AN: Hello hello hello! I am a competitor in Litashe's "Fairy Tail Writing Challenge". This round's theme was a NaLu story involving death, fluff or a combination of the two that had to involve a specific quote. I mashed the two together, but decided to be different. Instead of killing off Natsu or Lucy, I killed another person and made it more fluffly. Yay for not killing the protagonists!
Disclaimer: Alas! Fairy Tail and thy characters within are property of the great Hiro Mashima.
Dull. Plain. Emotionless.
Initially, Lucy was struck by the font more than anything else. She'd read the message, but it was the choice of font that perplexed her. When her mind finally accepted the newly discovered information though, she was furious. She wanted to tear the letter into a milling motherfucking shreds and incinerate them in the pits of hell. And then she would hunt down whatever jackass typed up the message and torture them until they would swear that the devil itself had visited them.
How could such an ordinary, passive font inform her that her father was dead?
Large brown eyes, now filled with fire, re-read the letter.
Dear Ms Lucy Heartfilia,
It is to my great sadness that I must inform you that your father, Mr Charles Heartfilia, passed away due to natural causes on the fifteenth of March, x1785. As his daughter, you are therefore invited to attend his funeral, which is to be held at St. Nirva's Church, Acalypha on Thursday 22nd of March, beginning at 10.30. Your attendance would be a great pleasure to us all. We are sorry for your loss.
Noyes & Son. Funeral Directors.
Alfred Noyes. Lucy made a mental note to bitch slap him at the funeral.
She fought to supress her strong urge to throw something at someone. Anything at anyone. Lucy just needed some way to vent out this anger, this frustration that bubbled like lava within her. It was painful, frightening. She had to eliminate it. But how?
Her morning instinct kicked in. Rather oddly, her only thought was Coffee. I need coffee.
Robotically, Lucy took a mug out of the cupboard and shuffled her way over to the espresso machine. The heat and steam that the high caffeine beverage gave off seemed almost unbearable.
It all went wrong after that. Carrying her mug over to the table, Lucy discovered just how violently she was shaking- boiling hot coffee spilled over her hand, scalding the delicate skin. With a surprised squeak, the blonde dropped her drink. The mug shattered as soon as it making contact with the floor, scattering pieces of ceramic in a haphazard manner and creating a large brown puddle.
Lucy stared at the mess.
Then she broke down, throwing herself to the ground, kicking and screaming. She punched her floor, not caring that shards of ceramic scratched and imbedded themselves in her fist; fully aware that her shrieks and wails were reminiscent of a small child. Currently, she felt like she was still a child.
"Luce. Wake up, Luce."
Opening a bleary eye, Lucy made out the blurred figure of her best friend and his cat. Getting up and rubbing the sleep out of her eyes, she blinked; why did her hands have blood on them?
"Natsu? Happy?" She asked. "What the…?"
Her friend shrugged. "Dunno. Just came in and you were sleeping here."
The Stellar spirit mage groaned, knowing how sleeping on the kitchen floor would do horrors to her back. Realising what a mess she appeared, the girl went over to the sink and washed her hands of blood before proceeding to remove the shards of her mug with a pair of tweezers, wincing every time one was plucked out. Natsu hovered, whilst Happy…
"Lucy! What's this?"
Said mage turned around to see what her feline friend was referring to-
-and froze in shock.
"Happy!" she barked, causing the cat to jump and drop the letter. Ignoring Happy's piteous wailing about how mean Lucy was, Natsu sauntered over and picked it up.
Lucy would have kicked his head in were she not busy performing home surgery. "Natsu…" she warned. "Read that and you'll regret it."
Natsu paid her no heed and Lucy could only sigh as she bandaged up her hand. When the girl was done, she went over and swiped the letter from him.
"…So your dad's dead?" the pink haired mage said simply.
"Yeah." His partner deadpanned, staring at the floor.
There was an awkward silence.
She made a small grunting sound in reply.
"Can I go with you?"
Here the blonde looked up, with perplexed frown. "What do you mean?"
"You know, go. To the funeral."
Lucy went quiet, staring at the dragonslayer. What she saw in his eyes was plain- loyalty, concern, stubbornness.
After a minute or so, the celestial mage let out a sigh of defeat. "Fine. But you need to dress smartly. And you can't bring Happy."
Following that, there was a long debate about whether it would be suitable to bring a flying cat to a funeral.
It was surreal, really. Not too long ago, Lucy had been a wreck of tears. Yet now she was laughing.
Natsu really was something special.
A week later and the two stood outside St. Nirva's Church. It was small but friendly looking. Lucy's father may have no longer been filthy rich, but he had managed to earn some good money at Love & Lucky. His daughter definitely preferred it this way. She could only imagine what chaos would have ensued had her father bitten the dust earlier.
The guild members were nice enough, but they kept fawning over Lucy. Lines such as "sorry for your loss" and "why, you're the spitting image of your mother!" were common. Lucy hated it. So she just stuck next to Natsu, who would laugh and joke with her, same as always.
It was comforting to have him beside her.
The time passed with little trouble and before Natsu knew it, all the guests had cleared off. Natsu turned to suggest that he and his friend should leave, only to be met with an empty space. Where was Lucy?
Panicked, he ran off looking for her.
"…Father?" Lucy asked, staring at the gravestone. Half of her was hoping that his ghost would rise from it. When this failed to happen, she tried another tactic. "Dad? Daddy?"
After the second, childish nickname came out, Lucy couldn't help but smile. How long had it been since she called him that? The girl sunk to her knees, still talking to the engraved slab. "Idiot. Why did you have to go die? We were just starting to make up, you know. Okay, we lost the estate, but we gained more of a bond, didn't we? Maybe I could have introduced you to my nakama one day. Or maybe not… you did try to destroy the guild and all… but that doesn't mean we couldn't have patched things up between us two. So why did you have to go die?"
Silence. The blonde hugged her knees to her chest, resting her chin on them. Wide brown eyes stared into space.
"…You know, Daddy, I think I've learnt. About why you changed. Not that I'm saying the way you acted was okay, 'cos it wasn't. But… losing Mama changed you, didn't it? You just changed the wrong way. There are lots of things I will never forgive you for, but… be happy up there, okay? You weren't that bad a dad, in the end."
The gravestone remained mute.
"Dad? I wish you were here. Because…" Lucy flushed red, hugging her knees even tighter, "…I think I'm developing… I mean, I'm falling… well, I'm starting…"
Why couldn't she spit it out? Taking a deep breath and forcing herself to be strong, she blurted out. "I'm in lo-"
Said girl squeaked, hands flying to her mouth. Natsu frowned. "Did I intrude on something…?"
Wishing that she had not blushed such a furious red, Lucy scowled. "Yes, you did."
"What was it?" the dragonslayer asked, bending down to Lucy's eye level. The blonde returned his gaze. Then, unexpectedly, she grabbed his tie (he'd been forced to dress formally for the funeral) and yanked him closer to her.
Staring intently, Lucy pulled him closer. Closer, closer… wait, she wasn't going to…
Whatever thought the boy had, it was eliminated when Lucy flicked his forehead.
Natsu pouted childishly, arms crossed. "What was that for, Luce?"
"Isn't it obvious?" She spat, causing Natsu to shield himself with his arm, as though it would protect him from the venom in her voice. A fiery aura was radiating from the celestial mage, yet when he risked looking at her, Natsu was surprised to see that his teammate was beaming.
"I love you, stupid."
At that, the boy displayed his signature grin, the one that seemed to brighten any day. How long had he been waiting to hear her say that?
"I love you too, weirdo." Natsu replied before being enveloped in an amorous hug.
Lucy was overjoyed. Okay, so it wasn't the romantic confession she had been planning for days, weeks, months. It was nothing like the corny scenes she read, wrote and dreamt about. There was no snow, no sunset, and no beach. It was just another spring afternoon. Her and Natsu's declarations of love had involved them insulting each other and could never be counted as anything mildy resembling poetic.
But she didn't give a damn.
Re-united once more, Layla and Charles watched their daughter, smiling proudly as their fingers intertwined.
AN: How quick did I make this? Don't like this myself, but hey, at least I tried. I know I'm not on the same level as many of the other participants, but that doesn't mean I can't try. Best of luck to all other participants!
~Meg, Destroyer of Worlds, Hater of Twilight and Loyal Devotee of the Hobnob.