"Laxus... I need to talk to you."
Lucy was nervous. This would be the most difficult conversation of her life, but it was also the most necessary. Excepting those she had, had with her spirits, which led to her approaching Laxus in the first place.
It was evening, half of the guild was drunk and on their way to being passed out, or otherwise occupied in conversations or games of their own with other guild members. Laxus himself had secured a seat in the shadows of the second floor, nursing a beer and relaxing with his sound pods. Not uncommon for him. She chose that night and that moment because his team happened to have disappeared for a split second, all three of them. Giving her an opening.
He was obviously – at least to her, since she had spent at least two months studying him, watching him like a hawk – shocked at her request.
"In private?" she asked. Her voice squeaked. She winced. She wanted to sound more professional and sure of herself than this.
An eyebrow went up, stretching his scar, "...Yeah. We can use Gramps' office. That okay?"
She followed him back, wondering if her heart would explode before she reached their destination.
He sat at the Master's desk, in that large chair that made their small Master look like a tiny old doll. Lucy sat in the chair across from him.
"What's wrong." There was worry in his eyes. Something would have to be wrong for her to come to him like this.
And something was.
She'd spent weeks thinking how to phrase this, and suddenly none of her words, none of her prepared speeches felt right. She let her eyelids fall, then lift. She met his gaze.
"I'm going to be very blunt. You don't have to answer. You don't have to agree. You have the right to be angry."
He stared at her. "You're scared."
"Yes." Her hands were trembling, even if her voice were not. And her voice was uncertain. He would naturally notice both of those things.
"What's wrong, Lucy?"
She took a deep breath. A deep, long, shuddering breath and told a story she was technically only supposed to tell one person, one little girl.
"I'm not sure how it happened," she told him. "I only know that it's true. As my mother told me, there is a curse on the women of my family. It amounts to this: Have one child, a daughter, and then die sometime within the next ten years. This has been true for at least the last five generations, likely longer. Records of previous women have been lost. Mama told me a story about a spurned lover, who was a very powerful mage, but she said it was probably just a story... like I said, the records have been lost. I haven't been able to find anything, and I've looked.
"I thought I could… stop this by not having children. On my last birthday I began to have nightmares. Monthly, now, I find myself in pain. Not the usual pain. I had my archive spirit do some research, and I spoke to those spirits who were contracted to my mother before me.
"I discovered that I was wrong. I have until I turn twenty to be pregnant. I am nineteen."
She watched him absorb the information, and watched his naturally neutral expression morph into one of pure shock. She pressed on.
"Usually, my grandmothers chose mages as partners – mages of varying skills, daughters never choosing a man with the same talents as her father – hoping to make their daughters strong enough to overcome, I guess. Or hoping to find a magical combination that could … work against the curse. Never worked. My mom, however, chose a magic-less man. It just killed her faster. She became sick almost as soon as I was born, her magic and life draining from her. I had planned on never having children. I didn't want to die. And I didn't want to pass the curse on." She bit her lip. "Turns out I don't have that option. Mama never said that we had to. Or if she did, I forgot. Now, I either get pregnant before I turn twenty, or I become something of a walking plague. Not to the level of Zeref or Mavis, but I will spread misfortune. Anti-magic. And then I will still die."
She swallowed. "I'm nineteen. I won't make the choice Mama made, because it was too hard on all three of us. And I still hope to beat this. And I thought of countering a curse with a curse. Specifically my family's birth curse with yours."
He blinked at her, shock morphing into confusion. Laced with shock. "My what?"
She almost laughed that he caught on that point and not the bigger proposition.
"As Mavis said when she told the story of her curse, she killed your great-grandmother when Makarov was born. That set a curse, at almost the moment of your grandfather's birth, if not a purposeful one. Not like mine is purposefully set. The boundaries that hold it are more flexible, but it is still rooted in your bloodline. Only sons, where we have only daughters, and mothers who can't stay; though, they don't always die the way the mothers in my family do."
The expression on his face was indescribable.
"You know this?"
"I can see it on you. I could see it since I met you. Though I asked around a little to get more of the details. I wondered... You can only have a single son, to pass on yours; I can only have a single daughter to fulfill mine. What would happen? Would one supplant the other? Mine is generations older. But then yours is rooted in one of the greatest dark magics there is and set, accidentally or not, by one of the most gifted mages. Held in the body of one of the most powerful mages in all of the country...
"Or would they cancel each other out? I came back to the thought; though, I didn't really pursue it. I hadn't planned on children, then, I like I said, so, really, it was a non-issue. But when Crux and I realized that was no longer the case, the thought returned."
She took a deep breath and met his eyes. "I'm not asking you to take any sort of … to participate any further than … I need to get pregnant, Laxus. Nothing more is required. I realize that it isn't a minor request, but I just..." her deep breath wasn't doing her much good.
"You're scared," was his simple, repeated, response. She was surprised at how his shock and confusion had dimmed and returned to neutrality. He was processing, she decided. And doing it quickly.
"Yes. Yes, of course. But I must face the future anyway. I asked you first, Laxus, but you can say no. Obviously you can say no. This is a request. And a terrible one. I'm sorry."
"If I do say no?"
She grinned, though it wasn't especially happy. "I'll make do."
"Someone. Anyone … random, maybe. There's no one in the guild who stands out. I thought maybe Rogue, but considering his fall into shadow, which we saw foretold … I'm worried he'd be infected in some way by the curse. Rogue walks a delicate path. So, I'm not sure. But I'm thinking fast."
"You'll stay in the guild?" he asked.
He tapped a finger on the desktop. Agitated.
"Say this child that you've – what? – hidden the father of for … five years? Suddenly zaps Natsu with lightning. You realize the entire guild would kill me for knocking you up and leaving you to fend for yourself."
She bit her lip as he stood out of his grandfather's chair and came to loom over her.
"Not to mention you parading my kid under my nose and – what? – expecting me not to get involved?"
"I didn't want you to feel obligated. I'm not doing this for a husband and child and love. I'm doing this because I'm cursed."
They spent a long minute staring at one another. He leaned against the desk.
"Cursed. Fuck. Cursed. I didn't know, but that is basically what I thought of my family, if that's what you'd call it. Shitty luck. Shitty Pops. Ran off my mom, I guess, and who the fuck could blame her. Then Granps, I thought, ran off my stupid, asshole of a dad. Took Gramps for granted because he always had so many other kids. Selfish little shit, but it was what it was. Blunt," he quoted her. "Okay. Okay. Stand up."
"What?" she was confused.
"Stand up, Lucy," he ordered.
Bewildered, she did. He reached and grabbed her forearm, pulling her to him. He was going to kiss her, she realized.
He rubbed the pad of his thumb over her cheekbone and held her jaw in his unnecessarily large hand. His other spanned the small of her back.
He did exactly as she thought he would, except that he started more cautiously than she imagined he might. Her left temple. The corner of her right eye. Her bare shoulder. Her chin. All before finally touching his lips to hers.
And that was all he did; touch.
Heat washed through her.
Again. Just as soft. Just as brief. Again.
Her hands curled into fists, using the fabric of his shirt to hold him, keep him from moving away. When had she...?
He shifted his grip to pull her closer, and then to push her back. She blinked up at him.
"Well," he said, his blue eyes closer to her face than they'd ever been before. "We know that, then."
"We know what?"
"Can't make babies without interest, Lucy." He flashed her a grin that washed her bones with heat a second time, not that they'd had a moment to cool.
She snorted, "Since plenty of young women I grew up with were forced to marry old, ugly men to continue company bloodlines, in the interest of nothing more than money – and have for decades been successful at doing so – I'd have to disagree. And, actually, I had a thought that Wendy might be able to do some sort of artificial transfer..." he looked horrified, and she laughed, the sound was a little weaker than normal. She was having problems getting air. "But I don't want to involve Wendy anymore than I want to involve anyone else. Not even you, but-"
"Yeah. I heard you." He stared. He was good at staring. It was why she asked him when she did. She knew he would take time to stare, and grabbing him this time of night, people would be less likely to notice either of their disappearances. They could have gone home. "No secret that I find you physically attractive. You're a good person. Patient, gotta be with your team. Reckless as all hell, but if you're not leaving … I never thought much about the whole wife and kids thing because I was so focused on Pops and Gramps and the guild and my magic and myself. Even after … even recently... But … a family..."
It wasn't her he was looking at, now. Not her face. His hand was on her hip, but she wasn't sure if he felt her presence at all. For a moment she vanished in his thoughts. Most of the world vanished in his thoughts. She watched it happen, watched as his mind focused in on that single word, that single idea.
"Ours," Lucy corrected. She wanted that clear. He was a very dominate force, and it was best that she assert herself right from the start.
His smile this time was softer. "Ours."
She sucked in a breath. He said the word, and even gently, but it pulled at her with a fierce need she hadn't quite expected.
"We'll get married, then?"
"What?!" she backed out of his hold.
"I wasn't lying; they'll all kill me if you have my – our kid, and I didn't do things the way Mira and Erza and Gramps think they should be done. Bad enough it's me-"
"There's nothing wrong with you!"
He snorted, "-and that we're doing this fast. But married is a goddamn must if I want to keep my head attached to my neck." He grinned down at her, "And other suddenly especially vital body parts attached."
She blushed. Stared. Shook her head in disbelief. Then laughed.
"You're not freaking out like I thought you would," she shook her head again. "If you're absolutely serious, well... I believe I just arranged my own marriage. The very thing I fled to Fairy Tail to avoid. I was just appreciating the irony."
He rolled his eyes. "Shit like that has a way of catching up with you, maybe." He leaned back onto the desk. "How soon?"
"Don't you want time to consider? To ask questions? I've thought about this almost my whole life, you-"
"Are cursed. That's what you said. Were you lying?"
"So now I see that I can do one of three things. Continue as I am. Good for now, but lonely, maybe, in the future. Now that you're making me actually think about it, yeah. Lonely. Find some other woman to have a son with. A woman I can't hope to keep, and a son who's probably going to have a shit relationship with me because of that, and will also be cursed. Or, I can choose you. And your time is limited."
She winced at limited. "My theories could be wrong. Maybe I'll have twins and both of the curses will carry."
He nodded. "Possible. But, like you said, this is the only one with a chance. I don't need to think about if. You laid out the variables, logically this is the one with the best chance. Now we need to talk about how. You have how long until you're twenty?"
"Just gotta get pregnant, not give birth."
"Totally doable," he almost smirked. She could see it in the shadows at the corners of his lips. Were the situation not clouded with the possibilities of death and misfortune he would absolutely have been leering.
"Back off on the ego, Laxus. The curse takes care of that, too." She pulled up the lower hem of her shirt, and down the waistband of her skirt to show the tattooed birth control charm on her hip bone. "I don't even have sex, but I have this. As a just in case measure because the curse needs me to have a baby. It'll happen fast, but have little to do with your virility. Yours is the same." She nodded at his covered hips, "Your reputation being what it is, though, I'm guessing you've never had to worry about women trying to fake you out with charms that weren't magicked in order to have your baby?"
"Perceptive." He flashed her his own tattoo. "Gildarts took me to get it almost the second I hit puberty. Trust no one but yourself, he told me."
Lucy rolled her eyes in disgust. "I just bet he did."
"Back on point: Still think fast, since my skin is on the line here. Get married. Elope."
"Elope," she echoed.
He shrugged his massive shoulders, "Sure, why not?"
"Why..." Lucy looked at him and thought about the kiss. About them in this office. Her sneaking to find him. Spending months thinking about him. About making decisions about how, and no longer worrying about if. "Okay. Okay. We leave a note … here. For Master. Planting the idea that we've had a secret relationship for awhile now. You're a private person, I'm fond of a mystery, and god if the occasional moment of privacy wouldn't be a blessing… We would … the … the canal where I walk maybe? Leave clues of when we were free to meet. Simple yes/no things. We can work out those details later. Then we decided... marriage. Why not? And since the relationship was a secret, why go through the hassle, the hustle, so we just went off? Suits your notion of not liking to deal with a lot of fuss, and it is romantic in its own way, so I would easily be brought around to approving. Sound okay?"
Laxus shrugged again. "Works for me."
"They're going to lose their minds," she whispered, imagining the reception of their guild to her story.
The curse. A child. Sex. Those were the things – the important, the horrifying, the terrifying, the mortifying things – she had considered. Not marriage. She never even thought about that.
"Where?" he asked.
"Crocus," was her immediate answer. "Large enough to get lost in," he frowned briefly, she wondered why, "and I know people there still from living there during our year apart. In case someone came for us and hiding became important."
"Also it would be an immediate national filing of the license instead of a local one that is then relayed. You know, in case someone wanted to stop it."
"Right," he deadpanned the word a second time.
"Laxus, are you-"
He stood. His hand, she realized, had found its way back to her hip. The other returned to her face.
"You made your decision? I say we go tonight."
"...Okay. Do you want to leave the note?"
His nose developed a line of, not quite disgust, but certainly disinterest. "Not a big note writer."
"He's your grandfather, he loves you, and you're getting married without him," she admonished.
"So rub his nose in it?"
Lucy tried not to laugh, but a chuckle slipped out despite her effort. It pleased him, she could tell. "Let him know in case it shows up in the papers. Plus, that we'll both be gone for a few days."
"A few..." a wolfish grin. "Sure. A letter."
He returned to his grandfather's seat, and she watched him puzzle over a piece of paper. After ten minutes, she went to see what he'd managed to write.
Me and Lucy are gunna be gone 'til next week. Getting married.
That was all he had. She laughed. Threw back her head and laughed. Blunt was their watch-word for all of this after all. She took the pen from him and added:
Sorry, Master, but we didn't want to make a big thing, and no one knew, anyway. Try to keep people from chasing us down! We'll be back in a week-
Laxus took the pen.
-maybe two weeks-
She took it back.
-a week, because any longer and there would probably be riots. Try to keep Freed and Mira hydrated so they don't cry themselves to death!
See you soon!
He set the pen down and placed an empty mug at one corner of the page to keep the note in place.
"What do you need from home? Where do you want to meet?" he asked.
"I'll pack a bag for a week, like planned. Depends on how you travel."
"Can you take other people?" she was curious.
"...doesn't seem safe."
"I can use my Gemini star dress, with Gemini copying you, which means I would have access to your power. Don't see why I couldn't just be something like an extension of you like that. I think it would work."
He muttered. "Reckless. When you're pregnant? This is the sort of thing you won't be doing."
She laughed at him and how easily he gave in. Almost every moment of this conversation went not the way she expected it to. Looking at the door and remembering all the people that were outside of it, she smiled. "Don't want to run into anyone accidentally... wanna do it all romantic-like and meet at midnight in the forest somewhere?"
"You really don't appreciate your own bad luck, do you? You'll get caught or attacked or something for sure. How about 9, the big church on the other side of town."
She allowed a slow grin to overtake her mouth. "You can see that church tower from anywhere in the city... you know, I've heard a rumor..."
"Does that work, Lucy?"
She just laughed and nodded.
He tried a glare, but it didn't quite work. "See you at 9, Lucy."
"See you." She paused. Considered telling him that she wouldn't judge him if he changed his mind. Didn't show up. Considered it, and in an instant discarded the thought. It insulted the power of his choice. "Thank you, Laxus," she said instead.
He nodded, and shot away in light and sound.
Flash and fury.
Okay. This is something I've been working on, the general idea, for a little over six months now, but sort of waiting for Downstairs and Dead to finish. This story, parts of it, is going to be immensely personal for me. And part of that is going to relate to some of the shit that happened in November, which I DID NOT expect when I started jotting down this story back in April/May.
The Makarov/Ivan/Laxus thing always stood out to me from the beginning, and then with FT:Zero and Yurity...I was like, what's up with all the testosterone in the Dreyar family? Lucy's mom dying so tragically and mysteriously just screamed curse, and I put them together. (I also get frustrated with fics of Mira calling for babies, I kinda want Lucy just to turn and scream at her "BABIES WILL KILL ME" because good god, not everyone can HAVE children. Sometimes children KILL people. Not everyone WANTS children! I know she's a shipper but good lord... half the FT guild seem to be orphans, Mira being part of that group, and for all we know more than a few of their moms could have died in childbirth helping to make them orphans in the first place.)
As I said, I was GOING to wait until I got through D and D...
BUUUUUT freaking Zeref is likely about to drop something about Lucy's mom that's going to screw the idea of this plot all to hell, and I do like to get things out there beforehand. This isn't stopping Downstairs and Dead. I know how that finishes, I've got it plotted, I've just got to flesh out the chapters how I want them. In fact, I have most of 13 done, it's just that 13 is done like 3 times in 3 different ways and now I have to decide how to put them together to make the best version of 13 because I don't like any single one. Don't worry. It'll finish.
This is going to be fairly short. My plot when I looked at it in April was 4 or 5 chapters. After November things changed a little, not sure how that will extend the plot just yet, but it's not going to be very long.
Have I mentioned how much I appreciate Laxus having spent a year at Blue Pegasus? Oh, I have? Let me do so again. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR PUTTING HIM IN THAT GUILD FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR! It's so much fun to play with the boy now. Sure, we knew he had a soft gooey center already, but still! The love-love/MEN guild! THANK YOU!