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 18
Basket Case


…aka “The Only Sane Guy Here is Bixlow”

Chapter Notes:

I’m on time. I’M ON TIME!

The Bixlow chapter is just one long rant. Bixlow’s character in canon is… well… kinda crazy. Screw it. He’s creepy and crazy, but we all know how loyal he is and how he’s such a good friend. He’s been really kinda-sorta a main player for two chapters here now, but mostly for laughs. So it was kinda hard to write him in a serious note and personally I’ve been prepping myself to do this, so I can only say here that I tried my best. 😛

I’m placing the trigger warning right here, right now: ADHD and drug use (with hints of drug abuse). I know it’s quite a sensitive topic, but listen to me first. Just a short note, ’cause this chapter is quite… personal. Yep, Bixlow’s chapter is written based on personal experience, of having a friend a lot like him.

*throws Bixlow gossiping with Mirajane about Fraxus and ElfGreen*

Enjoy the chapter!

Track 18: Basket Case
…aka “The Only Sane Guy Here is Bixlow”

“Sometimes I give myself the creeps.
Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me.
It all keeps adding up, I think I’m cracking up.
Am I just paranoid or am I stoned?
— Green Day


Bixlow walked as a man on a mission. He was determined, walking through the halls of the university, laptop and notebook in one arm, bag slung over his shoulder.He had a clear goal in mind, and he was dedicated to that.He was going to make it happen.As he arrived in the university’s lush picnic grounds, he looked around to search for three specific people. He didn’t see any trace of Freed or Laxus anywhere, but he caught sight of a familiar brunette.Evergreen was helping a bunch of other young women spread out a picnic blanket on the grass, on the shade of a tree. The girls all sat down and settled their books and snacks with them.

He saw that Evergreen was smiling her ‘God-help-me-I-want-to-be-alone-again’ smile. She never got along much with fellow girls.

Yeah, well then his mission, if it succeeds, might just break the ice between his friend and her girl friends.

So he commenced with Phase 1.

Laxus and Freed were enjoying each other’s silent company. It really always seemed quieter when it was only the two of them. The pair occupied a table in the university’s study lounge, where various students from all departments gather to sit together on tables, study, chat, or pass the time.Freed was leafing through a thick reference book, highlighting diligently and taking down notes on his notebook. Across him, Laxus was busy typing on his laptop, occasionally referring to a set of handwritten notes beside him.“Hey, you two lovebirds over there!”Nope.“OI NEWLYWEDS!”

No acknowledgement.

“Where is he?!”

A stack of books and binders was slammed on the table and finally the two looked up.

Evergreen was legitimately angry. The guitarists exchanged a quick look between each other before turning to the brunette again.

Freed cleared his throat before patiently asking, “Alright, what did Elfman do?”

“It’s not Elfman!” The young woman was practically seething. “It’s Bixlow! Where the fresh blue hell is that motherfu-… Argh! Just-…! Where?!”

“We haven’t seen him today.”

“I am going to kill him!”

“What did he do?” Freed asked, glancing at Laxus, who shook his head and simply went back to typing, before turning to their female bandmate expectantly.

“Listen to this.” she started, dumping her bag in the table with the rest of her books and taking a seat beside Laxus. She breathed deeply before retelling her story through gritted teeth. “I was hanging out with the girls in my Bio class, right. I don’t even really like them all that much but they invited me to join them on their picnic blanket. So I did. And we were having a nice picnic! Taking about plants and flowers and trees and then one of them points to that hot guy over there and there’s another over there and ain’t that professor just dashing — wait, I heard that girl’s pregnant, oh there’s a couple making out on that corner—”

“—yeah, we get it…” Freed sighed. Laxus rolled his eyes.

“—so it sucks, but I tried to bear with it, see? Because they’re nice enough to invite me over—”

“—so what did Bix do?”

“Well while I was busy pretending to giggle with them, next thing I know Bixlow dashed towards us and screamed ‘I LOVE YOU EVER!’ and kissed me on the cheek and then ran away!”

Freed and Laxus could only do so much to keep themselves from laughing.

“What?! He was there, then he did it and then he was running away again and-… and—”

The boys gave up. Both laughed out loud at their friend.

Ever simply buried her head in her hands, practically fuming. “Those girls must think I’m also crazy hanging out the resident psycho ward escapee-!”

“S-So what did you say to those girls?” Freed managed to say, still chuckling in pure amusement.

“I just said, ‘oh, he always does that!’ and they were all looking at we weirdly AND THAT’S NOT ANY BETTER!” As the boys were reduced to chuckles and sniggers, Evergreen glared. “So. Just tell me where he is now.”

“We don’t know.” Freed answered.

“I’m serious! It’s not like I’ll kill him or anything, I’ll just… y’know, tear him to pieces maybe!”

“I told you, we haven’t seen him today.” Freed repeated.

“I have to ask him what possessed him to do that! It was.. It was so embarrassing, you don’t understand! I am so going to make him regret that stunt. Just swooping in there like some— Argh! Stupid stupid stupid-!”

Seeing her hitting her bag repeatedly made her companions snort, another round of impending laughter evident.


“Whoa.” Laxus said. “She’s seriously angry.”

“Of course I am! That… t-t-that was a serious damage to my reputation!” Evergreen said, obviously trying to keep herself from pulling at her own hair (because hey, it takes a lot of effort maintaining such beautiful locks like hers!).

Freed sighed. “Just let it slide, Ever.”

“I can’t! I don’t want to!”

“It’s Bixlow. Bixlow does crazy things.” Freed continued.

“B-B-But WHY.”

“Because. That’s why.” the bassist said, returning to his studying. “Honestly, after all this time? You expect him to have an explanation for anything?”

“You spoil him too much, no wonder he calls you mom.” Laxus remarked.

The brunette muffled another furious screech, hitting her bag again. Finally, she breathed out, calming herself. “If he’s stoned, I’ll probably forgive him. A little bit.”

Freed rolled his eyes and then turned to Laxus. “Do you think he is?”

Laxus raised an eyebrow. “Why me?”

“’Cause you smoke together, maybe?”

The blonde shrugged. “I dunno. Hey, don’t ask me, I’ve been stuck with you for a whole week.”

Evergreen looked at them pointedly. “You two were in a week-long honeymoon. We didn’t see you guys last week at all.”

“We were working on his finals paper.” Freed explained. “Right now, he’s still working on his finals paper. I gave up on it yesterday.”

“I never asked you to proofread the whole thing but you did.” Laxus deadpanned.

“I’m sorry, I can’t help it. Your paper speaks like a barbarian.”

“Well I’m sorry for not speaking like a freakin’ ancient person.”

“All I’m saying is you should have written it formally from the start, so we wouldn’t have gone through everything you’ve done to revise them all.”

“I was speed-writing. It’s my style.”

Evergreen huffed. “Yeah, paper.” the brunette totally agreed. “Is that why Freed’s wearing a scarf?”

Both of them quickly avoided her look, Freed adjusting the aforementioned scarf consciously. “W-What? It’s cold.”

“Hah! Oh my God, I never thought I’d ever—”

“Dude.” Laxus cut her off. “Look, for a week we were holed up either in class or the boring as fuck library or my room. The bloody paper was shit and Freed was trying to memorize all the fucking laws of like ten different countries—”

“—I wasn’t—”

“We were stressed — the other option was to kill each other, and that shit will land us in jail.”

Freed wanted to disappear.

Evergreen giggled slyly behind her hand. “Ohohohoho… You boys are growing up so fast—”

Freed whined. “Ever—”

“You totally did the paper… and each other, huh~”


The brunette looked at Laxus. “How was it?”

Laxus tried really hard to keep on a straight face, if only because his pride didn’t allow him to blush and stutter like Freed was doing. “It was great, thank you very much for asking.”

It was Evergreen’s turn to laugh out loud at Freed, who had buried his flustered face in his books.

Laxus grumbled. “Fine, you’re happy now, we’re doing couple stuff — Change the topic.”

“I’m still mad at Bixlow.” Evergreen said, crossing her arms across her chest. “And he’s not Freed’s lovely neck, so you can’t use a scarf to hide that guy from me. Don’t even try.”

“We won’t.” Laxus answered.

“I have class.” Evergreen said, flipping brown hair over her shoulder and picking up her bag and books. “Good luck with the paper, the laws, each other… Whatever. Keep up the character development and all that jazz.”

The pair watched the brunette walk towards the nearby school building and disappear from sight before looking at each other.

“I told you she’ll notice the scarf…” Freed said, rubbing his temples.

Laxus looked at his companion’s scarf critically. “Is it really still there?”


“At least she didn’t notice mine.”

Freed sighed, about to point out that Laxus always wore turtlenecks anyway but another voice cut in, just behind him.

“Surprise, bitch!” — there was no mistaking who that was.

Freed grumbled. “No, don’t do it—”

“I bet you thought you’d seen the last of me!”

Freed rolled his eyes as Bixlow laughed in self-satisfaction.

Laxus shook his head and went back to his laptop, muttering “I do wish I’d seen the last of you.” under his breath.

“Okay, that was really mean, but I forgive you because I know you always have issues.” Bixlow said, putting down his own bag and laptop on the table and taking his seat beside Freed. “Men, I need a lap. Who wants to lend me a lap?”

“Not me.” Laxus answered quickly.

Freed shrugged and patted down his pants. Bixlow automatically saw this as the bassist volunteering so he quickly laid his head on his friend’s lap and got cozy. As Freed went back to reading, he said, “Do you know that Evergreen is out for your blood?”

“Eh? Why?” the drummer asked innocently.

“Because you embarrassed her in front of her friends?”

“Ehhhh? I thought she’d like it.”

“Well, she didn’t.” Freed answered pointedly. “She thought it was really embarrassing.”

“Eh, I even put her first ’cause I love her~”

“But you-… you what?”

Even Laxus stopped typing.

Bixlow sat up and, with a straight face, said, “See, I am on a mission.”

“Dude, are you high?” Laxus asked, not taking his eyes off from his paper. It was almost finished. All the effort that he was putting on it for the past week has been paying off, not to mention Freed’s very useful assistance. So he obviously had no time to listen to Bixlow especially if the guy was just stoned.

“Nope.” came the quick answer. “I mean, yeah. I mean I’m always high but not that kinda high but-… Whatever. You get the point, ’kay?”

This time it was Freed who wanted to clarify. “Are you sure you didn’t overdose on the…” — what does Laxus and Bix call it? — “…weed?”

“I took my usual stuff!” Bixlow insisted.

“Okay, okay. We get you.” Freed said consolingly. Laxus scoffed — the other guy was really such a mom. No wonder he got along with Mira. “Alright, what were you saying?”

“I am on a mission.”

Freed stared. Laxus kept on typing and Bixlow simply went on.

“It’s called ‘Operation: Kiss Everyone I Love’ open parenthesis ‘Mostly Everyone At Least’ close parenthesis.”

Freed nodded slowly. “Okay…”

“It started today. I’m gonna give mostly everyone I love a kiss! I have to do it in one week!”

“You were probably high when you decided on that mission.” Laxus commented. Freed was still thinking on how to say it but then there it was. Laxus and his honesty.

“Whatever, Papa.” Bixlow huffed. “So yeah, I love Ever even if she’s always mean and telling me to go away ‘cause I’m crazy and stuff even though I keep telling her that ADHD is not schizo, and she’s always shoutin’ at me but hey she’s nice and gives me candy and tells me her boy problems, so I kissed Ever. Hey, she didn’t shout but I got the feeling she’ll pulverize me so I ran~”

“I thought you thought she’d like it.”

“Ever is a tsundere character. She wants to pulverize me but she likes it.”

“Really?” Freed said, face resigned.


“So who else have you kissed?”

“Well, I don’t like the other people here much but… Hah!” Bixlow crossed his arms across his chest proudly. “Elfman of course!”

Laxus snorted, trying not to laugh, while Freed slapped a hand to his forehead. “H-How… did he react?”

“Eh, that’s the good part. He just stared and waved back when I ran away.”

“You probably traumatized him.”

“Yeah, whatever. I am gonna go kissing people after classes.”

Freed sighed. “What even made you come up with this… mission?”

“Well, I was really bored. I’ve caught up to all my anime and manga and I’ve rewatched Haruhi for like the fifth time ‘cause there was no band practice or jammin’ and Ever wants me to go away ’cause she’s busy with school and Elf and stuff, and my two other friends are like away somewhere busy doing.. uh… whatever, probably each other—”

“We weren’t—”

“—each other’s homework~ Gee, Freed you have a dirty mind—”

“Shut up—”

“—well, so they’re away and I can’t bother ’em because they’re working in the name of education~ So I was really bored, I’ve caught up to all my anime and—”

“We get it, you don’t have to repeat—”

“—so I thought since my best friends abandoned me I will go bug other people so I don’t feel forever alone~ And well guess what, my other friends are busy with studying for their own finals! Y’know, Lucy-chan and the others? So I couldn’t bug ANYONE—”

“Why is it necessary to bother anyone, anyway?”

“—’cause I don’t have anything to do and I don’t have exams in ANY SUBJECT, just projects and papers and I’ve passed all of mine because I’m a genius—”

“—okay, but why don’t you just.. study more or something?”

“Eh, I don’t want to study, so I decided that ’cause everyone is busy and stressed and stuff, I’m gonna tell ’em all I love ’em and kiss ’em!”

“…You think they will like that?”

“Well, Laxus definitely liked it when you—”

“Okay, stop—”

“—told him you love ’im and you kissed ’im, so I figured—”

“…stop there just—”

“—I’d try, y’know — except I have a larger scope ’cause I don’t have a single-target sexuality—”

“—okay, just fucking stop.”

Bixlow stopped.

Laxus chuckled. “He said ‘fuck’ again, I think I’m rubbing off on him.”

Bixlow faked a scandalized gasp. “Papa has defiled you, Mama-!”

“No one has defiled anyone-! Oh my God, just stop. Both of you.” Freed said trying to keep patient. “I don’t mean to say that. It’s a bad word, Bixlow. Never say it.”

Bixlow sniggered. “Only if Papa stops saying it too.”

But then sometimes Laxus rebelled only for the sake of rebelling, so he said, “Fuck no.” before he and Bixlow shared a satisfied fistbump of victory.

Freed silently questioned his life choices.

“So guys, let’s hang out today!” Bixlow said, practically bouncing in his seat.

“Can’t.” was Laxus’ curt response.

“Ever is still mad at you.” Freed reminded their friend, returning to his book. “Plus, I’m studying for my exams.”

Bixlow clicked his tongue. “What, ’ya still not done… what, eating all the Law books in the library?”

“Why is it that everyone thinks I’m trying to memorize every single constitution?” Freed complained.

“’Cause duh. All those big-ass books and stuff and they’re different every time.”

“For the last time, these are reference books.” Freed lectured. He was about to say something else when Laxus stood up, hastily gathering his papers and tucking the items in his laptop sleeve before taking his laptop as well. “Class?”

“Yeah. Three fucking hours of boredom. Will probably finish typing this shit up while ignoring that shitty professor.” Laxus grunted, slinging his bag over his shoulder as well. “See ’ya guys.”

He gave Freed a light pat on the head before walking off to the school building.

Bixlow pouted, watching their leader walk away. “Can’t he skip that?”

“Let’s just be happy that he’s attending classes now. Back in high school we could hardly convince him to go.” Freed said, also starting to gather his things.

“What, you’re leaving too?” Bixlow asked.

Freed nodded. “My next class starts in 30 minutes.”

“Gee, I never see you guys anymore. And when I do, y’all busy. Ever’s being mean and you and Laxus are being mushy touchy-feely—”

“We’re not.” Freed said. Yes, they were official but he was pretty sure they do the ‘couple stuff’ in private. Laxus was adjusting. They both were.

Bixlow scrunched up his nose. “Ehhhh, he’s patting you on the head and you’re always whispering stuff to each other and you lean on him and—”

“It’s not like we only see each other. We pay attention to you, at least.” Freed argued, inwardly adding ‘To be honest, it’s hard to ignore you.’

“How’s Laxus, anyway? I mean, how’re you two doing, ‘cause if you’re always gone and off together I bet somethin’ interesting’s happenin’.” Bixlow asked, trying to get his companion to stay, utilizing the spare ‘30 minutes before class starts’ to his advantage. “Is he sweet?”

“No. But… well, he’s definitely more… open. Lately.”

“Do you do the do a lot?”

Okay, that escalated quickly. “What kind of question is that? We’ve only been going out for a month.”

“Well, you’re wearing a scarf and he’s wearing a weird turtleneck and you’re not tellin’ him how he’s such a fashion disaster.”

Freed paused.

He didn’t expect Bixlow to notice BOTH.

“It’s just-…” a sigh. “Fine. No, we haven’t done the ‘do’.”

Bixlow nodded. “Wow, so dignified.”

“We’re taking it slow.”


“I’m saying the truth.”


Freed rolled his eyes. “Alright. We’re sort of a little bit more on the… physical… side right now. He sort of.. got used to those things first before the… I quote, ‘feelings and stuff’. I think it just comes off easier for him.”

“Aw, man.” Bixlow groaned. He knew that the other guy was a romantic. Freed would have loved open fluffy declarations of love and sweeping into sunsets and stuff. But to be honest, Bixlow didn’t find it surprising that Laxus got into the physical aspect of things first. “Really?”

Freed nodded. “But that already says a lot, and I’m fine with that for now. I… He tries, okay? And I see that.”

“Reeeeaally?” he drawled this time.

But Freed looked at him and said, “Bix, you have to admit that it’s… rare. To see Laxus trying hard. It means a lot to me, that he’s… exerting some effort for once.”

“D’you think he’ll come ’round?”

“He’s already coming around.” Freed said, certain at first, then trailing off into a tentative, ‘Kinda. He’s… warmer, at least. You know him, he’s a lot better with actions than with words. Evidently. Hence the scarf.’ — a chuckle. “He’s… just like that. But really, he’s being more open to me. It’s… it’s good.”

“So, what,” Bixlow blinked, obviously slightly confused. “Uh, last week when you two were gone, you really just did the paper and… what, made out?”

Freed looked down, a blush on his face. “…T-That’s not entirely incorrect… We talked too.”

“Talk about what?”

“Things. It’s really nice, he answers when I ask, and he asks me too. We know each other well, but there are lots of things we still don’t know, and see, it’s really good to just spend time together like that. It doesn’t have to be sweeping romance or anything, really. I’m… I’m good with what we’ve got working right now.”

Bixlow looked at his friend this time, his voice taking a gentler tone. “Are you happy?”

“I am. Maybe only because I’m patient or something. But it’s… paying off and we’re making progress so I don’t think it’s all that bad.” was the answer. Freed had a little fond smile on his face. He looked back at his companion. “Are you worried?”

“Yeah, ‘cause if it ends up bad, I’ll feel guilty ’cause I was kinda pushing you guys. I mean, I knew before he did, you told me to shut up but I kept cheering you on and I know it got really annoying and you just tried to work around on that ’cause I might blow your cover or something. So… well, not like I’m hopin’ that you guys screw it up, I swear I don’t want that to happen, but if it does, I’ll feel really really really really bad ’cause it’ll feel like it’s my fault somehow.”

“Don’t be like that.” Freed said, shaking his head. “It’s not like you.”

He groaned. “I need a lap.”

“I have class in 10.”

Bixlow pleaded, “5 minutes?”

A sigh. “Fine.”

Bixlow slumped his head back on his friend’s lap. “I never see you guys. I feel bad not seeing you.”

“Oh, come on. It’s only been a week. Ever has a lot on her plate, I’ve got a ton of books to go through, and Laxus has that killer paper. Finals is next week. This will all die down eventually.”

“But it’s boring without you guys.” he complained. “Nobody else wants to hang with me, they think I’m the stoner kid, which isn’t exactly wrong but I-.. y’know, like to call it self-medication.”

“Self-diagnosed and self-medicated.” Freed provided. “Hush, people don’t understand you but I bet they would if they’ve talked to you before you’ve taken your daily… dose.”

Bixlow scoffed. “They all suck. You guys are the only awesome ones.”

Freed chuckled. “I’ll take that as a compliment. Now cheer up and get off my lap. I’ll be late for my class.”

“But Freeeeed~”

Freed groaned. “You know, this is a really big and heavy hardbound book I have here.”

“Okay, okay I’m getting up please don’t hurt me.”

Bixlow watched as the green-haired young man gathered his things and then walked off to class. He slumped his head on the table and sighed.

“Everything sucks.”

The first time Bixlow talked to Laxus was when he was buying some drugs for himself.Laxus just barged in the usual place — a shady bar on the more deserted parts of town, where some dealers weren’t afraid to sell goods to minors who could afford them. The blonde ran into the lanky student hurriedly trying to get out of the place. He would have punched the idiot outright, but the shorter teen was shaking and apologizing, trying to pick up his purchase.“That’s a lot of weed.” Laxus commented, watching the other boy, trying to remember if he knew this one. The shaking teenager was wearing the FairyGaku uniform. ‘At least’, Laxus thought, ‘I’d bothered to change into somethin’ else.’“It works better than Ritalin.” was the quick answer, before the boy bowed his head. “I’m very s-sorry, D-Dreyar-kun.”Laxus didn’t bother to ask why the boy knew him. He knew he had a reputation. Besides, when you run around campus with Mirajane Strauss hot on your heels and shouting your name, you will probably earn some popularity. “No prob. Just get outta here.”

“T-Thank you.” then the boy was gone.

Laxus didn’t plan to stay long in the joint. He headed straight for the bar’s back room, which also served as his father’s office that time. Back then, Ivan Dreyar was known for his illegal activities.

The blonde dropped a package on the table. “Someone asked me to give this to you. I did just that. I’m leaving now.”

“Good work, son.” his father said, taking the package and examining it.

“What’s in it?”

“You don’t need to know.”

The blonde scoffed, but accepted a stack of cash his father laid out on the table.

“There are other kids at the back, you might wanna join them.”

“No, thanks. I have other plans.” was the curt response. He didn’t wait for his father to say goodbye before leaving the place. He doesn’t care about any of the people in there, anyway. And his grandfather has been telling him for a while to keep his distance from his father. So he left. He wasn’t lying when he said he had other plans.

Lately, he found himself hanging out with that rich green-haired boy from Class A. At first, Laxus was sure that they only tolerated each other because of their same taste in music. He was just casually borrowing some CD’s. Then he discovered that Freed played the bass. Well, he didn’t want to go barge in on the kid’s house — it was a mansion complete with security guards and a tall gate and he felt like he shouldn’t be there. So, ignoring his grandfather’s complaints to tone down the noisy guitar-playing, he took the initiative to invite his new friend to his place.

It was one of those afternoons where he had Freed sitting on his bed and strumming his guitar absently, while Laxus was going around kicking cables out of the way, trying to clear the floor as much as possible.

“Laxus, I think the floor’s pretty clear now.” the boy said.

“Yeah, well you tripped and fell on your pretty face last time.” Laxus grunted. “Everyone thought I punched you or something.”

“S-Sorry…” Freed looked down. “I-… I won’t trip again this time.”

“Better safe than sorry. You might crack your head and I don’t want your parents filing a dozen lawsuits at me.”

“They won’t file anything, it will be considered an accident… besides you’re a minor—”

“Okay, shut up and just get my point. Stop being so fucking smart.” — he ignored the deep frown sent his way before he headed to grab his own guitar. “How’s our vocalist, by the way?”

Freed shrugged. “I dropped by a while ago. She still won’t see anyone. Or talk, even.”

“She’s that worse off?”

“She says her voice is ugly and that she’ll never sing again. I mean, she wrote it in a piece of paper and shoved it in my face.”

“It’s just sore throat, man. She’ll get better.”

“I know, but that’s her, I guess. She’s crankier than usual, though. Maybe it’s a girl thing.” Freed sighed, resting his head on his guitar, watching boredly. “What are we playing today?”

“I dunno.” — then before his companion can continue, Laxus asked, “What’s Ritalin?”

Freed blinked. “Uh… it’s some kind of drug. I think.”

“For what?”

“I’m not sure exactly… Prescribed medication for some mental disorder or something?”

“Meds for crazy people, really?”

“Don’t say it like that. They’re illnesses.” Freed scolded, sighing. “Why are you asking, anyway?”

Laxus avoided the other teen’s curious look. “Nothing. Someone mentioned it and I didn’t know what it was, so yeah.”

Freed didn’t ask too much questions. That’s what Laxus liked about the boy, anyway. He was quiet and wasn’t as annoying as the other students who trailed after him. Plus, this one seemed to have a brain so Laxus could count on him to think for himself. He didn’t like — what does Mira call them? — a gang? Minions. Or his own support squad. Or something. Laxus functions alone.

The next day, Evergreen was still sick. She even had her mother tell the boys that she doesn’t want to see anyone. The two simply grunted and then went away, adjusting their guitars on their backs and heading for the Dreyar house again.

The arcade was on the way to Laxus’ place. They stopped there shortly when Laxus saw a group of junior high students running inside enthusiastically. From outside the establishment, he saw Natsu, Gray and Erza arguing, the boys obviously teasing the red-head about something again.

“Are you going in?” Freed asked.

“Nah, just saw my sister inside. Let’s go.”

With that, they started to resume their walk, until Laxus saw a vaguely familiar figure inside, hunched in front of one of the arcade game machines. The blonde quickly grabbed his companion and Freed yelped as he abruptly stopped.


“We’re going in.”


“I said we’re going in—”

“Okay, but let go of my hair, please.”

Laxus quickly let go of the green ponytail, not bothering to apologize — if Freed didn’t want his hair to be grabbed in place of his shirt, he shouldn’t grow it that long, geez.

Freed trailed after Laxus as they walked inside the arcade, heading for the drum game. Sitting in front of the machine was the boy who bumped into Laxus the other day. He was wearing headphones connected to the machine and was configuring his game, obviously not noticing the pair who stood behind him and watched.

“Laxus, are you playing?” Freed asked curiously, looking at his companion, then at the other boy who was twirling the drumsticks distractedly and tapping his foot impatiently on the bass drum pedal.

“No, just watching.” Laxus answered quickly.

“But why—”

“Shut up, it’s starting.”

They watched as the navy-haired kid started playing. He had sat lankily on the chair before the music started, but as soon as the beats were in the screen, he was suddenly playing with vigor, hitting every beat right — restless, energetic. Freed raised an eyebrow, impressed at the obvious high difficulty level the game was set in, while Laxus watched with a minute frown and a straight face.

“Do you know him?” the bassist asked as the game’s first song was drawing to a close.


Freed didn’t speak again, if only because he didn’t know what particular question to ask.

The two stood by after two more songs, then there was the bonus level, which they let finish. As soon as the drummer took off his headphones, Laxus stepped forward and spoke up.

“Hey, weed kid.”

Freed raised an eyebrow at that, then looked at the other boy, who looked and sounded terrified, gripping the drumsticks close to his chest.


“You’re good. How’d you learn that?”

“I-…I just p-play this game a lot-…”

“No fucking way, you’ve never played real drums before?”


Laxus did a quick introduction. “I’m Laxus. You know that already. This one’s Freed. He’s a dude, in case you get confused. What’s your name?”


“Remember that for me.” Laxus told Freed before turning back to the other teen. “D’you wanna play real drums?”

“W-What.. like, now?”


Freed was quick to interrupt. “Don’t tell me we’re going to a studio.”

“I’m paying.” Laxus said, looking at his companion pointedly. He looked at Bixlow again. “What, you coming or not?”

When Bixlow got out from his latest class, he made sure to look for his bandmates fast. He knew they will most likely go home early, but he wanted to catch up.He found Freed on the picnic grounds first.The bassist was sitting under the shade of a big tree, his books forgotten beside him as he tapped and swiped repeatedly on his phone.“Yo, Mother dearest~” came Bixlow’s greeting as he sat beside the green-haired young man. “Who’re you textin-… oh. Candy Crush? Seriously?”“I wanted to take a break.” Freed explained nonchalantly. “Besides, I’ve finished all my reviewers. I’ll just read them on the next couple of days before the exams.”

“Wow. Outstanding student much?”

Freed shrugged. “I want to keep my parents as happy as possible, thank you. So they won’t bug me about who I hang out with and what I do with my guitar.”

“It sucks to be you.” Bixlow commented.

Freed simply shook his head and turned to his game.

“I need a lap again.”

The bassist groaned. “I should charge you for that already.”

“Aw, but you’re my mom.”

“Just go ahead.”

Then a third voice was heard: “No, I need a lap too.”

Both boys looked up to see Laxus standing in front of them. The blonde settled down his things and sat down on Freed’s other side.

“Are your classes over?” Freed asked, looking at their leader’s tired, sleepy face.

Laxus grunted. “Yeah. And I finished my fucking paper like 30 minutes ago.”

“Congratulations, then.”


“Eh, Papa, I was here first!” Bixlow whined.

Laxus squinted. “Isn’t there some kind of automatic reservation for the… err… me?”

Freed raised an eyebrow. Laxus was playing along — he really must be tired.

Bixlow wouldn’t give up, though. “But I’m the child here, parents always put children first~”

“No, go away. You’re adopted.”

“I called dibs! DIIIIBS!”

“I need to take a nap or I’m cutting off somebody’s head.”

“You always nap sitting up, you just wanna cuddle with Freed!”

“Well, you cuddle with Freed more than I do.”

“Guys, GUYS.” Freed sighed in resignation. “You can share, okay? And if someone wants a shoulder, fine — use the shoulder as well, I don’t care — just keep quiet. I’m trying to relax.”

“Candy Crush is not relaxing.” Laxus accused.

“It is for me.” Freed said, looking pointedly at the blonde. “Now you guys make yourselves comfortable using me as a pillow before I go decide to ditch both of you and go home.”

They shared the lap. Grudgingly.

After a few minutes of silence, Bixlow spoke up. “Hey, guys—”

He was cut off by an angry “Godfuckingdammit someone’s trying to sleep here.”

Bixlow pouted, but continued anyway. “Do you still have classes? Let’s hang out—”

“I’m going home as soon as I finish this level.” Freed answered. “Then I’ll study again.”

“Man, get tired of that sometimes.” Bixlow complained. “What ’bout you, Dreyar-sama~?”

“I’ll go home and sleep until tomorrow morning.”

“But it’s just the afternoon—”

“Do I have to fucking repeat myself.”

“Okaaaay, okay. I give. You’re both ditchin’ me. You’re bad parents, yeah.”

That was followed by Freed’s patient, “Bixlow, please keep quiet.”

Laxus was able to mentally count up to ten before the drummer made some noise again.

“This is boring, man.”

“Please shut up.”

’One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Si—’

“Hey, Freed, go play Flappy Bird.”

“I don’t need my life ruined right now, thank you. Maybe some other time. Please shut up.”

’One. Two. Three—’

“Am I really adopted?”

Laxus gave up. He sat up and scratched his head. “Fuck this, I’m going home. Can’t sleep with the two of you talking.”

“Take care on your way.” Freed said, not looking up from his game. Bixlow also sat up, casually swinging an arm around Freed’s shoulder. The bassist merely ignored his friend.

“What the fuck, why are you looking at me like that?” he heard Laxus say. Freed chose to ignore that as well — it wasn’t unheard of, Bixlow trying to do some puppy eyes but simply managing to creep other people out. “Freed? Freed, your son is scaring me. Why is he winking like that?”

This time, Freed looked up. “What?”

The next thing he knew, Bixlow held his face, screamed that he loved Freed in all his motherly glory, kissed the bassist on the cheek and then quickly scrambled for his things before dashing a few good meters away. “HAH! MY MISSION CONTINUES!”

“What the hell?!” Freed exclaimed, wiping his cheek. “Ew, Bixlow!”

“Did he drool on you?” Laxus asked, trying, for the umpteenth time that day, not to laugh out loud.

“He did!” The green-haired young man ignored his companion and screamed, “COME BACK HERE!”

Bixlow skipped a few steps farther. “Nah, not risking my life right now! Later, folks!”

He left them like that, Freed trying to sound angry as he told Laxus to stop laughing at him, while Laxus didn’t try to apologize nor hide his obvious amusement.

“BIXLOOOOOW!” — came a screech from not so far away. Freed and Laxus watched as Bixlow turned the opposite direction and effectively ran away from Evergreen, laughing maniacally.

Laxus was scaring the poor kid, Freed knew. He sat on a chair on the corner of the studio, holding his bass guitar on his lap, watching the entire exchange.Bixlow — it was a weird name, really — was gently and tentatively hitting the drums, testing out how they sound. He really had never played the instrument before, but judging from how he hovered the drumsticks over the instrument as if he wanted to play a particular beat or routine, Freed guessed that the other boy at least knew how things were supposed to sound, how the instrument was supposed to be played.Laxus was watching the guy closely. Freed sighed at that. The poor kid was just getting more nervous by the blatant stare.Then the blonde finally grunted impatiently. “C’mon, play anything.”“B-But, I might play badly—”

“Just any drum routine. Anything. Try hitting four different drums after the other and just repeating that. Whatever works.”

Bixlow looked hopelessly at the guitarist before sighing and just following orders. Four simple beats from the snare drum.

Laxus scoffed.

Four simple beats from the snare drum, mixing the bass drum on the first beat and a cymbal on the third.

It was sloppy playing, and the boy frowned as he tried to focus. “…Is this okay?”

“Keep on it.”

After about eight repeats, the beats grew steadier. Laxus smiled a bit and then picked up his guitar, strumming the first chord that came to mind.

Bixlow almost stopped, but Laxus looked at him and said, “I’ll catch up to you. Just keep it up.”

As the drumming grew stronger and more consistent, Laxus just strummed through a random chord pattern, trying to match his guitar to the beat. Freed gripped his bass as he watched the two and listened as the two instruments finally started to blend together.

After a while, Laxus turned to him. “Freed, I don’t know what I’m doing. Save this.”

Freed raised an eyebrow. “W-What?”

“Make a sick bass line. You can do that.”

Freed shook his head and stood up to join the other two students. Laxus has only had his guitar for roughly more than a year. Freed, on the other hand, has been playing his instrument for five years. He listened to the two playing for a while, Bixlow struggling to play consistently as he looked from the lead to the bassist, watching as Freed studied the accompaniment and then made something up on the spot.

Bixlow almost let go of the drumsticks as the bass started playing, delivering a strong, fine sound despite obviously being an improv.

“Hey, don’t fall back!” Laxus said, pulling Bixlow back to the game. When the blonde noticed that their drummer was trying not to gape at the bassist’s smooth playing, he smirked. “I know, man.”

“He’s… awesome.”


After a few more measures, Freed frowned up at them. “I’m running out of improv here, guys.”

Laxus nodded. “Weed kid, make something up.”


“Anything from your game, c’mon. Something quick.”


“Just fucking do it!”

Bixlow kept playing the same four beats before shaking his head and saying, “Oh, what the hell.” before quickly straying from his rhythm and simply letting loose — visualizing the familiar interface of his game and trying to play anything from memory—

Above the loud banging of the drums and the electric strums of both guitars, he heard a loud shout of “Yeah!” from Laxus and a laugh from Freed.

As Bixlow looked up and stared at them, the other boys looked back.

Freed asked, still strumming his bass absently. “Why’d you stop?”

“Uh… Did I screw up?”

Freed nodded. “You did.”

“We don’t care. Keep going.” Laxus ordered.

Bixlow kept going.

The boys had to scramble out the studio as they used up their rental time down to the last second.Bixlow trailed after the other two like a puppy, still gripping his drumsticks to his chest. Laxus bought it when they got into the studio and realized that Bixlow didn’t have sticks, and after their session, the blonde said that Bixlow could keep it.“We have to do that again.” Laxus said, turning his head to look behind him. “Not bad for your first time, weed kid.”“T-Thanks…”“Why do you call him that?” Freed asked.

“He was buyin’ weed from my dad.” Laxus answered nonchalantly. Freed tried to keep a straight face — he was a good kid, an honor student who didn’t have any vices. He would have reacted badly had it been any other person, but he didn’t want to get on the other guy’s bad side, so he stayed quiet and just chose to listen as Laxus continued to ask their companion. “You said it’s better than your medicine? What d’you have?”

Bixlow looked down. “I… err, I have-… Uh…”

“Fine, don’t tell us. But weed? Better than what you’re takin’, really?”

“It helps me calm down.”

“Dude, it makes you high.”

“I need it. My… medicine… does more bad than good.”


“It’s supposed to calm me down, but I get… too calm, like, depressed kind of calm. And I can’t sleep at night.”

“You’re supposed to calm down, why?”

“I have ADHD.” They stopped walking. Bixlow looked away from his companions. “Since I was a kid. The Ritalin was helping, but I started to feel cold and depressed, and sleeping got hard and… and mom and dad think it’s still working well. Didn’t listen to me when I said I feel bad takin’ it. They probably think it’s just the disorder talkin’ and stuff—”

Freed spoke up. “So you prefer being high… instead of the Ritalin side-effects?”

“Who wouldn’t? When I don’t take anything, I can’t stay still or focus on something for more than five minutes, and I won’t stop talking, and-… and mom and dad just wants me to stop, and Ritalin calms me down, but I feel like I’m dead then and-… and see, I’m doing it right now, I can’t focus or control anything, and I can’t just let myself loose ’cause people don’t like that—”

“Whoa, whoa.” Laxus said. “Dude, calm—”

“I can’t! That’s what’s wrong with me! And I need to take stuff so I don’t bother other people—”

“So you just make yourself high instead?” Freed asked.

Bixlow stepped back and breathed deeply, obviously trying to calm down. “It’s better than feeling like I want to kill myself! When I’m high at least I forget my problems. I’m… I’m sorry for shouting at you like that.”

Freed quickly raised a hand and shook his head. “No, it’s okay. It’s fine. We… we were asking too much. We’re sorry.”

“What I saw you buying last time,” Laxus started. “I’ve used that stuff so I know. That’s still a lot of weed if you just want to calm down.”

“I-… I need more than most people do—”

“You don’t. You get stoned too, don’t you?”

“I-… I—”

“You take more than you need.”

Bixlow looked down. “It’s the most fun I have. Got no friends, can’t hang out with anyone ‘cause it’s hard tryin’ to be normal and stuff like that.”

Laxus just looked at him, and when it became apparent that both his companions didn’t know what to say, Freed took the matter into his own hands. He laid a hand on Laxus’ arm, telling the blonde to let him handle the situation, and then he turned to the other boy. “We’re sorry for prying.”

“I’m sorry for lashin’ out at you. I-… It happens sometimes. I can’t help it, I’m sorry-… You-… You guys were cool.”

“You’re cool, too.” Freed said, trying to smile. “And… um, we’re not mad or anything. If you can’t help it, then you can’t. We’ll just have to… understand that.”

“T-Thanks. I… You were really nice to me. I don’t even know you and-… really sorry—”

“We told you, it’s fine—”

“I’m bothering you guys. Sorry. I’ll just-… I have to go.” With that, the boy turned and ran away.


Laxus moved to follow the navy-haired student, but Freed held on to his arm.

“Let me go.”

“Laxus, we made him upset.”

The blonde groaned, but stopped anyway, harshly withdrawing his arm from the other one’s hold. He huffed. “Is it that bad? What he has?”

Freed sighed, following the blonde as he walked towards the opposite direction. “Imagine not being able to calm down, or focus on anything. Basically you don’t have a stop button while you’re awake.”

The blonde didn’t say anything.

“…and then the only thing that can calm you down comes with severe side effects. I’m not an expert, but that’s basically what he’s dealing with.”

“So he goes and takes illegal drugs?”

“He said it himself, it helps him a lot more—”

“He also takes a lot more.”

Freed didn’t know why he was still defending the boy. He thought that he should be on Laxus’ side, but this time he simply felt that he should be taking the losing one. “He’s just… trying to deal with his problem. Let’s not make it harder for him.”

“You’re on his side, really?” Laxus raised an eyebrow at the green-haired teen. They’ve only been friends for roughly two months, but for those two months, Freed hasn’t denied him anything yet.

The bassist sighed. “You’re being too tough on someone who’s struggling, that’s all.”

Laxus scoffed. “And you kept asking me if it was a good idea to bring him along because — I quote, ‘he looks unstable’.”

“That was before he told us what he was going through!”

“I still want to jam with him again. Hey, we need a drummer.”

Freed didn’t object to it, but he looked down. “He’s sloppy.”

“T’was his first time. He can practice.”

“Laxus, the guy’s depressed and he’s basically avoiding people. Do you think he’ll just… follow you like some obedient pet?”

“I won’t force him.” Laxus said. “Too much.”

Freed rolled his eyes. “You can’t force him.”

“Did I force you?”

Freed stopped, watching his companion walk ahead of him without giving a damn about leaving him behind. “N-No…”

Laxus shrugged. “Well, you’re a rich snobbish honor student who’s prettier than half the female population and you’re following me. Who can say I have to force that sad kid to doin’ the same?”

Finally, Freed groaned and then just ran to catch up to the blonde. As they walked side by side again, he sighed, “I give up. Do what you want.”


“…What do you want?”

“That kid’s good. I want him to play for us.”

“Can you get him to practice?”

“Kid needs company, we need a drummer. I think we can settle on something.”

Mira was free. Kinana, Lucy and Cana were all on the same shift somehow and there were few customers. That afternoon, she found herself just sitting idly by the bar, doing tallies on a small notepad. The barmaid stopped writing when she noticed someone sitting — no, not in front of her, but on the bar top, just beside her.She knew who it was, so Mira simply smiled as she looked up. “Hello, Bix—”Mira paused when the navy-haired young man leaned in and planted a kiss on her cheek.Bixlow grinned. “Hey, Mira — ’ya know how much I love you?”She blinked, then answered with an awkward, “Um…”

“I’m on a mission. I’m gonna kiss everyone I love. So far I got Ever, Elf, Freed and you.”

“…Okay.” she finally chuckled. “Then I would have to say that I’m honored to be joining them in that list.”

“Aw, shucks. You’re really sweet.” Bixlow laughed. “Let’s hang out.”

“Hm? Why, where’s the band?”

He huffed. “They ditched me.”

“Did you pull a prank on them again?”

“Nah, besides the kissing thing pissing Ever off big-time and I think traumatizing your brother — sorry for that, I thought I oughtta give you a heads-up — I didn’t pull any prank, y’see.” he mused. “They’re just… ugh, busy.”

“Ah. I heard Elfman say it’s almost finals week in the university.”

“Yeah.” Bixlow sighed. “I finished all my work early and I’ve run outta things to do.”


“Ya know how last week Ever was like, ‘GO AWAY HUMAN. I ONLY TALK TO PLANTS.’ I mean yeah I get it, they’re supposed to research the fricken’ flowers, but she should get a break, y’know. But maybe she uses those breaks on Elf ‘cause she always says she can’t hang out ’cause she’ll be seein’ Elf after her class with the plants and stuff. She was holding a freakin’ pot. And going to her boyfriend. She was goin’ to her boyfriend carryin’ her shiny bag and like five books and a pot of some venomous man-eating flower — nah, I’m kiddin’ it’s just daisies. But still. Y’know. She was totally busy.”


“And then Laxus and Freed were gone last week, too! I only saw them for like five minutes everyday and that’s when I really look for them! They’re always in class and then library and then they hole up at either Freed’s or Laxus’ ’cause they do each other—”


“—each other’s homework. Dude, I totally know why you get along with Freed.”

“Awww, I thought there was some development!”

“They totally admitted to making out in between doing the homework, though.”


“But they’re like… Freed’s mad at Laxus’ paper because it’s not up to his Freed Justine Standards of Excellent Writing, so he doesn’t get off Laxus’ back until it’s revised, and Laxus is complainin’ how Freed insists on writing it and not just typing’ it directly to Laxus’ laptop, ’cause y’know… when Freed concentrates on writing, he totally writes in ancient runes or alien letters or something.”

The barmaid nodded. “Yes, I had to struggle when I once tried to copy his notes while he was taking them. No wonder he rewrites all his reviewers…”

“But Laxus just lets him do it, y’know, ’cause grades. So they do that and Laxus just finished the paper but won’t hang out ’cause he’s tired! And Freed is playing Candy Crush and is tired too, ’cause he’s like trying to memorize all the laws in the world.”

“Well, they have to study. They don’t have it as easy as you.”

“I know, I know — but y’see, it’s kinda annoying ’cause… FUCK. ALL OF ’EM ARE INVOLVED. I’M ALONE!”

Mira smiled.

“And they… y’know, bug me about it! I was doin’ my projects last last week and they all go to me at different times and I don’t tell them to go away, man. I mean, I can’t tell ’em to go away ’cause they’re my friends, yeah?”

“Why do they go to you?”

“Well, Ever keeps askin’ me Elfman stuff. I wanna shout at her. Dude, I find ‘ya pretty with either the green sleeveless dress or the green long-sleeved dress, what the fuck. And she’s always mad at me but I still find her pretty — what more if Elfman’s in my place? Elf will find her pretty even when she’s dressed in an ugly chicken mascot costume, y’know — what’s she freakin’ worried about?”

“Well, Ever surely has her insecurities, maybe she needs backup…”

“Ya see, one minute she’s ranting about sunflowers, then she’ll ask me ‘what do you think will Elfman think if I ask him this?’ or ‘d’you think Elfman will like it if I do this?’ or freakin’ I don’t even know Elf that much!”

By this time, Mira had put down her pen and had listened to her companion rant, trying to suppress her amused smile.

“Ever should get over her self-esteem issues ‘cause she’s fucking beautiful, man. Drop-dead gorgeous. Whatever. And I’m sure she just needs to talk it all out with Elf if she’s not sure about something, I mean that’s their problem, and I keep telling her that and she says they’re working it out and it’s working really really fine but she still goes to me anyway and asks me before she asks her boyfriend. I feel like the testing environment. Seriously though, they haven’t fought in months and that’s a running record and we’re all proud of ’em. So shouldn’t that mean she can stop askin’ me now, ’cause she probably already knows what to do?”

“You have a point there…”

“So why is Ever. Still. Bugging me?”


“Freed is worse, though.”

Mira blinked. “Freed?”

“Yep. Freed. Y’know. If Laxus has issues with everything, Freed has issues with Laxus.”

“Freed has always had issues with Laxus, honey.”

“Freed and Laxus creep each other out. Okay, I don’t mean that in a bad way. I just mean… Freed’s always telling me he has a problem. Like this one time-… Am I bothering you?”

“No, not at all!” Mira shook her head frantically, too curious now. “Do go on, please.”

“Alright. So I ask him what’s his problem, and he said, ‘Laxus hugged me today.’ and I ask what’s wrong with that and he goes like, ‘I’m scared. He hugged me. It felt really nice and I wanted to melt but oh my god he hugged me.’ and I think he’s being paranoid and a little cray-cray ’cause yooooo friendzoned for like ten years and then they’re dating haha.”

Mira giggled. “He… actually said that?”

“Complete with blush and pillow-hugging.” Bixlow sighed. ‘And he’s like ‘Laxus thinks my hair is too long. Should I cut it? I don’t want to cut it.’ and I’m like ‘No don’t cut it. You’re a strong independent woman who needs no haircut’ and then he tries to stab me. But seriously, sometimes he says ‘Laxus didn’t tell me to shut up when I asked him this. Or told him that. Or said this. Do you think he got mad?’ and I’m like, c’mon man, if Laxus is mad, he woulda shouted “I’M MAD’, ‘cause this is Laxus we’re talkin’ about here. Right?”


“So if he didn’t tell ‘ya to shut up, he — I don’t know — likes you, maybe? I’m sure as heck Laxus ain’t angry, he looks at Freed nowadays and I swear his face screams ’wow how did I not tap that fine piece of babe before’.”

“No way.”

Kinda no way. Partly yes way. They’re makin’ milestones. They talk a lot, and last week, yeah. Totally locked themselves up together for quality time or something. I dunno, they act the same. Freed says they’re doin’ good but for shit’s sake, he should stop worrying about how Laxus thinks of something he said or if Laxus will decide to leave ‘im ’cause dude. It’s Laxus. If he has to poop, he totally says ’I have to shit’ and mean it. And then he’ll go do it. Right?”

Mira nodded with a knowing smile. “Right again.”

“Freed thinks they’re a bit quicker on the — I quote: ‘physical side’ — of their thing but I dunno, I think he just didn’t expect Laxus to be a cuddly dude, ’cause I think Laxus really likes him. ’Cause out of the three of ’em I have it worst when Laxus comes over.”

Mira raised an eyebrow. “Okay. What’s worse than Freed gushing?”

“Laxus gushing.”

“Oh my god.”

“Laxus gushing AND ranting about Freed.”


“Well, it’s the best, actually — it’s fun seein’ him not knowin’ what to do and all that, but it gets awkward eventually and then I decide it’s totally the worst ’cause I wanna die out of second-hand embarrassment.”

Mira shook her companion. “Okay, okay. I need details.”

“Right.” Bixlow crossed his arms across his chest and pouted, trying to go his best impression of Laxus. “Bixlow. Y’know. Uh. I hugged Freed. While he was literally cryin’ over some shoujo manga he got from Levy. I mean he was so upset about it so I hugged him, then he told me that… someone, the guy in the manga, I guess, is a big jerk leaving Someone-chan hurt with some other dude like that, and I just sat there agreeing with him ’cause whatever. I mean why would you read those stuff, it’s stupid. Did I fuck up?

Mira snorted, immediately bringing her hands to cover her mouth, stifling her laugh.

“Hey, hey, and then it got better! One time he was like, ‘We were makin’ out last night and I just like laid there on the bed ‘cause I dunno what to fucking do. WHERE DO I EVEN PUT MY HANDS?’


D’you think it’s okay to touch his hair ‘cause he never lets anyone touch it but it looks so soft. BIXLOW. FREED SAID WE SHOULD GO OUT SOMETIME WHAT DO PEOPLE DO ON DATES. I hit a stray dog with my bike and I know that Ever will probably walk out of my life for that, we’re gonna need a new vocalist — d’you think Freed will break up with me? Freed’s bass is the shit, we can’t lose him, man. It was an accident, I swear that dog was drunk driving or somethin’!

By that time Mira was laughing out loud, while Bixlow continued spilling some beans that Laxus would pretty much kill him for.

I told Freed I don’t care if he wears the red sweater or the blue sweater please don’t tell me I finally fucked up. Dude, Freed said it’s okay if I don’t wanna say the L word. IS HE JUST BEING KIND AGAIN? Gramps is asking for grandchildren what the fuck do I do about that? Erza says I should have Freed live with us already ‘cause she likes his cooking. How the freakin’ hell do I tell him I agree with her?

“Awww!” Mira cooed. “He’s actually loosening up, isn’t he?”

“He actually really likes Mama.” Bixlow said, shrugging. “Dunno if it’s just the ‘i-don’t-wanna-hurt-him-anymore-so-I’m-being-careful-with-everything’ phase, ’cause the whole thing really looks like that at first, but sometimes he asks the important questions, ’ya know.”

“Important questions. Like…?”

“Like, he actually admits he’s worried if Freed just sees the whole going-out shebang as a gratitude-slash-apology… thingy. Asks me if I think the same.”

Mira sighed. “At first glance, it does seem like that. What did you tell him?”

“I told him I don’t think so. So I say it’s only been two weeks and he can’t help that, worrying too much and all. Specially ‘cause of his bad guy rep and the whole friendzoning for years thing. But I told him if he has any, like, Major Moments of Realizations he shouldn’t ignore it ’cause maybe it will finally go ’BAM I’M IN LOVE WITH MY BOYFRIEND’ and it’s important.”

“Oh, Bix. It is.”

“It really is, but what maybe he ignores those kinda stuff too?”

“Let’s hope not?”

“Y’know, they’re all bugging me and stuff but what’s happenin’ here is I get to think about their problems too and have Major Moments of Realizations before they do and I don’t freakin’ know why?”

Mira cocked her head to the side. “What realizations?”

“This one. Maybe Elf is gettin’ better and better at all his stuff so Ever thinks she should step it up and do somethin’ too. So she’s tryin’ to be really good and dote on Elf. I mean Ever doesn’t dote on anyone. She never does that, so she’s not used to it and is askin’ me. The thing is I really don’t know Elf much so I can’t answer everything, but maybe she knows that but goes and asks me anyway. Not to get answers, y’know but so she knows that… someone else knows. She’s not comfy doin’ it at first ‘cause sometimes her pride is at Laxus Level, see, so she tries to get someone else’s reaction to her doin’ somethin’ like that before she actually does it. ‘Cause she wants to see how other people will get if she goes and does somethin’ new. So in a way Ever’s like, swallowing her pride a bit to be this good girlfriend to Elf and that’s admirable though for the love of everythin’ that is holy I dunno why it has to be ME.

“Then there’s Laxus being all stupid about bein’ a good boyfriend — see, told ya those two — L and E — have a lot in common than y’all think. So Laxus. I think, maybe, uh… maybe Laxus decided to try it out with Freed ‘cause he realized if he’s okay with anyone, y’know, it’s Freed. Like, if he’s gonna be comfortable doing all these stuff, it’s gonna be with someone who knows anythin’ and everythin’ ‘bout him. ’Cause that’s what Freed does, really. He’s just… there. Like a perfect waifu. And I think Laxus just thinks that… like, he decided to go and try it ’cause if he’s gonna choose or pick someone, he’s probably gonna choose Freed ’cause Freed’s been there anyway, what’s even gonna change? Maybe he thought ’I can’t keep friendzoning him so maybe I should make it up to him ’cause I don’t have anyone else anyway so meh, why not?’ I guess they’re doing the ‘let’s try it and see if it works out’ thing. And I’m like, you don’t understand, man. You already chose, dammit. Nobody’s gonna ask you, you just don’t realize you’re actually pickin’ this person ALREADY, out of all the others in yer life ‘cause… well, ’cause you’re you and he’s him. You can’t say ’If I’m gonna pick someone, it’ll be you’ — that’s bull, ’cause doesn’t that just mean you’ve already really made your choice? D’you get me?”

“…ummm… kinda.”

“No, it’s this, see. I think because Laxus is Laxus he’s just too dense to realize before that he could have this thing with Freed. Maybe that’s what he needed but Freed never told him he liked him so Laxus didn’t think of it before. Because Laxus.”


“And then when he realized that ‘oh yeah we could go out huh because he likes me and that’s what people who like each other do’, he looked around and went like ‘fuck i don’t like anyone that much ’cept Freed’, ‘cause he doesn’t, really. I think if he liked Freed any less, he really woulda just dumped the guy and let it end like that and be stuck friends forever. Dude, that’s a lot easier and he can do that. I’m sure they can both do that, ’cause Freed’s a smart dude who understands like, basically all the mysteries of the universe. But Laxus didn’t dump him, and that should mean something, and y’know, ’cause I’m not sure about like 80% of everythin’ I said, I went to ask Freed if he’s happy. He says he’s happy! So I thought if Freed’s gettin’ the message Laxus didn’t know he was sending, well maybe that’s enough. It’s workin’. It’s workin’ really good.”

Bixlow found himself being stared at by not only Mira, but Cana and Lucy as well. When he finished, the girls clapped their hands, Mira even wiping a teardrop from her eye. “Oh… Oh, Bixlow, honey. T-That was really beautiful… in some weird sort of way.”

“I never would have thought…” Cana nodded.

“Unexpectedly insightful.” Lucy said, shaking her head, trying not to cry as well.

“Oh, um. I’m not sure if you’re really praisin’ me but thanks but those sound like reviews for some indie movie. But my point is… ugh, that’s the problem. Y’know, I think of all these things and it’s their problem! And.. and… I’m the stupid one, I’m not supposed to be the thinkin’ one here. I dunno why or how those three don’t realize that they’re goin’ to the dumb one for advice. I mean, seriously? Freed’s the brain, Ever’s the beauty, Laxus is the brawn and I am the stupid, so why do they keep rantin’ at me like I can actually say somethin’ that’ll help, huh? If you’re asking your borderline psycho friend for advice, that says a lot about what kinda doctor you should visit to get something fixed. Like, y’know, your brain, maybe.”

“Don’t say that.” Mira said, reaching out to ruffle the guy’s hair. ‘Come here, sit with me.’ she tugged his shirt and he jumped down from his position on the bar top to sit on the chair behind her. It was an employee-only zone, but she made a special exception. The barmaid put her hand on her friend’s shoulder and gave a little squeeze. “I’m sure they just think they can trust you.”

“Really?” Bixlow said, leaning on his elbows. By this time, Cana and Lucy had excused themselves when a group of customers arrived.

Mira smiled apologetically. “…Or something. I don’t know either.”


“…because I’m sure they wouldn’t think they can trust you if they know that you’ve just told me everything. Plus there was also Lucy and Cana.”


“But that aside, I’m sure they have their reasons for… venting those concerns out to you, dear.”

“Ah, it’s still so weird. They didn’t have to consult me for anything before all this crap about dating started. Y’know, Ever never even wanted to talk to me before Elf happened ‘cause she thinks I’m not capable of normal conversation, and Freed and Laxus will never get caught red-handed askin’ me about their life choices before they started freakin’ out about each other. They’ll go crash at my place for a quick nap ‘cause it’s like a block away from uni, or barge in orderin’ me to download a movie for ’em, or tell me to make a sick beat for this song, but they never… y’know, got me involved in the… the deep stuff! I’m not the go-to friend for the deep stuff.”

“The deep stuff.”

“Yeah, I’m not cut out for the deep stuff, man! I have ADHD for fuck’s sake, I can’t even deal with my shit properly. How do I even deal with their problems? That should be you, ’cause you’re… err, the wise onee-chan type.”

“Do you really still find it hard to concentrate, up until now?”

He stopped. Suddenly they were talking about him. He had been ranting about his friends for the past half-hour, and had been keeping those thoughts to himself for almost a month, so he hasn’t had time to really look at himself. “‘Ya know I got a lot better after I started hangin’ out with the band.”

“And now? It’s been a few years.”

“Um, I’m not depressed anymore, obviously. Well, there’s a lot more people I can talk with now, but there’s still the occasional buzzing on my head not allowin’ me to work on something for too long, but I can focus well on some stuff now.”


“And I still get impulsive about a lotta stuff so I get random, plus I blurt out everythin’ still. I think I got worse in the blurtin’ out part only ‘cause back when I was takin’ the R-meds, I was depressed and didn’t want friends and now I’m calmer and I know I can say all sorts of things, though the three of ’em tend to hit me on the head a lot for those stuff. Laxus says don’t overdo it though ’cause they might screw my head up worse. He’s really rude.”

“But it’s better, right?”

He nodded. “A lot better.”

“I bet the three of them know that, and they feel like they could trust you with something else other than just simply getting better.” Mira explained patiently, absently grabbing a tall glass and fixing a drink.

“Well, yeah. I used to just… follow them around. Tease Freed ‘bout Laxus and Ever ’bout Elf ’cause they act funny. I think at first they got mad but just thought that it’s the ADHD so went with it. Then it stuck and they got used to me bein’ like, the clown. And just.. that. Y’know, I follow ’em ’cause they’re the only ones who actually listen to me.”

“Well, they care about you. That’s what I think.”

“I know. I always feel like all they ask of me is just to be my crazy self and play for ’em.”

“Well, now they decided they can ask more from you.”

He paused, thinking of that, then “Mira, d’you think I’m a bad friend?”

She placed a tall glass of iced tea in front of him, and replied, watching him drink the beverage obediently. “Of course not. You think you are?”

“I think I suck. ’Cause like, when they decide to finally trust me with the deep stuff, I complain.”

“Like now?”

“Like now. But actually I just complain ‘cause I think they’re bein’ stupid trustin’ me with those stuff ‘cause what do I know ’bout how to fix those problems, right? They should.. get someone else’s say in these stuff. I can’t help ’em ’cause, right, I’m the stupid one, they’re the smart ones. I’m always just runnin’ after them wherever ’cause they’re nice enough to let me. I won’t understand people as awesome as ’em, y’know.”

“But I think you understand them quite well.”

Bixlow looked at her questioningly.

“You say you’ve always simply followed them, right? Well, they know that, obviously — maybe that’s why they think you’ll understand, because they know that you’ve always been there. It has always just been the four of you, Bix. We all count four. We don’t say ‘Oh, look, it’s the Raijinshuu and Bixlow!’ — we see your unit as four people, and you’re in there.”

Bixlow shrugged.

Mira sighed. “Maybe you were always just fooling around, but you’ve been with them anyway, and they know that. It gives you this… surprising, unexpected reliability in their eyes, no matter how unhelpful you think you are.”

“Huh.” the drummer said, staring blankly at his drink. “You think so?”

“Yep. So if anyone’s going to know or understand the situation enough to help them, it’ll be you. Not any other ‘deep-stuff’ expert out there. Not even me. If you can’t take my word for it, though, you can ask them. You’ve said it earlier, right? If Laxus says it, he means it. And I’m sure Freed and Ever will know better than to lie to you by now.”

Bixlow nodded. “But crap, you’re explaining this deep stuff thingy really well.”

Mira smiled. “Am I?”

“Yeah. And being really nice about it too. I wanna kiss you again but you might kick me out…”

“Can you settle for a hug?”


The barmaid laughed as she was enveloped in a warm hug by her navy-haired not-customer, patting his back gently as he nuzzled his face on her shoulder.

“Wow, you smell nice.”

“Aw, thanks, honey.”

“You even gave me a drink, you’re really kind.”

“No problem! Besides, what an update to give me regarding those three — no, count my brother in — four! I didn’t know they can be like… that. So cute!”

“Can I stay here until later ’cause no one hangs out with me? I can help dry plates or something.”

“Of course you can. Oh, I know how you can help me, but-.. uh, you can let go now…”

Bixlow finally let go of the young woman and grabbed his glass of iced tea again. “How can I help then?”

“This.” Mira raised her notepad and Bixlow quickly looked at it and narrowed his eyes.

“Is this..?”

“Yep, I need to re-evaluate the tallies on the bet because they’re taking toooo long.”

“Ah~” Bixlow nodded thoughtfully. “Yeah, we really need to tell everyone they’re all losing. Even I’m losing.”

“The closest we have here is Gajeel and Juvia.”

“They’ve joined forces?”


“Neat. But I think their bets are gonna miss, too.”

“I think so too. So we all have to re-take the bets and wait some more.”

“Aw, crap. That’s lame.”

“I know.”

Then Bixlow slammed his glass on the bar top and called out a loud, “Hey, Lucy!” — the blonde across the bar yelped in surprise as she turned towards the source of the voice. “Get with Natsu already!”

Lucy, flustered by all the attention that was suddenly turned to her, shouted back: “A-and why do I have to do that?!”

“You’re screwin’ with the bets!” Bixlow said, gesturing wildly.

“I-I… I don’t care about your stupid bet!”

“You should appreciate what we have to go through for you! Y’know, if he won’t ask, you can just grab ’im and kiss ’im, we all know he’ll like that!”

Bixlow and Mira high-fived when more than half of the customers in the bar replied with sounds of agreement and Lucy just simply hid her face behind the tray she was carrying, wanting to dig a hole and bury herself in it.

Evergreen refused to attend band practice when she got better from her sore throat. She insisted that she had to take extra classes and several make-up tests because she had been away for more than a whole week. Freed and Laxus can only do so much, so they let her be.Meanwhile, the two were meeting up regularly with their temp drummer after school. The three found a cheaper studio, and Laxus was still getting money from doing his dad’s odd jobs, so their days went by smoothly. Bixlow trailed timidly after the other two boys everyday. They both noted that Bixlow was getting better, at least being able to play a decent-sounding round of beats for a whole song.Bixlow didn’t tell them that he kept practicing at home, soaking up lessons and tips on the web and listening to drum solos while hitting his pillows repeatedly with his drumsticks. He wanted to get better, if only to keep being with Freed and Laxus, who were nice enough to still ask him to play with them even if he couldn’t get a decent sound out for the simplest of songs.He was having more fun that he’d ever had. The three of them were all in different classes at school, but on their after school jam sessions, they got along pretty well. Freed was clearly uptight and a bit of a snob, but he was patient, often just simply letting slide anything Laxus or Bixlow said. Laxus was rough and bossy, but he always asked the two as nicely as he could. Bixlow thought it was probably because the blonde wouldn’t find anyone else with as much patience as Freed, or another drummer who will be willing to play with a delinquent and a rich snobby kid. Bixlow thought they were both scary, so tried to stay still as much as he could, preventing any outburst of temper or frustration at how badly he was playing compared to the other two.Laxus didn’t ask about the issue on drugs again, and Freed was too polite to push the concern. Bixlow wanted to tell them that he has stopped taking more than the needed dose because he knew that if he was stoned he wouldn’t be able to practice. And he wanted to — if getting better at the drums meant that he could keep these… new friends… with him, he was going to do it.

He often found it hard to study anything, but he has been playing on the drum machine in the arcade to take his frustrations out, so some skills were just muscle memory that he had to enhance.

There’s still always this weird impulse to blurt out how happy he was feeling or how angry he was with himself. Or all the random ideas that suddenly pop out at inopportune moments, like what if they play this song? What if they try that routine? It was the disorder talking, he knew. And the few times he let some of these impulses slip, the other two just looked at him weirdly and laughed to each other as if saying ‘Oh God this guy’s really crazy’, but then they’d turn back to him and practically say, ‘But why not?’

Over the first two weeks of their friendship, Bixlow found himself letting more of his personality out than he intended to, but he found that the two didn’t really mind all that much. Or if they minded, they were being really nice about it.

And all of that tied up to the decrease on his previously notorious drug dose.

…which left him with more than the usual amount of spare money he had that one time he went to go buy his usual self-prescribed medication…

…which got him beat up and mugged after the transaction — possibly about to be killed, if it wasn’t for Laxus who heard the commotion while he was on his way to his father’s usual shady place.

Bixlow sat there in the corner of the alleyway as Laxus beat up the guys who hurt him. He knew that the blonde had a reputation of getting into fights, but he had never seen a real one up close before. There was a very visible flare of anger in the guitarist’s eyes as he shouted for the rascals to pick someone their own size, not some sick kid who was just trying to get himself treated… They should work for the money if they want it — they should get out of his sight right then and there before he decide to smash their skulls into the pavement for hurting his bandmate-…

And when he was done, the blonde sat across the other boy, panting.


“What the fuck are you doin’ here?”

“B-Buying meds-?”

“You still need ’em?”

“I don’t get stoned anymore, I swear! I… I just… they work better—”

“—than your doctor’s shit. I know. Just-… fuck, man this place is full of shitty people who’ll kill for a single buck, you should know better than goin’ here with a ton of cash and drugs, alone and defenseless.”

“I.. I needed it, I’m sorry—”

“I could get those stuff for you. My dad sells them.”

“But it’s illegal and—”

“You can’t play the drums with your arms broken like that, stupid.”

“But-… I’m… I’m sorry…”

“Shit, your head is fucking bleeding. And your nose is broken. Fuck.”

Bixlow quickly reached out to touch his forehead and look at his hand after. Blood. He resisted the urge to throw up.

“We have to get you patched up. Now.”

Bixlow looked at the other boy, shaking his head frantically. “B-But Laxus-kun-…! Where-… My parents—”

“I don’t fucking know, and not the police either ’cause we have drugs. I just-… fuck, gramps would kill me—”

“Your dad…?”

“No, he doesn’t care ’bout me—”


“Shut up, I’m thinking-… Freed. That guy’s a know-it-all, he’ll do something—”

“But Freed-san is—”

“He’ll help us or fuck knows why I liked that guy in the first place.”

Bixlow found himself tossed over the blonde’s shoulder and dragged towards the Justine Mansion.They didn’t want to barge in the front gates and demand the guards that they call their snobby young master. The boys knew better, so Laxus found himself standing outside the unguarded side of the gates, which was thankfully where Freed’s room was located, and throwing pebbles at the bassist’s bedroom window until their green-haired friend finally opened up and saw them.“L-Laxus?” — a quick survey and the boy gaped at his friends’ appearances. “What the heck?!”“Yo.” Laxus greeted, as if he didn’t have a black eye and a bleeding knuckle. “Can you toss us a first-aid kit?”Freed firmly shook his head. “Come in.”

“No way—”

“Yes. Both of you, come in. I’ll tell them to let you in.”

Freed pushed past the battalion of maids and guards to get them himself and drag both boys to his room, ordering them to sit on the bed as he shouted at a random maid for a pail of water and two pairs of towels while he grabbed a first-aid kit. The two awkwardly obeyed — they’ve never seen their friend look so downright serious before.

Freed want back to the room with the kit, a maid trailing after him with the pail and towels, then leaving once she was dismissed. He first turned to Laxus, but Laxus quickly said, “Bixlow’s head is bleeding, ’ya better look at it first.”

Freed looked back and forth between the two boys before nodding. He got as ice pack and shoved it towards Laxus before quickly examining the damage on Bixlow’s head.

Bixlow sat there silently doing as he was told, cleaning up his face with the towel, holding another ice pack to his bruised cheek, and then letting Freed clean up the gash on his forehead. Thankfully it was nothing really bad and Freed simply needed to apply some disinfectants and wrap some bandages on the other boy’s forehead.

“’Ya sure that’s it?” Laxus asked.

“Pretty much, yes.”


“I read.”

Laxus narrowed his eyes.

“One of my brothers is a doctor, he made sure we all know how to use the kit.”

“Pretty cozy family you got.”

Freed ignored him and examined Bixlow’s face again. “Did they get you anywhere else?”

“My sides hurt, but probably just ’cause they kicked me. I don’t think anything’s broken, though.”

“Hold your ice pack there, too.”

Bixlow nodded, transferring his ice pack from his cheek to his ribs, wincing.

He watched as Freed turned to Laxus and reached out, probably to take the ice pack and look at the damage, but the blonde leaned away. “I’m okay.”

Freed looked at his face carefully and then pointed out in a neutral voice, “There’s a cut by your chin. Let’s patch that up.”

“Fine.” Laxus grumbled.

Just right after Freed finished applying a disinfectant and then placing a band-aid on Laxus’ chin, he took note of the blonde’s bleeding hand. “Laxus, your hand—” He immediately grabbed it and looked at the wounded knuckle.

“No, it’s fine, let go—” Laxus made a move to withdraw his hand, but Freed held it firmly. “Dammit.”

“You can’t risk this hand. You do chords with these.” Freed scolded lightly, grabbing a wet towel and proceeding to clean the wound.

Laxus didn’t answer.

“What happened, really?” Freed asked, frowning as he tried to fix the blonde’s hand.

Laxus shrugged. “Bixlow was buyin’ drugs and got mugged ’cause he had spare money left.”

“They also got the weed, actually.” Bixlow said in a small voice.

“Seriously?” the blonde said, looking at the drummer in disbelief. “Fuck.”

“And then you went in to save him.” Freed said, guessing how the rest of the story went.


“Did you really have to get beat up, too? Isn’t it enough to punch one guy and then grab Bixlow and run?”

“They had to be taught their lesson.” — but just after Laxus said that, he hissed in pain when Freed dabbed a cotton ball with a disinfectant on his wound. “Shit—! What the fuck?!”

“That ought to be your lesson too.” Freed said coldly, holding the other boy’s wounded hand tightly as Laxus tried to draw away. “Here’s another one.”

Bixlow looked at the bassist’s expression — he sounded angry. But Freed simply focused on healing their friend’s wound, flinching slightly when Laxus gripped his hand back as the blonde yelped a loud “Ow! Fuck, is that necessary?!” while Freed healed him.

“I-…” Bixlow started, not wanting to be caught between the crossfire he knew was coming. “Um, toilet.”

“That door.” Freed said, jabbing a thumb towards his personal bathroom.

Bixlow grabbed the towel and then left the other two alone and locked the bathroom door behind him. As he looked at himself in the mirror, he overheard the conversation of his two friends.

“I thought you said you’d quit fighting because you want to play the guitar?”

“What, you wanted me to go let those fuckers beat ’im up?”

“No. I mean… you obviously beat them up. Not because you want to save him, but just because you wanted to.”

A scoff. “I told you, they had to be taught their lesson.”

“At the cost of your hand getting injured?”

“They hurt our drummer.”

“Our drummer? Really? Are you really serious about this?”

Bixlow felt that one sting. Badly. So Freed didn’t want him in the band after all?

“You really think it’s a bad decision, huh. You can see he’s gettin’ better every day—”

“It’s not about his skills. I know he can do it.” Freed said, sternly. “But Laxus, he’s… well, he’s unstable.”

“I’m unstable.”

“My point exactly! You both are unstable, Laxus and… and this one, he’s not like Ever, who can adjust to our presence easily. He’s… I don’t think you have enough temper for this. For him. I mean, sure we’re doing fine right now, but on the long term?”

“You think I’ll get mad at him eventually.”

“I’m sorry, but you’re impatient and you can be rash, if he… if he has an outburst or something, I think you might lose it as well and snap, just… lash out at him, and you won’t just end up disbanding the whole group, you might hurt him.”

“You’re talkin’ as if I’m a parent about to adopt some abnormal kid that I can’t handle and everything’s my fault.”

“I’m not. I just… Laxus, he’s a good guy who’s been alone too long, yes. It’s good to help people like that, I know. But… can you really deal with the… the perks?”

“Can you? Deal with the goddamned perks?”

Freed didn’t answer.

“Because you can. Right now you’re actin’ like the know-it-all you are and you haven’t kicked us out after barging in here bloody. And I know your parents will probably give you shit about this.”

“This isn’t about me—”

“You’re our bassist, and you built this thing with me first so if you say ‘no, we’re kickin’ the crazy kid out’, we’re doing just that. No matter how awesome I think he is at that drum machine. So tell me now, can you do that? Ask me to kick the kid off the team ’cause you think that’s the best course here?”

A sigh, “But Laxus, what I’m really worried about is you getting along with him on the long run. I mean, Ever just being Ever gets you to snap at her to shut up, what about Bixlow? What if he forgets to take his pills for a whole day and… I dunno, do something that annoys you? Because every other thing annoys you—”

“It doesn’t.”

“It does. I’m sorry.”

“Fine. Yeah. Sometimes I even get pissed off at your hair ’cause it’s so goddamned long.”

“See? So I can safely say you might snap at Bixlow at his first misstep, and I don’t think that’s gonna do any of us any good.”

“But I only decided to take him in ’cause you’re dealing with him.”

Freed paused. “…W-What?”

“You say I don’t have enough temper for this, well you have enough temper to bear both of us, and that’s why I’m willing to work with ‘im, ’cause I know you want him here anyway. ’Cause I can see that you care enough to patch him up carefully and not scold him downright like you’re doin’ to me right now.” — a pause. “Now, if you’re worried about my patience, don’t. ’Cause I can do it if you can do it, you’re good at these things, and so far you’ve made things work out for everyone. The first time we practiced, you’re the one to swallow your pride and tell the kid we’re sorry. This time, you didn’t scold him at all ’cause you know he feels bad getting me hurt because of him and you put the blame on me ’cause you know I can bear it. You fix things, that’s why I’m not worried.”


“Am I that worse off that you don’t trust yourself to be able to do some damage control?”

“You’re expecting too much from me. You didn’t even know I existed until less than sixty days ago.”

“You count?”

“I estimate.”

“You should know, though. You give off the impression that people can expect much from you.”

Freed was about to say something, but Bixlow had gone out from the bathroom, looking tentative as he sat back wordlessly beside Laxus on the bed. The guitarists fell silent as Freed finished bandaging Laxus’ hand. After that, the blonde excused himself to be the one to use the toilet this time.

Bixlow spoke in a low voice. “Freed-san?”

Freed looked at the drummer as he cleaned up the first-aid kit. “Yes?”

“I’m sorry, but I have to ask… Are you and Laxus-kun going out?”

Freed almost dropped the kit and he fumbled for it. “E-e-excuse me?!”

“I-… Err, it’s just, you two are always together and—”

“We’re not.” Freed said firmly, looking down at the kit, suddenly focused on fixing its contents. “Don’t worry, I’m not offended or anything. I-… We’re friends and bandmates, is all. Besides, I’m sure he’s a womanizer, a guy like him.”

Bixlow nodded. “Eh, it’s just… sorry, but sometimes I find it hard to see how you became friends, seeing you’re so different. So I thought… maybe it’s something else. That’s all.”

Freed smiled patiently and sighed. “I know what you mean. He’s a real troublemaker, but… well, let’s say I’m just like you.”


“I only had Evergreen with me since junior high, and that’s ’cause it’s convenient, really. So besides Ever I had no real friends. But Laxus… well, I decided to go with him because he doesn’t… care about who I am. He looked at me because he saw what I can do and listened to what I had to say… and I think, as far as friends goes, even if he’s… um, a bit rough on the edges, he makes a great one. It’s only been two months, I know, but for those two months I almost hung out with him everyday, and… and so far, I’m having the most fun I’ve ever had. I always used to play my bass here all alone. It’s great to belong somewhere.”

Bixlow nodded again.

“How about you? Why do you follow?”

“Because you two let me.”

Freed blinked.

“…and that’s more than what anyone has done for me before.”

Just then, Laxus went out from the bathroom and caught Freed ruffling Bixlow’s hair gently. He raised an eyebrow. “Freed, don’t mother him. He might imprint on you.”

“I’m not mothering anyone.” Freed simply rolled his eyes, then watched as Laxus dropped himself on the bed and groaned. “What’s wrong?”

“My head aches.”

Freed quickly stood up. “I’ll get some medicine.”

“Whew, you’re the best.”

This time, Bixlow chuckled. “Seems to me, Laxus-kun might imprint on Freed-san, too.”

Laxus lightly kicked the drummer’s sides repeatedly, making Bixlow yelp in pain with every jab. “Look at you, weed kid, fucking growin’ a spine after Freed patches you up, huh? HUH?!”

“Ow! I’m sorry, I’m sorry!”

“You can talk back now, huh?”

“I’M SORRYYYYY! Please stop!”

“I am no one’s mother.” Freed announced loudly. “Laxus, stop kicking him, he’s wounded. Wait a few days maybe.”

Laxus stopped, content. “You heard ’im. A few days.”

“B-B-But—! Freed-san!”

“Hey, your other side ain’t damaged. I should kick it instead..”


Freed rolled his eyes.

Just then a knock on the door interrupted the boys’ banter. Freed’s glance darted towards the wall clock — were his parents home early today? Have they heard from the guards that their son brought in two bloody boys from school to patch them up?

He quickly told the other two to behave as he breathed deeply and then opened the door.

A familiar long-haired brunette stood before him, carrying several library books in her arms. “Hey. Your butler told me you’ll be here and said I can come up here on my own.”

“Ever.” Freed sighed in relief. He suddenly remembered that he was indeed expecting Evergreen to come over that day to pick up some notes from him after her extra classes. “It’s just you. Come on in.”

The girl walked inside the room as Freed closed the door behind him. “What do you mean ‘just me’? Who—”

Bixlow tried to muster up his most harmless smile while Laxus wordlessly raised a hand in greeting, lying comfortably on the bed.

Evergreen blinked. “Uh… Laxus. And…?”

Freed took the liberty of introducing their new member. “His name’s Bixlow. He’s our drummer. Bix, this is Evergreen, our vocalist.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” the brunette gaped.

“We’re not.” Laxus said.

“Okay, then I’m not your vocalist. I quit.”

Freed sighed. “Ever…”

“No way. And why is he wounded-.. Why are the two of you bandaged-… Freed, are you okay? Why are there — god, that’s blood, isn’t it, it’s blood oh holy mother of dandelions—”

“Ever, calm down.” Freed tried.

“You’re the kid everyone at school talks about ‘cause you’re always stoned and sleeping’ in all the classes or doing other stuff!” Evergreen said, pointing a hand at Bixlow, then turning to Freed. “What the hell, Freed? Why wasn’t I involved in the voting? We should’ve voted if we were going to get a drummer—”

“Well, Laxus and I makes two, and you… one, so—”

“I would’ve raised both my hands AND A FOOT to get three votes.”

Bixlow looked down, trying not to cry — the girl was really pretty but she was really really MEAN! “I’m sorry if you don’t like me—”

“Oh holy— please don’t tell me I made him cry. THIS IS WHY I TOLD YOU STARTING A BAND IS CRAZY!”

Laxus mumbled, “I knew she’d take it well.”

Evergreen was still ranting.

Freed turned to their leader. “Laxus, help me in here.”

“Ugh, get me those meds first. Then we’ll talk.”

“Ever, why don’t you come with me to get some medicine for Laxus?”

“Medicine? Why-.. GOD, WHAT DID THEY DO. Did they fight? Are you alright? Tell me they didn’t drag you out to hunt for blood like barbarians—”

As Freed pulled the brunette with her and closed the door, Bixlow turned to Laxus. “I didn’t make a good impression, did I?”

Laxus snorted. “What do you think?”

After Freed gave a pill for Laxus’ headache and the boys tried to convince Evergreen that their new member was just misunderstood and lonely (which wasn’t a lie, really), the boys found themselves walking Ever home.Well, not exactly.It just so happened that Ever, Laxus and Bixlow were headed for the same direction. Freed went with them, trying to get out of the house. He didn’t want to be there when his parents got home — god knows how the guards and servants explained what happened that afternoon, how their young Freed-sama brought in two bloodied delinquents and helped them.So Evergreen found herself awkwardly leading the way, Laxus trailing behind her, followed by Freed pushing his bike with him and finally Bixlow who walked after them, as usual, like an obedient puppy.After a while, Evergreen spoke up. “I’m serious about quitting, you guys.”

“You’re not.” Freed and Laxus said at the same time.

“I don’t even know why I’m here.”

“Shit, don’t say that.” Laxus said. “You have no other friends.”

“But I didn’t want friends who… who get beat up in some shady alley for.. for doing something illegal!”

“We ain’t involving you, so stop bitching about that.”

Freed sighed. This is why Ever and Laxus didn’t get along… “Ever, they’re good guys most of the time, so please just understand.”

“Ugh, I don’t even sing!”

“You do.” — came the correction again.

Evergreen turned her head to glare shortly at the guitarists, before huffing and turning her back to them again. “Hey, Freed, you’re in trouble, aren’t you?”

Freed shrugged. “Well, yes. I just took in two delinquents and patched them up. I’m gonna have an earful of how I don’t choose the right friends and all that.”

“Your parents have a point. I haven’t met them and I already agree with them.” Evergreen commented bitterly.

“I’m really sorry for getting you guys into trouble.” Bixlow said despairingly.

“Nah, if they kick you out, I’m sure you can crash at someone’s place.” Laxus said.

“Thanks. But no, thanks.” Freed answered.

“I’m not kidding. Gramps has a habit of takin’ in runaways and consoling them or whatever.”

“That doesn’t change the fact that you two are trouble.” Evergreen pointed out.


The four stopped, standing side by side as they looked over the steep, downhill road ahead. They were on top of a slope.

“What, never been here before?” Laxus asked.

“No, just…” Freed sighed, then turned to the boy behind him. “Bixlow, can you help me hold my bike? It might slide down, see.”

Bixlow nodded. “Uh, okay.”

Then Laxus said, “Why don’tcha just ride it downhill? It’s fun that way.”

“No way, that’s suicidal.” — Ever.

“I think it’s cool.” — Bixlow.

“I did it once, made Erza cry ’cause she was riding on the back and thought we were gonna die.”

“You were. You just got lucky.”

“Can we try it?”

“You try.”

“No, Freed owns the bike, so—”

“Oh, but Laxus has done it before so he should—”

“Evergreen, ladies first—”


“Bixlow, you try. Have fun and stuff.”

“I’m injured!”

“Laxus, you do it.”

“Why do we have to do it?”

“’Cause it’s fun and cool and you might die?”

“I’ll do it if you three go with me.”

“A bike is for one person.”

“Two, actually.”

“Evergreen can sit up front and you two can ride out back.”

“You’re gonna break my bike!”

“Forget the bike, you’re gonna break our lives.”

“You’re all cowards. Fine, gimme that bike.”

Freed handed over the bike to Laxus, who quickly got on it and then looked at the others expectantly.

“It really IS fun, though. Last offer.” he said. “Going once, going twice, I’m gonna do it now—”

Then all of a sudden, both Freed and Bixlow were balancing themselves behind him and Evergreen was staring at them in disbelief. Laxus smirked triumphantly.

“NO. Seriously?”

“Your loss.” Freed said, smiling a giddy smile Evergreen had never seen before. He really had been hanging out with the other two too much. They’re bad influence!

“I’m gonna watch you guys die from here.” was all the brunette said, crossing her arms across her chest.

“Ready? Hold tight but don’t strangle me.” Laxus said. Ever watched as the other two clung to each other and to the blonde, and then without further warning—


The three came down the hill screaming, and Evergreen just gaped at them as they reached the bottom of the slope and crashed on the pavement, laughing. Laxus was laughing out loud lying on the road, legs tangled with the bike, while Freed was sitting a feet away, holding his sides in laughter, and Bixlow was jumping up and down and saying what Ever could only assume was “Another one! Let’s do it again!”

“They’re insane.” the brunette whispered to herself. “I should probably go and save myself-… WHAT THE HECK, YOU GUYS ARE DOING IT AGAIN?!”

“Yeah!” was the collective cry of the boys as they came running up the hill, pushing the bike with them.

They were beside her in no time, and then she found herself being dragged to sit in front of Laxus on the bike. “WHAT— What are you— Let go of me, I’m not doing this! HEY! NO WAY, LET ME GO! This is impossible, four people won’t-… The bike will—!”

“I’d stop struggling if I were you.” Laxus said, and Evergreen looked up at him and saw him smirking down at her, while Freed and Bixlow clung tightly to the guy’s neck and shoulders. ‘One-! Two-!’ — she knew then that she had no choice but to wrap her arms on their driver’s torso and cling tightly. “Three-!”

Evergreen screamed, Bixlow shouted “I HAVE FRIENDS NOW!” while Freed’s was ‘MY PARENTS WILL KILL ME FOR THIS!’ and Laxus just screamed a random “YEAAAAAHHHH!” as the poor bike wheeled down the slope fast, the group crashing on the ground again when they reached the bottom.

Thankfully for Evergreen, she landed on top of Laxus, who was laughing with the other two again. The brunette shrieked and quickly got off the blonde and tried to fix her skirt and hair.

“I quit! I really quit, for real!” — she said, sniffing, trying to cover her face with her bag. “I am never! Ever! Going to do that! AGAIN! And y’all only draggin’ me to this OVER MY DEAD BODY! D-D-Don’t-… Don’t laugh! Stop it!”

They just kept laughing though, but she had never seen any of the three boys so free and happy — so different from the strangers she once used to avoid in the school hallways.

Evergreen shook her head, looking away bashfully. When they’re like this, how can she stay angry?

It was the week after finals in the university. Bixlow was quietly reading manga that afternoon. Typically, he would have bugged his friends by now. However, the last he saw of them were right after the exams, looking so relieved, and he thought that maybe Evergreen would like to spend the rest of the day with Elfman, Freed with Laxus, to relax because the worst was over.So he sucked it up and simply decided that maybe he can go bother them the next day…That was when he heard a knock on the door and put down his latest read to call out, “Come in!”The door opened and a familiar person greeted him. “Hey.”“Ever?”

“I have doughnuts.” Evergreen said, stepping carefully inside the room and then closing the door behind her.

Bixlow blinked from his position on the bed. “Uh, thanks. Why’re you here?”

“I’m tired.” she sighed, slipping off her coat and putting down her bag somewhere clear of any precious anime or game merchandise. She set her heels beside her bag before sitting on the bed with her bandmate, setting the box of doughnuts between them.

“So why don’t you take a rest or something?” Bixlow asked, watching as Evergreen got a doughnut from the box and then positioned herself just beside him, leaning her back against the wall.

“I’m tired of hanging out with those girls.” the brunette groaned. “They want to party tonight and I’m just… not up for it.”

Bixlow chuckled, taking his own doughnut and biting down on it. “What’re you up for, then?”

“Some peace and quiet.”

“Gee, and you go to the guy with ADHD. Wow, Ever. Genius much.”

“Shut up.” Ever hit his shoulder painfully, then sighed again. “I know you’re probably just here reading something weird or building a freakin’ robot or something. Go on, you can ignore me.”

“Y’know I can’t ignore other people when they’re in my dorm room, right?” Bixlow pointed out.

Before Evergreen could answer, another set of knocks on the door was heard. They both called out, “Come in!” at the same time, and the next thing they knew, Freed and Laxus were stepping inside the room.

“Hey, it’s your parents.” Evergreen said.

“Why’re you guys here?” Bixlow asked, then looked at the four-pack canned soda that Laxus set down on the bed.

“You haven’t been texting.” Freed said, taking off his coat and shoes before sitting on the bed beside Ever as well.

Laxus nodded, joining his bandmates on the bed and saying, “We came to check up if you’re still alive.”

Bixlow looked down blankly at the manga volume in his lap — it had some crumbs from the doughnut… and then he looked up to stare at his bandmates. “Really?”

They were already holding doughnuts and eating nonchalantly.

“What do you mean ‘really’?” Freed asked. “Are you alright, Bix?”

“Have you checked your temperature yet?” Ever followed up. “’Cause you’re awfully quiet and not that I hate quiet, but something’s probably wrong if you of all people are being quiet.”

And finally, Laxus asked the important question: “Dude, are you stoned?”

Bixlow finally snapped out of it and grinned his usual grin, laughing it off and leaning his back against the wall, munching on a doughnut. “Haha! Of course I’m doin’ good! I’m totally good, just finished rewatching a lotta stuff while you guys were out!”

Freed chuckled while the other two shook their heads. “You really holed yourself up here?”

“Yeah, ’cause I’m not being lovey-dovey with anyone.” the drummer huffed childishly.

“Alright, alright. We back out.” Evergreen sighed, then quickly grabbed the manga volume from the drummer’s lap and hit him on the head with it. Painfully.

“OW! Eveeeeer, that hurt!”

“That was for your stupid kissing stunt last week.” Evergreen said, unapologetic.

“Aww, but you liked it!”

“Yes, but you should’ve done it.. somewhere else! Like maybe when I’m not with those nasty gossiping girls!”

“O-okay, but-… Wait, did you just agree that you like it?”

“…uh. W-What— NO. I didn’t agree to anything!”

“Ohoho! Ever likes being kissed by me!”

“Shut up! I don’t! You-… ugh! SHUT UP! I never said anything like that!”

“By the way, Bix.” Freed said, cutting off the argument before the two started throwing their doughnuts at each other. “How did the mission go? We never heard from you about that.”

Bixlow’s face quickly lit up and he looked at his bandmates excitedly. “Dude, it was awesome!”

“Please don’t tell me you kissed everyone you know.” Laxus said.

“No, not really. Uh, I was able to get Mira, Lucy, Natsu — I had to chase him but he gave up soon enough, Cana — she kissed me back wow I really like her, Gildarts — though he hit me with some newspaper ‘cause he says I’m bein’ creepy, uhhh… Gray ran away and Juvia-chan wanted to kill me.”

They stifled their laughter. Evergreen looked at him pointedly. “Seriously? You tried to kiss Gray while Juvia was around?”

“Ehhhh, how often do I see ’em? So I grabbed the opportunity, though the opportunity wanted to stab me, apparently.”

Freed butted in, “…and Cana kissed you back?”

Bixlow nodded. “Yeah, it was awesome! I ended up havin’ to carry her home, though. ’Cause she’s like, really drunk.”

“I feel you.” Laxus mumbled, shaking his head, remembering the last time he had to do the same for the alcoholic teen. “Anyone else?”

“Your grandpa. He just laughed it off. Oh, and Levy and Jet and Droy! And Max, though he tried to hit me with Broom-chan. Laki was holdin’ a sharp pen so I didn’t try. Erza went all blushy and I think she wanted to disappear… maybe ‘cause I did it while she was walkin’ with her boyfriend?”

“Oh my God, you didn’t.” Ever said, chuckling.

“I actually did.” Bixlow said, musing. “And hey, come to think of it… that’s a lotta people.”

“We know.” Freed said lowly, sighing. “That’s a lot of people you certainly ended up creeping out. Sometimes I think you should’ve stayed your borderline depressed, quieter self.”

“Aw, but it’s more fun not havin’ to try and keep it in!” Bixlow said, laughing. His bandmates simply rolled their eyes and simultaneously went back to eating their snacks. “Hey, I just realized…”


“…I haven’t kissed Laxus yet.”



“But Papa—”

“NO. Fuck damn no—”

“You can’t stop me.”


Freed and Evergreen broke down to hysterics as they watched Laxus dash around the room, running away from Bixlow to save his precious pride.

Evergreen woke up in the middle of the night when she felt the extra warmth beside her fade. She reached out groggily and her hand met the empty space beside her on the bed. The brunette knew she fell asleep curled against Bixlow’s back on the drummer’s bed. The young woman sat up, pulling the covers to herself as she looked around the dorm room. All the lights were off, including the one in the bathroom. She looked down at the floor beside the bed. Freed and Laxus were sleeping on a futon on the floor, sharing a pillow and a blanket. Laxus’ face was buried against the other guy’s green hair, both of them sleeping soundly. Had she been more awake, she would have taken a picture, because it was Freed and Laxus spooning, and she thought it looked adorable.But it was three in the morning and Bixlow was nowhere to be seen. They’ve all gone to sleep just barely two hours ago after watching three movies at Bixlow’s. They decided to make it a movie night after the drummer finally gave up trying to kiss Laxus that afternoon.Evergreen scratched her head and softly called out, “Bix? Bix?” She sighed, then turned to whisper towards the couple on the floor. “Hey, Freed. Freed?”Freed stirred and opened his eyes but didn’t move. “…E-Ever?”“Where’s Bixlow?”

Freed groaned sleepily. “Isn’t he with you?”



“There’s no one in the bathroom.” Evergreen answered.

“Huh? Maybe he went out…” Freed yawned. Laxus grunted, slowly waking up, but Freed simply patted his arm and the guy went back to sleep quickly.


“I don’t know…”

Ever sighed and then nodded. “Okay, you go back to sleep. I’ll go check on ’im.”

“Thanks.” Freed whispered back, before lying his head back on the pillow and shifting to his other side to bury his head against Laxus’ chest.

Evergreen simply shook her head and stumbled towards the bathroom, calling out Bixlow’s name in a whisper. When she received no reply, she walked towards the door and peeked her head to look at the dark empty hallway of the dorms.

The dorm building had a balcony on each floor, a common area for the students and teachers who lived there. Evergreen quickly recognized her friend’s figure sitting on the large plush couch placed on their current floor’s balcony.

She grabbed the nearest coat she could and slipped it on. She was sure the boys wouldn’t mind, besides she didn’t want to walk around the dorm hallways wearing one of Bixlow’s bigger t-shirts and boxers.

“Hey.” she said as she stopped in front of the drummer, making him look up at her. “You’re wearing my coat.”

Bixlow shrugged, hugging his knees to himself. “It fits. You’re wearing Freed’s.”

Evergreen shrugged as well, sitting beside him and crossing her legs, pulling Freed’s dark red coat to herself. “Why’re you here?”

“I can’t sleep.” he admitted, he said, wriggling his bare toes a bit. “But not ’cause you sleeptalk or ’cause Laxus snores.”

“I don’t sleeptalk.”

“You think so.”

“And Laxus wasn’t snoring.”

Bixlow shrugged. “Why’re you here?”

“I woke up and you were missing.”


“So I came to check.”


“Because it’s 3 AM and you were gone.”


Ever breathed deeply, trying to extend her patience. “Look, just drop it. Why can’t you sleep? We have band practice tomorrow, remember?”

“Yeah.” he nodded.

“Let’s go back to bed. You can count sheep or whatever.” Evergreen said, preparing to stand up.

“Ever?” he asked in a whisper. She looked at him. “Do you ever—”

An abrupt pause, then he snorted.

The brunette narrowed her eyes. “What.”

“Ever, do you ever. Haha…” then he started laughing. “Hahahaha!”

“Bixlow! It-… It’s not funny.”

The drummer was in a fit of laughter — “Do you ever!” — and soon enough, his companion joined him, giggling at the really bad pun.

“Do I ever.” she mumbled, stifling her laugh because it was 3 AM and there were people sleeping. “That was really bad.”

“I know.” he said, fading into a chuckle.

After they’ve both calmed down, Evergreen sighed, then turned to him. “No, seriously though. What is it?”

“Do you ever think…” he started, obviously looking for the right words. “Do ’ya ever think I suck at this… this friendship thing?”

Evergreen blinked, peering into her companion’s face. “Friendship? With who?”

“With you guys. You and Freed and Laxus.”

She looked down at her own feet, shrugging. “I don’t know. I… I think you’re okay.”


“No. Alright, you can be really annoying and a giant pain in the rear end.” she said, sighing. “But I’m pretty much used to it. And if I’m used to it, then that means Freed practically can’t tell the difference anymore, ’cause he’s that kinda person. I don’t know about Laxus but if he hasn’t killed you until now, I think that means you’re still doing pretty good.”

Bixlow didn’t reply and simply fidgeted, looking out at the distance.

“Why did you ask? You think you’re a bad friend?” Evergreen asked this time.

“Eh, sometimes I wake up at night and I can’t sleep and I think about random stuff and… yeah.” he said, musing. “It’s somethin’ I can’t seem to recover from. I mean now it’s easier to focus on stuff and stay still and do other stuff, but I can’t get over the random impulses and the sleeplessness problems.”

“Is it your meds acting up?”

“I barely even take stuff anymore.” he admitted. “I haven’t told anyone yet, but I don’t take stuff everyday anymore ‘cause it’s easier to… control things now. I just take ’em when I know I might be doin’ something that might make me act up or have an outburst or somethin’.”

“Isn’t that good?”

“Yeah, I guess it is.”

“But half the time it’s still pretty obvious that you’re hyper.”

“I dunno, maybe that’s really just me. Someone had to be it.”

“Be what?”

“You’re kinda a snob, and Freed’s really serious about stuff, and Laxus always looks like he’s gonna murder people. Someone’s gotta do the talking, which won’t involve scaring people.”

“..and you think it’s your job to do that?”

“Maybe. Not really, but I’ve already had more than my enough share of keepin’ everything bottled up and trying to be serious.”

She agreed on that. The first few months after the four of them completed the band and Freed and Laxus made it clear that Bixlow could be himself without anyone quitting on him, they almost couldn’t believe that the quiet, shivering guy that trailed after them was actually this hyperactive ball of energy with a passion for everything and an enthusiasm level that broke meters.

He continued, “I mean you guys always look cool while I’m a total dork, but I quite like being one.”

“Obviously.” Evergreen said, chuckling.

“But y’know what, last week when you guys were really busy, I can’t help but… y’know, feel really clingy. And I kinda felt bad about it. Sometimes I feel bad when I’m trying to be all loud and cheerful and teasing everyone just to make sure y’all look at me once in a while. I feel like I have to do it, y’know. Try and make you guys see that I’m… err, still here.”

“Why is that?”

“’Cause otherwise you guys won’t even glance at me, and I felt really really worried ’bout that…”


“Well whenever I feel left alone, I always remember… y’know, back then. Before you guys came. Sometimes every minute I spend by myself reminds me so much of back then and I just think — ‘no no no I need them’ — so I try and basically shout for y’guys to… err, look back. ‘Cause I can’t go back to that. I’m so dependent and I’m not doin’ anything back for you guys, so I thought… I suck. At all this. ‘Cause I’m just trying not to feel alone. And… and maybe if you guys know that that’s how I feel, you’ll leave. ’Cause you’ve done so much, practically cured me, really, almost — and then I’m just here. Bein’ annoying and a pain.”

“Bix, I told you. I-… We’re used to it.”

“No, you don’t get it.” he said, his hands tightly gripping the hem of his shirt this time. “You guys make me happy. And… and real. And here. You guys like, hold me down and… and everything. And what do I do for you?”

Evergreen didn’t answer.

“Do I make you guys happy too?”

Her answer was fast. “No.”


“But we sure as heck feel better with you around.” Evergreen said, cutting him off. “Okay, this might sound cheesy, but… well, you kinda manage to brighten some days, y’know.”

“What do you mean?”

Evergreen breathed deeply, trying to be patient again. She was never the closest to Bixlow. If anything, she often envied the guy for being shameless enough to openly ask Freed to baby him. Evergreen used to be the one Freed fussed over. It’s how their little family unit worked — Freed mothered everyone, even Laxus.

Evergreen always saw the boys as more of her siblings, and somehow Evergreen always saw Bixlow as kind of the new little brother that their older brother spoiled, taking her for granted. She didn’t like how honestly Bixlow could express his appreciation for Freed’s and Laxus’ company, while she had to keep up her tough girl act all the time because her pride didn’t allow her to express her desire to be pampered. Freed didn’t abandon or ignore her — the bassist simply looked after their drummer more because Freed thought Bixlow needed more help.

Their band was just a bunch of people who found each other and picked each other up because they needed the company, even though they would never admit that out loud.

When Freed and Laxus asked her to sing for them, even though she always said she didn’t want to be their vocalist, she relished in the two boys’ company because it felt good… having people who accepted her and wanted to do fun things with her for once. Then shortly after Bixlow came into the picture, Freed and Laxus turned their attention to him, encouraging him to keep up with the drums, that he was learning fast and that he was good. Evergreen felt overshadowed, but she didn’t show it — she simply proved that she could stand up for herself.

But she also knew that that was how families worked sometimes. The other members sometimes looked after one member and let another stand up on her own because they trusted just how strong she was.

So while Bixlow’s presence made Ever too aware of her pride and the fact that she didn’t need the other two boys to look after her in the first place, that was when she also realized that Freed and Laxus thought that she was strong. Strong enough to leave her standing alone, trusting her to catch up to them on her own terms because they knew that she can.

That’s why she didn’t hold a grudge for any of her three best friends. For her, it was more than enough to have people who know that you belong with them, and who knew that they can trust you to fit yourself right in the very place they reserved for you, at your own time, at your own accord.

“What I mean is,” she finally said. “It won’t be the same without you.”

“Of course, ’cause I’m noisy.”

“Not just that.” she said. “Without you, Freed wouldn’t have someone to look after, and God knows that he’s supposed to look after someone or his motherly instincts just might push him to kidnap a child. You think it annoys him, but y’know what, I think that looking after us — you and me, I mean — is what took his mind off of Laxus the past few years. You know, back then I thought, Freed really loves this guy, but what if Laxus says something really bad that will hurt my best friend and Freed decides to quit? Maybe I’ll quit with him. But I think Freed kept it up ’cause he didn’t want to leave you alone with Laxus. And I didn’t quit because he didn’t. You kept the band intact for some weird reason, you know. Of course, we weren’t really complete without a drummer, yeah, but… well, the band wasn’t the band before you came in. You’re a game-changer of sorts. At least, that’s what I think.”


“Yep. So it really wouldn’t have worked out if it was just Freed being all serious and Laxus brooding and me being… well, me. I’m not encouraging you to keep it up or do it more often, but you know, sometimes I appreciate you just being all stupid and shallow teasing me about Elf because I know I worry too much and I need to loosen up. And Freed really needs those ‘I need a lap’ demands while listening to your stupid rants about anime ’cause it distracts him from all the buzz and responsibility and all that, and sometimes Laxus needs to chill it off with someone who isn’t Freed or me because we probably won’t get him. ’Cause you know what, no one else can pull that off. It’s just you.

“So while you feel like you’re not doing anything for us, or that you’re just here to have someone or something to hold on to so you don’t get lost, you should probably know that we’re all just doing the same here.”

Bixlow looked at his companion. Evergreen looked back at him and smiled a gentle smile. “C’mere, let me repay you for that hug you gave me last time I fought with Elf. I hate owing you, you make me buy stupid stuff.”

He leaned his head on her shoulder and she wrapped an arm across his shoulders and ruffled his hair, while he snuggled against her.

“You’re not the only one who treats this… the four of us, this band… as an anchor, Bix. We all do.” she said, and then she felt him nod against her neck. “So stop thinking your crazy random thoughts in the god-forsaken hours of the night. This is why people think you’re creepy.”

“I can’t help it.”

“But you know you can tell us, right? When it’s really bothering you?”

He nodded again. “Yeah.”

Evergreen sighed. “…and you tease Freed for being a drama king when you’re going all emotional in here by yourself.”

Bixlow sniggered. “That’s ’cause he lets himself get caught.”

The brunette laughed. “Yeah, you have a point.”

They stayed like that for a while, just leaning against each other silently.

After a few moments, Bixlow spoke up again. “Hey, Ever?”


“Papa told me I’m adopted. Did you know?”

At that, Evergreen groaned. “I’m too sleepy to deal with this.”

The next day, after band practice, the four found themselves sitting in one row in front of Mirajane. The barmaid was delighted to see the band complete after so long, so she enthusiastically took their orders and decided to make their drinks herself.“So,” Mira said, serving them. “It’s really really nice to see you all together here again.”“Did Bixlow bother you too much?” Laxus asked. “That’s why you’re really happy to see we’re here keeping him on a leash?”“Partly.” she giggled.“Aw, Mira! That was mean! You said you didn’t mind hangin’ out and I even helped ’ya re-tally the bets and dry plates!”

“He must’ve been a handful. I’m so sorry.” Freed said. “Did he break anything?”

Mira put a hand on her cheek and made a worried expression. “Ah, thankfully he didn’t do much damage, though he sat on the bar top really rudely…”

“Really sorry. It’s hard taming a guy like him.” Freed shook his head, playing along.

Ever decided that she wasn’t about to be left behind. “See? You cause too much trouble for mom.”

Bixlow pouted. “Hey—”

Laxus finally put down his drink and decided ‘to hell with it’ — it was his turn to piss on Bixlow. “Is that a white hair, Freed?”

“Where?” Freed faked a hurt face.

Mira gasped. “Oh my God, it must be because of so much stress because of Bixlow…”

Ever sniffed. “He’s such a problem child… mom and dad can’t even get a break~”

“Have you thought of bringing him to special services?”

Laxus grunted. “Yeah, he’s adopted anyway. We can just get another one. Normal this time.”

“Okay okay okay!” Bixlow whined. “You’re all being mean! Like, really mean! Is this payback for kissin’ everyone?! ’Cause you’re all being really shitty to poor me over here, and I had to deal with crap alone because y’all ignored me for TWO WEEKS!”


Freed was the first one to speak up. “Alright.”

“What do you mean alright?”

“Since yes, that was mean — I’m going to help you with Laxus.” — plus a wink.

Bixlow gaped, then started bouncing giddily in his seat.

Laxus raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean help him with m-.. WHAT.” — Freed had grabbed him by the collar to make the blonde face him. Mira covered her mouth with her hand and exchanged a startled look with Evergreen.

“Laxus.” Freed started.

“W-What. Why are you holding me-… Let go, why are you looking at me like that?”

“You know that I will always… always, always—”

Laxus had started to feel nervous all of a sudden. “-Freed don’t say it I don’t do this crap in public—”

“—always always, always, always—”

“Freed no—”

“—put your happiness first.”


“Look at me.”


“This time we owe Bix one because we did ditch him for two weeks.”

“What the fuck are you talki—”

Freed smiled guiltily. “I’m sorry, okay?”


Then Laxus heard a loud shout of “I LOVE YOU LAXUS!” and all of a sudden two arms were around his neck and Bixlow had kissed him on the cheek.


In a split second Freed was with Mira on the other side of the bar, both of them stifling their laughter, while Evergreen was clutching her own stomach, laughing, and Bixlow was running away again.

“I can’t believe you did that to me.” Laxus glared at the bassist, who hid behind Mira. “Traitor.”

Bixlow was a few meters away from the bar, laughing in victory and waving his phone around. “Hah! Mission accomplished! And I have a pic! I’m gonna print this out ’cause it’s precioooouuuus!”

“Send me a copy!” came a call from Cana somewhere in the bar.


“Uh-oh.” Evergreen mumbled, seeing Laxus crack his knuckles. “Bix, run for it!”

And for the second time that week, Laxus was running around the room but this time chasing after Bixlow, who laughed evilly while sending the so-called precious photo to everyone in his contact list.

Chapter Notes:

And that’s it! Haha. It’s not super serious and not the funniest, but it’s Bix and basically my attempt at what goes through his head sometimes.

This is only the third out of four Raijinshuu chapters, but this is pretty much my way of going full circle on the four’s relationship. Laxus’ chapter will be focusing on something else so I thought I have to make this thing solid by this chapter. I hope I managed.

Next chapter, sadly, won’t make it for Valentines (it would’ve been perfect but ugh real life), but I’ll try to get it out before Feb ends. 😉

expand_less expand_more