A New Kind of Fairy Tale

Chapter 15: Today Marks Forever

Christmas Eve, x786—7:00 P.M

Natsu and Lucy stood in Magnolia's finest restaurant which was crowded thanks to the holiday, but luckily Natsu had thought to make a reservation–unlike their first date when everything had just been a complete disaster. This time he wanted everything to go absolutely perfect.

So, of course, something went wrong.

"What do you mean, you can't find my reservation?" Natsu asked the hostess in disbelief. "I called over a month ago!"

The woman shrugged, unconcerned. "I'm sorry, sir, maybe it's under a different name?"

"No, look again. Natsu Dragneel, that's the reservation," he insisted. The woman shrugged again and began tapping at her screen once more.

"Natsu," Lucy whispered in his ear, "let's just go. We can just eat at my place."

No, no, no! he thought miserably. This was just like their first date, only this time he really had made a reservation. Why did everything always go hopelessly wrong for him? He wanted tonight to be special. He wanted to make it perfect, but once again he was messing everything up.

"You're not cooking tonight, Luce." He dug around in his pocket and produced a wad of cash, which he then slapped on the counter, making the hostess give a start of surprise. "Is this enough?"

The woman's eyes bugged, as did Lucy's.

"Natsu!" she exclaimed.

The hostess began, "Um, sir, that is a lot of cash for—"

"Oh, let them in, Sharon."

All three turned toward a very familiar face.

"Jellal?!" Natsu and Lucy exclaimed in unison.

"You work at this place?!" Natsu asked in disbelief.

"I own this place," Jellal corrected with an amused grin. "Come, follow me. I shall escort you to my best table." He urged them forward, then sent a glare back at Sharon, who paled instantly.

"I didn't know you owned a restaurant," Lucy commented as the bluenette led them through the bustling restaurant.

"I purchased this place about a year ago when I left Crime Sorcière," he explained. "Once this place proved to be a fine investment, I bought two more restaurants in town and one in Crocus. I'm thinking about expanding to a few more. Ah, here we are."

Jellal gestured at a small table set off in a corner of the room. It was cast in an intimate glow and set apart from the other tables, giving it an illusion of privacy. It was perfect.

"Thanks, man!" Natsu slapped him on the back. "Come on, Luce." Natsu pulled back a chair for her and waited for her to sit before sliding it forward.

"I'll send a server to take your orders," Jellal said, then gave them a nod and turned back the way they'd come.

"This is a really nice place," Lucy mused, looking around at all the décor around them. "It's beautiful." She turned a genuine smile his way, a smile that lit up her whole face.

You are beautiful, he thought, the most beautiful woman in Fiore, and she's mine.

When the waitress came to take their orders, Natsu encouraged her to get anything she wanted. When at first she appeared hesitant, Natsu turned to the waitress and ordered something he remembered her raving about the last time she'd ordered it, then ordered the same for himself along with a bottle of wine. He had no idea what any of the names meant, so he just told the waitress to bring them whatever was most expensive. That meant it was the best, right? He hoped.

"Natsu, are you sure you can afford all of this?" Lucy asked, again looking hesitant.

How could he tell her that it was a special occasion and he wanted her to have everything she wanted today? Today was her day, whether she knew it or not; whether it was their last or their first.

He smiled over at her and took one of her hands in his. "Don't worry about it, Luce. I want tonight to be special." That was all he could say, he didn't want to give away his intentions just yet.

Their food arrived and the couple ate, exchanging easy conversation. They talked about good times together, about adventures they'd been on and the good times they had shared. Natsu told Lucy about the first day they met in Hargeon, when he'd been searching for Igneel but had found her instead. He told her that the real reason he'd brought her back to Fairy Tail with him had been because he'd felt this connection with her. He needed to see what it was and where it would take them. That was why he'd felt so compelled to go after her on Bora's ship, he knew she was special, even then.

"Natsu," Lucy whispered when he finished. Tears sparkled in her eyes and she dabbed them away with a napkin before smiling over at him. "I know it hasn't been that long since that day, but I feel like that was the beginning of something real, you know?"

Oh, I know, baby. I know.

As soon as they finished their meal, Jellal appeared at their table once more. "How was your dinner?" he asked them.

"It was delicious!" Lucy complimented.

"It was, actually," Natsu agreed, somewhat reluctantly so.

Jellal smiled at them. "I'll give your compliments to the chef. She will be most pleased to hear that her friends are dining with us this evening."

"Friends?" Natsu asked.

Jellal nodded. "Our cook is Erza."

Natsu choked a little on his food. "Erza?!"

"Why am I not surprised?" Lucy mused.

"Would you like some dessert?" Jellal asked.

"Yes," Natsu answered, surprising Lucy. He never ordered dessert. "Give us a tirmitesue."

Lucy choked on a laugh.

"What?!"

"I think you mean 'tiramisu,'" Jellal offered.

Natsu huffed. "Yeah, whatever. That one."

Lucy giggled as Jellal walked away. "Since when do you like coffee cake?" she asked him, no doubt amused at his pouting expression.

"You like tiramisu," he murmured, not meeting her gaze. From the corner of his eye he saw her amused smile shift into something more fond.

"Thank you for today."

He glanced over at her, surprised at the sudden words. "You had a nice time?" he asked.

She nodded. "The best."

"Your tiramisu!"

The two glanced up as their waitress placed the dish between them and handed them each a fork.

"Enjoy!"

Lucy grinned and stuck her fork into the moist cake, making sure to get every layer before popping the bite into her mouth. Her eyes closed as she tasted the bite, making Natsu smile in fond amusement.

"This is the best cake in the whole world," she practically moaned.

He laughed. "Have some more." He pushed the plate closer to her, wanting her to savor every last bite, if that was what she desired.

He waited patiently while she ate, occasionally taking a sip of the wine (which tasted horrible but he drank it anyway). He tried not to sweat as nervousness began to fill him. Time was ticking down on this date, he needed to do it soon.

He cleared his throat. "Luce," he said. He couldn't quite look her in the eyes, he was certain she would see his intentions just from looking at him. Plus, he was pretty sure that if he looked at her he would lose all nerve.

"What's wrong, Natsu?" she asked, setting her fork down and pushing the half-eaten cake away. "You look nervous."

I am nervous! he thought.

"Do you remember our first date?" he asked, still avoiding eye contact.

He saw her lips pull up at the memory. "Yes. It was on Valentine's Day."

"And I took you to this super fancy restaurant," he added, a smile pulling at his own lips.

"But it was completely booked for the holiday, kind of like tonight." She giggled.

"So I took you to this really horrible sushi place."

"And that one was booked too, but someone heard your complaining and offered to let us sit at their table." Lucy was grinning fully now, he could see her face light up from the corner of his eye.

"Yeah, but they were an even louder couple than we were!" Natsu exclaimed, rolling his eyes at the memory. "And the food was horrible."

"I'd never had more fun with anyone before that night," Lucy whispered.

Natsu finally looked back over at her, at the beaming smile she held, so full of love and adoration. "I remember thinking that there was no way you would ever go out with me again after that disaster," he admitted.

"Like I could say no after that!" she laughed. She must have been referring to the food fight they'd caused, which had gotten them thrown out of the restaurant and told to never come back. Still, Lucy was right, it had been a lot of fun. He had been most surprised that she hadn't screamed at him for lobbing food at her, but instead had retaliated, grinning and laughing.

"And our second date?" he prompted.

Lucy laughed. "Oh, the 'romantic boat ride'."

Natsu smiled sheepishly. "Not my best idea."

"It was a nice gesture," she said in his defense.

"Luce," he tried again, feeling a little more confident now. "I know I haven't always done the best job with dates in the past, and I seem to screw up more often than not…" he took a deep breath, fingering the box in his jeans pocket. "And I know we haven't been dating for that long yet, but I really couldn't imagine being with anyone else."

Lucy was totally still and frozen by this point, eyes slightly wide and flicking back and forth between his as if searching for something.

"You're my best friend," he went on. "You've taught me how to love and that there is more to life than just getting into fights all the time. I've had more fun with you these last two years than I have in my entire life."

"Natsu," Lucy choked out.

Natsu pulled the box out of his pocket and swallowed the lump in his throat. "Lucy," he pulled open the lid and placed it on the table between them. "I love you more than life itself. Will you please be my wife?"

For a long moment, everything was completely silent, it was like the world itself was holding it's breath in anticipation, waiting for Lucy's response.

When a minute passed, then two, Natsu started to really worry. Maybe she didn't want to marry him. What would he do if she said no? He would never be able to live with himself if he lost her. She was his life now!

Lucy's gaze shifted between the ring in the velvet box and Natsu's face, which he desperately tried to hold the smile he wore. He couldn't let her know how desperately he needed her to say yes.

Say something! he inwardly screamed at her. Before I completely lose it.

"Natsu," she finally said, tone careful.

Oh, shit. That tone, the same one she uses when she's gonna let someone down easy. She's going to turn me down. Brace yourself.

Finally, a single tear fell down the right side of her face and a smile lifted her lips. "Yes, Natsu."

For a moment he just sat there, blinking confusedly at her. What had she just said?

"What?" he asked. Surely he had heard her wrong.

Her smile grew. "Of course I'll marry you, Natsu." More tears, from her, from him.

His eyes grew wide. "Y-You will? Really?"

"I told you I couldn't say no to you," she reminded him, laughing softly before wiping at her eyes with her napkin.

Natsu beamed. "I'm fired up now!" He jumped from the table and pulled her into his arms, planting a kiss to her lips as applause filled the room around them. He ignored them as he kissed the woman he loved. She was his, for now, for forever. Today was the first day of the rest of their lives. Today marked the beginning of a new life.


A/N: I feel like this is the cheesiest, fluffiest fic I've ever read *laughs* Ah, well it's cute anyway XD I hope you all liked this chapter! It's different seeing these two before they had Luna, but I thought it important to their story. Two or three more chapters in this mini-arc and then we'll head back to the present! I have 16 finished and on it's way to the editing office (A.K.A. my lovely beta, Kayt XD), and I have chapter 17 or 17 finished as well. Getting back on track with this writing thing, guys. You should have chapters on time for a while.

Next chapter: "Let's Celebrate!"

Grizz, You always make you laugh. Your continued support means the world to me, thank you for all your words of encouragement!

ihavetoriblenews, I love that you always comment on every chapter XD Thank you for being an active supporter as well! I'm glad you still like this story!

00nighthowler00, Hello, newbie! I am most honored that you have decided to join this ride with us! I hope you continue to follow along with this story! I have many more chapters planned for our Nalu. Their story isn't coming to an end anytime soon!

—Stele.

PS: If you didn't notice aleady, I just posted a new story on Monday called "Twist of Fate". It's the vampire AU I mentioned in an earlier chapter. I have finally begun uploading! I hope you guys will check it out as well!

Beta: Sleeping4tNight