"M-My god, you…you really did it. All these years, people have joked, but…"
Master Makarov eyed the mountain of paperwork from the Council, which was predictably irate that Team Natsu had finally done it.
They destroyed an entire town.
The only upside was that they couldn't be arrested for it, because it was the Council's fault. They were moving a prisoner who happened to escape into a town where something or another was hidden. Faced with a race against the clock and a powerful dark mage, they called in the most powerful mages in the immediate area, which happened to be Fairy Tail. Long story short, everyone except Erza was covered in bandages, the city had been decimated, and Marchello of the Abyss was successfully apprehended.
As for the city of Harlingen?
Due to the dangerous nature of the dark mage's powers, the city was evacuated. Something went wrong though, and as far as Makarov could tell from the explanation, Natsu entered dragon force after eating the element of abyss and prepared to destroy the escapee when Gray put down ice floor. This caused Natsu to crash and in that state, bounce around as an out of control fireball that destroyed everything in his path.
He collided with Aquarius, who Lucy summoned from the fountain in the center of the city, and Aquarius ended up destroying City Hall with her powerful water attack, her waves crashing into Erza, who had broken out her Purgatory Armor. Her attack annihilated the half of the city that Natsu hadn't burned to a crisp.
When it was over, Happy surprised Marchello with a max speed attack and knocked him out, then flew the fugitive to Lahar and Doranbolt as they watched in horrified amazement as Team Natsu eliminated an entire town in a matter of five minutes.
Makarov shook his head and while he felt relieved that they couldn't be charged for the fiasco, he decided it was time to take action against the clumsy destruction and the catastrophic sense of 'teamwork' that Team Natsu believed in so strongly.
"Your punishment has already been decided," he said.
Expecting embarrassing photo spreads, a spell, or some other weird punishment, the group braced themselves. Instead the old man said, "You will all live in the same house until you can go three months without a complaint from the Council about excessive property destruction."
"Three months? I don't even…" Natsu mumbled in disbelief, as if he'd been sentence to execution. Then, he pointed at Lucy and Erza. "I can't live with them. They're girls!" he exclaimed, the stress on that final word making it sound as if girls were, in fact, fire-breathing dragons.
No, it something even worse than that; he'd actually be pretty excited if they were dragons.
Unfortunately for him, they were not dragons and were, in fact, teenage girls who were a little less than amused at his utterance.
Makarov said, "Girls, are they? I never would have guessed! And to think all these years I've been wrong. My apologies, ladies."
Lucy pointed at Natsu and Happy. "I can't live with them! Haven't you ever seen their house? It's a trash dump! Disgusting!"
"We spend so much time helping you pay your rent that we never have time to clean," Happy answered, feigning hurt.
The blonde said, "No, you're both just pigs!"
"I'm obviously a cat. I don't want to live with you, either. You're real mean about sharing your bed with me and Natsu!"
"You shouldn't be in my bed, Happy! Either of you, but especially him! Do you have any idea what kinds of rumors that's started?"
Natsu rolled his eyes. "Don't go reading too much into that, Luigi."
"Luigi! That again!"
Gray was next to register his complaints. "I can't live with them. Lucy, maybe. But the others…I've seen Natsu's place. Natsu and Happy are slobs and if I have to share with Erza, I'll be concussed constantly. Home is where I go so I can get away from everyone and not have my habits judged."
Happy teasingly said, "You go there so you can walk around naked and not be beat up."
Erza bonked both of the boys on the head and silenced Lucy with a glare as she grabbed Happy by the tail. "We understand, Master. Letting that situation get so out of hand was a major failing. We'll get through this punishment period quickly and prove that we can work together without being so clumsy. Isn't that right?" she asked, her tone very clearly communicating the threat therein.
"Yes, Erza," Gray, Natsu, Lucy, and Happy obediently answered in unison.
The redhead asked, "Where will we be staying, Master?"
Makarov said, "Well, the boys certainly can't stay in the girls' dorm with you, Erza. Lucy's place is too small, as is Natsu and Happy's house…"
"No," Gray emphatically declared. "Not just no, but hell no. There's no way. You can't. It's a fate worse than death."
Erza threw him to the ground. "I've always liked Gray's house."
"Gray has a house?" Lucy asked.
Natsu said, "Yeah, he and Loke used to live there together. He's a clean freak."
The ice mage fisted his hand and growled, "I'm not a 'clean freak!' I just don't live like a pig!"
Happy raised his fist angrily. "I'm a cat already!"
"You don't understand metaphors Happy!" Lucy yelled back.
"It's because I'm a cat!"
"Or logic, for that matter!" the celestial spirit mage added.
Erza's glare silenced them all again. "Don't complain about the punishment. Our clumsiness caused an enormous amount of destruction. We're fortunate the city we destroyed was evacuated and that we won't be punished as criminals. All things considered, we're getting off very easy."
Everyone went home to pack and as Lucy tucked her clothes away in a bag, she sighed and tried to imagine how awful it would actually be to live with the rest of her team. She could see rooming with Erza, because Erza was actually a very nice person under normal conditions, and she could even stand to live with Gray or Natsu and Happy.
Any two of the people in the group would be fine except Natsu and Gray, but somehow, when they were all together, things just happened. It wasn't even like they set out to destroy everything; this was just a natural consequence of their group working together.
Gray lived closer to Fairy Tail than Natsu did, but was on the exact opposite side of down by the sea. His house was the only one for a long way on each side, and it was just a very neat little one-story house made from gray bricks. The roof was dark-colored, and it had white shutters on the windows. The lawn was green and somewhat neatly kept, with a few bushes and stepping stones that suggested a responsible adult probably lived there.
"Well, there are no trees growing through the roof…" she mumbled.
Natsu approached her from behind. "Keh! You're right. This place sucks."
"It's so pretty from the outside you'd think a woman lives here. Gray has womanly hobbies," Happy noted.
Lucy shook her head. "Keeping the grass trimmed and not letting your house fall down or disappear into squalor isn't an example of 'womanly hobbies.' It's called not living like you were raised by animals."
"I was raised by an animal. I turned out fine," Natsu argued.
She shook her head and went down the stepping stones to the front door, then knocked on the door, which Gray answered in his underwear. "Hey Lucy."
He grabbed her by the arm and yanked her inside, which annoyed Lucy because being dragged was always unpleasant. She also knew Natsu would be irate about a half-naked man pulling her into his house, no matter what the circumstances were.
Once she was inside, Gray slammed the door, locked all the locks, and said, "I got Freed to cast a spell to protect the house and to keep Natsu from using his magic in or on the house. They can't even come in. So as long as we can keep Erza and Natsu out, the longer I will have a house to live in."
"Is Erza really that bad?"
"Erza by herself? No, of course not. It's Erza and Natsu together with us. It's like unison raid, except the bonus is that everything is destroyed."
Lucy looked around and found his dwellings didn't really surprise her very much. Gray had leather furniture, and a generally neat, simple little home – a place you'd expect a sane, reasonable single guy to live. "So this is where Loke lived before?"
Gray nodded. "Yeah. We got this place together. Good times."
She smiled and held up her keys. "Open, Gate of the Lion! Leo!"
Loke appeared in a flash of light and looked around before giving Lucy a smile and fist-bumping with Gray. "This brings back the memories."
"It's not the same without having all those girls around all the time," the ice mage said.
"What girls?" Lucy asked.
The celestial spirit gave her a sweet smile and put an arm around her shoulders. "Women that are nothing compared to you, Lucy. I'll show you my bedroom. Unless it's changed?"
Gray shook his head. "No, I didn't mess with anything. Anyway, I guess you can stay there, Lucy."
Loke guided her to one of the three doors that branched off from the little living room and kitchen area. The first was Gray's room, the second was the bathroom, and the third was Loke's old room.
When Lucy walked in and found an enormous heart-shaped bed with red silk sheets, she gave Loke a glare of disbelief. "Really, Loke? Really?"
Loke stretched out in the center of the bed and gave it a little pat. "To think that I would get you into my bed after all."
"H-How many women have slept in this bed?"
He nervously answered, "Don't ask those questions."
Lucy wondered if maybe she needed to find pajamas made from condoms just to feel safe in his bed. "I feel like I might get some kind of disease."
"Don't be silly, Lucy. Come into my arms!"
"How about no?" Lucy went over to the window and found that Gray's back yard was the shore, which made it a perfect place to play on the beach and tan. "Maybe this won't be so bad."
"We kind of…a city was destroyed. It was all a big accident," she started, ignoring how Loke's eyes widened at the thought that they'd actually done it. "As punishment, Makarov said we all have to live together here with Gray."
Loke looked around his room and said, "Seeing my old home destroyed will be a little depressing. But you and Erza will probably be sleeping here together in my bed. That I wouldn't mind seeing…maybe I could get in the middle. Don't worry, Lucy: you'll always have my heart even if you invite another beautiful woman to my bed."
Maybe double-layered condom pajamas?
After she put her bag down, she decided to escape from Loke and found that not far from the door, there was a pair of boxers on the floor.
And Lucy just stood there and frowned at them, because she knew she was probably about to get some Full Frontal Gray. Now, it wasn't like she didn't appreciate Gray's appearance; he was an extremely attractive man.
It was just...well, when a man is running around naked with his flaccid penis wagging around everywhere, it's impossible not to look. Impossible.
There was banging on the door, and Natsu's voice, and Lucy neared the door, only to hear Gray's warning, "Don't let the monsters in."
She turned and found him standing in front of the stove completely naked with the exception of his necklace and bracelet. He turned to her and casually asked, "Do you like wieners, Lucy?"
Loke pinched the bridge of his nose in disapproval as Lucy just stood there and gaped awkwardly, probably unaware that Gray was making hot dogs. "Gray…speaking of 'wieners,' look down."
Gray screamed as if this was a complete surprise and nothing like this ever happened to him, and then asked, "What happened to my clothes?"
"The same thing that always happens to your clothes," Lucy hissed. "AND DON'T ASK ME ABOUT WIENERS IF YOU'RE NAKED!"
The ice mage found his boxers and pulled them back on, and then as his cheeks reddened he said, "Now that's just immature, Lucy."
Natsu suddenly emerged from Gray's bedroom, having entered through the window, and said, "I smell wieners!"
"Wha…the runes…how…" Gray asked.
"About Freed…" Natsu fixed his beloved scarf, which had shifted out of place, "Erza beat him up. The no-magic runes are still there, but you can't keep us out. I feel like beating the crap out of you for making it hard for us."
Suddenly, Gray and Natsu were knocking heads in the middle of the room and when the banging on the door started again, Lucy opened it and let Erza in, surprised that she only had a few suitcases and a handful of long green hair.
And when the guys saw her, Natsu put an arm around Gray. "Getting along great as always."
Erza threw the hair at Gray's feet. "You better be. After having to battle Freed, I am in a very bad mood."
Lucy looked up to Happy. "This is off to a great start," she sarcastically whined.