Smoke and Mirrors

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Laxus lurched towards the limp body of Lucy, panting while clutching his bleeding shoulder. He tittered towards her, his eyes narrowed. He had only one goal in mind.

His thoughts were surrounding one person. Lucy was his only concern, and he couldn't seem to fight the tangle of strong emotions that consumed his thoughts. He would take her somewhere far away from everyone. Far away from Natsu, from Sting, from everyone who hurt her. They should be killed for their insolence and ignorance. Once he reached her side, he stifled a grunt of pain. His side was shredded from her celestial spirit king armor, and he had taken the brunt of her Urano Metria spell. Blood oozed from his side, but he welcomed the pain. It reminded him of what he was protecting Lucy from. Of what the old Laxus had been too weak to do.

Laxus chuckled dryly, his laugh bitter. The old Laxus was long gone, dead. And he wanted it to stay that way. Life was better without the weak-hearted, senile Laxus who couldn't even protect the girl he loved from the nefarious and foul people who had tossed her away as if she was a crumpled old piece of paper.

Laxus's eyes narrowed into slits at the thought. They would all pay. He was stronger now. The old, feeble Laxus was dead, and never coming back. He would shield his Lucy from those oppressive people.

He reached to pick her up, a warm smile lighting up his face at her serene facial expression. But, before his hands could even brush over her, a coil of billowing flames rushed towards him, anger burning off from them. Before they reached him, he leaped backward, a growl unconsciously ripping through his throat.

"Don't you dare touch Lucy!" Natsu roared, his eyes appearing almost red. Laxus's eye twitched in irritation, and he felt the overwhelming urge to rip Natsu's spine out of his body and strangle him with it.

"Lucy-chan!" 

Laxus noticed the blue-haired water mage running towards Lucy. He snarled, before sending a shield of lightning in front of the stupefied azure-haired girl.

Juvia stared in shock at the massive net of electricity blocking her from the unconscious mage. Her indigo eyes pinched in frustration when she noted Lucy's labored breathing.

"Lucy-nee!"

The other members of Fairy Tail started crowding towards the commotion. Erza, Gray, Wendy, and Jellal ran into the clearing.

Wendy's dark uptilted eyes widened, and she rushed towards the lightning cage, her eyes welling with tears. Lucy was heavily damaged and hardly breathing.

"Laxus! Please let me in! Lucy could die!" Wendy pleaded, her soft eyes burning into Laxus's azure ones. He softened at the mention of Lucy dying.

Before he could grant her access, a sword was hurled at him. He swiftly moved to the side, dodging Erza's throw. She glared at him, her scarlet hair only making her look more fierce.

"Release Lucy at once!" She ordered, pointing another sword at him threateningly.

He rose an eyebrow.

"What if I refuse, Titania?"

Erza's blood boiled, and she clenched her fists in anger.

"It wasn't a request. It was an order! You're hurting her!" 

Laxus then noticed all the members surrounding him. The situation suddenly dawned on him. He wouldn't be able to defeat all of Fairy Tail's strongest wizards, no matter how strong he was. He would have to come back for Lucy. He grit his teeth, the predicament angering him. He hated having to leave her behind. He would retrieve her when she was healed and had no chance of dying.

"I'm sorry, love..." He whispered to himself, before activating his lightning speed. He raced out of there, dodging the spells and weapons thrown at him. He deactivated the lightning shield and heard Wendy and Juvia rushing towards the fallen blonde.

And he kept running, his mind spiraling around only one thought.

'Don't worry, Lucy. I'll be back for you. I'll save you from those people, and we'll be together. I promise.'

***************************************

Lucy sat up quickly, her slumber disturbed. Her eyes immediately took in her surroundings. She inhaled with relief when she recognized her surroundings as her own fluffy bedspread, and mint green colored walls.

"Lucy-nee?" Lucy looked up as Wendy walked in.

"Yeah?" Wendy sprang towards her, already hugging the life out of her.

"You...i-idiot! Fighting Laxus, alone?! You could've died!" The petite bluenette pulled away, her long pigtails swishing.

Lucy was oddly proud of the usually soft-spoken Wendy calling her an idiot. She was happy the girl was coming out of her shell.

"I had to! Someone had to hold him off until backup came! And Laxus would have killed Natsu!"

Wendy stared at her, her eyes trailing down to her lap.

"What...what happened to Laxus? He was...different...A bad different," She asked quietly, reminiscing the way Laxus had cruelly eyed all of them. The way he had treated them as if they were lowly insects, and he was preparing to crush them underneath his foot.

"I...I don't know, Wendy. He's just...different. All I know is that his emotions are out of whack and he couldn't control himself...." Lucy started slowly.

"Something happened to him, Wendy!...I don't know how to help him! I was useless!...It's all my fault...I couldn't save him!..." Lucy cried frantically, her eyes welling up with tears at the mere memory of the crazed out of control Laxus.

"Lucy-nee...it was not your fault," Wendy said firmly, recapturing her into a soft hug. Lucy's lip quivered, and she clutched Wendy to her chest.

"You did your best Lucy...and if Laxus was here now, he'd be proud of you."

"We'll get him back...I know we will. He's apart of Fairy Tail. No matter what it takes, we'll save him."

Lucy's tears finally broke free, and freely flowed down her face. She sniffled softly, her eyes blurry.

"You're right. We'll save lightning crotch...no matter what," Lucy said tenderly, smiling through her tears.

A bright smile lit up Wendy's face.

"You'll see. Everything will be okay in the end."

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