This is set after the Battle against Tartarus , after disbandment of the guild.

A cool breeze made its way as the sunlight fell over softly. Lucy scrunched her eyebrows in concentration and meditated. She was at the Magnolia park, seated under the tree, shaded by the leaves of the tree above her, trying to calm her raging thoughts and focusing on her magic. Beads of sweat formed on her forehead as she channeled her magic power. She didn't know how many hours had passed since she sat there and trained herself, relentlessly.

A few weeks had passed since Fairy Tail had been disbanded, and everyone went on their way. It took her days to put herself together and come in face to face with the reality. She had not just lost her home, her friends, her family. She was also left jobless, as it was through the guild that she could earn her living. It was nearing the time to take decisions, important, inevitable decisions. And after all this time, she had to do it all alone.

Lucy was faced with the prospect of either joining a new guild or taking up some other kind of job. However, it wasn't even sometime into her thoughts that she pushed the former completely out her mind. She couldn't think of any other place she would rather be, which could be out of mere stubbornness or sentimental value. Nevertheless, she couldn't make herself decide on anything, as for the first time, she found herself in a fix.

Every time she would try to think about what she should do next, her mind would start fogging up into a bubble of misery and sadness, heart aching and mind reeling from the events that had previously unfolded. She found herself often waking up in a cold sweat, re-living the same memories in her dreams, that she was trying to keep away, trying to run away from. The ones that made her feel sick in the stomach, and restrained her from returning back to slumber.

So she decided to focus on improving her magic instead. It also helped to keep her mind of several things, things that threatened to take her under. She feared the power of her thoughts and so, she had to keep them at bay.

Lucy exhaled deeply and let out a grunt as she focused her power and started exerting it to her maximum capability. She was sweating profusely and was falling short of breath, but she blamed it on the weather and continued her training.

Nothing could stop her from feeling a constant thug in her heart, when she would see her keys and find one missing. She had failed them. She had failed to protect them all.

If only she were stronger.

There was a storm that was coming. And she was sure she couldn't face it. Not when she was like this.

She had to be stronger.

To protect herself. To never be dependent. To never break again.

"Welcome back!" Mirajane smiled, beckoning them towards the bar counter. "How was the mission?"

Natsu swung his arms in air, buzzing with excitement even after finishing a sufficiently taxing mission. "It was amazing! Fighting bandits really gets me all fired up!"

"It would have been better if flame-brain here hadn't set everything he saw on fire." Gray sneered, knowing the direction of this conversation. As expected, it took only a few minutes for them to break out into a fight, dragging the rest of the guild members in.

A soft sigh escaped Erza's lips, "Good heavens, this is all it takes for them to start a ruckus," she shook her head, smiling in a 'it-cant-be-helped' way.

Mirajane let out a small laugh, understanding her sentiment, "Well, that's how it is usually. I'm sure we wouldn't have it any other way. Right Lucy?"

Lucy's eyes snapped open and she woke up with a start. She was lying in her bed, and a shiver passed through her body, even though she was tucked in under a blanket.

"When did I...?"

She was startled again when she heard a cluttering sound from her kitchen. She shivered again as she realized she was supposed to be alone. Picking herself up from her bed, Lucy's legs buckled, threatening to fall, but she managed to steady herself. Slowly and silently, she made her way towards the kitchen.

She peeked from the corner of the wall, to see a black coated figure rummaging through her kitchen. The familiar mane of orange hair eased her as she blurted, "Loke?"

The said figure turned in surprise, "Lucy, you're awake!" She stood there leaning on the door frame of the kitchen.

She smiled, drawing a breath she didn't know she was holding, "What are you doing?" There were spots in her vision and the light danced around Loke.

Loke threw her a bright smile, as he always did, "I'm in the process of washing your utensils so I can prepare you a meal."

"You... You can cook?" Lucy asked incredulously. It had never crossed her mind that her celestial spirit may be able to cook meals. But she also knew the lengths he would go to please a woman.

Loke made a sheepish face, "Well, I'm not the best, but it's not as bad."

Lucy giggled slightly, never having seen the Lion spirit be so modest, "I can help-" as she tried to step into the kitchen, all the energy saps out of her body as her legs buckled and she fell forwards.

"Lucy!" she could hear him shout her name and his urgent footsteps as he ran towards her. He caught her before she met the floor, and helped her get on her feet. He held her by the shoulders, "Are you hurt?" he asked frantically, voice laced with worry.

Lucy could only shake her head nimbly, unable to process what had just happened to her. He had caught her on time, but she felt her head spinning, giving her a headache and slightly blurring her vision.

Loke sighed and before she could say anything, he lifted her off her feet and carried her back into her bedroom, "Come on." Laying her softly on the bed, he pressed his palm against her forehead. "You're burning up."

"What?" Lucy muttered in disbelief. "I'm... fine. " Lucy tried to pull herself up from the bed but felt another violent shiver. Loke pinned her back to the bed and covered her body with the blanket.

"What are you doing?" Loke frowned slightly. "You will not move from here, you understand me?" He turns away and walks towards the door.

Lucy shook her head in protest, "No, I can't lie around like this, Loke! I have to train-"

"That is enough, Lucy. Go to bed." Loke said sternly, back facing her. His tone surprised her, reminding her of that time on Tenrou-island during the battle with Capricorn, when Loke had dropped his playful ways and addressed her seriously.

Lucy looked at him incredulously. "No-Loke-!"

Loke faced her and looked her in the eye, "Lucy, I found you passed out due to over-exertion of magic. You have to take care of yourself." Loke reprimanded her with a grave expression. "I also see you haven't been eating properly." pointing towards the empty pantry.

She may or may not have realized the time while she was training or lost in her thoughts. But skipping a few meals wouldn't kill her.

"Like I said, it's fine-" Lucy started to say but Loke interrupts her.

"Stop being careless, Lucy." She is taken aback by the seriousness of the usual carefree Leo. "You've been over-exerting yourself way too much. You can depend on us, you know." Loke throws her a small smile. "Now rest up, I will make you something delicious."

As he leaves her, Lucy finds all the protest in her leaving and her body shuts down in fatigue. But that doesn't stop her from the pondering thoughts that come her way. The storm seems to unleash on her, the one she was avoiding so carefully, the wasn't strong enough to face.

Loke's mind is preoccupied as he navigates the kitchen. He was extremely worried for his owner's well-being. He understands that she still hasn't recovered from the loss of the guild and with the loss of Aquarius still a fresh wound, as he himself could not come into terms with it. But putting aside his own feelings, he tries placing everything from Lucy's perspective.

She hadn't summoned any of her spirit at all for the past few weeks. Not even Plue. While it is true that she hasn't been taking any dangerous missions, she wouldn't require their power, but he was still puzzled over her behavior. What she purposely distancing herself from them? What for?

He feels a slight tug of fear when he remembers finding her lying unconscious on the ground. He had also noticed that in the guise of training, she was exerting way too much power, as he could feel it all the way to the celestial world. His mind drifts back to the memory of Karen, the mage who died because she pushed herself beyond her capabilities. Immediately discarding the thoughts away, Loke focuses on pleasing his master, and perhaps uplifting her mood, even if just for a bit. He assures himself that Lucy would never become like Karen.

She was kind, sweet and clever and she always knew the next right thing to do. She was, after all, the woman who had saved his life.

Loke's heart trembles with anxiety as he watches over Lucy. He stays by her side, day and night, until she recovers. However, as the time passes, Loke finds that Lucy recovers; but only physically. She wouldn't chat in her usual bubbly manner, wouldn't complain when he added too much salt (unintentionally), wouldn't react to his flirty lines.

She would lay silently on her bed, staring at the ceiling or outside the window, lost in the depths of her thoughts. She would thank him quietly, every time he brought her a meal, with a slight smile, and then return to a state of silence.

It was like she had shut down, all of sudden. Like she had locked her heart away.

His anxiety increases every time he sees her silent, worried about what seemed to be eating her away. He felt helpless, as he didn't know what to do anymore. Whenever he would try to speak, trying to make her open up to him, she would dismiss him quietly, refusing to talk to him. One morning when he visits, he finds her still deep in her slumber. She shuffles uncomfortably on the bed and makes a pained expression, and mutters, "Natsu…wait- everyone. Don't leave me alone. Mama-"

And he can never bring himself to ask her what she was seeing, for he couldn't stand to see her so crestfallen and broken. She seemed so delicate and vulnerable, as if he could just touch her and she would shatter.

He finds himself unprepared when one evening she plainly asks, "Do you see her?" Loke knows instantly whom she is referring to. "Sometimes," he replies quietly, unsure of how he should carry the subject.

"I see." she replies curtly, the shadow of sadness looming over her face.

At that moment, Loke's heart clenches in pain at the hurt in reflected in her eyes. Those beautiful brown eyes that were once always bright, joyful, and full of kindness, now reflecting only hurt and pain. He wants to hug her; tell her everything will be alright.

But how can he say that? How can he say that knowing that those are just comforting lies? How could he cause more misery to her grieving heart anymore? The loss of Aquarius and the disbandment of the guild all together had broken her, broken her into tiny pieces. How could he mend her, put her back together? His heart weeps to see her in this state. He has never seen her like this; so broken, so fragile.

But he knows that he cannot be sad for her at this time. He had to be strong for her. He had to be a pillar for her, and help her stand up again. She needed him right now and all her could do is stay by her side.

"I'm sure she misses you, Lucy." Loke added, hoping that at least this answer would satisfy her.

Lucy takes a moment to process it and then nods, not pressing him further for any reason.

Before he leaves the room, he gives her a small smile, "Dinner will be ready in sometime, okay?"

She doesn't say anything or look at him at all.

Lucy quietly sips her soup. They sit in the silence at the dining table, eating the dinner Loke had cooked while the radio plays softly in the background.

They eat their dinner in silence as melodious tunes pour out softly from the radio lacrima. Loke sneaks glances at Lucy, who sips her soup quietly, eyes cast downwards, once again lost in her own thoughts.

His heart throbbed in worry at the dullness in her eyes. She was hurting from inside, the pain eating her away. He feels angry at the world, angry at those rowdy guild members who said that they cared about their nakama but went their own ways and finally angry at himself, for not being able to do anything for the heartbroken girl in front of him.

He knew the pain she was going through was reminiscent of her past. He knew that she didn't have the brightest of childhood, tucked away in a mansion all alone. Escaping and facing the big world all on her own. Yet, she had found it in her heart so be so caring and loving to even her enemies, even saving a lowly celestial spirit who didn't deserve to be saved, like him. In spite of all that, he felt helpless, lost and unsure.

No. There had to be something he could do for her.

He had to help her. He had to bring her back. She was sinking into a painful world of guilt and sadness, a world he never wanted her to see. A world she did not deserve. He felt like if he didn't do anything now, he would lose her forever. He would lose the Lucy he knew and loved with all his heart.

As the tune from the radio switched to a classic melody, he found himself standing up from his seat and standing before Lucy.

Lucy stops and stares as Loke offers his hand to her. She looks at his hand and then meets his eyes, and after a moment's hesitation, she puts her hand in his and allows him to pull her up.

Loke smiles softly as he pulls her arms forward and back, swaying to the music and begrudgingly, Lucy allows him to guide her along as they break into a sort of dance in the kitchen. They twirled and swirled around as the music played and Loke throws a boyish grin at her. Lucy found herself losing in the dance and the corners of her mouth start lifting as she understands what Loke was doing.

He looks ridiculous as he dances and grins in typical Loke fashion. It's not a formal dance; they just move around with no aim and her face finally breaks out in a wide smile, which makes Loke's heart flutter.

He twirls her and allows her to twirl him back and she laughs at their silly antics. She could feel herself enjoying, after what seemed like an eternity of wallowing in self pity.

They continue dancing and laughing at the childishness of it all. Gradually, they land closer and closer and the music slowly winds down. Lucy rests her head on Loke's shoulder as they continue swaying slightly and finally stop as the music changes and stops.

They stand in silence, arm in arm, holding each other close. And finally, Lucy moves to wrap her arms around his body in a hug. Loke brings his arms to her waist and pulls her closer. Lucy whispers his name, "Loke... "

A sigh falls out of her mouth, "I miss them, Loke. I miss them all." she fists his coat and Loke feels wet spots on his shoulder. He pulls away and finds tears streaming down her cheeks, "But they've left me, all on my own. Everyone-" her voice hitches in her throat.

"I just don't know what to do! Without Fairy Tail I don't have anywhere else to go! I don't really have any purpose…" she sobs. "I thought we could solve all our problems together- like we always did. Like they always did for me." she chokes and shakes her head. "And on top of everything I lost Aquarius. I sacrificed her! I sacrificed a friend!" she pulls Loke away from her.

Her voice trembles, "You asked me to depend on you, but how can I do that? I can't do this- I'm... I'm not a good celestial spirit mage- I-I've betrayed you all! I chose between my friends. I'm such a terrible person!" She brings her hands to her eyes and cries.

Loke moves to her, placing his arms on her shoulders and coaxing her, "Lucy, stop saying that. I understand your frustrations but please, just stop blaming yourself! This was Aquarius' decision, and you have to respect that." She continues to sob and shakes her head.

"No- It's because I was too dependent. That's why everyone left. It's because I was wea-"

"No. Don't finish that sentence." Loke says firmly and draws her hands away from her eyes, but she averts her eyes, refusing to look at him.

"Lucy, you are the strongest celestial spirit mage I've ever met. And by far, the kindest person I know."

"What is the point of magic if I can't use it to save my friends? It's not a sin to save your friends." Loke says and smiles as she finally looks at him. "These are things that you taught me. You did what you had to save everyone." He softly strokes Lucy's cheek and wipes her tears away.

"Aquarius isn't gone forever. You can still meet her again. And everyone else too. The guild has disbanded but I'm sure everyone's feelings are still there in the right place."

"It's not about being dependent or independent. Why do you think that they left you because of your dependency? A guild means to depend on one another. You saved their asses at Tartarus." Lucy starts to say something but Loke stops her, "Yes, you sacrificed Aquarius, but nobody blames you, Lucy. Neither Aquarius, nor the rest of the spirits. We still love and care for you."

"Please stop thinking that you're alone. You have us. You'll have us always." Suddenly, the room glows as a brilliant light emits from Lucy's keys. All of Lucy's spirits conceding with their leader and reassuring their master that they were with her. Lucy feels a lump in her throat and she finds fresh tears blurring her vision.

"And if you still feel that's not enough," Loke unbuttons his shirt and turns his back to show her his Guild mark. "You still have a Fairy Tail member with you, right here. So please don't say that everyone's left you alone and lose faith in the guild."

He pauses as he feels her hand brush over his guild mark. Tears roll down from her eyes and just as he pulls his shirt over again, she lunges at Loke, throwing her arms around him and sobbing.

Loke sighs softly and smiles as he pats the back of her head comfortingly.

"It's-its just so frustrating-!" she bawls out, her voice incoherent, and hoarse as she drones out, "I get it. I really get it, you know. I understand everyone's feelings. Everyone's hurting. Everyone has lost something. I really understand."

Loke rubs her back soothingly and hums, "Yes I know, Lucy."

"I thought - I thought we can all solve our problems together, like we always did. Like how everyone helped me. Natsu, Gray, Erza- I wanted to be there for them too, because they've always been there for me. Always making me laugh. Barging in my apartment, making a mess out of it," she snorts as she recalls, "But now they've just left me, Loke. Like I mean nothing to them." she grits her teeth as the tears continue to flow.

"And I'm just so, so lonely." her voice cracks as more tears roll down her face.

Loke pulls her away and pours his eyes into hers with a serious expression, "Then don't be."

"What?" she murmurs, eyes glistening with tears.

He takes her hands in his, "Call us. Summon us all the time. Don't train alone, train with us. We are stronger together. The more powerful the owner the more powerful the spirits." he squeezes her hands, "Love will make us stronger,"

"Tell us how you feel. We'll be there for you, I promise. For the better or for the worse. Please let us be there for you." He pleads and presses her hands to his lips. "Let me be there for you." he adds desperately.

He looks back at her for a response, an affirmation of any kind, and after what feels like an eternity, Lucy nods slowly and whispers, "Okay."

A week passed ever since Loke returned to the spirit world.

Lucy placed the pen down on the table and stretched her arms to relieve the knots in her shoulder. Getting up from her desk, she sits over the bed and pulls out a single key from her pocket.

"Open, Gate of the Lion, Loke!" she hears the familiar sound of the bell and in a flash of light emerges the suited spirit.

He bows slightly and smiles, "How can I assist my beautiful lady today?"

Lucy smiles, "Loke," she calls his name and beckons him to sit beside her. As he sits over, he is happy to note that she neither has puffy eyes nor does she look aggrieved, but more like her normal self. "Firstly, I want to say that I'm sorry." She says.

His eyes widen as he meets her eyes, and she continues to smile at him. There is no more sadness or hurt in her face, just an apologetic look.

"Why are you apologizing?" he raises a brow.

She shakes her head. "I'm sorry I worried you and all the other celestial spirits last week. It was really uncharacteristic of me, and I'm really ashamed." she blushes slightly.

"I said some things-" she winces. "I said some really bad things. I hope I didn't hurt any of your feelings... And everyone else. I'm am fine now, I promise. I won't worry anyone again."

Loke smiles softly at the girl before him, apologizing for things she didn't need to in the first place. "You don't have to apologize for anything Lucy, and there is nothing to feel ashamed about. We want to be there for you and want only the best for you."

"Just accept it, alright?" she muttered and puffed her cheeks and Loke can't help but grin at her adorable manner, stubborn, but still adorable nevertheless.

"As you command, princess." he winks at her and is delighted to note that her cheeks color a beautiful pink and she averts her eyes.

She takes a deep breath, and exhales, and Loke waits patiently, "I… I won't say that I'm over everything completely. Fairy Tail is really my family…and sometimes it just feels like my heart will burst, you know." She mulls sadly and he finds that she is gripping the remainder of Aquarius' key. She sighs again, "I just miss everyone."

After a moment of silence, Loke finds that she is pondering over something seriously. She puts the key away into her pocket and then brings her eyes to meet his and declares, "I've decided to leave Magnolia."

Loke blinks again as she drops yet another bomb at him and waits for her to continue, "They have a job opening at the Sorcerer weekly at Crocus, and I want to try it." she explains. She looks up at him intently, as if waiting for his approval.

"I understand, Lucy. You have my full support," he extends his arm to press her shoulder in assurance. She smiles and nods. She moves to her desk and lifts up a letter, "Then I'll post this immediately."

Setting it down, Lucy comes and stands before him. "I know I had a rocky start and I totally agree with what you said earlier," Lucy struggles with her words and then declares in finality, "But I really do want to become stronger, Loke. I want to be able to protect everyone. So please train with me."

Loke stands before her and takes ahold of her hand, with the Guild tattoo on it, in a firm grasp, "I'm always by your side, Lucy. You can count on me; all of us."

Lucy beams at him and as he lets their hands drop, she stuns him with again. "And finally, I want to thank you, Loke."

Loke watches as she continues, clasping her hands behind her back, "You really helped me back then. And I'm so grateful for that. I don't know what would've happened if you weren't there for me." When she beams at him again, his stomach does a leap, "Thank you."

"Thank you for nursing me back to health, for feeding me and cheering me up. And always being there for me." she grins.

As Loke recovers, he smiles back at her, "I promised you, didn't I? That I will be your knight in shining armor." Then he adds jokingly, "I hope by now you have realized that we are made for each other, Lucy. I am the perfect husband for you," he grins cheekily.

Lucy let out a giggle, "There you go with your flirting and ruining the moment."

"Although, I don't think I can eat any more dishes without salt in them." she teased him with a mischievous grin.

Loke's heart picks up at her jovial response, "Oh, come on Lucy! I'm sure the food wasn't that bad!"

Lucy throws her head back and laughs, "I didn't say anything about it being bad." she looks thoughtful for a moment, "I would like to repay the favor though. Is there anything I can do for- hey, Loke why are you smiling like that?" she backs away as he approaches her with a crazed smile.

"No perverted thoughts, Loke!" she splutters and blushes as he leans in close to her. He smiles and grabs her wrist and her eyes flutter close. In one quick motion, he pulls her towards him and presses his lips on her forehead.

She stands stunned as Loke pulls away and merely chuckles, satisfied with her reaction. He watches as she finally blinks and her face bursts into a lovely scarlet color as she touches the spot where he kissed her, "Wait- Loke? Is that all?"

While he would definitely like to kiss her, he loved teasing her like this, seeing her innocent and adorable reactions. And he knew her heart belonged somewhere else already, even though she herself didn't realize it yet. But he was satisfied for now, knowing that he could still make her heart race and blush once again.

"Oh? Were you expecting something else, Lucy?" He taps his chin and smirks suggestively. "Well, if my master expects it, I must oblige." he playfully approaches her again and grabs her arms, pulling her closer.

"Argh, Loke!" Lucy grunts in annoyance. "Stay away from me, you pervert!" the blush never leaving her face as she resists weakly.

"Come on, Lucy is that all you've got?" Loke easily overpowers her as she struggles against his grip. "You were stronger back when you slapped me across my face." he grins teasingly, remembering that time at the hot springs when she slapped him over the truth that had been disguised as a stupid pick-up line.

If it was possible, her blush becomes deeper feeling embarrassed by the sudden onslaught, "That-That was- Why are you bringing that up suddenly?!"

Loke chuckles again and ruffles her hair, "You're seriously adorable, you know that?"

Lucy grumbles and swats his hand away and they finally drop, "Stop teasing me!"

"You make it so easy, princess." he smirks once again, which is enough to aggravate her.

She whines and grumbles and stomps her feet, "Geez, you wait and watch, Leo the Lion! I'm seriously going to get really strong and kick your sorry ass!" she puffed her rosy cheeks.

"You look cute even when you threaten me, how do I take you seriously?" Loke grins as she continues teasing her.

"Loke-!" she screeches.

Loke honestly, couldn't wait for the day he got to see her stronger than before. He knows she will make it, because Lucy Heartfilia was one heck of girl, when she made up her mind.

a/n: another lolu fic lucyglitter11? also 5 new stories in a 5 months ? is it 2012 again? speaking of 2012, it will be 8 years since I created my account here. So i'm really excited.
I really really love loke and lucy's bond. its so precious and pure i honestly need more lolu in my life. i wrote this fanfic thinking about how amazing Lucy was to wake up everyday with a smile and go on about her day even tho she was hurting from within and admitted that she was depressed in the beginning when the guild disbanded. she is really an amazing girl. sometimes, when you're sad, its fine to ask for help and be vocal about your feelings to your near and loved ones.

Please leave a review and let me know your thoughts!