wizard for hire

Roy/Ed week is coming up!  This year, Roy/Ed week will be from August 20, 2017 to August 26, 2017.

Any fanwork is accepted, just as long as it’s about Roy and Ed and their relationship, whatever you interpret it to be!  Just make sure that #royedweek is within the first five tags of your post, so we can see it.  In addition, if your work contains any common triggers, we would appreciate it if those were tagged as well. :)

This year, we’ll have three prompts per day: one theme, one AU idea, and one dialogue line.

The prompts for this week are:

Day 1: Domestic
“High Fantasy” AU
“You embarrassed me this evening.”

Day 2: Time travel
Fandom swap AU
“We could get arrested for this.”

Day 3: The war was in color
Superhero AU
“You’re taking his side?”

Day 4: Gloves
Regency AU
“This is a terrible idea and I love you.”

Day 5: Desert
Wizard for Hire AU
“In the unlikely event that we live through this…”

Day 6: Trust
Pirate/age of sail AU
“Is that what I think it is?”

Day 7: Come to me
Sci-Fi AU
“If I’m the voice of reason, you know it’s a bad idea.”

Feel free to interpret these however you like, use more than one, or use none at all!  Above all, just have fun. :)


✖ Characters/relationships: Original!Percival Graves x Reader

✖ Genres: Mild fluff

✖ Summary: You get demoted to the archiver and you find a picture of Graves in his youth which leads you to acting awkwardly around Director and him wanting to know what happened. @elenawrit

✖ Disclaimer: All characters are at least 21 y/o unless stated otherwise.

✖ Word count: 2774

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

Hi! I basically 100% highway fell in love with your works, in particular with bybbnyp and, though I like it pretty much, I have very little knowledge on fantasy creatures\stories\worlds. If it's not a bother, would you reccomend me some of your favorite fantasy books\series\works? I want to know more but I honestly don't know where to start!

Pretty much all my favorite series are fantasy!

Anything by Tamora Pierce. The “Tortall universe” is great for standard fantasy that gets pretty culturally diverse further down the line, and is notable for having strong female protagonists. Her Circle of Magic books have an even more diverse cast and world, and a really interesting magic system.

Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series is great if you like urban fantasy. It’s about a wizard for hire in Chicago, and this world includes pretty much all kind of fantasy elements–wizards, ghosts, necromancers, fairies, vampires, werewolves, angels and demons, cryptids, gods, Santa Claus, and much more.

Brian Jacques’ Redwall series is my animal fantasy plug. Mice with swords, pirate crews of rats and weasels and stoats, warrior squirrels, a peaceful order of woodland creatures in an abbey, a mountain kingdom ruled by a badger, fox bandits, rat warlords, I could go on. Each book is its own separate story, too.

Neil Gaiman books are… weird. They’re very atmospheric, and the fantasy elements are always strange but incredibly vivid. It’s hard to describe.

If you like my fantasy stuff, know that all of these things contributed.

Five small myths

1. That you once found a pound in the stomach of a gingerbread man, and you believed it to be the same pound that was once used to buy a winning lottery ticket; these pounds being imbued with a curiously ponderous weariness and their metal queens prone to yawn at odd moments. Later on, that pound literally wore a hole in your pocket and went rolling off down the road to the swimming pool, where it sank without trace.
2. That there was a wizard who retired to the seaside and she had made a pact some time past; one of those ones where you put your heart in a jar and the jar in a cave in the woods and the cave sealed with swords and deathless monsters. But there had been an earthquake and the cave had slipped down into the inlet nearby. Perhaps it is always a mistake to leave your heart somewhere beautiful. Now the woods and monsters and the heart were bone-grey and salty and crumbling. Knowing this was her end too, the wizard hired a beach hut and in it she slipped into sleep and from sleep to sand; and this is why they found a beach hut full of grey sand, but you are the only one who knows this.
3. That you had a relative, maybe an uncle or aunt or somesuch, and they had opened a cursed email once, in the early days of the internet when the demons had not yet been locked down. As a result, they were cursed never to be able to put a USB stick in the right way around; not even the second time. They always had to ask someone else. That you remebered them as a master of polite mock-embarrassment. One day, after a fraught workshop, they went into the internet to ask for the curse to be lifted, and you never saw them again. They might still be in there somewhere, who knows?
4. That in childhood you once found a white flower in a cave. You took seeds home to grow, and they did, but the plant was never quite the same as the one you had seen. Eventually you took the last of the seeds and put them in the bird feeder. That night, a blackbird with one white wing flew down from the moon to eat them. For three years that bird lived in your garden. It may have been that it was waiting for more, but the flower was long gone and so were the seeds. Eventually it flew into a window and the neighbour’s cat snapped its neck while it was still stunned. By then you were old enough to understand loss.
5. That three villages away from here there is a bus stop, and all services to it were cancelled five years ago. Council cutbacks. You know. Nevertheless, there is a bus that still stops there. Nobody lives in the village any more. They have all left on the bus. It always arrives empty, and never to a schedule that you can predict without lunar tables and a knowledge of the tide.


hiraeth; a welsh word for which there is no direct english translation. it alludes to a deep homesickness tinged with grief or sadness over the lost or departed

pairing: marcus flint & oliver wood
also readable on ao3!
(current word count: 12,786.)

part one

The aimless chatter and tinkling giggles falling from the lips of children that blossomed in the air of the parlour was a sound that made Marcus feel at home. Watching dainty little faces press up to the glass as their chubby fingers pointed desperately towards the flavour of ice cream they desired was a regular sight; Marcus knew his day wouldn’t be complete if he didn’t spend a total of thirty minutes running a cloth over the display case to clear off saliva or fingerprints. He knew that, if he had the time or desire, Marcus could set up a ‘Work Bingo’ where he ticked off events that occurred every day without fail. From young families rushing in, dressed in their shorts and sandals with a waterproof now covering their upper half, to escape the rain to a young child dropping their cone on the floor, there were endless scenarios that Marcus had become all too familiar with during his two years working at the parlour.

From a wizarding world war survivor to a Muggle retail worker, Marcus had found not only comfort but also happiness behind the counter of Pine Cones Ice Cream Parlour. Known locally as Coney’s, the parlour was owned, and previously run single-handedly, by dairy extraordinaire Mr Ernest Pine. Mr Pine had hand crafted all twenty of the original flavours sold in the parlour and prided himself in only using second-hand furniture purchased from the plethora of charity shops tucked in among the bustling high street to fill his shop. There were tables scattered within the parlour for families of all sizes, the most popular area being the strip by the wall of windows looking out to the North Shore and the lengthy promenade outlining the sandy beach. It was only as the parlour became more popular and Mr Pine came near retirement age that he began hiring external workers to help during the summer months.

Keep reading

Okay so I’m an idiot and I managed to delete the ask (don’t ask me how I have literally 0 clues) - anyway, here’s the Gramander flashfic for the lovely @ladyoftheshrimp​. 

Gramander + Spy/assassin AU

Send me prompts

Percival slides off the windowsill of the carved window, and starts to creep up the corridor. His feet, wrapped in lamb-skin boots, were almost soundless; only the wide eyes of the maidens and knights weaved in the tapestries witnessing his passage. Back at the inn, Percival has wrapped a kerchief against his nose and mouth to muffle his breathing, dressed in dark-grey robes, before slipping on his Trade Mask. There’s no sound, no rush of motion showing his presence; passing in front of a mirror of polished copper, he can only glimpse the bone-white of his mask – a skull floating in blackness. It’s almost as if he were not really here. It’s almost as if he were really the Ghost – and that weren’t just some fanciful name peasants and nobles love to gossip about, the uncatchable assassin terrifying and charming their land.

A ghost - which in a way, he thinks, he supposes he is. The thought tears a pang off his chest, but dulled, fainter than even a fortnight ago; somehow, it makes it all even worse.

The alderman Kowalski’s room is two doors down the corridor. Slowly, carefully, Percival draws up from his memory the map of the castle, the blind spots and the guards routes his Master’s informers have hastily scrawled on the parchment page. With a flick of his wrist, twin blades drop in his hands from the straps holding them against his forearms. He watches them glint in the shadow for a moment, like grins of ghost gods, and then fade back in the blackness. They’re humming against his skin, greeting him, and even if he grits his teeth and braces himself against the sensation, he can’t help the rush of relief and rightness flowing through him, all the way from his palm to his head to his heart.

Soul-iron weapons are faster, better, stronger than any sword or dagger forged by human hand. They’re so in tune with their owner they could not be wielded by any other warrior, but they come with a price. Only a Wizard can weave the magic of soul-iron, and only tearing off a piece of the warrior’s soul to tie it to their weapons. They’ll be formidable, owning skill and swordsmanship like no other – but never feel truly complete again.

The twin daggers, burnished to the dark-grey of smoke, have been the greeting gift of his Master when he became his servant. Like with so many things in his new life, Percival loves his blades, and simultaneously hates them.

Keep reading

i deamed up like this tv show called “best witches” or somethn like that

and it’s like this chick has 2 guy friends (ragtag, bad-boy wizard for hire and goody two shoes how can you not like him? wizard from childhood) and they’re always arguing over whose magic is better

and they’re like always fighting over her

and she stops having it bcause like she’s ace and gay and they exhange a look before arguing with a slightly changed argument bcause they respect her: “I’m her best friend” “No I am” and so on and she’s exasperated but like it’s better. anyways one is demi and the other is bi and even though they fight a lot like it’s never serious

they get into a lot of hijinks together whether they mean to or not and sometimes the guys get protective of the girl but they also know she can handle herself because they both know she’s better at magic than both of them

they never get jealous of her magical abilities and she’s super grateful because before ragtag guy came along she had another best friend who always tried to bring her down to build himself up.

the girl and the 2 guys like to exchange magic tips and she usually gets the hang of them pretty easily. The childhood guy struggles the most because he’s kind of a book-smart guy and follows things to a T while the othwer two often use more unconventional methods for their magic

childhood guy asks ragtag guy to help him out one day because he’s getting frustrated and he was friends with build himself up guy too and is always afraid of becoming like that. ragtag guy teases at first but realizes how serious he is so he agrees and they work on childhood guy’s magic whenever they can.

eventually ragtag guy and childhood guy get together. witch is super happy for them and their dynamic doesn’t change much aside from more touches + soft looks exchanged between ragtag guy and childhood guy. 

with is never made to feel like she’s a third wheel and it’s happy times all around. they don’t pressure her into getting into a relationship and don’t claim she’ll never be happy without being in one and everything is cool and chill

anonymous asked:

I read your newest piece, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I'm not sure if you've already answered this, (and if you have I'm very sorry) but could you tell me what the Dresden Files are about? I'm assuming it's a book series, and I'm always interest in new books to read haha. Even a short synopsis will suffice for me. Thank you for all your writings!!

Imagine hardboiled detective fiction and the tone and tropes that go into it–your scruffy but staunchly selfless hero who works out of a cramped office and lives on coffee and cheap meals in his cheap and ill-kept apartment, tangling with thieves and thugs and ne’er-do-wells while taking on cases that seem hopeless, the ones the police won’t touch, but he will because someone has to, because when people come to him for help he can’t look them in the eye and tell them there’s nothing he can do.

It’s like that but the main character is a wizard-for-hire and he fights magic crime and instead of thieves and thugs and ne’er-do-wells it’s more like vampires and werewolves and faeries and dark wizards and necromancers and… everything but the fantasy kitchen sink, really.

I have to stress again that my fic isn’t really like that; at most I borrow some worldbuilding tidbits here and there, and even then I take a lot of liberties.

4 Books for the Supernatural Hiatus

Supernatural is on hiatus… again. Here’s some reading material that will get you through it.

1. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

It’s sort of like what would happen if Dean embraced magic. Harry Dresden is Chicago’s only wizard-for-hire (he put an ad in the phone book and everything, bless him). Despite being a wizard, he has a tendency to solve his problems with sheer power (less of a Hermione, more of a Simon Snow, if you will). While he does work with the things that go bump in the night often enough, he also does his share of hunting. Storm Front is the first book in the series. Give it a go.

2. Night Owls by Lauren M. Roy

One of our main characters is a hunter while the other is a vamp, and plenty of monsters are part of the team on this one - but you’ll find your share of wicked beasties in need of slaying as well. Also, there’s a pair of hunter siblings in this book that could give Sam and Dean a run for their money as far as family drama and devotion to each other go, and did we mention that one of the main characters runs an all-night bookstore? Icing on the cake.

3. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

There’s a demon named Crowley and he’s teamed up with a conservatively-dressed angel to prevent the higher powers of Heaven and Hell from unleashing the apocalypse. I really shouldn’t have to say any more.

4. American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Is it cheating to have two Neil Gaimans on this list? No? Good. Because American Gods is the road-trip book *shoves On the Road into a cupboard* THE ROAD TRIP BOOK… for fans of paranormal fiction (though, you might give Cormac McCarthy’s The Road a look, too). If the frequently eerie glimpses of small-town Americana are part of what you like about Supernatural, you’ll have a good time with American Gods.

her-royal-crayness  asked:

I want so many of can't decide. ... um Pansy/Greg or Vincent/Daphne

okay but i am SO passionate about pansy and greg like honestly i’m getting to the point where i realistically ship it more than hansy???? what am i even becoming??? it just makes more sense with canon i guess idk anyway i don’t need to give an explanation as to why i am liking it more than hansy at the moment but i just feel GUILTY

but anyway we can’t get to the headcanons now lol

  • so after the war pansy is as bitter as you can get
  • i mean
  • she has always been bitter
  • but it is to a whole new level now
  • she’s not bitter because the dark lord is gone
  • no, she’s thrilled about that
  • she’s just bitter because everyone hates her
  • and she is bitter that she was so bitter during school and was such.. a well… bitch 
  • i mean, that’s the only way you can put it
  • so she sort of isolates herself
  • she decides to get a job in the muggle world since no one in the wizarding world will hire her
  • and for that, her mom disowns her
  • it was typical really
  • but that left pansy with nowhere to go
  • she contemplated going to either draco or blaise’s house
  • but neither of them really needed her there
  • they had their own problems now to deal with 
  • and they liked to handle things alone
  • pansy tried to act like she did but really
  • she just needed someone to understand
  • she needed someone to need her 
  • it was stupid really
  • stupid that greg came to her mind to go to first
  • he was always infatuated with her in school
  • and she turned him down multiple times
  • but he was still always there as her friend anyway
  • he was stable
  • he was constant
  • pansy needed consistency
  • she thought of his big bear hugs
  • and how he always listened to her complain late at night in the common room when no one else was awake 
  • she wished people would see him for who he really was
  • not just draco’s sidekick
  • and he had lost vincent
  • his true best friend
  • and pansy could not help but feel for him
  • she couldn’t imagine if she lost draco or blaise
  • so here she was now
  • at his front door
  • waiting to be there for him like he always was for her
  • and really at the end of the day
  • this was for her still
  • stupid selfish pansy, she thought
  • some things never change
  • his loft was small
  • and as she knocked on his door
  • she chipped her black nail polish and cursed to herself
  • and before she was done cursing
  • greg opened the door
  • he was wearing sweat pants and a white t-shirt
  • but he had matured since she saw him a few months ago
  • and she felt her cheeks flush and could not believe this was her first reaction to seeing gregory goyle again for the first time
  • “pansy?” he asked her
  • it was like he could not believe she was there and real
  • like she still actually existed
  • “hey,” she said weakly, “may i come in?”
  • he just nodded and moved to the side so she could make her way through
  • he didn’t even comment on her suitcase
  • she sat down on his couch and looked around
  • an old pizza box was on his counter
  • and his muggle tv was on but now muted 
  • she suddenly felt nervous
  • and she was never nervous around greg
  • he sat down on his recliner across from her
  • they didn’t speak for awhile
  • until he finally decided to ask, “what’s wrong?”
  • she just shrugged and went back to looking at her chipped nail polish
  • she decided to pick the rest of it off
  • “life sucks, doesn’t it? that’s why i’m here.”
  • she thought he would agree with her
  • he lost his best friend
  • he lost everything
  • but he surprised her 
  • “no, it doesn’t,” he replied softly, “it never has, you just have to have hope and be resourceful enough to move on.”
  • she looked up at him
  • his light blue eyes were piercing through hers
  • this was it
  • this was her chance
  • “can i stay?” she asked softly
  • she hoped he wouldn’t hear
  • but of course he did
  • greg always heard her 
  • “yeah, i’ve been waiting for you.” 
Light and Fire

Light and Fire, or, Everyone Knows You Don’t Do That

Summary: Lucy and Co. are working a job at a fancy masquerade. When Fairy Tail’s reputation is put on the line, Lucy defends her family while learning what everyone else already knows. 

I wrote this for the Wheel of Writers thing months ago, but never actually put it on my page. Whoops. I would like to dedicate it to my friend @unashamed-shipper, who gives me encouragement and happy thoughts, no matter the trial. Thank you, fellow can-shipper-trash. Feast yourself of the Fluffy McFluff-Fluff. (However, I dedicate the errors to myself, since I wrote the silly thing.)


Lucy hadn’t been to an event like this since running away from home. Home. Home? She thought about the word for a moment. Though she had many fond memories, dear and precious memories, made with her mother at the Heartfilia estate, it had stopped being a “home” long before she ran away. She supposed that meant she needed to find an alternative expression to “I ran away from home.” Perhaps something more along the lines of “I escaped a stifling existence which kept me from practicing my life in the manner I saw fit, overseen by a distant parent only interested in my usefulness as a bartering chip in the business world.” Yeah. That seemed to sum things up pretty nicely.

But she’d be lying through her teeth if she said this extravagant ball wasn’t bringing back memories. Her feminine, princess side enthusiastically took in the tinkling crystal chandeliers, the gentle hum of genteel voices blended with the floating music of an orchestra, the air that seemed to shimmer around the attendees bejeweled and bedecked in finery fitting their stations as the rich and famous. And titled. Her father could be here, for all she knew. It was his kind of scene, filled with people he considered “worth his time.” Lucy grimaced at his treatment of other people, especially herself.

No matter how strong her princess side squealed, however, Lucy was even more satisfied to be there with her guild mates from Fairy Tail. Tonight, she wasn’t a debutante to be fought over, pawed and discreetly prodded by men of all ages, and the victim of jealous eyes and remarks from other slighted girls. Tonight, she was a hired wizard, strong and capable of helping, a being who could act, not just a doll standing there prettily and waiting to be acted upon. Tonight, she was strong, bold, showing her true self to all those who had pandered and lied to her.

She shot her hands up to make sure her pretty red mask was firmly secured to her face. No one said she couldn’t be bold and strong while hiding her face. And it wasn’t like it was her choice, anyway. This was a masquerade. Everyone was wearing masks. It would be wrong of her to show her face when their client, Baron d’Etudes, had clearly declared it to be an event of secrecy and mysterious excitement. To disregard his wishes and efforts in planning this event by not wearing a mask would be the height of blatant rudeness.

“Isn’t it so pretty, Lucy?” Levy asked, adjusting her own dainty cream colored mask. “I’ve never been to an event like this before. Lucky we’re sharing this job, huh?”

The two girls stood in a curtained alcove upstairs, peeking through to see the wonderful sight over the banister. When Erza came out from dressing, they would descend the ornate stairs and begin their mingling with the guests.

“It’s very pretty,” Lucy agreed. She didn’t mention anything about her having grown up in this world. The guild knew, but they kept the secret to themselves in respect to Lucy’s wishes. It was just not something she’d felt the need to bring up elsewhere. That wasn’t who she was any more. That was in the past. “What do you think is taking Erza so long? You’d think that requipping into her gown and mask would mean she was the first one ready.”

“Yeah, but she also is the one looking after the guys,” Levy reminded her friend.

“Oh, yeah. The guys. We’ll probably never make it to the party.”

Levy laughed, but didn’t say anything in disagreement. Natsu and Gray were an interesting duo, to say the least. Getting them to polish up, and, in Gray’s case, keep clothed, would be an event in and of itself. Especially since Natsu just wanted to go straight to eating. As hired security, it’s not even like they had a specific person to keep an eye out for. Just making sure things ran smoothly and people were safe. The chance of anyone attacking the baron’s estate wasn’t high, but as a gathering of such rich and important people could be considered as a temptation to some more daring criminals, Baron d’Etudes had decided to err on the side of safety. He contacted the Fairy Tail guild due to its reputation as being the strongest guild. Lucy thought the man had made a severe tactical error when he asked Fairy Tail of all guilds to be the subtle, discrete undercover agents of safety at his fancy party held at his fancy estate. If Natsu and Gray started bickering, the whole place would come down around their ears.

“Hey, is that Jet?” Lucy asked suddenly, pointing out a tall man with orange hair.

“Yeah, I think it is. Does that mean the rest of the guys and Erza are already down there, too?” Levy demanded incredulously. “What happened to the plan of meeting up here?”

Lucy shrugged. It wouldn’t be the first time a plan had fallen through on a whim. “You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Jet without that hat of his.”

“He is attached to it, that’s for sure,” Levy responded, then thought for a moment. “He’s actually kind of cute.”

Before Lucy could accept or deny the statement, a gruff voice barked out from behind them, startling the both of them into an odd stance halfway between hugging each other in alarm and preparing to battle.

“I asked who you thought was cute,” Gajeel repeated, arms crossed. “Such a pansy word.”

For once he wasn’t taking advantage of the situation to make things more embarrassing for people, and Lucy was very grateful for that. He could have had lots to say about their “battle skills” and being prepared to face danger.

Levy, however, wasn’t taking his new disregard for Lucy’s embarrassments as a blessing. “Since when were you on this job, Gajeel?”

“Since there were no real fighters comin’, that’s when,” Gajeel said.

“Are you saying we’re all weak compared to you?” Levy’s hands were now on her cream and tangerine clad hips. She may be small, but she was a spitfire.

“Don’t feel bad about it, shrimp.”


In an attempt to keep peace, and therefore maintain their cover, Lucy ventured a compliment. “Gajeel, you clean up nicely.”

And he did. Dark suit, dark hair pulled back from his face with a dark headband, and garnet eyes glimmering through a dark mask. With his imposing height and pronounced muscles, he made quite the picture of tall, dark, handsome, and a taste of danger. Of course, the people who knew him knew there was more than a mere taste of danger in Gajeel.

The only response Lucy received in answer to her nicety, however, was a grunt. Levy was blushing, though. That was response enough for Lucy to be satisfied. Now she had something to tease her friend over when they were talking about the job later on, and Levy knew it, too, which was why she refused to look at either Gajeel or Lucy.

“I came to get ya,” Gajeel said after a moment. “The others already went a different route. Yer the only ones left up here.”

Lucy sighed. “So much for planning!”

The three of them entered into the fray, soon becoming just the girls once more when Gajeel split off from them to raid the food tables at the side of the room. After grabbing some drinks from a passing waiter, the girls began to wander about the room, chatting a little. When they reached a quiet corner, Levy commented quietly, “It’s weird not seeing pink on your hand.”

Looking down at her white gloved hand, Lucy agreed. “I know. But it’s hard to blend in and hide the fact you’re a wizard when you’re waving proof of it in people’s faces.” They’d all found ways to cover their guild marks for this mission. Luckily, gloves were acceptable at masked balls.

“But you look gorgeous,” Levy continued. “Red really suits you. I thought you’d have gone for the pink gown, but red is definitely wow.”

“Thank you. You look great, too.” Lucy felt gorgeous in this red gown of hers, with its off the shoulder sleeves, fitted waist, and flaring skirt that swished as she moved. She felt exotic. Levy looked like a delicacy in her creams and splashes of tangerine, like something you’d see on top of a fancy cake at a patisserie. And Lucy knew who she’d like to stick up there along with her little friend. “By the way, didn’t Gajeel look rather dashing?”

She was rewarded with an outstanding blush from Levy. “Well, you can’t tell me you haven’t had your eyes peeled for a certain someone this whole time.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“So who were you looking for then?”

“We were hired, in case you’ve forgotten, to be on the lookout for security purposes. I wasn’t looking for Natsu.”

“I never said Natsu’s name,” Levy crowed in triumph.

“You’re just cocky since you’ve seen Gajeel, and it’s given your girly satisfaction a surge.”

“And you’re just sour since you haven’t seen Natsu and so he hasn’t been able to feast his eyes on you.”

“I didn’t pick this dress to impress him!” Lucy insisted.

“So why’d you pick his favorite color instead of yours, then?”

Before Lucy could retort, some raucous laughter broke through to their conversation. “Let’s go check it out,” Lucy hurried, glad for the escape. Levy just snickered as they hustled along. They made their way over to a group of people gathered near the dancing crowds. Coming closer, they could hear some of the worst of it.

“Of all the guilds, Fairy Tail is the most uncouth of them all. They’re absolute maniacs, incapable of proper decorum or refinement.”

“Disgusting, to be sure.”

“And I’ll have nothing to do with any of them,” continued the first man. “Who would want to associate with their ilk?”

“Can their members even read?” laughed a third man.

Levy stiffened. Lucy would wager Levy could read more languages than that man could, and Freed would put many to shame with his books and learning.

“All they can do is destroy. Perhaps I’ll call on them should I ever find myself in need for a demolition service.”

“Imagine if some of them were to attend an event such as this…” the second man trailed off.

The first man almost choked on his drink. “I don’t think I want to imagine that, thank you. Picturing their dancing methods, eating habits, and the destruction of clothing, goods, and quite possibly even people is sickening.”

Lucy was becoming rather angry at this point, but there wasn’t much she could do without blowing their cover as Fairy Tail wizards themselves. She briefly gave thanks that Natsu wasn’t around to hear this, since he was definitely the most protective of the guild and its reputation. Then again, knowing Natsu’s hearing… Oh, no. She looked around to find her worst fears confirmed. A head of pink hair atop of body quivering in barely suppressed anger was stalking towards the group of men. Sparing half a thought towards the fact Natsu looked very good in a suit, and that his tie and mask were incredibly close to the same shade as her dress, Lucy tried frantically to think of something that would stop this situation from becoming a train wreck.

“There is that blonde mage, though. The celestial wizard. I wouldn’t mind if she were to come as my escort to a function or two.”

“She is a beauty, isn’t she? Maybe we can convince her to come and join the civilized world. I bet she wouldn’t mind it once she met me,” laughed the first man again.

“Oh, no!” Levy gasped, horrified.

“It’s alright, Levy,” Lucy sighed in longsuffering, taking a moment to place her gloved hand daintily against her cheek. “I’m used to it. With this beauty, it’s impossible to avoid, actually!”

Levy shook her head, saying, “I wasn’t worried about you. They just made things so much worse. Everyone knows not to do that.”

“You should be careful, though,” came a new voice from the right. It was a woman, red-haired and beautiful in her purple gown. And with an extra-large fan that could definitely double as a weapon, Lucy knew Erza had joined the fray. This could end well or very, very badly. “Everyone knows not to do that.”

“To not do what?” Lucy asked, confused. Erza had repeated the exact same thing Levy had just said. But Natsu was getting closer, and she still had no solution to the impending disaster. Perhaps she should faint? It worked in all the novels.

Some light clapping sounded as the dance ended, and in the brief pause in music before the next song started, Lucy could have sworn she heard knuckles cracking in preparation for the punch. And was that Gajeel, too? Oh, no. Everyone was going to die, and they’d never get paid. They’d never get paid, and those nasty men would be proven right. They’d be proven right, and Lucy would have no money, and with no money, she’d have no rent money. She’d have no rent money, and therefore she’d have no apartment anymore. She’d be homeless, a starving vagabond. Then the music came back. She knew this one. Lucy sent praises and thanks to all things holy, grabbed Levy’s arm and shoved her into Natsu who was now right beside them. “Keep him calm,” she ordered.

“But you’re the one he-“

Lucy wasn’t listening to Levy’s protests; she was already moving forward. If Levy could keep Natsu from exploding, they might be able to turn things out to their advantage. She put on her most beguiling smile and approached the first, and most slanderous, of the men who’d spoken. Giving a small curtsy, she proffered a hand. “A dance?”

The man’s eyes showed surprise. It wasn’t often a woman openly asked for a dance rather than hinting at her wishes to be asked. Lucy, however, had no time for such shenanigans. Levy was small in comparison to Natsu, and without use of her magic, Natsu’s muscles would probably win out in a fairly short amount of time. Besides, the man had basically already declared his desires to dance with her when speaking of her acting as his date events such as these. She was really just accepting the offer he’d unwittingly made.

“You know this dance, m’lady?” the man asked.

“Why don’t you see for yourself, sir?”

The man, who was very handsome from what Lucy could see of his face, smiled in return of the challenge, accepting her hand and whirling her out to the floor. This was a dance full of complicated steps, varying tempos, intricate moves, and minute details. It was generally played only once an evening, and not many people actually participating, instead choosing to use it as a breather and a chance for drinks without missing out on the opportunity to “really dance” to a calmer song. That meant Lucy had longed to step these steps from the sidelines of the ballroom too many times over the years. This was a dance that moved and excited her. And now she would finally dance it. Her heart was already racing.

“What’s he doin’?” she could hear Natsu demanding in the background.

“Natsu, calm down! He doesn’t know!” Levy replied, holding onto his arm to keep him from going anywhere.

“That doesn’t make it okay for-“

“At a masked ball, it is impossible for him to be aware of all the facts,” Erza cut him off.

Lucy shut out their voices, ignoring him and everyone else besides her partner. The song’s introduction was ending, and man placed one hand behind his back and another around her waist.

And they started. He pushed her back, leading with confidence. Lucy followed his cues, but did so meeting his eyes with pride, feminine grace, and utter charm. The man faltered a little in his step, but pulled himself together quickly. His eyes sparked with interest. Lucy’s self-esteem was boosted, just a little, by the fact she had so easily won over this snobbish man. She would show him what Fairy Tail was capable of, even off the battlefield. It had been a while since she’d danced at all, let alone something this complicated, but she was fiercely proud of her guild, and she was just as determined to stand up for her family as Natsu. She would just do it without punching anyone.

As she spun around, Lucy could feel her skirt lifting with the motion, flaring out before twisting back in closely to her body as the skirt continued to move when she slowed. Her feet delicately picked around her partner’s and they stepped between, behind, forward, and back, spinning and pausing. The music was beautiful, full of life and fire. She smiled brilliantly. She loved this dance! She loved the pull and push, the give and take of dance partnership. And, despite being a total loser when it came to his conversational opinions, this handsome man was surprisingly good at keeping his hands in respectable positions along her waist and lower back, though there were many opportunities for a little grabbing here and there.

They were alone on the floor now, just the pair of them dancing. Everyone else was watching the rare performance. And Lucy definitely didn’t mind attention. She was used to it, being as beautiful as she was. Her guild mates, especially Happy, enjoyed making fun of her vanity at times. But it didn’t change the fact that Lucy knew she was gorgeous, and she knew she had talents. This was something she could do to stand up for her guild that no one else could, even though they were all stronger mages than her. Her love for her family fueled her energy and steps. She felt like she could just fly right now, fly off like a spark of light and burst with happy satisfaction.

The music finally slowed, then came to a stop. Lucy, dipped forward in her finishing curtsy, was breathing deeply. What a workout! Maybe she needed to do some more aerobics; she would talk to Capricorn about adding that to her regimen. At least her partner was equally winded. That was something to make her feel a little better. While she was at adding items to her to-do list, she wondered if she could ever get Natsu to learn this dance with her. A pattern of steps aligned with fiercely beautiful music surging to the beat of life: Natsu embodied that same description. A gentle pull on her hand brought her up and out of her thoughts from her partner in the guild to her partner in the dance. When her eyes met his, she was gratified to find his gaze full of respect and appreciation. Now that was what she wanted to see!

“Thank you for the dance, sir,” Lucy smiled. Pulling her hand from his, she began her glide off the dance floor as the audience clapped politely. She held her head high, hands clasped before her, taking tiny steeps in that even pacing that had been pounded into her head time and again in training and lessons. It had been a while since leaving home, but she still knew how to be a proper debutante if she wanted to be.

“Wait!” She heard some footsteps following after her. “What’s your name?”

She didn’t stop moving; her eyes had met Gray’s and he was frantically directing her to look to the left. Glancing over, she didn’t see much of note, just that the crowd was moving into the dance space a little in preparation for the next dance.

“Who are you, m’lady?” her dance partner called out again, grabbing for her arm. She turned to face him, but looking down to see his hand wrapped tightly around her wrist in much the same manner as Natsu held her when he took off running like a maniac and wanted her to come along.

A low, dangerous growl sounded out. Gray was now moving quickly through the crowd. Lucy wondered if a threat had been spotted. She needed to deal with this man quickly and then get over there to help handle whatever scenario was taking place.

“Now, sir, don’t you think that would ruin the point of a masquerade?” Lucy laughed coyly, really letting out the feminine charm. No need to anger the man, but she couldn’t reveal herself before all the guests. That would be a breach of contract, as good as announcing loudly there were guild wizards in attendance.

“But how will I find you if I haven’t either a slipper or a name?” he begged, returning Lucy’s smile with his own handsome smile. If asked, she wouldn’t actually tell anyone, but she would think about how much she preferred a certain fanged grin to charming smiles.

“Perhaps you never will,” Lucy said vaguely, ready to leave. Although, he really was good looking. Maybe she should bring him along with her; maybe she would have had he not slandered Fairy Tail’s good name. Smiling, she removed her wrist from his grasp and began working her fingers from her right glove.

“Do you mean to leave me with only a glove?” the man asked. “Then I definitely shan’t find you without all due diligence!”

“Perhaps you never will,” Lucy repeated, getting the glove off. “Unless, of course, you should need help from wizards. Until then, farewell.” Lucy turned, raising her hand so he could see her proud pink guild mark over her shoulder, and continued off the floor as other couples came surging on in response to the start of the next dance. As soon as a little distance was put between them, Lucy hurriedly shoved her hand back in her glove. How foolish was that? She brandishes her guild mark during a secret assignment? Was she going to wind up homeless after all?

It was satisfying, however, that the man didn’t follow her any more, most likely stunned that the difficult dance just performed was successfully pulled off by someone of that “uncouth” guild. Her self-satisfaction didn’t last long. It was run over by a quickly moving Erza.

“You did very well. Now put some more distance between you, and that will be fine,” Erza muttered at Lucy from behind her giant fan as she passed by. Lucy was shocked to see Erza run straight to the man Lucy had just left and drag him out to the floor to dance a waltz. Or what looked like a waltz. A very spirited, spin oriented waltz. What was she doing, though? Hadn’t there been some kind of disturbance earlier? Oh, well. She’d go ask Levy for information.

After a few minutes, Lucy decided that was a rotten idea since there was no way to find her tiny friend in a large room like this. She hadn’t seen any of her companions, actually. The upstairs balcony hallway seemed like a good idea: excellent for reconnaissance work, definitely. She didn’t make it ten steps before she was grabbed by the waist and dragged off to the same alcove she and Levy had been standing in while waiting for the others.

“Gray?” Lucy gasped out when they’d stopped. “What’s going on? What was wrong out there? Did you guys manage to solve everything? And how are all your clothes still on?”

“Erza glued them to me,” Gray said, obviously answering the most important question first. “But we got things mostly settled down before too much damage was done.”

“Then why did you drag me here? Dramatic much?”

“He could tell guys were still looking at you, and he’s not calm enough to handle that yet.” Gray peeked out of the curtains, taking in the lay of the battleground.

Lucy scrunched her nose in confused response. “I’m not getting you. What in the world are you talking about?”

“Just stay out of sight till things calm down,” Gray pleaded. “It’s not usually this bad, but we’re on thin ice right now.”

“Then make more ice,” Lucy deadpanned.

“I’ll get right on that,” Gray agreed, leaving.

“Wait, I still don’t get what’s going on!”

“Just wait a while, then come out. Act like everything’s normal. Have a drink. Talk. Mingle. Do your job. That kind of thing. Just wait a while first.”

And then Gray was gone, leaving a thoroughly baffled Lucy. Well, as long as they had a handle on whatever was going on out there, Lucy figured she could wait in here a few minutes. There was even a nice cushioned bench to sit on. Perhaps one of the other men had caused some trouble during the dance, Lucy mused. Or maybe some other altercation broke out?

Though there was no clock, Lucy guessed it had been at least ten or fifteen minutes by the number of songs that had played. She stood to exit the alcove, hoping to find some answers. Her original idea of higher ground to scout out Levy proved correct: she found the girl in minutes. Going over to her, she loosed the questions that had been stewing in her mind during her miniature exile.

“Levy, what happened? Did someone cause a problem? Is everything alright now?”

Levy gave a humph! sound and replied while they maintained their stroll around the room, “Everything is fine now. Next time you want Natsu calmed down, though, do it yourself!”

“Was he very angry already? He seemed like it. Sorry to throw you to the wolves like that.”

“An angry Natsu is not a rational Natsu. He didn’t accept the fact the man didn’t know who you were, since you’re wearing a mask and all, but that wasn’t good enough for him. He almost lost it!”

“Was Erza the one who calmed him down? And what do I have to do with any of this?”

“He didn’t stop shaking until the dance was over, but we managed to keep him between us the entire time.” Levy stopped walking to meet her friend’s eyes. “You danced with him, that’s what you have to do with it.”

“Yes. I did dance with someone,” Lucy verified. This was not new information to her. “In fact, I think most people were probably watching.”

“You did really well, by the way. Your dress really matched the dance, too, with the way it swirled and flicked around,” Levy complimented. “I take it you had lessons before?”

“It was my favorite dance, actually,” Lucy smiled. “And he was actually a really good partner. I was impressed with his leading.”

“And I with your following,” came a voice behind the girls. They jumped in surprise and turned to find Lucy’s dance partner. Levy’s eyes immediately became cautious, darting about as if searching for someone. Lucy wondered yet again what was happening.

“Thank you, sir,” Lucy accepted his compliment with a bow of her head.

“My name is Theodore Lawrence,” he said bluntly. “There, you know who I am. I’ll give you my address, too, if you’d like more information about me.”

Lucy’s hands came up before her. “Um, no, thank you, that’s quite alright.”

“You know my name now,” Theodore went on. “Might I ask if you are Miss Lucy of Fairy Tail?”

Lucy merely smiled, unsure of whether or not she should actually respond. She knew she technically blew her cover when she showed her guild mark, but perhaps they could still keep things hush-hush enough to get their reward money after this.

Levy, however, jumped in at this point, pushing the lot of them into another little curtained alcove much like the one she’d been in before. This one, though, was only half closed off. “Listen, if you know that, then you don’t want to do anything rash.”

“Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone. Whether you’re here working, or here as a guest, I don’t really care. It’s obvious you’ve been trained as a lady, from the way you walk, dance, and comport yourself. You deserve to be here.”

Once again, Levy broke in, lifting her forefinger in a “hold on a minute” gesture. “You should be very careful, sir.”

Theodore turned his smile on Levy. “Really, don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone about you either, if that’s what’s worrying you.”

“Actually, no, I’m more concerned for you,” Levy said truthfully.

“What? Why?” Lucy demanded.

“Please, let me say what I came to say,” Theodore said, not allowing Levy to answer. Lucy was getting frustrated, but bit her tongue in hopes that what he said might answer some of these riddles. “If you heard me defaming your guild, I apologize. I was unaware they had one such as yourself in their ranks.”

“That wasn’t much of an apology towards the guild,” Lucy pointed out.

“One dance, though excellently done, is not enough to entirely convince me of Fairy Tail’s civility.”

Lucy was peeved now, just peeved.

“The way your red dress swirled, your golden hair gleamed, your warm brown eyes sparkled, the way your whole being emitted light during that dance, it was like fire. You were like a flame, flickering. And I’ve always been attracted to fire, you know, its beauty and power.”

Though disapproving his slight against her guild, Lucy was not immune to such pretty lines, and felt herself blushing lightly. She heard growling again, the same growl as before. She secretly agreed with the growl, and wished she could produce such a menacing sound herself for when she was angry.

“So, pretty little flame, how about another dance to clear your guild’s name?” Theodore offered a hand. When Lucy reached out her hand to accept, the growling increased.

Levy was waving her hands back and forth now. “Hey, hey, let’s not be too hasty.”

Lucy looked past Theodore and saw someone coming very quickly in their direction, with two other individuals trying to put things to right as they followed him. Natsu? Oh, great. Not again. Levy wouldn’t forgive for putting her on angry Natsu duty twice in a row.

“What’s the problem?” Theodore asked. “It’s just a dance.” And then he reached out to cup his hand around Lucy’s chin. “Just a dance. Unless you want it to be more.”

“You’re on your own now,” Levy cautioned, stepping back. “Everyone knows not to do that.”

“To not do what?” Lucy demanded yet again.

“Come along, let’s dance,” Theodore repeated, pulling Lucy closer.

Lucy had just yanked her chin from his grasp when a blur of heat, red, and muscle mass whirled into her field of view. Before she knew what was happening, an arm was wrapped around her waist and she was pulled into a very tight grip against some very tight muscles.

“Touch my girl again, and I’ll roast you alive,” Natsu growled out. He held Lucy close to him with his left arm, his right raised in a threatening fist. Despite thinking his deep voice was remarkably sexy, Lucy intuitively reached out and rested her hand on the raised fist. She knew what kind of damage those fists could do when he was-

Hold on a minute. Natsu just said what now?

“Your girl?” Theodore echoed, not backing off. “Who said she was yours? She was the one who asked me to dance last time. It’s just my turn to do the asking.”

“Everyone knows you don’t do that,” Gray sighed, having made it to the group with Erza.

“Don’t do what?!” Lucy cried.

“Did you not see her dancing? You think you can handle her light, her flame?” Theodore stepped closer to Natsu. Lucy could punch Theodore for all the times he’d started talking when someone should have been answering her questions. “You really think someone like you can tame her?”

“Light and fire go together,” Natsu said. “She doesn’t need taming. She needs to be herself. As long as she’s with fire, she’ll be fine. No need to keep her light cooped up when she could help so many people.”

“And you think you’re the fire?”

“He’s better than that,” Lucy heard her voice say. “He’s my dragon.”

Unlike Lucy and Theodore, no one else seemed surprised to hear her say that. Rather, they all just nodded in agreement.

“Dragon?” Theodore asked.

“What’s wrong? You said you liked fire, didn’t you?” And Natsu’s fist burst into flames with Lucy’s hand right on top of his. It didn’t hurt one bit. “My fire burns only what I allow it to. My flames are my own. They’ll never hurt her. You, on the other hand…”

Theodore took half a step back, then stopped. “Are you honestly with this hoodlum? I don’t believe it. Come along. I’ll save you from that guild and bring you to a world where you can shine.”

And that’s when he made his big mistake, that’s when he walked forward and put his hand on her forearm. He was on the ground with a smoldering patch on the front of his suit before Lucy could blink.

“Everyone knows not to do that,” Levy repeated.

“Do what?” Lucy begged to know.

Erza sighed. “Well, there’s no helping what’s happened. At least Natsu didn’t burn down the room.”

“Yeah, who knew he had that kind of restraint,” Gray quipped.

Natsu’s low growl filled the room, as he pulled Lucy closer to him. Levy saw potential disaster rear its all-too-familiar face, and moved to avert it preemptively. “Well, we’ll just take him somewhere he can rest for a while, then find the others and give them an update. Lucy, you calm him down, okay?”

As Erza slung the unconscious man up and over her shoulder like some bag of potatoes, she nodded to the others. “He was fairly warned.”

“Yeah, everyone knows not to do that.” Gray followed Erza and Levy out, kicking the curtain so the alcove was completely closed. “Just wait a while, Lucy, then you can bring him out when he’s calm.” And then his voice was gone.

Natsu’s arm dropped to his side. Lucy looked down at it, then back up to see his eyes searching her face. He wasn’t satisfied, apparently, because he immediately pulled off her mask. She returned the favor, thinking maybe just having that restriction gone would help him cool off. When he just kept staring at her, she remembered what she said and felt highly flustered. She hadn’t planned on announcing anything related to feelings or whatnot this evening. She wasn’t prepared for this! So she looked forward, straight at his chest where her hands were resting, searching for a conversation starter.

“Could you do that again?” she asked, still not looking at him.

“Do what?”

“Let me touch the flames without getting burned.”

“Lucy, no matter when or what, my fire will never burn you. It’s my fire. I control it. You can always feel safe around it.” Natsu put a lot of emphasis on those points, liked he was trying to get a message across.

“Then do it,” Lucy urged.

Natsu chuckled, bringing his fist up to his chest and producing those red and orange flames. She carefully reached out to touch the flickering tongues the danced around his fingers. Wiggling her fingers, she giggled. “It tickles!”

“Yeah, you’re the only one who could say that, though. Most other people would be shouting about now. My fire isn’t some pansy wuss candlestick,” Natsu pouted.

Lucy patted his still burning fingers in a soothing fashion. “I know, I know. Very strong flames. Very strong.”

“Are you mocking me?”

“Since no one’s answering any of my questions, I’m not answering either.”

There was silence for a few moments as they listened to the muffled music and chatter and Lucy played with the fire. They didn’t move from their position, Lucy still pulled close to Natsu, right hand and head rest against his chest and just relaxing there. In her position, she really got a better appreciation of Natsu’s muscles, even if the view was obstructed by wearing two sleeves and a jacket rather than some of his other outfits. He felt strong, solid. Warm. Safe. Secure.

“You really did look beautiful, Luce,” Natsu whispered. “Just like a flame.”

Well, if that weren’t enough to turn a girls’ face into a crimson wash, Lucy didn’t know what would. “Th-thank you,” she replied, whispering as well.

A pause. Then Natsu spoke again. “Did you mean it?”

“Mean what?” Lucy thought that she might be able to get through this without having to embarrass herself too much. But maybe it was just time to accept the facts of her growing feelings for this hooligan of hers.

The fire went up higher, and Lucy’s gaze followed it until it was right in front of Natsu’s face. It went out, leaving Natsu to lower his hand with a grin. “If I’d known how easy I could keep your attention on me, I’d have shown you that trick a long time ago.”

“Heh?” Lucy blushed again.

“I meant it,” Natsu said in a firm voice.

“About showing me the trick? How long have you been able to do that?”

“About you being my girl.”

Lucy found herself unable to look away from his eyes, despite the fact that she desperately wished to hide her entirely stained face. She didn’t know what to say, just that she couldn’t avoid this any longer.

“I don’t like it when other guys touch you. I really don’t like it when other guys hit on you. And I hate it when someone threatens to take you away from me.”

“I won’t,” Lucy assured him.

“Won’t what?”

“I won’t leave you. Never willingly. It seems I get taken away often enough, but I’m working on that. I’m getting stronger every day, you know. You won’t always have to come fetch me!” She spoke with confidence, surprised her voice wasn’t shaking.

“I will.”

“Will what?”

“I will come fetch you. I won’t let someone just take you away from me.” He hesitantly put his hand on her cheek. It was warm from the flames, or maybe that was just him, or maybe it was her flushed face. Whichever the reason, it was a pleasant sensation. Was his face this warm?

“Lucy, the future is-“ Natsu stopped talking when she touched his cheek, brushing her fingers lightly over his skin, trailing along his jawline to his chin. He tried to speak again. “Did you mean it?”

“Mean what?” she asked as her fingers started moving again, this time skimming along his nose and tracing along the outside of his lips, prompting a quick breath of sensation.

“Am I your dragon?”

Lucy shrugged, now running her index finger over his lips. They were warm, too. “I suppose light and fire really do go together. Having a fire dragon is really just an upgrade from-“

Natsu’s lips really were warm. Deliciously so. He’d moved so quickly, her fingers were caught between their chins as their lips were locked together. Natsu fixed that by taking her hand into his, then angling his head to bring her closer. Lucy liked Natsu’s kisses. Warm lips, strong, not too wet or too hard. His hair was pretty nice too, and his neck muscles. As for his hands, they were okayed as well, especially the way his fingers worked their way under her up-do to give her that nice massage. Breathing? That was just overrated.

Unfortunately, air was air, and the two separated. Natsu looked at his girl, at his light, and smiled. “I love you, you know.”

“Good. Because you’re so warm, and I get cold so easily. Now I’ll be comfortable all year round no matter what I wear. I could wear my bathing suit in January, and I’d still be warm!”

“You use a dragon as a personal space heater?”

“I’ll pay you in kisses,” Lucy bargained. “Kisses and light and love.”

And when he smiled that wonderfully crooked fanged grin on his, Lucy decided she loved the fact that she was once again at a ball after all this time. She was glad she was here not as a guest, but a working mage. She was glad she had this friend, this love in her life. She was glad she was strong enough to dance with an irritating and rude man so that she could know what everyone else had known all along: light and fire belonged together.

But everyone else knowing something reminded her of that very persistent, unanswered question:

“Everyone knows not to do what, Natsu?”

“Silly,” Natsu laughed, giving her another kiss. “Everyone knows not to mess with Natsu’s girl.”

Since he’d finally answered the question, Lucy rewarded him with a kiss. Since it had been a longstanding question, it only made sense that the kiss reflected that fact. Since Natsu loved her, he deserved another kiss. Since she loved him, she figured she deserved two kisses for that. And since they loved each other, they didn’t leave the alcove for a rather long time. Lucy just hoped she would still get her cut of the reward money.

Because she definitely wasn’t paying her landlady with kisses.

Back in New York

*Ok so I decided to write a bit of a mini-series with Newt and Tina. It starts out as an exposition kind of thing instead of your usual romantic Newtina fanfic. Enjoy!* 

Chapter 1 – Back in New York

“Welcome back, Mr. Scamander.” President Picquery said dryly. Newt Scamander kept his head low and his gaze fixed to floor. After all, this was a dire situation. Just three hours previously, Newt had charged the camp of MACUSA-hired wizards, jinxing and hexing as many as he felt necessary. In the very center of their camp was the sole reason for Newt’s daring attack—a beautiful Antipodean Opaleye, tied down with heavy chains and bound with ropes doused in poisons that scalded her skin. Newt suspected President Picquery wouldn’t hear his story and would imprison him if he didn’t play his cards right. He was no use to any creatures rotting in prison. Unfortunately, playing his cards right was one of Newt’s foremost weaknesses.
“Is this really necessary?” Newt asked, jingling the shackles that bound his hands and feet. President Picquery’s scrutiny was smoldering, burning into Newt’s chest as if he were a real criminal.
“You tell me, Mr. Scamander.” Picquery challenged, leaning forward in her chair. Newt shuffled his feet, wishing desperately that he could spread his cramping legs apart. At first glance, one might say that Newt needed a week’s worth of rest. His hair was plastered to his head in an unruly mess; his face was streaked with soot stains; an open gash zig-zagged across his left his eye; his leather boots were caked in sludge and a suspicious smelling substance (presumably dragon dung). Newt, however, was itching to continue. Despite his well-timed charge into the MACUSA camp, he was unable to break the enchanted ropes to free the dragon (he nicknamed her Smidgens). When his wand failed him, he clamped it between his teeth and resorted to his hands.The potions rendered his palms useless, burning his fingertips and scoring deep marks wherever it touched. He was tackled, gagged, chained, and hit over the head with a heavy log. He regained consciousness in the interrogation room. It was a familiar sight, but an unwanted sight all the same. Instead of Mr. Graves questioning him, President Picquery was doing the dirty work. No one stood behind him this time, either. Four months previously, Tina would have been standing behind him. At the thought of Tina, Newt felt a heavy weight rest upon his shoulders.There was no doubt that, as an auror, Tina had heard of his capture. He fondly remembered his farewell to her, as well as the promise to return and deliver his published book to her. He had dreamed up many scenarios during his many hours in his “briefcase zoo” (as his mother called it), never deciding on which one he preferred. The thought of returning in cuffs and shackles hadn’t crossed his mind.

“Mr. Scamander, do you realize the severity of your offense?” President Picquery’s voice broke through Newt’s thoughts. He blinked away Tina’s face, which had successfully broken through his mental barricade.“They were hurting the Opaleye.” Newt replied simply. He was used to these arguments, even in his home country. There would always be a chunk of population who never realized the value of the fantastic beasts that lived among them. Newt, ever since boyhood, had inadvertently dedicated himself to these beasts. He saved creatures whose homes were destroyed by muggles and magical people alike; he raised the young of parents who had been captured or killed. His manuscript, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, was published to educate the poor in knowledge. For two weeks, Newt tracked the Antipodean Opaleye dragon, recording her flight patterns and sketching. She was one of his own, even if she never spotted him. Then, Newt caught a glimpse of the weapons they’d use to bring her down…Tina will understand. The thought was unexpected, but neither sides of Newt’s conscience disputed it. Tina would understand—that, Newt was positive of. Could she possibly help Smidgens out of this debacle?

“I’m prepared to release you, Mr. Scamander, on the terms that you will never again interfere with a MACUSA operation. Is that understood?” Picquery’s voice was stony, yet it held a hint of smugness. Did she honestly believe she had conquered this magizoologist? Newt raised his gaze to stare back into her leer, equaling it with a look of defiance. Pure adrenaline was flowing through his veins, now. Picquery was taking her time of leaving the room, tossing remarks over her shoulder as she did so. “An auror will escort you from the building.” were her parting words before the door clicked shut. Newt didn’t have time to wait.

“Pickett, wake up!” Newt whispered loudly. There was a scuffling within the fabric of his coat’s top pocket. “Pickett, I need your help.” Newt was speaking directly into his coat material now. To his delight, the denizen of his coat, a spindly green bowtruckle, appeared. Pickett blinked lazily at Newt, obviously holding a grudge against Newt for their roasting experience.“I’m sorry about the fire, Pickett.” Newt said affectionately, wishing he could offer his hand to Pickett. “Pickett please…” Newt pleaded, his voice catching at the very end. Pickett begrudgingly accepted Newt’s apology before informing him of the chain’s enchantment. Newt was grateful for Pickett’s magical charm sensitivity. Had the bowtruckle attempted to free Newt, he’d have dissolved into a pile of shredded greens.It was several minutes of agonizing frustration before the sound of footsteps approached from the outside world. Newt was having trouble formulating a plan. He couldn’t concentrate when he didn’t have the use of his hands. To bridge the gap, he relayed his thoughts to Pickett, who thoroughly voiced his dismay in Newt’s ideas. Push came to shove when the door squeaked open and Pickett dove into Newt’s pocket, quivering in fright.

“Newt?” Until his name was spoken, Newt didn’t realize just how much he yearned to hear that particular voice speak it. Memories of December, 1926, came rushing back—especially a promise made before boarding a boat to England. Newt sought the right words to speak, but none came. Porpetina Goldstein stood in the doorway, pink in the face and visibly out of breath, clutching the key to Newt’s freedom. Also, floating alongside her was another great comfort to Newt—his briefcase and wand. Newt could do nothing but stare while Tina struggled to release him from his shackles. She released mutterings of concern and blasphemy for Picquery locking him up so tightly. Newt wasn’t used to the fussing and was relieved when his legs and hands fell apart from each other. He sprang from his chair, moving too quickly for his contracted legs to balance. Tina grabbed a hold of his coat, pulling him closer to her so as to steady him. He teetered on the spot, towering several inches over her. Newt let his eyes find hers,losing himself in their color.
“Thank you.” he nodded, the corners of his lips twitching into a smile. Tina turned several shades pinker before she surrendered her hold on his coat.

“What happened to you?” she asked, taking in his burnt exterior. He sheepishly backed away, rubbing his aching wrists. He didn’t realize the extent of the damage to himself until just then. His trousers were ripped near the bottom and burnt in several places while his coat had full-blown holes singed through the fabric. Sweat dripped from his forehead and he was vaguely aware of the smell of burnt hair. Tina’s main concern, however, was the slash above Newt’s eye. She reached forward, gently tracing her finger along the tender skin of the wound. Newt wanted to tell her not to worry,wanted to tell her that he had looked worse before. The genuine concern in her eyes made Newt numb to thinking. Her voice, far away, told him to follow her. 

Newt became conscious again after meekly following Tina through several long corridors and two flights of stairs. They arrived at a long hallway with scattered doors on either side, marked with very important-sounding names. Tina stopped along a door marked Porpentina Goldstein, opening it wide for Newt. “Ladies first.” he said pleasantly, making an awkward motion with his suitcase. Tina flashed him a suspicious look before entering the office ahead of him. Newt followed behind her, desperately wishing to go somewhere where he felt at ease. Tina was already behind her desk, opening the drawer and shoving something deep inside it. Newt swiveled around,studying every corner of the office. Just like Tina’s personality, the office was neat and orderly with the occasional coffee mug that needed cleaning up, or a piece of paper crumpled and carelessly tossed into a corner. Bookshelves and filing cabinets lined the walls, ceasing only to allow the window to let in natural light. The coziest place to sit was the rug; the other only sitting furniture was as strict office chair. Newt drew his attention to Tina. He couldn’t help but notice the way her pastel blue dress perfectly complimented her complexion. She was sifting through books, scanning their yellowed pages for something of interest.
 “I have a remedy here somewhere.” Tina muttered. Newt stepped closer, peering over her shoulder at the potion book she clutched. “For what?” he asked innocently. Tina let out an exasperated sigh. “For you!” Her words startled Newt, who was suffering from a sudden bout of short-term memory loss. He became aware that a channel of blood had begun to form, traversing his temple and making a daring escape for his cheek.“I-I have something.” said Newt quickly, swinging his briefcase in front of him.It landed on Tina’s desk with a thud before he unclasped the top and swung it open. Tina instinctively took a step back, fearing a creature might make a reckless attempt to escape—again. Newt felt no embarrassment for the situation that took place four months earlier. In fact, he viewed it as a stroke of good luck! 

Newt stepped into the briefcase. It was second nature to compress his shoulders to drop neatly onto the floor of his workshop. Tina followed closely,her high-heeled feet appearing first before the rest of her body dropped in. Newt was already hard at work, shrugging his coat from shoulders, allowing Pickett to curl up on his shoulder and grabbing numerous jars from the cupboards that stuck to the wall overhead. He glanced up just in time to see Tina’s reaction of marvel, her eyes fixated to the rows of plants, jars and bottled remedies. (Newt had been hopeless in Potions class during school, but the closer Newt became to his lifelong passion, the easier it was to understand the properties of a concoction).
“I forgot what it looked like.” Tina said, catching Newt’s stare. He paused from mixing his Murtlap liquid to look her over. They shared a content look before Tina produced her wand from her pocket and turned to Newt’s coat. She whisked it, muttering the incantation “Scourgify!” and watched as Newt’s coat became its pristine Petrol blue again. With an additional flick, Newt was gaping at a fully repaired version of his coat. “I was never very good at cleaning spells.” Newt confessed, cumbersomely returning to his Essence of Murtlap. Admittedly, Newt was attempting to rush. Despite the wonderful, cozy feeling he got whenever Tina stood in his workshop, he was still on a mission to help Smidgens. The sooner he was healed, the sooner he could rescue her. Still, adrenaline high was weakening. The pain from his wound was making him slightly woozy. It was when he overturned his hand that Tina saw the horrible state of his fingers and palms. They were smarting.
“Newt! How did this happen?” she gasped as she lunged forward, softly taking his hands in hers. “Was it the dragon?” she asked quietly, giving off the first inkling that she knew exactly how Newt had been arrested. He defensively pulled his hands away and spoke. “No, it was the ropes they were using.” He felt like telling Tina exactly how it had been—how Smidgens had bellowed in pain as the rope’s liquids leaked between her scales, searing into her skin. He wanted to tell Tina how the burly men attacked her physically and verbally, spitting upon the legacy of Antipodean Opaleyes. He wanted Tina to understand that he was not the criminal, but Smidgen’s captors were.
“Was it bad?” Tina whispered. Newt glanced up and saw she was very close now. She had taken the liberty of pouring some of the Essence of Murtlap onto a white bandage. Newt nodded sullenly, his pent up emotions bubbling closer to his brim. “Here…” Tina said gently, laying the soaking bandage across his gash. It stung at first, but immediate relief ensued. Newt blinked gratefully at her. He wondered if she had experience with treatment, seeing as she and Queenie raised each other. “I got this from a throwing knife.” Newt pointed a grubby finger to his bandaged slash. Tina’s eyes widened, but she said nothing. Newt cleared his throat and continued his story.“Igor Orgnuk, he’s a famous—” “Dragon hunter.” Tina finished in disdain, much to Newt’s amazement. Tina shrugged it off and hid her face behind the back of her hand. Newt smiled widely, delighted by her knowledge and shared distrust in Igor Orgnuk. “We should bandage your hands.” Tina said lightly. Newt retracted his hands and flexed them, ignoring the pain that shot through his wrists. “No, ah, I need them.” Newt uneasily rocked from his heel to his toe,clasping his fingers behind his back. “My hands—I need my hands.” Newt turned away from Tina and took a long stride to the front of the workshop,reaching into the cupboard that housed his papers. “I’m not staying—I mean, Smidgens still needs my help.” Newt stammered over the subject, fumbling with the papers he withdrew from the cabinet. Newt couldn’t see Tina in his peripheral vision and he didn’t believe he could bear her face. She must view him as a hypocrite, a leaver, a person who never took any regard for his own personal safety or the personal well being of others. Well, half of that is true, Newt’s conscience reasoned. Everyone thought this of him, so why was Tina different? Newt didn’t want to answer himself. He grabbed all of Smidgens paperwork, shoveling it together in a nasty mess. There was still a chance they were in the forest, attempting to wrangle Smidgens into the dirt. Maybe they already had her, but they’d have to transport her a long way. He could reach her!

“Newt. Newt! NEWT!” Tina grabbed Newt’s arms, efficiently putting a stop to his frenzied panic. His eyes ventured to hers, lingering only for a moment, but that moment was enough to melt him. She didn’t stare in disgust or anger, nor in fear for his life (as others often did). Her eyes were alive and burning with compassion, centered solely on him. The weight of this slumped his shoulders and hit him squarely in the chest. He took a step back, instinctively turning away from Tina. Would this be another frivolous exchange like the last time? The last time… Leta Lestrange… Newt squeezed his eyes shut. His mind was a simple assortment of gears, each one functioning properly if he was caring passionately for a creature or beast. Was he supposed to say that way? Tina sighed sadly, coming closer to Newt with foggy eyes.

“I’m sorry, but the dragon is dead.” 

*Ahh, the drama. Give me some feedback*

JK Rowling and the Bad Results of Good Intentions

(Queer white woman from America writing here, ftr.  I think I stayed in my lane throughout, but please drop me an ask if I fucked up somewhere.)

So let’s start here before I get the ‘stop hurting JK’ brigade on me: I genuinely think that JK Rowling had good intentions when she wrote her new supplements about the wizarding world in the Americas.  I’m willing to bet she even did a bit of homework, reading up on things.  I think she genuinely feels like she tried, hell, I think she did try.

I love Jo with every bit of my black little heart, and I’m sure she means well. But that is not good enough – that is never good enough.  

She clearly, obviously, explicitly failed.

When you’re a wee little thing with 12 followers on twitter, you need to be a regular amount of careful because you may hurt a few people if you’re not. When you have a platform as broad and far-reaching as JKR’s you have to be extraordinarily careful, because you have the capacity to hurt a LOT of people.   Millions of people.  Instantly, simultaneously, you can accidentally step on millions of toes, break millions of teacups, leave marks on millions of spirits.  

Sometimes an attempt to increase diversity, to reach out to people, can be more damaging than doing nothing.  Nothing, a complete and utter lack of representation, at least that is the status quo. People know how to handle not being represented. It’s a microaggression that can be managed. But unfortunately the failure state of trying is going to be active injury to those exposed to your attempt at diversity.  And if you’re going to try, you have to be extraordinarily aware of that fact.

I’m starting to think that failure in these circumstances is inevitable. When your universe is an international juggernaut, it is somewhat impossible to be educated and aware enough to sensitively write about folks on the other end of your oppression axis.  I think some folks who write The 100 are learning that particular lesson in a nasty way right now. (Are there wlw/queer women on the writing staff of The 100?  I’m willing to bet no.)

That leaves folks like JK – who are more keenly aware of these sorts of things now than they were when they started their process/series/etc – in a rough spot.  How do you expand your universe – one you now understand as unnecessarily white, unnecessarily straight, unnecessarily male, unnecessarily able-bodied – without being an ass?

And I think the answer is: you are going to have to let other people in.

TL;DR for the rest of this: JKR, please bring more authors to the table and create a properly expanded universe if you’re serious about better diversity.

Keep reading