Laxus introduces his partners to his grandfather.
Except it’s been a while since he last came back home.
Makarov Dreyar wasn’t expecting any guests that day. That afternoon, he certainly didn’t expect to see the familiar face of Mirajane Strauss.
He knew her as a girl from the neighborhood, and now here she was standing before him, a beautiful grown woman in her late twenties, a tray of freshly-baked pie in her arms, held up just enough so that when the old man looked down he could see that she was clearly pregnant, probably around five or so months along.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Makarov, sir.” she greeted, still in that gentle, sing-song voice of hers that he always found was music to his ears.
“Mira-chan!” he said, breaking into a huge smile. “What a pleasant surprise! I haven’t seen you for years, dear girl. Look at you!”
Mira’s smile back was as sweet as ever. “It’s great to see you too, sir. I-… We were in the neighborhood, and we thought we’d bring you a treat this afternoon.”
“We?” that was when Makarov looked up and noted the green-haired man standing timidly behind Mira, obviously carrying her bag for her. “And who is this nice young man?”
“Freed Justine, sir. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” came the answer, accompanied by a curt bow and a small nervous smile.
Makarov nodded back, before opening the door wider and stepping aside to let them in. “Well, both of you, come in. Excuse the mess, I’ve got the place to myself and don’t really get much visitors these days.”
He led them to the living room and told them to make themselves comfortable, before taking the pie from Mira and bringing it to the kitchen to serve. They both offered to help, how nice of them, but he playfully insisted that he’s not so old that he can’t accommodate his guests properly. They quickly relented, taking seats in the couch. He heard them talking in hushed voices while he was in the kitchen.
After only a few moments, he returned with the pie on a plate, some smaller plates, utensils, and tea. They both thanked him politely and as soon he sat with them, Mira spoke up.
“Are you still teaching in the school, sir?” she asked as Freed poured tea for all of them.
Makarov let out a small smile. He liked the younger man’s manners so far. “Ah, I’ve retired. The occassional tutoring job, some consulting here and there. I’ve got enough savings to get by, anyway. Not much for an old man to do here. I go for walks every morning. It’s a quiet town, you know that.”
“Not since Laxus left.” he sighed. “How many years has it been? I lost count…”
“Actually, that’s why we’re here.” Mira started, exchanging a glance with Freed. Then she looked down, consciously resting her free hand on her pregnant belly. “This might come as a bit of a surprise, Mr. Makarov…”
Makarov sat up straighter, brows furrowed. “Go on.”
Then the woman looked up again, her eyes meeting his, a small smile on her face. “I’m currently carrying Laxus’s child.”
He could have dropped his teacup, but he managed to put it down the table across them with a shaking hand. It rattled. “Laxus? My grandson, Laxus? He’s-… he’s the father?”
Makarov then looked towards Freed, his face full of question. “Then…?”
Mira breathed deeply before she continued, “And Freed… is his partner.”
“…Partner? Then how- You… The child?”
The woman nodded. “I’m their surrogate. No, wait, that’s- I-… We’ll be raising it-… him, actually it’s a boy – together. The three of us.”
“All three of you? You, Freed here… and Laxus?”
“We’ve been living together, for a couple of years now. It took a while, but we convinced Laxus that we should tell you – after all, this baby is your great grandson…”
Makarov fell silent, looking from Freed’s nervous face and then to Mira’s determined expression.
Finally, he asked, “And where is Laxus? He couldn’t come here, tell me all this himself?”
“He’s on his way. He was supposed to come here with us, but Mira and I arrived here first… We’ve waited for hours and he told us to go ahead of him.” Freed answered, finally speaking up. “He just… he said he got lost.”
At that, Makarov coughed and then let out a laugh, surprising both his young companions. The old man laughed so hard, tears forming on the sides of his eyes.
When he calmed down, he said, “He’s never good at these things, so he’s stalling. Probably pacing, couldn’t get himself to face me and be the one to break the news. You should both know that.”
They smiled, and then Makarov knew that they did know it, but they came here anyway, taking the hit for his stubborn, proud, estranged grandson.
And so he picked up his cup of tea again, and asked them to tell him some stories to pass the time.
Laxus came two hours later, a steady but hesitant set of knocks on the door. Makarov went to open the door for him.
The blonde stood there, looking down gingerly, a set frown in his face and his brows furrowed as always. He looked far from the lanky young man who Makarov last saw when he was twenty one, but Makarov would always recognize his grandson no matter what.
Laxus shifted uneasily but met his grandfather’s eyes with a steady gaze. “Tadaima.”
“Okaeri.” Makarov only looked back solemnly, a small smile on his face. “You’re late.”
The blonde looked down, and then he was back as the little boy that Makarov scolded for getting into yet another unnecessary scuffle. “Sorry.”
The answer only took a heartbeat. “Apology accepted.”
Laxus looked back at him then, as if finding it hard to believe how quickly that reply came. But seeing his grandfather’s steady, cheerful smile, he just chuckled. “Have you met them?”
“Yes, and they’ve been waiting for quite a while.”
With that, Makarov turned his back and stepped inside the house, Laxus stepping inside and closing the door behind him. It has indeed been a while since Makarov brought back the pie and the tea to the kitchen with Freed’s help.
They stopped by a window overlooking the back garden, where Freed and Mira had retreated to get some fresh air.
“I guess congratulations are in order.” Makarov said as they watched the two.
There was an old and creaky but trusty swing set still from Laxus’s childhood that Makarov never found the heart to put away. Now Mira was sitting on it while Freed stood behind her, swinging her gently.
“Well, you always told me I should find a nice girl and give you a cute great-grandson.” Laxus said, crossing his arms in front of his chest. “It didn’t happen the usual way, but it worked out, I guess.”
Mira and Freed were talking and laughing together. Mira must be telling him about days spent playing with Laxus and their other childhood friends there in that very garden.
“Yes, they told me the very exciting story while you were running late.” Makarov said. “They’re wonderful. I wonder what exactly you did to deserve them.”
Then the two outside finally noticed them watching. Freed waved gingerly at them while Mira shouted something that looked like ‘You’re late, Laxus!’ but also smiled cheerfully.
Laxus only said, “You and I both. I dunno how, but I’ve got them. And you.”
Makarov looked up to watch his grandson raise a hand in acknowledgement at the two, an easy grin on his face, his eyes gentle and full of care and love and oh, Makarov never thought he’d see the boy this way, but there he was.
“Hey, gramps.” Laxus started, not taking his eyes off Freed and Mira who both got distracted by a cat walking along the top of the garden wall.
“We’re naming the kid ‘Yuri’. After your dad.”
Makarov blinked, but nodded in appreciation. “A good choice.”
“Just… thought I’d get your blessing or something.”
“You have it.”
“Thanks.” and after a pause, Laxus added, “And sorry. For everything.”
Makarov looked on as Laxus finally turned to go outside and join the two. He watched as Laxus walked up towards them and planted a quick kiss on Freed’s cheek. Then he had to lean down when Mira took him by the ear painfully and scolded him for being late to his own homecoming.
He could hardly believe it – after all these years, despite his worries that his grandson was out there in the world alone, Laxus has been with good people, loved and well taken care of after all.
Makarov has never felt so relieved and happy in years.