Voices Inside My Head
The war with the Alvarez Empire had ended, and Fiore was slowly limping back to normal, though the term held varying meanings for everybody. For some it was coming to terms with their loss, for others, beginning again from scratch, and for yet others, finding answers for long standing questions. It was the last one that preoccupied Gray Fullbuster at the moment.
Sure, he had promised to give Juvia an answer after the war was over, but just what answer was he going to give? He could no longer excuse himself by saying that he cared for her only as a comrade, a friend, as he cared for everyone else, not after all that had happened. And he couldn't push her away for her safety, because there was no way he could imagine a life without her. Numerous people, from Erza, to Lucy, even Happy, had told him to 'man up' and just tell her that he loved her. But he hardly found it as simple as that, moreover, as Cana said, he had always been utterly hopeless at matters of this sort.
But what made him feel like a total jerk was that Juvia was ready to wait till the end of time for his answer. She hadn't even pressed him much after the victory, accepting his lame "I need to think a little more…" with a kind and patient smile. She didn't deserve to wait, especially not for him, not after all these years. But well, his tongue, so very eloquent while insulting Natsu, would just curl up and refuse to budge when he needed it to….
This feeling of guilt, apart from the fact that he wanted to spend time alone with her, was what made him agree when Juvia asked him whether he'd like to accompany her on a job or not. Not to mention that he was also secretly afraid of somehow losing her again, even though all danger had passed.
And thus they were walking down a narrow, dusty lane that led to the site of the job. The task was simple enough; to help in the repairs and clear the debris filled water bodies. Gray and Juvia had arrived a day earlier, mainly because Juvia had wanted to spend as much time with her cherished Gray sama as possible, and Gray hadn't uttered more than two words of protest. Suddenly, an overjoyed voice rang out behind them, "JUVIA CHAN!"
Even as Gray fervently began to pray for the person to be anyone but Lyon, Juvia rushed forward to hug the person, both nearly crying in relief.
"Meredy chan, it's really you! Juvia has been so worried ever since Lyon sama said that you had disappeared…"
"Me too! I heard someone saying that you were dead and nonsense like that, but I'm relieved that you are well! Oh, hello there, Gray, I didn't see you earlier."
"Yeah sure, don't take notice of me. Hey, if you are here, then…"
"Yup, Jellal and the others are here too. We don't yet know what the Magic Council intends to do with us, so we are staying low here for a few days. I've been trying to persuade them for days to visit all of you at Fairy Tail, but the idiots just won't budge! Say, are you two married yet?"
Meredy sighed a little at that, not that she had really been expecting them to get married, but she did think that their relationship would have progressed after the war and all. But she shrugged her slight disappointment off; she knew that Juvia, for one, wasn't ever going to give up. The three mages spent the next few hours together, discussing their recent activities and plans. In other words, Juvia and Meredy kept on laughing and chatting animatedly, while Gray walked behind them in a grumpy silence.
Later that night, when Meredy entered Crime Sorciere's camp, she found Cobra cursing colorfully under his breath as the other members lazed about the campfire. She was well aware that the Poison dragon slayer was constantly in a sour mood, but it did seem a little excessive today. However, she hardly needed to ask him, because he glared at her, snapping, "Don't ask me why my mood is so foul today. I tell you, I'm friggin' sick of it!"
"Sick of what, Cobra? I should have thought you'd be happy once this war is ended."
"Oh yeah? I tell you, this is the one time that I'm cursing my hearing, it's so fucking irritating! You ask, what is? Having to hear everyone's lovesick thoughts, from that Jellal's to that exhibitionist ice mage to that sentimental water mage to-"He went on ranting, but Meredy registered only one of the people he mentioned.
"Hold on, Cobra, exhibitionist ice mage? You mean, Gray Fullbuster?"
"Who else? There ain't anyone else who can take off clothes that fast. And why the hell do you look so surprised, you were walking for over an hour with him and his girlfriend."
"Yeah I was, but Gray and lovesick thoughts?"
"Huh? I should have thought it was obvious, unless you were blind and deaf. All the guy thinks about is that blue haired friend of yours. If you don't believe me, I'm gonna quote, "Juvia looks sooo beautiful when she smiles", "I always want her to smile for me", "I wish I could tell her what exactly she means to me", "Why isn't she paying me any attention, not that I want her to or anything", and lots of sentimental crap like that. Hell, even Jellal can spout better one liners."
Angel piped up, "So Gray's a tsundere, huh?"
Cobra snorted, "'Jellal syndrome' might be a better term. The idiot was going on and on about not deserving her, not daring to love her for fear of losing her, not wanting to make her wait forever and god knows what else."
Midnight put in, "That sounds way too similar to what Jellal says… Oh no….. It's truly going to be a nightmare if every mage suddenly turns out like him."
Angel, Racer and Cobra shuddered collectively, while Hoteye exclaimed about the tragic nature of love. Meredy, however, was apparently deep in thought, a devilish glint in her eyes. Cobra's eyes widened as he heard her thoughts, "Are you seriously planning to do that?"
Jellal, who had just come over, felt a chill run up his spine when Meredy smiled sweetly, "Yep, it's gonna be perfect! " Her expression was eerily akin to that of Mirajane's, when she was busy matchmaking her favorite ships. And nothing good ever came out of that expression.
"Meredy, what exactly are you planning?"
"Oh, Jellal, I've just been thinking of a way to get Juvia and Gray together! You wanna listen?"
"Meredy, I think we should just, um, let them take their own pace, you know? And –"
"I'm sure Erza will be delighted if we succeed! She really wants Gray to confess to Juvia too…Don't you want to do this for her?"
"I'd do anything for her, but are you really sure, Meredy?"
"Of course I am! Trust me, there's no way this won't work!"
"Well then, perhaps you could give it a shot….."
Cobra merely rolled his eyes. Seriously, was this actually the man who tried to revive Zeref and beat the entire Oracion Seis singlehanded? Men in love were truly the biggest fools of all… Not to mention that he thought Meredy's plan utterly impossible as well….
But the other members of Oracion Seis looked quite interested as they listened to Meredy explain her plan, "We know that Gray and Juvia have strong feelings towards each other, which is crucial to the plan. Thanks to Mr. Grumpy over here, we also know that Gray frequently thinks of Juvia, and I'm pretty sure that there isn't a time of the day when Juvia doesn't think of him too. Now I'm going to create a Sensory link between them. The bond between them should be strong enough to let even thoughts to cross over, instead of just sensations. Again, it is a known fact that Gray is romantically denser than a neutron star, but Juvia chan is perceptive enough to understand." Meredy stopped to take a breath, smirking with satisfaction.
"And how will it help if only she realizes it?" Racer put in, looking rather confused.
Meredy rolled her eyes at his cluelessness, but decided to explain with a simple example, "It will help, because as things are now, there isn't any guarantee on when Gray is going to confess his feelings. And even if he does, he might just mess it all up due some notion-'here everyone glanced at Jellal-'that he doesn't deserve her or that everyone he cares about is going to be hurt. But if Juvia is aware of what he truly feels, then she won't have to wait for eternity for his answer."
Angel smirked a little as she said, "It doesn't sound too bad, but are you sure that it's foolproof?"
Meredy shrugged as she answered, "I hope so, but well, if it doesn't work, I'll just ask Mirajane to help. But I'm gonna give this a shot now!"
Everyone looked on with anticipation as Meredy raised her hands to cast the magic, pink light glowing in them. One of the flickering yellow lights of the city was replaced by a momentary pink flash, indicating that the Link had been established.
Juvia hummed happily to herself as she combed her curly blue locks. Needless to say, she was happy because her Gray sama himself had volunteered to join her on a mission, and there were few joys equal to that. Though she was a little disappointed that they had to take different rooms, but Juvia knew that it would be stretching limits. She was happy with what she had, the war had reinforced that feeling. She wondered what Gray was doing at the moment….
The comb fell from her hand with a little shriek as a pink flash suddenly lit up the room. Juvia stared at the pink ring imprinted on her wrist, filled with surprise and confusion. She recognized it; she would know Meredy's magic anywhere.
But why has Meredy chan cast a Sensory Link on Juvia? And whoever is Juvia connected to? Is Meredy in trouble? Does she want to send Juvia a message? But that does not seem likely…. Could it be? Juvia was just thinking of Gray sama then…. COULD IT BE THAT JUVIA AND GRAY SAMA ARE ONE AGAIN?!
The thought made her light headed with pleasure, but her excitement vanished as she felt a sharp shard of pain welling up within her. The feelings did not belong to her, so there was only one person they could possibly have belonged to. As soon as realization struck her, Juvia rushed out of her room, not bothering to close the door, running straight towards Gray's room. She used her magic to open the door and entered, entirely uncaring of all the gossip she might be providing to various rumor mills.
Gray was having a bad dream. The worst part was that he couldn't make himself believe that it was just a dream; it all seemed so real.
It was raining around him. Not a gloomy or drab kind of rain, but the kind of rain that was refreshing after a hot summer day and which made all sorts of flowers bloom in every hidden corner. He was walking aimlessly through the rain, when he spotted a girl dancing in the middle of the street. She moved with carefree abandon, not really caring if anyone saw her or not. Even though she was far away, he recognized her. There was no way he would mistake those blue curls, or those startling eyes and especially not that smile she reserved just for him, and which she was wearing then. The girl waved cheerfully, calling out to him, though he could barely hear her. Gray moved towards her, smiling a bit himself, resolving to tell her at last…
And suddenly, everything changed. The rain became threatening, pounding down like arrows and knives. He could barely see ahead, but he watched in horror as the girl's smile vanished, only to be replaced by a look of horror. She herself began to disappear, slowly but surely, and all he could do was scream her name…
But she was gone. Like so many others he had loved, she too had left him. He cried freely, the tears mixing with the rain.
Don't leave me, please… I don't want to; I can't lose you too, Juvia…
You mustn't cry, Gray sama. Juvia will never leave you; you won't ever lose me.
He looked up in disbelief, to see Juvia standing by his side, offering him her hand, her voice soothing and comforting. The rain lessened, rays of sunshine breaking through the clouds.
See, Gray sama? There's no more rain now. For once, Juvia has been able to bring sunshine for you… she's so glad! Now take my hand, it's all going to be fine; we'll all be fine…..
"Juvia… I love you…"
"J- I love you too, Gray sama."
The dream shattered around him, and Gray thought he saw the blue haired water mage hovering over him, her eyes filled with worry and relief. She felt extremely real, but he wasn't taking any more chances. He pulled her close, wrapping his arms around her, before falling fast asleep again. Though this time, not even the whiff of a nightmare worried him.
For once, Juvia didn't want the sun to rise again. She wanted to freeze time, so that she could be in Gray's arms forever… She smiled as she watched him sleep. The previous night, she had used the Sensory Link to pull him out of his nightmare, and soon after, he had fallen asleep with his arms wrapped around her. Juvia had thought her heart would stop in a few seconds, but thankfully, it hadn't.
She observed her wrist, noting that the Sensory Link had vanished. But the pain still haunted her. It hurt her that Gray had to go around with such a heavy burden all the time and never wanted her to help with it.
Mira san told Juvia that all men are idiots, but she never really thought it applied to Gray sama as well. Why ever must Gray sama think that he will lose everyone he loves? Juvia now understands what Erza san feels…. But thanks to Meredy chan, Juvia finally knows what he really feels; though she wishes that he would just tell her directly about it. You're an idiot, Gray sama… But that only makes Juvia fall deeper in love with you, even if she never thought that was possible…
She started in surprise as she watched Gray slowly open his eyes, thinking that he looked absolutely adorable when he did so. She smiled a little, waiting for him to jump out of the bed in mortification when he finally realized the position they were in and start scrambling for his clothes, cursing non-stop as he did so. After all this time, Juvia always felt a little proud that she could predict Gray's actions so well, using all the data she had gleaned from her past observations. It wasn't likely that she would be wrong this time…
But she was. Instead of leaping away, Gray only smiled faintly as he moved closer to her, gently messing up her hair as he murmured, "Good morning, Juvia." The bluenette's face turned bright pink at the two simple words, even as she wondered how her Gray sama could always surprise her. Gray sama didn't react the way Juvia thought he would…Why?
Gray really felt like chuckling as he observed her confused expression. He had guessed what she had been expecting him to do, and honestly, it was the first thing he had thought of doing too. But he had had enough of dodging reality. The knowledge that she now knew what he actually felt, gave him the courage to pull her close and wish her, as well as to whisper a few words in her ears.
I love you.
The members of Crime Sorciere watched from the hilltop that evening as two mages left the town, holding hands. Meredy turned to Cobra for confirmation, as did almost everyone else.
"Whatcha looking at me for? Isn't it obvious that they are together now? Oh, and that stripper just said 'I love you' now. Happy?"
"Very, very! Oh, I'm so glad for Juvia chan! Ah, I've got to tell Mira and the others!"
"Say, Meredy, this method seems real effective, doesn't it? "
Meredy's smile slowly changed to an impish, no, devilish grin, as she said, "You're right, Angel, this is really awesome! Now we can 'help' some other, ah, blockheads, who absolutely are useless when it comes to romance…."
Angel nodded serenely, "I believe this might be one of the most rewarding jobs we have taken on as a guild…"
"Yup, think of all the women who are going to be grateful to us!"
All the male members of the group, excluding Hoteye, perhaps, gulped simultaneously in terror. It was bad enough that Mirajane was on their case, they definitely did not need another pair of demon matchmakers!
A/N: And so the story is finally over! I started writing this in May, but then I had exams, class and also a severe writer's block, tee hee. But I think this has turned out well enough, at least, I do hope so. I began this before reading the recent chapters of Fairy Tail, so I apologize for any inconsistencies.
I hope you all enjoyed reading it, if not, I'll definitely try to improve! I hope I've managed to depict Gray and Juvia's relationship well over here, but please do take some time out to review and send me suggestions for improvement too; you don't know how happy that makes me! As always, follows, favorites, constructive criticism and anything else are very, very, much appreciated!
Thank you for reading!