There are many things that Natsu can admit he does not understand. When you stop to factor in that he was quite literally raised by a dragon maybe he could be forgiven for being a dense fool at times. It isn't like he particularly enjoys being an idiot but how could you really blame him? Humans make no sense with how they act and the things they say. Dragons are much more straightforward about how they feel and the things they want. They didn't need lies or to bend the truth to protect someone's feelings and other odd social rules that he does not understand even after all these years.
Yes, there are many things that Natsu doesn't understand but Lucy Heartfilia tops the list. He's a dragon in a human's body, thinks and feels like a dragon and dragons hoard what is theirs. He keeps the people and things he cherishes close so he can keep them safe and happy at all times. Natsu had clearly (to a dragon at least) staked his claim on the gorgeous Celestial mage. Had covered not only her but the entirety of her apartment in his scent. Proven he could protect and provide and perhaps frustrate yes but she's adorable when she gets all red and angry.
But Natsu is a dragon and dragons are different than humans. For a dragon showing prowess and initiating physical contact is the equivalent of a confession. Power displays signal desire and he'd clearly done that. In their society it was really the female that initiated courtship and doing so without proper acceptance was...not recommended. Female dragons were violent in their rebuffs. Luce is no dragon that is true so he knows enough to at least try to get his message across but does not understand why she rebuffs him so violently.
It isn't the pain that bothers him. Part of the reason he'd chosen her is the strength he finds so sexy hidden behind that prim and proper shell. It's not even the rebuffing itself that bothers him since he understands she isn't really refusing him just doesn't understand what he is trying to say. What really gets him is the frustration because he doesn't understand so much of how to tell her and frustration becomes physical discomfort more often than not.
At times he wonders what exactly Igneel was thinking raising a human child into a dragon and then leaving him to flounder his way through a world he doesn't really belong to. The resentment is gut-wrenching at times but has cooled over the years between. Every once in a while though he finds himself so angry at the position he's been put into. Other times it's Gramp's he's angry with. Sure he'd taken a sad, lonely little boy and given him a family but failed to really stop and think about what the boy had to say. It had been no secret. He'd practically screamed his heritage to all of Magnolia but no one had stopped to think about what it meant. What did it mean for the son of a dragon to be thrust into this?
Right now he's keenly feeling the frustration and a throbbing cheek courtesy of the pretty mage Lucy kicking him into her wall. He's a fucking dragon and yes dragons are tactile creatures with a tendency to greed and all those things she screeches about but what's so wrong about it? There is nothing better than being in their den (her apartment) cuddled in their nest (her bed). Feeling her there, caged in his arms where he knows she is safe settles his instincts and calms him like nothing else ever has. The fact is he knows she likes it too, can practically taste the way she heats up sometimes when he gets close to her. Least till she freaks and kicks him from her bed like now and he doesn't understand.
It's only been seconds that he's been lost in thought so Lucy is still yelling about boundaries but it's all too much. The warbled roar he looses is better than enraging her further by simply combusting. If she wants him gone so bad then fine, he'll leave. He is gone before she comes out of the shock his choaked off roar put her in and smoke is trailing from his mouth he's so angry.
Maybe he's been mistaken, read her wrong (doubtful he's a dragon slayer with incredible keen senses) and pushed too hard. He can admit he's gotten increasingly desperate and been more persistent lately hoping she'd get the hint but maybe she just doesn't want him. It's not a good thought.
He makes it home but is still angry because he is a dumb beast in a human's world and they make no sense and what were they thinking raising him to be a broken mess of a person? He can't even talk to anyone about it because the slayers all look to him for stability and guidance. He is the Alpha Male (argue all they like but he is the King of this nest and that's been well established) and they trust him to be strong. Humans are for lack of a better world cruel and insensitive so he does not feel comfortable even considering confiding in one of his Nakama about this. Mating is a particularly private dragon affair.
The real problem is that they look human. Walk talk act like a duck and all that. Except for that inside, where their souls burn, they are dragons. Putting human expectations on them is unfair and really they work at more of a disadvantage if anything even with all their power. They look the part though and everyone conveniently forgets what they really are. It makes him angry about how unfair it all is. How unfair their dragons were to abandon them. Unfair of the guilds to brag about their slayers but not truly understand what they are. Unfair that he is so broken as a person he can't even communicate to his mate clearly what he wants and needs from her.
Time flies when you're having a personal crisis and suddenly he realized he'd just been sitting in the dark going in circles with himself. Luce is probably gonna be upset with him running out the way he did but he can't go back right now. He isn't mad at her, never her but he needs some time. When dawn finally breaks he pens a quick note for them to find and is gone before the birds even wake. Mira is alone in the Guild when he enters to snag a job without really reading more than the headline. By the time the world wakes he is long gone.
Natsu needs nature and the world he understands. The wild he understands. Kill or killed. He's good at physical battles despite the damage he sometimes (always) causes. Luckily he's chosen a monster job and is looking forward to working off frustration in his element.
By the time he's crushed a small mountain (an accident, really) he'd love to say he's calm again but it wouldn't be the truth. He's exhausted himself mentally and physically and by the time he's trudging towards home, he's actually considering giving up. Lucy clearly doesn't want him so he can't trust his senses anymore. He's just tired of fighting.
Returning home (his own, not theirs like he really wants to) he is lonely and low key distraught. Natsu doesn't like to admit defeat in anything yet he feels decidedly defeated when suddenly he's on the floor. His breath leaves him in a rush as a solid weight pins him down against the floor. Later he'd bash himself because how could he miss the fact that his whole house smelled like her? He'd been lost in his own head and not paying attention to his surroundings. Now he has a lap full of Lucy and it's not super helpful towards that him giving up idea he's had. When he scents saltwater the guilt makes his chest ache.
"Hey, Luce." Easing up into a seated position with her legs on either side of his hips Natsu watches as an uncharacteristically quiet Happy flies out the door before shutting it softly behind him. Swallowing he nudges at the grip she has around his neck to loosen it so he can swipe at the tears on her cheek. "What's wrong?"
She doesn't respond and instead leans back to stare at him with an odd pinched look on her face before moving to wrap around him again. He's trying to ignore that he's seated on the floor with his utterly gorgeous partner straddling his lap but it's rough. Perfect and rough. Hope is dangerous but still, he feels it as he wraps her in his arms with a comforting hum. Her tears leave tracks on his neck but she's warm and soft and Natsu doesn't mind.
"Not that I'm complain' Luce but what's up?"
"You left." That he did. Hated every second away from her too.
"Well yeah. You were yelling at me to get out ya weirdo."
"You never listen to me Natsu! You've never actually left before."
"I just thought that's what you wanted." A half-truth. He knows what she wants, knows her better then she knows herself sometimes. It's the misunderstandings and mixed signals that drive him mad.
"Well yeah but I meant out of my bed not...you didn't sound right and I was worried. Then I found your note and realized you'd left."
"I needed to get away."
"Away from me?"
"No! Of course not Luce!"
"Then why? Why did you leave like that? Why did you roar like you were in pain? I didn't actually hurt you did I?" She looks stricken when she jerks back as if the thought has just occurred to her. Those tiny hands flutter over his skin looking for damage and his blood becomes flame. He is quick to catch those wandering temptations.
"Slow down there Lucy! No way could you hurt me, I'm a dragon slayer!" There is a chuckle in his voice he cannot help because dammit sometimes she's just too damn adorable. "One little kick ain't' gonna hurt me."
"Natsu." Her voice is low and serious when those fresh soil eyes meet his own and it's magnetic. "Tell me what's going on with you. I've never heard you make a sound like that and then you disappeared. You didn't even tell us before you took off on a job alone." The hurt in her voice makes a whine build in his throat. Lucy is fire and ice in his arms and he is losing control of the situation.
"I just needed to think and...I don't know Luce. Things have been getting to me lately and I needed to blow off some steam. That's all."
"I'd understand that but why didn't you tell me? Or Happy?" He loves Lucy but she can be a bloodhound at the worst of times. He's tired and frustrated and with his dreams literally sitting in his lap can you blame him for it?
"Look, Lucy, you're my best friend but there are some things better left alone."
"I'm not moving until you talk to me." It makes him growl lowly when she does that stern pout of hers but he won't force her off and she damn well knows it.
"Luce I'm serious. I don't want to talk about this. I'm sorry I left but I thought that was what you wanted and I'm back now so how about we head to the guild and grab something to eat?" The pretty female only watches him and he can see the aggravation but then she does something shocking. The spark dies then she's leaning forward to nuzzle at his throat. The breath freezes in his lungs.
"Please Natsu. I know you. Something has you all wound up and I don't like it. I'm Nakama Natsu, you can tell me anything." It's been so difficult for so long and he's shocked again by how easily he breaks.
"That's just it though Luce. Your Nakama."
"I don't understand." Of course she doesn't.
I don't want to be your Nakama Lucy. What I want from you is so much more." She'd begun to tense up at the beginning but the end has her breath hitching against his collar bone. The arms he's failed to pry from her waist tighten as if afraid she will flee. "I know it's a surprise. I didn't know how to tell you and I'm not a person Luce, not really. I'm a dragon and all I know is dragon. You just couldn't hear what I've been trying to say."
She is quiet and there are still tears on his skin. Panic gnaws at him as he second-guesses the outpouring of emotion in the face of her silence. He's shutting his eyes like that will shut out the pain of another rejection so he does not see the kiss coming. It's just suddenly soft and warm and the slayer is lost to the taste of her and the sighs that fall from those pretty lips when he nips at them. Lucy makes him feel like a beast but in the best way like a man. The need for air seems trivial and he whines when Lucy pushes insistently at his chest.
"Breathe Natsu. It won't be our last, I promise." Her grin is everything but the delight of her acceptance is even more.