Time of day - Night

"Wooo! What a great party! It's so nice seeing everyone together like this!" screamed Lucy over the blaring electronic dance music that was coming out of the giant speakers on the side of the guild. Today was my birthday and the entire guild surprised me with a giant party to celebrate and, boy was it awesome. There were colorful lights beaming out of several balls that were attached to the ceiling and even out of a tile like floor where a bunch of the guild members were dancing on. The tables were rearranged to make everything extra fit and the tops were filled games and all kinds of food. Everyone was together and I saw no one with a sad expression on their face. Even stripper ice boy was having fun, which is unusual for him since he's usually spiteful when it comes to events that center around me.

I nod in agreement with Lucy's statement and I feel her hands grab my right arm, pulling herself closer to my side. I look down at her and I feel a bit of warmth rippling in me. She just looks so happy and it makes me happy to see her smile, especially after all that's she's been through. Without fully thinking of what I'm doing , I begin to turn my body slightly towards her and lift my left hand to touch hers. They were almost in contact when suddenly I feel my body being thrust into Lucy's. My left hand is now clutching onto her right shoulder and my face is located really close to her chest.

"Oh gosh you guys, I'm really sorry! I totally didn't see you there!" said the voice behind me. I lift myself enough to turn slightly around and I see Lisanna standing a few steps back with her hands out in front of her and a semi-apologetic face.

"Oh..hey Lisanna. Eh, don't worry about it. It wasn't your fault. Accidents happen all the time." I calmly said. Normally, I'd beat the living crap at whoever pushed me, even if it was by accident. I really can't explain why but I've injured tons because of it. However, with Lisanna, I can't bring myself to ever be mad at her. She's always been a close friend of mine and was always there for me before she was sent to Edolas years ago. Lately, she's been with her siblings a lot so we haven't talked like before but we're still friends regardless.

"Yes, accidents do happen and this is one of those times." Lisanna turns around and looks at a group of people in the distance that consists of the Raijin Tribe, Levy, and her siblings. They're all looking over here and laughing at something. Lisanna silently giggles with them and Mirajane beckons Lisanna to come over there. She nods and turns back to Lucy and I once more.

"What are those guys laughing at?"

"Oh nothing, nothing! Don't you worry about them!" she tells me, though I worry even more since she couldn't say that with a straight face. "Anywho, I got to back to Mira-nee. I hope to see you guys together on the dance floor!" Before I could say anymore, she leaves us with a wink and runs back to the group. I try to listen to what they're saying but the music overpowers their voices, making it difficult to hear. All I could get out of their conversation was "cute together","kiss","Lucy is blushing so hard", and "let's code name them NaLu!". Levy notices me staring at them and makes a heart shape with her hands. The others notice and do the same before giggling again.

"God, they're so strange, don't you think Lu-" I look at her and see her body completely red. Her face was splotched with red and she was looking at them with big eyes and an open mouth. I feel her hands slightly shaking and twitching. Concern suddenly comes over me. "Lucy! Are you ok!?"

Lucy suddenly composes herself, though she's still shaking and a bit red. "Oh,me? Oh gosh I'm fine, fine, fine, fine! Yep, there's nothing wrong! I'm a-okay! Ha ha ha!" Her laugh sounds a bit stranded and it worries me much more.

"Lucy, you don't sound ok! Is something bothering yo-"

"No no no no there's nothing bothering me! I just uh um...Oh, I forgot to do something! I'll be right back!" She suddenly leaves my arm, runs off towards the counter, and goes down a bunch of steps that are hidden by a door. Lisanna notices, tells Mirajane something, and then runs off to where Lucy went with Levy accompanying her.

I just stand there a while in confusion as I try to figure out what in the world is going on. Nothing in these past couple of minutes made any sense and is now making me think they're all sick with something and don't want to burden me with it since it's my birthday.

After a while of standing, my legs begin to get tired and I sit at an empty table, waiting for Lucy to come back. I see food on the table and my stomach turns. Though these are all my favorites, I get a bit anxious when someone goes away without telling me where and any type of food makes me nauseous. Now that I think about it, it really started after Igneel left.

Igneel.

A knot forms within me at that thought. After all these years, I still haven't found him and that kills me. I really miss him. He was the greatest dad in the world and I don't know where I'd be without him. He always made sure I was ok and taught me to do lots of stuff. He even remembered my birthday every year. Sure, his parties weren't this great, but they were still memorable. He even made me meat cakes and they were always the best. Nothing could ever beat them.

Thinking of him makes me shake a bit. I try not to think of him too often but when it's something like this, it takes me a while to break out this rut. To distract myself, I look at everyone having fun because seeing my friends happy makes me happy. Happy is up in the air with Charle and Lily, dancing around them and just being his usual self. Gray was dancing with Juvia while Erza and Wendy danced on the side, eyeing them time after time. The group from earlier is still formed in a circle, talking and laughing amongst themselves. I look to the table to the left of me and see a giant group of people playing some card game where money is being bet right now since I'm seeing some people upset as someone brings all the money towards themselves. But, regardless, they're all having fun and that makes me smile, forgetting about Igneel for a moment. I look back and that's when the thoughts of Igneel come back. I first see Macao talking with his son, Romeo, and after Romeo speaks, Macao laughs and puts his arm around his shoulders and pulls his son closer. Though Igneel couldn't put his arms around my shoulders, we used to talk all the time and have moments where the laughter never ceased. Looking away from them, my eyes immediately go over to Akusa and Alzack. Akusa is crying her eyes out and investigating shows that her knee is all scraped. Alzack, in the meantime, is trying to get her to calm down while he bandages up her swollen and bleeding kneecap. Once he's done, he gets her to see his work and it stops her crying for a bit. Then Alzack gives her a hug and strokes her hair as she's burying her head in his chest. Seeing them like that reminds me of a time when I broke my arm when I first was learning slayer magic. It was excruciatingly painful and, no matter how I tried not to, I couldn't stop crying. Igneel tried everything he could to stop me from crying but nothing was working. After many failed attempts, he settled with fixing my arm (as good as a dragon could do, of course) and pulled me into his chest, keeping me warm and safe in his arm.

I suddenly find my face becoming wet, though not from sweat. I rub my eyes and see where the water source is coming from. I suddenly find myself running out of the guild doors and all throughout town till I reach the lake. I collapse down and take heavy breaths. There was no way I was going to let the others see me like this, especially on my birthday. I'm Natsu Dragneel. There's no reason to cry. My friends are my family and we all care about each other. So...why am I crying like this?

After my breathing slowed down, I get up and sit on the grass to just stare at the water. Other than the occasional object floating on the top, the water seemed really calm and peaceful. To be perfectly honest, if it wasn't for the fact I had fire magic, then maybe-

"There you are Natsu!" At the sound of my name, I twist my upper body to face the figure at the top of the hill. It was Lucy, looking at me while clutching her knees, trying to steady her breath. After a couple of seconds, she comes down the hill to join me. "One minute I leave you and then the next minute I hear you just ran out of the guild like no one's business. This isn't like you, Natsu! What's going on?"

"..Nothing." I smile at her. "I just needed some fresh air. The loud noise was hurting my ears". I looked away after I said that. I didn't completely lie. The loud noise was hurting my ears. It's just not the full reason I left though and I didn't want her to see any more of this.

"You're lying." My eyes grow big at that and I stare at her in disbelief. Her face is red again, but this time, she has a look of anger.

"But I'm no-"

"Oh please Natsu. How much of an idiot do you think I am? We've been teammates for almost an entire year now. I know when something's wrong. So what's going on?"

My eyes avert down and I smile a bit as she says that. No one other than Igneel, Happy, and Lisanna were able to see through me like that. It almost felt nice until I remember what happened with two of them. True, Happy never left and Lisanna came back but having Igneel and Lisanna leave was just too much. Pain nails in me once again and I feel tears stinging my eyes again. "I…I was worried that you'd never come back…"

There was a silent moment for a couple seconds until Lucy let out a little laugh. "Oh Natsu, you know I'd never leave you. I just went downstairs to get something for you. I told I'd be right back. There was no need to worry! Why would you think that?"

My body begins to violently shake as more tears come down. I'll be right back. That's Igneel and Lisanna said before they left me for good. "Because…that's what Igneel said…before he left me.." I bury my head into my hands so Lucy wouldn't see how vulnerable I looked right now. I can usually contain all these emotions perfectly and not show anyone my weak side. I've perfected it over the years and just concentrated on what was in front of me.

I hear Lucy sigh and whisper something like "I knew this wasn't about me..". Suddenly, I feel her arms around me, pulling me closer to her. I smell her scent and that brings a bit of warmth back in. I want to put my arms around her too but hers have covered mine, making it unable for me to do so.

"…I just…"

"You just what?" she whispers into my ear, making every single contained emotion burst into itty bitty flames as they roar throughout my body.

I take my face away from hands and look at her dead on. I'm not sure on how I look right now but I can feel every single tear on my face as they continue to build up from my eyes. My face feels all twisted as some of my face muscles begin to tighten from the crying. "I…I just miss my dad…" With that, I fall into Lucy's shoulder and continue to let out my sadness. I tightly hug her waist as she hugs me from my shoulders. She leans her face into my shoulder as well and listens to me heave out my tears. The entire time she doesn't say a word. She just lets me do what I have to do in peace.

I'm not sure how long we were in that position but we stay like that until all of the anguish inside me dissipates into the night air. I take my face away from her now wet shoulder and rub all the tears off with my sleeve. Lucy still doesn't say a word but I know she's doing that to not interrupt my emotion flow. "Thank you Lucy…I don't know where I would be if it wasn't for you always be there for me…Just..thanks" I stutter to her. Though my breath has slowed down, I'm still trying to regain my composure.

Lucy sadly smiles at me and grabs my hands. I notice that her eyes are beginning to look watery and shiny in the moonlight. Her breath seems to slow down, almost to stop herself from crying. She rubs her eyes and lets out a slight laugh at her action. "I'm sorry…It's just…hard to see the one you love with all your heart keep so much agony inside and…to be honest, that hurt to see Natsu." She squeezes my hands tighter now and looks at me with pleading eyes. "Natsu...Promise me this will never happen again…Please tell me that you won't cover up your emotions anymore and you'll come talk to me when you feel anything but happiness…please..." She places my hand to her cheek as a few tears begin to come out. "You deserve to always be happy Natsu…so please…"

I lift my thumb and wipe away a tear from her silky face. I nod my head in agreement, taking her words to heart. As we sit in silence, I can't help but wonder how she even came into my life. Not only is she absolutely beautiful but her soul shines through the tunnel of darkness. She cares for everyone and puts herself out there, even if it means that she'll lose her life in the process. She's not afraid to show any emotion and can just be herself without putting on a mask. She's just someone that I never want to let go, no matter what happens.

To be honest, I can't tell you what came over my mind but the next thing I know, I find my lips planted on hers. Though she was shocked in the beginning, she immediately melts into mine and I feel us becoming one as sparks of love come between us. I pull her in closer and she does the same. Every ounce of love that was between us can be felt and I secretly wish this moment never ends. Eventually we let go and look at each other in the eyes, telepathically telling each other how much we love each other. Then Lucy places her forehead to mine and we stay like for a while. We don't speak while we are like this but there is no need for words. Our actions are enough to tell each other on how we feel.

After an eternity, we separate once more and reconnect with eyes at first, then with the same smile. Lucy lets go and stands up. She walks a few steps, slightly turns around, and lifts her right arm, inviting me to hold it. "Ready to go back hot stuff?". I stifle a laugh and nod once again. I get up and accept her hand invitation with my left hand and we walk together, hand in hand, back to the guild, where we celebrate the rest of my birthday.

~End~