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

"Alexei. It's time for bed," stated Laxus, standing in the doorway of Alexei's room. It was 8 in the evening, Alexei's bed time.

"No," replied Alexei, continuing to play with his toy dragons. He wanted to stay up and play some more.

Laxus sighed and shifted his posture. He knew how to convince Alexei to get into his bed. "Don't you want me to read you a story?" Alexei loved reading books, more like getting books read to him.

At that sentence, Alexei paused in his playing. He quickly dropped the other dragons on the ground except for the blue one and scurried to his crib, the bar pushed down so he could climb up. On his birthday, he received three more dragons. White, black and purple all mailed. It didn't take a genius to figure out where it came from. Alexei waited for Laxus to sit in the chair next to his crib so Laxus could read to him. "Badadada!" Translation, I'm waiting.

Laxus chuckled at Alexei's antics. Every night they would go through this with the same end result. He walked towards the bookshelf he bought for Alexei, filling it with Alexei's favorite stories. He picked two from the shelf and held it high for Alexei to see. "Which one do you want me to read?" There was the dragon book Lucy wrote and Jack and The Beanstalk. Laxus liked the dragon story. It was a great addition to Alexei's library.

Alexei shook his head at the suggestions his brother had made. "Eeyo, Pwincess," he stated, pointing to a specific spot on the bookshelf as he cuddled closer to his dragon. He wanted his brother to read his favorite story again.

Laxus tried not to let out a groan at that. He knew exactly what story Alexei wanted him to read. It was the story Alexei made him read almost all the time. "You mean The Princess and The Lion?" Laxus got a nod in response. This was a story Lucy wrote as well. Alexei seemed to be particularly fond of this one and Laxus couldn't understand why. Dragons were so much cooler than lions. This story was also longer than the other stories that were in the library.

"I guess we're reading The Princess and The Lion again," muttered Laxus under his breath, putting the other books back and picking up the one Alexei wanted. On the cover of the book was a humanoid lion resembling Loke and a blonde little princess holding hands together underneath the stars. He sat in the chair and cleared his throat.

Once upon a time, there was a lion by the name of Leo. Leo was the leader of the 12 Zodiac. He lived in the Celestial Spirit World with all of his friends, the other Zodiacs. The names of his friends were Aries the Ram, Taurus the Bull, Gemini the Twins, Cancer the Crab, Virgo the Maiden, Sagittarius the Centaur, Libra the Scales, Scorpio the Scorpion, Capricorn the Goat, Aquarius the Mermaid, and Pisces the Fish.

One day Aries the Ram and Leo the Lion went to go play near the Celestial Gate to the Earth Realm. Aries the Ram threw the ball too hard, and the ball fell into the Earth Realm. Aries started to cry at the loss of her precious toy because it was a gift from the Spirit King. Spirits were not allowed to play in the Earth Realm. It was one of the rules in the Celestial Spirit Realm.

Leo the Lion did not enjoy seeing his friend cry. He promised to go into the Earth Realm and get Aries the Ram's ball back. Leo opened the Celestial Gate and went down to the Earth Realm to get the ball.

Leo the Lion spotted the ball and let out a roar of happiness.

"Rawr," growled Alexei cutely, imitating Leo when he let out a roar.

Laxus chuckled and went back to the story.

He was about to head into the Celestial Gate when a gust of wind slammed the gate shut. "Wait," cried Leo, running towards the gate and banging on it, hoping someone would hear him. "Please! Someone! Open the gate! I want to go home to my friends!" Leo prayed someone would hear his pleas.

"Oh no," cried Alexei in a worried tone, cuddling closer to his dragon. Although Laxus read this story many times, Alexei would still have the same reactions in the same parts as if he had heard the story for the first time.

"I want to go home," sniffed Leo, wiping the tears that streamed down his face. All he wanted to do was to help his best friend, Aries, and make her happy. Leo loved all his friends and wanted to see them again.

All of a sudden, the ground shook. Leo looked to the sky to see a man in a full plate of armor and a crown on his head. The most notable feature on this person was a big mustache which Leo immediately recognized.

"Celestial Spirit King." Leo bowed before the King and told him his problem. "Oh, great king! I made a big mistake. I opened the Celestial Gate to help a friend and now I am stuck in the Earth Realm. Please help me. How can I get home?" The Celestial Spirit King was the strongest person in the world. If anyone can help him, it would be him.

"Leo the Lion, you have broken a sacred rule," boomed the Celestial Spirit King, crossing his arms over his chest. "Spirits can not leave the Celestial World. I cannot help you. You are now stuck here."

"I'm sorry, King," cried Leo. "I just wanted to help my friend. We were playing when her ball fell on Earth. I wanted to bring it back to her."

"Hmmm." The Celestial King mulled over the situation, stroking his mustache. Although Leo broke a rule, he did it for the sake of his friend. After a few seconds, he came up with an idea. "There is one way you can come back home."

"Please King! I will do anything."

The King nodded, satisfied with Leo's answer. "You shall embark on a quest. In order to open the gate, you have to collect the 12 gold keys of the Zodiac. Only then can you come home. This map will help you." The King handed an old magical map to Leo. Each star on the map indicated the location of each key. The lion showed the position Leo was in.

Leo thanked the Celestial King and started on his journey.

"Hmmmm," wondered Leo out loud, looking at the crossroads in front of him and back to the map in his hand. He was on his way to find the first key, but since he was unfamiliar with the Earth Realm, he was having a hard time finding the way to each location. He decided to go to the key closest to him. "Should I go left or right?"

"Just follow what the map says," a voice came from behind Leo, causing him to get startled and drop his map on the floor. He bent down to grab the map when another hand came forward to grab the map as well. He bumped heads with the mysterious person and fell backwards.

"Ouch," said Leo and the mysterious person. Leo looked up and was surprised to see a human girl. She had blonde hair and was wearing a pink dress with a crown on her head. "Who are you," he demanded.

"Pwincess!" Alexei replied with a smile. She was also one of his favorite characters in the story.

"That's right," nodded Laxus. "It's the princess."

The mysterious girl stood up and wiped the dirt off of her dress. After fixing her appearance, she gave a curtsy. "I am the princess of this land. Who are you," she questioned back. "I have never seen you before and I know everyone here." She raised a brow when she noticed the cat-like ears on top of Leo's head. Her eyes went wide with realization. "Are you a spirit," she asked excitedly, bouncing up and down. Her mother told her stories about the Zodiac in the Celestial Spirit Realm. To think that she would meet one day is a dream come true.

"I am," bragged Leo, puffing out his chest with pride. "I am Leo the Lion!"

"What are you doing here, Leo the Lion? Do you need help?" She heard that the Celestial World was separate from the human realm and they forbid spirits to cross over. Same with humans, they were not allowed to enter the Celestial World.

Leo wasn't sure if he should trust the princess, but he was in unfamiliar territory. He wanted to get back home, but had no way of figuring out where the keys were. He decided to place his trust in this stranger. "I broke an important rule and now I am stuck here. The only way I can get back home is through the Celestial Gate is to find the 12 Zodiac keys. Unless I find those keys, I can't go home. I-I'm lost and I miss my friends," he sniffled, wiping a few tears from the corners of his eyes. The reality of the situation sunk in for him. Who knows how long he might have to stay in the human realm until all 12 keys are found? It could take days, weeks, months, even years.

Something warm wrapped around him. It was the princess hugging him and petting his mane. "Don't cry Leo. I will help you get home."

"You will?"

"Of course," smiled the Princess cheerfully. "We're friends and friends help each other." The Princess took the map from Leo and studied it. "I know where all these places are. Let's go so you can get back home!"

"Eeyo, Pwincess, fwiend," stated Alexei as a matter of fact.

Laxus nodded. "That's right Alexei. Leo and the Princess are friends." Laxus continued the story.

They had so many adventures together and the princess showed Leo what Earth had to offer. From observing exotic locations such as a land of fire, tasting food like sweet clouds and swimming with sea creatures, Leo had so much fun on Earth. When they finally gathered all 12 keys, Leo was hesitant to say goodbye and part from his friend.

"This is it," said the Princess softly, looking up at the golden gate. On the other side was Leo's home. Leo was weirdly silent on their way to the gate. When they were looking for the keys, Leo told her wonderful stories about the Celestial World and his friends, the other Zodiac. She felt a little envious of him. Having all of these friends and being able to experience wonderful things in the Spirit World. Because she was a princess, she didn't have many friends. Leo was the first friend she had in a long time. She was going to miss Leo when he went back to the Celestial World. "I guess it's time to say goodbye. I wish I could visit you in the Celestial World. I want to meet all of your friends."

"I want that too, but the rules. It's forbidden!"

"Says who?"

"The Celestial Spirit King."

"Can't he change the rules?!"

Leo gasped when Lucy yelled out that last sentence. No one dared to challenge the Celestial King. The ground rumbled once more, with Leo and the princess clinging to each other so they wouldn't fall to the ground.

"Who dares to challenge the rules of the Celestial World?!" A loud voice boomed. The princess looked up to see a giant man in a full plate of armor and a crown on his head. The most notable feature on this person was a big mustache which she thought looked bizarre.

Gathering her bearings once the ground stopped shaking, the princess stood tall and faced the Celestial King with an unwavering gaze. "I did, mustache man!"

"Hehehehehehe," giggled Alexei with the pacifier in his mouth. "Musta man! Hehehehe."

"Princess, what are you doing?" Leo was worried about his friend. He already got in trouble for breaking a rule. He didn't want the princess to get in trouble as well. He might never see her again.

"Standing up to him," replied the Princess. "Why can't I visit Leo in the Spirit World and why can't Leo visit me in the Earth Realm? I want to meet his friends."

"Because those are the rules."

"That's not an answer."

"Careful princess. Leo broke a rule. I could have banished him to Earth never to see his friends, but I decided to be lenient since he is a dear old friend of mine."

"My King, can't you be lenient about this as well?" Leo stepped forward to address the Celestial King. "The princess is a nice human. She helped me gather all the Zodiac keys just so I could come home. Please King! There has to be a way I can still see my friend." Leo's eyes started to fill with tears.

A bright light came from the Celestial Gate. There popped the rest of the 12 Zodiac, standing proud and tall. "Please King! Let Leo see his friend." All the spirits heard Leo's and the princess's plea. They came out of the gate to support their friend's decision and convince the King to change the rule.

"Silence!" The Celestial King's voice boomed, causing the Earth to shake again. He raised his hand in the air to gather everyone's attention. "I've taken into consideration what everyone has said." He lightly fingered the end of his mustache. "Perhaps I may have been a little strict with the rules. After all times have changed. Everyone is more accepting of others." He thought a little more about the situation as everyone waited with bated breath to hear the decree of their beloved king. "Fine. I will change the rules. Leo the Lion, you may visit the Earth Realm occasionally to meet your friend. And Princess, you may visit the Celestial Spirit World to meet your friends."

"Yay!" Everyone let out a cheer, happy that their two friends can continue to visit each other. "Let's have a party!"

A party was thrown in the Celestial World and they all lived happily ever after.

"The End," finished Laxus as he shut the book, placing it under his armpit. He looked up to see Alexei sleeping soundly with a smile on his face. Laxus couldn't help but let out a tiny smile. He got up from the chair, pressed his lips against Alexei's forehead, and headed to his room to sleep.

The Next Day

"Hey, whatcha reading there," asked Gray, ruffling Alexei's hair, who was sitting in the guild's corner on a playmate with a book in his lap. Gray was surprised to see Alexei sitting alone. He's usually always around Laxus, or rather, Laxus was always around Alexei.

"Eeyo, Pwincess," stated Alexei, lifting the book up higher so Gray can see it. He liked Gray. He did cool things with his magic. Alexei wanted to bring the book with him to the guild to show everyone. Right now, his brother is with his grandfather upstairs.

"Ooooh. Lucy wrote this, right?" Gray took the book from Alexei to get a better look at the cover. He didn't think Lucy would use her and Loke's experience and write it as a children's book. Guess Loke agreed to it. He skimmed through the story. Of course, it differed vastly from what actually happened, but it was a pretty good interpretation.

Gray handed the book back to Alexei. "You know, I happen to know Leo the Lion." Gray couldn't help but brag. He tried not to chuckle when he saw Alexei's eyes widen and sparkle with fascination. He decided to kick it up a notch. "Actually, he's my best friend."

"Weally?" Alexei couldn't believe it. He might actually have a chance to meet Leo the Lion. He had so many questions to ask.

"Really." Gray nodded seriously. "Well, I'll leave you to keep reading, okay? If you need anything, just let someone know." Gray got a nod in response and headed to the guild bar to drink. Alexei was such a good kid and you can tell the change he brought to the guild. People were more careful and responsible. Well, some people.

"I'm back," yelled Loke, slamming the guild doors open, sparkling. He was in his spirit form; tux, wild mane, and cat ears.

"No one missed you," Cana yelled back, beckoning him closer to join her and Gray.

Alexei was flipping through the pages of his favorite story, marveling at the illustrations, when he heard a bang near the guild doors. Curious, he looked up and couldn't help being taken aback. Was that…? It is! The person who entered the guild looked exactly like Leo the Lion. Alexei looked back at the cover of the book just to double check. The resemblance was uncanny. He couldn't believe he got to meet Leo in real life. "Eeyo," he gasped, clutching the book tighter in his hands. He had to meet him. He had so much to ask. What was the Celestial Spirit World like? Where is the Princess? And more.

Alexei stood on his feet and, with the book in his hands, padded towards Leo, who was talking with Cana and Gray. He called Leo's name, hoping to grab his attention.

"Eeyo." Loke heard a tiny voice below him and someone tugging his pant leg. He looked down to see an adorable baby with blonde hair and blue eyes wearing blue sweats. He was carrying a book in his hands. Loke didn't recognize the child, but he swears the baby reminds him of someone. "Hey there," says Loke in a gentle voice. "What's your name?" He was caught off guard since almost everyone in the guild called him Loke not Leo.

"His name is Alexei," replied Gray, looking at the scene in front of him with interest. He's never seen Loke interact with kids before unless they were girls. "He's Laxus's little brother."

"Ahhh." Loke nodded his head in realization. Now that he had a good look at the little boy, he did resemble Laxus. He'll have to ask Lucy for more details.

Hearing his brother's name made Alexei smile, but right now he was on a mission. He tugged Loke's pant leg again. "Ah!" He lifted his favorite book, placing it on Loke's lap. He pointed to the lion on the cover. "Eeyo," he repeated, raising his hand into bear claws. "Rawr," he growled cutely, hoping his point was crossed.

Gray chuckled at Alexei's imitation of a lion. "Looks like you have a fan, Loke." Alexei must have realized the lion in the story was Loke.

"Oh! You want me to read this to you." Loke got a nod in response as Alexei looked at him with sparkling expectant eyes. "Well, who am I to deny such a cute fan?" Loke settled Alexei into his lap and read the story to him using funny voices. When Lucy came to him wanting to write a story about his experience, he was hesitant at first. But the more he thought about it, the more comfortable he got with it. This was in the past. Future generations should know about and learn from this. That kindness can go a long way.

"I'm told that it's his favorite book," commented Gray, when Loke finished reading the story aloud, closing the book.

"Well, the child has good taste." Loke couldn't help but brag, bouncing Alexei on his leg. Alexei gave Loke a bright toothy smile, causing his heart to melt. He turned around to give Loke a hug who was caught off guard by this action. Loke felt his heart get full by this act of love.

"Fine, little cub," declared Loke in a serious tone. "I shall make you my apprentice. My prodigy." Loke stood up and raised Alexei in the air Lion King style. "First, we must get you a matching suit. Then I shall teach you everything I know."

An hour later

"What in Mavis," yelled Laxus as he looked at the scene in front of him with exasperation. His grandfather called him upstairs to help with the paperwork. He preferred to get it done now, so Laxus didn't have to bring it home. He wanted to keep his work and home life as separate as possible. After an hour of going through that torture, he didn't expect to be greeted with this sight.

"Aren't they adorable," gushed Mira with clasped hands and hearts in her eyes. The scene in front of her had her swooning. This is why more babies were needed in the guild.

Loke and Alexei were wearing matching tuxedos. Loke was whispering something into Alexei's ears, the little boy listening attentively and nodded while Loke gave him flowers. Alexei started going around the guild handing a rose to each female in the guild who fawned at the attention.

"B-but that was our thing. W-wearing tuxedos," spluttered Laxus, still trying to make sense of what was going on. "W-we even won first place." How dare Loke try to dress his little brother in a matching suit and what was with that hair! Alexei hated having his hair in that fancy posh hairstyle. And the flowers. Wooing the girls of Fairy Tail. Was Loke trying to make Alexei into his mini me?! Not on his watch.

Laxus marched towards Alexei and the pervy lion, intent on putting distance between the two as soon as possible.

Alexei heard footsteps from behind them and sniffed the air. It was his older brother. He turned around and greeted him with a smile. "Bwoda, look Eeyo." Alexei pointed his finger at Loke excitedly. The meeting couldn't have gone better. Loke showed off his magic, told stories of the Celestial Spirit World, his spirit friends and how to be nice to the girls in Fairy Tail.

"Eeyo- I mean Loke," Laxus spat out, correcting himself when he pronounced Leo like Alexei did. "Don't you have things to do in the Spirit World and I thought Lucy had to summon you to be here?" Laxus did not see Lucy around, so he wondered why Loke was around.

Loke shrugged his shoulders. "I am the leader of the Zodiac. I can summon myself through my gate and sustain my form using my magic. If I wasn't strong, I certainly wouldn't have survived 3 years in the Earth Realm." Loke gave Alexei a knowing wink, his smirk growing wider at the snarl Laxus let out when Alexei giggled.

"Eeyo strong!"

"Of course I am." Loke flexed his biceps, showing off his muscles. "I must be in order to protect my princess."

"The person who needs protecting is you when I'm done with you," gritted Laxus under his teeth as Alexei continued to fawn over Loke. "My muscles are so much bigger than his," he continued to mumble under his breath. Laxus had to be careful. Alexei did not overhear what he said since he was still at that stage where he was absorbing things like a sponge. One time Natsu called his Grandfather old man and Alexei started calling the Master old man as well until Laxus put a stop to it. Another time Alexei overheard Laxus calling Mira demon, and he repeated the word causing chaos. Laxus valued his life.

"Eeyo. Princess!" Alexei tugged Loke's pant leg. He wanted to know where the princess was and meet her.

"Oh, The Princess!" Loke pressed the back of his hand against his forehead in a dramatic fashion. "She's the most beautiful and kindest woman in all the land. With beautiful brown eyes that remind you of chocolate and hair as golden as the sun. She also has an amazing… Yeouch!" Loke yelped when he felt a pinch on his side and looked at the culprit. "Ah! Lucy, my princess. Your knight in shining armor is here to sweep you away to the Celestial World." Loke sparkled with heart-shaped eyes.

Lucy was standing behind Loke with red cheeks. Again, he was being overly dramatic with his praises of love, causing her to feel embarrassed. "Please Loke stop with the princess thing. You're going to confuse Alexei." There were enough people calling her princess. She didn't need more.

"But you are our princess," someone called out in a flat tone. In front of them appeared a pink-haired girl with blue eyes, dressed in a maid's outfit. On her wrists were shackles. Virgo bowed and said with a stoic expression, "Punishment Princess?"

"Virgo! There's a child here, for Mavis's sake!"

"She is correct," another voice called out in a deep tone. A tall humanoid goat wearing black shades and a butler's outfit joined the group as well. Capricorn bowed at Lucy. "You must address our Mistress by the proper title. How may I be of service today, Lady Lucy?"

"Not you too!"

"I just call you a brat. Because that's what she is. A snotty nosed brat." A snotty voice came from behind. In front of them stood a blue mermaid with blue hair and blue eyes, with an urn in her hand, hovering over a glass of water.

"I'm not a snotty brat!"

"Did you just talk back to me?!"

"Eep!"

"Don't worry, my love! I will protect you from the witch!"

"I will drown you, cat!"

Laxus looked at the scene in front of him in exasperation as he watched Lucy's spirits pop out of the Celestial World one at a time. He looked down at Alexei, who looked like he was about to burst out of excitement. Maybe meeting them will make Alexei less obsessed with them. Less obsessed with Loke.

"Wow! Bwoda. Look. Eeyo, Princess, fwiend." Alexei could not believe it. He was glad he came to the guild today. He just found out his beloved friend Lucy was the princess, and he got to meet the spirits in the story. Could this day get any better? He hoped to meet them again.

The Next Day

"Stupid, pervy cat," grumbled Laxus under his breath as he looked at the scene in front of him with a bitter expression. "Dragons are so much cooler than lions."

Surprise, not surprise, when he and Alexei went home. Alexei couldn't stop talking about meeting Lucy's spirits. Now Laxus was glad Alexei was chatting animatedly about something, but what bothered Laxus the most was that most of the conversation was about Loke. He didn't understand what Alexei saw in him.

And to his dismay, Loke showed up at the guild again, Alexei running towards him, greeting him with a smile. Alexei was sitting in Loke's lap once more, listening to Loke's stories. What was so cool about Loke's stories? Laxus had cool stories to tell about the adventures and missions he was on. He just never had a chance to tell him.

"It is your fault," stated Lucy, taking a seat at the table Laxus was brooding at.

"How is it my fault," hissed Laxus, glaring daggers at Loke because he made Alexei laugh.

"You never exposed Alexei to other animals or creatures," Lucy pointed out as a matter of fact. "Of course he's going to find lions interesting. What boy doesn't? Give it time. He'll get over it. " This whole situation was amusing to Lucy. She never thought Laxus was the type to get jealous just because his little brother was interested in another animal. She wondered if there was something more to it.

"Damn right he's going to move on," grumbled Laxus under his breath, quickly standing on his feet. "Starting right now." He grabbed Lucy's hand without warning and grabbed Alexei from Loke's lap on his way out of the guild, a specific destination in mind.

Magnolia Zoo.

"Wowwww." Alexei pressed his face against the glass, awestruck by the beautiful colors in front of him. All the tiny fish swimming around in the tank. "Bwoda look!" He had never seen something like this before.

I am a genius, thought Laxus as he gave himself a mental pat on the back. When Lucy mentioned animals, the first place he thought of was the Magnolia Zoo. Kids love going there. Once Alexei sees all the animals, he will forget about lions and come back to him.

"Laxus, this isn't going to solve your problem. It's sweet you brought Alexei here, but just because you are jealous doesn't mean you can prevent Alexei from liking something," said Lucy as the group walked towards the lion exhibit.

"I'm not jealous."

"And I'm not blonde," replied Lucy sarcastically, holding the urge to roll her eyes at Laxus. "Look, at the end of the day, Alexei is your brother. You're the one who takes care of him. If he needs something, you are there. Alexei is still young, so he doesn't fully understand that. He will appreciate and recognize your efforts."

"But what if he thinks Loke is a better role model than I am? You know I'm not good at talking and stuff."

"Excuses. You have no problem talking to me and Alexei adores you. He doesn't go anywhere without you. What's the actual problem? Why are you so bothered with Loke and Alexei? Alexei hangs out with many male members in the guild." Something wasn't adding up in Lucy's opinion.

"It's nothing okay!"

Lucy narrowed her eyes at Laxus, giving him a look that said she didn't believe him. When they approached the lion exhibit, Alexei shouted Eeyo fwiend when he spotted the lion and ran close to the exhibit but far enough where he wasn't touching anything or in danger. This time, Lucy's eyes were on Laxus and she noticed something interesting.

"Wait a minute. You're jealous."

"I thought we established that already, Lucy." Laxus tried not to roll his eyes at the obvious as he monitored Alexei, who was almost touching the glass.

"Yeah. Yeah. But not of lions. You're jealous of the fact Alexei said Loke's name first instead of yours." Lucy came to that conclusion. It made perfect sense. She saw Laxus's jaw clench when Alexei said Eeyo and Loke wasn't around. "Of course it's his spirit name, but it still bothers you."

"Okay, fine, you're right. Happy." Laxus faced away from Lucy with flushed cheeks. It was such a childish reason to be mad at someone. He knew Laxus wasn't an easy name to say but to say Loke's name first before his! He barely met the man, and Alexei was already chanting his name.

Lucy gave Laxus a cheeky smile. She continued to watch Alexei and a group of children with their mothers fawning over the lion cubs.

Suddenly, the lion cubs went back into the cave and out came a lion. He walked cockily towards the glass, approaching the children. Laxus did not get a good feeling from this. He was about to head towards Alexei to create some distance when it happened.

"RAWRRRR!" The lion let out a loud, furious roar, causing the school children to burst into tears. Laxus cringed at the loud sound as well. It bothered his ears, especially with his dragon hearing. If the roar bothered him, he couldn't imagine what Alexei was feeling with his sensitive ears. Laxus looked up to see Alexei frozen in fear, his lips quivering. After a few seconds of a delayed reaction, Alexei burst into tears.

"Wahhhhhh," cried Alexei, tears streaming down his face as he ran towards Laxus and Lucy. The sound was so scary to him he didn't like it one bit. Alexei clung to his brother, sobbing uncontrollably. "Scawy," he murmured between sobs, holding tightly to Laxus's shirt.

"Hey, hey, bud. It's okay. I'm here." Laxus tried to soothe Alexei, but to no avail. Alexei must have gotten terrified by this encounter. He looked up to glare at the lion, who was looking very smug. The lion was thrilled. He scared everyone. To Laxus, he was just a big bully trying to overcompensate, picking on people smaller than him.

Time to show him who's at the top of the food chain. No one messes with MY brother, thought Laxus, slowly prying Alexei's hands off him, handing Alexei to Lucy, who was looking confused. She was wondering what Laxus was going to do.

"Cover his ears," commanded Laxus as he headed towards the glass case where the lion was sitting, swaying his tail back and forth with that same cocky smirk from before. He raised a brow at Laxus, wondering what he was doing. It surprised him when the blonde man entered the exhibit with him.

Laxus stood face to face with the lion, staring down at him. Alexei, Lucy and all the school children were looking on with anticipation at this epic standoff.

Laxus took a deep breath and let out the biggest roar he could. "ROARRRR!"

The whole place shook as everyone scrambled to hold on to something so they wouldn't fall down. The force of the roar was causing the lion's mane to fly back, even moving the lion backwards. When the roar was done, the lion let out a yelp and ran back to its cave, whimpering along the way.

Laxus let out a smirk when he saw the lion run away. That's what you get when you mess with a dragon. Laxus left the exhibit and walked back to Alexei and Lucy. When he looked up, he was surprised to see the scene in front of him.

Alexei and all the school children were looking at him with sparkling eyes. "So cool," said one child, continuing to admire Laxus.

"Yeah! He showed that big bully a lesson," said another.

"Bwoda cool," praised Alexei with a smile on his tear-stained face. He couldn't wait to learn how to roar like that.

"Oh my," breathed one mother, fanning herself as she tried to keep her legs stable.

"Did you hear that roar?"

"Now that's a man."

Laxus felt embarrassed as he overheard the mother's ogling and thoughts about him such as what they wanted to do with him. He cleared his throat, trying to will the blush away that threatened to form on his cheeks. "Lucy, let's go. Lucy?" When he didn't hear a response, he looked back to see Lucy staring aimlessly in the air. She had a weird look in her eye as she stood frozen. Did he scare her? "Lucy," repeated Laxus, shaking her shoulder. "Are you okay?"

"Wha?" Lucy was startled out of her daydream when someone shook her. It was Laxus. "Oh. I'm sorry! What were you saying?" When Laxus let out that roar… when let's say her mind went to the gutter. That was probably one of the sexiest sounds she had ever heard, and she couldn't believe it turned her on.

"I said let's go back. We had enough fun today."

A few days later

"Come on Alexei. You can't avoid the outside forever." Laxus let out a tired sigh when Alexei held onto the door frame with Laxus gently tugging his arm. Ever since the incident at the zoo, Alexei was hesitant to leave the house. At first Laxus complied, thinking it was only a phase, but it was getting to the point where it was getting ridiculous. Alexei can't stay inside forever.

"No! Stay hewe." Alexei continued to clutch the doorframe. He didn't want to go outside. Going outside would mean going to the guild and he did not want to go to the guild.

"But Gramps misses you. You don't want to make Gramps sad, don't you?" Laxus couldn't believe he had to resort to emotional blackmail, but he didn't know what else to do. What was Alexei avoiding? He did not have a problem playing in the backyard or the park, so it must be something at the guild. Laxus intended to get to the bottom of this.

At the guild, Alexei never left Laxus's side. He would either hold on to Laxus's leg, making it difficult for him to walk or peek out from behind Laxus's coat. Whatever Alexei was afraid seemed to not be in the guild because started to head towards his toys.

"Little cub! I'm here and I brought you a present," yelled Loke as he slammed the door open. He walked towards Alexei, who hid behind Laxus again. In his hand was a night light constellation projector. When you turned it on, the constellation would be projected in the darkness onto the ceiling.

"No," yelled Alexei, slapping Loke's hand away, causing the object to fall on the ground, shattering into pieces.

"Alexei!" Laxus scolded Alexei in a firm tone and pulled him to the side. "We don't hit people, especially friends!" Laxus did not like yelling at Alexei because it was what his father did with him, but Laxus had to put his foot down. Alexei hit someone, and that behavior was unacceptable.

Alexei's eyes filled with tears, flinching when his brother yelled at him. His brother never yelled at him. He must be angry with him. "Sowwy," he sniffled, whimpering as the tears ran down his face.

Laxus let out a sigh and kneeled down to Alexei's level. "Look bud, I'm sorry for yelling at you, but what you did wasn't nice. What's wrong Alexei? I can't help you if you don't tell me what's wrong."

"Scawy," replied Alexei, continuing to stare at the ground.

"Scary? What's scary," asked Laxus in a confused tone.

"Eeyo. Eeyo scawy." Alexei threw himself into Laxus's arms, hugging him. He wanted to be comforted. That day in the zoo really had him scared. He's afraid Leo will try to hurt him like the lion at the zoo.

"That lion at the zoo really got to you, did he?" Laxus patted the back of Alexei soothingly and got a nod in response. "But I thought Leo was your friend."

" No fwiend."

"Let me ask you something." Laxus broke the hug to look at Alexei directly in the eyes. "I know that Leo is a lion. But is he really that scary to you? That lion at the zoo was mean and Leo is a good lion. Remember all the fun you had together? Did Leo ever try to hurt or scare you?" Although a part of him was ecstatic that Alexei stopped his obsession with Loke but it came at a price. Laxus had to be the bigger man to teach Alexei an important lesson.

"No." Alexei remembered all the fun he had with Loke. Never once did he try to scare him. Maybe his brother was right. Not all lions are scary. Only the mean ones are.

"You should apologize to Leo about what you did and become friends again. Then one day when you are older, I will teach you how to roar. Like a dragon. Does that sound good?"

"Okay," sniffed Alexei and nodded with a tiny smile. He ran towards to Loke and tugged his pant leg. "Sowwy."

Laxus let out a smile.

"It takes a real man to do what you did." Loke approached Laxus while Alexei was taking a nap in the Master's office. He overheard the entire conversation and learned about the incident from Lucy.

"You sound like Elfman."

"Wanna know why I like spending time with Alexei." Loke quickly changed topics as he took a sip of his beer.

"Why?"

"I'm a spirit, Laxus. I can't have kids. Most of my masters were female. For once, it felt nice to impart wisdom on a little boy. Have someone admire you like an older brother or father figure. I haven't felt that connection in years." Spirits were sterile. They were unable to have kids. Even if they were, it was forbidden to have children with a human or someone not of the Celestial Realm. Loke accepted this reality when he accepted the position as the leader of the 12 Zodiac.

"I did not know that."

Loke gave Laxus a wry smile. "Kids are the future. I hope that in a million years someone will recall this situation. That we will still be remembered." Loke raised his beer in the air.

"Amen to that." Laxus raised his beer in response and both men took a sip at the same time.

"So…" Loke suddenly sported a smirk. "Did you know we have something in common?"

Laxus felt like he was not going to like the response to this. He responded hesitantly. "Like what?"

"We are both Leo. It's nice to meet a kindred spirit. Yeouch!"