Part 3 Ghost of Me

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 Natsu traipsed behind his friends, hands behind his head, thinking aimlessly. He didn't understand why Lucy wouldn't go to school with them; she was never the type to play a mother-like a role or sit back while they went places. His partner and best friend liked to learn new things-liked new adventures-none of her new character added up in his mind. This wasn't something he could fix with magic or by being his usual self and that frustrated him to no end.

"Oi, Flame Brain, we have trained with Urahara after school later. Text Lucy the time." Icicle Ass slammed into his shoulder, Natsu shoved right back a hand slipping into his uniforms pocket and pulling out a slim red device.

That was another weird thing about Earth-Luce had told him Earth was not Earthland after reading one of those books that always gave him concussions-those devices-cell phones were used for communication; not unlike communications lacrima and various other type things. His phone was slim, red, flipped, and had two games on it to keep him distracted. But those were beside the point. He pressed a few buttons to find Luce's contact information and sent her a text containing their training information and for assistance on that damn bird game he sword Grey created.

Mission done he slipped the device back in his pocket knowing Luce had read the message. "'Ey, Icicle Ass, when can we go on a mission? This is boring!" Natsu complained.

His group-everyone who came with him from Fairy Tail-turned to stare at him while Ichigo and Rukia continued on; by now they were used to his particular brand of crazy-though Ichigo believed the pinkette was ADHD but he digressed.

Erza glanced up from her cake catalogue-Luce had given it to the redhead to calm her-as if his complaint sparkled something, Gajeel let out his 'gihi' and Grey perked up.

"You are correct; Natsu, a mission sounds like something we head." Erza turned to Rukia and Ichigo. Natsu's phone dinged but pushed that to the back of his mind this was more important. "Where can we find a mission."

Rukia glanced back at them, her violet eyes taking in her level of seriousness, before sighing, Natsu's hopes sunk; sighing like that never meant anything good.

"All of you are still new substitute soul reapers there are no 'missions' for you to compete. Until you are able to master your zanpaktou you will have no such orders until Kisuke, Isshin, or any high ranking soul reaper deems you fit." Rukia turned back around to continue their walk.

Everyone deflated from her words. Once again there was another difference between these worlds. Natsu sighed and pulled out his phone to read the text and promptly sighed again. Why oh why did Lucy know him so well? No missions Natsu.

Class was boring that day once everyone slipped into their approached seats. Somehow Isshin had managed to keep everyone together in the same class though they were grouped about the classroom. Natsu was by a window with Toshiro and Rangiku flanking him Mobile Freezer was to his right. Sadly they couldn't fight lest Scary Lucy-and Akuma-make an appearance during training. Once was enough.

Today every lesson dragged on like their seven-year gap; oh how he wanted to go out and do missions, he craved a life he could never have again. If only Luce hadn't-he stopped that thought before it could finish. None of this Lucy's fault.

Keep telling yourself that, pup. E.N.D. purred in his mind. He shut the demon up.

Somehow instead of Natsu being E.N.D. the last book of Zeref was its own person in his psyche. However, E.N.D. never made himself appear like Lucy or Ichigo, really he was like Natsu's inner voice or something. Conundrum indeed.

"Please turn to page 250 of your books, problems one through twenty-five will be due tomorrow as homework. Class rep." His teacher piled her things away as their class representative called them to stand, bow and dismissed them. By some miracle, none of them had chores so they were to head straight to Kisuke's shop.

Natsu ran to Lucy once she was in his line of sight, his arms engulfing her slim form. Her scent had changed-he found, nose buried in her hair-from strawberries with a hint of vanilla to a clean fresh minty scent. And she had lost weight being thinner than his arms remembered, her arms had more definition from where they hugged him tightly, Lucy of Fairy Tail was truly gone, this was a new Lucy he didn't know wasn't sure he wanted to know her.

Lucy released him first and handed him freshly washed training clothes taking his school bag from him. He nodded in thanks and headed to the underground training area as Lucy did the same to theirs. She really had changed.

Natsu, Lucy, Grey, Erza, Wendy, Gajeel, and Levy stood in their training clothes next to each other facing their respective trainers. Ichigo trained with Lucy-as always-with Isshin stepping in, Ikkaku went Erza, Wendy had Hanataro and Tessai-who also worked with every former Dragon Slayer-Levy was to work with Kisuke while Gajeel had Yoruichi, and Grey worked with Rukia and Toshiro. Yumichika, Renji, Rangiku joining in where they pleased.

Natsu had to work on bringing forth his true zanpakotou; for some reason once Hi no Yosei made it into his possession from Lucy the blades spirit refused to make contact with him. Grey didn't have this problem nor did any of his friends. It seemed this was a Natsu only problem.

An intense gust of wind nearly Natsu off his feet, he glanced at Lucy. That tempest carrying Lucy's new scent along with an earthy and coal scents; Isshin and Ichigo. Lucy had donned her shihakusho, Renji carrying her limp body away from their training area.

Lucy stood clashing blades with a hollowified Ichigo-Lucy's own mask covering her face-her bankai gathering reitsu for Munchairudo-Moon Child. Ichigo's own Bankai out as he bisected Lucy's next strike. Isshin stood behind them watching the two duel it out with arms crossed.

Natsu turned away from that trio his jaw clenched. He wished he could do that as well, he glanced at his generic blade, he couldn't even talk to his zanpaktou much less change into his shihakusho like everyone already was. Rukia had used her glove to draw his soul out but nothing had happened. They'd even had him use a perverted Lucy obsessed lion stuffy to bring him out; it failed.

His eyes swept over his other former dragon slayers each mastering their chosen art; Wendy's healing zanpaktou, Gajeel had no Shikai or bankai but he was in his shihakusho. Around him, everyone was enjoying themselves except him. Natsu shut his eyes, roaming his thoughts. Screw this. He growled internally. He spun on his heel and vanished to Erza's and Grey's loud shouts. I want to go back. 

A/N: I know I had said these were going to be daily updates but transferring the story to cell phone didn't provide any opportuinuty for editing so I've gone back to updating in chunks. I apologize for the sudden change, hopefully next chapter makes up for it.

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