21 Mar 2016

Juvia came to the big city to get a spot in a prestigious dance company. But not everything goes as planned as she meets a ragtag crew of performers struggling to make ends meet, shooting for an opportunity to show the world what they have to offer.

Teen (13+)
Chapters: 17
Words: 117,566


Chapter 7

Chapter Notes:

And here we take a step back to see what Levy and Natsu were up to while Gray was brooding at home. This chapter (and the next) happens at the same time as the previous one.

This was really fun to write, and has our second song-and-dance number. I hope you guys like it. Enjoy!

( “Jack, get back — come on before we crack!
Lose your blues, everybody cut…”)Footloose!
— Footloose The Musical.


Natsu was standing by the school gates, chilling and playing a game on his phone when he heard two familiar voices say his name.

The chorus of “Natsu-nii!” and “Natsu-san?” was unmistakeable. He turned to look at the two teenagers he both treated as his younger siblings: there was Romeo, his usually unruly raven-hair hidden under a beanie, wearing a large sweater, torn pants and beat-up Chucks, and then Wendy, with her long dark blue hair in a neat braid, wearing a cardigan over her green dress, black stockings and loafers. Both carried their books and school bags. Behind them, a ton of other students were streaming out the gates.

It was dismissal time, Natsu realized. Of course. So he greeted the two back with a grin: “Yo!”

“What’re you doing here?” Romeo asked. He was a tag-along kid of Natsu and the others when they were just snotty teenagers themselves. Romeo’s dad Macao was a government worker and a good friend of Makarov’s. Romeo hung out with the Guild kids and looked up to them. He was eager to master hip-hop and breakdancing like Natsu so he also frequented the Guild. That band-aid on his nose was no doubt a result of him practicing again.

“Are you waiting for someone?” came from Wendy. She was an orphan — her case worker was a woman named Porlyusica who was a friend of Makarov’s as well. Now she was with a foster family, but she still hung out at the Guild often, mostly because she also wanted to polish her dancing skills. She met Romeo in the Guild and both teens were pleased when they ended up in several classes together at school.

“Lisanna.” Natsu answered. ‘We’re s’pposed to do the groceries today. But her school’s got this road construction thing right in front of it?’ — both kids nodded in understanding. They took that route going to school, after all. “There’s nowhere to hang nearby so we figured we’ll just meet up by the high school.”

“That road thing’s a real hassle, I always gotta go ’round the block to get to school.” Romeo huffed, rummaging through his pocket before taking out a handful of fruit-flavored candies. He offered the treats to his companions.

Natsu and Wendy both took a piece each. Natsu quickly popped the candy into his mouth while Wendy tucked hers in her pocket and adjusted her books in her arms. “Is Lisanna-san arriving soon?”

“Actually, she’s late.” Natsu frowned, checking his phone for the time. All three of them looked around. Maybe Lisanna was just lost in the crowd of high school students exiting the school. “She told me to ‘get there by 5 PM sharp, Natsu! HEAR ME? FIVE!’” he rolled his eyes as he imitated his best friend’s high-pitched voice. “And I’m here and it’s PAST FIVE and she’s still not—”

He was then cut off by a sharp tug on his arm and the next thing he knew, he and Romeo were standing side by side while Wendy tucked herself behind them.

“Sorry! Hide me, please!” Wendy squeaked, holding on tightly to the back of Natsu’s jacket and Romeo’s sweater.

Romeo rolled his eyes and groaned. “Ugh, Wendy, seriously? Now?”

“Wait wait wait what’s happening, I don’t understand.” Natsu said, blinking in confusion.

They could feel her shaking her head. “I’ll explain later, please hide me for now!”

But Romeo nudged Natsu and then whispered. “See that girl, cute face, bright pink hair, eleven o’clock?”

“ROMEO!” Wendy squeaked. They ignored her.

“Who, twin tails?” Natsu asked, catching the bright pink hair in the crowd. The pretty girl looked just about Romeo and Wendy’s age, and was talking and laughing with her friends as they walked huddled together.

“Yep.” Romeo continued. “Apparently she’s YouTube-famous, y’know… making those videos of ‘erself, singin’ cover songs? She’s really good, by the way.”

“Right. Pink YouTube singer girl.” Natsu nodded. “Okay, so?”

“I caught Wendy watching her vids. Straight. Up. Sighing. And when I asked if she likes the girl, she just turned super red and ran away.”

This time Wendy groaned hopelessly. “Noooo I didn’t run— See, I had to get to class—”

“Oooohhh…” Natsu grinned. “Baby sister’s got a crush-?”

“No, it’s not like—”

The so-called adult in their trio then asked, “What’s our progress?”

“The progress is that Wendy hides when she’s around.” Romeo deadpanned. “She looks friendly, really — why’re you even hiding?”

“That’s it? Well fine, we’re gonna help you score.” Natsu said, all determination.



Wendy could scream in horror as the two turned around and tried to put her in front of them instead. She struggled, but they were quicker and stronger. “W-W-What are you two—”

“Quickwhat’shername?” Natsu whispered.

Romeo replied quickly as instructed. “Chelia.”

Then, to Wendy’s further horror, Natsu started talking really loudly — emphasizing words— no. NAMES: “Hey, WENDY! We checked out that CHELIA girl’s vids last night? THEY WERE COOL! THANKS!”

And to make the situation worse, Romeo picked up without missing a beat: “Yeah! You got really good taste if you like CHELIA’s covers! They’re great! Thanks, WENDY!”

Not too subtly, all three of them then turned towards where they last saw Chelia. Wendy could almost faint when she saw that the other girl was looking right back at her, blinking.

She heard a distant whisper that sounded like Romeo saying “oi oi jaw up! close your mouth stop gaping!”

Chelia smiled at her and waved.

Wendy waved back dumbfoundedly and watched as the other girl then resumed talking to her friends and walked away.

When she looked at Natsu and Romeo again, they were practically jumping in place, doing their secret bro handshake and patting themselves on the back. They stopped when they saw her blushing furiously and pouting at them.

Natsu just grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her. “Wendy Wendy Wendy, she knows you now! Now you just gotta be friends and then— uh, and then— what do you guys do nowadays?”

“Fall in love and stuff! Hell yeah!” Romeo cheered.

“Yeaaahhh!” Natsu echoed.

Meanwhile Wendy just slowly rubbed her temples, seemingly drained of all energy as she said, “Nice to see you, Natsu-san… I’m… I’m going home now…”

“Oh man, is she angry?” Natsu asked, as both of them watched the girl trudge away, still blushing heavily as she hid her face behind her books. It looked like she was talking to herself.

“No, she’s probably having a mini breakdown. You know, her crush just smiled at her.” Romeo answered. Then he adjusted his backpack and said, “Well, see ’ya round, Natsu-nii. Gotta make sure she doesn’t run into any-… Shi-… WENDY! POST!”

Natsu just watched as the teenager dashed to save his friend from crashing into a street post and then led her safely back in the sidewalk. Romeo waved at Natsu before they went on their way.

It was then that Natsu heard a familiar voice beside him. “Was that Wendy and Romeo? Are they okay?”

“Yeah, probably.” Natsu answered, turning to face Lisanna. He frowned. “You’re late.”

“No, actually you’re just on time.”

He raised an eyebrow. “That means you’re late, right?”

Lisanna looked away. “I was meant to get here ’round 5:30. You’re always at least half an hour late when you come alone so I told you to get here by 5 so you’ll arrive at 5:30.”

Natsu gaped. “You trust me that little?!”

“I didn’t know you’ll be on time! I didn’t even know it was possible for you to be on time…” then she smiled guiltily. “Besides, there’s practice this afternoon, right? Erza let you leave early?”

It was his turn to avoid her look this time. “Actually, about that…” he started, scratching his head. “Something’s… up.”

“What is it?” Lisanna asked worriedly, recognizing her best friend’s tone of voice.

“Eh, let’s talk ’bout it on the way.” he said, starting to walk by the sidewalk.

His companion fell into step beside him instantly as they both walked towards the general direction of the grocery store. “Alright, what happened at home?”

“Err, Gray and Erza had a row.” he started.

“I thought that was Gray and Cana last night.”

“Yeah. Well today t’was Gray and Erza.”

“What’s up with Gray?”

“Look, he’s upset with the whole fired-from-the-job thing. I mean, he just quit the beach stand gig and then he gets fired from his stable job. I get it.” he said, looking down. Absently, he took Lisanna’s duffel bag from her and slung it on his shoulder. “And yeah, he was right — I noticed it too. Erza was kinda out of it. She kept missing some steps and won’t decide which of the choreo to keep in or to ditch. But ’ya know, Frosty coulda said it nicer. So Erza snapped at ’im when he told her she should get ’er head in the game. And ’cause he’s already pretty crabby, he snapped back.”

“So… something really was up with Erza and she just didn’t like Gray pointing it out?” Lisanna asked, frowning.

“Yeah. Pretty much. S’just me, Gray, Erza and Levy practicin’ a while ago. But Erza left and Gray holed ‘imself up in his room. I can’t do anythin’ with just Levy. So… yeah I just hung ’round for a few before I went out. Didn’t want to be there while Ice Queen freezes the whole house.”

“And Levy?”

“I think she went out too.”

Lisanna fell silent for a while. Arguments weren’t new in the Guild. Hell, it’s not home when no one’s trying to throw furniture at someone. But those were petty fights most of the time. The kind of shallow arguments between siblings or friends. Usually they can all shrug it off like it was nothing and work together again. For something to drive several of them against the wall all at once, to the point that they couldn’t bear staying in the house? It must be something serious…

Lisanna sighed. They’d been making considerable progress so far… they had a concept to work on, a song, they’ve got a plan, and still the choreo and dance itself was stuck.

“Okay, I can say Gray is really just having a tough time right now. I mean, he got fired doin’ the right thing. But what about Erza? What do you think’s wrong with her? Did she look upset?”

Natsu thought about it for a while. “She looked… tired? Like she’s giving up or something. Which is crazy, ’cause this is ERZA. She just hafta listen to any song and she comes up with something badass! I dunno what her deal is? She won’t talk about it either.”

Lisanna tried to think about what could Erza possibly be going through. Maybe she had a fight with Jellal? Loss of inspiration? Lisanna looked at her companion and was met with another concern.

“How ’bout you?” she asked.


“How’re you feeling? Are you mad at Gray too?”

“Nah, no. Not mad at Erza either. I think they just took it out on each other. Y’know, wrong words, wrong place, wrong time?” Natsu shook his head. ‘I feel… I dunno… I’m tired too, I guess.’ he shrugged. “A bit.”


“I can’t talk to Gray. Or Erza. Or Cana. I talk to one of ’em, it looks like I’m taking sides.”

“You know that’s not true.”

“And even if I did, all I’m gonna say is that they should make up with the others. I’m not even gonna ask them what it’s about… ’Cause those three? They only talk when they wanna. Not even to me — to each other! They’re thick like that.” he groaned. “I think maybe we should just tell Mira and Laxus early as now so they can knock some sense into ’em.”

“How about giving them a little more time?”

“We don’t have time, y’know that. We’re hardly even finished with the whole choreo. We’re not even halfway.”

Lisanna sighed, understanding that well. “It’s just… Erza keeps changing a lot of stuff—”

“Told ’ya she’s out of it lately.”

“And… and Gray’s the one she really consults with because the pop-lock stuff’s the ones that need more attention in the choreo.”

“And now no consulting’s happening.”

They fell silent. Natsu and Lisanna weren’t usually the peacemakers of their bunch. That job was usually up to Mira or Levy or Erza… They’re not used to handling situations like this. Not to mention Natsu was still having trouble exchanging schedules or shifts with his co-workers, while Lisanna had her recitals and school stuff to keep up with… Both Natsu’s job and Lisanna’s schoolwork took a lot of energy, and they still have to go back home and rehearse their routines with the others.

It was tough, but they knew that the pay-off would be worth it. But with their progress right now? It was hard to imagine they’ll get in.

“Screw this.”

Natsu paused, because he rarely heard Lisanna say those two words. He looked at her. “Uhhh… dude, what?”

She tugged on her bag which he was carrying and he held it out for her as she rummaged for something in the pocket. Lisanna took out a folded piece of paper and began scanning the contents.

“What’s that?”

“Our shopping list.”

“Okay, why’re you glaring at it?”

“There’s probably nothing here that’s for dinner tonight.”

“Yeah, Mira said she’ll give us ’nother list tomorrow ’cause she’s still computing some stuff. That’s probably for breakfast and lunch tomorrow—”

“Then we can do this later. It’s still early.”

Natsu blinked, now really confused. “Why, what’re we gonna do now?”

Lisanna looked at him with an expression so serious it terrified him. “We’re gonna relieve stress.”

He gaped. “Seriously?!”

“Yeah!” she nodded, tucking their grocery list back in the bag, zipping it up and quickly shoving it back to him. She started jogging. “C’mon, just a few rounds! You know you wanna!”

“If I can’t stand later, I’m blaming you!” Natsu said, fumbling with her bag as he followed her.

Much like Natsu, Levy left for pretty much the same reason. There was no practice, she had finished her writing jobs early, and she didn’t like the tension in the house. So she got into her white blouse, torn shorts and tap shoes, wore Jet’s old faded jean jacket on top of it, grabbed her lightest tap board, orange fedora hat and necessities, and then set off.

She wanted to invite Jet and Droy — maybe they’d want to join her — but she knew that they were still at work. They’d be tired after that, so she simply sent a message telling them that she was going to dance for a bit outside. Just so they knew what she was up to.

She walked around the safer part of downtown for a while, finding good spots. There were too many strict rules and regulations in the uptown area of the city and she tried to stay out of trouble.

Finally she reached one of the more common spots for street performers. It was this long stretch of sidewalk by a tall, wide wall which over the years had been filled with graffiti. She can still recognize Bixlow’s piece on one corner — a symbol of sorts, it looked like some kind of bird but with a long tail? What was amazing about it was that instead of the shape being a silhouette filled with one color, it was filled with a vibrant galaxy pattern. She didn’t know how Bix did it, but it has been there ever since they were teens, and no one had painted over it since.

Anyways, that spot was a staple for the street performers of the city because it was a common route for all sorts of people making their way across the neighborhood. In short, performers have more potential audience.

That day the area was mostly empty of performers. There were only two. There was a woman playing as a human statue standing on some crates. She was dressed as a flower seller and had paper flowers to give to people who would drop coins on her hat. A few meters away, there was a guy playing drums made of buckets and tin cans.

Levy smiled as she passed by the human statue. Levy dropped a coin in the lady’s hat. All of a sudden the statue suddenly turned towards her and with a graceful sweep of a white-painted arm, took a paper flower from the basket and handed it to the bluenette before returning easily to her previous frozen position.

Levy accepted the flower with a smile of her own and then went on to find a spot on a considerable distance from the drum player. She didn’t want the guy’s beats to distract her, and she didn’t want her tapping to redirect attention from him to her either. Contrary to popular belief, street performers weren’t always up for stealing each other’s audience.

As soon as she found a good spot, Levy laid down her tap board on the ground and placed her upturned orange hat in front of it. She grabbed a small rock nearby and placed it inside the hat just to keep it in place. Then, she put her hair up in a ponytail and started stretching. As she stood on the tap board and did some experimental taps with her feet, she tucked the paper flower safely in her jacket’s pocket — the red was a nice accent to her get-up.

She looked around then. Some people were walking along the sidewalk in the usual pace. The statue lady had occassional passers by dropping her coins. The drum guy has a crowd of around three or four teenagers watching him curiously while others just passed by.

It was time to give these people something to stop them in their steps, Levy decided.

She breathed deeply, made sure that her other things were secured safely in her jacket and shorts’ pockets, and then started to whistle a random but consistent tune while tapping her foot. After a bit, she started to mix rhythmic clapping with that.

When people started to look at her as they walked, she then broke into an impressive set of tap steps. Levy didn’t call or invite an audience over, she knew that they’d come closer if they really wanted to see more. Instantly, a bunch of people crowded over to watch her curiously. Levy did a quick estimate… about fifteen people in a half circle in front of her? That was enough — she did a high jump and clicked her heels together. As soon as she landed, she did one of her favorite routines with Jet and Droy. It was their go-to performance piece. It never failed them, and it surely didn’t fail her this time. She received some appreciative cheers, whistles and applause from her small crowd.

When she finished the routine, she smiled and bowed, loudly expressing her thanks as most of her audience threw coins, candies, and even some bills in her hat.

As the people started to walk off again, she thanked them once more and also asked them if they would please spare a moment to admire the great human statue of the flower girl and the badass percussionist just along the lane. Nothing wrong with giving them a shout out, she thought.

Levy took a few minutes to rest. She tucked the bills and coins neatly in the hat so nothing will get blown away by the wind. Then, when there was a new set of people walking along the sidewalk, she began the whistle-tap-and-clap routine again, starting to gather her second crowd.

It was the start of rush hour, so gathering the second crowd was more difficult because people who normally would have stopped to watch were rushing to get someplace else. Still, she managed to get a decent number of people watching.

Levy might enjoy dancing hip-hop, but tap was still her first love, and performing like this, even to a small crowd, always made her feel better. Each step, brush, stomp, jump and riff made her forget her problems even for a while.

She was enjoying another one of her usual routines, but then she stopped when a large figure stepped in her line of sight, and she heard a voice slightly familiar to her.

“Oi, hands off the hat, you bastard!”

It took Levy a few seconds to figure out what was happening. She looked up at Gajeel standing right in front of her, then she saw what — or WHO — he was looking down on: a rugged-looking man, crouched down half-hidden among the crowd, hands extended, already touching the orange fedora hat that carried all of Levy’s earnings for that afternoon. The people around them were whispering, some were walking away cautiously.

The thief just froze there — probably terrified of the sudden appearance of the tall, menacing, angry guy with a ton of piercings in his face. Gajeel just grunted and then kicked the man’s hands away just as Levy herself crouched down and grabbed the hat back to safety.

She didn’t know what to say or do. It wasn’t her first time having someone try to steal her hat, but the other times, she always stood back as Jet and Droy dashed after the thief and caught the culprit before they could run off with the money.

Thankfully, it was Gajeel who stood in front of her and glared at the thief. “Leave, fucker. Or we drag you to the cops.”

The man looked back trembling for a bit before immediately scrambling away from the crowd.

“You okay?” Gajeel asked Levy as she stepped up beside him.

Levy nodded quietly as she pressed the hat to her chest. “Thanks. I never would’ve caught him, I was busy—”

“I know. It’s fine.” he said quickly, shrugging. “But… I think that ruined your show.”

They looked around. Levy’s small audience were beginning to move on, some of them even warily checking their belongings, worried that the thief might have pickpocketed them while they were watching the dancing woman.

Levy sighed. “It’s fine. I can just… start over.” Then she looked up at her new companion. “Why are you here, by the way?”

He knocked on the guitar case on his back. “The shitty band I’ve been subbing for bailed out on a gig tonight. I already had late afternoon scheduled for that, I got nothin’ to do now, so I thought I’d just play out here for a bit.”

“Oh.” she then smiled at him. “I didn’t know you did that.”

“Only sometimes. When I’m bored. Good pastime and practice. Might earn some extra coins, y’know.” he replied nonchalantly.

Levy laid her hat safely back in front of her tap board before stepping up on it. Gajeel stepped to the side wordlessly. She looked around — it was obviously the rush hour now. People were hardly paying attention to any of the performers.

She shook that off. She’s going home on a high note, she had decided — she didn’t want to stop just because her hat was almost stolen.

She started to whistle, but it was drowned out in the crowd noise. Levy bit her lip, doubting her decision for a while before she was snapped out of her thoughts by the loud sound of guitar strumming.

She looked to her side, where Gajeel had set aside his now empty guitar case and was playing a very VERY familiar riff.

“Ten percent.” he said.

Levy blinked. “What?”

“Look, people are stopping. My guitar’s louder than your whistle or your tappin’.” he continued, referring to the people who were slowing down their walks as they looked curiously at their duo. People must be recognizing the song, too. Not surprising, it was practically a classic, from a popular musical film. “I’ll play for you, gimme ten percent of what you get.”

Levy didn’t know how, it must be instinct, but she has started clapping to the beat of the song that Gajeel was playing.

“Footloose?” she said, an amused smile on her face as she looked at him again. “Really?”

He shrugged, not stopping his strumming. “Everyone knows it. ’Sides, I figure you’ll match it easily. It’s tap-ready. If that’s a word.”

She just nodded, starting to tap her feet to the rhythm. He was still in the intro, purposely dragging it. “I’ll give you twenty-five percent. Play louder!”

“Deal.” Gajeel replied with a smug grin of his own, stepping forward and playing louder.

Levy was grateful that she knew the song by heart, like every other musical enthusiast. She clapped as she did simple exercise tap dance combinations. She smiled brightly as more people slowed down and started to gather around them again. They must be curious as to what the two had planned.

Well, surprise, Levy didn’t know what their plan was either.

“Everyone who knows this song, sing with me?” she asked their audience, smiling brightly — she was a bit out of breath and also not the best singer, but if she could get them to sing with her, it would be a lot more fun. She sent Gajeel a nod and he got the signal, instantly shifting to play the first verse.

Levy started singing:

“Been working so hard, I’m punching my card…
Eight hours for what? Oh, tell me what I got!”

By then, several people in the crowd had joined her in singing. Gajeel shook his head in amusement — he didn’t expect Little Tapper Girl to make her audience sing.

“I’ve got this feeling… that times are holding me down!”

Levy had stopped singing, just continued clapping to the beat as she moved on to more impressive steps. She didn’t have to sing anyway, most people in the crowd had picked her up easily on that department.

“I’ll hit the ceiling or else I’ll tear up this town!”

Levy giggled as she stopped for a beat. “Alright, you all know how this goes!”

As Gajeel strummed the chorus, even he couldn’t help but sing along with the people in the crowd.

“Now I gotta cut loose, footloose! Kick off your Sunday shoes!
Please, Louise, pull me off of my knees!”

Meanwhile, Levy busied herself with impressing everyone with her energetic, dynamic tap dancing to a lone guitar and strangers singing for her.

“Jack, get back, come on before we crack!
Lose your blues, everybody cut footloose!”

As they returned to the verse, Levy’s steps became a bit simpler. She wasn’t entirely tapping now. She was mixing some simple funk and hip-hop moves to catch her breath. When Gajeel looked around, more people were joining in, eager to watch the guy loudly playing the guitar and the girl with quick feet. It was also very impressive how some of them have even taken up their phones and had looked up the lyrics. He guessed they do love singing along…

“You’re playing so cool, obeying every rule.
Deep way down in your heart, you’re burning, yearning for some…”

Levy stopped momentarily to catch her breath, but still looked dynamic moving, clapping and stomping her foot loudly to the beat as she sang with the people again.

“Somebody to tell you that life ain’t passing you by…
I’m trying to tell you, it will if you don’t even try!”

And then it was time for the chorus again. Gajeel swore he would never know how the woman’s energy reservoir worked. It only took her two lines to catch her breath and go back to her top-tier tap dancing.

“You can fly if you’d only cut loose, footloose!
Kick off your Sunday shoes!
Oo-wee, Marie, shake it, shake it for me!
Whoa, Milo, come on, come on let’s go!
Lose your blues, everybody cut footloose!”

Levy raised a hand, one finger up as she shouted breathlessly. “One more time!”

Gajeel didn’t miss the signal — Levy wanted to skip the bridge, that was a good call. He repeated the chorus riff while she continued dancing. For this one, she mixed in some of the song’s classic dance steps with her tap improv.

“I’m turning it loose, footloose! Kick off your Sunday shoes!
Please, Louise, pull me off of my knees!
Jack, get back, come on before we crack!
Lose your blues, everybody cut footloose!”

This time it was Gajeel who decided to shift to the finale, noticing that his companion was already getting tired. Levy caught his cue quickly, leading the song again:

She spread her arms while she stomped. “Everybody cut, everybody cut?”

The crowd was quick to respond: “Woooohhhh!”

“Everybody cut, everybody cut?” this time, she mixed in some claps.

Again the replies came: “Everybody!”

Levy did an impressive jump, and twirled several times gracefully on her tap board as everyone sang the last line of the song.

“Everybody cut footloose!”

As Gajeel finished off the riffs and Levy completed the routine, they were met with loud applause and coins, bills, little chocolates and candies in the orange hat. The two of them bowed together to their audience.

Levy thanked them all tremendously. And again, she referred the flower girl and drum guy to her audience as they went on with their walk.

She hopped off her tap board and held her hand up to Gajeel. “That was awesome! High-five!”

“Yeah, I guess. T’was fun.” Gajeel smiled lightly and bumped his fist against her open palm. How was she still jumping up and down? She’s like… a nuclear power plant or something. “You doing another round?”

“God no, I’m super tired now.” Levy laughed, grabbing her hat. It was heavy. She would have to admit that she didn’t expect to earn that much. Levy took off her jacket and wrapped the hat with it to keep it safe. Then she picked up her tap board.

Gajeel was also putting his guitar back in its case. “You going home now?” he asked as he slung the case on his back.

“We have to split the earnings first.” she answered. “I told you I’d give you twenty-five percent, right?”

“Where d’you propose we count that stuff?”

Levy looked down for a bit before looking at her new companion again. Gajeel was not a bad guy. He was actually pretty chill and sensible. Also, he helped her out not just with the hat thief, but also to earn some money. She wanted to talk to him some more.

So she checked for the time in her phone before looking up at him again. “Wanna go grab dinner? I know this place nearby. Great food. Reasonable price.”

Gajeel looked at her for a moment, mouth open.

But oh well, they’re gonna count money, he’s gonna have some of it, and Juvia told him that she was having dinner with her beloved Gray-sama anyway, so Gajeel just shrugged again and said, “Why not?”

Levy beamed.

He should tell her how disarming she was being. One of these days. Preferrably soon. Fine, ASAP. Maybe now.

But instead, all that came out from his mouth was “Lead the way, dancer.”

Natsu was panting heavily, moving without stopping. To his side, Lisanna was just as breathless.

“Alright, firebutt! It’s going faster, don’t fall behind!” she shouted.

“Heh. No problem for me!” Natsu scoffed, “Try to keep up, uhh— errr— DAMMIT WHY DON’T YOU HAVE A NICKNAME?!”

Quite a crowd had gathered around the old, beat-up, but still working Dance Dance Revolution machine in the corner of the arcade. After all, it wasn’t often that the arcade-goers used that machine anymore. Nowadays kids preferred that xBox dance thing, right? But then the two dancing didn’t look like kids anyway… They seemed to be playing on the highest difficulty level AND acing it — no doubt ‘veterans’ at the game.

It says a lot that they even switched places mid-song.

Also, when the song got to the chorus, they were singing along. LOUDLY.

“Ay, ay, ay, I’m your little butterfly!
Green, black and blue, make the colors in the sky!”

Nevermind that they were both off key. They hit every step on point and it looks like they were going for a full combo.

“Ay, iyaiyai! Ay, iyaiyai! A-a-a iyaiyai, where’s my samurai? Woo!”

Everyone was silent when they finished the level. Both of them were standing still, panting, looking intently at the screen as they waited for their score.

When the numbers flashed on the screen, Lisanna jumped, fists in the air in victory. “I WIIIINNN! AY, AY, AY, LISANNA KICKED YOUR BUTT~!

Ay, ay, ay, you cheated!” Natsu complained.

“I didn’t.” she huffed. “You got distracted.”

He pouted. “You said ‘Look, there’s Lucy!’ OF COURSE I’LL GET DISTRACTED!”

“You should’ve done the same, then.”

“Huuuhhh?” he asked, clueless. “What would I say? Look, there’s your boyfriend? Get a boyfriend first! You-… You traitorous Slytherin!”

“Hah. Typical Gryffindor.” Lisanna rolled her eyes. “And we talked about this, I’m a Hufflepuff.”

He made a grand gesture towards her general direction, to show his disagreement — “You’re too evil for Hufflepuff!”

“Exactly. I worked real hard to achieve that.” she said proudly, but inwardly regretting her decision to make him marathon the whole movie series with her.

That was when they noticed that their audience was actually giving them a round of applause. Finally, the two turned around and saw almost half of the arcade-goers clapping their hands and cheering. They just exchanged looks before holding hands and taking a bow.

Then Lisanna took her wristwatch out from her pocket and bit her lip. “Grocery store closes in thirty minutes.”

“Aw, crap!” Natsu cursed, then quickly grabbed Lisanna’s bag and slung it on his shoulder again. “Run for it!”

They ran for it. They barely made it on time but at least — Natsu decided — he was feeling much better. He was sure Lisanna was, too.

Chapter Notes:

I loved writing this part so much. Romeo and Wendy won’t appear too often, but it’ll be lots of fun when they do. And I enjoy writing anything with Levy taking Gajeel off guard by being the ray of sunshine that she is, so it’s all better.

I think people who portray Lisanna as this angelic kindly young lady are missing out on the fact that she is still Mira’s sister, she is everyone’s childhood friend so she should be just as quirky as them, and one time she danced with Natsu, she basically turned him upside down so. Yeah.

Dance/Musical Notes:
— Do I even explain Footloose? Oh, but if any of you want to hear what an acoustic version sounds like, go look up the cover by The Ramdam’S.
— And if you think Natsu and Lisanna won’t sing out loud while doing DDR, you are very wrong.

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