Guess who's back? Back again? That guy's back. Tell a friend.

Okay, enough of that.

Well, I'm back from my week off. Had awesome times with the family and especially my daughter. But here we are at the fifth chapter. Where do I begin?

I had said that I was going to work on a one-shot during the week and, for a while, I did. It was suppose to be a buddy-cop fic in the same vein as Lethal Weapon and Die Hard with a bit of Naked Gun tossed in there. It starred Happy and Lily. For a while, I was in a good zone, but after like eight pages, it started getting really stupid, really fast. I got to the part where Carla was seducing Happy where I was like, "Okay, I can't write anymore." So I stopped it. I might continue it when I can get it to stop being stupid in my head.

As for the reviews, let's see.

Ninersfan, I totally agree with you. A lot of authors make Natsu out to be this manchild. There's a difference between being dense and being completely naive on how the world works. As for the Lisanna thing, I agree with you there as well. That's my reasoning behind supporting NaLu instead of NaLi. However, I would think that Lucy, should she get in a relationship with Natsu, would have Lisanna's prior relationship with Natsu (not romantically but friendship-wise) hanging over her. When I was in prior relationships, I always wondered how I compared with my girlfriend's prior boyfriends. Perhaps Lucy would feel the same way, feeling the need to compare herself to Lisanna. I'm sure that Natsu would set her straight though.

PhoenixedDragon, I am glad you liked the dragon references. I got it from Beowulf and other stories about Dragons. As for Natsu and Lucy having a child early, remember that Alzack and Bisca had a child when they were 19. Also, there's an interesting statistic that people who have dangerous jobs tend to have children earlier in life. So I don't see it as odd. To each their own, right?

luvr5fantain and LovelyAnimeLover, I'm glad you liked the quote. I tried so hard to come up with one when I was like, screw it, I'm using Gajeel.

And to the rest of you, thanks for the reviews. Totally made me blush.

And now for this chapter. I got a little frustrated with this chapter. Partly because I was coming off of the break and partly because I didn't realize how difficult it was to write about. You'll see what I mean when you read.

Also, I probably screwed up the prompt in the last chapter so I'm giving every reviewer two points. Also, I probably cheated with this word. I hope you like this one.


E is for Essence

Being in love is easy to feel but hard to explain.

It was a normal day in Fairy Tail, well normal is a relative term when it comes to this guild. But today is going to be an interesting day because of one question.

"Natsu-nii, how do you know when you are in love?"

Ahh, the age-old question. Philosophers, religions and scientists have all tried to answer that question. How do you know when you are in love? You're likely to get different answers depending on who you ask. Philosophers would say that a person is attracted to an essence, a soul, within the object of affection. Religions would relate love to some sort of deity, whether it be the gift of an omnipotent being or some guy with a bow and arrow who just messes around with people. Scientists would say that it a chemical reaction in the brain that triggers the pleasure source in the brain or something like that.

It's a very difficult question which has many answers. And now Natsu Dragneel is asked to answer this very question, Natsu Dragneel who is not a religious figure, certainly not a philosopher and definitely not a scientist.

Natsu stopped drinking his fire juice when he heard the question. He looked at the asker of the question.

Romeo was usually a confident young mage, just like Natsu was at his age. However, right now he was looking down at the floor, hands behind his back and stiff as a board. This question must be really important for Romeo to have a posture like that.

"Why do you ask?" Natsu wondered. "And why not ask your dad?"

Romeo grimaced and pointed to Macao. He was talking with Wakaba. The purple fire mage had his hands in front of his chest and made a squeezing motion. The two old men laughed when he did so.

Natsu, even without his enhanced senses, knew exactly what they were talking about. He was a bit dense, not naive. "I see your point." He mumbled. "But why me?"

"Because you're in love with Lucy-nee, right?" The young mage said.

Natsu chuckled. "Yeah, I am. But you never answered my question. Why are you asking?"

Romeo blushed a bit. "Can you just tell me and then I'll answer your question?"

Natsu shrugged. "Alright."

The pink-haired mage took a deep breath. "When I first met Lucy, I thought she was a little weird. But the more time I spent around her, the more I liked her."

"So the more you spend time with a girl, the more you like her?" Romeo asked.

"It's a little more than that, Romeo." Natsu told the teen. "It's like this..." The Dragon Slayer struggled to find the right word... "I don't know... pull." He floundered.

"Pull?" Romeo was confused.

"Yeah. Let me explain." Natsu closed his eyes. "When we were friends, I always visited her at her apartment. Sometimes, my feet would take me there before I even realized what I was doing."

Romeo giggled. "Really?"

"Uh huh." Natsu laughed. "I'd be heading to my house and then I'd find myself in front of Lucy's."

"Okay. But when did you realize when you were in love with Lucy-nee?" He asked.

What the two guys didn't know was that someone was listening in to their conversation.

Now Lucy wasn't a nosy person by nature. However even she couldn't resist listening when Romeo asked Natsu about love. She was tempted to go and explain it to the teenager when she decided against it. Let's see what Natsu has to say first.

Natsu sighed. "Remember when I told you about a pull?"

"Yeah."

"Well, when I started feeling something for Lucy, I felt this pull from her." Natsu told Romeo. "I felt like I had to be with her, like I needed her."

Romeo raised an eyebrow. "Needed her?"

"Yeah, almost like I need fire like... errrgh" Natsu struggled to explain and so he banged his head against the table where he was sitting.

"Natsu-nii?" Romeo got worried after seeing his idol bang his head against the table. "Are you alright?"

"It's just so hard explaining it." Natsu moaned into the table. "I never thought that it would be hard to explain. It was just something I knew."

"Something you knew?" Romeo asked.

"Yeah, you just know that you're in love and no one else can tell you differently." Natsu recovered, wiping the splinters from his face. "I just know that I love Lucy and that's that."

Lucy wanted to giggle at poor Natsu trying to explain why he knew he was in love. She knew that she loved him too. But Natsu is right. It is hard to explain. It's just a feeling that can't be denied no matter what.

"Let's try something else." Natsu groaned. But he quickly recovered. "When you are in love with someone, you start noticing stuff about that person."

"Like how big Lucy-nee's chest is?" Romeo laughed. "Because my dad said that Lucy's chest is one of the biggest he's seen in a long time."

Lucy bristled at the comment. She felt like knocking Romeo over the head for that comment and then his father for good measure.

Natsu laughed with him. "Well, yeah her breasts are big but that's kinda not what I meant."

"What did you mean?" Romeo asked, getting serious.

"Well, I didn't notice until I started falling for her but whenever she's reading a book, I can always tell how she feels just by looking at her." Natsu told him.

"Really?" Romeo wondered

"Yeah. Like if there's suspense in the book, Lucy always drums her fingers against the table. If something sad happens, her bottom lip quivers ever so slightly. If she is happy with the book, she smiles."

"So you only notice stuff about Lucy-nee when she's reading?" Romeo asked.

"No." Natsu shot back. "I also noticed that when Lucy is anxious, she starts shifting her weight from side to side. When she's nervous, she puts her left arm behind her back and hold her right arm with it."

As he continued to rattle off the little things about his girlfriend, the woman in question couldn't believe it. "Natsu really noticed all of that?" She wondered to herself. "Was he always that observant?" Sure the blond knew that he was the type to just charge in instead of thinking and planning. But for him to notice things about her that she didn't even realize about herself...

"Wow. That's amazing, Natsu-nii." Romeo's eyes sparkled, unaware of the eavesdropper. "Tell me more about love."

Natsu rubbed his chin. "Let me think. Well, when you are with the person you love, you feel like you're on top of the world."

"How so?" Romeo asked.

"Well, whenever Lucy calls my name, it doesn't matter how tired I am, I always perk up." Natsu explained. "Whenever she hugs me, I feel like I've eaten my fill of fire. Whenever we kiss, I feel like I can take on the entire Balam Alliance by myself."

Lucy's eyes glistened at that comment. The Stellar Spirit mage never knew how much she affected Natsu.

"On the flip side, whenever Lucy is sad, I feel sad and try my best to cheer her up." The pink haired mage continued. "If she's angry at me, I apologize until my voice is hoarse. When she cries, I hold her until she's done." Natsu's eyes narrowed to the point where they were slits. "And if anyone hurts Lucy, I destroy them." He said in a raspy voice.

Romeo smiled. "I think I'm starting to get it." Then the black haired boy blushed again. "Natsu-nii, how does it feel to kiss someone?"

Natsu gave Romeo a toothy grin. "Kissing is the best." He answered. "Because it's not just pressing lips together."

Romeo looked confused. "It's not?"

"Nope." The Dragon Slayer told him. "It's deeper than that. Whenever I kiss Lucy, it's like I am surrounded by everything that makes her Lucy. I can see the look on her face when I kiss her, how each kiss makes her eyes close in pleasure. I can hear her squeak when I kiss her neck, how she whimpers when I kiss her jaw and how she moans when I touch her just so."

Lucy, overhearing this, blushed profusely, but made no effort to stop him from talking.

"I can feel her right next to me when we kiss, her body heat, her body shiver, the way that her body fits perfectly against mine. I can smell her unique scent, peaches and vanilla and a little something that... well I can't explain but it's just smells of Lucy, like her essence. It drives me insane." Natsu explained, taking a big whiff of the air.

Lucy, for good measure, sniffed herself discretely. Did she actually smell like that? While it is true that Dragon Slayers have enhanced senses, particularly the olfactory sense, it was kinda embarrassing to hear Natsu say that she smelled.

"But when we actually kiss," Natsu continued without any idea that someone is listening to their conversation. "It's like all of my magic bursting out at once."

"Really?" Romeo smiled.

"Yep. And one kiss isn't enough. It becomes two kisses, then three, and then... well, you get the idea." Natsu grinned.

Romeo nodded.

"I guess what it all boils down is..." The Dragon Slayer snapped his fingers, looking for the right word. "It's essence, that's the word. You love their essence." Natsu told Romeo. "It's everything. Her looks, her voice, the feel of her skin on yours, her scent and the taste of her lips on yours."

"Wow." The young fire mage whistled. "That's pretty cool, Natsu-nii. I think I get it now."

"Awesome." The Dragon Slayer grinned. "Now you have to answer my question. Why are you asking?"

Romeo's face blanched. "Well... I... that is... umm..."

"Come on, man. Speak up." He urged.

"I was trying to figure out if I am in love or not." Romeo blurted.

"Oh, that's cool." Natsu shrugged, not particularly excited about someone else's love life *coughMirajanecough*. "So are you?"

Romeo scratched his cheek with his finger. "I think so." He mumbled.

"No, no, no. You don't think you are in love or not. You know." Natsu told him vehemently.

Romeo's eyes widened. "What?"

The pink-haired mage set a fiery gaze upon him. "I told you before. You can't think about it. It's just something you know."

Romeo was puzzled. "What does that mean?" He asked.

Lucy decided to spare Romeo any more suffering. She walked over to the two guys and put her hands on the younger mage's shoulders.

"Lucy-nee?" Romeo looked up to see the Stellar Spirit mage over his shoulders.

"Oh, hey Luce." Natsu grinned a most childish grin. "Whatcha doing?"

Lucy ignored her boyfriend for the moment. "Romeo, do you really want to know how whether or not you are in love?" She asked.

Romeo's eyes widened just a bit. "Yeah."

"Well, when you are in love, you always want to spend time with that person." Lucy explained. "You wonder what that person is doing when you are apart."

Natsu grinned as he and Romeo listened to her explain how she knows she's in love.

"When you are with that person, you feel complete." Lucy told Romeo.

"Complete?" Romeo asked.

"Well, you don't realize until you are in love but when you are, you feel like you found a missing piece and when you are apart, you feel like it's missing again." Lucy clarified.

"Wow. I never really thought about it like that." The young mage nodded his head.

"Every day, you want to be with that person." Lucy continued. "Every night, you wonder if they are thinking about you, even just a little bit."

Lucy took a deep breath and went on explaining. "People fall for a person's looks or what is said about them. But when you love someone, you don't just see a person for their physical attributes or their reputation. You look beyond that and see that person for who they really are.

"You mean their essence?" Romeo asked. "Because Natsu-nii was saying something about that."

Lucy smiled. "Yeah. I guess that would be the best word for it. Because you don't just fall in love with a person because of their looks. You love them for their personality as well. Take Natsu here.

The fire eater blinked rapidly.

"Natsu is a bit dense, a bit overly aggressive and destructive, and doesn't know the meaning of the word restraint." Lucy smirked.

"Hey." Natsu shouted indignantly.

Lucy giggled. "But Natsu is also kind, loyal, fiercely protective of his nakama and willing to do anything for me and his friends to make us happy."

Natsu closed his eyes and grinned, scratching the back of his head in embarrassment.

Romeo smiled. "Wow, Lucy-nee! I didn't know that your feelings for Natsu-nii were that deep."

The blond blushed.

The young mage continued. "So, what's it like to kiss, Lucy-nee?"

Lucy's blush became more pronounced. "Well, when we kiss, I feel this fluttering in my chest."

"Fluttering?" Romeo questioned.

"Yeah, and my heart was beating crazy fast." She continued. "I feel lightheaded and my brain shuts down in order to just feel the kiss. Then when the kisses end, I feel like my body is made of jelly. My legs can't support my body and I turn into a pile of goo."

Romeo laughed. "Really? That sounds silly."

Lucy huffed crossly. "Well when you kiss someone, you'll understand what I mean."

The young mage looked away, trying to hide the blush on his face.

Lucy's countenance softened. "I guess what we are trying to say is that when you love someone, you love both the physical and emotional parts of that person. You love that person's entire being. Their essence, I suppose, would be the best word."

Romeo absorbed all of the information given to him. "I think I finally understand now." He smiled.

Lucy clapped her hands. "Excellent. Glad to help."

"Can I ask one last question, Lucy-nee?" Romeo asked.

"Sure." She smiled back.

The young mage looked the blond in the eyes. "What was your first kiss with Natsu-nii like?"

Lucy's smile faltered. How was she going to explain this to the thirteen year old?

"Oh, I'll tell you." Natsu grinned.

Lucy squeaked. "Natsu! It's not appropriate for him."

But he continued. "So I was going to her apartment and there she was, wrapped in nothing but a towel..."

The Dragon Slayer received justice by way of Lucy's fist to his head. Natsu sank to the ground, a knot grew on his forehead.

"I told you that it's inappropriate." Lucy growled.

Romeo was confused. "But why? I thought that first kisses were like special to girls or something. Are you embarrassed by it?"

Lucy struggled to come up with an answer. "It was." She recovered. "It's just... that is... I mean..."

It was in that moment that a certain drunk card mage shimmied up to Romeo. "It's because her first kiss happened when she and Natsu were bumping uglies." Cana grinned, sloshing some of the beer that she had in her mug onto the floor.

Lucy blushed profusely. "Don't say things like that." She shrieked. "Also, how do you even know, Cana-san?"

"Natsu told me." She shrugged her shoulders. "All guys brag when they get some."

Lucy's eyes widened in horror. "So everyone knows?" She whined.

"Probably." Cana smirked.

Lucy's eyes narrowed to her sprawled-out boyfriend. "Natsu." Lucy growled.

Natsu received more justice and another knot on his head.

Romeo was puzzled. Here they were talking about Natsu and Lucy's first kiss. How did it come to this? And also... "What's bumping uglies?" He asked Cana.

Cana was about to answer, despite Lucy waving her arms no when a voice echoed from the floor.

"It wasn't ugly." Natsu moaned through the radiating pain. "It was pretty and pink."

ULTIMATE JUSTICE

Player 1 K.O.. Thank you for playing.

Natsu was out for the count.

Lucy, trying to save face, started pushing Romeo out of the guild. "I hope we answered your question." She said in a hurried tone.

"Yes you did." Romeo answered as he was pushed. "Why are you pushing me? Also, is Natsu-nii going to be alright?"

"Not for a while. I have to explain that there are certain things in a relationship that you don't say in public." Lucy explained, her eyes narrowing as she spoke.

The Stellar Spirit mage successfully 'escorted' Romeo out of the guild.

"Go have some fun while I talk to Natsu." The blond said as she pounded her fist into her hand.

With that, the guild doors shut.

"Okay, that was weird." Romeo mumbled.

"Is something wrong, Romeo-kun?" A voice asked.

Romeo turned in the direction of the voice and promptly blushed. "Oh, hey Wendy."

Wendy was by herself, which was odd considering that her Exceed companion usually hovered over her like a hawk.

"What happened, Romeo-kun?" She asked. "Also, why is your face red?"

"Umm... I just got pushed out of the guild by Lucy-nee." He explained, scratching the back of his head.

"Oh, I'm sorry." Wendy apologized.

Romeo brushed it off. "Nah, no worries. So where is Carla?"

"Oh, Carla is with Happy and Lily to visit the Exceeds." She explained.

"So you are by yourself?" He asked.

"I guess." She said softly.

Romeo's face became redder with every word that Wendy spoke. His breathing became heavier, like he ran around Magnolia seven times at full speed.

"Well, you want to go do something?" He asked, hoping that his voice was steady.

"Sure, I'd love that." She smiled.

The young fire mage felt like he had seen the sun for the first time. He grinned brightly. "Okay, come on."

With that, he took Wendy's hand. When he did, Natsu's words came ringing back to him. "You don't think you are in love or not. You know."

At that moment, he knew for certainty how he felt. He turned to look at his companion. Judging by the pink tinge on her face, she probably felt the same as well.

"Alright. Let's go." He yelled out and the two went out to have some fun.


Word Count: 3045

Note that this takes place sometime after Gruvia's C is for Competitive.

When I came up with this chapter, at first I wanted it to be about Natsu and his enhanced senses. But then, I decided to make this about love and how do you know. I never knew how hard it was to explain until I tried it to my girlfriend's cousin. He was home schooled until now when he's going to high school. So he asked me and her about love and how do you know. We had a hard time explaining because we never thought about before. So my explanation is more like Natsu, all about the tactical, the senses and my girlfriend's explanation is more like Lucy's, about feelings and whatnot. Finally, we told him that when you are in love, you just know.

If you had a hard time reading this chapter, I apologize. I didn't realize how difficult it was until I wrote it.

Anyways, love it? Hate it? Have no opinion one way or the other? Leave me a review. I'd love to hear feedback.

Here's the prompted for the next chapter.

I know that we shouldn't be doing this. We're friends. But his touch, oh god, his touch, it burns me, like a conflagration. And god help me, I want to be consumed by his touch.

The F word should be easy enough, right?

Well, till next time...

A. Angel