A/N: A FUTUREFIC! Can you believe? So this has been in my head for quite a long time now - and I finally decided to push through with it, pushing WAY aside a bit - but I'm working on that, too.
The title and the story are pretty straightforward. Natsu and Lucy's five year old daughter notices and asks why her mom's hands are not as smooth as normal mothers' hands. And in the process she learns other things.
I came up with the idea when my best friend noticed that my hands have grown kind of rough, and he complained that I was cutting my fingers too much from papercraft. My mind suddenly came to some of the anime/manga female characters I know, and how being action girls ought to leave some marks on their lovely hands. And Fairy Tail is full of action girls. So here it is.
Quick age guide: Natsu, Lucy and co.: around 33 to 35, 37 for the older characters like Mira and Laxus. Romeo should be around 29 and Wendy 27, considering that he's older than her after the timeskip. Asuka would be 19 to 20. This kinda ties up with some scenes in Four Speeches, my LoLu fic, as well.
I shouldn't keep you guys long. It's my first attempt at a full FT futurefic oneshot and I mostly just went with my guts on how their kids would work out. More notes can be found in the Author's Note after the story.
Luna noticed it for the first time when Asuka-nee-chan fetched her from school. She was five years old then - the last of her group of friends in the school's playground because everyone else had left and sensei was in the classroom cleaning up the mess her students had left. Luna was used to being the last one and she didn't really mind. Her mother, her father, Igneel-nii and Layla-nee were always late but they never forgot to come for her. When they really couldn't make it, Romeo-nii or Wendy-nee would come. Someone from the guild always came.
That day, they were later than usual, and the sun had almost set. Feeling alone in the playground, Luna stood up from the metal swings and was about to join her teacher in the classroom when Asuka-nee-chan's familiar voice greeted her with an apology.
"Luna-chan! I'm so sorry I'm late. Did you wait long? Wendy-nee was supposed to get you but Gajeel-san came in with a bad wound on his arm and she had to patch him up." the young sniper mage was panting heavily. "Everyone was really busy, and I just finished a job and had nothing to do so she asked me." She didn't have her usual guns with her and only had a little bag in her property.
Luna could tell that the teen dropped her other things on the guild and practically flew to her.
"I don't mind." The girl couldn't care less about Asuka or Wendy being late - a family member was hurt. "Is Gajeel-san okay?"
"Of course. Wendy-nee is working on it, after all." Asuka smiled reassuringly and pat the girl's pink hair. She straightened up and held a hand out to the girl. "Let's go now, shall we?"
The girl smiled back and nodded, then took the teen's hand. They dropped by the classroom to say goodbye to Luna's teacher and fetch the student's bag.
As they walked the streets of Magnolia, Asuka spoke. "Your big brother should be home by now."
"He finished the job?" Asuka asked. That morning, Igneel barely had time to say goodbye to his sisters as he hurried to meet up with Gray, who needed a fire mage on short notice. Romeo and Natsu were both unavailable and Gray picked a quick and easy job, so he thought that it would be fine to take the boy with him.
"Yep, he arrived at almost the same time as Romeo-nii and I did. He wanted to come and fetch you but he looked really tired, so we all just made him go home and told him that we'll go get you."
"Was he hurt?"
"Nope, just tired. Gray-san said it took longer than it should. Layla-chan wanted to come too, but she was too busy working on something with Levy, Freed and Ever. Mira-san told me that they've been holed up in the library for the whole day. Some research job or something... Don't get mad at them, okay, Luna-chan?"
"I'm not mad. I understand that they're busy." Luna said earnestly. Asuka knew that the girl meant it. Natsu and Lucy's youngest child was more sensitive than her two older siblings, who were both impulsive fire dragon slayers. Hence, everyone was just expecting Luna to be the one to take after her mother's magic. She was too calm and quiet to be a fire mage.
"You really are cuter than both of those hot-headed siblings of yours." Asuka said, giving the girl's hand a quick squeeze, swinging their hands back and forth.
Luna finally noticed that there were bandages wrapped around Asuka's elbows, and that there was a band-aid on the sniper's cheek.
"Asuka-nee, are you hurt?"
The teen smiled. "Just a couple of cuts from the job. Nothing I can't handle. Romeo-nii is strong so even if I'm clumsy, we manage."
"Are you tired?"
"Not as tired as your brother." Asuka reassured again. "Gray-san said he did really well."
"Ah." Luna said, looking again at the hand that held hers.
Asuka normally wore gloves and this was one of the few times that Luna saw her bare hands. The young woman's arm has little cuts and scraped, but they were barely there anymore - one of the healers in the guild must have performed some quick spells to ease the cuts. Unlike the other teenage girls Luna met around Magnolia, though, Asuka-nee-chan's arms and legs were always bruised or scraped, but her skin still looked soft and smooth. Asuka-nee-chan's hands were warm, too, Luna thought. They were warm from holding her guns and pulling the trigger, warm from holding herself up after she fell to the ground... Her hands were warm from all the training, from all the missions...
But her hands, even though they felt raw and tired, Luna thought, were still soft. Asuka-nee-chan's fingers were slim and felt smooth and gentle. Luna almost couldn't imagine that the teen used such dangerous weapons.
"Luna-chan, do you want to go to the guild, or straight home?"
Luna looked up at the teen and smiled, "Home. I'll go check out on nii-chan."
A few more minutes and the two finally stopped in front of the Dragneel home.
"Would you like to go in?" the girl asked politely, just as her mother had taught her.
"Of course, but I promised mom and dad that I'll go home right away after fetchin' you." Asuka ruffled the girl's hair fondly. "So I'm kinda in a hurry."
"Okay. Thanks for taking me home, Asuka-nee."
"No problem. Anything for you, Luna-chan." the girl said with her friendly smile.
"And... umm..." the girl looked down, fiddling with her hands. "I like Asuka-nee's hands."
The teen blinked. "...My hands?"
"Mm-hm. Really soft. And warm."
Asuka laughed. "Are they?"
"Yeah. Like you don't fight much."
"Well," Asuka adjusted her hat sheepishly. "My parents only allowed me to go on easy jobs... I haven't really done anything too... risky. And Romeo-nii is really paranoid. He says mom and dad would kill him if he lets anything happen to me, so... he's kinda really protective."
"So you don't go to scary missions?"
"I do, but I don't really do much." the girl laughed guiltily. "But I'm going to train harder so I can fight better!"
"But your hands would be rough then."
"I don't really mind."
"Yup. I can't afford to."
"I don't really know how to explain..." the girl sighed. "You'll understand when you start training. When you finally know what mage you wanna be."
"I wanna be like mom."
"That's good. Lucy-san is really really great." Asuka said, tucking a strand of the girl's pink hair behind her ear. "I think she can tell you about it. Look, when your mom gets home, you can ask her, okay? Your mom and dad should be home tonight."
"Okay. Take care, Asuka-nee."
"Sure thing." the teen said, adjusting her bad and starting to walk down the street, towards the direction of the guild.
Luna watched the young mage disappear from her view before she entered the house. She struggled with her set of keys, before finding out that the door was unlocked.
Ah. Igneel-onii-chan really never bothered to lock the doors.
Luna saw that he didn't bother going to his room and changing, either. He had obviously just kicked off his shoes and dropped his bags before crashing on the couch. Luna took off her shoes and put her bag down on a chair before tip-toeing her way towards her sleeping brother. The twelve-year old blonde was snoring loudly. He had some scrapes and a bruised cheek but that really wasn't new, knowing the troublemaker that he was. What really caught the girl's attention was her big brother's bandaged leg.
Just before Luna could draw away, her brother suddenly moved and grabbed her by the waist, pinning her down with him. The girl squealed, just as Igneel said, "Hah! Gotcha!"
"Nii-chan, let go of me!" the girl flailed helplessly, but the hold on her tightened.
"Hah! What were you planning to do? I betcha you were goin' to draw on my face again!"
"That was nee-chan's idea!"
"You still did it!"
"I was just checkin' if you're okay!"
"Like I believe y- OWWWW, CRAP! LU!"
She stopped struggling when she realized that she had kicked his wounded leg. "A-ahhhh, I'm sorry."
"Shit, that hurts..." the boy winced as he adjusted his legs, but didn't let go of his sister.
The girl looked at her brother guiltily and sniffed. "I-I'm sorry, nii-chan.."
"Yeah, okay, just don't move much." he said, then looked up at the girl properly. "Yo, s'okay. Don't cry. Not hurting anymore."
"You surprised me!" she scolded, but shifted her position to lie on top of her brother more comfortably.
He pat her head and asked, "How was school?"
"Were you hurt?"
He blinked. "Eh, it's just a scratch. So how was-"
"I thought you were sleeping."
"I smelled you outside."
"Not like I wanted to!"
Luna poked a finger at the patch on her brother's forehead. "Was it scary?"
"Not really. I tripped."
"You're just showing off, nii-chan." she pouted, then started to climb off of him.
He let her go, but not without whining pathetically. "Nooooo. Lu, let's go sleep here~"
She looked at him reproachfully, before taking off her socks and then climbing back on top of her brother and settling her head at the crook of his neck. Igneel sighed contentedly and dozed off quickly, an arm draped lazily around his sister, while his other was sprawled by his stomach.
As soon as he fell asleep, the girl grabbed his free hand and stared at it.
Like their father's hands, her big brother's hands were - not warm — hot, in a dragon slayer kind of way. It was obvious that just a while ago, he had been holding flames, and that any minute now, he could make fire in his hands in any way he wanted. His hands were rougher than Asuka-nee's, but that was because he was more of a hand-to-hand fighter. Luna played with her brother's fingers as he slept. He groaned a little when she traced patterns on his palm, but he was too tired to do anything.
She compared the hand to her father's. Natsu's hands were strong, calloused, rough... hot that it could burn, but it never did her any harm. Her father's hands were scarred, Luna knew. They had marks from years of fighting and taking blows. She remembered asking him where he got those odd lines in his palm and fingers from, and she remembered him recounting their adventures. She was young but she understood just how long her father had had this life. Now her brother's hands had bled several times but they were still clean - unmarred - nothing permanent can be seen there yet. Luna knew that someday, her brother would surely have hhands like their father's too, and that he would be proud of it.
Luna tried to remember her mother's hands. For a girl of only five, who hasn't seen her mother in two straight days, Luna had a hard time remembering. But her mom was a sweet woman who always cared for her, who wiped away her tears and held her when she was scared, who came to fetch her from school everytime she can... who bought her pretty dresses, brushed her hair, stroked her back until Luna fell asleep...
Surely, her mother's hands would be just as soft, smooth and gentle - if not more - than Asuka-nee's. Luna looked at her own hands - young and pristine. She loved her hands. They were clean and smooth and very soft... she thought that she would hate it if her hands had been scarred, too. It was okay for her dad and for her brother, maybe... The other girls at school told her that for boys, scars are like medals. But it was different. Luna was a girl. A pretty girl, like her mom and big sister. Besides, wounds would... wounds would hurt, and she didn't like to be hurt. She never liked the sight of blood or even bandages on any of her family, but it seemed a pretty normal thing for them. Luna couldn't understand how they could stand that, but as Asuka-nee-chan has said, she could always ask her mom.
Her mom always answered when she asked.
Layla found her siblings curled up against each other in the couch and couldn't help but smile despite her tiredness. After the split second smile, however, the girl smirked mischievously before dropping her books and bags on the floor.
The blonde shouted a warcry as she launched herself towards the sleeping duo.
Igneel yelped, Luna shrieked, and the couch was toppled backwards, sending all three of them on the floor.
"WHAT THE HELL?! LU, Y'OKAY?" Igneel said, quickly sitting up and helping Luna up, checking the girl for injuries. The girl was still dazed, blinking repeatedly as her brother fussed over her.
Layla laid on the floor tiredly, smiling guiltily. "Oops?"
"You almost killed us!"
"Did not!" Layla shot back. "I knew you could handle that, 'sides I overdid it. Kinda."
"I'm okay, nii-chan." Luna said, trying to draw away. Her brother was close to having a panic attack. He really was a worrywart when it came to his sisters. "I'm okay. Really."
Igneel glared at Layla. "I'm not going to ask you if you're fine 'cause if you broke a few bones with this, you deserve it."
"Blah blah blah..." Layla rolled her eyes before sitting up too. "Mom and dad missed the last train home, by the way. They'll be going home tomorrow morning. They sent a message to the guild."
Her siblings both groaned in resignation. "Awww, no way!" Igneel whined, while Luna slumped against him, pouting.
"What? Maybe they were tired." Layla reasoned. "C'mon, get up, both of you."
"I'm tired too." Igneel said.
Layla rolled her eyes and stood up. "Just put the couch back and wait. I'll get dinner ready."
Igneel's and Luna's heads shot up and hurredly said, "NO!"
"You can't coo-... I mean, let's eat at the guild!"
"I just came from there!"
"Let's eat out, then. I just got back from a job." Igneel said, volunteering his own funds. He knew his sister couldn't cook. Not that no one had tried to teach her. He knew his mother tried.
"Nii-chan's right." Luna said. "Let's eat out."
Layla looked at her big brother, then at her little sister. "What's wrong with both of you?"
Before they could answer, their doorbell rang. "I'll get it." Layla said. Her siblings, both still sitting on the floor, simply watched her.
They rejoiced when Wendy and Charle said that Lucy asked them to come over, check on the kids and maybe help them with dinner.
After dinner, Layla offered to go with Charle to buy some snacks from the shop nearby. They had all successfully convinced the Sky Dragon Slayer and her cat to sleep over, and Wendy always had a soft spot for kids. As Wendy pulled Igneel with her to the couch to check on the wound on his leg, Luna started cleaning up the table. She stopped to watch as Wendy replaced the bandages and told Igneel not to force himself for the next few days.
Wendy-nee-chan's hands looked so used to healing and caring for people, Luna thought. Then, the thought left her when Wendy asked if she wanted to help with washing the dishes. Luna gladly obliged. She liked Wendy-nee-chan, after all, and she really wanted to help, since her siblings looked like they had a rough day.
Luna wiped the dishes after Wendy washed them. As they worked, the girl curiously looked at the dragon slayer's hands. Wendy's hands were pearly white and looked gentle - she was a healer, after all - but Luna caught some faint light pink marks littered across her fingers and her palms.
"Do your hands hurt?"
"Hm? Not really. Why do you ask?"
"Those... on your hands..."
Wendy paused and looked at her hands, then laughed lightly. "Ah, these! I got them from the job yesterday. Things got quite out of hand, but it all turned out well in the end." she said with a small smile. "They hurt at first. Just a little, though. They're fine now."
"But you can heal them until they're all gone, right?" the girl asked.
"Yes, but I just let them heal on their own."
"Cuts this small and shallow don't really leave scars, Luna-chan. They'll be gone before I know it."
"But what about really bad ones?"
"You mean the ones that leave scars?"
"If I can help it, I'll let them heal on their own. I don't really mind if they scar. It's not like I'm losing anything..."
"Why won't you heal them?"
"Nowadays, I try to save as much magic as I can. I'm the healer, after all."
"So you're saving up to use your magic on others?"
"Yes. Like today, I'm glad that I had plenty of magic ready when Gajeel-san came in. I didn't want him to go home to Onyx-kun and Lin-chan looking like he did when he got to the guild."
"Was it really bad?" Luna said, thinking of her friend: five year-old Onyx, and his little sister Linnet, who had just turned one a few months ago. Luna thought about her older siblings, as well - Layla and Igneel, even though they were big kids now, still panic when they see their parents coming home pretty beat up.
"He's had worse, but it was still pretty bad, yes." Wendy answered, then giggled a little. "The first thing he said was not to tell Levy-san, because she'll get mad at him."
"Did she find out?"
"We were almost done when she came back from the library." Wendy said.
Luna didn't speak further and only listened to the woman's humming, the sound of the water rushing, and her big brother's snores from the couch. She looked at Wendy's hands again. Wendy-nee is so selfless and kind, Luna thought.
She wondered if she could be as kind as that.
The next day, they went to the guild. Natsu and Lucy still hasn't come home, so the kids and Wendy thought they'd better welcome the couple in the guild instead.
Wendy went home to pick a few things up and change, while the kids stayed at the guild.
The guild was still as rowdy as ever. The kids went straight to the bar to greet Mira and Lisanna. Elfman and Evergreen's eldest, thirteen year-old Fleur, was helping out her aunts. They served the kids breakfast and the siblings all dug in enthusiastically. Fleur asked Igneel about his job the previous day, while the ladies asked Luna about school. Layla, upon seeing another girl her age enter the guild, hurriedly finished up her breakfast and then charged towards the newcomer.
Luna watched as her sister teased Brooke, their youngest water mage. Pretty soon a fight had broken out between the blonde and the raven-head. Elfman and Ever's second eldest, Marygold, who looked just like a young version of her mother, was the third link of their team of three. As soon as she saw her teammates trying to kill each other, she excused herself from her meal with her parents and little siblings, and tried to stop the two girls from destroying half of the guild. Again.
"Seriously, first thing in the morning." a boy of seven said, settling himself on Luna's other side.
"Get used to it, we'll have to bear with them for the rest of our lives." Igneel answered.
"I wish they were more like Luna-chan." Luna blinked at Neve, who was twirling her hair in his fingers. He really didn't sound like someone who was just two years older than her. The young ice-mage-in-training eyed the fighting girls disapprovingly. His sister did not fit her element at all. "Water's the element of calm, for Mavis' sake."
Igneel sighed, smirking at the younger boy. "As I said, just get used to it."
Nobody ever really got over the fact that Gray's and Natsu's only sons, despite the five-year age-gap, were the best of friends. Their daughters, however, were a different story.
"Just try to be more patient, Neve." Fleur said, serving the boy a tall glass of parfait even before he ordered. "They'll settle down."
"After destroying 3/4ths of the guild, exhausting whatever they've earned from their latest job." the little blue-haired kid answered with a sigh, taking a bite from his 'breakfast'. "Thanks for the parfait, Fleur."
"Dude. Parfait, first thing in the morning?" Igneel raised an eyebrow.
"Yeah. And hot sauce, on fried rice for breakfast?"
"Okay, we're quits."
Luna smiled at the boys before turning to her Aunt Mira, who was cleaning the countertop. "Mira-san?"
"May I look at your hands?"
"My hands?" the woman blinked. The girl nodded. Mira wiped her hands from the towel nearby and extended them to the girl, who looked at them curiously. She poked at the woman's hands and held them carefully, and Mira watched the girl study.
She was used to the kids making strange requests by now. Just a few days ago, Cana's four year-old insisted that he tell Mira her fortune, and Mira also distinctly remembered little Onyx asking to hide under the bar because he pissed off Jellal's and Erza's twins... and the previous week, Neve asked Mira to give a box of cookies to Elf and Ever's three daughters but not to tell them that the present was from him. The barmaid still didn't know who set the boy up to that.
"What are you doing, Luna-chan?" Mira asked gently, not wanting to distract the girl too much.
"Looking at Mira-san's hands... if they're soft..."
"I'm afraid my hands had been rough early on, I used to be a really active mage and got into lots of fights." Mira said. "But for the past few years I only did chores."
Luna nodded. It was true, the girl decided. Mira-san's hands were strong - they were very firm and her grip was really strong, but the faint lines that decorated her palm were not really from battles, but from her chores as a barmaid. They were hands that were used to fighting but had left that life long ago.
"Ah." was all that the girl answered, letting go of the woman's hands. "Thank you, Mira-san."
"Anything for you, sweetie." Mira answered. "Your little hands are very soft and clean, as I see."
"Mm-hm." the girl nodded. "But Wendy-nee-chan's hands have little cuts on 'em 'cause she won't heal them 'cause she wants to heal others. Asuka-nee-chan's hands looked tired 'cause she trains on them, and I think she has a little wound from her last job. Ig-nii-chan's hands are really really rough 'cause he fights a lot, and same with Layla-nee-chan..."
"You were looking at everyone's hands?"
"Neve-nii's hands are really soft, but they're cold."
"Neve-kun uses ice, and he's not really into rough-housing." Mira explained, glancing at the boy who had taken his parfait to sit with his pregnant mother on the other end of the guild. He was sighing as Igneel tried to listen to the baby in Juvia's tummy. The woman simply laughed at the boy's antics.
"Onyx's hands are hard." the girl said, remembering her best friend.
"He's the next Iron Dragon Slayer." the barmaid smiled.
The girl nodded. "Mira-san, do you think I'll have smooth hands forever?"
"Oh, Luna-chan." the woman stroked the girl's pink hair. "It depends on what you do with them. Me, I used my hands to fight and to work, and I'm fine with that. Your Wendy-nee-chan always puts her teammates first so we shouldn't be surprised if she had a scar or two, no?"
The girl nodded again.
"Hey, what's up?" a familiar voice said, as a figure settled next to the little pink-haired girl. "Luna-chan has a long face, I see. Miss mom and dad?"
Luna giggled as Cana ruffled her hair. Mira smiled at the brunette and said, "Luna-chan was talking about hands."
"Hands?" Cana raised an eyebrow. "What 'bout hands?"
"Our hands are not the prettiest, are they?" Mira said.
"Ah, yeah." the Card Mage then held out her hand for the little girl to take. "Look at those scars, hun. Ah, when we were kids we were talking about how Erza trains too hard and won't paint her nails with us." she laughed. "I guess we all ended up just not painting our nails at all. The jobs got hard and stuff. And when that's not happening, some crazy shit is going on, trying to destroy the world."
Luna looked at the faint scars on the woman's hands. "How did you get these, Cana-san?"
"Sometimes when I try to get my cards as quickly as possible, I cut myself on them. 'Cause I'm clumsy, right?" Cana said, scratching her head with a free hand. "But those don't really last long. But see, sometimes when I don't have a card at ready, I'm forced to fight back. Bare-handed. No magic. So I get bruised and cut like the guys." The brunette finished that with a shrug.
"You don't mind?"
"Nah, it's all part of it."
Luna looked down and let go of the woman's hand. "So you didn't paint your nails anymore, when the jobs were hard?"
"I just end up chipping some, or ruining them completely, y'know. So better not. The same with Bisca and Laki. Bisca used guns, but she gets into some skirmishes, too. And Laki, though it's more from her woodcarving hobby."
"But my mom's hands are soft."
"Of course they are, sweetie." Mira said. "Your mother is a Celestial Spirit Mage. She keeps her fighting to a minimum, as much as possible." Cana nodded at that.
Cana soon took off to go to a solo mission, whilst Mira attended to other guild members. Feeling out of place by the bar, Luna looked around.
She saw that Layla and Brooke had started a board game to determine who was the better mage, while Marygold and a few other guild members watched. Among the audience, she saw Onyx with Erza's eight year-old twins Glenn and Ethan. She drew her gaze to another part of the guild and saw Gajeel sitting by himself. Lily was on another table, talking to Erza and Jellal, probably about swords and armors, as per the usual.
Luna jumped from her seat and ran towards the Iron Dragon Slayer.
"Gajeel-san!" she called. The man gave her a small smirk as he caught her with his free, undamaged arm and scooped her up with ease.
"Hey squirt." he grunted out, propping her in his lap.
She looked at his bandaged arm and shoulder. "Are you fine now?"
"Yeah. Wendy patched me up good." he answered. "What's up? Onyx and the others are over there, watchin' your sister and her girlfriend."
"I know how it ends." she said.
He raised an eyebrow. "Really now, 'ya do?"
"Yeah." the girl said haughtily. "Someone wins and the other one says she cheated. And then they'll fight and destroy stuff again."
Gajeel chuckled, ruffling the girl's hair. "Smart girl, aren't ya?"
"It always happens." she said.
"Luna-chan, you're here early today!" Juvia greeted as she sat on the same table. Igneel and Neve had given in and joined the audience of the Brooke vs. Layla match. The pregnant woman was left alone at the table, so she transferred.
"Good morning, Juvia-san." the girl greeted.
Juvia smiled sweetly at her, then turned to Gajeel. "Juvia heard that Gajeel-kun was pretty bad yesterday."
"I told those newbies that the job ain't for them, but they took it anyway. So I had to save their asses again." Gajeel complained. Juvia simply sighed and shrugged. "I'm fine now. How 'bout you?"
"It's pretty boring staying put all day, but Gray insists that Juvia should rest. Everytime." the woman said, pouting stubbornly.
"You're only five months in. Tell 'im to loosen up."
Juvia nodded, then turned to Luna. "Luna-chan, your nii-chan thinks it's a boy but Neve-kun wants a baby sister. What do you think?"
"Girl." Luna said excitedly, then looked up at Gajeel. "And then she and Lin-chan can be teammates!"
Gajeel smiled down at the girl and simply said, "Whatever, kid. Linnet's still got to grow up and stuff."
"But they shouldn't fight like Brooke and Layla." Juvia said. "Juvia wants another girl, too... Neve-kun says he wants his little sister to be like Luna-chan."
"Yeah, this one seems to be the only sane one so far." Gajeel said. "My brat has a death-wish, pissing off Titania's twins every other hour, and for Lin, it's too early to tell."
"Juvia-san," Luna started. "May I look at your hand?"
Juvia blinked, but held out her hand. "Sure, sweetheart."
Both adults looked at the girl, who studied the woman's hands. Luna knew why Neve's and Brooke's hands were cold - their parents were water and ice mages, after all. Juvia's hands were cool and soft, but her palms were slightly rough. The girl also noticed some light marks - lighter than Wendy's, but definitely there. At this, Luna asked, "Juvia-san's hands are... not as smooth as they look."
Juvia smiled at the girl. "Juvia cooks a lot and does a lot of knitting, you see."
"I see." Luna said. Yes, she recalled the hand-made sweaters, bonnets and scarves that the Fullbuster children always wore. They came in a variety of colors and patterns. Luna also had a pair of pink legwarmers that Juvia gave her the previous Christmas. They were kinda sloppily-made because Onyx insisted that he wanted to help a bit. Luna could see that crafts were the woman's passion, so even if her fighting and magic style isn't as physical, Juvia still had rough hands. Plus, she always cooked her family's meals and was herself an all-around wife. It's not just battles that left a woman rough hands.
The girl then turned towards her other adult companion. Gajeel looked at her. "What?"
"Gajeel-san, does Levy-san have soft hands?"
"Not as soft as yours, kid." Gajeel answered simply. "She regularly suffers from papercuts, since she's almost always reading, y'know, her research stuff. Also, she has calluses from all the writing."
"Oh. But you still like 'em?" the girl said, grabbing the man's hand and looking at it, studying it just like she did Juvia's. Gajeel's hand, like her father's, were also rough and scarred, but they were cool - but not as cold as Gray-san's... they were simply cool like metal. And, again like metal, his hands were very firm.
The question took Gajeel aback, and he looked at Juvia, who shrugged cluelessly. He cleared his throat and looked at the girl who was studying his hand. He found it easier to answer when she wasn't looking at him directly. "Of course. I-... um, she's doing what she's good at, and she loves it. Can't tell her to stop, really."
"Mm-hm." the girl mumbled, then pressed her own palm against the man's, comparing her hand with his.
"What's up with you and hands, squirt?"
Luna shook her head, still looking at the size difference of her hand to the man's.
"You upset 'cause your mom and dad aren't here yet?"
The girl shook her head again, then looked at the man. "Will people still like me if my hands get all rough and ugly?"
Juvia smiled softly, and Gajeel chuckled, squeezing the girl against him. "Man, you're a weirdo."
"But I'm a girl, and it's not pretty-"
"Everyone likes 'ya just fine. You're actually one of the bearable kids, y'know, 'cause they all caught something crazy from their 'rents, I think."
Luna smiled. "You really think so?"
"Yeah, I mean-... Erza has man-hands, and nobody's complainin'."
That was when a new voice broke in. "I have what, Gajeel?"
Gajeel paused as he sensed Erza's threatening aura behind him. Luna turned to see that woman looming over them scarily.
But before Erza could unleash hell on the dragon slayer, Luna grabbed the woman's hand.
"Erza-san has really firm and rough hands. Like my dad and Gajeel-san." the girl said.
The woman's face fell. "R-R-Really?"
"It's okay, they're still pretty. And they're strong." Luna continued, smiling up at the woman. When Gajeel mentioned Erza, Luna already knew. Erza was the strongest female fighter of Fairy Tail, and she held all sorts of weapons, most times with her bare hands. She has expected that Erza might have hands as rough as her father's - after all, they had already fought so many battles, and not even parenting can stop them from taking the more dangerous jobs. In fact, it was not just the woman's hands - her arms had faint scars on them, as well.
The girl looked up. "Erza-san, do you ever wish to have smoother hands?"
Erza let out a smile at the girl and tucked a stray strand of pink hair behind the girl's ear. "I've earned these scars, Luna-chan. They're like medals from all the jobs I got them from."
Luna nodded in understanding. Sometimes, Erza-san really thought like one of the boys. Ig-nii-chan always said the same things: "That'll show them, Lu! Your nii-chan is strong!"
She was about to say some more, but Gajeel tugged at her ponytail and said, "They're back, kid."
And, just as the girl was taking the statement in, the doors of the guild burst open and two figures stepped inside. One of them yelled a familiar, "Tadaima!"
Several guild members greeted them back, while Gajeel quickly set Luna down and the girl ran towards her parents.
"Luna-chan!" Lucy said delightedly, crouching down to catch the girl in her arms. "I missed you, baby."
Igneel also moved to welcome his parents and Natsu ruffled his son's hair. "Okay, now where's the other one?"
"She's kinda busy-"
Then a shout of "I WIN! IN YOUR FACE, WATERSLIDE!"
It was followed by an enraged, "YOU CHEATED!"
"DID NOT! Mom and Dad's here. Okay, bye."
But Layla paid no mind to her rival as she shoved aside the audience to launch herself at her father. Natsu laughed and twirled the girl around before setting her back down. "Why d'you have panda eyes, Layla?"
"Research." came the quick answer.
Natsu raised an eyebrow. "Really?"
"Boyfriend." Igneel stage-whispered.
"Really?" their father asked again, this time also smirking.
"No!" the girl shot back furiously.
"Girlfriend, then?" Natsu asked.
Luna let go of her mother to hug her dad as well, and Natsu kissed the girl's forehead. The girl looked around, "Where's Happy?"
"Went straight to Charle." Natsu chuckled. "How've you guys been?"
Both parents listened as all three of their children simulataneously gave a report of how their two days went. Some of the other guild members watched the family with smiles on their faces while the others went back to their own activities.
"Okay, we both know that a lot happened." Lucy said, effectively cutting her children off. "Let's talk about it at home, okay? After we provide a quick report to Master."
"Hai!" the kids said, and their parents fussed over them briefly before heading to see their guild master. They were quite sure that Laxus was probably dozing off in his office this early in the morning, but they wanted to get it over with.
Lucy and Natsu told Mira to pass on their thanks to Wendy before they left with their kids.
Natsu and Lucy were still tired from their trip but they made sure to have lunch with the children and listen to what they've been up two while they were gone. After lunch, Igneel went out to assist Fleur on a quick job - the girl insisted she just needed an extra pair of hands, no magic required. Layla went back to the guild because she promised Levy, Evergreen and Freed that she will assist them with the research job they've all taken up together again. Their parents were happy that their eldest children were starting out as promising Fairy Tail mages, so they quickly allowed the kids to go.
Luna, however, not yet a mage herself, stayed at home to help her mother clean up the dishes. Natsu tried to help them, but the three of them just ended up splashing each other with water, so after a bit of fooling around, Lucy sent both of them to get themselves dried up as she finished up the chore.
Because Natsu was tired, Luna found herself in the same position as the previous day, when Igneel basically pleaded that she sleep beside him. Natsu was a lot bigger than Igneel was, and the girl found herself huddled against her father as they lay in her parents' bed.
"Daddy?" she asked softly, trying to see if her father was already sleeping.
He answered a soft "Yeah?" as he shifted to look down at her. "What is it, Luna?"
"Do you like mom's hands?" the girl asked.
"I don't like 'em." Natsu said, making the girl look up at him at the unexpected answer. He smiled. "I love 'em."
He closed his eyes and pinched the girl's cheek lightly before answering, "I love your mom's everything."
The girl looked down and buried her face on her father's chest.
"Why're you askin'?"
She was asking because, as she held her mother's hands earlier, it wasn't as soft as she expected it to be. She never noticed it, but there was a little scar or her mother's left hand, and her mother's palms were soft but calloused. They weren't as smooth as Luna thought it was. She had thought that her mother's hand would be warmer and softer than Asuka-nee-chan's or Juvia-san's, but they weren't.
"Luna?" Natsu called softly, stroking his daughter's hair. "What is it? Are you okay?"
"Were they soft?" the girl asked. "When mom was... younger? Were her hands soft? Like Asuka-nee-chan's?"
Natsu looked at her curiously, then thought for a while. He let a small smile out. "The first time I held Lucy's hand was when we were runnin' away from some major damage we caused. That's when I told her that I'm taking her to Fairy Tail. Do you know how that story goes?"
Luna smiled dreamily. She always knew the story of how her parents met, but this seemed like a special version.
"Her hands were princess hands, man. So soft and it just felt so... breakable, y'know? That's why I held it so tightly. I thought, how could a girl with these hands fight like a Fairy Tail mage, 'cause we're all just basically brawns. I thought maybe she could fight like Levy, more brains in the package." Natsu said, smiling sheepishly as he told his story. "But she trained so hard, y'know, pretty soon she's said goodbye to the princess hands. I think it's my fault for getting her in all these crazy dangerous jobs, but she never complained. So... yeah, her hands were softer back then. Now, after all the crazy stuff we've gone through, they're kinda worn out from all the fighting."
"But mom uses Celestial Spirits." Luna said.
"She never lets 'em fight alone." Natsu explained. "She fights with 'em, saves them as much as they save her. Plus, she's badass with that magic whip of hers. She trained hard for that, y'know."
Ah. The whip. Luna had missed that. Her mother's weapon of choice, alongside her celestial keys.
"So I was there while her hands were gettin' rougher, see. But that's part of it all, she's much much stronger now."
Luna nodded, looking down at her own hands. She thought it was all too easy, really - being a mage like her mom, who had spirits at her disposal. She never really thought that her mother fought as fiercely as the others.
"Why are you askin', anyway?" Natsu asked gently, yawning.
"I was just curious." the girl answered.
"Ah." Natsu said. "Y'know, there's a future where she lost a hand."
His daughter blinked.
"I once met a Lucy who came from the future and she didn't have her right hand. The one that holds her keys. The one with the guild mark."
"What happened?" the girl asked. She had never heard that story before.
"Long story, and also sad, but y'know, all I thought back then was 'if Lucy really loses this hand, I wanna hold it as long as possible'. She lost that hand fightin', I'm sure. Protecting everyone. But here, you see, it's not just a sign that she's strong. It also shows how much she loves all of us."
Luna gripped her father's sleeve absently. "Will... will that still happen?"
"I hope not. We did all we can to save everything. And now we're here." Natsu said, chuckling. "Everything's fine."
The girl nodded and did not say anything more. Soon, her father fell asleep, and she slipped out from his hold, sneaking out the bedroom.
She found her mother sitting on the couch, looking at the papers in the coffee table. It was full of doodles - Luna's crayon drawings from last night with Wendy.
"Mom." the little girl called, making the blonde turn towards her.
"Hey, love." Lucy said, watching as her youngest daughter sat beside her. "I thought you were going to join your dad for his afternoon nap."
"I'm not sleepy." the girl answered, wringing her hands and watching as her mother piled up the papers neatly, then started to gather the crayons and pencils scattered across the table. "Mom?"
The girl grabbed her mother's hand and looked at it, touched the faint scar and studied the all-too-visible calluses on the palm. "Does it hurt?"
"Not anymore." Lucy said, smiling down at her little girl. "Why do you ask?"
"Do you like them?"
"Do I like my hands?"
"Yeah. Even with the marks, even if they're not smooth?"
Lucy put down the papers and the crayons on the table and pulled the girl to sit on her lap, then held both the girl's hands. "Does Luna-chan hate the marks on mom's hands?"
Luna shook her head. "I don't really... hate them. Should I?"
"Nope. I, for one, like them." the woman said, this time spreading her daughter's fingers to touch the soft, little hands. "Does Luna-chan think it's really important to have smooth hands?"
"Girls should have pretty hands." Luna said. At least, that's what the other girls in school said. They were insistent with being clean and pretty. They talk about wanting to paint their nails like their big sisters and mothers do. They talk about wearing pretty rings and bracelets to match their dresses. They talk about not picking up worms and frogs and bugs like the boys.
"I know." Lucy said. "When I was your age, I had hands like yours, too."
"But I like mom's hands." the girl said, then shook her head. "No, it's like what Dad said. I don't just like them. I love them."
Lucy laughed, embracing her little daughter from behind. "You don't mind that mom has scars and calluses?"
"Dad says it's 'cause you love us."
"Moms trade pretty hands for the sake of their babies, you know." Lucy said, watching as her daughter's little fingers twined with hers. "I worked hard to take care for Luna-chan and Layla-chan and Ig-kun."
"What about when you fight?" the girl asked. "Don't you hate it when your hands hurt from fighting?"
"Moms can endure all the hurt while fighting if it's for their babies, too." the woman explained.
"Wouldn't the celestial spirits be enough, though?" the girl said. "Mom doesn't have to fight that much... It's dangerous, and it would surely hurt."
Lucy sighed and then lifted her daughter up to settle the girl on the floor. Luna turned towards her mother. "Okay, Luna-chan. Let's have a little game."
"Yep. Pick one of mom's keys."
Lucy expected as much, then reached for the said key still dangling from her waist, and handed it to the girl. "Hold him now." Luna followed, holding the silver key in one hand. "Okay, let's pretend that I'm a really really REALLY bad monster who wants to take Plue away and do bad things to him."
The girl gulped.
"What would you do, Luna-chan?"
"Run?" the girl squeaked out nervously.
"What if you can't run? And I do this..." Lucy took the other end of the key and tugged, while the girl held on to it. Lucy tugged harder. The key slipped slightly from the girl's fingers, and Luna tightened her grip.
"I won't let that bad monster take him!" Luna said, pouting. As Lucy pulled harder, the girl used both of her hands to grip the key.
"What if the bad monster wants to hurt you too?"
"I don't care - Plue is our friend!"
"What if your hands start to bleed, would you let go?"
"N-N-No." the girl said, looking down at the key and pulling it towards her slightly.
"Not even if it hurts so much?"
"But I can't let go of Plue."
"Even if it really really REALLY hurts?"
The girl looked hesitantly at her mother, then at their hands, both grasping the silver key. "I-... I can't. Mom wouldn't give Plue away. So I wouldn't, too. Plue is... Plue is family."
Lucy finally smiled and withdrew her hand, patting the girl on the head proudly. "You win, Luna-chan."
The woman raised an expectant hand and the girl gave the key back. There was a little glow before Luna found Plue sitting on her lap. The little creature cuddled against her and Luna hugged him tightly.
"Luna-chan," Lucy started. "You know, I got this scar because someone attempted to steal my keys. They threatened to cut my hand but I didn't let go, not even after it hurt too much, not even when my hand bled."
The girl looked down at Plue, thinking.
Lucy continued, "See, being a celestial spirit mage may mean that I have all of them to save me, but it also means that I should protect them."
"Because they're our friends."
"Precious friends, love." Lucy said, stroking her daughter's hair. "And the whip helps. So even if I have calluses from using it, at least I know I have something to fight with, not just my keys."
The girl nodded.
"So I may not have the prettiest hands, it has scars and it's rough now... rings don't look as good in my fingers nowadays compared to back then, but I'm pretty darn proud of them." Lucy said. "You're still young, Luna-chan... but you know, when you learn to fight, I think you'll understand. Having pretty and clean hands won't matter as much when you're fighting for people you love."
The girl nodded. "I understand, mom."
"Hai." a smile, and Lucy took her daughter up in her arms again. Plue squeaked uncomfortably between them and they laughed.
Luna held her mother's hands again and thought that it doesn't matter anymore. They were warm and soft despite the scars, the scabs and the calluses, but they were the hands that held her everytime and assured her that her mother was with her.
Her dad was right - the rough hands showed them just how much her mother loved them all. Not just her family, but also her friends. Same went for the other women she knew. It's what made her family different, Luna thought - everyone was a fighter.
Luna's hands were still small, soft, smooth and clean- but, the girl thought, her mother's hands were perfect.
If she grew up to have hands like her mother's, she would be one very proud daughter.
A/N: I hope you liked it. It went longer than expected, but I think I needed that. :) It was a nice break from the crazy teenage antics of the kids from We Are Young, no?
A note on the baby names before people kill me:
- NaLu babies: Igneel (13), Layla (9) - obviously very uncreative of me but the two parents' roles are just too big to not have some babies named after them! and then, Luna (5) - I contemplated Stella, but meh. It's a nice play on the 'rent's names.
- Gruvia babies: Brooke (10) - I took it from the word "brook"; and Neve (7), which is kind of a variant for "snow". River and Winter almost won, but then Juvia is expecting so maybe there's room. Hehe. Hehehehe.
- Jerza babies: Glenn and Ethan (8) are twins. With blue hair. Because I thought FUCK IT, LET'S HAVE MORE JELLAL. She didn't make an appearance but Gertrude (3) means 'strong spear' or something along those lines.
- Gajevy babies: Onyx (5) is very Gajeel, and Linnet (1) is a cute little bird, which I think fits well with a mini-Levy.
- ElfGreen babies: For some reason I thought they would marry first, and have a bunch of kids. I thought flower-related names would be good and that Mira, Lisanna and Ever would choose really classy names so there's Fleur (13) and Marygold (10), and then there's Ellette (7) which means 'little elf' and the only boy Elvin (4), which means "elf" and "precious friend".
- Cana would have a kid, I think - and Grandpa Gildarts would dote on him, but I haven't really thought about it yet. And I really didn't decide if the father would be Bacchus or Laxus. I think Mira and Freed could end up together, but then again I'm also fond of the notion that Freed and Laxus are living as happy gay uncles to all the kids mentioned above.
- Asuka grew to be a fiiiiiine girl, man.
- Cobra took Kinana to Canon Island and they never went back...?
In this future, I think Romeo and Wendy are not together, but are in respective relationships, but are good friends as they're basically in the same age group. I think Romeo's not married because he's married to his very adventurous life, and Wendy is very focused on being the resident healer as she took over Porlyusica's job.
I should stop. :D