Natsu had been hanging around his best friend Lucy's apartment more often than not lately. It felt like an innumerable amount of time when in reality it had been 'only' months. He would walk by on his way home, even though it was out of the way, to make sure she was okay because ever since Lucy had met Gregory, her life had started to go downhill. So, when Natsu was making his usual round past her house and he saw Lucy's car whip into its parking spot and shortly after, Lucy slam the door shut and run up her front steps into her apartment, Natsu knew something was wrong. It wasn't surprising if he showed up at her house unannounced, Lucy had gotten used to it and had stopped scolding him for 'breaking in'. Natsu raced after her, his hands slightly trembling; anything could be waiting for him beyond that door. He made his way up the steps, taking two at a time, and called for Lucy, letting her know he was coming in.
"N-no, Natsu, it's okay!" Came a gasping breath from Lucy while Natsu swung the door open, revealing her as she whipped around so her back was facing him.
"Natsu, I said I was fine." Lucy sniffled; she was clutching her arm not allowing him to see her face.
"Don't lie to me, Lucy." Natsu answered her softly as he strode over to her quickly. "What did that bastard do to you this time?" He took hold of her shoulders gently and turned her with minimal struggle. Natsu couldn't hold back the gasp that formed in his throat, his hold body felt like it was on fire with anger.
"Jesus, Lucy." Natsu choked out as fresh tears rolled down her cheeks.
"He was just mad, that's all…" Lucy whimpered.
"This… This isn't anger this is abuse, Lucy! This is the worst I've seen you, how dare he put his hands on you like this!" Natsu roared out, his hands brushing her skin over lightly, making sure not to put too much pressure on her. The left side of her face was starting to turn from a bright red to angry looking purple splotches while, on her arm, grip marks shone in fresh bruises from where Gregory had grabbed her too hard.
"Natsu, don't worry about it." Lucy whispered, her eyes glistening with the threat of more sadness spilling out of them.
"You cannot say this to me every time. You are smart, you have to know this is wrong; you don't deserve this, Lucy! He is hurting you!" Natsu stared down at her, pleading. His own eyes burned with salty tears; looking at his best friend like this absolutely broke his heart.
"He said he loves me." Lucy murmured out as if she wasn't even aware of the conversation they were having.
"Love? You call this love? Luce, you've gotta listen to me, this is going too far, he's… He's…" Natsu felt himself not being able to speak, his voice broke, and he had to look away from Lucy.
"Natsu?" Lucy called out to him gently as angry tears seeped their way out of his eyes. "Natsu!"
"Lucy, don't you see what he's doing to you? Please…" Natsu gazed at the blonde as her bottom lip trembled.
"I'm scared… I-it's not as bad as it looks, okay? I'm fine." Lucy tried to assure him but the pained look on her face gave her away.
"Luce-" Natsu was cut off by the sound of her apartment door being slammed open.
"Lucy!" An angry voice growled from the doorway. Gregory stood there, his eyes furious as he stomped through her living room. "What the hell are you doing here?" He directed the question at Natsu. Natsu stood taller than him and was bigger than him but Natsu knew he was more dangerous than he looked. Before, he hadn't really done much to Lucy physically but, over time, everything got worse, and, now, Natsu had a reason to tell Gregory how he really felt out him.
"Greg!" Lucy gulped out and he fixed a stony stare on her.
"Are you cheating on me too?" Greg hissed out and Lucy's eyes grew wide.
"Wha-, no! No, Greg, Natsu is my friend." Lucy answered him quickly.
"I know who he is and he's around here way too often! That leaves only one answer, you're cheating on me." Greg stated in a cold voice.
"Hold on a minute there, Gregory." Natsu spat out, his voice full of malice as he put himself between Lucy and Greg. He laughed at Natsu as if he had done one of the funniest things imaginable while Natsu stared at him in disgust.
"Excuse me?" Greg chuckled out, his eyes turning dark. "This is none of your business."
"This is all of my business. You have no god damn right to lay a finger on her." Natsu warned in a low tone. Greg stepped forward so that he was well within Natsu's personal space. Natsu was just waiting for him to make the first move so he could put an end to this.
"How so? Because, if I recall, I'm the one who's in a relationship with her." Greg sneered.
"She has a name. Now, why don't you take your tiny mind and wrap it around this, you don't get to touch Lucy, or anyone for that matter because pieces of shit like you are what's wrong with this world." Natsu's eyes turned to slits as her berated the man in front of him.
"Who the hell are you to tell me what to do? If she deserved to be punished then she'll be punished! It's that simple!" Greg yelled and Natsu's eyes widened in astonishment.
"You think she deserves this? What could she have possibly done to deserve this?" Natsu gestured to a quiet Lucy who was watching them from the corner of her living room.
"It doesn't matter what the specifics are because she's constantly not listening to me or lying."
"I'm not lying about anything!" Lucy cried out and Greg whipped his head over to look at her.
"You shut the hell up, you're not part of this discussion." As soon as he uttered the words, Natsu knew he couldn't hold back any longer, and grabbed Greg by the shoulders and pinned him against the wall.
"Shut the fuck up!" Natsu screamed in his face. "You don't get to do this to Luce, no one gets to do this to her! Get the hell out, just get out before I beat the shit out of you!" Natsu's blood was boiling and Greg's eyes were actually wide with fear.
"Such big talk for a guy with pink hair." Greg snickered. "I think you're just a weak little bitch, much like her." Greg shrugged out of Natsu's hold. Natsu clenched his fists, trying to calm himself down, as it seemed Greg was going to leave. However, he walked past Natsu and up to Lucy, yanking her hair roughly.
"So, what exactly have you been telling this guy then, Lucy? He seems to have a rather bad opinion about me." Greg jeered, his lips curled up into a humorless grin. Natsu had had it and finally through a punch landing it squarely with Greg's jaw.
"What the fuck?" Greg spluttered out angrily, clutching the side of his face.
"What's the matter, you don't like a taste of your own medicine?" Natsu scoffed as he looked down on how pitiful Greg looked. Then, he leapt at Natsu, swinging his fists blindly trying to land a hit on Natsu. Natsu took a few hits to his chest before he quickly overpowered the pathetic man, restraining him down on the floor.
"You bastard." Greg croaked out, blood in his teeth from Natsu's blows. Natsu had a hand firmly around his throat; not tight enough to do damage but enough to give warning.
"I suggest you get out. Now. Before I really give you something to whine about." Natsu forewarned then released him from his hold.
"This isn't over. Not for you and especially not for you, Lucy." Greg warned ominously and stalked out the door, slamming it behind him. As soon as he was gone, Lucy burst into tears once more, trembling.
"Luce, Luce… It's okay, don't worry." Natsu soothed, hugging her tightly as she cried into his chest.
"I-I-I'm scared, Natsu. Please don't leave yet…" Lucy wheezed out, clutching his shirt.
"I'm not going anywhere. I'm having Gajeel file a report against him, Lucy. You have to realize that it needs to happen, right?" Natsu whispered to her softly and she nodded her head feebly. They sat there for what seemed like forever while Lucy shuddered in his arms and Natsu stroked her hair gently. Eventually, Lucy's small voice sounded.
"Natsu?" She paused and Natsu pushed her away slightly so he could make eye contact with her. "Thank you."
"Don't thank me, Lucy. It's nothing that needs thanks, I did what was right and what he was doing was wrong. Nobody should ever treat you like that. Ever." Natsu stressed to her. He then passed a glance over her again. The bruises had gotten worse but to Natsu's relief it didn't look like they would get any darker. "Look at you, Luce…" Natsu murmured, his brow creased with worry. "Lucy…" Natsu breathed out, squeezing his eyes shut in anger and then bringing her arm up to his face, pressing his lips lightly on the splotches Greg left on her.
"Natsu..?" Lucy's voice quavered in uncertainty as he did the same to her opposite wrist, which held an older bruise. He brushed back her hair, revealing more of her face, and wiped the tears off that were still staining her cheeks.
"There's that pretty face." Natsu gave a small smile though he was sure his eyes still displayed his concern.
"Natsu…" Lucy's lip quivered once again.
"Don't cry, Lucy. It's okay, I promise." Natsu gave her his signature grin. He then leaned forward and placed a small kiss on her eye where the marks from Greg were the worst, and then moved to her forehead, placing another there.
"No one's going to hurt you anymore, okay?" Just then, a knock at the door came, making Lucy jump in fright. "Don't worry, I got it." He placed Lucy on her couch though she looked reluctant to see him go. Natsu cautiously approached the door, looking out the peephole and breathed out a sigh of relief.
"It's just Gajeel." Natsu comforted Lucy and opened the door. Gajeel was clad in his police uniform and a worried look on his face.
"I figured you'd be here." Gajeel muttered gruffly, though looked reassured seeing that it was Natsu standing there. "We got a call for a domestic disturbance from one of Lucy's neighbors. I figured I'd take the call since, you know…" Gajeel trailed off, sighing. "Is everything okay?"
"For now. But, I think in the morning we'll be coming down to your station and filing a report again the bastard." Natsu informed his friend and Gajeel peered over Natsu's shoulder, his eyes widening at the sight of Lucy.
"Jesus… Do you know where he went?" Gajeel demanded.
"Probably went back home or crawled into a bar somewhere. Let me know if you find him, Lucy will be filing charges against him."
"Will do. I'm going to grab Levy; we'll do a patrol. As of now, there's enough evidence here to arrest him. We'll do everything we can." Gajeel promised.
"He also verbally threatened both of us but, mainly Lucy. I don't know if that's any help. I'm just glad you guys know what he looks like." Natsu exhaled, shaking his head.
"All of this adds up. We'll get him into custody." Gajeel guaranteed and bid Natsu a farewell. Natsu turned back around to see Lucy curled up, having fallen asleep. He hated to wake her but he didn't want her staying at her apartment tonight.
"Luce? Luce, c'mon. We're gonna go to my house tonight." Natsu gently woke her up.
"Huh?" Lucy croaked out.
"I'm having you come to my house tonight, you'll be safe there. Gajeel and Levy are going to look for Greg."
"O-okay." Lucy sat up and Natsu started to gather a few of her things in a bag. Plue wandered out of Lucy's room finally and slowly wagged his tail in from of her until Lucy picked him up.
"Let's go." Natsu led her out of the house, Plue in Lucy's arms, and piled into Lucy's car. "This isn't going to happen anymore, Luce. I promise."