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Mating Season (Book Two)

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Tomorrow was the day. The day of the yearly Grand Magic Games. She took a deep breath-and suddenly an deep thirst for water struck her. Her eyes widened slightly and she leaped into action, pilfering the whole apartment for any liquids she had on hand. She found none. None! Had she been insane?! She didn't have time to think about whether she had been clinically insane earlier. She was too busy sprinting down the stairs to find any sort of liquid substance that could quench her thirst. She skidded into the guild hall with uncharacteristic haste. "Hey!" The Master called towards her in greeting and she only held up a hand in a sort of half wave in response. She practically threw herself onto the barstool, looking for whoever was manning that position today. "Slow down!" A familiar voice called towards her. She looked up and her eyes met brown ones. "Sorry!" She chirped out, blushing just slightly. "What's got my favorite celestial wizard in such a rush?" The girl asked, leaning over the bar just slightly and looking into her eyes. "Well... I need some water..." The blacked-haired Mage straightened up and nodded, turning around to grab a bottle. She'd been working the bar almost everyday as punishment for last year and what happened... leaving their guild for a dark one was a serious offense, after all. "Here you go, Yukino," Minerva said as she set down a small cup of water in front of the white-haired Mage. Yukino looked at it, suddenly feeling uncharacteristically indignant. She downed the water with one gulp and saw a bit of surprise in Minerva's eyes before she turned around. "I think I might need to get you another bottle..." she glanced back. "Or five." Yukino nodded at the wise words.

<><><>

She suddenly felt oddly hungry. She had always prided herself in the whole 'mind over matter'... but dang it she was hungry! Way hungrier than she should have been! She buckled her sword into its holder on her belt and tried to be uninterested as she descended the stairs to the guild hall... but, if she happened to have walked slightly faster than normal, that could have been chalked up to the fact that she thought her stomach might start making very betraying grumbles if she didn't hurry herself up. She sat down at the classic bar that could be found in any guild hall. She ordered an admittedly large, if not gigantic, breakfast. A familiar form plopped down unceremoniously into the seat beside her. "Hi!" She cried happily, legs kicking and tail wagging like an excited animal. She glanced over at her. "Wow! That's a lot of food there, Kagy!" Millianna cried. The feline-like woman had taken to calling Kagura by the nickname of 'Kagy'. That fact was one that would have made Kagura attack most people... but she had a slight soft spot for excitable girl that she couldn't really seem to explain. It was the most infuriating thing, really. It was weird to treat someone special but not know why. She suspected it was because she saw her as someone to protect. Don't get her wrong, Millianna was incredibly strong and was training day and night for the Grand Magic Games... but... Kagura couldn't help but get the feeling that there was something special, something innocent inside of Millianna that had to be preserved. That was why she did not allow any within their guild to make fun of the other girl. Of course that was why. Kagura suddenly found herself smiling just slightly. Today she was going to see Erza again. It had been quite a while since they had seen each other in person, but both Millianna and Kagura had been keeping tabs with her by means of Lacromas... Erza even said she had a small surprise for them and Kagura was, embarrassed to say that she was, excited about hearing the news. She wondered what it could be and had spent long stretches of time silently theorizing about it. She had heard Millianna going on and on about it at different times, saying that perhaps Erza had found herself a boyfriend. To quote Millianna, "Maybe she finally realized she liked that Natsu guy! Or maybe it was Gray! She talks about them a lot!" and in response to those words, Kagura had pointed out that every time she had spoken about them she had been complaining about their childishness. "Sometimes someone needs to be with someone childish! You can't be all grown up all the time!" Kagura had to admit that she had replayed those words in her head many times since the girl had said them. It had seemed as if Millianna had been pointedly staring at her when she had said them and it had left Kagura feeling odd. It was as if she was trying to tell her something, but Kagura hadn't figured it out. Millianna suddenly reached over and grabbed onto a bit of her pancake, making Kagura's eyes widen as she reached for it. There was a quick battle in which Millianna and Kagura each grabbed their knives and had a mini sword battle right there and then. Millianna finally popped the small bite into her mouth. "I won!" She sprang from her seat and did an odd, and admittedly adorable, dance that Kagura had never seen anyone do before. "I beat you!" She exclaimed, continuing to do that odd dance. Kagura watched and suddenly found herself realizing just how pretty Millianna was. It was an odd thought, but she found herself watching as she continued the odd show. When she finally stopped, she looked at Kagura with a smirk. "I BEAT YOU! That was the best pancake I've ever had!" She sad, looking smug. Maybe I was just a little distracted... Kagura suddenly blushed just a bit at the thoughts. Now where had that come from?! What did it that mean?! Kagura didn't know if she wanted to know.

<><><>

Sting felt an odd rumbling in his stomach. He was used to being hungry... but this was different. It was like... so much more. He and Rogue seemed to teleport to the bar. "M'Lady! M'Lady!" Sting called. The woman whipped her head around and looked at him. "What?" She asked. "Can we please get some food?" He gave Minerva a pleading look. Minerva didn't seem to hear them as Yukino finished another bottle. "Oh, Yukino, you need another water." Minerva ignored the twin Dragon Slayers and grabbed Yukino a water bottle, pushing it towards her before she had even set down the one she had finished. "Thanks, Minerva! You really don't need to be so kind." The Celestial Wizard flashed her a smile and Minerva spun on her heel and Sting was shocked to find Minerva's face reddening. "You okay, M'Lady?" Sting asked, for a moment forgetting about the stomach grumbling. "You look all red." Yukino looked over at them. "Is something wrong, Minerva?" She asked in her normal, sweet voice. "No, Yukino." She responded, face turning even redder as she looked anywhere but at Yukino. Sting and Rogue exchanged a look before the black-haired Dragon Slayer seemed to have an idea, his eyes widening and shootings to Minerva in what appeared to be disbelief. "M'Lady..." Minerva's eyes narrowed and she swept, quite dramatically, into the kitchen. A few minutes later she walked out with two breakfasts and set them in front of the pair of Dragon Slayers. Rogue continued to look at her with shock for a further few seconds before remembering about the food on the table. He dug in and Minerva let it a small breath of relief. Sting was confused and wanted answers to the whole odd ordeal... but the food in front of him was singing his name in a melodious tone that could rival the sirens of lore. Sting was soon done with his normal large breakfast and was asking for another. Minerva grabbed it for him and Rogue, the dark Dragon Slayer, watched her go as if he had suddenly remembered the odd exchange between her and Yukino... well, it hadn't really been a weird exchange. That would imply they had both acted off, but only Minerva had. Yukino had downed about five more of the small water bottles and Minerva had been keeping an eye of her, making sure she didn't run out. Sting wished he could have said the same about her watching his food, but sadly she didn't seem to notice when he and Rogue finished. That's really weird... M'Lady seems distracted... but why would M'Lady be distracted by Yukino? Maybe it's because she's acting weird with the water... but... for some reason it feels like it's more somehow.

<><><>

Kagura ignored that weird feeling in the pit of her stomach as Millianna began to giggle about something or the other. Kagura couldn't claim that she had been listening to the conversation, although she probably should have been, as she had found herself, yet again, distracted. And, yet again, she was distracted by Millianna of all people. Kagura considered the two of them friends, in fact she knew they were because of how many times Millianna had said it excitedly, but this still seemed like an odd way for her to be feeling around a friend. "Kagura, are you alright?" A guildmate asked her. She flinched just slightly, a sure sign that she had been completely out of it, and turned to look at her guildmember that had asked the question. It was Beth, the country girl. "I'm alright." She lied. She could tell that her fellow Mermaid Heel member knew it was a false statement, but she seemed to let it slide... well, Kagura couldn't be sure if she did or not. She appeared to, but the women in Mermaid Heel had a tendency to bring up something you'd completely forgotten about five months after it had happened. Kagura hoped this wasn't one of those situations. She was quite certain that she wouldn't want to think back to this at any point. It was such a weird and infuriating feeling to have. She just couldn't decode what it meant and it frustrated her to no end.

<><><>

The Fairy Tail guild hall was abuzz as everyone talked about the competition to come. Makarov had yet to announce who would be competing and everyone was gathering around him with more than a bit of intrigue. "Team A will consist of Erza, Lucy, Natsu, Gray, Wendy, and Chelia." The God Slayer squealed and threw her arms around Wendy's shoulders excitedly. "Oh, WenWen! We're going to have so much fun!" Wendy grinned at the words. "I'm sure it'll be more fun to fight with you than against." Chelia nodded against Wendy's chest and the blue-haired Dragon Slayer blushed just a bit as Carla looked over at her. Some things never change. Lucy looked over at Erza and the redhead wrapped her arm around Lucy's shoulders. She leaned over and whispered quietly. "You're going to do great." It was no secret that Lucy got nervous about her powers and strength. But now Erza was always there to comfort her. It was a nice sentiment. "Aww! C'mon, Gramps! I wanted to fight Gray!" Natsu whined. The Master looked over at him. "It's this team or no team, Natsu." The salmon-haired Dragon Slayer grumbled something under his breath. "That's what I thought. Team B is Mirajane, Cana, Laxus, Freed Gajeel, and Levy." There was outrage, but the Master didn't seem to care what the others thought. The participants exchanged looks, Freed and Levy both surprised. "Why does Fairy Tail get two teams this year?" Chelia whispered to Wendy. "It's a new rule to keep the number of entries low. Only the reigning champion guild can do it."

<><><>

"The Sabertooth participants will be Rufus, Rogue, Yukino, Minerva, Orga, and myself!" Sting said. "You should have said 'myself' first," Minerva commented dryly from behind the counter. "It was supposed to be a surprise!" The guild Master all but whined. Minerva rolled her eyes and Yukino giggled from the side.

<><><>

"The Mermaid Heel team will consist of Kagura, Minerva, Ridley, Riley, Araña, and Beth."

<><><>

And thus history repeats itself, just as it always seemed to and always would. Mating Season seemed to have just finished, and yet here it was again.

Chapter Text

Chelia skipped down the sidewalk excitedly. "This is going to be so much fun!" She cried, grabbing onto Wendy's hand and pulling her along.

"Chelly! You need to slow down!" She called, knowing quite well just how clumsy her beloved girlfriend could be (not even considering how clumsy Wendy herself was).

Erza looked up and found herself looking forward to seeing Millianna and Kagura. She was excited for the 'surprise' she had in store for them. The surprise really being that she had a girlfriend. One Lucy Heartfillia. She heard quick footsteps and looked up to see a familiar pair racing down towards her.

"ERZY WERZY!" A high pitched, excited voice cried happily. Two forms ran up and Erza barely held herself on her feet as they both collided with her in a flurry. "Millianna, Kagura!" Erza smiled down at the pair and saw Millianna looking back up at her. Kagura, on the other hand, was looking down and blushing a bright red color.

Erza raised an eyebrow and started to believe it was because of how she was... let's say not so adept at handling emotions and physical contact.

Erza then caught sight of something else and grinned. Millianna was holding onto Kagura's hand as if she had just pulled her over to Erza.

Kagura's hand twitched in the grasp, but Millianna didn't look as if she would be letting go anytime soon. "It's so great to see you, Erza! Now tell me what your surprise is!" Millianna exclaimed, pulling back just far enough to be able to look Erza in the eyes, but staying close enough that they were still hugging.

"Well..." Erza found herself smirking smugly as she looked at her friends, both of them looking intrigued (even if Kagura was blushing and occasionally glancing at her and Millianna's connected hands). Erza glanced at Lucy and smirked. The blonde instantly knew what she was talking about.

Lucy sighed and rolled her eyes as if saying 'if you must'. Erza decided to milk it by being intentionally vague. "I'm seeing someone."

Millianna gave Kagura a smug look and the Gravity Mage quickly looked away from her, hoping that she wouldn't catch sight of her blush. Millianna had clearly seen it, however, and her smirk broadened, making Erza raise an eyebrow.

"Who is it?!" Millianna asked excitedly. Lucy got a that smug look she always got when someone found out she was dating. The redhead and opened her mouth to speak.

"Is it Natsu?! Or is it Gray?!" Millianna cried. The pair of boys mentioned whipped their heads around to look at the feline-like woman incredulously.

"Us?! Date her?!" Millianna frowned. She had been certain it would be one of them. "Then who is it?!" She demanded.

Erza was about to respond, but Lucy has clearly had enough and stepped forward. "Me!" She said, smug look coming back into place and making Erza roll her eyes affectionately. It was like Lucy was showing her off to everyone she could.

Millianna and Kagura stared at her blankly. "Huh?" Millianna said, looking from Lucy to Erza. "Really?" Millianna asked Erza, looking from her to Lucy and then back again. Lucy let out an indignant squawk.

"Yes, really." The redhead said, trying not to laugh. She mostly succeeded, but the barest hints of a smirk still graced her lips.

"Why do you ask?" Erza questioned. "I just didn't think she was your... type." She said. "What? Because I'm a girl?" Lucy asked. Millianna shook her head at the words.

"No. I just thought she'd like someone a bit more..." Lucy and Erza were looking at her, but she'd never been one to backdown just because of a thing as simple as being embarrassed.

"Strong." She finished. Lucy looked rejected and Kagura was giving Millianna a look that said 'I can't believe you really just said that'.

"Lucy is strong." Erza gave Lucy a quick reassuring and affectionate look. Millianna gave Lucy an assessing look before leaning over to Erza. "How much do you like this girl?"

Erza was very confused for a moment. Millianna and Lucy has gotten along quite well the year before at the Grand Magic Games and now...

Erza suddenly realized something.

She was playing the 'protective sister' card... even if Millianna was, technically, the younger of the pair... that darn time jump was still messing with Ezra's internal clock to this day.

Erza leaned back over. "She's the love of my life." Millianna's eyes narrowed. "And that's no exaggeration."

Erza grinned and looked over at Lucy. She hadn't been whispering and she was certain that both Lucy and Kagura had been able to hear her words. "What makes you say that?" Millianna asked curiously. Erza let out a sigh. This was quite the long story. She started to walk down the street and the others followed. She started to tell the story to her two friends.

•••

When Erza had finished her story, the two were looking at her as if wondering if it had been true.

She'd omitted some of it for the sake of brevity, but they had gotten the point as well as a few other couples that were bound to showcase themselves at the Grand Magic Games this year.

"This is so romantic!" Millianna cooed at the three couples walking with them.

Wendy blushed and Chelia nodded excitedly. "It is!" The God Slayer cried in response.

Gray and Natsu both glanced at each other and rolled their eyes, but both of them were blushing just slightly and smiling.

"I wish I could go through something like that! How about you, Kagy?" Millianna said, looking over at Kagura.

The black-haired Gravity Mage looked away, blushing just slightly for reasons unbeknownst to her. Erza raised a quizzical eyebrow at the pair.

"Sounds like a hassle," Kagura said. Millianna's smile waned a bit and Kagura glanced at her. "But it would have a nice result, I suppose." She said, shrugging and pretending to not care. Millianna's smile was back and she skipped down the pavement with the others happily.

Kagura didn't know why the girl's happiness made her feel all this weird... well, she didn't know how to explain it. But she could safely say it was annoying.

<><><>

Minerva glanced to the side and caught sight of Yukino staring at the city in wonder.

"Didn't we come here last year? Why are you so excited?" Minerva asked the white-haired Mage.

Yukino looked over at her with a wide smile. "Just because you've seen something beautiful once doesn't mean that it loses its charm.

As Minerva looked at Yukino, she couldn't help but find herself agreeing. Yes... yes I guess I can agree with such a thing. She found herself still looking at Yukino and suddenly she was blushing. She looked away before it could get any more awkward for her.

Of course Yukino didn't notice the weird reaction from Minerva. She never did.

Sting and Rogue, on the other hand, noticed. They exchanged a quick look before they turned their attention back to Minerva.

The black-haired Mage was looking anywhere but at Yukino, pointedly not paying attention to her.

Sting and Rogue both raised their eyebrows in an identical fashion.

"M'Lady." Sting slides over and wraps an arm around the Mage's shoulders. She gives him a level look and he tries to not look scared.

"What's going on with you today? Did you and Yukino get in an argument?" Sting questions, trying to give her a consoling look.

Minerva glanced over at the Celestial Mage and found she was still admiring the city for all its glory.

"Nothing's wrong. What makes you think that?" She asked, voice turning more than a bit hostile at the end of her words.

Sting and Rogue both had identical looks of horror for a moment before clearing their throats.

"Something must be bothering you, M'Lady," Rogue said, trying not to sound pushy but instead concerned for Minerva's well-being.

"I don't know... I've just been feeling off today... well... maybe this week."

Rogue and Sting shared yet another look at the words.

"Does this have something to do with the weird expressions you've been giving Yukino all day?" Sting asked bluntly.

Rogue shook his head and ran a hand through his long hair at the words. Sting could never say the right thing.

Minerva whipped her head around to look at the pair. "What did you say?" She asked.

Sting gulped and hid himself behind Rogue. "Hide me!"

Minerva did not give chase, instead she gained a confused look on her face.

"I don't know." She finally said, glancing at Yukino who was still marveling at the buildings around them. She'd been in the castle of Fiore for goodness sake! Why was she so stunned?!

Minerva wasn't sure what the answers were to her queries, but she did know that she found it... cute.

Normally Minerva hated it when people gawked at large buildings... but this time she found an exception to the rule. It was quite sweet, actually. Minerva wasn't sure what that was about.

Sting peaked over Rogue's shoulder, seeing Minerva looking at Yukino again.

"Rogue, what's wrong with M'Lady?" The light Dragon Slayer whispered to his best friend.

Rogue shrugged, looking just as confused as Sting himself felt.

"It looks like she's just looking at her." The dark-haired Dragon Slayer finally said, looking over at Sting.

Minerva finally tore her gaze away and she looked back other at the pair, seeing them whispering as they walked beside her.

Rogue suddenly saw Yukino steal a glance at Minerva from the side, hers seeming much more subtle than the taller Mage's had been. It was quite surprising.

Rogue tried to put the pieces of the puzzle together, but it was as if half of the pieces were from a separate box than the one he had opened. It was quite confusing to try and solve a puzzle with only half the pieces.

Despite all of Rogue and Sting's confusion, there was someone who was far more so than them.

Minerva Orland.

<><><>

Kagura glanced over a Millianna.

She had been walking beside Kagura a few minutes ago, but when Lucy had tried to walk beside Erza, Millianna had darted over to the other side of the redhead.

Lucy had given her a small glare, but Millianna had just flashed her an innocent, joyful smirk in return.

Kagura wasn't sure if that expression had scared her... or if it had impressed her.

Lately, Kagura wasn't sure of anything when it came to Millianna.

Some of their guildmates had even commented on it before.

Beth had once said 'It's like Millianna has a free get outta jail free card when it comes ta Kagura.'

Kagura hadn't known how to respond to the words, but Millianna had.

The feline-like girl had said 'that's because I'm Kagura's favorite!'

At the time there had been quite a bit of grumbling from their guildmates and Kagura had just ignored it... but now she wasn't sure.

Well, that was a lie.

It was quite clear that Millianna was her favorite guildmate now...

But Kagura wasn't sure what these weird feelings meant when she looked at Millianna. She'd never experienced them when she had looked at someone else... but now she got these little... whatever they were whenever Millianna said something particularly adorable...

So all the time.

Kagura found herself always on the verge of either laughter or blushing (if she wasn't already doing one or the other) whenever she was around Millianna.

Sometimes Kagura liked those feelings, but other times she wished they would just go die in a hole somewhere far, far, far away from wherever she was.

Kagura decided that, perhaps, it would be wise for her to speak to Erza about it later.

She always ended up coming to Erza about any problems she had when it came to the 'emotions' subject.

Kagura knew that Erza, clearly, wasn't very good with emotions either... but she was still better than Kagura herself.

That settled it. She was going to talk to her later.

^^^

If just one of those that had been through Mating Season had thought about their friends, perhaps some of the misunderstandings could have been spared... but what's the fun in that?!

Chapter Text

Kagura looked over at Erza. She really did need to speak to the with requipper. Something was wrong with her and it really had to be fixed. What if it affected her during the Grand Magic Games? Kagura was still quite certain she was coming down with come illness. She felt as if her stomach was a black hole. That was, of course, a clear side effect of whatever disease she happened to be carrying.

•••

Kagura pulled Erza aside suddenly and looked a bit embarrassed. That wasn't very surprising. The girl got embarrassed when it came to any emotions whatsoever. Erza glanced at her and chuckled.

"What's wrong, Kagura?" Erza asked.

"I think I'm sick." The black-haired Mage responded. "What makes you believe that?" Erza asked. Kagura started to list off her 'symptoms'.

"Kagura, Kagura. I'm quite sure I know what you have." Erza was about to continue, but she stopped as she saw the large amount of food that Kagura had ordered.

The redhead raised an eyebrow as the girl seemed to engulf the food. This reminded her of something... especially the look in her eyes. But... she wasn't a Celestial Mage, nor a Take-Over Mage... and to the best of Erza's knowledge she wasn't a Dragon Slayer... but recently there had been a seemingly infinite amount of those.

Erza glanced over at Lucy and she wondered if she still had that book on Mating Season that Mirajane had let her borrow.

"What do I have?" Kagura asked when she had finished the mountain of food. "You caught a very contagious and untreatable disease." Kagura looked up at her with worry.

Erza learned over. "It's called love."

Kagura whipped her head around and Erza worried that the girl had gotten whiplash for a second. "What?" She asked in a hushed voice, eyes wide.

"I said you caught the love bug." Erza was smirking. "Now who is this mystery person you won't name?" Erza asked.

Kagura had been careful not to say a name, for some reason unknown to her, she had felt embarrassed.

"Kagura?"

The black-haired Gravity Mage's eyes had trailed off to the side and she was now watching someone.

Erza turned around to try and find who it was. Her eyes trailed over all the people present. Several other guilds had joined them in the lounge.

She suddenly figured out who it was. It was a certain Mermaid Heel member that was currently laughing, giggling as she always did, and soon she fell off of her chair. She only continued to giggle, curling up in a ball like a cat in the sun. Kagura watched her with a slightly dazed, out of it look. Erza found herself grinning wildly as she saw her two friends... especially Kagura. She looked far too distracted to notice a silently laughing Erza.

When she finally snapped out of the haze-like state, she looked over to see Erza still laughing.

"What?! I'm not in love!" Kagura's whole facade of calmness had melted and she was looking over at Erza with worry.

"Millianna's a nice girl. I think you're going to be a great couple."

Kagura was blushing a bright red color.

"I have no idea what you're talking about."

Erza could tell she was lying. Heck, anyone who looked their way could tell the girl was lying. She looked like a kid who just got caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

"Well, if you're not having any feelings for her, then I guess I must get going..." Erza slowly stood.

Kagura's hand snatched onto her arm and she yanked Erza back into her seat. The redhead had expected as much.

"Oh?" Erza asked, pretending to be surprised.

Kagura seemed to fall for it and gave Erza what the girl assumed was an attempt at a level look... it was more like a child trying to look like an adult.

"Say, theoretically, I did have feelings for someone." Erza rolled her eyes as Kagura looked down.

She really is terrible at emotions...

Erza pretended that she didn't know exactly what Kagura was saying.

Kagura had stopped talking and Erza gave her a look that prompted her to continue.

"Alright... if, in some other world, I did happen to like someone, what would you say for me to do?"

Erza had never seen anything as red as Kagura's face at the moment.

"Well, I'd say you should tell Mi-whoever this mystery person in another dimension might be."

Kagura's face became impossibly red at the purposeful slip up Erza had made.

"What if she just thinks of me as a friend... a very reserved and distant friend?"

Erza grinned just a bit. She was lucky Kagura was too embarrassed to look back up at her or should would have been yelled at for laughing at her, albeit quietly.

"Well, then get to know her a little bit better. I'm sure Millianna will be excited to get to know you better. She talks about you all the time when we use the communication La-"

Erza was unable to finish her sentence as a, very, intrigued Kagura looked up and over at her.

"Huh?"

"Well, she says she wishes that you'd stop being so distant with her..."

Kagura already thought it over in her head and this was the most simplistic step that Erza could possibly imagine in getting into a relationship.

Erza sighed softly, her brain already turning its gears to try and think of ways to help her friend. She was sure that Millianna would be thrilled when she found out Kagura liked her. Because, let's be honest, you didn't talk about someone the way Millianna talked about Kagura unless you were into them. Like, seriously, seriously hardcore crushing on them... but, like the dense idiot that she had been called on several occasions (by both Mirajane and Lucy), she hadn't realized this until right about now. Good job, Erza. Good job.

<><><>

Lucy heard a familiar voice gasp in excitement before hurried footsteps sounded. She spun in her chair and came face to face with Yukino.

Her fellow Celestial Mage was grinning at her broadly and soon Lucy pulled her into a hug.

"It's great to see you again!" Lucy called and was about to keep talking...

Except Yukino did something that sent the blonde through a haze of memories.

It seemed to be a simple enough action, but when Yukino upended her water bottle and finished the whole thing... well Lucy definitely remembered something quite important...

In hind sight it might have been a good idea to tell Yukino about this in their normal communications via Lacroma... but for some reason it had never crossed her mind.

I'm such a great friend. Lucy thought sarcastically before looking around. She instantly caught sight of Rogue and Sting.

Oh.

Oh no.

Lucy spun in her chair to face Natsu.

Lucy tapped the Fire Dragon Slater's shoulder fervently until he looked her way.

"Huh?" He asked cluelessly.

Lucy gestured over at Sting and Rogue.

Natsu had that stupid, confused look on his face.

Lucy sighed, trying to find a way to communicate it silently because Yukino was totally watching her with confusion.

Lucy pointed at her neck and then at Gray, trying to indicate the mark that Natsu had given him a while back.

Natsu still gave her that blank stare.

She leaned over the table and whispered the two dreaded words in his ear. She knew he'd never understand if she didn't spell it out.

Natsu gave her a confused look before looking back at Rogue and Sting.

There was a moment where he still looked confused.

Finally, the Dragon Slayer processed the words and his jaw dropped open.

Lucy nodded at him impatiently before turning back to Yukino.

"I need to talk to you for a second, Yukino," Lucy said.

She promptly leaped from her chair and grabbed onto Yukino's arm, leading her to a small side area of the inn.

<><><>

Natsu tried to act casual as he walked over to Sting and Rogue.

He looked more like a predator than a worried friend.

Wendy instantly caught sight of her friend's weird behavior.

It took her only a second before it all clicked and she stood from her chair suddenly.

I should tell them about Mating Season...

But just the thought of having to explain that was enough to make the youngest Dragon Slayer blush.

Instead of walking over to the two clueless Slayers, she made her way to Gajeel.

I can totally guilt him into doing this for me.

Wendy had gotten better at manipulating others into doing her bidding lately. Especially Gajeel. The two had formed an almost brother-sister relationship since the events of Mating Season.

In fact, all of those that had gone through it had seemed to grow closer than they had been before. Drastically so, actually.

<><><>

Erza tried to get Lucy's attention. It didn't work.

She was getting increasingly worried that Kagura herself was going through Mating Season.

Lucy walked by and Erza sighed.

She guessed she'd have to get the book later.

<><><>

Gajeel sighed and glared at the Sky Dragon Slayer as she sat down next to her girlfriend.

He couldn't believe that the little rascal had roped him into doing this.

Just because Rogue happened to look up to him didn't mean he had to help...

Gajeel sighed.

That's exactly what it meant.

Darn Levy and her persistence in making me have morals.

But Gajeel knew it wasn't really Levy's doing.

It was his own. And he couldn't be more upset with that.

Gajeel walked up as he saw Natsu having trouble trying to approach the two.

Gajeel snuck up behind the Fire Dragon Slayer.

"You take Sting and I'll take Rogue," Gajeel grunted out finally.

Natsu jumped and looked over at Gajeel.

Suddenly Natsu's eyes turned appreciative.

"Oh thank gosh. I don't have to talk to both of them."

Gajeel ground his teeth before he strode up to the other dark haired Dragon Slayer.

Well. This is going to suck.

<><><>

Lucy took a deep breath before launching into a long winded explanation of Mating Season.

When she had finished, Yukino seemed to be a mixture of lost, confused, worried, and pure shock.

Lucy understood that. She was quite certain she had looked quite similar when she had found out about Mating Season.

"Is this real?" She asked.

Lucy guessed she had probably asked something like that as well.

Lucy nodded her head and the white-haired Mage let out a sigh, running a hand through her hair nervously.

"Alright. So... what do I do?" She asked.

"You just try to figure out who your Mate is and... try not to die."

Yukino gave her a worried look and Lucy quickly assured her it was a joke, making the girl let out a sigh of relief.

•••

Lucy made her way out of the small room and was instantly grabbed by Erza and tugged away from Yukino.

"Do you still have the Mating Season book?" Erza asked.

Lucy's eyes lit up and she reached into her bag and pulled it out. She had meant to give it to Mirajane today.

"You're right! I should give it to Yukino!"

"No!" Erza snatched the book out of her hands and started to search through the pages.

Lucy gave her a confused look, but Erza was already reading through the first chapter quite intently, as if she was looking for something important.

Erza's eyes widened as her fears were proven accurate.

I wish that for once, just once, I wasn't right. Maybe then I could catch a break.

But of course Erza knew that wasn't going to happen. This was Fairy Tail after all... Fairy Tail and several other guilds. She couldn't think of anything more hectic than that combination right there. It was truly terrifying.

Chapter Text

Gajeel led, well dragged, Rogue into the other room. He wasn't a delicate person, so he decided to just blurt it out bluntly.

So that's how Rogue ended up sitting there and staring at him dumbly, mouth gaping open.

Gajeel nodded, starting to move to the exit.

Rogue stopped him.

"Who is it?"

"Heck if I know. That's kind of your job."

Gajeel left then, leaving behind a very worried and surprised Dragon Slayer.

Who could it be? A soulmate?! I don't know if I'm ready for that kind of thing. I mean, I barely take care of Frosch! I lose him at least once a day!

Rogue took a deep breath and reminded himself that a soulmate wouldn't be like having a pet... probably...

<><><>

Sting looked around.

A Mate, huh? Wonder who it is.

His eyes fell on Yukino.

Natsu had said that Celestial Mages went through Mating Season, right? Then she must be his Mate.

It had to be someone going through the Season too, right?

Natsu hasn't explained it very well, but Sting was pretty sure that was something he'd said.

Sting strolled over to Yukino's table and sat down, giving her his best grin.

Yukino was somewhat distracted as she sipped on a water bottle, still drinking more than should have been possible.

At this rate the local fish would be homeless.

"Hey, Yu."

Sting was pretty proud of that entrance. It was even a pun, 'you', 'yu'. Sting grinned at his own cleverness.

Yukino jumped and looked over at him.

"Oh! Hi, Sting." She greeted, giving him a slightly forced smile as she was somewhat preoccupied with thinking about Mating Season.

Yukino suddenly remembered something.

"Wait... Dragon Slayers are... you're going through..." She didn't want to finish the sentence in case he didn't know what was happening. She didn't want to explain it. She was far too busy trying to just understand it herself.

"Mating Season?" Sting finished for her.

Yukino nodded at his words and let out a slight sigh. "Yeah."

Sting gave her another grin. "So, have you found your Mate yet?" The blonde Dragon Slayer asked.

Yukino looked over at him again, her eyes having slid away from the blonde as if pulled by some magnetic force, the source of which still undetermined.

"No. I guess I was just thinking about the fact that I've got a soulmate... or that I'm supposed to find them..."

Her eyes were pulled away again and she felt a bit of excitement as she thought she neared what they were searching for.

"Well, I think I know mine."

That was enough to make Yukino tear her eyes back to him, if a bit reluctantly.

"Who is it?" She asked, intrigued. She had always thought that he and-

Sting leaned over and gave her a smile. "You."

Yukino did a double take and gave him a wide eyed stare.

"Huh? Me?"

Sting nodded at her question.

"Sting, I'm flattered, but I don't think I'm your Mate."

Sting gave her a confused and almost hurt expression.

"Why? I thought you liked me."

"I do! I mean, not like that!"

Yukino was getting more than a bit flustered as she tried to explain that she didn't like him in a romantic way.

Sting had such a hurt expression that she had to tell him. Darn those puppy-dog eyes. That really was supposed to her secret weapon, not his!

"Do you like Rogue?"

Yukino's eyes widened again and she shook her head quickly. "No. I don't like Rogue either." She thought she could hear a bit of jealousy in his voice...

Perhaps she had been right about who he should get together with after all.

"Do you like someone?" Sting asked with wide, innocent eyes.

Yukino sighed and debated telling him. But she knew she was going to. Of course she was. The two were like siblings if you asked her.

"No!"

Yukino was blushing a bright red color and suddenly Sting's interest was peaked, looking at.

"You totally do! Who is it?!" Sting raised an eyebrow and gave her his classic smirk.

"Here."

It was a familiar voice that said it and Yukino instantly recognized it.

A water bottle was set down on the table and Yukino looked over.

It was none other than Minerva.

"Thanks." She mumbled, giving Minerva a wide grin before starting to chug down the water.

She incredibly thirsty at the moment.

"That's really sweet, Minerva! How did you know I was out?"

For a second Yukino thought Minerva's face reddened, but that had to be her imagination.

Sting, however, definitely noticed.

It was weird. It was as if Yukino had perked up as soon as she had seen Minerva.

"When you're sentenced to taking care of the bar for long enough you notice that kind of that."

Sting instantly neglected that answer. Not once had she noticed he was out of a drink or food.

So why had she noticed that Yukino was out of water? And so quickly!

The pair hadn't ever been close... well, actually, ever since Minerva had rejoined the guild they had been spending more and more time together. It was pretty interesting.

Sting hadn't really thought much of it before... but all the sudden with Minerva acting so weird...

Sting shoved that out of he forefront of his mind. He had more important things to think about.

I wonder who Yukino likes.

He glanced over at Yukino after about a minute of thinking it over.

Yukino was laughing at something that Minerva had said.

And Minerva was... well Minerva was just staring at her. It was kind of odd.

Sting, being about as dense as Natsu, took about three minutes of thinking and watching to figure it out.

When he did, he gasped and choked on air.

<><><>

Kagura looked at Erza with a blank stare.

Erza waited for a bit as Kagura accepted what she had been told.

"So... this is happening to me?"

It had been an easy conversation considering Erza had already kind of explained it to her and Millianna on the way here.

"Yes."

Kagura ran a hand through her perfectly straight hair... well, usually it was perfectly straight. Right now she looked more than a bit worried and her hair seemed to be feeding off that energy... or maybe it was because she seemed to mess with it when she was worried about something.

"Who's my Mate?"

Erza gave her look that said 'are you dumb?'

Kagura's eyes widened and she seemed to put the pieces together.

"No."

Erza nodded her head.

"No."

Erza raised an eyebrow.

"Please no."

Erza started laughing.

"This isn't funny!" Kagura hissed.

"I'm sorry... but it kind of is." The redhead replied.

Kagura glared at her and she tried to stop laughing. She really did. But she just couldn't. The whole situation was far too amusing.

"Shut up!" She hissed.

"Do you want my help or not?" Erza asked, raising an eyebrow.

Kagura blushed and looked down. "Yes please." She mumbled.

"That's what I thought." She responded.

"What do I do?" Kagura asked, for once sounding helpless and confused.

That was the weird thing about Kagura. She would be perfectly fine fighting round after round of enemies, but one mention of emotions and she was out for the count.

<><><>

Sting gaped as he looked at Minerva.

Minerva...

Minerva liked...

Minerva liked Yukino...

Minerva, the scariest person Sting could think of, had feelings for Yukino, the sweetest, kindest person ever.

Sting couldn't seem to wrap his mind around that fact.

So that's why he sat, staring at the woman.

Minerva, still preoccupied with Yukino, didn't look up until later.

When she did, she felt her face redden drastically.

She let out a hurried goodbye and rushed off, claiming she had somewhere to be.

Yukino frowned as she watched the other girl go and looked over at Sting.

"Sting, are you alright?!" She asked, sounding worried.

And she probably should be considering his jaw hung down impossibly far. She was worried it might actually be broken or dislocated.

Sting finally breaks from his stupor and looks at Yukino.

She doesn't know...

"Yup! I'm alright! I just... gotta go!" With those words, Sting ran off in search of his best friend, Rogue.

<><><>

Kagura looked over at Erza and the girl nodded at her encouragingly.

The Gravity Mage took a deep breath before speaking.

"Millianna, would you like to share a room with me?"

There were only three rooms for each guild (with the exception of Fairy Tail as they had double the participants).

Millianna looked over at her and suddenly grinned.

"Yes! I'd love to!"

Kagura didn't know how it happened, but suddenly Millianna had her arms wrapped around Kagura's shoulders and was hugging her tightly.

The black-haired Mage blushed deeply and looked down at the other girl, arms hanging uselessly at her sides.

Erza gave her a hand motion, clearly miming for her to hug the girl back.

Kagura tentatively wrapped her arms around Millianna, not used to such affection.

When Millianna pulled back, something that somehow lasted forever and yet not long enough, she gave Kagura a wide grin.

"This is going to be so much fun! We're going to talk, stay up late..." Millianna started giggling and was unable to finish her train of thought. It was something that made Kagura smile just slightly. It was adorable, after all.

Erza gave Kagura a smirk and she blushed again. She was glad that Millianna was too busy to notice the expression... but someone wasn't. Someone who wasn't Erza, that is.

<><><>

Sting grabbed onto his best friend's arm and tugged him backwards.

"Rogue! Rogue!"

Sting pulled him into a side room.

Sting explained the whole situation, but it was far too rushed and hurried for Rogue to understand what he was saying.

"Slow down!" Rogue protested loudly.

Sting took a deep breath before speaking again.

"Minerva likes Yukino!" He hissed loudly, making sure that nobody outside the room would be able to hear him.

"Of course she does. They're best friends."

That fact had surprised both boys when they had first heard it.

"No! She, like, like likes her." The blonde said, using the word 'like' far more than he should have in that sentence.

Rogue stared at him incredulously.

"Are you sure?" Rogue asked, tryin to sound calm. He was anything but.

Sting nodded and pulled the boy out of the room behind him.

When they got back to the lounge, Sting pointed at Minerva, who was currently watching Yukino from a few feet away, a confused expression on her face.

"Oh my gosh." That was all Rogue seemed physically capable of saying. But it summed up the situation quite well.

Minerva shook herself from the daze that looking at Yukino had induced. She glanced over and caught sight of the twin Dragon Slayers watching her.

She still didn't know why she was feeling like this all the sudden.

Was this part of being best friends with someone? She wasn't certain. It was unlike anything she had ever felt in her life.

Do those two know what's going on?

She shook her head. Of course they didn't. They weren't the brightest tools in the tool box.

She glanced to the other side and caught sight of Erza watching Lucy.

The look in the redhead's eyes seemed to match the one in Minerva's.

I'm sure she would know!

The two hadn't been close when they had first met, a bit of an understatement actually, but they had gotten on better footing after Minerva had stopped being... well, for lack of a better word, evil.

The pair had even gotten in touch with Lacromas and seemed to be friends now.

That's it. I'm going to ask her. Minerva thought before standing and making her way towards the requipper.

I'm sure she'll know exactly what's happening to me.

<><><>

Poor Erza. She was going to have yet another friend asking her how to deal with dreaded feelings.

Chapter Text

Erza looked up as she heard her name called.

There she saw a somewhat awkward Minerva standing.

"May I speak with you?" She asked.

Erza nodded and frowned as she stood. She had thought the two of them had gotten closer after their conversations on the Lacroma, but this seemed so formal.

Erza was led into an empty side room and felt slightly nervous.

"Erza, I need to talk to you about something."

"That was implied when you brought me to an empty room."

Minerva smiled just slightly at Erza's attempt to lighten the mood.

"I think there's something weird happening to me, and I saw you acting exactly like I was."

Erza raised an eyebrow at the sentence.

"And how would that be?" She asked.

Minerva took a deep breath and let it out before she spoke, it was as if she was gathering her courage.

"You keep staring at Lucy and being mindful of what she's doing. I keep finding myself looking at my best friend in such a way as well."

Erza's eyebrows shot up as she looked at Minerva in front of her.

"And who might this person be?" She asked, trying to sound casual as she did so.

"Yukino."

Erza tried to not grin or smirk, but it was truly difficult.

"So what do you think it means?" Minerva was surprised that Erza had said it.

"Well... I suppose it means that we are becoming better friends."

Now Erza was smiling, and broadly too.

"What?" Minerva asked, confused.

"Lucy and I are not friends."

Minerva looked confused.

Erza hadn't really expected her to understand.

"She's my girlfriend."

Minerva had the same expression for a moment before her eyes widened and her jaw dropped open.

"Wait..."

Erza nodded at her.

"So, do you like Yukino?" Erza asked with a fake casualness.

Minerva was still staring at Erza.

"She's my friend..."

Erza continued to smile calmly at her.

"Friends don't watch each other like I watch Lucy, Minerva." She said.

Erza was right. The way the redhead watched the blonde was with a mixture of worry and love that friends didn't showcase upon looking at the other. They just didn't.

Minerva looked back at Erza, gaping.

"So, let me ask again. Do you, Minerva, like Yukino?"

Minerva was blushing deeply as she looked at Erza.

"You're dating Lucy?"

Most people would have thought it off topic, but Erza understood. She was worried that it was, for some reason, wrong for her to like Yukino.

"Yes."

Minerva looked a little worried still, but she nodded.

Erza pretended she didn't know what the girl was nodding about. It was easy to fake not understanding when you didn't understand most emotional things.

"Alright, alright! I might like Yukino..."

Erza raised an eyebrow.

"Alright!"

Minerva sat down on a chair that Erza hadn't even noticed a moment ago. She wondered if Minerva had even seen it or if she had been alright with just falling into the floor. It was a valid question.

"She's just so innocent and kind... and I'm the complete opposite of her. She'd never like me."

Erza refrained from mentioning Mating Season.

She was pretty sure that Minerva was Yukino's Mate (by pretty sure she meant 99%).

"Aren't you friends?" Erza asked, realizing that Minerva was spiraling.

Erza herself had never really spiraled upon finding out she was in love with Lucy. She'd realized it about three minutes before she had taken Lucy out of the guild and kissed her.

But she had heard a lot from Lucy about the 'spiraling', however. When Lucy had found out she liked Erza... well, let's just say that even the redhead had seen her acting weird... even if she really couldn't figure out why.

"Yeah..."

"Then I'm sure she likes you, even if it's not the way you like her..." Erza scrambles to find the advice she had somehow conjured up to give Kagura a little while ago.

"Maybe you should just be more... clear that you like her?"

Minerva shook her head.

"It doesn't have to be clear that you like her that way."

Erza really was out of her element here. Sure she was dating Lucy, but that didn't mean she knew how she'd done it.

"So... if you eventually want to date her..."

Minerva blushed.

"Then you have to get her to like you." Erza didn't mention that she was quite certain that Yukino already liked her. That's kind of how Mating Season worked, really... except for the one dense fool that didn't see it until about a week in (Erza).

Minerva had this helpless expression and Erza sighed.

First Kagura and now Minerva. Of course. What did she do to deserve this?

Oh. Right. She didn't have enough trouble with emotions the first Mating Season... at least that's what Lucy said all of the time.

Well, Lucy, looks like you're getting your wish... except I'm not dealing with my emotions.

Lucy was going to have a field day with this.

<><><>

Kagura knew this was a mistake.

She knew as soon as Millianna closed the door. She knew that this feeling she'd talked to Erza about was terrifying. She didn't know if she could handle it.

"Come on, Kagy!" Millianna grabbed onto Kagura's hand and pulled her over to the bedroom. They found two twin beds there and Millianna fell onto one bed.

Kagura, not expecting Millianna's actions, was pulled off her feet behind the feline-like woman.

Kagura made an uncharacteristic sound, almost a squeak, as she was pulled down.

Millianna giggled at the sound and rolled over to one side, the two of them were now lying on their sides and looking at each other.

Kagura realized that she could feel Millianna's breath mingling with hers in the space between them, their noses almost touching each other.

Kagura's face turned a bright red color, but Millianna didn't seem to notice as she started giggling.

"I'm so happy you wanted to share with me! I was starting to think you didn't like me!" Millianna grinned.

Kagura was surprised. Apparently Erza was right.

Millianna had thought that Kagura didn't like her... oh, how wrong she was.

<><><>

Minerva had just exited the room she had drug Erza into when suddenly two hands grabbed onto her arm and pulled her down the hall.

Minerva had the feeling that she should punch whoever it was, but she quieted her instincts as she saw a flash of blonde hair. Sting.

She was thrown into a seat and a door slammed closed behind them.

She glanced over her shoulder and caught sight of Rogue and Sting whispering back and forth.

"What's this about?" She asked, turning her seat around.

"Listen... we know you might not believe us... but..." Sting and Rogue looked at each other before simultaneously taking a deep breath and speaking.

"YoulikeYukino!" They said hurriedly before ducking and holding onto each other for protection.

Minerva stared at the two and raised an eyebrow.

"I believe I've already had my gaytervention (A/N: Gay intervention)."

They both exchanged another look before looking at her again.

"Wait... you know?!"

She nodded at the pair's question that they had asked in sync.

"Yes, I've already been slapped in the face with this fact." She said, trying not to sound bitter as she remembered her conversation with Erza.

"So... you're not going to kill us?" Sting asked. He was acting as Rogue and himself weren't talented and powerful Dragon Slayers... but they did still pale in comparison to the black-haired Mage in front of them.

"No." She said.

The pair let out a simultaneous sigh of relief.

"But if you say a word to Yukino." She didn't have to say anymore. They knew exactly what she was saying.

"Yes, M'Lady." They said together.

"Good." She nodded and left the room, leaving the two boys to count their blessings.

<><><>

Millianna suddenly jumped up.

She and Millianna had been just lying there for... jeez, Kagura didn't know how long it had been. It had been a second and yet an eternity.

I hate feelings. She thought bitterly.

Millianna ruffled through her bag before finally pulling something up and grinning.

Kagura saw it was a small box with wrapping paper all around it.

"What's that?" Kagura asked, sitting up and trying to gain an air of control over their situation. She had kind of frozen when she and Millianna had both landed on the bed due to the other girl's excitement.

"It's a gift! Open it!" Millianna was grinning a bit foolishly and Kagura had to tear her eyes away from the enthusiastic girl.

Millianna shoves the present into Kagura's hands and she barely held it steady.

"And what is the occasion?" Kagura asked, raising an eyebrow.

Millianna paused for a second before grinning again.

"The Grand Magic Games, Silly! Have to make sure our best member is in tip-top shape for the Games!"

Kagura tried to ignore the bit of disappointment she got at the words.

"Open it! Open it!" Millianna chanted happily.

Kagura did as she was told and was met by...

"A sword sheath?" She asked.

She must have sounded disappointed, or more likely monotone, because Millianna pouted.

"Yeah... I thought you'd like it!"

"I've had the same one since I was a kid," Kagura said.

"Yeah... so it's old! And I know for a fact you had trouble getting the sword out once! So, I was trying to find you a gift and I realized something."

Kagura raised a solitary eyebrow, enough to prompt her to continue.

"I wanted you to think of me every time you saw it!"

Kagura blushed just a bit.

"So I wanted to get you something you used everyday! And poof! Sword sheath!" She made an adorable little gesture with her hands at the word 'poof'.

Kagura looked down at it.

Yes, she'd definitely think of Millianna every time she looked at it alright.

It was a bright white color with a small cat on one side and the word 'meow' on the other.

She must have had it specially made because Kagura couldn't think of any self respecting sword shop holding one of these on their walls.

It was conspicuous and easy to spot.

It wasn't her style.

It made her seem silly (something she wasn't).

All that said... she absolutely loved it.

Kagura gave Millianna a smile and unhooked her current sword sheath, replacing it with the new one.

Millianna let out a squeal and wrapped her arms around the Gravity Mage.

"I'm so glad you like it!"

Kagura didn't even need to say she did. If Kagura didn't like it she wouldn't have accepted.

Kagura put her sword into the new cat sheath and Millianna grinned broader, something that probably shouldn't have been possible.

Kagura couldn't help but imagine what Millianna had been thinking when she bought it. Probably 'Oh my gosh! It's so cute! Kagura's going to love it!'

Kagura smiled down at the other girl fondly.

Millianna looked back up at her and Kagura felt her breath catch.

There seemed to be 'a moment' as she had heard many people refer to over the years.

Before Kagura could properly enjoy it, there was a knock on the door.

Millianna let out a cat-like sound of surprise and Kagura was ashamed to admit that she herself jumped at the sudden noise.

"Kagura! Millianna! The guilds are having a party! Come join us!" Beth called.

Millianna grinned and bounced off the bed.

"Come on, Kagy!" She called happily, running out of the room.

Kagura followed after her, though her pace was much slower than Millianna's own.

"Kagura, is that a new sword sheath?" Beth asked, eyeing the pair.

Kagura nodded, trying to keep a straight face as she looked around. Everyone seemed to be looking at her gift.

Kagura kept her 'poker-face' as some would call it, in place despite the staring.

"Yes. It is a new sheath. Is there a problem?"

Many would not have thought it possible for the sheath to look menacing. Those many were proved wrong by Kagura.

Nobody would insult Millianna's gift.

Kagura wouldn't let anyone insult Millianna herself.

She sighed silently.

Man was she in deep.

Chapter Text

Kagura glanced over at Millianna and saw the girl was laughing and talking with a few guild members.

"That's an interesting sword sheath."

Kagura jumped as she heard a familiar redhead.

She turned around and caught sight of Erza sitting there, watching her with a smirk.

Kagura glanced down and looked at the sheath.

"I assume you didn't buy that yourself." She said.

"You would be correct." She responded stiffly.

"Then it was a gift?" Erza said it like a question, but it was truly a statement.

Kagura nodded anyways.

"I wonder who would buy you a cat sheath." She said with a smirk.

Kagura thought for a moment that Erza wasn't joking, but she finally realized that she was. Sarcasm.

Kagura looked away and Erza laughed, noticing the light blush that coated her features.

"Are you ready for the Games tomorrow?" Erza asked.

Kagura had almost forgotten about that... guess that was a sign as to how distracted she was.

"Of course. Are you?"

Kagura secretly hoped the two of them would go head to head again. She thought she'd be able to defeat Erza this time... maybe.

Millianna bounded over to Kagura and Erza, flopping onto the counter happily.

"Tomorrow's going to be so much fun!" She said excitedly.

Erza gave Millianna a fond smile.

"I'm sure you and Kagura will do well. I love the sheath."

Kagura blushed and Millianna giggled.

"It's so cute! I knew Kagura would love it!"

Erza raised a bemused eyebrow at the words.

<><><>

Minerva purposefully kept her gaze away from Yukino.

And for that reason she didn't notice Yukibo sit down at the bar beside until she spoke up.

"You alright, Minerva? You've been acting off for a little while."

The black-haired Mage jumped and looked over at the Celestial one.

"I'm good."

The two got into the normal pattern of their conversations.

Even Minerva seemed to relax after a moment or so. It was nice to know she could still communicate with the white-haired Celestial Mage despite... feelings. She shivered.

<><><>

The guilds called it quits early so that they wouldn't be tired the next day... however, Mirajane had to drag Cana away from the bar with a disappointed sigh.

Wendy opened her door and Chelia rushed past, falling onto the first twin bed.

"WenWen! Come feel how soft it is!" She said, accompanying the words with a giggle.

Wendy couldn't deny her girlfriend when she looked so adorable.

Wendy sat down on the bed.

"It is quite s-AH!"

Before Wendy was able to finish her sentence, Chelia grabbed onto her and pulled her backwards.

Wendy struggled to sit up while Chelia purposefully pulled her backwards, keeping her lying there beside her.

"Chelly!" Wendy whined as Chelia pulled her backwards into her lap, stroking her blue hair.

Wendy tried to sit up, but somehow Chelia wrapped her legs around Wendy's waist, holding her down as she continued to pet her girlfriend.

Wendy tried to wiggle out of the grip, but it was to no avail.

Then the door opened and the familiar pad of footsteps made their way into the room.

Wendy blushed and once again squirmed in the God Slayer's grasp... yet again to no effect.

"Wendy, I-" Carla cut herself off as she saw the pair.

Chelia gave Carla a friendly smile and a wave.

Carla returned a level, distrusting look. The Exceed seemed to think that Chelia was the only one in the couple that did anything wrong... even though she always pointed out Wendy's flaws.

"Hi Carla!" The pink-haired girl said. Wendy just continued to silently blush and try to escape the death grip that Chelia had around her waist. It really shouldn't be physically possible... and yet somehow Chelia had found a way to do it. She was truly a Fairy Tail member after all.

Carla eyed the first bed before she looked at the second one.

"Don't worry, Carla! Wendy can keep this bed! We don't have to share!" Chelia looked completely innocent... but then she sneakily ducked her head down and hissed something into Wendy's ear.

"Sadly."

Wendy tried not to grin at the word, but it was difficult. Very difficult...

Carla raised an eyebrow as she caught sight of Wendy's expression.

"Good." The white-furred Exceed sniffed and Chelia just continued to smile at her.

"You're such a good liar," Wendy whispered in awe.

Chelia gave her a smug smirk. "I don't know what you're talking about." Wendy giggled at the joke before finally prying her way out of Chelia's grasp and running off to get ready for bed.

<><><>

Erza sighed as she sat down on her bed.

Lucy smirked and gave Erza a smug look.

"What's wrong, Erza?" She asked with fake concern.

The redhead sighed again and gave the blonde a venomous glare.

Had Lucy seen that exact same stare a year ago she would have turned tail and literally run from the redhead... but now the two were dating and she wasn't worried about her girlfriend actually murdering her.

"It's not just Kagura."

Lucy's eyebrow raised in confusion as well as interest.

"What do you mean, Sweetie?" She asked.

She'd taken to calling Erza any nicknames she could think of that made her sound 'soft' as Lucy had said. Some of her favorites were 'Sweetie, Sweets, Baby, Love, Honey, Erzy Bear' and so on.

"Minerva's having trouble too." She sighed and ran a hand through her long red hair.

"What do you mean?" Lucy had that insufferably smug smirk on her face.

"Minerva li-" she froze, making sure she didn't reveal Minerva's secret. She had promised, after all.

"Who?" Lucy prompted.

"I said I wouldn't tell anyone." She said, emphasizing the final word.

Lucy gave her a puppy-dog look.

"Please!" She whined.

Erza couldn't deny those cute little eyes.

"Fine! She likes Yukino... but don't tell anyone." She said.

Lucy suddenly smirked before giggling.

"They're going to be so cute!" Lucy said, grinning at her girlfriend happily.

Erza laughed at the words, her girlfriend had already started to ship them. She was almost as bad as Mirajane... almost. Not quite.

<><><>

Cana looked over at her wife and caught the woman deep in thought, looking as if she was trying to form a plan.

"What's got you all confused?" Cana asked, crawling onto the bed beside her Mate.

"I'm just thinking." She said vaguely in her high-pitched, happy voice.

Cana raised an eyebrow and she practically fell onto the bed beside her wife.

"About what?" She asked.

"Mating Season."

Cana's eyes widened and her eyebrows rose in surprise.

"What makes you think of that?" She asked, sitting down and running a hand through Mirajane's hair.

"Because I think it's happening again... this time to someone else." She said.

Cana froze for a moment, hand halfway down Mirajane's hair.

"Who?" She asked as calmly as she could. She had loved the outcome of Mating Season... but the journey had been somewhat... bleh.

"Yukino, Sting, Rogue, and Kagura." She said it as if it was no big deal. As if everyone should know this fact.

Cana was floored.

Sure, Yukino, Rogue, and Sting made sense... but Kagura?! Kagura! How did she play into all this?!

"Umm... alright."

Mirajane nodded.

Cana continued to stroke her wife's hair lovingly. She knew better than to question her when it came to 'shipping'. Mirajane was right... just like she was about everything... not that Cana really believed that. It's just something you pretend to believe when you're married.

"Alright, Mir."

<><><>

"Freed, are you alright?" Laxus asked.

The green-haired Mage looked over at him and started to worry.

"What if I'm not good enough? There's a reason I wasn't picked last year!" Freed started to go off on one of his worried rants, but Laxus stopped him.

"Freed, last year isn't what matters. That's in the past. What matters is that you were picked this year."

Freed looked over at him.

"You're right."

Freed's raging heartbeat calmed and slowed.

"I know," Laxus said.

Freed rolled his eyes and pulled Laxus toward him so he could give him a quick hug.

He was much more affectionate than his boyfriend was, that's for sure.

Laxus pretended to tolerate the hug, but he truly enjoyed it.

He'd never really realized how nice physical affection could be until he had started dating Freed.

<><><>

Natsu grinned as he looked over at his Mate.

Gray was currently out cold.

Natsu snuck up to the bed with an evil grin look on his face.

Natsu suddenly jumped on top of the other Mage.

Gray let out an uncharacteristically high pitched shriek as he awoke.

Natsu laughed hysterically as Gray fell of the bed and onto the ground from shock.

"NATSU!" Gray shouted, but Natsu was already running off and slammed the bathroom door shut.

"I'm taking a shower, Gray! Don't come in!" Natsu shouted.

Gray let out a growl from the words.

"I'LL GET YOU BACK LATER!" He bellowed through the door.

<><><>

Levy let out a sigh as she looked into her bag.

She'd only brought ten books!

Ten books!

That's it!

What had she been thinking?!

Had she been thinking?!

No... she hadn't.

Levy remembered now.

She'd been speaking to Gajeel and the Iron Dragon Slayer had distracted her.

It was quite annoying.

The tallest Dragon Slayer seemed to be getting quite good at it.

"Levy, you don't need more than ten books for the Grand Magic Games. You're going to be very busy competing."

Levy let out a sigh and looked over at the man that had spoken.

"You're right... go figure."

Gajeel gave her a playful glare at the words and Levy just met it with a grin.

Panther Lily let out a sigh and muttered something about wishing he'd taken up Happy's offer to stay in Natsu and Gray's room with him.

The blue Exceed had been saying something about not wanting to be left alone with the 'love birds' for a night. Perhaps Panther Lily could save him the next night...

Panther Lily glanced at Levy and Gajeel, finding the pair kissing.

The black-furred Exceed looked away quickly.

Yes, yes he could fathom why Happy wouldn't want to be left alone with Natsu and Gray.

<><><>

The next morning came bright and early.

Chelia rolled out of bed and sighed, looking over at Wendy in her bed across from her.

The blue-haired girl was sleeping peacefully, breath coming in and out regularly.

She was super cute.

Chelia hates that she'd probably have to wake the girl up.

Chelia couldn't wait to fight with Wendy. She'd been looking forward to that for as long as she could remember.

It was going to be so much better than fighting against her.

<><><>

Kagura awoke to find an excited Millianna bouncing around the room.

"Wake up, Kagy! Today's going to be so much fun! We're going to start the Games and were totally going to kick some butt!"

Millianna did some weird hand motions that Kagura could only assume were supposed to symbolize fighting.

Kagura rose from her bed with as much dignity as she could muster while trying not to laugh at Millianna's shenanigans.

It all seemed back to normal, how it had been only a little while ago.

And for a glorious moment Kagura thought it might actually be.

And then Millianna squealed and gave her an excited hug.

The fluttering that went through Kagura's stomach was definitely not the norm.

She let out a small sigh that Millianna didn't notice at the thought.

Of course nothing would ever go back to 'normal' ever again.

That was because she, Kagura, was in love with her best friend.

It was insane.

Yesterday she wouldn't have even called Millianna her best friend... and yet here she was.

Life worked in mysterious ways, she guessed.

Mysterious, annoying, and frustrating ways.

Chapter Text

Today was the first day of the Grand Magic Games and nobody could be more excited.

Chelia grabbed onto Wendy's hand and squealed.

"Maybe I should do the first challenge! Oooh! Maybe it's something fun!" Chelia giggled excitedly.

Wendy glanced at the arena with worry. It wasn't set up yet, but she was still did not want Chelia to go.

"Maybe you should let someone else go first... you know, save your energy." She said, giving Chelia a smile that she tried to make look innocent.

Chelia clearly saw right through it and looked into Wendy's eyes.

"Aww! Someone's worried about me!" She gave Wendy a charming smile.

Wendy tried to find a way to deny it, but she knew that Chelia would see through it yet again.

"Well... you are my Mate!" Wendy felt like she was defending herself... even though she had the right to be worried.

"I love you! I don't want to watch you get hurt!" Wendy continued to defend.

"Oh alright. But you can't stop me from going tomorrow!" Wendy let out a relieved breath.

Chelia pulled Wendy closer by their conjoined hands and set her head on the blue-haired girl's shoulder.

"It's nice to see you all protective." She whispered.

Wendy blushed a bit and scratched the back of her neck.

Wendy knew just how much Chelia liked seeing her get all possessive.

<><><>

"From Fairy Tail A, Natsu Dragneel!"

"From Fairy Tail B, Gajeel Redfox!"

"From Sabertooth, Sting Eucliff!"

"From Mermaid Heel, Beth!"

"From Blue Pegasus, Ren!"

"From Lamia Scale, Toby!"

<><><>

Natsu did a weird wave as he walked past Gray, blowing a kiss while also somehow flipping him off at the same time.

Nothing showcased their relationship better than that.

"Hey, Gaj!" Natsu greeted as the Iron Dragon Slayer made his way onto the field beside the Fire one.

"Hey, Firebreath." Natsu growled at the words and made his way to the barren arena.

Wonder what this challenge was going to be.

<><><>

"And now for today's challenge!" The announcer cried.

"Today's is one of..."

The entire stadium of people held their breath as he took his time, drawing out the suspense.

"Patience."

"That's it. We're doomed." Both Erza and Mirajane spoke the same words at the same time, looking at their different representatives.

Minerva just let out a sigh and shook her head.

Yukino put a consoling hand on Minerva's shoulder and she tensed for a moment before relaxing under the hand.

"Each participant will be placed in a separate, soundproof room and made to wait. As soon as they give up, they are let free and allowed to fight in the arena. The final member still in the room will have the greatest chance of winning the challenge. No attack is to be made on any still within their waiting rooms. Doing so will result in an automatic elimination." The announcer explained.

It made sense.

If someone were to be the first to give up, they'd have to fight every single person afterwards.

It was a game of wills.

Erza wished she had gone first. She would have been so much better than Natsu. The man's powers matched his fiery temper.

"You were right, WenWen," Chelia whispered, giving her girlfriend a grin. Wendy met the expression.

"They always give the one about patience to the first competitors. It's kind of ironic. If they were more patient they could do better, but they might not compete."

Chelia shook her head at Wendy's words.

<><><>

Natsu looked around the plain white walled room and tapped his foot impatiently.

There were only two things in the room with him. A clock on one wall and a chair in the center of it.

It was about five paces by five paces in length.

Natsu sat down on the chair and looked at the clock.

It wasn't an analogue, nor a digital one. It counted up and had started the moment he had walked into the room.

Two minutes.

Two minutes of pure, unbridled torture if you asked Natsu.

What kind of game was this?! He wasn't even fighting! He was just sitting there! Doing nothing!

<><><>

Gajeel bounced his leg.

He wondered if Natsu had already given up.

Probably.

He couldn't hear anything outside of the room, but he could still swear he heard fighting.

He glanced at the count-up timer.

Five minutes.

Five terrible, excruciating minutes of nothing.

<><><>

Sting wished he'd let Rogue go first.

Rogue was always so good at being patient. Always had been.

Sting wished he could be more like Rogue sometimes.

It made him sigh as he looked over at the timer on the wall in front of him.

Seven. Minutes.

Seven. Horrible. Minutes.

Sting watched as the seconds ticked by.

It was the only sound in the room.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

It was the worst sound he could imagine.

Sting wished nothing more than to throw the clock off the wall.

He didn't.

Instead he imagined what Rogue would do.

He'd sit here calmly and quietly, waiting without a single change in his expression.

Rogue was just like that.

Sting found himself smiling as he imagined Rogue watching him right now. He was probably thinking just how horribly Sting was going to mess up. And he was probably right.

Sting shook his head just slightly to clear his thoughts and glanced at the clock.

Now that was odd.

All of the sudden it was twelve minutes.

Sting had just distracted himself for... Sting did the math in his head with a bit of difficulty... five minutes by just thinking about Rogue.

Sting suddenly found himself smirking.

So that was the trick.

Well, he had more than enough good memories of Rogue to distract him.

<><><>

Natsu was, not surprisingly, the first to fold.

"I GIVE UP!" He shouted.

Natsu had been pacing the room since the clock had hit five minutes.

He'd lasted until the fifteen minute mark.

The walls around him receded into the ground and Natsu stepped out.

He let out a hissed breath as he saw none of the others had given up.

That meant he was the first one.

And that meant... that he had to wait a little more.

He had to wait until someone else cracked.

But he could count on Gajeel and Sting.

They were sure to give up sometime soon.

<><><>

Sting smiled as he recounted his first meeting with Rogue.

The boy had been incredibly protective of Frosch.

Sting couldn't think of anything more Rogue-like than that.

There was a small, incredibly muffled smash from outside.

"Hmm." Sting guessed that Natsu and Gajeel must be fighting.

He wanted to join... but he remembered what Rogue would do in this situation. He'd wait.

Of course he would.

Sting forced himself to think about more Rogue memories...

The thing is, it really wasn't so much of him 'forcing' himself, however.

<><><>

"What's Sting smiling at?" Rogue asked nobody in particular.

"I don't know. I'm just surprised that he hasn't joined in on the fighting yet," Minerva said.

Yukino nodded in agreement. "That is pretty shocking." She said.

<><><>

Natsu was already fighting, but he was surprised to find it wasn't Gajeel he was facing.

It was the boy from Blue Pegasus...

What was his name again?

Ren? Yeah, that sounded right.

First he had taken out Tony (easy considering the only thing he had to do was trick him into using his poison against himself) and now Ren.

Natsu made quick work of him, leaving the man on the ground until Grand Magic Games workers ran over to haul the unconscious man back to the team and worried wife (who just so happened to be Chelia's cousin).

Natsu waited impatiently for a the next person to give up.

Dang Gajeel had probably learned from his girlfriend. Bet she's the queen of patience. Bet she's even reading right now.

Another set of walls disappeared and Natsu got ready to fight.

But it wasn't Gajeel's... and the person disappeared underground.

It was Beth. The one from Mermaid Heel.

Now why was she going underground?!

<><><>

Gajeel's leg continued to bounce up and down as he looked at the time.

Half an hour.

That's it.

It felt like an eternity had passed.

He didn't know how Levy could sit alone for hours just reading.

It sounded like purgatory if you asked him.

<><><>

Natsu finally beat the weird farm girl and grinned.

The girl hadn't been too strong, but she'd gotten a few good hits in by appearing out of nowhere and hitting him...

Well, Natsu thought he had gotten her.

He hadn't actually seen her fall unconscious... but Natsu wasn't one for details.

If the girl wasn't fighting and hadn't been for five minutes then she had to be unconscious.

The next wall disappeared and Gajeel leaped towards him.

Natsu rolled to the side to avoid the attack.

As soon as Gajeel landed, Beth shot out of the ground with her weird carrot powers and smashed him to the side with her full strength, making Natsu laugh far too loudly.

<><><>

Millianna, who had grabbed onto Kagura's arm as soon as Beth had appeared, let out a loud cheer and jumped up and down in excitement.

"She did it! She did it! Look, Kagy!"

The black-haired Gravity Mage tore her eyes away from Millianna to watch.

Did the feline-liked woman not know how distracting she was?

Geez, she made Kagura feel all loopy when she held onto her arm like that.

Millianna squeezed her arm tighter as Beth was almost hit and Kagura found herself smiling ever so slightly.

It was getting very difficult to watch the Game.

<><><>

Natsu and Gajeel had, accidentally, ended up barely fighting each other.

They were both just trying to not get surprised by Beth who kept just appearing out of nowhere.

And, to the entire stadium's surprise, Sting still had yet to appear.

<><><>

Sting glanced up.

Forty-five minutes.

Sting hadn't even gotten out of his chair.

<><><>

"What's Sting doing?" Rogue asked, seeing the small smile on his best friend's face.

Minerva and Yukino both shrugged and looked down at the battlefield.

Rogue didn't care about the fight. His eyes were glued to the Lacroma that was showing Sting in his waiting room.

<><><>

I've never realized how awesome his little half smile is. I always like it when he does that. I wonder if he's doing it now because I've been waiting so long.

He glanced at the clock.

One hour.

No... he's probably got his little confused face, wondering if I'm alright because I'm being so calm for once.

Sting heard another faint explosion and shook his head.

It really wasn't that difficult to wait.

You just had to think of something you enjoyed.

For Sting, Rogue was enough.

He thought for a moment that it might seem a bit weird... but he thought it was oddly sweet. It was like Rogue had been unwittingly preparing him for this competition the whole time they'd known each other.

I wonder it Rogue does something like this... I hope he'd think of me.

<><><>

Beth had finally been knocked out of the competition, lasting a very impressive amount of time against the two Fairy Tail Dragon Slayers, and the two were battling ferociously.

Had the pair still been in their waiting rooms, they would have seen it had been seventy-five minutes.

•••

It was now at the ninety minute mark.

Gajeel and Natsu were both panting from exhaustion.

Natsu was the first to stumble.

Gajeel followed soon after.

Both of them were out soon.

<><><>

The audience watched in stunned silence as they realized the final person was still sitting in their waiting room.

There was no sign of Sting knowing what was happening. He just sat there with the same small smile.

Rogue wondered what he was smiling about.

The walls slowly lowered around Sting and he jumped to his feet, preparing to fight with anyone who still might be in the competition.

"What?" Sting asked as he saw nobody else around.

A loud cheer rang out from the Sabertooth members and its fans as Sting looked around with confusion.

Sting suddenly started to understand what had happened as he watched Natsu and Gajeel being dragged off the battlefield a bit harshly.

Did I win?!

But all Sting could think about was Rogue.

That was weird.

Chapter Text

"I won?!" Sting asked incredulously.

Rogue, who had run to the competitor exit to congratulate him, nodded.

"I didn't think you'd have the patience to wait that long... what were you smiling about?" Rogue asked.

Sting suddenly found himself noticing the little movements Rogue made.

It was weird.

He had focused on all his memories when he was in the waiting room and now it seemed as if he knew him twice as well.

Sting felt himself blush a bit as he noticed just how intrigued Rogue was. He could tell by the subtle look in his eyes.

"Umm... just good memories."

Sting didn't know why he was so flustered. It was just Rogue... but all the sudden everything seemed different.

•••

Ever since Sting had been in the waiting room, he couldn't take his mind off of Rogue.

Everywhere he went, Rogue was on his mind.

It was kind of annoying and he didn't know what was wrong with him. Was it weird?

No. Of course not.

They were best friends after all. It wasn't weird for him to act like that.

<><><>

"C'MON MAN! IT WASN'T EVEN THAT LONG! YOU WERE THE FIRST ONE OUT!" Gray yelled at his boyfriend angrily.

Natsu fired back angrily.

"IT'S NOT MY FAULT IT WAS RIGGED!" He raged.

Wendy rolled her eyes and looked over at her girlfriend.

'You're welcome,' she mouthed.

Chelia mouthed a 'thank you' back to her.

Both girls started giggling soon after.

Natsu cast them both a glare before turning back to his boyfriend.

"Pfft." He said, rolling his eyes.

"Whatever. I got second."

<><><>

The fight of the day was Eve vs. Lyon.

Lyon took him out without problem, making Chelia smirk smugly at her cousin from a few yards away.

<><><>

Kagura looked over to see Millianna excitedly congratulating Beth, giving her a very enthusiastic hug.

"You did great, Beth! You got third place! And you had such a great plan!" Millianna grinned and Beth was soon smiling back at her.

Millianna's smiles were the definition of contagious. So much so that even Kagura reacted.

"What did you think, Kagy?" Millianna asked, giving her a look that said 'be nice'.

"You did very well, Beth." She said truthfully.

Kagura opened her mouth to continue, to likely say what the country girl could have done better, but Millianna shook her head slightly and mouthed 'no'.

Kagura closed her mouth and Millianna cast her a bright grin.

Kagura couldn't help but smile just slightly, just a tug of the lips upwards.

If Millianna hadn't known Kagura so well, she would have assumed that she was upset.

But she could tell.

She could almost always tell what Kagura was feeling.

She had a great poker face... that is if you didn't know her.

But Millianna did.

She could tell by the slight changing in her eyes, the small hand movements.

A hand twitch (of course just slightly) towards the sword in its sheath and she was angry.

An eye twitch meant annoyance.

A small twitch of the lips, joy or excitement.

There was more, but it was a tad bit more complicated.

(Except for embarrassment. Kagura was always very clear when she was feeling that particular emotion.)

Millianna suddenly gave Kagura a smug smirk that the Gravity Mage didn't understand.

Her eyebrow twitched and raised as her eyes turned slightly questioning.

Confusion.

I can read you like a book, Kagy Kag... I just need to figure out what's got you all confused and embarrassed lately...

But I will.

And soon.

Mark my words, Kagura...

Or, well, mark my words, me considering I'm thinking to myself...

Maybe I should stop looking so smug. I probably look suspicious.

Good idea, me. Let's do that.

<><><>

Sting glanced over at Rogue and found himself feeling all... weird.

He didn't know what was going on with him.

Ever since the competition...

Sting shook his head and forced himself to look over at Yukino and Minerva.

Yukino was telling some story that Sting couldn't hear before giggling and looking over at Minerva.

The usually icy-cold Mage has to fight to keep from gaining a fiery blush.

Sting couldn't help but chuckle at the two.

Did Yukino not even realize what she was doing to Minerva? That seemed highly unfair...

And yet so funny and amazing to watch.

Sting glanced over and saw Rogue looking back at him, motioning with his head towards the pair.

"She's in way over her head," Rogue whispered to Sting.

Sting didn't know why his heart started beating so quickly at the close proximity.

Sting forced himself to nod in response.

"Yeah. She's having more than a bit of trouble right now." He responded.

Silence soon enveloped the two.

Normally Sting would have found it a comfortable one that was found among life-long friends, but now he found it awkward and stifling.

Perhaps it was due to the weird feelings he had suddenly found himself feeling.

Sting searched hurriedly for a topic of conversation.

"Maybe we should help her." He suggested finally.

Rogue looked over at him and raised an eyebrow.

"M'Lady is great at fighting and cooking... but emotions? Didn't she spend her whole childhood being told that emotions were weakness?" Sting asked, using a surprising burst of intelligence.

Rogue blinked and nodded.

"You're right." He said, looking surprised.

Sting rolled his eyes.

"Of course I'm right! I can be smart sometimes!" He protested.

Rogue held his hands up defensively.

"Never said you couldn't." He said, but the look in his eyes said otherwise.

Sting rolled his eyes yet again.

<><><>

Natsu and Gray were still bickering two hours later and the others were tired of it.

Lucy gave Erza a look and the redhead nodded.

Erza reached across the table and grabbed onto the pair's heads with her gauntleted hands, slamming their craniums together.

The pair slumped down unconsciously, falling against each other.

"Thanks, Erza." The God Slayer said from other side of the table.

Wendy gave Gray and Natsu a sympathetic look before turning back to the rest of the Fairy Tail members gathered there.

"I can't believe you tied with Natsu." This time it was Levy that spoke and the Iron Dragon Slayer rolled his eyes.

"You'll have to do better in the fights," Cana taunted him.

Gajeel let out a huff of annoyance at the words.

<><><>

The second day of the competition came to a start and everyone gathered in the stadium to watch.

"Can I go today, WenWen?" Chelia pleaded, looking over at her girlfriend.

Wendy looked over at her.

"Chelly, I'm not stopping you. If you want to go, go." She said, flashing her girlfriend a smile.

"Alright! Then I want to go today!" She said, making sure to be loud enough to be heard by the rest of Fairy Tail Team A.

Natsu grumbled something under his breath and rolled his eyes about his test the day before.

Gray smacked him in the back of the head and Natsu scowled at his boyfriend.

"You're going to do so great, Chelly!" The Sky Dragon Slayer said, hugging her for luck.

Carla cleared her thoat aggressively and Wendy backed up, blushing.

"Today's competitors will be..." The announcer drug the words out for dramatic effect.

"From Fairy Tail A, Chelia Blendy!"

The God Slayer copied the words she had said last year.

"Can you feel the love?!" But this time when she said it she looked over at Wendy and winked, making her blush.

"From Fairy Tail B, Cana Alberona!"

Mirajane looked over and grinned at her.

"See you later, Mir!" She said with a wave towards her.

"From Sabertooth, Yukino Agria!"

Minerva looked at her, feeling slightly worried.

Yukino gave her a wide grin and Minerva tried to meet it with a smile of her own to hide the worry.

She thought she did an alright job.

"From Blue Pegasus, Sherry Akatsuki!"

Chelia rolled her eyes at her cousin.

Sherry had giggled as her new last name had been called and Chelia had found it slightly corny...

It was about that time that she realized she was still being a hopeless romantic and holding Wendy's hand.

She let out a sigh at the thought.

"From Mermaid Heel, Millianna Kitty!"

Kagura glanced at Millianna and saw she was already looking back at her.

"Good luck." The Gravity Mage said calmly.

"Thanks!" She said, preparing to skip out onto the arena.

"From Lamia Scale, Yuka Suzuki!"

•••

"Today's competition will have a twist."

All the competitors looked over at the announcer.

"Not only will those who have volunteered for today's competition be playing..."

"But those they care about most."

All of their eyes widened and they looked around.

<><><>

Wendy let out a shriek as something grabbed onto her and she was pulled out of the stands.

Five other similar sounds came as the others were taken from their places in the stands as well. One for each of the other guilds and the members that had decided to compete.

The blue-haired girl reappeared in... well, she wasn't sure where exactly she was.

There was darkness surrounding her for a moment before it cleared and is became blindingly bright a moment later, but only due to the comparison of absolute darkness.

She caught sight of several other people surrounding her.

There was Toby, who she assumed was for Yuka, to the side and squished up against a glass wall.

Another she saw was Ren, of course here for Sherry. He was looking slightly dazed, sprawled across the ground gracelessly. She understood the feeling.

Mirajane was beside Ren. She was sitting upright with a shocking amount of calmness as she did so. It was as if she hadn't just been stolen from her seat and shoved into a glass room.

Next, she caught sight of Minerva. She was looking around with keen eyes, trying to figure out what was happening.

Finally, she caught sight of Kagura. The Gravity Mage was on her feet, sword pulled from its sheath. Wait, is that a pink cat? Wendy thought with confusion.

Then Kagura slammed the sword against the glass wall, making the whole room vibrate from the impact.

Wendy wondered for a moment why she didn't use her powers.

That moment was short lived as she realized her powers were being blocked inside the room.

Kagura started to prowl to the side, but suddenly she bumped into something.

That something was a wall.

A wall that Kagura followed until she had made a square back to the beginning point.

Wendy realized that it wasn't one large room, but instead six small ones. One for each of them.

While many of them started to try to escape (those many being Minerva, Kagura, and Toby), Wendy tried to figure out what was happening and formulate a plan.

Mirajane just sat there as if she knew exactly what was happening.

Ren was still passed out.

Wendy assumed he had run full force into one of the almost invisible inner glass walls.

Wendy looked over to the outermost walls of her room. She was one of the four with a corner room.

The rooms were arranged so that there was no space in the middle, the rooms two by three on opposite walls.

Wendy suddenly caught sight of something.

A lock.

There wasn't actually only one, but really four.

She cocked her head to the side and examined it further.

She came to the conclusion that you'd need all four to get out (shocker, right?). But, of course, there were no keys in here.

So that meant that Chelia and the others had to find them.

Wendy looked out over the arena and saw the six of them were hovering thirty feet into the air...

And below them was a tower like structure.

The stairs that led to the top were too far apart for a person to jump without the use of magic.

Wendy frowned and looked out across the rest of the arena, finding that each of the six had been given a separate starting point.

As she realized this, the announcer started to speak.