Just In Case
"When the battle is over, I'll give you my answer. For now... just let me focus."
Those words echoed in Juvia's head as loudly as the blasts and cracks from the battles going on above her. Those words were causing her body to shake just as much as the tremors that shook beneath her feet. Those words gave her hope that her precious Gray-sama was going to maybe and finally love her back, but also gave her fear because this battle may not give her the opportunity to hear them.
She was hopeful, but yet she was scared. It was a torn feeling that the water mage had felt before, but yet that knowledge didn't make anything easier. Maybe because in the past she knew that the two of them would survive, to live another day together. These battles to come... there was no guarantee of anything this time. It was very possible that this time something horrid could happen.
Juvia watched a few ships crash to the waters and land below as a vision from The Grand Magic Games flashed through her head. The vision of Gray being blasted over and over – with a finishing blow to the head – and losing his life right in front of her... it was something that still gave her nightmares to this day. Not because it did happen in one instance of time, but because she feared it COULD happen again...
She turned her head towards her beloved, seeing him fixated on the battles in the sky. She could see his eyes were wide, his teeth were gritted, and his fists were clenched tight. His body was shaking like hers, but she could tell it wasn't just from the tremors. It was from anger, but she could sense he was also scared. Gray always tried to put on the brave front that nothing scared him, that he feared nothing, but Juvia knew it was exactly that: a front. He may be a powerful ice mage, but he is also a human. Just like her.
Suddenly another voice echoed in her head: the voice of the First Master, giving both of them their orders for the battles. Juvia began to shake more. This was it; this was their time to fight, but also their time to separate. She continued to stare at Gray, not wanting to lose sight of him yet. She knew this could be the last time she ever saw her beloved alive, and didn't want to lose this moment. Just in case...
"Alright, we're on it!" Gray confirmed, turning towards Juvia, "It's time. Let's go!"
"We don't really have time to wait!"
"Juvia knows!" she yelled, feeling tears welling up in her eyes, "But Juvia knows that this... this could be the last time I ever see Gray-sama. And Juvia wants to say something."
Gray released a low growl from his throat. "Then spit it out, please. We really can't waste time like this!" he yelled, maybe a little harsher than he intended.
Juvia took in a deep breath, wiping her eyes of the tears that were threatening to fall. "Juvia knows that Gray-sama will give me his answer after the battle is over, and that Juvia needs to let Gray-sama focus on the battle, but..." she said, grabbing at his hands, "Just in case that we can't see each other again, Juvia wants to... wants to..."
She felt the words catch in her throat, her cheeks getting wet, and Gray staring at her with curiosity and impatience. She bit on her lip for a second, before taking in another deep breath. She took two steps closer to him, allowing herself to align against his body, letting go of his hands and wrapping her arms around his neck. Before Gray could question her actions, he felt Juvia's lips firmly touch his own.
His eyes widened at this sudden kiss, feeling within that few seconds her passion, her love, and her desperation to let her feelings be known to him. He could feel her body tremble against his own, and swore he could hear her rapid heartbeat even over the battle in the sky. Before he could even try to respond further to this – whether he wanted to kiss her back or push her away he didn't honestly know – she had moved back from him.
To his surprise, Juvia was smiling. Her face was stained with tears, but she was smiling. "Juvia... what was...?" he whispered his question, but couldn't speak further.
"Juvia loves Gray-sama."
It wasn't the first time Gray has ever heard those words, but this time it wasn't said in her fangirl-like tone. They were spoken in a tone he hadn't heard since he was a child... when his parents told him they loved him. That tone of sincerity, of sweet passion and care, of absolute love. It was a tone that told him that this was Juvia's true feelings, and the words were coming straight from her heart.
"Gray-sama doesn't need to say anything. Juvia just wanted to say it... just in case."
Another loud bang overshadowed them, and their attention turned towards the sky as more ships began to fall to the ground. They turned towards each other again, but nodded with acknowledgement that it was time to depart.
"Good luck Gray-sama. Hopefully we'll see each other again soon."
"We will. So wait for me, Juvia."
Juvia's eyes widened at those words, her mouth forming a shocked "o" shape for just a moment, before forming a smile again. "Juvia always does, Gray-sama," she said.
With one last nod, the two turned away and ran towards their needed destination. Suddenly Juvia didn't feel the fear she felt a few minutes ago. Instead her heart was filled with hope, hope that soon she and Gray would be together again. And hopefully once they were together it would be forever...