Here comes another Natsu/ Lucy romance! This chapter might be a little slow but I hope you will bear with it.


Chapter 1

My large purple suitcase bounced uneasily over the rocks and pebbles on the path as I dragged it towards the small stone building over the hill. As I heaved the heavy bag up the wooden stairs I looked at the cute little sign in the shape of a cat's head and smiled, surprised that it wasn't in the shape of a fish. Grunting with the effort, I continued down the dirt path and sighed with relief when I finally reached the arched front door outlined with large protruding stones.

'Ugh, how had it come to this?' I groaned in my head, thinking back to the previous day when my landlady had told me that she needed to do some renovating on my apartment so I needed to find somewhere else to stay for a week or possibly even two. I'd pitched a royal fit but in the end it hadn't mattered one stinkin' bit so here I was, a weeks worth of clothing and toiletries packed neatly in my bag as I stood outside of Natsu and Happy's house. The only good thing was that the landlady wasn't making me pay rent at all for the entire month… I hope that wasn't a sign of how long it was going to take.

I took a deep breathe and lifted my hand to knock on the door but just as I was about to pound on the wooden plank the door swung open and standing on the opposite side was Natsu and Happy, both with huge grins on their faces.

"Lucy!" they cried in unison and I smiled meekly at the two of them, afraid to see the disaster area that was Natsu's place.

"Hi guys," I said and was pleasantly surprised when Natsu stepped back and I could see the inside of his place. It was actually decent, a few things lying around here and there but for the most part a huge improvement from the last time I'd gone to his place. "You managed to keep it semi-clean," I commented as I entered and dropped my bag to the floor against the wall.

"We aren't home much," Happy said and I nodded my head in understanding, taking a seat on the edge of the sofa.

"Happy and I were going to go fishing. Do you want to come?" Natsu asked while he walked to the corner of the room and picked up his fishing pole.

"No thanks. I'll stay here and unpack my stuff while you're gone," I answered and watched the two of them grab their stuff and dash out the door with a quick wave and a loud good bye screamed from both of their departing forms. It was weird sitting alone in their place and I quickly got up and started going through my suitcase, pulling out my bag of toiletries and making my way to the bathroom on the opposite side of the room. As I walked over I peaked inside a small room which was Natsu's bedroom and grimaced at the sight of his thin mattress lying on the ground. The thing was barely two inches thick and lay over a hard wooden floor.

Man that looked uncomfortable. Now I know why he likes my bed so much.

Moving into the bathroom I plopped my bag on the small counter and balked when I noticed there was no mirror in the small room. No wonder Natsu's hair was always a spiky mess. How was I going to go a whole week without a mirror? I laid out my things, smiling as I dropped my toothbrush in the cup next to Natsu's and Happy's. It was kind of cute sharing something as intimate as a toothbrush holder… don't ask me why I thought so but I just did.

I headed back out to the main room and once again glanced at the thin mattress on Natsu's floor which only had a single tattered blanket covering it. An idea popped into my head and I quickly grabbed my wallet from my bag and bolted out of the front door. It took me a few minutes to walk back to town and once there I headed straight for the furniture store.

"How can I help you?" a man asked before the door was even closed behind me.

"I wanted to take a look at your beds," I answered, stepping further into the large room.

"Right this way Ma'am," he said and led me to the back of the store where several different bed frames and mattresses were on display. "What type were you looking for?"

I scanned the assortment, looking for one similar to my own and spotted one on the right side with a plush mattress and a simple iron frame. I walked over to it and sat down on the soft mattress and then laid back, bouncing a little bit to see how it felt and decided it was perfect. Wow, that was easy!

"How much is this one?" I asked as I sat up.

The man told me a reasonable figure and I asked, "Is that for both the frame and the mattress?"

He nodded and instantly I told him that I would take it, grinning from ear to ear.

"Would someone be able to deliver it for me?" I asked as I followed the man to the register.

"I can get a few people to deliver it now if you'd like," he answered and I beamed happily at the man. This was so perfect! Natsu was going to freak! Sure, it maybe was a bit extravagant for a gift but he was letting me stay with him for a week or two and since I didn't have to pay rent at all this month I had the extra money. Plus it just felt good to do something for him. He was my best friend after all.

I paid the man and then gave him directions to Natsu's house. He said that they would be there within the hour and I left the shop with a hop to my step as I walked through the small district market. I stopped in another shop and purchased new sheets as well as a plush green comforter for the bed and then decided to pick up some food on my way in the market, a little weary of whatever Natsu might have lying around his place and then I headed back.

Luckily Natsu and Happy weren't back yet from their little fishing trip and I quickly went to work putting the few things I'd bought away in the few cabinets in the place as well as the small refrigerator and then finished unpacking my stuff, leaving my clothes in the bag since I had no place else to put them. By the time I finished, the moving men were here and they quickly carried in the frame and mattress, setting it up in the small room and then leaving with barely a word spoken.

"Yay!" I hollered and grabbed the sheets and blanket, carrying them into Natsu's room and went to work making his bed. I was busy tucking the flat sheet beneath the mattress when I heard the door creak in the other room.

"Natsu?" I yelled out questioningly and tiptoed towards the door to the main living area.

"Hi Lucy! Look at all the fish we caught!" Happy answered, holding up a string of fish as he flew inside the house.

"Wait! Don't come in here!" I yelled and slammed the bedroom door shut.

Behind me and through the door I could hear Natsu walking inside the house and asking Happy what was going on who replied that he had no idea and that all he knew was that he wasn't allowed to go into the bedroom and that he thought I was weird. Stupid cat…

"Lucy!" Natsu hollered from the other side of the door while he knocked loudly.

"Just a minute!" I yelled back and quickly started making his bed again. I tore the comforter out of the bag and unfolded it before shaking it out and laying it over the bed. 'Ah crap… pillows! How could I forget pillows?' I groaned and smacked my hand against my forehead. 'Oh well. He'll just have to use what he was using before.' Unfortunately the single pillow he had was so flat it barely was thicker than the comforter but I did my best trying to fluff it up and then stood back to assess my work.

'Eeks! I hope he likes it,' I squealed inside my head and then said out loud, "Ok guys. You can come in now."

Immediately the door swung open and both Natsu and Happy stood staring dumbly inside in the doorway. Scratching his head, Natsu asked, "You brought your bed over?"

I chuckled and took a seat on the mattress. "No. This isn't my bed."

"Whose is it?" Happy asked, flying over to the bed and falling down on top of it. "It's so ssssooooft!"

"It's for you guys. Kind of a thank you for letting me stay here," I answered and the look on Natsu's face was so precious it made everything worth it.

"This is for us?" he said incredulously and I nodded my head with a huge smile on my face. Suddenly he jumped across the room and landed on top of the bed, the mattress creaking violently and I cringed, worried that the whole thing would fall apart. Thankfully it didn't and I stood up to let Natsu and Happy bounce around.

"Lucy is the best!" yelled Happy as he jumped up and landed on top of Natsu's head.

"Yea!" agreed Natsu and I just stood there with a stupid grin on my face as I watched them.

"Alright well, let's go make dinner," I suggested.

"Can we eat in bed?" Natsu asked.

"No. You'll make a mess of it before you even use it."

Grudgingly, Natsu got off the bed and followed me out to the main room with Happy trailing behind.

A little bit later after I finished making dinner since I was afraid of whatever Natsu and Happy would come up with, I sat down on the sofa and stared glumly out the window at the darkening sky. "So what do you guys usually do here?" I asked. Natsu was sitting across the room on his hammock, the bowl of food resting on his chest as he shoveled bite after bite of food into his mouth.

"Go to your place," he answered and I laughed. Guess I should have figured that one out. "So what should we do?"

"I don't know. What do you want to do?" Natsu answered.

"Hmm…," I said while I tried to think of some ideas. "Maybe we can play a game."

"What kind of game?" Natsu asked.

"I have plans!" Happy mumbled as he continued to munch on his fish.

"What plans do you have?" Natsu asked irritably.

"Charle and I have a date!"

"You do?" I asked incredulously.

"Yea. We're going to visit the rest of the Exceeds."

"How's that a date?" Natsu asked.

"I'm gonna be with her aren't I?" Happy answered.

"That doesn't mean it's a date," I inserted and received an evil glare from Happy.

"How long are you going for? And why are you leaving so late?" Natsu asked.

Happy got up from his seat on the floor and put his plate away. "Just a few days. Charle had to do something with Wendy all day so we decided to meet now. Cya guys!"

"What the…," I said as Happy flew out the front door and left us.

"So, what kind of game?" Natsu asked again, finishing his bowl of food and walking across the room to set it down in the small sink.

"Ummm, I don't know. Do you have cards?"

I watched Natsu walk across the room to a small desk and start riffling through a drawer. "Yea, here's one," he said excitedly. "I don't know many card games though."

"That's ok. I'll teach you." I moved to the far end of the couch so that Natsu could take a seat on the other side and we turned to face each other, leaving the center cushion open for us to lay our cards out on. His wide eyes looked across the space at me, waiting for me to explain whatever it was we were going to play and I momentarily lost my breath.

What the heck was with me lately? Over the past several weeks I'd found myself having moments like this where I'd find myself suddenly entranced by some aspect of Natsu's body, whether it be his stunningly expressive eyes or his perfectly sculpted abs. It was unsettling to say the least. I shook my head to try to clear my thoughts and started shuffling the deck with both of my hands to distract myself.

"Ok, let's play…," my brain scanned through several games, trying to pick something easy to explain. "Rummy, hearts, poker…"

"I've played poker before," Natsu cut in.

"Uh sorry, I shouldn't have suggested it. We don't have any playing chips so we don't have anything to wager on," I said. "Let's just play rummy. It's not hard to learn."

"Alright," Natsu answered and I started dealing out the cards while I explained the rules. He listened intently and when we started playing it only took him a few hands to get a good grasp on the game.

"Do you wanna make it a little more interesting?" I suggested while I watched Natsu's hands shuffle the deck of cards easily.

His face was turned downwards to watch his hands as he continued to shuffle but he peaked his eyes up quickly to ask, "How?"

Why was that so sexy? Ugh, get a grip Lucy.

"I'll be right back," I said and jumped up from the couch to distract myself and made my way to the small kitchen in the corner, opening the refrigerator door and pulling out a large bottle. I grabbed two small glasses from the cupboard and walked back over to the sofa, wondering if this maybe wasn't a good idea considering my wayward thoughts of late but quickly pushed the doubts aside.

"Sake?" Natsu questioned when I sat down and handed him one of the glasses.

"Loser has to take one shot after each round and if they lose by more than 100 points they have to take two shots. First though we need to take one to start the game together." I poured a generous amount into both of our glasses and we both gulped them down together before we started our first game.

After several hands which had surprisingly left us both even with the number of shots we had to take I started to slightly feel the effects, my cheeks flushing hotly and my skin tingling pleasantly. "Hey Natsu, what do you want to do tomorrow?" I asked as I laid down a three of a kind.

Natsu repositioned his legs so that he was sitting cross legged, his legs folded beneath him and leaned forward as he picked up a card from the deck. "I don't know. Maybe we should do a job."

My eyes followed his arm as he picked up his card and I let them linger over his well defined biceps which flexed as he moved. Wow, he had incredible arms. His triceps bulged as he set down a card on the couch and I felt my tummy fluttering strangely at the action. What was it about alcohol that made you focus on the strangest things?

"Hmm… a job will probably be a good idea," I answered and stared at Natsu's face as he studied his cards. His brows were furrowed as he concentrated, his eyes narrowing and with one hand he started to absentmindedly play with his bottom lip.

I quickly took my turn, not paying much attention so that I could sit back again and watch him. There was no harm in admiring a good looking man was there; even if he was my best friend… right?

"We should play on the new bed," Natsu said and my eyes shot up to stare into his. What did he just say? "We could spread out more on there."

"Oh," I tried to slow the rapid beating of my heart. He'd just meant playing cards on the bed. Duh Lucy. "I'm not sure that's a good idea."

He laid out a run of four and then discarded his last card and smirked up at me. "Take a drink Lucy."

"Agh, not fair," I complained and started pouring myself another shot. I grimaced at the biting taste and as I was putting my glass down, Natsu tipped the bottle over my glass and started to refill it.

"I beat you by more than 100 points."

I groaned and swallowed the contents in a quick swig then leaned back on the arm of the sofa, the room starting to spin.

"Why isn't it a good idea?" Natsu asked, dealing out another hand of cards.

"What a good idea?" The center of my attention at the moment was Natsu's chest. His slightly tanned skin looked so warm and soft, the muscles stretching enticingly over the expanse.

"Playing on the bed," he answered.

"Oh right. Because," why was it a bad idea again? Damn, too many things to concentrate on.

"Come on. I wanna sit on my new bed," Natsu said and picked up the cards as well as the bottle and walked into the bedroom. The alcohol didn't seem to be affecting him at all as he walked steadily through the room but just as he passed through the doorway I caught him bumping into the corner with his shoulder and bouncing off with a small chuckle. Maybe he was feeling the effects… just a little.

"Natsu!" I hollered from the other room, wobbling my way through. When had the place gotten so big?

"Hurry up Lucy!" he hollered back.

"I'm coming, I'm coming." Sheesh, he was so impatient. Finally I made it to the doorway and leaned heavily on the wooden frame as I looked inside. Natsu was already on the bed, his back facing the wall and his legs were spread out wide in a V shape as he started dealing out the cards again.

"I don't think I can play anymore," I mumbled and started walking towards the bed. It certainly looked inviting.

"One more hand."

I sat on the opposite side of the bed and sagged forward, bracing my weight on my outstretched arms. "Fine but… but you have to take a few drinks first. I'm way more drunk than you are and it's not fair."

"I'm only two drinks behind you," he complained but I poured him another shot and held it out to him anyway.

"Here. Drink."

He grinned at me and then grabbed the glass from my hand before swallowing it down and then handed it back over to me, his fingers brushing against my own briefly and making a strange sensation pass through my arm and down into my gut. I snatched my hand back, a bit too quickly and wobbled where I sat; catching myself before I fell to the side.

"Are you ok?" Natsu asked.

Crap, he saw that. "Yea, I'm fine. Give me my cards."

"They are right in front of you," he said and laughed.

I looked down at the mattress and sure enough, a small pile of cards lay in front of me. I picked them up and tried to sort them into some semblance of order but for some reasons the numbers were blurry and the cards seemed really slippery. Natsu had already taken his turn and I reached forward to grab a card from the deck, careful to not let my eyes look across the way. I needed to pay attention this round. If I had another drink I'd probably start feeling sick.

"What time do you think it is?" I asked. I stared at my cards while Natsu took his turn and I felt the bed shift slightly when Natsu moved into a new sitting position.

"Looks late. I hope Happy made it ok," he answered and I nodded my head in agreement.

After several turns, I finally managed to discard out and I cried out in excitement, throwing my hands in the air triumphantly. "Last drink is for you!" I grabbed the bottle from the floor and filled up his glass, spilling a little bit of it on the comforter and cringing. "Shoot, sorry."

"My new bed!" he cried out and started rubbing at the wet spot. I held the glass up and I was slightly shocked when Natsu leaned forward while he continued to rub at the wet spot with the corner of his shirt and pressed his lips to the glass with me still holding it. I tipped it back, trying to be as careful as I could to not spill it and watched Natsu's mouth as he drank it down. As careful as I'd been, two streams of clear liquid slipped down from either corner of his lips and I watched it drip over his chin and then down his throat to his chest. My eyes fastened to the area, drinking in the sight of his bare skin between the openings of his vest and I gulped audibly at the sight. I wanted to reach my hand out and touch him, press my palm against his hard chest and rub it over…

"Lucy?" Natsu said, interrupting my thoughts and I jerked my head up embarrassingly to look at his face.

"I uh, I gotta go to the bathroom," I said quickly and nearly jumped off the bed. As soon as I stood up I toppled backwards and landed butt first on the mattress but I got up again and practically ran from the room. Thankfully I made it to the small room without too much trouble and as soon as I had the door closed I leaned my back against it and breathed a heavy sigh. I must be losing my mind. This was Natsu! Why was I thinking things like this?

I stumbled over to the sink and turned on the cold water before cupping my hands under the stream and throwing the water on my face. It felt good, the cool water easing some of the heat that had been building in my cheeks. I leaned on the sink, my arms supporting my weight where they gripped the edges of the white porcelain and breathed in and out slowly.

Okay, much better.

Slowly I made my way back out of the bathroom and stopped in the doorway to Natsu's room. He was laying back, his arms crossed beneath his head and he turned slightly to the side to look at me when he heard me. The two sides of his vest were parted and had completely fallen to the side so his entire stomach was open to my view and I had to close my eyes and turn away, walking to the couch and lying down while I fought my indecent thoughts.

"Lucy, where did you go?" Natsu called out and I heard the bed squeak like he was getting up from it.

"I think I'm going to go to sleep," I said. The blanket I'd brought from home was folded and sat on the floor beside the couch and I reached my hand out to grab it, not wanting to get up so I stretched as far as I could but just as I was about to grasp it between two fingers I rolled and fell off the couch to the floor.

"Ouch!" I hollered as I sat up and reached a hand up to rub the side of my head where I'd banged it on the floor. Suddenly Natsu was beside me and he pushed my hand away and then gently grabbed both sides of my head, leaning forward and to the side slightly to see the injured area.

"Does it hurt?" he asked, concern in his voice as he tentatively poked the sensitive area with his fingers.

I gulped at his nearness, a lump forming in my throat and answered, "I- I'll be alright."

His wide eyes stared in to mine and I bit my lower lip nervously. I could feel my heart pounding inside my chest and something in my gut clenched deliciously. God I wanted him! Every fiber in my body screamed to touch him. He was just so intoxicating, his smell, the way his eyes stared so boldly into mine and the feel of his fingers still holding my head like it was some precious object.

"You should sleep on the bed tonight. You bought it. I can sleep on the couch," Natsu said. He was still kneeling in front of me, his hands moving from my head to my shoulders. His fingers felt like fire as they moved over my skin and, to my ultimate horror my body shuddered.

"N… No. That's ok. I bought it for you."

Slowly he helped me back up on to the couch and I pulled the blanket over myself while he stood up. "Are you sure?" Natsu asked, looking down at me.

"Yes, thank you though. Good night," I said and was thankful but also slightly disappointed as I watched him walk back into his bedroom, calling out good night as he went.

Ugh, why was I being like this? Why did I want to follow him into his bed? How many times had I kicked him out of my own and now here I am, wishing I was laying down with him. I turned over and faced the back of the couch, grunting as my world still spun even though my eyes were closed. I could hear the springs of the mattress creak in the other room and I imagined Natsu laying down, his body wrapped warmly under the covers.

I wonder if he slept in his clothes like he does at my place?

My mind imagined him sprawled out, shirtless over the crisp new sheets. Maybe he was only in his boxers too. Oh how wonderful it would be to just run my hands over his torso, feel every muscular ridge from his shoulders to his waist. My fingers started to itch and I gripped a handful of my blankets in my fists. This was torture. I'm never having alcohol again… at least not in Natsu's presence.

I twisted and turned on the couch, unable to get comfortable no matter which way I laid and finally I gave up and sat up.

Water, yes I wanted some water.

I stood up and wobbled my way to the sink, the only light in the room coming from the moon shining through the windows and I grabbed a clean glass from the cabinet and filled it up with water from the tap. Leaning on the counter I chugged the whole thing down, getting more on myself than in my mouth but I didn't care, it felt good. I put the glass away and walked back towards the couch, glancing towards Natsu's open door as I went and paused. Hmm… maybe just one peak.

I snuck quietly to the doorway and craned my neck around the frame to get a glimpse inside. I could just barely make out the outline of Natsu in the center of the bed, curled up on his side facing me and the blanket pulled up to his chest. He looked so adorable, his face in restful repose and I had the strongest urge to run my fingers over his cheek and down his jaw.

I sighed heavily and turned back to my uninviting couch. This was going to be a long night.

To be continued…

The beginning of a new Mature fanfic… how exciting! I hope it wasn't too slow and that you will continue to read on.