DISCLAIMER: My name's not Hiro Mashima.
A/N This is my first fan fiction. Please bear with me. Thank you. Hope you'll like it. Oh! And this chapter has only Gray's POV. The next will be Natsu's, followed by Lucy's. English is my second language and constructive criticisms are much appreciated. :) Let me warn you though, you might find Gray, Lucy and Natsu OOC here. :3
Chapter 1: GRAY FULLBUSTER
What does it mean?
Of course he had always known the answer.
It was Lucy.
Love is Lucy.
Yes, he had always been in love with the resident Celestial mage ever since he first laid eyes on her. But sadly, Lucy's heart belonged to that dense flame brain, tch!
Natsu, that idiot!
Taking missions with Natsu and Lucy had always been painful as far as he could remember - it was too much for him to bear but he endured. Gray wanted to protect Lucy if ever his stupid rival fails to do so - that is.
Lucy, however, had always thought of Gray as a very trust worthy friend (who wouldn't? He was the sanest person next to her in their team). When it comes to matter of the heart, she was used to confide her feeling to him. Lucy would never bring up the topic - or even speak of the word, "Love" when Erza's around knowing that it'll just pain the requip mage to remember Jellal.
If this was Erza's story, it must have started with 'Love? It was Jellal. Love is Jellal'. He shivered at the thought.
Two years ago, he would never forget the day when the blond Celestial mage came home crying.
As usual, he managed to barge into her apartment while Lucy was away. He relaxed and sat on her couch, intently reading her unpublished novel as he waits her. When she arrived, the ice mage had expected her to kick him out the second she realizes he was there - reading her novel (a taboo, he learnt) and well, just being there without her makes her mad... but her reaction was totally out of character. It was different... way too different.
Once she took notice of my presence, she fell into her knees, drowning her face into her hands. It shocked the ice mage, of course. And then he heard her wail.
"O-oi! Lucy." He stammered nervously. He was clueless of what to do when it comes to crying girls - how much more if it's her? "Y-you don't have to cry. I-I didn't mean to intrude and r-read your novel without your permission!" He stated in a worried and apologetic voice, his whole body panicking, wondering what to do next. Should he go and kick himself out, now?
He heard no answer but she cried louder.
Gray stood and placed the compiled pieces of paper on the nearby table. "Are you okay?" he asked, "What's wrong? Did something happen to you?" he asked, really worried. He stared at her and felt something sting inside his chest. Looking at Lucy as she cries is painful, he immediately realized. His instinct told him to hug her and make her feel safe, so Gray did.
He crouched beside her and wrapped his muscular arms around her shaking body - now if today is a normal day, he was sure he'd be punched off right there and then but luckily (partly), it isn't. He noticed her tensed shoulders so he lightly tapped the blond's back and allowed her to cry more. Gray knew something bad happened and what she needed best this time is someone who would listen to her.
The ice-make mage didn't have to ask why she was crying. No, that's not right. Let him rephrase that...
He didn't have to ask Lucy who was the reason behind her tears and pain.
Of course it had to be him.
"G-Gray," She whimpered, voice shaking, "I confessed to Natsu just now..." She continued softly in between her sobs, he could tell she was trying to calm herself.
But still, hearing that from her, Gray felt like his heart was purposely shattered into pieces.
She confessed but why is she crying now?
It should be Gray who was crying. It should be him. Because this fucking hurts!
Trying to compose himself, he gasped, "He's one lucky guy, I suppose." He tried to hide the pain in his voice but miserably failed. If the blond noticed this, she must have ignored it. The talk was literally killing him on the inside. He continued tapping Lucy's back, "Don't tell me he–"
"He made fun of me." Lucy cut him off as her lips protruded into a pout. "He didn't take my confession seriously, sheesh!" she sniffed, pulling her body away, she forced herself to smile.
Gray couldn't bear to see Lucy to her like this - her eyes were so red and puffy, her cheeks flushed and dampened with tears, her golden hair was a mess. Seriously? What the hell did she do to end up like this after being rejected. I don't get it, damn it! He cursed himself mentally.
As Lucy noticed discerned how Gray was so focused at ogling her, she backed away a little and forced an unsuccessful laugh to lighten the air. "He said he likes me too, but not in the same way I like him."
With that said, anger towards the fire mage enveloped his being.
How cocky? He just rejected the girl he's been in love with since forever just like that?
Misunderstanding? Maybe there had been a misunderstanding.
Gray isn't dumb enough not to notice that Natsu is in love with her too.
Or maybe there's a reason behind the rejection?
But still... how dare he hurt Lucy, damn it.
The raven haired boy had always been holding back because he knew, Lucy would be safest ending up with either one of them - him or Natsu. And since Lucy's heart belongs to him, he is willing to let go. His fingers unconsciously curled into a fist, an expression of fury manifesting on his handsome face...
And then he felt her warmth. Her small hand wrapped his clenched fist.
She stared straight into his eyes, he blinks.
With a shaking voice, he spoke, "H-he's an idiot, Lucy. Maybe both of you just misunderstood? Try once more and make it clear so he'd understand." Gray tried to hide the pain on his voice. It was hard to comfort the girl that makes your heart skip a beat every time you see her - especially when he knew exactly that she was hurting because of another guy - and to top it all off, it was Natsu. Call him martyr but isn't this how love works?
As long as she's happy, he'll be fine.
As long as she's crying, he'll stay by her side - even if she'd never notice him.
A tear strolled down her cheek and he impulsively wiped it off. He could tell Lucy is already finding his actions weird - well, it was quite out of character for him but... he couldn't help it.
"Cold." She murmured, diverting her eyes to their hands - his hands relaxing overtime. "I'm tired. I'm giving up. I should move on. Her voice sounded sad but a genuine smile graced over her lips.
He shook his head, "Girls are so weird." He ran his fingers through his raven hair, "One second you cry, the next minute you smile." He tsked, "You should take a rest." He pulled off as he pointed a finger to the pink bed, feeling his ill temper die down.
Gray turned back to his laid back attitude as he walked straight to the couch and sat.
Noticing Lucy blinking at him, probably contemplating whether she would kick him out and get mad or let him be because she owes him today. Gray smirked, waving his hand - a signal saying she should go rest on her bed.
And she walked towards him...
Damn, he'll kick me out!
He prepared for the kick, or punch, or countless books to be thrown at him but nothing came. Instead, she sat beside him and surprisingly lied down, making his lap her pillow. She rested her head comfortably over his lap, grabbed his hand and placed it over her head. "Nana Suppetto used to do this to me, it makes me feel good." She grinned.
Warmth took over inside Gray's body.
She really trusts him.
"Okay then, poor heartbroken girl..." he teased as he stiffly sat, looking anywhere but her. "Why not be mine, instead?"
"Hah," she gagged, taking it as a big joke. "Shut up, Gray. I can be denser than Natsu, you see? I'm over this by later, I know." She chuckled.
Good thing the Celestial mage is easy to comfort, he believed.
She's a strong girl, after all.
I watched her as she drifted off to sleep. Tonight might be the most painful night for Lucy - it was painful for him as well.
Call him selfish but this contact - how he had gotten the opportunity to stare and admire her sleeping face made this day one of the happiest day of his life. "Darn Lucy, I just confessed. I have to agree you're as dense as Natsu." He whispered.
Little did he know, dumbfounded Natsu was watching them from outside the window, hurt.
The next day, Gray went straight to the guild very early. He wasn't able to go home last night - he was so engrossed into observing the sleeping blonde (she's the girl of his dream after all, don't blame him) that he didn't notice it was nearly the break of dawn. "She looks like an angel." His face brightened up as images of Lucy played over his head.
Gray pushed the door open. It was rarely empty - but understandable, it's still too early.
There were only few people and they were all gathered in one spot. Happy, Lily, Gajeel, Mira, Gramps, Wendy, Charle and Natsu - wait! Natsu? Gajeel? Now that's unusual. And as Gray recalled how Lucy cried the night before, he couldn't help but feel the frustration bubble up inside of him. "What are you doing here, squinty eyes!"
Natsu turned, looking at him sadly - but as soon as it came, it vanished. His expression turning into his usual bring-it-on look.
Gajeel also turned.
"Exhibitionist!" the two yelled simultaneously.
Apparently, the ice mage isn't in the mood for some worthless brawl - and he wouldn't admit he was an exhibitionist so he ignored them. Aside from that, he hadn't gotten even a wink yet. "Who are you monsters?" he deadpanned.
But damn, it was hard ignoring them especially when they were staring at him and were grinning like idiots. Gray felt a vein pop out of his head and sat on the bar, signaling the usual morning drink to Mira. "Ash brain, Iron head, what brought you here this early?"
"WHAT DID YOU JUST CALL ME!" the two yelled synchronously.
"DON'T COPY ME!" both dragon slayers swung their torsos, finding their selves face to face with eyes on fire.
"I SAID DON'T COPY ME!" and again, they screamed at the same time.
That's it! Both positioned themselves into starting another fight but even before they could fully begin the brawl, Makarov butt in. Scary aura emanating his body.
"Natsu, Gajeel. It's about time." The old man coughed, "Go."
"Natsuuuu, bring me with you!" Happy wailed, eyes flooding with tears.
The Salamander spun to Happy, giving him his signature toothy grin and patted the exceed's head. "I'll be back before you know it, Happy! Besides you have to stay here and take care of Lucy. Don't let this stripper stalk our partner, okay?" the salmon-haired boy pointed a mocking finger to Gray, who in turn felt a vein pop out of his forehead.
"AYE!" Happy shouted back despite his sobs, his spirit reliving back.
"You want a piece of me, idiot?" Gray charged, throwing his clothes wherever.
"Bring it on, pervert!" the fire mage charged back.
"Now, now... Boys." Mira waved her hands in the air, close to her chest.
Gramps coughed. Natsu and Gajeel turned to walk away. Happy sobbed as Lily patted his back. Gray was confused.
"Where are they going?" he asked, Mira and the master watched the dragon slayers' retreating back as they stepped out of the guild.
"Gray-san," Wendy smiled, "They're on for a secret quest." She answered cheerfully as Charle brought her dragon slayer partner up on the stool next to the ice mage. "Mira-san, milk please."
"Sure, sure, Wendy." Mira turned around to prepare her milk.
"Why were they given a secret quest, gramps? While you're leaving me here?" The raven-haired boy asked, feeling bad. Gray kind of see Natsu as a rival and it wasn't nice to see him advance as he was left behind, right?
Tch, that guy! Stealing Lucy and leaving nothing for me.
He wasn't asking for anything more. Just Lucy is enough.
"I think it won't be a good idea sending the two of you to that quest, especially not without Erza." The old master smirked, raising the placing the bottle of alcohol onto his lips. "I seriously considered your team at first, but I figured 4 persons are a lot. Now, you won't like to leave Lucy alone right? Erza won't be coming back in three months."
"Ah. Yeah, Erza's been gone for a while now, huh." Gray cupped his chin, gesturing like he was thinking. He remembered just a week ago, Erza had picked a mission. It was an S-class mission that required her presence for 5 months. She was insisting to bring them along but Natsu (wanting to stay away from Erza as much as possible) picked a mission for the rest of them and said, "We can't stain the name of the guild now, can't we?"
And then it was down to Lucy - the Celestial mage would have agreed if not for the mission Natsu picked requiring at least one blonde female. Good thing, Lucy was the only blond female in the guild.
"If Erza had known before the client has been notified that she took the job posted, she would have stayed." The old man grinned, "You guys have been fond of Lucy lately, eh?"
"A-ah. W-what do you mean by that, jii-chan?" He awkwardly stuttered, all heat from his body rushing up to his cheeks.
The white haired barmaid chuckled, "Here, Gray." She handed him a glass of shaved ice topped with strawberry syrup. "Oh, you're blushing?" She pointed at his cheeks and winked playfully.
As expected of someone who enjoys matchmaking.
And he thought he couldn't get any redder. He gulped his shaved ice in one shot. All eyes locked on him, staring at him like he was some kind of freak.
"Gray. Clothes!" Mira smiled.
He looked down, surprised. Mentally cursing himself. "When did that happen!" he yelled as he stormed out of the guild, escaping the hot seat.
By the time he got home, the sun was already up.
He laid down and stared at the ceiling. Thoughts invading his head. He couldn't sleep.
He was worried about Lucy. Does she know Natsu is off to some secret quest?
Clearly, if he just knew of it recently (meaning last night or a while ago), Lucy probably doesn't have any idea about it because he was with her the whole time. "She'll get hurt again. Bastard Natsu! How can you be so dumb?" He mumbled as he stood up.
He should probably go back to Lucy's apartment. Now.
Back at the present, 2 years later...
Now that Natsu's back, how should Gray deal with this? What will Lucy's reaction be? Does she still love Natsu.
Truth be told, he was scared. So scared.
The last time he felt this scared was when Ur casted the Ice Shell to Deliora. It wasn't in his system to admit defeat, especially with Natsu but it'll be Lucy's choice now.
What is love again?
Is it about giving up everything, even her, just as long as she's happy? Gray guessed he could always endure. He just want to see her happy all the time.
Just by being by her side, he couldn't be happier.