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love ALWAYS wins

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When Jason had decided to bring a new intern with him to help produce content for the infamous Sorcerer Weekly, there was a distinct buzz within the Fairy Tail guild. They all enjoyed cultivating new talent and upcoming professionals, and if this went well they would no doubt be working with the new reporter for years to come; first impressions were important.

“Mirajane, could you answer some questions about your relationship with Erza?” The intern asked, and Mirajane felt her girlfriend stiffen by her side. Erza was a private person by nature, and they had both tried to keep their relationship as far from the masses as possible.

Even the demanding tone the young man used bristled the white-haired woman, and yet she forced her tight smile to remain in place.

“I’m afraid I don’t answer questions of that variety, but I can answer anything about guild life.”

He leaned in, across the bar, and was close enough to Mirajane’s face that she could count the hairs on the mole which protruded from his upper-lip.

“But you work for Sorcerer Weekly, that means you have to answer any question I put to you.” He smirked, and the smile dropped from Mirajane’s face.

She raised a brow at his boldness, but not in approval,

“I’m a Fairy Tail wizard before anything else, and I do not want my personal matters to be public knowledge.”

Erza hummed her agreement, but the intern sneered.

“Wizard? You’re nothing more than waiting staff here.”

Mirajane felt the demons rise within her, loud and chaotic and demanding to be felt, but before she could react Erza had clattered forward, standing, stool falling timidly at her feet as her clenched fist clutched the collar of the new reporter.

“You insolent little-”

“No, love.” Her hand closed around Erza’s wrist, pulling it from the boy, now gaping-mouthed and tearful, and cradled it in her own. “He isn’t worth your effort.”

They both watched as the intern scuttled away, an apology stammering from his lips, and then Erza sighed, resting her head on Mirajane’s shoulder.

“Sorry, I didn’t need to involve myself.” She murmured, and Mirajane kissed the crown of her scarlet head.

“It shows that you care; that you’re on my side.”

Erza’s head snapped up, and her brown eyes were wide with sincerity.

“Always, Mirajane. No matter what, I will always be on your side.”

She kissed Mirajane then, slowly, ignoring the guild around them and the reporters who stood close by; the former was used to their intimacy and the latter was too scared to comment. Mirajane smiled against Erza’s lips, bright and genuine, content in the knowledge that she always had the support of the woman she so dearly loved.

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Gray did not need to check the calendar, or confirm dates, to know what time of year it was; the answer was clear in Natsu’s speech, and how he held himself. The fire dimmed to a simmer, and then combusted into light, almost too powerful. An act, Gray had learned, to cover up the pain inside.

On the day itself, Natsu was almost unbearable to be around for Gray, as all the other man wanted to do was soothe and calm and protect, but there were restrictions within the guild, and Gray had never been one for public displays of affection. So he does all he can, he gets Natsu out on a job and tries to distract him with whatever he can.

When the day is almost over and they end up sitting in a secluded corner of Natsu’s favourite restaurant, and the nerves that his surprise may backfire horrible kick in. But when Natsu spots it and his eyes brighten, and then water, Gray knows that he made the right choice.

As the lava cake is placed between them, shaped as a real dragon, Gray place his hand over Natsu’s.

“I know it’s been eight years now since Igneel passed away, and I know that there is nothing I can do to help alleviate that pain, but Natsu I am always here for you.” Gray raises Natsu’s hand and chances a quick kiss to the scarred knuckles. “He would be so proud of you… I know that I am.”

It was rare for him to be open like this, but Natsu needed that and Gray understood; showing your own vulnerabilities was easier if the person you loved reciprocated. Natsu grinned a tearful smile, and then launched himself over the table and into Gray’s arms. They barely noticed the staring staff or the confused customers, instead shared food and exchanged laughs long into the night, until a new day broke and Natsu was himself once more.

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There was something between, something more than sweat and sex and swear words falling from swollen lips, and Anna craved it, craved the other woman’s body flush against hers. But more than that she wanted to get to know the other woman, for Eileen to trust her enough to open up; to be more than a drug-fuelled fuck. 

But when Eileen, naked and leaning over her, snapped a small white pill in half and pressed one part of it against her lips, Anna hesitated for only a moment before opening her mouth and allowing the powdery pill to slip inside. Eileen smiled at her, put the other half in her own mouth and then sealed their lips together. Anna swallowed her breath in a gasp, the pill going with it, and then she was flipped over onto her stomach as Eileen straddled the back of her legs, fingers exploring the hot skin she found there. 

All of her life Anna had been against drugs, but Eileen was like a ripple of moonlight across the tide, and any steps Anna could take to draw herself closer would be a small feat, insignificant to the intense longing her heart held. 

They stayed like that until the drug crept into Anna’s system, slow and heavy, drying out her mouth and sending her heart racing with need. She rolled them back over, attacked Eileen’s mouth and neck and breasts with bruising kisses until they were rutting against each other, desperate, and Anna understood why it was called ecstasy; her mind raced, fogged with how Eileen tasted and felt under her scolding touch. It was surreal, a pocket of time for them only, and Anna knew that, even when Eileen lit a cigarette and disappeared in the smoke, leaving Anna alone, these thoughts would fill her mind for ages to come.

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“Jafo? Jafo Lockser?”

Juvia turned to the voice, eyes wide, throat already closing up. She felt as though there was not enough air, or maybe too much, and she was drowning.

Still, Juvia forced a smile.

“Sorry. I think you have me confused with someone else.” She did not make eye contact with the young man, Jolas, who had lived near her as a child. He frowned at her, folding his arms and cocking his head.

“Guess so, Jafo wasn’t the type of guy to wear a dress.”

Juvia stiffened, prayed that the other members of her team were not listening to this conversation; Sol was the biggest worry, as he always seemed to find his way into private conversations. When an arm fell over her shoulder, Juvia looked up in shock.

“Sorry pal, this here is the rain woman , Juvia of Phantom Lord. See ya around.” Gajeel growled, pulling Juvia to walk alongside him. She was almost tearing up, her hands shaking until Gajeel placed his large fingers over hers.

“Sorry about that, Gajeel-kun.”

“Your secret is safe with me, Blue. I won’t say a word.” He grinned, laughed his special laugh, and then moved to shove Totomaru into an overgrown bush.

At that, Juvia’s heart raced. Gajeel was warm, and sturdy, and most of all he was reliable; safe.

And Juvia had fallen for him, like it was the only thing she could do. The only thing which made sense.

She wiped the moisture from her eyes and popped her umbrella out, shielding the blush spreading across her features as she watched Gajeel from behind.

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“Do you have a crush, Wendy-chan?” Chelia teased, and when Wendy’s face ignited with her embarrassment, covered with her pale fingers, and she nodded slowly, peaking at Chelia with wide eyes.

Chelia laughed, forced herself too, despite her skin feeling too hot, too tight over her organs; constricting. She did not understand these emotions, knew only the concept of ‘love’ fed to her by her cousin Sherry. But this was new and foreign and it hurt .

“Is it Romeo-kun?” Her eyes stung, but when Wendy’s eyes met hers there was something there that maybe wasn’t before, or had at least gone unnoticed until this moment.

“Yeah… Romeo-kun.” Wendy cleared her throat and turned away, and then Carla sighed, hopping between them and changing the topic, shifting the air into something more comfortable for them all.

Chelia reclined against the pillows, staring up at the ceiling and thinking how simple life would be if love was easy; if it was obvious and clean and known to her, like the breeze in the summer, or the taste of air cooling her throat… or Wendy’s warmth pressed solidly against hers.

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The curves of Erza’s body cast a shadow across Lucy’s face, and she thought that she would gladly live her life in darkness just for this. Just for another moment with Erza.

With tentative fingers, Lucy reached out and traced a scar which marred the soft skin of Erza’s thigh. She held her breath, calming her nerves before she spoke. Despite their intimacy, being vulnerable was difficult for both women, but Lucy knew that she had to try.

“Erza…” She began, swallowing the lump that had formed in her throat; fear and desire mixed dangerously together.

The red-head turned, humming her acknowledgement and meeting Lucy’s eyes.

“Are we… just friends?”

Lucy closed her eyes, let the words sit heavy and thick between them. She was almost ready to laugh it off, to run away and keep these feelings closed in her heart forever, but then warm hands were on her face, and lips pressed softly against hers.

“We can be whatever you want us to be.” Erza’s breath fanned over her face, and Lucy felt the tears on her cheek before she could stop them.

She kissed Erza again, knotting the scarlet strands in her hair and shuddering when Erza moaned into her open mouth. It was the opportunities in life you did not seize which you regretted the most, and loving Erza… Lucy knew that she would never be able to regret that.

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Juvia was sad. Not the tide of depression which sometimes swept her away, but a little puddle which stayed by her feet no matter where she was. She loved Lucy, loved her more than life itself, and it was scary. Of course she would die for the blonde, but more than that Juvia wanted to live for her. She had never experienced that type of encompassing love, but it warmed her.

And yet, it somehow wasn’t enough.

When her mind wandered, and she saw her future, it was not just Lucy who Juvia fantasised about; Cana was there too. Juvia knew that it was unreasonable, that she barely deserved Lucy, but her heart yearned for the love of two women, to feel both of their warmths and lips and touch.

“Is everything okay, Juvia?” Lucy’s smile broke her out of her musings, and that hurt most of all. She may love Lucy with her entire being but sometimes Lucy looked at her… and it took Juvia’s breath away.

She nodded slowly, kissed Lucy’s cheek, and stood up, ignoring Cana’s gaze from across the guild and hoping that her heart could ignore it as well.

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Since Lisanna died, the S Class floor was almost always empty. Mirajane no longer went on jobs, Erza was busy with her new team, and Gildarts had not been seen for years; it was a quiet place, almost peaceful in a way, separated from the noise and bustle of the guild. Mystogan enjoyed it this way, preferred it almost. It helped to keep his identity a secret, and conceal his moans when Laxus slid another slick finger inside of him.

Mystogan did not know when this began, their meetings on the S Class floor, and no matter how many times he scalded himself, knew how deeply he was risking his secret by being here, he always seemed to return, like a moth to a flame… or a fly to a spider’s web.

Maybe it was how warm Laxus’ breath was against his neck, or how wide his hands were as they cupped Mystogan’s balls and tugged. Mystogan was glad of the scarf which covered the majority of his features, because the alternative would be Laxus observing the flush of his skin, knowing how much pleasure Mystogan derrived from their time together.

“Laxus, must we do this here?” He panted, head thrown back and resting on the dip of Laxus’ muscular shoulder.

The blonde smiled at him, as sweet as poison,

“Are you inviting me back to your place?”

Mystogan felt his eyes widen, body stiffening up. That would be too risky, he had so many documents about the anima strewn haphazardly around. He loved Fairy Tail, but vowed to never get too close to anyone, lest they get hurt by his secrets; by his identity.

His panic must have been obvious, as Laxus leaned down and grazed his lips against Mystogan’s, removing his fingers and lining himself up behind the shorter man.

“Don’t worry, Blue. I’m not looking for anything serious enough for that.”

And that was a comfort, in a way. Mystogan could not afford anything serious, and although he enjoyed these encounters, he did not know how to love, or be vulnerable; he only knew how to lust, and to take. Hearing Laxus confirm his thoughts still hurt, though, but Mystogan was used to that.

Laxus thrust in hard, leaving no time to adjust and began to eagerly seek his release. Mystogan squeezed around Laxus’ member, shorter than his own but much thicker, and reached around to trail his nails down Laxus’ thigh, trying to find purchase there.

It felt dirty, doing this in the guild and then going about their day, but at the same time it felt good, good in a way that Mystogan did not know that he was capable of feeling. He had lost so much - his home, his friends, even his identity - that simply taking pleasure for himself was a novelty, and he would indulge himself as long as Laxus would allow. He even liked how rough Laxus was, holding his hips in place, using him for nothing other than his own desire; it was fitting, considering the older man knew nothing about him, and provided a thrill that Mystogan was ashamed to admit that he craved. He dug his nails in harder, thrusting back to meet Laxus’ hips as their skin impacted painfully together.

As the blonde grunted at the feeling, he leaned down and took Mystogan’s earlobe between his teeth.

“You feel so good… Jellal .”

The shock nearly had Mystogan on his knees, but before he could react he came, unready and untouched, just by hearing his name, his real name. He had no idea how Laxus had found that out, or why he chose to admit to it now, but Mystogan felt good. He felt seen.

Laxus continued thrusting, and Mystogan made himself as pliable as possible, would do anything Laxus needed, just to return the favour of the warmth which spread like a wildfire across his heart.

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There was something about Yukino which made Minerva surprised that she had chosen Sabertooth. Her nature was warm, and she was soft spoken; she did not fit in to the harsh guild which Sabertooth had been. Minerva had loved Yukino for that, for her differences, but she also knew that it was a love she did not deserve to feel; touching Yukino would surely sully her.

Maybe that was what attracted Minerva to Sorano. If Yukino was pure then her sister was the stark opposite. Sorano’s eyes were sparkling cyanide, her smile mischief incarnate. She held herself with the same grace as her younger sister, but Sorano’s was more regal; entitled. Minerva could relate to that more, could see herself in the quiet manipulation and sharp wit. But Sorano could be just as vulnerable as her sister, and that made Minerva want to protect her.

She loved Sorano for the opposite reasons which she loved Yukino, and maybe that made her a bad person, but Minerva had long since stopped caring about that, especially when her head was between Sorano’s thighs, fingers bruising the pale skin of her waist, holding her in place on the mattress.

Sorano had one hand knitted in Minerva’s hair, the other gripping the bars of the bed frame behind her. Moans tumbled, deliciously sweet, from Sorano’s lips, her eyes closed and head tipped back in silent prayer.

“I’ve never done anything like this with another woman before.” She panted, and Minerva’s lips circled her clit, tugged and rolled her tongue over the bundle until she thought that Sorano was at her limit, and then pulled back. Minerva trailed her fingers between Sorano’s slick brown folds and propped herself up on her elbows.

“Well, nobody said that you couldn’t explore.” Minerva sucked the juices from her fingers, maintaining eye-contact with Sorano until the other woman shuddered and looked away.

Minerva ducked back down, thrust her tongue inside of Sorano whilst her fingers abused the other woman’s flared clit. Everything from the slick, to the sweat, to the short bundle of wiry hairs, smelled so much of Sorano it was intoxicating, spurring Minerva to stay pressed against Sorano’s cunt until her throat was on fire and her brain hazy.

“Oh… shit.” Sorano hissed, and then her thighs began to convulse in wave after wave of spasms. Minerva glanced up, panting, and saw Sorano’s nipples, pert and round, face flushed and framed beautifully with a halo of silver hair. She was beautiful, like an angel fallen from grace, and Minerva to give her any slice of Heaven that she could.

“Good?” Minerva smirked, and the other woman hummed, nodding her head as a sleepy smile drifted across her face. Sorano was already relaxing, rolling on her side, and Minerva could not help but laugh; she never returned the favour, but that was okay. Nothing else mattered is Minerva was making her happy.

She crawled up next to Sorano, pulled the quilt over their bodies, and took one long inhale of silver hair. The scent was dimmer than before, but still incredible, and Minerva could think of nothing else she would prefer to drift off to than Sorano’s soft snores, and the smell of hair.

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It had been years since Laxus had drank in Fairy Tail. There were too many people being rowdy, wanting to talk to him or criticise how much he drank. Laxus would rather be alone with his liquor, thinking through the tangled mess which his life was slowly becoming.

Drinking at the guild had also proved impossible with the object of Laxus’ confusion always sat within reach.

He liked men, exclusively so, had realised it after dating Mirajane for a few months. But Mirajane had moved on and was dating the woman she loved; Laxus was alone with his aching heart and yearning for the man he wanted, but could not have.

Alcohol didn’t magically cure his depression, or make him any less gay, but pretending that it helped was better than letting his life sweep him away. Laxus hates feeling out of control and this… this was not something that he could change.

He downed his whiskey, gestured for the barman to pour him another, and hung his head, staring with we furrowed brow at each notch and scratch on the wooden surface below.

“I thought I might find you here.” Freed’s soft voice made Laxus jump, but he turned coolly to face his teammate, face void of all emotion less he reveal more than he intended to.

“So you’re a stalker now, Freed?” He muttered, and the other man laughed. Laxus had to look away, because heat was already rising in his cheeks.

“Hardly. I was simply checking on your wellbeing. It’s a little early in the day to be drinking hard liquor.” Freed plucked the glass from Laxus’ hand and sniffed the contents, wincing at the stench. Where their skin touched Freed’s warmth lingered. Laxus wanted to feel more of that heat, of Freed’s skin pressed against his. He cleared his throat.

“A man has the right to drink when he likes.” Laxus said, and Freed’s gaze softened, almost unbearably so. Laxus did not know that someone could be so harsh, and yet so tender. But that was just one of the many things he loved about Freed.

“Laxus… I know that Bickslow always jokes that we’re like an old married couple, and I know that we’re not together, but I will always care about you, and look after you. Please, let me help.”

Freed rested a hand on Laxus’ shoulder, and even the way he said ‘together’ sent Laxus’ heart thrumming erratically. Freed always spoke so clearly, so sincerely, and in comparison Laxus was clumsy, had no idea what to say or do to convey his feelings, so he did what he always did; he hid.

Shrugging off Freed’s touch, Laxus snatched his drink and downed it, slamming the glass on the table and standing in one swift motion.

“Why would a man want to date another man?” Laxus sneered.

He did not allow himself to linger on Freed’s hurt expression, or the way his hand hovered in the air, reaching.

“Where are you going?” There was a break in Freed’s voice, and it strained, trailing after Laxus in broken pieces.

Laxus’ step only faltered for a moment.

“None of your fucking business.”

He left Freed standing in the bar, watching him, and in that moment Laxus felt that the distance between them, although small, had never been wider.

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After years spent in hiding, never staying in the same place for long, Jellal was not used to the stares. It made his skin itch, and no matter what he did the sensation did not go away. But he accepted it, because it was what he deserved; the shame, and the discomfort. Although he had been pardoned, in the eyes of many Jellal was still a criminal. Even to himself, the change of pace was hard to bear.

But Gray took it in his stride, accepted Jellal into his life, into his home, as though it was the simplest thing in the world. He did not deserve to be condemned along with Jellal. Along with a sinner .

Jellal’s leg bounced anxiously, and he could not bring himself to look at Gray when he spoke.

“I think I should move out. I don’t belong here.” Although his heart was uncertain, his voice contained a cool clarity which even he winced at. Gray blinked at him slowly, and then before Jellal could react a fist connected painfully with his jaw.

It hurt of course, but nothing could be more painful than the watery complexion over Gray’s face.

“Why, Jellal? Why would you leave now, after everything I did to get us here?”

Jellal cupped his face, eyes wide, and felt his stomach turn to ice. It was true, the members of Fairy Tail, joined with Lamia Scale and Sabertooth, had begged the King to pardon Crime Sorciere, but Jellal had always assumed that it was Erza, his oldest friend, or Yukino, who wanted to see her sister again, which had spearheaded it.

“That was you?” He asked numbly, and Gray nodded once, arms crossed and jaw set.

That changed everything and nothing all at once. Gray was so selfless, putting his guild and his reputation on the line for Jellal’s salvation, and yet that just made the older man more determined to protect him from the opinions of others.

“Still, I can’t stay. People are talking, and it’s impacting your jobs; your guild. I cannot allow that.” Jellal stood shakily, tried to grab his coat from the arm of the chair but Gray moved quicker, twisting his hands in Jellal’s shirt and pulling him down to eye level with Gray.

“Do you think I give a damn about what people are saying?” Gray snarled. His expression was fearsome but his cheeks were pink. “I don’t know how I can make myself any clearer: I want to come home to you, Jellal. I want us to eat together, laugh together. And if it’s hard I want us to come through it together, dammit!”

Jellal knee how difficult it was for Gray to make himself vulnerable like this, and he felt the heat rising in his cheeks too; somewhere between joy and embarrassment.

“If you want to leave then I won’t stop you, but don’t you dare make this about me; if you go it’s for yourself and no one else.”

Gray let go of his shirt and Jellal stumbled back a step. They stared at each other, breathless and in a shocked silence which neither knew how to break. Instead of words, Jellal cupped Gray’s cheek, guided their lips together until Gray’s shoulders relaxed and they fell into each other’s arms.

Being wanted, and needed and loved were all new for Jellal, but the sincerity of Gray’s warmth and words had touched a part of Jellal’s heart which he had allowed to lay dormant, and he decided then that instead of running from Gray, he would run towards him. It did not matter what people said or did, Jellal would stay by Gray’s side and keep him safe, no matter what.

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Of all the ways that Jellal was planning to spend his evening, this was low on his assumptions, lower still on things he actually wanted to be doing. But Ultear had saved him from prison, helped him readjust to life outside; Jellal owed her everything he could. 

It was not the first time, and he doubted it would be the last. During the days at the council, there was hardly a room which Ultear and himself had not tainted with sin and sex. Their bodies knew each other, each sensation burning with familiarity and the desire of what they want but could never have. Only after creating Crime Sorciere did they begin to admit how they truly felt; Jellal had a preference for men, Ultear was almost exclusively interested in women. But in their guild it was difficult, the only member other them being Meredy. She was a lovely young woman, but Jellal had little interest in her curves, and Ultear thought of her as her own kin; there was only one option when the stress and frustration pushed through the bottleneck of their composure and exploded on the other side. 

But this was different. Jellal was not used to this .

He was on all fours, fingers curled into the soil below him, as Ultear slotted in from behind. Facing away from one another made it easier to ignore the inadequacy of the situation, but the slenderness of Ultear’s hands, and the pressure of her breasts pressed into Jellal’s back as she thrust into him from behind, kept him grounded in reality. The silicone toy Ultear had attached to her waist was aesthetically pleasing - pleasant, even - but Jellal craved more heat, and more thickness; he wanted something real and solid and something which was his. Not a borrowed toy, or kissed bruises up his spine from one of his dearest friends. 

No, this was not what Jellal wanted, not really. And when Ultear shuddered, convulsing against him, Jellal spat on the ground in front of him, disguising it with a moan. 

“Good?” Ultear panted, wiped Jellal’s fringe from his eyes and pulled the fake cock from his ass. 

“... Different.” He muttered, stood to gather his clothes without looking at the woman. 

She did not speak either, and when Jellal unzipped the tent and entered the cool night air, her quiet thanks fell onto the breeze, scattered with the leaves and Jellal’s hope to have a future which he could call his own.

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Loke knew better than most that he could never love Lucy. For one, he was certain that there were laws against that kind of relationship between spirit and master, and for another being owned , even only as a technicality, was not the strongest basis for a relationship. 

But there was also the fact that his heart, although as big and bright as the stars above, was still eclipsed by the pain of losing Karen. He could never love Lucy, did not have the right to. Not after how he treated his previous master. 

Even if he wanted to, even if Loke did give in to the temptation and bask in Lucy’s ever-present warmth, there were complications which not even he knew how to overcome. He had dated Gray, and been with Cana more than once; Lucy was close to the both of them, had been with Cana too, at least once before. That would cause some awkwardness, maybe even some animosity, within the guild. And Loke never wanted to be a burden on Lucy.

There were so many reasons why Loke could never love Lucy, and yet… the heart yearns no matter how much the mind intervenes; he loved her. Wholly and without reserve, Lucy was the first warmth of spring, and Loke was the winter, cold and unmoving. She changed him for the better, showed him a path of light and love which he had long since closed off for himself. 

And even if he could never have her, or hold her, Loke knew that this love would never fade. It was born from gratitude, and friendship, and hope. She was everything a celestial wizard should be, perfect in almost every feasible way, and it gave Loke clarity. When time trickled by, and the sun began to set on Lucy’s time, Loke would love her still, always.

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She knew that the battlefield was not the time or place, but when Meredy had an anxiety it was like a fly trapped in her mind, and the maggots it bred were infectious, burrowing deep inside her until she was consumed with the need to know the truth, to lay her ill mind to rest. 

Reading people was never her strong point; her magic compensated for that, and what she could not understand Ultear had explained to her. But now Meredy was alone, and had to struggle through the mess she had created for herself with no help from her adoptive mother.

“Are you sure you can do this, Pinky?” Erik asked. His good eye landed on her for a second, and Meredy knew that her cheeks had reddened. She cast her eyes away, to the ground. 

“I was a member of the Barram Alliance too, Erik. I’m just as capable a wizard as you.” Meredy murmured, went to move past the man, but his hand on her shoulder made her freeze. 

“That’s not want I meant, Meredy. I just don’t want you gettin’ hurt.” Hearing Erik’s voice soften was rare, him using her given name was even rarer; Meredy almost stumbled over herself. 

She swivelled, eyes wide, and when she saw the pink dusting of Erik’s cheeks, and the way that his eye was focused on her, warm and inviting, and she could not help herself; Meredy grabbed the lapels of his jacket, encased them both in a bright pink hue as her magic spread between them. 

Meredy’s mind was filled with herself. Her voice, higher than she knew it, and her face sweeter, rounder; more beautiful than she thought herself. Erik’s feelings flowed through, his desire to stay by her side, no matter what; his affection and lust and want. He wanted her, in every capacity, and Meredy felt it too, both from him and inside her own heart. 

He jumped back, away from her, and she almost fell in her shock. 

“Erik, I’m-”

“You had no right, no fucking right, to do that.” He seethed, and if Meredy did not know the depths of his love so personally, she would have been afraid. 

“I’m sorry, Erik, but I had to know.” 

“Then you should have asked!” 

Meredy flinched; she knew he was right. 

“We made a promise in the guild to not use our magic for invasive purposes. Do you not think that I have been dying to know, have thought about reading your thoughts every day since I first saw you smile?” Erik shook his head, rubbed the heels of his hands over the rough skin of his face. 

“I’m so, so sorry.” Meredy was, hoped that her voice could reach him; that the sincerity would begin to make up for the mistake she had made. 

Erik sighed, walked until he passed the woman, still on her knees. 

“We’ll talk about this later. For now, we have a war to win.” 

Meredy watched him go, forlorn and alone, feeling as though before the battle had even started, she had somehow already lost. 

Chapter Text

There were few people who would stand up to Jiemma in all of his rage, and Minerva was not normally one of them. Since her childhood, all Minerva had done was try and please her father, had not strayed from his strict rules and expectations. That was how she remained S Class; fear made her strong, and aware. She knew her weaknesses, and she avoided them. 

But there was no running away from this. 

“You bring shame onto our guild; onto our name.” He seethed, and it was this quiet anger which Minerva feared the most. It was always followed by a strike, by her father lashing out and breaking something; usually her spirit, or her heart. 

Minerva felt herself tense up for a moment, but the hand clutching hers made her strong enough to take a step forward, dragging Yukino with her.

“I no longer care about the opinions of other people, father.” Minerva lifted her fingers, still laced with Yukino’s, and presented them unabashedly to the guild master. “This is who I am, and this is the woman I love.” 

“People like you have no concept of love.” Jiemma spat, and the prickle of his magic stung the back of Minerva’s neck, but still she sneered.

“Coming from you, a man who would abuse his only child just to gain power.” 

Yukino’s hand clutched her fingers more tightly, with more emotion.

“Minerva-san…” 

She turned to face the shorter woman, who had tears framing the crushed hazelnut of her eyes. When Yukino could so easily cry tears for Minerva, it made her impossible not to love. Despite the situation and the uncertainty clamping Minerva’s heart like a vice, she smiled.

“What I have with Yukino is more real than anything you ever gave me.” 

Minerva wiped away the silver-haired woman’s tears with her free thumb.

“You’re hereby expelled from the mighty Sabertooth.” Jiemma slammed his fist down, sending rocks flying around them. Minerva protected them with her magic, did not even look at her father when she snapped,

“Don’t bother, we were leaving anyway. Telling you was merely a formality; we no longer wish to associate with you or your prison of a guild.”

As Jiemma swore loudly, Minerva kept them safe from his magic, towing Yukino gracelessly out of the room and into the brisk night air. It was cold, and they were alone, but for the first time Minerva understood what it meant to be truly free. Yukino pressed a kiss to her exposed shoulder, and Minerva looked up at the moon and cried, the smile never once fading from her face. 

Chapter Text

Everything was going well for Gray, and in his naivety he expected it to last. But he had never been that lucky.

“Gray, what the fuck are you doing?”  

For a moment, Gray wonders if it was a dream, an elaborate and cruel prank his brain is playing on him because that voice was the source of all of his fantasies; he had longed to hear it for over a year now. But when he turned and was met with Lamia Scale’s strongest team, Gray thought that his fantasies had turned into a nightmare. He did not want Lyon to see him like this.

“What does it look like?” He sneered, and it hurt him to pretend like this, but it was for the best. It was all he could do. For months Gray had fought to infiltrate Avatar, he could not destroy those efforts now, no matter how much he loved Lyon. 

Lyon was flanked on one side by Toby and Yuka; Sherry on the other. They were all staring at him with varying degrees of disinterest, except for Lyon. His eyes - such a deep navy they were almost onyx - were wide and searching, his lips parted as he panted, with frost already coating his pale skin. 

“It looks like you’re betraying Ur, is what it looks like.” 

There was a fierce determination to the other man which Gray had always secretly admired, but there was no time to waste fighting, and Gray honestly did not want to lay a hand on the man he had loved for so long. He had to end this quickly, and he knew best how.

“I don’t need to hear that coming from you.” He laughed coldly, taking a step towards the group. “I wasn’t the one who melted her consciousness into the ocean. I wasn’t the one who killed her. That was you, Lyon.” The words twisted painfully over Gray’s tongue, and it took all of his strength not to flinch when Lyon’s gaze went watery and glassy. 

“Bastard.” Lyon hissed, his stance shifting to one of maker-magic, and Gray dodged the icy eagles with ease. They had both improved in skill since their last meeting, but Gray was still left breathless at the beauty of Lyon’s creations. 

“I don’t need to hear that from you. You talk big but we all know the truth.” Gray licked his lips slowly, leaned forward as though to divulge a deep secret. “You’re nothing but a coward.” 

Gray hoped that it was believable, because the words could not be further from how he truly felt in his heart. Lyon was a constant form of inconsistency in his life, and although Gray loved his friends and his guild, it was different from the devotion he felt for Lyon. Hurting him like this wounded Gray too; the sooner it was over the easier it would be for the both of them to recover.

Before Lyon could react, his body was engulfed in a shimmery blue light. Yuka stood casually, lifting Lyon in the air with his magic until the other man collapsed on the ground.

“Oxygen deficiency. Enough to knock him out but now enough to damage him.” 

“Why-” Gray tried, brow furrowed, but was interrupted by Toby’s obnoxious wailing,

“Lyon looked like he had lost his left shoe. It was very painful for us all.” 

“I think that’s too personal a comparison.” Yuka sighed

Gray kicked the wall, gaining all of their team’s attention.

“Enough of this. Get out.” 

The two men dragged Lyon rather carelessly, and Gray winced as he watched them go, Lyon’s skull scraping the ground with every step. 

Sherry turned to leave as well, but paused, tilting her head and smiling softly at Gray.

“Lyon-sama will forgive you, Gray.” 

His eyes went wide, 

“As if I care if he does or he doesn’t.” But his skin was hot, and there was a wetness to his complexion; Sherry placed a hand on his wrist, and Gray could not bring himself to pull away. The contact was warm, something he had not experienced in far too long.

“You hurt him to keep him safe; that is also a form of love. It will be okay.” Sherry winked at him, and then hurried off after her teammates. 

Gray was filled with longing as they left, memories of his own guild and team flooding his mind and clamping his heart. He hoped that she was right, because even if it was his own doing, Gray knew that Lyon was his first love, the only true love he had ever known. And if his heart was not going to give up on him, then Gray knew that he was lost to the other man, and Gray was more than okay with that.

Chapter Text

“Sting… I want to break up.” 

The words caught the man by surprise, made him stumble across the floor and turn to face his lover. Fear stuck in his throat, restricting his breathing, but it only lasted for a second; Rogue was on the verge of tears, hands knotted in their lap and face sullen. 

Instead of anger, or hurt, all Sting could muster was confusion. He sank onto his haunches, placing one hand on Rogue’s wrist and the other on their cheek, tilting their head upwards until their eyes could meet.

“And why would we do that?” Sting asked cooly, keeping his voice steady despite the turmoil he felt inside. Clearly Rogue was distressed. Was it his fault? Or were they being blackmailed? The worst scenarios circled in Sting’s mind, and he felt himself being sucked into the whirlpool of them, drowning. 

Rogue looked away, to the side of Sting’s head, their lip puffed out petulantly.

“I just think it’ll be for the best.” They whispered, and the anger Sting had been oppressing panged into his heart. 

His grip on Rogue tightened.

“The best for who? Because it sure as hell isn’t the best for me. And it doesn’t look like something you want, either.” He fumed, but Rogue pulls their hand from under him, standing in one swift motion, and Sting topples to the ground in front of them.

“Sting, you’re gay.” 

A beat passes between them, with Sting staring at the carpeted ground and Rogue looming over him. Nothing made sense; Rogue had known that Sting was gay since they were young, and they had been dating for over a year now. Why would his sexuality be distressing to Rogue, of all people?

“And? It’s not as if that’s news to either of us, Rogue.” Sting snapped, wiping the dirt from his knees as he stood, finally on Rogue’s level.

“You don’t get it, do you?” Rogue’s tone was raising in volume, something it rarely did. It took Sting by surprise, but not enough to distract him from their situation. 

“Then make me understand.” 

He hated how whiny his voice was, and how clingy he was being. Sting loved Rogue, and if this was what they truly wanted then Sting would have to respect that. But Rogue’s bottom lip was trembling, their hands shaking; they were afraid. Sting would never leave the person he loved in this state, no matter what. 

Rogue took a deep breath which did not appear to calm their nerves, and let their eyes fall onto Sting’s face. 

“Sting, you like men; I am not one. I know you respect me and my identity but…” Rogue paused, cleared their throat until they were sure that they would not cry. “There will come a time when you need a proper man to love, and I can never be that for you.” 

Sting blinked slowly, head tilting to the side as he let Rogue’s words wash over him. He laughed lightly,

“Are you stupid?” 

It slipped out before Sting could stop it, so he was unsurprised when Rogue’s fist impacted with the side of his jaw.

“I’m glad this is so funny to you, Sting. If you don’t mind I’ll be taking my leave now.” 

As Rogue moved around him, Sting spun, gripping Rogue’s arm tightly.

“Rogue… I’m sorry. That was not what I meant.” Sting sighed, but still Rogue did not turn around, facing defiantly away from his boyfriend. “Although it is true that I have always been attracted to men, there is more to my attraction than just gender. I no longer see you as a man, Rogue; I see you as the person I love.” 

The rigid form in front of him softened, and Rogue slowly began to turn.

“It does not matter to me if you’re a man, woman, or somewhere in between. I love you Rogue, because you’re you. No man could compare, could offer me any more than the devotion you do.” He moved to embrace Rogue from behind, and the relief when they did not pull away was almost painful. “I would never ask for more, because I have everything I need right here.”

“Sting…” Rogue whispered softly, and the man kissed his neck in response.

“So please, don’t leave me Rogue.” 

There was silence between them, and then moisture fell on Sting’s hands, hot and heavy tears which had his head snapping up.

“I’ve been an idiot, haven’t I?” Rogue cried, but there was a blush to their cheeks, and a smile on their lips; that was answer enough, and the knot in Sting’s stomach began to untie itself.

“Yeah… but you’re my idiot.” 

He kissed Rogue’s cheek, and they sank to the ground, clinging onto one another until Rogue stopped crying and the grin finally fell from Sting’s face.

Chapter Text

Juvia should have seen this coming. No, it was more accurate to say that she had expected this, but just could not find it within her to accept it. 

Gray was getting married. 

The wave of hurt she had experienced when Gray had first began dating Natsu all those years ago had subsided, was mostly just a memory than a tangible feeling. She still had hope, no matter how stubborn that was; Juvia was still a child at heart, and could rarely admit when it was time to give up. But this… this was absolute. Final. And maybe her heart was breaking, or maybe it was already broken and the shards had been ground down into sand. Juvia could not tell anymore, could not really sense anything. An entire bottle of rum would have that effect.

Other members of Fairy Tail tiptoed around her, and Juvia pretended not to notice them, because if she acknowledged their actions she would have to accept how pathetic she was acting, and that might really tip her over the edge… as if she weren’t there already. 

When the chair next to her was pulled out, Juvia did not look up from her drink. It was only when a hand brushed hair behind her ear that Juvia turned to face the person next to her. 

“I heard about Gray and Natsu. I thought you might be upset.” Lisanna smiled softly at her, her gaze never wavering despite the terrified gasps of the guild members around them. They no doubt thought that the topic was not one for discussion, but Lisanna had never been the type of person who was bothered by that. Her honesty and brashness had always made Juvia admire her, even in a situation like this.

“I’m happy for them both.” Juvia responded, tilting her glass in a mock toast. The tears threatened then, but she gulped down her drink instead, focusing on the burn in her throat over the sting in her eyes. 

Without warning, Lisanna clattered to her feet, knocking Juvia’s empty tumblers to the ground. All eyes were on them, and although Juvia was startled, she was more intrigued by Lisanna’s red cheeks and wide, uncertain eyes.

“I have loved you for years, Juvia. Please give me a chance to be your world, like Gray is.”

There was silence in the guild as the glass slipped from Juvia’s hand and landed with the other shattered corpses below. 

“I can’t believe she finally said it.” 

“Lisanna-san is always so honest.” 

“I hope Juvia rejects her kindly; Lisanna has loved her for such a long time.” 

Murmurs began like a tidal wave, sweeping away Juvia’s thoughts until she is not sure which emotions are hers and which are the tangible feelings of those around them. 

Nothing made sense, and yet everything did all at once. Lisanna’s actions and words since the S Class trials, they had always confused Juvia. But now… she understood, could not comprehend how she had missed something so beautiful and clear. 

Lisanna’s fists were clenched, her eyes screwed shut as she waited for a response, but Juvia did not know what to say or do; how did she feel about Lisanna? She loved her, of course, as a member of her guild and as a close friend. But was there more? And if there was not, could there be? 

Her looks rivalled Mirajane’s, her wit and kindness a source of light within Fairy Tail, and Juvia had always been drawn to it, more so than any other member…maybe even Gray, too. 

Did that mean that she subconsciously had feelings for Lisanna all this time? Juvia did not know. But when Lisanna had made such an offer, Juvia knew that she did not have the capacity to refuse it, to deny Lisanna anything. Maybe that should have been a sign, but there was more alcohol than water in Juvia’s system - a terrible feat for her in particular - and her mind was beginning to go hazy. She reached out and grabbed Lisanna’s hand, pressing her lips against it before allowing her head to fall onto the other woman’s stomach. 

As Lisanna’s hands knotted in her azure hair, there were jeers around the guild, and although Juvia was confused, and uncertain, her heart felt sure that this development was for the better, and all she could do was cling to that hope as she was swept away by Lisanna’s warmth.

Chapter Text

Maybe it was weird, Natsu and Millianna going on what felt like a date, but it could not be helped. Millianna had initially invited Erza and Kagura as well, but one was attending a meeting for guild masters, the other in bed with the flu; that only left the two of them, and it seemed a waste to discard their tickets, especially after how excited everyone had been.

The cat cafe was as busy as expected, and Millianna instinctively drew closer to Natsu. Even after being free from the Tower for almost a decade, she still felt nervous around crowds, and she knew that Natsu was strong; safe. He would protect her. 

But then she paused, admired the pattern on Natsu’s skirt and the curl in his hair. 

“I know I should have asked earlier, but what pronouns do you use?” It was an awkward question to ask, but many members of Mermaid Heel were varying capacities of queer, herself included, and it was easier for everyone to be open than confused. 

Natsu laughed shyly at her, and it was the cutest Millianna had seen him look. She felt her skin warm under his gaze, looked away when he spoke.

“Um… today I don’t mind he or she, but usually when I dress and feel like this I would prefer female ones, if that’s okay?” 

Millianna nodded, made a mental note of that as they were shown to a table. A small ginger cat came and wrapped its tail around her leg, and Millianna squealed in delight, vibrating with the need to pet the creature but having to hold back in case she scared it away. It mewled at them, and then strutted off to play with an overweight tabby. 

“I wish I could have brought Happy here.” Natsu sighed, and Millianna felt guilt that she had separated the two but clients were not allowed to bring their own cats here. Happy may be able to talk and fly, but to most people he was still undeniably a feline. The cafe rules were strict, and she did not want to miss such an opportunity. 

They ordered, and Natsu fell from his chair onto the ground to rub the chin of a grumpy looking Persian, who leaned happily into the touch. Millianna began to stroke and scratch the animals around her too, lost in the bliss of the situation, until their drinks arrived; coffee with foam in the shape of a cat’s paw. She almost didn’t want to drink it. 

Natsu did not have such qualms, digging straight into his drink and a slice of cake. Once he had finished, he stretched out his limbs in an action which mirrored the animals within the cafe, and Millianna was mesmerised with the lithe grace of the person before her. She had never met anyone with such feline characteristics… other than herself, of course, but they were artificial; these just seemed to be attributes which Natsu naturally possessed. Millianna would be jealous, if she did not find them so endearing. 

“Thanks for inviting me along, Milli.” Natsu grinned at her, pink tainting his cheeks, and Millianna knew what this was, could easily identify the feeling spreading like mist around her body. It crept into every crevice and clung to her skin until all she could think about was how much she liked Natsu. 

She nodded stiffly, quickly, fixing her gaze on the cats at her feet. 

“It’s my pleasure.” 

Even when the day drew to a natural close, there was part of Millianna did not want to leave, and another equal part could not wait to return to her guild and gush about everything she had learned about Natsu in that day, and everything she wished to learn in the future ahead.