AN: So my imagination spawned another chapter for this, even though it was meant to be a one-shot. Oh, well. More fluff for you guys! Pairings are still the same: Gajeel/Levy, Natsu/Lucy, Elfman/Evergreen and Gray/Juvia.
Disclaimer: I do not own Fairy Tail or its characters – Hiro Mashima does.
Years could go by, but somehow, Fairy Tail would never really change.
"Cheers! For a new year of mischief and equally awesome parties!"
"And to keep kickin' Sabertooth's ass!"
"And evading the Council!"
"...and general destruction!"
A chorus of laughter rang out across the guild hall, filled to the brim with guild-members eagerly celebrating the new year, some more drunk than others, and others about to become more drunk than some. Around them, the room was decorated gaudily and glaringly, but no one seemed to care, too immersed in the general good-humour and party-spirit that was Fairy Tail during festivities. Outside the weather raged – torrents of snow and great gusts of wind, but the inside of the guild was warm and welcoming, and alcohol ran as freely as laughter amongst those present.
"Guys! Guys, check this out!"
The voice called across the room, cutting through the clamour, and several pairs of eyes swivelled to the bar, where Max had been scouring for more to drink, but had pulled out an old, dust-rimmed box in stead. Cana snorted from her seat, lounged back with a barrel sitting at her feet.
"Thought you were lookin' for bottles, Max, not boxes. The hell is that, anyway?" There was a soft slur to her words, a testament of how much booze had already gone down during their little gathering. Max's face was lit up with barely restrained glee, and people had left their seats to come over to the bar to see what was up.
"What is it?"
"Is it valuable?"
"Is it revealing photographs?!"
"No, it's better!" Reaching into the old box, he pulled out a small pile of notebooks. The colours were faded, but at the sight of them, an excited murmur broke out across the people surrounding the bar.
"It's Mirajane's old ledgers!"
At the excited shout, the woman in question looked up from where she had been strumming her guitar, a curious light to her blue eyes. And at the exclamation, even more people had risen from their seats to cross the length of the room.
"All the old wagers must be in there!" someone exclaimed.
"Oooh! I bet some prizes are ripe for the picking now – it's been nearly ten years!"
Rising from her seat and placing her guitar down, Mira crossed the room to the bar, a grand smile on her face. "I thought they'd been lost in the fire that time," she said, reaching over to the ledgers spread across the bar, her tone curious. "Looks like someone kept them and put them back – there aren't any dust on these."
From across the room, Wakaba called out, "Oye, Mira! Check if I've got some money to claim – those bets are still on!" The excited murmur rose, and people inched closer to the bar as Mira spread open the notebooks, a pen suddenly in her hand and a calculating smile on her face as she rifled through the pages.
From their table, Natsu grinned over at Lucy. "Hey, Luce! Remember–"
"You don't need to remind me," she said, a mildly annoyed expression marring her face, although her eyes were alight with good humour. "Humiliation is a difficult thing to forget – Lord knows I've tried," she muttered, a small smile quirking at the corners of her lips. From across the table, Levy laughed.
"I certainly remember – I added a lot to that bet!"
From beside her, Gajeel snorted, leaning back in his chair, a glass of scotch in his hand. His other arm was slung across the back of Levy's chair. "A little too much. Would've worked itself out without the money if you ask me," he grumbled, shooting the couple sitting across from them a sidelong look.
Levy only grinned at him, eyes twinkling. "Well, we couldn't have known that back then – that was years ago! It was for the greater good – isn't that right, Lu-chan?" she asked with a wink.
Lucy snorted into her glass, but her eyes betrayed her annoyance. "If by 'greater good', you mean the two energy-bundles who refused to go to bed tonight, then I think I need a bit more sleep before I can agree with you," she grumbled. Natsu only laughed, and she nudged him in the ribs. "Yeah, you can laugh now – it's your turn to get them next time they wake up in the middle of the night," she reminded him.
He raised a brow. "You always say that, but you always come yourself after five minutes when it's my turn," he reminded her, crossing his arms over his chest, and she averted her eyes, a smile on her face.
"Well, there is two of them – you don't have two sets of arms," she said with a shrug, and Natsu only smiled to that.
Gajeel snorted, throwing Levy a knowing glance. "Look who's complanin' about two," he muttered, shaking his head. Running his hand up her back, he tangled his fingers where her hair curled at the back of her neck, and she closed her eyes with a smile.
Lucy raised a brow. "Hey, now. At least yours didn't come all at once," she said, gesturing to Levy's bulging stomach. "So what if you'll be having a third? You've got two who sleep through the night and don't feel the need to cry simultaneously – or do anything simultaneously, for that matter. Come back when you've had a set of twins – then we'll talk," she declared, raising her glass of water in a salute.
Levy only smiled, but Gajeel shuddered at the prospect, before a thought seemed to strike him, and he shot her a sharp look. "There's onlyone, right?" he asked, eyeing the swell of her stomach.
She smiled demurely. "Well, there have been cases of unexpected twin births..."
At his panicked look, she grinned. "Relax, Gajeel," she said, giving him a wink. "As far as I know, she's alone in there," she assured him, patting her stomach. He only grumbled in return, but the corners of his mouth was quirked upwards, and the hand in her hair slid down her back to curl around her waist, splaying across the bulge of her stomach, and she smiled up at him.
Natsu eyed her, a strange look in his eyes. "You're pretty big, though, Levy – bigger than Lucy was when she was six m–"
"Natsu!" Lucy smacked him across the back of his head, and he yelped, before levelling a glare at her. "Don't say things like that – it's rude!"
"It's the truth! She's bigger than you we–"
"Watch your mouth, Salamander," Gajeel growled, eyes narrowed. From beside him, Levy sighed.
"Or what, metal-brows? I'm just saying it like it is. Hey, maybe she is having twins? That would explain the size," he said with a grin. Gajeel's eye twitched, but the small hand on his arm had the insult halting on his tongue.
"Natsu," Levy said, voice sweet. Too sweet, and it had Natsu sitting straight in his chair. "Another fat-comment and I'll make sure Wendy forces you to oversee the birth," she said, tilting her head as she placed her glass to her lips, her eyes never leaving his.
For his part, Natsu looked horrified, and shot his wife a panicked look, to which she only shrugged. "You're not getting any help from me on this," she said with a coy smile. "And I know it's pretty bad for you guys with your sense of smell and everything. I don't envy you there." Levy raised her glass, clinking it against her friend's, and Natsu remained silent, a sheepish smile on his face that bordered on the apologetic, but the bluenette wasn't paying any attention to it.
From the bar, Mira suddenly called out, a grin on her pretty face. "Well, Wakaba-san, it seems you've earned quite a few jewels these past few years!" she announced, to which the older man raised his glass with a yell of triumph.
"Splendid! What did I guess right on? Kids, right? I've always had an eye for that!"
Her smile was decidedly cunning. "Not only that, it seems. You've bet on four couples, all of which have come true," she informed.
He grinned. "Of course they did!" he said, before his smile faltered. "...which were they again?"
People shook their heads and amused murmurs about his old age rose from around the room, to which he snapped at them to shut up. Mira only smiled. "Well, Levy-can and Gajeel, first off."
"Here, here!" someone called, and Gajeel grumbled something under his breath.
"Natsu and Lucy, as well as Elfman and Evergreen – you really do have an eye for these things," she said, almost to herself as she rifled through the books splayed open before her.
From their table, Elfman crossed his arms over his chest, proud for some reason. "It was destined," was all he said, to which his wife rolled her eyes.
"You were obvious, is what you mean."
He raised a brow. "A man is never obvious."
She only sighed, but there was a fond smile on her face as she reached for her drink. "And the last one, Mira?" she asked, to which Mirajane's smile widened, eyes crinkling at the corners as she traced her hand across the open page.
"Gray and Juvia," she said, raising her eyes from the ledger in her hands.
At this, Juvia startled, before her gaze shot to Wakaba. "Wakaba-san...believed in Juvia?" she asked, voice trembling, and he gave her a wink. Her eyes watered, and she didn't say anything else, but the smile on her face was pure delight.
Gajeel snorted. "Is there anythin' you haven't bet on, old man?" he asked, to which Wakaba shot him a sly look.
"Well, it remains to be seen now, doesn't it?" he asked, before turning his gaze back to the bar. "Any more, Mira dear?"
She held a hand up as a sign for them all to hold on, eyes browsing the ledger in front of her, before putting it down and picking up a new one, humming under her breath. "Oh! Here's something – kids!" she exclaimed then, and at this, the guild erupted into a new wave of excitement.
Because in the span of ten years, there had been a lot of children, and there was bound to be some good wagers in the old books.
"Macao-san has bet on quite a lot of scenarios – most of which have not come true," she said with a small laugh, to which the older man sighed, while Wakaba slapped him heartily on the back.
"No worries, old friend – not everyone's got it in them!"
"So what are the bets, Mira-san?" someone called.
She smiled. "Well, there's Natsu and Lucy – six kids by year X810."
Lucy spit out the water she'd taken a sip of, brown eyes bulging comically. "Six?!" Rounding on the room, eyes flashing, she yelled, "Who the hell bet on six kids?!"
"Well you've only got four more to go!" someone called from somewhere in the room, and Natsu burst out laughing.
Gajeel smirked. "Just two more pairs of twins, bunny girl," he said with a smirk, and Levy laughed.
"Yeah, Lu-chan, and you've still got seven more years – even without twins you can still make it."
Lucy opened her mouth, but couldn't seem to make any words come out, and settled with placing her head on the table in defeat. Natsu patted her back.
Mira continued her recount. "Alzack and Bisca were a given – another kid by X800. And the winner of that bet...is Erza," she said, an amused smile on her face. The couple raised their glasses, and Erza crossed her arms over her chest, pleased with herself.
"Oh, here's another one that's been fulfilled – Elfman and Evergreen. Two kids by X800, and the pot goes to...Evergreen herself," she read aloud, a wry smile on her face as her gaze shot to her sister-in-law, and the guild erupted into knowing laughter. Evergreen only straightened her glasses, a sly smile on her face.
"Alright, so...Gajeel and Levy," Mira read, before her eyes lit up, and she looked up from the ledger to a room brimming with anticipation. "Four by X803," she said.
There was a moment's pause, and then the sound of chairs scraping across the floorboards erupted throughout the room as they were pushed away, and before Levy had a chance to blink, there were people surrounding her on all sides.
"That's this year!"
"Yeah, and she's only got what, three months to go?"
"Are you sure it's just one in there? When was your last check-up?"
"My sister thought she was going to have only one, and it turned out to be three!"
At the last bit, Gajeel nearly choked on his drink. Levy could only blink, mouth slightly agape as she took in the eager faces in front of her. "Er–"
Then there was a hand on her stomach, halting her words on her tongue.
The guild seemed to inhale sharply in unison, and Levy's brows shot into her hairline, startled eyes meeting the ones of the person whose hand was currently on her belly – a young, newly appointed member, if she remembered clearly. A split second later, the realization of what he'd done seemed to dawn on him, but he didn't have time to take his hand away before it was forcibly removed for him, and he raised his wide eyes to the shadow that had fallen over him. Around them, Fairy Tail seemed to hold a collective breath.
"The hell do you think you're doing?" Gajeel growled, hand tightening around the wrist in his grip, and the young man flinched, clenching his eyes shut in the expectation of a blow.
Levy sighed, reaching up to tug at Gajeel's shirt. "Honey, remember what we talked about," she said, voice calm. "People will touch pregnant bellies – it's normal, and I'm not offended." Gajeel didn't respond at first, only continued to glare down at the shaking man, who looked about ready to wet himself.
Then he snorted, releasing the wrist with enough force to send the man sprawling. And when he seated himself back down next to his wife, the guild released the breath it had been holding.
From the bar, Mira had watched everything, eyes shining with amusement. When she spoke, her voice seemed to break through the tension that had built up in the wake of her previous announcement. "Well, it still remains to be seen then," she declared.
Macao smirked. "Who's up for winning the most on that one?"
She hummed, looking down the list, before flipping the page, as it appeared to be quite long. Then she nodded to herself. "Juvia has bet the most so far," she said with a wink at the bluenette, who grinned.
Gajeel shot her an incredulous look. "The hell, woman?"
She only shrugged. "Juvia wanted to see Gajeel have babies," was all she said, before she turned to grin at Gray. "Juvia found that hoping for others happiness was almost as fulfilling as hoping for her own," she murmured, looking at her hands where they were clasped in her lap, and her eyes lit up when he reached over to take one, a grin on his face.
"When was the bet made?" Levy asked, a curious smile on her face, eyes shooting between Mirajane and Juvia.
The barmaid grinned slyly. "Seventeen years ago," she said. "Before Tenrou," she added, and Levy's eyes widened, before they settled on the water mage.
"Before Tenrou?" she asked, blinking, genuinely surprised. "Why? We were barely talking before the exams," she said, shooting a questioning look at her husband. Juvia only smiled demurely to herself, shooting Gajeel a knowing look, before looking away. For his part, Gajeel cleared his throat, and averted his gaze to something on the other side of the room.
Lucy smirked into her glass. "Well," she said. "How many things we're learning tonight," she murmured with a grin, and Gajeel shot her a glare, to which she raised her glass.
Natsu blinked. "Wait...what are we talking about?"
And so the next hour passed – rifling through their past expectations, hopes and dreams, all accurately accounted for in the form of wagers, scribbled down neatly in faded, multi-coloured notebooks. Applause followed the ones having been proven right, excitement for the ones yet to be fulfilled, and a moment of silence in respect for those that would never come to be. For the years had taken as well as they had given, and they were not all they had once been.
But the festivities continued – in celebration of the new year, the passing of the old, and of comrades and friends, both present, passed on, and those still waiting to come into the world.
Rubbing a hand across her stomach, Levy stifled a yawn. "It's getting late," she murmured. "Or early?" Across from her, Lucy had fallen asleep, her head in Natsu's lap, snoring softly. She frowned. "Is she getting enough sleep?" she asked.
Natsu's mouth quirked into an exasperated smile. "Nope – worries too much. I'm surprised I managed to rope her into coming here."
Gajeel raised a brow. "The kid's watched the brats before," he stated. Levy rolled her eyes.
"Wendy's not a kid anymore, Gajeel," she reminded him. "But when you mention it, perhaps we should go relieve Lily now?"
He nodded, rising to his feet, a hand on her waist to help her up. She laughed. "I can manage, you know – I'm only six months along!"
He didn't say anything, and didn't remove his hand. Grabbing her jacket, he held it towards her as she tied her scarf around her neck. Around them the party was still going on, although they were well into the first day of the new year. But Fairy Tail was Fairy Tail, and they all knew some people would still be going at it come morning when others came in for their jobs.
"Ready to go?" Levy asked, voice muffled from behind her scarf. Turning to Natsu, her eyes crinkled as she smiled down at Lucy's slumped form. "Don't keep her here too long – remember how cranky she gets," she warned with a wink, before she headed towards the exit.
"Goodnight, Jet – Droy," she said as she passed their table, leaning down to give them a hug and a kiss on the cheek, and they called after her drunkenly.
Passing Mira at the bar, Levy gave her a smile. "Goodnight, Mira."
"Goodnight, Levy-chan. Gajeel," she said as they passed. Gajeel grunted as he followed, pushing the doors up as he let Levy outside.
The streets of Magnolia were empty save a straggler or two, stumbling away from some other party. The storm had passed, and a fresh coat of snow had fallen across the city – leaving it gleaming brilliantly white in the early morning light. Rubbing her arms for warmth, Levy smiled when Gajeel stepped closer.
She shook her head. "I'll be fine – it's not a long walk, and it's a good change. It gets a bit stifling in there after a while," she said with a laugh. He snorted, but didn't disagree. Sneaking a mitten-covered hand out of her pocket, she curled her fingers into his.
"Do you think he's had any trouble?" she asked as they began the trek back to their home.
Gajeel smirked. "I doubt it. It's not his first time watching 'em."
"Yeah, but they fussed a bit when we left," she mused, her free hand going to the swell of her stomach. "I hope she'll be a bit calmer."
He didn't respond immediately, but his fingers tightened around hers. "What they said...about twins..."
Levy grinned. "You scared another one will pop out?"
He raised a brow. "Is it possible?"
She shrugged. "My next check-up is next week – Lu-chan said the doctors hadn't been able to tell before long into her pregnancy that there were two...so maybe?" She stopped then, a frown tugging her brows down. "Would it be so bad?" she asked, worry seeping into her tone. Gajeel raised a hand, bringing it to her face–
–and then poked her forehead sharply, and she yelped, hands flying to the sore spot. "Gajeel!"
"Don't be an idiot, Shorty. I was just asking if I'd need to prepare – you saw the trouble the idiot had the first few months. And she still ain't gettin' any sleep," he said.
Levy glared at him, hands still covering her throbbing forehead. "One or two, we'll manage it just fine. We've faced worse things than babies!"
He raised a brow. "That wasn't what you said when they had colic," he reminded her.
She snorted a laugh, before tugging him along with her down the street. "Ah, yes – I'd almost purged those memories. Thank you for bringing them back."
He snorted. "Hey, I was the one doin' all the carryin'," he retorted. "If anyone needs to forget, it's me."
She smirked. "It's not my fault they both preferred you. And you can consider it your fair share, as I believe I'm doing nine months worth of carrying, and that this would be my third time."
"Details," he grumbled, but there was good humour in his tone.
She grinned, tugging at his hand to bring him down for a kiss. Nudging her cold nose against his, she smiled up at him. "You make me very happy – you know that?"
He smirked. "Likewise, shrimp."
She rolled her eyes. "Ten years, and you still can't remember my name?"
"I remember just fine – that doesn't make you any less of a shrimp."
She looked down at her stomach, visible even through the heavy coat. "A fat shrimp," she muttered.
"Can't argue with ya there."
Her laughter echoed through the empty street as she chased him down – waddling slightly with a handful of snow in her grasp, ready to chuck at his face. When he allowed her to catch up to him, her cheeks were flushed, and there was a wide grin on her face. "You know what?" she asked, breathless.
He raised a brow in reply, and her grin widened. "If there is two – I'm not saying there is, but...if there was..." she trailed off.
Gajeel's brows furrowed. "What are you scheming?" he asked. Her calculating smile put Mirajane's to shame.
"Remember what I said once about profiting from bets?"
Nope – some things would never really change. No matter how many years went by and no matter what they'd have to face in the passing of those years, Fairy Tail was – and would forever continue to be – Fairy Tail.
And that included its members, crazy as they came.
AN: The more I submerge myself in this fandom, the more I want to be part of this guild.