Here is the final chapter, I really hope you have enjoyed this story though it isn't my finest work.
A few days passed and Natsu's fever wasn't getting better. His wound had become infected. The doctor had visited them and he said that Natsu would have to undergo three surgeries, one every week. Those weeks would be full of pain, he had warned.
Those three weeks passed agonizingly slowly. Natsu would wake up every day several days only to cry in pain. Gray was always with him at those moments, holding his hand with a firm grip.
It was clear that Gray was getting weaker. There were dark circles under his eyes and he ate less. But the most concerning fact was that he wouldn't leave Natsu's side for even a moment so he could take care of himself. He would always stay and watch when Natsu was in great pain, even though it was mentally very tiring for anyone. Even Erza was tired after the first week. Then the second surgery happened and it only brought more pain. It was terrible to watch and it was clear Gray wasn't helping Natsu with his actions- he was punishing himself.
Erza knew she could try to force him to leave, but it would probably bring more harm to him. And who knows, maybe Natsu really needed Gray to stay next to him?
I held Natsu's hand tightly as he was having another fit after the last surgery. He was squeezing my hand very tightly, but I ignored the pain and continued to listen to his screams.
"GUAH-AGH! AAGH! A-A-AAH!" He shouted and started to trash around. I got up and pressed his body against the bed like many times before. His skin was covered in sweat and his body heat made me want to cover myself in ice.
It was a painful scene to watch but I knew that I had to do it. It was my fault after all. I was regretting it so badly.
'Natsu... when you get better I promise that I'll never hurt you again. Never.' I thought as I held him.
Soon the fit was over and it left Natsu exhausted. He was panting and his face had gone one shade paler. He looked fragile like a fine glass object that moment. And it was all because of me.
"Gray." A voice said behind me. I turned to see Erza leaning to the door frame.
"You should stop this. You're just hurting yourself. There are many who can look after him for you. Just-"
"What do you know?" I interrupted her. She let out a surprised sound.
"What could you possible know?" I knew I was being too harsh.
"Gray, you're b-" She started but I interrupted her loudly again.
"It has to be me! No one else can look after him. It has to be me. Because-" I shut my mouth tightly and thought about my words. What was I about to say? What did I really feel? Then I realized it and I let the words come out.
"Because I love him." The room fell silent.
"...I know." She then said. My eyes instantly locked on hers.
"...What...?" I said in unbelief.
"We all know, Gray." My shoulders fell. How could they have known before I even knew it myself?
She walked to me and put a hand on my shoulder.
"But hurting yourself isn't going to help Natsu." I looked away from her in shame.
"But this is my fault. He is in such pain because of me. It's my responsibility to watch over him." Erza gave a light squeeze and nodded.
"Yes. You have to watch over him. But you can't do that at the cost of your own health." Her words didn't reach me. I felt them go by like countless other pleas to stop being by Natsu's side.
"Gray." Erza said and I reluctantly turned to look her in the eye. "Natsu wouldn't want you to do this to yourself." When my mind registered those words my eyes opened a bit wider.
"What Natsu...would want..." I thought out loud. I hadn't thought about what Natsu would say in this situation. Suddenly, an image of a healthy Natsu popped in my mind. He was grinning widely, showing his white teeth, and saying my name.
"Gray!" And that moment I knew. Natsu wouldn't want me to do this.
"Thank you, Erza. I know now. Natsu probably wouldn't want me to suffer because of this. Even though I feel responsible and guilty I think...I think Natsu would just find it annoying."
Erza was about to open her mouth to response when a sharp wheeze could be heard.
"You're damn right about that." A rasped voice said.
Gray shot up from his seat and turned to look at Natsu. The amount of sweat had increased on his brow and so was his shivering. Yet there he was, eyes open and wearing his grin despite the obvious amount of pain he was in.
"Natsu!" I almost shouted and grabbed his hand again in reflex. I saw his smile widen just a tiny bit at my actions.
"You have been here a lot haven't you?" He asked me with a slight tease in his voice.
I felt like I had lost the ability to speak that moment. I opened and closed my mouth like a fish, not finding the right words.
"Yeah." I was finally able to say.
"'Thought so.." He said tiredly. I wasn't able to look him in the eye anymore. I let go of his hand and I looked at the floor.
"Natsu.. I'm..I'm so, so, sor-"
"Don't you dare apologize you asshole!" My eyes shot open in surprise and I slowly lifted my gaze to look at him. He looked angry.
"This isn't your fault. And even if it was, I would have forgiven you from that moment you attacked me." I shook my head in disbelief.
"-because!" He blurted out but shut his mouth tightly after that. I was left there in surprise, not sure whether to say something or not. I looked Natsu deeply in his eyes and suddenly a dark red color crept to his cheeks before he turned to look away.
At this point I noticed that Erza had disappeared from the room.
Natsu mumbled something into his pillow and I couldn't make any sense of it.
"What did you say?" I asked.
"You're such an idiot! D-do I have to say everything out loud!?" He almost shouted. He sounded angry and...embarrassed? He then turned his head to look at me again. His face was completely red.
"I said I love you too, you stupid ice-freak!" I froze.
'What...did he just say...? He.. loves me?'
"Natsu... could it be...you heard me?" He still looked very red and very embarrassed before he nodded.
"My hearing is pretty good..." He just mumbled.
It felt like my heart was doing flips inside my chest. Natsu looked like an angel that moment with his cute blush and pink lips. So what else could you expect from me than what happened next: I got up and, to Natsu's great astonishment, let my hand travel behind his back before pulling him closer for a deep and meaningful kiss.
I can only say that I really can't tell you how right it felt. And how glad I was when Natsu cutely replied it a bit clumsily. We soon pulled away to catch our breaths and when I looked at Natsu I saw that he too was happy about the outcome of our conversation.
-Gray's POV end-
Erza had taken her leave when Natsu had woken up. The two had an important conversation to have and she didn't want to be on their way. Though she was a bit interested...
Erza walked back and front in front of the infirmary and sometimes she would push her ear to the door so she could hear something that was happening inside. For some while she could hear talking , but couldn't make sense of the words.
A good while went past and she could no longer help herself. She heard that the room had become silent so she ever so slightly opened the door. She couldn't see Natsu's bed from the small crack so she opened it a little more. And a little more.
The sight inside brought a smile to her face and she knew that instant that everything would be alright.
Natsu was once again asleep but this time his face wasn't twisted from the nightmares or the pain. It was relaxed and Erza swore she even saw a small smile on his lips. But what made Erza even more happy was when he saw the older boy, having moved another bed next to Natsu's and he was sleeping on it with an equally relaxed face.
The two made a perfect pair and Erza knew that they would never leave each other and a proof of that was their connected hands that kept their hold even while they dreamed.
Thank you for reading!
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