So I know this is a tad bit late but here is a oneshot I wrote. It is my explanation of what I think happened behind the scenes of the manga between the GMG arc and the current Tartaros arc. Because to me, watching your absolute best friend die in front of your very eyes does not just get blown over! So yeah... please enjoy! And leave a review if you liked it!
In Need of Comfort
Natsu sighed as he rested his cheek on his palm. He looked all over the guild for the billionth time and still did not spot the head of blond hair he'd been searching for. He couldn't remember the last time he'd seen his partner. Actually scratch that, it had been since the war with the Dragons. It scared Natsu how much he missed her and how much he just wanted to hold her close. It probably had something to do with watching her die in front of his very eyes. Either way, Natsu knew there was something wrong with his blond best friend. She never missed an opportunity to hang out with her nakama and not a day went by when she didn't at least say hello to him.
Natsu's wandering eyes found his blue Exceed partner with a certain white Exceed. Natsu sighed again. Why was it that Happy could find the person he cared most about and he couldn't? It wasn't even that she hadn't been to the guild recently. If he concentrated, he could smell her flowery scent lingering near her favorite barstool indicating that she'd been here earlier. If Natsu didn't know better he'd say that his absolute favorite person in the world was avoiding him. He went over and over in his head the events immediately following the Games trying to figure out if he'd given her cause to be angry with him. Still, she didn't usually avoid him for this long. Usually, she would get over it and clean his house or something. Natsu pouted. Didn't she know what she was doing to him?
Mira came over to the sulking Dragon Slayer. "Natsu?" she asked, laying a hand on his arm. The boy looked at her with such a sad, lost look in his eyes that Mira could have cried. "Mira where's Lucy?" he asked the barmaid sadly. "Oh Natsu she comes here early in the mornings and is always gone before you get here. I don't know what is going on but something is bothering her and she and Levy seem to be working on something. But Natsu you don't look too good. Have you been sleeping lately?" she asked him. Natsu knew that he couldn't hide things from Mira. Not if he wanted to live anyway. "Um… kinda?" he said sheepishly. Mira sat and gave him a look which meant he needed to explain himself and right now.
"I… I keep seeing her die." Natsu admitted quietly. "It's hard to sleep. But the last time I came into her room she threw things at me and yelled until I left. She was really mad. I mean, she never likes it when I visit but she always lets me stay." He told the barmaid. "Mira is she mad at me for that? Do you think she doesn't want to see me anymore?" he asked her sadly. Mira smiled softly at him and shook her head. "Natsu go talk to Levy. She'll tell you what's going on with Lucy. Then I want you to find Lucy and tell her what you told me and fix this. Because honestly when she comes in here she looks just as bad as you. If not worse." Mira said.
Natsu watched Mira head back to the bar to continue serving other guild members and thought about what she'd said. Lucy looked as bad as he did? Did that mean she wasn't sleeping either? Well that didn't make sense but maybe there was something wrong! Maybe someone was threatening Lucy! She could be in trouble! With a new feeling of determination, Natsu ran across the guildhall to where Levy was seated reading a book. Gajeel was lying on the windowsill next to her but he appeared to be asleep. "Levy! What's going on with Lucy? Why won't she see me?" Natsu asked, startling the blunette from her book.
Levy had been waiting for Natsu to talk to her for a while. Poor Lucy was in a bad way. Her insecurities were driving her insane and pushing her to extremes. However, the blunette was bound by a promise of silence unless specifically asked. And if she was asked, she was to make it sound harmless. "Natsu Lucy's just been busy. She's been training." Levy explained. Natsu frowned. "Training? Why didn't she invite me?" he wondered aloud. Levy shrugged but then she leaned towards the pinkette. "Natsu I'm worried about her. She's pushing herself too much and not getting enough rest or food. Can you visit her and make sure she's still taking care of herself?" Levy asked. Levy had been very worried about her best friend. So, just this once, she decided to somewhat bend the rules of the promise. She knew that Lucy had some things she needed to work out and Natsu was intrinsically part of it, even if the boy in question had no idea. Speaking of, Natsu looked crestfallen. "She threw me out of her apartment last time I came to show her the king's crown that I took." He said. Levy smirked and shook her head. "She was just tired Natsu. She told me yesterday that she missed you coming around. She wondered if you were mad at her for how she yelled at you." She almost laughed at how fast the boy in front of her brightened up. He turned and dashed for the door shouting a thank you over his shoulder.
Gajeel cracked an eye open, "Hope he fixes things in that idiotic way of his." He mumbled. Levy swatted his arm and said, "You be quiet. You'd feel the same if you were in his position."
Natsu reached Lucy's apartment faster than he ever had coming from the guild. "Lucy! Why didn't you tell me you were training?" he called as he leapt through the window into her apartment. He froze in his tracks at the sight that greeted him. Lucy was sobbing on her couch with her face in her hands. It looked as though she'd been sleeping there. In fact, the bed didn't look like it had been slept on for quite some time. "Lucy?" Natsu asked quietly. The girl looked up at him, startled and began to wipe the tears from her face. "Natsu? Sorry, I didn't want you to see me like this." She said weakly.
Natsu approached her slowly and sat next to her on the couch. He reached out and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "Hey what's wrong Lucy? Did I do something wrong? Are you mad at me? Is that why you leave the guild before I get there?" he asked her, his voice breaking at the end much to his dismay. He hadn't wanted to let on just how much he missed her. Lucy gasped and pulled away from him to face him. "Is that what you think?!" she asked. She didn't wait for his answer. "Oh Natsu no! No that's not it at all! I'm so sorry. I just… I am so weak… and I wanted to train so that I… can protect you." She admitted, more tears falling.
Natsu was astonished. His wide eyes were trained on her while she cried until he realized that he needed to say something. "Lucy why would you…? I mean, protect me? If anyone should be training to protect someone it should be me to protect you! I always promised myself after the Phantom battle that I wouldn't let anyone else hurt you like they did. But I messed up. You died Lucy! I wasn't strong enough or fast enough to save you!" he said roughly, tears of his own making tracks down his face.
Now it was Lucy's turn to be surprised. She knew he'd been angry but since it was Future Lucy that died, she'd somehow figured that he would recover quickly. But of course, Happy had said that Future Lucy was still Lucy so… she began to cry harder. "Natsu you died first!" she cried finally. Natsu sniffed and looked at her, confused. "What do you mean?" he asked her. Lucy was now sobbing again but through the sobs she managed to say, "F-Future me said that y-you'd already died w-when the dragons invaded! N-Natsu I couldn't protect you! I-If things had continued on as they were sup-posed to y-you would have died. I-It was just luck th-that we were able to st-stop it. But it could still happen! You might still die wh-when we go on a h-hard mission and I-I w-won't be able t-to do anything to st-stop it! I-I d-don't want to lose y-you Natsu!"
Lucy crumpled down into herself as she admitted her fear to her best friend. Natsu was caught completely off guard. Now that he thought about it, he could remember Future Lucy saying something like that but he hadn't had much time to reflect on that with the battles going on. Besides, he'd promised to protect the future so he hadn't let it worry him. Natsu looked over at Lucy who was still crying brokenly on the couch next to him. Natsu wasn't very good with crying girls but seeing her sad and knowing about her problem, he couldn't help but satisfy a need he'd had since he hadn't seen her in forever. Natsu took her in his arms and held her tight against his chest. Holding her brought home to the boy just how much her death had affected him. He understood how Lucy was feeling. He knew that he didn't want to lose her either. But he had, it was only by some miracle that it wasn't the present Lucy. His need for her was overwhelming. "Lucy…" he mumbled into her ear as his head fell against her neck and shoulder.
Lucy listened as Natsu whispered comforting words into her ears. She began to calm down as Natsu's own confession came pouring out. "I'm so sorry I couldn't protect her Lucy! I know she wasn't you but she was you know? And if she hadn't jumped in front of you, you would have died! I failed. I lost you Lucy! I lost you!" Now Natsu was crying and Lucy wrapped her arms around him and cradled his head against her chest. She rocked him back and forth as he sobbed and held her tightly against his body. Silently, she comforted him and herself. She'd missed him terribly during the week but her fear had driven her to train hard until she was so exhausted she had to sleep. But sleep hadn't been a respite for her either. Lucy was plagued of nightmares of Natsu dying or leaving her alone again. Though she had her nakama, if she didn't have Natsu she knew she wouldn't be Lucy anymore. Somehow, Natsu had filled the void left by her childhood. Lucy's arms tightened around him as she recalled the nightmares and she fisted her hand in the back of his vest.
It took a while for the both of them to calm down but neither let go of the other. Lucy had her forehead on his shoulder while Natsu had his resting next to her ear. They sat quietly breathing in each other's air. Lucy slowly turned her head so that her nose rested in the crook of his neck. After a moment, Natsu spoke. "Lucy I don't want to lose you. And I don't want you to be alone either. So if you promise you won't leave me then I'll promise I won't leave you." Lucy pressed her face closer to him and he could feel the smile on her lips. "Ok." She said. "I promise."
Natsu was drowning in her scent and the feel of her curves in his arms. And he realized that from here forward things wouldn't be the same with Lucy ever again. They had just broken through some sort of barrier. What it was, he was not quite sure of yet but he knew that there was no going back. Lucy pulled back but only to lean her forehead against his. She opened her eyes and stared into his dark ones and he could tell that she knew. And she felt it too. "Natsu I need to go to bed. I haven't been sleeping well lately. Nightmares." She whispered. "Yeah. Ok." Natsu said.
Lucy giggled and pulled away to look at his entire face. "Natsu you have to let go so I can go to bed!" she told him. He still had her in a vice grip. Natsu did not seem happy about this prospect. Lucy ruffled his hair and said, "I'll let you stay here just this once ok? And tomorrow you can pick a new mission for us to go on. Think of it as a 'Sorry I made you think I hated you' present." Natsu grinned at her and nodded. "Ok! Oh! Oh! And you can make me breakfast!" he crowed. His grip on her had loosened as he cheered and Lucy stood. "Don't push it buddy!" she warned him. But the smile on her face told Natsu that he would indeed be getting breakfast the next morning.
Hours later, a very disgruntled Happy flew through the window. "Naaaatsu! Why didn't you tell me we were staying with Lushy tonight?" he whined. Happy stopped short at the scene that presented itself. Natsu was curled around Lucy who had her head tucked under his chin and her hands curled against his chest. She was sleeping soundly with a tiny smile on her face. Natsu had his entire body protectively encasing Lucy and his nose in her golden tresses. He didn't give her much wiggle room and every inch of skin that could touch Lucy was touching her. Natsu's nose twitched as Happy's scent entered the room but he did not open his eyes. "Mmm… Happy Lucy's sleeping." He mumbled. "She will make food if we're good so go to sleep, 'kay?" Happy pumped a fist. "Aye!" he whisper-cried. Happy landed and moved into the place between Lucy's chest and her chin. He laid his head right over her heart and relaxed as he heard its steady beating. Happy knew that Natsu had been strongly affected by Future Lucy's death but so had he. Lisanna may have been his mother when he was little but Lucy filled that void when she joined the guild. Happy would have been heartbroken if she had really died. As much as he teased her, Happy loved Lucy. He tucked his head under her chin and began to purr softly. Lucy lifted her arm in her sleep and pushed the Exceed into a more comfortable position and kept her hand over his small back.
Natsu adjusted smoothly for Lucy to remain comfortable and to accommodate for Happy. He slipped back into sleep quickly. Happy looked between the two of them and his purr became one of amusement. "They liiiiiiiiiiiike each other!"