Oh look! Another chapter! Thank you all so much for reviewing! Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I do not own Fairy Tail, or the sexy characters.

Lucy walked through Magnolia that afternoon going to different market places shopping for Natsu and Happy's favorite foods. Her last stop was the feline's favorite fish market, The Captain's Lodge.

"Hello Lucy! Coming to buy fish for Happy again?" The market owner, Misha asked kindly. He was only a little taller than Lucy and his baby blue hair was in a tight pony tail by his neck. Lucy was a regular here. She bought Happy fish all the time.

"Yes sir! What have you got for me today?"

They talked for a little while and Lucy bought Happy three delicious looking red snappers that had a great price, then said her goodbyes to make the journey back to Natsu's.

While she was walking through the town with bags in her hands, she couldn't help but wonder about what Gray had meant when he asked her if it was indeed a good idea for her to stay at Natsu's. She shook her head, causing her long blonde tresses to toss about around her shoulders and kept herself busy while humming her favorite tune.

When she got to her makeshift home she was pleased to find that her belongings were on the doorstep with a little note on top of one of the boxes:

Lucy, I didn't bother with the furniture, but your clothes and other possessions are here in your boxes. If the furniture becomes damaged, we will compensate you. Also, rent will not be due this month.

Lucy was ecstatic to find that she had 70,000 extra Jewel to spend, and then made the multiple and sweat-inducing trips to bring the groceries and the boxes inside with her. She put the groceries in the fridge and cabinets, and put the boxes in order in the living room. With a deep breath, she looked at her work with satisfaction. She contemplated unpacking, but realized what time it was when she brushed her fingers over Horrologium's key.

"Shit! I'm going to be late meeting Gray!" She began towards the door, only to be stopped by –or rather, ran into- Natsu's form.

An oomph resounded between the both of them and he steadied the both of them by grabbing her shoulders.

"Oi, Luce, why in such a hurry?" He laughed when he found composure.

"I'm gonna be late meeting Gray. I told you I was meeting him today to hang out," She reminded him, walking around him.

"Oh. Okay. Well what time are you coming back?" Natsu asked. He had forgotten that she was supposed to be hanging out with the ice wizard and a frown settled on his handsome face as he laced his fingers behind his head.

"Don't know. Might spend the night. I haven't seen him in a long time." Lucy answered, "Anyways, I'll see you later, Natsu!" She waved and left the house, leaving a disappointed dragon slayer in her wake.

She hurried towards her adoptive brother's apartment, excited to be able to catch up. She hummed to herself and summoned Plue to make the journey with her. The shaky spirit was always good company when she was going places. She hopped on up the edge of the canal as usual and gave a friendly wave to the men in the boat beside her.

"Careful, blondie!" One of them shouted.

She just smiled at him and continued making her way to Gray's.

When she finally arrived at his apartment, she didn't bother knocking and walked right on in. Gray's apartment was always very neat; a total bachelor pad. It was extremely stylish in a subtle 'I didn't try to make it look this good' sort of way. She also thought it was ironic that the color pallet was of deep blues.

She found Gray in the kitchen, in only a shirt and boxers, making tea.

"Hey there!" She greeted, coming up behind him.

"Hey Sis!" He turned smiling at his friend. He finished pouring the water in two cups and grabbed Lucy's favorite tea and placed the bags of herbs inside. "Let's go out on the balcony," He suggested and led them both out to the sliding glass door to his favorite spot (besides the guild hall). The view from this spot allowed them to look at an expanse of Magnolia and he often found himself in thought on this balcony.

They sat on the chairs that settled outside and Gray picked up a box that was on the glass table in front of them.

"Hey, I thought you quit smoking?" Lucy asked, raising an eyebrow at him.

Gray chuckled, his midnight-blue hair settling over his eyes as he pulled out a cigarette and put it between his lips. He pulled a black lighter from his box of cigarettes and cupped his hand around the flame, effectively lighting it. "Yeah, you know that never works."

Lucy just shook her head. She didn't really mind the habit. She actually quite liked the smell of cigarette smoke. Her father would smoke in his study and it reminded her of him. "Yeah, yeah. I should have figured." She smiled, taking a sip of her tea, letting the mixture of the herbal taste settle in her belly and the smell of smoke wash over her. She relaxed back in her chair.

"So," Gray started after blowing out a long wisp of smoke from his lips.

"So?" Lucy queried.

"You're staying with Natsu." It wasn't a question. But Lucy's eyebrows arched at the sound of his voice. If she didn't know any better, it almost sounded like he was about to lecture her.

"Yeah, so what?" Lucy countered.

"You're staying with Natsu." He repeated, arching up an eyebrow to look at her like she was missing something.

"Yes, I'm staying with Natsu, Gray, what about it?" She was starting to get irritated with the look he was giving her. It was almost like he was chastising her. And she didn't like it.

"Why couldn't you stay with Levy or Erza?" He asked her smoothly.

"I told you. I went to Natsu's when the whole bug debacle happened and he offered to let me stay. Besides, his house is bigger than Levy's and Erza's spare rooms aren't guest rooms, they're filled with her armor. I'm sure they would have let me, but Natsu's place will be more comfortable for the period I'll have to be staying there." She noticed that her voice had defiance in it, like she was getting defensive. It irked her. She didn't have anything to be defensive about, she reasoned with herself; she was just staying with a friend.

Gray just sighed and took another long drag of his cigarette and blew it out. He looked out off of the balcony. He was trying to find words to say without offending Lucy or making her angry. He knew first hand just how temperamental she was and didn't want to poke the bear.

He looked at her and as calmly as he could he began, "Lucy, as much as everyone would like to believe that Natsu is a thick idiot, we both know that he's still a guy. I just don't know if it's a good idea for you to stay at his place for such a long period of time." He prepared for some recoil on Lucy's part, and he definitely prepared for a sassy retort. But what he did not prepare for was laughter.

Lucy was laughing so hard that she was gripping her sides. This is too good, she thought. She finally took a deep breath to calm herself down, but she was still giggling. "Gray, are we seriously having this discussion? This is Natsu Dragneel we are talking about. He's stayed at my place so many times, I lost track after the first month! This has never been a topic of discussion. Why now?" She was still giggling and had to wipe a tear that started forming at her eye.

"Lucy, I'm serious. When Natsu was at your apartment, under your roof, there were rules. Your rules, and-" But he was cut short by more fits of laughter from the blonde.

"Gray, you have to stop pulling my leg! Natsu doesn't follow rules anywhere, and that includesat my house! I'm not even sure he knows what the word means!" She was hysterical now. Gray was being a ridiculous, overbearing brother. And even though she was still chuckling, the thought kind of warmed her heart.

"Will you listen to me for a second?" His voice was a little harsher than he'd intended, but the effect that they had was what he was hoping for. Lucy calmed down and even though her brows were reaching for her hairline, she was quiet.

He decided to take another drag. "Look, as much as I'd like to deny it, guys our age have… Needs." They both winced at this. It was really like they were siblings with how awkward this subject was for the both of them. But Gray wanted Lucy to be safe, and even though he trusted his friend, he was still worried all the same. He leaned forward, elbows on his knees, "Natsu acts dense, but he really isn't."

"Oh? And how do you know this?" Lucy sneered. She decided to look out over the balcony instead of her brother.

"Because, we've talked about it." After an incredulous look from Lucy, he continued, "Yes, we actually talk sometimes instead of fight. Anyway, look at things from his perspective. He's a dragon slayer. His senses are heightened far beyond ours. All of the dragon slayers for that fact. They know everything that happens in the guild whether they want to or not. They all react to it in differently. Laxus usually is too wrapped up in himself to care, and honestly I don't think his senses are as sharp. Gajeel distances himself from others to give them their privacy. And Natsu… Well, he enjoys being around people too much. But he also recognizes people's need for discretion. He can hear Cana talking about her sexcapades from a mile away. He can smell whenever someone is horny. So, instead of making people uncomfortable with his awareness, he pretends to be oblivious to it all. Yeah, he is a little slow when it comes to certain things, but he isn't stupid. And he's still a guy," Gray finished saying the last statement in a pointed manner. He noticed his cigarette had burned down to the filter after his monologue. He threw it in the ash tray and lit another one.

Lucy just stared at him, dumbfounded. This was news to her. It had never crossed her mind that Natsu understood the innuendos that were tossed around the guild. She found herself feeling guilty for treating him like a child sometimes. Then her thoughts became perversely curious.

"He can… smell whenever people are… horny?" She asked timidly, again not able to make her chocolate eyes meet Gray's.

Gray arched an eyebrow and puffed out more smoke from his lungs. "Yeah. I'm guessing it kinda sucks."

"Huh," Was all Lucy said.

But Gray wasn't finished. "So now that you know that he isn't completely stupid, I have to voice my concern about you staying with him."

"Oh Gray, come on. He might be aware of more things than I realized, but that doesn't make him any more inclined to be any sort of romantic."

"Well, yeah, that may be true. But he's still a guy and you're still a girl. A pretty one at that, and I know that Natsu isn't as dumb as not to notice that fact," Gray stated like he was stating that the sky was blue; it was just a fact.

Lucy blushed at the indirect compliment, but she still had her doubts, "Gray," she sighed, "Natsu isn't going to try anything. He respects me too much. Even if he was… well. You know… He wouldn't jeopardize our relationship like that. Besides, Natsu isn't the type of person who would go around just looking for sex. He'd have to actually like them, and I don't know if he's mature enough for that yet."

"Lucy, in all seriousness, can I ask you something?"

The look that Gray was giving her made her squirm a little in the white chair that she was sitting in. It was almost as if his deep blue eyes were staring into her soul. She weakly nodded her head and he continued.

"Do you have feelings for Natsu?"

Lucy blanched. She couldn't believe that Gray was being so blunt! "I… No! Of course not! He's my best friend and my partner, it'd feel… wrong to think of him like that," She answered, her voice jumping a few octaves in the process. She took another sip of her tea which was now becoming a bit cold. She sighed and fisted her hands in her lap.

She looked at the tattoo on her hand and thought back to whenever she first joined the guild. She was so happy. She had finally found a family that she knew cared for her. She looked at the same mark on Gray's chest and thought about the one on Natsu's arm. It bound them together. And the three of them, plus Erza and Happy were a team. She didn't want to ruin that dynamic.

"Lucy, I know you. I see the way you look at him," Gray said softly. His eyes were gentle as they rested on hers and she blushed again.

"Well. Maybe I thought of him that way… Once. A long time ago. But really Gray, I've put those feeling behind me. We're a team, the five of us. And besides, you're one to talk!" She shot at him, trying to deflect the conversation away from her recent admission.

"Oi, what's that supposed to mean?" He retorted, scrunching up his nose, not realizing that with that comment, his shirt had gone missing.

"Oh Mavis, Gray. When are you just going to buck up and admit that you like Juvia?" She sighed, albeit grateful the conversation was no longer on her.

"When you admit to Natsu that you like him."

Or… Maybe not.

"I thought this whole conversation was to persuade me away from that?" She asked, trying to remain collected, although the sweat that started forming on her palms said otherwise.

"Look Sis. If you and Natsu were to get in a relationship, a real one, then I wouldn't mind the other stuff that came with it," At which this point Lucy's face was so red he thought she might explode on the spot but continued with, "But I don't want him taking advantage of you while you're there. Now, I don't think he would. Even though he's annoying as hell, he's at least a decent guy. I just had to make sure I gave you the talk. It's my responsibility as your big bro," He said satisfied with his speech, taking one final drag on his cigarette and putting it out on the ash tray.

Lucy's heart melted and she jumped to her friend, crushing him in a spine-splitting hug.

"Weirdo." She whispered in his ear. He just smiled at wrapped his hands around her to return the hug. They went back inside to spend the rest of their time together catching up on all the happenings within the guild and his misadventures while he was away, eventually, both falling asleep curled up on his bed like the brother and sister they were.

After a quick breakfast, Lucy left Gray's apartment and made her way back to her temporary home. With Plue walking beside her, she did her balancing act on the canal and thought about everything she and Gray had discussed the night before.

Is he right? Do I still have feelings for Natsu?

She hummed it over in her head. She knew that Natsu was very special to her. He was the closest person to her heart. But did that automatically mean that she liked him? No, she thought, but what about other things? Like how when they lay on her bed, watching movies or talking, she would get these random butterflies in her stomach, or when he would get up to go to another room, even though he was just feet away, she felt cold and wanted him to return. She thought about the foot massage he had given her a few nights prior and heated up at the memory. He was so gentle with her that whole night.

She decided that thinking about all of this while she had an extended stay at his place only spelt trouble for her. If there were feelings for the dragon slayer still prominent, now wasn't a good time to be thinking about them. That had potential to land her in an infinite number of unfortunate situations.

So, she decided that she would just be as appreciative of the hospitality he was giving her, and be on her best behavior as a guest as possible.

Her mind then went to the sleeping arrangements. Her face flushed and she got a curious look from Plue, but she just smiled and went back to her thoughts.

She didn't want a repeat of yesterday morning because she had woken up just so damn close to Natsu's face, so she decided to buy an air mattress and a few sheets.

Even though I'm not spending any money on rent this month, I'm still spending a lot on Natsu's, the stellar mage thought amusedly to herself.

"Hey Plue, let's go buy an air mattress for Natsu's!" She chimed at her little spirit.

"Pun-puuun!" Was they reply that she got. They skipped to a store to get what they needed.

"Natsu? I'm back!" Lucy announced as she walked through the door. As she was turning the lock into place, she paused, her small hand still on the lock when she heard something come from Natsu's room.

It sounded like… Grunting.

Lucy stopped breathing all together and slowly put down the box that the air mattress was in and set the new sheets on top of it. She strained her ears, and… Yes, he was definitely grunting in his room.

Her face began to heat up exponentially and her heart began hammering in her chest. She stayed where she was, just by the front door and couldn't help but listen to the erotic noises coming from her best friend.

An uncomfortable feeling started snaking its way down in between her thighs and she had to press them together to relieve the discomfort. Her hands grabbed the hem of her- no, Natsu's- shirt and she couldn't help but think back to the conversation she had with Gray just the previous evening.

Natsu's still a guy.

Had Lucy just walked in on Natsu… Pleasuring himself? She mentally kicked herself and attempted to forcibly calm her nerves.

She had yelled upon her arrival. Natsu would have noticed and stopped even if that's what he was doing… Right?

But what if he's too out of it to have noticed? She thought to herself quite perversely.

Lucy's anxiety was spiking through the roof and couldn't help her body's reaction to the noises she was hearing. Her skin on her arms and chest began to visibly flush and her breathing quickened.

What is wrong with me?!

The blonde shut her eyes in hopes that she could clear her head and gather courage to see what he was up to. Instead, what she got was images of the dragon slayer, sprawled out on his bed, gently but firmly stroking his-

Oh Mavis, no!

She opened her eyes, and before she could lose any more nerve, she decided to confront the man in the next room. She stomped her way over, and just before she could reach the door, she heard one audible sigh that chilled her and heated her core all at the same time.

She took a deep breath and rounded the corner, ready to smack the ever-living shit out of her partner when she was greeted with a half-naked Natsu.

Lifting weights.

He was making those noises because he was working out. He was wearing only his black shorts because he was working out.

She dropped to the floor in a fit of laughter. She thought that Natsu was in here doing dirty things, when in reality he was just exercising! Her nerves caught up to her when she couldn't stop the bursts coming from her lips.

Natsu nearly dropped his dumbbell.

"Lucy? What the hell? You scared me!" Natsu berated his friend for sneaking up on him. When he was working out, his mind was in a completely different zone and couldn't believe he didn't hear her come into his room.

"I'm sorry Natsu! I just… Oh, never mind," Lucy laughed some more and finally moved to plop down on his bed.

Natsu gave her a look that conveyed just how confused he was.

"You're weird, Luce," He snorted, and began his routine again.

Lucy sighed her last bit of chuckling away and watched the muscles in his biceps flex as he lifted the dumbbell over and over again. She looked away for the second time when the heat began moving toward the apex of her thighs again and was about to say something when she was interrupted.

"Did the stripper start smoking again?" Natsu asked, trying to forget Lucy's weird behavior. Although, to him, Lucy's behavior was always weird. But that's how he liked her, he added as an afterthought to his own ponderings. He shifted the dumbbell to his other hand, almost done with his workout for the morning.

"Uh, yeah, can you smell it?" Lucy asked, taking the collar of her borrowed shirt to sniff it. When she confirmed that yes, she could smell smoke, she became worried. Gray said that he can smell when people are aroused… Oh Mavis.

"I'm going to take a shower!" Lucy screeched and flew out of the bed with amazing speed. She pulled out some of her clothes from her boxes in the living room, as well as her shampoo, conditioner, body wash and razor, then made a break for the bathroom.

Natsu finally set the dumbbell down and just stared at his doorway. Lucy was acting extra strange. Had something happened between Lucy and Gray? Was that why she acted so weird when he mentioned his smell of smoke on her? He narrowed his eyes and a growl threatened to erupt from his throat. He didn't like the thought of Gray and Lucy being any sort of intimate.

Then he realized his own thoughts and scolded himself. For one thing, Gray and Lucy were close, but Natsu couldn't ever imagine them being an item. He had heard the term 'friends with benefits' or as Cana liked to put it, 'fuck buddies', but the thought just seemed strange for Lucy and Gray. It was just as strange as imagining Evergreen with Bixlow or Erza and Elfman. Secondly, Natsu wondered, why did it matter? Lucy could make her own decisions and she was smart. Who she was intimate with was none of Natsu's business.

Still. It made him almost queasy just thinking about it, so he decided to go swing on his hammock and wait for Lucy to finish her shower.

He leaned back into the mesh, and bent one leg and let the other one drape off of the hammock, allowing his toes to brush the floor with every back and forth movement. He was in a sour mood and didn't like it so he decided to let it go and be in a good mood today.

After all, today he wanted to hang out with his best friend!

With that thought, he simply grinned a toothy grin, and decided that today was going to be spent with Lucy. He would let her decide what they were going to do and he would roll with it.

He nestled his head back and as he waited, he remembered their close encounter the morning before. She was so close and her scent attacked his nose in a tortuous yet incredible way. And she had been touching him. He and Lucy touched all the time, whether it be friendly hand holding, or when they would just be sitting close, or when she was hitting him, but none of those times surmounted the way she had touched his lips.

He was thankful that he was groggy, or else he might not have been able to control himself. He thought about this as he rotated his right shoulder in the socket. "Hmm, must've overdone it this morning," He thought to himself.

He had worked out extra hard this particular morning because he had a dream about a certain busty blonde that made him shoot up in bed and painfully aware of a rock-hard erection in between his legs.

It was around four in the morning, but he had immediately begun to work out to try to rid his mind of the lecherous images. Of course, it could have been easy to just work it off himself and then go back to bed, but he felt so guilty even at the thought of jerking off to images of Lucy.

So, he had worked out for six hours before the woman of his dreams- quite literally- scared the daylights out of him. He was concentrating so hard on his workout that he didn't hear her upon arrival. It seemed to have worked though, because he no longer had those pictures in his mind.

His ears perked up when he heard the water from the bathroom turn off and was extremely grateful that she had brought her clothes in with her so she didn't step out in a towel. Of course the pink tank top that barely covered her navel and black-pleated skirt didn't cover much.

"So, are you doing anything today?" Natsu grilled his partner, making sure to keep eye-contact.

"Uh, I don't think so. Why do you ask?" She replied, coming up to the hammock as well and pushing his sweaty legs over so she could sit perpendicular to him, both of her legs hanging off in the same direction. She fingered her wet hair and twirled a few golden locks around her index finger.

"Because I want to hang out today! You and me! And Happy, if he ever decides to show up again," Natsu added as an afterthought. He looked up at Lucy with his goofy grin and the spirit mage couldn't help but smile back.

"Sure! Sounds like fun! Do you have anything in mind?" She poked him, making him flinch a little.

"Hey, you know I don't like being tickled," Natsu whined and fear flooded into his eyes.

Lucy became mischievous at that and her smile turned devilish. She put out both of her hands in front of her and began wiggling her fingers, warning him of what was coming. Natsu promptly decided that that was the only warning he needed as he shot out of the hammock and began to dodge Lucy's fingers as they ran around the house, giggling and hissing and bumping into furniture.

"Luuuuuucce!" Natsu whined, as he was backed into a corner of the room. Lucy glared at him triumphantly and stalked up to him as if he was her prey.

Natsu's insides churned at the visual in front of him. She looked incredibly seductive making her way to him. Her hips swayed and her eyes gleamed. Her legs were perfect and her neck was so bare. He gulped and licked his lips.

She kept getting closer and closer and Natsu knew he was in trouble, her hands reached for him and he made the only decision he knew would keep them from ending up on the floor, with him on top of her, doing things that he wouldn't have dreamed of until this moment.

He grabbed her wrists quickly and held on to them tightly.

"Luce. Stop," He wouldn't have known it was his own voice if someone had replayed that back to him. It was too husky and deep.

The sparkle that was in her eyes dissipated into confusion and then worry. She started stammering.

"S-sorry, Natsu. I-I didn't… Sorry." She backed up, pulling her hands free from his and looked at the floor, biting the inside of her lip. She silently cursed herself. She had gotten too close. She became too bold. She was probably freaking him out.

He sighed and ran a hand through his sweaty hair and grinned sheepishly at her. "Sorry, Luce. I was just afraid I'd, uh, kick you or something. Or maybe set you on fire. Remember what happened last time?" He said, thankful that he was giving her a plausible explanation for his weird behavior, other than the fact that she looked too appealing a moment ago and he wanted to control himself.

Lucy found a weak smile working itself onto her face. She did remember. They were on her couch, and she was tickling him so much that he lost control and eventually set one of her favorite pillows on fire.

"Guess you're right. I just can't help myself. You're so…" She wanted to say cute but that would be strange, right? She settled with, "childlike when you're laughing like that," She gave him her best, dazzling white smile.

He just laughed and shook his head, "Whatever you say, Loopy."

After a smack to the shoulder, she puffed up, scrunching her nose and said between her teeth, "My name is Lucy, got it?"

He just ruffled her hair and ran past her, shouting that he was going to shower before they started their day. Lucy sighed, even though a smile was still plastered to her face, and decided to wait for Natsu on his bed. She wondered what they'd be doing today. She looked up at the ceiling and smiled, feeling totally content with her life at the moment.

So there it is! I hope you enjoyed it! There will be more NaLu in the upcoming chapters, I just had to make a few things clear first. I hope you liked Lucy and Gray's scene! Also, I'm hoping the characters are in character. I've set this a few years after the Grand Magic Games. So they're a bit older, and a bit more mature. Of course, that doesn't mean that they still aren't big doofuses. Anyways, like I said earlier, if there is anything you want to see, let me know! Please review! It gives my lazy bones motivation to keep writing! And for those of you who already reviewed, I really appreciate it! It makes my day!