do you think Lucy loves natsu? i cant really tell with her, but natsu on the other hand i think he does, can you do an analysis on this if you have time, thanks :)
Let me just say two things before I start:
1. Thank you SO MUCH for sending this ask!
2. I’m sorry I’m late with the answer, but I hope you see it nonetheless! ^_^
3. I’m VERY LATE. I know. I’m sorry. I don’t know why I couldn’t post my answer earlier, but with Fairy Tail ending, I had to do it. So here it is, my take on Lucy’s feelings for Natsu. It’s a bit long (and a bit all over the place), but I hope that’ll compensate for its delay.
To me, the best way to define Natsu and Lucy’s relationship is as a solid friendship which has begun to turn into something more. Or as Mashima likes to label it, “more than friends, less than lovers”.
I’ll start with something that I believe is a very important aspect of their relationship.
Before Lucy and Natsu met each other, they were only close to people from their respective families (in Natsu’s case that’s the guild, in Lucy’s case I consider the servants in the Heartfilia mansion a part of the family). Natsu had spent 10 years in the
guild, going on missions and meeting new people, but it wasn’t until he
met Lucy that he made a friend outside of the guild. As for Lucy, Natsu
is also the first friend she’s made that isn’t somehow connected to the
Heartfilia business and house. So I’d like to think of them becoming
friends as coming out of their respective shells and I consider it
something very special and important. It’s a turning point for both of them. And if either of them didn’t feel they could trust the other, this wouldn’t have happened.
Lucy’s childhood. Lucy grew up with a loving mother by her side with whom she shared a deep and strong connection. If Layla hadn’t died just before her daughter was of the age when kids start to get curious about love, Lucy would’ve had someone to guide and help her understand the complicated feeling that love is, while also letting her make her own mistakes so she could learn from them. Unfortunately, Lucy was left to grow up with an emotionally-distant father. Yes, she had servants who loved and cherished her deeply as shown at the end of the Phantom Lord arc, and she also had Aquarius. But, after all, the bond she shares with them would never replace the bond she shared with her mother. On top of everything, Lucy didn’t have any friends around her age. She had no one to talk to about love. So, naturally, I imagine she learned about it from books (it’s canon she loves books) and magazines (she was a Sorcerer Weekly reader.
This is where things clash. On one hand, books usually represent love as pure, romantic, all-consuming, eternal. On the other hand, magazines tend to go for “what sells best”, which, yes, is very similar to the image love has in books, but more often than not, is beauty and sex appeal.
Lucy’s first months in Fairy Tail. Lucy keeps the idea of pure love in her heart. We see that in episode 50 when Mirajane suggests Natsu has feelings for Lucy. The Celestial Mage then starts to imagine a fairy-tale-like scenario where they’re in love, their eyes sparkle when they look at each other and Natsu is the perfect gentleman.
The first time we see Lucy, though, back in episode 1, she’s trying to use her sex appeal to get a discount at a Magic Item Store. The girl’s way of connecting to people her age was through Sorcerer Weekly. It’s the cool magazine with cool mages (many of them her age) giving cool interviews and having cool photo shoots. It’s trendy. It’s cool. Lucy’s influenced by it whether she realizes it or not. The way she sees love is also influenced by it.
Long story short: Lucy’s idea of love is a mix between what she’s read in books and what she’s seen in magazines. She has never experienced it first-hand. She doesn’t really know what real love is like, with all its ups and downs. Realizing the true essence of her feelings for Natsu, or any other possible love interest really, would take time.
Joining Fairy Tail has undoubtedly changed Lucy’s life. She went from being uptight, often irritated by Natsu and Gray’s antics, to a more chill and calm person. She grew up in an isolated household with no friends her age and almost no one to talk to. As the sole heir to a huge conglomerate, she grew up having to behave, follow some strict rules and basically be a good girl.
In contrast, Fairy Tail lets Lucy be who she actually is. It sets her free. Her guildmates are loud, often act immature, sometimes destroy whole buildings (*cough* Natsu *cough*), but they are true to their heart. As someone who never had the freedom to truly be herself, enjoy youth and go on adventures, Lucy needed some time to get used to her new life. It’s what she wanted and needed, but such drastic changes always take time to get used to. That’s why I believe the first few months the thought of love rarely, if ever, crossed Lucy’s mind.
Lucy and Natsu’s relationship. Natsu has always had a huge impact on Lucy. The moment they met was marked by Natsu’s breaking the Charm spell that had Lucy under the fake Salamander’s influence, which implies Natsu is the one who’s gonna help her break free from her old life. This fateful encounter is celebrated in a later episode, because it is important to both characters. Although at that point in the series I think neither of them thought of the other as a love interest, their friendship had become very important to their development as individuals and I’ve always believed that people in a healthy relationship should be able to retain their individual identities while building their relationship.
We often see Lucy irritated by Natsu and his antics during her first month or two in the guild. It’s usually used for comic relief (Lucy violently kicking Natsu in the face when he breaks in her apartment for example), but it gradually disappears with time to the point where she accepts him for who he is, with all his flaws and the annoying habit of destroying buildings (that cost a lot to repair). That by itself is not enough to show Lucy’s in love with Natsu, but it is proof that their relationship is changing.
The realization that you’re in love with someone usually takes some time. It’s the little things that add up and mark this whole process as “falling in love”. Things like Lucy shouting Natsu’s name when jumping off the tower in the Phantom Lord arc, her comment on how cute he looks when he sleeps after they returned from Edolas, even her getting all nervous about a possible date with him (ep.50) show that although they are still at the friendship stage, Lucy’s starting to acknowledge her growing feelings for him and to consider him as a love interest.
The Tenrou arc showed that both Lucy and Natsu see each other as “more than friends, less than lovers”. By that time, Lucy’s already realized her guildmates are incredibly strong, has received some decent character development (mostly in the form of her bonding with her Celestial Spirits, helping Cana in the S-Class exam and emphasizing FT’s favorite nakama power theme) and is doing her best to become even stronger and confidently stand next to powerful mages such as Erza. Even though they start off as “enemies”, Natsu and Lucy reform Original Team Natsu halfway through the arc to defeat one of the real villains. The fight shows just how far their friendship has come. Although it wasn’t labeled as such, I consider Lucy’s fire attacks a unison raid with Natsu.
When it comes to Lucy’s feelings for Natsu as shown in this arc, it all starts with Lucy refusing to leave Natsu to fight Kain Hikaru alone. It’s mostly her character development and kind nature speaking here, but the fact that she’s in a life-threatening situation (her skull is about to get crushed!) and still doesn’t want to leave her friend alone that subtly hints at something more.
The fight against Hades and Lucy’s actions when all hope was lost hint even more at the Celestial Mage’s changing feelings. In a dire and hopeless situation, she’s tightly hugging Natsu. It’s a moment where she’s vulnerable, afraid, weak and it is Natsu’s presence right beside her that helps her go through it. Running after and recovering the Dragon Slayer’s most precious possession, the scarf from Igneel, further emphasizes how important Natsu has become to Lucy.
After the 7-year time skip it looks like it’s mostly Natsu’s time to acknowledge his growing feelings for his blonde friend. But he’s not the only one who has some acknowledgement to do. Lucy’s character undergoes even more development and that includes the feelings she has for the Dragon Slayer. The GMG arc was very important for Lucy, because she was doing her best in her fights, but kept losing because her enemies used underhanded tactics. During those times, Natsu was there for her. She could rely on him to help her move on and shake off the frustration of such unfair losses. At this point of their relationship, it’s clear that Lucy trusts and relies on Natsu (especially evident in the f!Lucy’s scenes), cares about and believes in him (the hospital scene before his fight against Sting and Rogue) and is grateful to him (the sweet back hug at the end of the arc).
While we’re on it, the back hug is very special to Natsu and Lucy. In the earlier arcs, Lucy does that to try and stop Natsu from doing something reckless (the first time she did it was in the Lullaby arc to stop him from hurting himself; she also did it in the Edolas arc to stop him from blowing up their cover). The end of the GMG arc is the first time she hugs him like that to simply show gratitude. She’s thankful this is over. She’s thankful everybody seems to be alright. She’s thankful f!Lucy found happiness in the afterlife. She’s thankful to Natsu.
The Tartaros arc was a painful experience for everybody in the Fairy Tail guild. It was an arc in which many people lost someone important to them. When it was all over and it was time to face the future, it turned out Natsu’s approach to things was different from Lucy’s. In order to not lose anyone else anymore, the Dragon Slayer left the town to train and become stronger. Lucy, on the other hand, while not explicitly stating it, wanted to once again feel safe at the guild and rebuild what was destroyed during the Tartaros conflict. It’s when Natsu was gone, not just the fear of losing him, he was actually gone, when she realized exactly how much he means to her.
I consider the year before the Alvarez War a year meant for healing, coming to terms with yourself, acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses and (possibly) working on improving. During that time, Lucy worked hard as a reporter, trained even harder and got on a whole new level with her star dresses and tried to deal with her loneliness by keeping track of where her guildmates were and what they were up to. While she and Natsu never really talked about his sudden disappearance, I think the tension between them was somewhat resolved throughout the last arc.
After Fairy Tail had once again become a guild, we all noticed how Mashima started using some old elements (like Natsu infiltrating Lucy’s apartment; Lucy getting angry at him; Lucy Kick) with some changes in them. It was attributed to him trying to convey the feeling that everything’s how it was in the beginning (with some small changes here and there), but I also believe it was a necessary process Natsu and especially Lucy had to go through to rekindle their relationship.
During the war, Lucy had to face the fear of losing Natsu, but this time the difference was she was not quite helpless. Albeit indirectly, she first helped Natsu by being kind to Brandish, which made the Spriggan reduce the size of his tumor, thus saving him. When later she enlarged it and Natsu’s life was threatened again, Lucy fought fiercely to protect him. She will keep relying on him, and he on her, but what makes things different is that now they are equal. More importantly, Lucy considers them equal. Yes, she might not (yet) be as powerful as he is, but she proudly stands and fights next to him – a change in her attitude that started back on Tenrou island and that is very important for a healthy relationship between those two.
I want to end this post with a recent panel of Lucy that brought a couple of happy tears in my eyes.
Lucy’s heard what other people said: Natsu is END, Natsu is a monster. But she sees through this and realizes that he’s not defined by that. He’s a normal boy. He’s the Natsu that brought her to Fairy Tail; the Natsu she went on so many adventures with; the Natsu who can’t handle vehicles; the Natsu who has a tendency of destroying buildings; the Natsu who often breaks in her apartment; the Natsu who is loud, energetic, and supportive of his friends; the Natsu who’s always been there for her; the Natsu who left her for a year; the Natsu who helped her reform Fairy Tail; the Natsu who spent the last few hours before the war goofing around with her and Happy; the Natsu who will always support and help her; the Natsu she fell in love with.