Chapter 1: Disaster
Gajeel was going to do it.
He was going up to her and saying it straight out. That’s right, she was sitting right across the room. He just had to move his feet, walk over, and blurt it out. However, the Dragon Slayer’s legs refused to move, as if his body knew better than to do so. So instead, he tapped his steel toes on the ground anxiously while grinding his teeth together in irritation.
Pantherlily glanced up at his comrade’s face as realization kicked in. Ah, so he decided to do it today... The feline’s face scrunched slightly in worry, looking from Gajeel to the woman across the room. He and Gajeel had already talked about the problem at hand, both coming to the conclusion that talking to her about it was best. But Lily could see that his friend was having second thoughts, and he knew why. With this particular problem, there was only a few ways it could end. Most ending badly. Lily glanced back up at Gajeel to see that he was sweating. If he doesn’t go soon, he’ll lose his nerve. That wouldn’t be good.
He placed a paw on his clenched fist. “If you’re going to do it, do it now.” Gajeel fixed his gaze down at his cat, his frown deepening. “I-I don’t think I can do this-gah!” The paw that was once placed on his hand, slammed into his jaw.
Lily was growing annoyed. He had finally convinced the Big Dope to talk to her and now he was chickening out? Not on his watch. He pointed towards her. “Go. Now.” At this point, he didn’t care if Gajeel was scared of the consequences. This needed to be said.
Gajeel had grunted when Lily had hit him, but he knew he deserved it and said nothing as his cat pointed towards the other end of the room. Right now? He glanced towards where he was pointing and gulped. Gajeel wasn’t scared, alright? He just knew how this was going to end, and wasn’t sure if he was really prepared for that yet.
However, after having a glaring contest with his partner for a few minutes, he reluctantly stood. He hesitated before starting to walk. Thankfully, only the usual crowd was at the guild today, he wouldn’t have to deal with the odd looks of the newbs that had joined after winning the Grand Magic Games.
Oh how the man wished he could go back in time and do that blasted tournament again rather than be walking up to his next biggest battle...But fate was a bloody cruel thing.
He stopped in front of her. She was sitting down, waiting as she usually did this time of day. She looked up at him and blinked. There was a dark shadow over his face as he took a deep breathe. She didn’t seem to mind much though as she tilted her head to the side in question.
“Juvia.” He began before having to swallow the lump in his throat. “I gotta talk ta you.” Though the Water Mage was a bit confused by his sudden seriousness, she nodded, turning in her seat so she was facing him correctly.
Gajeel continued to stand, feeling that if he sat down, he would lose his nerve again and try and change the topic. He was glad that he wasn’t gaining any attention from his guildmates, who didn’t think anything of it since everyone knew how close the two were, even if they never really proclaimed it. All except Pantherlily, who was watching Gajeel with careful judgment.
Gajeel scratched the back of his head, somehow growing nauseous. He groaned inwardly. Just because his emotions were on a roller coaster, didn’t mean he should feel like he was getting motion sickness. He looked down at her expectant gaze, locking his serious expression with her curious one. “Look...It’s about Fullbuster…”
She blinked. “Gray-sama?” He nodded, deciding to avoid her worried gaze. “What about Gray-sama? Is Gray-sama alright?” He waved his hand dismissively. “Yeah, yeah, he’s fine.”
She frowned. “Then what?” Her tone had changed slightly and he gulped. She had probably figured out where this conversation was going. Great. “Alright, so less about him and more about you.”
When she didn’t say or do anything, he continued, hoping it was a good sign. “I think...you should give up on ‘im.” Her frown saddened as her head fell slightly, making her bangs fall over her eyes. When she finally spoke, she sounded deeply hurt. He almost flinched. “...Why?”
He was going to answer but she continued. Her voice still sounded hurt, but also a bit confused. “Why would you say that to Juvia? You know how she feels more than anyone, because you knew who she was before anyone. Yet you tell her to give up?” When she took a breathe, he decided to step in.
“Juvia, I-I just don’t think he’s good enough-” He stopped dead sentence when she stood from her seat, almost knocking it over. He could still see the sadness in her eyes as she glared up at him, her face full of anger and hurt. That’s when it started raining outside.
“Don’t you dare say that he isn’t good enough for Juvia! Don’t even go there Gajeel! Gray-sama was the one that took the rain away. He was the one to give Juvia a home…” Though at first she was yelling, her voice had lowered into that same sad tone as before, lowering her head again.
At Juvia’s rare yelling, all of the guild members in the hall had stopped what they were doing to stare at the two in complete and utter silence. Not really because they wanted to eavesdrop, but more along the line that they were all too shocked to move. Juvia was yelling at Gajeel. And as the two began to argue, Team Natsu had just walked in from being on a mission, all wet from the sudden rain, but also quickly become silent as they watched the scene before them unfold.
But Juvia wasn’t the only one to become angry. Gajeel squeezed his fists at his sides. “Don’t you get it Rain Women!? I just want you ta be happy!” She shot her head up, glaring at him like before, but this time with a scowl of silent disbelief on her face. He was inwardly regretting ever starting this conversation…
Lucy hid behind Natsu, who was staring at the two with wide eyes. Erza gave a look to Mira, who shook her head, silently telling her to leave it be for now. Gray stared at Juvia, his bag that was in his grasp almost slipping out of his hand from shock. He had never seen Juvia with that face before. She was even so distracted by her argument that she hadn’t even noticed that he was in the same room. Everyone else just stared at them silently, afraid that if they moved or made a noise that it would make the matter worse.
“Gajeel wants Juvia to be happy, he says..? What does Gajeel know about Juvia’s happiness?” He blinked down at her calm, but angry exterior. “W-Well I…” That’s when he realized it. Whenever he thought about Juvia when she was happy, the Ice Mage was always beside her. She was waiting patiently for his answer as he stood there silently for a moment. “Well, Fairy Tail makes ya happy…”
She nodded. “That’s right. But Gajeel is forgetting how Juvia came to know Fairy Tail in the first place..!” He winced at her tone of voice, but also at her words. It was true after all. She had come to know Fairy Tail after meeting the Stripper. He decided to go with a counter attack, his anger at her truth seeming to cloud his better judgement. His mouth really didn’t have a filter.
“So what then?! You’re just gonna go chasing after Gray like a freaking lost puppy until he accepts you? Are you stupid!? He’s just gonna leave you behind like Bora did!” He didn’t realize his mistake until thunder struck and a flash from the window showed him Juvia’s current expression. Her bottom lip quivered and tears ran down her face as her shoulders started to shake, his words had cut through her and broken whatever confidence she had had left.
He reached out his hand, terror and regret showing on his face. “Juvia, I didn’t-!” But three small words had stopped his own. Three words he would have never thought she would say, especially to him. Her voice sounded... broken as she whispered with a shake in it from her crying. It was so quiet that only the dragon slayers in the room had heard.
“I hate you…”
Gajeel cringed, becoming frozen stiff even as she ran off, unable to keep loud wails from escaping her mouth before disappearing in the rain. Not even Gray calling out after her made her stop.
The guild stayed silent after that, only braking when Gajeel fell on his hands and knees, cursing loudly before slamming his fist into the ground. Pantherlily, who up until now was refusing to either slam his head into the wall over and over again, or kick Gajeel in the head, had finally snapped.
“YOU FOOL!” He screamed while kicking the Iron Dragon Slayer as hard as he could in the back of the neck. After landing in front of his face that was now smashed into the floor, he continued, still yelling. “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times Gajeel! Think. Before. You Speak! Now look at what you’ve done!” Lily had pointed towards the still open guild doors where the rain grew heavy and a flash of lightning struck, leaving loud thunder in it’s wake.
Gajeel lifted his head off the floor, but didn’t look up at his cat as he spoke, still on his hands and knees. “I know…” His voice was completely defeated and full of dread. Lily’s eye twitched, so angry that he wasn’t even scared of the thunder. And that said quite a lot.
“And what are you going to do about it?” Gajeel didn’t move, and it took him a minute to answer, his tone changing into one of shocked realization. “I...I don’t know…” Somehow, he had found the strength to stand, though he was slouching with his head down. “I just don’t know.”
Lily sighed, his anger seeming to slip away at seeing his friend this way. He had never seen Gajeel so depressed before. So he stood there and watched as the Iron Dragon Slayer slowly dragged his feet out the door and into the rain, anyone in his wake moved aside silently. Levy had tried to call out to him, but he hadn’t seemed to have heard her.
The guild stayed silent, staring off after the man and his dark cloud of helplessness. Lucy blinked. “What just happened..?” Natsu, one of the four who had heard the Water Mage’s last words, shuddered at the mere thought. He might be dense, but it was very clear to even him on what had just taken place in their guild. “Luce, somethin’ very, very bad…”
The only sound that was heard after that was the hard rain that fell outside. There was only one question going through their heads. What were they going to do now? One of their Nakama was crying and the other was depressed from utter defeat…
Pantherlily looked worriedly at everyone. They were all very quiet...He may have expected something like this to happen, even if not this bad, but the guild had most certainly not. He sighed again. They were all in complete shock. Of course, he was a bit as well. He didn’t think things would end up going this far. This was a bad situation.
“What’s happened? The rain is full of Magical Energy. I also just saw Gajeel. He looked like one of you told him something terrible and...” The Master, somehow not as wet as one would think him to be, stopped when he looked around and felt the heavy atmosphere. He had only been gone since that morning to go sit in a boring council meeting and this is what he comes home to? “What’s going on?” Lily was about to open his mouth but then at the sight of their Master, the guild members surrounded him with worried and panicked looks, all yelling at the same time.
Makarov blinked at the commotion, only being able to make out the words “Gajeel”, “Juvia”, and “Argument”. Lily ran a paw down his face. This was getting them nowhere. “Quiet!”
At the small warrior’s loud voice, silence fell, and a line was made so that Pantherlily could get to the Master, who looked down at him expectantly. “Gajeel was confronting Juvia about an issue and well.., it went as south as it could get…”
The shorter old man raised a brow. “An issue?” Lily nodded before pointing his thumb back towards Gray, who was still staring out the doorway with a shocked expression. Now seeming to understand, Makarov closed his eyes and took in a deep thoughtful breathe.
It was almost like time had stopped. No one moved, or said a word until the Master had said his next statement. “Lily, Mira, Freed, Levy, and all of Team Natsu, come with me into my office.” Nodding, they all complied, walking with him into the back room.
Once Freed had closed the door behind him, Makarov’s eyes locked with Pantherlily’s. The Exceed, seeming to understand his silent request, started from the beginning. “Gajeel has been worried about Juvia lately. The reason being...Well to put it simply, it was because of Gray’s unwillingness to accept his own feelings and push her away.” Gray, on the other end of the room flinched slightly at that comment, though everyone stayed silent as he continued, Nutsu heard Erza sigh deeply next to him.
Lily closed his eyes as he remembered the worried look of the Big Oaf. “Since the end of the Grand Magic Games, we noticed how hard she was trying and.., well, how hurt she was becoming. We both thought that it was time to at least talk to her about it. So today, Gajeel tried to do just that. However, it didn’t go as planned…” He sighed, putting a paw on his small neck. “As expected, she got angry, and so did he. That’s when he ran his mouth off like an idiot, saying something he really shouldn’t have.”
Makarov raised a brow. “What did he say?” He had expected it to end up being something about Gray again, but no, that wasn’t it at all. “The Fool told her that Gray would end up leaving her just like Bora did…” The Master blinked in surprise. “Bora?”
Lucy shared the look. “Wait, like, fake Salamander Bora? That one? Juvia knows him?”
Lily nodded, turning to look at her. “She didn’t just know him, Bora was her first Boyfriend. Or rather, the one she had put her trust in before joining Phantom Lord. He was the reason she became the person she was before meeting Fairy Tail.” The non-cat looked down sadly. “He had just dumped her, tossing her aside after telling her how Gloomy and Boring she was. After that, she had just stopped letting people in…”
The room went silent and the air became heavy again. The only sound being the gulp coming from Gray’s direction. So Lily continued, his eyes again closed in thought. “At any rate, after he blurted that out, Juvia broke down completely... Gajeel had tried to apologize, but she said something that made him stop…” The room went silent again until a whisper broke it.
“I hate you..” All heads turned to a sad Natsu. “That’s...That’s what she said...to Gajeel.” Even his happy-go-lucky and carefree nature was downcast by this event. Family meant a lot to Natsu, and seeing two of his Nakama like this had to be eating at him.
After a moment, Erza took a small step forward. “What...should we do Master?” Said man leaned back in his chair in what seemed like deep thought. “There’s only one thing we can do…”
They all leaned in slightly, eager to learn what to do about the problem at hand. The old man suddenly stood in his seat, pointing his hand up in the air with a smirk on his face. “Why, we’ll trick them of course!”
The room, once again, went silent, but this time in confusion. Freed was the one to step forward this time. “Um, Master? Are you sure that is a wise decision..?” Makarov smirked. “Why did you think I called you all in here? You all have a part to play…” They all blinked as he decided to announce roles, pointing to each person as he declared their place.
“Mira, go and rent an island!” Though confused, she ran out the door to do just that.
“Levy and Freed, go make a request having to do with that island, I’ll also need you a bit later, so when you’re done, come and find me.” Nodding with silent realization, they were also off.
He turned his head towards the rest of the group. “Those left here, you will be bystanders and supervisors.” Erza blinked. “For what?”
He grinned. “After the island is in place and the plan is set in motion, you will be there to bystand and supervise. You’ll understand better once the plan has started. For now, go and get ready for a long trip.” Though they didn’t quite understand, they nodded and were walking out the door…
“Pantherlily and Gray, please stay a little longer.” The two complied and the Master turned to Lily first. “When I tell you to, I’ll need you to get Gajeel and Juvia for me. At that time, I’ll explain more of what I want you to say, as of right now…” His gaze fell on Gray, who was silently terrified for his life, his brain still trying to process everything that was going on. “I need to talk with Gray, so I’ll get back to you later.” Lily glanced over at Gray only once before nodding as he left, leaving the two alone.
“Gray…” The Ice Mage’s fingers started to twitch. He had this terrible pain in his gut, somehow feeling that this whole thing was his fault, but most of him was really hoping otherwise. However, his Master could see right through him as he slammed his hands on his desk. “Don’t you even think for a second that this isn’t at least partially your fault!” Gray flinched, really not knowing what he was feeling right now as the old man continued with a long, disappointed sigh.
“You...are staying here.” Gray blinked up at him, suddenly growing irritated. “What!?”
“You heard me!” Gray slammed his mouth shut at his raised voice. “You are going to stay here and think about how you are going to face Juvia and Gajeel. I’ve held my tongue for this long because I didn’t want to have to make you choose between your feelings and your friends. However, your lack of decision has caused two of my children to brake. So, you are going to have to stay here and think about your answer to Juvia’s affections and decide whether you are going to accept them or not. I really didn’t want it to come to this, but unfortunately, the situation has become dire.”
His face and voice softened at Gray’s almost frightened appearance. “I know it’s hard and a bit frightening Gray, but you need to choose…” He took a deep breathe as he looked down. “You’re dismissed.” Gary’s bangs covered his eyes as he nodded and left, quietly shutting the door behind him instead of slamming it like Makarov thought he would. He leaned on his desk and rubbed his temples.He was getting too old for this.
I Don't Own Fairy Tail~