"2061…2062…2063…"

How many push-ups had she seen Asta do? Noelle tilted her head to the side and kicked her legs against the fallen tree that Asta had cut down on accident somehow. Its leaves had all but vanished from its branches, making it a perfect spot for her to sit and watch him. It was marginally more comfortable than how she used to spy…err…watch over him. No, there was no point in denying it.

She was a stalker.

A royal stalker, but still a stalker.

She didn't know why she did it.

Well she did.

But.

She just couldn't think it.

Let alone say it.

But, why not?

She felt her cheeks grow a bit warm as she clutched her wand in her hand. Seeing Asta train made her want to run off and work just as hard as he did. But, if she trained as hard as Asta did every single day, she'd be dead from exhaustion by the end of the week. Asta had traded every ounce of mana for sheer stubbornness and stamina when he was born.

And that stubbornness was starting to rub off on her.

"Hey, Asta?" She focused on his green eyes as he pushed off the ground to look at her. His well-defined muscles and sweat-soaked chest reminded her that she had a type, and that type was Asta. Honestly, the fact that he was shorter than her wasn't even relevant anymore. Or it could be a positive.

He clapped his hands and stared at her slightly, that Ki thing he and Captain Yami used probably telling him far more than he let on. After all, he could sense emotions right? "What's up, Noelle?"

"I love you."

Those words escaped her before she could even have a mental argument against them. It was just a casual confession, not one born from the heat of the moment, with no urgency behind it. It was just the simple truth that had been waiting a long time to slip out from her. Noelle bit her lip, hands shaking at her sides as her eyes tried to widen to an unreasonable degree. Her body may very well have been trying to kill her. This was a thousand times worse than the time Asta had to princess carry her to her room after she trained too hard! No! This was worse than that time she had seen him naked!

So much worse!

She couldn't move!

What was he going to say?

What was she going to say?

What was she going to do?

What was HE going to do?

The space between them felt at once far too far and way too close!

Her heartbeat drowned out everything but the sound of Asta's silence as he smiled at her.

And that smile!

Why was he smiling at her like that? All at once care-free, confident, easy-going, and cheerful, without even the slightest implication that she had just said something that was nearly earth-shattering for their relationship as squadmates and friends!

"Yeah," He clapped his hands and then wiped the dirt from his pants, his broad—oh so very very very broad—shoulders were straight and he oozed the same level of confidence he showed charging into battle, or whenever he said he was going to be the Wizard King. "I love you too."

Ehh?

Huh?

What?

Huh?

"Ehhhh?" She let out a screech as the mana around her flared and needed a sudden release. She had to run away! He just said he loved her! She. He. What? Huh? She drew her wand and watched Asta flinch, preparing for another blast of water to slam into him, before she pointed it down towards the ground and sent herself flying away from him and this whole crazy situation.

"Ahh? Noelle!" She heard him shout as she sped away from him as fast as she could.

She dove behind the hideout and placed her back against the stone brick wall before she let out a noise that was somewhere between the squeal of a tea kettle and the whine of a dog. What kind of undignified response was that? She was royalty! She should be able to take a confession or two! Hell, she had! They had been easy to turn down!

But Asta was Asta!

And she was she!

And what the hell was she supposed to do?

Why did he say that?

Why did she do that?

Why was she so happy?

It was the simple truth that she might have had a small crush on Asta. Though, she could hardly call it small anymore. Since she had first developed the crush (roughly two hours after meeting Asta) it had grown exponentially alongside her respect and admiration for Asta.

It also helped that he was less yelly.

Okay. So what the heck was she supposed to even do?

For that matter, what the hell just happened?

She had been watching Asta train because, well, because she wanted to be near him and he was always training!

Then, for no reason at all, she admitted to him and herself that she was in love with him.

And he loved her back.

"Ahhh," She placed both hands on the side of her hair and stared at the ground hard enough she could see the grass grow. "Why did I confess like that!"

And then run away?

"Ahhhhh!" The slightly worried and nervous scream of Grey sitting right beside her made Noelle jump out of her thoughts for a moment to look at the blue-haired woman that was somehow her senior. "You-you-conconfessed? Just thinking about that is making me so embarrassed I can't even stand it? Why would you do something so bold?"

"Ack! Grey! How long have you been there?"

"I was hiding here first, but I was too nervous to say anything when you showed up."

Oh, that made a lot of sense.

"But, but, you confessed?" Grey squeaked, peering out at Noelle from between the gaps of her fingers. "To Asta?"

"What? No! Why would I ever confess to Bakasta?" She pouted and looked away from Grey, and towards the direction where Asta still was. "Besides! It's not like he even meant his confession! He probably just meant to say that he loves me as a member of the Black Bulls or something! There's no way he meant anything else!"

That had to be it! Asta was too stupid to realize she was probably talking about real love. Not that the love she had with the Black Bulls wasn't love or anything! But it was different! They were her family! Her comrades! Her squad! Of course, they both loved them! But she loved Asta differently.

"Is that what you meant?" Grey mumbled, still hiding behind her hands. "I'd be so embarrassed if there was a misunderstanding like that! Having your own confession be misunderstood would make me so embarrassed I'd die! Or worse, someone confessing to me because they thought I'd confess to them! Ahh! I'm so embarrassed I can't move my legs! Don't look at me, Noelle!"

She wasn't.

What was she going to do? Was she going to turn into Grey every time she was near Asta now? What did he mean? What did she mean? She knew what she meant, but she didn't want that to be what she meant. Then what did she want it to mean?

Guh! Why did she have to fall in love with a guy like Asta?

Why'd he have to return her feelings so effortlessly! He made it seem like it wasn't anything at all to just say he loved her back!

"Ummm, Noelle." Grey nudged her softly and drew her attention to her. "Umm. I know that me giving advice isn't normal. But. I umm. I think, if you're really worried about it, you, uh. You should just ask Asta. You. you two share a strong connection!"

"How am I supposed to face him after that, though?" She placed her head on her knees and let out a long, pained whine. Well, at least if she ever brought Asta to her family, he'd already have their respect. Nozel at least had some respect for Asta after everything that happened, and Asta could easily make Solid shut up. Besides, who the hell cared if she was a noble and he was a peasant? It wasn't any of their business who she fell in love with.

Guh, this would have been so much easier if she hadn't been so dense and stubborn since she met him! She even bought a bikini so that he'd look at her body! And she stalked him when he went on a date with that red-haired commoner! And she got annoyed whenever literally any girl talked to him.

Holy shit was she basically just his girlfriend at this point?

He took her to see his family! (Technically, she forced him to take her, but the spirit was the same.)

If that was the case, then were they dating and Asta just didn't tell her that they were dating? Was that why they spent so much time together? Wait, most of that was because she followed him places. Dammit, Asta's stoic friend Yuna was right, she was just that loud girl that followed Asta around!

"Guh!" She screamed and stood up, hands going to her sides. "I can't take this anymore! That Bakasta! I'm going to get some clarity about this."

The 10-minute walk to get to Asta took her 60 minutes.

AN: welcome to my first Black Clover fic! Starting with something simple because I'm going to be honest writing in the black clover world has me terrified! Still I hope you all enjoy this cute Noelle x Asta fic!