A/N: I really don't know why I started this... No that's a lie, I started it because I have story in my head but I do not know why I decided to actually write it and publish. I suppose it is because this is not my usual style of writing and I wanted to test it out and see how it goes, if I manage to complete it, if you, my beloved readers, can sense the amount of feelings that I had while I was writing it.

I had fun writing first chapter and I know this story is riddled with cliche which I am more than sure you have already read but I am confident, you didn't read it from me so... I will tell you this particular story of two individuals from two different worlds trying to understand what exactly is... love?

"You're late!" Gray exclaimed, breathing heavily under his helmet.

"I know. For the record, it was worth it."

Gray just snorted at this remark "You are one lucky bastard, you know that? If coach finds out that you were late again you'll be in deep shit."

"Well, if you don't blab about it to everyone, he won't."

"Dragneel!" loud, growling voice shouted, making the both of them cringe. Professor Elfman Strauss was a large hulk of a man who coached football. He himself was football ace in his younger days, a sport prodigy from Fairy Tail who got a job as professor under direct recommendation from rector of the University. From any angle, he looked like a man in prime of his health and physical condition, looking more like a walking sculpture made of marble than of flesh and bone... and he did not look happy as he approached pink-haired man in question.

"Guess you are wrong again!" Gray chuckled as he ran toward other side of the field.

"Shit…" he said to himself before standing tall... but tall was not good enough. Elfman was towering above him with nostrils fuming with anger "Sorry coach, I got stuck in the class."

"Don't you lie to me boy, I know where you've been. You want to stay in the first pick? Then straighten up and learn responsibility like a man!"

"Yes coach..." Natsu swallowed hard. There were few people who could put fear into young man, and if you look like a bull on steroids, well, that helps immensely.

"You're on cleaning duty today."

"Oh come on coach! I got history class after practice and I can't be late again!"

"Does it look like I care? Next time get your ass here on time and you will leave on time! Now get in line!"

This day could not get worse for him, though the reason for being late was indeed worth it... at least it was his prevailing opinion. Brief grin emerged on his face at the memory that caused his late arrival.

Fairty Tail University. This is college known far and wide throughout Magnolia for a good reason. Aside from having almost every possible class to attend, ranging from social and natural sciences, literature, drama and every science made by man, this particular university was known for its scholarship program. It allowed most gifted of students to hone their skills and interest and become not only successful in life, but also leaders in their respective field. Indeed, only few managed to fail in doing so. With such high standard came high demand but it was all worth it in the end since many considered Fairy Tail not to be just a stepping stone but more of a leaping-start.

Natsu Dragneel, nicknamed "Salamander", felt immense pride to be part of it, not just for bragging rights but also for various 'choices' that were available. Choices, as he called them, always came in form of a girl. Though cocky to the bone, he had every right to carry his arrogance on the shoulder for he was a sport prodigy and quarterback of the university team . It was Natsu who brought them victory at the Magnolia Cup finals against Phantom Lord University and everyone knew this. If it wasn't for his skills, Elfman would have kicked him out of the team but he couldn't argue the results that followed him. Begrudgingly, professor preferred to allow him certain level of freedom on the field. And yet, despite all that, Elfman still found a chance or two to toss a rant his way.

Next to Natsu was his friend, perhaps only one he could trace all the way back from childhood. Though they were inseparable, they were as different as fire and ice and their personalities were molded by this very fact. Where Natsu preferred to rush head-first, Gray opted for more 'tactical' approach... Cooler heads tend to prevail. One other particular difference between two of them was their approach to romance... Where Natsu prefered one-night-stands, Gray was in long-term relationship with the university's swim team Juvia Lockser who permanently removed him from "potential boyfriend market". None dared question this decision and none dared contest it. It was fear. Pure and unadulterated fear of tossing an innocent flirt toward man while she was within earshot. Indeed, Juvia's jealousy and clingy nature were legendary.

"So why were you late?" Gray asked with bit grin as he threw balls into cart that Natsu pushed after the practice. Coach ensured that Natsu's punishment is well-monitored and without possibility of slacking.

"I was busy."

"And... does this 'busy' have a name?"

"Jenny from third year."

"You're shitting me!" Gray looked at him with great disbelief "I thought she didn't want to date you."

"As if any girl can keep refusing me forever." Natsu smirked, leaning over the cart, stretching himself as Gray kept throwing balls into it "Have you seen me naked? I'd do me if I was a chick."

"Alright! I get it... I don't need emotional traumas…" Gray shuddered and threw another long ball, making the hit inside the cart with almost immaculate precision "So did you press her in the bathroom like Cindy?"

"Nah we just made out near the classroom."

"God forbid you chose practice over a girl." Gray concluded as he walked near the cart.

"I told you, the end result was worth the effort." Natsu stepped away and ran toward the ball that was on the grass and picked it up "First: Smooth kick-start pickup line..." he squeezed ball a few times with fingers and held it tightly, aiming toward the cart "Then you lure her in with a bit of Natsu-spice and just when she is ready…" ball flew and it landed inside the cart "Touchdown!"

"I can't believe she fell for that..." Gray waved with head, face completely blank, devoid of any emotion as he processed Natsu's words.

"Believe it, snow princess!" Natsu looked toward the big clock-tower "Shit!" his eyes fell down on Gray who pointed toward him.

"You owe me!"

"Thanks snowflakes!" Natsu ran off, removing his jersey. Gray simply waved head and sighed heavily, picking up rest of the balls and equipment left on the field.

"Bloody sly lizard…" he chuckled. Eyes took a glimpse of blue hair, waiting for him patiently at the exit. Big smile adorned his face "Hey sweetie, will be right over!"

Natsu ran across the hall, narrowly avoiding students as he tried to adjust his uniform, trying to keep bag on shoulder as it swayed from side to side. "Shit shit shit!" He cursed loudly as he ran, trying to reach end of the hallway where classroom was but just as he was about to reach his destination, he stumbled and rammed himself into another student. Both of them fell down to the ground.

"Hey! Watch it!" He shouted as he picked himself up from the floor, looking at blond haired girl that was beside him. She stood up a few second after, picking her belongings up from the floor.

"Sorry…" she uttered in low tone, still collecting papers and notebooks.

"Yea you- Nevermind! Fuck!" he straightened his jacket and ran again, reaching the classroom. Students have already sat down, expecting for professor to come in. With long sigh of relief he moved toward first empty seat he saw.

"Another long run?" Orange haired student asked, keeping eyes forward to the center of amphitheater.

"Something like that..."

Loke is perhaps one of the few people that Natsu could openly admit to be a "worthy rival". Smooth, elegant and courteous, he behaved like a true gentleman of a bygone era... but behind his sweet words and alluring smile lied a womanizer who stole many hearts. Over the course of few years their rivalry grew into friendship but they still retained their competitive nature, mostly over how many girls they managed to lure into their grasp. On a few occasions, Natsu tried to deduce what could be secret behind his success, alas there were things that Loke kept well away from public knowledge... secret behind his charm being one of it.

"So I heard you finally managed to snatch Jenny."

"Yeah, well what can I say, she couldn't resist me."

"Has she tried looking at you?" Loke teased, grinning wide at Natsu "I reckon that should be enough."

"Bite me..."

"You know I slept with her during freshman year" Loke declared, openly revealing smug expression that Natsu never could stomach.

"As if, Loke."

"I am not joking. We met at a party, had couple of drinks and one thing led to another. If you wanted to get her sooner you should've given her glass of beer. She never could hold her liquor."

"So now I am lagging behind you? Is that what you are saying?" Natsu asked, frowning at Loke. Instead of answer, all he received was a wink and a confirmation that it was a not a battle he could win.

Doors slammed shut and loud echo filled entire amphitheater. Woman in her mid-thirties entered moved slowly toward the desk. Her light brown hair, glasses and slender figure made many red with envy, wondering if they will look just half as good when they reach her age. Natsu's eyes were fixed on Mrs. Evergreen in her green dress which was flawlessly enveloping her figure.

"Man, just look at her..." Natsu whispered, leaning chin on his palm.

"I know what you are thinking. Don't." Loke whispered back through corner of his mouth.

"You kidding me? Look at the size of her breasts. I could nestle my head in there and still have room to wiggle."

"Trust me, you really don't wanna go there."

"Why? Is she into other women?"

"She got married. Last summer, as a matter of fact."

"So what? She probably married some asshole who could not get 'up' since his teens." Natsu smirked, keeping his eyes glued to her, licking his lips "Married women in mid thirties are best. Unsatisfied and practically begging for any action."

"You're so full of it..." Loke commented, keeping his posture straight and trying to focus on lecture. As much as he wanted to contradict Natsu, he couldn't deny that professor Evergreen was indeed one of a kind, and only a blind fool would openly try to deny her attractiveness.

"Humor me. Who is the lucky bastard?"

"Here's a hint..." Loke leaned a bit toward him, trying to keep whisper only between two of them. "Her full name is Evergreen Strauss. See if that rings any bell in that thick skull of yours."

"Wait, you are telling me she married coach Elfman?" Natsu barely managed to contain his voice from echoing around. Up until this point, he thought nothing could shock him. He was wrong.

"Mmmhmmm… and if he finds out you're ogling his wife, he'll 'compact' into a size of a ball. And I'm not even talking about large ball." They both exchanged glances and Loke nodded down toward Natsu's groin which made him even more uncomfortable.

"Of all the people, she had to marry my coach…"

"Mister Dragneel" Evergreen shouted, folding her arms. Natsu was completely petrified in his place, face flushed from color "I take it you found something more interesting to discuss other than the lecture. Would you like to share it?"

"No ma'am..." he said, feeling slightly embarrassed as everyone suddenly looked toward him.

"Then I suggest you pay attention" she concluded angrily before continuing her lecture.

Natsu nodded and as soon as she averted her gaze from him, he opened notebook, pretending that anything she said is reaching his brain. Her behavior quickly revealed that things at home were not all rosy and that a recent 'spat' between her and her husband made both of them on edge. In Natsu's opinion, hers was not among the important lectures. He only needed passing mark and he can achieve that with some minimal effort. There was no need to worry about exams and with that in mind he didn't put much of his attention any further than to avoid receiving stepping on her toes. After grueling forty five minutes, bell finally rang and both Natsu and Loke picked up their books and stepped out of the classroom.

"So what's next?" Loke asked.

"I think I got advanced English now..." Pinkette frowned "Remind me again, why do we need this lecture?"

"Because they know you can speak and now they are trying to teach you how to talk 'properly'. Fool's hope, I know."

Natsu growled at the remark lightly squeezing his neck to reduce the stiffness he received last night. His eyes wandered around and he spotted the same blonde girl who he bumped into earlier. With more time given to him, Natsu had a chance to take a good look at her. Uniform did well to hide much of her qualities but it was impossible to hide sizeable bosoms. Angle of view was still bad but he deduced that she was not bad-looking girl. A bit cute, actually.

"Hey, I remember her." Natsu nudged Loke who looked toward direction Natsu was pointing at.

"Who? Lucy?"

"Yea, I bumped into her just before the class."

"Don't try anything with her." Loke quickly warned, frowning as he did so.

"Why not? Is she relative of Strauss family?"

"No, but trust me, she is not the type you are going after."

"She is a girl, she has breasts, nice body and cute face. That is my type."

"Alright let me make this clear…" Loke turned toward Natsu and bumped his fist lightly into his chest "In entire university there are two girls you need to avoid at all cost. One is Mrs. Evergreen but that's under penalty of death that professor Eflman promises. You know better than me what he is capable of." Natsu nodded to this, reluctantly but he did so. More than a few times he had a chance to witness man's raw strength which could only ever be described as 'unstoppable force.' After a moment, once Natsu snapped of his thoughts, Loke continued "The other you should avoid is Lucy. I'll save you the trouble... she does not respond to anyone's advances."

"You know that first hand? Did you try with her?"

"No but she rejected just about everyone who asked her out. That should speak volumes about her."

"Ice queen, huh..." Natsu smirked as he adjusted collar of his jacket "Don't worry, I know how to melt those walls away."

"Natsu, don't. Just… don't…" Loke grabbed his shoulder with hand, planting a squeeze to avoid him slipping "Trust me she is not your type."

"Just 'cause you flanked, failed and burned doesn't mean I will."

With another smirk Natsu broke out of Loke's grasp, making him sigh as he watched him go. He blew air into his hand to smell his breath and walked toward her. Within moments he was next to her, leaning with shoulder against the wall.

"Hey there." Natsu smiled, voice softer and more 'pleasing' than it was just a while ago "Look, I think we kinda had a bad start earlier."

There was silence. Lucy didn't even glance at him, busy going over few notes she made during the class "And it won't get better now either."

"Right... So, what's your name?" He asked but no reply came from her. Instead, she just looked over at him before walking in other direction. He followed her, closely.

"Not even gonna tell me your name huh?"

"No. Now stop following me." she replied angrily, clenching her arms around books she held to her chest.

"I will once you tell me your name."

"Please go away…" Lucy said in lower tone, trying different approach but before she could get away he stood in front of her, blocking her way. Her eyes snapped upward, throwing icy glare to him.

"There is no need for such cold response. Come on, your crown won't fall off if you tell me your name."

Lucy kept glaring at him. Cute girl he saw earlier was all but gone. She was different... different from other girls who couldn't help but either smile and giggle at him. But this girl, she just turned and walked around him, continuing her intended. Annoyance grew in Natsu, rapidly. This was a new sensation, one he had no chance to experience and no time to adapt to. Cold rejection. He was never rejected this quickly in the past without so much as a word of hope that behind her stubborn defense lies a flicker of hope.

Determined, he turned around rushed toward her, following her in quick steps. He grabbed her left arm just above her elbow, making her turn to face him.

"Give me a chance to say something at least." He continued, still not wanting to reveal that he knows her name.

"Let me go!" Lucy shouted, jerking her arm from him. In one brief moment, their eyes met. There was something in them, more than mere annoyance at his attempts to soften her… There was also fear, pure genuine terror as she took few steps back from him and rushed past him once more. But it was not fear for life, not fight or flight moment... no, he saw different kind of fear, one he did not recognize.

"What was that all about? I just wanted to ask her about her name..." Natsu turned head and watch her run away. To say that he was confused was an understatement. Hallway slowly emptied as bell rang for the start of another class. Handful of people still watched as this unusual event was unfolding, whispering among themselves. There were some who were amused at Natsu's spectacular failure and did not hide this.

"Don't say I didn't warn you." Loke approached, holding his blazer over shoulder. He frowned slightly as he watched Lucy disappear into distance.

"She's just playing t hard to get. I'll have her before this week ends." Natsu nodded to himself.

"Is that so?" Loke smirked taking jacket from his shoulder and placed it on, fingers moved to buttons. He knew well that Natsu was as stubborn as he can get... perhaps a different approach would yield fruit. "Alright let's make a bet then. Hmmm, if you lose you pay round at Sabertooth and won't bug her again."

"Deal!" Natsu responded immediately and took Loke's hand for a shake. His eyes once more looked in direction that Lucy went, even though she could no longer be seen on the halls. He couldn't even comprehend the difficulty he will eventually face.