A Birthday Surprise

Chapter One: Natsu

By: xSteleAliniax

Beta'd By: SamGreg

June 29th, x793

Natsu, Mirajane, and Levy were all huddled around a table at the Fairy Tail guild hall, talking in hushed voices so that none of the other members would eavesdrop. Well, except for the Dragon Slayers, who were starting to become the majority after all the new additions to the guild. Thankfully, though, all of them except for a stone-faced Laxus had since gone home for the night. And Natsu didn't think Laxus would care enough to ruin his plans. He probably had headphones in and was listening to whatever psycho-crap that idiot listened to.

They were all tossing around ideas for a birthday surprise for Lucy. She and Natsu had started openly dating only three short months ago, but they had been best friends long before that. However, Natsu had never gone out of his way for her birthday. Sure, he'd always at least gotten her something, like one year he gave her this bracelet, handwoven and made out of colorful string of golden yellow and emerald green. From it hung a tiny silver disk inscribed with her name. She had lit up so brightly his heart nearly melted. She never took it off.

That was two years ago, and she still wore that bracelet. It had only cost him 200 jewel, and the name engravement had come free with purchase with no more than five letters; it wasn't like he'd spent a lot of money on it. Then again, those seemed to be the gifts Lucy liked the most. He remembered her saying something about "it's the thought that counts," but he wasn't sure what that meant.

Last year he had nearly forgotten about her birthday and had to hurriedly find something for her. He'd ended up stumbling across a stuffed toy dragon with green eyes and red fur and shiny golden wings. Lucy had laughed for at least five minutes when he presented her with the gift. Natsu felt a pang in his chest at her laughter, like she was laughing at his gift. Seeing his pouting expression, Lucy had stopped laughing and wrapped an arm around his back in a tight hug, laying her head against his chest.

"I love it," she'd whispered, hugging him with one hand and the dragon with the other.

He still remembered how warm she felt in his arms that day, and how much he wished she would never let go. It wasn't until that moment that he began to realize his true feelings toward her. But since he didn't know if she felt the same way back, he'd decided not to say anything.

Natsu spent the next nine months working up the courage to ask her out. He could still remember all the times he'd tried asking her out, and failed miserably. Either he'd chickened out at the last second and said something stupid instead, or someone would interrupt him. One time he did manage to get the words out, but the way he'd said them, practically shouting at her, green eyes wild, she'd apparently thought he was joking with her because she stared at him for a long moment before cracking up with insane laughter.

When he finally plucked up the courage to ask her out a second time, he'd tried to do it right. He needed her to know that he was serious. He made sure no one else would be around, and he bought a single yellow rose, because yellow was her color and Lucy liked simple things, so he knew better than to go and buy a whole bouquet. Even though he would have gladly bought the whole store out for her if it meant that she'd say yes to his question.

That was three months ago, and the two had been nearly inseparable ever since. So Natsu knew he had to make this birthday extra special. He wanted her to know that he truly cared about her, and wanted her to feel special. Because she was more than just his girlfriend of three months, she was his Luce!

His light in the darkness.

His best friend.

Forever and always.

So, he pulled in some helpers to make her birthday one to remember.

Levy and Mira were all too willing to help him out in this case, though Natsu tried his best to come up with everything on his own and merely ask for opinions and suggestions. So far the planning was going flawlessly, and he hoped that when her birthday rolled around in a few days that he would be able to execute the plan just as flawlessly.

"I guess now the only thing you have to worry about is what you're going to wear," Levy commented. Her eyes were narrowed in thought, index finger tapping lightly on her chin as her head rested in the palm of her left hand, elbow on the table in front of her. A piece of paper with all the details of the plan was set out before her, and a blue pen rested in the fingers of her right hand.

Natsu groaned. "Crap. I didn't even think of that!" He banged his head on the table, scrunching the paper of scribbled ideas he had in front of him. Mostly it was all gibberish, and he had terrible penmanship anyway, so Levy had offered to copy everything down for him on a separate sheet. He had started making doodles on his sheet to cover up his terrible chicken scratch.

"You should wear a suit and tie!" Mira suggested.

"Won't that be a little suspicious if he shows up at her door wearing a tux?" Levy asked. Her eyes never left the page in front of her. They scanned up and down the sheet as if looking for some flaw. Natsu wanted to be offended that she apparently wasn't confident with his carefully laid out plan, but he was too appreciative that she was willing to not only double check his plan, but also triple and quadruple and whatever came after that, too.

"But he'd look so handsome!" Mira shot him a huge grin that had him rolling his eyes. Leave it to Mira to be over the top about everything even slightly romantic. He was starting to regret asking for the white-haired beauty's help. She was getting way too involved, Natsu thought. Plus, she seemed to think that his relationship with Lucy was all because of her and her "shipping." Sometimes she would wink at him and say, "Nalu forever!" Whatever that meant...

He was starting to regret asking for the white-haired beauty's help. She was getting way too involved, Natsu thought. Plus, she seemed to think that his relationship with Lucy was all because of her and her "shipping". Sometimes she would wink at him and say, "Nalu forever"! Whatever that meant...

"No tux," Natsu said with finality. Mira pouted but Natsu ignored her, laying his head in his hand and closing his eyes to think better. All the bright lights in the guild were giving him a headache today. He couldn't think! Plus, all the members milling about at this late hour were being extremely loud. Cana and a few others had gotten into some drinking game around nine, and were still going more than two hours later, getting more and more rambunctious as the night wore on.

It was getting close to midnight now, and all this thinking was leaving Natsu's brain in a constant state of throbbing. He'd never used his brain so much before in his life.

"Are you okay, Natsu?" Levy asked in concern, watching him wince in pain as a particularly loud sound erupted from Cana's group.

"Yeah. It's just loud in here."

"Are they giving you a headache?" Mira asked with a slight frown.

"A big one." He groaned, holding the sides of his head between his hands. Geez, were they ever going to shut up over there?!

"Don't worry, I'll ask them to quiet down a bit!" Mira chirped.

Natsu peeked up from where his hands covered his eyes and raised an eyebrow at the woman. However, she already had her back to him as she skipped over to the boisterous group. Levy turned and watched as well, forgetting about her intense inspection for a moment.

"Hello!" Mira chirped in her high, girly voice.

Natsu snorted a laugh. Like that's going to help any, Mira.

However, a moment later, Mira transformed into one of her She-Devil forms and floated slightly above their table. All the drinking members gaped up at her with expressions of horror, too terrified to say or do anything.

Natsu smirked, waiting to see what she did next and hoping she would start a brawl with them.

Levy shook her head and turned back to her work.

"YOU ALL WILL LEAVE THIS PLACE AT ONCE!" She bellowed in her most terrifying She-Devil voice.

Natsu leaned forward in his chair so he could watch their reactions. They all jumped up simultaneously and ran out the door, leaving a cloud of dust in their path.

Mira transformed back and walked casually back to their table, sitting down across from them as if nothing at all had just happened.

Natsu burst out laughing. "That was awesome!" he cried, tears springing to his eyes from laughing so hard.

Mira giggled in response.

"Was that really necessary?" Levy asked in disapproval.

"They quieted down, didn't they?" Mira said with a shrug.

"More like ran away in terror," Levy muttered.

Mira shrugged, unconcerned, "Anyway, where were we?" The transformation mage asked, glancing between Natsu and Levy.

"My outfit!" Natsu exclaimed in defeat, like he'd already given up hope for this particular topic. What'd he know about clothes anyway?

"That's right!" Mira clapped her hands together in front of her and then laced her fingers together. Her brilliant blue eyes narrowed in concentration. "Hmm. Now, what would Lucy like...?"

Eugh. He had to impress her with his clothes, too? Why were women so difficult to please?! He banged his head again and sighed heavily.

"Don't worry, Natsu. We'll figure out something."

Levy's reassuring voice helped stave away some of the anxiety starting to bubble up inside of him. He wanted this day to be special for Lucy. He wanted her to remember this moment, to cherish it in her heart, for a long time. But it was all just so damned hard! And he was afraid that he was going to mess things up like he always did. And what if he screwed up so badly that Lucy didn't even want to be his girlfriend anymore? He'd rather die than lose her.

No, he would make sure nothing bad happened. It would all work out. He was sure of it.


June 30, x793

Natsu, Levy, and Gray of all freaking people, were walking through one of Magnolia's most popular clothing stores. It was also one of the most expensive places to shop, Natsu had said rather grudgingly several times so far, but he'd gone along with it anyway. He wouldn't be cheap for once, since this was Lucy's special day he was planning for. And he really hoped she appreciated it because he didn't think his brain, or his wallet for that matter, could take another special occasion like this.

"How about this one, Natsu?" Levy held up a light blue shirt with darker blue cube shapes around the bottom.

He wrinkled his nose in disgust. "Hell no. That shirt reminds me too much of Ice Freak." Natsu shuddered as if just looking at the shirt made him ill.

"Hey, watch it, Pyro!" Gray snapped back at him, clearly offended at the gibe. "I'm here for you, you know."

"Well, then help me out here!" Natsu exclaimed, throwing his hands up in the air. "I have no idea what Luce would like." Now he pouted dramatically, and Levy giggled. Gray rolled his eyes and turned to another rack.

"Girls are impossible to please, man." Gray said as he pushed aside various shirts.

"Hey!" Levy exclaimed in offense.

Gray continued like she hadn't said anything. "You just need to pick something that you like. She'll either love it, or hate it. There's no way to know for sure."

"Gee, thanks." Natsu deadpanned. "That's so helpful."

Gray shrugged and kept looking.

Natsu blew out an annoyed breath and turned to finish looking through his own rack.

"You sure Luce won't drop by?" Natsu asked Levy without turning to her. He was afraid that Lucy would show up at the mall and bust him. He didn't want her to see what he chose for their upcoming date until that very day. He wanted to keep everything a surprise, which was why he hadn't included Happy in any of his plans. He may have been Natsu's best friend, but he was the worst at keeping a secret.

"I'm sure," Levy replied confidently. "She said she's going to be pretty busy working on her novel all day."

"What happens if she gets bored and decides to come to the mall to chill?" Gray asked.

Levy smiled, unconcerned in the least. "I told her if she got bored with writing that she better call me so we can hang out. So, there's absolutely no chance of her showing up unexpectedly." Levy shot Natsu a thumbs up. "I've got your back."

He smiled back before returning to the task at hand.

Well, Gray's "advice" had given him little to go on, so he hoped something would just sort of pop out at him. If he saw something he really liked, he'd get that. If Lucy didn't like it, he could always just take the shirt off.

Wait, what?

"This one would look good on you, Natsu!" Levy held out a turquoise colored t-shirt with a navy Hurley symbol in the center. Gray snatched it from her outstretched hand.

"Nah," he said, tucking the shirt under his arm. "Blue isn't Flame Brain's color." Then he pulled out a black shirt with a white bomb in the center. An orange spark engulfed the string of the bomb like it was only seconds from exploding. He held it out to Natsu with a smirk. "This is more your style, I think. Charred black and destructive."

"Very funny, Frostbite," Natsu grumbled, ignoring the proffered shirt. Gray shrugged and slid the shirt back on the rack. Natsu didn't mention that he already had that shirt in his closet at home.

When he turned back to the rack he was still searching through, he spotted it: the perfect shirt. He plucked it from the metal bar and held it up for a moment before flipping it around for the others to see.

Levy gave him a huge grin. "Yes! That's the one, Natsu!"

Natsu turned to Gray for his opinion, raising an eyebrow as if to ask, "is this good?"

"I think that'll make Lucy happy." He said after a long moment, though his tone was reluctant, like he didn't want to say it out loud. Natsu grinned.

"Yeah! I'm fired up now!"


July 1, x793

Today was the day, and Natsu was scared out of his mind. He had never gone to such lengths before for one person. He had put a lot of thought and effort into this day, and he would be damned if he didn't pull it off perfectly. Still, the nerves were really getting to him. And it didn't help that Mira kept telling him he looked like an anxious groom on his wedding day, and "oh how cute will the two of you look on that day!"

That was earlier in the morning. Now, it was around nine o'clock, and only an hour left until his plan would go into action. He had just finished taking a quick shower, and was now attempting to make his hair stay flat. It wasn't happening, at all. He gave up and started to walk a hole in the carpet as he paced anxiously. What was he going to do?! He was an idiot. This plan would never go as he wanted it to. He always screwed things up!

"Gah!" He slammed a fist into the wall, making a baseball sized hole there. He didn't have time to care just then. He was getting too worked up, now!

"What's going on?" Happy flew into the room with half-closed lids, looking like he'd just rolled out of bed.

"Sorry, buddy," Natsu said, realizing that his fist through the wall must have woken him. "I'm just nervous."

"About the surprise you won't tell me anything about?" Happy asked, a little bitterly.

Natsu flashed him an apologetic look. "Yeah... sorry about that, too. But you know you would have told!"

The little blue cat opened his mouth to argue, but then visibly deflated and floated down to rest on the arm of the sofa.

"Yeah, you're right." He admitted. "But you'll tell me all about it later, right?" His expression turned hopeful.

Natsu smiled back. "Of course, little buddy!" He patted his friend on the head. "Now, I have to finish getting ready or I'm going to be late!"

"Good luck!" Happy called as Natsu hurried back into the bedroom.

He threw on the rest of his clothes, made sure to tie his shoes so he wouldn't go and trip on the laces like he had done the day before, and then went into the bathroom to brush his teeth. He scrubbed at them twice for good measure, inspected them for any flaws, and then gargled some mouthwash. With nothing left to do to prepare, Natsu headed out to the meeting spot.

Edited: 3/25/17