Due to the positive feedback I received on my first story, I decided to attempt another one. Thank you to everyone who favourited or reviewed.

"NATSU!"

"HAI!"

Natsu stood to attention as Erza inspected him closely through narrowed eyes.

"At ease. Please take a seat."

"Hai!"

The Fairy Tail wizards sat down across from each other. Erza started scribbling down some notes, leaving Natsu to stew anxiously in his seat.

Erza was recruiting for an S-Class job, and the fiery dragon slayer was up for the challenge. Unfortunately for him, her ultra-preparedness streak had kicked in and she'd decided to go the formal route and hold actual job interviews.

"So, it says here you have had S-Class experience before, correct?" Erza began stiffly.

"Uh, yeah, you were there, remember?" Natsu answered.

"Not, at, all" Erza hissed through gritted teeth, trying to remain professional. "Please, refresh me."

"Hai! Lucy, Happy, and I beat up some people and then defeated the monster Deliora."

"That's not how I remem- that's not what I've got written here" Erza growled dangerously.

"Oh, right, Ice Princess helped a little too."

Erza glared daggers at Natsu who just shrugged.

"This 'Happy' character, you and he are inseparable, you say?"

"Oh yeah! I wouldn't go anywhere without him."

"Even on an S-Class job?"

"Especially on an S-Class job! Happy is super helpful."

"Fascinating…Says here in my notes that he complains constantly, and consumes more fish than he's worth."

"Whoa really? Whoever wrote those notes for you has a few screws loose."

Erza's note-taking nearly tore a hole in the paper, but she seemed to calm herself down and turned to a pile of documents next to her.

"Next I'd like to draw your attention to the submission forms you filed. Which were late, incidentally." Erza added sternly.

"Ahh sorry, it's been a mad Monday!"

"It's Thursday."

"Oh, well, I made lots of spelling mistakes so I had to keep starting again!" Natsu laughed sheepishly.

"A noble thought, but the forms you turned in are nothing but spelling mistakes!"

"Well, I knew that I was getting them wrong, but if I understood how to fix them then I wouldn't get any wrong in the first place!" Natsu reasoned.

"Yes…anyway, under 'Reasons for Attending' you've written 'I wanna fite', and then drawn a crude picture of what appears to be you beating up Gray. Do you think that's a good reason to go on an S-Class job?

"Oh yeah, definitely! I want to fight a strong opponent!"

"…Is that it?"

"Well, S-Class jobs are more fun, but that's because it's harder, so I guess it's all the same point really."

"Yes. I couldn't help but notice you've left 'Age', 'Address', 'Height', 'Weight', and 'Mission Success Rate' all blank on the sheet."

"Ahah I couldn't remember that junk. Just ask Lucy, she knows all that stuff for me."

"Likes: Lucy, Happy, Lisanna, Gramps, Wendy…Uh Natsu, I think you've misunderstood the question, it wasn't really about people."

"Huh?"

"Dislikes: Stripper, Metal Freak, Lion Pervert…what have you got against Loke?"

"He keeps hitting on Lucy. It's really annoying." Natsu murmured, blushing slightly, but Erza was too engrossed in the paper work to notice.

"Mmm, and under 'References' you written 'The old man', and 'Erza'. You do realise I can't be a reference for you when I'm the employer?"

"Awww why not?"

Erza turned over to the next page without answering.

"Ok, let's- UGH! Natsu please tell me this isn't what I think it is!"

Natsu looked over at the forms she'd immediately backed away from. They were completely unreadable due to large green stains.

"Ahhh, Erza, I tried my best to fill out the 'Weaknesses' section but as soon as I started thinking about…the 't word'…I got sick."

"AND YOU TURNED THE FORMS IN ANYWAY!?" Erza raged.

"I really wanna go!" Natsu whined.

Erza shuddered. She delicately pinched the corner of the page and carried it over to the bin.

"I'm just going to pretend I didn't see that, I'm well aware of that weakness. Let's move on."

Natsu flashed her a wide smile.

"This next page is blank…and the next one…did you answer any of the essay questions!?"

"Yeah! Give me some credit!"

Erza looked at him disbelievingly and flipped her way through the stack of papers.

"Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, oh! Here we are!"

"Told you!" Natsu announced triumphantly, poking his tongue at her for good measure.

Erza cleared her throat. "A Taim wen I was Afrayd, by Natsu."

Erza stopped reading to nail Natsu with a piercing glare.

"Don't look so smug, Natsu. When I'm pronouncing the words that way it means you've spelt them wrong."

"Oh."

"I am a really strong fiter so I am never afrayd. But one taime Lucy was forling and I had to catch her. I was afrayd I cood not make it in tyme. My hart maid me run fasta and I cort her but I still hav bad dreams afta that for a wile. The End."

Erza stared at the paper blankly. Natsu fidgeted nervously, it was a little embarrassing having her read his answers out loud. He still didn't know what had possessed him to answer that question, he was going to leave them all blank originally.

"After this mission is finished, we're doing some tutoring."

"Nooo, why?"

"WHY!? You spelt 'time' three different ways, along with several other attempts across the bottom of the page that you've crossed out!"

"Yeah, so? I wanted to make sure I got one of them right!"

"NONE OF THEM WERE RIGHT! T-I-M-E!" Erza yelled.

"Hey! I could have just left it blank like the others!" Natsu defended.

"Natsu…" Erza growled menacingly.

"Y-yes?"

"Spelling aside…what you wrote was very sweet."

Natsu shrugged again, trying to suppress another blush. "It was the truth."

"You know it's important to feel fear, it helps you understand what is significant to you, helps you learn the things that you couldn't afford to lose." Erza lectured kindly.

"Hm?"

Natsu had already zoned out.

A muscle twitched above Erza's left eye, but she moved on.

"OK then, we'll move on to the next section, finding out how well you'll be able to work with the current team members on this mission. What's a possible offensive combination you could perform with Erza Scarlet?"

Natsu laughed at her stuffy choice of phrasing, referring to herself in third person.

"I suppose, if you had your flame thingy armour on, you could grab the opponent to stop him escaping and I'd blast both of you with my Fire Dragon's Roar. Since your armour protects you against fire, you'll walk away without too much damage!"

"…Clever, sort of. I don't appreciate being the equivalent of a human anchor though." Erza ticked some boxes on the page. "How well would you be able to get along with Laxus Dreyar? You know how much I hate teammates fighting."

"Laxus is coming!? Ugh, I'm going to punch him so"-

"Natsu!"

"Hai! Uh, yeah I guess I could stomach Laxus for a little while if he keeps his mouth shut."

"Hardly a convincing answer, Natsu." Erza said disapprovingly.

Natsu grinned unapologetically.

"Next question. Hypothetically, Laxus and I have both been wounded, we are facing an enemy with the same abilities as Juvia Lockyer. Who do you direct Wendy to heal first?"

"Laxus AND Wendy both got chosen before me?!"

"Answer the question, Natsu" Erza sighed.

"That's easy, Wendy has to heal you."

"Idiot! Wrong! Laxus is a lightning mage and our best chance against a water-user! Why on Earth land would you choose me?"

"Cause Laxus is a jerk?"

Erza let out another exasperated sigh. It seemed even Natsu knew that wasn't an appropriate answer, but his mood had deteriorated rapidly and he just wanted the interview to end.

"Next question"-

"Erza, I don't really want to"-

"Which of Lucy's keys would be the most"-

"LUCY IS GOING!?" Natsu's jaw dropped.

Erza frowned at being interrupted. "Yes, she was one of the first people I considered."

"What!? Why? Erza, this is an S-Class job, it's way too dangerous for her! You have to let me come too!"

"NATSU!" Erza snapped irritably. "How can you have such little faith in your teammate?"

Natsu clamped his mouth shut hard.

"I…I do trust Lucy…" he ventured cautiously, "It's just that…I'm…I'm…"

Natsu never finished the sentence, because he didn't know what he was. His mind was telling him to believe that Lucy could handle herself, but his heart was demanding him not to let her out of his sight.

"Natsu…care to elaborate?"

Natsu jumped, forgetting that he was still sitting across from Erza.

"I'm sure…Lucy deserves to go, what I meant to say before…is that it would be less dangerous for her if I also came."

Erza ran a hand through her hair and softened her voice. "I'm sorry Natsu, but there are plenty of talented wizards vying for this last position on the team, most-…all of which submitted better applications than you."

"Give me one more chance! …Please!" Natsu blurted out. "I'll re-do my application, seriously this time!"

Erza exhaled sadly, "Natsu, you know I'd love to have you along, but I can't start making exceptions because we're friends. Trust in Lucy, trust in me."

Natsu lowered his head in disappointment, shame was spreading slowly through his body, his chest ached under the load it was suddenly carrying.

Erza continued to scrutinise Natsu carefully, the usually vibrant wizard was currently hunched in his chair, looking straight down at the ground.

"Natsu, when was the last time you and Lucy went on a job without each other?"

Natsu snapped out of his gloom and furrowed his brow in thought.

"Uh, not since she came to Fairy Tail."

"Mhmm, and when was the last time you've been separated from her for longer than a day?"

A full minute went by before Natsu offered a cautious response.

"We…haven't, once, since we met. Not that I remember anyway."

"I see…" Erza replied carefully. There were always whispers about the nature of Natsu and Lucy's relationship, but through Natsu's vagueness, and Lucy's defensiveness, no one could get a straight answer out of either of them.

Natsu continued to fidget in his seat, he was just not made to sit still for so long. "Erza, can I go already?"

Erza coughed and shuffled her papers, eyes darting around suspiciously. "Just one more section to go Natsu, then you can leave."

"Huh? Didn't you already say my application was the worst?"

"No, no, not at all, well, sort of. It's failing, but you still have this last section to change my mind! Just answer truthfully alright?"

This information brought Natsu's mood back up, "Bring it on! I won't let you down! Thank you Erza!" Natsu yelled excitedly.

"Don't mention it" Erza replied feebly, sweat beginning to appear on her brow. Lying was like acting, in this case minus a script as well, hopefully Natsu wouldn't catch on.

"You and um…Lucy. Why did you, or how did you, no, what made you guys join as a team, together?" Erza eventually asked, already feeling the effects of stage fright.

"Oh, well we just met and she was funny, so I thought it would be cool to hang out with her." Natsu answered honestly, his face brightening as he recalled happy memories.

"R-right, and your relationship, has, er, how has your relationship improved, or changed, since that time?"

"Hmmm." Natsu pondered the question, completely oblivious to Erza's change in demeanour.

"Well, she makes me laugh even more, it turns out Lucy is a super weirdo!"

"Yes, but aside from that?" Erza tried to steer the conversation back to where she wanted it to go.

"I guess…I don't really know how to put it into words, she's my best friend. I know her back to front. She makes me smile…but like different to making me laugh, I dunno…"

Natsu trailed off, unsure if what he was saying was being understood, but Erza nodded silently, prompting him to continue.

"When we're together, I feel different. Like I can't imagine how I was like, or what I did, before I met her. Sometimes she doesn't need to do or say anything, I just feel…better…looking at her. I'd do anything to make her smile at me."

Natsu stopped abruptly and threw his head back in laughter.

"Now I sound like the super weirdo! Please don't tell Lucy any of this, it might freak her out!"

"Oh! U-uh, n-not at all, this is all confidential, just for the mission…"

Erza had turned slightly pink at Natsu's comments, this idiot could say some really sweet things sometimes.

Snapped back out of his thoughts of Lucy, Natsu suddenly frowned. "How is this related to my job application?"

"Uhhhh, like, it's important to know…the extent of familiarity…with potential coupl- teammates!"

Erza coughed suspiciously again, not meeting Natsu's eyes.

"Oh! So like, the better I know Lucy, the more chance I have of coming?" Natsu asked excitedly.

"Y-yeah, something like that…"

"Alright! What else do you want to know?"

Erza glanced around guiltily, her curiosity and professionalism each screaming into one of her ears. It was pretty clear that, despite the rumours, Natsu and Lucy weren't together…that way. Even so, what Natsu described…they had to be close. Knowing Natsu, they'd probably been close for a long time, would this dense idiot ever figure it out by himself?

To complicate manners, Flame Empress Erza materialised in miniature form on her left shoulder. "You know, if you…got the ball rolling, you'd be doing your friends a favour. In fact, by not helping them get together, you're being a bad friend."

Erza stiffened, she didn't want to be a bad friend to her Fairy Tail companions.

Heaven's Wheel Erza appeared on her opposite shoulder, scowling across at Flame Erza. "Don't justify being a snoop. It's bad enough you're stringing along poor Natsu with these questions, you could do serious damage if you meddle in things you don't understand!"

Erza nodded solemnly, she was no expert in this department.

Flame Erza growled, before smirking suddenly as an idea hit her. "Give me one question, ask one question for me, and I won't bother you again."

"Go on…" Erza mumbled cautiously, as Heaven Erza glared from the other shoulder. Flame Erza grinned evilly, before whispering into Erza's ear.

"Yo, Erza?"

Erza snapped back to reality, Natsu was rocking on his chair, looking up at the ceiling. "Is that all the questions you have? You're kind of spacing out a bit…"

Erza cleared her throat, not knowing how much time had passed during her inner turmoil. "Sorry about that. Natsu…if you had to spend the rest of your life with only one person, who"-

"Lucy."

"You didn't let me finish!"

"Didn't have too" Natsu laughed. "Look, I know I probably didn't make the cut, I get it, don't make an exception for me…it would take away from how hard Lucy worked to get assigned to your mission if you just handed me a spot."

Natsu flashed Erza with his widest smile and jumped out of his chair. At some point during the last few questions he'd clearly made peace with not being able to go. On his way out of the room however he turned to add one more thing. "Erza, I do trust you, and Lucy, do your best!" And with that he bounded out, back to his usual self.

Erza sighed, mimicking Natsu and rocking back in her chair. She'd been beginning to waver on leaving Natsu behind. "Don't be such a sap!" Erza ordered to herself out loud. She'd made the right and fair decision…and yet…

Erza snapped forward, she'd make it her own personal mission to corner Lucy one-on-one and find out how she felt about Natsu. It was her duty as a good friend.

Next time! Erza attempts to interrogate Lucy. Thanks for reading!