Author's Note: Long time no see! Wrote this one for Gruvia Week last month, the prompt was 'misunderstanding'.
I've actually had this idea for like 2 years now, it came to me one day when I was talking to my good friend thatsvicchan. She asked me "if Gray and Juvia were ever to fight about something, what would it be?" and that led to this stupid idea lmao. Hope it makes you smile, please leave some feedback if you have the time! ^.^
When they first started living together, things weren't always so smooth.
There had been bumps along the way; little disruptions to their new lives as housemates that would appear every now and then, though they'd always work through it. With Fairy Tail's disbandment, the two knew they had only each other, and within one month, they had already adjusted, often cooking, working and relaxing together; things were comfortable between them.
But now, as Juvia opened the front door and stepped inside their home, arms loaded with grocery bags and feet wiping snow off onto the mat, she realised there was still one last bump in their lives as housemates left—
"Gray-sama, it is too cold in here!"
—and that was the thermostat.
"What're you talking about? If you ask me, it's perfect in here," Gray said, taking the groceries from her hands and lightly kicking the door shut behind her.
Arms folded, Juvia hugged herself tight, shivering. "But Juvia thinks it's colder inside the house than it was outside…"
Gray scoffed. "It ain't that cold. I only set the thermostat down by one degree."
"One degree?" she asked, incredulous.
"One degree," he told her firmly, strolling off into the kitchen—fully dressed, Juvia noted.
She watched him go, waiting to hear the clatter of the cupboards before making her move towards the thermostat. Tiptoeing, she chanced a quick glance over her shoulder just to be safe. With no one else around, she turned back to the thermostat to find that the temperature had been lowered well into the minus region, just as she'd suspected. One degree, he had said.
Juvia huffed to herself, reached forwards and turned the temperature back up.
It was only when Gray noticed he was sat in nothing but his boxers, yet he was still hot, that he realised something was up.
"Why the hell is it so hot? It's like an oven in here…" he muttered, wiping the sweat off his forehead. Setting his pen aside, he began fanning himself with his sketchpad, to no effect—he was still roasting.
Something wasn't right.
It never got this hot in their home, not when he was around, and it just so happened that Juvia had one hell of a guilty look on her face.
"Oi, Juvia." Gray peered at her. "Aren't you hot too?"
"Juvia's fine," she replied airily, busy with her knitwork.
"Oh yeah?" Hands in his pockets, he headed over to the thermostat, watching her carefully. "So then you won't mind if I turn it down by a couple of degrees, right?"
"Not at all, Gray-sama."
That was all the go-ahead he needed. Saying one thing and doing another, Gray turned the dial to the far left in one swift motion, plunging them into absolute zero conditions.
"Gray-sama!" her voice rang out, loud and accusatory. "Juvia saw that!"
Startled, Gray jumped away from the thermostat, hands in the air, guilty like a child who'd been caught in the middle of mischief.
She didn't look happy with him. Her mouth was exaggeratedly curved downwards, blue eyes fixed on him as they engaged in a brief staring contest—her pout against his scowl. He could sense she was about to crack, and a part of him wondered what would happen. Till this day, he couldn't recall a time he'd ever been on the receiving end of Juvia's glare.
He'd be lying if he said he wasn't a little interested in finding out.
Breaking the silence, Juvia huffed and shot up from her seat, marching over to the thermostat. Eyes locked on his, she twisted the knob to the right again, turning the temperature up. "Gray-sama does not know the meaning of 'a couple of degrees'."
"Two degrees, twenty degrees…" Gray lowered it down once more, cocking his head to the side with a smile. "Who's to say what the difference is, huh?"
The two exchanged pointed glares.
"Gray-sama…" She turned it back up. "Stop."
"Juvia…" He turned it back down. "No."
"But Juvia gets too cold in these winter times!"
"Knit yourself a damn sweater!"
"Well, Gray-sama can just strip if he's too warm," she told him, hand on the dial. "He already leaves his clothes everywhere as it is!"
"Oh yeah? And what happens after I run out of clothes to strip, huh?" he drawled, taking charge of the thermostat again. "I melt and turn into a friggin' puddle like you do? Nah, I'll pass on that, thanks!"
Juvia gasped audibly. "Juvia does not turn into a puddle!"
"Yeah, well, you ain't gonna turn into an ice cube if it's a little cold either!"
"A little cold?! Juvia does not understand how you can live in such arctic conditions!"
"I'm a friggin' ice mage!"
One turn too many, and the dial broke apart in his hands before falling to the ground with a deafening clatter. The pair fell silent, first staring at each other, then at where the thermostat had been, and now at the broken remains on the floor between them.
Just like the rest of the house, their fireplace was small, its flames casting long shadows over the rug and gently warming Juvia's hands as she crouched down in front of it. They had tried fixing the thermostat, though failed horribly—neither of them was much of the technical sort, especially Gray. Fondly, she found herself recalling how last week, he had tried to turn the TV lacrima on with the remote facing backwards, and the week before, where he had wanted to help her with dinner but forgot to turn the oven on. Whilst he had been scratching his head in confusion, she had found the whole ordeal hilarious—the thought still brought a smile to her lips, even when she was convincing herself she was annoyed with him.
Juvia stretched her hands out a little further, taking comfort in the heat, when she felt a thick fabric fall over her head, followed by a body crashing down beside her, their shoulders brushing. Pulling the blanket off her head, her eyes found Gray. He was sat with his elbows resting on his knees, face turned towards her, sharp features illuminated by the flames. As if he wanted to say something, his mouth twitched—then broke into one of his lazy smiles, and before long, she found herself smiling too, unable to resist the tug at the corner of her lips.
"Truce?" he asked her.
"Truce," she said.
She was never one to hold onto anger, and in any case, how could she ever stay mad at him?
"Gray-sama, Juvia is sorry…"
"Nah, don't do that. I'm the one who acted like an idiot, I'm sorry," he cut in, leaning forward to wrap the blanket around her a little tighter. "Warm enough?"
Juvia nodded. "Thank you."
"Don't mention it." He passed a hand through his hair sheepishly, glancing off towards the fireplace. "I, err, called the gas company to come by tomorrow and fix the thermostat."
She hummed in reply. "That's good."
They sat in silence for a while, listening to the crackle of the firewood. Juvia drew the blanket snugger around her body, already feeling lighter with the return of his smile. She thought to herself how when Fairy Tail had disbanded, to her, it felt like saying goodbye to her family once more, and she knew Gray felt the same way. The past month had been difficult to adjust to at first; the area was unfamiliar, jobs had been sparse, their house was a lot quieter than their rowdy guild hall. But despite all of these things, they always found comfort in each other's company, and the days that passed with him were days she cherished.
She recalled the first ever morning they'd shared—how she had been up bright and early with the birds, cracking eggs into the frying pan, when Gray had suddenly strolled into the kitchen. Bare from head to toe, he rubbed sleep from his eyes and mumbled something that sounded a lot like "Mornin' Juvia,", as though it was a regular occurrence to be butt-naked in the kitchen. Juvia, unable to respond, had hid her blush behind her hands and squeaked in surprise, whilst Gray blinked at her, cursed, and ran back to his room to make himself decent.
Needless to say, the eggs had burnt that day.
Now, she blushed at the memory, a laugh filling the silence between them.
Beside her, Gray arched a brow. "What you laughin' at?" He nudged her playfully. "Wanna let me in on the joke?"
"Juvia was just thinking about our first morning together in this house," she said, eyes soft as she looked around their small living room.
"Our first morning, huh…" He drifted off, caught in the memory, before realisation hit him, hard. "H-hey! You gotta forget that ever happened, okay, Juvia?"
"Mm…Juvia doesn't want to forget it."
"What?" He faltered, red faced. "Well, it's not like you were all that innocent in the beginning either."
"Heh?!" Juvia blinked. "Juvia has never done anything so indecent—"
"Oh yeah?" Gray raised his eyebrows at her. "When we first moved in, you'd spend so friggin' long in the shower, you'd end up using all the water. You never even heard me knocking on the door telling you to hurry the hell up—"
"Juvia admits to that, but that isn't nearly as bad as what Gray-sama did."
"You didn't let me finish," Gray said, a smirk spreading wide on his face. "You never heard me telling you to hurry up…because you were too busy singing your heart out to one of Gajeel's crappy songs like the number one fan of his that you are."
Juvia gasped in horror. "Gray-sama heard Juvia?!"
He grinned. "Every single 'shoobi-doo-ba'."
"Juvia is mortified!" She let out a dramatic cry, hiding her face in her hands.
Gray laughed, pulling her hands away from her face. "Oi, don't do that. You were pretty good. Say, you ever consider performin' as a double act?"
"Gray-sama!" She shoved him, and he shoved her back, their laughter the only sound filling the room aside from the firewood, before settling down into quiet conversation again.
Juvia sighed, resting her head on his shoulder. "Gray-sama is mean. He teases Juvia too much."
"Get used to it," he told her. "It's one of the perks that comes with living with me."
"What is another one of Gray-sama's perks?" Juvia mused. "The fact that he snores very loudly? That he strips without any self control? Perhaps his newfound talent of breaking thermostats?"
She laughed softly, cuddling closer to him. "Still, Juvia likes living with Gray-sama. She feels at home with you."
Gray smiled at her words, letting her lean against him. He said nothing as he watched the flames in front curl and sway—simply listened to her voice by his side as she continued to reminisce about their earlier days, her conversational whispers falling softly in the room, barely audible over the crackle of the fire—whilst he thought about all the ways in which her earlier statement was right.
vi. fighting over the thermostat