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Silver Lining

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Natsu stumbled toward the house he and Happy shared.  He had been deeply asleep when Lucy kicked him out of her apartment and he was still exhausted from eating that Etherion from the Tower of Heaven.  It wasn’t just a physical exhaustion this time.  Natsu had noticed some of his friends had this upsetting habit of wanting to sacrifice themselves “for the better good” or whatever.  He’d had to keep Gray from Iced Shelling himself twice back on Galuna Island and just a couple of days ago he’d had to save Erza from sacrificing herself.  Sometimes taking care of the ones you love took a lot out of you.

          Getting kicked out of Lucy’s place was the last emotional straw for Natsu.  He’d gone to Lucy’s because he always felt safe and nurtured there.  That’s probably because of the way he felt about her, but Natsu didn’t think he was ready for any of that relationship stuff yet, so he hadn’t said anything to the Celestial Spirit mage.  He was mumbling incoherently to Happy on their walk back to their house when he practically stumbled into Loke. 

          “Natsu!  What are you….hey are you okay?”  Loke had to grab the dragon slayer to keep him from falling over.  He’d been on his way over to Lucy’s to check in and say hi, but a falling down dragon slayer definitely took priority.  “Happy, what’s wrong with Natsu?” The lion spirit exclaimed as he pulled the teen into a fireman’s carry so he could hold him and walk at the same time. 

          “Well, do you remember what happened when Natsu ate Laxus’ lightning that one time?  He got really tired afterward and had to sleep a lot.  He ate Etherion this time and it’s hit him even harder than the lightning did.  Natsu’s been sleeping off and on for three days now!  I’m starting to get worried, Loke.”  Happy looked at Loke with big eyes that were beginning to fill with tears.

          Loke smiled gently at the young exceed.  “Don’t worry, Happy.  I’ll help you tend our young dragon slayer.  I owe him a bit of a debt anyhow since he brought Lucy into Fairy Tail.  If he hadn’t found her and brought her to our guild I’d be gone by now and I’ve got to tell you – I’m enjoying my new lease on life as one of Lucy’s Celestial Spirits.  Now, which way to your house?”

          Happy gratefully flew just ahead of the lion spirit, who managed to somehow make carrying an incoherent dragon slayer look easy.  Once at their home Loke settled Natsu down onto the couch.  “Umm, does Natsu not have a bed?”  The place was a wreck.  Loke wasn’t the cleanest person in the guild, but Natsu needed some serious help in the “finding anything resembling clean” department. 

          Happy shook his head.  “Nope Natsu has always liked that hammock over there,” he replied while pointing it out.  “But now that you mention it I think it’s time he actually got a bed for that bedroom he never uses.  Cuz Natsu and Lucy…they’re in Lllloovve” he trilled with much eye-rolling.  It was probably a good thing there was eye-rolling involved or Happy may have noticed the way Loke tensed when he said that.  In fact, Loke’s hair practically stood on end when he heard Happy say Natsu and Lucy were in love.  The lion spirit shook his head slightly and the tension left his body.  Happy does have a point if Lucy has a thing for Natsu.  Living in a state like this doesn’t befit her and she deserves better. 

          “Alright, how about we do this,” Loke proposed after walking around the small home to see just how bad the mess was.  “I’ll go ask Virgo to come help clean the place and then I’m going to purchase Natsu a bed.  He really does need something comfortable to rest on or he’ll take longer to recover.  And I’ll help you go and get some groceries after we’re all done cleaning.  I remember how much Natsu can eat when he’s feeling well, so I bet he’ll eat twice that much when he’s trying to recover.”

          Loke was unprepared for the small blue ball of happiness that flew into his chest with shrieks of joy.  “Oh THANK YOU LOKE.  There’s no way I could do all of that stuff by myself and Natsu was all kinds of sad when Lucy kicked him out earlier so this will make him feel all better because you care so much!”

          Flustered, Loke pat Happy on the back and took a step backward.  “Yeah let’s not go overboard there.   I’m just trying to repay Natsu for helping me get my life back.”  He turned around to check on the still talking in his sleep dragon slayer and then adjusted his clothing.  The leader of the Celestial Zodiac still liked to have a sharp appearance and Happy had unintentionally rumpled his clothing.  “Alright I’ll go let Virgo know she’s needed here and then I’ll go get that bed.  We’ll make sure you’re both well taken care of,” he added with a wink in Happy’s direction before he disappeared.