AN: More Feels, perhaps?
Much Stronger Than Forever
Chapter Seven – Change
"I missed you
I thought of you from time to time
Maybe it's the season change because I miss you
Don't hide it anymore and tell me"
NS Yoon-G ft Jay Parl– If You Love Me
The morning after Gray went to see her, the Water Mage asked Gajeel to take her to where she lived and when her friend informed her that she rented a room on Fairy Tail's Female Dormitory, also known as Fairy Hills. Juvia had never been one to fraternize with others and even if she'd spend more, she would rather live alone, like always. Her life changed more than she thought it would.
Gajeel took her up a hill where the two store house stood, the words Fairy Hills and the Guild's symbol at each side. After looking at it for a while, she turned around to have a look at Magnolia – her new home – and looking at it from up the hill, it looked like a pretty and peaceful town even when she knew it wasn't by the tales she heard from the Iron Dragon Slayer.
She could see Fairy Tail (it was hard not to) and she bit her lower lip. Juvia wanted to go there and meet the people that were on her new life, but was afraid of not making the right choice for herself and deciding to do what was best for her and not anyone else.
"Juvia," Gajeel called and when said woman turned around, she noticed another blue haired woman next to him, "this is Levy. She's a friend of ours and she'll take you inside."
Juvia nodded towards the small woman, who waved and had a kind smile on her lips. "Why can't you take Juvia inside?"
"Men can't go inside." The Dragon Slayer shrugged.
"Don't worry, Juvia-chan, it will only take a moment to gather what you need for the next few days." Levy said and then wrinkled her nose playfully. "I can only imagine what awful things this one has been making you do back there in his place." The petite blunette elbowed the man, who rolled his eyes.
"Shut it, Shrimp, or you are next." The Dragon Slayer grunted, but it was clearly playful – and it wasn't like a lion playing with its prey either, it was genuine. Wait… What was going on there? Was it possible? Gajeel Redfox, the Iron Dragon Slayer was smitten? Who was that girl?
"Keep telling yourself that, buddy." Levy winked in Juvia's direction. "Come on in, Juvia-chan. Mr. Grumpy will wait for you here." Gajeel rolled his eyes again and went to sit on the porch while they got in.
"So…" Juvia asked as soon as they were alone. "For how long have you two been dating?"
"What?" Levy said on a higher tone than necessary and the Water Mage had to fight off a smile: she wasn't supposed to go around smiling, she never did. "We aren't- we can't- it's not- I mean…"
Juvia knew that Gajeel heard her and she'd like very much to see his reaction, but Levy's red face and stuttering was funny enough. "Oh?"
"You lost your memory, so you are confused." Levy cleared her throat. "We are not… that. Not even close. Uh uh. He doesn't see me that way." She finished with a sad expression and Juvia took pity on her.
"Is that so?" The Water Mage said casually with a shrug. "Because Juvia's never seen him look at anyone the way he looked at you."
Levy took a moment to stare at the other woman and if possible, her cheeks got even redder. "Th-this is your room." She pointed at the door and Juvia nodded.
To say that she was shocked with the sight was an understatement. The room was very spacious, but there were about fifty plushie dolls that resembled a lot of Gray Fullbuster.
"Juvia will take a wild guess here and say that she likes him a lot."
The other woman chuckled. "You could say that."
"Wow. Just… wow." Juvia stepped inside and grabbed a small plushie. "This is handmade and the stitches… They are Juvia's stitches. Juvia's made all of this?"
"You did," Levy nodded closing the door, "you like to sew and knit." Juvia nodded lightly.
"Yes. But…" The Water Mage frowned, "what about the snowflakes?"
"Well… Gray's magic is Ice…" The petite woman let the rest of the phrase hang in the air, but Juvia knew what she meant.
"Say nothing else." Juvia sighed. "Apparently everyone knows that Juvia had… feelings for him."
Levy nodded. "You are very open about it."
The blunette walked over to the wardrobe and opened it, analyzing her clothes and she saw some others than her usual dresses and they were very short and some showing a lot of cleavage and her legs. "Juvia is not usually open about her feelings. Ever."
"You do now, you tell everyone about how much you love him. I guess it means that you changed a lot, then."
"Yes. It appears so." The Water Mage took some of her clothes. "It is strange to know how much you've changed in just a little over one year."
"Love tends to do that." Levy offered.
"Juvia wouldn't know." The blunette shrugged. "Not with her current memories."
"Maybe you can create new ones."
The Water Mage took a moment before answering, thinking about the lunch she would have later with the man she clearly obsessed before and, oddly, she felt her heart beat faster and she hid a smile. "Maybe."
Juvia easily located the 'Franks Caramades' wagon on the park (she expected at least to get food from a place that didn't have wheels, but there she was) and waited for Gray Fullbuster to show up. Why did she accept to meet with him anyway? Any other man asking and she would've ignored or drowned him for ever having the audacity – the only exception had been Bora and all he did was broke her heart.
While she waited, she took a look around the park and found it very beautiful. The whole city was so beautiful and if she didn't already lived there, she's considered it move if she didn't have a Guild.
The Water Mage froze in place. Wait. She did. She did go to live there when she no longer had a Guild. Juvia put a hand on her temple when she felt it hurt, but it went as soon as it began and she blinked a few times. Was she deciding the same way again? Didn't she have a say over it?
"Juvia?" She felt a hand on her shoulder and jumped in surprise; it was her 'date' and when the blunette looked up to look at him, she saw that Gray frowned worriedly at her. "Hey, sorry for startling you. Are you alright?"
"Yes." Juvia breathed. "Yes, Juvia's fine; it was just a headache but it's gone."
"Are you sure?" He asked. "We can take you to see Polyuska and do this another day."
"No, it's fine." She waved his concern off and when he didn't lose the frown, she redirected his attention. "So, Gray-san. Caramades Franks?"
The Ice Mage blinked. "Yes. The wagon is over there, should we go?"
"Yes, please." Juvia nodded and Gray lead her towards the wagon and kept staring at his companion. "Juvia won't fall down, Gray-san."
"Yeah, well," he shrugged, "I don't think I will be on a state of not worrying about you ever again." The man mumbled while putting a hand on the small of her back to rush her. "You have the weirdest talent of putting yourself in danger."
Juvia studied his face and saw that his eyes were hard and when she looked down, she saw that his other hand was fisted, as if he wanted to punch something as hard as he could.
"Apparently, everyone of Fairy Tail has that talent." Juvia commented drily and felt a warm feeling spread through her chest when she saw the side of his lips curl upwards.
"You fit right in, then. Now come on, let's get our food."
As it turned out, Gray had a déjà vu once he saw that she had no idea of how to even begin to eat the Caramades Franks and he had to teach her once more, smiling of how similar her reaction was to when she first ate it with him. After eating together in silence at the same bench they ate only a few days before and under very different circumstances, Juvia decided to begin her questions.
"You said that Juvia could ask you anything." She sat facing the Ice Mage, who did the same, facing her.
"That I did." Gray nodded. "Ask away and if I know the answer, I'll give it to you."
Juvia took a moment to access all the questions she had come up during last night. "How did we meet?"
"Well…" The man scratched the back of his head. "You kind of kidnapped a friend of ours, Lucy – you'll meet her later – and when she escaped, Phantom Lord came after her. I was your opponent." She raised an eyebrow and Gray smirked. "Some might say it was a bad start."
"Who won?" Juvia asked and the man's expression turned to one of smugness and she looked incredulous. "Really?"
"If it makes you feel better, it took me a while to beat you" Gray smiled, "and I was protecting a friend while you were a bit off during the fight. Perhaps in another day it could've been a draw."
"A draw?" She looked offended.
"Hey, if you are good, so am I." The Ice Mage shrugged and the woman pouted. "Next question."
"Why did Juvia join Fairy Tail?"
"You liked the way we did things, how we would run the extra mile for our nakama and…" His cheeks became pinker. "And because of me." Juvia raised an eyebrow. "After we fought, your rain stopped falling when you didn't want it to. I guess that you wanted to be close to the person that made it happen."
"When did Juvia fell in love with you?" She asked without hesitation and Gray was startled with the question for a moment.
Gray chose his words carefully. "You told me that it was during that fight."
"What?" Juvia frowned. "Like… love at first sight?"
"Yes." He nodded.
"It doesn't exist." The woman shook her head lightly and her curls bounced.
"I used to think so too. Then, I met you." Gray's eyes met hers and suddenly she couldn't look away.
"When did you fell in love with Juvia?" She whispered.
Gray didn't hesitate to answer. "I can't pinpoint a moment. It's not that easy, not for me. I cared about you, I thought you were beautiful and I felt protective of you, but I wasn't open to feel more than that. You just weaseled your way in." He smiled weakly for only a second. "When we received the letter saying that you were dead… that's when I realized even if I denied to myself."
"Why did you deny yourself?" The Water Mage asked without taking her eyes off him.
"People I care about tend to die when I realize that I do, in fact, love them."
Juvia snorted. "That's silly."
The Ice Mage raised an eyebrow. "We shared one amazing morning and you lost your memories."
"Coincidence." She waved him off. "Why did Juvia take it? The potion that could erase her memory, I mean."
"You are not known for giving up on anything." He shrugged. "You wanted to be free of that bastard's hold on you." Gray had explained the situation to Gajeel and the Dragon Slayer told her about her last job and what the Boss done to her.
She had the impression that he didn't like that. "Did you support that decision?"
Gray didn't hesitate once more. "No."
"Why?" She cocked her head to the side.
"Too many risks. I had just got you, I didn't want to lose that." Gray told her, his eyes so intense that she had to look away.
"And you were right, Juvia lost her memories."
"Have you had nightmares ever since you woke up from taking the potion?" Gray wondered, looking up to the sky.
Juvia frowned ad stared up at him. "No."
"Then you were right too." He said without looking down. Juvia bit her lower lip as she stared at him as he closed his eyes, feeling the wind hit his face. "You are alive and that was my worst fear. You wanted your nightmares gone, and now they are. That's better than the alternative. I'd rather have you not remembering me than dead or having those awful dreams."
Juvia swore not to tell anyone what Polyuska told her three days before, but something inside her wanted to know what Gray's reaction to the news would be.
"What if…" She started and then took a deep breath before continuing, "what if there was a way for Juvia to regain her memories, would you have her do it?"
He snapped his head towards her. "What?"
"Polyuska-san told Juvia that she has a potion that might restore her memories." Juvia saw as hope crossed his features, but he controlled it and tried his best not to show any emotion.
He chose his words carefully after staring at her for a moment. "And you don't… want to take it?"
"I am afraid of getting an even worst outcome than losing a year of my life." She answered. "What is your opinion?"
Gray stared down to the ground for long seconds before answering. "It's obvious that I want the old you, my Juvia, back. I miss her. But…" He looked up to the Water Mage. "It's your life. If you decide that you don't want to take it, then it's what everyone in Fairy Tail will support you to do and so will I."
Juvia wanted to scream. She didn't even know him, not really, and there he was, offering support even if he wanted her to do the opposite thing to have his girlfriend back. What was with those people? Why were they so good?
"I don't want to change." She whispered and she was the one to look down to the ground that time. "Juvia sees that she likes her new life, that she has friends who loves her and she has you, but…" She breathed. "Falling in love with you makes Juvia's rain stop, makes her celebrate weird dates, knit scarves, sew a bunch of plushies that look like you and it makes her show her feelings." The blunette looked up and met his dark eyes. "Juvia changes into a very different person and all that change scares me."
Gray put a hand over hers, the one hand that had been holding the bench so hard when she didn't notice until he caressed it. "Hey." The Ice Mage said softly. "I understand. This is exactly what held me back when you came around."
"And?" She urged him on, noting how much faster her heart began to beat.
"Even though I want to have had more time with you," Gray said, "it happened when I was ready to feel for you what you deserved, not the scrapes I'd have given if I had succumbed when you first appeared in my life." The Ice Mage stopped. "You have time to decide and you should decide for yourself. Don't think about me – like you often do, don't think about Fairy Tail because we will be here no matter what. Think about what you are ready to do."
Juvia nodded and, with an unusual wave of emotion for her, she grabbed his hand harder and with her other, she dried two tears that fell, unauthorized. "Thank you."
"You are welcome." Gray stared at the blunette for a few moments, before removing his hand from hers. "Did Polyuska-san say if she needs anything? Any special ingredients? We can get it if you ever decide to do it, I mean."
"She said that Juvia would need something that is really meaningful to her for the potion to be triggered. Do you have anything of that sort?" Juvia saw him stiffen and put a hand inside the pocket of his pants and curling his fingers around something, maybe?
"I suppose that I do, yes."
The Water Mage was curious. "Can I have it?"
"Not right now." He denied her, shaking his head. "If you want to take the potion, you come to me and I'll go there with you; I've seen this from the beginning, I'll see it through the end. When Polyuska says it's time, I'll give it to you."
She tried to get more information out of him. "Is it an important item?"
Gray smirked, looking forward. "Yes."
"What is it?" Juvia inquired.
The man actually laughed at her obvious curiosity. "You'll know it when you see it." Gray got up from the bench and stood in front of her, offering her a hand. "Now, do you want to walk around the park? It's very beautiful, I guess. Girls seem to like it."
"Hand holding?" Juvia raised an eyebrow, but accepted it and got up to stand next to him. "You don't seem like someone who likes to hold a girl's hand in public."
"Just trying to man-up and change." He shrugged and a giggle escaped her lips as they started to walk around the park while Gray told her about something that was called 'Grand Magic Games' that they participated only a few months before and she found herself smiling.
Maybe change wasn't so bad after all.
AN: So, here it is: another chapter I am proud of! I know that you guys want to get things moving already, but I swear that this has a purpose. I hope you liked.
What do you thinks is this thing that Gray has that will help her jog her memory? Any guesses?
Thanks to: majinbuu00, PandaPrincess42, Contrail, xloudxloud,fyriagita, DoomedToBeAFanGirlForever, Mrs Murasaki-sama, Darkhope, MrsGoogleBear, xgasai-yunox, Duchess K, BrigitteoO, Anani00, Aya-humexX, Shadow Mystery, ColdBurn-3, mgaa, siriuslight, DuQaine, Esthellar, BlueWaterGirl, goatgod, BelieveInYourself7, Sandyx5, Lanvia, ChocoCatXX, Diamondxx27, gruvialover, rucHicHan, Ariel Tran, guest, anchooovyy, AzTec999, Guest and Guest, for the kind and wonderful reviews. You guys are awesome!
06/09/2014 ~ BonneyQ