i could weld these if i had a studio

       with five days left until the final book, now seems like a good time to post—
we ̸̡m҉a͠k̢̢͘e͘ ҉̷a̧ go̷̡̕o̵d̸ ͜͟t̴̀͜e̷a͝m̧ {
x } ;; a playlist for the journey from codependent detectives to codependent world-breakers — and, just maybe, back again

i. the night ;; aureliano voltaire
  { although forewarned by peers and kin, i always get into the night }

ii. victorian vigilante ;; abney park
  { cut scene, your victim’s dethroned
   dripping ice hook on crimson cobblestones }

iii. big bad handsome man ;; imelda may
  { the man is tall mad mean and good-looking,
   and he’s got me in his eye }

iv. hand of glory ;; ghostfire
  { my post upon this hill shall be a beacon, for all things ill }

v. evil friends ;; portugal. the man
   { when i shouldn’t do it, i just do it
   what you think’s got nothing to do with it }

vi. ain’t no rest for the wicked ;; cage the elephant
   { and there ain’t no rest for the wicked,
   until we close our eyes for good }

vii. wonderland ;; natalia kills
   { when i lay my head down to go to sleep at night, my
   dreams consist of things that’d make you want to hide }

viii. violet hill ;; coldplay
   { bury me in armor, when i’m dead and hit the ground }

ix. red right ankle ;; the decemberists
   { whatever differences our lives have been, we together make a limb }

x. remain nameless ;; florence + the machine
   { i wish to remain nameless, and live without shame }

xi. devil’s backbone ;; the civil wars
   { there wasn’t a wrong or a right he could choose
   he did what he had to do }

xii. i always kill the things i love ;; the real tuesday weld
   { one day we’ll pay back all we’ve borrowed
   what we love today, we’ll lose tomorrow }

xiii. honor for all ;; jon & daniel licht
   { we live for today but we’ll die for the next
   with blood in our veins and the air and our chests }

– cover image © arh studios –

Follow Focus: Puppet War

Previous

Lucy was absolutely horrified when she made it to Fairy Tail in the morning.  Last night she had left Natsu in the sculpture studio, buried elbow deep in a rubber mold and a dismissive grunt which showed how focused he was on his task.

Now when she returned there was an art war breaking out straight across the entire art residency hall.

“JUVIA IS NOT A PUDDLE!” The ceramics major shrieked, throwing a ball of clay at Gajeel, who narrowly avoided getting up close and personal with the sticky terricotta.

“BRING IT ON MUDSLINGERS, YOU AIN’T GOT NOTHIN’ ON SCULPTURE!” Natsu roared back challengingly, a crazed smile on his sleep deprived face.

Oh no.

Just what the hell happened in the time it took for her to go home, sleep, and take a shower. Whatever happened, it somehow sparked an interdisciplinary battle stretching from the bowels of sculpture up to the pristine rows of Graphic Designers.

She looked over at the sand pit and saw a familiar hand struggling underneath a mound of sand. 

Levy!?

On top of her stood three kittens, who were using the sandpit as a comfortable nest, effectively trapping the photographer underneath.

Oh no. What had these idiots done?!

She rushed over to help her friend, dodging chunks of clay and wadded up paper.  She spun to avoid Erza, who was hurtling towards them at mach speed with a palette strapped to her chest like a breast plate.

At the woman’s approach to try and cause order in the panic, it just caused the Sculptors to scatter in terror and regroup, Natsu and Gray’s screaming the loudest.

Just when Lucy managed to shoo the cats off Levy and pull her free from her sandy prison, she was certain the entire building was going to go up in flames at this rate.

Luckily, someone else thought the same.

“THAT’S ENOUGH YOU BRATS!” Roared a voice Lucy had only heard a handful of times.

There, standing at the doorway of the studio was the diminutive man who owned the building.  Makarov Dreyer.

Immediately, all flailing ceased in an instant.

The man, despite his miniature size, seemed to tower over them all.

“You all break out in a fight between disciplines at least once every two months, and that is unacceptable,” Makarov rumbled, “What sparked it this time? Did sculpture swipe a heat gun from Ceramics? Did Drawing use all the guache from painting? Or perhaps did Printmaking take the emulsion from Photography?” 

The artists all quieted down like scolded children, even Natsu, who was still in one of Erza’s headlocks.

“That is not what Fairy Tail is about,” Makarov rumbled, his voice a thundercloud giving way to a storm, “So I’m putting a stop to it. Here and now.”

“As of now, we will be starting an Interdisciplinary Challenge! Once a month, you will partner up with someone for the entire year to collaborate on an art piece!” Makarov ordered, “One 3D Artist for every 2D artist!”

“Choose wisely! You will be with that person for the rest of the year!”

Before Lucy realized it, Natsu’s gaze had zeroed in on her. His eyes, still sharp despite his sleep deprivation, glinted in amusement. He slid out from under Erza’s arm in a second and he flung his arm around Lucy’s shoulder.

“No sweat gramps! Got my partner right here, and we’re going to crush the competition!” Natsu grinned with vicious pride.

“Wait– me– wha?” Lucy stammered as she was pulled firmly against Natsu’s side. A flush worked over her cheeks as she wiggled against him, but his grip only seemed to tighten on her.

“Well I certainly hope so,” Makarov said in amusement to Natsu’s boasts, “Because the team with the poorest design…”

His eyes glinted, “Punishment Game.”

Lucy swore the temperature in the residency plummeted. Even Natsu looked terrified.

“Your challenge is to create a puppet using only supplies found in your local hardware store,” Makarov shouted, the air growing tense. Lucy felt Natsu’s body shift next to her and his arm shift down around her waist. 

Wait was he getting ready to run?

Lucy found out a second later when Makarov raised his hand.

“You have fifty dollars and 48 hours!” He shouted, “GO!”

The ground disappeared under Lucy’s face as Natsu hefted her over his shoulder like she was a sack of flour. He sprinted with her over her shoulder, causing her to lose all the air in her lungs, and she barely managed to catch sight of Levy flailing over Gajeel.

Was this a thing?!

“Natsu let me go!” Lucy wheezed, her hands grabbing a handful of the back of his shirt as she was bounced around on his shoulder. Where did he have this kind of energy to just lift her up and haul her around like this?

“Sorry Lucy! No can do! We gotta get to my truck before Gajeel can!” Natsu’s breath came out a bit labored as he pivoted and jumped over obstacles in an impressive display of athleticism. Especially considering he hadn’t slept at all the night before. 

“Why does it matter!” Lucy shouted, “Why can’t we take my car? There is plenty of room!”

She discovered the answer for herself soon enough when they made it outside the residency hall just in time to see a cackling Gajeel drive off in a rusty red truck.

Natsu swore, and set Lucy down a second later. He panted, supporting himself on his knees and glaring at the smoke trail Gajeel left behind. 

“I never should have let that bastard have the keys,” He grumbled.

Lucy rubbed her sore stomach and smacked Natsu’s shoulder in irritation, “A little warning would have been nice!”

It soon became clear just why he wanted to drive when she finally managed to wrestle Natsu into her car. Because for whatever reason, he resisted the idea with such painful whining, she thought she was causing him legitimate agony.

Turns out, the Salamander of Fairy Tail had terrible motion sickness when he couldn’t drive.

A family trait as it turned out, because Gajeel was the same way. Halfway through the ride he stripped out of his outer layer to leave himself in his tank top. He set it on his lap.

To catch the vomit he said.

Lucy hoped it wouldn’t come to that.

So it was with great comfort when they pulled up to the local hardware store and color began to return to his face.

It was like new life pounded back into his body. The enthusiasm in which he dragged Lucy through the hardware store was almost contagious. Lucy didn’t even complain when Natsu convinced her to sit in the cart to speed things along.

At least she hadn’t complained until he started to drive the damn thing, scooting it along aisles at such high speeds she was certain they were going to crash into a fixture.

He twisted the cart through a maze he seemed to know well.

“Come on Lucy! Grab what you want!” He called out, a wide grin on his face and his fist punching the air in front of him, “We ATTACK!”

“Natsu slow down!” Lucy shrieked, but was somehow caught up in his shenanigans as she broke out into laughter a moment later. 

It turned out that shopping with Natsu was not as painful as an ordeal as she thought. Although she was certain that at any moment they were going to be kicked from the store. They had fun though, scooting along the aisles and planning the supplies they needed for under fifty dollars. 

By the time they returned to the studio, they had somehow managed to burn away a good chunk of their day. So Natsu got to work bending the aluminum wire they purchased to create a strong armature. 

“It’ll have to be tack welded for security, but I can do that in a minute,” Natsu said busily, his hands twisting wire and shaping the body of the puppet with expertise. 

Lucy was almost in awe over how quickly the shape began to form right before her eyes.

“Or I could do it?” Lucy asked. 

Natsu’s attention lifted from the wire and his eyes glittered behind his goggles, considering her question.

“You want to learn how to weld?” He asked her, an eyebrow raising behind the glass of his goggles. 

Shifting under the intensity of his gaze, she nodded.

“I mean I know it’s probably stupid of me. But Mr. Dreyer said it was a collaboration, and if I learn your skill, maybe you can learn some of mine in this project?” Lucy rushed out at once, “Since isn’t the goal to work together and become interdisciplinary artists?”

“It isn’t really a collaboration if I watch you do all the work,” She eyed him, suddenly feeling both shy and exposed for the simple question she posed between them.

Natsu was still staring at her as if she had grown a second head, and Lucy was beginning to think perhaps suggesting anything at all had been a bad idea. 

“You’re gonna suck, that’s for sure,” Natsu replied with a grin.


“But lets do it!” Natsu continued before he could completely crush Lucy’s hopes, “You won’t get good at it until you practice. So lets try it out!”

He pulled Lucy over towards him where he was standing behind the forming armature. Positioning her between himself and the frame, Lucy almost jumped out of her skin when she felt Natsu’s arms circle around her.

His chin lifted somewhere over her shoulder, and she watched him lift a hand to his mouth, sharp teeth catching a his leather gloves and tugging them free. Lucy watched the motion with fascination and she swayed forward on the balls of her feet, cheek bumping against Natsu’s.

Her heart skipped a beat in her chest.

How silly was this, freaking out like a school girl over some proximity to an attractive man? 

Snapping out of it when Natsu’s warm hands clasped over hers, leathers dropping into her palms as gruff fingertips caressed the tops of her hands. Natsu’s hands were roughened and strong from hard labor. She could feel the power behind them, capable of bending steel and coaxing fire to his whims,

Sliding the gloves on, Lucy tried to concentrate on Natsu’s instructions. He would be guiding her through the process. Welding was dangerous, and he wasn’t going to throw her into it without any training.

Still, it was frustratingly distracting to her when Natsu started up the TIG torch and kevlar coated hands began to lead her through the steps. He told her about the electrode, the head required to melt the small point of connection between the thin wire. Telling when aluminum was hot was the hardest part Lucy found, because it didn’t change colors.

After a while when Natsu had determined she had a handle on it, he left her to do it by herself, his hands skating away so he could inventory the rest of their supplies.

So by the time she was done, welding goggles pushed up on her face, a tangle of twisted metal and ugly welds was what they had to show for it. 

Guilt warred through her at the sight of the tangled mess of the armature she had made. It seemed like somewhere along the way, she hadn’t moved fast enough with her welds, and the distribution of heat had caused the metal to warp. It was something Natsu had warned her about, but to see that her negligence had turned their project into a coiled lump of metal…

…She felt terrible.

Natsu inspected the piece with dark eyes and curiosity, his arms crossed over a broad chest and his hand cupping his chin as he probably contemplated the horrible mess his partner had created.  No doubt, the Salamander was regretting his decision in picking Lucy for the challenges.

“Natsu, I’m sorr–” she tried, but her apology went ignored.

“It looks like a dragon!” Natsu said loudly in excitement, talking over her apology before she could finish. 

Lucy almost reeled back under the force of the wide grin he flashed in her direction. She would be lying if her guilt didn’t lesson under the force of that charming smile.

Her heart skipped a beat.

“Great job Lucy,” Natsu’s dark eyes glittered as he tugged at some loose wires and clipped them off, “TIG welding is really hard! You made something awesome though, that’s incredible!”

Lucy blinked at the sketch of their original design, completely different from what they had ended up with.

“But… It doesn’t look like anything we planned for?” Lucy looked at their limited materials and then back at their misshapen armature.  She supposed it looked a little like a dragon, although she wondered where Natsu saw it, “We’re not going to have enough materials to make this work.”

Natsu didn’t seem bothered by this. His smile only seemed to grow, his hand lifting through the air to encourage a high five from her. Confused, Lucy slapped her palm against his, the clap from their joined hands ringing through the studio.

“We’ll improvise,” Natsu’s grin went even wider, “I like this idea better anyway.”

He punched his fists through the air, raising both arms over his head.

“Alright! I’m all fired up now!”

Lucy couldn’t help but smile at him, something about his happy mood catching onto her. His optimism sank into her, warming her from the inside out.

“Alright! Lets do this!”


Special thanks to lonestorm for helping me come up with the puppet war. Hahaha. It was sparked from a fit I had at work a while ago. Hahahaha. Also please excuse the shitastic drawings. I wasn’t feeling well, so at one point they just became scribbles basically.

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