For the Anon who requested this on tumblr. Happy Birthday! ^_^
When Gray calls her up in the middle of the night through her lacrima communications crystal, she can immediately tell that he's drunk.
And not just the slightly-tipsy-buzzed kind of drunk either. He's drunk drunk. His cheeks are flushed and he's swaying a little in his seat and his mouth is curved into this adorable, lopsided grin that she has never seen before. When he sees her, he eagerly says, "Juviiaaaa! Listen! They're playing your favorite song!"
"Gray-sama!" Juvia says, worried. She puts the book she's been reading down and pads over towards the lacrima, where Gray is lazily grinning at her with hooded eyes. "Where are you? Is anyone with you right now? You look smashed."
"M'not," he says. He unsteadily leans forward, his dark hair falling over his eyes. Juvia shakes her head and tries to keep herself from thinking about how attractive he looks. "Listen! They're playing your favorite song!"
"Gray-sama, where are you?" Juvia says, trying to sound firm. She can't really make out much from the lacrima so she can't tell for sure which pub he's in. She thinks that she might know which one it is, because she's gone with him a couple of times to his favorite pub (fine, maybe she followed him—but she swears she only did that back when she wasn't an official member of the guild yet and didn't have the guts to talk to him). But it doesn't look like the place because the walls are a different color and the lights aren't nearly half as dim.
His eyes are unfocused and she can tell that he hasn't heard a word she's been saying. He looks a bit nervous now, although she can't imagine why. He's fiddling with the hem of his jacket and his brows are pulled, creating this cute, little crease on his forehead. It takes him a few more minutes before he looks up and meets her eyes as he anxiously says, "Listen...um... would you maybe like to dance with me? Right now? But only if you want to..."
He looks at her, his mouth as tense as a bow, as if he's afraid of being told no and it takes all of her willpower not to melt into a puddle of water. It's a little cute actually, that he's so anxious of what her answer might be. She doesn't see Gray like this often (or ever) because he's always so calm or controlled, even when he's getting into one of his little spats with Natsu.
"Gray-sama, Juvia would really love to but she's not there right now and—''
"Then come over here!" Gray says, his good-humor returning. "Dance with me!"
Her insides flutter a little as an image of Gray wearing a dark, princely coat flashes across her mind. She knows that she should be focusing on trying to figure out his location but she really can't help it. It doesn't really take much for Gray to distract her.
In an effort to concentrate, she shakes her head and says, "Gray-sama, you're drunk. Juvia really needs you to tell her where you are so that she can—''
"Fine!" he snaps, looking hurt. He steps off from wherever he's sitting, stumbling a little bit as he takes a step forward. He gives her an irate glare. "I don't care if you don't wanna dance with me 'cause I never wanted you to anyway."
He ends the call. Juvia stares at the crystal, trying her very best not to panic.
Gray's horribly drunk right now and she doesn't know where he is so she can't help him get home. She starts stabbing at all the buttons on the lacrima, trying to see if she can somehow get the number he's used but all she's managed to do is call an old man while he's in his bath (she doesn't even want to know why he has his communications lacrima in his bathroom).
She gives up halfway through and briefly entertains the idea of calling Gajeel and waking him up. He's got a great nose, even better than Natsu's, and she knows that even though Gray can be anywhere right now, Gajeel will be able to pick up his trail. They've done missions like this before so she figures that it wouldn't be all that difficult for him. He'll probably be mad though but he's her best friend so she knows that he'll understand how important Gray's safety is to her.
The lacrima rings before she can call Gajeel up and she eagerly answers it, hoping that it's Gray. An image flickers on the curved surface for several moments before steadying and becoming clearer. Her face falls when she realizes that instead of Gray, an old man with horn-rimmed glasses and salt and pepper hair is glaring at her with a disapproving frown.
"Are you Juvia?" he says, without preamble.
"Good. I need you to come in here right now and bring your drunk boyfriend home. I'm about to close my shop but I can't because he's still here," he waspishly says.
Juvia's cheeks color. "Er...he's not Juvia's—''
"He's been asking for you over and over again. It was all cutesy at first but now it's just annoying! And he's extremely plastered! He's in no shape to be going home by himself and he won't tell me where his address is so I can't find a carriage for him," the bartender says.
Now that she thinks about it, she doesn't really know where Gray lives either. Maybe she should direct the bartender to either Erza or Lucy (although she spasms a little, at the thought of her love rivals one-upping her in something).
"Er, yes but—''
"Do you know how long it took me to find your number in the call logs? And how late it is?" He folds his arms and leans back, a reproachful look on his face. "You shouldn't let your boyfriend go off drinking on his own. If you don't get here in thirty minutes, I'm throwing him out to the curb."
"Ahhh of course," Juvia says as she fumbles for a pen and paper. "Just give Juvia the address of your bar and she'll be there right away."
The bartender rattles the address off and after jotting it down, Juvia wiggles out of her pajamas, puts on the first set of clothes she sees and hurries out of the door.
When she gets to the pub and calls Gray's name, he looks up, his face immediately breaking out into a silly, happy expression. She pauses, the tips of her toes momentarily melting into water as a squeal threatens to erupt from her throat. She quickly puts a hand over her mouth, trying to keep herself from looking idiotic. God, why does he have to be so cute?
The lights are dim and the place is deserted with the chairs all upturned on the tables. There's a part of her that feels a little giddy, because the atmosphere is something that's straight out of a romance novel. She knows that now isn't the right time to be thinking about that but it's really hard not to, especially when Gray keeps looking at her with this unusually affectionate expression on his face.
"Juviiaaaaa!" he drawls out, snapping her back into focus. He jumps off his chair, lurching unsteadily on his feet as he gestures at her to walk towards him, as if she isn't already doing that very thing. He looks at the bartender and shoots the man a smug grin. "This is Juvia. What did I tell ya? She's beautiful riiigghhht? Ain't she just beautiful?"
Juvia flushes, her body involuntarily flickering into her water form. She gives an embarrassed little squeak when she realizes that a bit of her water has splashed on to Gray's nose.
The bartender ignores him. "Finally! You're here! I was beginning to think that you wouldn't show."
"Juvia is so sorry!" she says. "She tried to get here as fast as she could."
"Yeah, well," the man gruffly says. "Just get him out of here so I can finally shut the music off and close the shop."
"Music?" Juvia says, suddenly realizing that faint music is playing in the background.
"Yeah, you're boyfriend wouldn't let me shut it off! Said something about wanting dance with you," the bartender says as he clears the half-empty glass of whisky (probably Gray's) on the counter.
"Yeah, Juvia dance with me!" Gray says as he grabs both of her shoulders. "Listen! It's your song. They're playing your favorite song."
The song playing is upbeat and the lyrics are lovely but it's a little too soft her tastes. She's not a music snob or anything; it's just that she gravitates more towards alternative rock or metalcore. Having Gajeel as her best friend probably helps. "Gray-sama. You don't dance. And this isn't my favorite song."
"Of course it is," Gray says in a matter of fact voice. To her surprise (and embarrassment), he suddenly pulls her closer and nuzzles his face against the crook of her neck, his breath fanning out across her skin. "S'happy song. It's a Juvia song..."
"Juvia has never heard this song before," she says, desperately trying to maintain her calm. She takes a step back as she gingerly tries to disentangle herself from him.
"Oh riigght. You like that one song...that one song by that dumb long-haired shampoo commercial guy that sings in a raspy voice. I forgot," Gray says as he leans back and looks at her, a small frown forming on his lips.
"He's not dumb!" Juvia protests, immediately feeling offense in behalf of one of her favorite singers.
"He is dumb," Gray says. "You think he's handsome and that his voice is sexy. I hate him."
Juvia opens her mouth to reply but before she can, Gray gives her a small, lopsided smile and says, "Whatever. S'Still your song. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. S'definitely a Juvia song."
Juvia's face steams at the compliment and it takes her about a minute to remind herself that he's drunk and that he probably doesn't mean half the things he's saying.
The music suddenly stops and the lights get shut off except for the ones near the counter. The two of them turn to look at the bartender, who's grumpily wiping the counter. "Well? Are you two going or what?"
"Er...Juvia will just—''
"Hey! Why'd you turn the music off!?" Gray demands, looking annoyed.
The bartender ignores him, yet again.
"You better get a move on it. There won't be any carriages passing by this way so you'll have to walk a bit further down to the main road. You think you can bring him that far or do you need my help?" the bartender says. He still looks annoyed but there's genuine concern in his eyes so Juvia decides that maybe he's not as bad as she first thought.
"No, Juvia doesn't want to trouble you anymore," she politely says.
"It's dark out. You sure you'll be okay dragging your boyfriend back home alone? Wouldn't want anything to happen to you," the bartender says.
"Are you kidding me? Don't you know who she is?" Gray interrupts. "She's Juvia Lockser! She used to be an S-class mage! She's badass...a real tigress..."
An amused smile momentarily fractures the bartender's annoyed demeanor. "Is she also like that in bed?"
Okay, Juvia decides that she hates him again.
"I imagine she'd be..." He leans forward, his lips twisted into a proud smile. "Did you know that the first time we met...we tried to kill each other? I mean look at this..."
His hand moves down to squeeze her calf. Juvia screeches, her face reddening at the contact. Gray continues on, completely oblivious to the expression on Juvia's face. "See how firm that is? It may look soft but actually it's not. Well wait...it actually is soft...like you know rose petals or something..."
He trails off before giving another cute grin and lurching forwards. Juvia quickly places a hand on his chest and another on his elbow as she tries to keep him from falling.
"Well, I hope your boyfriend's telling the truth because you're gonna be doing a lot of heavy lifting," the bartender dryly says. "He's in no shape to be walking."
Juvia gives him a weak grin as Gray loses his balance and sends the two of them sprawling on the ground, with him on top of her. When she realizes that his face is planted firmly in between her breasts, she gives a startled squeak, her ears (literally) steaming out of embarrassment (she hasn't felt this mortified since the moment Gray accidentally groped her).
"Did anyone ever tell you how nice your breasts feel?" Gray mumbles.
"Gray-sama!" she screeches as she tries to slide away from him. The bartender gives a small chuckle, looking the most pleasant Juvia's ever seen him this whole evening.
This is going to be a long night.
She really isn't qualified to be doing this.
One, she's never even been to his apartment before so she doesn't really know how she's supposed to get him home. She supposes that she can ask him but he's so drunk right now that all he can really do is lean against her shoulder and play with her hair while he spouts off a nonsensical, strange phrase about snowflakes or rabbits or chicken pies.
Two, she has no idea how to handle or deal with drunk people. She's never been one to go out drinking although she will take a sip of wine or drink a bottle of beer every now and then with Gajeel or Cana (Juvia really likes hanging out with her—she's great fun and she's had a lot of boyfriends before so she gives wonderful, romantic advice). Gajeel himself has been drunk a couple of times and she has accompanied him home on those occasions. But it's really different in that he's an adorable drunk. Completely unlike Gray. Whereas Gajeel sings sappy, romantic love songs and is sweet and kind when he's smashed, Gray is loud and obnoxious and extremely touchy-feely. He's extremely helpless too so Juvia has to contend with supporting his body throughout the entire trip.
Three, she really doesn't know if she would be able to control herself whenever he pulls her close or buries his head at the crook of her neck or trails his fingers across her cheek. He's drunk right now and he doesn't have full control of his actions. She's not awful enough to take advantage of him when he's being like this, no matter how much she may want him. She wouldn't want it that way anyways—if she ever wants anything romantic to happen between them, she wants it to happen when he's sober (it's more meaningful that way). Still, it's really difficult to contain herself, especially when he keeps looking at her like that. She's already having a difficult time keeping herself from turning into a puddle of water whenever he does anything remotely affectionate.
"Juviaaaa..." Gray slurs as he suddenly stops, slumps his head against her shoulder and wraps his arms around her waist. To a common bystander, they look like a couple giving each other an intimate hug. It's like that book she read once, where the boy had to leave the girl to go to war and they hugged each other in the snow for one last time. She imagines Gray looking at her solemnly, his finger moving to tuck a lock of her hair as he says, "If I die, then I swear that I will search for you through 1000 worlds and 10000 lifetimes—''
"I want to take a naaap," Gray says, his voice slightly muffled. "Do you think that makes me boring?"
"Er...no. Of course not Gray-sama," Juvia says.
"Why are you so damn nice? Don't lie to me, I know I'm boring." Gray suddenly looks up and meets her eyes. Juvia blinks at him, suddenly hyperaware of how handsome he looks. His eyes are bright, either from the alcohol or the moonlight and she swears that she can see sparkles floating from behind him. He holds her gaze for a long time before saying, "Juvia. Let's go take a nap together."
Her knees suddenly feel like jelly. Oh god, what was she thinking? She really should've just called Lucy or Erza instead, even if they are her love rivals.
"Er...of course, Gray-sama," she says, trying to maintain composed. "Why don't you tell Juvia where your house is so that she can bring you there and you can have your nap?"
"I don't wanna take a nap. I don't wanna be boring," Gray says, his eyes suddenly clouding over with an emotion Juvia can't decipher. The corners of his mouth are turned upwards in a smile but somehow it doesn't feel right. "You know...I was in the middle of a nap when Deliora attacked..."
He suddenly breaks out into laughter, his arms clutched at his sides. Juvia blinks at him, the insides of her chest twisting uncomfortably. He's mentioned something like this to her once or twice and she even knows the whole story but it always makes her feel kind of breathless whenever he somehow ends up talking about it.
He places both of his hands on her shoulders and says, "Juvia! I don't wanna take a nap anymore. I wanna go swimming. Let's go swimming!"
"Gray-sama, you are drunk—''
"And it's late in the evening," Juvia wearily says. She crosses her arms in front of her chest and tries to look as stern as she can. "Gray-sama can't go swimming because he needs to go home. Gray-sama...you need to tell Juvia where you live so she can—''
"But I want to!" Gray petulantly says. "We don't have to go to a swimming pool! You could make water and we could start swimming here right now—''
"Gray-sama, what are you doing!?" Juvia says, alarmed. His shirt and jacket are already off and he is slowly starting to unbutton his pants. Normally, this wouldn't bother her but a woman pushing a stroller and holding a ten-year-old is passing by them and she doesn't want to cause a scandal and get themselves reported for public indecency (it's already happened once. Or twice).
"Taking my clothes off! I can't swim with all these clothes on..." Gray says in a matter of fact voice. The woman shoots both Gray and Juvia a dirty look and Juvia responds with a sheepish smile, thoroughly flustered.
"Gray-sama," she says as she unwittingly grabs his belt loops in an effort to keep him from stripping. "Please stop. You're going to get us—''
"Oh, sorry," Gray mumbles, ducking his head down. Juvia sighs in relief, glad that he's finally being agreeable.
He places his hands on her hips and pulls her closer, his lips twitching into a smirk. "Did you want to be the one to pull them off?"
Juvia's entire body boils, whether from mortification or from his innuendo, she doesn't know. Gray staggers back in pain, his hands a little red from the heat. The woman gives an outraged squeak and promptly covers her son's eyes.
"No!" Juvia says, her voice sounding unnaturally high. "It's just that...this is a public space and...and Gray-sama can't just go taking his clothes off!"
Gray gives a nonchalant shrug, his pants hanging low on his hips, a bit of his boxers peeking out. "So? Hasn't stopped me before..."
"But it's snowing! You're going to get frostbite!" Juvia says, blurting out the first thing she can think of.
"I'm an ice mage," he scoffs. He then looks her up and down, his lips creasing into a mischievous smirk. Oh no. What does he plan on doing now?
He leans forward and tugs at the hem of her skirt, his fingers accidentally (or maybe not so accidentally) brushing against her upper thigh. "You're one to talk. Look at what you're wearing."
Juvia's cheeks redden. "But that's only because she was in a hurry to get to the bar so she can bring you home! And you're not even giving her your address!"
She feels a small spasm of annoyance when she realizes that he's not even listening to her. He looking at her legs, his brows furrowed in deep concentration. Under normal circumstances, she'd be extremely happy that Gray is paying unparalleled attention to her (numerous) assets but she's cold and tired and the woman is still glaring at them, even though she's already walking away. Juvia's pretty sure that the woman's going to report them to a police officer, the first chance she gets.
"How could I have not noticed this?" Gray says, looking stricken. He turns around and starts fumbling for his clothes, which have been haphazardly thrown on the ground.
"Gray-sama? What are you—''
He wraps her up in his jacket before she can finish. Juvia stiffens, caught off guard by the movement. The jacket is slightly damp from the snow but it's thick and warm and she can always regulate her body temperature so it doesn't really matter.
Gray pulls the coat around her tighter, carefully adjusting the collar around her neck. "There. Now you're all warm and toasty."
She suddenly feels a little lightheaded, feeling like she might swoon from his gesture. It's honestly one of the sweetest things he's ever done for her and she doesn't even care that he did it while he's drunk because she feels like he'd do it anyway, even if he wasn't (okay, maybe not, but she can dream can she?). This really makes up for all the crass behavior he's displayed and she can feel her irritation ebbing away.
"Thank you Gray-sama," she says as she runs her hands across the soft fabric of his jacket. "But Juvia still thinks that you should put your shirt on. She didn't really bring a lot of money and if you get arrested for public indecency, she won't be able to bail you out."
"But we haven't even swum yet!" Gray protests.
"Gray-sama, we can't swim. Look around you. It's snowing. There isn't even any water anywhere," Juvia says as she gestures at their surroundings.
"But you could make water. Or you could turn into it." He suddenly starts giggling as he takes a stumbling step forwards. "I could swim in you. Or..."
He looks up, his eyes dark. "I could swim through you. Fuck, do you know that I think about that sometimes? Swimming through you?"
Juvia's throat constricts, dimly aware of how erotic his comment sounds. She looks at her feet, suddenly feeling shy. She's thought about stuff like that lots of time and Gray is always involved but somehow, it's so much more different now that he's saying it in real life. She doesn't know why she's getting cold feet. Maybe it's because he's drunk and she's just disappointed that the first time he's said anything like this to her, is when he doesn't even really mean it.
"That's...nice, Gray-sama. But we really need to go," she says. She grabs his arms and attempts to tug him forward.
Gray looks dejected, his mouth creased into a little frown. He's still shirtless and his pants are still unbuttoned but at least they're not falling off him. Briefly, she considers grabbing his shirt and forcing it on him or buttoning his pants up for him but she knows that he'll only get the wrong idea. He's not causing as much of scene now anyways and the people passing by aren't really paying attention to them (although a couple do give them strange looks) so she figures that they're safe.
"Yeah, you're right. We probably shouldn't do it," Gray mumbles.
"Do what?" Juvia squeaks, noting the special emphasis he's given to the word "it."
Gray smirks at her. "Swimming. What were you thinking about?"
"The same thing," Juvia quickly answers.
"Liar. You've got a dirty mind."
"Juvia does not!" Juvia protests, avoiding his gaze.
Gray chuckles. "Probably couldn't do that either. Gajeel'll probably kill me."
Juvia pauses in momentary reflection. Gajeel doesn't interfere too much, when it comes to her other relationships but he can be a bit overprotective. She remembers how difficult he was towards Bora. And how Gajeel absolutely demolished her ex-boyfriend after their horrible break up. "Yes, probably."
"He really loves you, you know. You're gonna marry him someday, you know that right?"
Juvia nearly trips, completely poleaxed by what he's said. Gray dissolves into giggles, doubling over in laughter for what seems like several minutes. He leans against her side, leaning his forehead against her shoulder, his fingers playing with the hem of her skirt. Then, he takes a step back and grabs both of her hands, his lips lightly ghosting over her knuckles. Oh god. It's just like that book she once read. The one where the girl dies giving birth. And the boy ends up being distant from their kid.
He mumbles, "I don't want him to marry you though. I don't want anyone to marry you. Don't marry him."
"Gray-sama," Juvia swoons. He's absolutely not making any sense right now but that doesn't make him any less dreamy. She blinks at him a couple of times, trying to get herself to focus, reminding herself that this isn't what she wants. She wants Gray to act like this when he is sober.
He suddenly steps back, his complexion paling.
"Gray-sama?" she says, now worried.
He makes a pained squelching noise before puking.
Juvia screams and quickly dodges to the side as Gray crashes on his knees and starts heaving chunks of vomit from his mouth. A bit of it splashes on to her mini skirt and sweater and she frowns a little, in disappointment, because it's new and she's pretty sure that it's going to take her forever to get the stains out. Or the smell for that matter.
She sighs and tries to suppress her annoyance.
They haven't even gone halfway to the main road yet.
When she finally manages to bring him to his apartment, her legs are sore and she smells awful, as if she's just spent the whole evening swimming around in the sewer. Her face feels numb from cold too and it's mostly because she was not able to use her sierra form for the entire trip—Gray kept leaning against her so she couldn't risk accidentally boiling him. All she really wants to do right now is to go home, take a nice, long bubble bath and finally getting some sleep.
"Gray-sama," she wearily says as she flicks the light on. His apartment is small and a bit cramped, since there are clothes strewn all over the floor and half-opened pizza boxes and take-out containers on the tables. The kitchen counter is in the same space as the living room and it's placed opposite of where the television is, along with a couple of cupboards. Opposite from where the two of them are standing is a door, which she assumes, leads to his bedroom.
"Hey, how'd I get here?" Gray mumbles as he detaches himself from Juvia and walks towards the sofa.
"Juvia brought you here," Juvia exasperatedly says as follows him and gently grabs his shoulder. "Come on, Gray-sama, show Juvia your room so she can put you to bed and go home."
He gives her a lazy smirk. "You want to go to bed with me?"
"You know very well what Juvia meant!" Juvia crossly says, her patience growing thin. Normally, she's never this irate but she's just spent the last two hours half-dragging Gray to his apartment in the freezing cold. And finding the directions of where it was, wasn't very easy either. First, she tried calling up Erza, Cana and Lucy up but by then, nobody would answer and she figured that it was because they were sleeping. Then, she tried to wring the answer out of Gray, through threats and pleading and sweet-talking but nothing would work. It took her several minutes before she managed to get a coherent answer out of him.
"Okay, okay, you didn't have to get so pissy," he says.
"Let's just go to your room," Juvia sighs as she starts pulling him forward. He stumbles after her and with some difficulty, they finally make it to his room.
When she sees the body pillow she had given him, neatly propped up against his bedspread, she squeals. He's using it. He's actually using it. And it looks as if he's been using it for some time too. The pillow itself isn't plump anymore but a little creased and smooshed to the side, indicating that he's been sleeping against it frequently. He accepted the pillow when she offered it to him (and she figures that it's mostly because he didn't want to offend her any further by rejecting yet another gift) but she thought that he would just stuff it in a closet somewhere or even throw it away.
"Hey, look Juvia, it's you!" Gray says as he moves forward and plops down on the bed. He quickly snuggles up against the body pillow, burying his face against the picture of her breasts. Juvia's face reddens in utter embarrassment. She doesn't even know why she's embarrassed. She has always been so desperate for any indication that Gray liked her back. And surely, actually using her body pillow and snuggling with it must mean that he sort of likes her, right?
Or maybe he really was just being polite and thought that it would be a waste to throw away such a nice pillow. Yeah, that's probably it. Juvia sighs, her shoulders sagging. She really needs to stop daydreaming.
Gray sighs contentedly and gives the pillow a little squeeze. "Squish."
Juvia's face steams. Oh god. How could she ever think that the pillow was an appropriate gift?
"Gray-sama!" Juvia says.
"It's just like the time I accidentally grabbed your boob," Gray says as he gives a little snort and doubles over in laughter.
Her mouth pops open like a fish. She glares at him and says, "Juvia does not want to be reminded of that."
"What? It's a hard thing to forget. I mean, I groped you in boob. Most guys don't even get that far on the third date," he slurs, curling up against the pillow. "S'kinda the reason why I tried to spy on you in the hot springs."
"You...what?" Juvia says, her brows furrowed in confusion.
"I was kinda curious what you looked like naked so I went with the boys to spy on you and the rest of the girls in the hot springs," Gray mumbles, his voice slightly muffled by the pillow.
"So...it was really Gray-sama in the springs at that time? He really did try to peek on Juvia and the others?" Juvia says, her voice quivering. She can't bring herself to believe it because he's Gray and he would never, ever do something as awful and inappropriate as spy on naked girls. He's too much of a gentleman for that.
He looks up at her and gives her this languid smile. "I didn't spy on everyone. Only on you."
Juvia can feel the tips of her ears reddening as she blinks back at him. She's not exactly sure how she's supposed to feel about it. She has always wanted Gray to notice her but not in this way—she's very conscious about her body and she's extremely uncomfortable showing it off, even if it's among friends. Obviously, she's thought about Gray seeing her naked (especially in one of her dirtier fantasy sequences) but it's always on her own terms and she's always imagined that it will happen when she feels comfortable enough. She can't help feeling slightly offended because she didn't know about this and she certainly wouldn't have allowed it to happen if she actually knew.
"Well...Gray-sama shouldn't have done that!" she sputters as soon as she manages to catch her bearings.
Gray gives her a confused look, bewildered by Juvia's reaction. "S'not like it's my fault. You're always wearing prudish clothes so I can't help wondering what you look like underneath them."
Juvia's eyes widen, her chest clenching at the comment. She's never heard him say anything as insensitive as what he's just said and she doesn't think that she can brush it off so easily this time, even if she does love him. People have made fun of her for something similar before and she really can't deal with the fact that right now, Gray, her Gray-sama, is saying the exact same thing.
"Well...Gray-sama shouldn't have been thinking about it in the first place!" Juvia retorts, her temper snapping. "And at least Juvia actually has clothes on and doesn't walk around naked like a pervert!"
The dazed look on Gray's face disappears and his eyes narrow, suddenly alert. He sits up and folds his arms, his lips pinched together in a tight frown. He snaps, "I am not a pervert!"
For a second, Juvia is terrified at the expression on his face but she can't really back down now, not when she's already started it. "Yes, you are! You...you...flash around your junk to everyone! Even little kids! It's disturbing!"
Gray's brows pull downwards and he hotly snaps, "Don't act as if you don't like it!"
"I don't!" she snaps, her cheeks becoming warmer and warmer. She's tired and a little hurt and all she wants to do is to go home before she says anything more and the argument between them escalates even further. She knows that Gray's drunk and that he probably doesn't mean half the things he says but that doesn't make it hurt any less. "In fact, Juvia...Juvia thinks it's really disgusting and it makes her really uncomfortable! All the time!"
Then, she turns around and makes her way towards the door before Gray can retort.
"Oi! Where are you going?"
"Home," Juvia says.
"Fine! Be that way. I don't care if you're angry or not. I don't care about what you do," Gray snaps.
"Okay," Juvia says, wincing a little at the sharp tone of her voice. She shouldn't have said anything. Now Gray's mad at her and the two of them have gotten into an argument (their first argument together—their fight when she was in Phantom Lord doesn't count). She's just hoping that he won't remember a thing about this when he's sober.
She's halfway across his apartment when he calls out, "Juvia! Wait!"
She pauses and turns her head a fraction of an inch towards him. He looks upset and his brows are furrowed and his mouth is pursed into an adorable little pout again. "Don't be mad!"
"You started it," Juvia says.
"Well, you can't just leave me like this," Gray says as he flops against his bed, the Juvia body pillow snuggly nestled under one arm. He gives an exaggerated sigh as he meets her eyes. "I'm not feeling well."
Juvia can feel a bit of her irritation ebbing away as she looks at him. It's really hard to stay mad at him, especially when he looks like this. She slowly walks back to his room and stops at the doorway.
"Juvia has to go home. It's late in the evening," she manages. She really shouldn't overstay her welcome.
"Then Juvia should probably just sleep here."
Juvia flushes. "No, she's good with going home."
Gray ticks his brow up, giving her this amused look that's so sexy and Juvia has to rein herself in before she completely swoons. It's so unfair that he has so much power over her, even when he's drunk. "Then I guess that just means that I'm going to have to punish you..."
"Don't look at me like that. You're the one that's always asking for it," Gray smirks.
Juvia thickly swallows and looks at her feet, trying to avoid his gaze as she tries to reel herself in. When she finally manages to regulate her breathing, she looks up at him and mumbles, "Okay. Juvia will get Gray-sama a glass of water or some crackers. But that's it."
"Okay," Gray drowsily yawns. "I am kinda thirsty."
"Just stay here and Juvia will—''
"Whaaat? But where are you going?" Gray says.
"Juvia is going to the kitchen because—''
"You don't need to go to the kitchen to get water! You're whole body is made out of water! You could just transform and I could drink you."
"Eh?" Juvia sputters.
"I could drink you. You once offered me, right?" Gray says. "I bet you would taste delicious."
Juvia flickers into her water form, a squeal escaping from her lips and it takes her about three minutes to reform herself. She closes her eyes and takes several, deep, calming breaths before meeting his eyes and saying in a firm voice, "Gray-sama. You will not drink Juvia—''
She cringes, suddenly realizing how unbearably erotic and awkward it just sounded.
"—because Juvia will get you water from the kitchen. You just stay here," Juvia says.
"Fine," Gray says, pouting like a petulant child. "But I need you to bring me my scarf as well!"
"Your what?" Juvia blankly says.
"The scarf! The one you gave me!" Gray impatiently says.
"You kept my scarf?" Juvia says, a warm glow starting to spread from the insides of her chest.
"Of course I did," Gray says, as if it's the most obvious thing in the world.
"But...but you left it in the snow—''
"I went back to look for it," Gray shrugs. The corners of Juvia's mouth lifts into a smile and suddenly she thinks, no, she knows, that some part of him really must care for her.
He grabs his blanket and wraps it around himself, comfortably curling up against the body pillow. "Can you go look for it?"
"Of course," Juvia says, her mood lightening. "Where is it?"
"I dunno," Gray mumbles. "I left it somewhere in the living room I guess."
"But where exactly?"
Gray shrugs and buries his head deep into the pillow. "Dunno. Was holding it with me when I was watching that one movie."
Juvia sighs, her exasperation quickly returning. She's definitely not getting an answer out of him.
"Okay," she wearily says. "Juvia supposes she can find it."
He's apartment isn't even that big so it shouldn't be a big deal, right?
She comes back, several moments later with no scarf and no glass of water.
She couldn't find the scarf anywhere in his apartment and it isn't because she didn't try hard enough—searching through his apartment wasn't easy. Clothes were strewn everywhere (even in the kitchen counter) and although she could tell that they were clean and well-washed, they still had the strong odor of pizza and spicy, peppered noodles. The moment she gets this whole thing sorted out, she's going to insist that he get a cleaning lady. Or at least let her tidy up his apartment every once in a while. She absolutely refuses to let him live like this.
"D'you find it?" Gray asks her.
Juvia sighs, feeling a bit disappointed that he still isn't asleep.
"No," Juvia says. "Juvia can't find it anywhere."
"Are you sure?" Gray asks her, his brows creasing.
"Yes. She looked everywhere!" she says. "Look, Gray-sama, it's really late so maybe you should just sleep your drunkenness off—''
"But I need it," Gray protests.
Even she's too tired to fully appreciate how sweet his comment is. "It's just a scarf."
"You don't understand! I can't sleep without it," Gray says, panicked.
"Of course you can."
"No, I can't. I really, really can't." He suddenly stands up and starts pacing back and forth, running his fingers across his hair. "I can't believe I lost it. I swear I just put it at the coffee table. And I couldn't have lost it outside because I had gotten so good at practicing not stripping it away..."
Juvia stares at him with growing alarm, agitated at the almost-sober tone of his voice. "Gray-sama...it's not a big deal...Juvia can...Juvia can make you another one—''
"But I need it right now—''
"Because today is the day Deliora killed my parents!" Gray explodes.
Juvia stiffens, her throat constricting as an uncomfortable silence settles over them. So. That's why he was out drinking. Gray stops pacing and sort of leans against his bed, almost as if saying the words has knocked all the wind out of him and he needs support.
Gray sits on his bed and pinches at the space in between his brows. "I'm...I'm sorry. It's just that...whenever I think about how they died I just can't..."
He trails off and Juvia can tell that it physically pains him to get the words out.
"Ah...okay," she awkwardly says. He's talked about Deliora and his parents to her, a couple of times but he always made it seem as if it didn't bother him anymore and that he was over it. She's never seen him like this. "Eh...sorry."
She gives a small bow before slowly starting to back away. "Juvia will just go look for it again and..."
"I can't sleep properly. Not without the scarf. Not unless I have it with me," Gray says, almost as if he hasn't heard her.
Juvia pauses and stares at him, poleaxed. It takes her several minutes to process what he's just said.
He gives an embarrassed look when he sees the expression on her face and scratches at the back of his ears. Juvia blinks at him several times, a suspicious look mapping across her features as she tries to see if what he's saying is true.
"It smells like you. And it makes me feel better," he offers lamely. "It makes me forget about what happened. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy."
Oh god. He's looking at her like that again, all soft and helpless, a look she almost never gets from him. And his voice sounds so weak and a little strained, as if it's taking so much effort out of him to just talk.
"Like you," he finally says, as he looks away, cheeks flushed.
Before she can control herself, her body flickers into her water form and she literally melts into a puddle of water. Dimly, she's aware of Gray giving a surprised cry and screaming about getting a bucket but she can't really bring herself to focus hard enough to transform back into her natural, solid body. She's heard him say that he makes her feel all warm and fuzzy back in the pub, but he was super drunk back then and he didn't sound half this serious. Suddenly, she feels a light pressure on her back, a strange scraping sensation and hears a strangled cry followed by a loud thud. She partially re-forms herself and to her horror, she says Gray sprawled on the ground, groaning in pain. It takes her a few seconds before she realizes that he pretty much slipped against her water, her body, while he was trying to run for either the mop or the bucket.
"Gray-sama!" Juvia screeches as she stands up and quickly moves to help him up.
She carefully places a hand from under his elbow and he leans against her shoulder for support as he slowly stands up.
"Are you hurt? I slipped on you," he worriedly mumbles.
"Juvia's fine. Come along, Gray-sama," Juvia gently says as she tries to guide him to his bed. She's got one arm wrapped around his torso and his other arm is slung over his shoulders as he leans against her. She stumbles a little, from his weight and the two of them nearly tip sideways, but she manages to regain her footing in time. It takes her a couple of minutes before she finally manages to get Gray on his bed and pull a blanket over him. She sits at the edge of his bed, careful not to touch him.
"Where's my scarf?" Gray mumbles.
"Juvia can't find it Gray-sama," Juvia tells him in a quiet voice.
"But I need it," he says for the nth time.
She furrows her brows for a couple of minutes and absent-mindedly picks at the hem of his blanket. She's not exactly sure how she's supposed to fix this entire situation and make him happy—she's already searched all over his apartment and it's not as if she can make another scarf on the spot. She can just leave him, he'll sleep it off eventually, but she can't stand the thought of him being so distraught and alone.
"Juvia can't find your scarf but...she guesses that she can stay here with you, up until you fall asleep," she tells him.
Gray gives her a surprised look. "Are you sure?"
"Yes, of course. Anything for you Gray-sama," Juvia says.
"You don't really have to."
"But Juvia wants to."
It's scary how sober he seems right now.
"Damn it," Gray curses. "Why do you have to be so goddamn nice?"
"Juvia's just doing what a good nakama would do."
"Bullshit. You're being way too nice," Gray repeats. "You know, it's all your fault."
"What?" Juvia says, alarmed that he's about to say yet another thing that will offend her.
"It's all your fault that I'm...that I'm stuck with these feelings," Gray complains. Juvia laughs a little because he says that word "feelings" as if it's the most inconvenient thing he has ever had to endure in his whole life.
"Well, Juvia's sorry then," Juvia says as she gives him a little smile and pulls the covers up more snuggly around him.
"S'okay. I kinda like it," Gray says, sitting up and leaning towards her. Juvia stiffens, suddenly painfully aware of how close he is to her. She tries to stand up but he's got his hand on her hip and whenever she tries to leave, he just sort of pulls her back in. His face is angled towards her now and he's playing with the tips of her sleeves with this fixed look in his eyes, like it's the most fascinating thing he's ever seen.
Then, he stops playing with her sleeves and his hand moves up to lightly tap her nose.
"Boop," he says.
She gives a small, surprised squeak.
"You know...you're really cute when you're angry," Gray says as he inches his face closer towards hers.
"Eh? Really? Hehehe...well maybe Juvia should start getting angrier more often..." she says as she tries to edge away from. She'd move even farther but she can't keep shifting away without ending up on the floor.
"Nah." His fingers suddenly start trailing down her cheek. Juvia stiffens. How did they even get there? "You know what Juvia?"
"What?" she mumbles.
"You should keep baking Gray-bread. Or Juvi-bread. Or knitting me stuff. Or being jealous of other girls and pointing out that I'm yours. I like it when you act as if I'm yours," he slurs, his voice become more and more indistinct. "Just keep doin' those things, 'kay? Cook for me everyday 'kay? Promise me you always will?"
"Okay," Juvia squeaks.
Suddenly, he sits up a bit straighter and his eyes darken, becoming sharp and serious. Juvia tries to stand up once again but Gray has one of his hands firmly clamped on her hip. She thickly swallows, suddenly nervous at how lucid he seems. Somehow it's nearly not as scary when he spouts off things like these when he's drunk and out of his mind.
"Do you have any idea how happy you make me?" he asks in a perfectly clear voice.
Oh god. That's it. She's a goner. There's no way she will be able to contain herself after this. She clenches her fists and counts one to ten to try to keep herself from doing anything stupid. Gray has already slipped on her—she doesn't want to explode and accidentally drown or choke him with her water. In her haste to control herself, she doesn't notice Gray shifting in his place so his knee bumps against hers and his tongue sort of darts past his mouth to wet his upper lip.
Honestly, it almost looks as if he wants to kiss her. Which is ridiculous because Gray would never kiss her. He doesn't even like her (yet)—at least, not in the way she wants him to. But he's leaning towards her and angling his mouth towards her lips and he's holding her gaze and oh no, oh no, oh no, he really does plan on kissing her. This can't be happening. This cannot be happening. They cannot have their first kiss, ever, like this. It isn't supposed to happen like this. It can't happen like this. It can't happen in the middle of the night, after she's just spent an exhausting evening half-dragging, half-coaxing him in his apartment. It can't happen when she smells like poop and her clothes are crusted with vomit. It can't happen when he's drunk and not in control over half of his actions.
It can't happen and not mean anything afterwards.
They're supposed to do it next to a water fountain or during a sunset walk on the beach or when it's raining or snowing—actually, she's good with anywhere as long as it's really romantic and it's kind of spur of the moment, but not really. Basically, she wants it to happen when it feels right.
So when Gray's lips are about an inch away from hers, she acts instinctively and wrenches herself free from his grasp, kneeing him on the chest, grabbing his wrist and twisting it backwards before clamping a hand on his elbow and using it to judo-flip him over, sending him crashing into the ground.
"You are not giving me our first kiss when you're drunk!" she explodes.
"Ow! Fuck!" Gray screams.
Oh no. What did she do?
"Gray-sama!" she shrieks as she hurries towards him. "Juvia is so sorry! You just caught her off guard!"
"Well I was right about one thing. You are a knock out..."he mumbles.
She holds a hand out to help him up and he tries to grab it, but for some reason, he misses her hand and ends up groping her left breast instead. Juvia screams, arms instinctively moving to cover her chest as she moves backwards, causing Gray to lose his balance and fall on to the floor. His head crashes against the ground with a thud.
He's lying on the floor, unmoving, his eyes closed. Oh no. What if she's killed him?
She runs over towards him and kneels down, her hands moving to feel his pulse. To her relief, he's still breathing but he seems to be knocked out cold.
"Gray-sama? Gray-sama?" she says, trying to wake him up.
Great. Now, she's just knocked the love of her life unconscious.
She really isn't qualified to be doing this.
She's just hoping that he won't remember a thing about this when he's sober.
Author's Note: So I finally finished this. This request was actually sent in months ago but I was determined to finish this before 2014 ends. Actually, I wanted this to be a bit more serious and the ending was actually vastly different. But then I thought, hmmm, this is supposed to be a birthday present, it needs to be happy! So I changed the ending and kind of tweaked a bit of the fic ^_^ Also, i think Gray would definitely try to turn to alcohol to cope, seeing as how in 413 Days he was seen drinking a bottle of beer. I think he'd be even more sad, this time around though, because of what happened with Silver. A good chunk of this fic, especially the Gray-can't-sleep-without-the-scarf-thing and he-kept-the-body-pillow-thing are actually headcanons circulating around the fandom that I wholeheartedly agree with.
FUN FACT: I sprinkled some references in this, fics, short stories, films and TV shows! Free hugs for people who can spot them! (But I will hug you anyway even if you can't ^_^)
Many thanks also to randomteenager who took the time to read this when it was still a WIP.
Update: I thought that I posted this but upon re-reading the fic, I just realized that I completely forgot too! For those who guessed that the last scene was based on rboz's amazing drawing, then you're totally right :)
Please tell me what you think, but only if you have the time to do so! Have a great holiday and I hope you've enjoyed the fic! :))