The guild doors opened by a strong kick and an angry Celestial Spirit Magician entered. The cold air from outside began entering and Macao yelled from the back.
-Close the damned door!
Lucy was happy to oblige. She slammed the door closed right in front of Natsu's face. With a smirk on her face she headed towards the bar. The Dragon Slayer entered quickly and followed her. Happy was right behind him.
-Come on Luce. I said I am sorry...
She turned around and poked him in the chest with her finger.
-Saying sorry will not fix this! You'd better make yourself invisible.
Lucy was wearing that angry face that could rival Erza's.
Natsu took a few steps back. Happy was laughing behind him.
-Shut it!-the Dragon Slayer yelled at his best friend.
Lucy was right now very angry with him. He thought it would be best to really leave her alone before it becomes worse. He turned around and found himself facing Gray.
-What did you do this time Flame Brain?
In the next moment they were fighting each other. Lucy let out a sigh.
-Is this his way of becoming invisible?-she silently said as she was taking her seat
Mira walked over to her with a cup of hot chocolate , knowing this is what she would want.
-Thank you Mira.-she took a sip
-So what happened this time?-she took a look at the now guildwide fight.
After taking another sip from her cup she began explaining.
-Natsu! What are you doing in my apartment again!?
She just left finished her bath and was only wearing a towel. After so many times it annoyed her that she was still surprised every time this happened.
„I should be used to it by now damn it!"-she thought annoyed
-Me and Happy were thinking about going on a job and...
-Then go. I already told you. I am taking a vacation. As in not going on jobs for a while.-she explaining noticing his puzzled look.
-I said n...n...
Lucy stopped speaking to sneeze. Of course. She was standing only wearing a bath towel while outside it was snowing. And she didn't turn on the heating beforehand. At this moment she was really jealous of Natsu and his natural bodyheat. He was wearing his regular clothes even in this time of the year.
-I am freezing. Could you just go so that I can get dressed before I catch a cold?
-You are cold? I'll just warm ya up.-his fist was now on fire
-Stay away from me!-she jumped back.
Putting things on fire. His solution to everything.
-Just turn on the heater and go.
She pointed to the heater as she turned around to head to her wardrobe. Natsu kneeled before it and turned the knob.
-How slow....-with this it was going to take an hour for the room to warm up
-Natsu. Heat it up.
-Good idea Happy!
His hand was again inflamed and he touched the heater with it. Lucy stopped walking when she saw there was smoke above her head.
-Don't tell me...- She turned around and saw what Natsu was doing-Stop!
Lucy yelled at him , but it was too late. In the next second the heater exploded. Natsu and Happy's faces were now black from ash and there was a hole in the wall. The room became colder then before.
-N....N..-Lucy murmured while trembling with anger-NATSUUUU!-she finally yelled out
-That certainly is a problem.-Mira nodded
-Thanks to him my room is way too cold to stay in. With Taurus we temporary closed it of ...but it will take three days for the repaircrew to come and fix it properly.
-What are you planning to do now?
-I am not sure-even though she was drinking hot chocolate Lucy was feeling cold-Why is it so cold in here?
-Ou that? Master forgot to pay the bills and our heating was cut out. He should be on his way to pay it right now.
Lucy could see an evil smirk on Mira's face. It was probably she that forced the Master to pay the bill. He was probably freezing there right now.
-The main reason I came here was to warm up.-she looked around the guild and noticed that all her female friends were gone along with most of the guild.-Where is everyone?
-Since it is too cold most of them took jobs and went of.
-What am I going to do now...
She was hoping that one of her friends would allow her to sleep over for a couple of days until her apartment was repaired. And there was no way she'd ask any of the guys in the guild.
-Do you mind if I stay with you until the repaircrew is done?-she turned to her last hope-Mirajane.
-I am sorry Lucy. But with Lisanna and Elfman there is just no room for a visitor. But I think I might have something for you.-she checked the request book and took out a paper-I didn't post this mission on the request board thinking that at this time of the year nobody would take it.-she gave the paper to Lucy-It is a security job for an northern company charity ball. It is in two days. The only requirement is that two people take it along with their pets.
-Pets?-that was certainly an odd requirement-But I don't have a pet.
-What about that little spirit of yours?
-You mean Plue?-she opened his gate and he appeared in her lap.
-Yes. Well a bug might be considered a bit weird but...
-That's rude Mira.-Lucy frowned-Plue is not a bug. It is a doggy spirit.-she said as she hugged the spirit.
-Really? I always thought it was some sort of bug. Sorry about that.
Mira smiled at Lucy not so because of the apology but because how her reaction reminded her of Natsu when somebody was talking similar things about Happy.
-Even if I take this job. It says they want two people. Everyone else who has pets is away.
-What about Natsu and Happy?
-He is the cause of all this. And besides I don't want him destroying a charity event.
-They hold it every year. There is never any trouble. The organizers are just a bit paranoid. Trust me. There wont be an opportunity for him to do any damage. And you could use the opportunity to pay him back a little for the trouble he caused you.
Mira pointed out to the location it was hosted. Lucy immediately understood what she meant. That woman is not called „The Devil" for nothing. Indeed it sounded tempting.
-I don't really want to go on any jobs though...
-You will be warm for the next three days.
-Sold!-she immediately got up taking the job flyer-Thanks.
Natsu just threw Gray over one of the tables when Lucy grabbed his scarf and started puling him towards the exit.
-Wait..what..What are you doing Lucy!? I was just about to kick Gray's but!
-Like I care. We are going on a job. And I am taking the entire reward to pay for the damage you did. You come too Happy.
The exceed followed the two of them.
-Good luck!-Mira waved at them with a smile on her face.
The job location was located in the town of Verec. It wasn't far away. Just a half hour by train , but connecting it and Magnolia was a low speed tourist train. The slowest , safest way for those who wanted to do some sightseeing along the way. Also it was the worst possible type of transportation for someone with motion sickness. Still feeling a bit guilty about what happened earlier Natsu excepted boarding that as he referred to death trap.
Lucy almost immediately regretted doing it. There was a big warning label that this type of transportation would make motion sickness worse but she had no idea just how much it would affect him. Before every time he said he would throw up , but this is the first time she saw it actually happen. The dragon slayer was now sitting trying hard not to do it again. Happy and Plue were next to him , patting him on the back to try and make him feel better. It didn't seem to help much.
-I am just too nice...
After quietly saying this Lucy sat next to him pulling Plue aside. She forced Natsu's head on her lap.
-Lucy?-he barely asked
-This helps with motion sickness right? Just lay down until we get there. -she began slowly stroking his hair-And if you throw up on my legs I will kick you out of this train.
-You lllllike him!
Happy did his usual routine , but Lucy was not in the mood to answer him. Quickly she used the whip she got from Virgo to insure it would hit his behind.
-That was mean Lucy!
The exceed complained but quickly stopped fearing Lucy would hit him again. He had teased her like this many times before , but this was the first time she actually did something like this to him. She would usually just deny it and leave it at that.
„Damn this guy"-Lucy thought-"This was supposed to be punishment , but now it is like a reward..."
When they exited the train Natsu almost immediately felt well. Lucy did help him out , but he was never going to be ok while riding any sort of transportation. It was a short but quiet walk. Natsu was in front with Happy flying next to him. Lucy behind them holding Plue. She didn't want to close his gate. He was playing an important role in this mission and she liked him being around. Soon they reached the mansion their mission would take place. Lucy handed the flyer to one of the guards who were outside.
-So we are actually getting some mages this year huh? Had nothing better to do?
-Something like that. But what is up with this pet thing?
-The hosts are just a bit superstitious. In their homeland there is a saying that mages who bring pets carry good luck.-he looked at Plue-What is that thing anyway?
-A Spirit Dog.
-That is a dog? You sure?
-Of course I am.-she always thought that it was obvious what Plue was.
-Well anyway. The 1st event will take place in an hour. Take a right after the second guard post and enter the building in front of you. Male's change room on the left , female on the right. You can pick your from what's left.-he saw the questionable looks on their faces-This is a high class event. You didn't think you'd attend to it looking like this did you?
They both looked over their clothes. Lucy had been to several charity events in the past and she knew the dress code for these things. She picked that outfit before going in that thought in mind. The dress code must have changed over the years. Natsu on the other hand couldn't understand what was wrong with the way he was dressed.
It was part of the job so they followed the guards directions and entered the changing rooms. Natsu just picked the first tuxedo he saw. They all looked the same to him anyway. After he got dressed he walked in circles obviously annoyed. He hated wearing such clothes. He felt stupid in them and they were uncomfortable. How did Loke make is seem it was good wearing them he pondered. Well there was nothing could do about it. He was doing this to apologise to Lucy for damaging her apartment....again even if this time it was mostly Happy's fault. Speaking of the exceed , he was flying above him laughing.
-You look ridiculous.
Without saying anything he just exited. He wasn't looking in front of him and by accident he bumped into Lucy. She was wearing an elegant long blue sleeveless dress. What caught his attention was that it looked too tight for her. Especially around her chest. Though it didn't look bad. Noticing where he was looking at she immediately covered her chest with her hands while blushing.
-Just where are you looking at!?
Deciding to just ignore this she turned her back to him and walked out. Natsu followed her. Before leaving another thought came to his mind. Wouldn't Lucy be cold in that dress? On their way tot he main building they passed a giant snowman. Natsu was impressed by it. It must have been hard to make something like this. It was five times the size of Elfman. He then noticed Lucy was trembling. He walked over to her and placed his arm across her shoulders.
-Ye..yeah I am cold....
She cuddled closer to Natsu. This surprised him a little. He knew she hated being cold , but this was the first time she tried to warm herself in him. He looked at her , but it seemed like she was hiding her expression from him. Well if that is what she wanted he was going to comply. With her under his arm he headed for the main mansion followed by Plue and Happy. The exceed was fighting the temptation to make a joke about what was happening. Lucy still had her whip with her , and he was still sore from before.
When they entered the mansion Lucy pulled away from him saying a silent „Thank you". He was going to ask what was going on , but then his nose picked up something. Food. Lots of delicious food. He hurried inside with Lucy behind him. They entered a huge ballroom. Many chandeliers were providing light. Many people were dancing in the middle to classical music played there. And on both sides tables filled with food. Lucy saw him heading straight there and immediately pulled his scarf to stop him from going.
„Why did he keep the scarf anyway.."-she pondered as she also grabbed Happy's tail
-This is a high class event and we are just security. We can't just go and eat the food that is meant for the guests!
She was speaking with a commanding tone until she caught the scent of her favorite food. She began sweating fighting the desire to go and eat.
-Maybe...maybe if we just take one bite they wont mind....
Lucy let go of Natsu and Happy and went towards the table when she saw Plue was already eating sweets. The two mages laughed as they sat down. Before Lucy could taste the food a large hand touched her shoulder. She jumped immediately and saw a large elderly man was behind her. He had a sweat smile. Next to him was a lady his age who despite being in her seventies still looked really good. The man with a calm voice asked a question.
-Are you the two mages who took our job?
-Y..yes.-Lucy tried to collect her thoughts-I am sorry we..
-No need to apologise. This food is for all of our guests. That includes you of course.
-Are these your pets?-the woman suddenly spoke while leaning forward to see Happy and Plue better.
-Yes.-Natsu said-This is Happy.
-One of the Exceeds?
-Aye!-Happy said with joy
-I have never actually seen one of them-she petted it's head-So cute.
-And this is Plue.-Lucy took the spirit in her hands.
-I have never seen such a cute bug.-the lady smiled
-It is a dog...-did Plue really look like a bug to everyone but her?
-What kind of person can't tell that it is a dog?-Natsu pondered
„At least someone sees what Plue really is"-Lucy was relieved that she wasn't the only one even if he was rude.
The elderly man coughed to get their attention.
-Actually I have something to ask you.-he turned to Lucy-Your name is Lucy is it not?
She was interupted when he caught her hand and began to shake it. He looked really excited.
-It must have been fate that brought you here.
-There is something that you must do for this event.
-We are just here as security...
-Right now you work for us.-the lady said-You don't have the right to refuse.
-Don't worry.-the man spoke to Natsu-It is nothing dangerous. You will enjoy it as well.
The two dragged Lucy away. Natsu and the two pets watched without being able to understand what just happened. Silently they ate some food. He noticed that the food Lucy was going to eat was being finished quickly but he managed to save a plate for her. After about five minutes many kids entered the ball room. The host , who dragged Lucy away got on stage in front of the musicians and began speaking.
-Thanks to everyone we have raised enough money to rebuild the Verec orphanage.-everyone applauded-And to celebrate this I have prepared for you a celebration from the lands I grew up in. Today there is the Day of Saint Lucia. A local girl is picked to spread happiness to all. And here is our Saint Lucia.
He pointed towards the large door that opened. With small steps Lucy entered the ball room. She was now wearing a white gown with a red sash. On her head she had a crown with candles. She was followed by several other girls her age who were wearing white gowns similar to hers. They made there way to the stage. The host shook her hand and joined his guests below. Lucy took a deep breath and along with the girls behind her began singing.
Night walks with a heavy step
Round yard and hearth,
As the sun departs from earth,
Shadows are brooding.
There in our dark house,
Walking with lit candles,
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!
Night walks grand, yet silent,
Now hear its gentle wings,
In every room so hushed,
Whispering like wings.
Look, at our threshold stands,
White-clad with light in her hair,
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!
Darkness shall take flight soon,
From earth's valleys.
So she speaks a
Wonderful Word to us:
A new day will rise again
From the rosy sky…
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!
The song was not long and when it ended another round of applause was heard. Lucy followed by two girls who were carrying bags went towards the kids who circled them. She talked with every single one of them and laughed with them. From the bags she gave different presents to the children.
From the moment Lucy entered the room Natsu couldn't get his eyes of her. He couldn't say why but it seemed like she was shining. Even more then usual. When she began singing he leaned against one of the pillars and relaxed letting her voice drift him away. It didn't last more then a minute but it was like she never stopped. Lucy should sing more often. She was very good at it. When his partner went to the kids he smiled almost as much as she did. The way Lucy handled it showed she honestly enjoyed doing it. He felt that his cheeks were warm but ignored it.
When she gave the last presents the kids were escorted away. Lucy headed towards Natsu , while being congratulated by the guests along the way. When she reached the Dragon Slayer she let out a quiet sigh. She took of the crown and blew out the candles on top.
-I definetely did not expect that.-she placed the crown on one of the now empty tables-So how did I do?
-You were beautiful.
When he said this she blushed. She expected him to say that she was being weird to wear such a crown. He caught her completely off guard.
-That role suited you.
Saying such things was out of Natsu's character. She didn't know how to act at the moment so she just looked around nervously. A bid sadden Lucy noticed that her favorite food was gone from every table. She didn't even manage to taste it and it was rare.
-I saved this for you.-he handed her the plate he saved earlier
Happily she took it from his hands thanking him again. While taking it her hands briefly touched his. He pulled them away quickly. This behaviour definitely wasn't like him , but before she could ask him if something was wrong the host came to them.
-Good work miss Heartfilia. Good work. Your performance was perfect.
-Thank you. I have never heard of this celebration before.
-Truthfully the real thing is very different. But I changed it so that the kids enjoy it more. This event is for them after all.
-I really enjoyed doing it.
-We may invite you to do it again next year if you want.-before Lucy could say anything he continued-Please take these as further thanks.
He waved to one of the waiters and he gave them two filled wine glasses.
-Sorry but we don't drink.
-It's non alcoholic. And besides it would look bad if our beautiful Saint did not share in the toast.
The host pointed towards his wife who was calling for a toast celebrating the event's success. While everyone drank Natsu and Lucy made their own toast to the Celestial Mages performance. Afterwords she began eating the food Natsu had saved for her. Looking at her he made up his mind. Even if it was a sudden realisation he was sure of it and the moment was right.
At that moment just for a second the lights came of and then back on. The Dragon Slayer didn't think anything of it until he heard the sound of a plate breaking. Lucy had dropped the one she was eating from. Her eyes showed fear. He quickly traced where she was looking at and then he saw it. On the stage the hostess was frozen in ice and in front of her stood a snowman with a vicious smile. The man of snow moved forward. The host was running forward to try and help his wife. The snowman touched him with his wooden hand freezing him as well.
Natsu tried to inflame his fist , but to his surprise it didn't work. Then he noticed there were runes on the ground. They were probably stopping his magic. How did he not see them before? A panic had already engulfed the ballroom as the guests were running away from the snowman. Looking around he could say that there was actually more then one. He turned to Lucy to ask her if she can summon her spirits but she was only shaking just like she was outside next to the giant snowman. Just what scared her so much?
He heard Happy's voice calling to him. The exceed was in front of a door and was giving him signs to come. Plue was under him giving the same signs. Quickly Natsu grabbed Lucy arm and dragged her after him. She followed him without saying a word. Natsu wanted to help the other people , but without his magic there was little he could do. The two just followed the flying exceed and the spirit dog across the corridors. At times the snowman almost caught them , but they managed to slip away. It almost felt like they were waiting for them at some places , but the Dragon Slayer didn't have time to think about that. Then he saw one of them standing right in their path. It was walking slowly towards them as if it was mocking them. Natsu quickly picked up a nearby vase and threw it at the snowman knocking of it's head. The mass of snow fell to the ground and the group surrounded it. Before turning a corner Natsu took a look at it and saw it was getting up. So knocking out their heads wasn't enough.
They entered a store room and Natsu quickly locked the door. Some screams could be heard from around the mansion. This was crazy. One moment he was going to say something important and the next they were attacked by walking snowman. It just didn't make any sence. And there were no runes here , but he still couldn't create any flames. He turned and looked at Lucy. She was sitting in the corner. It seemed like she was going to cry but she held the tears back. Plue was besides her gently patting her. Natsu sat next to her.
-What's wrong? It's not like you to get scared from something like that.
-It is stupid really...
-Tell me anyway.
-When I was little while playing with my mother we made a big snowman. It was my first time making one. We made it three times larger then me. Then a snowball fight began. By accident I hit the snowman. I always knew it was stupid. Even then but when it fell on me I thought that he was paying me back for what I did. It is just a stupid childish fear I never grew out of.
-You are weird.
-Can't argue this time. And now living snowman are coming after us. What a sick joke.
Natsu didn't know what to say. He didn't really understand it but he guessed it was like the fear from the dark some people had. Irrational but you just can't get it to leave. He was never good at these things and had no idea how to make Lucy feel better. He decided to act on instinct like he usually did. Natsu turned her face towards him and gently kissed her on the lips. He did it so fast he didn't understand it himself until she returned the kiss.
-I am not sure how.-he said when their kiss ended-But we will get out of this. Luce I.....
She placed a finger on his mouth to stop him from speaking.
-Say it when we get out of here.
Lucy definitely had a different idea about how her first kiss would be like. This was better then she thought it would be. And to think that he really made a move. She had almost given up hope about having such a relationship with Natsu. But she wasn't a fan of the confession under the threat of death upon them.
Then there something began to knock heavily on the door. Natsu immediately got up and stood in front of Lucy while she hugged him. The door broke and a snowman entered the storeroom walking slowly towards them. The Dragon Slayer had no idea what to do. There wasn't anything near him to throw and he still couldn't inflame his fist. Lucy hugged him even tighter thinking that this might actually be the end. Then someone hit the snowman over the head with a stick and it fell to the ground. To their shock they saw it was Mira.
-Knock it out already. Can't you see you are scaring Lucy too much?
The two of them looked at the snowman. The snow on his head was now gone and they saw that it was actually Gray.
-What!?-they both screamed.
Back at the ballroom Natsu and Lucy were surrounded by the guildmates who were previously in the guild. Levy and Gajeel were there as well. Even Makarov was there drinking along Macao and Wakaba.
-So...-Lucy began-This was all your doing?-she glared at Mira
-Yes.-she said while smiling-It was my plan to finally get you two together.
She explained her plan to them. All that was needed was to get them to this event. The host and hostess , that were now unfrozen , had already agreed to it. Reedus had created the costumes and Gray's Ice Magic made all the effects. The others simply needed to act it out.
-But how did you know Natsu would destroy part of my home?
-I just had fate in him.
-And how did you know about her fear of snow man?
-Do you remember the truth and dare game we played a few weeks ago Lu-chan?-Levy who was there
-Of course..I picked truth and asked me if I had any winter fears.
-That was the beginning of my plan.
Nothing could remove Mirajane's smile at the moment. In that storeroom there was a lacrima vision and everyone saw Natsu's confession. Even if Lucy stopped him halfway.
-And those two were in it all along.-Gajeel pointed to the exceed and spirit.-The cat sold you out for two fish , while the spirit for one lollipop.
They were sold out by them for so little. Natsu and Lucy felt down about that while Gajeel let out his signature laugh. They weren't really mad at their pets. In the end this is how things were supposed to be.
Gray went to Natsu and slightly punched him on the shoulder.
-But boy was that cheesy Flame Brain.-he teased
-Seriously Salamander.-Gajeel joined the Ice Mage and went to his other side -Couldn't you come up with anything better?
-I thought it was cute the way he said it.-Levy also joined.
Natsu whispered to both of them.
-You do realize that since she is done with Lucy and me , most likely one of you two will be her next target.
The two boys shaking looked at the demon. She was really looking their way. Sweating and trembling they headed for the exit. Natsu looked towards Lucy and they smiled at each other. From tomorrow it was going to be a new beginning for them.