Happy birthday to my super sweet and amazing friend Amy, aka @captainqueenofpotatoes! Hope your birthday will be a lot of fun, and this is for you ^_^ I know you’re not into Fairy Tail much anymore, but I hope you enjoy still.
Title: Friends and Family
Summary: A classroom activity that goes horribly long opens new doors for new friends…or maybe more.
Lucy doodled in her margins, erasing and sketching and erasing and sketching. She wanted to put an earbud in her ear and listen to music to soothe her anxiety, but of course, she wasn’t allowed to.
“This short story depicts the life of a dating couple, as we have discussed together.” her teacher explained, underlining the word “dating” on the board.
Lucy tapped her fingers on her leg, irritated. Class had started five minutes ago, and English was probably one of her favorite classes, but she was just not in the mood for this.
“Can anyone tell me what comes after dating?”
“Uh, breaking up?” someone called. Mrs. Mallory glared at Cana Alberona in the back as the class burst out laughing.
“Thank you, Ms. Alberona. What comes after dating in a successful relationship?” Mrs. Mallory corrected sharply.
“Marriage,” came the bored voice of Gray Fullbuster. The snickers had not yet died down.
“Thank you, Mr. Fullbuster!” Mrs. Mallory wrote “marriage” on the board in big letters, underlining it and circling it. “Marriage! The pledge of a lifetime of love. If our beloved characters, in the future, decide to get married, how would it affect their relationship?”
Lucy wanted to scream. What kind of a question is that?
“No takers? Should I use an example then?” The snickers stopped suddenly. “Alright let’s see…Mr. Dragneel, come to the front.”
“Seriously?” he whined. He trudged to the front, a slight pout on his face. Lucy smirked slightly, amused at his discomfort.
“Hm…and Ms. Heartfilia.”
Lucy froze, hands clenching into fists. This cannot actually be happening. Pursing her lips, she quickly walked to the front without her gaze leaving the ground.
“Alright. So hypothetically, you two get married. Mr. and Mrs. Dragneel.”
Lucy heard the snickers from every corner of the classroom. She gave a quick glance at her new friend Levy, who looked extremely sympathetic. Levy mouthed sorry as Lucy grimaced.
“How do you feel?”
Natsu shrugged. “The fact that I don’t really know my wife bothers me,” he quipped. The class laughed and Mrs. Mallory narrowed her eyes.
“Always the jokester, huh? Very funny. What about you, Mrs. Dragneel?”
“I’d rather keep my maiden name,” Lucy responded icily. “And I think that loveless marriage is unjust.”
Mrs. Mallory’s scowl grew. “No need for that, Ms. Heartfilia. Fine, let’s move on to the next question. What about kids? Let’s talk about it.”
The class burst out laughing again. Lucy wanted to die on the spot.
“Quiet! How many kids do you want, or do you want kids at all? What would their names be?”
“I want kids,” Natsu answered immediately. “When I grow up, I mean. Not necessarily with you or anything…”
Lucy rolled her eyes. “Okay, then how many?”
“Even one is fine. A little girl maybe.”
Lucy was slightly surprised. “Okay. What do you want to name her?”
The class actually stopped laughing for a second to listen. “Hm…” Natsu thought for a second. “Maybe like a combination of our names! Like…Lutsu.”
Lucy laughed. “I don’t think that’s a name.” she replied. She tilted her head. “Nashi maybe?”
“Natsu and Lucy, just with the ‘see’ sound softened.”
“I like it!”
Mrs. Mallory looked content. “Good. Mr. Dragneel, Ms. Heartfilia and their daughter, Nashi. What are your jobs? Who takes care of Nashi?”
“Flamebrain will probably be an arsonist when he grows up,” Gray called from the back.
“Gray! Don’t interrupt class!” Erza Scarlet scolded from across the room.
“What Ms. Scarlet said,” Mrs. Mallory agreed.
“I want to be an author…or a journalist.” Lucy answered. Honestly, of course, but Mrs. Mallory’s face lit up at the response.
“Probably a Chemistry teacher,” Natsu commented. “I don’t know.”
“So you both are at home enough to take care of Nashi?” They nodded. “So that is a factor that affects the relationship. There is less strain to take care of your kid, and you won’t feel dissatisfied.”
Lucy lowered her eyes. “Even with one kid, even if you never leave the house, there are plenty of things that could affect your relationship.” she added, the edge returning to her voice. She felt Natsu stiffen beside her.
The class fell silent. Lucy didn’t mean to blurt anything out and had never been this open. I blame Mrs. Mallory. “Is that so?” Mrs. Mallory smirked suddenly. “And what might those be?” Lucy saw Natsu’s eyes widen at their teacher.
Lucy had to stop her jaw from falling. She tricked me! She wanted this to happen! “Oh…I don’t know…” Lucy quickly bluffed.
“I don’t mean to pry, but your tone was hurt and personal. What kind of things can affect your relationship with only one kid who is well cared for?”
You have been one of my favorite teachers so far. Now I hate you. How do you like that? “Moving on, losing the love in the relationship.” Lucy decided. “Other stresses, job issues and economic problems…sudden events.” Lucy paused. “Extended family, sickness…death.” Lucy felt the air leave her lungs as she finished, holding back sobs.
“Good! Now that was the response I was looking for, great job. All of that can affect the love in the relationship. And the vow to love for eternity can be broken by these factors too.” Mrs. Mallory gestured to the board, happy her point had gotten across no doubt.
“It’s not just death of other family members,” Lucy interrupted, feeling a rush of fury in her blood. “It can be the death of your child. That can break you forever. And in fact, the love of your life can die. Doesn’t matter how damn much you love them and always will, they’re gone. And you can’t get them back. And then your precious family is not so loving anymore.”
Mrs. Mallory’s face contorted in slight confusion and a little pity. “Ms. Heartfilia, I didn’t mean to-”
“Didn’t mean to what, Mrs. Mallory?! Huh?!” Lucy finally broke. “Make me come up here barely a week after moving here, probably fully aware of how I feel about relationships after reading every one of our responses to the short story since we’ve started it?! Make me snap because you were using my emotions to trick me into answering one of your oh-so-important questions?! Well you did, okay!” She stormed to her seat, grabbed her bag, and left the classroom.
“Lucy!” she heard Natsu call out to her. She didn’t turn around and kept running down the hall until she reached the front door. She slammed it open and ran down the steps before her legs gave out.
She dropped her bag and fell onto her knees, sobs racking her body. She heard someone walk down the stairs and hurry to sit in front of her. She assumed it would be Levy when she looked up, but was shocked.
“Hey,” Natsu said, quietly. “I’m sorry.” Sitting on his knees like she was, he put his hands on her shoulders. “I’m sorry.”
Lucy threw her arms around his neck and buried her face into his shoulder as she cried. He wrapped his arms around her carefully, rubbing her back. As her sobs quieted, her shaking replaced with heavy breathing, she started to pull away. He looked carefully at her, with caring, empathetic eyes. Lucy’s lip quivered.
“Are you okay?” he whispered.
Lucy nodded. “Yeah,” she responded shakily. “Yeah.”
He stood up and offered her a hand. She took it daintily, her frustration morphing into embarrassment for crying so openly in front of him. She picked up her bag and shouldered it.
“Thank you,” she said, hushed. She looked at her shoes, fixing her hair.
“Of course,” he replied, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder. “You’re not alone, okay? If you need a friend, I’m here.”
Lucy looked back up with wide eyes. “Thank y-you!” she repeated, in slight awe. “I’ve never seen you so serious since I’ve come here.”
He chuckled, a slow rumble that made his eyes light up. “Heh, what can I say? I’m the resident jokester.”
Lucy giggled. “I guess, but on a more serious note, you can talk to me too.” she added. “Thank you, Natsu.”
He nodded, running his hand through his hair. More specifically, the one which wasn’t interlocked with hers. They walked back inside hand-in-hand, the bell ringing as they reached the classroom.
Lucy bit her lip as she hurried inside. Mrs. Mallory stood up from her desk with a worried frown. “Sorry for running out,” Lucy said quickly. She gave her a withered smile, then left with Levy.
Natsu waved to her as the girls walked away.
“Are you okay?” Levy asked, gently. Lucy nodded brightly. Levy’s caring smile turned slightly mischievous. “So…you and Natsu, huh?”
Lucy glared at her. “Don’t you start,” Lucy hissed, cheeks warm.
“What happened with him?”
“Absolutely nothing!” Lucy declared.
“Uh huh.” Levy teased.
After physics, the girls went to lunch. Sitting down together, Lucy took out her math homework to start working, Levy following suit. Suddenly, Lucy felt an arm around her shoulders. She glanced at Levy, whose knowing smirk confirmed exactly who she thought it was.
“Ugh, homework already? That’s so boring,” Natsu whined.
“Well I like having it done,” Lucy protested. “Besides, less to do at home.”
“Absolutely nothing, huh?” Levy whispered to her. Lucy gave her a frazzled glare.
“You guys should have more fun,” Natsu informed them with a childish grin.
“You should focus on your work,” Lucy retaliated.
“If you two are going to flirt the entire time, I’m going to go sit with Jet and Droy,” Levy said, her smirk only widening.
“We are not flirting!” Lucy yelped immediately.
Natsu laughed. “Hey, you guys should come over to the big table.”
Levy grimaced. “I used to, and then you guys covered my binder in milk.”
Lucy couldn’t help but agree with Levy, the big table with Erza and Gray and everyone seemed a bit…boisterous for her taste.
“Aw come on, it was one time!” Natsu complained. Lucy and Levy looked at each other. They sighed and followed him to the big table with their stuff.
“Hey guys!” a cheerful girl name Mirajane greeted.
“Lucy, are you feeling alright?” Erza asked, politely.
Lucy nodded, still embarrassed.
“Good, sorry Mallory is so crafty.” Gray apologized for their teacher. Lucy shook her head.
“It was my fault, I was feeling irritated in class.” Lucy admitted.
“But you stood up to her like a man!” Elfman supplied.
“What he means is that it was good of you to stand up for yourself,” Mira corrected.
Lucy furrowed her eyebrows. “Does everyone know what happened in English?”
“Most people,” Erza said, wincing. “I apologize for it. I could not stop the gossip from spreading, please excuse my failure.”
Lucy’s eyes widened. “N-No!” she stammered. “Nothing of the sort, don’t worry about it!”
“It was sick,” Cana piped up, grinning cheekily. “Mallory had it coming to her. She seems all great, then she does crap like that to mess with the kids.”
Levy nodded. “It’s happened to many of us already, none of us think less of you.” she explained. “I think most of the class is impressed that anyone could stand up to her at all.”
Lucy sighed, slightly relieved. “Okay, thanks.”
After lunch, she was pulled to the side by Gray. “Hey, don’t lead him on okay?”
Lucy recoiled. “Lead who on?”
Gray stared at her. Then he burst into laughter. “Oh man!” he exclaimed between laughs. “Oh, this is too good. And I thought that idiot was dense!”
Lucy pursed her lips, tapping her foot impatiently. “Gray, I’m really confused. Can you explain please?”
“You know I’m gonna let you figure it out yourself.” With that, Gray walked away. Lucy gave a sound of irritation before proceeding to her next class.
Unfortunately, she couldn’t get it out of her head for the rest of the day. She met Levy at the front of the building after school, and the two girls were joined by Erza.
“Huh?” Lucy shook herself out of her thoughts. “Sorry, what did you say?”
“I was asking if something happened, you’ve been distracted all day.” Levy said, raising an eyebrow.
“No, no. I mean, Gray just said something weird after lunch is all.” Lucy explained. Levy prodded her, as if asking her to continue. Lucy giggled. “He just said I was leading someone on or something and I got really confused.”
Levy burst into laughter. Erza gave her a smile. “I assume he was talking about Natsu,” Erza informed her.
Lucy stopped. “Natsu? Why Natsu? How am I leading Natsu on?”
Levy gawked at her. She then stood in front of Lucy with her hands on her hips. “Okay, let’s see…not only were you all cute in class, he ran after you and comforted you. I don’t know the details since you won’t tell me, but yeah. He put his arm around you at lunch, invited you to his table and wouldn’t stop staring at you!”
“Huh?” Lucy managed.
“He likes you, silly!” Levy exclaimed.
“N-No way! He was just being nice, and he was not staring!” Lucy argued.
“Lucy, I am not sure if you’re in denial or just being oblivious, but I have known Natsu since we were kids. I guarantee, he has feelings for you.” Erza sighed.
“I don’t believe you,” Lucy muttered, flushed.
“The important question…” Levy leaned in close. “…is do you like him?”
Lucy threw her hands in the air. “Okay, this conversation is over!” she shouted.
“I knew it!” Levy cried after her as Lucy hurried away.
Lucy hurried to class, unwilling to be late. Once she arrived, Mrs. Mallory warily nodded in her direction.
Serves you right! Try to make a fool out of me, I make a fool out of you.
“Good morning, class. Hope your classes have been going alright so far today.” She pulled out a hat. “You will each pick a slip, and the number will refer to your new assigned seat.”
Most of the students groaned, clearly unamused by the notion of assigned seats. Lucy walked to the front and picked a slip, carefully unfolding it.
Reading the number 12, she proceeded to her new seat and put her stuff down. To her utter shock, Natsu and Levy were on either side of her.
“This is great!” Levy exclaimed. Then, with a smirk, added, “In more ways than one.”
Lucy flushed. “Yeah,” she agreed, glancing at the half-asleep Natsu. “This is going to be an interesting year.”
Happy birthday again! Hope you liked ^_^