Oh my, I haven't updated in quite a while :o
But here we go again, hehe, a quick little chapter! Hope you missed it B)

I'll be working on the good old Pale Moon fic again soon, and also on a brand new AU!

As always, if you like the story, please review - nothing makes me happier than reading your thoughts and nice comments!

the return

The daily trot had returned to Faerydae.

Lucy, with her side ponytail and skirt #11 out of her endless collection, was busy with bidding farewell to a customer. Crisp, cool air streamed into the shop as the door opened and closed, a clear herald of the season to come.

Soon, it would be too cold to eat outside.

The thought filled Lucy with a distinct feeling of melancholy. Summer was her favourite season, after all, and watching it go always was a bittersweet event.

But at least this time around, she had someone to keep her warm in the cold hours.

Lucy smiled, tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear.

As if on command, Natsu pushed through the door, two cups of coffee in his hands and a grin on his lips. He leaned down to peck her lips in greeting. The action was so natural, Lucy would almost have believed it had always been like this. But she knew better, knew that this was the first time he had given her a casual little kiss, and her heart leapt in her chest. She wasn't sure if he was even aware of the meaning behind the gesture. He probably didn't even realize he'd never done it before.

Natsu shook his head, confirming her thoughts with his nonchalance.

"Brr, it's getting colder."

"You don't look the part, though," Lucy chided. His thin jacket hung wide open, with the sleeves rolled up. The only concession to the weather he'd made was the grey, scaly scarf he was wearing.

Lucy had never seen him wear a scarf before, probably due to the incredibly hot summer they had spent together. She liked it. It suited him.

"You still gonna come outside with me?"

Nobody would have been able to resist the face he made as he extended a coffecup-filled hand towards her, Lucy was sure. Smiling, she took it from him.

"Always," she laughed and winked, and he pulled her into his side. "Natsu, we won't fit through the door like this."

"We can try!"

Lucy was proven right, of course, and the pair had to untangle themselves before stepping out onto Strawberry Street.

"You feeling better, by the way?"

Natsu glanced down at her, and she nodded gleefully.

"I think that motorbike ride yesterday drove the hangover right out of me," she laughed, remembering their little adventure. He chuckled beside her, using the space the large pavement provided to walk beside her again, an arm slung over her shoulders.

They passed the bench they sat on most days, heading for the small park further down the road.

"Where are you taking me?" Lucy asked almost curiously.

Natsu just pointed towards a crooked stone wall. She recognized it, of course. They had spent many breaks here, especially on the hottest of days. It often had provided shade, unlike the bench that had tried to glue her thighs to its layer of brown paint.

They hadn't been here in weeks, though, and Lucy was surprised he'd take her here on this cool pre-autumn day. Lost in thought as they approached their spot, Lucy remembered it had been here they had went on their very first coffee break together.

Oh, how the times had changed since then, in the span of only half a year.

They sat down beside each other, thighs touching comfortably, and Lucy was grateful for his body warmth. Here in the shade, with the cold stone beneath her, she felt goosebumps work their way along her arms. Maybe she should have opted for a scarf too.

The coffee in her hands was steaming, though, and she held onto it to warm her fingers.

"You cold?" Natsu asked almost incredulously, and she turned to him with a straight face.

"Well, we can't all be dragons," she puffed defiantly, and he cackled.

Natsu surprised her, though, when he took off his jacket and put it on her shoulders. She looked at him in surprise, automatically pulling the warm fabric tighter around her. As inconspicuously as possible, she inhaled deeply, taking in his scent.

He looked a little weird now, in only a crazily patterned t-shirt and his scarf, but if he couldn't pull it off, no one could.

"Thanks," she mumbled, feeling her cheeks heat up. Now this kind of warmth had nothing to do with the jacket. He warmed her up from the inside, igniting a steadily burning fire.

He grinned in response, ruffling through her hair.

"Hey, my hair!"

Apparently this had been just the response he had expected, because he shamelessly laughed at her, ruffling some more. Her cheeks puffed out angrily, and with her free hand she grabbed his arm, trying to fend him off.

Finally, he retreated, and she took a large, angry sip of her coffee after trying to repair the damage he had done.

She must have looked quite ridiculous doing so, because Natsu burst out laughing again.

They got caught up in a debate over unwritten hair rules for at least ten minutes, with Lucy winning by demonstrating first-hand how unpleasant the unallowed ruffling of hair could be.

"Ouch, Lucy, okay okay! You win! My hair! It's ruined!"

"Serves you right," she muttered, trying to hold back a trimphant little victory smirk. "Don't ever touch a girl's hair out of the blue!"

"Aye, m'am, it is noted!"

He straightened, nodding seriously at her, and this time it was Lucy who laughed.

"We should probably head back, though. Do you have the time?"


Lucy blinked dumbly at him, and he quickly added, "I mean, not yet. We have a little more."

"What's up with you?" Lucy furrowed her brows, leaning closer until thier noses almost touched, and squinting into his very soul.

"Woah, Lucy, don't make this harder than it is!"

"Than what is?" she asked, sniffing blood.

Rolling his eyes, Natsu took a deep breath and oushed her away at arm's length.

"I just wanted to ask you something."


Suddenly nervous, Lucy clutched her empty cup tighter. Would this be a good or a bad thing? It couldn't just be any question, could it, with him acting so strangely.

Natsu released his hold on her arms, instead choosing to grip one of her hands in his. The warmth his touch brought was immediate, and despite her distracted state she found herself wondering how a human being could possible be so hot - and yes, in more ways than one. Her lips quirked upwards involuntarily.

A lopsided grin took a hold of his face now.

"Lucy, will you go on a date with me?"


A happy little smile formed on Lucy's face, and she laughed softly.

"You wanna take me on a date? A real one?"

"Is that a yes?"

"With dinner, and candles, the whole thing?"

"Are you making fun of me now?" he protested, an offended gasp tumbling from his lips. "Because I won't allow that."

Natsu pulled her closer, his smirk turning predatory as their noses bumped together. His eyes were dark, burning into hers.

"Actually, I won't accept a no."

"Good," Lucy breathed before closing the remaining distance between them, "Because you won't hear it."