One would assume that being friends for several years would make the transition to dating a little easier. But Lucy was a bit nervous about going on a real date with Natsu. Okay, maybe a lot nervous. Don’t get her wrong, she was really happy that the man had finally asked her out, but it’s a well-known fact that he’s not exactly a romantic. Caring to a fault but opening doors for a girl… she doubted it. Happy-go-lucky… but in a jester’s manner. And eating with a fork and knife instead of his hands wasn’t to be expected. Let’s just say, Natsu wasn’t someone you took anywhere without anticipating a mixture of embarrassment and/or disruption.
It had been such a cute set up when he asked her out! She was certain the man had help in coming up with the idea, even though he swore it was all on his own. Natsu did admit Gray helped to boost his confidence to do the asking in the first place, but that was it.
They’d finally returned home from the Guiltina continent and was passing through Hargeon port city. The last time Lucy had been to that city was when they’d fought Acnologia, so it was nice to see just how much the place had recovered. As they walked the streets on their way to the train station, it was Natsu who’d pointed out the plaza space where they’d met. He was visibly nervous, she remembers, and fought to maintain eye contact with her.
“It’s kinda fitting to do this here,” he’d started off. “The place we met and set out on the journey that brought us to where we are now. Lucy you’re my best friend, but— I realize you’re so much more and I was wondering if you’d go out on a real date with me when we get home. Like as a couple.”
Needless to say, after several nerve-wracking moments of silence while she picked her jaw up off the floor and her brain caught up enough to process what he was saying, she’d said yes. Hence the current situation Lucy was in as she stood outside of the Starlight Restaurant next to Natsu.
Lucy was cautiously optimistic with his behavior so far. Natsu had picked her up at her apartment, even bringing a bouquet of her favorite flowers with him. He was dressed semi-casual in slacks, a nice blazer, and dress shoes. She was shocked to say the least since she didn’t expect him to do that. Hell, she didn’t think he owned such attire.
He held her hand as they’d made their way to the restaurant, walking at an even pace. It was different for sure that he wasn’t bouncing around or dragging her excitedly. Natsu was managing a cooler, calmer disposition, but deep down, Lucy was just waiting for his normal personality to come busting through.
“Shall we?” Natsu holds the restaurant door open for Lucy, gesturing for her to go first.
“Thank you,” she smiles and walks through, leaving space for him to catch up. She follows him to the maître d' station, waiting patiently as Natsu confirms the reservation and for the staff to seat them. Well tick that off the growing list of things she’d worried about. This was a fairly popular restaurant so if you don’t make a reservation, you may not get a table.
Once they are seated and handed the menu’s, Natsu tells her to order anything she wants. Lucy expected him to order half the menu just for himself considering the man’s metabolism. But when the waiter comes back to take their order, Natsu only orders one entree and one appetizer.
“Are you feeling okay,” Lucy asks the slayer after the waiter leaves. “That was a lot smaller an order than your usual.” Maybe because the prices were higher, he was trying to conserve his funds.
“I’ll be okay,” he smiles, “I’m not super hungry.”
Her eyebrow raises, “not hungry? Natsu, you’re not coming down with a cold, are you?” She had to ask even though she’s never known the man to ever get sick.
He chuckles, “Lucy I’m fine.”
Their dinner arrives in a timely manner. Everything looked so delicious and fancy! It’s been awhile since she’d been in such elegant circumstances, but the proper etiquette engrained in her since childhood easily takes over. Lucy places her napkin over her lap and is about to explain it to Natsu when he amazes her once more by doing the same. Okay well it’s probably because he saw her do it and copied her. But next he picks up the utensils and starts to eat, using the knife properly for once to cut his meat into bite size pieces.
Her fork is poised in the air above her plate as she watches in awe. He wasn’t scarfing up the food like a bottomless pit. Natsu was eating like a normal person! If anyone had told her before this date that the slayer could be a proper gentleman, Lucy wouldn’t have believed them. The attire, the flowers, his gestures, opening doors, now behaving at a meal!
“Okay where’s Natsu and what have you done with him?” She narrows her eyes and leans in to keep her voice down. “You’re starting to freak me out.”
This would be the perfect time for the man to lose this faux demeanor, but the surprises continue. Instead of his boisterous laughter, Lucy is met with another controlled chuckle. He keeps his voice soft, lightening the expression on his face, “what are you talking about, Lucy, it’s me.”
“You look like Natsu, but you’re not acting like my Natsu. Is it a spell? Did Mira give you a spell to keep you calm so you could impress me?”
“No,” he laughs.
“Someone else then. Did you go to a wizard shop and buy a charm spell?”
“No,” he laughs again, “I swear, I’m not under any spells tonight unless you consider the one you’ve placed me under.”
Oh, my goodness! Did Natsu just use a line on her?!
“Leo then. Did Leo help you with this?”
“Okay, that I’ll admit, he did give me some pointers. But it’s still not a spell.”
“So, I’m just supposed to believe that the goofy disaster man I’ve fallen for managed to reign it all in just to impress me on this date?”
Natsu shrugs, “yeah,” he laughs, “is that so hard to believe?” He reaches over the table and takes ahold of her hand. “I just wanted our first date to be perfect.”
It was at that moment that Lucy realizes all her fears had been ridiculous. Who cared if Natsu was storybook romantic? Did it matter if he was the perfect gentleman? The answer was no. The man she’d fallen in love with had a love language all his own, and even if it could be annoying at times, it’s what made their friendship so strong.
“Natsu you didn’t need to impress me.” She smiles. “And I appreciate that you’re behaving civilized since this is a fancy restaurant, but next time, I’d rather have the real you around.”
“Next time? Does that mean we can be just be an official couple now?”
“Yeah,” she giggles.
“Cool! I can’t wait till I get to yell at the guild that you’re my girlfriend!”
Lucy squeezes his hand back. “Now there’s my Natsu.”