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Priorities Revealed

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A confused hush descended as everyone realised it was over - Somehow, miraculously, it was over. And, though few knew the reason behind the dragons sudden disappearances, though the destruction spread through Fiore would take weeks, if not months to repair, they allowed themselves a moment to rejoice the sudden victory, a moment to be overcome by relief as they found their friends and family, obviously exhausted, but alive.

In the sudden rejoicing that Fiore erupted into, nobody really noticed as Natsu brought his hand up to where Lucy had wrapped her arms around him, just as nobody noticed as he silently took hold of her wrist, his fingers gripping tight as he led her away from the destroyed gate without a backwards glance.

And, though her mouth tugged into a concerned, confused frown at the unexpected movement, Lucy didn’t object as she followed along. There was something in the tenseness in his back, something in the firm grip around her wrist that made her hold her tongue.

As they continued on in that fashion for a few minutes though, Natsu weaving through the maze of destroyed corridors as if he actually knew where he was going, Lucy couldn’t help but begin to feel unnerved. It wasn’t like Natsu to be so … Serious, solemn, silent? She couldn’t quite decide which adjective suited him more in that moment, but it was off putting no matter which it was.

Just as Lucy decided she couldn’t take the silence anymore, Natsu came to an abrupt halt, and released the death-grip he’d had on her wrist. Slowly, with his hands clenched into tight fists at his side, the pink haired Dragon Slayer turned so that he could face Lucy, and the confused ‘Natsu?’ that had been on her tongue died rather abruptly at the heated look in his eye. If she had to compare it to anything, she could only say that it reminded her of his ‘serious battle’ face, and it made her concern grow, just as it made her heart skip a beat before picking back up at an accelerated rate.

From the way that Natsu’s jaw clenched, Lucy could only assume he could hear the racing of her heart, and she almost snapped ‘What do you expect to happen when you look at me like that?’, but the words were lost to a startled gasp as Natsu took hold of her forearm, and spun her so that there was suddenly a wall at her back. Before Lucy could complain about the sudden rough-handling though, Natsu had followed her in, one hand coming to rest at the wall by her waist, as the other found the wall by her head, still clenched in a fist.

Natsu’s eyes still hadn’t lost their heated look, and Lucy found herself incapable of doing anything other than returning that intense stare uncertainly, her heart pounding and her cheeks burning from the sudden proximity. It wasn’t as though Natsu had ever respected the concept of personal space before but, this … This was different.

She was given barely even a split second to wonder about the difference though, before there was a desperate warmth against her mouth, and being kissed by Natsu was so much more than Lucy could have ever imagined – It was overpowering, like being caught in one of Aquarius’ attacks, completely futile to fight against, and something you couldn’t help but be swept up in. It was like being set on fire, though that wasn’t particularly surprising since he was the flame Dragon Slayer. More than that though, it was the surprisingly tentative way that he was pressing his mouth to hers, as if he were afraid she’d punch him for even daring. A concern that became all the more obvious from the way that he tensed the second that Lucy began to raise her arms.

Lucy made a mental note to scold him later for being so dense as to think that she’d reject him, but, in that moment, she thought it was more important to actually twine her arms around his neck, and tug him closer as she pressed up into the kiss he’d initiated.

There was the briefest of seconds in which Natsu processed that Lucy had pulled him in, instead of pushing him away, but then, if Lucy had thought his initial kiss had been overwhelming, it was nothing compared to the fervour with which he kissed her now.

Hands moved from their brace against the wall, to cup the back of Lucy’s neck, and the other fell to the dip of her back to urge her closer still. Their lips parted, and the way that Natsu moulded his mouth to hers … It was as if he was trying to savour every single touch, but there was a desperate edge to his kisses too. As if he’d been starving for weeks, and the only thing that could reenergise him was the feel of Lucy’s mouth against his, and Lucy found herself entirely incapable of not responding to that desperation.

Which was why, the next thing Lucy knew she was doing, she’d shifted to wrap her legs around Natsu’s waist, and his automatic reaction was to press her back against the wall as he took advantage of the new angle to push up into her more insistently than before.

Just as quickly as Natsu had begun to kiss her though, he pulled back to look up at Lucy, and the blush on her short-of-breath-flushed cheeks simply deepened further at the way he fleetingly smirked as he took in that blush, and her still parted lips.

Lucy had half a mind to punch him for that smirk - Stupid arrogant Dragon Slayer               - but, the inclination fled as a haunted, guilty look passed over Natsu’s face, before he sighed and pressed up so that his face was buried into the crook of Lucy’s neck.

Hesitantly, the Celestial Mage asked, “Natsu?”, and the hand that was clutching at the back of her dress tightened at the sound.

For a moment, Lucy didn’t think he wasn’t going to explain, and she wouldn’t be surprised if there were plenty of things that people couldn’t easily talk about given the events of the last couple of hours. She frowned as she thought about her future self, about the feeling of peace that had overcome her not even ten minutes ago – or maybe twenty. She’d rather lost track of time. There were just some things, some emotions that you couldn’t really explain, no matter who you were talking to.

But then, after a moment of silence, Natsu sighed softly and, though his words were muffled because of the way he’d buried himself in the curve of Lucy’s neck, he told her, “It … pisses me off. You were killed right in front of me, and I couldn’t do a damn thing to stop it.”

Lucy’s frown increased as she remembered it. It had been … Disconcerting to have herself die in her own arms, to say the least. But … “But that wasn’t me. I’m still here,” she said softly, unsure of how to properly explain that she knew her future self had found her peace as well, a peace she was certain meant that she’d found her Nakama again.

Natsu’s hold on her tightened, and he drew in a deep breath before muttering, “Yeah, but I still don’t wanna see that again,” which Lucy couldn’t help but sigh at.

Then, she scowled as a thought occurred to her, and she couldn’t stop herself from asking, “Is that what brought this on?” He didn’t need to respond to the question, the fact that Natsu had tensed the second Lucy had asked it told her enough, and Lucy felt a stab of irritation at that. “You mean, it took me dying for you to actually realise how you felt?!”

“Of course not!” Natsu growled, pulling back from where he’d been nestled to glare at Lucy, before adding with a blush, “And I never said I felt anything!”

“Oh really?” Lucy snapped back.

 “Yes!”

The two simply glared at one another for a few seconds, then Natsu surged up just as Lucy ducked down.

Lucy hissed “Liar,” between kisses, and Natsu muttered, “Shut up,” before threading his fingers through her hair and tugging her back to him. It was almost another two hours before either of the mages were seen by their Nakama.

While the rest of the guild scolded the two of them for vanishing like that, Gajeel turned a bright red and scowled as he looked at them. Levy cocked a curious eyebrow at Gajeel’s reaction, but he just shook his head and refused to explain. Given the smirk that Natsu threw Gajeel when he thought nobody was looking though, Levy thought that she had a pretty good idea of what had kept him and Lu-chan away, and she couldn’t help but blush at the implication. A blush that simply darkened as calloused hands entwined with hers beneath the table. Life or death battles tended to make people realise what was most important to them, she supposed.