So my muse is being a little bitch right now. I apologize for her inability to act like a proper writing guide, but I simply cannot control her devious ass. All I can say is I'll do my best to keep working on my stories, so please bear with me. I'd like to say thank you to those of you who have stood by me the whole time, who've supported me and encouraged me when I've struggled with my writing. To those who haven't pushed or demanded, but gently reminded me that I'm missed. To those who have made me feel like I'm not a complete failure for taking so many unexpected and unintended breaks. I don't have the words to thank you all for never letting me down even when I feel like I'm constantly letting you down. Thank you for continuing to believe in me, because it really does help me believe in myself. And let me tell you, sometimes that's hard to do. So before I get any more teary-eyed, let me close by saying you guys are truly the most incredible followers a writer could ever have, and I could not appreciate you more than I already do. You guys mean the world to me, and I hope you'll take this chapter as my sincere thanks.

As always, I don't own Fairy Tail. That distinct honor belongs to Hiro Mashima.

Please enjoy.


It had been a tough week, one fraught with a few tears, a little sadness, and a whole lot of tension. Ever since their job, Gajeel had been even more contentious with her, picking fights at every turn rather than outright avoiding her like he had in the past, and she was slowly beginning to lose her cool. She was beyond stressed at their already awkward situation, but Gajeel seemed determined to make it even more so.

She wondered what had crawled up his ass. Was it their near kiss? Or was it the fact that Lily had seen Gajeel's lapse in control? She was leaning toward the latter. Gajeel had always prided himself on his iron clad grip on himself, and now, he had to be feeling like he was losing it in leaps and bounds. It was understandable really. Fate was kicking his ass.

Still, that didn't give him the right to take it out on her. Or Lily. Or the wall he'd knocked a hole into the night before.

They were all getting pretty sick of his attitude, Lily especially. Gajeel had spent the better part of the last week on Lily's case about nearly everything he said or did, so much so that Lily had very nearly taken a swing at Gajeel. It hadn't taken much to convince Lily to take the day and get out of the house. He'd clearly needed the space. Lucy was glad he'd agreed to a break, but Lucy couldn't help feeling at loose ends. It was the first time she'd been in the house alone, and she wasn't entirely sure what to do with her time.

Lily had offered her the chance to join him, but Lucy really felt like he needed time away from not only Gajeel, but everything associated with their situation. So that meant Lucy would just have to find something to occupy her time.

The answer came to her almost immediately. Lily had been so great to her - supportive, kind. A real friend. And he'd mentioned only yesterday that he needed to clean out the fridge. They'd noticed a strange odor emanating from the old machine every time the door was opened, and Lily had of course announced he would take care of it.

It gave her the perfect opportunity to repay some of the debt she'd accumulated with him as well as giving her something to do.

Decision made, she crossed the room to her dresser, choosing a pair of pink-trimmed black bicycle shorts and matching sports bra and drawing them on. She didn't bother brushing her hair. She wasn't out to impress anyone, and she'd need a shower afterward anyway. So she threw the tangled mess up into a quick bun and grabbed her headphone and music player before heading to the kitchen.

She couldn't wait to see Lily's face when he came home and found his work had already been done. He deserved it. He'd taken such good care of her, and she'd wanted so badly to do something nice for him in return, and now, she finally had the chance.

On the plus side, it had the added benefit of making her feel useful. She'd felt like such a burden to both Lily, and even Gajeel. She hadn't been on a single job to help with the finances, and Lily had outright refused to accept her help with household chores. It left her feeling annoyingly unproductive, and if she was being honest, a little stir-crazy as well.

Quickly finishing off an apple, she got to work, popping her headphones in and selecting her favorite play list before turning to the cabinet to grab the cleaning solution and gloves. In no time at all, she was completely absorbed in her work, her body bopping to the beat of her music and her hands flitting across every surface within the emptied refrigerator.

For the first time in a week, she felt free. Perhaps a bit silly, but free nonetheless. And it felt great! She'd actively pushed Gajeel to the back of her mind and allowed herself to enjoy the wonderfully normal task without the nearly constant press of tension she usually got from Gajeel. She danced and sang, letting herself really get into it, so much so that she didn't hear someone come in the room until a shout pierced through the sound of her music.

"What the fuck are you doing?!"

Lucy jumped immediately, and whimpered as she smacked the back of her head against the underside of the freezer door in her haste to stand up. "Ow!" she yelped, spinning and fixing Gajeel with a scowl as she rubbed lightly at her scalp. "What the hell, Gajeel? You scared the shit out of me!"

Her Fate-chosen dragon slayer had apparently not quite gotten over his latest bout of moodiness, because the instant she spoke, he snapped, 'Well, if you didn't have your damn music jacked up so fucking loud, maybe you would'a heard me coming!"

"Wha-" She huffed, shaking her head in disbelief. "My music isn't even loud! You're just being a..." She stopped, refusing to get into it with him over something so trivial. She'd been trying to convince him they could work. Arguing with him wouldn't accomplish that.

Only Gajeel didn't appear to care so much. "A what?"

"It doesn't even matter," she said, choosing instead to ignore his less than appealing mood and get back to cleaning.

Gajeel scowled. "No, answer the fucking question!"

Lucy sighed, shifting again to face him and leaning back against the counter. She shot him a bored look, then said, "Why are you trying to pick a fight with me?"

Clearly that's what he was trying to do, and she was tired of it. She hadn't gone looking for him, hadn't gone out of her way to piss him off in any way, so why should he get to come in here and interrupt her work just so he could throw a fit?

"Why can't you just answer the damn question?" he fired back, crossing his arms obstinately across his chest.

"Because I don't feel like it," she answered, giving him one last look before turning back to the fridge. "And because the only reason you want me to is so you can blame me for pissing you off. Again."

A growl shot up his throat. "Well, that ship has already fucking sailed!"

Throwing her arms up, Lucy faced him again. "Well, what else is new? I swear, you get your panties in a twist over the stupidest things." Snorting, she cocked a hip, then deepened her voice into what was an admittedly pathetic impression of his, "'Grrr...why the hell did you wash my clothes?! Who told you to buy toilet paper?! Stop making me dinner!'" She stomped her feet and swung her arms around in an exaggerated version of him, then rolled her eyes. "Can't you ever just be thankful when someone does something nice for you?"

Honestly, she'd had it with him about it all. He was being ridiculous. What kind of person complained about someone making things better for him? A damn fool, that's who.

Gajeel bristled instantly. "Why the fuck would I thank you when all you ever do is fuck shit up?!" he shouted back at her.

Blowing out a weary breath, Lucy tugged off her gloves and set them aside. She watched as Gajeel turned to leave the kitchen, and before she could really let herself think about the wisdom of her actions, she fired off a barb of her own. "I see that crab is still up your ass. Might wanna get that checked out."

She knew she shouldn't engage him. It didn't help her cause one bit, and really, she didn't know why she let him get to her like that. But sometimes, the man was more than she could take. At least quietly, that is.

Gajeel turned just in time to catch sight of her admittedly snide grin, and then he lost it. "What the fuck did you say?"

"You heard me," she hummed lightly, completely unimpressed with the scowl on his face. "Or do you have critters in your ears, too?"

She really didn't know what had gotten into her. She'd never jumped on him like this before. And from the expression on Gajeel's face, he apparently was wondering the same thing. But she couldn't seem to make herself care.

She was tired of being picked on, tired of him walking around the house glaring at her all the time. If he was going to fuss about every little thing, then maybe she'd give him something to fuss about. A taste of his own medicine, as it were.

In two short strides, Gajeel was right up against her, his body crowding hers into the edge of the counter and his face scant inches from her own. "You think you can talk to me like that?!"

She knew she ought to take him seriously. Anyone with half a brain would take this wild-eyed brute of a man seriously. Unfortunately, while she was giving it one hell of a try, she wasn't getting very far. The moment he'd pressed his body into hers, she was gone. That fast, every ounce of anger she'd felt at him had evaporated, and once again, she was hopeless.

He scowled down at her upturned face, clearly furious, but Lucy couldn't find it in herself to care. With his breath blanketing her skin like this, all she could think of was what they'd done a few days ago in her room, and suddenly, she was burning up. The skimpy clothes she'd put on with cool comfort in mind were now like a second, suffocating skin.

She shifted in place, her body unintentionally brushing up against his and pushing a soft puff of air from her throat. She wished she could just press into him, slide her fingers under his shirt and feel her way across the expanse of his back. If she thought for even a second she could get away with it, she'd do it, but with Gajeel, it was all about patience.

And as his eyes dipped to her lips and his body swayed toward her, Lucy found herself becoming confident. He wanted her. He wanted everything she was offering him. He just needed a push.

Slowly, she wet her lips, her tongue licking a deliberate path along the swell of the lower half of her mouth, and she nearly cheered when his eyes followed her actions and his breathing changed. He was feeling it. He might not want to admit it just yet, but he was definitely feeling something.

Hope pulsing in her heart, she drew in a deep, shuddering breath and was relieved to see Gajeel's gaze dropped even lower to her barely concealed chest. She wondered what he was thinking, what sort of things his mind was imagining right then. Could he be remembering the other night? The way it felt being together?

Suddenly, the red of his irises flashed - a quick pulse of heat there and gone so fast Lucy had to wonder if it had happened at all.

And then all hell broke loose.

A growl spilling up his throat, Gajeel lunged at her, his hands grabbing for her hips and yanking her forward. His lips made contact a second later, the heat from his kiss sending Lucy moaning and clutching at his shoulders for purchase. His tongue pierced her mouth with an edge of wildness, his intensity only ratcheting up her own until she was all but climbing his sinful body.

She couldn't believe they were about to do this again, in the kitchen no less, but if she was honest, she didn't care where or when it happened, just so long as it did. Over and over again.

Heat suffused her flesh as his hands moved lower, sliding over the curve of her ass and drawing her in tight against his groin. She could feel him there, long and thick, ready to bring her to her knees. She reached for him. She hadn't actually intended to, but she was too damn greedy.

Her fingers closed around his turgid length through the thin fabric of his exercise shorts without an ounce of the subtlety she usually possessed, and his head yanked back, a breath hissing from between his teeth. For a moment, Lucy was worried she'd done too much, that she'd gone too far in her zeal, especially when his hand suddenly abandoned her bottom and came up to grab hold of her arm.

She opened her mouth to apologize, to beg him not to leave her like this, but the words died in her throat when he spun her around and shoved her forward. At just a little below waist level, the counter was perfectly positioned for him to fold her over, and he did so with no more than a grunt of satisfaction. But Lucy couldn't bring herself to care. Hell, if he wanted her sprawled out on the picnic table outside at the first break of dawn, she'd let him. Getting it from the back was more than fine with her.

But first, they needed to get naked.

She raised up from the counter, just enough to attempt to rid herself of her pants, but Gajeel put a hand between her shoulder blades. "Don't move."

Goosebumps skittered across her skin at his low, sexy command, and she found herself moistening further when his fingers slid into the waistband of her shorts to yank them down. Her panties followed not even a moment later, and Lucy shuddered when she looked over her shoulder and saw him undoing the tie on his shorts. Their eyes met as the last bit of fabric between them fell to the floor, and Lucy hurried to turn back around before he could see something on her face he shouldn't see.

Gajeel moved in behind her, his hand shifting one of her legs out before sliding up between her thighs. He brushed over her with the tip of his finger, and Lucy pushed back against him, dragging those deliciously wide fingers along the seam of her sex.

"Oh God..." It felt so good to have him touching her that she forgot to restrain herself, and before she knew it, she had uttered a desperate, "Please..."

She froze, fearing that he'd hear just how much she wanted this and stop touching her, and then he did. Her back rose as she started to turn around, but just as before, he stopped her. "I told you not to fucking move."

He wasn't going to stop. Oh sweet heavens, he wasn't going to stop. Quivering in anticipation, she whispered, "O-Okay."

Seeming pleased with her obedience, he grabbed hold of her hips and dragged her back a step, and Lucy complied, arching her back in invitation. She waited for him to take her, waited for the unmistakable feel of his thick shaft sliding between her legs, and when it didn't immediately come, she turned back to look over her shoulder.

Maybe he'd changed his mind. Maybe he'd realized she wanted him a whole lot more than he wanted her.

But just as her eyes fell on him, he stepped in behind her and fisted his cock, lining himself up with her entrance. Lucy watched, both seeing and feeling what he was doing to her as he drove up inside of her.

Her breathless cry pierced the quiet of the room as he withdrew from her soaked depths and thrust forward again. Pleasure burst through her belly with each smooth plunge of his body into hers, and Lucy found herself gasping for breath. She trembled, gripping desperately at the edge of the counter as she pushed back into him.

Had anything ever felt so good?

If so, she hadn't found it yet. She didn't think anything could ever top how she felt with Gajeel buried deep inside her. It was only during those few times they'd been together that she finally felt full, complete. It was unlike anything she could have ever imagined.

Quicker and harder, Gajeel moved, pulling Lucy's already strained nerves even tighter. She cried out as he drove in deep, her center quivering as an orgasm loomed before her. "Oh God!"

"Fuck!" he grunted, his hips snapping forward with whip-like precision even as his hands pulled her body back into his.

Lucy knew she wouldn't last much longer. She could feel the tell-tale ache creeping down her legs, her muscles tightening painfully as if in preparation for that final burst of passion. The tension mounted within her, the lower half of her body going rigid and pushing a gasp from her lips. And then when she was sure she could take no more, the band within her snapped and her release took her.

Wave after wave of ecstasy shot through her, sending her head flying back and his name shooting from her mouth. "Gajeel!"

His voice strained, he cursed, tightening his hold on her hips. "Shit!"

As if her climax called his own, his pace picked up, and Gajeel began hammering her from behind. A gasp fled her lips as he pushed her right back into another orgasm, and as she screamed and convulsed around him, he drove into her slick sheath one last time and came.

Legs shaking and lungs burning, Lucy let her head drop softly onto the countertop beneath her. The cool surface was a wonderful contrast to her feverish skin, and she found herself moaning at how incredible it felt. Every part of her body was weak in the wake of their lovemaking, and she couldn't help grinning at the way things had turned out.

Once again, Gajeel had initiated their contact.

He'd come to her, and that was one more reason for celebration.

Gajeel slumped over the blonde, trying to catch his breath. He was still nestled deep within her warm sex, and he allowed himself a moment to enjoy just how great it felt there. He knew regret would hit him in a minute, and he'd be ready to freak the fuck out, but for right now, he didn't want to think about it all.

He wanted to pretend she was just a woman, he was just a man, and they were just fucking.

There was no mate shit hanging over his head, no fate trying to screw him over.

There was nothing but her wet pussy and his softening cock.

He pushed himself up, settling his hands on the edge of the counter to either side of her and let his eyes travel across the length of her back and down over her ass to where their bodies connected, and he found himself shutting everything else out. It was easy to do, easier than he'd have thought possible.

If he hadn't been so tired, he might have questioned why that was, but the last couple weeks had been exhausting. The last week especially had worn him out. He felt like he was constantly locked in a fight - against himself, against her, against the guild. Everywhere he turned, there was something or someone else to battle, and he was just fucking worn out.

There were moments he thought about giving in, times like now, when it seemed so much easier to just quit fighting and go with the flow. And he was sure it would make things easier on him. But he'd never walked away from a fight just because it was hard. No, he was too stubborn for that shit.

Sometimes though, it was harder than others.

Like now.

Gajeel sighed. He knew he needed to leave her body. Hell, he needed to leave the whole damn house after this, but just as he was about to step back, Lucy suddenly clamped down around him. He grit his teeth against the flash of pleasure it sent through his body, and before he knew it, he'd rocked his hips against her again.

This was bad. It was really fucking bad to be thinking about fucking her again, but damn she felt good around him.

His cock twitched inside her, approving the idea and making it that much harder for him to deny himself. He'd be lying if he said he didn't want to lose himself in her tight little body again. It would only be putting off the inevitable and maybe giving her the wrong fucking idea, but he couldn't seem to convince his body to forget it.

Especially when she rocked back against him, sucking his steadily hardening cock back into her sweet cunt.

"Shit..." he groaned as she gave another squeeze.

How the fuck was he supposed to resist this? She was already spread around him, wet and hot as fucking hell. She had his dick already raring to go again, and he'd just as soon not spend the next fucking hour hard as a fucking rock.

Drawing in a sharp breath as she pushed back against him again, he growled. "Fuck it!"

Gripping her hips, he drove back up into Lucy's body, pushing a quivering gasp from her mouth. She eased the top half of her body up, placing her hands on the edge of the counter as she rolled back against him.

Fuck, it felt good inside her. Her heat surrounded him, welcoming him deeper into her wet sheath, and he took that invitation for all it was worth. He dove into the job of fucking her with renewed vigor, plunging even further between her legs. Only the angle wasn't working for him.

Growling in frustration, Gajeel drew back, teeth gritting as her core clamped down on him again.

"No...don't stop," Lucy pleaded, face flushed as she turned to face him.

Her eyes were heavy-lidded with arousal, and Gajeel felt his insides twist. She stood there naked from the waist down, the curls at the apex of her thighs glistening with moisture, and all he could think of was how quickly he could find his way back inside.

Moving toward her, he reached for her skin tight top and all but ripped it off her body, and finally, she was completely nude. Fuck she was gorgeous. His cock thickened further in anticipation, and as he slipped his hands around her hips and lifted her up onto the counter, he knew he would never forget what she looked like just now.

It was almost enough to have him pushing her away again. Just walking away until he could clear his head and get her off his mind. But just as the idea flashed into his mind, she grabbed him, hand sliding into the hair at the base of his neck and pulling him in. Her lips landed on his with a low moan, and that was all it took to knock him right back out of logical thought.

Who the fuck needed salvation anyway?

A growl reverberating up his throat, he yanked her body to the counter edge and spread her legs wide. Before he could begin lining himself back up between her legs, Lucy reached between them and grasped his cock, leading him back to her entrance. She broke the kiss a second later as he edged inside and whimpered, "Please...Gajeel please."

Her plea sent the draconic part of him roaring to life, and with a sharp growl of approval, he speared into her waiting heat.

His thrust sent her head flying back, a sharp cry bursting from her mouth. It was one of the sexiest things he'd ever seen, watching her body bow under the weight of pleasure. And still, it wasn't enough. He needed more. More.

He drove into her as if his life depended on it, faster, harder, and still, he couldn't find release. He needed...something.

Growling, he spread her wide, angling her legs up and over his arms. She went willingly, body angling to pull him in deeper, and he watched as her tits began to really bounce. Suddenly, he needed a taste, just one quick taste of her pert little nipples.

Keeping his pace, he pulled her close and only barely caught a glimpse of her surprise before his lips closed around her. He gave her pretty pink flesh a sharp tug, and felt heat burst inside his body. On and on, he sucked, drawing the tip into a tight little point and pushing her closer and closer to the edge of her orgasm.

She bucked against him, her voice a breathy wail. "Oh God! Gajeel!"

He felt more than saw her fingernails pierce the skin on his shoulders as her end approached, and then, between one gasp and the next, she was done. Her back bowed, and she let out a shriek loud enough to break glass.

But at the moment, he couldn't care less. He could feel his balls tightening with his own impending release, so he gave himself over to it, let himself go. His hips began to jerk sporadically as he neared his end, and with a fierce growl, he came, filling her once more with his seed.

He stood there, with his dick deflating inside her, and he tried to find the strength to step away. There was something so...enticing about her, about fucking her. It was the first time in the last week he hadn't felt completely out of control. He felt...incredible.

And that was exactly why he needed to get the fuck away from her. She was doing something to his head, making him too weak to resist her. She was like a fucking siren, pulling him in and making him want to stay right there with her...forever.

No, fuck that!

With an angry swipe, he shoved her arms from around his shoulders and stepped back only to wince at the sight of her spread wide for his eyes on the counter. He'd thought moving away from her would help curb his desire for her, but as his eyes swept over her curves, he knew it was a lie. No matter what he might like to believe, her appeal didn't come from her grip on his cock.

And that's what scared him.

Closing his eyes on her naked body, he turned and only barely managed snatch up his clothes before stomping out of the room. It took every ounce of strength he had not to run to his room, but he'd already given her so much. He wasn't adding his pride to the fucking list.

She didn't have to know that he wasn't sure he had any left.