Chapter 5: It's Raining, It's Pouring
Lucy was in a dark room with not much furniture. And despite the darkness, with her trained eyes, she could spot the red-painted wall and some black-painted canvases easily and also the older person who sat on a sofa who always emitted a dark aura. A pair of black eyes that was staring intensely at her was all she felt. Not even the coldness of the low-temperature room affecting her as much as a simple stare.
Simple yet it could develop into a deadly one, she knew it.
The blonde-haired girl stood unmoving, her expression was indecipherable; almost poker-faced. She knew that her father disliked that expression, especially when they met alone. But the girl didn't know what kind of expression she should make, since the progress of her mission was rather slow. Yet she had sworn not to disappoint him.
"Lucy," a low but strong voice resonated over the noiseless room. "Tell me the progress."
She didn't flinch at the voice, she couldn't. As much as she didn't want to tell her father– her client, she couldn't. This conversation was between a client and his private professional assassin, not as a father and his daughter. That way, she couldn't let her client see through her masked face; because anything could happen if she let the mask slip away. It was not that she didn't trust her client, but that was an ethical code he had taught her a long time ago.
"I'm sorry to inform you, sir," Lucy started and was actually quite surprised at her firm and not squeaky-ish voice, "that the progress of my mission is rather slow."
"The target was hard to be approached. He was busy all the time and the security inside the place was tighter than the outside," her eyes now dared themselves to stare back at his black eyes. "I was able to approach S just when the guards were slacking off on their posts, it was above 9 p.m. Other than that time, I couldn't. And just now, he told me to not go there anymore."
The client touched his chin with his gloved, slender fingers, seemingly absorbing the explanation his assassin had told him. And silently, he was slightly amused by the tense form of his personal-assassin-slash-daughter in front of him. The man chuckled inwardly.
"And what will you do, Lucy?" he smirked, knowing the little girl never once failed to surprise him.
A small smirk appeared on her shadowed, hair-framed face, but it didn't pass unnoticed by her client. Her eyes glinted in a new-found excitement as the brown color darkened. Then she replied him almost excitedly, "Infiltrating."
Natsu Dragneel, thirteen year-old, had just opened the glass door on the practicing room, which lead to the small balcony. The rain was an immensely down pour. Right after the thunder passed, he quickly ran straight to the soaked younger girl. Her pastel brown dress had changed into a darker one, courtesy of the water it had absorbed.
It's raining, it's pouring,
The old man is snoring,
He went to bed and bumped his head,
And couldn't get up in the morning,
The girl was mumbling, sitting and leaning on the railing with her creamy white legs sprawled in a relaxed position. Her neck stretched as her head shot upwards because a pair of eyes that stared at the weeping sky. And her hair, it was as drenched as her fine dress. It was glued to her face and some of it fell below her shoulders.
She was what peoples might call 'an angel that fell from the sky'.
"Ah, Natsu Dragneel-san, fancy meeting you here," she said a couple seconds later. Exhaustion clearly written all over her dull brown eyes.
"The hell you're doing there," he snarled, his patience grew thin, "get inside."
"But you told me to not come here anymore," she counted with her fingers, "exactly three days ago."
"Exactly, now get in," Natsu stretched his hand, trying to help her to get up. "I don't have all night to stretch my hand, idiot."
The girl smiled weakly and shook her head. "No, thanks, I'll go home now, I'm bothering you, right? I'm," she stood slowly – her legs were wobbly – with the help of the railing, "annoying."
Then after a step or two, he fell to the balcony's floor. Her lips turned to light blue and skin was sickeningly pale. She was an angel with broken wings, clearly a fallen angel.
"Shit!" Natsu took off his muffler and his shirt, then, after carrying the girl into the room and closed the door hurriedly as he wrapped the clothes around the shivering girl, he ran, with the girl on his back, into the corridor.
"Natsu-sama!" a butler with orange hair hurriedly ran to the two children with a mixed expression of surprise, worry, and caution.
"Get Aries to my room, Loke!" he continued to run. He heard the girl's erratic breathing. And judging by the coldness of her skin, he knew that she got hypothermia.
When Natsu opened the door of his room and entered it, his father and his manager were already there, seeming discussing something he didn't bother to know. Shoving the two adult men out of his way, he placed the girl on his bed softly.
And that act did not not followed by his father's question.
"Natsu, who the heck is she?!"
"Natsu-sama I brought Aries here!"
"I-I'm sorry.. But p-please get out of h-here," Aries stuttering voice was unusually loud. The three adult men started to walk out of the room, but Natsu stayed. "Natsu-sama, I'm sorry, b-but please–"
"She got hypothermia. I'll get some warm water and go quickly change her clothes to mine," the salmon-haired boy wore his jacket and went to the bathroom in his room. He sighed loudly once the bathroom's door closed. Placing a bowl under the red-colored faucet and letting the warm water filled the bowl, he hung his head with both hands gripped the side of the sink rather strongly with eyes closed.
Why do I help her?
Because you care.
Who are you?
Me? I am you.
Onyx eyes quickly snapped open as the water overfilled the glass bowl. Quickly, he stopped the flowing water, then returned to his room. He saw the girl's clothes had been changed by Aries. "N-Natsu-sama," Aries spoke,"we should bring her to the hospital now," the pink haired woman bite her lower lip in nervousness.
"We can't," Natsu glanced outside through the window, "the rain had changed into a storm now."
"But if she doesn't get professional treatment quickly, she will.. She could die!"
His grip on the bowl had loosened. The bowl will surely fall if he didn't regain his composure. "Go inform my father and ask him to call that witch-healer, she must be here on, at least, 12 o'clock."
With a short, quick nod from Aries, she ran out to the corridor, almost bumped into Makarov on the way there.
Natsu proceeds on warming her ice cold skin. With a clean fabric, he dipped it into the warm water, squeezed, then rubbing it softly on her hands, since they were the coldest parts of her limbs. But the coldness stayed. After some several attempts of increasing her body temperature, which were all failed, Natsu threw a thick blanket over her small body and kept rubbing the warm water around her hands and legs.
Once again, that knot appeared inside his chest, making him difficult to breathing normally. As the heartbeat quickened its pace, the knot grew bigger the more he saw the girl's helpless state.
"But if she doesn't get professional treatment quickly, she will.. She could die!"
"Child," Makarov's sudden call surprised him. "You should rest. Tomorrow you will have to go to see the place."
"It can wait," he replied curtly.
"No, you should rest now, Natsu."
"She," he started, then hesitating. His brow furrowed as the grip on the fabric increased. His onyx eyes kept staring at the girl whose lips were slightly blue and skin was pale. The whiteness might match the snow, but as much as he likes snow, he didn't like the slightest idea of having this girl's skin color to match. His mouth left agape slightly, the words had formed in his head but nothing came out.
"Something is bothering you, child," his manager stated after seeing his troubled look.
Natsu sighed. His manager was like his own grandfather, always understanding him somehow when the other didn't. Or couldn't. This young Dragneel boy was sure knew how to keep any emotion behind his poker face so well. But he guessed that by now, his emotions were crystal clear.
"Something's bothering you, Natsu," he repeated, "but I can't help you if you didn't tell me."
As he kept on rubbing the warm, damp fabric on the girl's arm, his charcoal eyes met the old man's eyes for the first time since the old man's appearance in his room. "Is my emotion readable?"
"It's not, if that means it is showed on your face, then no," Makarov stated, an eyebrow arched questioningly. "But I can see it from your eyes."
"What did you see?"
"They are abstract, jumbled, just like your violin piece," he started. Deciphering one was no trouble, but when it comes to a species of Natsu Dragneel, it went complicated. "I can list them from A to Z if you want to hear it."
"Anger, anxiety, concern, confuses, fear, shock," Makarov recited, "all of them mixed into one big negative, complicated emotion, but I saw the prominent one, that is regret. Dear Kami-sama, you should ask Mavis for this kind of problem, she's way better than I am," he muttered the last part.
He heard it all, but still, he couldn't ease his churning stomach nor the knot in his chest loosened. Natsu placed his hand on the girl's forehead, feeling the body temperature. Natsu had sighed inwardly. Thank Kami-sama her temperature raised slightly. And that little improvement had oddly loosened the knot.
"Child, what did you regret?"
"Natsu-sama! Porlyusica-sama is here!" Aries' sudden burst on the door surprised both the male. Behind her, a woman with pink locks tied into a bun neatly, followed her, muttering some incomprehensible words under her breath.
"You owe me a big thing, young Dragneel," Porlyusica walked brusquely to the unconscious girl on the bed. "What did you do before my arrival?"
"Now, now, Porlyusica," Makarov laughed awkwardly, hands raised to ease the healer's anger. "Natsu here continuously wiped her with warm water. I take it as the first aid treatment, correct?"
"Right," she inhaled deeply before barking loudly, "now, get outta here if you want me to treat this little girl."
Right after Porlyusica shooed them all, Aries went back to her room while Loke escorted Makarov to his room to stay the night. But Natsu, he just stood in front of the door, with his back facing his father, who was standing on the other side, leaning on the wall. He felt his father's questioning stare pierced his back, but he didn't care.
"Child, what did you regret?"
His manager's question was all inside his mind. Why did he regret, what did he regretting… He didn't know about his emotions, his feelings, so how did he know what did he was regretting about? The boy leaned on the wall beside the door, lost deep in thought as he was unaware that a hand of his, had formed into a tight fist
I don't know.
"They are abstract, jumbled, just like your violin piece,"
'Just like your violin piece'? More like me.
"She could die!"
She could die, people dies. I could die, too. She… they died.
"Natsu," a firm voice of his father pulled him back from his deep thought. Natsu glanced to the side; his father had a serious look on his face, which was a rare occurrence. "We need to talk," he paused for a moment, hesitated, before continuing, "privately."
The violinist nodded. The man needs his explanation and he was going to give him as much as he wants. If that means he could be free from this uneasy feeling, he could tell him anything. Then again, he was his father, his only family he had.