AN: Hello again.
Onward, to Chapter 9!
The Kings of Magnolia
Chapter 9: Cemetery Gates Pt. 1
Leaning over the metal railing, Gray was out in his apartment's balcony overlooking the Magnolia city streets. The air around him was getting colder, and Gray was enjoying the feeling of the cool breeze lightly racing around his skin. With it being late September, it meant that it was time for the temperature to drop, and Gray was glad about that. He was in his element when Magnolia was cold. He thrived in the fall and winter.
'Natsu had his time. My turn now.' Gray jokingly thought to himself.
With his eyes still acting like spotlights on the city, Gray began to think about how things got to where they were now. He thought specifically about Lyon and Ultear, who were destined to arrive at his home soon.
Lyon was the first to get picked up by a new foster family after a few years spent in a group home in Magnolia after Ur's death.
He was lucky.
The Vastia family was a decent group of people from Oak Town, and they genuinely wanted him to live a good life. When Lyon began visiting Gray two years ago, he confided in his younger brother how weird it was to be a part of a new family unit and having to drop the surname Milkovich. He eventually got used to it and his new life, but never forgot Ur. He ended up graduating high school and began working with his foster father in a waste management company. After getting his hands dirty at the plant for a while, Lyon quickly made it up to boss status at a pretty young age. It did help that his foster father was already one, but it wasn't like Lyon didn't deserve it.
As Lyon got older, he eventually matured enough to reach out to his siblings to see how they were doing. He sought out Ultear first, and then made his way to Gray. Lyon's first visit came a few weeks after Jellal had gotten arrested. When he arrived at Gray's apartment for the first time, he was very impressed to see what a nice place he had. But when he found out how Gray managed to afford it… Lyon became a little less impressed. They argued like they were children again, and Gray defended himself against Lyon's accusations of being a criminal, saying that the syndicate was the only family he had ever known since Ur. That he actually felt accepted, no matter how much of a piece of shit he actually was.
Lyon didn't like where Gray's life had led him, but at the same time, he understood how someone like his brother could end up living on the wrong side of the law. Magnolia was an unforgiving place, and that was all Gray has ever known. When Lyon asked how Gray got to become a member of the Family, he found out that it was actually a pretty simple story.
Since Lyon and Ultear were adopted first, Gray was left by himself, which gave him a lot of time to think. And when a twelve year old is left alone with no more family around, it only makes sense that the kid would feel a sense of abandonment. He didn't care if it was just Ultear yelling at him for being her mother's murderer, or Lyon picking fights with him for similar reasons; he just didn't want to feel alone. It all caught up to the young Gray and this caused him to run away from the group home one night. He didn't care where he went, he just ran.
Gray remembered it was raining hard. Eventually, he got tired of running and just crashed in some alley way in downtown Magnolia. He leaned on the side of a building and let himself fall on his butt where he pulled his knees up to his face and begun crying while the rain continued to pound on him. It was the lowest Gray had ever felt in his life. His mother was dead and his siblings weren't around to keep him company. It was the worst feeling ever.
After a while of sobbing into his knees, Gray realized that the rain stopped hitting him. He still heard rain, but didn't feel it touch him at all. When he looked up, he saw two men. One of them, the younger of the two, held a large umbrella and looked to be in his late teens. He had short blonde hair and a pair of headphones on. The other man looked to be much older; he was short, balding and all white hair on both sides of his head. The old man wore big grin on his face and held out his hand to the crying boy.
'It's okay, no need to cry anymore child. Take my hand and lift yourself up. My name is Makarov, what's yours?'
Gray hesitated for a second, but when he looked back into the old man's smiling face, he felt as though he could trust him. Gray took Makarov's hand and from there, the rest was history.
Stopping his thoughts, Gray lifted his head and closed his eyes. Another light gust of chilled wind rapidly slid around the skin of his neck like a scared snake slithering away. It was a sensation that he just couldn't get enough of. Most people he knew didn't enjoy the frigidness of the season like he did, but Gray didn't care. He would always welcome the cold with open arms.
Just then, Gray felt fingers intertwine themselves on his torso. He opened his eyes and brought his head back down, continuing to look straight out towards the distance. Gray didn't look behind him; he knew who was there. He could feel her rest the side of her head on his back, and although he was enamored with the chilly weather of the outside world, he wouldn't reject the warmth that her embrace brought him. That's one source of heat Gray couldn't deny.
"Feeling okay?" the woman asked.
Gray shrugged. "I think so."
"Is Gray nervous at all?" she continued.
"Maybe a little." the dark-haired man sighed. "I'm just hoping things go well, you know?"
He felt her nod on his back. "Juvia is hoping for the same. She wants Gray to have a good day with his siblings."
"Thanks." Gray replied. "I always get a tiny bit nervous whenever any of them come over. I'm not sure why. I've seen them before many times in the past two years. I should be completely over it by now." Gray added with a hint of frustration.
"If Juvia had to guess, it's probably because Gray still thinks of Ur-san whenever he sees the brother and sister he grew up with." Gray felt her move to place her forehead on his back.
"That's probably it." Gray kind of had a feeling that Ur was the source of the nervousness, but he just didn't want to admit it to himself. Luckily, he had Juvia there to do it for him.
"Is Gray going to be all right?" Juvia asked in a worried tone.
"Sure, like I said, I've done this many times. I think I got the hang of it by now. And if I don't…" Gray paused for a second. "… then whatever. I'll get through it somehow."
Juvia tightened her hold on Gray to reassure him by reminding her boyfriend of her presence. "Remember Gray…" She laid a small kiss on his back. "… I'm here with you."
Gray smiled and brought one of his hands down and firmly gripped her tangled fingers. "I know you are." he softly whispered.
'And that's where you'll remain.' He mentally added.
At that moment, the pair heard knocking at the door. Gray turned around and looked down at his girlfriend's face to lose himself in her eyes. "Well, I guess that's for me."
Juvia dropped her arms to her sides and nodded. "You better go get it."
"Yeah…" Gray leaned down towards Juvia and dropped his lips on hers to give the woman a soft, sweet kiss.
As they pulled away from each other, Gray noticed a pinkish tint on her cheeks. This got Gray to chuckle. They've done the kissing thing many times already, and it still got her to blush like it was their first time.
Juvia bit her bottom lip in embarrassment, but she still managed to smile because she got to hear Gray laugh, and that always did the trick for her.
They heard the knocking on the door become louder and much more adamant.
Gray groaned. "Hold on, I'm coming!" he yelled.
Juvia stepped aside and allowed Gray to move towards the door.
"Oh, Gray?" Juvia spoke.
He turned to look at his girlfriend who was now standing at the balcony entrance. "What's up?"
"Um, not that Juvia cares whether you walk around your home topless or not, just don't forget that you left your shirt on the couch."
"Wha…" Gray tilted his head in confusion. That's when he looked down and realized that he had nothing covering his upper body. He saw nothing but exposed flesh. "When did I… huh." Gray went to the couch and grabbed his black t-shirt that he had removed at some point during the day.
More knocking, this time even louder than before, erupted from Gray's apartment door.
Gray started to become aggravated. "Didn't I say I was coming!? Geez, I hope whoever it is breaks their goddamn knuckles; especially if it's you, Lyon." Juvia giggled at Gray's comments.
After getting his shirt back on, Gray finally approached the door and opened it.
"What's up Gray?" said a pink-haired teenager.
"Meldy… so that was you knocking like a maniac, huh?" Gray said looking down at the girl with a scowl.
"Sure was, droopy eyes!" Meldy happily responded
Gray sighed. "You're doing a great job of raising her, Ultear." That comment was directed at the older woman standing behind Meldy. She had on a trench coat and long dark, violet looking hair.
The woman wore a grin on her face. "Thank you Gray, now are you going to let us in, or not?"
"Yeah, yeah… " Gray stepped aside and watched as the duo made their way inside his home. He noticed that a certain white-haired brother of his was nowhere to be found. "Where the hell is Lyon?"
"He's out there looking for parking; you know it's always crowded on this street." Ultear looked around the apartment. "Same as ever…" Nothing about Gray's home looked to be any different than the last time she had visited. Everything was the same. Everything except…
"So, is she the one you were referring to in your text?" Ultear looked towards a young woman with curly blue hair who was standing by the balcony. She was wearing simple attire; jeans and a Magnolia University sweater.
"Oh wow, she's pretty!" Meldy said as she took a seat by the island counter in the kitchen.
"Yeah, that's who I was talking about. Come here!" Gray waved Juvia over and she nervously made her way beside her man. "This is Juvia, my girlfriend and 'special guest'" Gray had sent everyone a message saying that he would be having a 'special guest' over, and that no one was to bring up anything related to his affiliation to the Family.
Juvia bowed and offered her hand to the older woman. "My name is Juvia Lockser, and it's an honor to meet you."
Ultear took Juvia's hand and shook it. "Pleasure to meet you, too, Juvia. My name is Ultear Milkovich, and that girl over there is my daughter, Meldy."
"You're way too cute to be with Gray, you know that? You could do so much better." the teen teased as she leaned over on the counter.
"I'm about to kick you out." Gray said through gritted teeth. Juvia let a small laugh escape from her and it caused Gray to frown. "Do not encourage her Juvia."
"Don't be mean Meldy. Although I must say, this girl seems way too sweet to be your type Gray." Ultear added, and Gray rolled his eyes at the comment. "She doesn't have a drinking problem like the last one right?"
"No, she doesn't."
Juvia looked up to Gray. "'Last one'?" she asked.
"Oh, an ex-girlfriend; she was a bit of a drinker. Cool chick, but it didn't work out." Gray explained.
"Oh…" Juvia didn't know much about Gray's history with women. Truth be told, she didn't really want to know. The idea of Gray being with anyone else beside her was troubling to say the least.
She felt Gray playfully nudge her with his elbow. "C'mon, you know I'm all about you. Don't get any ideas in your head, okay?" Gray said to reassure his woman.
Juvia nodded and smiled. She trusted Gray's words. And it was good to hear; she had no time for love rivals.
Gray smirked at her when he saw that her worries had disappeared. The last thing he needed was Juvia questioning his loyalty to her.
Ultear saw this exchange and raised an eyebrow. This was definitely a side of her younger brother that she had never seen before. First of all, although she knew that his ex-girlfriend had a drinking problem, she actually never saw the girl named Cana. So this was the first time she ever saw him with a girl. Secondly, he was smiling. Now that was a rare sight considering how Gray had been acting prior to today's visit.
"Well, I'm going to go take a seat by my daughter. Lyon should be up here any minute now." The twenty six year old woman walked over to sit beside her adopted Meldy.
Gray knew those two were inseparable. They took a while to find each other, but Gray was glad that they did. When Ultear left the group home, she had been adopted by some of her blood relatives who lived just outside of Magnolia. Gray wasn't sure why they wanted her, because from what he heard from Lyon, it was quite the broken home already and they treated her like shit. This led to Ultear dropping out of high school and hanging out with some pretty sketchy people. Gang members and dope dealers; she even tried some of the street product herself and got addicted for a while. The type of shit that Gray was responsible for moving these days.
Eventually, when she got to a point where she was close to being a homeless junky, she somehow managed to get her shit together and got a high school equivalency diploma. She worked a few dead-end jobs and then she luckily found a position working with underprivileged and troubled kids in Oak Town, where Lyon lived. That's where she met Meldy, and the two quickly hit it off. Ultear saw a lot of herself in Meldy. She had dead parents; she was also a troubled high school student who was hanging with the wrong crowd. Ultear could relate with the girl completely; she helped Meldy save herself from going down the same path Ultear had taken. Meldy thought of Ultear as a mother; so much so that Ultear ended up taking custody of her. Good ending for both of them.
Another round of knocks came from the apartment entrance.
"Your brother?" Juvia looked to her boyfriend.
"Yup." Gray moved from his position next to Juvia and went to, once again, open his door.
"You know, I may not be a tenant, but they should really allow guests to use that special parking lot you guys have here." complained a man with white spiked hair who stood in front of Gray.
"For what? It's not like you're staying over." Gray moved over to let the man in.
"Still, parking is terrible around here. I wish they'd ju-" Lyon stopped his ranting when he discovered an incredibly attractive bluenette standing in the middle of the apartment. She may not have been wearing the most extravagant clothing in the world, but that didn't do anything to distract from her gorgeous pale face.
Lyon immediately made his way over to the girl. "And who might you be?" he asked with a smirk on his face.
"I told you there would be a spec-" Gray began, but Lyon cut him off by raising his hand.
"I'm talking to the lady here. Don't interrupt Gray."
"The hell…?" Gray furrowed his eyebrows. What in the world was Lyon up to?
The two ladies in the kitchen watched the scene unfold with genuine interest. "What's with Lyon?" Meldy asked her mother. The older woman shrugged.
"Let's see what happens." Ultear responded.
Bringing his attention back towards the confused woman in front of him, Lyon continued. "Please, tell me your name."
"Uh, oh, my name is Juvia Lockser." she said nervously.
"Juvia…" Lyon let her name linger on for a second. "Now that's a beautiful name." he continued to watch her and a million thoughts went through Lyon's mind.
"T-Thank you, Lyon-san. It's nice to meet you." Juvia raised her hand for Lyon to shake it.
'She gave me a title at the end of my name!' Lyon thought. Little did the man know that Juvia did this to pretty much everybody she met. Also, 'san' is pretty basic. It's not like it she used any special honorific or anything.
Lyon cupped Juvia's hand with both of his and looked at her right in the eyes. "That's it, I made up my mind: Juvia and I are meant to be together."
"W-What!?" Juvia was shocked at the sudden proclamation Lyon had just made.
The other two women in the apartment were almost as shocked as the bluenette. Ultear's eyes were as big as saucers and her daughter seemed very amused. "Whoa! Lyon is in love with Gray's girl! This is hilarious." Meldy said with a huge smile on her face.
Juvia's face turned blood red. "Um…" She was perplexed and embarrassed. It also didn't help that the women in Gray's family were getting a kick out of this. It made her feel worse. She didn't want this to happen, especially in front of the love of her life. "L-Lyon-san… B-But your brother is Juvia's…"
"Oh never mind him!" Lyon cut her off. "I'm here in front of you right now." He moved his hands and placed them on each of the baffled woman's shoulders. "Now, how about when everything is all finished here, you and I head to a nice restaurant for a little alone time. We're going to need every chance we can get to know each other better. I don't live here anymore, so it's going to be tough having a relationship, but I know that our love will make it work, Juvia. That's right, I lo-Argghh!"
With absolute fury visible on his face, Gray viciously ripped Lyon away from Juvia by the collar of his shirt. "What in the fuck do you think you're doing!? Do you know how bad I want to murder your ass right now? Juvia is MY girlfriend, so don't go touching what's mine like that!" Gray yelled.
Lyon recovered and fixed his messed up collar. "Hmph! Such savagery in front of a lady is unacceptable. I apologize for his barbaric behavior Juvia."
"Just shut up! Now, I won't allow you anywhere near her." Gray stated with his hands balled into fists.
"That's not your call to make, isn't that right, Juvia my dear." Lyon looked to the curly-haired woman.
Juvia was at a loss for words. She had no idea how to process what just happened. Juvia didn't know how to deal with her boyfriend's brother claiming his love for her. And they had just met! This Lyon guy was definitely a character.
"You're being creepy, just cut the crap Lyon!" Gray shouted.
"It seems like you still haven't learned to share your things, huh Gray." Ultear spoke with a devilish smirk.
'T-Things?' Juvia repeated Ultear's words in her head.
"Juvia isn't a 'thing', Ultear, and I ain't sharing. She's my girl, and Lyon is being an ass." the angered man retorted.
"I know, I'm just teasing." said the elder sibling. "Lyon, cut it out. You can't have Juvia and you're just going to have to deal with that."
"Ha Ha! This is funny. C'mon mom, let them fight!" Meldy wrapped her arms around her mother's shoulders and pleaded to let the two continue fighting over Juvia. Ultear lightly slapped the young girl's arms in response.
"Quiet Meldy." Ultear added.
"Aww man…" the pink-haired girl was disappointed.
"Well fine, but I'm not giving up, you hear me Gray?" the man with white spiky hair strutted over to the kitchen where his sister and niece were to have a seat.
"You're wasting your time, you loser." Gray looked to his female companion and offered her a look of apology. "Sorry, but this is my family, Juvia."
When Juvia finally recovered, she looked back at her boyfriend and grinned. "It's okay." They were all definitely eccentric, but Juvia knew it was important for Gray to be around people who were dear to him. "Juvia is happy they're here."
Following Lyon's awkward introduction to Juvia, everyone proceeded to make themselves comfortable and began conversing with one another. Gray seemed to be a lot more receptive to his family's presence than he had in the past. This was not lost on Ultear and Lyon, who both noticed that their younger brother had his lips curved upward more than they had ever seen before. They also noted that the blue-haired woman was constantly by his side, and they would at times break from the group conversation to whisper and say things to one another. And it would usually end with one of the two grinning, which in turn caused the other to grin.
Ultear and Lyon both took it as a positive thing for their usually moody younger brother. They were definitely happy for the pair, and glad that Gray found someone who could shine a little light through his darkness. It almost made Lyon want to stop trying to get Juvia's attention. Almost.
There was one piece of the conversations that got Gray's full attention when Lyon spoke about a recent hire he had just made.
Normally, Gray didn't really pay too much attention to Lyon's anecdotes about work; how interesting could waste disposal be? But when Lyon described the new guy he had hired to work at the factory, Gray was more than a little stunned. Lyon described the man as having a dark-red tattoo on his face and had the look of someone who had just been told that his dog died. Gray's brother continued saying that usually, a guy that looked like him wouldn't even be considered for a job, but there was something about the man that Lyon could relate to. He felt that the man, named Jellal, was being authentic and could tell that he was someone who could really use the job. So Lyon chose to hire him, and the man with the tattoo on his face perked up almost instantly.
While Gray didn't say anything, he mentally thanked his brother for taking a chance on Jellal. It made him happy to hear that his friend was doing well.
After a while of talking and hanging out at Gray's home, the trio of Lyon, Ultear and Gray finally decided to finally make their way towards Magnolia cemetery.
"Go on Gray, your family is waiting for you." Juvia said to her boyfriend who was standing in front of her in the hallway of his building.
"Yeah, hurry up, stop bothering my Juvia and let's get going." Lyon interjected. He was standing next to Ultear; both were waiting for Gray to finish saying goodbye to his girlfriend.
"No one was talking to you." Gray looked over his shoulder at his annoying older brother. "Geez… so you sure you'll be okay?" he said focusing his eyes on Juvia again.
"Of course!" Juvia nodded. "Meldy-san will keep Juvia company, so Gray has no need to worry."
"Meldy, don't bother Juvia too much. I know how you can be." Ultear made sure to add that before leaving her teenaged daughter alone with someone she just met.
"I won't!" they heard the girl say from inside the apartment.
"Okay then, I'll be back shortly." Gray approached Juvia planted a small kiss on her forehead.
"Hmm… don't rush because of Juvia. This is important for you Gray, so take all the time you three need."
"Don't go kissing my Juvia like that, Gray." Lyon continued to pester his younger brother.
Gray turned to face his obnoxious sibling. "You need to mind your own goddamn business." He looked over his shoulder to give Juvia one last look before taking off. "See you soon." Gray didn't want to leave his girlfriend, but he knew that he had to see his mother. This time, all three of them would be present. This was surprisingly a first for them.
"Wait for me Juvia darling, I'll be back." Lyon couldn't help himself.
"Move!" Gray shoved his brother as the trio walked towards the staircase that led to the first floor.
Juvia giggled at the two squabbling men and watched as they disappeared from her sight. She hoped that Gray would be okay, and that his time spent at the cemetery with both his brother and sister present would be a positive experience for him.
Juvia sighed and closed the door. When she looked back into the apartment, she saw a smirking Meldy standing a few feet away from her. "Um, yes Meldy-san?"
"So how did you do it?"
"Do… what?" Juvia asked, not sure what the girl meant.
"Gray." Meldy stated. "How did you seduce him?"
"Seduce?" Juvia repeated Meldy's words a little puzzled. "Uh, Juvia is not sure what you mean by that."
"Oh drop the nice girl act Juvia." Meldy walked over to the couch and sat on the headrest. "We all did some talking here, but neither of you mentioned how you and Gray first met." Meldy studied the bluenette. "So how'd you do it? Did you wear a skanky dress that revealed all the goods? You may have a sweater on, but I can tell you have a pretty decent rack."
"E-Excuse me?" Juvia's face burned up at Meldy's embarrassing comments.
"Or maybe you didn't… I mean, I've been out with Gray before, and I've seen a lot of girls basically throw themselves on Gray and he rejected all of them. Can't blame them for trying though; Gray is pretty hot." Meldy lifted her legs and planted herself on the couch, sitting on it correctly. "Don't tell him I said that by the way."
"Um, Meldy?" Juvia tried to speak, but the younger girl proceeded to speak.
"So, I wonder, how did you approach him?" Meldy looked back to the bluenette. "C'mon, tell me."
"W-Well, Juvia didn't approach Gray. He approached me." Juvia offered. She had a lot of time to kill before Gray got back, so she might as well kill it by talking to this rather straight forward talking teen.
"Huh…? Are you for real?" Meldy wasn't sure if she could believe what she just heard. "No no no no no, Gray doesn't approach any girl. Like I said, I've been out with the dude. Be honest with me here."
"Juvia doesn't know what to tell you. It's true, Gray approached Juvia at the beach." Juvia began remembering her first meeting with her beloved. She smiled at the memory, and thought of how great a day it was because of their fateful encounter. "We were both acting pretty nervous and it was hard to find words to speak because we wer-"
"Hold on a second, nervous? Gray was nervous? To speak to a girl?" Meldy was flabbergasted at what she just heard come out of Juvia's mouth. Gray was the type of guy that just oozed cool. Nervous and Gray didn't seem like they mixed together well. Plus, she knew he was a hardened gang member. It couldn't be possible. "You have to be lying, Juvia."
"Juvia isn't making anything up, Meldy-san, that's how we both were." Juvia wasn't sure if she should continue speaking to the girl without Gray there to defend himself from things that would be embarrassing to him, but this Meldy girl was pushy.
"Juvia, bring your butt over here. I wanna hear everything, and I mean everything!" Meldy excitedly patted the empty spot on the couch, signaling for Juvia to sit down.
The curly-haired woman sighed. 'Juvia is sorry Gray…' And just like when Levy interrogated her about Gray, Juvia had no choice but to comply.
In Loving Memory
That's all the small tombstone said.
Lyon, Gray and Ultear all stood in front of the small, cheap slab of rock. The grave wasn't very impressive, but that's all that could be afforded at the time. They were a poor family. Ur had to work extra hard to have enough money to support her kids. Ur was the kind of woman that worked more than one job so that she could make sure her children could have food to eat and a home to sleep in. She was the definition of a strong woman.
No one wanted to speak. Almost twenty five minutes had passed since they positioned themselves in front of their mother's burial ground. But all they could do was look at the stone that had her name on it. Most people wouldn't go this long without speaking, but these weren't your average family members visiting a dead loved one. It was like this a lot whenever any of them came here, so no big surprise that everyone's mouth would stay shut for a long time.
However, silence usually became uncomfortable after a while, even for these three. At this point, like every other time, it was just a matter of who would go first.
And the person with the stones big enough to break the quiet was the man with white spiked hair.
"She uh… she would have really been proud to see us here together."
The other two just solemnly nodded their heads.
"She would have really been proud of us; of the things we managed to accomplish without her around." Lyon continued.
Gray didn't buy that for a second. He knew that he was different from both of them. "Well, she would have been proud of you two, not so sure that's true about me." Gray said.
"Ugh… really Gray? We're going to start this already?" Ultear looked at her younger brother with an aggravated look on her face.
"What? I'm just saying it's true. I know you don't actually believe what Lyon just said about us." Gray defended himself. "You know I'm in a different situation."
"Who the hell cares Gray?" Ultear responded. "Every time I come here with you, it's always the same: You always try to make it about yourself. It's infuriating." Ultear's anger was beginning to rise.
"What the fuck are you talking about? I'm not trying to make this about me; Lyon said something that wasn't true and I responded. That's all." Gray, too, was becoming annoyed with his older sister. "Stop trying to start a fight Ultear."
"Stop giving me a reason, Gray!" Ultear shot back. "This is mother's time; stop trying to steal the spotlight by getting out all your angst. It's pathetic."
"Oh whatever, just shut up if you're gonna act like that." Gray waved the violet-haired woman off. "I can't ever say shit around you when I come here. You're so unbearable."
"You're such a child. It seems like you can't act like a normal human being without your little girlfriend around."
Gray turned to look at his sister and pointed his finger at her. "Don't go bringing up Juvia, Ultear. I'm fucking warning you."
Ultear let out a humorless laugh. "Oh what are you going to do, hit me?" She made her way to her younger brother and stopped in front of him, basically daring him to make a move.
Gray would never hit a woman, but Ultear was a tough lady. Not that he would use that as an excuse to punch her, but she was definitely getting under his skin. "Get the fuck out of my face Ultear." Gray looked away, not wanting to give her any sort of eye contact.
"What? Didn't you just issue a stern warning? C'mon, back the tough-guy talk up. Let's see if the Family has any real men in their squad." Ultear taunted.
"You're sounding like a damned idiot. Get away from me."
"No, I'm right here and I'm not moving. I don't care if it bugs you; deal with it, little brother." Ultear was getting up in Gray's face making sure he couldn't escape from her.
Gray couldn't help it. He brought his eyes back to Ultear. "You really need my attention that much Ultear? You that fucking stupid that you want to start some shit with me. Shut your fucking mouth. I'm getting really tired of you and your nonsense."
Lyon watched his brother and sister go at it. They had completely forgotten that he was there. This wasn't going very well. The only thing Lyon could say about it was that it was actually much worse before. He remembered when he first convinced Ultear to visit Gray; they would go at it forever. Lyon had to jump in the middle all the time to keep them from chewing each other's heads off.
This was back when Ultear had no problem with calling Gray a murderer. Now that was bad. Thankfully, she hadn't pulled that card out. Lyon even remembered Meldy jumping in the middle of fights to help defend her mother against Gray. As hard as it was to believe, the fights between Gray and Ultear were much worse than what was happening now.
Lyon had to stop the fighting. And he chose to do it the only way he knew how.
"Sorry mom, I apologize for the behavior of these ill-tempered children. Yes, it seems like I'm the only one who grew up. I'm sorry to report such troubling news." Lyon looked like a disappointed parent while talking to the grave stone.
"What the hell did you say!?" Ultear and Gray said in unison.
'Gotcha!' Lyon kept that one in his head. "Oh, are you two kids done squabbling? You're disturbing mother's rest with your annoying voices."
"Shut it Lyon!" Ultear shouted.
"Yeah, no one wants to be spoken down to by you of all people." Gray jumped in.
"You two, always ready to kill each other. When will you guys grow up?" Lyon asked whilst shaking his head.
Gray took a step towards Lyon. "When will you grow up? You still act like a kid; jealous of what I have and trying to take what isn't yours."
Lyon shrugged. "Can't help it if I look better next to Juvia than you do."
"You better cut that shit out. That's my girlfriend you're talking about and you have no chance with her. None!"
"Whatever you say champ." Lyon continued to patronize his younger brother.
"Yeah, it is whatever I say." Gray got closer to Lyon and pushed him hard, sending him stumbling back a few steps. "So keep your mouth closed as much as possible."
"Heh heh, you might want to check yourself little bro. You might end up doing something you might regret." Lyon warned.
"Oh? This sounds interesting." Gray rubbed his hands together. "I'm not quite sure what you mean though; you might want to speak your words a little more clearly."
"Let's see if I can make myself a little more understandable to my less intelligent little brother." Lyon threw off his jacket and began to unbutton his shirt. "How about this: Winner gets Juvia?"
Gray removed his long white coat and dropped it to the ground. "She's not a thing to place a bet on, stupid."
"Afraid you'll lose?"
"No, remember, she's already mine." Gray saw that Lyon was damn near finished unbuttoning his shirt. "You must really want to get your ass kicked in front of mom, don't you?" Gray then started to remove his t-shirt.
"Remember who used to win all the fights when we were younger." Lyon reminded Gray.
"Shits different now, Lyon." Gray threw his last piece of upper body wear on the ground and now they were both topless at a cemetery.
"Oh that's right; you're a big bad gangster now." Lyon teased. "Everyone has to be afraid of you."
"I don't know about everyone, but you sure as hell do." Gray put up his guards, ready to go.
Lyon did the same and the two brothers kept their eyes focused on each other. They waited to see who would go first.
It was neither of them. Ultear stepped between the two and gave them both a good whack on the head.
"Hey! What was that for!?" the two males said in unison.
"You two put your clothes back on. We're in public; you two should be ashamed of yourselves." Ultear chided. "Starting a fight in front of mother's grave is intolerable."
"You started a fight with me not that long ago! Did you already forget that?" Gray said while rubbing the spot that Ultear had hit him on.
Ultear let out a deep sigh. "I know, and that was truly shameful of me. I'm sorry Gray, I acted foolishly." Ultear hung her head.
Gray did not expect an apology. Needless to say, he was caught off guard. "Oh, uh, y-yeah; It's all good, Ultear. No big deal." Gray reached for his shirt and coat so that he could put it back on. Lyon did the same with his clothing.
Ultear took a few steps towards her mother's grave and squatted down in front of it. "I'm sorry for our behavior mother. It seems like we all still have some growing up to do. I can already hear you yelling at us." She looked at her mother's grave with melancholy in her eyes but with a smile on her face. "As you can see, we are all doing well, healthy at least. Meldy just started her junior year of high school, and work is going well, too. It feels good to help kids like Meldy; kids that were like us."
Lyon and Gray both hung their heads. It was hard to hear the truth in Ultear words.
"Anyway, it's good to talk to you again. I really want you to know that I think about you every day and night." Ultear carried on. "And t-that I…" the older woman's voice began to start cracking. "… that I miss you so very much." And with that, tears started to fall. "I want my mother here with me. I know that sounds childish, but it's true!"
The brothers watched as Ultear spoke to their mother who wasn't there. It was hard to watch.
"Why… why did you have to go so soon!? It's unfair! It's J-Just unfair… I love you so, so much and you should be here with me; with your daughter…" Ultear stood up and began to walk away from the grave. She wiped her tears and the men saw that her make-up was smeared.
"I'll go after her." Lyon said to the raven-haired man.
Gray nodded and saw Lyon catch up with Ultear. He witnessed him embrace his older sister and they both continued to walk off in a random direction in the cemetery.
Gray took Ultear's place and began talking to his mother.
"So, uh, hey there. Yeah, things are the same with me; I'm still a scumbag criminal. I know that if you were here, you'd give me a shit ton of hell for it. But then again, if you never died, I wouldn't be in this position in the first place." Gray didn't like how that came out. "Um, not that I'm blaming you for dying or anything! I mean, that was my fault." Gray sighed at the dumb things he was saying. "Look, I won't make any excuses okay? It's just that gramps and the others are like one big family; we're called the Family! It's just where I ended up, and even though what we're doing is morally reprehensible, I can't help but feel like I'm a part of a tight family unit. We all got love and respect for each other."
Gray decided to move on from talking about the Family. "Hey, I have a new girlfriend now! Oh man, I really wish you could see her. She's beautiful, and I mean really beautiful. So much so that Lyon wants to steal her away." As much as Gray hated how much Lyon loved Juvia, he did find it a little funny. "You don't know how bad I wish you could see her. She's a college girl, she works; she's everything you would have liked in my significant other."
Sadness began to take a hold on Gray. He really liked the idea of Ur meeting Juvia. And it sucked that it would never happen.
Gray raked his fingers through his hair. "Shit… I'm one hundred percent with Ultear: It's unfuckingfair that you aren't here with us. If I had just… I don't know. It's a waste of time talking like that. Sooner or later I'm just gonna have to get past that. But you know what, mom? With Juvia around, I think I can get passed it. Yeah, she's that special. You don't understand how happy she's made me. Not to say that she's replacing you or anything, but she's filling that void that was there ever since you left us. This girl is really something else, mom. She's someone who I can't afford to lose like I lost you. I'll make sure she stays by my side. She promised to be my strength after all, and I think I have gotten stronger because of her." Gray felt a little embarrassed talking about a girl like that in front of his mother, but he didn't care too much. He was being honest with himself.
Gray looked around and saw that the sky was beginning to get cloudy. "Rain, huh? Well, I, uh, better get going. I'll see you again, okay? Next time, I might even bring Juvia so you can see her. I know you'll like her."
Gray felt a cool breeze graze his skin. There was that sensation from earlier again. Gray smiled and took in the cold air.
He then kissed the palm of his hand and patted the top of her tombstone. "Thanks for making me your son all those many years ago. Love you mom."
Gray got up and looked for Lyon and Ultear. He needed to be with his family.
AN: I wanted this chapter out a while ago. I had it written in my head for a long time, but I never got the chance to sit down and type a single word! So frustrating; and when I finally did get time to write, I got it out in just two sittings! I knew from the very beginning how this update would go, so this was by far the easiest chapter I've ever written.
Anyway, I hope everyone enjoyed this chapter. Let me know what you think!
The Smiths – "Cemetry Gates"