Before we start here, I just want to say that I am amazed. Absolutely amazed. When I uploaded chapter 2, the story was on 3 reviews. Its on 12 now as I'm writing this. That's the best any of my stories has ever done after two chapters, which is absolutely incredible. Thank you guys so much for this, I'm so delighted that everyone seems to really like this story, and I really hope you continue to enjoy it. I can't thank you guys enough for your support at this stage, I'm so incredibly grateful.

Now this chapter is up a couple of days later than I would have liked. So sorry about that, but I am super busy at the moments guys. I'm working Monday to Friday at the moment, and I had a football tournament on Sunday. Nothing serious, just a five a side with some friends, but it did pretty much take away my Sunday. This chapter would have been up at the weekend had it not been for all that. I'm hoping that I can get the next chapter up next week, but no promises.

Someone was also asking about pairings in a review. They seemed to be under the impression that Jerza would be the only pairing, but that's not true at all, there will be quite a lot more pairings. As for which ones, well... you'll just have wait and see ;) They should become clear soon enough though.

And one last thing, I'm not done with my One Piece story, people seem to be really worried about that. I just want to work on this for a few more weeks, maybe for the rest of the summer, and then I'll return to that. I'm really enjoying writing this story and its kind of rekindling my love for fanfiction which I felt was on the wane before the break from this site I took for revision.

But once again, thank you all so much for your support, it would be incredible if we can keep getting the same number of reviews as we have been getting.

Lucy darted out of her bedroom before quickly hopping down the stairs. Weirdly, she found herself inwardly chuckling at the situation she had found herself in, it was actually kind of ironic.

You see, it was Monday morning, a week since her first day at Fairy Tail High, and just like on that first day, she had overslept, however this time she had ignored her alarm rather than forgot to set it. Basically, the end result was that she was running late. Again.

Overall, the last week had been fairly enjoyable for her. Lucy had never struggled academically and, after just one week, seemed to have already established herself in pretty much all of her classes as one of the brightest and most hardworking students.

Outside of lessons, Lucy spent most of her time with Natsu, Gray and Erza, and Lucy felt happy that they seemed to have accepted her into their little social group. They spent every break and a couple of lunchtimes together. The time was usually spent with either Natsu or Erza recounting some exciting encounter from earlier in the day, or sharing some juicy gossip. For example, one day, Natsu had giddily told them that he had seen Gajeel checking Levy out, although both Gray and Erza had dismissed this, saying that the two were completely incompatible. Even Lucy found it hard to imagine the two together. Either way, Lucy enjoyed these little 'gossip sessions', as she felt like she was learning things about her classmates, a lot of whom she still hadn't really gotten to know properly.

When Lucy wasn't with those three, she also found herself spending a lot of time with Levy, who she found she had a lot in common with. On Wednesday When Natsu and Gray were busy with detention and Erza had student council, Lucy had found Levy in the school library. Lucy loved reading, and so the library seemed like the natural place to go for her. However, she was delighted to find someone in Levy that loved reading just as much if not even more than she did. The two spent the whole of lunch together, forgetting to eat completely, and Levy recommended several books to Lucy. That evening, Lucy planned to read a couple of chapters of the first book, but was so hooked on Levy's books that she completely read the first book cover to cover and made a sizable dent in the second book.

Lucy was also delighted by the amount of time she had spent with Mirajane. Ever since the first day, Lucy always seemed to catch Mirajane in the corridor at least once every day and on these occasions, Mirajane insisted on stopping Lucy and having a small chat. On Thursday, Mirajane had lunch with her, Natsu, Gray and Erza, and on Friday, the two had spent the whole of lunch together without those three as Natsu and Gray had detention (again) and Erza had hockey training. Lucy found that she already really looked up to Mirajane, who she saw as smart, beautiful and kind, everything she wanted to be.

The problem with spending time with Mirajane was that this attracted attention from her younger brother, Elfman. Occasionally, Lucy would just be wandering around in the corridors when Elfman would suddenly appear and make some sort of comment about how it took a real man to be friends with his sister or how much of a man his big sister was. Lucy quickly realized that Elfman's comments didn't really make sense, but it seemed like Elfman liked her, so she just usually politely smiled and nodded in 'agreement'. The problem was when sometimes Mirajane and Lucy would be talking, and then Elfman would just suddenly appear out of nowhere and not even join the conversation but just observe completely silently, as if he was testing her or something like that. It was a little off-putting for Lucy but Mira never seemed affected by it, which seemed to suggest that she was used to it.

However the past week hadn't been smooth sailing for Lucy. One of her main problems was the whole situation with Juvia, who was the downside of spending lots of time with Gray. With every lunchtime or break time she spent with him, Natsu and Erza, Juvia seemed to hate her even more, and Maths became extremely uncomfortable for Lucy. Every time she looked up from her work, she'd see Juvia glaring at her, sometimes mouthing the words 'love rival'. That being said, she did feel somewhat bad for the blue haired girl. Gray seemed to completely ignore her, and Lucy wondered whether he even knew Juvia Lockser existed.

And then there was the less annoying but far more threatening issue of Laxus. Lucy was especially afraid of what would happen if she ran into him again whilst she was on her own, no Erza, Jellal or anyone to protect her.

When she had asked Erza why she didn't want Natsu and Gray to know about what had happened in the cafeteria that day with Laxus, Erza had told her that if Natsu or Gray found out, they'd want to fight Laxus, a fight which neither of them could win. However what surprised Lucy even more was when Erza told her that Natsu especially admired Laxus and looked up to him as a sort of role model. This initially made Lucy feel angry, and little betrayed, but Erza explained that Natsu didn't talk to Laxus much any more, and so didn't know about the way Laxus treated other students. All Natsu really knew about him was how we was when he was younger and that he was the school's sporting hero. This was another reason why Erza didn't want Natsu specifically to know about what Laxus had done that day. She didn't want to ruin Natsu's idealistic vision of him.

Lucy didn't understand what Erza meant when she said that Natsu only knew how Laxus was when he was younger so Erza told her that Laxus didn't used to be the way he was, and used to be a kind but slightly quiet and perhaps awkward boy who genuinely cared for his friends. But that all changed around half a year ago and his personality shift coincided with his father allegedly getting arrested, although Laxus didn't talk about it (not that anyone dared to ask) and so no one knew much about it. Since then, Laxus completely stopped interacting with Natsu and the others and instead spent all his time with Freed, Bickslow and Evergreen, who seemed to almost worship Laxus, they were so fiercely loyal to him.

Lucy also was surprised to find out that Laxus was the grandson of the School's principal, Makarov, who she was still yet to meet. She couldn't help but wonder whether the principal knew about Laxus' behavior, or simply just turned a blind eye to it. It would be understandable in the circumstances and it would explain how Laxus seemed to be able to do what he wanted.

Lucy shook her head, trying to clear her head of these thoughts. She didn't have time to waste now worrying about Laxus, she needed to get a move on. She jumped the last three steps at once as usual, but noticed something out of the corner of her eye. Sitting in an armchair in the living room was a familiar figure, but not one that Lucy expected to be there. Her eyes widened, as she fully entered the living room, the figure of this man in full view now.

"F-Father?"

######

This was it.

Natsu grinned, pedaling faster, just wanting to get to school as soon as possible. That was why he had gone to bed a couple of hours early last night, woken up half an hour early today, and even then gotten out of the house a full hour earlier than usual.

You see, it's rare for Natsu Dragneel of all pupils to want to be in school, let alone be in school early. So why was he making such an effort?

It was Monday, a week after the first day, but more importantly for him, a week after the first stage of the soccer team trials.

Fairy Tail High School's soccer team was its pride and joy. They had won their region's Championships last year and boasted some of the best players in the country at School-level.

But more importantly, Soccer was Natsu's favorite sport. He had played it ever since he was just a little kid. For years he had played for the school team at all levels, but now that he was a High School Junior, he finally had the opportunity to play for the School's main team. Today was the day of the second stage of the trials, after which the first team squad would be selected.

Honestly, it didn't actually matter at what time Natsu reached school that morning, the trials were after school. But he was so pumped that that thought didn't even occur to him. All he knew was today was a big day, and he just wanted to be in school then and there.

He had spent the whole summer training with Magnolia's local Sunday League team. He had trained extra hard, nearly every single day, wanting nothing more than to play for the first team. That was all he wanted.

Ever since that day...

######

"Laxus!"

Laxus Dreyar turned around at the sound of his name, stopping just outside the school gates. The front of the school was mostly empty at this time, nearly 6pm. School was over, and had been for a good couple of hours but there had been a school soccer match after school, and so he'd had to stay to play in that. The school couldn't perform without it's star player after all.

Standing behind him, in the now empty courtyard, a little bit back, was a familiar pink haired boy. He was panting heavily, which suggested that he had been running, presumably to catch up to him.

Laxus slung his bag over his shoulder, feeling it starting to slip down. "Natsu? What do you want?"

Natsu smiled his usual toothy grin, running up to Laxus. "You played awesome today! Like even better than usual! And that goal was so amazing! You gotta tell me, how d'ya hit the ball like that? I'm all fired up now, come on, let's go the the park and play, one-on-one-"

Laxus smirked. Natsu must have stayed after school and watched the game, like he always did. He was literally the team's 'twelfth man'."Not now, I'm tired. I had a long day of school, and then I had to play that match. I'm going home to take a nap..."

Natsu glared at him, pouting like a child who wasn't getting his way. "What? Come on, don't be so lazy..."

Laxus laughed heartily, causing Natsu to glare at him. "What the hell's so funny!? You're just scared, cuz you're school's best player, and if I beat you, that makes me the best, aren't you!?"

Laxus turned away from Natsu, rolling his eyes, winding up the pink haired boy even more. "Yeah, that's definitely it..."

"No!" Natsu shouted, running around Laxus so that he was standing in front of him. "Right now, let's play!"

Laxus stepped around him and continued walking, still chuckling lightly to himself. Natsu glared at his back, before Laxus suddenly stopped, an idea coming to him. "OK, we'll play... but not now."

Natsu blinked. "But... when?"

Laxus turned his head so that he was looking at Natsu, and smirked in a challenging way. "I don't just give matches to anyone. We'll play when you're in the school team too. When that day comes, then you can play against me, and then we'll see who's the better player. Whoever wins is the school's best player. Deal?"

Natsu brought his fist and palm together, meeting Laxus' smirk with his own. "Deal! I'll kick your ass!"

######

Natsu smirked, increasing his speed even more, the school now coming into sight. The courtyard was deserted, a usual sight for Natsu Dragneel in the mornings, but this time because he was early rather than late.

"Laxus... Today's the day! Damn, I'm so fired up right now..."

######

Jude Heartfilia looked up at his startled daughter. "Ah, Lucy. I'm glad that I'm not too late."

Lucy opened her mouth, trying to form a sentence, or even just some words. After a couple of failed tries, she just ran up to her father, who remained slouching on the armchair, and threw her arms around his neck. Jude stiffened before relaxing, feeling somewhat comfortable in this admittedly unusual position. It wasn't often his daughter hugged him. But it wasn't often he was even around her.

Lucy pulled away from him, positively beaming. Jude was usually never home, always away on business trips, or meetings, or whatever important arrangements he had. He had completely missed Lucy's first week, away in some exotic country on some lucrative business.

"Y-you're back! But when? And why are you up so early?

Jude couldn't help but smirk slightly, his daughter's happiness rubbing off on him. "Just last night, midnight. And why am I up so early? Isn't it obvious? I wanted to catch you before you left for school. How is it by the way?"

"It's great, thank you."

Jude nodded slightly, before looking more serious and eyeing her carefully. "And there aren't any problems? You must tell Caprico if anything is wrong..."

Lucy shook her head dismissively, still smiling widely, "No, No, it's fine. It's perfect really, I'm really really enjoying it."

Jude stared levelly at her for a second, as if trying to see if the words were genuine. When satisfied they were, he relaxed and leaned back in his chair. His lips twitched slightly, before he caught himself and maintained his neutral expression. He didn't smile, not him. He sat thoughtful for a second, before finally speaking.

"That's good to hear."

Lucy frowned, a little disappointed. She had been expecting... more. "Oh... well it's great seeing you again! If you're still home when I get back, maybe we can talk some more."

Jude shifted his gaze from his daughter to the ground. "I'm not sure if that will be possible. I might have a meeting tonight."

Lucy's face sagged slightly, not that Jude saw. "Oh. Well, if you can, I'd love to talk to you. I really miss you a lot when you're away... Da- Father."

Jude nodded, although it didn't seem as if he was focusing on her anymore. Lucy sighed quietly, again missed by Jude, and turned around, making her way into the kitchen, remembering that she did have school to get to.

######

Mr Conbolt lazily raised his eyes from his newspaper when he heard the door of the classroom open. He briefly glanced at the new arrival, the first person to arrive that morning, before turning his attention back to the newsprint, not fully registering who had entered. Suddenly he frowned and looked up, his eyes widening when he fully realized who was there.

"N-Natsu? But... You're early! How?"

Natsu smirked, proudly looking around the empty classroom. "I'm the first here? That's awesome, I'm so gonna rub that in Gajeel and Droopy eyes' face!"

Mr Conbolt rolled his eyes. Early for the first time ever, and all he could think about was annoying Gray and Gajeel. He returned to his reading material, whilst Natsu took his seat, still grinning. "Yeah, well, good job, I guess..."

The next twenty minutes dragged on extremely slowly for Mr Conbolt and Natsu. It didn't take long for the novelty of being the first one to arrive to wear off for Natsu, and he quickly became bored. Because of that, he took out his Maths book from his bag and began tearing out pages and turning them into paper planes. At first this didn't annoy Mr Conbolt, but it was when Natsu began testing these planes out, and one narrowly missed the teacher's eye, that Mr Conbolt was forced to take action, confiscating Natsu's books. Kind of ironic considering he had always encouraged Natsu to read outside of lessons.

So Natsu then pulled out a tennis ball from his pocket (Although why he just happened to be carrying this item in his pocket wasn't clear) and began bouncing it against the back wall of the classroom. The regular bumping sound was bearable, but Natsu quickly tired of this, and began trying to throw the ball into the bin at the front of the classroom, right next to Mr Conbolt's desk. Unfortunately, he missed the bin and knocked over a cup of boiling hot coffee on the desk, the scalding hot liquid covering the teacher's desk, and nearly, were it not for his quick reflexes, the now pissed off teacher.

Luckily for Mr Conbolt, after he and an apologetic Natsu had wiped up his desk, the rest of the pupils began to arrive. The last to come in were Gray and Gajeel, who were just as shocked as Mr Conbolt when they saw a grinning Natsu waiting for them at the back of the classroom.

When the bell rang, Mr Conbolt opened his desk and took out the register. He lifted his pen up and counted the number of students in the room, before frowning and recounting them. "It appears that we're one short."

Natsu, who had been having some typically pointless argument with Gajeel, looked up. He scanned the classroom quickly, immediately deducing the identity of the absentee. "Where's Lucy?"

Gajeel snorted, leaning back in his chair. "What, she's late again? Just like last week..."

Gray however, shook his head, looking worried. "That was just on the first day though. She isn't usually late."

Natsu then stood up and made his way to the front of the classroom. "I'm gonna go look for her."

Cana, who had been resting her head on the desk, probably hungover from the weekend, looked up at him. "She could just be ill, you know."

Natsu was about to reply, when Levy spoke. "I don't think so, I talked to her last night. She didn't say she had a cold or anything and she sounded completely fine."

Natsu opened the door. "Something doesn't feel right. I'll be back soon."

######

"Oh, it's you again."

Lucy consciously took a step back. Standing in front of her was the last person she wanted to see. Towering over her, surrounded by the same three lackeys as before, was a scowling Laxus Dreyar.

Despite her best efforts, the time Lucy had spent talking to her father plus the time she lost by oversleeping meant that she was actually even later than she had been last week, despite the best efforts of Caprico, who must have broken the speed limit at least three times on their relatively short journey.

By the time she had arrived at the school, the outside courtyard was completely deserted, which had caused Lucy to panic even more. If there was no one outside, that meant that everyone was inside, which meant that school had started. Lucy half-expected Natsu to come crashing into her again at that point, not knowing that the pink haired boy was actually one of the first people in the school that morning.

Just as she had been about to enter the school, however, she had heard someone laughing around the back of the building. Therefore she, unwisely, decided to see what the source of the noise was.

Lazing around at the back of the school, was Laxus, with his usual crew of Evergreen, Freed and Bickslow. Laxus was clutching a bottle, some sort of alcohol, Lucy assumed, whilst Bickslow and Evergreen were smoking cigarettes. As soon as he saw her, Laxus put down the bottle and stared straight at Lucy. The four were all silent, clearly annoyed to have been interrupted.

Lucy gulped slightly, before composing herself and staring levelly at Laxus, trying to make herself not seem as afraid as she actually was. It didn't work though, as Laxus playfully raised an eyebrow at her, showing that she wasn't fooling him.

He shoved both his hands into his pockets and moved so that he was standing directly in front of her, an inch or so separating the two. Lucy, a good head shorter than Laxus, found that in this position, she was staring directly at his chest. She knew what Laxus was doing, he was trying to make himself look as imposing as possible.

And it was definitely working.

Suddenly, he brought his thumb up and brushed the bottom of Lucy's lip. At his touch, Lucy inhaled sharply, and Laxus grinned. "Hey now, no need to be so tense..."

Lucy pulled away from him, a little more forcefully than intended, for a second forgetting just who she was dealing with. "No," She firmly said.

Laxus tensed and his grin disappeared. He stared at Lucy, a neutral expression on his face. Freed, Evergreen and Bickslow were all still silent, just watching the two. Laxus stepped forward, closing the space between the two.

"That's not how things work around here. You see, this is my school. If there's something I want..." He forcefully jerked Lucy's chin upwards so that she was staring directly into his now cold eyes, all playfulness drained from them. "... I take it."

Lucy stared hopelessly into his eyes. What could she do? She tried to turn her head, to search for some way of escaping, but Laxus' hand was firmly gripping her chin. She was completely hopeless. Unless...

Suddenly, she lifted her knee up, and brought her heel down on Laxus' much larger foot. Laxus grunted in pain, and staggered backwards slightly, giving Lucy the opportunity she needed to fully pull away from him. Before he had a chance to recover, she tried to run around the corner of the school. Nobody could see what was going on around the back of the school. Maybe if she made it to the front of the building, even if she was caught, someone would see them.

However, just then, Evergreen stood in her way, smiling teasingly at Lucy. "My, my, looks like you've got a fire." Bickslow chuckled slightly, whilst Freed was staring at the ground, as if he didn't want to see what was happening. Lucy couldn't help but wonder just how much he enjoyed Laxus' activities. When he noticed her looking at him, he looked up at her, and gave her a grim, seemingly apologetic look.

But Lucy didn't have time to ponder the implications of that look. It was then that she realized that Laxus had recovered from her 'attack' and was now standing behind her. She turned around.

Big Mistake. Laxus seized her chin in his left hand, and forcefully grabbed her arm with the other one, squeezing hard. Lucy winced as his sharp nails dug into her soft flesh. However to Lucy's surprise, he was smirking. "How sneaky... you're more than you appear. Definitely my kind of girl."

"Please..." Lucy whimpered. "I...I..."

Laxus leaned in with his face. "No." He parted her lips with his thumb, Lucy powerless at this point.

Just then, Lucy felt herself pulled from behind, forcefully yanked away from Laxus' grip. Lucy didn't have time to register what had happened, when her savior placed himself between her and Laxus, glaring heatedly at the muscular boy. Lucy smiled relievedly at the back of the familiar pink haired boy, feeling tears of relief and happiness well up in her eyes.

"N-Natsu!"

I'm not gonna lie, I'm actually quite nervous. If feel that this is a chapter which a lot of you could hate or not really find interesting, and I'm not sure at all how you guys are going to take it.

But, of course, I hope you guys do enjoy it and leave some nice reviews. I don't really like to set review targets, but I'd just urge anyone reading to leave a review, they really do motivate me.

Also, it may not seem like it, but I am a big Laxus fan, so its not like I'm being really mean to him in the way I'm writing him because I hate him or anything like that. He is genuinely one of my favorites.

Oh, and as always, thanks for reading.