Gently pressing down the last of the bandage tape to ensure that it was secure, Lucy surveyed her handwork carefully before giving Sting a firm pat in the shoulder.
"There," she declared gently, "All patched up. Make sure you have someone help you change your bandages every day."
Dark eyes watched Fairy Tail's renowned celestial mage as she gracefully pulled herself up from her chair. Everything about her demeanor was soft and warm and the dormant rage he usually carried in his battle-worn body was soothed in her presence.
"Sting?" he was surprised when she spoke his name as if he wasn't someone who had tried to destroy everything she held dear.
He met her eyes and had to force himself not to reel back by the uninhibited kindness he saw in their depths. This girl was truly a rare breed and he was actually beginning to understand why that ridiculous excuse for a dragon slayer was so attached to her. And now that he thought about it, it was amusing to watch her squirm slightly under his scrutiny.
Lucy frowned nervously and tucked a lock of her loose golden hair behind her ear. "If you don't have anything to say then I'm leaving."
As she turned to go, the words tumbled out of his mouth before he could catch himself. "He's a fool for not realizing what he's got."
"W-what are you talking about?" the girl sputtered and spun around, surprise evident in her creased brow. He was sure she caught the implications in his statement.
"If it were me, I would never let you out of my sight. I'd never let you go.." Sting knew that he was crossing into some seriously dangerous territory here. This woman possibly be the fire dragon slayers mate and dense or not, he was sure if salamander himself caught wind of the feelings stirring in his chest he would be hurting a lot worse than he was now.
Dewy brown eyes flickered over his face before falling to her sandal clad feet. The blooms of pink over her cheeks made him feel warm all of a sudden. "It's fine the way that it is. Simply having him near, seeing his smiling face makes me happy." A smile as bright as the sun lit up her face then as she gently clutched at the light pink material of her skit, "After all, we are nakama."
Sting tried to school his face into a calm facade, but a white-hot war was raging in his heart now as he watched the blond move from her spot in the middle of the room to the window that oversaw the Capitol. He would be lying if he said he didn't think she was beautiful, especially in that moment the way the sunlight kissed her hair, setting her aglow like the brightest, purest gold. In that moment he wanted to whisk her away and keep the celestial mage for herself. In that moment he wanted her tender heart to be his, he wanted those honey sweet words to be his regardless of the consequences that would surely be in hot pursuit.
"Lu-" Before he could get another word out the door was thrown open with a crash, the wood splintered severely. The whole castle was probably shaking as Natsu in all of his fiery, boisterous glory burst into the room.
"Luce! Luce!" He crossed the room quickly and into Lucy's personal space in such a way that made Sting bristle in annoyance… in jealousy. "I've been looking for you all over! The feast is about to start!" He grinned at her, his dark eyes holding her gaze.
The blond dragon slayer watched as the girl seemed to let down all of her guards, her eyes softened like fresh, warm caramel until she moved just slightly towards her partner unthinkingly. "Okay, thanks. I was just helping Sting with his bandages." Her words were so so airy and soft, he was sure they would have felt like a lover caress on his skin.
There was the slightest pause between the two of them as they shared the same space, the same air. It was a moment between the two of them that nothing and no one could break. From his set at the edge of the bed, he was certain that between them their magics were mingling, intertwining. A soul connection. Sting was set aflame with jealousy at the intimacy that seemed to cling between the two. And for once he wasn't so sure that the fire dragon slayer was so oblivious, especially not with that deep glint in his dark eyes.
But then it was Lucy that broke the moment by turning away from the fire dragon slayer, her eyes flickering out towards the city. He was certain that he cheeks has turned a few shade darker. "We should head down and meet up with everyone." She turned again to the light dragon slayer, "Make sure you take care of yourself, Sting. You don't want those wounds to reopen." With a small, warm smile and a jingle of keys she left the room.
Sting frowned as he caught Natsu's eyes trailing after her with depth that he had seen only in moments of grave danger sparkling within them. But there was no danger here, there was just warmth and the faint city sounds and the lingering scent of star-shine and flowers.
Before he could analyze the situation further, the pink haired man turned on him, his eyes narrowed just slightly, "You are invited to the feast too. So you better be there." His tone was nonchalant and held no hostility, just caution. There was a silence before the fire turned to leave.
"Natsu." Sting called out, not really sure what he was doing.
He paused in the door way and turned to stare at the other dragon slayer curiously.
"Better not beat around the bush or else something precious will be snatched up from under your nose." The words were a clear warning that Natsu was very clearly not ignorant to. The two had a stare down which was unnerving since Sting was almost used to Natsu's childish by now.
Much to the light dragon slayers annoyance, a devilish grin curled over Natsu's mouth, "Oh, I wouldn't worry about that too much if I were you." And then he exited the room leaving Sting with nothing but his thoughts of defeat both on the battlefield and off.
Falling back into onto the bed he sighed. Natsu had everything: seemingly limitless power, caring comrades and the girl with a heart of gold.