Gray has never felt anything hotter than this in his pathetic, useless life. It’s a different kind of heat, scorching and burning and painful, and maybe he’s in hell. Maybe Deliora finally caught up to him— his parents, Ur, Ultear, fuck, maybe Lyon, but no— no.
There’s something sitting on his chest and Gray might be dying, he might be burning to fucking ash, and despite feeling as though he’ll never feel anything again he somehow manages to cry, because—
“Who convinced you that you were alone in this?” He asks, and no one hears him. Just this beast on his chest, this amalgamation of human flesh and dragon scales, and Gray has never hurt more in his life.
There’s a fist being raised, and god, Natsu has always been the sun. Always been the stars in Gray’s sky, but right now— he’s ethereal, he’s glowing, there’s a phantom in his soulless eyes that’s somehow more beautiful than every other time Gray’s allowed himself to gaze at them, and he can’t help it— if this is how he goes, it’s okay.
“I love you,” he says, just one final confession to the galaxy that is Natsu, to his sun and his sky and his moon, because it’s okay. As long as it’s him, it’s okay. “As long as it’s you. As long as it’s you, It’s okay.”
Because who else? Who else apart from the one person in Gray’s life who’s ever wanted him to live? Who else apart from the person who Gray’s so intimately enamoured with that it hurts should be the one to wash him away from this world? Who else but Natsu— who else but the boy Gray has been in love with his entire life?
He feels the aftermath; the force in the air as this fist of Natsu’s slams to a stop inches away from his face, but Gray doesn’t open his eyes. Just keeps talking. Keeps talking, since it’s all he can do anymore.
“Do you remember when you— when you told me to live, on Galuna?” He hiccups, eyes squeezed shut so tightly he thinks it’ll cause him permanent damage. “You were— the first person. The first person to ever tell me that. I love you. I love you, so much— and I’m sorry. I’d— I…”
He inhales, shakily.
“I’d do anything for you,” he whispers, eyes finally sliding open to stare at the blue sky above them, and it’s like a burden has been blown away from his shoulders. “You mean everything to me.”
God, does Natsu know how much he means to Gray? Does he? How does he even begin to put this in words? How does Gray even begin to explain that Natsu has always been his— his everything?
“How do I even tell you?” He asks himself, almost inaudibly, “how do I explain how much you mean to me?”
It’s so silent. He thinks he’s dead, for a good while, feeling the temperature around them plummet to what he assumes is normal— he can’t remember, really. The entire city— maybe even the country— is ruined.
It’s a little calming, to be the only ones in the aftermath of such destruction. He exhales through his mouth slowly, mirth bubbling up in his chest, because is this his heaven? Lying in the centre of mass demolition, just like old times, staring up into the eyes of—
There are tears dripping onto his face, and it takes him a second to realise they aren’t his.
“Gray,” Natsu gasps, and Gray has to pause to withstand the desperate tone in his voice. “Gray. Gray, Gray, Gray, god—”
And Natsu is crying, full-blown sobs, resting his forehead onto Gray’s collarbone and is he dead? Is this his heaven? Fuck, when’d he decide he was going to heaven? If Natsu is weeping above him, then surely this is hell.
But Natsu is clutching at him now, once scaled arms now just burnt bloody and beat, and this is real. This is real because Gray is sitting up a second later, despite the excruciating pains in his body, and he’s pulling Natsu closer than he’s ever been before.
“I’m sorry,” Natsu wails, nails digging into the skin of Gray’s back as they embrace, and Gray can’t take it anymore— he can’t take this anymore. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
“I forgive you,” he breathes, wrenching Natsu’s face away from where it was buried in his neck. He holds his face in his hands, whirring cool magic between them to help settle the heat, and stares into Natsu’s warm brown eyes. “I forgive you. I’d forgive you a thousand times. A million.”
“Lucy’s dead,” Natsu sobs, and that can’t be right— that can’t be right because it was Lucy who sent him here in the first place. “Lucy’s dead and I couldn’t save her.”
“No. No she isn’t,” Gray cries with him, because what had they been through? What had been going through Natsu’s head? Losing someone important again and again and again? “She told me to come find you. She’s okay. She’s okay, Natsu. It’s okay.”
His fingers travel, so very carefully, from Natsu’s face to his hair— pushing the strands back, soothing him as he mourns what he has to mourn, cries in relief because it’s Gray, and Gray would never lie to him. They’re so close, Natsu is sitting between Gray’s legs and they’re curled around each other, and it’s okay.
It’s going to be okay.