Disclaimer: I don't own Fairy Tail.

Author's notes: How's everyone doing? Here is a one-shot of a story I had thought of doing long ago. I have plans to write a slightly different and longer version but would like to gauge everyone's reaction first. I don't know which to focus but I really wanted to write this one on so I hope you'll love it!

For those who are reading Twist in Time, I get your frustration that Natsu has yet to make an appearance. Like you, I want to see him be written too. So here's a story of Nalu, dedicated to you guys.

Summary: For Lucy, life was a never ending prison. Everything was the same and nothing changed. When it was decided she was to die, she didn't care until her dragon friend made her realize how badly she wanted to live. Nalu oneshot

Enjoy!

.

.

.

.

.

.

As far as she remembered, nothing in life had been different. Everything was the same.

She would begin her days with a morning ceremony by a bath at the temple. After doing so, she had meditation and a series of long lectures from the priests who had been taking care of her as far as she remembered. They taught her that life was everything, that she was sacred and beloved, born with power and it was her duty to use it to make everyone happy. It was so boring. Every day they said it using different words and gestures but when it all comes down to it, it's just the same.

When she would walk out of the temple and around town, everyone would bow their head in respect and smile that scary and unchanging smile, saying how blessed they were to be in her presence.

Her thoughts and voices were unneeded, for it had been ignored just as everyone spouted the same things that made her think she might as well be mute.

It was the rule they had, the town's very special rule for purity. This rule shut her heart and thoughts; for there were no reasons for it to exist.

When she was younger, she remembered voicing her thoughts, questioning, and wondering. And she remembered their frowns and the look of disapprovals she received from saying such things. There was that smile that often found herself shaking and freezing in fear when she tried to remember.

"Silly Lucy…" they would start, pat her head hoping that she shouldn't think of such things. It was blasphemy. It was wrong. If she kept saying such things, she would be punished by God for even thinking such things.

"Silly Lucy"

"Silly Lucy"

They would say it again and again, treating her words like it held no weight. She then decided that everyone was stupid.

When she said that, it was the first time they looked at her with horror on their features. It was the first time they raised their voices and their faces had these lines crinkling on their forehead. Their mouths would open wide and sometimes droplets of water would come flying out. Their eyes would become so round and big. Their face looked so different for the first time, she couldn't help but tune out everything they said; laughing, telling them that they looked really funny and weird. It was nice.

Turns out, while it was nice to her, it was horrible to them.

In reaction, their faces got so red and the next thing she knew was her arm being pulled. The way they gripped her hand was so tight it hurt. She remembered tears falling from her eyes and telling them it hurt but they just ignored her like she didn't say anything. They went and brought her to this strange room that looked anything but nice.

She was told to meditate and ask for forgiveness for her sins. Until then, she couldn't leave the room. She didn't even like the room. It was so dark and scary, like anytime soon, a ghost would come out. She remembered knocking on the door telling them this room was scary and she didn't want to be there.

Once, they opened the door only to pat her head saying "Silly Lucy" and closing the door, leaving her alone.

She knocked again in hopes to get out but was given words where she needed to repent and pray for forgiveness.

"I don't understand."

What do they mean by that? What did she do wrong? She didn't understand. All she understood was she was in this room because their faces went funny. It was weird. She just told them the truth.

She knew she didn't do anything wrong so she didn't pray nor did she meditate. The room had a small window but it was so high, she couldn't reach it. Day and night, she stayed there waiting, watching when the sky became bright and sunny, and watching when it darken and be filled by stars that shone like uncountable small scattered pieces of jewels. She waited for the day when the priest would let her out. The only time the door opened was when it was time to eat. Other than that, they wouldn't open the door.

So she waited until they opened the door.

After what seemed like forever, the priests opened the door asking her if she wanted to come out. Of course, she said yes.

And they asked her if she prayed and meditated, asking for forgiveness.

Of course she said yes though in truth, she did no such things. The time she spent in the room she realized there was a special rule in the place she lived. There was a rule that her real thoughts were to be hidden and she had to do what they wanted. If not, it was that scary room and she didn't like that room. It was a rule game.

So ever since that day, she stopped her thoughts from being heard, because if she did, it was that room again.

But everything was boring; so once in a blue moon, she would do something where the priests would have those crazy faces that she loved. Though she always had to go to that room, the feeling she got when the priests would blow up like a red balloon was worth all the trouble it brought. Their voices coming in different tones, expressions and reactions were the most fascinating thing she'd seen. It continued like that until one day, they got so mad; they locked her up, giving her neither food nor water. Even when she cried and begged to come out, no one would listen. She couldn't remember how long she was inside because she felt weak and hungry; she was willing to do anything to get out. After that experience, she dared not to make the priests angry. She had to be what they wanted her to be. By doing so, she learned to lock her thoughts from everyone even from herself because she didn't want that room no more. It was a game. If she acted as they wanted her to be, it means she won. If she ends up in that room, it meant she lost.

As years came rolling by, she forgot about the game and just followed what most people did. Act as they want. Smile when they want to. Listen but pretend to. It was the only thing to do if one wanted to live in that town.

But one day, something changed all that.

Something strange happened.

The town was different for the first time in many years. A bunch of priests came back to town with this really big cage. Inside this cage was this boy. He was nothing she had ever seen before. His hair was pink, spiky and wild; his face differed from everyone. Who ever heard of a guy that had pink hair? Everything about him screamed fascinating. His mouth had fangs and whenever he opened it, fire came out. His voice, it was deep and it spoke volumes unlike anything she heard before. His eyes were slanted, onyx, one that was intense, as if it could penetrate through anything. His skin was lightly tanned and held a color that screamed freedom. He was dressed in a black, closed coat with one long sleeve. There were gold trimmings on its edge. On its upper arm of sleeve was a gold band. His coat extended beneath his knees, showing his white trousers that reached below his knees, wearing open toed sandals. Around his neck was this white detailed scaled scarf.

There was something about the way he looked and carried himself reminded her of a dragon. A dragon was a creature that she often read in secret when she was young.

She remembered being told she was in charge of making sure he was to eat and like always, she said nothing about the matter and did as they asked.

When she went to where the dungeons where he was put into, the teenage boy was screaming, spouting angry words that made no sense to her, holding the bars like he could rip it open, fire spouting once in a while.

She remembered coming and pushing his food and water, and him, who was shouting profanities at her face. It was so weird and different. No one from the town acted like him. It was odd that she wanted to see what would happen if she leaned her face towards him. Would fire come out? What kind of expression would he make?

With that, she leaned her face towards him until it was only the bars that kept them apart. His behaviour then changed. He stopped shouting, halting his early behaviour, freezing at the sight of her face. Then he sputtered words that made no sense, blushing and quieted down at her face being so close to him. Her hands lifted up and made an attempt to touch him but the bars were there.

How odd

Her face unnoticeably formed an odd smile receiving a strange intense gaze from him. Seconds ticked by. The dragon boy seemed to respond to her staring by looking back, cocking his head from side to side for minutes, peering at her, studying, like he was trying to see what was inside of her.

Minutes passed with nothing but him looking at her, Her breath halted at the intense look, as if giving a command. He quieted down and there was this redness forming on his face as he spoke. "You're weird."

Never one to care but remembered the rules of priests, she stopped herself from the sudden almost unstoppable feeling of annoyance in her chest that wanted to shout at him from being called weird. How on earthland was she weird? Instead, she chose to sit in front of the cage, watching him with a smile. Her fascination won over everything.

As for the dragon boy, he started eating the food with strange vigor but would once in a while look back at her. She would smile in response to where he would blush at the fact he was caught red handed then would start to eat even faster if that was possible.

At the end up the meal, Lucy was a bit surprised finding how much the teenage boy ate. It was fascinating. She had never seen anyone eat so fast, eat so many, and do it in such an alarming rate. After she had brought his third plate, she had to prepare to hand him another. His stomach seems bottomless. Even after twenty plates. He didn't seem full. The burp he gave was the only indication that told her otherwise.

"You're a little different from the people around here, aren't you?"

Almost shrieking in surprise at being spoken too, she dropped to her back as she looked at him in surprise, one of her hands on her chest, beating at an alarming rate.

Then, like déjà vu, he started laughing. It had her pouting. Really, what was up with him?

"You're a little weird."

Her eyes widened at the insult that he kept giving her over and over that she couldn't help but retort in anger. "You're the one that's weird!" He breathed fire and with hair like pink. His teeth were fanged. Really, he had no right to call her weird. She was normal, he was not.

"Lucy!"

Suddenly as if it broke whatever spell was casted on her, she froze up, and turned her head towards the direction, losing interest in the boy before her.

Lucy sighed and took the mountain of plates that the dragon boy gobbled up, putting it in the giant basket.

"So Luigi's your name?" he asked, sitting and all calm, looking at her eyes.

Closing her eyes in irritation, she gave a sigh before answering back. "It's Lucy, dragon boy." What was wrong with her? The thoughts that she locked easily came tumbling out without much effort.

"Dragon boy?"

Blushing at the name she created be used, she avoided looking at him. "We-ll… you kinda act like one."

"Oh… I see. My name's Natsu by the way. I figured I should tell you." Natsu said, grinning at her.

Taken back at the expression on his face, and his sudden new persona, Lucy unknowingly felt a salty tear flow on her right eye, her heart feeling oddly happy from his simple statement. Unable to help herself, her hands attempted to reach out to him, closing her eyes with a relaxed expression to which Natsu, though bewildered with her, in response tried to do the same.

For a brief moment, despite the bars between the two, she felt his hands connect with hers, flat and open-palmed; his hands were larger, calloused and hard.

It was so warm. She couldn't help the joyful smile forming at her face.

"You're really weird."

Blinking in surprise, as if woken by his words, she peered back at his dragon-like eyes, their hands that were connected, let go. "You're the one that's weird."

"Lucy!" hearing her name called for a second time, she sighed before standing up.

She looked at him like she didn't want to leave. A few seconds passed when Natsu broke the silence. "Next time, bring me more food!"

Blinking at the words, she gave a subtle nod accompanying it with a small smile before leaving.

.

.

.

.

.

.

"What's wrong? You were thinking of something?" the priest asked, noticing her lack of response.

At first the girl said nothing, just staring ahead like it wasn't there. He was about to open his mouth to ask more when surprisingly, she spoke. "That boy, you know the one that was brought back. Who is he?"

Immediately, Lucy regretted asking when she received that pat she grew to hate over the years on her head. "He's nothing important and isn't worth knowing. He's nothing but a monster among humans and that's all you have to know."

Frowning at the words, she stopped the immediate anger she felt welling up inside. As for the reasons what caused it, she couldn't fathom why. Inwardly, she slapped herself awake, remembering what it meant to live in this town. She had to follow the rules. Her thoughts must never be known. If she did, it wouldn't do her good to do such a thing.

When she felt she could hide her emotions well, she asked. "What's going to happen to him?"

The man frowned at the question.

"It's not for you to know. Come on, focus at the task at hand."

Looking at the plotted plant by the table, Lucy shrugged her shoulders, berating herself for asking a stupid question. She was forgetting her place. It was that kind of place. In this town where she was raised, there were only two things to remember. Follow the rules and never question them. If not, then… a memory of a haunting room entered her mind. Nothing was worth it, not the pain and sadness. It was better to be ignorant.

But at the end of the day, when she was on her room, she couldn't stop thinking about the pink haired boy. She didn't understand it. There was this tug at her chest, then those thoughts in her head; it always returned to him. She couldn't stop thinking about him. Had he eaten? What was he doing? Pacing back and forth, unable to sleep, she made a hasty decision. She silently closed her room, walked the pathway to the kitchen, carrying a large empty basket.

When she got there, she went and took various fruits that she knew wouldn't be noticed disappearing. She didn't know why but the feeling of wanting to see him was there. Maybe one more time, she'd see him. It was normal. There was something about him that was magical, like despite being in that dungeon, he held this barrier that separated the whole town to him.

Like there was nothing to fear.

Feeling satisfied that the basket was full; Lucy quickly left the kitchen, making her ways toward the dungeons. Natsu probably hasn't eaten yet. He must be hungry. That's the only reason why she's going. At least, that's what she told herself.

.

.

.

.

.

Unlike before, Natsu greeted her with a large grin, calling her a different name, Loony this time to which she responded by throwing an apple to his face.

He let out a small groan at pain of apple hitting his face. Lucy, in turn, suddenly looked nervous, afraid of his reaction since she impulsively threw it at him. Would he get mad?

To her surprise, he let out a laugh and proceeded to put the apple in his mouth in one go. After swallowing it, he once again laughed at her, saying how funny she looked to which she ignored and sat in front of him and pushed the basket of food in front of him.

He responded in delight, smiling happily as he spoke. "You're really nice, aren't you Luce?" he said as took a bunch of fruits, managing to gobble it up at the same time.

The blonde haired woman looked at him with a combination of confusion and fascination at seeing him eat so many things at once and at the name he called her.

"Luce?" she asked, remembering what he called her.

"Yeah, Lucy's too long and Luce makes it sound nicer." he said in between bites, still taking one fruit after another as he spoke.

Lucy couldn't help but blush at his words, hugged her knees as she continued to watch him eat. It was the first time she was called like that. A nickname, she remembered, referring to what he called her, was something she read years ago. She remembered that it was a sign of fondness. His meal was surrounded with a peaceful serenity. Though the two didn't talk that much, the presence of one another made up for it.

"You're really nice though you're a little weird." Natsu said after swallowing the last piece of his meal.

"I'm not weird." She said as she took the empty basket. Does this mean she had to go and leave? She didn't really want to leave the pink haired boy alone. She was thinking as she stood up to leave when his voice stopped her.

"You're leaving already? Stay for a while."

She accidentally dropped the basket at his words, finding herself blushing at his words, feeling relieved. He wanted her to stay with him. She felt happy at the thought, her heart welled up, not understanding the reasons why.

"So…?" he asked her, expectation on his features.

"I guess… I don't really have anything to do but only for a while." Lucy said. Natsu replied with a large grin; his smile gave her happiness and comfort like their earlier interaction.

It was so odd, how some unknown stranger could make her forget everything, the rule game and be that little girl she had long ago thought had disappeared.

"You're really nice Luce!"

.

.

.

.

.

Ever since that day, Lucy had been feeling much happier like she could do anything. She didn't care how many mundane tasks she had to do, nor did she care how many sessions among priests she had to endure if she would get to see him. Since he became the town's prisoner, she made it a vow to always be the one in charge of his food. The priests were more than happy to see the enthusiastic change in her.

They had it in their head that she finally awoken and realized her calling. Whatever that meant, truth for the matter, she only played the 'game' as she dubbed it over the years, making them think that she was following them.

The time she spent with Natsu were always new, fun and filled with vigor. It was like all the Lucy inside of her was finally getting its chance to come out. At first, she found it scary, afraid of the feelings and how he could make her speak and let go of the heavy lock in her thoughts without even trying. He always left her bewildered, eventually found the sensations heart-warming, embracing the unknown. It was scary in its own way but the change it did on her always left her feeling euphoric. It was new. It was different. It was better than being around the priests.

Sometimes, she worried that he hated her. After all, was she not one of the people responsible for keeping him imprisoned, going where he wanted to be? When she voiced this once, he laughed at her saying she was being weird again.

"That's really stupid. I mean you're nothing like the people here. You smell really great!" Natsu said with a laugh.

Lucy in turn wasn't really sure what he meant by smelling great had anything to do with his situation but smiled back at him nonetheless.

"You remind me of the first bloom of flowers in the darkness. You glow and stand tall even when it's dark!" he said, his expression, relaxed and eyes closed with a serene expression. "But you know, the only reason I stay here because it's fun to be with you! I mean if I wanted to leave I could do that since I'm really strong!" Natsu said.

Blushing like always, Lucy had to ask. "Then why didn't you? And just how would you do that?"

"Like this." He then showed her his palm, lighting it with fire.

Her eyes widened in amazement at the sight. It was nothing she'd seen before her life.

"You see, I'm not really human. I'm a dragon- part of the fire dragon clan, son of Igneel. Do you know him?"

Lucy shook her head in confusion. Having never left the town, she didn't know anything but this town she grew up in.

"He's the strongest person ever. He's big and strong." Natsu would then continue to tell tales about his father, himself and the world outside which she only read in books once long ago before the priests forbade it. She in turn, just listened with fascination, smiling a smile that just made Natsu grin wider.

She loved being around him the best.

.

.

.

.

.

As time passed Lucy found it hard to believe that the reason he stayed was because he got her as a friend. No matter how fun anyone would find her, no one would find staying in a cold musky dungeon without doing anything but waiting for a friend to feed you fine. It was stupid. Any person would have at least tried to leave.

So one of the times she spent with Natsu, she asked him this. Initially she was afraid that he would laugh at her or get angry seeing as what she planned to tell him was offending and outrageous.

But like always he surprised her by laughing.

"So you finally caught me?" Natsu guffawed at her, laughing all the more when he saw her gaping mouth.

Once she got her composure, she found herself stuttering but managing to ask him for what reasons did he stay as a prisoner.

"Well that's easy!" Natsu started. "Since you're my friend it's okay to tell you." He paused as he smiled a mysterious smile he never showed before, one that spoke volumes but undecipherable to her. Strangely, she felt the familiar blush on her cheeks that appeared whenever Natsu said something, her heart once again, beating unnaturally, and his smile; the blond girl couldn't help but think his smile was directed at her. He seemed different from the usual Natsu. Just the sight of him being this way made the girl feel more self-conscious.

"It's true that I do stay here because of you but I also had another reason."

"And that reason is?" she gulped, nervous at what he would say.

"I originally came here to get caught to look for someone-no, correction. I let myself be caught for the purpose of waiting." Natsu looked at another direction as he said this, a soft flush covering his cheeks. Lucy found this so adorable and cute; she could only wish he would look at her so she could have a better look.

"Who are you waiting for?"

"Someone precious. The person who is meant for me."

"You mean you know someone from this town!" Lucy asked incredulously and surprised because he never shown any interest in anyone before; and he was looking for a girl. It sounded foreign coming from his mouth He stroked her as the type who seemed to be interested in adventures, fighting the undefeated like most males in books that she read in the past.

"Not in the way you're thinking." He corrected before continuing. "You see, we dragons can only have one mate- and mates for your information is what you humans call a wife except ours is different."

"How exactly is it different?"

"We spend most of our lifetime looking for them, never knowing who it could be, whether it's a dragon or a human. Once we find them, well I'm sure you know how. It's the same as human courting except we show our chosen how much we cherish her, how much we love her hoping she would accept us and choose me just as we chose her. Mates have no outs. Once we become one, we stay with each other until the end of our lives, loving them and unable to look at anyone else but her."

"Wow." Lucy let out a breath she didn't realize she had been holding in. "It sounds deep. Whatever the case, I envy the person who could be your chosen one. She would be a very beloved person."

"Of course she is." Natsu said fondly as he looked back at her.

"And you're waiting for her." Lucy looked at her hands on her lap, unable to understand why she felt this overwhelming happiness when he looked at her with that fondness. It was also difficult to look at him.

"Yeah. So I'm staying here until she comes to her senses."

"So that means you've found her!" Lucy received a nod from here. "I see." She could feel steam coming out of her ears out of Natsu's confession. This was more than she could handle. "I'm sure whoever she is, will accept you! I mean, even though you're a weird dragon, you're a great person." Lucy said, hoping her words could help.

"I know she will. It's only a matter of time Luce!" Natsu said as he looked at the direction of the large window, where the clear blue sky could be seen.

Strangely, Lucy felt envious of this girl Natsu was waiting for but at the same time, realization hit her that Natsu wasn't just some childish dragon. There was more to him than he portrays himself to be. He had this kind of purpose why he went out of his way to find her. A feeling of admiration welled up inside of her for Natsu.

It was that day that she had this odd obsession of trying to look good for him, prettying herself up, making sure she smelt her best though the girl had no idea why.

.

.

.

.

.

She had always known happiness was short-lived. It was fleeting and something would crush it overwhelmingly. So when she was called by the head priest; she was prepared for the worst.

"Lucy it's high time you fulfill your duty as this town's beloved child."

Never really one to care but for the sake of it, she gave a subtle nod. Like always, being around the priests made her feel uncomfortable but it was normal. It had always been that way. Whatever negative feelings she had, she swallowed them back. Somehow, it was more bearable now. She briefly wondered if knowing Natsu had anything to do with it.

Another pat on her head was given. "You were always a beloved and good child, nothing like the sinners outside this town."

"Outside this world is a nasty place drowning in sin and darkness. This town isn't immune to it. That's why to keep protecting it, we need you Lucy." The head priest grabbed her two hands.

"Your life is much more precious than anything but we all die someday. Yours just had to be earlier. Plus what greater honor could one ask than to use yours for everyone's sake."

They raised her and took care of her. They loved her. It was only right that she repaid their kindness for taking her in.

"It is a great honor no one could ask for, right Lucy?" another priest said.

Truthfully, Lucy didn't really feel anything wrong with the situation. Ever since she had been little; she had lived her life, lectured that she was to die someday. It was something she should not regret since it was for everyone. What was one measly life compared to the thousands?

Like always, she nodded, giving the words that usually made the priests happy.

"I would gladly offer my life if it is what everyone desired." Lucy said though at the moment those words came tumbling out of her mouth, there was this twinge in her chest that felt painful. Her eyes felt hot like it was burning. Unable to hold it in, something started falling from her eyes.

"Ah, you are so honored that you would cry? What a kind child you are." The head priest made a pleased smile while others said some similar compliments to her. Lucy didn't even realize she was crying.

Unable to comprehend why their words made her feel the pain in her chest twice the hurt, the tears seemed to increase more. She smiled shakily, and answered the same answers that she knew would please them. "Yes, I am happy."

Nothing was wrong with this situation.

It was like everyday. The same silent everyday. It was the most natural thing to do. It was the reason why she was alive and it was finally going to end. Isn't that good?

As strange as it sounded, she couldn't help but think of her dragon friend in the dungeons. As baffling it was, she couldn't help but imagine him looking sad. Why was it that way?

.

.

.

.

.

A few days after she found the inevitable was closing in, she felt, how was it? Sad- as Natsu called it. Natsu being the strange guy he was, asked.

"Really nothing's really wrong." She said to him during one of the times he asked.

"You're a liar. You smell really sad these past few days."

"I smell sad?"

"Yeah. Your glow feels really weak these past few days."

"That really doesn't make any sense." Lucy said with a laugh. He always used odd words to describe her moods. Natsu called it her magic. He said once that she was this glowing star in a dark sky.

He looked at her critically that usually had her looking at another direction, embarrassed like she didn't want him to look at her.

"You're really sad Luce." Natsu started though the girl won't look at him. "But I trust you. You're not ready to tell me right? Don't worry! I'll wait for you when you're ready!" he said cheerfully which served to make the girl sniff.

To Natsu's surprise; when she looked at him, she was trying to rub her eyes as tears fell down.

"What's wrong?" Natsu asked worriedly.

"Nothing. It-s rea-lly nothing hiccup. The tears just won't stop. And-" Lucy put one of her hands to her chest. "Here, it feels so strange but I can't really understand why." Her tears continued to fall.

Natsu just quietly looked at her.

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't be like this-" but she stopped, tears falling, biting her lip so as to hold back as much as possible.

"It's okay to cry when you're sad." He forced one of his arms through the bars, denting it a bit to pat the back of her head.

Feeling his warm hand, whatever attempt she had been trying over her tears disappeared, her mouth opened, letting out a wail of sadness she did not know she had been holding in. Her arms reached out towards him as if he was her sole strength, only managing to grab the vest he had been wearing. She leaned her way towards him, feeling his warmth as she cried whereas he tried so as much to comfort her, the bars that separated the two was ignored like it wasn't there.

.

.

.

.

.

The next time Lucy went to see Natsu; she was smiling and feeling much better. Though she never talked about her impending death- sacrifice- as the priests covered it with flowery words, it seemed fine since Natsu was always there. He never forced her to tell him what had her crying that day and never asked. He was only Natsu, a silly dragon who allowed himself to stay being a prisoner to be her friend and to wait for that person he came for.

She really wanted to tell him the truth about her tears but never managed to open her mouth and tell him the truth. Whenever she summoned the courage to speak about it, she would lose her nerve, especially when she would see his dragon eyes looking back, bright and hopeful as the sun.

She berated herself again and again for her weakness but it didn't seem to work. And before she knew it, she discovered it was already her last day before the day.

As she visited Natsu that day, she brought him the biggest set of food she could, taking his favorites that she discovered ever since the two met.

That day, she promised herself that she would tell him.

"Hey Natsu?"

"What?" he said while eating a piece of meat.

"You stayed here because of me right?"

"Yeah."

"If I was to leave, you would leave this place too, right?"

"Of course. I guess. That really depends. I still have to wait for her but if she's not here anymore, it's pointless to be here. Why'd you ask? You're really weird than your usual weirdness today."

Lucy smiled at his words, finding comfort in the way he always treated her with great care. If they had met differently, people would have found Natsu insensitive but she understood the way he showered a person with affection.

"It's just… I might not stay here any longer. So when I do, they'll probably try to execute you so I think you should leave when that time comes."

"You're going to leave too? Why don't we go together then?" he asked as gobbled up the last pieces of his meal.

I don't think that's possible. She thought inwardly with sadness.

"I can take you to all fun places." Natsu paused, looking excited at the endless possibilities. "That's right! I'll introduce you to dragons. You've never seen one right?"

"Nope. I've never really left this town before."

"You're going to love it! I'll show you all amazing things like-"

"Magic?" she asked.

"Yeah! And I'll show you this river that flows in the sky and I'll introduce you to this town made up of cats!"

"That sounds really fun, Natsu."

"Of course it is! I'll show you what fireworks are and I'll show you this mountain floating in the sky. The view there is great."

"Yeah. I'm sure I'm going to love it too. But what about that future mate of yours?"

"Well, if Lucy's not here. I might have a harder time looking for her."

"Uh, why does it have anything to do with me?" she had to ask, wondering if she had met this girl Natsu was looking for.

"It's your magic! Your magic tells me she's somewhere in this town but if you leave, that means she's not in this town any longer."

"That's really weird." Lucy laughed silently; Natsu's words bewildered her as always. Lucy silently took the big basket, standing up.

"You're leaving already?"

"Uh yeah, I have something I need to do."

"Uh, okay. I'll see you tomorrow then." He looked a bit dejected.

Lucy smiled back. "I'll see you too."

As she walked her way out, she suddenly halted half-way. "Natsu…" she trailed off.

"What?" he stood up, gazing at his blonde friend.

"I'm never going to forget you."

Natsu as she expected, laughed, used at how he took words differently. "What are you saying; you're being extra weird today. You sound like you're saying goodbye."

"Uh yeah…" Lucy turned to give him a heart-warming gaze that spoke volumes of unspoken thoughts. "Sorry about that." With that, she turned and left, a bit upset that she wasn't able to tell him the truth but still felt warm inside.

Even though she was aware of the impending death tomorrow, she couldn't help but smile, happy that at least in the years she had lived, Natsu came to her life, as brief those months may have been.

To want more than that was to be greedy.

.

.

.

.

.

The next day, when Natsu's ears picked up the sound of the door opening, he expected to see his blond female friend. He found himself frowning, realizing the scent was too different and instead of a basket of food, it was just a measly plate of food.

In his face was this thin, sickly, haughty, pathetic looking man. Where's Lucy?

Curious as to where his friend was, he had to ask. "Where's Lucy?"

The man just ignored him like he wasn't worth the time.

"I said where's Lucy?" Again, the man just ignored him. Feeling a vein at being ignored, he bent the bars, destroying what was holding him down causing the man to scream in fear as he fell to his bum. The dragon went to pick the man up by his collar, raising him off the ground then pushed him towards the wall.

"Where's Lucy?"

"How shou-ould I-know." The man stammered, shaking like a twig, looking away in fear.

Smelling the lie all over him he gave him another rough push, causing the walls to crack a little as the man coughed at the rough handling of the dragon. "Tell me!" his voice was stronger and there was the hint of ferociousness that dragons only had.

He screamed in fear, shaking. "Alright, alright I'll tell. Just don't harm me!" he said trying to cover himself in protection.

Natsu didn't let go but shook the man so as to prod him to speak, get his answers where he wanted it. "She's probably at Mt. Hakube by now."

He growled at him, urging him to continue. "Lucy is this town's beloved child. Every hundred years, we have one child that is born with such pure magic. Lucy was that person."

"What does her magic have to do anything?"

The man, despite feeling fear before the dragon before him grinned maniacally. "Don't you know? This world." The man paused, spreading his arms wide. "is so dirty, covered in immense darkness. Such as it is, only this town has remained pure through the immense power of purity by this town's beloved."

"I said." He asked silently and slowly. "What does Lucy have anything to do with it!" he said angrily. The moment that man spoke about Lucy, he couldn't help but have this foreboding feeling of dread. He needed to see Lucy. And there were also those strange words that Lucy left him yesterday. It disturbed him.

"I'm never going to forget you."

It was like she was saying goodbye.

Then there were those tears weeks ago.

Ever since Lucy cried that day, weeks ago, he couldn't help but feel as if someone took her smile away. Something about her changed that day. As if someone hurt her deeply. That made him mad because Lucy looked her best when she was happy.

Lucy may have thought she was fooling him with those smiles and laughter but he knew her more than she knew herself. She had this resolve in her eyes, a resolve that worried him.

"Every hundred years or so, we raise this town's beloved to the best of our abilities, keeping her pure for the sake of this days special ceremony."

"And what is that ceremony?" he hissed.

"A sacrifice that's what. A sacred sacrifice needed to keep this town pure and protected from things like you who are filled with darkness and sin."

Before he knew it, he had punched the man across the room, barely managing to keep his emotions in check.

Lucy?

A sacrifice?

No. It can't be true. What a joke.

"Why are you so angry? That town's beloved was raised from birth, knowing that she would die, she would be sacrificed, that she was to die eventually." The man said, laughing wild as if his anger was so ridiculous.

And then he remembered. His eyes flashed back remembering her innocence, how odd it was for a girl to be so happy at simple gestures when he talked to her, when he laughed and when he smiled for her.

Their first meeting flashed into his mind. An image of a pure, despairing girl with this glowing light that seem to be fading. No- her light that was so dim, drowning in this terrible sorrow that he could never hope to understand. Yet despite the weak light, he saw a willful hope that tried so hard to shine. He saw it clearly in the way she looked at him in wonder, her hands that reached out to him like he was the sun itself. He felt it in the way their hands touched for the first time, her soft, frail hands when came into contact. When that tear rolled from her eye, that pure happiness he felt coming from her when they touched. He could feel the terrible need of hers- the terrible feeling of hunger for affection as she would happily observe him eating, laughing, and speaking; with this morbid obsession.

The way she took comfort in him, the way her innocence and the need she drew from him made him stay, unable to do anything but wait. Wait until she could open her eyes and realize what she meant to him.

He often wondered how she was able to bear living in a town that treated her terribly, sucking away all the happiness she was capable of having, leaving her in so much pain. But then he realized. She was Lucy. That's all the explanation he needed to know. She was Lucy.

Lucy was not going to die. He refused to let her die. She wasn't this town's beloved person. She was this town's prison.

He remembered her entering the room. He remembered her eyes that wore no fear, only curiosity as she leaned her face towards him, it was then that he realized who she was. At the same time he realized that he couldn't just take her, leave the town and just do as he pleased. This beloved girl just begged for simple gesture of love. This beloved girl that meant more than he let on, the woman meant for him just as he was meant for her.

His chosen one, the mate that had been calling for him.

He needed to show her gently and carefully how much he cared for her, how much he cherished her presence, and how much he loved her for she had become so frail yet at the same time, willfully strong in the vast darkness that seemed to drown anything. So he waited patiently, doing all he could to get a smile from her, making her laugh, trying to make her realize how it was no sin to be who she was.

He gave a sniff, trying to get a whiff where her scent was.

It was high time he take what was his.

He knows what caused her tears and sadness. He will end it and take it away.

.

.

.

.

.

"You look so pretty Lady Lucy!" her hair dresser gushed complimenting her beauty as her hair was adorned in flowers. Her hair was curled, wavy like a sea of gold framing her beautiful face. They didn't put much make-up for the girl looked her best without one. Her eyes were pools of deepest chocolate, sweeter than anything.

Her skin was and had always been porcelain, smoother than silk, something all girls admired. She was wearing a beautiful white gown in the purest white, decorated in the latest fashion. Its bodice, emphasizing her body shape that most admired. Its skirt was heavy and layered in different sizes and styles. The front was layered until before her knees, showing her lean legs, her feet were bare as the skirts getting longer until it reached the floor.

Despite how beautiful she looked, nothing could stop this strange fear welling in her chest at her impending doom. It was odd. She had been raised for this but nothing could prepare her for the fate of death that awaited her.

The tent opened, a priest coming in, smiling in satisfaction as he admired her appearance. "It is time. Are you ready beloved Lucy?"

Her breath hitched at the words, clenching her fists, trying to control emotions that begged to come out. "Yes, I am ready."

.

.

.

.

.

Natsu looked at the mountain, his eyes, sharp with determination. Slowly he sprinted as his body slowly morphed. On his back, two sharp wings protruded and grew. His body started to grow in immense size, scales forming, his body turning his lightly tanned skin to a deep red. His eyes becoming golden amber with his fangs became sharper and horns on his head came out, growing large.

People around him screamed in fear shouting at the appearance of a dragon. He ignored it all as he let out a powerful roar. He spread his wings and flew, towards where his beloved was, where his mate called him to.

.

.

.

.

.

Bare on her feet, the wind was breezy and wild as if it was against the whole ceremony.

"Lucy?" the head priest asked he noticed her gazing at the town with a strange fondness.

Hearing her name called, the girl shook her head as she went to the center of a big stoned floor, inscriptions all over it.

She closed her eyes, not thinking of the loss of life that awaited her but of the dragon that brought her a happiness she never knew she would be capable of feeling again.

She ignored the long lecture of the head priest as he spoke of how beloved she was, how much she was a saint for offering her life so that their town would remain pure and protected. Whether it lasted for hours she could not tell.

Slowly a golden light surrounded her signaling the end of lecture as the ceremony of her sacrifice was beginning The mountain; the town was ready to devour her.

"To purity!"

"For our sacred and pure town!"

She let a small smile of sadness come out. In the end she was never able to tell him properly, of how precious he was to her.

Still, no words could describe the happiness she had for getting the chance to meet that dragon. Silently, she prayed. She prayed for his happiness, that he find whatever he had been looking for.

She awaited the pain, welcoming death as she spread her arms wide with a smile, the wind going wild when suddenly it stopped. Her ears heard a loud roar.

Many questions spiralled into her head but she ignored them all. Though it was the first time she heard it, she knew whose voice it belonged to. Unable to close her eyes, she opened them to see in the sky, a massive dragon with its scales so vibrantly red; its wings set to land as the wind blew wildly, causing the ceremony to stop.

There were screams of anger and fear alike as the dragon landed in front of her. But as the moment he landed, it was as if time stopped for the two.

She didn't hear their panicked voices nor did she notice their fear. All she saw was Natsu as he slowly morphed to a human form, his arms and legs, thinning, evaporating until human legs and arms were left. His wings disappearing into his back, his eyes remained its amber color with two small horns on his head.

"Natsu." She could only call his name as she leaned her body towards him, finally able to hug him for the first time with nothing stopping them from feeling each other.

Why was he here?

She ignored questions like that. She ignored the priests. She ignored the duty that she had to fulfill. All that she cared about was the fact that he was here.

He was warm, warmer than the normal heat humans have. Maybe it was because he was a fire dragon. She felt him hug her back, going far as to tucking her head under his chin as his arm on her back moved in a round motion, offering comfort it could. It was as if he was made for her just as she was for him, their bodies fit like puzzles long ago unsolved.

Suddenly, there was a huge explosion that snapped the two out of the spell they were in.

Reality came back crashing on her. That's right. What was she doing hugging Natsu?

She had a duty to complete.

"Lucy!" the head priest shouted, his voice reminding her of her situation. She felt a small sadness at the inevitable separation though happy that at the last moment of her life, she got to see him.

"Unhand her you sinful monster!"

Natsu gave a loud roar despite being in his human form. But what happened surprised the dragon. Unexpectedly, to the dragon's surprise, she pushed her dragon friend hard, causing him to fly off a couple of inches, landing on his bum. She saw the surprise in his eyes, and a fleeting expression of sadness and betrayal in them.

"Let's continue. I'm ready." Lucy said, without giving Natsu another glance as she turned back to stand at her former place, where she belonged.

"Luce…" his voice was sad; it tugged her heartstrings, angry at herself for causing a moment of sadness.

"Capture that monster!"

Lucy wasn't worried. She knew Natsu was alright. She knew that he could beat them in a heartbeat.

"Lucy."

She ignored his voice as she heard the scream of war cries as humans tried to stop him.

"Lucy!"

His voice was loud, ferocious as always when she heard him scream at her when the two first met.

"I said… LUCY!" his voice this time was unlike anything cause a strong wave of vibration in the air causing many men to fall down from the pain of a loud scream; some were even unconscious.

His call caused Lucy to turn back to face him, filled with determination of its own that he admired.

"What are you doing here?" Her cold voice made him flinch, surprise evident in his eyes as he heard her speak with such coldness towards him. Never had he ever heard her do so before.

No matter what, he won't let anything stop him from his purpose even if that person was Lucy itself.

"Lucy…" he called her name silently and for a brief moment he saw deep regret in her eyes but as soon as he blinked it was gone.

"Leave."

"Lucy…"

"I am this town's beloved. As such, I have my duties to fulfill." The priest smiled in a satisfaction at her words as the dragon in human form, drooped a little.

"Did you hear that stupid dragon? She is our town's beloved! You, who are soiled deep in the darkness, hold no place in our pure town!"

"That's right!"

"Leave!"

"Monsters like you hold no place in our pure town!"

"Get out!"

In frustration, he let out a giant roar silencing the humans in one gesture. The humans shook in fear, silence overwhelming them as Natsu gave a huff in satisfaction before turning to face Lucy. She had spoken like it was some prepared speech she practiced. The girl was hiding something.

"Really? If that's the truth, then tell me why you called for me?"

"Called for you?" Lucy's eyes dropped its icy features as she found herself gazing at him in confusion, forgetting her resolve.

"Yes, I can hear more than just what's there. I can sense your feelings. And-" Natsu paused as she looked at him in confusion. "It called for me. You called for me."

"What on earth are you talking about? I didn't call for you. I am this town's-" she was cut short by Natsu who interrupted.

"Beloved?" He finished for her, scoffing at the words itself and continued. "Really? Because it sounds to me you're just saying that for those bastards." Natsu paused, eyes pointing to the priests before speaking again. "I bet you don't even know what you're talking about."

"How dare you, a dragon, speak of such nonsense!"

"Human, be quiet!" he waved one of his arms causing a strong breeze to pass, blasting the human who spoke against him.

"Tell me why you are doing this?" he said silently.

"There are no reasons to explain why I am doing this." Without even realizing, she was slowly losing whatever resolve she had this morning.

"Of course there is! No one would ever wish for death, especially you!"

Lucy's eyes widened in shock at Natsu's words.

"What are you saying to her? Don't fill her head with stupid notions of-"

"I said shut up!" Natsu said to the humans as he opened his mouth wide letting out his ferocious fire that he intended to use to scare them. The dragon looked at his friend, watching her hands shake a little as she shook her head.

"Tell me Lucy, why?"

At the sound of his voice, Lucy felt her breath stop, her emotions slowly coming out. She tried to keep her voice even, mustering her last bit of resolve left to turn him away as her bangs covered her eyes, purposely making it hard for her dragon friend to see her expression. "There's no reason for anything. It's just the way things go around here." Her voice was so quiet. Had the dragon not have incredible ears, he would have not heard her.

"That's bullshit."

"What are you-"

"Because I told you, I can sense more than just mere sounds. You know what I hear? I hear a girl crying." He saw her eyes moisten at his words, that the resolve that she was forcing herself into was gone.

"Stop putting ideas in her head. Lucy is our town's beloved child. Isn't that right, Lucy?" the head priest spoke, a smile forming on his lips as Natsu saw the girl shake, breathing low, clenching her eyes, her body language spoke fear and terror.

He narrowed his eyes. How dare him. "Lucy's not you so don't go around talking as if you're her!" he shouted back.

"Lucy is our beloved. Our voices are hers, just as she is ours. Am I right Lucy?" Once again, Natsu notices the visible shake in her body, the scent of fear and terror that rolled in waves.

Was this the reason why she seemed so sullen and sad? Was this the way they treated her? The years she spent in this town, only to be treated like this, be used like some little toy they could play with, only to throw her away when she held no use. It took greater control than he thought not to lash out and hurt these people.

What she needed was to hear her own voice, to let it out without some stupid old geezers interfering. He would give that to her. Then, the rose haired man punched his hand to the other forming a magic circle. He half-knelt softly flatting his palms to the ground as waves of a soft breezy air moved in a gentle motion. A few seconds ticked by, the ground shook like an earthquake. Then four large pillars came protruding from four sides of the ground where Lucy and Natsu was, as a wide and high curtain veil of fire curled around the four pillar, creating a barrier to prevent anything outside from causing any disturbance.

"Now, no one will interrupt us." Natsu mumbled before facing Lucy.

"What do you think you're doing-"

"I want to hear what you're thinking. Not them, not the town's beloved's but more importantly, I want to see Lucy!"

Her eyes widened in wonder what his words meant, her chest tightening at his words. What was he talking about? She was right here.

"You're not making any sense at all. Everything you say doesn't make any sense Natsu."

"It makes sense to me because those people have been making you cry for many years."

"Cry?" Lucy backed a step, fear all over her eyes at Natsu's words. "They've been anything but that. You're dreaming. They've-" she paused, still shaking, trying to look at the walls, anywhere but him. "been kind to me. I had no place to go. Nothing and yet they gave me everything. My name, a home a-and they only lo-ved me."

"Lucy-" he wanted to interrupt.

"They're sad too because- they realize how much painful it was to choose me to be a sacrifice- but still did it anyway- I…I…"

He could see the terrible denial, the fear in her eyes that knew he was right, the words that she grew up, drilled in her head. How terrible it was to live like that and still manage to be this kind and beautiful woman before him.

"Lucy."

"I just want to repay their kindness!"

"Lucy!" her body shook at his call, tears forming in her eyes as she suddenly felt his arms get a hold on her. When did he get here so fast? She grasped his arms trying to push him away but could not, his grip on her was tight and iron.

"I'm not asking you what you ought to do. I'm asking you, Lucy, what you want to do, not this town, not those people- who have been taking care of you."

"Me?" she asked in puzzled surprise.

"Yes, you." Natsu paused, moving his hand on her back in a circular motion. "What do you want to do?"

"Me?" she repeated, her voice so questioning, sounding like it didn't belong to her.

"Yes, you. I want to hear what Lucy wants."

"What Lucy wants?" she breathed in and out a couple of seconds before letting out a strangled laughter that made Natsu clench his jaws.

"What Lucy wants…" she trailed off, still feeling his arms and her arms slacken, giving up; her voice so hollow even to her own ears,. She shook her head as she leaned her head towards his chest, tears falling, not wanting him to see her face. "What I want Natsu, what I think Natsu, never matters."

"It matters! It's precious and important to me more than anything!"

Lucy could only find herself gazing at the man before her, who seemed to hold her. What this dragon saying was crazy. Why wouldn't he just let things be? What was wrong with him? To want was considered a sin. She already had her happiness by meeting him. Trying to want more sounded too greedy.

"Why would I be important? I'm just some girl who brings you food!"

"No you're not!" Lucy froze at his strong declaration. "You're more than just that. You're this sweet woman who's curious and innocent about everything." He paused; using one of his hands put it on her cheek, caressing it gently like it would disappear in a second. "You want to know about the world outside. You love reading and can't stand the sight of hurting people. You're very secretive about the things you like." His thumb went by her eyes, removing the water pooling in them. "You're a bad actress. You get angry easily and have a temper that's hotter than fire. You're very shy and have hard time telling people how you really feel. You hate being teased. More important than anything… you're Lucy." His other hand stroke her hair gently.

He waited as she gathered her voice, ready to hear her voice as minutes passed with nothing but silence surrounding them.

"Why do so much for me?" It didn't make sense. She was just some girl he met at the dungeons.

"There's no reason as to why. It's just… you're Lucy." Her eyes widened more as she lowered her head, leaning them towards his chest.

Various memories flashed back.

.

.

"You were born for this town."

.

.

"You are everyone's voice."

.

.

"You're being silly. Saying you want to go outside this town, that's stupid."

.

.

"Silly Lucy"

.

.

"Silly Lucy"

.

.

"You're to stay in this room until you've reflected on your actions" a feeling of horror and dread filled her, remembering the never-ending silence, the constant fear of loneliness, the screams as she had as she kept knocking to the door, begging to come out, the hunger and pain and the vow she made, to close her thoughts. If she did, she would have to face this pain again.

.

.

"Silly Lucy"

.

.

"More than anything, I want to see Lucy happy." Natsu said waking her up from her thoughts.

"You… want me to be happy?" Lucy asked.

"More than anything." He said, his voice filled with warmth that made her just wish she could just sleep, stay in his arms and never wake up. "It's not because you're my friend, it's because you're more precious to me than anything. You're my cherished one."

His cherished one?

.

.

"Yeah. So I'm staying here until she comes to her senses."

"So that means you've found her!" Lucy received a nod from here. "I see." She could feel steam coming out of her ears out of Natsu's confession. This was more than she could handle. "I'm sure whoever she is, will accept you! I mean, even though you're a weird dragon, you're a great person." Lucy said, hoping her words could help.

"I know she will. It's only a matter of time Luce!" Natsu said as he looked at the direction of the large window, where the clear blue sky could be seen.

.

.

His cherished one.

What did that mean? Cherished one? Was he pertaining to her all along? All those times when he talked, smiled, teased her; was all of that done just for her?

Why would someone care like this for her? She couldn't understand. Hearing those words made her feel strange. Was it despair that she felt for the belief that she was unworthy? Unworthy of being valued? Happy that such a person would care for her that much. Explanations seem not to matter. Words of what she feared and wanted, seem so attainable. All because of this dragon.

Silently, she looked up to him, placing one hand onto his cheeks, small tears falling as she willed herself to speak, her heart welling up with emotions that begged to come out, the realization of the words he spoke, fear and hope weaving into her words.

"If… I had a choice, if it's okay for me to say what I want…" she hiccupped, closing her eyes for a few seconds, trying to put all her strength she didn't know she had left, like what she was about to say was a big taboo. "If I speak… would you listen?"

His arms tightened its hold on her, making her feel strangely light-headed, like she was the only thing that mattered, like she was…

… loved.

"Of course I will. I'll do more than just listen." His voice was low but it spoke of so much strength and promises. His eyes so black and intense, spoke promises. "I'll make it come true."

Lucy let out a hiccup she had been holding in, closing her eyes for a few seconds, her tears stopping.

What he said just made the girl open her mouth and speak.

"If I'm free to speak, if it's okay for me to speak my thoughts then…" Lucy opened her eyes hope glistering all over it, her eyes filled with pure longing singing in them. "I want to see the outside world. I want to meet dragons." Her eyes closed with an idyllic smile. "I want to see the sea. I want to fly. I want to run. I want to read books, I want to live and more than anything… I want to be with Natsu." She opened her eyes, her deep sweet chocolate pools, glittering, expecting the worse only to feel his warmth increase as feeling a huge huff from him.

Whether what she was saying were ramblings of a dreamer, she didn't care. Saying those words felt good. It felt like a weight had lifted off her chest.

"Natsu?" she asked as his body had some scales in it forming.

Without looking at her, he held her tight as if he would never let go.

"Then I will grant your wish."

Then the next thing she knew was a strong breeze going wild as the fire barrier that Natsu created broke. Slowly, he morphed, his body growing big, His arms and legs putting her on his back. His wings grew big and wild.

"Save the beloved!"

"Kill the monster!"

War cries were heard. The sound of people trying to kill the dragon was visible but Natsu was stronger than them. They were no match for the wild untamable dragon.

"Lucy!"

"Lucy!"

Natsu roared, letting out a humongous amount of fire come out, driving the people away.

"Lucy! Have you gone crazy? Have you let this monster pollute you? Beloved Lucy?" the head priest spoke in a large voice that always had Lucy shaken.

But now was different. Closing her eyes in determination, she gathered her courage.

It was time for her to listen to her own voice.

"I'm sorry high priest but I can't be this town's beloved child anymore. I can only be Lucy." She paused as she saw most, gape wide at her words. "I'm grateful for your kindness as you raised me, take care of me but…" she stopped for a bit looking at everyone warmly. "I have things that I want to do, things that I'm called to do and it's not in this place. It's in the world outside."

"Lucy!"

How magnificent she looked, her beauty, seemed to emphasize more, glowing with happiness that seem to stop them quiet, doing nothing but gaze at this girl, protected and loved by this massive, ferocious dragon, a dragon's beloved.

"This town needs no sacrifice for darkness exists in our minds. We only need to open our hearts and listen and be honest. Within that honesty, exists true freedom."

That's right. She, the priests, and the townspeople weren't that different. All they needed was to open their eyes just as Natsu did for her. To do that, she needed to show them.

"Lucy!"

Natsu didn't waste time as he flapped his wings, carrying the two away, glowing in a combination of gold and red in the sky, leaving trails of spark where they made their way, seemingly blessing the sky where they made their way, never to be seen.

.

.

.

.

.

The two were walking along a soft soiled pathway, the scenery nothing but plain grass that seemed to last until the horizon as Natsu watched her gaze in wonder at the girl who seemed to bloom in a golden light.

"Hey Natsu?"

"Yeah?"

"Are you sure you're okay with me coming with you?"

"I already told you yes for like what-a hundred times, you weirdo."

The girl gave an amused laughter at him calling her weird.

"I don't have anything to offer you." Lucy said, looking at her bare feet that were slightly muddy due to walking bare.

"That's fine, Finding you was the greatest thing happened to me so far." Natsu said, gazing at her with pure happiness. Lucy in turn, blushed red at the way the dragon looked at her.

"Are you sure you're not mistaken about that? I mean about what you said earlier about me being your…" mate she finished in her head, looking at the sky.

His words earlier echoed in her head.

"More than anything." He said, his voice filled with warmth that made her just wish she could just sleep and never wake up. "It's not because you're my friend, it's because you're more precious to me than anything. You're my cherished one."

Though he never said the words, she had a feeling and a realization that the reason why he stayed at the dungeon all along was to support her, to wait for her understand herself, to understand what he'd been trying to tell her, that he loves her.

The odd glances he gave her, the way he seemed to do everything to make sure she was always at ease, that she was smiling, and the feelings that he evoked in her. He waited for her patiently letting her choose what she wanted to do.

Realizing it made her feel to be the luckiest person alive.

"You being what?" he gave her a look as he held her hand, pulling Lucy towards the dragon, her face bloomed red at the sudden closeness. Slowly, once she was in his arms, he tipped her chin, as he lowered his towards hers, meeting her lips half-way to a soft kiss.

At the moment his lips touched her, a feeling of light-headedness seem to engulf her making her close her eyes in bliss as his lips, she discovered were surprisingly soft. It was like she was floating her way to the sky, knowing nothing but happiness itself. His hands gently fingered her golden tresses as she wrapped her arms around him, never to let go. Before she knew it, the two separated, trying to catch their breath, feeling delirious as he tucked her head under his chin, her head on his chest as she heard his heart beating the same way hers did.

"Does that answer your question?"

"I guess it does." She continued to lay her head there. For how long she couldn't tell. The bliss she felt right now compared to nothing. Not the excitement of the world that awaited her, not the desire to eat nor the new freedom she now had and she owed it to this dragon- no correction. She owed it to her mate.

As for her, while there were endless of things waiting for her, danger, dragons, books and sensations that scared her; but she wasn't worried. Not only was she free to think, free to feel, free to discover the unknown, she had Natsu. That made the all the difference. She's going to spend every moment of her life waking up in his arms, making sure to make him as happy he made her.

And that was fine.

.

.

.

.

.

Fin

An: How do you like it? This has to be my first Nalu one-shot and longest chapter I've written so far.

I tried to edit the story. I'm surprised at how many people read and loved this story. Even though a year has passed, people still managed to find this story. I'm ashamed with my grammar so I tried to edit the story. I'm not exactly sure if it's better. I do have a beta who's editing this. Since its long, it's going to take her some time.

Logging out

Kauia