A/N: I will never get over that moment with Future!Lucy. First try at kind of Nalu.
title: look at the stars, look how they shine for you
summary: When people die, they become stars. Nalu.
...and everything you do
yeah, they were all yellow.
"I...need...more...stamina," Lucy admonished herself between ragged breaths. Inhaling the thick evening air, she resolutely labored on the last few steps to the top of the hill, and upon reaching the magnificent tree at her destination, dropped to the soft bed of grass.
But the journey was worth it, she decided, when she opened her eyes to witness the open sky, which was amply soaked in black and coming alive as its celestial residents roused from their sleep. She sighed contently, soaking in the mellow smell of dirt and breathing in the sublime beauty of the cosmos expanding before her eyes. The heavens lay intimately on top of the rugged mountains, and she couldn't help but feel her body become the fine border connecting Earthland and everything more.
The worlds converged. And with a quivering heart, Lucy thought that this had to be the best stargazing spot in Magnolia.
"I hope you like the view," she said to her absent companion, "I mean, I wasn't sure where to pick at first. It's kind of unnecessary in the first place, but I figured you'd like where I'd like it the most—"
She smiled. "—where you can see your friends the best."
The stars winked in greeting, and Lucy returned a quiet hello.
"Oh right," she said as she left her awe to rest, "here you go."
She reached to her left hip, and with a rustle, unhooked her celestial keys from her belt loop. The girl hoisted herself up to lean against the tree, and affectionately laid them by the roots.
"They wanted to say hello too."
A wistful smile playing on her lips, Lucy rested her back on the trunk that caught her weight like an old friend.
A whole year had passed since the end of the Games, but Lucy still remembered her skin trembling in fresh terror, and the delicate hand that gripped her right one fondly.
She flexed her palm. Some days, she would run her fingers over her guild mark, reliving the comforting touch from that day. Even as July 1st rolled around and everybody celebrated her birthday, she anxiously counted down the hours to the 6th, to commemorate her death instead.
Stroking the bark of the tree she had chosen, the girl blew sentiment into its cells, and she decided this where she would return every year. To remember.
It was unnecessary, she knew. The dead were dead, and in her case, not even a body was left in Earthland to bury. However, Lucy saw people as more than their material containers.
When people die, they become stars.
Her mother used to tell her that the distant lights were the eyes of those departed, watching over her. It was silly. Regardless, she relied on the reassuring notion, and raising her head to the sky, counted three in particular: each for the three people she hoped were watching over her.
In the eastern sky, she saw her comfort: her mother.
Over the years, her mother had been reduced to the crude scent of acrylic on her beautiful portrait that used to hang in her father's study, and the permanent ink dripping off the feather pen on her own desk. One look at the night sky, however, triggered nostalgia, and she drowned her mind in the silkiness of her mother's gowns and the floral scent of her skin.
In the west, she saw her regret.
Despite the wrongs and the negligence he committed against her, her father deserved some peace. Their misguided feelings created a map of anger that effectively trapped her from making amends, until she was 7 years too late. The belief that he could still see her from above, could hear her soft sobs at night, soothed her troubled heart when she fiddled with the ribbons of unopened gift boxes.
And finally, in the north, she saw guidance. The woman she aspired to be.
"You were so brave," Lucy whispered, hoping her future self was watching her from one of those countless lights.
Without a doubt, she was brave. She thought that the Lucy Heartfilia who came to them with desperation in her eyes and left with a tragic smile, was nothing like her. The blonde girl lifted her right hand to eye-level and held it up to the brilliance of the sky, which obscured her pale guild mark and she could barely make out its outlines.
"You left us so quickly too, before I could ask you things. I still can't believe how we could be the same, or well," she paused, "how can I be you one day?"
She felt as overshadowed as her mark against the stars, just a fading color against bursting energy.
"I don't deserve this, do I?" She said, tracing her right hand with her left. "You did. You deserve it much more. You gave your everything for everyone, but I—I couldn't help you. I couldn't help myself. I wanted to show you how we fixed things, but all you got was my lousy promise, and I wish you could be here to see how beautiful the world still is, and—"
A hand shot out from beside her and grabbed her wrist. Lucy choked in surprise and fearful, began to thrash against her assailant. The firm grip didn't budge.
"So this is what you've been up to, Luce?" Natsu casually said, unaffected by the girl's apparent panic.
Her limbs gradually stilled, though her heart pounded furiously in thrill and embarrassment.
"Natsu?!" she stuttered, finally discerning the boy's familiar face from among the shadows. Wearing his scarf, casual sweats and a shirt, Natsu crouched beside her and eyed her colorful reaction with calm ease.
"You're not the only one who remembers her," he said, and the blood rushed to Lucy's face. "This place's pretty cool for a memorial though."
"I—how do you know why I'm here?"
"I remember the date too," he shrugged, "it's too close to Igneel's."
She struggled against his grip again.
"Why would you still scare me like that, you idiot? I can't believe you would follow me then sneak up on me like this, I'm—"
Lucy felt her buried insecurity lurch up to her throat.
"You're brave too," Natsu said, holding her guild mark before her as proof. "Andy you did good. I'm sure she knows it too."
Lucy clenched her jaw helplessly to keep her voice from shaking.
She began to protest, but his fickle attention was already drawn away elsewhere. His sharp eyes widened in daze and his pupil dilated. Confused, Lucy swiveled her head around to follow his gaze, to see what had entranced him, and instantly all her escalating aggression was swallowed up and muted down to a humid evening silence.
The stars had begun bleeding. No, not bleeding—growing. The glow circumscribing the stars burned brighter, the radiance nibbling at the empty spaces and gaining territory. They seemed to be reaching out to each other, the lights joining hands and dying the black into gold, the celestial paint dripping onto the landscape with a heavy coat of stardust.
And suddenly, everything burst. Natsu and Lucy both recoiled and shut their eyes, Natsu instinctively pulling the girl closer and shielding her with his arm from whatever impact.
However, nothing came.
When a playful warmth began to tickle their skin, the duo hesitantly lowered their guards and fluttered their eyes open.
Lucy, on the other hand, couldn't breathe.
The worlds had converged.
The sky was dyed golden, and so were the plains and the hills. The land leisurely swayed like tall grass of an autumn prairie, and amber swirls of pure color rolled from the earth to the heavens and back in an endless cycle of vibrancy. Like a reflection pool, the stars and the daffodil mirrored each other and danced sweetly in their respective canvas of yellow.
Lucy's eyes stung from summer air and Natsu wrinkled his nose as he inhaled the dusts of gold.
And in the distance, far on the mountains lining the horizon, Lucy swore she could see figures. Though mere shadows shimmering with the light, they held their arms high and waved along with the gentle rhythm of the grass.
Go on more adventures.
Lucy shivered as an ephemeral voice whispered and her breath hitched.
Before she could soak in the words, it fled, along with the rest of the wonder. In another millisecond, the darkness rapidly crashed down in tsunami waves, and left Lucy and Natsu drowning in the numbing stillness.
The waving hands hardened, regaining the shape of jagged mountaintops, and the worlds separated, shifted back into place.
Lucy felt robbed of her senses— blind and deaf after the overwhelming glimpse at a place beyond them. But in her heart, she felt a lingering yellow warmth. And that little feeling erupted into tears.
"It looked like your hair," Natsu said absently, subconsciously grabbing her locks.
"Yeah," Lucy chocked, "It was all yellow."
"But like, a really happy yellow," Natsu affirmed and Lucy laughed between the hiccups and the tears.
"How can you tell?"
"I can smell it," he said. "She's happy."
Lucy believed in the nonsense Natsu verified—she believed it with the same conviction she placed on her mother's words.
When people die, they become stars.
And they continue to watch over you.
Leaning into his chest, she muffled her sobs in his scarf. Natsu stared at the golden strands falling over her eyes, the very color he just witnessed the world painted with. He took her right hand in his, and held it tight.
Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
and all the things that you do
A/N Because Lucy is one to blame herself, when she did so much. And I hope Natsu never lets go of her hand.
Review and feedback is love :)