Hey, so this is for Litashe's Writing challenges. I was debating for a long time about whether to do something like I usually do or go for a death fic. and, what do you know, I went for a death fic. The fluff will have to wait for the Birthday Surprise. Anyway, hope you enjoy!


She could still remember the first time they said those three words. After weeks, months of light blushes, awkward eye contact, and slight jealousy, it had happened. Lucy had been telling Levy how she had finally accepted that Natsu loved Lisanna when a crash sounded in the living room. She and Levy looked up to see a dazed Natsu rubbing his head with a fallen lamp a few feet away. Lucy had opened her mouth to say something, but froze at the look of seriousness on Natsu's face. He strode over to stand right in front of her.

"I heard that." he said. Lucy had looked down, unable to meet his eyes, when she felt him flicking her forehead.

"What was that for?" Lucy cried out, her angry eyes meeting Natsu's.

The dragon slayer simply gave his usual goofy grin and said, "I love YOU, stupid." Lucy had been too shocked for words. Levy, forgotten nearby, had squealed and run off to tell the guild of what had transpired. Lucy had been too dazed to say anything, but didn't particularly want to when she felt his warm lips on hers.

After that is was only a matter of time until they officially became a couple. It was during this time that Lucy wondered at how it had ONLY taken a few months instead of a few years. Nobody at the guild had seemed particularly surprised when they announced their couple hood, other than a few muttered "finally".

Sometime later, people were far more surprised when they got engaged. And when the day of the ceremony finally came, it was the disaster that was expected. Erza had long ago disappeared with the wedding cake, Gray was standing around with nothing but his bow tie and... That was all he had on. Loke was off in some corner having an emo moment, and Natsu himself was on the roof, attempting to catch a pigeon as a wedding present for Lucy. Lucy, wearing a simple wedding dress with a sweetheart neckline, stared at the disaster that was her wedding, threw back her head and laughed. That, unfortunately, didn't last long. She started shrieking as Natsu, in his half burned off tux, attempted to give her his prized catch.

That night, their honeymoon in Hargeon was oddly romantic and sweet, considering that it involved that idiot dragon-slayer, and when Lucy woke up the next morning, she had a slight smile on her lips. She rose from the bed, searching for her new husband. But he wasn't in the living room, in the bathroom, nor in the bedroom.

"Natsu?" she called out timidly. Nothing. "Natsu!" she called again, panic creeping into her voice. Still nothing. Lucy, in a state of panic, called her guild members and told them of the missing spouse. By the time they got there, Lucy was having a nervous breakdown.

When she woke up, she was in the hospital, looking straight into the black onyx eyes of her lover.

"Hey."

"Hey."

"How are you feeling Lucy?" Erza asked. Lucy turned to her and smiled.

"Better now." She said as she gripped Natsu's hand. "Don't leave me, you hear me?"

Erza nodded and patted Lucy's other hand. "I'll stay by your side."

Natsu rolled his eyes and grinned. "I'll never leave you, Luce."

The next few months were a blur, with Levy staying even closer to her than usual. Lucy found out she was pregnant, and the whole guild celebrated while Natsu grinned proudly. He avoided Gray like the plague, so that Lucy wouldn't get upset, so the guild was much quieter than usual. Elfman raised his glass in a toast. "To Natsu, who could get things done like a man!"

Everyone raised their glasses as well. "To Natsu!" Lucy prickled a bit, she was sure she had had a part in the pregnancy too, but the look on Natsu's face quieted her qualms. She just smiled at him too. She was so happy that she didn't notice the weird looks Gajeel was giving her.

Later, he approached her.

"Lucy."

"Oh, hello Gajeel! How are you today?"

"I'm… ehem… I'm okay. How are YOU doing?"

Lucy laughed. "I'm good, considering the whole pregnancy thing."

"But… how are you since… you know…"

She gave him a look. "No, I don't know. What are you talking about?"

"Um… Natsu…"

"What about Natsu?" Lucy crossed her arms. "If you tell me he's cheating on me, I'll sic Levy on you." Gajeel just looked at her strangely. "What?"

"…."

"WHAT?"

"Where is Natsu right now?" Lucy just stared at him, a tense look on her face, when she visibly relaxed.

"He's coming up right behind you." Lucy stood up on her toes and waved. Natsu waved back and ran up to her.

"Hey!" Natsu grinned at her and gave her a peck on the cheek. Then he turned to Gajeel and greeted him too.

"Natsu… you haven't told her yet?"

"Told her what?" Natsu glared at Gajeel, as if daring him to finish what he was saying.

"Told me what?" Lucy echoed, looking between the two dragon slayers.

"You haven't told her?" Gajeel said, his eyes growing wide with shock. "I've told Levy already, AND YOU HAVEN'T TOLD LUCY YET?"

"That's enough Gajeel!" Natsu roared.

"How far along are you Lucy?"

"F-five months…" Gajeel glared at Natsu.

"So you're not gonna say anything until the last moment, huh?"

"I don't know what you're talking about." Natsu said, turning his head. "Let's go Lucy."

Lucy nodded and followed Natsu, but not before Gajeel was able to whisper to her," Watch who he interacts with." He didn't get a chance to say more because Natsu grabbed Lucy's arm and dragged her behind him.

"Lucy… Don't talk to Gajeel for a while, okay?" Lucy nodded.

Later, when Lucy attempted to breach the subject with Natsu, he shrugged and ran to the fridge, claiming he was hungry. Lucy, tired from the walk from the guild to her house, fell asleep. The next day she had forgotten all about the incident.

But that didn't mean she didn't begin to notice certain things. She noticed that the only people Natsu talked to were Gajeel, Levy, and Wendy. He would often hover around other conversations, and it would seem that he took part. Whenever he was there, the talks would presently get far more heated.

At first, Lucy waved away the small oddities. It didn't matter that Natsu stayed home to take care of her, because the Master gave her enough maternity leave for both to live on. She was perfectly happy staying in her state surrounded by her nakama.

But one day, when she was nine months pregnant, Gajeel approached her again. "Lucy."

Lucy looked at him and put her hand on her stomach. "Yeah, Gajeel?"

"Did Natsu ever tell you about the Dragon Slayer curse?"

"What? There's no such thing…"

"Yes, there is. The Dragon Slayer Curse… It's not something to be worried about unless you get a spouse."

"What?"

"A male Dragon Slayer cannot impregnate a female until they find their mate. And when they finally find that mate, they give themselves completely on the day of conception."

"What are you talking about Gajeel?" Lucy asked, exasperated.

"The male Dragon Slayer… gives their life, their very soul to the new life, so they can be born anew. Basically, they die."

"Uh huh…" Lucy nodded incredulously. "Suurree Gajeel… I mean, Natsu's still alive and all…I'm gonna go now…"

But Gajeel grabbed her wrist and looked at her straight in the eyes. "Lucy… you've noticed something about Natsu… he's more subdued than usual, isn't he?"

"Th-that's only because he's gonna be a father soon…"

"Hey!" Lucy turned to find Natsu running up to them and smiled with relief. But Gajeel was not about to be interrupted.

"Yes… and no. Lucy, don't you remember what happened that day?"

"That…day…"

Flashback

"Erza! Erza! I can't find Natsu!" Lucy sobbed into the phone.

"Calm down Lucy. Have you checked everywhere in the hotel?"

"Yes! Yes! My God Erza, I called the lobby and they said that he hadn't left!"

"Have you…"

"Erza! Please! I think something happened! Please! I beg you, please come over!"

"...I'll be right there."

When Erza arrived, Lucy was screaming his name out the window. Erza had had to drag her to a chair and tie her down. She'd given Lucy a cup of tea to steady herself. Then she proceeded to comb the room for the missing Dragon Slayer.

When she looked under the bed however, Lucy heard a gasp. She turned slowly toward Erza, who had her hand on her mouth. Tears were beginning to form in the re-quip mages eyes when she looked at Lucy.

"Don't look!" She screamed.

"Erza?"

"I SAID DON'T LOOK!" Erza ran and grabbed Lucy, hurtling down into the lobby. Lucy was in too much shock to do anything while Erza grabbed the phone and spoke curtly into the receiver. Within minutes the hotel was crawling with Fairy Tail mages. Levy and Wendy did their best to keep Lucy occupied, but she happened to turn at just the wrong moment and there, a limp body… and pink hair just peeking from under the sheet…

END FLASHBACK

"NO!" Lucy screamed. "NO! IT'S NOT TRUE! NATSU IS RIGHT THERE! HE'S RIGHT FUCKING THERE, NEXT TO YOU! DON'T LIE TO ME GAJEEL!"

"Lucy…"

"NO! NATSU! NATSU! TELL HIM HE'S WRONG!" Natsu looked at her sadly and shook his head. "NATSU! TELL HIM… TELL HIM… OW!" Lucy sobbed. At the ow, both Natsu's and Gajeel's head shot up.

"Lucy?"

"OW! What the hell! OW! My, my stomach hurts…"

"SHIT! SHE'S GOING INTO LABOR!" Gajeel freaked. "CALL YOUR LION PERSON OR WHATEVER!"

"I-OWW! I CAN'T!" Lucy shrieked.

"Lucy! Let's go to the hospital!" Natsu yelled, grabbing Lucy's hand and looking terrified. But Lucy yanked her hand away from his and glared. "Luce…"

"LOKE!"

POOF! Suddenly a glittering Loke appeared. He quickly scooped Lucy up and ran as if death itself was on his heels. Gajeel quickly ran after him too, and though Natsu didn't appear to move at all, he was right there the whole time.

While in the delivery room, Lucy cursed like a sailor, and grabbed onto Natsu's and Loke's hand for dear life. Finally, twelve hours later, a baby boy with pink hair and brown eyes was born.

Lucy looked up at Natsu and he smiled at her. He leaned down and whispered, "I love YOU, stupid." as he slowly disappeared. Lucy couldn't stop staring at the empty place he once occupied, not even when they placed her new baby in her arms.

Later

"So Natsu is technically inside Igneel."

"Yes."

"But he isn't my Natsu anymore."

"Yes."

"And I could see him because he was inside me, and you could see him because you're a Dragon Slayer."

"Yup."

"And Levy…?"

Gajeel sighed. He'd been going over this for the past three days with Lucy. "She could see him because she's MY mate."

"Ah… so is she going to go through the same thing as me?"

"I explained it to her already. She should be ready to handle it by now."

"And if I spared you the trouble?"

"What?"

Lucy grinned a terrible grin.

Lucy hadn't been completely right since the birth of her son. The whole guild noticed, but didn't want to say anything. So it hadn't come as a complete surprise when she placed a spell on Levy, gave her keys to Mirajane for safekeeping, and walked off a cliff. It was even less surprise that when Levy finally did get pregnant a few years later, Gajeel didn't die, and that their child had blond hair and brown eyes. They named her Layla.

Gray, of all people, adopted Igneel as his son. He decided to move away where people wouldn't look at Igneel with sad eyes, where his parents weren't personally known. He'd bring the boy back when he was old enough to cope with everything, reincarnation of Natsu or not.

Years Later

So this is where they're buried, huh? Igneel thought to himself, looking at Lucy and Natsu's gravestones. What stupid people. Hey, at least I got that guy's awesome powers!

Suddenly someone cleared their throat behind him. "Excuse me."

"Eh?" Igneel turned to look a little blond girl. "What do you want?"

"I want to put flowers on their grave." She said, waving a Sakura branch in the air.

Igneel shrugged. "Whatever." and stepped aside. The girl smiled and walked by, accidently brushing her hand with his.

Have we...met before?