Igneel.

He May Have Abandoned Natsu But He Is Still His Father.

Who Would Want To Leave A 7-Year Old Natsu Though?.

Not Me.

Thanks.

Issues.

Chapter 54.

"Date, date, date, date, date, date" Natsu chanted.

"Lucy shut the man up, you don't hear me bragging about going to next base with Erza this weekend" Jellal said.

At the same time, almost in complete sync, Lucy and Erza smacked their boyfriend's head.

"Zip it!" they yelled.

"It's exactly like we predicted, second Erza" Gajeel muttered shaking his head.

Natsu quickly bounced back from the hit unlike Jellal who just rubbed his head.

"So Lucy's when's our big date" he asked with eager eyes.

She didn't know why, but Lucy imagined Natsu as a puppy at that moment. Small ears standing up, his tail waving back and forth really fast, but most of all was his little puppy eyes. Lucy covered her mouth to prevent giggles. Natsu didn't notice and kept rambling on.

"I was thinking tomorrow, maybe we could go see a movie! Scratch that we might run into Erza and Jellal and I don't want that image in my head. We can go out to eat! Eating's always a great date!

"Sunday" Lucy said.

Natsu paused.

"Sunday?" he repeated.

Lucy nodded.

"But, but... that's in two days" he said.

Again Lucy nodded.

"But I want to see you in the dress tomorrow... or today" Natsu said.

"Sunday. Think of something Saturday and text me the time and place" she said.

Natsu frowned. His frown then turned to a pout as he shoved his hands into his pant's pockets and pretended to kick a rock to portray his sudden mood change. Lucy's eyes twitched for a second before she turned around. Damn him and that pout, damn it to hell.

"Sunday Natsu, I need to go" she said grabbing Wendy's hand.

"Wait! Weren't we going to celebrate?" Natsu cried out breaking out of his depressing trance.

"Yeah, weren't we?" Cana asked.

Lucy grimaced before slowly turned around. There her friends were, all grinning at her like mad men, Cana especially.

"How bout we celebrate by going to the strip club and watching this little baby" Cana said waving her video camera in the air.

Lucy shook her head, "how bout a no" she said.

"I'm in" Gajeel said. If they were going to the shitty coffee place, he wanted in.

And if Gajeel was going, Levy was sure to follow. With Erza as the leader she didn't want Levy to go alone so she agreed along with Gajeel. Very soon it was Lucy against the world.

"That is so unfair, you know I've quit drinking" she argued.

"Who says you have to drink?" Cana asked.

Lucy still refused to go, how could she? Sitting around watching all her friends get drunk while she just sat there, being unable to have fun. It would be like watching paint dry or playing with a stick in mud.

"Let's put it this way, you come and I won't post this video all over the internet" Cana said.

Lucy showed Cana her middle finger before she turned to walk away. Cana sighed, couldn't she take a joke? She thought lowering her guard. Suddenly out of nowhere Lucy turned around and snatched the camera out of her hands before running away with it.

"What the-? Shit! AFTER HER!" Cana yelled.

Natsu and friends watched as, one-by-one, the We Don't Give A Fuck Club all chased after Lucy. Including little Wendy who just wanted to join in for the heck of it.

"So shitty coffee place?" Gajeel asked.

"Yeah" Erza said.

"Sure" Gray said.

"Why not?" Natsu asked.

He had a feeling that's where his girlfriend was running to right now.


Lucy sat on the ledge of her window the next morning. She stared up into the sky, wondering how it was going with Natsu and his Father... did she do the right thing? Should she have told him or at least warned him about Igneel? Lucy sighed and looked at her phone. No new messages, one saved one though. The 'I love you' text Lucy was going to send to Natsu but decided against it. I love you. It was just three little words yet they would mean the world to Natsu if she said it.

The problem was, would Lucy mean it? She planned on saying it at the game only because of the rush of it all. Winning as Fairies! Fairies! In what world could Fairies beat Sabertooth's?

"In Natsu's world it seems" Lucy mumbled to herself and sighed.

She jumped back into her room and started digging in her closet for the dress. A deal was a deal, Lucy had no choice but to wear it tomorrow. Strangely though, Lucy found herself wanting to wear it for Natsu. She found herself wanting Natsu to say she looked cute and smile. Lucy clutched the dress to her chest, what was she feeling? Why was she feeling?

Lucy may have started dating Natsu because of the questions that came to her, but now even with no answers to anything, she generally like him. Lucy was positive if they were to break up, she'd cry. Why though? Something in the back of her head answered, tomorrow. Tomorrow was the day, tomorrow all the answers she sought out would be found. Again Lucy thought why?

She held her dress out, realizing she had wrinkled it when she crushed it against her, or when she balled it up and threw it in the closet, or maybe when she tossed it on the ground. Either way Lucy was sure her old maid could fix it.

"You're going on a date with Natsu nii-chan tomorrow?" Wendy asked.

Lucy dropped the dress in shock, forgetting that the little girl was here. She turned and saw the kid pondering at her.

"What do you know about dates?" she asked picking up her dress.

"Only what I've seen on TV, are you going to wear that?" Wendy asked walking up.

Lucy let Wendy take the dress from her hands and hold it up, even though she was to small and the dress dragged on the floor. Like Lucy thought before, her old maid could fix it. Wendy held the dress back towards her protector and smiled.

"Pretty, don't forget the present I bought you too" she said.

Present? Wendy dug around in her closet and pulled out a hat. The hat. Lucy remembered the hat; it was back when she first found Wendy. They went shopping for clothes and Wendy had bought it just for her. How could Lucy had forgotten?

"Sure thing kid" she said grabbing the hat.

I guess it matches Lucy thought walking out the closet. Now all she had to do was find her old maid and wait for tomorrow.


Ding, Dong, Ding, Dong

"Now who could that be Happy?" Natsu asked.

Happy rubbed himself against Natsu's leg and meowed.

"Hmm, Lucy's flying cat idea to take over the world may be stupid but her idea to make you talk seems like a good one" Natsu said tired of getting one worded meows from his furry friend.

Well what else did he expect? Happy was just a cat. Natsu dropped his pencil and walked out his room and down the stairs. He was currently writing his plans for the big date tomorrow when the bell rang. As he walked down the stairs he noticed the door being opened; didn't he lock it though.

Natsu froze half way when he saw his Father walked in.

"Wow, you didn't change the locks" Igneel said shoving his old key back into his pocket.

Igneel walked into the house and wiped his shoes on the placemat. Why, why did this look so normal? How many times had Natsu raced to the door whenever he heard it open back when he was young to see his Father come home? No matter what memories of his childhood came back to him, it still felt strange to Natsu.

"What are you doing here?" Natsu asked.

He was gripping the bar to the stairs so he wouldn't fall over. Igneel sighed, no hi or hello? Then again he had expected this, Natsu more or less said what Igneel thought he would say.

"To talk, to resolve some of the issues we have, but mostly... to see you" Igneel said.

Natsu finished walking down the stairs and stared at his used to be Father. This was what he wanted, to talk things out with his Father. If that was the case then why did he have this overbearing feeling to shove his Father out the house and barricade all the doors?

...

He's been hanging out with Lucy to much, she's rubbed off on him. Ignoring his inner badass self, Natsu finally responded.

"... Alright" he sighed.

He's in, phase one is now complete. Igneel couldn't help but smile as he closed the door and walk further into his old home.

"You have a cat" he noticed.

Happy walked down the stairs and stared at Igneel for a quick second before walking towards the kitchen. Igneel felt strangely rejected and snubbed, why would he care though? It was a cat for Pete's sake.

"Yeah, a birthday present" he said.

At the sound of 'birthday' Igneel stopped thinking about how to win his son's cat over and focused back over to Natsu. Igneel eyes clouded as he thought about the date.

"That's right, it was your birthday a while back..." he mumbled.

Natsu nodded and went into the kitchen to make some coffee for his Father.

"Sting's been begging me for a cat, I don't believe he'll take care of it though" Igneel said making himself comfortable. He even kept the old sofa; Igneel had some good times on this couch. His eyes closed as he tried to recall his old memories.

"Happy's not really a handful" Natsu said from the kitchen.

The sound of pots and pans made him re-open his eyes. He leaned back and saw Natsu looking pretty busy in the kitchen.

"Need... any-... help?" Igneel asked.

Why did the question feel so weird coming from his mouth? He could help out his son in his own house.

"Nah, I got it" Natsu sighed putting the clean dishes into the cabinets.

Nervousness was not a good feeling for Natsu, he hated it. Just a few deeps breathes and Natsu would be able to shake the feeling though. Igneel stood back up and started walking around his living room to see if anything else was the same. It was. Everything was exactly how he left it, even down to the last picture frame.

Natsu made instant coffee and poured it into a cup. When he walked back into the living room he found his Father staring at a picture frame.

"She was so beautiful, I miss her" Igneel said.

"Here" Natsu said extending his hand.

Igneel put the picture down and grabbed the cup, mumbling a silent thank you to his son. Natsu sat down on the love seat and faced his old man. Igneel sat back on the couch, taking a sip of his cup, before placing it on the table. He sighed and scratched the back of his head.

"It was when your Mother died, I guess it all started when your Mother died" he started.

Natsu just leaned back into his seat and stared at the ceiling, trying to imagine the picture his Father was about to explain.

"You wouldn't remember, you weren't even born wait, yes you were. Your Mother... she was the love of my life, my true soul mate. When she told me about you I truly thought I was the happiest man on the planet... that was until she passed away having you. Something died in me with her passing, but I had to keep it together for you. The first 5 years I locked my heart up, I just focused on you and you alone happy that God didn't take everything I loved away from me"

Igneel sighed and covered his face with his hands; he ran them down his face before continuing.

"One day I woke up and realized... I was alone. Remember that day when I asked you to stay over a friend's house? I told you I had a big business trip?" Igneel asked.

Natsu tried to remember but couldn't; he ended up shaking his head.

"Anyway I lied. I actually drove to the next town, got wasted and ended up having a one night stand. The next morning I remembered about you and left without a second thought about the woman laying next to me. I started having doubts about my life style then, every time I looked at you I saw your Mother. Nothing can excuse why I left you Natsu, nothing!" Igneel said.

Natsu stared at his Father... was that it? That was the end? He hadn't even told him why he left? What kind of bullshit story was that?

"Two years past and I got a letter. It was from the woman I had that one night stand with... she had a son, your step brother... and I left" he said.

...

...

...

Natsu kicked his nightstand, the lamp placed on top of it crashing on the ground and shattering. Igneel flinched but kept his cool. Natsu started taking deep breaths through his nostrils before closing his eyes tightly.

"Why didn't you take me?" he whispered.

It was the unanswered question in his heart. He knows the reason, he just didn't know why?

"Was I not good enough to be your son? Were you ashamed of me or something? Did you want a do over at life? Is that why you left?" he asked.

Igneel sighed. "Honestly I don't know, I guess the third one is the closest. You don't understand, I lost the love of my life! How could I have gone on without her?" he asked.

"You had me!" Natsu yelled.

"Exactly! I had you! You, our love child! You whose smile was so much like hers that every time I saw it I'd want to break down and cry! I hated being around you Natsu! You only brought back the pain and misery!" he said.

"I WAS A SEVEN YEAR OLD BOY! And you just abandoned me all alone in this house! How'd you think I was going to survive?! How'd you think I was going to live without you?" Natsu yelled.

"I didn't! I didn't think about the future or the consequences, all I thought about was starting a new life with a new family" Igneel said.

"Did you ever think of me? Did you ever try to find me? Man I just feel like a fucking IDIOT! All this time I thought it was my fault, I have been going through this over and over again in my mind wondering what I must have done to make you leave but no, it wasn't my fault. IT WAS YOURS! WHY DIDN'T YOU AT LEAST SEND A LETTER OR SOMETHING! Hi Natsu, I'm alive, bye. I would have been happy with that but no, you disappear off the face of the Earth because your HEARTBROKEN?!" Natsu yelled.

"I deserve that, I deserve all of that... I did think of you Natsu, it may have not been as much I should have but I did think of you. By the time I realized what I did to you I thought social services might have found you or something and you would have been adopted or in an orphanage somewhere but no... you were right here this whole time" Igneel chuckled lightly.

"HOW IS THIS FUNNY! I WAS EMOTIONALLY TRAMATIZED BY THIS! IF IT WASN'T FOR MY FRIENDS! If it wasn't for them... I don't know what would have happened to me" he said.

Igneel opened his mouth to speak but Natsu grunted loudly. He started pacing around the room before punching his wall. His Father was a coward. He couldn't handle raising his true love's child so he took the easy way out and just left. Fucking just left. It was funny in a sadistic kind of way.

"I'm sorry for my mistake Natsu, that had to be the biggest one I've ever made in my life. I'm not asking for forgiveness, I don't even believe that you should forgive me, but just for a second chance. Let me get another chance at being a Father... come live with us Natsu" Igneel said.

You dropped the bomb on me, baby.

"WHAT!" Natsu yelled.

"I've already talked to Sting about it, from what he's said he would love for you to live with us, the same as my wife. You'll like her Natsu, she's just a sweet thing. You'd bunk in with Sting until we can get you your own room and you could go to Sting's high school. You could even join the football team, I'm sure they'd let you join next years team" Igneel ranted.

"Wait a minute, WAIT A MINUTE!" Natsu yelled.

This was too much for him, Natsu needed to process this new information.

"You want to start acting like a Father... now?!" he asked.

"It's never too late Natsu, like I said I'm just asking for a second chance. I promise I won't screw things up this time" Igneel said.

Lucy's picture came into Natsu's mind.

"No" Natsu said.

Wendy's picture came into Natsu's mind.

"No" he repeated.

Gray, Erza, Jellal, Gajeel.

"No, no, no, no!" he said.

Lisanna, Juvia, Levy.

"A million types no!" he yelled.

This was the town he found everyone, the town that brought them all together, the town with the school that he spent time with his friends, the school where he was reunited with his true love, Lucy. No way Natsu was going to leave that, not now not ever. Natsu shook his head side to side with a shocked expression on his face.

"Calm down Natsu" Igneel said.

"I'm not leaving, I refuse too!" he yelled.

"I'm not making you leave Natsu! It was just a suggestion" Igneel said.

Natsu calmed down... "Oh" he said.

Igneel sighed. "You've really grown accustom to this town" he said.

Igneel remembered when he loved this town, now it only held heartache. That's why he had to get away from it all, start anew.

"Well I've said all that I wanted to say, I think I'll go visit your Mother's grave before I leave" Igneel said getting up.

He hadn't seen her in 18 years, it was a long overdue visit.

"Mom has a grave?" Natsu asked.

Igneel looked surprised.

"Yeah, I guess you were too young to remember... maybe writing you a letter would have been a good idea" Igneel mumbled.

Natsu just stared at his Father. He got his answers, he found his Father, knew why he left, even though it was a fucked up reason he still knew, what else was there?

"Dad... you-... you still loved me when you left right? I mean... you didn't just throw me away or-" Natsu stopped talking.

Igneel walked up to his son and hugged him.

"I never stopped loving you Natsu, never. I was depressed, I couldn't handle living here anymore without her Natsu... I just couldn't" Igneel's voice broke.

He let the tears that he's been fighting back fall. Natsu hugged his Father back and cried into his shoulder. He still didn't forgive him or wanted to give him another chance but, but!

This was the man he's been searching for all this time. This was his Father. Natsu couldn't help but feel dependent on him, he couldn't help but want to cry his heart out in his Father's arms.

"We could have gotten through it together, I know I was only 7 but I could have helped you! I wasn't always an idiot" Natsu cried.

"I know, I know, I'm sorry son" Igneel cried.

"I'm happy you left though, I'm happy you left me behind. If you hadn't, if you were to have taken me with you I would have never been with my friends, I would have never-" Natsu stopped and thought about it.

He never would have gone to middle and high school with his friends. He never would have met Lucy, or Wendy, or any of their friends; Cana, Bora, Zero. He would never had partied, or gotten drunk, experienced Lucy's first kiss and her first time. Never would have been her boyfriend, never would have joined the football team, or watch his friends get together. Never would have had Happy. Natsu never would have been happy.

He would have had a whole different life.

"I'm happy here, I'm happy now. I'm happy, I'm happy" he said.

The more Natsu said it, the truer it became. He was happy, he was truly, truly happy. And that was all because of his Father.

"Thanks for not taking me with you, a letter would have been good though" Natsu said laughing a little.

"Look at us, finally having a Father son moment" Igneel said wiping his tears away.

Natsu did the same. He took a deep breath and exhaled.

"Could I go with you, to visit mom that is" he asked.

Igneel smiled.

"I think she'd like that" Igneel said.

"Don't think I've forgiven you yet Igneel, you have a lot of making up to do" Natsu said stepping away from his Father's embrace, embarrassed.

Igneel chuckled, "it seems I do"

All was good between the two of them now, they both found the answers they were looking for... well Natsu had just one more.

"How'd you find me? You said you didn't know where I lived" Natsu asked.

"I came to your game, thanks to your win Sting has to do twice the chores now" Igneel laughed.

Natsu grinned and laughed with him.

"Sting, he told me one of the cheerleaders was your girlfriend, Lucy I think... anyway I talked to her after the game and asked if I could visit you" he said.

"So Lucy told you I was here" Natsu said.

"No, she said if I couldn't figure that out I'd be a bad Father" Igneel said.

Natsu felt a strong urge to hug and kiss his girlfriend right now.

"I think the bird's and the bee's talk is long overdue" Igneel said holding the door opened.

"I only needed advice in asking her out, but everything worked good in the end" Natsu bragged.

"Still, there's always more to learn about life" Igneel said.

Natsu looked up at the afternoon sky and smiled. He understood why Lucy didn't want to go out on Saturday, she had planned this whole thing.

"So, where you taking Lucy out on a date? I think you should bring her over for a family dinner" Igneel said.

"One step at a time old man, and I was thinking a buffet?" Natsu said.

Igneel slapped his forehead and sighed.

"I still have lots to teach you about woman, let me tell you the story of my first date with your Mother and let's see if you get any ideas" Igneel said.

Natsu saw a stray bird flew across the true blue sky and smiled.

"Well what are you waiting for?"