Okay so this is my last addition to this series. (^_^) Quite sudden and sorry but I want to focus more on multi-fic stories, but rest assured Gruvia will appear in some form in many of them…
But at least it's a loooong final one-shot… It's AU, so enjoy! It got a bit random and took on a life of its own… I'm a bit iffy on the ending and feel like it diverted from its original plot. But hopefully it'll be enjoying to read regardless.
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Love In The Rain
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#12: Carry You When You Fall
When he first met her, they were both nine years old… And that's when his life got so much more complicated…
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When he first met her, they were both nine years old.
She was also bawling her eyes out.
He glanced up and down the hospital corridor, hoping for some adult to appear who he could tell about the young crying girl. Unfortunately, nobody appeared in sight and as the seconds ticked by and the girl's wails got louder, the guilt eating at him from inside finally became too much.
Appearing at the door, he knocked twice on the door.
The girl's eyes darted to where he stood; she frowned with unfamiliarity when she saw him. Lifting an arm, she wiped furiously at her crying eyes. "W-Who are you?"
When she removed her arm, her eyes were still puffy and red, she sniffed and took a deep breathe that shook her entire body.
Crap. He never was good with girls, especially crying girls.
"H-Hi." He said awkwardly, forcing a smile that came out more grim than intended. "I'm Gray."
She frowned, watching him warily, "I don't know you."
"No…" he scratched the back of his head and glanced down, "Well I'm here visiting a friend."
His idiot friend had decided he'd drive his bike down a steep – almost vertical – road that ran into a main road, somehow neither he nor any of the other kids who had come round to watch the spectacle had thought about the consequences. And those of the older kids – Mirajane, Cana - who did, were too busy laughing to say anything.
One broken leg and several bruised ribs later, here he was in hospital.
Obviously the girl before him didn't know this so his comment was pretty pointless. As seen by the evident frown on her face.
He really wanted to leave…
But she was still upset.
"So…" He began walking a few steps further into the room, "What you in for?" She had a bandage wound round her head but aside from that…
At this she sniffed again, clutching the cloth around her chest. "I fell into a road and got hit by a car…"
His eyes widened as he reached the side of her bed. "Wow, really?"
"And you survived?" he smiled, "Awesome."
At this, her expression fell. "Mm…"
"Eh? What's the matter?"
She shook her head, wiping furiously at forming tears again. "Juvia is fine but the doctor's say she might not walk again…"
"Oh…" A pause. "Oh."
The girl nodded, sending him a watery smile.
Wow, not being able to walk… He glanced down at her legs but since they were covered by the sheets he couldn't see anything. Instead, he returned his gaze to her face.
"Where's your family?"
"Mama's busy at work… And papa's on holiday."
A shrug. "He's been on holiday since as long as Juvia can remember; mama says we can't reach him so we don't know when he'll come back."
Gray grimaced at the explanation. He'd already lost both his parents so he saw clearly through the falsified truth of her father's absence. But when Juvia glanced at him, he forced a smile for her sake.
Glancing around the room, he began pulling a chair nearby the window over to her beside.
"Huh, what are you doing?"
Sitting down, he smiled at her. "I'll stay with you for a bit instead then."
She blinked. "But your friend…"
He snorted. "That idiot's fine, Erza and the others will have gone to his room already anyway." He glanced back at her. "Anyway, I'd get my ass kicked by them if they found out I left a crying girl."
Juvia blinked innocently at him, the last of her unshed tears vanishing. Slowly, a smile formed on her lips and her eyes brightened.
"You'll stay with me? Really?"
He grinned at her, a grin that became ever familiar to the young girl.
And that was when Juvia Loxar fell for Gray Fullbuster.
"I'm going as fast as I can!"
Gray Fullbuster, now ten years old, grunted as he pushed the wheelchair with more speed. The girl sat in the chair – her weight didn't make the pushing any easier – squealed and flung her hands in the air.
"Oi Juvia! Cm'on already."
At the voice, Gray pulled to a sudden stop, Juvia lurching forward and letting out a yelp as the seatbelt yanked her back into place.
"S'okay." She said, rubbing her chest. Her eyes glanced over to the older boy as Gray pushed her over towards him. "Hi Gajeel!"
The thirteen year old grunted, arms folded as he glared at her. "You're gonna be late for your appointment."
Gajeel Redfox, childhood friend of Juvia Loxar. The two had lived in the same apartment complex with their families since they were born, Gray saw the two more as brother and sister than friends.
"Sorry…" Juvia mumbled.
Gajeel's eyes wandered over to the boy stood behind her, "You coming too?"
Before he could open his mouth, Juvia cut in.
"No, it's just you."
Gajeel glanced from the smiling Juvia to Gray, whose face fell slightly at the words. Saying nothing, he took the handles from Gray's grip and nodded at him. "See ya."
The younger boy winced. "I told you not to call me that!"
As the two friends vanished off into the apartment complex which overlooked the road he stood on, he sighed. Placing both hands in his pockets, he turned and began walking. It was only a ten minute walk back to his place if he took a shortcut through the park, it had been a surprise to both him and Juvia when they found out they lived so close to one another.
He frowned at the thought of his friend. For two years now they'd known one another, first meeting whilst she was in hospital… Their relationship grew when he visited her every time he went to see Natsu, continuing even when Natsu was discharged. This continued for over a week until one day he went in and found out Juvia Loxar had been let go…
Of course. Not even five days later he bumped into the girl in a wheelchair on a street, both staring with shock as their parents – or foster parent in Gray's case – wondered what was going on.
Kicking a pebble on the road, his mind drifted to their time spent together today. The slightly younger girl seemed to have grown a thrill for being pushed fast by him, something their mothers frowned on and so they kept it a secret from the adults…
He worried about her sometime. Mainly because the more time that passed on, the less likely it became she'd ever walk again. She had weekly sessions at therapy, the place she'd left just moment ago to go to. But despite Gray showing an interest to attend with her, the girl had always refused strongly, telling him with a determined expression that when she did eventually invite him along, she wanted to be able to have made enough progress to wow him.
It was the first time she'd refused him anything actually…
Usually she was keen to do anything he asked, always smiling and wanting to please him. Gray wasn't blind; he knew she had a crush on him. He only hoped she wouldn't confess her feelings, it'd only break their friendship when he rejected her – and reject her he would, because at the end of the day he only saw Juvia as a younger sister type friend.
Please God don't let her confess.
"What do you mean you're moving?"
He stared in horror at the girl, blown away by her statement. When she'd called him over with "something important to tell him", he'd instantly imagined her confessing to him.
But this was much worse.
She was blinking several times every second, fighting back tears as she bit her lower lip. "M-Mama got offered a job in another country, s-so…." A deep breathe. "We're moving over there."
"They have better hospitals over there for helping me with my walking aswell."
He stared at her in stunned silence as she finally gave in and began crying, their current position reminded him an awful lot about the first time they met. Three years onwards, both twelve, and here he was once again watching as she cried… Only this time he couldn't think of anything to say that would help.
Swallowing thickly, his hands formed into fists by his side as he struggled to keep control of his voice. "W-When are you leaving?..."
Sniffling, she wiped at her eyes. And when she looked up, Gray was taken aback by the sudden determination in her face.
"B-Before Juvia leaves, she wants to give you something!"
He took a step forward-
He blinked, frowning in confusion when she held her hands up to him.
"What are you-"
"S-Stay where you are." She murmured, "J-Juvia will bring it you herself."
His eyebrows furrowed at the comment, "I don't understand…"
Digging into her pocket, she pulled out a wrapped box small enough to fit in her palm. Then reaching for the buckle around her waist, she undid it.
At the sound of the tell-tale 'click', Gray's eyes widened and he took a step forward. "You idiot, what are you-"
"Juvia wants to show Gray-sama!"
"Juvia wants… to show how hard she's been working."
Gray could only watch with shock as Juvia grabbed onto both sides of her wheelchair and began to pull herself up, the strain it took was obvious but a few seconds later she was standing on both feet, in not a bit unsteadily.
Raising her left foot, she watched the floor ahead of her with determination burning in her gaze.
Left foot down.
"Has been working hard."
Right foot up.
"All this time…"
Right foot down.
"To impress Gray-sama."
The same pattern happened several times over, gradually closing the distance between them both. A few times it looked like she might fall but whenever he moved to help her she only yelled at him not to move whilst regaining her balance.
It was heart-breaking.
It took five minutes to close a gap of what was only twenty feet.
She fell two times.
She pulled herself up both times.
When she was finally in front of him, she lifted her head to smile, eyes shining with pride. As she collapsed into her arms, Gray quickly moving his arms out to catch her, he swore and called her an idiot.
"D-Did Juvia impress Gray-sama?"
She smiled, expression beaming. "This is for you Gray-sama, I was saving it for your birthday."
"That's four months away."
She blushed and glanced away, "I-I picked it early…"
With a smile, he took the present and unwrapped it. Raising an eyebrow at the item.
"It's a chain with a silver cross on it."
"So… a necklace?"
She pouted, "You don't like it?"
"What? Oh shit, don't cry, I love it!"
He let out a strangled cry as she leapt up and wrapped her arms around him, constricting his windpipe in the process.
"I'll miss you Gray-sama!"
For the first half a year, the two childhood friends stayed in contact through calls and online exchanges, spending time at least once a week to talk.
Another year onwards and their exchanges became less frequent, they were lucky if they managed to speak more than once a month.
Fifteen years old, one exchange in a year. Their conversation was stilted and awkward, both realising how far they'd drifted apart.
From then on they didn't speak anymore.
For a while this lack of communication continued, and Gray came under the idea he'd never again meet his old childhood friend.
However, come when he reached his final year of high school, that changed,
Seventeen years old, Gray Fullbuster sat in his classroom whilst exchanging insults with Natsu Dragneel.
"Alright guys, settle down!" the teacher yelled, entering the classroom.
The two boys sent final glares at one another before reluctantly sitting in their seats.
"Alright guys, good morning. Today we're gonna have a new student introducing herself…"
From besides Gray, fellow student Loki smirked and leaned towards him. "I saw that chick this morning, talk about a babe."
He raised an eyebrow.
"Huuuge chest." Loki added, wiggling his eyebrows, "Could even give Lucy a run for her money."
Seriously? Gray failed to see that, they had enough huge breasted girls in this school to start their own club.
"Cm'on in Miss."
Gray glanced over as the new student timidly entered the classroom, shoulders tense and back straight.
"Nice to meet you all!"
His eyes bulged out of their sockets.
Besides him Loki smirked, "Told ya, nice rack.
His gaze shot to the playboy teenager.
Loki nodded approvingly at the blue haired teenager, "Would love to go down on- FUCK!"
Everybody watched in shock as the teenager went flying to the floor, Gray standing over him with murderous eyes and a raised fist.
"What the hell man?" Loki yelled, standing up and glaring at him.
He froze, eyes flickering over to Juvia who was staring at him with widened eyes, lips parted in silent surprise.
Natsu frowned, "I could swear I've seen you somewhere before…"
"Idiot. It's Juvia, remember? Gray's friend." Erza scolded.
Juvia's lips slowly widened, "GRAY-SAMA!"
He barely knew what was happening before the teenage girl ran forward and propelled herself at him, arms locking round his neck as she pushed them to the ground.
"Gyack! You're strangling me!"
"Waaaah! Juvia missed you so much!"
"No fair, the new girl's only been here a second and already Gray's got dibs on her!"
"Get a room you two!"
"Oi guys, pay attention in class!"
"So… You can walk now."
"Y-Yeah. Juvia began walking properly shortly after she left."
The two teenagers sat awkwardly besides one another, now sat alone on the rooftop of the school during break.
"Why didn't you mention it when we called one another?"
"Well, Juvia knew she'd come back here someday, somehow… She wanted to surprise you by showing you first-hand. See!" Standing up, she twirled around as if to show off her ability.
Gray found himself smiling, "You changed your hairstyle."
Infact, as she went on to eagerly describe how she'd managed the ability to walk, he realised how much she'd grown since he last met her. The once petite girl was now tall and slim, her hair cut short in a spiky styled manner. And as much as he wanted to deny it… Loki had a point about the young woman, her assets were large. Gray had found himself flushing when she leapt at him in the classroom and effectively smothered his face between them.
All in all though, he was just happy to see her again.
"…Before I couldn't walk that far before getting tired out but now I'm the same as everybody else and I've even-"
"It's good to see you again."
She stopped, eyes drifting over to him as he smiled at her. Her cheeks heated and she quickly glanced elsewhere, hands clasping behind her back. "J-Juvia missed Gray-sama too…"
And just like that, the childhood friends were reunited and everything was once again the same as before.
"Things can never be the same as before."
Lucy blinked at the horrified looking Gray, confusion dawning on her face. "Um… what?"
"Juvia!" He said, staring as if expecting her to know what he meant.
She frowned and using both arms she pushed him away to try and regain some personal space, "First of all Gray, pants." Before he could do the usual swearing and panicking, she went on, "Second, what about Juvia?"
"She's... she's…" he groaned, raising a hand to his face. "Juvia's a girl."
Lucy frowned. "And?"
"And," Gray replied, emphasising the word, "How the hell are things meant to go back to normal between us when the last time I saw she might aswell have been any other guy!"
Lucy processed his words for a good minute before it sunk in, a coy smile breaking out on her face. Leaning forward, she leaned both elbows on the table whilst supporting her head in her hands. "Ooh, is Gray saying he actually aware of the opposite sex?"
"What? Of course!"
"Well, you've never shown interest before… Most of us thought you were gay."
"Anyway," she said, waving off his shocked look, "So what if Juvia's a girl? You're fine around me, Erza and the others."
Gray groaned again, "But you don't force me into hugs and throw my face into your chest!"
Lucy noticeably blushed at the imagery.
"You see!" he raved, looking very much a mad man. "How can I hang around normally with Juvia when she keeps pressing those- those- those THINGS in my face!"
"Have you ever considered dating Juvia?"
Lucy rolled her eyes, "You said so yourself that even you're aware of how much she likes you, and that's been going on for what? Eight years?"
Gray scowled. "It's not that long." He mumbled. "It's not like she liked me from the first time we met."
Lucy raised an eyebrow, "You sure?"
She sighed, "Look Gray, Juvia likes you… Really likes you, and if she's had a crush on you for eight years then you can definitely bet it's not something that's gonna go away easily."
Gray continued to simmer.
Brushing past him, Lucy walk off.
"Just think about it."
"What is Gray-sama reading?"
Gray jumped at the sudden voice in his ear, quickly amending his movement and glancing at the face hovering over his shoulder. "Just some magazine…" he muttered, trying to return his attention to the pages before him.
It proved a lot harder when the female in question pressed up behind him for a better look, and those… things… pressed against his back.
"Juvia did not know Gray-sama was into cars."
Focus, Gray, focus!
"U-Um… yeah…" he replied awkwardly, his face a little flushed. "It's boring, you won't be interested." Just lean away already!
Juvia smiled at him. "Anything Gray-sama likes, Juvia likes."
She pressed further against his back. Her breathe fanning across his neck and sending chills down his spine.
"Gray-sama, what is-"
Juvia could only let out a gasp of surprise as Gray all but bolted out of the classroom, leaving her staring after him in confusion. The hurt on her face didn't go unnoticed by her classmates…
"Don't worry Juvia-chan." Levy said, "He's just running because he likes you."
Instantly, the taller blue haired girl froze. Face reddening. "L-L-Likes me?"
Natsu grinned from his table, "Well duh."
Everybody laughed and joked, Juvia simply stood there like a statue as she stared into space. A few seconds passed before she fainted at the sudden imaginative scenarios this new development brought to her.
"Aah! Juvia fainted!"
"Somebody get the nurse!"
"I'll do CPR!"
"You're an idiot you know that?"
She groaned. "Juvia's heard hurts…"
"Well of course it hurts! It collided with a table corner and hardwood flooring!"
"Is Gray-sama angry?"
"I'm angry at myself."
"You fell and got hurt…" He frowned. "I'm supposed to be there to catch you and protect you."
"J-Just promise to be more careful okay?"
Nurse Mirajane smiled to herself as she watched the blushing couple in the school infirmary.
Lucy blinked as she walked in one morning, taking in the many students in the classroom who were definitely not in her class usually.
"W-What's going on?" she asked.
"Cana's taking bets." Lisanna replied.
As if to answer her question, Cana – currently drowning in a sea of shouting students – yelled, "Cm'on guys! Take your bets! Gray Fullbuster and new girl Juvia Loxar, how long till they get together?"
"Also, separate betting on how long till they do the deed!"
Lucy groaned and walked back out. "I'm having no part in this…"
Feeling eyes on him whilst eating, Gray lifted his head to find a blushing Juvia staring wide-eyed at him.
She blinked. "Gray-sama used my spoon…"
"My spoon that I'd used."
He shifted uncomfortably, "Sorry?"
She broke into a sudden smile, "Juvia had her first indirect kiss with Gray-sama."
He slouched lower in his seat whilst the rest of the table laughed and teased him.
"How beautiful my fair maiden…"
Patience Gray… Patience…
His eyebrow twitched.
"So tell me dear lady…"
Don't. Make. A. Scene.
"Do you have a date to prom yet?"
His breaking point shattered, Gray jumped out of his seat and stormed down the isle. Heads snapped around as the teenager picked the playboy Loke up by his tie.
"O-Oh! Gray, how nice to see you!" A nervous laugh. "I was just talking with Juvia-chan here-"
Releasing his tie, Loke backed up several steps, smiling sheepishly as his eyes flitted between the two of them. "Seems Cana will be winning my lunch money…"
As the lady catcher vanished, everybody stared in silence.
A pause. Gray glanced down at her, "You wanna go to prom with me?"
Juvia smiled brightly at him.
As he returned the expression, everybody exchanged knowing smirks.
Not long now…
"Eh? Oh… Juvia is fine." A sheepish smile. "Although Juvia can walk, she's not very good at running for long periods of time…"
"Oh." He glanced from side to side down the road, catching the odd students running past. They were in the middle of a marathon for their sports lesson right now, currently about half way through.
He glanced once more at an exhausted Juvia before rolling his eyes, turning around he crouched down to the floor. "Cm'on, get up."
"I'll carry you the rest of the way."
He didn't even need to look to know she'd be as red as Erza's hair, hopefully she didn't faint…
A second later, a pair of arms wrapped around his neck and his hands held under her legs as he stood and lifted her up with a small 'oomph.' He grimaced at how much her breasts pushed against his back.
Juvia giggled as he began at a slow jog, arms holding loosely onto him.
There was a moment of silence and he was about to ask again in case she didn't hear, when she replied:
"Will you… promise Juvia something?"
At her words, he frowned, eyebrows forming together as he slowed down till he was simply walking, catching his breathe a bit before responding. "Promise what?"
There was another brief pause and he wished he could see her expression.
"W-Will Gray-sama and Juvia… always be together?"
Damn. He really wished he could see her face.
Without any hesitance, he grinned and replied, "Of course."
The arms tightened around his neck and he felt her rest her head on his shoulder, "Thank you…"
He smiled and resumed their walking, "Tell ya what, whenever you have problems walking and need a hand, I promise I'll carry you all the way back home or ya know, wherever we were heading."
"Sure. Didn't I say I'd always catch you when you fell?"
Juvia sighed blissfully at the line, pressing her face into his neck. "Juvia likes Gray-sama."
"I like you too Juvia."
Damn, I wanted to include a kiss or something at the end but it was getting too long and a kiss there felt too forced… Oh well.
A few scenes are random and could have been taken out but they were sweet and I liked them so they stayed…
Anyway, if you spot any mistakes, please say. (^_^) Only checked through this once. Hope you enjoyed it.