itried

*dances across ur screen* *throws an au in ur face* here

 

It wasn’t weird. Per say, of course.

It had been a while, truthfully, since she had been this close to Gray Fullbuster, but it was not weird – the key was to keep repeating it like the song of the summer, over and over again, an incessant mantra because it really wasn’t weird-

She recalled the last time she’d been this close to him, back when he still smelt like axe body spray and the Nike store. It was a purely coincidental accident, she had only tripped over him on her way to get a glass of water from the kitchen. He had an uncanny ability of sleeping wherever he fell and had many sleepovers with her older brother Jellal.

She remembered the hot flush of embarrassment, Gray was a little more than two years older than her, and she had practically splash-landed in his measly pile of blankets like an ungraceful toddler.

He awoke, obviously, the weight of another human is generally enough to stir conciousness in most people, and had asked her what she was doing in his lap. She could hardly answer without bursting into tears, she’d harbored an embarrassing crush for him at the time, and was beyond mortified when this particular event occurred. He took it with a grain of salt and helped her up, not questioning her any further, and walking her all the way up to the kitchen in pitch-black darkness.

Gray was kind, she remembered that most clearly. Other girls at school called him mean, which she supposed was why she always felt especially close to him. He was nice to her. Not the other girls. Just her.

It took time for her to finally understand that this was not because of her twelve-year-old feminine charm, but most likely because Gray saw her as that of a little sister. Gray had no siblings of his own, and oftentimes found himself at Juvia’s door to hang out with Jellal.

Boys have a remarkable ability to stay friends over ages of time, did you know that?

Things were different now, she supposed.

Juvia was seventeen years old. Gray was nineteen and in college.

He and Jellal worked for similar majors, Jellal for management and commerce, and Gray in the field of business administration.

Jellal returned over winter break with a trouble-making smile, asking Juvia if she needed help with her math homework. She, inreturn, hugged him as hard as she could.

That was shortly after the summer that, as Erza so eloquently put it, ‘got hot’. Juvia could only confirm Erza’s theory when she saw Jellal’s face.

“Juvia, you look…” strange, great, nice… “Different…”

It was the look that generations of brothers would have to take up, the baseball-bat wielding older brother face that would savagely protect his younger baby sister from hoodlums of all shapes and sizes.

That weekend, the Fernandes family had offered to host a Christmas party for all the returning kids of the neighborhood. Juvia had put up light blue and white streamers.

“Eh, Juvia? Gray’s coming over a little later today, don’t be weirded out if he just walks in.” Jellal called from the living room, he was in charge of removing anything of particular value and hiding it in the upstairs bedroom.

“Cool,” she replied indifferently. Gray had been her friend too, to say the least. She would occasionally accompany Jellal on some of his adventures, and overtime, she’d become accustomed to his presence. He was a friend, nothing more, nothing less.

Satisfied with her dissolved crush, Juvia hung a glittering snowflake from the entryway and smiled proudly at her work.

Gray looked…different.

His hair was longer, she dully noted, it came back in dark waves and reminded Juvia of the ocean in a storm. He was a bit taller, he was a bit more muscled. He was a bit more everything, she decided to cal, it.

She greeted him with a happy hug, one not unlike the one she gave her brother, and he stiffened at her touch.

“Juvia, wow.” He said, giving her a quick once-over and smiling like the sun. “You look great.”

And for once, she felt great, because Gray wouldn’t lie to her, not to her, never to her.

Sugar cookies were some of her most favorite things to make. She organized all the ingredients accordingly the night before, she hated to admit it, but she was a stress-baker, finals week would be rough for her, especially surrounded by delicious cakes and cookies she’d fried up in the midst of things.

“Juvia, I’m going out because mom forgot to buy ginger ale.” Jellal said, poking his head through the kitchen after admiring her work in the living room. “Gray’s here, so you can force him to help you if you need to.”

Nervously, Juvia nodded and brushed him off. Her parents were out for the weekend, putting their utmost trust in Jellal and Juvia to set this party off without a hitch, plus if things got too rowdy, they knew all of the attendees parents.

Gray waltzed through the kitchen hardly even seconds after Jellal had left.

“Looks like we’ll be stuck here for a while.” He said.

“Gray,” she asked, unsure of her motives, “could you help me a bit?”

He took one fleeting glance at the cookie ingredients, did math in his head, and nodded eagerly all in the span of about a half a second.

“What can I help you with?” He asked, spinning on his heels past the kitchen counter, overlooking the worn recipe beside her on the kitchen table.

“Well,” she shuddered a bit, he was close and warm, and smelt like fresh laundry. “Could you put all the dry ingredients into that silver bowl over there? It’ll go a lot faster if you do that while I do the wet ingredients.”

“Course!” He answered, and she wondered how long it had been since he’d actually baked.

“Mm,” she hummed, “here’s the list of dry ingredients, and their respective measurements.” Her finger glided up and down the note card, pointing to everything he needed to know.

“Gotcha.”

They spent a few minutes in comforting silence, the sound of cracking eggs and whisks in bowls consuming the lack of speech throughout the kitchen.

“So,” he started, setting the batter-soaked whisk onto a folded up napkin, “how have you been doing? I haven’t seen you since graduation…”

Juvia bit her lip. She had actually seen Gray the day they dropped jellal off at college, but she wouldn’t bring that up now.

“The swimming team is looking good this year. Our freshmen are solid, we could make it to state.” She recalled with dizzy excitement. It had been a while since they had a team as good as they were.

“Oh, no way! Did you guys beat-“

“We beat South Magnolia!” She interrupted, reading his mind with an excited squeal. His smile matched her emotions, to her utter joy. For a moment, it was like she was eight years old again, and he was praising the way the shells looked propped against her sandcastle. It was a nice, bittersweet stabbing sensation of nostalgia.

“That’s awesome,” he remarked, a smile like he’d seen an astronaut on the moon lighting up his handsome features.

And for the first time in a while, Juvia felt the painfully familiar sensation of a tingling in her cheeks.

“Hey do you want to combine the ingredients now?” He asked, and she responded with hazy indifference.

“M-hm.”

The dough smelt great – it always smelt better near Christmas.

As she was mixing it, her hand hovering over the notecard to make sure they hadn’t forgotten anything, Gray snuck up on her, the memorable guilty-not guilty look on his face.

“Can I have so-“

She handed him a single spoon smothered in the sugary dough, and smiled knowingly.

Thank you.” He marveled, popping the spoon into his mouth in one swipe and pulling it out, dough missing in action.

“I know you, Gray.” She said teasingly, traipsing across the counter and sweeping up spare flour grains. She liked the way her skirt billowed every time she moved, it was long and flowery. While admiring the sinewy fabric, she conveniently missed the look of longing plastered on Gray’s face as he watched her move.

She almost beats him to death with the rolling pin six times – and counting.

“Stop eating the snowflakes!” She berated, pressing a cookie-cutter of a stocking into the floury dough. He grinned cheekily and shrugged.

“I like them the best, and I can’t help it.” He laughed, licking his index finger unattractively.

“We’re going to run out of cookies if you eat them before they’re cooked,” she deadpanned, even though they both knew very well that there were plenty to spare.

“We’re going to run out of dough if you keep cooking it for ungrateful peasants,” he reasoned. She laughed musically and twirled around, in search of the pointsetta cookie-cutter.

Wordlessly, Gray slipped it into Juvia’s left hand and guided it back to the cookies. She made no sound, in fear that it was her imagination playing tricks on her.

“I…think we’re out of ice.” He fumbled suddenly, ducking his head and speed walking into the garage. Puzzled by his strange behavior, Juvia turned her attention back onto the cookies.

Gray hadn’t changed one bit personality-wise, he was still the same lovable goofball she recognized as the boy holding her affections not even five months ago.

A secret smile spread to her lips, despite her hatred for unreturned feelings, she couldn’t help but hold a small inkling of romantic inclination towards Gray, even now. He always would be her first love…

She giggled softly. What a silly notion, she was his best friend’s younger sister, and that would be her only title in his eyes. She was unchanging to him, their relationship was simple. It would be like that for eternity.

She set the dough out quietly, wondering why Gray hadn’t returned. Or why he even needed ice in the first place. Odd boy.

She set the first tray of cookies into the oven, mind distracted with thoughts of the boy with the dark hair.

She removed her oven mitts on a whim, forgetting about the other cookie trays and deciding to look for her missing helper.

“Gray? Where are yo-“

Unexpectantly, she came into contact with a warm t-shirt in the meeting between her entryway and living room.

Peeling her cheek off of the cottony fabric, she looked up to see the face of the man she was searching for.

“Oh! There you are, I was looking-“

“Juvia. Hi.” He said awkwardly, eyes darting around like he was a suspect in a vicious homicide.

“Hm? What’s the matter? Did you get the ice?” She asked.

“Uh…yes.” He answered brokenly. Why he kept looking up and down she couldn’t really comprehend.

“You can help me put the cookies in the oven if you like,” she offered, hoping for him to settle down a bit. He seemed ridiculously uneasy.

“Uh…I…”

Which brought her to the situation she was suddenly put in. Gray had somehow gotten extremely close to her at some point in their curt conversation. His face loomed over hers, no thanks to their glaring height difference, but he stared at her with similar intensity as to when he would race her at Mario Kart after he and Jellal’s baseball games when they were ten, or when they’d play hide-and-go-seek tag in the backyard when she was thirteen.

It definitely wasn’t weird – he obviously had something else on his mind, he wasn’t really going to kiss her – he was going to kiss her?? Why was his face getting closer? Was it getting closer? Was she imagining things? His lips seemed to be getting nearer, his eyes were smoky and glaring, she could drown in those eyes, she was frozen in place-

“I have to go!” He blurted out, yanking his head upwards and racing out the front door. His coat sat on the rack, untouched and forgotten.

Juvia brought a finger up to her lips wordlessly and touched them. He…was going to kiss her, wasn’t he? But why-

An idea hit her. She looked upwards and saw the culprit.

Of course, the guilty mistletoe Jellal had pinned up to the entryway – declaring it would be his icebreaker in reconnecting with Erza.

Even though Gray’s actions now had a trigger, she still felt an unsavory feeling in her gut.

Perhaps, she thought, our relationship isn’t as simple as I thought before.

 

whoops sorry that was longer than a drabble x_x i made iced coffee and got carried away…*sweats nervously* caffeine amiright