A one-shot for NaLu fans. Hope ya like it! :D

"I hate this."

Natsu rolled his eyes. "Oh, come on, Luce. It's just for a few days."

"I still don't like it."

Natsu and Lucy sat at their regular table in the guild, Happy sitting on the table in between them while he nibbled on a fish. Everything seemed so normal…if you didn't know the two. Anyone who knew the duo (trio, if you counted the cat) knew that, since it had already been ten minutes since they arrived, Natsu should be spitting fire at Gray and causing a ruckus while Lucy screamed at them to knock it off. They wouldn't be sitting quietly, just talking. But Gajeel was singing again, so the whole place was already a madhouse of people trying to get the Iron Dragon Slayer to shut up. No one noticed Natsu's strange absence from the fights.

Lucy had her arms crossed, her blonde hair tied back in a thick ponytail that swung as she shook her head firmly. "I don't want you to go searching for Igneel without me," she said. "Who knows what you'll blow up without me there?"

Natsu sighed, wondering if he'd ever be able to convince her that he'd be okay. They'd been at this since yesterday, when he'd told her he was going alone. But he had a perfectly good reason for making her stay. "Luce, you can't go with your leg," he said, looking pointedly towards her bandaged leg. She'd broken it on their last mission, and it'd had yet to heal completely.

Lucy frowned. "I can walk and stand," she said defensively. "I can do well enough to keep you out of trouble."

"Luce, you do know that I've been going out on my own for years now, right?"

"And how many times have you almost been arrested?"

" . . . . "

"That's what I thought," Lucy said, smirking triumphantly. Then she flattened herself against the table without a word as Gray went flying over her head, having been tossed by someone. She didn't even change her expression as she sat back up and resumed her steely stare at Natsu.

Usually he'd cave under that look (or her puppy dog eyes, though he'd never admit to that one.) But he didn't want her hurt anymore, and he knew the injury was worse than she let on. The fact that it hadn't healed yet said it all. Plus she'd limped pretty badly the whole way here. So Natsu shook his head just as firmly as Lucy. "No. I'll be fine, Luce." And he grinned, because he knew that that would make Lucy give.

She maintained her ticked-off look for a few more seconds. Then she sagged in her seat, her expression falling from irritation to concern. "Are you sure?"

"Of course he's sure," Happy said, looking up from his fish. "Even if a Vulcan was swallowing him he'd be sure he'd be fine. 'Cause he's Natsu."

Natsu frowned, wondering if that was an insult or a compliment. Lucy cracked a small smile, but it looked fake. Natsu's frown deepened, but he didn't press her. It was better her be worried than hurt. So, waving goodbye, Natsu stood and said, "Let's go, Happy!"

"Aye, sir!" shouted the Exceed happily, launching himself into the air. Then they raced from the guild, excited by the possibility that they could finally find Natsu's father.

But, even as he ran and felt so excited, something tugged at the back of Natsu's mind. He didn't like it when Lucy was worried, or sad, or anything like that. He especially didn't like that he was the cause of it.

Even if her being that way was better than being injured, he would rather her be happy instead.

He stopped, suddenly, on the street, his eyes locked on something in the window of a nearby store. Happy stopped and turned in the air, eyes confused. "Natsu?"

Natsu smiled wide, knowing something he could do. "Hold on a sec, Happy. I have something I gotta do real quick."

Lucy knew she shouldn't worry about him. Natsu was a fighter, and a good one. He could get himself out of almost any situation with his flaming fists- and smaller ones with his grin. The one that melted people's hearts…including hers. Lucy frowned, upset by the thought of any possibility that that grin could be taken away from her.

Another guild member went flying into the wall over her head, crashing onto the table in front of her. Lucy didn't even flinch. Instead she sighed, grabbed her bag, and limped towards the door. She was going to go home, take a warm bath, and go to sleep. Maybe that would calm her nerves. Besides, it was getting late.

The frown stayed on her lips the whole way home, both from the pain of walking on her injured leg and wondering what Natsu was doing, how badly he was reacting to the train this time. Whether he missed her. This was the first mission he'd taken by himself (or, really, without her since he had Happy) in a long time. They were sort of inseparable. And now that they were finally separated, even if for just a short while, everything felt a little off.

Lucy sighed, then realized she was at her door. She unlocked the door and walked inside, turning on the lights. Automatically her eyes searched the room for a flash of pink hair before she remembered that he wouldn't be here. She sighed again…then snapped her eyes back to her bed. Quickly, she dropped her bag on a chair and maneuvered through her furniture to her bed.

On her pillow sat a stuffed red dragon, a grin sewed onto its cloth mouth. And on it's yellow belly a piece of paper was taped. Confused, Lucy took the paper off of the dragon and looked down at it. It was a note. Her mouth fell open at what was written.

So you can have me even when I'm not there.


For a minute, she just stared at the little red dragon perched on her pink comforter. Then she grinned wide, all her nerves disappearing. She put the note on her dresser and picked up the little dragon, hugging it tightly. When she closed her eyes, she could almost pretend she was hugging Natsu.

It was the best gift ever.

From that moment on, every time Natsu had a solo mission, Lucy would come home to find another little dragon waiting for her on her bed. Lucy was never actually sure what made Natsu do that after the first time. But Natsu always knew.

Because it made his Lucy smile.