He had so many things running through his mind. Confusion. Questions. Excitement.
Another person from the future. Someone new, in a way, to battle with. If there were two people from the future, maybe there was more. He thought about what he'd ask his future self if he was ever lucky enough to meet him.
He shook his head. He needed to think about the present right now. Rougue, the one from the future, stood before them. He mentioned on killing some guy to save the future.
No matter what, Natsu wanted to be a part of this as well. He would do whatever he could to protect his guild, his family. However, he didn't see why they couldn't just persuade the person who'd close the gate.
"Who do you want to kill?" Natsu asked.
Suddenly, the Rougue in front of them didn't seem as friendly as he was a minute ago. "You!" He exclaimed as a shadow was pushed forward.
Natsu wondered why he thought he, Natsu Dragneel, was an enemy to many lives. No way would he do something that would cause his friends harm.
He was surprised to say the least when the shadow missed him completely. "Lucy Heartphilia!!!"
Natsu tensed, his eyes widening, as he turned to Lucy with confusion and fear. There was no way he was going to be able to save her.
Suddenly, Lucy (not his Lucy, but Lucy none-the-less) pushed herself in front of her.
He choked. His hands began to quiver as the Lucy from the future spat out blood as she fell on the cold hard floor with a thud.
He couldn't move... why couldn't he move?! A knot formed in his stomach as he watched his Lucy kneel down beside the injured woman.
He cursed at himself. Somewhere out there, he, his future self, was not protecting Lucy. It felt so frustrating. Him and his future self couldn't protect her. His family, partner, and what he hoped to be his possible mate.
Lucy and Happy, who had knelt beside her, had tears streaking their faces. Natsu felt his heart tear at their cries.
He watched as the future Lucy asked to see Lucy's guild mark. Lucy gasped something about her hand as he suddenly felt bile rise in his throat.
They hadn't seen her right arm, now that he thought about it. She didn't use her keys. She wrote with her left hand. She... lost it? She lost the hand that held their mark, the hand that would force her keys to open another realm... her hand that wrote her life story, threw things at him when he entered her home uninvited, covered her face as she turned red, stroked his hair in their special moments....
He felt his eyes moisten and lips quiver as he remembered her smiling face as she showed him her guild mark that proved she was a part of them.
"I managed to see you again," The injured Lucy choked. Was she..?
"Although I thought it would never happen. I'm happy with... just that." The future Lucy took an unsteady breath. "I wanted to go on more adventures with you..."
She was talking to him. She was looking into Lucy's eyes, but they weren't focused on her and it just didn't make sense to him if she were talking to anyone else.
Guilt and sadness were building up inside of him. Where was he, his future self!? Why has he been supposedly missing?
"Protect ... the future."
Then she was limp, dead.
'No', he thought. 'You can't die, Lucy.' Tears poured down his cheeks painfully as he looked away from his team. He felt small and weak. He couldn't protect what he treasured most.
Somehow, this pain in his heart was heavier than when his dad, Igneel, had left him. With Igneel, he felt like he was somewhere out there for him to find one day. But, Lucy... she was dead. Gone. Forever.
Then he remembered her words. Lucy needed him. He had lost her, but she was still here. He could still protect her and keep her safe. No way would he let anyone take her from him again.
Lucy was exclaiming to Rougue how she'd never open the gate, but he didn't seem to believe her. "You're lying! Everything is decided by destiny!!"
No. He would not loose Lucy again. No matter what, he'd protect her. He wasn't going to let anyone decide her fate for her. "Then I'll burn away that destiny!!" Natsu yelled as his hands began to heat up. " I won't let anyone take away Lucy's future!" He punched Rougue with all the anger that built inside of him.
Then, he suddenly registered Lucy's last request. He would protect the future. He would protect hers.
"I promise," he choked out as more tears stained his cheeks. 'I promise, Lucy, I'll make sure we all make it home.'
Lucy sat on the cold floor, looking down at her future self. Her dead self. Her face burned as the tears continued to burst out of her eyes.
She didn't get it. Why would Rougue think she'd close the door if it threatened everyone's lives? How'd she loose her arm? Where was Natsu?
The thought of Natsu possibly not existing in the future made the tears continue to flow. And yet, she lived up until now... Did she not protect him?
She looked up to the fight in front of her. Natsu was fighting... for her, again. Why?! Why must it always be like this?! Did he die protecting her like he always did?
"Natsu," she cried, her voice low in a whisper. "I'll protect you... I won't let you go..."
Both Lucy and Natsu had made a promise. They never wanted to feel this pain again. They wouldn't let the other get hurt again. They would go back home, to Fairy Tail. And if they weren't to return to their guild, they'd be side by side until the end, whether it be going through that gate, captured by the Imperial Army, or at death's door.