Chapter 3: Meeting and a Promise
"Well, let's go check it out then!" Lisanna grinned, "If it doesn't check out you can come back to my place."
"Your place? Did you move out of Mira's." I raised an eyebrow at her, "I'd never had guessed that Mira would let you leave."
"Yup! Well...it's still close to home but it's mine!" She pulled me towards the door, "But that's why you can stay over whenever you want! Now lets go look at that house!" She smiled brightly, and looked adorable as she did so. I smiled back, letting her drag me out of the building hand-in-hand.
We walked uneasily down several roads. There were so many alleys and backstreets that we joked at one point that it was like we were walking in a maze. After an hour or so, we finally reached the street my new house was located on and after only another ten, the house itself.
"That is the saddest little house I have ever seen." Lisanna sighed as we lingered outside of it.
"Shut up. It's just a fixer-upper." I argued. She gave me a flat look and shook her head looking at the house with a frown. The blue tiles were dirty here and there, the lawn outside untamed and few vines beginning to grow over one side of the house. It was sandwiched between some apartment buildings and duplexes, seeming to be completely forgotten. I stepped forward, opening the little white gate that looked like it could use a new coat of paint. Lisanna followed reluctantly, a slight grimace marring her features.
It was messy inside but also quite nicer than what I had thought I'd be. Happy leapt to the table just inside the foyer before taking off to explore the rest of the house with bright laughter. I chuckled, following him to the living room, catching him before he flew upstairs, "What do you think?"
"I think I....LOVE IT!" Happy cheered as he rushed upstairs.
"I'll take back what I said..." Lisanna grinned, plopping onto a ugly grey couch left by the previous owners. I didn't know why the previous owners moved out, but there were full sets of furniture still here. I hoped that it wasn't because they dies or anything of that nature. "This place is kind of nice."
I brushed my hand over the dark coffee table, "It's going to need some serious attention in the cleaning department." I wiped the dark dust off of my hand before settling beside her. I looked around the room silently thinking, as if addressing the previous owners, please let me live here from now on. "Well, lets make ourselves at home." I stood again, moving to one of my bags where I had a couple bottles of tea, passing one to Lisanna, and making some small talk.
Unlike the abandoned building, we decided that it would be better for me to register the place under my name. Lisanna offered to have Mira help with the paperwork but I shook my head. "I'll ask Makarov." Although I hesitated before saying so, I hated when asking the old man for something. But the last time he talked to the old man he insisted that I come to him whenever I needed help. "Because we're family," he had said. I figured this wouldn't be too much, I could afford to depend on them a little more.
They were silent for a while, listening to the joy-filled pitter-patter of Happy's steps above us.
I chuckled as he bounced while he came back to where we sat, explaining everything he loved about the house. Apparently the upstairs was just as furnished as the downstairs, I sighed in relief, that made moving in easier but he couldn't help but wonder why the house owners before him left. I pushed the question from my mind, whoever they were they must've just forgotten about the place or something.
"Hey." Lisanna spoke up, "Is the pact for real?"
"Oh?" I turned to her, "You already heard?"
"Yeah, my sister is the head of the clan right now as the oldest of the head family." She explained with a frown.
"Oh yeah." I had forgotten about that. "Of course you'd know about it."
When I had found out that Mira was running the clan for the first time, I was worried. She was still so young, barely 16 when she took over the clan from Makarov's care. I was also shocked at how differently Mira ran her clan over Sting and Rogue. It was strange.
"I'm sorry but," Lisanna frowned, "I've got a bad feeling from all vampires...besides you of course." There was the main problem in the pact...Vampires didn't care to hide the fact that they looked down upon werewolves, so the tension was always high. I often wondered if the pact could even be successfully made between them.
"Sting and Rogue have been thinking hard about it as well." Even going so far to ask me, the bastard child, on the matter. "They want safety for the clan."
"I...hate Sting. Rogue is fine, he's quiet and keeps to himself, but Sting." Lisanna glared at her tea, "Sting just has this cocky air around him. Like he thinks he's king of the world. "
"Lisanna..." I sighed.
"He always calls us things like "dogs" and it make me sick." She turned to face me, "Hey Natsu..." She frowned, pulling me to her and nuzzling up to my shoulder, "Who is more important to you...them or me?"
"What?" I was shocked at her question. Honestly I had never compared them. He was a vampire so he had a duty to the clan, but he also loved the Strauss siblings and all of Fairy Tail. "I can't compare you two." I said honestly. "I've never though about it before." Both are important in their own right. There was no way he could answer such a question right away. The feelings for the two, the leaders and Lisanna, were different. One was something you feel for family, the other like a yearning. I had a feeling I would only make a mistake if I responded to fast. I frowned, finally speaking again, "I don't know...you're both important."
"What do you mean by that?" Lisanna frowned, her voice sad.
"It's not...easy. That's like asking if I like peaches or strawberries better." I sighed.
"But you love strawberries better." She chuckled. "What kind of an example is that?"
"Okay..that was a bad example. But you know what I mean." I smiled.
"Seriously, am I a strawberry? Are those two peaches? They wouldn't even be cute as a peach?" She was doubled over in laughter, it didn't take long for me to join her. Sting and Rogue as little peaches? It was a hilarious mental image.
"You're important to me, Lisanna," I sighed after we had settled down, returning her hug, "But that doesn't mean that Sting and Rogue aren't important as well. It's just...different."
"Yeah yeah, I get it." She sighed, embracing me tightly with her small but strong arms. No matter how old she got, Lisanna was still like a child. I smiled, accepting the hug just the way I have done for the past several years now.
"Hey! I want in too!" Happy whined, hopping up onto the coffee table.
I chuckled, "Okay, come here." He happily jumped onto the couch, settling himself comfortably between us. It was almost as if he wanted to steal the warmth between our warm bodies. I smiled at his actions and Lisanna's soft, sleepy grin as she pet the blue cat. It wasn't much longer until we fell asleep that way.
A few days later, I received a message from Rogue. It seemed that him ans Sting would be meeting with Mira, the current wolf clan leader, before the next clan gathering. That wasn't what shocked me the most though...it was the fact that he and Sting wanted me to be there at the meeting. No doubt as a peacekeeper of sorts. I didn't have much confidence in being the middle man and he wasn't sure that Sting wanted to give him such an important role but as Rogue expressed in the letter; he was closest to the werewolves and that gave him a little leverage in the meeting.
"Let's go Happy." I sighed. This was surely going to be a long day.
"Aye!" He cheered, but with notably less enthusiasm than usual.
A few hours later, we arrived at the mansion. It was strange to be there without the clan gathering as well. I almost headed towards the large meeting hall out of habit. But today he'd been greeted by one of their beast servants, "This way." I was definitely surprised to find that it was a cat, though much larger than Happy, leading him. It was a shock once more once we reached the lounge and in a flash of light he was the size of Happy yet with a green color. I blinked in surprise, I had never seen a beast servant that could change size before, let alone being such an odd color like Happy. Without thinking I reached out to rub the cat's neck and he purred happily.
I finally glanced around the room, Mira was already here, her two siblings on either side. I didn't think they would be there as well, and without thinking I almost shouted, "You guys came too?"
Mira chuckled lightly, "They need to get used to this place as well since the next boss may very well be one of them or a child from one of us three." The leader ship in the werewolf clan was not necessarily passed down by family but also by the one with the best skills and so far it was up to either Elfman or Lisanna to eventually take over once Mira tired of the job and it was the same for vampires as well.
Oh yeah. I was starting to see why Lisanna had such a hate for Sting. He had both skill and respect. They size each other up on that alone. Lisanna had the skills, but she lacked the experience, same with her brother. Maybe it was a bit frustrating for her. Although she had said she didn't hate Rogue. But that was because he wasn't a cocky brat. But Sting wouldn't be so quick to admit it. Ah. Maybe that was why Sting often called Lisanna a "dog" when he respects her even if just the littlest bit. Because he couldn't admit it so simply to himself.
Lisanna was going to be a great boss. I chuckled to myself, catching Mira's gaze. She also knew so. That's why she brought Lisanna here, Mira wanted them to know how these things work. But she had also brought Elfman so there would be a level field for the two younger siblings. Mira wanted them to know how these things work.
"Let's do our best today." I smiled, "I don't think I can do much more than listen though."
"Well that's going to be a problem since we call you here as well." Sting sighed as he strode into the room, a small at beast servant curled around his shoulders. No one had heard the door even open.
"Sting!" Rogue called as he entered right after, "I wasn't done talking to you."
The bond just shrugged making the ravenette huff and turn his attention to the others, "I'm gong to apologize ahead of time if he says anything to offend you." He said with a light glare Sting's way.
"You can go play with Frosch and Happy, Lector." He said in passing to the red-orange cat who was quickly becoming restless as soon as he had entered.
"Can Frosch play too?" The cat asked loudly, catching Rogue's attention who nodded. "Yay!"
"Why? You know you're gonna end up being the bait right?" Lector scoffed arrogantly. "Let's just go, come on Happy!"
"Aye!" Happy called as they all took off, flying out of the room, no doubt toward someplace to play.
I burst out laughing as soon as the door closed behind him. It was strange to see, not just one, but two talking cats like Happy. And seeing the way they interacted and Frosch shouting 'Meanie' all the way down the hall was hilarious so I couldn't help but to laugh. But thankfully, with that, the atmosphere in the room changed to a more comfortable one.
"Well, now that the tension has been lifted," Mira giggled, "Don't you think it's about time we start this meeting?"
"I agree," Rogue sighed, flashing a rare smile.
"They will be at play for a while, no doubt getting into all sorts of trouble." Sting chuckled fondly, settling on the couch on the other side of the coffee table. Rogue sat beside him, although in a more polite posture than the carefree one Sting held. I blinked to make sure I was seeing things right, both the men seemed more relaxed and less prone to offend the wolves on their company but also the fact that they didn't seem to have that unapproachable aura around them...it was...different.
Surprisingly, the whole meeting went off without a single hitch. It made me wonder why I was there at first but I had also ended up chiming in to correct some wrong assumption on either side to make sure the peaceful air didn't change. Laughter was now filling the room at one of Sting's comments as the meeting had closed and they all ended up sharing stories.
"Shut up, Frosch likes to dress up." Rogue sighed, a light blush covering his features.
"Yeah well you don't have to be the one to make his costumes." Sting shot back smugly.
"Don't even. Who's the one who is always making tears in his clothing and comes right to me so they are fixed because no one else sews the way you like it?" Rogue said cheekily, watching in satisfaction as the blond didn't argue back. I laughed, holding my stomach at his expression. Yes, this was defiantly as if they had become different people entirely and all because of those carefree cats of theirs and Happy.
Lisanna was poking my side, telling me to stop laughing so hard. I slowly regained control, still letting a chuckle out here and there but mostly I had it under control. "Geez, you laugh so hard at that but I remember a certain thing you did that was far worse than that."
I froze, "You wouldn't."
"Mira, tell her not to." I whined to the older girl. "It was so long ago."
"Oh, you mean the time you challenged Erza and got your ass handed to you." Lisanna smiled. "No, I'm talking about recently during the last time you visited Fairy Tail."
"Don't you dare." I frowned, giving the girl a half-hearted glare. "That wasn't even my idea and it's not that interesting for someone who wasn't even there, Liz." I sighed.
"No, but I'd like to hear about you getting eat by this Erza person." Sting grinned, "I'm assuming your talking about Titania Erza right?"
"One and the same." Mira chuckled.
"Erza's strong like a man!" Elfman shivered, "And quite terrifying if you just mess with her cake."
I sighed, the memory going though my mind, "Your the one who pushed me into her and made her drop her plate."
"But your the one who had gotten the beat down because of it." Lisanna grinned.
"I think I might have scars from that devil woman." I grimaced.
Sting frowned, "What the hell is that woman?"
Rogue sighed, "Getting so upset over cake?"
"Erza Scarlet that's who." I yawned lightly as the door opened and two ruffled fur balls rushed in, one saying something along the lines of "told you so" and the other shouting to save him. Lector were being chased by an enraged Happy.
"Take that back!" Happy shouted, tears in his eyes in anger.
"Happy? What's wrong?" I asked, moving to pick up the distressed cat, holding him close and tight, not letting him after the other two who were getting suspicious looks from the others.
"He called you a bastard." Happy cried into my chest, a heavy silence falling over the room.
I sighed with a sad smile, "But that part is true Happy."
"You're not a bastard Natsu." Lisanna and Elfman shouted.
I shook my head, "I am. I'm a vampire but also half-human. I don't have a proper place in either world."
"Do you really believe that?" Sting asked with a sigh.
"If anything, you have a place in both worlds. Being both a human and a vampire." Rogue finished, picking up Frosch who had been scolding Lector for making Happy mad at him.
"I wouldn't think you two thought that way given our past conversations." I muttered, trying to calm Happy down.
"We can't afford to be open about our thoughts when the council is watching our asses for every slip up." Sting growled.
"Especially when each of us has a hybrid grandparent." Rogue admitted. "They only have us leading to the request of the former head."
"I didn't even want this role." Sting sighed, picking up Lector and giving him a stern look, "And you of all people know this...why would you say that?"
"I wasn't thinking." Lector's ears were flat with disappointment in himself. He turned my way. "I'm sorry."
"That's fine." I smiled, "After being called a bastard your whole life, you tend to get used to it."
The silence in the room was heavy and it wasn't long before the Strauss siblings took their leave, but not before practically dragging Lisanna with them as she insisted that she wanted to stay with me. Frosch and Lector had long since fallen asleep on their respective owner's laps. I didn't resent the cat for what he'd said earlier, it was something I had already dealt with for many years. There was no way around it. It was my fate to bear for being born as I was.
These thoughts swirled around my mind and I didn't realize I had been lost in my own thoughts until Happy shook me lightly, grabbing my attention, "Huh? What is it buddy?"
"I was just saying how it was getting late. The meeting had ended, quite successfully I might add, so there's really no need for you to stay." Rogue said with a small grin. "You seem tired, it may be time for you to head home."
"Ah, you're right." I chuckled with a glance to my watch. Sting and Rogue shared a glance, "I'll be going then." I stood and gave a short nod before opening the door to leave. I closed the door behind me and sighed.
I felt exhaustion weighing down on my shoulders heavily now. Ever since Rogue had said so, I could feel it and it made the trip home more tiring. I tried to distract myself with thoughts of the meeting but that could only go so far. But when I thought back on it, despite the high mood throughout, there was a very tense moment when Sting mentioned that the Hunters have a guild. Of course that could be expected, there was a limit to what people could do by themselves. Even I understood this despite how I tried to be independent. If the Hunters were going to attack in anyway it would be with numbers. It would be easy for them to think that they couldn't possibly lose if they were to gather all their knowledge. With knowledge and numbers they gain confidence. But I couldn't help but believe that they were forgetting just who they were going against. I wondered if they were underestimating their enemy, a fatal mistake to make. Especially when, in this life, it was the survival of the fittest.
"But I don't want to hunt or be hunted." I thought aloud.
"What do you mean Natsu?" Lisanna asked. I turned to look at her, sighing as my mini-heart attack passed.
It had been a week since I moved into my new home and a few days since the meeting. Lisanna refused to leave my side. I sighed, shaking my head. She gave a worried expression before a mischievous grin crossed her features and, just like when we were younger, Lisanna jumped onto me like a small puppy.
"Your heavy Liz." I groaned, she was lying on my chest making it kind of hard to breathe. She whacked me over the head lightly.
"One doesn't just call a woman fat." Lisanna scolded.
"I didn't." I frowned, "I said you were heavy."
She pouted, puffing out her cheeks cutely. "So...What did you mean by 'hunt or be hunted?'"
That's a hard question. Well, not hard to tell her, it was just hard to explain what I was thinking in the correct way. It was strange and made me a bit flustered while trying to explain it. Thankfully Lisanna was (mostly) patient, letting me try to get my thoughts across. I considered myself to be part of the clan, a bastard vampire child. It was what he was. I definitely wasn't human. If I was, then I wouldn't need the life-force I take. But in the case where a Hunter attacked a vampire before my eyes...I wouldn't know what to do.
"Natsu, aren't you thinking about this a little too much?" Lisanna frowned.
I chuckled lightly, "Do you think so?"
"Sometimes you're too negative." She admitted, "Even so, I like that part of you too. If you can't imagine it then try to." She laughed, a light pink tinge filling her cheeks and she playfully rolled over. "I'm just saying if but Hunters target werewolves too right? If I got captured what would you do?"
"What are you saying Liz?! I'd come save you of course!" I laid there aghast at her question. I had no idea what Lisanna was trying to say or why she asked that. Just the thought of it made me feel awful...if Lisanna was captured...if they tried to kill her...I trembled at the thought. If Lisanna was captured? If she died? I always assumed she would stay by my side...but maybe I was taking her for granted. "I'll definitely come save you! So you have to wait for me, okay?"
Lisanna ran a gentle hand through my hair, "Calm down, Natsu."
"I will definitely come save you if that happens." I repeated, this time quieter.
"Okay, I got it." She whispered with a soft smile. She laughed lightly, "Me too. If you got captured, I would come save you as well. That's best, right?" Lisanna played with my unruly pink spikes, "It's okay, even if I get captured. I'll do everything I can to get back." She lifted a fist, lifting her pinky. "So you have to wait for me, okay?"
I caught her gaze, feeling a strange sinking feeling in my chest. I pushed all bad thoughts from my mind, and finishing the childish swear. "Okay."
"Pinky swear." She laughed, linking their fingers together. A promise...an important promise. "Okay! Now you can believe in me. I'll be okay."
"Okay, I believe in you, Liz." I grinned, "If you break your promise, it's a needle to your eye!"
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