Disclaimer: I do not own Fairy Tail. I do own Alexei. He is my character.

AN: The chapter you have all been waiting for. The trial. Thank you so much to KurahieiritrJIO for helping me with this chapter. This is my first time writing a court scene, so your advice really helped. I hope you guys like it and if I did a good job. As usual, if there's something you guys want to see Laxus and Alexei do, let me know in the comments. Sorry for the spelling and grammar mistakes. Enjoy!

Helplessness.

That's what Laxus felt when he saw the social worker take Alexei away. Every instinct in his body told him to go after that woman and grab Alexei. But the rational part of his mind reminded him that if he tried anything now, Alexei could be taken away from him forever. He had no choice but to trust the system.

A Week Later

Laxus was sitting in the defendant's spot with the lawyer who was hired to defend him, Mr. Sneed. He didn't have time to get anyone else and apparently this guy was an expert at child custody cases. Laxus couldn't believe he had to place trust in a complete stranger. What made him more nervous was that the courts tended to favor the mother in custody cases. Laxus hoped to get a chance and explain his side with the limited evidence he had. At least, Mest came through with locating the doctor who operated on Alexei. This elevated Alexei's case level. It falls under the council's jurisdiction, with multiple judges overseeing the case. Laxus felt wary about that as well. The council had mixed feelings towards Fairy Tail and this was a good opportunity to hurt Makarov since the child in question was Alexei, his grandson.

"All rise!"

Laxus stood up when the judges shuffled into the room, taking their places in their respective seats as a sign of respect. Some of them he remembered meeting when accompanying his grandfather to council meetings.

While waiting for the cue to sit down, Laxus briefly glanced to the side where Alexei's birth mother and stepfather were standing as well. It surprised him to see how young she was, apparently the same age as Laxus, 23. Her name was Ginger, with red hair and brown eyes. Alexei looked nothing like her. Her husband James Alastor was a lawyer as well, representing his wife. Laxus tried not to let his emotions show on his face. There was something very fishy about this and he has yet to find anything out. Warren, Levy, and Freed are still investigating a few things. There had to be proof that the kidnapping attempt was done on purpose.

"You may be seated!"

"This is a case of Dreyar vs Alastor." The bailiff handed a yellow file to the judge in the center, the ringleader of the 5 judges. It was an elderly woman with white hair tied into a bun. She took out her reading glasses, scanning the contents of the case. She cleared her throat and addressed the plaintiff, the Alastors.

"Mrs. Alastor, you are petitioning the court for revoking your parental rights and gaining full custody regarding your 11-month-old son Alexei. Is that correct?" She rarely oversaw child custody cases, but this was a delicate matter because it involved an illegal operation. But one thing was evident, a child's life was at stake here and it was her job to make sure he ends up with the right person. She's the swing vote.

"Yes, your honor." Ginger answered with a sad smile, trying to appear meek and pathetic. Laxus tried not to roll his eyes. He barely met the woman and he can tell she's a fake. "I've petitioned the court many times to revoke my parental rights and gain full custody of my son! I was continuously denied, and I understand I wasn't the best mother. But people make mistakes in this life and I knew that at the time I could not raise Alexei because of the situation I was in." She suddenly paused and drew in a shaky breath, closing her eyes as a tear rolled down her face. "My husband told me to keep patient that one day I will reunite with my son so I continued to wait. But with what almost happened a week ago, I can't wait any longer." Ginger couldn't hold her composure and broke down into sobs, crying into her hands. "Someone tried to steal my baby," she wailed, continuing to cry. "My poor baby!"

"Ms. Alastor, I will give you a moment to compose yourself. I can see that this whole situation is causing you great stress. I shall ask questions from Mr. Alastor at the moment," said the Head judge sympathetically. She has heard a lot of stories like this. Mother not being able to take care of the child at the moment and the guilt of abandoning them. "Mr. Alastor, you are here representing your wife as her lawyer. You are suing Mr. Dreyar for child negligence and reckless endangerment of baby Alexei, correct?"

"Correct, your honor." A well-dressed man stepped forward from behind the table. "With the recent kidnapping attempt. We believe Alexei would be safer with us. Mr. Dreyar lives a reckless and dangerous life. My wife has been greatly distressed over this. We all make mistakes when we are young and I helped Ginger realize that, got her out of the streets and on the right path. Ginger has been clean for almost a year. Alexei needs his mother to raise him and I am willing to fill in the father's role."

"It's interesting that you say that, Mr. Alastor. We will discuss the nature of Ginger's drug abuse and past indiscretions. First, I would like to address the defendant, Mr. Dreyar and his lawyer, Mr. Sneed. You may proceed."

"Thank you, your honor." Mr. Sneed, a frail old man, stood up and wiped the sweat off of his upper lip. "My client, Mr. Dreyar, would like to continue to have custody over Alexei Dreyar. Mrs. Alastor signed her parental rights away without hesitation and, like Mr. Alastor stated, Mrs. Alastor was living a reckless and dangerous life. How can we be sure that she won't revert back to her old ways? My client has also stated that there may be a possibility Ginger herself orchestrated the kidnapping attempt. Alexei had a dragon lacrima illegally implanted in him. That lacrima is worth a lot on the black magic market. Speaking of magic, Alexei would be better off with his brother who has a stable income and home or Alexei to live in. Being a mage himself and going through a similar situation of having a dragon lacrima inserted as a child. Laxus can teach Alexei how to control his powers. That is all." Mr. Sneed finished explaining and took a seat next to Laxus, whispering words of encouragement that we got this. He felt bad for the poor guy. Although he tried to hide it, Laxus's eyes had bags underneath them, most likely from lack of sleep. The lack of his little brother's appearance was causing a toll on him. Mr. Sneed respected his client for stepping up and taking care of an infant when no one else would. He would do what he can to help him win this case. Even he is finding things a little sketchy from the plaintiff's side.

"Thank you, both for your statements, counselors." Both sides made compelling points, but she was going to keep an open mind as possible. Some of her colleagues may be biased and that Alexei should be with the mom, but she believed in the child's best interest. Hopefully, the other judges realize that as well. "Mr. Dreyar, is there anything you would like to say before we start the questioning?" Laxus was very quiet, but she could see how the situation was affecting him. Depending on the evidence shown in court today, there was a possibility he wouldn't see his brother.

Laxus stood up and said quietly. "I just want what's best for Alexei. His well being is what's important." After that short but powerful statement, Laxus sat back down in his seat.

The Head Judge nodded. "Mrs. Alastor, please go up to the witness stand so the counselors may question you?"

Ginger headed to the witness stand, and the bailiff brought the Bible to her. "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you, God?" Ginger nodded and removed her hand from the book.

"Mr. Alastor, you may begin your questioning."

Mr. Alastor approached the witness stand. "Mrs. Alastor, please provide more of a backstory behind your reasoning for giving Alexei up in the first place. How did you meet Alexei's biological father, Ivan Dreyar?"

Ginger took a deep breath and started her testimony. "I met Ivan when I was still working the streets. I-I didn't choose that life." Ginger sniffled and wiped a tear away. "I was kicked out of my home when I was 18 and I fell into the wrong crowd. Developed a drug abuse and sold myself to obtain money to buy drugs. The brothel I worked at made sure the girls were on birth control. Ivan offered to pay triple my usual fee if I went off the pill that one time. A-and that was how I got pregnant with Alexei."

"Thank you, Mrs. Alastor. Mr. Sneed. You may question her as well."

"Mrs. Alastor, it seems to be Ivan, planned on getting you pregnant. You knew what you were getting yourself into, that there was a possibility you will get pregnant. And yet, according to your medical records and testimonies from your rehab center, you didn't stop your drug abuse until the 5th month of pregnancy." Mr. Sneed gave the bailiff the papers to give to the judges so they may review this information. "This puts the baby in great danger. You could have miscarried or a stillbirth or even health complications! But that child still held on and every time you injected yourself with drugs, you injected Alexei with drugs as well." Mr. Sneed stated passionately.

Ginger sniffled once more and tried to keep the tears at bay. "But by the time I found out I was pregnant, it was too late. I was already 4 months pregnant. I slowly tried to wean myself off of it, but they don't have places where they helped people who worked in that sort of profession. It wasn't until I met Mr. Alastor that he provided proper treatment for me. I have the records that show that since I found out I was pregnant that I stopped taking drugs." Mr. Alastor took the paperwork and gave it to the bailiff.

"It still led to a premature birth for Alexei. He was born at 6 months."

Laxus glanced up at that. He wasn't aware of this. Mr. Sneed briefly mentioned that Alexei was born a little early, but not 6 months. Looking at how healthy and vibrant Alexei was, one wouldn't think he was a premature baby. Laxus wondered what else would be revealed in this trial.

When Mr. Sneed and Mr. Alastor finished their questions, Laxus was brought up to the witness stand, going through the same process as Ginger.

Mr. Sneed went first. "Mr. Dreyar, please explain to this court about Alexei. How is he around you and what measures have you taken to make sure he is well-taken care of? After all, Alexei was sprung to you with no warning. It must have been difficult taking care of an infant with no child-rearing experience." He wanted Laxus to prove to the court that he was taking an interest in the baby's life, providing a better life for him. Which is why he asked him to just talk about Alexei.

"As you all know, because of the dragon lacrima, Alexei recognizes family members and people he's familiar with by scent." Laxus had a tiny smile on his face as he talked about Alexei and how Alexei would cuddle with his precious coat. "He's a very happy baby and gets along with everyone in the guild. Since Alexei arrived, he has had his own room and toys he adores." Laxus placed the blue dragon plush on the table in front of him while Mr. Sneed showed pictures of Alexei playing with his toys and of the room Laxus made for him. Having it next to him gave Laxus a sense of comfort. That he was going to see Alexei again and when they reunite, Laxus can give the dragon to Alexei.

"And the second part of Mr. Sneed's question," asked the Head Judge. "Mr. Alastor mentioned your reckless way of living. You are a part of Fairy Tail and a S-Class Mage. You have a history of drinking and having flings with women." She wondered if Laxus truly changed his way of living.

"I signed a contract with a caregiver. She is a member of our guild and a journalist for Sorcerer's Weekly. Lucy has experience with taking care of children and infants. She has taught me everything I need to know regarding Alexei. Babysitting is one of many requests Fairy Tail answers," Laxus couldn't help but advertise. Mr. Sneed handed the copy of the contract over to the judges. "I pay her 100,000 jewels a month and in exchange, she helps me take care of Alexei on the days I take one-day missions." Mr. Sneed also told him to bring in his mission statements to prove he was taking one day jobs. Laxus had to admit he was skeptical of the items. Mr. Sneed asked him to gather, but now he is understanding the purpose and significance of it. That he is telling the truth with his testimonies.

"I applaud you, Mr. Dreyar, for taking the initiative and knowing when one needs help with something. Although, I find it a bit strange that you employed a woman. Very beautiful woman, I might add. Someone you wanted to make your 'woman' to help take care of the child." The judge used air quotes to emphasize her point.

Laxus's cheeks flushed pink at the judge's statement and coughed to maintain his composure. "Ahem. I was a different person at that time, your honor." Did the news of that declaration reach the council's ears as well. Well, that was embarrassing. "Lucy is good with Alexei, and he likes spending time with her as well. She's a positive female presence in his life." Although Alexei got along with all the females in Fairy Tail, he was particularly attached to Lucy. "The relationship is strictly professional."

"Well, unfortunately, Ms. Heartfillia is unable to attend this trial and verbally vouch for you, so we have to base the relationship on the contract between you and testimonies from other members of the guild. Your guild doctor and the council's doctor have not cleared her medically to appear on trial." The Head Judge pulled up the medical report given by both doctors and read the report out loud for everyone to hear. "The recent kidnap attempt on Alexei led to Ms. Heartfillia to be in critical condition. Repeated blunt force trauma to the head and spine." Gosh, the poor girl. "Currently we are waiting for her to wake up from the magically induced coma." Her brain needed time to heal.

Laxus felt even worse about himself when he heard the medical report. He didn't realize how hurt Lucy got from the scuffle with the kidnapper. He reviewed the tape from the nanny cam Lucy convinced him to buy for days he was off on a mission. Lucy argued that since she didn't have dragon hearing like he did, the nanny cam allowed her to check on Alexei when she was in another room. Luckily, it happened to be in record mode, so it showed a hooded figure appearing in Alexei's room. Just as they were about to grab Alexei, who was fast asleep, Lucy entered the room, throwing objects at the assailant as she chased them out of the room. The rest of the video was just of screams, shouts, bangs, and Alexei's cries until Master picked him up to soothe him.

"I would also like to admit video evidence of the kidnapping attempt," declared Mr. Sneed, heading towards the DVD player to play the video. It did not show the face of the assailant, but it proved that someone was after Alexei and deliberately chose a day Laxus was not home. It was most likely after the dragon lacrima. Just harnessing the power is dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands. "Most likely to steal the dragon lacrima."

"Which is part of the reason this trial is overseen by council members," interrupted the Head Judge. "The dragon lacrima." She pushed up her glasses. "First, we need to get to the bottom of this. How was the lacrima inserted and if you Mrs. Alastor willingly allowed an illegal operation on your infant?" If those charges are true, she would make sure the Alastors would step nowhere near the child. "Bring in the doctor," she ordered to the Rune Knights near the entrance.

Laxus went back to his spot and waited for Mest to bring in the doctor. He wanted to see the man who willingly put a lacrima on a helpless child, someone who followed Ivan's orders.

The doctor was escorted by 3 Rune Knights, one of them being Mest. He had handcuffs on his arms. Laxus was surprised to see such a distinguished doctor have a scruffy and dirty appearance.

"State your name and occupation to the judges!"

"M-my name is Dr. J-John Smith," stuttered the Doctor, making no eye contact with anyone and cowering as if someone was going to hit him. "I used to be a surgeon at Era Hospital in pediatrics."

"We shall question him, counselors," stated the Head Judge. "How did you encounter Ginger and her son, Alexei? Why did you put a dragon lacrima in his abdomen? How did you get the dragon lacrima?"

"T-the first time I met them was at the hospital where she was giving birth. B-because of her drug abuse she went into premature labor," explained the Doctor. "H-his lungs were not fully developed and there were some drugs still in his system. T-there was a possibility h-he wasn't going to make it alive for the week. S-she screamed for me to do anything I could to save her b-baby's life."

"THAT DIDN'T MEAN PUT A FREAKING LACRIMA IN HIM," screeched Ginger, pointing an accusing finger at the Doctor, her husband shushing her and trying to calm her down. "I know my lifestyle led to Alexei being born with poor health, but I still wanted him to live a normal life," she wailed, breaking down into more sobs.

"T-THAT LACRIMA SAVED HIS LIFE," the Doctor screamed back. "I-I saved his life. D-do you know how many babies die because of poor health and negligence on the mother's part? I-I couldn't take it anymore. While I was trying to decide how to save the child's life during my smoke break, a hood figure approached me with the dragon lacrima. I knew that lacrima was the best chance of the baby surviving and it did! T-there should be more studies on this! The lacrima made Alexei's lungs stronger and cleared his bloodstream of the toxins. With each day, his chance of living was getting greater and greater. I REGRET NOTHING!" The doctor finished his testimony with that last statement before the Rune Knights dragged him away from the witness stand and out of the courtroom. "SEE THE PICTURES! SEE THEM!"

The Head Judge shook her head in disappointment. It's hard to see someone from a distinguished profession act the complete opposite. Was he really trying to help Alexei or satisfy his academic curiosity? To her, it was more of the latter. "Here are the before and after pictures of Alexei Dreyar. Before the surgery and after the surgery." It seemed the lacrima did help. She could barely recognize the two. One wouldn't think that was a premature baby. "We shall take a brief intermission and continue the hearing in 20 minutes." She slammed her gavel.

Laxus ran into the bathroom when the judges announced a brief break, washing his face with cold water as he tried to calm himself down. Seeing that picture of Alexei shook him to his core. Alexei was so… small. He looked so fragile, hooked up to the machine with tubes and wired in him. It if wasn't for the lacrima. But the lacrima could have killed him as well and Laxus wouldn't have known about it. W-was there a possibility Ivan sired more children that Laxus wasn't aware of? How many of them survived the lacrima implantation? Laxus let out a shudder as he tried to shake that dark thought out of his head. He was going in over his head. Lacrimas were not cheap and there was no way his father had access to many lacrimas. Laxus pulled out a picture of Alexei smiling at the camera from his wallet, feeling himself start to calm down at the sight of it. This was the Alexei he knew and what he was working so hard for. He will deal with his father later. Getting Alexei back was the first priority. Laxus heard his name being called and headed back to the courtroom to discuss with Mr. Sneed the next plan of action.

Alexei POV

"Goo." Alexei looked around the room he was in. It was very colorful and filled with toys. He had so much fun playing with them, but he missed his brother. Alexei raised his nose in the air and sniffed the air. He can smell his brother. He smelled him multiple times today and another familiar scent, but focused more on his brother's. He tried to escape from the playpen and through the door, but the security guard would put him back into the pen. Seeing the security guard asleep on the chair and snoring away, this was a good chance to leave. The door was slightly open. Perfect enough for him to crawl through.

Alexei pushed the playpen door open. He's done this so many times at home. Silly Mister. Did he really think the playpen would keep him in? Alexei smiled at the adventure he was about to depart on.

Crawling out of the playpen, Alexei headed towards the door and into the hallway. The sound of his hands and feet lightly thumping against the floor echoing in the hall. Now to find his brother. Alexei sniffed the air again and headed towards the source of the scent babbling along the way.

"Objection, your honor. That statement was unwarranted." Mr. Sneed threw an angry glare towards Mr. Alastor. "Laxus has made mistakes in the past but to say that the Fantasia incident was due to lack of a mother figure was going too far."

The Head Judge was about to open her mouth and say something when she saw the courtroom door open and the sound of… babbling? She squinted her eyes to get a better look and was surprised to see the mystery guest. A baby?

"Ah!" Mission accomplished. Alexei recognized that head of spiky yellow hair. "Mama," he squealed excitedly, his breathing getting quicker as he increased his crawling speed, heading towards his brother. "Ahbiibido." Translation: I missed you so much! Where were you?

"Oh my dear baby," gushed Ginger happily at the sight of Alexei, beckoning him towards her with her hands. "Mama's right here. There's my precious little boy…" Her voice trailed off when Alexei passed by her and headed towards Laxus. "Alexei! Come here! Your mama's here!"

"Hehe." Alexei smiled as he headed towards his brother. As he got closer to his brother, he stopped a few steps from Laxus near the table. Using the table leg, Alexei stood up with both hands. Letting go, Alexei took a few hesitant, wobbly steps to Laxus. "Mama," he said, his arms outstretched for balance.

Laxus's eyes went wide when he saw Alexei let go of the table and take a wobbly step towards him. Laxus bent down on one knee, beckoning Alexei towards him, encouraging along the way. "Come on, buddy, you can do it!" Alexei's first steps and towards him. Laxus felt so proud and so loved. He felt his heart almost stop when Alexei missed a step, almost falling on his face. He covered the distance between them and scooped Alexei into his arms.

"Oh, Alexei!" Laxus buried his face in the crook of Alexei's neck, tearing streaming down his face. He didn't care who saw him. Laxus wouldn't know what to do if Alexei wasn't in his life anymore. The boy meant so much to him. He checked and made sure Alexei was fine, smothering the poor boy in kisses.

When Laxus finished kissing him, Alexei responded with a kiss on the cheek. "Mwah!" He wrapped his arm around his brother's neck, embracing him.

"Awwwww," said the Judges as they witnessed the precious bond between two brothers. It was clear from the tiny interaction they just witnessed how much Alexei loved his brother. He literally crawled past his biological mother.

Unfortunately, the sweet moment was broken by a shrill scream. "HOW DARE YOU, YOU LITTLE BRAT? I RUINED MY BODY TO CARRY YOU AROUND AND YOU DON'T EVEN ACKNOWLEDGE ME!" Ginger shrieked as her face turned red with anger, trying to grab Alexei from Laxus. "ALL THOSE MONTHS GETTING FREED FROM DRUGS WHEN I COULD HAVE HAD A GOOD TIME. THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!" She pointed an accusing finger towards Mr. Alastor. "You said we can win this case and we would make a lot of money from that lacrima. Let go of me!" Ginger screamed when the Rune Knights tried to grab her and drag her away from Alexei. She reached a hand towards Alexei to grab him.

"Wahhhhhhh," cried Alexei when Ginger tried to grab him. His eyes glowed blue and water from the sprinklers wrapped around Ginger's body, throwing her across the room.

The judge's eyes were bulged wide open at the magic Alexei just displayed. Yeah, he would be better off with his brother Laxus, who was currently consoling the sobbing child. "Ahem." The Head Judge cleared her throat to get everyone's attention. "Laxus Dreyar. You may continue to be Alexei Dreyar's guardian. Court is adjourned." She slammed her gravel.

A Few Hours Later

"Oooowah." Alexei kept pushing the pillow barricade Laxus created from the hotel room they were staying in on the ground. All with a happy smile on his face. "Hehe."

Laxus let out a sigh as he created a makeshift bed for them on the ground. "Today, we've both been through a lot so I'll let this slide." Laxus put all the blankets and pillows on the ground, making a little fort. "Come here," beckoned Laxus, lifting the blanket so Alexei can snuggle next to him.

Alexei promptly crawled over to lay on the pillow he was sharing with Laxus, curling up next to him. "Abu."

"I almost lost you today," admitted Laxus as he caressed Alexei's head. "I was so scared that the judges were going to think you were better off with your mom." Laxus choked back a sob as he continued. "I was scared that you wanted to be with your mom." Alexei's dragon senses identified Ginger as his mother and he was with her longer, but he went straight to Laxus, despite only being together for a month. "I guess you saw through her charade."

"Goo." Alexei looked up at Laxus with his big blue eyes as he proceeded to lay on Laxus's chest.

"I won't let anything like that happen again," vowed Laxus, holding Alexei tight. "I promise you. I'll be a better parent than Ivan and Ginger. Give you the childhood you deserve. I love you little buddy." Laxus gently patted Alexei's back.

"I lab u," replied Alexei with a smile, shaking Laxus's heart once more.

This kid continued to surprise him. There were going to have many adventures in the future. "I love you too," repeated Laxus as the two of them fell asleep.

A few days later

Laxus used his free hand to knock on the door in front of him. As he waited for the owner to reply, Laxus grabbed the flowers from Alexei's hands, who was trying to eat it. "Don't eat that. It's for Lucy."

Lucy woke up yesterday from her coma and was discharged from the guild infirmary. He heard Gray and Loke helped her home. He was going to visit sooner, but gave her a day to rest. He brought Alexei along with him so Lucy could have a peace of mind that her efforts led to Alexei being safe.

"Erza, I said I'm fine so you can go home now…," Lucy's voice trailed off when she opened her apartment door. This certainly was Erza. "Laxus, what are you doing here?" She was relieved to see Alexei well.

"Uhm, well this is for you." Laxus nervously shoved the bouquet of lilies into a startled Lucy's arms. "Alexei picked them for you." He didn't know why he felt so nervous right now. It was a relief to see Lucy well and with no visible injuries.

"More like he picked them for himself." Lucy showed Laxus some of the flowers that had bite marks and fallen petals. "Guessing he's hungry. Why don't the two of you come in? I was about to make a snack for myself." Lucy opened the door wider to let the two brothers in. She limped towards the fridge to get a few things.

Laxus sat on one of the couches, sitting Alexei on the floor. He noticed Lucy limping. Guess she still wasn't fully healed. "How are you feeling," he asked softly, gesturing to her leg.

"Oh, I'm fine," Lucy reassured Laxus. "Wendy and Porlyuscia did a great job. The only reason I'm limping right now is because I haven't moved all day. My legs feel like jelly, so I'm trying to get a workout without doing anything too strenuous."

"That's good to hear," said Laxus with a nod. "Let me know if you need anything. After all, you saved Alexei." Laxus meant it. It turned out Ginger and her husband were behind the kidnap attempt. They were hoping to make a lot of money from it.

"For Alexei. I would do anything. Yes. You are so cute," gushed Lucy as she rubbed her nose against Alexei's. "I just wish I had the chance to ruin that wench's face. That was a cheap move. Attacking me from behind." While she was fighting with one hooded figure, another came from behind and hit her multiple times. She was caught off guard by that.

"Ah!" Alexei took a few wobbly steps towards Lucy before he fell to his bottom. He crawled the rest of the way towards the bowl of strawberries Lucy put out for him.

"Look at him! Walking already." She was practicing walking with Alexei. Guess her efforts were not in vain. Lucy sat down to take a breather as her tone turned serious. "What are you going to do now?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean your father. Are you going to ask him why he did it?" Based on what Lucy heard, Ivan planned on putting a lacrima in Alexei.

"Not now," replied Laxus truthfully. "Maybe in the future. I want to focus on Alexei at the moment. He needs me and based on what happened the past few weeks, I need him too." He will deal with his father another day. He needed time for that confrontation.

Lucy sat next to Laxus and grabbed his hand. "Well, whatever you plan to do in the future, just remember that everyone in the guild has your back. With Ivan or with Alexei."

"Thanks, Lucy."