Natsu had always been someone that just wasn't touchy feely. Sure he didn't mind a rough tumble with Gray or Gildards or just practically anyone but Erza (she is scary strong and he isn't that dumb) but yeah he wasn't touchy feely, like at all. That was until Lucy.
Maybe because she smelt nice or because she was kind enough to buy him food or maybe because she looked at him that day, at Hargeon, with her sparkly eyes filled with innocence and determination and such strength and so he just knew. She would be his partner.
Given any opportunity, his arms were around her shoulders. Walking through the markets at the Capital: Crocus, his arms would be perched and firmly situated around her shoulders, calloused fingers brushing against her upper arm or sometimes, twirling a strand of her golden hair that frame her face. And when Happy trilled "He liiiikes her" well, Natsu really couldn't disagree.
Happy noticed that change when Natsu first invited him over to Lucy's apartment. Yeah sure they weren't verbally invited over by the owner herself or even gave notice of the visit but when it comes to free fish, Happy was an easy Exceed to please. It was odd but comforting to see Natsu sprawl about her bed, eat her snacks, tug at her hair and mess with her dresser drawers because what Happy saw was his father/friend getting comfortable. Finding the boundaries, the cues, what is their friendship and even if she kicked and yelled and hollered at the top of her lungs, Natsu came back because for some reason, he knew she was scared and lonely and didn't have a friend or support system and he wanted to be all of that and more.
And if Lucy quietly whispered how grateful she was for them and their tendencies to highjack her apartment in the dead of night, well Happy wasn't going to say anything because he was p. (Everyone has nightmares and since everyone around him had daddy and mommy issues he wasn't going to judge).
Erza was HORRIFIED that Lucy's virtue was TAINTED by Natsu. One, two or maybe even three times, Erza and the girls would listen to Lucy's mortifying exchanges with Natsu, her sans-clothing. He groped her? In a bell? He took a peek up her skirt in the library, when she was on the ladder? One look at Lucy's flustered face and Erza was already equiped and ready to castrate that fool (that was until Lucy latched onto her breastplate and begged her to not kill her partner. R.E.N.T). It was an unexpected development as Natsu had never shown interest in anything or anyone besides food, fighting and his father. But then again he did pull that stunt during the Grand Magic Games in which he was ready to take a peek at Lucy in the shower all because Erza asked him where was Lucy's whereabouts…
Gray noticed the sudden change when touchy-feely-natsu-the-numbskull would barely brush he fingers against Lucy's thighs after a little brawl. She would be sitting at the bar, talking about Marvis-knows-what with Mirajane and the pink hair pyro would bumble over, a little worse for wear (because duh he won and Natsu lost) and ask for something spicy or of that nature and skim his fingers over her thighs. Almost like he was making sure that she was still there. It was sickeningly sweet and obviously, Gray would strut over and punch that doofus because how dare he so blatantly flirt in-front of him like that.
Maybe it was his coping mechanism because when you see someone you treasure, laying limp in your arms and for that moment you believe they died, any chance you get, you would want to make sure their heart is still beating. That the blood beneath their skin is still pumping. And if Gray would occasionally brush his shoulders against a certain water mage when they went on missions together, he would venomously deny having issues.
"Calm down would ya. She ain't goin' no where." Gajeel should've stayed home with Levy. The twins were probably learning to babble and he just had to be here watching over Natsu whilst Lucy got treated after a detour gone wrong. They were in the midst of the 100 Year Quest and were doing a layover in Magnolia, after the whole Touka incident and Gajeel was asked(ordered) to watch over the salamander while bunny girl got her cuts stitched up. Yeah yeah they are both dragon slayers blah blah best at holding him back but the idiot was circling the door like the idiot he is and its making him dizzy.
"You fuckin' idiot, sit down."
"Yeah and do you think you circlin' the door like a vulture is gonna do anything?"
With a huff Natsu sat down on the bench next to Gajeel. Pouting and arms crossed the fire dragon slayer jiggled his legs up and down out of anxiety. Slapping his palm on Natsu knee, to stop with the leg thingy Gajeel speaks up. "Listen. Listen to her breathing. You hear that? She is fine. Her heart is pumping. Calm down."
Taking Gajeel's advice, Natsu sat still and tuned into the motions behind the door. Her heart is pumping and her breathing is steady…she's fine, she's fine, she's fine.
"When Levy was nearing the end of her pregnancy, I would tune in to make sure I heard all three heartbeats. She liked to coop herself up in her room reading when I was out doing the minor missions and right before I stepped through the door, I would get anxious because I couldn't hear a peep." Huffing a sigh, Gajeel leaned back on the bench.
"All of the shit we went through with the war and death and now…now I am always on edge." Crossing his arms, Gajeel continued.
"We were undercover in the Magic Counsel and did a lot of snooping. Was scared they were gonna go after her now that everything is over ya know? Go after everything that I ever cared about…even if we saved the world, corruption will still hate us because we did what they didn't want us to do."
Turning his head to look at the pyro, Gajeel continued "There will always be danger and there will always be fanatics out there but…we will get through it all. So quit whimpering and trust that she will get better."
Ever so slightly, Natsu leaned back and let the tension in his shoulder dissipate. The thump thump of Lucy's heartbeat putting him at ease, not Gajeel's presence. He would never admit that.
Lucy noticed that sometimes Natsu would just touch her. It was weird at first, making her squirm out of his grip because no she is a lady but overtime, it was reassuring, comforting and exactly what she needed to ground herself. On occasions, she would reciprocated the touch because she also wanted to reassure him that even with his E.N.D side, he was still her Natsu.
When they hung out in her apartment, Lucy would sit at her desk writing and Natsu would sit on the floor playing cards with Happy. He would be sitting right behind her desk chair, with his right side towards her back and his fingers would sometimes brush the tips of her hair. More often now that she grew her hair out.
Walking through crowds, he hands would always rest his hand on the centre of her back or clasp her hand. His grip would tighten when the crowd become denser and slacken ever so slightly when the crowd dispersed.
Even during fights his first instinct was to find her and put his arm out in-front of her, step in-front of her or push her behind him to protect her and each time she would say "Natsu, I can protect myself you know!" And he would turn, smile and say "yeah, I know but let me protect you from the small fries while you handle everything else because between us two, you are the smarter one."
Sometimes when he sneaks into her bed, when she is asleep, his palm would find itself resting on her heart, almost like he was trying to make sure her heart was still beating. On some occasions when he jolts awake from a rather violent nightmare, he would lay his head on her chest for a bit and listen to the beating of her heart. Each time, she would know because war does that to you. Put you on edge. And each time, she would let him because she knows that he is on edge.
Right before they went off on their 100 year quest, when Natsu ruined their moment and grabbed her hand to drag her off onto the next adventure. His warm, rough hands held her's until they met up with the group and she remembered his promise of being "together forever". Together forever on an everlasting journey called life and if on some occasions he would rub his thumb over her ring finger when holding her hand, well…he can figure that one out.
A/N : This is my first time writing and uploading a story and I really just wanted to explore some cannon scenes and insert some of my headcannons. Let me know if you like it! It doesn't have a plot or a point but hey…I gave it a go?