Part 12 Seeking the Truth

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Ichigo didn't resurface until around lunchtime when Lucy served ramen- one of few meals she could prepare to feed a crowd. Mainly her and Natsu's stomachs. Maybe she kicked him too hard.

Lucy had just finished serving everybody their bowl of goodness when the front door banged open. No one jumped at the sound having felt who it was before the said bang. Lucy ignored his fervent stomping in favor of her yummy homemade lunch.

Half of the noodles and toppings were gone before Ichigo manifested like an unwanted wraith. Wasn't too far a comparison considering his appearance; Ichigo's hair was littered with various splotches of mud and twigs while his clothes had smears of grass, dirt, and unexplained yellow stains. Not that his face left untarnished, he had various shallow scratch marks everywhere. No inch of skin or clothing was untouched. Even his shoes were marked or shoe-rather-his left foot bare beneath his crew socks.

Okay...so she did kick him a tad bit too hard. Not like he hadn't had it coming. Lucy colored when their eyes locked, his brown depths swam between anger, frustration, and a softer emotion she could not place-nor did she feel like it at the moment.

From her peripheral Wendy cut her a mischevious glance and smirk promising interrogation. Now, Lucy loved her little bluenette like a sister, that did not mean she enjoyed such looks. Or answering questions over her love life; Wendy was not MiraJane.

Lucy's focus slithered back to Ichigo right at the moment he went for her fish cake and soy sauce boiled egg. Her chopsticks snapped his fingers in their grasp with the ease of someone who battled with Natsu's own sticky fingers. Nobody touched her food and lived to tell the tale.

Brown met brown in a showdown over a half eaten bowl of ramen. It'd be a cold day in hell before she gave up her food. Least of all ramen.

"Hands. Off." She growled.

Any other person would have cowered before her her rage too much for them to take. Ichigo did no such thing, he only glowered at her in retaliation.

"We have training at five today, since I will be facing you I need food to eat-you'll just have to share with me as I have had no meal except dinner last night. Give."

Lucy lowered her lashes at him,fingers tightening around her metal chopsticks, in a glare preaching her defiance. Her nose turned up at him as she returned to her beloved ramen.

Ichigo moved faster than she could intercept- Lucy lost her bowl of food while he slurped down what remained uneaten and fell out of her mouth back into the bowl before she could bite down.

Now Lucy wasn't one to blush beyond a faint dust of pink that did not include what Ichigo had done. Her cheeks and neck erupted in a pink so vivid it was almost purple. Ichigo had finished off her ramen without so much as a hint of pink when his mouth wrapped around her last bite of delicious noodles. Her lips and arms crossed in an indignant pout at his lack of embarrassment, it was completely unfair in her opinion.

Now she knew why Ichigo reacted then he did when she undressed in front of him or pranced around naked in his room. If only she knew that before he stole her food...which needed to be avenged. Orange Idiot was going to regret his decision when it came to training later on.

Or you could wait until you start. Mukai's voice entered her mind.

Lucy scrunched her brows in concentration. Her period was coming soon, wasn't it? How nice of it for Mukai to remind her of her monthly. And Ichigo failed to buy her two personal care items from his shopping list-Lucy handled all grocery shopping while he took care of toiletries.

Thank you for reminding me, Mukai. She could just feel her period coming on. Poor fool didn't know what was coming when she didn't have her care items. Ichigo just poked the wrong bear.

While Lucy plotted her revenge on Ichigo nor her or Natsu knew what was occurring at Xcution.

Yukio stood in a simulation of Lucy's memories as he opened the first door to begin this long journey. His data didn't lie the blonde did have a lot of memory. He bit back a groan, if only he had taken up Giriko on his offer for coffee. At this rate, he'd be here all night. He'd never make that mistake again.

What Yukio witnessed so far was mind-boggling, to say the least. If he didn't know better he'd say what he was seeing was impossible, a complete delusion from a young woman's mind, except he knew better. Invaders Must Die simply did not copy false memories, what he saw truly happened. Lucy's pain, emotions, were too strong to be anything but fake.

The memory he currently reminisced on was one of his own childhood so much he felt an old ache tug within his chest. His own 'parents' were far from decent at least he had both while Lucy Heartfilia-he learned of her surname when the stern older blond man boasted their name during various soiree she was in attendance-only had a man who was so much like his own from age ten onwards.

He watched as Lucy grew up-and out- her lively brown eyes slowly darken in color as she grew lonelier and lonelier; he watched at Lucy sunk out of her mansion window in the middle of the night, as she ran and tumbled along several backroads at the ripe old age of thirteen. He watched her survive by doing things most thirteen-year-olds don't do, watched as she grew disgusted with herself for what she did nightly to make a living. Even watched as she pulled out a piece of paper with two words etched into the worn sheet: Fairy Tail.

He had no idea what those two words implied yet he knew he'd find out soon. Yukio continued watching as she sauntered up and down whatever country she was in-he thought maybe France or Italy-she never did look at a map for him to properly gauge where she resided.

Finally, he reached Lucy Heartfilia at age sixteen. Now the elder blond pranced around a harbor port-he saw the words Hargeon printed on an old piece of wood; obviously, this was a small unpopulated port since he's never heard of it and bought a silver key which unlocked this little weird ice-cream-dog-like creature she called Plue the Nikola.

He watched as Lucy first met Natsu on a cobblestone street while he challenged a fake Salamander and broke her from what appeared to be a love spell...he needed Ginjo here he could not make sense of what he was seeing even though he had seen her summon beings name after constellation! This was just too much for his mind.

Yukio logged out of his simulation, he had research to do. And show Ginjo what he witnessed. He had no idea what remains in her memories but he was not looking forward to it.

Lucy flopped down on Ichigo's bed with a heavy sigh training was brutal to her. Not only did her and Ichigo really go at it-nobody else could train since they were truly dueling-but Kisuke had the brilliant idea of letting two captain level soul reapers with hollowification to use such masks in their training, something they never did for good reason. That reason was soon proved as they practically demolished the underground training area. They spent the remainder of their time helping Tessai repair what was destroyed which took longer than necessary since Ichigo destroyed more than fixed with his lack of control over his spiritual pressure.

To say she was exhausted was an understatement, man just the two of them did that much damage in minutes than what Team Natsu accomplished in an hour. Her head sunk into Ichigo's pillow, it was like falling on an angels cloud though that may have been due to her sleep-addled mind. They won't mind if I doze for...a....few.....min...Lucy was gone.

Ginjo rubbed his chin as he surveyed what Yukio had watched the previous evening, the kid was not joking when he didn't completely believe what his eyes saw. If Ginjo himself didn't know what Invaders Must Die did exactly he'd say the fullbring needed an upgrade and repair. Except he did know what it copied and knew Yukio had recently fixed some bugs and upgraded it. What was in the devices memory was copied to the letter from Lucy's own mind. If he believed what he saw-come on how could he deny anything when his own pendant turned into a giant ass sword and he could make liquid flow into his mouth, he wasn't at liberty to deny what they both saw-then Little Miss Lucy Heartfilia was hiding several things about herself. Least now he knew for sure he wanted her, Natsu was just collateral for her. He'd have her too.

He threw a grin over his shoulder at the figure standing in the shadows, nobody could be prepared for what was to come. Ginjo couldn't wait. 

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