Chapter 11

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Lucy was laying on her bed looking up at her roof. She was lost in deep thought about Gray. She truly wanted him to be happy, which is why she decided to help him in the first place but now her own feelings have complicated things. She decided that she would go out for a walk in the hopes of clearing her head.
Meanwhile Gray had ran all the way to the guild hall. "Hey does anybody know where Juvia is!?"
"She's out on a job with Natsu and Erza right now Gray. Is something wrong?"
"Uh no everything is fine, do you have any idea when they'll be back, Mira?
"I can't be sure but I'm willing to bet that they'll be back tomorrow, so you won't have to wait too long."
"Alright thanks Mira."
The ice Mage then left the guild hall and decided to go for a walk. He himself was also lost in deep thought revolving around Lucy and Juvia. A little while later both Lucy and Gray, as if by fate, walked down the same street and into each other.
"H...hi Gray."
"Hey Lucy I'm sorry for running out on you like that."
"It's fine don't worry about, but where did you end up going to?"
"I went to the guild hall to ask about Juvia, Mira thinks she'll be back from a job tomorrow, so I plan on telling her tomorrow."
"Oh... Ok... Good luck I wish you two nothing but happiness."
"But Lucy what about your happiness I..."
"Please Stop Gray! I can't take anymore heart ache... I've already decided to just forget about what happened for you and Juvia's sake. So please just go back to treating me like normal everyday Lucy." She had tears streaming down her face, but was forcing a fake smile for his sake. He, meanwhile, was at a lost for words. He could do nothing but stand there with his head hanging down. Lucy had left long ago leaving him alone. As soon as he was sure that Lucy was nowhere near by he fell onto his knees and allowed the tears to flow out. He didn't whimper or ball, he just kneeled there in silence as a steady stream of tears trickled down his face. Before the day was over both Lucy and Gray had made up their minds.
The next day Gray and Lucy were both at the guild hall. He was there waiting for Juvia to get back. And Lucy was there in hopes of getting back into the rhythm of her normal life. He got up when he saw Erza run into the guild hall excitedly holding onto what look liked freshly developed photographs. As he approached her, she quickly noticed that it was Gray and quickly hid the photos. "Hey Erza glad to see you made it back safe, but do you know where Juvia is?"
"Well right now I'd say she's at Natsu's house."
"Huh? Why would she be at his house?"
Erza noticed a worried expression on Grays face and quickly responded with, "Its because Natsu got hurt pretty bad, as always, so Juvia was kind enough to help him home."
"Oh ok thanks." And with that Gray made his way to Natsu's house.
After Gray left, Erza decided to go sit next to Lucy who was sitting by herself looking a bit depressed. As she got closer to Lucy a giant grin spread across her face. "Excuse me Lucy but would I be correct in assuming that based on your facial expression that you are feeling a bit down?"
"Oh hey Erza... Yeah I'm not really feeling to happy right now. But it's no big deal I'll get over it soon enough"
"Maybe you would feel better if I showed you these." She then took out the stack of photographs and spread them out so she could see each one. The photos were, of course, of Natsu's and Juvia's "intimate" moments that were taken after they had gotten back from their job. "While heavily blushing Lucy screamed at Erza, "What! When did this development happen?! Natsu and Juvia... Oh no Gray is..." She stopped herself mid sentence in her head she thought, "This is bad Gray is on his way to confess to Juvia right now. When he discovers what has happened he'll be heartbroken and he may even want to hurt Natsu. Neither of them have fully recovered from their injuries. I need to stop him somehow!"
Without saying anything to Erza, Lucy ran out the guild hall and into the direction of Natsu's house.
Gray was breathing heavily by the time he got to Natsu's house.
Huff* puff* huff*
"I'm here. It's now or never." He raised his hand and knocked on the door.
"Gray hi... What are you doing here?"
"Hi Juvia, I heard from Erza that you would be here looking after Natsu since he was apparently injured during the job. I need to talk to you... about my feelings... towards you." He had a light blush on his face but was still feeling confident enough to keep going. "Gray there's something Juvia thinks you should know I..."
"Juvia I'm sorry."
His sudden apology caught her off guard and she was about to continue until he said, "I'm sorry for the way I treated you and for not taking your feelings seriously. It was immature of me to do so and I know it must have put you through a lot of heartache."
She responded sincerely, "Yes at times it did".
By this point in the conversation Lucy had gotten close enough to be able to see that Gray and Juvia were talking in front of the house, avoiding detection she hid behind a bunch of trees and bushes so she could approach them and hear what they were saying. "Oh no I think I'm too late but I still can't hear them I need to get closer."
"Juvia, ... I... I'm sorry"
"You already apologized to Juvia, Gray"
"No this is for something else..." He could no longer hold back the tears he fell to his knees and he let his head hang down then he told her, "I'm sorry Juvia but I'm in love with Lucy." He wasn't sure what would happen next he thought that she would either strike him out of anger or cry from sadness but when he felt her warm embrace surround him he was at a lost for words. "Juvia knows how you feel Gray. To be in love with someone when you think that you should be in love with someone else. You feel lost and confused at first but trust Juvia, Gray you will find happiness with her. Thank you for apologizing Juvia hopes you find love like she did." Before getting up she looked at Gray and quickly kissed him as reassurance that everything will be fine.A slight grin appeared on Gray's face as he said, "I'm glad you found your happiness" They were both smiling and resting on each other's foreheads. Then Juvia said, "Hey Lucy you are no longer Juvia's love rival... Please take good care of Gray." She didn't see a point in hiding any longer so she cautiously stepped out into the open. Gray, who had no idea Lucy was even here was to surprised to say anything. "Is true what you told her Gray? Are you really in love with me?..." She avoided making eye contact as did he the both of them stood only a few feet away from each other. "Juvia noticed this and thought to herself, "Neither of them has the courage to tell the other how they truly feel, Juvia has to do something. Without a second thought Juvia shoved Gray forward causing him and Lucy to fall on top of each other. Gray was about to stand up and apologize until his eyes caught hers. She too was rendered speechless when she stared into his eyes. Neither of them spoke but their eyes spoke a million words a second. Slowly there faces inched closer to each others and as their eyes closed they proclaimed their love for each other with a passionate kiss. They slowly parted and in sync they both said...
"I Love You."

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