A/N: Hello and welcome to the final act! Or this is where the fat woman starts to sing in the end... or something like that :) I know that this final part took forever to create but I had this assignment which meant two of my friends held me prisoner at school. It was horrible! They demanded me to type night and day until my fingers bleed!
Natsu: "You shouldn't lie to your readers"
Me: "Well it's a half truth... "
Natsu: "... aye..."
So my final gift to you is choosing one character from FT. Then I want you to imagine that person hugging you until you think you've had enough.
Warning! I do not take responsibility for any physical or mental damage that the hug might give. If you want a hug to last until you faint and have a ghost dangling out of your mouth then it's your own fault... not that I would blame you if that happened. I mean I do it on a regular basis ;)
To guest, Gizelle and SavFFlover : Thanks for reviewing! You're so kind :) I know it's been ages since I updated this story but I've had stuff going on in real life that really had me down in the gutter for a long period. With that said the exams went well I just need one more and then I'm done for this semester. It will be... legendary :D
Back to the chapter: This begins before Gajeel and Levy disappears...
Disclaimer: Fairy Tail belongs to Hiro (I wanted to include something about how awesome I think he is, but I simply can't do that after reading the latest chapter in the manga).
Chapter 23 – part 2: Love is magical
Gajeel growled in annoyance as he followed the rest of the group. He wasn't in the mood to chat with the others so he stayed behind while wrestling with his thoughts. It wasn't because he was that furious any more but he was still in a foul mood and usually he wanted to be alone when he felt like this. Besides he had always been kind of a loner and as such he was used to handling his inner demons by himself. Well he had friends now he knew he could share his thoughts and problems with but it was hard getting rid of this habit. It might be because of his pride or it could be due to the fact that he hadn't gotten close enough to anyone he felt like opening up to. Of course he knew that he might change eventually and taken a certain blue haired girl into his considerations he was almost certain that he would. He just had to let go of his façade and jump into this unknown territory without blinking or having second thoughts. But then again talking about feelings and stuff like that was such a girlish thing to do.
He didn't know for how long he walked in silence consumed by his own thoughts but at some point he was disrupted by Levy who was calling his name.
Turning his head he looked at her. She looked nervous and the way she was squeezing her hands together behind her back confirmed to him that she was.
"What is it shrimp?"
"It's just... can we talk... just for a second..?"
"Sure, spill it"
"Umm... could we perhaps... talk in private somehow? I mean without the others listening?"
"I guess... aren't you afraid that Erza might kill us if we postpone our arrival any further?"
"No... I mean we're almost there"
"If you say so... there's a small forest if we turn left here and walk for a few minutes. Is that private enough for you?"
"Alright lets go then"
They started walking in the forest's direction in silence and it didn't take long before they reached their destination. When they did Gajeel stopped in his tracks and took a quick look around to ensure that they were alone. He didn't see, hear or smell anyone nearby so he nodded to himself as he turned around to look at Levy who was still fidgety and obviously nervous about something.
"We're alone... so what was it that you wanted to talk about?"
"Umm... well I wanted to apologize. I mean... I'm sorry if I insulted you with that remark earlier"
He was shocked at first but he didn't want Levy to see that so he turned his head slightly to the side to avoid her eyes.
"No it isn't! I know I insulted you and I'm sorry!"
"I told you it's fine! I don't want to talk about it, kay?"
The anger from earlier was still lurking beneath his skin and he could feel it slowly growing again when he thought about Levy's comment. He didn't want to think or talk about it especially if her comment had just a small amount of truth to it. And why wouldn't there be? Gray and Levy had known each other for years and for all he knew they could have played doctor or something like that when they grew up. The thought sent a shiver down his spine and he had to grit his teeth as a million thoughts suddenly spawned inside of his head. Thoughts that he absolutely didn't want to think about, ever!
"I know you're mad..."
"Shut up! I know you're mad! I can tell! Jeez, sometimes I wonder if you're brain is made of metal as well since you're so thick! Anyway I just wanted to tell you that... the comment... you know about Gray knowing how to touch a woman... I was lying. It was... well... it was something I made up as an argument because you annoyed me... I mean.."
"Yeah... I don't even know if he... knows... how to touch a woman properly. He's never.. well, you know..."
Gajeel could feel his anger slowly settling down as he turned his head to look at Levy who was flushed from head to toe.
"You're serious aren't you?"
The dragon slayer noticed how Levy's body seemed to stiffen for a moment before she took a deep breath.
"Yes! Damn it Gajeel!"
He jumped in surprise as Levy for some bizarre reason suddenly raged towards him and started hitting him on his chest with her tiny fists.
"Oi! You don't have to get angry about it! Whatever that is?"
"I'm... not angry! It's just... why do you have to be so stupid?"
He sighed as she kept hitting him for a few minutes but eventually he had enough and caught her wrists with his hands. As he did he noticed that she was shaking. He wasn't sure why and the way she was leaning forwards, shading her eyes with her hair didn't make it any easier to determine why. Maybe he was thick after all, huh?
"Come on Levy, enough with the hitting. What's wrong?"
"I... it's just... you should know..."
She was trembling more violently now and he could feel his stomach twisting unpleasantly when he saw a few drops fall from her cheeks to the ground. Besides seeing her sadness and frustration materialising into tears he could smell it in her scent. It sent a strong wave of emotions through him and for some reason his protective side was invoked. He was uncertain what to do or what to say because it was rarely that he experienced these emotions. If he ever had experienced it? He wasn't really sure about that at the moment.
Puzzled with his thoughts he decided to squeeze her wrists gently while trying to figure out if he should hug her or say something... well he was prepared to do anything if it meant it could sooth the crying girl.
He was startled when she turned her head up against him and caught his eyes with her own.
"You should know that... I don't want anyone else... to... touch me... you..."
"You're the only one!"
"I'm the only one..? What?"
"Damn it why do you have to be such an idiot!"
He had to tighten his hold on her wrists because Levy was trying to hit him again.
"Oi, I thought I said enough with the hitting?"
"You... I... you're..."
He watched her take in a few breaths to calm herself. As she did he blinked in confusion at the woman's mood and language. What the hell was so important she started crying and yelling like this?
"I like you!"
Gajeel was shocked at first but kept staring into her eyes with a bewildered expression. She looked so serious underneath her red cheeks and it caused him to be so caught up in the moment that he didn't notice that he was blushing as well.
"Don't mess with me kid"
He stared at her with a puzzled look for a few seconds before he felt his jaw dropping. She was serious and he could tell by the way she was looking back at him.
But why? Why would she like someone like him? No lets rephrase that, why did she like him?! It didn't make sense. He kept staring at her looking more and more like a fish that was on dry land gasping for air. That was until he heard her whispering.
"... say something..."
"Yeah why? I'm not an easy person to like you know?"
"Well I don't know I just do, okay?"
Letting go of her wrists he took a step back. This was just too much. Wasn't it? He was so confused by his own inner voices telling him to seize the moment and stop acting like a coward that he was unsure of what to do next. But why was he hesitating? Didn't he like her too? Yup, even if he had no experience in this sort of thing he was quite sure that he did. In a way it was his instincts that was telling him this. Well telling and telling it was practically screaming it to him right now as a burning and warm feeling started running through his entire being.
Sighing he closed his eyes for a few seconds before he looked at Levy. She had tears running down her cheeks and she was visibly shaking from crying. Well he sure as hell was a dumb ass wasn't he? How could he just let her stand there when she had offered him such an important part of herself. She had revealed something he would never have dared to say out loud. Or maybe he would the problem was that he didn't know how to express himself in this manner. But then again maybe he did if he just unleashed his feelings?
No matter what he couldn't stand watching Levy crying any more. It was simply too painful seeing her like that so he took a step forward and without thinking wrapped his arms around her engulfing her in a tight hug. He could feel her jumping slightly in surprise but it didn't take long before she gently placed her arms around his waist and rested her head against his chest. It made him happy just standing there for a few minutes while he tried figuring out what to say to the blue haired girl in his arms. As they stood there he couldn't stop his hand from reaching her hair, but instead of ruffling it he started cherishing it.
When he could feel that she had stopped crying he removed his arms reluctantly before turning around, away from Levy. After sighing heavily he started walking towards the road they came from. He wasn't sure why he was leaving. Maybe it was because he had a mental break down. Who knew?
Exhaling he stopped and crossed his arms.
"Don't... don't walk away like that! You're such a coward!"
He couldn't let that remark slip so he turned around to face Levy who was stomping with her foot.
"What did you just call me?"
"A coward! I know you like me too so just say it already!"
"You know I like you too, huh?"
He couldn't help a grin from spreading as he looked at the girl challengingly. His instincts was practically mocking him now telling him that he was busted and that he didn't have any reasons to ignore his feelings any more. Not that he could actually hear the voices but somewhere he could feel a small part of him letting go and acknowledge the meaning behind it. He didn't know for sure what he was submitting to but it was a pleasant feeling. It felt as if a storm had settled down inside of him or a wall had broken down. No matter what it was, he felt excellent right now!
"Hmm... you don't say? I guess I should do something about that, huh?"
Gajeel crooked an eyebrow and took a step towards Levy who was suddenly walking backwards until her back collided with a tree. As she did a yelp escaped her lips which earned a small chuckle from the dragon slayer who was right in front of her now.
Still grinning he smashed his hand against the tree right above her head while leaning in closer to stare intently at the girl who was blushing a shade of red he hadn't seen before.
"Wait? I thought you wanted me to admit how I felt?"
"Yeah but... well..."
His grin faltered and was replaced with a straight line as he narrowed his eyes towards the girl in front of him.
"If you're unsure about this you should back away right now and never look back. You hear me? So let me ask you this. Are you willing to be with someone like me?"
"No matter what other people might think?"
"No matter what other people might do?"
He looked her in the eyes for a few seconds to see if she meant her words and wasn't just saying things to please him. When he didn't feel anything foul coming from her he took his free hand and placed it under her chin. As he did he was almost surprised to see her smiling encouraging towards him. That smile was enough for him to completely ignore his reasoning for not acting on his feelings and just dive into the ocean of uncertainty. All of their moments together flashed quickly before his eyes and he knew right then and there what he had to do. So without any more delay he removed his hand from her chin and grabbed the back of her head and as he did he forced her towards him were their lips finally meet each other.
It wasn't at all like he had imagined it to be. No it was way better than that. It felt like a violent storm of emotions had been unleashed from somewhere deep inside of him and it was slowly swallowing him entirely. And he didn't mind. It felt good letting go and finally acknowledging what he had known all along.
He groaned and deepened the kiss, when he felt Levy's arms wrap around his torso. Her touch, her scent, everything was so alluring to him right now. It was madness! But he loved it and he didn't want to stop it. In a way it could be compared to him being on the brink of starvation and finally getting blessed with a decent meal from something higher that he couldn't control.
After a few minutes he had to stop to catch his breath and as he did he cursed mentally for having lungs that needed oxygen.
Smirking he rested his head against Levy's and listened to her heaving for air as well.
"I like you too..."
He couldn't help chuckling as he felt her gently knock him on his shoulder.
"I know... you kind of proved that a moment ago"
While grinning like that idiotic Salamander he carefully placed his arms around Levy and squeezed her tiny figure earning him a small sigh from her. This was nice, no it was beyond that feeling. To be honest he didn't have the right words in his vocabulary to describe how he felt right now but it didn't matter. Well he was sure that Levy probably knew a dozen words that would fit to this situation quite perfectly but who cared? Feelings were meant to be felt and not described, right? Hadn't he just learned that a few minutes ago?
Gajeel didn't know how long they stood there just relaxing in each others arms but he didn't care. The whole world could burst into flames and he still wouldn't pay attention to anything else. After all he had finally acknowledged what he wanted was right in front of him and right now he didn't give a fuck about the rest of the world.
Scratching the back of his head Gray exhaled rather loudly as he turned around and away from the retarded dragon slayer. He saw Natsu wiggling his tongue teasingly towards him but he choose to ignore it for the moment. Of course he would have loved to throw a few insults in his direction but he didn't and that was mainly because he didn't want to be the person who angered Erza. Knowing her and the way her aura was shining menacingly he knew that it might earn him more than a few bumps and bruises. And he didn't want that to happen. No. He wasn't the one constantly stopping to talk, cuddle or get lost for who knew what reason. Well currently it was Gajeel and Levy who was lost and for all he knew they might just want privacy. Anyhow the point was that it wasn't him who was hindering them from reaching the guild so he didn't want to receive any punishments he didn't deserve.
Turning his head to his side he noticed Sparta walking beside him with a small smirk forming on it's lips.
"So Sparta? Are you guys planing something interesting when we reach the guild?"
It purred before throwing it's massive body against his legs resulting in him swaying for a few seconds.
The giant cat meowed almost teasingly before leaping a few feet away from him and as it did Gray couldn't help but huffing slightly in annoyance.
"Stupid cat... just don't do anything too crazy when we get there, okay? Natsu is a freak of nature and I don't want you getting into a brawl just because he told you to do something stupid"
Gray watched the cat blink a few times before it walked back to him. Once it reached him it opened it's mouth and in a swift move licked his hand that was dangling freely beside him.
"Oi! Yeah, well whatever... just don't say I didn't warn you, kay?"
Sparta made a chuckling like sound as it jumped in front of him and started bouncing playfully a few times, earning a slight smile to appear on Gray's lips.
Stupid hyperactive cat. Even if he wouldn't say it out loud he would definitely make sure that no harm came to the cat once they reached the guild. It wasn't that he doubted the cat's ability to defend itself but since he had no idea what Natsu had planned, and yes he was sure he had planned some stupid prank, he couldn't know for sure what would happen.
Now that he thought about it, did the retarded burning pile of dragon shit even consider how inappropriate it might be to introduce a giant cat with a prank? Jeez! Why was Gray cursed to do all the thinking when he was together with Natsu? Why?
Gray didn't get a chance to confront Natsu about it and tell him how far up he thought he was on a retardo metre because Sparta yelped all of a sudden before running back towards said dragon slayer.
A bit confused he followed the cat with his eyes until it reached Natsu. When it did the pink haired boy found a blanket in his bag which he used to cover the cat's frame.
What the heck?
Shrugging he looked in front of him and instantly recognized the shape of the guild not that far away in the distance. It would be so freaking good getting back home and to be honest he couldn't wait to get some of Mira's food and liquor. He almost started drooling at the thought but prevented himself from doing that just in time. Mainly because he didn't want to look like a spitting image of how he imagined Natsu would look like when he entered the guild.
When they were almost at doors to the guild he noticed two figures talking to each other and it didn't take many seconds for him to recognize them as Laxus and Freed.
Simultaneously as he threw his hand up in the air to greet them he heard Erza almost yelling her greeting to them making him jump slightly in fear for a few seconds before he collected himself and sighed in annoyance.
"Jeez, that woman..."
He saw Laxus and Freed turning and greeting them as they all approached them. Well all of them but Sparta. Where the heck did that cat go? Well no matter he would figure that out soon enough, right?
After everyone had made a proper greeting, well all except Natsu who was currently laying on the ground with a huge bump on his head because he absolutely had to challenge Laxus to a duel earning him a direct hit from the blonde guy.
Unfortunately for Gray though, Natsu didn't lay there for more than a few seconds before he was back on his feet. Once the dragon slayer was back up Gray noticed a mischievous smirk forming on his lips and watched rather confused as Natsu started pointing at Laxus while yelling: "meat!".
At first Gray was confused why Natsu would yell meat all of a sudden but moments later he figured out that it was Natsu's codeword for Sparta to come out. It was especially made clear to Gray when he saw the huge cat that was hidden underneath the blanket suddenly started running towards them really fast. As it did he heard Freed yelping in surprise and Laxus... well he just stood there being Laxus while the thing came running towards them. None of them seemed to know what to do and Gray watched rather amazed as the cat jumped making it airborne for a few seconds before hitting the still rather unaffected blonde. Well not totally unaffected Gray did notice Laxus saying: "what the f..." before the cat collided with it's massive weight against him, making him fall down on his back with a small wimp.
Gritting his teeth Gray readied himself for what might happen next as he watched the cat shake the blanket off revealing itself in the process. Laxus looked rather confused and it didn't help when Sparta suddenly started liking the blonde's face earning a few: "Eww's" and "quit it". It went on like that for a few minutes until he saw Laxus becoming rather numb underneath the black cat from all the licking. Once he saw that Gray started relaxing and started laughing. As he did he watched Sparta as she jumped towards Natsu with a triumphant meow making Freed whine and jump in frustration as he fell to his knees beside his precious leader.
The whole situation only made Gray laugh harder and he reminded himself that he ought to give the hot headed fire brain some credit in the future for being so creative.
Gray was so consumed in the situation that he didn't notice the guild doors opening until he heard a lot of people yelling their names enthusiastically and as he did he turned to see a lot of familiar faces greeting them. Some had tears running down their face, others were smiling. He could feel a warm feeling spreading in his stomach as he smiled towards his friends warmly.
"Oi! Long time no see, huh?"
Frozen in complete terror Gray felt his heart stop for a split second as he heard the female voice yelling his name in frustration.
Still frozen stiff he started turning on the spot rather awkwardly so he could stare at the woman who was standing in front of the guild with tears pouring out of her eyes.
"Ju... Juvia missed you! Ju.. Juvia is so happy that you're back home that she feels like crying!"
"You're crying right now!"
"Gray... Gray sama should greet Juvia and show her how much he missed her. Juvia knows... she knows that life must have been hard without Juvia's love"
Gulping Gray turned slowly to stare at Natsu, Lucy and Sparta who was looking at him with a rather amused smile on their lips. Why didn't they warn him before they reached the guild that this might happen? Oh right he should have known...
With eyes wide and filled with horror Gray looked directly at Natsu as he whispered.
"... I'm not prepared for this..."
Unsure of what to do next he turned and watched in absolute terror as the blue haired girl leapt from her position with her arms stretched in front of her. Gray didn't know why he did this but when he saw Juvia flying through the air almost in slow motion with hearts in her eyes and lips smacking together making kissing like sounds he pointed his finger towards her yelling: "Meat!" resulting in Sparta jumping from her position and pinning the blue haired girl to the ground.
When he saw that his spontaneous plan was successful he smirked slightly as he started patting the giant cat on her head.
"I'm really glad we brought you back with us"
The cat purred underneath his fingers and started following him as he started making his way towards the entrance and inside the guild. He knew that he probably shouldn't have done that towards Juvia but he just didn't have the energy to face Juvia's personality at the moment. Besides he knew he would get enough time and countless opportunities to make up to her later. Right now he just wanted some peace and be with his friends without being assaulted. It had been a long trip even if they hadn't been away for that many days. For some reason it still felt like they'd been gone almost an eternity. So with that in mind he greeted his friends as he stepped inside the guild with a warm feeling rummaging inside his stomach.
It was good being home. Much more than he would ever acknowledge or say out loud. Sure he had learned a few things on the trip and he had gotten much closer to his team. Yes that included the idiotic fire eating moron and the blue haired fur ball. But he didn't really want to think about that at the moment. Right now all he wanted to think about was how great it felt being back and enjoy the moment while it lasted.
Natsu couldn't suppress a laugh from escaping his lips as he watched Gray running away from Juvia, who was currently crying her eyes out underneath Sparta. Okay Juvia might not deserve such treatment from the ice making idiot but in a way he understood why Gray reacted the way he did. Sometimes it was easier dodging the bullet instead of taking a direct hit. In a way it had been the same way when he had to come to terms with his emotions towards Lucy. Speaking of Lucy Natsu turned his head to look at the blonde girl who was smiling affectionately towards him while giggling. She still looked nervous but he knew that she wouldn't feel that way for long. Well it could be compared to when you remove a plaster from a wound. It's better to remove it quickly and just get it over with right away instead of delaying it. Besides they were their friends it would be limited how much they would torture them... right?
With that in mind Natsu reached his hand towards Lucy with the intention of holding it in his, but unfortunately Lucy never got the chance to grab it because in the same moment both of them was picked up from the ground rather violently and pressed against a large torso. It took a second for Natsu to realize that it was Elfman who was hugging them tightly against his chest while crying a small river that was soaking both of them. Even though it was rather uncomfortable he didn't have it in his heart to tell the huge man to let go. Fortunately he didn't have to because a few seconds later he felt someone grab his shirt pulling him out of Elfman's embrace. When he turned around to greet the hero of the moment he wasn't surprised to see Mirajane smiling in a way that indicated she was sorry her brother behaved the way he did. Natsu couldn't help grinning towards the white haired woman who bowed towards him gracefully as she welcomed them back home.
Natsu was almost knocked over as a girl collided with him engulfing him in a tight hug.
It took a second for Natsu to get a hold of his breath again but when he did he turned his head to look at the girl who was hugging him while crying her eyes out.
"Nat... su... welcome back!"
Gently Natsu patted the crying girl on her head and as he did he heard her sop a few times. He had missed the tiny girl and even though he normally would have felt uncomfortable when a girl cried her eyes out he didn't feel that at the moment and that was mainly because he knew that Wendy wasn't crying because she was sad. No, this was happy tears and Natsu knew that in some situations they just had to be shed.
Wendy sniffed as she whipped her eyes and turned towards Lucy who was smiling towards the girl. As she did Natsu felt the girl letting go of him before running towards Lucy with fresh tears streaming down her face.
Natsu laughed as he watched the two girls hug each other. He knew that Lucy had missed the girl even if she never told him so. Of course Lucy had missed all of their friends but naturally there were some people that she had missed more than anyone else.
The procedure of hugging, crying and laughing went on for awhile but eventually Natsu had greeted everyone. With that done Natsu took a huge breath as he felt something dump on his shoulder with a small thud.
"Natsu... greeting people is hard"
"Yeah but it's good too isn't it Happy?"
Natsu gently patted the cat's head as he turned towards Lucy who looked kind of exhausted but thrilled as well.
"You ready for this?"
He felt a few butterflies fluttering in his stomach as he reached his hand towards Lucy for the second time and the feeling seemed to increase when he saw Lucy smiling affectionately before grabbing it. Nothing happened at first because most people had decided to go inside to start a welcome home party. Neither happened when they entered the guild because most people was occupied with conversations and partying.
Natsu was firmly holding Lucy's hand while he wondered why people didn't react to the fact that they were openly showing some sort of emotion towards each other, when he heard a woman screaming and multiple glass breaking as it hit the floor. Every eye was on Mirajane who was shaking violently while covering her mouth with her hands. Natsu took a deep breath and squished Lucy's hand as he counted to teen. When he reached teen he watched Mirajane as she removed her hands and started running towards them with a huge smile and tears running down her face.
"You did it! You finally did it!"
Natsu grinned almost mischievously when the white haired woman grabbed both of them and engulfed them in a tight hug. Well actually it was all three of them because Happy was still on Natsu's shoulder. As this happened the rest of the guild kept staring at the hugging group while wondering what the heck was going on.
A small cough made Natsu turn his head and he wasn't surprised to see Makarov staring at him with a hint of humour in his eyes.
"So... you care to tell me what this is about?"
Mirajane quickly removed her arms from Lucy and Natsu as she looked at their master with small stars glistening in her eyes.
"They... they finally acknowledged their feelings master"
Makarov shrugged as he tilted his head slightly to the side.
"I know they are thrilled about coming home. We all are and that's why we're having a party. You shouldn't start a commotion about that Mira"
"But master... I didn't mean those feelings"
"What did you mean then?"
Natsu could feel his heart slowly escalating as he watched Mirajane raise her index finger while smiling knowingly towards Makarov. This was it. The big revelation. But why was he so nervous about it? Hadn't he told Lucy that they didn't have anything to worry about?
His mouth felt dry as he took a second to stare at Lucy who smiled nervously towards him. As they looked at each other it almost felt like they had entered some sort of bubble and he almost didn't hear it when Mirajane said: "They... are in love. And they finally acknowledged that fact".
However, the bubble protecting them for a split second broke when he heard Makarov roaring a loud "WHAT?!"
Gulping Natsu turned to stare at the tiny man who had flames surrounding him. He heard Mirajane sighing as she placed a hand on the masters shoulder, clearly trying to prevent Makarov from getting angry, but it didn't seem to decrease the man's fury one tiny bit as he glared at Natsu.
"Lucy is my daughter. If you EVER harm her in any way I swear to you that I will punish you. I swear that I will..."
The tiny man stopped speaking and turned around to glare at Mirajane who was digging her nails into his shoulders. The deadly aura surrounding the master vanished immediately as he saw the evilness dancing wickedly in Mirajane's eyes.
"Master... you are not trying to ruin their young love from blossoming are you?"
"Good! Now be happy for them!"
"Say it! I want you to say it like you mean it!"
Natsu watched as the tiny man gulped before turning his attention towards him and Lucy.
"I... I am very happy for you... auch! Mira can you please remove your hand? Now Lucy!"
"Natsu is a hyperactive idiot who... auch! Mira please! I have a point with this! As I was saying Natsu is... ahem... special and needs a special girl who can control him. I never would have imagined that it would be you, but now that I think about it I know that it couldn't have been anyone other than you. You are a clever girl and you know how to knock some sense into him when he's going in the wrong direction. I know that you and you alone can do this because you have a heart big enough to guide both of you. Well I'm not trying to say Natsu is a retard but he is... well sometimes he can be rather slow... aaaargh! Stop it Mira! Anyway Lucy!"
"You are my precious child and I know that you can can create something magnificent with Natsu because you have the soul to embrace every minor fault that Natsu.. ehm... might have. I'm proud to have witnessed the seed of your friendship blossoming into the biggest magic of them all. The magic called love"
Lucy voice was shaking slightly as she thanked for the kind words and Natsu knew that she was effected by the kindness in Makarov's words. Well so was he but he didn't really want to say it out loud. Not now anyway.
"I care for you greatly and I know you'll do anything in your power to protect Lucy. But if you ever harm her I swear that I'll..."
Makarov didn't finish that sentence because all of a sudden Mirajane started dragging him towards the bar while shouting: "The next round is on the master! Lets celebrate the beauty of love!"
The rest of the guild started cheering, shouting and clapping enthusiastically and it escalated to a whole new level when Natsu gently placed his arm around Lucy's shoulders. As he did he noticed Happy flying towards the bar where Mirajane was calling for the cat while waving a huge fish. When the cat had received his fish he couldn't help a small laugh from escaping his lips as he leaned against Lucy while whispering.
"That went pretty well"
"Yeah, it did"
"To be honest I was sure Makarov would kill me... or something worse..."
"Yeah... remember Erza threatening about... taking my... uhm... most precious thing? I was thinking he might actually do something like that..."
"No he wouldn't'... Seriously?"
"Yes and no... well he wouldn't.. you know... chop, POW, boom! And then I would be missing a limp.. but he might do something I wouldn't like"
"Oh.. well fortunately he didn't"
"Yeah... so! Want something to drink?"
Natsu smiled as they started walking towards the bar. They both knew that some chaos was bound to happen when they announced their relationship but fortunately it didn't end up in anyone losing a body part or the whole guild blowing up.
Lucy laughed after telling what happened during their stay at the island for who knows what number of times that day. They had been at the guild for hours now and right now she was talking about their adventure with Lisanna who was laughing as well.
"Who would have thought that they would ever pull a prank on a boat?"
"Hmm... makes me wonder though what Gray might have done with the pictures he took..."
"Well he... he... oh my god! I need to find him! I'll be right back Lisanna!"
"Before you go there are some things I need to know"
"Where are Levy and Gajeel?"
"I don't know.. they should be here now. Maybe they went home?"
"I guess... second question"
"Where did the plaster caster on your foot go? You said you were injured. Where is it?"
"Oh! Well I took it of some nights ago because it started itching. And well... I kind of forgot putting it back on"
"Okay maybe I didn't forget-forget, but I did wrap some bandages around it for support"
"If you're sure that's sufficient...?"
"I showed it to Wendy and she said it was fine"
"Oh... well that's great!"
Lucy smiled as she turned around to search for Gray. She really wanted to know what he did with the camera he had taken pictures with during the prank because all he said that time was that he promised not to send them to the Weakly Sorcerer. Did that mean he still had them somewhere or had he destroyed them? For some reason she was sure he wouldn't destroy them because he could use them against them at some point. The more she thought about it the more she wanted to facepalm herself for not snatching the camera when she had the chance. Just as she thought this she found Gray who was casually sitting by himself while enjoying something from a large mug.
Smirking she walked over to him and tapped him on his shoulder.
"Where are your camera?"
"I want to know what you did with those photos you took of us on the boat"
"Ahh, during our prank?"
"Hmm.. let's see now..."
Gray stretched his body and sighed heavily before he slumped back against the chair.
"Hmm... I'm not sure where it is... sorry Lucy. It seems that I have forgotten where I placed it"
"Hey, I was stressed back then. Either way I don't see what the big deal is I'm sure it'll turn up someday"
Lucy froze as she stared at Gray who was shrugging his shoulders. Didn't he know how disastrous it would be if someone found those pictures?
"Gray! You have to find it!"
"Right now! Do you know what might happen not only to me but you too if someone found those pictures?"
"Well imagine what Erza might do to you if she finds out that you lost the camera"
Gray blinked a couple of times before he got into a standing position where he ruffled his hair with his hand.
"Yeah.. I guess that would be a problem"
"What?! Aren't you terrified?"
Realisation suddenly hit Lucy and she couldn't help pointing her finger at Gray who was looking kind of bored right now.
"You still have it don't you?"
"Yes you do! Otherwise you would have stormed out of here when I mentioned Erza"
Gray was now slowly backing away from Lucy while holding up his hands protectively.
"Where is it?"
"I... don't.. know... hey! Isn't that Levy and the stupid metal head holding hands?"
Lucy turned around to glare the same way Gray had a moment ago only to find that they weren't there. It didn't take many seconds for her to understand that he had played a trick on her and as she did she noticed Gray storming out of the guild while laughing mischievously.
"Oh no you don't!"
She ran after Gray while cursing mentally. When she got hold of him she would punish him. Oh yes, there was no doubt about that fact. Lucy was so focused on her task that she didn't hear Natsu running after her until they were outside of the guild.
"Lucy! Where are you going!"
She didn't stop running but turned her head slightly to the side as she yelled.
"I have to find Gray! He still has the photos from the boat!"
"Oh! I'll help. His scent is still fresh so it's quite easy to follow. Turn left here Lucy!"
They kept running like that until they reached a small forest where Gray was standing in a frozen position glaring at something in front of him. Lucy felt like laughing as she caught up with him but instead she tried putting on her serious face as she grabbed his arm and tried to turn him in her direction.
"Got you! Gray I..."
"Don't try to change the subject..."
"I'm not.. just... look"
Sighing Lucy let go of Gray's arm as she turned her head to look in the direction he was looking and as she did she felt her heart skip a beat. Gajeel was sleeping leaning against the trunk of a tree with his arms wrapped around Levy who was sleeping as well. It looked so peaceful the way they laid there.
Lucy felt a wave of happiness rush through her. She knew that Gajeel and Levy would eventually acknowledge their feelings towards each other and the fact that they were laying there together was proof enough for her to know that they finally did. Turning her head she looked at Natsu who was standing still next to her and smiling as well. She knew that he didn't want to interrupt them, neither did he want to confront them about their relationship. They would tell them when they felt like it and when they did they would be glad and cheer for them.
With a smile on her face Lucy started walking away from the sleeping couple. Gray and Natsu followed her in silence until they were far enough away for them to talk without disturbing Gajeel and Levy. When they were Lucy turned around to look at Gray who was crossing his arms in defiance.
"I want that camera..."
"I don't have it"
"You mean you don't have it right here..."
"Gray.. promise me you will delete those photos!"
Lucy didn't see Gray exchanging a look with Natsu and she most certainly didn't see the teasing look both of them had when they did that.
"Alright Lucy, I'll delete the photos"
"Yeah... but you own me!"
"Yes I.. No I don't! You should have deleted them after you took them!"
"Whatever... I'm going home... there's too much freaking love in the air. It makes me sick..."
Lucy was a bit confused by that sentence but she let it go as she watched Gray waving lazily while walking away from them.
"I wonder what that was about..."
"Does it matter?"
"No... guess not"
As Lucy said that Natsu wrapped his arm around her and gently leaned his chin against her head. It didn't take many seconds for Lucy to react to his gesture as she placed her own arms around his waist and rested her head against his chest.
As they stood there Lucy couldn't help wondering what might lay ahead of them. Well obviously more dangerous missions but what else would the future have in stall for them? She knew that life wasn't as easy as one of her novels but she could dream about a happy ending couldn't she? That everything would be fine because she had found the perfect partner to support her everyday. Well things might be good and things might be bad at times but she would cross those bridges when she got to them. Right now all she knew and all she wanted to know was that she had found something valuable and as the master described it, it was the greatest magic of them all.
Lucy blushed as she felt Natsu gently kissing her hair and started stroking it affectionately.
Yes, everything she needed was right here and everything that the universe might throw at them they would face it together. That was the beauty of love. They would have each others backs when things got ugly and they would laugh together when things were great. No matter what, no matter where they would go they would always support each other and that was all that mattered right now.
So with that in mind Lucy leaned her head backwards and smiled up towards Natsu who returned the smile with one of his own.
"Luce... I don't know if I've ever told you this but I think you're the most beautiful girl in the world"
She could feel herself blushing before she felt Natsu's lips against her own. It still sent a river of emotions through her body and she hoped that this feeling would last forever.
Who knew maybe this wasn't just the happy ending of one fairy tale but the beginning of a new one? Only time would reveal that answer to them but for now everything was perfect and in time they would know, that love really is the mightiest power in the universe.
A/N: That was it! I hope you enjoyed it :) Hmm, I know that the ending practically screams: sequel! But I have no intentions of making that. Oh, and I know the ending was a bit... meh! I'll admit it's mainly because I had a really hard time writing this chapter. Not only because it is the end but also because of the latest development in the manga. I feel so torn... Hiro you twisted Japanese! You broke my heart! :(
So I finally ended up with the ultimate GaLe moment.. or something like that. I actually swore I didn't want to include that in this story but I've come to like those guys so much that I just couldn't leave them with "unfinished business" ;)
About GrayxJuvia: I could have included that but I didn't want to. It's not that I dislike that pairing or anything but I just thought that three pairings was enough.
H: "Oi! What did that look between you guys mean when you talked about deleting the pictures?"
Gray: "That's obvious!"
Natsu: "Yeah I signalled to him that he shouldn't delete them. I mean... there might be some good pictures of Lucy..."
H: "You're crazy... but... I'll miss you rummaging inside my brain... sniff..."
Natsu & Gray: "What's wrong?"
H: "I'm having second thoughts... I don't want to end this story!"
Natsu: "Well you still have that other story you've been talking about ever since you posted this story back in the days"
H: "That's true..."
Gray: "And you have all of those minor stories too"
H: "Ohh yeah! But.. this is goodbye for now isn't it?"
Natsu: "... it is..."
Gray: "... yeah..."
H: "... so I guess all that's left to say id: tune in again to a new story. I don't know when I'll post it, but hopefully sometime soon!"
Natsu: "You still plan on making it very dark and in a completely different genre don't you?"
Natsu: "... sigh... I was afraid you would say that..."
H: "Come on cheer up Natsu! It'll be fun!"
Natsu: "... I've seen your plot line for that story... It ain't pretty"
H: "Shhh... spoilers! Anyway! Take care everyone! You're the best and I love every single one of you!"
Natsu: "Me too!"
Gray: "What you guys said!"
The End :)