Hey guys :) Hopefully you're all bright, shiny and happy. Look, I said I was gonna update sooner *pats herself on the back* "I'm so proud" *wipes tear*. Okay, enough randomness. A big, fat, bold thanks to Mrs. HopeEsteim, Dark Shining Light, Mimichan55, A-Darker-Angel, oznapitzjera and videogamenerd101 (times eight :D) for you lovely reviews. Also, I want to thank all the people who followed or added my story to their favorites :)
After their battle, matters resolved rather quickly. It always surprised her how quickly those magic council officials arrived, swarming a crime scene like bees. Especially since you never see them fight or catch criminals on their own. Those lazy bums, they really should stop complaining about Fairy Tail and do their own work. After the officials scratched what was left of Verde from the concrete, Lucy quickly informed them of the victims' location. A curt nod was all the gratitude she got.
Jeez, a simple smile and thanks never killed somebody.
Finally, the rest of her team joined them. Gray had created a gigantic cage of ice which was filled with unconscious dark guild members. Served them right for trying to kill people. Still, Lucy felt the need to bring Urania and Nathan to their father. It was their mission after all, besides Duke Pandera had seemed to be incredibly concerned about their well-being. It was his right to see them before they were imprisoned in the dungeons of Era.
After some convincing, Lucy felt the exhaustion settle in as they headed for the grand Pandera mansion. Not only did they just fight a dark guild, but the celestial wizard struggled with that stupid horoscope for a whole week. Not to mention Natsu's weird mood swings.
Creepy enough, everything but one aspect of that stupid article came true. Why didn't the most important part – the only positive one – come true? Would she ever find the love of her life? Come on, Lucy even admitted defeat to that damned Miss Mystic.
She dragged her feet on the ground, her only wish right now: soaking in one of those wonderful hot springs. From time to time, she felt Natsu glance at her worriedly. But every time he opened his mouth to ask what's wrong, she just shook her head tiredly. With an annoyed roll of his onyx eyes, the dragon slayer slung an arm around her hip and pulled her closer towards his warmth.
The blond turned into a tomato.
Not that she wasn't used to it yet, but it was still embarrassing. Especially under the eagle eyes of their team. Faintly, the blonde could hear Gray and Happy whisper something before grinning creepily at her.
"Alley cat," Lucy hissed and tried to grab the blue feline. Yeah, tried. Because a certain pink-haired clingy person didn't let her escape.
Since when was he so intent on physical contact? Well, Natsu was always invaded her personal space. But this amount was a new achievement. Ever since their last fight he practically attached himself to her side. Lucy wouldn't even be surprised if he whipped out some permanent glue. Not that she minded though. The fire magician was warm and his small gestures sent a tingly feeling though her body.
If you are able to pass the emotional roller coaster, you will float on cloud nine with your one true love!
Wait, what did she just think? Was she insane? It couldn't be ... Luckily, Lucy's thoughts were interrupted.
Seeing it for the second time, the massive building was still impressive with those golden statues shimmering in the light of the afternoon sun. In front of the huge, prideful entrance stood a small, voluptuous figure with mustache. The comparison was almost funny. Nervously, Duke Pandera tapped his feet on the ground while glancing at his golden pocket watch. Chewing on his lips, the wrinkles on his forehead seemed to deepen with concern. The man's head whipped up as soon as he spotted the intruders on his property, his expression softened almost unnoticeable.
"Nathan? Urania? Is it truly you?"
Lucy understood the brief confusion that was evident on their client's face. After all, they sported some fashionable bruises and cuts. While Nathan was just an unrecognizable heap of blue and purple, Urania apparently became partially bold. Juvia and Erza did quite a number on them.
"Father, you won't believe how those imbeciles treated me." Urania swung her black hair over her shoulder, trying to keep a scandalized expression. Lucy sighed, there were some who never learned their lesson. "How could those commoners even dream to lay a hand on me. Please father, they must be punished."
His mustache bounced as he wobbled with surprisingly energetic steps towards the pair. Duke Pandera graced them with a critical observation of their appearance and scrunched his nose. Wow, that relief and happiness lasted long. Lucy felt strongly reminded of her own father. Natsu seemed to notice her reaction and shooed those glum thoughts away by holding her tighter.
Happy snickered behind his paws, probably withholding some comment.
"About time you showed up. Nathan, you missed many hours of your studies. As the first son and the heir of the Pandera family, I expect that you will get back to your work immediately. And you, Urania ..." Duke Pandera talked himself into a frenzy. "Your fiancé was extremely worried when you suddenly vanished. On the contrary, his father was not far from severing our business connection. In the future, you will know how to behave yourselves!"
One of the government lackeys cleared his throat, effectively gaining that ungrateful father's attention. "Sir, I must inform you that this meeting here is simply to pay our respects. Nathan and Urania Pandera have been found guilty by the following charges: actively joining an unofficial guild, promoting violence against an official guild, several cases of kidnapping and they are prime suspects in seven cases of murder. As follows, they will be judged by the righteous power of the magic council in Era."
Silence settled over them like a blanket.
"That's how it is, old geezer. Denying everything would be even more of a pain and you know how I hate to get headaches." Nathan yawned as he watched his father's reaction through half-lidded eyes. "And don't pretend you didn't suspect anything. You knew it was more likely that we would run away."
For one moment, Lucy swore she saw a flicker of realization and despair in their client's eyes. In the upper class, showing weakness was a no-go so it didn't shock her when the pale man just nodded in resignation. "Out of my sight, I don't wish to lay my eyes upon you ever again."
The odd reaction created a rainbow of emotions in their faces. While Gray and Erza wanted to protest, Natsu was not far from raining a mountain of insults at the man and Juvia just looked sad. But Urania and Nathan smiled for the first time. They must have really hated their old life, if they would rather stay in a prison cell. Although thinking back on the Heartfilia mansion, there wasn't that much of a difference between the two.
After treating their injuries, they decided to stay the night in order to 'take care of the festivals safety'. At least that's what Lucy and Gray came up with to convince the warrior woman. It didn't take much effort and so the magicians were currently strolling along the colorful streets. Minus Erza, who decided to check their damage bill with the major.
The place was filled to the brim with people, even more than when they arrived and happiness radiated from their faces. Growl. His hunger was burning holes into his stomach. It smelled of delicious food and spices, children dragged their parents towards booths and one could hear laughter coming from local pubs. Floating calmly, the glowing lacrima threw dancing lights around the streets and also on the face of a very angry celestial mage.
"Can you believe that guy, Natsu?"
He tried to stifle a laugh. All of her previous pity for that poor excuse of a father must have vanished into thin air by now. Natsu watched as his partner stomped her feet on the ground, puffing her cheeks up in anger. Actually, the dragon slayer would have been fuming himself if he didn't enjoy Lucy's expression that much.
"How could that old jerk just cut our reward in half? We did everything he asked from us," she muttered and balled her hands into fists, shaking them at the sky for some reason. Lucy always had awkward reactions like that. "How is it our fault that he can't control his children? Or that they had enough of being goody-goody."
"Come on, Lucy, it's still 3.500.000 Jewel. That means everyone get about 700.000 Jewel," Gray reasoned with her, trying to lift the mood. Icicle lifted one of his hands to ruffle her hair, earning a glare from Juvia and himself. Not that it really bothered him, but recent events had made the dragon slayer rather stiff towards the male population. ("Gray-sama, Juvia wants comfort too!") Oh, but Juvia draping herself all over the ice wizard helped a bit. "So you don't have to worry about paying your rent."
"Natsuuu! How much fish can we buy with that?" Happy flew around is head, eyes big and dreamy. "It'll be fish-wonderland."
Gray was being a smarty pants, but his calculation seemed to calm the blond down considerably. Though Natsu knew she wouldn't stop to complain any time soon. Huffing, Lucy crossed her arms. "Still doesn't make it right."
Suddenly, an ominous dark aura disturbed their friendly banter and the group turned towards the culprit. A demon, there were no other words to describe it. Scarlet hair waved dangerously around it's head, eyes narrowing into slits as it searched for a speck of guilt in their faces. Natsu felt the sudden urge to grab Lucy and run very, very, very far away. He gulped when a glint of silver alerted him towards the dozen swords pointed at them from behind the demon.
"3.500.000 Jewel, you say? 700.000 each? Are you really confident about your calculation?" Erza Scarlet pinned Gray down with her gaze, sporting an eery grin on her face. Holy crap! And the pink-haired man thought she was scary when she wasn't laughing. His eye started to twitch nervously. "Lucy, why don't you do me the favor and read this out for everyone."
"Eeeak! A-alright," Lucy squeaked, but accepted the paper that was thrust in her direction. "Dear mages, a-although the city of Hosenka d-deeply expresses their gratitude t-towards Fairy Tail, we m-must charge t-them for the damaged property resulting from their involvement." Oh, crap and he thought they could avoid that topic. Leave it to Erza to ruin the festival.
"The accumulated about is 3.496.700 Jewel for destroying: the local library which contained ancient books, parts of the historic underground city, a hotel room and some pillars in the hotel lobby. We also received several complains from shop vendors, a cake store and locals about their general behavior. Moreover, some lend books still haven't been returned to our library. We will subtract the amount from you pay-check. Yours faithfully, John Dawn the Mayor of Hosenka."
Crickets chirped. Natsu scratched his head in embarrassment when his growling tummy cut the silence. "Uuh, is it that bad?"
"Stupid, of course it's bad!" Lucy yelled and whacked his head. A thought must have entered her mind because she suddenly started counting something on her fingers. Then the blonde sighed in defeat, probably cursing that mayor. "That would leave us with only 3.300 Jewel, meaning 550 Jewel per person. That's not even enough to feed your bottomless pit."
"Exactly, I can't even afford a piece of strawberry cake," Erza snapped and Natsu had almost forgotten that she was still there. Women were scary. Seriously. And if you ignore them they get even more frightening. Knowing what was about to come – who wouldn't if a dozen swords were pointed at you – he decided to act upon his urges and run. Natsu briefly looked at Gray and a silent understanding passed between them. Everybody for themselves.
The pink-haired guy grabbed the soft hand of his partner and bolted in a random direction. Surprised at the sudden movement, Lucy stumbled a few times before falling into pace with him. Involuntarily, a huge grin spread across his face. This was fun. He liked the feeling of their hands together, it was strangely soothing. Gray and Juvia probably headed in the opposite direction. Happy used his wings to fly away.
After an hour of playing cat and mouse, they were finally able to shake the demon off their trails. Breathing heavily, Natsu took in their surroundings and noticed that they had somehow ended up in the forest. One could still see the city in the distance and hear the noise, but it was a lot less stuffy. Thankfully. His nose could only take so much of that spice. The dragon slayer took a deep breath and gasped when the sweet scent of strawberries invaded his mind.
He was alone with Lucy.
"Oh my god, I thought you would never stop running." She sent a half-hearted glare his way and dusted some invisible dust from her blue dress. The moon bathed her figure in silvery light, making her features all the more soft. A light night breeze brushed against her dress and swept the scent of flowers, Lucy's scent, towards him. Natsu caught himself openly staring at her, but hoped that she wouldn't notice. Her uncomfortable shifting told him otherwise.
"N-Natsu? I think we need to talk," she said softly and took a step towards him. Immediately his heart rate increased. "About … you know ..."
Er … should he? Lucy was in a weird mood again. He hated when she was so cautious around him. And that look in her eyes. Gulp. Something was definitely up.
She stared at his back, debating whether or not to say the words that she carefully prepared in her mind. Somehow it seemed easier when you imagine the conversation in your head, but only because you can decide the outcome. Her stories were also easier to handle because she could control her characters, solve the conflict and create a perfect happy-end.
However, the concept didn't apply to reality.
Why did he act so different around her? Why did his fuse seem to get shorter every day? Why did he suddenly turn out to be possessive? Was he jealous? Possible. Why did he always touch her? Why did he say all those sweet things to her? Why did he always save her? Why did he care … It could also just be friendship, right?
"N-Natsu? I think we need to talk about … you know ..." Dammit, stuttering didn't help her blush at all.
Now that Lucy had time to think about her feelings … she had enough. Being incredibly stubborn didn't help her cause. Feelings are not something you should bottle up inside forever and ever, it won't solver your issues. The blonde woman was determined to get some answers out of the dragon slayer. Rest in pieces pride, her mind was already made up. If Lucy couldn't prove how wrong the horoscope is, she would prove just the opposite.
If you are able to pass the emotional roller coaster, you will float on cloud nine with your one true love!
The only part that didn't come true … yet. Lucy saw his clenched first which were an obvious sign that he was still bothered by something, if you couldn't tell by the heat his body was radiating. No, she wouldn't back off now. It was supposed to be her lucky day, right?
"What's wrong, Natsu. You've been acting weird for a while now. I'm tired of hearing excuses. I'm your best friend, right? You can tell me what's bothering you!"
Lucy was stubborn and just because he decided to play mute didn't mean she would give up. She laid a hand on his arm to let him know that she was there for him; she just wanted an explanation that's all.
"Nothing is wrong. Why would you think something is wrong?" She didn't know whether it was genuine confusion or if he was just acting the part. But fine, if he insisted to be like that.
"Okay, then let me give you some ideas. Usually, you don't care who I share a room with or if someone flirts with me," Lucy challenged and raised an eyebrow. When he turned towards her to meet her eyes, she saw the flicker of realization and something else in his. Still, his lips stayed glued together. The dragon slayer made a face as if she was torturing him. Her heart sunk and her voice grew quiet, "I don't think we've ever had so many fights with each other in one week."
"Luce ..." Natsu's eyes were wide as he lifted his arms almost pleadingly. He took a deep breath to steady himself. "I … where to start … didn't understand it, how could I have such thoughts about my best friend. I didn't want you to leave me."
The truth was a real shell-shocker and probably hard to admit for him. Lucy was glad that he finally answered her, but her shock was soon gone and replaced by disappointment.
"You idiot, why would I want to run away from you? I would never do that," she countered angrily. Really, the girl was livid by now. She didn't even care anymore. So what if she came off as bipolar. Her honor was at stake. "Don't you trust me?"
"Of course I do! I just didn't trust those bastards," Natsu growled back. "When that seaweed head kidnapped you he –"
"So you were jealous!" Lucy yelled, not knowing if she should be happy or angry. Bulls-eye. It effectively turned him into a stone statue. Something clicked in Lucy's mind, the pieces of the puzzle finally clicked together. For the first time, everything made sense. "Really? You were jealous?"
"Shut up, noisy weirdo!" Natsu chose to stare at anything but her, a pink tint covering his cheeks. It was no where close to a confession and she wouldn't let him off that easy. Both of them may be new to romance, but she wanted clarity.
"You shut up, stupid dragon!"
Natsu rolled his eyes and frowned. "What else do you want from me?"
"I like you!" Lucy almost screamed it, otherwise her bravery might have left her completely. He just blinked dumbly at her, confusion and shock written all over his face.
Great, now she felt like slapping herself. Her waterworks had a rough time ahead. Maybe Virgo could dig her a hole to hide in. Or even better, she'd call Aquarius to drown herself. Run and blonde's only sliver of hope was to learn some memory deleting magic and erase those three words from Natsu's mind. Permanently.
Unconsciously, both of them had moved closer to each other. Lucy noticed that they were in breathing distance. When she wanted to step back though, two warm arms had already trapped her.
Natsu stared into her warm brown eyes, but strangely his surprise did not ebb away. Instead, he realized that no matter how hard he tried, he really couldn't stay away from her. Just the image of Lucy with some other guy being all lovey dovey drove him over the edge. He wouldn't allow it anymore. She was only his, his Lucy. It had always been like that and no one could change that.
"Ya could've said so earlier."
Determined, he pushed her against a nearby oak tree and crushed his lips to her soft ones. She tasted just as good as her flowery scent smelled and it left him wanting more of her. His chest was pressed against hers – not allowing any space between them.
When the wheels in her head started to turn again, Lucy felt a kind of joy that overshadowed every other emotion.
Her breath was stuck in her throat when a low growl rumbled through his chest, making it vibrate against her soft skin. His warm fingertips trailed up her tights, gripping them tightly when he pushed her further up the tree trunk. Natsu always learned things on instinct and right now, Lucy knew his emotions were over-riding him. It sent chills down her spine because his hands were like a fire; every little cell in her body was burning with anticipation. She felt like exploding from the twirling emotions that raged inside of her body and it made her want more of him.
Love. It was the best feeling in the world.
Slowly, she opened her eyes half-way only to meet his scorching onyx stare that was coated with desire. She had never imagined her innocent almost child-like Natsu could look this passionate when he was not in a battle. His ragged breath blew across her face and she inhaled his masculine scent like a drug addict while planting quick kisses along his jar. Lucy already felt addicted to his touch, his every movement and most certainly him.
Then his lips met hers again with the passion of a raging fire and she returned the favor eagerly. Feverishly, one of his hands hands trailed around her back in need to feel more of her skin, but he controlled himself as to not undress her in a cold forest. He didn't want to make her sick.
Her own hands entangled themselves in his ridiculously pink hair to pull him even closer to her. A soft moan escaped her lips and it made him smirk into their kiss, before she could break apart due to the lack of oxygen. A short trail of salvia connected them as their ragged breaths broke the silence. However, Natsu only allowed her to rest for a few seconds before his lips were moving against hers again, this time they deepened the kiss.
Lucky Day: Sunday.
Lucky day? Heck yeah! That creepy horoscope had her worried over nothing. It was Natsu. It had been him all this time. How could she have been this blind. Lucy admitted, she had been scared out of her mind to loose their friendship. Still, she should have known that nothing could get between them. Even if he didn't like her the same way, they would've worked it out. It was her Natsu after all.
Having the damn horoscope figured out, the celestial wizard felt incredibly content for the first time this whole week. Miss Mystic had won.
Next week, she would definitely flush it down her toilet tough.
So, did you like it? :) I just packed this to the brim with NaLu fluff. I know there was a tiny POV switch at the end, it was intended ;) This was basically the final chapter. I know ends come quick and often when you least expect them. (I inhaled some wanna-be wisdom air today, don't mind me.) Everything is wrapped up or is it? ;) What follows is just a small epilogue, roughly the size of the prologue (aka chapter uno). I can't believe I needed two years to complete a ten chapter story. Lol, it makes me look like a really lazy person :'D Thanks for putting up with me, you're tough and patient for doing so.
Review and your horoscopes will always come true. Only the good parts of course, I'm nice today ;)