Why did it have to hurt so bad? Why did it have to make her chest clench in sadness, make her lose her breath, make her knees go weak. Why, after seeing them together, did she turn and run the other way? She broke up with him. So why did it hurt so bad? Why did she feel so... broken?
She managed to peel herself off the floor the next morning, forced herself to get in the shower, and scrub the sorrow off her skin. She put on clothes, simple and modest. With delicate, skilled slim fingers she braided her hair, keeping it out of her tired eyes.
She walked ruefully towards the guild, keeping herself busy, balancing on the edge of the canal, spinning, watching other people, doing anything to keep her from having time to think.
When she arrived in front of the building she loved, she plastered a smile on her face, fake as it might be, and walked in. The chorus of greeting she received, full of happiness to see her back from her long term job, she replied back to cheerfully. She skipped happily over to the bar, cheerfully greeting Mira in her usual way.
All morning she talked to the others, telling stories of her job and talking to everyone, as the number of people grew as the sun rose higher in the sky. She kept herself doing things, helping Mira with chores, playing with Biska's daughter, anything to stop her mind from wandering back to him.
But the time had to come for her distractions to cease, for her memories to flood back to her as the problem came crashing through the door and stared her right in the face.
"Lucy!" A blue ball of fur flew directly into her stomach, clinging to her clothes, sobbing on her shirt. After a shocked second, she hugged the cat back, cradling his small body and burying her face in his soft fur.
"I missed you," he purred. She merely smiled softly into his small body. "Me too."
But the moment couldn't last forever, for the cats owner had to come over and pick him up.
She bit her lip, holding back the stream of apologies and words that were aching to flow from her mouth, withstood the yearning to throw herself at him as she once had so long ago.
"Hi Natsu." Why did he have to look so perfect, standing there, his pink hair glowing in the early morning light, his smile and his eyes filled with laughter.
He wasn't hers anymore. The small, sweet, white haired girl who ran up behind him with a smile on her face proved that. Her heart clenched and shattered again when she saw their lips meet in greeting, and tears stung her eyes when she saw Natsu smile as he broke the kiss.
They were a beautiful couple, she realized. As she saw them together, as time passed, she watched and saw the loveliness between the two of them, the perfect sync she and Natsu never had.
Every time she saw them, her heart broke once more, and when they left, she had to pick up the pieces, one by one, and put it back together over and over again. It didn't ever get easier, like she'd hoped it would. Every single time hurt the same as the last, and every time she realized a little more how stupid she'd been, leaving him, breaking his heart and leaving him like that.
But he had found someone else, and was happy, was deeply in love again. Something she doubted she's ever feel again.
But she didn't resent Lisanna. The girl was sweet and caring. She was strong, a great addition to the team. She didn't replace Lucy, she only made the team stronger.
But as nice as the girl was to her, and as forgiving and normal Natsu was towards her, Lucy felt herself falling deeper into the dark pit every day, making it harder and harder to climb out with every slip. She came to the conclusion that nothing hurt more than breaking your own heart.
Time passed, and the pair fell more insanely in love, never leaving each others side. The day came that the boy she had once loved so much got down on one knee and proposed to the sweet girl he'd once lost. As everyone celebrated the engagement one girl was spiraling deeper than she'd ever gone into an endless dark well.
At the wedding, they offered their lives to each other, pledging their love, swearing that it would never break, promising to never give up on one another, not letting anything, even death part them. As tears of joy were shed, one blonde bridesmaid realised that her heart couldn't be fixed, that it was too broken for anyone to piece back together again.
It only got worse from there. She'd wake up in the mornings crumpled on the floor of her bathroom, a thin layer of blood spread across her body.
She'd go on long term missions, leaving for months at a time, getting stronger and better. She became an SS class wizard before Natsu or Gray did, beat Erza in one-on-one duels without using her spirits, was asked to come do difficult quests every month.
But she still cried herself to sleep every night. Happy would spend the night sometimes, and she'd curl up with her on her lap, and just close her eyes and let the memories of happiness flood though her. She'd remember all the time when she wasn't spilling over the rim with sadness and regret, when Natsu would look at her and his eyes would light up. When he was willing to do anything for her, risk his life for her, catch her when she fell. Before she'd broken his heart and left him behind, ruining hers in the process.
It'd been years since she joined the guild, since the island had caused the gap in their ages. Her birthday was approaching fast, her twenty-fifth birthday. She was one of the youngest of the group, though no one knew it. She had kept her birthday a secret all these years. It was her moment, the time for memories and tears, the time she'd go visit her parents graves and cry, talk and share stories of the happy times they'd had together, before her mom had died.
This year, in the guild, before she had left, Natsu and Lisanna, who had been married for almost two years, had a big announcement. They stood up on the tables, smiling widely and told the guild that they were with child. Shouts of joy and cheers to party were lifted in the air, while the blonde slipped out of the guild door, unnoticed.
When she arrived at the foot of her moms grave, the suns rays shining down on it, she broken down, weeping silently. The pregnancy was unexpected, but more than anything it reminded her of a song her father used to sing to them, even before she was born.
Wiping her tears, she quietly sang the words.
"You are my one and only,
And you can wrap you're fingers 'round my thumb,
And hold me tight," tears threatened to fall as she said the words, her voice on the verge of breaking.
"And it'll be alright..." Her voice cracked, and sobs racked her throat. "You're just a small bump unborn..."she trailed off.
Her eyes were the reddest they'd ever been when she came home that night.
The wedded pair came up to her a few weeks later, barely keeping their grins in check.
"Luce, we were wondering, well, if you'd like to be our child's godmother."
Her eyes widened in shock. She couldn't say no, right? There was no denying the innocent hope in both culprits eyes.
She forced a smile. "I'd love to."
The baby was born in the spring, just when the first flowers were blooming. It was a girl, with Natsu's hair and Lisanna's eyes. She was a truly beautiful creature. Lucy would babysit her all the time, when her parents were away on missions. But even spending time with her didn't heal her infernal wounds. In fact, it made it worse.
Lucy would spend hours curled in a corner, fighting away the darkness that beckoned her, threatening to consume her.
She rarely smiled for real, and everyone else was busy with commuted relationships. No one spent time with each other anymore. They had work and they had families, and no one seemed to notice the girl with all the spirits had lost her own. They didn't see the light begin to fade from her eyes, or the way she was breaking inside out.
They didn't see her die inside, until finally someone thought of the fact that a certain someone didn't have someone to hug, someone to kiss, and comfort and love.
But they didn't notice, not until she was too far gone. Until one day they came to the guild and she wasn't there. She didn't come back the next day or the next day. Finally they went to her house, a place no one had penetrated for years.
They saw all the old pictures, the ones with Lucy and Natsu, smiling and being happy. They saw the cost he'd given her oh so long ago and they smelled bleach in the air and the old scent of strawberries and vanilla.
They saw the letters to her mother and her father but they didn't see the girl they were looking for. Because they were to late, she had fallen too deep. She was gone.