This is my take on Natsu and Lucy's reunion. I had it nearly finished Friday, and then FT spoilers on Tumblr had me nearly scrap the entire thing. Speaking of Tumblr, some of the inspiration for this came from the billions of headcanons that came across my dash this past week, but a lot of it came from me envisioning Natsu and Lucy as Ed and Winry (from FMA) and I was this close to writing that exact scene in Winry's bedroom, but I resisted and forced myself to use my own imagination. Boo. (Can't you just see Natsu sitting there, wide-eyed with a sandwich?)

I don't own Fairy Tail. If I did, Wendy would still be rocking that short hair. (RIP)

There was someone inside her house.

Lucy tensed at the realization, her heart speeding up.

Great. Just great.

After a full day of doing boring, tedious clerical work for the Mayor's office, dealing with an intruder was exactly what she wanted. She sighed as she let her messenger bag drop to the floor and picked up the closest object in her foyer. The umbrella would definitely cost less to replace than the repair fees she might rack up if she summoned one of her spirits to lend her a hand.

And without Fairy Tail, her jewel situation had gone from bad to worse. A year had passed since Makarov had disbanded the guild and Lucy still could feel the lingering sting of loss. Her eyes still went to her empty left hand, expecting to see her bright pink guild mark, only to be disappointed time and time again. She, like many of her of guild mates, hadn't even pondered joining another guild, even though so many had opened their doors to welcome them. Sabertooth, Blue Pegasus, Lamia Scale, Mermaid Heel (to the girls only of course), even Quatro Cerberus. But none of them were Fairy Tail. None of them were home.

Originally, Levy had moved in with Lucy after Fairy Hills had closed its doors, but the script mage had set off with Gajeel nearly six months ago to train with him and Pantherlily. Lucy didn't begrudge her this, even as she stood alone, gripping her makeshift weapon. If given the chance, she would have went off to train with Natsu and Happy in a heartbeat. Instead she spent her days taking open jobs from the town, which usually consisted of menial tasks like filing paper work for the merchant guilds, and her off days collecting silver spirit keys to add to her collection. None of them could fill the hole left from destroying Aquarius's key, but it comforted her to forge new bonds with new spirits. She'd also finally finished her first manuscript, based on her adventures as a Fairy Tail mage, and had sold it to a decent publishing house. If it sold well, it was her hope to quit the paper-pushing and hole herself up in her apartment and write like the hermit she was turning out to be.

She wasn't very optimistic about her plan though, especially the hermit part. Cana and Erza took turns hauling her out of her apartment, forcing her to go to lunch with them or take part in whatever side job either had taken on. Mirajane also dropped by every now and again with baked goods from new recipes she was trying out, always hinting that it was about time that Lucy started thinking about what she wanted to do next and taking action. But the blonde was fine with simply existing at the moment. She worked, came home, ate dinner, wrote a little and went to bed, rinse and repeat. The fact that her life had become so routine had probably contributed to her current predicament, her burglar expecting her to be out of the house at least another hour.

Har. Just her luck.

A loud bang and a muffled curse sounded from behind the closed door of her bathroom, and Lucy swallowed thickly as she summoned the courage to stalk forward and confront the thief. She was only slightly curious as to why the guy was in the bathroom—seeing as she kept all her jewelry on her vanity out in the main room—but it did put the element of surprise on her side so she placed herself just outside of the threshold and cleared her throat.

"I've already called the police! So whoever you are, it would be in your best interest to just get out of here while you can. I don't want any trouble so just get out of here okay?!" she called through the door, raising the umbrella over her head. More crashing around could be heard and just as Lucy decided to open the door herself, out stumbled a broader, taller Natsu Dragneel, steam billowing from behind his towel-wrapped frame.

Lucy bashed him over the head with the umbrella.

"Ouch! It's me! What the hell, Lucy?!" Natsu yelped.

"Why are you in my house?! Why are you using my bathtub!?" She screeched, bringing the umbrella up and swinging at him again, but this time Natsu stopped it, snatching it out her hand.

"Whoa Lucy, calm down. Aren't you glad to see me?" He grinned that cheeky grin of his, cradling his head in one hand while holding the umbrella out of her reach. Lucy felt hot tears pool in her eyes and the reign on her emotions snapped altogether. With a whimpered cry, she collapsed onto her knees, her body racked with sobs.

He was home. Natsu had come home.

She'd been more lonely than she'd imagined since Happy and Natsu had gone off on their year long training. She'd tried to keep busy, tried to smile and act like she was fine with them being away for so long. But he was her best friend and the vacant space he'd left in her life had been telling, more so than she'd thought previously. She'd be lying if she said she hadn't been waiting for him, not knowing what she would do now without him or the guild. One of her biggest dreams had been to join Fairy Tail and because of him not only had she'd done that, but had she'd also completed another of her dreams: writing a novel. Lucy would have never been able convey her story as vibrantly as she had without the experience she'd gotten from all the battles and confrontations she'd been thrown in by the guild and Natsu.

Natsu crouched in front of her, and suddenly Lucy was being pressed again his rock solid chest, his lips at her temple. "I'm home, Luce. Sorry I was gone so long."

Lucy shook her head fervently, her throat still clogged with tears. She tried to hold on to him, but his skin was still slick with water and her hands kept slipping. Finally Lucy locked her arms around his neck bring him flush against her, ignoring her dampening clothes, just so happy to finally be able to touch him again. "It's okay. I understand." she said through her crying, and she did. He'd spent so long looking for Igneel that when he'd finally found him, immediately losing him had to have deeply shocked the dragon slayer. "Welcome back, Natsu."

He wrapped his arms around her and squeezed while he waited for her to calm. "It's good to be home." Lucy tightened her grip on his neck in response, her fingers slipping though the hair at his nape until they snagged against something. She pulled back away from him frowning as she finally took in his appearance. At first she'd thought that his hair was laying flat from the added weight of water, but most of it was pulled back into a short, stubby ponytail at the base of his neck. His usually spiky bangs fell to his jawline, accentuating the width of it. Before, his face had still held some of the chubbiness of youth, but now the sleek planes of his cheekbones were sprinkled with fine stubble. His features had sharpened slightly, and Lucy was surprised by the quickening in her stomach as she continued her perusal, her eyes trailing down his Adam's apple to his dripping collarbone and then his firm pectorals and abdomen. Natsu had always was been muscular, his chest and arms a visual tease in his usual vest, but with the growth spurt he'd obviously gone through and his year-long training, everything was bigger and taut across his frame.

"Hey, Lucy?" Natsu's voice was a little hesitant and Lucy quickly brought her eyes back to his, embarrassed to have been caught ogling him so thoroughly. Shit, shit. Way to go, Lucy. Now he's going to think you turned into some kind of pervert while he was gone. She berated herself inwardly. But hey, it wasn't her fault that he'd gone away and gotten hot enough to melt butter. She'd always had a thing for guys with ponytails, and the rest of him was a happy, if unexpected bonus.

She swallowed thickly. "What is it, Natsu?" she asked, willing the blush on her face to die down. Hopefully, he'd think her face was flushed from her earlier tears.

"I have to apologize to you." he said, and reached for the tie that held his ponytail back. After a little maneuvering his hair fell free, curling around his ears and her hands still around his neck. She barely resisted the urge to run her fingers through the ends. "This is yours." he held the hair toggle out for her to see it and Lucy immediately recognized the sparkly star on the end.

"I wondered where this had gotten to!" she chuckled, taking it from him. It was one of the ties she'd originally gotten from Virgo during their fight with Oración Seis. It had matched the outfit the spirit had given her, and Lucy had worn it on several occasions since. The last time she'd been forced to wear it, one of the ties had been missing.

Natsu's face flushed a little, "I might have swiped it when Happy and I left you that letter." he told her.

Lucy's mouth dropped open. "You stole it? Why?"

His face darkened a little more. "We—well I kind of wanted something of yours to remember you by. Something small, something that I didn't think you would miss. I wore it around my wrist for the longest time, until my hair started getting longer. Then, one night Happy pulled my hair back with it and I've kind of just kept it like this. Sorry for taking it without permission."

God bless Happy and his great ideas. Lucy thought as she smiled a little at the pink haired boy. It warmed her to know that he'd wanted something of hers with him during his travels. She allowed herself to run her fingers through his hair, gathering it together again at his nape, her knees wobbly as she reached behind him. She felt his hands go to her hips to steady her, and Lucy pressed her cheek to his as she silently tied his hair back up with her barrette. "It's okay. You can keep it. I like your hair this way. It makes you hot." she said recklessly, flinching even as the words left her mouth. What was she doing, had she just told her best friend that he was hot?!

"I've always been hot, Luce." Natsu said matter-of-fact.

Lucy froze. Slowly, she drew back until she could see his face, and the smirk on it made her blush terribly. Kill her now, please.

And then as if it was the most natural thing ever, Natsu brought up a hand and lit in on fire.

"I'm even hotter now." he told her proudly. Lucy groaned and dropped her head to his shoulder. She couldn't believe she was actually a little disappointed in his denseness. Thank God she hadn't gotten ahead of herself with her wishful thinking.

Laughing softly at herself, she turned her head into his neck and felt him shiver under the brush of skin. Then she remembered his state of dress and scrambled away from him. "Oh my god, I'm sorry, you must be freezing and here I am just crying all over you like an idiot. Why don't you go get dress while I fix us something to eat? You can catch me up on all the stuff you've done over the last year." And stop distracting me with your body.

Natsu got to his feet, a hand going to the knot at his waist, "I'm not cold at all. In fact, I'd say I was burning up." he told her as he held a hand out to help her to her feet. Lucy took it graciously, her face hot as her eyes raked up his calves and the peek of powerful thighs that the towel didn't quite cover. He wasn't the only one burning up, Lord help her. Lucy gulped, dragging her eyes up the rest of his body to his olive eyes, not feeling guilt at all this time at her perusal. A faint flush dusted his cheeks and Lucy realized he was looking down at her chest. Curious, she glanced down and realized that her button-down shirt had gotten thoroughly soaked from their initial hug and the black lace of her demi-bra could be seen through the thin white fabric.

Dense huh.

"Hey, Natsu?" it was her turn to call him. His reaction mirrored her earlier one, his eyes snapping up to hers as his face flushed red.

"Y—yeah?" he answered.

"Anything you want in particular?" Lucy asked, letting her voice drop an octave. She watched as he swallowed hard, his Adam's apple bobbing with the motion.

"Well I—"

"Because if it's something elaborate, I'm going to have change first and run out to the store." Lucy interrupted with a sunny smile. She pulled the wet material away from her chest and watched his eyes dart back down quickly.

"O—oh. Well you don't have to go to that kind of trouble for me." Natsu said as he turned away from her and headed toward the bathroom. "Anything is fine."

"Anything is fine with me too." Lucy said. He looked back at her over her shoulder, and Lucy smiled prettily at him as her fingers began loosening the buttons of her shirt.

Natsu walked right into the doorjamb of her bathroom door, a curse ripping from his lips. He chuckled shakily before disappearing into the bathroom, the door closing behind him.

Lucy chuckled too as she headed for her dresser for a clean shirt. Less than five minutes of the dragon slayer back in her life and she could already see her world changing again because of him.

And maybe this time in a way she would have never contemplated before.