A/N: The internet connection SUUUUUUX where I am.
But finally the last part. I'm afraid it's just a teeny weeny thingy.
Quick age note that I'll prolly put in every beginning of the chapters for quick reference: Team Natsu and company are around 38 to 39. Older members like Laxus, Mira and others around 41-42. Romeo is 34, Wendy is 32. The little spawns' (aka kids), as well as new OC guild members' ages will be revealed as we go along in the story.
Again, more notes and stuff after the chapter.
Five Times Laxus Tries to Deal with Children
(and One Time He Simply Gives Up)
"I don't want kids. Let's never adopt please."
The Strausses were back. The other parents were back. There were no kids in sight. Well, there were, but they weren't Laxus' responsibility now.
Team Marygold, for once, were sitting peacefully in one table without fighting. Probably because the three girls had a common cause, which was to recruit Asa in their team. Igneel and Neve were looking through the jobs on the board. The troublemaking twins were taken away by their father for training. The other kids were probably playing out somewhere. They were told that Cornelia was now with her mother and grandpa.
But most importantly, Mira, Lisanna and Fleur were running the bar.
Laxus sighed in relief as he saw the silver-haired trio of barmaids entertain the guild members. Mira was even talking cheerfully to Onyx about the book that the boy was reading. Beside the boy, Luna was eating parfait.
Laxus slumped down on the chair next to Lisanna who was preparing another parfait, this time probably for Neve. Laxus was still sleepy. The bar was open until the ungodly hours of the previous night (read: 3 AM, so actually morning) because a bunch of mages were celebrating someone's birthday or something-… wait he's trying to remember. Oh. Yeah, that. Romeo. Yeah, that little shit threw a freakin' birthday bash. It was noisy as fuck.
"When did you guys arrive?" he asked, serving himself a bottle of water.
"Two or so hours ago. We slept a lot on our way back so we figured we'll go back to work this morning." Lisanna answered, then looked at him with a smile. "You're up early. That's new."
"Not new if you've been here the past few days." he said grumpily. "Had to open up shop and run the bar, that's fine. But the kids. Those little pests are gonna kill me someday."
Lisanna raised an eyebrow, then looked at Fleur, who was trying hard not to giggle. "He's had to deal with an Ig-Neve fight and Mary walkin' out on Layla and Brooke, and some others.", the teen supplied helpfully.
"That doesn't sound so hard to deal with. Those kids make up in no time." Lisanna remarked nonchalantly.
Laxus begged to differ. "Well, your darling angel apprentice teamed up with Erza's twin devil spawns and exploded the kitchen."
Fleur stiffened, but her aunt didn't notice. Lisanna shook her head. "I'm sure they didn't mean to do that… I mean, Glenn and Ethan are a handful but they won't go that far..."
"Excuse me, Master?" they all looked towards the source of the gentle voice. Peony stood on the bar, smiling politely at them. She was a quiet girl with bright hazel eyes and pixie-cut brown hair. Whenever she walked alongside Cana, who was letting the girl bunk in her house, the teen looked very much like that woman's own daughter. "Good morning, sir. Um, I've been told that this is for you."
She laid a small bag on the counter. Laxus took it and peeked inside, Lisanna and Fleur looking over by his shoulders. He raised an eyebrow. "Jewels? What's this for?"
The girl answered dutifully. "Glenn and Ethan told me earlier to give it to you, just before they left with their dad. They said it's for the... umm... they said 'damages'."
"The oven." Fleur supplied. "It must be that, right?"
Laxus looked at Fleur pointedly before turning to Peony again. "Where did they get this?"
"Um, I think Erza-san told them to pay for it with their savings and with what they got on their latest job. The one they took me with th-.. I mean, the one where I took them with me."
The all looked at her, unconvinced.
The girl sighed. "Fine, they broke their piggy bank. And then they pulled me, Onyx-kun and Luna-chan on a job and convinced us to increase their share because they have to pay out the guild's broken oven."
"And you agreed with that?" Laxus asked. It sounded unfair.
"We made them promise to exclude the three of us - me, Onyx-kun, Luna-chan - from all of their pranks for the next two months. It was the best deal we could get 'cause after that they used..." she paused for a bit, then blushed and brought a hand to her cheek. "They used those cute puppy eyes and I can't resist it, they look like little baby angels! So sweet and cute!"
Laxus just rolled his eyes in exasperation, handing the bag of jewels to Fleur. "You're gonna but that new oven. Take yours home before Ellie gets everyone in here high on sugar."
"See?" Lisanna told Laxus, patting his shoulder. "Those boys might cause trouble but they clean up after themselves. Um. Most of the time. When it really matters."
They were cut off again when Igneel leaned against the bar and beamed at them, brimming with energy. Beside him, Neve was seething. The boy was obviously not a morning person. "G'mornin', Fleur, Lisanna-san, Master Dreyar! How're we doin'?" - but before anyone could reply, he turned towards Peony with his winning smile. "Good mornin', Peony! You look wonderful today! Ah, did you cut your hair?"
The girl blinked. "No."
"Oh! Is it longer, then?"
"There's something different with you - hmmm, something on your lips?"
Lisanna stifled her laugh, while Fleur simply shook her head and walked away. She didn't want to waste time watching Igneel's failed flirting attempt.
"I don't wear makeup-"
"Ah, 'cause you don't need to! You look positively fetching today, Peony! What did you do?"
Laxus looked at Neve, who was sitting nearby, pouting at the exchange.
"Maybe you simply turn more beautiful each day! Just when I think you couldn't get prettier-"
Finally Neve spoke up. "Ig, you're embarrassing yourself."
"Am not! I'm just-" Igneel stopped short when he saw Neve's unimpressed, bordering-on-angry expression. He grabbed the parfait that Lisanna was just about to settled on the counter and then rushed to the boy's side. "Heeeeey, Neve! Buddy! Got you a parfait!"
"I ordered that." Neve pointed out, taking the parfait and nodding politely at Lisanna.
"You're soooo cute today!" the blonde said, poking his grumpy partner's cheeks.
"Please stop talking."
Meanwhile, Peony took the chance to sneak out, letting an enthusiastic bunch of younger kids drag her outside to play. When Igneel turned back to her, she was gone.
He made a very dramatic show of agony until Neve hurled a giant chunk of ice at him.
"WHAT?" Igneel whined.
Another throw, this one a big snowball.
But Igneel was able to dodge it, and the snowball came flying straight to one of the tables-
Time seemed to freeze at that moment.
Then a high-pitched scream was heard from none other that young Gertie. "MY CAKE!"Neve muttered, "Shit.", which Igneel automatically scolded him for - "Language!"Somehow there was an upturned table and Brooke sending back a splash of water towards her brother, while Layla tripped over someone else and accidentally set a whole portion of the floor on fire. An ice vs. water fight between siblings ended up splashing water towards Onyx, who went furious when his book got wet, and joined in the fray. Igneel tried to stop the younger ones from fighting but somehow he got knocked out and someone sent a table flying around which almost hit Mirajane on the bar and... well, suffice to say it was the typical Fairy Tail squabble.
Laxus stared blankly. Inside his head he recited all possible varieties of 'Nope' he had ever known. "I'm not awake enough for all this. You guys run your bar again. I'm goin' back to bed."
Lisanna chuckled. "Sure thing. Looks like you deserve the rest."
"Hell, I do. Romeo's party was goin' to last until mornin' if I didn't kick them all out."
With that, Laxus trudged back up to his own quarters. He was asleep by the time he slumped down on his bed, face-first to his pillow-
Then he woke up when he heard an unfamiliar yelp from just beside him.
The man opened his eyes to see a scrawny olive-skinned boy with dirty blonde hair and sky blue eyes. He didn't look much older than eight. Also, he looked shaken and terrified.
"Who the hell-"
Before he could continue, the bathroom door opened, revealing Freed in a bathrobe. The rune mage blinked. "Oh, hey. Laxus. I thought you went to the bar."
"Wha-… You're back?"
"Just a few minutes ago. It was an overnight trip. We're kinda tired so we went through the back door, didn't want to deal with the Sunday morning rush downstairs..."
"You did the right thing. Chaos in there."
That was when loud snoring was heard, and Laxus looked towards the source: Bixlow was sleeping like a log on the couch at the other end of the room. The puppeteer didn't even bother to change into proper sleeping clothes. Or take his shoes off.
Then Laxus turned to see the unfamiliar little boy hop off the bed and dash to hide behind Freed.
"Explain that." the guild master demanded groggily.
Freed laid a reassuring hand on the boy's head. "This is Atlas, he's seven-"
Laxus' dragon senses heard the boy's scared whisper of Freed's name.
"Please tell me he's not mine."
Freed paused, then sighed. Maybe the blonde was still half-asleep. "He's not yours. Bixlow and I met him while on the job. He said he wants to be a mage but he doesn't have enough money to travel here, so… uh, we kinda took him with us."
Laxus sighed, then buried his head on his pillow and groaned. "Get it away from me."
"Don't say that..." Freed scolded half-heartedly, running a hand on the little boy's hair. "He's a good boy. He kinda reminded me of you, actually-"
"No. I'm done. I quit."
"I'm never going to have kids."
"You're 42 and you're only thinking about that now?"
"Don't worry, I'm pretty sure I can't get pregnant."
"I don't want kids."
"Laxus, we're recruiting him, not adopting him."
"No, I know that. I just. Ugh. I don't want kids anymore."
"You wanted kids before?" Freed raised an eyebrow.
"No. I mean. Let's never adopt, please."
"Did you actually say pl-… Okay, uh, we already have our hands full babysitting other people's kids, you know, so- uh, nevermind. Not talking about this right now."
Laxus just groaned into his pillow. Somehow it sounded oddly like 'thanks'.
Freed spoke up again. "Well, this child is tired from the trip. Where do you suggest he sleep? Just let him on the bed with you, he won't bite. I'll take the floor."
Laxus looked at his companions sleepily. The kid was still scared, guessing from his death grip on Freed's robe. "Fine." he sighed heavily, standing up. "You two take the bed."
"You're taking the floor?"
"Nah." the blonde replied, then walked towards Bixlow, shoved the guy off and took the couch. Bixlow remained asleep, though, not bothered by the fact that he just fell on the floor. "Bixlow's taking the floor."
Before the other man could reply, Laxus spoke again. "That kid's your responsibility."
Freed looked at the other man, who already had his eyes closed. "Sure-"
"I won't babysit him."
"I don't want to get involved if he fights with his friends-"
"Yes, I know-"
"-or if he breaks a goddamned crayon!"
"Just please go to sleep. You're scaring him."
As he watched the blonde fall asleep, Freed sighed. Who needs a kid when he's already got an overgrown one right here?
That very same afternoon, Laxus swore to the heavens that he will make Mirajane pay dearly for somehow convincing the new boy to call them Daddy Freed and Papa Laxus.
A/N: Congratulations, Papa Laxus.
Some note thingies:
- Peony (17) - is gullible. Also a sucker for cute children. No wonder she gets pushed around by the little ones.
- Atlas (7) - another OC, another new recruit. I got no concrete plans for this boy just yet, except that Laxus pushed him towards Cana first but the Alberona-Clive Haven For Lost Children was full so there was no choice but to keep him in the guild proper most of the time. He's gonna be a great mage, yo.
If I get stuck with WAY 22, I might just write another story with the kids, this time with their actual parents. Let's give poor Laxus a break, yeah?
~ Reviews are appreciated! Thank you Have a nice day You Are A Beautiful Person AND YOU ARE LOVED. Mwah~!