|Never Give Up
Author: Mrs. HopeEstheim PM
The fourth time Natsu almost gave up, his enemy was his own mind. NaLu. One-shot. 5800 words without A/N and dividers! Enjoy.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Friendship - Lucy H. & Natsu D. - Words: 6,209 - Reviews: 29 - Favs: 121 - Follows: 10 - Published: 03-17-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7933782
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This little (5,800 words) one-shot was (somehow) inspired by chapter 272. I can't remember how or why, but it was and I finally finished it.
I hope you like it!
The first time Natsu ever gave up in the middle of a fight was during the third tournament that he participated in. At first, all his nakama thought they were seeing things. After all, since when does Natsu, of all people, stop fighting and stand stalk-still with his muscles all tensed up? He never acted that way—especially when the mage's fighting skills were nowhere near on-par with his own incredible prowess. And yet, even as all the members of Fairy Tail watched in shock…he did.
None of them knew then what was happening. None of his guild mates knew that his opponent held a dreadful ultimatum over his head.
That bastard was going to hurt Lucy if Natsu didn't let him win! He had to be still and let his enemy beat him into a pulp. And Natsu recognized the same dirty tactic that Flare of Raven Tail had used against Lucy in their very first tournament. That psycho redhead had threatened Asuka, the young daughter of Bisca and Alzack, and Lucy had been the only one to notice it. Until Natsu, of course, who ran over just as fast as his legs could carry him and ripped the hair away.
Natsu could have thought of something to counter the threat if it had been anyone other than Lucy. But since it was Lucy, the only thing that stood out to him was the panic that held his heart in thrall. A prisoner to his fear of losing her, the pink-haired, fire-breathing dragonslayer just stood there, partly in shock at the ultimatum and partly because he didn't want anything to happen to her. His ever-cheerful and smiling blonde best friend…and her life could possibly be in his hands. All he had to do to make sure she was safe was to remain still and not fight back.
The dragonslayer heard his pulse in his ears, the dull ba-thump, ba-thump of his heartbeat lending a monotonous soundtrack to the terror mounting inside him. He had thought of life without Lucy, and it scared him. She saved him—it was as simple as that. Natsu needed her as much as people need water, and now it was up to him. He could risk it all and hope that the blonde was strong enough to defend herself against an unknown and unexpected attack…or he could bow to the wishes of the enemy. It was hard for him to hear himself think over the pounding of his heart, but he realized that he didn't want to risk anything where Lucy was involved. What if they caught her while she was heading to the bathroom, away from the rest of their team? What if the enemy already had her?
And then he looked just over his enemy's head and spotted something that made his blood run cold.
They did already have Lucy. And she was struggling to escape, or to yell something to him, but they had her gagged and two much stronger men were holding her arms behind her back. Gajeel hadn't come with the guild this time, as he was off on a mission, so the iron dragonslayer couldn't go save her. He would have heard the sounds of struggle and recognized them for what they were, but even though Wendy was fifteen now, she was still innocent and might not understand what they really were, or where they were coming from.
If only he could give her a sign! But that would put Lucy in even more danger.
The rest of that battle passed in a haze, and the next thing Natsu was aware of was waking up with the blonde hovering right above him, worry reflected in her big brown eyes.
"Luce…" his voice, when it came out, was hoarse. He could hardly feel anything but relief—she was alive, and she was with him. They had let her go when Natsu had lost.
"You idiot," Lucy whispered softly, glancing at Erza and Gray, who were behind them. Erza showed a little wear, so it was obvious she'd been in the games after Natsu's defeat. At least, Natsu hoped he'd only been out through one game. He could hear the sounds of a battle off in the arena, and that's what the other two members of their team were watching. The teams this year were only four people rather than the five of their first tournament and the astonishing eight of the second tournament they'd participated in.
"I'm glad you're all right," he ignored her insult, smiling up at her and slowly sitting up. They must have had Wendy in at some point to heal him, because he didn't have any soreness or aches or even any bruises from that battle.
"Natsu…" her eyes softened then, and she sighed, leaning her forehead against his. "I thought he was going to kill you…"
Natsu's hand fell on her shoulder and he laughed in a low voice, wryly, and told her, "And I thought they were going to kill you."
And both of them laughed because they were both relieved, and had both been scared out of their wits and neither of them ever wanted to be in that position again. He'd had her life in his hands, and she'd had to watch as he got the living hell beat out of him…and that just wasn't something either of them ever wanted to feel again.
"I'll be more careful next time," the blonde assured her pink-haired dragonslayer, fully resting her forehead against his. "I promise. So don't just give up like that again, Natsu, or I'll beat you up myself."
"I won't," the dragonslayer assured her, then added for good measure, "I promise."
The next time Natsu thought about giving up was on a mission when he'd gone ahead while the others remained behind to fight. His enemy had motioned to a side door, and out of it had come two men bearing a weak blonde between them. Natsu had frozen, staring at her for a few long moments as a new ultimatum regarding Lucy's life was delivered.
But he saw through this trick on his own, noticing the suspicious absence of a pink guild mark on the blonde's right hand.
Natsu smirked at his enemy and cracked his knuckles, letting his fire lick all around him. The panic that had suddenly risen within him was gone just as soon as it had come and was now replaced with anger. This man had thought to trick Natsu into submission by holding his Lucy over his head and putting her in danger…and had thought to trick the dragonslayer into thinking that this fake Lucy was the real one.
She didn't even smell the same, and Natsu trusted his sense of smell.
"If you attack me, your friend will die!" the man he was facing said, trying to sound imperious but only managing to sound frantic. He was pointing to the blonde that two of his men supported between them. "Don't you care about what happens to her?"
"Of course I care," Natsu rolled his shoulders now, listening to the sound of his bones grating together as he worked any kinks out. "But I would care more if you really had one of my friends up there."
"Heh," a voice came from behind him. He'd missed the door being thrown open but now he turned around at the familiar smell and voice. "Looks like you didn't need my help realizing the fraud, after all. And here I was worrying that you'd break your promise and just give up again!"
"Hey, Luce," the dragonslayer was relieved to see her, but dismayed to see that she looked pretty worn down and she was bleeding in a few places. She'd be okay, of course, but it didn't stop him from worrying about her. He couldn't help it—it was Lucy, after all, and she was his closest friend and had been since the beginning if he excluded his 'son', Happy. The brave smile that the blonde woman had on her features reassured him slightly, driving away some of his worries and fears, and he turned back to his enemies.
"W-what is the meaning of this? Who is that imposter?" the man had lost it all now and was still trying to pull his charade off. Natsu laughed.
"That's Lucy," the pink-haired man felt his anger boiling just beneath the surface, but he quelled it slightly. As it was, he knew he was very intimidating right now—he could see it in the faces of his enemies—and that was fine by him. Maybe it would teach them a lesson in messing with Fairy Tail. Hell, maybe it would teach them not to mess with anyone close to Natsu, period. "The girl you were threatening? That's her—not the chick they've got over there."
And then Natsu stopped holding back, knocking all of the enemies down in a matter of minutes as Lucy just sat back and began to use first aid on her wounds.
"Are you all right, Luce?" the dragonslayer asked worriedly, dropping down beside her as she winced from some of the pain.
"I'll be fine, Natsu," Lucy assured him kindly with her usual smile, though it was slightly strained. "There are just a few cuts, and I might have sprained an ankle. Thank you for asking, though."
"Let me help you with that," Natsu took the roll of bandages from her hands then, wrapping her ankle for her quickly and efficiently. He was used to having to do first aid, mostly on himself, because of how often he got hurt on solo missions. "Are you going to be able to walk on it? You can lean on me if you need to."
Or I'll just carry you, Natsu added silently.
"Thanks," Lucy's fingers brushed his hand gently. "I should be able to walk on it—I got all the way here, didn't I?"
When she did try to stand up, she nearly fell right back over, and Natsu didn't even hesitate before reaching over to catch her before she hurt herself. He pulled her arm over his shoulder and grasped it well while sliding his other hand around her waist and then helped her limp along a few steps. He was glad to be able to help her in some way and couldn't help thinking that she wouldn't have been hurt if he'd stayed behind to help and they'd moved on together.
"You were probably able to walk here because of the adrenaline," Natsu said wisely. "Now that it's worn off, you can feel the pain again."
Sighing, the blonde grudgingly replied, "You're probably right."
"I know I am," the young man said somewhat smugly, and the two of them made their way back toward the town for their reward, her arm slung over his shoulder and his arm around her waist to support her on her injured ankle.
The third time Natsu wanted desperately to give up was when he thought Lucy actually was dead.
She was laying at the feet of the man she'd been fighting, and the only thing of her that Natsu could see aside from her back and her blonde hair was the blood. There was so much blood. He would have sworn that his heart stopped as he stood there and stared at the girl he was close to, the girl he'd begun to fall for…the girl who seemed to be dead.
And then the man standing above her kicked her onto her back and with his supersonic hearing, Natsu heard her gasp sharply in pain. And then he saw her hand clenching the abdominal wound, her own bright red blood covering her hand. Her face was contorted in pain—contorted in so much pain that it hurt him, just looking at it. And the worst part was that her grievous wound wasn't even the only injury that marred her flesh.
All across Lucy's arms and legs, Natsu spotted bruises and cuts that were so much worse than the last time he'd been scared for her. The cloying scent of her blood filled his nostrils and he wanted nothing more than to brutally murder her tormentor.
"Oh, what's this? Another of those overrated Fairy Tail mages? I've already dealt with your friends."
The mage standing over Lucy spoke petulantly, his nose raised in the air, as he gestured toward Lucy and then toward a small, shivering blue lump on the floor just feet from the blonde. Seeing Happy and Lucy, the two most important people in his life, treated like this was enough to infuriate him. Why, oh, why had Lucy gone ahead of him? She'd run into this arrogant bastard and it hadn't turned out very well for her—or for Happy.
"That cat tried to stop me from killing her," the man gestured again to Lucy. "In the end, I made it understand its mistake…but I also decided that letting her suffer would be much more satisfying. Don't you agree?"
The dragonslayer said nothing, merely clenching his fist tightly at his side and trying not to positively explode in anger. It wasn't doing him much good and soon the fire burst into being around him, a swirling and blazing inferno that even the best water mages in all of Fiore couldn't put out.
For a few moments in the beginning, Natsu was going to give up. If Lucy wasn't alive, then why should he be? Yet it had turned out that she was still alive, and their promise sprang to mind. He'd promised he'd never give up, and he was going to keep that promise even if it cost him his life. Lucy and Happy meant so much to him so if their lives were on the line he would put his on that very same line.
If Lucy died here, so would he.
As it turned out, his uncontrolled rage was to his advantage in that fight, and he actually managed to keep himself from committing the atrocity of murder in front of the ailing Lucy. Instead, he burnt the guy so thoroughly that he fell unconscious, then he forced himself to go to Happy first, picking up the Exceed and carrying the feebly stirring cat-like creature over to Lucy. Natsu then knelt by her, brushing her sweaty blonde bangs from her forehead in a tender motion that was becoming quite common between the two of them. They were the only ones that hadn't really noticed yet.
"Luce, can you hear me?"
"Y-yeah," her voice was weak, and Natsu didn't like it.
"I'm going to get you back to the guild, and Wendy can heal you. Okay?"
She nodded, the action contorting her features into a mask of pain. Natsu brushed her hair back again, and he didn't remember what kind of soothing words he said then but he did know they offered her some sort of comfort.
When Natsu picked her up she let out a scream. Happy was on Natsu's shoulder and was crying; he was apologizing for not being able to protect her, but even the feeble Lucy was trying to soothe him.
When Happy was well enough, he flew ahead of the two of them to warn the guild of Lucy's injuries and of their need for Wendy's healing magic. It was a good thing that this job hadn't been too far away from Magnolia, because if it had been, Lucy's chances of survival probably would have been pretty small.
The thought made Natsu feel like crying, and made his blood run cold, but he tried not to show it. And still, he was scared out of his mind at the thought of losing his Lucy. She meant a lot to him—maybe as much, if not more, than Happy did! Losing her would be too much for him to bear, and that one frightful moment, before he'd heard her sound of pain when she'd been kicked, he'd begun the downward spiral into depression.
He thought he had lost her, and nothing could have ever prepared him for how much that hurt.
Even Igneel leaving him hadn't hurt Natsu as much as the thought of losing Lucy, and that was definitely saying something. The only parent Natsu could remember could no longer compete with the woman that the dragonslayer had fallen for. The dragon was no match for the blonde girl who had unknowingly stolen Natsu's heart away.
"I'm sorry, Natsu," the blonde's voice came from his arms, and Natsu was momentarily distracted from his rush to the guild. "I should have been more careful. I wasn't paying attention, and he came at me before I could reach my keys or my whip…"
"It's not your fault, Luce," Natsu assured her gently. "I wasn't quick enough taking care of those other guys back there…so next time, wait for me, okay?"
Her smile made his heart leap wildly in his chest.
The fourth time he wanted to give up, the enemy was his own mind.
All that he felt for the blonde woman had finally surfaced in his mind, and he knew now why he was so protective of her. Natsu finally understood why he wanted to gouge his eyes out if he saw her in pain and why it felt as if his heart was being brutally ripped from his chest if she was in trouble. He knew why his heart had stopped when she'd been threatened and why his whole world had seemed to crash down around his ears.
And he was terrified.
This wasn't something that Igneel had ever been good at explaining. Sure, the dragon had done his best and tried to tell Natsu what to do, but dealing with human affairs is much different from a dragon's point of view and the dragonslayer didn't quite think Igneel's way of managing these roiling feelings would be advisable. And for once, it felt as though Igneel's teachings had failed him. And that in itself was almost as scary as the fact that he'd finally understood these emotions that had his knickers in a twist—as the saying goes.
"Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit," Natsu cursed aloud, pacing back and forth in a random field outside of town. He had definitely entered panic mode and didn't know how to climb out of that abyss. The feeling of being so utterly lost wasn't brand new to him…but he was completely lost when the topic was love.
How did it happen?
Natsu didn't know how or when or why or where but he knew the what—love happened. Or at least what a little kid would call like-like.
And even as the thought crossed his mind, Natsu realized that he knew the why—it was Lucy. Did he need more reason than that? And if he did need more reasons, he could list several. For one, perhaps the least important of all his reasons, was that she was pretty. She was more than pretty—she was absolutely gorgeous. Not that he would ever tell Lucy that, because it might go to her head just a little. But he'd probably be able to tell her she was pretty…
The most important part, to Natsu at least, was the trust he had in her. She was sweet and gentle and kind—for the most part—and that was something that endeared her to him. She had willingly followed him to Fairy Tail, trusting him even after the fake Salamander had tricked her, and fell into their huge, loving family with ease. Natsu couldn't help but admire her…but the trust he had in her, and she had in him, outweighed everything. The fire dragonslayer had difficulties that he barely acknowledged that had to do with abandonment…and what meant the absolute most to him was that he trusted her to stay.
But…he was scared to let her know the true depths of his feelings.
And it was driving him nuts.
There was nothing—nothing—on his mind but this "battle". Would he win or lose when the enemy was himself? He didn't know what to do about all of this. His first instinct was to go complain to Lucy, and then he realized that she was the object of his affection and frustration, so that probably wouldn't be the smartest thing he ever did. And next he considered asking Gray for advice, but since Gray couldn't even man up and tell Juvia that she didn't have to stalk him anymore…well, that kind of took the ice mage off the consultation list. Mirajane would blow everything out of proportion and the entire guild would know within thirty seconds…so she was definitely not the right choice.
As weird an option as it was, there was only one person that Natsu felt able to discuss this with. And now the dragonslayer was pacing in a field, trying to work up the courage to talk to him. The one person he could talk to would probably laugh at him…but he had to do it.
After all, Gajeel had probably gone through the same emotions when he realized that he liked Levy, so that meant he could—most likely—help Natsu with his problem.
Natsu Dragneel, for his part, was halfway between bursting into Gajeel's house before he lost his nerve and chickening out. He wanted so badly to turn around and hole himself up in his house for the next seven years but he knew that his feelings and confusion couldn't be solved by running away from them. He'd have to embrace them.
"Damn it," Natsu groaned, taking a deep breath and turning in the direction of the intimidating iron dragonslayer's home.
Natsu was even more nervous now than when he had gone to find Gajeel (whose reaction had been as Natsu had expected—smugness and laughter). The fact that Levy had been there to give her two bits in advice had been helpful, but still he felt like he had a lump in his throat.
Lucy's door swam in front of his eyes and he just didn't want to knock. Well, he did want to…but he was scared to. Levy had said to just go for it, and Gajeel had grunted his concurrence…but Natsu was still concerned that it wasn't the right choice. It was worrying the fire dragonslayer so much that he'd actually made his way to the door of her apartment rather than just going straight in through her window like he would normally do. She'd probably know something was up the minute she opened the door to see him there, but he steeled himself.
His hand trembled as he raised it and he took a deep breath, forcing calm upon himself. It wasn't foolproof, of course, but he reasoned with himself that Lucy wasn't the kind of girl to completely kick him out…right?
Before he could lose the battle with his mind, he rapped the door with his knuckles three times in quick succession.
Oh, Mavis. Just the sound of her voice made his knees feel weak.
"Hey, Luce," the dragonslayer greeted her, attempting to sound kind of normal even though he thought he was failing and that his smile was a little forced. Maybe she couldn't see it—maybe it wasn't nearly as obvious as he felt it was.
"Something wrong?" the blonde asked, raising a brow in confusion.
"Not really. I just wanted to, uh, talk to you. I haven't seen you all day, Luce!" he whined, trying to get some sense of normality back into the conversation.
"If that was the case, you would have waited until I was in the shower and sneaked in through the window," Lucy said, and Natsu was somewhat astonished to realize that she was teasing him. He felt the heat in his cheeks and he desperately tried to banish the flush. He didn't know how well it was working.
"But…what if I wanted to do things differently for once?"
Lucy chuckled and shook her head, stepping to the side of the door.
"Why don't you come in and sit down and we'll figure out why you're acting all strange, okay?"
Shit, Natsu cursed inwardly. She did notice.
Since the woman was willing to let him in and sit down and talk through everything, he wasn't going to refuse. If he could actually convey his feelings to her this might be the last chance he got to sit in her living room with her. After all—this was Luce. Lucy Heartfilia had been raised to expect more out of life than what he could give her. Her standard of living had been high before she had fled the Heartfilia estate and he feared that she would scoff at his feelings because he hadn't been raised that way and he didn't have money.
And then Natsu realized that those thoughts were foolish, because his Lucy wasn't that kind of woman at all. She was kind and gentle and she didn't judge people based on their lineage or how much money they had—if she did, she'd be hanging around the court of Fiore's royal family rather than a part of the rowdy Fairy Tail.
"Don't be shy, Natsu," her voice broke into her thoughts, and he nearly jumped out of his skin when he felt her hand on his back, pushing him towards the couch. "You're not usually so timid. It's weird."
"You're the weirdo, Luce," was the automatic response that came out of Natsu's mouth. He wanted to hit himself, but held still and breathed a barely perceptible sigh of relief when she laughed.
"That's more like it!" she smiled brightly at him as she sat down across from him. The sun shined in through the window and glinted off of her golden hair, temporarily distracting him before she started talking again. "Now…what's up? There's definitely something wrong with you or you would have just come right in through the window."
"Well, there's this thing I wanted to talk to you about," he said, unsure of how to put it. "And I talked to Gajeel and Levy and thought about talking to Mirajane but then decided I'd better not because then you'd know before I got to talk to you and I wanted to talk to you myself and I'm just really confused and I know what I want to say but not how to say it and Gajeel said just to go for it and Levy kind of agreed but still—"
"It's a girl, isn't it?" Lucy cut across right as Natsu realized he'd started to ramble. The embarrassment flooded his cheeks and Lucy laughed a little at him.
He didn't know how forced it was.
"It is! So…you're trying to figure out how to tell her, right?"
I'm trying to figure out how to tell you, Natsu thought dejectedly. How was he supposed to tell her now? But even as he was thinking this, Lucy had considered his flush and his silence as proof of his dilemma and she clapped her hands together.
"Well, you said Gajeel and Levy told you to 'go for it', right?" Lucy asked, but it was a rhetorical question and didn't require an answer—in face, Lucy continued before Natsu could even think about answering. "So, if that's the case, I wouldn't go against them. But considering that it's you and you're so confused—" (she wouldn't mention how adorable she found his flustered state) "—I bet they didn't tell you how, did they?"
Natsu shook his head in response. There was a lump in his throat that he couldn't speak around at that moment, and he felt like he might be chickening out, which wasn't good.
"Well, you could just outright tell her. You know, go up to the girl and tell her that you love her—or that you like her. Whichever way works for you—and for her. But, no offense, I don't think you'd be able to confess like that without screwing up somehow. And any girl who knows you would probably expect a more physical approach anyway…"
The thoughts of everything physical floated into his head and he shook it forcefully, mortified at what his imagination had just cooked up. Lucy hadn't noticed.
"So, I think this is what you should do."
This? Natsu wanted to ask. What's 'this'?
The celestial mage was standing once more, making her way around her coffee table to stand in front of him. Natsu was kind of scared about what was going to happen—had she figured it out? Was she just coming nearer so she could slap him?—but he looked up at her anyway.
"There are a few ways to do this, Natsu. I'll tell you three. The first one: take her by the shoulders—" here, Lucy grabbed him by the shoulders with both hands "—and pull her nearer—" oh holy Zeref, her nose was just an inch away "—and kiss her."
And he might have, too, if she hadn't pulled away.
"L-Luce?" he managed.
"Shush. That's only the first one. The next one is just as simple. Go up to her, take her face in your hands, and do the exact same thing."
She was undoing him unknowingly when she demonstrated what she meant again, only pulling away before Natsu could regain his senses. It was driving him insane, but he'd put up with it. If it was Lucy, he could deal with this bittersweet torture.
"Now, the last one I'm going to tell you about is for if she's walking away. For example, say you told her you liked her—but, since you're…well, you…she didn't believe you."
Don't tell me that, Natsu's mind protested.
His voice decided to say, "What?"
"Well, I know you don't want to think about it, but it's something we have to consider. So say she turns around, like so—" Lucy demonstrated "—and say that you know she doesn't believe you. What you need to do then is make her believe it, so before she's out of your reach you're going to grab her by the hand or the wrist—gently, though, keep that in mind!—and with your free hand you grab her other shoulder and turn her to face you. And then you kiss her. Now…the worst she could do is hit you, or if for some insane reason you're after Erza she might just kill you…but then again, she could feel the same. So don't be a wuss."
If only she knew how much he wanted to kiss her right now…she wouldn't be telling him these plans to kiss the girl then. He wouldn't be going through this weird sort of torture—and of course only Lucy could bring this kind of torture down on him, because she was the weirdest girl he knew.
"Were you listening?"
Her hands were on her hips and she had a strange glint in her eyes that Natsu (mistakenly) took for anger.
"Y-yes, Luce!" he nodded vigorously. "I've got it!"
"You understand?" she asked, cocking her head slightly. If only she knew what that kind of expression did to him.
"Y-yeah! Thanks, Luce! I should…I should go now."
"Oh…yeah. Good luck!"
He stood up in a hurry and was halfway to the door before he slowed to a stop. Just what did he think he was doing? He came here to tell her, and he was chickening out. Wouldn't that be just like forfeiting a battle, just like she'd told him not to? And she told him not to be a wuss already.
"Natsu…? Aren't you going to go find her…?"
Her voice made him turn around, and he took the three steps back to her.
He didn't know how flirty it sounded when he told her, "I actually don't need to go anywhere," and he didn't really give her the time to form a coherent statement because by that time his hands were cupping her cheeks and he was stealing a kiss from her perfect lips. He was aware that her breath caught in her throat, but she wasn't trying to push him back yet and he didn't want to let her go…so he didn't.
Natsu let her face go and took a step back when the stinging began in his cheek and he saw her raised hand. The dragonslayer also noticed her flushed cheeks, but he once again took it to be anger.
"Luce, I'm so—"
"Don't you dare!" she said, her cheeks deepening in color. "Don't even say you're sorry! How—how could you? I thought you were worried about some other girl, and I was playing along as though it didn't mean anything, and then—just what were you thinking?"
"Luce—I am sorry, okay?" Natsu quickly slipped in. "I'm sorry for not being brave enough to just tell you first."
"I…I really like you, okay?"
Natsu looked away, his cheeks bright red. And he felt really stupid for telling her like that, but he couldn't leave everything like this, with her yelling at him and—wait.
Now she was kissing him.
Lucy's hands were tangled in his pink hair and their chests were touching and she was kissing him to within an inch of his life and he loved it. Who knew he was missing out on this in all that time he'd spent worrying about what she thought of him?
The fire dragonslayer didn't know whether Lucy would hit him again or not for doing so, but he let his hands fall on her waist, pulling her just a little nearer to him until she pulled back for air. Her face was flushed a brilliant pink that Natsu thought matched his hair quite well and she was slightly out of breath and he thought he'd never seen her so beautiful before. She looked even better than she did all those times that she was trying to look good and Natsu was happy to be the one to see her like this.
"I would have told you I liked you back, if you hadn't made me think you liked someone else," she said then, and he didn't miss the mischievous twinkle in her eye or the sexy smirk that appeared on her lips. "A little more convincing might make me change my mind back, you know."
Natsu chuckled deep in his chest and Lucy imagined that to be very much like a dragon's laugh might sound. And it was fitting, after all, because this was Natsu. And he was her dragon.
"I think I can do that," he told her then, his voice just a little husky as he leaned back down.
"I'm looking forward to it," the blond celestial mage breathed, tilting her head up.
Natsu knew then that the advice never give up was true for everyone, and definitely for Fairy Tail…but it was especially true in matters of love.
So...what did you think?
I got to 'the fourth time...' and then I was all like "CRAP! How am I supposed to end it?" but this idea eventually came, and I hope it's okay. I spent the last week finishing this because I have writer's block on Until She's Home Again, Define, and the Gruvia story that I'm trying to start up. Haha. I thought working on a one-shot might inspire me a little.
Anyway, I really do hope you liked it, and thank you for reading!