endless exposure

The Experiment

[Pure fluff]

Juvia was a patient woman. For example, she could handle waiting in line for unreasonable amounts of time; she could wait for her food at a restaurant without getting annoyed, and if she was asked to, she could probably sit around and watch paint dry. She had been patient with Gray Fullbuster for a very long time, and every day she got through the agonizing wait by telling herself that maybe—just maybe—he would look at her differently, like she was special to him. But every day, she was let down.

It was hard for her to keep believing in him when he gave her nothing to work with. He stopped the rain and he filled her life with light. He was the love she always wished for. But she was getting tired of him constantly blowing her off.

Maybe I should try something else; Juvia thought to herself one morning, maybe Gray Sama will never love me and I should just accept it.

And with that, she got out of her bed and marched into the guild hall confidently, determined to go the entire week without speaking or doting on the person she held most dear. If she tried to go this long without him, maybe she could free herself from the suffocating prison called one-sided love.


It had been three days.

Three days that Juvia had succeeded in ignoring Gray to the best of her ability.

And he was getting antsy.

On the first day, he had thought that maybe she had just felt sick and had forgotten to greet him in the beginning of the day. He ignored it. On the second day, he had gone up and asked her if she was feeling better (since he had previously thought she was ill), and she nodded stiffly without looking him in the eye before quickly gathering all of her things and hustling out of the guild hall. He was a little hung up on it for a while, but then got over it. Then, on the third day, things got really out of hand.

She walked into the guild hall like normal, and greeted everyone happily. Judging the signs, Gray felt confident that he wouldn’t be given the cold shoulder.

“Hey,” He had said, “What’s up?”

For about a split second, Juvia looked like she was going to burst into tears. But as quickly as the expression appeared, it vanished, and a blank stare took its place. She didn’t answer him.

“Uh, Juvia?” He tried again, with the same result. She looked at the ground and held both of her hands together behind her back, twiddling them furiously to release some frustration. She really wanted to answer him, but she kept telling herself to be strong. Getting over him would be like freedom.


“Juvia doesn’t wish to speak with Gray Sama right now,” She said a little too bluntly, before pushing past him and escaping to a booth with Gajeel and Levy.

Now it was day four, and Gray was determined to get to the bottom of this predicament without embarrassing himself any further.

He was sitting in the guild hall next to Natsu, who was busy teasing Lucy about the new eyeliner she had on, when he watched the blue-haired water mage walk through the guild doors. She was wearing her usual outfit with her usual soft curls spilling off of her shoulders, and anyone who looked at her wouldn’t suspect anything at all. But Gray could, and that day the first hint he got was when she turned and looked directly at him, but didn’t bother saying anything even when he waved hello.

Instead, she bit her bottom lip, gave a disappointed pout, and walked to the other side of the room to sit down.

“It makes you look funny,”

Gray’s confusion-stained daze was broken by Natsu’s loud voice.

“It’s pretty!” Lucy punched his arm to show her frustration.

“For a clown, yeah,”


“Guys,” Gray finally snapped, broke up the fight and leaned back in his chair, still staring at Juvia. “Is there something wrong with Juvia?”

Natsu pushed Lucy off of him so that he had a clear view of the girl, and then studied her as best as he could from where he was sitting.

“I don’t think so,” He answered, “Do you think she’s sick or something?”

“No, but she just seems kind of cold, don’t you think?” Gray shrugged. He had chosen the wrong time to say that, because at that moment, Gajeel walked up to her and she greeted him with a friendly wave and a smile.

“Nope, she seems normal to me,” Lucy said bluntly. Gray bit the inside of his cheek and inhaled loudly through his nose, getting more and more pissed by the second.

“I don’t mean does she ‘seem’ normal, I mean is there something wrong with her?” He repeated.

“Whoa, man, calm down, I’m sure it’s nothing—“

Natsu was cut off when Gray slammed down his drink a little too harshly and sprung to his feet. He wasn’t going to just sit there and ask questions to people who truly had no idea what he was talking about. Instead, he walked over to Mirajane and Cana, who were busy gossiping about who knows what.

“Yeah, and apparently the guy is really hot. I wonder who asked who out in the first place, she really wasn’t clear on that part of it, don’t you think?”

This was the very first thing that Gray heard as he approached them, and he was immediately interested.

“What?” He asked, pulling up a stool. Cana, who had spoken first, smirked and swirled the drink in her hand seductively to match her dramatic tone:

“Juvia’s got a date,” She whispered lowly, winking at him.

Gray didn’t know why, but as soon as the words slipped out off of her lips, he felt his heart plummet down to his feet and through the floor. A date?! Was that the reason why she had been ignoring him, because she wanted to spare his feelings? And what feelings did she think he had?

“O-oh,” He choked, gagging on the air drying out the inside of his mouth.

“Jealous?” Mira said in a teasing tone. She had meant for it to be a joke, but as soon as he blushed and started to cough uncontrollably on what seemed to be nothing, she knew the answer to her question.

“Ah! You are jealous!” She squealed, her hands letting go of the tray she had been holding and flying up to her reddening cheeks. Cana suddenly saw the signs and gasped loudly.

Ohmygosh he totally is!” She agreed, leaning forward over the bar to look him dead in the eyes.

“W-what? No, I—“

“Don’t even deny it, Gray, for the past few days all you’ve done is stare at her 24/7. You know I’m right. When did you realize you’re in love with her?” Cana asked eagerly, trying to soak up any new juicy gossip to spread around the guild.

“Love? What the hell, I’m not in love with her; I am just worried because for the past three days, six hours and twenty minutes she’s done nothing but avoid me.” He rubbed his temples and sighed.

“How long did you say she’s been avoiding you?” Mira asked, a hint of laughter lining her voice. Cana snickered and piggybacked on what she was saying.

“Yeah, how long exactly?”

“Three days, six hours and twenty minutes?” Gray answered innocently, gazing up at the two of them. Mira and Cana couldn’t even believe how oblivious their friend was, even after endless amounts of exposure to Juvia’s stalker mode.

“MY PRECIOUS GRAY,” Cana practically leaped over the bar so she was mock-hugging him and sobbing from laughing so hard, “YOU ARE SUCH AN IDIOT SOMETIMES, IT REALLY BOOSTS MY SELF ESTEEM.”

“Gray, you may not be in love with Juvia, but there is definitely something there, no matter how much you deny it.” Mira took a more serious route while answering him.

Gray pushed Cana off of him and gave in, his head falling into his hands.

“Can you tell me about this date-to-be?”

Juvia had almost given up. She almost had, up until she literally ran into a brown haired guy named Nate at the market. The collision had caused her to drop all of her groceries on the ground, and Nate, who was a pretty smooth guy, said that his clumsiness had most definitely needed to be made up for, perhaps at dinner that night? And Juvia, who was 100,000% done with being discouraged having her “moving on” plan fail, reluctantly agreed—thinking that it would be a good distraction.

Then the night came, and she was once again determined about something—except this time, it was about having a fun night and forgetting all about Gray.

So naturally she would be shocked when she opened the front door of her apartment to see the exact man she was trying to get over sitting politely on her couch, wearing a suit and tie, and carrying a bouquet of roses.


Gray had jumped through plenty of hoops in order to get Erza to allow him to enter Juvia’s room in an all-girls apartment building such as Fairy Hills, which under no circumstances whatsoever any of the rules would be bent, let alone be broken. He begged and pleaded with the red head, but she wasn’t swayed until he totally broke down and screamed in her face that he was going to make a move, which was something Erza had been praying for since Juvia had joined Fairy Tail.

He had to gather up lots of courage in order to just knock on the door, but when no response came back even after he tried many times, he just opened it to find it empty.

She must have left already for her date; He thought sadly, I’ll just wait until she comes back.

Luckily for him, he didn’t have to wait long, because about five minutes later the door opened and revealed the exact person he wanted to see. His mouth fell open as soon as he looked her up and down.

She was wearing an outfit like nothing she had ever worn before: two white stiletto heels and a dark coral colored dress that fell a little above her knee. The dress’ neckline was lower cut than what she normally wore (which looked like it choked her), and it made room on her skin to show off a beautiful crystal necklace shaped like a raindrop. Her soft blue curls were swept up professionally into a loose ponytail, leaving her bangs and two thin strands of hair on either side of her face to fall down freely, without any restraint.

“Gray Sama?” She stammered and backed up into the door she had shut behind her. “What are you—?”

“I thought you were on a date tonight,” He interrupted.

“Juvia did too,” She crossed her arms and aggressively avoided his gaze. “And she had been waiting outside the building for a while before he showed up saying that he suddenly had other plans.”

Gray stood up and clutched the roses in his hand tightly, swallowing down any fear.

“But now you’re here… with roses…?” She trailed off as he began walking closer to her.

“You’ve been avoiding me, Juvia.” He stated.

“No, it’s not—“

“Shh, I know you have. And it’s okay, because I totally deserve it. But I came here tonight because… because I didn’t want you to go out with him.” He sheepishly held out the roses and smiled genuinely, “I wanted you to go out with me instead.”

The look on Juvia’s face when he said those words was absolutely priceless. Her clear blue eyes widened to be three times as big, and her lips parted in a small gasp.

“Gray Sama,” She whispered as she took the roses with shaking hands, “Juvia, Juvia is so happy!”

She jumped up and down a few times before grabbing him by the tie and pulling him in for a tight hug.

“Thank you so much, Gray Sama!” Her eyes welled up with tears, because for the first time in the forever she had loved him, he had finally responded. Gray sighed and leaned into her embrace.

“That guy, Nick?”

“It’s Nate, but continue.”

“He’s an idiot. A blind idiot.”

“And why is that?”

“Because if I ever saw a girl as gorgeous on the inside and outside as you, nothing would be more important than us being together.”

“The Gray Sama from this morning would have never said something like that to Juvia,”

“Well the Gray Sama from this morning finally grew up,” He pulled her closer and kissed her cheek softly, “Sorry it took so long.”

Here you go, sorry it took so long :)

Today the Red Cross announced that the NHS is suffering a humanitarian crisis. Jeremy Corbyn warned about it coming weeks ago and was met with derision from the ‘centrists’/liberals in his party and in the media who accused him of playing it safe. Today he was criticised for not being quick enough to comment on it. It’s pretty clear that the left is damned if we do and damned if we don’t when it comes to appeasing liberals. You have to wonder, what with all of the recent electoral failures of status quo managerial liberalism,  why we should have to.

The right is in power but liberals can’t stop punching left, be it Democrats or Blairites in the Labour party. We’ll get nowhere if we have to keep punching through liberals. We have to just bypass them. They have the choice of socialism or barbarism and we can’t just hang around to console them about it. If they need to be convinced they are not worth convincing.

If the left is to win, in any terms, it has to change the narrative- to do anything else, to try and win on the right’s terms, as the liberals want to do, is to fail before we even start- and we can’t do this whilst still trying to cater to liberals forever enamoured with the status quo. Liberals themselves have to face up to reality; they have lost and they are losing, everywhere. Their way of doing things has lead us here, to, among other things, a fascist in the white house. If this isn’t going to be a wake up call to them then what is? We can’t afford to wait and find out.

The call of socialism or barbarism isn’t just vitriolic bifurcation of leftists who want to lump anything to the right of them in with the fascists and tyrants. it’s a message that says- the world is going to change, whether you like it or not. It’s about the fact that there are millions of people who find the status quo unbearable. You, if you are a self identifying liberal or centrist are likely not one of them but after the Iraq war, after the 2008 financial crash, your way of doing things is dead. You can keep trying to live on it its corpse but it’s rotting away and people can tell that it stinks and they want out, and these people are being courted by the far right. The narrative that defines these people’s lives is being acted on by the right. The overton window is swinging ever rightwards by a right wing media. There is no static hallowed centre ground you can lay claim to. You have to make a choice.

One of the differences between the supposed centre left and the centre-right is the right will allow itself to be dragged further right but the liberals will sooner cut the left off at the knees at the first opportunity than be dragged leftward - Think of how Fox News gave Trump endless exposure whilst CNN cut away from a Bernie Sanders speech to an empty Donald Trump podium.

This is the struggle for the left but we have to offer a counterhegemony and refuse to give ground on it. We will fail, though, if we keep having to filter it through a milquetoast liberalism committed to playing the game where it currently stands rather than where it should be.

(using liberal / centrist in the political more than economic sense here. i know sanders et all aren’t Real Radicals don’t @ me)