Author's notes: Yay, more GaLe! hope you will like it, only warning: slighty not canon since this story implies that Levy doesn't have a crush on Gazille... not yet :P
also Hiro Mashima owns Fairy Tail and Fairy Tail owns me :3
Let's play pretend
#1 shake off the devil
There was a lot of action going on in the Fairy Tail guild, that day. Everywhere, guild members were moving left and right, busy with the preparations of a big event: after seven years, they were finally moving back to their previous location.
Even if everyone was quite excited about the change, they knew that it wouldn't be a walk in the park. After all those years of negligence, the main building was in a bad shape and the fairies would need to put a lot of effort to bring it back to its previous state. For this occasion, everyone had been required to be present, except those already on a job. The master, along with Erza and Mirajane, was in charge of planning and supervising while the rest of the mages were working in pair or in group to perform the tasks.
It was without much surprise that Levy had been assigned to something book-related and it was the reason she was currently in the data room, surrounded by boxes filled with books and records of the guild members achievements. The room was covered with a thick layer of dust and so were the several bookcases aligned on the walls and on the mezzanine. Per chance, most of them were still in good condition and, beside some spider webs, the book lover expected no problems with her first task that was to clean the whole place.
The bluenette had fetched a bucket of soapy water and a sponge from the kitchen and was ready to begin. Her hair was tied in a bun and kept under a large headscarf to keep them clean while she had removed her sweatshirt to be more at ease, wearing a dark gray t-shirt, black capris and ballet flat shoes. Grabbing the bucket in one hand and the small ladder to access the mezzanine with her other, Levy began her ascension in a slow pace, afraid to spill water everywhere. She was so focused on keeping her balance that she was slightly startled when a voice called out to her:
" You're bound to fall on your ass if you keep going like that. "
Quickly turning the head to her right, the small woman noticed a certain black-haired, piercing-faced man standing near the entrance of the data room. His arms were holding two huge boxes that were probably containing more books. He didn't seem to mind the weight since he was standing nonchalantly, his eyes fixed on her with one studded eyebrow raised in amusement. He was probably imagining her falling with the bucket of water splashing all over her, that would explain the small smirk on his lips.
" Hello, Gazille, " Levy offered him a smile before pursuing her ascension. A few steps later, her eyes darted back to him as he placed the new boxes over the ones who were already there, at the furthest corner of the room, near the huge window. She hadn't been told that someone would work with her, not that she had any objections to that, however, she thought it was suspicious that the one sent to help her was none other than Gazille. After all, someone strong like him would be probably more useful doing physical labor than classifying dusty records.
And the book lover already had her theory about this strange arrangement.
" Let me guess... " she asked him. " Mirajane sent you? "
" Yep. "
Just as she suspected. She raised an eyebrow.
" And I guess no one else has been scheduled to work with us, right? "
The dragonslayer paused to give her a pointed look:
" I don't think so. " His face was reflecting the exact same feeling she was having at their situation. Seemed like he also didn't believe that the fact they had been paired up was just a coincidence.
In fact, nothing was really a coincidence when Mirajane was involved.
Levy shook her head with a sigh as she reached the mezzanine, placed her bucket near the first bookcase and started cleaning, climbing on the wooden shelves to reach the top. For the few minutes she was by herself, since Gazille had gone out again, probably to get more boxes, the bluenette allowed herself an uncharacteristic frown. The white-haired maiden was a very nice woman and a good friend, Levy knew that she could ask her anything and she would get the moon for her if needed. However, she was also an helpless romantic and her not-so-secret hobby was to try to match people together, to spread the love, as she would say. And, for the last couple of weeks, or maybe even before that, the solid script mage was convinced that Mirajane had chosen her as her new victim.
Levy wasn't really surprised to have been targeted by the barmaid, pretty much everyone in the guild had been at least once in their life. However, what surprised her was that Mirajane wanted to match her with the iron dragonslayer.
Gazille Redfox. Mister I-eat-swords-for-my-breakfast himself.
The blue-haired fairy honestly couldn't understand why her friend thought they were made for each others: they were so not alike. He was tall, she was short. He looked gruff and violent, she looked cute and innocent. He was strong, she was not. And it wasn't just about their physical appearances, their personalities were even more opposites. Same thing with their tastes: she never saw him open a book and she would never enjoy picking fights with everybody.
Nah, really, she couldn't see it... Not that she disliked Gazille, in spite of what people thought. Ever since Fantasia, she had started to see him as a nakama and she really could say that she had forgiven his actions from his Phantom Lord days. She was also really grateful that he had been her partner for the S-class exam, if Jet or Droy had been there instead of him, she would probably be dead, today.
But still, a guy like him with a girl like her? Not likely. That would be what they called in literature a crack pairing.
Maybe Mirajane had a weird conception of romanticism. Or maybe she had picked his name from a freelance draw.
She noticed that the man in question was back when she heard the sound of a metal bucket placed on the floor and something being submerged in water. He was cleaning the bookcases on the main floor of the room and, judging by the boredom showing on his face, it was obvious he would rather be anywhere else than here.
" You don't have to help me, you know, " she said with compassion. " I could manage by myself. "
She heard him snort:
" You and I know very well that she'll send me back here. "
As she suspected, he knew about Mirajane's plans. And he knew that she knew about them too.
" I see you figured it out. "
" I would need to be blind, deaf and dumb to not see it. "
Levy had a little smirk at that. A short moment passed when they kept working until his voice echoed in the little room:
" How long is she gonna joke around with us? It's been going on for almost two months. "
She looked back at him as she finished cleaning her last bookcase, picking up her bucket to join him downstairs:
" Oh, Mirajane can be quite persistent about those things, you know. But I guess that she must be growing impatient, lately, since she's not even being subtle anymore. Maybe she'll give up soon. "
Gazille groaned: he didn't seem to believe that the white-haired woman would stop her little game anytime soon. The small fairy honestly didn't believe it, neither. For Mirajane to give up, they would need something akin to a miracle.
When she got back on the main floor, he had cleaned the three bookcases on the opposite wall and was getting started on the ones under the mezzanine. She decided to go get fresh soapy water since hers was a disgusting shade of gray but he stopped her.
" Gimme that, Shrimp, I need to change mine, anyway. "
Levy was about to say that she didn't mind doing it herself but a white-haired mage appeared in the door frame and called out to them. It was Lisanna who was walking toward them with a tray full of food and two water bottles.
Taking advantage of her distraction, the dragonslayer grabbed her bucket and walked out in a swift pace, leaving the two women to look at his retreating back. Lisanna shrugged and gave a brilliant smile at the solid script mage:
" How is it going? You guys have been working for a while, I brought you lunch. "
" Thank you very much, Lisanna. "
Using a towel brought by the take-over mage, they wiped clean the little table at the center of the room and cleaned the little stools as well. Levy started eating her sandwiches and chatted with Lisanna about what the others were doing:
" Jet, Droy, Lucky and Mickey are rebuilding the stage and the stairs to the second floor. Lucy, Juvia, Natsu and Gray were cleaning the pool but Gray and Natsu started fighting and Erza intervened. "
" Did they survive? "
" They're cleaning the toilets with Elf-nii-san, now. "
Both women shared a laugh.
" But what about you, Levy, " Lisanna asked more seriously, " is everything alright with Gazille? He didn't look very... pleasant. "
Levy shook her head as she drank from her bottle.
" Nah, it's nothing. He's annoyed at something that we both don't have much control over. And it's not something he can arrange with his fists. Well, at least, it wouldn't be a good idea if he tried. "
" What's the problem? " the white-haired mage asked with a concerned frown.
" Your sister, that's what, " Gazille said as he appeared beside the girls, back from his little trip. He flopped on the stool at the end of the table and started eating his meal. His voice had been gruff but his face showed more annoyance and resignation than anger toward the barmaid.
" By the way, " he added, " you could tell her to knock off her little game? "
Lisanna gave Levy a confused look that made the small woman explain:
" You see, Lisanna, we know what Mirajane is trying to do with us. "
The take-over mage glanced at the dragonslayer, who wolfed down a sandwich in one bite, and looked back at the bluenette:
" What do you mean? "
" She's trying to match us. "
Lisanna blinked, her face went still for a few seconds then it literally melted in understanding as she laughed in relief:
" Oh, wow, guys, you scared me for a minute, there. I was expecting something serious. "
" Tch, whatcha laughing at? This is serious, dammit. "
The young woman shook her head, her face showing that she was finding the situation quite funny:
" I'm sorry for laughing. But are you guys sure about that? That Mira-nee is trying to get you together? "
The bluenette and the dragonslayer both scoffed then Levy rolled her eyes:
" Is it really that hard to believe? She has been purposely pairing us together for the past months. "
" Sending us on the same jobs by mistake, making me bring back her forgotten book... " Gazille enumerated with a scowl, making quotation marks in the air.
" Just this week, those coincidences happened twice, " the small fairy added. " Three, with today's assignment. "
" Do you also count when we got accidentally locked up in the storage room, two days ago? "
" Oh, I guess that makes it the fourth time, then, " Levy said in a pensive manner. " Don't even get me started on how she often query about my interest into a certain somebody... "
Lisanna brought her hands in front of her, her face sporting an apologetic smile:
" Alright, alright, I get it. But, you know, it's just the way Mira-nee is. She doesn't mean any harm. "
" It doesn't change the fact that we don't like it, " the black-haired man said through gritted teeth, crossing his arms. " So, that's why you should tell her to leave me out of that shit. "
The small fairy raised her hand:
" Same for me. "
The take-over mage sighed:
" It's not that I don't want to help you, guys, but Mira-nee won't stop because I tell her to. She's very persistent about those things, she could keep trying for a while. Even years. "
" YEARS? " Levy and Gazille cried out with wide eyes, both stunned by the idea of dealing with this dilemma for that long. Lisanna simply nodded.
" No-way-in-Hell I'm gonna put up with this for years! "
The bluenette was literally pleading with her white-haired friend:
" There's got to be something we can do, right? "
Lisanna looked genuinely sorry for them:
" I'm afraid that the only way to stop her... would be to give her what she wants. "
Levy let her head drop on the table in defeat while Gazille jumped on his feet and stormed to the bookcases he was supposed to clean, cursing like a sailor about the barmaid. The take-over mage got up slowly and offered an apology to the solid script mage:
" I'm sorry I can't help you, guys. Good luck, anyway. "
The blue-haired woman lifted her head to peek at her friend:
" It's okay, " she smiled weakly. " We'll manage, somehow... "
With one last compassionate smile, Lisanna picked up the plates, took the tray and left the two mages to their job. Levy almost had to kick herself down her stool to get on her feet, so much she felt drained. Unlike the iron dragonslayer who was quite agitated: he was wiping the shelves with a fierce vigor fueled by his frustration.
Not wishing to be victim of an accidental punch from her partner, the bluenette decided to start unpacking the boxes and sorting the records in alphabetical order. She used her previous sponge to clean a wide area on the floor where she would lay out the books in piles. She took a mental note to keep one bookcase exclusively for Erza's records as she knew that she would need it.
A couple of hours had passed since their lunch and Gazille had joined her on the floor, a long time ago. Sitting cross-legged, he was piling up Erza's records, which were indeed quite numerous, in chronological order while Levy was taking care of sorting the records from the other boxes in their rightful pile. Apparently, the person who had packed them hadn't really cared about putting them in order and that was adding to her task.
However, in spite of the arduous job they had to do, the small fairy couldn't really give it her full attention. Lisanna's words were still echoing in her head in a loop. She refused to admit that there was no solution to their problem, she was sure that something could be done to shake Mirajane off their backs. But, no matter how hard she thought about it, no good ideas came to her mind.
It looked like they would have to put up with Mirajane's little game for who knew how long... Or to surrender.
Wait a minute.
" That's it! "
Gazille gave a start at Levy's sudden shout that broke the silence between them. He was obviously confused by the huge smile on her face and her eyes shining in realization:
" What the hell, Shrimp? "
She gave him a smug smile:
" I know how to deal with Mirajane. "
" Really? " He lifted an eyebrow in interest as she scooted slightly closer, talking in a low voice:
" Lisanna said that her sister would leave us alone if we gave her what she wanted. So, that's exactly what we should do. "
The black-haired man frowned, looking unsure:
" You... want us to go out, together? "
He had cringed slightly as he said those words, obviously, the idea of anything romantic between them didn't please him. But the bluenette shook her head, she wasn't done explaining:
" We wouldn't date for real, the idea is to make Mirajane believe that we are dating. "
" We'd be pretending? "
Levy nodded, glad he understood her plan:
" And you really think that's gonna work? "
" If we play it well, I'm sure she would never suspect a thing. It doesn't have to be anything fancy: we go out, for two or three weeks... Then, at the end, we break up and go back to our previous lives. "
" Okay, but when we'd break up, she could just try to match us again. "
" Not if we make it obvious that we aren't compatible. "
Gazille still didn't look very enthusiast:
" We'd have to hold hands? And kiss? "
His piercing eyes made her drop her gaze on her lap, her cheeks growing a furious shade of red that was spreading to her neck.
" Y-yeah, I guess we would have to... Only to show her that we're really a couple, that's it. "
The man hummed, propped his head in his hand and looked at a random point at his left, seemingly thinking it over. A moment passed where they both stayed silent, their job almost forgotten. He eventually replied:
" Our only other choice is to wait for her to stop it herself... Which could take years... "
Levy had a little smile as she nodded, even if she wasn't sure if he was talking to her or not. She admitted that her plan was quite bold and she honestly had no idea if it would work or not. After all, Mirajane was not stupid, a simple mistake could give them away.
" Alright, Shrimp, I'm in, " his answer surprised her a bit. " But we'll have to set some rules, first. "
She gave him a wary look, not sure to like the sound of that, but still nodded:
" First, " he started, " I ain't your shopping mule. No way I'll carry your stuff, got it? "
The bluenette agreed, yet again surprised, she wasn't expecting something like that being one of his conditions.
" Second, no stupid nicknames- "
" But, you call me names all the time. "
" It ain't the same, " he replied which made her frown and her frown made him smirk. He got serious again. " No stupid lovey-dovey nicknames, got it? Like Sweatheart or Pooh Pooh- "
Levy loudly snorted at the word:
" Pooh Pooh? Oh, my, who would call someone Pooh Pooh? I can't believe it! "
She was laughing out loud, holding her stomach, and the dragonslayer snarled:
" Shut up! I didn't make that up and that's beside the fucking point. No nicknames like that, got it? "
She was too busy giggling to answer anything. That was really one of the funniest thing she had ever heard. Oh, if she had known about such a nickname before, she would have used it against him, as pay back for all the times he called her Shorty. Ah, what a shame.
He was still scowling like the Grinch when she finally calmed down, however, she couldn't fight back the huge smile linking both of her ears.
" Alright, no stupid nicknames but the same goes for me. My name is not Shrimp or Shorty or Bookworm, got it? It's Levy. "
He looked ready to argue but seemed to decide against it and finally nodded. He gave her a half-serious glare:
" Third thing... "
Levy raised an eyebrow, prompting him to continue:
" You'll have to feed me all the iron I want, " he pointed at himself, grinning. " At anytime I want. "
" What would be the point of that? "
" Gotta have some kind of compensation for my suffering-to-come, Shorty. "
" And what would be MY compensation? " the young woman crossed her arms over her chest. " I don't see why I would be the only one giving you something. "
Gazille rolled his eyes:
" Tch, fine, what do you want? "
The bluenette placed a pensive finger on her chin, thinking about what she could ask. Money? Not really, that wouldn't be fair since he asked for something she could make with her magic. Then, something made by him? She really couldn't imagine what he could craft for her.
The only option left was something he could do for her.
An angelic smile grew on her lips since she knew that what she was about to ask would freak him out:
" I'll make you iron but, in exchange, you'll have to serve me breakfast, every morning. "
Gazille's eyes grew wide at her request.
" What the fuck, woman? I'm not your fucking slave! "
" Ah, but I'm not your personal cook neither, Gazille. Don't worry, you won't have to do or pay for my breakfast, just to fetch it for me. "
The dragonslayer growled and scowled, obviously holding himself from yelling and cursing out loud but, after a short moment, he finally crossed his arms over his chest and glared at a random bookcase, his face a perfect demonstration of the word displeased. Since he wasn't moving or talking, she guessed that it was his way to say yes.
" So? Is that all there is to your rules? " She stretched an hand toward him to seal the deal.
" Yeah, " he growled as he looked back at her, shaking her hand. " Your plan better work, Shrimp. "
" Don't call me Shrimp, " she pointed a finger at him. " Or I'll call you Pooh Pooh. "
" OI! What did I say about nicknames? "
She crossed her arms over her chest:
" You started it. "
End notes: Oh, will our favorite duo suceed at fooling the demon? reviews makes rainbows come out of my ears so dont be shy :D