That Old Book Smell
Punk!Natsu and Old Soul!Lucy drabble commission for @yourdarebear! Thank you so much for the commission, Darrah! <3
Work was shit, and Natsu is having none of it. He hated working at this bookstore as if he were some kind of nerd or something. And the looks the old ladies give him make him want to scream. The boss hired him even though he has an eyebrow piercing and gages, right? So why did they feel the imminente desire to make comments about losing his job?
Huffing, he pushed a book back into its’ place as he admired the cover. If everyone who read the book knew that the main character died in the third book, more people would put it down before ever picking it up. As he scaled down the ladder to pick up another novel to put on the shelf, a soft bell rang signifying the opening of the front door.
A young woman who looked not much older than himself walked in with a look of complete peace on her face. She began to almost float through the room as if enchanted by a spell as she looked around with a gasp. Natsu raised an eyebrow and stuffed his hands in his pockets.
“Can I help you?” he asked, and her eyes snapped to his. They were brown, he noted, and kept that in his brain for safekeeping just in case he needed it again.
“Oh! Sorry, I didn’t mean to disturb you,” she replied, her voice slightly breathy yet grounded, “I’m on my break from work and wanted to come in to smell the old books.”
Natsu didn’t reply. He didn’t want to be or seem rude. She seemed nice and all, but smelling old books sounded like something a person would do if they were a little off.
Turning away, he heard her voice again as she rifled through the classics. Picking one off the shelf and flipping through the pages, the young woman sniffed the air above the book and sighed dreamily as if she had a crush on the novel. Natsu’s eyes cut to the girl before he scoffed, continuing his work.
“You can really tell a lot about a book by it’s smell, you know,” she said with a smile, and Natsu whipped around with a retort on his tongue. His mouth closed, however, when he saw the gentle smile on her lips.
“I don’t mean to insult ya, lady, but you’re weird.” Natsu scratched the back of his neck while looking at her under lidded eyes. Coffee time was near, but he wouldn’t want to doctor it up when she was around.
“Rude,” she said, sticking her tongue out at him before snapping the book shut and going for the next one. Natsu sighed, turning back to his task and looking up at the clock with hope that she would leave sooner rather than later. He enjoyed his time alone in the shop when there were no customers, as small of a chunk of time it may be.
Suddenly he felt someone behind him, and he whirled around to find the girl looking at the book in his hand.
“Which one is that?” she asked, and Natsu fought an eye roll. Didn’t she knew he was working?
“Catcher in the Rye, second edition.” He handed it to her and watched her open it and press the pages to her face softly, breathing in all the while.
“You gotta smell this one!” she said with a grin, placing the book near his face. Her eyes were even brighter than they were when she first looked at him, which threatened to pull a blush out of him. Natsu’s instincts took over and he inhaled through his nose quickly. His nose picked up on that old book smell, which he hated to admit he liked, but something was different about it now.
It had a touch of vanilla and red velvet cake to it now, likely because of her own scent integrating into the book–and because they were standing closely. Stepping slowly nearer, he smelled the book once more. The scent of ink wafted off the page and tickled his senses, and the girl giggled when he turned away to sneeze. Natsu chuckled along with her, shocked that he had dropped his guard for once around a customer.
“What’s your name?” Natsu asked, holding out his hand. To his surprise, she reached his hand and took it between both of hers, grinning at him once more with that soft smile.
“Lucy. And I know your name’s Natsu,” she replied, pointing to his nametag. Dropping his hand, she fished her phone out of her pocket and checked the time.
“Oh! I’ve got to get back to work. It was nice to meet you, Natsu. I’ll be back tomorrow!” Lucy waved goodbye as she turned away and ran out the door back to work. Natsu watched her golden hair shimmer in the sunlight before she disappeared, and he clutched his chest with an intake of breath.
And that was when Natsu Dragneel knew he had it bad.
Thank you so much for the commission, my friend! I enjoyed writing it sooo much!!
Commissions are open if you are interested–you can find the link on my bio page!