When did Lucy fall in love with Natsu?
There’s been so many essay-like posts around tumblr talking about when and where Natsu first realised he was in love with Lucy, but I’ve never actually seen any regarding when Lucy’s feelings started. So I thought I’d share my own opinionated theory!
I feel as though Lucy’s feelings for Natsu took a lot longer for her to realise than Natsu’s, so let’s start from the beginning:
At this point, the story as well as Natsu and Lucy’s relationship is very much in the starting stages; there simply isn’t a whole lot to it. Neither of them have even considered a relationship, especially not with each other. Lucy may have her “knight in shining armour” fantasies, (as we see in ending 1 of the anime), but that is the most we get.
Episode 50 is where things start to get more interesting.
After the hilarious scenario of Lucy believing Natsu has a crush on her because of Mira’s meddling, she has now become self aware of the fact people mistake her and Natsu as a couple. Because of this, she starts to picture it in her mind and perhaps imagine what it would be like if they were in a relationship.
Again, though, this is still very early stages in their development, so she will continue to deny any sort of feelings for Natsu.
The Tenrou Island arc in general was a huge step for NaLu’s relationship, especially on Natsu’s part as that was when (as many of us have speculated) he first realised he was in love with Lucy. Sadly, though, Lucy is nowhere near the love stage at this point.
During Acnologia’s attack in episode 122, Lucy is crying because she thinks it’s all over. Naturally Natsu overhears this, and of course the first thing he does is reassure her that it isn’t the end.
Now, I think the look Lucy gives Natsu after saying this is really significant:
This isn’t a look of love or anything, as I said earlier we’re still far from Lucy being in love with Natsu. Rather, this is her beginning to toy with the idea of liking Natsu. In this moment she cannot confidently say “I like Natsu”, but she is far more aware of it, and knows deep down that there is a slight possibility it could happen. However, at this stage she will still continue to deny any feelings for him.
Episode 123-End of Tartaros Arc
I know this is a really big time jump, but the end of Tartaros is where things start to pick up. Throughout this time, Natsu and Lucy’s characters and relationship develops immensely. I’m not going to dish out every example otherwise we’d be here for weeks, but it’s safe to say Lucy’s feelings have begun to develop, although she is still on the fence of “Do I like him” or “Is he just a friend”.
I’m going to skip the beginning of the Alvarez arc, because I know we’ve all heard the theories and opinions on Lucy’s angst a million times, and although their relationship does develop, it’s not enough for me to talk about. After all, a lot of those chapters illustrated Natsu’s feelings more than Lucy’s.
Chapter 468 is when Lucy’s feelings take a huge step forward. For those unaware, Natsu had gone off on his own, (with Happy), to try and defeat Zeref, and Lucy has basically spent most of her time worrying about him.
A few chapters later, (Chapter 468), Happy returns to the guild, but Natsu is unconscious, and Lucy’s face says it all:
Then she realises that Natsu’s heart isn’t beating:
And begs Brandish to save him:
Natsu being faced with death is the last thing Lucy would expect from a war. After all, he’s one of the strongest wizards she knows. So for him to be lying there in front of her, unconscious and his heart not beating, Lucy is absolutely terrified.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the point where Lucy realises that she likes Natsu, because she cannot picture a world without him in it. After over a year of contemplation, she has finally reached the conclusion that she likes her best friend, meaning she would gladly consider a relationship with him, if it weren’t for the current circumstances, of course.
She isn’t in love with him yet, she simply wouldn’t mind the idea of a relationship. Of course she will still deny her feelings because she doesn’t want people to know, after all she’s only just figured it out herself, however you will notice she is definitely less upfront about it:
Of course she gets flustered and blushes over it, however she doesn’t explicitly deny it. Now, this could just be a translation error, I don’t have access to official translations, so please don’t quote me on it, but in this frame she’s simply saying that wasn’t what she meant, not that she isn’t, (as quoted by Ever), “head over heels for him”. See, she isn’t denying that she likes him, but she isn’t exactly singing on the rooftops that she has feelings for him. Remember, this is all still very new to her.
Now, throughout the rest of the Alvarez arc, you can see that Lucy is incredibly protective over Natsu:
This protectiveness is Lucy’s feelings developing more and more. She knows that she likes Natsu, and therefore will now be even more worried about the possibility of losing him, and wants to continuously protect him at all costs, as we can see from the screenshots.
Like I said at the beginning of this opinion/theory, Lucy takes a lot longer to comprehend her feelings for Natsu, which is why I believe that she only realises that she is in love with him in the final chapter.
I did a whole other opinion/theory explaining what each NaLu panel in the final chapter means, so I’m not gonna go into loads of detail here. (If you want to read that theory click here #shamelessselfpromo)
ANYWAY, I think the moment Lucy finally realises she loves Natsu is here:
Memories come flooding back to her old jobs with Natsu. All these memories cause this sudden realisation that her feelings for Natsu are far more than just “I like him”. She loves him. She’s spent such a long time toying with her feelings and throwing them back and forth, that shes finally figured out that she can’t keep throwing them around forever. She needs to come to that conclusion and she finally has.
Granted, she has only come to this realisation, so she’s not just going to burst out and say “I love you”, but she does do something equally as meaningful:
She hugs him. I touched on what this hug means in my other theory, so again I’m not going to go into heaps of detail, but I will say this. Lucy is new to romance. As is Natsu. Neither of them are just going to say “I love you” because it just isn’t like them to do something that stereotypical of two people in love. This hug is her way of expressing her love for Natsu.
What happens next is controversial. Every single person has a different opinion on it but I’m just going to say it how I believe it.
Natsu was going to kiss Lucy. You may be asking “well if Lucy loves Natsu why did she stutter and say wait?”. You have to remember and keep in mind that Lucy has only just realised that she is in love with him. Her feelings are all over the place and it is all so new to her. It’s all a big shock and a lot to take in, so of course she’s going to stutter and be all nervous; this is her first time feeling this way about anyone. However, because she is aware that she is in love with him, she doesn’t push him away, she doesn’t try to get out of his grip. Instead, she closes her eyes and opens her mouth. She wants Natsu to kiss her.
Of course we know that there was no kiss, but I think the most important thing here is that she would have gladly accepted the kiss and would not have regretted it, because she is in love with Natsu.
So that’s it! It’s annoying to think that Lucy took painfully longer to realise her feelings than Natsu did, but I truly believe that this was the moment she knew that she was in love with him.
As I said before I’ve never really seen any posts regarding Lucy’s feelings towards Natsu, or if I have they haven’t been in immense detail, so this was really fun to write and figure out!
Let me know what you all think <3