A/N: I liked the Detention AU (chap 6) too much and decided to write a quick follow-up.

So here's a... kinda unexpected bonus of sorts. Part two! Freed and Laxus and Mira hang out again.


.

TRIAD

08: Detention (pt. 2)

.


"So is Dreyar, like, your boyfriend now?"

The question made Freed pause in the middle of putting his books back in his locker. He looked at the person who asked the question and blinked.

Freed wasn't, in any way, close to Bixlow. Bixlow was just that tall noisy guy who knew everyone in their year, who Freed shared a lot of classes with, and whose locker was next to his. Bixlow was always sensible enough to casually but politely ask Freed for notes whenever he missed something, or advice whenever he was finding a lesson difficult. He's an okay guy. Sometimes he hung around Freed during lunch breaks.

Okay. Bixlow probably considered him a friend.

And… fine. Maybe Freed considered Bixlow some kind of friend, too.

So in a perfectly even voice, he asked, "What made you think that?"

"Um…" Bixlow scratched the back of his head awkwardly. "I saw you two together this morning."

Freed turned back to his task, tucking the last book in his locker. Neatly, in alphabetical order, in pristine condition, no pages creased. Laxus was indeed around that morning. He crept up behind a quiet, timid Freed to surprise him and laughed when Freed yelped. He teased Freed for looking like he hasn't slept. Freed pouted and said that it was Laxus and Mira who took him stargazing on a damn Sunday night in the first place. Then Laxus just shrugged, ruffled Freed's hair, waited for him to finish fussing over his locker, and then walked him to his classroom.

Now that Freed thought about it, that indeed looked suspect.

But the facts remain and that's just what he gave Bixlow - "He's not my boyfriend."

"Huh." Bixlow nodded easily. "Okay." He watched as Freed closed his locker. "But he likes you?"

"That's what he says."

"Wow."

Freed locked his unit and noticed that his companion was just leaning against his own locker patiently. "Were you waiting for me?"

Bixlow nodded. "I'm doing the required reading for Lit and… all the sentences are so long and it's so boring?"

Freed eyed the book that Bixlow was holding before he sighed. "Fine, let's go over it while eating lunch."

.


.

"What about Strauss?"

Was Bixlow's question the next day. Freed raised an eyebrow. "Which Strauss?"

This time, Bixlow snorted. "You know the one."

"What about Mira?" Freed asked back, flipping through a book to find a piece of paper he was certain he slipped in between the pages for safekeeping.

"You hang out with her too?"

Bixlow was there the day prior, when Mira found Freed after classes, clinging to his arm as she asked if they'll go home together. Bixlow could only wave dumbly when the two of them walked off.

"A bit." Freed answered with a shrug, finding the sheet he was looking for and then tucking the book back in his locker again. "We take the same bus home."

"Are they as scary as everyone else says? Dreyar and Strauss?"

Freed almost laughed. "No, they're both dorks."

Bixlow stared at him. "No way." When Freed just looked back at him, he shook his head. "Really?" A nod. "Wow."

"You've been saying that a lot these days."

Bixlow blinked. "Well, you've been weird lately."

Freed raised an eyebrow. "Weird?"

"W-Well, not weird? Different, I guess?"

"What do you mean?"

Bixlow just shrugged. "You're more smiley."

It was Freed's turn to stare. "No." Before Bixlow could tease him further, he added. "That's cheesy, even for you."

"But you are!"

"Nope." Freed said, but it was too late, he was already finding it hard to maintain a grumpy face.

Bixlow grinned, seeing his friend trying not to smile. "Look at you! See?"

"W-What, I'm-... You're wrong." Freed insisted, turning away to hide the grin growing on his face. Dammit, it wasn't even funny! Why was he smiling?!

"You're smiling!" Bixlow laughed. "Which one of 'em d'you like? Eh, eh?"

"Shut up." Freed shook his head, proceeding to walk ahead towards the cafeteria. "If you want me to keep helping you with Lit."

"You like them!" Bixlow insisted cheerfully as he caught up with the shorter teen. "They're both delinquents! This is bonkers, Freed!"

Freed rolled his eyes, and was barely able to hold himself back from saying 'I know.'

.


.

As much as Freed would say it was indeed crazy, how he suddenly had the two top problem students of his year hanging around with him, he would also have to admit that it was… kinda… nice.

Laxus would find him randomly at school, nonchalantly walking with Freed to wherever he was going, or if Freed was in the library, just sitting quietly, reading something or sleeping.

Mira made the bus rides home less boring, with her constant chatter and occasional questions about her annoying math homework.

On top of that, despite nothing much changing at school, the text messages were constants. It was not what Freed was used to, but he found that he didn't mind so much.

Laxus liked sending Freed pictures of Raijin doing cute things. "I dunno anyone else who'll like them." he had claimed.

And Mira sends puns. "'Cause I imagine your face and I just know you look SO DONE and it's HILARIOUS."

More than once, Mira teased Freed for "having a ton of Laxus' duck pics".

['Oh my God, Mira. Please.']

['DUCK PICS FREED DUCK PICS A TON OF PICS OF DREYARS DUCK']

['Don't say it like that.']

['srsly tho it still cracks me up']

['You're one typo away from a very horrifying idea.']

['i know thats why its so funny']

Freed would have to agree with Bixlow - it was weird. It was weird because it was so easy. And it shouldn't be! He barely had anything in common with either Mira or Laxus and they shouldn't get along so well and yet they still somehow do.

Weird. And… well… nice. Freed settled for that word. It was nice.

That's what he told himself that Saturday afternoon as he sat beside Laxus on the blonde's bed, both of them focused on their phones and tapping frantically.

"How long do we have to be on this?" Freed asked, brows furrowed in concentration, hardly keeping up with the chaos on his screen.

Laxus was in no better state. "Until Angelface comes back or- Shit, I'm dying!"

"Hang on, I think I have an elixir-"

"Watch out-"

"Oh, crap."

"Fuck."

They both stopped tapping as they watched their screens dim, the words 'YOU LOSE' mocking them. They watched as the remaining characters on the screen wreaked havoc on the base they were supposed to be protecting.

"Mira is not going to be happy." Freed mumbled looking at his companion.

"We tried." Laxus shrugged as he let his phone fall beside him. "It's her fault for leaving her turf's defense in the hands of two total noobs before disappearing. In the middle of battle."

"That's true, I guess. And we managed to hold out for... an hour?" he looked down at his phone again, noticed that his character has respawned, and began tapping to assess the damage. Yep. Mira will definitely be out for blood when she sees this. He pouted. "I suck at these things."

Laxus only chuckled and leaned forward, tucking his chin on the other teen's shoulder. "So I guess you ain't perfect after all?"

Freed snorted, about to say a retort but ended up squirming as the blonde nuzzled at his neck. "Hey, that tickles!" he exclaimed, holding back a laugh.

"More reason to continue." Laxus mumbled, grinning as he wrapped his arms around Freed.

"Stop, I'm trying to salvage what's left of the base!" Freed insisted, squirming hard enough to free his arms so he can go back to the game.

Laxus loosened his grip to look at the screen over Freed's shoulder. "They left stuff?"

"More like they didn't take some stuff." Freed said.

"Huh." was all Laxus said, not letting go and settling to quietly watch Freed 'clean up' in the game. Freed leaned his back against Laxus' chest, starting to enjoy the strong, warm arms wrapped around him. He could get used to this, being held, not always feeling alone. It was comfortable. It was easy.

They didn't really talk about it. Laxus just asked him if he wanted to hang out. Freed thought it fair that it was him who would go to Laxus' house this time. Laxus' grandfather was surprised, but was a very pleasant host, and he told the boys to have fun as they went up to Laxus' room. The afternoon started with Laxus reading the book that Freed lent him while Freed, for a change of pace, picked a comic book volume from Laxus's shelf.

Then Mira called them, practically begging them to download an app on their phones and help her in the game because she had to go offline, there was a battle coming, and for some reason her teammates were gone.

For once, the two humored her… only to fail spectacularly.

And now...

Freed was pretty sure this counted as cuddling.

He's not sure why they always end up cuddling.

But he's got an idea on why he doesn't exactly mind.

There was nothing left to do in the game, so he exited the app and put his phone down. He tilted his head slightly to look at Laxus. "What now?"

"Uh, we go back to reading?"

They looked at the comic book and the novel, both of which lay abandoned by their feet.

"I'm not really in the mood anymore." Freed said, frowning slightly.

Laxus grunted in agreement. He blinked when Freed shifted to face him. The shorter teen looked down for a moment, clearly thinking about his next words. "So, umm… I have… a question."

"What?" Laxus asked.

Freed somehow thought that he should do something, so he reached out to hold his companion's hand awkwardly.

Laxus raised an eyebrow but didn't withdraw. "Man, we're not dating yet and it already sounds like you're breaking up with me."

Freed rolled his eyes, chuckling. Despite that, the distraction worked like a charm to ease the tension. He found it in himself to ask, "Does… Does your grandfather know?"

"Does gramps know what?"

"That you like boys?"

Laxus blinked, before leaning back against the wall, contemplating. "Err, I didn't… exactly… come out."

"What do you mean?"

"The first time, I just straight up told him that I've been kissing a boy from school, and he asked, 'is it serious?' so I said, 'not really, just fooling around' and he said, 'okay, be nice to each other and don't get into trouble' and that was that." he said in a breath, looking straight at Freed to assess his reaction.

Freed gaped. "R-Really?"

"Yeah." he nodded, chuckling lightly at the memory. Freed felt Laxus twine their fingers together. "And before you came over, I just told him 'there's this guy I like, I invited him to come over today' and he just told me to make sure to buy some snacks for us."

Freed looked down at their twined hands. "Oh. That's… that's great, you grandfather sounds great."

"Yeah." Laxus nodded, but noted that Freed was looking down and frowning. "What is it?"

"My parents… they…" he swallowed first, thinking of how to say his next words. "About last week when I went with you and Mira?"

"Yeah, you never did tell us what happened."

"They're not happy I stayed out so late, and they asked who I was with, if I was with a boy… I guess they actually remembered to be concerned about that part." he laughed bitterly. "Of course I said I was with two friends. But they told me we'll have to talk about it soon, when they're not too busy anymore."

"So… you haven't talked about it with them."

"Not yet." Freed answered. "And now I'm all nervous, 'cause it could literally happen any day."

Laxus looked at him closely, studying his expression.

Freed didn't look back, instead he looked way too interested in their hands, or the bedsheets. Or anything but his companion.

Laxus wasn't one for pep talks - he sucked at those (like he always says, he hates essays) but he can come up with a distraction. A joke. Something else. So he grinned and said, "I like you, but don't date me to piss your parents off, will 'ya? That's too dramatic. We can think of other ways."

Freed chuckled and rolled his eyes. "As if, Scarface."

"Hey, what? You're picking up language from Strauss?" Laxus teased, his hands snaking around Freed's waist again as he pulled the other teen closer.

"I'm serious." Freed sighed, but he was smiling. Sheepishly, he clung to Laxus's shirt and continued, "I won't date you just to get a reaction from anyone." He looked up. "Or at least, the only one I want to get a reaction from is you."

Laxus fell silent.

Freed looked at him expectantly, as if to say, 'Yes. I just said that. Please say something.'

"Real smooth, Justine." Laxus said, amused. "I'm going to kiss you now, if you're fine with that."

He waited for Freed to smile and nod and wrap slender arms around his neck before he moved.

Kissing was nice, Freed had also decided. Not in the 'oh-my-God-why-did-I-never-do-this-before' way, but in the 'I-really-like-doing-this-new-thing-with-this-person' way. That's how he realized, really, that he'd like to kiss Laxus not just for experience points, but just for the sake of kissing Laxus.

Then, of course, the door swung loudly open, and a familiar female voice shrieked, "WHAT HAPPENED TO MY BASE?!"

They broke away from the kiss, but didn't move away from each other.

As if it was a perfectly normal occurrence for a screaming girl to barge in while they were kissing and they're only stopping because they need to use their mouths for other things. Like sighing and asking, "Mira, why are you here?"

Mira shrugged as she closed the door behind her. "Grandpa Dreyar said you were here so I came here."

"Do you know about this concept called 'knocking'?" Laxus asked, at this point in resignation. They shifted so they can both talk properly to Mira. "It was invented a couple centuries ago, still widely used in present time."

"Surprise!" she beamed, then as quick as that happened, she frowned deeply. "Wait. Did you two lose the battle because you were busy making out?"

Laxus huffed. "No, we lost the stupid game before we started making out."

Mira grumbled as she kicked her shoes off and joined them to sit on the bed. She looked at the abandoned books by their feet and then brushed those away to make space for herself. She dropped her phone in the mattress in front of her. "I expected better from both of you, you looked like you knew how to play a good game!"

"We're noobs." Laxus said bluntly. "We told you."

"We're just really bad at it." Freed nodded.

Mira frowned. "You were a Rune Mage, and a Lightning Dragon Slayer. Those are two really badass character types, so I thought you knew what you were doing."

The two looked at each other before both shrugging at her.

"I just thought it looked cool." Laxus mumbled.

"I liked the outfit." Freed added sheepishly.

Mira rubbed her temples and groaned.

"We managed to save some gems and a little gold, if it makes any difference." Freed chimed in, taking his phone, tapping and swiping and then handing the device to Mira.

Mira looked despairingly at the screen. "Weeks of hard work…! All reduced to this!"

"Just work on it again, build a better one." Laxus said with a scoff. "Why'd you have to go offline, anyway?"

"Shit." the girl cursed, giving Freed's phone back. "It's terrible. It's the fucking worst. Worse than your performance on Magic Guild Clash Online."

Laxus looked at her, unimpressed. "Did you die? Because we died."

"It's the same as dying!" Mira despaired. "Worse than dying!"

The two exchanged looks before turning back to her.

"F-dad found my fake ID and took it and hid it."

They stared.

Mira looked back at them, expecting a reaction. When they didn't budge, she decided to elaborate. "I was planning to sneak out tonight. I was gonna go to Cana, we're supposed to go to a bar and hang out and dance together! Now that's impossible because I have no ID, F-dad has it. And no truck because he hid the keys too."

Freed spoke up. "Um, just curious - do you have a license? An actual driving license, not a fake one?"

Mira shrugged. They took that as a no.

"So…" Freed started, confused. "You're upset because your foster guardian stopped you from doing at least two illegal things tonight. I mean, yes, maybe he's a horrible person, but that move's pretty practical."

Mira scoffed. "It's not like I'm gonna get caught."

Laxus also decided to join in. "Technically, you did get caught. Just not by the police. Lucky you."

Mira groaned in frustration as she brought her hands to her face. "GUUUUYS. I HAVEN'T SEEN MY GIRLFRIEND! FOR A MONTH! AND NOW WE GOTTA TAKE A RAIN CHECK! AGAIN! SYMPATHIZE!"

"I have a question." Laxus said.

Mira glared at him.

He continued anyway. "Don't you have, I dunno, other friends? You can go to? To sulk about this? Ones who aren't busy doing other stuff, sorting out a potential relationship...?"

Freed looked at him pointedly but Mira grabbed him by the shoulders. "Freed, let me lie on your lap and cry!"

"W-What? Why me?"

It was too late, she had already launched herself at him, burying her face in his lap and clinging to his waist. "Because you're soft and pure and kind."

"I'm not, really." Freed insisted. "And Laxus is right, what about your other friends? I'm sure they can help you somehow, give more… meaningful advice-"

"I don't have friends, I have underlings! And they'll laugh at me for being miserable! But you! You're nice, Freed, and I believe in you!"

"Um. Thanks?" was all Freed was able to say, patting her head.

"And me?" Laxus asked as he watched the awkward display.

"You just happen to be here, loser."

"I fucking live here."

"Shut up. I miss my girlfriiieeeeennnndddd." Mira whined miserably. "Have I toldja how pretty she is? She's so gorgeous, Freed, and she's amazing."

"I'm sure she is. Gorgeous and amazing. And she misses you too." Freed reassured, this time resigned to his fate, running his fingers through her messy silver hair. She had let it down from her usual high ponytail.

"Really?" Laxus raised an eyebrow at them. "You're doing this here."

"Help a friend, Laxus." Freed advised.

Mira nodded, frowning up at him. "That's right. Listen to your new boyfriend, he'll make you into a better person. Lucky you."

Freed held back a laugh and watched as Laxus grabbed a pillow and chucked it at the girl.

Mira caught it easily and hit him back once before hugging it to herself. "I already told you how we met, right?"

"Yes, Mira, several times. On the bus rides home."

"Me and Elf and Lisanna were staying in a foster home for a bit while the papers are being sorted out and Cana was there and she's so beautiful. And then-"

Freed sighed, by now able to re-tell the story with her. "-she came up to you and said Hey-"

"-what's a nice place like you doing in a girl like this?"

"-and it made you laugh even though you were having a bad day."

"A shitty day. But yes. And she laughed with me and I'm down. I'M DOWN, FREED."

"Yes, you are. And you're-"

"-never getting up."

"Um." Laxus interrupted. "You do know… that… she was quoting Deadpool, right?"

They looked at him.

"You mean she hit on me by quoting Deadpool?" Mira said, blinking.

Laxus nodded. "Yup. Pretty sure that was a line from the movie."

Mira looked at Freed and then grabbed his arms and made a strangled noise before exclaiming, "HOLY SHIT, I JUST FELL IN LOVE WITH HER ALL OVER AGAIN!"

Laxus just shook his head while Freed laughed.

"Nice room, by the way!" she told Laxus, moving to lie on her side so she can look around the room while still using Freed's lap as her pillow. She seemed to have cheered up a bit. "How long 'till your grandpa sends us home?"

Laxus reached over to grab the books scattered in the bed and set them aside. "He won't. He loves sad kids and will let you guys stay over until your parents come calling. But then he'll talk to them and probably try and fix all your family's problems for you."

"Can he adopt me and my siblings?" Mira sniggered. "What does he do anyway?"

"College counselor." Laxus answered, leaning back and watching idly as Freed started a small braid in Mira's hair. "But he used to work in our school. S'why I couldn't get out of detention last time. The counselor guy knows gramps."

"He's really nice." Freed said softly, starting another braid in Mira's hair.

"Makes you wonder who Scarface took after, huh?" Mira teased.

Laxus scoffed and moved to ruffle her hair but Freed swat his hand away with a pout. "Laxus, no, you'll ruin it."

"Seriously, Freed, we could spend the afternoon making out but what are you doing? You're braiding someone else's hai- Whoa, that's neat, how'd you do that?"

Freed blinked at him. "It's a braid."

"It looks different."

That got Mira's attention. "Is it pretty?"

"It's… something." Laxus squinted. "Yeah, I guess it is?"

"I bet it's pretty!" Mira exclaimed, beaming as she sat up. "Do my hair, Freed."

"All of it?" Freed blinked while Mira turned and sat obediently in front of him, brushing her long hair back from her shoulders so they all fell neatly down her back.

"Yeah, go crazy!"

Laxus watched as Freed combed the silver hair with his fingers, undoing the first two braids to do them over properly. He looked contemplative.

"Is this how you normally deal with your girlfriend problems?" the blonde asked.

"It could be worse. It would be a waste if she cut her hair instead." Freed remarked, already starting to part the silver locks into several sections. "Mira, how many hair ties do you have?"

"One?" she answered, looking at the scrunchie on her wrist. "Oh. Wait-" The girl shoved her hands in the pocket of her shorts, biting her lip as she dug for something and then took out several small items. "Here. Uh, three- four. Four tiny ones. And some bobby pins."

Freed smiled lightly as he started braiding. Laxus yawned and leaned forward, letting his head drop on Freed's shoulder. Freed finished a small braid and offered the end to him. "Hold this, please."

Laxus wordlessly obeyed, taking the braid and holding it up while Freed started on a new one.

"What'll it look like when you finish?" Laxus asked when he was unable to think of anything else to say.

"Well, there will be small braids in the sides, and then we gather them up in the middle-"

"No, no, surprise me!" Mira insisted, cutting them off.

Laxus grumbled incoherently about loud obnoxious girls as he accepted another braid from Freed. He blinked. That was fast. "You're good at this."

"I googled some braid hairstyles one time, and I liked some of them… I watched some of the videos, but it's impossible for me to do them for my hair by myself." Freed explained distractedly.

"I wanna say I'll braid your hair when you're done with mine but I suck at it and I bet it'll look horrible." Mira said.

"Yeah, don't touch his hair, no mortal deserves to touch his beautiful, perfect hair." Laxus said, earning an elbow from Freed. "Ow. Stingy. I was complimenting you." Nevertheless, he accepted yet another braid and held it dutifully in place.

It was after three more braids that Laxus spoke up again.

"Hey Angelface, you said you haven't seen your girlfriend in weeks, right?"

Mira was about to turn to look at him but remembered that Freed was working on her hair, so she just said, "Yeah, and it sucks."

"You can't just… I dunno, go online and video call or something?"

Silence.

"Fuck." Mira whispered.

Laxus sat up straight. "Seriously?"

"You never thought of that?" Freed asked, actually sounding concerned.

"Scarface, what's your wi-fi password?" she asked, whipping her phone out again and entering the passcode.

Laxus sighed as he transferred the braids he was holding on to in one hand so he can take her phone with the other and connect to the house's internet connection. He gave the gadget back with a sullen "Have fun."

Mira was practically bouncing as she tapped furiously in her phone. She laughed. "Oh, wow."

"What?"

"Dreyar, you've got a Pikachu on your room!"

"What the hell."

"I'm gonna catch it."

"Don't, that's my roommate." Laxus said, earning an amused chuckle from Freed. "And why're you on Pokemon Go? Go call your girl and be less miserable."

"Holy shit, stop being nice to me. It's weird."

"I'm not being nice, you're just being insufferable."

Freed took one of the braids from Laxus. "You guys actually like each other, don't you? You're just both too proud to admit it."

"HELL NO."

"I HATE HER."

"It's cute." Freed said, making both of his companions glower at each other some more. Then with Laxus's help, he began arranging the braids from the side of Mira's head and gathering them in the middle to form what looked like a rose or some kind of flower. He used the hair ties and bobby pins to hold the braids in place as best as he can, all while Mira was busy texting her girlfriend to tell her that they should just Skype each other.

Freed crossed his arms across his chest as he looked at his work proudly. "Finished." he announced.

Laxus whistled. "That's some solid hair voodoo shit you did there." He was about to poke the flower braid but Freed grabbed his hand before he could. He complained, "Whaaaat, it looked so soft."

This also distracted Mira from her texting. "Is it done?! How does it look? Is it pretty?!"

"Stop moving around, please." Freed said as he raised his phone to take a photo. Mira stopped at once, but as soon as she heard the clicking sound of the phone camera, she turned again and pounced at the gadget in Freed's hand.

She practically shrieked. "IT'S BEAUTIFUL!" She looked at the photo again, one hand ghosting lightly over the delicate hairstyle at the back of her head. "My sister would love this. So much." Mira beamed. "Freed, you're amazing."

Freed smiled back. "Thank you."

She leaned forward to throw her hands around Freed's neck and give him a warm hug.

"I helped." Laxus said.

Mira narrowed her eyes at him but offered a fisted hand out anyway. Laxus blinked at it once before bumping his fist against hers awkwardly.

That was when her phone began ringing, and the three of them looked down to see the call alert.

Or actually. A video call alert.

The caller's name was 'CANA' tailed by a string of heart emojis in different colors.

"How do I look?" Mira asked them, adjusting her red crop top and then her torn jean shorts. Then she ran her hands to drape some of her hair nicely over her shoulders.

Laxus shrugged. Freed just smiled.

Coming from the two of them, that was probably positive feedback.

So Mira picked up her phone and finally answered. She turned her back to both of the boys as she held her phone out in front of her, so she can capture all three of them in her phone's front camera.

Both Freed and Laxus curiously leaned forward to get a better view of the brunette on the phone's screen. Cana blinked and squinted at her camera while brushing back long dark brown curls. She broke into a smile then, probably as she saw the video load in her screen.

"Hey, babe!" she greeted with a lively grin. "What's up? You never video call, you said your internet at home sucks."

"I know, but I'm not there right now!" Mira beamed back.

"Oh, yeah, that's definitely not Lis and Elf." Cana chuckled as she looked closer at the two awkward guys peeking from behind her girlfriend. "Who're they? Why're they hiding? Are they shy?"

Mira adjusted her phone to give the other girl a better view of her companions, starting with Freed. "Yeah, well this one's Freed. He's adorable and wholesome and all things good and pure. Say hi, Freed!"

Freed rolled his eyes at her but smiled at Cana anyway. "Hi, it's nice to meet you."

Cana looked like she realized something before she promptly squealed. "Oh, hello! You're Trigonometry boy! Right? Am I right?"

Freed raised an eyebrow before answering in a small voice. For some reason, even through the phone screen, the brunette managed to smother him. "Umm… I guess so?"

"Mira, you're right, he's adorable!"

"See?!" Mira said, then pointed the camera back to herself, with Laxus in the background this time. "Oh, and that's Laxus Dreyar. We're in his room so I guess he's here too."

"Wow." Laxus drawled. "This is how you repay my hospitality and good wi-fi?"

Cana looked contemplative as she evaluated the guy. "He's kinda hot."

"It's the scar." Mira explained. "And the abs. Fine, and the shoulders. Maybe. He's got that nice 'bad boy' jerk look that makes him drool-worthy- I SAW THAT. DREYAR, DID YOU JUST WINK AT MY GIRLFRIEND. FROM BEHIND ME?"

Laxus smirked the most unapologetic smirk Mira has ever seen. "She liked it."

Cana was in hysterics, but she managed to send a wink back. "Hell yeah, I like it."

"How are you guys not embarrassed by everything you do?" Freed mumbled, shaking his head at the exchange. He can never picture himself winking at someone. Anyone. Never. Ever. God, he's such an awkward potato.

Mira just pretended to scold her girlfriend. "No. Babe. We don't like him."

Cana faked a gasp. "Why? Is he taken? LAXUS, ARE YOU TAKEN."

Laxus glanced at Freed before saying, "A bit."

"About 30 percent." Freed provided.

"Hey, make that 75, at least!" Laxus argued sullenly.

"Maybe 50."

"60?" Laxus tried.

"Okay, 60."

Laxus accepted that before turning back to Cana. "There you go. I'm 60 percent taken."

"You planning to share the remaining 40?" Cana asked.

"Nah, it's kinda insured already."

"Awwwwww!" came from both girls.

What the fuck did he get himself into? He shouldn't have let Goddamn Mirajane Strauss connect to his wi-fi. But what did he expect, anyway? Of course Strauss' girlfriend would be just as insane as her.

At least she seems nice. So chill. Actually, too chill.

But damn, were they tight. Seriously. Mira's smile right now? Laxus already thought she smiles too brightly and sweetly at Freed - she's somehow really fond of Freed like that, and has decided that she will protect the boy from 'Dreyar's corrupting presence' - but this time she was just plain blinding. There was too much adoration and genuine happiness in her face as she talked to Cana about making plans to meet up, ones that don't involve dealing with shitty foster parents and illegal IDs. And from the way Cana smiled back and listened with a grin, it was clear that she was… well, she was down. Whipped. Too damn lovesick. Sure, both girls flirt shamelessly with others but they're obviously very much into each other.

Laxus blinked when he felt a light tug in his sleeve, and he turned to look at Freed who leaned over and whispered something in his ear.

"Let's give them some space."

Laxus would normally complain that 'no, THEY should get out, this is MY room, THEY should be giving US our space', but Freed smiled at him and shit, they're 60 percent together, and there's the remaining 40 percent somehow and Laxus was gonna get that remaining 40, or so help him.

So he slid off the bed, pulling Freed with him by the hand.

"Hey, where are you guys going?" Mira asked, distracted. They could also see that Cana was looking at them curiously.

"Gettin' some snacks." Laxus said, opening the door and letting Freed walk out first. "Gramps will freak if he finds out I didn't feed you while you're here and I'll never hear the end of it."

"Oh. Okay." Mira nodded, then turned back to Cana and started talking.

Laxus caught the last bits of their conversation as they left - Mira was showing off her pretty hairdo to a gushing, adoring Cana.

Freed waited for him to catch up before they made their way down the hallway side by side.

"So, uh..." Laxus started, consciously brushing his fingers against Freed's. When Freed brushed them back, he finally took Freed's hand in his. "What do I have to do for that remaining 40 percent?"

They've reached the staircase by then, but the question made Freed stop, two steps behind Laxus, so when Laxus also stopped and turned to look at him, their faces were directly in front of each other's.

Freed averted his eyes as he answered. "Um… l-let me introduce you to my parents?"

"Your… parents." Laxus repeated. "Your parents who actually used the excuse that they're busy to hold off talking to you about somethin' very important 'bout yourself - those parents?"

Freed frowned. "But they ARE busy-"

"Bullshit. You're their kid - their only kid, they should've set aside everything else if they really want to give you whatever parent guidance they think you need."

"I know that, and I'm really… I'm really touched that you're upset on my behalf." Freed sighed before looking up and meeting Laxus's eyes. "And fine, maybe they're doing a bad job as parents in your book, maybe in my book too, but that doesn't mean I want to get back at them by sneaking around and rebelling? That's… I'm really not good at that? I'm not like Mira, or you."

Laxus shrugged, looking down. "So what do you want?"

"I want to do it properly. They might suck as parents, but I don't want to lie to them. So let me introduce you, so they'll know who I'm seeing and spending my time with."

"If they don't approve?"

"I'll make them."

Laxus raised an eyebrow. "...How?"

Freed looked at him before letting out a sheepish laugh. "I don't know, I'll wing it. Just… let's get there first, okay?"

Laxus grunted, but relented easily. "Fine, fine. Just tell me when, and I'll go."

"Promise me you'll-"

"-be nice to them. I'll even wear my normal jeans, the ones without rips."

Freed laughed and leaned forward to kiss his cheek. "Thanks. 75 percent."

Laxus didn't hide the bemused grin on his face and he turned, tugging Freed's hand lightly. "Now let's go get those snacks before Angelface complains."

They continued their walk down the stairs. "Cana seems fun."

Laxus snorted. "They're annoying."

"You like them, though."

A pause.

"You do."

"...doesn't change the fact that they're annoying."

.


.

"So is Dreyar, like, your boyfriend now?"

The question made Freed pause as soon as he took his assigned seat in the classroom.

Freed wasn't, in any way, close to Evergreen. Evergreen was just his lab partner for this class and a fellow member of the library club. She was okay, and somehow tended to turn to him whenever she had to complain about someone else. She always had a decent point.

Fine. Maybe she was a friend, too.

"What made you think that?" he asked.

The brunette rolled her eyes. "Please. He's been walking you to this classroom since last week and just now, I saw him kiss you on the cheek?"

Oh. Yeah, Laxus did that. Freed just gave his classmate a half-hearted shrug. "We're... getting there."

"Wow. Laxus Dreyar, huh. They say he's trouble, always gets into fights."

"I can testify that the only fight he got into this weekend was when we tried playing that silly Magic Guild Clash game. We both suck at it, but we can see the appeal."

"Uh-huh. You got a thing for problem students?"

Freed blinked. "What?"

"You've been hanging around Strauss too."

"We take the same bus home." Freed explained. "And I kinda help her in Trig." - and after a beat, he sighed. "And… fine, yes, we hang out on weekends a bit."

"Hm." was all Evergreen said, nodding. "That's nice."

This time, Freed smiled. "It is."

.


.

That afternoon, Freed didn't fall prey to Mira's surprise tackle-hug anymore, instead turning around just as Mira was about to attack, then smiling and asking her if they're taking the bus that day. She seemed disappointed that he'd grown used to her attacks, but nodded anyway. He was able to bid a decent goodbye to Bixlow by the lockers before he let Mira drag him towards the gates as usual.

Freed was busy checking his to-do list in his phone when Mira stopped walking, effectively anchoring him in place with her. Then he heard her whisper, "Holy shit." and he looked up.

There was a car by the school gates.

Laxus was standing by the car, talking to someone who looked vaguely familiar. A girl.

Freed narrowed his eyes as Laxus... actually... smiled? And then the girl giggled and poked the blonde's chest playfully. Freed frowned, before he realized - is he jealous? Heck no! He's totally not jealous - he doesn't have the right to be- Hold up, he does. That's his 75 percent boyfriend in there flirting with- okay, the girl turned and she saw them and Freed saw her face and oh. Okay. Holy shit, indeed.

It was Cana.

She beamed when she spotted them, waving both hands above her head. "Hey, Sexy!"

And that's when Mira squealed and Freed literally felt his eardrums break.

She abandoned Freed - or actually, Freed's arm - and took off to glomp at her girlfriend and both girls shrieked so loudly Laxus had to step back several steps.

It took a while, or until Freed sheepishly joined them, stepping up beside Laxus, for Mira and Cana to calm down.

"What's happening, why are you here?" Mira asked, pulling away for a while so she can look properly at the brunette.

"Surprise visit!" Cana winked, resting her hands on the other girl's waist. "You said we should meet up without usin' illegal IDs and stolen trucks, and I thought about it, and it just made me miss you more, specially after talkin' to you, so I decided I'd just come over today! Catch you after school!"

Mira was obviously touched and she cupped her girlfriend's cheeks. "Aw, that's so sweet."

"Yup." Cana nodded, then looked around and saw their other two companions. She turned to Mira again. "Oh! Listen. So I was waiting for you, right? And I was just watchin' the other people walk by and I saw Laxus and I thought 'HEY I KNOW THAT GUY' and you should've seen it. I yelled 'PIKACHU!' and the dork actually looked."

Mira snorted and looked at Laxus, who just rolled his eyes. Freed was also obviously holding back a laugh. "Pikachu, huh?"

"Shut up." Laxus scoffed.

"So I called him over and we were talking and then you came! And Trig Boy! Freed!" Cana said, finishing her story. She grinned at Freed and waved a bit. "Hello! Oh, you're taller in person. And cuter in person. And your hair's brighter than in the phone, wow."

Freed smiled back warily. "Thanks."

"Wait. Cana." Mira said distractedly. "You have a car?"

"Pfft, babe, what're you saying? I don't even have a license. I don't even know how to drive!" Cana waved dismissively. Then she said, "I stole it."

"WHAT?!" - came from the other three before Freed and Laxus both looked pointedly at Mira because 'how dare you react like that, who was it who stole a truck again?'. Mira looked back at them and pouted, clearly saying 'don't judge me'.

Cana laughed. "I'm kidding, I'm kidding! It's from the repair shop, just got fixed and it's… out for a test drive."

Then they all turned when the window to the driver's seat rolled down and a young man just about their age, frowning, with dark hair and eyes, peered at them. "Hey, you found your girlfriend. Can I go back now?"

Mira blinked. "Oh, hi there, Gray."

"Hi, Mira." Gray said with a lazy salute, then looked at Cana again. "Look, I told your dad I'm taking this car on a test drive 'round the block, not to the next town. I really gotta go back now. At this rate, he won't even believe if I told him I took so long 'cause I grabbed a burger on my way."

"Fine, go." Cana sighed. "Thanks for the lift."

"Whatever." Gray grunted, starting the engine again. "Call me if you can't catch a decent ride home. That'll give me a good laugh." He didn't wait for her reply before driving off.

Cana shook her head as she watched the car speed down the road. "I know you'll pick me up! Take care! I love you! Forever! You're an angel!" she called out while she knew her best friend was still in earshot. Just to piss him off.

She meant it, though. Everything including the angel part, but she'll never admit that out loud.

"See?" Cana said, turning to the others again with a satisfied smile on her face. "Gray has a license, and he's got permission to take the car places! It's all very legal."

Mira looked at Freed and Laxus daringly.

"I can't argue with that." Freed shrugged.

"I literally don't give a shit." Laxus said.

Cana looked at them both appraisingly before looking at Mira and concluding, "They're very sweet. I love them already."

"Of course you do." Mira nodded.

The brunette finally beamed, bouncing on her feet. "So what now? I'm here, take me somewhere!"

Mira thought for a bit before beaming back excitedly. "I know a nice place!" Then she realized something and turned to Freed. "But- Uh-... you. The bus-"

Freed blinked once before realizing what she was worried about. "Oh. Don't worry about me! I am perfectly capable of riding the bus alone, thank you very much for your concern." he smiled softly. "You two should go."

"You can come with us." Cana offered. "Let's make it a double date."

Freed shifted awkwardly. "I don't really... go out on school nights..."

"And we agreed that we won't go on dates 'till his parents approve." Laxus added, making Freed look at him in surprise. He didn't expect Laxus to take it so seriously.

Cana whistled. Mira gaped. "What the fuck, Scarface, are you okay? I mean, not that I care about you or anything. I'm just. I never thought. I'd hear those words from you. Ever."

"Well, I still have some 25 percent pending before someone agrees to date me."

Mira looked at them pointedly. "Are you two seriously using numbers to determine your relationship status?"

Laxus smirked arrogantly at her. "We're both good at math."

Cana held back a snort. "He got you there, babe."

Mira narrowed her eyes and frowned but didn't say anything, knowing that she just lost the debate. "Nerds."

"Really, Mira, you two have fun." Freed piped up.

"And he won't be alone. I ride the bus too. I just don't do it when you're there." Laxus added.

"I really like him." Cana remarked with an amused smile.

"Okay, then! We're going! Thank you for your well-wishes, gentlemen." Mira said doing a mock curtsy before finally taking Cana's hand and stepping away.

Freed and Laxus just shrugged as the two girls started walking down the sidewalk.

"Take care, Freed! You're awesome!" Mira called out, pointing to them. "And Laxus, I- uh, I hate you less than usual!"

"You two be good kids!" Cana also gave them a friendly wave and a flying kiss.

Freed just chuckled and shook his head while Laxus just grumbled, "Ridiculous." under his breath.

"So," Freed started, looking up at Laxus. "Bus?"

Laxus nodded, and simply smiled when he felt his companion's hand take his. "Let's go."

.

fin.


A/N: Cana ended up sleeping in the Dreyars' couch. Gray picked her up in the morning.