Laxus followed Lucy out of the guild hall, studying the girl as he did. What was with her? Why did he always feel more at ease around her than he did anyone else in Fairy Tail, with the exception of Thunder Legion.
"So what did you pick out for us to do?"
She grinned up at him, handing him the paper.
He scanned it and sighed as he handed back at her.
"Clearing bandits out. Should be easy enough," He stated.
"I know right? If you still want to come your more than welcome, but I can probably do this one on my own," Lucy said confidently.
He shook his head, "No way I'm letting you go by yourself. Your luck you'll get kidnapped or worse and I'll never hear the end of it from anyone."
Besides the fact that I really want to go along He added silently before reminding himself that there was no way he was going to start a relationship with anyone, especially the blonde before him.
Lucy laughed, "True, my team does seem to be overly protective of me, don't they?"
"You think?" Laxus asked drily, walking her up to her apartment.
She paused at the door, looking at him nervously, "Meet at the train station tomorrow?"
He shook his head, "I'm staying here tonight."
He walked into her house without waiting for a reply as she stared after him, her mouth hanging partially open.
"You're what?" She demanded after a moment, following him in and shutting the door behind her.
He nodded, "It's easier than walking all the way back to my place and this way we won't have to wait for each other, we can just get up and go."
Lucy rolled her eyes, "Fine, but you're sleeping on the couch."
He snorted, "Where else would I sleep?"
She blushed and looked away, not wanting to answer that question. She had been so used to the team crashing at her place, Natsu somehow always managing to worm into her bed, that she hadn't been thinking when she said that, it had just been instinct. Tears pricked in her eyes at the thought, since Lisanna had come back Team Natsu didn't stay at her place anymore and they didn't go on as many missions together.
Lucy really couldn't blame them, but she missed them all the same. Not that she would ever admit it, but sometimes it was nice to come home and find them all waiting for her making a mess out of her place as they rearranged furniture so everyone would have a place to sleep. Sure, they drove her nuts when they did it, but at the same time it had been nice to know that they had cared enough to want to stay with her.
She shook her head, clearing the thoughts and melancholy away.
Laxus watched his partner in concern. He hadn't thought his words would affect her so much, saying them offhandedly as looked around her apartment in surprise. It was small, but it looked comfortable. Like a home rather than somewhere you would just stay. He pushed the thoughts to the side, filing them away to be contemplated later. Right now he had a girl on his hands who looked like she was going to start crying, which alarmed him.
"Lucy. Oi, Luce," He grabbed her, turning her so that she would face him.
Seeing her tears that she wasn't quite quick enough at wiping away he was a little dismayed to find that he was angry. Angry at whatever had made her upset. Even more, he was surprised that his first reaction was that he wanted to punch whoever it was, even if it was himself.
Is this how her team mates feel when she's upset? No wonder why they're all loyal to her. She's just one of those people you want to protect and see happy.
"What's wrong?" He demanded, holding her at arm's length.
She looked down, "Nothing. It's stupid."
He growled, "I don't care. Tell me."
She sighed and motioned for them to sit on the couch.
"Do you want some tea?" She asked as they sat.
He glared at her.
"Right, right, one silly story coming right up."
Laxus listened intently as Lucy told her story, explaining how the team always used to stay over at her place until Natsu and Lisanna started dating. Lisanna had insisted that he stop staying over, which was understandable, no girl wants her boyfriend to stay over at another girl's house on a regular basis. Once Natsu stopped coming over though it seemed like the whole thing fell apart. Gray was uncomfortable staying with just girls and once he left Erza did to, saying that she no longer would have to worry about protecting Lucy's honor.
"It's stupid because they drove me insane when they were here, but now that they're gone I miss them," She finished.
Laxus nodded, "It's like when the Thunder Legion stays at my place. Freed follows me everywhere, Ever always complains about - well, everything, and Bickslow usually eats everything that I have left in the fridge while tormenting my dog with his 'babies'. They drive me insane, but I get lonely when they leave."
The two looked at each other in surprise. Lucy because she would have never guessed that Laxus would allow his group to stay over, they seemed more like his followers than his friends. Nor would she have guessed that he would own an animal, he didn't seem like an animal lover. Laxus because he never thought he would tell anyone so much about himself.
"You, you have a dog?" Lucy finally asked after a tense moment as Laxus had expected her to tease him after he admitted he was lonely without his team.
He nodded, "Thor. He's a mutt, but cute. Mira usually takes care of him while I'm gone, unless Gramps can."
"You have a dog that you think is cute?" Lucy was bewildered, this was a side of Laxus she had never seen.
He blushed and looked away, "Shut up. He's a great dog."
She laughed softly, "I just never realized that Laxus Dreyer was secretly a big softie."
"Am not," He muttered.
She smiled knowingly but didn't argue.
He shifted after a moment, "So is it okay if I stay? If you don't want me to I'll go, but I just -"
He stopped when she flung her arms around him, blinking for a moment before hesitantly wrapping his arms around her.
"Of course you can stay. You can stay whenever you need to, Lax," She whispered.
His arms tightened around her a feeling of happy calm settled over him.
Lucy was pleasantly surprised when she felt his arms wrap around her, holding her tightly. She grinned into his shoulder as they sat like that for a few more moments before she stood.
"Well, we should probably get to bed. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow after all," She said, winking at the dragon slayer.
Laxus nodded, "Right."
She blushed after a moment and said, "I didn't mean what I said earlier. If you change your mind about the couch you're welcome to crawl into my bed. I mean, just to sleep."
Laxus looked at her, dazed, "Isn't this moving a little fast?" He teased.
If it was possible she blushed even brighter and stared at the floor, "It's just... Natsu used to always climb in bed with me. Something about me smelling good and comforting, I don't know. I just know that now it seems like my bed is too big."
Laxus sighed, damn that girl knows how to get to me.
Grabbing her hand he led the way toward her bed.
"If you tell anyone that I slept in the same bed as you and all we did was sleep I will electrocute you," He warned as she tucked herself into his arms.
Lucy hummed in response, a content grin drifting across her face as she fell asleep.
Laxus smiled down at the sleeping girl.
Damn she's beautiful was his last coherent thought before he too drifted off into the land of dreams.