Lucy Heartphilia was worried. Her long-time friend and teammate and, as of the last six years, boyfriend Natsu Dragneel and their flying blue cat companion Happy left without a word to her almost a month ago. Gajeel Redfox and Gray Fullbuster had joined them.
Unlike the salamander, the two had returned two weeks ago, claiming that Natsu decided he needed to go the latter half of his mission alone. When Lucy had inquired about Natsu's whereabouts and well-being, the two had shrugged her off, pointing out Natsu's tendency of getting in and out of trouble. They would say nothing about the mission.
In all the years Lucy had known Natsu, he had never missed her birthday. Though the guild had thrown her a small celebration as per usual for the guild, she admittedly felt lonely without her pink haired idiot. That was why she was so happy when she saw a figure snoozing on her bed. At first she thought it may be a burglar but dismissed the idea of a burglar dumb enough to take a nap in her bed during the job.
As he crept closer, her heart skipped a beat looking at the curled form on her bed. She was tempted to wake him up to berate him for worrying her but decided to let him sleep.
She had just come out of the shower with a towel around her hair and another covering her body when arms wrapped themselves around her waist. Lucy let out a small gasp before she felt a face press itself into her hair.
"You smell good Luce," Natsu drawled, obviously just having awoken.
Lucy giggled, "Let me go. I need to put on some clothes."
Natsu frowned, "Why? I like you better this way."
"Natsuuuuu!" Lucy grunted as she wormed her way out of her boyfriend's embrace. Though she would love to stay this way for a while, she wanted to know where he went without telling her.
"Luuuuuucy!" Natsu shared her aggravation. He had been gone for a month give or take a few days. He wanted to sleep off his fatigue but he knew that he would never forgive himself if he didn't do this on her birthday. As Gray told him, "A moment's pain for a lifetime of happiness or a moment wasted and a lifetime of regret." Natsu thought that Gray had been spending too much time with Juvia lately.
"So," Lucy said as she dried her hair," where did you disappear to for the last month?"
"I was on a mission," Natsu shrugged as he plopped down onto her bed.
Lucy smacked him upside the head, "I know that dummy. I meant where were you for the last month? And where's Happy? He's always with you." Normally, she couldn't get rid of the cat even if she tried. Now the Exceed was nowhere to be found.
"Happy is at the guild. He wanted to see Charles," Natsu groaned as he got up and gave Lucy a peck on the lips and a quick hug, "C'mon get dressed. Let's go get something to eat."
Before Lucy could respond, he had walked out the door, into her living room. She sighed. She had some news to share with Natsu and now she will have to wait a little longer.
Dinner went well. In fact, for the first time, Natsu ate civilly and was well-mannered throughout their dinner. Granted, he still ate a ton of food but he also managed to have a conversation with her without spitting out chunks. Lucy can't help giggling when she remembered the faces of some of the other patrons when they saw Natsu putting away a week's worth of food.
After the dinner, Natsu surprised her by suggesting a walk through a park which she happily agreed to. Honestly, Natsu was not the most romantic boyfriend in the world. Then again, he was the only boyfriend she ever had but she read books. She imagined other guys were more romantic. Then again, Gray, Gajeel, and Laxus being romantic didn't seem likely…or pretty. Maybe it's only with Fairy Tail guys.
All these thoughts were running through her mind while she walked hand in hand with Natsu. Natsu, seeing her face scrunched up in that cute look when she was deep in thought, left her to her thoughts. When they arrived at a small pond where the full moon was shining overhead, Natsu motioned for her to sit down.
"Wait here for a sec Luce," Natsu said as he disappeared behind a tree. He returned with a pile of boxes.
"That's so sweet. Gimme," Lucy joked and stretched her hands out for him to give her the boxes.
Natsu grinned but shook his head no. Lucy gave him a cute pout and turned her cheek. Natsu grinned and pinned her before kissing her gently. Lucy sighed underneath him but he pulled back before he forgot about the speech he prepared. He worked too hard on this and now owed favors to way too many people to stop now.
Natsu groaned and got off her, "Lucy. I'm sorry for disappearing for a month but I wanted to make this day special since it was your birthday and I didn't do anything for our ten year anniversary of when we first met."
Lucy smiled, "I remember beating you up when I asked you if you knew what day it was and you ran to the bathroom with wide eyes and returned with a tampon."
He just sighed, "That was not a fun day for me. Your couch is cold Luce. Anyways, with some help, I was able to get these for you. Ten gifts for ten years. Here this is the first one."
Natsu handed Lucy a small white box with a ribbon tied on it. All the gifts were decorated in the same simple manner but this box was the smallest of the bunch. Her hands trembling from Natsu's thoughtfulness, Lucy opened the box to see a small sapphire brooch. It was beautifully crafted. A small blue stone rested on a thin gold plate. Though it didn't weigh much, Lucy could immediately tell that it was expensive.
Lucy couldn't believe her eyes, "N-Natsu. This. How could you afford this?"
Natsu rubbed the back of his head with a wide grin on his face. He saw her look of delight and mentally thanked Mira for always making him put aside some of his reward money for a rainy day, "Luce, I'm not that bad with my money. I always have some jewels saved up. I blew it all on these gifts though."
"T-thank you. I don't know what to say," Lucy stammered.
"This will sound cheesy but I wanted each gift to represent something," Natsu's face turned a light pink.
"Oh? And what might this be?" Lucy teased.
Natsu looked her in the eyes and said seriously, "This-this small little brooch is how you look to me. Beautiful, deep, and something so precious I hope I'll never lose."
Lucy blushed at the confession, "N-Natsu."
Natsu continued and handed her a second box. This one was the size of a shoe box but whatever was in there was smaller. She quickly tore through the box to see a book. Natsu reached in and took it out.
"I went to Hibiki for this one. He suggested this and actually helped me get it. It's an enchanted notebook. You see this hand print on the front?" Natsu pointed to the print. Lucy nodded. "Let your magic flow into it and it will write down your thoughts for you. When you close it, the words will fade so no one besides you can read what's in it. When you want to reread what you wrote, just let your magic flow into it again. It's perfect for you to write your novel in right?"
Lucy was shocked. More than the first gift, the second was thoughtful, intelligent, and utterly sweet. Levy, Erza, Gray, and everyone else always dug through her stuff. Though she loved the feedback and the reviews, she wanted to be able to finish a chapter before anyone read it.
"You're smart Luce. You're one of the smartest people I know. I wanted to make sure you know that," Natsu kissed her cheek before handing her another small package.
The third gift was a silver key. Even without touching it Lucy could tell which spirit it belonged to and she loved him for it.
"I will make a contract with him later," she answered his questioning eyes when she didn't immediately take the key of the Canis Major and make a contract with it.
Natsu handed her a fourth box, thankful she didn't make a contract right now. He wanted to spend this time with her and her alone. The fourth box contained a silver bracelet with one charm. When Lucy looked closely at the bracelet, she can see her name L-U-C-Y. The single charm was a familiar symbol, the symbol of Fairy Tail.
When she looked at Natsu, he said, "So you will never forget who you are and where your home is. When you returned to us when you went to your dad and told us your story, you said that you are not just a daughter of the Heartfilia's but your own person."
"He remembered," Lucy thought as she held her knees to her chest after putting the bracelet on.
The next box contained a necklace with a small flame burning inside. Natsu said, "So you'll always have a part of me with you even if we're apart."
It was at the sixth and seventh gifts that Lucy was confused. One was a photo album that contained pictures of him, her, their friends, and their times together. Natsu flipped the book to the last page. All of the members had placed a message inside the album. It was a book of memories but she didn't understand why he paired this gift with what looked like a conch shell.
Seeing her confused face, Natsu held the shell to her ears, "The album is for reading. The conch is for listening. You know how we went to a beach and I picked up a few shells and we heard the sea in them. This isn't really a shell. It's a recorder shaped like a shell. Listen."
It wasn't a gentle tune. It wasn't heavy metal. There wasn't even any music but Lucy could swear time and time again that it was the most beautiful sound in the world. It was the sound of her beloved guild wishing her a happy birthday. Erza, Levy, Gray, Cana, Mirajane, and even Gajeel had left a message though Gajeel's was a "happy birthday" followed by a grunt and a curse directed at Natsu for making him do this. This was quickly followed by Levy's reprimand. For a girl half his size, Levy won more than her share of battles with her husband.
This was the first time in the gift giving that Lucy began to cry. Automatically, Natsu held her in his arms, worried that he hurt her somehow. More than any other gifts thus far has meant as much to her as these two did. An album that carried the memories of her friends and a shell that captured a beautiful moment and their well wishes. She didn't care if Natsu saw her cry or if he ever gave her anything else. For these two things, she will always love him.
"Thank you Natsu. Thank you," Lucy said in between sobs.
After her episode, Natsu handed her a handkerchief to wipe her tears away. Then he joked, "man Lucy, you're so weird. Bawling because of a book and a shell."
Lucy punched him lightly on the arm, "Idiot."
Feeling that the mood was alright again, Natsu handed him the last box. Inside was a bouquet of flowers. Lucy has never seen such beautiful flowers before. They had the form of lilies. The petals were dark blue like the ocean depths. The center was a red almost like fire. The stem was a pure green brighter than grass. The leaves were green as well but had tinges of sky blue. They smelled more tantalizing than any flowers she had ever seen. In fact, she didn't even know such a flower could exist.
"It's called the Evermore flower. This is why I needed those guys to help. It took me three years just to find out a general location of the flower. This last month was the first time I've visited the cave that grew them. It's a flower protected in a place guarded by a labyrinth, licked by fire, chilled by ice, and hidden by mist. To get to it, I needed Gajeel's help with the labyrinth, Gray for the ice, and Gerald for the mist," Natsu rambled.
"Gerald helped?" Lucy asked. Though they had made peace with the members of Crime Sorciere, the trio of former dark mages hadn't stopped traveling to atone for their crimes. "How did you find him?"
"I asked Erza," Natsu shrugged.
"Of course. But Natsu," Lucy began, "Why so much trouble for these flowers specifically?"
"They are flowers that can survive in any climate or place but only scatter their seeds and bloom every hundred years. Then they stay that way for other twenty or so years before dying and leaving behind a seed that's exactly like it. That's why they're called Evermores. At least, that's what Elfman told me when I said I wanted a super special flower to give you. Did you know he is into flowers?" Natsu asked.
Lucy shook her head, "No but that may explain why Evergreen and him are a couple. Fairies are said to live around flowers."
Natsu laughed, "Maybe."
Some minutes passed before Lucy looked up at Natsu, still in his arms, "Natsu?"
"Hm?" he grunted.
"You said ten gifts. What are the last two?" Lucy asked.
Natsu chuckled, "I gave you eight gifts but you want more. Women."
This time Lucy punched him in the gut with all her might causing the young dragonslayer to roll over in pain. Lucy regretted her action a little bit when Natsu stopped moving but made no attempt to go near her. She laid down next to him, his back still turned to her. "Are you mad at me Natsu? I'm sorry."
Still no reply. "Natsu!" Lucy yelled.
He shifted a little but made no attempt to talk to her.
Now Lucy was getting angry. She stood up and towered over him. Before she could do anything, Natsu tackled her into the pond. She went under for a second before sitting up and gasping for air. "Natsu. You little-"
Natsu was laughing wholeheartedly, "You should see the look on your face Luce."
Lucy felt her anger dissipate at the sound of his laugh and started giggling at how he looked with a piece of greenery in his hair. Giggles turned into laughter. Soon they were both laughing, their previous bad mood gone.
"Luce," Natsu called her name. Lucy turned to him.
"The first gift represented your physical beauty. The second your mental beauty. The third gift about your spiritual beauty, the beauty that expands beyond Earthland to the Spirit world, Edolas, whatever. The fourth gift is so you'll always remember who you are and that you always have a home with Fairy Tail, with me. The fifth gift was to show you that no matter how far apart we are, I will be there. The sixth gift showed you how loved you are not just by me but by all our friends. The seventh gift is your past, the memories we shared together. The flowers are an eternal memory of now, our present," Natsu went through the speech he had prepared.
"This," Natsu reached into his pocket, brought out a small black velvet box, and opened it, revealing a ring," represents my promise to you for the future. I may not be much or have much but I love you Lucy Heartphilia. I promise to remain by your side forever if you'll allow me."
This set off another episode of tears. Natsu felt a pain through his chest. Tears were not a good sign. Bracing himself for rejection, he was surprised by Lucy tacking him. He caught her and held her close.
Six years, maybe even longer, Lucy had wanted Natsu to say those words. Those sweet, beautiful words she was worried she would never hear from Natsu especially with her news. It took Levy seven years with Gajeel. It took Juvia four years with Gray.
"Yes. Yes. A million times yes," Lucy shouted just in case the man right in front of her can't hear her.
Natsu just held her to him not believing this could happen.
When they finally disentangled, Lucy felt she had to share her news with him. However, she was worried that he wouldn't like it, "Natsu. I-I'm pregnant."
Natsu held her hand tighter, "I know."
Lucy was taken aback, "W-What? How?"
Natsu scratched his head, "Dragonslayers and dragons, according to Igneel, can sense and smell when someone is pregnant. He also said pregnant women have mood swings that are even scarier than when a woman is at her time of the month."
"So you're not mad? You want this baby?" Lucy asked.
Natsu looked fierce, "Wait. Do you?"
Lucy held her hands in front of her, "Of course I do but do you?"
"I am so relieved. I-I was so worried," Lucy let out a breath she didn't know she was holding.
Natsu kissed her deeply, "You're gonna be a great mom."
"And you'll be a great dad," Lucy smiled.
"That's the tenth gift you know. A gift for us both," Natsu said.
"And it's the best gift of all," Lucy laughed as she pulled him in for another kiss.
"Stop pushing you idiots," Gajeel snarled.
"Oh quiet down Gajeel," Levy snapped, "Aww, they're kissing."
"You know I made that ring for him right?" Gajeel said.
"Shut up lizard boy," Gray said, "He'll hear us."
"You picking a fight stripper?" Gajeel snapped.
"Stop it!" Erza hissed.
"Hah. I win the bet," Cana laughed.
"I knew he would propose," Mirajane sighed.
"Should we really be spying?" Laxus asked.
Mira nodded, "It's our duty to watch the kids grow up."
"More like stalking," Laxus muttered.
"What did you say?" Mira asked.
"Nothing dear," Laxus quickly replied.
"Oh my god. They're coming over," Macao said.
"Dragon ears idiots. Scatter!" Gerald hissed as he pulled Erza with him and they disappeared.
"How did he not notice us earlier?" Gajeel asked as he lifted Levy onto his shoulders and ran.
Levy explained, "Gerald used illusions to hide us."
"Then how'd he spy us?" Gajeel asked.
"Who knows? You wanna go back and ask them?" Levy asked.
Gajeel snorted, "Hell no. You see what happens when someone interrupts a dragon and their mate?"
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