Perhaps it is childhood memories that are the most enjoyable things we cherish in our lives. They give us the chance to reflect back at a time when life was simpler, more unique and more special. A time when the world was open with unlimited adventures and one was only confided by the limits of imagination. A world in which was still innocent and the essence of reality was pure.
But what makes the memory significantly special isn't just the retention, but the people it is shared with. For one individual in particular there was one memory that he held dear to his heart. It was a day when he and his friends were visiting the beach as children. He remembered sitting there watching the sunset when it all began.
"Hey Natsu race ya to the top of the hill!" Gray, a young adolescent around the age of six yelled as he bolted past his friend. Gray was a unique child, with thick black hair that stood spiked around the crown of his head. He was an energetic child who never seemed comfortable wearing a shirt, even though they were at the beach that was no exception.
"No fair you got a head start!" Natsu, the spikey pink haired boy cried out as he followed suit. He was around the same age as Gray and for some reason they always found themselves competing against one another in almost everything they did.
The others stood there and watch as the two youngsters raced towards the hill. One was a young red headed girl who was no more than a year or two older than the boys. Another girl sat with her, only she had short bowl cut white hair. The tow of them looked at one another before deciding to follow their two friends.
"You're way to slow Natsu!" Gray taunted as he began to break away from his pursuer.
"No way Gray I'm going to catch you," Natsu called back.
"Na ah." Gray mocked. He had finally reached the base of the hill.
"See I'm catching up," Natsu practically cheered as he managed to gain some ground and was only a few steps behind his friend.
As they neared the summit of the steep hill Gray was still just a step ahead of Natsu. "First one to touch the tree at the top wins!" Gray shouted.
Natsu puffed forward as the tree came within just a couple of meters away. Natsu saw that Gray had his hand out reached, but Natsu was only a step behind him, yet his hand was still behind Gray's. In a last desperate attempt Natsu leapt forward to touch the tree, but fell a few centimeters short plunging face down into the sand as Gray reached out and touched the tree.
"Yes!" Gray cheered as he raised his arms in triumph. "I win Natsu!" Gray mocked his friend.
"Not fair you cheated," Natsu cried with a pout to which Gray returned with a laugh. Natsu picked himself up scolding his friend who continued to smirk at him with his arms crossed.
"Well Natsu looks like another race that I win," Gray taunted as he stretched his arms behind his back.
"It doesn't count if you cheat," Natsu mumbled.
"Ah Natsu don't be such a sore loser," Gray said, his smile still eminent on his face as he patted Natsu on the head.
"I would have won if you would've played fair," Natsu muttered as he turned away from Gray.
"Looks like those two are at it again," the red headed girl said with a sigh shaking her head.
"Poor Natsu," the white haired girl moaned, "he's going to go on a temper tantrum."
Natsu still stood with his arms crossed and a scowl on his face as Gray stood with a smile full of pride next to him. Natus's face still held an angry and disappointed glare as he watched the sunset.
For a while the two stood in silence until they heard a voice from behind them, "Um excuse me," the voice said as a hand reached out and touched Natsu's shoulder. Startled Natsu jumped around to see who was touching him, only to trip over his own feet.
"Ah," Natsu cried as he fell backwards, toppling down the side of the hill. He felt a cold chill as he found himself flat on his back in the ocean water.
When he sat back up he could hear Gray's maniacal laughter at the top of the hill. Embarrassed, and still a little dizzy Natsu turned to face Gray but was shocked to see that standing right over him was a little girl about his age. She was a small child, though not that much smaller than himself. She had semi-long blonde hair and stunning blue eyes.
"Are you okay?" the young girl asked as she extended her hand to help him up. Natsu didn't say anything he was still entranced in the girl's eyes. After a second or too he shook his head and reached out to grab the girl's hand as she helped lift him up onto his feet.
"Yeah, I-I'm fine," Natsu, said with a reassuring grin. "Thank you."
"No problem," the girl said smiling sweetly. "My name's Lucy what's yours?"
"Huh? Uh, N-Natsu," he stuttered. He felt a little embarrassed as the young girl giggled.
"Nice to meet you Natsu," she said. "Sorry about startling you."
"I-I wasn't startled," Natsu said blushing. "I-I just lost my footing that's all!"
"Sure you did," he heard Gray call out as he jogged down the hill. Once he reached the bottom he turned to Lucy with an extended hand. "Hey I'm Gray."
"Nice to meet you Gray," Lucy said shaking his hand.
"So are you new here?" Gray asked.
"Yeah I haven't seen you around before," Natsu said eyeing her over making sure to give a thorough inspection.
"Yeah I am," Lucy said with a smiling nod. "I just moved here from Fiore."
"Fiore?" Natsu asked confused. "Where's that?"
"Dunno," Lucy shrugged. "But it's really far, like a thousand miles from here." She widened her hands apart as far as she could reach in order to emphasize her point.
"Wow," Natsu said stunned. "You really came from that far away?"
"Uh huh," Lucy nodded smiling.
"That's so cool," Natsu said gleaming. Lucy giggled at the fatuous look he had on his face.
"Hey!" The three children heard the red head girl shout. "What are you guys doing?"
"Hey," Natsu shouted back waving at the two girls. "Come on down and meet our new friend Lucy!"
"Nice to meet you," the white haired girl shouted back with a wave to them.
"Guys it's getting late we have to get going," the red head girl called out. "You can play with your new friend tomorrow."
"Okay," Gray said as he turned to run up the hill. "Oh by the way it was nice to meet you Lucy," Gray said before leaving.
"Yeah it was nice to meet you too Gray," Lucy said with a smile and a nod.
"Yeah it was a pleasure," Natsu said with a wide smile. Lucy returned the large smile with one of her own.
"Will you be here tomorrow?" Natsu asked.
"Yeah I should be," Lucy answered with a nod.
"Natsu let's go," the red head shouted.
"I'm coming Erza," Natsu growled back. "Well I need to get going but it was nice to meet you."
"I'm coming!" Natsu yelled. "Well I guess I'll see you tomorrow?"
"Definitely," Lucy said with a smile.
"See ya!" Natsu shouted as he waved back to her. Gray and the others waved casually with him as the group took their leave.
As the group began to walk down the hill Gray turned to Natsu with a large smirk on his face. "What's with you?" Natsu asked confused.
"You like Lucy," Gray said chuckling causing Natsu's face to turn a scarlet red.
"I do not," Natsu whined.
"Yes you do," Gray taunted as he poked Natsu in the chest. "You like Lucy, you like Lucy!"
"Quit it Gray," Natsu cried angrily.
"Gray stop it," Erza demanded. "Don't upset Natsu anymore than you already have."
"Yeah Gray leave Natsu alone," the white haired girl ordered.
"I'm just having a little fun with lover boy here," Gray laughed.
"Knock it off Gray!" Natsu exclaimed.
"Make me lover boy," Gray smirked only to be shoved by Natsu.
"I'm not a lover boy," Natsu whined. "Besides I don't even like girls, they have rabies!"
"I think you mean coodies Natsu," Gray said, his smile growing ever bigger.
"It's the same thing," Natsu mumbled folding his arms across his chest.
"Doesn't matter you still like Lucy!" Gray said laughing before running away at a now infuriated Natsu.
"Do not! Shut up Gray!" Natsu shouted as he began to chase after his friend.
"I swear those two," Erza sighed in annoyance.
"I don't know. I think it's kind of cute," the white haired girl said with a smile. The two girls watched as Natsu continued to chase Gray across the beach, yelling as he did so.
Meanwhile on the hill Lucy watched the small group of friends as the walked away. "Natsu hmm," she said to herself, a wide smile crossed her face as she did so.