'Tis the Season
Summary: Who said it needs to be December for a little Christmas spirit? Mirajane doesn't think so, and decides to spread her Christmas cheer by decorating the guild with mistletoe. Oh, dear…
Disclaimer: I am not Hiro Mashima, and therefore do not own Fairy Tail, obviously. If only I was that awesome...
This is the result of listening to the song Christmas Tree by Lady GaGa (I will never look at a Christmas tree the same again).
"You know to keep your hopes up high and your head down low."
Natsu glared up at the ornate piece of tree dangling above his head, taunting him. Or at least, that's what it felt like to him.
"Glaring at it isn't going to make it disappear, idiot."
Natsu stopped in his attempt to burn a hole in the mistletoe to spare a glance at the shirtless mage in front of him.
"I know that, bastard!" he snapped, feeling his temper bubble. "But I'd rather look at that stupid tree branch than your ugly face!"
"What was that, Flame Brain?"
It was not-so-welcome surprises like these that almost made Natsu wish he didn't come to the guild everyday. Almost.
It had started out as a normal day, and he supposed he was silly for thinking that it would stay that way. After all, it was Fairy Tail; he figured that was explanation enough.
Lucy and he had been walking to the guild in relative peace—well, peaceful for someone who had earplugs in, that is.
"Honestly, Natsu, if you're going to raid my fridge, at least have the decency to restock it later!"
Not only was Lucy pissed, but she was also without breakfast because of the glutton beside her.
Natsu, who was sporting a large bump on his head, decided it best not to argue with the blonde beside him. He'd already paid for that dearly when he said that Lucy's food was yummier than his own outdated stock that he'd been too lazy to get rid of.
"I told you you should've gotten it when she went to sleep," Happy said obliviously on his shoulder, not noticing the waves of fury rolling off of the Stellar Spirit mage increase.
"Traitor!" Natsu accused his feline companion, who looked confusedly at the rosette.
"You planned this?" Lucy hissed, fists clenched tightly at her sides.
"I think you made her madder, Natsu," Happy commented innocently, his ears flattening the slightest bit.
"Natsu…" Lucy warned, eyes darkening.
"On three, run from the cranky weirdo," Natsu muttered to his friend. "One…"
"Did you really think…" she continued.
"Two," Happy said.
"…that you'd get away…"
"Three!" they yelled in unison, darting away from the mage and toward the guild.
"...with this?" she said to an empty space that still held the blinking shape of Natsu's form even though he was long gone. "Natsuuuu!"
Natsu all but blew the doors off the doors of the guild in an attempt to escape his blonde friend, quickly diving under a nearby table. So he, of course, didn't have time to notice anything different about the guild.
Gray watched on with a hint of surprise in his coal eyes, but he was as accustomed as the rest of the guild was to happenings like this when Natsu was involved, so none were too shocked. Besides, they knew that if they got involved with whatever trouble Natsu had caused this morning, it wouldn't end too well for them.
Several seconds later, a flushed Lucy slammed the door open, bright brown eyes blazing. Natsu turned to his blue companion and pressed a finger to his lips, conveying the message to be silent. They watched from the shadows under the table as the Stellar Spirit mage stomped through the guild, looking around for the troublemakers. That was, until, a wonderful smell hit Natsu's nose from above the table he was hiding under.
"Jeez, bunny girl, can you tone it down a little?" Gazille growled, glaring at the blonde. "It's too fucking early in the morning for your theatrics."
Lucy gulped under his scary red gaze, but didn't give up her search for the fire mage just yet.
"He's right over there," Gray said nonchalantly, pointing to a table that a tan hand had just peered out from under it, snatching a bowl of food before disappearing again.
Lucy sweatdropped. Could he be any more obvious? She walked over to the table, hearing voices reach her ears.
"Heheh, she'll never find us under here," Natsu gloated, laughing lowly to his feline companion who let out a muffled noise of agreement.
Just as the hand reappeared above the table, Lucy snatched the offender's arm, successfully dragging a surprised Natsu out who had adopted Happy's wide-eyed expression. His cheeks were puffed out from food stuffed in his mouth and he flailed desperately to get Happy's attention and hopefully get the cat to save him.
"Natsu, I'm not gonna leave you alone until you pay for my food!" she said, dragging a terrified Natsu along who glared at a smirking Gray. "That was a week's worth, and that was after I took off the money for your damages for the last mission. Stop trying to hide!"
"Real men don't cower in the face of danger!" Elfman yelled out of nowhere, appearing from apparently thin air.
Lucy sweatdropped. "I'm the danger?"
"Lucy! Show your manhood and fight with your fists!"
"I'M NOT A MAN!"
It was then that she noticed what the inside of the guild looked like. Her grip on Natsu's collar loosened as her mouth fell open in shock. He took that opportunity to scramble away, and her arm fell back to her side.
There were decorations everywhere. On the walls, on the tables, pillars, hell, even the ceiling. But they weren't just any decorations. They were Christmas decorations. In the middle of August.
Wreaths decorated doors and parts of the bar while colorful lights encompassed the whole inside of the building, flashing in different patterns. Ornaments and garlands were hung in various places, glittering whenever a light reflected off of them. She gulped when she noticed hidden mistletoe around the guild.
"Wh—what the…" she left the question hanging, not quite sure she'd be able to finish without her jaw dropping further.
"Mira-nee wanted the guild to look more lively, so she decided to decorate the whole place out of the goodness of her heart," Elfman boasted loudly from her side. "Just to see smiles on her friends' faces, she did this all by herself," he said proudly, sniffling. "It's so beautiful!" he bawled, hands covering his eyes as tears poured out.
"But—but it's August!"
"Yeah, but isn't it so pretty?" Lisanna said from somewhere beside her, giving her a sweet smile.
"I—I guess…" she trailed off, still not used to it suddenly feeling like December.
Natsu had hurriedly scrambled out of the blonde's grip when it had loosened, knowing he might not get the chance again. He made the mistake of turning back to see if Lucy was following him, and crashed into a hard body in front of him.
He fell back to the ground with an 'oomph!', his eyes now staring at the ceiling. Ignoring the confusion when he noticed all of the Christmas decorations, he scrambled to his feet, prepared to yell at whomever he had bumped into. The words died in his throat as he stared into the dark irises of his rival.
"Aww, look!" Mirajane yelled suddenly, pointing in the direction of the two opposite mages. Both of them stared at each other in horror before they slowly craned their necks up to stare at the object above their heads. They were all very aware of the stares everyone in the guild was now giving them. Oh no, this wasn't good, there's no way—!
"Gray and Natsu are under the mistletoe!" said the bartender happily. Much too happily for their tastes.
And thus brought them to their current predicament.
There were snickers and laughing heard in random places around the guild, causing both of them to grit their teeth in anger.
"You know what that means, right?" Mirajane smiled, and they both got the feeling that this had been planned all along.
"I'M NOT DOING ANYTHING WITH THIS IDIOT!" they both yelled in unison, pointing at the other. Their heads snapped to each other before both yelling again at the same time, "WHAT WAS THAT, BASTARD?"
"You—you mean you don't like any of the decorations I set up?" Mirajane said sadly, looking to the ground. Both of them winced, hating that they had made their friend upset. "I'm sorry, I worked so hard on them, and I thought…" she trailed off, turning her head to the side as tears shined in her eyes.
"APOLOGIZE! REAL MEN DON'T LET WOMEN CRY!" Elfman ordered, going over to hug his sister.
The two opposite mages flinched at the dirty looks the other members gave them for having made the sweet, loving bartender cry.
Natsu clenched his fists at his side before turning to walk away. "There's still no way I'm—oomf!" Gray watched with wide eyes as Natsu bumped into apparently air and fell right on his behind, rubbing his nose. "What the—?" He tapped the air, surprised to feel that there was actually something there, pushing back against his finger.
"Oh, I forgot to say, you can't leave until you've kissed the other person," Mirajane said sweetly, all traces of tears and sadness gone and replaced with a smile. Was she faking it? ran though both Natsu and Gray's heads. "There's a spell on it that doesn't let you leave until you do so."
The two all but facefaulted before yelling in outrage. Natsu tried punching the invisible barrier, wondering when the sweet bartender had gotten so manipulative. Gray looked around, surprised to see that they weren't the only ones in this predicament. Gazille was stuck with a nervous looking Levi, Elfman was now with Evergreen, and Bisca and Alzack were also in the same situation.
In the midst of their desperation to escape, someone else made their entrance.
"So, Natsu-san is also Juvia's rival in love?" Juvia said from somewhere behind them. Natsu whipped around in shock and tried to splutter an embarrassed denial but was interrupted. "This is unexpected, but it was only a matter of time before Natsu-san admitted his feelings to himself." She nodded to herself.
"Wh—WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!" Natsu roared, face red in absolute mortification.
"Juvia should have paid more attention to Gray-sama's relationships," she said sadly. "She hoped it would take longer before everyone realized how handsome and charming Gray-sama was." Her eyes were cold as she glared at Natsu, who flinched back. "No worries, Juvia can still take him out of the picture."
Natsu gulped, eyes wide. "H—how do you plan on doing th—that?" He backed up slowly, apparently forgetting that they were in some sort of barrier that would most likely protect them from outside attacks.
Natsu bumped into Gray's chest before freezing in shock. He tilted his head up slightly to see the ice mage who silently looked back down at him.
"Juvia will not allow this," the elementist growled, glaring fiercely at Natsu and clutching her umbrella tight.
"Back up, Gray," Natsu muttered, bumping his hip back into his rival's. "Do you want me to die?" he asked incredulously as Juvia neared them, a dark cloud above her head.
"Juvia," Gray began, his voice rumbling in his chest against Natsu's back whose eyes widened in surprise. The water mage suddenly halted in her actions, her aura changing drastically as she swooned.
"Gray-sama said Juvia's name! Juvia is so happy!" she squealed, hands pressed to her blushing cheeks. Natsu scowled. What was up with that? And why was Gray suddenly helping him?
Testing his rival, Natsu pressed himself closer to Gray, expecting him to throw him across the room or punch him or—or do something violent! He felt Gray tense slightly, only to be surprised when he relaxed after a few seconds. Natsu almost jumped out of his skin when he felt cool hands place themselves on his hips. He did, however, actually jerk away from him and stumble forward, spinning back around to yell, "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT, BASTARD!"
Gray stared back coolly, though there was a slight smirk tugging on the corner of his lips. "No need to yell, I'm right here, dumbass." He made a show of wincing before reaching up to rub his ears. "What are you talking about anyway?"
He was satisfied to see the lightest tinge of pink dust over Natsu's tan cheeks. "You know what I'm talking about, asshole!" he yelled, pursing his lips together.
"No, I'm afraid I don't," he smirked, crossing his arms and raising an eyebrow.
"W—well you just—that was—don't do it again!" he finally decided, glaring up at the aggravatingly taller mage.
"Maybe I was just trying to shove you out of the way because you were in my personal space," he said. "Idiot. What did you think I was doing?"
Natsu crossed his arms with a huff, turning his head to the side. "I dunno," he finally said, looking at Gray out of the corner of his eyes.
"So how are we getting out of here?" Gray wondered aloud. "Wait, why am I asking you? You're an idiot."
Natsu opened his mouth to retort but something made him stop. Gray watched in horror as Natsu's large golden eyes teared up, his eyebrows furrowing together. His mouth stayed slightly parted and he inhaled quietly.
Gray's thought process went something like this: Shit, shit, shit! What did I do? Oh, crap, he's not gonna cry, is he? What the hell! I can't handle people crying! What do I do, what do I do? I didn't even say anything that bad! Did I? Crap!…
"O—oi," Gray started, "Natsu, don't—uh—I'm sor—"
The rosette suddenly inhaled sharply, and Gray winced, expecting him to start yelling, but instead, he—
Gray blinked, a blank expression over his face as fire spewed from the Dragon Slayer's mouth, turning the mistletoe above them to ash. He scrunched his eyes together and rubbed a hand under his nose, sniffling quietly.
"ASSHOLE!" he finally retorted from before. "Okay. What were you saying again?"
The blank expression stayed on his face. "Nothing." And with that, he turned and left, the barrier from before having disintegrated because the mistletoe was gone. Natsu shrugged, turning in the opposite direction and walking toward the bar.
Mirajane pouted at the charred mistletoe before turning back to Natsu who was swinging his legs back and forth on the stool. "Would you like something, Natsu?" she smiled.
He shook his head. "Ne, Mirajane," he started, scratching his cheek with his index finger. She tilted her head to the side. "You… didn't plan that, right?"
"Plan what—oh! No, of course not, Natsu," she said sweetly. Natsu nodded in acceptance. "I think it was fate that brought you two together."
The fire mage choked on his own spit. "Wh—what?" he yelled, standing up abruptly. That answer was worse than if she had admitted she had done it on purpose. "You're crazy."
"Am I?" she smiled, staring deeply into Natsu's eyes who had to force down a blush.
"The—there's no way—!"
"Stranger things have happened."
Natsu hid his face in his scarf, glaring half-heartedly at the bartender.
Three more times the two opposite mages ended up under the mistletoe. Twice, they were able to get out of it. The first time, Gray trapped it in ice had it shattered all around them. The next time, Natsu angrily jumped up and simply tore it off of the ceiling and threw it across the room, making it null and void.
The third time, however…
"I'm sensing a bit of Déjà vu here," Gray commented, staring up at the fancy piece of tree.
"And I'm sensing that this was planned," Natsu growled, eyes narrowed at the mistletoe.
"Might as well just get it over with," Gray muttered, and the fire mage snapped his eyes over to his rival.
"What?" No answer. "OI! What the hell did you say?"
Gray lifted his coal eyes to stare into Natsu's golden ones, not averting his gaze for a second as he repeated himself. "I said we might as well just get it over with, otherwise I have a feeling we'll end up here again later anyways." Natsu stared at him incredulously. He clicked his tongue, making a 'tsk' sound. "If you really hate it that much—"
"No, I wouldn't hate it!" Natsu interrupted loudly. His eyes widened when he realized what he'd just said. His cheeks darkened when Gray smirked down at him, eyes glinting dangerously. "No! I—I mean, uh—nevermind!" He turned his head to the side.
"Oh?" Natsu squirmed under his stare, but didn't meet his gaze. "Natsu." He stared furiously at the ground. "Natsu, look at me." He made no move to do so. "Natsu!"
The rosette snapped his head up to bite out a retort only to find his lips covered by a cooler pair. His eyes flew open wide in shock, but he made no move to stop him. He didn't make a move to respond either, though. After a few seconds, he pulled away, leaving a shell-shocked Natsu staring at him with wide eyes.
There was silence for a few moments.
"Y…you kissed me," Natsu said, mind still reeling.
"Yeah," he replied smoothly.
Natsu, still wide eyed, pressed his fingers to his lips, wondering if they were supposed to tingle like that.
"Well, we should be able to leave now," Gray said, turning to walk out. He was surprised to find the barrier still there. "What the hell?"
"Oh, didn't I tell you?" he heard Mira giggle from behind the bar. "The kiss has to last for at least ten seconds, or else you can't leave. And every time it's less than that, ten more seconds are added on."
"You really planned this out, didn't you?"
She cocked her head to the side with a smile. "What ever are you talking about, Gray?" she said innocently.
He turned around to face the fire mage only to feel a tug on his shirt. Before he knew it, he was being roughly pulled down to Natsu who eagerly pressed his lips to his. It took about a second for Gray to respond, wrapping an arm around Natsu's back and pulling him flush against his body.
Natsu let out a small gasp and arched into him, leaning upward on his toes more to press himself harder against the cool body. Gray took the opportunity to slide his tongue into the hot mouth, holding onto the smaller body tighter when he let out a small moan. The rosette wrapped his arms around Gray's neck, sighing contently.
He ran his tongue gently over his elongated canines, almost groaning at the sharpness of the teeth. He swirled his tongue with Natsu's, making sure to dominate the mouth and show him who was in charge. He was pretty sure he heard the other growl, like he had just read his thoughts, before fighting back with vigor, pushing Gray's tongue back into his own mouth before exploring it himself.
"A—ano…" Lucy began timidly, a heavy blush on her cheeks. "Twenty seconds have passed already…" she trailed off. "Actually, a lot more than that have passed, but…"
"Don't worry about them," Mira said, smiling at the embarrassed blonde. "I think they know the time has passed." She gave a pointed look at Gray who was now pushing Natsu along the floor and outside where the barrier would have been, slamming him up against a wall. Lucy slapped her hands over her boiling cheeks as several decorations fell from the same wall from the force of the slam. Natsu didn't seem affected in the least; in fact, Lucy was pretty sure he gave a moan of pleasure at the action.
Suddenly, Gray ripped his mouth away from Natsu's, staring down at the flushed teen for a few seconds. The fire mage let out a surprised squeak when Gray suddenly lifted him up and threw him over his shoulder, walking toward the entrance of the guild.
"Wh—what are you doing!" he yelped, eyes wide as he tried to looked up from Gray's naked back.
"Going somewhere more private," he said in a husky voice, squeezing Natsu's hip roughly.
"Guh!—oi! Who said you could—?"
A sharp smack to his rear cut him off as he yelped, flushing deeply.
"You can scream my name later, be patient," he said to a now gaping Natsu, slamming the door shut behind him.
The next day, Natsu walked into the guild with a slight limp as he hid his face in his scarf while a smug, accomplished looking Gray walked in behind him, hands folded behind his head.
"Natsu! Are you okay?" a concerned Erza asked, striding over to the rosette. "You're limping!"
Natsu wished she had said that a little lower because now everyone was staring, several of them giving him knowing looks. He shrunk further into his scarf, making a great imitation of a turtle. "I—uh—stubbed my toe," he mumbled. Gray snorted behind him and he turned to glare furiously at the black haired teen.
"I see," she said, nodding her head approvingly. "Be more careful next time." She watched them walk past her, though she frowned deeply when she saw Gray. "Gray! Your back!"
He turned around slowly, seeming to show off the long red scratches down his back. "Oh, these?" he said, pushing down a smirk at the scattered laughter around the guild. "Well, I—"
"He was on a mission!" Natsu interrupted, waving his arms wildly.
Gray looked at him with a raised eyebrow. "I guess you could call it that," he said smoothly, enjoying how flustered Natsu was getting over this. "If my mission was to see how high your voice could get when I—"
"SHUT UP!" he yelled, slapping his hands over the ice mage's mouth. He turned back to the now suspicious Erza. "Eheheh, he's just being an idiot, Erza, no need to worry."
The redhead seemed to be deep in thought, glancing back and forth between the opposite mages. Then, like a light bulb turning on, she figured out what was going on. "You two were fighting again, weren't you?" she accused, eyes narrowed. The rest of the guild face faulted. Or not.
"N—no—!" Natsu began.
"Do you want to be punished?"
"If only you two could just get along…"
"Erza, would you list—!"
"Maybe I should be more strict…"
"Gah! That's it, I'm leaving!" Natsu finally yelled, throwing his hands up in the air and storming out of the guild.
Gray watched the rosette leave, staring at the door even after it had closed.
"Aren't you going to go after him?" Gray snapped his head around to see Erza standing behind him, a knowing smirk on her face. He grinned back, although it was slightly more nervous. Wasn't she going to beat his ass into the ground?
"You didn't think I was that oblivious, did you?" she asked, crossing her arms over her chest.
Gray thought it best not to answer that.
"Did you?" Her tone suggested that he'd better not answer wrong, or there'd be hell to pay.
"Whoa, look at that! I gotta go Erza, bye!" he yelled, excusing himself as he ran out of the guild.
The white haired bartender came up beside the red head, smiling after Gray. "I knew you'd figure it out, Erza."
She scoffed. "Of course," she said. "It's obvious that Gray was playing a game of tackle football with Natsu."
Mirajane sighed. "Yes, Erza, that's what they were doing." And she walked away, shaking her head, and leaving the redhead standing alone.
"Because if Gray was doing anything else with Natsu, I may have to accidentally kill him," she growled dangerously under her breath.
Somewhere in Magnolia, Gray Fullbuster felt a terrifying shiver run down his spine.
Because playing matchmaker is Mirajane's side job to bartending.