Disclaimer: I don't own Fairy Tail, but I'm sure we all wish we did.
This fic is rated T. It will have cussing and mentions of violence and blood.
Parings: This is a Grayza fic. I'll most likely add other pairings to this as well, but I won't focus on them much.
Author's Notes: The idea for this story has been going through my head for over a month or two now. I wanted to get an idea for what all I was going to do and how it would end prior to finishing the first chapter. I want to try to stay as consistent as possible with this story since it will have multiple chapters. This is my first time submitting a story online so I'm not sure how good this is.
Ch. 1 - Unrequited Feelings
The night before.
No one was in sight as Gray walked along the street, dimly lit from the lampposts lining the pathway. The night sky was free of clouds and the moon was full and beautiful. There was even a pleasant breeze coming in from the north. It was the perfect night to be taking a stroll. Unlucky for Gray, he had other things on his mind to mull over and the scenery wasn't one of them.
It was just the other night that Gray had an…interesting conversation with Erza. They talked about love and how he should let his feelings for a special someone be known. Feelings that Erza thought he had for Juvia, that is. Gray knew that sooner or later someone would come in and try to help sort out this whole ordeal he had going on with Juvia. He knew that. But why, of all the people that he could have had this discussion with, did it have to be with Erza?
Now Gray regrets ever bringing up his love life with Erza. He feels as if he keeps getting dragged back into this mess with Lyon and Juvia and finds it extremely uncomfortable. All he wanted was to let off some steam, to have someone listen to his problems. He wasn't expecting the conversation to continue in this direction, but Erza knew it was troubling him and that was why she suggested for him to let his feelings known. The problem was he didn't want Erza to get the wrong idea.
Juvia is a sweet girl (although a bit scary and clingy at times) who would do anything for Gray. Gray admits he has been a bit protective of her ever since he realized how much she truly loved him, when their senses were linked thanks to Meredy's magic. She was head over heels in love with him, yet he couldn't bring himself to return those feelings. There was someone else who clouded his thoughts. She had for a long time now.
Gray stepped in a puddle when he wasn't looking and got his pant leg wet. He groaned as he tried to shake off what he could of the water and hoped it would dry by the time he got back to the inn. Then he went on his way and back to his thoughts.
It wasn't until recently that Gray realized how important Erza was to him. During Team Natsu's visit to the Tower of Heaven, Gray and company learned of Erza's past. Everything he had wondered about for so long and never had the guts to ask was finally answered. He now knew why she was crying by the river that time when they were kids. Why she chose to be alone for so long before finally accepting Fairy Tail. Why she wore those worn and tattered clothes the day she first came to Fairy Tail. Finally understanding everything as to why Erza was the way she is only made Gray feel even closer to her.
When Shou took off with a defenseless Erza and after Jellal, a switch was flipped inside of Gray. All he could think about in that moment was Erza. He needed to bring her back safely to Fairy Tail and away from the tower that caused her so much pain. She needed to get far away from Jellal. He wanted to see her smile again.
During his fight with Fukuro, Gray thought back to when he first met Erza and he finally understood. Erza had already claimed his heart. She stole it all those years ago when he first saw her walk through the main doors of Fairy Tail and he didn't even know it.
Being lost in thought made Gray bump face first into a street light. He held his face as he cursed into his hands to try and muffle the obscenities. He was starting to get worked up and glared at the street light as if it was their fault and not his own. He took a deep breath and let out a big sigh before moving around the lamppost and continuing his walk.
When Erza was poisoned during her fight against Cobra, Gray's protectiveness kicked in once again. Even though Erza pleaded for someone to cut her arm off, Gray couldn't go through with it. He didn't dare let Lyon lay a finger on Erza with that blade. There had to be another way to save her. He knew there had to be a different way. He fought tooth and nail to hold off Racer so that Natsu could bring Wendy back to heal Erza. That fight was for Erza's sake.
Gray had believed that Jellal died with the collapse of the Tower of Heaven and that was the end of him. But after their fight against Oracien Seis, Gray saw that Jellal was alive and well. Everything he had done to Erza made him hate the guy, but seeing Erza with Jellal made his stomach sink. She looked so happy that he was alive and held no grudge against him. How could he hate the guy if Erza had forgiven him so easily? Seeing Erza act this way made him happy and miserable at the same time. Gray felt that he had no chance of winning Erza over. She was happy and there was nothing more he could want. That's what he thought.
Then the Magic Council took Jellal away. Erza didn't fight it, but Gray knew why. She was letting the Magic Council do as they pleased so that everyone else wouldn't be sent to prison for trying to aide Jellal. She was thinking of others instead of doing what she wanted to.
After Jellal was taken away, Gray couldn't find the courage to try and pursue Erza. She was hurting from the pain of losing Jellal. She knew he was alive, but for how much longer? Would the Magic Council let him rot in jail for life or would they execute him? There was nothing Erza could do that wouldn't be turned back against her. He wanted to console her and be there for her, but he didn't want to push his feelings onto her. He wasn't sure what he should do.
So he did nothing.
Gray felt something under his boot as he stepped. He lifted his leg up to see the bottom and found a freshly chewed piece of pink bubblegum. "…Seriously?" He scraped the bottom of his boot on the pavement and walked on. Gray sensed that something out there was hell-bent on making it a horrible night for him.
After the incident at Tenroujima and everyone made it back to the guild after a seven year absence, Gray learned from Lyon that Ultear and Meredy had broken Jellal out of prison. He wasn't sure how to feel about that. He was alive, but would seeing Jellal again help Erza or only hurt her?
Not long after that, a handful of Fairy Tail members ended up meeting Jellal, Ultear and Meredy while training at the beach for the Grand Magic Games. The three of them are now known as an independent guild called Crime Sorciere. Gray saw that Erza was worried about seeing Jellal again, who had regained all his memories over the past few years.
Jellal and Erza went off somewhere away from everyone else while Ultear started the process of opening up everyone's second origins. This made Gray nervous. What would happen between them? What would they talk about or…what would they do?
It wasn't until the sun was setting that Erza and Jellal finally returned to the group and almost everyone was going through excruciating pain. Well, except for Gray. He held off on starting his second origin until Jellal and Erza came back. He wanted to make sure she came back safely. Gray could tell something happened between them, but wasn't sure what exactly. Ultear had been watching Gray as he looked at Erza and Jellal. She couldn't hold back the smile quickly spreading across her face as she pushed Gray along so he could start his "training".
Just thinking about all this was making Gray depressed. Erza loved Jellal. She never stopped loving him after all this time. The feeling was most likely mutual on Jellal's part as well. Gray stopped in his tracks.
What do I do now? Do I continue to watch Erza from afar or hopelessly try to catch her eye? Do I even have the right to try to come between them? The answer is obvious.
The sudden response made Gray quickly spin around to find Juvia just a few feet behind him. He thought he was all alone. How long had she been there watching him? "Ah, Juvia. What are you doing out this late?"
"Well…when Gray-sama didn't come back to the inn, Juvia decided to go look for him." Juvia seemed so serious until she started squirming. "Juvia also hoped to spend some time alone with Gray-sama~!"
Ah, of course. I should have expected this.
Gray knew that he would be involved in more shenanigans if he kept getting caught in other people's paces. If Lyon happens to show up it would only make matters worse. Gray wasn't ready to face up to what he should do about Juvia and thought he should make a run for it. He could just say that he'll head back soon and then be on his way.
But he stopped himself. He knew he had to come to terms with everything. Erza was right about making his feelings clear. Pulling Juvia along by a thread wasn't the right thing to do. She had the right to know about what Gray thought of her.
"Juvia, I need to talk to you about something."
Juvia snapped out of her daydream when she heard Gray's voice and brought her focus back to him. She could tell that he was being serious and made sure to listen closely to him. But now Gray wasn't sure what to do. He got her attention when he hadn't even planned on what he was going to say. He wasn't expecting this to be so embarrassing and it was making him feel really awkward just staring at Juvia and trying to come up with how to word everything. Out of instinct he quickly bowed in front of Juvia.
"I've been an idiot. I never thought of your feelings and was only hurting you by not saying anything. It was wrong of me to know of your feelings and not respond to them properly." Juvia held her cheeks as they began to turn red from what Gray was suddenly declaring. "We've gotten to know each other better since you've joined the guild. You're a great person, but I can only think of you as a friend. I'm sorry."
There was an awkward silence for a while and Gray didn't have the courage to look at Juvia. He was prepared for the worst.
"Does…Gray-sama love someone else?"
"Uh…yeah…" Gray stood up straight and scratched at his hair. He wasn't sure how to act. "It's kind of a lost cause, though. I never had the guts to do anything about it and I know she doesn't feel the same." He couldn't help but laugh at how pitiful he was.
"Why should Gray-sama hold back?" Gray's eyes widened when he heard her response. He finally looked up at Juvia and noticed that she seemed frustrated. She was clenching her fists in anger. "That's not right. If you love someone then you shouldn't give up on them without trying. You have to give it your all just like Juvia has!"
Gray was in complete shock. He couldn't think of anything to respond with. She was absolutely right.
I was only scared of rejection. I'd regret it if I just gave up without doing anything about it.
"Ah! Juvia doesn't know what came over her. Juvia is sorry." Juvia started fidgeting and began to blush in embarrassment.
"Don't worry, I deserved that." Gray smiled back at her.
"Well…Juvia is going back to the inn. Gray-sama should come back soon as well." Juvia turned around and started walking back the way she came.
"Juvia." She stopped walking and turned her head back to look at him. "Sorry...and thanks."
Juvia smiled back at him before walking off again. Even though she was smiling, Gray knew it wasn't sincere. She was hurting, but instead she was trying to act tough. He wished the best for Juvia and that she would find someone.
Gray decided to take the long route back to the inn so that he could go over his thoughts one last time. He finally let Juvia know where they stood (as much as it pained him to hurt a friend) and had new motivation to work on his relationship with Erza. He wants to tell her how he feels and try to win her over one way or the other. If she flat out rejects him, at least he gave it his all instead of just watching. You have to take chances in life to get what you want, to grasp your own happiness.
You won't know until you try, huh?
Gray was finally able to look up at the moon and truly notice how beautiful it was. He felt relieved for the first time that night as he made his way back to the inn.
Author's Notes (again!): Hopefully this first chapter wasn't too cheesy or dramatic. I tried to make Gray and Juvia as in character as possible, but I wonder if I was able to accomplish that. It was hard doing Gray because I tried to make it seem realistic with the situation he was put in. This chapter might seem more like a prologue to the story than an actual first chapter, but things will pick up more from here on out.
Update: There is a Lyvia oneshot I wrote that takes place after this first chapter. It will be talked about in future chapters, so if you like Lyvia or want to know everything behind it, be sure to read it! It's called "Mending a Broken Heart."