A normal college kid's morning is usually brought on by the always-feared alarm clock going off early in the morning, followed by a sleuth of boring and mostly pointless classes. Most college students would hit the snooze until there were no more options available, then rush out of whatever domicile with any food that could be snatched up and carried with in order not to be late to class. They would forget to shower, forget most articles necessary for class, and possibly not have done any reading or homework required for that day.

The only thing Lucy Heartfilia had in common with the normal college student was the sleuth of boring and mostly pointless classes.

"Princess, I'm entering your room."

She groaned and buried her head under the pillow. "I told you to stop calling me princess!" She mumbled as the door clicked open. They had a new maid appointed as of three days ago to watch her and this one kept using this random title. She shouldn't have been so flattered when it was first brought up! If anyone she knew at campus heard this, she was never going to live it down!

She tried to shut out as much light as possible until the pillow was cruelly snatched from her weak grip, exposing her to the almighty morning sunshine. With a cry of pain at the sudden change in light to her eyes, an arm went over them in attempt to block it out, one hand reaching for the blanket. Her unused fingers betrayed her as the blanket was also taken from her grasp. She curled up in a ball in the silence, whining a little.

"Princess, it's time to get up. You only have two hours before class and you must get ready for the day."

"That means it's only six a.m.!" She complained, peeking open an eye to the window above her bed. Dawn could just be seen from her east position in the house. Scratch that; mansion.

Hands went on her waist and jostled her. "Your father also wishes to say good morning to you as well. He thinks you should be up by an earlier thirty minutes each day to discuss his morning schedule with him."

She groaned a little, only this time it was tinged with disgust. Oh no...anything but that... She wasn't awake enough as it was let alone have to sit through a schedule briefing! She wanted to gag at the thought of it all, but was trying her hardest as it was from doing anything that may wake her up.

The shaking didn't stop and she batted at the hands. "Alright! I'll get up!" She slowly sat up and scratched her unruly hair. She covered a yawn and peeked both eyes open to the one trying to get her up. "You're more persistent than most who have been here Virgo..."

Virgo bowed, face passive. "I apologize princess. I await your punishment for disrupting your precious sleep...even if master Heartfilia wanted you up earlier. I thought the time was a little much."

This certainly was a weird one her father had picked out! "It's too early to even think about punishment. And stop calling me princess!"

Virgo bowed again and stepped back as Lucy stood from the bed. "Later then princess?"

She walked to an adjoining door where her closet was while simultaneously unbuttoning her pajama top. "Again, stop calling me that. And there will be no punishment. I suppose I should thank you for giving me the extra time to sleep in. I'll deal with father when I get down there."

Virgo stopped in the doorway of the walk-in closet. "Your bathroom has been prepared and your clothes already laid out princess." She announced as Lucy put a hand to a few shirts.

She stood there amongst dozens of starched and pressed outfits and sighed. When was she going to be allowed to pick out her own damn clothes already? It wasn't like she was in kindergarten! "Understood." She mumbled, continuing to the other side of the huge closet where another door was. She opened it and finished getting out of her pajamas, which Virgo promptly took before they could even settle on the floor.

Virgo bowed and looked at her. "Is there anything else you need princess?"

"For you to stop calling me that."

Virgo bowed again and backed from the bathroom opposite to where she was standing. Without looking, a hand reached out for a door on a different wall. "Then, I'll be outside the other door for when you're ready to come downstairs."

The door on the far wall clicked shut and then she was alone in the silence of her huge bathroom. She grabbed a toothbrush and started getting fully cleaned up for the day. After a quick shower, she went for the slacks and blouse hanging very neatly in a clear bag on its own hook. She looked at the suit, again mentally wishing she didn't have to wear these stupid things to class, but had long ago stopped arguing. Trying to make her own decisions and stand up for what she wanted to do only resulted in the same argument over and over and she was just tired of listening to it. Giving in and just doing it was less annoying to hear.

She quickly got dressed and donned a pair of simple, black pumps before opening the door to find Virgo standing mere feet away. Virgo bowed and headed her way. Without saying a word, Virgo closed the main door to the bedroom and the pair went to Lucy's vanity table. Virgo silently put her hair up in a plain bun, finishing the business-looking exterior with two silver clasps to part her bangs.

The pair headed out the main door of the huge bedroom leading to the hallway and headed to one of the dining areas. Lucy quietly padded down the thick carpeted stairs and stopped long enough for Virgo to open the door for her, knowing she wasn't going to be able to and not wanting to get into a discussion at seven in the morning. Especially not in front of the presence that was covered with the newspaper. She eyed him across the table, fresh breakfast in front of him, mostly eaten, and the newspaper spread out on the other parts of the table. The only thing she could see were his fingers in all these silent moments that she watched him.

She waited maybe a minute, almost thinking he would put the paper down this morning, before giving up and bowing. "Good morning father. I apologize for my tardiness."

"If you are going to be this late to breakfast Lucy, perhaps you should get to bed earlier so you can get some more sleep and thus get up when I request you to."

Her jaw clenched, still in her bow, but she said nothing to defend herself. Hard eyes, safely covered by her bangs, glared a little at the poor floor below. There was no point in responding; she'd already tried long ago. "Yes father." It was way too early in the morning for this!

It didn't even do any good to try and explain that she had been up late with her textbooks studying as a good college student should be doing. She had been trying to be a model student and not only get all her assigned homework done, but also the assigned reading for tomorrow, along with notes. Multiply that by five classes and she had been occupied from seven till almost eleven p.m. straight!

She straightened and walked to the opposite end of the long table as Virgo pulled out a chair. She helped the maid push her in before looking about the room. Capricorn was standing wordlessly nearby in perfect posture against the wall. She smiled and nodded a morning to him. He bowed back wordlessly before passing through a push door right next to him. By the time the door stopped swinging, he was back with a covered silver tray which was set before her seconds later. Capricorn arranged her breakfast without a word and then vanished again to take care of the excess dishes.

Stereotypical bacon and eggs, fresh fruit from the store, a piece of toast, orange juice, and coffee. It all looked great and her head bowed a tad in thanks. "Bon appetit." She murmured, grabbing her utensils.

The paper shuffled a little as the pages were turned. Jude looked at his watch for a second and tipped his paper down enough to look at the professional image of his daughter as she ate with trained grace. "You have less than thirty minutes to eat Lucy so don't dally. Also...Virgo."

From across the way, Virgo straightened and bowed. "Yes master Heartfilia."

"No more barrettes in her hair. She's in college now; not elementary school."

Virgo bowed again and remained as such. "My apologies master Heartfilia. I'll not do it again."

She dared a look across the table and met her father's eyes in slight challenge. She bought these herself and thought they were quite pretty and becoming! There was nothing wrong with them and they quite matched the outfit that was picked out last night. "These were from our trip to France father."

"The business world doesn't have a need for trinkets unless they are your product to sell. In our type of work, those won't help you do your job. They can be worn in your spare time."

That was a clear order to take them off and wear them whenever she may have five minutes, but Lucy read into that second sentence and tried not to smile as she found a loophole in his unintended wording. "Yes father." She quietly took them out and looked to Virgo with an extended, closed hand. She kept pointedly looking the maid's way when Virgo started her way, as she heard the flip of the newspaper and knew her father wasn't paying attention anymore. She shoved one up the silk sleeve and dropped the other in the maid's hand. "Virgo, please go put this back and return when you finish. Thank you."

She was very careful with her words and phrasing to make it sound like she had given Virgo everything and yet not lie. Lying was something she didn't like doing, even to her father. She gave a subtle wink to her maid, smile forming. She quickly turned and grabbed her coffee with the empty sleeve to hide any tellings of what she was trying to get away with.

Virgo nodded to her charge, wisely not saying anything in front of the head of the household. "Yes princess."

She made sure to finish her plate, not wanting everything bought and cooked to go to waste. Also, because she didn't want to be lectured for not having 'the most important meal of the day' and that 'that was bought and paid for with perfectly good money' and to 'not waste it'. She was fine with this amount though...mostly because she had snuck in to the kitchen one night before cook had left for the evening and informed him of how sluggish she was in the mornings and to not make so much food so she didn't waste anything. The staff member was more than happy to comply and meet her request.

After finishing the last of her coffee, Lucy stood and her father copied her. He folded up and tucked the newspaper he apparently didn't finish under an arm and the pair left the grand dining area in silence. Capricorn held open the door for them, Virgo trailing behind her, as they made their way to the car. Virgo handed Lucy her backpack and bowed, staying behind in the mansion. Another staff member handed over a briefcase to her father. The pair headed into the luxury vehicle and were silent the entire ride to the university.

Lucy tried not to grip the backpack as much as possible and give away how the tension in the car was making her feel...even if it was probably just her imagination. Sure her father's face was again covered by the newspaper, but he was deceptively good at noticing small stuff like that. She tried not to look his way by keeping her face to the closed window the entire time as Magnolia passed them by.

She mentally breathed a sigh of relief when the familiar parking lots and streets popped up. The individual college buildings came into view and she couldn't get out of the car quick enough after it stopped. She didn't even wait for the driver to get out of his seat to open the door for her. She quickly smiled at him and turned to the interior. "Have a good day father." She routinely spouted. She only half heard of his response before shutting the door and jogging down one of the main pathways that led to her college building. She didn't stop until she was sure she was lost in the crowd of amblers and early students heading to the first class of the day.

She stopped before the doors to straighten her clothes, wishing she could wear sandals instead of heels. She made a mental note to hide a pair in the bottom under her books and swear Virgo to silence later. She looked up to the top of the ten story building housing the business and law sector of the university. It was sleek in its no nonsense design of metal and glass. The clock tower chimed in the distance, signaling she had fifteen minutes to get to class and be on time.

"Morning Lucy!"

"Hey Lucy!"

She turned and smiled at a few other fellow classmates. "Morning!" She responded, falling in step with them as they headed to the doors. "Do you mind if we stop at the vending machines and get me an espresso to go? I need another boost if I'm going to make it through first and second classes."

"Sure...one for me too! Spot me?"

She went for her wallet, grabbing the cash she knew would be there. She didn't risk using her card since her father kept an eye on her spending and she didn't want him getting on her about extraneous items that she could easily have at home. The trio headed to the lobby and got something to drink before heading to the stairs and the fourth floor.

Just another normal college kid's morning of a sleuth of boring and mostly pointless classes...

01010

Six a.m. was a common time in the business world to get started...or at least wake up. Some owners were getting stores ready to open, employees were waking and getting ready to start their first shift, and the remaining odd jobs were already hard at work dealing with businesses which supported others.

"Natsu! What are you starting in on these boxes for? You've got another one still on the truck that I need. Go get that out so the driver can leave before you unload these."

Natsu Dragoneel looked up briefly in confusion before standing and whirling on his heels. "Ah, sorry! Be back in a second!" He jogged to the loading dock just around the corner and adjusted his winter gloves. He waved to the driver standing in front of a pair of closed truck doors and took the offered box. One brow rose. "How'd I miss this one?"

"It was hiding behind a huge fish box."

Natsu took a quick whiff and his nose wrinkled. "Ugh! Smells like it was." He flashed a smile at the driver. "Thanks! See you guys in a few days." He bumped elbows in a friendly goodbye to the driver before grabbing the opened garage door and pulling it shut. He clicked the lock in place and also closed the employee back door for the day. He then headed back, swinging the kitchen doors open and depositing the box with the others in the cooler. He rearranged his scarf and huddled in his jacket a bit more as he went through all of the cold seafood items and stored them in their respective spots. His breath appeared as he tried to hurry in his work, not liking the cold despite his working in here a lot as part of his job.

As a finishing touch to the organization he just did, Natsu grabbed a small notebook in his pocket and wrote down items that the place was low on or already out of to give to the owners to order. When finished, he hurried from the cooler and jumped a few times to warm up. He took a quick peek at the nearby clock as he rubbed gloved hands together to warm them up. "Barely after seven...perfect timing!"

"Natsu...come and eat now boy."

He grinned and hurriedly stacked the empty boxes off to one side for later disposal before exiting the storage room. He tossed the gloves on the table right next to his food and plopped in a chair in the silence. His eyes widened appreciatively as he stared at a spread of sweet and sour pork, chow mein, and dim sum. He eagerly grabbed a pair of chopsticks and broke them apart. "Bon appetit!"

Just before he could fit the chopsticks to his fingers and dig in, the gloves were snatched off the table and mercilessly slapped over his head at lightening speed. "Natsu! How many times have I told you to not leave these filthy gloves on this table when you have food! It's disrespectful and unclean!"

His free hand rubbed his head as he stared into the eyes of his elderly boss. He gave a sheepish smile and took them. "Sorry Huiqing...I forgot."

Huiqing shoved them in his face and only let go when Natsu took them and left the table to put them where they belonged near the cooler. She wagged a finger at his back as he headed to the cold locker. "You're just as bad as my grandson! He has no manners either."

Natsu tossed the gloves in their usual spot near the big metal door and headed directly back to his chair. Huiqing was still standing next to his chair. He plopped down, repeated himself, and snatched his chopsticks while trying to figure out which one he wanted first. He grabbed a dim sum and popped it in his mouth, quickly going for another.

"Is it good?"

He knew if he said anything with food in his mouth, his boss would probably smack him over the head so he just managed an enthusiastic nod. Huiqing smiled and affectionately ruffled his head a bit with a quiet chuckle and left him to his meal with instructions to pick up when he was done. He didn't really pay attention because he already knew perfectly well what to do with his plates.

Silence descended the restaurant he was in. The lights were just streaming through the windows, casting shadows all over the chairs and tables. Chinese decorations were everywhere. He looked around as he ate, knowing very well where everything was and what it was without even needing to look. He spied the clock and picked up his pace when he realized he may be late if he didn't finish. He didn't think he'd have three plates awaiting him!

It was a shame to waste food, even if he wasn't outright paying for it, so he wrapped up the remaining chow mein to take with him for lunch. He washed all of the plates and set them on the rack to dry. He whirled around to head out and suddenly stopped when his other owner was right in front of him. "You have a good day now Natsu. We'll see you in two days boy."

He smiled as Huiqing's husband patted his arm. "Ah. I'm off Fang! See you guys later!" He sidestepped the elderly man and headed out the front door, knowing the bell would be ignored at such an early hour.

The morning was crisp and the dew on the nearby grass met his nose. He inhaled it appreciatively as he jogged away from his part time job. Cars dotted the street, but otherwise the morning was fairly quiet as most people were in their homes and apartments still getting ready for the day. He kind of liked the ambiance and was glad for the lack of traffic as he jogged across the street despite the light not being in his favor.

He was a few minutes later than usual because of that final box along with the extra plate of food and it may cost him a few extra minutes if he didn't run faster. But he didn't plan on losing his tasty breakfast and honestly didn't care if he was strolling in a few minutes after everyone else got there. Huiqing's food was way too good to worry about losing over a stupid math class!

The business and law college building came into view and he jogged past it for the other side of campus. The bell chimed the eight o'clock hour and he easily ran around people for the science and math college paces ahead of him. He really wished he didn't have to head to the fifth floor of this place, but duty called and he was paying for this...

He skidded to a stop just as he heard his teacher's voice start giving instructions about turning in work. He plopped in the nearest front desk and grabbed a set of folded, mostly tattered papers from his other back pocket. He smiled as the teacher took it with a less-than-pleased look for its appearance and caught his breath. He handed over other students' work as well and then slouched a little in the desk as he turned off his brain.

'Ugh...math class! Why does it have to be the most boring subject out there? Someone give me dissecting toads any day over this!'

It was so hard to appear interested in the content when he had never bothered to use it in his life. Fractions and word problems hadn't served him well at all in any job he'd ever had and didn't help him score points during a game so why bother doing it? If it wasn't a basic requirement of the stupid university, he would never have bothered wasting the money on something like this!

As it was, he'd already gone through the most interesting-looking classes out there over the last few semesters and couldn't pick any more basics that weren't connected to a specific major. He wasn't going to waste more hard-earned money on those specific classes since he hadn't decided on what he wanted from the place yet. He was still undecided to his major and was no closer to putting any thought into picking one than he was when he started two years ago!

He couldn't keep his eyes off the clock and class seemed to go so slow because of it. Whose bright idea was it to put the clock facing the classroom?! He wanted to rip it off the wall and move the numbers to the time when class was over so he could leave and not worry about coming back till next week! It took every ounce of mental fortitude to not start tapping his foot on the floor while the teacher wrote problems on the board. He didn't need any evil eyes.

He wrote down some equations that he didn't know and the page numbers of where they were for later reference. Had he the ability to carry his books from work to campus, he would have had the math book with him now, but he carried his backpack one morning the entire way from the restaurant and nearly passed out due to the weight of the books. He did strength training enough as it was, but lugging the unwanted, overly expensive item with him wasn't something he wanted to do for the entire semester! His shoulders hurt all day just doing it that one time. Even if it was in a backpack, it only made the half a mile jog worse. Whose bright idea was it to also make math books so big and heavy?

The minute the teacher dismissed class, he practically bolted from his chair and down to the outside. He didn't stop until he was halfway to the gym. The student hall came into view and he paused long enough to stop at the cafeteria to finish the rest of his breakfast. He jogged the whole way to his destination once outside.

He grabbed his student id and swiped it as he gave a wave to the security guard student at the entryway keeping an eye out for those wanting to use the facilities who weren't students. Not that he could blame the person; Magnolia University had some seriously good sports teams and training rooms! He would have loved to spend his entire day here if he could! Too bad they didn't have any openings he liked. If only the teams on campus didn't require a seriously good grade average to join, then he would have already been a member...

"Morning Natsu!"

"Hey Elfman! Are the courts open right now?"

"Twenty minutes ago. He's not in there yet."

Natsu grinned and started down the hallway. "He'll show up...he always does!" He waved a goodbye to his friend before rounding the corner for the men's locker room. It was barely nine...he might be in class right now. Did he even have class at this hour during this semester? It had been a few weeks into the new one and he didn't show up that much. Who knew what he was doing...maybe sleeping in like the loser he was.

'Maybe he's just sick of losing and is finally giving up.' He thought, grinning evilly. He almost cackled to himself, but kept it in check when he noticed another student closing a locker door a few rows away. He didn't mind playing by himself for a while so he could work on his side aim with the backboard, but it was always more fun with other players. Natsu grabbed a basketball from the provided bin and bounced it all the way down the short walk to the court. 'I hope Gray does show up...I feel like kicking some ass this morning!'

Real life Lucy inspiration: alina-chan. deviantart art/ FT-Real-Lucy-Speedpaint-215358158

Real life Natsu inspiration: alina-chan. deviantart art/ FT-Real-Natsu-Speedpaint-215445951