18. From very far away. 26. Broken, as you clutch the sleeve of my jacket and beg me not to leave.
A/N: I decided to incorporate two of the prompts for this one!! Based on the one year time skip when Gray left Juvia in the house on her own. :)
If I close my eyes and imagine you are here it’ll last for a while before you disappear. So I close my eyes ‘cause the only thing I fear is waking up one day forgetting you were ever here.
Rain pounded the windows, filling the house with a gloom that only seemed to fester as the days passed on. Every now and then she would think back to her parents, and of the times she’d spent sitting in the rain, alone. She was alone now, but her heart wasn’t filled with hatred. This wasn’t like those times before, when clouds sat at her feet instead of shadows and rain came to wash away her tears. Instead, worry held her tight in its vice-like grip, refusing to let her go, refusing to let her cry. Her heart ached for the man she loved – for his safety, and for his return.
Waning hope kept Juvia sitting there on the window ledge day in, day out, fists cold and trembling as his absence went on. A veil of mist hung low in the horizon, making it difficult to see anything beyond the wind-borne rain. Dark shapes shifted in and out of focus in the distance. Every now and then Juvia would press her face against the cool window as she watched the shapes change and grow. She prayed with all her might that some day he might be among them.
Time had become nothing but a distant memory to Juvia now. She knew only night and day, and even they were becoming a mystery in the constant swirl of rain. Waiting for Gray to come home was like waiting for sunrise in a world plagued by endless nights.
The rain is gloomy, he’d once said. She remembered that day as vividly as if it were happening in that very moment. The way he’d look at her. The way he’d taken her seriously as his enemy. The way he’d saved her – not just literally, but emotionally as well. The sun had been so beautiful then.
‘I’m home,’ a voice said from the doorway.
Hair whipped around her face as Juvia turned towards the sound. She scrambled from the window ledge when she saw him, hair slicked back with the rain, eyes dark and filled with affection.
She staggered towards him, legs numb from lack of use. Her stomach roiled with a distant cry of hunger. She ignored it, just as she ignored it the day before and the day before that.
Throwing her arms around his neck, Juvia pressed herself tight against him, familiarising herself with his scent. Ice mage or not, Juvia thought Gray smelled like the bloom of Spring. He was always so warm.
‘Juvia knew you’d return!’ she sobbed.
Gray didn’t react to her tears. He didn’t react at all. He simply stood there, raindrops dribbling from the ends of his hair, clothes tight and wrinkled against his chest. She pressed herself tighter against him, searching for warmth in a never-ending blizzard.
‘I’m leaving, Juvia,’ he said.
Juvia blinked up at him in disbelief. ‘What?’
‘I’m tired of living in this house with you.’ His voice was so cold, so dark, she thought it might swallow her up. ‘All you do is annoy me.’
‘Please! Don’t leave me!’ she begged.
‘You’re just a nuisance, Juvia.’
‘I love you!’ she cried. ‘Gray-Sama! Juvia has always loved you!’
Juvia’s heart gave a beat of longing that seemed to bleed poison through her veins. She grasped the sleeve of his jacket as he turned towards the doorway. He let it fall from his back and into her arms, where he left it to gather the remainder of her tears. She watched him leave, her legs rigid, her heat broken.
He took the sun with him.
Jolted awake by a clap of thunder in the distance, Juvia wiped the tears from her cheeks and let out a quiet moan. She’d fallen asleep again. Her neck ached from the endless nights of sleeping on the window ledge.
Juvia clung to the jacket in her lap, the jacket he’d left behind all those weeks ago. He’d never even said goodbye. It was the only thing she could find that still smelled like him.
A flash of lightning cleaved through the mist outside, scattering shadows across the garden they’d been growing together. For a time, as the shadows danced across their ruined crops, the land seemed to come alive again.
‘I love you,’ she whispered, tears trickling down her cheeks.
The storm wasn’t over yet. But, little did she know, somewhere in the distance, a certain dragon slayer was wreaking havoc in the flower capital, igniting hope for a new dawn.