A/N: Hey guys! This is very loosely based off of New Girl and was a request I had from one of my followers on my tumblr. However, it will not follow the plot of the show. Please keep that in mind as you read.
I want you all to be respectful of the anxiety mention. If you have any comments, please keep them respectful about the anxiety. I have anxiety myself, and not everyone deals with it the same way. Everyone is different, and I wanted to make that very clear.
Thank you. I hope you enjoy! 3
Lucy felt like she was drowning.
Her feelings felt murky like she was underwater and couldn't get out. The words were muffled and the sights were but a blur. Everything felt plain wrong, like someone had wrapped cellophane over her whole body and tried to get her to move. Her limbs were stuck in their tight positions; just lifting the bottle to her lips to drown her sorrows was exhausting. Lucy fought to just stay awake. Her eyes fluttered shut, and her cold seat of a bench wasn't much help for something to hold on to. Rain droplets flicked on her body and kept her from warmth. The only thing she felt was cold, and the only thing she saw was the bright lights burning her eyes.
Lucy was having an anxiety attack, an eight point three on a scale of ten, and there was no one to save her. As she fell off of her bench seat and onto the concrete, she didn't care if she died or lived. All she wanted was relief from this hell. The face of the man who abandoned her came into her mind's eye, and she curled up into a soft ball with the strength she could muster. Voices hit her all at once, calling her names like they once did. She succumbed to a quiet death on the concrete sidewalk next to a 7 Eleven, and she didn't care who found her body.
And then, the sound of a voice was shockingly loud. The sentence crying for help was shouted, but to Lucy the emotions sounded dull and the words shallow, and she blocked them out. She could only trust the person that had found her.
"Do you think she's awake?" a voice said softly, quite unlike the one that had saved her. It was gruff, and even Lucy could recognize that.
"Her eyes are opening, idiot. What do you think?" another added, and Lucy blinked a few times before her eyes came into focus for the first time.
Her head pounded from the slight hangover. It had been hours since she last drank, which gave her a little more time to deal with the alcohol. Lucy's vision was blurry, but she could recognize three distinct figures. Three men, all tall and strong, were before her. She gasped and grasped onto the seat behind her to be careful if any of them attacked.
One was lounging on a chair with his shirt off, and abs like a greek god's all but stared her in the face. His face was handsome but he looked bored as he picked at a piece of lint on his dark, fitted jeans. Another, much taller than the other two, slouched with his cat in hand. His glance at her was criticizing, and Lucy felt like she was being scolded just with a single stare. The third, shorter than the others and definitely more dressed than them stood in front of her with a bowl of soup. His hoodie was large on his form, and he wore sweatpants. His slippers were...kitten faces? Lucy didn't really care at the moment, and she shoved thoughts away of being in possible men heaven.
A spoon was shoved into her mouth, and her senses were almost overloaded with the taste of chicken noodle soup. And it was good.
"Uh, thanks," she said after swallowing her first bite. Grabbing the bowl from the man with the rose-colored hair, she shoveled the food into her mouth like her life depended on it. It probably did, now that she thought about it. She hadn't eaten a real meal like this since she'd gotten kicked out.
Feelings of anxiety rushed at her like lightning, and she just about choked on the spoon. The men's comments about her subsided when she began coughing, and the one with the abs ran at her.
"Get out of the way, fire brain! I know the Heimlich," and he pulled Lucy up by the arm and wrapped his arms around her stomach.
"No thank you," she began to say but felt a force on her stomach that made her cough even more.
"Stop it, Gray! You're hurting her!" the shorter man yelled, and he grabbed at Gray's wrist and shoved it away from Lucy's stomach.
"Fine, jeez. I was just trying to help," Gray mumbled, slouching and walking off to the kitchen.
"You alright, blondie?" the tall guy asked, and Lucy nodded weakly.
"If I knew my soup was that bad, I wouldn't have fed it to those two idiots. Or maybe I would have," he said with a smirk, and he shoved a hand in her direction and introduced himself as Gajeel.
"Lucy Heartfilia. Nice to meet you, sir," she said softly, and Gajeel barked out a laugh.
"I haven't been called sir since I got out of the marines. You're a laugh, kid," he said when his laughter subsided, and Lucy even chuckled a bit herself. It was the first time she had laughed in quite a while, and her stomach hurt even more with the hunger. Gajeel sauntered off to help Gray, telling him that he wouldn't know his way around a kitchen if it kicked him in the ass.
"Hey, Natsu! Try to get her to sit up! She probably choked because she hasn't eaten anything for days," Gray yelled across the kitchen, and Gajeel told him to shut it and leave the two be.
"Oh yeah! Try to sit up. That will probably help you swallow the food down. Not that Gajeel's food is any easier to eat when you're not choking," Natsu said with a grin, and Lucy was stunned by the brightness of his smile in this dire situation. How could he be this happy when he had just saved her?
"Thank you," she said, looking at her feet, which were now covered in a pair of slippers and socks too big for her own feet. Her body was covered with heaps of blankets that warmed her frozen insides. The rain stuck her thin clothes to her body before she passed out, but now all she felt was warm.
'Speaking of wet clothing,' Lucy thought before sticking a leg out and seeing that it was covered in very baggy sweatpants, just like the one the man now sitting her up was wearing.
"Sorry about the sweatpants. Oh, and the sweatshirt. An' your bra was cold so I discarded it and changed you when I got you here," Natsu said, not meeting her eyes. She glared at him, and he yelped and his face turned red. "I didn't look or anything! I swear!"
"Ya sure, flame brain? Cause I'm pretty sure you wouldn't pass up a sight like that," Gray said, and Lucy struggled to her feet. Aiming, she pitched the spoon right at Gray and hit him square in the face.
"Ow, fuck!" Gray yelled, and Natsu and Gajeel laughed. Gray clutched his face with his hands but did not approach the woman to yell. He knew if he did that then another flashback might be on its way.
"Nice shot, blondie! I like you already!" Gajeel guffawed, and Natsu was still chuckling. Lucy laughed a bit herself, and she smiled. She hadn't felt this comfortable with a group of friends since she last saw Levy at the party.
Forcing herself to eat the soup so she could have something to do rather than have another attack, she focused on the flavors in the soup. Man, was Gajeel ever a good cook! She finished the soup quickly and thought of her best friend. Levy would have to test this soup and try to give this man a run for his money. The short woman could bake up a storm in a few hours and had won many baking contests in Magnolia. Unfortunately, her smart attitude had gotten her thrown out of competitions when she back talked the judges for giving her bad scores.
Lucy shook her head when she thought of Levy. Reaching for her cell phone, she motioned to Natsu who was now fighting with Gray that she would be calling her.
"Lucy! Thank God! I knew something was wrong when you didn't call me when you got home!" Levy practically screamed into the phone when she picked up, and Lucy's anxieties started to take over.
"W-well, Lev," Lucy said, clearing her throat, which now felt thick, "Dan threw me out last night. I don't know if you knew that, but I ended up on the street and passed out and I ended up with three guys at their apartment. But they're taking c-care of me and-"
"You're at three men's apartment and you are all alone? Shit, Lucy," and Lucy's eyes widened at the swear. Levy never swore, and when she did it was a huge problem. "I demand to speak to one of them right now! Give the nearest one your phone right away or so help me I will not bake you a single cookie for a whole year!"
Lucy quickly handed the phone to Gajeel and began to be calmed by Natsu once more.
"Yo," Gajeel answered, but walked away before she heard the rest of the conversation.
"It's going to be okay. Just listen to my voice," Natsu said, and his left arm began to scratch her middle back gently. "You're fine. Tell me three objects that are in this room right now."
"U-um, well, there's a used condom on the floor," Lucy said, her face red, and Natsu shot a look at Gray that looked like murder. Sheepishly, Gray picked it up and threw it away and slunk to his room to be alone. Lucy swore that even Gray's face was a little flushed as he walked away. Natsu stared at Gray's back as he walked, and as soon as the door closed he turned his attention back to Lucy.
His fingers slowly began to massage the areas in her back that were soft. He was careful not to touch any sensitive areas like where she hit the concrete, and Lucy sighed happily. Anxiety's end was near, but her vision was rough around the edges. Her hearing was still muffled, but she recognized Gajeel's voice in the other room talking to Levy. He sounded amused, which she knew was a bit strange for the man that looked so grumpy when she first saw him.
"Sorry about that. Two more," he said, his voice still a little bitter. Lucy blinked her eyes open once more, scanning the room once she was fully cognitive.
"There's a cat on the chair," she said, trying to lift her hand to point at the cat.
"That's Happy. He's my furball. You'll love 'im. Gajeel's is Pantherlily, which is the black one with the white on his eye slinking around like he's got a stick up his ass," Natsu softly chuckled, and the sound brought Lucy warmth in her chest. The coo-coo clock on the wall chimed, and she snuck a peek at it and found that it was close to five in the morning. Had she really been up for that long?
Lucy shook her head of thoughts, and her vision was clear now. Gajeel's voice came closer, and she heard him laugh. He must be having a great time with Levy.
Her eyes felt heavy and her body tired. She must have been partying for quite some time if it was this late. But right now, she didn't want to think about that. All she wanted to do was fall asleep on this comfy couch.
"You're doing great, Lucy. Give me one more and I'll let ya sleep for the night," Natsu's voice awoke her from her stupor. Lucy's eyes snapped open to find a heart shaped pillow sitting on the chair opposite her.
"There's a heart shaped pillow on that couch," Lucy yawned, tipping her head forward to indicate where it was located.
Natsu was silent for a few seconds but then piped up. "Yeah, that was a gift from an old friend," he said before removing his hand carefully and letting Lucy lay down.
"C-can I really sleep here?" she asked, and Natsu smiled.
"As long as you feel like. Gajeel'll make breakfast for you in the morning. It's the best. He doesn't look it, but he went to culinary school," Natsu said, looking in Gajeel's direction. The man had just come back from chatting and placed Lucy's phone on the end table near the couch.
"Your friend will come pick you up in the morning," Gajeel said with a yawn of his own. "Is she short?"
"She's 4'11. She would probably hit your upper waist," Lucy yawned after Gajeel's, and Gajeel chuckled.
"Hilarious. I'll have to tease her about it in the morning. I told her to bring over some of those famous cookies she was braggin' about," he said, heading off to his room. "Night."
"Goodnight," she said, and she tipped her head up to see Natsu.
"Sleep tight," he said, and that was the last thing she remembered before falling asleep.
"Guys, I kinda like her," Natsu told the other two after calling a meeting in his room. The three of them had decided that when they moved in together that they would have discussions about anything big in their lives-and a girl sleeping in their living room was something that had to be discussed.
"Of course you like her, idiot. She's gorgeous," Gray said, motioning outward with two hands by his chest. Natsu slapped him upside the head and Gajeel scowled.
"Ow! Okay, fine. She's cool. I like her too," Gray said, rubbing the spot on his head where he was hit. Gajeel's scowl wasn't particularly pleasing either-the man looked like he was about to murder someone when he scowled.
"She's funny, I'll give her that much. And if she can help me cook, I'd be thankful. Hell, if she could pick up Natsu's end of the dishes I'd be over the fucking moon," Gajeel chuckled, and Natsu shot a glare his way.
"Thanks, man. Anyway, I think we should keep her. She was out on the street all alone. She muttered something about being kicked out when I found her lyin' there. If I find the bastard that kicked her out, I'll kick his ass," Natsu said.
"You want to kick everyone's ass, Natsu. I'm fine with her staying here as long as it doesn't mess up my bachelor pad going on," Gray said, shoving his hands into the pockets of his sweatpants.
"Okay. All in favor of her staying here, say aye," Natsu said, lifting his hand in the air with three fingers. The other two did the same motion. The boy scouts stuck with them forever, no matter if they were in their twenties or not.
"Aye," the three said together. Gray went off to his room to fall asleep and Gajeel stayed with Natsu for a little while longer.
"Shit, I forgot to ask. What's her name?" Natsu asked, and Gajeel scowled.
"You let her in our damn home but forgot to ask her name? Damn it, what use are you? It's Lucy. Her friend wouldn't shut her yap about her. Woman wouldn't stop asking me these damn questions if she was eating right or if any one of us was taking advantage of her," Gajeel crossed his arms over his chest and glared into the kitchen full of dirty dishes.
"Lucy," Natsu said, tasting her name on his tongue. It felt happy, and it been a few months since he had tasted a happy name. Natsu had a thing with names. If he didn't like a person's name, he wouldn't like the person. Simple as that.
He looked out the hallway and onto the couch where she was sleeping. Her golden hair was still tied up in a messy ponytail that was half out of the holder, and her right hand was flopped over the couch. She was snoring and her makeup was smeared all over her face. Her shirt had slipped off her shoulder and revealed a few inches of creamy skin from what he could see, but he looked away before looking at her form even further.
Did he really want her here? Right in front of him, so soon after his engagement was broken? It wasn't like didn't have his own anxieties to deal with. And finding a job wasn't going to be easy now that he had to help her find her own. He guessed that she had it easy before whatever happened, and now she had to find her own way.
But, he thought, he wouldn't stop at anything to help her live the best life that she could. Natsu smiled at the thought, watching Lucy snore up a storm that would put even Gajeel to shame.
Then he smiled again as he tossed his clothes off and changed into his normal pajamas of boxers and a sleep shirt. Peeling back the covers of his bed, he pushed himself in and turned the lamp off.
Crossing his arms behind his head, he looked up at the ceiling, thinking about Lucy for a moment.
If it was all to work out and she was supposed to stay here, she would. It would all be for the best, and if she didn't end up staying, well, then she didn't end up staying.
But for what felt like the thousandth time that night, he felt himself smiling. As he drifted off to sleep, he mumbled something to himself.\
"Lucy's a nice name."