===Chapter 10===

Magical Power

Gajeel is 30, Levy is 27, Tacks is 7 and Aiko is 5

"He doesn't love me anymore," Gajeel moped, sitting on the edge of the bed.

"Gajeel, he's just taking his own path in life," Levy reassured him, hugging him from behind. "You said that he could do what he wants, and that you wouldn't teach him slayer magic."

"But, fire magic?" Gajeel had a way of making it sound much worse than any swear. "Like…Salamander?"

"No, not like Natsu. Like Romeo and Macao. Like Totomaru. Haven't you enjoyed seeing your old friend again?"

"Yeah, but…"

"And aren't you going to help him?"

"Of course…"

"And aren't you proud of him?"

"Stop being so damn clever, Shorty!" Gajeel snorted. "Keep this up and I'll be really mean to ya!"

"Oh, is the widdle dragon slayer all embarrassed?" Levy asked making kissy faces. "Awww, you're just like a big kid and-"

"Yer twenty seven but ya still look like a twelve year old!" Gajeel snapped.

"T…too mean!"

"Alright," Totomaru erased the magical whiteboard in his small classroom. He was giving personal tuition to the son of his old friend. "Can you repeat to me the seven types of flame?"

"Um…yes! Red is the strong flame, orange the normal flame, yellow the pungent flame, green the toxic flame, blue the freezing flame, purple the sticky flame and pink the fragrant flame." Tacks was nothing if not a quick study.

"Good. As you say, orange is the normal flame, but a good practitioner should be able to force out the red flame as well. We'll start there, as usual. Hmm…that Romeo kid could only master three flames by the time he was thirteen, but I expect more from you, son of Gajeel!"

"Um…can I ask, how will my flame compare to Uncle Natsu's?" Tacks asked innocently. Totomaru snorted, but that was an old wound these days. He was thirty five now, and his body was now that of a proper adult. It wouldn't be too many years before that black and white hair mixed together permanently into grey.

"Well, that moron is immune to your fire, I'm afraid. However, a fully developed red flame is comparable to dragon flame if it has the proper magical clout behind it."

"What about black fire? Uncle Natsu said that it was hard to eat."

Totomaru smiled sadly. "Unfortunately, black fire is the province of the God Slayers. It's not something that I can teach. However, there is theoretically the white or holy flame. I've never managed it myself, but it's possible to craft by unifying all the seven colours."

"Even you can't do it?" Tacks looked sad.

"Hey, don't sweat it kid! I'm sure that the mighty Redfox bloodline will do you well! And if that fails, I'll bet your mother gave you the smarts to figure these clever things out! But we're a hundred steps too early; let's see you make an orange flame first!"

A few weeks passed and Tacks was able to produce his first flame, a weak sputtering orange flame. Every day, his Daddy would take him out back, turn his skin to iron and tell Tacks to hit him with everything he had. Not only was Gajeel tough, but practically immune to flame, so it was good combat practise for the young Redfox.

What was infinitely harder for poor Gajeel was that his daughter for some reason always brought her homework to him for help.

"Which is 'your' and you're'?" She asked.

"Yer really asking the wrong person," Gajeel replied without a hint of irony.

"How do you spell 'unnecessary'?"

"Um…uh….U…N…N…ecessary. Shush, don't tell yer mother!"

"What are the names of the continents?"

"Um…there's like, four of 'em, right?"

After a while, 'ask yer mother' became Gajeel's catchphrase. He felt bad sometimes, but Levy always consoled him. She couldn't help Tacks learn to fight, after all. If Levy and Gajeel taught their kids their respective disciplines, they'd end up pretty damn well off!

"No, I don't wanna do this!" Levy whimpered. Lily looked down at her, giving a disapproving look to Levy rather than Gajeel for a change. Levy was trudging along through Magnolia, Lily easily keeping pace with her short strides in his battle form.

"It's good for them," Lily replied, "and it's a family activity!"

"But…training!?" Levy wailed. "I'm tired Lily, I wanna stop! I'm a thinker, not a fighter!"

"Training," Lily replied with a knowing nod, as if that was all that needed to be said. Levy cursed. She could normally count on the Exceed for level-headedness, but training was like the cat's religion. Well, since kiwis probably didn't constitute a theology.

She glared up the road. She had expected Gajeel to make huge headway if he so chose, but the fact that both of her children had gone on too had come as a huge shock. Damn the boundless energy of the young! Damn it to hell! She knew that Tacks was at a point where he needed to start training, but she'd hoped that Aiko might have waned, but no, the girl was so doe-eyed for her father that she'd follow him anywhere!

Levy stopped outside of a bookstore and refused to respond to Lily anymore. She'd just wait here until they came back around. Gajeel smirked as he came back down, his children flanking him with red faces. They'd gone for a run and she'd ended up buying a book instead? Gihihi, he did so love her for that! Levy had never looked as grateful as when they finally returned home.

"Alright, now push-ups!" Gajeel shouted to a trio of assents. Levy buried her head into the couch and refused to move. She didn't have the upper body strength for this!

"Nashi!" Tacks cried happily at the playground the next day. The young Dragneel joined him on the roundabout.

"You look tired," she noted with concern for her lifelong friend.

"Dad's helping me be stronger. I do wish he'd slow down sometimes, though," he replied wistfully. Then he smiled again. "How's your magic coming along?"

"Great!" Look at this! Nashi jumped off of the playground ride and focused her concentration. She was surrounded by a shimmering halo of celestial magic, like a blanket of stars in the night sky. Pretty, Tacks thought with a red face. "But I can't do anything useful with it yet, though…"

"No! It's great!" Tacks enthused. "We'll be the strongest in Fairy Tail, right?"

Nashi giggled. "We're not even guild members yet!"

The two kids shut up as they heard a ruckus. Oh dammit, their mothers had arranged poorly and both their fathers had accompanied them to the playground this day. And the topic of conversation could only be one thing, couldn't it?

"My kid's a thousand times stronger than yers, Salamander!"

"Nashi's strong, Metalhead! Just you wait and see!"

"Tacks will make fire so strong that even you can't eat it!"

"But Nashi will be able to summon all twelve spirits at the same time!"

"She's not a spirit mage, ya dumbass! Hasn't Lucy taught ya the difference between a celestial mage and a celestial spirit mage yet?"

"Yes, but I don't understand!" Natsu said with utter conviction. He looked sly suddenly. "But I'm gonna teach Ignale dragon slayer magic!"

"Are ya kidding me!?" Gajeel raged. "What about…"

"Ha! I've been talking to Igneel, Bolt-for-brains! Humans can't teach pure slaying magic, so they can't pass the curse on! Ignale's gonna be a fourth generation slayer!"

"F…fourth generation?" Gajeel stammered.

"A slayer with a human parent! Who knows how strong that'll make him! Maybe he'll not have the edge…or maybe he'll be stronger because he's a hybrid!"

"Yer thinking of Saiyans not Slayers, you moron!"

"Who cares? Maybe it's the same?" Natsu said dismissively.

"Then I'll make Aiko a fourth generation Iron dragon slayer and she'll kick Ignale's ass!"

"Oh really? You never beat me once!"

"SALAMANDER!" Very shortly after that word, they were kicked out of the playground for excessive use of combat oriented magic around minors.

"Shrimp, get up," Gajeel said crossly, folding his arms. His wife was splayed all over the living room floor, exhausted from the day's exertions.

"No, it's too much. I miss when our kids were too little for all of this stuff," Levy mumbled into the floor. "Now they're going to grow bigger and stronger, and you're all going to leave me behind. I can't take all of this running and exercise."

"Shrimp, yer an S-class mage. A light workout isn't gonna kill ya."

"LIGHT!?" She looked up from the floor like a madwoman. "Wanna help me decipher an ancient text? It's only 1'000 pages long!"

"Uh, no….that'd kill me…I see yer point." He shrugged. "They're growing up, aren't they? It won't be long before Aiko starts learning magic too, or that they'll both be taller than ya."

"Shut up."

"Mummy! Daddy!" Tacks hurried down the stairs, seemingly distraught. "My hair!"

Levy and Gajeel stared. The tips of Tack's hair were turning a pale, sky blue, just like Levy's.

"Oh, I've read about this," Levy said, scooting over to her son and gently examining his hair. "When some people have their magical power awaken, their hair colour changes. It seems like your recessive genes are starting to show!"

"B…but," Tacks stammered. A growing boy was confused enough! Why was this happening too? He felt so embarrassed to have to go to school the next day. He felt like everyone was laughing at him. He stayed by himself on the playground, hoping that he wouldn't be seen by…

"Tacks!" Nashi cried happily as she ran up. Her expression became shocked as she noticed his change.

"Um…hey Nashi," he mumbled, face burning red.

"Oh wow! That's so cool!" Nashi enthused, a huge smile spreading over her face. "Your mother's colour is so much better than your dad's!"

"R-really?" He asked, startled and confused.

"Yay! Now you have strange hair like me! It's weird being the only pink-haired girl in school! It's the only colour rarer than blue!"

"Thanks," Tacks said quietly.

"Now come on! Show me more magic!" Nashi sang with joy. "I wanna see a flame more beautiful than my dad's!"

"Okay!" Tacks bellowed.

"You want me to teach you the pink flame next?" Totomaru asked, raising an eyebrow. "Most boys just want to skip straight to the red flame…"

"Well, you see, there's a girl…," Tacks replied, annoyed by how much he was blushing recently.

"Ah, say no more," the teacher chuckled. He knelt down to whisper in a conspiratorial fashion. "You must never speak of this to anyone, but buy some aromatic candles and light them with the pink fragrant flame. Trust me, the combination of all those scents…it's like catnip to women!"

Tacks had no idea what that meant exactly, but if Nashi would like it, then it sounded good.

Basically, I wanted to retcon Tack's hair colour to blue. So I invented a justification. Consider this poor planning on my part. Aiko's still black like her dad, though.

BTW, I uploaded two pics of the kids on my deviantart account, including one of them as adults. The adult pic is probably my best drawing ever (not saying much), so please check them out if you wanna know how I envision them in this story.

Sorry if this chapter was a bit disjointed, but I'm trying to lay some groundwork with these events.