"Huh?" Gray uttered upon hearing the familiar-sounding voice softly and shyly calling out to him. He turned around to discover that the voice had belonged to Juvia, who was hanging her head down as she blushed lightly, shamefaced and embarrassed, while holding a pie that, much to his dismay, seemed to have his face decorated onto it. She was accompanied by Bisca, which was certainly a surprise for him, considering the fact that he couldn't remember the last time he had seen Juvia and Bisca together, for whatever reason. "O-Oh, Juvia," Gray said, blushing slightly as he rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. "H-Hey, how're you doing today?"
Juvia averted her eyes to the side, away from her precious Gray-sama's gaze. "J-Juvia is doing just fine. Juvia thanks Gray-sama for asking."
Gray nodded his head awkwardly. "Yeah, well, it's just common courtesy, you know?" After a long moment of silence, Alzack and Bisca exchanged weary looks and equally weary sighs with each other before Alzack balled one of his hands into a fist, pressed said fist against his lips, glanced at Gray from the corners of his eyes, and gruffly coughed in the hopes of subtly attracting Gray's attention and encouraging him to proceed with the promise he had made to him. It worked, partly. Gray was fully aware of what Alzack was trying to do, but for one reason or another, he couldn't bring himself to do what he knew needed to be done, one way or another.
When it was plainly obvious that Gray wasn't going to budge, Bisca sighed, gently placed a reassuring hand on one of Juvia's shoulders, and gave it an encouraging squeeze. After looking at the hand that had comfortingly placed itself onto her shoulder, proceeding to look at the very woman who had placed the said hand onto her shoulder, and receiving an encouraging nod and mouth of, "Go on, you can do it," from said woman, Juvia took an agonizingly deep breath, and asked, "G-Gray-sama, is it okay if… Gray-sama and Juvia… have a talk?"
Gray crossed his arms anxiously as he blushed and averted his eyes towards the ceiling, away from potentially looking at Juvia. He gulped. "A-About what?" he asked.
Directing her eyes towards the picture of her Gray-sama's face plastered onto the pie that she had made for him, Juvia quietly answered, "About us."
Gray nodded his head awkwardly. "O-Oh." After taking a moment to sheepishly scratch the back of his head and think it over, and receiving disapproving glares from Bisca and Alzack for his troubles, Gray quickly nodded, and answered, "Y-Yeah, sure, I've got time."
Deciding to lighten up the mood a bit, Juvia gave Gray a sad smile and said, "Thank you. Juvia really appreciates this."
Gray shrugged as he continued to scratch the back of his head uncomfortably. "Y-Yeah, well, like I said, common courtesy, you know? I mean, with you asking so nicely and all…."
Juvia nodded. "Yes, I understand."
After a long moment of silence between the four Fairy Tail wizards, Gray gave Alzack a disapproving frown and urgently whispered, "Um, if you and your wife wouldn't mind…."
Realizing right away that Gray was requesting for them to give him and Juvia their due privacy, Alzack silently signaled Bisca that they needed to take their leave, which Bisca understood almost immediately. "Well," Bisca said, feigning innocence and placing both of her hands onto Juvia's shoulders and giving them one last firm and reassuring squeeze, "we'll just leave you two alone then, if that's okay with you." She turned to her husband. "Right Al?"
Alzack nodded as he slowly got out of his seat. "Right," he answered, placing one of his hands on Gray's shoulders and following his wife's example. He gave Gray's shoulder a reassuring pat for good measure. "Hope you two can get things sorted out." He then leaned to the side towards Gray's ear and hissed, "No excuses."
"I know! I'll get it over with! Geez!" Gray hissed back.
Bisca, neither she nor Juvia having heard what the two men had said to each other, nodded, and said, "Yeah!" She then leaned towards Juvia's ear and whispered, "Don't worry, you've got this! Just don't let yourself back down and you'll be just fine!"
Juvia gulped nervously, but nodded obediently. "Yes!" she whispered back.
Bisca and Alzack then proceeded to make their leave and sit themselves onto the very next table they saw, giving themselves front row seats to Gray and Juvia's private conversation… while still in clear view of Gray and Juvia themselves. Once they noticed that their private conversation was still far from private, Juvia fidgeted disconcertedly as Gray blushed, turned towards the shamelessly watching couple, and irritably cried, "How is that leaving us alone?!"
Realizing that they would unfortunately have to give the two the space that they admittedly and rightfully deserved, Bisca and Alzack exchanged disappointed glances and sighed before crestfallenly leaving the ice and water mages to their own devices, well out of sight from either of them.
Disappointed that they were unable to listen in from their new vantage point, but still yearning to obtain every last juicy detail, Bisca pulled at her hair in frustration. "Ugh! This is so frustrating!" She placed her knees onto the bench and, using her hands for support, leaned forward against the table in a vain attempt to better hear what the two Fairy Tail mages were saying. "They're standing RIGHT THERE, but I can't hear a word they're saying!"
"Well, think about it this way," Alzack said, calmly reassuring his wife while also not taking his eyes off of ice and water mages himself, "it doesn't look like they've said anything too important yet, so we still have time to come up with a plan to listen in on them before they finally get to all of the juicy stuff."
"Juice?" Alzack and Bisca turned their attention away from the potential romantic scene in order to briefly give their daughter, who had been sitting right next to them with Pantherlily uncomfortably sitting on her lap and wrapped within her arms, a moment of their attention. "Where?"
Bisca smiled down at their little crack shot and wagged her index finger at her playfully. "No juice sweetie, but if you want some, then you're going to have to wait patiently for a little while, okay?"
Asuka pouted, before finally nodding her little head understandingly. "Okay," she said dejectedly. Her face then lit up, and she excitedly asked, "Can it be kiwi flavor then?" She held Pantherlily up as if he were a stuffed animal and explained, "Lily likes kiwi flavor." She then turned Pantherlily around to properly look at him and asked, "Don't you Lily?"
Pantherlily, regardless of not being used to being held this way, especially by a girl as small and as young as Asuka, smiled, crossed his tiny, little arms, and nodded his head affirmatively, before answering, "That is correct. To me, kiwi is the greatest of all of the juice flavors."
Asuka gasped in awe. "Really?"
Pantherlily nodded. "Yes. You should try it. It's truly an experience worth having."
Asuka looked up at her parents. "Can I?" she asked, as if her trying a new flavor of juice was worthy of asking for her parents' blessing.
Alzack smiled and gave his daughter a pat on the head. "I don't see why not. As long as you're patient and you treat Lily well, then we'll see what we can do."
"Yay!" Asuka cried, bringing Pantherlily in for an excited cuddle, unintentionally suffocating him, though thankfully for everyone, Pantherlily was more than willing to tough it out.
As Asuka continued to embrace Pantherlily excitedly, Alzack knelt down, leaned forward towards Pantherlily's smothered face, and whispered, "Thanks for taking the time to play with Asuka for a bit. Bisca and I really appreciate it."
Despite how uncomfortable he currently was, Pantherlily managed to turn his head around just enough to look at Alzack and whisper back, "The pleasure's all mine." He then smiled, and added, "She reminds me of Coco in a way."
Alzack nodded understandingly. "I see." He looked around, and when he failed to spot the Exceed's usual Dragon Slayer companion nearby, he asked, "By the way, where's Gajeel?"
Pantherlily shrugged. "Don't know. He went off somewhere saying something about how he just wasn't made to look after somebody as young as Asuka."
Alzack nodded solemnly. "Is that so?" He thought about it for a second, before nodding his head and saying, "Yeah, I guess that's probably for the best." He smiled. "Well, I'll let you two play for a little bit longer then, and once we're all done here, we'll see that you get that kiwi juice you love so much."
Pantherlily nodded dutifully. "Thanks. That would be much appreciated."
Alzack nodded and stood back up with the intention of looking to his wife and asking her if anything of note had happened between Gray and Juvia yet, but was surprised to find that Bisca had somehow managed to drag Natsu towards their table, leaving a very confused Lucy and Happy behind at his own table. When they finally reached Alzack, Asuka and Pantherlily, Bisca panted heavily from the excess effort needed to drag the boisterous and easily excitable Fire Dragon Slayer towards their table, but despite this, Bisca's eyes lit up with anticipation and excitement.
Apparently, Bisca hadn't explained the situation any more to Natsu than she had to her own husband, because as Bisca was taking a moment to catch her breath, Natsu crossed his arms irritably and asked, "Hey Bisca! What the heck?! Why'd you drag me all the way over here for?!"
"Yeah, why'd you drag Natsu all the way over here for?" Alzack asked.
"I just asked that!" Natsu loudly pointed out.
Paying no attention to the useless patter between her husband and the Salamander of Fairy Tail, Bisca looked at her husband excitedly and explained, "I've figured out the solution to our listening problem!" She then indicated towards Natsu and cried, "Ta-da!"
After a long moment of silence, awkward for Bisca and Alzack, and not much of anything to Natsu, Alzack crossed his arms thoughtfully and said, "I don't get it."
Natsu drilled his index finger into his ear and nodded accordingly. "Yeah, I don't get it either."
Bisca let out an exasperated sigh, before gesturing towards Natsu yet again, though noticeably with not as much enthusiasm, and explained, "Natsu has really good hearing."
Alzack's eyes widened upon realizing his wife's idea. "Oh!"
Natsu, on the other hand, couldn't take the suspense any longer. "What 'Oh'?!"
Bisca turned around and pointed Gray and Juvia out to Natsu. "We need you to listen in to their conversation for us."
Natsu followed Bisca's finger and scowled the moment he saw Gray. He crossed his arms and shook his head defiantly. "Yeah right! Like I'd ever want to get involved with anything that stripper gets into! Pass!"
Much to both Alzack and Natsu's surprise, Bisca took the rejection surprisingly well. Bisca simply sighed and shrugged her shoulders in disappointed, but seemingly expected, resignation. "Well, I guess that's that then," Bisca said. When Alzack silently asked her what she was doing, Bisca simply silently signaled for her husband to wait a moment. "I should've known that you weren't up for the challenge."
Natsu's ears perked up suddenly. "Huh?"
"I mean, I guess it's sort of my fault, you know? Asking somebody like you to listen in on a conversation when there's so much noise probably getting in the way of your super hearing and all." Bisca snuck in a knowing wink and smirk to her husband, which her husband noticed immediately and gave her an obedient nod upon realizing and understanding her plan. Bisca shrugged again. "I guess I'll just have to find Gajeel after all. I mean, for a Dragon Slayer of his caliber, listening in on Gray and Juvia's conversation should be a piece of cake," she placed her hands on her hips and looked towards her husband, "right, Al?"
"Yeah right!" Natsu scoffed. "Like that second-rate Dragon Slayer could ever hope to beat me in a hearing contest!"
Alzack let out a sigh to feign grim acceptance. "You know, he's right," Alzack said. "If we're going to ask a Dragon Slayer, then we're going to have to ask the very best. We should go find Laxus."
Bisca frowned. "Laxus? Why not Wendy?"
Alzack thought it over for a moment before nodding his head in resignation. "Yeah, you're right. Laxus is probably out with the rest of the Thunder God Tribe. Wendy might be a better choice." He surveyed his surroundings in order to find the said Sky Dragon Slayer. When Wendy was nowhere to be seen, Alzack turned to his wife and asked, "Where is Wendy anyway?"
Bisca thought about it for a moment before snapping her fingers in disappointment. "Darn! I forgot! She and Carla are off on a mission!"
"Well, we don't exactly need a Dragon Slayer, do we?" Alzack asked. "Who else could we ask?"
Bisca and Alzack both thought about it for a moment before Bisca suggested, "How about we ask Bickslow to lend us one of his babies?"
Alzack nodded. "Now there's an idea. Those babies of his are always pretty reliable, but he's out with the rest of the Thunder God Tribe, remember? How about we ask Warren?"
Bisca frowned and shook her head. "No way Al. I mean, we need to respect SOME of their privacy. How about we ask one of the Strausses? I'm sure at least one of them knows a Take Over that can help us."
Alzack crossed his arms, shook his head, and raised an eyebrow in disbelief. "Do you really want anyone related to Mirajane getting involved in this?" he asked.
Bisca thought it over for a moment before wincing and saying, "Yeah, you're probably right."
"How about we ask Reedus to paint us something that'll spy on them for us?" Alzack suggested.
Bisca shook her head and waved the suggesting down. "No way, Reedus would never agree to that. He's too nice."
Alzack nodded. "Yeah, you're right. How about we just ask Kinana to listen in on them? Have her coincidentally clean the parts of the bar that are close enough to Gray and Juvia in order to listen in on them without getting caught?"
Bisca shook her head. "She has to work Al. And besides, she's kind of related to Mirajane. You know, both of them being bartenders and all."
Alzack sighed. "Yeah, I guess that one was really pushing it, huh?"
Bisca smiled. "Just a little." They both thought about it once more before Bisca suggested, "How about we ask Lucy to summon Gemini for us? I mean, all Gemini would have to do is transform into one of them and they'd know what was going on, right?"
Alzack thought it over before shaking his head and saying, "I don't think that's exactly how they work."
"Hey!" Natsu cried. Alzack and Bisca nonchalantly turned to look at him. "What am I? Chopped liver?!"
Bisca frowned. "Well if you can't do it…."
"I never said I couldn't do it! I just said that I didn't want to get involved with anything related to that stripper over there!" Natsu said, angrily pointing towards Gray.
Bisca smirked. "Hmph. If I didn't know any better, I'd say that that was just an excuse for you to hide the fact that despite your excellent hearing, you just can't listen in on them if you wanted to, especially with all of this noise-"
Natsu was really getting fired up over the lack of faith Bisca and Alzack were displaying towards him and the hopes of making the two gun-slinging mages eat their words. "I'm really getting fired up!" he cried. He pointed towards Bisca and Alzack excitedly. "Fine, then I'll just have to prove you two wrong then!" He leaned against the table, using his hands for support, and focused hard on Gray and Juvia's conversation. He smirked. "Got it," he said.
Bisca leaned in close and watched Gray and Juvia just as intently as Natsu was. "You can hear everything they're saying?"
Natsu nodded proudly. "Yep."
Bisca smiled. "Good. Tell us everything they're saying. And don't leave a single word out, you hear me?"
Natsu turned to Bisca and frowned, raising an eyebrow in surprise. "Wait… what?"
Bisca frowned and forced Natsu to look back at Gray and Juvia's conversation. "Oh, just do it you knucklehead!"
Alzack situated himself on the opposite side of Natsu, looking intently at Gray and Juvia and solemnly said, "Just do as she says Natsu. And remember to tell us every single detail, alright?"
Natsu glanced at both of the gun-toting mages nervously before focusing on the task at hand. "R-Right."
Luckily for Bisca and Alzack, they hadn't really missed anything too important (Juvia had given Gray her pie of him and that was pretty much it, whatever they did to fill out the extra time was beyond the Connells' comprehension), and when Natsu had finally agreed to carry out Bisca and Alzack's request, they had finally come to the part that Alzack and Bisca were interested in the most.
"G-Gray-sama," Juvia said, fidgeting nervously, "J-Juvia would like to say that…," Juvia took a deep breath, "Juvia would like to say that… I… I love you."
Gray gulped nervously, shaking his head in an attempt to calm his nerves. This was it. No running away. No turning back. It was now or never. He has to do this, for both of their sakes. "I… I know," Gray said, as gently as possible, "but…," he paused, having second thoughts, but he forced himself to pull through, "I'm sorry, but… I don't reciprocate those feelings." After seeing Juvia's hurt expression, Gray quickly and nervously added, "I mean, I do love you," Juvia's eyes lit up, "but as a friend, not a love interest."
Juvia's face fell. "O-Oh." After a brief moment of awkward silence, Juvia placed her hand over her heart and asked, "If Juvia may be so bold… may Juvia ask why Gray-sama feels the way he does about Juvia?"
Gray blushed and rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly, before answering, "W-Well… it's because…." Gray internally cursed himself for how spineless he was being. Sure, this was hard, and he didn't want to hurt Juvia's feelings, but this was something that he had to do, this was something that needed to be done… and yet for some reason or another, despite how theoretically easy this should've been, he just couldn't bring himself to do it. Gray didn't exactly know what it was, but something inside of him was compelling him to back down, to not give Juvia the explanation she deserved. Gray cursed himself under his breath. He knew he made a promise to Alzack, but whatever this feeling was, he realized that he'd have to figure that out first before dealing with Juvia. Gray slid his hands into his pockets and tried shrugging coolly. "It's just because is all," he explained lamely.
Juvia looked at him quizzically. "It's just… because?" she repeated.
Gray nodded while averting his eyes away from Juvia's questionable gaze. "Y-Yeah, just because."
Much to Gray's surprise, Juvia took a step towards him with a solemnly resolute expression on her face. "Please!" she pleaded. She shyly averted her eyes towards the ground and said, "Forgive Juvia for being so unyielding, but…," Juvia looked back up to her precious Gray-sama, "despite how Gray-sama feels about Juvia, as much as Juvia will respect Gray-sama's feelings from now on, Juvia feels that Juvia is at least entitled to have an explanation for why Gray-sama does not feel the same way Juvia feels towards Gray-sama!"
Gray internally cursed. Man, could Juvia be persistent. But then again, so could Gray. "I just gave you the explanation," Gray argued. "It's just because!"
Juvia let out a small gasp of surprise before bowing to Gray and pleading, "Please!" She straightened herself back up and added, "There's got to be more to it than that! Please, don't leave Juvia in the dark like this!"
Well, Juvia certainly wasn't going to make this easy. "There's nothing more to it than that!" Gray insisted, his arms still crossed and his eyes still averted to the side, away from Juvia.
Juvia eyed Gray suspiciously. "Why is Gray-sama acting so strangely?" Juvia thought to herself. "Even if Gray-sama's explanation is too hard to explain, Gray-sama would at least try to explain it, right? And even if Gray-sama didn't know why he doesn't love Juvia, then he would've at least tried to come up with a last minute explanation, wouldn't he? So if Gray-sama truly doesn't love Juvia that way, then why in the world is he withholding this information away from Juvia?" Juvia thought about it for a moment before a certain thought popped into her head that made her face light up, smile, and look at her precious Gray-sama dreamily. "Unless…."
"Gray-sama must really be playing hard to get!" Juvia cried out enthusiastically.
Gray's eyes widened in surprise and he quickly looked at Juvia to see if he had actually heard her right. "Wait, what?!" he asked incredulously.
"Oh Gray-sama! Juvia didn't know how dedicated you were in your shameless flirting towards Juvia!" Juvia gushed.
Gray's eyes widened even further. "Wait, what?! Juvia, you're not making any sense!"
Juvia giggled. "Of course Juvia isn't." She smiled and blushed endearingly at the clueless and slowly panicking ice mage. "Because this is Gray-sama's secret, isn't it?"
"What's my secret?!" Gray cried. "And why are you still going on about that whole me-playing-hard-to-get stuff? For the millionth time, I'm not playing hard to get with you! Why the heck would I play hard to get with you?!"
Juvia sighed dreamily. "Oh Gray-sama, Juvia simply adores the way Gray-sama denies his love for Juvia on the outside, but secretly cherishes his love for Juvia on the inside!"
"What the heck are you saying?!" Gray cried, virtually pulling his hair out in frustration. "What the heck's going on here?!"
"Oh Gray-sama!" Juvia cried, wrapping her arms around her dumbfounded Gray and giving her precious Gray-sama a great, big hug. "Juvia is sorry for doubting Gray-sama's love for Juvia, but think about it this way: at least the pie Juvia made for you has a deeper meaning now, right?"
"Are you kidding me?!" Gray cried, grabbing the pie from off of the bar (he had placed it there in case the conversation with Juvia was going to get out of hand, though he never would have predicted that it would get out of hand in this fashion). "Who the heck puts someone's face on everything they make?! That's freaking creepy man!"
"Oh Gray-sama, the way you secretly hide your appreciation for Juvia's affections is so cute!" Juvia cried as she continued to relentlessly snuggle him.
"Gah! Now you're the one who's freaking creepy!" Gray cried, trying his best to pry himself out of Juvia's grasp.
Alzack and Bisca hung their heads as they released long and disappointed sighs. "Well," Bisca said, "I guess that's that." She turned to Natsu. "You can stop commentating for us now Natsu. There's no point to listening to this anymore."
Natsu released a sigh of relief. "Thanks. I don't know how much more of that I could've taken."
Alzack and Bisca turned themselves around and slumped themselves down onto their seats as Natsu threw himself off of the table by pushing himself off of the edge of the table. The Connells once again expressed their disappointment in synchronized sighs. "Those two will never change, will they?" Alzack mused.
Bisca nodded. "Unfortunately."
Natsu crossed his arms and gave the two a puzzled look. "What's that supposed to mean? What, you WANT Juvia to change? Why the heck would you want that?" He then grinned widely. "Juvia's really nice, and she's a lot of fun too!"
"Don't give us that," Alzack said. "The only reason why you think Juvia is fun is because of how much she drives Gray up the wall."
"And back," Bisca added.
Natsu laughed evilly. "I know right!? Serves that stripper right!"
Bisca sighed. "Aren't you at least a little worried about how strange their relationship is?" she asked.
Natsu disinterestedly shrugged. "Nah, not really. Besides," he grinned again, "having somebody in your life who constantly drives you crazy is a surefire sign that you've got a friend."
Bisca and Alzack gasped and exchanged astonished looks with each other before chuckling to themselves, much to Natsu's surprise and confusion. "So is that why you and Happy are always pestering Lucy? Because you two value your friendship with her?" Bisca asked with a knowing smirk on her face.
Natsu laughed. "Nah, we just do it for fun!"
Alzack chuckled. "Yeah, we figured as much." He then looked over his shoulder to get one last disappointed glance at Gray and Juvia, who were still doing their, unfortunately, usual shtick. He sighed. "Well, we tried."
Bisca too took one last glance at the water and ice mages and nodded her head dishearteningly. "Yeah," she sighed, "those two really are completely hopeless, aren't they?"
Alzack sighed. "Yeah, completely hopeless is the perfect way to describe them."
Asuka laughed. "Completely hopeless, completely hopeless," she chanted as she pulled on Pantherlily's ears, who simply took it with stride, stone-faced and crossing his arms as if nothing agonizingly painful was happening to him at the moment. "Mama and papa are completely hopeless!"
Alzack, Bisca, and Natsu's eyes widened in surprise as they all looked at Asuka strangely. Bisca, after recovering from her initial shock, walked up to Asuka, knelt down, looked her daughter in the eye, and asked, "Asuka sweetie? What did you just say?"
Asuka looked at everyone fearfully before turning to her mother and asking, "Am I in trouble?"
Bisca smiled tenderly at her daughter and shook her head, her husband following suit while Natsu simply continued to give Asuka a confused look. "Of course not sweetie. Papa and I just want to know what you just said, that's all."
Upon realizing that she was not in any trouble, Asuka smiled again and happily complied with her mother's request. "I said, 'Completely hopeless, completely hopeless! Mama and papa are completely hopeless!'"
Bisca and Alzack exchanged concerned looks before Bisca asked, "Asuka, where did you possibly get the idea that mama and papa were completely hopeless?"
"My apologies," Pantherlily said, much to the surprise of everyone except Asuka. "I was just telling her how, before you two were married, everyone in the guild kept calling you two completely hopeless when it came to your love for each other."
Alzack and Bisca's eyes widened in shock. Alzack weakly pointed to himself and asked, "You mean, back in the day, everyone would call us completely hopeless behind our backs?"
Pantherlily nodded. "That is correct. Sorry, I thought you two knew."
Bisca weakly shook her head. "No, no we didn't."
"Yeah, me neither!" Natsu cried, quickly making his way to Asuka, Pantherlily, and Bisca and giving Pantherlily an offended and hurt look. "Bisca and Alzack I understand, but why wasn't I told about this, huh?"
"Because you were never really paying attention to them to begin with," Pantherlily answered simply.
Natsu let out an extremely long and equally loud scream. "No way!" Natsu cried.
Bisca chuckled to herself before making her way back to her husband's side. "Looks like we're not the only ones who were completely hopeless."
Alzack smiled and nodded. "Yeah." It was then that an interesting thought crossed his mind. "We really were completely hopeless," he mused.
Bisca chuckled and nodded. "Yeah, looking back, I guess we kind of were."
Much to Bisca's surprise, Alzack didn't seem to be listening to her. "And Gray and Juvia are also completely hopeless," Alzack said thoughtfully.
Bisca eyed her husband suspiciously before nodding her head and saying, "Yeah, they kind of are."
Alzack tilted his head to the side thoughtfully. "Gray and Juvia are completely hopeless."
Bisca looked at her husband as if he had gone crazy. "Yeah, I know, I was the one who called them that in the first place."
"And back then, we were also completely hopeless."
Bisca cast Alzack a worried look. "You're really starting to scare me Al."
"No, think about it for a moment!" Alzack insisted.
Despite how strange Bisca thought Alzack was acting, Bisca complied, and thought about it for a moment, whatever this "it" was. "Gray and Juvia are completely hopeless," she said, opting to at least repeat what her husband had said to himself in the slight hope of coming to the same conclusion he had apparently come to. "And we used to be completely hopeless." Bisca crossed her arms and looked down at the ground thoughtfully. "Gray and Juvia are completely hopeless, and we used to be completely hopeless," she murmured to herself. "Gray and Juvia are completely hopeless, and we used to be just as completely hopeless." Her eyes widened and she gasped upon receiving what she could only assume was the exact same conclusion her husband had reached just mere moments before. She turned to Alzack with a surprised look on her face. "You don't mean-"
Alzack smiled and shrugged his shoulders. "It's possible!"
After thinking it over for a moment, Bisca let out a hearty laugh and leaned against her husband. "Sure, why not?" She enthusiastically raised her arms up, laughed once more, and cried, "Gray and Juvia are completely hopeless!"
Alzack laughed along with her, nodded his head in agreement, and cried, "Gray and Juvia are completely hopeless!"
Asuka laughed alongside her parents. "Mama and papa are completely hopeless!" she cried.
Bisca laughed and reached across her husband to playfully ruffle her daughter's hair. "You got that right kiddo!"
As the entire Connell family was laughing in front of him, Natsu couldn't help but laugh along with them. "I don't know what's going on," Natsu cried, "but it looks like you guys are really having fun!" He then began laughing alongside them.
As the Connell family and Natsu were laughing their heads off, Pantherlily simply sat there, and quietly muttered, "I'm never going to get that kiwi juice, am I?"
Author's Note #1: Well, that's that. It's over. This story has officially reached its end. As much as I loved writing this story, it's a relief to know that this particularly story is finally finished/complete. I hope I kept everyone in this story in character, and I hope that, despite how much the story of Fairy Tail has changed since this story started, this story will still have some relevancy and a special place in your hearts, especially the ones who have been following this story since the very beginning. You guys have been great, truly, you have. Despite its flaws, Fairy Tail (the guild itself, the characters, the story) is pretty awesome, and I know for a fact that I want to write more stories about these characters another day, but for now, this has been my biggest project for the franchise, and I truly hope all who read it will enjoy it. So long, may we cross paths again another day with another story, hopefully one just as good as this one is or better! :)