Lucy was relieved when the girls finally left, she loved them dearly, but sometimes they could be exhausting. Smiling she laid down in her bed, wondering what Laxus was doing right now. She sighed and shifted, staring up at the ceiling as she thought. A breeze through her window caught her attention and she looked down as Happy, Gray, and Natsu tumbled in onto her bed. She sighed heavily, staring at the two boys in annoyance.
"Didn't Lisanna tell you not to do that anymore?" Lucy demanded, glaring at the pinkette.
He snorted, "If you're warnings didn't scare me away, why would hers?"
Lucy and Gray both glared at the dragon slayer then.
"Because she's your girlfriend, flame-brain," Gray said, annoyed.
Natsu shrugged, sitting on Lucy's bed, "You wanted in to see Lucy after the girl's left. Here we are, so why are you complaining?"
Gray rolled his eyes, sitting in the spot Bisca had vacated only minutes ago.
"You wanted to see me?" Lucy asked, looking between her two best friends in confusion.
Gray nodded, "There's a rumor going around the guild and I thought I should tell you before you went in and heard all the awful things they're saying about you."
Lucy eyed him curiously, "And what are they saying about me?"
"Don't worry, Natsu and I defended you against them, we told those jerks that you just weren't that kind of girl."
Natsu nodded, his arms crossed, "We still thought you might like to know what you're in for when you get down there though."
Lucy sat down and crossed her arms, "And could someone please tell me what it is I'm in for?"
"Well, there's a rumor going around that you slept with Laxus," Gray said, hesitantly.
Lucy raised an eyebrow at Natsu, who knew that she had, in fact, done exactly that. He shrugged and suddenly appeared very interested in her bedding. Lucy sighed as she turned back to Gray, who hadn't missed the interaction, only chose to ignore it.
"What if I had slept with Laxus?" Lucy asked.
Suddenly, Gray was on his feet, shirt in his hands as he headed for the door.
"Natsu," Lucy sighed, looking pleadingly at her friend who immediately raced to grab Gray before he reached her door.
"Would you at least let Luce tell her side of the story before you storm off to kill the man, dumb head," Natsu said, forcibly turning Gray around.
Lucy watched the exchange in surprise, normally it was Gray demanding that Nastu cool down, not the other way around. Something about this situation did not seem to sit well with Gray as he sat back down, glaring at the dragon slayer.
Lucy sighed, "I did, sleep with Laxus that is. I enjoyed it actually, and before you go getting ideas, no it was not his idea, no he did not force or pressure me into it. And yes, Erza knows, so there's no need to go telling her."
Gray's eyebrows rose continuously as his friend talked, until they seemed to disappear into his hair.
"But why, Luce, I didn't even get you two dating, you know what a complete jerk he is. Now you've gone and given him the only thing that he really wanted from you. How long do you think he'll stay with you now?" Gray demanded.
Lucy's heart clenched, part of her knowing that Gray was speaking only from what he knew of Laxus. The other part of her wondered if he was right. She could feel the tears coming, so before either of her friends could see them, she pointed at the door.
"Get out. Both of you. Out," She whispered, before running into the bathroom and slamming it behind her, not even bothering to see if they actually would leave.
Laxus was strolling toward Lucy's house, thinking about how great it would be to take her out on a real date. Not a date to his house or on a job, but a real date with dinner and such while silently arguing with himself that he needed to quit being such a romantic fool, when he saw Natsu and Gray climb out of her window.
For an instant he froze. He knew that Natsu came and went as he pleased, though it seemed that since dating Lisanna that had slowed down quite a bit, but Gray... Laxus wasn't sure what to make of the Ice Mage. He'd never seemed interested in Lucy before, but, if this was just a social call, why were the pair sneaking out of her bedroom window like a pair of thieves?
The thought hit him out of nowhere, but once it was there it wouldn't leave. Was Lucy really like that? He had never thought so, but why else would they be sneaking out of her room so late at night? He knew Lucy was a virgin before he took her, but that didn't mean that the three weren't doing other things.
Images of Lucy and the two flashed through his mind and he couldn't help but wonder if that was why the group seemed so close. Even Gray and Natsu, who had hated each other before Lucy came to the guild, got along. Growling, now, he stormed up to her room, unsure of what he was going to say but knowing that he had to say something.
Lucy had the bad luck to be just getting out of the shower when she heard the pounding on her door. Sighing to herself she quickly wrapped a towel around herself, rubbing the last of her tears from her eyes as she headed toward the door. She flung it open to reveal Laxus glowering down at her.
"Laxus, hey," She grinned, before she realized that he was glaring at her.
"You bitch," He whispered, before turning and stalking back down the hallway.
Lucy blinked for just a moment before shutting her door and hurrying to find the nearest available clothes. She had no idea what had just happened, but she knew she needed to talk to him before this got out of control.
She hurried out the door to her place, looking for Laxus as she ran. She spotted him just as he crossed the street and she ran after him, yelling his name in a desperate attempt to get his attention.
Laxus really hadn't expected his fears to be founded. Part of him whispered that he was being a jealous jerk and that was the part he listened to, but a smaller, darker part, couldn't help but wonder anyways. So when she had flung open the door in nothing but a towel, his brain had made the wrong connections, not noticing her damp hair or the fact that her face was still a little puffy from crying. Instead it notice the towel and the very naked girl underneath - and that was what it focused on.
He heard her running after him, even heard her yelling his name, but he kept walking for awhile, too angry to face the girl he had given his heart to.
"Laxus," This time the yell sounded weak and desperate, causing his heart to stop. Even now, after what he thought he knew, that sound made his heart clench.
He turned and leaned against the wall, waiting for her to catch up as he took in the outfit she was wearing. One of Gray's shirts - the purple one that Laxus had seen the Ice mage wear more than once - clunged to Lucy's body, buttoned haphazardly. Her short denim skirt and a pair of black flip flops that looked suspiciously like Natsu's completed the outfit and he growled in irritation, wondering why she was flaunting something that she had concealed from him for so long.
"What do you want?" He sneered, looking down at her.
She stepped closer, wrapping her arms around him.
"Laxus, what's wrong?" She whispered, moving to lay her head on his chest.
He moved away in irritation.
"You really think that's going to work now?" He asked. "No way."
She dropped her arms to her side, "Will you talk to me?"
He snorted, "About what? About how I know? About how I see you clearly now? You really are easy, aren't you, Luce? I should have known you would be with the way you dress."
He said the words to protect himself, not thinking about the pain they were causing her until tears welled in her eyes. She turned her head, but he had seen them already and he hated himself for saying them and hated himself for feeling so wrong about saying them.
"You're wrong, Laxus Dreyer," She nearly shouted. "I love you."
"And how much does that love cost?" He demanded, turning and walking away, leaving her there with tears rolling down her face.
I love you.
The words stuck with him long after he had reached his house, pushing Thor outside into the fenced in yard before throwing the first breakable object his hands landed on.
Lucy watched him go, tears rolling down her face uncontrollably. She had thought that those that had warned her about him were wrong. She had seen the side of him that he'd hidden from everyone else and she had thought it was real. Now, standing in the middle of the alley, she wondered how much of that was just an act to make her fall for him.
She stumbled into her apartment, hugging Plue close to her as she cried until she fell into an exhausted sleep.
And the day had started so well was her last conscious thought.
Elsewhere in Magnolia, two boys walked side-by-side, unaware of the pain they had inadvertently caused, as they discussed what had happened at Lucy's, having stayed for awhile after she had slammed the door, listening to her muffled sobs until Natsu had roused himself and tugged Gray out the window.