"Okay: wedding planning!" Gray said, excitedly and Juvia just looked at him as if he had grown another head. "Let's do this."
"What's happening?" She eyed her fiancée in distrust. "Juvia thought she would have to drag you for this."
He shook his head. "Oh, no. I knew this was coming and I decided to take a day off to talk about it and here it is. Meredy's with Lyon this weekend and we can decide this in a couple of hours and enjoy some time alone."
"A wedding takes a lot time to plan. Juvia hardly thinks we can do this in a couple of hours."
He snorted. "Not the way we will do it." Gray said. "We will share the responsibilities. You know me, I don't really care about the party of what kind of lines we use on the tables, so, I'm giving you a free card in all of that. There are things that we will decide together: the date, the venue and who's getting invited. After that I get to plan the honeymoon and you get to plan the wedding."
"What?" Juvia was surprised.
"This is not my first rodeo, Juvia. I saw how Lucy was before her wedding and even when she asked Natsu's opinion, the whole thing was basically 99% Lucy. I really don't care about these things but I want you to be happy, so go ahead and go for it. You know how much we can afford. Go and have it all. However, I do have some rules.
"First," Gray raised a finger "I will choose my tuxedo – I know you think men in white tuxedos are nice, but I think it's stupid and I refuse to wear it. Second," he raised another "there will be absolutely no carriages of any kind – I searched wedding on the internet and saw that and it is not happening with us. Third, no white doves are to be released because I do not want to deal with guests getting pooped at. Fourth, when we cut the cake, you better not smash that thing on my face otherwise I'll divorce you right there. Fifth, we will have our first dance but I will not do any type of choreography, so don't even try it." By the end of his speech, he had his hand opened in front of her face. "You don't mess with those rules and I can live with the rest."
"I…." Juvia blinked twice. "You seemed to have thought this through."
"I know whom I am marrying and if I didn't set this straight right now, I would end up marrying you in a white tuxedo, while riding a carriage with a dove in my hand and cake smashed all over my face and then dancing some stupid song in synch with you. Not gonna happen." He smirked when she looked confused at the folder in her hand. She probably had hours planned of talking about the difference of shades of white and they wouldn't even get to start. "Now, let's talk dates."
Two hours later, they had decided the date – in three months' time at April's 13th – and went over a few venues to look for the wedding and made a list of who to invite and if Juvia was being honest with herself, she was overwhelmed of how quick Gray had been making the decisions with her. She never saw him that interested about anything other than sex and trying to teach Meredy about hockey. "I told you we could do it in a couple of hours." He told his fiancée and pulled her by her hand from the kitchen table to the living room. When he sat down, he made her sit by his side and she snuggled up to him.
"We decided the basics. The next three months will go by so fast and there's so much to do yet, decorations, flowers, cake, dress…" She said in a tired voice.
"Juvia." He said, his tone serious and she looked up to him. "If you want to skip it all that and go get married tomorrow at City Hall, we will do just that. If you think we need more time to get ready, we can postpone the date until we are ready."
Juvia smiled and kissed his cheek. "I want a reception with our friends and Meredy insists she has to be flower girl again."
"Well, if Meredy says so…" Gray sighed, resigned and Juvia giggled. "Just… Try to be reasonable with it, alright? Remember that I don't care about it all."
"Wow, aren't you the best groom that ever walked on Earth?" She pouted.
Gray laughed. "That came out wrong, sorry. I'm just saying for you to be cool about it because if everything you plan go wrong somehow, I won't care at all as long by the end of whatever mess is happening, we are married."
The blunette looked up to him for a moment and Gray thought he was getting scolded for his crude words, but she just moved from his side to straddle her fiancée. She cupped his face and gave him a light kiss on the lips.
"That is the most 'Gray Fullbuster' thing you could ever say about our wedding." He assumed it was a bad thing; she was giving him mixed signals, though. "But it is so you, that I know you could not be more romantic than that." She reached for her shirt and pulled it over her head. "Juvia would like to answer that by making love to you all night long if that's alright to you."
Gray grinned before kissing her deep. "Who am I to say 'no' to the bride?"
"Meredy, sweetheart, come here." Juvia called from the couch on the living room where she and Gray were seated. "We need to talk to you." The little girl who had been playing with her dolls looked up to the adults from her designed play space on the living room and went to sit with them.
"What is it?" Meredy asked and the adults shared a look before speaking.
"You know that Juvia and I are getting married in two months, right?" Gray asked, gently.
The girl nodded and her curls bounced. "Yes. I'll be the flower girl and Juvia is going to live with us forever."
Juvia smiled. "That's right. But what we want to talk to you about is that you uncle and I were talking and we thought that it might be good if we adopt you. Do you know what it means?"
Meredy thought for a moment. "My mom told me she adopted me when I was a baby. That my first mom couldn't take care of me so she found someone who would love me just as much as she did. Is it like that?"
"Yes." Gray nodded. "Right now, I have your guardianship – it means that I'm your uncle and my job is to take care of you. But if Juvia and I adopted you, to everyone else you would be our daughter."
"Not that you need to call us anything else." Juvia was fast to supply. "Your mother is still your mother, but it would make things much easier to explain that we are a family."
"How?" Meredy tilted her head to the side.
"Well, when I marry your uncle, I will take his last name and become Juvia Fullbuster just like him and your grandpa. If we adopt you, you can be Meredy Milkovich Fullbuster."
"Oh!" The girl seemed to think about it. "What about my mom?"
"Mer," Gray said, "she's still your mom just like she's still my sister. Just like Juvia said, you don't have to call us anything else than you already do. But it would be nicer and easier this way. But it's your call. We won't be sad if you say 'no'; in a few years when you are older, we can talk about it again."
"I think I want that." Meredy said, and after a moment she nodded excitedly. "I'd like for everyone to know that I have a family."
"You do know that even if we didn't do that, we would still be a family, right?" Gray asked and the girl nodded. "Good. Now come here and give me a hug." Meredy giggled while throwing her arms around her uncle and then did the same with Juvia before going back to her dolls. Gray looked at his fiancée and sighed when he saw her eyes shining with unshed tears. "You too, come here and let it out. I know you want to cry because she said yes."
Juvia lost no time in throwing herself on his arms and sob. "Sh-she s-sa-said y-y-ye-yes!" Gray just patted her on the back and held her while finding a good spot to stay. That would take some time.
At the day of the wedding, Gray couldn't believe he had made it. Those past three months had been a roller coaster of emotions for Juvia from her not finding the perfect wedding dress, to the napkins shaped being ugly, to not find a decent florist and then to some crazy cleanse diet or whatever. She had tried to cancel the wedding three times because of signs she saw the date wouldn't do it, then postpone it when a week before she got a pimple and through all that, Gray tried to remain calm.
He was sure a groom should not be feeling as grateful it would be over soon but happy together were starting, but he was damn relieved they only had to do that once.
"Nervous, kid?" His father asked while Gray waited at the altar. Natsu – his best man – and Lyon were also there by his side.
"Glad this is going to be over." He mumbled. "You guys wouldn't believe how crazy women get with weddings."
"I got married last year. I think Lucy was as much as a bridezilla as Juvia." Natsu grinned and straightened his tux.
"As a married man, I remember quite well how it goes." Silver chuckled. "But trust me, it's going to be worth it."
"Rub it in my face that I'm the only loser still single, will ya?" Lyon mumbled and Silver laughed, putting an arm around the younger man's shoulder.
"Your time you'll come, kid. I'll teach you some moves to get women."
Gray was about to scold his father and brother when a soft song started by the quartet they hired and his heart started to beat fast. That was it.
He saw the bridesmaids walk down the aisle, first Mira, then Cana, Lisanna, Levy and finally Lucy – with her eight-month-old pregnant belly – all wearing light pink dresses and holding small bouquets while Gray's palms started to get sweaty – he was suddenly nervous. The next ones to appear were Meredy and Asuka, both throwing flowers and with matching slightest darker pink dresses than the bridesmaids and both seemed very proud of themselves and Gray gave them a thumbs up.
When the nuptial march started and Gray looked down to the end of the aisle, he could feel his heart stop and his breathing get caught on his throat. Gajeel was by her side, escorting her, but Gray's eyes were to her only.
She was wearing a strapless bodice with some sparkle and when it reached her hips, the dress had ruffles and swirls, making it look fluffy and just the dress she always dreamed of wearing at her wedding. Her hair seemed to be in some kind of loose braid that was absolutely stunning – she had been letting her hair grow so she could do some fancy hairstyle at the wedding.
But what made his heart start beating again was the way her smile never seemed happier and how her eyes sparkled in joy.
His father was right after all: it was worth it the past three months of getting annoyed by her about everything.
She was beautiful. Stunning. She was about to become his wife and nothing he did ever felt this right.
When Gajeel and Juvia finally reached the altar, Gray stepped closer to them, his eyes focused on Juvia's and all he could see in hers was love and suddenly he hoped she could see the same in his.
"You break her heart again, Fullbuster, and I'll kill you." Gajeel's voice made Gray snap out of it and roll his eyes at the closest thing he would get of a brother-in-law. Gajeel offered his hand either way and Gray took it before the taller man put Juvia's hand on the groom's.
"Hi." She whispered, beaming in happiness.
"Hey." Gray whispered back. "Fancy seeing you here."
Juvia broke in a fit with giggles and so did he before they looked forward to the judge of peace, who started the ceremony.
After talking for a few moments about the institution of marriage and the wishes of their friends and family about their happiness, The judge said, in a kind voice. "I am told the couple wanted to say some words before their vows." She was a woman in her mid-fifties with kind brown eyes and short blonde hair.
"We do." Juvia said and faced her fiancée, who did the same and held both his hands on hers. "Gray. When I was growing up, I never thought I would ever be this happy. For years, I just existed, but when I met you, I finally started living my life. You gave me courage I never thought I had in me, you made my life full and complete. The day I met you, I fell in love with you, even when we were at opposite sides of that meeting. I never knew I had a dream man until I met you. You are my dream and you are perfect. Yes, I know you are not perfect for you have many flaws, but all that matters is that you are perfect for me and all I want is to spend the rest of my life with you."
Gray saw two tears fall from her eyes, but knew they were of happiness and started his own speech. "Juvia, I didn't fall in love with you at first sight because I didn't believe in it. Not love in general, but love happening to me. I thought it would never happen and I've never, not once, wanted to get married and have a family. But, before I knew, you found your way in and the next thing I know is that I couldn't be far from you, that I missed your voice or your smell. Then I understood what you have been telling me from day one: we are meant to be together. You taught me to be happy, you fixed me when I didn't even know I was broken and you made me want to be a better version of myself. I am terrified that I might become a sappy man while married to you, but that's a risk I'm willing to take because after today, it's for the rest of our lives and I'm looking forward to it because I know that each day with you will be an adventure."
At that point she was openly crying and his heart was beating faster (and his cheeks were red because he had just poured his heart out in front of a hundred people), but nothing else matter besides her magnificent smile.
"The rings, please." The judge said and Natsu gave it to Gray while Lucy handed it to Juvia. "Now, repeat after me…"
"I, Gray Fullbuster, take you, Juvia Lockser, to be my wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love and honor you all the days of my life." Gray put the ring in her finger and noticed she was shaking, offering her a soft squeeze.
"I, Juvia Lockser, take you, Gray Fullbuster, to be my husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love and honor you all the days of my life." When Juvia slid the ring on his finger, the judge spoke once more.
"By the power invested in me by the city of Magnolia, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride." The moment the words left her mouth, Gray brought Juvia closer and kissed her – in the back of his mind, he could hear the guests clapping and cheering.
When they stopped the kiss, they didn't step away from each other and Juvia whispered: "Is this a dream? Please tell me it's not."
"I sure hope not, otherwise I will be very pissed off when I wake up." Gray answered and Juvia laughed and pulled him for another kiss.
Juvia doubted she could get any happier than she was that day. She had just married the love of her life, danced with him and was ready to start their lives together. After the mysterious honeymoon he had been planning for them, that is. When asked why he was so focused on planning it and making it a surprise for her, Gray just replied: "You are already planning the wedding and I basically just have to show up. I am planning the honeymoon because if I don't, it's more stress to you and I'm sure you'd choose somewhere boring with a lot of museums for us to visit while we should be locked in a hotel room making sure the wedding can never be annulled or going to the beach."
She let him have his fun but just like he had done, she laid some rules: nowhere freezing, nowhere with wild animals bigger than humans and nowhere without the minimum of comfort. And he promised he would find a place like that and didn't tell her where they were going – he went far enough no clear the search history of their computers so she couldn't find any information about it.
She was going to find it in a few hours anyway, but first they had something else to do.
After they had taken all the pictures they were supposed to, greeted all their friends and they were all at seated, Juvia told Gray it was time and he nodded, leading them to the stage. He asked for the singer's microphone and asked for attention, Juvia right next to him, hands twined together.
"First, we'd like to thank all of you for coming to our wedding. We really appreciate." There was a round of applause and when it died, Gray spoke again. "But we decided that this day should have another special moment besides the ceremony. Most of you know that Juvia and I are going to adopt my niece, Meredy. We wanted to be married first, but we will officiate it as soon as possible. Even so, since today we pledged out commitment for each other in front of our family and friends, we would like to do the same with her." Gray looked to where Meredy was with his father. "Come up here, Mer."
Silver whispered something to the girl, who nodded and went up the stage, confused.
Gray gave Juvia the microphone and watched as his wife kneeled in front of the little girl. "Meredy, from the moment I saw you, I knew you were special. And even though I am sad you lost your mother, I hope that you can find what you need, in me. I can't promise not to make any mistakes, but I can promise to love you as if you were my own and to protect you the best I can and beyond." Meredy's green eyes were huge and Juvia was tearing up before giving the microphone again to her husband.
"Mer, I've always loved you, ever since my sister sent me the first picture of you. Now, you are much more than my niece and we need you to understand that we are a family: you, me and Juvia." He reached for the inside pocket of his tux and took a small velvet box and opened, taking a necklace from it. Meredy recognized the model just like the one she and Silver had given to Juvia as a birthday gift. "We had this made for you." He opened it for her and there was the same picture Juvia's had and when he turned it around, it had written 'Meredy Fullbuster'. "Juvia has hers," the bride showed hers and at its back it had engraved 'Juvia Fullbuster' "and I got one too." Gray pulled his silver necklace from under his shirt and showed a locket, with 'Gray Fullbuster' written in its back, and when he opened it, it also had the same photograph. "Sorry mine isn't a heart like yours and Juvia's, but I don't think I could pull it off." Meredy giggled. "We just want you to know that we are promising to love you forever, just like we promised to love each other."
Meredy couldn't take it anymore and started crying and threw herself to the couple, saying "I love you too!" and they stayed hugging for some time and there wasn't a dry eye in the room by the time they finally broke apart. (The one obviously sobbing harder was Lucy, who was blaming it on the hormones).
When the three of them were about to get down from the stage, Silver stopped them and asked for the microphone. Gray, who had Meredy in his eyes, frowned at his wife, who just shrugged and tried to save some of her make-up.
"Well, today had so much emotions and I am so glad I could see my son find happiness with this beautiful and special woman and now they have this amazing little girl as their own. I never thought I'd have another family, but here we are, those three and my son's brother, Lyon. Yes, I'm talking to you, young man. You are one of mine too." Silver chuckled when he saw Lyon's surprised look. "Anyway, the day after my son proposed to Juvia, I thought about the perfect gift to give them and after awhile, I finally got one." He took an envelope from inside his tux and offered it to Juvia.
The blunette looked confused and when she opened it and read the contents, she gasped. "You gave us a house?"
"What?" Gray looked over his wife's shoulder and saw the exact same thing she did. "You gave us a house?" He echoed her.
"I did." Silver said, the guests clapped again as he gave the microphone back to the singer.
Gray was dumbstruck. "Dad, I already have a house. There's no need for this."
"Yes, there is." Silver explained. "You have a house, what I want is for you three to do is to have a home together. Somewhere the three of you will start fresh and each inch of that house will have your history. The house is perfect for you, it is very big, with lots of rooms and space to raise a child. Plus, I get a room for myself when I visit and Lyon, one for him. I like the boy, but when we share your guest room, he snores."
"No." Juvia shook her head. "This costed you a fortune. We can't…"
"Juvia-chan." Silver chuckled. "I am a very wealthy man. I have more money than I can spend and when I die, half of it will go to charity and the other to Gray. I'd like it to see it in good use before I kick the bucket and nothing would make me happier than knowing my son, my daughter and my granddaughter are in their home."
Gray huffed in annoyance and hugged his dad, squeezing Meredy between them. "Dammit, Dad!"
Juvia dried another tear – it appeared she was shedding lots of those that day – and watched the scene. When her husband stepped out of the hug, she was the one who hugged him and they all laughed when Meredy asked confused: "Why is grandpa kicking a bucket?"
Gray was holding Juvia's hand as they walked their way to the Honeymoon Suite of the most expensive hotel of Magnolia.
"I can't believe we are actually married." Juvia told him as Gray grabbed the card from his pocket to open the door and when he did, he turned to look at her, a look of defeat in his eyes. "What is it?"
"You are going to ask me to carry you inside, aren't you?" He asked and Juvia laughed before tip toeing to kiss his lips.
"It's tradition. And it's very husbandly of you to have thought of that before I did."
"Let's get this over with." He caught her bridal style as they stepped inside the luxurious room and Juvia couldn't stop giggling.
"Be honest, you enjoyed this." She said when he put her down and kissed her lips. "You are doing it again when we move in to the new house, you know that, right?" He groaned in faked annoyance and took off his coat. "I still can't believe you father did that."
"I can." Gray was unbuttoned his shirt. "He loves to do those things and get us by surprise." While he spoke, Juvia went to check on the bags and her purse that were delivered to their room and found some papers and one in particular made her sit on the big bed. When Gray got no answer from her and looked her way, he saw her staring at the paper and when he stepped closer, he saw tears in her eyes. "Hey." He sat by her side. "What's wrong?"
"I've never had one of those." She whispered, a tear falling and Gray finally looked at what she was holding.
"I sure hope so, this is our marriage certificate." He joked, but put an arm around her waist. "Tell me."
"This is the only paper Juvia has that indicates she has a family." She told him. "In my birth certificate, mother and father are as 'Unknown'. But this" she pointed at the paper in her hand, "this paper makes me your wife, Meredy's aunt, your dad daughter-in-law and Lyon-san's sister-in-law. I know a paper is not important because Gajeel is Juvia's brother just as much anyone who has a paper is. But I've always wanted this. It's petty, but this piece of paper makes me so happy."
"It's not petty." Gray kissed the side of her head. "You just never had anything official that connected you to anyone and of course you wanted that. Anyone can understand that and I'm glad it was me who gave you that."
Juvia smiled through her tears and put the certificate away. "I love you."
"And I, you." He was getting better in telling her his feelings. "Now, Juvia Fullbuster" he saw her eyes darken with the mention of her new surname and he could feel himself harden with the thought that she was now a Fullbuster as well "what do you say we make this whole thing official?" He reached for the back of her bodice to start to unlace it.
"I say that you are absolutely right, husband."
"I still don't know why I can't go too." Meredy pouted. They were at the airport the day after the wedding and about to go to their honeymoon and the little girl was sad she wasn't coming along. "We are family!"
"Because this time is just the groom and the bride, honey." Juvia kneeled in front of the pink haired child. "Let's make a deal: in a few months we will have a trip too, okay?"
Meredy didn't like much, but nodded. "Fine."
"Now give me a kiss." Juvia asked and Meredy did just that and then pulled Gray's hand until he was low enough she could kiss him too.
"Dad, Lyon. Please, don't destroy the house while we are gone." Gray told the men in front of them. "We will move soon, but I'd like to keep its value."
"Haha, funny." Lyon rolled his eyes.
"Don't worry, son." Silver beamed. "I'll be training Lyon on how to pick up women. Things will be fine."
"Just remember that you are here to watch your granddaughter, please."
"I know that." Silver rolled his eyes and then stared at the couple. "Do you remember the rule?"
"We only get two phone calls this week." Juvia sighed in defeat. "And texting is only allowed to notify we arrived and that we are coming back."
"Atta girl." Silver hugged and kissed his daughter-in-law. "Now off you go." He hugged his son too while Lyon did the same with Juvia. After saying their good-byes, the couple was a few steps away when Meredy called Juvia, who turned around.
"Look for mermaids for me!"
Juvia laughed. "Will do, sweetheart!"
When Gray told Juvia that they were going to have their honeymoon at Anemone, she squealed in happiness. She had always wanted to go to the island, but never had the opportunity. Gray had reserved them a room at a nice hotel that was a few meters away from the beach – which had the most beautiful emerald water.
He also made sure to program some very entertaining outings with a tourist groups: they visited a local tribe, they went snorkeling to sightsee coral reefs and at a festival that was held there. And Juvia had the time of her life, especially when they returned to their room at night.
A week later when they returned home; they were received with happiness, especially by Meredy who missed them very much – she was even happier when she got the gifts they brought her. When Juvia informed the six-year-old that she looked, but found no mermaids, she just shrugged and said that mermaids were good at hiding.
Seeing their new house, though, that was a surprise. It was huge! Five bedrooms, a big backyard and a front yard. When they complained about the size of the house, Silver just shrugged and told them that a big house was good. The master bedroom was enormous and with a walk-in closet, the room that was to be Meredy's was also very spacious and so were the other rooms.
When Silver bought the house, he made the basic reformations and told the couple that whatever else they wanted to reform, it was already covered and gave them the name of the contractor he hired.
The first month of their wedding was between painting the new house and making small changes and moving from Gray's old house to their new home. And when they finally moved in, a week later, they got the news Lucy gave birth to a little girl they named Reira. She had her father's pink hair and Lucy's beautiful brown eyes.
The second month of their marriage came with a wonderful new: Meredy was finally legally adopted by Gray and Juvia. And to celebrate it, they threw a small party at the guild and Meredy just loved to tell everyone that her name was now Meredy Fullbuster just like her Gray and her Juvia.
When Meredy's birthday a month later arrived, Gray and Juvia decided that every child needed a pet and with a new and big backyard, it was time to teach her some responsibility and they decided to adopt a dog. Meredy was ecstatic when they went to the kennel and saw all the options of dogs, but the one she fell in love with was the most unexpected one: a three-legged white lab. According to the veterinarian, the dog was born without one of its front legs and no one wanted to adopt.
"I want her!" Meredy insisted. The pup couldn't be more than six-months-old and according to the veterinarian, healthy besides the missing leg. "Look how cute she is!" Meredy squealed and the dog barked in happiness, recognizing a nice human.
"Are you sure?" Gray kneeled in front of her. "She is different." He didn't mind, but wanted her to understand.
"She is different and she is beautiful!" Meredy said with confidence. "I want to name her Stiches."
"Why is that, sweetheart?" Juvia asked, amused.
"Because she is different and needs a home and love, just like Stich. But Stich is a boy's name, so…"
"Stitches." Gray said with a chuckle. "Oh, well. We already named her, might as well take her home." Meredy squealed in happiness and while the veterinarian and Gray took care of the papers, Juvia and the girl were already making plans of buying the new addiction to their family pretty bows and toys.
Just as they promised Meredy, when they completed six months of marriage, they decided to take a vacation to the same place Gray and Juvia spent their honeymoon. After making sure Stiches was fine at the dog hotel, Meredy gave their dog kisses and told her she was going to bring back a new toy for her.
The plane travel was short and Meredy didn't even know where to look with so many things they had to do, as Gray had signed them up at the same activities him and Juvia had taken a few months before.
At day three, though, Juvia woke up feeling down and it worried her husband.
"I've never seen you sick." He said, nervous, after checking on Meredy's room and waken the girl, telling her to get ready to eat breakfast. "I've known you for almost four years and not once I've seen you sick."
"Don't worry. Juvia gets sick in every five years or so." She tried to tranquilize him, but he didn't like at all the way she was pale. "You and Meredy go, have breakfast and go to the tribe's tour. She'll love it. I'll stay in bed and when you guys come back, we can have lunch together."
Gray hesitated. "I don't want to leave you alone."
"It's fine." Juvia touched his cheek. "My stomach's just upset. Juvia will be fine later and she would hate to ruin Meredy's vacation."
"Fine." Gray sighed. "But if you are not better by the time we are back, I'm taking you to a doctor."
"Deal." Juvia smiled and watched as her husband left their room before running to the bathroom and throwing up. After taking a shower and brushing her teeth, she decided to take a nap and by the time Gray and Meredy were back, she was feeling fine – to Gray's relief – and they proceeded to go snorkeling together.
On their way back to the hotel, they needed more sunscreen and stopped to buy more. Juvia and Gray were looking for the best brand to buy when Meredy called from a feet away.
"Juvia!" She called and the woman walked to where she was and the girl was holding a pink package that the woman recognized as tampons. "Do we get these?"
"Not today, sweetheart." Juvia chuckled, whenever they were at the supermarket together, Meredy was the one who picked Juvia's products based on the color she liked the most at the moment – Juvia would change it later for her favorite one without her seeing. "I brought it from… home." The blunette frowned and started to count in her head, so concentrated that when her husband touched her elbow, she almost jumped. "Meredy, you can buy a candy. Go pick it up." Juvia said kindly and the girl nodded and ran to the where the candy was.
Satisfied that she could still see Meredy, Juvia asked her husband: "What day is it?"
"Uh… The seventh. Why?" He frowned when saw her pale again and put an arm around her. "Are you feeling sick again?"
"We have been having sex every day since we got here." She whispered.
"We shouldn't have been." She told him. "Juvia was supposed to have had her period three days before we left."
"Okay?" He was not following her.
"Juvia did not have her period and she is never late. She is like a clock." She clarified and Gray blinked a couple of times, clearly trying to put everything together. "Juvia has been feeling sick for a few days."
"You told me it was only today!" He scolded her.
"Sorry, I didn't think anything about it at first. I thought it was motion sickness."
"What do you think now?"
"I think we should buy a couple of these." Juvia grabbed a package and showed her husband, and it said 'Pregnancy test'.
Juvia was pacing around their hotel room, looking at the watch every other second while Gray was seated on the bed. It had been hell to have dinner and to put Meredy to bed before taking the test, but they couldn't let her notice anything was different.
Once they were alone, Juvia had went to the bathroom with a test and a few seconds later she came out and told him they had to wait three minutes, to which Gray just nodded and they had been in silence ever since.
Gray's watch beeped and Juvia ran to the bathroom and her husband finally got up from the bed and tried to read her expression, but she was just staring at the stick in shock.
"So?" He asked, anxious.
"It's uh-" She blinked a couple of times "positive."
"Are you sure?" Gray's eyes widened.
"There's a big plus size." She showed the stick to him. "Pretty straightforward."
"Yeah." He stared at the test for a moment before letting a breath he had no idea he was holding, out. "So…"
"So…" Juvia sat down on the toilet, still staring at the test. "Positive."
"Positive." Gray sat on the floor, in front of her and with his back on the bathroom cabinet. "At least we know why you were sick."
Juvia snorted and then she became obviously scared. "Oh, god. What are we gonna do?"
Gray frowned. "What do you mean?"
"We were planning on children in a couple of years, when Meredy was older!" Juvia gasped. "I don't care when, I've always wanted a big family, but Meredy is still so jealous of us and she made it clear that she doesn't want siblings and you too!"
"Wait, wait… what about me?" Gray was confused.
"You said we should talk about more kids in a couple of years, and I became pregnant and I don't know how; I've been taking the pill the right way-"
"Juvia, calm down." Gray took the test from her hand and put it aside, kneeling in front of her. "Yes, I told you we should talk about kids in the future, but that was because I thought we should have some time with just the three of us, it doesn't mean I'm mad it happened a couple of years earlier. Look: we are married, we already have one kid, we have a house, jobs and each other. Plus, the best things that ever happened to me were a surprise: you, Meredy, my dad…"
She looked at him with suspicion. "You are not mad?"
Gray smiled. "Nah. We can do this. Maybe this one is a boy and we'll have one of each."
Juvia laughed and kissed her husband. "So… we're having a baby."
"I guess that we are."
The next morning they went to a clinic at the island to do a simple blood test and when it confirmed the pregnancy, Juvia had smiled to Gray and hidden the results on her purse, knowing it was not time to tell Meredy. The rest of the vacation, Gray had been more than overzealous with his wife, to her delight.
Even getting sick in the mornings, they were able to enjoy the vacation and ide Juvia's condition from Meredy and Gray made Juvia promise to go as soon as she could to the doctor and she agreed promptly.
Once they returned to Magnolia, Juvia's gynecologist only had an opening in a week so they needed to wait for it, but Juvia already spent some of her time putting pillows under her shirts to see how she would look in a few months. The excitement was killing her – she wanted to tell everyone, but Gray told her they needed to wait for the doctor appointment.
Meredy didn't seem to find anything off, but both adults were apprehensive about telling her, as in the past she had been very against the idea of Juvia getting pregnant, but they would worry about it in a couple of weeks.
And after their appointment with the doctor, their worries doubled. Literally. If they thought Meredy was going to get jealous of a baby, she would certainly flip out withtwo as Juvia was expecting twins.
It took some adjustment, but the couple got used to the idea and soon enough they were both excited, even if Gray tried to tune it down, he would caress her slightly bigger belly without even noticing when they were in bed together.
The first person they told, was Silver. Meredy had been put to sleep and the adults were gathered at the living room talking. Gray gave her a look and Juvia nodded without Silver noticing.
"So, dad…" Gray started. "We have bad news." The older man frowned instantly. "We're gonna have to use your bedroom."
Silver relaxed visibly and whined. "What? Why?"
"Well, it's the closest to our room and the largest after mine and Juvia's." Gray shrugged. "We're going to need the space."
"Why the hell you need more space for? Is this Lyon's doing? His room is just fine. He just didn't like that one of my tips didn't work. It's not my fault the kid has the worse delivery in history."
"No, Silver-sama." Juvia giggled. "It's not because of Lyon-san."
"Then why?" Silver was annoyed – he liked his room at his son's house, thank you very much.
Gray smirked. "We kind of need it as a nursery."
The couple saw Silver's body tense and his eyes widen. "Ex-excuse me?"
"I'm pregnant, Silver-sama." Juvia smiled and saw as his gaze went to her stomach, as if expecting it already expanded. "Just 12 weeks along now."
The grin he offered them was one of the most beautiful things Juvia had ever seen and the way his eyes shined, he was almost in tears. "I am going to be a grandfather again?" When Juvia nodded, Silver got up from the couch and Juvia did the same, meeting him halfway in a hug. "Oh, god. I don't think I can be happier."
"Hold on that thought." Gray grinned again – he just loved to be the one surprising his father instead of the other way around. He took a picture of the ultrasound from the back pocket of his jeans and hand it to Silver. "You, old man, are getting two grandchildren. We are having twins."
Silver's eyes went even wider as he took the picture from his son's hands and stared at it. "Twins?"
"Yeap." Gray put an arm around Juvia's waist and rested a hand over her stomach – a habit he was getting and she absolutely loved it.
This time had no mistake Silver was crying as he put an arm on Gray and other on Juvia in an awkward hug. "Oh, my god! You just made me so happy!" He let them go, but turned to Juvia and cupped her face and kissed her forehead. "Thank you, Juvia-chan."
"You know, I helped a little." Gray rolled his eyes and the next thing he knew, his father was giving him a bear hug and patting on his back.
"Congratulations, son! You'll be absolutely terrified by childbirth but it's going to be so worth it!"
"Jeez, dad, thanks." Gray said sarcastically.
"I still remember when your mother was having you. Scariest moment of my life." And then he proceeded to talk in detail every moment of Gray's birth, until his son cut it out telling Juvia was tired, making Silver immediately shut up and tell her to rest. For the next months, he would treat his daughter-in-law like the queen she was.
"Sweetheart, we need to talk to you." Juvia called the seven-year-old, who was playing with Stiches. Meredy let the dog chewing a toy and went to sit between Gray and Juvia.
"What is it?"
"Remember last year when you thought Juvia and I were having a baby?" Gray asked, slowly, trying to approach the subject with calm.
"But you weren't." The girl supplied.
"Yes. Do you remember telling me that you thought we would forget about you?" Juvia asked and the girl nodded. "We won't, you know that, right? We will never forget you." Meredy frowned, trying to understand. "But we are here to tell you that this time I am really pregnant." Her green eyes widened. "We will actually have two babies, but we will not neglect you in any way, sweetheart."
"You will." Meredy's lower lip started to tremble.
"We won't. Mer, don't-" Gray tried, but Meredy was already getting up from the couch and running up the stairs to her room and a moment later they heard a door slam.
The couple stayed in silence for a few moments before Juvia sighed and say to her husband: "That went well."
"If this is a preview of her teenage years, we're in for quite a ride." Gray groaned.
For the next couple of months, whenever someone brought the subject of pregnancy and babies, Meredy immediately retreated to her own world, ignored the subject or just went to play with Stiches much to the couple's despair. They wanted Meredy to accept the new additions to the family, but she seemed to inherit the Fullbuster stubbornness by nurture if not nature and they tried to give her space.
When other people could feel the babies, though, Juvia wanted Meredy to be a part of that, wanted her to bond with them even from within the womb. That's why, two months after they delivered the news, Juvia tried a different approach.
"Oh, Gray-sama! They are moving again!" Juvia said when the whole family was together at the living room and Gray was quick to put his hand where she indicated the movement.
"I love when they do that." Gray smiled and kissed Juvia's cheek.
"Let's see if Stiches can feel it too?" Juvia asked and called the dog, that went with its tail waving in happiness. Juvia, who was lying on the couch, gently put Stiches' head on her stomach and took a long sip of cold water – the babies seemed to like it and moved around a lot – and when they kicked, Stitches moved her head from Juvia's stomach. Her ears raised and head tilted to the side, trying to understand what had just happened and proceeded to sniff Juvia's stomach as she and her husband laughed. "I guess she felt it."
"I guess." Gray said and then called the little girl, who was watching the interaction by the corner of her eye. "Hey, Mer. Want to try?"
"Oh, I don't think they would move for her, Gray-sama." Juvia shrugged and waited.
"Why not?" Meredy asked, curious.
"Well, you never spoke to them. I do, you uncle does, your grandpa… I think they don't like you."
Meredy gasped in surprise. "What?"
"Well, you are the one ignoring them." Juvia shrugged. "Everything they know, is what they hear and feel. Maybe they feel you don't like them. Would you like to know someone who never saw you but doesn't like you either way?"
The little girl looked down in shame. "No." She mumbled.
"How about you come here and talk to them for a moment? Maybe it will change their minds." Juvia tried, hoping she was not pushing too far.
Meredy seemed to ponder her options before shyly go to kneel in front of the couch, facing Juvia's large stomach. "What do I do?" She whispered.
"Put your hand on my stomach, say hi." Juvia got the cold water in hand to not get the timing wrong.
She hesitated but put a tiny hand on Juvia's stomach and said: "Hi, babies." Just as Juvia took a sip of water and just as expected, they started to kick and Meredy's eyes went huge as she put another hand on Juvia's belly. "Oh! I felt it! Hi again, babies!" Juvia took another sip and they kicked again and Meredy giggled. "I guess they liked me!"
"Well, maybe you could like them back." Juvia probed and felt Meredy smile shyly.
"Maybe I can."
Juvia looked to her husband, who was across the room observing the whole thing and winked at him as he mouthed 'You are damn sneaky'.
After feeling the babies kick for the first time, Meredy just couldn't get enough and was suddenly on board after she and Juvia talked about what was going to happen after they were born. For a few months they would need more attention because they were small and couldn't ask for what they needed, but neither she nor Gray would ever forget their little girl.
She was slightly disappointed when they found out the babies were boys instead of girls, but was more than glad to help Juvia decorate the boys' room.
One night, though, on Juvia's seventh month of pregnancy, the three of them plus Stiches were having dinner when Meredy suddenly asked: "My Gray?"
"The babies will call you and Juvia 'mom' and 'dad', right?" She asked, head tilted to the side in questioning.
"Yes, of course." Gray frowned and stole a look at her wife, who just shrugged, confused.
"And they will have Fullbuster on their names too?"
"And I am adopted and I have Fullbuster on my name now too."
"You do." Gray and Juvia were looking at her, both confused about her questions.
"I think I'm going to call you mom and dad too, now." Meredy said, casually and Juvia's breath got caught into her throat and she put a hand on Gray's thigh and squeezed. "To not confuse the babies." She looked up to them. "Is it okay? Can I do that?"
Knowing that his wife was unable to speak at the moment, Gray cleared his throat because he was too overflowing with emotion. "Of course you can. We'd love that, Mer."
"Thanks, daddy." Meredy said naturally and with a smile before returning her attention back to her food while the two grownups looked at each other, both feeling as happy as they could be.
The rest of dinner was a quiet ordeal and when they were done, Juvia told Meredy to go brush her teeth and that one of them would be right up to put her to bed. Meredy nodded, walked around the table and kissed Juvia's stomach, wishing the babies good night and then kissed Juvia, saying: "Good night, mommy." The girl, then called Stiches and both went up the stairs.
Juvia just waited for Meredy to be out of earshot before starting to cry. "Sh-she cal-called us…"
"I know." Gray kneeled in front of his wife, his own eyes shining with unshed tears. "She called us mom and dad."
"Oh, god. I've been wai-waiting for this mo-moment for so long." Juvia sobbed. "I can't be-believe it hap-happened!"
"Well, believe it." Gray grinned and kissed her lips. "Now stop crying otherwise she will think she's done something wrong."
"You try to be pre-pregnant with twins, full of hor-hormones and hearing the girl you've con-consider your daughter ca-call you 'mom' for the first time and not cry. I d-dare you." Juvia laughed through tears and Gray chuckled. "You'll have to go put her to bed. This crying will last awhile. And probably much more times this week when she calls me 'mom' again. If she calls me 'mommy', you better take her away from me otherwise I'll hug her I don't think you'll be able to take her away."
When the Lyon finally told Juvia he was bringing a girl he was dating to meet them, Juvia was so excited she baked and cooked so much Gray actually had to order her to put her feet up because she was eight months pregnant and shouldn't be overworking herself. She didn't care, just tried to make their dinner table as beautiful as she could.
Lyon had been talking about Marina for months, telling how great she was and how much he liked her and Juvia felt it was her job to see if she fit into their little family and did what any other sister-in-law would: stalked Marina's Facebook page. She was an Aquarius, worked at the park where she was an animal trainer – more specifically the aquatic animals (which meant she and Lyon had tons to talk about), seemed to like to travel and had a lot of friends.
Plus, Meredy had met her when she spent her weekends with Lyon and had told Juvia that Marina was nice even when Lyon wasn't watching,
So far, so good.
At the time they arrived, Juvia was already overly excited about the meeting. Lyon seemed very happy and was fast into hugging his sister-in-law and caress her stomach, asking about his nephews and then hugged his brother before presenting his date.
"Gray, Juvia-chan: this is Marina Star." Marina had the same height as Juvia, but with silver-blonde hair that reached her shoulder and beautiful green eyes. Her face was heart shaped, as were her lips. As far Juvia could see, Marina had much smaller breasts than herself (in her non-pregnant state) and a little chubbier than Juvia and absolutely gorgeous that way. "Mari, this is my brother Gray, and his beautiful wife, Juvia." The woman smiled and Juvia saw she had dimples in both her cheeks.
Lyon had found the cutest woman to bring home. Thank god!
"Hello, nice to meet you two. He doesn't stop talking about you. And the little fellas." Marina pointed to Juvia's stomach. "He says that he wants them to take after him?"
"I know there's no genetics involved whatsoever, but a man can hope for a miracle." Lyon said and Gray punched him on the shoulder.
"Don't listen to him, Marina. He's as stupid as they come." Gray offered his hand. "Nice to meet you."
Juvia did the same as her husband. "Nice meeting you, Marina-san. Come on in, dinner will be ready in fifteen minutes."
When they went inside, Meredy saw Marina and was excited to see her and Juvia watched the interaction with curiosity, trying to figure out the new woman her daughter seemed to like and even Stiches was playing with them. Juvia nodded her approval so far.
During dinner, they talked about their jobs and both Gray and Juvia seem fascinated by the way things worked at the park and how she tried her best to give the animals the best lives they could in captivity.
There was just something bothering Juvia and she couldn't put the finger on it, but it had to do with her. Marina seemed to hold back when speaking to Juvia and she wanted to find out why.
"Marina-san," Juvia said after dinner, "would you help me with dessert?"
"I'll go, Juvia-chan."
"Sit down." Gray ordered his brother, who complied confused. He knew his wife was up to something, the dessert wasn't too hard to bring on their own.
"Of course, Juvia-san." Marina smiled and went after Juvia towards the kitchen, where Juvia sat on one of the kitchen's chairs.
"Marina-san, sit down with me for a moment." The blonde hesitated and Juvia smiled. "I won't bite, I promise." When Marina sat down across the table from Juvia, the blunette asked: "Have I done anything?"
"What?" Marina seemed taken aback by the question.
"Call it a 'mom instinct', but I sense you have something against me." Juvia raised an eyebrow. "Don't worry, you weren't rude or anything, but Juvia picked that something is wrong and I liked you and I would hate to have done something to make you upset."
"No, no, no." Marina said. "You didn't do anything. I'm the one being silly. Don't mind me."
Juvia smiled sweetly. "But I do mind you. Come on. Tell me what is wrong."
The blonde seemed to think for a moment and measure Juvia before sigh in resignation. "It's just… Lyon and I were friends before he asked me out and he told me all about how he was in love with you, how you were helping raise his niece with his brother and how he lost you when you got together with Gray-san. He still talks about you with such love, that I wonder if he ever fell out of love with you." She took a breath. "To be honest with you, all the way here I was hoping you would be a total bitch, ugly and horrible. But here you are, being nothing more than nice to me, you are pregnant with twins and it looks like you came out of a pregnant magazine because you look perfect and oh my god, above it all that, you married the man you fell in love at first sight! And adopted his niece after his sister died and you have a three-legged dog! How can I hate you when you are this perfect? Dammit, I hate feeling jealous!"
Juvia raised an eyebrow and chuckled. "Oh, Marina-san. Juvia is far from perfect. I am nice, yes, but I can also be the coldest bitch you might ever meet."
"Really?" Marina looked dubious.
"Yes." Juvia smirked. "I look good right now because I took hours to do that. Usually I just wear something easy to pull out because I go to the bathroom every five minutes, I have stretch marks, I haven't seen my feet in three months, my boobs and feet hurt and I fart when I laugh. Giggles are fine, but please don't make me laugh. So, the pregnant perfection is also taken down.
"And sure, I married the man I fell in love at the first time I saw him. The problem was: he didn't fall in love with me the first time he saw me. It took so much time and it hurt a lot, lots of times. Many times Juvia just wished she could fall out of love with him, but it never happened and I just never quit." Juvia shrugged. "Meredy, well… I felt that I needed to help Gray-sama otherwise both of them would be traumatized for life. And before I knew, I loved her more than anything else. Stiches was picked by Meredy, so that's on her."
Marina was blushing very hard. "Now I'm feeling silly."
"Don't be." Juvia said. "Most people wouldn't have been honest and Juvia is glad you were. Now, it's my time to be honest with you."
"Lyon-san." The blunette smiled. "Yes, he was a little in love with me, but I think it was more about a cock fight between him and Gray-sama other than real love. Anyway, I can tell you that you are in love with him."
"I am." Marina groaned in frustration and rested her forehead on the table. "He is so nice, and funny, and strong and smart. And cute. He's so cute."
"Well, I can tell you two things, Marina-san." Juvia said and the blonde woman looked at her from her position on the table. "First, he never ever brought a girl for us to meet. Or to meet Meredy, for that matter, so you are very important. And second: after your first date, he called me and do you know what he said?" Marina shook her head. "He said that falling in love at first sight with me had been just the practice because he thought he had just met the right one."
Marina slowly rose her head from the table, eyes wide and hopeful. "Really?"
"Yes." Juvia took one of Marina's hands. "I know we just met, but trust me when I tell you that there's nothing for you to fear."
"Thank you." The blonde whispered and tried to dry a tear before Juvia saw it.
"Now, shall we go back? If I know my daughter, she is rioting because her chocolate mousse is not being served." Juvia said, groaning while getting up with Marina's help.
"Argh, you know how to make chocolate mousse? I might hate you all over again, Juvia-san!" The blonde said and both laughed. Yes, Juvia had a good feeling about that one.
The day Juvia went into labor, she had known from the moment she woke up, but kept it to herself and kept track of her contractions and only at mid-afternoon when they were getting closer together, Juvia told her husband about it.
For a moment, she thought she broke him, because he just gasped and opened and closed his mouth like a fish for almost a full minute. Meanwhile Juvia called Meredy and explained to her that she had to take her overnight bag because the babies were coming and she was going to be at Uncle Gajeel's house until Grandpa went to get her. Meredy beamed in happiness with the prospect of meeting her brothers and only then Gray started to act.
He ran, grabbed Juvia's bag which contained all of her documents, clothes and baby clothes their children would need and once he grabbed it, he ran to the car while Meredy and Juvia waited patiently at the kitchen. A few seconds later he returned, red of embarrassment. "Sorry, forgot about you two. Come on!"
When they dropped Meredy off, Gajeel walked to the car and talked quietly to Juvia while Gray gave Meredy's things to Levy and said goodbye to his daughter.
"Meredy, come here, honey." Juvia called and the girl stepped closer to the car. "Behave for you uncle and auntie, okay? Be nice to Metty-chan."
"We will see you in a few hours with your little brothers, okay? I love you."
"I love you too." Meredy said and repeated to Gray before her parents drove away to the hospital.
When her grandpa arrived to get her home, it was already morning and she had slept at Metty's bed and had been Silver who had woken her.
"Hey, baby girl." Silver said with a smile. "Ready to meet your little brothers?"
The ride to the hospital had been very long in Meredy's opinion and her grandfather just chuckled when she told him that and told her to be patient.
After they parked the car, she almost ran inside the hospital, but as she didn't know the way, she had to wait for her grandpa. They walked for a few minutes before they finally stopped in front of a door and he asked her: "Ready to become a big sister?"
Meredy gave one decisive nod and Silver knocked on the door before opening. Meredy looked everywhere, curious and found her dad holding a blue bundle while seated on a couch and her mother was at the bed, also holding a blue bundle.
"Hi, honey." Juvia said in a whisper and Meredy couldn't help but to notice that she looked tired.
"Come here and meet your brothers, Mer." Gray told her, with a smile and Meredy walked to where he was, shyly. Her father angled the bundle so Meredy could have a look: the baby had a bunch of black hair and opened his eyes for a moment and the girl could see they were blue. "This is Gris. He was born first."
"And this, honey," Juvia said and Silver picked Meredy from the floor so she could see the baby in her mother's eyes "this one is River."
"They look all wrinkled." Meredy noted and the adults chuckled.
"They do. But they will look better in a couple of weeks." Juvia told her. "What do you think of them?"
Meredy shrugged. "I guess I can give them a chance." But when River yawned the cutest way, she smiled and everyone knew they already won her over.
That was her family.