A/N: Last! Chapter!
It's been a trip. I always get overwhelmed by the amount of love 'Sparks' gets, and it's kinda bittersweet that we're in the last chapter now! This was only supposed to be a quick 50k-word story but it doubled in size.
Anyways, here's me tying the loose ends neatly together. It starts a week or two after the last chapter. Sparks is written to "look" like a dance movie - I guess this here's the ending montage.
Quick note on the song: yes, I used a Barbie song because Barbie Movies are AWESOME. In the context of Sparks, though, it's supposed to stand in for a song from Lucy-and-Cana's 'Glitter' musical. So yeah maybe imagine Lucy singing it - you'll understand why I picked it when you get to that part!
Let do this - I hope you enjoy!
. SPARKS .
("What if I lose my breath when I throw those big doors open?
Or tonight, just tonight...")
What If I Shine?
- Barbie Rock N' Royals
"Listen, you don't have anything to worry about. I watched you. Heck, Lucy watched you. What did she say again?"
Juvia closed her eyes and breathed deeply before answering, "Lucy-san said she's honored that Juvia came up with a beautiful routine for her song."
"See?" Gray said, smirking confidently. "You'll nail it. You already danced to hundreds of people last week. This one's gonna be a piece of cake."
The woman nodded. "Gray is right. Juvia will not let Lucy-san and the others down."
They stood right outside the closed audition halls and the participants were being called. The only ones allowed inside were the auditionees, the official members, and the judging panel.
Gray would be waiting outside. Juvia would be alone, against her competitors and the people she was aiming to work with. And she was choosing right now to be nervous about her routine.
He couldn't blame her. The competition looked tough. But he knew she was tough, too.
Yes, her routine was new. It was not the same one they spent weeks polishing, because after the dance battle, she suddenly came up with this new routine. It surprised Gray because this one was even better than the last one, even if they only had a week to work on it. Juvia felt good about it, and he agreed that she had reason to.
So really, she shouldn't worry about it now.
"All applicants, please! We'll start in five minutes!" someone called out from down the hall.
Juvia and Gray looked at each other. Juvia smiled while Gray simply nodded, encouraging.
"Go." he said, tucking strands of hair behind her hair before taking her hand and giving it a quick squeeze. "I'll be waiting right here."
Juvia looked down at their hands, and when she met his eyes again, she had a determined expression. "Juvia will come back with good news."
"I know you will."
She leaned up and pressed her lips against his while he wrapped his arms around her and returned the kiss.
She had a brave smile on as she left. Gray knew then that he had done his part. Now he just had to wait.
" Juvia-chan is not going with the others on tour?"
From her perch on the windowsill, Cana looked up from the script she was reading and turned towards her father.
Gildarts was sitting on the couch and had put down his magazine. His expression looked thoughtful.
They had been sitting together in silence when Gildarts asked about the tour deal that Cana's friends in the Guild were working on closing, and Cana had mentioned that Juvia chose to opt out from the offer.
"She's determined to be on Rainfall. That's what she came here for, anyway." the brunette answered.
Gildarts frowned slightly. "You know, if Aquarius thinks Juvia-chan's really good, she'd be willing to let the girl go on tour, before going back to Rainfall. It's good exposure. For both her and the company."
Cana nodded, then simply shrugged. "It's what Juvia decided, though. She said she wants to train with the company first. I think it's a good call. She never had any formal training or took up dancing jobs before… it will do her good to learn pro stuff first."
Gildarts accepted the answer easily, but still had his concerns. "Won't it be sad without Gray and the others?"
"They're grownups, they'll make it work. Besides, she won't be alone." Cana said with a soft smile, returning to reading the script of her new show. "Some of us are staying."
"This is my stop." Erza said as she and Jellal reached the bridal shop. "Wish me luck not to be swallowed by wedding dresses."
"I'm sure you'll do fine." Jellal chuckled, planting a quick kiss on the red-head's cheek. "I'll see you later?"
"Of course." she said, and then watched him walk away. He disappeared when he made a turn for the street where the ballet studio was. Erza looked up at the shop's fancy signage one more time just to check that she was in the right one, then finally entered.
She immediately saw Laki and Lisanna fussing over Alzack and Warren, both already wearing tuxedos.
"Well, both of you look dashing." the red-head said, smiling in amusement as Alzack blushed and Warren shifted bashfully.
Lisanna beamed at her. "Right? Al looks really good in this one! What d'you think?"
"Nice pick." Erza said. "How 'bout the other boys?"
"We'll see if we can rent enough like the one Warren's wearing." Laki answered. "Bisca's waiting for you in the dressing room, by the way."
Erza smiled and left the matter of the guys' clothes to the two girls' capable hands. When she entered the dressing room, she saw Bisca standing by the mirror. One of the shop assistants were fixing the laces on the back of the wedding dress.
"Erza!" Bisca brightened up, seeing the other woman. "You made it! Gosh, I'm so sorry to bother you, I know today's a busy day-"
Erza laughed, stepping forward to stand behind the bride-to-be. She rested her hand on the other woman's shoulders. "No way, I already let Laxus steal your best man on dress-fitting day, I'm not letting him have your maid of honor too."
Bisca laughed. "Thanks. Warren is such a trooper, I don't know how Max convinced him to proxy. They hate this stuff."
"Oh, but they love you." Erza shrugged, and as the shop assistant stepped back, both friends looked at the mirror. "You look perfect, Bisca."
Bisca smiled gratefully. "Really?"
"Mm-hm." the red-head nodded. "The prettiest."
"I can't believe it's happening." Bisca sighed, turning to face her best friend, taking the other woman's hands in hers.
Erza chuckled, swinging their hands playfully. "Same here."
"It sounds rushed, right? I mean, it's in two weeks! And I can't help but feel like we're all kinda pulling you guys in our pace… it's just that we want to do this before you leave for your tour-"
"We know." Erza said, soothing. "And don't worry about it. We're happy we get to be with you and Al for this before we get packing! We'll be a year and half on the road. It's crazy."
"Erza, I..." Bisca looked down, squeezing her friend's hands lightly. "Is it really okay that Al and I... we're staying?"
"Hey. You and Al are happy here." Erza answered firmly. "Dancing and teaching classes together. Mira's really grateful you'll be taking over while she goes with us. We're all happy for the two of you. That's why we're really excited for this whole wedding thing, you know?"
"Right." Bisca nodded, an appreciative smile on her face. Then she finally let go and clapped her hands together. "Back to business! Let's find the perfect bridesmaid dresses for you and the girls."
Erza braced herself. "Okay, let's do it."
Lucy was on break from rehearsals when her phone rang. She rarely got calls during the middle of the day, most of them just her manager calling about a change in her schedule or something similar, so it surprised her when she saw Natsu's name and goofy smiling face on her phone screen.
Nevertheless, she took the call, greeting her boyfriend teasingly. "Hey, bad boy~"
There was a momentary pause before she heard his reply. "Oh c'mon, that was one time!"
Lucy had to keep herself from laughing out loud. "Uh-huh. One time. Yup."
"It was a phase!" Natsu insisted, and she swore she could see him pout. "So I had a stupid shirt when I was sixteen. So you found it in my closet. Let me live now!"
This time Lucy allowed herself a short laugh. "Okay, sorry - it's just so funny! Hand-painted flames and all."
"I'm burning it."
"I took it."
"I took your stupid shirt." she shrugged. "Finders keepers." When she heard him grumbling and sulking, she finally asked, "So why did you call? My break's almost over."
"Ah! Um... Err... Lucy, guess what!"
Lucy was confused. He suddenly sounded so happy. "Uhhh... what?"
"I got a ticket!"
Boy, Natsu sounded really happy. Lucy couldn't help but humor him. "Okay, what ticket?"
Did he actually scoff? "A ticket to yer show next week, duuuuh!" Lucy paused, blinking, then chuckled as she listened to him go on. "I just got my pay, see, and I got some bonus for takin' up extra hours and doin' stuff and shit, so first thing I did was get a ticket for your concert thing. I mean, I'm gonna go away for what, eight months before gettin' two months break and then we go off for another eight, right? So I said, nope, no way, I'm not goin' without seein' Lucy perform again and-"
"Natsu." she called, and he stopped. Lucy smiled fondly as she continued. "Promise me you'll make it."
"Hell yeah, I will. This ticket's damn expensive."
"It is." Lucy chuckled. She had always told him that she could get tickets for him, but he always insisted on working for it, not getting special treatment. He did it for 'Glitter', for her other shows, and now for this concert. "I'm really happy you'll be there. Because my dad will be there too, and I'll finally get to introduce you to each other."
"So wear a nice suit."
"Okay, rehearsals are startin' again. Love you! Bye!"
"So you've been offered to tour, but you're not going?"
Wendy and Romeo looked at each other, then back towards Chelia.
"I mean... we have school." Romeo shrugged. "Laki and Lisanna are staying too, y'know."
Wendy nodded. "But Laxus-san said he'll have the contract list us as reserve members. That means we can tag along on summer vacation. It's a good arrangement, I guess. Since they said that's when they expect more kids to take on the workshops… so that's when they'll need extra hands."
"Oh." Chelia said, blinking. "So you're... staying here while there's school?"
"Yes..." Wendy replied, her brows furrowed. "Is something wrong, Chelia-chan...?"
"Actually..." the other girl started, looking away for a bit before looking back at Wendy. "I've been planning to cover this one song for a while now... and a friend of mine has a good idea for a video to go with it, but... we're kinda... short-handed? Err-"
Romeo was quick to jump in. "I'm sure Wendy can help you out, no big! She helps Bix with our vids sometimes, y'know, and-"
"Romeo-kun!" Wendy scolded, then smiled uneasily. "I'm not sure if I can be helpful-"
Chelia didn't let her finish. "Actually, yes, because we need a dancer."
Wendy gaped, while Romeo looked at her, smug.
Chelia clapped her hands together as if in prayer, bowed her head and practically pleaded. "Please please please? You're a beautiful beautiful dancer and it'll mean a lot to me and my team if you dance for our vid! I'm sure you'll like the song, it's a really good one! And we'll pay! It won't be much, but-"
Chelia looked up, and found Wendy blushing as she said, "I... I'll be honored to work with you..."
Then Romeo coughed and said, "Wendy sings too, thought you oughtta know."
Wendy almost fell over. "Wha- N-n-no, I-"
Chelia grabbed the other girl's hands. "Wendy-chan, why didn't you tell me?! We can totally do a duet! C'mon, what d'you wanna sing? Let's do it!"
"And... done." Max put the documents down on the coffee table and then leaned back on the couch, stretching his arms. "Didn't see anything fishy, everything's pretty clear cut and matches what we all agreed on with Hisui-san."
Laxus looked at the other man, arms crossed in front of his chest. "So what d'you say?"
Max smirked. "I say you can sign it now, boss-man."
"Right." The blonded grinned and nodded. He had already read through the final contract for the tour, but he wanted a second pair of eyes on it before signing. Max was easily the best person for the job, with his experience on papers and documents from his desk job.
Correction: former desk job, most of them have pretty much quit their current jobs to get ready for the tour deal.
"Thanks. I'll sign it and just change into somethin' nice. We wanna beat the traffic uptown."
Max nodded, standing up. "I'll do that too. Will tell Mira-chan we're leavin' soon."
With that, Max had left him to go downstairs. Laxus asked him and Mira to go with him to the final meeting with Hisui to formalize the agreement and discuss some arrangements. He chose the two simply because Max was their business-oriented guy and Mira was their best people accountant.
Laxus still couldn't believe it, but here he was, appointed team leader and signing a tour project deal with a major company. Most of his housemates were in on it.
It was pretty crazy.
After signing the documents, closing the folder and tucking it safely into an envelope, he headed towards the bedroom to change out of his baggy shirt and sweatpants.
He was surprised to find his nicest shirt and pants already ironed and hung by his closet door. He saw a curious piece of paper tucked on the shirt's pocket and took it out to reveal a note written in familiar neat handwriting:
Don't use your brown belt. Go with the black one.
Wear your silver necklace. It will match your shirt.
There's a nice, working pen on your favorite coat.
Also, don't complain if Mira wants to brush your hair.
Trust her. She knows what she's doing.
P.S. Don't forget your umbrella!'
He smirked as he folded the piece of paper and tucked it back again to the shirt pocket.
"Hey, handsome." Mira greeted when Laxus arrived downstairs. He had his coat, the document envelope, and an umbrella tucked in his arm as he used his other hand to fix his collar. Mira had just finished helping Max with the man's necktie when she transferred over to Laxus to nitpick at his clothes. After quickly looking him up and down, she concluded that she didn't have to do much. "Well, you look flawless. I bet it's Freed work?"
"Do I dress that badly?" he frowned. "And he also said you'll try and fix my hair."
"Ah! Yep. I see it now. C'mere." Mira said, then pulled him to sit on a chair so she could sleek his hair back neatly. She wasn't their best hairdresser or stylist, but she had plenty of experience grooming her students - young and old - before ballroom performances. "It's sad, he just moved in and you're already going to be away for a year."
"Please." Laxus huffed. "Don't be dramatic. We're going on tour, not off to war. He said that, by the way."
Mira pouted at him. "Still!"
He thought about it, and then looked at the woman. "You just want me to do something sappy and watch me fail at it, do you?"
Max sniggered. "S'not just her, boss."
The woman shrugged, standing back to admire her work on the man's blonde hair. "I'm just saying! Better do something special before running off. I mean, we'll both be away and that pretty much makes Freed in charge."
She was right, he knew. Maybe they should have a night out or something soon. Maybe even take a short trip home, spend a few days with Makarov… Yeah, that'll be nice.
"Well if I do any special whatever, I'm not gettin' any of you guys involved." Laxus said grumpily before standing up. "We'll be late. Let's just get down to business-"
He saw the split-second spark in their eyes and before the two could burst into song, he cut them off.
"NO. WE ARE NOT SINGING MULAN."
They end up playing it in the car anyway because Mira kept humming.
Freed and Evergreen were taking a coffee break from the dressing room activities when he received a message.
He almost spit out his beverage as he saw an obviously stolen photo of Laxus looking dashing in the outfit Freed picked for the blonde.
Mira's message read: 'Fearless Leader now ready to close this deal while looking like a real boss. Nice job, F!'
"She's right." Evergreen said, looking over Freed's shoulder and at the message while nodding approvingly. "A-plus. Would recommend."
Freed just rolled his eyes at the brunette as he typed in his reply: 'Hair credit goes to you, M.'
The next message came quick.
'It's the outfit that carries it! They'll look better in your bedroom floor tho. Wait that's a good one. IM GONNA TELL HIM. ;D'
Freed groaned in embarrassment as Evergreen laughed loudly.
"Okay, lemme get the plan straight..." Bixlow started, looking directly at his companion. "So in the wedding reception, we all go with the flow, but when it's our turn, we'll let you have the garter. Then we also have to tell the girls-... Okay, I really suggest we get Lisanna to do this part 'cause she's the best? So anyways. We tell the girls that they should let Ever catch the bouquet. But she's not supposed to know that something's up. And then when you two go up the stage, you gonna get down on one knee and show 'er the ring and pop the question. Boom, engaged. That's the plan?"
Elfman stared back at the other man and shifted uneasily. "Umm... p-pretty much, yeah?"
Dammit, the saleslady was now looking at them with a smile that screamed 'Aww, look at these dorks...'
"Alright, okay, I get it. We gonna go with that. It'll be beautiful and very noisy. Just like Ever." Bixlow nodded repeatedly, and then looked back down again at the hundreds of wedding and engagement rings on display before him.
Elfman stayed quiet as he looked helplessly at the jewelry.
After a while, Bixlow sighed. "Dude, I suck at this. You really dunno what to get for her? Where's Freed when 'ya need him, eh?"
"He's busy, like Laxus. Same with Mira-nee-chan and Lisanna. You're the only one available."
"For the record, I'm glad I quit my sucky job so I get to be on the tech team with you for this tour gig thing."
Elfman chuckled. "It'll be nice to see more places too."
"I'll miss Freed and Ever though. Why couldn't they come along, right? Then again, they do love their jobs here." Bixlow sighed. "I'll be stuck with grumpy Laxus. And you. But don't worry, I like you, man."
"Uh… I like you… too?"
"Aw, you're very sweet, bro."
"Did Ever mention... anything... to you guys? About how she feels about me leaving? She's been busy lately so we don't get to talk much."
Bixlow thought about it before answering. "Oh, yeah. I did ask her, like, few days ago, if she'll miss you or be upset or whatever..."
"What did she say?"
"Nah, she said she'll miss you, but she ain't worried."
"Freed and Ever told me you and Laxus won't fool around 'cause I'm with you and you guys know I'm a snitch." Bixlow grinned, then laughed. "I admit, I was touched! She trusts me!"
Elfman just looked confused before he shook his head and sighed. "So... d'you think I should still propose? At first I thought I'll do it to tell her that I'm serious about this and I won't do anything crazy while away but now I know she's not as worried about it-"
Bixlow actually looked scandalized. "What in the name of Beyonce are you even-... Oi! Strauss!"
Elfman had to back away a bit, under the threatening semi-glare the other man was giving him. "Do you want to marry my best friend or not?!"
Elfman stood to attention. "I do!"
Bixlow grinned and then slapped his hand on his friend's back. "Then dammit, let's ask her, bro!" After a pause, he reconsidered. "But we'll get nowhere just starin' at all these rings, so... Um... Miss?"
Elfman watched as his companion politely and cheerfully asked a nearby saleslady for her expert advice. He had to admit that he wished he had brought Freed along, but now he's starting to think that Bixlow wasn't so bad.
Yeah, maybe they'll pull this off.
When Gajeel stepped inside the record store, he was instantly greeted by a loud exclamation.
"GAJEEL-SEMPAI ARE YOU FINALLY COMING BACK TO US?!"
He smirked as he took in the sight of Sting in the counter organizing several piles of CD's and visibly suffering. "You wish, kid. Was just in the area, thought I'd drop by here to check things out."
The blonde groaned, slumping on the counter top. "I'm happy you get to have a badass job playin' shows and teachin' kids and stuff but your replacement is a freakin' slave-driver..."
"Hey, you signed up for this." Gajeel reminded him.
"Because I thought it'd be fun to work with Rogue, like, we can spend time together! Plus you're a cool sempai! But I wasn't even two weeks in and you resign leavin' us with-"
A distant shout of a female voice was then heard from the back room: "STING, IT'S BEEN AN HOUR, WHERE ARE THOSE CD'S?!"
Gajeel had to admit, he kinda felt bad when the kid visibly cringed in fear as he answered, "I'm almost done, Minerva-sama!"
"IF I FIND OUT YOU'RE SLACKING OFF, I'LL DOCK YOUR PAY!"
"YES, MA'AM!" Sting called back, then turned towards the raven-head again. "Why couldn't you get someone... nicer?"
"Hey, I'm not the one who hired 'er. It's the horrible boss." Gajeel shrugged. "'Sides, she's… like, a temp, right? Just someone to reorganize business and renovate the shop or some shit like that, then she's out again? Maybe after her someone better will come along."
"Stiiiilll..." the blonde despaired.
"Hello, Gajeel-san." Rogue greeted pleasantly as he joined them. He was carrying a stack of vinyl records.
"Kid." Gajeel nodded towards his fellow raven-head. "Busy?"
"A bit." the teen replied with a content shrug. "It's nice having something different to do."
Sting sulked and looked at his boyfriend accusingly. "She likes him better."
"I wonder why..." came from both of his companions.
"Traitors!" the blonde almost broke down in tears, but was distracted when he saw someone by the shop window. "Uh, sempai. Girlfriend."
Gajeel huffed. "I don't have a-" He paused when he saw Levy standing by the shop window. She raised a large cup of soda with one hand and with the other, held a paperbag with the logo of a nearby fastfood chain. Huh. He didn't think she'd be back from the takeout line so soon. He raised a hand to tell her to wait, then looked back at the two teens. "No."
They both shrugged, and he didn't know if they were psychically-linked now or what but they both said, "You like her though." Then they looked at each other with bright smiles on their faces. "Jinx!"
Gajeel frowned. "Yeah. But no. Whatever. I hate you both. Get back to work."
Both teenagers just smiled cheekily at him as he turned to leave. When he stepped out from the store, he saw Levy waving goodbye to Sting and Rogue before she turned towards him. She beamed. "Jet just texted me, he says he's at the park now with Droy. Stage's all set."
Cana had been right when she told them during the brainstorming session that the dance battle was good exposure for the Guild. They might not have won, but they got offers from talent agents left and right. Of course the best deal they were offered was the tour, but while they were settling the talks for that, some of the members accepted quick, one-time gigs to pass the time.
A lot of people liked the guitar and tap combo from the performance, and it meant that Levy, Jet and Droy's trio basically took Gajeel in. They were like a band without a vocalist but with dancers playing percussions instead. It was a new, fresh spin on a traditional performance, so they were getting lots of gigs lately.
The one they got for today was an event in the town park. They were guest performers.
He accepted the paperbag she handed to him, smelling burger and fries inside. Snacks while they walked towards the venue. "Good. Uh-" he paused when his phone beep and he checked the message. "It's Juvia. Auditions just started."
"I'm sure she'll nail it." Levy said with her bright smile. "Gray's with her, right?"
"Yeah, but he'll be outside." he typed in a quick reply. A simple good luck message. After a moment's hesitation he added that it was from him and Levy… and another moment before including Jet and Droy too. He knew how supportive they were of Juvia anyway. She'd surely appreciate it.
They reached the next block before he received the reply.
"Heh. We'll go out and celebrate if she gets in, huh." he chanced a glance towards Levy. She was sipping soda while they walked. "What d'you think?"
The woman blinked up at him. "Yes?"
Gajeel was quick to say, "Wanna tag along?"
He tried not to think too much about it. He knew he'll fuck up if he did.
Levy blinked again before she giggled teasingly. "What, you need someone to third-wheel with you again, hm?"
Dammit, he liked her, and he's winging this shit.
"Nah, more like, I'm gonna third wheel and maybe, y'know. You, uh, kinda… wanna be fourth wheel?"
They stopped walking, and Levy looked up at him, blinking rapidly, trying to process the question.
Did he just...?
DID HE REALLY-?
"Wow. Okay..." She held his gaze straight and unflinching when she said, "No."
He sighed. "Er, right, I guess you got stuff to do-"
She didn't let him finish as she continued, "My favorite number is three… so, uh. So I wanna be the third wheel, you be fourth. Is that okay?"
Gajeel felt the beginnings of a smirk grow on his lips as he snorted, looking away slightly before he ended up staring, spacing out, or making a fool of himself. "Heh. I can live with that."
Levy beamed as she looped her arm around his and they continued walking towards the park.
That was a good way to start the day, really.
But for now, they have a gig to get to.
As her turn came up, Juvia felt an odd sense of calm. Maybe it was Gray's words. Maybe it was just sheer determination.
She knew she worked hard to get here. Everyone had told her she had talent. They believed in her. She just didn't want to let them down-
That's not exactly it, though.
She wanted to do this. For herself.
She'll be dancing Lucy's song. It was Juvia's favorite from 'Glitter', if only because she felt a personal connection to it. She had always wanted to dance to it but never really came up with anything that she thought would do justice to the song and how important it was to her.
That was, until after the dance battle. It was quite the experience, but after that, she just knew that she could do more. This new routine was that - no holding back, she put her all into it, and then some. She was not the same lost girl who wandered in the Guild garage a few months ago. She had learned a lot of things since then.
"Miss Lockser. Your style is... lyrical contemporary." the woman in the middle of the judging panel started. Juvia knew who she was. Long, light blue hair and stern gaze - it was Aquarius herself. "You had no formal training, but you impressed us with your audition video. Let's hope you live up to it. Are you ready?"
Juvia breathed out again, taking in her newfound strength. She nodded.
She turned her back towards the panel. This was her first position.
The music started. There was the soft sound of the piano playing, and as the familiar vocals were heard, she began to move.
((I spend too much time thinking about who I'm supposed to be...))
She started with subtle moves, stepping forward, tilting her body to the rhythm. Her steps were rough, robotic, her head was down and her arms were drawn to herself.
((I play by everybody's rules, that don't seem right to me.))
She started to extend one arm before using the other to draw it back as she stepped and turned backwards. Her turns were abrupt, stopping midway before she curled in to herself again. It was a picture of hesitant rebellion. Her expression was a guarded one, a mask of indifference.
((I'm cool and polite, on the outside-
When I get a chance, I run and I hide...))
Her moves became more erratic then. As she stepped forward again, she did a flip and several pirouettes followed by a quick leap and as she landed on her knees, she remained on the floor, just kneeling down and as she looked up, one hand covered her eyes while the other tried to pull it away.
((If your eyes are closed, it's hard to see...))
Juvia did a controlled roll on the floor before standing back up all in one smooth move. During the week she worked with the Guild for the dance battle, she had learned quite a lot about control and grounding. It was her first time learning choreography made for her, and Erza's routine had her doing a lot of things she never tried before.
There were several impressed murmurs from her spectators, but she ignored them, focusing on the song.
((What if I back down now, 'cause I'm afraid of what might happen?))
Now she extended her arms in an invisible struggle, her arm movements more intricate. She owed that one to learning a bit of pop-and-lock from the others.
((What if they turn away when I show them who I truly am?))
From that, she smoothly transitioned to flips and twirls, one hand raised and another pressed to her chest.
((What if I lose my breath when I throw those big doors open?))
When she landed, she gracefully extended her arms and stepped forward. After that, she withdrew her arms and stepped back again, but after one turn, she held her head up and did an impressive set of unassisted flips.
((Or tonight, just tonight...))
She raised her arms, fists clenched as she spun several times gracefully, a confident smile blooming in her face.
((What if I shine?))
She didn't rest after that, landing on the floor and doing quick floorwork to transition to faster movement. The other instruments came in as the song started a faster, livelier pace, and she caught up with it, doing a set of impressive flips, leaps and pirouettes across the floor, one after the other.
This one, she owed Lisanna and Erza for giving her tips in doing acrobatic moves.
((Should I even care?
They're all sitting there, and everyone's staring at me...))
Juvia let out a growing smile as she moved across her stage in sheer bliss. Then she ended back in the center of the studio again, hardly pausing for breath as she did an arabesque, one leg extended high in the air while she turned. Then she raised her head heavenwards and raised her arms in a graceful sweeping manner.
((If I step out in the spotlight, maybe I'll be set free...))
She closed her eyes and breathed deeply. She's going to finish this.
She launched back into action - magnificent leaps punctuated with graceful arm gestures and legwork, followed by complicated combinations of flips and twirls with her arms spread wide, a breathless hopeful and smile on her face.
((But what if I sing out loud?
Because anything can happen!))
Every so often she descended for elaborate floorwork, her arm and leg control standing out as she made it look effortless to transition back and forth from doing floorwork to getting back up.
She seemed to clutch at her heart before reaching upwards again and then doing consecutive pirouettes moving across the floor, even inserting some high kicks in between.
((What if I stand up proud and show them who I truly am?))
With the livelier chorus, Juvia could use her 'new style' as Erza called it. Fluid motions mixed with well-placed, snappier moves that matched every beat of the lyrics. It was reminiscent of animation and pop-lock, but the way she incorporated it to the routine still made it look natural in lyrical contemporary.
((They're gonna call my name,
and I'll throw these big doors open!))
Juvia made a great leap and landed on her knees before quickly maneuvering herself back on her feet.
(('Cause tonight, just tonight...))
She simply, slowly stepped forward, arms still outstretched as if savoring the moment. Taking it all in.
Then she did one last flip, followed by several consecutive pirouettes. She slowed down gradually until she was back standing still, now facing the panel, with her head held high.
((I'm gonna shine!))
Gray stood to attention when the doors opened and people started coming out from the audition halls.
He anxiously searched the crowd for familiar blue hair, and was both nervous and relieved as he spotted her. She was very obviously looking for him too.
It was a breath-taking when Juvia caught his eyes… and all at once her expression broke into a victorious smile.
Gray smiled back, and then laughed when the woman crashed against him in pure bliss.
She did it.
. f i n .
A/N: And that's a wrap!
It's a pretty optimistic ending, eh? Can you see the credits rolling?
- I considered a LOT of songs for Juvia's audition, but "What If I Shine" really got her journey in Sparks down pat. It also sounds like a very character-based song, so it fits well if you see it as part of a musical (which it is!), so plot-wise I made it part of 'Glitter'. When brainstorming, I imagined Lucy singing this in a grander manner, a la Wicked's The Wizard and I.
Now I always say this: THANK YOU for reading Sparks - for the sweet messages, comments and reviews on it! You guys brighten my day. This really was just an experiment I decided to write just to get it off my head and it turned to something I really enjoyed writing. I didn't know how it would work out, and it was great to see you guys responding so positively to it. I LOVE Y'ALL.
I don't really have any next plans for another Fairy Tail fic... maybe I'll focus on original stuff again. But I do have a lot of leftover backstory materials, unwritten and cut scenes from the outlines/drafts, and I think I'll post them up somewhere sometime. Maybe I'll put up some sidestories, either here or on my Tumblr. Who knows? I do hope that I can share the next stuff with you guys again.
Until then - see you around!