A/N: This is it, the final chapter! Thank you for reading, liking, favouriting, commenting. Can't thank you enough!
The barbecue was on full swing and Natsu was already tipsy. At some point he lost sight of Lucy, but knew she would be okay. Levy was here too and Erza was taking care of her.
It was their first time going out together as a couple in a big group, and he actually liked how she did her best to mingle and not be too dependent on him. Which, at that moment, was perfect, because he was about to take Gray down.
"I'm going to destroy you Fire Dick!"
"Bring it on, stripper!"
The crowd around them was cheering them on as they watched the two men in a fearsome combat.
"Natsu, use your left hook, stupid!"
"Gray, don't let him pin you down!"
Suddenly, there was a roar and Gray rose victorious in that bout.
"I want a rematch, Ice Princess"
"Calm down, Salamander. It is my turn now!"
Natsu sat down to watch Gajeel and Gray fight in the video game they had in the station's break room. He really needed a distraction, because later that day he was going to do something momentous, and he was actually pretty nervous.
"What a shame, Natsu", said one of his colleagues. "How is your toll now?"
"Gray is at 25 wins, I'm at 26. We had 30 draws".
"Aaaaand… I'm bored"
"Wait until you learn that this is their count for this month", Jellal stepped in. "Gray would go to his house to play, when he was 'resting'" the blue haired man's tone took a sarcastic turn on the last word.
"I still rested… it counts!"
"So much energy wasted in petty competition…"
"It used to be worse before…"
"Yeah… before it was actual fistfights". Erza interrupted, arriving in the room with Lucy, Juvia and Levy at her heels.
"Hey", Jellal extended a hand towards his fiancée. Erza padded to his side and kissed his cheek.
The girls watched the lovely interaction with smiles in their faces. Then Lucy decided she couldn't contain her curiosity anymore.
"Natsu and Gray would actually punch each other?
"Punch, slap, kick… you name it" Jellal elaborated.
"They called it their fight club… it was a nightmare… the two of them would arrive at Gramp's house covered in bruises. I gave them this video game system and forced them to compete using games instead"
"Haha… that is so smart, Erza"
Somewhere in the room, she could hear Juvia rooting for her boyfriend and best friend.
"Go Gray-sama! You can do it! Don't let him out do you, Gajeel-Kun!"
"He he… It moves me how much Juvia loves Gajeel" Lucy told Levy.
"Yes… they know each other for years… I love watching her tear herself apart when Gajeel and Gray are competing over something…"
"She is really loyal" Lucy contemplated the blue-haired woman with a smile on her face.
Soon, the match was decided, with Gray victorious again. Juvia chose to celebrate by jumping on her boyfriend, and Gajeel and Natsu moved to the side table where some of the food was laid out for those in that room.
Natsu raised his head from the food and met Lucy's eyes. He hadn't realized she was in the room. The smile he gave her was blinding and mirrored the one in her face.
"I'm really happy you guys are officially together now, Lucy" Erza commented after witnessing their little display.
"It was very weird when you wouldn't acknowledge he was your boyfriend, Lu-chan… you guys acted more like a couple than most people I know... "
"Well… I was just saying the truth. Otherwise, it would be just too confusing…"
"I was happy to make it official as soon as I could…" Natsu interrupted them when he and Gajeel approached the group. He ran a hand around Lucy's waist, letting it wander dangerously low. The drinks he had were working on his inhibition, or lack thereof.
"As soon as you could fuck, you mean…" Gajeel literally cackled. Lucy blushed and Levy slapped her boyfriend's arm. He also fell prey to the perks and disadvantages of alcohol.
"You see… this is when I miss Ice Princess' weird euphemisms… You have no tact when ladies are around you…"
"That is rich coming from you, Salamander…"
"The point is… I had my reasons to wait before asking her out…like: being able to go out!"
"Aham… Erza may think you were basically an unsuspecting idiot when it comes to sex, but I always knew you were a true perv"
"Hey! I resent that!"
"Well… if you hurt Bunny Girl in any way, shape or form, I will come for you"
"And I!" Levy added, sending him a mock angry glare.
"Hey… no one is gonna say anything like that to her? You are my friends too, you know?"
"I think that would be fair…" Lucy agreed.
"Fair? Blondie, you will have to put up with Flame Brains here, you are already doing us a favor, so, just keep it up" Gray joined the conversation with Juvia by his side.
"Awn, Gray… is that your cute little way of saying that I make your boyfriend happy, so I should continue doing so? How thoughtful!" Lucy gave a playful giggle. "But you have my word, I will take good care of him for you… and I will not interfere with your moments together…"
Gray could not articulate a response to that and silently took Lucy laughing in his face.
A few minutes later, the journalist excused herself to get something to drink.
"Want me to go with you?" Natsu asked, raising her hand for a kiss, before she could leave the group.
"No, thanks, I know where it is… do you want me to bring you something?"
"He he… Heartfilia, you will never lose the habit of bringing me food and drinks?"
"It is now ingrained in my brain…" she smiled.
"ha ha… I want whatever you are drinking, ok?"
Nodding in agreement, Lucy quickly moved to the place where the drinks were displayed for people to help themselves.
She was careful on her way back to where her friends were - and here she felt that thrill of excitement at the idea she had friends, plural -, carrying two large glasses of soda, filled to the brim, when a hand clamped down on her arm, almost making her spill.
"Hey you!" a familiar voice exclaimed close to her ear.
When Lucy looked up, she recognized Loke.
"Hey… How have you been?" she asked politely, since she really did not want to have any problems with Natsu's friend, even if her first impression of him had been poor.
"Good, good! So now you are officially Natsu's girlfriend…" it was a statement of a fact, and Lucy could not identify the emotion swirling in his eyes.
"Yup…" she answered, wary of what he might do. He was still holding one of her wrists.
"Well… I'm sorry I was a bit of an ass that day… There is really no excuse… just… I wanted to apologize…"
"Don't worry… It was really not that bad… I already forgot about it…"
Loke's eyes seemed to soften up a bit and he said in a low voice.
"You are cuter than I gave you credit for… I won't get in the middle of my friend's relationship… but know this: if anything happens between you two… I will do my best to take you for myself"
Lucy was shocked at the words, but was not offended. Loke saw how her expression steeled up and felt himself putting some distance from the strength in her gaze.
"Thank you for the heads up. I wouldn't suggest you hold your breath, though, because I am in love with him and I intend to stay by his side for as long as he'd have me" He let go of her arm then. "I also won't put myself between you two… friendship is important, and I know how much you two care for each other. He misses you, so make sure you guys hang out, just the two of you…"
She saw his expression grow even softer and knew that his words were meant to scare her away and keep Natsu to himself. She didn't resent him at all, since, for her, every feelings and emotions were precious things and he trusted that Loke would never do anything to hurt her or Natsu. He may have acted like a jerk then, but he was not a bad person.
Loke gave a little sigh and looked at her with much more kindness than ever since their first meeting. He suddenly gave a genuine laugh and ruffled her hair.
"Blondie… you are making me really like you now… I am really glad he found someone like you to be by his side… Thank you!" With that, he turned to rejoin one of the groups.
Lucy looked at his back and was glad that this little issue was over. She hoped Loke would find someone who would make him happy too. And, as a bonus, Natsu's early wish to have a friend looking after him was fulfilled.
"What took you so long?" were the first words Natsu directed at her, when she entered the room. He looked at her with worry in every trace of his face.
"I was just walking slowly because of the drinks", she handed him his.
"Salamander was getting anxious here, Bunny Girl… it was very amusing. Thank you for that"
"I was not!"
"Natsu-kun, you were quieter than I've ever seen you…"
"She is right… suddenly you shut yourself and didn't stop looking at the door"
"I wasn't away for so long, though…"
"Well… that is what you get when you go out with a possessive Fire Head…"
Natsu blushed and looked away, as he drank his soda. Lucy got on her tiptoes to give him a little kiss on his jaw.
The rest of the afternoon was spent with lots of laughter and conversation. As night fell, Natsu finally beat Gray in their video game and he poured a glass of icy water on top of the black haired man's head to celebrate. Before a brawl started, Erza quickly asked Juvia to hold Gray back and asked Lucy to take Natsu home.
"Where are you pulling me to, Lucy?" the firefighter whined as he was dragged by the smaller blonde woman.
"I'm taking you home!"
"I don't wanna go home! I wanna play again with Gray… I still have to win 3 times today…"
"You play with him tomorrow…"
"It is not the same… if i don't make it even today, then he will get ahead on our score"
"Well… so, you will have to win more tomorrow to get ahead on your score. It is Erza's orders… do you want to go against her?"
That seemed to have an effect, because Natsu quickly changed attitudes and let himself be guided by Lucy.
"I know you were happy, but I didn't expect you to drink so much, to be honest"
"It wasn't a lot...I just got unused to alcohol after so long without drinking…" Lucy missed the sly smirk Natsu had, as she was looking for the exit.
Suddenly, Natsu pulled her to the side and she almost tripped. Without missing a beat, Natsu quickly threw her over one shoulder and took her to a side corridor where there was a door.
"What…? Put me down!" She demanded, shocked at his attitude.
He quickly got in the room, whose door was mercifully unlocked, and put her down.
"What do you think you are doing?" She turned to him angry, but before she could so much as draw another breath, he was kissing her.
Since Thursday morning they have not had the opportunity to kiss that way. Earlier that day, she picked him up and they made their way to the station with a simple kiss. Granted, for Natsu, a simple kiss was enough to make him happy, but he was tipsy, he was finally with the woman he wanted and he was tired of putting on the pretense of being well behaved.
Without breaking the kiss, he grabbed her butt and pulled her up until her legs circled his waist. He pressed her against the closed door.
"We shouldn't be doing this…"
"I agree… we should be doing this" and he pulled her crop top up to take one of her nipples in his mouth. Lucy gasped out loud and used one of her hands to cover her mouth.
Natsu wanted her to lose her mind, so he decided it was time to make sure she was ready for him. Deftly, he ran his hands underneath her skirt to pull her panties to the side and inserted a finger in her, at the same time as massaging her clit.
"Well well well… someone is excited" he murmured in her ear, before pulling the lobe to his mouth.
"I-It is.. e-embarrassing… w-what if someone hears us?"
"You will have to be quiet then" he shoved himself into her.
"Ahn!" She let out before hiding her face in his neck.
"Quiet slut! I don't want an audience when I fuck your delicious pussy", he said in a husky voice. Natsu's eyes rolled in its sockets as he felt her tightening around him.
"Your pussy feels fantastic, princess…"
A few moments of hard thrusting and kissing followed until Lucy threw her head back and gave a silent scream as she came hard. Natsu followed her seconds later, while sucking on her breast that she left exposed during her climax.
"I needed this... Thank you…" he kissed her temple.
"I-I t-think I needed it too…" she murmurred, heaving.
"Why every time we do this feels better than the last?"
Lucy chuckled and snuggled deeper in his neck.
After a few moments like this, he put her down and they adjusted their clothes.
"Won't it be uncomfortable for you, sweetheart?" He indicated her panties that were saturated with their mixed juices.
She looked up at him and whispered in his ear. "Uh-uh… I want to feel you for a little longer…"
He abruptly hugged her and pulled the hair at the nape of her neck to force her to look at him.
"Continue talking like that, and I will be good for another round, slut"
"Save that for when we get to my apartment…" she whispered in his lips. Natsu suddenly snapped to reality.
"Uh… your place? I thought we were going to my place today…"
"Oh… I wanted to bring you home, because you have never been… would that be okay?" She looked rattled at how uneasy Natsu seemed at the idea.
"Oh-of c-course Lucy… why wouldn't it be okay?" He gave a nervous chuckle and avoided her eyes, pulling her out of the closet and into the corridor that would lead them to the exit.
"Natsu, what is the problem? It is okay if you don't want to go to my place today… it just seems that there is a bigger reason for you to not want to go there…"
"What? Balderdash! Noooo" he waved a hand in front of her and continued on his way out.
"Balderd… seriously, are you ok? Where did the fancy talk come from?"
"Hah!" His voice broke hilariously "W-what f-fancy talk?" His eyes looked in every direction except for hers.
"Flame Brains?" They heard Gray's voice call him.
"Shit…" Natsu ran a hand through his hair and Lucy checked that all of her articles of clothing were in place.
Natsu pulled her behind him to look at the corridor corner, to try to avoid his friend, but it was to no avail.
"What the fuck are you two doing here? Didn't you leave already?" Gray approached them from the other side, looking confused.
"Yeah? What are you doing here?" Natsu rebuted, somewhat aggressively.
"I was leaving the bathroom when I heard your shrill voice…." He interrupted himself when he noticed Lucy's slightly disheveled hair and swollen lips. An evil smile spread on his lips. "I see… you were fooling around… I didn't expect that of Fire Dick… or you, for that matter, Blondie."
Lucy's face turned every shade of red and she tried to mutter an excuse, but got interrupted by Natsu.
"Shut up, stripper!"
"Ha ha… it will be fantastic when I tell everyone…"
"No! I mean… let us sneak out at least, please…" he looked at his friend with a pleading expression.
"Oh… I see…" Gray suddenly startled. "True… it is today…"
Natsu frantically tried to shut him up with 'discreet' hand gestures..
Lucy noticed and grew even more suspicious. "What is it today? Is that anything to do with why you don't want to go to my apartment?"
"No! There are other reasons I don't want to go to your place!" Natsu's voice took that same shrill note as before. Lucy looked at him even more surprised than before.
"You are awful at this, dude" Gray couldn't help but comment.
"Stay out of this, Ice Dick".
"See, Lucy… one of the reasons he'd been single for forever before you: abysmal communication skills"
"I just don't understand why you seem disgusted at the idea of going to my place," she said in a small voice, avoiding his gaze.
"NO!" He yelled in desperation, clutching her shoulders to make her look at him. "Lucy, I'm so sorry… I didn't mean to… that is not… argh"
Lucy still found his reaction very confusing, but she chose to trust him. She didn't like seeing him like that. The blonde gave a sigh and held her boyfriend's face in her hands.
"Ok… whenever you feel like it, you tell me why you are acting so weird, ok?"
Natsu seemed like he was stuck by something. Suddenly, he grabbed her to bury his face in her chest.
"You are the best of the best, Lucy… " his voice was muffled by her skin. "Thank you… I swear I will make it up to you…"
"Hey… it is okay…" She patted Natsu's head and looked at Gray in search for an explanation to his erratic behavior, but the other firefighter just answered with a raise of his shoulders and a baffled expression. "Le-Let's go okay?".
After taking a deep breath, Natsu let a long sigh out and straightened up. He took her hand in his and, with a curt nod to Gray he walked out.
"Good luck!" they heard the other man shout from where they left him.
As they were walking to her car, Natsu spoke more seeming calmer than before.
"Look… I just need to stop by my place before, ok? But we definitely can go to your place today"
"That is okay... I don't mind staying at your place at all… Just let me know why you acted like a lunatic back there… that was my only concern, really…"
"He he... you got it" he gave her a mischievous smile and Lucy thought it was best to not pry further.
Once they arrived at his door, Natsu asked Lucy to close her eyes. The girl was still a bit shocked at how he reacted earlier and didn't think it was a good idea to not comply now. So she did close her eyes, and heard the door opening just before he guided her to the middle of his living room.
"Stay here for a moment". She heard the door close and his steps around the house. Suddenly, Pachebel's Canon in D started playing softly.
"Open your eyes" his voice sounded more serious than normal.
Lucy couldn't believe what she was seeing. Natsu had hung countless fairy lights on his apartment's ceiling. There were also vases with coiled fairy lights in them and others with flowers elegantly displayed on the furniture. She covered her mouth with her hands, in shock, and looked around.
"W-Wow... Wh-What... W-Why...?"
He took one of her hands in his to call her attention, and when she looked at him she saw an emotion too powerful to name - her breath got caught in her throat.
"Lucy" he started. She just silently stared at him with wide eyes. "There is a lot I need to tell you, but… well… you are the writer… just… just, please, bear with me for a bit, okay?" She slowly nodded and took her shaky hand out of her mouth.
Natsu took a deep breath and re-started. "From the moment I saw you at that bar, even before we spoke, I was bewitched. Everything about you captivated me. To this day, I still cannot believe my luck that you deigned to talk to me and gave me the honor to touch you, to kiss you… to love you. Even when we were apart, I did not accept that I would not see you again. Everything in me called for you, I burned for you… and then we met again under those bizarre circumstances…" Lucy gave a little chuckle, and Natsu kissed her hand.
He continued, "Yeah… and not for a moment was I upset about having to rest… my family was surprised I was so compliant… you didn't believe them that I would be impossible to handle, right?"
"… but it was all because, for me, it was an opportunity to make you mine… to claim you…" she raised her eyebrows in surprise. "I wanted to make it special when I told you this... Lucy, I love you" her eyes widened even more. "I fell in love with you from the moment you scorned me when I offered you a drink… and when i thought I was done falling in love with you, you smiled and I felt my heart shatter… and then we danced… and then we kissed… every moment I spent with you, to this day, by the way, makes me love you more and more and more."
"N-Natsu… I…" her eyes were tearing up.
"Sorry, princess, let me finish, please" She nodded and he continued. "You saved me from loneliness… I know, I have my family, but it is wildly different to have a loved partner by your side… and… well, this is where I want to get…"
He went down on one knee. Lucy gasped and her eyes were so wide at this point that they could very well fall off the sockets. Tears flowed freely from them too.
"Since we met, we have done things a bit out of order, right?" She nodded, still in too much shock to utter a word. "Lucy… I was vulnerable and weak, and you gave me safety and strength…. I know… well, at least I trust… that we have the ability to overcome any obstacle in our way… I'm a better version of myself with you by my side, and I want to do the same for you… I do not see my life without you, Lucy. Please, would you give me the honor to be my wife?" He took out a small box from his pocket and opened to show her a beautiful engagement ring.
"O-Oh… you even got a ring?" her numbed brain decided to focus on the obvious, because the alternative was a bit too scary to face at that particular moment.
"Ha ha… of course! I want to do a good job…"
"It is beautiful…" she ran a finger over the single red stone on top of it.
"it is yours, if you accept me…" he sent her a teasing look, followed by a sly smile.
"Ha ha ha… are you reverting to blackmail now?"
"To get you? Anything. All is fair in love and war, after all"
"And which is it here, now?"
"A bit of both", they laughed together.
"Ahem, Natsu…" Lucy started "Thank you so much for the beautiful words…"
"My girl is a writer and a reader… she loves words…"
"Ha ha… She really does… and... " she avoided his eyes and shifted in her place. "Well… S-she lo-loves you even more" She settled her eyes in his at the last moment "I meant to say it today without fail too… He he he" she scratched her neck and shifted her gaze again. "I'm not just saying it just because of what you just did…"
"That is it… I said first, I win!" he gave her a broad smile.
"I-I a-agree with everything you said… y-you enrich my existence. Y-you make everything better… and warmer… I love every moment with you, every side of you and every inch of you…"
She kneeled in front of him to continue.
"I told you this before, and I will say it now for one last time… I did feel guilty for the accident… but I did not take care of you because of that… I just wanted to be close to you… close to your warmth and brightness…"
He caressed her face and touched their foreheads, as he loved to do.
"I agree that it is out of order… but it does seem to work for us… so… yes…"
"Yes?" he repeated, confused, as he expected her to say more.
"Yes… I will marry you"
"You seem surprised…"
"Há! You will?" he ignored her, lost in his own happiness.
"I will!" she said with a dazzling smile that took his breath away.
Later that day, the newly engaged couple were in bed, basking in the post coital bliss. Lucy, laying on Natsu's arms, had her hand extended in front of her, in the classic pose, admiring her ring.
"I'm so glad you liked it"
"Of course I did… you gave it to me… and it is beautiful…"
"It was my mom's"
Lucy's neck hurt when she quickly turned her face to look at Natsu.
"You will hurt yourself" he ignored her, moving to kiss her neck.
"What, woman? Let me enjoy you…" he moved to kiss her chest.
"T-the r-ring… ahn…"
"Yes… now be quiet before I gag you" he bit her nipple.
"I-Is t-that a promise?" she asked with an inviting smile.
Lucy forgot all of her reservations about Natsu's ring after that.