feelings for each other. Also much humor in this one. If you haven't read it yet, I urge you to give it a go.
- Year of the Sun, by jane3876: Pairing: Natsu/Lucy. Status: complete. Team Natsu comes across a dying older Dragon Slayer on their way to or from a mission and rescue his infant son out of a burning building. With his dying breath, the man make Natsu promise to take care of his son. Naturally, Lucy is there with him all the way. Very cute story of our two favourite mages taking their first steps into parenthood, while slowly realizing their feelings for each other.
- Fairy Country Club, by SpinalCoil: Pairing: Natsu/Lucy. Status: ongoing. Modern world AU. (I seem to be recommending a lot of those today…) I can't tell you too much about the story, because, to be honest, I don't know that much yet myself. But the layout so far is intriguing. The story gives neither too much, nor too little detail, so the reader can wonder about things without being confused. I also like they way the characters have been portrayed so far and I think it will turn out to be a great story.
Alright, that's it so far from me. Please feel free to offer up your own story rec's for everyone in a review. Oh, and of course your opinion on this chapter. :-)