HOLY CRAP, YOU GUYS. I SO CALLED THAT CHAPTER, YOU HAVE NO IDEA! *SPOILER*When we first saw Hood Girl, I just somehow KNEW that it was Lucy. I don't know why, but I did. And I was further convinced when she started crying after watching Natsu battle (because, hello, she's seeing him, ALIVE, when he'd probably...gone in the future)! But, I was a bit confused when Jellal saw her, it threw me for a loop. After all, why such a reaction? From his face, I suddenly wondered if it was, like, Grandeeny or something... But, anyway. THIS CHAPTER. Save my poor shipper heart before it explodes! She was crying! Seeing Natsu again made her cry! A part of my just wants to smash Lucy and Natsu togehter and be like, "Now...KISS!". Mashima-sensei...you troll. *END SPOILER*
Ahem. After reading that chapter, I just HAD to write this, the idea juice was overflowing. Now, just know, that this is in NO WAY CANON. This is taking the recent chapter and making a prediction/educated guess on how the next chapter will turn out. Please do not ask me if the conversation between Lucy and Natsu in the end is canonical :) It's just my imagination, but, who knows, maybe Mashima-sensei will grant my bitter-sweet fantasy...
Chapter 6: Mirror
Rated: K+ (SPOILERS FOR 312)
Mirror, I am seeing a new reflection.
The hooded woman stood before Natsu and Lucy, trembling, tears streaming down her cheeks with dirty, bare feet and shimmering chocolate eyes that were eerily similar to the blonde gawking to Natsu's right. The stranger was…older, the dragonslayer could tell simply by her eyes, and yet she was still undeniably…Lucy. But that was impossible, Natsu knew, because Lucy was standing right next to him. Had been for the whole day, the whole damn week!
Who the hell was this imposter wearing Lucy's face?
Just as he was about to demand this, the imposter did something that sent Natsu reeling back in surprise: she looked at him. But not just in any way, she looked at him in such a Lucy-esque way—she was biting her bottom lip, trying not to sniffle, tears flowing freely down her fresh face—that a flicker of doubt quickly made him reconsider. He felt nervous sweat gathering on the back of his neck and his mouth suddenly felt kind of dry… Maybe she really was Lucy…
What on Earthland was going on?
Beside him, his Lucy was reaching for his arm. Her hands tightened around his forearm like a coiling snake as she asked, "Who are you?" The question quivered in the air as it echoed everyone else's thoughts.
The woman turned her sights from Natsu to Lucy and let a small smile grace her full lips that were thinned out of worry. That smile of hers was incredibly bitter. "As you suspected," she murmured softly, "I am Lucy Heartfilia."
"D-don't joke around like that!" the real Lucy shouted, backing away further. When her small hands tightened, once again, on Natsu's strong forearm, he stepped further in front of her and lifted his arm to serve as a barrier. "How can you be…me? You're not my counterpart from Edolas… So, unless you're from…the…" But Lucy suddenly stopped, her eyes growing ever wider, and her hands turning white-knuckled on Natsu's arm.
He almost winced from the amount of strength she used.
"That's right," the woman answered softly as her eyes closed. "I'm…from the future."
Silence fell over the stunned troupe, and while there should have been protest roiling out of Natsu's mouth like a gushing volcano, there were none… This woman…this, older-Lucy, was still in fact, Lucy… They looked the same, smelled the same… He inhaled, as if to check this, and felt no twinge of disappointment when the familiar scent of Lucy assaulted his nose—she was indeed Lucy Heartfilia, there was no mistake.
"How is that possible?" Mira whispered from the back. "Time travel…"
But, at the same time as the barista asked this, Yukino released an astonished gasp. All eyes turned to her when she said, "You used the Eclipse Door…"
Natsu, Lucy, and Wendy, being the only three besides Yukino who truly understood what that meant, shared knowing looks. The Eclipse Project…the Daimatou Enbu…
Loke, feeling incredibly left out and confused, mumbled, "Eclipse Door?"
"When the twelve Celestial Spirit Gate Keys are gathered," older-Lucy began, her tone wise, "it is possible to summon a magic great enough to open the door of time, the Eclipse Door." Her brown eyes met their mirrored version, causing the younger girl to bite her lip in anxiety, before they dragged to meet brice-green.
How she missed that color… She'd never been able to find an exact replica of that eye-color, never. And here she was, seeing it again after so long…
"You have all twelve keys," the young Lucy murmured dazedly. "And if you're really me, then that means that I eventually gain all of the keys?" Despite the confusion in the air, and the foreboding mystery of this visit, Lucy smiled brightly. After all, her dream had been accomplished—technically by her older self, but it still counted.
In the back, Yukino's face remained impassive.
"…Yes," older-Lucy responded slowly, guardedly.
This made Natsu frown. She was hiding something, he realized faintly. Even though she was older, she hadn't changed all that much—he could still clearly tell when she was trying to avoid something, hide something, cover it up entirely. Secrets…he hated when she kept secrets from him, future-self or not.
"Why are you here?" he asked suddenly.
Lucy in the cloak, her bare legs shivering, chewed on her bottom lip at the sound of his voice. It really sounded just like it had all that time ago… She had started to worry that she would eventually forget exactly how his voice sounded—rough, warm, a bit gravelly, with a timbre that made her insides tremble. She missed his voice… She missed his voice, his touch, his smile, his idiocy, she missed him entirely. Every inch of him. The tears were back again…
Natsu drew back with a surprised intake of breath when he saw water glistening in her eyes again, liquid crystal that smelled like salt. Shit, he hadn't meant to make her cry! Dammit, even if she was older he still hated to see her cry… "O-oi," he called out hesitantly, a hand reaching out to her.
Natsu wasn't sure what he expected her to do—she had proved to be a little more unpredictable than her younger counterpart—maybe take his hands, maybe shove him away, maybe dry her tears and steel her resolve. Any of those options seemed fairly plausible to him, seeing as that it was how his Lucy tended to react when she cried. However…what he hadn't expected was for the older Lucy to suddenly leap at him, cling to his chest like a terrified child, and sob into his shoulder.
"Oi!" he spluttered at her in astonishment. His Lucy had never been so bold!
But he didn't push her away. Instead, he let her nestle into his ripped clothes, soak her salty-smelling tears into his tanned skin, and clutch onto the fabric covering his back. She was holding onto him like he was a life-line...with one arm, he realized faintly in the back of his mind.
"H-hey," Lucy, his Lucy, squeaked, her face a brilliant shade of red. She was sure that she would never, ever, do anything like that to Natsu in her lifetime… It was far too embarrassing. But, apparently, her older-self thought differently on the matter.
The Lucy from the future gave a long sniffle before pulling back hesitantly and wiping her eyes with the backs of her left hand. "Sorry, I…I just couldn't help myself," she said. Pulling her cloak tighter around her body, she went on to say, "I just missed you, Natsu…"
And he was confused, thoroughly so. "Eh? Why? Don't you have your own me to hang out with in the future or something?"
Suddenly, future-Lucy stilled, her lips thinning again, her brown eyes, a mirror of the ones that he so loved to see sparkle with warmth and clarity, dulled significantly. She looked down at her hand, clutching it to the cloth of her hooded robe and squeezing. "…No, I don't."
It was hard to hear, but her statement had been made—and though it had been so quiet, it left behind the weight of a heavy-artillery explosive. A bomb. She didn't have a future-Natsu to hang out with…which meant…
"Natsu…doesn't exist in the future?" his Lucy asked with pain laced in her voice.
Hearing it was like having a knife driven through the center of his chest, or rather, right through his beating heart. He didn't exist in the future. He…didn't exist. If he didn't…exist, then that meant that he, at some point…died.
"A lot of people don't exist in the future any longer." Older-Lucy was barely keeping herself together as she bridged her left arm across her chest to hug her own right shoulder. "It's…why I'm here. I'm here to save the future, to prevent a disaster from taking place. If I…if I don't succeed…everyone will…everyone will…" Here, she had to stop, because the tears were relentless and they were dribbling down her cheeks and into her mouth, tasting as bitter as they felt falling from her eyes. She hated crying.
Natsu could only stare. Even though she was from the future, she was still Lucy, and seeing her like this, seeing her cry, seeing her shake uncontrollably, seeing her so sad…it broke something inside of him. It…frustrated him, really, because he had sworn to keep her safe, to protect her, because she was important to him. Apparently, he wouldn't be able to make good on that promise. And it frustrated him.
"I can't tell you everything about the future," the crying blonde mumbled around her tears, "but I can tell you this… Today, the biggest disaster Earthland has ever seen will take place, and it will be…devastating. People will lose their lives, very few will survive and the future of this outcome is…terrible. It's so, so lonely…" Again, she wiped at her eyes, blinking brown orbs that had renewed their will. "I would have come to the past sooner, but, the Door opens if, and only if, I have all of the keys and the sun and the moon are aligned; which only happens once in every seven years."
"Seven years…" Natsu muttered to himself. That would place her at…her mid-twenties, he thought faintly—she was still pretty, hadn't changed since she'd been a teen, but there were worry-lines, now that he was looking for them.
"It was…hard, living without my nakama for so long, and seeing you all here now…it's so nostalgic." At this, she turned to Natsu, and smiled. "You look just as I remember you, sound just like I remember you, and you even feel just like I remember you…"
The younger of the two Lucy's had a fair blush breaking across her cheeks. She couldn't believe her older self was actually admitting all of that stuff. Sure, Lucy found that she liked the way he looked, sounded and felt, but she had sworn to the high heavens that she would never, ever tell him that. Ever. He would have laughed at her, she knew.
"And this time, instead of being helpless, I came to rescue all of you. I came to save the future, and for that, I'll need your help… Please, everyone, won't you help me?" She looked up at them all, her eyes hardened, serious and demanding; and every inch of the Lucy that they were all so accustomed to.
The answer she received was a snort from Natsu before his first erupted into a blaze of light and heat. He was grinning back at her—a sight that she had so sorely missed for all those years—when he said, "Of course, Luce."
"Natsu! No! You can't…I won't let you!"
"You have to go, I'll be fine!"
"No, you won't! You're going to die and you know it! Please! Don't!"
"I'm doing this for you, Lucy, for Fairy Tail, and for Earthland… Guess that makes me a hero, eh?"
"…Promise me you'll be okay!"
"Of course, Luce."
She cried again.
It was like a mirror, reflecting her past, and now her future. But now, now it would be different, now she would be the one to save everyone. Now, it was her turn to protect her friends, now, it was her turn to protect Natsu.
Short, I know, but hey. Give a sick girl credit. Speaking of being sick... ANNOUNCEMENT: I'll make this short of blunt and to the point. I have pneumonia, guys, and while it's not exactly life-threatening (right now, at least) I still feel terrible... Those of you who've had pneumonia can probably vouch for this, it's AWFUL. Now then, this will probably be my last update until the winter holiday season is over... D: I know, I'm sorry, but I've been confined to a bed and I'm undergoing constant breathing therapy; I won't exactly have time to update. I'll keep writing though, probably in the "notes" tab on my phone, but hey, it works. This goes to Adherence to, for those of you who read my Fairy Tail fullfic. END ANNOUNCEMENT.
On another note... MERRY EARLY CHRISTMAS! (Even to those of you who don't celebrate Christmas, I still wish you a wonderful Christmas and a very lovely winder holiday season, along with whichever holiday you choose to celebrate :)) I hope none of you are sick like I am and that you are happy, safe and loved during the holidays! Have fun, enjoy yourselves!
Oh, and review. A wonderful Christmas present for me would be for you all to review :)