Part III

Lyon stayed for three more days, and Gray had the most hilarious photograph of him wearing one of Meredy's princess tiaras and sitting on the small coffe table, surrounded by stuffed animals and having a tea party with the young girl. Lyon had become red when he saw the picture but Gray kept it on his phone; after all, seeing his older brother doing that with a five-year-old was just priceless.

After reasure Meredy that he would be back soon, Lyon left to build his new life knowing full well that his brother was there if he needed anything at all since, as Lyon himself said, Gray and Meredy were his only family left and Gray wouldn't take it for granted.

Juvia was spending her time between his house and he hospital during the next week, as their friend Levy had given birth to a little boy a few days before and as Gajeel was her best friend, Juvia didn't want to leave him alone there, after all Levy had a c–section and would stay a few days at the hospital alongside with the baby.

Gray was surprised when the couple announced they were together and much more surprised when, three months later, told them that they were expecting. It had been a complete accident but after sometime, Gajeel dealt with it better than anyone thought he would and was very proud of turning into a father and was very protective of his newborn son.

Well, if Gray could have guardianship of a five-year-old, Gajeel could become a father. The world had seen stranger things.

One of the days Juvia was staying at the Hospital, Gray told Meredy Juvia was not coming, Meredy crossed her arms over her chest and sulked – after all she was used with Juvia visiting them all the time and playing with her.

Knowing she would stay that way for awhile, Gray decided to entertain her.

"Come here, kid." Gray called from the living room and the girl appeared holding her doll after a few moments, still pouting. "If you stay pouting too long, your face will be stuck like that forever."

She hesitated. "It won't."

"If you are certain..." Gray shrugged, but saw her frown disappear and he smirked. "I've seen what you watch on tv and the movies are fun, I admit, but what's on TV is just awful, so, you and I gonna watch the best kid movie of all times."

Meredy sat on the couch, curious. "What movie?"

"My favorite movie when I was a kid, a little older than you are." Gray was fulmbling with the DVD player and once he was satisfied, he grabbed the remote and popcors that was on the coffee table and sat by his niece's side. "It's called The Lion King."

"I don't like lions." She whispered, but didn't move away. "They are bad."

Gray chuckled. "You watch a movie with dragons, but lions are bad?" He started the movie and soon, when the music started and the many animals from the savannah started to appear, Meredy was enchanted. He sang the musics alongside with the movie and Meredy thought it was the most entertaining thing in the world, because she giggled away.

And once it was over, Meredy was in deep thought and Gray thought it was strange and waited until she said something.

"Gray?" The girl asked after a little while.


She took a moment to talk again and when she did, Meredy looked up to him. "Timon and Pumba are Simba's family, right?"

The man wasn't expecting that question, but answered it anyways. "I guess. There are many types of families and crazy or not, they raised him."

"Simba's dad died just like my mom." After a moment's of pondering his answer, she asked: "Are you and Juvia my Timon and Pumba?"

Gray chocked. "What?"

"Simba found Timon and Pumba. I have you and Juvia."

After a moment's hesitation, he nodded. "You do, yeah." Because that was true: Juvia had been there with him from the first moment on.

Meredy nodded and seemed to think about it once more. "Grandpa don't come here all the time, so he's the Monkey." An image of his father holding a baby version of Meredy up like the cover of The Lion King and he snorted because his old man would most likely do it and he would probably do it when Gray had a child of his own, he had to keep an eye on that when the time was up.

Amused, Gray asked: "Who's your Uncle Lyon, then?"

"Zazu." Meredy grinned.

"Why?" He raised an eyebrow.

"Because he is funny like Uncle Lyon." She giggled and hid her face on Mrs Chocolate Rainbow and Gray couldn't help but to laugh.

"I must agree."

How's Levy and the baby? – Gray. He texted the blunette woman later that night.

Fine. They will be released tomorrow. Juvia's heading home now. – J

The baby's name is Metalicana, by the way. – J

Stupid name. – Gray

Juvia calls him Metty, for short. – J

Well, it's still pretty stupid, but much less than Metalicana. – Gray

He is adorable. Looks like Gajeel. – J

Poor thing. – Gray

Shush! ;P – J

Thinking back on his earlier conversation with Meredy, he asked: Timon or Pumba? – Gray

Pumba. – J

Why? – J

A coversation I had with Meredy got me curious. I like Timon better, so it's all good. – Gray

Why Pumba, though? – Gray

Because he's just like Juvia: he was alone like her until he found someone who appreciated him. – J

Since he didn't want to touch that subject, so, he changed it. I showed Meredy a few old Disney movies and she's in love with them. She asked for you to come over tomorrow and watch The Little Mermaid with her. – Gray

Of course. Juvia will come over after work. – J

See you tomorrow. – Gray

It became such a regular thing, having Juvia over his house that sometimes it was as if she lived there and much to his surprise, Gray didn't mind. The girls seemed to get along and even if Gray had his own bond with his niece, it was good that Meredy had a bond with a female as well.

One night, a month after his niece started to live with him, when Meredy got sick and Gray had been way over his head, he called Juvia in the middle of the night, who appeared at his house in extraordinary time, still wearing her nightgown and when Meredy saw the blunette, she started to cry harder than before.

"I want my mommy." Meredy whimpered and Gray felt his insides turn when he heard her cry for her mother. It was only natural, of course, but it sent him a wave of helpelessness, but when Juvia sat by the little girl's side, she seemed to calm down slightly.

"I know, sweetheart." Juvia whispered and Gray hovered over them, walking around the room without knowing exactly what to do. "You have a fever." Juvia said after putting a hand over Meredy's forehead.

"My tummy hurts."

"Alright, let's just..." Before Juvia could complete her phrase, Meredy got sick all over the woman and Gray made way to stay by their sides and instead of pushing the girl away, Juvia grabbed the girl's hair and caressed her back soothingly. "There you go, sweetheart, all out and you'll feel better."

Gray didn't know what to do, so he waited for Juvia's instructions and they were given not too long after. "Gray-sama. Juvia will give her a bath." She said after the girl had apparently stopped throwing up. "Could you...?" She waved towards the floor, where the girl had gone sick besides Juvia's nightgown.

"Yes. Sure." Gray nodded, happy to do anything at all, and saw Juvia sweep a crying Meredy off the bed.

"Come on, sweetheart. Let's get you cleaned up."

Feeling useful for once, Gray was fast in cleaning the floor and changing the bedsheets for good measure while he heard the shower running in the bathroom and when it was turned off, he waited a few minutes before they came out, Meredy wrapped around Juvia, who seemed to have lost her nightgown and stood with just her undewear.

Noticing his confusion, she explained quickly. "Juvia took the clothes she got sick over off, otherwise her bath would've been useless."

"I'll get you something to change into." Gray informed and stepped closer to her and his niece. "Hey, kid." He spoke softly and the girl only moved a little from hiding her face on Juvia's neck to look to her uncle. "How are you feeling?"

"Hot." She whispered and Gray reached for his niece, who let go of Juvia and wrapped her tiny arms around him and he could feel that she was indeed still hot.

"I'm sorry." Gray whispered and kissed her cheek. "But Juvia brought some medicine, alright? To make you feel better." Meredy nodded and Juvia montioned towards the door and he nodded. "Do you want to stay with me tonight?"

"Yes." Meredy agreed promptly.

Juvia led the way towards his bedroom after she grabbed some medicine she had brought from her home and was on her disgarded purse and Gray followed her, Meredy in his arms as they entered his room.

Laying the child on his bed, Gray stepped the way so Juvia could give Meredy the medicine while he went to find the woman one of his shirts.

"It tastes weird." Meredy complained, making a face.

"Juvia knows, sweetheart, but it will make you feel better." The blunette explained kindly and offered her the glass of water which was on the nightstand next to the bed and the girl sipped on it eagerly. "Now you have to rest."

"Will you stay?" Meredy asked in a whisper and Juvia couldn't say no to her pleading green eyes.

"Yes, darling." Juvia leaned and kissed her feverish forehead.

"My Gray?" Meredy asked once he stepped closer to the bed, holding a white shirt to Juvia. "Stay too?"

"Of course, kid." Gray smiled to his niece, sitting beside Juvia, who was slipping the shirt over her head. "This is my bed, you and Juvia are the ones inviting yourselves in." Gray poked at her side and Meredy smiled weakly at that. "Now close your eyes, kid. Tomorrow you'll feel much better."

Gray pointed to the bed and Juvia went to the other side of the girl, lying on her side, and soon Meredy was wrapped all over the blunette and Gray lied down on the other side of the child, caressing her back, trying to soothe her.

"She's asleep." Juvia whispered after a few minutes. "The poor thing must've been feeling terribly tired." The blunette kissed the top of the girl's head.

"Do you think she'll get better soon?" Gray asked, worried.

"Yes." The woman didn't hesitate. "If her fever is not down by morning, we'll take her to see a doctor, alright? It's most likely just the flu. She'll be alright."

"I was about to take her to the emergency room." Gray confessed.

"And it wouldn't be wrong for you to do it, you never had a sick child with you before." Juvia reached for his shoulder and gave a reassuring squeeze. "You are doubting yourself. Don't. Children get sick and children get better. In a couple of days she'll be up and about."

Gray nodded and they stayed in silence for awhile. "Thank you for coming."

"Always." The blunette smiled to him. "Juvia cares about both too much not to come if you are in trouble." Gray's breathing stopped for a second after hearing her words but before he could say something else, Juvia kept talking. "We too should go to sleep now, Gray-sama. She'll be alright. Good night."

He saw her close her eyes and his heart started to race. Juvia had become such a big part of his life ever since they met, but only in the past few months he realized how much she started to matter to him.

That woman was caring, funny, kind, beautiful, understood him like no other and he wanted nothing more to hold her whenever he felt like it, to know how sweet her lips tasted, how it would feel to let her know how much she meant to him.

For the first time, Gray admited to himself: he wanted Juvia to be more than just his friend.

And it terrified him.

Gray tried to be normal around her, to pretend he didn't acknolowedged his feelins just yet, but it became more and more difficult every time she was around, being her amazing self, playing with his niece or offering him a smile.

It seemed that now that he was aware of his feelings, he has turned into a fool around her, and even treating her harsher than before, but she just shrugged it off, after all Gray was prompt of mood swings from time to time.

A few days before Natsu and Lucy's wedding, his father payed him a visit, as Lucy invited him to their wedding and he decided to stay a few days with his son and granddaughter, that's when Gray told him about the discovery of his feelings regarding Juvia – while red faced and half drunk – and Silver couldn't have been happier.

"There we go, kid! Finally!" His dad patted his back with enthusiasm. "Now go after her and kiss her breath away!" Silver was almost grabbing his son by the arm and pulling him out of the house so he could go get Juvia.

"She doesn't want me to." Gray whined, pulling his arm from his father's grasp.

Silver raised an eyebrow. "Excuse me? Have you met that girl? She wants you to kiss her, it's as clear as day."

Gray grunted drunkily. "I… I kind of tried once and she didn't let me."

"What?" Silver was surprise, he wouldn't have guessed. "When was that?"

"The day of Ultear's funeral." His son answered in a mumble. "She was comforting me, I mistook the situation and I was about to kiss her when she stopped me." Silver stared at his son for a moment before he slapped the back of the younger man's head. "Ouch! Why did you hit me for?" Gray complained.

"To see if the stupidity would come off." The older man said. "Just because she didn't agree to kiss you when you were grieving for your sister, it doesn't mean she doesn't want to kiss you now! It's been almos two months." Silver sighed tiredly. "You're gonna die a virgin."

"I am not a... Dad!" Gray scowled and Silver smirked.

"Fine." Silver chuckled. "But promise me that you'll grow a backbone and will kiss her soon."

Gray reached for another beer. "I'd like that."

"Great!" Silver beamed. "I already see her as a daughter, I just need to wait you make it official." He grabbed another beer for himself. "Cheers, son!"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah." Gray raised his beer with no animosity at all. "Hooray."

The day of the wedding, Gray let Juvia take Meredy away with her to prepare the small girl to be the flower girl – Lucy was more than excited to have Meredy as a part of her wedding – and Gray didn't complain, telling both that he and Silver would meet them at the church.

Wearing his tuxedo, Gray waited in front of the church after telling his father to go right in, that he had to wait with the others, after all, he was set to come in the church with Juvia and once the car bringing the bridesmaids arrived and when he saw Juvia, his breath was taken away.

Her hair was up in a loose bun, her make–up was light and her dress was in a light blue tone, just like the others, but his eyes were drawn to her and a moment later, Meredy stepped out of the car wearing a fluffier version of the light blue dress and her pink hair was in a french braid.

His girls looked amazing.

"Gray! Gray!" Meredy beamed as soon as she spotted him and ran towards him before Juvia could stop her. "I look like a princess!"

"You do!" Gray swept her from the ground with a smile and the girl kissed his cheek. "Juvia too." He added when he saw the woman come closer to them. "Are you ready to be the flower girl today?"

"Yes." Meredy nodded with certainty. "Juvia and I trained a lot."

"Good." Gray grinned and put his niece on the ground before looking at Juvia. "You look great."

"Thank you." Her cheeks turned pink and he felt proud of himself. "Juvia likes the tuxedo."

"If I didn't wear this, Lucy would murder me." Gray shuddered and Juvia giggled.

"She would." The blunette agreed and stepped closer to him, righting his bow tie. "This wedding is her dream coming true."

"Even if it's with an idiot." Gray scoffed and Juvia slapped his arm playfully and he smirked, winking at Meredy, who hid her giggle with a gloved hand.

"Don't say that. You are his best man." Juvia finished with the tie and put a hand over his chest and looked up to him with a smile that made his stomach flutter, like butterflies were floating inside. "Now it's perfect."

And that was the moment that Gray knew that he was going to kiss her that day.

The ceremony was beautiful and Meredy did a wonderful job as a flower girl and when Gray walked towards the altar with Juvia, his dad took a picture of them shamelessly and Gray had to stop himself of rolling his eyes.

After the "I do's", they went to the party venue, which was besides the church and after a session of photographs with everyone, they were finally released to go to the party. Meredy took Gray and Juvia's hands, stood between them and walked towards the table where Silver was waiting for them.

"You two..." Silver said pointing to the girls, ignoring his son completely. "Don't you know that it is of bad taste to shine more than the bride?"

Meredy giggled. "Did I do a good job, Grandpa?"

"A good job?" Silver gasped, kneeling in front of her. "You, my dear, was the best flower girl I've ever seen!"

"Really?" The girl beamed and hugged her grandfather. "I liked a lot!"

"Good." Silver swept her off the ground and then turned to the couple standing next to him. "And you, Juvia–chan... The most beautiful of them all."

The blunette blushed and Gray rolled his eyes. "Thank you, Silver–sama."

"You should start calling me Father, sweet girl." Silver winked. "I alread got this one," he pointed to Meredy "to start to call me Grandpa, now I want you to start call me Father."

"Erm..." Juvia was embarassed and Gray too, after all his father knew his feelings for her.

"Let's all sit down. We are tired." Gray suggested and she nodded in agreement eagerly, making Silver smirk and then shift his attention back to his granddaughter, leading her to the table and putting the girl on her own chair.

As the party went on, Gray went to dance with Lucy after she had had her first dance with her husband while Gajeel danced with Juvia – Levy was by the sidelines with Metty, as the boy was being pampered by three of the female guests – and when Loki went to dance with the bride, Gray saw his father step in and take Juvia to a dance, so, he walked down to where his niece was playing with some other children and asked her if she wanted to dance.

The girl almost ran to the dance floor with excitement and Gray chuckled when she held her arms to him and he took her hands in his.

"Put your feet above mine." He instructed and, with concentration, the girl did just that and then Gray started to swirl around the dance floor, much to her delight. "There we go."

"I'm dancing!" Meredy giggled and Gray couldn't help but to laugh as well. "See, My Gray?"

"I do." He nodded. "Do you like it?"

"Yes!" The little girl's eyes sparkled with happiness and it made his heart swollow with something akin to love and he was truly happy with his life at the moment.

When the song ended, his father stepped closer to them, bringing Juvia with him. "You are a talented dancer, darling." Silver said. "Wanna dance with me?"

"Yes, Grandpa!" The girl squealed and grabbed the older man's hand, pulling him away to dance, leaving Gray and Juvia alone, both wearing similar smiles.

"Come on." Gray offered his hand to Juvia. "Let's dance."

Juvia took his hand with a smile and he brought her close to him, putting a hand on her hip to bring her closer to him. "You looked adorable dancing with her."

Gray snorted, but his cheeks became pinker. "I am not adorable"

"Yes, you are." Juvia chuckled as they moved alongside the slow rhythm of the song. "Juvia didn't think you liked to dance."

"I don't." Gray shrugged. "But there are three females I knew I had to dance in this wedding: Lucy, Meredy and you." He smiled when she blushed. "I danced with the bride, danced with my niece and now I've got all night to dance with you." That sounded so tacky that he kicked himself mentally. "I mean..."

"Good." Juvia smiled. "Gajeel–kun stepped on Juvia's feet a lot of times." She whispered and winked, making Gray chuckle. "Don't tell him Juvia said that or he'll never take Levy-san out dancing again."

"Don't worry." He smiled and pulled her closer. "You..." Gray cleared his throat. "You look beautiful today."

"Thank you." She whispered and their eyes locked. It all seemed to be working alright: they played, they were slow dancing, he held her close, none stepped on the others' toes, and they held eye contact. It was the time he had been waiting for.

Gray leaned and he heard her breath get caught on her throat; she knew what was going to happen next and so did he, he was going to kiss her and when his lips reached her skin he was surprised to notice that she had turned her head and was kissing her cheek instead.

He froze and so did she. Pulling away from her, Gray stared at the woman in his arms with a hurt expression while she looked down to the floor, eyes wide and anger suddenly bubbled within Gray. What the hell?

"Dad." Without taking his eyes from Juvia, he practically growled at his father, who was not too far away dancing with Meredy and shamelessly paying attention at his son's interections with the blunette. "Can you keep an eye on Meredy for a moment?"

"Sure." Silver answered and Gray pulled the woman by the hand ignoring her gasp of surprise. He needed a quiet place to talk to her and figure out what the hell was happening.

"Gray-sama..." Juvia tried while he pulled her all the way through a hall, bumping into some other guests. "Gra–"

"Shut up." He snarled and opened a door, finding an empty broom room and pulled her inside, closing the door behind him. Gray turned the lights on and turned to see her with angry narrow eyes. "That was the second time I tried to kiss you and you pulled away. The first time I get that you thought that I was doing it out of grief and maybe I was a little bit, but tonight was going pretty damn great, so, can I ask what is the matter now?" He pretty much growled; he wasn't the best mannered while frustrated.

"Gray-sama, look…" Juvia sighed and he wanted to wrap his hands around her neck because she sounded so... argh. "You know how Juvia feels about you, she never hid it and she still feels the same, but everything that happened to you is still very recent. I just don't want you to do this because you feel that you have an obligation."

"An obligation?" He felt his frustration double.

She tried to explain herself. "Well, Juvia has been helping you with Meredy and maybe you think that Juvia expects something from you, but–"

"Are you even hearing yourself right now?" Gray cut her off, annoyed to the point of anger. "I don't do things out of obligations, Juvia. I do what I think is right." He stepped towards her and she backed away until she hit the wall. "You have been helping out a lot with Meredy, sure, but by default we have been spending a lot of time together – even more than before – and I have been waiting long enough for you not to think that I was doing it out of grief, and you are not ruining this for me, get it?" The blunette nodded, wide–eyed. "Good."

And then he cupped her face with his hands and kissed her right on the lips and it was everything he thought it would be; his body seemed to be conducting lightening, his heart beat faster and once he coaxed her mouth open and their tongues touched, he was a goner.

Her arms wrapped themselves around his shoulders, bringing him closer while his own moved to her hips to bring her as close as it was possible. This was like being lost for a lifetime and finally finding his way, there was no other way to explain how it felt. It was kind of shameful for a man his age to be acting like a teenage boy in his first make-out session, trying to touch her everywhere, to melt into her and if he could speak at the moment, he would've sworn her the world.

Once they separated their lips, both breathing hard and staring at each other's eyes in surprise of how intense that first kiss had been.

"Well." Gray cleared his throat, not at all moving, so his body was still pressed on hers. "Not ruined after all."

Juvia giggled breathless and hid her face on the crook of his neck. "Juvia is dreaming, isn't she?"

"Not a dream." Gray smiled and then craddled her face once more. "But I guess we should do that a few more times just in case."

Seeing his father's smug face when they returned from the broom closet had been Gray's last concerns. He had no concerns whatsoever, actually. He had just spent a good half-hour kissing the most amazing woman he knew and it put him in a very good mood.

When they were heading home, Gray convinced her to come with him, as he didn't want the night to end just yet and they still had some things to discuss.

Thankfully Meredy was so tired that she didn't even make it home awake, she fell asleep during the ride home, on Juvia's lap. Silver took her from Juvia and offered them his good-nights after making them know pointedly that he didn't plan on going down to the first floor again that night and for them to have fun. Gray yelled his father to shut up.

Juvia stood awkwardly in the middle of the living room, still wearing her bridesmaid dress and Gray, hesitated. They had shared a heated moment in the broom closet and maybe now she was doubting what they did?

He stepped closer to her warily and when she bit her lower lip Gray touched her cheek and she closed her eyes, leaning towards it. "Did I do something wrong?"

"No." She whispered.

"What is it, then?" He asked. "You seem... tense."

Juvia sighed and opened her eyes. "I am waiting for you to come to your senses and push me away."

"What?" Gray frowned; "Push you away? Why would you wait for that?"

She bit her lower lip for a moment before explaining to him. "Do you know the feeling of wanting something so bad that when you finally get it, you just expect it all to be a dream or waits to see what bad thing is going to happen to destroy that happiness?" Gray nodded. "Juvia is not the type of girl to get a happy ending. Juvia is gloomy and gloomy girls don't get beautiful love stories. Do you know who get them? Girls like Lucy-san and Levy-san, who have that sparkling glow. Girls like Juvia get their hearts broken when they fall in love. So, Juvia is is waiting for you to see reason. To see that that moment inside the room was nothing."

"Juvia, I always thought that you were a smart woman, but maybe I was wrong, because you've said the stupidest thing right now." Gray stared at her in disbelief. "Look, I know that whatever is happening between us is new, but it's beeen building up ever since we met for the first time and I don't know where it's going, but it is going somewhere. I like you a lot and this might go nowhere, but not because we didn't try. And you haven't been gloomy for a long time now. You are such a sparkling person now that annoys me half of the time." She snorted at that. "Even if you weren't, who says this thing we're doing is your happy ending?"

Juvia chuckled. "Oh, if Juvia has one, this is it."

"How do you know?" Gray frowned.

"When you know, you know." The blunette shrugged, and shyly stepped closer to him. "Are you sure?"

He put an arm around her waist to bring her closer and then leaned towards her. "There are a few things I'm sure in life, and being here with you like this is one of them."

Apparently it was all Juvia wanted to hear, because the next thing he knew, she was kissing him like there was no tomorrow and Gray lost no time in doing the same. After that kiss, they didn't know how long they went at it, just learning the noises and reactions of the other, experimenting with their kisses. At some point they went to the couch and continued to make–out like teenagers.

"What time is it?" Juvia wondered when Gray stopped kissing her mouth just to trail a path with his lips on her neck.

"Don't know." He replied, much more interested in his task than talking.

"We should go to bed." The blunette sighed when his lips found particularly sweet spot of hers and her hands – which were on his hair – gripped it a little harder than before.

"Not sleepy." And he really wasn't. Gray had been wondering for a long time what it felt to kiss her and now that he was actually free to do it, he was so wired he doubted he could sleep.

"Juvia didn't say anything about sleeping." She said pointedly and Gray stopped his feathered kisses to look to her with a grin.

"You do have some great ideas sometimes."

After taking a shower and changed to bed, Gray and Juvia spent more time kissing on his bed and he couldn't help but to feel his heart go crazy with the thought of finally fall asleep with her in his arms and he wondered if discovering his feelings had turned him into a woman, because really? Could he become more sentimental than that?

The next morning, when Silver saw Juvia right before Gray said that he was going to take her home, the older man took a look at the couple and then beamed in excitement. "Finally! I was almost smashing your faces together until you saw reason!" He said, hugging the blunette. "Juvia-chan, you don't know how much of a saint you are to have accepted my son..."

"Shut up, dad." Gray grabbed his keys and pushed Juvia away from his father.

"...and if he doesn't treat you right, call me and I'll make him treat you better." Silver said as of Gray hadn't spoken at all. "I might be a little older..."

"A little?" Gray scoffed and took Juvia's hand, leading her to the front door – she was giggling all the way through.

"...than I was when I learned how to fight, but I can still kick his ass, specially for you Juvia–chan." Silver followed the couple to the door. "Just remember that even though I want to be a grandfather again, Meredy's just arrived and a sibling so soon could traumatize her." Gray and Juvia were out the front lawn, going straight to his car. "Remember to use protection for now!" Silver yelled when Gray shoved Juvia inside the car and slammed the door. The younger man was as red as a tomato.

"Oh my god, shut up!"

Of course, it didn't take too long before they wanted to take things further, but they had just started exploring the new side of their relationship and rushing into things would've been too soon, so, all they did when Juvia did spent the night at his house was to kiss and sleep.

And the fact that Meredy appeared in the middle of the night almost everyday was also a factor to not let things go further. The five-year-old thought it was such a treat to have two of her favorite grown-ups sleeping on each side of her that she thought it all was a big slumber party.

Gray, though, was getting more and more impatient each time his niece wanted to sleep with them so, to start preparing her about not going to his bedroom, he sat down with her one day to explain to her that if she didn't have a nightmare or if she wasn't afraid, she needed to stay in her bed during the night because that's what big girls did.

The five-year-old tilted her head to the side with curiosity. "But Juvia sleeps with you and she's a big girl."

"That's different." Gray said.



"Because what?"

Gray tried to think of a way to tell her that adults needed privacy. "Because..." He paused. "Because Juvia and I are boyfriend and girlfriend." Are we?, Gray thought, after all, aside the moments alone they had making–out, their interaction didn't change much – just adding kisses on the mix – and Meredy was there during the times they were eating, watching a movie, talking... Man, they needed to go out on a date. "And when grown-ups have boyfriends or girlfriends, they need to be alone sometimes because of... boring... adult... stuff."

"What stuff?" She asked.

"It's boring." Gray could feel his cheeks get warmer. "The point is, you can't go to my room every night."

"Are you and Juvia making babies?" Meredy eyes her uncle with narrowed eyes.

"What?" Gray almost yelled. "What are you even...? What?"

"My friend Janelle from school said that her parents got her little brother this way. They told her that they slept on the same bed and got a baby."

"Oh my dear lord." Gray muttered under his breath. That conversation wasn't going as he expected at all.

"You and Juvia are not married, right? Janelle's mom told her that she had to be married to make babies." Meredy pointed out.

"Okay, look." Gray cleared his throat. "Juvia and I are not making babies." Meredy still looked at him with suspicion. "I promise you, you are all we need right now." The girl finally seemed to believe and her body relaxed – it appeared that she was very against another child coming, he had to pay attention to that later. "But, even if Juvia is not here, you can't go to my room every night, kid. You have your own room and you are a big girl now. If you have a nightmare, it's fine, but not every night from now on, alright?"

Meredy nodded. "Okay."

And of course it wasn't as easy as it seemed to be: the little girl did exactly the opposite. She would still go to his room wether she had a nightmare or not wether Juvia was there or not and Gray, every night took her to her bed, and some nights she returned and he didn't even bothered with taking her back.

It was so damn hard to get a moment alone with his girlfriend that Gray, one time, got away from his job earlier just to meet Juvia at her apartment for twenty minutes before going take Meredy from school.

"You have to pick up Meredy in ten minutes." She said, her lips hovering over his as one of Gray's hands held her by the nape of her neck while the other gripped her hip harder and kissing her hungrily once again. "Gray-sama…" Juvia whined.

"I know." He kissed her one more time before resting his forehead on hers. "I just need a minute here." The blunette frowned in confusion for a moment before he pulled her closer and Juvia could feel exactly why he would need a moment; it was obvious that he enjoyed their make–out session a little too much.

"Oh." She blushed and cleared her throat. "We don't have the time to… you know… go all the way before you need to go get Meredy.."

"I know. Trust me, I know." Gray groaned, eyes closing and trying his best to cool down: really, he should stop doing that to himself. He and Juvia were too compatible for them to kiss like they had time and privacy to do more than just that.

"But…" Juvia emphasized the word and Gray opened his eyes in confusion and saw her biting her lower lip. "Juvia can help you with that." He understood what she meant at the moment her hand started roaming south, from his chest to his stomach to finally play with the belt loops; he gulped when he looked up to her and saw her smiling shyly but with eyes darkening by the second. "We have the time if you promise to be real quick." Juvia undid the button of his pants slowly and then the zipper, eyes locked with his and Gray never saw anything as mesmerizing as the way she spoke those words.

"Juvia." He whispered before all rational thought fled his mind, since she decided to kiss him and put a hand inside his underwear, curling her small hand around his length and stroking it. Gray moaned in her mouth and let her touch overwhelm him.

As they waited outside Meredy's school, they were both by the car as parents gathered in front of the gate. Gray was looking to his right side, where Juvia was looking intensely to the crowd, even though the kids were not out yet.

He couldn't believe that just a few minutes before they were at her apartment, her lips capturing his moans as she touched him. If he hadn't been so frustrated, he would've said 'no' and not been so selfish to have taken pleasure and not given her any. Gray hadn't felt that good in a very long time, but now he was feeling guilty (not to mention the fact that now that he had a preview of what was waiting for him once he finally got to be with her, he wouldn't be able to look at her without thinking about it) and, to tell the truth, she looked absolutely stunning. Maybe it was the oxytocin in his blood, but he didn't care, he was feeling rather sentimental.

Taking a step to the side, so he could be a little closer to her, Gray leaned a bit towards her and said "I will find a way to be alone with you for hours so I can thoroughly return the favor."

Juvia chuckled and moved her gaze from the crowd, to him. "You have a five-year-old with severe abandonment issues that crawls into your bed every night, Gray-sama. Juvia is not holding her breath for you to get a night off."

"This is happening, Juvia." Gray said, decisively. "I can guarantee you that; even if I have to give her allergy medication to make her sleepy."

"Gray-sama!" Juvia laughed and he hid his own smile.

"I'm not kidding." She slapped his arm in a playful way and Gray turned so he was facing her and the blunette did the same. "We need something normal in our relationship. I need something normal in our relationship." Juvia smiled knowingly and Gray stepped closer to her, putting his hands on her hips as she put hers on his shoulders. "A night of you and me going out to a nice place, you get all dress up and I go pick you up at your apartment and by the end of the night, I take you back there and you give me a goodnight kiss."

Juvia giggled. "You said something about thoroughly return the favor…"

"I sure hope we get the time for some of that." He put a stray of her hair behind her ear. "I am sexually frustrated – like I've never felt before, by the way –, but this would be our real first date and maybe we should do it right."

"No way." Juvia grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and pulled him close to her, smashing her lips on his. "When you get a night off, we will go to have a nice dinner if that is what you want, but" she kissed him lightly on the lips that time "the moment you take Juvia home, you are not leaving until some thoroughly payback happens."

Before he could say anything, the bell of the school rang. "Definitely." Gray kissed her one more time before stepping aside and wait for his niece with a grin on his lips.

Gray was kissing Juvia and his hands were pulling her shirt up, as it was in his way. Meredy finally succumbed to sleep and they were alone to have some adult time and ever since that afternoon in her apartment, Gray had been fixated on getting Juvia alone, but it was a hard task and now that he had her, he just wanted to kiss her everywhere he could.

Juvia raised her arms and Gray could pull it up and when he threw somewhere on the floor, his breath got caught on his throat when he noticed she wasn't wearing a bra and how beautiful she was, lying on his couch and he had to grab her hands to stop her from covering herself; he didn't want to lose the sight.

"Gray-sama..." She was blushing from her cheeks to her chest, blue hair around her head like a halo and eyes glassy with desire and Gray pinned her hands above her head and captured her lips with his in a hungry kiss that promised to burn them alive. Their naked chests touched, both moaned and everything seemed to be going just the way he wanted to when his lips started to trail kisses down her neck to her cleavage to her breasts.

The soft whimper sounds she made alongside with sighs of his name were fast to become his new favorites sounds and deep inside he was well aware they were listening to their hormones and that there was only one outcome when they were that deep...

...and that was the moment Meredy walked down the stairs and called her uncle.

"Gray?" The five-year-old asked and both adults stilled their movements with wide eyes. Thank god the couch was hiding the situation they were in, otherwise the three of them would've been traumatized, to say the least.

"Yeah?" Gray released Juvia, who promptly covered herself, and then raised enough so his niece could see his face.

Meredy was close to the stairs wearing her pjs and looked confused when she saw her uncle there. "What are you doing?"

"I..." Gray looked down to the couch, where Juvia was covering her chest with one arm and hiding her face with another, clearly blushing harder than before. Damn, he had been so close. "I... I was... taking a nap." He said, lamely and changed the subject. "Why are you up?"

The girl seemed to accept his answer and shrugged. "Thirsty."

Gray nodded. "I'll go up with a glass of water in a couple of minutes." He said, clearly trying to get rid of her on the first floor as soon as possible. "Up you go." Gray pointed up the stairs and Meredy nodded.


Once they heard her reach upstairs, Juvia pushed him away and went to retrieve her forgotten shirt. "Oh my god, she almost got us!" The blunette put the shirt on and turned to her boyfriend. "We are not doing this ever again."

"Excuse me?" Gray chocked on air. What did she mean by never again?

"Do you realize how close she was to see us..." Juvia whispered and pointed to the couch, where he was still sitting on trying to regain some control. "See us..." If it was possible, her blush hardened and then went straight to grab her purse.

"What exactly do you mean 'we are not doing this again'?" Gray asked, getting up from the couch to follow her towards the front door. "What's your definition of 'this'?"

"Gray-sama, we are not having our first time on your couch with your niece sleeping upstairs and hoping she doesn't wake up!" Juvia exclaimed in disbelief. "Juvia would've told you that, but you used all..." she waved towards him whole "all that and it's pretty distracting. You distracted Juvia."

"You seemed quite into it." Gray couldn't help but to say and she slapped his arm.

"Juvia was distracted!" She almost yelled, but contained herself when she remembered the little girl upstairs. "Even so, we are not doing anything else before Meredy can sleep in her own room the whole night or you get someone to stay with her..."

"She doesn't like to be watched by anyone else besides my dad and Lyon. And I refuse to pay Wendy to watch her so I can get laid."

"Well, then." Juvia turned around and opened the door. She stepped outside and started to search for her car keys inside her purse. "Juvia will not be part of a trauma. She almost got us today, she might catch us tomorrow... What were we thinking?" The blunette opened her car's door. "You, mister, are not distracting Juvia again."

"Juvia..." Gray tried to say, but she cut him off by giving him a light kiss on the lips.

"See you tomorrow." Juvia said and then got inside the car, leaving Gray on his driveway, wishing that he could drug his niece for just a couple of hours.

"Damn, she wants water." He muttered and returned to the house.

Gray had been in a foul mood ever since the incident and with reason; Juvia had been refusing to sleep at his house for the past two weeks. Their routine had been pretty much the same during the day, with them spending time together with Meredy, the only thing that did change was that they would kiss until she politely say it was time for her to go.

He could live with just kissing her (it was quite nice). He could live with waiting a little longer to have sex (barely, but he could). He could live with being left hanging.

What annoyed him the most was that she hadn't slept by his side in ages and he missed it. Gray was almost going insane with her distance in that regard, after all, he got used to have her around when he had a problem and he was having a problem!

Currently, Gray was seated by his father's side as they watched some violent movie and Gray was sulking like never before: the first day his father had come to stay ever since he and Juvia got together and could get a whole night off, she was having a girls' night out.

Gray tried to convince her to ditch the girls, but Juvia explained that Cana had reserved that night two months before so all the girls could go out together – she even considerated Lucy's wedding and honeymoon plans and Levy's pregnancy and when she could go out with no problems – and if she left them, Juvia would feel awful.

Hence, Gray's current mood.

"Oh." Silver exclaimed and Gray noticed he was using his phone. "Where did you say Juvia-chan was tonight?"

"Night out with the girls." The younger man replied in confusion. "Why?" Wordlessly, his father passed him the phone and Gray's eyes almost popped out of his face. There, on Cana's Facebook page, was a picture of all the girls attending to the night out and all of them were wearing clothes so tiny it was ridiculous and there was Juvia, wearing a sparkly blue dress that barely covered her.

"What the...?" Gray was about to say when his phone went off and he grabbed it, noting it was Natsu. "What?"

"Did you see the picture Cana just posted?" Natsu asked.

"Yes." Gray almost growled.

"Usually they go to a restaurant during these nights out, not to a club!"

"They are going to a club?" Gray kept looking to the photograph and noticed that they, indeed, seemed to be in front of a nightclub.

"Well, they are not going to knit scarves wearing those clothes, of that I am positive!" Natsu snapped. "What do we do? I mean, I don't mind Lucy going out on her own, but look what she's wearing!" The pink haired man was angry, and Gray didn't take his reason: his wife was wearing a mini–skirt and a top that covered most of her breasts, but not her stomach. "They could at least have dressed as if they were not looking to get laid with the first dude they see!"

"They are not..."

"I know they won't, but see what Cana said on the photo." Natsu said and Gray paid attention to the phone once more and read the caption: Ho Night!

"What the fuck is a Ho Night?" Gray asked – his father's eyes got wide open – and then he remembered that the girls' night out were always themed, the last time they all went out wearing 70's clothes and, apparently, since it was Cana's turn to organize the outting, she chose to dress them as... "Dammit, Cana!"

"Yeah." Natsu agreed. "I'll call the others. Let's meet there in twenty. I don't even want to think what they are doing right now." He hung up.

Gray was almost leaving the living room when he returned, offering Silver his phone back. "Dad... Sorry. I promised I would stay here tonight with you, but..."

"Your girlfriend is dressed as ho for a girls night out in a nightclub somewhere. I understand you have to leave." Silver said promptly. "You'll sure have more fun there than here with an old man. Take as much time as you need, but run fast before she finds someone better!"

The club was crowded, as expected, while the six men tried to spot their girlfriends between the confusion. Natsu was fast in recruiting Gajeel, Laxus, Freed and Elfman to go to the club to find their women and none of them seemed thrilled with Cana's idea, especially Laxus, who had been kept in the dark by his girlfriend.

It wasn't too difficult to find them, as they were in the middle of the dance floor, laughing and drinking, happily unaware of their boyfriends.

Gray found Juvia in a second by the sidelines, that sparkly blue dress was as extravagant as they come, and his blood boiled when he saw that she was chatting happily with a man while taking a shot of something (alcoholic, for sure) and then accepting his hand to go dance.

"Juvia!" Gray yelled over the music, arriving just when the other man was putting a hand on Juvia's hips so they could dance and took Gray all his restraint not to punch the guy on the face.

The blunette turned, confused about whom called her and when she saw him right behind her, she smiled and stepped away from the other guy. "Gray-sama! You are here!" She exclaimed drunkily. "Cana said you would come!"

"What?" Gray frowned and then shook his head. "It doesn't matter. I want to know what you are doing."

Juvia looked confused for a moment and Gray had to stare pointedly at the blonde man behind them. "Oh, Ricard and Juvia were about to dance!" She said, excited and Gray couldn't understand why she was acting like it was nothing to go out in a nightclub, alone, wearing those clothes and dance with another man. "But now that you are here, Juvia will dance with you instead." She threw her arms around her boyfriend and then, over her shoulder: "Sorry, Ricard! Juvia's boyfriend is here now."

"Lucky you, girl." Ricard winked and Gray narrowed his eyes. "Bye–bye, beautiful."

"See you later, Ricard!" Juvia said and then returned her attention to Gray. "Do you wanna dance, Gray-sama?"

"I want to know why you are wearing this dress and in nightclub."

"It's girls night out." The blunette frowned.

"Yes! And I thought you were going to a restaurant somewhere, instead I find you with Richard–"

"Ricard." She corrected him.

"With Ricard, dancing some eletronic music that I am pretty sure would involve some dry humping and I..."

Cana's voice coming from the speakers, interrupted him. "To all my friends who came here to fetch your girls, I just want to tell you that this is a gay bar and that you all suck." Cana laughed. "Gotcha! Have fun!"

"...think that you owe me more than– this is a what?" Gray yelled the last part and when Juvia finally understood why her boyfriend was so upset, she started to laugh. "This is..." He finally took a moment to analyze the crowd and when the words sank in, and his face became red. "I will kill Cana!" Gray meant to leave, but Juvia grabbed his hand.

"Gray-sama, come on!" She giggled and pulled her to him. "Now that you are here, let's have fun. You looked so cute jealous!"

"I wasn't jealous!" Gray couldn't help but to wrap his arms around her waist to bring her closer by instinct.

"You were." Juvia put her own arms around his shoulders, still giggling. "But it's okay, Juvia would be too if she saw you get too cozy with someone else"

"I'm getting too old for this." He sighed and she kissed him on the mouth. Since he was there, he might as well enjoy his girlfriend and their time alone.

After spending a few hours out with their friends – they gathered after awhile and Cana seemed to be extremely proud of her prank – Gray felt like he was a young man again. Not just Meredy's uncle and guardian, but a functioning man with friends and a girlfriend who went out to have a good time.

Ever since Meredy entered in his life after Ultear's death, his only focus had been to make her happy, and the only time he could forget about that was when Juvia was there with him and they were alone, but he needed that night out. He needed his friends.

"You were all becoming so boring. Gajeel and Levy had a baby, Natsu and Lucy got married, Gray and Juvia take care of Meredy, Mira and Freed are moving in together and Elfman and Ever are getting engaged. You guys needed a night out." It was Cana's explanation and, even after she pissed the guys off, she had been right: it was nice to feel free again.

"Let's get you home." Gray whispered to Juvia, she was wearing his coat and had her arms around his waist. Both of them had drank just enough to make them 'happy' and when Gray looked at the time, he noticed that it was only two-thirty in the morning and an idea formed inside his mind.

After everyone said their good-byes, each took a cab to their destinations and Gray shared one with Juvia, giving the driver her address, to which she frowned in confusion – she had thought he was taking her to his house – but shrugged it off when he pulled an arm around her shoulder and kissed the top of her head.

"Juvia can get to her apartment just fine, Gray-sama." Juvia said, getting out of the cab, Gray following behind after he paid the cabbie. He shrugged and took her hand on his and she beamed in happiness, after all, Gray rarely showed that kind of affection in public.

They arrived at Juvia's front door a few minutes later. She opened the door and asked him to come inside. "You didn't have to bring Juvia home, Gray-sama. She is not drunk, you made sure she drank enough water whenever she took a shot."

"I know." Gray put his hands on her hips from behind her and her breath got caught on her throat when he kissed her neck. "My dad is watching Meredy tonight." He whispered and saw her skin get goosebumps.

"Oh?" She put her own hands above his.

"Yeah." He grinned, turning her around to face him and he could notice that her pupils were dilated.

Juvia tip toed and whispered – lips almost touching his in a teasing way. "We haven't even been on a date yet."

"What are you talking about?" Gray tried to kiss her but she dodged it with a chuckle. "If we count the two years we've known each other we have been on plenty of dates."

"Alone!" She giggled.

"Oh, right. I'll take you somewhere nice, then. I wasn't expecting this night off so I didn't plan anything fancy." Gray sighed and leaned in until their noses were touching. "Just... let's enjoy tonight. Only god knows when I'll get a sitter for the whole night again."

"Okay." Juvia nodded and before she could say anything else Gray grabbed her and pulled her over his shoulder; she shrieked in surprise. "Gray-sama!"

"We'll have to make the most of it of tonight. My dad's going home tomorrow, or the day after." He exclaimed, taking her towards her bedroom and she giggled away.

Leaving Juvia's apartment in the morning had been one of the hardest things he had to do in his life. It had been the most amazing night of his life and he wasn't just saying that: he and Juvia had been in sync from the first kiss they shared until they were finally joined in the most intimate way.

She almost didn't let him go, dragging him to take a shower alongside with her that morning even after they had quite a night (of which Gray was very proud of himself) and he had almost given up and spent the day locked away. But he had his niece to take care of and his father as a guest.

With promises to go to his house later to have their usual dinner (Silver insisted that Juvia ate with them whenever he was in town), Gray reluctantly left his girlfriend's apartment to go to his house.

When he stepped inside, his father appeared not too soon after, holding a cup of coffee. "Hey, kid." Silver smirked. "We never got to do this when you were a teenager, so: Are you just arriving home?"

Gray cleared his throat and felt his cheeks get warmer. "I am."

"It went that well, huh? Is this the walk of shame?" Silver teased his son, who just shrugged.

"Stride of pride." Gray smirked and he felt his father pat him on the back.

"Atta boy!" Silver said, happily. "I mean, thank god you got laid, you were getting a little bit of a dick with being cock blocked and all. Just saying."

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