Laxus glared at Erza, his arms folding in their habitual stance against his chest.
"Erza," He nodded, pretending to a calm that he didn't feel.
She glared back at him, not lowering her sword for a moment.
"What have you done with our Lucy?" She demanded, not sparing the girl a glance.
He shrugged, narrowing his eyes, "Why don't you ask her yourself? She is right there after all - and perfectly fine I might add."
He considered this for a moment before adding, "Well, maybe she's a touch tired, but otherwise unharmed."
Erza's alarm increased as she looked over at the blonde.
"Lucy, are you alright? Why are you tired? What did this heathen do to you?" She demanded.
Lucy laughed nervously, waving her arms in front of her, "No, nothing like what you're thinking, Erza. Laxus and I just had a job together. We had to provide entertainment for a Charity Ball and I used a bit too much magic is all. Lax has been a perfect gentlemen, I promise."
Erza eyed Lucy, taking in the coat that was still wrapped around her, the use of the name Lax, and the fact that the two of them had just existed the same room.
"Lucy, tell me the truth," Erza demanded.
Laxus growled, annoyed with the red-head, "She did tell you the truth. I know what you're thinking Titania and you might as well forget it. Nothing has, or ever will happen, between Luce and myself."
Lucy's heart sank a little when he said that.
Nothing? Ever? Wow. Way to kill a girls dream.
Of course, she would never say this out loud. Settling, instead, for wrapping his coat closer to him. She knew Erza better than Laxus though, and knew she would be getting the third degree later when the team was sure to meet up at her apartment. She almost groaned out lout at the thought. Not that she didn't love her guild mates, but sometimes a girl really just wanted some alone time. Especially after spending almost a week in the company of the man whom she had a major crush on.
Before she could contemplate it further however, another voice broke into her thoughts.
She had just enough time to turn before a flying blue ball of fur tackled into her, hugging her. She smiled down at the exceed, and hugged him back.
"Hello Happy," She laughed.
"You're not leaving Team Natsu are you?" Happy demanded, glaring at Laxus over her shoulder.
"Of course not," The Celestial Spirit Mage reassured him. "Just sometimes it's nice to go on missions with other people. Like when Natsu and Lisanna go on missions together. Natsu is, obviously, still a part of Team Natsu, but sometimes he just likes to go with someone else."
The exceed sniffled a little, but smiled all the same. Lucy shook her head at him, smiling gently.
At least I'll always have my friends, She thought, comforting herself. It's good to be reminded that they're always going to be here for me. And they'll come chasing after me the moment they think I'm leaving the team.
Laxus looked at the exceed, startled to find Happy glaring at him. He was about to suggest that they get a move on when he spotted Gray and Natsu making their way toward what was quickly becoming a crowd. He sighed, knowing that they weren't going to go anywhere until those two had their say as well. He should have suspected that at least Natsu was around, that cat and him were practically attached at the hip.
The two boys hugged her between them and Laxus was surprised to see her face turning red as they did it.
"We were worried about you," Gray said, letting go first.
"Why? I was out on a mission with Laxus."
"We know. And then you never came back," Gray explained.
Lucy laughed, "We were headed back right now."
Natsu didn't say anything just stared at the girl for a moment before turning to Laxus.
"You idiot, you can't just go kidnapping my team members whenever you feel like it. What if we had really needed Lucy? You could have really screwed things up. Lucy's on our team, not yours. Next time remember that before you just take her away," Natsu yelled at him.
Laxus blinked in surprise before laughing, causing the newcomers to stop and stare at him. Lucy joined in after a few moments and he was surprised at the swell of affection he had for her as she wiped the tears of laughter from her eyes.
"What's so funny?" Gray demanded after a moment.
"You guys. Lax didn't kidnap me. He simply asked me to go on a mission with him. Actually, I should be thanking him, I never noticed that it was directly for Celestial Wizards until he pointed it out."
Lucy turned, grinning at Laxus.
"I look forward to working with you again, Lax."
He blinked again before replying, "And I with you, Luce."
Before either of them could say anything else her team mates dragged her off. Lucy sighed as they talked, turning to look one last time at Laxus. She was surprised to see him still standing there, watching her go with a blank look. She gave him an apologetic smile and wave. Laxus grinned back when he saw it and gave her a half wave before turning and walking away.
Laxus was watching her go. His coat was still wrapped around her, which for some reason delighted him. Despite how big it was on her, it seemed to fit her in a way that he hadn't expected. When she caught him staring and waved it took everything he had to wave and walk away instead of running over to her and taking her away from her team once again.
Team Natsu kept Lucy with them, talking to her constantly, but none of them had missed the wave or the familiarity with which the two had referred to each other. Erza and Gray exchanged raised eyebrows over her head, both of them noting the coat which was still around her, and wonder what exactly had happened on this job.