A/N: This one's for you, moonstrut.
Disclaimer: I don't own Fairy Tail. I also don't know a thing about palm reading.
"Natsu. Want me to read your palm?"
They are studying together in the library again. Or rather, Lucy is studying for biology. Natsu is teaching himself how to meditate. Very deeply.
Fed up with genetic mutations and vestigial wings, Lucy pokes her sleeping friend with a pen and hisses at him.
He grunts noncommittally. "What?"
"Give me your hand."
"Just give it."
Natsu opens one eye and stares at her. It's like he's trying to communicate to her without talking.
Lucy blushes slightly under his intense gaze and grabs his wrist. "Come on, I'll read your palm. You're not using it right now anyway."
He snorts in laughter. "My hand's not one of your porn novels, Lucy."
What a brat. "They are not," she starts to raise her voice but the librarian clears her throat. Lucy hisses, "They're not porn novels, they're classical literature. Not that you'd know the difference."
Natsu grins and she doesn't need to read his stupid mind to feel the urge to smack him.
"Anyways," she continues primly, "palm-reading is like fortune telling. You read the lines on your palm to see what kind of person you are. Like this." Lucy flips over his warm hand so that it's palm-up. "Straighten your hand," she orders.
He grumbles but obeys. "I don't get it," he complains. "Don't I already know what kind of person I am?"
"It can tell your future too."
"Still think this is a waste of time."
"You were wasting time anyway, weren't you? Now hush." She keeps her eyes on his palm, observing the broad, calloused skin. "Cana says there are four lines, but some people can have three. Looks like you have all four."
Natsu squints at his palm. "This is Cana's idea? No wonder it's weird."
"It's not very scientific," Lucy agrees. "But it's fun and it can be surprisingly accurate. I've already done it for Erza and Levy." She keeps his hand still and traces the surface of his palm with her pointer finger. Frowning slightly, Lucy murmurs a few words under her breath with each trace, remembering their meanings.
Natsu smirks. "It tickles," he says, flexing his hand muscles.
"Hold still," Lucy commands, leaning closer to his hand to see the lines better. "Okay, I've got it. This line," she demonstrates, "is the life line. Its shape and position determine your physical health. Looks like you've got vitality. Or wait—no, yeah, I'm right. And—"
"I already knew that," Natsu cuts in, unimpressed. "I don't need to look at my hand to know how awesome I am."
Sometimes Lucy wants to smack the boy. "Fine," she sighs, "I'll jump to the best part. Your heart line," she strokes the highest line on his palm, "demonstrates your emotional and romantic side."
"Oh great," he rolls his eyes.
Lucy slaps his palm and hides a smile. "This is important, Natsu. Okay. It seems like you freely express your emotions and feelings. See the way it curves? Oh, and let me take a look at your fate line. I don't have one—not everyone has it. Huh... yours is pretty clear. Erza had one but it was really faint." Lucy muses, peering so hard at his palm she belatedly realizes her nose is nearly touching his hand. "Just a minute, I kind of forgot about this one…"
A hand gently tucks her hair back and she glances up at him, startled to see Natsu's face only a few inches away. He is leaning close to see what she is doing, eyes heavy-lidded. When his dark eyes lock with hers, Lucy is struck by their glazed quality.
"Are you finished?" he says softly.
Lucy feels her cheeks growing hot but she can't move away from him. "No," she mumbles, and ducks her head to hide her embarrassing blush. "Um, so the last one is the head line. It tells you what kind of learner you are… let me see here…"
Before she can go on, his hand grasps hers and flips it over so now her palm is face-up. She blinks at him.
"Excuse me," Lucy says blankly, "I'm not done yet."
"Nah, I'm good," Natsu replies with a slow grin. "I wanna see what your palm says."
His smile does nothing to her heart. Absolute nothing.
"Natsu, you don't even know how to read palms," she protests, trying to hide her nerves when he cradles her hand in his larger one. His skin is always so warm, even during the winter when it's snowing outside and her breath fogs up. It's one of the many things she loves about Natsu.
The pink-haired boy grins cockily and lightly brushes a thumb across her palm. It ticklesand feels so very lovely, especially because it's Natsu and she's had a crush on him since the day she transferred to Fairy Tail High.
He says, "I don't know how to palm-read, but I do know you Lucy."
She ponders his words for a moment, wondering what he's trying to do. Natsu's finger traces her life line and all thoughts are driven from her head as she tries not to melt at his touch.
"You're Lucy," Natsu states confidently. "You're weird and funny. You like to read porn novels—okay, okay, literature—and you're a mushy romantic who cries at happy endings."
Lucy blinks. "This isn't palm-reading."
"No but this is better so shut up and listen."
She shuts up.
He looks down at her palm, drawing invisible shapes on it with his fingernail. "You suck at sports but you have good grades. You'd die for your friends. You hate fights. You actually eat a crap load for a girl—"
"—but you don't need to diet so it's okay. You play video games with the guys and you hang out with me and Happy, so I guess you're pretty cool. And your hair always smells good."
"You sniff my hair—!"
"And you're one of the prettiest girls I know. But most of all," he presses on with a faint smile. "Most of all, you're Lucy and you're one of my best friends. And I don't need to read your palm to know your heart is, and always will be, in the right place."
Lucy is going to cry. She wants to cry because this is Natsu and he's always so honest and annoyingly perceptive but so safe and dependable and, secretly, she thinks he might be her life line.
Instead, she curls her fingers around his and smiles at him.
"You're a horrible palm-reader," she says.
Natsu smiles back.
"Yeah, but I got to hold your hand."