Lucy and Natsu have known each other for years, facing crisis after crisis as the bond between them grew stronger. With the fall of Alvarez, life has finally begun to settle down and there is no impending doom to distract them from how much they've changed. When bottled up feelings no longer have an excuse to hide, it's only a matter of time before they reach their boiling point.
Rated M for mature themes: 18+ Only.
Spoiler Warning: Takes place after the Alvarez Arc but before the 100 Year Quest. Be aware that there will be spoilers in this story!
*Characters belong to the amazing Hiro Mashima, I'm just borrowing them for a little while.*
Spark - /spärk/ - Noun. A luminous disruptive electrical discharge of very short duration between two separated conductors
Natsu Dragneel was not an idiot.
Sure, he was hard headed and hyperactive to a fault. He could be childish, whiny, and brash. He was often oblivious to basic social norms - but he blamed that on his lack of human contact as a kid. There was a part of him that had always been a bit wild, and he saw no reason whatsoever to change that.
So when the waitress at lunch batted her lashes at him, and brought them a free fish for Happy, he knew exactly what was happening. Well… okay, it might have taken a little longer than that, but that was only because he'd had his eyes glued to the menu as he salivated over the different options. Lisanna had recommended the small curry shop in the tiny coastal village where he and Lucy had finished their latest job.
The server gently placed the steaming bowl in front of him with a flirtatious smile.
"Let me know if you need anything else, sugar." She winked, jutting her hip out to rest her tray against it. As she walked away, her short skirt swished back and forth with a bit more zest than strictly necessary. His attention was brought back to his table when he heard someone clear their throat loudly in annoyance.
Chopsticks already in hand, he glanced curiously at the blonde sitting across from him. She had her arms crossed over her chest, fingers tapping against the skin of her forearm as she glared at him. Shoveling food into his mouth, he just raised his eyebrow at her.
"You were staring at that redhead's ass, you perv." She accused, pointing the prongs her fork in his direction. She flipped her hair over her shoulder, having let down the golden locks for the day. Natsu caught the motion and absently noted how long it had gotten over the last few years. Swallowing, he shifted so he could see the counter behind him.
"She had red hair? Cool." He spotted the woman jotting down someone else's order on her notepad, and her braid was indeed a few shades lighter than Erza's. With a grin, he leaned his elbow against the table as Happy laughed between them.
"Don't worry Lushi, your butt is way bigger!" The blue exceed piped up unhelpfully. Lucy smacked the top of his head, gritting her teeth.
"Shut it, you stupid cat! Stop implying I'm fat!" She bit out peevishly, but Natsu could see it didn't quite reach her eyes. He knew she loved the little fur ball almost as much as he did.
"Wahhhh, Natsu! Lushi's being mean to me!" The cat cried big crocodile tears as he attached himself to his foster father's coral locks. The woman in question just squinted at him from her seat, mumbling to herself under her breath.
"I'll show you being mean…" She huffed, stabbing at her curry menacingly. Natsu just snorted, not bothering to figure out what was wrong. After all, Lucy was a weirdo. Instead, he steered the conversation in another direction.
"I can't believe they paid us 150,000 jewels for that job, even Ice Breath could have done it in his sleep." Natsu laughed. "When they said there was a monster in town, I guess I thought it would be a challenge."
Lucy giggled, seeming to have settled down. "I like how you say that as if Gray's some sort of weakling. He gives you a run for your money half the time." She pointed out. It was no secret that their little team had grown astronomically in strength since she originally joined Fairy Tail. Even then, Gray and Natsu had been S-class in all but name.
Hearing that, her pink haired partner choked on his food, his dark eyes narrowing. "You take that back! There's no way Frosty could ever beat me!"
Lucy and Happy looked at each other slyly, they knew just how to get under the dragon slayer's skin.
"Then why was Gray sitting on you while you were unconscious in your last fight?" Happy questioned, his big dark orbs deceptively innocent. Lucy's mouth turned up in amusement as they watched Natsu sputter angrily to come up with an excuse. She remembered that one, it had happened shortly before they left for their current mission. Though to be fair, Happy was omitting some details.
"That's because of Juvia! She went full on psychopath on me. How was I supposed to know I was interrupting their 760th something day anniversary? I just wanted a cookie!" He yelped, drawing the eyes of the other patrons of the restaurant. Even their coquettish waitress looked surprised over the sudden outburst.
Lucy and Happy managed to blink twice before bursting into a fit of laughter, tears brimming at the corner of their eyes. They ignored his complaints, leaving the pinkette muttering to himself as he stuffed rice down his gullet. At least the curry was spicy...
They sat there a while longer, complaining about the mission and deciding what to do with their reward money. Though honestly, he knew anything Lucy had left after paying rent would go towards her ridiculously large wardrobe. She'd been gushing over the new Heart Kreuz line for weeks - studiously ignoring his attempts to change the subject.
He'd been doing an impression of the Gajeel when Lucy's giggles faded and the corners of her lips pulled own. Natsu paused, noticing her focus was on something behind him. He tensed momentarily until he saw Happy still munching on a fish, unperturbed by whatever had caught their partner's attention. He glanced up when a shadow fell across their table.
Hand resting on the curve of her waist, the waitress batted her lashes as she tried and failed to give her red painted lips a little pout. Natsu thought she looked a little like a duck, but figured she was going for seductive. Mavis knows how many times he'd seen Lucy try something similar to get an extra scoop of ice cream at the parlor back in Magnolia. To be fair, she usually got it if a guy manned the counter. Natsu's thoughts briefly drifted to the lanky teenager who worked there: the boy reminded him of a wet noodle. His eye twitched slightly, remembering when the kid had asked Lucy to sign an old spread of hers from Sorcerer Weekly.
"Can I get you anything else, honey? You look like you're starving. It'll be my treat." She winked, putting an arm under her cleavage to make it appear bigger. Natsu vaguely registered an indignant squawk from his partner across from him, but he grinned, showing off his canines. He leaned forward with a glint in his eye.
"Your treat?" He asked, the white of his teeth visible as the woman gulped, a light blush blooming on her cheeks. "Well, if you insist."
The door to the quaint apartment on Strawberry Street swung open, slamming against the wall as three figures made their way into the open living space. After the reward they received during the Grand Magic Games, Lucy had managed to redecorate – opting to upgrade her armchair into a sectional and expanded her bookshelves against one wall. She and Levy had gone a bit loopy at the last bookstore sale.
Taking full advantage of that, Natsu leaped onto the couch, sprawling on the cushions as his partners entered the room at a more sedate pace. Happy flew above them in circles, snickering as he jabbered.
"Natsu said he'd take her up on her offer and her face turned bright red! But then he ordered like three more bowls of curry and it looked like her head was gonna explode! Don'tcha think Lushi?" The cat cackled, recalling the events of earlier that day. His foster father shrugged his shoulders. If the woman was offering to take care of their bill, then he intended to milk the situation for all it was worth. Besides, it wasn't his fault if she had meant to satisfy a different sort of hunger.
The blonde rolled her eyes and silently placed her satchel down on the table. They had just arrived back to Magnolia, having taken a late train into the city – much to Natsu's chagrin. It took him nearly twenty minutes to recover after he stumbled onto the station platform.
"I'm just glad to be back, I'm never going on that deathtrap again." Natsu whined, burying his face into a pillow, one arm dangling off the seat and towards the floor. His unruly hair bent in every direction, falling across his forehead instead of sticking up as usual. Shaking her head at his antics, Lucy ducked into the kitchen and poured out a couple of glasses of water, padding her way back over to Natsu before pushing the liquid into his hand. She always felt a little bad about his motion sickness, though she figured even Achilles had a weak point.
Onyx irises blinked up at her in surprise before accepting it with a beam. When her expression stayed neutral and she turned away, his brow furrowed.
"So when are we going to the guild? I want to give Charle her fish!" Happy exclaimed, holding the mackerel close to his body. He looked between the two mages, even as one avoided making eye contact.
"Honestly, I'm pretty tired Happy. I think I'm going to turn in early and head to Fairy Tail in the morning." She mumbled, slowly unpacking her bag and placing her clothes back into her drawers neatly. Confused, the exceed turned to the dragon slayer only to find him staring at the back of Lucy's head. He frowned when she refused to meet his eyes.
"Why don't you go ahead buddy? I'll catch up. 'Sides, you wouldn't want to keep Charle waiting." Natsu murmured. Happy wrinkled his nose but didn't protest. Both his humans were weird. Hastily wishing them a goodnight, he flew through the window at the front of the apartment, already thinking of the beautiful white cat who had slowly been warming up to him.
An awkward silence stretched out between the two remaining occupants of the room. Clearing his throat, Natsu sat up, leaning back on the seat as he glanced over at his best friend. His cheek twitched slightly – he couldn't remember the last time she had been so quiet. She almost seemed sad… or perhaps angry? But for the life of him, he couldn't figure out why.
The celestial mage stretched her arms above her head, exposing more of her midriff, unconsciously catching his attention. She was wearing a white tank top that ended a few centimeters above the band of her black skirt. Natsu's gaze jumped up from the sliver of pale skin when he heard her take an exaggerated yawn. He raised a brow.
"It's getting pretty late. You should probably head home." She told him halfheartedly, still avoiding his eyes. He ignored the comment, a low growl forming in his chest at her odd behavior. Why wouldn't she look at him?
"Alright, spill." He said firmly, glad when she finally glanced up. He was leaning forward with his forearms on his knees, expression serious.
"What…" She started, only to be cut off quickly when he huffed at her.
"I can tell when you're upset. What's wrong Lucy?" He implored. She let out a long breath through her teeth.
"Nothing, I told you. I'm tired." She dismissed, turning away again – busying herself with her already immaculately organized drawers. He narrowed his eyes, frustrated.
"Bullshit." He winced, schooling his features into a friendlier expression when his words came out sharper than intended. "You've been like this since the curry shop. What's going on?"
"Let it go Natsu, I said it was nothing." She abandoned her clothes as she rounded on the man on her couch, her skirt swirling around her thighs as she moved. She stopped a few feet away, her arms crossed under her chest.
"I'm just saying, if you tell me what's wrong maybe I can help." He replied, voice growing rougher at the telltale signs of his rising temper.
"Just drop it!" She bit out, shoving her finger in the air between them. It was the wrong move.
"Oy! Don't yell at me, I'm tryna make you feel better!" He growled, springing up to his feet in front of her as his blood began to sing with excess energy. Here he was trying to be nice and she was locking him out.
To Lucy however, it was like he was trying to shove his way in. Why couldn't he just leave it alone? An uncomfortable knot weighed down in the pit of her stomach. She scowled, aggravated with the strange guilt-ridden feeling boiling inside her. She tried to push it back down as she avoided examining the emotion too closely.
"Well you're doing a hell of a job then!" She shouted, poking his chest. He glowered and batted her hand away.
"Don't do that." He grumbled, annoyed despite himself. He usually had a better grip on his temper around the blonde – but when she avoided him, it got under his skin. She was his best friend, there was no reason for her to be so difficult right now.
"Then don't get in my face." She groaned, leaning her weight to one side so that her hip jutted out to the right. Natsu almost laughed at her stance, unable to count how often he'd seen it. It only confirmed his suspicions that she was annoyed – and apparently, he was a root cause. That was fine with him. He didn't know how to deal with her when she was angry or sad. Irritated Lucy however, was familiar territory.
He smirked and leaned closer despite her objections, rattling her on purpose. He stopped when he was only inches from her face, glaring at her.
"Yeah? What'cha gonna do about it princess?" He drawled, fingers twitching at his sides. His grin widened when her cheeks puffed out, tinged red as she stiffened.
Lucy stared into the stormy eyes in front of her, green and gold flecks reflecting off the light in her room. Her throat felt dry with him so close to her personal space. She could make out the beginnings of stubble on his sharp jawbone, reminding her that he hadn't shaved since they started their mission. Her gaze rose to the faded scar on his right cheek. She swallowed thickly, remembering how he got it. Even though it was the same old Natsu, it sometimes amazed her how different he was from the boy she had met in Hargeon all those years ago.
He had changed. All of them had.
The man in question cocked his head to the side, surprised when she didn't lash out like he expected her too. His temper slowly fizzled out as he took in her expression, her chocolate eyes scanning his face, pupils dilated. Still lost in thought, she pulled her lower lip between her teeth – worrying it. They were tinted with a sheer lipgloss, the vanilla scent stronger than normal due to her close proximity. He could see the light dusting of sun freckles on her cheeks, making him fidget at the sight. This wasn't the time for this he chided himself. Natsu tugged lightly on his scarf to loosen it, his neck suddenly feeling constricted by the tight fabric.
Hello Everyone! I started watching/reading Fairy Tail this summer and went through it like Happy goes through a pile of fish! I absolutely fell in love with the story and characters. I'm still new to the fandom but I wanted to add this little piece. Thanks for sticking through and reading to the end. I hope you liked it! I would love to hear your feedback! Also to be honest, like many authors here, reviews/favourites/follows all motivate me and make me do a little happy dance so don't hesitate to reach out - I love talking to people. Do they seem like they're in character? Any general errors or things you liked? I would love to hear it all!
Other general notes:
This story is looking to be about 10 chapters and is mostly a fluff piece, with the occasional angst or plot thrown in. This takes place after the Alvarez Arc but before the 100 Year Quest. I also know that canonically the characters' ages are more or less known, but for my own selfish reasons I have made them a bit older. As a reference, they are supposed to be in their early 20's. Since Lucy met Natsu when she was 17, that means she has known him for about 4-5 years in this fic (not including the Tenrou time skip). I justify this by pretending the gaps between arcs are longer than in actuality. Anyway, until next time!