My first FT-fic y'all! Please enjoy! This will probably become a collection of one-shots around this OTP, so look forward to it!
No letting go
"Is this okay?"
Actually, it made it worse.
"Natsu!" she gasped, squeezing her eyes shut, "It's not—"
His hand resting on her ankle then warmed up slightly and he gently began to massage the painful bundles of muscles there, looking up at her face with a worried expression the whole time. "And now?"
Lucy slowly lay back against the cushions of her couch and let her head fall back, still wincing. "I feel so stupid about you carrying me here. You can go back to the festival if you want, I don't mind staying here."
"It's fine," he whispered, enclosing the palms of his hands around her ankle. "It wouldn't be much fun without you there anyways," he stated, grinning up at her.
She stilled and looked away from him.
Sometimes she wondered if he knew.
"How does it feel now?" he asked, voice soft, lips smiling.
She blinked, having forgotten about the pain only to realize that it had actually gone completely. "It's— fine," she whispered in awe, watching him remove his hands from her leg as he stood up and instantly wishing he hadn't; the spot where his hands had been was now rapidly growing colder.
"Try standing up now?" he reached out a hand to her.
She looked at his outstretched hand and sighed. She knew she shouldn't have let him take her home. She could see the hope blooming on his face and she couldn't do this to him again. This is how it went last time and both of them got hurt. "Natsu, just go, I'll be fine."
He watched her untie the straps of the sandal she still wore on her left foot for a moment and then closed his outstretched hand, hating the distance that had grown between them since…
"Lucy, don't do this."
Lucy dropped the pair of sandals on the floor next to the couch and looked up at him questioningly. "Do what? You told me you looked forward to this festival for weeks?"
"I did," he whispered, sighing and hanging his head. "Fuck..."
She knew what it was that he was struggling to express, but she didn't want to hear it. "Alright then, help me up," she said instead, grabbing onto his arm and tentatively putting some of her weight on her foot. He took her hand and pulled her up effortlessly, making her lose her balance and falling against him.
"I'm not letting go."
She blushed, trembling in his hold. "My…My ankle feels fine now, Natsu."
"You know that's not what I mean."
Lucy fought against the grip he had on her but he only tightened his embrace.
"I'm just trying to understand, Luce," he whispered against her hair. "It was one night. Just one. I doesn't have to mean anything if you don't want it to, but please stop ignoring me. I can't stand it."
She closed her eyes and bit her lower lip, remembering that one night.
She'd been balancing on the verge of sleep when she'd felt his warm hands brush back a few of her blonde strands and his lips pressing a soft kiss against her shoulder. His firm, naked body had been pressing against her back underneath the covers.
"That jerk doesn't know what he's missing, Luce… I only wish you knew that you have me… in more ways than one."
She'd blinked her eyes open after hearing that, her heart filling up with guilt.
"Why do you keep doing this to yourself?" she whispered, pressing her hands against his chest and forcefully breaking the embrace. "To me?"
"I heard you," she said, looking down. "That night when Darren and I broke up, when you thought I was asleep. I heard what you said. What were you thinking, Natsu?"
There was a silence in which she waited for a reaction from his part, but it never came and when she finally looked up, his eyes went hidden behind his bangs and his entire posture was tense.
"I guess it doesn't matter anyways, right?" he said, his voice dull. "Sorry for bothering you. Talk to ya later, Luce."
She let him go, wrapping her arms around herself after the door of her apartment slammed shut.
Lucy took a shaky breath and opened her eyes again, refusing to let the upcoming feelings of sadness take her over. All she wanted was to sleep for the rest of the evening and just forget this day altogether.
They never should've slept together in the first place.
"Go talk to her."
"Do you want me to talk to her?"
He looked up at the white haired girl cleaning a drinking glass behind the bar and groaned, burying his face in his folded arms on the polished surface of the counter. "I don't know. She knows, Mira. It wouldn't matter anyway; maybe things are better this way."
Mirajane looked at him a few moments more, wishing she could say something that could comfort the young dragon slayer, but she knew that even if she gave him advice now, it wouldn't really be helpful until Natsu decided for himself that the situation wasn't as hopeless as it seemed. Before she could tell him, though, her attention was called by her brother and Macao who requested some more drinks at the other end of the bar.
"Thanks, Mira," she heard him whisper before she walked off. The tone of his voice was nothing like she'd ever heard from him before.
He really must've fallen hard this time.
"One orange-pomegranate juice, Mira."
Lifting his head from where he'd been resting it for the past hour, Natsu first recognized her soft perfume before hearing her voice. He took his liquid fire drink off the counter and was preparing the give her some space, when he felt her hand land on his wrist; holding it in a tight grip, preventing him from going anywhere. Well, it didn't really hold him back, but it was either forcefully pulling away and risking burning her arm or sitting still at this point and he couldn't bring himself to hurt her. Not anymore than he already did.
"Hey, Luce. I see your ankle feels better?" Mirajane said with a gentle smile, placing her ordered drink in front of her, pointedly ignoring the scene between them.
"Yeah," Lucy replied, letting go of Natsu's wrist once she'd assured herself that he wasn't going to move. She took her drink and smiled at her friend, who nodded and winked before busying herself with the rest of her orders.
"Do you want to do this here, or do you want to go somewhere private?" she said, cradling her drink in her palms, not looking at him.
He knew they needed to talk this out, but at this point he really couldn't care where they had this conversation; it wasn't going to get any better afterwards anyway. How could it? She'd made her point clear, all that was left was for him to tell her clearly where he stood and accept whatever conclusion came from that. Not that it was a big mystery at this point.
"Let's go up stairs then," she offered, not receiving an answer from his part.
He followed her docilely, noticing that she was wearing that black asymmetric top he told her he liked once. He chuckled melancholically to himself; he could hear how the conversation was going to go in his head already. It wasn't going to sound any better in the open, he was sure.
They sat down in a corner of the nearly deserted floor. She was staring at the cubes of ice that floated on the surface of her drink with a serene smile and he was staring at her with a neutral expression on his face, body slouched onto the chair.
"I never apologized," she started and he blinked in surprise.
Lucy tucked a strand of hair behind an ear and looked up at him, her eyes sad but sincere. "I'm sorry, Natsu."
"That night, I wasn't thinking straight… I was an emotional wreck, Natsu…"
He sat up, frowning. This wasn't what he'd been expecting, but as he watched her talking, he suddenly saw it.
"What were you thinking, Natsu?"
It wasn't anger he'd heard in her voice last night.
And it clicked. It made sense.
It was fear.
"I never wanted to put this on you, Natsu, I should've—"
"You asked me yesterday why I kept torturing myself with this, right?" he interrupted her, voice hard. He felt angry and betrayed and right now he couldn't give a flying fuck about the consequences of his words; things were fucked up already anyway.
She blinked in turn, taken aback.
"I want to ask you; why do you keep doing it?" he asked, staring her unwaveringly in the eyes. He scoffed when her gaze strayed from his and he sat back, shaking his head in disbelief now that he finally understood it all.
"Can it," he said in a low voice. "I could've left it all alone if you'd been a better actress, Luce. But you're not." He grabbed his drink again and prepared to stand. "I actually wish you were now."
She gritted her teeth as hot tears began to roll down her cheeks and her fists trembled by her side. "Natsu, please!" she whimpered, effectively halting him in his steps.
"Why, Luce?" he whispered, feeling his anger and dissapointment drain away only to be replaced by a smothering ache in his chest. "Am I not good enough, or something?"
"No," she whispered, standing in turn and grabbing his right wrist to turn him around. She looked up to his pained eyes and bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling, but couldn't stop the thick teardrops that kept falling down her face. She sighed in frustration and bent her head, not finding the courage to say what it was she wanted to really say to him. Her hand on his wrist was trembling as she sobbed on without saying anything.
He took a step closer and placed his free arm around her, sighing in relief when she wrapped both her arms around him and held on tight, giving him the confidence he needed to do the same. He closed his eyes and rested his chin on the top of her head.
"Take that risk with me, Luce."
She looked up at him and found him smiling his goofy smile down at her. "What if it doesn't work?"
"Then we can't say we didn't try," he replied, brushing a lingering teardrop away from her right eye with his thumb. "What do you say?"
She started to smile and then began to giggle when he wiggled his eyebrows and spread his arms, took a few steps back and strut the wares she'd be getting if she accepted the offer.
"Well, I guess it's a steal," she said, laughing at his confused expression.
Lucy grinned and wrapped her arms around his waist again, snuggling up against his chest.
"Don't let go, Natsu."
His face softened and he wrapped his arms around her again, pressing a kiss on the top of her head.
"I wouldn't know how, Luce."