Warning: This story is going to start off rather depressing, but it will move its way to a happier self discovery. I also apologize to any Gray-Stans. Don't worry, I love him too and he'll get better in this story.

EDIT: Before any of you decide to leave me a comment about how Gray is OOC, read the notes at the end of this chapter.

Exactly when you feel the most confident is when the universe likes to fuck you over. In your most victorious moment, when everything is riding on you and your actions. When it isn't win or lose; rather when it's life and death. That's when the stars and moon align, not to give you a break. No they aren't creating an unnatural phenomenon to give you a blessing. They're doing it to shoot down your confidence as a reminder that you aren't special.

Life isn't easy. And by that fact death shouldn't be easy either. But the universe is cruel, and she plays a sick game. Lucy Heartfillia learned that the hard way, by watching her mother die when she was only a child. She learned that the universe seemed to hate her in particular when her father began to humiliate and berate her in front of the staff of their large family mansion. She figured the universe despised her when she was placed in an arranged marriage to a man she'd never met. And the universe damn right almost destroyed her when her father paid to have a guild kidnap her for a "safe" return.

But she had hope that the universe wasn't as cruel as she always thought it to be when she got to join Fairy Tail. The guild she's dreamt of joining since she was given her first celestial key, Aquarius. She jumped with joy when Natsu brought her to the guild she always longed to visit and finally got to stamp herself as an official member. Regardless of the dangerous missions and the dark guilds that were out to get them, Lucy was proud to bare the pink Fairy Tail insignia on her right hand. No matter the trouble it caused her, or the grief her guild mates gave her on a daily basis, she was forever grateful Natsu gave her the opportunity she'd been chasing since she was a little girl.

However, even when the days begin to clear and the despair fades, the universe can return with a vengeance more powerful than she'd ever imagined. In the form of five fuming dark wizards facing her down outside of the abandoned warehouse her and her team were sent to infiltrate.

"So," The tallest, and supposedly the leader of the squadron leaned his body entirely on his left side, seemingly not nervous in the slightest with the powerful mage before him, "The Fairy's came to rescue the day?"

His grin was wicked, showing his rather large canines. The other four, choosing to cover their faces with black bandanas, snickered at their comrades taunt. Lucy couldn't help but smirk at their arrogance, "I wouldn't be letting your guard down if I were you, buddy."

The leader seemed to ponder her for a moment longer. She couldn't tell where her team was, and she was beginning to worry. The plan was for Natsu and Gray to infiltrate the warehouse to take down an underground dark guild that had begun to arise in a small town south of Magnolia. Erza was to remain with Wendy at the back of the warehouse in preparation for Natsu and Gray to push the small dark guild out towards the back wooded area. Lucy was supposed to watch the front of the warehouse incase any brave souls dared to travel against the two boys barreling their way through their temporary guild hall and ended up leaving through the front. What they didn't account for was the five wizards who had been out on a job of their own to come back to their safe haven being demolished by Fairy Tail's strongest team.

However it has been at least five minutes since the sounds of fighting died down on the other side of the small clearing they found themselves in, and Lucy wasn't entirely sure if that was a good or a bad thing.

"It seems you're the one a little preoccupied," The man in front of her mocked her previous statement, making his posse laugh heartily behind him. He ran his hand through his grundy black hair, attempting to look relaxed just to annoy her. His stance proved he viewed them as no threat.

The blonde scoffed, the nerve this guy had to insult Fairy Tail. They were more than just fairies, he just didn't know it yet, "Oh, I'll show you how dangerous Fairies really are."

The man barely had a moment to catch enough breath to retort before Lucy pulled out her first key, letting the yellow light engulf her body as she summoned her spirit "Open! Gate of the Golden Bull!"

Taurus pushed through with the guidance of his wizard to the human world with his hands shaking to battle, "Anything for you Luuuucy!"

"Heh, she's the celestial wizard," The leader took note before shouting behind him, "We can take her boys!"

The other four wizards cheered in affirmation before charging Lucy and Taurus. She had no idea what to expect out of these guys since she wasn't aware of what magic they possess. Two went for the left towards Lucy and two towards the Right for Taurus. Lucy pulled out her whip, waiting for the two to get closer before she wrapped the leather around one of them, successfully throwing them a few yards away. The second one however rammed a glowing hand into her chest causing a burning sensation across her skin.

She let out a strangled gasp at the pain spreading up her neck as she staggered backwards with her palm over her wounded skin. Behind her she could hear Taurus fighting off what sounded like a sword against his axe. She was unaware of what the second person was doing and didn't have even a second to figure it out as she was attacked yet again by the mage she sent flying moments ago.

She could tell the one with light coming from his hands was dangerous to the touch. He came at her again, giving her little time to formulate a plan. She decided at the last second to sacrifice her whip as a way to disable this guy. Her whip wrapped around him in a tight grip, unwilling to budge from its seal around his body. That left her with one more guy. Who seemed to keep his distance until she was unarmed. Before he had a chance to attack her with whatever magic he had, she pulled out a second key, calling out a spirit that could easily trap these guys, "Open! Gate of the Maiden!"

With another blinding light, Virgo appeared giving the ruffian she was battling a startled look of infatuation with her spirit.

"Yes, Princess?"

Lucy grinned at her spirit, "I need you to put these guys in the ground!"

The pink haired maid simply nodded, "Consider it done."

The ground beneath them shook as Virgo barreled her way underground. It was silent momentarily until a hole surrounded the wizard in front of her. Virgo popped up from the hole looking exactly the same as when summoned, "Did I please you princess?"

Lucy gave her spirit a thumbs up, "You did awesome! Thanks Virgo!"

Virgo bowed toward Lucy as she closed her gate, leaving the blonde to turn her attention back towards Taurus who had successfully taken down the other two mages, "Great job Taurus!"

The bull spirit beamed at the praise. Just before he could make any sort of remark, Lucy closed his gate. She dusted her hands together, feeling satisfied that she was able to take down the rather cocky wizards. Just as she was going to take her leave to check on her team, a dark chuckle came from the woods making her freeze.

Oh right, there were actually five of them.

"Impressive," the leader came lurking from the shadows, "For a Fairy," He tapped his chin in thought for a moment, "Or wait. What did that cow call you?" His eyes turned dark as he gave Lucy a hungry looking glare, "Lucy?"

"I took them down," Lucy stood in front of the man, trying her best to look as confident as she wanted to feel, but the truth is she was beginning to run out of magic. She had summoned her spirits so much just today that the fight took too much out of her, "what makes you think I can't take you down too?"

"Because," He stated matter of factly, "I have more power than you could ever hope to achieve."

As if to prove his point, the man started glowing, much like the glow Lucy produced to create the gate from the spirit world to the human world. However rather than surrounding himself with a soft pale yellow light, his was a striking black. She could feel the magic radiating off this guy in heaps of layers, and she hated to admit it scared her. She had no idea what it was or what he could do, but she knew it was bad news.

She knew she couldn't do this alone, not without her team. But she hadn't heard anything from their side in the past 15 minutes. They couldn't have not heard her battling over here alone. Had something happened to them? Why weren't they coming?

Right on que, a familiar deep voice roared through the clearing belonging to a pink haired dragon slayer, "Lucy! I'm coming for ya!"

Lucy felt a victory pile in the pit of her stomach but was reluctant to indulge in the feeling until this guy was out of the picture. She let herself be grateful her team wasn't seriously injured and was coming to her aid. This battle will be ending soon. The glowing wizard noticed Lucy's relaxing posture with interest, "So, you think I'll be an easy kill," His words were dripping with venom as if he were personally offended by her confidence, "Don't you?"

Lucy didn't have a chance to respond before Natsu rounded the corner of the warehouse. His eyes met hers instantly, "Lucy! You okay?!"

She felt a sense of calm wash over her at the sight of the dragon slayer. He always showed up at just the right time, fire blazing for a fight. He looked a bit disheveled which was to be expected during a mission. His coat was torn at his arm allowing his skin to brush against the cold, nighttime air. He looked a little scratched up, and a little blood was trickling from his hairline. But he still sported his trademark smile as he sprinted towards his companion.

"Oh young love," Lucy snapped her gaze back towards the dark wizard, both ashamed she had nearly forgotten about him and embarrassed with his observation, "how disgusting and pointless!"

If it was possible, the light began to triple in size. It seemed to grow with his own ego as he laughed at the fear plastered on her face. His cackling grew louder, "Don't worry Lucy! You'll feel a pain worse than death!"

She felt the goosebumps on her skin, and she wasn't sure if she was shivering because of the cold, or out of fear. She had no idea what he was doing, and had no way to block him without using her spirits as a shield. Her whip was being used as a restraint at the moment, leaving her completely frantically searched the dark wooded area behind him, hoping for some idea to formulate in her head.

"Your time has come," the dark haired man glared down in amusement, "Lucy of Fairy Tail."

The menacing light around his body suddenly wrapped around her in a vice grip. At first she didn't feel anything. That is until the magic starting seeping into her skin, feeling like it was poisoning her to the touch. She struggled against the unknown magic, trying to reach for a key in desperation.

Her body was suspended in time, unable to move past an inch. She was nearly paralyzed. Her keys were too far to the right of her belt. Too far for her to reach them in this state. The light pricked into her arms and legs, feeling like cracks through her body. It was like the light was absorbing her from the inside out. She desperately needed someone to stop this guy, she needed someone, Aries, Cancer, Loke, Natsu, someone!

Just as the light seemed to pull her apart completely, another light flashed beside her. One she knew was warm and comforting. The flame approached her of its own accord, worming its way between her and the poisoned light. She felt the dark light pulling out of her body rather painfully. Each crack was vacated and the pricks in her skin disappeared. The light faded away as if the fire burned it away, leaving her an amazing view of a beat up dark wizard and a happy Dragon Slayer.

"Natsu!" The blonde shouted making her friend turn his back to the villain, giving his full attention to her.

"Heya Luce!" He made his way over to her, "You good? What was that light stuff around ya?"

Lucy shrugged, wincing as her irritated skin was pulled with the motion, "I never got a chance to find out, but I don't think I wanna try to figure it out again."

Natsu chuckled, prepared to give her a charming response, but was cut off by a painful sounding blow to his back. Whatever he was planning to say stuck in his throat as he lost his balance and fell face first into Lucy's chest. She gasped at the bloody bubbles forming all over the Dragon Slayers back. It looked similar to a burn, but eerily different. Lucy knew Natsu couldn't be affected by fire, and this looked far more dangerous than any standard fire attack.

She felt fury boil in her veins, her eyes screamed murder as she lifted her gaze to meet Natsu's attacker, only to realize he was gone. Her nerves were on edge and her mind was in shatters. She felt herself fall to the ground, ungracefully at that, letting Natsu's head lay on her lap. She felt her tears gathering in the corner of her eyes, fear was grabbing her by the neck and she wasn't sure if it would ever let go. She could have sworn to any and everyone in Fiore that her heart stopped at that moment. Her whole world came crashing down for the third time in her life.

With a shaky hand, she placed her fingers to his wrist in hopes of finding a pulse. Her body froze when she felt nothing. No thump of a heart beat, no pump of magical energy…

She refused to encourage her train of thought, choosing instead to reach her fingers blow his trademark scarf to check his pulse yet again. She waited a few seconds with bated breath, until she finally felt the heavy thumps of a heart beat.

"Oh Natsu," She sounded broken as she choked on her own sobs. She bent down to touch her own forehead with his, trying her best to hold back her tears.

He was still alive, that's all that matters.

"Natsu! Lucy!" Lucy's head shot up at Gray's voice. She turned her head to watch the Ice Mage run towards them with the rest of the team behind him. His eyes looked pained and she could only imagine it had to do with the unconscious boy in her arms. Glancing down at Natsu, he seemed to only be sleeping. He didn't seem pained or scared, and that was really the only thing Lucy found comforting about the situation.

Gray skid to a stop in front of Lucy, kneeling down to examine Natsu. He mimicked Lucy's idea at checking his pulse on his wrist. Lucy took the time to notice Gray was shirtless, again, but also shivering. No, not shivering. Gray doesn't get cold. He was shaking.

When he inevitable realized he couldn't find a pulse on the dragon slayers wrist, his demeanor changed drastically. His sharp eyes met Lucy's holding a glare she never imagined could be directed at her. It caught her off guard, causing her to jump backwards and catch herself with her hands firmly against the ground.

The Ice Mage clutched at her shirt in anger pulling his body only centimeters from his face, "What the fuck happened?!"

Too shocked to respond, Lucy stumbled over her words. Nothing came out as an intelligent response but instead as repeated "I's" and "Um's. She didn't really know what happened or how to explain it with a rabid Gray holding her so close that she could feel his breath ghost across her face. She could hardly hear herself think with her heartbeat pounding in her brain.

"Why can't you say anything, damnit?!" Gray shook her with enough force to roughly bob her head back and forth. She was raised slightly off the ground, staring at a seething Gray Fullbuster with nothing to say to defend herself. His own fury was leaking into his words and it hurt knowing it was directed at her.

Why it was directed at her? She had no idea.

She softly placed her own hand on Grays making him grip her clothing tighter, "He's okay, Gray."

He let go of her shirt, throwing her to the ground with a thud. She fell backwards, catching herself on her elbows. Gray stood over her, looking about as menacing as the guy she just fought.

"What's gotten into you, Gray?" She asked with a trembling voice which only seemed to piss him off more.

"What's gotten into me?" He clenched his fists, attempting to calm himself down, "Are you fucking blind or something? Natsu's hurt because of you, again!"

Because of me?

Lucy pushed up from her position on the ground, ignoring the protests her beaten body makes. She made a movement towards Natsu before Gray's hand harshly pushed her back, "Don't you dare go anywhere near him."

"Lucy, Gray, what is going on here?" Erza came to a halt beside them with Wendy, Happy, and Charla by her side. She scanned the area in search of any remaining dark guild members until her eyes fell on Natsu with a gasp.

Gray crossed his arms over his chest, giving a menacing look to Lucy, "Yeah, what's going on here Lucy?"

She wasn't sure what betrayal felt like before, but she thinks she's starting to understand. The dark, lonely feeling she gets when Gray's gaze shoots daggers to the pit of her stomach. It's something she hasn't felt in years, anxious, scared, and unsure of herself. She was like a cornered animal with no escape. She's never felt unsafe with her team, until now.

"Lucy?" Erza stood beside Gray, not looking as angry as him, but she had her own look of pain and sorrow. She motioned for Wendy to check on Natsu, who went straight to his side.

Lucy cleared her throat, avoiding Gray entirely. Instead she retold her story to Erza, hoping she could contain her raging emotions enough to speak without sounding broken, "I was waiting out here like I was supposed to. It was quiet for awhile, and I started thinking you guys might have defeated everyone yourselves."

She spared a glance at Gray but quickly looked away after seeing he hadn't even twitched from his previous stance, "I stayed still until I knew the coast was clear, but a group of dark wizards came back from a job. We didn't know anyone was missing before we infiltrated so I wasn't expecting them."

Lucy peered to her right, watching the wizard still ensnared in her whip give up on freeing himself, "I tried to fight them myself, I called out Taurus and Virgo. But I only got four out of five of them down."

Lucy rested her sights on Natsu who had Wendy hunched over him using her healing magic, "The fifth guy was their leader, I think. He attacked me with this light that felt like it was poisoning me," She felt the tears resurface, and try as she might to hold them back, one slid down her cheek, "Then Natsu used his fire to save me and beat him up. We thought the fight was over, but the other guy attacked him from behind."

"Where is this guy then?" Gray asked, still sounding irritated as he dug his fingernails deeper into his biceps.

"He got away," Lucy looked downcast, sounding defeated.

"So you let him escape?!" He shouted, taking a step towards the Celestial Wizard. If it weren't for Erza's hand atop his shoulder to ground him, Lucy was sure he was going to pummel her to the ground, "Are you that weak that you couldn't protect your friend?!"

"I'm sorry Gray," She sniffled, giving him the most apologetic look she could muster.

She needed him to see that she cared; That she tried her best. She needed him to know that this wasn't supposed to happen.

"Sorry doesn't revive the dead, Lucy!"

"Enough!" Erza intervened, surprising both Gray and Lucy. She gave them both a warning look before turning to Wendy, "Wendy, what is the status on Natsu's well being?"

The blue haired girl raised her head to face her team with a small smile, "He's gonna be okay. He might be unconscious for a while and he has a pretty bad wound on his back, but he's okay."

Lucy breathed a sigh of relief. Knowing Natsu was alive, not entirely healed but getting there, lifted a heavy weight off of her chest. The thought of losing another person she cared about was almost too much to bare.

When she turned her attention back to the Ice Mage in front of her, she was hoping to see him calm and collected once again. She begged to the celestial gods that she could look back into his eyes and see the relief she felt as well. But happy endings aren't a reality, and Gray's eyes still held a hatred she thought she'd never see from someone she considered family. She could not only see, but feel the red hot anger Gray was producing. She knew she caused it, and she couldn't deny that to him, herself, or her team. He was right. She failed them, miserably.

The travel back to the guild was long and painfully quiet. No one bothered to say a word to anyone, good or bad. Erza carried Natsu to the train, held him on the train, and carried him back to the guild. Neither Gray nor Lucy were permitted to touch him, much to Gray's dismay.

The tension between Gray and Lucy was so high strung, even Happy refused to stand between them. He didn't even give her a second glance the entire ride home, and Lucy couldn't tell if she'd rather have him yelling at her or completely ignoring her.

By the time they had returned to the guild it was morning and Natsu still hadn't awoken. Team Natsu stood outside the guild hall doors. Everyone seemed to be just as hesitant to enter the guild, why they felt hesitant was beyond her, didn't they not do anything wrong?

It was her that should be scared.

Erza shook whatever she was thinking from her head, and stalked into the busy hall with a heavy Natsu in hand. Gray after her, Wendy behind him with Happy and Charla, and Lucy trailing behind. She felt on edge, like she was on a stand before the jury awaiting her fate. She had this inkling that everyone already knew, that she did this to Natsu. That it was her fault he looked lifeless in Erza's arms.

As she expected, the whole guild dropped their activities to jump in surprise at Natsu's condition. The guild crowded around the redhead in worry, who in turn shouted at everyone to stay back. Everyone cleared a way for Erza and the rest, no one daring to ask what happened. Lucy knew, realistically, no one knew what she'd done. No one was aware of what happened in those woods, but the eyes on here felt judgmental, like they were boring into her soul.

The group paused as The Master stood on the guild bar counter, taking in the sight of the team before him. They looked beaten, destroyed, scared, which he can only guess came from their hurt friend. He cleared his throat, "Erza you can take him to the infirmary."

Erza nodded in understanding before taking Natsu to the back of the guild with Mira following her, leaving Gray, Wendy, and Lucy in the Master's hands. He stared down at the wizards, his children, with worry and care. They looked their own form of haunted. Gray looked furious, Wendy looked nervous, and Lucy looked down right terrified. It was a sight Makarov had hoped he'd never have to see any of his children burdened with.

The Master sat down once again, directing his attention to the teens. As he spoke, he hoped his words came out as soft and calm as possible, "What happened out there?"

Makarov wasn't surprised that it was Gray who spoke up first given the state the other two were in. What did surprise him was the heavyweight of the words he spoke, "We failed our mission because someone couldn't hold their weight."

Makarov raised an eyebrow as him, curious as to the train of thought was boy was having, "What do you mean, Gray?"

When he shot a glare at Lucy and she shied away, realization dawned on him. The dynamic of Team Natsu has always been strong, and seemingly unbreakable. The team had been welcoming to Lucy since the beginning, always eager to work with her and help her succeed. To see that bond crumbling before him was unsettlingly

"Lucy hid for the whole mission and failed to hold back a couple of lower class chumps. Natsu saved her ass as usual and she couldn't protect him when he needed it." He crossed his arms over his chest, letting his voice rise with his frustration, "And then she let the bastard who attacked him get away! He's still out there!"

The blonde hid her face in shame as the spotlight fell on her. She couldn't stop shaking, couldn't stop the whirlwind of sadness, guilt, failure, weak, disappointment. She would rather disappear than face the people she knew probably hated her now. But that was a weakness too, wasn't it? Hiding from them because she was scared? She needed to own up to what she'd done, because that was strong. She needed to face them head on and accept her fate, but she remained in place, shaking like a leaf for all to see. They could see her for the disappointment of a wizard she was.

She didn't deserve 10 gold Zodiac keys.

Makarov cleared his throat, causing everyone to turn to him once again, "Wendy, is Natsu's situation dire?"

The smaller Dragon Slayer jumped at the questions, stumbling nervously at all of the attention, "No Master! He should make a full recovery. I healed most of his injuries, but one was rather bad so he may be sleeping for a while to recuperate."

Makarov nodded in agreement, "Yes that is to be expected. Thank you for using your strength to heal him to the best of your ability."

Wendy gave Makarov a smile before he turned back to the Ice Mage, "Then there's nothing to worry about Gray," He assured, letting his gaze fall on the blonde who still hadn't moved her gaze from the wooden floors, "Accidents happen, as I'm positive you can understand. I'm sure Lucy didn't mean for Natsu to get hurt."

Lucy's breath stopped at the Masters words, finally letting her eyes travel up the man's body to meet his comforting smile. His eyes sparkled with understanding and sympathy that Lucy couldn't allow herself to accept. She didn't deserve his forgiveness or sympathy. She expected him to march her out the door after taking away her guild mark for the trouble she caused.

She couldn't bring herself to look at her guildmates, even if Elfman spoke up in her defense, "Yeah Lucy's a real man for taking on those guys by herself!"

She heard a few other agreements with him from various other guild mates, Levy and Cana among them, assuring her she tried her best. But the words felt hollow, she couldn't believe them. Not with the sight of Natsu's body, bloody, bruised, and damaged so fresh in her mind. How could they forgive her when she can't even forgive herself?

"It doesn't matter if she took them on alone or not!" Gray shouted above the murmuring guild, "She wasn't strong enough to handle them by herself and relied on Natsu to save her like she always does! She let us down!"

"Now Gray," Makarov scolded, giving him a stern look, "Lucy's a strong mage and has proven to be one in the pas. Things happen, and we can't dwell on them."

"I'll dwell on it all I want when my teammate almost died because she can't handle a little fight on her own!" Gray panted heavily, still completely furious with her. His outbreak shushed the guild entirely, and if it was possible for Lucy to hide in her own shadow, she would.

She can't look at them, she can't see their face. She can't see their disgust and hatred and disappointment. She can't handle their eyes on her skin or their words in her ears.

"Lucy," Makarov called out to her, his voice sounding far too delicate. He seemed to be trying to coax her out of herself, hoping to see her face emerge from its hiding place behind her ruffled bangs. She slowly tilted her head up once more, her eyes shining with unshed tears. Makarov felt a pang in his chest at her broken spirit. He could see in her eyes that she had beaten herself down to her very core.

She looked at him in panic, assuming the worst to leave his mouth. She was expecting to be tossed outside with nothing but the clothes on her back. She was expecting yelling and screaming and fighting. But Makarov never did what was expected, "Go home and get some rest. Everything will be fine, my dear."

For a moment she didn't budge from her spot, couldn't get herself to even twitch a finger. She only stared at The Master who had so much kindness in his eyes. It made her sick to her stomach. She didn't deserve his pity, she almost killed Natsu. She almost killed his child and he still looked at her as one of his own. She couldn't fathom it.

But if she was asked to leave, then she would do as she was told. She could have been told to kneel before Gray and beg for forgiveness and she would have done it at this point, if only to ease this pulsing pain in her chest that feels just as restricting as it does painful.

Slowly, Lucy dropped her gaze with a subtle nod. She turned from the Master and made her way through the already cleared pathway to the guild entrance. She refused to meet anyone's eyes in fear of what she would see, whether it be anger or pity. She wouldn't be able to stand it if she were to see hatred in their eyes, but she would hate herself if she saw sympathy. So Instead she kept her head down until she made it out the doors, only for light drops of water to soak into her hair.

Of course it would be raining today of all days, if only to make her feel worse about herself. After all, the universe has been in a lifelong battle with her and today was just part one of its revenge plan. With a look towards the darkening sky, the rain clouds circled around her. It was like the sky was taunting her, forcing her to come to terms with what she'd done. It wouldn't let her forget the devastation she almost caused.

That she almost got Natsu killed, because she was weak.

I've been getting a few comments about how Gray's reaction was OOC, and while I understand I also don't agree. In the anime, we see Gray make questionable decisions based on what he thinks is right. For example, During the Daphne arc he willingly lets Natsu get captured by Daphne in order to teach him a lesson about forgetting his promises. I understand this is an anime only arc, but it happened nonetheless. In Gray's past, we see him handle death in strange ways, many of which are through acting out. He's had run ins with death before and has lost so many people that I feel eventually the anger would start to seep through. If his lifelong rival and unspoken best friend was supposedly dead, he might lash out at anyone he can because he's hurting. That doesn't make it okay, but it makes it realistic. After he finds out Natsu is going to live, he continues to be angry with Lucy in hopes of teaching her she can't rely on Natsu to save her, just like he did with Natsu in the Daphne arc. Again, that doesn't mean it was the right thing to do, but it fits his character. And I feel like the way he realizes he was wrong fits as well, because it was his family that knocked some sense into him.

Like I said before, I adore Gray. He's one of my favorite characters and I plan to write more stories revolving around him in a positive light, but I needed someone to fill these shoes. He was the best candidate to fill the role. I didn't want to use Lisanna because so many people use her and make her into this horrible person that wants to selfishly get rid of Lucy, or makes the entire guild basically hate her for no reason. I see people write Natsu being the antagonist, and I just can't see that happening. No hate to those who write it or enjoy it, hell even I read those stories as long as it has a happy ending, but it's not entirely my cup of tea.

Overall, please remember this is a fan fiction I write in my spare time. This is a hobby for me and I do it because I love it. I don't expect every comment to be positive, but I do wish you would think outside the box and allow a different writing style and idea then you're used to. Hopefully this clears up any of the claims that Gray is OOC, because trust me I've gotten many. I just want to write what I enjoy.

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