Lucy breathes heavily as she continues writing over the book of E.N.D. Her body glistened in sweat despite the blizzard Gray creates for her. She clutches the quill in her hand tightly, fighting against the heated inner turmoil in her body. It feels like her soul itself is on fire, biting and burning relentlessly from within. It is not Natsu's flames; because while he would never let his flames near her, his flames were not so unforgiving. It is a weird feeling, being engulfed in cold on the outside and burning up on the inside.

Despite it all, she continues to write, because this is the only thing she can do now to save him. It rested in her hands.

But with every letter she rewrites, the burn in her heart becomes even stronger, and breathing becomes more laborious. The burning sensation is intense, spreading like poison over the right side of her body, the malice force preventing her from writing. But she couldn't stop now. Natsu's life was in danger.

Gray watches over Lucy with a mix of awe and concern. He cannot tear his eyes away from her form because he has never seen her like this before. She is strong and determined and so tantalizingly fierce. Her eyes seem fiery as she works her way with the letters. At this moment, he doesn't see any traces of the cute and naïve girl he initially thought her to be. She is hardly the dainty little princess she was when she first entered the guild.

The same girl who would cower and back off at the sight of any demon, was now fighting off something even more sinister than that. She puts up a strong front, but Gray notices every bit; the increasingly ragged breathing, the slight tremble in her hand, the excessive sweat on her body despite the chill. He cannot bring himself to imagine the pain she was experiencing from within. But she continues without a word, because he knows, he understands her so painfully well; they had to save their friend.

He swallows thickly as he notices the red veins on her body, spread viciously from the tips of her fingers to her arm, slowly branching off on her chest. The demonic power of the book sought to dominate her, body and soul, and all he could do is watch helplessly.

His stomach drops when suddenly, she gasps and shudders as she lets out a heavy pant, eyes glistening slightly and she presses a palm to her heart. His heart jumps when he notices how quickly the red veins were spreading across the area her hand was placed.

"Lucy, what's wrong?" Gray asks, voice laced with worry. Just from being next to her, he can feel intense heat emitting from her body.

She shakes her head, her back slumping a bit as she clutches her chest in pain, "I-I'm fine. Don't worry." she still manages to throw him a smile.

Gray bites his lip in frustration. She was obviously not okay. As she picks up the stylus slowly and raises her hand and continues writing again, another heavy shudder passes through her body.

"Lucy -Lucy stop-" Gray takes her hand in his gently and lays it down.

"But Gray I can't - I need to-" She starts protesting but she stops when she sees Gray's desperate expression.

"I know, Lucy. We need to save Natsu, but I can't afford to lose you in the process too!" he tells her seriously. The words hang in the air for a while before Happy adds tearfully, "Gray's right, Lucy. I don't want to lose you too!"

Lucy nods firmly, but once again, she feels a tugging pain in her chest and claws at her heart, panting heavily.

Gray takes her in his arms, intensifying his magic as much as he can.

"W-Water-" she pants roughly.

"I'll go fetch it immediately!" Happy flies off urgently in search of the nearest water source.

As she continues to press her chest painfully, Gray gently takes her wrist and presses his ear to her heart. Her heart was beating abnormally fast, and her pulse rate confirmed that.

"Relax, Lucy. Take deep breaths." he strokes her head soothingly. She follows his commands and closes her eyes, inhaling and exhaling. "I'm here for you." He reassures her, reminding her and giving her courage, that she wasn't alone. That he wouldn't let her fall. A smile graces her lips and she nods gratefully.

Happy returns with a flask of water, which Gray cools down with his ice magic before helping her gulp it down.

She lets out a calmer breath, the pain in her heart subsiding a bit, "Thanks, Gray, Happy." she nods gingerly. "I'm ready." She grips the quill firmly, the resolute expression back in her eyes as their minds mirror the same thoughts and determination.

Hold on Natsu, we're going to save you, no matter what it takes!