Rating: T for themes
Chapter Rating: T for themes
Lucy and Natsu were greeted with a startling cry from Happy just before he barreled into Lucy, hugging her tightly. Everyone else in the guild made a surprised noise at their arrival, but they all seemed happy to see them nonetheless, especially after they were gone for so long. Really, Lucy would later say to her team, it was only two weeks. Natsu was immediately pulled into a fight with Gray, of course and Lucy walked over to the bar, where Mira was wiping down some drinking glasses. She always seemed to be conveniently behind the bar when they returned from a mission or other excursion, other times walking around the guild with purpose in her dainty strides.
“How was your vacation time Lu?” Levy had walked up beside her and took a seat at the ledge, eager to hear about the celestial mage’s vacation with her partner.
“Emotional.” Lucy claimed, sitting down and settling a hand to her forehead, trying to rub any of the worry wrinkles out that Natsu may have caused.
“Emotional?” Cana jumped in, pausing her swig from the barrel of alcohol, and then grinned, waggling her eyebrows at the blonde. “Did you and Natsu ‘heat it up’?”
Lucy blushed at the implication and shook her head, Levy looking at her in confusion. “What happened to make it emotional then?”
“Well, on the second night we went out to a really nice dinner, and Flare ended up being our server.” Erza, Mira, Levy, and Cana all blinked with wide eyes. Everyone had been made aware that they had been spelled by Flare, although, apparently Natsu had not been at the guild when Loke had explained. “She was practically civil, but we got into a fight.”
“Physical?” Erza, who had been eating the strawberry cake Lucy had brought back for her, asked with concern. More than likely afraid she would have to be on damage control.
“No, you know me better than that Erza. A fight of words. She just was being so rude to Natsu, and I couldn’t let her get away with it, even though he was doing nothing about it. Although, he probably had no idea that he was being insulted at all. It didn’t help that he didn’t know he had been spelled before.” Lucy looked at the bar as Mira placed a glass of water in front of her, taking a sip of the liquid before rushing out the rest. “And then I explained everything to him and we kind of kissed.”
“So you were heating it up.” A sly grin crossed Cana’s face and Lucy waved her hands in the air with desperation.
“No! It was just one kiss.”
Cana’s grin grew, not even caring about the blonde’s reservations. “But I bet you wanted it to be more that just one kiss.”
“No!” At the stern but knowing look Cana gave her Lucy grumbled. “Okay, maybe I did. But so what? It can’t happen! We can’t happen!” Now Levy looked at her sharply and Lucy breathed out a sigh.
“And pray tell, why not?”
“Because— Well, because I— I don’t know!”
“Exactly, come on Lu, you read those books too. I know you did.” Levy put a hand on her friends arm, trying to settle her. “And the best friend always becomes the lover.”
“Not true. Sometimes, they become the one’s left behind. Levy, the way Natsu and I are—” There was a twinkle in the blue mage’s eyes as Lucy realized something. “You knew.”
Levy giggled and Cana looked at her. “She knew what?” Erza was also looking at her curiously.
Levy giggled before ousting her friend. “Natsu’s piercings, he got them because of a conversation he overheard me and Lu having one day.”
Cana raised her eyebrows. “Oh?”
“Yeah,” Levy was totally throwing Lucy under the bus. “I was telling her about how I thought Gajeel’s piercings got in the way sometimes or were just plain odd. And then Lu goes on to give me a detailed explanation to why piercings are great.” Levy was grinning at Lucy’s blushing face.
“Yeah, I bet they were kinky too huh?” Cana had walked over to Lucy and wrapped an arm around her shoulder.
“Oh my god, you guys stop.” Lucy was as red as Erza’s hair and getting even worse.
“Oi! What are you guys doing to Luce?” Lucy looked up and saw the evil glint on Cana and Mira’s face, seriously, they were devils. Oh no.
“She’s feeling a little sick, why don’t you take her home?” Mira said sweetly as Cana shoved her into Natsu. Lucy sent them both a glare.
“Oh, Luce why didn’t you say anything? We could have gone home.” Lucy’s blush deepened as Natsu grabbed her arm and dragged her out of the guild, but not before Cana yelled after them.
“Make sure you don’t focus too much on just the piercings Lucy! He may need some emotional attention too!” Her cackle rang out as the partners stepped out of the guildhall.
Lucy put a hand to her face in mortification. “Luce? What is she talking about?” Natsu had a hand around her and she was very aware of the heat coming from it. She just shook her head, staying quiet with a grimace, for the entirety of the walk.
“Luce, why did you leave without me?” Lucy had gone to get groceries and hadn’t woken Natsu up when she left. He had woken up in a panic. She was currently standing in the kitchen, putting the groceries away, listening to Natsu’s complaints.
“We needed food Natsu.”
He just grunted in response, feeling the annoyance she held for him and not wanting to say anything to set her off. He walked behind her and carefully put his arms around her, and she fell back into them with a sigh. He rested his chin on the crown of her head. “I’m sorry Luce, it’s just—”
“The nightmares, I know.” She had been having to wake him up from the nightmares he was having about future Lucy dying again. She still didn’t know how to get him to see she was fine, that she could protect herself. Just as he didn’t know how to get her to see that he wouldn’t leave again. “I get it Natsu, its just— you can’t be with me all the time.”
“Yeah? Why not?”
“Because! What if I go on missions by myself, or with Levy?” Natsu tightened his arms around her.
“No. You have to go on missions with me. We’re a team aren’t we?” Natsu could tell she rolled her eyes at him, but a smile graced her lips.
“Yeah, I guess.” Lucy looked up at him over her shoulder after placing the rest of the fruit in the fridge. “Come on, let’s get to the guild.”
Natsu took her hand and he dragged them to the guild, Happy following behind them.
Lucy watched as Natsu held Happy up, pretending he was the baboon from a kids movie they had watched, and Happy was playing the baby lion. She giggled when they turned around and Natsu’s elbow smacked into Gray’s face, her hand coming up to her mouth. The two, of course, started a fight. But Erza was too busy eating cake to notice.
Lucy’s hand came down as she thought back to the letters she had written to her mother over the last few months. All touching on the same topic, at least for a single sentence in the writing.
Everything has been a little insane lately. On the bright side though, father sent me a birthday present again this year, consisting of the ring Igneel had made you when you were younger, he had yours, his, and my name engraved on the inside. Natsu and I got back from another mission recently and things have been a little weird between us. The lingering gazes, the touches, the way he stays around me… I’m not sure what is happening to be honest.
I admitted to Virgo how I felt about Natsu already, and it was freeing, but I can’t afford to tell him. I can’t afford to lose him. The days have been getting longer, nights more comforting than they used to be, even with the nightmares we both have. Natsu has been keeping an eye on me, but he is also a little too protective. He rarely lets me fight when we are on missions, and to be quite frank, it makes me feel like he doesn’t trust me. Now, of course I know that isn’t true, and he only wants to keep me from harm, but still. How am I supposed to get stronger if I can’t fight? He needs to let me try, trust me to protect myself. Like I trust him not to leave me. Not that I have much choice, it isn’t like I can lock him up and tell him to stay.
But this past mission made us both think about that I think. I know I did at least. Happy had gone out on a mission with Carla and Wendy, and Gray was with Juvia. I have no idea where Erza had been, but it left just Natsu and I. Alone. Again. The mission was relatively easy, it was simply to clean the office of someone’s house. Nothing for Natsu to destroy. It was weird though. The client had hired mages to clean his office because of a weird lurking feeling he had. Said he couldn’t stand to be in his office, so he wanted to completely redo it.
Like I said, not a big job. But there was something in there, not a feeling, but a note that we found. One that Natsu, being an absolute idiot like he always has been, read out loud. You’d think he would learn, but no! I don’t even remember what the note said, just that I was feeling really weird after he read it. He had a look on his face too. Made him look dangerous, and attractive. Not that he isn’t already of course! But we both looked at each other and there was something that flitted across his face that I know had been mirrored in mine as well. So, we took the note and trashed it, well, he burned it. Then finished up in the office, and everything seemed fine.
But my feelings are getting harder to deny, and I don’t know if it’s because of that note or if it’s because my feelings are growing stronger. I had hoped that writing all of this down would help, but it’s only made me more confused.
I will write more tomorrow,
Biting her lip, Lucy looked up from her thoughts when a shadow crossed her sight, noticing Natsu was suddenly standing in front of her, a sheepish smile on his face that he wore when he did something stupid. “What did you do this time?”
“Hey, why do you assume I did anything wrong?” She just raised her eyebrows at him. Natsu shrugged in response to the look, watching her carefully for any reaction. “Okay, so I may or may not have told Gray about our kiss.”
She breathed a sigh of relief, she wouldn’t have to scold him. She knew that the news was probably spread around the guild by that time anyway. “That’s it?”
“What do you mean that’s it? You’re not mad at me? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad you ain’t mad but…” He trailed off, looking at her in concern, but she just waved a hand in dismissal.
“Don’t worry about it. Erza, Cana, Levy, and Mira knew the first day we got back.” Natsu frowned and looked like a kicked puppy. “What? Aren’t you glad you’re not in trouble?”
“Yes, but I didn’t think you would tell anyone.”
“I didn’t tell them on purpose! Those fools weaseled it out of me with their stupid questions!” Natsu laughed at her choice of words.
“Then they ain’t fools, huh?” Lucy shook her head, admitting that she could have thought of something better. Her eyes changed, focusing as she thought, putting a finger on her lips.
“What do you want for dinner tonight?” At the mention of food, Natsu’s stomach grumbled angrily at him, and he growled back, as though that would make it stop. Lucy smiled at him in amusement. “How about we get you some lunch?” Natsu nodded and Lucy looked over her shoulder at Mira, who went to make Natsu’s usual in the back.
“How about some pasta? I know that’s relatively easy, and something you enjoy.”
Lucy smiled at Natsu, rolling her eyes. “But I didn’t ask you what I wanted, now did I? I asked what you wanted.”
“Well, what I want, I would have to cook, so no. I want pasta.” She rolled her eyes again, seeing that the lazy dragon slayer was playing her rules just fine.
“You want steak don’t you?” Natsu nodded and Happy butt in, flying over from the other side of Natsu to land on Lucy’s shoulder.
“Can you make me fish tonight Lucy?”
She scrunched her eyebrows together in confusion. “Weren’t you going to visit the other exceeds?”
Lucy smiled at his forgetfulness as he flew away from them to go talk with Carla and Pantherlily. “Luce?”
“You look weird.”
“I do not!”
Natsu leaned against the back of the couch and watched as Lucy lay spread out across the three cushions, reading her book intently. She kept making faces at the book, and he thought it was amusing. Sometimes she would even make sounds, her most recent was a content hum, and Natsu dropped a hand onto one of her legs, lightly tracing a pattern up and down it, smiling when she looked at him with a glare. He walked around the couch, picking up her legs and putting them on his lap while he sat down.
Her eyes narrowed slightly, eyebrows pulling together as she looked at him. She made that look a lot while she was reading. But now it was directed at him. He just made the same sound she most recently had and looked at her legs, rubbing patterns up and down. He began to massage her calf and she keened. Natsu had been training with her that morning, and he knew, that although she wouldn’t ever admit to it, she had to be sore.
Her calf muscles were taut as he worked them and Lucy had completely dropped the book, laying it open on her chest, forgotten. Her eyes had closed and she hummed again. Neither spoke, content to just be quiet in the moment, basking in each other’s presence, grateful for the connection of warmth they had. Natsu watched her for cues of where he should work her muscles. And when she had completely relaxed when he worked one, he went to the other.
He knew she loved getting a massage, and she told him every time that because he had warm hands it felt wonderful when he did it. That his heat loosened up the muscles easier. So, she had begun to teach him when to put some heat into it, when there is something like this Natsu, she had told him, running his hand thumb over a large knot in her leg, then you use your heat and dig it out, otherwise you could get cramps. Natsu had taken to being her personal masseuse, simply because he liked feeling like he was doing something for her.
Now, he looked at her face, eyelids low over her iris’, she watched him drowsily. It had been a long day, but it was not over yet. His hand went up a little higher, gently telling her to turn over. She pulled the book off of her chest, putting it on the table Natsu had put his feet up on. She flipped and Natsu ran his hands up and down the length of her legs. She hummed again when he started to massage her hamstrings, relaxing again, even as she flinched when his fingers dug into her skin.
“Tell me a story.”