Sorry this chapter took so long to get out! I had the start of it sitting in my documents for so long, then jsut never could sit down and type the rest of it~! It's a bit rushed, I wish I had the will and patience to have revised and edited this chapter more but...you know me by now...that wasn't gonig to happen sorry T_T This chapter I jsut found hard to type out...I need to get back into the muse of things~! Sorry!
Disclaimer: I own nothing~!
Lucy tugged at her swim suit, conscious of how it covered her, before slipping out of her sandals and stepping onto the deck.
The lake was perfectly circular, surrounded by a ring of trees that hid it from seemingly the rest of the world.
A single deck of stained wood extended several feet out into the lake, with a small canoe tied to the end of the dock. Other than the small man-made deck and boat, the area looked untouched by any person.
It was a bright day, with the sun high and shining over the water, yet a cool breeze blew through and rippled the water, just barely.
Lucy stood only a step or two into the dock, taking in the sight before Hibiki walked up beside her.
"Are you just going to admire it?"
Lucy shook her head, but seriously considered doing just that. The lake was pretty enough to just stare at!
"This is a private land, you said?"
"One of the Master's properties."
Hibiki had brought Lucy out several miles from the Blue Pegasus guild. Not a hint of civilization tainted their surroundings save the dock and canoe, and a rope swing Lucy could make out halfway around the lake waters. Her legs prickled, cold, when the breeze blew through yet the sun warmed her and she decided that this weather was perfect. This place was ethereal.
She'd done away with her sandals and shorts, but her shirt still covered her modestly and she held a towel in hand. She figured as much that water would be involved when Hibiki warned her 'wear a swim suit; bring a towel' but she'd been expecting some poolside date, or perhaps the beach.
She hadn't pictured this slice of heaven's backyard and the seclusion that came with it. The lake was perfectly still, bare; they were the only two present.
"Lucy, you cannot just stand there!" Hibiki teased, motioning to the water. He was at the edge of the dock, still clothed in a shirt and swim shorts.
Lucy frowned, not appreciating being hastened, "are you in the water? It doesn't look so."
Hibiki just smiled, nodding in agreement, before stripping his shirt off in one fluid motion.
Now Lucy was appreciating a whole new side of nature.
She'd seen Hibiki shirtless before, and each time she admired him more so. It was just…different this time around. Because she's felt those back muscles and she's pressed against that chest and-
Blushing, Lucy looked back to the lake, the deck, anywhere but Hibiki who, unfortunately, had smugly noticed Lucy's gaze.
Tauntingly, he stretched before taking two quick steps and diving off the deck.
Two could play this game.
Hibiki resurfaced from the water, flicking his hair back and motioning to Lucy. "I haven't pulled you into the water on purpose in a while. Should I?"
Lucy had every bit of confidence and control in slipping out of her shirt, showing just the right angles and giving the tease at just the right speed.
Sure enough, Hibiki's face twitches and she knows she's got him.
"That won't be necessary," she winks.
Hibiki lowers his chin so the water comes up to his nose, glaring lightly at Lucy from beneath the surface.
Lucy steps to the edge of the dock. It's a peculiar feeling, standing solidly above the water, yet standing so far out into it. It isn't the gradual, shallow slope of stepping from shore. It's deep and the water is dark with no bottom in site and Lucy swallows back any hesitation because she's still trying to captivate Hibiki's attention. She debates jumping or simply slipping into the water, and as she contemplates it, her feet shift her weight between them.
That is, until Hibiki leaps out from the water, having timed his attack, gripping Lucy's ankles and yanking her forward. Lucy hardly has enough time to react to cover her face and turn her body to avoid a frontal belly flopping slap into the water, but Hibiki is just under the surface to catch her.
Kicking her way up to air, but still entangled in Hibiki's arms as he floats her to the surface, Hibiki is laughing while Lucy is clinging to his shoulders, debating to drown him or not.
"I warned you," he laughs.
Lucy holds no remorse in pushing at Hibiki's shoulders, keeping his head underwater as he kicks, and contemplates whether anyone will think to search this lake for his body before winter freezes the lake over.
When Lucy finally decides to be merciful and allow Hibiki to live, she pulls herself back onto the deck. She runs her fingers through her hair a bit, trying to dry them out before spreading her towel out and lying on her back against it.
"You're going to sunbathe?"
Hibiki doesn't deserve an answer, but she nods and gives him one anyway, though she refuses to look at him, closing her eyes. He doesn't get that satisfaction. He can swim alone and think about what he-
Lucy hears the splash of water and instinctively thinks he's rising to pull her back into the water again. Except, when she flinches and tries to sit up, she finds a shadow over the sky and gasps. Hibiki, quicker than she could react, is hovering above her, straddling her compromisingly.
Water droplets fall on Lucy and she has every right to shove him off and away from her. Except, he's smiling because he knows he's caught her off guard, again, and thinks he's winning.
Lucy pouts for a moment before the idea comes across her to do exactly that; pout.
She puffs her lips a little more, and softens her eyes and suddenly she's gone from 'cute anger' to 'suggestive submission' and Hibiki notices and the game is flipped. Suddenly, Lucy is in control and Hibiki's fingers twitch, supporting him above her.
"Hibiki…" she moans, and that does it.
Hibiki jumps off Lucy, dejectedly sitting at the edge of the dock with his head in hands.
"I give…" he mutters and Lucy smiles victoriously, flipping her hair over her shoulder before returning to her sunbathing position. He knows better than to mess with her now.
After some time has passed and the cool breeze is being replaced with just midday heat, Lucy decides she's baked enough. Hibiki has leisurely been floating and diving within the lake without much of a word. Lucy looks to change that.
"Is that rope swing over there safe?"
Hibiki, startled, jumps from his floating position on his back, scrambling to float himself upright in the water, before glancing at the swing which Lucy refers to.
"Ah-yeah. Yes, it should…"
Lucy jumps jack knife into the lake, a perfect dive that she's perfected since becoming a part of team Natsu (How many boats Natsu has sunk or buildings by the docks and seas which Lucy has had to abandon as Natsu brought down? Not to mention when Juvia cries her own pool at Gray's apparent rejection; yes, Lucy has been able to get plenty of practice with her entering of bodies of water as of late). She emerges already swimming, calling over her shoulder to Hibiki, "I'll race you! First there gets to jump first, loser has to push!"
And perhaps Hibiki tried the first few meters of the race, but he quickly seemed to slow and had Lucy wanted to, she easily would have called him out on it. Being the gentleman that he was, however, Lucy climbed onto shore long before Hibiki and simply accepted that.
When Hibiki did finally pull himself onto the rocks, Lucy had already gripped her way to the rope, clinging at it excitedly.
"Now that I'm here, maybe you should go first…"
Hibiki laughs and mixed with the breeze and birds, it's a perfect sound. Like a bell.
"I do believe the privilege is all yours. You won it, if I recall correctly."
Lucy wrung the rope in hands, eyeing the lake before her. What if this rope couldn't support her weight? When was the last time someone jumped from it? The leap looked farther than she imagined. Maybe…
"Do you need that push?"
Lucy flinched. How did Hibiki climb up here so quick?
"…are you that scared?"
That did it. She'd show him!
Lucy swelled her chest up, putting on a front of bravery, and-
Stepped. Not leaped, but stepped from the rocks. That was her first mistake and she instantly regretted the move, suddenly squealing and tightening both hands around the rope.
"Lucy-! Don't let go, sw-swing back-!"
Too late. At the words 'don't let go', Lucy had somehow retracted her hands and suddenly found the rope slip form her finger tips, with no hope of regaining her grip. And she clenched her fists and eyes shut, bracing herself to hit the rocks below only to roll unflatteringly into the lake, except by some twist of luck she hit the water first.
Shallow water, but water nonetheless.
She felt her shoulder scrape a rock but as she slowly sank she realized that was the extent of her blunder. Just as she thought to swim to the surface, the surface above her seemed to collapse and she realized Hibiki had dove in after her. Before she could swim up to him, signal she was fine, he was by her, wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her up.
The second they did hit the surface, Lucy gasped for air.
"Hibiki, I'm alright-!"
Hibiki slung Lucy over his shoulder, plopping her back onto the shore before pulling himself up beside her. He seemed out of breadth, laying there trying to catch it as Lucy herself slowed her breathing.
"I'm fine, really-"
Hibiki warned. Lucy quickly shut her mouth.
Finally, Hibiki sighed, turning his head to face Lucy. His eyes softened but he still wasn't smiling, though he lowered his voice, "let's not try the rope swing."
Lucy slowly nodded.
Hibiki had them wait a moment more before swimming back to the dock. Lucy didn't say a word until they reached the steps up onto the deck, "Let's take out the canoe!"
She waited for Hibiki to chastise her, or groan, or complain about 'trying something else out', but rather he just smiled and stepped down from the steps he'd only half conquered.
It took some adjusting to get them both into the canoe. There was only one paddle and naturally Hibiki volunteered himself to row. Lucy sat perfectly straight, keeping her balance and trying to flinch with every jolt or sway of the boat. It was difficult.
"It's beautiful out here," she tried keeping her voice even but every other syllable seemed to jump as the boat rocked. Hibiki smirked at this. She wondered if he occasionally nudged it on purpose.
When Lucy glanced at Hibiki, his eyes were on her and she blushed, quickly looking back to the water.
"Do you come here ever?"
Hibiki frowned, shaking his head, "Not as often as I'd like."
"How's Ren and Eve?"
Hibiki shrugs. "Haven't seen Ren in weeks. He's taking extra missions, to pay for the wedding, or extra errands, for the wedding."
Lucy nods slowly. The wedding was fast approaching. She hadn't picked out a dress or even a wedding gift for the couple. She was about to ask Hibiki what he planned to get them, but he beat her to it
"Lucy, what's that on your shoulder?"
Lucy cringed; she'd forgotten the scrape.
"Is that from the rope swing?!"
He leaned forward instinctively, raising a hand but Lucy flinched, trying to stabilize the canoe as it rocked with his shifting.
"D-don't!" She warned. "I'm fine, it's fine, really! I'll have Wendy cure away in a second back at the guild!" She laughed it off, but Hibiki wasn't so convinced. Slowly, he settled back in his position and continued to row to the center of the center of the lake.
When Lucy looked back to Hibiki, she found yet again his eyes on her. He'd stopped rowing and she squirmed uncomfortably in the stiff position she was forced to uphold within the small canoe. Was something on her face, or in her hair..? Her shoulder couldn't have looked that bad, though she didn't want to call attention to it now by looking-
"Hibiki…" She muttered; maybe he wasn't aware he was staring at her-
He was aware.
Without a word, Hibiki leaned forward, rocking the boat but, before Lucy could yelp, cutting her off with a kiss.
It was short lived, because Lucy flinching and his sudden movement tipped the canoe and into the water the both splashed.
When Lucy found the surface again, clinging to the capsized boat, Hibiki was laughing.
"It was worth it," was all he managed through gasping for air between laughter. Lucy had a sudden urge to drown him, yet again, but instead opted to flip the boat, climb ungracefully back into it, and begin paddling without him.
"L-Lucy, wait for me!"
The sun was setting by the time they'd had their fill of the lake. Hibiki had swam out as far into the lake before turning and swimming back, and in that time Lucy had enjoyed a short nap on the deck. Insects were buzzing and the shade of the trees blocked the set sun, though the sky was still lilac, suggesting it hadn't completely set.
Lucy sighed; she didn't want to leave the lake just yet. Couldn't they spend the night out here? Couldn't they spend forever out here?
Hibiki was in no hurry. He plopped his wet self down beside Lucy, scrunching up beside her to try to lay on as much of the towel as she'd allow. She felt his cold, soaked arm press against hers and while it sent a shiver up her comfortably warm body, she didn't retract from him. He'd been punished enough by being made to swim his way back after capsizing their canoe.
"You're not still mad at me?"
Lucy pretended to hold her grudge, glancing with one eye open at him.
"I couldn't resist," he pleas.
What he wants to say is ever since she allowed him to kiss her, he can't stop. He wants to make up for all those times they almost-but-didn't. He wants to steal as many of her breaths and words as he can and he wants to close the gaps between them. There's a gap between them now, where she's just barely looking at him and he can't stop looking at her lips, her eyes, her face; he wants to close that gap, that space, now.
"You could've waited to when we weren't in a boat," Lucy counters.
Alright. That works for him, he thinks, leaning forward and taking Lucy's face in hand, turning her so she meets him halfway. And he kisses her and after an initial shock she gives up and kisses back, just barely.
"You're very courageous, aren't you?" She teases when he pulls apart, lifting herself to stand and redress in her shirt.
No. He's just savoring as many opportunities as he left. Because in nineteen, eighteen, more days with her, he won't have these chances again.
When Ren's wedding passes and the Trimen want to take missions together again, Hibiki will need to be there for them. When these hundred dates end and Hibiki hasn't convinced Lucy to love him, what excuse will he have to travel to Magnolia twice a weekend to see her? These kisses are chaste and fine now, but without a defined relationship, what are they doing? Spending nineteen, eighteen, more days together.
And then? Then he has to return to his guild he's neglected for the better half of months now. And she has to return to hers, and they'll go their separate ways and maybe once a year they'll meet and he'll say hello to her and she'll greet him but he won't be able to kiss her then.
So he has to kiss her now. A thousand times.
That's too much!
Then only a hundred.
A/N: Random Facts about this chapter: I once had the privelege, about a summer ago, to spend the weekend at a friend's ranch; on which, our group of friends spent one morning at this lake on the private property ranch and it was so damn perfect. I really wanted to capture how beautiful that experience was, but I definitely did not and that's I think my greatest disappointment in this chapter-it doesn't live up to how peaceful and serene that morning at the lake felt~
Lucy's POV! Notice why I haven't written in her POV in a while? It's definitely lacking haha sorry! Oh, boy, need to step up my game! I've got a hectic month of finals approahcing, but then winter break so that should pave way to some good final chapters I hope~! The pace of how things are going, this story probably won't be finished til it's, what, two-year aniversary? Haha, let's hope no longer than that oh boy! Sorry!