A/N: Alright, first Fairy Tail fanfic from me and I am already a bit nervous, mostly because I am wondering if I managed to completely capture everyone's mental construction. In any case, all review and criticism is accepted, good and bad of course so let me know how you think of this start.
Sun was slowly reaching its highest point on the sky, bathing Magnolia with its warm spring shine. Town as busy as it can ever be with merchants bringing the fresh produce and various magical and non-magical products to be displayed, tempting the buyers with ever-strong vigor. Indeed you could find here anything you need from potions to magical items both rare and common but what tempted most was the delightful scent of food. It would seem that this peaceful monotony would last forever but nothing ever lasts and this rather usual day was broken by one, simple sky-shattering sentence…
"Natsu, I hate you…" Lucy spoke, her hands hung down eyes squinted looking forward
"It wasn't that bad" he replied following her closely with Happy flying above
"You wrecked entire tavern we were supposed to guard!" She suddenly stopped, yelling loud at dragonslayer who suddenly lost color of his pace, changing into pale
"Well at least we got… the…" Natsu started with voice going more and more silent
"Oh we did! But we didn't get a single jewel!" Lucy screamed louder before flopping down on her knees, letting out a cry "And my rent is in a week…"
"There there Luce" he walked over, placing hand on her shoulder. Only luck prevented him from having same hand chopped off as she snapped her neck to look up at him, glaring with her big brown eyes "You can move in with me and you won't have to pay the old lady the blood tribute" he moved lower "Besides I think that lady is hiding something… maybe she is old hag hiding in human skin"
"I heard that!" a voice came from the distance making Natsu's hair on back crawl up
"She is bat-lady!" he whispered to her with hand covering his mouth, looking over shoulder
Lucy got up, taking deep breath and exhaled through her mouth, extra moment of peace in her head allowed her to collect her thoughts before opening eyes and looking around. Her brown eyes spotting bakery and feet followed soon after. Despite great oblivious nature that Natsu had and practiced with great dedication, he did not need to be asked to follow when food was involved and he simply let out a soft smirk. The smell coming from bakery was simply too much for any of them to resist and every food cart/restaurant/caffee owner was more than eager to be their host because of two simple things. One, no one could forget the Fairy Tail performance at Grand Magic Games and two, Natsu was a well-deserved holder of dragonslayer title with stomach that could swallow the mentioned dragon. Lucy was sitting still, placing elbow on table and her chin in palm as she observed the black hole that is Natsu's mouth who devoured one course after another, making her smile softly. Oh he is an idiot alright, but he is her idiot.
"Wa a u nof eafi" Natsu spoke having three croissant in his mouth with fourth in hand, ready to be devoured
"Don't speak with full mouth" Lucy replied sipping her coffee and he bobbed his head, munching on food before swallowing
"You haven't even tasted it, it's great" he smiled wide and rather chubby baker simply clapped his hands in great pleasure of the praise
"I am not particularly hungry" she sighed but still took a bite, believing in his word and grinned slightly. It really was delicious as he said…. Yeah leave Natsu to not know about food is same as expecting Gray to not know how to create ice she thought... and speaking of him for some reason her stomach slightly clenched. Her finger slowly moved along the rim of her cup as he continued to eat with Happy being no help in the code of manners. They were brothers alright…
"You still can move in with me you know" Natsu said as he burped "We are already practically living together…"
"Yeah in my apartment!" she finished his sentence, furrowing her brows
"So?" He bobbed his head, she simply gave up "we'll just do the same at my house for free!"
"I don't know, it's too soon" she said having her cheeks receive slight tone of pink at the thought "Plus there isn't enough space for both of us, there is barely enough space for you and Happy"
"Then, we'll make more space!" Natsu exclaimed loud raising right arm up
"Aye sir!" Happy followed
"Thanks…" she smiled as her cheeks turned into darker share of pink and after another bite of croissant and long sip from coffee she stood up to pay the rather generous bill that produced that well known twitch in her eye. One paid bill later they moved out and toward the Fairy Tail walking the same street with lighter mood than before. Maybe that small rest has set her into right mood, maybe it was Natsu's carefree attitude but smile was back on her face and even hug from him went better than he expected, making her lean head on his shoulder instead of punching his gut as she is also known to do after his episode of wrecking. He was happy, she was happy, Happy was… well… happy and all that would turn even better once they reach Guild Hall. Natsu was the one especially in good mood now, hoping to see either Gray or Gajeel. Devious smirk formed on his face as he rushed final 10 meters and kicked doors open
"We're back!" he screamed but instead of the usual cheerful greeting, few of guild members simply looked their way.
There was something odd within the halls… there were no fights, no boasting, no drinking and singing. Everyone was just silent, looking toward the center of the hall from where only sound came from within the hall. Lucy followed Natsu who just stood by the door and she looked at him, confused with brow slightly lift but she soon understood reason for his sudden petrification as she followed his gaze with hers. The origin of only sound, or should I say, argue came from the center and she recognized two voices, Gray and Juvia. Something was not right, why is everyone silent she asked herself as she made her way closer to them, overhearing
"I don't know what's the big deal?!" Gray shouted, his voice was angry, pissed even
"Juvia doesn't think it is good to take this job, that's it!" she replied, her voice was equally angry
"We've been going over this loop for hour now Juvia!"
"And Juvia still doesn't like it!"
"I don't care if you like it or not" mage replied to her "I get to pick my jobs, not you!"
"But Juvia doesn't like if Gray-sama…" her voice lowered, not by much but it did
"Juvia doesn't get to decide for me, understand?!" Gray now practically yelled at her, making her back down a step "I don't care what you think about this, I get to decide what I do and where I go" he approached her, pressing finger on her chest, the spot practically burned her as she lowered her head
"Juvia just… thought that…"
"Juvia thought wrong!" he poked same spot again, harder "It is becoming annoying, you are becoming annoying… Wherever I go, there you are!"
"Juvia is just worried for Gray-sama" she said silently, her big eyes squinted as she looked down with tears slowly making way down her cheeks
"No! This is not worried" Gray shouted at her "This is general, plain stalking! When have I ever spoke with anyone, guild or otherwise that you haven't considered your love rival?! I cannot take this anymore!" Gray suddenly dropped his arm and was about to leave when Juvia suddenly bolted, grabbing his arm, trying to hold him
"B..but without Gray-sama, what would Juvia do?" she looked up at him, eyes still filled with tears
"I don't care" he moved his arm out of her grasp, his anger was now beyond measurement "Stop clinging to me! Why are you not clinging to someone else?
"Because Juvia loves Gray-sama!" she replied to him quickly, her lips trembled violently
"No it's not about that, is it? You are just using me so that you can be close to someone? Why is that? Is it that you don't actually love me but you simply cling to me because you didn't had anyone to cling to in Phantom Lord? Is that it? I am just your way out because of your inability to talk to people normally like everyone else?"
There were few seconds of complete and dreadful silence… Not just simple silence, this was a void of any sound, an utter torment for ears as everyone suddenly turned their heads or their entire bodies along in order to look at Gray and Juvia. Lucy simply stood, frozen in place with hands covering her mouth in shock as Natsu clenched his fists, still standing at the door with Happy beside him.
"Wait, I didn't mean like th-" Gray started but was interrupted, a single sound now filled the hall, louder than Laxus's thunder and few gasps followed. The sound came from Juvia's palm that slapped Gray's right left cheek. Over the course of years, Gray has had his ass handed to him on number of times, most often by Erza but this pain was different. This pain reached his very core, his icy core and entire world in his head was shaken, and it was just what was needed to snap him out of his anger and have a better look at Juvia. She simply looked down, tears fell down, dripping on the floor as her quiet sob filled hall
"Juvia never… Juvia never thought that… Juvia loves Gray-sama… Juvia would never think of doing something so cruel as to deceive Gray-sama…" she cried louder with every word until she looked up at him, uttering one more sentence "Juvia, doesn't want to see Gray-sama anymore"
She was about to fall apart, but before she could fall on her knees Lucy ran over to her and grasped her tightly into hug, holding back of her head as Juvia buried her face into Lucy's shoulder, sobbing loud, inconsolably.
"Juvia… I didn't..." Gray started, taking one step toward with arm extended but Lucy's glare stopped him, it was all that she needed to do.
"Gray, I think you should go now" Lucy said "you already did enough damage?"
"Why am I the bad guy here?!" he asked loud "I only said what is truth! Dammit!" he finished as he has met similar reaction from everyone, suddenly he felt completely unwelcome as everyone gazed at him, there was judgment in their eyes and he couldn't stand it and along the way he met Natsu's gaze, stern and mad
"That… was pretty low Gray…" Natsu said "Juvia is your friend"
"Out of my way fire-breath!" Gray said, looking straight into his eyes and Natsu for some reason complied, not out of fear but he simply could not stand what he saw and he allowed for Gray to leave the Hall. His eyes looked toward Lucy who held Juvia in her arms. Damn it Gray…
"Seriously why am I the bad guy here?" The question kept spinning in his head as he walked down the street "It's not as if job was that bad. What was the problem with trying to catch a thief at the pool? She should know what kind of jobs we get, this was easiest job on board that paid good money, 500 000 jewels for a day to find some fucking mugger that was stealing women purses and wallets! Is that a bad job? No it's easy money! But no, she has to reject my idea that I didn't even present at her! I was gonna go solo and she even tore the poster into thousand pieces and for what? Because I'd look at other girls? Like I would even do that! Why does she even care who I look at, it is not as if we are dating! Why do I have to even be picky over what jobs I take or who I look at!"
He approached the bridge and looked down at the river, spotting his distorting reflection on water surface.
"Crap, I really overdid it, didn't I?" he said quietly, crouching down, leaning head against the railing of the bridge "I shouldn't have said that last thing… What do I know what was she like in Phantom Lord or whom she cling to? I mean sure, she says she loves me but does she really mean that?" his hand moved over the spot on his cheek, it was burning, stinging, pain he could not explain that lingered still as if it occurred just seconds ago. How could he forget all that happened when they fought Phantom Lord? How could he forget the devastation of the guild but more importantly, how could he forget his encounter with Juvia that day? It wasn't exactly the best but he felt at least a bit happy, he changed someone's life, he made her rain disappear. Lifetime of down mood changed in what? A day?
"Maybe I'm overthinking now. Maybe tomorrow things might return back to how they were. She'd come, apologize, I'd think of some excuse and things will be back to normal" he suddenly stood up, feeling slight vigor returning to his spirit but the quick flash before his eyes of the moment she slapped him has yet again returned and any vigor disappeared, leaving another thought to linger in his mind
"What if she leaves Fairy Tail?" his eyes widened "Nah, she wouldn't do that… would she? I mean she has friends but she mostly centered herself around me so… What if she decides and leaves? Would I be the cause for her to leave? I don't think anyone would forgive me that, even Erza… Aaarghh! Erza!" he raised hands, placing them on his head as he screamed loud, making people around him suddenly stop and look at him. His steps led him across the bridge, fast pace.
"Erza is going to kill me when she finds out. She is a monster! No she is a monster-slaying monster and I am going to spend next three decades as her personal punching bag. You what's that like?!" Gray shouted
"I don't know!" man simply shook head, he could not move since Gray grabbed both of his shoulders, looking wide-eyed "I'm just selling magical necklaces. Would you like to buy one?"
"No… sorry" he simply bowed head and moved on with heavy sigh as thought filled his mind. The scarlet-haired devil with more swords than he can count and all of them are going to be pointed at him "Good thing she was not there to see this, for once a good timing to leave with Gajeel aaaaah crap! I forgot about Gajeel! He's going to be even worse than Erza! I am literally going to get double-teamed by Erza and Gajeel! This is just a fucking nightmare!
"I know, but you know what might help?" Same guy from before asked "A magical necklace"
"Wait" Gray suddenly looked at man before him before his head turned and looked behind, was he walking in circle? "How the hell did you get in front of me?"
"Magic…" man simply grinned showing his stand
"Get out of here!" Gray yelled at man who made his stand turn into small suitcase and he moved down the street being the object of everyone's gaze. Is everyone gonna judge him today?
"Mommy, why is that man naked?" small girl tugged her mother's dress
"A crap! Again?!" Gray suddenly looked down, noticing he is yet again in his boxers
Back at the Fairy Tail at that moment Juvia had more than just nightmare, this was simply the worst day in her entire life overshadowing everything by a large margin. She was sitting at the bar with Lucy on her right and Levy on left. Mira brought her cup with tea to calm her down and though her tears have stopped her heart was still crying. She lost her will, her drive, her love and not only that but she slapped love of her life, something she did not forgive herself no matter the pain she suffered at the moment. Her palm was aching and memory of it only worsened her already bad condition. Guild Hall became lively again but not cheerful, everyone was talking about this, about her and Gray and though some even tried to justify his position, no one could justify words he spoke.
"Juvia should just… leave the guild" she said looking into her cup filled with tea
"That's nonsense" Lucy quickly said, wrapping left arm over her shoulder, leaning her own head against Juvia's shoulder
"But… Juvia has nothing to do here… Gray-sama has left Juvia…" she started, the silent sob returned
"You still have us" Levy decided to speak "We are your friends and we won't leave you no matter what"
"Exactly, and you know what they say, there is plenty of fish in the sea" Lucy shifted her head to look at Juvia
"But… Gray-sama was not just a fish for Juvia… Gray-sama was Juvia's sea…" there were no more words for them to say that could comfort her and they simply went quiet as she took sip from her tea. What else could they do, her entire world crumbled under her feet and only those who felt the keen sting of love and loss could being to comprehend her pain, but nothing came even close to this "Juvia loved Gray-sama with all her heart but now there is just void where heart was…"
"Things will get better, you'll see" Lucy said not having something better to comfort her "Maybe Gray was just… not the right guy for you, maybe there is your knight still waiting for you"
"Was that the same for you and Natsu?" Juvia asked, looking toward her and from this angle Lucy could see just how red her eyes were from crying
"Natsu is… different" Lucy said as she looked back, spotting the mentioned dragonslayer in an epic battle with Elfman for the dominance of last chicken leg on plate. Though he was winning this fierce brawl she could not help but sigh "I hoped for knight in shining armor but instead I got a dragon… the knight was a lie" Juvia could not help but snicker a bit at Lucy's painful facial expression that witnessed Natsu's continuous jumping on Elfman's chest.
"Perhaps Lucy is right, perhaps Juvia was too naïve in believing that Gray-sama is right for her"
"Let's head back to the dorm" Lucy said, leaning head again on her shoulder "We'll take a long bath and just shrug this day off"
Juvia simply offered small nod as they stood up, taking another glance toward Natsu who gloated over his victory, completely forgetting about the chicken leg that at this moment was in possession of Droy. Idiot, Lucy thought and as soon as they opened the main door they spotted Gray, reaching for the same door that opened. He was slightly shocked as he looked at them, Lucy's glare was gone as she looked at Gray but Juvia simply looked down, avoiding to even look at his eyes.
"Juvia, listen I-" he started, his arm reaching over to her but even that was not fast enough, she merely moved past him and continued down the street toward Fairy Hills. He was frozen in place as Lucy simply sighed and ran toward Juvia. Was this really how it will end? With her ignoring him forever? The thought that he never should have come to Hall today occurred in his mind and his chest tightened. She wasn't even going to acknowledge that his existence…
A/N: Gray turned out to be a massive asshole, didn't he? Good. He turned out exactly the way I imagined he would be. In order to fix something, that something needs to be broken and I intend to break them pretty bad. Good parts are gonna come.