I’m so sorry this is late lol, and honestly the only thing I have to explain myself is
But this introduces more magic styles, explanations and STARTS THE MAIN ARC WOO.
Natsu Dragneel is just an ordinary 21 year old trying to get by on his craft’s business, keep his landlady off his ass, and grow his friendship with his new weird neighbour Lucy. Without revealing that he’s a witch. Or his cat can fly and talk. So maybe Natsu isn’t that normal. Things take a serious left turn for him when people from his past start showing up, and he and Lucy as well as some new -and old- friends travel across Fiore trying to find some answers. But the question is, will they be happy with what they find?
Natsu had shifted Lucy to the couch, still tucked solidly under his arm. Happy had taken it upon himself to tie up the men in the kitchen, each gagged with a rag imbued with anti magic potions. They weren’t particularly good, but Happy had whipped them up himself and they were probably better than Natsu would have been able to make.
He had also left a nasty scratch along the side of the wind witch’s face.
Now the three were huddled on the couch, Lucy refusing to let Natsu out of her grip and Happy unable to stop shaking without the embrace of both Lucy and Natsu.
They didn’t even flinch when Lucy’s door was kicked in.
“Natsu Dragneel you tell me what’s happening right now or- why are there men in Lucy’s kitchen and why is there blood on the wall?”
Natsu looked over Lucy’s head at Erza, seeing the expected fury and concern there. Fuck, he was going to die when he told her why.
“It’s my fault.” Natsu said in a flat, defeated voice. Lucy jolted in his arms, Natsu passively letting them fall off of her.
“Don’t you dare say that.” Lucy hissed, Natsu feeling her glare on his skin. He scrubbed at the side of his face, dried blood flaking off from his chin. Of course Lucy didn’t blame him, the girl was loyal to a fault, and for some reason she thought Natsu was worthy of that devotion. “It is not your fault.”
“Someone tell me what happened.” Erza’s demanding voice cut through, and Natsu pinched the bridge of his nose as he took a deep inhale.
“A couple of dark witches tracked me down. Lucy and I got back here and then they attacked us. Luce saved my ass.” He looked at the top of Lucy’s head with a dry smile. “She ‘xhausted herself summonin’ her mermaid, so don’t be too pushy with her.”
Erza walked around, ignoring the tied up men and crouching in front of Lucy. Her wide brown eyes shot to Erza, confusion surfacing past the dull tiredness. “Why are you talking as if Erza knows about-” Lucy started to question, cut off by Erza’s firm but gentle hand turning her chin left then right, examining her face and neck. Next Erza gathered her hands, thumbs brushing over her bruising knuckles.
“You did good, very minimal damage to your hands without any protection.” Erza complimented. She looked at Natsu, directing her comment at him again. “And you seemed to have done well as the only trained witch against four, including the coven Master. I’ll have to take them into the Council station here, and you’ll have to give a report as well of course.” Erza sighed, straightening at Natsu’s silent nod. He was thankful she wasn’t chewing him out, even if he knew her praise was unwarranted.
“Like I said, Luce had to summon her mermaid spirit, she did a lot of the work too. I’d be dead if she wasn’t with me.”
Lucy’s hand was over Natsu’s mouth as soon as he finished speaking. “And we are officially done speaking about you living or dying, do you understand me?” Lucy’s glare was fierce, Natsu nodding under her unyielding stare before she turned and looked at Erza. “How much do you know about magic?”
Now Natsu shrunk under Erza’s sharp look. “You didn’t tell her?” She asked harshly, Natsu shifting so Lucy’s body was acting as a shield between him and Erza’s wrath. Her hand fell away from him during the shift.
“You said not to!” He defended weakly, quickly followed by a ‘sorry ma’am’ as he hid further behind Lucy. Natsu wondered if he had better odds against suffocation-man than Erza’s death glare.
“Yes but I would have assumed you’d ignore me as you usually do.” Erza said dryly, turning her attention back to Lucy. Her brow furrowed and her gaze returned to Natsu sharply. “You said she summoned a mermaid?”
“A sprite.” Lucy interrupted, shying back when both witches focused on her. “Uh, I feel like Aquarius would kill me if I didn’t correct you on that?”
“You never said she was a celestial witch.” Erza accused, absentmindedly inspecting Lucy’s neck again.
“Well I didn’ know at the time! That stupid fish popped outta her desk or somethin’, and next thing I knew they were basically flockin’ to her from everywhere. Luce said one had been hidin’ in her clock this entire time, I think.” Natsu sulked, chin resting on Lucy’s shoulder.
“You were listening to me.” Lucy said softly.
“I always listen to ya, Weirdo.” Natsu snorted, “I just don’t always, y’know, listen.”
“We’re not just friends and you fucking know it.” for Jerza, please? (btw love your writing. so. much.)
Lets pretend Makarov didn’t come back because I like the angst of Erza grieving him. I am very, very rusty so I hope this reads okay.
;A Moment of Truth
Jellal stirred awake to a shimmering dawn. Wisps of scarlet hair tickled his face, drawing his attention to the face above him. To Erza. Fainting on the battlefield was as normal to a warrior as snow to a mountain, but Jellal still recoiled inwardly as the shame washed through him.
He’d left her alone. Again.
‘Jellal,’ she whispered. ‘It’s over.’
Jellal’s limbs ached with a need to stretch, but he remained perfectly still, his gaze fixed on Erza’s face. If it were up to Jellal, he’d stay there for an eternity. But life had made other arrangements. The things he’d done, the people he’d hurt, their heartache wouldn’t be erased by a single war. What he’d done to Erza would take a lifetime to atone for.
‘We did it,’ she said, tears glistening on her bruised cheeks. ‘Now we can go back to the guild. All of us. Together.’
Fairy Tail. That’s where Erza belonged.
‘I’m happy for you, Erza,’ he said.
Erza adjusted her legs beneath him. ‘For me?’
‘Yes.’ He hesitated. ‘Now you can be with your loved ones. You can live freely.’
Freedom. Despite thinking himself a puppet of Zeref, Jellal had still granted Erza freedom from the Tower of Heaven. Against the malice twisting inside him, Jellal had thrown her aside. The blackness in his heart had hoped she would suffer out there. Alone. Dwindling in the wind like a leaf cast adrift in the breeze. But the rest of him, the part that loved her, that cherished her, had always wanted her to be free. To escape the shackles of their captors, to be free of him, and find somewhere she belonged. She’d done that.
Exhaling a long sigh, Jellal lifted a hand and cupped the side of Erza’s face. She leaned her head into his palm and offered a small smile. It was all he could do to resist pulling her closer. That wasn’t his right.
‘Will you stay with us?’ she asked him.
Jellal blinked. ‘What?’
‘With Fairy Tail. Won’t you join us?’ Erza’s gaze flit to the guild hall, which stood proud despite the damage endured in battle. ‘After this, I think the slate is wiped clean. For all of us. We can keep on living with our sins, but, we should start fresh. Rebuild the guild. Strengthen our bonds. It’s time to start over. To do things right.’
Jellal winced. ‘Erza, I’m not sure…’
‘I thought I’d lost you,’ she said.
Jellal inhaled a sharp breath. He hadn’t intended to make it this far. He’d thought himself dead during the fight with Acnologia. He’d do anything, suffer eternal torment, give up his freedom, if it meant saving the woman he loved.
Erza crumbled over him and let out an uncharacteristic whimper. ‘I was so scared. I can’t lose anyone else.’
Jellal’s hand shifted up into her hair. ‘Erza. I don’t belong here with you. As much as I cherish your friendship, Fairy Tail is your home. Not mine.’
Erza straightened. ‘I love you, Jellal,’ she sobbed. ‘Don’t you see that? This isn’t just about friendship.’
‘Erza…’ Jellal’s face warmed. His heart thumped happily in his chest. ‘The things I have done. I can never take them back. I can’t ever hope to–’
She kissed him.
‘Then atone,’ she said. ‘Look me in the eye for the rest of your life; relive what you’ve done every second of every day. Let that be your punishment.’
Jellal’s fingers closed around the hair on the nape of her neck. He pulled her down for a second kiss. Longer and more passionate than the first, he let the years of pining, the sting of regret, slowly fade into love.
Erza smiled down at him. ‘I love you, Jellal.’
Jellal returned the smile. ‘And I you, Erza Scarlet.’
And he would say those three words for the rest of his life. Each morning, when the sun rose and the birds stirred from their nests, Jellal would roll over to meet Erza’s gaze and, swollen with love, he’d allow himself a moment to breathe. And when the heartache was at its worst, Erza was right there, guiding him through, teaching him that even the villains deserve forgiveness and love. And this atonement went on for years. Seven of them, in fact. Until one day, he was rewarded for his efforts.
Every morning was the same. Jellal would hand the caffeinated to the groggy, grouchy customer and go back to making the coffee for the next one. It was mundane and dull, but Jellal somewhat liked it that way. He enjoyed busy work and keeping to himself. He never liked being out in the open or the center of attention.
This morning, however, was different. And that was because she came in.
Ignoring everything other than the strawberry cake in the display, she intently stared at the decadent dessert that was made early that morning. Jellal was instantly struck by Cupid’s arrow as her mouth upturned into a beautiful smile. Her red hair flowed in long layers down her back, and it was the color of those strawberries she was drooling over.
Despite being quiet, he knew he had to approach her. This may be his only chance to talk to the woman he had just fallen in like with.
Team Natsu on a job, sharing a bed. Gray at the far left, arms and legs splayed, snoring, half his body out of the blanket. Erza next to him with her inconvenient hair all over his face, knotty and messy, and she’s dribbling. Lucy lying on her side, facing Erza, hair pulled into a messy bun and smiling in her sleep with plue curled against her neck. Natsu facing away from them all, snoring loudly, breathing small flames as he dreams, legs out of the covers. Happy curled at their feet, on top of the covers.