A/N: This is my first attempt at a Fraxus story, and I hope you like it. I just love this couple so much, I couldn't resist writing about them. Hear that? Fraxus is a YAOI. Male/Male romance. Don't like, don't read. I like flames. They tickle.
Disclaimer: I don't own Fairy Tail.
Fairy Tail was a noisy guild. Everyone knew that. There was never a moment of quiet in that place. So, naturally, the peaceful, calm aura of Lamia Scale was a soothing contrast. At least a certain rune mage thought so, and he certainly had a right to. Here, he didn't have to constantly glance over his shoulder to make sure there were no airborne objects coming his way. Here, he didn't have to worry about placing an emergency set of runes around himself, so no misaimed spells would hit him. And here, he didn't have to face that looming emptiness that came with the absence of Fairy Tail's strongest.
Laxus… Evergreen… Bickslow… Gray… Natsu… All of those names that used to bring a smile to his face, and a million words to his lips, now only gave him a pain in his chest, tears to his eyes. And one question to his mind: What happened?
Seven years had passed since they had disappeared, and Freed wondered how many more would pass until he would be given some scrap of information about their whereabouts. He knew it was silly to hope that they would come back some day. But he knew he'd never lose that hope.
"Freed," he looked up quickly at the deep rumbling tone, seeing none other than Jura. He inwardly smiled. The earthen mage had always had a somewhat calming affect on the rune caster. His strong, stern demeanor gave his fellow guild mates a sense of security. If they were ever in trouble, Jura could surely help them. If there was ever a challenge they couldn't face, Jura could surely do it. And if they were ever to be wounded Jura would avenge them.
He suspected it had something to do with the way the guild was set up. Up until him joining Lamia Scale, he'd thought Fairy Tail was the only guild with a family basis, and environment. He'd been wrong.
Here at Lamia, there was Jura, the father figure, Obaba-sama, the grandmother. There was Lyon, and Yuka the older brothers, Sherry, the older sister, Cheria, the younger sister, and Toby, the laughable younger brother.
Freed had thought it would be hard to fit in to such a firmly set system, but his new guild mates had welcomed him right away. Within a week, he'd felt like he'd been in Lamia Scale for years. And the only reminder that he hadn't was that looming remembrance of those he'd left behind: Fairy Tail.
And along with them, he'd left a piece of himself. He still used the same kind of magic he had seven years ago, but he could tell he'd gotten better. His speed had increased with writing runes, and he could call simple rune walls, and protective barriers on a second's notice now. That used to take him ten minutes at least. He was also better at his Dark Ecricture, and had obtained several new forms that could probably put him on the same level as someone like Mira (but he didn't have the confidence to boast that one)
Not only that, but his outfit had changed. He'd grown tired of the noble appearance when he'd joined Lamia, and had taken the time to change his image. His current wardrobe consisted mostly of dark colors, like purples, blacks and silvers. And rather than facing the daily stress of trying to match those colors, with his usual white boots, he'd swapped them out with a pair of black ones that laced up the front.
And his hair, never having been cut, was kept in a high ponytail, as it reached the backs of his thighs otherwise.
"Freed," Jura said again, recapturing the rune mage's attention, "You seem quiet. Is there something troubling you?"
Once again in the here and now, Freed smiled at that, knowing that this was just Jura's way of politely prying, "I'm always quiet," he said, "Everyone knows that."
"Yes, but lately, you seem more distant that usual," Jura countered, "You haven't gone on any jobs in weeks, and it's almost time for the Grand Magic Games. Don't you want a chance to participate again this year?"
Oh. That. The greenette sighed, his amusement now gone. "You know what my answer is, Jura. I don't want to be in those games, not now, not ever."
"But this year, Obaba-sama is dead set on us coming in first. To do that, we have to have all of our strongest members participating."
"We have that already! And what's wrong with coming in second?"
It was Jura's turn to sigh, "Why must you have an argument for everything?" at Freed's guilty expression, he shook his head, "Never mind that. Just please go on a job. Everyone's worried about you, and it will help ease your stress."
Freed nearly leapt to the ceiling when he found a sheet of paper slammed on the tabletop in front of him.
"No buts from you, Mr. Justine!"
His wide eyes landed on a very irate Obaba-sama.
"You are going to go on this job, and you are going to like it!" her eyes narrowed, "Or else, you're going to spin…"
That was all the convincing needed have Freed high-tail it out of the guild, request slip in hand, wondering, why again he joined this guild.
Several hours later found Freed in a small yet busy village, purposely wasting his time. The job had been an easy one; trap a group of bandits, and return the gold to its original owner. It had taken mere minutes to defeat the outlaws, and they were about as stealthy as a wounded warthog, so tracking them down was child's play. However, the greedy non-wizards had taken so much gold, Freed had spent at least six hours dragging all of it back. Now all he wanted to do was relax, and enjoy a nice cup of tea. He was a fool to think he'd be awarded that.
He had just sat down at a nice café, enjoying the fresh air, a warm cup of tea in one hand, and a muffin placed in front of him. He casually watched the people bustling around on the streets, each having somewhere to go, or something to do, and as he was about to take his first sip from the steaming drink… he froze. His eyes got wide. His breathing stopped. His heart stopped. And the cup slipped right out of his hands.
Not even the resulting crash or the looks from the other customers was enough to snap him out of his daze. It was him.
He looked so different than he had when Freed had last seen him, and yet… it was almost as if nothing had changed.
His outfit had surely changed. And his expression lacked its usual rebellious glare. But he still donned the same fur coat, the same spiky headphones, the same blond hair, and the same lightning bolt scar. But he still looked as young as he had the day he and Freed had parted ways after the Fighting Festival.
For Freed was staring at none other than Laxus Dreyar. And a moment later, as if feeling the greenette's gaze, Laxus was staring back at him.
At first, his eyes showed recognition, then shock, then a tiny tidbit of happiness, but they finally settled on determination, and Laxus began to make his way towards the café.
His shadow loomed over Freed, like the impending doom he could feel cast over him. His instinct told him to run, and yet he could do nothing but remain glued to his seat, and stare up in awe at his thunder god. His teammate. His friend. His love.
"Wow," said the blond, the familiarity of his voice nearly bringing tears to the rune mage's eyes, "You sure changed. It's gonna take some getting used to, but I like it."
Freed was pretty sure he looked like a beached fish as he stammered and stuttered, trying to come up with some sort of answer to that. Wait… answer to what? What were they talking about? Where was he? What was his name again?
His face turned an embarrassing shade of red, as he realized what was happening. It seemed that even after seven years, he still couldn't act himself around the lightning mage. His heart wouldn't slow down, and his mind wouldn't shut up. He was beginning to panic.
"It took me a while to find you," Laxus continued, an amused grin on his face, "Gramps will be happy to know I did. You can't imagine everyone's shock when we came back to find that, not only had Fairy Tail gone from hero to zero, but you, one of the most loyal mages had skipped town, and joined Lamia Scale."
Laxus worded the last statement like an accusation, which only served to redden Freed's face even more. To think of it that way was one thing, as Freed already felt bad for leaving his friends like that, but to have it thrown at him by his idol, and childhood crush… it made him want to curl up and die.
No! A spark of anger shot through him, I can't let someone else have that much power over me! Seven years have passed, I've grown in many ways, but apparently I forgot to grow a backbone. He thought back to the so-called 'Battle of Fairy Tail' and his blush go cold. He would not be bullied into compliance again. He knew where this conversation was headed, and he was not, under any circumstances, going to rejoin Fairy Tail. Sure, he'd had good times in that guild, but that was then, and this is now. And now, he had new friends, new memories, and a new family. And that was in Lamia Scale.
Eyes hardened, and jaw set, he stared defiantly at Laxus.
"Was there a point to this?" he asked, "I know you didn't come all this way for nothing. If you'd merely wanted to visit an old friend, you could've waited until I returned home."
The blond seemed shocked by the sudden change in attitude, but he didn't take long to respond, as his eyes narrowed angrily, and all traces of amusement disappeared. Placing his hands flat on the table, he leaned forward, and stared down his former comrade. "Actually," he growled, "I came to bring you back. It kind of ticks me off that you run off and join some other guild, the second I disappear."
Freed clenched his hands into fists. "If you think that's what happened, then maybe it's best that I left, because it seems you don't know me at all."
"I don't care how you word it, Freed." Laxus said, "There's no way to justify leaving your friends like that, and it's certainly no way to justify running away from me."
"You were gone, Laxus!" Freed shot to his feet, the silverware on the table jangling, "What was I supposed to do, wait for you like some kind of loyal housewife? Seven years is a long time, in case you haven't noticed, and in those seven years there wasn't even a single stitch of information regarding your whereabouts, you could've been dead for all I knew!" he paused for breath, before realizing what Laxus had just said, "And what do you mean I ran away from you? I can do whatever I want, you know! You don't own me!"
For some reason, that seemed to have struck a vein, as lightning began to cackle around the blond. Freed felt his gut clench. It seemed he had forgotten how temperamental and possessive dragon slayers could be in the seven years he had been away from them. And back then, he probably would've offered a few jumbled apologies before high-tailing it away, but not now. He refused to be somebody's doormat. He had to stand on his own two feet for once.
"Well, Laxus," he said, when said person failed to respond, "It was nice to see you again, but I'm afraid I must be going. I finished my request hours ago, and I have to report to Obaba-sama."
He stepped around the table, and started to make for the road, when a strong hand around his wrist stopped him. Seconds later, he found it jerking him around to face one extremely irate Laxus Dreyar.
"Don't walk away when I'm talking to you." Laxus seethed, sparks flying off of him. The other café customers, who had been watching the whole time, seemed to get the idea that this was not something that they should get caught up in, and began to vacate the area. Passerby on the street did the same, and soon it was just Freed and Laxus, and a string of onlookers, wisely watching from the other side of the street.
Feeling shame in having caused such a scene, Freed yanked hard on his arm, but Laxus's grip never relented. "Let go." He said angrily, just wanting to be away from the meddlesome dragon slayer.
"Not until you agree to come with me."
"Wha—" Freed had known that Laxus was a little… on the shadier side of things, but who knew he could be this… "No! I'm not coming back to Fairy Tail! I have a new guild now, new friends! Do you expect me to just up and quit on them?"
He gave an empty stare, "It'd only be fair. That is what you did to us, now isn't it?"
Ouch. Freed's confidence seeped out of him, like air from a popped balloon. Stripped of his foothold, Freed's face fell, and he gave a defeated sigh. "Laxus," he said, evenly, no longer possessing the strength to argue, "I know that what I did in the past was much less than honorable. And I truly do regret it. But there is nothing I can do to change the past. And as it stands, have no desire to rejoin that guild. I have new responsibilities now, new friends, and a new family. And I don't want to abandon my family again." He hoped it would be good enough, and when Laxus was silent, he thought he had gotten through to him.
But a second later, Laxus's grip tightened, and he let out a laugh.
"If you think that's good enough for me," Laxus yanked him closer, and Freed suddenly found himself lifted into the air, and thrown over the lightning slayer's shoulder, "Then maybe you've been away from Fairy Tail too long."
Freed's face heated up all over again, and he found himself squirming and kicking with all his might, "Laxus!" He shouted, trying not to notice all of the stares the two were getting, "Put me down!"
There's an amused chuckle, before he hears a determined, "No." A strong arm settles over the backs of his thighs, both keeping him stable, and also stopping his struggles, as Freed soon gave up on trying to get away. If there was one thing he knew about the blond, it was that Laxus NEVER gave up when he wanted something. So, feeling his pride dissolve just like his confidence had, Freed drooped his head, allowing it to bob up and down on the dragon slayer's back.
"You sure gave up quick." Laxus said, his clear amusement making Freed clench his teeth.
"Well I can't exactly do anything about it." He hissed back, "Besides, it's not like you can force me to rejoin Fairy Tail."
Laxus laughed again, and for the first time in his life, Freed really wanted to hurt him.
"I guess you really don't remember much about me do you?"
Freed let out a cry of frustration, and pounded on the other's back, "Why are you so dead-set on me coming back, anyway? You have Ever and Bickslow! Why do you need me?"
Laxus sighed, "You really don't get it." He shook his head, before continuing, "Fairy Tail is just… boring without you."
B-Boring? Laxus thought it was boring without…
Freed was silent for the rest of the trip.
And he resigned from Lamia Scale the next day.