Lucy couldn’t tell if she wanted to laugh or to cry.
On the one hand, Natsu was currently laying in her small dorm room, in her bed, half unconscious and Lucy had no clue how to help him. On the other hand, he was in this state because he had walked into a pole. An honest to god, cartoon-like scenario, pole.
Lucy made calming noises when Natsu shifted, scowling to herself when she remembered how stupid that reflex was in her current situation seeing how he was deaf, and nothing Lucy could do could be helpful. He made a noise, low and distressed, and Lucy wanted to scream. She tapped his shoulder, urging him to look at her. After several tries he finally did, emerald gaze unfocused and a large and angry looking knot forming dead center on his forehead.
“Are you okay?” Lucy signed, speaking out loud as well. Natsu blinked once, nodding as he curled onto his other side so he was closer to Lucy. She smiled as she ran a hand through his hair, Natsu pushing slightly into the touches. They had only been friends for a few months, dating for a week and a half, but Lucy knew how physical he was. Cuddles, casual hand-holding, and resting his chin on top of her head were all daily expectations at this point, and Lucy loved it.
“M’fine,” Natsu mumbled. And Lucy was back to freaking out because she couldn’t tell if he was slurring from his injury or just not concentrating as he spoke.
Lucy ran her hand along the side of his face, brushing his bangs from his face and tracing an eyebrow piercing with one finger. Natsu cracked his eye open, and Lucy smiled at him. “Spell your name for me,” she signed. Natsu frowned at her, and Lucy made a low sound of irritation while keeping her expression the same. She repeated the phrase, slower. Natsu cocked his head, more confused. He tried to sit up, paling quickly and sweat beading on his temples. Lucy rushed as she pushed him back into her bed, worrying her lip at his whine.
Lucy looked around the room, petting the top of Natsu’s head in what she hoped was comfort. Her curtain was drawn, stopping the afternoon sun from overstimulating Natsu’s maybe-concussed self, and all the books and notes that had been living on her bed for the past two weeks had migrated to her floor to make room for Natsu. If it weren’t for the pained look that twisted his features just enough for her to notice Lucy would have thought he looked adorable, curled in her twin bed and laying on top of her yellow polka dotted blanket, her stuffed dog that she had sewn a snowman nose onto when she was five being cuddled by Natsu as if it could chase away his pain.
She was still in her work uniform, black t-shirt with her name tag on it and the university’s mascot on the back, hair pulled up in a messy ponytail because Lucy had woken up fifteen minutes before her shift. Natsu had greeted her with the sign for ‘pretty’, which made her blush more than any other guy that had called her gorgeous or beautiful or stunning. And then she had been distracted with her, y’know, job checking refunded books and buying back from the other two-dollars-above-broke students at Fairy Tail, and the next thing she knew Natsu had wandered off. Which usually didn’t bother her, except the store had finally stocked the textbook for the 500-student level 100 stats class. Lucy cringed as she thought of her coworkers dealing with the desperate throng of students.
Then Natsu whimpered as he pressed into her hand, and Lucy couldn’t give a flying fuck about what was happening back at the campus bookstore.
“Dummy,” Lucy mumbled to herself. She leaned forward, kissing his bump gently. Tomorrow, she’d laugh at him for walking into a god damn pillar, but right now all she wanted was to make sure he was okay. Lucy already wasn’t a fan of how Natsu acted like he was a burden, and she didn’t want to add a concussed and bedridden boyfriend to that mix of self-loathing that she had yet to unpack.
She also really wanted to punch the guy that had shoved Natsu, but priorities.
Natsu opened his eyes, and Lucy signed ‘name’ again, her fore and middle finger pressed tight against each other and swiping her right-hand fingers over her left-hand fingers twice. Natsu furrowed his brow at her hands, trying desperately to understand what in all hell she was saying. Lucy almost screamed because this wasn’t the first time this had happened before Natsu had finally gotten it, and she didn’t know whose fault it was.
“Name?” Natsu asked out loud, looking at her questioningly. Lucy smiled, nodding quickly. Natsu barked out a laugh, throwing his head against the pillow behind him. Lucy scowled at him, unsure as to what was so funny but guessing that she was being laughed at. Natsu’s grin was weaker than usual, his normally golden brown skin a sickly grey under and red around his bump, but Lucy still got the impression of an amused cat in the twitch of his lips and glimmer under the haze in his eye. “Name.” Natsu signed, holding his hands like Lucy had, but instead of swiping he simply tapped them twice.
Lucy groaned, covering her flushed face with her hands. She couldn’t believe it had been three months since she’d started taking ASL lessons after class on Fridays, and she had still messed up something as simple as ‘name’. She was limp as Natsu pulled her to bed, his pull weak, but still strong enough to tug her down and curl her against his chest.
“Silly Lushi,” Natsu hummed, kissing the top of her head. She pulled back, making sure Natsu could read her lips.
“I’m not the one who walked into a pole.”
Natsu pouted at her, nuzzling her cheek as he whined. “Mean Lushi. I’m concussed and yer mocking me.” Lucy snorted, gently running her hands from his neck to his chest and back up. As if she were the mean one here. A bottle of water sat freshly open on her bedside table, heating pads and cool packs both ready for use on the floor, a sick bucket in case his nausea turned into full-on gross puking like the concussion symptom list had said. And she was here cuddling him instead of at work! Mean, her ass.
“Mildly concussed, and maybe at that,” Lucy said, grinning at her bickering with Natsu. She was just thankful he was aware enough to read her lips, though she didn’t want to strain him and knew they should stop soon, just in case. “You’re usually so aware of the space around you, I don’t understand how you missed a foot and a half wide brick pole.”
Natsu’s pout deepened, cracking into a scowl when Lucy giggled at his expression. She kissed his lip ring, pulling back expectantly.
“Was distracted,” Natsu grumbled, falling into silence as Lucy waited for him to continue. The muffled sounds of TV came through the thin walls of her dorm, and she couldn’t help but be thankful that sound wasn’t a factor that Lucy had to worry about keeping to a minimum for Natsu’s headaches. Cana may be a good friend, but considerate she tended to slip on, just for the simple fact of her forgetting to do so.
“By what,” Lucy finally pressed. Lucy ran her thumb over his lip, pulling herself closer to him so all that separated them was Plue; her snowman slash dog stuffy.
“You.” he said. His scowl softened, expression turning serious and so unfathomably sincere that Lucy was winded. “I saw a bunny I thought you’d love, and wanted to give it to ya ‘cus ya looked so stressed. But then the guy shoved me ’cus I guess he thought I was ignoring him and I turned around to tell the jackass I was deaf and watch him be socially ruined by a crowd of people judging him for yelling at the deaf guy and there was a pillar and now my head hurts.”
Lucy kissed him, soft and sweet and careful so as to not hurt him but knowing no other thing to say what she felt. Adoration swelled in her chest for her dumb, goofy, pierced and pink haired puppy of a boyfriend. She didn’t know if she was in love with him yet, but damn if Lucy didn’t love this boy. Natsu returned the kiss, smiling with pleasant surprise as his lips pushed firmer against hers. He opened his mouth, tongue brushing against the seam of her lips hopefully, and Lucy pulled back. Natsu blinked at her before whining, trying to pull her back to him for a kiss. Lucy pressed her finger to his lips, biting her lip as she grinned and shook her head no.
“Rest,” she signed. Natsu whined loudly, knowing his volume when Lucy rolled her eyes and increasing it. Lucy giggled in exasperation, gently tapping his temple to remind him of his injury. Now was not the time for lazy makeouts, and Lucy was unafraid to enforce that rule.
“Fine,” Natsu conceded unhappily, returning to signing. “But check my jacket.”
Lucy tilted her head in confusion but sat up and did as he requested anyway. She then gasped, pulling a yellow bunny stuffed animal the size of her hand out from his leather jacket, the name ‘Lucy’ stitched into it’s ear in white.
She swatted at his arm, whirling on him from where she perched at the edge of her bed. “You stole the rabbit!?”
“Technically, you stole it ‘cus I forgot I had it in my pocket when ya led me out of the store. You should really put some tag detectors in there. Nothing even happened, at least I think it didn’t. The walk’s kinda fuzzy right now.” Natsu explained simply, as if hadn’t just stolen from her place of employment. Lucy huffed at his blase attitude toward grand-theft-bunny. She gave him a judgemental look as he led her back to his chest, wrapping his arms around her.
“Unbelievable,” she muttered to herself. Then Natsu nuzzled into the top of her head, breathing in deeply and relaxing as he took in her scent. Which Lucy would find weird, if his own mix of cologne and natural musk wasn’t lulling her into an afternoon nap as well. She couldn’t help it, burrowing deeper into his chest, each holding a stuffed animal with one arm. Lucy smiled. She could always pay for it later, granted that Natsu didn’t do something like die on her in his sleep.
Lucy laughed to herself, legs tangling easily with Natsu’s. It would take more than ramming headfirst into a brick wall to take out her boyfriend. She didn’t think she knew anyone that was as strong as her Natsu.
Definitely none that were as adorable or unknowingly sweet as him.