We are more than Friends
BrokenIce and MisleadingSkates
Disclaimer: I do not own Fairy Tail, nor do I own the characters. ;-;
"Yo." The first thing six-year-old Gray noticed was the other boy's pink hair. It strangely suited the newcomer who was greeting him.
He nodded, "Osu."
"My name is Natsu Dragneel." Gray arched one eyebrow at the last name and dug his hands deeper into his pocket.
"Is that really your name?"
The boy blinked. Then his thin lips turned into a warm smile and it nearly took all of Gray's breath away.
Gray Fullbuster thinks, most of the time, that he hates Natsu Dragneel. The boy's strides are without purpose as he thunders along a not very important street in Magnolia. That does not mean at other times, the Ice Mage likes that flame head. He shudders at the thought of being all buddy-buddy with him. He merely tolerates the other's presence and rarely, he (grudgingly) acknowledges him as someone like a partner. But that is beside the point. The point is that he hates him. Gray grinds his teeth. He hates his stupid standing-out-among-the-crowd bright pink hair, his lack of patience, his puny-sized brain, his contagious grin, his sexy abs, his booming, but erotic, voic-
Gray did not just think that Natsu's voice and body are sexy and erotic. He stops walking, fists his hands in his hair in horror and controls himself just in time before a scream can escape between his lips.
He takes a minute to calm down, a deep breath and forces his legs to get a move on, ignoring the curious glances he is receiving. It's just convenient to accidentally let his eyes linger a little too long on that idiot's body, he argues with himself. Thanks to the fact that the dumbass wears that black waistcoat without a shirt underneath. And, It takes great skill to block out his loud voice in the first place when surely the whole southern coast can hear him when he's shouting in Fairy Tail. It is in humans' nature to be drawn to striking looks and lovely sounds.
Gray nears a park, nods and has come to the conclusion that it is clearly not his fault when he is just a little bit attracted to Natsu. Besides, if they are talking about good looks, Gray beats that baka any day. In fact, he bets 1 million jewels that his own body and voice can make the Fire Mage want to desire him…
Maybe he should just stop thinking down that track because that just leads to more disturbing thoughts that involves an angry Dragon Slayer and a bed.
Maybe he should just stop thinking altogether.
Gray growls at the people as they are passing by, who are eyeing him in disapproval. He isn't in the mood to try and find his discarded clothes anyway. The blue-headed boy brings out a packet of his guilty pleasures and a lighter. He lights it, takes a long swig of his cigarette and follows the thin silver line he puffs out with his eyes. His eyebrows knit together as he finds the silver line of smoke reminds him of fire, and a certain mage.
Which brings back to why, in the middle of winter, Gray is sitting here on a park bench by himself in the first bloody place.
Gray watched as Natsu gaped at his small ice sculpture with a look of what must had been pure wonder, amazement and perhaps…respect?
"That's so cool!" Gray blushed at the compliment and shrugged awkwardly.
"I wish I could make something so… beautiful! All I can make is fire…and they don't even take any shape." Gray wanted to shut the boy up. He thought Natsu's fire wasn't just beautiful. It was wild, passionate, free, honest, exciting, unpredictable and so…Natsu.
Lucy wished she had a pair of earplugs for her bleeding ears as she winced for the third time that morning when a table split in two and collapsed under the weight of a certain fuming mage.
"Oh, I am so terribly sorry…"
"Damn RIGHT you are!"
"I was apologizing to the table, not to you, shit head!"
The members of Fairy Tail by then were all either egging them on, "REAL MEN FIGHT TILL THE END!", or they had scrambled to the nearest wall and were praying to whoever would listen that the next object to be thrown against wouldn't be any of them…or that Erza would magically come back from her mission.
Really, it was just another ordinary day.
Lucy was making a mental wish list as she chewed on the straw of her drink Mirajane had kindly poured her. Earplugs, the blond decided, just wouldn't cut it. She needed something more grand so that this-
-this would permanently stop. Maybe a sound proof box with the walls as thick as the book she was reading the night before. Oh, had to make sure it was bullet/fire/ice proof, so she could finally, with great triumphant, lock those two loudmouths up and save everyone from their tactless but dangerous brawls. Her eyes lit up and an unsettling smile graced her lips at the thought of all the Guild members thanking her for her heroic deeds. Even the great Master himself would shake her hands with tears in his eyes to congratulate her for achieving the impossible.
Then she would automatically pass as Fairy Tail's newest official S-Class Mage, because seriously, she should be awarded for completing probably the most dangerous, life-threatening mission there ever was in Fiore. Lucy grinned on the inside at her non-existent-plan. Already finalising the pose she was going to strut that would be published on the front cover of the weekly Sorceress Magazine. Maybe she would gain so many fans that her popularity would even pass Mirajane's.
"Umm…Lucy-chan…you do realize that you were talking out loud right?"
Lucy blinked owlishly at Mirajane, who was dutifully behind the counter, wiping another ceramic mug. Her jaw involuntarily fell and her face flushed at the embarrassment of getting caught, by her idol no less, to have had such thoughts. Her head unhappily hit the bar table conveniently in front of her.
Kana chuckled besides her. "Don't worry kiddo. All the members here have probably had the same contemplation sometime during their life. Well…the imaginary mission part, not the showdown against Mirajane part." The alcoholic lifted her barrel to her lips and took a long drink. Lucy could feel her face heating up. "Well, I don't mind as long as the two of them stay far away from my baby booze."
"ICE MAKE HAMMER!"
"HA! It's always the same, boring trick! You are really getting old and running out of inspira-GUH"
"Says the person that always gets hit by the good old trick!"
Lucy groaned. Would both of them just shut up!
"Have they always been like this?" Lucy tried to change the subject and muttered as she turned around to watch the two who were currently causing the biggest racket. One of them was chasing the rather naked other and threatening to pull off his last piece of modesty.
"Actually…" Lucy, suddenly perked up at Mirajane's thoughtful voice
It had been a rhetorical question. She swirled back to face her companions. Under no circumstances was Lucy expecting any sort of reply along the lines of 'They weren't always like this,' and the celestial mage nearly snorted at her wild imagination. If she'd expected an answer, it would probably be something more like: 'Actually, this is quite a drastic improvement. Before, they'd really try to tear each other's throat out.'
That was why Lucy nearly fell off her barstool at Mirajane's next words.
"They weren't always like this…they were once very close friends."
In the corner, Juvia was listening with one ear.
Juvia seriously did not mean to eavesdrop on the conversation Lucy-chan was having at the bar table. Her ears just perked up at the mention of her one-and-only-lover, and Natsu-kun. She was only curious and wanted to know more about Gray-sama and his relationship with that potential rival, who constantly took Gray-sama's attention away from her.
Before Juvia even realized what she was doing, she had stormed to their sides and slammed her fist at their table and spat her words with such venom.
"Tell. me. more."
Lucy 'Eeped!' along with Happy, who seemed to appear out of nowhere, and trembled slightly watching the other women's unexpected expression, suddenly remembering the encounter she had with this dangerous person before said person joined Fairy Tail. She watched, as Mirajane appeared to be unfazed by that woman's intimidating glare.
"Well…we don't really know, do we Kana-chan?"
Kana stopped her drinking and her face tensed up in concentration, trying to recall a distant memory. "Hmm…All I can remember was that one day they were loving each other and the next day they were killing each other."
Juvia's fierce expression crumbled. Her face became a pale mask and her body fell backwards in slow motion. Juvia fainted in shock and despair at the casual mention that the object of her affection loved someone else…and the very person she suspected all along to be her biggest threat in her fairy tale life!
"Don't die…" Gray clasped his friend's scaled scarf tightly in his little fist, feeling a little sad and empty. His companion turned around and their eyes met, red to blue. The boy gave a thumb up and a smile.
"I won't and that's a promise!" Gray's hand still refused to let go.
"Man, you're such a baby," the boy sighed. He moved closer to Gray and planted a kiss on his forehead. "There! Better?"
By the time Gray had come back to his senses, his friend had already left for his first ever mission.
Lucy watched both of her bickering partners under a very close eye. The three of them were returning back to the guild after a very simple mission. They had stopped a few minutes ago in the middle of a forest to rest when they deemed to be too dangerous to continue walking in the dark. Natsu and Gray fell into silence and Lucy decided it was time to continue her observation, which had turned into quite an obsession over the past few days. Every single movement made by the other two was recorded with precision and later analyzed in her mind. With amazement, she found that the more she watched, the less bizarre and crazy the idea of them being friends with each other seemed.
Lucy pretended to busy herself with the cooking, although it was only instant noodles, as she watched the other two from the corner of her eye.
Natsu poked the other man with his foot a few times and Gray looked up from the novel Lucy was forcing him to read. Gray's eyes narrowed at the fire mage when the foot prodding didn't stop, he wanted something. Really, he couldn't bother and cared even less, but if he wanted to continue reading, (it was getting good) he had to get it. So he threw Natsu the water bottle on the other side of him and Natsu caught it with ease.
Lucy watched in marvel at how they were able to know what the other one wanted without communication. She silently wondered if she would ever be able to reach similar level of familiarity with them. She felt a sad smile begin to surface as she watched Natsu trying to peek at what Gray was reading.
Gray delivered a punch straight to the other's intruding nose. But Lucy could tell. It was only half-hearted. She decided then to bring the noodles over before things stopped being playful but more serious.
"Heyyyyy! Graaaaay!" Gray spotted the enthusiastic boy bouncing up and down, waving his arms around ridiculously. Yeah. He can see him fine without his flapping limbs. Gray sighed and walked closer. What was his friend up to today?
"I've decided!" the young Natsu sat back down onto his chair and announced with his brightest grin. Gray pulled out a chair opposite of Natsu.
"Decided on what?" Gray wished he hadn't asked.
"I'm going to marry Lisanna when I grow up!"
Because afterwards, he never managed to explain what that tug at the chest meant.
Both Natsu and Gray looked up to Lucy, who was fidgeting nervously. She figured out that it was best to just ask out in a straightforward manner than beat around the bush and not get an answer at all.
Natsu instantly became attentive and sat straight up at Lucy's uncertain face. Gray followed suit.
"Mirajane told me that you guys were once very close fri-friends." Gray felt like he tasted something bitter and his eyebrows furrowed. He doesn't want to remember those times. He glanced to the side towards Natsu. They had never mentioned the past to each other. After all, the past was the past and what's important is the present.
Natsu was looking thoughtful. "Hmm…I don't…remember. Na, Gray?"
Gray met Natsu's eyes in disbelief.
When Gray left the guild for his first ever mission, Natsu did not even show up and send him off. He was more than just a little disappointed. He had hoped that Natsu would have been just as upset as he was to be separated.
Gray sulked throughout his entire mission.
By the time he returned, he vowed to pound that pink-haired boy into the dirt and remind that dumbass to never even dare to forget about him ever again.
But when Gray spotted Natsu, who jumped on him at first sight and hugged him like he was never going to let go, Gray couldn't muster the strength to punch the other.
The lame excuse that Natsu overslept on the day Gray left, quickly remedied that.
That had been their first man-to-man brawl.
Lucy regretted bringing the topic up when she saw Gray clench his teeth and fists his hands up till his knuckles turned white. She watched as Natsu was oblivious to the sudden change of atmosphere and still prattled on and on about how Natsu never remembered being Gray's close friend and that they had been at each other's throats from day one.
Gray suddenly stood up from his spot, and Natsu stopped his ramble. Both pair of eyes were on Gray, and Lucy unconsciously swallowed in fear of what might happen next. Gray let out a small chuckle.
"Go to fucking hell, Natsu."
Lucy and Natsu watched at Gray's retreating back disappearing into the woods and never came back.
In the end, Gray never forgave Natsu for prioritizing sleep over him, and what ticked him off more was that Natsu didn't need his forgiveness. Gray needed his. They had been ignoring each other since their all-out-death-match and Gray didn't know what took over his body to want to hurt his friend like that.
Maybe it was because Lisanna was watching and Gray had just wanted to humiliate Natsu in front of her, he didn't know. But all he knew was that his head was as stubborn as a brick's and so was Natsu's.
So they communicated in the only way their pride would allow them to. With punches, kicks, magic and cruel, harsh words.
Gray is still sitting on the park bench. Thinking. Maybe it hadn't been the wisest decision to leave Lucy and Natsu alone in the forest. He only remembers the rage he was feeling and he had walked straight back to Magnolia without himself realizing it. He finally decides that thinking is definitely not one of his fortes. Half an hour has passed and he is still holding the same cigarette, burnt out, with nothing clearer than before. It hurts. Gray is not sure what is causing it, but he knows it's there. Something in his system is telling him he is disappointed, angry, upset and it's so painful.
Gray looks up when the first flake lands just a foot away from him. And then another and another, until his whole surrounding is washed with white snow and a thin layer of it covers the ground. He notices a thin figure in the distant. He can only see the vague outline of the silhouette, but he can recognize that figure anywhere. The person stops in front of him.
Taking Gray's silence as a go-head, the other sits down next to Gray and silently watches the snow continue to fall. Gray throws the cigarette bud into the bin next to the bench and pull out a new one, hoping the other person will leave already, since he doesn't like it when Gray smokes. He flickered his lighter on and the usual warmth didn't light up. Gray cursed his bad luck.
The other turns towards Gray to watch him in amusement as he continues to try and figure out why the lighter isn't working. Gray's new companion chuckles and takes the lighter away from Gray's hands. Gray's eyes widens when the other throws that in the same bin.
When he fists the same hand he used to throw the lighter away into Gray's hair and pulled Gray forward, Gray thinks he is going to have a heart attack. He's so close to the other, he can faintly smell the signature sweet smell the other possess. He swallows when the other's lips comes closer to his and Gray thanks the nine heavens that he has his cigarette between his lips, otherwise he might just attack the other one right now…and definitely not in the bad violent way, but the disturbingly good violent way. But he catches himself just in time, remembering how he is supposed to be angry at the other person and not…bubbly.
Gray watches as the other take a little breath and puff out a small flame, successfully lighting up his cigarette and Gray nearly feels like an idiot for thinking that something else could have happened between there. But when the other still made no move to pull away and Gray's face was still drawn very close to the other, Gray can't help but hope, that the other did have something prepared for him other than the obvious.
"I said, Yo!"
Gray sees the other grits his teeth in annoyance.
"Okay, depressed-boy, get over yourself!"
This time, Gray grinds his teeth.
"Do you want me to bellow it out for you? FINE! On the second fucking day I met you, you showed me a rose sculpture you made and I thought it looked fucking beautiful, I thought if anyone laid eyes on your magic, they would be forever transfixed and never be able to think anything else could ever match your beauty. The day I left for my first mission, I wanted to take you with me. And when you made that stupid crybaby face, I nearly did! But I didn't, because I knew if I didn't, I had something to look forward to when I come back, I'd know that if I only defeat the next monster I'd be able to see your pathetic face and you would patch me up afterwards. I shared every embarrassing secret with you, played hide-and-seek till the sun went down and explored nearly every corner of Magnolia together. So, I can't help it if I don't want to share our moments with each other to someone else. No one had asked and no one will get to know, the only two people that should know is you and me!"
Gray can't remember exploring the town, can't remember the games. He can't remember patching Natsu up after his first mission, he can't remember what form his sculpture took when he first showed it to Natsu.
"And you know what? I am sorry that I wasn't there for you like when you were there for me on my first mission. I overslept and should've put a damn alarm clock like you suggested."
Gray continues to stare at the other person and his sudden emotional outburst. He can feel the panted breath from the other and he can also see the determination in those eyes. Gray silently wonders why he isn't feeling happy after finally hearing the apology he has yearned for since…forever.
"…Say something, goddamn it!"
"…" Gray tries to put a name to this feeling. Maybe it is…guilt. The fact that Natsu did remember stirred something inside Gray. But the fact that he remembers more of their precious memories than Gray really shakes him.
"Oh, high-and-mighty-ice-princess, would you kindly grace your voice to such a lowly creature like me?"
"…I said, Osu!" Gray can't stop looking into those red eyes.
Silence followed. The other grinned.
"My name is Natsu Dragneel." Gray blinked.
Natsu smiled. And Gray cannot believe it still has the same effect on him as it did 10 years ago.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MY DEAR, DEAR COUSIN! Really, you cannot blame me for what I have dutifully written for you.
First of all, I told you my writing abilities aren't that good. Now that I have proven that I was not lying, I believe you can stop accusing me at every given chance.
Secondly, When I asked you if you had a particular fandom in mind when you requested a story, your answer had been: "Umm…Bleach?" and then when I looked at you like you just grew a second head, you promptly fixed your request to more of my liking: "O-Or anything you like." So here it is. Anything I like.
I am fully aware that you probably said it only out of politeness and that you have probably never heard of Fairy Tail, let alone know who these amazing characters are, BUT I do hope you like it and that you can find it in your kind, forgiving heart to pardon your sad excuse of a cousin. I will make it up to you another time with a Bleach fic. (That is, if you still want me to write one) :D
To those of you who DO know these lovable characters: I hope you enjoyed reading the story as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Truly, inspiration comes knocking at your door when you least expect it; more specifically, when you scramble for a piece of paper and pen after you wake up at 3AM in the morning because for some odd reason, your unconscious mind just did half the work for you.
There was so much more I wanted to put in, but somehow it just won't fit properly. There were also things that went against my original plans as well. Like how I was actually aiming for a 100% fluff story and how I was actually planning for a kiss scene, but yeah…
I'd like to say thanks to my Beta for coming up with great ideas that ultimately shaped this story to what it is now, and also for not being there for me when you promised you would be. D: Haha, jokes, if you didn't show up, granted, a few hours later than expected, this story would have probably killed many 'Grammar Nazis' out there!
This is my first Fairy Tail fanfiction. I am actually mildly surprised at how small the GreyNatsu fandom is. Please, allow me to add my two-cents to this (hopefully) growing fandom.
Constructive Criticisms in all sorts of form are greatly appreciated. Just don't be surprised if a bill appears in the mailbox the next day demanding to be signed for my damaged and weak heart.
GRAY X NATSU FOREVER!
~always BrokenIce and MisleadingSkates~
P.S I didn't know Gray smoked till I read it on Fairy Tail wiki.