Greeting, Y'all! It's been a hot minute since I've posted. I've got several other stories in the works but this one is the one I'm done with. I hope y'all enjoy it. Let me know what y'all think. Y'all be careful out there.
"Lushie?" Happy called loudly as he flew in her window.
"Good morning, Happy," she hardly looked up from her desk as she wrote.
Happy playfully looked at her and grinned, "It's well after noon, Lushie. You're late!"
"Ok, I'll ask him when I get to the guild at noon," she continued to write.
Happy snickered. She was oblivious to the time. Natsu won the bet.
"Lushie," he sing-songed, "if you don't hurry up, Natsu is going to come get you," he warned mischievously.
"No, thank you, Happy, I don't need anything."
Happy silently laughed hysterically for several minutes until Natsu climbed through the window.
Looking at his partner, he just smiled and shook his head. "Called it," he stated in mild amusement.
Since, Lucy obviously hadn't heard him come in, he decided he'd have to drag her out of her chair. In a few quick movements, he was across the room and had her lifted into his arms.
"Natsu!" she shrieked as he lifted her easily into a princess carry.
"Time to go, Lucy!" he grinned as he walked to the bathroom and stood her on the floor. "You're late!"
"I am not," she insisted stubbornly. "It's only…," she looked at her clock, "Oh."
Natsu and Happy bit back a laugh as the horror hit her.
"Oh no!" she cried as she looked at Natsu. "I'm so sorry, Natsu! I didn't mean to-,"
Natsu and Happy fell over laughing.
"Natsu," she scolded, "I'm trying to apologize!"
The boys continued to chuckle for a few moments before Natsu straightened up, "I know, but you're funny, and I'm not mad."
"Natsu!" she cried indignantly.
The two boys giggled again as the Dragon Slayer shooed her into the bathroom and told her to get ready, "Hurry up! It's time to work!"
A few hours later, they were arriving at their latest mission with their whole team. Natsu and Gray bickered. Erza wrangled the boys. Happy flirted with Charle who ignored him. Wendy and Lucy talked about the mission.
It was simple: find the artifact in the pile of junk in the basement that the client didn't want to go through. Natsu was completely disappointed that he wouldn't get to fight anything.
It soon became a competition to see who could find the weirdest thing with Natsu starting it off, "Look! I found a porno!"
Gray and Happy laughed while the girls just glared at him in annoyance.
"Boys," Wendy sighed. The others nodded in agreement before turning back to the task.
Soon Gray found something odd, then Happy, then Gray again, followed by Natsu. The boys were having fun playing around in the mess, leaving the girls to be serious about the task and annoyed with them.
Soon Natsu found another odd item. A bottle. Nothing special about it, it was just a bottle. It looked like any ordinary wine bottle. Purple glass. Cork. No label. Covered in a heavy layer of dust.
He was so inexplicably drawn to it. Without touching the glass, he pulled the cork off the top. Nothing.
He sniffed cautiously before jumping back in alarm. Smoke started to pour out of the opening.
"Natsu!" Gray yelled at him angrily.
"What did you do this time?" Erza questioned harshly as the team got ready for a fight.
"I didn't do it! I just opened it!" he defended himself.
"When are you going to learn?" Lucy side glanced at him.
"Oi," he squawked, "Happy's worse than I am!"
"WAHH! Lushie! Natsu's being mean!"
"Oh dear," said an amused female voice. She began to giggle lightheartedly. It was creepy.
"Who are you?" Erza demanded authoritatively searching the smoke for the person that spoke.
In an instant, the smoke cleared and a very simple little old lady appeared. She smiled good naturedly at the mages as she sat on a box. "No one of any importance," she told her.
Natsu was fascinated. "How'd you do the smoke trick?" he asked her excitedly.
"I'm an oracle," she told him as she studied the group.
"So," Gray started, "you grant wishes?"
She laughed again, "No, Dear, that's a genie. I can show you the future."
"That's cool!" shouted Happy.
"There's a catch."
"There always is," said Erza matter-of-factly.
"I can only show one person one future at a time and the future is fluid and can easily change."
"That makes sense," Lucy agreed with the statement. How many times had they dealt with the future already?
The old oracle turned to Natsu and asked him softly, "Would you like to see the future as it stands for you?"
As curious as he was, he was still smart enough not to take the bait. "Why do you want to show me my future?"
"I'm not a genie, Youngling. I don't twist things to my liking. I don't trick people. I tell you what I see in your future; it is up to you to keep it from changing or to change it, and yours could change drastically with just one conversation."
"His future is that fragile?" Wendy was worried for her big brother figure.
"No, Wee One," the lady spoke sweetly, "That's how much it wants to change."
Natsu was confused and concerned. They all were. Why did his future want to change? What did she mean by that?
"Allow me," she waved a hand in the air and Natsu gasped.
He watched his surroundings change as his friends watched his reaction to what he saw.
They were at the guild. All of them. Older. A lot older. Erza was doting on her grandchildren. Gray was talking with his adult son. He and Lucy were chatting with a young couple about their current age.
"Aww! You're all still friends," the oracle said happily. The group heard her as she spoke to Natsu while he watched and listened to the conversation unfold; he didn't look happy.
"I can't believe neither one of you ever got married or had kids," said the girl to the older Lucy who gave a pained smile.
Lucy wanted to get married and have kids. Why didn't she?
"Yeah," the young man agreed. "Everyone always figured you two would—"
Lucy interrupted him. "We're just friends," she stated plainly with an attempt to show no emotion, but to Natsu it looked like the phrase nearly killed her.
"Yeah," he heard his older-self choke on the words, "we've been partners for years."
"Ouch!" the old lady cringed. "That looked painful."
The team watched as Natsu's carefree demeanor changed to pained sadness as he cringed at the scene.
As the image faded, the elderly woman pondered, "I wonder how many times you've had to vomit up that horrible conversation?"
Too many it seemed. He closed his eyes and shook his head to rid himself of the thought.
"A word to the wise, young man," she got his attention. He looked at her, hoping.
"Your entire future can change with just one conversation. It's up to you how you want it to go. Good, bad, or stay the same. You are the only one that can change that and you're the only one that can determine what's a bad outcome or a good one."
With that, she, the bottle, and its cork disappeared.
Natsu was silent for a moment before he simply got back to work finding the missing artifact. He didn't speak to anyone for the rest of the day even when they tried to talk to him.
He stayed in his thoughts as Wendy finally found the ridiculous amulet late in the evening. The train to Magnolia wouldn't be back until the next day after breakfast.
He hated seeing the pain in her eyes and hearing it in her voice. It made him furious.
The group watched as he stewed getting angrier as the day progressed. By the time they got to the hotel, he was seething.
Lucy should only ever be happy and smiling. She made him happy when she did. He could never resist her charms.
Lucy told the group she would stay with Natsu and try to talk to him if they would bring them back something to eat. Once they were alone, she tried to calm him down; he had flames sparking along his skin every few moments.
"Natsu?" she placed a hand on his shoulder.
He relaxed slightly. Although he was still enraged, he wouldn't let his flames touch her.
"Please, talk to me?" she gazed softly at him as she spoke. She was worried. They were all still friends, right? What conversation could possibly set him off like this?
He heard the worry in her voice and sighed, dousing the flames entirely. He never could refuse her and had no intention of starting now.
"I don't know what to do," he began softly before raising his tone with each word. He was angry. They were sad in the future. They were obviously still close, still best friends, but they were both sad. Disappointed.
How was he supposed to fix that? Lucy was the brains here, not him!
"I don't know what to do!" he said again, nearly shouting.
"It'll be ok, Natsu," she tried soothing him by wrapping her arms around his waist from behind. Normally, it was more than enough to calm him but this time it only hurt him more.
She was so kind to him. He didn't deserve her time or her friendship, but he could never give it up willingly. It was selfish, but this was Lucy! How could he ever just let her go? Her?!
He had to find a way for her to be happy in their future.
I hate this, he thought bitterly. I hate not knowing what to do or how to fix things. I hate that we're miserable. I hate the way we are! I don't want to be friends anymore!
Lucy froze as Natsu raged. Her heart shattered with the two statements he'd just shouted. He hated her? He didn't want to be friends with her? Why? What had she done wrong?
She slowly let him go and stepped away. She tried and failed to fight back tears.
"Ok," she managed to say trembling as she turned away. "I'm sorry."
Natsu spun around when he heard her voice crack and realized he'd actually yelled. His eyes blew wide as he realized what Lucy thought he'd meant.
He tried to stop her as she closed the bathroom door and locked it. "Lucy!"
She slid to the floor and cried. She held her stomach. She hurt so horribly. She sobbed so hard that she couldn't hear Natsu on the other side of the door.
"Lucy! Please? Please, listen to me? That's not what I meant! I didn't mean it like that! Never like that!" he begged through the door.
The rest of the team found them that way. Natsu was still trying to get Lucy to come out, now just as heartbroken as she was as he begged her for forgiveness.