title: trainwreck kingdom.
written by: she is a firework.
notes: AU, of sorts. I can't really explain it...just go along with it? /sheepish grin.

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When Lucy is seven, she likes to lose herself.

At the age of seven, of course, there's not much for her to lose. Her life is compromised of pretty pastel dresses and bright lights and loud, loud noises. Her life is compromised of presents and parties, of foreign delicacies, of step-step-twirl until your feet fall out of your shoes. It's a wonderful life, in retrospect, and Lucy can appreciate this, even at her age—she's not a naïve seven-year-old, she's actually very intelligent—, but sometimes, really, it's a bit too much. There is only so much step-step-twirl that a girl like her can take.

She sits on the porch behind the Heartfilia mansion, her elbows on her knees, her hands supporting her cheeks. It's a breezy day; her pale yellow hair lifts off of her shoulders. The pearls adorning her head click-clatter-clatter. She reaches up and removes them, because she always hated that sound, and what Lucy hates, does not stay around for very long.

Her dress—it's green, today, the palest green, with white ruffles and numerous underskirts—whispers in silk as she moves. She stands to her full height, smoothing out her skirt, then her hair, before looking around at her garden. Her garden. No matter how many people clutter it for one of her parents' parties, it will always be her garden.

The sky is the same as her heart, today; warm, light, hopeful.

Lucy tips back her head, admiring the open. She gives a silent toast to the future, and then, she runs.

The Heartfilia garden is infinite.

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Natsu, at the age of seven, is not as fortunate as the girl he has yet to meet.

He wanders the street alone, with hands thrust deep inside of his pockets. He keeps his face hidden behind his scarf—his favourite, the one that looks like dragon scales—, because Erza is always saying that if he's going to scowl, don't let people see it. He doesn't want to follow orders from Erza, but she's right to proceed with, "It shows that you care for something". He doesn't want to agree with Erza, but...

She's right. Natsu doesn't want to show that he cares about anything, much less about Lisanna, stupid Lisanna, with that huge smile and playground eyes, with a positive view on just about everything.

He wears a carefree mask of steel.

The sun is beginning to go down by the time Natsu is done contemplating. He looks up, disclosing any features which were previously concealed by the scarf. His expression is somewhat surprised; he never meant to stay out so long. What time did he leave? Eleven, this morning? Twelve? Natsu supposes he should head back to Fairy Tail; people might be worrying about him. The guild is nothing without its resident loudmouth, after all.

Resident loudmouth. Natsu likes the sound of that.

To be the resident loudmouth, he thinks, will be to hide the anguish inside.

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When Lucy is twelve, she learns how to live.

An argument with Mama and Papa starts it all off. It's heated, unlike any argument they've ever had—not that they have arguments often, just little disagreements, perhaps regarding Lucy's posture, or her manners, or the way she hasn't bothered to make herself particularly pretty with powder and pearls. No, this is different.

Lucy screams, and shouts. Her face is cherry-tomato red. Her fists are balled at her side, ungloved for the first time in absolutely weeks. "—never let me do what I want!"

Her parents reply in stern tones. Their voices are raised; something which has never really been an option when addressing Lucy, darling Lucy. Both of their faces are stoic, impassive. Mama's hands are clasping Papa's, though, almost like she's scared of her own daughter. "—only the best for you."

Lucy asks them to define the best. They cannot respond, for they have no idea what the best is, when it comes to Lucy's wellbeing. Maybe the best is to keep her close to them, forever tied to them with invisible corset laces? To keep her away from the world? To shield her from evil, from life? Mama offers a meek shrug.

"That's what I thought."

—and then, Lucy turns, tearing at the skirts of her dresses. The silk rips easily under the Heartfilia girl's angry fingers; her knees bare, she leaves the room.

She leaves the Heartfilia mansion.

In this, she learns how to live.

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When Natsu is twelve, he has learnt to forget.

Lisanna? Who on Earth is Lisanna? He wears that happy-go-lucky attitude and he fights and he swears and he acts far too big for his boots. He prances around, pretending to be the best in all of Fairy Tail, and he forgets, because to remember would be to break down.

Lisanna? Who's Lisanna?

It breaks Mirajane's heart, and it breaks Elfman's, watching Natsu grow up, ignoring what happened, but she can sympathise. He can sympathise. They're trying to do just the same. As much as Lisanna deserves to be remembered, it would hurt all three of them, to think that she's just...not around, any more. So they forget. They pretend that she wasn't even there to begin with.

Who's Lisanna?

In forgetting, Natsu has learnt to live, just like the girl he has yet to meet. He can wear a huge smile and playground eyes, and he can have a positive view on just about everything. He can relax on some days, do jobs on others. He can play with Happy and fight with Gray. He can be beaten halfway to the moon by Erza.

He can do what he wants because he doesn't carry the burden of their memories.

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Lucy is fourteen, but she feels about seven again.

She lies atop of a grassy green hill. The sky above her is blue, clear, cloudless; the birds are singing from the branches of a nearby tree. There isn't a house, a building, another person for miles, Lucy knows. She's completely alone, and she loves the feeling.

Her legs are slightly apart on the grass, and she has her hands tucked neatly behind her head with her elbows—bony elbows, she's always had bony elbows—jutting out at a funny angle. There's a slight breeze, caressing her face, ruffling her skirt—short, far, far above her knees—. She is completely at peace with herself, and she feels seven again.

Lucy thinks about Fairy Tail.

It's not been long since she discovered the guild, maybe a few months, but she has already decided that she wants to be a part of it. There is so much that she thinks she needs to learn, though, and she has no idea how to apply for a place—do you apply? Or maybe you have to do something stupidly heroic to prove your worth? There's not much heroic you can do when you're working with some keys on a chain, after all...

Lucy decides that she will fight for what will make her happy.

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trainwreck kingdom—
don't look now, but the stars are falling.

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Natsu is seventeen, and the girl he has yet to meet is his best friend.

(except Happy. Happy trumps all.)

They met only a few months ago—so really, she's not someone he has yet to meet at all—, but it feels like they've been friends forever and ever and ever. She understands him and he understands her—they argue like a married couple, they protect one another like siblings.

Lucy Heartfilia helps him to forget.

Natsu wonders why he wasn't blessed with a friend like her sooner.

They are lying at the top of that hill, the one she always used to go to—it's not her secret place, not any more, it's their secret place. Natsu's never shared a secret place—

(except the secret place he and Lisanna built, but he's meant to have forgotten that)

—with a friend before, so it's quite a luxury for him. They are lying at the top of that hill and they don't say anything, not out loud, anyway. They're saying everything with silence, and silence alone. They don't need words to appreciate one another's presence.

Lucy sits up, stretches, breaks the silence. "Natsu, are we—we're best friends, right?"

He looks up at her, wrinkling his nose and his eyebrows. It's his confused face, and at this, Lucy inwardly giggles; oh, how she loves his confused face. It's almost adorable, but not, because calling Natsu adorable would be—

...well. It wouldn't be a lie, that's for sure.

"'course we're best friends. 'cept Happy, 'cuz I've known him way longer, but—" Natsu cuts off, looking awkward and playing with his fingers. "Y'know, he's just a cat. So, you're my best human friend?"

Lucy chuckles. "I'm glad."

They fall back into a steady silence.

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They are eighteen, and the stars are falling.

They are lying on the top of that hill, their hill, on their backs, hands tucked beneath their heads. Neither of them says a word. They just watch as the sky, black-black-blue-gold, tumbles around them.

It is beautiful. It is the end of the world.

Lucy closes her eyes to pray. Her face crumples, and she bursts into silent tears. Beside her, Natsu feels around in the dark; his hand closes around hers. "Everything's going to be okay. We're probably going to die, but we're going to die together."

A muffled sob, and Lucy squeezes his fingers.

"Natsu, I want to know," she barks, her voice a little too broken for her own liking. "Who—who is Lisanna?"

He stops breathing.

"You talk about her in your sleep."

Natsu lets out a breath. He says nothing, not for a moment, looking up at the sky, shattering, tumbling, golden, with hazy yellow stars and crimson meteors, all raining down in the most marvellous of patterns. He looks up at the sky, shattering, tumbling, golden, and he smiles at it, smiles at her. "Lisanna, huh?"

Lucy gazes at him with darkdark eyes, shattering, tumbling, golden.

"I have no idea who Lisanna is. You make me forget."

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The end of the world isn't over, the next night.

The guild is a wreck, a trainwreck. The building is but a few planks of wood. Dozens of mages are just—missing. Nobody knows where Erza is, where Gray is, and to think they were safe, just yesterday.

They are at the top of that hill, standing, tonight. Lucy has her fists in Natsu's shirt and they're both crying, the former more so than the latter. They cry for their world, their beautiful world.

"Don't look now," Natsu mutters into her hair. "But the stars are falling."

Lucy sobs harder.

"Our guild, our beautiful guild, our friends, oh, God, where is Gray? Where's Erza? Where the fuck is Loki, damn it!"

Happy cowers at the base of a nearby tree.

"They—can take care of themselves, Lucy. Stay strong, and just remember that—well, they're strong. They can take care of themselves. They can." He's whispering in her ear, stroking her head, soothing, softly. He doesn't really know what to do—it's not every day that he finds himself with an armful of sobbing girl. So he holds her, and whispers, and hides her innocent eyes from the sky, shattering, tumbling, golden.

Natsu has yet to realise how broken she truly is.

So he holds her.

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He holds her, and then everything goes white.

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(take your final bow,
TOGETHER.)

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fin.

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notes: Reviews will make me vomit skittles and fart rainbows, I swear.