Lunch with the guys from Sculpture was always an eventful affair. Natsu remembered one time Sting got a chicken wing lodged in his ear. He still wasn’t sure how it happened, but everyone told him he was the one to blame. Natsu still wasn’t convinced, but by the way Sting always ducked every time he came near him with so much as a turkey leg there could be some truth to what he said.
They headed back into Fairy Tail after eating at 8-Island. Yajima was a close friend of the Dreyer family which ran the foundation, so they got to eat at a discounted rate. Considering the massive appetites of both Gajeel and Natsu, that was a great benefit to them.
“So what’s with you and the new chick from Photo?” Gray asked Natsu, drawing his attention. On the way past the Notice/Request board, art was scattered around them. They passed tall drawings that stretched from floor to ceiling, and massive strips of canvas loaded with oil paints. The building was crammed full of art people put on display for everyone to look at on their way to their respective studios, “She’s been coming down to our level a lot. Button pushers don’t usually venture further south than Printmaking.”
“Huh? Ya mean Lucy?” Natsu returned the question, he ignored the slang Gray used for photography. Every department had a ‘nickname’ of sorts. Ceramics were mudslingers, Photographers were button pushers, so on and so forth.
He lifted one tattooed shoulder, slinging his arms behind his head, “Nothing. Just helpin’ her with her frames. She likes to figure out how to do stuff herself.”
Disbelief colored Gray’s face. The man didn’t look convinced by Natsu’s explanation, somehow sensing his fellow sculptor was being deliberate in his evasiveness. Before he could further question Natsu, a grunt came from behind them.
“Oy,” Gajeel muttered from behind them, “Check this out.”
Natsu hadn’t even noticed Gajeel had hung back. A white shirt was slung over his shoulder, discarded by Gray as they walked. No doubt Gajeel was planning on tossing it into the pen they built for their stray kittens. They had a comfortable nest under the sandblaster, but they were missing a few toys. Everytime Gray stripped himself of an article of clothing, Gajeel considered it a donation to contribute to the toy-building process of their cats which was explanation enough on why he lingered. The burly man had a soft spot for kittens the size of Canada.
Edging over to Gajeel, Natsu peered over his shoulder to see what had caught his cousin’s eye. They were standing in front of the request board, the three of them shoulder to shoulder as they looked at the new notice.
Levy’s Photography ‘Protips’ – IE: A Letter to the Jerks in Sculpture and General Studio Housekeeping.
Natsu snorted in laughter, mimicking his cousin’s odd sounding laughter.
“Looks like Levy decided to make a list like yours,” Gray said, amused.
“Damn shrimp.” Still his eyes moved over the paper, interested in the content despite the growls vibrating in the back of his throat. So distracted was he, Gajeel didn’t notice Gray sliding his shirt back on.
1.) The Darkroom is not a place to take a nap and escape from the noise. I don’t care how hung over or tired you are. We keep explosive chemicals back here and some of you have a reputation around fire.
2.) Please read the door to make sure there is no ‘nude modeling’ signs posted. The sign up sheet for sessions are on the door. KNOCK before entering if the doors are closed. ‘Whoops’ is not a valid response.
Natsu let out a loud whoop of laughter.
3.) The revolving door of the Darkroom is not a toy. If I catch you spinning around in it like a cracked-out child at Christmas, I will eject you into the timeout corner. It’s under the old printer and it has the total square space of a single foot. Enjoy.
4.) If for some reason Rule 3 is ignored and certain motion sick fools find they are in desperate need to vomit, the film canisters are not sickbags. At least use the sink for goddsake.
5.) Please don’t plug in the light board and heating press at the same time. It will cause a short, which blows out power to the entire top level. If you make me have to go down to Hell for your mess up and face the fury of Laxus to get the breaker working for us again, I will be very unhappy.
6.) To whoever keeps putting their dead goldfish in the Fix. Please STOP. I know we save it because I said I wanted to save some of the wildlife which remained in the local rivers, but putting your deceased pets in the fix are not going to make me change my mind.
7.) The chemicals for film are not a Do-It-Yourself chemistry kit. Listen to me. You are not a mad scientist, and this is not your laboratory. Put a pin in it Dr. Frankenstein.
8.) I know the safety lights in the darkroom look good. But changing them to party lights or even worse – black lights is prohibited. No one really wants to see the stains on the walls again, do they?
9.) The studio closes at 2am unless you are accompanied by a shop tech. Those who are found hiding in the cabinets to escape notice will be fed to Gajeel.
Mad giggling could be heard all the way in Graphic Design at that rule. Natsu shot a look over his shoulder at Gajeel’s flustered scowl. He was at a loss for what to say, but everyone knew he was secretly pleased he was being used as a threat. Gajeel could be an intimidating bastard if you didn’t realize he had a soft spot for kittens.
10.) All nude models will remain behind the closed doors of the studio. The janitors keep complaining about having to pick up loose clothing off light fixtures. On an unrelated note, Gray, we have a few things in the Lost and Found for you.
Natsu leaned against Gajeel as they both roared with laughter, the two sculptors collapsing in on themselves and falling into hysterics over the notice. Gray’s face burned red in embarrassment, his shirt already unbuttoned and hanging loose around his shoulders.
“Look who got called out!” Natsu crowed, throwing his head back and laughing obnoxiously. Oh, some of these were great though. He owed Levy a huge one for this.
Gray, who had been thumping his forehead against the request board, and thus the notice itself, whipped around to glare at Natsu, “Shut up Lava breath! You missed the last one! You’re getting called out too!”
“What, you wanna go princess!” Natsu demanded, cramming his face back into Gray’s personal space. Always willing to jump into a fight, he rose eager to the challenge his fellow sculptor presented.
At least until he figured out what Gray was talking about. The previous rules had hinted at his involvement pretty heavily even if they hadn’t listed him by name. Still, he was interested in what Gray was talking about.
11.) Breech of these codes requires one cup of coffee as payment for emotional and physical damages.
The eleventh rule was written in neat handwriting. Large and well printed, the letters fell in curly lines that were light against the paper. They contrasted well against the writing that came before it. Written by a different person. Written by her.
Yeah he was still going to call her that in his head.
He recognized the different handwriting when she signed her name in the tool checkout sheet down in Hell. Lucy’s handwriting was one of the most recognizable across the board. And she had added a note to the end of Levy’s list, just like Natsu graffitied Gajeel’s notice.
“He ripped the paper off the board,” Gray observed in amusement, having tossed his shirt further down the hallway again.
“Gray, your clothes,” Gajeel sighed tiredly.
Natsu paid them no mind. One thing was certain. Lucy was calling him out.