Lucy almost hesitated when the dance passed her off to someone she had rather been hoping to avoid at the ball. Just a day before, she’d stared into the red eye of his counterpart - a mirror image of the present Rogue, hellbent on her death.
She smiled awkwardly at him, curtsying as the dance dictated she do. He bowed in return, before he politely took her hand in his, and placed his free one on her waist.
The Fairy Tail mage was pleasantly surprised to find that, unlike her dance partners that had preceded him, Rogue knew the steps passingly well (or at least enough to keep off of her feet), and did not place his hand below where was appropriate.
Still, she couldn’t quite meet his gaze as she danced with him, and her movements were more than a little stiff. Painfully aware of his close proximity, of his warm hands and light breath, Lucy hoped that she wasn’t making a fool of herself, and that her residual, lingering terror wasn’t showing through.
If it was, Rogue made no comment on it or her behavior.
When the song concluded, he released her and bowed once more. Lucy curtsied in return, and beat as hasty a retreat as she could to avoid dealing with him any further. It wasn’t as if she had anything against him, but... it was just too soon. Too soon after Future Lucy.
Rogue watched her go, perplexed. Before, while dancing with others, he had caught glimpses of her with her other partners. The blonde had been animated - laughing and talking with them, even when they stepped on her feet. Her movements had been graceful, and he’d found himself more than slightly enchanted.
So when he’d gotten the opportunity to dance with her himself, her silence and stiffness had been almost alarming. The Fairy Tail mage hadn’t even looked him in the eyes once. Fear, detectable to a dragon slayer’s nose, even with all of the other smells that filled the ballroom, had emanated from her in waves.
“Is... she alright?” Rogue asked Natsu, who was carrying a plate of food almost as tall as he was on what was clearly a serving platter, not a dish.
“Huh?” the pink haired dragon slayer asked, confused. When Rogue pointed out Lucy, Natsu looked back and forth between the two rival guild mages, and thought long and hard on it. “Hmm... it’s nothing you personally did,” Natsu informed him, after a minute of nerve-wracking silence. “Just give her some time.”
He reached out and patted Rogue on the shoulder, a little harder than Rogue had been expecting, and flashed a bright grin at him. “You’re a good dude. And Lucy’s a pretty good dude, too. Everything will work out.”
With that cryptic message, the dragon slayer departed, stuffing his face with the contents of his serving platter.
Rogue resolved to wait, as Natsu suggested. He’d ask her to dance again, another day.