Hiiiii. Sorry I haven't posted in months… There has been so much school and writer's block. I also have been sucked into so many other fandoms that this story slipped my mind. Sorry! I definitely plan on finishing this and have the ending planned out in my head, so stay tuned! Without any further ado, here's chapter eighteen!
Gray's eyes did their best to adjust to the darkness as he looked across the room at Juvia, clad in a pair of black leggings and a thin green sweatshirt. Her blue hair was in a messy low bun, and even in the darkness, he could see the red blemishes covering her lower chin and cheeks. The stress, guilt, lack of sleep, and constant exercise has caused both of them to break out with painful welts all over their faces. They probably wouldn't have even noticed the zits if not for the dull pain. Both of them have avoided mirrors every since that night. Flare's image always seems to flash over their own faces. Juvia put a towel over his bathroom mirror two nights after she moved in and he has no intention of removing it.
Juvia was about to go jogging, again. Every morning for the past week both Juvia and him woke up (can it be called waking up if they never slept?) around 2:30 am to jog until 4:00 am. He looked down at himself and his black Nike shorts and shirt, and hated himself for wishing they never left the party. It's a selfish wish, Flare still would have died, but the guilt wouldn't be on him and Juvia. Every time he replays that night in his head, he can't imagine himself picking up the phone and saving Flare's life. He was high, and afraid of the punishment of possessing whatever it was that Flare overdosed on, and he hated himself for the fact that he is still too selfish and afraid to accept whatever punishment it is that he and Juvia deserve. Juvia put in earbuds, and made her way out the door to jog to the park and back. Gray waited a couple minutes and made his way out, jogging in the opposite direction that Juvia went.
Running was the only thing that kept Juvia sane. She imagined that she could keep running until she hit the ocean, that she could run until her lungs bled just like Flare's head against the white bathtub. With the bubbly pop music that Lucy listened to blaring in her ears, Juvia could almost pretend she was Erza, with her unbelievable strength, or Lucy with her luck and seemingly flawless life, or Levy, who is always so prepared and wouldn't have let something like this happen. Juvia's legs ached, and she thought of how she would go to work in a couple hours and exercise even more. There has been a constant migraine in Juvia's head ever since her jogging began, a sharp throbbing pain that has caused her to lock herself in the employee bathroom several times to let out muffled cries to pain, but Juvia refused to take any pain meds. She believed she deserved even more pain.
Juvia stretched out her arms, and waited for Gajeel to show up. She was sitting in his kickboxing room with a coffee, trying to let him believe she was normal and give him coffee, the way she always does on Fridays. She heard footsteps outside the door.
"I just set it up. It's eleven on Saturday. Please don't be late." It sounded like Levy talking.
"I won't… Are you sure this is what you want? Soon it will be too late to-" That was Gajeel's voice for sure, sounding worried. Juvia could hear Levy take a deep breath.
"- no… But I'm doing it. It might be hard to imagine, but I think this is the best choice."
"Ok," Gajeel sounded unsure, afraid even.
"And please don't mention this. I haven't told Lucy, my parents, or Jet and Droy yet," Levy's voice was small. Juvia heard a grunt from Gajeel in reply and Levy's take a breath as if to say something, but instead walks away.. Gajeel stomped his way into the room, and froze when he saw Juvia lingering outside the door.
"Gajeel, what's going on?" Juvia asked. Gajeel's eyes swept over her, wondering if she was in hearing distance for the conversation that just took place.
"What the hell did you hear?" Gajeel growled.
"Gajeel and Levy were talking about something…? Gajeel sounded worried," Juvia murmured.
"Levy and I are just going on a date. She's a bit unsure if she feels that way about me," Gajeel said, clearly lying. Juvia frowned.
"What's really going-"
"Just drop it!" Gajeel shouted. Juvia flinched, and scuttled to the door. She turned back to him. He has snapped at her several times (Juvia and his personalities clash despite them being such great friends), but he always apologizes immediately afterwards. Juvia watched him, waiting for the guilt to spread over his face, and for him to apologize, but when she looked at him, all she saw was a sad tired look in his eyes.
"Please go," he muttered. Juvia nodded and left silently.
Gray went to Subway for lunch. After ordering a turkey sandwich with spinach, pepper, tomatoes, olives, and mayo he grabbed a water and left. He ate his lunch in the parking lot, alone in his car. He normally did stuff like that, human interaction always annoyed him to no end, and his co workers were used to his isolation.
Gray looked down at his schedule.
9:00 personal training session with Orga Nanagear
10:00 "Break Through Fitness class" advanced
11:00 training period
12:00 swimming class for kids; POOL 2
1:00 lunch period
2:00 lifeguard free swim pool
3:00 personal training session with "The Mighty Seals" junior high swim team; POOL 1
4:00 lifeguard free swim pool and then close it up
5:00 intermediate diving lessons
He groaned. He didn't want to coach kids today, especially not the Eisenwald twins. Something about their fiery hair reminds him of Flare. Whenever they dive into the water, Gray can see Flare smiling at him while tying a piece of string around her forearm, and whenever they resurfaced, gasping for air, Gray can't help but hear Flare's throaty cries as her body shook in that damned hotel bathroom. The Eisenwald twins smiles reminded him of Flare as she licked her lips at the bar, the blonde tugging Juvia along. Gray took another bite of his sandwich, ignoring the fact that everything tasted like flemm now days. He looked at Fairy Tail.
Gray could see Natsu from the window, flashing a far too large grin at his Soul Cycle class as he encouraged them to keep pedalling by saying shit like "You are riding alone on a beach, you are at peace." or "Ride faster so you can reach the waterfall!". Gray scoffed. They weren't going anywhere, the bikes were nailed to the ground. If they really wanted to leave Magnolia, they would get off the bikes and walk.
BAM, chapter 18 is donezo. I'm thinking about uploading this fanfic to ao3 also, so if you see it there, it's mine (I have a different username there). Who do you want to see in the next chapter? Was thinking maybe Jellal/Erza or Natsu/Lucy? Tell me what you think and please review!