Author's Note: We made it! 40 chapters in total written for this series and a 4 year ride. I cannot believe it's been that long. With this, the Possession Series is finally complete. Thank you so much for reading, and a boatload extra gratitude for the reviewers who have kept me going through finals. I love writing so much, but in the end, it's always the readers who make it worth something.
This may be the final chapter of the Possession series, but I'll definitely be back with more Fairy Tail fics in 2015. But for now, again, just thank you. I hope you enjoyed the story.
As always, feedback is appreciated on the way out. :)
You Stole the Rain by HawkofNavarre
Epilogue: Chapter 15 – Invincible
It had been a beautiful day. One Lucy Heartfilia had walked down the aisle this afternoon, gorgeous and vibrant in a flowing white dress to marry a...decent-looking for once, Gray supposed, dragon slayer of idiotic proportions who went by the name of Natsu Dragneel. In a matter of moments, the two of them were a family and the entirety of Fairy Tail and a few others from allied guilds were there to witness the event. Gray himself had been standing at Natsu's side, one of the groomsmen after a very awkward and reluctant conversation between the two. Both of them were mature enough now to admit they cared for each other like brothers, if not in so many words. Naturally, Happy was the best...Exceed, so that slot had been taken, but he was honoured that he'd been given the privilege of holding the wedding rings amongst other groomsmen duties.
The ice mage had taken his job very seriously, making certain that the rings got to the ceremony and were exchanged safely. He'd certainly done it well enough, until he realized that one of them had been lost. No, not Natsu's ring, nor Lucy's ring, but the other one that sat in a box in a pocket on the other side of his trousers. It'd been there throughout the ceremony, he was sure, and had somehow disappeared between then and now. Gray had spent hours picking it out and spent more jewels on it than he had on anything ever. How could he lose it? How?
The sun was going down, but Gray was looking for it anyway, kicking dirt down the trail of the property. It was actually quite amazing what the guild had been able for the two of them by pooling their resources together. Somehow, they had managed to rent the old Heartfilia estate before it a very nice, rich old couple moved into it. Lucy was thrilled about both things, glad her old home would be used to house some kind souls and to have her wedding near her parents' graves. As per her wishes, the wedding had taken place in her backyard, which was pretty much a giant plot of flat and rolling lands anyway. It hadn't been hard to find a good spot.
He sighed. The wedding ground was a source of his despair at the moment. When he realized he'd lost a little box, not much bigger than an inch in its dimensions, containing an even smaller very valuable piece of jewellery, he stopped breathing. He stopped breathing because he'd lost a tiny ring on a gargantuan plot of land. In a split second, he'd lost the object that took three months worth of mission rewards to buy. Of course he would be at the center of irony when it came to losing his own ring at a wedding where he was holding on to all of them.
Gray was still trying to figure out how he'd even dropped it. He had been ridiculously conscious of the precious cargo on his person, so it couldn't have just fallen out while he wasn't watching. He'd always been watching. In fact, he'd had it right as the ceremony started and realized he didn't have it when he was handing over the other rings. There was nothing on the ground after the wedding itself except for flower petals, which Asuka had been extremely trigger happy about as soon as her mother had handed her the basket. He inwardly groaned knowing that he'd almost had a breakdown caused by an eight-year-old. He'd very discreetly (in a panicked state) sifted through all those petals to no avail.
Everyone was back at the mansion by now, probably getting drunk and rowdy, although because they didn't technically own the property, Erza had permission to crush anyone who was about to break something. He was supposed to be there too with his own girlfriend, but he'd made some excuse about wanting to get away from people a bit to stay out here and search for his lost treasure. He doubted she really noticed anyway. Juvia had been on a complete high ever since the start of the day, and that didn't surprise him at all, considering how much of a romantic she was.
That was why he had planned this for tonight. When things had settled down, when Natsu and Lucy had gotten their day, and when they were alone someplace beautiful, Gray was going to get down on one knee and as her to marry him. Evidently, this was no longer happening and he was going out of his mind trying to figure out how he was ever going to get another ring, or find another perfect moment to do this. He was not a romantic guy, but he'd wanted to show her that he could do something that was for once. He didn't shower her with gifts and cheesy lines and she never minded that; it was the least he could do to actually pull off something that she couldn't top with her imagination.
Still, he couldn't actually search the entire estate. He'd be searching the for the rest of his life. Literally. And that would be true because the land was so massive that he'd forget where he'd already searched and start combing through those places again.
In the end, Gray decided it was hopeless. He didn't want to spend the rest of his night looking for a dumb, beautiful ring that had walked off by itself. Besides, the reception dinner was going to start soon, and as one of the groomsmen, it would be pretty obvious if he wasn't there. Natsu would probably come looking for him and they'd get into a fight when today's only rule expressed by one temperamental celestial spirit mage was "no fighting". Said rule was also enforced by Erza and Gray wanted no part in that.
Walking back, he found Gajeel and Levy in some sort of altercation by the front door. Gajeel had been another groomsman, standing next to Gray during the ceremony, while Levy had been the matron of honour. She was showing in her dress, probably about fourteen weeks pregnant, if the ice mage remembered correctly, but even in her state, she looked downright fierce arguing with her husband. Gajeel looked like he was being more stubborn than anything, and Gray tried to pass them inconspicuously. He figured he also wanted no part in this.
...but it seemed like they had other plans.
The short and pregnant woman took Gajeel by the hand and dragged him over to where Gray had stopped in his tracks. Gray stared forlornly at the door. So close and yet so far...
He turned and raised a hand in greeting, silently begging the spirit of their first guild master to somehow get Levy to leave him out of the fight between her and her husband. It was never a good idea to get involved in the affairs of your married friends. Never.
"Gajeel has something of yours," Levy stated in a matter-of-factly manner, placing her hand on her hips and glaring at her much taller husband.
"I'm not giving it back!" Gajeel hissed as he crossed his arms obstinately.
"Wait, you have something of mine? What?" the ice mage asked, his curiosity now piqued.
"Gajeel..." the solid script mage said menacingly with a glare that could wither small plants. "You know what you took, so give it back to him!"
"I don't wanna!" Gajeel shouted back, sulking, and Gray almost choked at how unnatural the expression on the other male's face was. He didn't experience fights between the two of them very often and he was starting to feel very hopeful that things stay that way.
"Gajeel Redfox, you are going to be a father soon and you are acting like a child!"
"I don't care! I'm not gonna give this bastard back his dumb ring!"
Gray reeled, glancing at Gajeel in disbelief. "You have my ring? What the hell!" The statement triggered a memory that seemed so insignificant when it happened that it only surfaced now when things were starting to make sense. Gajeel had come up onto the alter right after him and walked into his side, which was innocent enough to be an accident, but now was very clearly an intentional action done for the sole purpose of stealing.
"...should be more careful about checking your pockets," the dragon slayer muttered angrily under his breath.
"How'd you even know I had it?" Gray questioned him furiously.
"You put three ring boxes in your pockets when we were changing earlier!" Gajeel retorted, equally as irate. "You think I'm stupid? That I didn't see it? Well, I saw it. I know what it means and I won't allow it."
The fact that Gajeel had stolen his ring immediately flew out of his head, only catching one part of the tirade. "You won't allow it? You're not one of her damn parents!"
"No, I'm not! She's my be—"
"Gajeel," Levy cut in sharply. "Give him back his ring right now."
Her husband clenched his jaw. "No. He didn't get permission."
"It's fine, Levy," Gray interjected, seething and glaring at the other man. "You go ahead and hold on to that ring. I'll buy as many as I have to, because I don't need your permission. There's only one person whose permission I need."
He stalked off violently into the mansion, not even caring that three months worth of work was sitting in Gajeel's pocket and not his own. His plans for the night were ruined already anyway. And while Gray understood that Gajeel was Juvia's best friend, it didn't give him the right to control what happened between her and Gray. He was not trying to steal Gajeel's best friend away, no matter what the guy thought. He probably thought he was protecting her, but the night that was supposed to be perfect was no longer perfect and Gray was angry that Juvia was being deprived of that. Damn it. Damn unreliable best friends.
He didn't know what was going to happen tonight anymore, but there was definitely one thing he was sure of: he needed a drink.
Juvia loved weddings. After all, how could she not when love was the single most beautiful thing in existence? Well, after her Gray-sama, of course. But she just felt so great at an event where two people were declaring their love for each other and vowing to fight for each other for the rest of their lives. She had cried during the ceremony, unable to contain her emotions for her two friends. It was such a long time coming, and it made her laugh now about how upset she had been with both of them when she thought they'd both had feelings for Gray. It was silly, and she knew better now.
The reception had gone smoothly as well, and now dancing of the classier variety, which people probably doubted the guild was incapable of, was in full effect. Levy had offered a beautiful toast while Happy had spoken of how Natsu was like a father to him, voice cracking when he mentioned how glad he was that Natsu had found another best friend, even if she was really weird. It was all very touching and Juvia was pretty sure she hadn't cried that much in a long time.
Beside her, Gray was a little tipsy and she couldn't figure out why. He wasn't normally a heavy drinker although he did have the odd one when things were really not going his way. He wasn't drinking anything worse than champagne, but he'd definitely had a lot of more than he normally would by this time. He was pretty good not to overdo it, but Juvia could still tell something was wrong. Gajeel, too, was acting oddly, frequently glaring in their direction. It had to have been something of a fight, she supposed, because even when the guys in Fairy Tail were beating the snot out of each other, they had no real issues with one another.
She decided that for now, she would ignore them. They were men and they could sort things out for themselves, especially considering they'd probably had a spat over something stupid. It was a touch annoying whenever it was her best friend versus her boyfriend, but she wasn't going to get in the middle of it. The only thing she would focus on was having a good time today.
Juvia watched as Natsu and Lucy had their first dance as a married pair. She knew her friends well enough to know that Natsu wasn't exactly fond of dancing, but he seemed happy enough to be doing it for Lucy. She couldn't even imagine how Lucy felt right now. The celestial spirit mage was beaming, looking like a princess in her dress, and Juvia had no doubt that Lucy probably felt like she was in a dream. Her friends and family around her, old attendants making sure her night went smoothly, and dancing in the ballroom of her old mansion. Juvia wondered if her wedding would ever be as perfect.
The song ended and she smiled lightly as Natsu dipped his bride slightly, pretending for a moment that he dropped her with a stupid grin on his face. As soon as Lucy was steadied by her husband, she whacked him on the head, also grinning. People were laughing, but everyone knew this was just the way they were. They were so natural together...it probably wouldn't even matter if they hadn't been able to rent the estate.
And then Juvia knew that her wedding would be just as perfect as long as the man standing in front of her at the altar was Gray Fullbuster.
Giggling softly as she ate a piece of the wedding cake, she noted that with Gray's personality, he really wouldn't care what kind of wedding they had as long as it wasn't extravagant and over the top. He'd just show up and not even give a second thought to whether or not the flowers matched the wedding theme. The only thing he'd remotely give a damn about was whether or not the food tasted good, and that was only if they had to have a wedding. Knowing Gray, he would probably prefer to run off and elope, but he would do what made her happy and so they would have a wedding.
Yes, there would be a wedding, but not right now so she had to enjoy this one.
"Shall we join them, Gray-kun?" Juvia asked, nudging her boyfriend as she gestured to the happily married newlyweds in the middle of the ballroom.
He glanced once at Gajeel before taking her hand and standing up. "Sure."
Following him quietly, Juvia marvelled at how much things had changed over the years. She'd certainly calmed down when it came to affairs of the heart, and Gray was particularly clingy some days (which he would never, ever admit, so she learned not to make any comments about it aloud). Of course, being together for almost four years now, she knew they were bound to rub off on each other somehow.
His hand slid onto the side of her waist as they moved into the dancing area. He led her easily into slow movements, Alzack and Bisca dancing a few feet away from them. Swaying against him, Juvia never took her contact with him for granted. She always remembered how much heart she had put into holding on to him for all those years, and she couldn't afford to let a second that she spent with him slip away. After all the years they had been together, she liked to think that they would last after all this time. She would cherish him and he would cherish her.
...Except even though they were dancing, he was making that task awfully difficult. Gray wasn't paying any attention to her, and although that might not faze her at all usually, it was rather annoying when he was supposed to be dancing with her and not glaring at Gajeel. Really, she didn't want to care and she understood that he wasn't always going to be focused on her, but this, she could not stand for.
"Gray-kun, Juvia is over here," she huffed, blowing a breathe at the side of his face when he still didn't turn around.
"H-huh? What?" He blinked at her.
Juvia sighed, taking her hand off his shoulder to place it on his cheek. "You and Gajeel-kun look like you want to kill each other. Why?"
Gray looked irritated as her hand fell back onto his shoulder. "It's fine. It's between me and him. I didn't mean to let it distract me," he told her before he leaned over to place his forehead against hers briefly in apology. "Sorry."
"I'm not angry," the water mage clarified as they danced around a strangely elegant Elfman with Evergreen. "But...it's a nice night, and maybe it's selfish, but I just want you to stay with me."
"I can do that," he murmured, his lips against the side of her head. He rather liked it when Juvia was thinking about herself rather than anyone else. "You should probably know...I really like that dress on you."
"Thank you," Juvia accepted the compliment, a smile flitting across her lips.
"I'd still prefer to take it off you, though."
He chuckled and she pouted at him, blushing. As much time as she had spent with Gray, it still caught her off-guard whenever he so openly flirted with her. Of course, the alcohol seemed to have loosened his lips a little. Still, Juvia was so used to being the aggressive one that she never really expected to be chased by him in turn. Of course, that wasn't to say she didn't enjoy it. The moments were rare and they always bumped up her heart rate a bit.
"Maybe...when we get home tonight..." she spoke quietly, face burning. Trying to prevent her mind from wandering into dangerous areas for the remainder of the night, Juvia quickly tried to think of other things to talk about. They were quite a long way from home. Needless to say, she hardly wanted to deal with any sort of...desperate urges...before they got there. Repressing those feelings was successful, but only at the cost of her concentration.
The water mage took a step back at the same time Gray did in his lead, but the arm he had on her waist stopped her from distancing herself too much. It was a little clumsy, causing her to laugh at herself with the ice mage grinning along with her.
"Ah, Gray-kun, have you seen the view from the balcony yet?" she asked him, gesturing to the grand doors across the room that were peeking through the curtains. Dancing was nice, but so was being alone with her Gray-sama. Besides, it really was beautiful out there, and the very loud romantic in her was screaming at her to bring him there. She didn't do a lot of fantasizing these days, but she still couldn't just pass up a chance to explore a romantic location.
He shrugged and let her excitedly drag him towards the balcony. Pushing through the doors, she let go of him and rushed to the edge of the balcony, looking over the railing and everywhere else she could possibly look. The fields and fields of healthy green grass were lit by lamps along the pathways leading to the house and the sky was clear. Juvia looked up and her eyes were full of starlight.
She...was so happy. Today was a day of love and the world was smiling down upon all of them. The world was blessing Natsu and Lucy's day. There was so much love everywhere, and as a person who was defined by love, she couldn't help but just burst with happiness.
"It's so beautiful..." Juvia stated breathlessly, clutching the railing just to remind herself that this was real. She turned back to look at Gray, his mouth just slightly upturned at the corners. He hadn't followed her all too closely across the massive balcony and was still standing a few paces back, standing casually with hands in his pockets. She wasn't too surprised his reaction wasn't nearly as strong as hers. While he appreciated a good view, he didn't get emotional over that kind of thing—unlike her.
He couldn't feel it, like the whole world was staring down at them, celebrating all of them and their bonds today, but she did. She could feel it in her soul. Their love was being rewarded.
"Gray-kun, do you think Silver-sama can see us?" she asked, gazing back into the open sky. "Do you think he's watching and smiling with us?"
She waited for a reply, but turned around curiously when one never came. Instead, Gray was giving her a blank stare, eyes completely empty.
"Gray-kun?" Concern crept into her body and she really, really hoped she hadn't accidentally upset him by mentioning his father. He was just staring, unmoving, and Juvia was starting to get scared. "What's wrong?"
There were only a few times in his life that he had experienced the world around him stopping. Most of them were life and death situations in which there was only a split second for him to do something or he might die. It was a moment of complete clarity, where time slowed to a crawl and nothing else existed except for him and whatever was standing in front of him.
The moment she mentioned his father, it hit him like a ton of bricks. Gray hadn't expected it and it was slightly jarring to be experiencing it when nothing was about to kill him. He'd felt a chill throughout his entire body. Still, he didn't know if it was just because he was tipsy or if he'd inhaled some sort of summer night breeze drug, but time froze and all he could do was take in the scene in front of him.
Her hands were clutching the railings as she leaned over, as if she would be able to get closer to the sky just by doing so. The breeze picked up her hair and dress just a little, and the light from the ballroom hit her skin causing the shadows to fall in all the right places. She was beautiful, even without everything being magnified in this moment. She knew him too well, as evidenced by her sentimental mentioning of his father.
Yeah, maybe Silver was watching them right now because Gray could feel a million thoughts going through him and he barely registered what any of them were saying. His dad had to be the one making sure all the important ones were coming through. He didn't need Gajeel's permission. He didn't need a perfect moment or a perfect night. He didn't even need that ring he'd worked so hard to get.
"Gray-kun? What's wrong?"
Now she was looking at him with concern, with the same intensity and feeling she'd always had for him. He remembered how she willingly gave up her life for him, how much it had hurt. He remembered her standing her ground against him and how stupid he felt afterwards for not understanding. Things were different now. He was different now. He knew Juvia. He knew what he needed.
All he needed was her.
"Marry me," he said, snapping out of it, finally able to match her gaze.
Juvia looked more shocked than anything, and Gray couldn't really blame her because the words out of his mouth probably seemed like they were coming out of nowhere, but they weren't. He had been thinking about this for a long time and maybe it wasn't planned out like he'd wanted it to be, but the universe had given him an opportunity and was taking it.
"Marry me," he repeated, voice steady and confident. That shiver down his spine...his dad was telling him to do it now. He wanted to do it now. "Right here, right now."
"There...isn't anyone else here," she replied back in uncertainty, and Gray found himself reflecting on how years back, she probably would've jumped on his request without a second thought.
"It won't be official to anyone else. I know you want a real wedding," Gray stated as he strode forward to close the distance between them. "This is for me. Us. Marry me. Promise me you'll spend the rest of your life fighting for me, and I'll promise I'll spend the rest of my life fighting for you."
There was a short silence as she contemplated his words. There was never a question of whether or not they would be at each other's side because that was a given. They would stay friends no matter what the circumstances, but to never give up on this relationship, to never give up on loving each other; that was a promise.
Juvia gave him a shy, watery smile. "...Was there ever a question?"
He chuckled, putting his hand on the back of her head and pulling her into him. "Just say it."
"I promise," she said, her voice muffled against him.
"I promise too," he responded as moved back to gather her left hand in both of his. He might not have the one he'd chosen for her right now, but she still deserved one, especially since he was bringing this on her so abruptly. He pulled away a second later, a ring of ice gleaming on her finger. "There."
Juvia looked down at her hand, and then she started crying. Really, really crying.
"Gray-sama!" she wailed, covering her face with her hands. "You're not supposed to be romantic!"
"I can do whatever I want, wifey," Gray replied as he smiled at how emotional she was. Gently, he grasped her wrists and moved her hands from her face. "And right now, I'm going to kiss my bride."
He pressed a chaste kiss on her tear-streaked lips, then laughed quietly. "Sorry. It looks like I made it rain."
Juvia's wailing got louder as she shoved him and then hugged him, sobbing like the overemotional woman she was, and Gray let himself feel just a little bit proud for actually pulling something even remotely romantic off. Hopefully his dad had enjoyed the show.
He used to think things were difficult when it came to her, but he knew now more than ever that being with her was easy. And on the days where things got complicated, Gray was more than willing to work to overcome them. He'd promised, so had she, and that was all he needed to know. No more blaming himself for losses. No more distancing his heart. Letting her in had done more for him than running ever had and he was going to hold onto this with everything he had.
Together, they weren't invincible, but they were close enough.
The end. Thank you for reading!
And in case you are wondering, yes, Gray eventually got his ring back. :)