We Are Young

24 Jun 2015
Part 1 of We Are Young

They’re teenagers, they’re young and they can worry about love and life.

A collection of character and relationship-centric, interrelated stories about some students of Fairy Gakuen.

Teen (13+)
Chapters: 23
Words: 377,513

We Are Young

Chapter 7
One Thing


..aka “Wherefore Art Thou Romeo”

Chapter Notes:

Well, here we are, moving forward. Short Q and A:

* Will the minor characters have chapters too? — Yes! Right now I’ve written Alzack and Bisca’s, and there’s already plans for Jet and Droy, Macao, The Raijinshuu, Mira, Lisanna and Makarov. 🙂

* When will that goddamned bet end? — It’s a thing now, guys. Just like how all of Magnolia ships Jerza, all of Magnolia is also in on that Natsu-and-Lucy bet. I think I should make that a running gag. Haha!

The last chapter was really simple, with only three characters involved, but this one has one-.. two-.. THREE families, actually! It’s about Romeo — everyone’s little brother. He’s cute. Also, Wendy’s cute, and since people seem to like them together, I figured giving them their moments wouldn’t hurt. But at the core of this, it’s basically Romeo and how he knows everyone and everyone knows him.

Plus, NaLu. So much. Cute. NaLu. Because I can’t help it.

The chapter should actually be called ‘Wherefore Art Thou Natsu’, but this is about Romeo, so…

Track 07: One Thing
..aka “Wherefore Art Thou Romeo”

“Now I’m climbing the walls but you don’t notice at all
That I’m going out of my mind all day and all night”
— One Direction


Gildarts was listening to the local radio station that afternoon as he lounged lazily in the police booth. The school dismissal rush hour had just finished andthe initial surge of students running out the school gates had dispersed. He noted the usual smaller groups of kids leaving after cleaning duty or club activities. He himself had been greeted by Juvia-chan and Bisca-chan on their way home from swimming club.

The police officer raised an eyebrow, though, when he saw a certain boy run out from the FairyGaku gates.

Romeo Conbolt was in Junior High, he knew. The 12-year old had lived in Magnolia all his life and Gildarts was a good friend of the boy’s father, Macao.

“Oi, Romeo!” Gildarts called, just as the boy was passing by the booth.

Romeo, messy and clumsy as always, did a double-take when the police officer called him. “Gildarts!”

“Tuck your shirt in.” Gildarts said with an amused smile. Romeo pouted, not relenting. His idol Natsu never tucked his shirt in! “What’s the hurry?”

The boy blinked and then looked at the man in realization — Gildarts could help him! “Have you seen Natsu? I went inside to ask Erza-nee and she said he left early.”

Gildarts smirked. Of course Romeo was just looking for Natsu. Romeo idolized Natsu and Natsu was proud to call the boy his ‘apprentice’. “I didn’t really notice ’im, but if it’s Natsu, he probably went to the arcade.”

The boy nodded. “The arcade. Great, thanks!”

Before Gildarts could say any more, the boy was running down the street again. The officer simply shook his head and shrugged.

Magnolia’s arcade was filled with students in the early hours after school and Romeo had to squeeze his way in. He didn’t find a head of pink, but he did recognize Jet, Droy and Max playing a shooting game. Droy and Max were in dual player mode and Jet was simply cheering them on, so Romeo went to ask him.“Natsu?” Jet repeated. The boy nodded. “He was here a while ago but his dad called, I think. He told us he’s going to The Dragon. Don’t you have his number?”“I do, but it’s not really useful ’cause I don’t have a phone.” Romeo shrugged.

Max looked away from his game and pat the boy dismissively on the head. “Well, The Dragon’s just four blocks away, maybe you can still catch him there.”

The Fire Dragon was a prestigious-looking restaurant on the outside but inside, it was bustling with life, customers and patrons talking rowdily and animatedly.“The Dragon”, as it was more commonly called, was not really a ‘rich-people’ restaurant. The aesthetics only gave off that impression. It was actually an affordable and busy place that people liked to visit because of its delicious spicy menu.Romeo, determined not to have to squeeze his way in as with the arcade earlier, went through the back door.

He was immediately greeted by the sight of Cana about to take out the trash. He remembered that she worked part-time in the restaurant.

“Cana-nee-chan!” Romeo smiled, finally recognizing a more reliable face.

“Oh. Romeo.” Cana said, blinking at the kid. “What’s up? Your dad’s in the kitchen as usual.”

Romeo nodded. The people at The Dragon were used to him. Besides practically being Natsu’s little brother, he was also the son of Macao, their veteran cook — the man responsible for bringing Igneel’s recipes to fruition. Although Romeo didn’t like his dad all that much lately…

“Yeah, I know that.” he quickly said. “Is Natsu here?”

Cana shrugged. “I don’t know if he’s still in, but last I checked, he is. I’ve been on the floor, though, so I can’t really be sure. Try to take a peek on the kitchen.”

“Okay. Thanks!”

“No problem, kid.”

Cana went out the back door with the large bags of trash as Romeo made his way to kitchens first. He saw his dad and the other cooks busy, but still no sign of Natsu. He headed to the counter next, where Igneel was supervising his cashiers.

“Hey, Igneel.” Romeo called, sitting on one spare stool.

Igneel looked at him and smiled as if it was the most normal thing in the world to turn around and find the boy sitting there. “Romeo! Came to help, too?”

Romeo blinked up at the man, then asked “Not really, but am I needed?” He was willing to take up small tasks for the man. During The Dragon’s peak seasons, he sometimes worked alongside Natsu to lend two extra pairs of hands for the restaurant.

“Not anymore, we’ve recovered from the initial onslaught! There was a party here just a while ago and it got really busy!” Igneel laughed. “Came to drop by on your dad?”

“No.” Romeo said, a little too grumpily. “I heard Natsu’s in.”

“Ah, yeah. One of the cooks was running late so I asked Natsu to sub.”

“I didn’t see him in the kitchen.”

“Yeah, when the cook arrived, I told him he could go.” Igneel answered, then noted the boy’s disappointed expression. “Oh hey, Lucy came to pick him up. They said they’re going to Mira-chan’s.”

“The Strauss’?”

“Yep, said something about Laxus and his band.”

“Ah, yeah…” Romeo said, nodding slowly. “I’ll be going there now. Thanks, Igneel.”

“Anytime, buddy.” Igneel answered, watching to boy slip through the back door again. He returned to supervising his employees.

Macao poked his head from the kitchen. “Igneel, was that Romeo?”

“Yeah, just asked me where Natsu is.”

“He didn’t even greet his dad…”

Igneel laughed. “Relax, man. He’s just at that age!”

Macao sighed and simply went back to his work.

The Strauss’ Bar and Cafe was a busy affair as well. Igneel said something about Laxus and his band, and Romeo knew what it could be. The Raijinshuu would be playing at Mira’s — that’s why the bar was filled with teens and younger-than-usual adults. Kinana and Mira were busy on the bar and Romeo didn’t want to bother them. However, as he walked around searching the place for traces of Natsu or even Lucy, he failed to look at where he was going and he bumped against a large guy.“Whoa, kid!” Elfman said, carrying a tray of, thankfully, empty glasses. He was helping out too. “Watch it.”“Elfman, have you seen Natsu?” Romeo asked.

Elfman relaxed when he saw that it was just Romeo. “Ah, they were here a while ago, Natsu and Lucy. Went backstage to talk to the band, I think.”


“I’m sure you’re welcome there, too. Head on over.”

Romeo did as he was told and went backstage, where the Raijinshuu were getting ready.

The four band members were formerly FairyGaku students. They had been together since their high school days, and up until now, they still played some gigs when they weren’t busy with college. They had lots of fans in the locale, as far as Romeo knew.

When the boy stepped in the room, Laxus and Freed were busy adjusting their respective guitars, Evergreen was busy vocalizing, and Bixlow… Well, he wasn’t busy. He was just twirling his drumsticks in his hands.

“Hey, it’s Romeo.” Bixlow said, even before the kid could speak up. The rest of the band looked at him.

Romeo suddenly swallowed. They were looking at him so… curiously.

“What’s up, bro? Here to watch us play?” Bixlow asked.

“Um, not really…” he answered, scratching his head. Romeo then asked, nervously, “Um, did Natsu drop by?”

“Yeah.” Laxus answered quickly. “Idiot was challenging me to a fight.”

Freed cleared his throat, then said, “Actually, Lucy just wanted to greet us quickly because they won’t be able to watch us play. I think they had to go home or something.”

Evergreen followed up. “Though yes, Natsu challenged Laxus too, but that’s not new.”

“Oh. Okay. They went home, yeah?” Romeo asked.

Bixlow nodded vigorously, ever their hyper drummer. “Yep, yep! Probably to make cute little babi—”

“Bix!” Freed scolded — he wasn’t going to let his bandmate pollute such a young innocent mind! Romeo only blinked, clueless.

“Shutting.” Bixlow said. “Don’t wanna annoy Mama Freed. He’ll tell Papa Laxus.”

Freed glared at his friend. “Stop it.”

Evergreen giggled, then stopped when Laxus looked at her weirdly. “Has he always been like this?”

“Bixlow is special.” Freed grumbled.


They didn’t notice as Romeo took his leave.

Romeo stopped in front of the Dragneel residence.He sighed. Hopefully, Natsu would be home, or he’d just give up and go home himself.Home was the house next door, anyways. Natsu had been his big brother not only because their fathers were friends but also because they lived right next to each other.

Seeing the lights on at Natsu’s room made Romeo smile. Either Natsu was home, or the stupid burglar turned the lights on.

He rang the bell several times and waited for a couple seconds to see Natsu open up his window and then look out.

“Oh hey there, Romeo!” Natsu gave him a wide smile.

Romeo sighed in relief. Finally! “Natsu, I looked everywhere for you! I have something to tell ya!”

“Yeah? Let yourself in, man! Come up here!” Natsu said, and Romeo did as he was told. He always thought it was risky that the Dragneels never locked their gate or front door. Nevertheless, the boy let himself in and went straight to Natsu’s room. He knew the house by heart.

“Natsu!” he barged in excitedly, only to pause abruptly when he saw Lucy sitting up on the bed, typing something in her laptop. Happy was lounging by the blonde’s legs. The bed was littered with several notebooks and textbooks. “Lucy-nee?”

“Romeo.” Lucy smiled. ‘What is it? Come in!’ — then she called out, “Natsu, Romeo’s here!”

Natsu went out from the bathroom and then grinned widely at Romeo. “So, what is it you wanna tell me?”

Romeo seemingly forgot his initial excitement. “Err, am I interrupting anything?”

“Actually, we’re doing homework…” Natsu said slowly.

“Nope, you’re not interrupting anything!” Lucy quickly followed up. She reached out to push aside the school things beside her and make space for Romeo on the bed. “Come in, sit down!”

Romeo reluctantly dropped his bag by the doorway and sat down on the bed.

“I’m the one doing homework anyway, because someone’s too lazy.” Lucy said. Natsu pouted at her. Lucy huffed. “Go on with your boy talk. Pretend I’m not here.”

“You’re missing Raijinshuu play?” Romeo asked. He knew that Natsu and Lucy sometimes did homework together, but he didn’t think they’d pass up Raijinshuu for it. They both liked the music very much.

“We planned to watch, but Igneel wanted to have dinner and invite the neighbors; the ones who just moved in. He asked me to buy ingredients and he’ll cook when he gets home. And because Lucy eats like a cow, she passed up the gig to eat instea—” Natsu stopped when his face met a pillow.

Lucy smiled at Romeo. “I figured that tonight, going to see the band is not really practical since this homework is due tomorrow. Better a quiet night than having to pull an all-nighter to finish this, right?”

“Oh. Yeah. I guess.” Romeo nodded, understanding the young woman’s point.

“So what’cha wanna talk about, man?” Natsu asked Romeo again, absently stroking Happy’s fur as he sat down with his companions on the bed.

Romeo smiled excitedly again. He struggled to retrieve something from his pocket as he started, “You gotta see this. Waitaminute, where did I put it… Here! Natsu—”

“Tadaima!” — Igneel’s booming voice interrupted whatever the boy had to say. They heard the man call out, “Natsu, ya there? ’Ya buy what we need?”

“Yeah!” Natsu stood up, then looked at the boy. ‘I’ll be back, bro.’ He ran out the room and left the door open. Lucy and Romeo heard Natsu ask, “Need any help with cookin’, dad?”

They heard Igneel say, “Yeah, let’s get this started!”

“Well, that’s going to take a while.” Lucy mused, engrossed with her homework. She looked up to see Romeo scratching his head. “You should just stay for dinner, Romeo. They’re inviting the people next door. You should meet them. They’re your neighbors, too.”

“Yeah, maybe I’ll stay for dinner.” Romeo nodded. He was sure his dad would be coming home late again, anyways. “I should probably change, though. I’ll be back later, Lucy-nee!”

“Mm’kay.” Lucy said, glancing at the boy before returning to her homework. Romeo grabbed his bag and went downstairs. She heard him faintly telling Natsu that he was going for a quick shower, and then Igneel inviting the boy for dinner

After a while, Lucy abandoned her homework and joined the Dragneels in the kitchen, asking them if she could help with anything. Both of them politely declined.

‘Polite’ for the Dragneels meant that Igneel said, “Oh, sweetheart, you’re a guest, you shouldn’t bother!” while Natsu practically shouted, “NO, LUCE! YOU CAN’T COOK FOR SHIT!”

Sometimes Lucy still had a hard time believing that Natsu had superb cooking skills that he got from his dad. And then sometimes, Lucy cursed the fact that she’s a kitchen hazard.

The world is weird.

As Romeo was about to go through the Dragneels’ gates, he heard a high-pitched yelp from the street. He immediately rushed over to see what the matter was.He saw a girl with long midnight blue hair, wearing his school’s uniform, struggling as she dropped the handful of books she was carrying.“Here, lemme help you with that.” Romeo said, picking up two of the books and handing it to the girl. “These books are heavy, can you carry them all by yourself?”

“Thank you so much.” the girl answered, looking at him as she fixed the books on her arms again.

Romeo stared at her. She was an inch or two taller than him, with a shy smile and big innocent, friendly eyes. He stood there dumbly, looking at her and trying to remember if he had seen her before.

“Don’t worry, my house is just over there.” she said with a kind smile, bowing slightly. “Thank you for your help…”

“U-Um-… Y-Yeah…”

Romeo watched, dumbfounded, as the girl kept walking, and then went through the gates of the house just next to the Dragneels…

Romeo practically barged back inside the Dragneel residence. “NATSU! IGNEEL!”

The three people in the kitchen all looked up at him.

“I thought you were going to change.” Lucy said, raising an eyebrow.

“Are… Are.. Are we inviting the new neighbors…?” Romeo turned to Igneel.

“Yeah, that’s kind of the whole point of us cooking lots… Also, change into something decent, son. You look like hell.” Igneel said, raising an eyebrow. “Why are you asking?”

“T-T-There’s… um, this girl… do you know if she’s one of the people who just moved in?”

“They’re basically the parents, two sons and a daughter. I’m not sure but maybe you’re talking about the daughter.” — and then it was followed with the inevitable “Why?”

“I… I saw her just now…”

At this, Lucy and Igneel had begun to grin.

“Yeah, so?” Natsu asked, not picking up with the pace yet.

Romeo struggled to say what he really wanted to say. “So… I saw her!”

“Yeah. We got that.” Natsu nodded. The other two ‘adults’ simply watched. When Romeo simply stared at him, Natsu tried again. “So?”

“She… she was…” Romeo stuttered, then looked down. After a while of fidgeting and scratching the back of his head awkwardly, he finally gave up and said, “She was really… cute…?”

They looked at him.

Happy meowed.

“Happy says you like her.” Natsu deadpanned. “I agree.”

The boy blushed, then looked at the cat angrily. “N-No, Happy, it’s not like that! I don’t like her!”

“Romeo, sweetie.” Lucy interrupted kindly, with an amused smile on her face. ‘We’re going to have dinner with that girl you “don’t’ like, so you should change into something nice.”

Romeo looked at her, blushing. “It’s not that I don’t like her! Well, I… I don’t hate her, but—”

Lucy smiled a little more widely — frighteningly, actually — this time. “Dear? Shower. And brush your hair after.”

“Got it!” the boy said, then ran out the house hurriedly.

Igneel whistled, returning to the dish he was stirring. “Guess our boy fell in love at first sight, huh.”

“Wow.” Natsu chuckled as he went back to expertly chopping meat and veggies.

“He’s so cute.” Lucy sighed, resuming her work too. They didn’t let her in the kitchen, so she busied herself with preparing the dining table.

After a few moments, Natsu said, “Lucy, you’ll make a good mom.”

Lucy looked at his with a raised eyebrow, then simply chuckled. “Thank you.” she said, gracefully doing a mock curtsy.

“I demand ten grandchildren.” Igneel said, not looking up from his cooking.

The teens looked up at him.

“What’re you talking about, dad?” Natsu said, his tone slightly annoyed. “If it’s me and Lucy, we’ll give you forty.”

“No way!” Lucy cried, looking at them with a scandalized expression. Then, she corrected: “Twenty is enough.”

“Thirty-five.” Natsu argued.

Lucy huffed. “Twenty.”



“Thirty.” Natsu said, and his expression said it was the last offer.

The blonde sighed. “Deal.”

Igneel laughed. “Hah — thirty! I’ll remember this day!” Natsu and Lucy looked at each other and then laughed too.

Lucy had to convince Igneel and Natsu that she really wasn’t supposed to be the one to invite their neighbors over because it wasn’t her house. Sighing, Igneel headed over to invite them instead. Romeo came back freshly-showered and wearing decent clothes. His hair stuck out in different directions and Lucy had to brush it for him. She seated the boy on the couch and started working on his messy hair.Natsu was watching them and smiling slyly. “Luigi-mama.”Lucy simply stuck out her tongue childishly and then gave Romeo one last pat on the head. “Do you know if your dad’s coming?”

“He’s still at The Dragon, told me to eat with you and enjoy.” Romeo said, looking down.

“At least he’s telling you to enjoy.” Lucy said with a fond smile. “My dad doesn’t even know I’m here.”

Natsu reached out to give the blonde’s hand a quick squeeze. Lucy nodded gently at him.

Romeo saw this exchange. The boy simply said, “Natsu, please give me tips.”

“Tips for what?” Natsu said, still not letting go of Lucy’s hand even when the blonde sat right beside him.

“Well, you got Lucy-nee to date you.” Romeo shrugged, looking at them.

They both laughed. “We’re not dating, silly.” Lucy said, chuckling. “We’re just friends.” Natsu nodded contentedly, although the two teens openly snuggling in front of the boy contradicted the statement they had just made.

Romeo raised an eyebrow, then mumbled to himself, “I have to ask Levy-nee about that bet.” He was adjusting the collar of his shirt because he felt uncomfortable after Lucy fixed it for him. It felt so… formal. When Happy sat on his lap, Romeo simply pat the cat on the head.

In front of him, Lucy and Natsu were engrossed in their usual banter again, Natsu complaining when Lucy also started fixing his spiky hair and his hoodie.

After a while, Romeo watched them go back to the kitchen, saying something about drinks and rice.

Just then, Igneel opened the door with a flourish, practically saying, “Welcome to our humble home!” proudly to their guests. Lucy was just taking out the drinks and Natsu was serving the dishes when their visitors stepped inside.

“Kids, let’s get this dinner started!” Igneel called out.

“The table’s ready!” Natsu said. “Romeo, c’mere now!” Romeo also joined them at the dining room, bringing Happy with him and then settling the cat beside the feline’s bowl by the counter.

“Come in, come in, don’t be shy!” Igneel said, ushering their new neighbors in.

Jellal nodded politely at the man. “You have a nice place, Dragneel-san.” He was holding Charle in his arms.

“Thanks for inviting us over.” Mystogan said. Wendy smiled shyly, clinging to her brother’s arm.

“Shush, and please just call me Igneel.” Igneel said, leading them to the dining room. “Please take a seat, everyone.”

“Ah! It’s Mystogan-kun and Jellal-kun!” Lucy squealed in delight as she saw them. “So you’re the new neighbors!”

“Lucy-san.” the twins said, smiling lightly.

“You know ’em?” Natsu asked.

“Later.” Lucy promised. Natsu let it pass.

“Looks like we all know each other here… Your cat goes to the counter — there’s a bowl there.” Igneel said as he sat at the head of the table. On one side were his ‘kids’ and on the other side, their guests. Jellal handed Charle over to Wendy. The girl sat between her brothers right after putting her pet beside Happy and telling the feline to behave. For the most part, both pets were looking at each other curiously. “Alright, before we start eating, kids, they’re our new neighbors.”

Jellal, the most outgoing of the siblings, took the liberty to introduce himself and his siblings. “I’m Jellal, and this is my twin Mystogan, and our little sister Wendy. Oh, and Charle. Our cat. Unfortunately, our dad is out of town, and our mom is still at work. We moved here because I got accepted to Sorciere and Wendy needed a new school.”

“Nice meeting you.” Both Mystogan and Wendy bowed slightly. Wendy smiled at Romeo, recognizing him from earlier. Romeo pouted, blushed, and looked away.

“Why’s the name familiar?” Natsu leaned to his side to whisper to Lucy.

Lucy did the same, whispering back: “Erza’s cake guy.”

“Oh.” Natsu simply nodded, then sat straight again, grinning innocently at their guests.

“Right, next time we invite you over, I hope your parents are here.” Igneel said. “Well, you know me, I brought oden to you a while back… and just call me Igneel, okay? We own The Fire Dragon restaurant downtown.”

“The one with spicy food?” Mystogan asked.

“That’s the one.” Igneel said, nodding happily. “Well, this is my son Natsu.”

“Yo!” Natsu said, mock-saluting and grinning in his friendly manner.

“You should know Romeo over there, too. Romeo and his dad Macao live just beside us. Macao’s still at work, though. Romeo, I think Wendy-chan goes to your school?”

“H-Hai. I… noticed her uniform earlier.” Romeo nodded timidly, glancing at Wendy, who looked at him, and then went back to looking and listening obediently to their host.

Igneel turned to smile at the girl. “Wendy-chan, if you need any help, you can ask Romeo, alright?” The girl looked at him curiously. “Boy’s been born and bred here, so everyone knows ’im.”

“Oh. Thank you.” Wendy said, looking at the boy across her. “Romeo-kun, it’s very nice to meet you.”

“Y-Yeah. You too.” Romeo gave her a nervous smile, then looked away again.

“Oh, and yeah.” Natsu said then. “And then here’s Lucy, she’s a freeload—”

“I just happen to be here.” Lucy interrupted, keeping her voice pleasant. “We were… uh, doing homework. Natsu’s a classmate.”

“Ah.” Jellal said, then he turned to Wendy. “Lucy-san is a good friend of Erza. She also goes to Fairy High.”

“Oh.” Wendy nodded. “Nice to meet you Lucy-san.”

Lucy turned to Igneel. “They’ve lived here before and they knew Erza.”

“Ah, Erza-chan! Alright, then I think all of you are friends, huh?” Igneel said, nodding approvingly. “Hm, now that that’s done, let’s all eat!”

“Itadakimasu!” the “kids” said, and for a while Igneel watched them all dig in the dinner he and Natsu prepared, before he started his meal as well.

The cats by the counter were having their own moment. Happy backed off from his fish and was practically telling Charle to have it. The white cat sniffed suspiciously on the food for a while before helping herself. Happy watched in fascination.

After a while, Igneel engaged Jellal in a conversation of what his parents did for a living. Natsu joined in shortly.

Lucy looked around. Romeo was timidly stealing glances at Wendy, while the girl was innocently eating her dinner beside her brother. Mystogan complimented the food and told his sister that they should come to The Dragon sometime to eat, to which the girl nodded enthusiastically before resuming her silent meal.

Lucy also noted Wendy looking at Romeo hopefully — maybe the girl hoped for conversation with someone her age, but Romeo only looked grumpy as he pretended not to be utterly interested on the girl.

The blonde smiled and tried to initiate conversation — Natsu and Igneel were busy talking to Jellal.

“So Wendy-chan,” Lucy started, catching the girl’s attention.

Wendy looked up at the girl and Mystogan was thankful of Lucy’s charm — he instantly saw that his sister was blushing when the young woman addressed her. “What do you think of Magnolia? You were just a toddler last time you were here, right?”

“Oh, it’s… it’s a really beautiful place. The river is very pretty and…” Wendy struggled to say an intelligent answer. As she spoke up, Romeo looked at her, but she didn’t seem to notice. “…and the people are kind… and nice.”

Lucy smiled. “I’m new here, too. I’ve only been here for, like, almost two years? Yep. And yeah, you gotta love that river, right? Specially during sunset.”

“Yes!” Wendy nodded, grateful that the pretty blonde seemed to be pleased with her. “The town square is a really nice place, too.”

“Made any friends yet? Your brothers are making many friends, but I’m sure you’ll make more.” Lucy said pleasantly, noticing that Romeo was interested in the conversation. Damn, that boy would owe her one after this! “I mean, you’re really cute and friendly…”

“Oh, I… I’ve made one so far…” Wendy said, shyly, as if that would disappoint the blonde. Wendy’s first friend was a pink-haired girl named Chelia, who was one year her senior and practically a star student… and she didn’t even go to the same school! Wendy only met the girl because of a trip to the bookstore. Chelia had recognized Wendy’s bracelet from her cousin Sherry’s shop. “She’s really kind.”

“One?” Lucy asked, blinking. “Just… one?”

“She’s very shy.” Mystogan explained.

“Oh c’mon.” Lucy grinned. “Count Romeo in! You have two now!”

Wendy looked at Romeo nervously, who pretended to be busy with his food again. “I… I don’t think that’s how it works—”

“No, it’s fine.” Romeo said, looking at her shortly, and then back at his plate. “I don’t mind.”

Wendy looked at him hesitantly. Lucy ruffled the boy’s hair and looked at Wendy. “He’s kinda grumpy right now, but you’ll like him, believe me.” Romeo blushed lightly and grumbled a grumpy ’Lucy-nee…’ The blonde instead smiled encouragingly at the younger girl. “You’ll take care of Wendy, right, Romeo? Introduce her to some of your friends?”

“Sure.” Romeo nodded, letting out a small smile, which Wendy returned. Mystogan pat his sister on the back.

“And you can count me and Natsu in, too.” Lucy said, addressing Wendy again. Natsu, hearing his name, turned to them. “You have four friends now.”

This time, Wendy smiled brightly. She looked at Natsu, who gave her a thumbs up and then back at Lucy. The young woman in front of her was being so kind and nice, and to top it off, Lucy-san was very very pretty… “Thank you, Lucy-san. That means a lot.”

“You’re welcome! And anything for such a charming girl like you.” Lucy said, winking.

“You’re really beautiful, Lucy-san.” Wendy said earnestly and Lucy just smiled at her fondly.

Lucy waved her off. “Aw, no! You’re flattering me!”

“Careful, her head’s getting big.” Natsu suddenly chimed in.

“Oh, you shut up.” Lucy snapped at him with a pout. “She’s got better eyesight than you.”

“Hey, just because I don’t say you’re pretty, it doesn’t mean that I don’t think you are.” Natsu complained, then turned to Wendy. “She’s weird, right?”

Wendy giggled, obviously entertained by the two teens’ antics.

“It’ll be nice if you say it sometimes.” Lucy shrugged. “Not like I’m hoping that from you, though.”

“Weirdooooo.” Natsu jeered.

Wendy looked at the teens and then asked, “Is Lucy-san Natsu-san’s girlfriend?”

“Let me answer that, Wendy-chan.” Igneel said, temporarily interrupting his conversation with Jellal. “No, they’re not dating. Why? Romeo, the floor’s yours.”

Romeo caught up quickly, looking at Wendy with a knowing smile then. “Because they’re ‘just friends’, but nobody really believes that anymore. There’s actually this bet going on…”

“I actually put in quite a respectable amount in that bet.” Mystogan commented silently. Everyone looked at him.

“You’re in it too?” Natsu raised an eyebrow. “I thought you were sane, man. You looked sane.”

“They’re treating us like lottery.” Lucy shook her head tiredly.

“Someone put in a gift certificate in the pot.” Mystogan reasoned out. “The stakes are good.”

Lucy rolled her eyes and sighed. Natsu laughed and asked for details. Finally, Romeo worked out the courage to ask Wendy what class she’s in, and Wendy was glad to be talking to someone her age.

Dinner became a lively affair with interesting conversations all over.

Grandine rang the doorbell just when they were finishing up dinner and Igneel let her in, once again introducing his ‘kids’ to the woman. After a few minutes of chit-chat, the new neighbors stood up to leave.“The food was amazing, Igneel-san. Thanks for everything.” Jellal said politely, his siblings behind him nodding their agreement.Grandine thanked their neighbor for accommodating her children very kindly.

Lucy waved towards Wendy, and the girl waved back happily, an adoring look on her face. Over the course of the dinner, Lucy had discovered the girl’s love for books, and they bonded over it for what little time the dinner lasted. Lucy would make sure to tell Levy about it later.

Lastly, Wendy turned to Romeo and gave him another bow. “Thank you again for earlier. I hope to see you around school.”

“Yeah.” Romeo said, standing slightly behind Lucy. “M-Maybe I can… drop by your classroom at lunch or something.”

“Oh no, it’ll be so troublesome!”

“It’s fine, I can… introduce you to some of my other friends too.”

“Thank you very much!” Wendy bowed again. “See you!”

Romeo nodded, and they all watched as their guests piled out the house and return to their home next door.

After a good long while, Romeo found himself being stared at.

Lucy, Natsu and Igneel had knowing smiles in their faces.

“What?” Romeo said, nervous.

“So?” Lucy asked, her tone teasing.

“So… what?” the boy asked, faking innocence.

A cat meowed.

“Please don’t tell me Happy said I like her.”

Natsu mused for a while. “But he did.”


Later that night, Lucy was lying half-asleep on Natsu’s bed. She just finished the homework (but to Natsu’s credit, he did help a bit too) and she felt really sleepy. She was just waiting for Loke to come and pick her up.“Hey.” Natsu said, shoving aside the notebooks and papers that surrounded the blonde and sitting on the bed beside her. He poked her cheek. “Heeeeey. Hey, Luce.”“Hm?” Lucy mumbled, hugging a pillow to herself, not bothering to look up at him.

Natsu sighed, then pouted, obviously thinking hard about something. “Didn’t Romeo come here a while ago to tell me something?”

Lucy looked up at him. Natsu was staring at the ceiling, as if the answers were there.

“Yeah.” Lucy said then. “Come to think of it… yeah, he did.”

“Did he even get to tell me?”

“No.” Lucy said, rubbing her eyes. “Just ask him tomorrow. I mean, he’s just next door.”

“Yeah, okay.” Natsu rested his back against the headboard and shrugged, absently playing with Lucy’s hair.

After a while, Natsu spoke up again. “Luce?”


“Romeo’s just twelve, isn’t he… uh, too young for the L-thing or something? I mean, I get it, it’s kinda cute, but…”

“Sweetie,” Lucy started, sounding very patient. Natsu looked down at her because she never called anyone ‘sweetie’ except when she was about to explain something that might be difficult for Natsu to understand. “Ever heard of what they call ‘puppy love’? He’s at that age when he notices girls his age and you’ve seen Wendy-chan — she really is charming.”

“Hm.” Natsu nodded. “Well, what if… you know… it’s not… uh, all good?”

Lucy raised a hand and pat her best friend’s knee reassuringly. “I think he just has this really huge crush on her, Natsu. But who knows, maybe they’ll be good friends and maybe more than that? Or maybe they’ll just stay friends. Romeo is a sensitive boy, I’m sure he’ll realize early enough if his crush turns to something more or if it doesn’t. Nevertheless, it’s a good thing they’re friends now.”

Natsu nodded, accepting what he was told. Lucy was always right about these things.

“Romeo didn’t take after your denseness, anyway.” Lucy giggled.

“Oi.” the pink-head pouted. “I’m not that dense.”

“You are.” Lucy insisted.

“No, you’re just so much smarter.”

“I’m not. You’re just really REALLY insensitive sometimes.” Lucy concluded, playing with the hem of Natsu’s shorts lazily. “Not all times, of course. But most times.”

“But Luce, what if Wendy dumps him? That’s supposed to, like, hurt.”

“I doubt that there will be dumping any time soon, Natsu.”


“Yeah. Romeo looks like someone who’ll take his time — in fact right now he’s not even entirely sure, I think he just wants this girl to like him enough to hang out with him. And Wendy-chan… I think she’ll have to be told explicitly for her to know what’s really going on.”

“Hm.” Natsu considered that. “D’ya think I’m worrying too much?”

Lucy gave her companion’s knee another pat, chuckling. “Oh, it’s not that bad. You look adorable doing it.”

Then they heard a car honking. Three times.

“That must be your dashing lion.”

Lucy sighed. “Tell him I want to be lifted bridal style and then taken home to my bed.”

Natsu looked at her. “He’ll do that, you know.”

“Yeah, he so will.” the blonde said, abruptly sitting up. “I’m not risking it. It’ll look so damn crazy. Help me with my notebooks?”

Natsu helped her fix her things and she said, “Thanks” and left him a quick peck on the cheek before she left. That last gesture got him blinking, but Lucy was sleepy so he shrugged it off.

He still thought it strange that Romeo completely forgot about whatever it was the boy wanted to tell his big-bro Natsu. Natsu wasn’t used to Romeo just forgetting something he was interested in. He remembered little Romeo back then calling him ‘Natsu-nii’ all the time, and then the boy calling him plain ‘Natsu’ because Natsu told him to. Romeo had been so happy back then. Now Romeo was not just calling him plain ‘Natsu’, Romeo was also asking for advice… Actually, he just wasn’t used to Romeo blushing and stuttering.

‘People in love are weird.’, thought Natsu. Then, he remembered what Lucy told him. ‘Fine, fine, it’s a crush. Okay. Still weird, though.’

Oh, well. His little brother and proud apprentice and best protégé liked this visibly likeable and really nice girl, and Natsu couldn’t help but smile about that.

Romeo believed that he was a man of his words.When lunchbreak came the next day, he went to class 2-A, peeking on the doorway, seeing Wendy just taking out her lunchbox.“Hey. Conbolt.” one of the students said. “Need something?”

“Ah, sempai, I… I’m actually here for Wen-… uh, Wendy-sempai.” Romeo said, tentative. He hadn’t thought about it before, but Wendy was indeed his sempai.

“The new girl?” the student raised an eyebrow, but simply shrugged. He called out, “Marvell-san, someone’s lookin’ for you.”

Wendy looked up, surprised that her name was called. She saw Romeo by the doorway, who gestured to his own lunchbox.

Wendy smiled brightly and immediately stood up, carrying her lunch with her.

“Romeo-kun, you came…” the girl said appreciatively, and Romeo scratched the back of his head.

“Well, I did say I’ll come, err… I guess I should call you sempai—”

“No, please, Wendy is okay.” the girl insisted. “Are we going to have lunch together?”

“Yeah, if you like, me and my friends know this spot near the courtyard… And… um…”

Wendy didn’t let him finish. She was just delighted to have someone invite her. “That’s great! Please lead the way.”

Romeo smiled lightly, then said, “Follow me.”

Gildarts was listening to the local radio station that afternoon as he lounged lazily in the police booth. The school dismissal rush hour had just finishedand the initial surge of students running out the school gates had dispersed. He noted the usual smaller groups of kids leaving after cleaning duty or club activities. He himself had been greeted by Jet and Droy on their way home from computer club.The police officer raised an eyebrow, though, when he saw a certain boy run out from the FairyGaku gates.“Romeo!”, the man called.

The boy stopped abruptly, then shouted across the street, “Gildarts, did Natsu drop by?”

Gildarts thought for a while. “Yeah!” he said, his voice loud enough to be heard across the street. “He said he’s going home early to catch some anime!”


Romeo was just very very thankful that he wouldn’t have to go around town to look for his big brother this time.

“Natsu-nii!” Romeo barged inside the house again, not bothering to knock or ring this time.Natsu was alone in the living room, eating potato chips and watching his favorite anime. He looked up when the boy went in. “Yo, Romeo.” and then he grinned at the boy. “Did’ya just call me Natsu-nii again?”“Ahhh-… yeah, but nevermind that. I slipped.” Romeo said, laughing uneasily. “Where’s Lucy-nee?”

“I dunno, why’re you askin’ me?” Natsu raised an eyebrow, setting the television on mute and facing his guest.

“It’s just that you’re always together.” the boy shrugged, sitting on the couch with the teen.

Natsu raised an eyebrow. “Really?”


“Oh well, we’re not together right now.” Natsu simply shrugged, then grinned again. “So what’re ya here for?”

“I have something to tell you!”

Natsu smiled slyly, even raising a hand to cover his mouth. “Wendy-chan’s your girlfriend now?”

“No!” Romeo cried, blushing. “It’s not that…”

“Yeah, then what is it?” Natsu asked.

“Well I meant to tell you yesterday about this, and, err…” Romeo scratched his head awkwardly. “They’ve given out flyers for the annual kite-flying competition—”

“This early?” Natsu exclaimed, then checked the calendar. “Whoa, that’s still like next next month, right? That’s awesome! When are we starting to make our kite?”

Magnolia’s Annual Kite Fest had been held in Magnolia yearly since Natsu was in primary school. The contestants were always in pairs, and Natsu and Romeo always bonded over that contest, never missing a year. Natsu often challenged Gray and Erza and Laxus (and on her more rebellious days, Mira) and oftentimes they stepped up and joined too. Gray always paired up with either Cana or Max. Erza with Bisca, Laxus with one of his bandmates. There was one time Erza and Laxus teamed up and they all swore that the pair’s kite was out for blood.

However, this time Romeo was looking down nervously. “Err, that’s what I wanna tell you…”

“What?” Natsu asked, blinking. “You have something for it already? That’s cool—”

“I wanted to ask you to go and pair up with me yesterday, but I always got cut off, and today at lunch, I told Wendy about it and she was so excited—”

Natsu didn’t need to hear anything more. He looked at Romeo, his lips drawn to a thin line. “You’re going with Wendy, aren’t you?”

Romeo bowed his head. “Natsu-nii, I’m so sorry, it’s just that she looked so excited about it and she started talking about how she’s never flown a kite before, and I just asked her right then and there-… Maybe I can tell her that I can’t go—”

“Whoa, whoa!” Natsu said, confused by the boy’s reaction. “Hey, what’s the matter? You’re going with the girl you like, shouldn’t you be… I dunno, proud and happy or something?”

Romeo looked at his senior. “You’re not mad?”

Natsu raised an eyebrow. “Why would I be?”

“You’re… you’re fine with it?”

“It’s cool.” Natsu said, blinking at the boy cluelessly. “Why did you think I won’t be fine with it?”

“But we’ve never missed a year!” Romeo cried. He honestly expected Natsu to be disappointed in some degree. “We always do it together, and—”

At that, the teen simply laughed. “It’s alright, bro!” he instead reached out to ruffle the boy’s hair. “Look at you, you beat me to asking a girl out to the kite fest! You’re fierce, man!”

Romeo blinked.

Natsu crossed his arms across his chest. “Oh hey, I dunno who I’ll be going with, but if you and Wendy come up with a lame kite, I won’t be your aniki anymore! I’ll disown you! You’ll shame our rep! We built it for years, remember?”

“Y-Yeah…” the boy said, smiling lightly. “It’s really okay? You… you’re not angry at me or anything?”

“My number one disciple taking a cute girl to the kite fest?” Natsu said proudly, grinning. “Hah! Let’s see Frostbite beat that!”

Romeo looked at his big brother with an awkward grin on his face. Natsu was going on about strategies and possible competitors. After a while of talking about the past year’s contests and other contestants, Romeo stood up and told Natsu that he had to change and maybe do some homework for once. Natsu gave the boy quite a painful “pat” on the back before he left.

Natsu grinned to himself as he took the remote control and turned back to the television, pressing the unmute button.

He was greeted with a loud shout of “I WILL NOT FORGIVE THOSE WHO HURT MY NAKAMAAAA!”

Natsu had to do a double-take before grumbling, “Dude, calm down. I’m still having a proud-aniki moment here.”

Romeo should do well, he thought — if Romeo stumbled even an inch, Natsu was grabbing someone to go compete with him in the fest to get his little brother back in order.

Chapter Notes:

I’m still tentative on Wendy and Romeo. But as puppy love goes, I think they’re quite a nice and cute example.

I’m still thinking if I’m going to turn that kite-fest to a chapter. But while we’re on the topic of chapters, my shipping heart is squealing at what’s up next.

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