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Everything Was The Same (Except when it wasn't)

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   Everything was the same. Lucy met Natsu and Happy at Hargeon Port and joined Fairy Tail. They formed a team with Erza and Gray, and eventually Wendy and Carla as well. They defeated Phantom Lord and rebuilt their guild hall; they stopped Jellal and the machinations of the Tower of Heaven; they fought and foiled Laxus’s plot to seize control of Fairy Tail, triumphed over the Oracion Seis, traveled through the Anima to save their world from Edolas and the people of Edolas from themselves; they participated in the promotional trials on Tenrou Island, where they subsequently stopped Grimoire Heart, only to be frozen in time when Acnologia attacked the island.

   Everything was the same when they woke up, both joyous and sad. They had all lost a piece of themselves, seven years of their lives as the world had continued on without them. In those seven years, Lucy lost her father. The dragon slayers grew further from their memories of their dragons. But they were alive, and they had returned, and all their friends, both back at Fairy Tail and those from other guilds, welcomed them home with tears and warmth. They competed in the Grand Magic Games, won, and somehow survived the attack of the dragons from the Eclipse Gate. They shared painful memories of the minute that could have been, when so many of them lost their lives before time was rewound. Lucy and Natsu still mourned the death of the Lucy from the future who came back in time to save them all. When Gray finally told them what Ultear had done, they mourned the loss of her, too.

   Everything was the same, except for the moment that it wasn’t. This time when Asuka asked, they kissed.

   The morning had been the same. Natsu was babysitting her while Alzack and Bisca went out on a job. Asuka asked for cake and members of the guild burst into action. Natsu lost to the little girl in a shooting contest, and had to do whatever she said all day. She rode him like a pony to the park, and Lucy followed to make sure the little girl stayed safe. They took on small jobs so that Asuka could get enough jewels to buy back her parents’ snowglobe from the pawn shop. She told Natsu and Lucy why she wanted it. The blonde celestial wizard hugged her and cheered about how cute and what a good girl she was. That was when the story changed.

   Clutching the snowglobe tightly in her tiny fingers close to her chest, the little girl smiled brightly up at the two young adults who were watching her for the day. Her eyes were glittering with a fabulous idea. “Lucy, when are you and Natsu finally gonna kiss each other?”

   Lucy’s entire body went stiff from shock, and her jaw dropped. “Say what?!” Behind her, Natsu made a noise of complete bewilderment.

   “Mommy and daddy are kissing all of the time!” She chirped.

   Lucy smiled nervously. “Well… that’s great, but we’re not your mom and dad, sweetie.”

   Asuka puffed her cheeks out as she pouted for a moment, and Lucy thought that was the end of that. Oh, how wrong she was. She knew it the moment that Asuka pointed a finger toward her and looked to her partner with a self-satisfied grin.

   “Give her a smooch, Natsu! Right on the lips!” She looked very proud of herself for coming up with such a command.

   “What a great idea, Asuka!” Happy snickered behind his paws. Figures he was in support of it. “You gotta do what she says, buddy!”

   Natsu stood with his hands gripping his sides, looking unamused. “You’re way too young to ask for that!” He snorted, but didn’t turn the shade of red that Lucy did upon the command. In fact, he didn’t seem embarrassed at all and brushed off Asuka’s request quite nonchalantly.

   Gaining confidence from his refusal, Lucy stood up from where she crouched and crossed her arms. “Yeah, I’m sorry to let you down and all, but that is totally out of the question!”

   About to commend herself and Natsu for being able to at least resist somethingthat Asuka had demanded, she felt her heart break a little when Asuka looked to the ground, as if she were about to start crying. Her whole delighted expression had deflated.

   “But you promised me you’d do anything I asked you to do,” she sniffled.

   Despite walking straight into a trap, Lucy felt horrible for her refusal. Was it even such a bad thing to be kissed by Natsu?

   Wait, what?

   She realized that Natsu had stepped up behind her, feeling the intense heat from his body merely inches away. Lucy glanced back toward him, an apology almost on her tongue. Had she hurt his feelings too by outright denying Asuka’s request? After all, he hadn’t exactly turned his nose up at the idea of kissing her; he’d simply said Asuka shouldn’t have requested it. Before she could say anything, he spoke.

   “Well, it’s not like it’ll kill us or anything,” he spoke a bit sarcastically, and moved closer toward her.

   Of course Natsu wanted to make Asuka happy, she told herself. He couldn’t resist the little girl, no matter how much he might say he wasn’t under her spell. Lucy didn’t know why she felt so flattered that he was perfectly fine with the idea of kissing her. That was probably what caused her to break out in a smile. “Yeah, you’re right.”

   But then common sense hit her an instant later and she narrowed her eyes. “Wait a second, that’s not the issue here! It’s not my health I’m concerned about!”

   Despite her protests, Natsu came closer still. His eyes burned with a determination she normally saw in them in the middle of a fight. The way his cheeks were puffed told her he was trying to psyche himself up. Was he really about to do this?!

   Lucy took half a step back, feeling flustered once more. “H-Hey… whoa, you’re actually serious about this, aren’t you? Ah-”

   She squeezed her eyes shut, but froze. Lucy froze in that moment as Natsu leaned in to kiss her.

   First she heard Asuka’s squeal of delight. Happy was snickering once more, a jovial “They LIIIIIKE each other!” barely registering to her. The sound rushed out of her ears after that, and in that instant all she could feel was Natsu’s proximity to her. She felt his breath on her just a moment before their lips met.

   It wasn’t like it was her first kiss, but it was the first one to send such an electrical rush through her body, and she felt herself instinctively lean into Natsu as they kissed. Then she felt his hands grab her torso and he jerked her a little bit closer. With her chest pressed to his, she could feel that his heart was racing just as much as hers was. He had seemed so calm about the situation, she could hardly believe it. And when they pulled away from each other, Lucy couldn’t believe how much she had enjoyed it.

   When she opened her eyes, she couldn’t believe she saw a blush on Natsu’s cheeks. In an instant, everything had changed.

   Everything else was the same, except for when it wasn’t.