Here it is, the finale. Thank you for all the support!

"Hey Ice cube, who gave you the black eye?"

Gray shivered in his seat at the Fairy Tail bar, his mind wandering back to that fateful night when he'd attempted something incredibly stupid. Of course it had all been Makarov's idea, the guild master always had a finger on the pulse of the underworld and had discovered Erza's activities. After some blackmail with alleged photos of him and Juvia, Gray had decided to go along with the plan, a massive mistake. Erza had allowed Wendy to save them from permanent damage, but had stopped short of completely healing a lot of their injuries.

"None of your business, flame freak."

Natsu scowled at being left in the dark, but went back to his drink without aggravating matters further. Something was happening, things were changing, people were acting different, and Natsu couldn't understand why. He kept catching Erza staring at him, Lucy was all secretive and withdrawn, and Gray, Happy, and Gramps were all mysteriously beaten up. There was something weird about today as well, the whole guild was accounted for, Gildarts and Laxus were both present, milling about quietly in different corners. Even Loke was out of the spirit world because 'No reason, Pinky'. Someone was paying for all Happy's fish, and the Master kept breaking into random nosebleeds. And finally, the mission board had been closed for 'maintenance' for the last week.

"Too weird" Natsu muttered between sips.

"Do you know what's going on, Natsu?" Elfman muttered from behind the bar. Mirajane had muscled him into working due to the packed house.

"No idea, it's gotta be something to do with Erza though, she's the only one who can organise everyone here like this." Natsu muttered back, casting a sideways glance at Erza.

She was sitting alone in the centre of the guild, scanning pages and pages of notes, whispering under her breath between mouthfuls of cake.

"Hopefully it's something manly" Elfman whispered.

"You know what? I'm actually with you for once. With this much firepower here we better get at least one brawl." Natsu cracked his knuckles, grinning wildly.

Mira interrupted them with a glare, prompting Elfman to get back to work.

"Salamander. Frosty. What's the word?"

Gajeel slid onto the barstool next to Natsu, nodding at both of them.

"Nothing" Gray muttered darkly, brooding over his drink.

Natsu rolled his eyes. "I don't know, no one's saying anything to me."

"There's a shock" Gajeel snickered.

"Hey! You don't know either!"

Gajeel ignored him and banged on the counter to get a drink. After Elfman scuttled off with the order, Gajeel and Natsu turned to survey the guild from the bar.

"You know, there's a lot of people here, this may be a good opportunity to debut my latest song…" Gajeel rubbed his chin thoughtfully.

"That's a great idea!" Natsu yelled excitedly. "That would be the fastest way to get a fight started. Go on, get up there!"

Gajeel finished his drink as soon as it arrived and departed to fetch his guitar, not caring what Natsu's motivations were as long as he had an audience.

Gray groaned, "Please no, I can't stand his singing, and I'm too sore to fight right now."

"Juvia will fight for you." Juvia whispered from underneath Gray's stool where she was hiding.

"Juvia! What the hell are you doing down there!" Gray spluttered.

"Gray, your clothes." Cana pointed out from down the bar.


"Juvia doesn't mind."

"Stripper freak!"

"Flame for brains!"

"You two are disturbing my drinking!"

"Was that a damsel in distress I hear?"

"Beat it, pervert lion."

"This is getting manly!"

"Ahem, thank you all for being here today, my first song is called"-


"This is more like it!" Natsu laughed. "I'm getting all fired up!"

"Oooh a barroom brawl…how nostalgic" Laxus drawled, wandering over and shedding his coat.


"WooaAOooOOOOoooHHHH-Oh-Oh sweeeet child of miiiiiii-ine"

"BOOOOO! Get off the stage!"

"And cut your hair!"

All hell broke loose. The addition of Laxus and Juvia to the festivities made for an even more destructive brawl than usual. Much to everyone's surprise however, through all the fighting Erza remained absorbed in her notes. At least until Gajeel's broken guitar landed in her half-finished cake.

"Enough" whispered Erza, to no change.


The whole guild froze mid-fight. Natsu clinging to Laxus' neck, trying to hang on to a headlock. Juvia latched on Gray's abs to 'shield' him from Elfman. Cana's boot hovering a couple of inches in front of Loke's face. And finally a huge pile of wizards struggling to keep Gajeel pinned down.

Erza scanned the scene with mild disdain, before sighing and shaking her head. "How disappointing, can't we all grow up a little bit? Act our age, just this once? For shame…"

Everyone bowed their heads in silence, except for Gajeel who was physically restrained from moving.

"Now that that's out of the way…" Erza continued, arms on her hips. "Everyone! Listen up! You five, organise these benches like this. You lot over there, move the tables so they are that shape. Mira, close the bar, and pat down Cana for any booze and confiscate it. Elfman, Laxus, clean up all this mess. Levy, prepare to start transcribing an official record. Wendy, go fetch the Master. Happy and Gray, you sit over here. No, Juvia, you sit over there. Natsu, you and Lucy sit over this side. Loke, Gildarts, sit at that bench there. Gajeel, come over here. Go!"

The guild split in all different directions, carrying out Erza's various orders. When the chaos died down the main floor of Fairy Tail resembled a court room, except for the jury bench replacing the judge's podium.

"What's all this about, Erza?" Makarov asked as Wendy led him into the room.

"You'll see in a minute. Master, I need you seated over there by Gildarts."

Makarov was ushered over to a slightly elevated bench running along the back wall of the guild, taking his place by Gildarts, Mira, Laxus, and Loke. Wendy was directed over to the general audience, seated in rows facing the elevated bench from across an empty stretch of floor. One table ran along the side of this empty square, occupied by a thoroughly confused Natsu and Lucy. They were facing inwards so both the elevated bench and the crowd could see them. Levy perched herself on a stool in the corner, fingers quivering in anticipation above the keys of her typewriter. Reedus stood next to her, painting the scene on an easel. Erza strode out into the middle of the empty space and cleared her throat.

"Welcome, everyone, to the trial of Lucy Heartfilia and Natsu Dragneel"-

"Trial!" Lucy interrupted. "What did we do!?"

"Nothing!" Erza hissed angrily. "And you should be ashamed of yourselves."

Lucy immediately quietened, looking across at Natsu worriedly. Natsu shrugged, a bored expression on his face.

"If you'll look to the main bench, you'll see a panel of respected, experienced, and intelligent judges that I've assembled here today to adjudicate this case impartially."-

"Hey! How come we're not up there?" Wakaba and Macao yelled out angrily.

"Please also look to the corner" Erza continued, ignoring the outburst, "where you'll see court scribe Levy recording the proceedings."

"Way to go Levy!"

"You rock!"

"And finally, Bailiff Gajeel standing in the back, who has my permission to personally deal with any more unauthorised comments from the peanut gallery."

Gajeel smirked evilly as Jet, Droy, Wakaba, and Macao squirmed under his predatory gaze.

"What are the charges?" Lucy asked meekly, thinking over all the things her and Natsu…mainly Natsu…had destroyed out on missions.

"Lucy, Natsu, I charge you both with being in love, how do you plead?"

"Hm? I wasn't listening."


A rush of whispers ran through the guild hall, but they were quickly silenced by the cracking of Gajeel's knuckles.

"You can't charge me with that! It's ridiculous!" Lucy huffed.

Erza smiled warmly at her. "By all means if you don't find the validity of this court acceptable, I offer to you now this golden opportunity to walk out and boycott the trial."

"Fine, I will- Hey!"

Lucy attempted to get out of her seat but found she was glued there by a sticking enchantment.

"Not leaving? Well, on with the case!"

Lucy slumped on the table in defeat while Natsu patted her on the back.

"It's going to be alright, Lucy. I'm sure Erza's play will be over soon."

"Before I commence with my visual evidence, I'd like to refer to a few preliminary events to establish the defendants' relationship. Lucy and Natsu met in Hargeon Town, where Natsu breaks a powerful love enchantment Bora the Prominence had cast on Lucy. He saves her again from being sold into slavery and invites her back to Fairy Tail, something he'd never done to anyone else he'd ever met out on missions. From that point, up until the S-class job a few weeks ago, Lucy and Natsu are inseparable. They form a team and go on every mission together. In fact, both of them will admit that up until a few weeks ago, they had seen each other every single day since they'd met."

Erza turned to Natsu and Lucy for confirmation, to which Natsu nodded enthusiastically, earning him a punch on the arm from Lucy.

"Master Makarov, you've known Natsu since he joined Fairy Tail, how would you describe his behaviour, specifically socially, before the arrival of Lucy."

Makarov mulled the question over for a moment. "Well, he was a fun lad to have around, but frankly he was somewhat of a loner. He rarely went on missions with anyone but Happy. He'd just disappear for weeks at a time and never really had more than a rivalry with the other members of the guild."

"Right, and in your own words, how does that compare to the Natsu of today?"

"Oh, well, it's like night and day. Natsu's stopped taking solo missions, his relationship with Erza and Gray specifically has improved greatly. He doesn't disappear anymore and spends a lot more time just hanging around Magnolia. Rampant destruction aside, he's become the poster boy of Fairy Tail."

"Would you say that Natsu is a happier person since Lucy arrived?"

"Most definitely."

"Thank you, Master."

"Hey! That doesn't mean anything!" Lucy interrupted.

"Shhh Lucy, you can't yell out during a play."

Erza smiled at the two of them. "You're right, there's nothing concrete about that story, I'm just establishing the strength of your relationship"-


"Friendship is a type of relationship."

"Yeah well you're misleading the judges when you say it like that."

The judges pulled their heads together into a huddle and whispered hurriedly, before Gildarts emerged to make a statement.

"The judges side with Ms. Heartfilia, until proven otherwise please refer to their relationship as a 'friendship'."

Erza smiled sweetly, So Lucy is up for the fight? Good.

"The next piece of background information I'd like to establish is the couple's living arrangement.


"Are there not two of you on trial? Or as some would say, a couple?"

"You're clearly twisting the language to misconstrue our relati- friendship!"

"Sustained. Refrain from calling them a couple, if you could." Gildarts announced.

"Anyway" Erza continued, smiling, "As most of you here would know, Lucy lives alone in an apartment by the river. While Natsu lives in a house on the outskirts of town. Despite being of opposite genders, their friendship is so strong that Lucy, an upper-class raised child of the Heartfilia estate, bucks the normal social etiquettes and frequently allows Natsu to spend the night at her home."

"Objection! I do not allow him! He just breaks in! And so do you!"

"Ah yes, but I only break in with Natsu's permission, seeing as he practically lives there."


"That is a rather bold claim to make" Gildarts commented dryly from the judge's bench.

"It is" Erza nodded. I don't have data on hand for how often Natsu has stayed at Lucy's apartment since her move to Magnolia…but I have recorded his visits over the last couple of weeks."


"In the previous 14 nights, Natsu has been at Lucy's apartment on 12 occasions, staying the night 7 of out of those 12 times, and leaving at earliest 10pm on the other 5 nights."

"O-objection…that's an invasion of privacy."

"Overruled, not a valid objection. Go on, Erza."

"Well, using this two week snapshot and extrapolating outwards, it's fair to say that at a minimum, Natsu spends every second night sleeping at Lucy's apartment."

"S-so!? He sleeps on the couch!"

"An open question to the audience, who here regularly sleeps at the residence of someone of the opposite sex, who isn't a blood relative?"

All the Fairy Tail members craned their necks to see if anyone was raising their hands. After a few moments, two of them did.

"Ah, Bisca and Alzack. Please describe your relationship for the court."

"We are uh…married." Alzack said hesitantly, unsure of who he should be helping in the trial.

"And why are you married?"

"Because we are in love, and we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together." Alzack responded promptly.

"Fascinating." Erza pulled out a different sheet of paper. "I'll now read a direct quote from a conversation between myself and Mr. Dragneel. Ahem, Natsu…if you had to spend the rest of your life with only one person, who-


You didn't let me finish!

Didn't have too."

A ripple of excited whispers spread through the crowd, extending to the judge's bench as Mira and Loke immediately huddled together for a private conversation.

"He- I, did you?" Lucy started spluttering.

"Hm? I wasn't listening."

"If I may interject." Gildarts cut across the babble. "I understand that this is just the groundwork of your case, but I feel obliged to step in on behalf of Ms. Heartfilia here. We all know how little thought Natsu puts into anything he says."

There was a murmuring of agreement, Erza noted that Lucy looked oddly torn at Gildart's comments.

"Precisely." Erza went on. "In fact Natsu puts so little thought into his words, you can pretty much guarantee whatever those words are, they're coming straight from the heart…but I digress."

There were a few laughs at Natsu's expense from somewhere in the crowd but eventually everyone settled down again.

"Order. Order." Laxus called out half-heartedly. "If the prosecution is finished spouting anecdotal rubbish, we'll take a quick recess to allow the accused to prepare a defence. Fairy Tail court hereby recognizes the case put forward by Ms. Scarlet, evidence will be presented in ten minutes, break."

Erza smiled. Despite Laxus' demeaning nature, things would go ahead. She looked across at the pair, Natsu laughing at Lucy's attempts to break free of the sticking enchantment, and Lucy getting angry at Natsu for laughing. You two are perfect for each other, and if it takes a court ruling to show you that then so be it.

"You really think you can crack the princess?" Loke smirked as he walked past. "Not for nothing is she the master of keys; that heart of hers is locked up tight."

Erza nodded slowly, "It's impossible for me to unlock her inner feelings. That's why I'm using a crowbar."


"…you may now take the floor."

Erza took a deep breath, this was it. She was sweating profusely, her throat was dry, her stomach churning. This was a performance in front of a crowd. She was acting. On a stage.

Lucy stared at her boldly from the table, Natsu sat next to her with a vacant grin. Remember why you're here, you can't let your friends down!

"Esteemed judges, and the rest of my Fairy Tail comrades. We all know about the friendship of Natsu and Lucy. I didn't need to establish how close they are, I'm sure each and every one of you has their own moment they've witnessed between the two. But from here on out that's not enough. I intend to prove that they are in fact romantically in love, and have that verdict confirmed by a judge's decision, or by the confession of a defendant."

Lucy stuck out her tongue at Erza defiantly.

"And so, I present exhibit A."

Erza activated a Lacrima, displaying a hologram for the whole room to see. It was an enlarged photograph of Natsu and Lucy out on a mission together, huddled up by a campfire. Lucy was hunched over, laughing so hard that tears were running down her cheeks, looking across at Natsu who was shoulder to shoulder next to her. Natsu was comically bug-eyed, staring at a burnt and smoking stick in his fist. His expression somewhere between shock and rage that he'd melted yet another marshmallow, the ashy-gooey remains of previous attempts littered at their feet.

The crowd 'awwed' at first, and then 'oohed' as the point of the picture became more apparent after a few seconds. Lucy was wearing Natsu's scarf.

"H-how…who…?" Lucy spluttered in embarrassment, face going red.

"Lucy, can you confirm that this is indeed you and Natsu in the picture, cozied together for warmth on an overnight mission."

"Where did you"-

"Answer the question, Blondey" Laxus sighed from the judges' bench.

"Y-yes. That's us."

"Would you care to elaborate on the scene for us?"

"Er…well. Even with the fire it was still really cold, there isn't much wind cover out in the flatlands. Gray doesn't even generate body heat so he's no help, Happy is too small, so that just leaves Natsu."

"I see" Erza scoffed, "You chose to snuggle up to Natsu by process of elimination."


"Natsu, how did you feel about being so close to Lucy?" Erza changed direction seamlessly.

"Mmm, much warmer."

"How did you feel on the inside though?"

"Warmer? Like I just said."

"But how did you feel emotionally!?"

"Happier, because I was warmer."

Erza massaged the bridge of her nose, the density was too thick for her to wade through.

"Natsu…do you remember the evening in question?"

"Oh yeah!"

"Really? You do have a notoriously bad memory, and a short attention span."

"No, I remember. It was a happy memory with my friends, even though I couldn't cook the marshmallows properly. Lucy cooked one for me eventually and said I was 'hopeless'."

The crowd awwed again as Lucy punched Natsu on the arm and shushed him.

"That's very nice, Natsu. Tell me, why is Lucy wearing your scarf?"

"Oh! Because it was so cold! She was shivering like crazy and Horologium was off-duty. I guess it's her fault for wearing skimpy clothing though…"

"Yes, Lucy's taste in fashion is interesting to say the least." Erza concurred. "Natsu, if Gray was feeling cold, would you lend him your scarf?"

"Hell no!"

"What about Master Makarov?"

"No way!"


"As if!"


"Uh well, no, I wouldn't, sorry."

"But you let Lucy borrow it, why is that?"

"…Lucy is my special friend…and I trust her completely."

Erza gulped…moment of truth.

"Would you let Happy borrow it? You trust him completely, don't you?"

Natsu frowned in deep thought. The room went dead quiet awaiting his response.

"Uhhh, maybe. I dunno, I guess I would if he needed it…he's important to me too."

The audience awwed again while Lucy raged at Natsu again for being so open, but Erza turned away in annoyance. As cute as it was, it played right into Lucy's hands. "We're just friends!" This hadn't been the breakthrough she'd been looking for.

As if on cue, Erza met eyes with Gildarts, who gave her the look. Time to move on.

Erza cleared her throat. "Exhibit B!"

The Lacrima changed to a new photo, very different from the first. It was a wide shot of the entire guild, posing as a group on some bleachers. Mirajane had organised it for the annual yearbook, however this wasn't the official photo. This appeared to be taken a few moments before everyone started smiling for the camera, and as usual, it was total chaos.

Gajeel hoisting Droy up into the air, arm pulled back to sock him. Erza attempting to yank a bottle of wine out of Cana's clutches. Carla scolding Happy over something while Wendy fussed over an unconscious Panther Lily. Juvia drooling over Gray as he started to absent-mindedly shed his clothes. Loke hitting on Evergreen, and Elfman beginning to activate his Beast Soul magic behind him. It was typical Fairy Tail, and a truer photo than the one they had taken a minute later.

However through all the pandemonium, Lucy and Natsu stood together in the centre of the frame, almost in a different dimension to their surroundings. Lucy was giggling as she attempted to flatten Natsu's spiked hair, which was successfully rebelling against her comb. Natsu was pouting, arms folded, but his eyes were alive, sparkling as they looked into Lucy's.

Lucy groaned in embarrassment, slumping on the table again. "Where are you getting these from…?"

"Lucy" Erza took a deep breath, about to launch another siege on Fortress Heartfilia. "Please share for us the reasoning behind why you're combing Natsu's hair for this photo."

"W-what? Combing doesn't mean anything! I've combed your hair before! This goof was standing next to me and I didn't want people to think I'd- …I mean, I didn't want to be photographed next to some wild man!"

Erza narrowed her eyes, she had a suspicion that Lucy had nearly stepped on a landmine of her own doing, but tiptoed around it at the last second.

"I see…" Erza played along. "You were only worried about who you would be seen associating with. So fixing Natsu's hair was for your own benefit, not his."

"Uh…yes." Lucy answered, double checking to make sure she wasn't agreeing to anything incriminating.

"So why then are you giggling in the picture? You're clearly having a good time."

"Oh, well…" Lucy opened and closed her mouth a few times, struggling to come up with an answer she liked.

"In fact, it seems to me that you two are totally encapsulated in your own little world, living in a moment fuelled by secret love."


"Ms. Heartfilia, I'd be more inclined to side with you if you offered a legitimate counter-argument." Gildarts replied dryly.

Lucy puffed up her cheeks in annoyance, but didn't argue further.

"Is that all from this photo?" Laxus asked, yawning. "This really feels like a waste of time."

"You have to admit, they are looking at each other lovingly, there's no other way to describe it." Mira chipped in, clasping her hands in happiness.

Laxus waved his hand airily. "Maybe, hardly tangible though..."

Erza sighed. Next photo.

"Exhibit C!"

The Lacrima changed again, and the crowd gasped.

"How could you!?" Levy yelled out.

"Scribe! Strike yourself from the record!" Erza ordered.

A shocked buzz ran through the hall as Lucy buried her face in her hands.

The next photo was an aerial shot from inside Lucy's apartment. Natsu was spread out on Lucy's bed, reading her manuscript. Lucy sat next to him, scribbling down some notes on something that Natsu was currently saying, his finger pointing to a line in her novel. Not only was Lucy allowing someone to read her precious work, but by her expression she was enjoying it. A light smile played at her lips as her gaze seemed to hover closer to Natsu's face, than where he was pointing on the page.

"So, we were all made aware about the trust Natsu has in Lucy, no one here but Lucy has even been let near his scarf. But what about Lucy's trust in Natsu? Well, by a show of hands, who here has been given permission to read Lucy's novel?" Erza announced, consulting the audience.

No one budged, people didn't even bother looking around. Everyone knew how protective Lucy was about her writing.

"Interesting." Erza smiled, "A show of hands for people that have been kicked by Lucy for just asking about her novel?"

A lot of people raised their hands. Loke, Cana, Gray, Happy, and Levy raised both hands.

"Levy, let the record show an overwhelming majority of people raised their hand."

Levy stabbed at the typewriter venomously.

"Lucy, why are you allowing Natsu to read your novel in this picture?"

Lucy groaned and sighed but eventually sat up straight and started to answer.

"I needed Natsu's opinion on one thing, that's all. It was to do with fighting and he is more experienced in that than me. It doesn't mean anything! I'm sorry, Levy!"

"You said I would be the first one to read it!" Levy burst out angrily again.


"Yeah yeah…striking it from the record."

"Lucy, how would you describe your relationship with Levy McGarden?"

"We're best friends" Lucy sighed, not meeting Levy's gaze.

"But you trust Natsu more? More than your best friend? What would that make Natsu to you? Something further…?"

"NO! No! He's my best friend too. It's just like, he is always asking and I had writer's block and I thought he could help! I wasn't happy about it!"

"Really? Because your expression says otherwise." Erza zoomed in on Lucy's face, which was the picture of tranquillity.

"Oh, come on, Natsu was reading it for ages, you can't judge me by my expression for one second!"

A smattering of intrigued murmurs ran through the audience and the judges broke into private conversations again. Lucy looked around confused before covering her mouth in shock, realising what she'd just said.

"Oho? Natsu read it 'for ages' did he? Not really 'one thing' then is it? Your stories are catching up to you, Lucy." Erza pounced.

"What I meant to say-… It's like-… I wasn't totally-…" Lucy started stuttering, cracking under the constant pressure.

"Before you tell another lie" Erza interjected, "I'd like to question the photographer, Happy."


"Traitor cat!" Lucy hissed, as Happy smiled mischievously.

"Happy, how long did Lucy allow Natsu to read her novel?" Erza inquired politely.

"Ahh, I'm not so good with time…but for this one it was daytime when they started, and night time when they finished."

"…This one?" Erza asked, eyebrow raising.

"Oh, recently Lucy lets Natsu read it more, but I still can't!" Happy pouted.

"Well, well, well" Erza turned to Lucy again.

"You can't trust the word of this cat! He'll do anything to cause trouble! He could have been bribed with fish!" Lucy burst out.

"Mmm, let it be known the cat is an unreliable source" Gildarts added from the bench. "If there aren't further photos of this that can be confirmed from different dates, let the previous testimony be regarded as conjecture…unless Ms. Heartfilia wants to confirm it for us?"

"NO! The cat is lying!"

"So mean Lucyyyy" Happy pouted again.

"Erza…" Laxus growled. "What are you hoping to achieve here? The court accepts that Lucy trusts Natsu completely, whether or not she'll admit it. The court also accepts that Natsu trusts Lucy completely, and would probably happily admit it. The problem is that trust, however great, does not equal love. So if you've finished making your point here I'd like you to move on."

"You two better be in love…"


The buzz of the crowd grew louder as people broke into their own conversations and theories.

"We're going to call a short recess" Gildarts announced, "The people are getting restless...and at Fairy Tail that's never a good thing. Evidence resumes in 10 minutes."

Erza sighed, 3 punches landed and no knockout, only two swings left. The target was shaken, but determined, and the recess would help her regain composure.

"How's that crowbar going, Erza?" Loke smirked as he walked past.

"It's wedged in there…I just can't find the right leverage" Erza sighed.


"Order. Order." Laxus called out. "Go at it, Erza, but keep it trim, some of us have things to do today."

Erza nodded as she strode back out to the open floor space, activating the Lacrima to show the next photo. It's time to change tactics.


A roar of excitement ran through the male section of the audience as the gigantic hologram turned to display a full body shot of Lucy at the beach, stripped down to her favourite white bikini.

"WHAT THE HELL! YOU CAN'T SHOW THAT HERE!" Lucy raged, going completely red.

"I'll allow it" Makarov and Loke cut in simultaneously.

"This is the worst day of my life…" Lucy muttered, burying her face in her hands yet again.

"Natsu!" Erza barked suddenly.


"How do you feel looking at Exhibit D, this picture of Lucy?"

"Happy! Lucy is a weirdo but she pretends she isn't so it's funny when she does weird things!"

The crowd laughed as Lucy groaned. "What is this? Humiliate Lucy day?"

"You could always confess" Erza added slyly.


"You'll never confess your feelings?"

"N-no! I mean yes! You know what I mean! Objection!"

"Sustained, get back on topic, Erza, or move on" Laxus ordered irritably.

Erza nodded. "Natsu, do you understand what physical attraction is?"

"Hm? Ohhh….yeah! I remember Igneel explaining some stuff about birds and bees."

Gildarts and Makarov both quietly breathed a sigh of relief.

"Right, so looking at this photo of Lucy…" Erza enlarged it to the approval of some in the audience.

"…would you say that you find Lucy physically attractive? Take your time."

Natsu stared at the hologram, unblinking, brow furrowed. The court room waited, and waited, and waited.

"IDIOT! What's taking you so long!?" Lucy burst out angrily.

"I want to do a good job for Erza's play!"

"For the last time, we're not in a play!"

"Natsu! Answer the question!" Erza boomed out, also losing her patience.

"Yes! I do find Lucy physically attractive. Her nose is cute, her skin is soft, her eyes are pretty, her hair is beautiful, and her body is"-

"That'll do!" Erza cut across, going a little pink. It was nothing compared to Lucy though who looked like she was burning up.

"Did you really mean that?" Lucy quietly whispered to Natsu as Erza got distracted by something Laxus had said.

"Huh? Yeah, of course. Why?" Natsu whispered back.

"Why!? …Why did you never tell me before?" Lucy whispered again.

Natsu shrugged. "I didn't want you to think I was a weirdo."

There was a faint ringing in Lucy's ears as the whole world seemed to melt outside of the bubble she and Natsu were in. Outside of that bubble however things were becoming ugly.

"But I still have one photo left!" Erza raged.

"I don't care! You said you would prove love! Instead you've proved friendship, trust, and base attraction, this whole thing is a big waste of time!" Laxus raged back.

"No it isn't! This is really important, the fate of love and happiness hangs in the balance!" Mira jumped to Erza's defence.

Laxus snorted, "Of course you'd say that, no prizes for whoever can guess why Erza selected you to be up here."

"In case you've forgotten, I'm up here because I'm one of the most powerful wizards in Fiore" Mira hissed, eyes going dark.

"Bailiff, please break them up" Erza ordered.

"Uhhhh… I think I see Jet and Droy passing notes…I'll go deal with them instead…"

"Gajeel! Laxus! Mira!" Erza started to panic, her plan was falling apart.

"THIS TRIAL ISN'T MANLY ENOUGH!" Elfman roared, ripping his shirt open.

"I'm sorry, Erza" Gildarts spoke over the top of the bubbling commotion around them. "I'm going to have to throw this case out. It was a valiant attempt, but it was really either a confession or bust, you can't prove love. Master, if you'll make it final…?"

Makarov magnified his voice to get over the noise. "Fairy Tail court rules in favour of a no-contest, Lucy and Natsu are neither in nor out of love. Guild dismissed."

Erza hung her head in defeat as fights broke out around her, always a sure occurrence after the wizards of Fairy Tail were couped up together for too long. This…is my total and complete loss. I've failed you, Natsu, Lucy.

Erza turned to the pair in question, and was surprised to see them in quiet conversation. A bemused smile playing at Natsu's lips, a broader one painted across Lucy's face. I better go apologise…

"Lucy! Natsu!" Erza jogged over to them as they both looked up from what they were talking about.

"No more questions…" Lucy pleaded weakly as Natsu laughed next to her.

"No more questions! I promise!" Erza bowed her head. "I'm sorry for putting you through that…I really wanted you to be in love. I've released your sticking enchantment, you're free to go."

"It's alright…I'm sorry you didn't get to finish your case, It really felt like you were building to a big finale."

"Do you want to see my last photo? Just the two of you?"

Lucy and Natsu looked at each other cautiously. "I don't see why not…"

Erza smiled and pulled the physical copy out from her pocket dimension, dropping it on the table in front of them.

"Oh! I remember this!" Lucy smiled, absorbing the scene.

Lucy and Natsu were slow dancing at the Magic Dance Ball. Their hands were intertwined, their bodies only a few centimetres apart. Lucy was looking up into Natsu's face, positively beaming, while Natsu looked down at her with his typical smirk.

"This is a really nice photo, Erza. What were you going to say about it?" Lucy asked, still engrossed in the picture.

"Not much…" Erza admitted sheepishly. "It was just going to segue into my closing statement. When you look at the four photos of you and Natsu together…" Erza pulled out the other physical copies and dropped them on the table, "…you look so happy. Happier than you look around anyone else. These faces you make…Natsu is the only one who can make you look like that. He's the only one who can make you cry with laughter, burst into a fit of giggling, or smile so wide you radiate like the sun. And Lucy, you're the only one who can make Natsu sit still long enough to even be in a photo! If you care about each other that much, and trust each other that much, and like each other that much…I don't see how you could fall in love with anyone else but each other…" Erza trailed off sadly, but was shaken out of her misery by the sound of Lucy and Natsu laughing.

"W-what's so funny? I was being serious!"

Then Erza saw it. Lucy and Natsu had been holding hands under the table for the entire conversation.

"W-what? When!? HOW!? WHEN!?" Erza yelled in shock.

"Shhh! Keep your voice down!" Lucy pleaded, although it was hardly necessary, benches were being destroyed in the background as the guild erupted into a post-trial brawl; the love-is-beautiful faction led by Mira, against the waste-of-time faction led by Laxus.

"When!?" Erza hissed under her breath. "You were in love this whole time?! You are truly a mastermind"-

"We aren't in love!" Lucy hissed back angrily, before regaining her composure. "But looking at all the photos and listening to you speak…Natsu and I had a talk and we decided to start dating…we've both been too scared to take the next step because we didn't want to lose what we already had."

"I wasn't scared, I was just an 'emotional dunce'!" Natsu boasted proudly.

Lucy rolled her eyes next to him, but couldn't hide the smile spreading across her face.

"Love isn't as simple as someone making you laugh or taking care of you…but everything you've done today…I guess we'll never find out if we don't try. Thank you, Erza." Lucy finished.

Erza breathed a sigh of relief, her friends were happy. A job well done, Erza. Now everything can go back to-

"Gray! Juvia just wants to protect you!"

"Knock it off, woman! I've got a score to settle with Rust-bucket!" Gray snarled, trying to shrug Juvia off of his back.

"Gihihihi. Bring it on, Snowman!" Gajeel snickered.

"Gajeel! At least let go of Jet before you get involved in another fight!" Levy scolded.

Maybe there are some other couples out there that need my help…

"Don't even think about it…" Heaven Erza warned from the right.

"I bet Master has some juicy photos…" Flame Erza whispered slyly from the left.

"Oh boy…" Lucy sighed, watching Erza's expression change. "I'm going to bail, Natsu. You can stay here and fight if you like though. I'll just meet you-"

Natsu gripped Lucy's hand tightly, and flashed her his trademark wide smile.

"Let's grab something to eat in town…I'll even wear something nice so you can show me off."


Natsu burst out laughing, and as usual, Lucy couldn't resist joining in.

Finished! Thank you for reading this all the way through.

If you enjoyed it, why not check out my other story, 'The Taste of Fire', which is a NaLu one-shot.

Not sure about what to write next, I started writing fanfiction with two stories in mind, and now I've finished both of them. I'll have to brainstorm some new ideas and hopefully come back with something good.

Thank you again to everyone who favourited, followed, and reviewed. Especially those who actually took the time to write reviews for individual chapters, Ransome Note, Senbei x Cup Ramen, SoraTheSkyDragonSlayer, fanficlove2014, NoraRabbit, semi-absorbed, and arisapphyre. It was extremely encouraging to view your thoughts and feedback. Bye for now!