We Are Young

24 Jun 2015
Part 1 of We Are Young

They’re teenagers, they’re young and they can worry about love and life.

A collection of character and relationship-centric, interrelated stories about some students of Fairy Gakuen.

Teen (13+)
Chapters: 23
Words: 377,513

We Are Young

Chapter 15


..aka “The Freed-zone”

Chapter Notes:

New record for longest chapter, anyone? So. Here it is. The Freed chapter! Which is Fraxus! You have been warned. I know that many people ship the Raijinshuu with the Strauss Siblings plus Cana, but I have a really soft spot for Fraxus. That, and I missed Tumblr Fraxus Week for this! I don’t think I have to say anything more when it comes to Freed and his loyalty for our Lightning Dragon Slayer. And this chapter is my take on their relationship. It’s really just my major AU headcanon, but blah. It worked. My beta liked it, I think. I like it too. Forgive me if Laxus may be OOC. I mean this is Laxus. He was the hardest character to get right so far. But I think I managed! So here ya go, everyone. Enjoy! 🙂

Track 15: Distance
..aka “The Freed-zone”

And I will make sure to keep my distance;
say” I love you “when you’re not listening.
How long can we keep this up?
— Christina Perri ft. Jason Mraz


That morning, Freed did not have time to brush his hair.When he sat up in bed, yawning, he immediately noticed the mess that was his bedroom. The usually pristine room had crumpled paper balls scattered everywhere. His gaze heading downwards, Freed saw that on the floor — fast asleep without a cushion or a blanket — was Laxus. The blonde guitarist was using Freed’s teddy bear (Rune-chan, he was named) as a pillow.

Freed rubbed his eyes. ‘Not awake enough for this’, he thought. ‘Definitely still dreaming.’ He lay back down on his bed, closed his eyes, counted to ten, and then opened them again. He sat up.

Laxus was still there.

Freed came to the next logical conclusion. He leaned down and reached out to shake his bandmate awake. He nudged Laxus’ shoulder very gently, just in case the guy decided to kick or punch in his sleep.

“Laxus?” Freed whispered. “Hey, wake up.”

Laxus grunted, annoyed, but opened one eye sleepily. “Hn…?”

“Why are you sleeping on the floor?” Freed asked.

Laxus really was still disoriented, so he simply groaned and then turned to his other side and resumed sleeping.

Freed sighed. He finally got up, walked around the sleeping guy and crouched down to wake him up again. “Laxus, do you want to move to the bed?”

An annoyed grunt.

“You’ll get backache if you keep sleeping in there. Let’s move you to the bed. Then you can sleep all you want. C’mon.”

Laxus grunted again, sleepily sitting up but still not opening his eyes. Freed struggled to help him up; Laxus was a heavy guy. The blonde slumped carelessly on the bed and resumed his sleep. Freed simply picked Rune-chan up from the floor, put the stuffed toy back on the bed, and draped his blankets over his bandmate’s sleeping form. He didn’t knowhow Laxus ended up on his bedroom floor, but he did know that the guy was tired and Freed wasn’t about to ruin the blonde’s rest.

Walking around the room lazily, Freed picked up the scattered pieces of crumpled papers. He unraveled one to reveal lines of chords and lyrics in Laxus’ messy handwriting.

‘Ah.’ he thought. ‘He was making a song.’

Freed then remembered everything. There had been a pizza party. Last night, Bixlow had barged in and randomly announced a pizza party. Bixlow had even managed to drag Evergreen from her flat just next door while Laxus came over to humor their drummer for once. At some point that night, Laxus brought out Freed’s acoustic guitar and they started an impromptu jam session. Bixlow and Evergreen then retreated to Ever’s flat because they suddenly remembered it was the season finale of their favorite TV series (Freed still didn’t understand how the two actually managed to have similar interests other than music). Laxus was left lazily playing guitar on Freed’s couch and after a while, the two decided to try and write a new song. It had been a while since they last did that, after all.

Freed didn’t remember going to bed and falling asleep, but he did remember that Laxus had been engrossed on what he was doing and had told him that it was going really well. The scattered papers were just Laxus’ usual by-products.

Freed looked around to look for the finished product. Laxus would usually put the paper somewhere…

He didn’t see anything around the room, so Freed simply decided to go ahead and make breakfast.

When he reached the kitchen, he noticed a battered piece of paper stuck on his fridge.

Freed rubbed his eyes before reading.

‘O Great Justine-sama’

The bassist couldn’t help but chuckle, smiling at his friend’s silliness. He read the rest.

’I can’t write lyrics for shit but I made up some sick riffs for the verse and chorus.
The bass line’s in there too. Check it out. We’ll just let B go crazy on the drums.
Still thinking if we should put in a keyboard part for E or just let her sing.
You can slap in some words on it if you want to. Just don’t be a drama king about it.
I’m borrowing Rune-chan.
— Laxus’

Freed chuckled again, shaking his head. For some reason, Laxus always used that teddy bear as a pillow.

The bassist quickly skimmed Laxus’ instrumental arrangement, trying to imagine the sound. The guitar riffs looked good, but there were definitely some adjustments he could make on the bass lines. He stuck the paper back on the fridge door and started preparing breakfast.

Halfway through making pancakes, Freed jumped at the sound of Laxus’ voice. “Bed hair.”

Freed blinked and turned to his companion. “L-Laxus! You’re up?”

The blonde yawned, then crossed his arms across his chest and leaned against the counter. “It smells too good.”

“Oh. Well then, it’ll be ready in a few.”

Another yawn. “Freed. Your hair.”

“W-W-What about my hair?”

Laxus did his best to stifle his laughter. “It looks like a bird’s nest.”

“What?!” Freed quickly let go of the pan and brought his hands to examine his hair. “Argh, I haven’t brushed my hair yet—” When Laxus erupted into full-on laughter, Freed blushed and looked at his companion accusingly. “Stop laughing!”

“But it looks funny.” Laxus said, this time chuckling. He knew how upset Freed got over his looks sometimes, so he thought he could be the good guy for once. After all, he was having free breakfast. “Want me to get the hairbrush?”

“Yes, please.”

Freed tried to concentrate on his cooking while Laxus went back to the bedroom to fetch the hairbrush. As soon as the blonde returned, Freed asked if Laxus could take over the pancakes for a few seconds while he brushed his hair. Laxus simply complied and let the bassist finish his morning rituals.

“What d’you think of the riffs?” the blonde asked, glancing at the paper he stuck on the fridge door.

Freed smiled. “They’re good. I’d have to adjust the bass lines, though. Make them more consistent.”

“Yeah. You planning to write lyrics for it?”

“Of course. Not today, though.”

“You doin’ something?” — because Laxus was pretty sure that it was a Sunday. That was why they had all agreed to Bixlow’s crazy pizza party the previous night. They all knew they had no plans for the next day.

“Eh, um… yes. I have… plans.”

Laxus blinked this time. “What plans?” he asked, stepping back and handing the pan back to Freed, who took over the cooking quickly.

“I’m… uh…” Freed started, uneasy. His cheeks had a tinge of pink as he spoke. “Going out with… someone… today. For lunch.”

“Oh.” was all Laxus said, leaning against the counter again as he watched his friend cook. “The same guy from last time?”


“How many months have you been seeing that guy again?”

“Two months, give or take.”

“He’s good, yeah?”

Freed took a minute to glance at his companion. Laxus was absentmindedly poking at the picture frame in the countertop. It held a photo of the Raijinshuu back in their high school graduation ceremony.

“Yes.” Freed said, turning his back to the blonde again and stacking up the last pancake onto a plate. “He’s been very nice to me.”

“You think this one’s gonna be better?” Laxus asked, finally putting the frame back in its proper place. The last one ended badly, as they all knew.

“It’s going well so far.”

“That’s… good.”

“It is.” Freed could tell that the blonde had nothing else to say. Laxus had never really been the talkative type, especially about things like relationships. Laxus could go on forever about his family problems, their friends, or music, but you could never count on him to talk about romance and feelings. That was just the kind of guy he was. Freed didn’t want to make his friend feel uncomfortable, so he simply said, “I’m almost done.”

Laxus seemed pleased to be given a job. “I’ll set the table.”


In a few minutes, they were peacefully eating breakfast in comfortable silence. Laxus finished first as always, and grabbed his note from the fridge door and continued to fuss over it. As he ate, Freed watched his companion make some adjustments on the arrangement while partially humming under his breath.

Freed cherished moments like these, when he could freely watch Laxus forget his worries and problems, just doing what he liked to do without a care in the world. Laxus was always getting into fights and had a dozen or so extra issues in his life, so it was rare to see him so laid back.

Laxus looked up at his companion. “You need me to adjust stuff for the bass?”

Freed simply shook his head. “I’ll wait to hear the lead riffs in action before changing anything.”

Laxus simply grunted, then picked up the pen and paper and headed for the couch again, grabbing the guitar resting nearby. “I’ll wash the dishes so just call me if you’re done in there.”

“Sure.” Freed said, returning to his meal.

After a while, just as the green-haired young man was finishing up his breakfast, Laxus asked again. “Freed?”


“Have ’ya told your ’rents yet?”

“Told them what?”

“That you like guys.”

Freed chewed his last bite slowly, giving himself enough time to answer his friend. Surprised by the lack of a usually immediate response, Laxus shifted to look at his friend curiously. He watched as Freed chewed carefully, and then swallowed. “No. They don’t know yet.”

Laxus nodded, watching his companion carefully. “So… that means your mom’s still bugging you about getting a girlfriend.”

“Actually, I just rejected her offer to set me up with those dating agencies last week.”

Laxus snorted. “Again?”

Freed nodded. “Again.” He looked at Laxus, who was staring at him. “Why are you asking, by the way?”

Laxus turned his back to his friend and started strumming lazily. “My precious little sister told me to get a girlfriend.”

Freed chuckled. “Erza did?” He never knew Erza was the type to say such things. She must have been pissed off or something.

“Well, I was being a precious big brother teasing her about her boyfriend, so I had that coming. Is that what they mean when they say she’s in a difficult age or something?”

“So why don’t you?”

“Why don’t I what?”

“Get a girlfriend?”

Laxus snorted. “You guys have been talking me into that for years now.”

“Why not?” Freed asked. “With your looks and your guitar, you can have almost any girl you want.”

“I’m perfectly fine by myself.” was all the blonde said. Before Freed could say anything, Laxus continued. “And don’t give me that ‘you’re 22 now’ crap.”

“Fine, I won’t.” said the green-haired young man. “But you really have to look for someone, Laxus.”

“Why?” the blonde asked, as if he just couldn’t understand. “I have enough problems as it is.”

“That’s even more of a reason to.” Freed said, bringing the dishes to the sink. He turned the faucet on and continued, “You’ll have someone who will understand you and help you cope with those problems.”

“But I already have you.” came the answer.

Freed let the water run freely down the drain, staring blankly at the plates he was supposed to be washing. The answer was fast — automatic, even. Laxus could be really rude and a jerk, but he was also brutally honest. For him to answer so automatically, that only meant that it was a question he would always be ready to answer.

Laxus continued, “You and Ever and Bix bear with my shit. I think three people are more than enough. Don’t have a chick, but I have a band.”

Freed smiled lightly, finally picking up the first plate to start washing. Of course — him and Evergreen and Bixlow. ’Of course, Freed. What are you thinking? You’d think that someone who managed to make and eat breakfast would be awake enough…’

“Oi, Freed.”

“Yeah.” he answered quickly, to reassure his friend that he was still listening. “You’re right. You do have us.”

“…Why are you washing the dishes? I told you I’d do that.”

“It’s fine, I’ll do it.”

“You cooked.” Laxus put down the guitar and stood up. “I’ll do that. You go get ready for your date.”

“It’s not until noon—”

“Well then you go get ready to get ready for your date. You take forever, y’know. Have to start early.”

Freed watched helplessly as the other guy nudged him aside and started taking over the chore. The bassist was about to clean up the table as well, but Laxus beat him to it.

“I’ll take care of the table too.”

“Geez, can’t I do anything on my own house?”

“You just go prettify yourself.”

‘Prettify’, really?”

“Was trying to sound fun.” Laxus mumbled.

Freed simply chuckled and then shook his head, heading for the bedroom. “I’ll go take a bath, then.”

Laxus was still humming as he washed the dishes.

Freed came from a very traditional and wealthy family. He couldn’t exactly say that they were as rich as the Heartfilias, who were business tycoons, but they were rich enough to be one of the widely-known families in Magnolia. Both Freed’s parents were politicians. His siblings were doctors, lawyers and engineers. His friends always knew that Freed had a family name, reputation and tradition to live up to. That was why Freed was the very picture of order and responsibility.His sexual orientation was a well-kept secret between very few people. Freed, being one of the younger children in a large, wealthy and busy family, found it easy to hide things from his parents and siblings. He was still young and he avoided public appearances too, so he didn’t catch that much attention from the public.Naturally, Laxus, Evergreen and Bixlow knew. Mirajane knew — in fact, the two months that Freed had dated her was simply to get his mother off his back for a while. It was Mira’s idea. He owed the silver-haired barmaid very much. Elfman knew — Evergreen told her boyfriend with Freed’s permission. Makarov and Erza knew — the Raijinshuu were practically considered part of the Dreyar family, after all. Perhaps Erza’s friends — Natsu, Gray, Cana, Levy and Lucy — knew as well — but they were good kids and Freed trusted them enough to know that they would understand. Gildarts knew — he was an honest secret-keeper and confidante when it mattered, especially if it involved the students.

Freed could still remember how he’d spilled the beans to Laxus, Ever and Bixlow. It was a quiet afternoon with the band hanging out in Laxus’ room. Bixlow had yet another one of his silly ideas and brought out a deck of Icebreaker cards.

‘Who was your first crush?’

Evegreen and Laxus quickly backed out at the question. Bixlow, of course, showed them a picture of a magical girl from an anime they used to watch as children. Freed decided that it was the right time to come clean and answered the question truthfully, because he had wanted to share the truth with someone for years.

They all looked at him.

“A guy?”

He nodded.


Another nod.

“So… uh…-?”

Fifteen and sporting a bright red blush in his face, Freed had said, “Please don’t freak out. Please don’t hate me. I’ll go away if you want but please don’t hate me.”

He risked a glance up and to his surprise, his friends were simply looking at him with confused expressions.

Freed tried, “…So?”

Evergreen was the first to react. “I knew.” she said, looking away and crossing her arms across her chest. “I… uh, just knew. There were signs.”

“There were?” Laxus and Bixlow asked her at the same time, then looked at Freed, who was still gaping at the brunette’s very simple and straightforward reaction.

“Yes. There were.” Evergreen said firmly.

“Well, I knew too!” Bixlow declared as well, crossing his arms across his chest as well and mimicking Ever’s huff.

“How?” Evergreen and Laxus both asked, skeptic.

The drummer pouted stubbornly. “I have a gaydar!”

They all narrowed their eyes at him.

Bix sighed. “…Fine, I didn’t know.”

Freed shook his head, then turned to look at Laxus nervously. The blonde stared back and then averted his gaze.

The green-haired teen sighed and looked down at his lap. So Laxus didn’t want to be friends with him anymore.

He missed Evergreen and Bixlow glaring pointedly at Laxus, practically daring him to say anything that would hurt their bassist.

Laxus simply scratched his head. “Yeah, okay. Now we know. You like dudes.”

“I…” Freed started, voice trembling. “I’ve never told anyone else before and… And I might make you guys… uncomfortable. So… if you want me to… keep my distance or something, I… I’ll do it—”

To everyone’s surprise, it was Laxus who interrupted him. “Bullshit. Why the hell would you go away?”

“Yeah, nothing’s supposed to change!” Bixlow insisted.

Evergreen kept silent. She knew where Freed was coming from.

“You say that now, but… but I’ve always seen you guys react negatively to… to people like me. That’s why I couldn’t tell you sooner even though I wanted to share it, because I was afraid that you guys would—”

“What d’you mean react negatively?” Laxus asked, raising an eyebrow.

Evergreen took the liberty of explaining. “You see something that doesn’t live up to your standards of manliness and call it ‘gay’. You use the term very negatively.”

Laxus and Bixlow fell silent.

The only girl in the room continued. “You use other words, too. And don’t get me started on all the other shit you guys talk about homosexual people. When you’re not reacting violently, you’re laughing, making fun of them, and that’s not just rude, it’s disrespectful and degrading — and that’s what Freed has been going through.”

‘Brutally honest’ was a phrase applicable to all four of them.

An awkward silence filled the room. Freed was looking down and so were the other two boys, who were looking away gingerly as Evergreen stared at them with a frown on her face.

Freed sighed. He was lucky enough that there had been no violent reactions on the spot, but that was just the first hurdle. The real fight, he knew, would be to get them to eventually accept him.

“Look, I know you guys don’t—”

Bixlow quickly cut him off. “I was a jerk.”

It surprised them to hear Laxus back their drummer up. “Me too.”

“We were… uh… stupid.” Bixlow continued, clearly trying very hard to keep going.

“Stupid.” Laxus repeated.

Freed looked up at the other two young men. They were looking down at their laps, frowning and looking very disappointed with themselves.

Bixlow spoke again. “And we were mean.”

Laxus nodded. “…Mean.”

“We were stupid and mean and we were discriminating.”


“We’re sorry, we didn’t know we gave you a hard time. We’ll never do those mean and stupid things again. We didn’t know stuff. We never bothered to know or understand stuff before but now we’re seeing that we were judgmental and… and stuff.”

“Yeah.” Laxus said, glancing at Bixlow before nodding to himself. “That.”

Bixlow looked at their leader. “Why didn’t you repeat that?”

“It was too long.”

“So yeah. Um… We’ll try to… uh… cope. Adjust, y’know. It’s not really… there’s nothing to adjust to, really. Just… we’ll try not to offend ’ya. We were… mean.”

“He’s repeating himself but… yeah. Sorry if we made you feel like shit but nothing should change, yeah? Not that you’re different now.”

“Yeah, you’re still you.”

They both sounded really awkward, but at the same time, they were trying hard to tell Freed that they were honest. Both boys looked at their friend, only to see the green-haired bassist already crying his eyes out. Evergreen simply sighed, while Bixlow and Laxus panicked.

“Shit, what’s wrong with you?!”

“Don’t cry, man!”

“Stop being so ga—”

“Don’t finish that!”


“Just hand him the tissues, okay?!”

Freed was handed the tissues. He accepted them with a shaky ‘thanks’ and they awkwardly watched as he tried to regain his composure. When Freed had finally stopped crying, Evergreen decided to take matters in her own hands. Laxus and Bixlow had tried their best and it was indeed very sweet of them, but they sucked at reassuring a friend who had just came out to them. God knows how hard that had been for Freed. Laxus and Bixlow made it better, but not that much.

“Hear that, Freed?” the brunette said with a small sincere smile. “It doesn’t matter to us. We’re still your band.”

Freed was still sniffing, holding the tissue box. “Thanks… Really. Thank you so much… I really thought… you’d be angry and disgusted at me—”

“NO! We’re not, really not, never!” Laxus and Bixlow took turns in saying every variant of ‘No’ that they could think of.

Ever ignored them and simply asked, “So… it’s really just us? We’re the only ones who know?”

“I don’t know what mom and dad would do if they knew…”

“You can always count on us if you need anything.” — at that, Bixlow and Laxus nodded as well. Obedient kids who were willing to follow what their seniors say, only Evergreen wasn’t really their ‘senior’. “You did well, sharing that. Don’t worry about us — you’re the one struggling here, for all we know.”

“We got your back.” Laxus said.

Bixlow patted his friend’s back and said cheerfully, “And why say ‘that’s so gay’ when we can just say ‘that’s so Freed’, right?”

Three glares.

Bixlow got a tissue box to his face and he only groaned pitifully. “But knowing more than 7 colors is so Freed—”

Freed said, “Hit him for me.”


As soon as Laxus had put down the said guitar, Bixlow spoke up again.

“So right now, do you have a secret boyfriend?”

He should have asked after Laxus had really put the guitar away. Damn, that hurt.

Two hours before ‘the date’, Freed stood in front of Laxus — who was still in his flat working on music, strangely enough. The green-haired young man adjusted his coat and said, “Do I look okay?”The answer was quick — “You look perfect in every way possible on every universe that exists.”“Wow, it’s very kind of you to say that.” Freed replied cheerfully, then continued, “Now may I bother you to actually LOOK AT ME?”

Laxus looked up from his arrangement and looked at his friend quickly, then returned to fiddling with his guitar and scribbling some tabs on a piece of paper he had undoubtedly stolen from Freed’s stash.

He simply said, “Nice hair.”

The other man started to panic. “Is something wrong with my hair?”

The blonde corrected himself. “No. Nothing. You look drop-dead gorgeous as always, Freed.”

Freed sighed, exasperated, knowing that Laxus was humoring him to make him go away. “Laxuuuuusssss—”

“You look normal, okay? Drop-dead gorgeous is normal for you. You’re also very… sparkly.”

“Oh no — do I really look that sparkly? Is it the coat?”

“Nothing wrong with sparkly. Nothing wrong with the coat.”

“Maybe I should change—”

Laxus groaned. “NO FOR FUCK’S SAKE — don’t go back in there and switch clothes like a woman on the freakin’ department store.”


“He’ll like you! Everyone likes you — I like you — I mean, who wouldn’t like you? So calm your manly tits and just go get ’im or you’ll be running late. Do you always do this before going out?”

“Normally I ask Ever, but you’re here, so…” Freed simply shook his head in defeat. “Well, I’m leaving. How about you? You’ll be alone in here.”

“Take the keys, I’ll just go away when I finish this.”


“Yeah, I’ll lock the door.”

Freed had nothing more to say to that. He simply took his things, looked at his blonde friend one last time and left.

Freed decided to drop by the flower shop, only to see Levy, Jet and Droy hanging out together in the store. They greeted him cheerfully as he asked Droy’s mother for a simple bouquet.Freed simply smiled at the teens and chatted with them a bit as the flowers were being prepared. The bassist asked them about their plans for college. The three blurted out very different choices: Levy was applying for a university course in literature, Jet was looking into colleges with a scholarship program for athletes, while Droy shyly said that he wanted to study more on botany to carry on the family business. He saw both the excitement and nervousness in all three high school students. He remembered how the Raijinshuu had also struggled to come to terms with their high school graduation just a few years back.Freed had been torn between taking law and studying classic literature. In the end, he took law. Bixlow’s choices were art and computer science. The latter won. Evergreen was determined to study agriculture, while Laxus had decided to go for electrical engineering. Whether they had one choice or two, the challenge had been getting admitted to a college or a university. Thankfully all three of them were able to pull all the stops and they all got into the same university.

Freed shared a bit about their group study sessions before the entrance exams while the teens listened intently, determined to catch some tips. When they mentioned the upcoming mock exams, Freed offered to lend them his old reviewers. Levy very happily accepted the offer and told him that she would tell Erza, Lucy and the others as well.

The flowers were finished and the bassist had to bid goodbye to the trio. He wished them good luck and they thanked him for dropping by.

He headed to The Strauss’. He had set off from the flat extra early just for this little visit. He wanted to talk to a certain silver-haired barmaid for a bit.

The bar and cafe was a busy place on that Sunday. The first one to greet him was Kinana, ever cheerful and polite. He saw some familiar faces around: Cana was serving customers, Elfman was cleaning up some tables here and there, some patrons were present in the tables, and Lucy (to Freed’s surprise) was helping Mirajane at the bar, looking like a complete newbie but holding up relatively well. Mira was busy instructing the blonde on her task when Freed sat by a stool on the bar.“Freed!” the barmaid said, gracing him her immaculately angelic smile. Lucy looked up and nodded at him before focusing back on her work.“You guys look busy.” Freed smiled back and then offered the bouquet. “Here, these are for you.”

“Oh, you shouldn’t have!” Mira said, accepting the flowers gratefully and then leaning out to give him a swift kiss on the cheek. “These are really beautiful. Thank you, honey… Really, though… do you have to bring flowers every time you visit?”

“Well, they look good on the bar top.” Freed shrugged, watching as Mira grabbed a spare vase, quickly filled it with water and set the bouquet in it. It was done pretty hastily (Evergreen would have screamed if she had seen it), but he understood that Mira was busy. “Really pretty busy, huh?”

“Yes, it’s almost lunchtime, so people will be streaming in.” Mira said, taking a break to talk to him for a while. “You’re dressed up quite dashingly. Got a date?”

“Y-Yeah, you could say that…”

“Who is he? Is he still the same guy? From last time you dropped by?”

“Yes, the same guy. I actually came here to chat a little, but I guess I’ll be bothering you too much.”

“I can spare a few minutes!” Mira insisted. Then, she noticed the young man’s expression. Freed’s smile was quite subdued. “You don’t look so enthusiastic about this, Freed.”

The young man chuckled, looking down a bit. “Yes, well… that’s true.” Mira raised an eyebrow. “I just… don’t feel too good about this anymore.”

“Oh my.” Mira frowned. “Why is that? It’s been going well, right? You told me he’s nice, polite…”

“Yes, but…”

Mira quickly came to a conclusion: “But he’s not Laxus?”

Freed gaped, “Mira!” — he quickly looked at Lucy, but the blonde simply winked. Freed sighed, looking pointedly at the barmaid. Mira was smiling at him innocently. “No, it’s not because he’s not Laxus.”

“How is he, by the way?”

“Doing fine. I left him in my flat just a while ago. He slept over last night after Bix threw out a pizza party.”

Mira was delighted. “See, he likes you well enough to sleep over!”

“He’s been sleeping over since ages ago.” Freed sighed again. “C’mon, this is not about him.”

“I had to try…” Mira shrugged. “So… this guy you’re seeing. Really no sparks? Even after 2 months?”

“None.” Freed said. “He’s all nice and polite, and we can have interesting conversations…”

“Oh, please. We have interesting conversations, dear.”

“I know, and well… we have lunch and we go to places together.”

“You can go with anyone to places.”

“It’s just… nothing’s changed since we first started going out… two months ago. Scratch that, it’s been 2 months and 3 weeks, so better count that as three months, right?”

“Aww…” Mira frowned deeper. “So… you’re going nowhere?”

“Yes. We’re going nowhere.”

“Maybe he’s just shy? You should take initiative!”

“I do! I ask him out, I ask him where he wants to go or what he wants to do, hell I even… even…”


Freed looked down, blushing. “Even invited him if he would like to come over the flat…”

In his peripheral vision, he noted Lucy inching closer. Mira leaned forward and lowered her voice. “And..?”

“And he came over, complete with flowers and sweets…”


“We talked some more and had tea and it was just like we were having lunch out except we were having snacks in my flat.”


“And nothing.”

Mira leaned back and sighed, disappointed. “Not even a kiss? Or… cuddly stuff? You’ve been talking since… since so long ago, right? So… there was more talking? And just more talking?”

“Yes. I think I… I bore him..”

The barmaid groaned. “So… that’s it, huh?”

“That’s it. That’s the story. I don’t know, Mira. It’s like just having a new friend.”

“So he’s just… friend material.”

“Yes, I think so…” Freed sighed, staring at the empty bar top. “What do I do?”

“Maybe you should ask him if he likes you.” the barmaid said, too bluntly for Freed’s taste. Mira sugarcoated things most of the time, but she also knew when to get straight to the point.

“Yeah, sure.” the bassist rolled his eyes.

“I’m serious. Ask him if he likes you… that way. And you know what way I’m talking about.”


The barmaid clapped her hands together cheerfully. “And while at it, ask Laxus too!”

“Mira!” Freed groaned, basically pleading. “Please just stop…”

She crossed her arms across her chest. “Oh, stop it. You’re being a hopeless schmuck. You’re one of the best guys out there for guys and girls alike and I can’t imagine anyone thinking you shouldn’t be fancied.”

The young man shook his head. Mira was just being her unbearably kind self as usual.

Just then, a group of teenagers approached the bar and Mira welcomed them cheerfully. Freed started to fix his coat while the barmaid looked at him with an encouraging smile. “Go get him out there. Think positive! Maybe something will finally happen!”

Freed gave her a smile back, shrugging. “Well, here goes nothing…”

Both Mirajane and Lucy wished him luck as he left. As the door closed beside him, Lucy looked at Mirajane curiously. “So… sparks.”

“Sparks.” Mira nodded. “What about sparks?”

“What about you? For him?”

Mira giggled, looking at Lucy with an amused smile. “We had our moments, right?”

Lucy only blinked, before nodding fervently.

The barmaid sighed. “But moments are just moments. And you know how I am… If it’s love, I won’t get in the way of it.”

“You say that now…”

“Oh, I’ve been saying it since ages ago.”

Lucy insisted. “Kidding aside, Mira. You and Freed!”

“The flowers are very sweet of him.” Mira admitted, looking at the bouquet that was hastily put in the vase and catching it just in time before it toppled over. “But that’s how he is. And this is how I am. You should know better than anyone that boys and girls can be friends and can stay friends. After all, you insist on that everytime we tease you with Natsu.”

Lucy pouted. “Yeah, well… because it’s true.”

Mira winked, before going back to rearranging the bouquet on the vase. “There you have it.”

“But still… Laxus? After all those years?”

This time Mira smiled a simple, wistful smile. “We can’t do anything about that, can’t we?”

Maybe… just maybe, it would work out. Mira knew there wasn’t a happy ending to everything, but she still hoped for the best.

That night, Freed went home to find his flat empty. Laxus had left — there was a note saying so stuck on the fridge, alongside what looked like the final arrangement of the song that the blonde had been working on. There were still no lyrics. It looked like Laxus had decided to fully leave that task to his green-haired bandmate.Putting down his things, taking off his coat, and promptly slumping down on the couch, Freed looked around. His room was clean — Laxus must have cleaned up the crumpled papers. The guitar was in its proper place. Laxus’ spiked headphones were on the coffee table.Freed paused.

Laxus’ headphones were on his coffee table.

He sighed, picked the item up and stared down at it as he held it in his hands. After a few moments, Freed put the headphones around his neck, plugged it into his own mp3 player, turned the volume up, hit the play button and then sat back, sighing and closing his eyes, listening to the music. The headphones were only draped around his neck, but with the volume cranked up, the music was more than loud enough for him. Laxus always listened to his music on max volume. Freed was just the same. That was how they had become friends.

Laxus, even in high school, had a reputation. He was a known delinquent. He had a scar on his ruggedly handsome face, his mouth was always set into a scowl or a frown if he wasn’t sneering arrogantly, and he always had those spiked headphones on his shoulders. He never complied with the school’s rules, always skipped class, got into fights and had temper tantrums, but he still had good grades. Everyone thought it was just principal Makarov favoring his one and only grandson. As such, before Raijinshuu, Laxus really was a loner.Freed was just the same. He was responsible, diligent and smart, but also silent and withdrawn. He was the model student who didn’t really like other students very much. Being Ever’s constant company didn’t help, either — as Evergreen was also aloof and clammed up.The start of their friendship was abrupt. Freed and Evergreen were in the library, studying diligently, making reviewers for the upcoming exams, when Laxus practically barged inside. He was lucky that when he did, the librarian was out somewhere. Some students had looked up at him curiously and there were some who didn’t even care.

Outside the door, in the FairyGaku hallways, a high-pitched, familiar voice was shouting loudly enough for the whole school to hear, “LAXUS MOTHERFUCKING DREYAR, SHOW YOURSELF! FACE ME, YOU FRIGGIN’ COWARD!”

It was one of Mira’s and Laxus’ typical bouts.

Evergreen and Freed both yelped as the blonde student practically dived under their table. Evergreen was quick to draw her legs together and grip her skirt tightly in her seat while Freed looked at the blonde, scandalized.

“Please get out of there.” Freed said, trying to keep his voice even. He didn’t know how to deal with the school’s star delinquent.

“No, Freed, let’s just get out of here.” Evergreen declared, starting to hurriedly gather her things.

“I swear m’not here to look at your panties or whatever, just let me hide!” Laxus hissed. “Not in the mood for Mira’s bullshit right now.”

Evergreen only bit her lip and looked at her friend. Freed looked down at Laxus.

The blonde looked back up at him. “Won’t do anything fishy. Really. Just have to take a break ’cause that bitch is crazy. Sprained my ankle last time and it’s still healing.”

Outside, they heard another loud yell of “COME OUT AND STOP BEING A WUSS, DREYAR!”

Freed sighed. “Just… please don’t disturb us.”

“I’ll be good.” Laxus said simply. “She’ll go away eventually, y’know. I’ll be gone by then, too.”

Evergreen spoke up again. “Seriously?”

Freed shrugged at the brunette, who simply moved to the other side of the table. Laxus was left sitting under the table, leaning against one of the furniture’s legs, just beside Freed’s knees.

After a few more minutes of Mirajane’s shouting, they all heard a teacher yelling back. Mirajane cursed and from the sound of hurried footsteps fading, they all assumed that the school’s resident yankee had withdrawn.

“She’s gone now.” Freed said absently, not even taking his eyes off this work. Laxus, quite a tall and muscled young man even then, looked very awkward hiding under the table, but the blonde seemed perfectly comfortable as he looked up at Freed and patted the other student’s knee in dismissal.

“I owe you one.” he grunted out.

“Please don’t mention it.” was Freed’s automatic reply. He meant it. He didn’t want to be involved with such a delinquent.

When Laxus made no move to stand, Freed and Evergreen both looked down at him in curiosity. Laxus was engrossed on his mp3 player, probably picking out a song. Then, finally pressing the ‘play’ button, he put the player back in his pocket and was about to put his headphones on when he noticed them staring at him with narrowed eyes.

“Why are you still there?” Evergreen asked.

“It’s a nice place.” was the very simple reply. “Very quiet.” Before the two could retort, Laxus had his headphones on, blocking them out.

Evergreen groaned, looking at Freed and gesturing him to ‘Do something about this!’

Freed only shrugged. ‘You try.’ The truth was that they were afraid that the delinquent would use violence on them.

The brunette shook her head, adjusted her glasses, and then went back to work. All the while, Freed tried to concentrate a much as he could with a dangerous delinquent sitting under the table listening to his headphones that blasted rock music as if they were speakers. A few minutes later, Freed picked up the familiar stifled sound coming from the blonde’s headphones. He listened for a few more seconds — it was hard to pick it up, but Laxus’s headphones were loud enough for the green-haired student to recognize his favorite band’s first hit single. Freed waited for a few more minutes. Two more songs from the same band.

Evergreen watched with wide eyes as Freed gingerly poked Laxus’ shoulder and the blonde, annoyed, put down his headphones to listen to the other student.

“What do you want?”

“Do you… um… like that band?”

Laxus blinked. “Ya kiddin’ me? They’re fucking awesome, though I guess rich pretty boys like you would like… what, Mozart?”

Freed couldn’t help but smirk. “Mozart can suck it. That band’s actually my favorite.”

A pause. “Now, you’re really kiddin’ me. Not a single shitty soul here in town who like ’em, says the music is too trashy—”

“But I do. Nobody appreciates their bass, but it’s actually one of the best out there, and the lead—”

“The lead parts are friggin’ made in heaven—”

“I know, and that drum solo in—”

“Fuck those drum solos, they should make a track that’s just pure drum solo—”


“Seriously, man.”

Evergreen breathed deeply and just tried her best to take it all in. It all got harder when Laxus actually stood up and sat on the chair next to Freed as they continued to talk about a band that the brunette never even knew existed.

“Did you hear their new album yet?”

“Nah, got no money to buy it, tried listenin’ to it for free at the store but they just wanna kick me out everytime. The radio stations play it, though, but like, once a day. And just that one song. Nobody fucking appreciates good music—”

“I can lend you my copy… if you swear to take care of it.”

“No, shit. ’Ya serious?”

“Just promise you’ll—”

“I’d never harm a holy object—”

Just then, the library doors opened and a furious silver-haired student walked in, followed by her own gang of delinquents. She quickly spotted her blonde nemesis. “Dreyar, you fucking try hiding from me under your girlfriend’s skirt again…”

“Wow. Rude, Mira. Very rude. He’s a guy.” Laxus said, standing up slowly. He limped slightly, Freed noted. He wasn’t lying about the sprain.

Mirajane scoffed. “You do boys now?”

Laxus shrugged arrogantly. “Way better than you do.”

“You son of a—”

Laxus leaned down shortly to whisper to Freed, “I’ll see ’ya around.” before dashing towards the nearest window and making a quick escape. Mirajane ran after him.

Freed had nothing to answer when Evergreen raised an eyebrow at him.

“Are you serious?” the brunette asked.

“Not like he’s doing anything… wrong.”


Freed sighed. “Yet.”

The rest was history.

Three tracks in, Freed heard knocking on his door. He didn’t take the headphones off his shoulders as he stood up, patted down his shirt and headed to answer to his guest.Freed opened the door and was greeted by the sight of Evergreen, with Elfman standing behind her carrying a steaming tray of a very delicious-looking pie. It looked fresh out of the oven.“Hey—”

“I baked!” Evergreen said proudly.

Freed nodded slowly. “I can see that.”

The brunette looked at him with an expectant smile ’Say something else, honey…’

“Wow. Why?” Freed said, with a small smile this time.

“I don’t know why, too. We felt like cooking together!” Evergreen answered, still confident. Behind her, Elfman shrugged helplessly. “Let’s eat it!”

Freed chuckled. Evergreen was in a rarely good mood. “Alright, just… let me finish up some things here and I’ll come over.”

Evergreen shook her head frantically. “No, no, I mean, let’s eat it here at your place! You shouldn’t be all home alone in this pleasant Sunday night—”

“Okay, what happened?” Freed asked quickly, to which Evergreen was caught off guard and she answered automatically.

“My place is a mess.” she said.


She smiled guiltily. “Uh…”

Freed stared at her, then turned his gaze towards Elfman.

Elfman didn’t give that much of a fight. “We made like… ten pies before getting it right and now the oven smells.”

Freed simply rolled his eyes before letting them in. “This pie better taste good or it’ll shame the ten other ones before it.”

“This one is good, I promise.” Evergreen said, letting herself in. Elfman immediately followed, heading straight for the dining table to put down the steaming plate. He still had Evergreen’s very manly flower-patterned oven mitts on, so as soon as his hands were free he instantly took them off.

Freed walked towards the kitchen to get plates and utensils. Evergreen helped set up the table as Elfman went back to his girlfriend’s apartment to do a quick double-check on things. They weren’t exactly sure that they hadn’t left the stove on…

Evergreen took note of the headphones around her friend’s shoulders and looked around. “Is Laxus still here?”

“He left earlier.”

“Without his headphones?”


“Taking advantage of that, huh.”

Freed shook his head, self-consciously adjusting the headphones on his shoulders. “No, it’s just that they were there on the couch already and I’m too lazy to take out my own…”

Evergreen accepted the answer easily. She nodded as Elfman went back in and closed the door behind him. “You had a date today, right? How was it?”

“It went well.” Freed answered simply as the three of them finally sat down and began to eat.

“You say that every time.” the vocalist said.

“Isn’t that good?” Elfman tried reasoning out, sensing that his girlfriend was about to go on a rant. “It’s going well, so it’s good.”

Freed gave him a discreet grateful look, but Evergreen still held out. “Yes it’s good, but it could be better.”

“Don’t start now…” Freed pleaded.

She kept asking, though — “You’re being boring! Anything new?”

“Ever, you’re going to ruin the pie.” Elfman tried.

Freed backed him up. “And the pie is delicious, so let’s all just be happy.”

The brunette rolled her eyes and pouted. “It’s unfair, you two ganging up on me.”

They all ate in silence after that, until Elfman started to talk about college. Freed and Evergreen quickly picked up on the subject as they were all on the same page about the famous topics in their university. The new buildings, changes in policies, some stray rumors in the different departments… the topic never returned to Freed’s date.

That night, Evergreen and Elfman helped their kind host clean up before they left to go back to the brunette’s apartment and clean their own mess.

Freed left the headphones on his bedside table as he changed his clothes and prepared for bed. He replied to Laxus’ text about the item, saying that he would just bring it with him so he could give it back the next time they met up.

Elfman dropped by Freed’s to quickly say ‘bye and thanks’ before he went home.

Finally, that night, Freed sighed as he lay in his bed, under the confines of his sheets, loosely hugging Rune-chan and trying to fall asleep.

He grunted when he realized that Rune-chan smelled strange. Freed shook his head as he realized that the stuffed animal, the pillow and the blankets smelled faintly of who must certainly be Laxus, after the blonde slept on them last night and the morning after. Freed cursed whatever brand of cologne or perfume or shampoo that Laxus used. Dammit, the smell was strange and familiar and why did it have to stick to his teddy bear? It made Freed think of unnecessary things.

He’d always kept his feelings buried — their friendship was too important to ruin like that, and Laxus had a dozen more issues about himself and his family to deal with. What little of Freed’s feelings that he letout simply got mistaken as a strong bond of trust and friendship. In high school, everyone knew that Raijinshuu was faithful to its leader. It was probably out of their fear of Laxus’ violent streak, they all said. It was different with Freed. Laxus was his second real friend, next to Evergreen.

Freed’s friendship with Laxus had been harder and rougher than his friendship with Evergreen. Ever was a silent but awkward girl with no friends, she needed Freed to be her foil most of the time, and she followed what he said in the end. Then came Laxus, and Freed knew that he couldn’t boss the other guy around. They also had so many differences that it still surprised them both how they got around accepting those. Laxus had temper tantrums and a million problems up his sleeve. While Freed solved most of Ever’s problems for her, he couldn’t do that for Laxus. He just watched and waited, occasionally cheering on the sidelines.

Freed had learned how to actually ‘follow’ someone. Where Laxus went, Freed and Evergreen followed. They were outstanding students letting a known delinquent lead them and they knew why. Laxus never took them anywhere without them knowing. He always told them first, as if he didn’t want them involved in whatever shit he was getting himself into. Funny, that was exactly why they followed anyway. Laxus never said out loud that he wanted them with him, but he always made them feel important whenever they stood by him. Freed had a chance to be treated normally for once. Laxus didn’t care about who he was, what he was supposed to do, and about how different they were. Where Evergreen had her reservations and still had set certain standards on how she and Freed worked, Laxus didn’t hold anything back. Laxus just let everything flow naturally.

Bixlow came a little later, and it was a different sort of relationship again. Freed always felt like he had to take care of the drummer. Bixlow was childish and easily distracted, and Freed somehow ended up with another Evergreen again. Someone to straighten out and watch over.

And Laxus? He was still that one guy with problems bigger than anything Freed ever handled for Ever and Bix. But he always told them that he had it covered, and they would just watch him deal with it.

When Freed came out to his friends and Laxus accepted him anyway, that was when Freed knew that he would never ever be able to tell Laxus his real feelings. Laxus was too important a person for Freed to lose.

Freed lied to Evergreen. The date didn’t go well. Everything was normal, but Freed knew that his date was acting distantly. They talked, ate their lunch, sipped their tea and talked some more as they walked around the mall, but Freed felt farther from the guy than usual. It all ended well, too — they said their goodbyes, a chaste but discreet kiss on the cheek because it seemed proper for two people who had been dating for 3 months, and then they took their separate ways.

Freed spent the rest of the afternoon walking around town. He dropped by the toy store to check on Bixlow. They talked a bit. Bixlow couldn’t focus much on the bassist as he was busy sorting out the shop’s new arrivals. Instead, Freed listened to his friend rant about the toys in the shop. Bix hated the dolls with the skimpy clothing and he preferred the baby Disney princesses, he wanted the superhero and magical girl action figures in their display shelves, and he was wondering why no one was buying the winged cat stuffed toys yet. Freed had to admit that the winged cats were cute. He would have bought one if he liked those sorts of things.

When Bixlow got too busy, Freed went back to The Strauss’. Mira was still focused on teaching Lucy, but Freed found Gildarts sitting alone in the bar. They talked a bit about college admissions and how Freed and his friends were doing. Gildarts was concerned about Cana’s plans after high school and Freed listened to him. It helped Freed take his mind off of things when he listened to others.

Maybe that was why Mira made herself into everyone’s counselor after what happened with Lisanna. It was comforting in a way. People forgot their own problems when they listened to other people’s.

This was one of the things that Laxus gave Freed, too. More friends. A second family. If Freed hadn’t met his band, he wouldn’t know the Strauss siblings, Gildarts would still be a passing acquaintance, Erza and her friends would just be some familiar faces with no names, and Principal Makarov would just be the school’s principal and not the supportive father figure who Freed knew cared genuinely for him and offered advice when needed.

Freed breathed deeply, burrowing his face against the teddy bear again. His thoughts always started and ended with Laxus these days. It was probably because it just so happened that the blonde was around him too much the past few weeks. Their university schedules had been kind to all band members and they had time to practice a lot. Outside practice, there was that time when Laxus brought him breakfast, and Bixlow always managed to drag them with him to various places. Not to mention, Bixlow just randomly decided on that pizza party the previous night…

Freed grunted again. He had long accepted that Laxus would always be one of his closest friends and he had learned to numb himself from the pain that that was really all there would ever be between them. He was sure that he was comfortable staying wherever he was.

But these days, he found himself, yet again, hoping.

He simply tried to sleep. It was just Mira’s words earlier that day that had gotten him thinking crazy thoughts, he was sure. Freed shrugged it all off and closed his eyes. He hoped he was tired enough to fall asleep even with all the thoughts on his head.

The following week was hectic.Freed had a day full of lecture subjects on Monday. The band never got together on Mondays — their schedules wouldn’t allow it, but Laxus found time to drop by one of his classes to pick his headphones up. Bixlow found Freed sitting alone at lunchbreak but the drummer couldn’t stay long so he simply left the bassist with a bar of chocolate.Freed had an important exam on Tuesday, so even when he sat with his band on their free period, they kept their distance and allowed him to study.

He didn’t have classes on Wednesday, but he offered to help Bixlow on his project. Bix did very well on the computer science stuff, but when it came to documentation, the drummer fell short. Freed spent almost the whole day in Bixlow’s dorm room reading, editing and revising his friend’s paper while the other student busied himself with adjusting his program. Evergreen came over at lunch and dinner to bring them food, just making sure that the boys were still alive.

On Thursday, Freed worked on his own paper. He spent the day on the library, making good progress. To return the previous day’s favor, Bixlow came over to bring his friend lunch, complete with dessert. He offered to help, but Freed dismissed him quickly — he was doing just fine. The drummer stayed, though. He read whatever manga and comics he found in the library and just kept Freed company. Freed found it very sweet that Bixlow had decided to stick with him until he went home.

“Hey, Freed?”


“You do know… Wait, don’t be mad at me, okay?”

Freed looked up shortly. “Just say it, Bix.”

Bix hid his face behind his comic book. “You do know that Laxus has never had a girlfriend since birth even when he has fangirls and chicks all over him, right? For a dude with a bad guy reputation, Laxus never even messed around with girls… Well, he can be a perv and a jerk to them and he flirts sometimes, but he never really… y’know… got it on… with ’em.”

Freed put down his pen and raised an eyebrow. “…Yeah, and?”

“I have more experience than him, too. Which is really freakin’ weird.”

Freed nodded slowly. “..So?”

“So it’s either he’s being a sap who’s been in love with someone forever… or… he doesn’t like girls at all.”

“Your point being…?”

“Maybe you should just tell ‘im that, I quote this comic: ’You want to have his adopted babies’.”

“What the hell, Bix.” Freed deadpanned.

Bixlow shrugged. “Just tell ’im that you’ve been in love with him for ten years now!”

And while Evergreen failed in bringing her point across, Bixlow succeeded by violently slapping Freed in the face with it.

“I’ve only known him for seven.” The bassist rolled his eyes. “What brought this on?”

“The comic book.”

“That’s it.” Freed declared. “You’ve had enough comics today. Put that back, I’ll finish up here, we’ll eat dinner, then we’ll go home.”

Bixlow closed the comic book and grinned. “See, listen to yourself! You’d make a good mom for the adopted babies.”

Freed glared.

Bixlow pouted. “Fine, I’m taking this back…” He stood up, gathered all the manga and comics he had borrowed, and obediently went to put them back to their shelves.

On Friday, Freed only had one lecture class. He spent the rest of the day finishing up his paper, while in the afternoon, he welcomed Erza, Lucy, Levy, Laki and Bisca to his flat. He had offered them his old reviewers for the university entrance exams and the girls came over to fetch the notes. He was glad to help, digging up the beat-up notebooks from his dusty old stack of reviewers. He still remembered Erza, Levy, Laki and Bisca as young middle school girls back then and it made him nostalgic seeing them finally close to graduating from high school.

He had a date on Saturday.

It didn’t go as planned. He couldn’t tell anyone that it went well, either. He would be lying.

It was strange, he thought. It didn’t really hurt. Freed didn’t know if he was supposed to be sad, but he knew that he was slightly disappointed with himself. Mira had wished him luck before he went to meet up with his date for lunch. She thanked him for the flowers and told him to just hang on and keep hoping. He was doing well, she said — he was his usual brilliant self and he shouldn’t worry about anything.

Mira was so good at sugar-coating that Freed almost believed her.

But then it happened. The relationship was officially over and Freed was disappointed because it didn’t hurt.

Suddenly, he felt so empty that Saturday afternoon. After they parted ways — with apologetic smiles, ‘goddammit were we faking it that much?’ — Freed stood alone for a while.

He knew he should have told someone, just to get that bit of info out — but who? Mira? He knew that it was a weekend and she would be busy. Evergreen was busy with a project. She texted the boys to “Go away for the weekend ’coz I’m planting plants. Thnx.” that morning. If Freed went to Bixlow, the drummer would just tell him to pursue Laxus.

‘The news could wait’, Freed decided then. ‘Not like anyone’s dying for an update.’

He decided to go home, still feeling empty. He then remembered how almost every kid in their little circle of friends coped with problems.

“There’s nothing Yajima-san’s best cake couldn’t do.” — Laxus himself said, once. All of them agreed on that one fact.

Freed turned on his heels and decided that maybe a triple chocolate cake would make him feel better. He was sure that Bix and Laxus would tease him for being a girl on her period but Freed could just shrug them off easily. He knew that Bix indulged himself with a tub of double dutch ice cream and that Laxus drinked at least three servings of iced coffee whenever they were feeling down. Ever ate everything whenever she felt depressed, but then again, it was Ever so the boys generally just chose to shut up and back off.

When Freed stepped inside Yajima-san’s bakery, Gray was behind the counter, wrapping up several bags of various pastries for Headmaster Dreyar.

“You’re coming over tonight too, Gray?” Makarov asked the raven-head who was diligently working on the counter.

“Yeah, will drop by a bit to copy some stuff from the girls. Head straight there after my shift. Juvia will come from swimming practice too, so maybe we’ll go together.” Gray replied. “I have a shift tonight at the Pegasus, though. So I’ll be leaving earlier than the others.”

“Hm. You and Juvia-chan should stay until dinner, then.” Makarov laid a couple of bills on the counter.

Gray quickly accepted the payment and then worked on the cash register for the change. “Will be glad to, principal.” He looked up as Freed walked towards them. “Hey, Freed.”

“Hey.” Freed greeted back.

“Freed! Haven’t seen you for a while, my boy.” Makarov said.

Freed smiled apologetically. “Been pretty busy, principal.”

“Erza’s having some friends over, studying for mock exams, they said… so I’m buying some snacks and desserts for them after dinner. They said they got some useful notes from you, too.”

Freed answered gingerly. “Ah, they picked them up yesterday. It’s nothing, really. Those notes would’ve gone to waste if I didn’t pass those on to them, anyways.”

“They’re lucky you kept them. Laxus doesn’t even remember if he kept his reviewers or not.” Makarov shook his head hopelessly, then graced his old student with his friendly smile. “He’s buying groceries right now. I’m going to cook dinner for the children. You should come over, too. Have dinner with us.”

“Ah, I shouldn’t-… It’s for-…”

“It’s just us.” Makarov said. “Come on, Freed. Or do you have plans for tonight?”

Freed shook his head. “I could be intruding…”

“Nonsense. And Laxus would like you around. He’s still acting all grumpy around me.” Makarov said. “Erza will be happy, too — since her brothers’s always teasing her about her new friend… Y’know, you could get my grandson to lay off on poor Erza for once. The girl would be too busy blushing.”

The bassist had no choice, then. It would be good to be around people. He never really liked eating dinner alone — he always ate dinner with Ever on the quiet nights when they were both alone in their respective apartment units. He simply smiled. “Alright. I guess I can’t say ‘no’ now, could I?”

“Great.” Makarov said, very pleased. “Someone to help me make dinner, since my one and only grandson is still hopeless in the kitchen.”

Freed ordered a slice of the chocolate cake just in case, and then helped the old man with the multiple paper bags of various pastries and desserts.

They made their way towards the town square’s mermaid fountain, where Makarov was to meet up with Laxus after the blonde finished buying the groceries.

As they walked together, Makarov started talking. “So, how are you doing in college, Freed? I know you’re surely doing brilliant, but this old man just had to ask…”

“I’m doing really well, principal. It’s hard, of course… Law can be so boring sometimes, but I find myself enjoying it once in a while.”

“Laxus always talks about how your subjects make him sleepy. But he complains about every other thing anyways.” Makarov said. “And… your family? I bet they’re proud of you being an outstanding student.”

“I’m not really all that.” Freed said, smiling gingerly. “I just… study a lot and get good grades for it, but I’m not a prodigy like your grandson.”

“Laxus doesn’t work hard because it all looks easy to him.” Makarov said, frowning. “Speaking of Laxus, is that boy really doing fine? I’m not getting calls from anyone sayin’ he’s causing trouble, but I can’t really be sure…”

“He gets into arguments with a lot of people, but they’re mostly too afraid of him to even fight back.” Freed said. “Other than that, he’s quite focused on studying and just making music.”

“Aa. Seems the delinquent has stepped back a bit, hm…”

“It seems like it.” Freed smiled lightly. “He raided that Phantom turf last time, though. And alone. That scared us, but he was unharmed anyway… He really shouldn’t dive headfirst on those things by himself.”

“He doesn’t look like it, but he cares for his sister and her friends.” Makarov nodded. “But I agree, he should’ve called first, or brought someone else with him.”

“He always forgets that I’m trained in fencing and that Bix can be a fighting machine when he feels like it.” Freed said with a minute frown. “But aside from that, he hasn’t gotten into trouble in a while.”

They reached the mermaid fountain and found no sign of Laxus. The blonde was probably still at the grocery. The two sat on a bench and settled down their bags, spending the time in companionable silence.

After a few minutes, Makarov said, “Watch over him for me, will you, Freed?”

Freed blinked. The old man was smiling, looking towards Laxus, who was walking towards them with several bags of groceries.

“Make sure he doesn’t get into trouble.” Makarov continued.

Freed’s reply was shaky. “P-Principal, I’m not your grandson’s keeper, surely you know that.”

“Oh, but you might as well be.” the old man continued. “He listens to you.”

“I hate to say this, but he really doesn’t.” Freed chuckled. “If he listened to me, he wouldn’t have gotten into half of all the trouble he got himself into.”

“Yes, but he comes back to you after and says he should’ve listened to you, doesn’t he? One of these days, he’ll grow out of being the rebel that he is and he’ll finally learn to actually listen to you. He always knows you’re right, after all. He just likes having his way, because that’s how he is. Stubborn and stupid with enough pride to power the whole town. I think you know that, too.”


Before Freed could go on, Laxus was in front of them, looking at them curiously. “Yo.”, he greeted. “The old man made you carry his bags?”

“No, he’s being a nice young gentleman and helping us out tonight.” Makarov said, standing up and stretching.

“Sorry for not being a domestic goddess, then.” Laxus huffed, waiting for Freed and Makarov to pick up their bags.

The three of them started to walk home. Laxus spoke up again, “It’s good that you’re here, though, Freed. You cook better than Gramps.”

“Please, Laxus.” Freed rolled his eyes.

“See how rude he is?” Makarov complained. “No respect for his grandfather.”

Freed smiled as he listened to grandfather and grandson bicker on their way home. It really was a good decision to be around people. It made him feel less empty. He has a good family, he was doing well in his studies, and he had the best friends and second family he could ever ask for. Really, what else did he need?

When they arrived at the Dreyar residence, there were already several extra pairs of shoes by the entrance.“Some of them are early.” Makarov commented. When they walked inside, they found Erza with Jellal, Mystogan and Wendy chatting in the living room.Wendy and Erza were huddled closely together as they looked through old photo albums of Erza and her friends. Jellal was watching them silently and Mystogan was leafing through a novel.

“Master.” Erza said, looking up. She blinked when she saw Freed with them, not expecting the other young man.

“Why are there two of your boyfriend?” Laxus blurted out carelessly.

Erza hid her annoyance and was about to introduce her friends, but the siblings beat her to it.

Surprisingly, it was Mysto who took the lead. “Good afternoon, headmaster Makarov.”

“Ah, that one’s Mystogan-kun.” Makarov grinned. “This other young man must be your twin. You’re the one from Sorciere?”

“Jellal, sir.” the other young man said. He nodded politely at Laxus. “It’s good to see you again, Laxus-san.”

“Ah, so one’s the scholar guy and the other one is ours, eh?” Laxus mumbled.

“And this is their little sister, Wendy.” Erza said, placing a hand on the girl’s shoulder. “Wendy, meet my guardian and FairyGaku headmaster Makarov, my brother Laxus, and Freed, his bandmate. They both went to FairyGaku for high school.”

Wendy bowed at them shyly. “A pleasant afternoon…”

“I remember you.” Freed smiled. “You’re Romeo’s partner for the Kite Fest, right?”

“H-hai!” Wendy said, smiling. “Um… Romeo-kun also talks a lot about your band…”

“He does that.” Laxus said, adjusting the bags on his arms. He gestured for Freed to follow him to the kitchen to put down their groceries.

“We’ll leave you children for now.” Makarov said, waving a little. “I bought some snacks for you, so just give us a few minutes to sort them out—”

Erza immediately started to stand up. “I’ll help—”

“No, no, you just attend to our guests.” the old man reassured the red-head, heading for the kitchen where Freed was preparing the pastries and Laxus was unpacking the groceries.


“Laxus and Freed are helping me, we’ll be alright! Just stay with your friends.” Makarov said.

That was what Erza was worried about: Laxus and Makarov both working in the kitchen at the same time. “Are… Are you sure?” she asked.

Freed seemed to read her mind, as the college student simply turned to her with a reassuring smile and said, “Don’t worry. I’ve got this!”

“Got what?” — that bit came from both grandfather and grandson.

Freed didn’t let it faze him. Instead, he simply said, “We should make orange juice to go with these pastries.”

Mystogan and Wendy left shortly after the snacks were served. They had only stopped by to bug Jellal, after all. They really were headed to one of Wendy’s classmates’ birthday party. Mystogan had promised his sister that he would take her there and stay a while before going back to join his own friends in their study group. Jellal and Erza did not have to wait long, though — as they were quickly joined by Lucy, Natsu, Levy, Jet, Droy, Laki and Alzack. After another hour, Cana, Bisca, Juvia and Gray arrived and joined the students diligently studying for the upcoming mock exams. Erza was worried that with all the FairyGaku students, Jellal would feel out of place, but Natsu and Gray helped ease the tension as they were already familiar with the new guy. Mystogan also came back just in time for dinner.

The Dreyar household’s dining room wasn’t really big, so Freed, Laxus and Makarov ended up serving dinner in the living room. It was a lively affair, with Makarov and the high school students entangled in a very animated and lively exchange of stories and jokes. The old man for once wasn’t acting as their school’s headmaster, but as the playful father figure who liked to tease the kids and give out interesting snippets and anecdotes. Laxus kept quiet as they all ate. Freed laughed with the others but otherwise simply acted as audience. When the chatter died down and it was time to return to studying, Laxus and Freed automatically stood to clean up and do the dishes. Seeing this, the high school students quickly stopped them and insisted that they would just clean up after themselves. Gray and Cana, already used to working in restaurants and diners, quickly cleared the tables, while Lucy, Erza and Juvia did not take ‘no’ for an answer when they said they would wash the dishes.

Makarov had retired to the dining table, reading a book. Freed and Laxus were left standing idly by as their kouhai did the chores. When both realized that they had nothing else to do, Freed took his cake and Laxus grabbed a can of beer from the fridge, then both disappeared upstairs so as to not distract the teenagers. Freed contemplated heading home, but Laxus looked like he could use some company. It would be boring for him to stay all alone in his room while the others were all together downstairs.

Both of them found themselves spending the time in companionable silence, with Freed eating his cake while Laxus drank his beer. They were both sitting on the blonde’s bed, only a big Pikachu stuffed toy stuck between them as they both leaned their backs against the wall. The stuffed toy was from Bixlow several years ago. It was the same Christmas when Bixlow gave Freed the teddy bear that they named Rune-chan.

Freed held out the slice of cake to his friend. “You sure you don’t want some?”

“Nah, I’m good.” Laxus grunted out. “Thanks for helpin’ out, by the way. I couldn’t have helped gramps cook all that food.”

“It’s alright. It feels nice to be around all of them again, anyways. I’ve almost forgotten how loud we could be.”

“Bix and Ever aren’t even included yet.” Laxus chuckled. “Add in Mira and Elfman too, and you got yourself a riot.”

Freed nodded, chewing thoughtfully. The cake was really good. As expected of Yajima-san’s. Seeing everyone, talking to Laxus, eating his comfort food… he was feeling better already.

Laxus glanced at his friend before looking back down, absent-mindedly tugging on a loose thread on his pants with his free hand. He looked for a topic of conversation. “How did the old man find you anyway?”

“I came across him when I bought this cake.”

“Hm.” Laxus nodded. “You had another date today.”

Freed smiled. “How did you know?”

“You were wearing the sparkly coat and walkin’ around town alone.”

“Yeah, well… we did go out, yes.”

“Still doin’ good, huh.”

“Actually, it’s over.”

Laxus paused. Freed put down his fork, staring down at the half-finished slice of cake.

The bassist said, “We decided to stop dating.”

Laxus looked at his friend, blinking. “What? You told me last week everythin’ going well and he’s nice, right?”

“Yes, and that was true.” Freed answered patiently, reaching out to lay the plate of cake on Laxus’ bedside table. He was kinda disappointed that Laxus of all people would be the first one to know, and that they had to talk about it tonight of all nights, just when he was finally feeling happier. Nevertheless, Freed knew that the subject wouldn’t even last. Laxus had a habit of letting topics like this drop because he never liked talking about it. So Freed continued, “We just… wanted to stop it already. It’s not working out, we’re going nowhere, and… and he just doesn’t see me like that, I guess.”

“Doesn’t see you like what?” Laxus had put down his drink and was looking at his bandmate.

Freed kept himself patient. “He doesn’t… like me that way. He doesn’t like me enough to… want to move the relationship further.”

“Bullshit. What’s not to like about you?”

The bassist let a small smile cross his face. “I don’t know. It’s alright. Don’t worry about it.” he said with a shrug. “I’m okay.”

“You’re not. That’s why you have the cake.” Laxus said, frowning. Freed had hugged his knees to his chest. “And fuck, don’t cry. I don’t know how to deal with you cryin’.”

“I won’t cry.” Freed reassured him.

“But you’re sad. Dammit. Eat the fucking cake. Please.”

That made the bassist chuckle. “I’m okay, I swear.”

“No, you’re not. Remember last year when this bastard freakin’ cheated on you and you were so sad? Right now you looked like that, just before you broke down crying on Ever.”

“This one didn’t cheat on me. He’s just…”

“He’s just what? Just blind to how awesome you are or something?”

“No, he’s in love with someone else. Someone who doesn’t… love him back, and—”

“But he still went out with you. That little shit.”

Freed shook his head. “He was trying to forget about it, but sadly, no matter how ‘awesome’ I am, he couldn’t. So he thought it wouldn’t be fair for me and… well, I just told him that he should go for who he truly wants to be with.”

“He should’ve told you earlier. Should’ve known what it feels like for you because you feel the same, you like him but he doesn’t—”

“Laxus.” Freed cut him off. “I like someone else, too. Someone who’s not him, and he knows it — and we both agreed to stop making a fool of ourselves and just stop. We’re good friends, really. He decided to break up because he knows we’re both in love with someone else, anyway.”

Laxus stared at him. This time he looked confused. This was why he never liked talking about these things. “…So now there’s another one?”

“Yes. There’s another one.” From that point on, Freed knew that he should start being more careful with his words. He almost said, ‘It’s you, stupid.’ He hadn’t expected Laxus to push the subject further in the first place.

“Is this the guy before this one, because you were really upset when that bastard made you think he liked you and then dumped you. Or is this the cheating one from last year, or—”

“Not them. I haven’t told him yet. He doesn’t know.”

“So there’s someone else I don’t know about.”


“I bet Ever knows.”


“…Shit, is this Mirajane? You keep on bringing her flowers but she thinks you’re gay, and—”

Freed laughed. “No. Not Mira. Not a girl.”

“Okay then. Please tell me it’s not Bixlow.”

“It’s not Bixlow.”

“Good. ’Cause no offense to Bix, but he’s mental.”

Freed laughed.

Laxus was still thinking. “…Do I know this guy?”

At this, Freed finally thought it appropriate to lie. “No. You don’t.”

The blonde snorted. “You’re lying. I do.”

“You don’t.”

“Gut feeling says I do. You wouldn’t be that careful otherwise.”

Freed rolled his eyes. That was some smooth lie in there. When did Laxus know how to read him? “Fine, then. You know him.”

“And you’re not tellin’ me, are you?” he said, finally returning to his drink. The beer had warmed slightly, but Laxus didn’t mind.

“Yeah. Don’t take it personally. It’s not like I’m telling him, either.”

“Why not? He got a boyfriend? Girlfriend?”

“No, I just don’t think he’ll ever reciprocate.”

“He’s stupid then.”

After a while, Freed agreed. “…Yeah. Very stupid.”

“Stupid fucker doesn’t know how lucky he is.”

Freed looked at Laxus, who had just finished his beer and had tossed it to the nearby trash bin. He missed, but the blonde simply grunted and crossed his arms across his chest, ignoring the empty can on his bedroom floor.

“Eat the cake. You still look like you’re going to cry.”

The bassist sighed and took the plate back. Laxus was right — he had to finish the slice, at least. “Thanks for listening to me.”

“Heh. Not like I could help anyways. Ever and Mira give useful advice. Not me. Just here to listen and ask and make you sadder and shit.”

“Not really. It’s actually good, finally telling someone. I was thinking of just eating this cake at home, alone… maybe I’d have cried then.”

“He hurt you real bad, huh.”

“No, not really—”

“I mean, this guy you like. He hurt you real bad. Just bein’ himself and all that. ’Cause you can’t tell him.”

Freed let out a small smile. Sometimes they gave Laxus less credit that what he really deserved. He knew a thing or two about this, after all. “Yes. It hurts. Really badly.”

“And with the others… it hurts too?”

“Well, it stings… but it doesn’t hurt as much.” Freed knew — all his relationships could crumble down and all the guys he dated could dump him and cheat on him, but no one would hurt him as much as Laxus.

“Then what the fuck are you doin’, carryin’ extra weight when there’s already something there?” Laxus asked, with a hint of annoyance. Now he was the one disappointed. Freed should’ve learned by the first time that setting himself up for extra pain would definitely not lessen the existing one. But the green-haired young man had insisted over and over again on the same mistakes. It was so unlike him. Laxus knew that Freed wasn’t stupid. Freed was smart and dignified… and he always knew what to do.

But Laxus also knew that love made people stupid, so he tried to be kinder. Freed was hurt, so Laxus was supposed to shut his trap and just be a friend.

He didn’t know that that was what hurt Freed the most — him being just a friend.

“Y’know… you should tell him.”

Freed had just finished his cake. The statement caught him off guard. “…W-What?”

Laxus shrugged, scratching his head and trying to give advice for once. “Tell ‘im, just to be fair. Yeah, he’ll never know how ’ya feel if you never tell him, but he’ll never know how much he hurt you too, and he’s not even doin’ anything. I mean, for me itd suck if I didn’t know that I’m hurting someone, but y’know, it’d feel really good to know someone cares that much about me. I’d feel really shitty after, because what if I’d been a total jerk to someone who really cares about me? But then I get the chance to apologize too… so maybe it ain’t all that bad. I know it wouldn’t be my fault if I can’t care about someone like that, but… hell, I’d still be sorry. Half-sorry and half-happy ’cause hey, someone loves me. Just… it’ll be a mixed bag, y’know.”

“…You… You really think that?”

Laxus nodded. “Yeah. I get it, you don’t wanna tell ‘cause you don’t want to be rejected, but he oughtta feel bad rejecting, too. I mean… fuck, if he hurts you, hurt him a bit, too. Like a minor bitchslap or somethin’. I think it’ll be awkward afterwards but hell, at least he knew. And he can’t complain. He should be grateful, y’know. What’s better than being loved by someone even when they know you’ve been a dense little shit? It’s a thanks-but-no-thanks thing. Thanks for loving me because that’s really nice, but I can’t love you back because… hell, insert-reason-here.”

“You… really think so?”

“Yeah, but if you tell anyone that I’ve been a sentimental bitch about this, I’ll hate you.”

When Laxus turned to look at his friend, Freed was looking down at the empty plate on his lap, desperately trying not to cry.

Laxus gulped. “Yo. Freed. You okay?”

“I-It’s nothing.” — that was followed by a sniff.

“Shit, you’re going to cry.”

“I wanna stab you with this fork…”

Laxus gaped. “Dude, I was trying to cheer you up! Don’t cry! I can’t handle this—”

“You’re stupid! You just kept talking and… and you don’t even know…” — this time Freed was really crying, but he was trying to wipe his tears with his sleeve.

“Shit. I’m sorry, okay? I know I don’t even know how you feel, I get it. I’m as stupid as this secret guy of yours so just forget everything I said—”

Laxus tried to pat his friend on the shoulder comfortingly, but Freed swatted his hand away. He sobbed, not really knowing why he was crying in the first place.

‘Damn Laxus for being so unexpectedly understanding!’ his mind screamed. He never expected to hear those things from Laxus. Never in his life did he think that Laxus would ever… ever tell him-…

That was the straw for Freed. He looked away from the blonde and said, “Of course you’ll be as stupid as him! You’re him! I’ve been talking about you for the past hour, and-… ugh. Fuck, you really made me say it, didn’t you?!”

Laxus stared at him. “Did… Did you just say FUCK?”

Freed was really sobbing now, inching away from his companion, frustrated. “Get your goddamned priorities straight, Dreyar! I just confessed to you, you stupid-… Dammit, would you just please tell me to go away now because you don’t love me back!”

“No, why the fuck would I-… and don’t be a know-it-all — how the hell do you know I don’t love you back?”

Freed stopped. “…W-What do you mean?”

“Shut up, I have to find the fucking tissues, I can’t think straight when you’re sobbing like that.”

After a few awkward moments of Freed crying and Laxus turning his room upside down for his box of tissues, he finally gave up and handed Freed one of his handkerchiefs. The bassist gingerly took the item and tried to calm himself down.

Laxus sat in front of him again. “Feeling better now?”

Freed nodded, face half-covered by the cloth. However, right after he blew his nose on the hanky, he started crying again.

“What now?!” Laxus practically shouted.

Freed was sobbing helplessly, “I have my own handkerchief in my pocket and I still made you give me yours and I blew on it…!”

Laxus rolled his eyes and sighed, then did what he always saw Bixlow and Freed do whenever Evergreen cried like a madwoman. He held out his arms and said, “Here. Do you need a hug? C’mon, you have to calm down or everyone downstairs will hear you and they’ll all hate me all over again.”

Freed looked at him disbelievingly. “I can’t hug you. I’m already in love with you! How could I hug you?! Why are you so understanding? You’re making it more difficult for me to calm down! Stop that!”

Laxus had forgotten how little sense Freed made when he cried. Freed didn’t cry often but they hated it when he did. For good reason. “Fine, but stop crying.”

“I need a hug.”

“Yeah, I just said that.” Laxus sighed and simply hugged the other man as Freed cried quietly against his chest.

It was an awkward hug. Laxus wasn’t used to hugging, and Freed was reluctant to lean against the blonde. They stayed like that for minutes. Laxus still didn’t know what to say and Freed was trying to think straight.

“Why are you hugging me?”

“You asked for it, and you were crying. Why the hell did you cry? I can’t deal with crying people, for fuck’s sake, Freed.”

Freed closed his eyes and breathed deeply. “I’ve already decided, you know. Years back. I already knew I’ll never tell you. It was like my goal in life. To never tell you. Then… then you practically asked me, dammit. And you made it seem like it wouldn’t be so bad… but I’m sure it’ll be bad but I said it anyway. Because you asked. Why did you have to ask?”

“I didn’t ask.” Laxus said simply. “I was suggesting something stupid, and I said it was stupid… and you knew it was stupid anyway so why did you still do it?”

“Because it’s you.”

“That makes you stupid, too.”

“I know, and it sucks.” Freed said, finally chuckling. He felt better. He didn’t know if it was Laxus hugging him, if it was him finally telling Laxus how he felt, or if it was just Laxus knowing everything, but Freed felt better.

He made a move to pull back from the other man’s arms, but Laxus held him still and said, “Wait.”

Freed blinked. “…Laxus?”

“I’m about to do something stupid again.”

“…Uh… what?”

“And after I do that, you can either punch me or… or do whatever.”

“Laxus, what are you—”

And Freed wasn’t able to continue, because how could he when Laxus’ lips were locked against his own?

Bixlow was right. Laxus had never had any experience with anyone before. It was obvious, Freed thought — the kiss was sloppy, it was simply a pair of lips pressed firmly against another person’s, but to hell with everything, he responded anyway.

Laxus was surprised when Freed moved against him. He felt the bassist’s hands reach up to touch his cheeks. Laxus didn’t think it would feel good. It made the blonde feel even stupider as he followed Freed’s lead. He really had no idea how to do this. It made him feel so lost. But he didn’t mind feeling lost. Not when the Freed tasted like chocolate cake. Shit. Now he was tasting things. Ah, fuck that too. Not like he cared, either. Laxus simply pulled his friend closer, because Freed knew what he was doing and Laxus liked it.

When they parted for breath, both of them had a look of disbelief on their faces.


Freed punched Laxus.


“I’m sorry, but you said I could punch you, so I did.”

“Didn’t hurt that much.”

He punched Laxus again.

“Shit… that one does.”

Laxus had to let go so he could rub his cheek. Freed drew away from him and stood up, blushing and disheveled, trying to straighten his shirt.

“That wasn’t a minor bitchslap.” Laxus said.

Freed avoided his gaze. “Why… Why the hell did you do that?”


“What are you saying sorry for?”

“…For doing that.”

“You’re… you’re sorry for that?”

Laxus scratched his head, looking down. “No, I’m sorry I hurt you.”

Laxus never liked talking about feelings and emotions, but Freed knew that it wasn’t because Laxus didn’t understand those things. Laxus didn’t understand WHY people could question or confuse feelings, because Laxus was never confused or conflicted. Laxus always knew how he felt and why he felt those things… and it baffled him to the point of annoyance when other people couldn’t understand themselves.

So when he said all those things earlier, about how he would feel if someone confessed to him, Freed knew that Laxus would stand up to everything he said about feeling sorry and thankful… about the mixed bag.

So now Laxus was sorry that he hurt Freed. Freed knew that he meant it.

The green-haired young man took a step backwards, looking down. He saw Laxus’ can of beer by his feet and tried to focus on it, just to avoid his friend’s gaze. “It’s nothing. I told you, right? I’m kinda used to it by now. Don’t feel sorry.”

“Well, you should know how I feel. I told you a while ago. Before even really knowing. Pretty fucking weird, but… well, that’s it.”

“Why did you… kiss me?”

“It doesn’t really matter to me and I wasn’t really savin’ it for anyone,” Laxus started, lifting his head to look at his companion. “But that was my first kiss, and I just gave it to you, because you care about me so much, and I didn’t even know, but you didn’t care. So if it matters to you anyway that I gave you that… Well, that was me sayin’ thanks.”

Freed had nothing to say to that.

“If it didn’t work, maybe I’ll just give you five more jars of chocolate fudge.” Laxus shrugged. “And I’m sorry that it all sucks right now, ’cause I have no idea how to deal with all these stuff. I’m starting to regret that I ever asked you about your date, but there’s no helping that now so… yeah.”

Freed simply nodded to all of that. Suddenly he felt so tired. It had been a really long day for him and while he didn’t feel empty anymore, he felt too… full. He knew that if he stayed with Laxus for another minute, he might just throw a fit. It would be immature, but he was so confused and tired and surprised and…

And he really didn’t want to deal with anything more.

“Dude, you okay?”

Freed shook his head. “No.”

“I thought so.”

“I want to punch you again because I don’t know what to do now.”

“Go ahead.”

Freed tried, but he just ended bumping his fist lightly against the other man’s face. “You shouldn’t have done that, you know?”

“But I’ve never seen you so down, and it’s because of me for who knows how long now—”

“I’m used to being sad. I can’t deal with being confused.” Freed said, biting his lip. Laxus was about to touch the hand still fisted against his face, but Freed drew away. “I just want to go home now.”

“Should I—”

“No, please. I’ll be alright—”

“You sure?”

“Yeah. I… I’ll just go say goodbye to the others and I’m leaving.”

“What’s the rule here? Should I stay away for a week or something…?”

“No. Laxus,” Freed started. He was determined to sound firm, but he quickly gave up and simply sighed, softly saying, “I’d appreciate it if everything stays the same after this.”

Laxus nodded, looking down at his bed. Freed took that as his cue to leave.

Bixlow was having a very normal night. Cuddled against his giant unicorn stuffed toy, he was having a tub of his favorite ice cream while watching the new OVA bundled with the manga of his favorite anime series. He had been waiting for this OVA for a while now — it featured his favorite ladies in swimsuits! Bixlow happily continued watching, all the while savoring the creamy ice cream that he had tricked Evergreen into buying for him.He sniggered. One of the girls had even forgotten to remove her swim suit’s price tag! How cute~The knocking on the door interrupted his gushing. Bixlow groaned as he paused the show and stood up. If that was the neighbor again, complaining about the volume of his TV-…


Laxus grunted. “Hey.”

Bixlow blinked, very confused. “But I don’t have weed right now.”

“I’m not here for weed.” The blonde rolled his eyes and then looked at the TV. “Man, how does her swimsuit hold all those… things… up?”

Bixlow looked behind him to see that he had paused the show on a part where one of the particularly busty girls was running around while in her bikini. “I don’t know. Super Glue?”

“Let me in.”

Bixlow did as he was told. “Okay, but don’t step on my Perfect Grade Gundam—”

“Yeah, yeah.” Laxus (and Freed and Evergreen) knew better than to step inside Bixlow’s dorm room carelessly. They watched every step, because there was bound to be precious merchandise scattered everywhere. Laxus was able to avoid the half-built Gundam model and plop down on one of the bean bags. Thankfully it wasn’t the bean bag with the fart cushion.

Bixlow closed the door behind him and sat down with his unicorn again. He picked up his ice cream while Laxus got out a cigarette and started smoking.

“Hey, the limit here’s—”

“One stick. Yeah, I know.”

“Well, it—”

“—will make the whole room smell. I know, dude.”

Bixlow finally nodded approvingly. “Okay, so… did Mama confess his undying love to you yet?”

Laxus shrugged. “Yeah. He finally did.”

“Then you sweeped him off his feet and gave him the kiss of his life!”

“He told you?”

An awkward silence followed. Bixlow looked at his bandmate. Laxus was smoking… normally. It was the only word that Bix could describe his friend with. Laxus was… normal. Acting normally, answering normally, even nonchalantly…

Bixlow laughed shakily. “D-Dude, I was kidding. You don’t have to play along if you don’t want to… Hahahah…”

Laxus blinked.

This time, Bixlow gaped. “NO, SHIT. SERIOUSLY?!”

The blonde shrugged again. “You should use those guessing skills for gambling. You’d be rich.”

“W-W-Wait, okay, this is Freed we’re talkin’ about, yeah?”


“He told you?!”


“What do you mean kinda?!”

“I… I think I made him tell me.”


“Then I kinda kissed him.”

This time Bixlow put his ice cream down. “What do you mean kinda?!”

“Okay, we kinda made out.”

“Whoa wait, what do you mean kinda made out?”

Laxus looked at his friend pointedly.

Bixlow took matters into his own hands and crossed his arms across his chest. “I’m banning the use of the word ‘kinda’ within the four corners of this room from this point forward. So what really happened?”

“Uh, kissing.”

“And then..?”

“He punched me. Twice-.. wait. Three times.”


“I dunno, ’cause it made him upset?”

“Then after he punched you…?”

“He left.”

“You let him?”

“Of course I let him. He’s upset because of me.”

Bixlow breathed out, trying to wrap his head around everything (which is not much, because according to Laxus, it just went like Confession! — Kissing! — Three punches! — Exit!) and actually trying to think about it (which was hard, because it was not easy to imagine stuff like that).

Laxus mostly kept quiet, looking at a poster of a team of five magical girls in the wall.

The drummer finally spoke up again. “Well, nothing screams confession more than three consecutive punches in the face. Must stand for I LOVE YOU, man.”

“Didn’t hurt, really. Freed couldn’t punch to save his life.”

“But you’re lucky he didn’t have a sword in hand.”

“That,” Laxus said, blowing a puff of smoke. “I can agree with.”

“So was it awesome?”

“What’s awesome?” Laxus raised an eyebrow at his friend. Bixlow had picked his ice cream up again and had started listening intently. He hated to admit it, but watching Laxus confused and trying to describe Freed was better than watching all those pretty girls in swimsuits. Tonight was his lucky night.


“Tasted like chocolate cake. Didn’t know I was supposed to taste stuff-… Is it really like that?”

“Well, if you stuck your tongue on someone else’s mouth, you WILL taste—”

“I didn’t-… Maybe I did. But I didn’t… I wasn’t-… Maybe it’s just because he ate so much of that fucking cake.”

“I heard that Mama is a really good kisser and—”

“Yeah, it seemed like it. Shut up now. I’m trying to think.”

“Think about what? Marry him already, geez, it’s so simple—”

“Fuck you. He doesn’t want me to marry him.”


“At least it doesn’t seem like he wants to. And I… I don’t like him like that.”

“Why’d you kiss him then?”

“To thank him or something. To say sorry too, ’cause shit, everyone knew. Except me. Nobody ever bothered to tell me.”

“Dude, I’ve been calling you Mama and Papa for years and I’ve been telling you to get together already and hey, back in Chapter 11, I told you to tell him you love him.”

Laxus’ eyes narrowed.

“The whole Mama-Papa thing is a dead giveaway, ya know. I’m always telling you how much he loves you but nobody believes me.” by then, Bixlow was sulking.

Laxus thought about it. “…But you guys are kidding, right? And Freed plays along to shut you up, so I just… go along with you guys—”

“’Cause he knows that if he blushes and stutters whenever you call him your waifu, that’s as good as actually telling you.” Bixlow said, not holding back on anything. “Hed be busted. You’d know. He doesn’t want to tell you, though wow, you made him tell you and for some reason it worked so uh… Congratulations?”

“What’re you congratulatin’ me for?”

Bixlow giggled in that creepy way of his. “This ship is soooooo canon~!”

Laxus grabbed the nearest thing he could and threw it at his friend’s face. Thankfully for Bixlow, it was just a body pillow (of a very cute little squid that turned into a girl) and not one of his precious mecha models or action figures.

“Hey, don’t be rude! This is my room, don’t throw my stuff!” Bixlow complained, setting the pillow aside with a pout. “Did you come here just so you could tell me and then get all violent? You’re acting like a spoiled imouto-chan, then.”

“I had to tell someone, because I kept thinking about it alone, and it just pissed me off, ’cause I can’t get it out my head.”

“Oooohhhh, someone’s falling in looooove~”

“That’s it. Press the fucking play button on this… whatever this is you’re watching.”

“Psssh. Someone’s denyiiiing…”

They watched the rest the OVA while Laxus complained about extra strong bikinis and how the girls must be super strong too, to be able to lift those hefty bumpers up, and Bixlow just squealed and giggled at how ~kawaii~ everything was.

Laxus helped his friend clean up. After that, he grabbed the latest volume of one of the few manga he followed (Bixlow was always updated, and they liked that fact very much) and began to read, while Bixlow returned to building the half-finished Gundam model that Laxus had barely avoided stepping on earlier.

After a while, Bixlow spoke up. “Y’know, Freed really loves you, man. You’d think he’s just being his paranoid self when he worries and fusses over you, but he never does that to me and Ever.”

“I know.”

“And you have like anger management issues and a violent streak to top all violent streaks and you throw temper tantrums to end all temper tantrums, and whenever that happens, me and Ever just go away as soon as possible, but Freed just… you know, he stays. Puts up with your shit, doesn’t get mad when you don’t listen to him and he just stands there. Pretty crazyballs.”

“I know. You’d think he’d know better.”

“So at least tell him that he kisses good, y’know. A little appreciation for the most patient human being on Earth.”

Laxus glared at his friend. “You know when sometimes someone gives out this really meaningful speech that makes sense but he ends up ruining it himself?”

“Yeah, why?”

“You just did it. So shut up now.”

“Wow, rude.” Bixlow pouted, then went back to his activity. At least it was all out. He had said what he had wanted to say.

After a few more minutes, Laxus considered lighting up another cigarette, but then decided against it. He had already ruined Bixlow’s peaceful night just to hang out and get his mind off of things. He knew he should have gone to Mira’s and gotten drunk with Macao and Wakaba, or better yet, if Cana was there, he should have just started drinking with her. But then that was too risky. Cana could make you blurt out your deepest and darkest secrets while she was having her fifth barrel of beer. She was crazy fun, but you would never drink with her with the intention of getting drunk. It was too dangerous.

Laxus should have gotten some iced coffee, because he couldn’t forget the taste of chocolate cake.

It was from Yajima-san’s, too. So it was crazy delicious, but Laxus had to admit that there was something other than the cake there.

“Oi, Bixlow.”


“What should I do if I decide that I actually liked kissing Freed?”

“Kiss him some more, duh.”

Laxus glared.

“I’m kidding! Ya sure you liked it not because of the chocolate cake?”

“Never remembered chocolate cake tasting that good, not even Yaji-jii’s.”

“Ah. Well, I have this saying I learned from—”

“If you’re going to mess with me, better think twice.”

Bixlow paused, frowning. “It’s a saying I learned in my Philosophy class! It’s from Confucius! Dude, I listen to lectures sometimes, ya know?”

Laxus sighed. “Fine, what does Confucius have to say about all this shit?”

Bixlow nodded sagely, even raising his index finger to indicate that he was about to say something really really important. He cleared his throat.

“Dude. Just say it.” Laxus said.

Bixlow made a very good impression of an old sage, complete with the raspy old-person voice. He said, “If ye likes it, then you shouldeth put a ring on it.”

Laxus stared. “I’m sure as hell that that ain’t Confucius.”

“It is. I get deep sometimes, man.”

Laxus knew he should have gone to Evergreen instead.

Freed was very thankful that Laxus had respected his wish. It really was like nothing happened that Saturday night. The next week was as normal as normal could get. Projects, lectures, free times, some band practice, it was all well. Within the week, Evergreen bugged Freed about why he broke up with the guy he had been dating for 3 months. When Freed finally explained, Evergreen understood immediately. If only Laxus was as perceptive as their vocalist and had stopped asking before the conversation strayed…He shrugged it off. Laxus was acting normally, as well. Bixlow kept on going about a movie they should all see together in the weekend, and they all just told their drummer that ‘We’ll see about it, okay?’. Bix insisted that Freed wouldn’t have a date on the weekend anymore so he also wouldn’t have an excuse to not go with all of them. Laxus and Evergreen complained about the drummer simply assuming that the two of them had already agreed to go.The band had a free period together on Friday. They all sat under a cherry tree in the university grounds. Bixlow was reading manga, Laxus was working on a particularly hard equation in one of his subjects while Evergreen was on her laptop, browsing through an online shop. Freed was reading through one of his thick hardbound law books.

Bixlow blurted out, “I want chocolates. Does anyone else want chocolate? Let’s go buy some—”

“I have some.” Freed said.

The other three looked up. Freed got out a chocolate bar from his bag. It still had a ribbon on it.

Bixlow was quick to snigger. “Oooohhhh, someone’s getting chocolates~”

“Shut up.” Freed said, removing the ribbon and unwrapping the chocolate bar. He handed it to Bixlow, who accepted quickly. “Hey, leave some for everyone!”

“Okay, who was that from?” Evergreen asked curiously.

“It’s someone from my Ethics class. No big deal.”

“Word gets out that you’re single again and they all come after you.” Evergreen rolled her eyes.

“Mama’s a heartbreaker.” Bixlow said.

“He is.” Evergreen agreed.

“Hey, no dates on Saturday! We’re watching a movie!” the drummer reminded, passing the chocolate to Evergreen.

“There will be no dates. Don’t worry.” Freed reassured. Sometime in the morning, he finally agreed to Bixlow’s movie invitation. “I turned her down.”

“Oh.” The three all said simultaneously. “Her.”

“Her.” Freed repeated firmly. Then, remembering something, he said, “Oh, and I have something for Laxus.”

Bixlow quickly flailed. “A wedding ring! A wedding ring!” He stopped when Laxus hit him on the head with a notebook.

The chocolate was with Laxus as the blonde accepted the piece of paper that Freed handed him.

Bixlow was ecstatic for a while until Ever glared at him for being so noisy. “A love let-… Okay, I’m shutting.”

Laxus unfolded the paper and blinked. “Hey, you finished it.” On either side of him, Bixlow and Evergreen leaned together to read the contents of the paper.

“Sorry it took me two weeks for the lyrics.” Freed said with a light smile. “I adjusted the bass part and left your lead as is.”

“Please don’t tell me you wrote this after the break-up.” Evergreen said.

Bixlow said, “Mama is Taylor Swift.”

“Hit him for me.” Freed commented nonchalantly.

Laxus had the honor of granting the request. Bixlow whined something about marriage again, but Laxus and Evergreen were already reading the new song and Freed was too busy watching their expressions.

“I wrote it after the break-up but it’s not about the break-up, I swear.” he said, still watching his bandmates reading.

“I like it.” Evergreen smiled, pleased.

“Hey, you added a keyboard part.” Laxus said, looking up at Freed.

“I had a melody that matched your riffs for the lead, so… Is that okay?”

Laxus nodded. “Yeah, it’s fine.”

“No drums again? AGAIN?” Bixlow complained.

They all looked at him and said, “We trust you.”

Bixlow grunted. “I’m going a make a sick beat for that, just you see.”

They simply repeated, “Yeah, we trust you.”

Bixlow didn’t know whether to believe them or not.

They all decided to have a band practice the next day, with all members eager to try out the new song.

Freed didn’t show up.

He left a text for the other three saying that something important came up and that he couldn’t come.

The other three practiced for a bit, but like every other time, they just didn’t like practicing when someone was missing. They all ended up quitting and going to Mira’s to eat out instead.

Mira immediately asked, “Where’s Freed?”

“Something important, he said.” Evergreen explained as they all sat down in front of the barmaid. “It’s not much fun without him, so we just went here.”

“That’s sweet.” Mira said. “But what could be keeping him?”

Bixlow slumped down in his seat. “It must be really really really really important, ’cause he didn’t answer even when Laxus called.”

“Nah, he can deal with it.” Laxus brushed the topic away dismissively.

“You’re cruel, Papa!” Bixlow said. “When you don’t show up, Freed goes looking for you.”

“Yeah, well, I’m different. I get myself in big trouble so he goes looking. But he’s not as stupid so I’m sure he’d call if he needs us.”

Bixlow grumbled and Evergreen simply sighed, while Mira smiled knowingly. “So… what are your orders?”

The group ordered light meals. Mira entertained them with conversation, but it was mostly Evergreen and Bixlow who answered. It wasn’t new. The barmaid had always known that the blonde only ever talked when he felt like doing so.

Evergreen left early with Elfman. The couple decided to take a stroll in the park. Bixlow also left early to catch an episode of a TV series. That left Laxus sitting alone in the bar while adjusting their new song. He was sure Freed wouldn’t mind much if he changed a little bit of the keyboard stuff…

He was interrupted when Mira laid a tall glass in front of him.

Iced Coffee. Laxus looked up. “I didn’t—”

“It’s in the house. You seldom drop by.” Mira said, smiling.

He put down his pen, accepting the barmaid’s treat. “Thanks.” Just then, Laxus noted the vase full of flowers by the counter. “Did Freed give you those flowers?”

Mira looked at the flowers and smiled. “Yes. He dropped by last Sunday.”

Laxus paused. That was the day after… what happened. Did Freed tell Mira? He always tells Mira… “Sunday?”

“Yup! He was picking up something from the bookstore and decided to visit! It’s too bad, though, that he broke up with his boyfriend…”

Laxus simply nodded. “He… didn’t tell you anything else except that?”

Mira blinked. “Um, he told me they broke it off but they’re still good friends. Why, did something else happen?”

“No. Uh, just curious. A bit. ’Cause, y’know, he told me-… us-… the band about that, too.” Laxus said, avoiding the barmaid’s look as he stirred his drink. He turned back to studying the new song again.

“It’s just so sad, because Freed’s the sweetest guy I know but somehow he couldn’t stay in a good, lasting mutual relationship…”

Laxus paused on his writing for a bit and glanced at Mirajane. The barmaid was focused on drying some plates and she seemed to be simply babbling to herself. Laxus looked down at his paper again when Mira turned to him.



“…You know, don’t you?”

“Know what?”

“You know what.”

Laxus looked up. “I don’t know what you’re talkin’ about.”

“You do.” Mira said sternly.

Laxus rolled his eyes. “What, I know that Freed’s been in love with me and I didn’t know until last Saturday and he’s pretty stupid, really, falling for someone who’s been treating him — well, everybody, actually — like shit?”

Mira blinked. “How… how did you know?”

“He told me.”

“He never wanted to tell you. What happened?”

“I don’t have an idea. We were talking and it just… came out.”

“What did you tell him?”

“What do you think I told him?”

“What did he say?”

“He just said that he wants things to stay the same. We’re doin’ good about that so far.”

Mira was looking at him with an unreadable expression. “That’s why he didn’t tell me. So nothing would change. Right?”

“I suppose so.”

The barmaid sighed, her gaze automatically falling on the flowers by the counter. Freed had learned how to be a smooth liar. She had no idea that something so… big… had happened the night before he visited.

Laxus let the conversation end there.

After a few minutes, Laxus had finished the iced coffee and the adjustments on the new song. He folded the paper and put it in his pocket, before standing up. He was just about to head home.

“Hey, Mira. Thanks for the—”

He trailed off when the barmaid suddenly grabbed him by the collar and pulled him to her level, looking into his eyes fiercely.


Her voice was far from her usual kind and angelic tone. “Listen, Dreyar, you bastard.”

Laxus gulped. What the fuck did he do to call Demon Mirajane out?!

“Why did you fucking reject the only person who puts up with your all your crap?”

“…Err, I don’t know, I’m figuring that bit out—”

“Freed is one of my best friends and he’s the sweetest guy in all of Magnolia and if you. Screw. This. Shit. Up. I am going to make you pay.” Then she released him and all of a sudden she was back in her usual cute self. “…Get it? I’ll ban you from this bar and there will be no more free iced coffee for you! I’m going to hate you so much~!”

It creeped him out when she said those things in her sweet angel voice. “Y-Yeah. Banned. No free drinks. Got that.”

Both of them turned when a crashing sound was heard in a corner of a bar. It was followed by loud cheers and a man standing on top of a table, waving a bright blue bra in the air proudly, as if said article of clothing was a trophy.

“What the fuck just happened?” Laxus asked under his breath.

“Cana lost to Bacchus again.” Mirajane sighed. “She’s probably out cold now. Ahhh, I told her not to challenge him anymore!”

Laxus really didn’t know how he had gotten himself into this situation.Oh yeah, it was because Cana lost that drinking contest (she really never learned), they couldn’t wake her up and it was already late.Mira called Gray, but the young man had just gotten home too, dead tired from a shift in the Pegasus. He said he could come, but he would take time as he wasn’t around the town anymore.

The next option was Gildarts, but the man wasn’t answering his phone.

Laxus sighed and said that he would take the girl to her father. Gildarts’ station was on the way to the Dreyar household anyway. Laxus was sober because all he had to drink was the free coffee, so Mira and Gray simply entrusted the passed out brunette to him.

Of course, he blatantly refused to touch the young woman unless “somebody fucking put a shirt on this girl BECAUSE I AM NOT BRINGING HER TO GILDARTS WHILE SHE’S DRUNK AND TOPLESS. I VALUE MY LIFE.”

Laxus walked the streets of Magnolia with Cana riding piggy back. She was still fast asleep and she almost slipped sometimes, so he had to adjust every now and then.

“High school and already drunk dead.” Laxus grumbled.

After a few moments, Cana stirred. “…Uh… who’s this…”

Laxus grunted when roaming hands made their way to touch his face and pull at his hair. “Hey!”

“Not Gray, not Gildarts-… S-s-shit, I think I got kidnapped…” she hiccupped, but for someone who just realized that she had been kidnapped, she sounded awfully calm.

“Shut up. You passed out after Bacchus—”

“Yeah, I hate that guy kidnapper-san where are we going oh my god I’m going to get raped am I.”

“Shit, no.”

Finally, she seemed to realize what she was saying. She started to wriggle off his back and started screaming on his ear. “Aaaaahhhh, I’VE BEEN KIDNAPPED I’M GOING TO GET RAPED HELP ME!”

“Oi, stop that!” Laxus shouted back. “It’s Laxus, you stupid drunk!”

“Ahhhh-… Laxus.” Cana said, peering her head to look at the guy’s face. She squinted. She was seeing double, but there was no mistaking the lightning-shaped scar. ‘Oh. Laxus.’ She then relaxed and simply clung to him, burying her head on his shoulder. “Yay, I’m safe. Unless you dump me in the nearest trash bin. Haha.”

Laxus snorted.

“Where are you taking me?”

“To your father, because fuck, I’m not walking to your flat at this hour of the night and I don’t have money for a cab.”

“Hmmm.” Cana said, grumbling. Her head was killing her and she was feeling really dizzy.

Laxus walked in silence for a while, as the brunette on his back had started snoring lightly again.

After a few moments, Cana spoke up. “Hey, Natsu.”


“Oh yeah. Laxus.”


“Please don’t take me to Gildarts.”

Laxus stopped, trying to peek at the girls’ face. She was struggling to stay awake. “Where do you want me to take you then?”

“Uh… to Gray?”

“No. Too far.”

“To… uh… ummmm… to Natsu’s, then.”

“Still far. My last stop will be my own house, so pick something that’s on the way.”

“Urgh… killjoy. Um… Juvia.”

“You sure?”

Cana shook her head. “No, she’s on the seventh floor. Just… Lucy. Same building, third floor.”

Laxus sighed. It added a few more minutes to the time he’d be carrying her, but he guessed he should just bear with it. He had already volunteered to help, so he might as well just do it. “Fine.”

Cana gave him a little grateful squeeze. “Thanks. You’re the best world in the whole Pikachu.”

“You mean best Pikachu in the whole world, right?”


“Call me Pikachu again and I’m gonna drop you to that trash bin.”

“Pikachu.” Cana said, then giggled and said, “Nah, I’m kidding… Sorryyyyy…”

“Why don’t you want to go to your dad’s, anyway?”

“I don’t want him to see me like this.”

“You’re always drunk anyway. What’s new?”

“Y’know, he always tells me to… uh… moderation. Drink. Not much. Uh-… Drink moderately. That. Says it’s in the bottle and all. But I never listen. I’m soooo stubborn.”

“You really should listen to him.”

“Yeah, but I can’t help it, y’know? It makes me feel bad… uh… bad, doing that to him. I’m such a disappointed.”


“Yeah yeah that.”

“Hate seein’ Pops like that.” Cana mumbled sleepily. “Tryin’ so hard to love me and do me good but I can’t even give back with the same effort, y’know.”

“Try to quit the drinkin’, then. Seriously, you’re too young to be alcoholic.”

“Dunno. Can’t. Just… I’ve been me so long so… hard to change that.”

She was right. Quitting would be hard for her. She relied on it back then, so she needed a little more time. It wouldn’t be the easiest thing to do.

“Just tell him that you’re trying.” Laxus said.

“Hmmm… he might get impatient. ‘Cause you know. I’ll take loooooong. How come people try to just… hurt themselves or something, yeah? Keepin’ up on loving someone who’s so.. so… bad. Who keep doing bad. And sometimes I treat him bad. Pretty shitty.”


“I’m usually okay. With him. We’re usually good. Sometimes, though… I… screw up. Like now, yeah? When I screw up… I don’t want him to know.”

Laxus chuckled. “Just treat him better. To make up for it.”

“I’m tryin’. Just that… sometimes… y’know. Thinking that someone’s too good for ’ya. You don’t deserve ’em. They’re so off better with others.”

“Better off.”

“That. Smartypants.”

“Kinda understanding you now.” Laxus said.

“The fuck are you talking about. Stop shitting me.” Cana grumbled. “You don’t understand. You’re like this meanie who nothing feels—”

“Feels nothing.”

“—and heartless. You. Heartless. And issues. Issues with everything and you’re mean to… people. And you’re… ummm… you’re angry. Always angry. You don’t understand me. ’Cause you’re mean. I’m not mean.”

“No, I mean with the not deserving bit.”

“Oh. Yeah. Freed’s such an angel and there you are. Haha. Major… uh… jerk. You’re a jerk. No offense.”

“I get it, don’t shove it in my face.”

“It sucks, yeah?”


“Y’know… they’re good. They don’t even try. They just… love us for beer knows what reason… and… we’re this. And… that’s as get as it goods.”

“As good as it gets.”

“Yeah, wow, you’re so smart~”

“And you’re drunk.”

Laxus grunted. What the hell. Of all the people he had talked to, the deepest conversation (and the one that made the most sense) so far was with a drunk eighteen year-old.

The world really worked in mysterious ways sometimes.

Laxus almost wanted to take a picture of Lucy when she opened the door to see him with a drunken Cana riding piggy-back. He simply shrugged it off as he followed Lucy’s instructions to lay Cana on the couch. The brunette was already fast asleep. Lucy thanked him for getting the brunette to her safely, even though she obviously didn’t expect the company. Laxus also ignored the fact that Natsu’s blue cat was in Lucy’s apartment.He declined the other blonde’s offer to stay a while and have coffee. He just wanted to go home.When he got home, however, he was the one surprised to see his grandfather seeing Freed off.

He stood by the house’s gates just as Freed bowed to Makarov. Both of them stood by the front door.

Makarov saw his grandson first. “Oh. You’re home.”

“Laxus.” Freed smiled. Laxus was annoyed to realize that only now did he notice how Freed always brightened up at the sight of him.

“Hey. I’m… uh… from Mira’s.” Laxus replied. “Why’re you here?”

“We just had a nice chat.” Makarov answered smoothly. Laxus knew that his grandfather just hid something from him. “Freed’s going home now, since it’s late and all.”

“Well… Okay.” Laxus said, looking at his friend.

Freed nodded at Makarov politely before heading out. He stopped by the gates, just beside Laxus. “Sorry, I wasn’t able to practice. Things came up.”

“It’s… fine, I guess.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow, then?”

Laxus didn’t know what to say. He was still confused — why was Freed in his house and what was he talking about with his grandfather? “Yeah. Uh, tomorrow.”

“Bye.” Freed said, acting very normal, so Laxus couldn’t tell what was really up. Laxus simply watched as Freed walked down the street, pulling his jacket close to fight off the cold.

Laxus turned to his grandfather. Makarov was looking expectantly at him.

“Well..?” The old man said.

“I-… Uh-… What— Why-…”

Makarov raised an eyebrow. “Real articulate, Laxus.”

Laxus scratched his head, pointing at the direction his friend headed towards. “That was Freed, right?”

“Who else would that be?”

Laxus started to walk towards the front door, still baffled.

Makarov frowned. “Now I’m disappointed.”

But Laxus, self-admittedly, had pride enough to power a whole town — he wouldn’t let his grandfather just say that. “No, you’re not.”

He went inside the house, dumped his guitar in the couch, grabbed his coat and went out again. Makarov watched his grandson leave. The blonde stopped by the gate and said, “Don’t lock the front door.” before disappearing again.

Makarov smirked, pleased that Laxus still had some fight in him after all. “Heh. You’d have to get in through your window.”

“Freed!”The green-haired college student stopped walking, hearing the familiar voice calling out to him. Laxus was running towards him, just a few blocks away.Freed raised an eyebrow and waited for the blonde. “Laxus? Did I forget something?”

“Hell yeah, you did. You forgot to tell me what the fuck is going on.” Laxus said, panting.

Freed chuckled. “I planned to tell you guys tomorrow, but oh well, since you’re here and all…”

Laxus panted one last time before standing up straight again. “I’ll walk you to the station.”

The bassist simply nodded and they walked together.

“So what’s so important that you missed band practice and you had to talk to gramps about it?”

“My parents found out.”

Laxus looked down at his companion. Freed was smiling a little sad smile. “…that?”

“That I’m gay. They were in my flat a while ago and… well, I can say that I’ve had nicer conversations with them.”

“So what happened?”

“They weren’t happy about it. As expected.”


“They said… a lot of things.”

Laxus stopped walking and grabbed his friend by the elbow. He looked at Freed carefully. “Hey, did they hurt you?”

“Not… not that much, of course it sucks that your own parents can’t accept you…” Freed said. “Dad slapped me.”


Freed quickly cut his friend off, starting to walk again. “Mom stopped him from doing anything else. I’m alright. By the end of it, we’ve calmed down… even though they’re still very upset. Dad was angry for the most part.”

“So what happens to you now?”

Freed sighed, looking down. “I’m just lucky that they’re not taking the flat back, and they want me to go on with university.”

“But they’re mad at you.”

“More disappointed than mad, really. Actually, they were so disappointed that they’re almost not angry.”

“So you’ll still do fine, you still have the flat and they’ll still pay for university?”

“Yeah.” Freed nodded.

Laxus kept quiet, trying to get his friend to continue. When, after several blocks, Freed was still silent, the blonde finally asked, “What else?”

“They want to have me tested.”

Laxus looked disgusted. That was inappropriate. “What the hell do they think you are? You don’t sleep around like that!”

“Exactly why I don’t have to worry about it.” Freed said patiently. “I know the results would turn out fine.”

“Still. So much for good parents.”

“They just want to make sure.”

“Anything else?”

“They said they’d tell my siblings. I don’t know which of them would take that well yet.” the bassist sighed. Laxus kept quiet, so he went on. “Mom says she’ll stop getting me to dating agencies—”


“—but she wants to meet my boyfriend.”

Laxus raised an eyebrow. “You don’t have a boyfriend.”

“I told her that. But she said that if this ever goes out, and I have one, they should meet him, make sure he’s… decent and everything. It’s all about the reputation, really. They just discovered this… new thing about me… and already they’re preparing it for possible publication. That’s politics for you. They said they’d rather it be news than a scandal.”

Laxus didn’t speak. Freed noticed this and ignored it for a while. When it got too unbearable, the bassist took initiative on breaking the silence. “Laxus? What’s wrong?”

“I… It just sucks.”

Freed blinked. “What sucks?”

The blonde scratched his head. “Y’know… I finally thought about trying, then this happens and I’m out already.”

“What are you talking about?”


“What about us?”

“It sucks.”


“I liked kissing you, you know.”

This time, Freed let a blush betray him. He stammered out a flustered. “W-W-What do you mean…?”

“I thought I’d… ask you. To… you know. Try this thing out. Maybe it works.”

Freed looked at him. Laxus watched his friend’s expression. Freed was hesitant and very much confused, but he asked, ever so gently — “Are… Are you…?”

“Yeah, I am. But you just said it. You need someone who can pass as trophy and…” — Laxus suddenly remembered Cana’s words. “…and I’m this major jerk.”


“I know you… loved me… even while I’m being a jerk. And I’m lucky that you didn’t give up and stuff.” he shrugged.

“Wait. If-… if you just thought about this because you felt bad after—”

“It’s not because I felt bad rejecting you. It’s… you know, everyone’s been shouting at me that you’ve put so much into this. And I’ve put too little. I can’t return all that right away, but I’ll give back what I can. I know you think that I’m just thinking that I owe you something. ’Cause no one else will put up with my shit. Just you. And I’m not doing this because you’re the only choice, either. I-… argh. Fuck, this shit always looked easier when others do it.”

Freed was staring at him disbelievingly. “Laxus, you don’t have to feel obligated—”

“That. I’m not feeling obligated, but I want to try this. I want to learn to love you like you love me—”

This time, Freed looked at the blonde in surprise. Laxus saw this and rubbed his temples.

“That was lame, right? I knew it sounded stupid in my head.”


“Well… ’Cause… Look. I know that you love me not just ’cause I love you back, but because you just do. So I don’t want to just love you back. I want to love you because I just do. Otherwise it’s just unfair. That shit would be hard, but it’s you, and you make things easy for me, and that’s why I knew that maybe if I try-… if we try, it could work.”

Freed stared.

Laxus quickly avoided his look. He couldn’t believe he just said that. “And… and now I just said the L word so many times that I think I won’t say it for another five years, so you’ll have to bear with that. Sorry.”

Freed sniffed.

“Don’t cry. Shit, please don’t cry.”

That made Freed laugh instead. All signs of crying were gone, and he simply laughed. Laxus gaped at him. Is this his turn to be rejected?

“…I wouldn’t expect anything romantic from you for the rest of your life.” Freed said, smiling fondly. He still couldn’t believe that Laxus said all of those. Freed felt so happy. It was like all the stress from the day and the past few weeks had just disappeared. Laxus didn’t love him, but he wanted to. And that’s more than Freed had ever asked for.

“I tried my best.” Laxus grunted. “But that’s all trash now, because it won’t happen anyway.”

“Why do you think that?” Freed asked.

“You don’t need someone like me. You need someone really good, right?” Laxus said, frowning. Freed heard bitterness in his voice. “And I’m this. I’m just this jerk with temper tantrums, who never even really saw you for years. I’ve got pride as high as Mount Fuji and to top all of that off, I’ve got that shitty reputation too.”

Freed looked up at his companion and saw Laxus, for the first time, disappointed with himself. The bassist then looked down as Laxus reached out to take his hand and gripped it tightly.

Laxus wanted to say something, and Freed waited. After a while, the blonde let go of his companion’s hand, shoulders slumping.

“I’m just this, you know. And this… this is as good as it gets.”

Freed smiled. “But it’s the best.”

Laxus shook his head. “No, it’s not.”

“It really is.”

“But what about—”

Freed smiled. “Screw them. I choose you.”

Laxus looked at him disbelievingly. Freed had literally struggled with his parents for what could have been the whole day, and was in risk of being hated by his whole family, but here he was, still choosing Laxus over everything.

“No, wait.” Laxus blurted out, grabbing the other guy by the shoulders. “You’re being stupid. You know that, right?”

Freed shrugged. “Still not as stupid as someone who never figured it out when everyone was already shoving facts in front of him.”

“Your family will freak out.”

“I’m used to crazy choices. You’re one of them.”


“No takesie-backsies.”

“So… we’re actually-… Yeah?”

“Yes. I do believe you suggested it.”

Laxus still couldn’t believe that Freed still decided on this — on him. Nevertheless, he simply grunted and let go of his companion.


The blonde turned to see Freed, fist raised between them. “What?”

“Rock paper scissors.”

“For what?”

“Just do it.”

Freed played paper.

Laxus played rock.

Freed smirked proudly. “You’re telling Bix and Ever.”

“Why me?! No fucking way — rematch!”

“Don’t be a coward.”

Laxus groaned ‘fine’ under his breath and they finally resumed walking. Freed was still huddling close to his jacket and Laxus was sulking, already trying to think of how to break the news to their bandmates.

Hey, at least Freed looked very happy, and Laxus wouldn’t have to worry about being banned from The Strauss’.

“Why were you in my house, then?”

“I had to ask for principal Makarov’s advice on the thing about my family. I knew I could count on him if this went down. He helped me calm down.”

“What did he say?”

“Oh, lots of things.”

“…Really? No embarrassing stories about my childhood?”

“Shame, none. I’d have to go back to get those.”

“You wouldn’t.”

Freed looked back at him and smiled. Then, he finally asked. “Why do you smell like beer?”


“You went drinking with Cana?”

“No. Cana passed out and I helped her get home.”

Freed nodded. That sounded like Cana, alright. And if she was really drunk, then that must have been a whole lot of alcohol, so it justified the smell that stuck with Laxus.

The next moments were spent in silence. Neither of them felt any need to speak.

They stopped in front of the train station. The place was closed by then, but Freed had extra money for a cab. Laxus saw him off.

Freed kissed him before leaving (he was blushing red and Laxus realized that he liked seeing Freed blush. It was funny. And maybe cute, though he would have to revisit his definition of cute.).

As he watched the cab depart, Laxus shortly wondered if he would ever get used to Freed being good at something so… not him. Freed had always been meek and smart and a little snobbish, and Laxus never thought he would have so much… initiative.

It felt good, though. And this time, Laxus was sure, it was not because of the chocolate cake.

Chapter Notes:

I should make a poll on who’s the best character — is it Cana or Bixlow? These two are the unlikely Buddhas of this fic, seriously.

Note: It IS canon! Light novel time~ Laxus is an unfeeling jerk with a heart of jerk and could throw out perv remarks but according to the girls who grew up with him (namely Erzaaaaaaa), he really was a good guy towards girls — no messing around or womanizing or replacing girlfriends every other day. Because of this, the FT girls were tempted to think that our blonde dragon slayer has his eyes on his captain. Because who wouldn’t fall for handsome and dashing Freed Justine?

I tell you guys — Freed was hard to write. Laxus was even harder. I. Struggled. Very. Much. But I finished this shit and I’m proud. Bixlow, though, is a breath of fresh air.

Another Note: The “have his adopted babies” quote that Bix was referring to is actually from the “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” comics, which I worship.
Yet Another Note: Yes, Bix has an Ika Musume body pillow. DO NOT. JUDGE.

There’s still a separate chapter for Laxus and for Bix. I can’t wait to write them, but for the meantime, the next chapter is pretty much about our high-schoolers again.

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