I'm back with a Nalu ;) Massive thank you to OtakuLover43, Deaththesyd, and fairytailcelestialmage for reviewing and following.

As Dawn Broke

Lucy Heartfilia fell into her warm bed and slid peacefully under the covers. Her day had been rather boring —Natsu was out of town on a mission, and she had not been in need of turning up at the guild that day—and she preferred going to sleep early than to dwell in boredom longer.

It wasn't as if she had not had things to do. She had pages of her story left to write, clothes to finally transport from her overcrowded hamper to the wash, stock up more chocolates in the fridge, polish her keys, turn down Loke when he appeared without summoning.

She had had done all of those things. But she hadn't seen Natsu—idiotic, adorable, loyal Natsu who she loved more than she felt he did—for two days. That didn't mean she didn't have any life apart from him, but in the drowsy spring weather with barely any work and hardly any excitement in Magnolia and no good missions, she couldn't help but find herself jobless after a while.

Magnolia's lights glittered back to her in the distance as she closed her windows and clumsily drew the curtains from her bed. After making her way through two chapters of the last book she had been reading, she finally set it apart with a yawn and settled down under the covers snugly.

It was a few minutes before her eyes fell shut and Lucy was asleep, her blonde hair haloing her face messily.

Magnolia was generally peaceful—at least until Natsu and Gray were out on the streets without supervision of Erza—and there was only a dull silence as the night crept in.

Natsu was grinning at Lucy, his Exceed Happy flying around his head. "Come join us, Luce!" he called.

Lucy stared at him. Her vision blurred a little looking at Natsu directly, but she made out the dark objects he was sitting on. In fact, those objects seemed to be faintly lit up.

Were those burning coals?

"Natsu!" Lucy called back. "You're insane!"

"No, Lucy," Happy said. "Join us, already!"

In a flash Lucy was sitting next to Natsu, him smiling like a wacko down at her. He seemed to be enjoying their day immensely.

Lucy leaned back a little and fell onto the coals. They grew hotter and hotter underneath her back and she cried out. Natsu looked horrified.

"Lucy!" he yelled. "Lucy…hang on!"

The coals burned brighter. "Lucy," Natsu said again.

..."Lucy…Lucy? Hey, Luce…"

The blonde Celestial Mage's eyes flew wide open and she gasped as she sat up. She looked to her left; in the faintly moonlight patch of her bed, Natsu Dragneel lay. His dark red hair shone in the silver light, and he looked up with concern at her; the metallic bright caught his eyes. As her expression turned to incredulity, he grinned up wolfishly at her.

"'Night," he said, by way of greeting.

Lucy blinked down at him. "I had the stupidest dream ever," she said finally. "Because your magic burned me again, Natsu!" Okay, that wasn't a great summarization of how much she had missed him, but the words came out in a torrent.

Natsu sat up quickly beside her, looking down at his hands. "Oh," he looked sheepish. "Sorry Lucy." When he looked up at her, his large onyx eyes were filled with innocent apologies and worry. She softened under his gaze, knowing that when he was too excited at times, his magic tended to go out of control.

"How is it," she mused at last, fiddling with her bedcovers. "You manage to sneak into my bed right after your mission finished?" He would have had to; she knew he acted on impulse, but even then. Then she looked wary. "You did finish it, Natsu, right?"

He rolled his eyes good-naturedly at her. "Yeah I did," he said defensively. Then he looked amused. "And for the record, it was hard sneaking in tonight. You left the window locked, you know."

The fact that Natsu, kind, reckless, thoughtless, loving Natsu, had just spent the last few minutes of her sleep trying to come in through the window cracked up Lucy. She knew he wasn't as childish as he tended to behave sometimes—it was in his nature. It was only with her that he exposed his real emotions, only with her that he joked like he normally did but looked at her with all the unspoken words of their conversations, only with her that he became the boy she loved.

She leaned him to kiss him lightly on the lips. "Lord Dragneel," she whispered teasingly. "Thou hast proved thyself. I deem thy worthy of the prize of my love."

Natsu leaned into the dark, his calloused but gentle hands reaching up to her shoulders. His lips brushed meaningfully against hers as he whispered back, "You're so hot when you speak like that, Luce."

"Shut up," she muttered laughingly. "Kiss me instead."

"Mm…" His words were left hanging as he slid easily under the covers beside Lucy, grabbing her waist and pulling her closer to him. His fingers played with her hair, twirling the dark golden locks around as he kissed her the way she liked it—fierce, passionate, yet soft and sweet. All that Natsu's personality was like through his lips. "I missed you," he said softly.

"I guess I did too," was the murmured response.

Lucy's hands locked around his neck as she tilted her face up, breathing in his sweet scent. He smelled like burnt candles and cinnamon. Her breath hitched in the slightest when his unoccupied hand trailed warm touches along her spine until they touched her bra strap. He fingered it as Lucy grinned and shook her head in exasperation. Her left hand felt all the muscles in his back as she leaned closer, arching.

"Maybe," she murmured against him, as her lips moved to his neck slowly down his jaw-line. "You should sneak in after every mission."

Her fingernails scraped lightly against his collarbone as she ran her hands over his smooth, scarred skin. His fingers still played with her bra clasp, but suddenly, he let go. His moved into bring her mouth back to his in a swift movement, and then moved away from her.

"…Natsu?" Lucy blinked in confusion. "What's wrong?"

Breathing a little faster than usual, Natsu readjusted his shirt, jumping down from the bed. "As much as I would love to spend the rest of the night with you here," he smiled. "I did come here for a reason."

Lucy actually felt relieved and she felt the hurt from her face leave, knowing it wasn't as if Natsu didn't want to have sex with her the second time around. That was reassuring.

"Okay." She stretched like a cat and threw off the hot covers. "What is it? And if you're here to break up with me, I'm gonna summon Aquarius and make her drown you in the bathtub."

Natsu grinned. "I think I'll pass this time," he replied, winking. Then he turned serious. "Okay, so do you want to go for a midnight drive?"

The blonde stared at him. "I'm sorry…what?"

Lucy looked at Natsu as they drove down the streets of Magnolia. The dark red car that Natsu had shown her proudly sure as hell didn't belong to him, but he seemed to know how to handle it well enough.

"So." Lucy hadn't questioned another one of Natsu's sudden ideas much, but she felt curious now. "Where did you steal this from, Natsu?"

His lips quivered a little. "I borrowed it," he said emphatically.

She cocked an eyebrow at him. "From…?"

"Well, I may have taken Elfman's new car when he was out…"

Lucy laughed out loud, shaking her head in amusement. Her hair flew back behind her as they went down the streets in the mildly chilly air, and she wrapped her arms around herself as the lights and houses whipped past them.

She didn't question another one of Natsu's whims this night; in fact, she rather liked that side to him. She liked how he would suddenly brighten her whole day out of nowhere, saying nothing and doing nothing but just being there and being who he was. She liked it when he randomly asked her to do something with him—whether it was to dive into a magical lake they were supposed to avoid, or whether it was to climb to the high roof of Kardia Cathedral and look down at Magnolia—because she almost always ended up enjoying it amidst the craziness.

"What time is it?" She asked suddenly.

Natsu shrugged; he didn't have a watch, mostly because he ended up burning them during a fight. "I guess around after three in the morning."

"Three in the morning," Lucy marveled. "I don't know how I let you wake me up at this hour without casting you in the dark demon realms."

One hand on the steering wheel and one reaching out to touch her hands, the redhead smirked at her. "That's 'cause you're totally in love with me."

"Not for long if you keep doing this," She grumbled, but smiled, leaning back and staring up at the open sunroof of Elfman's car. As she stretched out against the seat, she felt something coil around her foot. She was in nothing but her pajama pants, tank top and a light cotton jacket, but her feet despite the sandals were bare to what felt like fabric around them.

Natsu glanced at her. "What's wrong?"

Flushed, Lucy kicked back the piece of cloth against the back of her seat. "Elfman's underwear," she muttered distastefully.

"Ew…" Natsu laughed, and then stopped at the glare on the blonde's face. "Okay, sorry. Next time, I'm taking you in a limo. Promise."

"I'd love to see you try and get one," Lucy winked at him, and then moved closer, snuggling up to the side of his body. He felt warm, as usual, a trait of his fire magic. One of his arms came around her shoulders; he didn't have to be careful about driving, there was hardly anyone on the road.

They kept going, winding through narrow streets and past buildings until Lucy observed, "We're going out of Magnolia, aren't we?"

"Yeah," Natsu replied. "But not too far. You'll see." He pointed to the left; "Check it out."

They were on the narrow bridge leading away from Magnolia now, and Lucy turned to catch sight of the glittering town rushing away behind them as they drove on. The bridge was dark, contrasting to the brilliance of the town—she caught her breath and kept looking until they crossed it and were down on a stony path again. The wind whipped past her face.

"Still sleepy?" Natsu gave the girl beside him a knowing grin.

Lucy just shook her head, smiling and leaned her head against his shoulder. She felt peaceful there, safe somehow. She reached out and grabbed Natsu's unoccupied hand, playing with his fingers. "You know, I'm pretty sure driving with both hands on the steering wheel is one of the driving laws."

Natsu let out a chuckle. "What can I say," he teased. "I like law-breaking."

"How about getting arrested?"

"I like attention too," he said seriously, and Lucy burst into laughter.

As they drove out of Magnolia, the bright town was left behind and they were engulfed in darkness. Lucy had been idly playing with Natsu's fingers and staring off into the distance and the next thing she knew, he was whispering her name and running a hand over her cheek.

"Luce," Natsu said again. The blonde's eyes opened and she sat up hastily, almost cracking her neck. She leaned back to see Natsu grinning at her. "You fell asleep."

"And you woke me up. Again." Lucy cocked an eyebrow. "Why are you grinning at me like that?"

"Well…you look really cute when you're asleep…" he trailed off.

Muttering unintelligibly about how she was always cute, Lucy looked out of the window for the first time. Her eyes widened;

A short stretch of sand lay from where they were, and the sea expanding out was dark. Did Natsu seriously just drive all the way to the beach? It wasn't that far a distance from Magnolia, but in the middle of the night…

"It's going to be dawn soon." Natsu jumped off the seat to pass through the sunroof, and propping his elbows on the roof the car, he hoisted up and sprang down onto the sand. Lucy rolled her eyes and pulled herself out of the car through the door.

Natsu had parked Elfman's car rather awkwardly in the middle of the sand, and that was why Lucy felt as if they were too close to the water. She kicked off her sandals, bare feet soundless on the cool sand as she walked away from the car, her eyes caught on the water. She had never been to the beach at dark—she moved closer to the water.

Clumsily and loudly, Natsu sat down beside her. "Wait a bit."

"For what?" She kneeled down onto the sand beside him, watching the faint glow of the water catch Natsu's dark eyes.

"Lucy, just look."

She tore her eyes away from him and looked. The glow was getting brighter—a faint reddish-orange glow touched the tips of the water. The auburn faded into a soft, distant ochre as Lucy stared, enthralled, and she could just see the edge of the rising sun.

She felt Natsu's hand over hers as she leaned back and looked, like he told her to. "Beautiful, isn't it?" He said softly. Lucy didn't respond, but her eyes said it all.

The water glittered as the sun rose—the sky turned rosy, the traces of darkness melting away into the splendid colours. The thin webs of golden that spread over the water soon sunk into a brilliant incandescence.

They had reached just as dawn broke.

Lucy turned her head, her fingers interlocking with Natsu's, and kissed him. Her knees ground into the sand as she straightened, her lips pressed affectionately against his; a sudden joy made her smile against his lips. She loved him so much.

"Thank you," she breathed, her excited brown eyes locking his. Natsu laughed. "The drive was worth it right?"

"Everything's always worth it when it comes to you," Lucy said fondly, and then she sighed in a calm, content happiness and leaned her head back against his chest, lying against him as she turned her attention back to the sea.

Review, please? :)

Next up- Graylu (Please, please do give me prompts in the reviews for new one-shots if you want to keep them coming. Your ideas could be fab!)