Disclaimer: I do not own Fairy Tail.
"Will you come with me?"
Gajeel wasn't one to admit to being surprised or caught off guard, but he was relieved to actually be sitting after hearing her words. Natsu shot a loaded look in his direction, something he hadn't been aware the flame brain was capable of outside of battle.
Their weighted looks and silent conversation only processed in seconds, but Wendy stood rooted in her spot, bashfully hanging her head and tangling her fingers in wait. To her, it felt like an eternity.
"Of course they will."
The two dragon slayers shot their attention to Erza, but Gajeel didn't miss the scrawny elbow nudging his side or the subtle brush of Lucy's hand over Natsu's elbow in encouragement.
They weren't hard pressed to do something for the small sky dragon slayer. Requesting them to accompany her to reunite with her mother was just something a little more serious than patching up skinned knees or reaching the extra roll of gauze stored on the top shelf. Besides, Gajeel had heard stories of the sky dragon and after learning who exactly Porlyusica was, it was more than a fair bit intimidating.
Female dragons were known for being notoriously protective of their young and monitoring just who had access to them.
Natsu slid from his seat, giving the empty spot in the booth up to Juvia. He popped his hands up on his hips and grinned down at the girl. "Sure thing, Wendy."
The iron dragon slayer rose from his spot as well, making his way around the table and stopping only to quickly ruffle the younger girl's hair. Wendy quietly titled her head, smiling at him.
As they made the trio made their out out of the guild and into the sunshine, Gajeel snorted to catch the other's attention.
"Y'know the second the doors close on our heels, the place's going to erupt in mayhem."
The fire dragon slayer flashed a toothy grin at Gajeel and nodded. "That's Fairy Tail for ya."
Gajeel dropped his gaze back to Wendy, his tone becoming more serious. "Speakin' of which, they'll want ya to answer a lot of questions to answer once we get back."
She hummed, nodding once and looking forward. Wendy recalled what it had been like for Natsu, Lucy, and Happy once they'd come back into the guild. The frigid chill hadn't even dissipated from their hair and clothes before the guild hall had shoved over tables and chairs to voice their curiosities and hear the fire dragon slayer's story. Thinking she would have to endure the same treatment was more than a little overwhelming, but she knew they only did it out of love for her. "I know."
Natsu met Gajeel's eye before he ducked down to her eye level. "If ya don't wanna, we'll fight 'em off. You just give us the say so."
Wendy beamed and drew herself up to her full height, raising her chin and bouncing on her heels as she did. "I can handle it…Sh-should we go get Grand- I mean, Porlyusica?"
"Nah, I bet she's already with Grandine waitin' for ya!" Natsu's usual mischievous grin spread across his face and, without warning, he slung her around his back. "You don't want to keep your mom waiting, do you?"
She scrambled for only a minute, finding purchase around his neck and burying her face into the old scarf that smelled like a campfire. "Of course not…L-let's go."
"Think you can keep up, rusted nails?" Natsu looked at Gajeel with a challenge in his eyes, canines flashing.
Gajeel's piercings glinted smugly in the high sun as he raised of an eyebrow. "Like hell, matchstick. You just set yer pace and I'll take it easy on ya."
The young girl would have laughed at the exchange if she could have, but Natsu's immediate flight to beat Gajeel into the forest snapped the wind against her face and pricked in her lungs, stealing away her voice.
For the first time in ten years, she felt the great dragon's magic on the air and caught the comforting scent of her mother.
As she hid her face from the biting wind, Wendy thought back to when Natsu recounted his reunion with Igneel, how the flame dragon had said the others weren't but a few days behind him.
That had been in the dead of Winter, before the new year began, and now it was late spring. The wait had been nearly too much for her. Wendy's heart ached for the silver scales that smelled of clouds and freedom. It had taken all of her will not to lose hope with every passing day she did not get to throw her arms around Grandine's neck.
Natsu had put her spirit back to rights when he had excitedly bounced up to her, yanking her from the guild and out into the cold, Carla flying right on their heels with the girl's winter hat in her paws. She was presented to Igneel without hesitation and the old dragon had happily curled his warm tail around his son and Wendy, telling them stories of the past.
Stories of her mother.
Her nerves bit at her heartbeat as she rubbed her cheek deeper into Natsu's scarf. Igneel's stories stayed on loop in her mind, forcing her nerves to melt into excitement and to spill over the fierce sense of loss.
She didn't have to mourn anymore.
A rough tug on a lock of her hair and a rumbling, 'Ya hangin' in there, kid?' brought her out of Natsu's scarf. Gajeel scoffed at her timid expression, his chest heaving with the effort to catch his breath. Natsu's heart beat loud and fast against the side of her face, and his laugh was breathy and quiet with his own struggle for breath. She hadn't even noticed they had stopped only yards away from Porlyusica's cottage.
Gingerly, she slid from Natsu's back and took a few steps forward. Wendy sniffed the air, her fingers twitched and unbidden tears pricked her eyes. She rubbed her sleeve quickly over her eyes and glanced back, raising her chin. "I am."
Natsu trumped forward and threw an arm over Wendy's shoulders. "Y'know what this means, don'tcha? Metalicana is the slowest dragon in the world."
"Oi, watch yer mouth!" The fire dragon slayer only laughed raucously and snatched her hand, dragging her deeper into the forest with Gajeel cursing at their backs. "Yer're gonna pay for that, Salamander!"
They'd only just begun running when a booming voice stopped them dead in their tracks.
"You brats had better not be bringing a fight near my house!" Porlyusica appeared from the brush, same steely gaze and cool demeanor as always. Yet when her cardinal eyes set on Wendy, something softened and beckoned her to step forward to the older woman. "You're ready, child?"
She glanced back to her friends- brothers, she wryly thought. The thought of them learning how she saw them pulled a smiled to her lips. Natsu would probably declare he was her favorite and Gajeel would've just shoved the young dragon slayer's face away from his personal space and rolled his eyes, indifferently going along with what she had claimed. She knew he would be pleased, nonetheless.
Wendy looked up at Porlyusica, smiling calmly and letting the sun glint off her own sharpened canines. "Yes."
Porlyusica had just brought them within sight of a clearing when Wendy took off from their group.
The apothecary held her hand up when the two behind her made to follow. In all the years he had known her, Natsu had never seen the hag come close to smiling, but he couldn't help to notice the contented look on her face; it was a mix relief and happiness after years of wait. "The child will be fine."
A thought struck him then. "Sh-She's not gonna eat us is she?"
Gajeel groaned and slapped a hand to his forehead. "Are you serio-"
She snorted and narrowed her eyes on them. "If I was the dragon, I would have gobbled you troublemakers up years ago." Porlyusica led them into the clearing, smirking at their dumbstruck expressions. "Just watch your mouths, brats."
They had arrived just in time to see the Wendy throw her arms over her mother's muzzle. Tears clouded her vision as the little sky dragon was finally, finally, able to be with Grandine again.
The air around them sighed, the leaves and blades of grass barely waving with the breeze. "My little one, what's wrong?"
Wendy sniffed and pressed her ear to Grandine's chest, letting her foster mother's heartbeat pound against her cheek. "I missed you, momma."
Grandine pulled away from her daughter's hold, gently nudging her head against the girl's side and knocking her to the soft field of grass. "You have grown so, I am sorry I missed it."
Wendy's laugh wobbled with the force of her sob, but her movements were swift and sure. She settled back in the crook of her mother's broad elbow, forgetting the rest of their company for the time being. "You won't leave again, will you?"
"No, my little one. We won't be separated again." Grandine curled her neck, leaning forward to sweep her flat nose over Wendy's long hair. The only response to the sky dragon's statement was her child's loud, even purr.
Gajeel blinked and jerked his chin to catch Natsu's attention. "Did you know she could do that?"
The flame dragon slayer started to shrug his shoulders and answer when Porlyusica turned to them both and leveled a glare on them. "Quiet, brats."
As instructed, they fell silent, patiently listening to Wendy tell Grandine about Carla and visiting Edolas and the guild. Natsu watched as the old hag's attention turned to Wendy's story too, completely forgetting her stern watch on him and Gajeel. He quickly elbowed the other dragon slayer in the side, not moving his gaze from Wendy and Grandine.
The iron dragon slayer hissed and glowered at him. "What the hell's the matter with you?"
Without tearing his eyes from Wendy, he spoke. "Think we should go back to the guild now?"
Grandine's tail twitched, undulating through the grass and sweeping another breeze through the forest. This one decidedly colder as the white glow of her feathers refracted the afternoon's sunlight, the fur of the great dragon's neck raising as her eyes fell on Natsu and Gajeel. Her deadly, silent gaze served to make the male dragon slayers take one step back.
Gajeel grumbled under his breath, "Way to go, Salamander."
Wind pulsed through the trees, shaking their limbs and sending birds rocketing into the sky as she spoke. "Ah, I had hoped she would meet you, Natsu Dragneel. Igneel was too stubborn to see what good the children of dragon slayers could do together years ago, and he told me to keep out of human affairs." Her eyes narrowed as another thought occurred to her. "Although, perhaps I misjudged. Your reputation expands through even the dragons' country." Her bright eyes swung to Gajeel next, the azure shade of them deepening as she took in the son of Metalicana. "I had only hoped she would have a friendlier relationship than what the two of you share. You're both just like your fathers."
Natsu shared a hurried glance with Gajeel before ducking his chin into his scarf and scratching the back of his head. "What can you expect?"
Another breeze swept through the clear, Grandine's laugh swirling around them. "Indeed." She studied them, amusement curling in her wide mouth as she looked to her counterpart. "You've known them since they were young?"
Porlyusica snorted and crossed her arms. "Only Igneel's brat. Metalicana's delight has only been around for a few years, but I had known of him for much longer."
Natsu took another measured step, this time away from Gajeel and closer to Porlyusica. The ex-Phantom Lord mage only fidgeted in his spot, glaring and mouthing 'traitor' at the other dragon slayer.
The elder mage only snorted, having caught the entire exchange before she continued. "Both of them- destruction waiting to happen wherever they go."
Wendy gently ruffled her hands through the downy feathers at Grandine's neck. "They watch out for me. They even tried to help teach me more about being a dragon, like how to roar better."
The apothecary turned back on them, her sour glare freezing them in place. "That's all we need, you two belligerent show offs teachin' the girl your foul habits. You ought to know better, knowing she's a sky dragon slayer. Messin' with the air's no slight matter."
Gajeel smirked and folded his arms across his chest, a dose of his usual confidence slipping back into place at her accusation. "We know. 'S why we just demonstrated the form and how to open her lungs up. The girl knows better'n that to open her mouth and level the town with one good holler just for practice."
"It was like a singing lesson, momma," Wendy whispered to Grandine.
The fire dragon slayer's wall of reserve cracked as he doubled over in guffaws. "You don't wanna singing lesson from the weather vane here, trust me."
"Oi!" Gajeel swiped for Natsu, missing by a ridiculously pink hair's breadth as his intended target ducked away. "I'll kick yer ass for that, Salamander."
Grandine shook her head, a breeze rolling through the trees and the males' hair. "Yes, just like your fathers. They've a right to be proud of their hatchlings." She ticked her broad head, watching them again as their defenses lowered and the tang of iron and heat weighed the air alongside her own magic. "As for your guild…"
The sky dragon slayer tucked both of her talons around Wendy, curling her tail around her body to playfully flick the long, navy ponytail that spilled over her arm. She watched her lost child nuzzle deeper into her feathers, once more tangling her fingers there and scratching the skin of her mother's neck. "You will relay to your guild my gratitude and give Makarov, your celestial mage, the little word one, and- ah, what was her name- Cana, my request to see them. They have helped her and for her to speak so highly of them, I'm curious."
Gajeel nodded solemnly, his traditional air of accepting a dragon's request broken as he slapped a hand to his head again at Natsu's reaction. The fire dragon slayer had bounded up to Grandine and daringly smoothed a patch of her feathers.
He flashed a grin at her and shot a thumbs up into her line of sight. "You got it, boss!"
The iron dragon slayer scrubbed his hand over his face, his words muffled by his palm. "Startin' to think that question about him getting eaten earlier isn't so unfounded."
Porlyusica scoffed, "You only know the half of it, brat." She turned to Gajeel then. "The girl'll stay at my house tonight. But don't let the rest of that damn guild come bangin' down my door to ask her questions. The cat may come if she likes."
"Aye." Gajeel was about to call Natsu back, stopping dead as he turned back to Grandine.
Natsu closed in on Wendy, shaking her shoulder to wake her up, his whisper not even close to quiet. "Yo, Wendy. Wendy! Wendy, we're going to go back to the guild now."
The iron dragon slayer stomped up to him, snatching him by his collar to drag him away. "Get yer ass back! I knew you were stupid, but this is ridiculous."
"What? Grandine doesn't mind!"
"Right. A female dragon is going to be okay with you jostling her young while they're still in her arms."
Grandine chuckled, stirring her daughter further. "I do not mind, I know Wendy would want to say goodbye before you left." A smarmy grin began to unwind across Natsu's face, but the sky dragon was quick to cut it off. "But I would not suggest making it a habit." Wendy sat up and stretched, not bothered by the little shove her mother pressed to her back. "Wake up, my little one."
A yawn broke her murmur of agreement, stretching the syllables to be near incomprehensible. The little dragon slayer freed herself from the resting spot and tripped forward, snaking her arms around Natsu and clutching her fingers into the back of his coat. "Thank you."
"Don't go gettin' sappy on me now, Wendy!" The fire dragon slayer scooped her up and swung her around, pulling an indignant squeak from the girl.
In the time it took her to untangle herself from Natsu's hold and approach Gajeel, the man had shifted his weight uncomfortably multiple times. Wendy laughed and latched her arms around his middle without hesitance. She stayed quiet as his figure gradually relaxed in her hold and his hand finally smoothed over her head. The older dragon slayer sighed and looped an arm lazily around her shoulders.
A/N: Give me more dragon slayer sibling shenanigans or give me death.