I don't really have an excuse for this, I own nothing someone else does, and I'd love comments on this. Yeah :D
"Really, Gray, enough's enough," Mirajane said, looking as exasperated as Gray had ever seen her. She had actually set down the glass she was wiping down. "You need to start wearing clothes."
"Yeah," Natsu piped up. "There are ladies present, you know."
"Oh," Gray sneered. "Sorry, Natsu. Did I offend you?"
Natsu bared his teeth at him, but Mirajane cut in before they could start fighting.
"Gray, it makes a lot of people uncomfortable to see you prancing around in your underwear all day," she said patiently.
"Not like there's much to show," Natsu snickered. "Lucy has more muscle than you."
Very calmly, Gray threw his shoe at him. Of course, this set off a chain reaction, and before Mirajane could react, he was sitting at the bar in nothing but his boxers.
Mirajane sighed. Clearly, this was going to take some work.
For his part, Gray didn't seem to notice anything was wrong. He continued to stare up at Mirajane expectantly.
"Gray," she chided. "Your clothes."
"What about them?"
She was going to need Erza for this.
"If you take off one item of clothing, I'll slice you," Erza said, sword pointing at Gray's throat. He swallowed, going cross-eyed as he stared at it.
"I think this is unnecessary," he squeaked. "Also, probably illegal."
"Not if you do what I say," she said. "And walking around in public without clothes is illegal, too."
"I'm doing the world a favor," Gray said sullenly, folding his arms over his chest and trying not to notice all the people staring at them. Didn't anyone in their guild ever actually work?
As if on cue, the door thumped open, and a familiar voice chirped, "Erza! Want to go on a mission with me?"
Erza turned automatically at the sound of Lucy's voice. "A mission? To do what?"
"Capture some rogue mages," Lucy said. "They're rookie, but I need the mon—" She stopped, blinking. "Gray? What are you doing?"
Erza turned back to him just in time to see Gray peel off his shirt. He grinned sheepishly when he noticed her. "…Oops?"
Gray's screams could be heard for miles.
"For every article of clothing you take off," Natsu said, "I'll do the same."
Gray made a face. "I don't want to see that."
"And no one wants to see you," Natsu reminded him.
The two of them were sitting in Lucy's apartment. Happy was watching them from his seat on the counter, a raw fish sitting beside him. Lucy was, of course, not home, and the two of them had been forced to break in through her window. She really should just give them keys…
Gray rolled his eyes. "This is stupid," he said. "And I'm bored."
"Mirajane is paying me to do this," Natsu said gleefully. "So I don't really care. I am going to rid you of your sluttishness no matter what."
Gray just looked at him.
Still, twenty minutes ticked by slowly, and Gray made no move to strip off his clothes – a new record for him – and was instead occupying himself with reading a book Lucy had left on her coffee table. Natsu was just patting himself on the back for a job well done when he heard a noise from outside. Ah, Lucy was home.
Gray hadn't heard this. He waved around the book, one with a hard pink cover, and said, "Did you know Lucy thinks I'm cute?"
Natsu blinked. "Really?" He squinted at the book in Gray's hands. "Hey, isn't that—"
"That's my diary!"
Gray and Natsu turned to see Lucy, looking horrified, standing in the doorway with a bag of groceries in one arm.
"Hey, Lucy!" Natsu greeted cheerfully.
"Buy any fish?" Happy asked, patting his full belly.
Lucy ignored them. She was too busy stomping over to Gray so she could swipe her diary from his hands. "I do not think you're cute!" she informed him irritable.
"But…" Gray furrowed his eyebrows, frowning. "You said it right there. 'Gray is cute."
"That was another Gray," she lied. "Not get out of my house!" She whirled on her heel and stalked towards her room. They could see her ears turning red as she left.
Happy scurried after Lucy and her bag of groceries.
Natsu and Gray exchanged amused glances, neither of them making any move to leave.
"She so digs me," Gray announced. Then he took off his pants.
Natsu rolled his eyes and followed suit.
"Any luck?" Mirajane asked when Natsu and Gray sat down at the bar.
Natsu scowled. "No. I was doing fine until Lucy came home. Then it was Strip City," he said with a sniffle. Dammit. He was getting sick from taking off his clothes. How did Gray do it?
Mirajane leaned against the bar, looking thoughtful. There had to be some flaw in their plans, some reason for their failure. What prompted Gray to take off his clothes, even under threat…?
Mirajane glanced at Gray. He was guzzling down a glass of water, not seeming to even have noticed that he wasn't wearing clothes anymore.
Mirajane frowned. What was she missing…?
"Heeeeeey, Lucy!" Natsu shouted with his typical exuberance at seeing his partner. Mirajane turned to smile at her, but Lucy just scowled, flouncing over to drop into a seat beside Natsu. She wouldn't look at Gray.
Gray, on the other hand, was staring straight at her, hand at his waist. Mirajane watched him uncertainly for a minute – then realized. He was clutching at air where the hem of his shirt should be.
Mirajane tapped her chin thoughtfully.
Gray stripped off his clothes when Erza was threatening him with a sword after Lucy came in.
He had taken them off when facing off against Natsu only after she returned home.
Even now, Natsu had only needed to mention Lucy, and off went the clothes.
Mirajane smiled. Interesting.
"Lucy?" she said sweetly. "Could I talk to you for a moment?"
"No way," Natsu said, grinning from ear-to-ear. "Gray likes Lucy? HA!"
Of course, Lucy hadn't believed Mirajane's theory. No way could Gray be taking his clothes off for her – he had been doing it for years, before he even met her! But then Mirajane conducted a little experiment. She had Gray put his clothes back on – and a second later, Lucy sat beside him. And then they were off again. He didn't even seem to be aware of it.
Clearly, Lucy was some sort of trigger. But why? And what could they do to stop it? Lucy didn't know. Mirajane was at a loss. So they convened in the kitchen to let Erza, Natsu, and Happy in on their new discovery.
Which, as it turned out, was a mistake.
Lucy kicked Natsu in the ankle. "We never said that!" she hissed.
"Lucy," Erza said flatly, "You make him want to take his clothes off. It's pretty obvious what's going on here."
"Maybe I just give off heat," Lucy grumbled, turning pink. Happy patted her hand comfortingly.
"I breathe fire," Natsu reminded her. "He stays fully clothed in front of me." Under his breath, he added, "Thank God for that…"
"Anyway," Mirajane said hastily, "That isn't the problem. The problem is, what do we do about it?" At the looks she received, she elaborated: "If Lucy can prompt Gray to take off his clothes, then there must be a way she can make him stay clothed."
A moment passed during which no one spoke. Then:
"Isn't it obvious?"
Lucy turned to Erza. Her voice was even, face blank. Lucy swallowed. She had a bad feeling about this…
"What's obvious?" Mirajane asked.
"Gray takes his clothes off around Lucy," Erza explained slowly. "Gray likes Lucy. Why does one take off his clothes around those one is attracted to?"
It took Lucy a moment to realize what Erza what getting at, but when she did, her jaw dropped. "Ew! No!"
Natsu looked from Lucy to Erza and back again. "I don't get it," he said.
"Good, you shouldn't," Lucy said. God only knew what Natsu would say if he figured out what Era's plan was—
"Just one night, Lucy," Erza sad impatiently. "Not even a night. Just make him happy. It'll take a day. He's too…" She grasped for a word that wouldn't break Lucy's brain. "Frustrated."
"Gack," Lucy said intelligently.
Beside her, Natsu seemed to have finally realized what was going on, and he shot to his feet, eyes blazing. "YOU WANT LUCY TO SLEEP WITH GRAY?" he bellowed.
"SAY WHAT?" they heard Gray yelp from behind the door.
Lucy hated her life a lot. How did she get here?
"Please, Lucy," Mirajane said quickly, clasping her hands together. "We've been getting complaints about Gray from the townspeople, and you're the only one that can help it and—"
Lucy just stared at her.
Just then, the door to the kitchen burst open, and Gray hurried in. he was already down to his boxers.
Erza raised her eyebrows at Lucy, arms already around Natsu to restrain him. He was looking at Gray like he'd like nothing more than to smash his face into the ground.
Mirajane picked up Happy, who was looking just as outraged as Natsu, and headed for the door. "I'll leave you two to it," she said with a smile. "Come along, Erza, Natsu."
"NO NO NO PUT ME DOWN GRAY DON'T YOU TOUCH HER LUCY KICK HIM IN THE—"
Erza pinched a nerve in his neck so he fell unconscious. Happy, on the other hand, was swearing up a storm, and Mirajane could only stare.
"I think we broke him," Erza said, just as they walked out, shutting the door with a soft click behind them.
Lucy stared, openmouthed, after them. Gray was staring at her patiently. She furrowed her eyebrows at him. "In the kitchen? Seriously?"
The next day, Gray walked into the guild with all his clothes on.
He didn't take them off once the entire day.