Disclaimer: Fairy Tail belongs to Hiro Mashima…even though he did kind of fuck it up in the end.
Chapter 1: Negative Reflections
The rain paltered down on a lone figure as he stared blankly at the two handmade gravestones before him. The flashes of thunder and fierce rain and wind was an apt metaphor for the tumultuous emotions being felt by the young man. His entire world seemed to be crashing down around him and he was left in Limbo, unsure of how to pick up the pieces of his broken soul.
Natsu Dragneel always considered himself a straight forward person, always wearing his heart on his sleeve. It got him into many precarious situations in the past, but now he was at a loss as to what to do. How does he go on with this unbearable pain tearing away at his very soul? It felt to him as though the world was working against him. Doing its best to torment him. For it seemed as though everything that he ever loved was taken away from him. His hollow eyes focused on the gravestones once more.
The gravestones of Lisanna Strauss and Happy.
The two most important people in the world to him. They were his anchor. That which kept him rooted firmly to the ground. The happiness and the joy he experienced with them was something that he never thought he could again since his father disappeared. They were the light in his world that was once plunged in darkness.
And now…without them…he can feel the darkness encroaching once more.
Ever since he arrived at Fairy Tail, it's been a mixed bag of emotions for him. Natsu was drawn into the lore of the guild by the Guild Master, Makarov Dreyer. The principles that he spoke of and the promise of a family were things that he was hard pressed to say no to. For a boy whose only contact, as far as he could remember, was a hulking dragon…the promise of new friends and adventure was the ultimate lure. Don't get it twisted though, he loved Igneel very much, but his sense of adventure was something that couldn't be quelled. He wanted to make new friends, to meet new people, to see new places and to see the different magic's the world had to offer.
When he laid eyes on the Fairy Tail building, he was bursting at the seams from excitement. It seemed so mysterious, and Master Makarov's explanation behind the name of the Guild only enticed him even more. He was eager to meet the many unique characters that lay beyond.
When he finally did enter, the amount of chaos and destruction waiting within made his eyes widen in glee. Tables were flying, bottles were being smashed and people were trying to beat the hell out of each other. The crazy part though, was that there were smiles on their faces as they did so. Never has he seen that much mayhem taking place. He was instantly in love.
Things didn't quite go so well afterwards. Natsu would never claim to be an overly sensitive boy, nor would he say that he was particularly subtle with his emotions. However, the reaction he received from revealing that he was searching for his father, who happened to be a Fire Dragon, was something that disheartened him greatly.
He can still remember the laughter that greeted him in the face of his revelation. It made him shrink a little into himself. They thought that he was lying. That he was making things up. Why would he ever do something like that? He was speaking the truth and not one person believed him. He looked to the Master, who seemed to be contemplative, but didn't do anything to stop the jeers. Natsu hung his head sadly at that. This wasn't the reaction that he was hoping for. Even the kids who were in his age group didn't believe him. A black haired boy, whom he now knows as Gray, was particularly vocal in his disagreement.
Natsu never said anything in retaliation. He just continued to put on a smile and try to go on. He was never one to give into those negative emotions. He told himself that he would wait and see how it goes. He would at least give them a few weeks to get used to him and maybe they could be friends from then on.
What happened though, was that the adults left the kids to their own devices and went on with their business. Natsu was then introduced to Erza and Mirajane. Those two were his chief tormentors. Erza was even more socially incompetent that he was, which was saying a lot since he basically had the mannerisms of a caveman. She forced her opinions onto him without care for his own and constantly pushed him around. She also took out her frustrations on him and Gray and would smack them around. She was also a hypocrite, as she chastised him and Gray as well as others for fighting in the Guild when she would do the very same with Mirajane. Mirajane, on the other hand, took some kind of perverse pleasure in tormenting and bullying him whenever she could. He could still remember the day he tried to do his first mission and found out that he couldn't read the language the requests were written in. He was laughed at by his 'family'. He knew that he could read though, he faintly remembers being taught by someone. It just didn't make any sense for him to not be able to read the request. Apparently, according to Mirajane, she found his crying face adorable and took every chance to bring it out.
He was on the verge of tears at hearing Mirajane's jeering when Erza took it upon herself to teach him how to read. Natsu was ecstatic at hearing that. He was very willing to learn and he hoped that maybe he could become better friends with Erza at the same time…That didn't happen. Her 'lessons' weren't that much better than her normal behaviour. She was forceful and abusive in her application. He barely had time to eat or rest as she literally beat the information into him. It was a torturous experience for him but he put the negative aspects of it at the back of his mind and was just thankful that he could now read and write like everyone else. The lingering trauma from Erza's 'lessons' never faded though and he lived in a constant state of fear around the girl.
After about a month of being in Fairy Tail, he was about ready to call it quits. The Old Man had lied to him. This was nothing like a family that he envisioned it to be. He was bullied without anyone reprising his tormentors. He didn't have any friends and he honestly felt like an outsider. Despite being surrounded by so many people, he had never felt lonelier in his life. It seemed that everyone fitted into the Guild except him. He was ready to call it quits at that point and move on with his life.
That was when she came into his life…
Like an angel descending from Heaven. She offered him salvation from his suffering. Her smile was so innocent and inviting. She was like the Sun to him, drawing him in and he was helpless to her pull. He didn't fight it though, for nothing felt more right to him than being near her. Lisanna was his first and his best friend. She was always patient with him, never berating him and always willing to teach him things about the world that he didn't know. She made all the shitty treatment from the rest of the Guild worth it. He had finally found someone he could call his friend, his family.
They did everything together from then on, from camping to fishing to playing different games. Lisanna brought joy to his life in ways that he didn't even think possible. It only got better when he had found Happy. The little blue ball of fur, even though annoying most of the time, was truly a harbinger of happiness. He completed Natsu and Lisanna's little family and nothing was more fulfilling than that for Natsu. His days were filled with purpose and he woke up every morning with something to look forward to. He couldn't help but wonder if this was what Igneel wanted for him. Even though he could be pretty dense most of the time, mostly in part to his lack of understanding of social mores and norms, even he could tell that there was something special between himself and Lisanna. Something that transcended friendship. It was a fuzzy feeling that he gave up fighting a while ago. He wondered if this is what the others referred to as love. He didn't dwell on it though as he made up his mind to discuss it with Lisanna when she got back from her mission. Maybe they could make their 'family' more official. Goodness knows that he honestly couldn't imagine his life without those two in it.
Now…he didn't have to…
They were both gone.
His entire world was crumbling around him and Natsu didn't know how to make it stop. He didn't know how to stop these horrible feelings in his heart from taking root. His light was gone. Her illuminating flames were cruelly snuffed out by the horrors of this world. If that wasn't enough to break him…his 'son', Happy, was taken from him as well.
He knew in his heart that going on that mission was a bad idea. His instincts were warning him but he refused to listen. He tried hard to convince Mirajane to allow him to accompany them but she was ruthless in her rejection of his idea. Her words still stung even now. He sent Happy to watch over Lisanna in the event that something bad happened. He should have followed them from afar. He should have been there to protect Lisanna and Happy. It was his duty as the man of their family. But he didn't. He had failed again. Like he always did. He couldn't help but think of himself as a failure. All he ever seemed to be good for was destroying things.
He tried so hard, but he could stem the stream of tears running down his face. Why was this happening to them? He couldn't understand why their lives were cut short when they brought so much happiness and joy to the world. Was it because of him? Was being around someone like him the reason for them being taken from this world.
Natsu could do nothing to stop that terror inducing thought from blooming in his mind.
First Igneel and now Lisanna and Happy. Was he destined to forever lose the ones he loved? Was this some cruel punishment that he was forced to endure? Would they have lived happier lives if they never met him?
Why? Why? Why?! WHY?!
Why did his loved ones always leave him?!
It wasn't fair! How was he supposed to go on?! The pain searing his heart was unbearable. He wondered if he could stop this pain if he were to join them in the afterlife. He felt all those negative emotions and thoughts that he suppressed float to the surface. He felt the anger at his perceived treatment from his Guild mates. He felt the sliver of hatred that was in his heart at Igneel for abandoning him without a word. He felt the rage towards Erza and Mirajane for daring to bully him. He felt the lingering resentment towards Elman for being the cause of him losing the two most important people in his life. The misery of loneliness that he was forced to endure time and again. He felt the absolute despair of losing his family. The self-loathing for not being able to protect them.
Why was he always so weak? His loud boasts of strength now all seemed so hollow that it was laughable. He was a joke. A jester trying to masquerade as a King.
He could feel the negativity eating away at him. He always did his best to suppress those feelings but he couldn't do it any longer. What was the point? There was no need for him to put up a façade of happiness when his true happiness was gone. This world was rotten and he was forced to face that harsh truth on this day. There was no hope. There was no salvation. There was no God.
Anger and hatred burned in his eyes as he looked into the sky…as if daring the Gods to strike him down. He didn't care anymore. His world had lost its colour. It was now nothing more than a monochromatic slideshow of useless events. Nothing mattered anymore.
Natsu didn't know it, but his magic was flaring and fluctuating erratically. Going from the lowest of the low to the heights that actually surpassed Master Makarov. It was as though something inside of him was reacting to his state of mind. On that day, something changed within him. Whether it was for the better remains to be seen.
Mirajane Strauss was inconsolable as she curled up in her little sister's bed, hoping to find some comfort from her lingering scent. She wore nothing but an oversized white shirt and a pair of plain panties. Her usual gothic makeup was missing as she had no motivation to doll herself up. Her arm was still in its cast, due to it being broken.
The unending guilt and self-loathing that she was currently experiencing was far too potent for her to focus her energy on anything else. Her precious little sister was gone and it was all her fault. No matter how many people tried to convince her otherwise, she knew that the blame rested squarely on her shoulders. Shame filled her very being as she remembered the circumstances leading up to the heartbreaking tragedy. They say that hindsight is 20/20 and she could now see clearly where she went wrong.
She had strayed so far from the person that she used to be. Ever since Master Makarov taught her how to control the power that she obtained, she had changed. It wasn't without reason though, at least to her at that point it wasn't. Looking back, she can see that there was no excuses for her.
The vivid memory of her and her siblings being branded as undesirables by their village and being driven out with pitchforks and torches was something that could never stray too far from her recollection. The absolute despair and helplessness that she had felt in that moment was something that she would never forget and it was something that she promised herself that she would never experience again. She promised herself that Elfman and Lisanna would never have to feel the fear and the hunger that they experienced during those dark days. She promised herself that she would become stronger than anyone else and that she would protect them from this harsh world that they lived in.
However, looking back, she can see how far she had strayed from her promised path. After obtaining control of her large power, she became drunk on it. Her ego became bloated and her arrogance skyrocketed. She held herself as superior to all those around her and she always found the time to remind everyone else of it. She became a bully. She pushed around the other members of the Guild and she bullied those of whom she picked out of the crowd. At the time, it wasn't bullying in her mind. It was just some harmless fun for her to have at the expense of others. But looking back, she can now see how she had mistreated some of the other members. The primary targets being Natsu and Gray. The former more than the latter though.
She was brave enough to admit that she had a bit of a crush on the Dragon Slayer. He was simply too cute. His carefree attitude and his blindingly happy smile was something that was irresistible to one who was as entrenched in negative emotions as she was. Not to mention, he had this unbending will and determination in his eyes that simply drew her in. He was like a bright star shining down on the Guild. She knew that most of the others felt similar about the fire mage. He was quickly becoming the heart of the Guild with his infectiously positive attitude, embodying all the traits of the Guild perfectly. Which was why she could admit defeat, for this time only, when it was clear that Lisanna was head over heels in love with him. And even though he was a bit of an idiot, it was clear that he absolutely adored her sister. Everyone could see that he basically worshipped the ground that Lisanna walked on. Mirajane could admit to being a little jealous of her sister because of that. It wouldn't have been long for him to realise that he held similar emotions for Lisanna as she did for him and act on it. Even though she was sad that she would never get the chance to be with him, she was happy with the promise that her sister had a bright and happy future ahead of her filled with love and happiness.
Which was why her death hurt even more. Her beautiful Lisanna, so young and so innocent with such a wonderful future ahead of her…and it was all taken away from her because of elder sister's arrogance and hubris.
Mirajane was wracked with guilt as tears continued to escape her eyes, not that she did anything to stop them. She had thought that she would eventually run out of tears but there was no end in sight. She held herself responsible for the horrible tragedy that befell her family. Even though master Makarov and even Erza tried to tell her that it wasn't her fault…she knew that it was. She became so caught up in her own power and her own legend that she started believing that she was invincible and that perceived superiority was the very reason that her innocent little sister suffered such a gruesome death and the reason that her brother was now traumatised. She wanted so badly to blame the Demons within her. She wanted to place the blame on them for influencing her with their negative emotions…but she couldn't. She knew better. She wasn't a real demon. Those emotions weren't hers and she was powerful enough to distinguish between them and keep them at bay easily. Her attitude was all her own doing. She never meant to be such an unpleasant person. But after experiencing the pain and the helplessness that she felt at the hands of the villagers of her home town…she vowed that she would be strong…that she would never allow herself to be so weak again. Not just for herself, but for Elfman and Lisanna as well. Fat lot of good that did…
She couldn't help but wonder if things would have gone differently if she had accepted the help offered by others to accompany her on the quest. She couldn't help but wonder if her sister would still be alive if she had taken Natsu with her just as he had asked her to an that fateful day.
Mirajane was standing next to Elfman preparing to leave on their emergency S-Class quest. They came to the park to allow Lisanna to say goodbye to Natsu before she left. She watched with a smirk as she could see and hear them bantering about their little family with Happy and Lisanna having a lot of fun teasing Natsu who could do nothing but blush in embarrassment. It was an adorable reaction, one that made her want to join in and tease the poor boy even more. She knew that they needed to get going though.
"Lisanna, we have to go." Elfman shouted as the both of them approached the group.
"Coming!" She replied.
"Huh? Where are you going Lisanna? You just got back." Natsu asked in confusion.
"It's an emergency S-Class quest. Since Mira-nee is the only S-Class mage currently in town, it automatically falls to her. She's bringing us along as back up." Lisanna clarified.
"EH?! That so not fair! I want to go on an S-Class mission too!" Natsu whined with an adorable pout on his face that made Lisanna and Mira just want to glomp him. He was just too cute for his own good.
"Mira-nee…can Natsu come with us?" Lisanna asked her elder sister, causing Natsu's eyes to light up in happiness. Before Mira could answer, Elfman interjected.
"I'm against this! A man should be able to protect his own family!" He declared with a shout as he flexed his muscles.
"C'mon! I can totally help you guys out! You have to take me!" Natsu pleaded.
"Fufufu…Sorry Natsu, but I agree with Elfman. Besides, as you are now, there is no way that you could handle an S-Class mission with how weak you currently are. Maybe if you train up and get a little stronger I might think of taking you along in a few years." She taunted him with a sardonic glint in her eyes to match her condescending tone. She took pleasure in the ways his cheeks burned in embarrassment at her comments.
Natsu's get straightened at hearing that and the flash of pain and anger that passed through his eyes was so brief that nobody picked it up. He didn't say anything in retaliation though, having grown used to the taunts and the humiliation at the hands of The Demon. Lisanna, for her part, look horrified at what her sister just said to Natsu. She wanted to defend him, but she caught Natsu's eye as he signalled her to let it go. It didn't make her very happy though and she promised to give her sister a piece of her mind later.
"Hahaha, you're probably right." Natsu said with a fake smile on his face and an empty tone of voice, something that worried Lisanna greatly. "At least take Happy along with you. I'm sure he can help you out if any of you need to make a quick escape." He pleaded. Mira was going to reject that offer as well but Lisanna cut her off before she could.
"Sure!" She agreed before scooping up Happy and holding him to her chest. She turned her eyes to Natsu and the two stared deeply at each other for what felt like eternity. "Well, I'm off, Natsu."
"Good luck, Lisanna. I'll be waiting for you when you get home." Natsu replied with a warm smile on his face as he gazed at her with adoration. Lisanna couldn't help herself as she crashed into him with a loving embrace, with Happy sandwiched between them. It was something that filled Natsu with happiness and gave Lisanna the strength that she needed. If it meant that she could experience this feeling again, she would make sure that she would come home to him soon.
Sadly, that was a promise that she would never keep.
Mira watched the scene with a twinge of jealousy in her heart that she quickly buried under her usual condescending smirk. Her eyes gave away her sadness though as she gazed longingly at the scene and the love that was shared between the group in front of her.
Mira's tears flowed even harder as she thought of what happened. If she hadn't been so damn prideful and brought Natsu along with them, Lisanna would have probably still been alive. She let her ego get the best of her and the price she paid was far too much to bear.
She could still remember the look in Natsu's eyes when she told him the news. She was fully expecting him to lose control and scream at her…but he didn't. She had actually wanted him to hit her, because she felt she deserved it…but again, he didn't. And that scared her more than anything. The smile he had when he saw them and looked around for Lisanna and Happy vanished when he heard what happened. The spark in his eyes dulled and seemed to lose all life as he gazed at her with seemingly hollow eyes. His entire body went rigid and his magic fluctuated a bit, but there was no other reaction from him. After a few seconds of silence, he just turned around robotically and walked out of the Guild. Nobody has seen him since, not even at Lisanna and Happy's funeral.
While it may have escaped the notice of the others, Mira could see it was clear as day. The hatred and wrath that burned behind his stare as he regarded her was something that tore her heart to pieces. She wanted to wail, she wanted to protest. But she knew that she didn't have the right to. She deserved all the hatred that he now seemingly had for her. She has done nothing but bully him for all the time that she's known him. She had abused him, both physically and emotionally. She took every chance she could to humiliate him, just so that she could get a reaction out of him. She can't remember an occasion where she spoke a kind word to him or had a decent conversation with him. For all of her boasting, she was just as socially awkward as he was. Even though she had wanted to get to know him, even though she would have been happy to have his attention. She was far too closed off and fearful to take the chance to initiate a bond with anyone. So she hid her insecurities with her obnoxious personality…and now, she had to reap the consequences of her actions.
She was a failure. A failure as a mage. A failure as a sister…and a failure as a person.
She had no worth now. She didn't deserve to be a Fairy Tail mage. She didn't deserve the love and the support that she received from her Guild mates, especially considering what a bitch she's been. She could feel the lingering self-loathing and insecurity rearing its ugly head. The helplessness that she felt now was far worse than she had ever experienced before. Maybe it would have been better if she had left the Guild all those years ago. Maybe Lisanna would have been alive today and lived a full life. She couldn't help but ponder these things. She knew that she couldn't dwell on those thoughts though. Lisanna wouldn't want her to run away from her problems like a coward. She had to be strong, not for herself but for Elfman. She had no doubt that her brother was in a condition that was just as bad, if not worse than she was in. It was difficult to go on though, when she felt as though a part of her soul was torn from her. Her magic was useless. Nothing good ever came from it. It was the source of her pain ever since she defeated that first demon. She thought that she had changed…but clearly she was wrong. The only thing that became clear to her, was that she was worthless. All she could do was propagate violence. What good was her magic if she couldn't even save her precious little sister?
There was an unnatural quite in the Guild hall as people went about their business. The usual rambunctious behaviour of the Guild was far more subdued. They were still reeling from the death of two of their members. Lisanna and Happy were undoubtedly the two people who brought the most cheer and joy to the Guild with their bright personalities and their happy smiles. They were always willing to talk to others and lend a hand in the event it was needed.
Needless to say, their absence was a glaring anomaly in the Guild that had come used to seeing them flitting about daily for these past few years. People were still trying to cope with the loss and Master Makarov knew it would be a while before they got back to their boisterous selves.
Erza was sitting at the bar, slowly eating her favourite strawberry cheesecake. It was obvious though, that her mind was elsewhere. Gray, Cana and Levy were sitting at one of the booths in silence, just soaking up the company of the others. They were all close to Lisanna and Happy to an extent, having been in the same age group, and were forced to face the death of a close friend. For those like Gray and Erza, it wasn't their first brush with losing someone close…that didn't mean it was any easier though. Mira and Elfman were still at home grieving, the Master having told them to take time for themselves to try and recuperate before returning.
Staring at the scene before him broke the heart of the aged Master. He was old enough to experience this scene a countless number of times. It didn't make it any easier to witness though. There was nothing more painful than to watch your children die, and it was an unfortunate privilege that he was forced to endure time and again. He had shed his tears in the comfort of his own home, having needed to put up a strong front for the rest of the Guild. It hurt deeply to lose two of his children, especially ones that brought as much happiness as Lisanna and Happy. He was worried about Elfman and Mirajane. He knew that the trauma of such events never leave the people who experience it. He was concerned as to what effects losing someone they both loved so dearly would do to them. He knew that it would be a difficult path ahead for them, but he was confident that with the help of their friends, they would somehow find a way to go on.
The real problem, to his mind, was Natsu. It had been a week since Lisanna and Happy's deaths, and a week since he has seen the young Dragon Slayer. Normally, he wouldn't be worried about the young man to this extent. His fortitude and strength of mind was amongst the strongest in the Guild. However, he saw the reaction Natsu had to the news on that day. He saw the signs of the dark emotions bubbling under the surface. It was shameful for him to admit, but Natsu didn't have as many ties to the Guild as the rest of the members did. Makarov prided himself on his hands-off approach when it came to the members of the Guild. He allowed them to go about their business and sort out their problems on their own, stepping in only when necessary.
However, the case of Natsu Dragneel was one that he wished he dealt with earlier. He had seen the way the others laughed at him when he proclaimed that he was raised by a dragon. Makarov wasn't sure about his claim, but knew enough to know that Dragon Slayer magic could only be learnt in two ways. Being taught by a dragon or having a dragon lacrima implanted within you. He had experience with the latter, his grandson, Laxus, being one who obtained his Dragon Slayer magic in such a way. Makarov couldn't sense the presence of a lacrima within Natsu's body though, giving precedence to his claim of having been raised by a dragon. While they were considered an extinct species, Makarov didn't rule out the possibility of dragons still being around. The others weren't as open minded as he was though, and let the young boy know it, having thought that he was lying to for attention of some kind.
He saw the detrimental effect that this had on the boy in terms of making him keep the others at arm's length instead of opening up to them. The behaviour of Erza and Mirajane didn't help in anyway. He could see that he was slowly losing the young mage, and he would have, if it wasn't for little Lisanna. She came in and tore through Natsu's barriers and befriended him with ease. She gave him friendship and understanding, something that he sorely needed. It helped that she believed his story about his father which solidified her friendship with him. Makarov's old eyes could see how taken the young slayer was with the youngest Strauss sibling. He looked at her with eyes filled with love and adoration, something that he doubted the boy realised he did. He, as well as most of the others in the Guild, knew that it was inevitable that those two would end up together. He knew that there was a large possibility that the Fire Dragon Slayer would have left the Guild were it not for the intervention of Lisanna. He could see the negative emotions within the boy bubbling up, waiting to erupt. Yet Lisanna came along and blew away all those thoughts and surrounded him with her warmth. When Happy came along, it was as though the universe was ensuring that Natsu stayed with Fairy Tail. He was happier than Makarov had ever seen him. His smiles were genuine and his positive personality became infectious. It was no doubt thanks to his little 'family' that he was able to express himself so freely.
Which was why Makarov was so worried. Natsu lost the two most important people in the world to him. He lost his anchors. He lost the 'family' that he worked so hard to build. For someone who was as emotionally driven as he was, this was something that could have catastrophic results. He was worried that Natsu would succumb to the darker feelings within him. He knew that as it stood, Natsu lost the only two connections that he had with the Guild.
Which was why the Master was cursing himself for not intervening earlier with Natsu. Without Lisanna and Happy, he fully expected Natsu to leave the Guild. That wasn't a desirable outcome for Makarov. He knew what monstrous potential Natsu held within himself. It was far more than Erza or Mirajane. More along the lines of Laxus or even Gildarts. If Natsu were to leave, there's a good chance that he could fall into the darkness from what he was forced to endure for so long and the tragedy that he experienced so recently. Makarov couldn't allow that to happen. He couldn't allow one of his children to stray from the path of the light. The problem was that there was little he could do to make Natsu stay, aside from forcing him, which wouldn't go down well. He knew that the Dragon Slayer lost whatever respect he may have had for the Master when he failed to curb the behaviour of the likes of Erza and Mirajane. Makarov could see it in his eyes when he looked at him. He might have been able to hide it from the others, but his old eyes could clearly see the disdain that the young boy had for him. It wasn't so different from his own grandson.
The old Master let out a sigh. Not for the first time he wondered whether he should have retired a long time ago. It seemed he was slowly losing touch with reality. The state of things currently was the perfect example. With Natsu's attitude towards the Guild. Laxus and his unhealthy quest for power. Erza's obsessive need to exert her authority and control. Along with Mirajane's arrogance. These were problems that he should have dealt with ages ago. That was the purpose of the Guild in the first place. To give a home to those who didn't have one and to provide help and support to those that needed it. However, he has neglected that aspect for far too long. He couldn't help but wonder if it was too late. He was weary about what the future held. As these thoughts were racing through his mind, his attention was caught by the Guild doors opening. His eyes panned to the entrance to find the object of his worries slowly walking in.
His eyes carefully followed the young Dragon Slayer, just as he knew the rest of the Guild were doing the same. It was the first time in a week since they have seen him. He didn't look much different on the surface, but Makarov could tell that there was something different about him. There was a certain spark that was missing. He usually kicked in the doors and barged in with a huge smile on his face. But now, he was far more subdued. His posture was rigid and there was no happiness that could be seen in his eyes. No, all that could be seen was anger, hatred and sadness. He was giving off an aura that clearly said that he didn't want to be approached. Makarov was afraid that he had come in to inform him of his withdrawal from the Guild, which was why he was taken by surprise when Natsu walked over to the request board.
Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Erza anxious to approach Natsu, but even she could clearly tell that it wouldn't end well for her from the aura that he was giving off. He watched as Natsu surveyed the board for a few minutes before plucking off a request and walking over to him. Without saying a word, Natsu presented the request for approval. Makarov inspected the request and saw that it was a Vulcan extermination mission a few towns away, something that was quite common. The reward was 300 000 Jewels. It wasn't a particularly difficult mission for a mage the caliber of Natsu, but he was worried none the less. He knew denying him at this moment wouldn't bode well, despite his fears for the Dragon Slayers state of mind. Ordering him to take Erza or Gray along would be met with even more resistance. It was with a heavy heart that he stamped the approval for the quest, hoping that his young charge didn't lose himself to the darkness within him.
Without a word, Natsu turned around and left the Guild. The silence that hung in the air since he had walked in permeated. Many were shocked by the change they saw in the normally boisterous fire mage. They understood though, that he was forced to endure something that he never should have. They could only hope that he would be back to his rambunctious self soon.
"Was that a good idea, Master?" asked Erza with an uncertain look on her face as she gazed forlornly at the doors that Natsu just left through. Makarov let out a tired sigh at her question.
"I don't know Erza, I honestly don't know. There is little I can do at this point without pushing him away even more. He is going through a difficult time right now and we have no choice but to have faith in him that he will pull through this." He answered her. Although, even she could tell that he was skeptical about his own words. She looked even more troubled at that, hoping that her friend will be okay.
The anger and the rage simmering in his body was slowly bubbling to the surface as Natsu glared at the group of Vulcan's in front of him. It took little time to find their encampment once he got to the town, his nose having sniffed them out with laughable ease. His ride here though, was something that he didn't enjoy. He made a mental note to find some way to deal with the glaring weakness he had when it came to transportation.
He put it out of his mind for now though, as he focused on the task at hand. He allowed all the horrible feelings that he's bottled up over the years come to the surface. He took all of those negative emotions and focused it on the targets within his sights. He needed to vent. It was the reason he took this mission in the first place. He needed the opportunity to punch something. He needed to unleash his magic and destroy something. It was something he felt compelled to do after the torturous week he was forced to endure.
There were a group of 6 Vulcan's in front of him, and he was going to destroy them all. He allowed his hatred to simmer and his flames exploded around his body. The beasts were surrounding him, thinking him easy prey. He wasn't going to give them the satisfaction though. Without warning, he exploded from his position and closed the distance between himself and the closest Vulcan. He lit his fist on fire and cocked it back.
"Fire Dragons Iron Fist"
The face of the Vulcan contorted grotesquely around Natsu's fist as the concussive force of the hit sent the beast flying back hard into one of the trees. He could feel his fist going a little numb from the force he used in the punch. He didn't get time to dwell on his success though as he was swatted from behind from one of the other Vulcans that he momentarily forgot about. He skidded against the ground before placing his palm on the ground and pushing himself up into a standing position. He allowed his fire to circle him before going with a wide area attack.
"Fire Dragons Wing Attack"
Two large 'whips' of fire extended from his arms before connecting with three more Vulcans. They were badly burned and went down screaming. The others, seeing the possible threat that Natsu held sprang into action. With no choice but to defend himself in close quarters, Natsu lit his fists and feet on fire before charging head on. He threw heavy punches and kicks at his attackers, striking at every available opening that he could find and leaving burns on their unprotected bodies. He took as many hits as he gave but it didn't slow him down in the slightest. With all the emotional pain that he's experienced these last few days, the physical sensations he was currently feeling was a welcome difference from the usual numbness that he endured.
The more he attacked, the more he let his mind wander, soaking in the undesirable feelings that he suppressed, before it got to the point where he wasn't even seeing the Vulcan's any longer. In his mind's eye, the faces of the Vulcan's were replaced by faces of others that he felt that he was wronged by. Erza, Mirajane, Gray, Elfman, Master Makarov and even Igneel. He remembered the negative emotions that he associated with these people and he felt his rage explode. He didn't want to feel helpless any longer. He hated feeling weak. He hated being belittled by the people he was supposed to call his family. But more than anything, he hated being abandoned by everyone he's ever come to love.
He hated how Erza pushed him around forced her opinions onto him. She treated him like a fucking idiot and he couldn't stand it. He hated how she would beat him over something as silly as her dessert being spilled. He hated how much of a hypocrite she was and he soaked in the feeling of exhilaration that he felt when he punched the Vulcan that had her face.
He thought of all the time that Mirajane abused and humiliated him in the Guild. He remembered all her mocking words and taunts, especially about him making up stories about his father being a dragon because he wanted attention. The anger that welled up in his as he thought of her was channeled into a devastating kick that shattered the spine of the Vulcan on whom he superimposed Mirajane's face upon.
He thought of Gray and his snide comments and his standoffish attitude even though Natsu just wanted to be friends with him. It pissed him off when Gray had this superior attitude towards him as though he were better than Natsu. He hated being looked down upon. The Vulcan with Gray's face learned that the hard way when he caught a heavy blow to his abdomen that had him clutching for air.
Natsu though about Elfman. He was the reason for his precious family's death. That weakling who always preached about manliness was the one who lost control of himself and killed his beloved Lisanna and Happy. His stupidity and his arrogance cost Natsu everything he cared about. Natsu hated him with a passion. He entertained thoughts of burning him to a crisp. He wondered what his screams would sound like. As he delivered an uppercut to the Vulcan with Elfman's face, he knew that he couldn't maim the overgrown man-child. Not because he was afraid of anything, but because for some reason Lisanna loved her brother and wouldn't want anyone to hurt him.
Master Makarov was somebody that promised him a family and a purpose. He filled Natsu with so much hope and longing, which was why his resentment for the man built so quickly when Natsu realised that he had been lied to. Fairy Tail was nothing like the old man had made it out to be. At least, not for him it wasn't. Not only that, but he did nothing to stop the other members bullying not only him, but some of the others as well. His hands-off approach to the Guild was something that Natsu hated. If the old man had dealt with the problems he was supposed to, maybe Natsu wouldn't have had to suffer under the hands of Erza and Mirajane for as long as he had. If he really cared about the others in the Guild as family, he would have kicked his grandson out a long time ago for all the crap he put the other members through. If he had done his job and curved Mirajane's ego, maybe Lisanna and Happy would have still been alive. Natsu had lost whatever respect he had for the Master and saw him as nothing but a senile old fool that should have kicked the bucket a long time ago. These were his thoughts as he delivered a falcon punch to the Vulcan with Makarovs face.
Natsu thought of Igneel. For the longest time, Natsu's only objective in life was to search for his missing father. It was the reason he even joined Fairy Tail in the first place. That objective took a bit of a back seat when he met Lisanna and later on, Happy. He had a family of his own now. He often wondered what Igneel would have thought of him if he saw him now. He wondered if he would love Lisanna and Happy as much as Natsu did. He wondered if Igneel would be happy that Natsu found him own family to take care of. Now that it was all gone…Natsu's emotions were all jumbled up as they mixed together violently. The lingering resentment that he felt for his father that he had locked away in the deepest parts of his mind began to slowly surface. Why did his father abandon him? Was he a bad son? Was he too weak? Was he not good enough to learn his father's magic? Why didn't he tell him he was leaving? Why didn't he teach him how to read or write? Why did he not tell him about the ways of the world? Why?! Was it all a game to Igneel?! Was Natsu some kind of joke for the dragon to get his jollies off? Why did he have to leave when Natsu loved him so much? He was just like everyone else. He was just like those people who bullied him and mocked him. Everybody always left him. He hated it. Hatred. That's all that was coursing through Natsu's body as his face contorted into an expression of fury as he punched the last Vulcan who had the face of Igneel.
All of those negative emotions started resonating within him, not that he realised it. His power started pulsing. He could feel something building up inside of him. The temperature around him started rising rapidly. Strange images started passing through his mind as his magic power exploded violently around him as his flamed turned a dark crimson colour instead of their usual reddish/orange colour. The earth beneath his feet blackened as the area around him was scorched by the intensity of his flames. It was the most power Natsu had ever felt in his life. He didn't even know he had this much power. For some reason though, it felt right to him. It felt good. His flames were like an extension of himself, like a limb he could easily control.
With barely a thought, he compressed the powerful flames around him into an orb the size of a basketball before firing it at the closest Vulcan. The beast didn't even have the opportunity to scream as the orb of destruction evaporated him from the inside out, leaving nothing behind except a mummified husk. The other Vulcans stared in horror as their primitive minds realised the danger they were in. They didn't have much time to ponder their mortality though, as Natsu unleashed another orb of condensed fire, vaporising another Vulcan whose mummified body crumbled to dust as it hit the floor. The four Vulcans that were left were taking a weary step back from the one they now perceived as a predator.
Natsu, for his part, didn't fully know what was happening. He was running completely on instinct. For some reason, his mind and his body moved on their own and unleashed the attack that he was positive that he had never used before. It was strange though, for his body seemed to be so intimately familiar with forming the attack. He felt the large drain those two attacks had on his magic reserves though. He wanted to question what was happening, and he would have if he was in a rational state of mind. But right now he was running completely on his emotions, his negative emotions to be precise, and he wanted nothing more than to destroy everything in front of him.
He compressed his fire once again, only this time he consciously tried to make the orbs a little smaller and he succeeded. He created four of these orbs, each just a bit larger than a baseball but packed with devastating power. His breathing became heavier as he basically emptied his magic container just to create these attacks, but it was worth it. With a simple flick of his wrist, the spheres of fire raced towards the frozen Vulcans at a pace that was too fast for their feeble minds to follow. The sounds of their insides being incinerated was the only thing that could be heard in the forest apart from Natsu's heavy breathing as he collapsed on his back from exhaustion.
As he lay there, staring into the sky, Natsu brought his hand up in front of his face and flexed it before lighting it on fire. His flames were the usual reddish/orange colour. Was his magic back to normal? He didn't understand what just happened. He's been using his magic for years, but it's never reacted like that before. Why did his flames turn crimson? There was nothing different that he did from normal. Did he always have the potential to do this or was his Dragon slayer Magic evolving? Igneel never mentioned any of what just happened as a possibility so he doubted that. The thought of Igneel left a bitter taste in his mouth as the lingering resentment that he felt for his father resurfaced. Suddenly, the flames in his hand flickered before turning crimson.
Natsu sat up with a jolt. He looked at the flames once again and saw that they were back to their normal colour. The idea had already bloomed in his mind though. He focused on his hatred and anger in his mind, and to his amazement, his flames turned crimson. He stared in awe at the beautiful fire in his hands. His mind had already put the pieces together and he realised that these flames were linked to his negative emotions. That would explain why he's never used them before. He always tried his best to suppress his negative emotions and never let them dictate his actions.
For the first time since the death of Lisanna and Happy, Natsu felt happiness. He was always fascinated by magic, and discovering a new way to use his left him feeling a little giddy. That happiness fell away though as he fell into a cycle of self-loathing. He wondered if he had this kind of power, would he have been able to save Lisanna and Happy. Would Igneel have stayed with him?
It left him with a hollow feeling as his back hit the floor once again. He hated this feeling. He hated losing the people he cared about. He hated being weak and looked down upon. He didn't want to feel this way any longer. He had the power now, but it seemed to be far too late. He entertained thoughts of leaving Fairy Tail, but in the end he decided against it. Fairy Tail was Lisanna's home. She absolutely loved the Guild and he would stay to honor her memory. He would protect her home in her stead. Not to mention, they received the best jobs with the best rewards so he would take advantage of that. He didn't know what he would do from now on though. His purpose in life was gone. He had hoped to live a long and fruitful live with Lisanna and Happy, but that was stolen from him. He thought about continuing his quest for Igneel, but at this moment he didn't care much for finding his father. The sting he felt at his abandonment was greater at this low point in his life and he didn't care much for finding out why he was thrown away like yesterday's trash. He was lost. He had no direction and no purpose in life. He's never felt so empty before. He didn't like this feeling one bit. He was always someone that was driven by something. He always let his purpose guide his journey. Now that he didn't have one…what was he supposed to do? Could he live his life from day to day as he drifted along, hoping to find some semblance of resolve?
He made a vow to himself then and there that he would never let himself feel this way again. If this was the pain he felt when he lost someone, then he would make sure that he never got that close to anyone ever again. That way, he wouldn't be forced to be feel this way again. He loved Igneel and held him in the highest regard, but the dragon tossed him away when he was done with him. To this day, Natsu didn't know the reason why nor did he care. Master Makarov lied to him about the large family that was Fairy Tail. He betrayed Natsu's expectations. If it wasn't for Lisanna, he would have washed his hands with the place. And now he lost the two people he loved more than anything. He was tired of his happiness and his expectations being cruelly snatched away from him. If it meant living a life of loneliness, then so be it. It was better to be alone than loving with all your might only to have it taken away from you.
For now, he resolved himself to continue training himself. He didn't know what else was out there. He knew that his Lisanna would want him to go on with his life and he knew that Happy would slap him upside his head with a fish for moping about them. He would take missions and travel around the continent. Maybe he would find a new purpose someday. Until then, he would continue to build his power. He would increase his magic and explore this new side of him that he discovered. He would never let anyone walk over him anymore. He would be his own man from now on. He didn't care about Fairy Tail's stupid philosophies any longer. They showed him that he didn't belong with them so he would take their attitude to heart and disassociate himself with their members. He didn't need to be anyone's friend to be a member of the Guild. If the Master didn't like it, then that was his problem. He couldn't dictate to Natsu about the power of friendship when his own grandson had no friends within the Guild.
With his resolve strengthened, Natsu made his promise to himself. He would be a new man from today. He had enough of people taking advantage of his kindness. He will live by his own principles, not by those of Fairy Tail or Igneel. He would do what he wanted and not what others wanted him to. He was tired of being Fate's chew toy. He knows Lisanna wouldn't be happy about it, but right now…he needs to do this for himself or he might break. He gave her a silent apology before he got off the ground and walked away. His new future looking uncertain for those around him as his decision on that day will have a ripple effect on the world. Whether it was positive or negative remains to be seen.
New story guys…this one's been in my brain for a while so I just had to get it down before the creative juices went away. Despite what it may look like, I want to say it now…this is not a Fairy Tail bashing story. I know I wrote some of the character in a somewhat negative light…which is to be expected as I tried to get Natsu's perspective of things and the extremes that his mind went to under the massive duress that he experienced. Also…while I may have tweak a few things…the behaviour that I described was pretty close to cannon. Erza and Mira were pretty much bullies, no matter how Hiro likes to write it for comedy or whatever other purposes. Children can be pretty cruel, far more so than adults. The point being is that they're all children and they will eventually grow up and mature. Anyway…just wanted to clear things up. Now…I need to address a few things that will be important to know as the story progresses.
Lisanna and Happy: I want to make it positively clear right now…Lisanna and Happy are dead…D.E.D…Dead! (That's a Spawn reference right there for those that watched the movie). There will be no Edolas in this story, so I guess you can call it an AU.
To me, Edolas served absolutely no purpose to the story progression whatsoever. The only reason it was done was to bring Lisanna back after which she was given the shaft and pushed off to the sidelines, making her completely useless. I don't understand what Hiro was trying to do with that. To me, Lisanna was a far more interesting character when she was dead and a ghost of Natsu's past. Hence the reason she will stay that way. I killed off Happy was well for 2 reasons:
As much as I love that little blue ball of fur, he doesn't entirely fit in the kind of character I want to make Natsu. He was kind of surplus to requirements. I know I didn't have to kill him, but I did and that's where my second reason comes in.
The event of Lisanna's death alone was something Natsu was able to get past, as seen in canon. But if it's compounded by losing Happy…then we can see Natsu going to the edge of his sanity and falling into the darkness so it speak. Basically, I used Happy and Lisanna as the triggers for Natsu's descent. It's a bit cheap, but I'm going to go with it anyway.
For now, Natsu will be alone, but I may entertain the possibility of giving him another Exceed partner in the future. Let me know what you guys think of that. FYI, the Exceed race will be just another race of magical creature in Earthland like Vulcans and Wyverns
Natsu: Even though I'm a huge Fairy Tail fan and have been following it since the beginning…I have no shame in confessing that Natsu is one of the characters that I like the least. My problem with him is that he has absolutely no personality. Natsu can basically be summed up in a four words. Nakama. Fairy Tail. Igneel. Punch.
He has had absolutely zero character development throughout the series. Every other character got some great build up and had their tragic backstories delved into…except him! He was just the guy who punched the enemy bosses in the face and screamed about the power of friendship. Not to mention, his power was completely undecipherable. He went from beating a Wizard Saint, Jellal, to getting smacked around by Cobra. He beat Master Zero…only to have difficulty with a tool like Zancrow. I know the permutations were different for each fight…but come on! He never kept the awesome power that he displayed. He's like every new season of Pokémon. After his big fights, his power gets reset and he goes back to being useless. I mean…shouldn't he have been an S-Class mage by now? I refuse to believe that the brother of arguably the most powerful mage to ever exist, who was trained by the strongest dragon (besides Acnologia who technically isn't a dragon) and is also the strongest demon in existence…was such a weak, flaky bastard. His potential is way higher that Gray, Erza or Mirajane…so how the fuck was he so mediocre?
The whole deal with E.N.D was exciting when it was first announced as I thought we'll get some insight into Natsu and see a different dimension to his character…but that was so horribly done that it made me cringe. So let me make it clear…for those that finished the manga…I'm not going to go in the same direction with E.N.D. I plan on twisting it to my own purposes to suit my story. We already saw some of that in this chapter. Regardless of what he thinks of himself…Natsu is an Etherious. He's unique however in that he was initially a human that was transformed by Zeref himself as well as having his own book. He's on a different tier of power compared to other Etherious. I will change the lore behind E.N.D a bit so watch out for that. What you need to know for now is that, as an Etherious, Natsu has his own power that is fueled by negative emotions…which was the point of this chapter. To show him swimming in his negativity and unlocking a side of him that he didn't even know was there. He doesn't have full access to his Curse power but the bleed off from his species will still fuel his magic.
He will eventually find out more about himself and explore that part of him. As shown in the manga…all his memories are there within his mind…they are just 'locked' away. It will show him more about himself as well as change his perception of things.
As stated previously, there is no Edolas in this story…which means that there will be no Mystogan. I was intrigued by the guy in the beginning but he turned out to be completely useless. Hence, Natsu will take up the Mystogan role. In the sense that he will fill the left over S-Class role as well as being the loner of the Guild who only comes in for jobs. He will be powerful. Not on the level of Gildarts, at least not yet, but definitely at the level of Laxus, if not higher.
I know that it seems like he's completely cut himself off from the rest, but rest assured that Natsu will eventually come out of his shell. His initial attitude was actually inspired by Milly, from Code Geass, when she spoke to Kallen in episode 9. She said that 'Even if you bear them alone, eventually your problems pile up and can break you'. I'm paraphrasing, but you get the idea. He's all over the place right now with his perspective and his impression of events, which is slightly skewed by him to show it in the most negative light. It will just take some time for him to come out of the hole he's dug himself into and even then, he won't be the same. As shown, he will be more in touch with his negative side. He will be cynical, sarcastic and a bit of an asshole. But that's what makes it fun to write.
Pairings: I highlighted Mirajane in this chapter because she will have an important role in this story. Whether she will be part of the pairing or not remains to be seen. She will have a complicated relationship with Natsu though, as was explored a little in this chapter. What I can tell you though, is that this will definitely be a Natsu x Juvia pairing. I absolutely love Juvia. She's the quirkiest and most endearing character to me (not to mention ridiculously sexy) and I honestly think she's wasted on the Ice Prick. She too will play a big part in this story so look forward to that. I'm thinking of an eventual harem, but that's still in the works for now.
PS: Did anyone else find is strange that Wendy, the least offensive Dragon Slayer, was able to harness and master Dragon Force, to the point where she could consciously activate it, before Natsu and Gajeel? How the fuck did that happen? I mean I was happy as I like Wendy…but seriously…
Anyway, that's enough from me. I may have said too much already. Thank you for taking the time to read this story. I hope that it piques your interest to keep you peeled. Please look out for more in the future.