Warning: This does contain spoilers for the most recent Fairy Tail chapter. If you haven't read it yet, you really ought to because it's pretty good, haha. But seriously, if you haven't, either don't read this, or take caution because I do mention some things.
Anyway, this is just something I thought of after reading the chapter. Because, as cool as it is that Gray has Loke as his partner (which is awesome for me, since they're my two favorite Fairy Tail characters), I thought about it for a little while and ended up a little miffed with Loke. So, I wrote a little something about it. It's short, but I think it's all right. Hopefully others will think the same. Enjoy!
She didn't say anything to anyone, but Loke still noticed her withdraw from the others as she began putting her coat on.
"Heading home already?" he wondered.
Rather than answer him, Lucy glanced him over for a moment before retrieving the suit coat and shirt he'd left on the table. "Put your clothes back on," she retorted, throwing them at him. "Just because you're Gray's partner right now doesn't mean you have to act like him too."
Buttoning up his shirt, he grinned and winked. "Not like you didn't enjoy it."
She rolled her eyes, ignoring the faint blush that warmed her cheeks. Looking towards the ice mage, she asked softly, "Does this mean you'll be staying here for a while?"
He shrugged, sliding his hands into his pockets. "It would be easier this way, rather than constantly returning to the Celestial world until the exam is over." Then he flashed his most charming smile, looking at her over his sapphire glasses. "But you don't have to worry about me."
She scoffed, freeing her hair from under her jacket as she flipped it back. "Who said I was worried? It's not my problem. After all, you're the one who terminated our contract, remember?"
He bit back a chuckle; though he knew she was angry, he couldn't help but think how cute she was when she was upset. "Is that what this is about? It's just until the end of the exam."
"Whatever." Turning away from him, the Celestial mage began pulling her mittens on. "Good luck then. Have fun with Gray and all."
This time he did laugh. "You don't have to be so jealous, Lucy," he teased.
Once again she whirled around to face him, her eyes wide as a more prominent blush spread across her face. "Who's jealous?" she sputtered indignantly as she stamped her foot.
The lion simply smiled, amused by her reaction. "Honestly, you know I would much rather spend all this time with you. But it's as Gray and I explained earlier. We made a promise before, and you know I always keep my promises."
She gave a sharp laugh. "Right, you're always so good at that. Need I remind you of a certain instance in Edolas?"
Loke winced slightly at her words. He knew exactly what instance she referred to, although he was surprised that she was mentioning it now. "I didn't leave you without help," he protested. "I at least made sure that Virgo was there in my place."
She huffed and looked away from him once again.
"Anyway," he continued, wanting to steer away from that particular conversation, "it can't be helped. This was something Gray and I talked about and decided on last year…before you joined Fairy Tail."
Lucy glared at him, her hands clenched tightly at her sides. "And what would you have done," she ground out, "after having decided that, knowing you could have disappeared at any time? If you were so set on dying, how would you have kept your promise then?"
Loke blinked, watching with wide eyes as she turned her back on him. What truly startled him though was not her words, but rather the hurt he detected in her voice, and the pain he caught in her chocolate eyes before she turned away.
At first he had trouble understanding where her thoughts were going, but after hearing her question him that way, he was beginning to understand that that one moment in Edolas had really hurt her much more than she let on. That, along with the temporary break in their contract – that he decided on by himself – was the true reason behind her attitude. To her, it seemed as though he was used to saying things that he had trouble keeping, and he feared that she was beginning to feel as though she couldn't trust him.
And he couldn't…he couldn't let her think that she couldn't count on him.
"You're…you're right," he finally admitted after a long string of silence. "It's true that it was something I hadn't thought of back then. I had made that promise with Gray, not knowing if I would still have enough time to carry it through. And when I thought I was dying, keeping it was the last thing on my mind."
Lucy said nothing, crossing her arms as she pretended to ignore him.
Taking a step closer, he gently placed his hands on her shoulders. "But I am here now," he said. "I'm still alive…thanks to you, Lucy."
Though she remained silent, Loke felt the tautness in her shoulders drain away as she snuck a glance at him from the corner of her eye.
"So, because I'm still alive, I have this chance to fulfill my part of the agreement. That's why I have to do what I can to help Gray become an S-class mage." Leaning ever closer, his lips hovered beside her ear as he whispered, "And someday…I'll help you become one as well."
She finally moved then, pulling away from his touch to face him. "What are you talking about?"
He smiled. "I'm talking about the day you take the S-class exam, of course."
Lucy frowned, puzzled. "Me? An S-class mage? Yeah right."
"Don't talk like that. I'm sure you'll make it someday. And when you do, I'll be right there to help you do it."
She laughed, folding her arms again. "That's rather presumptuous of you, isn't it? Even if I do get good enough to take the exam – if that could ever happen – what makes you think that I'll choose you as my partner?"
He grinned mischievously. "Even if you don't choose me as your partner from Fairy Tail, I'll still be with you as your Celestial Spirit."
Arms dropping back to her sides, the Celestial mage flushed a little. How could she have forgotten that?
"So, when that day comes," he continued with a sweeping bow, "I'll be right by your side, no matter what."
Lucy rolled her eyes; though slightly embarrassed by his grand gesture, she had to admit that she was touched by the thought. Still, unwilling to admit it, she simply replied, "Sure…whatever you say."
"Exactly right," Loke answered with a wink. "After all, I always keep my promises."