For agirlworthfighting4: Thank you for always leaving a review in nearly all my fics. I hope you like this one!
When Mira tells him that she's got a job that would be perfect for him and Juvia, he immediately takes it.
He hasn't been on a job with Juvia in three months and they haven't been hanging out as much as they used to. Her and Gajeel's favorite musician is apparently in town, so they spent the last few weeks obsessively going to all of the meet and greets and getting into violent altercations with people (mostly just Gajeel) over tickets. It's not as if he misses her or anything, okay? It's just that he's kind of tired of hanging out with the same people every day.
"What's the job exactly?" he asks as he looks at the request slip. There are no details about the job itself—just the location, the amount they're going to be paid and a short bio of the person hiring them.
"Oh, he didn't really say." Mira dismissively waves a hand and gives him this impish, little grin that makes inexplicably him nervous. "He just asked for two mages of the opposite sex with complementary magic. And I immediately thought of you and Juvia because you know, what's more complementary than ice and water?"
She cheerily hands him the glass of beer he asked for and gives him an expectant look. Gray blinks at her.
"That's…weirdly specific," he says, his eyes narrowing in slight suspicion. He's not exactly sure but there's something about this job request that doesn't feel right to him.
Mira's bottom lip starts quivering. "Why are you giving me that look? Don't you trust me? Do you think I would purposely send you and Juvia to a life-threatening mission?"
They get life-threatening missions all the time but he decides that it's probably not a good idea to tell her that.
"No, no, it's not that!" Gray hastily says. He's made her cry many times before (albeit not on purpose) so he's not eager for it to happen again. "It's just that…you know how I don't like going into things without knowing the full details."
Mira's face immediately brightens. "Oh, if that's all you're concerned about, then you shouldn't worry at all! The one who made the request is an old friend of mine. He used to photograph me for my magazine covers!"
Gray frowns at the request slip. "I wonder what a photographer could want from us?"
Mira runs a rag across the countertop and shrugs. "Maybe he just wants you to protect him or something and thinks that mages with similar magic will be able to do it better."
"Oh. That makes sense," he says.
"So? Are you taking the job?" she asks him.
He nonchalantly nods his head, completely missing the devious smirk stretched across her lips. "Sure. Why not?"
The meeting place is this really extravagant house that has a vaulted ceiling and a polished marble floor inlaid in a white-gray octagonal pattern. The walls are lined with fancy paintings and sculptures and intricate, coppery patterns are shimmering from the ceiling. From beside him, Juvia's mouth is popped open like a fish. He probably doesn't look any better.
This place is amazing.
The guy they're working for must be loaded.
His eyes wander to all of the golden filigree on the columns.
"Sir? Madam? Excuse me?"
It takes him a while to register that a butler is standing right in front of them.
"Oh…um…right. Hi," he mumbles, a little embarrassed to be caught with such a dorky expression.
"The two of you are the models, I presume?" the butler says, looking slightly annoyed.
"Um…what?" he incredulously says.
"Models?" Juvia adds, looking just as confused.
The butler sighs in annoyance and pulls a piece of paper out from his pocket. He squints at the writing and says, "Are you two Mr…Gray Fullbuster and Ms. Juvia Lockser?"
"Yeah, that's us," Gray says.
"Oh, splendid. Mr. Leibovitz will be so happy to hear that you've arrived," he says, ushering them inside. "I hope you won't mind waiting in the drawing room. You two arrived a bit earlier than expected so we're still prepping the dining room."
"Um…okay," Gray uncertainly says. He and Juvia exchange slightly alarmed looks as they follow the butler across the huge reception area and into a smaller room.
"You can have some refreshments while you wait. Or if you two would prefer it, you can both change into your costumes—"
"Wait, what? Costumes?" he says. Okay, what on earth is this man talking about?
Before the butler can reply, a loud, nasally voice interrupts him. "Oh, good, good! Fantastic! The models are here! That means we can start earlier! Hey, you! Tell those clowns in the dining room to speed things up! We're moving the photoshoot earlier by an hour!"
A tall, willowy man with long, silver-white hair and dark eyes walks towards them. He's wearing an expensive-looking dress shirt that's rolled up to his sleeves and several shiny gold chains are hanging from his neck.
He shoots them an oily smile. "Gray Fullbuster?"
"Ansel Leibovitz at your service. It's a pleasure to work with you and your girlfriend—"
"Girlfriend?" Juvia squeaks, her cheeks turning into a deep shade of red.
"She is your girlfriend, right? I mean, I assumed she's your girlfriend since Mira told me that you two had fantastic chemistry—"
"Wait, what? Chemistry? What are you talking about?" Gray says in a slight annoyance.
"Didn't you read the brief?" Ansel impatiently says. "You two are gonna pose for my new photobook. It's gonna be big, I'm telling you. It's gonna be an explosive, artistic, revelatory experience—"
"Wait, wait. You're getting it all wrong. We didn't sign up to be your models!" he interjects in horror, the full extent of the entire situation dawning on him. Juvia just darts her eyes back and forth between him and Ansel, looking too mystified to speak up.
"Yes, you did!" Ansel irately says. "Mira told me that you two agreed to do it."
"What? But Mira never told us about this!" he insistently says. Then, he stiffens when he realizes that she probably didn't tell them on purpose. This is probably just another one of her insane matchmaking attempts.
"Look, kid. I don't care. You're big in the guild world, okay? You're gonna draw in a lot of sales for my book. You've got a huge fanbase. And your girlfriend isn't doing so bad herself, especially with that swimsuit cover she did back when she was in Phantom Lord."
Gray swivels his head to meet Juvia's eyes, suddenly aware that there's a half-naked picture of her somewhere circulating around what is probably many perverts' hands. "You had a swimsuit cover?"
Juvia guiltily twiddles her thumbs and starts mumbling indecipherably.
"So what? Are we good? Can we move on the to the photoshoot now?" Ansel impetuously demands.
Gray shakes his head. "I'm sorry but there was a big misunderstanding. Me and Juvia are not models. You're just going to have to find someone else."
Ansel glares at him and exasperatedly says, "Look, I paid rent for this place just for today and I do not have the time to look for other models. And I've been informed that you two gave me your word to follow through with this job. So unless you want me to tell all of my very important clients and connections that Fairy Tail mages are deal-breakers, then you better do the photoshoot."
Gray clenches his fists together and Juvia settles a hand on his shoulder. She gives him a pleading look that clearly says: Please don't turn him into a popsicle with your ice-make magic!
He's going to kill Mira.
No, really. He's going to kill her.
After some reflection, he decides that maybe this isn't so bad. In fact, it's actually a really great job when you think about it. He gets paid an insane amount of money to make a few poses. Juvia's a good friend so he probably won't be too uncomfortable. And the food they're serving is also excellent—it's a seven-course buffet cooked by an apparently world-famous chef. And the costume? It turns out to be a fancy, black suit. So he figures that whatever the photoshoot is, it probably isn't as embarrassing or weird as he first imagined.
He promptly chokes on the piece of roast pork he's been chewing on.
He opens his mouth and tries to speak but it seems as if his vocal chords had forgotten how to work.
Juvia's wearing a ridiculously revealing maid costume complete with a frilly apron and a mini bonnet. The top is buttoned all the way up to her neck (thank god) but her skirt is approximately the size of a large belt and the middle part of her dress is a tight corset that shows off her shapely hips. On her wrists are these frilly white things that, weirdly enough, makes him think of handcuffs.
She self-consciously hugs her arms around her stomach. "Does…Juvia look okay?"
He stupidly blinks at her, his mouth still open. "Um."
Yeah. That sounded really intelligent.
"Oh, good! You've finished changing!" Ansel says as he strides into the room. He surveys Gray and Juvia and gives a nod of satisfaction. "You two look great!"
Finally, Gray's brain decides to work again. He glares at Ansel and demands, "Why is she wearing that?"
Ansel waves a dismissive hand. "It's the theme for the photoshoot."
"Theme?" Gray blankly says. "But why does she have to look so…"
He abruptly stops himself when he realizes that Juvia's face is literally steaming as she eagerly awaits for his next word.
"Sexy? 'Cause that's the overall feel we're going with this photoshoot," he says as he ushers the two of them towards the dining room. Gray numbly follows him, feeling a little anxious at the photoshoot's theme.
"Okay, so here's the whole story behind this photoshoot. Gray, you're a really rich guy, okay? Heir of an exponentially huge company. And Juvia, you're a lowly maid. You've got no title, no property, no nothing. But the thing is, you're hopelessly in love with Gray," he says as he grabs his camera and starts tinkering with it.
Juvia's cheeks turns into an even darker shade of red and she dreamily sighs, "How romantic!"
"Yeah, yeah, it is. And you know what's even more romantic? He loves you too. You came to serve his household as a kid so you've got like, a childhood friends romance thing going on. But he can't act on his feelings because he's about to marry some rich chick. So you're forever wondering if he returns your feelings or not. You think you can act like that?" he asks Juvia as he gestures at some of his assistants to set the lights up.
Juvia nods her head, suddenly looking impassioned. "Yes! Juvia thinks that won't be hard for her to act out!"
Ansel turns to look at Gray and gives him an expectant look. "And you?"
"Um…yeah," he mumbles as he tries to desperately stop himself from staring at Juvia's exposed legs.
(Why are her legs so long? No, seriously. Why?)
"Fantastic!" Ansel says as he claps his hands together. He ushers them to the dining table and orders Gray to sit down. "Okay, so what I want from you two is sexual tension. I want the physical attraction to be there. But I want it to be subtle, okay? 'Cause you can't show your true feelings for each other. So, Juvia I want you to touch him, very, very lightly, you know in that accidentally-on-purpose kind of way. And Gray, I want you to look at her with intensity. Dark, broody, cool. Got that?"
"That shouldn't be too hard for Gray-sama!" Juvia enthusiastically chirps. "He looks like that all the time!"
Gray mutely nods his head, incredibly aware of how close Juvia's exposed skin is to him right now.
"Fantastic! Okay, people let's get this show on the road!" Ansel says as he moves away from them and starts barking orders at his assistants.
"Um…Juvia…" he nervously says as she grabs a tray piled with food. "What exactly do we…"
Before he can finish, Juvia suddenly bends down in front of him as she sets the tray on the table. His heart leaps to his throat, dimly aware of how close her ass is to his face.
(And whoa, she has a very er….shapely behind. What? He's got eyes. It's not like he can't look.)
A bit of her lacy panties flutter into view and he grips at the chair's armrests, the insides of his mouth becoming unbearably dry.
"Gray, stop looking so flustered! I want a darker, more broody look!" Ansel complains. "Okay, three more times!"
"Um—" Juvia bends down again, her hair falling in a seductive curtain around her face. He thickly swallows as he attempts to control himself and give Ansel that stupid dark, intense look he wants.
Before he can react, Juvia is suddenly behind him, her fingers lightly set on his shoulders. He sighs in relief, thankful that the contact isn't as intimate as the first one.
"No, no, let's make it raunchier! Juvia, lean down into his ear, as if you're asking him for something but really you're tonguing—"
"Tonguing—" Gray chokes.
"—the shell of his ear! And Gray, get that wine glass, hold it and look directly at the camera and pretend as if you're complete unaffected," Ansel continues.
Juvia looks just as flustered as him but after a few seconds of steady breathing, she leans down and presses her lips against his neck. Her hand is still on his shoulder but her fingers are drawing patterns. Gray shakily grabs the wine glass and attempts to maintain whatever is left of his composure as Juvia's lips move upwards at a maddeningly slow pace.
"Whisper something to him so it'll be more realistic," Ansel urges.
"Gray-sama…" she huskily whispers into the shell of his ear before she traces it with the tip of her tongue. She starts saying something else, but whatever it is, he doesn't hear it. He's too busy focusing on the fact that all of the blood in his body has just rushed downwards and his pants are suddenly, unbearably tight.
"Gray! I told you stop looking like an embarrassed school boy! Jeez, haven't you ever had a girlfriend!? You look as if you've never made out with anybody in your whole life," Ansel complains.
Gray can feel his ears turning red. He defensively says, "Yes, I have! And I've made out with girls! Loads of them!"
(Okay, fine, so he actually never really had a girlfriend. And he kissed like, one girl when he was thirteen. But it's not like Ansel's going to do a background check on him or something.)
Juvia's face flashes with an expression that he can't quite understand (is that hurt?) but before she can say anything, Ansel says, "We need to switch things up. I think Juvia's going to have to sit on your lap."
"NO!" Gray explodes, extremely aware of the bulge in his pants. If Juvia sits on his lap, she's going to find out that he has an insanely huge hard-on right now. He doesn't want to embarrass himself even further. "I mean…er…I think we should do more shots with the ear thing. You know…to really show the um…sexual tension…"
He awkwardly peters off into silence as everyone blankly stares at him.
"Juvia, sit on his lap!" Ansel orders, completely ignoring Gray.
Juvia nods and carefully positions herself on Gray's lap. Her eyes widen when she feels his arousal and he expects her to comment or launch off into another one of her fantasies. But instead, she just schools her features and looks away from him, her face stony. Gray looks at her, confused at her sudden hostility. She takes the wine glass from his hand and offers it up to him, but her face is flat, expressionless.
Ansel takes about two shots before crying out in frustration. "Aaarghh! This isn't working! The chemistry isn't here at all! What the hell? I thought you two were dating!"
"No, we're not. As Gray-sama has made abundantly clear," Juvia says, her voice lined with acid. Gray flinches at the tone of her voice. What the hell? Why is she suddenly mad?
Seriously. He's been friends with her for all this time and he still can't keep up with her mood swings.
"I'm going to have to replace Gray."
"What?" Gray sputters.
"You're a horrible model! You're not even trying to connect with her at all! And you're not giving me the facial expressions that I want!"
Ansel points at one of his assistants. "You! Get me Enrique immediately!"
"Who's Enrique?" he questions.
"Him," Ansel says, pointing to a tall, muscular man with caramel skin and dark hair. He shoots Juvia a flirtatious smile and a playful wink.
Okay, now he's annoyed.
"I thought you couldn't find any other models but us!"
"Yeah, well I lied. Sue me. Now get out of the chair!" Ansel impatiently says.
"No!" Gray yells, a little too loudly. There is no way he's going to let Juvia sit on the lap of some complete stranger named Enrique (the guy seems really shady, okay?). Then, realizing how ridiculous he sounds, he quickly smooths the expression on his face and says in a calmer voice, "I mean…give me another chance."
"I've already wasted five frames on you! Time is money and—"
"No, really! I can do it!" Gray urgently says. He looks at Juvia for support but she's still glaring at the table. "And who's gonna bring in more buyers for your photobook, huh? Me…or Enrique?"
Ansel contemplatively taps his chin. "Well, I guess you are more popular. Okay, what the hell, right?"
Gray nods his head. "Right."
"Now, I want you to really feel the story, alright? Really, go for it. Put yourselves in your characters' shoes. Have a pretend conversation with each other!" Ansel says with several emphatic gestures.
Gray nods his head and turns to look at Juvia who's still stubbornly not looking at him.
"You're about to get married the next day. Gray, this is the last chance to tell her how you feel. Go!" Ansel barks.
Juvia sighs, as if this is one big chore for her, before moving a bit on his lap, creating a sort of grinding motion against his hips. He yelps as he feels every inch of his body reacting, rolls of pleasure pulsing through his abdomen. Juvia seems to notice this and adjusts her position again (on purpose, he's sure) probably just to punish him for whatever it is that he did wrong. He gives her a small, irritated glare and just to get back at her, he places a firm hand on her waist and pulls her closer, eliciting a surprised cry from her. Juvia gives him a dirty look in response and roughly pulls at his tie, bringing their faces close together.
"Good! Good! Liking the aggression here!" Ansel calls out to them.
"So um…" Gray mumbles. He's still annoyed with her but he's also hyperaware of how close they are. Her nose is brushing against his and he can count the number of lashes on her eyelids. "I'm getting married tomorrow—"
"Good. At least Juvia won't have to serve you anymore," she snippily interjects.
"Okay, what did I do wrong this time?" he exasperatedly says. This isn't the first time he has unknowingly hurt Juvia's feelings or offended her. As Lucy once pointed out to him, he's not exactly the most perceptive guy in the planet.
"Nothing," Juvia responds although the tone of her voice clearly indicates that it isn't just 'nothing.'
He tries a different tactic.
"You know…you're really good at this," he says.
"Of course, Juvia is. She's not naive, you know. She did have a boyfriend," she informs him as she leans forward and settles her lips on his jaw.
He suddenly, irrationally feels betrayed.
He places a hand on her thigh and gives it a small squeeze. Juvia stiffens in response. "Actually, I meant that you were great at modelling."
She runs her tongue along his ear before nipping it at the corner. This time, Gray's better prepared and only reacts in mild embarrassment. "Of course Juvia would be good at that too. She did a lot of swimsuit covers after all."
His hand inches up higher and higher up her skirt until it disappears beneath her skirt. His fingers playfully tug against the elastic bands of her panties. To her credit, she doesn't react except for a very brief, flustered yelp. "Well, I do a lot of shirtless covers too."
"Really? Juvia wouldn't know. She only buys issues with the good covers on them."
Okay, that was harsh.
He opens his mouth to speak, but Juvia beats him to it. "But Juvia's sure all of the girls who you've made out with bought all of the magazines with your shirtless covers."
So this is what the whole thing is about.
"Okay, cut! Cut!" Ansel bossily says. "Great job you two! But enough with the passive-aggressiveness! I want some really sweet, tender shots, okay?"
He meets her eyes. They're hard, cold, just like how they were when she was in Phantom Lord and they were enemies. He suddenly feels like a man caught cheating.
Which is ridiculous because they're not even dating. And technically, all those girl he was talking about didn't even exist so.
He's not going to apologize to her.
Because if that's how they're going to look at it, then she's technically cheating too.
(And no, don't ask him why he's suddenly flinging words like cheating or dating.)
But then, her eyes suddenly soften into this sad, sad look, like he's gone and strangled her puppy in her sleep. And he suddenly feels horrible because he only said those things because he was embarrassed and he didn't want to seem like an awkward, inexperienced loser.
"Gray-sama?" she asks him in a small voice. "Did you really make out with a lot of girls? Like casually?"
"What's with the held gaze!? Do something else!" Ansel barks at them.
Okay fine. He won't apologize because he did nothing wrong. But he will set the record straight.
Gray decides to take the lead with this one as he cups a hand against her cheek and pulls her forward so their foreheads are touching. Her cheeks are warm and smooth against his palm.
"Juvia," he whispers.
"I…er…I have a confession to make," he mumbles, feeling slightly embarrassed.
The word "confession" probably triggered another one of her crazy fantasies because she momentarily zones out on him for awhile. He guesses that even when she's mad at him, she can't help go off on her imagination-spiels.
"Oh. Right. Yes, Gray-sama?" She doesn't sound as angry with him anymore, so he doesn't feel half as nervous of what he's about to say.
"I've only ever kissed one girl in my life," he mumbles.
For once, she doesn't react in jealous rage. Instead, her eyes widen in shock. "Eh? But you said—"
He gives her an expectant look, kind of hoping that she'll confess that she made up an imaginary ex-boyfriend just to get back at him.
Juvia seems to have understood him because she blushes and says, "Er…Juvia didn't lie about having an ex-boyfriend."
He should not sound as disappointed as he does right now.
"But it's okay! Because we just dated for a month."
That does make him feel a little better.
"You want to know something else?" Juvia says as Ansel rudely barks at them to do something else other than the "forehead thing."
Gray glares at him, annoyed that their conversation is being interrupted. Then, just to shut Ansel up, he kisses her forehead and tenderly strokes her hair. Juvia stiffens in shock for several seconds. Then, she relaxes, closes her eyes and curls her fingers around the front of his shirt.
"Juvia may have had an ex-boyfriend but she has only ever loved one man in her whole life. And it wasn't him."
He smiles against her skin.
He's not even going to lie and pretend as if he has no idea who or what she's talking about.
When the photobook gets released, he's vaguely surprised (and relieved) to find not only his and Juvia's pictures but also photo spreads of Natsu and Lucy as a demon and an angel and Gajeel and Levy as a delinquent, leather-clad student and teacher respectively.
"Mira also roped you two into this, huh?' Gajeel mumbles, looking horrendously embarrassed. Gray is even surprised that Gajeel hasn't reacted with overprotective rage, especially given how…suggestive…some of the pictures of him and Juvia came out in comparison to Natsu and Lucy's and Gajeel and Levy's.
Only Natsu is completed unaffected by the entire thing. "Oh man, those are your pictures!? Me and Luce's are totally better!"
"What are you talking about Flame-Brain? You look really constipated!" he instinctively retorts, his competitive spirit provoked.
"At least I don't look like a flustered schoolboy—"
"What are you talking about? I look totally cool—"
"But I look hot!" Natsu triumphantly says, clearly pleased at his own pun. "And look at Lucy! She looks way hotter than Juvia—"
"That's a total lie! Juvia looks better!" Gray fiercely says.
A large, iron-clad fist descends between them.
Gajeel, who's been silently watching the exchange and feeling a little left out, glares at them, no longer looking embarrassed. "You two are off your rockers! Shrimp and I are clearly the superior couple!"
"Yeah but you two can't even do a Unison Raid!"
"What does that have to do with anything, Ice Princess?"
"Yeah! We're talking about the photos, dumbass!" Gajeel snaps.
Before he knows it, the three of them have gotten into a massive fistfight and he's completely forgotten to chew Mira out for tricking them into doing the photoshoot (not that he hasn't already done that before, but you know. It's only fair that he gets to do it more than once.)
They end up in the infirmary for three days straight and Juvia visits him and leaves him like, mounds and mounds of food.
And he just goes, "See? Obviously, we're the best couple. Can Lucy and Levy bake all this shit in just a few hours?"
(And when he says couple, he means in the friendship-teammate-couple kind of way, okay?)
If Natsu and Gajeel hands aren't in arm plasters and slings, he's pretty sure that they would've flipped him the bird.
Like he cares.
Author's Note: So given how Gray reacts to some of the more perverted things that happen in the anime, I think that it's not much of a stretch to say that he probably hasn't had a girlfriend yet hahaha But I do think he would've kissed someone though, probably just to try it and he might've maybe gone on dates? I don't know but I definitely think he would act like a total dork if that scenario happened. I don't know if Mira would go this far but she does have a tendency to tease people so I figure that she'd really be into matchmaking hehehe Juvia being much more comfortable doesn't mean she's more experienced, I just think it's because she's a lot more (ahem) imaginative than Gray (lol) and probably more affectionate. Gray probably got doubly flustered from being around so many. Also, Ansel's story is inspired by randomteenager's maid Juvia oneshot in her collection of stories Swimming in the Frozen Sky.
As always, thank you for reading and review and tell me what you think if you have the time! :