I failed again.
There was pain in her whole body.
I failed Fairy Tail. I failed with my friends. I failed with everyone.
She couldn't know how many bones were broken, nor how many muscles were hurt, not even if her organs were damaged; she couldn't even tell if she was alive.
I lost again.
She lost with such ease, as if she were made of a very fragile substance; she broke so easily. She shattered so easily.
I'm so weak.
She couldn't even use all of her magic. She couldn't even show her guild's strength. She couldn't finish what she haven't even started.
Then, she heard a voice, an echo, coming from a distant place: "Hang on, Lucy!"
"It's gonna be alright!"
"Lucy! I won't be able to share fishes with you if you die!"
"Lucy. Don't die. Please, don't."
The blonde stopped hearing every sound, every voice. She wondered if she was really still alive. Well, she was hearing voices. And she never heard any of the people of the guild shout with such a worried tone. Plus, she had taken very strong attacks; she felt her body literally be fried by Minerva, Sabertooth's mage. Well, thinking from a certain point, she could be alive.
If she was alife, she would be certainly unconscious. But when would she wake up? Where would she wake up? What would she say to her guild? What would she say to Makarov? Would everybody be disappointed? Despite the worry, would they despise her for losing again?
What the heck am I thinking?...
They wouldn't act like that. I am the one worried about nothing. I am the one overreacting... Again.
Lucy would have to face the pain of losing again. For her, it wasn't just a fight. It was hers and Fairy Tail's pride at stake, and she lost it.
I contradicted myself. I betrayed everyone's hope: I lost. I gave up.
The guild surely would not make her feel worse. But wouldn't they feel... betrayed? Despite refusing Lucy's future apologies, wouldn't they feel humiliated?
Lucy lost again. She couldn't feel more useless.
Feeling dizzy, the celestial mage opened her eyes; she could feel a soft surface behind her lying body. Turning her head, she observed the place where she was. It looked like the hospital ward of the stadium where the Grand Magic Games were happening.
Lucy wasn't feeling nothing. Nothing at all: she felt empty inside. Then, she slowly rose, and standing on her feet, she felt dizzy one more time. Stumbling, she leaned on the wall and suddenly, the pain came. She could feel the result of all the attacks Minerva gave her from the bone until the skin. Or almost all of the attacks.
Touching her own ribs, Lucy thought: "I could swear I had broken one of my ribs. Who...? Oh, yes. We have Wendy and Polyushka here". She was slowly walking to a door, which was the bathroom's.
Clumsily, she leaned on the bathroom's walls, facing them. Unintentionally, she saw in her hand the tatooed symbol of her dear guild.
"How am I supposed to face them now?"
She held her own hands together; slowly, she slipped to the ground. A huge pain was in her chest; it seemed like the physical pain warped straight to her heart. The tears came as fast as they could.
- Lucy, you moron. Crying won't help anything. But it's the best you can do, right? - she mumbled, sobbing.
Memories came on the girl's head. Fairy Tail's fusses; the celestial spirits' welcome party; the tough fights. Natsu and Gray's stupid melees. Erza threatening everything and everyone with her bloody aura. Levy reading her books.Juvia following Gray back and forth, and the ice mage pretending to not care. Happy and his flying fish complex. Mirajane and her joining-couples habit. Makarov and his kindness to all his children. Natsu being an asshole, but her favorite asshole. She could only cry harder.
Suddenly, a thud was heard, coming from out of the bathroom. The mage jumped in shock. Reluctantly, she left the bathroom and...
... a wild Natsu appeared. Breaking everything in sight, the mage was searching for Lucy; but how did he know she was out of the bed?
A "HOLY SHIT, NATSU, LET US SLEEP" was heard, as well as a "CAREFUL THERE, KIDDO! MONEY DOES NOT COMES OUT OF NOWHERE!" and a "NATSU, WATCH OUT FOR LUCY!".
She just observed the whole scene, confused, as Natsu kept running from side to side, messing stuff up. However, passing in front of the bathroom's door one more time, he saw the celestial mage.
- ...Lucy. - he mumbled, completely changing his face; he was serious. - Are you all right?
Lucy looked away, wiping her tears away. That was a bad time to see Natsu. Her best friend, the person closest to her in the entire Fairy Tail was there. She could not hold her tears if he was around.
- I... I'm sorry - she stuttered, avoiding his eyes. If she looked at them, wiping the tears would be useless.
Natsu stared at her, speechless. By looking at her, he could say she didn't want to see him. "Shit. She's really depressed", he thought, immediatly realizing what was wrong.
- I... I failed. I lost, I... Was weak and useless again... T-the only thing I do is loose. I can't win. As much as I love Fairy Tail, I can't... I- I am not able to call myself a guild member, I... I dishonored all of you and your effort!... - Lucy's eyes were starting to weep again. She covered her face; Natsu wouldn't see her weak side again. He had already seen it too much times.
Natsu sat in front of her, and very carefully - almost as if she were a scared little pup - got close to her.
- No one thinks of you such things, Lucy - he spoke, calmly - you lost your first fight because they canceled your magic. And you lost your second fight because the shitty guys of Sabertooth are heartless.
- I-if it was you, or Erza, or Gray -- if it was anyone of you, you would have won. - the blonde lowered her head even more.
- We are different, Lucy. You didn't have the opportunity to train when younger and I think that's the reason you aren't a monster like us - Natsu laughed slightly - we are the weirdos.
- But... That's why I loose. I am different of you... I feel like I'm being left behind, and I'm weak... and--
- Stop it - he said, serious, almost commanding - Stop it. Stop, Lucy. You're not weak-- Oi, look at me.
As she heard the last sentence, she curled up a bit. She didn't want to stare at him. And she would not.
"Raise your head, Lucy. I want to talk to you from eye to eye", he mumbled. Lucy did not answer. The dragon slayer sighed and put his hand on the top of her head, as if he was comforting her. In shock, she raised her head with the sudden touch, just as Natsu wanted.
- The willpower does not come from the body, but from the heart. You love Fairy Tail, right? - he proceeded - you do have confidence, Lucy. You just loose it very easily. Well, for that, you got your friends, right?
Then Natsu gave one of his typical ear to ear smiles. Lucy couldn't hold on anymore. Not with that smile of his. Not with his words. Not with him, not in that moment. More tears came from her eyes, and she started sobbing.
- H-hey, Lucy, what...? - he shouted, feeling awkward. He was trying to cheer her up, and she cried even more? - W...What did I say wrong? I was just trying to-
- Y-y-you moron - the celestial mage tried to speak between her sobs - h-h-how can you always s-s-speak in the right time? Ah, N-n-n-natsu... B-but as much as Fairy Tail forgive me--
- No one blamed you for nothing to begin with! Stop blaming yourself, damn it! - he interrupted her, and she stopped talking for a while. Then, she proceeded:
- Then... As much as I tried my best in that fight, t-the pride we gained on the contests is gone because of m-me! - she shouted almost as she was ripping out the pain of her heart.
- It was NOT your fault. It was Sabertooth's, and everybody knows it. - Natsu closed his firts, and seemed to get suddenly angry. He took a deep breath. - That bitch, Minerva, didn't even let you fight, she took your keys from you, and instead of... Instead of letting you get out of the match, she tortured you.
The fire mage growled, something that made Lucy think he was truly mad. And he was mad for her.
- And Sabertooth kept laughing at you. Laughing at your pain. - still growling, he punched the wall, which cracked and made a loud noise (a "NATSU, THAT'S ENOUGH" was heard again)- You were almost dead. Are you aware of how freaking much that worried us? How that worried ME?
- No, I am not. Because I am always the first one to fall and to get more damaged, just because I am weak... - Lucy had already stopped sobbing, however, the tears were still rolling.
- You ARE NOT weak, do not make me repeat it. - he was still having a fit of rage - Some in Fairy Tail are just too strong, like monsters, you are just normal--
- T-then I WANT to be a monster! - she cried, closing her fists - a monster, a demon, whatever! I want to stop losing, stop promising myself I won't give up and doing it at the end!
Only silence could be heard after that. Natsu felt himself getting gradually calmer, and when he felt able to speak, he did.
- You think too little of yourself, Lucy. Ya know, we all think you are strong. All of us. We think you are strong, weird, hot-blooded, awesome. - she have never seen him with such a serious and deep look. - Stop looking down at yourself and believe in yourself. Come back to the heartwarming Lucy I lo-
Natsu suddenly stop speaking, as if he was talking too much, or as if he would say something he didn't think. Embarassed, he mumbled: "Come back to the heartwarming Lucy that... we... love".
The celestial mage's tears had already stopped. She heard every single world he said. Mentally repeating his whole rant, Lucy felt more and more lighter. She wondered why Natsu had only looked away from her while saying the last sentence, but knowing the reason didn't really matter for now.
Was she still sad? A bit. The shock of loosing a second time would not disappear that fast. But all the doubts and guilts she felt were gone, thanks to the dragon slayer.
Lucy smiled, letting out a sigh. Natsu raised his head and encountered the kind eyes of his friend. "Thank you, Natsu", she babbled. He smiled back, happy for cheering her up a bit.
He wouldn't let her little smile go again. Be Sabertooth ready, because a certain mage from Fairy Tail would make every single stupid member feel Lucy's pain ten times worse.
The door was suddenly opened, making the two jump in surprise (which were a little beyond of the common private space). Getting away from her quickly and awkwardly, Natsu stumbled on his own feet, falling on the ground and making Lucy see the now opened door of the room; Wendy was the one who opened it.
The female dragon slayer got red, obviously misinterpreting the scene of some seconds ago. "I-I'm sorry, I'll be back in a few-", she spoke really fast, turning and bumping into Polyushka, who was behind her. Seeming to ignore the whole scene, the elder entered without further ado and asked Lucy her condition.
- Ah, I am fine- I mean, before I was feeling pain in my whole body, but now I'm fine. Just my rib hurts a bit now.
- Just your rib? This is luck, human, you broke far more than just a rib. - Polyushka ominously warned - I do not recommend flirting right after suffering such damage. - not knowing how to react, Lucy and Natsu awkwardly ignored her words.
Then, the room's door seemed to literally spit the crowd that was entering; it looked like the whole guild decided to make an appearence. Everyone was there, even people who Lucy did not talk very much. Some were comically cursing each other by the lack of space, others were worried with the celestial mage, making hundreds of questions, and the remaining ones were trying to breathe in the small room. Polyushka kept screaming "ONE VISITOR AT A TIME! STOP CROWDING!"
The celestial mage couldn't help but laugh. She didn't know why she was so sad before; why she thought the guild would blame her?
Fairy Tail was there for her; supporting her, making her laugh, cheering her up. And Lucy would be there for them.