Bittersweet days passed in a blur for the couple. In the guild they made a show of being together, but a lot of time as soon as they left the guild they went their separate ways. Despite the fact that they only spent time together at the guild, they were learning more about each other each day. Laxus was amused, most of the time, by the way Lucy acted around her team. She seemed to really get into the role when they were around, and sometimes he wondered if she was really faking it or if she secretly wanted this to be something more than just a cover story.
He would not, however, bring himself to ask her about it. Instead, he went out of his way to do little things for her in the time he got to spend with her. A lot of the guys in the guild teased him about it, but most of the time he just rolled his eyes and ignored them. Surprisingly enough, Elfman and Gray were the ones who stuck up for him the most. Elfman insisting it was manly, and Gray threatening to turn them into an icicle if they didn't shut their mouths.
Laxus was sure that Gray was doing it for Lucy, who, he was learning, Gray viewed as a little sister. Elfman's motives were more mysterious to him, but he was sure it had something to do with Evergreen.
He entered the guild on this particular day, his eyes doing their customary sweep before settling on his girlfriend, who was sitting at a table with Levy, Gajeel, Gray, and the ever present Juvia. The one that surprised him was Loke, sitting beside the blonde, talking earnestly with her. He sighed, she had that look on her face that said she was about to start yelling, and he knew he'd better get over there before she said something that she would later regret.
That was something else he had discovered about Lucy. Though few things really made her mad when she was upset her fuse was short and when it was lit there was no telling what might come out of her mouth. Usually when she cooled down she felt bad and would start crying about all the mean things she might have said. He strode over to them before she could take her anger out on the spirit and sat on the other side of her, his arm going around her automatically.
Lucy tensed for a second before leaning back into Laxus. Before, she would have whirled around, checking to see who it was, had anyone put their arm around her. Since she'd started dating Laxus, however, she discovered that most people didn't dare do anything to upset her and now only a select few would put their arm around her - all of whom she trust completely. When the smell of rain, campfire, and something she couldn't quite place filled her nostrils she relaxed completely, knowing that it was Laxus behind her.
Loke glared at him before turning back to her.
"See, this is what I'm talking about," Loke said, gesturing to Laxus. "You just act like it's okay to be his girlfriend when it's not."
"Why isn't it okay, Loke?" Lucy asked through clenched teeth.
"Give it up, man, she's not going to leave him just because you're jealous," Gray said gently.
Lucy shot him a grateful look. She really couldn't afford to have this kind of tension between her and her spirits, but Loke was making it hard for her not to scream at him. She understood his concern, but she was angry that he didn't trust her to make the right call when it came to her happiness, and, surprisingly, she was happy with the dragon slayer.
Loke sighed and bowed, "I'm going back to my world, miss Lucy. If you need me for anything, you know how to summon me."
Lucy sighed in relief when he left as Laxus massaged her shoulder gently.
"Want to tell me what all that was about?" He asked.
She shook her head, "Something stupid. He'll get over it."
She exchanged a concerned look with Gray as she said it, however. Loke didn't usually react this strongly to relationships.
Is it because I'm dating Laxus or because I'm dating period? She wondered as she smiled up at her boyfriend.
Laxus grinned back before remembering why he was looking for her.
"Oh, I wanted to ask you, do you want to come over to my place?" He asked, looking down at her with a smile.
"What!?" Four voices chorused before Lucy could say anything.
He sighed, rolling his eyes, "Not like that you pervs. Lucy wanted to meet Thor and I thought since it was so nice today she could come over and we could go outside and play with him."
"Who's Thor?" Gray demanded.
Laxus blushed a little before looking back at Lucy, "What do you say, Luce?"
She nodded, "I would love that."
He grinned and led her out of the guild, both of them ignoring Gray as he shouted after them, demanding to know who Thor was.
Lucy looked around Laxus's house in surprise.
"This is where you live?" She asked, craning her head to look up at the ceilings.
He nodded, "Yeah, just myself and Thor, but we make do."
She looked back over at him, laughing a little, "Yeah, I'd say you do more than 'make do,' Lax."
Laxus flashed a grin at her before letting out an earsplitting whistle. The two stood there for a moment, before Lucy's eyes widened as one of the cutest dogs she'd ever seen came racing in, his tail wagging so hard that it bumped back and forth between the sides of the door frame. His fur coat was a smattering of brown and white over black, his eyes so bright a blue they were almost white. He grinned lopsidedly at the pair before running over to kiss Laxus's hands.
"Lucy, this is Thor," Laxus said proudly, stroking the dog's head. "Thor, this is Lucy. You can call her mom, I guess. Now be good."
Thor immediately sat down, whining a little at Lucy as if to ask her why he was being told to be good when he yet to do anything. She laughed a little as she sat down beside him, running her fingers through his fur. He leaned his head back, regarding her with one eye that shined with happiness.
"He's a beautiful dog, Lax," She said, blushing at his comment about calling her mom.
Laxus grinned, sitting beside her. "He's a Husky and German Shepard mix. One of the best dogs I know."
She grinned back at him as he stood and started making sandwiches.
"What are you doing?" She asked curiously.
He grinned back at her, "We're going to have a picnic outside. That way we can eat and talk and Thor can run around like the crazy dog he is."
Lucy laughed a few hours later as Thor bumped his head against her hand.
"He's a very demanding dog," She teased, giving him a slice of her lunchmeat.
Laxus grinned, "Yes. He's like me. He knows what he wants and he goes for it."
"Where did you find him?" Lucy half joked, but she really was curious as to how a tough guy like Laxus ended up with such a sweet and loving dog.
Laxus smile faltered for a moment, "We actually found each other. I was out walking in the rain, pissed at Gramps for something or another when I heard a whine coming from the alleyway I was walking by. I thought I would just go and take him home. Instead I found this scrawny little mutt with all of his ribs showing, he looked like he was on his last leg, but I knew I couldn't just leave him there so I took him back to the guild and Gramps got him fixed up good. Come to find out the owners only wanted purebreds and when they found he was a mix they dumped him in the streets, not caring if he lived or died."
Laxus clenched his fists at the memory and Lucy felt a tug at her heart as she looked at the dog who's head was now laying in her lap, regarding her with one sad eye.
"I promised to take care of him so long as I could keep him and now here we are. He's the best dog a person could ask for. Everyone seems to adore him, though he's not overly a people dog until he gets to know you. He loves my team and the Strauss siblings, but adores me and Mira," Laxus looked over at them. "He seems to adore you too."
Thor sighed in agreement as Lucy pat his head.
"Because he's a wonderful dog and he knows I know that," Lucy grinned.
She watched as the dog and his owner interacted and felt a tug on her heart. She was going to hate it when it was time to give up the charade. Suddenly, more than anything in the world, all she wanted was for this afternoon to never end. She wanted to sit here with the man she loved and his beautiful, playful dog forever. Tears pricked at the corners of her eyes and she had to look away to wipe them.
Laxus had been carefully watching the interactions between Thor and Lucy. Thor was skittish around humans, and, while he didn't mean it, he could become mean if they didn't leave him alone at first, which is why Laxus was so surprised at how much he seemed to love Lucy. He hated himself for knowing that eventually he was going to have to let Lucy go and break his dog's heart.
Your dog's heart or yours? He wondered.
He glanced over in time to see Lucy wiping her eyes and sighed inwardly, wondering if he were to ask her out right now if she would say yes. He bit his lip and wrapped an arm around her. He wasn't ready yet, but he could feel it. There was no way he was going to let this beautiful woman go without a fight. What had been a convenient lie had become a hope that he just couldn't let go of.