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Harboring

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Lucy sighed as she listened to the sound of her feet connecting with the cobblestone below. She had just completed another solo mission and, as always, she had actually gotten the full award. Since Master had decided to break up Team Natsu, she had been forced to become a solo mage. In the beginning, she had not been happy about his decision to break her team apart. But after she had taken some time to really think about his choice, she came to an easy understanding. Her team had been one of the most destructive and they rarely walked away with any of the reward money. If anything, they had usually ended up owing the town money. Her teammates had been lucky and didn't have to worry about paying bills like rent. Lucy, on the other hand, couldn't afford to take a pay cut. And so, four months after the disbandment of her team, her pockets were actually lined with money.

It wasn't to say that she didn't miss working with her team, because she truly did. But the fact that she didn't have to scramble at the end of each month to gather the fund to pay her rent was a huge weight off her shoulders. But more than anything, she missed the company of her team. Since its disbandment, her former teammates rarely found time to talk to her. When they were actually at the guild, they always seemed to preoccupied with something else to ask her how she was doing. They never approached her and that bothered her to no end. Just because their team wasn't together anymore didn't mean that their friendship needed to end. Every time she would try to talk to them, they would give her a strange look and go back to whatever they had been doing.
Their easy dismissal of her was what hurt the most and after two months of trying to get through to them, she finally gave up and attempted to move on with her life. So far, it had been a nice change of pace, if not a bit lonely if she was completely honest with herself. She was so used to having someone constantly by her side and having a random body in
her apartment that the sudden emptiness seemed to eat her up inside.

Sometimes when she would return home, she rush back to her home and hope that they'd had a change of heart and had broken into her home during her home. She had actually hoped that she would walk into her house and find that all of her food had been eaten by Natsu and Happy. She had hoped that she would walk in her door and immediately trip over Gray's discarded clothing. Hell, she hoped that she would walk into her home and find Erza's swords sticking out of her wall or find the red head digging through her panties.
But that never happened, not once did her hopes become reality. And it truly stung.

As she made her way out of the city gates, opting to take her time and walk back to the guild instead of riding the train, a small whimper broke her out of her thoughts. Her brow furrowed in confusion at the sound and she twisted her head back and forth, looking for the source of the strange noise. When she didn't see anything but the surrounding trees and bushes, she shrugged and continued on her way.

When she heard the sound again, she stopped and looked around again, silently wondering where in the world the sound was coming from. It didn't sound like any animal that she had ever heard of, but then again, there were still a lot of things that surprised her in this world. When she heard the sound again, she decided to throw caution to the wind and followed the sound.

After about ten minutes of battling against tree limbs and tripping over branches on the forest floor, Lucy finally managed to break through the treeline and into a small clearing. She heard the whimper again, louder this time, and turned her head towards the sound. Her eyes locked with the person responsible for the whimpering and her eyes widened a fraction, her jaw landing somewhere around her knees.

Lucy quickly shook her head and regained her composure before taking in the appearance of the children sitting mere feet away from her. One child had spiky, maroon colored hair, caramel colored skin, and deep, indigo eyes that seemed to stare into her very soul. She noticed his tense posture and watched him curl himself almost protectively around his sleeping companion. She saw him flinch when the sleeping child let out a terrified whimper in his sleep.

She turned her attention to the sleeping child that she had heard whimper. His two toned, black and white hair was in an interesting style. It reminded her almost like a glorified glam-rock look that seemed to suit him perfectly. His skin was as pale as fallen snow, the only thing paler than it was his hair. She noticed that both boys were dressed the same, simple black t-shirts and black shorts that ended at their knees. She frowned when she noticed that neither of them were wearing shoes.

The two children that looked oddly familiar were curled around each other against a large tree. The two-toned haired child lay whimpering next to his friend, while the maroon haired one stared at her with an almost terrified and lost expression. Lucy wracked her brain, trying to figure out where she knew these children from, she could have sworn that she had seen them before somewhere. Not knowing what else to do, she started to slowly walk up to them. She saw the maroon haired child tense further and stopped mere feet away from them. She dropped herself to the ground and sat cross legged across from them, not wanting to startle either of them, even if one of them was sleeping.

"Is your friend okay?", Lucy asked gently, pointing her finger towards the whimpering child.

"I...I think he's having a nightmare. I can't wake him up, I tried everything.", the maroon haired boy whispered, his voice trembling slightly.
"May I try to help?", she asked with a small smile. Unless the boy was okay with her approach, she wouldn't move from her spot. She was a stranger and she had given this child no reason to trust her.
"Do you really think you can help him?", the boy asked, his gaze falling to his sleeping friend.

"I think I might be able to. May I try?", she replied with a nod.

The boy just nodded at her and she couldn't help but widen her smile at the boy. She lifted herself from the ground and took a moment to wipe the dirt off the bottom of her jeans and walked towards the two young boys. Once she was directly in front of them, she lowered herself to her knees in front of them. She slowly lifted the sleeping boy away from his friend and cradled him close to her body. She leaned back until she was sitting on her rear again and wrapped a supporting arm around the boy's shoulders before she started to run her free hand through his hair. She whispered soothing words into her hair and rocked him slowly back and forth.

The maroon haired boy watched in awe as his friend's whimpers and cries ceased and the tension in his body slowly went away. He sighed a little in relief and took a moment to take in the sight of the random woman who had found them. Long, mid-back length hair flowed freely down her back. Big, doe brown eyes locked onto his friend's face, a small smile playing on her lips. Her jean covered legs were crossed comfortably on the forest floor and her green, v-neck shirt was dusty from the forest floor. He felt like he had seen this woman somewhere before but couldn't think of where. Come to think of it, he couldn't remember a whole lot of anything.

"Just who are you anyway? Why are you helping us?", he asked with narrowed eyes, his body moving to sit beside the blonde that was currently rocking his friend.

"My name is Lucy and I am helping you because you looked like you needed it. And just who are you, kiddo? Where are your parents?", Lucy replied easily. She couldn't blame the poor kid for being a little suspicious, she would be too if she was in his shoes. She moved her gaze over to him and waited for him to respond, not once ceasing her rocking. Her fingers continued to sift through the child in her lap's hair.

"I'm Cobra and my friend is Midnight. We don't have parent's and I don't know where we came from, I can't even remember how we ended up here.", the child, Cobra, muttered. He lifted a curious eyebrow when Lucy's eyes widened a fraction when he told her their names. Maybe she knew who they were?

"Well, this just got interesting.", she muttered to herself before shaking her head. "You don't remember anything at all, Cobra?", she asked, making sure that she hadn't heard him wrong. If these two truly were the Cobra and Midnight that she had met before, she was in for quite the interesting rest of the day.

"I just remember a bright light and then everything going dark. I woke up here a little while ago. Midnight hasn't woken up the entire time I've been awake.", Cobra confirmed with a grimace.
"That's rough, you don't have anywhere to go, do you?", she asked with a frown.

"No, I was going to ask Midnight for ideas once he woke up but I don't know when he'll be doing so. He sleeps a lot and I never know when he'll wake up again.", he replied with a small, frustrated sigh.

Lucy's brows furrowed in confusion, this situation was getting more and more interesting by the second. First, she had stumbled upon the child like forms of two people who had tried to kill her at least twice in the past few years. From what it sounded like, Cobra had no memory of his life before being turned into a child, including his memories of herself. Next, while he didn't have any memory of his life before being turned into a child, he still retained all of his memories of Midnight. To a certain extent, at least. She was at a loss, she had no idea what to do in this situation. She quickly decided that she couldn't just leave these two sitting out in the forest with no where to go.

Yes, they had technically tried to kill her a few times, but she was a firm believer in second chances. She had given Gajeel a second chance, after all. And the Iron Slayer had pretty much beaten her within an inch of her life. She had forgiven Laxus and his team for their failed attempt at taking over the guild. If she could forgive other people who had hurt her in the past, what was stopping her from doing the same for Midnight and Cobra? Especially since they both couldn't remember a damn thing. Well, she assumed that Midnight was missing his memories just like Cobra. Seeing as the child was still asleep, it was kind of hard to ask him if he was having issues with his memory as well.
So, she did the only thing she could do.

"I have an idea but it is completely up to you and your friend.", Lucy stated firmly, her eyes dancing with determination.

"I'm open to just about anything right now.", Cobra sighed. At this point, anything was better than being stuck in a forest with nothing but the clothes on his back.

"How about I take you two back to the inn that's in the town about fifteen minutes from here? I can contact my Guild Master and ask him if it's okay if I bring you two back to Magnolia with me.", Lucy suggested with a small smile. If Master truly allowed her to bring these two back with her, she was sure that a few people from the guild would have a major issue with it. But at that moment, she couldn't bring herself to really care These two didn't seem to have any recollection of their time in a Dark Guild and she wasn't about to just leave them to starve in a forest by themselves. Her conscious wouldn't allow her to do so.

"You really think your Guild Master would let you bring two kids you barely know back with you?", Cobra asked skeptically. Part of him asked because it seemed way too good to be true. And the other half of him felt the need to ask because he wasn't quite sure if he could fully trust this woman yet. He had known her for all of twenty minutes and she had shown them nothing but kindness. But that didn't mean that she wouldn't just throw them in an orphanage the moment she stepped into town with them.

"I don't think Master would have an issue with it, it wouldn't be the first time he has taken in kids that have no where else to go. Myself being one of those cases.", she assured with a small smirk. She felt the child in her arms stir slightly and looked down at him, her eyes instantly locking with scared, red eyes. She gave Midnight a soft smile and removed her hand from his hair. When he whined at the lack of contact, she smirked and began sifting through his two-toned hair again.

"Who are you?", Midnight asked quietly, not completely understanding what was going on. The last thing he remembered was a bright light and the darkness consuming him. He remembered his mind being ravaged by unrelenting nightmares and then a soft voice telling him that everything would be okay. He remembered a strange feeling of safety and comfort washing over his unconscious mind and falling into a more fitful slumber. And now here he was, curled up in the arms of a woman that looked vaguely familiar but with no memories of who the woman was.

"My name is Lucy. I found you and Cobra about a half hour ago. We were waiting for you to wake up before we moved to the inn a little ways from here. If you are okay with it, I am going to contact my Guild Master and ask him if I can bring you back to the Guild with me.", she explained gently, her eyes straying over to Cobra, only to see the small boy give a sleepy yawn. She was pretty sure that the poor kid was exhausted after finding himself in a situation that none of them quite understood.

"You won't leave us if you're Master says no, will you?", Midnight trembled. He had no idea where he was and no memories to help him, the thought of being alone again was absolute terrifying for the young boy. Not only that, but she had been able to make his seemingly never ending nightmares go away. He didn't know if it was because of his memory loss or not, but he couldn't remember the last time he had actually been able to sleep so fitfully. He didn't want to have those horrific nightmares anymore, he just wanted to sleep in peace for once.

"Of course not, I could never leave two kids behind. Especially two kids who needed me more than anything. I have no doubt that Master will allow me to bring you back with me. And if he did say no, I would bring you two back with me anyway, consequences be damned.", she assured with a small smile, hugging the small boy gently.

"We'll be fine, Midnight. I don't think she's going to try to hurt us. She didn't even touch you until I gave her the go ahead to try and help you. I think we can trust her.", Cobra spoke up with a small sigh. He was sure that if he was okay with the suggestion, that Midnight would go along with it as well. From the little bit that he could remember, Midnight always followed him around without a second thought.

"I guess I'll go with you, Lucy. As long as Cobra comes with.", Midnight mumbled before burying his face in Lucy's shoulder.

"You heard the man, looks like we're going back to the inn for the night. Once we get there, we'll order some room service and get you two something to eat, I imagine you two are famished.", she nodded, her suspicions of them being hungry was confirmed when she heard their stomachs rumble in response. Both of their cheeks reddened with embarrassment and she couldn't help but laugh.

Maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all.

"Do you want to walk, Midnight? Or would you rather I carried you?", Lucy asked turning her head to look at the boy currently nuzzling her shoulder.

"Would it be okay if I stayed up here for now?", the boy replied shyly.

"Of course.", she nodded before turning her attention to Cobra. "My back is free if you want to hitch a ride.", she offered.

Cobra nodded before clambering onto the blondes back. Once she was sure that he wouldn't fall off, she slowly raised herself from the ground, both of her arms hooked around Midnight. She felt Cobra's tiny arms tighten around her neck and couldn't help but smile. She suddenly felt like a big sister, if not a mother. Either way, it was a nice feeling. If these two could trust her completely, then she would do the same for them. She giggled softly when she felt both boys nuzzle their faces into her shoulders and started to make her way back to town.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

After renting a room for the night at the inn and ordering just about everything on the menu, both boys had fallen asleep on the short trek back to town, she made her way towards their room. She easily unlocked the door to their room and gently pushed it closed with her foot. She walked towards the only bed in the room and gently laid Midnight on it before carefully removing the sleeping boy on her back, placing him next to his friend. She gave them a small smile before taking a seat on the edge of the bed just a little ways away from them.

She reached for the key ring on her belt and unhooked one of her keys, swishing it through the air to summon Virgo. If she was going to take care of the two boys properly, she was going to need some supplies, including a change of clothes for them and hygiene products for them. She smiled at the spirit when she arrived with a flash of gold.

"Punishment, Princess?", the maid asked with a small bow.

"No, no punishment, Virgo. I was hoping you could bring me my pack and bring some clothes and some hygiene products for those two, please.", Lucy requested, tilting her head in the direction of the two sleeping boys on the bed. She watched as a small flash of surprise passed through the maidens eyes before they became blank once more.

"That will be no problem, but just who are these children? They look strangely familiar.", the maiden asked.

"That's because we technically know them. They're Midnight and Cobra from the Oracion Seis. I don't know how they became children nor do I know why they don't seem to have any memories of their lives before being transformed. The only thing they do remember is each other.", Lucy explained quietly, not wanting to wake the poor boys.

"I see, I will return in a moment with the things you require.", Virgo nodded before bowing and disappearing. She reappeared a moment later, her arms full of clothing for the two boys and anything else that they may require. Lucy's bag was hanging from one of her wrists. She gently set the stack of clothing and other products on the small table next to the bed and handed her Mistress her bag. After Lucy confirmed that she wouldn't require anything else, she disappeared once more.

Once Virgo was gone, Lucy snuck a peak at the sleeping boys and smiled at the position they were in. At some point during Virgo's short visit, they had curled around each other in an almost protective, brotherly manner. It warmed her heart to see them acting that way, even if there was a chance that they had no idea that they were doing it. After tearing her gaze away from them, she dug through her pack and pulled out her communication lacrima and sent a small pulse of magic in it. When Makarov's face appeared a moment later, she shot him a small smile.

"Ahh, Lucy, what can I do for you child?", the Master asked with a cheeky grin.

"Well, I'm going to start off with telling you that my mission was a success but I came across something quite interesting.", She began, when the master nodded for her to continue, she did. "Just as I was leaving town to start heading back home, I came across a couple of kids. You may remember them, actually."

"And just who are these children you are talking about, Lucy?", Makarov asked with a curious raise of his brow.

Instead of trying to explain everything all at once, she turned the lacrima in her hand towards the forms Midnight and Cobra curled around each other while they slept. When she heard her Master make a sound that strangely resembled a dying walrus, she turned the device back towards herself.

"You found the child like forms of Cobra and Midnight of the Oracion Seis?!", he asked, his eyes on the verge of bulging out of his skull at her discovery.

"That's right, but that's not all. They both don't have any memories of me, their former guild, or anything that happened in the past. The only thing that they seem to remember is each other.", Lucy explained with a shrug.

"What do you plan to do with them?", he asked, his mind running a mile a minute. He already had a feeling that she was going to give him an answer that would surely change a lot of things at his guild hall.

"Well, that's exactly why I called you. I already asked them if they were okay with it and they are. I would like to request your permission to bring them back to Magnolia with me. They trust me completely and I can't bring myself to just leave them here to fend for themselves. I can tell that they still have their magic and they would be great additions to the guild. You were able to give Gajeel and Juvia a second chance and I think these two deserve one too.", Lucy explained, her voice firm with her resolve. She could see the Master's hesitance and she couldn't really blame him for it.

"You know that this will not go over well with the rest of the guild, your former team especially.", Makarov pointed out.

"Master, with all due respect, nobody from Team Natsu has spoken to me since you decided to break our team up. I don't really care what they think about this. Midnight and Cobra will be solely my responsibility.", she stated firmly, not even noticing that both boys had woken up during her chat with the Master. She jumped a little when both boys crawled across the bed towards her and plopped themselves on opposite sides of her, both of them peering into the lacrima in her hand.

"Are you truly sure about this, Lucy? There will be no going back once they get here. I can't even tell you what will happen when the Counsel catches word of this.", the Master sighed, knowing that there would be no chance of changing the blondes mind.

"Let me deal with the Counsel. I won't let them lay a hand on either of these boys.", Lucy smirked, her smirk turning into a small smile when she felt two pairs of tiny arms wrap around her waist in a hug.

"I can see that there is no chance of me changing your mind. You may bring them back with you, Lucy. They will solely be your responsibility and they will have to stay in your home with you.", Makarov sighed in defeat.

"I was already planning on both of those With the amount of money I have made during my time as a solo mage I was actually looking into buying a bigger place. I guess I'll have to start looking once we get back home.", she nodded.

"Very well, when you arrive back in Magnolia, bring them straight to my office. We will introduce them to the rest of the guild together. We have no idea what the other's reactions are going to be.", Master explained before the device went black.

Lucy set the lacrima on the small bedside table before turning to the boy's currently clinging to her waist, their eyes wide with excitement.
"You hear that, boys? You're coming home with me!", she grinned.

Cobra's lips drew back in a small smile while Midnight's eyes brimmed with happy tears. They had only heard a little bit of her conversation and they had started to think that they would be turned down. They were going to have a home and Lucy was going to be the one to give it to them. They were confused by some parts of the conversation but neither of them could bring themselves to care at that moment. They both figured that their blonde haired savior would explain it to them if she felt it was important. For now though, they were just going to bask in the fact that they were able to stay with her.

A knock on the door signaled that their food had arrive and Lucy gently pried herself away from the boys. She quickly pulled the food cart into the room and starting piling two plates full of food. She handed each boy a plate and told them to dig in before she served herself a small portion of the food. She sat down on the bed in between the boys and watched with amusement as the shoveled food into their mouths as quickly as they could. She'd definitely been right when she had figured that they were hungry. If she recalled correctly, Cobra was a Dragon Slayer and he was probably going to eat more than her and Midnight combined. She knew that her grocery bill was going to increase with two more mouths to feed but it was nothing new to her.

She was used to feeding Happy and Natsu's bottomless pits of stomachs, after all.

Once every scrap of food was devoured, mostly by Cobra, all three of them let out a satisfied sigh. Once their plates were cleared away and the food cart was placed back in the hallway, Lucy turned her attention back to the duo on the bed. She shot them both a small smile and started sorting through the clothing that Virgo had brought for them. After picking out outfits for the two kids, she ushered them towards the bathroom. She had no idea how long they had been laying in that forest and fully intended on scrubbing them clean.

She turned the taps on the bathtub on and started filling the water with warm water. She turned back towards the boys and gestured for them to strip. When they both flushed with embarrassment, she couldn't help but laugh at the adorable blushes forming on their cheeks.

"We're eight years old, Lucy! We can bathe ourselves, you know!", Cobra protested, his blush darkening by the second.

"I know you two are more than capable of bathing yourselves but I don't know how long you two were lying unconscious out there. I want to make sure you two don't have any injuries and I want to make sure all that dirt gets washed out of your hair.", Lucy explained with a smile.

"After this we can bathe alone?", Midnight asked, his cheeks growing darker and darker by the moment. He trusted this woman, but he wasn't so sure about her bathing him like he was a helpless child.

Eight year old's had pride too, dammit!

"I'll make you two a deal, let me check you for injuries and wash your hair and then I'll let you two finish yourselves. Deal?", Lucy improvised with a smile. She really did just want to make sure that they were physically okay, plus she could practically see the little dirt piles on each boy's scalp.

"I can deal with that.", Cobra shrugged before quickly stripping his clothing and all but dived into the tub.
Midnight just nodded and followed his friend's lead.

Lucy sighed with relief. She grabbed a hotel issued drinking cup from the bathroom counter and got to work wetting down Cobra's hair. She watched as dirt and grime dripped out of his hair and grimaced. Turned out the kid was dirtier than he looked. She quickly lathered her hands with shampoo and worked the suds into his maroon hair. Her eyes roamed over his back and torso and sighed in relief when she didn't see a single mark on his body. She knew that the older Cobra had scars all over his body from his time in the Tower, but it seemed that they had disappeared when he'd been turned into a child. She quickly rinsed his hair of the suds and smiled gently at him before turning to Midnight.

She repeated the process with the two toned haired boy and smiled when she found no bruises or otherwise maring his pale flesh. She really didn't know a whole lot about Midnight or his past. She knew that his prayer had been for a quiet place to sleep, but that was about as far as her knowledge went. She made him a silent promise to learn everything she could about the small, timid boy in front of her. She quickly rinsed the suds from his hair and moved to stand back up. She paused when she felt a small hand close around her wrist and turned to look at Midnight questioningly.

"Thank you for everything you are doing for us. I don't know how we could ever repay you for your kindness.", He spoke up timidly.

"It's no problem at all, don't worry about it. You two will never feel alone again, I promise. And Celestial Wizards never break their promises.", she replied softly.

Midnight nodded and released his hold on her wrist. Both boys watched the blonde leave the bathroom, leaving the door cracked a little in case they needed her. Without a second thought, both boys got to work cleaning the rest of their bodies. They didn't want to be away from the kind, blonde haired woman longer than they needed to be.

Once they were squeaky clean, both boys clambered out of the tub and made quick work of drying their tiny bodies off. They wrapped towels around their little waists and walked out of the bathroom after noticing that Lucy had forgotten to bring their pajamas into the bathroom with her. She giggled at them when they walked over to the bed and wordlessly handed them their change of clothing. She turned her back to them to give them a little privacy and waited for them to signal that they were finished.

When Lucy heard Cobra clear his throat, she turned back around and internally swooned at their cuteness. Virgo had done a good job picking out clothes for her two boys. Cobra was clad in a pair of fleece sleep pants with little purple snakes decorating them and a black shirt with a large purple snake that reminded her of his snake companion from years ago right in the middle of it. Midnight was decked out in a similar outfit, only with magical carpets on them instead of snakes. She couldn't help but smile at the fact that her spirit remembered what their most prized possessions had once been.

She offhandedly wondered what had happened to Cobra's snake and Midnight's magic carpet after they had been turned into children. She'd find a way to get them back to them, no matter what the cost. She could see these boys happy no matter what she had to do.

"You two ready to get some sleep? It's a long train ride back to Magnolia.", she asked with a small smile.

Cobra just nodded and crawled onto the bed, immediately taking the left side of the bed. He was asleep before his head made contact with the pillow.
Midnight, on the other hand, looked terrified at the thought of sleeping.

"I'll keep the nightmares away, Midnight.", Lucy promised as she held her arms out to the scared child. He didn't waste anytime jumping into her arms and she hoisted them to the top of the bed, her in the middle and him on the right. She laid down on her back and wrapped an arm around Midnight's shoulders, pulling her close to his body, her hand idly sifting through his silky tresses. She heard him sigh in content before she watched his eyes droop closed. She turned her head to the left when she felt Cobra snuggle closer to her for warmth. With a small smile, she wrapped her free arm around him in the same fashion as Midnight and drew him closer to her.

Once she was sure that both of her boys were both down for the count, she stared up at the ceiling for a few moments. She silently wondered just how much her life was going to change now that she had two eight year old boys to take care of. Sure, she was good with children, but the thought of raising a child had never really crossed her mind. But now that she had the two boys wrapped around her, she couldn't bring herself to regret her decision to take them in. In some ways, she was sure that she needed them just as much as they needed her. She had been so lonely the last few months and now they were slowly, but surely, filling the empty void in her heart.

She had promised them that they would never be alone again and she would do everything in her power to never break that promise. And not just because it was she was a Celestial Mage and that her promises were binding that drove her. No, it was because they trusted her to keep them safe. They didn't have anywhere else to go and no memories to their names and she had welcomed them with open arms. If it came down to it, she would fight each and every member of Fairy Tail just to keep them safe.

She would take on Brain if she had to to keep them safe.

She would face Acnologia and destroy him if he touched a hair on their heads.

She would take on Phantom Lord a thousand times over if she had to.

These were her boys now and they were more precious than anything.

She would keep them safe.

No matter what.

With a silent nod of determination, she kissed each boy on the head and finally allowed her eyelids to droop with exhaustion. With a small yawn, she got herself comfortable and finally allowed herself to welcome the abyss of sleep.

Tomorrow was a new day and with a new day came new adventures. And now, a new family to call her own.

Chapter Text

Lucy let out a small groan when her began to wake the next morning. She froze for a moment when she felt two small bodies pressed up against her. She relaxed after a short moment after remembering everything that had happened the day before. She had been so sure that she had been dreaming about the entire encounter. Never in her life had she ever expected to end up as the caregiver for two former criminals turned children. The idea was absurd, but she wasn't about to go back on her word.
she stretched her body as best she could while pinned down by two small bodies. She glanced at the small alarm clock on the bedside table and her eyes widened when she realized that they had not only slept all night, but had slept most of the morning away as well. She shrugged her shoulders in an attempt to stir Cobra and Midnight and silently cheered when she felt them stir.

"Boys, you need to wake up. We have a train to catch in an hour.", Lucy whispered before jostling her body again. Honestly, she was surprised that she had and feeling left in her shoulders after they'd been laid on all night, not that she was complaining though. She hadn't been woken up once during the night and she could only assume that that meant that Midnight had slept peacefully and nightmare free.

"Five more minutes.", Cobra groaned before nuzzling his face further into the blondes shoulder. He was warm, comfortable, and didn't want to move for the next ten years. He hadn't woken up to the sounds of Midnight having a nightmare and that was something that pleased the small boy greatly. Lucy had kept his nightmares away and it shocked him that she was able to do so so easily. He felt her shoulders vibrate as she silently shook with laughter and raised his head with a pout.

"Sorry, Cobra, but if we don't get up we'll miss the train and have to walk all the way back home.", Lucy reasoned, running a single hand through his sleep mused maroon hair. She watched as he untangled himself from their cuddly position and dragged himself towards the bathroom to wash up. One kiddo down and one to go. She had a feeling that waking up Midnight was going to prove to be more of a challenge.

Lucy rolled herself over onto her side facing Midnight and gently shook his shoulders in an attempt to wake him up. She let out a small bark of laughter when she heard the boy snort with annoyance.

"Midnight, we need to get up if we want to catch the train back home. You don't want to have to walk all day and night, do you?", she whispered in his ear. She felt him tense but he didn't stir. She decided to up the anti. "If we miss the train you'll be stuck sleeping on the cold, hard ground and we won't be able to cuddle."

The moment the words left her lips, the small boy's eyes shot open in horror at the thought of not having the blonde to cuddle with. He hadn't had a single nightmare throughout the entire night and he wanted it to stay that way. He didn't know what it was about the woman's presence, but she calmed the raging torrent of darkness that seemed to rage through his dreams. The thought of going back to being a whimpering mess during the night didn't seem so appealing.

"Can I sleep on the train while we head back to Magnolia?", he asked with a small yawn before lifting himself into a sitting position and stretched his small limbs.

"Of course. I would have just carried you to the train station but I didn't think you'd want the world seeing your adorable jammies.", Lucy replied with a small smirk.

"I'm going to go get dressed now.", Midnight grumbled, his cheeks reddening with embarrassment. He loved his pajamas but that didn't mean he wanted the entire world to see him in them. He was pretty sure that Cobra shared the sentiment. He dragged himself out of the comfort of Lucy's arms and lazily crawled off the bed, stalking towards the bathroom after his feet hit the ground.

Lucy watched her second surrogate child wander off in the direction of the bathroom with a small smile. It really was hard to imagine them as the murderous criminals that they had been known as before. She had forgiven them for their transgressions long ago but had never once thought that she would ever see them again. She decided that she had best get ready herself and slid off the bed. She grabbed a change of clothes and quickly changed before either of the boys wandered out of the bathroom.

As she stripped out of her clothing, she realized that she had slept in the clothes she had worn the day before. She had been so worried about making sure that the boy's had everything that they needed that she hadn't even thought about putting on her own pajamas. She shrugged it off and changed into a black skirt that reached her mid-thigh and a purple crop top that showed off a few inches of her flat stomach.

When Cobra and Midnight exited the bathroom, the first thing they did when the saw the outfit their adoptive mother was wearing was shield their eyes.

"Put some damn clothes on!", Cobra cried, his cheeks reddening at the sight.

"You are showing far too much skin, Lucy.", Midnight mumbled, his hands pressed roughly against his eyes.

Lucy let out a loud bark of laughter at both boy's actions. That had not been the reaction she had expected out of them. Actually, she hadn't been expecting any sort of reaction out of them for her state of dress. But she didn't want to make the boy's uncomfortable and decided that she would change if it would make them feel better.

"Which part of my outfit bothers you, boys?", she asked through her giggles.

"Your skirt is way too short!", both boys cried, both of them turning their backs to the blonde. "Put some pants on!"

"Fine, fine. Keep your backs to me while I change.", she giggled. Instead of digging through her pack for another pair of jeans, she opted to change into the jeans she had been wearing a few minutes prior. She quickly switched out her skirt for the jeans and let the boys know that she was done. When they both turned around, they both let out small sighs of relief.

"Thank you.", Midnight sighed.

"What was your issue with the skirt anyway?", Lucy questioned. They were only eight after all, it wasn't like they had teenage hormones to deal with. She was pretty sure that they were at the age where girls their age had the deadly disease known as cooties.

"We're about to go out in public, I don't want to watch old guys drool all over our new mom.", Cobra grumbled with a small pout.

"New...mom?", Lucy stuttered. Sure, she would be taking them in and raising them, but she hadn't expected them to look at her like a mother. She had been expecting them to have more of a bigger sister vibe towards her. Sure, she felt like a mother last night when she had held them while they slept, but she hadn't expected them to return those feelings. Her heart thudded with glee in her chest and she had to fight to urge to lunge towards the two kids and smother them in a hug.

"Well, yeah. You're technically adopting us, aren't you? Unless you've changed your mind...", Midnight replied, his eyes slowly brimming with tears at the thought of her leaving them.

"No, no. I'd never leave you two. I just wasn't expecting either of you to look at me as if I was your mother. I had been more so expecting the two of you to think of me as a big sister. But if you two want to look at me as your mother, than I can totally live with that. Anybody would be honored to have such sweet little boys for children.", she assured sweetly before lowering herself to her knees. She gestured for Midnight to come to her and he did so without hesitation. She engulfed the two-toned haired boy in a gentle hug and gave him a comforting squeeze.

"I ain't sweet. I'm a dragon.", Cobra pouted as he crossed his arms over his chest.

"Oh yes, you're my fearsome little Dragon Slayer.", Lucy teased before releasing Midnight from her grasp. She wiped the tears from the timid boy's eyes and ruffled his hair before lifting herself from the ground.

"Damn right I am.", the maroon haired boy nodded.

"Language, young man. Now, let's get this stuff packed up so we can check out and catch our train. When both boys nodded, they made quick work of packing up all of their clothing. After summoning Virgo and asking her to store their things for them, the trio left the room to check out of their room.

After buying the train tickets for Magnolia, Lucy ushered her two boy's to an open cabin and shut the door firmly behind her. She took a seat on one of the benches and watched with amusement as the boys clambered up next to her. She stretched her legs out and rested her feet on the opposite bench and waited for the train to take off. It was a three hour ride back to Magnolia and she was starting to regret not asking Virgo to bring her something to entertain her boys with. She supposed that this would be a good time to get to know her boys better.

If she was going to raise them, she was going to need to know everything she possibly could about them. She felt the train lurch as it began moving at looked at Cobra from the corner of her eye, checking to see if he was old enough to have the motion sickness that all Dragon Slayers seemed to develop at some point. She recalled that Gajeel hadn't developed his until the Grand Magic Games, so she had no idea if they needed to be adults before they were stuck with the ailment.

But then again, he didn't get sick when he rode around on Nirvana or when he caught a ride on his gigantic snake. Maybe the maroon haired boy was immune to motion sickness? Now that would be a nice development!

"How long is the train ride back to Magnolia, Lucy?", Midnight asked with a small tilt of his head. He scooted his body a little closer to the blonde and wrapped his arms around her arm, resting his forehead on it.

"It's about a three hour ride, give or take. I was thinking that maybe we should take the time to get to know each other a little better. But if you'd like to sleep instead, that's fine too.", the blonde explained with a grin.

"I think I'll stay awake, I want to know more about you and your guild.", the timid boy mumbled into her arm.

"What do you want to know about us, hmm?", Cobra asked with a raised eyebrow.

"First off, what kind of magic do you two use?", Lucy asked easily.

"Reflector magic, I'll show you once we're not on the train. I don't want to accidentally hurt someone.", Midnight replied quietly.

"Soul Listening Magic and I'm a Poison Dragon Slayer. I can't hear your soul for some reason though.", Cobra grumbled with a small frown.

"That's perfectly fine, Midnight.", Lucy assured before turning to Cobra. "You can't hear my soul at all?"

"Not a word. It's weird. I can hear Midnight just fine and I can hear everyone else on the train. But I can't hear a single thing coming from your soul. It's almost like you've got some sort of shield that won't let me past.", Cobra explained, his frown still firmly in place.

"That certainly is strange. We'll have to ask Master about it when I bring you two to Fairy Tail today.", Lucy mused, her lips pursed in thought.

"You're bringing us to the guild today?", Midnight asked, his eyes wide with a curious mixture of fear and excitement. It truly was an odd mix.

"Of course. Master asked that I bring you two straight to the guild after we got back. He is going to help me introduce you two to the rest of the guild. I'll warn you now, my guild mates can be quite rowdy but I won't let anything harm you.", she replied with a smile. She ruffled Midnight's unruly hair and giggled when he gave her a small pout at her actions.

"What else do you want to know about us?", Cobra asked. "Can we ask you stuff too? It seems only fair."

"If Master is okay with it, would you two like to join the guild? You two would team up with me and you two would be able to hone your magics so you can use them to the best of your ability. And yes, you can ask me anything you want.", Lucy grinned, hoping that they would agree to join the guild. She had a feeling that they would make quite the team once they'd had some training with their magic.

"As long as we get to stay with you, I'll join. And my favorite food is anything with veggies.", Midnight replied with a small shrug. He couldn't care less where they went or what guild they joined, he just wanted to stay by Lucy's side.

"If Midnight is joining, so am I. And I like anything laced with poison.", Cobra replied easily. He only had Lucy and Midnight and he wasn't going to risk losing either one of them. If joining Fairy Tail would make it easier for him to train himself and become stronger, he would do it. He would do whatever he had to do to keep his best friend and mother figure safe.

"Well, that makes grocery shopping certainly easy. I just ask that you don't turn my kitchen into a chemistry lab. Are there any questions that you two have for me? I have quite a few for the both of you but I think it would be best to just learn about you two as we go. I'll ask you two questions when I have to, sound good?", Lucy inquired with a small yawn. She knew that there was no reason for her to be tired, but she couldn't help it that train rides were horribly boring, no matter how much company you had.

"What exactly is Celestial magic?", Midnight asked curiously, his mouth drawing back in a small yawn.

"I use the keys on my belt to summon Spirits from the Spirit World to help me in battle. They're just like you and me, they're people. They have thoughts and feelings just like us. A true Celestial Mage fights beside her Spirits and don't use them as shields. You already met Virgo, she's the maiden. I'll have you meet the other's at a later date, a couple of them have a habit of popping up out of nowhere for no reason other than to just say hello. Just thought I should warn you. I have a few books on my magic back home if you are interested in looking through them.", the blonde answered easily. She was happy that her boys were taking an interest in her magic along with taking an interest in honing their own skills.

"Are you really going to buy a house just because you took us in?", Cobra asked when she finished her explanation.

"Of course. Right now I live in a one bedroom apartment. It isn't nearly big enough for all three of us to live in. I'm assuming you two will want your own rooms and space. Plus a backyard would be nice, especially if you two want to train when we are at home.", Lucy replied with a grin.

"Why are you doing so much for us? I guess I just don't understand why you would take in two kids that you don't know so easily.", Midnight mumbled before burying his face once more into Lucy's arm.

"I have many reasons for taking you in. The biggest one being that you two need me just as much as I need you. You two trusted me to take care of you almost immediately. I keep those nasty nightmares away while you sleep, don't I? I would never abandon someone in need, especially children. You two say that you can't remember much of anything and I want to help you regain your memories if I can. Does that help?", Lucy explained easily without hesitation.

"You really care for us that much?", Cobra inquired with a raised eyebrow. It really did sound way too good to be true.

"I really, really do.", she confirmed with a toothy grin that rivaled a certain Fire Dragon Slayer's signature grin.

The moment her mind strayed to the pink haired slayer, she scowled. She had a feeling that he was going to have a huge fit when he found out that she had taken in the child like forms of two people that had technically tried to kill them in the past. But then again, he hadn't spoken to her in months, why the hell should she care if he was upset about it. All she needed was Master's approval and she had it. If any of her guild mates touched even a hair on her boy's head's, they'd be getting a swift Lucy Kick straight to Bosco.

"Are you okay, Lucy?", Cobra asked, his brow furrowing in confusion. Just a moment ago she was smiling and now she was scowling something fierce.

"I'm fine, Cobra. Just thought of something but it'll be alright. Why don't you two get some sleep? We still have a little over an hour before we reach our stop.", she assured with a sigh.

Cobra frowned but nodded in acceptance. If it was important, she would have told them. He curled up next to her and placed his head in her lap, sleep consuming him within minutes.

Once Cobra was asleep, Lucy turned her attention to Midnight and let out a small laugh when she found that he was already completely dead to the world. She stretched her legs with a sigh and settled herself comfortably. She watched the scenery pass by as she lost herself in her thoughts. Times were certainly changing and she didn't know just how much was going to change once she entered the guild with her boys.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Lucy groaned when the train came to a screeching halt in Magnolia station. She didn't have the heart to wake the boys so she opted to carry them. She gathered Midnight in her arms before nudging Cobra, quietly telling him to hop on her back. He easily clambered onto her back and was soon back in the land of dreams. She thought back to her own childhood and couldn't remember sleeping as much as these two did but shrugged it off. There could be a number of reasons that they slept as much as they did.

She was sure that Midnight's sleeping habits came from barley getting any sleep due to his nightmares. Cobra was a mystery though. She supposed that it could be a side effect from being turned into a child, losing his memories, and the spells effects still pumping through his system. She was sure that he'd be more lively in a couple of days.

She couldn't really say the same for Midnight though. She recalled that he was almost always asleep when she had seen him in the past. Something told her that his constant sleeping would be something that would always be there. Not that it bothered her though. She adored her boys. Weird quirks and all.

She stepped off the train and exited the busy station with practiced ease. She had been lucky and people had moved out of her way when they'd realized she was carrying not one, but two children on her person. It would seem that being a mother had it's advantages. Aside from the cute faces, that is. Once she was free from the bustling station, she made her way down the familiar streets that would lead her straight to the Fairy Tail Guild Hall.

She knew she was getting closer and closer to the guild when she started to hear the clear sounds of a guild wide party going on. She furrowed her brow in confusion, just what could they be celebrating? Surely they didn't know that she was bringing back two new members, Master had assured her that they wouldn't know a thing until she showed up. The only time they partied as hard as they seemed to be was when they won some sort of contest or when they got a new member. Maybe she wasn't the only one that was bringing in new members today?

She'd just have to hurry up and get to the guild so she could find out. She picked up her pace as much as she could without jostling the two children currently clinging to her back and torso. Within ten minutes, she was standing outside the guilds enormous doors. She felt Cobra stir behind her, no doubt he was woken up by the noise within the guild. Poor kid not only had sensitive slayer ears, but he could also hear all of their souls as well. She looked behind her and heard him groan at the amount of noise.

"I know it's loud but you'll get used to it. I'm going to open the door and whatever you do, do no let go of me. I don't need you getting dragged into whatever insanity is going on in there. Got it?", she asked with a firm look.

"Hold on tight, don't let go, and don't get dragged into random insanity. Got it.", the maroon haired boy smirked before tightening his grip on her shoulders.
Lucy nodded at the boy before tightening her arms around the sleeping Midnight. She knew that there would be no way that she was going to be able to get into the guild without being noticed. She mentally groaned when she realized that she was going to have to do the one thing that she had really hoped she wouldn't have to. No matter what she did, she was going to draw the entire guilds attention no matter what.

So why not make it a dramatic as hell entrance?

"Hold on tight, Cobra. I'm kicking the doors in.", she ordered before taking a small step back.

"You're going to what?!", Cobra cried. He wrapped his arms around the woman in a death grip before it was too late.

Lucy flew at the door, her leg raised high in the air. The moment her leg connected with the doors, she couldn't help the sharp bark of laughter the escaped her lips when the doors flew off their hinges and took out numerous dumbfounded guild members. She was usually the least destructive member in the guild, so seeing her kick the doors to the building straight off their hinges was rare and wholly terrifying.

"Where the hell is Master?!", Lucy asked as sweetly as she could. She felt Cobra tense behind her and felt Midnight do the same. She felt slightly guilty for accidentally waking him up but she had more important things to worry about. She would make it up to both kids later.

"There any reason you're carrying a couple of kids, Lucy?", a random guild member shouted from across the room.

"That's none of your business right now. Where is Master?", Lucy bit out.

"He's in his office, Miss Lucy. I apologize if these idiots startled those children.", a voice spoke up from behind her.

Lucy whipped around at the sound of the oddly familiar voice. She quietly apologized to Cobra when she heard him yelp in surprise. Her eyes widened when her doe eyes locked with somewhat familiar red eyes. She tightened her grip slightly around Midnight and looked at the man in front of her carefully.

"Rogue? From Sabertooth?", she asked with confusion.

"That is correct. It seems that Makarov has a lot to explain to you now that you're back.", Rogue confirmed with a small nod.

"It would seem that he does. I'll catch up with and the other's later. I really need to speak with Master about my boys.", Lucy explained.

When Rogue nodded in acceptance, she turned on her heel and sidestepped every member of the guild that got in her way. She ignored all of their questions when they tried to get her to explain just who the children were and why she had them attached to her body. She heard Cobra growl protectively when a couple of guild members strayed too close to her and couldn't help but smirk. Kid was only eight and was already insanely protective of the woman he saw as his mother.

After dodging member after member, she finally climbed the stairs to the second floor. She was relieved when nobody followed her up the stairs and made her way towards the Master's office.

"Going to explain why you've got the Poison brat on your back, Blondie?", Laxus barked from his seat as she passed him and his team.
Lucy tensed before turning on her heel, her eyes blazing with intense anger. She saw all three members of the Thunder Legion flinch at the dark aura that seemed to consume her at their leader's comment.

"If you ever refer to my son in such a disrespectful manner again I'll fucking end you.", she spat.

"S-son?!", she heard guild members throughout the hall shout in a confused manner.

Lucy ignored their questioning shouts and Laxus wisely kept his mouth shut, his gut telling him that she was deadly serious about her threat. Once she was certain that he wasn't going to say anything else, Lucy resumed her walk towards Makarov's office. She didn't even bother knocking before she entered the office, making sure to slam the door behind her for good measure.

"Ahh, Lucy. I see you have returned. I can only assume that Midnight is the one curled up in your arms and Cobra is the child shaking with anger on you back?", the tiny Guild Master asked with a grin.

"That would be correct. Laxus made a rude comment about Cobra and I don't blame him for being a little pissed. Plus I'm pretty sure that the guild knows who these two are now. I kind of told Laxus that if he repeated those words towards my son again that I'd destroy him,.", Lucy muttered in response. She set Midnight down on his feet before lowering herself so Cobra could climb off her back. Both boys instantly took her hands and stared at the tiny man in front of them with looks of confusion.

"You already view these boys as your own children?", Makarov asked, his voice laced with a small amount of surprise.

"I do. And both of them view me as their mother.", she confirmed with a nod.

"I see. Well, I'm sure that you've noticed that there are more than just our members gathered in the hall downstairs.", Makarov began, when he saw Lucy nod, he continued. "Well, the Magic Counsel has decided to disband Sabertooth and we have decided to offer their members a chance to join our guild. So far, Rogue, Sting, Rufus, and Orga have decided to stay. Their Exceeds obviously joined too."

"I assume their disbandment has something to do with their former guild Master?", Lucy inquired with a scowl. From what she knew about the Sabertooth master was that he had been a tyrant. Treating his members more like soldiers than actual people. From what she had heard, if a member failed a task he had given them, they were punished in cruel ways.

"You are correct. They will be treated no different than our own members but I doubt that that will be an issue with you at all.", Makarov agreed with a nod.

"True, the only person from that guild I have an issue with is that tyrants sadistic daughter.", she replied bitterly.

"What did his daughter do to you?", Cobra piped up, a small amount of anger lacing his tone.

"Nothing you need to worry about, child. Now, I suppose you two need your marks and need to be introduced to the guild, hmm?", the Master grinned before producing a magical stamp from one of the drawers in his desk.

"Pick where ever you like and whatever color you want, boys.", Lucy grinned, her mood instantly brightening at the fact that her boys were going to bare the same mark as her.

"Between my shoulder blades in purple.", Midnight said quietly before turning his back and lifting his shirt over his head. He felt the stamp press firmly against his back and replaced his shirt when he felt the stamp leave his skin.

"And you, young man?", Makarov asked as he turned to Cobra.

"Same place in red.", he grumbled before repeating his best friends actions and pulled his shirt over his head. He tensed when he felt the stamp press into his back and instantly relaxed the moment it was removed.

"Welcome to Fairy Tail, Cobra and Midnight. I will leave it to Lucy to explain the rules to you. If you have any issues with any of the guild members, please feel free to approach myself, Lucy, or the bartender, Mirajane, and we will handle the issues.", Makarov grinned at the two boys. He raised an eyebrow when they both just nodded firmly at him. He gave Lucy a strange look to which to responded with a small shrug.

"Now that that's settled, what do you say we go introduce you two to the rest of the guild, hmm?", Lucy asked sweetly. She grabbed hold of each boy's hands again and started to lead them out of the office and over to the balcony, Master Makarov not far behind.

The trio watched with amusement as the tiny man struggled to hoist himself up onto the balcony's railing, Cobra going so far as to snort at the short man's actions.

"Listen up, you brats! We have two new members of the guild that must be welcomed! You are to treat these two like any other members! Regardless of anything that has happened in the past! If I find out that any of you have treated these children rudely, there will be hell to pay!", Makarov shouted over the noise.

Every member stopped what they were doing the moment their guild Master started shouting.

"Who're the new members, gramps?!", Natsu shouted from the first floor.

"These are Lucy's adopted children, Cobra and Midnight.", the Master yelled out, completely ignoring Natsu's outraged screech at his announcement.

Lucy couldn't help but flinch when she heard the next words out of her former best friend's mouth.

"THE FUCK DOES SHE THINK SHE'S DOING BRINGING THOSE BASTARDS HERE?!"

The entire guild went silent at his enraged yell.

Nobody could register what was happening until a blur of yellow flashed by them and a Natsu sized hole was left in one of the guilds walls. Everyone backed as far away from the enraged form that was Lucy. Her deadly aura rolling off her in waves.

Up on the balcony, Cobra held tightly to his best friend as he silently cried at the pink haired man's words. His small body shaking with anger. He hadn't even seen his mother move until he saw the pink haired man flying across the guild hall and going through a wall.

"If any of you say even a single cruel word to my children, you'll be joining Natsu on the fucking pavement.", she spat.

She turned on her heel and returned to the second floor. She scooped the kids up into her arms and swiftly made her way out of the guild hall. Not once did she look back.
One person however, watched the entire scene unfold intently. While nobody was watching, he merged his body with the shadows and followed the angry blonde woman out of the guild.