Lucy had a nightmare that night.
She dreamt of the time her mom died.
In her dream, she could clearly hear her mother's heartbeat gradually slow down until it stopped completely. The silence following her parent's heart stopping made little Lucy's ears ring. The whole situation was so vivid, so tangibly real as if she was reliving a memory.
Even though it was a memory she did not have, seeing as how she hadn't been there when they found her mom collapsed.
But even so, her accursedly overactive imagination had come up with a very convincing version of what would have happened, of how her mother must've looked with her glassy staring eyes pinned to the world beyond and unmoving chest and still heart.
The young woman woke up with a start. It took her mind a moment to catch up on what exactly had happened—that it had only been a dream and her mother was long dead so there was nothing she could've done to save her and just stop crying already, idiot…!
When she became a bit more aware of her surroundings, she brushed her tears with the backs of her palms, her hands shaking as she did so. Her whole body trembled, shivering, as droplets of cold sweat rolled down the back of her neck and soaked the t-shirt she used for sleepwear.
While she was desperately trying to force herself into a calmer state of mind, something beneath her stirred. The movement made Lucy stiffen and lay completely still as the other occupant of the bed shifted to face her and then cracked open a bleary eye to look at her.
"Lucy?" he croaked, his voice heavy with sleep. "Why are you up? Is it morning already?"
Only when she heard her lover's voice did Lucy finally return to present time and realize what had happened. She smiled at her counterpart as she settled back into the sheets.
"No, it's still really early. Go back to sleep, Natsu," she cajoled him gently, knowing full well how open to such suggestions he was when in such a state of mind.
And her ever predictable companion did not fail to meet her expectations as he only grunted noncommittally in response and let his eyes slide closed again, drifting back to sleep.
She smiled softly at him, letting out a long sigh through her nose as she felt the tension leave her muscles and the exhaustion from her little panic episode settle in. Sleep began to cloud her mind even as her anxiety of seeing another nightmare made her feel apprehensive of actually drowsing off.
However, before she could worry about such things anymore, Natsu shifted again, pulling her into his embrace as he did so. Lucy blinked several times, unsure what exactly was happening. But when she heard Natsu's even breathing beneath her the sneaking suspicion she had of him just moving around in his sleep were quickly confirmed.
The girl smiled dreamily again as she made herself more comfortable against her captor who still held onto her even in his sleep. She laid her head on his chest and allowed her eyes to flutter closed as she waited for slumber to claim her.
Then she heard it. The steady rhythm of his heart beating just under the spot where she had rested her ear.
It was so calm and even, so relaxing that she felt all negative thoughts siphon out of system until all she could process was the steady pace of his heart. And for some reason when his rhythmic heartbeat was all she could hear, she felt much more at ease. As Lucy dosed off, she was completely convinced that no nightmares would come to haunt her again as long as she could stay enveloped by his reassuring warmth.
That night, Lucy acquired a preference that seemed quite peculiar to Natsu. Whenever she insisted that she slept to his left he would ask—completely nonplussed by her adamancy—why picking a side was so important and since when did she even care about such silly things as choosing a side of the bed?
The young woman would remain as silent and stoic as a sphinx, steadfast in her decision. And Natsu would shrug, deciding that if she wasn't telling them then there was no need for him to know.
After all, there were much worse sleeping habits she could have developed.
A/N: This is probably the shortest thing I've ever written. I hope you liked it, even if it's a bit pointless and largely fluffy. It's also my first venture into Fairy Tail fandom and I'm still trying to get a hold of the characters, so pardon any inconsistencies.
I hope you liked. Would be very intrigued to hear your thoughts on this wishy-washy little ficlet. :3