“those paper dolls hold each other by the hand.”
There was a special connection between them, that they couldn’t quite put into words. They were close, yes, but their relationship was… quiet. They would give each other secrets glances that only they could decipher, they would say entire conversations through their eyes alone. They very rarely spoke, especially when others were around, and even in private, all their mutual affection was communicated through non-verbal means. Lucy wouldn’t have it any other way, you didn’t just find a person with whom you could share all your secrets without ever saying a thing, and she wouldn’t give it up for the world.
When they were on missions with the team, if they were the only ones left awake, their pinkies would meet and interlink, but never anything more. Lucy would still be buried in her book or daydreams and Gray would look out the window, but their connection was something they were hyperaware of. They could say anything when they were like this, but they never did. They didn’t need to. The understanding that hung between them like a ribbon was more than enough.
Because of this, they became proficient at spotting each other’s signals when they were upset about something, though they very rarely new the specifics. When Gray cried on Galuna, yes, Lucy had spoke, but that was because Happy and Lyra were also there, later on after everything had settled, she reached out and brushed his scar, looking into his dark eyes for a microsecond, and she knew everything she needed to.
He was hurt. He was grieving. But he would be okay.
It was a similar story, when Phantom attacked. After everything had settled down, Gray had come and sought her out, he sat with her, glancing at her rhythmically from the side, neither saying a word. Not when she was just thinking. Not when she broke down into her final lot of tears. Not when he held her until she fell asleep.
This was how they worked.
Something too magical for words, something too unique to be explained, something too personal to be shared.
Eventually, it evolved into more than tiny touches, when one night a few months after Galuna, he showed up on her doorstep in tears. She wanted to say something, anything, but he didn’t. Instead, they walked through the town until he got too tired to continue, and settling under a tree in the park, they fell asleep leaning into each other.
They were paper dolls joined at the hands, and at the hearts. They were the kind of friends that couldn’t be moved or tainted. They were eternal. Whether as friends or lovers or something more quiet, they would be eternal. Lucy would always listen to his aching heart, and she always offered her shoulder when he wasn’t strong enough to face the world, and Gray would always be there when she needed a strong, constant presence to guide her and tell her things that she might not want to hear, but she needed to.
They trusted each other, above all else.
Because underneath their paper skin, they shared a heartbeat that needed the other almost as much as they needed a pair of lungs.