Chapter 1: Mirror, Mirror
"Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the ugliest of them all?" sang Sting softly under his breath, looking deeply into the mirror, pinching his stomach.
God, I'm so disgusting. So ugly.
Sting choked on air, sticking his fingers down his throat. If he just puked up that water he'd drank earlier (he shouldn't have done that, he'd forgotten about water retention), maybe he would -
"STING! Yukino's going to cut the cake! We're waiting on you!" yelled Rogue loudly from the guild hall. Sting winced under his breath at his boyfriend's loud tone.
"I'll be there in a minute, Rogue! You guys go on without me!" he shouted back. He hoped his voice hadn't cracked. Oh, dear, he had sounded more high-pitched than usual, hadn't he? If Rogue found out how - how fat he was, he'd hate him so much.
Bile rose to his throat. He could practically feel the fat dripping off him in waves. Sting fell to his knees and clutched his throat, staggering to the toilet bowl and trying to puke his guts out. A few drops of yellowish-green liquid fell into the toilet, and Sting got up weakly, splashing some water over his fact in an effort to hide the salty tears that had rolled down his cheeks and onto his arms. Sting wiped them hastily. He couldn't cry, he couldn't be weak. He just had to become more skinny.
He just had to become perfect - otherwise Rogue would leave him.
Sting breathed in hard, pulling in his stomach.
Just a bit more. I need to be thinner. I'm too fat, I just need to lose some weight. I need to go out there and pretend like I'm not a whale for now.
"Sting?" Rogue's voice was suddenly so much closer, so much softer, fragile and thin and betrayed.
Sting looked up in utter horror to see his boyfriend, tears glimmering in those red eyes.
"Sting, did you - did you just-" Rogue stammered.
"You - you saw?" Sting choked. Hot, wet tears prickled at his eyeballs.
"Sting," Rogue could only say.
The words began to spill out of his mouth like water.
"Rogue - I'm so sorry - I'm so fat and I get it if you want to leave me and I don't deserve you anyways," Sting babbled, salty water cascading down his cheeks again, "and please, just - don't say goodbye because that will just hurt more and I just need to stop eating and-"
"Oh - oh, my God, Sting - no,"
Sting curled into a ball. "Just - just go before you start hating me even more,"
He felt a warm arm slide around his shoulder and pull him into a warm embrace.
Rogue rocked Sting back and forth, patting his back, kissing his forehead and babbling his own monologue.
"No - no, God I'm the worst boyfriend, how did I not notice, Sting - Sting, I'm so sorry, so sorry! I - I should have seen, you were losing so much weight, you were so tired, and you weren't eating-"
"I'm too ugly to eat," sniffled Sting. "I'm so fat, and disgusting,"
At this, Rogue pulled back, eyebrows raised incredulously.
"What?!" he asked.
"You, Sting Eucliffe, ugly? You idiot!” scolded Rogue. “You're the most perfect person I've ever set my eyes upon, and I love you for every single bit of you. The strengths and the flaws.
“You're kind, though you don't show it. You're intelligent… well, at times."
This earned a muffled 'hey,' from the blonde ball half in Rogue's arms.
"You're cute when you see something you really like," continued Rogue. "And I'd love you even if you looked like a gorilla."
"I do look like a gorilla."
"Well, okay, but you look like a cute blonde gorilla that's been chosen to model for Sorcerer Weekly." conceded Rogue with a little grin. Then he sobered up.
“But really, Sting, please. Don’t do this to yourself. I – I can’t bear to see you sad, or unhappy, or – or-” Rogue choked on his words.
Rogue gulped and continued. “I don’t want to be the one – giving your funeral speech, because of something I let you do to yourself! So please, Sting. Let me – let me help you stop this. I know it’ll be hard. You know I went there with depression. I’m the last person to tell you this is gonna be easy. Even if I made you feel better just now, there’ll be days you’ll feel down again.
“But you know what? I’m gonna be there. Just like you were for me.”
Sting looked up in shock.
“But – but why?” he asked quietly.
Rogue had his head down. He lifted it to look directly into Sting’s eyes.
“Because,” he said.
“I love you.”
And Sting’s heart almost burst out of his chest.
I was so stupid.
He knew it wouldn’t be easy. He certainly knew there would be setbacks, days where he just felt like starving himself to death again.
But those days could be overcome…
Because he had Rogue at his side.
Plastering a smile on his face, Sting stood up, offering a hand to Rogue.
“Come on, we have a party to rock,” he grinned.
Chapter 2: I'm Not Straight, I'm Not Gay
Cana doesn't understand. Either she has to be straight, or she has to be gay? That's just fucked up.
Cana didn't get it. Either she had to be straight, or she had to be gay? That was just fucked up.
"Oh, you're dating Mira? That's cool, I'm gay too!" had said an old friend of hers, Beth, who was now in Mermaid Heel. The two had met at the Grand Magic Games, and they'd reconnected almost immediately.
"No, I like boys too," Cana had tried to explain.
"So you're not dating Mira." Beth had said in confusion.
"No. I am. I just happen to be attracted to both genders." Cana had said.
"I don't get it," Beth had given up eventually. "Either you're attracted to one gender, or the other. You can't be both."
Why can't I? Cana had thought. Why can't I be attracted to both? Boys are hot, girls are hot - I got the best of both worlds!
She was brought back into the present by a harsh poke. The finger was extremely cold, which made Cana realise it was Gray.
"Whatcha want now, ice-boy?" she asked grumpily.
"What's wrong?" he questioned. "You're zoning out, and you don't usually."
Cana snorted. "Leave it to you to be a picky little shit."
Gray glared. "I'm older."
"By, like, a day," Cana jeered. "Don't."
"Is it about what Betty from Mermaid Heel said?" Gray asked shrewdly.
"Wha - how did you know?!" Cana shrieked. "And it's not Betty, it's Beth," she added.
"I saw you." Gray took a swig of his drink. Ice water, like always - the boy never consumed alcohol, which Cana found to be a waste of his life.
"Why'd you follow us?" she demanded.
"I was talking to Lyon and happened to overhear you when I was getting back. It seemed interesting, so I listened." said Gray nonchalantly, sipping at his water again. Cana wanted to smack it out of his hand.
"You don't listen in on others' conversations," she hissed. Inside, she was a mess of nerves. He'd say the same, wouldn't he? Everybody was so closed-minded!
"Hey, listen to me." Gray tapped her forehead.
"You're just going to say the same thing, anyway," Cana huffed.
"I'm not." Gray said firmly. "It's called being bisexual. I'm bi too."
Cana looked at him in surprise.
"What?" she said. "Bisexual?"
"Yeah." Gray nodded. "I'm dating Natsu right now, but you remember my relationship with Laki, right?"
Cana winced. Laki had cheated on Gray with Vijeeter, who had surprisingly taken it very well and just said, "Eh, I figured it wouldn't work out. We've all seen her look at him."
"So, that's being," she tested the word on her tongue. "Bisexual, huh?"
It felt... right.
"Also, the puns are great," added Gray with a glint in his eye. "I actually have this shirt with the bi flag on it that says 'Bisaster'."
"I've got to get me one of those," she muttered.
The next week, at the Pride celebration in the guild, Cana and Gray wore their matching 'Bisaster' shirts.
Gray didn't strip once.
And Mira had laughed and said, "I love that, Cana! I'm so glad you've found out who you are!"
There's a word for that?
And the next time she ran into Beth and discussed boyfriends and girlfriends, she firmly cemented her bisexuality.
(And if she'd written a song with Gray called 'I'm a Walking Bisaster' which was literally just lines and lines of bad bi puns, she wasn't admitting it.)
(Not until they sang it in front of the guild, at least.)
Chapter 3: Locked In My Closet
Hibiki comes out to his parents.
The results are mixed.
"Mom, Dad," he said quietly.
"Yes, son?" His mother, Ali, leaned eagerly forward.
She wouldn't be so eager once she heard what he had to say, thought Hibiki bitterly.
He was their perfect son. Being handsome, smart, popular with the ladies (and the men, not that his parents ever took notice of that), captain of the volleyball team...
And the one element that would soon make him a disgusting bug in their eyes.
Being gay. And dating the boy his parents had always hated, the boy who came from the suburbs and talked dirty, the boy who wore ragged jeans and torn sneakers to school because he was too poor to afford anything else, the boy whose golden heart underneath his roughness had charmed Hibiki in like a fly drawn to honey - Ren Akatsuki.
Hibiki swallowed. He'd think of the consequences once he had done this.
"I'mgay," he choked out.
"What? I didn't hear you," his father, Lōrinc, said with an indulgent smile. "Come again, Hibiki."
Hibiki breathed in deeply. An unnatural calm stole over him.
"I'm gay. I have a boyfriend - Ren from school."
"And is that all you had to tell us?" asked his father.
"Yes." Hibiki said, staring into his eyes.
"It was pretty obvious." laughed Lōrinc. "You looked at - Ren, wasn't it? You always looked at him like he'd hung the stars in the sky,"
"Lō!" cut in Ali sharply. "Surely you can't be all right with this! Our son can't be - gay!"
"Mom," Hibiki whispered.
She looked at him with a glare.
"Get out. You aren't my son anymore," she hissed.
"Ali-" his father tried, but Hibiki had already left, running out in the rain.
His feet led him to a familiar house.
Hibiki knocked a couple of times.
Ren's worried face greeted him. The taller ushered Hibiki in, smothering him in a warm blanket and giving him a mug of hot cocoa.
"Hibiki. What's wrong?" he questioned solemnly.
"Mom didn't take it well." Hibiki answered, eyes downcast.
"Well, I didn't expect anything else." Ren's eyes were clear. "She kick you out?"
"And your dad?"
"He was surprisingly nice about it," Hibiki murmured.
Ren nodded. "Mm. You can stay here, okay?"
Hibiki looked into Ren's eyes. Honesty and love shone in those dark irises, and Hibiki, for the first time, felt loved by somebody who wasn't his family.
He cuddled closer into Ren.
"Thank you," he said quietly into his boyfriend's chest.
"Don't mention it." Ren said, waving him off. "Whaddya wanna watch?"
"Anything," Hibiki said truthfully.
Whatever happened could happen.
Just so long as he had someone like Ren -
No, not someone like Ren.
Just so long as he had Ren...
He'd be alright.
Chapter 4: Creakity Creakity Creak
Week 5, Day 1: "...Sarcophagus' aren't supposed to open... right?"
Lucy and Erza are touring a haunted house.
It goes about as well as can be expected.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Erza clenched Lucy's arm.
"Lucy. What. Is. That." she asked, voice trembling. Lucy could feel an ear-shattering 'Erza Kyaa!' coming on, and to avoid her eardrums bursting, she laughed nervously.
"Oh, it's just a - a - giant - spid - spider," she said in a fake cheerful tone.
Crack! The sound boomed loudly through the old mansion.
Both girls screamed.
"AAAHHH!" Erza yelled, flinging her arms around Lucy, who did the same, screaming, "THE FUCK WAS THAT?!"
"I DON'T KNOW!" Erza shouted back.
They clung to each other for a few more minutes till the sounds had died down and Erza's heart had finally stopped palpitating.
"Okay, whew," Lucy breathed. "I think we can go on ahead. The map says-" she consulted it, "the Sarcophagus of the Pharaoh of - Isvan? - is next."
"Okay, sarcophagi I can do," Erza said in relief. "As long as they don't pull more creepy shit."
"Don't jinx it, Za," Lucy warned a little playfully, having earned some of her bravado back. Surprisingly, she was the braver of the two when it came to haunted houses.
(Not by much, but it still counted.)
The girls continued on their path, Erza jumping at every little noise.
"You really don't do good in haunted houses, do you," muttered Lucy. "Guess that outfit's off the cards,"
"What outfit?" Erza demanded, eyeing Lucy suspiciously.
Lucy smirked discretely. "Oh, there was this mummy costume I was going to wear, just bandages, you know? One layer, pretty tight since they're wrapped all tight-"
"Enough said, you're wearing it the second we get home," Erza ordered.
"Okay, jeez, chill," Lucy laughed.
Erza looked at the map and announced, "We're here."
The girls stared at the giant thing in front of them - for there was no other way to describe it other than 'thing'. It stood over ten feet tall, the face carved on the front glaring malevolently down at the girls.
As they were staring at it, Lucy heard noises from inside of it. Were those - they sounded like moans. Possibly?
Was the dead pharaoh moaning at them?
"Mmh," she heard.
Erza's knees shook, and she hugged Lucy even harder.
"What - is - this," she murmured weakly, unable to tear her gaze away from the giant coffin.
And suddenly -
Erza screamed at the top of her lungs and bodily dragged the shrieking Lucy out of the haunted house.
"We - are - never - never - doing that again," she panted, once they were out.
"Never," agreed Lucy. "I've had the scare of a lifetime. And I think you dislocated my arm."
Erza winced. "Sorry."
A male sigh was heard.
“Natsu, you clumsy little shit! Look what you did.”
Meanwhile, Natsu was on the ground nursing his aching forehead.
“I’m sorry! But can we please get me some ice! It hurts.” he whined, cheeks red in agitation.
Gray just stared at him, and realization dawned on the fire mage.
“Oh, right, you’re an ice mage. Can I have some ice please?” Natsu chuckled awkwardly, kind of embarrassed by his forgetfulness sometimes.
Gray leaned forward and tilted Natsu’s head up. “How about we continue, that'll make you feel better.”
Natsu laughed softly.
"Yeah, but you gotta catch me first," he teased, and ran off.
Gray stared after his boyfriend.
"Natsu!" he roared, charging after him.
Sorry I don't know how to link *cries*
She's helped me so so so much with the end!! Thank you!!
Chapter 5: The Matchmaker Is A Spirit (Alternatively, Gajeel Thinks Cobra's Hair Is Sexy)
Modern AU. Gray is a cynic, Natsu just wants to make him believe, a spirit ships them and Gajeel thinks Cobra's hair is extremely sexy.
(yes, that was necessary... why are you giving me that look?)
Natsu stared avidly into the crystal ball.
"Wow..." he murmured. "It's so pretty! There are so many colours!"
Lucy smiled fondly at him and reached over to ruffle his hair.
"Right?" Erza agreed, turning to Gray, who had his hand on his chin, face plastered all over with the most bored expression a human could muster - no, wait, it was even more bored. Natsu wasn't sure Gray was quite human sometimes.
"You know I'm just doing this because you would've knocked my head off if I hadn't, right?" drawled Gray.
Natsu frowned and reached over to bop Gray on the head.
"At least show some spirit," he told the resident cynic, who just scoffed.
"Natsu, we are sitting in your age-old attic around a fricking crystal ball," Gray said with a put-upon sigh. "And I'm the Emperor of Cynicism. Lyon decided that when I wrote a letter to the government trashing them about making kids believe in Santa when clearly it was our parents who gave us the presents, and then yelled that out on the street."
"You monster," he snarled.
Gray just shrugged.
"What? At least my street wasn't let down when they were old enough to realise he didn't exist," he said nonchalantly.
"Guys," Lucy broke in. "Let's just do this. It's Halloween, and Gray - for Natsu?" she pleaded.
Gray rolled his eyes and sighed.
Fifteen minutes later, it was Gray who broke the silence with an excited yell. Natsu looked over at him to see a light shining in Gray's eyes. One he'd never seen before. Natsu gasped in wonder. Was Gray really -
"Oh my god, I think the crystal ball is working!" Gray gasped. "The magic - it's telling me something!"
"What is it?" Erza leaned forward excitedly.
"Tell us!" Lucy added.
Gray frowned and shut his eyes. "Everybody shush," he ordered, placing his fingers to his temples.
"The spirits are telling me..."
And then a sarcastic smirk stole over his lips, and he proudly declared, opening his eyes wide, "The spirits are telling me you're all dumbasses."
Natsu shrieked and grabbed the nearest hard object - his old iron statue of the Eiffel Tower that Gajeel, his cousin, had ended up using as a toddler chew toy. No surprise then that Gray and Gajeel got along like a house on fire.
"Gray!" he yelled, leaping onto the dark-haired boy and pummeling him with the broken sculpture. "You - idiot - rascal-"
"Damn right," came an eerie voice out of nowhere.
"Kyaaa!" she yelled, holding onto Lucy.
"You're all dumbasses," the voice repeated. "Especially you two, blackie, pinkie,"
"Don't give me weird-ass nicknames!" yelled Gray. Natsu was clinging onto him like a limpet, and Gray irritably shook him off, not noticing how his own fingers were digging into soft tan flesh.
"Blondie, Tomato, get the fuck out," droned the voice.
"Lucy..." Erza said slowly, dragging Lucy out of Natsu's tiny attic.
And as soon as the girls left, confetti rained down upon the two boys.
"...what?!" Natsu shook off the confetti in his hair, looking confused.
"You may now kiss the idiot. I'm off. Don't summon me again, you fools!" warned the voice.
Suddenly, a tinny version of The Little Mermaid's 'Kiss The Girl' started playing, except "kiss the girl" was replaced by "kiss the boy".
Gray smirked. "Guess we can't disobey the spirits."
And he leaned forward and kissed Natsu full on the lips.
"Mmmph!" Natsu could only stutter as Gray claimed his mouth.
"Did you like that?" Gray asked, leaning back with a confident smirk.
Natsu blushed and nodded slightly.
"What was that, I didn't hear you," the other boy laughed playfully, leaning forward with a hand over his ear.
"I did," Natsu muttered.
"Good, 'cause I'm gonna do it again," Gray kissed him, "and again," another kiss, "and again."
"You still haven't asked me out yet," Natsu pointed out, after they'd kissed again. They needed practice - Gray was no Casanova, but Natsu was so clumsy that he ended up biting Gray's nose. "I don't consider us boyfriends till you do, UST be damned."
Gray rolled his eyes.
"Really, you let me kiss you five times, and you still don't think we're going out," he muttered exasperatedly. "Mixed signals."
"Ask me." Natsu stated.
"Okay, okay, jeez," Gray waved his hands. "Will you, Natsu I-Don't-Know-Your-Middle-Name-Or-If-You-Even-Have-One Dragneel-"
"That ain't my name," interrupted Natsu. "I do too have a middle name, it's Lai,"
"That's a girl name."
"It's unisex." Natsu defended.
"I'm glad mine is Nathan," Gray snorted.
"Yeah, well, Lai's more interesting."
"Shut up and let me finish. Will you be my boyfriend?" Gray had pulled out a rose sometime during the conversation - honestly, that boy could flirt like Natsu could eat, where was he pulling roses out of, his ass? - and was extending it to Natsu.
Said boy took the rose and smelled it.
"Okay, it doesn't smell rotten, so I'll accept you," he shrugged.
Gray gave him a deadpan stare.
"I wouldn't put it past you," Natsu laughed.
Gray put a hand to his chest, affronted. "Excuse you, but I'd never do that to someone I was going to ask out!"
Natsu leaned forward challengingly.
"Oh, wouldn't you?"
Gray took advantage of Natsu's proximity and used his mouth to shut the babbling boy up.
Gajeel grinned, staring at the fifty-dollar note in his palm. He'd earned it almost without doing any work!
"Being scary comes easy," he laughed.
Gray smiled at him. "Thanks, man. I'm lucky Natsu didn't figure out the 'spirit'," and here he inserted air quotes, "was you."
Gajeel smirked. "Remember, you gotta return the favour with Cobra."
Gray rolled his eyes. "Please, he's my sister's best friend. I can get you into his pants in no time."
"Eh, that sexy spiky hair more than does it for me," Gajeel drooled.
Gray winced. "Okay, that's enough, got it!"
"Two days." Gajeel warned.
"Not enough time. Ultear says Cobra's a romantic at heart. You're gonna need to go the whole hog."
Just then, Natsu poked his head in.
"Are you two seriously trying to set Gajeel and Cobra up?" he asked with a big grin. "Count me in!"
Gajeel and Gray mentally face-palmed.
Chapter 6: Web of Lies
Juvia has lied and lied and lied to herself.
Week 4, Day 4: The Lies We Told
Juvia doesn't like girls.
Girls liking girls are disgusting.
Juvia doesn't like girls.
When Gray-sama showed up, it was the best thing that happened to Juvia.
She could finally convince herself that she loved Gray-sama.
And she did, she did.
Just not the way she should.
But here - here in Erza's arms - Juvia felt safe.
And - happy.
"Juvia - don't run away from who you are," Gray-sama had said once to her, looking deep into her eyes. "You don't love me, not like you think you do. Please."
Juvia had always run away.
Running, running, running...
Hiding, hiding, hiding...
"You don't have to be scared," Erza whispered into her ear, tugging gently on a lock of blue hair. "I'm here for you,"
And Juvia's worries suddenly melted away, just like water.
If Erza is here,
then Juvia will be all right.
Juvia snuggled into Erza's embrace, the warm armored limbs holding her close. She rested her head against Erza's heart and felt its steady, comforting beat.
A distinct conversation with Lucy came into her head all of a sudden.
"Juvia - Erza loves you. But I don't think even her iron heart can take it if you keep chasing Gray. You don't love him. We can all tell. I've seen how you look at Erza and how she looks at you. And even if you don't believe me... please, at least don't jerk her around like you are now." Lucy had said wistfully, with tears in her eyes. "Look - this is not going to be comfortable for you. I like Erza too. It hurts to see how much she's in love with you. But you love her too. I'm willing to give you two what you have. I can't take that."
"Then Lucy-san should have Erza-san," replied Juvia defiantly. "And Juvia will be happy with Gray-sama."
"Juvia - think about it. If you loved Erza, would you really stalk her and make dolls of her like you do with Gray?"
Juvia had been shell-shocked.
Think about loving Erza-san...
Erza-san would cook for them and Juvia would clean the house. They'd both go on Jobs to keep themselves in good money. They'd adopt a baby, of course, and Juvia would name him or her after someone precious to Erza-san. They'd have a simple, comfortable life, with a dash of romance every now and then, through dates or dinners.
She could almost feel herself living this dream.
She loved Gray-sama... didn't she? Why was Lucy-san saying all this all of a sudden?
"Okay, you done?" Lucy asked. "Now try with Gray."
Gray-sama and Juvia would have a more cordial relationship. They wouldn't have any children. Gray-sama would cook, Juvia would clean. They'd both take separate Jobs at the guild. It would be just like the time they had lived together after the guild disbanded. They'd never go on dates, because which brother and sister did that -
Juvia's cheeks coloured. She'd imagined a full-blown romance with Erza-san, heady and passionate, which died down into the steady embers of a flame that would never go out. But with Gray-sama, it had been more like how she and Gajeel-kun had roomed together.
She thought of Gray-sama as a brother?
"Oh, my god," Juvia moaned, falling to her knees.
Juvia loves Erza-san, doesn't she?
"Lying to me is painful, yes," Lucy said, crouching down next to the Water Mage. "But lying to yourself is ten times more hurtful. Please, Juvia - don't spin yourself delusions anymore,"
And with that, she had left.
"Juvia, what's wrong?" Erza asked the girl in her arms, concerned. "You zoned out for a minute there."
Juvia smiled up at Erza.
"Juvia was just thinking about a conversation Juvia had with Lucy-san about Erza-san," she said truthfully, pointing at where Cana was tickling Lucy, who was laughing.
Old Juvia would've lied, saying she was fine.
But Erza's Juvia wouldn't lie to herself or anyone else.
"About me?" Erza raised an eyebrow.
"Lucy-san made me see that Juvia really loved Gray-kun only as a brother. And how much Juvia loves Erza-san," she said.
"Ah, Lucy is amazing," Erza said with a smile. "I wonder how long it'll take Cana to realize?"
"Juvia is betting on two years."
"Oh, Juvia, if Lucy weren't so straightforward, you might have been right." Erza pointed to where Lucy had aggressively crashed her mouth into Cana's.
"Ah, Juvia guesses Lucy-san has also stopped lying to herself," Juvia murmured under her breath.
Juvia had lied and lied and lied to herself.
But when her eyes were opened...
The truth shone clear as day.
Chapter 7: They Aren't Just Words
"What does it matter if you're called she or they?" everyone shrugs. "We're comfortable with she and we'll keep using that. It's just a word, you shouldn't let it affect you. We'll call you what we want to."
But they don't understand, it feels so wrong to be called 'she' or 'her'. They are a they, and that is what they will always be.
Luckily, Fairy Tail is kind.
Week 3, Day 3: Pronouns
The model, right?
She's so pretty!
They want to throw up.
She, she, she.
They're not a she.
They're a they.
And yet, they know what it would sound like if they came out in public.
How can you have no gender?
But they just... don't.
And it is so painful, so hard to come out, that Mirajane retreats back into their shell.
Outside, they will be a she.
Erza whirls into Mirajane's life and changes their whole worldview.
First rivals, then tolerated allies, and then to friends and lovers.
They have not told Erza yet about not having a gender. They just can't seem to find the right time.
And she'll be like all the others, whispers a little voice in their head. She'll say there is something wrong with you.
But they are proved delightfully, wonderfully wrong.
It all happens one day when they are sick and don't come to the guild.
Erza comes to visit, sitting by their bedside with their favourite flowers and a flask of tea - Erza has some ideas about sick people, and those involve tea, blankets and excessive care, not that they mind.
After a while, the conversation fizzles out, Erza having told them everything that happened at the guild - Juvia kissing Lucy and declaring Gray a love rival, Gray making out with Natsu, Natsu being confused and the whole guild ending up frozen because Gray had to freeze Juvia's water that she sent at him for talking to Lucy. They have laughed and commented, but now there is not much else to say.
Erza picks their hand up, brushes a light kiss over their palm.
"Mira?" she says.
"Freed came out today. He - I mean, they, forgive my slip-up - are non-binary. They prefer not to use he/she pronouns."
Their heart leaps.
"Really?" they say, sitting up a little, gulping down the tea that Erza has made herself. It's frankly awful, but it was very sweet of Erza to do such a thing for them. So they drink it all up quietly.
Erza hesitates for a minute, and then all the words that Mira has always needed to hear come flooding out of her mouth.
"Mira, I've noticed you flinch whenever someone refers to you as 'she'. But you've never come across as trans to me. Are you, by any chance, non-binary - would you prefer to be called 'they'?"
They gasp, empty cup dropping onto their bed.
"How did you - how did you know?" they whisper.
Erza smiles, then.
"I'll take that as a yes, Mira - or do you want to be called something else?" She suddenly looks worried, and they realise that she thinks she has offended them.
"No," they say, smiling.
"It's a pretty name."
At the guild the next day, they come out too.
Freed grins at them and proceeds to drag them into a room, telling them all about being non-binary.
And Mira finally realises.
Everyone who said they couldn't be a 'they' was wrong.
Pronouns aren't just words.
They describe you as a person.
And Mira loves their new public pronouns.
That is who they are.
Chapter 8: Loke, We Are NOT Making Out In A Graveyard
Loke is a little shit.
Lyon wants to smack his boyfriend upside the head.
Gray's blonde friend won't kill him for murdering her Celestial Spirit...
"Lyon~" Loke's voice floated towards him. "Nobody's here~"
"So?" snorted Lyon. He knew what Loke wanted.
"So nothing. Get back to making sure we're able to haul our sorry asses out of here."
Here was an abandoned graveyard which Gray and Natsu had taken Lyon and Loke to, promising that it was 'the best Halloween experience you could get!'
Lyon growled. He should've known never to trust Gray. Especially when he was with that Natsu boy.
"Right, right," came a seductive purr from behind Lyon. "But first..."
"But first," snapped Lyon, grabbing Loke's wrists, "we focus on getting the hell out of this shit-hole!"
Loke chuckled lowly. "Getting serious, are we now?"
"Shut up, you idiot!" Lyon smacked Loke and turned around. "Can you use your Regulus thing to light this place up a little? I can't see a thing."
"Ah, but there are so many things one can do in the dark..." Loke whispered.
Lyon sighed and pinched his nose.
I'll just make some ice and hope that light gets refracted through it so I don't break my bones on a headstone or something.
He created a large icicle that was attached to his palm, and thankfully, his plan worked.
Lyon could now see exactly five centimeters in front of him.
Which was probably why he tripped over the warm something lying prone in his path.
There was no other word for it.
Lyon shrieked like a little girl and ran.
Loke got up and started chasing after him.
"Lyon, it was just me!"
Lyon gritted his teeth.
Then an evil plan came to mind.
"Lo-ke!" he called. "Hey, let's make out,"
Loke grinned. Score!
"Where are you?" he called.
"Take five steps to your left and two to the front," Lyon answered.
Loke did just that and found a body, cold to the touch.
He smirked and pulled the stiff thing's head down to meet its lips with his own.
And when it came close enough for him to see what it was, he screamed.
A zombie, decaying, bandages all over its face, its lips cold and rotted.
Lyon just stood where he was, having used his ice lantern-thingy to get out of the graveyard safely, and smirked.
That ice-mummy of his should teach Loke a good lesson.
Chapter 9: Will You Marry Me?
Mira loves Erza.
So she asks the question.
WWTDP Week 1, Day 3 - Hands
Erza’s hands are far smaller than you would expect them to be.
That’s good, in a way.
Like, for instance, right now.
Mira places her larger hand atop Erza’s, pulling out the little box (kneeling down is too cliche now, so she doesn’t.)
“Erza Scarlet,” she begins. “I hated you from the day I first saw you. We were worse than Gray and Natsu, remember?”
“God, I really despised you back then,” Erza comments with a small smile.
“Anyway,” Mira continues, determined to finish her speech, “one day, I looked at you and I thought ‘wow, she is so pretty,’”
“Clearly your brain had gone whack,” Erza interrupts yet again.
“Sh, you’re ruining the moment,” Mira scolds her girlfriend. “Okay, since you clearly aren’t going to let me be romantic, I’ll cut to the chase. Will you marry me and make me the happiest woman alive, Erza?”
Erza’s eyes shine with happiness, and she grabs Mira’s hands. “Is that a question?”
Mira smiles and kisses her, sliding the ring from the box onto Erza’s armored finger.
“I got it made so you could wear it on top of your armor,” she says proudly.
Erza’s hands fit even more perfectly in hers with the ring.
Mira wonders why she worried so much about this.
After all, everything will be alright with Erza by her side.
Chapter 10: The Masks He Wore
In which Gajeel is a trans boy and runs into Oracion Seis during his stint at Phantom Lord and gets into a fight with Cobra.
Cobra knows the minute he sees the iron-eater that he is in love. A man trapped in a woman's body who had the courage to be who he was? Hell yes.
Unfortunately, Brain doesn't seem to share Cobra's opinion.
So Cobra hides. Hides and hides, till finally he is pulled out.
WWTDP Week 4, Day 5: Masks/Hiding
"Hey, everyone. Can we talk? I, uh, have something to tell you guys." Cobra says.
Angel looks at him, surprised. The rest of the Oracion Seis give him a shocked look, save for Hoteye, who seems completely apathetic and continues to pick at his food.
"You." Racer says. "Want to talk. To us."
"Yes." Cobra is visibly irritated now. "It's about someone."
And because the Oracion Seis is like any other girl gang who plot wicked things and have sleepovers and paint their nails and discuss crushes, they lean in, eyes glittering in anticipation, especially Midnight. Brain seems mildly interested.
"So you finally found someone, huh?" teases Racer. "The angsty, dark, no-one-will-ever-love-me-and-I-have-a-stone-heart Cobra, has a crush?"
Cobra rolls his eyes.
"Who is it?" Angel queries. "Is it water girl? She was so hot, I wanted to eat her right up." She grins and smacks her lips.
Brain gives her a sharp look, and she cringes. "I mean, she was quite pretty. Your type, right, Bra?"
"Bra?!" yelps Cobra.
"Yeah," Angel says with a shrug. "Couldn't say Co-bae for Cobra bae, sounds too much like Kobe,"
"Do you realise-" He can't even finish the sentence.
Racer bursts into laughter, as does Midnight.
"Fucking Bra, ohmygod I can't-" wheezes the Slowing Mage, slapping Cobra's tan arm.
"Angel, you're gold-" sputters Midnight.
Angel's cheeks colour briefly, before she starts laughing too.
"That's going to stick," she giggles.
Cobra smacks her arm. "Shut up, it ain't her, Gelly,"
Racer and Midnight dissolve into laughter again, both Cobra and Angel shrieking at them to 'shut up!' this time.
"No way in hell, Gelly, Bra," sniggers Racer.
"Anyway, it isn't her," declares Cobra, head high, trying to divert the conversation and save some shreds of his dignity. "It's, er, someone else."
"Someone else, desu~? Very eloquent, Bra." Hoteye jumps in with a smirk.
"Is it the iron boy?" asks Midnight with a grin. "I saw how you looked at him."
Cobra mutters something unintelligible, flushing and looking away.
"It is!" Midnight says, kohl-rimmed eyes wide.
Angel pinches him. "Midnight, shush-" she hisses.
"Yeah. He's really cute, and even though he was born a girl, he has the courage to be who he is inside-" Cobra admits.
Angel smacks Cobra. "Cobra, please, stop," she begs.
Across from them, Brain's face is thunderous.
"Cobra," he thunders. "Quit this nonsense immediately."
"I - what?"
"That girl, Gijil, was it? She's a stupid bitch," he snaps. "I won't have you liking her, and my goodness, calling her him! You need to be set straight."
"It's Gajeel! And he is a boy!" Cobra screams, something inside of him breaking.
"If he is, then why do you like him?" counters Brain.
"I'm gay, okay?!"
"You little brat!" Brain shouts. "You're a disgusting fag. Come crawling back when you've learned better."
Cobra reels back, stunned, tears coming to his eyes.
"I - I-" he manages.
"C - come on, Cubellios," he mutters.
The snake hisses and follows as he gets up, walking heavily away into the forest where the guild has set up camp.
"Is it wrong?" Erik sobs, breaking down, banging his fist on the tree.
Here, he isn't Cobra anymore - he can be Erik, and that's who he will be, even if just for a little while.
"Is it wrong to love another boy?"
He knows that if Brain says so, then it is.
But why? the little voice in his head pesters. Why is it wrong?
And Erik, Erik who has always been the most loyal to Brain, the most unquestioning, suddenly begins to doubt.
Because in this one matter, Brain is wrong.
But Erik cannot chase after a boy he will probably never see again. He cannot let go of the only family he has ever known.
So he trudges back to them, apologises, and never brings up anything about it ever again.
He's at Crime Sorciere now, and when he sees Gajeel with Fairy Tail after so many years, all the memories come rushing back.
"You were that guy I fought, right?" frowns Gajeel.
"Yeah," Cobra - no, he's not Cobra anymore, he's Erik - Erik says.
He's not going to say anything. He still likes Gajeel, thinks he is amazing after all these years. But he can't say that.
"Hm," says Gajeel with a grin.
"He always admired you," cuts in Sorano. "Thought you were really brave for being yourself even though you were born a girl."
Gajeel looks taken aback.
"Sorano!" Erik pushes her.
"Erik, you need to stop hiding," she says. "Go get him, Bra." The nickname did indeed stick.
"Bra?" Gajeel cocks a studded eyebrow and grins. "Now that's a story I need to hear. Over dinner tonight, at nine? I'll give you my address." He writes something on a scrap of paper he borrowed from the blue-haired Solid Script girl and sticks the paper out to Erik.
"What?" he says.
"Yes! Yes, he'll go!" Sorano says excitedly.
"You never would've agreed otherwise. Now I need to pick something nice for you to wear!" And she dances off, probably to Erik's bags to rummage through them.
"I, um," Erik blushes and looks away.
"You're the first person to admire my being trans. Fairy Tail accepts it with open arms, but admiration is a whole new level." Gajeel says quietly. "It's refreshing and different."
"I'm pansexual," Erik blurts suddenly.
"That's cool, see?" Gajeel gestures to him. "You can love anyone, and that's a huge gift. But I still don't know how being trans is cool."
"It is! You're brave and strong and you accept yourself!" Erik says vehemently. "Being pan is nothing compared to that."
"You're wrong, but thank you," Gajeel concedes.
"Shut up," Erik huffs, blushing.
Gajeel grins wolfishly.
"You're really cute."
"So about that dinner date? Is it a yes or a no?"
Erik feels his cheeks heat up further.
"I thought Sorano already said yes."
"I want you to say it. Yes or no?" Gajeel asks, staring into his eyes.
"...yes," Erik mutters.
"Oy, Gajeel!" yells Solid Script. "Stop flirting and get over here!"
Gajeel rolls his eyes. "See you tonight. I gotta go."
"Bye," Erik says, watching him go. He smiles.
Gajeel Redfox is one of a kind.
Brain was so wrong.
With Gajeel, he didn't have to hide any more.
Chapter 11: A/N
And with that, I mark the end of my WWTDP collection. I kept putting it off, saying I wanted to do more; but I don't have the motivation, the time, the ideas. I have so many other fics I need to be working on, and I really love this one. I might add one or two to this if they fit in the prompts, but this can be considered done and dusted. It's been a wild ride! I loved taking part in this event, thank you FTLGBTales!