The princess had a fantastic biological clock. She could predict, usually within a three hour range, when her period was going to start. On the calendar she kept in her nightstand drawer, she'd circled Tuesday the 18th as the day of doom.
She had assumed her unusual exhaustion was due to PMS, or possibly having a husband with a ridiculous sexual appetite who kept her up late almost every night.
Yet it was now the 25th, and no sign of her usually unwanted monthly visitor.
There were no other symptoms: no cliched kneeling over the toilet, tender breasts, etc., She was tired and she hadn't had a period. It wasn't dramatic, but she had a solid suspicion that her missing visitor might be due to the fact another visitor had set up camp in her womb.
Since she felt fine, she still had doubts, and wanted to call her missing period a one-off and go on with it.
Laxus groaned and sat up, checking the clock as she tucked her calendar back into the drawer. "'Morning, Princess."
"Good morning, Prince Crazy Hair."
Due to the fact that his hair was already crazy by itself, he usually woke up looking like someone who had either an incredibly good or incredibly terrible night. Lucy found this cute, as his hair in all of its peculiarity was quite soft and fun to play with.
They smiled at each other and kissed their good mornings, and laid there quietly. Under the covers, she put her hands on her belly and wondered if she could really be pregnant. It didn't feel real, yet, it was exciting. As someone who had wholly struggled against the idea of motherhood for years, now that she might be facing it, it didn't feel at all like she expected.
Maybe it was because she fell in love with the handsome rascal of a prince, or maybe she'd grown up a little or both, but there was something magical about the idea that she might be carrying his baby inside of her. This caused her to blush deeply, which he noticed.
"What is it, Babe?"
Lucy sat up and pulled the sheets up to cover her breasts, suddenly feeling self-conscious. She was about to tell him she thought she might be pregnant when there was a knock on their bedroom door.
Makarov's voice came from the other side, but his tone was a little shaky. "Laxus, I need to speak with you immediately. Something has happened."
Laxus slid out of the bed and pulled on his pajama pants and a t-shirt before he slipped out into the hallway outside of the lavish suite. When he saw his grandfather, he was taken aback by how devastated he looked.
Makarov evenly said, "Your father...my son...Ivan is dead, Laxus."
The king started shaking, his bottom lip trembling, because in his mind a thousand thoughts were looping to and fro:
Would Ivan be alive if he hadn't been banished?
Was it a coincidence he was last seen by a servant with Zeref?
Did he know about it?
And-most importantly-did he tell?
There were no easy answers to any of these questions. His proximity to Zeref and the resentment he probably felt were more than enough to make Makarov ask questions.
He felt devastated his terrible son had died in a state of morally depraved dishonor, and terrified he might have let out the country and the family's most dangerous secret.
Laxus didn't know what to think, or say, or feel. His relationship with his father was complicated even beyond his own understanding, and the feeling that rose up, which intense, was also strangely ambiguous. It tasted like some mix of anger, resentment, relief, and apathy, stirred together with a bunch of stale offenses he'd rather not remember.
"How did he die?" Laxus asked.
His grandfather soberly answered, "It seems he died from a heart attack, but the last person he was seen with was Zeref. Within an hour of being with him, he'd dropped dead."
"Zeref killed him."
His grandson seemed pensive, as he had a strange connection to Zeref. He was his uncle by blood, but he'd never acknowledged him as such and they never regarded one another as family. Supposedly, Zeref was still pissed about the death of his mother, but Laxus always doubted that was the real cause.
Laxus asked, "I feel like there's something I don't know about Zeref and this family."
His grandfather said, "There is."
"Do I need to know?"
Makarov nodded. "Let's have some coffee."
The king poured two cups of black coffee and they sat together in the breakfast room, each seemingly waiting for the other to speak.
Finally, the king said, "During the feudal states era, when dragons and humans were at war, there was a massive battle. Many dragons and people were killed as a result of the battle. A celestial spirit wizard of the Heartfilia line used celestial magic to bind the magic into a solid form, thus creating Fairy Heart. Zeref wants it more than anything. He has no other interest in Fiore."
"A magic relic?"
"The most powerful magic relic in the world. Zeref has wanted it for a very long time. That's the reason your mother was here, Laxus. At the time, your father didn't know anything about it so it was fruitless. Traditionally, only the king knows anything about it. It was kept for centuries in a special place under the palace behind twelve magic seals."
His grandson asked, "Where is it now?"
Makarov said, "When Mavis was born, she was born too early. The reason I sent you away right after she was born was because I didn't want you to know she was going to die. She got an infection. Her lungs weren't strong enough. We started to lose her and healing magic couldn't fix the fact her little body couldn't stay alive. I couldn't bear the idea of having to tell you she died, or watching you try and cope with a dead child on top of everything else. I enchanted Fairy Heart into her body so it would keep her alive."
Laxus listened and felt fear surge inside of him at the idea that the greatest desire of the most evil man on the planet was inside of his tiny daughter's body. He wanted to be angry as hell about it, but at the core of everything, if Makarov had done the sane and normal thing, Mavis would have died as a newborn. He couldn't imagine a world without Mavis, which was a world where he had to wake up every day and know his baby was dead.
"Can it be removed?"
"There's no way to remove it without killing her. It's sealed up right now, so she doesn't know it is there and neither does anyone else she meets. Porlyusica knows. I feel like Ivan might have learned by spying with his puppets during the time she was born. I know that he was at that time because he knew Mavis was your daughter, and no one told him."
Laxus knew his father had known, but all this complicated his life and made him very fearful for Mavis.
He sipped his coffee as the gears of his mind turned slowly in some areas and ridiculously fast on other thoughts. Then he arrived at a conclusion that filled him with nearly blinding rage. "You think that Ivan betrayed Mavis to Zeref."
"I am very fearful that has happened."
As if on cue, the bubbly little blonde bounced into the room with a big smile and gave them both a hug and a kiss on the cheek. "Good morning, Dad! Good morning, Gramps! After breakfast, I want to go visit Porlyusica, is that okay?"
Her pet pig trailed behind at her feet letting out a constant series of happy 'Good Morning' grunts.
It was the first time Laxus had denied her, and she seemed a little shocked at first.
"For a little while, I need you to stay close. I don't want you wandering the grounds. Don't leave this apartment unless you're with myself, Gramps, or Lucy. Do you understand?"
Mavis looked down and nodded. "I understand, Dad."
She was a little bewildered, but out of respect for the fact that she finally had a father, she didn't question him. Free-spirited from birth, the idea of having her freedom to wander about taken from her both hurt her and made her worried since she was just smart enough to know there was a reason for the rule. She was committed to being the best daughter to her new parents, so she resolved within herself to simply trust her father and obey him.
A knock on the door signaled breakfast had arrived, and after Laxus opened the door to the servants, they served a brunch of waffles, fruit, eggs, and bacon that left Mavis starry-eyed.
"Little one, we need to tell you something so you don't find out from anyone else," Makarov said.
Laxus was opposed to interrupting her breakfast with any nonsense about Ivan, but since he was still very new at parenting, he let his grandfather do what he felt was best.
"What is it?"
Makarov said, "Prince Ivan passed away."
Mavis seemed blank for a minute, and then her next reaction was to look up at her father. "Your dad? Our Prince Ivan?"
"Dad, are you sad? Gramps?"
The dragonslayer shook his head. "You know how he was, right?"
Mavis looked down. "Yes...but he's still your dad."
"Kid, I'm okay."
Mavis didn't seem convinced by this and boldly said, "You don't have to be so tough, Dad. I'm here for you."
Laxus had seen this little tendency in her before and it was both cute and more than a little heartwarming when she, the baby he'd made, tried to take care of him.
His mature response to this was to steal a piece of bacon from her plate and say, "You're the kid. I'm the dad."
"Are you sure? Sometimes I think you're obviously the kid, which would make me the dad. I don't really look like a dad, you know," she argued as she reached over and stole a strawberry from him.
Makarov grinned at their usual banter, and knew that even though Laxus would decline any direct sympathy, his daughter's presence was in and of itself the best medicine for him.
It pained the patriarch that after everything, Mavis might now be in danger.
Lucy had yet to come out of the bedroom, and Makarov asked, "Your wife is sleeping?"
"She's been really exhausted lately," he answered.
"Sleeping for two?" the king asked.
Laxus nervously sipped his orange juice. "Maybe."
Mavis brightened, never one to miss a hint. "Mom is going to have a baby?! Really?"
Her father quickly said, "Probably not. Calm down, Mavis. And don't bother your mother about it."
"Can I name the baby?!" she eagerly asked.
The little girl said, "Oh I just hope it's a little boy! Then you'll have an heir and I'll have a baby brother. I'll just spoil him to death, you know! I'll teach him all about walking and talking and about being a good little prince. I'll be the best sister ever. I can babysit too, so you and Mom don't always have to watch him. Oh, maybe there will be twins, or triplets or-"
Laxus let out a long sigh as the girl babbled on into a state of incoherency.
"OH! The baby could be Makarov the Second!"
Makarov was internally torn by grief, but the strange thing to him about the grieving process was that life still had its ordinary pace. His son was dead, yet the sun still rose, Mavis was still cute, work still needed to be done, and just like that, they all shifted to move on in life without part of their family.
The king cracked the slightest hint of a smile. "That's a good idea."
"Not gonna happen, ever," his grandson quickly said.
Mavis said, "We could have a vote. All in favor of naming the baby after Gramps say 'Aye!'"
Laxus was unamused with a chorus of two, the oldest and youngest members of the Dreyar family. "Yeah, that's not how any of that works. Have all the votes you want, nothing I made is going to be called Makarov. And again, you are both way ahead of yourselves."
Makarov sipped his coffee and tried to calm himself by focusing on what was going on right before him rather than thinking about his son. Ivan was like a cancerous sore that had already been cut away, and it hurt the king to realize his son never really did anything he could truly look back on and be proud of.
Lucy came out of the bedroom looking tired despite the twelve hours of sleep she'd had, and still in her robe, sat down at the table with crazy hair and attacked her breakfast ravenously while everyone stared at her. She had a mouth over-stuffed with waffles when she looked up and saw everyone was just watching her eat.
Lucy felt comfortable enough with her family to be very casual, so being in a robe with unkempt hair wasn't too much of a problem. The Dreyars were a casual bunch behind closed doors and all of them were guilty of wearing pajamas longer than was necessary or proper. They walked around barefoot and did things only 'common' people normally did, like eat sardines.
So she was dismayed to have all of them observing her as she ate, because first of all, it was weird, and secondly, she was just really, really hungry.
Mavis sweetly said, "We had a vote. We're going to name the baby Makarov."
Lucy narrowed her eyes at the Dreyars, which spanned across four generations and all had the same somewhat mischievous sparkle in their eyes. "Maybe I'll finish my breakfast in my room. Or in the garden. Maybe on the moon!"
Mavis decided she'd caused enough gleeful mischief, took the last bite of her food and abruptly left the table, giggling and muttering something about being a great big sister.
Once she was gone, Laxus said, "Lucy, I don't mean to piss on the mood because I'm pretty sure today is supposed to be a good day for us, but Ivan died."
Lucy felt stunned at first, and then sad for Makarov and Laxus both.
Makarov changed the subject quickly, because he didn't want this moment to be about Ivan. "I've already assigned making arrangements to senior officials. There's no reason to talk about it. Seems like there's something much better to dwell on today."
He forced himself to smile at Lucy, who looked down at her belly. "How did you guys decide I'm pregnant exactly? I'm a little lost there."
Laxus said, "Babe, you've been sleeping and eating a lot and you've started growling at people. You have either become pregnant or you're turning into a bear. Hopefully, the former. I don't really dig a lot of hair."
Lucy kicked him under the table and blushed furiously. "Could you not say stuff like that in front of your grandfather? God, this family is so weird."
This was how they talked about the possibility of being pregnant, and it was somehow fitting.
Makarov was a nosy old man, but watching the newlyweds gave him hope and encouraged him more than they knew. The Dreyar family had a long run of sorry luck when it came to family and the devastation of Ivan's terrible life and death was eclipsed by the promise of a new generation, of bubbly little Mavis and maybe a new baby too.
The king was so relieved the two newlyweds were taking the idea of pregnancy in stride. Lucy kept looking down at her belly while she ate and Laxus occasionally cut his eyes downward as if he was trying to see for himself. They seemed hopeful, and a little eerily calm, like they knew it was a little premature to panic. They were comfortable with each other, and he could see there was a great deal of trust and love between them.
And maybe, he wondered, it was necessary for the bad part of the family to be removed to make way for the new growth. Their family was famous for sprawling gardens, and one thing Makarov knew from watching the gardeners was that the best growth usually came after a painful cut.
His grandson was, for the first time in a long time, acting like a true leader. If Lucy was uneasy about being pregnant, he seemed very comfortable and calm although Makarov knew it might be harder for him. Learning how to lead and be strong for a family was probably the best preparation for becoming king, and Makarov found himself so grateful for his granddaughter in law as she was helping him grow into the role beautifully.
Makarov said, "I have a few things to take care of with Ivan, then meetings. Laxus, you're scheduled to attend the economic advisory panel...I'll cancel that appearance if you want to go see Porlyusica."
Laxus nodded, and Lucy said, "I want to go. I've saw the list of speakers and I think it would be so exciting to go."
"Yes, that's a good plan, Lucy. I'll go ask Porlyusica if you're pregnant and you can be somewhere else," he playfully quipped.
After Lucy finished her breakfast, part of her husband's, she carried a banana off to their room as she felt like she'd want to eat it in a few minutes. Once they were alone, Laxus explained the situation concerning Mavis and Lucy listened intently, feeling the same worry her husband and grandfather-in-law did.
They discussed strategies for protecting her and all different aspects and angles, and Lucy eventually coaxed him into a little optimism. There was no confirmation Ivan said anything, and even if he did, Mavis was rarely more than an arm's length from a world-famous wizard who could protect her.
And then she went for the banana, her breakfast settled just enough.
Laxus was fascinated by the imagery, and watched intently until she saw him staring and took a huge bite, snapping her teeth together.
He jumped and said, "Sheesh."
"I was having a thought."
Halfway through putting her hair up in a ponytail, it struck her that she might be on the verge of finding out she was going to have a baby. Her nerves almost made her shiver, but he smiled as he buttoned up his shirt.
"It's alright. You're a good mom to Mavis already. I think a baby will be a piece of cake for you," he said.
Lucy looked at him and asked, "How do you feel?"
He cracked a little grin. "A little excited. I'm kind of imagining you cute and fat."
"Fat?! Fat?! Fat. Fat...Fat! Laxus, what…"
She grabbed the nearest pillow and tackled him to the bed, crawled on top of him, and held the pillow over his face. "Listen really carefully, Mister. I'm not going to smother you to death because I think you just have bad taste in adjectives. But let me just take this time to let you know if you ever refer to me as fat, I will break your nose and your spirit."
He raised his hands in defeat and she lifted the pillow.
"Now, rephrase without using the word 'fat.'"
Laxus sat up on his elbows and said, "I think you will look cute when your belly is...round?"
"I'm gonna let you you live, but only because if I'm pregnant, I don't want to raise this kid by myself."
He said, "About that. Maybe you shouldn't play so rough?"
She got off of him and straightened out her clothes. "I don't really know how to be delicate."
"That explains a lot."
Getting ready to go anywhere with Prince Laxus was like trying to get dressed with an anxious toddler. She put her shirt on, and he tried to take it off. She tried to fix her hair, he whined for attention. She was smoothing on lip gloss when he asked if they could have fun before they left.
And she decided that being married was helping her prepare to take care of an immature, attention-hungry, disruptive baby. At heart, that was what he was. When she thought about it, even his post-coital comatose reminded her of one of the servants at her home whose child would run constantly and then suddenly fall asleep once his energy was gone. In a nutshell, that was Laxus.
They were about to leave when Mavis suddenly joined them. "I wanted to see Porlyusica, so can I come, please? We could have lunch with her and visit with her, and I bet she's missed me lots and lots!"
"Are you already thinking about food again?" Laxus asked.
Mavis gave him a starry-eyed baby daughter look, "Maybe we could have a fancy salad with fish or a nice soup with some Gruyere cheese sandwiches with tomato or Caesar salad with grilled chicken or…"
Mavis loved food. She didn't necessarily eat a lot of it, but she liked to eat a small amount of a large number of things throughout the day. Lucy was also a professional snacker, but she'd been into some heavy-duty eating over the past few days. Laxus had caught them sneaking through the kitchen to sample everything the chefs were making on more than one occasion.
They really were like mother and daughter, no matter the lack of blood relations, it was like they were always supposed to be together and he was so happy their family was snapping together like it wasn't made from damaged pieces.
Laxus looked up at Lucy, who sighed. "Okay, you can come, but you have to stay with your Dad while I'm with the doctor. Then we'll think about food afterward."
"We could start thinking about food right now. About some ribs with thick sauce, maybe some macaroni and cheese, oh, little slices of lemon tart!" Mavis replied.
Lucy realized she was somehow already hungry again.
They left from the palace and walked through the huge garden at the center of the palace grounds toward the doctor's small house where Mavis had spent much of her early life. It was surrounded by a patches of medicinal herbs and warnings not to step on them. Anyone who had been around the palace knew there was hell to pay for damaging Porlyusica's plants.
The family entered the front room and Mavis took in the herby, medicinal scent of her former home. "Porly!"
The old woman's face softened for just a minute when Mavis ran to her and hugged her legs. "Ah, you've come back?"
Lucy smiled and said, "Can I speak to you privately?"
The doctor nodded and they went into an exam room, and Lucy slammed the door before Laxus could follow her. He shrugged and sat in one of the chairs in this makeshift waiting room, and Mavis sat with him.
He thought about his dad, and about a thousand memories he couldn't get rid of: being yelled at as a tiny child, feeling weak and unworthy, seething rage, unending disappointment...and when he looked at the little girl next to him, none of it made sense.
Didn't Ivan ever just look at him as his child and see him as wonderful?
In the exam room, Porlyusica crossed her arms. "Are you ill?"
"What makes you ask that?"
"Well, I'm a doctor. That's typically why people visit. Would you like my opinion on the weather?" the old woman sarcastically asked.
Lucy bashfully said, "I think I might be pregnant. I've been tired and hungry lately."
The door opened and Laxus asked, "Do you need anything?"
"I need you to stop being nosy," Lucy answered.
Porlyusica opened a cabinet and pulled out a specimen kit and an open-backed robe. "I need a urine sample, and then out on this robe."
Laxus asked, "Do you need help?"
His wife clenched her fists at her sides. "Why in the HELL would I need you to help me pee?!" she roared as she slammed the door shut again and then locked.
"I've always wondered how anyone puts up with that man…" Porlyusica said.
Lucy went to the small bathroom and completed her task without the help of her husband.
('Amazing!' She noted in a sarcastically muttered to herself.)
When she returned it to Porlyusica, the woman opened it, threw some powder and some magic potion in while Lucy sat on the edge of the bed in the robe. The liquid turned a dark color of green, and the woman asked, "What are your symptoms?"
"Just really tired and hungry."
"Your period is late?"
"Just a week."
The doctor said, "You are indeed pregnant."
Lucy gasped and looked down. "Are you sure?"
"Positive," the doctor curtly replied, "Remember as you carry this child that you may be carrying the future king of Fiore. It's very important for you to take care of yourself. I'm going to need to do a pelvic exam, if you could lay back.
There were metal instruments and gloves and Lucy found herself on her back, legs in stirrups while cold metal touched her in all kinds of places. She'd never had a pelvic exam before, and was surprised by how terrible it actually was. The discomfort of the exam was an immediate issue, but in the back of her mind, it suddenly hit her that she was actually pregnant, there was actually a baby inside of her, and she was actually going to give birth in a few short months.
She and Mavis were feeling each other out as mother and daughter, and that was a surprisingly natural process. The eight-year-old was more than capable of independence and was completely self-sufficient. A baby was a totally different story.
Lucy was absolutely lost in her thoughts to the point she almost forgot there was a person sitting in between her legs looking at her lady bits.
Porlyusica asked her a long string of questions, and finally let her put her legs down, instructing her to lay flat on her back. The robe was pulled up, and the doctor put a magical listening device against her bare skin. It moved across her skin, almost tickling her.
"I'm pregnant," she whispered.
"That's right," the doctor said, seeming just a little softer than usual for a moment.
A strange noise suddenly started to come from the device.
"There it is," Porlyusica said.
The sound seemed so fast it almost reminded her of big raindrops falling. "Is that...its heartbeat? Can Laxus come hear?"
Porlyusica paused briefly to let the nosy dragon in, and he sat down next to the bed where Lucy's robe was pulled up and her bottom half was covered by the sheet. The device found the sound again, and Laxus' brows rose.
"The princess is approximately seven weeks pregnant, and everything looks great so far."
"Seven weeks?" he asked in question.
There was a long technical explanation of what 'seven weeks' meant, and it was actually a lot more complicated than he expected. "So seven weeks, doesn't mean seven weeks since...jizz time."
His wife and the doctor both stared at him in disbelief.
Lucy asked, "What is wrong with you?!"
"I don't understand."
The blonde let out a long, slow sigh. "When we get home, I will explain. Okay?"
Porlyusica watched this exchange with fascination. She assumed that because the princess hadn't checked into a facility or left that Laxus must have grown up, but this was false. He was still the same as always, antagonizing at every turn. The princess seemed to be almost supernaturally gifted in dealing with him.
The doctor gave them a list of do's and don'ts, and told Lucy she was going to send vitamins, supplements, and books over later in the day. "I think at maybe books with a lot of pictures might help your husband understand a little better. Words have never been his forte."
All during the conversation, the little sound continued, and Lucy smiled at her husband.
She remembered that their family unit was more than just them and knew this was something Mavis would have wanted to share in. "Go get Mavis, okay?"
Laxus let the little girl in and she jetted to Lucy's side.
"There's a baby, right?!"
Lucy nodded. "There is."
Mavis looked up at Porlyusica. "Just one? Not twins or triplets or quadruplets or quintuplets or sextuplets or septuplets or octuplets or-"
Laxus asked, "Just how many do you want to be in there? Geeze."
"I can't wait! I'll be the best sister to your twins or triplets or-"
"There's only one baby, Mavis. One is enough, trust me," the doctor answered.
Mavis beamed at Lucy and said, "You're going to have a baby! Even if there's just one, that's so amazing and I can't wait!"
The girl listened to the heartbeat and talked a thousand miles an hour about her objectives and goals as a big sister while Lucy and Laxus stared at each other in surprise for a little while.
The princess certainly wouldn't have planned to get married and have babies so young if she had no obligations and was mapping out only her own fate, but she found an excited sense of bliss started to set in as she lay there and digested the fact that she had a person growing inside of her.
Laxus took Mavis out so Lucy could dress again, and the doctor gave her some last advisories on everything from sex to diet to schedule and exercise.
Lucy invited Porlyusica to lunch with them in the garden, and somehow, the old doctor accepted. The princess believed she probably missed Mavis even though Mavis slipped off to visit her and help her pick herbs every day.
Meanwhile, Laxus and Mavis were sitting in the waiting area when the girl asked, "Dad, do you think my real parents were ever happy I was going to be born? I wonder, how did they felt when it was their day to find out?"
He said, "We're happy you were born, so you don't have to worry about stuff like that."
It was a more pleasant answer than the truth, which was that he threw up when the girl told him she was expecting and spent an unacceptably long part of the pregnancy begging the mother to take a magic potion and get rid of Mavis. As a mature adult, he felt ashamed of that, and he was scared to tell Mavis he'd ever felt that way.
He knew someday, he'd have to explain himself to her.
The next few days seemed to go by faster than normal for the married couple.
Makarov managed to keep it together until the night after the funeral, when there was a bitter thunderstorm pouring outside. For some reason, it made him want to weep and while he was fighting that urge as he sat on the sofa and looked out the window, he felt his grandson's hand come to rest on his shoulder.
And that made him cry if nothing else in the world did.
Their family was finally some kind of okay. There were happy newlyweds, a stable family with a joyful little girl, a new baby on the way...it was like they couldn't be okay as long as Ivan was there. He was an anchor of dysfunction, and now as a family, they were able to love one another.
Laxus threw a handkerchief on his lap once he started to calm down. "Gramps, you never change."
"I'm so proud of you."
"What on earth for?"
"For being a good man, despite everything that happened to you. Losing your mother, having Mavis when you were so young, your father..." the old man sniffed.
The dragonslayer said, "I'm fucking awesome, now cut it out."
He sense movement at his periphery and found Mavis standing in the hallway.
The girl tensed. "Having Mavis when you were so young…" she repeated, the syllables seeming strange and foreign to her. She seemed scared as she looked up at Laxus and whimpered, "What does that mean? Am I...Are you..."
Laxus' eyes widened and he knew there was no explaining it away. Mavis was smart enough that now that she had the idea, she'd be able to put it all together. That much he was sure of.
She asked again, "Are you also my birth father?"
He didn't have any excuses and he didn't feel like she deserved a lie. So he looked directly into her eyes and said, "Yes."
Mavis took a step back, and then again another and then turned and ran to her room, attempting to slam the door behind her. Her father followed and caught it right before it slammed, and found she seemed lost in her own mind for a minute. The edges of the room seemed to melt, which meant he was about to be lost in her mind too.
"Mavis, it's okay. Don't let your magic get out of hand again," he warned.
"I don't understand!" she shrieked.
He came near her and she threw a fist right into his chest in a frantic pounding motion that continued as she cried and crumbled to the floor. Once her legs had folded beneath her, she covered her face and began to sob violently.
Laxus didn't know what to say or do, and Makarov was equally at a loss but perplexed further by the guilt of having been the one that let it slip.
Mavis cried until she was numb and when she reached that point, she decided to keep crying until she was a limp noodle her father gently placed on her bed. She rolled over and put her back to him when he sat down next to her.
"Are you angry?" he asked.
She didn't even answer, and as minutes ticked by, she refused to acknowledge his presence. He stayed right where he was and waited patiently for her to process what she'd learned.
Mavis finally rolled over on her back and asked, "Who am I? Where did I come from? Where is my birth mother?"
"You're you. You came from me. Your mother died the night you were born," he said.
The girl asked, "What was she like? Do I look like her? Are there any pictures of her?"
Laxus said, "She was beautiful, and you look just like her. She was a model, so I could find you some pictures pretty easily."
"Was she a good person?"
The truth was that her mother was a lying, gold-digging, power-hungry extortionist that made him miserable and only chose to have the baby to continue exploiting him, but he wasn't about to tell that to Mavis, so he said, "All people have a little good in them."
"Did you love her?"
He shook his head. "The first girl I loved was you, kid. I was so young and so stupid when you were born. I made a lot of choices that might have been good for Fiore, but they were bad for me and they were worse for you."
Mavis knew more about the laws of Fiore than he did, so as blinded as she was by her feelings, as her breathing calmed, she realized her life was a scandalous thing. She was great at math; her father was seventeen when she was born, unmarried, and there were no records of him even having a history with women.
"I was with Porlyusica once when she delivered a baby. The dad wasn't there, and I asked why. Porlyusica said sometimes people become parents when they don't mean to be. D-Did you mean for me to be born? Was I like your new baby or was I just something bad that happened to you?!" she cried.
Laxus said, "You were the best thing that ever happened to me, Mavis. None of the rest of it matters. How or why or whatever...we're here, right? And we're together."
The girl seemingly let go of the knot in her heart at that statement. "You did your best? Not for me but for Fiore."
Mavis smiled a little. "It's okay. I'm a royal by blood, you know. Every royal has to make big sacrifices for their country. We gave up some time we should have had together, but that's over now."
"You understand why I can't tell everyone you're my daughter by blood?"
She nodded. "I don't care about any of that. I have more freedom like this anyway, right? I can go live out in the world and go on adventures and I don't have to worry about duty."
Sadly, Laxus knew with Fairy Heart inside of her, she'd probably never be permitted to be as free as she imagined herself.
"I'm curious, Dad."
For the next two hours, Laxus laid next to her on her enormous canopy bed, answering her questions. Some things he was honest about like his feelings and motives, because he felt like she needed to know he did care about her all those years. He glazed over details about her mother as he didn't want Mavis to think she was the spawn of a she-devil.
She asked him a lot of questions about himself, about things that had little to do with her, as if she was trying to feel him out. Her voice became softer, her words slower, her body a little closer until she finally slumped onto his chest and fell asleep.
Lucy encountered Makarov while searching for her husband as it was well past the time she wanted to be asleep and when he told her about what happened, she quietly entered Mavis' room and found her sound asleep snuggled up to her dad, who had nodded off.
She covered them with a blanket and remembered that Mavis told her the one thing she wanted more than anything when she was a tiny little girl was to sleep between her parents. She had no parents so on nights when she felt scared or alone or sad, she was only by herself.
Maybe Mavis was too old for such things, but their family was a work in progress and while Lucy balanced meetings with the ambassador to Caelum and her other duties with her growing family, she knew not everything was so simple and not everything was so perfect.
Adoption was a beautiful but messy process, and Lucy was as committed as ever to their little family and to little Mavis. Sometimes that meant taking emotional risks and being brave, or doing things that might not make sense to anyone else. She'd fallen in love with Mavis as much as her father at that point, and they both just really needed Lucy's bold brand of love. They knew that, and she knew that.
Lucy got under the blanket and snuggled up close, and fell asleep quickly.
When Mavis awoke in the middle of the night, she was effectively sandwiched between her two parents. Even though she was still a little shaken, it was impossible to second-guess whether or not her parents loved her when she was nestled so close. She felt safe and warm, and the part of her that craved parental intimacy for so long settled within her mind.
Regardless of who her birth mother was, or the circumstances that led to her life being made, she knew she was loved and that was all she'd ever wanted. She closed her eyes and breathed in the smell of her father and closed her eyes, sighed happily, and went back to sleep.
Special thanks to yumeyumi1986, flamey owl, kaylucylover, ninjapenguinlover, kpanda100, lunastarlady, wolverkits7, megumiyoung, edelweisswhitetiger, kurahieiritr JIO, Cosmo333, Ladyallyssa, and saskiarosee for reviewing!