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Lost in the Flames

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Retracting her hand, Lucy took a moment to knock any dirt off her butt and tug at the bottom of her shirt; a habit she’d picked up somewhere, though she couldn’t quite recall where. Clearing her throat, she wondered idly if she should excuse herself and go home or if she were supposed to try and start a conversation. She’d never really been in a situation like this before, and was at a loss of what exactly she was supposed to do.

“--Luce? Luce!” His voice broke into her thoughts, startling her and bringing her back to reality. Wait. Had he just given her a nickname?

“I-- Wh-what? Sorry!” She offers him a sheepish smile, tucking a blonde strand behind one ear as she stands there in front of him. Clearing her throat, she offers him a quiet apology, “I’m so sorry, but I didn’t catch what you were saying.”

“S’okay,” it’s more of a throaty laugh than an actual response, and Lucy can’t help but marvel at how nice it is to hear him laugh. “I was just wondering if you maybe wanted to go and get a drink somewhere..?”

Natsu lets his words trail off, head cocked to the side and one hand rubbing absently at the back of his neck in a nervous gesture. And God but Lucy can’t help but think for a moment, that he looked far less predatory than she had originally painted him in her head. No longer was he the stranger grinning behind cigarette smoke at her, dark eyes holding her’s in a staring contest. Instead, he was now the stranger with an adorable smile, cat perched precariously atop his head and asking her to get a drink with him. Everything had changed so suddenly that it was hard to wrap her head around the situation.

Remembering that he’d asked her a question, Lucy feigned a polite cough to cover up her embarrassment. Shifting from one foot to the other, she thought about what he’d asked her for a moment, considering the pros and cons of grabbing a drink with him. Pro: He was a fairly attractive man close to her own age. Con: He’d made her feel rather uneasy for weeks because of his creepy staring. Pro: He obviously liked animals, considering he had a cat. Con: He smoked. Pro: He was friendly and had a nice laugh.

“Well,” she started, finally coming to a decision, fingers of one hand still fiddling with the hem of her shirt, “I-- S-sure. Did you have a place in mind?” Hopefully she’d made the right decision and wouldn’t come to regret her choice the next morning.

“Really?! Hell yeah!” Dark eyes light up with unrestrained excitement as a wide smile spreads across his face. He stands just that little bit straighter, hand falling from the back of his neck to his side, fingers twitching slightly like they itched to reach forward and grab her hand. “Yeah! I’ve got just the place in mind! C’mon!”

And just like that, without even waiting for a response, Natsu reached forward and grabbed her hand, dragging her along behind him. Lucy was too surprised to protest, stumbling a bit as she tried to keep up, a million things running through her mind. Where were they going? Was it safe? Was she safe? And above all; what in the world had she gotten herself into?