The Game for Natsumi's Heart
Luca's POV

Well, the title itself is pretty self explanatory.
Note: Italics used is Luca's thoughts. Probably should've made it more clearer about that.

"Ohmygosh it's Prince Luca!"
"My heart feels like it's going to burst!"
"I swear our eyes just met!"
"Prince Luca! Please go out with me!"
"Don't be ridiculous Mei, Prince Luca can't go out with anyone. Us girls have formed an alliance so we can all share him. The Prince is everyone's."
"We, the Prince Luca Fan Club, will protect him so that not even a single golden hair on his head is harmed."
"WHOOOO WE LOVE YOU PRINCE LUCA!"

The entire female population of Fairy Academy were besotted with a boy named Luca Heartfilia, dubbing him as Prince. That said person gently smiled at the cluster of girls that had created a path for him at the entrance of the school, which only made them scream and cheer louder. Luca wasn't really sure how he became so popular. Sure, he had been awarded the Dux title and was the heir of the Heartfilia Konzern but how it became this escalated was something that Luca questioned himself daily. However, the fame slightly troubled him. He had wanted to lead a quiet school life, away from his position in the upper-class that he genuinely detested. Luca inwardly sighed. No matter how good it might seem, having women throw themselves at him constantly was beginning to wear him down.

A flash of pink crossed his line of sight. Oh it was her. The only girl who spread a warm, jittery feeling inside his chest. The one girl he had never spoken to. Although Luca was confident, he was inexperienced in the field of love which made him shy to approach her – Natsumi Dragneel. She was a straightforward, reckless and carefree shining athlete with a huge amount of talent in anything to do with sports (though not much can be said about her academic abilities). Other than her athleticism and her fiery personality, what really stood out to Luca was that she never looked his way unlike the other girls. She wasn't caught up in the swarm of fangirls that practically watched his every move. He liked that about her. He stared longingly as her shoulder-length, spiky pink hair disappeared into the crowd. Even though he could only watch her from afar, he would do his best to protect her, just like a prince would do for his princess.

It seemed that the time to protect Natsumi would come sooner than Luca thought. It was break and he had just managed to escape from the watchful eyes of his fan club and was hiding behind a tree near the wall which marked the boundaries of the academy. Just as he was relishing in the peace and quiet, three vulgar imbeciles decided to ruin it for him. Just as Luca was about to make his presence known, a comment made him stop.

"She's cool ain't she?"

Who could they possibly be talking about? The blonde prince peered round the thick trunk of the tree and took note of the identities of the three people. Gray Fullbuster, Gajeel Redfox and Sting Eucliffe. He watched as their eyes followed the movement of…no…it can't be…surely not…why are they interested in Natsumi? A sense of disbelief washed over Luca, feeling threatened by the possibility of rivals. It's okay, calm down Luca. I need to continue to listen to find out what they're up to. I promised that I'd protect her. The Prince proceeded with his eavesdropping. Gajeel had offered a bet and then Gray said something about the winner being whoever Natsumi chooses to date. Luca scoffed. As if his Natsumi would choose one of them.

"I doubt she digs blondes." Luca winced at Gray's comment, almost spiralling into despair at the thought of Natsumi not liking blondes, but then reminded himself that his Natsumi wasn't the type of person to judge a person by their appearance. An ingenious idea formed inside the Prince's mind and a small smile appeared from how easy it would be to eliminate his rivals.

Thus, the plan to win over Natsumi was put into action.

Luca knew a lot about Natsumi Dragneel and he was going to use it to his advantage, to attack his first target: Gray Fullbuster. His intuition told him that Fullbuster was most likely going to be the first to make a move and that Luca would have to deal with it quickly. Natsumi was most definitely a summer girl who loved the heat and had a spicy palate to match. So of course, what would be one of her most hated things? The cold. And if his research is accurate (which it always is) Gray Fullbuster was the complete opposite. Pfft, I've already found a flaw in my rival. They are polar opposites; they'd never be able to get along. Luca unfortunately had to sacrifice a page of his beloved journal and wasted the remaining ink in his favourite pen to write an anonymous note to Gray. But Luca didn't mind too much, after all he'd do anything for his princess.

Fairy Academy's most prized pupil was currently lurking in the corridor near Natsumi's classroom during free period, knowing that she liked to sleep and eat during this time. He spied on Gray's interaction with Natsumi and could barely keep himself from smirking in triumph. After Gray had offered the pinkette the icy beverage (and so obviously rejected) he had hurried out of the room, head down in pure shame and embarrassment. This is where Luca would step in. He casually walked in, not minding the stares, and gently tapped Natsumi on the shoulder. She turned to face him, her dark eyes staring into his own and Luca fought hard to keep himself from turning into a beetroot. He brandished an extra spicy pepperoni stick known as a Firestick and offered it to her. His heart was pounding when her whole face lit up like a Christmas tree and gratefully accepted it with a simple word of thanks.

A few days later, it was morning break and Prince Luca was relaxing on a bench outside, basking in the gentle sunlight… surrounded by his fan club whom were diligently keeping an eye out for anyone that would pose a threat to their precious Luca. He observed the grounds, searching for one person in particular. Ah, found her. His eyes widened when he saw Natsumi fall to the tarmac floor, obviously scraping her skin on the unforgiving texture. He could practically see the flames of anger emanating from her. Luca watched as an intimidating, evil overlord dared approach his princess. Gajeel even offered his giant, callous hand to her. To anyone else on the ground this was a perfectly normal thing to do, however through Luca's eyes it looked like the evil overlord was about to crush his delicate princess and as a noble prince, there was no way Luca could let that happen. Quickly excusing himself from his enthusiasts, Luca performed his special attack on a stray football:

"LUCA KICK!"

With an impressive amount of power, the ball rocketed off Gajeel's head with scarily accurate precision. Luca hurried back to his bench before he was targeted by Gajeel and then asked a girl named Chelia if she had a medical kit. Luckily she did and offered it to the shining prince, stammering and blushing, which Luca gratefully accepted, shoving it into his bag, before rushing off to his princess's aid.

Although he felt intoxicated by her exotic, cinnamon-y scent Luca managed to disinfect her cuts and apply plasters to her knees without making a blunder. He swallowed.

God, he was such a mess when it came to Natsumi.

After bandaging her warm, small hands he studied Natsumi's face as she was staring intently at him as he worked, before deciding to do something a bit weird. Luca stuck a cutesy plaster with a blue cat on her cheek, which made Natsumi tilt her head in confusion.

Doki.

Gahh…sooo cuuuuttteeee Luca's inner fanboy was internally screaming at him.

"I don't have a cut on my face." Luca couldn't help but smile.
"I know. I just think it looks cute."

A few days passed, and the Prince was undercover. He inconspicuously sat on a table in a cove of books with a pair of glasses and a blue cap wedged onto his head which did nothing to hide his magnetic charm. He was reading his favourite manga called Fairy Tail (it's one of Luca's deepest secrets) when he heard the chair opposite him scrape back, and looked up to see Levy McGarden sit down. Levy and Luca had been best friends since childhood and they could trust each other with everything. Luca smiled brightly.

"Levy! Thanks for coming." The petite, bluenette returned the smile.
"No problem, Lu. Anyways, I've got the information that you wanted." Levy pulled out a file from her bag and gave it to Luca, who quickly scanned the contents, trying to memorise it. Once read, Luca looked up and gave his best friend a curious look.

"How do you find out this stuff anyway, Levy?" A sly smirk graced her features and she gave a nonchalant shrug.
"An information broker never reveals her secrets." She replied, before dropping her cool demeanour, a pink blush spreading across her cheeks which was a stark contrast to her pale skin. Levy twiddled her thumbs, not meeting Luca's eyes.
"S-so now that I've got you information about Natsumi…c-can you h-help me w-with Gajeel?" She shyly stuttered. Oh right, yeah, Luca's best friend was in love with the Evil Overlord. It was quite funny to be honest. A tiny bookworm and a hulky, heavily pierced wannabe singer. One of the contestants in the game for Natsumi's heart. Luca felt a fiery determination rise within him as he clasped Levy's small hands staring at her with deep sincerity.

"Trust me, Levy. I will do everything in my power to get him to look your way."

Ten minutes before Natsumi's football training finished, Luca went wandering around the school, chewing gum. Messing with the vending machines was the next step of his plan. Luca calculated that after all that exercise, Natsumi would be thirsty and would most likely stop at the nearest vending machine. Sting would almost certainly use this opportunity to buy her a drink, as his training would also finish at the same time. Through Luca's point of view, the Slimy Fool would be trying to charm the princess with his self-proclaimed suave and win her over by doing this heroic deed. The Prince refused to allow it. This was a perfectly acceptable reason to defile school property. Luca rammed his chewing gum into the coin slot and now he would lie in wait for the perfect time to appear.

Ugh, the Slimy Fool was here. Luca could barely contain himself as the captain of the boys' football team called his princess's name in that overly-sweet tone of his. Ah, you have no right to be jealous Luca. She isn't your girlfriend, said the voice of reason in his head. Luca ignored it. He has a devious smirk on his face as Sting failed to insert the coin into the slot. Luca watched as Sting excused himself to look for another vending machine and almost gleefully cried out as his plan worked. Now was his cue.

Luca took out a refreshing, ice-cold bottle of water from his bag and held it out, about to say something when his princess turned her head getting hit in the face with the bottle. Luca's heart dropped and immediately rushed out a sorry, hoping she wasn't angry at him. He would get down on his hands and knees to beg for forgiveness if he had to. But of course, Natsumi was an easy-going person and she simply grinned.

"Nah, it's alright. Just pass me the water bottle before I die of dehydration."

Luca couldn't help but chuckle as he gave it to her. He watched as Natsumi greedily gulped the water down, a single drop escaping and running past her chin and down to her glistening throat. Woah. Hold up. Come on Luca. What are you thinking? I was raised better than this. I'm not a bloody creep like the Evil Overlord, the Perverted Knight or the Slimy Fool. During Luca's struggle with himself, he almost missed what Natsumi was saying, only catching the,

"We should hang out more often."

Luca's heart felt like it was going to explode. His smile was dazzling and bright, as if light itself. Clearly the smile of a boy in love.

"Sure."

Prince Luca just happened to be walking past his rivals as he overheard the Perverted Knight (also known as Gray) speak.
"I'm gonna win her over by giving her food."
"Heh, not bad Fullbuster. Of course not as good as my plans but still good," commented Sting. Luca frowned as he carried on his way. He had not predicted this. How could he foil that pervert's pan? Luckily for Luca, the opportunity appeared in his Science class which he shared with Gray.

"Mr Fullbuster! Where is your shirt?" Miss Laki Olietta was not pleased. Gray looked down at his bare chest, surprised.

"I don't know Miss, I swear! I just had it on a minute ago." Laki pinched the bridge of her nose and gave a heavy sigh.
"Fullbuster, go to lost and found and get a new shirt."
"A-Aye ma'am." Gray hurried out of the room, leaving his bag behind. This was Luca's chance! Luca raised his hand.

"Excuse me, Miss Olietta, it appears that Gray has left his bag which I know he keeps spare clothes in. Would you mind if I go and give it to him?" The Prince mustered his best teacher's pet smile which Laki immediately melted at.

"Why of course, Luca." He nodded his head in thanks, took Gray's bag as well as his own and went out. Leaning against the wall, he emptied the food from Gray's bag into his own just in time as Gray rounded the corner.

"Oh it's just you." Luca really wasn't surprised that the Perverted Knight knew of him. With great difficulty, he prevented himself from giving Gray a dirty look and simply handed him the bag.
"Miss Olietta wanted me to give you your bag."
"Um…okay…" Gray was tugging at the hem of the new shirt, but he didn't seem to be aware of it. Luca shrugged and walked back into class, Gray following behind. Hmph, it's like taking sweets from a child. Way too easy.

During lunch, Luca was making his way to Natsumi's class, where he knew she would be, and saw how Gray rushed out and practically sprinted to the dining hall. It worked. Well of course it did, he's Luca Heartfilia after all. He opened the mostly empty classroom, thankful that there were no fangirls loitering around, and saw his princess slumped over her desk.
"Oh, you're still here Natsumi?" Ever since their 'coincidental' run-ins, they'd grown closer and Natsumi had even called him her best friend, which made Luca quite pleased but it still wasn't enough. He was aiming for something more. Natsumi explained how she had forgotten her lunch and Luca took this chance to share the food with her. However, her question about why he had so much food momentarily caught him off guard but fortunately Luca was saved by the growling of his princess's stomach. He watched with an adoring smile as she ravaged the food, despite the fact that the food was flying everywhere. She was perfect in Luca's eyes. Well almost.

Fairy Academy's Prince was not happy. Not happy at all. Somehow, that sly, conniving Evil Overlord got picked to sit next to his Natsumi for the coach ride on the class trip. It was a random draw of course, but Luca still couldn't help but feel that Gajeel was to blame. He excused himself from the girls and walked towards the beautiful gardens that were always kept neat and tidy. Once there, he saw a small girl watering the flowers. The name Wendy Marvell popped into his head…Marvell…oh that's right. The Evil Overlord's cousin. Luca wondered how such a Fair Maiden could be related to the guy. Ah. It was time to do some information scavenging of his own. The Prince walked over to Wendy, completely unnoticed until he said, "Oh wow! The flowers are beautiful Wendy. Good job!" The girl jumped, startled by his presence, flushing bright red as she had always been shy and nervous.

"O-oh no…it's not me. I-I just w-water them." Luca smiled.
"No need to be modest, Wendy. Everyone knows how hard you work on these gardens with the help of the groundskeeper. Anyway, my name's Luca, I'm a friend of Gajeel. Have you heard about the trip that our classes are going on?" Wendy beamed at the compliment.
"Everyone knows who you are, Mr Luca," she said politely, "and I'm glad that your friends with my cousin. He's not very good at being nice to people. And yes, I have heard about it. I'm quite worried about Gajeel." Luca tilted his head.
"How come?"
"A-ah, it's because Gajeel has severe motion sickness, but I'll make sure that he puts some instant relief tablets in his bag on the day."
Ohohoho. This was good news. Very good news.
"You're really caring Wendy. I must go now, but keep up the good work with the flowers!" Luca cheerfully waved before departing, not noticing jealous daggers being stared into the back of his head by a boy called Romeo.

On the day of the trip, Luca noticed Gajeel's bag unguarded and quickly rummaged through, taking the tablets out. He knew it was a bit mean of him, but this way he'd get to stay close to Natsumi and he wouldn't have to worry about the Evil Overlord tainting her innocence. Finally, the time to see if his (kind of evil) plan would work. Luca snagged the seats behind Gajeel and Natsumi, and listened to his poor princess's groans and heard Gajeel offer some tablets. The Prince heard frantic searching, a crumpling of a bag, throwing up and heavy footsteps as Gajeel somehow managed to drag himself to the teacher's side. Everything worked out perfectly. Ignoring his guilt, Luca slid into Gajeel's seat and brought Natsumi's head down to lay on his lap which she easily complied to. He ran his fingers through her pink hair, which was much silkier than it looked. She muttered something undecipherable as she finally relaxed, feeling soothed. Luca was pleased with the progress he made with his relationship with his princess. He was so pleased in fact, that he didn't mind when Natsumi threw up on his trainers.

Prince Luca was in a good mood. Until his History class. The teacher had given them textbooks to take notes so they could complete the worksheet. And by a stroke of misfortune he had to pair up with Gajeel.

"Hey Bunny Boy, lend me your notebook." The Evil Overlord asked gruffly. Well, he didn't really ask as he swiped it off the desk anyway and begun to flick through the pages. Luca spluttered, completely bewildered.
"Bunny Boy?!" Gajeel looked up.
"Yeah, you look like a scared, lil' bunny." Irritated, Luca glared at him and tried to reclaim his notebook only for his efforts to be in vain as Gajeel simply lifted the notebook higher.
"Eh?" Gajeel's tone made Luca stop.
"What's wrong?" He then noticed the notebook. Oh shit. It was that notebook. Luca frantically tried to grab it back as a large sharp-toothed, smirk spread on Gajeel's face, a glint in his red eyes.
"Gihihi. The Salamander, eh?" Luca felt his face flush. Gajeel brought his large hand down and Luca flinched but was surprised to find that it was only to roughly muss up his hair. It was like Gajeel was teasing a puppy. Then a dawn of understanding appeared and Gajeel stared at Luca hard.
"It was you, wasn't it?" There was no point in lying. Gajeel would see through it anyway. Luca was nervous but refused to let it show.
"And if it was?" They were in the corner of the classroom, out of everyone's line of sight, so no one could stop Gajeel from lifting Luca off his feet from the front of his shirt.
"You kicked a ball at me. I was sick because of you." Gajeel's red eyes were piercing into Luca's own, but he felt quite calm as he met his gaze evenly.
"I'm sorry for that, but I had to. I have to protect her at any cost." Gajeel was quiet for a moment, but then raised his other fist.
"Alright fine. Before I was gonna pummel you into your grave, but I'll let you off with just a black eye."
"W-wait!" Luca said, trying to stall him, "does that mean you've given up on winning her affections?"
Gajeel shrugged.
"I guess so. Too much damn work for one chick."
"You won't tell Eucliffe and Fullbuster about this, will you?"
"Nah. They can figure it out for themselves."
"Can I introduce you to someone?" Gajeel lowered Luca slightly.
"Whaddya mean?"
"Well, I have this friend of mine and she's quite interested in you. Her name's Levy." Gajeel dropped him completely which made Luca stumble slightly.
"Oh, the Shrimp? Yeah, sure why not." Gajeel laughed that weird laugh, and ruffled Luca's hair again.
"You're not such sheltered bitch after all."
Hm. Perhaps the Evil Overlord was not so evil after all.

Luca decided to unwind by taking his Bichon Frise, named Plue, out for a walk in the park. It was the time in his day where he wasn't Prince Luca nor Master Luca but just Luca. His father had also said that he needed to go to some fancy party that he had no interest in and had to find a partner to go with or else he would call for one of Luca's fiancée candidates. With this weighing heavily on his mind, he almost missed the fact that his princess was standing underneath a white oak, staring up at a grey-blue cat. She looked troubled.

"Hey Natsumi, what's up?" Natsumi described how Happy had got up the tree and now can't come down. Luca eyed the height of tree before handing the pinkette Plue's leash. Using minimal effort Luca practically flew up the tree, his experience of escaping his family's mansion serving for this purpose. His eyes softened as he watched Natsumi snuggle into the cat's fur, then gathered enough courage to ask his princess for something.

"Natsumi, I know it's rude of me to ask, but can you accompany me to this party. I really don't want my father to pick someone so…could you? Please?" Luca looked at her imploringly.
"Will there be food?"
"Lots!"
"Then of course I'll go, dummy!" Natsumi laughed, making Luca feel all warm inside.
"Okay, next Saturday. I'll pick you up at half seven. See you!" Luca took back the leash, waved, and made his way home.

Not long after, Sting came back with the ladder only to find that no one was there.

Natsumi was so beautiful that it took Luca's breath away. He had arrived at Natsumi's doorstep, the limousine waiting, and she had appeared in a simple yet flattering red Lara skater dress with a sweetheart neckline and black Converse. For some reason, this made Luca burst with pride, that she was not concerned about looking extravagant for a high-class event.

"Natsumi…you l-look s-so b-beau-" Luca tried to say the words but his face felt too hot and his heart was beating too loud. Natsumi simply giggled at his inability to communicated and gave a stunning smile.
"Shall we go now Luca? I think the driver's waiting. Yosh! I can't wait to try the food!" All of Luca's tenseness was washed away and he laughed, offering his arm to her and the two went to the party.

It had been really busy as Luca's father was getting him to talk to all of the potential business partners and all that boring stuff. He finally found his princess by the buffet table, the brightest girl among all of them, and he led her away to the balcony which looked over the host's property. This was it. This was the moment.

"Natsumi…I have something I have to confess. She turned to face him, eyes sparkling with curiosity, the night breeze playing with her hair. Beautiful.

"What's wrong Luca? You have that funny look in your eyes again, you weirdo." Natsumi playfully teased and Luca couldn't help crack a smile.

"I just need to say…" he took a deep breath, trying to compose himself so he didn't choke on his words, "I like you. I really, really like you. A-and I'm just hoping that you might feel the same way. I mean, I'm not really deserving of you Natsumi but I just can't help the way you make me feel. I've never felt this way before. One word from you turns me into a stuttering mess, one smile makes my heart throb, one look makes my face burn red and I really-" Luca's torrent of words was halted by a gentle finger on his lips. He stared at his princess, with wide eyes. Her cheeks were the same colour as her hair and the smile on her face illuminated by the full moon behind her made look like a goddess of the stars.

"I like you too, stupid."

Whoosh. It was like he had been swept off his feet. This must be a dream. The girl he liked actually liked him back! He was frozen, speechless, his mind a tumbling mess. Luca was snapped out of his reverie when Natsumi stepped closer, so close that if he just bent his head slightly they would…

"I think this is the part where you kiss me." Her bluntness made him chuckle.
"Natsumi, I'll show you why the Prince will always be better than an Overlord, Knight and Fool." He knew she wouldn't understand what he meant, but it didn't matter. Under the twinkling stars, he cupped her face in his hands and pressed his lips against hers, sweet and delicate yet longing at the same time. Absolute bliss.


Well then, guess who's still alive? That's right, me. Hello again my friends!
Apologies if you find any mistakes, it's really late and I'm way to lazy to proofread this.
Also, I know some avid romancers may find their kiss scene a bit weak, but I just felt like keeping it sweet rather than a flurry of passion and raging hormones.
Anyways, thank you very much for reading the second instalment of this story - I'm really chuffed as I just looked at my story stats today and found that this one is my most popular piece, yay! :3 Hm, perhaps in the future I might think about doing more shots of this whole genderbend thing, it's quite an interesting AU to work with. I also realise that Lucy's genderbend character is a bit OOC to her normal self, but I hope you guys don't mind too much seeing as it's a genderbend AU.

Hope everyone's having a great day! And any helpful reviews are appreciated *thumbs up*
Mata aimasho!
'Lottie-Blue