"Bringing home the puppy was one thing, but this is crossing the line, Ig."
Gildarts was already irritable as he re-entered his apartment across from their university. He'd just brought back a lovely brunette woman to entertain, his roommate having told him that he'd be out for a while studying. But instead, he'd returned to Igneel's frantic face, scarlet hair wild, butting in and babbling about how he had something urgent to talk about. The girl had left awkwardly, pulling her winter coat back on and striding with hurried steps out the door. Gildarts was pretty sure that was the last time he'd see her.
But none of those frustrations compared to this.
Igneel had walked out of his room after the girl had left, holding a bundle of blankets with pink fluff poking out the top.
Hesitantly, his roommate had turned the blankets to reveal a tiny child, probably les than a year old, with light skin and shocking pink hair. Gildarts had met Igneel's eyes in some kind of wonderment and horror, muttering, "What did you do?!"
"I-I couldn't leave him!" Igneel protested, bringing the bundle back up to hold to his chest. "It was cold out-I heard him crying when I was walking back to get something I forgot and… and he was in a dumpster, Gild! His family left him with only a note saying: take this bastard, we don't want him. You can't tell me you would've left him!"
Gildarts blinked quickly. "W-well that is terrible, Igneel, and of course I would have picked him up… but why did you bring him here? Why not to the police? Your dad is the chief, after all. He should be put in a foster home, or adopted. They might not even know he exists!"
"Foster homes are no place for a baby," Igneel reproachfully sniffed. "And the red tape for American adoptions is so long - it would take him years to be adopted! This is an important stage in his life where he needs affection and proper nourishment to turn out well; not an orphanage."
Curse Igneel's sociology 101 class, Gildarts internally groaned. "Ig, I'm not sure-"
"Looook at him Gildarts," Igneel cooed, brushing the baby's face with a finger. "Baby Natsu just wants a home with two caring parents…"
"You named him?!" Gildarts choked. "Now you're gonna get attached to-! Oh…"
Igneel had passed over the child, plopping him into Gildarts arms. He could only stare. Little Natsu was sleeping soundly, his button of a nose red with cold, long eyelashes fluttering with dreams. A hand of delicate, chubby fingers curled around Gildarts' thumb.
Gulping thickly, Gildarts murmured, "Hullo, Natsu…"
Igneel's eyes were too hopeful and wide. Natsu's fingers were too tiny and smooth. Gildarts was too damn soft.
And with one touch of Natsu's hand, he was hooked.
"How old is he?" he whispered gently.
"No idea," Igneel admitted. "We'd take him to the doctor, maybe get him checked out."
"I know what you're gonna say, Ig," Gildarts sighed, brushing a hand through Natsu's surprisingly thick hair. "You wanna keep him."
"C'mon, pleeeeease?" begged Igneel, actually lowering to his knees with emphasis, clutching pathetically at the end of Gildarts t-shirt. "He's all alooone and he can stay in my room and your dad keeps sending you money that you swear you won't use for your tuition or child support for your daughter and my tuition is already paid off from my grandfather's inheritance so why not use our extra for Natsu?! No one will know and I'll change the diapers and if anyone asks, we can pretend he's my son-"
"And you know what I'm gonna say?"
"Let's raise this damn thing ourselves."
"I know you already have a kid to send money to but- wait, what?"
"You heard me." With a wide grin, Gildarts repeated, "Let's do this. We're always looking for adventure. We've already taken all the exchange trips-this is an adventure we can have right here! Besides." Gildarts poked Natsu's rosy cheek. "I need practice for helping with Cana when her mother lets me. We're good with kids, right?"
After gaping in pure astonishment that his groveling must've paid off, Igneel shot up, saying loudly, "Hell yeah we are! I'm fired up now!"
Gildarts laughed, clutching Natsu close to him. "Okay, first question, though… why is his hair pink?"
Igneel's beam suddenly evolved into a more sheepish expression, tentatively saying, "Well… you know how Grandeeny was talking about wanting a hair dye for highlights that lasted longer?"
"W-well I thought she'd like it if… If I made a permanent hair dye, something safe for the hair and skin, since I'm a chemistry major and all... " Igneel twisted his hands. "She wanted reddish, but it turned out pink and-and I forgot it was in the shampoo bottle and he was filthy so I used it and… well, it worked!"
"You mean this is permanent?! Igneel, he'll be made fun of by the other kids when he gets older!"
"I didn't mean to!" Igneel practically wailed. Gildarts was mostly amused at this point, though; it was rare that he saw this side of his roommate. Igneel was a quieter fellow, a bit awkward around women, but for the most part was well respected immediately at the sound of his deep, powerful voice. An easy, agreeable roommate and friend to have… usually. "Besides, I think he looks fine! It's cute! Girls will love him-girls like pink!"
"You know about as much about girls as Natsu does," Gildarts muttered. "Okay, whatever. We'll have to set up some rules and since I've seen Cana be taken care of before, I'll give some pointers. Firstly, you don't use adult shampoo and body wash. Baby skin and hair is sensitive-we'll need to go out and buy special stuff for him."
Nodding eagerly, Igneel grabbed a nearby notepad from their rickety, kitchen table and began to write a grocery list as Gildarts continued, "We'll also need a crib, a baby blanket, toys, a car seat, bottles… ah, baby food-he's obviously off of breast milk or formula if his parents were that neglectant. I'll help you pick it out. Then some clothes, preferably onsies with the bottom buttoned so we can change him easier, diapers… We'll look online for more stuff we'll need, and for clues as to how old he might be. Now he's probably hungry; let's take him to a baby store before he wakes up."
Igneel ripped the paper from the pad, stuffing it into his pocket. His eyes were locked on Natsu. "We're gonna raise a baby together."
Gildarts was getting rather more excited than he expected. "Bro, we're gonna fuckin' raise this baby together."
"We should probably stop swearing around a baby."
Wal-Mart had already been an adventure.
Igneel had insisted on holding the baby in the backseat, because babies were apparently not meant for the front seat and he'd be able to "shield our precious son from your insane driving".
They'd proceeded to carry a still-sleeping Natsu throughout the store, picking out the most cushy car seat they could find, a sturdy, fold up crib, a small, blue and fuzzy blanket, several onesies, winter outfits, pacifiers, tiny socks and shoes (the ones that flashed when he walked around, of course), several kinds of bland baby food that Gildarts pointed out, some special milk for babies, baby shampoo and soap, softer towels, a set of bottles and plastic dishes…
"So many diapers." Igneel frowned. "We must get the best kind for Natsu!"
"Uhh, yeah," Gildarts said, glancing with raised eyebrows at his roommate. "Well, my ex always bought Huggies… and baby powder, so that Cana wouldn't get a rash."
"Let's do it!" Igneel said with conviction, snatching a massive bag of easy movement, absorbent Huggies from the shelf to throw into the cart. "He needs more toys!"
"We have some extra money, but we do have a budget, ya know, if we want to have enough money to keep him," Gildarts tried to remind him, but Igneel didn't seem to hear him, hiking Natsu higher up on his shoulder before zooming off. With a sigh, he followed his roommate, finding him sifting through a wall of colorful plastic and light, plush fabrics.
As soon as Igneel saw him approach, his eyes lit up, pointing fervently to Natsu. "He's awake!"
Gildarts jogged up, eager to see the boy's eyes for the first time. As he peered over Igneel's shoulder, his gaze was met with big, shimmering eyes of the darkest green. He was blinking up at both of them in continued confusion, but he did not complain. On the contrary, he smiled at them, for some reason, so incredibly delighted to see them. Though he still held the slowness of lethargy, Natsu raised his little, fat fists, waving them around in apparent excitement.
"Hey there, Natsu," Igneel said soothingly.
"Ig! Ig!" was Natsu's response.
Gildarts stared. "He knows your name?"
"We were practicing it earlier," Igneel said proudly. "I figured we couldn't both be 'Dada' or somethin', so he should use nicknames." Holding Natsu up on his hip, he took the little hand in his own and waved it in Gildarts' direction. "Natsu, this is Gildarts. Say hi!"
He seemed to pick up on things quick—smart little bugger. "Hi..." Natsu sang out, reaching towards him. "Gid! Gid!"
Hastily, Gildarts accepted him in his arms, trying to be unnaturally gentle. "H-hey, bud. Um… I guess we'll be taking care of you."
Natsu seemed to be attempting to climb up his jacket, and Gildarts gingerly removed the kid's fingers from his buttons. "Ah, we'll get you something else to play with." He held the baby away from him, trying to hold the blanket, which was Natsu's only version of clothing at the moment, since Igneel had removed Natsu's previous, dirty outfit, onto the baby's small body.
"Here," said Igneel busily, hands out for the child. "We'll have him pick one."
"He's a baby, Ig. He can't-"
Natsu instantly threw his hand out, reaching for a small dragon stuffed animal. This only seemed to make Igneel adore the kid even more as he exclaimed, "A dragon! Natsu understands my soul."
Rolling his eyes at his friend's abnormal dragon obsession, he shot back, possibly still irritated that his night with the girl had been interrupted, "Well, at least someone does, considering how you're pining after Metalicana's girl and unable to go for any other."
Gildarts may have deserved the glare he got in return. "Better than you, throwin' yourself at anythin' in a skirt. Grandine is special."
"Special is a nice word for it."
"Gildarts is a meanie, Natsu," Igneel huffed, holding up the baby to look him in the eye. "I am your role model, not him. Remember that."
"Ig!" Natsu said.
A short while after they'd gotten home, Natsu had ceased to be a little angel and grew into a screaming mess, crying and writhing in Gildarts grasp.
"What do we do?" Igneel moaned, gripping at his hair. It was already one in the morning, and Natsu's tantrum stretched on. "I've tried to feed him, a-and his diaper, and… ugh…"
"Your turn," Gildarts choked, passing the baby back. Igneel took the boy quickly, bouncing him around with evident bags under his eyes and an anxious demeanor. With a huff, Gildarts grumbled, "I don't see how that's gonna hel-"
He trailed off when he saw Natsu fall limp in Igneel's hands, likely exhausted from all the effort he'd put forth in being a little monster.
"Is that how we do it?" Igneel said, surprised. "Just let him scream it out? Babies are easier than I thought!"
"Have I ever told you that you're stupid?"
"Just thought I should remind you. You're stupid."
*smashes head against wall* WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE. I got this idea from an anon on Tumblr and I couldn't resist writing it. This story will just be a few chapters of fluffy nonsense. Ignore me. I should be doing other thiiings with my life...
But alas, baby Natsu being raised by Igneel and Gildarts is too important.
BTW I am not crack shipping Gildarts and Igneel. XD NO. They are besties and roommates and a crack brotp based on how they both see themselves sort of as Natsu's dad.
Hope you enjoyed the randomness, but I won't have time to update for a while.