"I am impelled, not to squeak like a grateful and apologetic mouse, but to roar like a lion out of pride in my profession." - John Steinbeck

Lion's Pride

a Fairy Tail fanfic

by Rhov


Chapter 1

Rules Broken

It was August 10th, and a heatwave had hit Magnolia hard. In Fairy Tail's guild hall, Lucy Heartfilia was enjoying a cold glass of exotic juice. Gray's icy fight with Natsu was nice, too, although she wished the fiery dragon slayer would stop heating things up.

"So," Mirajane began with a sweet simper. "How are you and Loke?"

Lucy sighed and shook her head. "Why...why do people always ask that?"

The bartender tittered innocently. "Because you're so cute together. You're a Celestial Spirit mage, he's a Zodiac Celestial Spirit..." She waved her hands like scales, as if the two balanced in yin-yang fashion.

"Precisely," Lucy grumbled. "Relationships between Celestial Spirits and their owners are forbidden. The relationship between us must remain professional."

"Must?" With a gleam in her eyes, Mirajane leaned over the bar counter. "You sound disappointed."

"Ridiculous! Loke is...crass," grimaced Lucy. "He's a playboy. Plus he's immortal. Can you fathom how many women he's had over the ages?"

"All the more experience in how to truly please a woman."

She ignored that sweet Mirajane would even say something like that. "If he weren't a Celestial Spirit, I'd be worried about diseases. Besides, even if I had the slightest bit of interest, I'd be merely another female conquest."

"But Loke loooves you," Mirajane crooned. "I especially like when he calls you 'Master.' Have you noticed how furious Gray gets when he does that? Put a collar and leash on that kitty and..."

"Enough!" Lucy blushed at her suggestion. She finished her drink and wiped some of the glass sweat on her neck to cool herself off, blaming the flush on the heatwave. "I couldn't care less about what Gray thinks." She stormed away, easily ducking Natsu as he was thrown across the room by Gajeel.

Mirajane watched her, placed a lithe hand on her cheek, and chuckled at the unspoken thing. "She never said she didn't care about what Loke thinks."

When Lucy arrived at her home, she already smelled nikujaga cooking in the kitchen. She smiled and shook her head.

"What if Natsu showed up before me?"

"If I know him, he's still fighting Gajeel," said a man from the kitchen.

She slipped off her shoes at the door. "What if Erza came to visit?"

"She's on a mission and will be gone two more days."

"Gray shows up on his own too, you know...usually naked."

This time, she heard something clunk in the kitchen. Lucy smiled to herself and shook her head. Really, why was she so mean to him? A head popped over from the kitchen, and Loke stared hard at her. Poofy ginger orange hair, predatory dark green eyes hidden by blue shades, sharp features like a noble beast, were all offset by a frilly apron with a Kawaii Kitty grinning on the front.

"If that exhibitionist bastard dared to break into your house," growled Loke, "I'll tell him to keep his hands off my woman, beat him so hard he'll forget I admitted anything, then drop him off butt naked in front of Erza's door and let her deal with him."

"That was almost a normal fight between you two until the end. That's just mean!"

Loke smirked and shrugged nonchalantly. "Gotta come up with more inventive ways of teaching him not to mess with my woman."

Lucy smiled to hear him say that, but her face drifted, her eyes lowered sadly, and she turned to her bedroom.

"Lucy?" Loke quickly turned off the oven and hurried after her, ditching the cute apron as he went. "What is it? Look, if I'm being possessive again, I can't help it. I'm a Lion, you know. Did you know that in the wild, when a male lion takes over a pride, he kills all the other males so there's no competition? I think I'm rather tamed compared to that."

"It's not you," she said in distraction. She tried to turn away, not wanting to ruin a nice night together with her silly worries, but Loke held her by the arms, letting her silently know that he was not going to give up on her so easily. "Mira mentioned you again. It won't take everyone long to figure out about us, and...and I'm scared," she whispered. "I'm scared, if they find out...if you get in trouble...I...I can't lose you."

Loke smirked at her. "Because I'm your strongest Celestial Spirit."

She spitefully slapped his chest. "You know that's not what I mean."

"I know," he smiled, hugging her from behind. "And it's fine. We won't get in trouble."

"The contract between Celestial Spirits and their owners specifically says..."

"I don't recall agreeing to that sub-clause," he smiled, brushing her hair away from her neck and blowing on it to cool her down.

"This...it's illegal."

He sighed and took a step back. "Technically, you're right. So be honest: do you want us to stop? If you truly do, I'll back off."

"No you won't," she smirked, knowing his personality too well.

"Okay, I'll go back to flirting constantly but going home after the fight's over. Nowhere do the rules say we Spirits can't fall in love. Hell, Taurus won't shut up about your boobs, and even Sagittarius is enamored. Even if it becomes more than mere unrequited feelings...I hate to bring this up," he sighed, "but Karen and I..."

"I know, you told me," she interrupted, not wanting to think about that vile woman who betrayed Loke and Aries...especially Loke who had adored her.

He nuzzled the back of her neck. "So long as we're careful, so long as you don't...you know," he blushed, "get pregnant."

"Oh, hell no! Is that even possible?" she asked, leaning back into his comforting arms. She stretched behind her and began to pet him behind the ears. "I didn't think Celestial Spirits could have kids."

Her petting elicited a satisfied purr from deep in his throat. "It happened only once. The child grew to be insanely powerful. You might have heard of him." He paused as his memory brushed across that horrific time. "Zeref!"

Lucy jolted at the name. "No way! Zeref was the son of a Celestial Spirit?"

"At the time, the parents could hardly be blamed. No Human had ever gotten pregnant from a Celestial Spirit. It wasn't supposed to be possible. After that disaster, the rule was made that Celestial Spirits couldn't have sex with Humans. I broke that rule. I'm breaking it again. I'll keep breaking it because...I love you, Lucy," he sighed, clutching her close to him. "You caught my eye the first time I saw you. When you put your life on the line for me, that clenched it. Karen..." He sighed deeply. "She was powerful, I fell in love with that strength, yet I grew to hate her. But you...you're even more powerful than she was, even if you don't think you are. What's more, you're kind, caring." He rubbed his chin against her head, purring louder. "You care for us Celestial Spirits like real people. Even Plue is more than some little pet to you. Lucy," he whispered, "I love you like I've never loved another person—woman, man, or Spirit—for as long as I have existed."

She had heard those words before, the first day he wooed her, but it always melted her inhibitions. She feared Loke might get in trouble, but she could not deny her own feelings. Despite rejecting everyone's suspicions, treating him coldly in front of others, lying about her purely professional relationship, even lying to Mirajane, Erza, and Levy, her three closest female friends, she could not say no to Loke.

"Master," he purred, rubbing his chin against her.

Hearing him call her that sent a thrill through her body. "You know, Mira said something today."

He licked her neck and began working on the buttons of her blouse. "Did she now?"

"She said I should put a collar on you."

He hummed a laugh at the idea. "Mira is a closet pervert. And collars are for kittens. I'm a wild Lion! Unless," he added with a feral grin, "you'd like to see me in a collar. Meow," he said lustily.

Lucy hummed at the thought and melted into his arms. Loke gently leaned her back onto the bed and began grooming every inch of her body.

Back in the guild hall, Lisanna left a conversation with Alzack and Bisca. She went to the bar to talk with her sister.

"Hey Mira-nee, I have a rather embarrassing question."

Mirajane handed Elfman another drink. "They're in my top drawer under the socks, pink box, ribbed for her pleasure."

"Wh-what?" Lisanna gasped, stunned by what her sister said. How could she say something like that and keep her innocent smile?

Elfman snorted into his mug. "Natsu should buy his own. A real man makes sure he's prepared for his lady. And what are you doing with things like that, nee-chan?" he realized with a flare of brotherly protection.

"Oh, hell no!" Lisanna blushed brightly. "Natsu and I...we're not..."

Juvia sat primly at a table, intensely watching Cana deal out her love fortune. "If Gray-sama and Juvia did that, Juvia can wash herself out and never get pregnant. Gray-sama would never have to worry about things like that. Juvia is naturally lubricant, too."

"Okay, eww, and that's not what I meant," Lisanna said in a fluster.

Cana hummed at her cards. "The Queen of Wands in reverse: a light-haired woman is getting in the way of your relationship."

Juvia turned her head aside and grumbled, "Love rival."

Cana looked at the next card. "The Lovers..."

"Ah, good fortune!"

"But it's in reverse: frustration in love. The Hanged Man: change shall come, and it's time to let go. Three of Swords: a broken relationship, grief, possibly a three-way relationship, and someone is about to get hurt. The Star in reverse: crushed dreams. The Eight of Cups: disappointment in love and time to walk away from a failed endeavor...wow, Juvia, you have a really unlucky love fortune."

The rain woman stood up, stomped her foot, and yelled, "Juvia does not believe in superstitious nonsense!" She stormed away from Cana's table.

Lisanna was still trying to cool off her cheeks. "No, it's Lucy..."

"Ah, I can help you in that department," Cana grinned lasciviously. "It's called the Double Trouble Missed-Her Fister. Sex with a lady will never be the same!"

"Not that either," Lisanna snapped, almost losing her cool. "I'm not even into...eww, no!"

Cana flipped down a card. "Let's see what awaits you. Eh? Six of Cups? An old lover will reappear. Hmm..." She continued flipping out cards, staring at them intensely.

Lisanna was fiery red now and feeling squirmy just thinking about what these people were saying. "It's about Lucy and Loke. Are those two...I mean...well, are they or aren't they?"

Gray walked up behind them. "Are they or aren't they what?" he glared menacingly.

Lisanna knew that look. She could hardly help but recall how the Gray she had known in Edolas was head over heels for Juvia. Imagining him and Lucy together was too odd. Of course, Edo-Gray also wore five coats in the summer, whereas this Gray...

"Where are your clothes?" Mirajane sighed with a reprimanding smile.

Gray looked down. "Dammit, I did it again!" He rushed off to figure out where he had undressed.

Mirajane took his absence to answer quickly. "About Lucy, she insists there's nothing between them, but Erza went to visit her last week and...overheard some things."

Lisanna blushed at what she meant. "But that could be a problem. Lucy knows contraceptive magic, right?"

Mirajane looked concerned and dismayed. "It's rare for even doctors to know that."

Elfman looked suspicious. "How do you know that, nee-chan?"

She did not answer him. "I'm sure those two are being cautious. Why are you worried for Lucy?"

"Well," Lisanna squirmed, "because...you see, I just read that Celestial Spirits..."

Lucy gasped as Loke thrust into her. Her bedroom, already hot with the late afternoon sun, was thick with the redolence of vanilla candles, strawberry-flavored lubricant, and musky sex. She was on her hands and knees, and Loke grabbed her hips from behind like an animal. She occasionally heard a purr deep in his chest as he strained to hold on longer for her.

"They call me the Lion," he laughed between tensely gritted teeth, "but God, you're the real animal here."

"Loke!" she gasped.

He grabbed her massive breasts as they bobbled against the sheets. Sweat dripped down his strained face and landed on her arching back. He suddenly leaned over her and bit the nap of her neck. Lucy cried out in pain. Then Loke sucked on that spot, and any sense of decency in her was lost. She no longer cared if her neighbors pounded on the walls to keep it down. She let out a shuddering scream and collapsed flat down onto her stomach.

Loke felt an intense flutter all around him as Lucy gripped her sheets in fists and howled into her mattress. A few more thrusts was all he could manage before he also lost control and slammed into her deeply. As ecstasy swept over him, he roared: a lion claiming his mate. Then his shaggy mane fell, and his body collapsed on top of hers.

There was a minute of heavy panting. Lucy laughed tiredly, and Loke chuckled as well, too happy to know why they were even laughing, too in love to care. He kissed where he had bitten hard enough to leave teeth marks, and slowly he rolled off.

"How do we always end up in that position?" she asked, rolling back around to look at her ceiling.

He mindlessly played with her breasts. "I'm a lion. I like it that way."

"You're biting harder."

"It's an instinct. When they mate, a lion holds his lioness by the back of the neck to make sure she doesn't get away."

"You'll break skin one day."

"Would you hate me if I did?"

She hummed as if she had to think about that. Of course she wouldn't! She might even like it that rough.

"You're definitely no timid little girl," he smiled lazily. "Let me change this thing," he said, pointing to the spent condom. "Then I'll let you have this kitten however you like. Perhaps I'll let you sit on top and give me a belly rub."

"Eager for more already?" she smirked. "I've hardly had time to catch my breath after the last two...no, three times. You might pull a muscle if you keep this up."

"Have we gone at this three times already?" he mused.

She checked the opened condom squares lying on her night stand. "Yep, that's the third. You should buy more."

"Wow, three times. That's all?" He pouted in disappointment. "I'm out of practice."

"All?" she cried out.

"Little Leonita," he smiled, using the pet name he came up for her. "There's one other fact about lions which you must understand." He gave her a long lick from her throat down between her breasts. "A male lion can mate up to forty times a day for four days straight, forgoing even food, all so he can make his lioness happy."

"F-Forty times?" Lucy gawked. "Y-You're joking, right?"

Her awestruck look, a mix of terror and arousal, pleased him. "I'm not joking. But forgoing food doesn't sound fun at all. How about we eat that nice nikujaga dinner I cooked, I'll go to the specialty store for more supplies...then we'll see how long it takes us to work in those other thirty-seven times?"

One Month Later

Lucy walked slowly into Fairy Tail's guild hall. Her feet dragged slightly, and anyone bothering to pay attention could see that her golden hair was a little more limp, her face a bit sallow, and her eyes red from lack of sleep.

"Ice bastard!" she heard, followed by a dragon's roar. She easily batted away a goblet and ducked a flying table half coated in ice and half smoking on fire.

"Idiot! You almost hit Lucy," yelled Gray. He went after Natsu twice as fiercely to teach him a lesson.

Lucy walked to the bar and tapped to get Mirajane's attention.

"Ah, Lucy! You've been missing for a while."

"I went on a...training getaway," she said, blushing slightly and deciding not to mention Loke's sudden desire to visit a beach resort for a few weeks of playtime. "I came home a week ago, but I've been sick ever since."

"Oh, that's terrible! What can I do for you? I have some ginger tea."

"That actually sounds perfect, but first I need to talk to Master."

Mirajane thought it odd, a sick mage wanting to talk to the guild master. Then again, if she had to take some extended time off... "I'll tell him for you. Sick leave isn't a big deal around here. Why, once Alzack caught some jungle virus and..."

"No, I need to talk to him," she insisted. She suddenly put her hand to her throat and looked like she was about to throw up.

"Of course, of course," Mirajane said, hoping to calm her down. "He just stepped into the infirmary to take his medication. It seems Natsu went on a mission without you last week and destroyed a mountain village." She tittered as if such wanton destruction was merely a trifle unworthy of getting Master Makarov upset.

Lucy muttered thanks and walked to the infirmary, turning down Cana's offer for a drinking contest. It was quieter in this area of the guild, designed to block out even the rowdiness of Fairy Tail so injured mages could rest. Makarov had just gulped down a glass of water and was smacking his lips.

"Ah, Lucy-chan. What can I do for you? Not sick, are you?"

"Something like that," she sighed, sinking onto a nurse bed. He looked worried for one of his brats. "Master, I hate to ask this after all the guild has done for me."

"If you're thinking of leaving us, forget it!" he said, swinging his hand out with an emphatic dismissal. "You're too important to this guild."

"No," she smiled, genuinely glad he felt that way. "I...may need the guild to protect me again." She looked down at him, and Makarov pouted to see the lovely blonde with tears in her eyes. "Master...I'm pregnant!"

End of Chapter 1

Rhov's Corner:

Disclaimer: I don't own Fairy Tail. It was created by Hiro Mashima and is the property of Kodansha. This disclaimer applies to all chapters and epigraphs throughout the entirety of this story. If the authors of any copyrighted material object to my usage, I'll promptly comply with deleting the offending material from the document.

This is my first Fairy Tail fanfic! It was just supposed to be a one-shot, but I've gotten numerous requests to expand it. We'll see where this goes. I'm currently writing this in the Tenrou Island Arc, and things are being revealed about Zeref. I have no idea if he's just a human who happens to be insanely powerful and ancient, or if he's some demigod like what I stated. It'd explain some things, like why he's still alive. Also, I'm not trained in Tarot, so those cards might be wrong. If you have training and can tell me the proper cards for Juvia's loveless situation, I'll be very happy.

=^..^= "AYE!"

"Not you, Happy." XD

Added Note!

AmaiTsukii-chan on DeviantArt made a lovely book cover for me, with such a cute Loke and pregnant Lucy. See the drawing's full size here: fav. me/d4rpl7h (remove the space in the link)

This story is now available in French and Portuguese! Meijishi and Aninha Cristal were brave enough to translate Lion's Pride into their native languages: La fierté du Lion and Lion's Pride PT. Links are on my profile. If these languages are easier to understand...well, I hope you read the original here, but please check them out too as translations arrive so you can understand it better. You can leave comments, and the translators will send them to me in English. If anyone wants to translate this story, ask so I can approve it and link the translation to my profile page.