~Lucy~

Their silence is deafening. An interesting concept really, quiet being so stifling it numbs your senses. Despite all the noise and activity going on around them as civilians go about their daily lives their little team seemed removed from it all as two faces stared at her in absolute shock. Gulping and grasping at the tattered shreds of her courage Lucy lifts a hand in a shy wave, her voice coming out much softer then she intended.

"Hi minna."

Still no response. Only Natsu's reassuring presence keeps her in some semblance of calm, the strong arms banded around her middle holding the last of her composure together as she faces the two people she feared the most at the moment. Please don't hate me.

It is Erza who finally breaks the silence, stomping forward until they are face to face with her uncovered eye assessing the blonde trembling in the dragon slayers hold. Lucy sees her glance over her shoulder at Natsu but is unaware of his smile dropping and his eyes going hard in warning before she feels his arms slither away. Lucy nearly turns in panic but finds herself held immobile against a chest covered in cool metal before she has a chance to move.

"Lucy...thank the gods." She'd never heard the tough as nails redheads voice crack in that way and her eyes fill with tears as she moves her arms to embrace her sister figure and they crush each other in the best of ways.

"Erza. I missed you so much." Words seem unimportant in the face of her acute relief but she needs Erza to understand the depth of her emotions and how much she truly did miss her. From the moment she'd joined Fairy Tail this woman, Titania Queen of the Fairies, the powerhouse known throughout all of Fiore, had believed and supported her unabashedly. How could she actually be afraid of her? Regret arched through her for the worry she'd caused but Lucy let it go for once and just basked in the hug.

"Hey! What about me?" Grey's voice from beside her breaks the moment and the two women reluctantly separate. Before she can even turn to look at him she finds herself swept up and crushed in a cold bear hug and a smile tugs at her mouth.

"Id probably miss you more if I could breath!" His laugh blends with her own and when he finally sets her down she loops her arms around his neck and squeezes just as hard, tears finally sliding down her cheeks. " How could I not miss you?"

When Grey spins her around and with a booming laugh her eyes meet Natsu's over his shoulder and she smiles. Truly smiles. It feels good.


~Natsu~

It was definitely worth it to see her smile like that. He knew when the shock wore off and relief died down the anger would be back in full force and he would need to be ready to be there for her through it but for now...this was good.

"How?" His eyes cut to Erza who is watching Grew swing Lucy around from beside him, a soft smile on her face.

"I was actually doing the mission, tracking the wolves and looking for the den when I smelled smoke and cooking meat and then...there she was. Just like that. I'm actually still reeling myself."

"She looked..." Her voice trails off and his shoulders droop a bit, smile dropping as he remembers her fear.

"Terrified. Yeah. I had to do some real convincing to get her back here. Thanks for not..."

"Natsu." Her voice is steel laced when she interrupts him, eyes hard when they turn to meet his own. " She is family above all else and we love her. We've all done something we are ashamed of. Seeing her so scared of us...how did you think we would react?"

"Ah I had faith. Our guild is...one of a kind. Just go easy on her yeah? Its been rougher on her then we ever realized." Natsu could see that she knew there was a story there but even Erza seemed to realize that now wasn't the time and dropped the subject to wander over to where Grey had finally set Luce down and they were talking excitedly. Natsu himself followed after a few moments and raised a brow when Grey's eyes inspected from top to bottom.

"So...gonna explain the ridiculous getup lizard breath?" Natsu scoffed in response, his grin mischievous.

"Psh. You wish you were this fucking cool snowman. I'm like a real dragon now!"

"We can see that. But why?" He cut his eyes to Erza even as one hand moved to wrap around the curve of Lucy's hip and pulled her snugly against his side. As her soft warmth moved against him a part of Natsu that he hadn't even realized was tense settled at the feeling.

"Some stuff happened. I knew at some point it would, its something Igneel had actually warned me about with having dragon slayer magic of my kind. It'll go away in a few days tops. But hey, I can freakin' fly! How cool is that!"

Them all laughing, Lucy's bright giggle, Erza's husky chuckle and Grey's amused snort alongside his own cackles...it's music to his ears.