The Ghost In The Mirror

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A/N: I'm so, so sorry it's been so long...I've been getting a particularly large amount of hate on my other story, and I've been feeling kinda glum. But, I'm back!! I deleted all (Well, most of 😂) the jerk's comments, and I'm feeling motivated!!

~A word from the wiser, if you're ever feeling down, watch a Markiplier inspiration video. Like seriously, it helps so much! ❤❤
•°•°•°•°•
A flash of blonde, of bright yellow locks, shields Lucy's vision. Like an inescapable bear trap, arms firmly wrap there way around her body. She smiled weakly and pats Sting's back awkwardly. He eventually pulls away, a sheepish smile spread across his tan features.

"Sorry...I just thought you were hurt..." He chuckles nervously, rubbing the back of his neck. As soon as the lightning cage had dissolved, Sting had dragged both the cerulean exceed and Natsu to her side.

She had been breathing, though shallowly. He had nearly had a heart attack. He had tried to wait patiently for her to wake up because obviously, something was happening inside her mind. She was mumbling incoherently, and Laxus mirrored her movements, albeit more explosive.

Eventually, he got extremely impatient, with no one to talk to except for a blubbering blue cat that he couldn't quite remember his name. He was pretty sure it was Happy.

He had cackled evilly, slapping the poor, disoriented Natsu into consciousness. Natsu had obviously gotten angry and had collapsed into a pile of limbs when he attempted to sucker punch the blonde light slayer.

"I'm just glad you're safe..." Sting whispered, smiling at her. Laxus was practically glued to her side, his apprehension at returning home almost perfectly hidden underneath a stoic mask.

"Luce...is that you? Or is that a talking banana?" Natsu muttered, reaching out pathetically from his spot on the ground. Lucy merely shook her head, a smirk tugging at her lips.

"Poor, Natsu...Sting, what did you do?" She tossed him a mock suspicious glance. He frantically raised his arms in mock innocence.

"I swear on my fuzzy crop tops that I didn't do anything! Natsu...he just fell..." He finished off lamely, his smirk as obvious as day. Lucy sighed, and just rolled her eyes.

"Just fell?" She said with a laugh, gesturing at Natsu's dizzy form, his cheeks a rosy red from...what Lucy guessed was Sting's hand. 

He shrugged half-heartedly, and Lucy chortled, and Laxus smirked. 

•°•°•°•°•

Happy snuggled his head closer to Lucy's shoulder, enjoying the fact that he had a free ride to Magnolia. The group was trudging back to Fairy Tail, and unfortunately, the train cart had been destroyed so Lucy couldn't force Sting and Natsu to push her home.

Natsu was back to his chipper self, babbling with Sting, who was trying-and failing- to ignore the pinkette.

Laxus was silently treading behind her, kind enough to help her drag her few suitcases and bags back to her house. Seems there was no leaving, now was there?

She had been so prepared to go to Sabertooth, to start out fresh, that she hadn't really thought about what would happen if Laxus came barreling back into her life. Would everything just...click back together? Like a puzzle with pieces being found? Or would things be more awkward now...?

Lucy jolted when she felt a hand slip into her own, and her eyes whipped up to stare at Laxus, who was trying to appear calm. Calm about returning she supposed. She could only imagine how hard that had to be...after what they had seen, who he had become in front of them...she could only imagine it was painful to have to face them...

"Everything is going to be fine...no one blames you for what happened..." Lucy said. No one but yourself. She could see how he blamed himself. And it hurt her. He shouldn't have to shoulder that burden, think that he was-no IS a monster because of something he couldn't control.

"Laxus...it wasn't your fault...Okay? It wasn't. You couldn't control yourself, or what that lady did to you...you must have been terrified, and yet you're still standing strong...Stop shouldering the blame..."

She whispered it all, in hopes of the dense dragon slayers behind her to just continue bickering like usual.

Laxus tried to smile, but he had a hunch it looked more like a grimace. He knew deep down that she was right...that it wasn't his fault. But it was so easy to hammer himself with the blame. To drag himself down in regret for not being stronger, or more observant of what he drank.

But, the truth was, he knew deep, deep down that he wasn't to blame.

He had tried...tried so hard to be strong. Even in the utterly hopeless situation, he seemed to have been in. He had been turned into his child form literally due to his stubborn and strong-willed nature. He had refused to break. Bend maybe, but not break.

•°•°•°•°•°•

"Laxus!" Makarov shouted, his surprise echoing throughout the Guildhall. He lunged at the large framed boy before Laxus could so much as blink. The grandfather's relieved sobs bounced off the walls, rivaling Juvia's.

Laxus had reunited with everyone, receiving relieved hugs, which he reluctantly returned. He had more people than he would have expected come and welcome him. He practically sweatdropped at the blubbering Freed who stood in front of him. Evergreen and Bickslow were more reserved but still expressed their happiness at his return.

While catching up, he noticed Lucy with her friends posing for a photo he guessed she forced Sting to take judging from his annoyed expression.

She was in the center, her arms wrapped around the two bluenettes in front of her. Wendy and Levy smiled shyly from in front of her. Erza stood tall, yet more laid back next to Lucy, an arm tucked around her shoulder. Her smile was warm, and not so serious. Juvia sat on the opposite side, her arm wrapped around Lucy with an adorable smile plastered on her pale face. Mira stood in front of Juvia, kneeling next to Levy, with her usual sugar-sweet smile and kind eyes. Lisanna was on the other side, her shiny white hair in cute miniature pigtails, a huge smile lighting up her face. Cana stood off to the side a little, still holding her mug of booze, but she had a lazy smile spread across her face.

And Lucy...well, Laxus couldn't help but let a smile slip past his defenses. She was practically glowing with happiness, her grin toothy and filled to the brim with pure bliss. She hugged her friends close, and when the lacrima camera clicked, Lucy almost didn't want to let go.

...Things would go back to normal. She was sure of it. Grabbing her camera, once unhooking herself from her friends, she thanked them before dashing off to take photos with everyone.

Everything was just started to feel good...just starting to feel like home again.

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