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Home Alone Tonight

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Chapter Twenty-Four: Perfectly Imperfect (Epilogue Part Two)

"Hey Luce!" Natsu greeted as soon as he entered the master bedroom, startling her since she didn't hear him opening the door. She looked up at him, seeing a huge grin on his face, his pink hair covered in blue and red silly string. "What's up?"

Natsu looked at Lucy's face, seeing the dried tears staining her cheeks. His demeanor changed in an instant. Rushing to her side, he wrapped an arm around her back. "What's wrong? Are you feeling okay?"

He placed a hand gently on her belly, "Are you in pain?"

"No," she sighed, "nothing like that."

A sense of relief flooded Natsu. After what happened last time with her pregnancy, Natsu was on high alert. He didn't want a repeat, so he paid extra attention to her moods and body language.

Natsu brought a hand up, softly caressing her cheek to turn her face to his. "What's wrong?" He whispered, thumb stroking on her cheek.

In his embrace, she cracked. Lucy lunged forward, wrapping him in a tight hug. This. This was why she loved him so much. He was so silly and lovable, but when he needed to be he was as caring and gentle as they came.

She slowly pulled away from him, a fresh shine to her eyes were tears collected, but she didn't shed them. "Here," Lucy handed him the wrinkled letter. "I thought you might want to read it before I rip it up."

Natsu nodded, not understanding what was going on, but he took Lucy's words seriously. He unfolded the letter, not recognizing the handwriting at all, but after a few lines it was obvious who it was from. Only Jackal would be able to say something like this seeing as he was the only one who put her through that much mental and physical torture.

Natsu clenched his teeth when he read over certain parts. Some were worse than others. If this was supposed to be an apology letter, he did a really shitty job at it.

I know what it's like to be forced now...

...don't know if you'll ever forgive me, but...

I wish things worked out differently, I wish...

I miss you

...putting you through hell, I honestly didn't know it was hurting you that much. I...

Please forgive me.

Natsu scrunched up his face in disgust. This bastard didn't deserve her forgiveness, or her mercy. He deserved everything he got in prison and then some.

He handed the letter back to her, letting the silence wash over both of them for a moment as he collected his thoughts. Natsu looked up at her face, seeing a strength living in her brown eyes. It wasn't there when he saw her in the bar that night at Fairy Tail, but it was constantly there now. He admired Lucy, now and forever.

"So," Natsu started, cutting through the silence. "I'm about to fire up the grill... You wanna burn it?"

Lucy only had one question. "Will it ruin the taste of the food?"

"I don't think so."

"Then yes," Lucy took his hand, feeling the warmth and roughness to it. "I want to burn it."

So that's what they did. After Natsu lit the coals, Lucy placed the letter on the fire. They watched it as the paper started disintegrating before their very eyes, forever disappearing from the world and burning away the words she didn't want to read.

Lucy heard of forgiving someone for yourself, not them, but why should she forgive Jackal? He raped her, humiliated her, beat her, and verbally abused her, for years. She owed him nothing, and she already felt complete with her life before the letter came, and she would continue to feel whole long after it was gone.

One letter wouldn't change things, and she was okay with never getting proper closure with Jackal. That relationship wasn't healthy even from the start, and keeping him out of her life was the only thing she could do to ensure the damage he caused never came back to darken her mind.

Forgiveness wasn't necessary for healing, and she found that out after years of counseling. She couldn't say she didn't harbor anger for the man. It'd be pointless to try to make that claim. When the subject of Jackal was brought up, she felt that anger boiling right under the surface of her skin, but mostly she never thought about him or what he did to her.

The abuse he inflicted was erased by Natsu's gentle touches. The vicious insults he spewed were pummeled by the sound of her children's laughter. The fierce glare he used to send her way was wiped away, replaced with the light that lived in her eyes. Lucy was strong, and didn't need a letter from Jackal to make her feel better about herself. She had the support of her family, the love, the adoration, and the safety.

Jackal meant nothing to her but a painful distant memory, and nothing would change that.

By the time Natsu was placing the burgers on the grill, Lucy already forgot about the letter. A few jokes from Natsu was all it took to take her mind off her past. She smiled, loving the gleam in his green eyes when he leaned down to plant a kiss on her lips.

She loved her life, and that was all that mattered.

The two proud parents watched as Mason and Wendy started playing together. She squirted him with a water gun, and he retaliated by throwing a water balloon at her. They were laughing, smiling, and having a good time together.

While Natsu finished up the burgers, Lucy went around to mingle with the parents. She stuck with people she knew since most of the adults were the parents of kids in Mason's class -who she didn't know.

Lucy first went up to her sister-in-law, Mavis. The shorter girl was holding her newborn son, a pale blond haired baby with rosy cheeks. "How's Larcade doing?" Lucy asked, smiling down at the sleeping baby.

"He's good," Mavis said, shifting her son so Lucy could get a better look. "Still a little fussy when he's away from me, but he's slowly getting better."

Lucy smiled, "That's good. If you want, we have some of Mason's baby clothes packed up. Do you want me to go grab them?"

"Sure," Mavis nodded, hugging her son closer to her body when some kids ran by. "That'd be great."

"I'll go get them and set them in the living room," Lucy said before taking off. She went inside, then cringed when she realized she'd have to go in the attic. It was creepy, but she wanted to do this for Mavis and Zeref. They helped out a lot when Mason was born, so it was only fair to return the favor.

Lucy climbed up, entering the dark attic. She used her flashlight app on her phone to see her way, flashing over a box marked 'Halloween', only to frown when she saw the pink scaled dragon and blue skeleton cat they bought a while back.

"What are you doing out of the box?" Lucy asked, taking a closer look at the dragon. It's cheek was previously busted up, but Natsu took super glue to its face and fixed it. She still thought it was funny, the dragon had a cracked cheek in the same place Natsu had his cheek scar.

Lucy looked over, seeing the blonde angel beside the pink scaled dragon. She brushed her fingers through the golden hair, finding it just as soft as it was when they bought her. Before she could dwell on her holiday decorations, she remembered she was supposed to be getting Mason's baby clothes.

It took her a moment, but she started scooting the two boxes of clothing towards the exit. She began wondering how she was going to lift the boxes, but stopped when she heard someone say, "Hello?"

Lucy smiled when she recognized her father-in-law's voice. "Hey Igneel," she said, then looked down at the red haired man. "Can you help me?"

"Of course!" Igneel didn't hesitate to help his son's wife. Lucy was part of the family now, and he'd do whatever he could to help family. Lucy admired that trait, seeing as it was passed down to Natsu.

With Igneel's help the boxes were brought down and set in the living room with ease. "Thank you," Lucy hugged the man, not feeling any weirdness since all the Dragneels' were so friendly.

"You're welcome," he patted her on the head, then escorted her back outside. "Great party."

"Yup," Lucy smiled, looking at all the laughing kids running around their backyard. It was hard to believe the first time she looked at this yard she couldn't imagine any kids in it.

The two talked for a while longer until Natsu announced food was ready. Lucy helped him make the burgers to hand out while Zeref came by to help hand out drinks. With everyone working together, the party was a big success.

Lucy enjoyed seeing their family together. Jude showed up a little late, but it was better than nothing. Their relationship had gotten better over the years, but there was still a part of Lucy that held a sadness towards her father. It lessened over time, giving her hope that one day it would vanish completely.

Igneel and Grandeeney were there, as well as Zeref and Mavis. They were more involved in Natsu and Lucy's life since they lived a lot closer. Plus there wasn't any drama between them, making it easier to feel comfortable around them.

Lucy also enjoyed seeing all her friend's children. Levy and Gajeel had a three year old girl, while Gray and Juvia now had three little ones, the newest being another boy. Erza was pregnant now. They were trying for a few years, and finally all their efforts paid off. Lisanna had three kids now, all of which got along with the others well. Bisca brought her daughter too, but she liked playing with the water guns more than anything.

Mason and Gray's oldest son started a play fight. Instead of breaking them up, Natsu and Gray stood on the sidelines cheering their sons on. It wasn't an uncommon sight since Mason loved playing with Gray's kids. Lucy and Juvia face-palmed, but said nothing to break it up.

Mason opened his presents, cake and ice cream was shared, and many more games were played until the late afternoon.

All in all the party went great.

"I'm so exhausted," Lucy groaned, face first into the pillow.

Natsu chuckled, then padded his way over to their bed. The party was finally over, the kids were in bed, and they were both showered. He fell into the bed next to her, reveling in the softness beneath him. "Me too."

Lucy shuffled until she could see her tired husband. "Great party though."

"Absolutely," Natsu wiggled closer to her, letting his heated skin press against her side. "Way better than Wendy's."

Lucy laughed at the pout on Natsu's face. "You're just upset she wanted an all girl's party."

"No I'm not," Natsu denied, but his tone betrayed his true feelings. "Just woulda been cool to be invited..."

"You got to take her out to a father-daughter dinner for her birthday," Lucy pointed out. "So it's even."

"Hardly," Natsu grunted. "She just wanted to talk about how cool her girl's party was." He huffed, "She said you guys ate ice cream and pizza all night while watching movies."

"So?"

"I wanna do that stuff!"

Lucy laughed. "We do that once a month anyways as a family. Wendy just wanted some time with the girls." For Wendy's twelfth birthday she wanted a group of girls from her school to have a sleepover. Natsu and Mason weren't invited, forced to crash over at Natsu's parent's house while Lucy enjoyed the female companions. "Maybe next year she'll want her dad there."

"Hope so," Natsu closed his eyes, feeling just how great it felt to do something so simple. He didn't realize how much energy he used trying to keep up with all the kids today. "She's growing up too fast. They both are."

"That we can both agree with," Lucy smiled, then dipped her head under her husband's chin. "Pretty soon she'll start dating, and graduating, and Mason will want to learn how to drive, and Wendy will be going off to college, and-"

Lucy was silenced with a rough kiss. She looked at him in shock, seeing the pain in his green eyes as he looked down at her. When he released her mouth, he said, "Please stop. I already know it's gonna go by too quickly." He laid his head back down on the pillow, sighing. "Let's just not think about it yet."

Lucy's eyes softened. She didn't realize how badly the thought of their kids growing up effected him. He always seemed so happy, but he truly loved them like his own, and wanted them to stay little forever.

"Then we won't talk about that," Lucy agreed, curling a leg over Natsu's body to get closer to him. She placed a hand over his heart, feeling the steady beat slowly speed up when she pressed her lips to his.

Their kiss was lazy, just feeling the other, not applying much pressure. When Lucy pulled away, Natsu whispered, "Is the door locked?"

Lucy nodded, "Yes. Why?" She trailed a finger down his chest, admiring his hard muscles. "What'd you have in mind?"

"I think you know," Natsu smirked before capturing her lips again.

She tasted like her mint toothpaste, but there was a hint of her personal flavor added to it. He'd grown fond of it over the years, knowing that taste only came from his wife's mouth.

Lucy moaned when he slipped his tongue into her mouth, his wet muscle massaging her own until she thrust hers into his mouth. Natsu smiled against her lips, hands grabbing at her hips to shift her on top of him so she rested on his chest. The two stayed like that, caught up in their heated kiss while Natsu's hands roamed over her body.

Lucy spread her legs so she could straddle his hips, then began grinding herself against his crotch. Natsu's body responded to her touches, blood rushing south to fill his cock with need. Even when he was fully erect she didn't stop, enjoying the way he felt sliding against her covered core.

"Luce," Natsu moaned against her lips, feeling fire pool in his belly. "I want to taste you."

Lucy gave his lips a slow lick before getting up. She removed her nightgown and panties while Natsu quickly discarded his pajama pants and boxers. When Lucy climbed back on the bed she already knew what she wanted.

She pushed Natsu back down on the bed, his head no longer resting on a pillow since that would get in the way. Lucy straddled his face, her thighs pressing against the sides of his head as she lowered herself onto his hot mouth.

Natsu moaned when he tasted her potent juices. She was so wet and delicious, his scorching tongue came out to taste every bit of her. Lucy held onto the headboard, holding back her moans until she realized she should try to cover them.

With shaky fingers Lucy grabbed Natsu's phone since it was closer. She quickly went to his music app, playing whatever song came on first to drown out the whimper he pulled from her when he sucked on her hardened clit.

"Aaahhh F-fuck," Lucy's legs quivered when she felt him flick his tongue over the swollen nub. "That feels good," Lucy whispered, hips bucking to get closer to his amazing mouth.

Natsu's hands came up, each searching out her breasts. Lucy grabbed his hands, guiding them to her aching nipples. His touch drove her wild, drawing multiple moans from her parted lips as his fingers pinched and tugged on her sensitive buds.

Lucy squirmed, already feeling her body jolting. Natsu groaned, his tongue lapping up her wet folds before diving into her heat. He loved the way her body jerked to his actions. After so many years it never got old.

His large hands palmed her breasts, squeezing them until the excess flesh spilled between his fingers. Lucy hardly noticed, her eyes shut and her head tipped back as she accepted the pleasure her husband was giving her.

Lucy felt her body tighten and relax over and over again as a rush of ecstasy flooded her system. She shook hard, hands tightening on the headboard until her knuckles turned white. "G-god, d-damn!"

Natsu smirked against her pussy lips before licking up the new wetness she created. His hands continued to knead her supple flesh, loving how soft the globes of flesh felt in his rough hands.

Lucy whimpered when he continued to eat her out. He took her wet folds into his mouth, sucking on them before licking over her engorged bundle of nerves again. Lucy's body gave a mini spasm every time that devilish tongue of his touched her sensitive skin, which was quite often with as much attention as he gave her core.

"H-how does it taste?" Lucy asked, her voice sounding just as breathless as she was.

"Fucking amazing," Natsu growled, lips soaked from her juices. He shoved his tongue into her entrance, saliva mixing with her wetness as he tried -and failed- to collect all her moisture. Every swipe of his tongue only brought more, making it an impossible task, but that didn't stop him from trying.

"Nnggh, Na-aahhhhh," Lucy's thighs tensed around his head as she felt another wave hit her, this time enough to leave her gasping for air. "Natsuuu!"

Natsu was glad she was playing music, otherwise their kids were sure to hear her moaning his name. He couldn't even register what song was playing, only barely hearing the lyrics. Lucy rocked her hips over his mouth, riding out her orgasm until her body felt limp. She barely managed to climb off his face, body splayed out on the mattress while her husband crawled on top of her.

Lucy opened her mouth when she saw Natsu descending on her. Her tongue was already out when his mouth pressed against hers. She wanted to taste what he tasted, to feel her own juices against her tongue. Natsu licked at her mouth, letting her know just how delicious her essence tasted. He loved letting her sample her body. It made the lecherous thoughts run wild.

He lowered himself, hands spreading her legs wide so he could get a good look at her core. Lucy whimpered when he dragged his hot tongue across her wet lips, then mewled when he spent a few seconds sucking on her clit. "I love the sounds you make," he growled, then began crawling back up to her face.

On his way there, he stopped to trace his finger over the scar from her c-section. Natsu leaned down, kissing the scar every inch along the way while his fingers trailed over every stretch mark around her hips. "Thank you for giving me children," he said, referring to all three of his kids. "There's no one else I'd rather raise them with than you."

Lucy felt herself getting teary, so she quickly grabbed his shoulders to pull him closer to her face. "You're welcome," Lucy murmured before seizing his lips. Natsu could easily dominate the kiss, but instead he chose to match the languid strokes of her tongue. He enjoyed fiery raw passion, but he also loved when they took their time.

They stayed like that for a while, until the pulsing in Lucy's core became too much to bear. She pushed Natsu's chest until he lifted up, then straddled him once more. She took a hold of his cock, teasing her engorged bundle of nerves with the tip a few strokes before easing onto his thick length.

Natsu groaned, head tipped back as he felt her sink onto his shaft. "Fuck," he muttered, system feeling like it was set on fire from their connected bodies.

"Feel so fucking good!" Natsu moaned through clenched teeth when she raised herself up, her core massaging him with every thrust.

Lucy knew exactly what to do to get Natsu's fire burning. Years of practice ensured that. She leaned down, teeth scraping at his exposed throat before biting down hard. Natsu growled, hands coming up to grab her waist.

Lucy anticipated that, grabbing his wrists to hold them forcibly by his head so he couldn't move. She bit harder against his flesh, causing his cock to surge inside her.

"Oh fuck! That feels amazing!" Natsu huffed, face breaking out into a blush at the position he was in. Natsu loved dominating her, but every once in a while it was nice surrendering the control to her will, and right now was one of those times.

Lucy moved her hips, making sure to keep up with a steady pace while she sucked at his neck, marking it with a dark red bruise. Natsu barely tried lifting his arms, pleasure coursing through him when she slammed them back down on the bed. They both knew he could easily overpower her, but it was nice pretending like he was completely at her mercy.

"Do you like that?" Lucy whispered hotly in his ear when she finally released his flesh. She held back a giggle when Natsu started violently nodding.

"Yes! God yes!" He felt her body grind against his fluidly, his cock surrounded by her wet heat that seemed to squeeze him in all the right places. "You feel f-fucking fantastic!"

"Good," Lucy moaned before licking the shell of his ear. She leaned up, hands still pinning his wrists to the bed and hips still ramming against his to take in his thick cock. She loved the way he spread her, reaching every sensitive spot with each thrust.

She looked down at him, golden hair curtaining around their faces as she took in his expression. His face, neck, and part of his chest were red. He looked flustered, his green eyes hazy with his mouth parted to let loose the moans tumbling from him.

Lucy loved dominating him. Earlier in their marriage it freaked her out, reminding her of what Jackal did to her, but with Natsu it was completely different.

Hell, every once in a while she let Natsu pin her down and have his way with her, but only when they both agreed safe words could be used. She loved him controlling her body every now and then, but tonight she wanted it for herself.

"Moan my name," Lucy commanded, purposely clamping around his cock.

"L-Lucy!" He barely got out, voice going hoarse from his rapid panting. The excitement of having her so confident was frying his brain.

"Again!" Lucy fell hard on his cock, hitting a little deeper than before.

"Lucyyyy!" Natsu gasped when he felt her coming around his cock. He had no idea she was even close, and neither did she judging by the surprised look that crossed her face.

"Naaatssuuuu," she whimpered, core tightening around his cock over and over again as she went through her orgasm.

Natsu hardly kept himself together. He already felt himself growing closer, and the way Lucy's back arched to give him a better view of her large breasts didn't help his resolve.

"You're s-so beautiful," Natsu groaned, his fingers flexing when he felt himself losing circulation.

Lucy let up on his wrists, letting out an 'eep' when Natsu promptly flipped them. Her legs instinctively wrapped around his hips as he guided himself back in her sweet core. It was like a safe haven, a place where he could experience nothing but pleasure.

"God, I love you!" He growled before roughly thrusting into her.

Lucy gasped, hands grabbing onto his shoulders where her nails embedded in his tough skin. Natsu didn't mind. In fact he loved the burn that came when she scratched him. "A-again!" Lucy's moan was muffled when Natsu kissed her, his hips coming back only to slam into her tight core all over again.

Her toes curled as she gasped for air. Lucy felt her body pulsing before she met her end, pussy milking Natsu's cock until he surrendered and released deep inside her. He couldn't hold out any longer. She felt way too good wrapped around him, and he was weak to her body.

Natsu's body went limp against hers, hot breaths coming from his open mouth as he tried to regain his composure. Lucy was in the same situation, sweat beading down her forehead from their activities.

"Damn," Natsu growled, slowly pulling his softened member from her body. He rolled onto his back, taking Lucy with him so she laid beside him. "That was awesome!"

Lucy tried to laugh, but her throat was dry from panting. "It was," she said, resting her head on his chest. "I'm so tired now."

"Me too," Natsu closed his eyes, but then opened them again when he realized he needed to clean up. He gave Lucy a kiss to the temple before getting out of bed. After washing his cock and face off, he went back to the bed with a wet wash cloth to clean her core.

Lucy appreciated the gesture since her body was too exhausted to stand. When she said she was good, he returned the cloth to the bathroom to wash another day.

Natsu slipped back under the covers, legs a little weak and eyes already getting heavy. He cuddled his wife, wanting to feel her against him as he fell asleep. They mumbled good night to each other before fully relaxing.

Natsu was just about to fall asleep when he heard a scream coming from down the hall.

"DADDY!"

He jolted awake, sitting straight up in the bed, ready to run to his son's room to see what happened. He worried maybe his son got injured, but those thoughts died as soon as he heard Mason scream, "There's a spider in my room!"

Natsu let out a chuckle, then fell back in the bed. "Oh man," he placed a hand over his racing heart, feeling his skin pulse as he tried to calm down. He moved over to bury his nose into the crook of his wife's neck before saying, "I guess I'll be right back. Gotta go slay a spider."

Lucy giggled at him, "Good luck."

He threw on his clothes before heading to Mason's room down the hall. He was a little surprised when he saw Wendy there, holding a shoe.

"Don't worry Dad. I got it," Wendy said, showing him the tip of the shoe where the spider's guts were smeared.

"Atta girl," Natsu said, ruffling Wendy's blue locks. He looked over at Mason, smiling when he said, "You're lucky to have such a brave sister."

Mason's brown eyes lit up as he nodded. "Yeah! She's the best!"

Natsu laughed, then told Wendy to go to her room. He'd be in there in a minute after putting Mason to bed. She complied, heading out the room while Natsu escorted his son to the bed.

When his son was tucked in, he leaned over to press a kiss to his forehead. "Good night, Mason. I love you."

"Love you too, Daddy."

Natsu's heart warmed as he nodded. He stood up, heading out to Wendy's room after turning off Mason's light. He headed a little down the hall to enter Wendy's room. She was already laying in bed with her covers loosely spread over her.

Natsu began tucking her in, only to receive a huff from his daughter.

"I'm getting too old for that," she complained, tucking herself into the blanket.

Natsu placed a hand over his heart, feigning pain when he said, "Ouch! Well too bad! I'm gonna do it anyways!"

Wendy squealed when he tickled her sides before finally tucking her in. Luckily she accepted the kiss to her forehead before saying good night to her dad.

"Good night Wendy. I love you."

"I love you too," she said before yawning.

Natsu flipped off her lights, then headed back to the master bedroom. Lucy was still awake, smiling when he entered. "Did you take care of it?"

"Nah," Natsu said as he pulled off his shirt. "Wendy did. Killed that spider dead."

Lucy only shook her head. "Killed it dead, huh?"

"Yup!" Natsu sounded proud of his little girl, which he was. She was growing up to be one tough cookie, just like a Dragneel.

He crawled into bed, snuggling close to his wife. "I love you Lucy," he gave her a sweet kiss to the lips, relishing in the feeling of her softness. "I'm so glad you're my wife," he kissed her again. "My partner in life," he said as his lips pressed against hers once more. He couldn't get enough.

6 Years Later

When Natsu pulled away, Lucy smiled, "And I love you too."

She ran her fingers over his chest, admiring how well he kept his body over the years. Some thirty-three year olds Lucy knew started letting themselves go. She knew she was trying to fight it herself, but Natsu assured her he didn't mind the extra pounds she picked over the years.

Having two kids and raising three left her body tired and a little less defined, but Natsu showed and told her just how beautiful she was, each and every day.

Natsu leaned in, sealing a kiss over her lips. "Good night Lucy."

Lucy snuggled closer to him. "I don't think I can sleep," she whined. "Our little baby's growing up."

She heard a chuckle, "I know. It'll be fine, we'll get through it."

"Bullshit," Lucy said against his chest. "You know you're going to be crying just as much as I am."

"True," Natsu couldn't deny how emotional he'd be. Wendy was graduating high school tomorrow, and although he couldn't be prouder, he didn't want his little girl to grow up so fast. It seemed like yesterday she was twelve years old, spraying his hair with silly string. Now she was making plans to go to Magnolia University and move into a dorm and-

"Actually, I might cry now."

"What happened to 'we'll get through it'?" Lucy hugged around his middle, pulling him closer.

"I lied," Natsu mumbled. "Let's just kidnap her. Can we kidnap our own kid?"

"I don't think we can," Lucy pouted, slightly disappointed too. She didn't want her little girl growing up either, but it was going to happen eventually. "I'm proud of her though."

"Me too," Natsu grinned. "She grew up to be just as awesome as you!"

Lucy giggled, though her heart still weighed heavy. "Thanks."

"No problem," Natsu snuggled closer, preparing for sleep. It was silent around them for about five minutes, until a high-pitched scream rang through the house.

"DADDY!"

Natsu groaned. He was almost asleep too. He rolled onto his back. "I'll be right there!" He called out before getting up. He quickly dressed himself in pajama pants and a shirt, hair a mess as he left the room. "I'll be back," he whispered to Lucy.

"You better," she joked, then stretched since the bed was free.

Natsu laughed before walking down the hall to the girl's room. "What's up?" he asked when he flipped the lamp switch on to provide some light. Natalie was sitting straight up in bed, tears lining her eyes as she looked up at her dad.

"I had a bad dream," she sniffled, her little voice straining to keep from cracking.

Natsu's eyes softened. He had plenty of experience dealing with bad dreams in the past. Lucy had them, occasionally Mason had them, and even Wendy did too. He shuffled further into the room, noting that Wendy was also up, scrolling through her phone until Natsu was closer.

"Hey Dad," she greeted before looking back at her phone. He smiled, happy to get some attention. He knew teenage years were going to be rough, but he didn't expect his little girl to drift so far away from him. Lucy told him this was normal. Teenage girls typically don't think their fathers were cool for a while, but it still hurt to experience it himself.

At least she wasn't rude to him like some girls were to their fathers. Wendy talked to him occasionally, and didn't flat out disrespect him. She just wanted more space the older she got. Although it pained him, he gave it to her.

Natsu crawled into the little twin sized bed with his youngest daughter. He grabbed her, placing her under his arm as he settled on the bed. It was comfy, but way too small for the grown man. "How about I tell you a story? Do you think that'd help?"

Natalie's little green eyes lit up. "Yeah!"

Natsu chuckled, petting her pink hair a few strokes before resting his hand on his stomach. "This one was Wendy's favorite growing up, so hopefully you'll like it too."

At the mention of her name, Wendy glanced over. She recognized her dad's fathering techniques. He used to do the same thing to her and Mason when they had bad dreams. It warmed her heart knowing he treated them all the same, biological or not.

"Let's see. This one's called 'Fairy Tail'."

Natalie poked her father's ribs, right where they were broken over eleven years ago. "Like with princesses, and princes, and dragons?"

"Kinda," Natsu shrugged. "It does have a princess. She was a beautiful woman with long golden hair."

"Was it Mommy?!" The five year old girl looked at her dad's face with amazement.

"Maybe," Natsu's coy smile gave him away. He continued with the story. "One day she decided to travel all over the world. She wanted to meet lots of friends, and go on lots of adventures. Her dream was to join a magical guild called 'Fairy Tail', but she didn't think she was strong enough yet."

Natalie pouted. "But Mommy's really strong!"

"Hey," Natsu shushed. "I never said it was definitely you're mom. Anyways... One day she met a wicked man, who wanted to capture her and use her as a slave."

A gasp came from his youngest daughter, her little hands covering her mouth. Natsu looked down, amused to see her reactions. Her tears were long gone. He doubted she even remembered the bad dream.

"What happened next?"

"Well, while she was stuck in a charm spell, a-" Natsu stopped when he felt the bed shifting. He looked down, seeing Wendy crawling over his legs to make her way to the top of the bed. She said nothing as she scooted closer to his side, grabbing his arm to wrap it around her shoulder as she laid her head on his chest.

Natsu felt his heart warm, but he didn't want to ruin the mood by making a big deal out of this, even if it meant the world to have Wendy willingly get close to him.

"A dragon came in, interrupting the charm spell and saving the girl. She thanked the dragon with a meal, and thought nothing more of it when she left to go finish her adventure." Natsu smiled when Natalie laid her head on his chest too, just like her older sister did.

"The wicked man found the young princess, then lied to her by saying he could get her into 'Fairy Tail'."

"What did she do?" Natalie asked, a hint of sleepiness in her voice.

"Well, the princess really wanted to get into 'Fairy Tail', so she decided to trust the man, but it was a big mistake. That night he really did try to kidnap her, but his plans were foiled when the pink haired dragon-"

"The dragon has pink hair?" Natalie asked, raising a brow.

"I don't think I said that," Natsu laughed at his little slip up.

"You definitely said pink hair, Dad," Wendy finally spoke up, but she didn't raise her head.

"Fiiiine," Natsu groaned, "he has pink hair."

"So the dragon is you!" Natalie connected the dots.

"He may or may not be me. Just, just listen to the story." Natsu waited until his younger daughter stopped laughing at him before he continued. "The dragon rescued the princess and brought her to 'Fairy Tail'-"

"Where they lived happily ever after?" Natalie asked, full of hope for a happy ending.

"Not right away," Natsu grinned, knowing what he already started. "They went on a ton of adventures after that. Do you want to hear about some of them?"

"Yes!" Natalie cheered, and Wendy giggled because she already knew what their dad was going to say. He said the same thing to her after starting this story so long ago.

"Good, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow night," Natsu held back his laughter when Natalie pouted, lifting her head up so he could see her jutted lip.

"Please?"

"Nope," Natsu said, tightening the grip he had around both his daughters to give them a hug. "Gotta wait til tomorrow."

With that, Natsu sat up, then climbed out of the bed. He leaned over to give Natalie a kiss on the forehead, planting another love thought. He looked over at Wendy, a little surprised when she used her hand to push her blue bangs from her forehead.

Natsu took that as an invitation, giving his oldest child a kiss on the forehead before pulling away. "Tomorrow's a big day," he felt his heart hurt a little, remembering Wendy would be graduating. It wouldn't be long before she was grown up, but he didn't want to face reality yet. "So get some sleep."

As Natsu walked away from Natalie's bed, he heard Wendy whisper, "I'll tell you what happens after the dragon takes the princess to 'Fairy Tail' if you want."

Natalie wasn't quiet at all when she said, "Yes!"

Natsu threw her a look, but she only smiled at him. Natsu shrugged, happy to share the 'Fairy Tail' story with her. "Just don't stay up too late," he said before leaving the room.

He decided to swing by his son's room, slowly opening the door to see the boy sleeping soundly in his bed. Natsu walked over to him, bringing his covers up to his chest since they were pushed down to his feet. Natsu kissed his eleven year old son's forehead before leaving his room.

Natsu felt like his heart was full. He had a wonderful wife, three amazing kids, a house, a few pets, and a great job. Life really couldn't get better for him. He was glad his life turned out this way, even if it had its ups and downs, mainly downs for a while.

It was all worth it, because he had an awesome family to share everything with.

Natsu slipped back into the master bedroom. He saw Lucy was already asleep, snoring lightly under the blankets. He grinned. After being married to her for eleven years he was still very much in love with her. She was his best friend, his mate, and his life partner. He couldn't ask for a better person to spend his life with.

Natsu rolled onto the bed, lifting the covers to spoon his wife. She jolted awake from the contact, but slowly relaxed in his embrace. "What was it?" Lucy asked, her voice gravelly from sleep.

"Natalie had a bad dream," Natsu said, breathing in Lucy's scent. It worked to lull him into a sleepy state.

"Did you help her?"

"Yup," Natsu grinned. "I told her about 'Fairy Tail'."

Lucy giggled. "Well, it was a best seller for a while," she said, remembering how excited she was to publish her first novel.

"It still is," Natsu corrected, feeling proud of her. She finally accomplished her dream of being a published author. Right now she had a contract to write a sequel, so he counted her work as a success.

"Thanks," Lucy yawned, then snuggled closer to her husband. "I guess you'll be pretty busy with that each night."

Natsu shrugged. "I'm gonna tell it to her like I did to Wendy, so it shouldn't take more than twenty minutes at a time."

"Well, if it works for Natalie like it did for Wendy, it should keep her nightmares away."

"Here's hoping," Natsu closed his eyes, letting his mind slowly shut down for the night. "I love you so much, Lucy!"

Lucy furrowed her brows, but said nothing about his outburst. Natsu liked randomly declaring his love for her, whether they were in bed or at the supermarket. The latter was definitely more embarrassing, but endearing at the same time.

"I love you so much too, Natsu. I love you more, I win!"

Natsu laughed, kissing her shoulder before groaning, "I guess you can win for now. But I'll get you tomorrow!"

"I hope so," Lucy smiled. She felt at peace in his strong arms. "Good night."

"G'night," Natsu nuzzled his face against her hair before letting sleep finally take over.

The last thing he thought before everything went dark was, 'yeah... Our life is perfectly imperfect...'

But he wouldn't have it any other way.

The End.