It had been seven months, two weeks, and three… and a half days since Lucy became sick, but it wasn’t like he was counting or anything. She had succumbed to the same magical illness that her mother had, and there was still no cure. She knew she was going to die, he knew she was going to die, everyone knew she was going to die. Yet, as Natsu sat in the same chair next to her bed that he had been seated in for the better part of seven months, two weeks, and three and a half days, Lucy was still smiling. She never lost her spirit, but Natsu had. He hadn’t eaten or slept much since Porlyusica had diagnosed Lucy. He hadn’t done much of anything besides be with Lucy; he hadn’t gone on missions unless Erza or Gray absolutely forced him to. Even then, he felt anxious being away from her bedside and would make sure the jobs were never more than a day. Natsu wanted to make sure that he was with Lucy every day. And every day that he would turn down a job, or turn down food, or sleep, Lucy would be looking at him with the sad yet stern face she had given him many times, and make him do what he needed to do as if he was the one dying in bed.
“Natsu?” Her soft voice drifted to his ears, and he snapped his head up. He had been fixed on his fingers intertwined with hers, and hadn’t heard her call him the first couple of times.
“You okay?” Natsu beamed at her, flashing his signature grin.
“’Course, Lucy. Shouldn’t I be asking you that?” His smile faltered slightly, but she just giggled in response.
“I’m fine. I want to make sure that you’ve eaten enough today. You look tired as well.” She observed, concern laced in her words. Natsu’s eyes moved from her face and then down to Happy’s sleeping body by her feet.
“I’m okay, Luce.” He murmured and Lucy tutted unconvinced.
“You better get some dinner soon! And some rest, you have dark circles under your eyes.” Lucy warned and then fell into a fit of coughing, a normal occurrence, only getting worse with time.
“Lucy…” Natsu winced and sat her up slowly. Lucy coughed into a tissue, and when she removed it from her mouth, Natsu immediately smelled the tang of blood. She’s coughing up blood… again. “Porlyusica!” Natsu called, and the angry looking pink haired woman scurried into the room.
“You must rest, dear.” She advised Lucy and then turned to Natsu. “And you need to let her sleep.”
“I’m fine!” Lucy protested weakly. “Honest, I’ve been lying around all day.”
“She’s right, Lucy… You need to rest.” Natsu agreed ruefully, his gaze fixated on the ground. When he turned back to her, he smiled brightly at her so she wouldn’t worry. “Besides, how are you gonna get better with me hanging around you all day, huh? It’s probably annoying that I’m in your personal space even more now.” Lucy laughed and shook her head slightly.
“You know you’re not bothering me, Natsu.” She smiled sweetly, it was a face he would never forget, a face he had never wanted to lose so quickly. “Remember, it’s always more fun when we’re together, right? Even when you’d break into my apartment, you dummy.” Natsu chuckled at her words, but he felt hot tears stinging his eyes.
“Love ya, Luce. I’ll go get some dinner, okay?” Natsu promised, and Lucy nodded her head approvingly.
“I love you too, Natsu. Porlyusica will take good care of me.” Lucy smiled at the older woman who gave a rare look that was something of the likes of a smile, the edge of her mouth turned up for the slightest fraction of a second. As Natsu was leaving, he shared a worried look with Porlyusica, who gave him an almost pitying look.
“She’ll be fine… for now.” She whispered so that only he could hear. “Now get out of my work space, or shall I throw you out like a dog?” She grumbled and Lucy giggled. Natsu scooped up Happy, who woke up groggily and waved goodbye to Lucy, and stepped out the door, glancing behind him one last time to see Lucy smiling back at him.
“Is she okay?” Happy murmured as he floated alongside him.
“For now.” Natsu repeated what Porlyusica had said to him.
“She’s going to die. And there’s nothing I can do about it.” Natsu felt sick and knew he wouldn’t be able to eat that night.
“It’s not your fault, and you know Lucy wouldn’t want you upset like this. Please eat something, Natsu. Come be with everyone, it’ll make you feel better.” Happy urged as if reading his mind. Natsu didn’t answer, he only let his tears fall freely, his emotion unable to be contained any longer.
“I… I’ll meet you in the guild hall, okay?” Natsu leaned against the wall of the infirmary and sank down to the floor. Happy flew silently away, and Natsu quietly sobbed into his hands. That was becoming a regular occurrence with him, and Happy had learned to leave him be. A few moments passed until he heard footsteps walking down the hall towards him. He didn’t bother looking up, he already knew who it was.
“Hey.” Gray’s deep voice greeted him, ringing off the white walls. “Are you okay?” He questioned, and Natsu thought it was a stupid question, of course he wasn’t okay. He didn’t bother answering, so Gray took a seat next to him, staring at the wall in front of him. “You need to go eat something, you know? You’re worrying Happy. And… I’m sure Lucy told you to go eat.”
“I’m not hungry.” Natsu replied stubbornly and Gray sighed.
“Have you seen yourself lately? You’ve lost too much weight, you’re going to be the next one in here.” Gray’s told him gruffly, yet Natsu heard the worry behind his words.
“Who cares? Let me die in peace at least, would you?” Natsu grumbled and he could practically hear Gray roll his eyes.
“You’re being a little dramatic, aren’t you?” He pointed out and Natsu sighed.
“I… I don’t think she has much time left.” Natsu stated abruptly, and the hall fell silent once again.
“I know.” Gray’s voice was strained, and Natsu’s eyes welled up once more.
“What am I going to do?” Natsu whimpered feebly; he hated how weak he sounded, especially in front of Gray.
“What you’re doing is all you can, Natsu. But you need to eat and sleep too. It won’t help her if you get sick too.” Gray said gently.
“She’s dying, Gray! I’m going to lose her!” Natsu sobbed suddenly, the realization never seemed to sting any less when it set in. “She’s… She’s everything to me.”
“I-I know.” Gray’s voice quavered, and Natsu felt him wrap his arm around his shoulders. “I know, man.” Natsu, though he would never admit in the better years after this moment, sat crying into Gray’s chest uncontrollably as Gray comforted him the best he could. Natsu clung to Gray’s shirt, that he thankfully had on, and Gray let him as he too silently sat there with tears in his eyes.
Lucy died two months, one week, and six days after that day. Natsu had been by her side earlier that day, but she had urged him to go eat something, it was the first time that he had actually gone to eat with everyone in the guild hall for what seemed like forever. He had rushed back when Porlyusica had come rushing in for him, and when he entered he saw her in her bed, her eyes closed, and a peaceful look on her face. She looked as though she could have been sleeping. He had wept uncontrollably and inconsolably next to her bedside until Gray and Erza practically dragged him out of the room. A couple days later, Porlyusica informed him that Lucy had left something for him, and handed him a manuscript of sorts. The hand bound book was labeled ’Fairy Tail!’ and the author, in that all too familiar handwriting, was ’Lucy Heartfilia’, underneath the titled read ’a true story’. A note rest on top of the cover that read:
“Remember Natsu, it’s always more fun when we’re together! I hope you like the book you’re in there a lot! I love you and I’ll miss you, but don’t be sad, okay? Happy needs you. Listen to Erza and don’t fight with Gray too much, and please don’t burn down any towns! I’ll see you again one day.
Please keep smiling.
With all of my love, Lucy Heartfilia”
Natsu broke down, for what seemed like the hundredth time in the past few days, and clutched the book to his chest. It was always more fun when they were together, and now he didn’t have that light in his life.
“It’ll be okay.” Natsu heard Erza say softly behind him, and turned to see his guild mates there with him. He would try his best to be happy until he could meet her again, and he wouldn’t let her be forgotten. I love you, Luce…
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