Cat Contraband

College AU Prompt: Your RA almost caught your illegal cat but I convinced them that it was just me meowing. Nalu

Whoever was knocking on Lucy's door at 3 AM would die as soon as she opened it.

She swore grumpily as the knocking got louder and more and more frantic. If Erza hadn't escaped for the weekend, Lucy would only have to leave the perpetrator to her friend.

The door barely clicked open when the person on the other side shoved their way inside, slamming the door behind them. She blinked tiredly at the grinning intruder. "Nats-uahhh…?" she asked stifling a yawn. "What the hell is so urgent you couldn't wait till the sun rose?"

His response came in the form of a small kitten being lifted in front of her face. He had bright blue eyes, grey fur, and the pinkest paws she's seen.

"Pretty cool, right?" he asked, puffing his chest out. The cat sank down, his head tucked into his shoulders, as he blinked blearily at her. "Found him outside by the fountain trying to catch a fish. His name's Happy!"

Lucy took the small animal out of his hands, set him down on her desk, and then gave her idiot best friend a solid kick to the chin. He shrieked and scurried away from her, but she wasn't done. Petulantly and a bit childishly, Lucy proceeded to repeatedly punch him on the chest while yelling. "What is your problem?! That's not worth waking anyone up at this hour! And what do you mean he was trying to catch fish? There are no fish in that stupid fountain! Why are you such an inconsiderate idiot?!"

"Ow—he—ow! Lucy qui…knock it off!" he pouted, barely dodging her hits. Not like they even hurt him, really, she knew. But it was annoying enough to exact some revenge.

Suddenly, his eyes widened. In what felt like only one movement, Natus flipped her against the door pinning her hands between their chests and covering her mouth with his hand.

She watched with furrowed eyebrows as he tilted his head to look through her door's peephole. Jaw stiff he made a shushing sound when she tried to move her face away from his steady hold.

Jerk. This was her room.

Vaguely, she heard a voice from outside now that her head was pressed against the door. So, he was hiding from someone?

Natsu relaxed considerably and smiled in nervous relief. Lucy rolled her eyes, at least that was all over with. But he didn't move away from her, in fact he dropped his forehead down to rest on hers. She stiffened. That was way too romantic and familiar a gesture! What the hell was he doing? Not like she could ask, his hand was still covering her mouth.

"Looks like I'm gonna get away with it," he said with his eyes closed, and Lucy knew he was speaking to himself rather than her. The smile transformed into a smirk as he opened his eyes to look at hers straight on. "Thanks, Lucy."

She just glared back at him. A clear sign for him to get off of her.

Of course, Natsu being the blockhead he is didn't seem to get it so she slid her right leg up until her knee squeezed its way between their bodies. She watched as he looked down and opened his mouth into a small 'o' shape. Her knee pressed into his abs pushing him a few inches back. Enough for him to snap out of his daze and drop his hand.

They stared at each other for several seconds in silence. The dazed look disappeared from Natsu's face as he blankly said, "Pervert."

What? "How am I a pervert?" she hissed at him.

He ignored her and walked to her desk chair, taking a seat in front of Happy. Lucy ignored the heat in her cheeks and pushed away from the door. "So someone wants to make sure you get rid of…" she stared a the vibrant blue eyes staring back at her, "Happy?"

He nodded, leaning back in her chair. "My RA."

"Your RA?" she asked calmly. "Why?"

He rolled his eyes, "Wow, Lucy, you're so slow." Her cheeks puffed out, ready to snap at him. "We can't have pets here. Not unless they're something stupid." Lazily, he scratched Happy's ear as if he'd done that before today. "Like a fish."

She glared at him and crossed her arms. "Well, get him out of my room! It's bad enough I didn't kick you out immediately, now I'm knowingly smuggling a cat." Though, to be honest, Lucy would much rather the cat have an owner like Natsu then live life as a stray on a college campus. Just a few weeks ago, an RA called animal control to remove a mama cat and her litter. She had a bad feeling they weren't living a happy life right now.

"But they already saw me running into the building with him." Natsu explained. "They're already looking for me. Besides Erza's not here…I figure maybe I could just—"

"Now I'm hiding fugitives?!"

"C'mon, Luce, don't be so mean!" For extra measure, he pulled Happy off the desk and held him up toward her. Forcing Lucy to stare back at the cute kitten's big eyes. "You can't leave Happy out in the cold!"

Then, as if knowing he had to be as melodramatic and cute as possible, the freaking cat yawned.

"Fine…"

She offered him her bed and—after deciding she'd just ask Erza for forgiveness when she returned—used her roommate's bed. Natsu tried to set Happy down next to him, but Lucy dumped her shirts out of a dresser drawer under her bed and set it up with an extra blanket for the cat. Natsu tried to whine but she was too tired to argue and did as she pleased.

The lights went off.

The sound of her bed creaking as Natsu adjusted himself was loud, but she somehow managed to fall asleep. A full ten minutes of sleep actually. That was until loud knocking at her door woke her up.

"You've gotta be kidding me," she groaned. Natsu was snoring in her bed, actually able to ignore the sound.

Spitefully, she switched on the brightest light in the room and threw a pillow at him as she dragged herself to the door.

The knocking only got louder.

"I'm coming!"

The door clicked and she opened the door a few inches without bothering to check the peephole. Which she regretted immediately.

She heard a dresser drawer slam shut behind her as she felt her body stiffen with nerves. "Uh." Her eyes met the harsh red irises of one of the building RA's. Specifically, Natsu's. "Um, hey! Gajeel…?" Maybe if she pretended she didn't know who he really was he wouldn't suspect anything.

"Where is he, bunny girl?" he asked in a no-nonsense tone. Right, she forgot Levy totally had the biggest crush on him so she'd met him a few times. Enough times for him to know she hung out with Natsu and to see her hopping around the lounge area during a game of dares Natsu insisted she participate in.

Unbidden, but just as conveniently timed as Happy's earlier, a yawn overwhelmed her just as she struggled to come up with an answer. Her eyelashes fluttered against each other as she blinked away her sleepiness. "He?" she asked behind her hand.

"Natsu."

Her bed creaked.

She shut her eyes tightly. That idiot. Here she was going out of her way to cover for him and he decides to make it obvious he's in her room.

Gajeel's eyes try to scan her room over her shoulder but he isn't giving him much access. "Who's that?"

"My roommate?"

He glances back down at her calmly. "I saw Erza when she left for the weekend."

Shit.

It looked like he wanted to be as abrasive as possible but he put on his best 'I'm-sort-of-a-professional' voice. "Mind opening your door?" he grit out.

"Um…"

They stared off for an awkwardly tense moment.

A soft heat ran across her front, a hand, until she felt Natsu drop his head on her shoulder casually. The romantic gesture would have shocked her a lot more if it weren't for the fact that his chin was digging painfully into her shoulder. "Yo," he said with the same amount of casual happiness he approached any other situation during the day.

Gajeel switched his suspicious stare to Natsu, not without staring at them as a whole with his lips stretched tight in a frown. "Salamander," he acknowledged the younger man.

"What do you want?" The question came out as a whine and he sunk against Lucy even more. He was seriously just using her to not have to put the effort into standing; she insisted and forced herself to feel annoyed.

The RA took a step back and straightened up as he glowered at her pink-haired companion. Anger beat out the shock of Natsu's intimate behavior and Gajeel clenched his fists. "What do I want?! You ran away from me carrying a cat! You know those aren't allowed here!"

Natsu made a long humming sound as if absorbing the information Gajeel had just said as new. "You sure?"

His cheek ticked as his jaw tensed. "Yes!"

Lucy took a nervous step back, into Natsu's bare front. She would have jumped away if it weren't for the fact that Natsu's hand had slid further along her stomach and held her tight against him. She glanced up at him with furrowed eyebrows but he ignored her for the confrontation in front of them.

He didn't even have the decency of hiding his smirk as he cheekily asked Gajeel, "About which thing?"

"Both things, you bastard!" Now he turned his strong gaze back to Lucy. "Now open the door so I can inspect the damn room."

She swallowed thickly and pushed her door open. She felt Natsu tense around her like he wanted to stop her but Gajeel had already stepped inside.

Lucy slipped out of Natsu hold and sat on her bed, her legs dangling right in front of the drawer she knew held Happy. The two guys that decided to invade her room before sunrise were arguing as Gajeel poked his head around the place trying to find any sign of the cat.

Her pulse was loudly pumping in her ears as she tried to focus on her breathing and ignored the other human beings in the room. Really, she shouldn't be helping Natsu with breaking the rules. If it were anyone else, even Levy, she wasn't sure she could willingly keep up this farce so long on so little sleep.

But Natsu always dragged her into his dumb schemes, plans, and adventures. Usually they were pretty fun, so maybe that was why she was willing to go along with this one. Plus, Happy was pretty cute.

She glanced up from her feet to Natsu, who was leaning against her desk still shirtless and making a comment about how paranoid/stupid Gajeel looked at the moment.

She rolled her eyes, ignoring the creeping heat on her neck and cheeks at the sight of Natsu standing in her room as if it were just as much his as hers. He really made himself at home way too easily. It was sort of endearing.

"What about all those clothes on the floor?" she heard Gajeel ask accusingly.

"What those?" Natsu rolled his eyes as if the question was completely unnecessary. "Lucy's a slob."

Her blush faded quickly as a frown took its place.

"Mew."

Her legs stopped swaying at the sound. Natsu looked at her in a panic and Gajeel stared at her with his pierced eyebrows raised.

Thinking quickly on her feet, Lucy coughed into her hand. "Heh," she faked a nervous laugh. "That was me…sorry?"

"Wha…?" Gajeel's emerging look of triumph morphed into something intangible.

"I guess it wasn't funny." Lucy faked a chuckle and rubbed her neck.

Gajeel turned his gaze to Natsu, whose relieved and grateful smile made her blush again. Luckily, the RA's focus had shifted just in time. "Mew."

His eyes snapped back to Lucy and she tensed.

She ran her tongue along her lips before attempting to mimic Happy's meowing to seal the deal. "Mewr?"

Red eyes narrowed but Natsu clapped his hands loudly to stop him from asking anymore questions. "On top of being a slob, Lucy's also a weirdo. So—"

"Hey!"

"—you're clearly done here. See ya!" He insisted pushing Gajeel by the shoulder toward the door.

"Oi, you're not in the clear yet!" he snapped swinging around before Natsu managed to push him all the way out the door. "I know I saw you with a cat!" She crossed her ankles and clenched the edges of her mattress. "But I also know you're an idiot and you'll eventually slip up."

Natsu rolled his eyes. "Yeah well, fuck off. You woke us up for nothing."

"Mew."

His pink hair swayed as his face snapped to her in forced anger. "Lucy! Quit it!"

She glared at him.

"Whatever," Gajeel remarked finally taking the final two steps out of her room. "Just watch out, Salamander. Don't wanna make catching you so easy, gihihihi."

With that, Natsu shut the door. He sighed and walked over to the bed, pushing Lucy's legs to the side as he opened the drawer. "Sorry about that, Happy," he chuckled as the cat scratched her furniture.

She was too tired to even yell this time. Just flopped on her back with a deep breath.

"Did you really have to be shirtless?" her question came out a lot milder than the aggressive thumping in her chest.

He looked up at her with a bit of pink on his cheeks. "Well," he scratched Happy's chin one last time before standing up. "I always sleep without a shirt, you know that."

Red. Completely, undeniably red. Her face was burning up and Lucy didn't even need a mirror to know just how dark it had turned form his comment. "Don't say things like that!" Yes, she knew he slept shirtless but it made it sound like they were a couple. Which, okay, was an awful thought at the beginning f their friendship but now it just felt like sadistic teasing. "Also!" she snapped sitting up on her bed. "What was all that at the door earlier? Did you really have to make it look like we were sleeping together?!"

"Well, we were."

She glared at him.

"Alright, alright, sorry." Natsu rolled his eyes and took a seat right next to her. His shoulders rolled in circles as he dropped his head back against the wall. "I thought...well, Gajeel's kinda—"

"You thought he'd feel so uncomfortable for interrupting something that wasn't happening," she emphasized, "that he'd just walk away."

He chuckled and shrugged apologetically.

Lucy frowned. Drawing her knees up to her chin, she glared at her toes. "You shouldn't joke about stuff like that." Honestly, that little bit of intimacy was still weirding her out. It was strange to want to be held like that again by your best friend. Friends don't do that kind of stuff.

Just as casually as earlier, his arms slunk around her body until he was hugging her closely. He bumped his forehead into her temple. "Sorry," he said, "Thanks for helping me out."

She couldn't help the smile that pulled on the corners of her lip. Using her forehead this time, she bumped him back. "Yeah, okay."

They stayed like that for a bit, foreheads resting against each other. Their noses weren't quite touching but both could feel the heat coming from the other.

It wasn't until Happy meowed again that they pulled away, all awkward smiles and flushed faces.

In the morning he borrowed Lucy's backpack to sneak Happy out in, promising to return it before her next class. Then with a surprisingly serious expression he asked, "So since I can't pretend we're together next time something like this happens can I ask you something?"

She blinked. "Um…yeah?"

His jaw ticked slightly and she knew he was forcing himself to keep her gaze instead of avoiding eye contact. It took him a long while before he finally spoke and if Happy hadn't meowed impatiently Lucy wondered how long he'd of stayed silent.

"Wanna," Natsu began carefully, "Maybe not pretend next time?"

"Yeah," she said slowly, "that's what I thought I said last night."

His head dropped to his chest before he looked up at her with a mixed look of exasperation and desperation. "Not like that!" he snapped running a hand over his face. "I meant that maybe I wouldn't have to pretend because…" His face was flushed. Natsu sighed deeply, pouting a little. "Because it'd be real."

Lucy wasn't sure she heard him over the sound of her pulse racing in her ears.

He stared at her expectantly.

"Like a…" she cleared her throat and licked her lips. "Like a date?"

Natsu shrugged.

She beamed at him and nodded, not trusting her words to come out coherently.

His bright smile matched her. With a vague promise to text her later he finally turned around and left.

As she shut the door, Lucy tried to ignore her racing heart by thinking about Happy. If she was going to help him hide a cat they'd need food.

Was the pet store a weird place for a first date?

AN:/

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