. Because of Her .
"All of those people are alive right now - because of her."
His fingers trailed through her golden hair, his onyx eyes staring blankly ahead of him as he held her to his bandaged chest. Her breathing was faint, but there. She'd been patched up by Wendy hours before, but he knew.
Oh, how he knew.
But he wasn't ready to say goodbye to her. Not yet. Never would he be ready to say goodbye to her.
The thought crushed his very soul as he ducked his head down to press a kiss to the top of her head. "Why?" he whispered, tears boiling over as he tightened his grip just fractionally. "Why would you do that, Lucy? Why did you have to-"
His voice broke.
He remembered it clearly.
He remembered the giddy excitement he'd felt at the prospect of tearing every one of them into pieces...and then she'd been there. Her brown eyes mournful yet determined as she threw her arms out and stood in front of the rest of them, screaming for him to stop, that this wasn't him, because damn it, she wanted her Natsu back!
She'd saved them all.
But, oh God, at what price?
The magic had torn through her body, ripping her soul and mind and body to pieces. He didn't know how. He didn't want to know how. But she'd somehow used the unending power of Lumen Histoire to rip the demon from his blood and seal it away, this time permanently.
Etherious Natsu Dragneel, demonic brother of Zeref, was gone.
Natsu Dragneel, son of Igneel, was not.
And soon, he'd lose the celestial mage who meant more than the world to him.
It had destroyed her entirely, what she'd done for him and their beloved guild.
The tears didn't stop; his eyes only widened as he yanked back to discover the tired blonde looking up at him with eyes that were full of agonized pain...and love. Her face held the same determination that she had worn during the battle, the one that had saved them all.
"Lucy," he breathed back.
It was impossible.
Should have been impossible.
But here she was, alive. Awake, when he'd just been waiting for the last breath that would destroy what was left of him.
She gave a tight-lipped smile as his forehead rested against hers. His eyes slid shut, and hers did as well. Both clutched at each other when his lips came to brush against hers in search of comfort only she could provide, and he didn't know how, but he found himself ordering, "Marry me."
She only laughed breathlessly. "If I...survive the night...yes."
The next hour found him contently soothing her pain away with gentle caresses and kisses, his heart swelling at the realization that she loved him in such a way.
The next morning found a hopeless dragon slayer giving a keening wail as he pulled the still and un-breathing body of his partner to his chest.
The next week found him settled beside her grave, speaking in low tones about what had happened after the battle that had killed her.
The next month found him smiling secretly as he chatted away about what adventure he'd gone on with Happy, about how hard it was without her, about how he wasn't sure he wanted to go one without her.
The next year found him in her welcoming arms, taking comfort in the touch he never thought he'd feel again.
For decades, Fairy Tail's mages would tell the story of how the stricken dragon had given up his life to rejoin his princess despite the fact that he'd known he was leaving them behind.
Originally supposed to be a part of my Drabble Game, but meh. I thought it'd be better as a one-shot. I decided to be an angsty person tonight. I may have choked up while writing this.