AN: Some dragon-bro shenanigans for your reading pleasure.
Disclaimer: I do not own Fairy Tail or its characters, Hiro Mashima does.
Heart to Heart
by Miss Mungoe
"So...what's up with you and bunny girl?"
Natsu paused with his drink halfway to his lips, eyes swivelling sideways to regard the iron dragonslayer having opened his mouth. The stoic man wasn't looking at him, though, but had averted his gaze firmly to the wall in front of him. His entire posture reeked of nonchalance and the usual indifference he carried about him, but something told Natsu there was some underlying...something, behind the calm façade.
"What, you mean Lucy?"
Gajeel shot him a look saying 'is there another bunny girl in this place?', to which Natsu responded with blinking his eyes owlishly. "Nothing's up. Not right now, anyway. Wait, is she mad at me? Did she say she was?" There was a slightly panicked lilt to his voice, and Gajeel rolled his eyes.
"Did I say she was mad?"
Natsu glared back. "Then why're you asking, Metalbrain?"
Gajeel was oddly quiet, and, curiosity flaring like flames through dry grass, Natsu couldn't help himself. "When you say 'up', what exactly are you talking about?"
Gajeel shrugged. "Nothin' specific. Y'know, is there something...going on?"
"In what way?"
Slamming his fists down on the table, the dragon slayer fixed his comrade with a glare, fed up with his lack of understanding. "Are you seeing each other, is what I'm bloody asking!"
"..." Natsu blinked. "Sure we do. We see each other almost every day, although not so much lately, she's been bitching about me coming to her apartment all the time, like she doesn't want me there or someth-What?"
Gajeel shook his head in wonder. "You really are stupid. I mean, wow. I always thought...but that's just...amazing." He snorted. "I guess the answer is 'no' then."
"Whaddya mean?" Natsu frowned. "I told you, we see each other almost every day. How'dya get 'no' from that, and call me dense?"
"Numbskull, I wasn't talking about it in a literal sense. I meant 'seeing' as in 'dating'."
"You're interested? In Lucy?"
It took Gajeel a moment to register this, before he snorted. "Nah. She's easy on the eyes, all right, but it's just way too much...flair for me." He grimaced, as if unsure that was the right word, but shrugging and picking up his drink. "And she's loud as hell, too," he added for good measure.
Natsu was oddly quiet. "Oh."
Gajeel smirked. "Had ya worried for a second, huh?"
"What? NO! Dude, no, it's not like that."
"You sure about that?"
"One hundred percent?"
"One hundred percent!"
"So if I make a move, you're cool with it?"
"If you make a move, I'm-What?! No!"
"N-yes? No, I mean, you just said...too much flair!"
Gajeel smirked, tipping his drink. "But a damn nice rack."
The fire dragon was glaring at him now, steam all but seeping out of his ears. "Oye..."
"Relax, hothead, I ain't gonna go after your girl."
"Whatever. I was just wonderin'."
Natsu narrowed his eyes, regarding his fellow dragonslayer suspiciously. "Why are you interested?"
Gajeel raised a brow. "From who, you?"
"I can give advice."
Gajeel snorted. "Right. That'll be the day."
"...you didn't answer my question, though." There was a smirk on the younger man's face, the edges of his mouth curling up to reveal his sharp canines. Gajeel's eyes narrowed.
"The hell are you smiling about, Firebrain?"
Natsu grinned. "You need advice, don't you? That's why you came to me, to ask how I got-" He stopped, realizing his mistake.
It was Gajeel's turn to smile. "Oho? How you got what, exactly?"
Natsu swallowed. "How I got...Erza...off my back...the other day? The trick is strawberry cheesecake, you know. It's simple-"
"Pansy. Just say it already!"
"FINE! How I got Lucy, damn it!"
Gajeel smirked. "Was that so difficult?"
"Did you know?"
Gajeel shrugged. "Might've."
"Who told you? Was it Mira? Lucy's gonna kill me!"
"Her smell's all over you, idiot. You reek of each other."
Natsu narrowed his eyes. "So you were, what, confirming it?"
Gajeel shrugged. "Good to know these things. Wouldn't want to go after the wrong chick."
Natsu's magic flared, making the iron dragon's grin widen. "I'd kick your metal ass to Oak Town and back."
"You're way too easy to bait, Salamander."
"What's that supposed to mean?!"
A raised metal-studded brow met his question. Natsu frowned, not taking the implications of the stare. "Dude, what?"
Gajeel sighed. The idiot was denser than he gave him credit for. How did a guy like that even get a girlfriend?
"I beat the shit out of her last date."
Gajeel blinked, before realizing he had voiced his question out loud. "What?"
Natsu shrugged. "Pervert tried to cop a feel walking her home, so I beat the crap out of him and threw him in the river."
Huh. Simple as that.
Gajeel snorted. "And, what, she took you instead?"
Natsu grinned. "I kissed her first. Then she hit me, and then she locked me out of her apartment. So I climbed through the window." He nodded to himself, as though unduly pleased with this. Gajeel shook his head.
Natsu grinned sheepishly, rubbing his neck. "Then she screamed at me and pushed me back out. And the next day we were together!"
"...you sure about that?"
Gajeel shook his head. Idiot. "Did you ask her about it? Confirm it? Or did you just assume that's what it meant?"
It was Natsu's turn to roll his eyes. "'Course I asked! And she said yes. And then she hit me for beating up her date. And then she kissed me." The grin on his face was triumphant, as though he had just kicked the living crap out of a great opponent. Gajeel snorted.
"Idiots, the both of you."
Natsu grinned. "Jealous~?"
His dubious tone went completely unnoticed, and the grin on the fire dragon's face turned sly. "I bet you wish you had my balls."
"No thank you."
"Do you even know what that word means?"
"It's a figure of speech, damn it!"
"I know, just didn't think you did."
"Actually, I didn't, but then I got hit in the head with a dictionary in the bar fight yesterday. Twice, actually. Levy went on a rampage when she saw the blood on it. That girl is scarier than Lucy if she catches you defiling her literature." He shuddered for extra effect. Gajeel said nothing. "But anyway, I think she was pissed I hadn't asked her out first, y'know? Said something about 'having the nerve' to ruin her date and yadda yadda. And–" Natsu stopped, and frowned. Then, and Gajeel could almost see realization sinking into his thick head, a slow, fanged grin spread across his face.
"Oho! That's it, isn't it?"
Putting on his most frightening face, Gajeel was about retort when Natsu charged on ahead, cutting him off. "So, who is it?"
Covering up his sputter, Gajeel's eyes shifted to somewhere across Salamander's shoulder. "Who's what?"
Natsu rolled his eyes. "The chick you're obviously too much of a coward to ask out."
"I ain't no coward!"
"But you want to ask her out?"
"Have you tried?"
"I said shaddup."
"Turned you down, huh? It's probably the face," the fire dragon continued, nodding to himself at this particular observation.
"There's nothing wrong with my face, Salamander!"
"But she turned you down still?"
"I didn't say that, damn it!"
Natsu snorted. "So you haven't asked, is that it? Chic-ken," he sang.
Gajeel spluttered, before averting his eyes. He grumbled something unintelligible. Natsu raised a brow, seemingly having no problem understanding the garble. "So, what, you're waiting for the right moment?"
Gajeel remained silent, eyes boring holes in the wall behind the bar. Natsu grinned. "Or is it that you're...scared?"
The responding glare would have made a sane person piss himself, but then, Natsu had never really been known for his sanity. The smile on his face was positively devilish. "Ho, Gajeel's sca-!" The fist to the face nearly sent him off his barstool.
Rubbing his jaw, Natsu grinned. "But you are, aren't you? That's why you're sitting here!"
"You should probably do something about the face if you're going to ask someone out, though. Unless she's blind. 'Course, your voice sounds like gravel, so that'd probably scare the shit out of her anyway."
"Oh, and you're the picture of attractiveness, are you?"
"Hey! I have a girlfriend, thank you very much."
"God only knows why."
"Says the guy living alone with his cat."
"You're one to talk!"
"Girlfriend," Natsu taunted.
"You wanna have a go, Salamander? Huh?"
"Bring it, scrap-for-brains!"
The iron dragonslayer halted halfway off the barstool, but didn't release the front of Natsu's shirt, nor did he lower the fist that had been heading towards the other dragonslayer's face. Turning at the call, the two rivals watched as Levy bounded towards them, brown eyes twinkling and completely unperturbed by the brawl about to break out.
"Have you seen Lily this morning?" she asked, all apple cheeks and smiling eyes as she tilted her head innocently – a picture right out of a goddamned advertisement.
Cuuuute! the guildmates gathered around them thought with a collective sigh as the small script mage smiled imploringly at the two dragonslayers about to beat all hell out of each other. Gajeel swallowed loudly.
"A-aa, I think he's back at the flat."
Levy beamed at them, before spinning on her heel, sky-kissed hair whipping about her face. "Thanks! I'll go find him – don't beat each other up too much!"
And then she was gone.
When the iron dragon turned back to his rival – after watching the entirety of the little mage's bouncy trek across the guild hall – the fire dragon was sporting a grin so evil it would have given Titania a run for her money.
"Ho, so that's how it is."
Natsu grinned. "The quiet, cute one, huh? Who'da thunk?"
"I said, shaddup!"
Natsu laughed, just barely avoiding the fist headed for his jaw. Pushing the other man back onto his chair with a bit more force than necessary, the fire dragon suddenly looked deadly serious. "You serious about her?"
Gajeel glared, bearing his fangs menacingly. "I haven't even said anything, damn it!"
"Might as well have, looking like a lovesick-"
"I'll turn you inside-out, hothead," he warned in a feral growl.
Natsu returned the glare full-force. "Right back 'atcha, bolts-for-brains, if you screw around with her." He crossed his arms over his chest. There was no joking lilt to his voice now.
Gajeel scoffed, shifting his gaze to the wall to his right. "Who said I was going to?" he grumbled.
Natsu regarded him with a strangely undecipherable look on his face. "You're serious," he stated then, sounding a twinge surprised by the fact. Gajeel snorted.
"I ain't that kind of a bastard, idiot. Not when it comes to her."
Natsu hummed, eyes flickering towards where the little mage had disappeared. "She likes you, you know. Luce told me."
"R-really?" Cough. "I mean, whatever."
"You're about as convincing as Jet and Droy's fashion sense."
Natsu grinned. Gajeel smirked.
"Bunny girl'll kill you now, y'know. Tellin' me this shit."
"Aw, crap! You can't tell her I said that."
"And why not? Gee-hee~"
"I'll tell Levy you have a crush on her."
"I do not have a cru-"
"Gajeel has a cruuuuush~"
"Stop calling it that, damn it!"
"Alright. Gajeel-kun has feeeeelings for Lev-!"
Natsu grinned, unaffected by the outburst that had sent a man falling off his stool a few paces down the bar. "You have a crush, man. Admit it."
"It's not a crush, damn it, it-"
"It's a crush. Anyone will tell you that."
The iron dragon sulked into his chair, crossing his arms over his chest as he glared at the polished counter-top. Natsu remained silent, grinning to himself. "So..."
"Don't even think about it, Salamander."
"How are you going to do it?"
Gajeel turned his glare on his companion. "Who said I was planning on doing anything?"
Natsu rolled his eyes. "You'd be an idiot not to."
"Coming from you, that's rich."
"Takes one to know one, eh?"
"...you just insulted yourself, idiot."
"Hey, thisidiot has a girlfriend, and a cat. You only have a cat."
Natsu shrugged. "It's always the same. Starts with one...then, before you know it..." he trailed off.
Gajeel frowned. "What?"
Natsu looked dead serious. "You'll be Magnolia's resident cat-lady."
"You're an idiot."
"32 cats, Gajeel."
"Forever single, man. Forever. Single. With cats."
Gajeel glared. "Alright, whadd'ya think I should do, then?"
"Are you asking for advice?"
"Hell naw. I'm...thinking out loud."
"Riiiight. You can just ask, you know. There's not shame in admitting you need help."
"I'd sooner take advice from Juvia than from you, hothead."
"Juvia is single. I am not."
"You got lucky."
"And if you hadn't caught her date copping a feel?"
"Beside the point!"
Gajeel smirked. "You're a pansy who got lucky. Admit that, Salamander."
"At least I did something. You just sit around, brooding and sulking."
"I don't brood. I glare."
"I'm glaring, damn it!"
Natsu chuckled. "Real talk, though, why don't you just ask her out? She likes you, for some strange reason."
Gajeel grumbled, sinking lower in his seat.
Natsu raised his brows. "What was that?"
"I said she's too good for me."
Natsu raised a brow. "Does she think that?"
"Do you care about her?"
"Of course, idiot."
"Then tell her, idiot."
Gajeel glared at his rosy haired rival, arms still crossed over his chest and looking for all the world like a brooding teenager.
"Dude, you are totally brooding right now."
Natsu grinned. "Hey," he said. "I wouldn't encourage you if I didn't think you were good enough for her. I'd beat you to a pulp and throw your sorry ass into the river if I thought that. But I don't think so, which is good for you, and your sorry ass."
"Tch, like you could throw me in the river."
"Keep dreamin', Firebreath."
Natsu smiled, turning his head away from Gajeel and towards the end of the bar, where Levy had now come back inside, Lily on her shoulder. Jet and Droy had bounded up to the little mage immediately upon her entrance, and were eagerly trying to get her attention both at once, tugging her this way and that. She laughed along, swatting at their arms playfully.
"She trusts you, you know."
Startled out of his blatant staring, Gajeel turned his gaze on the younger dragon. Natsu shrugged. "She's really smart. Hell, she's probably one of the smartest in the guild, maybe even the smartest. And if she trusts you, I trust her judgement."
Gajeel turned his gaze back on the little bookworm, catching her eyes and tensing when she caught his stare, waving at him with a big smile.
"Dad told me something once," Natsu suddenly said, eyes also on the little bluenette. Gajeel looked up, but didn't say anything. Natsu smiled before he continued, "He was talking about mates and stuff like that. I wasn't really paying attention." He grinned sheepishly, shaking his head. "But I remember some of it. He said that...mates are important. Especially for dragons. It's important to have someone beside you that you can trust." He grinned suddenly. "And it's good to have someone that's yourstoo. Luce calls me possessive, but I'm a dragon, the hell does she expect? I hoard for a living."
Gajeel smirked, thinking back on the lecture Lily had given him earlier about bringing home metal scraps when he already had a living room full of it. He sighed. "She's the only one I could consider for a mate," he finally said, feeling partly relieved at getting it off his chest, and partly embarrassed, because damn it, he was telling Salamander.
...although to be fair he was probably one of the very few who actually understood the concept of lifemates.
Regardless. He was lucky if the idiot would ever let him live it down.
"Then tell her."
His head snapped towards the fire dragon, looking for signs of mockery but finding none. The hothead was dead serious.
Natsu rolled his eyes. "You really want to wait until someone else rises to the bait? Take it from me, man. Not. Cool. The pervert was lucky I only gave him a small beating, but hell, seeing her with someone else was shit."
Gajeel turned his gaze back to the bookworm, noting with a frown the two living accessories that seemed all but permanently attached to her hips.
"Someone will make a move, eventually. It'd make it less confusing for her if you tell her now, instead of when she's in the middle of a date. Even if the guy is a damn lecher who should learn to keep his hands to himself," Natsu muttered the last part.
Gajeel snorted. "The hell d'you get all this damn insight, Salamander?"
Natsu smirked. "What can I say? I'm an experienced guy."
"Cut the crap."
Natsu shrugged, a wry smile on his lips. "I learned the hard way, yeah?"
Gajeel regarded him for a moment. "Beat him up, huh?"
"Threw him in the river?"
"...I'd have ripped his arms off."
"Luce would have ripped my arms off if I'd done that. Levy would probably sick Erza on you."
Gajeel shuddered. Point taken.
"You two are adorable, you know."
Both heads whipped around to stare at Mirajane, standing behind the bar and absently polishing a glass after having seemingly appeared out of nowhere. She was smiling that smile again – the one that would send a man running if he knew what was good for him. Both slayers stiffened in their seats. Her grin widened.
"Male bonding is so precious!"
"We're not bonding!" / "The hell, woman?!"
"Real men share their feelings!" Elfman interjected from beside his sister.
And so ensued yet another bar brawl, and, as per the usual, the other members seated about the guild hall came running to join in the fray.
Lucy watched from the sidelines as her boyfriend was thrown across the length of the guild, only to scream bloody murder and hurtle himself back into the mass of arms and legs and dust. She sighed.
"What do you think started it this time?"
Levy shrugged. "Food, probably. You know those two."
"Can't they have a civilized conversation for once, without beating each other senseless?"
"And what would they talk about, Lu-chan?"
Lucy grinned. "I dunno. Feelings?"
Levy laughed. "Can you even picture that conversation?"
"Nope. It'd probably just be normal guy-talk, anyway, if they somehow managed to keep a conversation going without immediately resorting to violence. Probably just stuff about food and missions."
Levy hummed her agreement, absently stroking the fur on Lily's head.
Having actually heard every word of the dragonslayers' conversation since entering the guild hall, Pantherlily wisely kept his mouth shut, although the smirk on his face was hard to remove.
Guy talk, huh?
AN: All fun and games, folks; a light-hearted piece to outweigh some of my more serious works. I hope you enjoyed it!