I Want You Here

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Lucy nervously chuckled, Happy beside her while they walked to the train station. Sting and Natsu were bickering like toddlers, drawing attention from near-by onlookers.

"Your hair is pink!" Sting argued.

"No! It's salmon!" 

Lucy slapped a hand onto her forehead with frustration. Sometimes she wished they would act there own age. Even Happy was more mature.

When they finally loaded onto the train and sat in their respected seats, Natsu and Sting finally quieted down. Lucy had strategically sat in between the two rivals. She had already received her dose of bickering today, and she was tired of the fighting. 

She leaned back in her seat, smiling at the way the worn leather cooled her at the touch. Maybe she could just doze off. Natsu had been thick-skulled, as usual, and hadn't taken a motion sickness pill even though she had gifted him with some. She had popped a pill earlier and had laughed at their misfortune. That was until Natsu flopped onto her lap, and Sting's head had landed on her shoulder. She had stiffened and demanded that they move. All she had received in response was a whining Natsu, who chose to ignore her, and a cheeky Sting who merely snuggled closer to her neck, burying his face in her hair.

She glanced at the window and watched as they sped away from Magnolia. Rolling green hills passed, along with a bubbling brook. She let her eyes droop. She hadn't gotten enough sleep herself last night. She had been burdened with her usual night terrors once again. They came often, and caused her to awake shivering, with a thin layer of sweat coating her body. Once, Natsu had tried to wake her when she was having a nightmare, and she had right-hooked him. Of course, she had apologized, but apologies can't fix a broken nose.

As her eyes slowly fluttered closed, her head leaned against Sting's. She had been through a lot in the past few years, and it was slowly creeping up on her. She could try to keep building her walls, hoping and praying no one would try to break them down. But, she knew for sure that this time they'd disintegrate into dust. She had lost count of the days she woke up wishing things had been different, yearning that he was still there. He had left her...and all he had to explain himself, was a stupid pink note that made her even angrier. Furious at Laxus, angry at the one who had started it all, Sydney. And most of all, enraged at herself. For being too weak to save him. What use was magic if she couldn't use it to protect the people she cared about?

She twirled a lock of Natsu's pink hair, absently. She had made such a drastic decision in the course of a day. Taking Natsu and Happy with her was a disastrous idea. She had basically uprooted them from their normal, safe lives. She liked the idea of company to go through the adventure together, but she couldn't ask that of anyone. She didn't want them to have to leave their lives behind.

A loud thump echoed through the train car, and Lucy's eyes snapped open with a stifled breath. At first, nothing happened, but Lucy's senses were on high alert. Then, a wall of the train exploded. Chunks of debris flew everywhere, and Lucy had barely had time to flinch before a piece of uprooted earth raced towards her. There was a flash of flames, and the earth crumbled into ash, blowing away in the wind. 

Lucy's breath froze when the piece of rock was removed. She had a clear view of the hole in the train, and the person who had disconnected their cart from all the others. Her breath hitched. He had planned this. How else would he be sure they'd be in the last train car, and that nobody else would be in here?

Her lip quivered, as she searched her mind for the right words to say. It was supposed to be her thing, after all. Writing was connected to words, so one would expect her to have a way with words. But Lucy felt anything but conversational. Her mouth had gone dry from shock, and she could only stare as Laxus walked into a ray of light, unveiled to both Sting and Natsu.

"I told you I'd come, blondie."

Lucy's heart ached drastically. It sounded just like him. Like the kind but burdened soul who had helped her. Like the man who had been her companion for so many years. But, she had to remember. This was not him. Laxus was no lunatic. This was the work of that damn spell.

"Laxus," Lucy said, and it came off as a lot less intimidating then what she hoped. 

"So, you finally decide to return? Why now?!" She asked harshly.

"Did you think you were rid of me, dollface? I'm sorry, but I could never let you go so easily."

Sting clenched his fists, and Natsu did as well. It was one of the only things the two could agree on. They both had to wipe that overconfident expression right off his face. Lucy trembled with a different array of emotions. She was bitter, disconcerted, relieved, thrilled, and most of all, betrayed.

How the hell was she going to get into his mind? That was what Sydney had instructed for her to do. But, how do you even begin to do something as insane as entering another person's mind? 

"Well love, seems I'll have to take out your bodyguards first. But, at least that bothersome guild won't interfere this time around," Laxus said with a smirk, which made Natsu explode into flames.

"Hey, you bastard! How dare you come back here! Lucy doesn't want anything to do with you!"

Laxus cocked an eyebrow and chuckled darkly.

"Oh?" Lucy cringed at Laxus's tone. She had forgotten how angry he got around Natsu. It was something to do with the potion, but Lucy also assumed that Natsu just ticked him off in general. The potion just worsened his control, so he tended to get overly enraged around the flame-wielding wizard. 

"Do you really think, I'd let Lucy be anywhere near someone as selfish as you?" He snarled, his jacket billowing out behind his frame in an almost threatening way.

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