"What's that?"

"It's, uh," Lucy stammered, her mind sprinting about in search of a believable lie, "It's a...bottle?"

Pitiful.

It probably would have been less suspicious had she claimed to be holding an elephant.

"It's pink!" Happy noted. From across the room, Natsu abruptly went still. He turned, very slowly, and snuck a peek at the bottle Lucy was now attempting to subtly hide behind her back, whilst simultaneously projecting an atmosphere of absolute innocence.

Gray, who had begun her interrogation in the first place, crossed his arms. And stared at her.

Lucy squirmed guiltily.

"No," Natsu whimpered from the corner. Nobody heard him.

The guild's front doors flew open as Erza strode inside, clearly returning from her latest succesful mission. Her expression of satisfied contentment slipped, however, as she took in the scene before her.

"Lucy!"

"I'M SORRY," Lucy wailed.

"Those are illegal!" Erza hissed, looking scandalized. Gray perked up instantly.

"Illegal? What did you do? Did you steal it?"

"No!" Lucy snapped, stiff with indignation, "I...just sort of..."

She looked casually towards the ceiling, and coughed.

Natsu, his worst fears confirmed, climbed underneath the table, "KILL IT!"

"I agree," Erza glared at Lucy, "Love potions are more dangerous than you can imagine, Lucy. I don't know what your intentions with it were, but I insist that you dispose of it at once. If you do not, though it may be regrettable, I shall be forced to take action."

"Love potion?" Gray repeated, "Who were you going to use it...?"

Lluvia appeared, eyes shining.

Gray choked.

"What do you want for it?" Lluvia muttered, maneuvering carefully so she stood between Gray and the door, "Money? Servitude? How about an arm—I have two of those..." she smiled, expression glazing into one of feverish joy.

From beneath the table, Natsu resolved to remain as still and quiet as possible until the ordeal was over.

"Natsu! Why are you hiding under the table?" Happy cheeped. Or shouted.

Lucy began backing from Lluvia herself, "It's—it probably doesn't even work, Lluvia, the bottle says it expired last Tuesday."

"Just give it a little sniff, I'm sure it's fine,"

"Um. No. It's—it's a perfume, actually. I mean, it's a love potion you wear as a perfume. You just sort of...spray a bit on and it makes you more appealing. It's very mild. I wasn't going to drug anyone, jeez!" Lucy finished with a half-resentful, half-apologetic glance towards Erza.

"You don't understand," Lluvia muttered, chin dipping so her eyes were cast into shadow, "I need it."

Gray shook his head frantically, still edging along the wall, "Don't give it to her!"

"Um," Lucy squeaked, now backtracking furiously as Lluvia's advancement grew more deliberate, "Erza? ERZA?"

Erza considered Lluvia's sinister aura, "I can't. I have...scurvy?"

Lucy was outraged, "Oh, indeed, you radiate infirmity."

"Ahem," Erza coughed delicately.

Lucy narrowed her eyes, "I have never been so disappointed in all my—"

Her heel caught on one of the benches, and she cut herself off with a shriek as she toppled backwards. The bottle slipped from her hand, smashing open and drenching Lucy's left side. She squeezed her eyes shut, coughing, and shook off a few shards of glass. She staggered blindly away from the scene of the accident, and when she finally managed to open her eyes, they were watering. "God, that's strong."

The room was silent, in response. Lucy looked around, a dull horror creeping into mind.

"My poor kitten," Erza whispered, as she was standing nearest Lucy. She spread her arms wide, "Come, let me hold you."

"What."

"I shall clasp you to me, breast to breast, until our hearts beat as one," Erza murmured, every syllable ringing with tender protectiveness. Lucy stared at her for a moment, and then concluded that she would never know how to respond to that. Making a hasty but wise decision, Lucy spun on the spot with the full intention of leaving, and smacked into Lluvia.

"Ow! Where'd you come from?"

"Don't worry," Lluvia sounded a bit breathless, "I am always here."

"Oh, god," Lucy whined, then yelped as Lluvia threw her arms around Lucy's waist, pressing her face into Lucy's neck and breathing in deeply. Lucy floundered, "Gray! Help me!"

"I have an enormous crush on you," Gray recited, dead-pan, "You are adorable to a degree which is actually sort of disgusting. Also, you have a killer rack."

Lucy was severely underwhelmed, "How sweet."

"We should make-out," Gray suggested.

"No," Lucy corrected, as gently as she could manage, "I feel like that would be ethically wrong."

Her logic was processed. Gray scratched his head, "Okay, I guess I should clarify: when I said make-out, what I actually meant was we should have sex on this table. Dating is involved, I guess. Or we could just get married. I kinda feel like having kids. Is that better?"

"No," Lucy gave him the short version. Somehow, she managed to pry herself free of Lluvia's chokehold. She bolted for the door, but paused on the threshold, feeling that she had forgotten something. "Natsu?"

"This floor, you guys," Natsu was rolling over the area where the perfume had spilled, his back arching like a cat's, "This floor is awesome."

"Typical," Lucy muttered, and selected Happy, who was nearest, to be the target of her wrath, "I swear to God, if you start humping my leg..."

Happy puffed up, "I'm a cat, Aye!—love you."

Lucy left without another word, utterly set upon taking the longest bath of her life. She hadn't made it ten steps before she felt a tug, and then caught sight of Loki in her peripheral vision, as he stepped out from beyond the Astral Plane.

"Hi," she greeted wearily. He grinned upon seeing her, and immediately fell into step.

"Hello. I love you. In a way that consumes me, you know, and I suspect I shall go on loving you until I have carried your name with me to every star in the sky, so that they might learn from your radiance. Every part of you is beautiful."

Lucy smiled slightly, "Well, at least you're normal."

"You smell nice today."

"Thank you."