Disclaimer: I do not own Fairy Tail.

Perfect Friend
Poisoned Scarlett

Lucy sinks into her seat at the bar table, sighing as Natsu and Gray go at it again. It was much too hot to do anything more than lounge around in the guild; she doesn't know how they do it or where they get their energy from. She can hear Natsu and Gray scream insults at one another, the same ones used over and over again, and she wonders if they ever bothered to get more creative with their insults. Particularly Natsu, although Gray is no better with the continuous use of flame-brain and hot-headed dumbass.


Lucy lifts her head up to find Cana cross legged on top of a table, her barrel of liquor already halfway gone. She's in a bikini, sweat trailing down her skin as she takes a long drink of her cold beer. Her hair is tied up in a bun on the back of her head, curly strands of chestnut hair framing her heart-shaped face. Jet only has time to make one comment on her ridiculous drinking habits before she kicks her foot into his chin, sending him flying into Natsu and Gray's fight. It is definitely too hot to be dealing with anyone, Lucy sighs.

"Hey, Cana," Lucy calls, smiling when Droy tries to pull Jet out of the fray—only to be distracted by a plate of crispy chicken. "What's that you have there?"

"Hmm?" Cana hums, looking up with a smirk. "You mean—THIS?"

"ACK—is that, oh my god, it is!" Lucy gasps at the front cover, which has all the men in Fairy Tail on it. It was the special edition of her favorite magazine! How had she not bought it already? "Are all of them in this edition of Sorcerer Interview? I haven't bought the latest copy yet…" She sidles up next to Cana excitedly, already making a grab for it. Cana grins down at her and lifts the magazine for both of them to see, letting a poster-sized picture of a half-naked Loke unravel.

"Hot damn. He's got some nice abs," Cana whistles, nudging Lucy suggestively. "Nice ass, too, neh, Lucy? Good for the nightly work-out!"

"Nightly work—AH, CANA, NO, HE'S MY SPIRIT!" Lucy shrieks, her face scarlet at the thought.

"All the better! He can do nightly visits whenever he wants!" Cana cackles, patting Lucy on the head when she only sputters, horrified at the thought of her spirit ever doing something so perverse. Although she would not put it past him to try, she thinks with a mournful sigh. Loke was simply that type of guy.

"Ooh, look, they have Gray in here, too! Where's Juvia, she'll want this one for her collection! It's even poster-sized!" Cana laughs, wiggling the poster in Lucy's face. She has to admit, they caught him at a good angle, his spiky hair a dark midnight blue against the rays of the sun. She wonders if Juvia has seen the magazine yet and decides, since she's not fawning over Gray yet, that she hasn't. She hopes it stays that way, too, at least until the heat dies off. She really doesn't need anymore annoyances running about the guild. But then again, an excited Juvia means water and water means relief. She's about to ask Cana if she's seen Juvia anywhere when Cana hollers at Gray to pose like he did in the magazine for her—and subsequently has her beer frozen.



"Why you little…!"

Lucy cringes when Cana brings out her cards, trapping Gray in a circle of them and grinning when he tries to freeze his way out of her magic to no avail. Natsu is what distracts Lucy from their antics, ever the reckless ball of energy as he breaks Gray out himself and then lands a punch to his gut. Lucy smiles when Natsu lords over Gray with his apparent victory. She notices his smile a lot more nowadays, as well as his eyes—particularly the light in them, how they brighten whenever they land on his friends like fire brightens when it's fanned. She flips through the pages of the magazine with these thoughts in mind as the fighting continues. The guild is more raucous than usual with Cana and Jet in the mix.

They really had snagged awfully good photos of all the male mages in her guild. She's even slightly nauseated to find the Master with a whole page to himself—did he even have a fan club? She really doesn't want to know. She skips through it; the last she needs is to wake up with nightmares. She stops towards the middle, however, on a photo spread of Natsu and Gray side by side, the former grinning challengingly at his friendly rival. Lucy gazes at this picture longer than the others and when she finally gets past it, finds herself staring at the single image of Natsu on the next page. He only has two pictures in the entire magazine, she soon realizes, unlike the others who have an average of four.

But God strike her down if it's not the best solo picture of Natsu she has seen yet.

She has trouble looking away from it: his unfairly defined muscles—his shoulders, his arms, his abs in particular. She swears she's drooling—something she quickly fixes by coughing into her fist and slamming the magazine shut, the room hotter than it was a few minutes ago. Where was Juvia when she needed her? Lucy darts her eyes to Natsu, finding him boisterously laughing at something Happy said. He catches her eye and beams at her then frowns when she jumps and scrambles away from the table, the magazine clutched in her hand.

She's not sure if Cana wants it back or if she even realizes she doesn't have it anymore—it doesn't matter to Lucy. She just needs to think about what she has just thought and needs to maybe spray herself with a water bottle for letting her thoughts get ahead of her so indecently. She blames Cana for this—nightly work outs! If only she hadn't made such innocent photos so perverted, she would not be thinking about such things so early in the day!

Not that I think about it anyway, Lucy adds to herself, rolling up the magazine and nervously tucking it under her belt. Because I don't—I mean, not with Natsu. God, no. It's…it's NATSU. He's not…well, Lucy slows her gait and unrolls the magazine, flipping to the page where Natsu was featured in. She can't lie and say he's ugly because he isn't—he's very handsome, especially nowadays when she thinks about it. She isn't sure what changed, if time had finally caught up to them all or not, but his jaw has squared off and his eyes speak of experience. He's not the same boy who had gone to look for a dragon in the middle of a town: he's older now, mature, even if that's hard to believe with his loud laughs and stupid fights.

And with getting older comes new adventures, Lucy thinks quietly. She rolls up the magazine and sticks it under her belt safely again, balancing on the edge of the walkway that leads to her apartment. There's no one to tell her to watch her step today and she has half a thought of purposely falling into the water because it was so hot. However, the magazine keeps her from acting on her impulses and she makes it home without incident.

She unrolls the magazine again once she's safe inside her home, pressing her finger over a wrinkle. She looks up suddenly, an idea in mind. She hurries to her desk, tossing the magazine on the floor by her bedside as she digs through the drawers for the single thing that she had kept over the years.

"I know it's here somewhere," Lucy mumbles. "I couldn't have thrown it out…ahah, here it is!" She pulls out an old notebook, smiling as nostalgia grips her. She flips open a page, her eyes softening as they land on the X's over their faces. Siegrain, who she now knows is really Jellal, has an enormous X over his face—and scribbles, she notes with a giggle, she practically scribbled him out! Loke is also crossed out, one of the first to be crossed out when she first joined the great Fairy Tail guild.

"Perfect boyfriend list, huh?" Lucy murmurs to herself, flipping through the pages of her old notebook. She had cut out the profile of every man she deemed attractive and ranked them from order of attractiveness to traits she wanted in a guy. Had she really spent so much of her youth categorizing guys so shallowly? Lucy almost can't believe it; she hardly thinks about boyfriends nowadays, often too busy trying to stay alive when she accompanies Natsu on jobs.

Lucy folds the notebook in half and tosses it in the trash.

Perfect boyfriend? She wants to laugh. None of them were remotely perfect!

Lucy looks back at the magazine and, after a few seconds of contemplation, flips through it until she reaches Natsu's page. She carefully tears the page out and also pulls out the page with both Natsu and Gray on it. She folds Gray's half away, however, and places that one beside her. She scours her drawers for another notebook—she had many blank ones, for her novel mostly—and flips to a random page in it.

She smiles as she glues Natsu's picture on the page, folding off the edges that don't matter until all that's left is the dragon slayer. She hesitates to write down what she wants but decides there's nothing wrong in letting her inner girl out once in awhile. At least she can say she wasn't being totally shallow this time; her words have weight, and her heart warms with each one. She leans over and scribbles something below his image, her cheeks pink and her smile fond. She then glues the second picture, the one with Gray, on a different page. Then, with a thick black marker this time, she writes Perfect Friend on the top. She smiles down at her work, her eyes soft with affection, when she's startled out of her thoughts by a gross sniffling.


"AHHH! NATSUUU?!" Lucy's eyes bulge at the sight of Natsu, whose bottom lip is trembling. He looks on the verge of tears, something that makes her jaw slack even more. "A-are you crying? Why are you crying?!"

"I'm not crying!" He shouts, furiously rubbing his knuckles over his eyes. "I'm just happy because you wrote that I was a perfect friend!"

"YOU SAW THAT?!" She pales, mortified. If he saw that then he must have seen what she wrote for his other picture—!

"You're a perfect friend, too, Lucy! Even if you're weird!" Natsu wails, crawling over to her and bringing her into a bone-crushing embrace. All prior thoughts of how it would feel to be held by Natsu fly out the window; it would feel as if he's trying to squeeze her spine from out of her mouth. Not pleasant at all!

"How come Natsu gets a whole page to himself and not me?" Happy complains, plopping down in front of them with his arms crossed. "I'm a good friend, too! Look, Lucy, do you want fish! I can share!"

"Yes. I wish to know your reasons for including only Natsu in this friendship book of yours," Erza speaks up, her face set and her lips thin as she kneels behind her. She does not look happy.

"ERZA, HAPPY? When did you two get here?!" Lucy gawks, starting to sweat under their unamused glares. This was starting to not look good.

"Haha! I'm in her book," Gray smirks, somehow having snatched the notebook from right under her nose. He points at his picture smugly. "See?"

"Nope, doesn't count, she folded you out because I'M her perfect friend!" Natsu guffaws, hands set on his waist in triumph. "YOU DON'T COUNT, ICE-PRICK!"

"Shut up, I do count! Right, Lucy? I'm a good friend, too, right?" Gray demands, both men intently staring at her for an answer.

"I, um, well—why does it matter anyway!? You're all my friends!"

"But I want to be a perfect friend, too!"

"Too bad, you droopy-eyed bastard, I'M A PERFECT FRIEND!"

"Lucy, have I not demonstrated my aptitude to be an excellent companion to you?" Erza asks, bringing her into her armor-plated bosom with a painful clank. "Come. I shall show you just how much of a good friend I can be! We shall bake desserts and bathe together!"

"Bathe together?!" Gray gawks.

"How does that constitute to being a good friend?" Lucy wails.

"HA! Try all you want, but I'm already a perfect friend to Lucy, Erza! Try to beat that!" Natsu chortles.

Lucy sighs when Erza kicks him into the ground, repeatedly, until his laughter becomes painful groaning and pleas. She hopes her landlord won't charge her for that; she really has a lot on her plate already. Before she can even try to talk her way out of things, Erza drags her out her front door with promises of showing her just how good of a friend she can be. Gray follows closely behind, his shirt lost somewhere, with Happy trying in his own way to tug Lucy out of Erza's grip so they could both eat fish together.

Natsu would have followed as well had he not gotten some sticky scraps of paper stuck on his sandals. He brushes them off in a hurry and notices the corner of a paper sticking out of the notebook. He did know Lucy had written other things for him, but he hadn't managed to catch what. He kneels and picks it up, smiling brightly when he reads the words Perfect Friend over his picture. It makes him bubble with joy and makes his chest feel very warm, his cheeks as well. He flips to the other one and stills for a second, staring at the words that reflect back at him with surprise, before an even bigger grin stretches his face.

In her loopy cursive, Perfect Boyfriend is scribbled on the bottom of his stand-alone with little hearts surrounding him.

"Heh, wait til Loke hears about this!" He closes the notebook and sticks it in his vest, running out her window to catch up with his friends, his grin bright and his eyes brighter.