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Lost in the Flames

Chapter Text

I was the match and you were the rock
Maybe we started this fire
We sat apart and watched
All we had burned on the pyre

Hair just the perfect shade of strawberry blond to appear pink in the sunlight and cigarette smoke curling in the chill spring air are what greet Lucy as she follows the flow of people out of the mall. Dark eyes flicker up to meet her’s for just a moment before a wide grin spreads across his face, and she swears he looks almost predatory grinning at her like that with cigarette smoke curling in front of his face. Honey brown eyes widen at the thought, shoulders squaring as she stands just that little bit straighter; unsure of how to feel about that particular thought and the images it conjures in her mind. Pushing the thought to the back of her mind, she allows a slight frown to appear on her face before she breaks the staring contest and shoulders through the crowd on her way past him.

She doesn’t know who he is, but he’s there every time she gets off work; leaning against one of the decorative pillars in front of the mall, cigarette hanging from his lips and the sun making his hair look pink. He never says a word to her, doesn’t wave or make a move towards her at all, just leans against that pillar and grins when he sees her. And she shouldn’t find his presence so intriguing, knows that she should probably report him to the police for loitering or try to chase him off, but.. He’s not threatening her, hasn’t hurt anyone or anything, so she sees no reason to do any of that. So she engages him in a staring contest whenever she sees him but otherwise ignores him.

For a week this had been their routine, short staring contest and then pretending that she hadn’t seen him, and honestly she’d thought that today would be no different. Except that it was.

As she moved to walk past him, a yell sounded from his direction and a silvery-blue cat ran in front of her, followed shortly by Pinky, who practically bowled her over. There was a yelp as she landed rather ungracefully on her butt, blinking in confusion as she wondered what had just happened and loud curses as the man tripped over her, landing face first on the sidewalk.

Irritation and concern both flared in Lucy as she stared at the man, silently wondering if she should smack him for running her over in the first place or if she should check to see if he was okay. In the end, she settled for a mixture of both options. What kind of person would she be if she didn’t help someone that had fallen on their face in front of her?

Rolling onto her knees, the blonde shuffled forward, one hand outstretched towards the man before her. He was still cursing the cat, which had come back to sit beside his head, but had yet to move from where he'd fallen. She was almost touching him, had been ready to poke his shoulder to get his attention, when he suddenly sat up. The sudden movement caught her off guard and she might have screamed in shock.

"Hey, could you stop screaming for a second? You're hurting my ears." The way he spoke, so nonchalant and calm like nothing had happened, surprised her so much that she immediately shut up. The resulting grin he flashed her before turning his attention to the cat confused her, and she wondered if this man was insane. What person spoke so casually after falling face first on a sidewalk and then acted as if it hadn't happened at all?

Irritation dying a bit, Lucy cleared her throat to get his attention this time, deciding that it might be better not to touch him. If he really were insane, there was no telling what he'd do if she touched him. "Uh-- A-are you okay?"

"Hm?" A glance up at her as he paused in petting the cat, obviously surprised at her concern. Dark eyes roved over her as she knelt beside him, noting the nametag that got skewed when she fell and the expression on her face before he grinned again, albeit rather sheepishly this time. "Who me? Ah yeah, don't worry. Sorry about knocking you over by the way, I didn't mean to."

"I--" She stumbled over her words as she watched him place the cat on his head and stand up; brushing off his jeans before he held a hand out to her. There was a moment of hesitation as she stared at his outstretched hand, a distant feeling that this was fated swelling in her heart urging her to ignore all of the alarms going off in the back of her mind and take his hand. Swallowing the sudden dryness in her throat, she placed her hand in his and allowed him to pull her to her feet, implicitly knowing that she couldn't go back now. Whether she liked it or not, she had a feeling she was stuck with Pinky and his cat now.

"Are you alright? Name's Natsu by the way and this is Happy."

"Y-yeah. Hi, Lucy."