A man was hunched in front of a pair of vertically-placed flat carved stones. His head was bowed and his eyes were closed as a pale hand traced the stone cold surface of the pillars in front of him.
"Mavis," the man spoke.
Sure enough behind him stood the ethereal body of the first Guild Master of Fairy Tail, Mavis Vermillion.
"Zeref," Mavis acknowledged.
She moved forward, stopping only when she was standing beside the black haired wizard. She, too, directed he attention to the stone pillars that the aforementioned man was gently, almost lovingly, caressing.
Zeref looked up, staring at the white and smooth surface before him. He did not show any signs of hearing nor noticing the girl standing just behind him.
"I almost didn't notice you here," Mavis said.
"I'm sorry." Zeref apologized, "Do you want me to leave?"
Mavis's hand found the Black Wizard's shoulders.
"Never," she denied without any hesitations.
Mavis stared mournfully at the shell of a man she used to know.
"You've changed," Mavis noted.
"I know I've changed." Zeref said as if in response. "And I'm sure you haven't."
"I have changed," Mavis defended herself half-heartedly, "Just not as much as you did."
Zeref did not reply. Instead he looked up, to see the galaxy spread out before him as the dark sky was lit up by millions of stars.
Mavis sighed when the man did not reply. She understood. It was okay.
Instead she, too, looked up at the night sky.
A cool breeze passed through the pair tousling Zeref's robe and hair. But even then Mavis' long blond hair and long robes did not move an inch.
"This is nice," Mavis interjected breaking the comfortable silence that had settled between the two.
"This night could be nicer." Zeref assented.
Mavis didn't reply. Because, yes, it could have, should have been nicer than this.
Mavis had once experienced this so-called 'nicer' too.
Mavis was seen, lying on the soft green grass staring up at the night sky so similar to that night almost an entire century later.
Mavis sensed a second presence before he made himself physically known.
"Zeref," Mavis called out. How long are you going to keep standing there?'
Mavis sat up and looked behind her where said Black Wizard was walking towards her. It seemed that he decided to join her after all.
He allowed a small smile to grace his face as he stopped, just beside Mavis. "May I?"
Mavis gestured to the empty space beside her and Zeref sat down.
Mavis, after Zeref had settled down beside her, promptly laid down on her back, facing the sky like she had been doing before Zeref arrived.
Zeref stared at her with an amused expression.
"The others seemed to have fun," Zeref mused.
They had all just retired after a day of hard training with the other mage. Warrod had just discovered his proficiency with Wood magic. The others had been ecstatic for him and had spent the rest of the afternoon celebrating Warrod's success.
"You seemed to have had fun, too," Mavis noted. "If only you'd actually come closer and join the rest."
Zeref sighed. He should have known that the conversation would lead to this. Mavis had, for the past few days, tried unceasingly to get Zeref to join the 'group' and have fun like everybody else. To not be lonely anymore.
"Life," Zeref began, "is a fragile thing."
"And it becomes even more fragile each day." Mavis interrupted.
"I rather not shorten anybody's life," Zeref retorted, "It's already short enough as it is."
Mavis sighed in frustration, glancing at Zeref," You're not doing yourself a favor by distancing yourself from everybody."
"And yet I am doing everybody a favor by distancing myself." Zeref countered.
Mavis studied Zeref for a while before giving out a sigh in resignation. "Life is indeed as fragile as it is short,"
Zeref nodded. But before he could add anything Mavis had already continued.
"Someday all of us will die," Mavis said. "With your intervention or without it we all will die anyway. Life is precious like that."
'What are you-'
"But memories are not." Mavis concluded.
Zeref snapped his head to look at the girl laying down beside him with wide eyes.
"When we all die all you will have left are memories." Mavis stated. "And I think that a short time with a lot of memories is better than a long time with no memories."
Mavis gave Zeref a closed eyed smile as she continued, "We all die someday, but we aren't right now."
Zeref stared at the girl, still in shock. She had returned to watching the night sky. Though her unfocused eyes showed that her mind was somewhere else, thinking about something else.
"And you?" Zeref couldn't help but ask... "Do you have memories you treasure?"
Mavis didn't even glance at the man but the smile on her face was quite enough for the Black Mage.
"Every moment is a memory I treasure." She told him, "Memories with the people who I call my friends. My family. And I wish to make more memories with everyone."
The rest of the night was silent after that. Filled with only short lapses of sound when the two mages would have short conversation with one another. With moments of comfortable silence in between.
The very next day Zeref taught Mavis the Black Magic, Law.
"Those were more peaceful times." Mavis remarked. "You taught me Law the next day."
Zeref averted his eyes from the sky and back unto the white surface of the pillars before him. "I never should have taught you that magic."
"It saved my friends," Mavis said.
"It destroyed your life." Zeref said sadly.
"But I got more time with everyone." Mavis insisted. All the while knowing that she was fighting a hopeless battle.
"But you were able to make new memories with everyone. Right?"
This time, unlike that particular night all those years ago, it was Mavis' turn to look at the Black Wizard with a startled look.
"I guess I finally understood what you meant, now."
With those words Zeref stood up.
Zeref turned around, away from the light stone grave that had been his subject of interest for the past few minutes.
Mavis couldn't help it. She hoped. She held her breath. Despite everything else she was hoping. After all these years she still was.
Zeref was looking at her. She thought.
Her heart skipped a beat and she allowed herself to visibly brighten. But a second glance caused her to wither again.
He was looking right through her.
She was devastated. But one look at the man before her broke her already broken heart. The sheer pain and devastation on the face of the so-called most evil man who had ever lived seared through her.
He knew she was there. He knew she was so close.
But he can't see her. Because she was already gone.
The next words that escaped his lips were for her and only her.
"I wished I had understood this back then…"
Fresh tears ran down Mavis's cheeks as Zeref walked through her as if she was nothing but air.
"Maybe if I did I could've had made more memories with you."