The young heiress to the Heartfilia fortune slowly looked up to her bed-ridden mother, with curiosity in her eyes; she opened her mouth to speak.
"Yes, Mommy?" She asked
"Do you remember when I said that I'll give you my keys when the right time comes?" Layla gently smiled at her young daughter
"Yes…" Lucy's eyes lit up in enthusiasm
"Well…I..I'm giving them to you…" Layla tried to breathe between her words
"But…But mommy, I'm not big enough…" Lucy tried to reason out when her mother coughed
In a panic, she quickly held her mother's hand and shook it
"Mo..Mommy, are you alright?" Lucy asked
"I'm..I'm alright, Lucy…" Layla tried her best not to let her child worry
Lucy immediately calmed down when her mother reassured her. Layla looked at her child lovingly, she didn't want Lucy to worry, she want to see Lucy cry; her daughter was one of the most precious people to her.
Lucy didn't understand though, she didn't understand why her mother was going to give the keys to the gates. She had been confined in their mansion for as long as she could remember, she never understood the meaning of death, as her mother would always beg her tutors not to tell her about the painful experience that the world brings. But still, it was inescapable; she had to eventually know about how painful it was to lose someone; someone who protected her from a tyrant like her father, someone who truly loved her as she was.
"Lucy…" Layla called out again, her daughter perked her head towards her direction
"I…I'm going to do...a very cruel thing…" Layla sadly stated while her daughter only looked at her in shock
"But, Mommy is very kind, she never does anything bad!" Lucy reasoned out while her mother was on the verge to crying. Seeing tears forming in her mother's eyes, Lucy stopped her talking began to worry again.
"Wha..What's the matter, mommy? Did..Did I say something bad?" Lucy asked, anxious if she had made her mother cry
"No, Lucy, you would never make me cry" Layla smiled, "But…I..I have to leave you"
Lucy fell silent…
"I have to go to another place" Layla explained
Lucy didn't say anything, but simply stared at her mother
"I'm breaking, and the doctors can't do anything to fix me" Layla added, although it was childish, it was the only way to explain it without hurting her daughter…or so she thought…
"But…if you go to another place…then, you'll only break more…" Lucy was crying, tears were falling down her cheeks...and they didn't show any sign of stopping
"No Lucy, this place is special…there's no more pain there, no more tears, no more suffering" Layla inhaled, "And the angels are going to take care of me until we meet again"
This time, Lucy's eyes sparkled, "Really?"
"Yes" Layla was more than happy to see her daughter smile, "I can't be with you right now, but I'll always hear you, from that place"
Lucy grinned widely, "Can you hear me if I talk to you?"
"Of course I can" Layla managed to chuckle, "I'll listen to you every time you talk to me, you can send me letters if you want to talk to me. I'll treasure every single one of them, and when the time comes…we'll meet again and I'll never leave you the next time we meet"
Lucy smiled and nodded. Layla was sure now, that she could leave peacefully. She assured her daughter that she would meet her again. And although Lucy didn't catch the drift, she knew that in time, her daughter would understand.
…A month later…and six days after Lucy's tenth birthday…Layla Heartfilia died…
"Mira-san, a refill please!"
"Ah, where's Natsu?"
The usually noisy and lively guild was a bit quiet due to the absence of their fire-breathing comrade. Where you could usually see him picking another fight, was replaced by utmost peace and order in the guild.
"Did you forget? Today is that day again. Natsu doesn't do much by this time of the year"
"Oh, right. I totally forgot about that one"
Those types of conversations filled the bar as the members talked about that time of the year where the usual hyperactive and short-tempered dragon slayer, was replaced by a silent and do-nothing mage. The awkwardness of silence filled the guild as Natsu was missing…and so was Lucy.
Her bed was messed up and her kitchen remained untouched, her curtains still covered her windows, shielding the room from the wonderful rays of sunlight. On one corner of the silent house, sat a blonde and emotionless mage, she covered herself with her blanket and she hugged her knees close to her chest. Her usual smile replaced by a stoic and emotionless expression, her usual healthy colored skin was replaced by a pale hue and a sense of fragility, that by the slightest touch, she would break into nothingness. She was still in her pajamas and she didn't look like she was moving anytime image of Lucy Heartfilia was changed that very moment.
She simply sat there, silent and unmoving; like she was dead.
It was today, her mother's death anniversary. It had been seven years since her mother died, and nothing depressed that young stellar spirit user other than remembering that tragedy. When she was young, she didn't understand what her mother meant about leaving her, only then did she understand when her mother was already gone. She didn't understand when her mother said that she was breaking and that she was going to a place where they would soon meet again, only then did she understand when she was told that her mother was sick and that she was doomed to die. Only then did she understand what life really was when she lost the most important person to her. Only then did she realize, that heaven already took her mother and that in that world filled with greed and pride, she was alone.
Tears slowly streamed down her pale cheeks, she didn't make a sound. You wouldn't even be surprised if she didn't know she was already crying. She looked like a zombie, a lifeless being without a purpose in the world. What she thought was that she was alone in this misery, but someone else also understood her grief…
He didn't move…not one inch, he just lay on his bed stationary, while looking up the ceiling as if it was the most interesting thing in the world. One moment he was with his father and the next moment he was alone. That was what Natsu Dragneel remembered from his childhood.
Like Lucy, he looked like he was some robot that short circuited and stopped moving, he simply laid there, not caring what the world was already doing. Happy had already left him to give him some privacy, it was out of respect for his feelings that his loyal cat left him. But he didn't mind, he just wanted to be alone. The clock ticked as the second hand hit twelve, it was already three in the afternoon, and he was still laying there. He wasn't hungry, he wasn't tired, and he wasn't even in the mood to pick a fight. He was just…miserable. Today was also the day that his adoptive father, Igneel, disappeared. Yes, it was July 7, the day when the dragons disappeared. But out of all the dragon slayers, only one slayer was noted to be so bummed out on that certain day, and it was the dense, pink haired, fire-breathing dragon slayer.
After another five minutes, he finally moved and slumped to the floor. He groaned in pain as his stomach was already grumbling, but his misery wouldn't allow him to eat. Silently, he rose and made his way out of the door. Looking at the busy town in front of him, he decided to take a walk.
Until seven in the evening, he passed by the shops, sat down the river and spaced out a couple of times, something which he usually didn't do on a daily basis. He stopped as passed by a happy family laughing together; there were two blonde twins, a boy and a girl, laughing together with their mother and father. He felt his heart drop to his stomach the moment he saw this. How he wished he had a family. Yes, he had Fairy Tail, the guild was enough for him to call family, but he also wanted parents who cared for him and a loving home where you can always feel the warmth of love. You can't imagine how bad he wanted to see Igneel that moment. The blonde little girl turned, her gaze setting on him, he smiled at her and the blonde child smiled back at him before dashing into their house as she was called by her mother.
He felt his heart stop, that girl reminded him of his best friend. He snapped out of his thoughts as he followed a familiar trail that led him to the guild. Once reaching near the place, he stopped. Her scent wasn't anywhere near here. He knew instantly tat she wasn't there, so he turned back and simply followed the trail to her house. Her scent was getting nearer, she was at home. Without a moment of hesitation, he broke in through her window and entered her house without her consent.
She groaned, he just went through the window again. It was dark because she didn't turn on the lights, and only the light outside illuminated the room.
"Lucy, you here?"
She groaned louder, this time she hit her head on the wall beside her. What could he possibly want this time? Wasn't he supposed to be sulking over Igneel?
"Lucy…are ya home?"
She hit her head harder, this time loud enough for him to hear. Walking towards a lump beside the wall, he removed the blanket draped over her, revealing her zombified self.
"Whoa…", was all that Natsu could say as he saw his usual perky and cheerful bestfriend at the gates of despair
"What are you doing here?" She coldly asked with a hint of anger in her eyes
Natsu quickly snapped out of his trance and sat down in front of her, "Nothing, just wanted to see you"
"Well that's sweet" Lucy sarcastically complimented
A moment of silence between them occurred as Lucy fell silent and became stoic again. This was enough to creep Natsu out. Hoping that she wouldn't kick him, he mustered up his courage to ask her what was wrong.
"Is everything alright?" Natsu asked, concerned about his best friend
Lucy only grabbed her blanket and covered herself with it, "Leave me alone"
"You didn't answer my question" Natsu insisted on asking
"I don't want to talk about it", came the muffled reply from underneath the thick blanket
But Natsu persisted to know what was wrong, "Lucy…"
"I'm sulking, alright?" She snapped angrily at him, throwing the blanket off her head
Natsu only looked at her in shock, after seeing his reaction, Lucy realized what she had done and tucked her head between her knees in shame. She didn't want to yell at him, she never wanted to yell at him. Snapping out his trail of thought, Natsu focused on comforting the stellar spirit user.
"What's the problem?" He asked, his voice dripping with anxiety
Lucy bit her lower lip as she lied, "It's nothing"
"I'm not getting out of here until you tell me what's wrong" He taunted. This time Lucy hugged her knees tighter.
"It's…my mother's death anniversary…" She admitted, "She died seven years ago...six days after my tenth birthday"
This left Natsu in shock, the only reason why she wasn't at the guild was that she was sulking for her mother's loss, and whether by coincidence or not, her mother happened to die the same day Igneel disappeared.
"I…I'm sorry…" Natsu lowered his head
"Don't be", Lucy's tears started to flow down her cheek
"Lucy, look at me…" Natsu gently told her, to which she responded by tilting her head upwards while crying. He placed a hand on her cheek and wiped the tears away.
"Igneel disappeared the same day…" Natsu started and Lucy slowly nodded, "So I guess…I can hear ya"
Lucy managed to crack a smile on her face, which gave Natsu some relief that she wasn't dead yet. He moved and sat beside her, his body heat warming her as the night's cold began to sink in.
"She told me that…she was breaking" Lucy sniffed as she wiped away a tear, "As a kid I has no idea that she was dying already, I thought she was just sick"
Natsu bit his lower lip, he truly felt sorry for Lucy, not being able to know was a loss.
"She said, that I could always write letters to her…everytime I wanted to talk to her.." She moved on
"Which is why you often write letters on your desk?" He asked
"That's half of it", She chuckled while looking at him straight in the eye
"Then, what's the other half?" Natsu smiled at her
"I…I write a letter to Heaven, about how much I miss her…and about how I'm doing here" She smiled as the light from outside illuminated their spot
"And how do you send a letter to Heaven?" Natsu's grin grew wider, "I want to send one too, I want to tell them to help me find Igneel. And I want to tell Igneel that…I miss him"
Lucy smiled, she stood up and sat on her bed with her legs crossed. She gestured for him to sit across her and do the same, which he did.
"You do it like this" She gently grabbed his hands and held them with her own. It was warm and assuring; as if it kept you safe and warm and that you don't need anything else. Closing both of their eyes, Lucy smiled as suggested:
"How about we introduce ourselves first?"…
The warm breeze blew past two figures that were standing atop the grassy mountain; one with pink hair, a scarf, a black and red jacket, black pants and slippers. The other one was a blonde girl with a white vest with blue linings and a blue skirt and couple of black boots. Lucy sighed as she gently sat down the grassy mountain, it was relaxing to come up here every once in a while.
"So, what did you want to talk about?" She asked the fire-breathing mage who just sat down beside her, "Erza's gonna look for us, ya know?"
"Bah, don't worry about her, she's down there anyway" Natsu pointed to the lower part of the mountain, causing Lucy to laugh of his arrogance. He smiled, "That's quite new, on the same day last year I found you sulking in your room draped in a blanket"
Lucy didn't think twice about hitting him on the head, he groaned as he rubbed his head softly, making Lucy laugh harder. He smiled at this sight. Yes, it had been another year since the time that he found her sulking in her room, mourning for her mother. And today was the 8th year anniversary of her mother's death, it was July 7 again, the same day Igneel disappeared.
"Now tell me, what do you want to talk about?" Lucy asked, threatening to hit him again if he didn't answer properly
"I…wanted to send another letter…" Natsu admitted, which made Lucy's eyes grow wide in shock
Snapping out of her trail of thought, she smiled and shifted her position as Natsu did the same, now they were facing each other. Natsu positioned his hands for Lucy to fill in, she gently place her hands onto his palm and Natsu securely locked it by holding.
"Mom…Igneel…it's us again…"
They closed their eyes and opened their mouths to send a Letter to Heaven. A letter that no doubt will reach those whom they love and treasure. And even though they both bear grief in their hearts, as long as they have each other to run to when they want to send a letter, they knew that it was going to be okay.