And That's the Will to Live
Lucy quietly listened to his breathing as he sat hunched on the couch in his room. They hadn't said anything to each other for quite some time and Happy wasn't there to break the tension because he had left some time ago to go on a mission with Lily and Charle. She felt very uncomfortable, contrary to how she usually felt when she was with Natsu. She squirmed slightly in the doorway, her back leaning against the doorframe but she wasn't very relaxed, as she might've looked. Natsu was glowering at the wall in front of him, Lucy wasn't sure if she should say anything yet. She felt the hot tears well up in her eyes once more. On her way to his house she had been fighting back tears the whole. Levy had expressed concern when she had left the guild, but she had just waved off her blue haired friend and ventured on. Lucy didn't know how long they had been like this since she had gotten there; all she knew was that her chest felt like it was being torn apart and all he was doing was sitting there looking very angry.
"Natsu…" Lucy breathed out shakily and he snapped his head to look behind him, making eye contact with her.
"How could this happen. I was waiting and looking for fourteen years. FOURTEEN YEARS AND…. I couldn't do anything…" Tears streamed out of his eyes and Lucy fought back her own. She couldn't cry now, she had to be there for Natsu, everything was so hard.
"Natsu… You have to know it's not your fault. Ig… He knew what he was doing. He needed to get rid of Acnologia, if you went to help you could've gotten killed too. He was protecting you." Lucy comforted him, hot tears rolling down her cheeks, unable to keep them at bay any longer. Natsu had his hands covering his face but Lucy could see the wetness from his eyes gathering around his chin.
"It wasn't in vain, Zeref is gone and so is Acnologia. E.N.D was stopped- you were able to defeat E.N.D and you didn't let yourself be taken over by your dragon soul. Zeref lost," Lucy gathered some courage, "Igneel would be so proud of you, Natsu." He flinched at the name of his father. He was still unable to look up at Lucy; Natsu was still sporting some wounds from their battle with Zeref and Acnologia. It turned out that since Igneel had been released from inside Natsu, he was close to turning into an Acnologia type of dragon. Zeref had been able to release E.N.D but instead of letting the dragon soul inside him take over; Natsu used it to his advantage and finished what his father started by defeating E.N.D. Once it had been defeated, Zeref was left wide open and the rest of them and the other dragons were able to defeat him, successfully ending his rein. Grandine had tried to revive Igneel but it had been a fruitless effort and Grandine had been mournful, feeling that if she had gotten there sooner she might have been able to save him. In the end, the other dragons returned to their dragon slayers though it left Natsu feeling empty. He was able to gain control of his dragon side, a useful advantage that Acnologia was never strong enough or willing enough to do.
"H-he didn't have to fight him alone… He needed help, he was already injured, I could've helped…" Natsu whimpered and Lucy crossed over and sat next to him on the couch. She gripped one of his hands in hers, removing it from his face.
"Natsu, you could have died, you almost did." Lucy whispered, tears flooding her eyes once more. She shuddered thinking back to Natsu lying on the battlefield drenched in blood and unmoving. She had gotten to where he was only a little while before the end of his and E.N.D's fight. He had collapsed having used all of his magical energy to control the dragon that he was turning into. She had managed to drag him to safety while her guild mates and the dragons finished Zeref and Acnologia.
"I could've saved him…" Natsu breathed out leaning against Lucy and she hugged him hard.
"Natsu, don't be stupid," She smiled at him through her tears, "you did save him. He will always be with you; now it's your job to tell his story, to let people know who he was, tell your children who their grandfather was. He was amazing and I wish so much I could've met him, Natsu. He was so strong and did such a great job raising you; he's in you, and in everything you do. He's living through you, he knew you could do it, he knew you could defeat this and come out on top, and that's the will to live." Lucy's face was soaked in her own, salty tears while Natsu sat there listening to her with his mouth slightly apart. She was suddenly enveloped by his strong arms in a hug and she embraced him back, fully releasing all the tears that she still had to shed. He held her close, his own sadness being released into her hair.
"Lucy?" Natsu stammered out after a few moments.
"Yeah?" She answered back in a raspy voice.
"He… Igneel would've liked you, you know? I… always wanted for you to meet him when I finally did find out where he was." Lucy blushed at his words and backed up to face him.
"He always talked about finding someone important when I was younger. Someone that I'd want to be around all the time and someone I'd protect with my own life… Lucy I don't think I could handle losing you too. Igneel always wanted to meet that person… I guess in a way he did meet them. He was inside me after all so; he met you in a way. He would've liked you so much…" Natsu went back to pulling her into a tight embrace.
"I heard about Aquarius. I shouldn't be the only one upset right now, you don't need to hide it from me, Luce." Natsu held her face, wiping away the silent tears falling down Lucy's face.
"I… There could've been another way… I'll never get to see her again…" Lucy gasped, she hadn't wanted to talk about this now, she had come to comfort Natsu but now it was the other way around.
"You could've died, Lucy."
"Now you sound like me." She managed to crack a smile and Natsu rested his forehead against hers.
"We'll be okay, Lucy." Natsu murmured, looking into her eyes and Lucy smiled at him. "Igneel and Aquarius will live on through us, like you said."
"We'll be okay." Lucy said, copying Natsu.
"Don't ever leave me Lucy… You're the special person Igneel was talking about, now I have to protect you. Nothing can happen to you." He once more gathered her up to his chest in a tight embrace.
"I'm not going anywhere, Natsu…"