A cold breeze passed over, rustling the leaves and dust away. Winter was settling over Magnolia. As it was getting chilly day by day, the guild doors remained closed, everyone sticking close by the hearth, sipping on their coffee and beer. Pacing a little, Gray clutched the parcel in his hand tightly, wondering how he landed in this situation in the first place. He watched from the corner of the wall, careful to hide himself from the prying eyes of his guild members.
It was 3 days ago when Gray was at Clover and the girls decided to go shopping. Team Natsu had successfully completed a request without any destruction and Lucy was particularly happy about it. Although it was a good month away, the Christmas markets were flourishing all over Fiore, and Clover was no exception. Since they had received their full pay for once, Team Natsu decided to hit the streets and splurge a little.
While Gray knew that he would be more of a silent spectator in the shopping trip as usual, he still enjoyed these moments with them. Lucy would make a fuss and haggle around, Erza would be particularly fascinated by long, flowing winter gowns, Wendy and Carla walked through the market, having a good look, while Natsu and Happy gorged on delicious food.
Today Lucy was making a big fuss about a piece of garment and taking more time than usual. It was then when Gray's eyes fell over an accessory stall. His sight landed over a beautiful hair pin, a golden butterfly with glittery sparkles on it. The memory of blue flowing hair crossed across his mind.
"That would look good on Juvia." Gray thought internally.
"You have a good eye, Sir." The owner of the stall, a fairly middle-aged lady with graying hair spoke out.
His heart skipped a beat as he was taken by surprise. He stumbled over his words, "Wh-What?"
She smiled as she picked up the very butterfly pin, out of all the accessories, he had caught sight of. It was as if she had read his mind.
There were only a few people out there who could read him like an open book. And Gray wasn't fond of that.
As much as it hurt his pride, Juvia was one of those people. Always watching out for him, taking care of him, always knowing and being there for him.
What had he done to deserve this kind of love and attention from her? She deserved so much better, someone who could genuinely love her back. Someone who could equally return the overflowing love and kindness she was filled with.
Gray shook his head, "This is useless."
He shoved his hands in his pocket and was about to walk away when a voice rang in his head, "Gray-sama!" a memory of a smiling face with blue twinkling eyes.
He turned back to the woman, who was still smiling, "...How much for that?"
As he put away the remnants of money, he stared at the little parcel in his hand. The woman has taken the liberty of wrapping the pin in a cutesy blue box with a red bow over it. Before he could even refuse, she had shoved it into his hands.
He jumped when he heard Wendy's voice, "Are you giving that to Juvia-san?"
"Wendy-dont scare me like that!" he placed a hand over his chest.
"Ah, I'm really sorry, Gray-san! I didn't mean to scare you." The sky dragon slayer meekly apologized.
Gray shook his head. This was so unlike him, "Sorry for overreacting," He quickly put the parcel in his pocket, before anyone else could ask him about it.
He would die of embarrassment if anyone found out about this. Especially in their nosy guild. He never liked unnecessary attention to himself. However, in a guild like Fairy Tail, one could rarely find such peace and silence.
This brought him to his present dilemma, the gift feeling heavier by the minute in his hand. Gray looked over at Juvia, who was talking cheerfully with Levy and Lucy.
How could he hand the little gift to Juvia discreetly without making a big deal of it and without anyone's notice?
This was a mammoth of a task before him. The entire guild was in full attendance, as everyone liked to stay indoors as it got colder day by day. Besides, it was a whole month away from Christmas and he got a gift for Juvia randomly. Of course Juvia would make a ruckus and catch everyone's attention.
"This is absurd," Gray shook his head. He couldn't do it. He shoved the gift back into his pocket and decided to give it when Christmas came rolling in a few weeks later. It's not like it's an important item or anything.
Gray sllently slipped through the guild doors and walked back home. The sun was setting early on the coast, as it did in winters. On his way back, it started snowing slightly.
Closing the door behind him, he sighed as he was greeted by the silence and darkness of his little plain and basic apartment. He stripped his jacket away. Tossing it over on the floor, he flopped onto the sofa and lay there with his eyes closed. He didn't know how long he remained like that.
His eyes snapped open when he heard something fall over. He turned on the lamp on the side table and looked. He walked over to the mantel of the fireplace.
It was a wooden carved symbol of Fairy Tail. Juvia had given it to him as something she had made when she picked up wooden carving as a hobby. Gray picked it up and rubbed his thumb along the edges. He placed it back on mantel, next to a set of dolls, another gift from Juvia. His fireplace was full of little presents Juvia gave him off and on. A potted plant when she took pottery classes, a little handkerchief with his initials embroidered on it, candles as a souvenir when she went on a mission. And of course, there was that scarf she knitted him, hanging on the coat hanger.
Before he knew it, his house was already full of Juvia's love at every corner. Always reminding him that she sees, she loves and she cares. No matter what. She didn't mind that he didn't respond to her feelings, or that he refused all her advances. She wanted to show that she would always be there.
It wasn't about how important or little the presents were. It was about expressing one's feelings as they are, without expecting anything in return.
Gray ran out of the room, only to return back to fetch his clothes, as he had stripped unknowingly once again.
He dashed as fast as he could without thinking; all he knew was that he had to see her. He had to see Juvia right away.
It had snowed while he was at his house, the snow sparkling white under the glimmer of the moon. He trudged along, his movements delayed.
Finally, he landed before the guild, a few guild members pulling their coats close and rushing to the warmth of their homes. A few greeted him, but he rushed through the guild doors.
His eyes scanned the now deserted hall, except for a few lingering drunkards. Gray's heart fell for a moment; maybe Juvia had already left. A glimpse at the clock informed him that it was 11:25pm. He cursed at himself for always being such a coward. Why couldn't he just man up and open up a bit? He ruffled his hair in frustration and was about to turn away when he saw the familiar tuft of blue hair near the fireplace.
He walked towards the hearth silently, as he didn't want to startle her. Juvia was sitting hunched at the fireplace, azure eyes directed towards the flames, and lost in thought. She seemed to be in a world of her own, deep in thought, so mellow and silent, Gray wondered what she was thinking about. He had hardly seen Juvia with such a serious expression, except during battles.
He realized that even though she made herself look happy and cheerful all the time, her life may not have been as merry as she made it seem. He could only imagine the emptiness and feeling of loneliness she felt. A Juvia of the past he did not know. Gray had ignored her, shot down her advances. And yet, she put up a smile everytime he met her eyes.
Gray cleared his throat.
Juvia's head shot up, "Gray-sama!" She broke into her usual smile, "Juvia thought you had left already."
"Well, you haven't left yet either," Gray remarked.
"Juvia was just busy in her thoughts." she smiled towards the fire pit.
"Can I sit here with you?" Gray asked.
"Of course, Gray-sama!" Juvia eagerly scooted away.
They sat in the warmth of the hearth silently, staring into the fire. They didn't speak a word, just basking in the heat of the flames and each other's presence. Gray could feel Juvia glance towards him from the corner of his eye.
"Gray-sama, is everything alright?" Juvia asked worriedly.
There she was, again putting his needs over hers. He truly did not deserve this woman. She deserved so much better and more.
"Yes, Juvia." Gray replied.
"Can Juvia do something...?" Juvia tried asking but Gray interrupted her.
"Everything is fine, Juvia." it came out a bit too firmly, which wasn't his intention at all.
"O-Okay.." Juvia fell silent. After a few moments, the clock in the guild hall struck midnight, as the bell sounded out.
"Juvia thinks we should get going, Gray-sama. It's quite late already." Juvia stood up and gathered her belongings.
Gray clenched his teeth, wanting to punch himself in the face. "Wait!" Gray stood up hurriedly, jumping right into her face.
"Yes?" Juvia looked at him with wide eyes.
"I, uh, well," Feeling himself at a loss for words and unable to meet her eyes out of embarrassment, Gray simply thrust the gift box towards her, turning his head away.
She continued staring at him in surprise, "For me?" Juvia pointed at herself.
"...Yes." Gray answered.
Recovering from her initial shock quickly, Juvia's eyes lit up like a Christmas tree, and she smiled a brilliant smile, "A present from Gray-sama! How lucky Juvia is!" she gushed, placing her hands on her rosy cheeks as she jumped with excitement. One of her flailing arms knocked off the present from Gray's palm and it flew right into the raging fire of the fire pit. Gray watched in shock as the gift instantly caught fire and started burning up.
She gasped as she realized what she had done. Juvia quickly summoned her water magic to quell the fire and save the present. She fell to her knees as stuck her hand into the fire pit.
"Wait-Juvia that's dangerous! It may be still hot!" Gray tried to stop her but she continued to rummage against the wooden blocks.
She gently wiped the soot away from the the charred box and pulled out the hairpin, the wings of the butterfly chipped away in several places and the shine of the glitter lost.
"It's so pretty...Juvia received a precious gift from Gray-sama," she held the hairpin gingerly in her palms. "Juvia ruined it already...Juvia is really an unlucky rain woman." To Gray's horror, tears streamed down her face and dripped onto the hairpin.
"Juvia is extremely sorry Gray-sama." she cried out.
"Please don't cry, Juvia." Gray put his hand over the hairpin and used his ice magic. The tips of the wings turned into sparkling ice. "You're not an unlucky rain woman. You have brought only happiness to everyone." Gray smiled.
Juvia smiled with delight as she brought the hairpin to light, the ice reflecting the dim light. "Thank you so much, Gray-sama!" Juvia jumped at him and wrapped her arms around his neck. Gray blushed at the sudden contact, unable to understand what he should do.
"Juvia will treasure Gray-sama's gift forever!" she exclaimed. Gray chuckled at her excitement. "Okay, okay, let's go home now. It's time for the guild to close."
"Yes, Gray-sama!" The smile never leaving her face. She took out a piece of paper and gently wrapped the hairpin, as if her life depended on it. Gray sighed as he watched her. She really was a handful at times, but her heart was always in the right place.
"I'll walk you to the dorm...since it's late." Gray blushed slightly.
"Thank you, Gray-sama." Her heart soaring with elation. As she wore her coat, Gray waited patiently. "Gray-sama?" Juvia called timidly.
"What?" Gray looked at her inquiringly.
Juvia stood on her toes and pressed a kiss on Gray's cheek. "Merry Christmas." She ran off shyly, leaving Gray stunned.
He smiled as followed her. "Merry Christmas, Juvia."
a/n: what kind of sociopath uploads a fanfic set in christmas in April?
this is the first time I have written for gruvia! please leave your review (:
This story is based on a gruvia comic I saw on the internet last year. It was so cute, I had to write something!I cant find the original artist, if anyone has any idea, please inbox me :)