“I’ll check on Juvia before we go. Meanwhile, you can prepare the things for the travel.” Lucy said as she entered the house. Why would Natsu suddenly want to go to Sabertooth? She hadn’t gathered any information about any of their friends joining that guild. Did he hope to find someone there that knew something about him? Well, she would have to ask him in the travel, now she had to see if her friend got any better.
Lucy entered the room and, for her own surprise, the bed where Juvia was resting before was empty. Cold went down her spine, waiting for the worst. Where did she go? She wasn’t going to go outside in her fragile state, did she? Well, she knew how stubborn the water mage could be, so it could be a possibility.
The celestial mage looked for her in every room of the house and, in the last one, a small room beside the one they were talking to her earlier, she found the bluenette lying on the floor unconscious. Worried about her state, Lucy approached to her in a hurry and saw that the water mage was holding a bright piece of silver.
“Juvia! Juvia! Talk to me!” Lucy cried as she tried to wake up the bluenette.
The tears in Juvia’s eyes began to slide across her cheeks, in a slow path of despair, towards the cold floor where the bluenette was lying. Lucy kneeled by her side and gently caressed her face in an attempt to clean the tears. Despite the fever, the little drops of water were as cold daggers in the blonde’s skin. “Don’t… Please, don’t…” the water mage cried, as she tightened her grip over the object in her hand and brought it closer to her heart. Lucy gasped loudly when she recognized the chain.
“Love rival.” The silence was barely broken by Juvia’s voice. Lucy stared at her wet eyes, not wide open, feeling her own starting to itch as well.
“Oh, Juvia, what happened to you? You shouldn’t be here... You need to rest.” Lucy said, as she started to feel her eyes watering. Why was she in this room? Maybe it had to do with the fact that she had Gray’s necklace on her hands. She looked around and saw a small bed in one of the extremes of the room, a wardrobe and a small bedside table, which one of its drawers opened. It looked like this was his room and she wanted to get his memento.
Juvia raised her right hand, the one she was pressing against her heart a moment ago, and tangled her fingers in the chain, letting the silver pendant to fall and perform a hypnotic dance in front of their eyes.
“Juvia… Juvia really thought Gray-sama came back for her when she saw Natsu-san in the rain,” she whispered, still looking at the silver dagger. “She didn’t lose hope for a minute, not even when she found it. But now…”
“But now what? You aren’t the one that loses hope when adversities come. What is worrying you, Juvia?” The blonde said, caressing her hand to show her support. She knew that the water mage knew more that what she told to her friends before.
“It was colder,” she closed her eyes, remembering. “The shadow, the eyes, even the aura… All of it changed, but Juvia didn’t care. He was still her Gray-sama but… That day, in the training. His ice. It always felt warm, you know?” Her blue eyes now locked in the infinity. “Even in our very first fight, Juvia felt Gray-sama’s spirit, his emotions, in that ice. A bit part of him that reached her with every attack. His ice has always been warm to Juvia. That was the last day Juvia saw him…” She let the necklace slip through her fingers, bringing the pendant closer to her mouth. “His ice went cold.”
“Colder? What do you mean with his ice went colder? Like his magic was changing him by using it?” Lucy asked as she furrowed her brow in confusion. She already thought in the possibility of Gray leaving because something went really wrong with his magic. But that didn’t make her less worried about him.
“Gray-sama wasn’t OK, and Juvia wasn’t able to help him,” she answered while raising her left hand and giving her a wrinkled note. Lucy unfolded it and then, saw Gray’s hand script with several lines crossing out most of the words. The final message was short and yet, heartbreaking.
You felt it too, right? I know you won’t need me to explain it, because you must already felt it. Not only the days are darker, but the nights are scarier. Even the days got darker. I can’t take the risk to stay with I must leave now before it gets worst. Someone, somewhere, must know something, and I’ll find it. I would take you with me, but it would only... I know you’ll try to come with me, as you always do I have to do this on my own, don’t follow me. Please, just don’t.
Lucy looked at the water mage with a horrified expression. Something was very wrong with Gray and they had to make him come back for Juvia’s and his own sake. The celestial mage put a hand on the bluenette’s shoulder and made a sign for her to continue. Juvia kept this in secret for so long, and it was breaking her from the inside.
“Gray-sama wrote it weeks before the shadows appeared and Juvia saw him hide it in his coat, but she never dare to read it until…,” she took a deep breath. “When Juvia realized Gray-sama was gone for sure, Juvia ran after him. She didn’t care he said no. Gray-sama needed Juvia and she would be there no matter what. And then,” she hid the necklace in her hand again, and kissed it. “Juvia barely passed by without seeing it but… She saw a place where the grass was trampled. The lock was broken, but Juv-“ The memories were too painful, and the water mage reached her limit. She started crying again. “Juvia managed to fix it. It could help him, take it Lucy-san, give it to him.” Juvia said while she placed the necklace in Lucy’s hands and caressed it one last time.
“Juvia…” Lucy tried to say as she embraced her. She knew how hard has to be for Juvia to give her most precious memento of her loved one to her, the one she always considered her “love rival”. It was the best way to show her that she trusted her completely and she was not going to fail her. “I will take him back. I promise.” She whispered as she rubbed the water’s mage back to try to calm her.
“I know.” Juvia said as drops kept falling from her eyes and embraced her friend tightly.
After she helped Juvia to come back to her room and said her goodbyes, Lucy went with Natsu to Sabertooth, where the fire dragon slayer insisted to go. As they were approaching the city, Lucy decided to find the reasons of why Natsu was so interested in looking for Gray in that guild.
“Hey Natsu… Are you sure there’ll be information about Gray here?” Lucy asked.
“I can’t say it for sure…” Natsu replied.
“What do you mean you can’t say?”
“Listen up, Lucy.” Natsu said as he turned around to face her and she complained about what he just did. “I believe in Gray. But this time, if I don’t stop believing in him, we’ll never be able to get the information we need.”
“I don’t know what you mean…”
“Lucy, I’m going to bring Gray back.” He said as he approached to her, almost touching her forehead, which made her blush. “I promise.”
She didn’t know how he was going to find Gray, but what she did know is that she trusted Natsu. He never failed his promises.
And she never failed hers.