Lucy walked home along the wall lining the river that flowed through Magnolia. She hummed happily as she fingered a protection bracelet with dangling charms of a lion, tiger, panther, jaguar, ocelot, and other large cats. Loke said it came from the Spirit World and would protect her from anything that threatened their love.
Love! Seriously, what was that fluffy-haired playboy talking about?
"Be careful, miss," a passing boatman shouted.
She waved it off. "Thanks!" Her eyes did not leave the bracelet.
It was awfully cute. Protective or not, she would have worn it purely because it was both playful and classy, made of solid gold with inlaid precious stones for the cats' eyes. She wanted to get something for him, but what could she possibly get a Spirit?
"It can't be anything he can't take back with him," she decided, talking to herself while Plue followed and commented with occasional agreements of Puun. "That means it has to be something perishable. Food? I wonder if Loke likes cheese or milk. Or fish. What types? Well, every cat likes tuna. Or is he not that sort of cat?"
She put her hands behind her head and kept her balance without looking down.
"Maybe I should ask Happy or Charle...but wouldn't they also suggest fish or cheese? Maybe a fancy meal at that nice seafood restaurant with the cute..." She shook her head. "No! Bad Lucy! Someone like him would interpret that as a date, and then I'd never hear the end of it. Besides, if I bought him food, he'd insist I feed it to him."
She frowned and hopped off the wall. There was a pet store nearby, so she decided a little browsing would not be bad.
"And what could I ask the workers? 'Hey, I have a friend who's a lion and I want to get him a gift.' Sure! Like that would work."
She looked through the store, unsatisfied with the dangle toys and squeaky mice. She squealed at the puppies and kittens that clambered for attention. She looked at the exotic birds, colorful fish, and mice racing in their wheels.
Bad Lucy! Stop looking at the cute pets, focus on a gift!
Finally something caught her eye. "I wonder..." She giggled at the thought, grabbed the box of catnip, and paid for it. "If he hates it, I can give it to Happy, or brew it with my tea."
When she got home, she pulled out her Keys. "Open the Gate of the Lion! Leo!" There was a brilliant flash, and the wild-haired, strawberry-blond Celestial Spirit stood in front of her grinning the smile he used to charm ladies. Loke's blue-tinted sunglasses gleamed with mischief. His suit was tailored finely, with a deep green button-up shirt that matched his eyes, and a yellow and black tiger-striped tie that seemed just a bit garish.
"You rang, Princess?"
She swallowed with a loud gulp. It was getting harder to look at him without blushing. "I...I...uh..." Not now, Lucy, focus, focus! "Yeah, I wanted to thank you for the bracelet and...I got..." She suddenly felt hesitant. Here he gave her a golden charm bracelet, and she was repaying him with chopped up dried leaves! She felt small and cheap.
Loke sniffed deeply. "Is that...?" His deep green eyes widened. "Lucy, did you...? Oh no. Not good. Uh..." He looked around frantically. "Okay, uh, lock your door and...and...curtains. Yes. Close them."
"Huh?" she asked in confusion. Why was he freaking out?
"C-c-cat-catnip." He began to race around. "Lock lock lock! Door! Lock door! Yep-yep-yep." He locked her front door and zipped over to the window. Suddenly, he stopped short, stared at her curtains, and giggled.
"They dangle," he laughed, and flipped the curtains around. "Dangly...fun!" He suddenly shook his head. "No, close them. Close everything, Lucy. They can't see me like this. It's embarrassing!"
He looked back at her with a flushed face. He rushed at her so fast, she dropped the shopping bag. The box hit the floor and scattered catnip all over.
"Aww, you really did get me some." He purred and rubbed his head against her shoulder.
Lucy cried out and shoved him away. "What the...? Loke, what's wrong with you?"
"Catnip," he said, and suddenly said rapidly, "Nip-nip-nip-nip-nip!"
He raced off to the kitchen. Lucy knelt over to pick up the tin and scooped as much catnip as possible back inside. Stupid stuff! Did it really affect normal cats like this? Of course, Loke was much bigger than a cat.
"It...it...DANGLES!" Loke shouted gleefully from the kitchen, and she heard something crash.
"This was a really bad idea," she lamented, and began to jog over to see what broke.
Loke raced out and ran straight into her. She fell backwards and skidded across the floor, only to find Loke on top of her. He looked down at her with a massive smile, not about to climb off. She blushed fiercely at their position.
"Loke, you're...you're sort of..."
"Llllllucy," he purred. "You smell...really good."
She put her hands up to push him off. "Loke, don't..."
He leaned his nose in close and sniffed her hands. She squealed and pulled away.
"You touched the catnip. You smell...rrrrrrreally good."
"I don't like how you're rolling your tongue," she whimpered.
He closed his eyes and slowly leaned in closer. She stiffened, terrified he would try kissing her. Instead she felt something...fuzzy. She peeked one eye open to see Loke's ginger hair rubbing against her. A deep purr rumbled in his chest.
"You silly overgrown tomcat," she chuckled as worry melted away. "At least get off of me."
He immediately obeyed and sat on his haunches. As soon as she got into a sitting position, his head flopped back down into her lap. His cheeks rubbed against her legs, making her blush more. Suddenly, he yanked his shirt out from his slacks and raised it to his chest. Lucy cried out and covered her eyes, but nothing more happened. She looked again to see he had exposed his firm abs to her.
"That's...feline submission, right?" she said nervously. "A cat shows off its belly to show it submits to its master."
"Mmmm...masterrrrrrrrr." His tongue twirled, and he purred louder, happy with her.
"Heh, cute. I'm really sorry about this. I had no idea. Do you—I don't know—want anything?" she asked uncertainly.
"Ears rubbed," he muttered.
Lucy laughed tensely as her fingers ran through his soft orange hair and down to his ears. Loke purred louder and rolled around on his back. "My fault, I guess. Sheesh, I should've gone with the tuna."
Loke sat up fast. "What? Tuna? Where, where?" He leaped up and ran off fast to the kitchen. "Don't smell it here." He raced to the entry area, sniffed around, and even took a deep whiff of her shoes.
"Hey, don't smell those," she shouted.
"Tunaaaaa!" he yelled, and zipped off fast to her bedroom. "Where where where?"
Lucy rubbed a throbbing vein out of her forehead. She looked at the box of catnip. She had to get rid of that horrible stuff or the effect would never wear off.
"I'll be right back. Don't..." She heard him crash into something and giggle manically. "...break anything. Well, I just hope I still have a house when I get back. I'm locking you in, okay? Do you hear me?" She waited, but she heard a feral laugh instead. "Right. Just keep yourself entertained." She began to leave. "Stupid lion."
As soon as she turned the door handle, Loke flew at her from out of nowhere and attacked her so hard she also fell face-first into the street. "Lucyyyyyyy! Don't go. Don't leave me. I wanna stay with youuuuuu!" he whined loudly and he gently clawed at her arm to pull her back in.
"Sheesh, I've gotta get rid of this stupid..." Just then, she saw Natsu coming up the road. "Yes! Natsu, catch!" She threw the box as hard as she could muster. Loke watched with fascination and coiled to pounce. Lucy bopped him on the nose. "Bad Loke. Not a play toy!"
"Lucyyyy," he yowled. Instantly, he forgot his worries and began sniffing her hand again. "You smell gooooood!"
"Yuck! Whatever." She held her hand up, and he rubbed his face into it.
Natsu managed to catch the box, but when he looked over, he saw Lucy grinning weirdly with Loke hanging onto her back. "Yo Lucy, do you have something in your hair?" he asked.
She hummed a question, looked behind her, and saw Loke with massive, wild eyes, batting at the ends of her blond hair.
"It dangles," he whispered. "Shhhh, I'm gonna catch the golden fairy."
"Get away from my hair, idiot. Natsu, take that box as far away from here as you can."
The pink-haired dragon slayer opened the tin and looked inside. "Oy, this smells funny. It isn't something illegal, is it?"
"What? No! Just...just get it away from here."
Happy was suddenly hanging over Natsu's shoulder drooling at the opened box. "Catniiiiiiip!"
Natsu stared at the blue cat weirdly. "What the..."
"Good luck," Lucy waved with a grin. "Loke, come. Come on boy. Here kitty-kitty. Get back inside the house."
He followed obediently and attached himself to her shoulders, batting at her hair from time to time. She dragged him along to her bedroom, made him lie on the bed, and watched as he curled up into a tight ball.
"Pet meeeee!" he yowled loudly.
She sighed and obeyed, stroking his head and listening to the Lion Spirit purr. It was...sort of cute, actually.
"Maybe it wasn't such a bad gift after all," she decided.
He laid his head in her lap and rubbed against her in contentment. "Still want tuna."
She laughed, leaned over, and planted a small kiss on his forehead. "All right, we can go out after the catnip wears off. I bet you'll have quite the case of munches."
End of Chapter 1
BTW, catnip tea is quite good. It's part of the mint family and is a mild sedative for humans.
I've added another chapter and might make this into an on-going series of one-shots based on catnip. Considering I still crack up every time I read through this, I hope the rest of you like it too.