AN: I'm back with another oneshot that I wrote a while ago! I got the prompt from dailyau on tumblr! :) This one is shorter so I hope I managed to fit everything in right! Enjoy! :D

Hiding Out

His day had begun just as most others. He woke up past his alarm clock, rushed to his Chemistry class to be scolded by his professor, returned home to spar with his best friend, played with his cat, and got ready for work. That was routine for Natsu Dragneel.

Natsu was a junior at Magnolia University, majoring in pyrotechnics. Despite what many thought of him, the boy was far from dumb. Sure, he could be dense about some things, but he aced every Chemistry class he had enrolled in, so clearly, he was above par. Still, his grades weren't enough to earn him a full-ride scholarship, so working was necessary.

Natsu worked at Mavis Market, a grocery store about a twenty-minute walk away from the university. Sure, working on top of school kept him busy, but it wasn't too bad. The work was easy and he had friends that worked with him.

The only downside to working at the grocery store were the judgmental customers that came to his register. There wasn't a day that passed by in which someone didn't comment on his hair. Not that Natsu could really blame them, however. Pink hair- or salmon, as he liked to call it- was rather unusual for a boy.

Natsu had applied for multiple part-time jobs, but they had all ordered him to dye his hair to either brown or black, to which he refused. While most believed that he had dyed his hair pink- salmon- that was truly not the case. Why would he set himself up for the endless snide remarks from judgmental assholes? His hair was natural and he wasn't going to change himself for anyone.

Which was why landing a job at Mavis Market was like a gift sent from the heavens. It gave him enough money to pay for rent and the supplies he needed for school. Not to mention his boss was kind and flexible with his schedule.

Natsu walked alongside Gray and Erza, his childhood friends. Gray was the one who had put in a good word to their boss, which ultimately landed him the job. Though he would never say it aloud- simply because he treated Gray more like a rival than a best friend- Natsu was grateful for that.

The three of them were headed for their closing shift. The store closed at ten, which meant that they had to work seven hours, which wasn't too bad.

"When do you start training for the manager position?" Gray asked Erza.

It was no wonder that Erza was promoted to manager despite only working at the store for only a few months. She was strict, followed the rules, and kept everyone in check all the while being the best at dealing with customers.

"Next week," the red-headed girl answered. "Mavis is going to have Mira train me."

Natsu crossed his arms behind his head. "What are you even in charge of? Shifts?" His eyes lit up with mischief as he continued, "Think you can get me Saturdays off?"

"What, so that you can waste the day away playing video games? No. Besides, I'm not in charge of shifts, Mira is. I am only in charge of you idiots."

When they finally reached the grocery store, the three headed towards the breakroom and stored their things away in their respective lockers. With that, they clocked in for their shifts.

At first, time was flying by. Considering payday just passed, everyone was at the grocery store, stocking up for their homes and buying more than they probably should have. A line of customers pushing around full shopping carts formed at Natsu's register.

Natsu enjoyed when the store got busy. It got his blood pumping with adrenaline as he tried to get the job done as quickly as possible, timing himself in his head. Was his customer service great? No, but he didn't care. At least he was fast.

Not only was it more fun, it also made the time go by quicker. Plus, he didn't have to pretend to wipe down the register and conveyor belt down over and over again.

As hours passed, however, the number of customers decreased significantly. The store was practically dead, save for the few shoppers leisurely strolling through the aisles. To make things worse, Erza left early to study for a test while Gray was on stock duty, leaving him to be the sole cashier, bored out of his mind.

Picking up a spray bottle and a paper towel, Natsu began to wipe down the register for the umpteenth time that day. His lips were in a thin line and his eyes were dull. He wished for something- anything- interesting to happen. Hell, he would rather have some uptight bitch come to his register than clean the register one more time.

Suddenly, hands slammed onto the counter, prompting Natsu to jerk his attention towards the person at his register.

Natsu glanced up to find a pretty blonde glancing around anxiously with beautiful, brown eyes. She bit her lower lip before meeting his gaze, her eyes wide with panic. Sweat dotted her face. She was obviously distressed.

"Umm, you okay?" Natsu asked nervously. Something was clearly wrong and he didn't want to set her off.

The girl shook her head frantically, her golden hair swishing from the action, enticing him. "I'm so sorry. I know you're just an employee and you might get in trouble for this, but please let me hide behind the counter. My ex just came in and I really don't want him to see me."

Natsu glanced around before nodding. "Sure, come here."

The girl sighed in relief before joining him behind the counter. She crouched down, trying to make sure that her head wasn't visible.

Natsu frowned. "I think he'll be able to see you." Crouching beside the girl, he moved aside some things in the cabinet in front of his shins. He felt creepy asking her to get in, but at least it didn't close. Besides, she wanted to hide, right? "Can you fit in that?"

The golden-haired girl studied the size before nodding. Then, she climbed in, hugging her knees to her chest- her particularly ample chest, Natsu had noted.

Natsu stood in front of the register, trying to act natural. Though, he couldn't help but feel weird. There was a beautiful girl hiding in front of him, how could he not feel weird?

Trying to lighten the mood, Natsu cleared his throat before quietly asking, "So what's the guy look like? I'll let you know if I see him."

"He has maroon hair and he's tall," she answered in a quiet voice, obviously scared that the guy would hear her and track her down. "He's pretty fit, too."

"That all you got? No wonder why it didn't work out. You barely know the guy."

"Oh shut up. Who asked you anyways?"

"Well I figured that since I'm risking my job to hide you here, I could at least get the details of the situation," Natsu teased with a smirk though she couldn't see it. In truth, he probably wouldn't get in trouble for helping her from some creep.

"Oh right," the girl replied, causing him to chuckle. "Well for your information, we were only together for like a week."

"And you're this scared about seeing him? He must really be a jerk."

"He's not, really. He's just very clingy. That's why we broke up in the first place. He's nice, but I'm not into him. And after I broke up with him, he's been texting me nonstop and trying to call me. My roommate accidentally told him where I was and so I guess he followed me here."

"That's creepy as hell. Do you want me to call the cops?"

"No, nothing that serious. I'll be fine. I just need to hide out here for a little bit until he leaves." Before they could be thrown into another awkward silence, the girl spoke again. "Thanks for doing this, by the way. I'm Lucy."

"I'm Natsu," the boy said with a grin. "So, do you always meet people by hiding behind their counters at work?"

"Do you always ask stupid questions?" the girl fired back, causing him to chuckle. She was feisty. He liked it.

"If you ask my friends, they'd probably say yes."

Lucy snorted. "Of course they would."

Natsu was about to reply with something snarky when someone caught his attention. A maroon-headed boy was looking through all of the aisles, obviously searching for something- or someone.

"I think I see your ex," Natsu said in a low voice. He kept his eyes trained on the boy.

Lucy groaned. "I can't believe he followed me here. What is he doing?"

"Looking for you. Shit, a customer is coming over here, be quiet real quick."

An elderly woman slowly approached the register, her eyes landing immediately on his pink tufts of hair. Natsu stifled a sigh of annoyance. He knew exactly where this was headed.

As the woman unloaded her groceries onto the conveyor belt, she eyed him again in disapproval. "Pink hair is not appropriate for the work place."

Natsu's lips formed a grim line and his body grew rigid. Keeping his emotions in check, he swiped all of the groceries as quickly as he could in order to get her out of there.

"I get that a lot," he replied with a dry laugh.

"Then perhaps you should not have dyed it to such a ridiculous color."

"My hair is naturally this color, ma'am."

"Do you take me for a fool?"

"Yeah," Natsu thought, but didn't dare voice aloud. Instead he replied, "No, ma'am."

Following a few snide remarks later, the woman finally left with all of her groceries. Once she was out of view, Natsu groaned, allowing his body to relax.

"That lady was rude."

Natsu jumped, having forgotten that there was a girl hiding at his feet. "Tell me about it."

"Your hair is pink?" Lucy asked.

"Salmon, thank you very much. And did you not see it?"

"Guess I was too busy trying to hide from my ex. Sorry. I'll get a better look at it when I get out of here."

Natsu laughed, enjoying the amount of bickering they had done during the short time that they had known each other. It made him feel as if he had known her forever.

That was how the next twenty minutes had passed. The two had gotten to know each other better all the while bickering. He had found out quite a bit in the past twenty minutes. Apparently, Lucy was a junior at Magnolia University as well and was majoring in Creative Writing. She had perfect grades and was on the Dean's List. He also learned that she had met her ex, Dan, through a classmate.

A customer approached the register, this time someone around their age. His groceries were that of a typical college student: snacks, condoms, and lots of instant ramen. He was about to ring it up when something tickled the back of his leg, causing him to jump with laughter.

"Uhh, are you okay?" the customer asked, staring at him in both concern and confusion.

Natsu nodded his head and chuckled awkwardly. "Yeah, sorry about that."

Once he finished with the customer, Natsu crouched down to meet Lucy's gaze. She sat there, smirking at him.

"Really? Wanna start a tickling war?" Natsu asked, giving her a fanged grin. "Gonna tell you now, I don't care if I'm at work, I will destroy you."

Lucy's eyes lit with fiery determination. "That was for all of the teasing earlier."

Natsu was about to reply when he heard footsteps approaching. Standing back up, he found another customer. Luckily, they only had a few things so it went by fast. He was about to check on his new friend when he saw Dan finally leave the store in defeat.

"Hey, your ex left," Natsu said. A frown etched itself onto his face as he realized that he no longer had a reason to talk to the interesting yet weird girl that caught his attention. He couldn't deny that he wanted to talk to her more and get to know her better.

Lucy sighed in relief as she climbed out of the space and stood up, stretching her arms above her head. She shook her arms and legs. After having been in a cramped space for over half an hour, she felt she needed to loosen her body up. Hearing Natsu chuckle- probably teasing her- she turned to face him in order to bicker with him when she was hit in the face with how attractive the boy was.

She was in too much of a desperate hurry to hide that she didn't notice how hot Natsu was before. Sure enough, he had pink hair, which was unusual on a boy but actually ended up working for him. The messy locks suited him well, she thought. His skin was tanner than her own and judging by his toned arms, it was clear that he was in shape. His eyes were onyx, dark and intriguing though lit up with mischief and his grin had her heart throbbing in her chest.

Meanwhile, Natsu's thoughts weren't too different. He had noticed Lucy's attractiveness before, but after being able to match a nice personality with her looks, he felt warmth flooding through him while his heart raced. She was wearing sweatpants and a tee shirt which did nothing to hide the ample size of her chest. Her golden locks were a bit on the messy side but shined brighter than the stars in the sky. Her eyes made him feel as though he was swimming in rich chocolate.

And with that, Natsu Dragneel was experiencing his first crush.

"Y-Yo," he stuttered, lifting his hand in a lame wave.

"Hi," Lucy replied, her cheeks rosy after realizing she was ogling him.

They stood there in an awkward silence, no longer sure of what to say. Now that they knew how attractive the other was, they were too nervous to speak.

"Umm, thanks again for helping me," Lucy said, giving him an angelic smile as she met his gaze.

"Don't mention it," Natsu replied, ducking his face into his scarf because he was sure he was blushing as well.

"I guess I should get going now…"

"Wait!" Natsu called out. His blush grew tenfold realizing that he had spoken before thinking. What was he supposed to use as an excuse? Then it hit him. "What about your groceries?"

Lucy's eyes widened and she smacked her forehead lightly, having forgotten why she went there in the first place. "You're right! I'll be right back!"

The girl scurried off, leaving Natsu alone with a frown. Their time was coming to an end soon and he wasn't happy about it. Lucy was interesting and he wanted to talk to her more. He wanted to know what made her happy and what annoyed her. He wanted to bicker more. He wanted to be friends and found himself thinking it wouldn't be bad if it progressed even further.

He had had a few girlfriends in the past, but nothing ever happened there. Though, that was really his fault. The only reason he said yes to the few girls that asked him out was because he didn't want to hurt their feelings. He ended up being a terrible boyfriend, however, unable to give them what they needed considering he didn't reciprocate their feelings. Hell, he never even held hands with a girl.

But for some reason, Natsu couldn't help but picture what it would be like trying all of that stuff with Lucy. Were her hands soft? Would they work well together? Would it be fun?

Natsu didn't have much time to mull over the questions that filled his mind as Lucy rushed back to his register. He watched as she dumped all of the things in her hands onto the belt, her cheeks rosy. Looking to see what she was buying, he understood why. Next to three chocolate bars, a box of popcorn, and some instant ramen was a box of tampons.

Having been close friends with Erza since he was a child, Natsu was no stranger to the monthly visitor that infringed on girls' lives once a month. He knew all the symptoms and knew what to get to make girls feel better when on their periods. Lucy's groceries were almost identical to what he would get for Erza.

Not wanting to embarrass her, Natsu rang up her items without a word.

"Here ya go," he said, handing it to her.

"Thanks," Lucy replied. She swiped her card and entered her pin. Glancing outside, she frowned. "It got dark while I was in here. Stupid Dan."

Natsu frowned in concern. "Do you want me to walk you home? I can ask a friend of mine to cover my shift."

"No, it's okay. I live close by."

"Still, it's dark. And your creep of an ex-boyfriend could be waiting outside."

"It's fine. I'll just have my roommate meet me halfway. Besides, there are emergency boxes posted everywhere." Lucy smiled at the boy, grabbing her things. "Well, I guess I should get going now."

"Yeah," Natsu replied. His lips tugged downwards into a frown. He didn't want their time to end yet. Still, he couldn't just make her stay. "Maybe I'll see you around on campus?"

The girl's smile grew as she nodded. "Hopefully. See you later, Natsu!"


A week had passed by and Natsu couldn't get Lucy out of his head. Just what kind of curse did the blonde bombshell have him under? They had only talked for a short time and yet he could still picture her golden hair and chocolate brown eyes like it was yesterday.

Natsu had hoped he would see Lucy on campus sometime and even stayed in the dining hall an hour later than usual in hopes that she would come by. To his disappointment, she never did. He felt like he was going mad thinking about her. He needed to get a grip.

Once he reached Mavis Market with Gray and Erza, Natsu headed towards his signature register for the day. He had been on stocking duty the past week, he missed his register. The moment he flicked on the switch to light up his register, a customer approached him. To his surprise, it was the girl that he had been thinking about the past week.

"L-Lucy," Natsu said, his eyes wide and his mouth slightly parted. His cheeks heated up at the sight of her. She was in short black shorts and a pink tank-top that did nothing to hide her generous cleavage.

"Hi, Natsu!" the girl replied. Her cheeks were flushed as well, but he doubted it was for the same reason. "Funny seeing you again! You get to ring up my groceries again!"

"Do I gotta hide you from another ex, too?"

Lucy laughed and shook her head. "No, I talked to Dan and got things figured out. He won't be coming around me for a long time."

"Oh yeah?" Natsu asked, arching a brow. "How'd you manage that?"

"Let's just say I have a pretty mean kick."

The boy cackled, bending over in laughter. "You're joking!"

"Nope," she replied with a smug grin and holding up a peace sign. "It's called the Lucy Kick. And I gave him one right where the sun don't shine."

The two laughed together before Natsu remembered that he was supposed to be working. Glancing at her groceries, he found that she wasn't buying tampons again. This time, she was buying a box of spaghetti noodles, alfredo sauce, and a bag of frozen shrimp.

"You need chicken, not shrimp," Natsu teased as he scanned the items.

"Oh hush. This is way better," Lucy replied, sticking her tongue out at him.

The boy scoffed. "Whatever you say."

"It's true!" Lucy's cheeks tinged pink as she continued, "Why don't you come over and see for yourself?"

There was a sudden choking sound coming from behind them. Natsu glanced over Lucy's shoulder to find Gray choking on his saliva while Erza stared at them with wide eyes and rosy cheeks. He had to suppress the urge to sigh. And the urge to kill them.

"Wait, are you friends with this guy?" Gray asked Lucy.

The blonde chuckled. "Well I only met him once but I consider him a friend."

This caused Natsu to give a face-splitting grin. That is, until he faced Gray again. "What do you want, Stripper?"

"Just wondering why a girl was talking to an idiot like you," he replied.

"U-Umm, you two can come too, if you'd like," Lucy said, shuffling her feet and twirling a lock around her finger.

Erza finally decided to chime in. "Wait a second, I recognize you from somewhere…" Her eyes lit up. "You've been here every day the past week!"

Lucy's cheeks turned bright red. "W-Well I like to, umm, buy ingredients for dinner daily!"

"Wait, there's something else too… Oh! Are you taking Astronomy?"

"I am! Are you?"

"No, but my boyfriend, Jellal, is. I walk him to class sometimes and sit-in. You're the girl Jellal said knows all the answers in class."

"I-I wouldn't go that far…"

"Nonsense. I remember you answering every question."

Lucy flushed in modesty, averting her gaze. The smile on her cheeks showed that she was glad somebody noticed her skills.

"A-Anyways, I'll see you guys for dinner!"

"Wait, we need your address," Natsu reminded her with a laugh.

"Oh, right. I'll give you my number so that I can text it to you!"

"Why not just give me your address?" Gray and Erza facepalmed, prompting Natsu to correct himself. "A-Actually, just give me your number! Just in case I lose the paper or something."

The two exchanged numbers. With that, Lucy was grabbing her things and waving goodbye to everyone. Natsu grinned at his phone. To think that he had been thinking of Lucy for the past week and now he actually got her number. Things were looking up for him.

Once they got off work, Natsu, Erza, and Gray headed towards Lucy's apartment, using Erza's phone as a GPS.

Natsu was lost in thought, recollecting the times that he had seen Lucy. According the Gray, she was smitten for him, just as he was for her. Though part of him doubted it, the other part hoped his idiotic friend had been right for once. Perhaps that was why she blushed around him and insisted on giving him her number.

No matter what the answer was, he was going to find out tonight.

Luckily, her place wasn't too far from Mavis Market and they were knocking on the door in no time.

In seconds, someone that they had least expected had answered the door.

"GAJEEL!?" the trio cried out in shock.

"What the hell are you idiots doing here?" the said boy asked.

Gajeel was Natsu's cousin, a junior majoring in Engineering. With long, messy black hair, multiple piercings, and black clothes, he was the poster-boy of a punk. To add to that, his attitude and low patience didn't help.

"We must've gotten the wrong place," Erza stated.

"Wait, this isn't your apartment," Natsu said.

"Never said it was, idiot," Gajeel jibed. "This is my girlfriend's apartment and her best friend's. We're having dinner tonight. Wait a second, are you the three Lucy invited for dinner?"

"Wait, Lucy's roommate is your girlfriend!?" Natsu asked in return. What a small world! It was like fate wanted to bring he and Lucy together.

"Gajeel? Who's there?" a higher-pitched voice asked. A small, blue-haired girl greeted them at the doorway.

"This is your girlfriend?" Gray asked. "But she's cute!"

"What's that supposed to mean?" Gajeel demanded, glaring at the other boy.

"Well what is up with girls here lowering their standards for idiots like you and Natsu?"

With that, a three-way brawl commenced right outside of Lucy's apartment. The loud commotion drew Lucy towards them and she gasped watching her roommate's boyfriend fighting against her guests.

"What is going on here!?" she shrieked.

"Don't worry, this happens all the time with these idiots," Erza assured. Clearing her throat and cracking her knuckles, the redhead promptly bashed them upside the head, giving them nasty bruises that were sure to last a week. "We are guests. Behave."

With that, the three boys nodded, tears brimming their eyes. "Aye…"

Natsu glanced towards Lucy and smiled sheepishly. She shook her head but smiled at him regardless, letting him know that she wasn't mad at him or anything.

"Come on in," she said.

Lucy's apartment was one of the cleanest he had ever seen, despite the fact that she was a college student. Her kitchen was a decent size with marble countertops and an electronic stove, on top of which was a pot of boiling noodles. The dining room was small with a rectangular table and chairs taking most of the room. The living room had a comfy-looking green sofa and two beanbags of either side of the couch, one pink and one orange.

"You guys got here just in time!" Lucy exclaimed, clasping her hands together. "The food is ready! I just have to stir the sauce in it. Wanna help me, Natsu?"

The boy nodded, joining her in the kitchen while Lucy's roommate- he hadn't gotten her name yet- ushered everyone else into the living room. Apparently, they were going to eat there so that they could watch a movie while they ate.

"Smells awesome," Natsu said as Lucy drained the noodles and poured the sauce onto it. With a teasing grin, he continued, "Would've been better with chicken, though."

"Oh hush," Lucy replied. "You haven't even tried it yet." She poured the cooked shrimp into the bowl and mixed it all up.

Natsu watched Lucy stick out her tongue in concentration as she continued to stir the giant helping of pasta. His eyes glazed over her golden hair, which was tied up in a long, high-pony. Then he admired the rich brown color of her eyes. Seeing it this close, he could swear there were specks of gold in her orbs. Then he glanced at her lips, pink and plump. He found himself wanting to taste them and find out if they were as soft as they looked.

Lucy turned to say something to him, probably a snarky remark, but the words visibly died in her throat as she noticed him staring at her. Both of them blushed and looked away from each other, Lucy focusing on the pasta while Natsu ducked his face in his scarf.

"Way to go, idiot. As if that wasn't obvious," Natsu thought to himself. "Now you just made yourself look like her creepy ex."

The two stood in an awkward silence until Lucy finally broke the ice.

"Next time, I think you and I should go out somewhere instead," she said, her face matching his hair.

"Huh?" Natsu replied, shocked that she still wanted to hang out with him after this.

"I wasn't planning on inviting your friends tonight but I didn't want it to be too obvious."

"Didn't want what to be too obvious?"

Lucy ignored him, continuing, "So then I asked Levy to invite Gajeel so that it wouldn't be too awkward."

"What are you talking about, Lucy?"

The girl took a deep breath before facing Natsu, causing his heart to thump wildly in his chest. The determined gleam in her eyes had him anxious for what she was about to say.

"I like you."

Heat creeped up the back of Natsu's neck while a swarm of butterflies paraded around within his stomach. His eyes were wide as he stared at her in shock, his jaw hung on its hinges. He was utterly stupefied.

"D-Did I hear that right?" he asked. There was no way he heard her right. There was no way she liked him back.

To his surprise and upmost joy, Lucy nodded. "I know I only just met you, but I know how I feel. So, instead of checking me out, why don't you just ask me out?"

Natsu choked on his saliva before flushing in embarrassment. Then, he erupted with laughter, bending over and wiping tears from his eyes. "Was I that obvious?"

Lucy giggled and nodded. "Duh."

"Wait, so you actually like me?"

"Let me put it this way, I don't go to the grocery store every day to get fresh ingredients. I've just been going there every day the past week to see you. But whenever I go, you aren't there."

"I've been stocking lately."

"Oh. Well that explains it."

Natsu shoved his hands in his pockets and grinned at his newest friend, perhaps something more. Then, he did something he had never done before. "Wanna go get some dinner this weekend? Just the two of us?"

Lucy smirked and replied, "That was my idea. I expect you to come up with your own date idea."

"But what's better than food?"

"A horror movie and food."

Natsu grinned from cheek to cheek. "You just keep getting better and better, Luce!"

The girl laughed. "Thanks."

"So, movie and dinner this weekend?"

"I'll be there."

With that, the two smiled at each other before setting up everyone's plates and handing them out. Lucy's roommate- who had introduced herself as Levy- set up Finding Dory on the TV. Natsu and Lucy sat on the sofa with their plates of food on their laps and their thighs flushed against each other while Lucy leaned into Natsu's side the entire time.

AN: I realize I'm not the best at ending oneshots. Or just stories in general. Ending this was hard lol. But what did you guys think? I'm still new to the oneshot world so you've gotta have something to say about it haha. :) Anyways, hope you enjoyed it! :D