In the year X784, Sting Eucliffe was a twelve year-old boy aimlessly wandering around the continent of Fiore all by himself. He didn't know where to go. He had no dreams and goals whatsoever. The day he randomly approached the town of Hargeon would be the day he would never forget—the day he met 'Blondie'.
Hargeon, the fishing town, was the crossroads of all travelers. Hargeon is most famously known for its port and only ten percent of the entire population were mages. Sting wandered into a dark alleyway like a lost soul and accidentally bumped into a small group of shady men. He shrugged it off and continued walking away. He took a step forward, but was halted when a pair of strong hands gripped his scrawny shoulders.
"HEY!" The man's fingers dug into his skin, "When you bump into someone, you're supposed to say: sorry."
He wouldn't apologize.
Sting looked away from the enraged man, uninterested, but was suddenly kicked into the wall. His back landed against the stony rough edges, and he slumped to the ground in a sitting position. The man directly lodged his foot into the wall, roughly missing the boy's face by a few inches. "No one bumps into the Bacchus Thieves Guild and gets away from it!" He hissed, "Aren't you going to apologize?"
The delinquents cracked their knuckles when the young boy refused to even acknowledge them, or show any signs of fear. Sting helplessly stared at the ground as they started beating him up to a pulp. They mercilessly kicked him in the gut and spit on him.
The leader positioned his foot atop of Sting's head, "What's the matter kid?" He mocked, "Aren't you gonna cry?"
"Tch." Sting clicked his tongue. His pride would never allow it.
"You're starting to piss me off, kid." He slowly applied pressure to his foot. It infuriated the band of thugs more when the kid refused to show any signs of pain.
Sting merely closed his eyes and waited for them to stop. He could easily fend them off, but he vowed never to use his magic to hurt others again. Ever since the day he parted with his dragon, it was just too painful…
Suddenly, a young teenager came out of nowhere. She wore light traveling clothes and a short blue skirt stopping at her mid-thighs. Her blonde hair was tied into a side ponytail, pinned down by a blue ribbon. She waved a small golden key in the air, and chanted.
"Open—Gate of the Giant Crab: Cancer!"
A ding-dong noise resounded and a humanoid crab appeared from a magic circle. "How would you like your hair done today-ebi?" The crab snipped with a pair of scissors in each hand.
The thugs released Sting in shock and stared at the crab dumbfounded. Sting couldn't believe his eyes as well. What the hell is that girl doing? He looked at her face, expecting to see a frightened expression, but was surprised to see her look so calm. "Did that crab just say 'ebi'?" One of thugs murmured.
The blonde teen sighed, "Cancer, we're in a middle of a fight. Make those jerks lose their dignity!"
"Okay-ebi." Cancer darted pass each of the thugs several times like a blur, and then dashed back to its owner.
The leader looked around trying to spot changes in the environment. He shrugged to his men, "Nothing happened—" Cancer snipped his scissors, *SNIP* and numerous tiny cuts appeared on each thug. What was even more eye-opening was that they were completely—
"BALD!" The grunts screeched. They squealed away in terror as they tried to cover their smooth, naked heads. The leader reached to feel his own luscious hair, only to have the same look on his face like the others. The blonde teen sprinted towards the large man.
"Lucy…" She muttered as she jumped high into the air, "KICK!"
She landed perfectly back onto her feet as he fell to the ground. She smiled back at her companion who nodded in return. "I shall take my leave-ebi." The crab disappeared.
Sting felt somewhat… warm when Lucy turned to look at him with a huge grin spread across her face. Sting finally took a good look at the girl and noticed that she 4 or 5 years older than him. His eyes unconsciously shifted over to the fallen leader—his feet were stirring. A reflected light shined in his face as noticed a dangerous metal blade within the man's hand. The girl casually walked over to him, unaware of the danger.
"Are you okay—Kyaaaaaaaaaa!" Lucy screamed as the bald man grabbed her from behind. He wrapped his arms around the girl, with a dagger pointed directly at her neck. "You let your guard down!" he laughed maniacally.
Sting's body reacted by itself. Before he knew it, he rushed to the girl's side at the speed of light and launched himself at the bald man. Sting's hand blazed with a glowing, white aura and he slashed the leader with a holy strike, "White Dragon's CLAW!" The man choked on the air and withdrew his vicious grip on the girl, losing consciousness.
"Are you okay? Were you hurt badly?"
Sting's eyes widened in shock when 'Blondie' ran up to him and examined his bruises. He felt the same weirdly warm sensation when she began feeling his wounds, but he kept to himself. He didn't trust anyone. He shoved her away forcefully, causing her to stagger backwards in surprise. She tripped on her own feet and stumbled into a puddle of muddy water.
Her butt kissed the cold wet ground as mud splashed all over her outfit.
"Why you…" Lucy glared at him murderously.
Sting cringed a little and eyed the blonde girl guiltily. Of course he didn't mean to, but no. He would never apologize, "I didn't need your help."
Lucy stood up, completely drenched. Her white shirt was now stained with mud. "You ungrateful, little brat… They were beating you up!" She pointed out the obvious, "You could seriously be injured! And now I'm all wet!"
"A strong mage like me wouldn't need help from a stupid blondie like you." He announced coldly.
He arrogantly walked away, expecting her to back off, but he instead felt someone roughly grab onto his hand. "Take me to your parents!" She huffed angrily, "You really need to learn how to treat other people with respect."
Sting didn't know why, but he allowed the noisy girl pull him away as she continued to scold him on and on. She brushed some of the dirt off her skirt, "… Geez this isn't going to come off easily… Now, where do you live?"
Sting uncomfortably looked away from her gaze, unsure of how to answer her question.
Lucy lost all her patience, "I asked you a question!"
Sting's stomach growled loudly, but he continued to look away, slightly embarrassed.
This didn't go unnoticed. Lucy paused to take a closer look at him— His uncombed spiky, blonde hair jutted outward in every direction and the dirty T-shirt and torn pants he was wearing were falling apart. Feeling concerned, she looked deep into his ocean blue eyes and saw emptiness. Now that she really thought about it, he really did look like a homeless kid.
"Are you hungry?" She decided to ask with a soother tone in her voice.
Sting pulled away from her, not answering any of her questions. "Don't you dare pity me, you stupid Blondie!" he angrily spat out, avoiding to see the look in her eyes.
Lucy was about to retort back, but she hesitantly closed her mouth. She took the boy's hand again, and gently led him across the town.
"Oi... let me go." He murmured.
Lucy didn't make a noise. There was only the sound of their footsteps as they roamed endlessly throughout the town.
"Where are you taking me?" He steadily focused his gaze on the ground. The awkward silence was starting to get on his nerves. When she didn't answer, he began to feel more anxious and nervous, "I-I'm warning you, I c-could kill you right now if I have to!"
Lucy remained silent and continued to pull him by her side.
Sting couldn't bear the eerie silence any longer. "Let go, you stupid Blondie!" He yelled, trying to yank his hand away from her.
Lucy abruptly stopped, causing him to look up at her. She looked at him with caring, brown eyes. "You don't have a home, do you?" She questioned. Sting gaped at her in shock as he stopped pulling his hand away. Her radiant smile eased him, "Don't worry, I've run away from home too."
The boy blinked in surprise. "Huh?"
"You're not alone anymore." She smiled as she gently poked his little nose with her finger. A small pink tinge blushed onto the boy's pale cheeks.
Lucy laughed as his face reddened. "I have lots of food at my apartment. I'm going to teach you how to treat people with respect." She winked.
Sting's eyes lit up at the mention of food, but she made him feel puzzled. He was torn between either running away, or following her. It couldn't hurt just to stay a little bit… right? "Whatever, Blondie." He rolled his eyes and tried to act annoyed.
Lucy smiled to herself, noticing that he dropped the 'stupid'.
They walked into her small apartment and sat at the kitchen table. Lucy rummaged her fridge and gathered piles of food onto the table. Drool etched from the corner of the boy's mouth.
"Well?" She smiled teasingly, "Go ahead and dig in."
Sting didn't hesitate. He attacked the food right away. He chewed on the meat with his canine-like teeth. He crammed handfuls of food in his mouth aggressively, forgetting to swallow. Bits of food were flying everywhere as he noticed that the blonde mage was chuckling at him.
"What's so funny, Blondie?" He spat out with food in his mouth. He hated it when people were watching him, especially when he was eating. It felt like they were making fun of him.
"You're just so cute when you eat." She giggled.
Weak and innocent things, like small bunny rabbits, filled his mind. "I am NOT cute!" His lips tugged into a small pout. He was intrigued, stunned, and somewhat moved… No one had ever called him cute before.
Lucy laughed as his ears reddened, "So what's your name?"
Sting planned not to respond to any of her questions. He couldn't allow himself to feel so attached to someone who thought that he was cute. It would only stir up trouble later if he stayed with this Blondie.
Sting ignored his thoughts about her and gulped down his food. He mustered all his willpower to concentrate on eating.
"My name is Lucy, by the way, so stop calling me Blondie. Don't you find it weird to call me 'Blondie', when you're blonde too?"
The boy ignored her question, but she continued talking.
"May I ask where you are from?"
Sting stopped eating.
He stared forlornly at his food.
Realizing that she wouldn't get an answer from the arrogant boy, she let out a sigh. "I'm sorry, but did you runaway too?" She asked cautiously, "As I mentioned earlier… I've runaway from home. But, I'm old enough to take care of myself now, you see?" She crossed her arms and tilted her head, "It's just that… you're so young and you shouldn't be all alone by yourself at this age." She gave a guilty smile, "You should go back to your parents… They must be worried sick about y—"
"He's dead." Sting stood from his seat, his eyes shadowed by his messy blonde hair. "I—I killed him."
That's it. I crossed the line...
Another dead-like silence bore between them. Before she even had the chance to speak, he ran over to the door and grabbed the handle. He just didn't have the courage to hear what she had to say.
Before he could rush out the door, he saw Lucy run over to him. A wave of confusion washed over his body as the celestial mage hugged him tightly.
His hand released the door handle as he stood there, shocked by her tears. She's not scared of me? He was confused. "W—why…?"
"When I was younger, I used to think like that too." She explained,"…Ever since my mom died, I always thought that it was my fault… and I blamed myself for everything—" Lucy clutched him even closer and they stared at each other face-to-face. "—but when I look at you… It's like looking at the Me from six years ago. You're not alone anymore!"
A new feeling awakened inside Sting. Something in him had clicked. After all those years of wandering alone in darkness, hunted by loneliness and guilt, he hadn't felt it in years. The empty void in his heart. Not filled by darkness—but from the warmth of kindness from others.
A tear trickled down his cheek, without realizing it. Lucy immediately released her hug and started pulling on the ends of her hair a bit sheepishly. She laughed nervously, "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked about all that."
Why is she apologizing to me? He smirked at the thought. Then the corner of his mouth twitched a little. "… It's fine." He gave her a genuine smile.
Lucy remembered that she had bought some old clothes that didn't fit her a long time ago. She rummaged her closet and found a white t-shirt, a sleeveless orange jacket, and some baggy pants. She caught the boy by surprise and tried to undress him. She lifted up his shirt, but he squirmed away defensively.
"H-hey!" He hugged himself, "I-I can change by myself!"
She burst in laughter as he blushed furiously. "It might be a little too big for you, but we'll get you some new clothes tomorrow in the morning."
Sting's face continued reddening, but stopped when he remembered that he couldn't allow himself to feel so attached. It would only hurt more if he decided to stay any longer.
"Ne, I forgot that you got me all wet… I'm going to take a quick shower." She walked into the bathroom and smiled deviously. "No peeking~"
"W-what makes you think I'd do that, Blondie!" He roared ferociously as she snickered from behind the door.
Sting hesitantly took off his uncomfortable old clothes and put on the new ones that Lucy had given him. They're so… soft. Sting thought to himself, feeling the velvet-like interior brush against his skin.
He looked around the room and noticed all the novels and magazines lying around on the floor. He opened the one closest to him to a random page and saw two adults in a peculiar sight. The woman's hand was placed onto his heart, and the man was brushing her hair out of her eyes. They stared, transfixed by each other's gaze. Sting's eyes widened as he saw their lips touching.
He quickly shut the magazine and threw it across the room. His mind felt like it was internally scarred. He did not need to see that. "Does that blondie really like that sort of stuff?" He asked no one in particular.
He threw himself onto the bed exhaustedly. He let out a huge yawn and noticed how extremely comfy it was. He laid his head on the pillow, and before he knew it, he couldn't pull himself back up.
His eyes dreamily floated around the room. His perfect vision was gradually becoming blurrier with each passing second. He decided that he would only close his eyes for just a few seconds, and then he would get up again.
Minutes passed and he found himself deep in slumber.
Lucy finally came out of the warm shower, dressed in some pajamas. She noticed that the boy was lying on her only bed fast asleep. The clothes she had given him fit him well. She had to admit that he looked too cute when he wasn't being so arrogant.
Well, there's no way I'm sleeping on the ground, she heaved a heavy sigh. She quietly stepped into her bed and tucked the boy snugly inside the warm blanket. Sting smiled in his sleep and unconsciously shifted closer to her. Lucy felt a warm feeling surge inside her chest, and she embraced him in his slumber.
She took her other hand and traced along the scar above his right eye. She felt the boy shudder from her touch, so she leaned closer to him. Their silhouettes bathed in the serene moonlight, steadily breathing ever so gently.
"…good night." She whispered inaudibly.