A/N: Edited 'cause all of my line breaks disappeared. :(
The Adventures of an Overly Oblivious Natsu, Who Should Be Smarter – I Think He Is, Actually, In Canon…
Everything had been so incredibly normal.
Lucy was chattering away to a bored Natsu as she opened her locker during break, which was just fine. Even if Natsu wasn't really following what she was saying at all.
But then Lucy gasped in surprise.
When Natsu looked over, he saw her eyes shining brightly, almost like she was going to cry. She reached into her locker to pull out a piece of paper that looked just plain normal.
Natsu was about to shrug and go back to slumping against the lockers when Lucy sighed happily. She gently ran her fingers over the words on the front of the card, and Natsu suddenly realized it wasn't written in her handwriting. "What's that?" he asked, already reaching for the paper.
"No, Natsu, don't-" protested Lucy, only to discover that he had already snatched the paper from her hand. She flailed around, trying to grab it back, but was held off by Natsu as he squinted at the carefully printed words.
He couldn't make out much, but there was definitely something along the lines of "thinking about you" and "have always loved you" and "your secret admirer."
That was when Lucy finally knocked him over as she tripped over her own feet, sending the both of them sprawling just as the bell rang for next period.
"Ow," groaned Lucy, touching her head.
"Byeeee, Luce!" And Natsu was gone before she could get her note back.
Gray's brows scrunched as he analyzed the paper.
"This is the sappiest shit I've seen in awhile," was his verdict, as Natsu not-so-patiently waited beside him.
"Never mind, Flame Brain," sneered Gray. "All you need to know is that some guy's got it bad for Lucy. Looks like she's finally gonna have someone brave enough to ask her out."
"So… that's like… a love letter?"
"Dude, you know what a love letter is, but not sappy?"
"Yeah, so what?"
"Whatever. Scared you have competition for Lucy? That she'll choose the guy that actually has the balls to say something and now she's gonna leave you behind?"
"What does that even mean? What if this guy's a creep?"
Gray sighed to himself. Natsu just didn't get it sometimes. "Lucy's like my sister, man," he attempted to explain (part of the situation, at least). "Bros just don't get involved in their sisters' love lives unless the guy's a total dick."
Natsu squinted at that. "You're too ugly to be related to Luce," he said.
Which resulted in another fight.
Which resulted in Erza.
Which resulted in pain.
At least Natsu sort-of figured out what the note Lucy got was.
"Who do you think wrote the letter, Luce?" Natsu asked, leaning uncomfortably close to Lucy. Or, at least, what most people would deem as uncomfortable.
"For the millionth time, I don't know, Natsu!" said Lucy, frowning petulantly. "Why do you even care?"
"Because… what if he's a stalker? Or a killer?"
Lucy's eyes flashed dangerously. "So, what, you think only a creepy murderer would like me?" she hissed. "What if it's a perfectly nice person who sweeps me off my feet, huh? What then?"
Natsu frowned. Her words made him feel uncomfortable. His heart twisted just thinking about it. That was just… wrong.
He couldn't imagine anyone sweeping Lucy off her feet, unless it was…
"Who sweeps people off their feet anyways? And how? With a broom?" Natsu scrunched up his nose. "That sounds mean. I'd probably beat him up."
"Aghhhh, never mind, Natsu," grumbled Lucy, turning around and walking away.
Natsu stared at her retreating back, his eyes squinted thoughtfully.
Recalling Lucy's irritated face, Natsu decided that if there was one thing he had learned from this encounter, it was that you probably don't use brooms to sweep people off their feet.
So how exactly did you do that, then?
Apparently, sweeping people off their feet was a big deal.
Natsu's kinda sure of this because when he asked Lisanna, "How do you sweep someone off their feet?" she let out a loud squeal that nearly burst his eardrums.
"What? Who? Why?" she demanded, once she had recovered. She looked so excited, like she was Happy and she'd just been offered a fish.
Natsu scratched the back of his head. "Well… uh, someone left Lucy a love letter," he began, shifting his eyes away from Lisanna in discomfort because her shining stare and excited half-suppressed giggles were creeping him out too badly. She began to smirk like she knew something… so it WAS a girl thing!
"Go on," prompted Lisanna.
"Okay, so, Gray told me what it was and then Luce and I got into an argument over it," said Natsu, trying to remember exactly what happened. "So then she said something about wanting to get swept off her feet? And then-"
"And then you decided you wanted to do it!" blurted Lisanna, bouncing up and down with excitement as her smile slid back into place. "You want to sweep her off her feet now, yeah?"
Natsu shrugged. "I guess?"
"I have to tell Mira-nee!" squealed Lisanna, dragging Natsu to her sister. And then there was some kind of a girly screaming fest and hearts in the air and stuff, none of which Natsu quite understood.
Finally, Mirajane turned to Natsu. "You want to learn how to sweep Lucy off her feet?" she asked, creepily excited. When Natsu nodded slowly, her "Finally!" was like a cannon going off. She then followed it up with something along the lines of "I knew it all along" and "after all this time" and "been waiting for this day" and "my ship is finally setting sail!"
Which made no sense, because when did ships come into the conversation?
"Natsu, I'm so proud of you!" she and Lisanna said at once, perfectly synchronized.
"We thought you were too oblivious for anything to happen soon!" explained Lisanna, except not really because Natsu still had no idea what was going on. "We had a whole set-up plan with roses and hand-made cards and dancing clowns and everything!"
"…oh," said Natsu, which he had discovered was the best thing to say in these kinds of confusing situations, as it got Cana and Mirajane off his back often enough.
Mirajane patted his shoulder patronizingly. "Don't worry, Natsu," she said with an evil smile. "We'll make sure that you get the girl, won't we, Lisanna?"
Natsu blinked. Um, what?
They looked at him expectantly, so he scratched the back of his head again. "…oh," he repeated, and proceeded to run out of the door before they could do anything crazier than what they were saying.
(Also, he thinks they were talking about him and Lucy dating, which is none of their business.)
Now, Natsu was much more edumecated upon the subject of sweeping people off their feet… as in he couldn't just say it out loud unless he wanted to be drowned in squeals and laughter. Not that he could imagine his cousins squealing and laughing… Well, sometimes Wendy squealed when he scared her, but not like Mira or Lisanna.
And Gajeel squealing…
Nope nope nope.
Natsu's not quite sure if the mental images are more funny or scarring. He chooses not to think about it.
So, anyways, he decided to ease into the "sweeping-off-their-feet" conversation smoothly and secretly, like a ninja (Nin-nin!) or a mighty dragon tiptoeing into the forest that it SETS ON BURNING FLAMES OF FIRE AHAHAHAHA. (Maybe that wasn't the best comparison?)
"So, uh… can you sweep anything with a broom besides the ground?" he asked, trying to act natural.
He already knew sweeping people off their feet didn't really have to do with brooms, but that was the beauty of his genius, you see? They would never see that coming! Lucy really didn't know what she was doing when she called him an idiot; he was way smarter than she thought!
Gajeel and Wendy looked at him strangely.
"Salamander…" said Gajeel with a sigh. "What the fuck?"
Wendy covered her ears. "Gajeel-san!" she said, half reprimanding, half shrieking. Gajeel shrugged.
"I ain't sorry for cussing," he announced, proudly. "It's a motherfucking part of who I am. No censorship is going on in this house, not on my watch!"
"Uh… I don't know, Natsu-san. I don't think so," offered Wendy, turning to Natsu with a small smile.
Gajeel scoffed. "What's up with the sudden interest?" he demanded, suspiciously.
"What is sweeping someone off their feet?" (That was enough subtlety already! Time to cut to the chase! Also, he was getting a little fed-up with all the patience and waiting and whatnot.)
Wendy's face flamed and Gajeel dropped the nail he'd been picking his teeth with. "What?!"
"What?" Natsu asked back, frowning. "S'not that bad I'm not a know-it-all. I know what a love letter is, anyways, and that's enough!"
"Natsu-san!" spluttered Wendy.
"Salamander, you're a big flaming idiot," grumbled Gajeel to himself, scowling.
"But what is it?" insisted Natsu.
Wendy quieted down, her face still aflame. "It's when… when you make someone like you," she stuttered, "Like, really like you! And they don't really know, um, what's happening anymore, I think?" She laughed nervously. "And that's where the sweeping off their feet comes from? They're all spun around and confused, so they don't understand, but… they love you!" she finished in a big breath.
Natsu tilted his head. "I think I get it," he grinned. "Thanks, Wendy!"
Off to the side, Gajeel muttered to himself and shook his head. "Idiots, the lot of them."
Now, Natsu knew what he was doing! All he had to do now was find out who was trying to make Lucy spun around and confused and also really like them.
His final conclusion was that the culprit was none other than ERZA HERSELF. She spun people silly all the time when she "danced," and then her poor victims really didn't know what was happening then. Also, she and Lucy were friends, so obviously they liked each other.
But why would Erza write Lucy a love letter?
Try as he might, Natsu still couldn't come up with an answer for that one.
But it was pretty obvious that he had to save Lucy from being spun around, so he followed her around all day… which actually was not all that different from his normal schedule. But it involved a lot more intense observation, like a lot a lot.
Also, it took a lot of energy, 'cause he had to stop anyone from getting close enough to Lucy to spin her. Like it took more energy than playing with Asuka.
"Why are you staring at me?!" Lucy asked, at the end of break.
"To make sure no one spins you!" grinned Natsu. From the corner of his eye, he saw some boy try to approach Lucy, so he narrowed his eyes and scowled like Gajeel did. The boy raced off before he could even touch Lucy, much less than spin her around. "See?" he asked, turning back to Lucy. "I'm protecting you!"
Lucy whipped around to see the boy running off. "What just happened?" she demanded, turning back to Natsu. "What did you do?"
"Just making sure he doesn't sweep you off your feet!"
Lucy's face flamed. "Natsu…" she mumbled. "Why do you even care?"
"Well, 'cause I need to sweep you off your feet, weirdo. We're best friends, so only I get to spin you, right?" he asked.
A long pause ensued, during which Lucy's already red face turned the color of Erza's hair. Natsu beamed. Finally, Lucy facepalmed.
"There's no spinning in sweeping people off their feet, Natsu. Where'd you get that from?"
"Uh… Wendy said so," he replied, thoughtfully. "Wendy's normally pretty smart about these things."
"Natsu…" sighed Lucy. "You're normally not this oblivious. Okay, well…" She cleared her throat awkwardly and averted her eyes, her cheeks reddening. "When you sweep someone off their feet, you make them like you a lot. That's it. No spinning involved."
Natsu blinked. "Well then… you sweep me off my feet, Luce."
Lucy shook her head. "Natsu, you're normally so smart," she huffed. "I don't know what's gotten into you. I mean, uh… like like. Dating like."
Natsu shook his head, too. "Now who's being oblivious?" he grinned. "I know what I said. I like like you. You sweep me right off my feet."
(Far away, Mirajane and Lisanna felt ripples in the love-shipping continuum and squealed.)