Fairy Tail © Hiro Mashima
Natsu x Lucy
Her apartment was his third home.
It was the place he came to the most aside from Fairy Tail and his own house. He couldn't quite pinpoint what really drew him there, what made him and Happy so content being in that (cough) girly (cough) room. But his feet had always managed to take him to her apartment, most of the times intentionally but sometimes automatically; sometimes he wouldn't even realize that he was already in front of its building.
He did like it there, though. He liked the cozy room and her comfortable bed. He liked how there would always be something new and interesting when he searched through her stuff (underwear or not underwear). He liked how tidy and clean and well-organized her things were, as well; because admittedly, his house was an array of mess and although it was somewhat manly, he thought, he liked some neatness for a change, too.
He would go there when he was bored, when he was hungry, when he was sulky, when he wanted to tease Lucy, when he wanted to – secretly – read the continuation of her unfinished novel, or just 'cause.
Overtime, his visits became a habit.
A kind of constancy.
Natsu's life had been full of adventures, surprises, and things out of the ordinary. From the attack of a legged robot-guild, another universe ruled by talking cats, mushrooms which grew on the head, a disastrous-turned-fantastic play, to a dangerous pillow war.
But in all these unusual, sometimes little happenings, there were always things that stayed the same within his days; spending time in the guild, for example, or Gray's stripping tendency and Natsu's fight with the said guy, Erza's glares, Happy's affection for fishes, and then the visits.
So it was only natural that when something went missing in those routines, he would feel weird.
He went to her apartment one day, as usual, out of this habit he didn't really notice. Happy was there along with him, too. They came in through the window this time, intending to surprise the blonde stellar spirit mage. He was expecting to see a wide-eyed, annoyed Lucy when he came in.
... She wasn't there.
At first, all that he did was shrugging it off and wait for her to come home, although it wasn't before long until he and Happy fell asleep in the process.
When he woke up a few hours later, the night had settled and she still wasn't home. He frowned, baffled, but he stayed there to wait because he felt like he had to. It was her home, after all, right? She might be back soon. She ought to.
But after hours of waiting and sleeping and messing up her house in a quest to find some fun, they got tired and decided to call it a day.
He didn't saw her at the guild the next day, either. There must be something going on, he perceived, because he saw her almost all the time. She was rarely absent from the guild, and even if she was, she would be at her home and she wasn't.
Then it was already three days that he hadn't seen her.
He felt even more uncomfortable than before. So irritably uncomfortable that most member of the guild – including Gray, Erza, Mirajane, Lisanna, and even Elfman – noticed the unusual frown lingering on his forehead. He couldn't help it, though, since aside from being restless and somehow irritated, he felt so bored and he had no idea why.
"You're lovesick," Gray mentioned.
"You're lovesick, dumbass," he repeated, slightly annoyed at the dragon slayer's cluelessness. "Huh. Can't even figure that out yourself."
Natsu – instead of yelling at Gray for his remarks like he usually would – sat still at the bar and watched the ice mage's back as he walked towards a table to join Erza and a few others, blinking in an I-don't-get-it way.
He really didn't get it.
That night, after he went home, he jumped straight into his hammock and closed his eyes. Shifting every so often, he wondered what had made the stellar spirit mage left and when would she come back? Truthfully, her being absent made the days felt somewhat strange, not to mention dull, just because he was so used to being with her and that she was such a fun to tease and he was always –
"I miss Lucy."
He blinked as Happy's words reached his ears.
Something had tugged his heart at that moment in such a way which bothered him a little. There was something – something that he didn't know but, at the same time, he just knew.
"Say, Happy, why do we always come to her apartment?"
The blue cat yawned before answering idly - like it was the most obvious reason in the whole world - while slowly drifting into sleep:
"Because we like Lucy."
And then it struck him.
And all those visits that he took and his fondness of her apartment and him being bored and curious and uneasy when she wasn't there –
He missed her.
"Natsu, where do you think Lucy go?"
"… I don't know."
He sighed, feeling somehow a lot more relaxed than he had been the entire day. "I don't know."
She came back on the fourth day; healthy, alive, although seeming a bit tired from her journey. Her chocolate eyes still shone their usual gleams, hands still resting on her hips as she glared at him with a scolding look.
"Natsu! You broke into my house again, didn't you? It's all messy in here!"
Lucy pinched his cheeks and he laughed.
Happy flew straight to her arms and she laughed a little, patting the blue cat's head.
It was normal. She was back, and suddenly everything was normal again like it usually was.
(- although this time, he knew that there was something more.)
"Where have you been?" asked Happy, settling on her bed as she, too, sat down. Lucy took a deep breath – there was a faint, concerned twinkle in her eyes. But then she sighed and beamed at her companions. "I went to the Heartphilia manor."
"It's not a town!" she said, holding back a mouthful of mirth. "It's just a big house."
"Why?" Natsu huffed. "You don't like that place, right?"
"I don't," she agreed. "But Father was sick."
He raised his eyebrows, and her tiredness suddenly seeped into the air. He saw her heart on her sleeves, so he flashed her a wide grin and said, "I'm all ears."
"We're all ears!"
So after sighing - affectionately, though - at her friends' antics, Lucy told him and Happy about everything; about how she had met Supetto at the market, how surprised she was upon hearing the news about her father's condition, and how she felt when she stepped foot to that place and met her father once more. She told them that her father should be fine by now, since his fever had disappeared.
"Hey, that's good!" he exclaimed. There was a slight warmth in her eyes. "You're finally on good terms with that old man, huh?"
She smiled. "I guess."
The fire mage glanced at her, a boyish grin blooming on his face. He could sense the traces of her anxiety faded to the back of her mind, a portion of her burden being hoisted from her shoulders. Her eyes were brighter, as well. That's good; because she shone when she was happy.
"So, what have you guys been doing while I'm gone?" she asked.
Natsu replied with a small snort. "Not much."
"Yup. Natsu was all bored and sulky after you left. He was no fun."
"Hey!" he retorted, slightly flustered because it's true.
Lucy blinked; her rosy cheeks seemed to turn just a shade darker. But then she peered at the fire mage, smiling playfully. "Oh? So you missed me?"
She winked, and he grinned. Flicking her forehead, he laughed at her sudden pouty face.
Of course I did.
He liked her apartment.
He liked her diverse books, snug couches, nice-smelling pillows, hidden snacks (which – though she had tried to hide them very well – were always able to be found by him), old-fashioned fireplace, and everything else that seemed to draw him there. But after a while, he realized that what really drew him to that place was her.
It would never be the same there without her, after all.
He liked her apartment – so it was only natural that he would visit her, if not broking in. Except those visits became no longer a habit;
They became an occasion he would look forward to every day.
In all honesty, writing this was really hard – it was tough writing with Natsu's point of view in focus. I'm really sorry if he sounded too OOC, and for my grammatical errors, as well. ;_;
But thank you very much for taking your time to read this – when I found out that people had actually been reading my previous story, I was feeling happier than newlywed llamas. :')
And Merry Christmas everyone!
I couldn't come up with anything Christmas-themed, and because my muse prodded me, I wrote this short story instead. I hope this would do for a present. :)
Have a wonderful Christmas. 3