A/N: New story, woohoo! Already have some more of this one done, so it won't take that long for updates to roll out. This fic will take a couple of chapters to tell and I'll be releasing the next exactly one week from now. Also, I realized a little ago that I mentioned in my review for one of A Hopeless Romantic's stories that Gray had gotten over Ur, however that's a central theme to this story (presenting a scenario where he hasn't) so ignore what I said! Lastly, no set time on when this story takes place but for the sake of it let's put it before the Oracion Seis. Enjoy.
The loud ringing of an alarm clock rudely awakened Gray Fullbuster; or rather, it would have if he had been able to get any sleep during the night. Sitting up and groaning, the ice maker cast off the blankets covering his body and slammed his hand onto the alarm, effectively ceasing the noise by breaking the device. Gray looked at the destroyed electronic in disdain, removing his hand from the clock and inspecting the damage much to his displeasure.
"Great…" he muttered to himself, "today sure seems promising."
The black haired guild member of Fairy Tail got up from his bed and lazed over to his sink where at the youth splashed cold water onto his face from a running faucet. Planting both hands on the porcelain counter with his arms outstretched, Gray leaned forward and stared at himself in the mirror resting on the wall.
He'd barely been able to get any sleep at all in the past couple of days and it was certainly starting to show. Bags rested under the ice mage's eyes and his features had become worn and drawn out, the color in his face also fading slightly. He'd come back from intense jobs looking better than he was currently.
Gray looked out the window by the edge of his room on the second story and saw that it was viciously snowing outside again for the third day straight. Magnolia had been getting hit by a blizzard for the past couple of days and it seemed like everybody was enjoying themselves except for the mage who grew up in the cold, ironically enough.
Sighing under his breath, Gray walked over to the window and opened it slightly, allowing the cold air to come breezing through without too much snow covering his room. The air nipped at the ice mage's bare skin like needles, however it was a sensation the young man relished after having gotten used to it through his training.
The Fairy Tail wizard half closed his eyes in remorse at the thought of his training since it always led to one person, Ur. He'd tried letting it all go, how he'd basically caused his teacher's death at the hands of Deliora through his rash actions. Tried to forgive himself for all the transgressions he'd caused, how he destroyed what once was his best friend's goals and unknowingly sent the fellow ice maker on a path blinded by his own aspirations. These memories always hit hardest when there was a blizzard since the heavy snowfall reminded Gray of his days running through the mountains with nothing but a pair of boxers and a grimace on his face.
After the ordeal on the island of demons and having witnessed the death of Deliora, Gray thought that he had gotten over all of these regrets. He'd accepted that Ur still lived on and her greatest work, defeating Deliora, had been for the students she called her children. Yet, for whatever reason, Gray would lay sleepless in his bed whenever a snowstorm came through, this one being the worst case yet.
With the window still cracked open, Gray grabbed a chair from a desk on the opposite side of the room and planted the seat in front of it, the back of the chair facing the wall. The ice maker sat down in reverse and leaned forward with his chest resting against the body of the chair and his forehead on the cold glass, peering outside.
The snow was piling rather high in Magnolia and everybody was either busy cleaning the streets or lazing about, enjoying themselves in their own manner. Gray knew he would have to eventually go outside and mingle with people, he just wasn't quite in the mood yet to force himself into action. The ice maker instead decided to continue staring aimlessly out the window, hoping that the day would pass him by like a breath of wind.
Such was not to be the case as moments after the desire crossed his mind a snowball slammed into the window in front of the black haired mage's face, the only thing separating him from a mouthful of snow being the pane of glass.
Gray jolted back in shock from the snowball and the loud thud it made upon impact, tipping over and falling out of his chair in the process. Grumbling to himself and regretting the position he'd sat in, Gray angrily recovered himself before he walked over to the window and threw it open, the snowball still stuck to where it had hit.
"Who the hell threw that?" he yelled out, looking down at and around the street in front of his apartment. As if in response another snowball came hurtling at the ice mage, only this time there was no window blocking him and the projectile flying at him. Grey's vision blurred white as the snowball hit him square in the face, a good portion forcing its way into his mouth.
Gray stood motionless for a time until the snow slipped off of him, his face red from a mix of anger and the coldness of the snowball. As his vision cleared, the ice maker saw two members from his guild just about rolling in the snow, howling in laughter.
The first was a blonde haired girl with a thick, white winter coat on with fur outlining the edges where the coat ended. Matching the coat was a pair of white snow pants that went down past the edges of her boots, preventing any snow from getting inside. On the top of her head was a cotton cap with a ball on the top and it kept in fashion with the rest of her outfit by being the same shade of white.
Standing next to her was a boy dressed in clothing that would make most people cringe at the thought of in such cold conditions. The youth wore a lone black waistcoat that had a darkened orange outlining and loose, white trousers that ended tied at his knees. Since the boy was wearing sandals instead of shoes, the only thing closely resemblant to appropriate clothing for the weather was the scaled scarf that he always wore around his neck.
Immediately recognizing the pair laughing together as Lucy and Natsu, Gray scowled at the two Fairy Tail mages.
"Was that really necessary?" he asked irritably.
"Oh, come on, lighten up!" Lucy yelled up jovially. "I can't believe you fell for that! I mean, honestly, you can't say you didn't see it coming."
"Actually I can…"
"Plus," she added with a snicker, ignoring the black haired youth above her, "You should have seen the look on your face! It was priceless!"
Lucy looked eagerly at her salmon haired companion to see that he returned the same stare and the two erupted into another bout of laughter, much to the ice maker's chagrin. Turning away in annoyance and slight disgust at the pair's happiness in contrast to his own misery, Gray slammed his window shut and began sulking back into the depths of his room.
"Hang on, Gray!" Natsu yelled out after the mage, "I have something important to tell you!"
Gray paused momentarily before begrudgingly turning around. The sound of the dragon slayer's voice had been muffled by the closed window, however the black haired teenager had been able to make out what had been yelled out. Gray walked back to the window and opened it up again, looking down to hear what the fire mage wanted to tell him before another snowball smacked him square in the face a second time.
"Come outside, dumbass!" was all the ice maker could hear from his guildmate before he'd slammed the window shut again so hard that the snow plastered on it from before was knocked loose, falling to the ground. He walked back over to his sink and turned the faucet on again, splashing cold water that now felt warmer thanks the snow onto his face to get it off.
Gray picked the chair that he had fallen off of up from the ground and put it back on its legs, taking the time to sit in it normally afterwards. He leaned back heavily into the furniture, loosening his body fully while staring up at the roof lethargically.
He knew he'd have to go outside eventually; if he didn't the two who were happily laughing at the ice maker's misfortune would come in and force him out. He had at the most a couple of minutes before Natsu would come up and knock on his door which was the last thing Gray needed; the dragon slayer's definition of knock being destroy. In fact, Gray couldn't recall a time that the flaming asshole had been in his room without breaking something.
Knowing his time was up, Gray sluggishly forced himself up before putting on a pair of black cargo shorts with a dark grey, skintight t-shirt. The ice mage ruffled his hair around to make it look like he hadn't been tossing and turning in a bed the whole night before putting on a pair of shoes and walking out of his room, closing the door behind him and making his way down the stairs to the main entrance of the apartment complex.
Once outside, Gray received a slightly bewildered look with an underlying tone of jealousy from Lucy as the celestial wizard looked back and forth between him and Natsu.
"Geeze, what is with you two and wearing basically nothing in a snowstorm?" she asked, rubbing her arms for warmth. "I swear, just looking at you guys makes me cold."
"Then put on some more clothes or something, seriously…" Gray shot back, not in the mood for dealing with people. He stuffed his hands deep inside his pockets, playing with his wallet with one hand and his keys with the other.
Lucy looked at the ice maker peculiarly, frowning at his response. "Something the matter? You seem awfully irritable today, Gray."
Gray walked right up to the two guildmates facing him before blowing past them and pressing onwards, not slowing his pace in the slightest nor turning back to look at them.
As the ice mage continued walking, Natsu leaned towards the celestial wizard standing beside him. "What's got his panties in a bunch?"
"Beats me," Lucy answered with a shrug, "he doesn't seem to be in a good mood, does he?"
Finally, Gray stopped a ways ahead of the two Fairy Tail members and looked back impatiently. "Are you guys coming?"
He waited until they began following his lead before continuing onwards to the guild. He made sure to stay a couple paces ahead of the pair, not really wanting to be outside in the snowstorm. If he stayed far enough ahead the two would keep up with his pace without getting distracted by other things.
The sooner he could get to Fairy Tail, the better. If there was one thing that would make this miserable day go any better, Gray decided, it was some booze to warm his spirits.