Lucy sighed as she walked into the guild, tired and annoyed. She hadn't seen Natsu for days. At first she asked around, but every person she inquired either shrugged or snorted. It was pretty frustrating. The blond had finally resorted to asking Happy who, unlike his "father", continued to make daily trips to Fairy Tail. Lucy had waited so long to ask the blue cat because she knew it would be…difficult to get a straight answer from him. "Difficult" had yet again been an understatement:
"Happy, where's Natsu?"
"He's not available at this time," Happy answered with an evil smile.
Lucy's eyebrow twitched, "What does that mean-"
"Happy, please tell me-"
"Out of commission."
"Can't come to the phone right now."
…"So, he's sick?"
Happy smiled, his eyes glinting, "Something like that."
Lucy narrowed her eyes dangerously, "You're not going to tell me are you?"
Happy tilted his head to the side innocently, "Tell you what?"
Lucy's head collided with the bar top as she remembered. Sighing, she sipped some of her milkshake through a pink straw, "I miss that dumb idiot," she whispered.
Lucy was lost in thought as Levy took the barstool next to hers, "Hey, Lu-chan," she greeted in a dreary voice.
Lucy quirked an eyebrow at her best-friend's unusual deportment. It was weird hearing a sort of hopelessness in Levy's tone, "What's wrong, Levy-chan?" Lucy asked, almost forgetting what had been occupying her thoughts for almost 72 hours now.
Levy whimpered, her eyes filling with tears, "Gajeel's been missing for almost three days," she answered.
Lucy scrunched her eyebrows, "So has Natsu."
Levy's head popped up, startling Lucy, "Then…it's obviously a dragon thing!" She exclaimed, her joyful demeanor back in its rightful place.
Lucy's eyes widened as realization dawned on her, "Oh…" she smacked her forehead, "Why didn't I think of that?"
Levy giggled, "What do you suppose it is, Lu-chan?"
Lucy put a finger to her chin, "I asked Happy if Natsu was sick and all I got was, 'Something like that.' Of course I have no idea what that imbecile cat really means."
Levy smiled brightly, "Dragon slayers don't get sick."
Lucy sighed, "That's true."
Levy stood abruptly, "Let's ask Wendy!"
"Ask me what?" A sweet voice queried.
Lucy got up from her stool as Wendy approached, "Do you know why Gajeel and Natsu have been missing for the last three days?" She asked.
Wendy's face flushed, her gaze suddenly on the floor, "Well…"
Levy put a hand on the dragon-slayer's shoulder, her expression serious and her voice deep, "Spill."
"It's mating season!" She blurted out. Wendy nervously played with the ends of her long hair as she continued, "Dragon-slayer's are made to have only one mate. But during mating season it becomes really difficult to control certain feelings-"
Lucy put up her hand, "Got it! I understand no need to explain further!"
Wendy nodded with a shy smile.
"So, why aren't you at home?" Levy asked, curious.
Wendy flushed, "Because I haven't found my mate yet."
"So that means…" Lucy started.
"…Their mates are members of this guild," Levy finished.
Both girls exchanged a look of disbelief.
The three girls searched for the source of the loud noise. The entrance to the guild now lay at their feet in broken bits. As the smoke cleared Lucy could see two figures. Both tense with murderous intent.
"She's mine!" He yelled, his enflamed fist colliding with the offender's jaw.
The second man flew into a wall. But he was quickly on his feet again, "Not if I bite her first!"
Wendy gasped, "He wouldn't."
Lucy turned to Wendy. The girl looked horrified and anxious, "Wouldn't do what, Wendy?" Lucy asked, anxious herself.
The youngest dragon slayer took a deep breath, "Dragon slayers are incapable of truly loving more than one person. But if another slayer were to step in and bite their mate…they couldn't ever hope of having a future with them," she explained.
Lucy turned her attention back to the fight, "And Sting is trying to bite Natsu's mate?" She asked, angry for her friend and sad because of some deep and locked up feelings towards the salmon haired buffoon.
Wendy grasped Lucy's shoulder and looked her dead in the eyes, "He's trying to bite you."
"WHAT?" Lucy screeched.
Wendy clasped a hand over Lucy's hysterical cries, "Shh! I promised that I would never tell!"
Lucy calmed down and Wendy removed her hand, "You knew?"
Wendy nodded, "Slayers can sense that kind of thing…"
Lucy started to twiddle her fingers, "What do I do?" She asked desperately, both dragon slayers beating each other around the room.
Lucy knew who she wanted to win, hands down. There was only one person she loved. But she was also a little annoyed that they were fighting without asking about her feelings. Sure the possessiveness was instinctual like it was for all animals, but it reminded Lucy of her father; controlling her every move, her every word, her every choice.
Her hands rested on her hips, her eyes squinting at the battle raging before her; the irritation building. Obviously, if Natsu didn't win this fight Sting wouldn't be getting anywhere near her neck. Which is where she assumed dragon slayers bit their mates. Or maybe she'd just read too many novels about vampires.
Whatever. The issue at hand was: who would be marking Lucy? Who would claim her for the entire world to see? Lucy began to grin as plan formulated in her mind. Wendy backed away, frightened by Lucy's insane smile.
There was only one way to resolve this: someone had to be bitten.
"Give up, Sting. Lucy will never be yours!" Natsu screamed his fist in the air.
But a hand on his shoulder stopped him. Who in the world was rudely interrupting Sting's overdue beating? Natsu's eyes widened as Lucy's scent filled his nose and blond hair invaded his vision.
"Lucy! Uh, hey, what's up?-gasp-L-Lucy!"
"What. The. Fudge?!" Sting screeched.
Lucy's cheeks burned as she continued to suck Natsu's extremely hot skin. She moved away, wiping her mouth on her arm in order to remove excess saliva. She couldn't help but smile shyly as she admired her work.
"Dude, Lucy just gave Natsu a hickey!"
Natsu's hand instinctively moved to cover it, "W-what…?"
Lucy giggled, "I've marked you as my mate, idiot."
Natsu was at a loss for words, which never happens ever.
Lucy rolled her eyes, grin still in place, "I thought that maybe I should get to choose…" she explained further.
The shock faded and was replaced by a huge grin. Natsu burst out laughing, and the rest of the guild fell in. Lucy's blush intensified, "What?"
He smiled, ruffling her hair, "You're so weird, Luce." He kissed her cheek, "And I accept."
Lucy laughed as Happy snickered in the background, "Lucy is so weiiiirrrrddd."
Natsu fist pumped the air, grinning smugly at Sting, "Yosh! I'm all fired up!" He yelled.
Lucy laughed as comments like: "Finally," and, "I knew it," resounded behind her.
Lucy hugged her best-friend, "Thanks, Levy-chan. Now you just need to find Gajeel," she teased.
Levy blushed, "I'll deal with that later…"
Lucy nodded as she watched Sting leave and Natsu high-five people. Her grin grew as he made his way back to her.
"You're mine and I'm yours," he said.
Lucy smiled, "Forever."