Of Tears and Curses
"Oh, it's easy going out on Friday nights/ I can smile live it up, forget about the way it was/ But what she, oh what he don't know/ is how hard it is to make it look easy." Rascal Flatts
Natsu watched, his eyes dark and shadowed as she laughed with him, as she loved him.
He hated feeling this way. Feeling so broken, so jealous. But when it came to her, nothing was ever the way it used to be. He used to be able to smile at her and it be genuine. He used to be able to hug her without feeling his heart lurch painfully and his skin heat up against his will. He used to be able to be her friend.
But he couldn't. Not anymore.
Not since she got together with him.
Natsu's eyes narrowed as he watched them together. They sat at the bar, talking quietly with Mira-chan. Lucy's eyes lit up with laughter and she raised a hand to muffle her giggle. Natsu used to be able to make her laugh like that.
He watched as she leaned toward him and laid a dainty hand on his arm, smiled up at him, touched him like she used to touch Natsu.
Swallowing, he looked away and met the concerned eyes of Happy. Sighing, he forced his lips into a ghost of his old smile, but his eyes were dark and lifeless.
"Natsu, are you okay?" Happy asked, laying a hand on his friend's arm.
Grinning, Natsu reached up and pet Happy's head, but his heart wasn't in it. "Yeah, buddy. Couldn't be better!"
Happy watched Natsu turn away, watched as his false smile fell as his eyes landed on Lucy and him. Happy had never hated anyone as much as he hated him at that moment. It was all his fault that Natsu didn't smile the way he used to. It was all his fault that Happy heard Natsu groaning and crying out in his sleep.
It was all his fault.
Standing, Natsu couldn't stop his stomach from rolling painfully when he saw Lucy lay her head on his shoulder. He had to turn away and bite his lip to keep himself from attacking him. He shouldn't be affected by this as much as he was. It was ridiculous. What happened to the days when he didn't care who Lucy was with, who she dated? What happened to when he used to be able to be happy without it being forced?
They had stopped when he saw them together. Cursing, Natsu slammed a hand down on the table, causing silence to fall over the guild and Lucy and him to turn their attention his way. Grimacing, he stalked toward the door without saying anything, a dark aura radiating from every pore of his body. No one stopped him.
Everyone one wrote it off. Everyone but Lucy
Lucy watched Natsu go with a small frown and her heart twisted painfully. Natsu hadn't been the same since she had announced her new relationship, and it made her scared. Scared that her relationship would make her no longer be able to be friends with Natsu anymore. Scared that it changed everything, because it already had.
Biting her lip, she turned back to her boyfriend and Mira and gave them a small, fake smile.
"I'm going to head home, okay? I need to get some writing done."
Her boyfriend nodded with a smile and leaned forward to kiss her cheek. As his lips brushed her skin, she tried to ignore how every cell in her body rejected his touch. How every part of her wished it wasn't his lips, but someone else's that was touching her so casually.
Getting to her feet, Lucy headed home, her heart in turmoil and tears burning her eyes bitterly.
This is stupid, she thought wiping the tears from her cheeks hastily. I'm with someone now. I shouldn't care what Natsu is doing or why he's acting the way he is. I'm happy now. A sob escaped her lips and she wrapped her arms around herself. I am happy... Aren't I?
Her blond head snapped up when she heard his voice and she had to stifle a sob. Natsu stood in front of her apartment, his hands in his pockets and oddly subdued. His face was in shadow and she could see the tense set of his shoulders and it made her heart painfully tight.
Looking away, she hastily wiped the tears from her cheeks and wrapped her arms around herself.
"Natsu. What-" she took a deep breath to steady her heart, which pounded loudly in her ears. "What are you doing here?"
Natsu watched her blink away new tears and felt his hands ball into fists inside his pockets and had to look away, or else he would grab her and never let go. Cursing silently, he fought with himself.
"I just…needed to see you," he whispered finally, breaking the tense silence. Lucy's face snapped around at his words and the tears in her eyes were clearly visible. She took a shuddering breath and bit her lip. She watched with weary eyes as his gaze connected with her, his eyes dark and determined. "I needed to see you," he repeated, his voice taking on a desperate, husky note to it.
Her eyes widened when he strode toward her until only inches separated their bodies. Her skin tingled with his proximity and she couldn't stop a tear from escaping and rolling silently down her cheek as he placed hot, scorching hands on her trembling shoulders.
"Natsu," she whispered and closed her eyes on a wave of pain. "I-I can't. I'm with him now." Her shoulders shook violently and she couldn't stop herself from leaning into his warmth. Warmth she had craved from the moment she had felt it three years ago. "It's too late now."
Natsu bent his head over hers and finally, finally wrapped her in his arms, his heart dropping at her words. A part of him rebelled at the idea. It was never too late. Not for them. Never for them. "Lucy," he croaked. "I-I can't stop myself. I need you."
She wrapped her arms around his waist at his words and couldn't stifle her desperate sobs.
Why now? She thought desperate. Why does he want me now that I can no longer be with him?
"Because," he said against her neck as he buried his head in her hair, making her realize that she had voiced her thoughts. "Because I never knew how much I needed you until I couldn't have you anymore."
"No!" she cried as she pulled away from. Her eyes were bloodshot with her tears and her lips trembled. "You can't tell me this now! Don't tell this now!" Turning her back on him, she wrapped her arms around herself desperately to stave off her desire to bury herself back against him and never, never let him go again. "I'm with him now, Natsu. You're too late."
He let his hands fall to his side and his shoulders slumped. He didn't know why he thought he could change her mind. One of the things he loved most about her was her loyalty to those she cared for. So why would she leave him? Even if Natsu was her partner, he was with her now, not Natsu.
The fact made his chest hurt and breathing more difficult. He suddenly felt a suspicious burning in the back of his eyes and had to clench them shut.
He sighed and made himself relax. "Fine," he whispered. At his curt tone, Lucy flinched as though he had struck her and reached up with her hands to cover her face. "I'll leave you alone then."
With that, Natsu strode past her, his hands once more in his pockets and his head bowed.
"Natsu, wait!" He froze at her voice and turned just in time to catch her as she barreled toward him. She buried her face in his chest and clutched at him desperately. "I love you," she whispered. "Even if we can't be together, just know how much I love you."
Tilting her head up she caught his surprised lips with her own, her tears streaming down her cheeks and her hands buried in his soft hair to press him against her firmly. Natsu clutched her against him and tried to memorize the press of her lips against his own, the heat of her breath against his cheek and the feel of her soft curves against him.
She pulled back and with a swish of blond hair and clothing, she was gone once more.
Natsu stayed where he was and let his arms fall to his sides. His heart hurt, his arms ached to hold her again, but a bittersweet smile lifted his lips and his eyes were bright with tears.
"I love you too, Lucy. I always will."
Time passed quickly at the guild. No one knew of Natsu and Lucy's exchange. Lucy never said anything and neither did Natsu. It was a secret that lay buried in their memories that they cherished too much to share.
Nothing changed. The guild members still laughed at Gray and Natsu's fights. They still shook their head at Natsu's obliviousness when it came to matters of the heart. He still grinned, still laughed.
Lucy never changed. She still giggled at her friends, still smiled sweetly at anyone who talked to her. She still desired to grow stronger. Team Natsu still grew in power and became closer with each mission.
But what no one knew was that behind her smile, she still shed tears for the boy she could never love outside her own heart.
What no one knew was that underneath each of Natsu's laughs, he died a little bit more each time he saw her with him.
What no one would ever know what that each time she chastised Natsu for his recklessness, she was really saying, I'm sorry that I can't love you the way I want to.
What no one would ever know was that each time Natsu teased Lucy and fought with her, he was really saying, I'm sorry I wasn't quick enough to love you while I could.
No one but Natsu and Lucy would ever know what hid behind their careless smiles and laughter.
(AN: This idea just popped into my mind while I reading some Gray-Lucy fics and I had to wonder what a heart broken Natsu and Lucy would be like. It was hard to write and I'm not completely satisfied with how I ended it, but oh well. Awesome or Horrible? Thanks for reading!)