It wasn't until Laxus was Master that he found just how hard the job was. There was no joy to be found in it at times, even, as through the years he dealt with everyone from the council, to other guilds, as well as the constant destruction that his caused. It was like a never ending trial with new turns and twists popping up frequently.
Through the years he, of course, turned to the Thunder Legion frequently for help. Mainly Freed as, per usual, the man was more than willing to do all of Laxus' bidding. He would help out in any way he could. It was made very obvious that Freed could be what Mirajane was to Makarov, if Laxus would only allow him.
But he wouldn't. He couldn't let go. He didn't want to. How could he be blamed, however, when the person he was falling back on anyways was just as unwilling to change as well? Mirajane had been in the position of helping the Master since she was a teenager. Why should a change of hands disrupt that?
Not that Laxus didn't see the benefits from it. He and Mira, for obvious reasons, just didn't work well together. And with Orion getting older, she was finally having a chance to live a life not only outside of her son, but also outside of the guildhall. It wasn't fair for him to waste more of her years, he knew, but at the same time, the few moments of clarity he had where he tried to convey this to the woman, she always shot it down. Claimed that some of her best memories and times stemmed from the hall and she couldn't think of somewhere that she'd rather spend her days.
It was just a muddled mess, honestly, but what could they do? Laxus honestly didn't want anyone else helping him other than Mirajane and she, truth be told, didn't want that either. Not just for the sake of keeping her position in the guild, but rather, if she was being honest, she rather liked Laxus. Not just in their usual, romantic way, but as a master. He wasn't Makarov, he never would be, and he wasn't Macao either. But he was good in his own right. Great even. He was caring, though a tad strict, and more approachable than one would think, just from looking at him. He was a good master. And she was glad to serve under him.
"Laxus, knock it off. Seriously, we have to get through this."
Except for at the moment.
He only yawned though, rubbing at his eyes before opening them again. "Huh?"
Mirajane frowned over at him from across the kitchen table. "You can go home and go to bed when we finish with this stuff. Not a moment sooner. And if you would stop nodding off, we could get through it a lot faster, you know."
"Sorry, Mira," he yawned as he sat to attention then. "I just, uh, can't stay awake."
She was back to looking over the letters in front of them then and only nudged a coffee cup towards him. He'd already downed most of the pot. "Finish mine."
"Clearly," he said, "coffee ain't working for me."
"Just finish mine. Maybe it'll give you enough of a boost to last until we finish this up, huh?"
Their night together at Mirajane's house was not at all what Laxus was hoping for. She'd taken the day off from the guild and, even though Laxus tried very hard to not bother her on those rare days, something came up.
One of the younger teams in the guild had taken a job the prior week and were supposed to just go out and catch a bandit or something. Simple. Laxus didn't think much of it when they returned victorious. Until the letters came in. A lot fo them. As, apparently, the bandit had led them on a chase through a number of costal towns, all of which they destroyed in the process.
It was something Natsu would be proud of. Laxus? Not so much. And with Freed off on a job, Ever busy with Elfman, and Bickslow being, well, Bickslow, the only person Laxus trusted to help him write apology letters and figure the repair costs was his demon.
"I'm real sorry about this," he'd said when he appeared on her porch. "Honest, Mira, I just… You don't have to help me or let me in, but-"
"Come on," she'd groaned, only moving to open the door further. "Orion's out anyways. I was just cleaning up."
The problem didn't just lie in writing apology letters, however, as they also were on quite a tight budget as of late and were going to have to move around some money if they were going to get everything paid for in a timely manner. Laxus wasn't an idiot by any account, but Mira was better with numbers than him and always had been. That prove true again that night.
"Just sign this last letter, Lax," she told him eventually as he stared at her with bleary eyes. "Then we're done."
After doing so, the man moved to rest his head on the kitchen table. "You can get the letters mailed? Tomorrow?"
"Mmmhmm." After sealing up that one, Mira got to her feet. "I will on my lunch break, alright?"
"Perfect," he mumbled as his eyes drooped closed. "Demon?"
"Hmmm?" She'd started on getting the dishes put in the sink then and only glanced back at him. Since he'd been over there so long, she'd already fed him a dinner of sandwiches and, as previously mentioned, filled him with coffee. Not to mention sodas. His woman took good care of him. Even when she wasn't his woman. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," he sighed, not opening his eyes. "I just… Thank you."
"Of course, Master," she was quick to say. "You know I'm always here to help you."
"Yeah, demon, I know. Still though. Thank you."
For a moment, she didn't say anything and he was honestly starting to drift off when she spoke.
"Did you need something else?"
"Were you still hungry or-"
"Oh." Again, she paused. "Then…are you leaving?"
That made the slayer laugh slightly though he didn't open his eyes.
"You kickin' me out, demon?"
"I'll go in a minute," he mumbled. "Just let me rest here for a second, huh?"
Mira glanced back at him a few times, but he didn't seem to be anything other than tired. Usually at that point, he'd be hitting on her or trying to get her out of her dress. She knew that he had to really be out of it and, well, there was no reason to disturb him. Especially if all he was doing was sleeping.
He was too. Deeply. He hadn't been sleeping well at night and, apparently, it was catching up with him then. Laxus had no idea what time it was or where he was, really, when he woke up some time later to a darkened kitchen and no one else around.
Then the old and lingering scents of his son and Mirajane hit him and he knew he was still in the Strauss house.
"Mira," he breathed as he blinked, looking around. She wasn't there though and, with a sigh, he got to his feet before walking off.
There were no lights on in the house and, assuming that her room was still the one at the end of the hall he went and knocked gently against the door.
"It's me." He opened the door slowly to find her already in bed, the darkness in the room not giving him much to look at. He could tell, still, that she was lying in bed, a top the covers, curled up. "I just wanted you to know I was leaving."
Mirajane pushed up then, reaching over to turn on the lamp by her bed so the could look at one another. Laxus would be lying to say that he wasn't disappointed that her bed wear was not in the least bit attractive, but then again, they weren't as young as they used to be. He would take what he could get.
"You didn't have to come tell me."
"I assumed you would eventually."
"Yeah, well, I just thought I should thank you again. For real. Without being rude and yawning halfway through."
Mira laid back down, though she was still glancing over at the door. "Well, thanks for keeping me company tonight."
Grunt. He glanced around. "It's quiet without Lisanna around."
"Lisanna hasn't lived here since-"
"I know. But I always picture her as so," he told he with a slight shrug. "Annoying the heck out of us as we're trying to hookup or asking me to let her train with the Thunder Legion because Elfman's getting on her nerves."
"You guys were pretty cute together," Mira mumbled. "Back then."
"Before she hated me."
"She doesn't hate you."
"Well, she doesn't like me."
"She has no reason to," she told him. "The only reason she did before we because you and I… But these past few years, there's been no reason for you two to be more than guild members."
They were talking then. Really talking. And, slowly, Laxus walked further into the room, shutting the door behind him.
"You need a new house."
"Why's that? It's just me and Orion. Really not even him now," she said. "He's never home. He takes jobs constantly. I don't think he likes it here."
"That's not true."
"Why's it not?" Mirajane shut her eyes then. "I messed up."
"What are you talking about? Orion's great. He-"
"He is," she agreed. "But I never made him make any real friends in the guild or even in town. He doesn't have anything that makes him want to stick around."
"You make him wanna stick around."
She snorted. "Don't you mean that you do?"
"The only time that he ever stays for more than a few days at home is when he knows that you're going to invite him to one of those little get-togethers you have with the Thunder Legion," she said. Then she opened her eyes and glanced at him. "Thanks for not getting him drunk again. You're such a role model."
"You're all he talks about," she told him then. "I mean, more than before. Before it was just him bragging about you from afar. Now though he thinks that the two of you are buddies and that you're, like, grooming him to become one of his boys. Like Freed and Bickslow."
"I can't tell if you're happy or if you-"
"I just don't want him hurt, Lax. That's all."
"And he's not going to be." He came even closer. "Honest, demon. If he thinks we're friends or something, isn't that what we want?"
"What we want, huh?"
"Well, sure. You want me to be around him and I-"
"I never said that I wanted that."
"You sure hint at it enough," he grumbled.
"I don't know what's wrong with me letting him hang out with us," he said still coming closer. "If you want me to put a stop to it though-"
"Of course I don't. I only… Just don't get my son drunk anymore."
"I do it one time, months ago now, and you won't leave me alone about it."
"That's called being a parent, Laxus. You'd know that if-"
"I thought," he grumbled as he came to a stop at her bedside, "that we could get through one, happy, peaceful day without fighting. Can we not, demon? Are we that screwed now that we can't just leave things peacefully?"
"Considering you for some reason are refusing to leave-"
"I just," the slayer sighed as he moved to sit on the edge of the bed, "like the boy hanging out with me."
"Worshipping you," she corrected. "You always like anyone who worships you."
"Well, it definitely factors in, yeah."
"Laxus, go away."
He just sat there though, hands in his lap, thinking. Then he said, "You're wrong though, you know."
"About what?" she asked, figuring the only way to get rid of him was to just let him get whatever it was out of his system.
"That I'm the only reason he sticks around," he told her. "He-"
"You are. You're his hero."
"Maybe," he agreed. "But that's not the only reason he sticks around."
Nodding, he said, "He loves you so much."
"He does," he insisted. "I can't get away from you when I'm at the hall, but hell, if I bring him somewhere with me, you're all he talks about. When talks, I mean. He mostly gets real nervous and doesn't say much, but when he starts talking, like if I'm discussing battles and jobs with Freed and Bickslow, he won't pipe in with his own."
With a shake of his head, he told her, "He talks about all the great things his mother's done. How great a mage you are. How you're too modest to brag, but that you're way stronger than most the other members. Even Erza. He likes to say that for some reason. That you're stronger than Erza."
"You don't think so, but I wouldn't wanna be anywhere near the two of you if you went at it," he said with a slight grin. "But man, that boy really thinks you're something."
"We never talk about stuff like that," she told him. "I don't talk to him about-"
"Someone does," he said with a shrug. "Probably your brother and sister."
"I mean, he talks a lot about Erza too." Laxus sounded less enthused with that. "A lot. And, I mean, hell, Erza's strong, but some of those stories sound a little slanted. I think she's feeding them to him."
"Probably," she whispered. "They spend a lot of time together. She trained him, really, with his bows."
"He's pretty lucky, I think."
"What do you mean?"
Shrugging as best she could from the position she was in, Mirajane said, "All the kids in the guild have strong parents, I know. Like Radic or Jules. All of them. But he literally had a whole class of S-Class wizards bringing him up."
"He had two," he repeated with a slight sight. "You and Erza. I-"
"You had a lot to do with him too," she told him. "Not directly, but he's always loved you. It's weird. Is it just something that he feels? Inside? That he should love you? Or did you win him over without meaning to?"
"I like to think that it's a mixture," she told hi with a slight grin. "That it's partially just something he knows deep down should be and somewhat that you're just so great."
"You're making me blush."
She kicked at him. "You know what I mean."
Reaching over, he only gently laid a hand on her leg, stilling it. Mira froze at that, but he just kept his hand there, not moving it up or away.
"If you asked him, Mira," he said then, softly, "to stay with you, to stay in Magnolia more, he would. He-"
"I'm not going to hold him back, Lax," she told him with a sigh. "He wants this and he's good at it. He's so good at his magic. And I know I'm biased, but-"
"No, he is," he told her softly. "He-"
"Silly." She giggled then. "You're just as biased at me."
Laxus blinked. "I guess I am."
"He wants to be S-Class, Lax."
"I know. He-"
"No." She shook her head. "For you."
"For me? What do you-"
"So that he can prove himself to you. It's silly, huh?" Then she laughed some more. "He also wants to fight Erza or beat her or something, but I think that's a less cute motivation."
"He'll make it," he promised her. "I mean, I'm not saying that I'll make sure of it or anything, but he has as good a chance as any of those kids around his age. I thought that Gajeel's asshole would make it first, but here we are. I want Orion to have it more than him anyhow."
"I want Master to hang on until then," she whispered. "I don't know if it'll make a difference to him, but Orion loves him so much that-"
"It will." He gripped her leg then. "Gramps loves him. He…he'd care."
Shifting slightly, she told him, "I don't think he's going to stay."
"Gramps? He's bad, demon, I know, but-"
"What do you mean?"
"His only goal here has been to prove himself to you," she told him. "To become S-Class and get you to notice him. I'm afraid that…that if he gets that finished, he'll be finished. He won't need Fairy Tail anymore."
"Where else would he go?"
"I don't know."
"He doesn't have to be in Magnolia to be a part of Fairy Tail," he reasoned. "He can travel."
"I'm afraid of that too."
"I just told you that if you tell him that you want him to stick around, he'll-"
"I don't want to hold him back, Laxus. From anything. That's selfish," she said. "It wouldn't be fair to keep him from having fun because I'm lonely."
"You're lonely, demon?"
That got her to take a pause, if only for a second. Then, slowly, she said, "Yeah, Laxus, I am. I'm tired of going to bed alone. I'm tired of being all by myself in this house. I'm tired of occasionallyhaving a date, maybe having a guy interested in me for awhile, but it not working out. I want to be in love again. Really in love."
Letting out a breath, he said, "Then why don't you?"
"There's tons of men, demon, that would be with you. That would love you." Glancing at her then, he said, "The boy's getting older. And so are you. Just… I don't want you to be unhappy, waiting on me or-"
And that was flat too. Truthful. And, honestly, a little hurtful.
"I know that me and you aren't going to work," she told him. "I'm over that. Honest, I am."
"You're not over it," he grumbled. "And neither am I."
"No, I am," she insisted. "I'm not over you, fine, but the idea of us growing old together? Definitely."
"Then what's holding you back?" he asked with a frown. "Huh? Surely you can find a man. I mean, if you can't, then I would love to know how half the disgusting looking-"
"I have a teenage son, a demanding job, still sleep with you, what? Every two years or so? Not to mention-"
"I can make two of those go away."
Shaking his head slightly, Laxus said, "If you want some time off, Mira, just say so. I can give it to you. You deserve it. And I…I want you to be happy. I love you. And I do want to be with you. But I can't. And I never will be. If it'll make you happier, for us to be around one another less, then let's… Honestly, this time, let's just…not. The guild's a big place. Magnolia's even bigger. And-"
"Every single time you say that-"
"Then I'll try harder," he told her, voice harsh then. "I have to try harder. It's not fair to you. Fuck, Mira. You don't think I don't notice? I do. You're all lonely and shit and it's my fault and I just…" He was grimacing then, hard. "I'm horrible. Fucking horrible."
Mira was too tired to play into him that night and only rolled her eyes. "You know, dragon, sometimes you come off as really conceited."
"You're not as big a factor in my life as you like to delude yourself into believing," she said with a frown. "I love you, I had a son by you, and yes, sometimes we still sleep together. But I do have other relationships. And no, you're not the reason that most of them have ended."
"Oh." That brought the grimace down. "W-Well-"
"It just always gets to that serious point," she went on. "Where I have to introduce him to Orion and I just… When Ori was younger, I used that as an excuse. That I didn't want him to be around a guy that I wasn't sure would stick around. But now It's just… I can't talk to him about… He doesn't see me in that way. I don't even date if he's not out on a job anymore, or away from the house for some reason. And I've never brought a man back here. Never. With or without him being around."
"He's not a baby, Mira," Laxus told her then. "He knows that you're a woman. You have…needs or-"
"Ew, gross, Laxus-"
"You do," he told her. "Everyone does. And it's your house, you know. If you want to bring men here, do it. He's not a little kid. He should understand."
"You really don't understand being a parent, do you?"
"I just don't get-"
"It's awkward," she told him. "For one thing. He's old enough to know, yes, Laxus, that I'm an adult and I do adult things. That also means that he's old enough to know if a man's spending the night, that we're… No. I can't do that."
"Man, Mira, do you think the boy doesn't know where he came from or something? Obviously, you have sex. I mean-"
"No. I'm just trying to say-"
"He thinks that I'm…heartbroken over his father. Or that I'm waiting for him to come back. Or something," she said. "I think. Or he just doesn't' like to think about his mother as someone who has sex. That's not so abnormal, you know."
Grunt. "I just don't see what's keeping you from…being in love. If that's what you want."
"It is what I want," she told him with as light nod. "I want someone that takes me places and that I can do things for. I miss sleeping next to someone or cooking for a man. I even miss the stupid stuff, like doing his laundry or-"
"We're so different."
"I don't miss being in love at all," he told her. "I mean, I'm in love with you, of course, but-"
Shrugging, he said, "I am. But I mean that I don't miss all those cutesy, dating things that you have to do when you're with someone. At all."
"Right. You just like getting down to the screwing, huh?"
Narrowing his eyes at her, he said, "I'll have you know that I take those women on damn dates and buy them nice jewelry after. Thank you."
"I can't love anyone else," he told her simply, shaking his head. "I wasn't supposed to fall in love with you, but I have. I wouldn't want to risk losing someone else."
Mira only hummed. "Orion's too old now, I know, to have a father, a real father, that raises him or something, but I want him to love the guy as much as I do. I want someone that he can talk to and that will help him with all his problems and-"
"I said you could fall in love, demon," Laxus grumbled. "I didn't say you could sell off my son on the man as well."
"He doesn't need another man in his life," he insisted. "He has Bickslow and Elfman and even me. He's fine."
"If I'm in love, Laxus, it's going to be hinged on Orion's approval."
"That's your problem, Mira. You keep thinking that the boy has a say in what you do. He doesn't."
"He has a say in all things," she told him. "I can't love someone that Orion doesn't love too."
"What are you gonna do, huh? If the boy just doesn't want you to date? Huh? Then what?" He shook his head. "You gotta start thinking about yourself."
"Oh? Do I?"
"I can't," she told him. "It doesn't work that way. Orion's my son. For life. He didn't ask me to come into this world. I brought him into it. That means that he's above me. Always. That's just how things go, Laxus."
"That's not fair."
"If I was waiting around for my life to be fair, I wouldn't get very far."
"If he loves you," Laxus told her simply, "he'd want to see you happy. You think I want to see you with someone? But I'd put up with it if-"
"The love I have for Orion and that he has for me is far more pure than anything you've ever had for me," she told him. "So don't compare the two. Ever."
He looked up then, at the ceiling, hand still resting against her leg. Slowly he began stroking it.
"I just don't think he'd dislike it was all I was saying," Laxus told her. "I mean, if you're really happy with the guy and he's not an ass to you, I'm sure Orion will be fine with it."
She just let out slight breath. "You're right about one thing, anyhow."
"I am getting older."
"We all are."
"And I want another baby before I get too-"
"Wait, what?" Finally, he removed his hand. "Mirajane-"
"Not with you."
Glancing at him, she said, "I never got to be happy when Orion was growing up. Not really. I was dealing with you and was depressed and… I just want to be pregnant and I want the guy to love me and I want to do it right. Orion's enough, of course, but I just want to do it for real this time."
He could deal with her being with another man. Loving? Fine. But for some reason, the thought of her having a child with another person bothered him.
"Do you…wanna get married?"
"Well, of course, Laxus."
"Why's that an of course? You had Orion without being married."
That got him a kick. A hard one.
"What difference does it make to you anyways? You were just saying a minute ago that if I did fall in love, you'd be able to just leave me alone, didn't you?"
"Yeah, but…" He didn't know what to say.
"It'll probably never happen anyways," she told him, as if to put him at ease.
"Why's that?" he mumbled, still slightly bothered.
"It's all just a dream, Lax," she told him. "What are the chances of me meeting a guy, falling in love, getting married, and having a baby at this point?"
"Are you that down on yourself, woman?" He snorted. "Nearly every guy in the fucking guild would do all that for you."
"I'm not in love with anyone in the guild," she told him.
"Love's a joke anyways," he told her. "What good has it done anyone? You're better off with someone that just cares for you and that you can have fun with. Love me. Marry a guy that can care for you and give you what you want."
"Who said I loved you?"
That got a bigger snort. "Don't annoy me, demon. We're having a nice time here."
"I wouldn't even know what to do," she admitted then. "If I lived with a man again. Orion's the only person I've lived with for years now. It would be so…weird."
Looking back down at his lap, he said, "You even talk yourself out of your dreams when you're just telling them to me."
"We've gone, in this very short time, from you telling me about how great it would be, to fall in love again, to you telling me Orion won't let you. When I proved that's not true, you told me that you would like to, would want to get married and have a baby and just this great life, but it'll never happen because you'll never find someone who would want that with you. When I tell you that you're wrong, you tell me that it's just a dream and that it'd been weird anyways." Shaking his head, he said, "Just want something for yourself and get it, demon. Stop talking yourself out of it. You're so deserving, Mirajane. Of everything."
"You deserve to be happy too," she said, glancing over at him. "Really, dragon, you-"
"I am happy."
"No, you're not. You can't be."
"I don't want what you want," he told her. "I don't want to be in love again. I have you. I have the boy. I don't need another woman or another family. Do I have you two the way I want? No. But you're still there. You're both still in my life. I get to see you nearly every single day. I have the guild, I have the Thunder Legion, Mira, I have everything. It's you that's not happy and that I worry about."
For a minute or two, that fell between them and, honestly, Laxus was starting to feel tired again. He knew he needed to get home. He wanted to get home. He just...
"What are you doing?" he breathed as, just when he was about to get up, Mira took to rubbing her foot against his leg, making him glance over at her. "Demon?"
"We both know," she whispered, "that you're not going home tonight."
He just stared at her for a moment before shaking his head. "I just got finished tell you that we can't keep doing this. You need to be happy. And I-"
"And I told you," she repeated, "that you're not as big a portion of my life as you think. You-"
"Every single time we have sex you hate me after," he told her. "And I'm tired of it. I want us to be friends. Normal friends, who-"
"We have a son that you deny because if you don't an old family curse will kill me." She gave him a look. "We'll never be normal."
"Awe, shit," he groaned before reaching into his pocket to make sure he had his wallet. He did. Along with a rubber. Shaking his head still, he said, "You know, demon, this time was all you. And I reserve the right to throw that little fit you do after I proposition you."
Laxus only gave her a look before kicking his boots off as well as tossing his wallet to the side for a moment.
"You," he said as he moved to shove her on her back, "always act as if I've forced you into something. Like this is all my fault."
"You're very good at acting like you have no fault in anything at all."
"So are you."
"Mmmm." Mira couldn't help it. She hummed the second he settled over her. "I can't remember the last time we were like this."
"In a bed," she corrected. "I swear, thinking on it, we only ever hookup in such weird-"
"It's 'cause it's all frenzied and shit," he told her. "But I'mma be honest, demon. I'm gettin' too old to be screwing you up against a wall and all that crazy shit. My back hurts sometimes after we-"
"Don't ruin this, Laxus."
"I'm just trying to say that I'm so glad to have you like this again." He pressed a kiss against her neck when she moved to unbutton his purple shirt. "Demon."
"How long's it been?" she whispered, not finishing with the buttons. Instead, she only undid a few before resting a hand against what flesh of his chest was exposed. "Dragon?"
"We haven't been together, since-"
"No." She was staring at him. "How long's it been?"
Oh. He shrugged. "A month ago, when I was out on the conference with another guild, I hooked up with this woman in another town. She was at this bar and I-"
"Was she younger than me?"
"I've seen the women that you hang around," she said simply, going back to the buttons. "Laxus."
"I'm not blaming you. I was just curious."
That'd broken the mood some and, when she finished with his shirt, he moved to slip it off as well as get the light.
"You're always young to me, demon," he told her when she started hurriedly on his jeans. Noting her speed, he moved to grab her hands and pull them up, pinning her down. "Calm down. We're alone."
"We are," she agreed as he kissed her head. "Completely."
"We never get this," he said as he let go of on of her hands to start pushing up her nightgown. "Not like how it used to be. And you mean so much more to me than anyone else ever has. Do you know how sad that is? What's your rush?"
She was staring at him then and, just to take one last jab, she said, "Well, you did mention you were getting older."
Ignoring that, Laxus just let out a slight breath. "Tell me this doesn't feel right."
"It does," she whispered, shivering from how cool his hand felt against her flesh. "Dragon."
And it did. There was no regret in it at all, for once and, when it was over, Laxus remembered how good it felt to lay next to the demon. To feel her breathing against him. She was his. Always.
"No," Mira pleaded softly when he moved to get out of bed. "Stay. We're alone. Please, Laxus. Just for the night."
What could he do? She wrapped her arms tightly around one of his and didn't seem to be letting go. Not to mention, he really didn't want to go anywhere either.
Wiggling his arm free, he just as quickly moved to wrap it around her.
"I ain't goin' nowhere," he told her as Mirajane relaxed. "The chance to sleep next to my demon? Like I'd ever pass that up."
She knew he was never big on cuddling, but she also knew that could be her only chance at it with him for the rest of her life, so he just had to get over it that night. Not that Laxus minded. It felt good to hold Mira like that again, even if it were just for a few hours.
"Will you make me pancakes in the morning?" he whispered eventually. Mira only giggled, snuggling even closer to him.
"I will make you all the pancakes you want."
With that in mind and, honestly, more content than he usually was, Laxus was able to drift off, falling back into a deep sleep. It was disturbed, once, when he awoke to find that the bed was cold and Mira wasn't around. That was remedied quickly though when she returned from the bathroom, slipping back into his arms quickly and fall back asleep once more.
He wasn't as easy though.
"Oh, demon," he sighed when he glanced at the clock and saw how close to dawn it was. Time wouldn't slow down for them, but it felt as if it had no problem in speeding up. She was curled up towards him and Laxus couldn't help smiling down at her, resting on his side. "I want you to be happy. I would marry you and give you so many babies if I could. I love you. It's just…I'm sorry."
Then he snuggled and kissed her some because it just sucked, knowing that it was probably the last time they'd fall asleep together like that. Maybe they'd have a chance again, to go at it again, but he knew that she wouldn't be letting him into her home ever again. And she shouldn't. They were starting to get dangerously back to what got them in the mess to begin with and both knew the consequences of that.
Light was shining through the blinds the next time he woke up. He could see the demon still snuggled up under one of his arms, just the top sheet barely covering her body, as well as the clock on the far side of the room telling him she was more than a little late for work.
That, though, wasn't his main concern.
"Shit," he cursed as he heard her bedroom door close. His mind was foggy and things weren't connecting up right, but one scent hit him above the others, even Mira's, and it was fresh. "Shit, shit, shit."
Orion had arrived back at the house only ten minutes prior, excited to rush and tell his mother about the S-Class job he'd just been on with Erza. First though he raided the fridge only to find there wasn't anything in there he wanted and, hoping she'd make him something, he went to go awaken his mother.
Pancakes sounded nice.
Then it happened.
It took a moment, too, to register. That his idol, the only person he'd ever wanted to be like, for as long as he could remember, was in bed with his mother. Really, the fact that any man was in bed with her was a shock, but for it to be Laxus was, honestly, something that shut down his brain.
Laxus knew he was dead then too. He thought that he could get away without the demon hating him. He thought that he would be able to just be with her and keep things from getting messy.
Had he always been that foolish? Or did Mirajane just make him that way?
Somehow he managed to slip out of bed without awakening the demon which was a definite plus. Laxus didn't have a game plan yet, if he was going to make a run for it or track down the boy, but either rested on Mirajane not being up to be involved.
That held through as he hurriedly got dressed, cursing under his breath the entire time though, as always, the profanity did nothing to calm his mind.
What was he going to do?
Once he was dressed, Laxus rushed from the room, closing the door softly behind him before going to check the other bedrooms. He found Orion's, but he wasn't in there and a glance in the living room yielded in the same result. It was when he checked the kitchen that Laxus found him, though it was from glancing out one of the windows.
He was in the backyard.
"You're getting real good at those, kid. Though, I guess you should be now, huh? Moving targets are a lot harder though."
Orion, who was in the backyard, taking target practice as a bullseye he'd spray painted on a tree. Not glancing at the man, he pulled back another arrow and fired. They had no magic attached and, honestly, it wasn't much training for him in it. It was just a way to get out aggression, pure and simple. It had been for years. Radic getting on his nerves? His mother hounding him about chores? Embarrass himself in front of Laxus? There was only one way he could cope with it.
"I guess," Laxus said as he slowly walked through the backyard over to the boy, his boots crunching against the dew stained grass, "that you're used to that too now, huh? I bet you're really-"
"You slept," Orion growled as one of his arrows hit the tree, "with my mother."
That was one thing Laxus liked about the boy. He did know how to get to the root of a problem, no matter how awkward. No easing in on his part. Nope. Went right for the jugular.
"Yeah." Laxus reached a hand up to rub at the back of his neck. "Well-"
"You slept with my mother." The teen wouldn't even glance at him. "I don't want to talk to you."
"Orion, this has nothing to do with-"
"You slept with my mother! What the hell else needs to be said?" He had pulled another arrow out, but instead of releasing it, he turned to glare over at Laxus, bow pointing down. "Just leave me alone."
"It wasn't…like that," Laxus told him. "It had nothing to do with you. We were just…working last night, late, and things happened. That's all."
"Just leave me alone."
"I'm not going to leave you alone." When he took a step closer, it was a cautious one as Orion looked about ready to shoot him with one of those arrows. "I don't want you to be, like, mad at me. Or to upset Mirajane. I-"
"Don't tell me what to do with my mother," the boy growled. "You shouldn't have slept with her!"
"You're right." Laxus nodded at him. "I shouldn't have. I'm sorry."
For a moment, Orion just glared heavily at him before slowly turning to look back at his target. Preparing to shoot off an arrow again, he didn't speak for a few moments.
Then he said, "Have you been doing this? Behind my back? Is that why you're nice to me?"
"Is that why you're nice to me?" He let the arrow fly, hitting his mark easily. Moving to pull another form his quiver, he said, "So that you can…sleep with my mother?"
"No." And that came out easily. Because it was true. "Not at all. I…I just think that you're real good, kid. That's all. And-"
"Then this was the first time?"
"Was this," he growled, still not looking at him, "the first time you and my mother…"
Poor kid was embarrassing himself there.
Not sure what to say and not wanting to completely lie to the boy, in case it came up later, he said slowly, "When we were younger, we used to… You know that me and your mother have always been friends."
He was almost snarling then and, even though he had not a single one of the Dreyar men's features, from his eye brows to his skin tone, for just a second, Laxus saw himself in him.
"So what? You just… You…"
"It's an adult thing," Laxus told him. "It-"
"It's not an adult thing! You were my friend and you slept with my…" For once, his arrow didn't even come close to its mark, missing wildly and flying off to the side of the tree. "That's disgusting."
"We grew up together," he told him simply. Laxus was more caught up in the fact that the boy had just called him a friend. Was that what they were? Friends? "It not something serious. And it won't happen again. I promise you that. Sometimes when you're friends…lines get crossed. And we've both been feeling real down recently. That was all."
That wasn't all. But Orion was tired of stating exactly what it was.
"Look." Laxus was coming closer still until he was right next to the boy. "This would mortify Mirajane if she knew that we… You know that. She's real private about that kind of stuff. She likes to think that you only think that she exists for you and nothing else."
Actually, he did think just that. And it usually worked so well for him. Huh.
"But she doesn't," the older man went on. "She's human, alright? And she deserves to be that sometimes. I know you don't want me telling you how to deal with your mother and, honestly, I don't want to. At all. Mira's just a very good friend to me. That's it. And so are you. I just don't want this to be made into a big deal. If you don't mention it to her, she won't say anything, and we can go on like it's nothing. Alright?"
When Orion glanced at him that time, it was with less anger and more curiosity.
"You knew my father," he said slowly then. "Right?"
"You owe me," he hissed. "You slept with my mother."
Letting out a long breath, Laxus said, "Your father's long gone. And he's not coming back. And it's not fair to keep asking about him."
"Not fair? It's not fair for her to keep him from-"
"She's the only reason you're around to keep," Laxus told him harshly. "Your father wanted to get rid of you and she kept you. Even when it got her looks or when you kept her up all night or when she felt like shit because you kept asking her about it. So don't tell me what Mirajane didn't do for you. She's done more than my mother or father ever did for me. She fucking loves you. And if she says that she doesn't want to talk about it, that means you shut up and listen to her."
It was there then. Laxus was back in control. He could tell too as Orion only looked to the ground then, not saying anything.
The slayer swallowed then and sighed before saying, "I had a father once. I mean, everyone does, but mine was around at one time. You know what he did? He put a fucking lacrima in me. You know why? So he could fucking harvest it later. Take it right out of my body. Kill me. For power."
Glancing at the other guy, Orion said, "Ivan. I've heard of him."
Laxus nodded. "He wasn't a good person. I was better off without him. And see, Gramps, he knew that. He always knew it. He tried to shield him from me. Tried to separate us. Protect me, yeah? But I was too boneheaded to see it. When he exiled him from the guild, I yelled at him. Gramps. Master. I was so pissed. For years I hated him for it. I wasted all those years, being mad at the wrong person. I was loving and longing for the person that would waste me in a second as the person stopping that from happening got all my hatred and revulsion. Why? Because he loved me?" Shaking his head, the man said, "Don't waste the years you have with Mirajane doing that. Your father was an ass. He… He didn't deserve either of you. He-"
"Did you…" Staring hard at him then, Orion asked, "Did you mess up my parents? Were you-"
"What? No." The boy was screwing with his head then, as, really, in a completely different way, yes, it was his fault that Orion's parents weren't together. Namely he was one of the parents and his family trials followed him into the relationship. "I didn't- Look. The point is that you're just better off without him and-"
"Is he still alive?" Orion was staring hard at him. "Do I know him? She always says that he watches over me and-"
"He does." Laxus bowed his head then. "And now I have to get out of here before she wakes up."
"Don't say anything to her, alright?" He stared him in the eyes then. "I mean it, Orion. She would just die."
"I know." He let out a slow breath then, knowing that the moment was over. "I won't say anything."
"You're a good kid." Reaching out, Laxus ruffled the boy's white locks. "And you're a damn good shot."
"But I missed-"
"Did you?" Laxus grinned at him then. "I don't remember that. Do you?"
And then he patted him on the shoulder before turning to walk off.
"I gotta go, kid. My stomach's growlin'. I'mma go get some breakfast somewhere." He sighed. "Maybe some pancakes or somethin'."
Orion only watched him go and, once he was gone, couldn't find his focus anymore. He didn't want to practice any longer. It felt silly then. Everything did.
So Laxus had slept with his mother. Right. He wouldn't be able to get that image out of his head for a long time and, now, everything was being called into question along what sorta friendship the two always had had, but that was all okay. Orion could get over that.
He was still ticked at the man. It was just an unspoken law, Orion thought, that you didn't…do that with other guys' mothers. If it wasn't, it should have been.
"I thought I saw you outside," was the first thing his mother said to him when he came through the backdoor twenty minutes later. He'd just sat out there for awhile, thinking, until finally, his hunger couldn't be ignored anymore. She was flustered, he could tell, and hadn't showered yet, still in a nightgown even though it was nearly noon. "Ori. What were you doing? You just got home. Did your job go bad?"
Slowly, he shook his head, coming closer.
"Then wh- What's wrong?"
He just came to hug her though, pulling the woman away from the counter, where she'd been getting started on making something. Resting against her, he said, "Nothin'. I just missed you."
"Oh." Mira giggled then before hugging him back. "I missed you too. I worry about you, you know."
"I know." Glancing over at the counter, he saw a bowl sitting there and frowned. "What are you making?"
"Pancakes. Your favorite, right?" She let him go then with a grin. "Is that good?"
"That's great," he sighed as he went over to the table. There was a stack of letters sitting there, making him frown. "What are-"
"Oh." He could see it too, the blush that spread across his mother's fair skin then. She tried to hide it by turning around to face the counter. "Master stopped by yesterday to give me those. They're apology letters. One of the teams wrecked a whole costal strip. Can you believe that?"
"No," he whispered, though he was thinking about something entirely different. "I can't. At all."
"He wants me to mail them," she sighed. "I was supposed to at my lunch break, but I overslept today. Your poor aunt is probably cursing me about now. I'll drop those by and then get to work. After I make you breakfast, of course."
Sinking down in his seat, Orion found that he wasn't as hungry then as he was…not nervous or sick or…
It wouldn't have been that big of deal, had it been anyone than Laxus. As annoyed as he was with the man, his mother wasn't that much better. She knew that he held the man in such a high esteem, but she still… And he didn't care what Laxus said. Just because they used do, well, whatever it was that they did it didn't make it okay. Things were different then.
Things were very different.
"Ori?" Mirajane glanced over at him. "Are you alright?"
No. Things were all mixed up now. He'd never be able to honestly think that Laxus thought anything about him anymore. He would just be the kid that Laxus had to bother with, to get with the demon Mirajane and that ruined everything.
But he'd promised Laxus that he'd keep it to himself. That he wouldn't tell his mother. And it really wasn't a bad idea. She wouldn't even admit to him that she dated (which he pretended she didn't do and would act like he didn't hear her and his Aunt Lisanna talking about it if he happened to be in hearing rang). It would be worse on her, knowing that he knew, than just him keeping it to himself and dealing with it alone.
After all, if she did things for him, he did a lot for her. They were family. She was all he had, when it all boiled down. He didn't have a father or siblings, but he had her. He would always have her.
"Yeah," he whispered, forcing a grin over at her. "I'm fine."