Forgive and Forget?

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Lucy's body shifts into a defensive position, her arms poised out in front of her in a stiff and protective manner. Natsu and Sting eye her apprehensively, afraid she'd do something impulsive, like run into the lightning wielder's buff arms or bawl her eyes out. But, she did neither. Lucy did something no one, not even herself, expected.

She stomped up to him, her honey brown and sky blue swirled orbs glaring menacingly at his much taller, leaner form. Before she could even process her own actions, her hand rose and collided with the blonde male's cheek with a harsh smack. His head snapped back from the force of her blow, and his normally nonchalant azure eyes widened slightly. He looked down at her and wasn't sure how to react. He hadn't seen her for nearly half a year.

"That's for leaving me, lightning crotch," Lucy breathed out mildly. She rose her fist and aimed for his wide-eyed face. Before it hit, Laxus managed to regain his bearings, and ducked swiftly away from her oncoming fists. She huffed but smirked at how flabbergasted he appeared.

Then, a sudden thought assaulted her mind. He wasn't her Laxus. He was a mere copy. The figment created by the nasty potion. She shook her head to help clear her jumbled thoughts. She couldn't afford to get distracted. After everything, after sobbing every night into her tear-stained pillow, feeling like an outcast and pariah in her own guild, with her own family, and waiting anxiously each day, praying he'd waltz through the guild's colossal wooden doors.

After all of her pain, all of her sufferings, he shows up on the one day she had decided to quit. To stop blubbering like a lost child, and move on with her life. He shows up the day she decides to leave. She was infuriated to no end. Still, she felt a bubble of happiness bloom in her chest.

Unfortunately, her cloud of happiness quickly evaporated when Laxus chuckled darkly.

"Sorry, it took so long, Lucy. I had to...arrange some things. But, I hope you received my note. It was so difficult not to visit you," He said huskily. Natsu's head snapped to look at her, an accusatory look swirling in his onyx orbs. Sting just appeared hurt and looked at her as if wondering why she hadn't told him about it.

She brushed off Laxus's obvious taunt and glanced at her nails in mock boredom.

"Sorry, Thunder Thighs. Currently, I'm going to Sabertooth, so, if you'd be so kind as to scram, I'd be very happy." Lucy's words came out surprisingly cold, and she immediately regretted telling him to leave. And then she regretted regretting it. She mentally sighed. Why did everything have to be so complicated?

He raised an eyebrow. Abruptly, he vanished. Lucy balanched, and looked around, stupefied. He reappeared beside her; He was so fast! Fast enough to pose a challenge. A very, very, dangerous challenge. Lucy felt her stomach drop. She barely dodged the arm that lunged out to grab her, and she got knocked backward when he kicked her. She stumbled, but caught herself, before hastily springing away. She winced when not even a second later, a ball of lightning was sent exactly where she had been standing.

"So that's why you were gone so were training," She realized, looking back at her companions. Happy was nervously looking at Laxus, while Natsu looked as pumped up as ever. Sting had a certain emotion flitting through his eyes, but she couldn't quite figure out which one. Happy sent her a distressed glance, and she immediately caught on. He knew as well as she did that Laxus was strong; Stronger than anyone she knew. But, if he had spent almost half a year training, then they were officially screwed. She definitely couldn't beat him! She couldn't even beat him last time, where they had been about equal in power levels.

"Don't touch, blondie! After all the shit you put her through, you shouldn't even look at her!" Sting shouted, breaking the silence that had settled over them like a foreboding cloud of gloom. Laxus growled sounding like a wild animal, it reminded Lucy once again, that this wasn't the Laxus she was familiar with.

"Oh, please. I do what I want, and I don't take orders from people like you," Laxus scoffed. Natsu's flames began to circle his wrists again, making his darkened features even more sinister. When Laxus's eyes flickered to the fire dragon slayer, his mood took a full turn. He glared menacingly at Natsu, his aura thickening into a heinous, disturbing blanket of anger and possessiveness.

He lunged at Natsu, a life-threatening magic spell already activated. Lucy panicked. Natsu hadn't even processed what happened yet.

"Water Dragon's shield!" She hastily shouted, creating a dome of hardened, churning water. She expected her shield to cave under the pressure of one of his most nefarious spells but was dumbfounded when it held strong. Then, a victorious smirk flashed across her features. Laxus actually looked shocked she had blocked his spell.

"Hate to break it to you, Pikachu, but you're not the only one who trained while you were gone," She said with a cheeky grin, similar to the Cheshire cat.

He huffed, and in reply tossed another lightning spell at her, and she recognized it as the blue webbed electricity net from the first time they had fought. She felt the sparks streak across her skin painfully, as she swiftly ducked to the side. Natsu roared and charged forward. Lucy tried to call out to him, to warn him not to fight him, when Natsu was suddenly punched straight in the fight. Similar to past times Laxus had beat Natsu, Natsu collapsed onto the floor in a heap. He twitched and mumbled some incoherent words, but Lucy shrugged it off. It didn't matter anyway. Unlike all the other times Laxus had beat up Natsu, he didn't quit at Natsu passing out. He created another ball of sparking, popping electricity, and Lucy gasped. He would kill him! Just as she started to dash between Laxus and the two, Sting intervened.

"Light Dragon Roar!" He screamed, knocking the lightning user backward dozens of feet. Lucy hurried to their side, immediately activating her healing magic. Natsu had a minor concussion, but nothing major.

"What are we going to do, Lucy?" Sting asked worriedly, his panic and anxiousness leaking into his voice.

"He took out Natsu in one hit..." He said in a fear-stricken voice. "what are we going to do?" He repeated his question, his eyes desperate for a solution.

"Laxus is really strong, Lucy...I don't know if we can beat him!" Happy interrupted, his eyes focused on the petrifying image of Laxus rising from the rubble dozens and dozens of feet away, an unhappy scowl plastered on his face, along with his signature icy glare.

Lucy did her best to calm her racing heart. It would do no good to panic. She took deep breaths and tried not to think about the fact that all her friends would be relying on her.

'Go find him...someone has to drag his ass back here after all'

Mira's words come back to her, reminding her of everything she had set out to do. Of everything that had to be done. As angry as she was, it wasn't Laxus's fault. She was his last hope. She had to do what Sydney had told her to do. She wasn't sure if the woman was all that trustworthy, but she had no choice but to believe her. She couldn't just do nothing!

"Guys! I have a plan!" She announced quietly, and they both tuned in instantly. She recited her plan to the two, and even though they were hesitant, they noticed Laxus slowly walking back towards them. There was no time to argue about her plan. Laxus seemed to be enjoying torturing them. He took each step agonizingly slow. Almost like he was savoring each step, and how their faces twisted with anxiety and fear with every inch he got closer.

Lucy took a deep breath. It was now or never.

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