From Puppy to Prince

I'll Always Catch You

“Hey Luc-…. Huh? She’s not here.” Natsu had burst through her window, only to find the blonde mage not in her apartment. Like the goofball he is, Natsu looked everywhere for her, but not in normal human-shaped spots. He lifted her pillow, looked in her drawers, even in the cupboards in the little kitchenette. Pouting a bit, Natsu sat cross-legged on Lucy’s bed.

He had been hoping to go on a job with her. He knew her rent was coming up, to which it made no sense to him why she would refuse his offers for her to live with him. He basically lived with her, except he had a house he owned. Yeah, sure, he liked her, but if she lived with him, he would be able to protect her better. The incident with the girls that had been fawning over his excerpt in Sorcerer Weekly the month before had really bothered her. If he had been there, maybe those girls wouldn’t have said anything.

A light breeze blew through the room from the window he had left open. The sound of fluttering pages caught Natsu’s attention, and he turned to its source. On Lucy’s desk, there was an open book. Natsu glanced around the room, making sure Lucy really wasn’t there, then an evil grin grew on his face. He darted to the desk, turning the pages to the front.

It didn’t take him long to realize this was a diary. “That’s odd, I thought her letters to her mom were her diary…” Natsu had read one such letter before, and it gave a general account of what happened during the time she was writing about. But this diary, it held more personal thoughts, things you wouldn’t tell a parent, or at least Natsu figured that since he never got to experience that.

“That’s odd…” Natsu flipped through more pages, skimming them, “Nearly all of these are about me…” It didn’t take him long to realize that. But the more he read, the more he noticed that around the time of the Puppy Potion job, the one they had taken almost three months ago, she started to write about weird feelings when around him. Things like butterflies in her stomach, or her cheeks burning. Slowly, Natsu realized he had felt, still felt, all those same things when he was around her!

There was one entry that caught his eye. It was dated from that morning, explaining why the diary was on her desk in the first place. Natsu read the entry, his eyes widening with understanding. This one entry told him everything he needed and wanted to know.

Natsu grabbed the book moved to the window, launching himself out of Lucy’s window. He ran the entire way to the guild. He had to find Lucy!

The doors to the guild burst open, revealing a harried looking Natsu. He nearly ran to the bar, “Mira! Do you know where Lucy is?!” The white-haired take-over mage shook her head.

“Sorry Natsu. She came in earlier, but she was only here for a few minutes. She and Levy talked, then Lucy left. Maybe you should talk to Levy?”

Natsu didn’t thank her as he hurried to the blue-haired girl beside Gajeel. “Levy, you talked to Lucy this morning, right? Do you know where she is?”

Gajeel scowled at Natsu, but sensed something was up, so he stayed silent. “Yeah, Natsu, she came and told me she was going to Hargeon. She said that her ‘memories caught a hold of her’ and that she needed to go there. She wouldn’t explain past that, just that she would be there. Do you know what’s going on?” A concerned look crossed Levy’s face.

Natsu smiled at her, knowing just where Lucy had gone. “Don’t worry, everything is fine. And it may get better!” Turning, he left the solid-script mage baffled, running out of the guild to the train station.

A blue flying cat flew by Gajeel and Levy, but an iron-hard hand plucked him out of the air, “Nuh uh Happy, let him go. This is between him and Lucy.”

“How do you know Gajeel?” Levy looked up at him, and Happy looked just as curious.

Gajeel held up his hand, “Remember that book he was holding?” They both nodded. “It had Bunny Girl’s scent all over it. My guess is it was her diary.” Levy’s lips made an “o” with understanding, while Happy was just as confused as before. The small girl smiled and explained what Gajeel was implying to him. After that he didn’t want to follow Natsu.

~*~*~*~

Lucy was standing in the middle of a square in Hargeon. It was where she and Natsu had first met. She smiled and looked around herself. That morning, she had woken up from yet another dream about Natsu confessing to her, and it frustrated her so terribly she just had to write it down. Then, as she was writing, she began to reminisce about how she had met the infamous Salamander, and what a fiasco that had been. Lucy felt compelled to visit the spot where he had saved her from the charm spell.

A voice from behind her spoke, making her jump at how close it was. “’I just can’t handle being in the guild sometimes. It seems like everyone has someone special, but not me. Yes, I have Natsu, but he doesn’t love me more than a friend. I look at Gray and Juvia, and while Gray is always denying it, everyone knows they will make a cute couple one day. And to think of Erza and Jellal is tragic, but so sweet at the same time!’ Lucy. Look at me.” Lucy slowly turned, bright red with shame at having her inner fears read by the person they were about.

Natsu held open her diary, and once he was certain he had her attention, he continued reading, “’And Natsu, how can he not know how I feel?! He is so observant about other things, why not me? I mean, I count on him so much, maybe he only views me like a little sister? But if it means I get to stay next to him, I think I can handle being just a friend, because, dear Mavis! That boy! He is simply amazing. From the way he looks when he is smiling, to when he has a fire in his eyes that rivals volcanoes. Even when he is motion sick, he still looks cute to me. I remember one time, a guy was making fun of Natsu’s hair, calling him a pansy because it was pink. The look he had on his face was priceless, but only his family, and me, can make fun of him. So I decked the guy after we had left.

“’Natsu thinks he needs to protect me all the time, and I love that! He looks after his friends, and will make anyone who hurts them wish they hadn’t.’” Natsu furrowed his eyebrows, trying to read past some scribble mark on the paper before continuing, “’I just wish Natsu would look at me as more than a friend. He is so cute, with his abs that are nearly always showing, making me blush every time I see them. And his eyes! They can be so playful, and yet in a flash go to serious. One time, we got locked in a staring contest, he won by the way, but for a few moments, I couldn’t look away. His eyes drew me in.

“’I’m rambling now. I guess what I’ve been trying to say is that through all his faults and screw ups, I can count on him. He made me a promise he would always be there to catch me, and he always has. Happy can attest to the fact I’m not light. I’m not as heavy as he complains for me to be, but I know I’m not a feather. And yet there are countless times where I’m falling and Natsu will use his body like a pillow for me to land on. He has saved me so many times, and I just can’t hold this in anymore!’” He stopped reading there. They both knew what came next. The last line in the book. I love Natsu Dragneel.

Lucy hung her head, embarrassed. “Natsu, I-I’m sorry… I never meant for you to read that.“ It was not like her to ignore the fact that he had gone through her personal things without her permission. All that mattered to her was that he knew everything. All her secrets, all her fears, all her thoughts. He knew how she felt.

“No Luce. No apologies or excuses. I have things to say to you, and you’re going to hear me out. Okay?” Lucy nodded, despair in her eyes. She readied herself for what was next. Surely this was the part where he crushed her heart to dust, ending their partnership because she viewed him as more than a friend.

“Lucy. You wrote that I have been blind. Yes I have, and now that I look back, it’s been so obvious now that I know what signs to look for. I never realized that you had been blushing all those times. I just thought you were really hot,” A blush crept onto Natsu’s cheeks.

“I want you to know something. I’m sure your freaking out right now but just listen. You said you felt you could count on me. Well I’m telling you that you still can. Count on me to be there to catch you when you fall. I promised you that I’d always be there, and I will. If I never keep another promise in my life, I will keep that one, because it was to a celestial mage, who values promises above all else, and because it was to you.” Lucy felt like her heart was in her chest. Was he saying what she thought?! She didn’t dare let herself hope, not wanting to risk this being just another dream.

Natsu started pulling off his scarf, much like he had a month before when she felt weak because of those girls. He started winding it around her waist though. Holding the ends, he tugged on it, pulling Lucy to him. She stumbled forward, unable and unwilling to resist this man, who only stopped pulling when she was chest to chest with him.

He looked down into her eyes, their faces only an inch or two apart. He could feel the heat of her blush radiating off her skin. Her eyes were only half open, and her lips parted just a bit. “Lucy Heartfilia. You are clumsy, and vain, and can be a real pain in my ass. But you are also full of Fairy Tail heart. You run head first into danger if its for your friends. You light up my life like a shooting star. You are a vision of beauty, and it gets hard for me to let you try to ‘charm’ your way to a cheaper price or to get information. I can’t stand having other men look at you that way. It takes all of my willpower, which you know isn’t much, to let you go on dates. I am so jealous of any guy who gets to hold your affection, because I want to be the only one you look at that way.”

“Luce, you said you could count on me to catch you when you fall? Well now I’m counting on you to catch me. I’ve fallen for you hard, and there are only two things waiting for me at the end. A hard landing, or you.” He moved his face, his lips, closer to hers. “Lucy Heartfilia. I love you. No, that’s not right…”

His next words just barely brushed against her lips as he spoke, “I’m in love with you.” And then his lips were pressing into hers as they each closed their eyes.


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