AN: On Twitter I promised that when I got home from work I would write about the latest chapter and before I die with feels, here's my version of chapter 416 – THE chapter.
I'm sorry for any typos, my Word – and wifi internet – are not working and I had to write it on WordPad.
It took him almost four days to reach his old town – the town he lost his mother, thought he lost his father and met Ur – mostly because he got lost a few times as he hadn't been there since he was a kid and it was just as in ruins as it should be after more than a decade left behind, but he stopped on his tracks when he saw a cross and before he could think it through, Gray walked towards it and when he saw the names on it, he sighed.
That was the only grave his father had during all those years thinking his family was dead and if Gray had bothered for a moment to return to the destroyed town, he would've seen it and maybe it could've make some difference? Maybe he would become curious of whom had put up the cross with his name on it, maybe he would have tried to find out and he could've met his father sooner.
But he didn't.
The memories of losing his parents to Deliora back in that town were too much and he never returned. He never saw the cross. Never knew that when he was grieving, he was being grieved on as well.
Gray turned the cross around and created an ice dagger with his magic and in a few minutes, he was done.
Silver. Mika; it said now and it was fitting, since his father's greatest wish as he disappear was to be united with his wife again and, even if Gray didn't actually believe in an afterlife, he truly hoped his father had finally met his mother again.
He didn't know how long he stared at the cross now bearing the names of his parents thinking about what ifs, but when he heard his name from behind him, the cross had already gathered some of the falling snow on top of it.
"Uhm... Gray-sama..." The Ice Mage was surprised to hear someone call his name, and when he turn around to see the blue haired woman standing a few feet away from him, he was even more surprised.
"Juvia!" He exclaimed in disbelief. "You... You followed me here?!"
"I'm sorry, so sorry!" She was fast in informing him, he noticed, but he also noticed that she didn't seem to be apologizing about following him to his old town and his suspicion was confirmed a moment later. "There's something..." She almost whispered. "Juvia wanted to tell you so badly..." The blunette couldn't seem to be able to have eye contact with him and Gray was growing restless, something inside his gut was twisting. "Juvia was the one that took down the Necromancer that was controling your father." She said, looking down to the snow–covered ground.
It seemed as if his heart stopped beating for a moment, his breath got caught on his throat and his body suddenly became cold. "You did..."
"Juvia..." the Water Mage said as Gray tried his best to understand her words, but she kept talking and leaving him no time to process the information and just kept burying him with information, "no longer has the right to love Gray-sama." What? She what? "Juvia was the one that..." She sobbed and even with his hazy and confused thoughts, he noticed her shaking as she cried and then when she said the last words, it seemed as if the world had stilled for a moment. "killed your father."
Nothing could be heard besides the wind blowing for a moment and Gray's mind was a mess of thoughts: Juvia was the one? He gritted his teeth. Juvia was the one who had defeated Keith? Juvia? He got up. Was that why she almost died? He took a few wobbly steps towards her. How did she know that she 'killed' his dad? His emotions were all over the place as he grabbed the front of her dress in a tight grip. Was she the one who...?
"You..." He could barely say the words, as it seemed that his jaw was locked and by the way she closed her eyes, it appeared that she was waiting for him to strike her, to yell at her face and to call her names, but it was never his intention. Gray didn't know when the trembling started or when exactly his tears began to fall, but before he could think of anything other than 'She was the one who freed him. Freed us', he had hid his face on her chest, crying like a child. By the way her body tensed, she wasn't expecting his explosion of emotions.
He sobbed and then muttered a "Thank you", and moved his hands, which were holding on her dress like his life depended of it, to her back, hugging her.
His legs gave up because of his emotional exhaustion and he brought Juvia to her knees along with him, but he didn't even think that it might be seen as a sign of weakness and just held on to her. She was the one he wanted to hold on to, she was the one who didn't let his father suffer, she was the one who didn't let the choice of letting Silver go fall to his hands, because Gray wouldn't do it. Juvia was the one.
"Sorry..." Gray muttered and actually meant: I'm sorry, Dad, that you had to suffer for so long. "I'm sorry." He repeated – I couldn't save you.
"Gray-sama..." Juvia relaxed and put her arms around him and Gray cried even harder with the tone of her voice.
"Sorry..." He sobbed. I'm sorry you had to do it because I'm so weak, this time it was directed to the woman he was holding and, with hesitance, he could feel her arms wrapping themselves around him and Gray knew that there was none else's arms he'd rather have around him at that moment. "You're warm." The Ice Mage said when he noticed that her body heat was actually soothing him and it seemed such a silly thing to say, but if she was warm, it meant that she was alive.
The snow fell around them as Gray cried the loss of his father, the release of his father and about the way things went down.
"Thank you." He said it again after god-knows-how-long, still holding the blunette tight against him while she had her hand carressing his hair. "You set him free."
"I'm sorry he..." Juvia tried, but Gray shook his head the best he could with his face still buried on her chest.
"Don't be." The Ice Mage said firmly. "My Dad wanted this."
"Juvia knows. He was the one who told me to." Juvia said and for the first time in almost fifteen minutes, Gray let go of her just enough to unbury his face from her chest – her dress was wet from his tears – and stare at her. Juvia's eyes were red and swollen, as she had cried as well while Gray himself did, and he was sure he wasn't too far behind on the disheveled looks.
"What?" Gray asked, his voice hoarse.
"It was a telepathic conversation." Juvia averted Gray's eyes and looked down, probably ashamed once again, the silly girl. "He told Juvia to defeat Keith for you." Gray could only stare at her in question. "Juvia wanted you to be with your father, but Father himself told Juvia that it was better for you and after hearing what the Necromancer had planned... Juvia had to stop him, she had to comply Father's wished and..." The blunette sobbed. "Juvia didn't mean to make Father disappear, but Juvia defeated Keith and before she knew it, Father was thanking her and... and... and... and..." She couldn't keep going as her sobs stopped her and this time was Gray who held her as she hid her face on his chest.
"What did he say?" He asked after she calmed down a bit. "Before..." he couldn't say it, "before."
Juvia hesitated, but couldn't lie to him. "He thanked Juvia, told her that his soul finally found peace, that Face had been stopped and to take care of..." She took a deep breath. "To take care of you, Gray-sama."
Gray nodded lightly and Juvia hid her face on his chest once again and he rested his chin on the top of her head – it didn't occured to them to get up from the cold ground, as they were still comforting one another – and closed his eyes. "He was at peace, Juvia. He didn't lie about being grateful to you. My Dad..." Gray stopped for a moment. "My Dad was tired of being manipulated and he wanted to be with my mom again. And I don't think I could've done it, that I could've set him free because I... I am selfish and I would want him alive with me.
"When I say thank you, I mean it, Juvia." Gray told her and Juvia's arms around him tightened. "You spared me the opportunity to be selfish, to cause my dad more pain and... the truth is that you set us both free that day." He pushed her away slightly and when she stared up at him with those beautiful eyes, Gray whispered: "Thank you."
Then, as if it was the most normal thing in the world, he leaned and brought her lips to his in a sweet kiss – just a touch of their lips – that meant so much more than either could've known it would. Sure, their hearts raced, their breathing were faster and it was a big step in their relationship, but it was also a promise of the things to come, of the possibilies they had and Gray just knew that whatever the future held for them, they would be together.
When they parted, Gray touched his forehead with hers, breathing hard and for the first time in a very long time, he knew he had done something absolutely right.
"I am going to train for awhile. Away." He whispered, having decided to leave before he even left Magnolia.
"E.N.D. and Zeref are still out there." Gray told her pointedly, knowing her she was aware of his plans.
She seemed lost for a moment. "But..."
He kissed her again, quicker this time. "Come with me." He interrupeted her and Juvia stared at him in disbelief. "Please." Juvia's reaction was to keep staring at him for a few seconds before throwing her arms around him once again, making both fall down on the ground, her body on top of his; she buried her face on the crook of his neck. "Is that an 'yes'?"
She looked down to him and nodded. "Juvia would go anywhere with Gray-sama."
"Good." Gray reached for her cheek and touched it softly. "I would go anywhere with you too."
Juvia grinned and for the first time, initiated a kiss by lowering her face to his and joining their lips.
Earlier that day Gray would never believe that he would actually feel happy so soon, but lying there on the ground, with Juvia on top of him and their lips touching, he couldn't find another definition for what he was feeling than 'happy' and a great deal was because of Juvia's words, her support and actions.
He would never thank her enough, but he had a lifetime to do just that.
AN: Yes, I do think they shared their first kiss not too long after that beautiful hug – it could be later on, but for the sake of the story, it was right after.
Also, I am bursting with feels, but what makes me even happier was that whenever I wrote Gray getting all needy and sentimental and clingy, it was actually something he would do. Serendipity just became my new sweetheart after seeing Gray's reaction during 416th chapter.
I tried to write this the best I could without spoiling it too much and the chapter deserves as many fanfics about it as it can. Because it was beautiful!
01/19/2015 (The day Gruvians died with feels) BonneyQ