*GASPS* OMG WOT? AN UPDATE? AND IT'S NOT A LENGTHY AUTHOR'S NOTE CHAPTER? AND THIS STORY ISN'T ABANDONED AFTER ALL? HNNGGG

HIIII! REMEMBER ME? I'M BACKK! *TACKLES YOU INTO A HUG*

NOW GO READ! *SHOVES YOU AWAY*


XOXOX

Lucy stared at the image for hours. Reblogging it every single time she saw a different edit or coloring of it. It was glorious. The newest chapter of Fairy Tail had the absolute perfect Haru and Elie moment she had ever laid eyes on—okay, maybe that was an exaggeration, but still, the recent chapters had left her feeling deprived and this was just the right dose she needed.

She was able to tear her eyes away from the images long enough to see that she had a snapchat from Natsu. She opened it and it was video of Natsu scrolling through his tumblr feed, showing the same set of gorgeous edits Lucy had just reblogged. Still so beautiful, she sighed to herself.

"Lucy, I think you have a problem…" Natsu's voice came through the recording.

She frowned, refreshing her dashboard and the frown disappeared as a new coloring of the same Haru and Elie panel graced her dashboard. She didn't feel like sending a photo of herself back to him, so she absentmindedly snapped a photo of the newest edit and wrote on it, "What do you mean?"

After it sent, she reblogged the image to add to her spam of trashy ship posts.

Natsu called her phone since it was faster than using Skype that's been lagging a lot lately. "You keep reblogging the same photo!"

"Isn't it so romantic?" she hummed. "My ship is perfect!"

"It's not even a shipping moment," Natsu argued. "They are literally just standing next to each other! How is that romantic?"

"But look how cute they look together!" she swooned, falling flat on her back on her fluffy bed.

"I think there might be something wrong with you…"

"You just don't understand," she sighed dreamily. She wouldn't be surprised if there were stars or hearts sparkling in her eyes. She was so happy.

Natsu exhaled, loud and exaggerated, and Lucy giggled. Maybe she was being ridiculous, but she couldn't help it. She was so in love with them. It was like the fate of her world depended on whether Haru and Elie had even the most infinitesimal moment of interaction. She could already picture a new fanfic idea in her mind. She put Natsu on speaker, pulled up a blank document, and started banging out her ideas like a pianist composing music with the words flowing out to the beat of her shipper heart.

"Guess I'm happy that it makes you happy," he said at last. "What'd you think of the chapter, I mean besides for that one tiny, barely noticeable corner panel of Haru and Elie standing next to each other?"

Lucy scowled at her phone, wishing Natsu could see it, but if he knew her well enough—which she was sure he did—then he knew and was probably smiling back at her with that annoyingly cute teasing smirk of his. She thought back to his question, gnawing on her lower lip before diving in to her theories of what was to come. Natsu shared his own, albeit, his were a bit more gruesome and seemingly impractical, compared to hers, which she considered to be realistic.

"Too bad we are in the final arc," Natsu sighed. "I don't think there's enough chapters left for all the cool stuff I want to happen!"

"Final chapter? What are you talking about?" Lucy asked, hand frozen midway through a sentence she was just typing.

"Things seem to be coming to an end, don't ya think?"

She scoffed, nettled by Natsu's words. As if it would actually end just as it reached the climax! "I won't believe it until I see it announced by Mashima-sensei! Ohh, I'm going to be late to school," she groaned, glaring at the time on her laptop. She saved her document and shut her laptop.

"Me too," he said. "We might as well ditch at this point."

"If Erza found out what you were suggesting, you know she would kill you," Lucy said, thinking back to all the times Erza threatened to punish Natsu…

"Tch, it's not like she has to know," Natsu said with his tone impishly arrogant. "Besides, you need a break! All you do is study, study, study for your finals."

"Which is exactly what you should be doing," she groused while switching her phone to speaker mode. She set it down on her dresser and looked over herself in the mirror. She straightened the jacket to her uniform and neatly tied her hair up to a side-pony. Her hair had grown so long that keeping it down had become a nuisance.

"So you actually are going to school?"

"Of course I am!"

"Lucy!" her father called, and she told Natsu to hold on and left the room.

"Yeah, dad?"

He was sitting at the table with Plue in his lap, stroking the rough skin on the reptile's back. "So your spring dance is coming up soon! And I have a feeling you're afraid to ask me for money for a dress and the answer is of course I'll give you money for one!"

Lucy's face and ears reddened. "Dad, I'm not going. How many times do I have to tell you that?"

"But I thought that boyfriend of yours—"

"Natsu's not the type for a dance and besides it won't be fun without all my friends there," she said, thinking about how she couldn't possibly go to a dance without Levy or Erza and the others. It wouldn't be fun getting ready for it without them—or at least that's what she had seen in all those cliche book scenes for dances.

Her father frowned and pulled out his wallet. "Well, if that's the case, I'll let it go, but I might have accidentally," he pulled out a huge wad of cash, "lost some money and if you find it, you should keep it." He winked, placing it on the table. "Have a good day today! I won't be home later because I have an overnight for a meeting that's really early tomorrow morning."

Lucy smiled despite everything and took the cash. She would spend it on something more practical, like merch. She went back to Natsu's phone call.

"You're really late now, you might as well stay home at this point," Natsu said smoothly.

"Nice try."

"You're no fun," he complained. "So, what'd your old man want?"

"Oh, he just wanted me to know he won't be home tonight," she said, omitting the part about the dance. It's not like Natsu would be interested in going to it anyway. She thought back to all those times her dad had brought up the dance while she was talking to Natsu and the others in their group and she couldn't recall Natsu ever saying that he would go with her.

"Looks like I better call out of work tonight," he said, "'cuz I know how much you hate being home alone."

Her heart skipped. "You don't have to do that."

Natsu had gotten a job recently in order to stop relying on Zeref and his probably illegal funds. But that led to Lucy not being able to see Natsu as often. And as much as she knew it wasn't his fault that he kept getting assigned weekend shifts, it hurt.

"Yeah, but if I don't, no one else will because you're too weird—"

"I'm not weird!" She hung up and threw her head back, only Natsu could ruin a moment. But nonetheless, she still missed him.

Her eyes flickered back to the time and she gasped. She was extremely late now. Feeling like a cliche magical girl protagonist, she grabbed her book bag, stumbled as she jammed her feet into her shoes, and ran out of the house.

XOXOX

The past month at school, Lucy managed to fall into a routine with Loke, where they would sit together and discuss Fairy Tail or study and work on homework in each other's company. At first it had felt like a curse that Loke moved next-door and went to her school, but it truly was a blessing in disguise.

Things had truly changed for her. Loke, being the shameless flirt that he was, had actually flirted with Lucy's old friends, the one's that made her feel like a freak for loving anime. They even had the audacity to approach Lucy to ask about Loke and Lucy didn't miss the chance to proudly boast that Loke was the biggest otaku she had ever met.

"Those girls over there are so weird," Loke murmured, staring at the table Lucy had once sat at. "They came up to me calling me sensei— I personally think they meant to call me senpai, but still it was creepy…then they asked me to go watch Naruto with them! How ridiculous! I hated that anime!" He cringed in disgust. "They are not worth the time of day."

Lucy laughed. Her old friends were pretending to like anime to get with Loke. Karmic justice at its finest.

"So the Spring Fling is coming up," said Loke, smoothing out his lion mane hair. "You going to it?"

"Nah," said Lucy, writing out the formula for centripetal force. Why did she ever think it was a good idea to take physics?

"Really? Thought you would be all over that. Dressing like a princess and with your regal beauty, it's truly fitting. And it would be fun with Natsu there—I do enjoy hitting on you in front of him." Loke's eyes twinkled.

"As much fun as that is, I don't think it's Natsu's type of thing," she said, remembering her dad's business party. She had brought Natsu as a date and instead of dancing with her, he spent all his time stuffing his face at the buffet. He clearly had no interest in dances. "Besides, my dad's mentioned the dance in front of him a lot of times. He's never showed interest in it."

"I'm sure he'd be happy to go if it's what you really want," Loke said, rolling his pen between his fingers. "Or, we could just go together, waifu. We could be the rulers—"

"Not gonna happen!" she said, her words were as sharp as one of Erza's swords. As much as their friendship has grown over the past few weeks, she didn't want him as her date—ever.

"Fine, can't blame a guy for trying." He gave her an apologetic smile that somehow made his shameless flirting seem as innocent as Gray's stripping habit. "Today's chapter was great, wasn't it?"

"Yeah! Wasn't that panel of Haru and Elie so cute?!"

Loke snickered, "Hmm, not sure, I don't think you reblogged it enough times for me to have it burned into my memory just yet." She playfully punched him and he laughed some more. "Well, I bet you'll be even happier soon when they finally become canon."

"That won't be happening for a while," Lucy said with indifference.

"For a while?" Loke frowned. "I'm pretty sure we are in the final arc, waifu. Your ship's bound to be canon any chapter now."

She paused, her heart leapt into her throat. Why would Loke say the same thing Natsu had said? They must have read a post of some theory that Fairy Tail was reaching the end. That must be it.

"We are not in the final arc," she said stiffly, her hand curled tightly around her pen.

"How are we not in the final arc?! They're fighting all the main villains and things are finally getting revealed. I'd think that you being a writer would be preceptive enough to pick up on it. Face it, waifu, the manga is coming to a close."

Lucy blushed. She hated being belittled like that and she was tired of the conversation. He was wrong. Absolutely and irrevocably wrong. She tapped on her phone, wanting to distraction, unfortunately, she saw that her group chat was discussing the chapter as well.

"Do you guys think Fairy Tail is ending soon?" asked Levy.

Natsu was the first one to reply a big capital, "YES!"

Lucy started to type something, but she stopped after seeing Gray's message: "I hate to agree with that asshole, but yeah."

Erza, too, agreed that it was ending and said that Jellal predicts that it'll being ending shortly and Jellal is never wrong. Mira seemed to be more on the doubtful side, but Gajeel was quick to argue with her on that.

"We already had one couple confess," Gajeel pointed out, "so if that's not a sign, I don't know what is."

"What about the fact that they're fighting the biggest baddie in the series?" wrote Cana. "Hate to say this, but it's definitely ending any chapter now."

"Not to mention," typed Erza, "they finally revealed what Fairy Heart is and all that other stuff."

Lucy's heart started to race. Okay, so they all had good points, but it can't be the end. It just can't! This arc is just the fight where they hold him back just for now and then there comes the final arc where they have the standoff!

But, she felt sick to her stomach. She thought about offering her half eaten bagel to Loke, but she was still annoyed from their conversation. Lucy got up, walked towards the garbage can, and threw her bagel in there with anger as her driving force.

They were wrong. She was adamant about that and refused to buy into their baseless theories. It couldn't just end without an announcement.

Or could it?

Lucy shook her head, ridding herself of the rancid thoughts and went onto Tumblr to clear her head. But there was no mercy for her on there. Her dash was clouded with reblogs of similar posts of what her friends had been saying. That Fairy Tail was most likely at it's end. And worst of all, Jellal's post was the most recent thing on her dash with people commenting on it: "If Jellal says so, then it has to be true! Fairy Tail is ending!"

Lucy closed out of the app and closed her eyes. She wanted to go back to being happy about Haru and Elie standing next to each other and to before she talked to anyone today. She felt mad at her friends and at the world.

Maybe she was being overdramatic, but Fairy Tail was her salvation. The only thing that was able to bring a smile on her face while her mother was sick in the hospital, back when they would read it together. And it was the only thing that kept Lucy sane once her mother had finally come to pass. If Fairy Tail ended, then she would lose her one last connection to her mom. Her eyes watered and she willed the tears back. She would not cry at school, she furiously wiped away the one stray tear.

She inhaled deeply, held it, then exhaled. Wrong. Everyone is wrong. She opened her eyes and looked back over at Loke, who was looking at her notes, copying off of her. And she let him, too tired to chastise him about it.

Her phone buzzed in her uniform's coat pocket with a text message from Natsu. "Lucyyy, you there?"

He had been texting her all day, but she hadn't felt like answering, so she gave one worded answers and this time, she didn't feel like replying at all, so she didn't. She sat back down and decided to pull out her writing journal, flipping to the latest character she had come up with. She and Natsu planned it that she would write up a character and he would try to sketch it out. She only had a few characters written out. The main character was a teenage boy with spiky white hair and sword strapped to his chest. Not very detailed, but she made up for the lack of physical description with his personality traits.

"Make sure you base a character off of me in your story," said Loke, peering over her shoulder to read her character profiles.

Lucy grabbed her pen and wrote down what she said, "An annoying guy that looks like a cat? Got it!"

Loke gave her a sour look. "I think Natsu has finally rubbed off on you."

"He has not!"

As much as she appreciated the distraction, it didn't wash away the dull throb that thrummed in her heart, reminding her that nearly everyone in the Fairy Tail fandom thought the manga was coming to an end.

XOXOX

Lucy's heart felt heavy as she arrived home from school. She just wanted to curl up against Plue and cry. Why was everyone so certain Fairy Tail was ending? It gave her such a headache thinking about it again, but she couldn't stop the obsessive thoughts.

Fairy Tail ending… She clenched the straps of her backpack as she kicked off her shoes by the front door. If Fairy Tail was ending, did that mean her friends would drift apart? Technically, they would no longer have a common interest to hold them together. Her stomach knotted. She felt nauseous. Was this how Natsu felt when he's motion sick?

She walked towards her bedroom and stopped dead in her tracks. Something was off. The door was slightly ajar, but that wasn't what bothered her; it was the sound of muffled voices. Her eyes darted around nervously, landing on her dad's prized possession: the bat.

The metal was cool to the touch. She tested out its weight and found that it was inconveniently heavy. She practiced a swing, but the its weight had her unbalanced and she nearly toppled over. Steadying herself, she pushed her door open with the silver tip of the bat and screamed on the top of her lungs.

"Oh, Lucy's here," Natsu said to everyone in the room—everyone? Her eyes flashed from one person to the next: Gray, Juvia, Levy, Gajeel, Erza, and some guy she did not recognize.

"WHAT ARE YOU GUYS DOING IN MY HOUSE?!" She held the bat high in the air, but it was as good as frozen from the shock of it all. She was lucky they really weren't burglars.

"Why do you have that bat?!" Natsu yelled, slamming his hand against his heart. "Put it away! You're scaring Gray!"

Gray, however, was too glued to his phone to even notice what was going, but at the sound of his name, he looked up and Juvia tackled him into a hug.

"Gray-sama is so cute when he's scared!"

Gray struggled to free himself, whilst shouting, "I'm—not—scared!"

"Gray," said Erza, flicking her long, scarlet hair over her shoulder, "come on, you know that Lucy would never actually hit you or any of us with that bat, no need to be afraid."

"I know that!" Gray continued to protest, still fighting his girlfriend's hug. "But I'm telling you I wasn't scared!"

"He's in denial," Gajeel cackled with his abnormal laugh echoing.

"Definitely," said Levy, scribbling something down in her notebook. From the looks of it, Lucy realized that they were all doing schoolwork. Foreign textbooks and notebooks were littered all over her bedroom floor and on her small coffee table.

"I hate you guys," Gray said in resignation, finally allowing Juvia to coddle him.

Lucy shook her head, not quite believing how lively her friends were. "How about I just start again," she said. "Hi, Natsu, Gray, Juvia, Levy, Gajeel, Erza, and, uh, some guy I don't know." The some guy had blue hair and looked vaguely familiar, just not enough for Lucy to come up with a name.

Erza blushed and scowled. "Lucy, it's Jellal! Of course you know him! You went on a double date with us, remember?"

"That's who that guy is?!" Natsu gasped and judging everyone else's raised eyebrows and O-shaped mouths, they seemed just as surprised.

"Uh, right…Jellal. That's what I meant…" Lucy looked away, tapping the bat awkwardly on the floor. The double date over Skype, where Erza spent the entire time looking for Jellal. How could Lucy ever forget that?

"See, knew it would come back to you." Erza looked pleased by this with a huge smile stretching proudly across her lips.

Lucy leaned the bat against the wall and started to relax the best she could. She shrugged off her backpack and gazed around her friends, spotting a big enough gap in their circle right in between Natsu and Juvia.

Natsu smiled warmly as she took her seat, tucking her skirt beneath. She gave him a brief smile and then ducked her head. Worst possible day for her friends to come over, she decided.

She stared at a nail polish stain on her carpet. "How long have you guys been here? Didn't you all have school?"

"Of course we did," said Erza, "but Natsu was very concerned about you—"

"Oi, I wasn't concerned!" interrupted a red-faced Natsu. "I just wanted to make sure Lucy was okay since she was acting weird."

Lucy instantly felt bad, swallowing thickly. Of course he would notice something was amiss with her.

"That's what concerned means, you idiot," said Gray, who was back to playing on his phone.

Natsu's nostrils flared. "Hey—"

"You two better not be fighting," hissed Erza through her clenched jaw.

"No, sir!" said Gray, his phone slipped from his trembling fingers. "I-I mean ma'am! No, ma'am!"

"A-aye!" said Natsu.

"As I was saying," Erza smoothed out her white blouse, "we had to come check things out to make sure you weren't harmed in any way. Mira couldn't come because she had a test today and Cana lives too far, but they wanted us to tell them as soon as we found out about your state of being."

Lucy felt like an awful friend, who didn't deserve these wonderful people as her own. It was now and always has been obvious that even if Fairy Tail ended, their friendships were real. Their fates were intertwined and Lucy finally broke into a smile and tears blurred out her vision.

Her phone buzzed with a new message into their group chat from Erza. "Lucy is well enough to threaten us with a bat. Natsu's concerns were for nought."

"Kinky," Cana was quick to write back and Lucy snorted, shoving her phone away.

Things settled down quickly after that with Erza commanding everyone to get back to their assignments. So, Lucy begrudgingly dumped out her backpack and got started on her Spanish homework. They worked in silence for the most part, with casual conversations floating about. Gray and Natsu started in on their journey to Lucy's house via Era's car (both swore that Erza was some type of demon behind a wheel). Although, Natsu keeled over at the mere mention of a car. Lucy snickered and rubbed small circles on his back, but contrary to her comforting actions, she threatened him.

"You better not puke in my room."

Even Gajeel looked green from the conversation and Lucy choked on her spit. "You have motion sickness, too?!"

"Of-of course…not," he said between gags.

Levy pinched the bridge of his nose. "No wonder you always make us walk everywhere."

And then they all went back to work, until Gray said, "Is the dude with the stripping habit based off of me or Musica?"

"W-what?!" Lucy dropped her pen and looked over at the dark haired boy. He was busy studying her character journal. How did he get his hands on that? She cursed at herself, remembering that she threw all her books carelessly out of her bag.

"Oh!" Levy gasped. "Those are your original characters?!" She moved next to Gray to read it as well.

"Wait! I haven't even gotten a look at it yet," complained Natsu with his forehead creasing as he bumped Gray to the side to get a good look at it.

"Y-you guys aren't supposed to be looking at it yet!" Lucy helplessly tugged on the collar of her uniform as her body temperature rose sky high. She hadn't let anyone see it yet because she was a bit shy over it. It was one thing to write about other people's fictional characters, but revealing her own felt like she had just stripped bare in front of her friends.

"This character seems a lot like Juvia's Gray-sama," said Juvia.

"Lucy, this seems like plagiarism of Musica," said Erza, looking a bit disappointed.

"I know! I guess it just seemed so natural to write a character who strips." Her shoulders slumped. She had meant to change that out after she had accidentally wrote out the character.

"Maybe we can come up with another character?" suggested Gajeel, who looked over at Levy for some ideas.

"Yeah, I'm sure we can all come up with something, like another habit!"

"Why are you guys so interested in this?" asked Lucy.

"Well, with Fairy Tail ending, we need a new story to get excited over," Erza said.

Lucy's expression darkened. Right, she had forgotten that they all believed Fairy Tail was ending. Her fingers curled on the edge of her glass coffee table while her friends continued to belt out ideas.

"This guy needs piercings."

"He should be the scholarly type that likes to read a lot!"

"He needs to get into lots of fights!"

"This makes me feel sad," said Levy, "thinking of our next obsessions after Fairy Tail's gone."

But Lucy could barely pay attention to them. She felt numb, like her mental processing had been frozen by Musica.

Something warm on her bare thigh brought life back to her body. Lucy unfroze with a startle and glanced down. A tanned hand was resting on her. Natsu. Her heart stuttered just as he gave her a comforting squeeze. She looked up at his with bright eyes, but his gaze was on everyone else.

"It's not like we know for sure Fairy Tail's ending," Natsu said, taking back what he had said earlier. "For all we know, we might have another 50 or so chapters to go."

Everyone else shrugged, not quite agreeing with Natsu, but Lucy still appreciated the effort. She smiled warmly at him and he beamed back, showing off his sharp teeth. It was the little things like that, that made her fall in love with him over and over again like the waves kissing the shore.

"Cana says we should change the character's stripping habit to a crossdressing one," said Levy, reading from her phone.

"Hmm, I think I need to see that first," said Gajeel and everyone unanimously agreed upon that and all eyes were fell onto Gray.

Gray dumbly blinked, his droopy eyes darting over each person. "Why're you all looking at me like that?"

Natsu got up and opened one of Lucy's drawers that contained her skirts and Lucy didn't want to ask how he knew which drawer she kept them in… Natsu chucked it at Gray, who caught it before it smacked his face. "We need you to crossdress."

"What? Why me?"

"Because you're the one with the stripping habit," said Natsu, taking his spot next to Lucy.

"I'm not doing it!"

"Gray," said Erza with a scary-calm voice that sent shivers down Lucy's spine, "you will do it."

"I don't want to wear a skirt!"

"Gray-sama can wear Juvia's bra if he prefers that," Juvia snaked her hand under her shirt and Gray quickly smacked her hands back down.

"No!"

"D'you want Lucy's bra?" Natsu asked. "You've worn that before—"

"Gray-sama wore Love Rival's bra, but won't wear Juvia's?!" Juvia gasped, shooting Lucy a look that could kill. Lucy wanted to explain that it wasn't what she thought, but Gray beat her to it.

"It wasn't like that! Natsu wore her bra, too! We were just messing around! Look, guys," Gray said earnestly as he stood up and shimmied out of his jeans, "you can't just tell me to acquire a new habit. One does not get to choose!" Meanwhile, he tugged the skirt onto his hips.

"Uh, Gray," said Levy, biting her lip to hold back the obvious smile, "if that's really the case, then why are you wearing the skirt?"

"What?" His eyes shot down to the blue skirt that was way too short on his figure. "You have got to be kidding me!"

"D'you want the matching top, too?" asked Lucy, failing to fight off her laugh. Natsu and Gajeel didn't miss a beat, pulling their phones out and snapping as many photos as they could.

Gray savagely tore off the skirt, looking more comfortable in just his checkered patterned boxers. "I don't want a crossdressing habit! I hate you guys! What is this? Pick on Gray Day?"

"Well, everyday is Pick on Gray Day," Natsu said with a wicked grin that was quick to disappear when Gray punched him in the arm.

"Lucyyy! Gray is starting with me!"

"You started with him first."

"Tch, of course you're takin' his side," Natsu sank back into his spot like a scolded puppy. And before Lucy could retort, he placed his hand back on her thigh, except this time it was a lot higher than before. His fingers curled around the inner side and her breath hitched. She wondered if Natsu even realized how high his hand was.

Her face burned scarlet and her heart did flip-flops. She looked around to see if anyone else noticed, and to her misfortune two people did: Gajeel's pierced brow rose high and Levy awkwardly looked away with her own face turning as red as Lucy's.

Lucy bit her lip and glanced up at Natsu through her mascara-coated lashes. He was sticking his tongue out at Gray and then he moved his hand off of her and she was able to relax and breathe easily once more.

"I happen to think the crossdressing habit really suits you, Gray," said Erza, "Don't you agree, Jellal?"

Lucy eyes shifted over to the empty spot next to Erza that was once taken by the mysterious guy.

"Jellal?" Erza asked again with less certainty.

"Erza," said Levy, apologetically, "he's not there."

Erza sucked in a breath and whirled around to see that Jellal truly was no longer next to her. "Where is he!" She grabbed her phone and angrily dialed his number.

"Please tell me he's not wandering around my house and that I'm going to find him creeping in the hallways at night," prayed Lucy. That was the last thing she needed, to find Jellal roaming around while she was alone tonight.

"When the hell did he leave?" asked Gajeel. "There's no way I coulda missed him exiting!" And he had good point; Gajeel was seated directly across from the door. If anyone would have noticed someone sneaking out, it had to be him.

"I didn't even hear the door creek," Natsu added, "and my hearings pretty good."

"Are you sure about that?" Gray asked innocently. "Because you always say 'What'd you just call me!' and that's made me a bit curious if you ruined your hearing from how loud and obnoxious your voice is." He shrugged his shoulders as if to say, oh well.

"Hey! If anyone's voice made me lose hearing—it's Lucy!"

"Me?!" Lucy gaped, pointing her finger at her chest. How did she possibly get dragged into their stupid argument?

"Yeah! You're always shouting when I'm wearing headphones—"

"You shout a lot, too," she said dryly.

Gray shoved his pants back on. "I need some air. Anyone wanna go walk and get food?"

Everyone was quick to say yes, especially Erza, who was certain that they would find Jellal at the pizza parlor in Lucy's town. Though Lucy wasn't going to hold her breath on that. Jellal was like the wind, gone without a trace.

"I just need to get my keys to lock up and I need to give Plue some water. Order me a plain slice, please!" said Lucy as she walked her friends to her front door. She grabbed her iguana's water dish and rinsed it out in the sink.

"Order a meaty one for me, and make sure it's extra spicy," called Natsu, moving c

"No spice? I got you bro, no worries," said Gray, slamming Lucy's front door shut before Natsu could fight back.

"Grrr! Why is that guy so annoying!" Natsu grumbled, leaning against her kitchen cabinet with his arms folded over his chest. "Thinks he's so cool makin' stupid jokes like that."

"I'm willing to bet he says the same thing about you," she said, giggling.

"As if." He met Lucy's eyes and the space between his eyebrows crumpled. "So, are you okay? You seemed a bit off today."

"So you were concerned about me then, hmm?"

"Yeah, right," he said, a playful smile broke it's way onto his lips. "Now quit dodging my question."

"I'm okay," she said, distractedly as she scrubbed Plue's dish. "It's just that…" The water grew hotter by the second, but she was glad for it. Her voice was on the verge of cracking. She didn't want to say it out loud, that she was scared that they were all right about Fairy Tail ending.

"Just what?" He turned the sink off, ruining her only distraction as she was forced to look at him, but she still didn't. Instead, she threw her arms around his neck and buried her face against his chest. His shirt was soft and it smelled like smokey incense.

"I don't want Fairy Tail to end…" she sniffled. "I don't want you guys to be right."

"Had a feeling it was about that." His voice was gentle as he wrapped his lean arms around her waist, his warm hands rested on the small of her back. "I meant what I said before. And just because we think it is, doesn't mean we're right. You know our theories are always wrong ninety percent of the time. Why would we start being right, now?"

She pulled back and wiped her tears on the rough material sleeve of her school uniform. She could have laughed, marveling at how he was able to ease the pain inside her chest. She stood on her tips of her toes and kissed him with as much force as she could muster to convey her thank you.

They pulled back for a brief moment, before kissing with a deeper intensity that ignited a fire inside her. Natsu moved the kiss from her lips and trailed over to her cheek and down to her neck, where he sucked gently, testing out the waters to see if Lucy would object to it. Her body shivered and he nipped very lightly, enough to make Lucy suck in a shaky breath.

Their bodies wriggled against each other, and Natsu picked her up and placed her on top of her kitchen counter, knocking over Plue's bowl with a loud bang.

Natsu pulled back. His lips looked deliciously red and his hair was all mussed up thanks to Lucy. He ran his hand through it, but it not making it any neater and Lucy absolutely loved it that way.

"Lucy," he leaned his forehead against hers, tickling her with his soft bangs. His hand rested once again on the inner part of her upper thigh. "All I want to do is explore every inch of you."

Her mouth went scorch-dry. He didn't say it in a sexy, dirty-talk kind of way. It was with sincerity and thrill. He gave her thigh light squeeze that sent pulse of tingling heat all throughout her body.

"Then do it."

At a burningly slow pace, his fingers crept higher and higher—and she was hysterically laughing. Natsu's hands were all over her body, tickling her. She wheezed, and squirmed on top of the counter she was trapped on, begging him to stop. But her incessant laughter muffled her voice, and tears clouded her vision.

"You pervert," Natsu joked, halting his tickle assault. She panted, calming down from the attack. She gingerly eyed Natsu, making sure he wouldn't attack again. He snickered before capturing her lips once more.

"Hey, uh, sorry to interrupt, but where did Erza and everyone else go?" someone called from behind them and Natsu and Lucy both gasped, cocking their heads in the direction of the voice. There stood Jellal with a sheepish expression and a very red face.

"We found Jellal!" Natsu punched the air with excitement.

"Oh thank goodness—let's get him out of my house before we lose him again."

It wasn't long before everyone left. Erza wouldn't let Natsu spend the night at Lucy's because then he wouldn't make it back in time for school tomorrow. It was a bittersweet goodbye. A part of Lucy wanted to time alone, but another part of her didn't want her friends to leave just yet, but alas they had to.

She showered and took a bath afterwards, letting the heat of the water massage her body. "What a long day," she murmured, pouring lavender-scented bath salts into the water and let the sweet smell take away her anxiety.

She didn't stay in long, not wanting to get all pruney. She wrapped a fluffy floral towel around her body and with a smaller white towel, she tied her hair up in it, not wanting to drip everywhere. She changed into loose sleep shorts and a black t-shirt that she had stolen from Natsu.

Lucy sat down on her bed with her laptop on her lap and went to check out the official translations of the chapter to see if there were any major translation errors. As she skimmed it, she only found differences in phrasing, but nothing seemed to be drastically different. However there was one small line that caught her attention.

Fairy Tail is coming to an end with just 10 more chapters left!

"What?"

The towel fell from her head and her damp hair kissed the back of her neck with a sickening chill.

"WHAT?"

XOXOX


I'm so, so, so sorry that eons have passed since my last update! I played around a lot with this chapter, deciding how to wrap up this fic, but I just wasn't feeling it. So I took a much needed break and I always get inspired by real life things and with Fairy Tail actually coming to it's end, why not end my fic to the same tune? :'D And I apologize for any typos, I can't read this chapter over anymore without losing my mind.

So, if you all don't mind, I'd like just a few more chapters to officially wrap up my fic :3c

And 6k word chapter is a pretty good apology gift, don't you think? ^_^

Also, people who are caught up on the manga: whAT WERE HAPPY AND NATSU GOING TO SAY BEFORE THE THING HAPPENED? HNNGGGG

I'm actually quite scared to post this chapter since it's been so long and I wonder if people are even going to read this update :/

Well, I hope you guys liked the chapter! Thanks for reading!