Disclaimer: Mashima doesn’t give us a Gray POV, then I’ll write ‘em. That said, he still owns full rights to Gray Fullbuster, not I.
[Set in Chapter 453]
Gray walked on the familiar streets of Magnolia, taking in the familiar sights but his mind was elsewhere; thoughtful. Mavis’s story about her and Zeref left him a lot to think about. The war with Zeref and his Spriggans are looming in sight, it is now or he will never finish off what his father couldn’t and bestowed on him to complete.
Yet when he heard her sniffling, saying between sobs, “Mavis-san has to fight the person she loves.” Gray was reminded yet again of Juvia.
She was another person he had yet to be resolute with. Gray didn’t like seeing her distressed, but she went to the heart of Mavis’s hurt. It’s not like he isn’t aware of her feelings for him, or his for her. But what happened to Mavis and Zeref won’t happen. Not to her, to him. Them.
So he asked her if she could meet him at the balcony. He wanted to reassure her. It will help him focus, knowing she would be close. She had blushed, a moment of surprise on her face, and told him she’ll meet him there. It amused him that despite all that she bravely proclaims about her feelings, she can be the complete opposite of that with him. He smirks a little, looking at her gently. “’Kay, see you later.”
They, no, he, can’t pretend he doesn’t care anymore. Nor can he continue to brush or deny his feelings. Not after living together for six months, missing her for six months, or…
“Juvia is waiting for you, bastard!”
He never replied to Natsu when they found him in Avatar. What Natsu scowled at him for constantly served as a reminder. He knew Juvia was waiting for him. He only found out later that the rain came back during that wait. It cut him deep that he was the reason for the cause this time.
The rain was no longer there when they met, but she is still waiting.
Waiting for his answer.
The stint in Avatar was never meant to take as long as it did, and he would have willingly blown his cover to be by her side.
“Just let me at least tell her that I’ll return, Erza!” he shouted, for what he thought was close to begging. Gray hated sounding like that.
“This mission is of utmost secrecy, Gray. Like I keep saying, we – you – can’t tell her.”
Talking to Erza has been like talking to a wall, she doesn’t seem to understand, “And I keep telling you! She took down dark guilds before, what risks are there!?”
“Juvia is not the one I’m worried about.”
Erza’s response left him dumbfounded, “Huh?”
Erza smiled knowlingly. He can’t see her, but her voice did, “Your feelings, Gray. I’m glad you seem to have sorted that out,” she paused knowing he might interrupt, when he didn’t she continued, “but those feelings would be their weapon. I’d hate to see you – both of you – experience the cost and live with the guilt.”
So he didn’t contact her, begrudgingly. He missed her. He was relieved at seeing her again, hearing her voice, having her close. But his absence left scars on both of them. He had to fix this.
“As long as Gray-sama is fine, Juvia is happy.”
But she’s not. He knows. The bitterness and things left unsaid behind her bright, smiling facade. He said he will be with her, but he had gone and broken that promise… His hands clenched in to fists at the thought.
Before he realised, he had already brought himself to the place he frequented for Caramade Franks. That bore many memories, including the one with her.
As they were walking back to the guild from another mission they had together, Juvia pointed to the Camarade Franks, “Gray-sama, what are those?”
“Hm? They’re Camarade Franks! It’s pretty good!” It was his favourite bite to get if he was starved. The sauce with the meat and bread were great on an empty stomach.
“Ca..ramade Franks?” the term seems foreign on her tongue, and she looked puzzled.
Gray was shocked, “What? You mean you’ve never had them before?”
“It’s Juvia’s first time seeing something like this….”
“Then we gotta let you try one! My treat!”
“Wha-? No, no, no! Juvia can’t impose on Gray-sama’s kindness like this!”
“What are you talking about? Friends treat each other to things right?”
Whatever he had said seemed to have made her tongue-tied.
He remembers the expression she had, he couldn’t admit it, at least not back then and definitely not willingly, that he found it cute. He had never met someone who was quite like her. Passionate in her emotions and all that she does, forgiving, and extending her kindness to others – especially to him.
Gray absent-mindedly took change out of his pockets for the energy bar, before walking out again. As soon as he saw the familiar balcony where Erza had told him to be clear with his feelings, his thoughts went back to her again.
He wasn’t sure he deserved all her attention and affections. He tried to deny how she was making him feel, pushed it to one side, said things to irritate or push her away, but she didn’t yield. One way or another, she had walked in to his heart and calmed the cold storm raging inside.
“The person who killed the necromancer controlling your father….”
She took a deep breath and her shoulders shook as she tried to say the words, tears rolling down her face… It had Gray anxious, how did she know about Silver? Could she have….
Thinking back, he hadn’t known how to respond, he wanted to tell her, no thank her for what she did, but she had continued, as if she had been wanting to get it off her chest for a long time…
“Ju-Juvia doesn’t think she can love Gray-sama any longer…”
He had walked towards her, a mess of a boy that lost everything. He grabbed her coat, only managing another “you” as he literally and desperately held on to his last line of hope – her.
She had saved him again. The one that’s supposed to have fulfilled his father’s final wish. Even when he was supposed to be the one protecting her. The one that….Couldn’t fight the lump in his throat anymore, he had rested his head on her chest and tears wetting her coat, his shoulders shaking, and said repeatedly, “Thank you… I’m sorry.”
He didn’t protect her. That can’t happen again. They need to stick together this time in the war. He’ll make sure of it. He’d unwrapped the energy bar and took a bite out of it. It’s nearing the time they had arranged to meet.
“Gray-sama?” Gray reached his decision just as Juvia called him. He won’t make her wait again. She’s been waiting patiently all this time. He will give her his answer.
A/N: I AM ALIVE!
I am sooo sorry this last drabble took so long. Post-Camp Nano meant I had a month from hell because it’s also end-of-school-year madness. Final school week is on the horizon and I will have a lot more time on my hands. I know this is a favourite moment of the Gruvia relationship for a lot of us, so I hope this cheers you up! ^^ As always, how was the drabble? Too short? Just right? Hated it? Loved it? Let me know your thoughts! ^^