Disclaimer! Fairy Tail is the property of Hiro Mashima. I do NOT own characters or original story plot; I am only responsible for this story.

Summary: After a mission goes horribly wrong Lucy has locked herself away to suffer in solitude. When all hope feels lost and she feels more alone than ever she is reminded that she's never really alone. NatsuXLucy

It had been more than two weeks since the last mission, but the stench of fire and burning flesh still overwhelmed her. When she closed her eyes images of people burning with their hands clawing for a way out, more bone than flesh, repeatedly flashed behind her eyes. Sleep was a term she no longer associated herself with.

Since she had been carted back to the guild after the mission and walked back to her apartment, she hadn't slept nor seen anyone since. Instead she had locked all entry points, moved curtains over the windows, and made a small bed on her living room floor to rot away in. Fear of seeing her friends and their pity and blame filled eyes paralyzed her and was enough to keep her answering their knocks on the door and windows. Pleas for her to open up the door, begging for a noise or answer so that they knew she was at least alive, and fists against wood and glass demanding that she open up. Most stopped trying as the weeks bled into one another. She hadn't had any visitors for a few days now and was beginning to believe that they had given up on her. That he had given up on her.

Lucy felt fresh tears burn her eyes, so she quickly closed them to keep from letting them fall. Without meaning to she had begun to doze off and that's when the nightmare suddenly gripped her. Behind her eyelids she was transported to an almost bare room with no doors or windows. Briefly glancing at the small bed and dresser her eyes moved across the room in hopes of discovering why she was there. In the corner stood a man completely shrouded in shadows. Fear seemed to grip her throat and she seemed to forget how to breathe. The figure slowly started towards her. Her wild eyes searched the room for something to defend herself or someone to save her and when they finally turned to the shadow man that's when it lunged at her.

Hurtling upwards with a small cry she attacked the darkness around her with fists unable to rationalize that she had had another nightmare and that there was no one there. When she finally realized she wasn't still in that unescapable room she began to feel the knot of anxiety loosen in her chest. The digital clock on the end table by her head glowed 3:21 a.m. and seemed to mock her. She moved her hand over her forehead to remove the sweat that had gathered and move the stringy blonde hair that was clinging to it. With a last glance around her living room she laid back down on her makeshift bed. Sleep would once again not come for her tonight.

A soft knock came from her apartment's front door and caused her to burrow deeper into the blankets. Wide eyes wondered who would be here to check on her at this hour, but she knew. Another soft knock came from the door and she mentally begged them to leave her be. Leave her to the dark and dancing shadows, the imagery of her not being strong enough to save anyone, and the despair that had been cocooning her in its web. When the third knock came she felt the knot of anxiety constrict her throat.

"Lucy.. Please open the door."

His gravelly voice was choked with emotion and she was instantly fighting tears. Her hands went to her head as she pulled the blanket higher over her head. Pulling at her hair she silently sobbed. She wasn't strong enough. She wanted to drown out feelings. Drown out all of her pain. Drown out his voice.

"Lucy, I'm beggin' you," his voice breaking at the end. "I just want to know you're okay. I won't say a word. Please open the door. Let me inside.. I need to just know you're in there. I'll do anything you want me to, just PLEASE open the door."

She realized she was standing in front of the door. Pressing one of her hands against the wood the other found her mouth and silenced the sobs that wanted to rip from her throat. His pain was radiating through the door. She didn't want to hurt him, but that was all she was doing. Before she could stop herself, she unlatched the door and stepped back. Her hands came down to her side and she waited for him to come in. With inhuman speed the door was opened and thrown back so hard that a loud crack rang through the apartment that had been silent for all these weeks, but instead of wondering about this all she saw was him. His vibrant green eyes overflown with tears held a mixture of emotion.

His breath hitched as the took in the tiny frame of the girl in front of him. Gone was the curvy and feisty woman that he had grown to love and was instead replaced with a bone thin hollowed out version of her. Her eyes were red rimmed, and she had bags the color of coal underneath her eyes. Instead of her upkept look she was dressed in only a t-shirt and her hair was matted and tangled. She was devastatingly beautiful.

When the reality of what she had done began to settle in on her she felt herself being to switch to flight mode. Panic filled her and she looked for a way to escape this situation. He didn't give her the chance to change her mind as he crossed the threshold into her apartment and pulled her flush against him. Without a second thought one hand snaked up to the back of her neck and pulled her lips to his.

Shock rocked her to the core, but she felt herself begin to unravel at his touch. Instead of fighting she gave in and wrapped her arms around him with just as much urgency. His warm taste filled her every sense and she knew that she was safe again.