Chapter 3: What if things were turning unexpected?
(by Yankee-chan and slightly me)
It must have been ten o'clock when Levy finally woke up. Eyes tightly shut to avoid being blinded by the sunlight which enlightened the room, she yawned and stretched slowly before she turned toward her right, mouth open to say hello to Gajeel. Except she nearly spoke to an empty spot, because he wasn't in the bed anymore. Already up probably.
The young girl dressed quickly and brushed her hair before she left the bedroom. And she noticed with surprise that the Dragon Slayer wasn't here. She narrowed her eyes and pouted, wondering where the heck he was. Maybe in the shower, but she would NEVER go to check. Except that an hour later, she guessed that he wasn't there either after all. But in this case, where was he? Annoyed, she took her breakfast, gathered her stuffs and left the suite. And there she was, searching him now, just because he hadn't bothered to prevent her. She went down to the reception to ask if someone had seen him and indeed, they told her he had left the hotel early this morning. But what a nerve! He could have at least let her a word, or something making her understand where he was! But no, nothing, nothing at all.
She left the hotel, shaking her head, exasperate, cursing the iron mage. He better come back quickly. That wasn't manner to disappear like this! She looked for her nakama in the whole town during all the morning, but the fresh mountain air relaxed her. Except that no one could have given her a clue considering that Gajeel had left early while everyone was still asleep. Defeated, she gave up and returned to the hotel to eat. She would translate the book while waiting him to come back. She had nothing else to do anyway. Even though it was much less fun when he wasn't here to talk with her.
When she finished eating, she sat at the table and started to work, translating the second page she began the day before. This one was talking about the enigma she already translated, written in the center, and about the dragons history. The way they were arrived in Fiore from a distant land, the way they lived here, the things they learned about this world... and that was from a time so distant that even humans didn't know this country yet. That was really fascinating. Usually, Levy wasn't really an history books fan, but this one was so interesting that she couldn't stop reading anymore. When she finished, it was nearly four pm and she decided to pause, waiting for the next page to appear. Laying heavily her full length on the couch, she sighed and tried to relax her back which was paining her since she stayed sat from the beginning.
Without noticing she fell asleep, exhausted after having waited for Gajeel, and she woke up a little while later, as the sun started to set. She jumped and stood and grunted, eyes still half-closed, as she realized she had fallen asleep. And the Dragon Slayer wasn't still here. She was really worried now. She decided to go down and eat to the reception hoping to see him, so she left her room, after noticing that and third page had appeared. She would study this later.
Sat at a table, facing the door to make sure to see the Dragon Slayer if he arrived at this moment, the young girl didn't swallowed anyway, sulky, sand and scared. He hadn't returned for all the day, and if something had happened to him? She hated not being informed of the situation and when she was left behind like this! But she had to heard reason, Gajeel was strong, he could protect himself... unlike her. Maybe that was why he wasn't here... unless he left her alone because he thought she was too weak... she shook her head, chasing all these bad thoughts and decided to go outside to keep translating in the open air. She walk up to grab her notes, went down and out, searching a peaceful spot not too far from the hotel. She sat on the shadow of a tree and started to work again, trying to forget about Gajeel which wasn't easy. She spent twice the usual time to translate the centric puzzle. Speaking of that, there were two enigma this time.
"Present, Future and Past,
All is connected to him.
Mighty and discrete,
Yet he is so close.
Don't trust your eyes,
Appearances are deceptive."
"Appearances are deceptive."... curiously it reminded her the previous enigma with the fact that someone were following them without they noticed. Suddenly a meow made her jump and drop her book. Breathless and her heart beating at full speed in her chest, she looked up to see a cat. No, not a cat. The cat she saw when they arrived here the first day. A chill which augured nothing good ran through her spine. For a reason she ignored, it frightened her, and she couldn't help but stared at the creature, at its feline look. Its eyes. Red. A familiar red, a familiar shape. And its fur was gray. She had an impression of déjà-vu. She automatically thought about Gajeel. This cat looked like him. Of course, physically, but it looked like him. Except it wasn't the Dragon Slayer, it was a cat, just a cat. Or maybe not. Appearances are deceptive, huh. Under the young girl's eyes, a green halo surrounded the cat, so brilliant that she had to narrow her eyes and cover them with her hand. And when the light faded, a gray bird flew away in the sky. Mouth wide open, she stared toward the direction where the bird had flew, stupefied. She pinched herself, slapped herself, but she didn't wake up. Since when a cat was able to transform and use magic? It was improbable! Illogical! Impossible! She had to talk to Gajeel, absolutely. But he wasn't here. Shaking and still shocked, she hurried to come inside, she didn't feel safe outside anymore and a bunch of questions about what just happened in her mind.
"Everywhere, he is amongst you. Changing form according to his desires. Since you're here, he's following you. Beware, he isn't your friend, mightier than fire." It looked like she just solved a puzzle. It was this sort of cat / bird which followed them. But why? Was it their enemy? She was doubting about it because of the mayor's speech. On the other hand, if it could transform, it could be possible. Now that she was inside, she felt a little safer, and she decided to translate the second enigma, hoping it would bring her a clarification. This time she was working hard and fast, with a new frenzy.
"What you're looking for isn't here,
He understood, that's why he left.
New bonds... Antecedents...
All will end in blood."
Oh God, oh God, oh God! First Gajeel disappeared, then this cat able to transform came to mock her and now this! This mission was turning creepy, she wasn't expecting at all! And she didn't like it either! And that idiot Dragon Slayer! What was he waiting for to come back?! She had to see him absolutely! So she did the thing that seemed the wisest. She waited. And the hours passed. Seven hours. Eight hours. Nine hours. And Gajeel wasn't still here. Levy seriously began to be scared. She couldn't focus on the translation anymore, all her thoughts were bringing her to the Dragon Slayer, and thousands of questions ran wild in her head.
What was he doing?
Where was he?
Was he alright?
Why didn't he come back?
Had he left her here alone? And why?
She felt a cold chill ran through her back and she shut her eyes close, trying to calm down and to think straight again. Slowly she placed her head between her hands and sighed. She wasn't going to cry now! Yes she had been stressed all the day, but it wasn't a reason.
Suddenly the door opened wide and was slammed violently. The young girl was so surprised that she almost fell off her chair. She looked up but the words she wanted to pronounce at this moment remained stuck in her throat when she saw the Dragon Slayer surrounded by a dark aura. Completely disheveled and furious, he went directly in the bedroom without a look or a word for her, slamming the door behind him.
For several minutes she stayed here, staring at the bedroom door, stunned, worried and annoyed. He disappeared a whole day without telling her, returned later than ever and didn't even say a single word! He'd just acted as if she wasn't here. Sighing she stood and walked toward the bedroom. What a day today! Considering his behavior, something must have happened. Something grave enough to make him this angry. She had to know what, she would talk about what she discover later, it was clearly not the good moment. She slowly opened the door and her head passed shyly the ajar door, seeing the Dragon Slayer laying on his belly, his head pressed in the pillows. She came nearer and sat beside him, fearing his unpredictable reactions, but he still didn't move. Slowly, she put her hand on his shoulder and began to caress his back while trying to be as tender as possible. Fail. He began to growl viciously as soon as she touched him, shaking with anger, although it didn't stop the blue haired mage to go on.
"Where were you? I was worried about you! You could have warned me."
Despite the different emotions filling her voice, her tone remained calm and soft. She knew perfectly that she mustn't rush him. Except that, despite everything, it wasn't enough. He was too angry to let simple words calm him.
"Fuck you." He growled harshly, his voice muffled by the cushions.
The young girl's eyes widened, she opened and shut her mouth without uttering a sound. She didn't expect him to reject her like that. Obviously it wasn't normal. Why did he act like this? She had a bad feeling now, her heart was starting to pound with a breakneck speed against her chest.
"Don't say that... I just try to help you, you know? You have to talk to me if something's wrong, we are a team, we have to trust each other."
He got up suddenly, startling her violently, and he stood before her, a threatening and deadly aura surrounding him. His eyes were reflecting a powerful rage, so mighty that it was nearly impossible to perceive the fear and sorrow under it. For the first time in months, Levy was scared.
"Who said we were a team?" He spat with a tone which did more than hurt the blue haired mage. Levy shrank, too shocked and frightened by what he just said to even utter an answer.
"B-but... we are working together, aren't we?" Was the only thing she managed to stammered with a surprised and wailing voice as she sag before his deadly glare.
"No. You do what you have to do, and I'll do what I have to do, got it? Nothing more. I accepted to help you but that's all. Anyway, I begin to think I shouldn't have come with you."
He was nasty, offensive, aggressive, she had never been so hurt. She had never been so humiliated, except maybe this time... when he'd crucified her. But she would fight this time, she had her pride too. And with what right he disappeared a whole day and reappeared in the night to spit this kind of speech in her face? He had no idea about how much she had worried today, no idea about the state of panic he put her! She just wanted to help him, but apparently being sweet, kind and conciliating didn't work. She jumped up, her cheeks red with anger and she faced his oh-so hard and cold gaze before she spoke louder.
"So if understand, you mean I'm here just to translate a simple book, don't you? Otherwise I'm useless? Say it, that's what you are meaning!"
Each sentence he pronounced was filled with disdain and he didn't move an inch while Levy was shaking, trying to ignore the pain, she started to cry. She couldn't help it when she was upset, it was really humiliating, especially in such a situation.
"You're truly disgusting, I'm just trying to help you, to understand what's up with you, and you, you are rejecting me as if I were nothing, after having disappeared a whole day and without giving a single sign of life!"
"Except I don't want you to fucking help me, it's not your business, you don't have to know. And precisely for me you're fucking nothing."
Hard. In the face. He didn't intend to mince his words, he didn't want to be nice with her. At this moment, Levy didn't even understand what he just said. Her mind refused to understand, refused to believe it, didn't want to hear it. And despite that, his words were echoing in her head, were vibrating in her body in waves of incredible pain. As she had so often thought, she wasn't nothing but an insignificant little girl on his way, and provide interest at her was a waste of time for him. Now that she was confronted to this, she better know. She better learn the whole truth.
"So why had you become my partner for the S-class exam, huh ? Come on, spit it out, explain me!"
"Oh you really want me to spit the truth? Alright. At this moment I was too disgusted with not having been selected. Hell, you for example, what had you more than me to have been chosen? I was full of hatred just by thinking that a simple girl like you could pass before me while you were probably the one who mustn't have any chance to be fucking chosen. So I decided to go with you to fight and win my place. It was too easy to manipulate you, I just had to say three poor sentences and you'd accepted like a moron. You should have known a long time ago that I don't ever team up with anyone. Now, this fucking mission served my interests so I accepted. Did you honestly think that I wanted to team up with you just because I liked you? Fuck! I've never seen someone so stupid!"
He was red too, and now he was shaking and panting. Levy, her, was devastated. All he had said... all he had done... had been for him. He didn't care about her, he never believed in her. She had feared it was for that reason he'd decided to come with her, but she'd quickly forgotten her fear when he'd seemed sincere. And she had been wrong. All he'd said was wrong, he'd done this because he wanted to prove he was the strongest again. And she had believed, because she had always dreamed to hear it from him. Words of encouragement, of friendship...
"If you really want to be an S-class, then I'll lend you a hand"
"I'll blow any guy you don't like during the exam"
"How's saying weak stuff like that before it even starts gonna help you?"
"I'll make you big..."
"You want some attention shrimp? Then fight seriously with me!"
"It's hard looking for someone so small. So don't leave my side."
This words. His words. They were empty, they were lies. She believed them. She'd thought he was different, that he had changed. She had doubted in Tenrou Island and she'd run away. She better have to not hope when he had saved her. The pain was ten, hundred, thousand time worse that everything she ever lived. When he'd promised her he will make her big, she'd felt so flattered, encouraged, appreciate at her true value... she surprised herself to love the Dragon Slayer. Loved him because he deigned to pay attention to her, because, improbable fact, he accepted to team up with her. But she had been wrong. And she understood it too late. Why did she notice it just now, precisely now? Why did she learn it that way? He only did and said these things for himself, he had never thought about her. The attention she thought he was paying her was en reality turned to him. And all the things she had felt for him, all the things she had lived with him, all these things were disappearing now, only leaving a dark, cold and horribly painful hole. How could a human being be capable to say such a thing? To be so egocentric? To cause such a pain with just a few words mots? She had felt so close to him, she had trusted him to the point to entrust her life to him, to HIM, him who had hurt her in the past. Him who just hurt her again, but in a way even more terrible than the first time.
Levy had never felt so torn, betrayed, distresses, mournful. Shook by violent sobs, she tried so hard to dry the torrents of tears with her already soaked hands, whining long miserable complaints. And Gajeel, who stood rigid before her, who didn't even bother to glance at her, who was clutching his fists and trying to control himself, didn't cry, no. He never would. Not for her, certainly not. It was too late to realize it.
"Don't you feel anything for anyone?" The young girl managed to articulate between two muffled sobs, her head bowed toward the floor, she didn't want to cross the bad look which made her want to scream with pain.
"No. Probably not."
Each sentence he was pronouncing with his voice she loved so much without telling him was filled with so much anger and disdain that it was barely recognizable now. Shattered in the depths of her soul, the young girl did the only thing she still could do.
"I... I... I HATE YOU!!!" She screamed with a piercing voice before she opened the bedroom door with a violent gesture then she slammed it behind her.
She had enough, she didn't want to cry before him. If he didn't share her sorrow, he had no rights to look at her.
She barely slammed the door when Gajeel heard her collapse on the couch crying. She deserved it, she'd better leave him alone. Nothing would have happened if she had mind of her business. Pressing his forehead against the cold window, he sighed and the sound which escaped his throat died into a tired hiss. In a violent motion he crushed his fist against the wall, making the whole room shake. If he were gone, there were a good reason. A need had been imposed to him, he had to know the truth. Since they were here, he'd felt something strange and too many clues had confirmed his doubts. The only problem was that when he'd finally reach his goal he had run away like a coward who couldn't do anything else. Because he had been scared. And he hated himself because of that. He was pissed because of that. And Levy had been the spark which made everything explode. It made him want to throw up when he felt her playing charitable with him, he didn't care about her compassion and her feelings. Fuck this, he had a bigger problem and no time to waste with her. They were separated now. She will do her job. He will solve his own problem. And if she wasn't happy with it, too bad for her.
Ruminating a vortex of dark thoughts, he closed his eyes, shaking and growling as he panted heavily and loudly. He had to calm down, he mustn't lose control, he mustn't let his impulses win on him and make him break anything he saw, he mustn't become violent.
Suddenly, Gajeel's eyes widened and scanned the darkness outside, although he couldn't see very well considering that the moon was obscured by the clouds. He had felt it. The ground just shook. Something was approaching. The same thing he had checked today. The fucking reason of his fucking anger, of his fucking behavior, of their fucking mission. During the previous evening, when he had heard this weird sound, doubt had crept into him. When he had left to search clues today, he had immediately run away and storm into the hotel. The apprehension swept instantly all the other emotions which haunted him, and a single though struck him. 'This bastard wasn't going to...'
The Dragon Slayer opened the door violently, startling Levy who was drown in her grief, holding a cushion. When she also felt the floor move she stood looking insecure, but she didn't come closer to Gajeel. Everytime the small earthquakes were more and more violent, followed by a thud which approached gradually. And they were paralyzed, they didn't dare to move. Suddenly, the same roar as the one they'd heard the night before rang, much more powerful and closed. The two mages covered their ears and winced. The sound they were hearing sounded like a mix between a saw cutting a metal plate, a chalk pressing too hard on a blackboard and a threatening hoarse growl which was piercing their eardrums. The roar vanished as fast as it came, replaced by a green light, too familiar to Levy who had seen it a few hours ago. Moreover, it was the last thing she saw. The walls vibrated and she saw a huge emerald glimmer rush straight on them, blinding and dangerous. The last sound she heard was Gajeel yelling "DOWN!" before he tackled her violently to the floor. Then there was a huge explosion, and everything went black.