Disclaimer: I don't own Fairy Tail, nor the song Beg by Evans Blue, which some lyrics have been referenced in my fic.
Authoress's Note: So yeah... I made an AMV to this song today, and now I have to write a fic in relation. It's such a good song, and I have such a great idea for a story too! I'd recommend listening to the song, if you haven't. Find the acoustic version; it's SO amazing! You don't need to listen to it to get a feel for the story, however; I'm only using a few lyrics as inspiration.
Dance With Me
Will it change your life, if I changed my mind?
She's lit the whole wide world
I want to know... if you will...
The house was empty and cold. It's been too long since Juvia Lockser stepped within its walls. A chill ran up her spine as she stepped into the middle of the room, illuminated only by two lanterns she had brought with her.
Why she came back here, she didn't truly know... She had a new home to go to, the one she has with Fairy Tail, but this home was still special. It was the home she shared with her beloved Gray Fullbuster for six months... then it became the hell she shared alone upon him leaving her with not a single word on where he went.
"We ate together, trained together, worked together... We were happy... But then one day..."
The blunette sighed, her breath crystallizing upon hitting the cold air. Tears stung at her eyes, and she quickly wiped them away. She could feel a pain in her chest as she remembered the day she woke up and Gray was gone. He had taken what few belongings he had brought with him, leaving no trace of him living there other than his faint scent on the second blanket she was mysteriously draped in.
"Juvia tried looking for him for days, but... Gray-sama was nowhere to be found... So Juvia decided to wait. This is where Juvia and Gray-sama... had such happy times... Juvia's sure Gray-sama will come home eventually..."
In the end, for all of Juvia's wishing and hoping and praying, Gray never returned to their home. Granted, they were reunited, but he never came home to her. She sat down on what was his bed, dust fluttering into the air upon contact. She looked out into the room, at the table where they sat together... at the fireplace where they had would sit in front of it and talk until bedtime... to the kitchen they made meals together and to the window where she would watch him train her heart out with a smile on her face. She tried to wipe the tears from her eyes again, but found that they wouldn't stop flowing despite her efforts.
'Why did Juvia come here? Juvia knew it would be hurtful coming back here... why did she decide to come back?' she thought, shaking her head, 'No...She knows why she came back.'
Today was the anniversary of Gray's teacher's – the ice mage Ur – death at the hands of the demon Deliora. Juvia had only learned of this a year ago, when she had foolishly tried to celebrate the day as their 413th day anniversary, not knowing until it was too late the pain that her beloved was feeling. She spent the day fantasizing about their future – at least what she hoped will be their future – and knitting him a scarf he ultimately rejected.
Today, instead of pestering him and bringing him more anger and upset than what she knew he was feeling, she decided to come here, to their home and sit in the silence and dark to reflect on her actions. She was punishing herself, something she was sure that if her other guildmates had known her intentions they'd be chastising her for being stupid. And they would be right; she knew it was stupid to punish herself for her unintentional actions a year ago, but she wanted to do this.
She wanted to repent for her actions by feeling isolated once again. She also knew this would be the only way he would be able to find peace for the day, as she knew herself well enough that upon seeing Gray she would instantly run to him.
Her eyes darted towards the window again. She could see that snow had started to fall. 'Just the same as that day,' she remarked, tilting her head towards the floor, shifting her feet slightly as she did.
Juvia shivered, rubbing the tops of her arms; despite wearing a heavy coat, she was cold. She stood up and walked towards the fireplace. It was dusty, but overall clean. With what light she had, she uncovered the woodpile they had stocked – even with sitting for a couple of months she knew it was still good – and placed some of them in the hearth, then using one of the candles from her lanterns to light the fire. Within minutes, the room became warmer and brighter. A smile crept upon her lips as she felt the heat radiate through her.
She took her coat off and laid it on the floor, sitting down on it as she stared into the fire. With exception of its crackle, the small home was silent. Still, with its warmth, she felt strangely at peace. Closing her eyes, she began to dream. She thought about the events of last year, of course, but also reminisced about times before that. Their missions, their battles, their struggles. Each time she was with him it was a memory worth cherishing. Good or bad, they were times she had with her darling Gray, and she wouldn't trade them in for anything in the world.
A silly memory came to her head suddenly. Shortly after arriving back at Fairy Tail after their seven-year sleep, Gray – alongside Natsu, Lucy, Erza, and Wendy – partook in a mission that required them to infiltrate a royal dance in order to stop a criminal that was planning to steal a precious ring. To do so properly required them to learn the ins and outs of ballroom dancing, something at that point only Lucy had any "real experience" with. She watched from afar at first as Gray tried to dance with her – oh, how she hated her love rival at times like this! – and yearned to dance with him herself. For a brief moment she did, but it was quite short-lived, maybe only two minutes or so.
Juvia laughed aloud, "Still, that was fun! Oh, how Juvia would love to dance with Gray-sama again. To be silly and carefree, and be in the arms of my beloved... it'd be a sweet dream come true!"
She stood up, straightening out her dress, and staring into the rest of the room. She closed her eyes, her mind transforming the dank space into a bright and vibrant ballroom. Herself, in a baby-blue gown with hair in curls that draped down her shoulders, as if she was a beautiful princess. And there, with hand extended out and a classic smirk, was Gray, wearing the most regal of princely outfits.
"May I have this dance, Princess Juvia?" she mocked, then giggled normally, "Oh, Gray-sama, of course! You may have every dance with Juvia, my darling prince!"
Pretending to take his hand, she assumed the same pose she did when they had danced before, twirling around the room. She felt free and beautiful, and forgot for the moment why she had came here, why she wanted to be in the cold and isolation of their old home. She heard the sounds of an orchestra playing her head, playing the most wonderful tune as she dance with her beloved Gray. She could feel the eyes of onlookers watching them with smiles and cheers. She could feel Gray holding her hand in one and the other resting upon her hip, his onyx eyes as bright as the smile he was giving her. She laughed as he spun her around, bringing her back to him just a little closer than before.
She loved this feeling of being near him... she loved being in his arms... she loves him...
Suddenly she felt her foot get caught in her jacket. Things began to break away and her dream then shattered into hundreds of pieces as she began to fall. She expected and braced for the pain of her body hitting the floor, but was surprised to find none came to her. Her eyes popped open and a gasp escaped her throat, "G-Gray-sama!"
Standing above her, arms around her waist and stopping her fall, was Gray Fullbuster, his eyes wide and a concerned frown on his lips. Juvia immediately blushed, although not entirely visible in the dim firelight, and she hurriedly untangled herself from his grasp. "G-gray-sama, what are you doing here!?" she asked breathlessly, shocked by his quite-timely arrival.
"I should be asking you that, you know. Lucy and Wendy had been searching for you all day. Erza said she found a note in your room saying you were "going home" for the day," Gray answered, "I figured this had to be what you meant. You don't have a home otherwise."
Oh yeah... while she didn't tell anyone of her whereabouts for the day, Juvia remembered she wrote down her plans on her calendar, as a reminder to keep to it and not allow herself to second-guess it. Although she didn't really count on Erza breaking into her room and reading it; she made a mental note to have a chat with the scarlet-haired woman tomorrow...
"So why are you here, Juvia?"
"Well, um... today is the anniversary of your teacher's death..."
"Okay?" Gray asked bluntly, "Doesn't really explain why you're here."
The blunette looked away, her hands clasped together in front of her as she walked towards her old bed – she remembered the rule they had about her not being on his bed, although she often broke that rule when she was left to her own devices – and sat down on it, sending up another cloud of dust into the air. "Juvia wanted to make sure she didn't disturb you like she did last time," she explained, "So she figured she'd leave the guild entirely for the day and come here, then return in the morning."
"So... you'd figured you'd be better off in a cold, dusty, ratty old house where you can get sick and dance like an idiot instead of being back at the guild where things are warm and you'd be safe?"
"J-Juvia can take care of herself! Besides, no one lives in this village anymore. Her rains drove everyone away..."
"That's not what I'm getting at, and you know it."
"Sorry, Gray-sama... Juvia still ended up causing you problems..."
Gray growled to himself, running a hand through his jet-black hair. Today was a painful day for him, but he did remember that last year he made it her pain as well. To a small degree, he was hoping she'd make a spectacle of herself to him to try and help him forget the day, but was surprised that no one had seen her the entire day. It wasn't until Erza, concerned that something had happened to Juvia in her room, told him and the others of the note she left and it clicked within him where she had gone. Through the falling snow, he made his way to their old home, finding it lit despite being "abandoned" months ago, and entered only to find Juvia dancing around.
He tried calling out to her, but his voice went unheard, even in the moments when she was about to fall. He supposed he was happy that he caught her – he didn't want to see her hurt, although it would've been her own fault for being so clumsy – but further still he was confused as to why she came all the way out here alone. Although now he understood why, and the thought frustrated him.
"I'm the one that should be sorry," he muttered, "If I didn't hurt you last time, you probably wouldn't be here. Somehow I always seem to hurt you, don't I?"
Juvia's eyes widened, "Don't apologize, Gray-sama! Juvia didn't know last time that this was a bad day! And she knows you never mean to hurt her on purpose! Accidents happen!"
He didn't respond further, and she looked down at the floor. The fire crackled and popped as they remained still; Juvia could hear her heart beating in her ears but also felt the stinging of tears she thought had gone away.
"... So why were you dancing by yourself?"
"Oh!" she said in surprise, "Well... Juvia was remembering the time when Gray-sama danced with her. When the guild was learning about ballroom dancing for that one mission. She remembers it being so much fun dancing with you that she started to pretend she was doing it again."
"Seriously?" Gray said, laughing, "You just looked like you were dancing with the air."
"Juvia knows that!" she yelled with a pout, "She knows that... but she doesn't care. You weren't here to dance with her, Gray-sama, but she knew even if you were you wouldn't dance with her."
"You're right, I probably wouldn't. I'm really not a dancer," he replied, cringing awkwardly at an old memory of a dance competition he had to participate in during the fight to restore the Celestial World, "But..."
Juvia tilted her head slightly, "But...?"
"Maybe... I'll change my mind just this once."
She quickly stood up from the bed; her precious Gray-sama wants to dance with her!? Her hands went to her lips, holding back her reaction as a few tears fell down her cheeks. Gray could see them reflecting from the firelight and rolled his eyes, "Don't act like this is such a big deal! I just figured... if it makes you happy, I'll do it this once. To make up for making you sad, okay? Like I want a sad Juvia on top of a shitty day."
The surprised smile that formed on her face quickly faltered. Of course that would be the reason... She glanced away, smiling sadly at the edge of the bed, "Juvia understands, but you don't have to make up for anything, Gray-sama... Juvia wants you to dance with her because you want to, not because you feel like you have to."
Gray realized then he said the wrong thing, and he growled to himself again. "...You're right. I should want to dance with you," he muttered.
She nodded her head in acknowledgment, then brought her hands up to her arms, rubbing them for a little bit of warmth. She knew the fire had to be going down as the heat that was there was slowly disappearing. She turned to grab her coat off of the floor, but was stopped by the feeling of a warm jacket draping over her shoulders.
Her eyes darted towards Gray, noticing he had shedded his own jacket to cover her, but her orbs widened at the sight of the gray, hand-knitted scarf she had given him last year. It was wrapped around his neck snugly, a bit bold against the red long-sleeved shirt he was wearing. "Gray-sama, you... you're wearing the scarf..." she said softly.
"It's really warm. Thank you, Juvia. I never said that to you, did I?" he replied, to which she shook her head.
"Juvia is glad you like it, Gray-sama. But... Juvia thought she left it on the ground after you rejected it... why did you go back for it?"
"To be honestly, I don't really know," he said, scratching the back of his head, "But I guess I didn't want to leave behind a gift that you worked so hard to make for me. I don't use it a lot, but I do like it."
She beamed, a hand pulling the jacket a little closer to herself and reveling in its warmth, "Juvia is happy to hear that."
She took in the scent of the jacket, remembering the scent of the blanket on the day he left, and smiled sadly again. "Juvia remembers this scent... on the day Gray-sama left, a blanket she woke up with smelled like this," she whispered, "It was warm, but sad... because it reminded me that Gray-sama was gone..."
Her whispers didn't go unheard; Gray remembered that morning he left. Juvia was sleeping, wiped out from an intense day of training. He was quietly gathering his things, preparing to leave for the secret mission he was given, but he remembered stopping next to her bed. He remembered her shivering, just as she was tonight, with her thin blanket doing nothing to keep her as warm as she wanted. The thought made him worried; he didn't want her to catch a chill and get sick, knowing full well he wouldn't be around to help her recover. He took his only blanket and draped it over her, relieved that she didn't wake up upon his hand accidentally grazing her chin and that her shivering was quieting down.
Gray hated leaving her the way he did, but he had no choice; Erza had said that the mission was top-secret and no one, not even Juvia, was to know about it. Still, for six months they had lived together and she didn't deserve this sudden abandonment. A part of him even knew that she would set out to find him, or worse yet wait for him to return to her, but he had hoped that better judgment would prevail and she would give up on him.
But that wasn't the Juvia Lockser he knew; despite all of his pushing and distance, she was hopelessly and deeply in love with him, and would never give up on him no matter what. And to his own admittance, he wouldn't want her to be any other way. He knew, although he wasn't ready to admit it to her yet, that he had fallen for her as well, and wanted to be by her side just as much as she wanted to be by his.
He gently grabbed at her free hand, pulling her close and resting a hand on her hip. She released a small "eep", looking up at him with wide, confused eyes, "Gray-sama!?"
"Dance with me, Juvia. I'm not doing this because I have to. I want to dance with you," he said to her, his tone husky and firm.
Juvia instantly felt warmth to her cheeks, her eyes brimming with tears, and she quickly nodded in happy agreement. She released Gray's jacket, it flowing off of her shoulders and onto the floor with her own, as she wrapped an arm around his neck and allowed herself to be swept around the room. She didn't have to pretend as she did before; this was nothing but reality. She didn't need to be a princess and Gray certainly wasn't a prince. There was no need for an orchestra, onlookers, or fancy clothing. Their shadows dancing along the wall and the warmth of his body against her own was more wonderful than any dream.
He twirled her around, bringing her so close upon the return that she could feel his breath against her lips. They stood still, allowing themselves a moment to catch their breath, and Juvia couldn't resist smiling as bright and happily as she could, closing that small gap between them with a hug.
"Juvia loves Gray-sama," she whispered, "I love you."
He smirked, "I already know."
Juvia blushed, but still kept her smile; she wasn't expecting him to respond right now, but felt so relieved to say those words to him once again, not wanting to let this moment go without saying them. They began to dance around again, not stopping until the fire began to die out and their shadows were barely illuminated from the remaining lantern Juvia left lit.
As their dance ended, Juvia laughed softly to herself, "Juvia forgot to say something to you."
"What is it?"
"Welcome home, Gray-sama."
For a moment, Gray was stunned silent, then smirked as he leaned in and left a very quick kiss on her cheek – he wouldn't deny that he knew she was blushing hard and enjoyed the idea, although he could barely see her face - "I'm home... Thank you, Juvia."
- end -