(This fic has been cross-posted to my Ao3 account, artsy_alice.)

A/N: Last story!

Loke and Natsu try to find out what inspired Lucy to write her latest novel.


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BETWEEN YOU

09: Plot Bunny

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It started when the boys declared a marathon. They were going to binge watch this awesome show that someone at work recommended. The next day was a holiday, so they can sleep in and spend it procrastinating for once.

"Come on, Lucy! Take a break!" Natsu said. He and Loke were sitting on the couch with drinks and junk food, ready to start. "This show's great, a lotta people say so."

"Mm-hm, what's it about?" Lucy asked, back turned to them as she made coffee for herself.

"S'about magic and friendship and family! The main dude is kickass! He's got dragon fire breath or something!"

"Sounds interesting..."

"Take the night off, Lucy." Loke said this time. "You need to rest."

"I'll rest tomorrow, don't worry." Lucy assured her flatmates. "I have to finish writing this thing tonight. You boys have fun."

They both groaned in complaint, and Lucy almost gave in upon the sight of both of them pouting childishly at her. She held on strong, though - she had a deadline to beat. So she picked up her coffee and kissed them on the cheek before retreating to her room. They wished her luck in return.

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Around dawn, Lucy stood up from her desk, feeling renewed despite her all-nighter. She was still hearing the faint sounds from the TV, so she assumed that Natsu and Loke were still watching their show.

She bounded towards the living room, excited to declare that she had just finished a novel - when she caught sight of the two on the couch.

Marathon, huh? How is this proper binge-watching when they sleep on it? Really. She rolled her eyes as she looked at their awkward position. Loke fell asleep sitting up (how does he do that?) and Natsu was using the other guy's lap as his pillow.

Deciding not to wake them up, Lucy just smiled and turned the TV and DVD player off. She got blankets and draped it on each of them.

Maybe she'll just declare her accomplishment when they all wake up at noon. She was feeling really sleepy herself, anyway.

Depositing her now-empty cup of coffee in the sink, Lucy went back to her room and laid down on her bed.

But for all her sleepiness earlier, she couldn't seem to actually fall asleep. After half an hour of tossing and turning, Lucy gave up and went back to her laptop.

She thought she'll double check the novel draft. Maybe do some proof-reading? But instead she found herself face to face with a brand new document.

And despite herself, she started typing.

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"Eh, you just finished one and you have another comin' already?" Natsu asked over their late lunch. They ordered some takeout. Some kind of weird fusion cuisine they wanted to try. "That's crazy."

"He means to say it's impressive." Loke added with his usual gentle smile.

Lucy chuckled, shrugging off the compliments. "Yeah, it's... tentative. I don't know if I'll be releasing it, really. I just... it's kinda random."

"Random? What's it about?" Loke asked.

Before Lucy could answer, Natsu complained, "Aw, there's a big carrot in mine. I hate carrots when it's this big."

Loke sighed. "Give it here."

Natsu just picked up the slice of vegetable with his chopsticks and casually popped it into Loke's open mouth.

"Romance." Lucy said then. When they looked at her, she realized that she was staring. "I mean. Love story. The new novel's a love story."

The two nodded in understanding, knowing better than to ask the plot of a novel that's just been started. Lunch resumed.

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A few months later, Natsu and Loke sat on the couch again, watching an interview with Lucy about her newly-released novel. She was currently on tour for book signings, with the occasional TV guestings.

"Man, this new book's a hit, huh." Natsu said. "Is it the one she said she didn't plan to write?"

"I believe it's that one, yeah." Loke answered.

They watched as the interviewer asked Lucy about the inspiration for her novel. The blonde smiled charmingly before answering. "Well, it's actually partly inspired by two good friends of mine. I won't name names, but they're really special to me and really inspired me while writing this."

Loke raised an eyebrow, humming in thought. Meanwhile Natsu asked, "The book's about two guys, right?"

"Yep."

"D'you think we know those guys? She said they're good friends, so... maybe Laxus and Freed?"

Loke nodded in consideration. "Could be. Freed and Lucy are pretty close. Or maybe it's Sting and Rogue."

"Yeah, Rogue hangs out with Levy and Lucy a lot."

"We don't know if she based the book on two guys, though. She might have based it on any other couple, and just made them both guys in the book for some reason."

Natsu looked at his companion. "Great, now I'm curious."

Loke stood up. "I think she left a copy or two lying around here. Let me check."

Lucy had left her room open during her leave. The boys tended to borrow pens and other stuff from her desk so she never really locked her room whenever she was out.

Loke stepped inside and found several copies of the book in her desk - maybe copies she set aside for her shelf, or to give to certain people. He figured it wouldn't hurt to take one just for browsing.

Natsu was waiting for him to come back and was pleased to see him holding the book. Loke read the synopsis at the back as he sat down, but didn't get anything really useful for their investigation, so he flipped it open and started reading.

"Tell me if you get something." Natsu said, watching the rest of the interview on TV. It was on its closing remarks now, Lucy telling the audience where her next signings would be and thanking the fans who already went to the events and supported her book.

He flipped channels in boredom and settled on some cartoons. It was in the middle of an episode when Loke spoke up.

"Um, buddy?"

Natsu looked at him, weirded out. "Why're 'ya callin' me 'buddy', what happened?"

"It's just... Liam is a model."

"Who's Liam?"

"The guy here. In the book."

"Oh! He's a model like you! Neat."

"And the other guy... um. Nate - he's a gym coach."

"Huh, that's like me! Is he cool?"

Loke looked at him pointedly.

"What?" Natsu asked.

"You said to find out who Lucy based these guys on."

Natsu stared back at him for a while before coming to a realization. He laughed. "Nah, maybe Lucy just ran outta ideas for jobs and used ours."

"If you say so." Loke said quietly, continuing his reading.

"You're gonna read the whole thing?" Natsu asked.

"Maybe." Loke shrugged. "It's interesting so far."

A few minutes later, Natsu got his own copy and started reading as well. He was bored and his flatmate was immersed in the book, so he decided to try and see what's up.

After a while of silence, Loke asked, "Do you see it?"

"Yeah." Natsu answered. "Yeah, I see it."

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"Dude." Natsu said. He was on the third chapter. "Dude, that's sweet. I remember you doin' this. Where did you buy those doughnuts again?"

"On a store near the studio." Loke answered. "Remind me to take some home tomorrow. What flavor do you want?"

"The one with the chocolate inside it."

"Noted."

"I'm not gonna kiss you for that though."

"I'm not expecting you to."

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They were on chapter seven when Natsu spoke up again. "How does Lucy know how this stuff goes?"

Loke didn't answer.

"Did you... teach her?"

"Natsu, I don't have anything to teach her. I've never slept with another guy."

"Same."

"It really is quite well-written, though."

"Maybe she asked Freed and-"

"I'm sorry, I'll stop you there. I don't need the mental image of my friends in this scene."

"Oh shit, they got caught."

"What?!"

"Keep readin'!"

"Damn. This is Nate's fault. He's so loud."

"Well, Liam needs to be more gentle!"

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Chapter eleven. Loke yelped when he got a half-hearted kick on his side. "Ow! What?!"

"You cheated on me!"

"Excuse me, we're not a thing and you left me first!"

"Who is it? WHO IS IT?!"

"None of your business. And I can sleep with whoever I want."

They both fell silent as they kept reading. They had to know who it was.

"You bastard, you slept with Gray?!"

"...are you sure it's Gray?"

"I dunno, it said here 'naked' so I thought of Gray."

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Chapter seventeen.

"Dude, you didn't have to do that." Natsu whispered, still reading. "I forgave you already. Two chapters ago."

"I wanted to do it." Loke answered. "You're the love of my life. I can't lose you."

"Wait a minute." Natsu said. "We're almost done here. I think we missed the point."

Loke looked at him. "And the point is...?"

"Lucy wrote a book about us." Natsu said.

Loke nodded. "Without tellin' us. It's too late now, though. It's out in stores."

"No, no, no - what we hafta think about here is..." Natsu started, thinking hard about it. "How do we get back at her?"

Loke looked at his companion thoughtfully, then back at the book. After a moment's silence, he looked up again and smirked. "I have an idea."

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"Lu-chan?" Levy asked worriedly. They were meeting up after Lucy got back from her book signing tour. Lucy was always in a great mood after these things, so seeing her friend's distraught expression bothered Levy. "Are you alright?"

"No. I'm not alright." Lucy said, groaning into her hands. "It's terrible, Levy-chan. It's the worst."

"What happened?"

"See, when I got home yesterday. Well, Natsu and Loke…"

"What did they do?"

"IT'S TERRIBLE!" Lucy screeched. "They were… they were messing with me, Levy-chan! They were quoting the book!"

Levy stared.

"They memorized the lines and they're reciting whole scenes with each other! And Loke keeps feeding Natsu the goddamn doughnuts! AND THEY'RE SAYING I LOVE YOU TO EACH OTHER NOW! And I'm not sure if he's in on it but they called Gray over and- Levy-chan, they're haunting me! Stop- STOP LAUGHING!"

"They're seeking revenge, Lu-chan!" Levy said, still catching her breath from laughter.

Lucy just sighed and let her friend laugh it out.

"H-Hey, Lu-chan... does this mean we're getting a sequel?"

"LEVY-CHAN!"

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fin.


A/N: I think it's a testament to how great Lucy's writing is, that Loke and Natsu ended up shipping themselves.