The pair awoke to a loud crash in the early morning, quickly separating when they realized that sometime during the night Laxus had wrapped both arms around her and she had turned so her face was only inches away from his.
"What on earth!?"
They turned to see Cana standing there, towering over them.
"Cana, what are you doing here?" Lucy stuttered out.
"The question is - what are you doing here? Or better yet, why is he here?" She demanded, pointing at Laxus.
Lucy looked at the brunette in bewilderment.
"It's my apartment, why wouldn't I be here?"
"You were going out on a job," Cana scolded. "But that still doesn't answer my question - why is Laxus here? And why is he in your bed?"
The two exchanged an uncomfortable look. They couldn't tell her the truth and expect her to believe it, not Cana. Natsu, yes. Erza and Gray, maybe. But Cana, hell no.
Lucy raised an eyebrow at Laxus for a moment before turning back to Cana.
"Cana, can I talk to Lax alone for a moment, please?" Lucy asked in her sweetest voice possible.
Cana raised an eyebrow, "Fine you can find me in your bath when you get done."
"Why my bath?" Lucy yelled, turning back to the brunette.
"Because it's comfortable, I need one, and you owe me a story when you finish your little 'discussion' with Lightening boy," Cana answered, closing the door to the bath firmly behind her.
Lucy buried her head in her hands.
"What do we do?" She asked. "There's no way Cana would believe the truth."
Laxus shrugged, "You could tell her you're my girlfriend."
Lucy glared at him, "And what, we slept together?"
"Actually, I was thinking you could say I stayed over and you had a nightmare so I curled up with you to calm you down," He said, raising an eyebrow.
"But," He added with a smirk. "If you really want to go around telling people that you had sex with me, go for it. Wouldn't be the first time someone used me to boost their reputation."
"Please," Lucy said, rolling her eyes as she crawled out of the bed. "I'll just tell Cana your version thank you very much."
Laxus watched her go, admiring the view, even if her hair was a little messy. He actually liked the 'I-just-woke-up' look on Lucy. He frowned at that reminding himself for what felt like the hundredth time since hanging out with her that he could not be in a relationship with her, even if he really wanted to.
"Cana," Lucy called as she pushed the door open.
Cana giggled, "Get in here and tell me about everything."
Lucy closed the door behind her, stripping down so she could crawl in the tub with her friend. Once she was settled in, Cana gently combing her hair, she relaxed. At least Cana couldn't see her face while she tried to explain herself to the resident alcoholic.
"So?" Cana demanded.
"Laxus, girl. What's going on there?"
Lucy blushed, "Well, we sort of started dating recently. He stayed over because we have a mission a little later today and thought it would be easier than going all the way back to his place."
"Wait - you guys are dating? No, hold that question for later, what I want to know is why was that sexy man in your bed Lucy Heartfilia?" Cana said as Lucy turned to face her.
"Well, I had really bad nightmare last night. Laxus crawled in to calm me and I guess we must have fallen asleep like that," Lucy was surprised at the ease in which the lie slipped out.
"Was it your dad?" Cana asked, remembering that when they had first returned from the time skip Lucy had often had horrible nightmares about her father's death.
Lucy nodded, she had forgotten that Cana knew about those, but she seized the excuse gratefully.
The sat there silent for a moment, recalling what that time had been like, then Cana leaned forward, grinning.
"So when did you and Laxus start dating? I need to know all the details."
Lucy searched her mind, before settling on something that was mostly true anyway.
"I guess it started when we want on our last job. Lax was different. He seemed softer - sweeter and he let down that sneering mask enough that I actually got to know him," Lucy leaned forward getting into the story. "Then we had that match and I guess he must have been worried about me because afterward he kept checking to make sure I was okay. When we got back to the hotel he sort of asked me to be his girlfriend and when we were getting ready to leave he gave me his coat because it was chilly and it was the start of what would have been a beautiful evening. Of course, the whole thing was interrupted when Erza and the team showed up but that's okay."
Cana squealed in delight, "Who else knows?"
Lucy shook her head, "Just you for right now. Lax and I are trying to keep it quiet for as long as possible. You know how Mira and Master can be once they start thinking they got a couple dating."
Cana grinned, "Right, well, you're secret's safe with me. Now that I've bathed I'm out."
Laxus was feeling a little disturbed. Did girls normally take this long in the bathroom? What on earth could they be talking about? He sighed with relief when they finally emerged and Cana left with a wink at Laxus.
"What did you tell her?" He asked as Lucy packed what she would need for the job.
She grinned and told him the story.
"Now you gotta stick to that okay?"
Laxus nodded. Cana might have promised to keep it quiet, but once she started drinking anything could slip out of her mouth, so who knew how many people would assume they were dating when they got back. The upside was that it was going to be fun pretending to be Lucy's boyfriend for the foreseeable future.
"If anything, we can always pretend like we've broken up when we get back," She offered refusing to look at him.
He nodded, "Right."
But his heart sank a little at the thought.