Hey guys, it's Kytrin. Sorry about posting this at the 11th hour, but Mslead apparently forgot today was the last posting day for Sandcastles to get the epilogue up, and she's afk so I can't remind her.
A model of a castle built out of sand, typically by children.
Lucy laughed as she watched Gray chase Natsu around the beach, threatening to bury him face first in the sand if he didn't stop trying to set his swimming trunks on fire.
"Like your frosted ass would even notice!" Natsu cackled gleefully, making Lucy giggle again.
"Are they always like this?" Lucy asked in bemusement from where she sat with Levy. Gray had only recently returned from his trip, so Lucy still didn't know him that well. Though he seemed like a decent enough guy to her despite Natsu's complaints. Of course, she knew her husband well enough to know he was happy to have his friend back. Even if he showed it in weird ways.
"Yeah this is pretty normal." Levy laughed, "Erza and I should tell you stories sometime. They've known each other forever."
Lucy nodded and stretched a little, "I'd like that."
"Are you alright Lucy?" Levy asked in mild concern, "Not feeling tired are you?"
Lucy almost had to laugh again. 'Tired' had become their group's euphemism for her needing a drink from the fountain over the last ten years. And she had to admit it was pretty apt. In the beginning especially they'd all been extra careful about making sure she got the rejuvenating effect every time she worked even a little magic, but lately it hadn't been as bad.
"No." She replied, "Actually, I'm still feeling tingly and full of energy. Weird huh? Usually the effect fades within a few hours, but it's been three days."
Erza's eyebrows raised, looking faintly surprised by the news but also heartened, "Ah, it seems perhaps you're beginning to absorb magic. At least you are if that feeling remains! In another decade or so you may not need to drink from the fountain at all!"
Levy nodded in agreement, tucking an errant lock of hair behind her ear, "That's excellent news, although I have to say we probably have to go back to the fae realm for a bit. We're starting to stick out to even some of the mainlanders now."
"Not aging will do that to a person," Lucy said wryly. But in truth, she didn't think it mattered. Many of the locals had renewed their faith in the old legends, and thus their belief in Salamander and the realm.
There had been a little bit of media coverage over the golem and dragon that suddenly appeared on their quiet little island, but the locals, much to the surprise of Natsu and the others, seemed to take it in stride. It seemed as if they were interested in keeping their secrets.
They had experienced a spike in tourism afterwards, each person hoping to see the urban legend, Salamander, rise from his volcano, which puffed up Natsu's ego to all ends.
Sometimes, when he was feeling mischievous, he would make sure to rise in a thick, obscuring plume of smoke from the mountain, just to keep the air of mystery going a little while longer.
Natsu finally managed to shake Gray and skidded down onto his knees, flashing Lucy a boyish smile as he dropped down in front of her, "Hey girls." He grinned.
They chorused back a hello, and Natsu planted a big kiss on Lucy, "Seen the walking tacklebox?"
Levy sighed, squinting behind her, "Not yet! He said he would be coming by soon though."
"Wasn't he working on that art project for the mayor?" Lucy asked curiously.
Metallicana, it seemed, could not have found a better match for his heart than Gajeel. From what Lucy understood the metal dragon had been just as fond of metalwork as Gajeel, and once the merging and recovery were over with Gajeel had taken to being a dragon better than anyone could've hoped for.
Though watching him chew on pieces of iron or other metal had definitely taken some getting used to. Levy had certainly practiced her magic quite a bit for the first few days until his appetite had normalized. For a dragon anyway.
Privately, Lucy was just glad that Levy's iron allergy didn't extend to metal dragons unless they wanted it to. Something about the inherently magical nature of the stuff made it safe for fae. Which was an interesting little tidbit that hadn't made it into any of the stories.
It was a good thing too since Levy and Gajeel made an absolutely adorable couple.
"He was." Levy confirmed, "But he said he would be done for the day soon, and then come by."
"Man..." Natsu whined, "He needs to hurry up. How can we have a surfing contest without him?"
"Declare yourself the winner by default?"
"But Lucy! That's no fun!"
Lucy rolled her eyes and got up, "Well, why don't you take me surfing while you wait?" She suggested with a slight purr, "Or we could have our own contest?"
Natsu craned his head up, dark eyes following after her. His mouth fell open, circling an 'oh' before his fangs came down onto his bottom lip. He rose after her, hands sliding to her hips to pull her towards him, "A contest? You know how much I like to win Lucy."
His eyes glittered, grip tightening against her waist, "What're the stakes?" He purred.
Lucy slid her hand across his stomach, a teasing smile flashing over her face before it hardened into a wicked smirk. Her thumb dipped down into his swim trunks for just a second and snapped the waistband against his skin. "Why don't you catch me and find out?"
Her heart fluttered at the breathtaking smile he flashed her, or the way his eyes glowed eagerly. She was even more in love with her husband than she was the day they met all those years ago while she worked at the surf shack in her spare hours after school.
Twisting away quickly, she laughed as she danced just out of Natsu's reach. He barked out a laugh and raced after her, sand kicking up on a squealing Levy and cursing Erza in his wake.
Lucy giggled as she lead her husband down further along the beach, snagging her surfboard from the sand where she had it speared.
It was an ugly thing, almost as bad as Happy, but ironically meant to match Natsu's beloved board.
This one was red, with a white cartoon cat that Natsu dubbed 'Carla.'
But it was her first board, and Natsu had given it to her a long time ago. It was an awkward thing, just like Natsu's, but it matched together. Partners, just like they were.
She turned, running along the beach as he charged after her, Happy tucked under his arm. They laughed, running out into the surf together.
Maybe she hadn't always intended for this place to become her home. Being from the mainland, she wasn't used to her castles being made from sand.
But now, she couldn't think of any place better to make her home.
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