Paper Sketches


Fairy Tail © Hiro Mashima

Natsu x Lucy

Reedus is an artist—that is simply a truth.

He is undoubtedly the best artist in Fairy Tail, probably even in the whole Fiore, as Mirajane had once stated (which made his shy heart stumble and his cheeks turn a shade pinker). But Reedus doesn't really want to admit this, because he feels he needs to improve his skills even more and he thinks there are others far more talented than him.

However, everyone knows, and admits, that Reedus' painting skills are unparalleled.

He loves drawing anytime, anywhere, painting anything and everything. Still, Reedus thinks he likes drawing the guild most (its everyday people, the members, his friends), since they remind him of all the happy things he knows. He tries his best to capture every moment; he even has his own collection of the guild's pictures.

Those are snapshots of the world they live in, and he keeps them as treasures.

Overtime, Reedus grows to be an observer. He likes watching people in the guild when he paints—not in that creepy kind of way, though—, noting the little details which others probably don't notice. Maybe that is why he feels as though he's getting to know them better every day; he has come to learn a lot of different things about the fellows.

Today is nothing different.

He is sitting on his usual chair in front of the bar, painting. The bar is as rowdy as ever; Cana is trying to persuade some men to join her in a drinking contest (which is responded with looks of horror on their faces, considering Cana's ability to finish about five huge barrels of beer without passing out), while Elfman and Gray is having a match for men, so to say, by comparing each other's abs. This shirtless feat makes Juvia promptly faint, Wendy fascinated, Evergreen amused, Bixlow teasing, and Natsu snickering because mine is way cooler, ice-brain. Lucy laugh-snorts at that and says she really doesn't get men.

Reedus chuckles at the scene and can't help but notice, however, that Lucy is half-blushing-half-smiling while she glances at Natsu, who is joining the competition while being all fired up without a really specific reason.

And as an observer, Reedus notices that lately, something seems to change between them.

The changes are not too big, he thinks, they are minor and subtle and they're not prone to be seen so obviously. Sometimes he also wonders if he is the only who is aware, because everybody else doesn't show any kind of knowledge about this; no teasing, no approving glances or whatnot. But he sees—he sees that lately, Natsu and Lucy have become just a little bit closer.

Reedus notices that when Natsu comes in at the guild, noisy and exuberant, Lucy's eyes go straight towards his direction and somehow, her face lights up. When he is chatting with her and tells her something funny—something like his silly soon-to-be adventures—she laughs and smiles a bright, soft smile that warms the air like starlight.

And every time she smiles, Reedus notices that Natsu always smiles, too.

But then again, these changes are only small. Natsu and Lucy are still good friends, even until now. Well, not that that's a bad thing, though Reedus finds himself thinking that they would be a really cute couple. Maybe they will be in the near future, he ponders, but he leaves the thought to simply stay on his mind.

The hours pass by, just like usual, and although Reedus still catches the faint hints between the two best friends, he does not act, thinking that it would probably be best to let them do something about it by themselves.

Except the next day, when he is sitting on his chair and scribbling on his sketchbook, Lucy approaches him.

"Hello," she says, smiling in the warm way that she usually does. "What are you drawing, Reedus?"

He is somewhat startled and he slightly blushes at her friendliness, inwardly happy that she takes interest in his sketches. He informs her that it's nothing in particular—which is the truth, really, because what he's sketching is the guild and all of its mess.

Lucy chuckles lightly, taking a seat on a stool beside him. "May I see?"

Reedus nods and hands her his sketchbook; the snapshots which are his treasures.

She opens it and gingerly flips the pages filled with colored figures as well as pencil scratches that create arrays of lines. Her chocolate eyes glimmer with every turn of the sheets—lovingly, warmly, fondly staring at the work of Reedus' hands. She tells him that his drawings are really amazing, and he shyly thanks her for her compliment.

She pauses when she reaches a picture of Elfman, Gray, and Natsu, all involved in a topless fight against each other. They are standing on a table and the crowd that is below them seems to cheer rambunctiously.

"Oh hey, this is yesterday, isn't it?" she asks, her fingers tracing the smooth surface of paper.

"Oui," Reedus replies. A small smile tugs the corners of his lips and he can't help it, because he notices that Lucy's eyes are not leaving the pink-haired, grinning figure in the picture.

Lucy shakes her head. She mutters something under her breath, her voice is barely a whisper, but in some way Reedus manages to catch the words that she says:

"And he calls me weird."

She softly huffs, but her tone holds a clue of affection and there's a ghost of a smile lingering on her lips.

She proceeds to turn the pages. However, that ghost of a smile Reedus senses begins to fade while her cheeks gradually turn rose-colored with every flip of the papers. He doesn't quite comprehend why, but there is a feeling in his gut that tells him she has also noticed. Because the sketchbook is his and he knows the insides like the back of his hand, he realizes that in every page that she sees, she must have seen.

—That there is no Natsu without Lucy, or Lucy without Natsu.

Her fingers pauses and she stops, again, when she sees her picture with Natsu and Happy, together, the blue cat flying as if dancing in the air while Natsu's arm is draped around her shoulders with their faces beaming widely like there is no trouble in their own happy, radiant, colorful world.

"You guys look really good together."

The comment slips out from Reedus' mouth almost spontaneously, moving like liquid as it slides past his tongue, and it hits him that he might have just spoken his thoughts out loud. But he doesn't regret it when he sees that Lucy is somewhat flustered and her face is a deep-red; well, he secretly hopes that the sudden remark might just pull her out from that state of denial.

"W-What?" she splutters.

Reedus chuckles gently, lightheartedly, at her reaction. "You know what I mean."

Lucy stares at him, then towards the chaotic, merry guild, where Erza is eating cakes, Levy reading, and Happy jovially flying around him.

There is a long, silent pause, before she finally sighs.

The young girl sends whispers to the air, almost barely heard as if she is afraid that Natsu's strong sense of hearing would catch her voice.

"But he is so dense."

Reedus looks at her, still, lending his ears because he somehow feels that her heart is on the edge of her sleeves. He notices how Lucy's face is still flushed, but her honey-colored eyes are not as bright as before. Sure, he has never expected her to pour her feelings out to him—much less feelings only she knows—but he thinks now that she is saying (whispering) her heart's secrets to him, he should appreciate it and listen.

Lucy spares a small glance at him. "He's also reckless. Messy, doesn't have any kind of good manners whatsoever (what man barges in to a woman's house and sleeps on her bed without permission?), and he always teases me," she says, huffing. "But—"

Reedus smiles when she stops.

"But he is Natsu."

She looks at him with a shine on her eyes and pink tints on her cheeks and he knows that his words had summed up everything.

Reedus gently takes the sketchbook from her hands, opens the page where she, Happy, and Natsu are smiling, and tears off the page from the book before tucking the paper between her fingers. She gazes at the picture, then to him, with a surprised, baffled look.

The artist smiles, nods, and Lucy responds with that starlight smile of hers.

She utters a warm 'thank you' before she goes towards one of the tables where Natsu and Happy at to show them their picture. Reedus sees them staring at the paper, smiling and laughing, and Natsu remarks that you look like you're drunk, Lucy, which earns him a painful chop on the head from the said person.

At that moment, Reedus thinks that all they need might just be a little push on the right direction.

It has never occurred to him that this kind of circumstance will happen; that he is standing at the bar next to a certain troublemaker, whose hobby is eating fire and often goes over the top when destroying stuff, to make the said person realize, uncharacteristically enough, of his own feelings. But then again, stranger things are somehow pretty common in a guild like Fairy Tail, so Reedus thinks he should just go with it.

Natsu looks at him, mumbling as he chews a mouthful of fire-spaghetti. "So what's it, Reedus?"

The artist clears his throat, thinking that all of this is a bit weird, and tells Natsu that he has something to show him.

Reedus holds out his sketchbook to him, not before warning him that if he accidentally or purposely burns the book, Reedus will show everyone that picture of him wearing thick make-up on his face, to which Natsu replies with a pretty shocked look and a few fervent nods.

Reedus smiles, amused. Natsu begins to open the book, and before he turns the first page, he looks at Reedus again, now with a look of utter confusion.

"I just want to know what you think about my drawings, since you haven't seen them for 7 years and I want to know if I've improved," Reedus explains, wondering if his excuse is believable enough since he thinks they both know that Natsu isn't really the right person to ask about this kind of thing.

Natsu blinks. "Why me?"

Reedus chuckles then tells him that everybody's opinion matters.

Natsu nods, seemingly happy enough with his answer, and proceeds to turn the next pages. Reedus quietly smiles in triumph when the fire mage slightly frowns, thinking that he might just have noticed what Lucy had seen yesterday. Reedus has intentionally put pictures of Natsu and Lucy together in that sketchbook, all in the hopes of making Natsu realize that they do look good together, and maybe he will do something about it after that.

"Weird," Natsu remarks, and Reedus' smile turns just a tiny bit bigger.

"Why do my muscles look smaller in your drawings, Reedus?"

Reedus' expression instantly drops and there is a huge urge to just face-floor or something.

He thinks he should've expected this, however, because it is Natsu, so after patiently explaining why ('pardon, maybe it's the scale that I use or my drawing style that has changed overtime. I used new painting equipment, too.'), the artist tries a different approach. He had decided to make things progress, and he is not going to stop before something happens.

Never give up; that is how they do things in Fairy Tail, after all.

So he points out how they look really good together, Natsu and Lucy, but the dragon slayer simply replies with a quick 'thanks' and a wide, wide grin, before he proceeds to savor his meal again.

Reedus sighs.

"She likes you."

Natsu blinks.

He sounds like Happy, Reedus thinks, when he says that so bluntly to Natsu because he figures that mere hints or soft nudges are not really effective on people with his level of obliviousness (or perhaps innocence, he can't quite differentiate them).

However, the fire mage only responds with that big, trademark grin of his.

"Yeah, I like her too."

It is the third day of Reedus' (slightly silly) attempts to make him come to his senses, and while resisting the urge to face-floor the third time, he simply sighs.

Maybe, he thinks, maybe this isn't working out as well as he wants it to be. Perhaps later, someday, sometime, he would try again. For now, maybe he should just let things be, and who knows; maybe they will come together on their own.

But Reedus can't help it.

"You're always together with her, most of the time," he suddenly says, even though he doesn't really know why he's saying these things—his thoughts, he says them anyway, "even in the pictures that I draw."

Natsu stops focusing on his food and turns to look at him.

"Really?" he queries, looking slightly thoughtful at first. This makes Reedus wonders, in between the seconds, if he is actually thinking. Then, in an instant, his small frown turns into a bright beam, showing Reedus a wide, toothy grin that somehow makes his face glow.


"Well, it's kinda hard to imagine being without her."


Reedus is startled, thinking that these words sound a bit out of character coming from Natsu, but then a light chuckle escapes his lips, its sound fluttering in the air like delighted little flaps of wings.

That, he thinks, sounds better than a confession.

The artist then insists on making Natsu tell Lucy those exact same words, and although the pink-haired guy refuses at first—slightly flustered, even, with those repeated why do I have to do that as well as that look on his face—Reedus manages to convince him with a promise that it will surely make Lucy happy.

(And if you don't do it then you're sort of a wimp, he adds, which Natsu fiercely denies before accepting his sort-of-a-challenge.)

So the next day, when Natsu and Lucy come to the guild, hand-in-hand, with their faces blushing and glowing as the others coo, cheer, and congratulate them, Reedus is not really surprised.

He is even a little proud.

Natsu laughs his boisterous laugh, looks at Lucy—who is still smiling a warm smile brighter than a thousand suns—and wraps his arms around her shoulders. Gray whistles, telling Natsu that I know this is gonna happen, though I still don't get why she would like men who have horribly dyed hair like you, to which Natsu replies with a kick in the guts. It takes only a matter of seconds before the guild breaks into a fighting chaos, as usual, and Lucy heaves a deep sigh.

Well, Reedus thinks, even in the middle of all this, they still look really good together.

He begins to drag his pencil across a piece of sketch paper, and smiles.


These are snapshots of the world we live in.



Author's Notes:

Hello! This is something pretty random that I had in mind, and in all honesty, I'm not even sure if all of this makes sense or if the characters are, well, in-character at all, but I hope this makes you somewhat happy. ;v;

Please forgive my mistakes, though, and if you've stumbled upon some (a lot of) errors, please let me know!

Thank you for reading, I really appreciate it.: