These Violent Delights
"But death was her curse and her gift,
and death had been her good friend
these long, long years."
— Sarah J. Maas
Natsu sat on a high-back leather bench that stretched across the entire length of the lounge wall. He absentmindedly tapped his fingers on the marble tabletop in front of him, swirling his third drink of the evening in his other hand – scarcely touched. The seat across from him remained deliberately empty.
He wasn't in the mood for company tonight.
He took a sip of his whiskey, enjoying the smoky flavour resting on his tongue for a few seconds before swallowing. The liquor had just burned pleasantly down his throat when he heard a slight commotion at the bar.
There goes my quiet evening.
"Come on sweetheart, let me buy you a drink."
He glanced over towards the counter, one eyebrow arching as he overheard the simpering voice of the village idiot. His actual name was Sting, but Natsu had always thought the guy was a jerk.
He let his eyes flicker over to Sting's latest would-be conquest.
A leggy blonde sat at the bar, her wavy hair coiffed like a pinup girl in the 1950's. She looked as though she'd stepped straight out of a pulp crime novel – the type where the private investigator called every woman dame.
She pointedly ignored Sting, talking directly to Bacchus, presumably placing her order.
Natsu wondered what she was getting. Probably a fluffy blended drink...watered down and overly sweet. Or perhaps wine. He bet she loved wine. Probably put highly edited, filtered photos of it on Instagram.
Lots and lots of hashtags.
He was slightly surprised when Bacchus handed her a lowball glass with amber liquid splashed at the bottom. It had a single ice cube floating in the centre with a sliver of orange peel curled around it. An old-fashioned, he surmised.
It didn't change his opinion of her.
The old hollywood glamour, the scarlet lipstick, the bourbon-based drink. These were all trendy offerings in certain corners of Manhattan.
Pretentious and high-maintenance, he surmised. Not his type. He liked women with loose hair and even looser morals, ones who were up for a good time.
This one looked like a cocktease.
All effort, no play.
Unfortunately, Natsu had unusually sharp ears and was unable to ignore overhearing every single word Sting said. He settled himself in as a reluctant and silent observer.
"Fine, you got your drink. How about some company?" Sting asked, because he was a tenacious little shit.
"No thank you," the blonde muttered, stiffly pivoting in her seat to turn away from him, looking decidedly uncomfortable.
"Aw, don't be like that. I'm a lot of fun, once you get to know me." Sting put his hand on her shoulder and she visibly shuddered.
Natsu didn't question why he suddenly downed his whiskey in one gulp. He just slammed it back, untasted.
Time to get a refill.
The closer he moved toward the bar, the more he could understand why Sir Douche-a-Lot was being so persistent. This woman was stunning.
Her makeup was done in that artful way women had. Natsu knew there had to be at least five different shades of eyeshadow on her lids, but the burnished golds and sweep of deep violets were flawlessly blended under her arched, perfectly shaped brows. Long black lashes framed her rich topaz irises. Her body steeply curved.
She's way out of Sting's league.
It would be like sending a beginner down a double black diamond slope.
But try telling him that.
Her dress was poppy-red and Sting stared at her with the eyes of an opium addict.
Apparently, the fool had a hard time taking no for an answer.
Sting stepped a bit closer to her, his hand stroking down the lines of her shoulders to the middle of her back and she cringed.
"A woman like you doesn't dress up to the nines just to come here and have a quiet drink by yourself," he murmured.
The blonde turned to Sting, eyes flat and disinterested – those ruby lips downturned.
"Why I'm here is none of your business. I had hoped by ignoring you when you offered to buy me a drink, you would take the hint, but I can see now that subtly is completely wasted on someone like you." She forcibly removed his arm. She wore lace gloves. In spite of this, she pinched Sting's wrist between fingers that curled like tongs.
"So...just so that we're crystal clear: I would like you to leave me alone. I find your 'company' intolerable and I don't wish to convey interest where none exists."
"Huh?" Sting replied with his usual brilliant flare.
"She's kindly telling you to fuck off, Sting," Natsu supplied, smoothly inserting himself into the conversation as he rested his forearm on the bartop – flagging down Bacchus.
Sting snorted, crossing his arms in front of his chest. "Why don't you just get your drink and head back to your booth, Natsu? I'm having a conversation with the lady here."
"No, you're not," she told him, swerving away and taking a sip of her drink, manicured nails stark against the frosted glass.
"You seem extra thirsty tonight, Sting. Best get moving along, though. Yukino is probably wondering why you're not home yet," Natsu drawled in clear dismissal.
"Fuck you, man," Sting mumbled, grabbing his beer and moving towards the pool tables.
No one was sad to see him leave.
"Sorry about him," Natsu offered.
"Oh? And who are you? The waiting in the wings man?" The blonde fired off, wariness clouding her tone. "Your friend struck out, so now you're here to take your shot?"
"I'm not here to bother you and Sting isn't my friend. He's just a regular here."
"Like me," Natsu confirmed. "I just wanted another round."
He pushed his empty glass to the bartender.
Bacchus came back with a fresh tumbler and a more generous portion of whiskey than usual. Natsu nodded his thanks. He saluted the blonde with his glass, preparing to go back to his own table.
He paused his steps, turning to glance over his shoulder at her.
She seemed to be warring with herself, biting into the flesh of her lower lip but her gaze stayed steady. Finally she said, "Lucy. My name is Lucy. And if you don't have other plans, I wouldn't mind you sitting next to me."
If it was a free offer, why not take it?
"Dragneel, Natsu Dragneel." Pressed closer to her, she smelled like sweetgrass and wildflowers.
"How many of those have you had?" Lucy asked, dipping her eyes to his whiskey.
"This is my fourth." And last. He couldn't be sure if she was a cocktease, but just in case, it never hurts to be ready for whatever the night throws at you.
"Looks like I have some catching up to do," Lucy said, clinking her glass to his and taking a long gulp of her drink.
A few hours later, Natsu watched as Lucy swung on a lamp post, doing a fair rendition of Singing in the Rain.
"It's not even raining," he pointed out.
"Spoilsport. Honestly, Natsu. What fun are you?" She pushed off and did another full circle around the metal beam, her back arching prettily in the low evening light.
He waited at the end of her spin this time and caught her by the hips, halting her. Natsu let his fingers dig into the material of her red dress. His voice coming out in a low rasp. "Well, if you're looking for fun...come back to my place tonight."
Lucy laughed. He'd never heard laughter like hers before – sound scattering down a jeweled corridor.
"That's better. I like men who are bold." She said airly, stepping slightly away from him and flourishing with her arm that he should lead the way.
Natsu smirked when he saw that she stayed just out of reach. A tease, alright. But she looked like the type who'd make the chase all the more fun.
Besides, she'd already agreed to go with him.
They continued walking down the street and he snuck another glance at her. Her wavy tresses looked silver now, like liquid moonlight pouring down her back.
Beautiful. Ethereal. Like so many of their kind.
But there was something different, something—
Lucy caught him looking and tilted her head up to give him a coy smile. Her topaz irises blazed and he felt a deep tug in his loins. Primal longing coursed through him. He wanted to pull her into a back alley and taste all the words out of her mouth.
He stumbled a step.
She kept talking and he blinked his way back into the conversation.
"Huh? Oh yeah. Just the drinks getting to me, I guess." He flapped a hand. "The night air will help."
"Oh, okay," Lucy fell into step with him, watching him closely.
"When did you say you got into town again?" He struggled to adopt a casual tone.
She shot him a wry glance, her shoulders tightening slightly.
"Oh." He bit off. His reply too harsh, too short – but his mind whirled.
She paused, halting her steps. He stopped next to her.
He felt blank and stupid, like he'd been missing something painfully obvious.
Lucy seemed to take pity on him. "With the full moon, if you must know."
Natsu worked his jaw, taking in the sight of her full curves, the dress with the neckline up to her collar bones, the sleeves that went down to her elbows, the lace gloves up to her wrists. The way her skin shimmered slightly in the dark, the too-bright glint in her eyes.
He must be getting old.
Three nights ago.
Gray disappeared three nights ago.
It couldn't be a coincidence.
Not when she was one of them.
He jammed his fists into his coat pockets, not wanting her to notice how tightly they clenched, the tendons aching as he dug his nails into his palms.
Half a block later, Natsu reached his brownstone apartment, unlocking the door and holding it open for her. "After you, m'lady."
"M'lady? I haven't heard that in a few hundred years," Lucy giggled, slipping past him.
I bet you haven't.
He pivoted on his heel and followed her up the stairs, palming the sleek silver tucked away within the inner lining of his jacket – eyes trained on her retreating figure.
"Nice place you have here," Lucy said, wandering towards his ivory couch, casually pulling off her lace gloves and dropping them on a cushion.
Natsu didn't even stop to think, he just moved.
His nails tore through the fabric of his coat until the familiar metal curled between his fingers. The door slammed shut as he took two great strides towards her, ignoring the rush of blood in his ears, practiced motions spurring him forward. He grabbed her bicep, twisting her around to face him – the long silver dagger aiming straight for her heart.
"Hunter," Lucy hissed, her bare fingers locking around his wrist.
It jarred him, freezing them place in a morbid mockery of an embrace.
"Succubus," Natsu said dully, almost sluggishly, as he peered down at where she touched him.
Flesh on flesh.
He closed his eyes, waiting for the Thrall to start, to succumb to the frenzy of lust where he would be nothing more than a rutting animal for her to fuck and drain.
Her fingers were so tight that he could feel how easy it would be for her to break the small bones of his hand.
But other than that, he felt like himself. He didn't become subjugated to her whims. He wasn't bound to her as her plaything.
"Why am I not…?"
"Attacking me in a far different way?" Lucy filled in for him, words monotone and lacking the flirtatious edge from earlier in their evening. "Because I don't want you to be. The thrall is something I control."
"But you're touching me without gloves…" he breathed, staring down at her warm fingers.
"So? Oh. You must be old. That yarn has been around for a dog's age." Lucy sighed, gesturing to the discarded accessories. "The gloves are merely an ornamental piece, a costume so to speak. All the best mythologies have their props."
"You're a good actress." Bitterness sat sour on his tongue.
Lucy laughed again and to Natsu's distress, it still was a thing of lilting beauty – still captivating.
"I could start it you know...flip the switch and you'd be mine," Lucy licked her crimson lips, her topaz irises becoming unholy and unnaturally bright. "So why don't you just be a good little Hunter and drop the knife?"
Natsu did as she asked, letting the blade clutter to the floor.
It wasn't his only weapon. Not by a long shot.
"There now," she purred, stepping slightly closer to him so he could feel her hot breath against his neck. "That's much better. Now why don't you just sit down right over there and we'll talk?"
Natsu waited to feel the sliver of compulsion, the command behind her words that would force him to obey her, but…he felt nothing.
What sort of game was she playing?
"Sure, Lucy. Whatever you want." He wiggled his hand within her vice-grip as a hint.
She narrowed her eyes, but let him go.
Natsu moved to sit down on the couch. He didn't so much as glance towards the reassuring weight of the gun he felt stuffed between the plush cushions, but he knew it was there.
"So. Let's get down to brass tacks, shall we? Why did you want to kill me?" She asked, moving to sit on the ottoman across from him.
"I'm a Hunter. It's my job to take out the trash," he growled.
Lucy tsked, leaning forward slightly in her seat, crossing her arms at the wrists. "But not all the trash. I see you left that little werewolf alone – Sting, wasn't it? And Bacchus, he's a demon, is he not? Yet you and your friends frequent his bar."
He almost slipped and went for the glock right then.
"I told you, Sting isn't my friend," he said hotly.
Lucy rolled her eyes, lashes casting long shadows along her cheeks. "The fact remains, you obviously don't have a vendetta against every supernatural being you come into contact with, so why me?"
"You killed my friend!" he roared, withdrawing the weapon from its hiding place before bringing it up in one smooth motion to fire, aiming the first two shots right at her head.
The sound reverberated as the bullets embedded themselves in the plaster and the recoil pulsed through the tensed muscles in his forearm.
He dimly realized that Lucy was no longer in front of him. She skittered to his side, the motion blurred as she hit him in the shoulder with such force that his limb went instantly numb, the gun thunking to the floor.
Suddenly he felt her behind him, her arm yoking his neck in a chokehold.
"I killed your friend?" Lucy whispered into his ear, her voice dripping with seduction despite him clawing at her and trying to buck her off. He couldn't budge her a single inch. Natsu could feel her shrug as she said, "I suppose such things are possible. I'm over a thousand years old. I've killed a lot of people."
"You frigid bitch!" He struggled again, trying to knock his head back into her nose to get her to release him. Instead, she compressed his neck tighter. Stars danced behind his eyelids.
"Calling the succubus a frigid bitch. Oh that's a new one. C'mon Natsu, I know you can do better than that."
He lashed out again, buckling his knees to try to throw her over his shoulder, but she just lifted him off the ground, her arm tightening like a noose. He growled, "I can't believe Gray went along willing with someone like you. He always was the stupidest of us. And now I get to die today because of his idiocy. Typical."
"Gray? Your friend is Gray?" She paused, loosening her hold just a smidge.
He could feel the strain at his temples, though the dark spots in his vision cleared just slightly as he pulled breath into his lungs.
"Yeah...okay? Gray Fullbuster. Black hair, blue eyes, acts like a tragic hero half the time, moping around about how everyone he knew is dead, like that's not the case for the rest of us. He's young, hasn't even hit 120 yet, but I suppose picking on the weak is just your style—"
"Shut up. I don't have a style and if you stopped blathering for two seconds and actually start listening to me, you might hear me when I say I didn't kill Gray."
Natsu hesitated, his mouth hanging open.
"But you know who did."
It wasn't a question.
Lucy ran one hand up his chest, almost in a caress as she glided up his left pectoral, stopping just to hear his faltering heartbeat. "Gray is alive, Natsu. He went off with my friend Juvia a few nights ago."
"Another one of you? Wow. You guys should start a club. Succubus Fucks 'R' Us. Your tagline can be: We eat men."
"Oh for Mavis' sake," Lucy pushed him away from her and he fell, sprawling out on a floor.
"You're the worst Hunter I've ever met! All stabby-stab, gunshot-gunshot. Do your kind ever stop to have an actual conversation? Gray is alive. As in unharmed. Juvia isn't a succubus, she's a mermaid. I think they went to Bora Bora."
Before Natsu could move, Lucy whipped out her phone, swiping at the screen.
"What are you doing?" He asked warily.
"I'm calling Juvia…" she cut off, "Hey Juvs? It's me. Look, I need you to Skype me. Bring Gray..." Lucy paused, listening for a second, then snorted, "I don't care if he's tied up right now. Untie him. I have a friend of his here trying to kill me. What? No, it's not some redhead demon woman, it's somebody named Natsu. Hmm? Yeah, what are the chances, right? I'm cursed for men. No. Okay. Do it now, though. This guy's a Hunter and as pigheaded as they come. Mmh. You got that right. Thanks, doll. See you in a second."
Natsu stayed motionless on the floor as she ended the call.
Lucy stomped over to him, leaning down to study his face so that her hair tickled his chin. "I'm about to show you that your friend is alive and well and what you got out of my entire conversation was the word pigheaded. That really says it all, doesn't it?"
She stood, the motion so fast even he couldn't even follow it. He blinked up at her as Lucy gave him a smirk, offering him a hand.
He really didn't want to take it, but to refuse would make him seem even more stubborn.
Which he wasn't.
Natsu just got his bearings when Lucy's phone rang. She answered immediately, tossing the device over to him and Gray's face filled the screen.
The pinkette stared for a moment, a mixture of irritation and relief washing over him. "You bastard! You're alive!"
Gray carded a hand through his raven locks, looking sheepish. "Uh...yeah. I meant to call you, but I've been super busy. I met a girl named Juvia a couple of nights ago and we really hit it off. Kind of a whirlwind romance thing. She wanted to show me her place."
"Her place in Bora Bora?" Natsu yelped.
Gray averted his eyes, "Yeah, well. You meet the right one, ya know?" His smile became a faint, private thing.
Natsu wanted to smash his face in just for that, trying to stymie the steady twitch to his eye as he glared at the screen.
"Okay. Well, thanks for letting me know. Stupid stripper. I'll tell Erza and everyone else. Next time don't leave your phone at home and just walk off, making the rest of us think you've been killed, all right?"
Gray looked properly chastised. "Yeah...got it. Thanks, man…" he trailed off as something caught his attention off screen. "Hey, Juvia. Don't put those away, I thought we were going to try—"
Natsu had never hit the end button so fast in his entire life.
He passed Lucy back her phone, feeling embarrassed. "So, you were telling the truth, I guess."
Lucy huffed, slipping it back into her purse. "Yeah, guess so."
An awkward beat of silence filled the room.
Natsu drummed his fingers against his pant leg, daring to meet her gaze. To his surprise, Lucy looked more amused than anything.
"Lucy, I'm sorry. I honestly thought Gray was dead. We've been looking for him everywhere. When you showed up at the bar looking all…" he gestured down at her figure, "...and then you said you got into town around the same time as he disappeared..."
She rolled her eyes. "Yeah, I get it. Blame the succubus. Attack first, ask questions later. Don't worry, I'm used to it."
Lucy found her lace gloves, tugging them on.
"Where are you going?" Natsu asked.
"Hmm? I'm leaving, Natsu. I mean thanks for trying to both stab me in the heart and shoot me in the head, but what's your encore? Pitchforks and angry villagers? No thanks."
Okay, she had him there.
"Lucy? Can I just ask you one thing before you go?"
She stopped moving, cocking her head to the side, waiting.
"Why didn't you use your powers on me?"
She let out a mirthless laugh. "You're a Hunter and a vampire. I knew what you were the second you came up to me in the bar. But just so you know, succubi don't waste their time draining vampires. Your blood tastes awful and you're soulless creatures."
Natsu bristled at that. "I'm not soulless."
"Oh? Are we beginning our relationship based on lies? How very human of us."
When he didn't answer, she found her purse.
He used all the supernatural speed he had to block the door.
"Oh for fucks sake! What now?" Lucy tapped her foot impatiently, crossing her arms in front of her chest.
"You knew what I am?"
She shook her head in disbelief, gold strands wafting around her shoulders like silk and sunlight. "Yes. I told you that. Can I go now?"
He ran a hand through his hair, utterly baffled. "Why did ask me to sit with you? Or come home with me if you knew I'm a Hunter?"
Her mouth twisted up into a grimace. "Because I liked you, okay? And I wanted to."
"You like me?"
"Easy, cowboy. I said liked as in past tense."
Natsu saw her fidget, the way her eyes glanced down at his chest.
"You still like me." He felt confident it was true.
"I swear to Mavis, if you don't move away from this door I'm going to break your arm."
He raised his hands in surrender and scurried out of the way. Lucy yanked the door open so hard the hinges groaned.
"I like you too, Lucy."
She gave him such a steel-pinned look that he may as well have been a butterfly impaled through the thorax. "Well, you sure have a funny way of showing it."
She brushed past him and was out on the stoop before he called. "Lucy?"
The blonde looked over her shoulder, arching an eyebrow at him. "What?"
The wind lifted a few strands of her hair straight up before settling some down across her forehead. He watched her scrape them back away from her eyes.
"Look, I screwed up, I know that. But...I'm almost 500 years old and I know women like you don't come around that often." Or ever, he added privately to himself. "I know you'll probably say no and I completely understand if you do, but I know I'm going to regret it for centuries if I don't ask. Forget about sex. Forget about everything else. Do you...maybe wanna go for a walk? Start over?"
She canted her head, shading her eyes with one hand as she considered him.
"A walk? It's got to be 2 am, Natsu."
"Then I guess it's a good thing that I have a thousand year old succubus to protect me out in the mean streets of Manhattan, isn't it?"
Lucy looked him over, debating. He gave her his most contrite look—full blown puppy eyes with a head tilt—and she snorted.
"Fine. Come along then."
He went to her immediately, breaking into a jog with a huge grin on his face.
"But just so you know, the first pizza place that's open, you're buying me a slice," she told him.
"Fair enough," Natsu said amicably. "This time, why don't you lead the way?"
She held out her hand, no lace glove to be found.
Without hesitation, he took it.
Lucy smiled, slow and sharp. "Good, you're learning."
"I'm quick to adapt usually," he let innuendo seep into his tone.
They hit the pavement and she pulled his arm. He stumbled trying to keep up with her.
She giggled at his slowness and turned to face him, walking backwards with their hands still linked together.
"Let's go on an adventure, Natsu."
A/N - Huge thanks must be given to Satyrykal who helped me when I was hopelessly stuck on this one-shot. She's more than I deserve, but I'm so grateful for her friendship. Satyrykal is a phenomenal writer who has a lot of Nalu stories on FF. Please check her out if you have some time to read an extra story today.
The title of this fic, "These Violent Delights" is a quote from Romeo and Juliet, but more recently seen on the show, Westworld. The full quote is: "These violent delights have violent ends."
Please support other writers participating in Nalu week! We're all given about 2 weeks to write 7 stories. It's a hard challenge!
Also, I didn't realize you were supposed to do the prompts in order until too late. I apologize – I will hit all 7 prompts, but my brain commanded me to write whatever it came up with first. I don't argue, because honestly if you've ever written a story, painted a picture, needed your memory for a test, made a drunken decision, etc., you'll know it's bad business to go against whatever your head is telling you to do. :D
Some writers I know who are participating are: ShanaHollows, wordsaremyspells1331 and Professor of Gallifrey. Please check them out.
Special thanks to my reviewers from last chapter: MissVarta, Fireshifter,ShanaHollows, Slash2104, Professor of Gallifrey, Satyrykal, ken0320, stranger1999, BrokenAngelWings83 as well as all those who favorited and followed.
Extra special thanks to ABT4LIFE who let me know I hadn't tagged this story properly. I really appreciated you mentioning that, as it does affect who sees my story!