A/N: Hello everyone and welcome back! Here I am, once again brining you a Fairy Tail fic' that popped out of the empty space that I call my head.
I've been reading a lot of angsty FT related stories as of late and…an idea started to form in my head. Seeing as how I'm currently working on updating two of my other fic's and that this idea wasn't going away anytime soon, I decided to put pen to paper and try my hand at writing a little bit of angst…or perhaps its more hurt/comfort rather than angst. Whatever it is, I'm going with it.
That being said, I hope this doesn't cause too much pain (because I've been told I'm a little too good at doing that with my writing). And contrary to the description, this short little story focuses mainly on Gray and Natsu's relationship with Juvia being more of a supporting character…so don't expect too much.
So, I'm trying to keep this neither too long nor too short; just the right amount you could say.
I think that's all I have to say for now. Without further ado, let' let's being and I hope you enjoy this.
Also, spoilers for those who are not caught up with the current events in the manga.
NOTE: Due to technical errors on my end and an error with the fanfiction site, I had to take this story down and repost it due to the error. I believe I have sorted everything out so hopefully things go off without a hitch this time. Special thanks to the Guest who initially posted the first review, I'm glad you liked this little chapter; hopefully you catch this repost. And thanks to Zangetsu50 for favoriting this story as well, no hard feelings man I just had to fix the error so feel free to come back to this. I'd like to also thank melneh for their input when I was editing this chapter!
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Fairy Tail; Hiro Mashima and Kodansha Comics USA own it. If I did own Fairy Tail…well let's just say some things would be different.
DESCRIPTION: For the past eight years, he's ventured through the ice and snow to visit the man he once called his rival…his friend…his nakama. This year should be no different as he looks back on a time now gone...save for the fact that his wife and children are with him as he pays his respects.
The wind blew with a sound similar to that of a wolf's howl. It echoed and cascaded across the steep ravines, flat plains, jagged edges and towering forms of the mountains that dominated the region.
And then there was the snow. It fell at random intervals, seemingly at the behest of some unknown deity. One moment it was fierce and blinding and then it would suddenly fall softly and paths would be cleared.
Such was the nature of the weather for the Western Mountains of Fiore this time of year.
And it was this weather that a man found that he was most comfortable in as the snow crunched beneath his boots.
Currently, the man progressed at a steady pace with his hands in his pockets as he traversed the path that he come to know well over the past five years.
He was tall, with a fit, athletic build and muscular frame. His black hair was cut short and spikey but slicked back in a manner that made him bare a similar appearance to that of his late father. Two silver, cross piercings hung from his ears and glittered in what little light there was. His deep blue eyes gleamed like his piercings.
He wore a white, full length trench coat with a thick blue trim and collar flared. Beneath it he wore a black, long sleeved tee and slate grey cargo pants tucked into a pair of well-traveled leather boots. The last piece of his ensemble was a silver, cross necklace that dangled from his neck.
The man paused in his trek, as he turned around in a relaxed but expectant manner.
"Papa!" The voice of a young girl called out, "Wait up, the snows too deep!"
The man smiled softly a cupped a hand to his mouth.
"Sorry sweetheart," the man called back, "I wasn't paining attention."
A few minutes later, three people appeared out of the flurry to join the man. Well, four actually. Two, children, twins of about seven years of age, and a tall and slender woman who cradled a small baby to her chest.
"There you are Gray-sama," the woman said with a soft smile, "we thought we lost you there."
The man's name was Gray. Gray Fullbuster; ice mage of the Fairy Tail guild.
And the woman now standing before him was both his wife and fellow mage of Fairy Tail. Her name was Juvia…Juvia Lockser…now Fullbuster.
"Who, me?" Gray said, "When do I ever get lost?"
"You get lost papa." The boy-his son- said with a slight pout as he puffed out his cheeks, "Like you did when you took me fishing days ago."
"Oh, right," Gray said with an embarrassed smile as he rubbed the back of his neck, "kind of forgot about that."
Juvia giggled, as did the girl; his daughter. To Gray, both the laughter of his wife and daughter reminded him of the chiming of bells. The bundle, cradled close to Juvia's chest and held by a sling, squirmed slightly revealing the baby wrapped in blankets and cold weather clothes.
A baby girl…with hair as dark as his and eyes like her mothers. Eyes the blinked at him curiously while her pacifier was held snugly in her mouth. Embroidered onto the blankets that kept her warm was her name; Ur.
Gray walked over to Juvia and gently stroked the baby's cheek in a soothing manner. Observing his daughter like this made gray take in the appearance of the rest of his family.
Juvia was tall and slim, with her aquamarine hair tied into a braid and slung over her shoulder, while a pair of ear muffs covered her ears. She wore a blue and white, knee length winter coat and pair of lace-less, knee high boots.
The boy-Storm-wore a parka style jacket, thick black pants and winter boots while his hands were covered by a pair of handmade mittens (courtesy of Juvia of course). A beanie with a Fairy Tail emblem printed on it, covered his black and blue hair. Aside from that, Storm was the spitting image of his father.
The girl-Ultear-was dressed similarly to her mother and even took heavily from her too; minus the baby sling of course. Her aquamarine blue hair was tied into a high ponytail while her dark eyes-her father's eyes-looked up at him as she smiled gently. Like her brother, she wore a matching pair of mittens.
Gray smiled softly.
He was lucky-truly lucky-to have a family of his own.
And it meant even more to him that they were with him on this trip. On this day in particular.
"Papa," Storm said, "how much further do we have to go?"
"Yeah, my feet are starting to hurt from all the walking." Ultear added.
"…It's not much further. We're almost there in fact." Gray said as he beckoned his family to follow him once more.
"Now watch your step, it gets a little tricky further up the path."
"What path?" Storm muttered, "I can't see it at all."
The family carefully made their way up a path that only Gray and Juvia could see. It was a trek that took some time, but the further they went, the more the snow decreased and the terrain began to even out. Soon, the snow hardly fell and the clouds above had opened just enough for patches of blue and sunlight to be seen.
"Wow." Ultear said in awe as the family stepped onto the flatland, "It's so pretty."
"Yeah…" Gray said, his expression and tone both melancholic, "Yeah it is."
A similar look had formed on Juvia's face. Storm and Ultear frowned at the expressions on their parents faces. It was a look only reserved for when they were lost in thought or thinking of something "really sad", according to their Aunt Levy.
"Mama, papa, what's wrong?" Ultear asked.
"Yeah, you have your sad faces on." Storm added.
Ur squirmed in a fussy manner prompting Juvia to cradle her gently. Gray sighed heavily and ran his hand through his hair and to the back of his neck.
"Do you kids remember me telling you about that special place I go to once a year? A place I go to alone while the others stay at the guild?" Gray said.
Storm and Ultear looked to one another before looking to Gray and nodding.
"Well…this is the place." Gray said.
"But why are we here if you come alone all the time?" storm asked.
"Well…you two were too little to join me." Gray said as he looked out onto the flatland, his eyes seeming to focus on something in the distance rather than his children.
"But now you two are big enough to come with us," Juvia said, "you two are old enough to…understand what we want to show you."
"Show us what?" Storm asked.
"You'll see." Gray said, "C'mon…follow me."
Gray took the lead once more and led his family across the snow covered, rocky field. But it became apparent that there was something…different about the area. The scattered rocks that appeared out of the snow appeared to have been scorched by a fierce fire-the blackened soot still clinging to the rocks-while others had seemingly been melted down into molten slag.
The depressions from blast craters could be seen beneath the snow and the kids nearly stumbled into them when they lost their balance once or twice.
And last but not least…there was something in the air and in the ground they walked on. A strong magical presence lingered at this place, like the nagging feeling one feels in the back of their head when being watched. But at the same time…it was fading away like an echo.
Something had happened at this place. Something that had changed the magic of the land. Something that although gone refused to fade away.
Storm and Ultear could feel it, as they looked this way and that trying to find where it was but having no success. They could feel something but they didn't know what it was.
"Don't worry you two," Juvia said gently, "you're sensing something that happened a while ago. Not many people know what happened here…save for your father and Juvia…and the Guilds. But the land…the land will always remember what happened here."
"Why mama?" Ultear asked.
Juvia smiled gently and shrugged her shoulders.
"Juvia does not know. Like the mystery of fairy's having tails, it's a mystery that can't be explained." Juvia said.
"Our world is special like that. When you are older, Juvia is sure you'll understand."
"What about papa?" Storm asked, "Does he know?"
Juvia smiled sadly as her eyes scanned the land around her seemingly as lost in thought as Gray was.
"Oh…Juvia is sure he does…but it's for different reasons." Juvia said.
Gray, for his part, was silent during the whole exchange between Juvia and his children. He simply kept his eyes forward and hands in his pockets.
The Fullbuster's soon came over a slight rise before the ground sloped down gently and flattened once more and it was here where Gray stopped. Both his and Juvia's eyes were focused on the center of the flatland while Storm and Ultear looked at their parents in a puzzled manner.
"Mama, papa, what's wrong?" Ultear asked.
Gray simply nodded his head once in the direction where he was starring, prompting the kids to look forward as well. It took them a minute to see it, giving that it was partially buried under the snow, but soon enough the kids realized what they were looking at.
It was a wooden cross.
"Papa…why is there a cross there?" Storm asked, takin an involuntary step back.
"…Because this is where…this is where your Uncle Natsu is buried." Gray said, his voice taught with pain.
"Uncle Natsu?" The kids said in unison surprised by the revelation.
"…Yes." Gray said, "I come here once a year to visit him…to talk to him like I used to."
Gray sighed heavily and looked to Stroma and Ultear and smiled gently.
"Since you two were little, I've always told you about when Natsu and I were teammates in the Guild. But you were too young then for me to bring you here. Well you're old enough now…so I figured it's about time you got a chance to meet him." Gray said.
"But papa…you said Uncle Natsu died before we were born. How can we talk to him? How can we meet him?" Ultear asked.
"Yeah, Uncle Jellal says it's really hard to do something like that." Storm added.
"He's here." Gray said with a sad smile, "Trust me…he's here."
Gray then walked forward and the twins moved to follow, only for Juvia to gently place her hands atop her children's heads.
"Let your father have his time with your Uncle. He'll call us over when he's ready." Juvia said softly.
With a gentle wave of his hand, Gray parted the snow between him and the grave. His boots tapped lightly atop the icy sheen that covered the rock beneath as he came to a stop before the cross. It was a simple design, two wooden planks held together by four thick nails but the wood was starting to become brittle and warped due to the freezing temperatures of the mountains.
And engraved into the center of the horizontal plank was a name: NATSU DRAGNEEL.
Gray frowned as he knelt down and slowly ran his fingers across Natsu's name, noting the deteriorating condition of the wood. He'd have to replace it next time he came here; it was the least he could do for his old teammate.
With a sigh and a melancholic smile on his lips, Gray formed a small, ice dragon figurine in his hand. Gray set down it before the cross and let his hand rest on his knee.
"…Hi Natsu." Gray said with a sigh.
"It's been year and I'm back. I…I hope I didn't keep you waiting too long; I know it gets pretty lonely up here, all the way from home."
The gentle call of the wind was his only answer.
"I'm not alone this time." Gray said, "Juvia and the kids are with me. Storm and Ultear are finally big enough to have made the trip; I figured it was about time the kids met their "Uncle Natsu". Heh, they get bigger with each passing day to the point that it's scary. But…you know enough about them by now don't you?" Gray said before continuing.
"Juvia wanted to visit you too and introduce you to someone. I…uhm, I had another one you see; a girl this time. A beautiful, healthy baby girl who we named Ur. That's right…we named her after my old master, but I'll let Juvia explain all of that when you two meet."
Gray was quiet for a minute before shaking his head.
"It's been eight years Natsu. Eight years since that day…and you've missed so much. Everyone, not just I, wish you were here for it all. Erza and Jellal are expecting a second child-a boy from what they tell me. Elfman and Evergreen finally tied the knot…big surprise there right? And Lucy…she…she says she's finally worked up the courage to come back here. She'll be here with Happy when the spring comes around; when the weather's cleared up.
It's still hard for her to talk about what happened; for anyone back home to talk about it in fact. But everyone…we all miss you Natsu. Fairy Tail is just not the same without you there. I mean, for God's sake I still challenge you to a fight without even realizing it and Mira still leaves an extra plate out for you at the bar. It's just…just…"
Gray's voice slowly died in his throat as he bent his head down, tightening his jaw while his hand squeezed his knee.
The events of eight years prior played out in his head against his will; just as it did each year he came back to this spot.
"NATSU!" Gray hollered, "NATSU I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME!"
"Gray!" Laxus called out, "Get out of there; he'll kill you!"
But Gray ignored the lightening dragon slayer. He simply formed a new ice sword in his hand and gritted his teeth in both anger and determination.
He would save Natsu. He would save him from the curse Zeref had placed on him.
Gray didn't know when it had happened or how it had happened, but days earlier, a horrifying truth had been revealed to the mages of Fairy Tail. Natsu was E.N.D…Zeref's strongest demon; the demon who was destined to kill the black wizard himself.
Gray didn't want to believe it when he heard it, let alone saw it; he refused to believe that the man he had known since childhood was the demon he had sworn he would destroy.
But then Zeref had called Natsu out and into a final battle between him and the dragon Acnologia. In doing so, the dark mage had turned Natsu into something that wasn't human-a monster who wore Natsu's skin. Natsu-E.N.D-showed no remorse or hesitation when he turned his wrath against his comrades. It had been a bloody fight and in the end, Natsu had gone off to find Zeref…leaving a path of devastation and heartbreak in his wake.
But Fairy Tail refused to let Natsu be resigned to his fate. They had tracked him down in an attempt to save him. Thus they had been led to the Western Mountains of Fiore where they found only carnage waiting for them.
Acnologia lay in a pool of his own blood; his body broken and charred.
Zeref lay in a pool of his own blood at Natsu's feet a strangely content look on his face.
And E.N.D…Natsu, he simply stood there with a twisted grin on his face; his eyes gleaming with insanity.
E.N.D; Etherious Natsu Dragneel…Gray had promised his father that he would destroy the demon no matter the cost. But now, having learned the truth, Gray found himself unable to do just that. His indecisiveness had nearly cost him his neck when E.N.D had launched a surprise attack against the mages.
A fierce battle promptly ensued but no matter what the mages did, nothing seemed to keep the demon down. It was hell bent on killing them one way or another. But through it all, Gray had refused to give up on Natsu. He refused to let the demon take Natsu away from Fairy Tail and destroy the others. They were a nakama; a family. They stood together no matter what.
A blast of searing heat and raging fire snapped Gray out of his musings and he was blasted onto his back. From within the smoke and lingering flames, E.N.D stalked towards Gray, laughing in a twisted version of Natsu's voice.
"What's the matter human?" E.N.D taunted, "You were so driven on fighting me just a minute ago, what's wrong? Lost your nerve?"
"Bastard." Gray hissed and made to sad only for E.N.D to bolt up to him and smash his boot down onto Gray's stomach.
The ice mage gasped in shock and pain as blood spurted past his lips. Doubling over in pain, Gray was soon lifted up by the throat as E.N.D cackled at Gray's torment.
"Weak, weak, weak!" E.N.D sneered, "That's all you humans are! Weaklings who think they are so superior when in reality they're nothing more than lambs meant for the slaughter."
Gray gripped at Natsu's wrist as he gritted his teeth in pain.
"Natsu…" Gray choked out, "I know you're still in there! Fight him; fight E.N.D!"
"Still going on about that eh?" E.N.D sneered.
"Your friend's dead, pal. And since you're so eager to die, I'm more than happy to let you join him."
Gray could hear the others calling out to him; their voices fever pitched in panic.
E.N.D engulfed his hand in fire and cocked it back, ready to strike. Gray snapped his eyes shut, bracing for the pain he knew that was about to come.
"NATSU!" Gray called out.
A heartbeat passed.
And then another.
Yet nothing happened. Gray suddenly found himself on the ground, free from E.N.D's grip and gasping for breath. He looked up to see the demon stumbling back, clutching his head in pain and eyes snapped shut.
"No!" E.N.D snarled, "I got rid of you!"
E.N.D fell to one knee as his body began to shake.
"You're not powerful enough to stop me!" E.N.D hissed. It quickly became apparent to Gray that the demon wasn't talking to himself. He was having an internal argument with someone else.
And Gray had a pretty good idea as to who that someone was.
"No! I refuse to go back; I refuse!" E.N.S screamed as the shaking of his body increased, only to still a moment latter.
Then his eyes snapped open, no longer a glowing red, but a dark shade of green.
They were Natsu's eyes.
"Natsu!" Gray called out, immediately rising to come to his friend's aid. He was stopped, however, when Natsu snapped his and out in warning.
"Stop!" Natsu said in obvious panic, "Don't!"
"Natsu…" Gray said in bewilderment, "Natsu what's wrong!?"
"I…I can't hold him back forever." Natsu said, his voice strained, "E.N.D…he's fighting to get back out. Oh God he's pissed!"
"It's alright Natsu, the other are here; we're here to take you back." Gray said, trying to reassure his friend.
"We're here to help you, to get rid of E.N.D. and bring you home."
"No," Natsu said, "you can't. He has me by the neck…I can feel him clawing to get back out. You can't get rid of him; you can't!"
"Don't say shit like that!" Gray snapped at Natsu, "We've never backed down from a fight and we sure as hell are not letting that thing get its teeth back into to you! We'll find a way you hear me!? We'll find a way to save you!"
"…Th-That's why I broke free." Natsu said as he fell forward onto his hands, "I…I know of a way to stop E.N.D! To get rid of him once and for all!"
Natsu looked up to Gray and smiled a nervous smile. Gray felt an ominous chill run down his spine.
"You…you have to kill me Gray. It's the only way." Natsu said without falter or hesitation.
"What?" Gray said, suddenly going numb.
"You heard me." Natsu said as he reached out and retrieved Gray's fallen sword. He then Grabbed Gray's hand and placed the ice weapon in it; closing his fingers around the grip.
"Kill me Gray…doing so will put an end to him…permanently."
"Have you…have you lost your damn mind!?" Gray yelled as he came back to his senses, "Natsu, there's no way I can do that to you!"
"You have to!" Natsu said, "Even now, I'm losing control again and this time I don't think I can stop E.N.D once he gets back out!"
"No! I refuse, there has to be another way!" Gray yelled back.
"He'll kill everyone Gray, you have to!" Natsu pleaded.
"No!" Gray replied, "We're not giving up on you; I'm not giving up on you!"
"Damn it Gray, I'm not arguing with you on this! Neither you nor I has a choice!"
"Like hell I don't!" Gray snarled, "There' always a choice! There's always a way out! You taught me that Natsu and I refuse to let it end here like this!"
Gray could feel pained tears running down and freezing to his cheeks. He refused to believe his best friend was actually asking him to commit something as horrible as this.
"I refuse to let you die!" Gray snapped, "I refuse to let my best friend die!"
"GRAY!" Natsu suddenly roared, grabbing the ice mage by the shoulders with a shake. His face changed from a desperate snarl to that of acceptance. Of being at peace.
"It's okay Gray…believe me. I don't want anyone else to get hurt, or worse; killed. If killing me is the only way to protect the others, then so be it. I'd rather lose my life than see my nakama be burned away. I've made my peace Gray…it's time you did to."
"…You…you ask the impossible." Gray said, refusing to look Natsu in the eye.
"You have the sword in hand Gray. You just have to make it quick and then it will be over. I know you can do it." Natsu said.
"I…I can't." Gray choked out, looking at Natsu with tear stained eyes.
"You're my best friend Natsu. Hell, you're practically my brother. I…I can't be the one to kill you." Gray said.
A single tear fell from Natsu's eye but he smiled regardless.
"It has to be this way. Once I lost control…we both knew it would come down to this." Natsu said, "And I'm glad I was able to ask this of you. Through thick and thin, through all the crap we've done to each other…I can think of no one else to help ease my pain. My rival…my friend…my brother."
"What about Lucy and Happy?" Gray choked out, "You can't just leave them like this; you promised you'd never do that to her again."
"…It's a promise that I can't keep this time. Tell her…tell her I'm sorry. That' she'll have to carry on without me from now on…and that I'll be waiting for her when the time comes."
"You selfish bastard." Gray sobbed.
"I guess I am aren't I?" Natsu as he cracked his trademark grin…before recoiling back and screaming in agony; clutching his head.
"NATSU!" Gray yelled.
"Ah! Damn it!" Natsu hissed, "He's…he's breaking out! Gray you have to do it now; you'll never get another shot like this if you don't!"
"Natsu…" Gray said.
"Damn it Gray, what are you waiting for!?" Natsu hollered.
Gray swallowed hard before rising to his feet, sword at the ready.
"I'm sorry." Gray whispered.
"I know." Natsu said with a weak, reassuring smile, "Do it!"
"C'mon, what are you waiting for!?" Natsu yelled.
Gray still hesitated.
"Do it, he's almost back!"
Gray's hand shook as he watched Natsu's eyes change from green to red.
"Do it!" Natsu half yelled, half pleaded.
Seeing the desperation in his friends face, Gray summoned his courage and took a combative stance, aiming his sword for Natsu's chest.
"DO IT!" Natsu screamed.
With a cry of anguish, Gray lunged forward…and ran Natsu through with his sword.
Natsu's body jerked, his eyes going wide at the sudden, blinding burst of pain in his chest. The two mages were still for a moment, the air filled only with Gray's labored breathing while his hands became covered in Natsu's blood.
Said blood quickly began to seep from the wound and Natsu's lips; the crimson, life giving liquid spilled from his partially opened mouth and down his chin. Natsu looked from Gray, to his chest and then back to Gray. He smiled a relieved with smile with a slight, pained laugh before his hands snapped up and he pulled himself further along the blade towards Gray with a pained groan.
He then fell against Gray, neither one of them hearing the screams of the other Fairy Tail mages. Natsu's breathing had become ragged and pained while his eyes went half lidded. But still he smiled, just like he always did.
"I…I can't hear him anymore…he's gone Gray…E.N.D's gone…you did it." Natsu said before he began to cough up blood.
"For what it's…for what it's worth…I still think you're an ice bastard." Natsu said, chuckling weekly as Gray numbly let go of the sword, allowing Natsu to fall to the ground and onto his side.
"…Gray…" Natsu whispered, "Gray…thank…thank you…"
Gray's whole body began to shake as he went weak at the knees.
"…I'll see you again…brother…" Natsu said as his eyes closed for the last time. With a gentle sigh…Natsu passed from the world of the living.
It was only then that Gray fell to his knees before looking at his blood stained hands. Hands stained with Natsu's blood…hands that he buried his face into and muffled the cries of agony that ripped through his body.
Gray was silent as the memory faded away and he was left with the lingering echo of his own pained cries. Gray sighed heavily and looked to the cross, smiling softly and resting his hand on it.
"I know I tell you this every year Natsu…but I meant what I said that day. You we're-no-are my brother." Gray said.
"After everything that happened with Deloria, my parents and Ur…I thought it would be impossible to have any semblance of a family. But then when I came to Fairy Tail, everything changed. I was at home, I had made friends and bonds that will last for the rest of my life. And you…you just had to be a pain in the ass didn't you?" Gray said before giving a sardonic laugh.
"We went on the fast track to being rivals didn't we?" Gray said, "I'd try to beat you at something, you'd do the same and we'd both end up trying to punch our lights out. Of course Erza always saw to putting us in our places though."
Gray sighed again.
"But at the same time…you were my best friend. We fought side by side, always having the others back and we'd take care of each other. We were brothers, even if we'd never admit it." Gray said.
He proceeded to pick the ice figurine up in his hand and slowly turned it over, examining it before smiling and setting it back down.
"As brothers, I guess we were supposed to stick together; to continue to watch each other's backs. "Until the end" as they say it. But I guess that isn't the case with us now is it?" Gray said.
"…However Natsu, I look at that phrase differently. So long as Fairy Tail carries on your memory…you'll live on. And so long as your memory lives…so long as I live; you'll be my brother. Until the day I die-until the very end-we'll be brothers."
Gray frowned and lowered his eyes.
"My only regret is not that I killed you Natsu…that I helped you escape your curse…it's that I didn't tell you all of that when I had the chance. You're probably laughing your ass off at me saying that…but it's the truth."
Gray felt a hand rest on his shoulder and he looked up to see Juvia smiling down at him while Storm and Ultear stood next to her.
"…You need not tell him Gray-sama…when he already knows."
"Juvia…" Gray said.
"Juvia thinks that Natsu knew in his own way, he'd find a brother in you." Juvia said.
"He never lost faith in you, always defended you and went through hell and back to help you in times when you needed it. Even at the end, he counted on you-not as friend or fellow guild mate-but as a brother to help end his pain. Juvia thinks that you needn't tell him this when he knew all along that you were forever bound together as brothers."
Gray didn't respond. He simply reached his hand up to hold hers, knowing that what she said was true. Gray then stood, still holding Juvia's hand as he looked from Ultear to Storm.
"Ultear…Storm…there's someone special I'd like you to meet." Gray said as he looked to the grave, "I'd like you to meet your Uncle Natsu."
Gray silently watched as Juvia stood with Ur cradled in her arms, her back to him and the kids. He watched as her shoulders shook on occasion, undoubtedly from her trying to suppress her tears as she talked to Natsu.
Juvia had always been expressive when it came to her emotions, especially when I came to grieving the loss of a friend.
"Is mama going to be alright?" Storm asked.
"She will be…she just misses your uncle that's all. You know how your mother gets with these things; she knows how much your uncle would have liked to see Ur." Gray said before looking down at Storm.
"I know for a fact he'd love to meet you and Ul'. Odds are you and him would have been best buddies."
Storm frowned and looked to Juvia who bowed to Natsu's grave and turned to rejoin her family.
"He sounds really cool…I wish I could've have met him." Storm said before Gray gently patted him on the back.
"Me too Storm." Gray said, "Me too."
"Juvia is ready Gray-sama." Juvia said as she adjusted Ur back into her sling.
"Are you sure?" Gray replied while Juvia nodded gently.
"Juvia has said all that she needs to say. Juvia is sure there will be more to say next year…and the year after that…" Juvia said with a smile.
"Until the end?" Gray asked.
"Until the end." Juvia replied before looking at Storm and Ultear.
"What about you two? Are you ready to go home?" Juvia asked.
"Yeah…I'm ready." Ultear said.
"Me too." Storm added.
"Did you enjoy your visit? Did you enjoy meeting your Uncle Natsu?" Juvia said.
"Yeah, but I wish we could have met him in real life…not like this." Storm said.
"…Are you going to tell us more about him when we get home?" Ultear said.
"Why wait, when I can tell you about him on the ride home." Gray said, "There are…more than enough stories to share about when he and I went on missions all the time."
"Really?" The twins said in unison.
"Really…" Gray said, taking Juvia's hand, "C'mon, let's go home."
The kids took the lead this time-albeit under Gray's supervision. He paused however, to take a look back at Natsu's grave. His eyes widened when he saw something he wasn't expecting.
There, leaning against the cross with his hands in his pockets, was Natsu; just the way Gray remembered him. The dragon slayer cracked his trademark grin and gave Gray a two fingered salute.
Gray, blinked with his mouth slightly agape, only to see that Natsu was gone.
"Gray-sama?" Juvia said, "What's wrong?"
Gray blinked once and then twice before smiling and shaking his head.
"It's nothing, don't worry." Gray said.
"Are you sure?" Juvia pressed only for Gray to gently kiss her forehead.
"I'm positive. C'mon, let's get moving." Gray said.
Catch you later Gray, a familiar voice whispered in the wind.
"Same to you…Natsu." Gray whispered under his breathe with a smile.
"…Same to you…brother."
A/N: Well everyone; what do you think? I'm a sap, what can I say; just a big old sap.
And to think I was able to pull this off while in the midst of changing an internet provider and getting a new internet router; yes, the joys of technology! (Not.)
So, as I said, this was an idea that wouldn't leave me alone but now that it's out of my head, I'll continue to work on my other stories and work to get them updated within the coming weeks. Expect "Kids: Knight's Tale" to be updated and then "When the END comes." I'll spend the rest of the month working on those two before I move back to "Vendetta."
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this until the next update.
As per usual, if you guys have any comments or questions, please put it in your review and I'll make sure to respond to you if I can. If you have anything else that you wish to ask me or clarify, you can PM me and I'll do my best to respond ASAP.
Until next time; read, review and most importantly of all, HAPPY READING!
Until then, this is DD42 and I'll see ya'll next time!