Catch the Thunder

BY : Rhov
Category: +. to F > Fairy Tail
Dragon prints: 14386
Disclaimer: Fairy Tail is the property of Hiro Mashima. I make no money, I just do this for my own pleasure.

"It matters not what be thy lot
So Love doth guide
For storm or shine, pure peace is thine
Whate'er betide."
— Mary Baker Eddy

Chapter 54

For Storm or Shine

Freed was not sure when he ended up on the bed. One minute he was on the floor in Laxus' arms, he had a sense of weightlessness again, although not fully aware of it, and when finally he opened his eyes and looked around, he was on the bed with Laxus beside him, their sweaty bodies pressed naked together.

Laxus stroked Freed's hair, watching him as he slowly returned. He did not urge him to hurry up. He wanted Freed to drift in that blissful place, far from troubles. He simply watched him as his mind worked through issues of its own.

He had been harsh, binding him, spanking him, biting and scratching, leaving marks all over Freed's skin. Even now, the pink compression lines striped his skin, and they would probably remain there for hours. He had been sadistic, and yet … he liked it. More importantly, Freed liked it.

All he wanted was to take Freed to a deeper layer of bliss. Watching him now, smiling in his twilight of consciousness, he knew he had succeeded. That calmed Laxus. Any guilt he might have been feeling about hurting the man he loved melted away with the contentment in his lover. Any mental depression buoyed with each lithe stretch and sigh as Freed found his way back into reality.

Finally, those long lashes fluttered, his eyes opened, and Laxus smiled as he saw Freed gazing up at him. He wanted to tell him Welcome back, except he almost wished Freed could stay in that space where reality was far away. Returning meant facing consequences. It meant going back upstairs, seeing Freed's family, going to work with all its stress, and Laxus had to face the harsh realities of unemployment. So Laxus almost wanted to tell him to go back, stay where there was none of that, stay in his safe little corner of subspace.

Freed was nearly done recovering, though. Without a word, he curled into Laxus and traced his tattoo. He was back, but he was still dazed.

Laxus watched those thin, strong hands and the light shining on the silver promise ring. He pouted as something pressed in his mind.

"Can we talk seriously?"

Freed hummed, still feeling light and carefree. He was not ready for anything serious. "I don't know yet. Soon."

"Just a question: yes or no." He reached down and stroked a finger over the silver ring. "Would your parents … disown you … if you married a man?"

Freed jolted up. "Ah?"

"Hypothetically speaking," Laxus cut in.

Freed still felt his heart racing. Hypothetical. Still, it meant Laxus was getting more serious about this possibility. Freed knew he had to face it with seriously as well. He shoved aside the shock and thought about it.

"No, they wouldn't do that. Hell, my mother tried to hook me up with a man," he said, thinking about Rufus and how his mother had pressured him into considering him as a suitor. "I'm pretty sure they realize by now, I won't be marrying a woman."

Laxus nodded, looking contemplative. "Good to know."

Freed looked at his hand, how Laxus' thick finger rubbed the silver ring. He had no idea what to even say. Laxus was seriously considering marriage!

"Just something to think about." He felt awkward, but he needed to know. He could screw up Freed's life anyway, being who he was, the past he had. He did not want to mess up his life even more.

"Y-yeah," Freed muttered, biting his lip to hold back giddiness. "You know, it's good to talk about stuff like this … before one of us asks, and we … we commit to something. We should … talk about it, about what we want."

"Yeah," Laxus muttered. Talk about it? Did Freed really want to? Was he thinking about it as well? Laxus had thought about this a lot. He had not been kidding when he said Freed was all he saw in his future. He wanted that future to be with him alone. At the moment, that meant marriage, but he supposed there was more to it than vows. "Ya ever thought about kids and shit?"

Freed laughed softly at how awkward Laxus sounded, asking about fatherhood. "I've considered it," he admitted. "Maybe it'd be nice, adopting a kid. I never thought really closely about it, but … it might be something I'd want someday, having a child to raise."

Laxus nodded, but his eyes stared out blankly. "I have no clue if I'm good with kids. Never been around them."

Freed supposed that was true. Laxus was an only child, and he had been working in the adult entertainment business for so long, not exactly the sort of places where he might meet children. "What about pets? Do you like dogs, cats … goldfish?"

Laxus shook his head. "Never had a pet either."

"Well, maybe we could start with that, and … one day … far down the road," he assured with a blush, "we'll think about … um … other things."

"Yeah, maybe," he said distantly.

Marriage! Pets! Children! A family! These were things Laxus never thought about a year ago. Now here he was, talking about the possibility of married life with a man he wanted forever.

"Maybe," he whispered, realizing he really did like the idea.

He could imagine it if he closed his eyes: Christmas in this house, decorations everywhere, hugging Freed in front of the Christmas tree as two children, a boy and a girl, opened presents. Laxus shook his head, ashamed by how stupidly happy that vision of the future made him. But it was here. He often imagined his future with Freed would be in this mansion.

"I'm guessing you'll be living here in the future, right?"

Freed shrugged. "One day. I wouldn't move in with my father," he assured, "and he'll probably want to live here for a while, but he might get sick of the house some day, hand it over. One day, one way or another, I'll get it. Would that be okay?"

"Yeah, it's a nice place," he said, trying to sound nonchalant to hide that finding out the house really would be Freed's worked to reinforce that vision of raising a family together.

They were silent, each with thoughts and dreams of the future, slight blushes on their cheeks, awkward as they thought about just how much they wanted such happy futures living together.

However, Freed's face began to tense up. As this possibility became more of a reality, something bothered him. He looked up at Laxus, bit his lips as he debating saying anything, but finally firmed up.

"Can I ask something that's on the personal side?"

Personal? After all this time, he wondered why Freed felt like he even had to ask. "Okay."

Freed scratched a pink rope line on his arm, unable to look up at him. "Have you had any contact with your grandfather?"

"What?" he exclaimed. What sort of question was that. His grandfather? What did he have to do with anything?

"Have you told him … about us?"

Laxus had a blank face, and mutely he shook his head.

"He's the only family you have left," Freed pointed out. "I … I wouldn't mind meeting him."

Meeting … his family? Somehow, that seemed even more like a heavy pounding of reality than asking about children. "Truth be told, I haven't seen the old bastard in years. I don't even know what his phone number would be anymore."

Freed wanted to meet his family! The problem was, he had no idea where Makarov Dreyar was. He had heard rumors that he retired from the Fairy Tail Pub and went to some other country, but Laxus had no clue where.

"I guess … I could ask around, see if people in Fairy Tail know where he is … if he's even still alive."

"How about we do that? Try to find him, reconnect. I mean, I know I pretty much have a full blessing from my family if I … I … want to pursue more in the future," he muttered, blushing with embarrassment. "I want to make sure we have a blessing from yours."

Laxus looked down in surprise. "Really?"

Freed laughed at the shock on his face. "Well, yeah!"

Laxus was honestly stunned that Freed would care about that. He knew how messed up Laxus' family life was, so he had thought Freed would never want to meet any of them. His grandfather had been his support in the worst of times, though. They had their conflicts, but Makarov always took him back.

"Only fair, okay," he decided with a surly grunt. He had asked Llewellyn already, after all. "I don't think he knows I'm gay, or bi, or whatever I am. I don't think he'd care much—he ain't that type—but I should break that to him first before bringing my rich-ass boyfriend around."

"Ease him into it, so you don't give him a heart attack?"

"Nah, the old geezer won't go down that easily. He's a tough little bastard," he said, chuckling proudly. "But yeah. Yeah, I should tell him, and you should meet him."

Freed leaned into Laxus and wrapped his arms around. "I'd like that."

Laxus hugged him and kissed the top of his head. "You'd be the first person I know since high school to meet my grandfather."

"Well, I'm honored," he said in amusement.

Laxus laughed and squeezed him, giving him more kisses. He saw Freed's hand resting on his chest, right over the edge of the tattoo. Laxus reached down and rubbed the silver ring again, staring at it contemplatively. Damn, he wanted this man! He wanted a lifetime of happiness together. He wanted it so badly, he boiled in his stomach and made him anxious for that future.

"Freed." What could he say? "Eventually, some day … I…" Shit! How could he say this without bluntly proposing to him?

"I know." Freed rose up and leaned over Laxus' chest, gazing down at him with an endearing smile and gleaming love in his eyes. "Me too."

Him, too!

And Laxus could see, Freed meant it in the exact same way. It almost brought tears to his eyes.

He really wanted this too!

Suddenly bashful, Laxus looked away. "Well, that's … that's good to know."

Freed held back laughing. Such an awkward man! "When the time is right."

"Yeah," he agreed, "but not right now. We're not ready. I'm not ready! I need to straighten out my life a bit more before we do anything like that." He pouted and grumbled, "Hell, I'm not even employed anymore."

Freed tapped him on the nose. "Well, I'll have to find you a job."

Laxus laughed and wrapped an arm around him. "I know it already, you're gonna be the one protecting me."

"Maybe I should be your bodyguard."

"Shut up." Laxus hugged him closer. He heard Freed groan a little and let go of the tight hold. "Are you feeling okay?"

He rubbed out the lines on his shoulder. "I feel like a dragon has attacked me. Are you sure nothing is bleeding?"

Laxus rubbed over Freed's skin. "Yeah. I think the worst are the bites and scratches. The rope marks should go away soon. By Monday, maybe the shoulders will still be marked up," he said, inspecting just how deeply the rope left lines on his shoulders, realizing those might actually bruise, "but the rest, they're just like pillow lines. They'll fade in a few hours. So long as you wear a long-sleeved shirt today, no one will see it. I kept it off the wrists."

"Thanks." Freed looked down, and sure enough, his wrists were perfectly fine. Although Laxus had taken him to the brink of what Freed could withstand, no one would know. It was thoughtful and showed how much Laxus respected him. Tenderly, he said, "Thank you, really."

"Thank you for letting me go all out."

"I liked it," he said slyly, but then he collapsed back onto the barrel chest, "but probably not that much all the time." He still felt sore, exhausted, and buzzing on the sensual high.

"Nah. I'm not sure if I can handle it." Laxus shook out the hand that still had rope burns stinging in his palm. "This is nice, though."

"Yeah." It was nice, like a treat you get only once in a while.

Hearing all of this—the appreciation, the thanks, the sighs of contentment—were what Laxus needed. He hugged Freed a little closer. After a week of self-doubts, of asking himself why he got into BDSM, if he needed it, and why he liked to do it to Freed, this was the answer to it all.

He got into it for all the wrong reasons, yet over the years he came to like it. Did he need it? Probably not with others, but with Freed the whole thing was different. What he did in the past was purely about technique and catharsis. What he did with Freed was about trust, bonding, and helping his lover seek mental freedom. Laxus needed the thanks and praise to validate what he did, to know it had meaning, and that it was something Freed wanted.

What a needy dom he had turned out to be!

He tipped up Freed's chin, and the sleepy face gazed up at him. This spoiled rich boy had ended up spoiling him … and Laxus loved him for it. He leaned in, Freed stretched his neck up, and their lips met. The kiss was his own silent thanks and renewed oath to only want him, only need him, and only love him. It was Laxus' way of reassuring himself, he did this out of love. They were drifting back to Earth after flying together, and when they left this little slice of heaven, what followed them back into reality was all the love this kiss represented.

Anyone could be BDSM partners—friends, clients, total strangers—but they were more. As Laxus caressed Freed's head and pulled him to lie on his chest again, he knew they were more than dom and sub.

He loved this man … so much it flustered him.

Physical exhaustion began to take its toll. Laxus had hardly done anything that week, and his muscles were feeling the effects of atrophy.

"I almost want to fall asleep," he admitted, "but we probably need lunch."

"We just finished breakfast. We have time."

Still, Laxus wanted to clean up before they fell asleep and were then called to eat with Freed's family. "There's a bathroom adjacent. Has a nice tub. Never used it. Wanna give it a shot?"

The idea of a bath with Laxus made Freed giddy inside. He muttered an agreement, but as soon as he did, huge arms lifted him right off the comfortable bed. He flailed out in protest.

"I can walk."

Laxus strode to the bathroom with his lover in his arms. "No you can't."

"I could…"

"Shhh." He smiled down at how stubborn and proud Freed could be. "Trust me. No, you can't."

He pouted and looked side. To Laxus, it was adorable to see the high class gentleman returning after his time being a slave.

"It's fine," Laxus assured, secretly happy to carry him around. "I like holding you like this."

Freed huffed. "I don't like being treated like a princess."

"Fuck no! I'm treating you like a prince."

Freed's mouth dropped. Laxus' … prince? That was even more embarrassing, but it also made him blush. Like some twisted fairy tale, Laxus was a wild dragon, and he was a prince, slowly training this wild beast, slowly gaining his trust, and in return the dragon would carry the prince into any battle and let him soar.

Laxus finally let him down on a bathroom rug. Freed sat on the toilet to clean up while Laxus filled the tub and adjusted the temperature of the water. Freed flinched at the pain in his ass. Laxus had barely prepped him, and Freed had been so lost in the throes of being freed from bondage, he had felt no pain at all at the time. Now, his ass hurt. At least Laxus had used a condom, so cleaning up was simple.

Once he was done, Freed glanced around the drawers. They all seemed normal enough, things that might be needed in a bathroom, although some of the items looked questionable and he figured were sexual. Laxus said he had never used the bathroom, which meant these were things his parents used. Freed forced that idea out of his head.

There was a drawer with grooming items: comb, brush, hair ties, and he found some wood hair sticks he knew his mother liked to buy. Freed put his hair up in a bun and held it in place with a hair stick, that way he would not have to deal with wet hair at lunch.

Laxus took Freed's hand to help him into a massive bathtub built for two. He watched with a prurient gaze as that slender yet well-built body eased down into the hot water. Freed twisted around as he felt the heat loosen up the stiffness that had begun to set in.

"Water feel all right?"

"Yeah," he sighed, liking the soothing warmth on his sore muscles.

"A'right. Lemme slide in."

Although there was plenty of room for two, Laxus slid in behind Freed and wrapped around him, with Freed sitting between his legs. That was how they normally took baths together at home, but he realized there were even divots in the tub for two bodies to sit side by side. Screw that! He liked having Freed between his legs, lying back against his body, and wrapping his arms around him, rubbing the pale, smooth skin under the warm water.

"Nice and roomy," he noted, able to stretch out despite how broad he was. "We should have a tub this size back home."

"Sorry that ours isn't quite big enough."

"Che! Helluva lot bigger than the one I used to have. That thing didn't even fit me."

He thought about that dingy yellow tub in his old tenement, so small that he would have had to sit sideways with his knees bent up, if he even dared sit in the discolored thing. He had only used the shower, since the tub was ridiculously small.

Freed had brought him out of that moldy hell into a downtown condominium that Laxus considered to be too good for anyone. However, compared to this mansion, that condo must seem tiny to Freed, yet he had got it specifically with Laxus in mind, wanting to spoil him yet also probably mindful of easing him into this higher tier of society.

Laxus knew he had a ways to go, and he probably would never be a refined gentleman. He used to despise the idea of people changing themselves to become something their partner wanted, but this time, he wanted to improve himself into being something he felt Freed deserved. Never had Freed requested that Laxus do anything more than be himself, but Laxus wanted to be a better man.

For him! To support him! So he would never humiliate Freed … at least not in ways Laxus did not specifically want.

And one day, they would live here. That seemed ridiculous to Laxus. What the hell would they do with a house this huge? Still, if things worked out, if they stayed together, and if … some day, eventually … more happened, they would live here.

That future seemed so impossible, and yet with Freed settled between his legs and their bodies pressed together in the water, it felt so real. They could make this work!

"God, I love you."

Freed glanced behind him to see Laxus gazing with intensity. "Love you, too." What was he thinking about? What sorts of thought ran through his head?

Laxus kissed his green hair. "I wanna spend every day like this. Every day. Holding you." He rubbed his hands up and down Freed's arms. "I don't ever wanna be apart for a week again. Never!"

"Let's make that a promise."

How could he say that so easily? Laxus shook his head. "I don't know if we can. We should be honest." As nice as it sounded, their lives were too complex for frivolous promises they could never keep.

"I'm serious." Freed flipped around in the tub with a slosh of water, laid on top of Laxus, and looked at him earnestly. "If I have to go on a trip for work and I know I'll be gone more than a week, I'll fly back on the sixth day, and I'll spend at least one night with you, even if I have to go back. Same for you. If they ever do catch your father and you have to go, on the sixth day, come back to me, and we'll spend the seventh day together, just us." He cupped Laxus' cheek. "One day every week will be our day. At least one night sleeping together every week. No matter what comes up in our lives, we'll make that one promise. One day, at least one, is our day."

Normal people would never be able to make a deal about flying possibly halfway around the world just to sleep with their lover one day a week, but Laxus knew Freed was no ordinary person. He saw the seriousness in his face. He really would go to such lengths. It was only fair that Laxus put in the same amount of effort.

"It's a deal." He crushed Freed in a hug, not caring that he splashed water onto the floor. "God, yes, a deal!" He slammed his eyes shut as they began to burn with tears. "I need you so much."

"Same here." He relaxed into the hold and laid there, on top of Laxus, hugging around him as best as he could, resting his ear against his heart. Freed sighed in contentment and repeated, "Same here."

Freed had been raised to be independent and strong, quick-thinking and shrewd, harsh and practical. He had been raised with rules of society pounded into him every single day. He spent his life bound by those rules, tied up with responsibilities, unable to escape his fate. Maybe all of that contributed to his need for BDSM. He could have probably gone through life without it; he even could have continued without love, romance, remaining alone and fully focused on the company.

Now, he had someone who did not care about wealth and family connections, someone who loved him solely for who he was deep inside. Laxus used physical bondage to free him from the social bondage that had been wrapped tightly around him all of his life, and that escape from elite society was as intense as when Laxus had sliced apart the ropes.

Freed loved him for it, craved that affection more as the months went by, and he felt himself falling deeper in love with Laxus every day. He did not necessarily need BDSM, or even sex, but he knew deep in his heart, he needed Laxus. He needed him … always. He could no longer imagine his future without Laxus there with him, waiting to embrace him after a rough day at the office, to ease away the stress, kiss away the worries, and care for him with deep love.

"Freed?" Laxus rubbed him to make sure he was awake. "Seriously think about it."

He raised his sleepy head up. "Huh?"

Laxus had a blush on his cheeks. "About … some day. Eventually."

"Oh!" Freed felt his face heating up. "Y-yeah. You, too. Really think about it."

Laxus' eyes softened. "I do. All the time."

All the time? Freed had begun to think that this was just the post-coital buzz making him talk this way. Had Laxus really thought about this sort of thing? Was someone so independent and wild truly willing to spend his life with one person? Did he really think about things like marriage, children, and a home together?


"Shh." He pulled Freed's head back down onto his chest. "Not right now. Just this," he said as he rubbed the marks on Freed's shoulders. "We're making up today. Let's do at least that right and not fuck it up."

"R-right." Freed laid on him, but he stared ahead as his mind raced.

"I want to tell him. I want to ask him, right now! I don't want to lose him. But he's right. This is the worst time. Knowing he feels the same way is incredible. He actually … wants to marry me. Heh!"

Freed bit his lip to hold back laughing with happiness. However, the giddy sensation faded with reality.

"But we're not ready for that. It's a huge step. We need to both be certain that we can put up with each other, really make it lifelong."

He was determined about that, at least. He would not plunge into marriage unless he was certain. The last thing Freed wanted was to be another divorce statistic.

"I want to ask his grandfather first. I want to do this right!"

Freed firmed up as he made that his next goal. They would find Makarov Dreyar, Laxus would reconnect with the last of his family, and one day Freed would ask Makarov for his blessing. That was the proper thing to do.

"I'll wait until I meet him. Yeah."

He set that as his goal. There was no rush. He and Laxus had not even known one another for a year, although that anniversary was coming up. Still, he should meet Makarov, get to know him, maybe have a few dinners together as a family.

When the time was right, he would seek out his blessing to ask Laxus to be his husband. They had plenty of time, but knowing this was even a possibility made Freed's stomach churn with indescribable joy.

Freed closed his eyes as he wondered: would Laxus take on his last name, or would he take on the name Dreyar? It was still the Justine Corporation, though. Maybe hyphenated? Of course, they could always keep their last names as they were. Still, Freed Justine-Dreyar had a nice ring to it.

Meanwhile, Laxus looked up at the ceiling and fought inner turmoil.

"Oh God, I can't believe I said that shit. I meant it, hell yes! I even asked Llewellyn for his blessing, but to actually tell Freed! Shit!"

He could hardly believe he even brought it up, and at a time like this. Worst fucking timing ever!

"Now he wants to meet the old geezer."

He looked down and saw Freed blushing and biting his lip to hold himself back. Idiot, as if he could hide anything from his master.

"Freed, I know you too damn well. I know what you're gonna ask him." He mindlessly rubbed Freed's arm. "And I want you to. Goddammit! How is it, I've only known you for a few months, and already … I want to spend my life with you. How is that even possible?"

It made no sense. Laxus had thought it was just him being a besotted idiot, some first-love stupidity and inner fears of being alone his whole life. Except now, he knew that Freed felt the same way. That changed everything.

How could love happen so quickly? How could you possibly meet someone, and in just a few months you think you want to spend the rest of your life with them? That had to be stupid, right? That sort of thing should take years!

Yet Laxus knew what he wanted. He just needed to know it was something Freed wanted as well. Maybe it was the endorphins talking. Maybe this was all post-scene euphoria, nothing more.

"I wanna make damn certain, because if I marry you and you decide it was a mistake down the road … fuck, I don't think I could take that. I'd rather wait, get all this shit out of the way, all the fights, all the disagreements, get them out of the way now when we can separate and get back together."

That was the smarter thing to do. He and Freed had issues to work out in their lives still, and they should wait. Plus, Laxus knew he would shatter if Freed married him only to leave him. He could not return to that lone-wolf life again, not after knowing so much love. He stroked across the wet skin in lazy happiness.

"But I always want to be with you … for the rest of my life. Goddammit, I am so in love!"

Laxus knew what he wanted in the future, and he knew they needed to wait. He would see his therapist and get some help for his issues. Freed would settle in to this new job and learn about the corporate world. They were happy together, loyal and deeply in love. That was plenty for now. Something like marriage was a huge step, one they could take together when they were ready.

He heard a slight snore and looked down in surprise. Freed had his mouth open, eyes closed, and he was slipping into the water. Laxus nudged him.

"Hey, no falling asleep."

Freed jolted out of thoughts of the future that were leading him toward happy dreams of white tuxedos and wedding cake. "Mmmh … sorry. The hot water feels really good."

"Seems to be helping your arms." Laxus saw the pink lines already fading. "You should ice it, too. Heat, ice, heat, ice…"

"Yeah, yeah," he interrupted, smiling at the way Laxus took care of him. He snuggled down into the muscular chest. "I'm liking this too much."

"Brat," he chuckled. "I should dowse you in a cold shower."

"Mmmh, noooo." He pouted and grabbed around Laxus tighter.

"Heh! Dammit, you're cute." Laxus loved all these sides to Freed: the haughty elitist, the commanding business magnate's son, the overwhelmed young man trying to carve a life of independence for himself, the whiny spoiled rich boy, the needy boyfriend, the tender lover, the adorable slave, all the complexities that made up Freed Justine. "Hey, we've got a few hours, right?"


"Let's get out and take a nap. I didn't sleep well all week."

"Yeah." Freed slept awfully as well, which coupled with the soothing euphoria now and made him ready to drift off. "We can set an alarm."

Laxus guessed it was around ten in the morning. They still needed to have lunch with Llewellyn and Evergreen. "We'll only get two hours of sleep."

"That's fine. Just a nap. I wanna hold you."

They both moved slowly, muscles aching and fatigue setting in. Laxus dried them both off, then guided Freed back to the bed, with his feet shuffling along and sleepy yawns making him look like a green kitten. Freed took out the hair stick and let his hair tumble back down just before snuggling into the bed. Laxus pulled the covers over them both and spooned into Freed. He nuzzled the back of his neck and kissed shoulders, hair, anything he could reach.

To Freed, it was so perfect, being in this embrace, feeling that strong support at his back, how he fit into Laxus' body, like two pieces of a puzzle.

"I miss this."

"I miss this."

He heard Laxus say the same thing at the same time, and Freed rolled around with wide eyes, surprised at the unison. Laxus looked just as stunned, but then he turned his face aside with a surly blush.

"Dammit, saying each other's words."

Freed grinned and snuggled back down into the hold. "We've been dating for quite a while." He smiled childishly as he teased, "We'll be finishing each other's sentences before you know it."

"Shut up."

Laxus still felt weirdly happy about it, though. It was nice to know their minds thought the same things. He closed his eyes, wondering if Freed was thinking about other thing … lifelong things. It was nice to imagine that maybe he was.

"I love you."

"I love you."

His words were perfectly joined with Freed's own sighed declaration.

"Shit, stop doing that!"

"I'm not doing anything."

Laxus kept his mouth shut. Dammit, it was too cute, and he felt too happy to sleep now. They really were becoming one of those sorts of couples, who said things at the same time and finished each other's sentences. How the hell had he ended up in a relationship that was so perfect, it was like a bad romance-comedy show?

Not that he minded. Hell no!

And he had almost lost this. He had almost pushed Freed away. He said horrible things, said he should have run away that first day together. He had been cold and harsh, and yet Freed took him back. Tears threatened to burn Laxus' eyes as he realized how close they came to losing this precious closeness.

"God! I'm so glad." He held Freed as if fearing he might wise-up and walk away.

"Me, too."

Freed knew exactly what he meant. He had walked out on Laxus when he was at his lowest. It took his own father to point out how stupid that was, and how dangerous it could have been to their relationship. Leaving Laxus alone in the midst of deep depression … he shuddered to think of all the ways that could have ended horribly, from Laxus running away to much, much worse.

Freed rubbed over Laxus' promise ring. "Thank you for coming here, for being less stubborn than I am."

"Thanks for letting me come in. You could've left me sitting on the doorstep."

"No, I couldn't."

Laxus knew, he could have. He half expected it, too. He had been an asshole to Freed. Trying to win him back had been a gamble. He lucked out this time.

They both sighed together in unison: "Good night."

Laxus shouted with embarrassment, "Seriously, stop that."

"I'm not, you are."

"Shut up." He was grinning although trying to pout. His heart raced despite wanting to sleep. He felt so ridiculously happy, although an hour ago he had been at his lowest. Being with Freed made his life so much better, and he adored him for that. "Sheesh, how did we end up so disgustingly cute?"

"I, for one, am not disgusting."

"Nah. You're perfect." Laxus kissed Freed's neck and snuggled in. "A perfect spoiled rich boy. A perfect boyfriend." He gave him another kiss. "Now, let me sleep."

Freed wanted to obey his master at least one more time before returning to real life. He said nothing more, closed his eyes, and heard heavy breathing behind him right as sleep darkened his mind.

Two hours later, awake, dressed (in a long-sleeved shirt for Freed), and looking perfectly normal, they ate at the large dining table, plates containing salmon fillet on rice pilaf with buttered vegetables. Laxus put in extra care to use the same utensils as the others, and to sip the white wine properly. Freed even reached under the table and squeezed his leg to show he was proud of the effort he was making, although this was only lunch with the family.

Evergreen took a sip of wine. "So you two had a misunderstanding over a rumor? What sort of rumor could cause that? Must have been terrible."

Freed cut into the fish and replied coldly, "I'd rather not say."

"I'm curious."

He glared across the table as her. "No, Evergreen." Such a nosy sister!

She shoved up her glasses primly. "Fine, whatever."

Llewellyn had a light smile, listening to his children and how some things never changed between them. "Well, I'm glad you worked it out."

Freed paused with the fish already halfway to his mouth. That sounded genuine, and given the history, he had thought Llewellyn might actually hope for a breakup. Saying that reaffirmed his approval of their relationship.

"Thanks, Father."

Laxus also looked impressed. "Yeah, thanks, Mister Justine."

Evergreen finished off her salmon and tapped a napkin to her lips. "I guess this means you'll be leaving."

"Oh … yeah." Freed glanced over to Laxus sitting beside him. "We'll head home together. Sorry we didn't have much time to talk."

"It's fine," Evergreen assured him. "I was thinking about heading out as well."

"Oh? Where?"

"Hawaii. I still have the rest of vacation. Cancun was just so boring."

Freed shook his head, pitying any man who had to try to keep his sister satisfied. "Don't fall in a lava pit."

"Oh hush!"

Llewellyn looked a little hurt that he had just arrived home only to have his children leaving. "You're not staying?"

Evergreen reached over, squeezed his arm, and said sweetly, "I can stay for a day or two just for you, Daddy."

Freed rolled his eyes. This was why she was their parents' favorite! As soon as he saw that Laxus was finished, he said, "We should be going." He pushed out his chair. Laxus gave up on propriety, gulped down his wine, and stood as well, sensing that Freed wanted to get out of that house as soon as possible. How weird it must be, to eat at the same table as his father and his lover, with Evergreen in the way so they could not even be honest about the awkwardness.

Llewellyn set his fork down and wiped his mouth on a linen napkin. "Thank you for staying for lunch. And I am glad it worked out. I'll walk you to the door."

Freed jolted. "You don't have—"

"I insist."

He closed his mouth at his father's sharp interjection. It was the polite thing to do, so he could not turn down his father's offer. However, it took Evergreen out of the picture, which meant private things could be mentioned. He was not mentally ready for that. So it surprised Freed that the three of them exited the house and stood on the porch with its marble columns, and still nothing had been said.

"Freed," Llewellyn said with a fatherly smile, "why don't you be a gentleman and bring the car around for Laxus?"

"Uh!" He looked from his father to his boyfriend. Leaving them alone together … that was dangerous!

Laxus looked passive, and he assured Freed, "It's fine." If Llewellyn wanted to talk, he would rather Freed not be involved. He knew Freed's head was still lost in a high, and he wanted to keep him there for as long as possible. He waited as Freed reluctantly left to the garage. When finally they were alone, he said, "Yes, sir?"

"Was it dom-drop?" The question was whispered, although they were alone, yet it sounded like genuine concern for him.

Laxus shook his head. "It was something more. Forgive me if I don't wanna talk about it." He hoped that was not rude, but still firm enough to shut down any prying.

"You two worked it out, right?"

"For the moment." Laxus smiled to himself. "I think it's gonna work out."

Llewellyn was quiet, considering another question, looking distasteful to ask, but knowing he needed to say something. "About what we talked about a while back … at the club."

Laxus looked over sharply. At the club? That was when he asked for Llewellyn's blessing.

The man's eyes looked up coldly. "Are you still thinking about that?"

Laxus could not hold back a slight smile. "Yes, sir. In fact, we talked about it."

Llewellyn jolted and shouted, "You proposed?"

"No, we just … talked … about the possibility."

"And?" he asked on edge.

"It's something we both agree we're not ready for at this time, but something we both want. Some day. Eventually."

He sank and looked aside. "I see."

Laxus heard the regret in those two words, and his eyes narrowed. "Will that be a problem, sir?"

Llewellyn shook his head at how ridiculous it was to want the best for his son and wish for his lifelong happiness, but also want Laxus to return to him. "Yeah, it would be, but only for me. It won't be a problem for my son," he guaranteed.

"I guess that's the best I can ask for." Laxus looked out, wishing Freed would hurry with the car. The atmosphere was horribly awkward. Yet as a minute ticked by, he looked over at the business CEO. "Sir, if you don't mind me asking a personal question. Have you found another dom?"

Llewellyn choked up, to be asked that by the dominant he enjoyed the most. He had to gulp before answering. "Actually, not at the moment."

"I know a few. They're discrete, professional, they probably charge more than I did, but I think you need it, if only so you can let go of me and let Freed be happy."

Llewellyn hated to admit it, but that stung. Laxus really wanted him to give up, and although he kept trying to be mature about this, although he wanted his son's happiness, although he tried really hard to support these two, he knew that he had not yet surrendered that lingering hope of Laxus returning. He needed to get over it, and that meant finding a new person to be his dominant. As much as it hurt, Laxus was trying to help him out.

"That's … generous of you." He still felt miserable and ashamed of himself for clinging onto fantasies like this.

"I'll give you a few names."

"Laxus? Um … Freed didn't tell me everything, but he did mention a little, something about … I was a substitute for your father?"

Laxus flinched with old memories that now brought up disgust. "Damn, he told you that, huh?"

Llewellyn twisted his hands together. "If I … helped you work through any issues … I'm glad."

Laxus looked down in shock. "Wha-!" Glad? He thought any client would feel cheated and used, to know what he did, why he did it, and that it truly meant nothing emotionally.

However, Llewellyn had an understanding face. "We all have our issues. I had my own, which is what led me to BDSM after years of vanilla marriage. I have to admit, you helped me get through some of that."

"O- … -kay?" He had no idea what that meant, and he figured he probably did not want to pry. "I hope that's good."

"So, if I in any way helped you … at least that's a little bit of a legacy, right?" he said wistfully.

Laxus was not sure if he liked the idea of Llewellyn leaving a legacy in his life. That wasn't how it worked, but he figured that in order for this man to give up, he had to think there was a purpose to all those years, beyond his own sexual needs. So he opted to agree if it would help Llewellyn to move on.

"Yeah, sure."

Llewellyn looked satisfied with that. "Whatever is the issue with your father, I hope it resolves itself soon, and I hope it never leads to something like this again."

"I won't let it," Laxus muttered, tapping his foot as he waited impatiently for Freed.

"Good." Llewellyn walked in front of Laxus, and although he had to look up at the blond, the harshness in his face was instantly terrifying. "Because I don't ever want to come home and see my son crying in front of me again."

Laxus took a step back at the rage in those eyes. Holy shit! He had not really thought about it until that moment, but he made not just his boyfriend cry, but the son of an extremely powerful and wealthy man.

Llewellyn showed all the rage of a protective father. "I. Will. Hurt. You. Do I make myself clear, Laxus Dreyar?"

His low voice sent shivers through the blond, and he stuttered, "Y-yes, sir."


Laxus turned aside, shaken by how much fear this man could instill with just a look and a few words. He rubbed his face as his teeth felt like chattering. "Shit…"

"You only knew the submissive," Llewellyn warned. "You have no idea how sadistic I can be in the business world, and how protective I am over my children, the lengths I've gone to so I could shield them and make sure they had happy, perfect childhoods. I will warn you only once. Don't you ever make my son cry like that again, or I will make you regret it."

Laxus had no doubt he would, too. "If I ever do make him cry, you have my permission to hurt me in any way you feel worthy."

"I'll remember that," he said lowly. "Oh, and Laxus."

"Y-yes?" he asked hesitantly, worried what more there might be.

Llewellyn's voice went right back to his normal tone. "Did you already have plans for Freed's birthday?"

Birthday? Wait, what? His birthday? Was it coming up? "I … n-no."

"Good. The family is throwing a surprise party. I want you in on it." He pulled out his wallet and withdrew two tickets, handing them to Laxus. "Make it seem like you're simply taking him to the theater, and we'll all be waiting. Even Liberty is flying back for it."

He stared down at the tickets to the opera house. "Oh. Right." His mind was still reeling. Birthday?

"Well, I'll see you at the Magnolia Opera House. Keep hushed about it for Freed, understand? Ah! There he is." He strode down the staircase to the drive circle.

Laxus shoved the tickets into his pocket, not heeding if they got a little bent. He tried to shake off the fear Llewellyn had instilled, but that man seriously did have a way of letting his presence linger. Laxus stepped past him and into the waiting Corvette.

"Freed, drive safely," Llewellyn called out through Freed's rolled-down window. "Visit once in a while, and don't be late to work on Monday. You have that meeting."

"Yes, Father." Llewellyn returned to the porch, and Freed rolled up the window. He glanced over as Laxus buckled his seatbelt. "Um, are you okay?"

"Y-yeah. Why?" He cringed that his voice was still unsteady.

Freed eyed him worriedly. "You're really pale, and I haven't even started driving." He glanced back to the porch and to Llewellyn waving them goodbye. "What did he say?"

Laxus scowled at himself. "Just some words of fatherly advice." He reached over and laid a hand on Freed's thigh, giving it a squeeze. "Freed, I'm not shitting around: if I fuck up and you're ready to cry, beat the hell out of me."

"Wha- … No!"

"Trust me, it's better than what's awaiting me."

Freed's mouth dropped. "What the hell did he say to you?"

Laxus shook his head. "Let's go home. You won't have to worry. I'm not going to make you sad ever again."

Freed pouted as he put the issue aside. He knew his father well enough. Intimidation was a tactic he had perfected. "Well, you better not!" he said haughtily.

"Heh! Yeah." He thought to himself, Too scared to do that!

As Freed drove, Laxus peeked at the tickets. They were for Les Misérables in two weeks. Was that Freed's birthday?

He realized, he had never bothered to ask when Freed's birthday was. Here he was, thinking about a life-long commitment, and he did not even know the date of his birth!

Definitely he and Freed had a ways to go. It was too soon.

But some day. Eventually.

Laxus hid the theater tickets and turned up the flute music already playing. He settled in, ready for the long and sick drive back home.

Next Chapter: "One Day More"

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