We Are Young

24 Jun 2015
Part 1 of We Are Young

They’re teenagers, they’re young and they can worry about love and life.

A collection of character and relationship-centric, interrelated stories about some students of Fairy Gakuen.

Teen (13+)
Chapters: 23
Words: 377,513

We Are Young

Chapter 8
Little Things


..aka “Gray Likes Dolphins Now”

Chapter Notes:

This was late because both me and my beta were busy but LOOK AT THE WORD COUNT, GUYS!

Yep, this chapter is Gruvia and it’s 9000+ words long. I salute the shippers. Gray and Juvia were so much fun to write.

And this chapter is very fluffy. And romantic. And it centers on Gray — it deals with his expression issues. Because let’s face it, we all just want him to scoop Juvia up in his arms and give her the kiss of her life.

So here you go…

Track 08: Little Things
..aka “Gray Likes Dolphins Now”

I won’t let these little things slip out of my mind
but if I do, it’s you — oh, it’s you they add up to.”
— One Direction


Cana knew that it would happen sooner or later, although she never expected it to happen so randomly.

She just started the shower when she heard Gray’s call: “Cana?”

The brunette expected it to maybe be something like ‘Will you be in there long?’ or ‘Is there still shampoo? ’Cause I’m going out and maybe we should buy a new one.’ or even ‘I left my clothes in there, didn’t I?’

She simply answered “What?” while she reached for the soap.

“Do you think Juvia is getting tired of me?”

Gray, working on an ice sculpture in the counter, was left with silence.



After a quick dash to the convenience store across the street, Gray returned and handed the newly-bought soap to his roommate. Cana took it moodily before slamming the bathroom door to his face.“Sorry. That was random.” he said, scratching his head.Cana sighed. “You left your pants in the convenience store.”“SHI— Hey, I didn’t! I still have them on!”

Cana laughed heartily at him before running the shower again. Gray sighed and took out the half-finished ice sculpture that he hurriedly shoved in the freezer when he had to run. He started to work on it again. Ice sculpting was a hobby he picked up when he lived with his late Aunt Ur and his cousin Ultear. The hobby earned him a bunch of nicknames but he could live with that — it was cool and when he won competitions, it brought extra cash.

He was working silently when Cana, above the sounds of the shower, called, “Oi, Fullbuster!”

Gray scoffed, focused on his work. “What is it, Alberona?”

“Bastard.” Cana chuckled. “Anyways, about your question…”

“Forget about it it; I was being crazy.”

“Do you really love Juvia?”

Gray thought that Cana was being silly, asking that. “Of course I do!”

But he had to admit that he only gave her a straight answer because she was not in front of him. “It’s just… well, she’s been calling and texting and clinging less.”

He didn’t see Cana’s smirk.

“Well, I could see where she’s coming from.”

Gray’s hands paused from their work shortly, then immediately resumed their activity. “What do you mean?”

“You don’t appreciate her enough, is what I mean. Ya know, Juvia was here a few days ago cooking dinner and who ate it? Me! And Gildarts! Don’t you like her cooking? I think it’s god-tier!”

Gray didn’t know that Cana conveniently chose not to talk about her conversation with Juvia and the bluenette’s worries. Cana had promised Juvia that she wouldn’t tell Gray anything about it.

“Are you kidding, her cooking’s the best!” Gray shouted back, glaring hard at his sculpture. It was going from bad to worse in his opinion. “I was just out with the guys!”

“When was your last night-out? Just the two of you?”

“It’s not that easy when I’m busy with work, and when I have free time, the guys ask me out and practically just pull me with ’em…”

“Ask for a day-off, geez!”

“Hey, I talk to her at school and I text her every night—”

“How long have you been doing that?”

Gray looked at the bathroom door as if it was asking very irrelevant questions. Well, the person inside the room was being really vague… “Well, since we started dating, I’ve been doing it — that’s what anyone would do, dammit, Cana.”

“Gray, just take Juvia out and show her that the relationship is going somewhere. If you keep doing the same things, it gets boring. It’ll look like you don’t wanna… go forward.”

“I’d try if I knew what to do.”

“Well at the very least, try expressing your feelings. You’re such an ice king! You should melt a little!”

Gray shrugged a little too uneasily. “I’m the listening type, not the talking type! What’s got into you, preaching on me like this? You don’t understand, you’re not even in a relationship—”

He heard a huff. “At this point I will never have one, because Gildarts will shoot anyone who even tries to flirt.”

“I thought you were going out with Hibiki.”

“You thought, Gray. You thought.”


“Dude. Dude, who the hell do you hear this stuff from?”

“How about Bacchus? You were drinking toge—”

“If you ever mention the name of that bastard one more time in my presence, you’re going to hell. NOBODY OUTDRINKS ME! We’re talking about you here! So no more of my rumored exes!”

Gray sighed in defeat because he knew that when Cana started a goddamn sermon, he’d just better listen. “My point is that what you’re telling me to do is easier said than done.” He heard the shower going off.

“You don’t know how to ask her out? Man, tell her to jump off a cliff and she will. Just saying.”

Gray heard the bathroom door opening. Without looking, he knew that Cana was then standing by the doorway in just her towel. “Stop talking about her like that.”

“Gray, just invite her out. Have dinner on a nice place. Heck, eat a parfait at Mira’s. Juvia will die of happiness from just that.”

“Yeah, right— FUCK.” He cursed, catching Cana’s attention. He looked disappointedly at his failed ice sculpture. “This is the fifth time tonight.”

“What are you making?” she asked. She wasn’t always interested in his work but she liked to tease him when he failed.

“A rose.” Gray pouted, poking lifelessly at his work. “Goddamn I hate sculpting flowers.”

“Why a rose of all things— OH, IS IT FOR JUVIA?” Cana said, sounding a little more enthusiastic.

Gray huffed. “No, of course not.” — Because it was really not for his girlfriend. He was doing it for kicks. An exercise, since it has been a while since he last made something. They just happened to talk about Juvia while he was sculpting.

Cana clucked her tongue. “Shit, Gray. A frozen rose. It’s cold and it melts. Your love is cold and your love melts? Way to go, bro.”

Gray thought that it wasn’t his love that was cold nor his love that would melt. It was him. “No, look at it this way. I’m cold but she melted me.”


“Alright, that wasn’t cool.” he said quickly. “Totally not cool. That was hideous. Not cool. Forget I said that. IT SUCKS.”

“It does.” Cana said, proceeding to grab the hair drier and plug it in the socket.

“This isn’t even for her!”

“Yeah, right.” — her all-knowing chuckle annoyed him too much. How did she even get him to make this conversation about a girl? He was practicing his sculpting and THEN Cana turned it all on him. The wonders of his flatmate and her conversation skills.

He simply groaned, holding his head in his hands. “I didn’t even intend to make any metaphors out of this! Cana, just please mind your own business?”

“Hai, hai!” Cana answered loudly above the sound of her blow-drying her hair.

The sculptor took another block of ice and started over. After a few minutes, he heard his companion call him again, “Hey, Gray?”


“It really does suck, your metaphor.”

“Shut up, it’s not a metaphor! Never intended to be a fucking metaphor, arrrrrgggggh.” — then after a beat, “Shut up, whatever you’re going to say, I’m trying to focus.”

Gray knew that Cana, for all her hard-working femme fatale act, was actually a really big bully.


“Shut it.”

“I was just about to say that you’re more naked than me.”


“…and I’m only wearing a towel.”

The next day, he accepted Juvia’s homemade lunch with a smile because that was the least he could do. Juvia, as usual, blushed and said that cooking for Gray-sama with love made her happy.The previous night’s so-called “heart-to-heart” with Cana made Gray come up with a conclusion. Well, he didn’t really need to come up with it because his best friend said it outright:“You have expression issues, Gray. If you’re in love then say THE word. And mean it.”Gray never believed in “saying the word”; he thought that it was just a word but he also knew it meant so much more than people thought. Maybe that was why he never believed in it in the first place — it was because he always knew it wouldn’t be enough. Saying it always meant less than actually meaning it. Gray lived by that.

Besides, everyone used that word so loosely. On that particular day, he couldn’t help but note how easily people said it

“I bet he’s totally in love with you.” — he heard Levy marvel about the Jellal guy that they had been bugging Erza about for weeks. Gray glanced at the girls. They were all talking excitedly about the little charm that dangled from Erza’s phone. It was a little red rose, its color matching Erza’s hair perfectly.

He really found it hard to believe that someone had been brave enough to ask Erza out, but from what Juvia told him when he asked, the guy was a childhood friend.

‘Oh well’, Gray thought, looking lazily at Erza who was mumbling incoherently and blushing as the girls talked excitedly about the little present. ‘If Erza’s happy, we’re all good. If the guy makes her cry, though, I’ll make sure he survives me only just enough to be alive to take on what Natsu has in store for him.’ She was one of his best friends and even though she kicked his ass regularly, Gray loved Erza.

From her conversation with the girls, Lucy noticed him looking, and the blonde gave him her signature bright smile. Gray smiled back because it was Lucy: one of their newest but one of the best. She talked too much and was kind of annoying at times but hell, for someone so rich, she was humble and fun and she was the only girl besides Erza who was able to make Natsu step back from a fight and that was saying something. So, taking “the word” loosely like everybody did, Gray admitted that he loved Lucy too for what little time she’d been with them so far.

“Gray, you grew up with us too! Did you know Jellal-san when we were kids?” Levy asked him when she also noticed him watching them.

Gray shrugged, indulging the girls and their chitchat. It wasn’t every day that you saw them giggling over ERZA’s love life of all things. “Nah, and Cana didn’t know, either.”

Of course Gray loved Levy too. Who wouldn’t love smart and witty but immaculately kind and down-to-earth Levy McGarden?

“Jellal-san sounds like such a nice person…” Juvia sighed, looking dreamily at the little charm that dangled from Erza’s phone. It was such a small thing but Gray guessed that for the girls — for Erza, specially — it was a big leap in the romance department. “Juvia is imagining Erza-san and Jellal-san as children and it’s just so cute and sweet…”

Levy and Lucy sighed with Juvia while Erza blushed in a shade that challenged her hair color and new phone accessory. Juvia stared back at Gray’s smug expression and the young man instantly looked away, pretending to look out the window.

Gray loved his girlfriend — he really, really did. She was this hopelessly shy, romantic and thoughtful girl who kicked his ass when they first met (goddamn, she had been fierce), and Gray would never say it out loud but she looked so cute when she blushed. And then there was her being the star of the swimming club and Gray just always tried with everything in his power to just stop his nose from bleeding whenever she rose up from the pool in her swimsuit. He wasn’t the type to dote Gildarts-style or even Natsu-style, but in all ways, Gray knew that he was hopelessly smitten. He just never really let it out before.

To put “the word” loosely and to use it so easily, Gray could say that he loved these four girls and he’d make anyone pay if any of them get hurt. It was funny that it was so easy to beat jerks to a pulp because he loved Erza and Lucy and Levy and Juvia, but it was so hard to say that to their faces.

Maybe he could tell Cana — that he loved her because she was his best friend and they’ve gone through thick and thin — but then they’d laugh at it together because she’d simply ask if he’s sick or something.

Gray was a perfectly cool friend and a decent conversation partner, but he knew, even compared to completely dense Natsu or over-the-top Elfman, he sucked at talking about feelings and… uh… ‘Stuff.’, he finished. ‘Feelings and stuff.’

“Gray-sama?” his thoughts were interrupted when Juvia’s gentle voice called him.

He looked up to see her standing in front of his desk. “Juvia. What is it?”

“Juvia just wants to say ‘thank you’ for lending Juvia Gray-sama’s pencil.” then the young woman offered Gray the pencil he lent her that morning when she couldn’t find hers. He took it from her. “Is Gray-sama alright?”

“Yeah, I’m okay. Why?” Gray said, trying to smile up at his girlfriend.

Juvia’s brows furrowed for a while. “Um, n-nothing, Gray-sama.” She paused for a beat, but as she was about to say something, someone called her.

“Juvia-chan?” They looked towards the door to see Bisca waving at the bluenette. Alzack and Cana was standing behind her. Gray knew they were all in the same class. “A moment, please?”

“It must be about the swimming club.” Juvia said, then walked over to them. Gray glanced at Cana, who was looking at him curiously.

He shrugged. ‘I’m trying, okay?’

Cana pouted. ‘Try harder!’

He sighed. ‘Why don’t you do it?’

When the brunette rolled her eyes, Gray knew she was simply telling him to get on with it soon.

Gray did what he thought made sense — he talked to Natsu. It wasn’t really sensible when he first thought about it: Natsu was as thick as his hair was pink, but thinking about the alternatives made him shiver. Cana? Too knowing, they’d end up drunk, and she had already had her turn to tell him how much he sucked. Lucy? Natsu would go with her anyway. Erza? Too busy blushing because she thought that ‘r-r-r-relationships shouldn’t be pursued at such a y-y-young age!’. Levy for some reason was occupied with helping Gajeel out with his schoolwork. Alzack and Bisca only saw each other. Makarov would be cryptic about it. Gildarts would just ask about ‘Cana-chan’. Elfman would say ‘MAN!’. And finally, talking to Mira would make the population of Magnolia matchmakers — and he will be the victim.“So,” Natsu started as he and Gray found themselves alone on the school rooftop. “How d’ya wanna go, Frosty?”“Shut up, Firecrap. I’m not here to fight.” Gray said, leaning his back against a wall and crossing his arms across his chest.“Eh? Then what’re we doing here?” Natsu asked as if Gray and him doing anything except fighting was a foreign concept.

Well, that was true.

Gray sighed then looked away, getting straight to the point. “What do you think of Juvia?”

“Wait.” Natsu blinked. “We’re talking?”

“Yeah. Finding it hard, Flame-brain?”

Natsu glared. “WANNA GO, ICE QUEEN?!”

“I’m gonna kick your a-… Shit. We’re supposed to talk.” Gray scratched his head, annoyed at his companion’s fiery temper. Natsu’s personality had always been kind of infectious.

Natsu hid his ever-present bottle of Hot Sauce in his pocket and huffed, slumping down onto the floor. “Okay, let’s talk.”

Gray, because he was ALWAYS better than Natsu, huffed too.

After a while, Natsu said, “So… Juvia?”


Natsu thought about it for several moments, then he suddenly looked up at Gray with wide eyes. “Gray, dude. Juvia’s your girlfriend. I swear, man, I don’t like her that way.”

Gray groaned. “I didn’t mean it like that. Just… just answer the question!”

Natsu thought again. After thinking, he looked up at Gray and smiled his ‘This one’s really cool’ smile. “She’s like a dolphin!”

‘Fucking metaphors. Why do people like them so much?’ Gray inwardly sighed, remembering Cana’s words the previous night. He simply looked back at Natsu and repeated what the pink-head said: “A dolphin. My girlfriend’s a dolphin.”

Natsu nodded like a good child determined to defend his creative writing homework. “Yeah, ’cause you know, she’s smart and always happy and smiling and she swims good.”

“Okay.” Gray said, as if indulging a three year-old. “But Lucy is also smart, always happy and smiling. Is she a dolphin too?”

At that, Natsu chortled. “No, Luce can’t swim for shit! I took her to the pool once and she drowned!”

Gray rolled his eyes.

“Why’d you ask me, anyway? If you’re looking for sweet stuff to say, just ask Mira for advice. Everyone goes to her.” Natsu said.

“Seeking Mira’s help has consequences.”

“Eh… what?”

“Nothing. How’s Lucy?”

Natsu raised an eyebrow. “Luigi? She’s fine. Weren’t you talking to ’em a while ago?”

“No. I mean how’re you and Lucy?”

Natsu looked lost. Gray should have known. “I’m… fine. Lucy’s fine. We’re fine, me and Lucy. Thanks for asking. Wait, what the hell kinda questions are ya askin’, Gray?”

“I mean, you-…” Gray started, then quickly groaned and just said, “Come on, the whole school’s betting on when you’d get together. And I’m lucky I didn’t put in anything on the pot because it looks like Levy’s winning.”

And finally, Natsu got it. “Aha! Okay, I get it, you’re askin’ when we’re hooking up!”


“I don’t really know.” Natsu said in a tentative tone. “I mean, Luce is awesome and I love her to bits, but I really dunno.”

There it was again, Gray heard. Said so easily. The Word.

That was when he realized what Natsu just said. “Wait, did you just say that you’re almost there?”

“Again, I don’t know!” Natsu replied again, this time with a goofy smile. “I wouldn’t mind, though. It sounds cool. Lucy’s awesome.”

“What do you even mean you don’t know?”

Natsu shrugged. “It’s just like that. I think. Lucy has problems she’s dealing with so she’s kinda busy right now but who knows what’ll happen and all that shit?”

“Are you… with her-… uh-uhhh…—”

“In love with Lucy?”


“I dunno, but I love her.” Natsu shrugged. “Not ‘in love’ though — not yet. Or ever. Or never. Or sure. It’s hard! We don’t talk about this kinda stuff. We can be happy together without makin’ out, ya know. Hanging out together is fun. And yeah, before you say I’m dense, I KNOW LUCE IS A GIRL. All those frilly panties give everything away.”

“Panties.” Gray repeated, trying to confirm what he just heard.

“She likes climbing up on the ladder stuffs in the library.”

Gray shook his head and simply dismissed that as one of Natsu’s and Lucy’s weird antics again. “Never mind. You really don’t know how you feel then?”

“Why d’you care, is it because you’re planning to bet too?”

“No. You just confuse me.”, then before Natsu could reply, Gray followed up a mumbled “Greatly.”

Natsu, strangely enough, grinned in response. “But not knowing is fun!”

“What?” Gray thought about how exactly he just ended up the one confused.

“Look.” Natsu said. “Everytime I see her, I don’t know how I really feel about her or what will really happen to us or how she really feels about stuff, and it’s kind of fun. I get to be excited about what’s comin’ next because maybe she wakes up one day and loves me different. Or maybe I’ll beat her to it.”

Gray looked up at the sky and took his friend’s words in. ‘Shit’, he thought. ‘Natsu grew up when I wasn’t looking.’

“Are you having problems with Juvia?” Natsu asked. His companion inwardly sighed in relief because ‘YES, FINALLY HE GOT IT.’

Gray shrugged. “Kinda.”

“Oh, who’da thunk.” Natsu chuckled, crossing his arms behind his head and smiling impishly.

“Shut up.” Gray scoffed. When he turned to look back at Natsu, the guy was sniggering at him. “What?”

“Well, ’bout what I was saying about not knowing… It’s different with you guys.”

Gray looked at his companion. “What d’you mean?”

“Well, obviously, you know how ya feel already. Or do you? Anyways, if you’re sure about it, you should just go tell her. I mean, ever since that shitty night when Lucy came crying ’cause of her dad, I… I kinda don’t wanna let her out my sight. And I know it. And I told her that. And she was nice ’bout it. And we stick together so much nowadays ’cause of that, ’cause Lucy said it’s really nice that I’m always with her because she never feels lonely. So if you’re feeling… uh, feelings for Juvia, you oughtta tell her. She’s a nice girl, she’ll be nice about it too. I know the girls are weird — heck, Erza even got the cake-guy — but they listen well if you mean what ’ya say.”

‘How long have I been NOT looking? Where is this idiot getting all these stuff that actually make sense?’ Gray thought. “Oi.”, he said.

Natsu looked back at him. “What?”

“Say ‘love’.”

“Lo-.. Is this a trick question?”

“No. Just say it.”


“It sounds so easy.” Gray sighed.

Natsu has been shrugging a lot in the course of the conversation. Gray wasn’t used to it. “It’s just a word, Frosty.”

“The girls will kill you if they hear you saying that.”

“Well, duh — hey, I know this one line Iris told Gabriel…” Natsu rubbed his chin. Gray wondered what the hell the guy was talking about now. “That! If you can’t say it, then show it!”

“Who the hell are Iris and Gabriel?”

Natsu’s face turned serious. “Please don’t tell Lucy I read her novel. She goes all girly secretive ’bout it.”

Gray groaned. “No, shit.”

Hell, for all that Natsu had been saying about Lucy being weird, the pink-head had gotten even weirder in Gray’s eyes.

“But I’m serious, man. If you can’t say it, just show her.”

“Show her what?”

“Anything but your body, ’cause that view’s public property by now.”

A vein popped in the raven-head’s temples. “Fuck you, Flame-brain.”

“HAH! Wanna go, Ice Queen?” Natsu stood up to start the fist-fight to top all fist-fights — it wasn’t him and Gray if there weren’t a few punches involved.

Then the door suddenly opened and Lucy shouted, “Okay, time-out!”

“Awww, man!” Natsu grumbled, looking at the blonde. “Can we take care of this — whatever it is — later, Luce?”

“No. We promised Levy we’d help her out in the library today since Jet and Droy just joined the Computer Club.” Lucy said sternly. “You and Gray can ‘go’ at each other after.”

“But Lucy, Laki’s going too! Go with her, I’ll catch up—”

Lucy looked at him sternly. “Natsu, Levy wouldn’t ask for you, me and Laki if just me and Laki would suffice.”

Gray scoffed and let go of Natsu’s collar. “How’d you know we were here?”

“Really now?” Lucy raised an eyebrow, then she smirked and raised her hands, which were both clutching various articles of clothing. “With the way your clothes were scattered all over the place, I thought they were there to mark the path.”

On cue, Gray realized that he was only in his boxers and he pounced on Lucy for his clothes, ignoring Natsu’s loud laughter. The blonde hid the clothes behind her back. “Hey, those are mine!”

“Give me Natsu first.”

“He’ll never be anyone else’s, I swear!”

Lucy rolled her eyes and gave the clothes back. “Here, stripper.” She then went back inside the school building. Natsu followed right after her, still laughing at Gray.

Natsu and Cana had both said the same thing: Say the word, or just show her.

Gray knew that he sucked at both. Cana didn’t dub him ‘Ice King’ because of the sculptures. Gray, since they were little children, had really been less expressive than his friends.

For the nine months that he had dated Juvia, he had hugged her, held her hand, or bought her stuff sometimes. But — this was the big BUT here — he had never kissed her. Never, not even on the cheek or the forehead, or the hand.

Gray hated himself for not being good at saying AND showing.

After school, Gray had still not come up with anything good to make up to Juvia.His best plan was to make things up as they went — it wasn’t really that much of a plan, but he decided to just go with it.The ‘impromptu-idea’ method had helped him win ice sculpting competitions a number of times in the past. ‘Yeah.’ Gray decided. ‘What happens, happens.’For that to really work though, he needed to make sure of one thing — that he could make time to spend with Juvia alone.

He dropped by the Student Council Office first to find Lucy, and was politely instructed to look for the blonde in the FairyGaku track field.

He found Lucy there, standing on one side of the large field that the school used for sports events. The blonde was still in her school uniform, doing cheerleading moves as she listened to the music from her mp3 player. She paused to change her routine from time to time. Gray didn’t want to bother her too much so he sat on the top-row bleachers and waited for another five minutes until the blonde took out her player, pressed a button, and then sat on the nearest bleacher to catch her breath. Lucy had her back turned to him so she didn’t notice when Gray silently stepped over the bleachers to come up behind her.

She gasped lightly when he covered her eyes.

He didn’t say ‘Guess who?’ — that would have given it away.

“Alright, who’s this?” Lucy said.

Gray frowned, withdrawing his hand and then stepping over the bleacher to sit beside her. “I thought you’d figure it was Natsu.”

Lucy smiled, laughing lightly. “Sorry, Gray, but by now I know the exact temperature of that guy’s hands and yours really don’t match. They’re cold.”

“You two are insane.” Gray remarked, shaking his head in resignation. “What’re you doing here?”

“Oh, the cheer squad asked me if I could help with this year’s regionals routine.” Lucy shrugged. “I figured it wouldn’t hurt lending them a hand.”

Gray nodded. In their second year, Lucy gained popularity mainly because she was head of the cheerleading club. She was a star then, but she didn’t come back the following year. “Why’d you quit, anyway?”

“I’m a senior. I wanted to study.” Lucy answered dutifully.

“Really?” he looked at her with a raised eyebrow.

“No.” Lucy rolled her eyes. “Dad wanted me to quit it and focus on getting to university.”


“It’s okay. I’m over it.” Lucy smiled, then looked at him. “Why’re you here, by the way? Anything I can do for you?”

“Hey, do I really just approach you whenever I need something from you?”

Lucy blinked at him, then said, with a straight face — “Yeah.”

Gray scratched his head. “Ah. Okay. Sorry. Are you mad?”

“Nope.” the blonde laughed, used to her companion’s antics. “Just shoot. If this is really important, you can count on me.”

Gray breathed deeply before saying, “It’s for Juvia.”

At that, Lucy automatically replied: “I’m in.”

The next day, he waited by the school gates until Juvia got off from swimming practice. The first to notice him was Bisca, who nudged Juvia and quickly pointed towards the gates. Gray gave a small grin and all the other swim club girls squealed and started pushing their star swimmer towards her boyfriend. They all gave excuses about going somewhere else to leave the couple alone.Juvia blushed when Gray greeted her by asking how training was.“Training was… okay.” Juvia said tentatively, blinking when Gray took her bag for her and slung both their bags over his shoulder. “D-Does Gray-sama need anything from Juvia? Gray-sama should have just sent a text. It must be troublesome waiting for the training to end…”“No, it’s fine.” Gray answered, looking down at the ground. “I… uh, really wanted to wait for you.” With that, he offered his hand and when she accepted it, he pulled her with him to walk down the street.

Juvia smiled a little at the rare sweet gesture, then furrowed her brows and asked, “Gray-sama has a part-time job at the bakery today, right?”

“Eh, it’s my day-off.” Gray quickly said.

“Yajima-san found a replacement for Fridays? Isn’t he always shorthanded, that’s why Gray-sama is the permanent Friday shift?”

Gray answered with a simple, “Natsu’s filling in today. Said he’s bored.”

“Natsu-san did?”

“Yeah. I told Yajima-san I could use a break.” Gray conveniently didn’t mention the fact that he asked Lucy to get Natsu to do it.

That was the way things worked in their circle of friends. You had to know who to ask who to ask who.

“That’s really nice of them, Gray-sama.”

“Alright,” Gray sighed. “We’ve talked about this a million times: drop the -sama.”

“But Juvia can’t get used to it!”

Gray rolled his eyes. “Gray-sama is waiting.”

“Juvia is sorry…”

Great. He had made his girl upset. He dropped her hand and instead draped his arm around her shoulder and pulled her closer. “Gray-sama is willing to wait a little longer, I guess.”

Juvia wrapped her arms around his torso and snuggled against his shoulder. “Juvia loves Gray-sama so much!” Gray laughed, then ruffled her still wet hair and led the way again. Juvia smiled at him and didn’t withdraw her arms as they walked. They were the picture of a happy couple. Normally Gray would be shy, fidgety and stiff, but he had gotten used to it. “Where are are Juvia and Gray-sama going?”

“Ah, that.” he swallowed. He forgot that he had no plans. “Where d’you wanna go?”

“Juvia doesn’t feel like staying out… Juvia is kinda tired from the training, but if Gray-sama wants to go somewhere—”

“Your flat, then.” Gray answered quickly. “Let’s just… Lemme think.” — he quickly thought of something they could do together, just the two of them, in her little flat (he prayed that Gajeel was staying out late). Gray thought that they could just watch a movie but seeing as Juvia was already tired…


“…uh, let’s do homework together?”

“Gray-sama wants to do homework together?”

“Yeah, and eat dinner. Don’t wanna tire you out just because I wanted to… um… spend some alone time?”

“Gray-s-s-sama wants… a-a-alone time?” Juvia stuttered, looking up at her boyfriend and blushing several shades of red.

Gray looked away. “Er, yeah? Don’t… Don’t you want to?” — damn, he really wasn’t any good at it.

“Juvia would love to!”

“Is Gajeel in, though?”

“Juvia will kick Gajeel out the house if Gray-sama wants her to!”

“Okay, no need to be mean,” he chuckled. “Dinner and homework?”


Gray inwardly pat himself on the back. The no-plan thing was working out fine so far.

When they reached Juvia’s flat, they found Gajeel putting his black leather boots on. “Tadaima, Gajeel-kun!” Juvia said and the Iron Dragon looked up.“Oi, Juvi. Frosty.” Gajeel grunted out roughly as he stood up and slung his bag over his shoulder.“Gajeel.” Gray nodded simply. He wasn’t close to the guy yet, but they were definitely nakama at that point in time. The guy was a big help beating up some guys in the last brawl he and Elfman and Natsu got in.“Gajeel-kun, are you going out?” Juvia asked, taking off her shoes to leave them in the shoe rack. Gray did the same.

“Yeah. Study group.”

“Study group?” Juvia blinked.

“Shortcake-.. err, Levy.”

“With Levy, Jet and Droy?” Gray asked, disbelieving. Levy he had imagined inviting the guy over because Levy was kind like that, but it was a known fact that Jet and Droy still hated Gajeel to the bone.

“No, just Levy. And… this guy Warren and some girl called Biscuit-something.”

“Bisca.” Gray and Juvia corrected at the same time.

“Yeah. That. We have a project and shorty assigned herself as tutor because the swimming girl asked her to.” Gajeel grumbled.

“Good, Gajeel-kun is making friends in his class!” Juvia said delightedly and reached up a hand to pat her roommate’s head. She barely reached his shoulder.

Gajeel quickly waved her off to save his pride. “I guess so. See ya guys around. I’m taking Lily.”

Juvia beamed at him as he grabbed the black cat and settled the feline on his free shoulder. “Take care! You too, Lily!”

Gajeel simply walked past them and then looked at Gray. “Frosty, do anything fishy to this girl and you’ll wish you were never born.” As if on cue, Lily meowed.

Gray rolled his eyes. “Yeah, man. I get it. Overprotective best friend and pet cat syndrome.”

They watched Gajeel leave before they walked in to put down their bags on the couch. Juvia quickly put on her apron and rummaged through the cupboards to start cooking dinner. Gray, realizing what his girlfriend was doing, quickly followed her and asked if he could help in any way.

“No, Gray-sama should just sit down and rest. Juvia will take care of the dinner!”

Gray frowned. “No way, I wanna do it too. I can cook decent. Uh. I can fry stuff.”

“Juvia can handle all of this herself. Juvia wants to cook something special for Gray-sama. It’s rare for Gray-sama to want time alone with Juvia.” Juvia gave him a smile that promptly made his heart melt. However, it also made his good-boyfriend-reassurance drop.

‘IT’S RARE, SHE SAID.’ Gray thought. ‘RARE.’

So no, Gray was not having that — he wanted to spend time with her so they could talk or do some other stuff. She was going to let him do stuff, whether she liked it or not — so Gray huffed and all but stomped his feet stubbornly. “I want to do something special for you too.”

It’s funny, Gray thought, that he always found it so easy to talk to Juvia when she was already with him. Just a while ago, he was thinking hard of what to say and how to say it, but right then he was blurting out statements straight from his head. He simply decided that he was the ‘in-the-moment’ kind of guy. He sucked at planning, but he was good when you left him in the situation.

Juvia looked at him with a blush on her cheeks. “G-Gray-sama…”

“Let me chop the vegetables.” he suggested. “I can do at least that.”

“U-Ummm… of course.”

Gray stepped forward and grabbed a spare apron. It was light blue with little snowflakes, probably one of Juvia’s numerous spares. She really loved cooking. He tried to properly absorb her instructions as she handed him a chopping board, a knife, and some vegetables.

He sucked at cooking. He and Cana had been living on the simplest meals if either of them were to cook. The most complicated they could get was an expensive take-out to treat themselves every now and then. Besides Juvia, Natsu was the cook in their circle of friends. It came in the family.

Nonetheless, Gray could surely manage to chop some vegetables if his girlfriend’s happiness depended on it. “Is this okay?” He asked as he finished chopping half of a cabbage.

“Thinner, maybe?” Juvia suggested, and then she turned to ready the stove and grab a casserole. Gray quickly focused on chopping thinner strips. “Um, Gray-sama, that’s a little too thin.”

“Eh?” Gray complained, looking at her, then trying to salvage the vegetables by chopping them just a bit thicker… “How the hell do you manage to do this? You’re so perfect.” — he didn’t even realize what he was saying, and Juvia smiled shyly.

“Here, let Juvia show you.” the bluenette instead took the knife from Gray’s hands and finished the job herself. Her companion watched closely, engrossed on her dainty hands doing the work. “This thin will be okay.”

‘If you can’t say it, show it.’ Gray nodded. ’You’ll understand better. Hah. Who’d have thought that moron Natsu would be right…’

“Will Gray-sama please hand Juvia the potato?” then Juvia caught him staring at her. She waved a hand in front of his face. “Gray-sama?”

Gray didn’t note the fact that he was indeed openly staring. “Say, Juvia…” he started. “Since I suck and you’re so good, will it be fine if I just… like, just hug you while you cook?”

Juvia blinked. “H-Hug?”

“Yeah.” Gray nodded, looking away, poking at the cabbage strips at the chopping board. “’Cause, um, Cana was saying the other day how you cooked for us but I missed it, and I thought, hell, uh, since we haven’t been spending time together since the, um, monthsary lunch last month… I thought, uh, if I missed your cooking then I missed you more.”

Juvia stopped chopping and looked at him with a sincere, appreciative smile. Gray didn’t expect that, too. He honestly expected her to drop her knife and then promptly faint. “Gray-sama, that’s sweet.”

Gray continued to look at the suddenly interesting vegetables. “I guess so.”

‘Yes, Gray. Keep it up. Don’t stammer. You’re the cool one here. Erza stammers. Juvia stammers. But you don’t stammer.’, and he kept repeating those statements again and again in his head.

“Gray-sama wants to hug Juvia?”

“Because I don’t know what else to do and I’ll look like an idiot if I just stare at you while you cook.”

“Hug Juvia all you want.” the swimmer said with a bigger smile this time. Gray grinned at her and then stood behind her, wrapping his arms around her torso and tucking his head on her shoulder. After a few moments, Juvia grabbed the almost-forgotten potato and started chopping again.

Gray watched closely as she worked on the vegetables, then the meat. He savored her warm body pressed against his (it was a miracle, he still had his clothes on) and his cheeks against her slightly wet hair (he liked her hair most when she wore it down after swimming club). As she worked, Juvia hummed a tune he didn’t know so he simply listened.

After a while, he said, “If you tell Cana I’m being cuddly and snuggly and shit, I’ll get mad.”

Juvia giggled.

“She’ll never let me live this down.”

“What about Gajeel-kun? Or Lucy-san or Levy-san?”

“You can tell them, I guess. But then we’ll have to kill them after.”

“Gray-sama, doesn’t want anyone to know?”

At that, Gray paused.

Juvia was finishing up her preparations and the water in the casserole was almost boiling…

He sighed. “Scratch that, feel free to shout it via the school’s P.A. I’ll survive.”

After a few minutes of silence, Gray asked, “So how was your day?” because he ran out of questions.

Juvia talked until dinner was served.

Gray knew that he wasn’t as good with telling and showing as he was with watching and listening, but he was working on it and he considered that day an improvement so far.

Before they dated, he talked to Juvia like he did any other friend of his. She was a nice girl when she wasn’t trying to kill people. She was smart and interesting and pretty… When they hung out with their friends, for some reason she turned to him for support and Gray always raised an eyebrow but helped her out anyway… like that one time she didn’t know how to play the crane game, or that one time she didn’t know how to eat a hotdog sandwich. He even found her charming and funny at times. He thought that she was a girl that boys would like to dream about.

When they began dating, Gray became more silent. It wasn’t that he found it harder to talk to her when they got together — Gray was finally admitting that it was because he was just more interested in watching and listening to her.

Yep, Gray Fullbuster admitted that he was fascinated with Juvia Lockser. So in their first months, he watched her dry her hair after swim club, do her math problems, eat her chocolate cake and drink her favorite Earl Grey tea. He listened to her talk about Gajeel and Lily, about that cruel life with the Phantom Lord gang, about her talking to Principal Makarov, about her growing friendship with Lucy, Erza and the other girls… About her cooking him lunch and making him a knitted scarf for the coming winter… He didn’t think he should say or do anything — she was full of life and she was sharing everything. He found it difficult to find something as interesting as the things she had been telling him.

He watched and listened because he was fascinated. He was fascinated because he was curious. He was curious because, as he watched and listened, he wondered: how the hell did this pretty young woman end up in love with such a jerk? He wasn’t expressive, he sucked at cooking and being a doting boyfriend, he isn’t the least bit romantic and sometimes he was utterly insensitive… whilst she was silent and thoughtful and beautiful and dreamy-…

It hit him then. At that moment, Gray realized what the problem had been.

‘How did it take so long for me to realize?’ he asked himself in his thoughts.

Because right then, he knew: He was simply too busy falling that he didn’t notice that she was there waiting for him to land beside her.

At that moment, watching his girlfriend cook their dinner and listening to her talking about her day cheerfully, Gray finally understood what Natsu told him. ’…maybe she wakes up one day and loves me different. Or maybe I’ll beat her to it.’

Gray realized that Juvia had long woken up one day and loved him different, but he was now catching up.

It rained just right after dinner. Juvia pulled the drapes open to look out the window and frowned. She looked at the teru teru bozu doll hanging from the window frame.Gray looked out, too. It was raining when they first met.“Teru-kun didn’t work.” she said, sitting on the windowsill. The doll stared back at her with its eternally smiling face. Gray watched as Juvia looked down at the crafts basket tucked in the windowsill. It was filled with threads and cloth and half-finished teru teru bozu dolls. Juvia always kept her cloths and sewing materials on the basket by the windowsill — she liked making her handicrafts while looking out the window.“Crap, I have no umbrella.” Gray stood by the window and watched the rain too.

“Gray-sama may borrow Juvia’s.”

“May I borrow Gajeel’s instead? Your umbrella is poofy and pink with hearts. No offense.”

Juvia shrugged innocently. “But Gajeel-kun brought his umbrella with him.”

“Crap.” He then looked down at the crafts basket. He lifted up an unfinished doll. “Let’s make more of these guys to make the freakin’ rain stop. Can’t go home if it pours so much and I still have a shift at The Blue Pegasus tomorrow.”

He watched Juvia some more because for the next few hours they ignored the homework and made seven more teru teru bozu dolls. Gray might suck at cooking, but he had a hand in art — he was a sculptor, after all. After short instructions from Juvia, he was also making dolls. Gray drew faces on them. Juvia laughed at his descriptions and she loved the sheer number of Teru-kun’s new friends by the window. He named them all:

“The one hangin’ is called Teru-kun?”

“Yes. Teru-kun is Juvia’s first friend.”

Gray nodded, then lifted up a doll he had just made. Its face was smirking and it had glasses. “Well, this is Erza.” He recalled the first girl friend Juvia made. Erza, ever-responsible class rep, told the bluenette on her first day in FairyGaku that if anyone tried to bully her for being from Phantom, Erza would kick their asses.

“Aw… Erza-san is cute, Gray-sama…” Juvia cooed, taking the doll he offered.

Gray then took another one. “And this one’s Lucy.” — the one smiling very cheerfully, with stars in its eyes. Lucy was the one who first approached Juvia at lunchtime, commenting on how well-done the bluenette’s bento was. Lucy was also the first one to find out about Juvia’s affection for Gray.

“…And this idiot is Natsu.” — the grinning teru-teru bozu, because when Lucy ate her lunch with Juvia, Natsu had been in the package. Natsu was nice and he promptly said that Juvia cooked better than Lucy after he took some of the bluenette’s food. ‘Well’, Gray thought, ‘Everyone cooks better than Lucy.’

Juvia accepted the three dolls with a smile on her face. “Who is that one?”

“Levy.” was the one with the headband and the small pixie smile. Besides Natsu, Levy would be in your circle once you became friends with Lucy. Levy was the one who came up with the plan to get Juvia to confess and have Gray there as well.

“And this one’s Gajeel.” — the doll with a sharp glare and piercings. Juvia squealed and she practically grabbed the little thing from the young man across her. Gray remembered their first date: Gajeel was there waiting with Juvia at the meeting place. He took Gray by the collar and threatened to kill the slighter young man if Gray ever dared to make Juvia cry.

“And Cana.” — the one with the drunken blush and the drool. The first time Gray took Juvia to his flat with Cana, the drunk welcomed the swimmer with a huge bear hug and then pulled Juvia to the kitchen so they could work on cooking something. Cana talked about Gray’s whole childhood and all his likes, dislikes, favorites and preferences (from how he pressed the toothpaste tube to the normal duration of his showers). Gray wanted to die when Cana took out the primary school yearbook, but at least it wasn’t the baby pictures (Although one night he just found them looking at the baby pictures as well).

“And this one’s me.” — the last one with a cross necklace drawn on its neck was Gray. Gray didn’t have to elaborate on that. Juvia simply ‘awww’-ed again. Gray was being really sweet and she didn’t really know why but she loved him nonetheless.

“We have eight. They’re so wonderful and they’re everyone Juvia loves.” she marveled at the dolls in her arms.

Gray simply looked at her with a small smile on his face. He watched and listened some more as Juvia started talking about how to hang them all up.

Juvia looked at him then. “Gray-sama, eight dolls. Gray-sama and Juvia been together for nine months already. Maybe Juvia should make another one?”

Gray thought about it first — the numbers were good coincidence. Looking at Juvia who was sitting happily and excitedly, holding the dolls they made, an idea suddenly hit him. He grinned lightly and said, “Fine. I’ll make that last one for you.”


“Really. Watch me work. I’ll make you proud.”

Juvia laughed in delight at his silliness and watched him work. At first she raised an eyebrow while he cut a blue piece of cloth, but he told her to “just wait and see!” and she was quick to trust him.

A few minutes later, dangling from a string he held in his hand, was a little slightly hurriedly-made plush. “Done.”

“Gray-sama, it’s cute.” Juvia smiled, looking at the figure. “A dolphin?”

“This one is you.”

“Juvia’s a dolphin?”

Gray couldn’t believe that he actually got something out of that talk with Natsu. “Yeah, because you’re smart, sweet, always smiling and always happy.”

Juvia smiled shyly at the young man in front of her.

Then Gray realized he almost forgot the most important part: “Oh, and you’re good at swimming.”

That part made her laugh and she leaned forward to hug Gray tight, telling him, for the millionth time, that she loved Gray-sama with all her heart.

Gray said “Yeah.” — because he wasn’t really used to saying ‘the word’ yet — but to make up for it, he hugged her back anyway. “Let’s hang this dolphin up.”

As they were hanging the new dolls on the window, the rain had started to stop, until it was just a mere drizzle.

“The dolls are effective…” Juvia remarked, blinking.

Gray looked at their handicrafts one more time and gave a noncommittal grunt. “Well, the rain must’ve seen Erza.”

“Gray-sama, that’s mean…”

“What? Erza IS scary.”

Juvia simply smiled and then sat down in the windowsill, hugging her knees to her chest. Gray sat across her and together they sat by the windowsill, watching the drizzle outside, socked feet touching.

As Juvia leaned her head against the cold glass of the window, Gray looked at her. “Juvia,” he called.

“Yes, Gray-sama?” the young woman said.

“If-…” Gray started, but he blanked out one word in. He tried again. “If… if you feel like… there’s…”

Juvia looked at him. “…There’s?”

Gray sighed, then looked down. “Um, nevermind.”

“Juvia will always listen to Gray-sama.” the bluenette said, making Gray look up at her. “It’s not often that Gray-sama has something he finds hard to say…”

‘No, you’re wrong.’ Gray thought. ‘Every moment there’s something I’m finding hard to say and I’ve never really succeeded.’

“Look.” Gray breathed heavily, then reached out to put a hand on top of the bluenette’s head. Kind of an awkward pat, but then he made up by brushing a stray strand of hair away from her face to tuck it behind her ear. ‘I really suck at some stuff, okay? Maybe you’re getting tired of me being such a jerk in this relationship and yeah, I’m guilty about not showing you how important you really are to me.’ — Gray thought that his construction sucked too, and the sentences were all jumbled. He thought that he should have rearranged them in his head first. “And… I just want to apologize because maybe I’m disappointing you.”

“Gray-sama.” Juvia said, looking at him with wide eyes. “No. Juvia is not disappointed with Gray-sama.”

“Well, now, maybe you’re not. But I’m slow and I suck at this, so you oughtta be disappointed real soon.” Gray said, sighing.

“But Gray-sama, the way Juvia sees it, the more someone expects, the more someone gets disappointed… and Juvia is not expecting all those great, overly-romantic, flowery things anymore from Gray-sama anymore.” the bluenette said, smiling earnestly at her companion. “Well, it was true, just a month ago Juvia was thinking that Gray-sama was getting tired of Juvia because Juvia felt underappreciated.”

“What? Getting tired of-…” Gray said, blinking — that was the first time he heard of that. “I’m really sorry if you felt—”

“But then Gray-sama showed Juvia that he really does care for Juvia after all.” she said, blushing slightly. “So… Gray-sama doesn’t have to try so hard to… to force himself to… to say things and do things… because Juvia wants Gray-sama to do what he wants. Juvia has stopped expecting much and Juvia thought that it was all better that way. Like… like today, because Juvia didn’t really expect anything, it made Gray-sama’s time with Juvia all the more special. The… the walk home together, Gray-sama wanting to help Juvia cook, Gray-sama listening to Juvia, Gray-sama making teru-teru-bozu dolls with Juvia… Juvia wants to thank Gray-sama for doing special things out of the blue.”

Gray heard Natsu’s words echoing in his head again: ’…I don’t know how I really feel about her or what will really happen to us or how she really feels about stuff, and it’s kind of fun. I get to be excited about what’s comin’ next…’

And to top it all off, Gray’s only reaction was a dumbfounded “Oh.”

“So Gray-sama doesn’t really have to rush, or say anything, or do anything… Because Gray-sama has proven himself many times. Even when Juvia thought there’s nothing more left to prove.”

Gray had always seen his friends express love too easily and it baffled him on how they made it look easy — but then he looked at Juvia and it baffled him more on how she actually made it easy for him.

He might still be falling, Gray thought, but as he looked down, his fear of landing vanished. He simply looked back at the young woman in front of him who had been so very very patient and he took her hand.

The young man gave an appreciative smile before leaning forward and cupping her chin. Maybe… just maybe he could prove something more, not for himself this time, but for her.

“May I?” — he asked first.

He didn’t know that for Juvia, that question was unnecessary but it told her how much he really valued her. The young woman blushingly nodded and closed her eyes.

’Alright, Gray. Step up because you’ve been wanting to do this for God only knows how long…—’

And then the front door opened and a rough voice said, “Tadaima—”

They both jumped in surprise and looked at Gajeel and Lily, who were standing frozen by the doorway.

The guy stared at them for a second and then he quickly stepped back, grabbing his cat and then slamming the door. “Holy shit. Carry on! I’ll go home tomorrow morning!”

The couple slowly turned to look at each other, both blushing bright red. Then Juvia laughed. Gray looked at her and then laughed with her, simply stealing a kiss on the young woman’s forehead. Juvia smiled shyly when he sat back across her again, blushing and looking down.

It wasn’t much, really. It wasn’t even what Gray planned — but he didn’t have a plan anyway. They got very rudely interrupted, but Gray, at that moment, would never trade the hours they spent together for anything else.

After a few moments, Gray said, “We should just call him back.”

“Juvia agrees.” the young woman replied, nodding. Gray stood up first and offered his hand. She took it and they hurried towards the porch to call out to Gajeel, who was pacing by the sidewalk. They shouted for him to get back inside and it took them quite a while to convince the young man to finally do so.

The next day, Gajeel shoved two movie passes towards his flatmate’s face. “Really didn’t mean to interrupt, I mean, you shoulda just locked the godforsaken door. Now I’m feeling guilty and it’s your fault that I feel like it’s my fault. Just fucking accept it, goddammit. And don’t tell Frosty that I gave ’em to ’ya, just tell ’im you picked it up from the streets somewhere, or I’ll never hear the end of it! If you tell ’im, I’ll eat your favorite frying pan, I swear to Lily’s kiwi salad.”

Chapter Notes:



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