A/N: Hello friends! So this is technically (by which I mean literally) a New Years-y scene that I wrote probably a year or so ago but never finished. Recently I have been getting back into the writing spirit so I was able to finish it, and rather than wait until New Years (because who the heck wants to wait that long?!), I decided to post it now for you guys! It's a cute Nalu scene in which Lucy and Natsu are coming to terms with their feelings for one another. Don't know where the inspiration came from since, like I said, I wrote most of this forever ago! But I think you guys will enjoy it!


New Year, New…Love?

December 31, 8:30 P.M.

Lucy: in a sparkling red satin gown that just touches her ankles and hugs her body in all the right ways, glittering gold heels and matching gold jewelry around her neck and left wrist, hair curled just so by Cancer and flowing down her back to touch her waist.

Natsu: in black suit pants and a black shirt with a red tie to match Lucy's dress (totally not intentional), black loafers with no socks, and his white scarf; the black bangle he always wears is fitted around his left wrist, and a gold ring with a red ruby he received for Christmas hugs his middle finger.

Natsu and Lucy stood in the doorway to the guildhall, staring at the ostentatious decorations that had been thrown up in a manner of hours. How anyone could manage that feat was beyond them.

Icicles hung from the ceiling and off the rafters, tinsel was wrapped around pillars with little snowflake decals. Tables were draped with ice-blue linens and topped with a silver runner and centerpieces of silver and blue roses.

They stood there in dumbfounded surprise until Erza ran up to them, cocktail in hand.

"Lucy, Natsu. Thank Mavis you're here." She said somewhat breathlessly.

The pair exchanged a look.

"What's going on?" Natsu asked, tugging at the red tie around his neck like it was choking him. Lucy tried not to roll her eyes.

"This party is boring," Erza stated dramatically, taking a long drink of her pink cocktail. It looked like a cosmopolitan but smelled like straight rum.

Lucy almost laughed. This was obviously not Erza's first drink. She was acting completely un-Erza like, which only happened when she drank a lot…or when Jellal was around.

Which ironically made her drink a lot.

"Hello, Erza."

Lucy tried not to smile when the familiar blue-haired wizard stepped up behind Erza with an expression that said he knew more than the rest of them.

He probably did.

Erza stiffened, face going pale. She downed the rest of her drink before turning around with a hasty, "oh, look at that! I need another drink! I better go get one!"

She took off, leaving Jellal grinning behind her like that was exactly what he'd hoped would happen.

"Someone wants to get laid," Natsu snickered.

Lucy chose not to acknowledge that there might be more than one someone who needed to get laid.

"Let's get a drink," she suggested and made her way into the guildhall. Natsu followed dutifully behind her because where there was alcohol there was also food. And Natsu was always thinking about food.

"NATSUUUU!"

The pair looked up to see Happy soaring their way, tucked into a black cat-sized suit and holding a fish between his paws. Carla stood with crossed arms on a table behind him, looking especially put out. Lucy wondered what Happy had done to earn that expression.

"Natsu, it's you!" He flew into his best friend's arms, holding his fish out of the way so Natsu wouldn't squish it.

Or eat it.

Natsu patted his furry blue head. "What's up, little buddy? Having fun with your girlfriend?" He teased.

"Yeah," Happy said, tone dripping with sarcasm Lucy didn't even know he possessed, "are you having fun with yours?"

"Oh yeah!" Natsu answered easily, not getting the insinuation.

Lucy blushed crimson as Happy started snickering and making kissy faces at her.

"I'm getting a drink," she announced flatly and started walking away.

"Better follow your woman, Natsu!"

Lucy heard Happy stage-whisper. She clenched her fists and kept walking.

She'd just reached the bar and sat down when she felt the familiar heat settle in beside her. She scowled and ignored him, ordering a gin and tonic to start.

"Fireball," Natsu added to the order and slapped down some jule for both.

"You only order that stuff because of its name," Lucy accused, though she couldn't help the amused smile from lifting her red painted lips.

He turned a toothy grin her way that made her heart skip a beat. "You know it!"

"Here's your drinks!" Mira chirped and set two glasses down in front of them.

Lucy sipped hers because she was a lady.

Natsu downed his in one long pull.

"Another!" He called before Mira even had a chance to walk away.

She giggled. "Oh my! Better pace yourself or you'll start losing your clothes like Gray!" She gestured at a half-naked ice mage who was currently shooting pool with a very pleased looking Juvia.

Natsu blanched. "I'm no lightweight!"

"You say that every year!" Mira reminded him, still giggling.

"And every year you lose your shirt," Lucy added with a flick of her wrist.

Natsu harrumphed but still took the shot and downed it. "Okay, that was the last one!"

Lucy had her doubts and kept sipping her gin and tonic, just waiting for the inevitable.

"Oh, I love this song!" Natsu shrieked in a girlish voice. He hopped off his chair and grabbed Lucy by the wrist. "Come dance, Luce!"

"W-Wait!"

Before she could properly protest, Natsu pulled her from the stool and had her on her feet in a matter of seconds, spinning her around the makeshift dance floor like they did this every day. Like it was totally normal for them to dance together. Lucy remembered the last time they'd shared a dance, back when they'd taken the job at Count Balsamico's mansion.

That hadn't turned out in her favor.

"Natsu…" she tried but he took her by the hand and spun her in a circle before clasping his free hand on the small of her waist. She sucked in a surprised breath at their closeness and the way his hand felt like fire through the thin fabric of her dress. She swore she could feel every individual finger burning into her skin.

"I wanna dance with you, Luce."

His eyes were hooded with something dark that she wasn't sure was even really there at all much less legal when pointed in her direction. She was definitely seeing things because this was Natsu, class clown Natsu who was more dense than a pile of potatoes, and just as smart. He shook his ass on tabletops and made ridiculous expressions. He used her and her spirits constantly for stupid things, like digging up buried treasure. Plus he was so damn annoying.

He was definitely not looking at her like she thought.

The bracelet on her wrist slipped down slightly, catching her attention. She glanced down at it, remembering the moment she'd opened the gift and saw it. It was obviously handmade and not the best piece of art ever created, but her eyes had welled up with tears because he had gone through the trouble of making it for her. He'd actually had the mind to create something out of scratch to give to her, rather than just picking up a trinket at a gift shop.

When did Natsu become so…thoughtful?

In comparison, her purchased gift was totally thoughtless. She'd thought it was a wise choice for him, it looked like something he would like, but it wasn't well thought out or anything like that. Not like her bracelet.

She wondered when Natsu had decided she was worth something like that.

When she looked back up at his face he was looking down at her with that same expression as before, eyelashes almost brushing his cheekbones, lips curved in a crooked smile that said I know what you're thinking. Which was ridiculous because he couldn't possibly know what was going through her mind.

Or so she hoped.

"Lucy…" his voice was husky and downright cruel. It was the sola tree incident all over again and he was about to ask her to summon a spirit for him. She waited with bated breath, lip clamped between teeth, totally forgetting she'd put lipstick on. He leaned down as if to whisper something in her ear when…

"NATSUUUU!" Gray, who she was so going to murder later, came barrelling toward them so fast they jumped apart. "WHERE'S MY SHIRT, YOU PYRO?!"

Natsu pointed at Gray's naked form and started laughing hysterically. "You stupid flasher!" He cackled wildly.

Gray was so red in the face Lucy almost felt bad for him.

Almost.

"Shut the hell up and give me my clothes back!" Gray shouted. A few people milling about glanced over at the altercation, snickered amongst themselves, then turned away with shaking heads. A Natsu and Gray fight was an everyday thing at Fairy Tail.

"Why would I have your clothes, frostbite?!" Natsu shrieked in return.

"Because someone saw you take them! Give them back, ash breath!"

"How the hell would I take clothes off your body?!" Natsu argued in his defense. "Besides, I've been with Lucy this whole time! Just ask her!" He turned to her expectantly.

Lucy nodded loyally. "That's right, we were drinking and dancing. Haven't left his side all night. Promise."

Gray deflated. "Dammit. Cana was screwing with me again." He turned a scowl in the direction of the bar were Cana sat. She waved and blew them all a kiss.

Lucy giggled. "Better go find your clothes before Juvia finds you," she suggested.

His eyes went wide. "Oh god, you're right!" He took off so fast he left a plume of dust in his wake.

Lucy and Natsu exchanged amused grins, then laughed. Poor Gray was always being harassed by Juvia. One would think he would take a hint and ask her out, but…

Lucy glanced over at Natsu who was tugging at his tie again.

"Let me help," Lucy offered and loosened the fabric around his neck.

He breathed a sigh of relief. "Freedom!" He hollered.

She rolled her eyes. "All I did was loosen it a little."

"Thanks, Luce." His eyes gleamed something evil again, making her smile slip. "Let's get another drink!" He started pulling her towards the bar.

"Hey!" she protested. "You said that was your last one!"

"I lied! He-he! MIRA!"


Two hours later and Natsu had lost his shirt.

Lucy wasn't complaining.

She was, however, feeling a little lightheaded herself. She'd agreed to one more drink, two (or was it three?) drinks ago. All of her clothes had stayed on, of course, but Natsu's bare chest was starting to give her some very inappropriate thoughts. She saw his bare chest all the time, thanks to the vest he always wore, but it seemed different in this setting, more intimate than it should.

Or maybe that was the gin talking.

Natsu was currently throwing darts with Gray and Elfman. Erza had been playing as well but had excused herself when she'd broken a dartboard by throwing too hard. She was sitting hunched over a table with Jellal now and Lucy wondered what they could be talking about.

The guys were all pretty wasted and weren't having any more luck than Erza had. Most of the time the darts went wide and hit the wall instead. They still hooted and hollered liked they'd scored a bullseye. Lucy just hoped they'd be done soon because she was so bored. She wished Levy wasn't huddled up with Gajeel so she could talk to her instead of sitting there like some groupie.

"That was a perfect shot, my darling Gray!" Said the groupie to her right as Gray totally missed the board.

Lucy held back a laugh. Juvia was a groupie, on all accounts, and proud of it. Lucy sometimes wished she was more brave like the water mage. Juvia didn't care who knew about her feelings for Gray. She wasn't ashamed or uncertain. She knew she loved him and wanted everyone else to know too.

"That was a cheap shot, Elfman!" Evergreen squawked from her left. She still had a mug of beer in her hand, eyes flushed and bloodshot. She'd had one too many, but Lucy wasn't going to tell her that. It wasn't like she hadn't indulged in too many drinks tonight as well.

Evergreen, like Lucy, tried to hide her feelings. It was painfully obvious to Lucy that the other woman had romantic feelings for Elfman and kind of hoped people didn't think that about her behind her back. What if she was just as bad? What if everyone in the guild talked about how "Lucy loves Natsu"?

She would die from embarrassment.

"WOO!" The aforementioned Natsu erupted in a victory chant when he actually landed a dart on the board. It was nowhere near the bullseye but it was closer than anyone else got so Lucy still felt pride well up inside of her for his sake.

She gave him a wink and clapped. "Good job!"

She thought he might have blushed.

Natsu came to stand beside her after that, squeezing in between her and Juvia and giving Lucy a look he probably thought was "cool" but with his inebriation just made his whole face look lopsided.

Her lips twitched and Natsu pecked her cheek. She froze in embarrassment but he was already gesturing Kina over. "KINA! Another round!" She glanced over from where she'd been walking around with a tray of drinks in hand and gave Natsu a thumbs up to let him know she'd heard him.

Lucy's cheek was on fire and she thought everyone in the room must be staring at her, but by some miracle, no one seemed to have noticed the kiss. Maybe she'd imagined it? She was flying pretty high herself and might very well have.

A quick glance at Natsu showed him staring right at her. Her cheeks heated and she was certain he could hear the hammering of her heart against her ribcage.

Ow, she thought as it tried to crash right out of her body.

Natsu's lips turned up in another of his crooked grins. "Whatcha thinkin' about, Luce?" He asked.

Your stupid lips, she silently seethed, annoyed at herself for being caught staring at them. How old was she again? That's right, too-fucking-old to be acting like a schoolgirl with a crush.

She was saved the effort of coming up with an excuse when Kinana showed up at their table and started handing out drinks. Lucy sighed heavily when Natsu immediately started chugging his. She didn't really need another drink of her own, but she couldn't let Natsu of all people show her up so she tipped her glass back and let the liquid slide down her throat.

"Yeah, Lucy! That's my girl!" Cana praised from the bar, sending her a thumbs up and chugging her own beer.

"Hot," Natsu said.

Lucy went still. She certainly felt hot after that shot made it's way down her throat but…

"W-What is?" she stammered out.

"These pants!" he was pulling at his suit pants as if seconds away from stripping out of them.

"OH NO YOU DON'T!" Lucy shrieked at him, gripping his hands in both of hers to stop him from taking off any more clothes. "DON'T YOU DARE!"

"But Luce," he whined, "it's so hot in here!"

"Then go outside!" She advised with a huff. "And put your damn shirt on!"

He glanced down in surprise like he hadn't even realized he'd lost the damn thing over an hour ago. "GRAY!" he called out loudly as he stomped away from the table. "YOUR STUPID STRIPPING IS CONTAGIOUS!"

Lucy couldn't help the amused giggle from making its way from her lips.

"He's something, isn't he?" Evergreen said bitterly.

"Yeah," Lucy agreed more softly, "he really is."


11:45 P.M.

Lucy stayed by his side once he'd found his clothes, to keep an eye on him, she'd told herself. She didn't want him stripping again. It would be a disservice to womankind.

When the clock inched closer to the midnight hour, Makarov announced loudly over the speakers that they'd all better find a glass of champagne and a partner in the next fifteen minutes, or else!

Lucy didn't want to think what Master could mean by that.

She already had a glass of something in her hand—she thought it was champagne but she'd never had the stuff before and all the other alcohol had burned her taste buds. Her tongue felt numb as she gave a sip to the bubbly substance. She shrugged and decided it was whatever. She only needed to take a drink at midnight and then she'd never have to drink again as long as she lived.

"Got your drink?" Natsu's voice in her ear startled her and she almost lost her drink. His chuckle tickled the back of her neck. "Jumpy as always."

She whirled on him, ready to kick him or throw her drink in his face for being so damn annoying.

But that look.

She lost all drive to move or breathe.

She didn't even hear the clock strike midnight, just saw Natsu's face close in on hers and then lips press against lips. Her eyes fluttered closed as a shiver ran down her spine. His lips were hot as fire but soft as silk on hers. The world around them disappeared in that moment, everything beyond that kiss went hazy and dark, all sounds faded into the background.

When he started to pull away she sucked in a breath and captured his mouth once more. She swore he moaned into her mouth.

They pulled apart after that, both breathing heavily and sharing a look of total surprise and shock. Had they really just done that?

"HAPPY NEW YEAR!" Everyone cheered, the commotion of their guildmates bringing her back to reality.

She clinked glasses with Natsu and downed the rest of her champagne or whatever the hell it was.

It's the alcohol, she told herself as she celebrated with everyone. But her eyes kept landing on Natsu's, kept finding the shape of his lips and loving the way they'd turn up when they caught her looking.

Maybe this was a good thing, she thought. Maybe he finally realizes that I love him.


January 1st, 1:30 A.M.

Natsu and Lucy were sitting on a log outside the guild side-by-side, sipping the remnants of their hot chocolate in silence. It was a comfortable silence shared by two friends—two people who've known each other for years.

Or perhaps friend wasn't strong enough a word. After last night, they could possibly be something more, but it was hard to say with the alcohol still coursing through his system. He really had taken that a little too far, but nerves made him keep picking up glasses.

Natsu fiddled with the gold ring around his finger and wondered for the umpteenth time just how much Lucy must have spent on it. It was heavy so he knew it wasn't some cheap thing she picked up at a pawn shop somewhere—it was the real deal. He knew nothing about jewels either or which ones were more expensive, but the glittering gold ruby was pristine and sharp and looked like money had been poured into it.

Looking at it made him feel guilty for the gift he'd given Lucy, even if her face had lit up in that way he loved and she'd hugged him right there in front of everyone and whispered into his ear that she loved it. She couldn't have loved it that much, knowing how much she'd spent on his gift. It wasn't fair. She deserved everything—she deserved a glittering gold ring on her finger.

Wait…what?

"What's wrong, Natsu?" Her soft voice broke through his thoughts. He glanced over at her with a fake smile already in place but her expression told him she wouldn't be buying it for a second. Luckily, he was starting to sober up, but he'd recognize that "no bullshit" look in any state.

He sighed and looked back down at the ring. "How much did you spend on this thing?" he asked. He didn't realize how that must have come out until he heard her huff beside him.

"That thing was a gift, you know," she told him haughtily. "It doesn't matter the price."

He knew she was right, but… "Yeah, but I didn't spend that much on your gift."

Now Lucy sighed. "Natsu…" She placed her hand over his and entwined their fingers. She squeezed, and when he looked over at her in shock she was smiling. "It's not about who spends more money on a gift. I love the gift you gave me, more so than any of the others I received."

He blinked in astonishment. "Really? But it was just a handmade bracelet. It looks like shit, too."

She giggled, held up her wrist that bore the scrap of red and gold thread he'd somehow managed to wind into something that resembled a bracelet. It was supposed to show a star in the middle, but he wasn't as good at creating things as he was at destroying them so it looked more lopsided than not. He was just happy that the whole thing hadn't fallen apart yet.

He recalled how long it had taken him to weave the delicate strings together and how many tries it took him to get it just right. And even when he was satisfied that it looked alright and would probably hold up without falling apart, he knew it would never be good enough for someone like Lucy.

"It's perfect," she whispered, admiring it like it was the most expensive jewelry she owned. She caught his eye again. "Do you know why, Natsu?" Her eyes told him exactly why but he played it dumb just in case he was interpreting it wrong.

He swallowed. "Um…because it's red?"

He expected her to roll her eyes or smack him and tell him not to be an idiot, but she just smiled wider and leaned in close to his ear. "It's because my best friend made it for me."

Despite the fact that he kind of guessed she'd say some cheesy shit like that, he still felt his breath catch in his throat, though that could have been more due to the fact her warm breath was on his ear and her scent was invading his whole being.

"I can tell how hard you must have worked on this for me," she continued. "It must have taken days to get just right."

Twenty-two days, but who's counting?

"It wasn't—" he swallowed the lump in his throat, "—too hard."

Lies.

Her lips found his cheek. "I love it," she breathed. "I love you."

He sucked in a breath at her words, at her touch. They had exchanged the words multiple times over the years because that was just what friends said to each other. Or so he thought. Somehow this felt different than all those other times. Her closeness, the tone of her voice, the hand he just noticed she held against his face like a caress.

"Lucy…" he breathed, closing his eyes as he took in her words. He was smarter than he used to be, less dense, and was pretty sure he knew what was happening between them right now. Last night they'd shared a kiss at midnight to celebrate the New Year, but everyone in the guild had locked lips so he hadn't thought too much of it. He had been beside her when the clock struck midnight, so he'd been the one she had to kiss, right?

Then…it was a coincidence that she'd purposely stuck by his side all night, going out of her way to link arms with him whenever another guy came their way—because boy did he notice each time another male came slinking over with that scent on their skin that made him want to rip their heads off. Lucy had paid no attention to any of them, only him.

So maybe…maybe Lucy had wanted to kiss him? Maybe she'd been planning for it all along? Was it the shitty bracelet that did it? He recalled how things between them had begun to shift just slightly after Christmas. Had his gift had some effect on how she looked at him? If so, what was it she now saw in him that she hadn't seen before?

"Stop thinking so much," she breathed against his cheek, then lightly pressed her lips against it. They were warm and soft and made the memory of last night pop into his mind. The light pressure of her mouth when he tried to pull away as if she didn't want it to end… "I wanted it to be you…" she whispered and he knew exactly what she was referring to.

"I…wanted it to be you, too." He felt his cheeks heat from the admission, but he knew Lucy well enough to know that if he didn't reply in this way she would be upset. It was true anyway, he'd wanted to kiss her for a long time and never knew how he could do so without getting a Lucy-Kick in return.

He felt her lips turn up against his skin. "Good."

Something cold and wet fell onto his face. He thought maybe Lucy was crying—girls did that when they were happy, too, right?—but when he glanced over at her she was smiling up at the sky. He watched a white puffy flake land on her eyelash. She giggled and blinked it away before smiling over at him.

She looked like an angel in that moment, he thought, a star from the heavens sent down just for him.

Make a wish, Natsu, he thought. Aloud he said, "What is it about snow?" as more flakes fell around them. It was a winter wonderland, a serene landscape to celebrate the New Year—another year they'd known one another. Today would mark the beginning of something more, so each time the snow fell, he would come back to this day and see her glowing face flecked with snow and joy, the essence of beauty.

"Yeah," she agreed, still smiling, "it's something magical."


A/N: And there you have it, folks! Super random scene, but I hope you all liked it anyway! Let me know your thoughts! Thank you so much to all of you who have read this as well as other scenes or stories I've posted, your ongoing support really does mean the world to me. Have a great day!

Stele