AN: FF is going to screw up the formatting, I just know it. (IT DID! I've fixed what I could, sorry!) Here's a dark little bastard for you all. Also I am going to pass a few years, making the characters in their early 20's, I just can't work with what we've been given right now. Six months of relations vs. an admirable 4 or 5 years allows for more humor, experience, and comfortable chatting between Lucy and Natsu. Think about the friends you've had for years vs the one you just met. The information you share is a lot different, no?

Disclaimer: This wouldn't be fanfiction if I owned it. It was be the damn canon!

State of Affairs

Story 1:

'Lucy's Law'

By Jaime Price

She had a date tonight.

She stood in front of her mirror in her bathroom, her blonde hair falling down across her shoulders. Her body adorned in a strapless little black leather number. It complimented everything from her curves to her lady lumps. She was smoldering, she knew it and she loved it. Her hair and makeup were done and she was doing up the zipper to her small leather jacket that just covered her bust. She left the zipper down a good lot, making sure her date had a really good view of the package. She was sexy.

"Oi! Lucy!" cried a familiar voice.

Lucy Heartphilia sighed at the familiar voice of her best friend and partner in crime. What was he doing here? He wasn't her date, thank god. "He wouldn't know sexy if it bit him on the ass" she mumbled to herself, then walked out of the washroom. There he was, sitting on her bed, without a care in the world, and a grin on his face. When she had stepped out of the washroom though he blinked. Lucy put her hands on her hips and looked at him crossly "Why are you here, I told you I have a date tonight! And what have I told you about just walking in-"

Natsu was oblivious to her ramblings, as half hearted as he knew they were by now. His best friend of three, nearly four years years was standing in front of him wearing that!

"What do you have to say for yourself?" Lucy stated.

Only one word left his mouth "Whoa..."

Lucy crossed her arms and huffed, blowing a piece of her hair away from her face. It wasn't lost on her. "Oh God. Don't tell me your actually starting to notice girls, now. What's this world coming to?" and she walked passed him to get her purse.

He stared after her "What? You look hot" he commented simply.

She shook her head "Because I'm wearing this" she surmised.

Natsu scoffed "Please it was before that, and besides, you've worn less," at the moment he grinned and lit his hand on fire and added, "much less!"

"No thanks to you!" Lucy said and Natsu earned a flying couch pillow in the face.

He laughed "You liked it!"

"You liked it!" she corrected and she swore he was cackling, not chuckling. "So you really are a pervert!" she looked at him for a moment, "I don't hear you denying it and that, frankly, scares me." She had said the line almost to casually.

Natsu wholly laughed now. "I'm a guy yes, but my interests waiver, you know that better than anyone."

"Oh yes, I know" she rolled her eyes. She finally took a seat on her sofa and looked at him honestly, her demeanor changing to a more casual one. "Okay, seriously, why are you here? I told you about the date."

"I wanted to see if he worse glasses" Natsu said, looking perfectly serious in his answer.

She was going to regret this "why?"

Natsu smirked "I just wanted to make sure the poor slob could see what trouble he was getting himself into, or if he was just blind" and he ducked the second couch pillow that went sailing at his head.

"Next time it's the lamp" she threatened. She glanced at the clock, still a few more minutes. "Still, why? and what on earth is he going to think when he sees you?"

"That you aren't picky?" he smirked. The blonde was on him and punching him in his arms and chest in a split second all the while he laughed while half heartedly blocking her. It was all in play to them, it was evident from the laughing and the smiles on both their faces. There was a knock at the door and he grabs her fists "You're knight in shining armor is here" he teased.

She smiled and leaned down to his face "he's not my knight, that title goes to someone else that rightfully deserves it" and she kissed his nose before getting up off him. She walked over to the door and opened it, greeting a young man that was easily a foot taller than her, well kept brown tresses, and finely dressed in suite pants and a men's shirt with a tie. He was almost to perfect. It was then that Natsu saw him stumble slightly as he crossed the threshold.

"Chris!" Lucy said.

The guy laughed it off embarrassingly. "Silly, clumsy me!"

"Are you okay?" Lucy asked him, helping him up.

"Nice impression," Natsu smirked, "Lucy I didn't know you fell for the clumsy ones!"

"Hush you!" she said and looked at her date. "Chris, this is Natsu, he's my friend."

"With benefits" he added without missing a beat.

Lucy went beat red! "Natsu!" but she was stopped by Christopher's laughter.

"It's okay Lucy, I know all about you and Natsu. He's your team mate in the Fairy Tail guild. I'm very aware of your relations, I've read about it. I'll meet you in the car?" he asked.

"Sure!" Lucy answered and watched as the boy went to his awaiting vehicle parked just a little ways from her house on the main street. Lucy sighed and looked at Natsu again, this time her expression a little more concerned. "Are you sure you're okay with this?"

"You don't need my permission, and yeah, I just wanted to meet him. What sort of friend would I be if I let you go out with a complete creep, like Gray" he teased "anyway just as long as he obeys Lucy's Law I'm good with it."

The girl cocked her head to the side slightly, "My law?"

The boy grinned at her "Lucy's Law: You may only look but do not touch:

Lucy smiled at him lovingly, "You really are my best friend" and she walked over to him again, dropped a kiss on his cheek and patting him on his shoulder.

"Yeah, yeah, go on, twinkle toes awaits" he said.

She walked to the door but paused before she stepped out and looked at the fire mage. "Hey Natsu?"

"Yeah?" he answered.

"If you were always thinking that, why haven't you ever asked me out?"

He shrugged. "I couldn't give you an answer" They looked at one another for a moment more before a honk of a car horn caught her attention. "Go! Get out of here, have fun and be back before curfew!"

"Such a joker" Lucy smirked and walked out, but as she closed the door she paused again and blinked. "Did he just tell me to get out of my own house?"

Natsu sighed and sat back down on her bed. When had talking about such things start feeling like it was common place? He would be a fool to say he didn't notice her in a sexual light for a while now. Still he chose to stay where he was, by her side as family, a best friend and partner. Through good times and bad they had each other, and through the past two years he lost count of the number of times he had to console her through break-ups. At first an uncomfortable experience and now, well, not so much. He found he could make her laugh by making fun of the jerks that hurt her plus he found it was an excellent way to self indulge in ice cream and whatever little treats they could get their hands on. Then there was always something enticing to him on hearing all the guy's faults and how they were such jerks to her. There were a handful of times he got to get physical, the few coming back to her, demanding respect or 'compensation' for their time. They never got to lay a hand on her, he had sure of it. He gave this relationship two weeks tops before it would be Lucy that got sick of him if first impressions were any indication. Mentally he wondered what junk food he was going to bring over once this one quit. A gleam of something caught his eye and he looked at the table and blinked. Lucy had forgotten her keys at home.


It was the next day and Natsu was at the guild in the resting lounge, sprawled along one of the leather sofas, looking through Mages Monthly when he heard wolf whistles from various directions. "Lucy's home" he said under his breath to Happy, his little blue cat friend. Happy giggled and flew over to greet the blonde mage. Natsu felt a hand drag across his head lazily and he looked up from his reading with a grin to watch the stellar witch shoo his feet of the sofa so she could sit down. He sat up so she could curl up on the couch and look at him.

"Morning"

"Morning," Natsu said and closed his book, "so, how's your feet?"

She looked at him questioningly. "My feet?"

Natsu shrugged casually "Well I figured with Humpty Dumpty falling all over the place he might have stepped on your feet while dancing or something."

"Oh, stop it!" she laughed, "Quit picking on Chris and, FYI, that was a one time thing. He's really quite the dancer." She paused for a second, "Wait, how did you know he took me dancing?"

Natsu laughed, "Lucky guess! Also, you forgot your keys."

Lucy looked at him, he'd totally be the type to follow her, he had a track record. "He's uncomfortable around magic so I left them home. Anyway, he took me to dinner, paid for it all then we went dancing and a movie. It was very nice … and he's very nice."

"I sense a 'but'"

Lucy made a face "He kisses like a Golden Retriever. I'll have to fix that" but it was to late, the pink haired boy had unceremoniously fallen off the couch and was on the floor laughing, tears in his eyes. "Oh go ahead, laugh it up, that's about the only thing I could find wrong."

"Kissing dogs now, Lucy?" he laughed.

"I've kissed you" she retorted. That shut him up.

"Burn!" came the voice of Gray Fullbuster, and the laughter of Erza scarlet and Levi, Natsu and Lucy's closest friends and fellow Fairy Tail mages.

"Shut up, bastard" Natsu said at the ice mage from his place on the floor.

Gray looked at Lucy with a smirk "Hey Luce, scratch his tummy and see if he shakes his leg, He's already on the floor like a dog."

"Come here and say that to my face!" the fire mage challenged and was on his feet chasing his friend out of the room, hands a flame, ready for a fight.

The girls just went and sat next to Lucy, curious about how the date had gone.


It was officially four days into the affair and Lucy was standing back in front of the mirror, checking herself over, readjusting the turtleneck collar to her sleeveless sweater and fixing her jeans. She put on a cardigan sweater and some bangles around her wrists and walked out of the bathroom.

"My god!" came Natsu's shocked voice.

Lucy sighed and rolled her eyes, there was a surprise, he was here again. "What's wrong" she asked nonchalantly as she started around her apartment to collect her dishes.

"It wears pants!" Natsu said from her couch.

"And its broken into my apartment again" she said with a slight smile to her lips, coming back with two tea cups.

"I'm here for a totally legit reason!"

Lucy laughed as she paused in setting the tea down. "Oh! I didn't know there were legit reasons for breaking and entering."

"Ha-ha," Natsu countered as the and handed her a piece of paper, "Master wants us to go after these guys."

Lucy looked at the paper then eyed her friend. "Us as in-"

"You, Me, Happy, Gray and Erza"

"Oh good, and here I was thinking he'd have more people go after a dark guild than just the five of us."

"Oh come on, these guys are small fries, plus we're the most destructive team" he smiled.

Lucy set the paper in her lap and took her tea cup, drinking the warm liquid. "Not something we should be proud of" she muttered, "when does Master want us on this?"

"Once we've got the plan of approach, probably another three or four days from now." Natsu stated.

Lucy sighed, "That would make it Friday or Saturday" she said. "Damn it. I was going to break up with Chris."

"Whoa, whoa, wait, you're breaking up with him?"

Lucy shrugged. "He's developed some mannerisms I don't like."

"Does it have anything to do with your clothes?" Lucy looked up at him, shock on her face. Natsu's face turned more serious "you're completely covered. Lucy did he hurt you?"

Lucy felt a small smile creep to her lips. There was a reason she loved and adored this boy and it had to do with how well he really knew her. His family always came first and god help the soul that harmed them. "You really do know me" she said softly. She blinked when he started to get up, she knew exactly what he was going to do; "Sit!" she said in her commanding voice. The boy looked at her unhappy that she was stopping him, but she just met his challenging look with one of her own. "I mean it" she warned. Reluctantly he sat and she continued on, "Before you go out causing mass destruction looking for him, I handled it. Things were getting a little hot and he got more than a little-" she paused a moment and tilted her head to one side, "-rough. Anyway. I didn't like where it was going and got my ass out of there fast, so yeah, I have a few bumps, I've had much worse from missions. Anyway, he met me on the streets, apologized profusely and said he wanted to make it up to me this weekend, Friday I believe. Before I could say no, that we were through, he took off. So come Friday when I see him I'll tell him were he can stick his apology and call it off."

Natsu was smiling at her, proud as hell. Lucy never put up with crap from any guy that broke Lucy's Law. "That's my girl"

"You wish" she smiled as she took another sip.

He smiled at her "Why wish?" he asked her.

"Is this your way of asking me out?" she chuckled.

"Have a better way?" he asked.

She shook her head, "Probably a million but since it's you? Well, lets see, dating my best friend. Oh god who am I going to go to if we break up?" she asked jokingly.

"You can always sick Erza on me" he suggested.

"Oh, I like that. Okay then you have yourself a girlfriend" she said and they both had a good chuckle over it.

"That was almost to casual" Natsu said.

"I know, what's wrong with us?" Lucy questioned.

"To hell if I know" he smiled and leaned back on her couch, an arm over his eyes trying to relax. Inside he was dancing, Lucy was now his and he knew that he could do much better than all those jerks she had in the past. He learned from their mistakes, and it helped that he knew this girl far better than any random guy that just fell for her looks. Unlike him, he fell for her heart and personality first, looks came later. "Hey," Natsu said, "Friday's a crap day for your spirits isn't it?" and he moved his arm to push himself up to look at her.

"Yeah. Most of them usually to the Friday night dating thing" she said.

"So I'll see if I can get them to do the mission Saturday instead. Want me to tag along with you Friday?"

"No, I'm a big girl. I can break up with him myself" she chuckled.

"And if he tries something?" he asked.

"Then you have my permission to stick a roasting spit up his ass and barbecue the bastard."

He chuckled "You are a twisted girl."

"You'd do it to"

"Without a second thought."

She casually sipped her tea "and you called me twisted."

"Weiredo" he smirked.


Natsu sighed, the old man insisted Friday and thus the group was down a team mate. So Thursday night saw him standing with Lucy at the train station, his hands on her hips, her arms draped over his shoulders. "You sure you'll be okay?"

"Yes!" she insisted for the fourth time.

"Your keys? You'll bring them?"

She held them up to him "I have them right here and if it does turn south I will summon Loki, he's more forgiving, and I have my whip. I'm not totally defenseless."

"I can still worry" he said.

"And I appreciate it" she answered and gave him a quick peck on the lips. "You're the one I worry about, though I don't know why, I know who will be the one beaten up and sorry come Saturday." Natsu smiled at her remark and kissed her gently again.

"I'll see you Saturday afternoon" he said, and letting go of her, he starting to the booth.

"Have fun on that train," said Lucy, "all the moving, the bumpy tracks, the passing scenery, the feeling of the ground moving beneath you. The speed of-"

"Lucy!" the boy was already looking sick and he wasn't even on the train yet! The blonde threw her head back and laughed. Settling back for a chuckle as she spun her keys around her index finger, she stood there looking positively devilish. It was about time that Natsu got his kamuffins for most of last week. Gray stuck his head out from the door to the train booth and looked at Natsu, while the ailing boy watched the girl walk away. "I'm dating a demon."

"You already knew this and yet you still complaining."

"Yeah yeah" the motion sick man sighed and reluctantly go onto the train.

Lucy was feeling quite accomplished as she walked back from the train station. Did she feel bad for pulling that stunt on Natsu? Hell no! Where was the fun in it if only he was allowed to tease ruffle her feathers? shouldn't she be able to apply her own special brand of torture? It was an even battlefield with the two and she liked it. She also had to admit that not much had changed with them now being a boyfriend/girlfriend set. Sure they showed a little more affection to one another from time to time but Natsu certainly wasn't rushing anything and neither was she. It was a comfortably slow pace. They weren't planning on jumping into anything either, they still had their own respective places, the weren't all over one another like some bad romance fanfiction, and they certainly weren't going push the other in that direction. This was comfortable and they knew one another, something which undeniably helped. They knew each others like and dislikes, they knew one another's pet peeves, and what boundaries were to never be crossed. "Friends with benefits" she muttered to herself, but they had the luxury of calling the other their partner.

She smiled to herself as she walked along the sidewalk to her home then paused when she heard a voice call her name.

"Lucy!"

She felt herself groan internally. It was Chris. She looked towards her house to see the man smiling sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head nervously, and holding a huge bouquet of flowers. She sighed to herself realizing Chris had taken it upon himself to come back sooner than expected to apologize to her. Heading towards him, she knew this was going to be somewhat awkward but it was something to needed to be done. She had had the worst and now she had the best and she wasn't giving that up for anything in-between.

Friday morning and Natsu sat at the front counter to the inn he was staying at, his ear pressed to the phone, listening to Mirajame on the other end telling him that Lucy wasn't at the guild and that she probably was at home still resting. Natsu thanked the woman and hung up.

"She'll live for 24 hours" Gray smirked.

Natsu looked at him "I had a crap sleep last night, you really wanna try me?"

Gray chuckled as Erza approached. "Save it for the dark guild. We need to get moving if we're going to get to their head quarters."

Natsu just pushed himself up off the seat and followed his friends. He couldn't shake it, but for whatever reason he just couldn't get to sleep last night. He was so restless and had this strange feeling in his gut. He chalked it up as not being there for Lucy for when she broke up with the loser that hurt her. It didn't matter now though, and he knew it, because she had him and he wouldn't dare treat her that way.


She never saw it coming. The last thing she remembered was seeing Chris on her front door step, her telling him that it was over, walking inside to her apartment and then… nothing. She heard a dripping sound, like water hitting rock. Her entire body was utterly freezing and numb as she took in a breath of air. Her lungs stung at the chilliness of it. She groaned at the painful throbbing that suddenly overwhelmed her head and she reached to rub the accursed spot but quickly found out she couldn't. She felt that she was partly sitting up, her hands being held above her head by something ice cold and hard. Tiredly she squinted her eyes open to meet only darkness. Very little light was filtering into the place she was being held. She had been somewhat correct about water hitting rock, it looked like an underground tunnel with moss covered rocky walls. She craned her stiff neck to look up at her hands to see them shackled in irons. She yanked on the chains but they were nailed fast into the wall. She sighed and looked at herself, how had she ended up like this? She bit her lower lip softly, trying to keep the panic down that she felt raising in her stomach. 'Natsu, please come back soon' she thought to herself.

"Awake my little princess?"

Lucy froze and she felt the blood drain from her face. That voice. "Christopher?" she croaked out. A shadow stood over her, she could only make out his towering frame and sadistic smile of white teeth.

"Yes and no. Chris is just an alibi for the public. You thought I was rough the first time? Maybe I should teach my little fairy how the Black Widows really play with their prey" the man laughed sadistically. Lucy saw something unfurl from one of his shadowed hands and across her leg. It was her own whip. Her eyes went back to him and that's when the light caught the object within his other hand, the glimmer of silver. The blade of a dagger. Lucy felt herself stiffen, her limbs unresponsive to the panic that was starting to take over and wanting her to get away. Her mind screaming the only thing it comprehend. 'NATSU!'


He was shivering in anticipation, his stomach stirred with all sorts of different emotions. He had been through much crap over the years but it was going after the dark guilds and thieving rings that got him excited. It was the thrill of the hunt and now he stood on a rock, his red and gold coat flapping in the sharp biting winds, looking down the valley at the secluded buliding like a predator, grinning at its hapless prey. His smile was almost animalistic.

"Lucy was right, you do look like a monster before the hunt" Gray said to his friend.

"I'll take it as a compliment this time around" Natsu huffed. He had tried to reach the girl again before making a final march towards the guild and he had been told she never showed up. This didn't sit good with him so he wanted to make this swift so he could get back and check on her. He questioned if the breakup had turned south or if something had happened with the two of them. He knew Lucy was loyal, so he wasn't worried on her going back to the ass but he was worried for her well being. He hated leaving her behind. Natsu took scent of the wind and felt his insides twist. There was a familiar scent and Lucy's face came to mind. He shook his head. Someone was probably wearing the same scent she was and he didn't like it.

Gray saw his friend stir "What?" he asked.

"Lets make this quick. I want to get back to Lucy and see how she is."

Gray smiled to himself. That was so like Natsu, his mind always on those he cared about. "Well I'm sure she's fine," he said, "and when you get back you can tell her how we kicked major ass" the ice mage chuckled and cracked his knuckles.

The fire mage next to him smiled and slammed his fist into his other hand, "I am going to enjoy this."

"Natsu, Gray" they heard the voice of Erza as the knight mage approached. "I got word from Happy that the authorities are in position. We should get the signal soon."

Natsu looked out over the valley at the dark guild building. There, above the building, something circled it like a hawk. The signal. Natsu grinned at the flying cat. "And that's what we've been waiting for" he said.

No one could never say that they didn't know how to make entrances with a bang. The explosion took out the roof to the damn building. Natsu, Gray and Erza stood in the middle of fifty or so very stunned Black Widow guild members. Natsu's nose twitched, the smell of Lucy's scent was stronger inside. He scanned the crowd quickly to see the back of someone retreating, most likely the one wearing it. There was a battle call from Erza and the fight was on. Ice and Fire tore through the floors, the sound of metal clashing with steel, and the hollers of the guilty in pain filled the air.

The fire mage, hands cloaked in fire, slashed at several of the men, setting their skins ablaze, the force of the contact causing them to fly through a wall. Natsu looked around to where he had seen that one retreating member earlier and ran down the darkened hall he saw him flee. "Come out, come out so I can squash you" Natsu said with a grin. He ran to the end of the hall only to be faced with a single door.

"Natsu!" he heard the cry of Happy as the little blue exsheed flew towards his friend.

"Happy" Natsu noted and looked at the door.

"The army is heading in now"

"Right, just let me get the one that came down here. I'm not letting them escape" Natsu said and put his hand on the door.

"Lets get that bug!" Happy cheered on.

Natsu threw open the door and instantly his and Happy's noses were assaulted with the sickening smell of blood, alcohol, mold, and human waste. Happy covered his nose with his paws, and Natsu doing the same with his sleeve as he starred down a set of stairs that lead into basement of some sort. "Looks like I found the nest" Natsu commented.

"It smells disgusting" Happy said.

"He went down here, so we follow" Natsu noted and, lighting his hand ablaze for light, he ran down the wooden steps.

It hadn't been a basement at all but a rock tunnel that held multiple purposes. Storage of liquor, food but also the storage of victims and prisoners that were long since dead, their flesh rotting away on their chained up carcasses. "Poor bastards" was all Natsu could say as he continued down the tunnel. The smell of death eventually faded out and Natsu removed his sleeve, but the mold and stench of blood was still strong. He felt his foot step on something and he looked down. His breath caught in his throat. At his feet was a yellow cardigan sweater he recognized. He bent down and picked it up and gave it a sniff. He body shook as his fears and concerns were starting to come to light. The scent on the article was Lucy's. "LUCY!" he yelled and made a bolt down the tunnel but he had only taken several steps and turned a corner before he froze in place.

There she was, chained to the wall, her body naked, beat up and bleeding. It was quicker than blinking before he was on his knees at her side. He put his hands to her bruised cheeks, they were freezing. "Lucy, Lucy come on, wake up!" Natsu said with urgency in his voice and patted her face. To his utter relief, she groaned. She was still alive. She suddenly heaved a dry cough and her body wrecked in agony as specks of blood flew from her mouth and onto her skin and his. Yes, she was alive but just barely. She was covered in deep cuts from head to toe, bruising and marks that he couldn't identify, some of which were still oozing.

"Natsu, is Lucy going to be okay?" Happy asked worriedly about his friend.

"She will be," he said as he looked at the shackles that held her hands and started for them, "but I need you fly faster than you ever have and get Erza and Gray and get them down here so we can get her help. Do you understand?" he asked, the urgency of what he needed was clear as day on his face.

"Aye!" Happy said and flew as fast as his wings could carry him back to get help.

Natsu turned his attention back to Lucy and the chains that held her. His hands took ahold of the shackles and heated them up. He heard her groan in discomfort but he continued. He knew he was hurting her already battered body but he had to free her. He made it quick, her wrists slightly burnt but he had snapped the shackles off her and freed her. He took off his coat, and wrapping it around her body, he held her close and tried to get her to wake up again, calling her name into her ear.

"N-natsu" the soft whisper escaped her lips.

"Hang on Luce, your knight's going to get you out of here" and he heaved himself to his feet, her safely in his arms. He could have sworn then he saw the hint of a smile on her lips. "When I catch who did this to you -" but his statement was cut off by a sicking laugh just in front of him, hidden in the darkness. Natsu felt his blood begin to boil, the shadows of untempered rage covered his face and a low deathly sound emanated from his throat. He barred his fangs at the threat. "Chris…" he growled, "give me one good reason why I shouldn't rip you apart."

The man laughed with a sadistic look. "Bad things happen when you get bitten by a Black Widow, she should have known better than to deny me."

Natsu growled, his whole body shook in rage. His form suddenly erupted into flames, the flames taking form of a winged beast that filled the tunnel and caused much of the rock to melt or crumble. Lucy was still in his arms but the flames didn't burn her. The beast and Natsu let out a raging roar. Chris's jaw dropped and he stepped back, the power rolling off his opponent was terrifying. He looked at the boy- no- the flaming beast before him, all the intent of murder in Natsu's eyes. "Let me show you want happened when a tiny bug gets underfoot of a dragon" Natsu said lowly. Chris felt his knees start to give out from under him.


The first thing she felt was warmth and a lazy smile graced her lips. She drew in a deep breath, the air was warm and sweet smelling, she moved her head slowly to feel a soft pillow behind her. She moaned in content and stretched out her body, the aches made themselves present then and she grimaced.

"Lucy" she heard a voice call her softly, and she felt a hand rest on top of her head. Tiredly she opened her eyes, the blurred world coming slowly into focus.

"Natsu" she breathed softly, seeing him next to her, looking at her with relief.

"We're here to Lucy" said Erza's voice and she turned her head slightly to see both her and Gray sitting next to the bed smiling at her.

"Hey" she offered them then tried to sit up and pull her aching body into position but it was not cooperating.

"Whoa there, take it easy" Nastu said and sat himself on the edge of the bed and helped her to sit, using his body as her support, his arm wrapping around her to hold her close and rub her arm soothingly.

"I'm surprised you found me."

"Natsu has a good nose" Happy said with a smile.

Lucy smiled and reached her bandaged hand over to scratch the cat behind his ear. "Yeah, I know." She looked at her boyfriend and offered him a gently loving smile, "and I'm grateful" she added.

He kissed the side of her head and held her for a moment, grateful himself for being as lucky as he had been to find her. "What happened?" he asked her and looked at her in concern.

Lucy looked down at her bandaged hands that rested in her lap and sighed. She could feel the bandages that covered her aching sores. They seemed to hurt more at the thought of what happened to her. "Thursday night, when I was walking home from seeing you guys off, Chris was at my door step. He had flowers and everything, it looked like he was waiting to apologize a day early." She felt Natsu's arm around her give a reassuring squeeze and rub of her arm. She leaned in, resting her body against his and her head on his shoulder. His hand moved up to rest on hers. "I told him exactly what I thought of him and that it was off. I had something better and I don't put up with crap he had tried to pull that night. I walked into my house and before I could turn on the light, I felt people, like, multiple people, grab me by the arms and then something hit the back of my head. Next thing I knew, I woke up chained and…" her voice cracked her body shook at the memory of the abuse.

"We know what happened after that" Natsu assured her and kissed her forehead, "he, and his guild are nothing more than a bad memory now. I promise" he whispered to her. Lucy looked at her other friends and they all nodded in agreement with Natsu.

Lucy looked up at the fire mage "I heard your voice," she said to him, "I honestly thought I was going to die there but then I heard your voice. I knew I was going to be okay" and she pressed herself into his side for comfort knowing that he was there next to her. "How did you find me?"

"Happy already told you" he said to her. He wasn't going to tell her the truth. He wasn't going to tell her that it was by plain sheer dumb luck that he had found her, that she had ended up in the same place he had been sent to exterminate. That detail just didn't seem important to him now and it made him sick to the stomach just to think about it. He dreaded the 'what if' questions like 'what if it hadn't been that guild?' 'What if she had been taken else where and he had no clue how to find her?' or 'what if she had been killed?'

Never again would this happen, not on his life, he swore that much.

"We'll go tell the Master that you're awake" Erza said with a smile.

Lucy looked over at her, smiling at her friend, "Okay." Both Gray and Erza got up and left the medical room, leaving the couple alone with their thoughts. Natsu didn't waste a moment as he pulled her into a full hug. Her body protested but she didn't move. "Natsu" she whispered.

"I thought I was going to lose you. I'm sorry I didn't get to you sooner. I'm sorry I let that creep hurt you. I won't let that happen to you again, I swear it" he said, his voice hushed and pained, but his last statement was full of conviction.

"Natsu" her voice cracked as the tears were starting to fill her eyes. She brought her arms to his, hugging him with the little strength she had at the moment. "I know you won't because you aren't like him." Natsu looked at her and she smiled "you're my knight in shining armor."

He offered her a grin. "How about Dragon in shining armor?"

"How about just plain old Hero instead?"

He brought his forehead down to rest on hers and they relished the moment in contentment. He leaned in, offering her the kisses he couldn't give her when she was unconscious, and getting treatment, and when the others had been there.

"I'm sorry this happened to you, Luce"

"It's okay" she muttered back. It wasn't his fault.

"I love you" he told her.

"Love you too" she said, feeling safe and content with the boy next to her, knowing full well she now had the best of both worlds in a lover and a friend, and would never look back or opt for something in-between.

Fin

I hate writing fight scenes so I'll let your sick little minds fill in that area. Never intended this to be a love story, honestly I was going to focus it more on the deep friendship that two have. I won't complain, I was still able to do that. There are 2 more chapters to this. Next chapter Lucy gets her dues and I can show her in a light she deserves. She's had her dues coming to her for a while now. I'd love nothing more than to see her kick Natsu's butt. Really, the girl deserves more credit than Hiro gives her. Pisses me off. The final chapter will be of Lucy and Natsu being bad ass together because when you have partners in crime like them, well, you have to do something. I like highlighting character qualities and giving characters their dues.