"And cut. That's a wrap! Pyrotechnics crew, please attend Mr. Dragneel. Erza, baby, you were marvelous! Lucy, keep holding Plue for just a moment while we get his dog cage. Lights, someone."
As stage lights dimmed and the filming crew swarmed the actors of Fairy Tail like ants on a sugar cube, the actors tried to talk over makeup artists and agents.
"Oi, Gray," Natsu grinned as the fire brigade carefully put out the flames around him that made up the dramatic final scene. "You're coming to the pub with us, right?"
Gray held his arms out as a stagehand deferentially helped to cover his half-naked body with a terrycloth robe to fight against the studio's chill and gave him a bottle of Perrier. "Only if you promise to wear a wig. Last time you went to a pub with that hair, every drag queen in the bar was all over you. It was humiliating."
"Yeah, yeah, I'll cover it up. Man, at least when they made you dye your hair from blond to black, it looks normal."
Gray tugged a strand down in front of his blue eyes. "I'm starting to like this color too. Maybe I'll keep it in my next role."
Juvia came up to him and shoved a finger hard into his bare chest. "Doncha be talkin' 'bout new roles. It's bad luck, an' I ain't havin' ya jinx my first good starrin' role." Then she stomped away angrily.
Gray cringed at how the sweet-voiced, slightly bashful, and utterly lovestruck character had flipped to the hillbilly-accented bitchy woman so suddenly. He personally liked Juvia's character better than the actress, and that was really saying something! "What the hell is that hick talking about, starring role? Remind me again who are the stars of Fairy Tail."
"Ignore her," Erza suggested, and she gave Gray a long kiss in front of everyone. Some of the cast began to catcall at them.
"Those two," Jellal chuckled as a makeup artist dabbed off the marking around his eye. "Hey, get a room."
Gray grinned over at his coworker. "You get her on stage..." He wrapped his arms possessively around Erza's hips. "...but I get her off stage."
"And in bed!" Natsu shouted, laughing at the crude joke.
"Ewwwwwwwww!" came a long, girlish cry.
"Oh, that annoying Lucy," Gray cringed. "What happened to her this time?"
"Get Plue away from me, take him, take him," she cried. "He, like, peed all over my costume. Like, how totally gross! Stupid dog. Why do I have to be the one with a filthy animal? Like, seriously, what is up with that?"
"I get one too," Natsu smiled to her.
She glared at him. "Yeah, but Happy..."
The blue Exceed yanked on his head, and the costume top popped off, showing a sweaty midget inside. "Who ya callin' a filthy animal, Pepto Bismal Head?"
Director Hiro Mashima stood up and began to speak in Japanese. They all had to wait until his translator could tell them what he said. Natsu began picking his nose. Makarov listened intently and nodded, understand every word perfectly—they had all been prisoners to his tortuously long and rambling stories about his years "fighting the Japs" in World War II.
"Everyone," the translator spoke on Director Mashima's behalf, "thank you for another hard day. Remember, I'll be hosting a special Saint Patrick's Day dinner for the cast and crew at Dillon's. I hope to see you there."
"Kanpai!" Cana cheered on. That and "Domo arigato, Mister Roboto" were the only bits of Japanese she knew.
Lucy scoffed as a team of women dried to tab away the urine on her blue costume. "Tell me again why we have a director who can't speak a word of English."
"He created Fairy Tail," Levy told her, sucking on a liquorice rope as she waited for Lucy to get cleaned up enough for them to leave to Wardrobe. "It was a huge hit in Japan before being made here. We should be honored he came to Hollywood."
"As if!" Lucy mumbled.
"Omigawd, not him," she groaned. Levy just chuckled and sucked away on her candy.
Loke came forward and was ready to glomp her until he saw the yellow stain. He kissed her on the cheek instead. She smiled stiffly, the "Hollywood smile" all actresses had to know when greeting someone they would rather like to see shipped off to an exotic location for an extended shoot.
"Are you going to Dillon's?"
"Yeah, yeah," she sighed. "Only because I don't have anything better to do besides hide from the paparazzi as I try to buy a hot dog at Pink's."
"Oh? You like Pink's? What a coincidence, because I do too!" He gave her a bleached-white grin.
"Of course you do. The person who says they don't like Pink's hot dogs is either a liar or a snob from New York."
"Coney dog," Gray said, as if that was the sum of his entire argument.
Lucy waved blithely to him. "Or our resident Detroit man who still has his head buried in the snow."
Gray began to sing a twist to the Beach Boy's hit. "I wish they all could be Californian cunts!"
Erza chuckled softly. "You better not sing rudely about Georgia dames as well, Slim Shady-wannabe."
"Frankly, my dear Scarlet...I'd never!" he smiled, and gave her a passionate kiss.
"I'll see you at the party, toots!" Loke waved as he left Lucy.
Levy slurped her liquorice out of her mouth. "Ahh, you're so lucky to have a superstar like Loke after you."
"What's so great about him?" scoffed Lucy.
"Doncha know how popular he is? He's up there with hotties like Orlando Bloom and Zac Efron. I heard he turned down a role from Spielberg to work on this project, and he's not even a main character."
"Not interested," Lucy hummed in boredom. "Gah, forget the dress," she screamed at the wardrobe people. "I'll ditch it and you can burn it. Come on, Levy. I wanna shower before we leave the studio so my Corvette doesn't smell like dog piss."
LATER THAT NIGHT
Loke burst through the doors of Dillon's Irish Pub. "Erin go braugh!" he shouted, wearing a bright green shirt that said Kiss Me, I'm Irish.
Natsu ran up to him. "Loke, lookie!" He pointed to the orange wig he was wearing over his pink hair. "We're the Irish brothers tonight."
"Aye, laddie!" Loke laughed.
"Haha, Loke almost sounds like Happy," Natsu teased.
The midget Happy glared at him. "Shut up, kid," he said in a squeaky voice.
"Sláinte!" Cana greeted, already with a pile of empty glasses around her.
"Hey Cana. What are you drinking?" asked Loke.
"Already had an Irish Car Bomb, Leprechaun, Jameson and Ginger, and working on my third Guinness."
"Really, you Americans need to learn Irish beers besides Guinness. Bartender, get her a Harp, Murphy's, O'Hara's, Smithwick's, a Porterhouse Oyster Stout, and if you're still conscious by the end of the night, you get a Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale to make you an honorary Irish lass. Enjoy! Oh, and hey, where's Lucy?" he asked, looking around.
Cana shrugged. "Dunno, dun' care. I don't get you, Loke. A huge star like you could have any woman in Hollywood, yet you chase after that bimbo. You know me or any other women in this production would do you in a heartbeat."
"A tempting offer, but maybe that's why I prefer the hard-to-get girl," he chuckled, patting her head.
"Don't I get a lucky kiss from the Irishman?" she pouted, poking the ME printed on his Kiss Me shirt.
Loke laughed and obliged, giving her a kiss deep enough so he could taste the Guinness in her mouth. Then he drifted away.
"Damn, forget the French," Cana said dreamily. "It's those Irishmen who know how to kiss a gal!"
"There I was," Makarov said dramatically to a small gathering of people listening to his story. "Me and my three buddies surrounded by Zeroes. Goldmine's plane was going down fast. We promised the four of us would make it out of the Pacific together, so Bob, Yagima, and I made the call to follow him down. Yagima cleared a path with his guns while Bob and I slipped under his wings to guide him as far as an island, just a spit of sand in the middle of the vast ocean. And that's where I met her." His hand slid up Porlyusica's leg, and she promptly slapped it away. "A wild island lass, been shipwrecked on that island for five years already, half insane and almost forgot speech. She taught us how to survive. And we did, for six months, before a cruiser happened to come by and saw our smoke signal. That was the end of it for Goldmine, but I knew Uncle Sam would have me back out there in no time. Then they dropped the Bomb. That was one hell of a way to end the war, but at the time I was glad. Saw too many die in the Pacific, and killed too many, but those six months on that island were pure heaven thanks to our Polynesian Princess Porlyusica. Shall I tell them how you kept the four of us lonely Airmen comforted, love?"
"Do, and I will slit your throat," she threatened.
Makarov just laughed. "Still my wild island lass!"
Macao figured he really did not want to hear that part of the story. "So why did you marry Makarov and not Yagima or Goldmine or Bob?"
"Bob is gay, so even back then...well," Makarov shrugged, not wanting to say anything impolite. "Yagima had a wartime bride waiting for him back in the States. Goldmine had a nurse lady-friend from when we were stationed on Hawaii, and I heard they were married for a while before she died during the polio outbreak in the 50s. Besides, I was the best looking."
"No, Bob was the best looking," the ancient pink-haired woman snapped. "You simply smelled least bad of all four of them."
Makarov whispered aside to Wakaba. "It's the coconut-scented shampoo. Drives her crazy!"
At another part of the bar, Gray watched Erza spooning mouthfuls of dessert. She had three dishes set in front of her.
"What are all these?" he asked.
"Apple Amber, Donegal Oatmeal Cream, and Bailey's Marble Cheesecake."
Gray shook his head as she spooned some of the apple pie with darkened meringue, followed by the parfait-like oatmeal and fruit dish, and lastly the faintly alcoholic cheesecake. "I wonder how you ever manage to keep your figure."
"Three hours of kickboxing and six hours of fencing lessons every week, as well as an hour at the gym every day," she answered bluntly.
Finally the doors opened, and Lucy stepped in with Levy. They saw paparazzi cameras flashing outside. That could hardly be helped. It was part of a life of a Hollywood star. Before Lucy could shut the door, Loke rushed forward and gave her a kiss. The cameras went into a frenzy that could have set off an epileptic fit. Chuckling to himself, Loke winked at the tabloid photographers and shut the door to the pub.
"Idiot!" Lucy shrieked, pummeling him immediately. "That's gonna be on the cover of every magazine from here to Tokyo."
"Then wouldn't it be better to date me?" Loke smirked mischievously. "I can see it now: Limelight Star Loke Lovestruck Over Lovable Lass Lucy. We could be the next Brad and Angelina. In fact, I'm invited to one of their children's birthday parties this weekend. What do you say?"
"I say you'd fit in with a bunch of little kids." She shoved him aside and went to the bar. "Whoa, Natsu! That orange hair looks pretty hot on you."
"Ah, ya think so?" He looked up at the carrot-top wig. "I was debating about this or green, but Freed and Bisca already have the green-haired look. I guess Loke and Jet have orange too, but I wanted to see what I'd look like as a ginger. I was going to dye it, but Sherry in Wardrobe screamed at me that she has a hard enough time trying to keep my hair the same shade every week."
"It looks good," she complimented flirtatiously. "How about you order me a drink?"
Loke sank into a chair and sighed. "Why does Lucy have to like Natsu instead of me?"
Aries came up to him bashfully. "Maybe she's the sort who just doesn't want a big-name star. This is only Natsu's second starring role."
"Second? Oh yeah, Rave something-or-other. Lucy was in that show too, right?"
Aries nodded. "She played Elie, the leading lady and love interest to Natsu's character, Haru."
"Ah, so they have a past chemistry. Well," Loke said decisively, "I just have to show her my chemistry! Where is Hiro Mashima? I'll convince him to write that Lucy and I will get together in the end."
Aquarius sighed at him. "You'll never get her, Loke."
"Huh? Why not? Don't tell me he already wrote the ending!" he gawked.
Scorpio placed a hand on Loke's arm. "Hey bro, why don't you buy Aries a drink? The poor doll's been a sober wallflower the whole night."
"What!" Loke exclaimed. "It's St. Patty's Day and you haven't had a single beer?"
"I'm sorry," Aries muttered bashfully.
"Aries, Aries!" He placed his arm around her shoulder, and the small actress instantly turned red. "You're part Irish too, right?"
She nodded timidly. "M-My grandmother...was from County Cork."
"Well then," he said suavely as he guided her over to the bar, "I have to teach you how to be a proper Irish woman. Bartender, an Irish Car Bomb for the lass." Then he began to sing. "Oooh, it is the biggest mix-up that you have ever seen. Me father he was Orange and me mother she was Green."