Gajeel didn't know he had gotten into this mess, but he didn't really give a shit.
One second he had been sitting in his dorm, headphones and glasses on as he tried to power through an essay about the dangers of bias in media that was due in two weeks, and the next thing he knew his fucking living space was being overrun by his dumbass cousin and his friends.
Not that they weren't also Gajeel's friends, but at the time of Gray and Loke throwing open his door and pulling in a confused Natsu clutching an apathetic Happy, they were decidedly not on Gajeel's favourite people list. Loke had been dramatically bitching about the unfairness of Natsu's alcohol tolerance. Gray had been demanding Gajeel disprove Natsu's obvious lie. Happy had meowed at Lily and remained limp in Natsu's arms.
It was a clusterfuck.
And that was before Cobra and Laxus had come out of his room, half dressed and pissed at the interruption.
Now though, Gajeel was sitting on the chair Laxus had stolen from the engineering lounge, recording his dumbass cousin for both blackmail and Lucy.
"No, of course Lily, Acacia gum is the much better binder, but dextrin is so much easier to get and cheaper! But then if you want the colours of strontium or sodium to stand out more then you'll need a twenty-five - seventy-five mix too-" he continued on, signs sloppy and never fully finishing before moving onto the next word, Gajeel only following along because he had grown up with the dipshit. Happy and Lily sat in front of where he had ended up cross-legged on the floor, fully immersed in tracking Natsu's flailing movements.
"What the fuck is he even saying?" Loke asked, half sprawled in Gray's lap and their feet somehow not mangled for landing in Cobra's lap. They were nursing a beer, having called it quits after four and refusing to take part in the shots Gray had all but shoved down Natsu's throat. Gajeel would fear for his cousin's liver if he wasn't half convinced the idiot was indestructible. He was quietly proud that Natsu wasn't dead after nearly twelve shots of fire whiskey and a half dozen beers, but fuck if he wasn't the drunkest Gajeel had ever seen him.
"I 'unno," Gray slurred, just as entranced with Natsu's signing as the cats, "but I think it's givin' me dizzy."
"That's 'cus you tried to match him shot for shot you idiot," Laxus said flatly. Cobra was tucked under his arm, and Gajeel knew he was only pretending to be pissy about having people in his dorm. For as much as a bitch-face that Laxus had, he was more comfortable with people around, even if that was drunk-off-their asses college brats.
"Oh," Gray said, nodding to himself at Laxus' wise words.
Gajeel snorted, focusing back on Natsu with his phone. He was doing that thing where he made odd noises, as if he were trying to speak every fifth word, Gajeel thrown back to when they were twelve and Natsu was trying to explain that there was a cat stuck in a tree root system but couldn't think of the words over the racing of his thoughts. Not that Gajeel had been able to focus on anything other than how bloody his hands were, Gajeel finally understanding when Natsu had eventually dragged him to the spot where he had been trying to dig through the thorny brambles around the crying kitten.
A kitten that would grow up to be the one in front of him today. And the one that pounced on Natsu's hands, gnawing on his knuckle as Natsu fell backward with a loud squawk. Cobra and Loke burst out into laughter, Gray slow as he processed what was happening and Laxus cracking a grin. Natsu gave up his debate over firework internal workings to play with his cat, cooing happily when Lily jumped into the fray, chewing on a piece of Natsu's hair.
"Lucy's gonna love this," Gajeel mumbled. And if Lucy loved it, then she'd definitely show it to her friends. Which included Levy. Not that Gajeel cared what Shrimp thought of him, except she sent the cutest emojis in the weirdest fucking way…
Gajeel grunted, phone falling from his hand by the heavy weight that crashed over his shoulders. He glared at the sly grin Cobra shot him, trying to be as intimidating as he could before his pseudo-cousin could open his dumbass mouth.
"You that desperate to talk to her that you'd manipulate poor little Bunny Girl with pictures of Pinky and the cats?" Cobra teased. Gajeel shoved his hand in his face, pushing him away with a curse. Cobra snapped at his hand, sneering as he slunk back to the sofa and resumed his place under Laxus' arm. Gajeel shared a look with his roommate, silently asking why he had to fuck someone that was a certifiable sociopath. Laxus shrugged in a way that Gajeel interpreted as 'the dick's good'.
"Oi, is Natsu gonna like, die, 'cus I don't need that on my conscious or college record," Loke called. Gajeel snorted again, picking up his phone and tucking it in his pocket.
"Nah, but he ain't gonna be happy tomorrow I can tell you fuckers that."
Loke made a face at Gajeel, their glasses half smushed into their face but doing nothing to fix it. Loud snoring filled the room, Gajeel turning back to where Natsu laid flat on the floor. Lily pawed at one of the piercings in Natsu's upper ear, a dangly star that he had stolen from Lucy's jewelry store. Happy curled on Natsu's chest, nose to his chin.
Gajeel groaned as he stood up. Natsu would have to pay him back for this through begging and doing his science req homework for a month, all semester if the dipshit threw up in his bed.