A/N: Everyone stay safe during flu and cold season!
DISCLAIMER: Not mine except for the obvious.
Wendy stepped out of the little boy's room with a delicate frown, closing the door firmly behind her. The two anxious parents stood outside waiting for her to say something.
"What is it? Why won't his fever go down?" Lucy asked with as much control as she could muster.
"Children tend to get sick and have high fevers, but given Igneel's background this one is of particular concern." Wendy had grown quite nicely into a blossoming young woman. She and Romeo had been dancing around one another for years now. They were the new hot item to gossip about and the latest targets of Mirajane's matchmaking endeavors despite their incredible stubbornness. The poor things. All of that didn't matter though, not right now anyway. Natsu's fist clenched down on itself. He hated it. He absolutely hated the fact that this was something he could not fight, blow away or crush into a million unrecognizable pieces. Watching your child whimper, moan, and toss and turn was horrible. Every parent dreads it, loathes it and all around tries to hide from it, but it is inevitable that one will face a rip roaring fever that is more persistent than flies on dung. Igneel refused to be held and comforted, but then would turn to immediately seek consolation in the arms of his parents. It was a constant battle. Medicine worked for only a short while before the fever burned it away. The parents had been up for three nights straight now and fatigue was showing. The little one had gone to stay with Levy and Gajeel as they were newly equipped with baby things to take care of an additional infant for a small period of time.
Wendy was about to say something before a pitiful cry wafted through the closed door behind her. Lucy looked at her apologetically as Wendy smiled and nodded in understanding. The young mother quickly moved through the door to gently rest herself next to her sweaty child. He was shivering uncontrollably.
"Mama, cold…" His lips trembled. Wendy closed the door behind her to give them some privacy. She turned then to the father who had yet to say a word.
"Is there nothing?" His eyes were smoldering as he looked her dead center in the eye. She felt nervous about telling him something he wouldn't like. Natsu would never hurt anyone especially a nakama, but he was known for doing irrational things when frustrated, which was exactly what he was at that very moment. Wendy gently gripped him just above the elbow and moved him confidingly away from the closed door. Her voice was low.
"This fever isn't a normal fever, Natsu." She felt his muscles ripple and tense. "You know about Ultear right?" Natsu's eyes widened. Of course he knew about her. The estranged daughter of Gray's master, Ur, thought she had been abandoned by her mother only to find out that she had been whisked away by an evil cult claiming to offer medical assistance but intent on honing her magic to their needs. The fever had been the effect of an overflow of power. Her little body was unable to take it. Nothing further was needed to be said. His son had too much power.
"What do we do?" he choked out through an amazingly tight throat. Wendy's hand dropped, relieved he had not gone running into the street and setting the whole block on fire.
"There's little we can do at this point. If we syphon power out of him it could damage his core. Medicine is inadequate at this point…"
"So you're telling me I can only sit back and watch him suffer?" Wendy tensed again. This might be a bit harder than she thought. She could only seem to muster a small nod of affirmation. It was as if all of the air in his lungs dissipated all at once. He collapsed into a nearby chair and rubbed his face with a calloused hand. "How long?" Settling herself down in the chair across from him she began to wring her hands together.
"It could be days, maybe even weeks. It's hard to say. There's no way to gauge his power levels." Natsu's eyes were shadowed by his hand as he took a deep steadying breath. His head also began to nod as if accepting this new bit of information.
"Then we wait." It was in moments like these that Wendy was amazed by the maturity parenthood had brought the fire dragon slayer. Natsu stood and paced a few times more before heading off towards his son's room. He stopped briefly to speak over his shoulder.
"Thank you Wendy. I think we'd like to be alone for a while. We will call you if there are any changes." Wendy could respect that. Slowly she stood and showed herself out.
Natsu stood gloomily by the door watching his wife hold their son lovingly, humming an old lullaby her own mother had sung to her when she was sick. The little tyke had finally drifted off into a fitful sleep. His little face was scrunched up in displeasure. His lips were swollen and pursed from the heat burning inside of him.
"Did Wendy leave?" Natsu nodded as he looked down at his sleeping son's face. "Did she say anything else?" Natsu hesitated for a moment and Lucy frowned gently. "Natsu Dragneel, don't you dare even think about lying to me," she whispered vehemently.
"What? I didn't even say anything yet." She lifted a finger and pointed at him, waving it around in small circles.
"You're doing that thing." She looked him up and down.
"What, what thing?" Natsu insisted his innocence.
"You're doing that thing you always do when you're contemplating a lie. You start rocking back and forth on your feet and then fiddle with something in your pocket." Natsu took note that he would have to watch for that in the future. With a sigh of defeat he knelt down on the floor in front of his seated wife.
"It's not an illness, it's a power thing." Lucy looked confused for a moment before her eyes widened in recognition.
"Like…" Natsu nodded already aware of what she was going to say and finished it for her.
"What do we do?" Lucy asked exactly the same thing as Natsu had moments earlier.
"We wait." Lucy felt her chest seize up and it took her a moment to realize her lungs needed some encouragement to restart breathing. Her grip on little Igneel tightened involuntarily and he squirmed and whined in his sleep. She consciously forced herself to lighten her hold on him. She stiffened her lip and leaned into her husband who had come up to wrap an arm around her shoulders.
Levy stood at the Dragneel residence knocking once, then twice. She had brought over a meal, knowing that the family had only recovered from that horrible illness very recently. She was sure that Lucy had little sleep to run on and neither of the parents had the energy to make a decent meal for themselves. Little Layla had already been sent back home to her delight. The baby had obviously missed her parents during her two day absence. Everyone was relieved to hear that Igneel had pulled through his fever, but no one had seen the family in days despite the reports of Igneel pulling through. It was of course understandable that they would be tired, but she was sure that by now they would all be well on their way to the road of healthy recovery.
The door flew open to reveal a disheveled man who looked to be Natsu. His hair was in disarray and his clothes had seen better days. She had never seen such huge bags under one's eyes before. The eyes above them were bloodshot and had yet to see any sleep. Behind him she heard shrieking, howling and Lucy practically ready to break down in a fit of sobs.
"Um, did I come at a bad time?" Natsu's eyes rolled around crazily as he spotted the casserole dish in her arms.
"Food!" He would have dove in right on the spot if Lucy hadn't walked up from behind with a spoon, banging it quite effectively on the back of his head. Levy was shocked to see that she was just as harrowed looking as her husband.
"Lucy! What's happened to you two?!" Levy couldn't even hide the surprise on her face and in her voice. "Isn't Igneel better?" Lucy licked her lips and smacked them together as if forcing her mind to create a coherent sentence.
"Oh, no he's better…" Natsu was standing and rubbing the tender spot on the back of his head.
"Did you have to do it so hard?" he whined. "Did you find him yet?" Lucy sighed in exasperation.
"No, I was too busy keeping you from attacking Levy," she snapped. Yep, they definitely were at the end of their ropes.
"Wait, find him?" Levy asked. "What do you mean find him?" Suddenly, as if on cue, a toddler came tumbling from above out of thin air, landing solidly on the unsuspecting heads of his parents. They all collapsed into a huge heap of limbs. Layla giggle and squealed as she crawled up and began pulling on Natsu's hair, then shoving some of it into her mouth. Drool dropped onto his forehead.
"Please shoot me. Please!" Natsu begged Levy.
"Not unless she shoots me first," grumbled Lucy.
"Can someone explain to me what's going on here? How did Igneel do that?!" Igneel smiled as he rolled around on top of his parents' prone backs. Slowly, Lucy disengaged from her family and stood up, dusting herself uselessly as she faced her friend.
"Apparently after the fever broke there were some added…" Igneel laughed, hiccupped and then vanished atop his father. Natsu seemed to sigh a bit in relief before his head rolled to the side, as if making to fall asleep right there. Lucy nudged him none too lightly with her foot.
"Come on, we have to get him back," she insisted. Natsu heaved himself up while picking his daughter up in the other arm.
"Are you sure? We can't just leave him there?" he said hopefully. Levy looked at them questioningly. A second later, a void opened up revealing a mystical world beyond. Out stepped Loke, looking amazingly haggard as well for a celestial spirit. In his arms, he held little Igneel smiling and bouncing as usual. Without a word, he dropped the child into his mother's arms, turned, and trudged back into the void only to have it close behind him. Levy's jaw hit the ground.
"Was that…" Lucy nodded. "So he's…" she nodded again. "B…but…"
"We don't know either, but apparently he can jump back and forth between the two worlds at random."
"Why can't we just leave him there?" whined Natsu as he placed his daughter in her high chair. The void split open instantly and Loke poked his head through angrily.
"Because he's YOUR kid! Do you have any idea what kind of stuff he's been doing over here? Half of the place is on fire!"
"Welcome to my world buddy!" Natsu howled back angrily. Lucy sighed heavily as she switched Igneel to her other hip. Reaching out she took the casserole dish from Levy.
"Thank you so much Levy for bringing this by. We really appreciate it."
"Yeah, yeah no problem," Levy answered in a daze. "Um, well, I better get back home. Gajeel is probably wondering where I am…"
Lucy smiled tiredly and turned back to her own family. Levy stopped her for a moment.
"Hey Luce, is it that bad?" Levy asked nervously. The first real smile she had seen in a long time spread across her friend's face knowingly.
"I wouldn't trade it for the world, but may the gods have mercy on your soul when yours develops her magic as well." Levy swallowed audibly. A crash and the sound of Layla crying erupted from behind her and the smile was gone as Lucy closed the door firmly behind her.
Levy felt the pit of her stomach lurch. Her mind ran in circles. Gajeel's genes with hers all mixed into one little baby. She felt sweat on her forehead. What had she done?!
A/N: I'm going to say what I've said to others. PROCREATE RESPONSIBLY! Only Parenthood would change perfectly sane people into the masochistic insane ones you find running after their little ones in the mall. Ask them and they'll hesitate, but most will say they don't regret it... (they may wanna skip this part of raising a kid, but all the same they don't regret it). Please R&R!