A/N: Hey, all; time for some angst! This was randomly requested by my babies hakuu-ryuu, thecelestialmaiden, and heir-of-dragons. X3 And I’d say it’s about time I gave Lucy a hard time this go-around and gave Natsu a break, yeah?
ALSO: This is based off of personal experience, something pretty upsetting that happened to me a couple days ago. Therefore there are possible trigger warnings. Thought it might be fitting for this. Hope you enjoy!
Character(s): Lucy, Natsu
Synopsis: When your life takes an unpleasant turn, it pays to have someone there to guide you over the cracks.
“Another accident?! Where are your eyes, on the back of your head?!”
Lucy cringed back slightly, away from her father’s furious bellows as she murmured quietly with her eyes glued to the floor, “No, Dad…they’re not.”
“Speak up, young lady! I didn’t raise a doormat!” Lucy raised her head hesitantly and was met with her father’s incensed gaze. She couldn’t blame him for it—this was her third automobile accident in two months, and this time, she’d completely totaled the front of her car. Even with insurance covering the repairs, the costs would be extremely heavy—and Lucy’s family wasn’t exactly raking in money.
Lucy knew that she should’ve been paying more attention to the road. She knew that she was in the wrong for spacing out right before a red light. It was entirely her fault that she’d violently rear-ended the minivan in front of her because she hadn’t been checking her surroundings.
And that wasn’t even why her father was mad at her.
Even though this wasn’t her first car accident, she’d panicked during the aftermath. Her car was totaled now, unable to be driven. They’d had to call a tow truck to take it to a body shop, but Lucy had somehow screwed that up by calling the wrong number. She’d sat in the sun for nearly three hours waiting for a tow truck that would never come, and her father had not been happy to hear about that.
He yelled at her for being clueless. Unobservant. Stupid. Childish. Panicky.
He yelled at her for not acting like an adult when she was overcome with shock and panic thanks to the violent crash.
Nobody had gotten injured, in a stroke of luck, but that didn’t make this harsh reprimanding sting any less painfully.
“Dad, I’m sorry,” she said, trying to raise her voice but only ended up making it quaver in fear. “I know I should’ve payed attention to what I was doing—”
“That’s not the issue here!” he snapped, cutting her off. “What I’m more upset about is the fact that you’ve acted like a total fool clearing up the mess you made!” He stepped toward her once threateningly, as if he was about to hit her, and Lucy instinctively shrunk back at his approach. “What kind of imbecile sits in the sun waiting for a tow truck for three hours when she has classes to go to?! The natural thing to do then is to call the tow company to see what’s holding them up! Did you really think you had that kind of time to waste today? Did you?!”
Lucy’s throat burned at her father’s verbal attacks as she bit her lip in a bid to avoid breaking down and sobbing—if there was one thing her father hated more than incompetence, it was crying. He was already upset; she didn’t want to add fuel to the fire.
Her father seemed to notice the effect his words were having on her. He ran his hand through his graying hair and sighed deeply.
“Lucy, I know you’re better than this,” he said in a controlled voice. “I raised you to be better. You are a Heartfilia, and it will do you and our family some good to act like it.” He lowered his hand, and his dark eyes bored into her own as he continued in a low voice. “This is the last chance I’m giving you, Lucy. One more sign of incompetence out of you, and I won’t be so forgiving next time. Do you understand me?”
Lucy simply nodded as her father exited her room and slammed the door shut. She didn’t have it in her to speak out loud. She knew exactly what he meant, and she didn’t even want to think about facing the prospect.
It was ages before she could gather herself enough to grab her things and bolt out of her room.
She couldn’t bear to stay here any longer.
Natsu sighed in irritation as his doorbell continued to chime over and over. If it was those idiot prankster kids again, he was going to lob a boot at them.
He peeked into the little hole in his door just to make sure that it was safe to open—and was surprised when he caught sight of his longtime friend Lucy jamming on his doorbell.
That was odd. Had something happened to her? She wasn’t normally this persistent.
Natsu promptly pulled away from the peephole and opened the front door, but even before he could open his mouth to ask her the question, “Hey, are you oka—?”, Lucy rushed in and tackled him into a hug, sobbing her poor eyes out.
Immediately his mind went into overdrive. There were so many reasons for her to be crying right now—did she get bullied again? Gotten hurt? Been yelled at?
Not to mention, Lucy had tackled him with a hug. That had never happened before.
“H-hey, Lucy; what’s the matter?” he asked desperately. “You’re scaring me with all this crying; what happened?”
Lucy seemed to pull herself together at the sound of his voice. She detached herself from him and stepped back, her face burning and cheeks streaked with tears.
“S-sorry,” she stuttered, wringing her hands and fidgeting nervously. “I wasn’t—I didn’t mean to—”
“I don’t care about that, really,” he insisted, taking her forearm and leading her inside. “Just come in and sit down. You can tell me what happened once you’re comfortable, okay?”
Lucy looked stunned for a moment before giving him a teary smile. “Th-thanks, Natsu…really.”
He smiled back in reassurance. “No sweat. Just take it easy.”
Once he’d gotten Lucy properly settled in (with a cup of tea to calm her down) in his living room, Natsu sat himself next to her and started to ask her the important questions.
“So take it from the top,” he suggested. “What happened?”
Lucy stared down at her cup of tea wordlessly for about another half a minute before answering him. “I…I got into another accident earlier today,” she confessed. “And I didn’t exactly do a…stellar job of taking care of the consequences.”
Natsu felt his eyes tighten in reflex. “Did your dad yell at you again?” he asked tersely.
It was difficult to catch, but he could see that Lucy wouldn’t meet his eyes for a split second—but that was enough for him to deduce the truth.
“Lucy, you can’t keep letting him talk to you like that,” he protested. “It’s really not fair—anybody can make the same mistake more than once!”
“Yeah, but…this time was the last straw for him.” Natsu could see her hands tremble against the cup. “He told me that if I mess up like that again…I—I won’t get another chance.”
“What? What does that—?”
Lucy bit her lip and averted her eyes. This behavior only served to stress Natsu out—but before he could ask, she spoke up.
“He’s going to kick me out,” she said bluntly before he could get another word out. Her voice cracked slightly at the last word. “Is that good enough for you?”
Natsu had to sit there and let her words digest for a moment before he exclaimed, “He’s doing what?!”
“Yes!” Lucy said sharply, startling him into silence. “He’s going to kick me out for being an incompetent daughter—because I can’t even take care of a stupid car accident—because I don’t pay attention to what happens and—and generally look like an idiot all the time!” She slammed her cup down onto the coffee table before her, tears leaking out of her eyes again. “And I—I can’t even deny that I—that I’m not—!”
Without even thinking about it, Natsu took her shoulder and pulled her close into an embrace. Unlike before, when she’d punch him in the face for so much as touching her even slightly suggestively, Lucy didn’t complain.
“Don’t you listen to what your dad says about you, Lucy,” he told her gently, stroking her head once and brushing her unkempt bangs out of her face. “He doesn’t know how amazing of a daughter he’s got. He’s just blind.”
Lucy hiccuped rather ungracefully—Natsu thought it was almost cute. “N-Natsu, I—”
“Nope, you can’t argue with me.” He felt a smile spreading across his face. “Listen, if your dad tries something funny again, I’m here for you. So I don’t want to see you crying because of him again, okay?”
That did it—Lucy completely broke down at his words and collapsed into his chest, sobbing uncontrollably. He rubbed her shoulder reassuringly in order to soothe her. His favorite shirt was getting ruined thanks to her tears, but he really couldn’t care less.
If Lucy needed a shoulder to cry on, he was going to make damn sure that it would be his.