*18

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A/N: It's me, here again with another chapter just as promised.

Enjoy!☺

                          ~ Gray's P.O.V. ~

It's just plain weird. I watch as Dragneel watches Lucy attentively. She's completely oblivious to it though. She's been pretty spacey today, and I can see the bags under her eyes. Did she get any sleep last night? I see her stumble a bit. Luckily, she catches herself, but it caught everyone's attention.

She just gives as a sheepish smile. "Sorry," she said quietly.

"Are you ok, Lucy?" Happy asked.

"I'm fine, Happy," she says. "I'm just tired."

"Did you not sleep well last night?" Erza asked. I rolled my eyes but said nothing for fear of getting beat up by both Erza and Dragneel.

"No," Lucy said quietly. She then stumbled again. Her cheeks flushed in embarrassment.

Dragneel let out an irritated sigh. Erza and I flinched and stepped away from him. Who's he irritated at now? Wait, more importantly, how much damage will he have done before Master can step in? Dragneel turns around and walks up to Lucy. My eyes widen. He's going to hurt Lucy! Erza, Master, and I step toward them but freeze when we see Dragneel turn back around and squat in front of her.

Lucy smiles at him as she climbs onto his back. "Thank you, Aki," she says quietly.

Dragneel just grunts as a reply. He hooks his hands under her knees as she wraps her arms around his neck. He stands up and starts walking again. "Go to sleep, woman," he said. "You're no use if you can't even walk by yourself."

She giggled and rested her head on his shoulder. It only took a few minutes before Lucy was sleeping soundly on his back. I couldn't keep myself from staring at them. Dragneel of all people was giving her a piggyback ride. Dragneel let her ride on his back without complaint. Lucy doesn't seem scared of him at all.

I shake my head with an irritated sigh. How can she not be scared of him? He never smiles, never laughs, never volunteers to help, and is almost always glaring at everyone. Yet he does do all that stuff around her. I heard them talking about how she's seen him smile twice. He smiled at Erza, no matter how small, when Lucy was there. I've seen his eyes soften when he looks at her, and just now, he told her to get on his back. It's just not like him.

When I asked why he's so soft on her, he said that she needed someone to protect her. That doesn't explain why he thinks he has to do it. Later on I found out that she has 'episodes' because she was abused as a child, but I've never seen these episodes of hers. That means it must be Dragneel that brings these episodes out, but why is he so soft on her then? Doesn't he like seeing people cower in fear? Doesn't he like people being scared of him? Why does he feel the need to protect her? Why does he care for her?

I turned my glare to the ground. He beat up the entire guild and fought with Master until both of them were in the hospital the first day he got to the guild. He hates us and we stay away from him to keep from getting pummeled. It's always been like this. Even Happy, who Dragneel found and took care of, is scared of him. Then one day, a new girl suddenly showed up. She's all bright and smiley, and Happy acts like a spoiled kid around her. She suddenly gives Dragneel nicknames and talks to him like he's just another member of the guild. Suddenly, he became protective and cared for her. It's just not right. It's not natural for Dragneel to be protective. On top of all that, Erza started to call him by his first name. All because Lucy said he must be lonely. It's his fault thought. He shouldn't beat everyone up if he's mad. He shouldn't glare at everyone he looks at. He shouldn't ignore everyone that tries to talk to him.

That brings up another thing I've noticed. He almost always responds to Lucy. Whether it's a noise, a look, a hand gesture, or actual words, he always gives her a response. Dragneel barely ever responds to Master let alone anyone in the guild. Again, it's unnatural for him.

Dragneel relies on her too. He laid his head on her lap on the train and even complained when she suddenly moved or stopped stroking his hair. He leaned on her when he got off the train since he couldn't stand on his own. Dragneel also leaned on her after his battles with Erigor and Lullaby. Lucy makes Dragneel do unnatural things.

I look at Erza and Master and find them studying Dragneel and Lucy as well. "Natsu," Master called. Dragneel ignored him. I'm not surprised. "Natsu, I want to know something," Master said.

Dragneel gave an irritated huff. "What?" he snapped. Of everything Lucy can make him do, she can't make his attitude a little nicer?

"Don't you think it would be best to let Erza or Gray carry Lucy?" Master asked. "I know how much you hate being in contact with people."

Dragneel huffed in irritation. "She's light. She'll freeze on Gray and be too uncomfortable to sleep on Erza."

Master raised a brow at him. "Why do you say she will freeze on Gray?"

Dragneel glared at Master. "He has an unnaturally low body temperature," he ground out.

"And what about Erza?" Master asked. Dragneel growled but said nothing. Master sighed in annoyance. "Answer me, Natsu," he commanded. Dragneel continued to ignore him.

"And what about Erza?" Master asked. Dragneel growled but said nothing. Master sighed in annoyance. "Answer me, Natsu," he commanded. Dragneel continued to ignore him.

"Erza's wearing armor," Happy explained. He was flying beside Dragneel.

"Thank you, Happy," Master sighed. He shot Dragneel a disappointed look. "You shouldn't ignore people when they talk to you, Natsu."

"You sound like the woman," Dragneel grunted.

All of our eyes widened. Does that mean Lucy lectures him? And he doesn't hurt her for it? "So you're suddenly ok with people lecturing you?" I asked.

He glares at me. I take a step back in fear. He huffs in annoyance and keeps walking. "She's not a wuss* like you," Dragneel said.

"What?" I asked in shock.

"She doesn't run away with her tail between her legs like you," Dragneel said condescendingly.

I glare at him. "That's only because you haven't beaten her up yet," I ground out. "You've put everyone else in Fairy Tail in the hospital. It's only a matter of time before you put Lucy there too."

A bit of a longer chapter than the other one. Hope everyone enjoyed this! I may or may not update tomorrow. 

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