Mira is a transfer student on a foreign country. All is totally normal, but the fact that everyone around her are basically paired up will take some getting used to.
This AU is based on the manga “Shinkuu Yuusetsu” by Bikke. It’s one of my fave BL titles EVER. It’s pure and precious and just… *sobs* Anyway if you haven’t read it, you should!
That’s why this chapter is one of my personal faves in this collection. Enjoy!
It was Mira’s first day on this foreign country. Well, technically it was her second day – but she spent the first day unpacking her things, reviewing the local language, and catching up on sleep, trying to adjust her body clock to adapt to the different timezone.
So she considered this the first official day of her stay in this country, and her first day as an exchange student. Early that morning, the official in charge of her picked her up from her temporary dorm and gave her a ride to the town’s private high school. The woman was curt and polite at best, and didn’t speak much even though they spoke the same language. But she told Mira what she needed to know. Mostly.
“This is one of the best private schools in this country, Miss Strauss. It can be intimidating, but the principal said that they have already asked one of their best students to look after you. You’ll be in the same class, and he will give you a tour of the school before lessons start today. They thought you’ll be more comfortable if you were introduced to your surroundings right away. That’s why we’re coming in early.”
“That sounds great, thank you.” she answered diligently. She was nervous, but only a little bit. She was confident most of the time – and the city so far had seemed like a friendly place to her.
Mira had never seen such pretty long green hair on a boy before. She actually thought that the student was a girl until he turned from his conversation with who must be the principal and a teacher. He caught her looking and smiled politely. He stood straight, hands folded neatly behind him, uniform pristine.
The principal greeted her warmly in her native tongue, his words fluent but his accent thick. He said the pleasantries, how pleased they were to meet her and how they’re looking forward to her temporary stay… The teacher was introduced to her as her homeroom teacher, who gave her a little book and a slip of paper – her student handbook and class schedule, respectively.
Then she was introduced to her guide – he was Freed Justine, her class representative and one of their best, and he was going to show her around. They asked him if he would be so kind as to show their exchange student around while they moved into the office so they could settle some important paperwork.
“Follow me… May I call you Mira?” the student asked in his native language, and she had studied enough to not be intimidated by the strange words.
“Yes.” she replied, and hoped she sounded convincing… or at least, didn’t sound too silly with her accent.
“Great. You can call me Freed. We’ve got plenty of time before class. I’ll show you around. Let me know if you have any questions.”
She nodded, thanked him and followed.
“…lastly, the school’s also open for students during weekends. The classrooms are locked, but we’re free to use the library for homework and research. We need special permission to use the labs, but you only need to ask the teachers. They’re not that strict about it. Some sports clubs also have practice during weekends.”
Mira listened intently, having some difficulty catching up to some of her guide’s words, but managing decently. She only had a rough crash course on the language before her start as a foreign exchange student.
It was a good thing that her guide spoke in a formal manner, with minimal local slang, so it was easy to piece his words together. He had also read up a bit on her lanuage, so that when she didn’t get something, he used some words on her mother tongue. He was accommodating, responsible and very friendly. No wonder he was the class rep. And a member of student council, if she got that part correctly.
“I guess that ends our tour of the school.” he finished, smiling. “Is there anywhere else you want to go? We have to get back for homeroom, but we can schedule it for this lunch, or after classes.”
Mira smiled back. “Oh, I think I’ve troubled you enough! Thank you for showing me around!” she said, hopefully she managed a decent sentence despite her accent. He seemed to think nothing of it, anyway. That, or he’s also very nice.
He started walking now, to the direction she recognized was heading back towards their classroom. She fell into step beside him easily.
“Do you have any questions, then? Even if it’s not about school.” Freed continued. “I know our country can be really different from yours. So if you don’t understand a greeting or a custom, I can explain it.”
Mira nodded, following her new friend’s line of thought. He was looking out for her. They were going to start class soon and he wanted her not to be too overwhelmed about it. They walked in silence through the school halls, Freed letting her think. And now that she thought about it, she was indeed really curious about one thing in particular…
But as soon as she opened her mouth to speak, she hesitated and stopped.
“Yes?” Freed prompted.
She shook her head. “I’m not… sure… it might be rude to ask…?”
He blinked. “Go on. I’ll keep an open mind.”
Will he? Well, he’s been an astounding guide so far. And he looked like a very calm guy. So maybe she shouldn’t worry so much.
“Before I came here, I was required to read a bit on the background of the country. I read about everyone being paired? Something like that… It mentioned exchange of energy, something done regularly and physically, but no other details.”
“Ah. The supplier-receiver system.” Freed nodded.
“Yes, that! I forgot what it was called…”
“I guess it only exists for our people here. It’s in our biology, you see.” he explained, looking around for a bit before he nodded towards two people in the distance.
Two students were standing by the bottom of the staircase, a pretty girl with long-green hair and a boy with longish raven hair. After a quick exchange of words, they closed the distance between them, their lips touching.
Mira looked away quickly – not that she was judging, but it was such an open display, what with other students walking by to get to their respective classrooms- Wait-
“Alzack and Bisca are partners.” Freed explained. “That how they exchange energy.”
Mira looked at him. “T-Through kissing.” The book said NOTHING about that.
“We call it ‘charging’, really.”
“Mm-hm. We get paired together when we’re around three or four – that’s when a receiver starts to lose their stored energy and a supplier begins building up their stock of it. We get paired up to balance it out. Because partners are always supposed to be close at hand for each other, we get paired to someone the same age, or as close a match as possible. So they can go to the same school, participate in the same activities, that sort of thing…”
“Okay, but… doing that in public is normal too?” Mira asked.
Freed shrugged. “It’s a regular thing. Like handing someone their lunch, or taking your daily vitamins. It’s normal to do it around here, although some of us prefer doing it in private. Either way is accepted.”
She nodded this time, determined to grasp the local custom as quickly as she could. If it’s a normal thing, then the sooner she could get used to it, the sooner she can find her place in this school. “Alright, I think I got it.”
“I hope you’re not too shocked.” Freed said, concern evident in his voice.
But before Mira could reply, another voice cut in, this time deep and rough. “Hey! There you are!”
They turned to see a blonde teenager with a scar on his face, walking towards them briskly. He was wearing a sports attire, a towel draped on his shoulders. He was taller and bigger than both of them, and Mira couldn’t help but take a step back. He was a bit intimidating.
“Good morning, Laxus.” Freed greeted with a smile.
The guy named Laxus frowned and grumbled his reply, and Mira could only catch a few choice words. “…your classroom …office …everyone I asked …different answers.”
Mira just realized that maybe Freed had been talking to her really slowly… because she hardly understood anything the other student had said.
“Oh, that’s because I was giving a tour.” Freed answered.
…or maybe Freed just spoke more clearly. Maybe. Gods, the language barrier was a pain.
Then Laxus finally noticed her standing just a bit behind Freed. “Who’s this?”
“This is Mira.” Freed introduced. “She’s the new exchange student. She’ll be in my class. The principal asked me to assist her while she settles in.”
“Hello, good morning.” Mira managed to say, stepping forward and bowing a bit.
“Morning. Laxus Dreyar.” the blonde said promptly. Then, thankfully, his next sentence was slower and formal enough that Mira actually understood it. “Mind if I borrow Freed for a bit?”
Mira simply nodded, and Freed told her to wait for him before he followed Laxus towards a nearby set of lockers. Laxus was saying something and Freed was nodding. Deciding it was rude to watch them, she took out the slip of paper that was her class schedule and decided to give in a once-over. She had three classes in the morning, an hour and a half for lunch, more classes in the afternoon, there was a dedicated timeslot for afterschool activities, maybe she should ask Freed about those-
When she looked back up, they were kissing. Wait. No. Not kissing – charging. She should use the right term. Laxus had an arm on Freed’s waist, his other hand casually in his pocket, while Freed’s hands were on Laxus’s shoulders.
When they parted, Freed said something and Laxus said something back. Laxus looked back at Mira and nodded – and she hardly had time to realize it was a polite nod of acknowledgement before the blonde left a short kiss on Freed’s cheek, and then left.
Freed got back to Mira with his usual pleasant and polite smile. “Sorry to make you wait. He said he won’t be able to meet up with me during lunch, so he wanted to charge now. It’s almost homeroom. Shall we go?”
By the time lunch has rolled in, Mira already had a dozen or so questions about this supplier-receiver system but she didn’t know how to bring it up to Freed. He said they can have lunch together in the school’s cafeteria and she only followed him meekly as he led the way.
When they got there, another student was already waving at Freed to come join him in his table. Mira didn’t mind sitting with other students, it’s actually nice that the guy with dark blue hair had reserved seats – no, a whole table – for them. Even if his feet were on the table.
“Where’s Laxus?” the student asked.
“He’s having lunch with the team.” Freed replied, brushing his friend’s feet off the table before settling his packed lunch down. “Mira can have his seat.”
“Hey, you’re the exchange student! I’m Bixlow! D’you have lunch?”
Mira shook her head. “I was hoping to get one here.”
“Perfect! We can get it together!” With that, he had already pulled her to get some cafeteria food.
When they got back to the table, Freed had new company: a pretty brunette who also had packed lunch with her. She introduced herself as Evergreen. “I’m this idiot’s long-suffering receiver.” she said when Bixlow sat next to her.
“Ever needs to get a boyfriend, maybe she’ll be happier, and she’ll stop being so mean all the time.” Bixlow said.
“You’re not together?” Mira asked before she could help herself, but before she could worry if she offended anyone, Freed spoke up.
“Being partners doesn’t always mean you’re a couple.” he explained. “These two are more like siblings forever wearing their Get-Along shirt, which will never work.”
Bixlow nodded. “Yeah, and we can be re-assigned if needed. So. Ever. You need to find a supplier boyfriend. Then I’ll find me a nicer partner. I don’t mind if it’s a boy or a girl or neither or both or a venomous snake, as long as they’re not mean and grumpy all the time.”
“I don’t want or need a boyfriend.” Ever grumbled. “They’re a waste of time. And I’m mean because you’re noisy.”
“Excuse you, I’m cheerful!”
“Everything is annoying to you, though.”
And then their bickering turned too fast for Mira to follow, so she turned to Freed, who was treating it as a regular occurrence. Maybe it was. If the two had been paired since they were kids, well…
“So, Freed…” she started. “Are you a supplier or a receiver?”
“I’m a supplier, like Bix.” he answered promptly. “It is kind of strange for you, isn’t it?”
“Not really, it’s just… so different.” Mira said, looking around – she can easily spot at least five pairs of students in the cafeteria, lips locked, the other occupants of their tables carrying casual conversations normally. “I’m just wondering, if a kiss on the lips is for partners to charge, how do you express… um, I don’t know the word.”
“Affection?” Freed provided, but Mira was still unfamiliar with it, so he tried in her language. “Love.”
“Yes!” she nodded.
He thought about it. “For families, a kiss on the forehead. Like with parents, or siblings. For others, you kiss them on the cheek. It’s a greeting in your country, but here, it’s very special.”
“Oh. That’s… interesting.” Mira said, thinking about it. She made a mental note not to greet her friends here with cheek kisses. It looks like they take the gesture more seriously. Then another thought hit her, when she remembered this morning with Freed and his partner, just before Laxus left- “Then… you and Laxus…?”
At this, Freed only smiled down at his lunch, a light blush on his cheeks. “Well… I guess we got lucky.”
“Does she follow you everywhere?” Laxus asked one afternoon, when he came home to find Mira sitting on their couch, a book in one hand and a dictionary in the other.
“She can understand you.” Freed pointed out from his cozy position sitting on the floor, busy doing his math homework in the low table.
Freed and Laxus lived in an apartment unit in a building mostly occupied by other high school students. It was within walking distance to the school, and only a few blocks away from where Mira stayed.
“Hi, Laxus.” Mira said; it was only appropriate to greet the owner of the place. “I hope I’m not intruding.”
“Nah, I like you.” He only shrugged as he slumped on the other end of the couch, peering curiously at Freed’s homework.
“What was that?” Mira blinked at him, and she caught Freed look up and grin a bit at Laxus.
“I said,” he leaned back against the couch, and yawned as he loosened his uniform tie. “I like you better than the other two.”
“He’s talking about Ever and Bixlow.” Freed provided, returning to his homework, ignoring Laxus absentmindedly playing with his hair.
“God, they’re noisy.” the blonde shook his head tiredly. “And they come here like they live here.”
“We’ve known them since we were in gradeschool. You’re not used to them by now?” Freed chuckled.
“They don’t stop being noisy.” Laxus reasoned, then turned towards Mira. “You’re not noisy. What’re you doing?”
“Um… required reading.” she answered uncertainly. “I’m not familiar with some of the words, so I consult the dictionary…”
“Why don’t you help her out?” Freed turned to his partner. “You know you can.”
“Too much trouble.” Laxus grumbled.
“C’mon.” Freed said, nudging the other teen’s leg with his elbow. He looked at Mira and explained, “Laxus is good with languages. He’s fluent in yours. He was actually the one who taught me those simple sentences I use when talking to you.”
“Eh? Really?” Mira asked, in her native tongue.
“Really.” Laxus repeated, in the same language as hers, surprisingly almost without an accent. “So what? It’s an easy one anyway.”
She was promptly impressed. “Can you help me with some of these sentences I’m having trouble with? I mean, I understand the words, but… the meaning and expressions… I think I’m being too literal…”
Laxus looked at Freed in dismay, before sighing and shrugging. “Fine, give it here.”
Mira smiled, handing the book to the blonde and then swapping her dictionary for a notepad and pen. She scooted closer to Laxus and pointed out the section in the book that was giving her a hard time. He nodded, before explaining the meaning of the sentence, going word-for-word, giving her their literal meanings, then explaining how they changed with the individual words put together. While he did this, Mira took down notes.
Freed couldn’t quite follow the foreign-sounding conversation, but he found that he quite liked the white noise the two voices provided. He turned back to his mathematical equations, smiling a light smile.
They fell into a routine, and after a few days, Freed caught Laxus sitting up on his bed and reading a familiar novel under the lamplight.
“Is that my book?” Freed asked, sitting on the bed beside his partner. It was his own copy of the book that Mira was working on finishing. He had already completed it a few weeks before when he did some advanced reading.
“Why’re your assignments always more interesting than ours?” Laxus grumbled, flipping a page.
Freed laughed a bit, curling up against the blonde’s side and peering at the book. “You enjoy helping Mira out, do you?”
He shrugged, shifting to accommodate his companion. “It’s good practice. Talking to a native speaker.”
“And it’s a good book.” Freed added, eyeing the familiar words on the pages. The book was full of romantic, contemplative pieces of narration. He realized Laxus was never really fond of things like those… words and what they might hold past their literal meanings. Laxus in general never talked about those things. He wasn’t a sentimental person. It made Freed curious about how Laxus explained the passages to Mira, how Laxus interpreted those phrases… For the first time, Freed almost wished he was able to follow their rapid-fire conversations on a different language. It would be interesting to hear him talk about feelings and expressions and symbolism…
Contemplating made him doze off a bit, and Freed yawned. Laxus looked at him shortly and said, “You should go to sleep.”
“I think I will do that.” Freed smiled, then leaned up to plant a kiss on his partner’s cheek. Laxus smiled softly. Then Freed climbed out of his partner’s bed and onto his own across the room.
“Are you sure it’s okay if I don’t come? You know I could make a request.”
“I told you, I’ll be fine. I already talked to someone who can be my temp for the trip.”
“Okay, then are you sure you won’t be rude to them?”
“Shit, look, you’re my partner. Not my mom.”
“I’m just saying, you don’t have a good track record when it comes to other suppliers.”
Mira wanted to think that they didn’t know that she could hear them. Or maybe they were talking quickly in the hopes that she won’t understand. But she did. A month in the country with some basic knowledge to start with, along with full-time exposure to the language, and she found that she could keep up with them most of the time.
Freed and Laxus were in the little kitchen of their flat, splitting the chore of cooking dinner. Mira was on the dining table, trying to focus on the project she was working on with Freed.
From what she gathered, Laxus was going on a trip with his team. A training camp. He was on the school’s rugby team – the quarterback, which seemed fitting. Freed was concerned because he won’t be on the trip. Laxus made an arrangement with another supplier, who also wouldn’t have his partner with him. Mira had learned prior that these kinds of temporary arrangements were normal. Freed said some people are more sensitive than the others about it, though.
And from what she was currently hearing, Laxus was more on the ‘sensitive’ end of the spectrum. But she was sure he tries. After all, he did make the arrangement. Even though he doesn’t sound too happy about it either.
Nevertheless, Mira felt like she was intruding. She didn’t want to leave, but she didn’t want to tell them to lower their voices either. So she tried her best to look as casual as possible when she headed towards the bathroom. Maybe that might give them privacy without making things too awkward.
After a while, she heard some short knocks on the door before she heard Freed speaking, “Mira, are you okay? Dinner’s almost ready, you’re still staying to eat with us, right?”
Mira reassured her friend that yes, she’d be delighted to dine with them, and that she’ll be with them right away.
When it was time to go home, both of the boys decided that a nice walk to her place would do them good.
She saw them off when they were right outside her building. She smiled at them gratefully. “Thanks for walking me home.” Then she looked at Laxus. “Have a safe trip tomorrow.”
To her surprise, Laxus replied in her language. “You’ll watch over my partner for me, will you? You owe me for tutoring you on that sappy book.”
He said it almost too fast for even her to follow, and she didn’t know how, but she instantly knew why he did so. She looked at Freed, and as she expected, the guy was looking up at Laxus with a questioning expression. He didn’t know what the blonde had said.
“Of course I will.” she replied.
She watched them walk off, catching bits of their conversation: Freed asking Laxus about what just happened, and the blonde just shrugging and telling his partner that it was nothing important.
Mira didn’t notice it at first. She thought her friend (best friend, really – at least in this country) was just more silent than usual because he might be focusing on the really important paper they were supposed to turn in that week. Or maybe he was missing his boyfriend. Either reason was understandable.
Freed looked fine that morning. He even managed to hold Evergreen and Bixlow back from killing each other during lunch. But as they walked out the school gates that afternoon after school, she noted that Freed didn’t look all that fine.
“Freed, are you okay?” she asked softly, stepping closer. “You look pale.”
“Hm?” He blinked at her, and she noticed that against his unusually pale complexion, his cheeks were flushed. He sounded a bit out of breath, and his eyes looked tired. “Of course I’m fine.” he said, but his voice sounded weak too.
“You don’t look fine.” she said, taking his arm. They stopped walking. She touched his forehead and held back a gasp. “You’re burning up!”
He shook his head, gently prying her hand from his forehead. “Oh, just… It’s nothing, I’ll be fine when I get home and lie down for a bit.”
She didn’t believe him, but she started walking, faster this time, towards his apartment. “What about medicine? Should I get something?”
He didn’t answer. Now he was hardly standing upright, his eyes closed as his hands flew to his chest and he breathed deeply.
Mira swallowed. “Freed! Can you hear me? Where do I- Oh my god.” She struggled to stay upright when he leaned his weight on her. Their bags were on the ground now as she held him up against her. “Hang on. Just- Okay, just tell me what to do-”
That was when a familiar voice cut in. “Hey you guys- Whoa! Everything okay here?”
Mira breathed out in relief as she turned towards Bixlow, who was jogging towards them upon seeing that there was something wrong. “Bixlow! Help! Freed- He just- I think he’s sick. He just collapsed!”
“What?!” Bixlow exclaimed, quickly examining their friend. He took one look at the pale face and flushed cheeks, checked Freed’s temperature and cursed. “Oh no. Laxus-”
“-damn, I forgot. He’s at camp!” Bixlow groaned, then turned towards Mira. “You’re always together. Who’s his temp right now?”
“Yes. Freed’s temp receiver.”
Mira shook her head helplessly. “His temp…? There’s… There’s no one…” Because these past few days she really never saw Freed charging with anyone.
Bixlow gaped as he looked at Freed. “Dammit, Freed! What were you thinking?!”
Freed’s response was hardly audible, but they heard it. “Laxus will be back soon…”
“You know that’s not how it works!” the taller teen scolded (Mira never thought she’d see the day that happened) and took his friend’s arm and tugged. He nodded at Mira. “Okay, help me out, I’ll carry him. There’s a clinic on the next block.”
Mira quickly helped Bixlow to carry Freed on piggyback, then she grabbed their bags and followed Bixlow’s lead.
“I don’t understand.” she said as they made their way towards the clinic. “It’s only the receivers who need energy, right? Suppliers produce energy, so why is he-?”
“Yeah, but our body can only hold so much.” Bixlow answered, panting slightly. “Us suppliers can make energy for ourselves, but we need to share it. Release it somewhere – give it to someone – to keep things balanced, or we’ll overload.”
“So Freed has too much energy he got sick?”
“Yeah. What the hell are you trying to do, man?” Bixlow asked, although he couldn’t tell if Freed was still conscious or not. “You could die pulling shit like this!”
“What?!” Mira asked, but Bixlow had no time to answer as they were already at the clinic, announcing an emergency need for a receiver.
Unfortunately, the doctor and nurse on duty were both suppliers, and the other lone patient, a receiver, looked sick from something, which wouldn’t do much good.
“I’ll call Ever. She should be at the school.” Bixlow said, taking out his phone to dial his partner’s number.
“But Evergreen’s your-”
Bixlow cut her off. “We’ll manage. Freed’s worse off.” But after several unanswered calls, he stomped out of the clinic in a hurry. “Whatever, I’m getting her myself!”
Mira felt helpless – had been feeling helpless for some time now. She watched as the doctor and nurse tried to keep Freed’s temperature down, and made him take a pill that was supposed to help.
She sat on his bedside as they waited anxiously for Bixlow and Ever. As she watched Freed’s pained face, she felt the tears come. Laxus told her to look after Freed. Even if he didn’t ask-… Freed had looked after her from the moment she met him, had only welcome her with kindness and understanding, helped her feel at home, comforted her whenever she got homesick… and now she couldn’t even do anything to help him.
“Hey, don’t cry.” he said in a whisper, taking her hand and giving it a light squeeze. Even now he was looking after her.
“I should have noticed sooner.” she despaired.
“No.” he reassured. “It’s my fault. I overestimated myself.”
“Where is he?!” – the rough voice made her jump, and she turned to see Laxus standing by the clinic’s doorway, Bixlow panting behind him.
Mira instantly stood, calling out. “Laxus, I-”
He hardly spared her a glance, but he managed to say, “I got this.”
Obligingly, she stepped back. She saw Laxus sit on the bed. He put a hand on Freed’s forehead, frowning at the temperature before stroking long green hair.
“You had the audacity the scold me for being picky and spoiled, and not taking care of myself.” he said.
Freed smiled a weak smile. “I thought I’d try to hold out.”
Laxus sighed. “Stupid idea.”
“Mm-hm. I know that now.”
“You should’ve known earlier. I don’t even want to ask why you did it.” Laxus said, helping his partner sit up with difficulty. He helped Freed ease himself up to lean back against the pillows behind him. “Let’s get you fixed up.”
Freed managed a slight nod. “Welcome home.”
“Shut up and get better.” was all Laxus said before cupping his partner’s chin and pressing their lips together. Freed relaxed considerably against him, finding his partner’s hands and holding on to them.
Mira looked away to give them their privacy. She saw that Evergreen had arrived, and was busy filling out a form in behalf of Bixlow, who claimed another bed, complaining that his body wasn’t made to carry other people.
After a while, Freed was lying on his back again, sleeping soundly. Mira stepped forward, wringing her hands nervously. “Is he…?”
“He’s gonna be fine. Just needs to rest a bit.” Laxus answered, standing up from the bed. “He can be so goddamn stubborn sometimes.”
Mira couldn’t help but hover, returning to the chair by the bedside and adjusting the sheets over her unconscious friend’s form. Laxus excused himself to talk to the doctor and to tell Ever and Bix that Freed’s okay.
He returned a few minutes later to find Mira brushing stray strands of green hair away from the sleeping teen’s face.
“It’s not your fault.” he said, making her jump and withdraw her hand away quickly. He sat on the bed, facing her. “You couldn’t have known.”
“I could have noticed.” she replied miserably. “I thought he was just busy, tired, sad. He-… Bixlow said he could have died.”
“No, it would take a few more days for that.” Laxus reassured her, but was frowning himself. “It’s not your fault he decided to be stubborn and- ah, hell.”
She was already crying.
So he sighed and wrapped an arm around her shoulders, and she broke down, crashing against him as she cried on his chest, clinging tightly to his shirt. And Mira was so grateful that it was Laxus – Laxus who was listening. Because she wanted to say so much but couldn’t find it in her to speak in their language, the words just spilling out of her in her mother tongue and Laxus-… Laxus would understand, she was sure.
“I’m so so sorry… I didn’t notice he wasn’t feeling well and I didn’t ask him how he’s doing and- and-… I got so scared, I didn’t know what to do-… and- and they said it was bad and he could die from it and I didn’t even know-! I-… I’m sorry!”
“It’s okay.” he replied calmly. “You did your best. He’s gonna be fine now.”
It took her a while to calm down, and he just held her and rubbed her back until she felt better. She apologized for ruining his shirt, and then fussed over Freed again, wiping sweat from the sleeping teen’s brow and making sure he was cozy under the blankets. She wanted to stay, but Laxus insisted that she had to go home and get some rest, finish her homework or whatever it was she did… He said Freed will wake up soon anyway, and they’ll be home themselves by the end of the night.
He left Freed under the clinic’s care for a while so he can walk her home.
As they walked, it was Laxus who broke the silence.
“When we were kids,” he started, to her surprise. “I was a brat and I always said I wouldn’t charge with anyone else but Freed. The grown-ups said I can’t be picky during emergencies, but I got a hard head and… I dunno, Freed and I stuck with each other as much as humanly possible, anyway.”
Mira smiled softly. She can almost see it, two little boys who refused to partner up with anyone else.
“See, when you charge with other people, it feels different. Tastes different. Sometimes that… taste? It lingers. Some of us don’t notice, but some of us do. Like, really notice the slightest difference. If Freed charged with another person, even for a second, I’ll know when I charge with him. And I was a big jerk about that for a time.”
Mira looked at him. “So you think he didn’t find a temp because he thought you won’t like charging with him when you get back?”
“Maybe. I don’t know. It doesn’t look like it, but Freed’s more stubborn than me. Believe it or not.”
She chuckled. “I can believe that now.”
“But. Look. Charging with someone else, it’s easy. Bit uncomfortable at first, ‘specially if you’re not used to the other person, but you do it. ‘Cause you have to. But… charging with your partner after that, you always remember why you’re together. Because we’re not paired at random. We’re always paired with our best match, there’s some… science shit involved there, when we’re paired. And the longer you’re together, the stronger that compatibility becomes. So… I know you don’t get it, but. Yeah, just… whatever. Point is, charging with your partner’s supposed to be special.”
He let out a deep breath, and she kept silent.
“And what Freed did was stupid – what is he, some sort of martyr? But-… Shit, I can’t get mad at him. ‘Cause I probably would’ve tried to do it too, if I thought I was strong enough to bear it.”
The next day, when she saw Freed walking to school, she greeted him with a tight hug, and a whisper of “I’m glad you’re okay.”
He smiled at her, apologetic. “Me too. Sorry for making your cry.”
Mira only shook her head, hugged him again and they began walking to school.
It was New Year. It was the first New Year that she wasn’t celebrating with her family. She missed them – her parents and her younger siblings: sweet Elfman and playful Lisanna.
But at least she wasn’t celebrating alone. Freed, Laxus, Evergreen and Bixlow invited her to come over and join them for the occasion. The five of them stood in the balcony of the building with some of the other residents, watching the celebrations in the streets. Children were running around with sparklers and noisemakers, throwing flowers… Bixlow was throwing candies and confetti at passersby. Beside him, Evergreen was taking photos of the festivities.
The night air was cold, and she was thankful when Freed offered her a mug of hot chocolate to keep warm.
The countdown was loud and festive, as everyone braced themselves for midnight.
“Ten! Nine! Eight! Seven!”
Mira looked around, and couldn’t help but smile when she saw Bixlow give Evergreen a warm bear hug. Instead of drawing away or scolding him as usual, the brunette just hugged him back with a resigned but appreciative smile on her face. He pressed his lips on her forehead shortly before joining in the counting again.
“Six…! Five…! Four…!”
When she looked to her other side, she saw Laxus kiss Freed on the cheek before nuzzling against his partner’s long green hair, both of them quiet amongst the cheering.
“Three…! Two…! One…! Happy New Year!”
They joined her then, standing on either side of her at they all looked up and watched the marvellous fireworks display in the sky. It was beautiful, and even though she was away from home, in this foreign country, she didn’t feel alone as the spirit of cheer surrounded her.
Then she felt a soft pair of lips brush her cheek, and blinked before turning towards Freed, who was looking at her with a smile. “Happy New Year.” he said in her language.
Then there was another, on her other cheek, and she looked at Laxus. “Happy New Year.” he also said, reaching out to drape his arm across both her and Freed’s shoulders, pulling them both against him so they were all pressed cozily against each other as the celebrations in the street grew louder and livelier.
She smiled to herself, looking down at the warm mug of chocolate in her hands and relishing in the presence of her friends enveloping her.
Then she looked up at the sky again. She didn’t want to miss the rest of the fireworks.
Basically the closest thing I go to writing a soulmate AU, because I suck at the whole soulmates thingy.