AN/: hey sorry for taking so long to update. Those of you who have liked me on Facebook know that right now I'm going through some pretty tough emotional stuff. I already updated War of Leafre today and I've had this chapter pretty much done for a while. As a thank you for someone who gave me some comforting advice today, who also really wants this story updated, I'm posting this chapter tonight. Thank you to all my readers and fans that have stuck by my side through not only my journey as a writer, but my journey through life. I hope that if one day I do become a famous author, I can have the same close connection with my fans that I have with you guys! Enjoy!


It was a bright day. The sun was shining brightly and the birds were chirping happily. All and all, it was a beautiful day. That didn't make it a good day for a certain blonde-haired mage who was pacing back and forth in front of her bedroom closet.

She was supposed to be meeting her best friend's father that day. She was meeting a dragon, and the fact that he was indeed a dragon wasn't exactly what had her pacing back and forth so fervently. She felt like a girl meeting her boyfriend's parents for the first time. The thought was beyond absurd, not to mention ironic. First of all, Natsu only had one parent, Igneel. Secondly, she and Natsu were most certainly not dating.

Lucy stopped her pacing briefly to fan her face with her hand. Just the thought of dating Natsu made her face flare up with a hot blush. Why was she even thinking about that? It wasn't like she had any feelings for the energetic idiot, so why was she blushing so furiously? Maybe it was because if she were to date that fire breathing lunatic she'd constantly be embarrassed by him, have to deal with him, and feel slightly awkward. Yeah, she'd go with that.

She went back to pacing and decided to address her current problem. What would she wear? What was appropriate to wear when meeting the dragon who raised your best friend? She could wear one of her normal outfits, but would the dragon, like many others did, find the amount of skin she showed unbecoming for a young lady? Would he know the difference? On top of that, she would be trekking through the forest to get to where they were supposed to meet. Maybe her usual outfit wasn't the best idea this time.

What if she went with something a bit more modest? From her closet she pulled a longer skirt made of thin and delicate fabric. It reached down to about her shins and was loose and light. It was comfortable and modest, almost innocent looking with its light yellow color and green flower designs along the hem. She laid the skirt down on her bed and reached for the matching shirt. It was made of a thicker material with sleeves that extended to about the middle of her forearms. The neckline modestly rested high on her chest not far from her neck. The shirt was a light yellow, just like the skirt.

She decided that she would at least try the outfit on. The skirt could be easily blown around by the wind and could snag on twigs and branches so she most likely wasn't going to wear the outfit, but she wanted to put it on anyways. It had been a long time since she'd worn something so modest like that.

She twirled in front of her mirror examining her reflection. She smiled tenderly at the image in the mirror; she really looked like her mother. Even more so wearing the outfit that she was. To complete the ensemble she put on a pair of white sandals and pushed her bangs out of her face with a white, ribbon headband. She felt innocent and seemed to look innocent. Although she loved the freedom that her usual preference in clothing gave her, she had to admit it felt nice to wear something different. It reminded her of home a bit, where she used to wear stuffy clothes that tried to cover as much of her skin as possible to keep her modest. Yet, the clothes she wore now weren't that restricting.

Lucy shook her head slightly. Her thoughts were rambling once more. But, at least they weren't about Natsu or his foster father. Or, at least they weren't until she thought that. She glanced at the clock on her bedroom wall. What time did Natsu say he would be coming to get her? Was he going to get her? Were they meeting at the guild? Oh, for the love of... Why was she freaking out? Why didn't she know any of this?

"Hey, Luce!" Natsu voice came from the window. Lucy spun around to see him crouching on her windowsill. She jumped a bit in surprise. "Igneel's waiting for us! Come on, you slow poke!" He ran into her apartment and grabbed onto her wrist and yanked her out of the window.

"Natsu!" Lucy screeched flailing on the windowsill trying not to fall to a few potential broken bones. "I have a front door, you idiot!" she yelled down at the pink-haired fire mage after regaining her balance.

"Just jump, I'll catch you," he yelled back up at her. He smiled brightly and reassuringly, and his eyes shone with nothing but sincerity. Lucy gave a curt nod, more to prepare and reassure herself than let Natsu know she indeed plan to jump, and curled her toes a bit. She took a deep breath and just jumped. She trusted Natsu, but she was still scared that she would become a pancake on the ground below.

A small yelp escaped her lips when she came in contact with strong, warms arms. They caught her a little less than gracefully, which surprised Lucy a bit. Sure, Natsu was anything but graceful outside of battle, but she felt like his actions were frantic. To top it off, he was shaking.

"Uh, Luce, could you fix your skirt?" Natsu asked with a trembling voice as he attempted to set her down. Lucy's eyes widened and a blush spread across her face. She shrieked and brushed her thin skirt down to cover herself again. Natsu had turned away from her and rubbed the back of his neck praying that Lucy hadn't noticed his face light up a bright red.

"Natsu, I have to go change real quick," the blonde called out to her partner. She began to run to her front door, but Natsu caught her wrist.

"No time! We're already late!" he yelled back dragging her along with him. Internally, Lucy was having a mental breakdown. It was too late now. She couldn't go back and change into her usual clothing that make her feel so much more comfortable, and she definitely couldn't back out and say she didn't want to go. The hyperactive Dragon Slayer had already dragged her halfway to the forest in which the large fire dragon was waiting, his pace causing her to practically lose her footing and flop helplessly behind like a ragdoll.

"Natsu!" Lucy called out desperately, longing to feel the ground beneath her feet once more. "Slow down, I can walk! He won't mind if we're a little late, right?" Natsu's halt was so abrupt that it seemed as if the effect of gravity had singled in on her, causing her to fall to the ground with a painful thud. She quickly stood up and brushed the dirt off of herself, huffing in annoyance at her best friend.

"Sorry, Luce," Natsu apologized sheepishly. "I guess he won't mind if we're a little late, but we still gotta hurry!" This time he grabbed her hand. He trapped her small hand in his own large one and continued to drag her along at a slower pace. A blush spread across Lucy's cheeks and her heart skipped a beat or two.

"Hey, you can let go of my hand now," Lucy said shyly fighting a stutter that threatened to break apart her words. He ignored her and squeezed her hand in his. Lucy's heart thudded in her chest. Okay, so maybe she did like him, and maybe she didn't really want him to let go of her hand. She could do this. She could face the fire dragon that raised her best friend.

~(*0*)~

The dragon was quite comfortable lying in the grassy clearing that his son had shown him. Igneel wasn't sure if he minded the wait for his son to show up. In fact, he felt as though he could take a quick nap. Instead, he decided to let his mind wander. His son had been so excited when he said that he had a friend to introduce to him. At first, the fire dragon had been wary about the idea of being introduced to more humans. But, the boy had said that they were all like family, so he respected his wish to meet them.

However, the introduction that was to happen today seemed to be special to Natsu. He had been quite persistent on making sure that that particular friend met him before the others did. Igneel chuckled to himself. He couldn't wait to meet the person that Natsu had actually put above the others that he considered family.

Finally, a scent reached the fire dragon's nose. Natsu was close and he'd brought someone else with him. The other person smelled of strawberries with a slight hint of vanilla. The dragon chuckled again. He'd brought a girl with him.

"Igneel!" his son shouted excitedly bursting into the clearing. "Igneel, we made it!" he shouted with a huge grin on his face. He clutched tightly in his hand the hand of another person.

"Natsu, you can let go of my hand now," Lucy said with a slight blush on her cheeks. Natsu ignored her and just dragged her closer to the dragon. Igneel lowered his head to get a closer look at the girl with his son. She had bright, blonde hair and her eyes were chocolate-brown in color. Igneel chuckled. What did his son see in her?

"Igneel, this is my partner and best friend, Lucy!" the pink-haired boy stated proudly. He threw his arms out in her direction as if he were presenting her. Lucy smiled shyly and chuckled nervously, sending the enormous fire dragon a small wave of her hand in greeting. "Luce, this is my dad, Igneel. He's a dragon."

"I can see that, you big dummy!" Lucy shouted back smacking him on the back of the head. "Do you even have any common sense?"

"Any what?" the Dragon Slayer asked confused. A deep, throaty chuckle erupted from the dragon's throat. The loud sound echoed slightly through the trees, startling the wildlife around as well as the two bickering humans in front of him. The girl, Lucy, he learned, seemed tense with fear while his son stared up at him with confusion.

"Son, why don't you run off and find some food for you and your friend here," he suggested and he motioned his large snout toward Lucy. When he saw his son prepare to protest he continued, "I am far too large to go stomping around in this forest." Natsu still didn't budge. "Besides, it'll be like a training exercise!" And that sealed the deal.

Finally alone with the small, blonde-haired human, Igneel lowered his head down to her level.

"So, you're Lucy Heartfilia, correct?" He inwardly chuckled when he noticed her tiny eyes bulge from her little head. She nodded yes. "I've heard a lot about you," the dragon said a bit smugly. He had to admit that he was impressed by what he had heard about her from his son. He cracked a toothy smile and let it falter when he was the little human flinch.

His teeth were huge. Well, Lucy supposed it was only logical that they would be. He was, after all, a dragon. But, being unfamiliar with the nature of dragons, because Dragon Slayers didn't quite count as real dragons, she didn't know what to think of the action. Was he trying to show her that he felt threatened by her, or was he just establishing the fact that he was above her in the food chain and making sure she knew that?

Another random thought flashed through her mind. His teeth were a bright, pearly white. Did dragons brush their teeth? No, that sounded ridiculous. The thought and mental image of the large, red-scaled, avian reptile clutching an oversized toothbrush in his claws was both disturbing and amusing. However, the mental image of him picking his teeth clean with little bones seemed very realistic and plausible. Lucy gulped as a shiver ran down her spine.

"Don't look so nervous, little human," the dragon chuckled at her. "You have nothing to be afraid of."

"It's just," Lucy took a deep breath, "well, it's just so intimidating," she finished with a small voice and her head tucked into her shoulders a bit. She internally reprimanded herself. She had fought against dragons before, and Igneel was nothing like them. He was nice, as Natsu had put it many times, and she believed him. They had prevented the end of the world numerous times before. Yet it was one dragon that had Lucy feeling as though she didn't have what it took to stand in his presence.