Lucy ran her fingers over the spines of the five novels that she had written. Her eyes scanned their titles as memories infiltrated her mind. She smiled as her fingertips rested upon the second book. Carefully, she removed it from the shelf and flipped it over to gaze at the cover. The title, Sunrise Park, was written in beautiful calligraphy in a dark, golden font. An image, silhouetted by the rising sun, of Stella and Blaise holding hands on a swing set greeted her eager eyes.
She had finished it.
She opened the book and flipped to the beginning of chapter seven. It was the first chapter that she had written after awaking in the hospital five years ago. Her eyes scanned the published words, loving how her imagination looked in print.
The sound of pebbles hitting her window sent a bolt of electricity down her spine. Her heart beat out of control as she sped to her second-story window. Slowly, so that the window wouldn't creak, she opened it and leaned her head out. She waved to Blaise who smiled before he stepped back into the cover of the trees. She shut her window and slipped on her bunny-eared slippers before she carefully plodded down the ancient, squeaky staircase and out the sliding glass door. The night air bit into her skin, making her wrap her arms around herself as she fought off the cold. Still, as soon as she stepped through the tree line and saw his face her entire body heated up. Her cheeks flushed as he walked up to her, stopping only a mere foot away.
"How'd it go?" She questioned. His eyes flashed as he met her gaze.
"My Dad nearly fainted. It took hours of talking and yelling before he kind of calmed down." He bounced on his heels, exuding adrenaline.
Stella smiled, she couldn't help it when she saw his face all full of emotion and energy like that. "I'm glad. Really…"
His exuberant smile fell slightly and he stepped forward, grabbing each of her hands with one of his. "We're going to go see Sarah and Lily tomorrow. I'm… Kinda nervous about it." He laughed anxiously as he pulled her closer to him. Their stomachs bumped together and heat pooled in her gut.
What was he doing?
"Blaise?" She questioned as her eyes searched his face. He was having a hard time meeting her gaze.
"You know… I never should have disappeared on you before. I don't know if I could have made it through all of this without you… Seeing Colby again… If you hadn't been there I might have done something really stupid." He laughed again and her heart danced within her chest. She didn't know what was happening right now, all she knew was that she loved how close they were. "You're important to me."
She pushed back from him slightly, hating the small amount of distance that she put between them. "I'm important to you?"
He nodded and clenched his hands into tight fists. "Yea… You're important to me. You were too important… I was scared that if I showed you… Well, I was scared that I'd completely lose you."
She quirked her head, not understanding what he was saying. "Showed me what?"
He took a deep breath before he placed a hand on his chest. "This." Now she was even more confused. An adorable smirk spread across his face and he stepped closer to her again. He reached up and gently tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. Her breath hitched. "Colby is back and now I… I suddenly feel free. I don't understand why, but I'm not scared anymore." He drew in a long, shaky breath before he continued. "I don't want to lose you and if you don't feel the same then I pray that we can still be friends… I just… I can't hold it in any longer."
Stella felt like she might faint. Her mind spun as she tried to understand what was happening right now. She didn't want to believe it. She didn't want to hope that the sparkle she saw in his eyes was meant for her. "Can't hold what in?"
His eyes momentarily flicked down to her lips before they darted back up to meet her gaze. Her heart sped out of control, making her pupils enlarge. He gripped her arms and leaned forward. "This."
Then, his lips were on hers and her whole world shifted.
Little did they know that this was only the beginning of their story.
Warmth spread through Lucy's chest as she idly flipped through the rest of the pages of the book. With a happy sigh, she slid it back onto her overly-stuffed bookshelf. The sound of movement behind her made her turn and a waft of paint hit her nose. Hikaru's daughter sat at Lucy's writing desk. The now teenaged Taki Oberon had short-cropped purple hair and green eyes. Her face was lit up with a gigantic smile as she stared down at her work of art. Lucy walked over to stand behind the young girl. She had taken to mentoring her ever since she had gotten out of the hospital. Taki reminded her of the power of writing. Every time that she saw her, she felt a wave of amazement that her writing had helped Taki after the death of her mother.
Stories had a way of saving people.
She leaned over and stared at the acrylic work of art. Taki had a knack for drawing. Her eyes widened when she saw the carefully crafted painting. "That's Stella and Blaise…"
"Yep." Taki said, popping the 'p'.
Lucy leaned back and placed a hand on her hip. "I would have thought that your favorite scene would be when they kissed for the first time."
Taki shook her head and stood up, leaving the painting on the desk. "That's too typical. I always loved the moment that Stella realized her feelings for Blaise at the ice cream parlor the most." They both looked down at the painting once more to spy that very scene elegantly displayed. "You keep that one… I made it for you."
Taki smiled up at her, big and infectious, before she skipped towards the door of the study. She pushed it open, tossing her short hair to the side. "I'm gonna go help the others get ready for the party, see ya downstairs!" She nearly sang the words before she disappeared out the door and down the flight of stairs.
Only moments later, Natsu popped his head through the door. As soon as he saw her his entire face lit up. He scurried over to her, his eyes quickly taking in the new painting, before he placed a hand on the small of her back, supporting her. She leaned against him, resting her head on his shoulder as her hand came up to rub her swollen stomach.
"Don't overdue it…" He gently chastised as he leaned down, pressing a kiss against the top of her head.
She gently elbowed him in the side. "I'm fine. This isn't the first time I've done this ya know."
He laughed, the sound sweet and smooth like honey. It coated her, making her entire body feel alive. "Yea, yea… That won't stop me from worrying about you."
She leaned her head back and pressed a lingering kiss against his lips.
Just then, the door to the study burst open and a salmon-haired little girl ran forward and wrapped her small arms around Natsu's leg. "Daddy!"
Natsu laughed and unraveled himself from Lucy before he crouched down. "Yes, Nashi?"
She folded her hands in front of her, her eyes large and pleading. "Can I have a ride? Please?"
Natsu looked over his shoulder at Lucy and laughed before he held out his arms to his baby girl. "Of course you can." She smiled, ecstatic, as he hoisted her up onto his shoulder. "Watch your head." He gently reminded her. Nashi's small hands gripped his hair as she laughed. She swung her legs back and forth, her little heels gently colliding with his muscled chest.
Lucy couldn't help but smile. She reached forward and gently tickled one of Nashi's bare feet, making her little girl squeal in delight. Natsu winced as the noise barraged his ears, but he laughed all the same. "And how old is the birthday girl today?" Lucy questioned as she continued to rub small circles on top of her belly. The little one inside of her was currently doing summersaults, assaulting her bladder in the process. Natsu, once again, placed his hand against the small of her back and pulled her closer to him.
A toothy grin spread across Nashi's face and she leaned forward, holding her fingers out for them to see. "I'm four!"
"That's exactly right baby girl." Natsu bounced Nashi on his shoulder, making her hold onto his hair a bit tighter as she giggled.
This was her family.
Lucy's heart warmed as memories from her dark days stuck in that hospital bed flickered through the back of her mind. She had been so sure that she would die… She had been so sure that none of this would be a possibility for her…
Yet, here she was, surrounded by her growing family.
"Come on…" She grabbed Natsu's hand and gently pulled him towards the door. "It's about time that we joined everyone downstairs."
As soon as they were half way down the staircase, Lucy could hear the boisterous crowd below. Nashi bounced excitedly on Natsu's shoulder until they descended the last step. She squirmed, trying to wriggle her way down. Natsu laughed and bent down so that she could leap to the ground. Just like that, she was off and away. She rushed towards the blue-haired twins and wrapped them in a hug, squishing them together. Natsu hurried forward and vanished into the adjacent playroom to grab the superfluous amount of carefully wrapped presents.
Lucy, instead, simply leaned against the wall and took in the sight before her.
In the five years since she had nearly died, everything had changed. The twins grew at lightening speed, causing havoc for their parents who had lovingly nicknamed them the 'trouble twins'. Levy and Gajeel had married shortly after Gray and Juvia, but before Natsu had worked up the nerve to ask her the all important question. Now, Juvia sat in the far corner, burping their second son. Gray, meanwhile, kept a watchful eye on their other son, Yukio, who was only a mere two months older than Nashi. He had Gray's hair and Juvia's eyes. Currently, he stood protectively beside the happy birthday girl. Lucy watched with a small giggle as Nashi grabbed Yukio's hand and yanked him towards where Natsu had just appeared carrying a heaping pile of presents. Erza laughed as the presents tumbled from Natsu's grip, drawing Lucy's attention to the happy redhead's face. Erza and Jellal stood off to the side and her hand danced over her own, small bump. She was only a few into her first pregnancy and Jellal had become extremely overprotective.
Lucy loved it all.
She loved that she got to see her friends' lives change. She loved that she got to witness each of the babies being born and see them grow.
She was lucky and she knew it.
Her eyes traveled to Levy only to spot her friend hurrying over to her. Levy leaned against the wall beside her, a knowing look lighting up her face. "It still feels like a dream…" Lucy whispered. Her hands gently rubbed her swollen stomach as she tried to ground herself in reality.
"But it isn't." Levy calmly stated as she looked out towards the children. The twins were currently chasing Yukio around and trying to lick him while Gajeel valiantly attempted to stop them on their warpath. Levy giggled, the sound joyful.
"You've got your hands full with those two." Lucy laughed as Gajeel snagged Rin. Rin, in retaliation, licked his face.
"You've got that right." Levy laughed as she pushed away from the wall, heading towards Gajeel to help. "But I wouldn't have it any other way."
Lucy's gaze wandered over to Natsu only to find him trying to corral an over-eager Nashi and protective Yukio as they attempted to ambush the pile of wrapped gifts. The baby in her belly kicked hard and she rubbed the sore spot, suddenly overcome with the need to pee. She shook her head and couldn't stop the smile that spread across her face. "I wouldn't either."
~ Author's Note ~
Yukio means Snow boy.
And that's all folks! I really hope that you enjoyed the journey as much as I did. I actually printed this entire story off and with 1.5 line spacing, twelve point font, and no author's notes it came to 219 pages. That's basically the length of an entire book! I feel like a congratulations is in order for all of us, writer and readers, for finishing this.
I really hope that you liked how it ended. I know that it was quite a large time jump, but I really wanted to give you a glimpse into their lives at that point in time.
Thank you so much for reading and reviewing! Please, review the epilogue and let me know your thoughts.
Also, if you like my writing please put an author alert on me so you are informed when a new story is posted. I'm not sure what I'm going to work on next. If I can get passed my writer's block, I'd like to work on The Inevitable (an Inuyasha FanFiction). But, a new Fairy Tail FanFiction idea recently popped into my head. I'm thinking about placing it in today's world within a yet-to-be-determined USA city.
Once again, thank you for all of your support! It has meant the world to me.