A/N: This is ridiculously weird, but I love it to death, so here you have it: my attempt at a sort-of-believable cliché fic. Yay!

The first time he meets her, he's sitting in a café sipping at some boiling water while his rival (a.k.a. 'tentative friends') Gray is ranting about how there's this crazy blue-haired chick that's stalking him and keeps talking about 'love at first sight' and crap.

Love at first sight, Natsu decides, is a ridiculously ridiculous concept of ridiculousness, and that it would be absolutely ridiculous to bother with even thinking about believing in it when there's people like that ridiculously busty blonde over there who keeps staring at him.

And the whole freakin' situation is ridiculous.

Gray breaks off in his rant and looks up at Natsu, brow furrowing. "Hey, idiot. Where are you staring with your mouth open like a fish?"

Natsu leaps up onto the small coffee table, which wobbles dangerously under his weight. "What did you say, squinty eyes?"

They get into one of their (famous) fist fights, and are consequently thrown out of the café and banned for a year.

With a sigh, Gray glances forlornly at the window as it cracks and shatters, and a chair is thrown out. Gray barely manages to duck the attack with a scowl. "Gee, thanks, moron. You just got us thrown out from my favorite place."

Natsu isn't paying attention; rather, his eyes are focused on the spot where she was standing, but she's already gone. Feeling more irritated at Gray's presence than usual, Natsu turns back to Gray, popping his knuckles.

The fight that results gets them thrown out of the entire shopping district.

The second time he meets her, he's sitting in school with his chair backwards (cuz that's swag), doing his best to discreetly vandalize the school property in a manner so that Erza Scarlet can't catch him, because she's pretty much batshit insane, and, well, every guy thinks she's hot for some reason, but Natsu knows she's still batshit insane.

He's set up a trap for her that will hopefully end her reign of DOOM for eternity (it consists of a bucket of water and some rope- hey, it's not that bad- they say she's especially sensitive about her hair) and when his ears catch the sound of light, delicate footsteps approaching the boisterous classroom, he leans over his desk anticipatorily…

…Only to hear a light, feminine squeak as a blonde is effectively soaked and blushes a fierce crimson, her lower lip wobbling.

He can't bring himself to feel sorry for her (even though she looks so damn familiar- why is that, exactly?) because she's gone and ruined his epic plan of ending a reign of terror, so he marches up to her and jabs a finger in her face, demanding, "Who do you think you are, getting in the way of my trap?"

She snaps her head up, shocked, and her eyes draw him in. They're like… chocolate brown. He likes chocolate. A lot. It's sweet, and it melts over your tongue and it leaves a pleasant aftertaste, and he just really likes it- wait, he's supposed to be mad at her. But how can he be mad when her eyes look like chocolate of all things?

And then those chocolate eyes narrow, livid. "You have the nerve to ask who I am? I should be asking you that, you idiot! I spent three freakin' hours on my hair to make it perfect, and you've ruined it! Three hours! Down the drain!" She jabs a finger against his chest with each of the next words she hisses- "Just. Like. That."

"It's not about you!" Natsu protests. "Don't be selfish! This was about ending an evil reign of terror from the evil overlord that threatens this very classroom- nay, the very school as we know it! How could you be so shallow?"

The blonde girl gasps, offended, but Natsu isn't really paying so much attention to her chocolate eyes or blonde hair (or white, wet shirt that is reaaallyyy see-through) because there's an ominous presence behind him that's threatening to crush him with its evil power, and OHMYGOD IT'S THE EVIL OVERLORD OF DOOM!

Natsu very, very slowly turns around.

Erza stands there, her fists clenched tightly and foot tapping impatiently. "Are you bullying the transfer student, Natsu?" She says (but it sounds a lot more like a million snakes hissing with a tone full of EVIL and DOOM. And evil).

Natsu beams at her, and then at the blonde girl. They're both glaring maliciously.

And then he runs off screaming.

The third time he meets her, he finds out that her name is Lucy Heartphilia, and that she apparently likes the color pink. A lot. It's like, on everything that she's wearing. It's a good thing because his hair happens to be pink- wait, that's the wrong train of thought. Natsu mentally jumps on a different one.

Oh, and he also finds out that she's dating his best friend- wait, WHAT?

"You're dating Gray?" Natsu's jaw drops to the floor (except not literally, because that is sadly a physical impossibility, and he can only wish that his jaw could do that, cuz that would be SO epic). In his shock, he has paused his video game. First of all, Natsu Dragneel never paused his video games. Secondly, Gray never brought a girl to their weekly video game marathon, no matter whose house it was, because that was the secret bro code. And thirdly, why did it have to be the blonde chick?

Luckily, he recovers enough in time to snort, "You kiddin' me?"

"Is there something wrong with that?" Gray and Lucy both ask at the same time (although Gray's voice is more like a snarl and Lucy's voice is an honest, curious question. God bless her soul- except, y'know, he was kind of atheist, so whatever).

Natsu stares for another moment before guffawing and turning back to his video game. "I was gonna ask what you see in him, but you both seem pretty weird, so maybe it's a good match after all."

The third time he meets her also happens to be the first time he was ever punched by a girl that was shorter than him.

The fourth time he meets her is at the school library.

It's kind of funny, because she's studying hard even though he knows that she's perfectly smart (he knows this because he cheated off of her math final, and it was the first time he'd ever gotten anything higher than a 'C'), and why would smart people need to study?

He voices this question to her, and she merely raises an eyebrow and says loftily, "You can never stop learning."

Natsu gets the feeling that her words are supposed to sound wise and crap, but the only feeling that he's getting from her is condescending, so he'll be nice for once and let it slide because she's a girl and she won't survive it if her ego is bruised.

She glares at him as if she can tell that he's thinking sexist thoughts. He shrugs it off and sits next to her, and they engage in a short conversation.

He learns that she loves reading and writing and hopes to become an editor or journalist someday. Natsu learns that she despises all things cliché and hopes to write something original and loved, and he learns that she likes mystery novels and romance novels- oh, wait, WHAT. At the mention of romance novels (OH, HORROR!), Natsu decides that the conversation has taken a turn way too girly for his tastes and jumps up to make his escape.

"I can tutor you, you know," Lucy says as he makes to leave. Natsu makes a face.

"No, thanks," he waves a hand. "Learning is bad for my brain."

(He can't quite ever rid himself of that warm, fuzzy feeling in his chest after that, though.

…it's mildly disturbing.)

The twelfth time he meets her, she's become one of his closest friends, and she's standing outside his door, smiling and holding hands with Gray. Still.

He tries his best to ignore this and rolls his eyes, waving them into his house because his parents are out and they can play as many video games as they want without getting yelled at, and hell yeah!

The twelfth time they meet is also the first time Lucy tries her hand at video games, because she's been watching Gray and Natsu duke it out for weeks now, and "It doesn't look that hard. Just some button mashing, right?"

Natsu and Gray take one look at her and burst out laughing (but they don't ever really deny it, because if there's one thing video games are besides brain-rotting, they're just button mashing with cool graphics) and offer her a controller.

She sucks for the most part, but Natsu thinks it's maybe just a little cute when she pouts in defeat, so it's okay. She can still come over.

(Oh, and she owns at Halo, which may or may not be kinda hot.)

The twentieth time he meets her, she's standing forlornly on his doorstep, and it's kind of midnight, but he doesn't mind because Gray is nowhere to be seen.

But wait, he does mind. "Why are you crying?" Natsu frowns. He's never known what to do with crying girls. Insane ones, sure- he beat the hell out of them. Bitchy ones he could ignore, and the happy-go-lucky ones were easy to play pranks on. But crying girls?

"G-G-Gray," Lucy sobs out. "He b-broke up with me."

He stares at her, tugs her in, and shuts the door. His parents are out- good. Natsu sucks in a deep breath, and-

"What the fuck are you doing?" Natsu grinds out, and Lucy flinches, her wide chocolate eyes staring up at him warily. He ignores it. "Why are you crying? Why are you here? Why are you telling me this, and what makes you think that I-"

"I don't know," Lucy says quietly, and he can only make out the words because she's choking on her tears, preventing the wracking sobs from bursting out of her throat and burning him to a crisp because seeing her like this terrifies him. "He was nice about it, but I still… I just…" She frowns, wiping her face with her sleeve. "You're my best friend, Natsu."

Natsu and Lucy stare at each other in a tense moment of silence-

"Nonono," Natsu shakes his head. "I wasn't asking for a heartfelt confession of deep friendship from the heart. I'm asking you why you're doing this. Gray's a jackass, but you'll still be friends. Nothing will change except your making out, which frankly, was kind of gross. Don't be a girl."

"I am a girl," Lucy mumbles. Natsu laughs sheepishly- oh yeah, he almost forgot that shekindofhasboobs. Oops. (But seriously, how could he miss those? They were gigantic-)

"That's not what I meant," he shakes his head with a snort. "This scene looks like something straight out of a cliché romance novel. And we both know that you hate clichés. And you're not a weak crybaby either. Stop wailing and do something about it."

Lucy looks at him in shock, and he wonders for a moment if he's doing the right thing because she is a girl, and she's sensitive and impossible to understand and everything, but then a small smile breaks onto her face and it seems to him as if his entire world suddenly lights up, and ohgod, he did NOT just think that. That was so… cliché and girly and eeeech.

"You're right," Lucy says softly, and this time her smile is much more obvious. "I shouldn't be crying. And I can do something."

Natsu is genuinely curious at this point. "Wutcha gonna do, then?"

The blonde beams at him. "I'm going to kick your ass at Halo."

The thirty-second time he meets her, her face is red and puffy again, but she's not crying at the moment. Which is good because they're kind of in public and if she started crying he would so not work up the guts to give a cliché, corny speech again like last time. Only… only gay people did that. Gay people and- and- and clowns.

It's obvious that her presence is messing with his mind, so he ignores his wild thoughts and slides into the small booth next to her. The restaurant isn't high class or anything, but it's pretty good (especially their nachos- damn they were awesome), and he can afford it with the measly amount that he has stuffed in his back pocket (because wallets were for gay people and clowns).

"You called me." Natsu glares.

Lucy looks back blankly. Her chocolate orbs are tinged with red, and he decides that the colors are unflattering and in that moment, Natsu makes it his life mission to make sure that he never sees them together again. Wait, did he seriously just think that?

"It's nine," Natsu says pointedly, running his hand through his messy hair. "I was sleeping."

Lucy gives him the look (OF DOOM). "Who goes to bed at nine?"

"Obviously I do," Natsu scoffs. "And I don't wake up until afternoon. And I still manage to be awesomely kickass, so I don't see your point."

Lucy sighs, and a waiter arrives, setting a sundae down in front of her. She grips the glass absently, still looking at him. "I… I have something to say to you."

Her face is a little flushed and all depressed-looking, and ohgod, he's seen this before! She's going to… she's going to… she's going to-!

"You're breaking up with me?" Natsu shrieks. Around twenty (million) people turn to stare. Lucy cringes, doing her best to hide behind something because she obviously can't be seen with this freak.

"Natsu, we're not even going out!" She hisses, face a brilliant hue of, um, something red. Like, he doesn't know, tomatoes or something. "Where did you get that idea?"

Natsu shrugs, settling back and crossing his legs. "I dunno, maybe that one time that you made me watch that chick flick with you. That was your punishment."

Lucy looks at him with a look of utter disbelief and then suddenly starts giggling, and the giggles become laughs, and for some reason it's infectious so he starts laughing too and oh this is just crazy (but it's fun, so whatever).

"I wanted to tell you," she says when her body stops shaking with laughter, "that… Um… I really wanted to say…"

Natsu dimly registers that this scene looks familiar, too, but he can't remember what sort of crap scene it is for the life of him, and so settles for stealing her melting sundae under her nose and downing it.

"Hey!" Lucy squeaks, leaning over the table to snatch it back from his clutches (although her efforts prove futile, as he lifts it teasingly beyond her reach). This starts up their typical bickering, and Lucy's awkward movie-esque moment is completely forgotten.

It's not until she's long gone does Natsu realize that she never got around to finishing that sentence.

With a sigh, he orders another ice cream sundae.

The fortieth time he meets her, she's not crying (which is kind of a relief), but she is pissed-off-as-hell.

Natsu wonders why he thought that Erza was the embodiment of all that was dark and evil and scary when he's been around Lucy for so long.

She's clearly much worse.

"W-what's wrong?" Natsu stutters, backing up into a wall as she advances. They're in the school hallway, and they're totally causing a commotion, but for once, Lucy doesn't seem to care. At all. What the hell, is she PMSing or something-?

"You're an idiot," Lucy seethes, stomping her foot (and didn't girls only do that in movies?). "How can you not have gotten it by now?"

"Gotten what?" Natsu asks defenselessly, holding up his hands in a pathetic attempt to make this obviously insane chick stop stabbing him with the look in her eyes. It's almost as if they aren't complete opposites who are best friends because she likes her cereal crunchy and fresh but he couldn't care less about how soggy it is in the morning, or how she likes her lattes tall, half-skinny half-1 percent extra hot split quad shot- two shots decaf, two shots regular- with whip cream.

Oh, and here's the kicker:


Several onlookers snicker as Natsu nods jerkily at the fire raging fiercely in her chocolate eyes. It's like… truffles. On fire.

"Lucy," Natsu says, doing his best not to trip over his words or turn uncomfortably warm and run the hell out of there and just skip school for the next week (or month) to avoid this feeling that she's giving him and OH GOD SHE'S TURNING HIM INTO A CHICK!

"WHAT?" Lucy snarls. He flinches, and she takes a breath, attempting to calm herself. "What?" She asks again, much softer this time, and this time her confession appears to have started sinking in, because her face is turning a delicate pink.

Natsu stubbornly decides that it's so not cute.

"I thought you hated clichés," he says breezily, walking away (and feeling kind of badass while doing it, because everyone is staring at him). "Why don't you do something that's more Lucy-like next time? You're not being very Lucy right now."

(His moment of badass-ness ends pretty quickly when Lucy's shoe collides violently with his head, knocking him down onto the ground. Over the laughter echoing the halls, he can hear her footsteps pounding away. He almost feels bad.


And it's almost because the seventy-sixth time he meets her, she calls him a 'flame-headed idiotic bastard of a moron' and pushes him into a fountain and kisses him senseless.

"There," she says, and the heat of her face is enough to rival the sun's (and he'll admit it's kinda funny because her actions finally sink in and she gasps in horror, scrambling off of him, dripping wet, and refuses to meet his eyes). "Is that original enough for you?"

Natsu regards her with a mix of satisfaction and ridicule. "Hey, Lucy. Do you believe in love at first sight?"

"Now who's being cliché?" She shoots back, shifting her feet awkwardly. He stares a hole into her back (except not literally, 'cuz that would hurt like hell) until she finally gives up and turns back to look at him, sheepishly. "Okay, maybe. A little. That first day I went to that café, there was this pink-haired idiot and a really hot guy with his shirt off having a fistfight-"

Natsu growls at the mention of Gray. She smiles a tiny bit.

"I'm just kidding," she says softly, and her eyes flicker up to meet his.

They're really pretty. A sort of chocolate-ish kind of shiny. Sweet and stuff. And sugary. And all that girly crap.

"I like you," he blurts out with his clothes soaked and his perfectly messy hair ruined and she's standing over him in shock and he looks like a fucking moron but that's okay because she's laughing and her hair is really shiny when it's wet and he is totally whipped but who the hell cares?

The seventy-sixth time he meets her is the first time that he confesses. Except, y'know, it's not a confession because confessions are for girls. Sissies.

(And gays and clowns.)

He finally admits it to her the ninetieth time they meet.

"Did you know that I've been keeping track of how many times we've met?"

She gives him a look. No, not just 'a' look, but 'the' look. "That's really creepy."

He hums, ignoring her blatant reply. "I don't believe in love at first sight, y'know?"

The blonde takes a moment to allow the words to sink in, and smiles a toothy smile that has him grinning back, and she just kind of jabs him in the gut, pushing him off the couch, and props her legs up on his ass like he's some kind of footrest and returns to reading her book.

"Idiot, you could have just said it straight." He can almost hear her smile. "I love you, too."

He has his face full of totally gross carpet right now, but he's grinning anyways.

And the seven-hundred seventy-seventh time they meet, he proposes to the blonde chick with the big breasts that he first met in the café and ridiculed because who believed in love at first sight? PFFFT. Losers. Anyways, yeah. He's proposing because she may or may not be insane but he loves her anyway, and you didn't just see him admit that.

"Now who's being cliché?" She asks with a roll of her eyes, but she squeals and tackles him in a hug anyway.

Several minutes later, she hits him because it's a cheap plastic ring with sparkles and she orders him to grow the hell up and get a new one.