Let the Punishment Fit the Crime
Gray was not sure what to expect after dying. Maybe he would wake up a baby, crying upon his birth. Maybe there was a heaven, or maybe hell. He deserved hell. Maybe there was nothing at all.
So he was surprised to wake up still under the willow tree, with an enraged dragon slayer looking over him.
"N-Natsu?" Gray asked in confusion.
"You goddamn, cock-sucking, shit-eating, asshole of a motherfucking bastard!" Natsu roared, spouting flames.
"Your foul mouth got worse," Gray mumbled wryly.
"Don't ever die on me again or I'll fucking kill you."
"Die? What...?" he asked, feeling drowsy and weak. He touched his waist and felt a nasty scab.
"I cauterized it with my flames," Natsu explained softer in emotional exhaustion. "It'll be a hell of a scar, but that serves you right, trying to kill yourself right in front of the man who loves you."
"Loves...me?" Gray asked, still stunned at being alive. Natsu suddenly threw himself on top of Gray. "Whoa!"
"Please...please don't leave Fairy Tail," the dragon slayer begged through his tears. "Don't leave me. I want you to stay. I want to be able to forgive you someday."
Gray still felt confused. "But...I don't deserve it."
"Of course you don't!" Natsu bellowed. "You should be locked up, but I don't want that. I don't want you to get into trouble, and I don't want you to die. I...I don't want...to be separated from you. I want to be able to fight beside you, challenge you, party together, and have stupid eating contests. I wanna do missions together and go wild until Erza and Lucy yell at us. I wanna duel with you, pound your ass into the ground, set you on fire and get frozen by you, then laugh it all off over drinks. I wanna caress your face, hold you close, whisper 'I love you' and truly mean it, without any other stupid emotions getting in the way. That's what I want. I...I want to..."
Gray pressed a finger against Natsu's lips, silencing him. "I have a long way to go before I deserve that sort of forgiveness."
"You died, Gray," Natsu whispered tearfully. "Your heart stopped. You were dead for over two minutes, but it felt like an eternity. I...I was scared," he admitted with a shivering sob. "This morning, I wanted to kill you, but...but you already died. And...and...I didn't like you being dead. It was terrifying. I don't want to lose you. I can't lose you!"
Gray sighed and wiped some tears off Natsu's face. "Fine. I won't leave, not unless you tell me to."
"I still can't forgive you yet," Natsu warned. "I want to, someday, but...but I don't know how. I'm pissed as hell, Gray," he admitted, his nostrils flaring. "So mad, I really could kill you. But...I just know, I can't lose you."
"How about punishment for now?"
"Punishment?" Natsu asked in confusion. "How? I don't want you to get arrested."
Gray smirked smugly. "Payback. Let the punishment fit the crime."
Natsu still looked confused, but slowly a sly smile crept up on his face. Through his tears, a chuckle bubbled up. "Your ass will hurt for a week, bastard."
"I want that toy you used, as well. That thing fucking hurt!"
"I'll bring it and others."
"Others? You really are a pervert. I also demand on tying you up. My shoulders are still sore."
"Pussy," Gray teased. "But...I accept those terms. You better enjoy it, because I won't give you top position so easily in the future."
Natsu scoffed softly, yet his smile slowly faded and his eyes looked troubled.
"What's wrong? Changing your mind? Gonna call the cops on me?"
"I should!" snapped Natsu. "But if you got thrown into jail, some other bastard will probably butt-rape you, and I don't want some stranger to do that."
"You wanna do it instead, eh?"
"It serves you right!"
"Fair enough. So what's wrong?"
Natsu hesitated before finally asking. "Are you an ass virgin?"
Gray's face went bright pink, and his eyes dilated as they widened.
Natsu chuckled wickedly. "Good! I gonna make your first time painful so you regret what you did to me."
"But Natsu, what about Lucy?"
The same troubled look returned, and he pouted slightly. "She broke up with me. She said she knew I liked you and wanted me to be free to chase after you."
"Sorry," Gray said earnestly. "Lucy's a smart girl. I almost wish it was her I fell in love with, not you. It would have made things easier."
"Oh...I guess liking a girl is easier than liking a guy, huh?"
"Nah, I don't care about that," Gray shrugged. "I just mean, it'd be easier to beat your ass and win her than going through all this only to make you angry and cry."
Natsu glared at him. "Tell the guild that I cried and I'll show you whose ass would get beaten in a fight."
Gray laughed and hugged Natsu close on top of him. "No way. You're really cute when you cry, and I don't want anyone else seeing that sort of face from you."
Natsu gave him only a soft punch to the shoulder for saying that, but mostly he just wanted to enjoy the strong feel of the ice wizard's arms wrapped around him and listen to his heart pounding. That heart had stopped. The old Gray had died. Natsu felt like this was a new Gray. He still hated the old one, but he could slowly make amends with the reborn Gray.
These fresh, raw emotions were driving all other concerns from Natsu's addled brain. He shifted, and suddenly he felt the bracelet in his pocket. He thought about giving it to Gray, but now was not the time. Rage and the bitterness of betrayal still lingered in Natsu's heart, so it was a terrible time to start something like a real relationship. First, he would punish Gray in his own way. He was privately plotting how to make Gray hurt enough to truly understand that sort of humiliation. Maybe Gray would escape jail time, but he'd be limping for weeks!
"Mmh," he hummed in sleepy happiness.
"Juvia's gonna drown us."
Gray simpered softly. "She'll understand."
"No, she doesn't. She's standing on the opposite side of the river, and her eyes are glowing weirdly."
Gray sat up quickly to see the rain woman glowering like some hellbeast. He cringed back at the red gleam of her eyes and powerfully dark aura around her.
"GET YOUR HANDS OFF MY GRAY-SAMA!"
"Oh shit...run, Gray!"
Gray leaped up, but the pain in his side slowed him. Natsu grabbed his hand and dragged him away, then wrapped Gray's arm around his shoulder to support him as the ice wizard limped while holding his stomach. Natsu turned half of Juvia's attacks to steam with his fire, while Gray froze the other half. They looked over to one another, realizing they fought together rather well. Natsu squeezed the icy cold fingers. Gray held on tightly, truly glad he had decided not to leave Magnolia, and thankful Natsu gave him another chance at life.
Even if he burned his bridges, leave it to Natsu to eat the flames and recklessly leap the chasm!
A/N: Thanks, yasminemohamed91, for collaborating with me on this intense story. I hope everyone liked it. I might be persuaded to add a bonus chapter...maybe. Cheers!