Magnolia 99th Precinct, Meeting Room
Tuesday, 10:02 AM

"Annnnd with three cases solved so far this week, that gives me…" Lucy finished writing the number on the board with a flourish, "…31 solved cases." She capped the marker before she waltzed over to his table to shoot him a smug little grin. "Looks like you might be losing after all Dragneel."

Natsu scowled at her as everyone in the meeting room cheered and applauded. She quirked a saucy eyebrow at him and he rolled his eyes. "Alright alright, laugh all you want, but I have until Friday so don't get too cocky. I am this close to solving all my cases," he said, kicking his feet up onto the table.

"Really, Detective Dragneel," Laxus crossed his arms, "Then can you tell me about your Aggravated Assault Case?

"Yes I can tell you about it!" Natsu pointed a finger at him, "I can tell you that I have no new leads whatsoever. But I will. Soon."

"And the Santiago Drug Bust?"

"Nothing. Zip. Nada."

"And what about the Linetti Street Arson?"

"Once again, I got nothing. But that doesn't mean I won't solve them all, I just need some time!"

"Mmmm I don't know," Cana drawled as she spun in her chair, "Sounds like you might be in a….slump."

The resounding chorus of 'oooooooh' made Natsu grit his teeth. He shot a glare at Gray who was sitting next to him, making the most noise. "Look, I'm not in a slump okay," he said to the room.

"You're not?" Lucy asked incredulously, "Scoreboard," she said, pointing at the whiteboard at the front of the meeting room and sure enough, she had a pretty little 31 underneath her name while he had a pathetic 24 under his.

"Th-that's nothing okay! I'm gonna catch up in no time," he sputtered, "I'm just taking a little break. With all the solving that I've done, it can get tiring you know!"

"Awfully long break you've been taking then," Gray chimed in, "How long has it been since you solved a case? Three, four days?"

"Actually, it's been five, ice dick! Dammit, that didn't help me at all why did I say that," Natsu muttered. "Whatever! I'm not in a slump, let's just leave it at that."

"Alright alright settle down team," Laxus ordered, "Let's not bother Dragneel anymore about his…slump."

"Not a slump!"

"Anyways," he continued, "Let's turn our attention to our newest case."

With a press of a button, an image of a dead body splayed on a wooden floor showed up on their projector. The victim was male, looked to be in his 40's, and had a blood oozing from the back of his skull.

"This is Mason Schiller," Laxus began, "He was a well respected attorney who was found dead by his wife in their home this morning at around 8:15. Forensics say that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the back of the skull."

"God can you imagine hitting someone so hard they died?" Natsu mimed whacking Gray with a baseball bat. "It has to be one helluva swing." Gray responded by kicking the legs of his chair and Natsu fell over with a yelp.

"I can imagine it," Erza spoke up, eyes disturbingly glazed over, "It feels good."

"Okay…" Laxus continued, giving his detective a wary look. "I would like Detective Scarlett and Detective Fullbuster to check out the scene of the crime. Interview the wife, see if she knows anything pertinent to the case. Detective Dragneel and Detective Heartfilia," he nodded towards the other two, "Knock on the doors and ask if the neighbors have heard anything."

"What?!" Natsu scrambled to his feet, "You're giving me door duty? I'm better than that!"

"Um, excuse me that should be my line," Lucy stood up as well, "You can't stick me with him, I'm actually doing well solving cases!"

"That's exactly why," Laxus said, crossing his arms as he eyed his detectives. "Since Dragneel seems to be in a slump, perhaps being with you will help him out."

"That's not fair! He'll probably just slow me down if anything!"

"Hey!" Natsu shouted, "First of all, I'm not in a slump. Second, you should be honored to have someone so devilishly handsome with you." Lucy groaned and rolled her eyes while everyone in the room sighed heavily. She looked pleadingly up at the captain but Laxus stared back at her stony faced.

"Heartfilia. Help him," Laxus stressed and she reluctantly nodded.

"Whatever!" Natsu scoffed, "I'll show you, I'll show all of you. I'm not in a slump! I'm gonna solve this case and I'm ," he said, pointing at the blonde detective, " gonna win this bet. Get ready for the worst date ever Heartfilia."

"Only if you get ready to have your head shaved," she smirked.

Veteran Apartments
11:17 AM

"I am not in a slump, only bad detectives go in slumps," Natsu grumbled as he and his partner walked out of the apartment elevator.

"Oh just admit it, you're in a slump!" Lucy threw him a look, "It's been days since you've closed a case and no real substantial leads have popped up for any of your new ones. It's not a bad thing you know, being in a slump."

"It is too a bad thing," Natsu pouted, "God, I just can't believe how unlucky I am with these cases. And now I'm stuck on door duty with you!"

Lucy rolled her eyes. "Hey, this might just be the break you need, who knows?"

"Yeah yeah, whatever" he muttered grumpily.

They finally stopped in front of the first door, with a shiny 601 pinned to it. "Hey look," Lucy said, nodding towards the floor where some newspapers were, "Wall Street Journal, high apartment in a nice neighborhood? Twenty bucks he's some smart, attractive bachelor."

Natsu thought about it for a quick second before shrugging. "Yeah sure, I'll take that bet. Police! Open up!" he shouted, knocking loudly on the door.

They waited a few minutes until they heard the door unlock. It swung open to reveal, much to his joy, an elderly man who looked up at them with kind grandfatherly eyes. Natsu let out a loud bark of laughter while Lucy groaned quietly to herself.

"Oh hello there kind sir!" Natsu grinned, bending down a little to meet the height of the elderly man. "We're so sorry for bothering you! I'm Detective Right All the Time and this is my partner, Detective Terrible Detective!

Lucy growled quietly at her partner. "This doesn't change the fact that you're in a slump," she hissed.

"Not a slump!" he sang, "And now you owe me twenty bucks!"

Rolling her eyes, she and old man stood there watching him as he cackled.

Magnolia 99th Precinct
2:09 PM

"Alright team, what do we have so far?"

"Fullbuster and I went to investigate the crime scene," Erza reported from her desk. "We know Schiller was killed with a blunt object but we couldn't find the murder weapon anywhere so the killer must've taken it with him."

"Did you guys question the wife?" Laxus asked.

"Yeah we did," Gray answered, tiredly flipping through a folder. "She said she was out to get a manicure at her favorite nail salon and when she came back, she found her husband dead on the floor. We visited the nail salon after we left the apartment and her alibi checks out, she was there at the time of the murder."

Laxus sighed before he turned to the other pair. "Dragneel, Heartfilia, what about you two?"

"Nothing sir," Lucy answered regretfully. "We asked everyone on the floor if they had heard or seen anything suspicious and we didn't get any useful information." The precinct slumped in their chairs at her answer and Natsu let out a loud noise of distress.

"God, we're not getting anywhere with this!" he groaned, reaching up to rub in between his eyebrows. "Every minute we spend tryna figure this out is more time for the killer to get away."

"I understand the frustration but we must keep investigating," Laxus said but even he looked disheartened.

Erza sighed, "To be quite honest, Fullbuster and I were hoping you two had discovered something after our search came up empty."

"No, nothing at all," Lucy sighed. "I suppose no one in the complex really socialized because very few people recognized Schiller. Although, their neighbors did tell us that they had extremely loud sex during the day," she finished with a mildly disturbed look on her face. "Did the nail salon say anything of use?"

"Nah, they just said that Mrs. Schiller comes in every Monday morning for her manicure and this morning was no different. According to the workers, she got acrylics, whatever that means, and spent at least an hour which was more than enough time for the murder to occur," Gray answered.

"Acrylics are kinda like fake hard nails that you put over your real ones," Natsu began, much to the surprise of the others. "You jus, I, nevermind," he trailed off at the odd looks.

The team of detectives let out a collective sigh. It seemed like a cloud of disappointment weighed heavily on their shoulders as they all more or less hung their heads.

Suddenly, Natsu straightened. "Wait, Lucy, what did you say their neighbors said about them?"

Lucy looked at him oddly. "What, that they had loud sex during the day? What about it?"

Natsu grinned at her. "Don't you see, apparently they had loud sex during the day. The day. How could that be possible when Mr. Schiller was a partner at a law firm, probably working his ass off every day to finance his wife's luxuries?"

"Maybe he took days off for his wife?" Gray shrugged half-heartedly.

"Or maybe, she has a super secret lover that comes by to sex her up during the daytime," Natsu said with a confident look. "And maybe, that super secret lover also decided he wanted Mr. Schiller out of the picture."

"So you're saying Mrs. Schiller had an affair and her lover is the murderer?" Laxus questioned, crossing his arms thoughtfully.

"Bingo!" Natsu pointed at him, "I say we question Mrs. Schiller and once we get a name, we have our killer!"

The captain nodded slowly in agreement, "Alright, that sounds good detective. Why don't you give Mrs. Schiller a call and once you get a name, take Fullbuster with you since he seems to be good at talking up guys."

"That was one time," Gray muttered to himself.

"Alright! Take that slump!" Natsu shouted cheerfully, "Let's go catch a murderer!"

Rochester Apartments
Wednesday, 9:47 AM

"Alright, so his name is Henri Renault, tall buff French dude, guilty of a few misdemeanors but nothing serious, well until now." Natsu explained as he and Gray walked down the hallway of the small apartment complex. "It says his last known address was this place so hopefully he hasn't moved or else we have some tracking down to do."

"Geez, I've never seen you so motivated about solving a case before," Gray dropped casually as he eyed the apartments they were passing.

"What? What are you talking about, I'm always excited to catch a perp," Natsu scoffed.

"Yes but never this excited," Gray remarked, "You must really wanna win that bet don't you?"

"Well my first priority is to get out of this not slump but yes, I do wanna win that bet."

"Awfully eager about taking Heartfilia out on a date aren't you?"

"A bad date. You forget the word bad."

Gray shrugged at him. "A date is a date dude and it seems to me like you're interested in her."

Natsu rolled his eyes at his partner. "Look it's not like that at all. We made a bet, if she wins she gets to do whatever she wants to my 'ridiculously pink' hair even though we all know it's actually salmon, and if I win, I get to torture her with the worst date ever, complete with all the cheesy romantic cliches that she hates."

"Aha!" Gray exclaimed, "So you admit, it is romantic!"

"No! Dammit Gray do you listen at all?" Natsu glared at his smirking sidekick. "She hates all that crap. I'm doing this to torture her not because I like her or anything. Can you even imagine?" he scoffed, "Me? Liking Heartfilia?"

His partner snorted at him in disbelief. "Don't act like you didn't have a dopey lovestruck face when she shot that Bora guy and saved you."

"That wasn't a lovestruck face okay! That was a look of admiration that I had for a fellow detective," he grumbled.

Gray gave him a completely unconvinced look. "I still think you're going about it in a really weird way. I mean, why a date? Why not make her your personal maid or something?"

"Clearly someone has been reading too much online smut," Natsu smirked. Gray responded with a punch in the arm. "Ouch, man that hurt what the fuck. Look, this is a good idea okay!"

"Right, whatever you say," Gray brushed him aside as they came to stop in front of an apartment door. "I still think you like her."

"Nyeh nyeh nyeh, shows what you know," he muttered under his breath as his partner raised a fist to knock on the door.

"Police! Open up!" Gray shouted as he pounded on the door. The duo heard shuffling behind the wall and with a click of the lock, the door swung open to reveal a young attractive women looking at them curiously.

"Hello, can I help you?" she asked, looking between the two of them apprehensively.

"Hi yes, is there a Henri Renault here?" Natsu asked, peering behind her into the apartment. From what he could see, the living room and part of the kitchen was empty. From the corner of his eye, he could see Gray also peeking in.

"Um, yes that's my boyfriend, we live together but he's not here right now," she answered.

"He's your boyfriend?" Natsu blurted out, exchanging a look with Gray. "Yikes."

"I'm sorry," Gray interjected, "Can you tell us where he is currently?"

"Oh, what I meant was that he's been gone for a few days. He went on a business trip to California last week," she blinked at them innocently. "He's supposed to come back tomorrow."

The pair of detectives frowned at her. "Wait, so are you saying he's been gone for days?" Natsu asked, eyebrows furrowing.

"W-well yes," the woman stuttered, looking nervous at their stern looks, "I dropped him off at the airport myself. I-I'm sorry, is there something wrong? Did he do something?"

"Ma'am, have you talked to him since he left for his trip? Has he perhaps, sent you pictures or anything?" Gray asked while Natsu inwardly cursed. This was the only real lead they had so far and there was no way it was a dead end.

"Oh yes!" the woman fumbled to pull her phone out of her pocket, turning it on to go to her messages. "Here, he sent me pictures of when he went to Santa Monica Pier and the beach." She showed the phone to them and sure enough, there was their suspect at the beach, grinning happily in a series of pictures. Gray winced and Natsu let a loud groan escape his mouth.

"No no no, that can't be, it has to be him, we have no other lead!" Natsu said, looking desperately at his partner.

Gray shrugged helplessly and gestured towards the phone. "I don't know man, it looks like our guy is really in California. You know what that means."

"Noooo!" Natsu groaned as he came to a painful conclusion.

"I'm in a slump!"

Magnolia 99th Precinct
1:10 PM

"Alright, I got the report back from the photo analysts and the pictures are legit," Lucy sighed, leaning back into her chair, "They haven't been shopped, they're real."

"Dammit," Natsu cursed, dropping his head into his hands as the others groaned. "He was our only lead and now we're back to nothing. What are we gonna do now?"

"Who knows man but we have to figure out what to say to the wife," Gray said, propping his head up with his fist.

"What why?"

"She's coming by to visit the precinct," Erza replied, briefly looking up from her desktop. "Wants to see how we're doing I suppose."

"Oh great," Natsu's head flopped back over his chair, "What do we say? 'Sorry your husband's been killed but we have no clue who did it and we also have no leads whatsoever. Our bad.'"

"Well, whatever it is we gotta figure it out ASAP because here they come," Lucy said, looking up at the sound of the elevator chime. The elevator doors opened and out walked Captain Laxus, escorting the grieving widow, Mrs. Schiller. Her blonde hair was pulled back in a severe bun and she was dressed head to toe in black. Next to the large hulking frame of the captain, she looked even more small and sad.

"Team, Mrs. Schiller has decided to grace us with a visit," Laxus boomed, nodding towards the smaller woman.

"Hello everyone," she said tremulously, blinking up at them with watery blue eyes. Natsu saw his fellow detectives' faces fall in sympathy and even he felt a tug at his heart. "I just wanted to say thank you so much for your hard work, it means a lot to know that Magnolia's finest is trying their hardest to find my husband's killer."

"Oh it is our honor Mrs. Schiller," Lucy said, standing up from her desk. "We just hope that you're doing okay," she finished, looking at the woman sympathetically.

"I'm doing as well as I can be, I just, oh no," she broke off as her voice began crack and Natsu felt his heart crack at how utterly devastated she looked. She took out a handkerchief to dab lightly at her eyes and the entire precinct made small noises of sympathy. "Oh look at me, I'm such a mess," she laughed weakly.

"Oh no, I wouldn't say that," Lucy rushed to comfort the woman, "I'd say you look amazing all things considered."

But Mrs. Schiller waved her off. "Oh hush dear you don't need to lie, I've been so stressed and anxious lately because of all that has happened. Look, I've even picked up my old habit of biting my fingernails!" She held out her hand for them to see and Natsu grimaced when he saw that she had chewed almost all of her bare fingernails down to the skin.

"Anyways," she continued, "I just wanted to say thank you before I left. I'm going to be gone for some time, I figured being in another place will be good for me."

"Oh? Where are you going?" Natsu asked.

"Oh probably to visit family in Europe," she waved a hand. "I'll be back in time for the funeral but I can't stay here any longer, there's just too many…" she paused to dab her wet eyes, "…memories."

"That's completely understandable," Lucy nodded at her, "I hope you have a safe flight and remember, let us know if you need anything."

"Detective Heartfilia is correct," Laxus added, "Please stay in contact with us, we will do our best to catch the murderer."

The widow smiled tearfully at the precinct and waved goodbye. "Bless you all, thank you again," she said as Laxus escorted her out.

"Man, I feel so bad for her," Lucy sighed, settling back down in her chair, "I can't imagine what she's going through."

"Yeah, did you see her face?" Gray asked, "She must've really loved her husband."

"Not enough to not cheat on him though," Natsu added, pursing his lips.

Gray shrugged. "True, but it's not like she wanted him dead you know? She must be devastated."

The precinct hummed in agreement before they dove back into their work. Natsu leaned back heavily against his chair and let himself get lost in thought.

He really did feel bad for her, he couldn't even begin to understand what she was going through. To have your husband ripped away from you like that, it must have taken some time to really sink poor woman just looked so broken and sad that his heart really went out to her. Not to mention the fact that she probably had to deal with the funeral and everything, no wonder she was so stressed and anxious.

And then Natsu figured it out.

"Guys," he said, standing up slowly from his desk, "I know who the murderer is."

Veteran Apartments
2:11 PM

"Freeze! You're under arrest for the murder of Mr. Schiller!" Natsu yelled as he and his crew kicked down the door of the apartment, surprising the person inside.

"What is the meaning of this?" Mrs. Schiller shouted, her hand coming up to her chest in surprise. All of her luggage was out in the living room and it was clear that she had been ready to leave for the airport at any time.

"Exactly what I said earlier," Natsu replied, smirking confidently at her, "You're under arrest Mrs. Schiller, or shall I say, Mrs. Murderer."

"That was horrible," Lucy muttered, keeping her gun trained on the woman.

"What? You can't possibly think that I killed my own husband?" she asked, looking perfectly aghast at their accusation.

"We don't just think you killed him, we know you did, just like we know you didn't go to the nail salon Monday morning because you were too busy killing your husband!"

"That's not true," she huffed angrily, "You can ask anyone down there, they can all say that I was there Monday morning!"

"Oh you are correct, that is what they said but tell me Mrs. Schiller," Natsu trailed off suggestively, "For someone who supposedly got acrylics, why are your nails so bare?"

The subsequent gasp that spilled from the self-made widow's mouth made Natsu grin in satisfaction.

"O-oh, you don't know what you're talking about," she stammered, looking slightly more flustered.

"Oh yes, I think I do," he answered, slowly stalking closer. The team spread out around him trapped the woman, blocking all of the exits. "It wasn't hard for you to pay off those woman at the nail salon, was it? With all the money your husband makes, it probably didn't even make a dent."

Mrs. Schiller slowly backed away as they advanced, pulling one of her suitcases in front of her.

"But that was the problem wasn't it, he was too busy working to pay any attention to his sweet sweet wife," Natsu kept his gun trained on the woman in case she decided to act, "So you took a lover, decided to kill your husband to get him out of the way, and now you're making a run for it!"

"That's not what happened!" she screeched at him, looking genuinely horrified.

"Oh," Natsu blinked at her, "That wasn't? I thought I was doing so well." He looked at his team and they shrugged at him.

"No, of course not!" Mrs. Schiller shouted, her voice cracking at the unnatural pitch, "It was an accident. I didn't mean to kill Mason, I never wanted to kill him. But he found out about Henri and we got in a fight and, I don't know, I was just so mad. He threatened to cut me off and I-I let my anger get the best of me. I just wanted to hurt him, not kill him!"

Natsu winced as she broke down sobbing, burying her face in her hands. He felt bad, sure, he could never handle crying women well, but she did kill someone and he had a job to do. "Accident or not, it's still murder. I'm sorry Mrs. Schiller, we have to take you away." He gestured towards her and Erza and Gray moved to put handcuffs on her. As they dragged the crying woman away, Natsu basked in the feeling of finally closing a case. God, it felt good.

"I'll have to say, that was some nice detective work," Lucy said as she came up beside him, nudging him playfully on the arm. "Looks like this could be the end of that slump."

"Wellll, I wouldn't call it a slump," he said, trying to shrug casually but his grin gave him away, "But you're right, looks like your lead in this bet could be in danger."

"Oh ho," Lucy laughed, turning away to leave before she looked back at him coyly over her shoulder, "Too bad you'll never catch up Dragneel."

"I wouldn't count on that that Heartfilia," he replied, winking playfully at her.

"We'll see!" she sang as she left with a flick of her blonde hair, leaving him grinning to himself.

O'Hara's Bar
Friday, 10:38 PM

"Sorry you lost the bet man," Gray said, sitting down on the barstool next to Natsu. He slid the detective a beer and Natsu took it happily.

"Ah it's okay," he took a sip out of his drink, "At least it was close."

"She had you beat 38 to 26."

"Anyways," Natsu interjected, "At least I don't have to spend time planning a date or anything. I'm kinda glad she won, that would've been such a hassle."

Gray swallowed his gulp of beer before he could talk. "You're not sad about missing out on a chance to take her on a date?"

"Psshhh, nah," Natsu answered, "I only wanted to because I wanted to torment her and let's face it, I do enough of that already at work."

He looked out into the bar and his eyes were immediately caught by a head of golden hair by the pool table. Lucy was there watching as Laxus held Erza back from slamming a guy's face in the wall in her drunken stupor. It was finally Friday night and almost the entire precinct had gone out for drinks, partly in celebration of Lucy's win and also just because it was the weekend.

Out the corner of his eye, he could see Gray give him a knowing look.

"No," Natsu stressed, rolling his eyes at his friend, "I don't like her like that. Besides, the date's not happening so that doesn't matter anymore."

"Sure sure, whatever you say," Gray said flippantly as he took a sip. "Are you scared about what she'll do to your hair, though?"

"Ehhh," he thought about it before he shrugged. "A little. I figured it's about time I change up my look," he said, fingering his pink locks.

"Well you can ask her all about it because here she comes," Gray nodded to the side and sure enough, the blonde detective was making her way over to the pair sitting at the bar. "I should probably go help Laxus, you have fun man." With that, he gave Natsu a final knowing look and waltzed away, probably to sedate Erza.

"Well well," Lucy sang in a slightly slurred voice as she plopped into the vacated seat, "Do you have anything to say to me?" she asked, smirking up at him with her cheeks flushed from the heat and alcohol.

Natsu sighed, shoulders slumping. "You're the winner, I'm the loser, you are officially the best detective in the nine nine, nay, in all of Magnolia," he recited monotonously.

"And?" she prompted, quirking up an eyebrow.

"And the most attractive detective."


Natsu heaved out an exaggerated sigh before he answered, "And my hair is pink."

"Aha!" Lucy crowed triumphantly, pointing a finger at him, "I knew you had it in you." She giggled happily at him and even he felt a smile crack the corners of his mouth.

"Alright, I have to ask, what are you gonna do to my hair. Are you really gonna shave it off? At least let me know so I can treasure my last moments," he pleaded, making his eyes look extra big and pathetic.

Lucy cocked her head as she hummed thoughtfully. She reached a hand out to thread her fingers through his hair and he felt a shiver run down his spine at her innocent touch. Her eyebrows were furrowed and he briefly thought that her drunk thinking face was absolutely adorable.

"I don't know," she said slowly as she rubbed strands of his hair between her thumb and pointer, "I did think about shaving it. I also thought about dying it a different color," she added.

He nodded slightly but besides that, he didn't move for fear that she would pull away and stop her delightful ministrations. "Thats fair," he muttered, trying to ignore how his back stiffened in pleasure when her fingernails scratched against his scalp.

"But you know what I've decided?" she asked, loosening her grip on his hair and petting it down.

"What?" he answered, eyeing her warily.

"I've decided…to do nothing."

"Eh?" Natsu blinked at her in shock. Did he even hear her right? Nothing?

"Yep," she nodded, "I'm not gonna do anything to your hair."

"Wh-why not?" he sputtered, wide eyes following her as she hopped off of the stool.

"I dont know," she shrugged as she found her footing on the floor, swaying only slightly, "I guess…I guess I just think you look good this way," she finished, smiling down at him slightly as her cheeks flushed a little bit darker. Taking a quick breath, she leaned down to press a quick kiss against his cheek before she pulled away, leaving him surprised and slack-jawed.

"Have a great night Natsu," she whispered, smiling at him softly. As she turned to walk away, Natsu sat on the stool with pink cheeks and messy hair and he came to a sudden realization.

'Fuck, I think I like her.'

remember when i said i wasnt gonna continue this au? ahahahaha...ha...yeah, same. i have ideas for a third and probably final part but i have a ton of other stuff to finish so we'll see what happens! i am loving b99 season 4 though so there's a good chance i'll wanna keep with this au. weeeeeee follow me on tumblr for shenanigans - thehexperiment