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Flaming

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Prompt: I'm not jealous.


The winter winds of Magnolia were violent and frigid, but that didn't stop Gray from pulling off his shirt and throwing it who knows where. As per usual, he was pissed at the dragon slayer he called his best friend, and as per usual, it wasn't even Natsu's fault. Despite knowing this, he couldn't help the rage that boiled beneath his skin.

From where he sat in the guild, he couldn't hear what Natsu was talking about, but his face was slightly flushed as he spoke to Lisanna and Lucy, who were both smirking. They continued to talk for several more minutes, and Natsu's face got steadily brighter and brighter. Gray had nearly jumped up and challenged Natsu just to get him away from the girls, who had to be scheming something.

"They have to be scheming something." The thought hadn't come from nothing. Lisanna had been in love with the oblivious slayer as a child, and Lucy isn't exactly subtle with the way she throws herself at him. "Why can't they just back off?"

After a while longer, Gray couldn't watch it anymore. "Hey, Ash-for-Brains," He shouted as he stood up, "I'm bored! Spar me!"

Natsu's head whipped towards him, a large smile plastered on his red face. He nearly shouted a conformation, but both of the girls he was talking with grabbed his shoulders.

"Sorry, Gray," Lucy shouted, "Natsu is a bit busy!" It took all of his willpower not to glower at the girl.

"We'll return him later," Lisanna promised.

"You'l return him later? He's not your property!" The ice mage swallowed his irritation and attempted to rationalize with himself as he turned to leave the guild. "I mean, he's not mine either, so why am I-" Gray shook his head slightly. He was already half-way home and clad in only his underwear, leaving him as exposed to the world as the reason for his actions was exposed to his mind. "Don't kid yourself, Gray. You know why you're like this."

Love was a word Gray used to hate. Not because it was a bad thing, but because everyone he'd ever associated it with had died. His mom, his dad, his childhood friends, his extended family, and his teacher were all gone, and until a few years ago, he'd have believed it was his fault.

Natsu changed that.

The pink-haired idiot had taught him that it was okay to cry, to trust in other, and to love himself, which was something that Gray had been unable to do for a long time.

"I love him, but he could never return that. Not in the same way."


Natsu was three seconds from decking both Lucy and Lisanna in the face and being done with it. They'd been bugging him for the past few hours, poking and prodding for personal information that he didn't feel like sharing. "They didn't even let me spar with Gray!"

"Come on, Natsu!" Lisanna was repeatedly poking him in the arm, desperate for an answer. "There has to be someone you like." She was smiling mischievously, and with Lucy mirroring the look, it was unnerving.

"Why won't you tell us?" Lucy was poking his other arm, effectively blocking his exit route. "It can't be that you're embarrasses are you?"

"Why," Natsu hissed out, "can't you except 'It's none of your fucking business' as an answer?" Many guild members had been watching them from a distance, curious about what was going on. Some had even made their way closer, like Mira. "Because it isn't any of your business." He made sure to bare his teeth a little more than the past few times he'd basically told them to piss off. Maybe they'd get the hint this time.

"But-"

Natsu wasn't even sure if it was Lisanna or Lucy, but he cut them off with a loud, "No," and the shoved them both away, "I'm going home. Bye, everyone." He ran over to the door and slipped out. He ran the long distance to his house, cold winds slapping him in the face and reddening it even more.

"If they found out I was in love with a guy, they'd never forgive me."


With the exception of The four dragon slayers he grew up with, Gajeel had never met anyone denser than the mages of Fairy Tail. He had listened to Lucy and Lisanna constantly prodding the annoying fire dragon he called his cousin. They had been close as children, not quite enough to call each other "brother", but that didn't mean he couldn't read Natsu like they were brothers.

The five of them had had a habit of people watching that allowed them to notice things no one else would, but something they all seemed to have in common is that they never seemed to notice anything pertaining to themselves. They used to laugh about these situations all the time, but now, it was hurting one of them. It may not be physical pain, but emotional pain was just as bad.

Gajeel sat quietly, formulating a plan, and damn was he proud of it.

"Now all I have to do is get us all in one place, at the same time, and make it look completely inconspicuous."


When Sting and Rogue had shown up claiming they wanted to hang out with the other dragon slayer like they had a children, Natsu had ridden it off as coincidence. They had stayed for a few hours and talked about everything that had happened since the dragons had left, and it had been nice. Several others had sat and listened to the stories along the way, and to Makarov's delight, not one brawl had been started,room, and the despite the fact that most all of the teenagers were in the guild's back room, together.

Then the sun started to set, and they proposed the idea of a game and brought out a special kind of alcohol. "Where did you even get that?" The pinkette asked. They had several bottles of the one kind of alcohol humans didn't sell, and it was then that Natsu started suspecting things. "Never mind, I don't want to know. Why'd you bring it though? That shit's expensive, and you can only get it from inhumans. Why waste it now?" Vodka was not sold among humans anymore, because there were so few people who could handle it, especially the higher percentage ones. However, if Natsu wanted to get drunk, he'd have to drink the higher percentage ones. His magic would burn all of it away otherwise. If he wanted it to last longer than a few minutes, then he'd have to add a special herb to it.

"The very herb that Wendy had in her hand," He noted. It worked the same way that cat-nip worked with cats but on dragons, so technically, he'd be high, not drunk.

"I see that look Natsu." Sting said annoyed, "You think we have ulterior motives." He paused, and when Natsu continued to analyze every last twitch of his body, he continued, "We don't. We just want to play a game of Never Have I Ever, and teach them how to play too."

Everyone seemed to brighten up at the thought of playing a game they'd never heard of, and the enormous grin that had been stretched across Sting's face was not helping Natsu's situation. Once Rogue pulled out the shot glasses, he knew there was no way he'd get anyone to back out of it.

With a look of utter disbelief, Natsu reluctantly agreed to play.

"Okay, so here's how the game works," Wendy began, "When it's your turn, you say 'Never Have I Ever' and then say something you've never done. If someone in the circle has done it before they down the shot." Several guild members looked at the shot glasses incredulously. They were only half the size that they were used to, and the drink inside was supposed to be flavored with whatever it said on the bottle. "Feel free to switch to water if you have to. This stuff is really strong."

Gajeel reached into his bag and pulled out a box that he passed to Wendy. "I know I don't have to say this, but you're not touching the alcohol."

Wendy's eyes lit up as she realized the box was filled with all of her favorite sodas, and she didn't hesitate to tackle the iron dragon slayer. "Thank you, Gajeel!"

He pushed her off gently and ruffled her hair, "Yeah, yeah. Let's start this thing. Never have I ever accidentally worn my underwear on the outside of my pants."

The group burst into raucous laughter. The laughing increased when Gray was the only one to take a shot and even more when he nearly spit it out. "I was not expecting it to burn like that," His voice had gone slightly hoarse, "Damn." By this point, Gray himself was laughing, and Gajeel signaled to the left at Sting.

"So for those of you who didn't get it, the weirder the thing is, the funnier the game is." When the others nodded, he giggled quietly and smirked, "Never have I ever let someone dress me up like a life-sized doll."

As soon as the words left his lips, a very violent "Fuck you," slipped out of Natsu's mouth as he snatched the shot glass and downed it like water. A few of the girls had also taken shots, but the attention was on the pinkette.

"Sorry, NaNa." Sting said joyously.

Natsu glared at him, "No you aren't, asshole." The group watched the exchange curiously, and Natsu sighed. "They'll never let me live this down." After steeling himself for the inevitable teasing, he quietly admitted to letting Wendy dress him up, play with his hair, and even put makeup on him when they were kids. While there was teasing, there were also several mentions of it being sweet of him from the girls.

"I think I still have pict-" Sting was abruptly cut off when a wooden sandal hit him in the face.

Natsu was smiling, but it seemed to be emitting it's own deadly aura. "No you don't," He said cheerfully. Those sitting closest to the fire dragon slayer, Gray, Lucy, Lisanna, and Erza, all shifted away slightly.

"That's terrifying."


The game had been going on for an hour now. Several of them had switched to water, and a handful had dropped out entirely, choosing to watch the chaos in their tipsy states. Cana, Gajeel, Rogue, Lucy, Lisanna, and Natsu were the only one's who hadn't switched to water or been given a soda from Wendy. Wendy, Erza, Levy, and Gray had all switched to water.

And Sting?

Sting was a lightweight and completely unconscious in Rogue's lap.

"Nev-Never have I ever," Lucy had gotten the hiccups about three shots in, and they wouldn't leave no matter what she did, "Had a cr-ush on a childhood friend."

Rogue, Lisanna, Erza, Levy, Gray, and surprisingly Natsu, all downed a shot. After the second never have I ever, they'd decided to tell the stories of whatever had happened, and for the most part, it had gone peacefully.

That wasn't the case this time. Lisanna shouted "I told you so," and immediately attached herself to Natsu, who began pushing her away the second she made contact with him. "You jealous?"

"I am n-ot jealous, and that doesn't m-ean anything!," Lucy shouted back, "He mi-ght not any more!" She reached out to shove Lisanna away, but Erza got in between both of then and Natsu.

"What's this about?" The red-head asked.

They both replied in perfect sync, "I like Natsu, but she likes Natsu, but we don't know who Natsu likes." They both looked like they were about to cry, and they reached for the fire mage again.

He was laughing softly, and the entire room looked at him like he'd lost it. He started to laugh louder and louder, and the two girls who'd been crushing on him began to get angry. Through his laughter he said something in a language they'd only heard a few times, Dravic. The other slayers busted into drunken giggles as well, and the fire mage lit himself on fire, making them laugh harder.

Erza, not wanting to see her friends hurt, glared at the slayer nearest to her, which happened to be Gajeel. "What part of this is funny?" She hissed.

He looked her dead in the eyes, his own filled with mirth, "Erza," He barked out with his laughter, "Erza," He continued to laugh before managing to forcing the sentence out, "He's flaming." The dragon slayers laughed harder.

Natsu dispersed the flames and unintentionally leaned back into Gray, who was behind him. He leaned forward again, face flushed slightly, and apologized half in Fiori and half in Dravic. Gray waved off the apology, and since he was drunk and no one was looking, he decided to pull the fire mage back into him, cuddling in when Natsu didn't move away.

Everyone's eyes were still glued to Erza, who was steadily getting more and more pissed off.

"And what exactly," Erza growled out, "Does that have to do with anything?"

Wendy stepped in between her "cousin" and Titania, choosing to explain before Erza decided to castrate him. "He translated a slang phrase from Dravic," She said gently. She placed her hands on Erza's shoulders and took a deep breath, "He's gay." Erza continued to stare at her blankly, "As in, he likes guys."

"I know what gay means, Wendy," the redhead replied quietly, "I'm just trying to wrap my head around it being used to describe Natsu, as it's not something I expected." She shook her head gently. "Or maybe I'm just tipsier than I thought..." She added. Everyone had cracked up again. After the laughter had died down, she made a humming noise. "It's... It's like being handed a piece of strawberry cake that looks just like strawberry cake, but when you take a bite of it, it's chocolate. There's nothing wrong with chocolate, you're just surprised it's not what you thought it was."

The room silenced, only for the one who started this mess to break it, "We're too shit-faced for this right now," Gajeel muttered. Those who hadn't passed out laughed, and once that died down, people began to sleep where they were. On a table, upside down, or in someone's lap.


The first thing Erza saw when she wake up confused her, until she remembered everything she found out the day before. Natsu was curled up in Gray's lap, dead asleep, and the ice mage was gazing at him adoringly, clearly still mostly asleep.

At that moment she understood that the reason she didn't see it had nothing to do with it not being there, but rather the fact that neither dared to show it. She didn bother to question it any further.

"I could get used to seeing them this happy."