Laxus lost his father when he was eleven years old; he lost his mother even younger—so young he barely remembered her at all. It was supposed to be traumatic, but all he felt was numb.
It wasn’t that Laxus didn’t love his father—he really did. His dad was a Fairy Tail mage, and so was Laxus, and so was Laxus’ grandfather, who was the guild master himself. His entire family was Fairy Tail, and since his dad was a powerful mage, he was often gone. Laxus often asked if he could come with his dad on jobs, but he would usually get brushed off. “When you’re older,” Ivan would say, or, “if you get stronger.”
He understood. As a little kid, he always understood, even if he didn’t like it. His dad was an amazing, powerful mage, always on dangerous and awesome missions, and Laxus was tiny and scrawny and weak. He would only hold his dad back. So he happily stayed at the guild with Gramps and watched the other mages and dreamed of getting stronger.
It was true: he was weak. Even when he tried and tried and tried, Laxus could not produce magic. His dad said that it was because he was sick, which must be true, because his family was full of powerful magic, but Laxus was not. His dad told him he would find a cure, though, so Laxus always had hope that one day, he could be a real Fairy Tail mage.
The day came, but it was nothing like Laxus imagined.
His father summoned him and said he had a solution—a cure. It was his dream come true. All Laxus had to do was go somewhere private for the operation, because his dad didn’t want other people’s magic to affect the lacrima in a bad way. It made sense. The place his dad found was definitely out of the way, but it was lonely and a little creepy. Laxus wondered if it was abandoned.
That was the last concrete thing Laxus remembered—the last words he ever remembered his father saying, although Laxus doubted those were the last he said. Everything went white. It hurt so badly and Laxus could barely breathe. He tasted lightning and it wriggled up his throat and into his chest like fire, and that was the first time Laxus was scared of magic.
In hindsight, everything was a fever dream. His brain shut most of it out—but he does remember the doctor. The doctor and his stormy, Not-Human eyes.
The same eyes Laxus saw in the mirror some days, but not every-day. It happened rarely enough that Laxus wasn’t sure if he was imagining it or not—but then he would have a hard workout, or a tough mission, or just a random flare of magic, and his tongue would bleed and his mouth felt sharp and the colors changed somehow, and Laxus knew that if he could see himself it would be different.
He didn’t know how he should feel about it. Gramps didn’t want to talk about it—what happened—so Laxus never asked.
He asked Porlyusica instead, when he was thirteen.
When the Incident first happened, it was her that told him his dad was dead. She didn’t bother skirting around the subject like Gramps did, but then, his dad was Gramps’ kid, so it was natural that he would be sad too. Laxus was grateful for all the care that his grandfather gave him, but he was resigned to the fact that he was busy, and even if he wasn’t, he didn’t want to talk about it. Yeah, it was frustrating, but Laxus barely wanted to talk about it either.
Because Laxus had his theories.
He couldn’t control the surge of magic that awakened in him that day all that well, especially soon after—especially the moment it happened. He vaguely recalled the doctor telling him it was a miracle he survived, and when Laxus saw the scar over his eye and on his chest, he was inclined to believe him, even if the scars didn’t hurt him now. Enough of the pain still laced his memory.
His dad had been right next to him when the lightning came.
His dad was strong, but he wasn’t a light or a lightning mage, and lightning hurt.
Laxus had always wondered. Feared.
Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore, and the young teen made his way to the grumpy medic’s cabin alone. There was a large possibility his questions would go unanswered, but it was either her or the doctor that buried his dad—hid the body from him. He knew where the grave was; if he cared about his sanity more than his dad’s resting peace, Laxus might have been tempted to dig it up, just to see, but the thought never even occurred to him two years ago.
Laxus spent a few days with her recovering, and then every time his magic lost control, he would go see her again. It had been a while, but he had spent enough time in her presence to know that she was straightforward.
She only just opened her door before the question blurted out. “Did I kill Dad?”
Laxus took pride in how well he kept things together, deep in his chest—like his dad, like Gramps. His eyes stung then, though.
Porlyusica stared at him, then ushered him inside with a long but relieving sigh. “No.”
“How can you be so sure?” he accused. She wasn’t the lying type, but she could be secretive.
He was so fucking tired of secrets.
“The man who tended to you that night—it was him that killed Ivan. He told me when he brought you here.”
The fight left him, but confusion remained. The doctor? He was a healer, though, and his dad was a powerful mage. But… Laxus wasn’t sure if it was true, or if his memory betrayed him, but there was something strange about the doctor, with his sharp eyes and sharper teeth. His strong hands and wild hair, even if his touch had been gentle at the time. A dragon slayer, the doctor called himself. If he succeeded in killing his dad, he had to have been powerful, and he said that Laxus was a ‘dragon slayer’ too. Laxus didn’t know what the meant, but it could mean that he would be strong as well. He felt guilty at the flash of excitement that thought gave him.
“Does Gramps know?”
“No, but I’m sure he suspects it. Makarov still sees his son the way he wants to, so who am I to ruin that?”
Laxus bristled. “But…if that man murdered Dad, shouldn’t we do something about it?!”
Porlyusica pinched the bridge of her nose. “He wasn’t malicious when he killed Ivan, I’m sure. He thought Ivan was hurting you, and he acted impulsively. One can argue that he was right or wrong, but what is done is done.”
“But…Dad wouldn’t hurt me…”
As the words left his mouth, his conviction wavered. Illegal dragon lacrima, that doctor had said. And weren’t dragons dangerous? Evil? Extinct, purportedly. There was also the fact that his dad had gotten that lacrima in the first place. If it was to protect Laxus, he didn’t doubt that his dad would do whatever he had to, legal or not, but the insertion caused Laxus more pain than not, even if he was stronger.
It was enough to create that glimmer of doubt.
Porlyusica left abruptly, somewhere in his brief retrospection, and she came back with a piece of paper she pressed into his hand. On it was directions scribbled in terrible handwriting that Laxus didn’t recognize to be Porlyusica’s, and with it, a description of the building Laxus remembered.
“If you want to know so badly, go back there,” she said. “You probably won’t like what you find though, so don’t come crying back to me.”
Laxus went. He was thirteen and desperate and curious, so he used the sloppy directions to find the impossible to find hideout. He found the hidden rooms. The dusty office.
Laxus was thirteen when every perception he ever had about his father shattered.
He learned to embrace his magic. Lightning felt natural to him now, regardless of the scars that reminded him of how unnatural the awakening of that magic was. When he was fourteen, he got a tattoo to cover the wicked scar on his chest; Gramps was mad he did it without permission, but Laxus did it with his own money, so it didn’t matter. The matter got dropped, and they moved on. He left the scar on his eye though. It was shaped like a lightning bolt, and Laxus liked the way kids in Magnolia or towns he went to for jobs squealed in delight at how it matched his magic. It did look pretty awesome.
Laxus barely knew anything about his magic, though. He had to look it up in damn libraries, and even then, the information was unhelpful. Dragon slayer magic did in fact exist, but sources only ever talked about how it was used to kill dragons—apparently the beasts were nigh untouchable without it. They didn’t talk about how sometimes Laxus grew sharp teeth or craved crackling foods with an intensity he could never satisfy, or how he could see and smell and hear things better than he could before.
Bickslow helped him research, but most of what they learned was by trial and error. It was fine. That’s how most people learned their magic, though most people didn’t have the crazy side effects. Bickslow was a good help to keep him relatively sane.
He came across the other teen when he was fourteen and on a job. Bickslow was just a year younger, but even without asking, Laxus knew that Bickslow was no stranger to possessing odd magic. How they met was evidence enough—although both Laxus and Bickslow were more than happy enough to never speak of that again.
So yes, Laxus was a capable Fairy Tail mage and he could handle the uncertainty, because magic was full of it. But he did really, really want to figure out why he got those weird cravings.
New members of Fairy Tail came all the time, though there did seem to be an influx of younger ones lately. Laxus didn’t mind. Some of them were rowdy, but some really did seem to be good mages, and that’s all that really mattered.
When he was sixteen, however, the newest member of Fairy Tail threw him in for a loop, because Natsu claimed that he, too, was a dragon slayer.
The eleven-year-old was confident about it, too. He was a fire mage, though, so his magic was different from Laxus’ own, and it was hard to tell what made him a dragon slayer just like Laxus could barely tell about himself. But Natsu also had sharp canines that were there all the time, and he heard the same far-off noises Laxus did.
Laxus didn’t approach Natsu immediately. Truthfully, he was a little scared—scared of the answer, or of being disappointed, Laxus didn’t know, because Natsu also said ridiculous things like being raised by a dragon, so he wasn’t ready to put his faith in him just yet.
He did get a big clue a few months after, although Laxus scarcely knew what to make of the information.
Natsu was slumped over one of the tables, looking generally irritable. “I’m hungry,” he grumbled.
Lisanna was perched next to him, still the ever cheerful one. She was the quickest to warm up to the guild of the siblings, and she and Natsu also hit it off pretty quickly, and the otherwise aggressive fire mage lightened up some himself. “We could order something from the menu,” she suggested.
“No, not that.” Then he looked up at Laxus, noticing him enter the guild for the first time. “Hey! Laxus! Can you make some lightning?”
While Laxus was still trying to process the bizarre request, Lisanna smacked him lightly on the head. “Lightning is not fire,” she chastised, apparently aware of Natsu’s reasoning. Laxus wasn’t the only one clueless, however; several guild members looked on with befuddlement.
“Yeah, but it’s close, right?”
Lisanna frowned. “I don’t think so… Oh! Look, how about that torch. I know how to start a fire!”
The seventeen-year-old watched, bemused, as the two kids made the effort to make a fire without Natsu’s magic.
And then he ate it.
Straight through the mouth, Natsu inhaled fire like it was air. “Oh yeah! I’m all fired up now!”
“You…” Laxus watched for any signs of injury, but there was none. “You ate fire.”
Natsu titled his head like he was the crazy one. “Yeah, ‘cause I’m a dragon slayer.”
“Igneel said that’s what dragon slayers do—eat fire.”
That…couldn’t be right. Laxus wasn’t fireproof, he was very sure. “Why though? Did…Igneel say?”
Natsu furrowed his brow like he was having trouble remembering. Which wasn’t a surprise, because if food wasn’t involved, Natsu didn’t remember a lot of things. “I dunno.” He shrugged. “But it gives me magic, and it tastes great.”
Gramps would have lost his mind, so Laxus made the calculated decision not to inform him of his theory just yet. He would have only stressed, or worse, disregarded the theory entirely. It was fine, though, because Laxus was used to doing things on his own.
So he told Bickslow instead.
Bickslow watched as Laxus choked on his own lightning and coughed for ten minutes. At least he stopped laughing five minutes after. It was embarrassing.
“Wait.” Laxus remembered a glaring detail, and he felt dumb for not realizing it sooner. “Natsu didn’t make the fire.”
Bickslow tilted his head, ever expressionistic even with a helmet covering half his face. “What’s that got to do with— oh, you think the source matters?”
“He said it gave him magic. He can’t create more magic for himself by making it.”
“Oh, that’s a good point.” Bickslow grinned. “Do you need to stand on a weathervane and wait for a storm next? That’d be fun.”
“You’re right, that sounds stupid,” Laxus sighed. “It was worth a try though.”
It was one of the bigger solo jobs he took when he discovered how it worked. He didn’t think it would be so big when he accepted it, but the challenge was fine—preferred, even. Things did get dicey though. When Laxus got ambushed by a bunch of mercenaries, he even wished he had brought someone else along, like Bickslow, or even Cana.
That didn’t matter though, because Laxus was alone, but Laxus would prevail. He liked to think that he remembered the theories about dragon slayer magic when he faced that opposing mage’s lightning attack dead on, but truth was, he didn’t. He acted only out of lack of defense and some primal instinct.
He ate lightning for the first time that day, and it was invigorating. Laxus wiped the floor with the rest of the mercenaries, and he was left wondering how he had ever felt alive beforehand.
Laxus was seventeen when he saw the doctor again, against all odds. The man was there, in the guild hall, with Natsu beside him and a new scent to his person as the proud fire mage almost tried to hide behind the intimidating doctor.
The doctor—Acnologia, he said his name was—did indeed have a dangerous aura, more so than Laxus remembered as a child, despite the fact that Laxus couldn’t seem to sense or measure the extent of his magic. Regardless, Laxus intrinsically knew he was dangerous.
And yet, Laxus wanted nothing more than to demand answers. Beg, even, if he had to. He was inextricably drawn to the man as much as he would have been content never seeing him again. However, the fact that this Acnologia was his only source of information won, and one faltered confrontation later, Laxus was running out of the guild despite Gramps’ confused yelp and chasing after the incredibly fast man.
Eventually, Acnologia allowed him to catch up.
He was surprisingly patient, even as Laxus vacillated between wanting to hate him and wanting to put his hope in him. Though the truth was, Laxus had already come to terms with the fact that his father didn’t love him—at least, not as much as a father should. His death wasn’t a tragedy anymore, just a fact. Still, Laxus was uncomfortable with the fact that he was murdered by a stranger who also saved his life. It didn’t make sense.
Laxus just wanted to know why. He wanted to know why fate chose him to toy with, but he was content knowing what he could get his hands on. Anything would help fill this hole in his chest.
He never imagined, after that encounter, even after the promise of training, that he would gain solidarity.