A/N: ok, so this is my second Laxana week prompt- kids. I actually like this one a lot, but I wanted to go for a more innocent version of the two characters so I'm not sure as to whether that makes them OOC, Laxus is sorta kind but still as non-committal as ever and Cana is innocent and nervous, so I hope it works out. This one is a reference to the first chapter of Magic Merge my other story, when Cana cried over her mother's grave. I don't like assigning characters backgrounds in case the cannon is revealed as something completely different but it was kinda unavoidable. Personally I think it unlikely that Cana's mum was a mage but it was just convenient for plot purposes, so please forgive me Anyway as always, read, review and enjoy!
p.s. For those who have read magic merge the last few lines are a reason for Laxus' big problems with Gildarts later on.
Disclaimer: I do not own Fairy Tail, Hiro Mashima does.
Laxus sat at his usual table, the general scuffle of the guild giving him a wide birth in fear of his lightning infused retribution. The sixteen year old was listening to his music, fingers tapping to the beat of his newest song of interest. Cana sat a few tables away, young face scrunched in thought, staring at the teenage boy who had always looked out for her, almost like a big brother. She sighed for the umpteenth time, gathering up as much courage as she could muster as she approached him. It took a few seconds for him to register her presence, his eyes locking onto her face, lacrima-pods removed from his ears.
"What's up squirt?" he asked, only Cana got squirt, everyone else was brat. Cana smiled nervously, fiddling with the hem of her frilled shirt.
"Ummm, I was wondering if you were busy this Friday." Cana said quietly, avoiding eye contact. Laxus frowned in confusion, not sure if he'd heard right.
"Yeah, why? Do you need something?" He asked, leaning closer to hear her mumbles. Cana unconsciously took a step back, hand on her cards due to nerves.
"Well, Friday is my Mum's anniversary. Usually the priest at my orphanage takes me out to her grave but he's really sick and said I can't go by myself. So I was hoping you could take me." Cana said in a big brave voice, meeting his eyes despite her nerves. Laxus eyebrows shot up his forehead at her request- how could he refuse?
"Yeah, ah, sure." Laxus said to Cana's visible relief. "Where is it?" Laxus asked, guessing he'd need to know the details of their journey in order to buy their tickets since Cana most likely wouldn't have enough money to buy her own.
"Fountain Gate, it's a few hours inland by train." Cana said, taking a seat across from him, her change in confidence giving Laxus a small smile. "You'll probably have to meet Father so he'll believe I'm not going by myself. Is that ok?" Cana asked innocently, wide brown eyes glued to Laxus face. He nodded, giving her a reassuring smile.
"I'll work everything out, I'm sure it'll be fine." Laxus said, standing to ruffle her hair. As he walked out of the guild in the direction of the train station his usual blank expression shielding his thoughts. Why would she ask him of all people? Maybe he was her last resort? Either way, he'd take her to visit her mother's grave on the day every orphan dreads- the day they lost everything.
"So you're the Laxus young Cana never stops talking about." The obviously unwell priest smiled apologetically at him as Cana's death glare cut through the silence. "I really appreciate you taking her out there today, I can pay for the ticket if need be." The priest offered, genuine gratitude pouring from his smile.
"It's fine; I've got enough to get us there and back no problem." Laxus assured the elder man, chancing a glance at Cana who seemed to be holding back a smile. The priest and Cana shared a knowing look which ended with the priest giving her a cheeky wink at which Cana let out a small giggle, rolling her eyes. He turned back to Laxus, smiling despite his ill-health.
"Well I better not keep you from your train any longer. Take good care of our Cana-chan, won't you?" he asked, studying Laxus' face intently. Laxus suddenly felt a little nervous under the man's stare, he had the feeling he didn't want to know what he'd do if Cana wasn't returned to him safe and sound.
"Of course." Laxus said, nodding before turning to walk away, Cana in toe. Cana giggled almost too quietly for Laxus to detect. He nudged her with a suspicious look. "What's so funny?" he asked, eyeing her face. Cana grinned, biting her lower lip before allowing a stream of laughter to break through her lips.
"You just got scammed so good." Cana said between giggles, clutching her stomach. Laxus raised an eyebrow, her laughter causing him to smile.
"What do you mean?" he asked, more than a little confused.
"As if he was going to pay for my ticket… stingy old bastard." Cana said, looking up at Laxus. He was a little surprised at her language but she'd matured over the years, she wasn't the same little girl he'd walked to and from the guild each day. He grinned down at her, pushing her shoulder a little too hard, causing her to almost topple, but she didn't seem to mind, her grin as wide as ever.
The time flew by and suddenly they were in their seats, the only ones on the train. But as the train began to lurch to life Laxus' face seemed to change colour, an unnatural green inhabiting his cheeks. Cana leaned forward, worried for her guild mate.
"Are you ok Laxus?" Cana asked, peering up at him. He nodded unconvincingly, gripping the arm rest tightly.
"I'll be fine once we get off this piece of shit." Laxus ground out, losing what little manners he had around the young girl when his travel sickness took over. Cana watched over him as hour after hour passed until at 9:15am they pulled into Fountain Gate station. Laxus practically ran to the carriage's door, breathing in the fresh air. Cana smiled at the spectacle he was causing among the elderly ladies and families present at the terminal. With a panicked expression he looked over his shoulder in search of Cana but she was already at his side, pulling him by his shirt off towards the exit. Laxus followed her willingly enough, pausing when she paused, matching his pace to hers, her grip on his shirt tightening when they crossed roads, a habit he found amusing.
Finally they found themselves at the iron gates at the edge of town, leading to the cemetery. Cana stopped, her hand dropping from Laxus' shirt for the first time in what seemed ages.
"You can go explore if you like, I'd rather talk to Mum by myself if that's ok with you?" Cana asked, her tone ringing with a resolve he'd never seen in the young mage before.
"When do you want me to come back?" Laxus asked, turning to squat in front of her so they'd be on the same eye-level. Cana thought for a second before answering.
"Well I'll need a while to catch up with her, so how about in an hour and then we can decide what to do next." Cana said, a smile on her face. Laxus couldn't tell whether it was genuine but she seemed happy to be here, so he let it go.
"Any place interesting I should see?" He asked, glancing around. This place couldn't be any more different than Magnolia, surrounded on all sides by mountains, the small population of the town going about their daily business.
"Well at the fountain on the opposite side of town is where all the pretty ladies goon Fridays to have high tea, it's a tradition around here. Maybe you could go too?" Cana said, imagining Laxus in a dress with a flower printed parasol.
"Well I might as well go and take a look." Laxus said, a mischievous glint in his eye. Cana rolled her eyes, grinning at him.
"Oh, my mum always used to say, never fall in love with a Granger, so if you meet one walk away, ok?" Cana said, remembering the way her mum always used to mention it, almost like a mantra. Laxus gave her an odd look but nodded all the same. Standing to his full height he looked down at her with a reassuring smile.
"See you in an hour squirt." Laxus said, rustling her hair. Cana rolled her eyes, but waited till Laxus was out of sight before grasping the gate, hands shaking. She opened the gate, the familiar squeak disturbing the otherwise silent landscape. She walked past row after row of graves until she found her mothers, a life size statue of the woman above the grave, the familiar inscription bringing tears to Cana's eyes.
"Hi mum, a lot's happened since last year." She said, smiling through the tears. He mother always said that when you were around someone you truly loved, you had to mirror what you wanted them to feel. When they were sad, you should smile at them, force the happiness into their heart and soon enough there would come a time when you could be happy together again. "I-" Cana stopped when she felt the pressure of a large hand on her shoulder. She looked up to see Laxus reading the inscription and taking in the statue of the beautiful caring figure which appeared so lifelike that the idea that this woman was dead seemed absurd.
"Sorry, I couldn't find the fountain." Laxus said, sparing her shocked face a quick glance and a reassuring smile. Cana quickly rubbed away her tears, embarrassed Laxus had seen her like that. "So your mum was a hero huh?" Laxus asked, sitting on the ground facing the grave, motioning for Cana to do the same. Cana stared at her mothers face, cold and hard only in physical terms, the artist had captured her erratic warm smile perfectly.
"She was a really powerful mage," Cana said, proud to be the daughter of such a woman, "she used body link magic and healing magic. But a evil mage that had escaped from the magic council came to our town and planned on killing everyone with his poison gass." Cana said, the memory causing her to shiver. "But mum healed everyone over and over again with each wave of poison he released until the magic council could get here. My mum lasted thirty-eight hours straight before they captured him." Cana said, balling up her fists then releasing them, she'd never let anyone else visit her mums grave before. "She'd used so much energy that she was beyond saving a million times over." Cana said, remembering the night the her mother called her in to say goodbye, telling her to go to Fairy Tail, of what a distant nightmare that seemed now.
"I can see why Gildarts fell in love with her, she was really beautiful." Laxus said, brushing his shoulder against hers like Bixlow sometimes did to him. Cana smiled broadly, her mother one of the few topics that made her proud.
"She was the most beautiful lady in the whole village. When I was young men used to ask her on dates all the time, but she always said, 'Not today, today I only have room for one sweetheart, and my Cana already has my heart." and they used to get so annoyed that they'd try to argue with her and she'd just keep talking to me like they weren't there." Cana giggled at the memory. "My mum had a friend called Gingy, and she was always jealous that mum was so beautiful but she'd never say it, so mum told me that every time I told Auntie Gingy she was pretty I'd get a lolly when we got home. So every time I saw her I'd tell her she was the most beautiful lady in the whole world, but soon she caught on to what we were doing so she asked me who was prettier, mum or her?" Cana paused, not sure as to whether Laxus had been listening or not, not that it really mattered, the memory was still sweet in her chest, her cheeks rosy.
"What did you say?" Laxus asked, breaking the short silence. Cana looked at him, slightly bewildered.
"Well, first I asked my mum if I should lie," Cana said, pausing to remember the exact words, " and she said to me 'Cana, no beauty ever came from lies, no matter what they seem to be. If you truly love someone, you want to give them all the beauty the world has to offer, even if it means that there will be pain, the beauty of truth will save that person from the shadows surrounding lies." I was only about five so I didn't really understand what she meant but I knew she was telling me that if you love someone that lying to them will hurt them more than telling them something that would hurt them now. So when she asked me who was prettier I said they were both as beautiful as each other." Cana said, fingering the petals of an elegant flower at the base of the grave.
"Your Mum was something special." Laxus said, imagining meeting such a woman were she still alive. For some reason Cana's words reminded him of his grandmother, maybe it was because both of them got hurt by Fairy Tail men. Laxus looked once more at the statue then down at Cana. "You look a lot like her, maybe Gildarts really is blind." Laxus said, more to himself than the young mage. She blushed at the compliment.
"Thanks Laxus," she said, not sure what to say to her mother now she was there with Laxus next to her. "Anyway, I should introduce you." Cana said with a grin. "Mum, this is Laxus. He's a really powerful mage at Fairy Tail." Cana looked between Laxus and the grave, as if waiting for him to do something.
"Hello Ms Alberona?" Laxus said, not really understanding what he was supposed to do. Cana giggled, turning back to the statue.
"Anyway, this is when I usually tell her stuff that's happened around the guild, like how Grey got arrested for indecent exposure at the magic council but they let him off with a warning this time." Cana paused, waiting for Laxus to say something.
"Ahh, we got a new member called…."
"Levy." Cana finished for him. "She really likes books and uses this magic where her words come to life, it's really cool." Cana said chirpily. "Jet and Droy have already recruited her into their team, I think they're in love with her." Cana giggled as she said the last comment.
"Alzack and Bisca still haven't made any progress." Laxus interjected, happy to have something to offer. "Natsu and Grey never stop fighting, and sometimes they get Elfman involved."
"Oh, we forgot to tell her about Happy!" Cana said excitedly, "Natsu found this massive egg, he and Lisanna hatched it and out came this cat that grows wings, and they called it Happy." Cana gushed.
"The cat is just as stupid as Natsu so as long as Erza is nearby there's no need to worry about anything too bad happening." Laxus said, running a hand through his hair.
The pair continued on like that for what seemed like hours, telling all the guilds secrets they had amalgamated over the past year. Laxus was a fountain of knowledge from Macao's marriage problems to Natsu's accident at the mixed dorms. Cana laughed at stories she'd never heard before, and Laxus' eyes widened.
"How'd you find out about that?" he asked incredulously. Cana simply smiled, standing up to offer her hand. Laxus took it, pulling himself up which almost caused her to topple head first into the garden if it hadn't been for Laxus' arm wrapping around her small waist at the last second. Cana sighed dramatically, straightening and dusting off her clothes. She turned to the statue of her mother.
"Bye Mum, I'll see you next year. I might even bring some more people to meet you." She said with a smile, walking off towards the gate. She turned to catch a glimpse of Laxus bowing to the grave, head lowered.
"It was an honour to meet you, Cornelia Alberona." He said with a sad smile, before darting after the younger mage. Cana shook off the image, taking Laxus' shirt in her grip once again, dusk falling over the small country town.
Cana shivered as they approached her orphanage, the night air crisp. Cana paused at the gate, Laxus stopping beside her. Cana looked up into his face, a thankful smile on her face.
"Thank you for going with me today Laxus, it really meant a lot." Cana said, stepping forward to give him a brief hug, her arms squeezing his waist, before stepping back, cheeks flushed.
"It was no trouble," Laxus said, the darkness hiding his embarrassed blush. "if you need someone to take you next year, come get me." Laxus said, ruffling her hair in farewell. Cana smiled, turning towards her home where her guardian was watching from the window suspiciously.
Laxus smiled to himself as he turned away, walking back towards the mixed dorms. If she asked him next year, he'd definitely accompany her again. Gildarts truly was a fool for not seeing Cornelia in Cana, maybe he wasn't such a good mage after all.