AN: And just like that, this story is officially over. I know i just updated yesterday, but my fingers just wouldn't stop typing this. Hope you guys like the epilogue, it's my favorite one that I've written so far. :)
Happily Ever After
"More drinks, anyone?"
The guild roared with cheers as Mira handed out more mugs filled to the brim with booze. Some of the members, like Wendy and Levy, refrained from taking even a sip. Nearly everyone else was already starting to wobble unsteadily, the effects of alcohol starting to take them.
Lucy in particular was quite the lightweight. She only had a couple of drinks and already her face was flushed with heat, her legs shook as though there was an earthquake beneath her, and she was asking Natsu to purr for her- which was something she always did whenever she was drunk, much to the boy's chagrin.
"You've had way too much to drink, Luce," Natsu said, keeping a firm hold on her to keep her from tipping over.
"I've only had a few drinks!" Lucy replied, her words slurred from the alcohol. "'Sides, it's Fairy Tail's fifth year anniversary! We've all been together half a decade now! We have to celebrate!"
"Believe me, I know," Natsu said. He rubbed the back of his head with a pout, sharing a quick glance with Gray that went unnoticed by the bent-over blonde. "But don't you think we can celebrate sober?"
"Where's the fun in that?" Cana chimed in, waving the boy off. "If anything, I wanna get this girl even more plastered!"
"Yeah!" Lucy cheered.
Natsu sighed as Cana dragged Lucy off with the rest of the girls in the guild.
"You still gonna do it tonight?" Gray asked once they were out of earshot.
"Nah," Natsu answered, shoving his hands in his pockets. "I want her to remember it the next morning."
Meanwhile, Lucy chugged down another mug full of booze. It burned as the liquid went down her throat, warming up her belly. She withdrew the cup form her lips, her face puckered after downing all of it.
"Whoa, Lu-chan," Levy said. "Maybe you should slow down."
"Nope! More!" she replied, holding her drink out to Mira for a refill.
Mira smiled happily at the blonde as she poured into the cup.
"Don't worry, it's just water," she whispered to Levy.
Lucy chugged the cup's contents before settling it on the table. A sigh bubbled up to her lips as she took in the guild. It was a lot livelier now than it had been five years ago. There were a lot of new members, who joined after being helped on jobs. There was the father-son duo, Macao and Romeo. There was their close friend, Wakaba, who always had a cigar in his mouth. Then there was the Thunder Tribe, who joined in order to get closer to Laxus. So many new friends that she'd made in the past five years.
Lucy's eyes glazed over to another set of newcomers, the Connell Family. There was Bisca, with her long, beautifully braided green hair, and her husband, Alzack, with his shaggy locks of ebony. And then there was their daughter, Asuka, who wasn't even as old as the guild.
They were the epitome of a happy family.
Lucy trailed her eyes over to Levy, staring at the silver band around her ring finger. Though the styles of the rings varied, just about all of her close friends sported rings of their own. Gray and Juvia, Mira and Laxus, and even Erza and Jellal. All that was left was her.
Lucy flagged down Mira for another drink, chugging it down.
"Who cares if Natsu hasn't proposed yet?" she thought to herself as if it would drive away any negative emotions that she may have felt. "We're still young!" Alright, she was twenty-five. And truth be told, she would have loved if Natsu proposed.
They'd been together for so long now. They lived together, went on jobs together, they did everything together! Not to mention they'd been through so much since they got together. Was that not enough to convince him that they were right for each other? Did he not want to spend the rest of his life with her even though she was the Rapunzel to his Flynn?
Lucy's hand tightened around the mug.
"Lucy?" Erza called out, grabbing her attention. "Is everything alright? You seem down."
"I'm fine," the blonde replied, though her voice didn't hold its usual chipper.
"You do not seem fine. Perhaps you've had too much to drink."
"No. I haven't had enough."
"I think I'm actually with Erza on this," Cana said. "As much as I love Drunk Lucy, I don't think you should have any more."
"What's got you so down in the dumps?" Mira asked, smoothing her hand over the girl's back.
"I'm just a little… envious," Lucy answered, resting her head on the table. The wood was cool against her face, driving away the heat from the alcohol.
"Of all of you."
"Care to elaborate?" Erza asked.
Lucy sighed, pointing her gaze away from her friends' curious looks. "Well I mean, all of you are married already. Laxus and Mira are raising revenue and morale for all of their kingdom, you and Jellal are happily married and advancing in knighthood, Gajeel and Levy-chan are married and about to have a freaking baby, and Gray and Juvia are married and united the land and sea. I guess I'm just feeling a little behind."
"There is nothing to feel envious about!" Levy assured, squeezing the blonde's hands. "Life isn't a race, Lu-chan. You and Natsu are going at your own pace."
"And don't act as though you haven't accomplished anything yourself," Erza added. "You've not only created the first guild of Fiore, but you've also made it the most successful. Fairy Tail has brought crime rates down so much that people are beginning to question the role of knights!"
"Not to mention it is because of you that everyone is together," Juvia chimed in.
"Yeah, I know," Lucy said with a sigh. Shaking her head, she gave her friends a smile. "Thanks, guys. Don't get me wrong, I love Natsu and I'm happy with whatever he wants to be. I'm just starting to wonder if he's rethinking his life with me. That's what's got me so upset."
Everyone shared a glance.
"That's definitely not it," Levy said. "He loves you more than anything."
"Exactly. And you know Natsu," Erza began. "He doesn't have a way with words. Perhaps he's just been fumbling with how to propose this whole time."
"Fumbling with how to propose for five whole years?" Lucy asked. "I don't think so. What's really humiliating about it is there have been so many times I thought he was going to propose. He got down on one knee to tie his shoe and my heart nearly beat out of my chest because I thought he was proposing. Or the this one time he started telling me he loved me out of nowhere. He looked so serious, I was sure it was about to happen! But it never did. But thank you for trying to cheer me up anyways. And also for somehow getting me sober."
Mira giggled. "Drunks can never tell when I switch their alcohol with water. Works every time."
As the girls' conversation steered into lighter topics, Juvia excused herself from the table, looking over her shoulder to make sure that Lucy wasn't watching her before grabbing Gray and Natsu's hands and leading them away. She dragged them outside the guild, making sure the doors closed behind them before speaking.
"Juvia thinks you should do it tonight," she said, turning to look at Natsu.
A frown spread across his face. "I can't do it tonight."
"Why not? That was the plan. You waited to do it on Fairy Tail's anniversary so that we could all be there!"
"Yeah, but she's wasted! I can't propose when she's wasted. She's just gonna forget about it in the morning."
"She's sobering up quickly!" Juvia insisted. "Mira-san has been making her drink water! Lucy isn't even that drunk anymore!"
"I don't know, Juvia. I'm kinda with Natsu on this one," Gray chimed in, rubbing the back of his head. He held his hands up in front of him in surrender as his wife whirled a look of disbelief his way. Even though she was usually clinging onto him with her usual happy-go-lucky persona, he knew that she could be scary- even to him- if pushed to it. "Look, I wouldn't have proposed to you if you were drunk. It would've ruined the moment."
"Juvia is telling you she's not that drunk anymore!"
"But what if she's drunk enough to forget it? It's just too risky now."
"Juvia really thinks you should do it tonight," she said again, facing Natsu. His gaze was pointed to the ground as he kicked a loose pebble. "Lucy is upset."
That got his attention real quick.
"She's upset?" he asked, his eyes lit with concern. "About what?"
"That you haven't proposed yet."
"Oh shit," Gray mumbled. "Maybe you should just do it tonight then."
Natsu shoved his hands in his pockets. "I don't know anymore. Why does this have to be so damn complicated? I just wanna get married already! But Lucy deserves a perfect proposal. And her dad made it pretty clear he'd hire an assassin to hunt me down if I gave her anything but."
"I still can't believe you managed to get his blessing."
"Me neither. Look, guys, I don't know if I'm gonna do it tonight. I'm sorry for tellin' all of you I'll do it tonight, but I'm just not sure anymore."
"Alright," Gray said. "Just don't try to overthink it too much. It'll only make it impossible."
"Yeah, yeah. Go inside already. Standing next to you is grossing me out."
Before her husband could attack, Juvia excused the both of them and dragged Gray back into the guild.
Natsu leaned against the wall, turning his gaze to look up at the stars. Everything was going so well at first. He made sure to do it on a day where everyone would be at the guild, he got all of their friends to help, and they even decorated the guild with lights. It was perfect!
Right up until he saw Lucy down a drink.
That's when his plan started to go south.
"Natsu? What're you doing out here?" someone called out.
Natsu turned to find Happy flying beside him.
"Just tryna clear my mind a bit," he answered, giving his partner a weak smile.
"Are you not proposing to Lucy anymore?"
"I don't think so, buddy. Not tonight."
"Why not?" Happy questioned.
"Lucy's drunk. That'd just ruin it."
"She doesn't seem that drunk anymore."
"Well, she is."
Happy studied his friend. After knowing him longer than anyone, he could read him like an open book.
"That's not what it's about, is it?" Happy asked. "You're just scared."
Natsu whirled towards the exceed. "Quit bein' weird, Happy! I ain't scared!"
"Yeah you are! That's why you're backing out again! You've tried proposing so many times now, only to back out and say you were just tying your shoe or something!"
"I just want it to be perfect!"
"You and Lucy aren't perfect though! Just look at everything that happened!"
"Exactly! I hurt her so badly before, the least I could do is make this perfect for her!" Natsu shouted, his hands balling into tight fists at his sides.
Sympathy panged Happy's heart. "Lucy forgave us for that. You should forgive yourself too instead of letting it ruin important milestones for the both of you. You're Natsu! You're the most fearless guy I know! So quit being scared and propose!"
With that, he flew back inside, leaving Natsu to think about everything.
Natsu sighed. Happy was right. He was just scared. Scared of rejection, scared of disappointing Lucy with a lame proposal, and scared of being a bad husband to her.
It was time he got over his fears.
Natsu dug his hand inside his pocket, feeling for the velvety box that was stashed inside. Inside was a ruby engagement ring, surrounded by a halo of small diamonds. It was quaint in size, but he was sure that Lucy would love it. It was her birthstone, after all.
Taking a deep breath, Natsu headed back inside, ready to propose, when he found Lucy bent over a bucket barfing enough to fill the thing halfway. Rushing over to her, he took Levy's spot of holding back her hair.
"You okay, Luce?" he asked, rubbing circles into her back.
"I threw up," the girl replied, her voice hoarse. "I think I drank too much earlier."
"You think?" Natsu asked with a chuckle. "Guess I'll have to wait until tomorrow after all."
"Maybe you should take her home," Erza said with a concerned frown. She knew about Natsu's plans but Lucy's comfort was more important at the moment.
"Yeah, let's go," Natsu said, helping Lucy straighten up.
"I'm bringing the bucket," she said.
After saying goodbye to everyone, Natsu and Lucy headed out on the streets of Magnolia while Happy stayed behind to help clean up. The streets were barren since it was nearing three in the morning, and the only light to guide them were the dim lamps and the stars.
Lucy's head pounded with each step, her stomach churning. Her body was getting its revenge on her for filling it with alcohol. Her hand flew up to her mouth as bile threatened to rise out of her. She tried holding it back, but it was too much. Grabbing her bucket, she turned away from Natsu and hurled into it.
Natsu pulled her hair back, watching as she vomited. While most people got disgusted being around people while they threw up, he couldn't help but smile. For the past five years, he'd been the one to hold her hair back and tell her it was going to be okay whenever she got drunk. She relied on him, not anybody else, because their bond had been strengthened over the years. When she was in a pinch, she looked for him, as he did with her.
They were always together through thick and thin.
"Hey, Luce," Natsu began, his voice soft. "Let's get married."
Lucy stopped puking, her body still. Slowly putting the bucket down, she turned to face him, her eyes wide and her mouth parted.
"A-Are you serious?" she asked.
Natsu gave her his signature carefree grin as he grabbed her hand. "Yeah, I am. Let's get married."
"You're proposing to me while I'm throwing up? Why?"
"Because I know that I want this for the rest of my life," Natsu answered as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "Helping you no matter what kinda situation we're in, I want that forever. I wanna be by your side always. It's always more fun when we're together, right?"
Tears pricked Lucy's eyes, her hand flying to her mouth. It trembled as she watched Natsu get down on one knee. He fished inside his pocket, pulling out a velvet box. Lucy's heart jumped into her throat as he opened it, revealing a ruby ring.
"No way…" she breathed out, shaking her head. "Are you serious?"
"More serious than I've been about anything," Natsu answered. His stomach was doing flips, starting to worry that perhaps proposing when she was throwing up wasn't the most romantic of ways… Oh well. Too late to go back now. "Wanna get married, Luce?"
Lucy nodded her head, the tears that brimmed her eyes now washing down her cheeks.
"Yeah," she choked out. "Let's get married!" With an overjoyed squeal, she threw her arms around Natsu, tackling him down to the ground and planting her lips over his. Combined with her salty tears, the kiss held more passion than anything she'd ever known before as Natsu wrapped his arms around her.
Pulling away, Lucy watched as Natsu grabbed the ring, a wide, toothy smile resting on his face. He gently grabbed her hand and slid the ring onto her finger. Lucy choked back a sob as she stared down at the piece of jewelry, which shined underneath the starlight.
"It's a ruby," she breathed out, running her finger over the gem.
"Yeah, I got your birthstone," he replied. "I wanted to get you somethin' special."
"I love it so much. I love you so much!"
Lucy threw her arms around him again in a tight hug.
"I'm glad you like it," Natsu said, giving her a grin. "This is part two of your happy ending!"
"I'm more than happy!" Lucy replied. "This is the best surprise ever!"
A playful gleam shone in Natsu's eyes as he said, "Well, part three is later tonight."
A blush rose to Lucy's cheeks. She could spot that look a mile away. "Oh yeah? And what's part three?"
"Makin' either Nashi or Ryder."
Lucy batted her lashes at him. "Then let's get home and-!" Her hand flew up to her mouth. "Shit."
"Gotta throw up again?" Natsu asked.
Lucy nodded. With a laugh, he handed her the bucket, watching as she started to hurl again.
"Know what? Maybe part three can wait until tomorrow," he said, grabbing her hair and rubbing her back.
Lucy nodded. So they wouldn't be able to celebrate their engagement tonight. Oh well. They had plenty of time in the world because she knew for sure they were going to live happily ever after.
AN: I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who managed to stick with this story all the way to the end. :') It means so much considering how long I've been writing it. :') I'm really going to miss writing this story so much. It's my favorite of all my stories and I'm sad that it's over, but glad that I can move onto newer stories. Keep a lookout for new nalu stories of mine. ;) Anyways, thank you again to all of you. i appreciate you so much!
And a huge thank you to those who reviewed: Zero'sOnlyDragon, Shadow Joestar, shootingstarssel, XxCelestialPrincessxX, MasterGildarts, Guest, NaluPrincess, MillennialStargzer, animefan393939, stranger1999, jojrre, valerioux.