Part 1 of 2
The cold wind whipped his raven locks around as the boy trudged through the impending storm. The night sky’s stars were shadowed by the deep clouds that covered the navy blue sheet like a thick blanket. A smattering of deep indigo blue was visible through a break in the clouds. The clouds were the dark ones that cast shadows on even the brightest days, foreboding the terrible weather that was about to explode, so intense it seemed palpable.
Jagged lightning cracked throughout the sky, a booming clap of thunder sending a small shiver through the earth, the bright light of the lightning forming shadows on the empty street, briefly illuminating the boy’s distressed face, making his sapphire eyes seemingly glow with the light. The amber glow of dim streetlights gathered in his eyes, the gold streaking the pools of blue and bleeding into the onyx of his pupil.
The rain began with a light sprinkle but soon enough, the wind was howling, and his raven locks were plastered to his face. The black strands fell in his eyes but he made no attempt to move them as he carried on through the empty roads.
No one was out of their homes at the moment besides the occasional passing car, spraying him with the water that had originally spared him. Not that it mattered anyway, he was soaked to the bone, and nothing so trivial could break past the numb barrier guarding his feelings.
Gray finally arrived at his destination, jumping the fence when he arrived. The cemetery was the same always, except now the headstones were dripping with water, the dirt surrounding them slick and muddy.
Even though he could barely see anything in the heavy darkness, the thick raindrops blurring his vision as they entered his cerulean eyes, he could still make his way to his parents' graves. He had been there so many times that the route was seared in his brain. Down three rows, past 10 graves, through two more rows, past a clump of cherry blossom trees, to the end of the line of gravestones, in the shade of the willow tree.
The rain was slightly quelled under the willow tree that beat on the similar graves of his parents. The shade of the tree blocked harsh sunlight, preserving the graves' beauty. The fragments in the leaves allowed harsh rain to slip through, the rest of the tree turning it into a seemingly light drizzle. Gray would almost be able to pretend he wasn't sopping wet and shivering if it weren't for the water running across his feet, the pound of rain slapping the muddy ground.
Gray squatted down, his old black Converse soaked through. He shakily raised a pale hand, his thin fingers tracing the engraved letters on each headstone.
Here lies Mika Fullbuster. Beloved daughter, sister, friend, and mother. She will love on forever in the hearts of her son, niece, nephew and sister-in-law.
Here lies Silver Fullbuster. Beloved son, brother, friend, and father. He will live on forever in the hearts of his son, niece, nephew and sister.
Gray smiled in dark humor to himself. They couldn't even think of an original thing to write on each headstone. Of course they listed them being parents last. It was his fault they died. He was talking when the crash happened, and therefore he distracted his dad. He must have. There was no way around it.
He knew his cousins would be searching for him. His Aunt Ur would be frantic, Ultear would be driving around with Lyon searching for him desperately. But he didn’t care. He knew everything they would say when they found him. That it wasn’t his fault, that he doesn’t deserve this sadness. But if that was all true then why does rain fall hardest on those who deserve sun?
He knew everything happened for a reason, he just wished that for once someone would tell him the reason. Why was it that the people he needed most always left him at the worst times?
His spirit was crumbling like the small pieces to a Jenga game. It was a game of pure luck, and no matter what move he made the odds seemed to always be stacked against him. How terrible it is to love something that can be taken away. Something was always pulled away that weakened his tower. Life hit him too soon. The game began before he could finish building his tower.
His parents dying were two support beams being ripped from his structure. Every jab Natsu and Gajeel made at him was slowly pulling another block away. Every pitied glance from those he chose to tell about his parents tore another away.
His friends and family were constantly spectating on his game, and he could see the mix of terror and pity in their eyes each time the opposing team of Life’s move overpowered him a little further. The pieces were crumbling around him and each one was completely suffocating, and the force of their fall was hurting him further. His walls were crumbling, and once they were gone he would be exposed. Vulnerable and lost.
His silver cross necklace quivered in the harsh wind, the tinkling noise only slightly audible over the roaring gust and pounding rain. The clinking noise of metal was always so bittersweet. A gift from his father two days before he died. They were killed the day after Christmas. Two days after his birthday. Tragic irony.
He knew he had to get going, it wouldn’t be long until his surrogate family put two and two together and found him. He really didn’t want to go home yet but he also really didn’t feel like being admitted to another psychiatric facility for his depressive actions. It wasn’t like this was his first episode. He had been known to be mentally unstable, doctors finding cuts on his wrists and other things. He was trapped in his own mind, watching himself go through actions and motions he had no say in.
He felt like he was trapped in a castle. A castle bound to its color by his very name. Gray. His life could be found gray for sure. This castle is gray. There are no mirrors. He couldn’t see his blue eyes when he needed color and the fistfuls of hair he could grab and tear into his line of vision were no different. They were a staggering, overwhelming shade of ebony. There were only shades of gray, black and white on the surface, but underneath there was color. He could see the veins through his alabaster skin, itching to be released. The blue was color, yes, but he didn’t think it was enough. Blue was too calm. Red was the violent outburst within him. Gray found it slow and comforting to watch a small bubble of color break the white before falling, streaking the stone floors and the alabaster skin with its scarlet tears.
So he raised himself off the ground, the warmth of his tears and the cold of the rain fusing together as they streaked his face with red trails. Gray’s dark hair fell in his vision, blacking out the already dark night.
Whether he was mourning his parents or himself was clear. Perhaps it was both. Perhaps he was mourning the life he never led, which tied both himself and his deceased parents together into one communal pity party.
Shivers wracked his body as the rain chilled him the very core, rattled his bones in mind-numbing cold. He wanted to go home, wanted to feel warmth and love and happiness that most felt in their house, but he knew the warmth would never reach him where it mattered. The heating would warm his body but not his soul. If anything it would leave him feeling even number.
That house never felt like his home. He loved his aunt and cousins, yes, but he would never feel the same again. Not after his parents were killed in a car crash by some drunk driver with the dumbest fucking name Gray had ever heard. Deliora.
He would always remember the pain that flared through his eight-year-old body as his dad desperately tried to avoid the other car, but slipped on the ice and threw them right in front of the car. His father died immediately, but his mom died in the hospital hours later while he was still unconscious.
He remembered the complete horror that crossed his aunt’s face as the doctor told her that her sister in law had passed when he thought Gray was unconscious. He remembered the fear that surged through him when he realized he couldn’t feel his legs and one of his arms, and the bitter numbness he felt when the feeling began returning a few months later.
He remembered the look of support Lyon had on his face as he walked besides Gray during his physical therapy, rolling a soccer ball for him to kick gently when they would go home in hopes he would be able to play with his little cousin again.
He wished constantly he had died with his parents. But he just didn’t. Because the game seemed to like to destroy him slowly and use those he loved as nothing more than toys to hurt him with.
His depressed stupor led him to a bridge he had stood at many times, the lights shining harshly above him, the rain entering his sapphire orbs and stinging them bitterly. Cars whizzed underneath him on the free-way and he felt an uncontrollable urge to jump down in front of one. Feel the intense pain he felt once again, feel the darkness overcome him only this time not to be salvaged.
Even if a car stopped before hitting him the force of the pavement should be enough to kill him. But he was in all black, so if he was lucky no one would see him fall, only hear his chilling scream.
Gray was only vaguely aware of his actions as his pale fingers curled around the cold metal, wet and slippery on his skin. He pulled himself onto a beam, his old Converse slapping the beam.
His feet pulled him further, the only thought in his mind I’m done with this game. It’s time for me to finally win. He was loosely conscious to how deeply this would affect his surrogate family, but he needed this. One final gift from life. He needed one victory in his life and if that was death, so be it.
With that final thought lingering in his head, he stepped off the beam.
The air was forced from his lungs as the pavement rushed towards him, though he didn’t feel afraid. It was like it was happening in slow motion, and he was transfixed by the lights of the cars reflecting off the wet pavement.
Finally, he made contact with the ground. Searing pain filled his body. He smiled to himself. This was his final victory. The blood was pooling around him, like paint streaming from his paintbrush into the sink. It reminded him of dropping watercolors on his shoe—how he’d watch the colors drip from the brush and seep into the black felt, diluting them with their liquid pigment, disappearing until they dried completely and a ring of color was left on his shoe.
Everything was red, before turning to a dark black, but to him, it was bright as a halo on an angel.
Suddenly the blackness was replaced by light, and the pain left his body, and the angels were holding their hands out to him, singing their sweet music as he celebrated his victory. Whether it was just a hallucination or reality Gray was unsure.
So with his final breath, Gray whispered to himself, “The angels… I… can hear… them singing.”
So that’s it. Gray Fullbuster has left the world. Deep down, he knew it wasn’t anything worth commemorating. Death had been coming for him since the moment he was born. He had won in his mind, but at the same time he lost. Because everyone loses.
Because life is just a game. A game to see how long you can keep fooling yourself into thinking there’s something better. To see how long you can last until the truth invades your defenses. Some are better players than others. But no matter how good you are, we all get tired of playing eventually.