Part 2 of We Are Young

Drabble collection of side-stories, outtakes and photo edits from ‘We Are Young’. Friendship-centric with some ships on the side.

Teen (13+)
Chapters: 13
Words: 20,500

We Are Young: Sidestories

Chapter 5
Free Ticket


Gray and Laki go to an art show, Gajeel addresses Juvia’s concerns.

Chapter Notes:

I had too much fun with this one. So it’s long. Idk. I love Gray. And Laki. And Juvia. And Gajeel. I love them all. Shit.


Gray was supposed to sleep in that day, but the ringing of his phone woke him up. He checked the time. It was 9 AM, on a Sunday, and it was his day-off. He really wanted to keep sleeping. But the phone was still ringing and it was downright annoying… so without checking for the name, he answered.


He struggled to recognize the familiar voice…

“Gray? Um, good morning? Gray, are you there?”

Then finally, he tried, “…Laki?”

“Yes! Good morning! Guess what?”

“I can’t.” he grumbled. “I literally have no idea what in the world—”

“Nevermind. Listen. A friend of my parents sent me two free tickets to this art exhibit at Crocus but I don’t want to go alone because I don’t know Crocus at all, so I thought maybe you wanna go with me? I know I might be being weird but I just figured you’d like to go because there’s a whole amazing section for sculptures, that’s actually why I wanted to go in the first place and—”

Art. Exhibition. Sculptures. Suddenly he was wide awake and sitting up in his bed. “Shit. I’m in. When is this?”


“What. Crocus, today?!”

“Yes, that’s the thing, the tickets literally arrived just today, in the morning mail! It’s ridiculous how it got delayed!”

“What time is this thing? Can we make it?”

“If we can get on the train by 10:30 at least, we can get to Crocus an hour or so before it starts.”

He checked the time again. He only had like… an hour. And counting down.

The line was quiet for a while before Laki spoke up again. “Are you still in? It’s really okay if you say ‘no’.”

“You just said you don’t know Crocus.”

“I… Well, I bet I can just look up the location when I get there. I can ask around. I’ll be fine!”

He breathed in, walking out his room. Cana’s bedroom door was ajar and the brunette was still sleeping peacefully.

They were supposed to do the groceries today, him and Cana. And he also told Juvia he’ll stop by her place and spend some time together. And there was this homework he had to do but…

There was no way he’s missing this fancy art exhibit in Crocus. Specially if it’s free.

And there was no way he’s going to let Laki go to Crocus alone and clueless. Yeah, she was a smart and sensible girl, but she can be socially awkward with strangers and tended to chatter away when she talked about art and-… What time will that exhibit end? What time is she going to leave the place, walk around the big city streets alone back to the train station and—

Nope. No way.

“Gray, are you still there? I guess you can’t go, huh? You probably have plans today, sorry for bothering you—”

“No, I’m going.”

“You are?”

“I’ll meet you at the station. I’ll be there as fast as I can.”

He took the quickest shower he had ever taken, put some decent clothes on, checked his wallet and phone, and took off. He left a note for Cana saying he’ll be gone the whole day. She’ll be furious, but he did include in the note that he’ll do the groceries tomorrow if she wanted him to. Maybe that would cool her off. He’ll just call Juvia when he gets on the train on time.

Laki was already waiting for him when he got there. She was wearing a pretty dress with elegant but sensible shoes for walking, her bag on her shoulder. It looked bulky.

“I have sandwiches.” she told him as they stood together on the platform, waiting for the train. “I figured you wouldn’t have had time to eat. I barely had breakfast myself.”

“Thanks.” he grinned, then accepted a slip of paper she handed him. It was the ticket for the exhibit, and he recognized some big names whose works the exhibit claimed to be featuring. “I’ve only been to Crocus once, though. I was a kid. I don’t know shit about that city. Do you know how to get to this place from the train station?”

“No, actually.” she said, fiddling with the sleeve of her cardigan. “Maybe we can look it up, or ask around. It’s a big exhibit, it should be in a well-known place.”

They got on the train when it arrived and sat down together, Laki taking the window seat. As soon as the trip started, Laki offered him some sandwiches she obviously bought on some shop on her way to the station. He thanked her as he got one and started munching on it. Laki took another and looked out at the scenery as she ate.

Gray kept silent as he did a mental tally of what to do when they got there… what his budget for this whole surprise trip was… he didn’t have much money to spare, really. Maybe enough for some snacks, a meal, and the trip back home. What if there were stuff he wanted to buy there? Like… prints or books or god forbid if they have tools… he really wanted new tools. Dang, he’ll have to take an extra shift or two to recover from that.

Still, it was too late to turn back now. Besides, it would be nice to spend a day away from Magnolia. And Laki made good company when it comes to art stuff. She was a sculptor like him.

They’ve gone on other local exhibits and galleries together.

In speaking of going together…

“You mind if I make a call?” he asked his companion.

She was chewing, so she simply shook her head before turning back to the scenery.

Juvia picked up after a few rings, her voice sweet as always as she spoke. ‘Gray-sama?’

“Hey.” he started, regretting that he just went ahead and called her without thinking of what he wanted to tell his girlfriend. “Uh. So how’re you doing?”

“Juvia is doing fine! Making something. An apron for Natsu-san.”

“Wha— Say that again?”

“Natsu-san wants an apron with a red dragon and Juvia will give it to him for Christmas.”

“That’s nice of you. Any chance you’ll let me put some fun stuff in there to scare him? Scary slime on the pockets?”

“Nope!” she laughed. “Why did Gray-sama call?”

“Yeah, about that… see, I won’t be able to drop by today. Sorry.”

“Oh? Did Gray-sama take an extra shift again?”

“No, I’m actually on my way to Crocus right now with Laki. We got this… art exhibit thing. It was kind of a surprise. She just asked me this morning too. But yeah, we’re checking it out. We’ll be back tonight.”

Juvia was silent for a beat before she asked, “It’s just Gray-sama and Laki-san? Going to Crocus for an art show?”

He held his breath, and by this time, he can see that Laki was watching him too. “Yeah… you… that’s okay with you, right?”

There was a crashing sound.

Oh no.


There was the distant sound of someone shouting — probably Gajeel, and Juvia saying something back—

“Hey, what was that? Are you angry?”

Then Juvia answered him again. “What? No, no, Juvia is not angry at all! Gajeel-kun was just carrying the laundry and tripped and… well, we have to get a new flower pot now.”

He sighed in relief. “Oh thank God. So you’re fine with it?”

“Of course! Actually, Juvia’s very glad.”


“Gray-sama should take breaks more often! Gray-sama does nothing but work, and is always so tired. Gray-sama slept on Juvia last time in Juvia’s bedroom and—”

He heard Gajeel scream: ‘I DON’T NEED TO HEAR THAT!’

“—and Juvia thinks an art show will make Gray-sama really happy.”

“Okay. And you’re fine with me tagging along with Laki?”

“Juvia is glad it’s Laki-san. Juvia doesn’t know anything about those art things… Juvia will probably be bored. Gray-sama will enjoy the trip because of Laki-san! You can talk a lot with each other.”

Gray now had no idea why he was worried about Juvia’s reaction. Clearly he missed some development over there… but oh well, everything seemed to be in order…

“Juvia would like a souvenir, though!” she piped up, cheerful.

This time, he chuckled. “I’ll find something for you.”

“That would be very nice.” came her reply. “Ah, Juvia will help Gajeel-kun with the flower pot now…”

“Sure, go ahead.”

“Take care, Gray-sama! And Laki-san too!”

“Yup. Bye.” When he hung up and looked at Laki, she was smiling at him. “What?”

“That was cute.” she said. “Juvia-chan is a good girlfriend, huh?”

“She drives me nuts.” he said, leaning back against his seat, finally relaxing now that he only had the rest of the trip and the show to look forward to.

She faked a surprised gasp. “You mean you’re crazy about her.”

He snorted, playing along and whispering, “Don’t tell anyone.”

“I don’t have to.” she whispered back before giggling. Then she rested her head on his shoulder, yawning. “Wake me up when we get to Crocus.”

“Did you pull an all-nighter?” he asked, based on his gut feeling. They had the same work habits and he knew that they both dealt with all-nighters by taking naps in random places, public transportation included.

She took her phone out, tapped and swiped a couple of times and then showed him a photo. It was a half-finished photo of a wooden carving — flowers, leaves and vines in a neat column.

He whispered, impressed. “Nice. What is it?”

“It’s supposed to be a frame. For this canvas painting of some client’s. It’s a big painting and I’m helping dad carve the details.”

“I suck at carving.” he sighed, staring at the flawless intricate detail in the photo. He was sure it would look amazing when the varnish has been applied.

“I suck at sculpting.” she replied, putting her phone back in her bag.

“Let’s hope I’m also awake by the time we get there.”

They both woke up just as the train stopped in the station in Crocus.

“We’re here?”

“We’re here! Let’s go!”

Gray was already up, walking towards the train door and Laki followed him quickly, but almost tripped on her shoe’s laces. He caught her bag before it fell to the floor and slung it on his shoulder, as his free hand caught her arm. Then they ran for the exit, hand in hand.

As they made their way out the station, he asked, “So what time is it?”

Laki checked her watch and smiled. “We still have an hour and a half. We should probably ask around for that venue now.”

“Right. There’s probably a city map or something around. To help poor small town kids like us get by—”

She paused when she noticed that he had stopped. He looked a bit funny, his face serious (and grumpy, because that was how Gray looked when he’s serious) as he thought hard about something, while her very girly bag on his shoulder contrasted his overall look.

“Gray?” she called.

“We forgot something.” he said, looking up at her, a grin growing in his face. “We’re not all of us small town kids. We got a big city girl who’s one call away.”

Laki started at him for a few seconds, raising an eyebrow when he looked at her with an expectant expression. Then she jumped, getting his point. “Lucy’s from here!”

“Yep.” he said, already taking his phone out and swiping through his contacts. “If it’s a big-time venue, I’m pretty sure she’s been there.”

“I wouldn’t have thought of that. I’m so glad I asked you to come.” Laki sighed as she watched Gray hold up his phone to his ear.

“Hey, Lucy, you got a moment?” he started, exchanging a look with his companion for the day. “See, I went with Laki on this surprise trip to Crocus and we don’t actually know the way to our destination — maybe you could help?”

They got the best travelling tip in less than five minutes. Lucy gave them a few options, including budget-friendly ones. She told them a shortcut, the best way back, what streets to avoid because of the rush, which place sold cheap meals nearby so they could grab a bite before or after the show… She was quite reliable. And when they made their way out the station, it only took them fifteen minutes to get to the venue. Enough time to stop by one of the restaurants Lucy recommended for a quick meal.

There were lots of people when they got to the venue, and they had to stick close together so they won’t get separated. The show was everything they expected to be and more, and they had a blast talking about the artworks — specially the carvings and sculptures on display.

Gray was in the middle of a particularly interesting critique about an elegant swan sculpture when he noticed that Laki had her phone out, suspiciously raised towards him. He raised an eyebrow — “What’re you doing?”

“Nothing, just checking my messages.” she replied quickly. “Go on, what was that about the wing details?” And then he went on talking.

Back in Magnolia, Juvia was nitpicking at certain details in her dragon embroidery when her phone chimed, alerting her of a message.

It was a photo of Gray, his mouth open, obviously saying something, but he was smiling too, an easy and relaxed expression on his face. He wasn’t looking at the camera, but at something else.

‘thought you’d like to see that he’s got his happy face on and he’s been talking about this one statue for like ten minutes now.’

Juvia smiled widely, and momentarily put down her work to reply.

‘is it a really good statue?’

It took a few minutes before the reply came.

‘i think he wants to take it home. don’t worry i won’t let him get arrested when he tries to run away with it! 🙂 btw he’s still talking.’

Juvia giggled, and was about to type in her response but jumped when someone spoke behind her.

“Since when have you learned to share?” Gajeel asked dubiously. He was looking at the messages too.

“Nosy.” Juvia pouted at him. “Juvia is happy if Gray-sama is happy and right now Gray-sama is very happy— Is that a new earring?”

He grinned, tapping the new ruby red earring in his ear. It used to be a simple silver hoop. “Yeah.”

“Gajeel-kun went out to buy a new earring?”

“Nah, I went out with Beer Queen, we got her navel pierced. Then I thought I’d buy myself a new earring since I’m already there.”

“Cana-san? Really?”

“Yeah, last week it was her ears.”

“Juvia didn’t know Cana-san and Gajeel-kun hung out for that.”

“Not for that, really. We’re actually planning your wedding with Frosty. Might as well get it done since you two are all over each other anyway. ‘Sides, aren’t ’ya plannin’ to top Salamander and Bunnygirl’s thirty babies?”

Juvia stared at him.

“What.” he stared back.

“Liar. Gajeel-kun is teasing.” she accused, but it didn’t have the dignity she wanted it to have because she had already curled up into a ball, hiding her face in her phone and embroidery.

“Ehhh, but look who’s blushing…” he said slyly, leaning over and poking her on the side. She jerked away with a squeak. He poked her other side as well and she squeaked again, trying to avoid him.

“Gajeel-kun! Stop!”

“Gehehehe…” he sniggered, now using both hands to try to get to her ticklish spots. “You’re still blushing! Imagine yourself in a wedding dress, eh?!”

She was torn between squealing and giggling and shouting at him. “N-No— Well— Yes— Aaaah! Why are you teasing Juvia like this! And s-s-stop poking!”

He laughed evilly and didn’t stop until she realized she had easy access to a sharp needle and raised it towards him. “Juvia will not hesitate to use this.”

He stared at her for a good five seconds before snorting, trying to hold back a laugh. “Is that supposed to be a threat? A needle? To me? A guy with more than ten piercings? On his face?”

Juvia looked at her weapon in dismay, before pouting and grabbing a nearby pillow and chucking it at his face. “Gajeel-kun is mean!”

His only response was to laugh at her, and Juvia began to reach over for another pillow.

Chapter Notes:

Go get him, Juvia.

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