"The rest is still unwritten."
Lucy smiled as she stepped through the gate with practiced ease, her husband at her side, as the rest of their insane family tumbled through eagerly into her birth world.
She and Natsu hadn't brought anyone with them on their previous trips, enjoying their time here as a chance to get away from the insanity for a few days. However, this trip was special. She giggled as she watched them look around her living room in complete fascination and gently shut the gate behind them.
She'd gotten better at working with them over the last few years, and the results showed.
"Odds on the place being intact when we leave?" She murmured in amusement.
"Not any I'd bet on." Natsu snickered as he curled his arm around her waist and rubbed his hand over her rounded belly, "Don't care though. You got everything set up."
It had taken several months, and some very careful work, but Lucy's hoard was ready to be moved at last. He didn't mind. He had a large enough hoard to last them millennia. However, he respected her desire not to let anyone else get their hands on what was hers.
Though he was a little sad they were abandoning the lair they had here.
Still, he understood why they couldn't keep it forever. People would start asking questions eventually, and neither one of them had any desire to touch whatever was left of the network Zeref had built here.
"Lucy, how does this thing stay cold?" Gray called from where he'd wandered into the kitchen and was inspecting the refrigerator by opening and closing the doors on it.
"Electricity Gray." She replied absently, "And stop messing with the doors. The couple that bought this place is very nice, and I want to leave as much as possible in good condition for them."
There was a brief pause as Gray looked over to where Lucy was sitting down with a sigh of relief, her back to him, "How did you...?"
Lucy rolled her eyes and glanced over her shoulder at him, her hands absently rubbing against her very large and round belly, "The doors aren't exactly quiet you know." She drawled, "And you're forgetting who my first visitor was."
Natsu cackled softly as he joined her and snuggled up to her side, happily rubbing his hand over her belly too.
It had been nearly nine months since it happened, but he could still hardly believe he was going to be a father. It still seemed like a strange miracle that should belong to someone else but somehow landed on him.
"Lucy," Jellal spoke up before an argument could break out, "Would it be possible to explore your world a little before we head back?"
"Yeah!" Levy spoke up eagerly, "I'd love to see that bookstore you keep talking about! Maybe we could find some things to help flesh out the next library."
"You mean there ain't stuff you've put in that library yet?" Gajeel teased with a smirk, "You're slackin' shrimp."
Levy stuck her tongue out at Gajeel, "We're going to need more books for your reading-hungry children!"
Gajeel's lips just spread out into an even wider smirk, "They get that from their ma."
Lucy let out a quiet laugh, her arms looping around Natsu's pink head, where it was buried against her neck, "I think that's a great idea. And with our little one on the way, we're going to have to have plenty of books for him to read."
"Knowing our luck, the runts are going to go all dragon on us and try to hoard the books away," Gray called from the other side of the room, looking amused by the whole exchange - if a little disappointed his own wife couldn't come along. She was a water sprite, and being magical in nature - well they hadn't wanted to risk her turning into a puddle of water.
Natsu grunted, his thumb lightly tracing over Lucy's skin, a wide grin on his face, "If anything, ours will be a writer. With as much as Lucy's been doing lately, it wouldn't surprise me."
"Oh that's right!" Erza practically charged into the room, her red hair almost flyaway with her excitement, "We absolutely must go to the bookstore. I require fifty copies of your novel Lucy!"
"What! Why? You all already know the story, don't you?" Lucy protested feebly. She was not at all opposed to them buying books, but having them read her writing was well... embarrassing.
"That's hardly the point Lucy." Erza replied sternly, "You've written the story out. There's bound to be things in it I never heard about." She nodded authoritatively, her eyes gleaming, "And our children will want to learn the story themselves!"
"Yes!" She exclaimed, "It's decided! We must go forth and procure Lucy's book for posterity!"
"But... I..." Lucy protested as Erza began efficiently herding everyone with them towards the door.
"I don't think you're gonna win this one Lucy." Gray commented in amusement, "Might as well give in."
Lucy sighed and nudged Natsu, "Come on then. Help me up. I'm not letting them go without both of us there."
Natsu wrinkled his nose briefly in distaste at the thought of going out into Lucy's smelly world, her house was much nicer, but gamely got up and helped her to her feet.
"Are you gonna be okay walking so much?" He asked in concern, aware of how easily her feet got swollen and hurt.
Lucy nodded, "I should be fine." She promised, "As long as we don't overdo it or anything the walk is short and the weather's nice this time of year."
Natsu nodded and handed her purse to her. He wasn't about to argue with her, vividly remembering the last time he had been foolish enough to try, but there was no way he was letting her out of arms' reach either.
He was worried, and understandably so about their hatchling. After all, they were both very magical beings, and Natsu was a hodge podge of all sorts of things. He was honestly impressed he had managed to get Lucy pregnant at all being that his physiology was so vastly different from the average person.
That was bound to make their baby very special and very magical. So being in Lucy's magic-less home world made him nervous for both her and the child. So much so in fact, he had come over alone many times with Lucy opening gates for him just so he could get all of their stuff packed.
They were assured by all the healers they knew that Lucy's trip over would be safe for the baby, and Natsu was happy when he could still hear his child's heart beating strongly in his mother.
That didn't mean he was going to relax until they were back on their side of the gate.
So together they went to pick up several books at the Barnes & Noble. Even when it meant dodging the store's manager who Natsu and Gajeel avoided like the plague because of how much he reeked.
Natsu even managed to swipe a copy of one of Lucy's books himself. Because while he had already read her story in its rough drafts, he was a dragon, and he wanted a treasure from Lucy's world to keep.
He couldn't think of a better one.
Once they got back to the condo Lucy quickly sat down, gratefully ordered two dozen pizzas to tide everyone over after the insanity at the bookstore, and sighed as Natsu pulled her into his lap, glad to be off her feet, "I may need you to give me a massage when we get back."
"Sure thing." Natsu purred at her, leaning over to kiss her neck softly, pleased that the others were distracting themselves with their purchases so he could dote on her a little.
The bookstore had been… an interesting trip. To say the least.
Gajeel had trashed the place after the manager gave him a sneezing fit, so they'd gotten into trouble for that, and had to wait for the cops and statements and all that mess. Not to mention the paramedics when the bookshelves fell on the guy responsible for it in the first place.
At least the cops had decided Gajeel wasn't at fault and they could go pending further questioning.
Too bad they weren't going to get it.
After the pizzas had arrived and been devoured, Lucy got up, feeling much refreshed, and re-opened the gate at the prearranged time. The gate would only last for about half an hour or so as that was the maximum allowable time before it started to cause problems for the celestial realm. Thankfully, all the spirits had been prepared and moved out of the immediate area surrounding the gate so they would have all that time available.
It was amazing how accommodating they could be when one asked nicely.
"Alright people!" Natsu roared as he cracked his knuckles, "Let's go! This gate won't last long!"
What followed was a flurry of activity that Lucy didn't even try to follow as packages were passed through to those waiting on the other side, and in what seemed like a blink everything was through.
She smiled at Natsu in relief as he curled an arm around her waist and they stepped through back home.
The gate opened directly into their nest, finally having finished its construction. It had taken a very long time for it to be able to house them all comfortably, but the inside of the mountain had been hollowed out beautifully, with enough sky and natural light flooding through.
There was enough room for the dragons to transform if they wished and spread their wings. Natsu had dipped into his hoard finally enough to help move everyone in and remodel the place to their satisfaction.
The mountain became a community, almost like a small town of dragons lived within it, close enough to be involved with everyone's lives, but not enough to constantly find themselves in each other's business.
Yukino held the hands of two twins that looked just like their father and uncle, both donning snowy-white hair. After a year of moving into the nest, she and Sting finally had their wish of being able to start a family.
"Welcome back," she greeted them, "Did your trip go well?"
She released the hands of the two hatchlings, straining to get at Lucy and Natsu. They both laughed and latched onto one another's legs. Natsu reached out to steady his wife with one hand while he bent at the knees to sweep one of the twins under his arm.
"It was alright, ran into a few hiccups, Gajeel destroyed a store," Natsu tattled, balancing the hatchling on his hip and looping his arm around his small body.
Gajeel grunted sourly as he walked by with Levy.
"It was a bookstore," Levy whispered to Yukino, scandalized.
Lucy giggled as she ruffled her nephew's hair, feeling a strain she hadn't been aware she had fall off her shoulders entirely, "They'll be fine. We helped them clean up a little and gave them a really big sale."
"It wasn't my fault for once!" Natsu all but cackled, his arm hooking around the legs of the little one clinging to him. He instinctively twisted at the hips, carrying the squealing hatchling from side to side.
He lightly bumped heads with the snow haired boy and canted his head at him, "You guys play well with Erik and Kinana today? I hope you gave that scaly jerk a good workout."
"Natsu!" Yukino scolded lightly when her twins giggled. The one clinging to Lucy's side tugged on Natsu's pant leg.
"Uncle told us to tell you, 'pink isn't a manly color, you smell bad, and you're a little shit,'" The child parroted with an air of innocence that had all three adults gawking.
Yukino gathered her wits faster than most as Cobra's roaring laughter could be heard echoing further down the nest.
"Erik! You godda-" Yukino shrieked, only cut off mid sentence by Lucy's loud 'Yukino!'
But the other celestial mage was already off, snapping a head back at Natsu, "Don't you dare use my children as a way of getting even with Erik!"
She was already turning a mountain of gold and out of sight, while Natsu giggled at Erik's soon-to-be demise.
Every dragon in the nest probably had heard that. Or at least knew Yukino was on a warpath now.
Lucy sighed and shook her head, "C'mon you three. Let's go raid the kitchens."
She badly wanted to sit down again, and the communal kitchens were the one place she could do so while keeping three dragons occupied. Of course, she hadn't really expected Natsu to notice while he was cackling over Cobra getting a beat down via celestial spirit.
However, no sooner had she mentioned it than he took one look at her and set down the twin he was holding to scoop her up instead.
"Natsu!" She squawked in surprise, but he just grinned.
"You kinda look tired." Was his only explanation before he turned his attention to the twins, "C'mon you two! Let's make Lucy a snack!"
"Yeah!" The twins crowed excitedly and in short order she was being carried off regardless of her protests that she could still walk thank you very much.
"Natsu I just ate." She huffed as they rounded the corner to the kitchens, "I'm not hungry yet."
In the distance a muffled explosion followed by a heavy thump and a yelp of pain could be heard. It seemed Yukino had found Cobra.
Natsu squinted as he saw a flare of bright, holy light illuminate a portion of the ceiling, and realized Sting had no doubt gone to investigate the source of his wife's screaming. Those two made a fearsome duo when it came to protecting their hatchlings from corruption.
His gaze softened at the sight of Lucy, her arms crossed over her chest as he carried her. A flicker of giddy warmth shot through him at the sight, knowing full well he and Lucy would make a team just as good in protecting their little one.
He helped to herd the twins into the right area and set them on a task of making something 'super greasy' for Lucy.
There were seating areas both large and small to accommodate dragons and their human sized companions, so Natsu knelt and deposited his tiring wife onto the lavish cushions.
Gajeel was milling around with a tall, blond headed dragon, his arms crossed as they spoke in low voices. When the blond glanced over at them, he offered a curt nod and diverted his attention again.
Lucy smiled a bit at the back of the blond's head. Laxus had been a complete surprise to her when she'd found out, which was approximately thirty seconds before she'd demanded he be called immediately and dragged Natsu over to the lacrima by the ear demanding he apologize immediately.
She had not been pleased to discover the master's grandson had been chased out of his territory when Natsu had decided he wanted it a century or so back.
Not surprisingly the call had gone about as well as could be expected, but once Laxus had worked out they really did mean it about him being allowed to return he'd slowly begun sniffing around the nest.
Gajeel was the main point of contact for that, and she was pleased things seemed to be going well even if Laxus was still a bit frosty towards Natsu, and by extension her. Not that she could really blame him.
She looked up as Levy and Kinana appeared in the doorway with a pair of children that were replicas of their parents, and couldn't help smiling.
The elder of the two, a boy that was pure Gajeel down to the studs and the scowl, broke away from Kinana to join the twins in their 'cooking' efforts while his little sister climbed down Levy to trot over to Lucy and climb up next to her.
"Your tummy's bigger." The little girl whispered in awe, and Lucy grinned as she laid a hand on her belly.
"Yeah. The little one's going to join us any day now." She grimaced a little as she felt what had to be a tiny heel jam into her, "Hopefully sooner rather than later. He's as much a kicker as his daddy."
"You mean as much a kicker as his mommy," Natsu gave her a pout, but made room for the little girl to cautiously nestle closer and lay her ear against Lucy's rounded stomach.
"Maybe," Lucy laughed, but let out a quiet groan and wince, at another particularly painful thump from her baby. The sound attracted not only Natsu's intense attention, but the other dragons as well.
Lucy almost sighed in tired amusement at the lingering looks, even from Laxus - who wasn't yet a full member of the nest. She lifted a hand to gently pat at Natsu's jaw, who was staring at her so hard she thought she might have smelt some smoke coming from the pillows around her.
The strength of a nest was apparently shown in its offspring. So all of the dragons had a very strong paternal instinct when it came to hatchlings of any nature. While it was strong in both females and males, it seemed to assert itself more dominantly in the men. It was something which explained a lot about Natsu, and the careful way he always treated children, even while at his worst years ago.
Regardless, that meant whenever Lucy made a noise of pain or discomfort, she found herself the focus of their concerned glances.
Either that, or they were just really worried about a pregnant lady in a cave.
Which was a possibility. Even if it was a really nice cave.
"I'm fine Natsu, you're going to go cross eyed if you look at me that hard. I'm not due for at least another week, and we've been through this with Yukino," Lucy grinned.
"I know," Natsu grumbled at his wife, relaxing and slipping back into his cushions to wrap his arms grumpily around himself. He was keeping an eye on the children and their peanut butter to marshmallow-pickle ratio they were piling onto a loaf of bread.
He had an iron stomach, but he wasn't sure even he could eat that.
It made Natsu wonder how Lucy could.
"And don't forget we did it with Levy, twice-"
"I know," Natsu mumbled
"And Kinana," Lucy smirked.
"I know!" He growled back at her, squinting his eyes at her in irritation. "Rub it in why don't ya?"
"I will," She laughed, her smugness practically etched on her face.
She stretched a little, suddenly feeling the strain of opening two gates start to catch up to her, "Sorry guys, but I think I want to go lie down for a while."
She nudged the little hatchling still holding onto her, "Sorry sweetie. We'll snuggle more later. I promise."
She got a pout for her efforts, but a nod as she trotted back to her mother, and she blessed dragon instincts. The little ones were very delicate with her now, and didn't argue when she said she needed to eat or rest.
She smiled at Natsu, "You want to join me?"
Natsu grinned back at her and nodded, his irritation immediately forgotten with the prospect of snuggling up to his wife and doting on her while she ate her gross sandwich.
The look on his face had Levy and Kinana giggling in understanding, "Don't worry Lu." Levy smiled, "We'll make sure you don't hear a peep."
"Thanks guys." Lucy breathed with a smile. Unlike a full dragon's nest they didn't specifically have one queen, but since she was regarded as the one who'd made the nest possible the other three women tended to defer to her, and lately had been going out of their way to give her a break.
A fact she was really grateful for since it seemed demon dragon babies were very demanding.
She watched as Natsu packed up her sandwich and then reached out to help her up.
"Ugh, I feel like I swallowed a planet or something." She complained as she heaved herself to her feet, "I don't even remember what my feet look like."
"Hatchlin's probably a drake." Gajeel smirked, "Metallicana said they tend to be big when they're born." He flashed Natsu a toothy grin, "Except when they're like the runt here."
"You wanna say that to my face metalhead?!" Natsu snarled, a little lick of flame puffing out of his mouth.
"Heh, I just did stupid."
"Natsu!" Lucy exclaimed, hoping to divert the impending wrestling match, "Fight later. Bedroom now."
"You sure she's not the official queen?" Laxus muttered to Gajeel in slight awe. No matter how many times he saw it he always had to keep his jaw from dropping at the seemingly effortless way Lucy dealt with End.
Gajeel opened his mouth to reply when there was a sudden cry of surprise from Lucy. All attention was drawn instantly to where she was bent over, clutching her stomach, while liquid spilled between her legs.
"Oh hell." Lucy whimpered, her voice strained, "My water just broke."
Natsu stared, as did everyone in the room. No one immediately knowing what to do or say at the rather sudden turn the day had taken.
"Did Lucy have an accident?" Levy's little girl asked finally, voicing the question that was on all of the children's minds.
The question, innocently said, seemed to have knocked the sense into everyone. Natsu sprang forward in a bit of a panic, scooping Lucy up before running in a wild, uncomprehending circle. When he seemed to realize he was going exactly nowhere, his heels grinding into the earth as he forced himself to a halt.
Lucy gave a wince as one of her first contractions hit, her arms tightening around him, even as the others all but fled to find Wendy and Fairy Tail's crabby healer.
Taking a deeper breath, the reality of what was happening between them sprang to the forefront and Natsu flashed her a shaky smile.
"You ready to be parents Luce?" Natsu asked, her hand making its way into his.
She smiled back at him, and his heart swelled at the brave look on her face and the fierce set to her lips.
"To our next great adventure."
And there we have it! Thanks to everyone who stuck by with us! Hopefully we will see you all in Mythos!
Stay tuned for the oneshot set in the Parallels Universe!
(Also, if you all haven't seen, Snogfairy, Toxineena, and Mslead have a new story up on their collab account (eviltrinity) called 'Into the Ring' - check it out if you want to, it updates weekly!)