Lucy looked down at the little cat attached to her leg, shaking even more than Plue. The Exceed looked familiar, dressed in a bright pink onesie covered in black patched with small, rounded ears. She couldn't see their face as it was currently pressed tightly to her calf. Why couldn't she remember their name?
“What's wrong, little one?” Lucy bent down to the Exceed's height and placed her hand on their head, stroking it soothingly.
The Exceed looked up at Lucy, tears running down their face uncontrollably. Their bottom lip trembled as they answered in a broken voice, “F-Frosch lost...”
'Rogue's Exceed, huh?' Lucy continued to stroke Frosch's head gently, trying to calm the poor thing. Carefully wrapping Frosch in her arms, Lucy lifted the little Exceed into her arms and held them close to her chest. “Don't worry, Frosch. I'll help you find Rogue.”
Frosch sniffled, burying their head in Lucy's chest. They had been wandering all through the city, crying out for Rogue and sobbing. When they saw a head of long blonde hair and the bright pink guild mark on her hand, they had immediately run towards the woman, latching onto her legs. She was from Fairy Tail, Fairy Tail would surely help them find Rogue, right?
“Where was the last place you were with Rogue, Frosch?” Lucy spoke in a gentle tone, rubbing small circles on the Exceed's back. Her heart hurt seeing the little cat crying so hard. They really loved Rogue and couldn't function without being near him.
Frosch's nose scrunched up slightly, trying to remember where they had last been with Rogue. They whispered against Lucy's chest, “The p-park, Fro thinks...”
Lucy nodded. “Okay, Frosch. We'll go back to the park and look for him on the way, alright? Maybe Rogue is waiting at the park for you.”
Frosch didn't say anything, merely clutched onto the blonde's shirt, as Lucy began walking. The pair stopped in every shop, asking about a black haired man with a scar across his nose, but nobody had seen him. They checked every back street and alley on route to the park, but to no avail. It was like the Dragon Slayer had disappeared into the shadows – pun intended – and was impossible to find. But Lucy knew Rogue must be frantically searching the city for his friend, just maybe not the same side of the city as Lucy and Frosch. With a defeated sigh, Lucy reached the park and sat under the shade of a large oak tree.
“We didn't find him on the way, did we, Frosch?” The Exceed began to tremble and quake in Lucy's arms again, she could feel their tears soaking into her shirt. Lucy stroked Frosch's head lovingly. “It's okay, little one. We'll wait right here for Rogue, okay? I'm sure he'll come back and see if you're here.”
Frosch didn't answer, their throat too clogged with fear and tears. Lucy pushed back the hood of Frosch's pink frog suit and rubbed behind their ears. She held Frosch closer and began to softly sing a lullaby she had heard from her mother. The little Exceed seemed to relax in Lucy's arms, but their little paws were still tightly clutching fistfuls of her shirt. The fabric would be wrinkled afterwards, but Lucy didn't mind. Frosch was too cute to be mad at, for anything.
Lucy didn't know how long they sat under the tree, with her softly singing and stroking Frosch's green fur. The Exceed had fallen asleep at some point, no doubt worn out from searching the big city and crying. A movement at the far edge of the park caught Lucy's attention. Squinting, Lucy could see someone wearing a black cloak running into the park. As the stranger got closer, Lucy recognized Rogue. She carefully stood up, careful not to jostle Frosch too much. She simply waited under the shade for Rogue to reach them.
“Frosch!” Rogue yelled, relief laced in his voice and apparent on his face.
Ears twitching, Frosch stirred from their sleep and turned to see who had said their name. Their eyes widened as they saw Rogue running towards them. Frosch flew out of Lucy's arms towards their friend. Frosch buried their head in Rogue's cloak, sobbing. “Rogue! Fro was so scared!”
Rogue hugged his Exceed to him tightly, stroking the back of their head. “It's okay, Frosch. I found you.”
Lucy slowly walked toward the two, watching their reunion with a small smile on her face. She stopped a couple feet away and waited until Rogue noticed her. Red eyes met chocolate brown and Lucy's smile widened. “You should keep a closer eye on Frosch, Rogue. What if they hadn't found someone familiar?”
“Lucy?” Rogue was honestly surprised to see the Fairy Tail mage here. Now that their guild had been rebuilt and reinstated, he hadn't seen much of Fairy Tail mages.
“Hi, Rogue. Long time, no see,” Lucy greeted, waving her hand slightly. Her gentle eyes settled on Frosch, happy they had found their friend. “Frosch found me in the city. I guess they recognized me, or saw my guild mark.”
“But... I looked everywhere!” Rogue could swear he had searched every crack and crevice of the city for Frosch. It wasn't until he had caught Frosch's scent, mixed with vanilla, that Rogue set off for the park. But Rogue had waited at the park for Frosch, hoping the little Exceed would return. When they didn't, Rogue tore the city apart looking for them. And yet, here they were, lounging in the same park Frosch had initially wandered from.
Lucy shrugged. “I don't know how you didn't find us, but I figured would come back to where you lost them. Or at least smelled them.”
Frosch had recovered a little from their crying to look up at Rogue. “The fairy helped Fro, Rogue. She held Fro and sang to Fro while we waited for you.”
Rogue looked from his friend to the blonde standing in front of them. She was looking at Frosch with soft eyes. Really, he shouldn't be surprised that Lucy had helped Frosch. He clearly remembered how she had forgiven him for his future self's actions and regarded him with the same kindness she showed everyone. But, right now, Rogue was vastly more grateful that Lucy had protected his friend than when she had forgiven him for Future Rogue.
“Thank you very much, Lucy, for helping Frosch.” Rogue bowed his head in thanks.
“You're very welcome, Rogue. I could never let such a cute Exceed wander around this big city alone, someone might have kidnapped Frosch,” Lucy laughed. She stepped closer and ran her fingers through Frosch's fur softly. Leaning down, she pressed a kiss to the Exceed's head.
Frosch looked up at Lucy and left Rogue's arms to snuggle against Lucy. “Fro is happy that a fairy found them!”
Rogue watched as Lucy giggled and hugged the Exceed to her chest for a moment before releasing them back into Rogue's arms. He thought that she would have turned around and left after that, but Lucy didn't move. She just looked up at Rogue with those bottomless brown eyes of hers. Before Rogue knew what she was doing, Lucy raised up on her toes and pecked his cheek before turning and walking away.
“See you around, Rogue,” Lucy called, throwing a bright smile over her shoulder to the frozen Dragon Slayer.
Rogue stood there, shocked, his mouth hanging open slightly. Frosch was giggling in his arms, little paws pressed to their mouth in excitement. His mind was blank, unable to process what just happened. Of all people, why did Lucy – one of the most beautiful women he'd ever seen – kiss him?