A/N: A random prompt from tumblr that peaked my interest. Not sure where this will go but, enjoy for now.
The room was cold and felt so very empty. It was far from that of course, flowers sat on the small side table, the bed was made with white and blue sheets, the name of the hospital it sat within embroidered on the sheets, a bag settled on the top with clothing spilled out of it.
Clothing that would never be used again. At least, not by its original owner.
It had all been a blur, how the morning before she had been complaining of back and stomach pain, so the maternity ward was kept on speed dial, and then, when it had gotten too much for her, he'd rushed her in there, even though driving was never the best idea for him with his motion sickness and all… and the next thing he knew they were in a birthing suite, he was holding her hand and she was growing more and more pale by the moment, and telling him it was getting harder and harder to breathe… then they had pushed him away, doctors coming from everywhere. He didn't think so many people could fit in one room at once.
Thoughts where shook free at the soft rap on the door, and he turned to face the kind looking midwife there, a bundle of blankets in her arms, giving him the most comforting smile she could muster. "You ready?" She asked quietly, and, unable to get his voice to work he simply nodded, it was to dry and sore from the screaming and crying he had done prior. Arms extended, and, with gentle care, the bundle was placed into his broad tan arms, a tiny face peaking out between the wrapped folds, eyes gently closed and pink lips a little puckered as tiny breaths caused the blankets to move with the babe's tiny chest. This moment was something he was supposed to be sharing, and yet, he was without the very person that had worked so hard to make the tiny life in his arms possible.
They were often the subject of clicking tongues, both barely out of high school and already expecting and married. Many jumping to the assumption that he had proposed when she had gotten pregnant to do 'the right thing'. But it wasn't like that at all, he couldn't remember a time where they hadn't been together, when they hadn't been in love. They had gotten married long before she was expecting, even if they had to go to another state to do it and be legally binding.
He supposed he was a widower now…
Chest shuddered, and he fought the urge to let tears fall once more, the midwife giving what she hoped to be a comforting pat on the shoulder before leaving him be. Hazel eyes, shimmering from unfallen tears gazing intently at the precious being in his arms, a calloused hand now gently holding that tiny head, thumb rubbing over the perfect skin on the babes brow. So perfect. It was all her doing, anything he ever made fell apart… she was always the one that kept him together. Now he had to not only do that himself, but think about another life.
They had planned everything out, placed down a deposit on a small two bedroom apartment in a pretty good part of town, he'd gotten a decent job, one now he'd likely have to quit, and she'd been accepted into university, to Veterinary School. She'd always loved animals, they both had… One day they were going to move out of that tiny apartment and get a house, with a backyard so they could have dogs, and cats, and rabbits and chickens and every kind of animal they could. More kids, they always wanted to have a lot of children together.
All of that, gone in an instant.
Breath shuddered again, but, once more he held it back. He had to be strong, that's what Igneel always told him. To be strong. That's what she would have wanted… and that's what the little girl in his arms needed. She needed a strong Daddy to protect her. No matter what had happened this day, he was now something he'd always wanted to be, a Father. Even if he'd now be doing it alone, he could do it. He would do it. The little one in his arms would always know the sacrifice of her Mother, but would know she was never resented for it. That she was loved just as much as if it hadn't been that way.
She would be loved.
He'd grown fine with just a Father; there was no reason why she couldn't either. It was just another chapter of life… and even without Lisanna, Natsu planned to make it the best one yet…
She'd always thought herself a tolerant person. Sometimes things happened that were out of peoples control that inconvenienced others, and there was no reason to get angry or upset at them. But when a newborn baby has been crying every single damn night for two weeks, causing little sleep, she found her fuse was very short. She didn't even know what apartment the newborn was in, but, damn, that kid had a screamer on it! And so, without knowing what apartment they lived in to talk to them about it, she had been forced to complain to the body corporate, but it seemed like nothing had been done to fix it at all. Then again, if she wasn't so tired she might have realized sooner that there was nothing that could be done to fix a newborn's tears just like that, especially if they weren't experienced parents.
Her study was suffering, her social life was suffering, just because she couldn't get enough sleep at night. All because someone didn't know how to shush their damn child. She hoped that they weren't into some newagey thing where parents were told to let their newborns cry themselves to sleep. They were newborns, they needed constant care, feeding very two to three hours. She would know, she was studding paediatrics!
Lucy was at her wits end, and was not her normal, kind self.
A scream was muffled into her pillow as that incessant crying picked up again, legs failing as she kicked around on her bed for a few moments in frustration and anger before pillow was thrown to the wall and sheets were pushed off with anger. Enough was enough. Pulling on a dressing gown to cover the silk nightdress she wore, hair would be tied back in a messy tail before she stormed her way out towards the door, she was going to find this apartment, and give these parents a piece of her mind!
All that faded away as soon as she opened her front door, and honey brown eyes gazed out to the dimly lit corridor. A young man was walking up and down by the door next to her own, it was open, and as she stepped out more she could see a slightly messy apartment, baby clothing, dipper boxes, and fast food containers were strewn around the place, as if someone was in a constant flurry. But that only held her attention for so long, the young man, younger than herself she was sure, was still pacing back and forth, muttering something under his breath to the small bundle of blankets he had held close to his cheek and broad shoulder. But that wasn't what caught her attention either. It was his face. He looked like he'd never slept a night in his life, the bags under his hazel eyes were so great he almost looked like a raccoon. There was light stubble on his face, and his bright salmon toned hair was a little greasy, it looked as if he hadn't washed well for the same amount of time… and there was a sadness in those eyes, one that she knew well deep in her heart.
The birth of a child was supposed to be a happy thing, and yet he looked as if he had a broken heart…
As he turned to pace again he paused, eyes falling on her at last, and she could see how young he was, maybe just out of high school?
"…I'm sorry if we're keeping you up." He uttered in such a tired voice. A broken voice. He almost looked as if he was ready for her to scream at him… and in that moment felt like she had been acting like the most selfish woman in the world. It was clear enough to her now, he was alone, with a baby he didn't quite know how to settle yet, and she'd been leaving complaints and acting like the lack of a full nights sleep was the worst thing in the world. It didn't look like he'd slept at all…
"…N-No, its okay. I was just worried." A lie, and maybe he could tell it was as he looked away quickly, a dark look on his face for a moment before it was gone again. "…Maybe you should try having them along your arm, on their stomach." She proffered, giving a small smile, and he gazed at her again, before shifting the babe gently, the look on his face was almost one of wanting to try anything.
Scooting in closer she aided him in placing the babe in just the right spot, and then instructed him to rub at her back gently… it took no more than three minutes, and the babe was contently asleep, and the young man looked as if he was about to burst into tears.
"…She's asleep… she's asleep…" He muttered a few times before giving Lucy a broad grin, and in that moment she saw a reflection of not a tired Father, but the man behind it. He had a very nice smile, it lit his face up. "Thank you, so much. I'd tried everything the books said." And all she could do was smile in return.
"It's alright." Stepping back a little she'd move to stand by her doorway. "My names Lucy, if you ever need any help, come knock on my door, okay? I'm studying my PhD in paediatrics, I'll be glad to help."
He grinned still at that and gave a firm nod.
"Thanks. I'm Natsu." The smile turned sweeter then as he turned his gaze to the sleeping baby in his arms. "And this is Hikari…"