Two weeks ago

As the doors swung open, Mirajane knew that those fools had wasted their opportunity. Gajeel and Levy entered the guild, almost 6 feet apart one from the other. While the bluenette was being a blushing mess, the Dragon Slayer was looking everywhere except where he was going. The barmaid let out a sigh. Those two were denser than Alzack and Bisca back in the days. Them flirting wouldn't be so exasperating if it led somewhere. This ship seemed to stale, and Mira was not having it.

Gajeel threw the mission file on the counter and remained standing, visibly in a hurry to be elsewhere.

"We've completed the mission. The client signed the endorsement and we confirm he paid us," he said, curtly.

"It didn't need to be a two-days mission," Levy added, looking down at her shoes, fidgeting with her bandana ties, as usual when nervous.

The barmaid knew what she meant by that. When she had received the mission request and saw it came from Koi Town, Mirajane immediately thought of Gajeel and Levy for this mission. It could be done easily in one afternoon, but the town was renowned to be a romantic place with beautiful sceneries and a lot of charming spots for couples.

Without hesitation, she made a reservation in a hotel for a single bedroom with a king-size bed. Pleased with her arrangements, the white-haired mage called her ship over and hurried them to take the mission, pretending that the others couldn't, and mages were needed tonight. Both had complied with a cute shyness and left the same evening. Mira had fun imagining their reaction when they realized they would have to share the bed.

"Is that so?" Mirajane asked, innocently.

Gajeel didn't fall for it. His glare met her eyes.

"As if you didn't know," he groaned.

"My, my~ Did something happen?" Mira smiled; her head tilted knowingly.

The Iron Dragon Slayer rolled his eyes and let out a "Tch" as he left. He must have been really in a foul mood to leave without eating lunch at the guildhall. The matchmaker blamed his emotional constipation to be responsible for the lack of evolution in that whole situation. She brought back her eyes on Levy, still standing there.

"I know you mean well, but you got to stop messing with Gajeel and I," Levy said. "We're not like that, okay? We're just friends. And I can see it's really bothering him."

Mira looked at her friend with disbelief, hoping that the act would drop, and that Levy would finally accept her feelings. However, Levy either didn't see it or didn't care, as she didn't raise the issue further.

"Anyway, like he said, we're done with the mission. I'm meeting up with Lucy, so I'm off. See you around~"

Levy waved and walk through the hall, greeting people on her way out.

"Aaarg, I can't believe this," Mira complained to no one in particular. "They're messing up this on purpose or what?"

At the end of the bar, Cana had blended in with the background, leaning against a barrel. Having heard the exchange, the Magic Card mage knew what her friend was whining about.

"What did you expect, girl," Cana laughed. "He's a blockhead who doesn't put words on his feelings and so he's doing nothing, but avoiding ambiguous situations with Levy. Even though he can't get by one day without her. And she's a shoujo girl who doesn't want to spoil their friendship by confessing, because she's sure to be rejected by him."

Cana stumbled on her way to the counter. Taking an empty glass, she sniffed it, deeming it clean enough to pour herself a drink from the barrel she was previously resting on.

"Honestly, they're pretty dumb not to see how each of them is completely infatuated by the other," she said, letting out a hiccup.

"They're in love and you know what they say, love is…"

"Dumb," Cana completed.

Mirajane looked at her brown-haired friend, mildly amused.

"Sure, whatever you say. My point is they obviously like each other and they're doing nothing about it."

"I'm betting it'll take them five more years to finally come to terms with their feelings."

Mira gasped. Somehow, she could see them wasting that much time, beating around the bush. Without some external help, this ship had little chance to sail anytime soon.

"I've got to come up with a better plan. ASAP!"

The barmaid started to brainstorm, muttering to herself the possibilities, some of which she had used on other ships. Playing cupid for some years now gave her imagination plenty of practice to come up with plans. Her mind was always on the get-go to seize her moment to strike a future couple with the opportunity they lack to make their love bloom.

"Maybe, they would wake up if there was a rival in the picture," Cana pointed out, jumping over the counter probably searching for some munchies to complement her early afternoon drinking. She finally found some chips and opened the bag, shoving a handful in her mouth.

Her statement struck Mirajane. How could she not have come up with that herself?! It was a stroke of genius. Of course, a rival would do the trick! It would certainly wake them up from their status quo. Before Mirajane could marvel to her brilliant idea, Cana underlined the idea's weakness.

"Though, it's kind of unlikely that any one in the guild would interfere with them. Their sexual tension is so thick, I could butter my croissant with it. No one is blind enough to not see their obvious attraction. Well, except them."

All the joy in Mira's eyes wavered. Biting her nail, frustrated, she tried to think of alternatives. Cana seemed to notice and said, "Give it a rest, Mira. Gajeel doesn't have a type, he only seems to have eyes for Levy. Speaking of which, I never noticed him eyeing my boobs or any's." she pondered on that observation and concluded, "Wow, he's actually a decent guy."

"Alright," Mira cut her rambling short. "Then, what about Levy? I never would have deemed Gajeel to be her type in the first place. I always thought she'd go for more a gentleman-like guy."

"Oh yeaaah," Cana mocked her. "Let's just find one of the fictional characters she gushes about with Lucy and just ask him to play rival. I'm sure we can find one walking around Fiore, easy peasy."

And then, it came back to Mira. In Fairy Hills, when the bluenette had invited Lucy to sleep over for one of their readathon event or whatever, she heard them fangirling. Levy and Lucy had been particularly excited about a character from the famous Gaby Otter series, agreeing on how handsome and perfect he was. Him, being the ideal man in a nutshell. Lucy talked energetically about a picture she saw in the Sorcerer Magazine, which she had unfortunately forgotten in her apartment. It was the picture of a cosplayer that portrayed him so perfectly it was confounding…

Mira snapped her fingers, delighted, and said to Cana, "That's it! Thanks to you genius, I got a plan!"

"You know, I was being sarcastic, right?"

The barmaid began to pace, feeling the excitement building up as she planned around that breakthrough.

"There's a cosplayer," Mira stated, before explaining further. "You know the people that dresses up as fictional characters. There's one like a character Levy loves. I'll get him to play the rival role."

Cana burst out laughing, slapping the counter in her fit.

"That's a good one!" she said, wiping her tears from laughing too hard. She then noticed that Mira wasn't sharing her amusement, which meant she was being serious. "Girl! Forget it. There's no way, a guy will roll with that."

"Unless I hire him for the part," Mira winked. Clapping her hands like a kid in front of their birthday cake, she added, "The timing is perfect! The Spring Festival is just around the corner. Let's the plan unfold then!"

"That's a bit extreme, even for you. Do you really have money to spend on this?"

"Cana," the white-haired woman sighed. "I thought you had more vision. Imagine the jackpot you'd make with this poll. You bet big on GaLe becoming a thing in two weeks. Everyone will take the bait. No one thinks they'll grow a pair in the long run, let alone so soon. Just like you said. But-" She flipped her hair, smugly. "-lucky you, the odds are in your favor with a mysterious suitor."

Cana sat down, propped her elbows on the counter and leaned towards the barmaid with an acute interest. "…I'm listening."

"All I ask is 40% of the money you'll make. To hire the cosplayer. And before you protest, don't forget the higher you bid, the more people will be attracted by the price, the more you'll make in the end. This split is fair by my books. Don't forget how much more you can make just because you'll know the exact day, they will become official." Mira extended her hand. She struck with her final argument, one she always used to seal a deal. "We're helping them here, they'll thank us~"

The brown-haired woman studied her with a calculating gaze. That betting poll was open since Mavis knows when and people were starting to lose interest, which was bad for her "business", her lucrative way to have dough for her booze. Knowing that the flirting entertained the members, but if no action was taken, it was all for naught. Cana exhaled sharply, put down her glass and shook her friend's hand, in agreement.

"Alright. Count me in," she said. "Let's hope it won't come back biting our asses."

"Don't worry, the plan is flawless."

Mira called over Lisanna to take up the bar while she could carry out her scheme. Calling some people in the entertainment industry, she eventually found the contact information of the cosplayer, known as Lukas. To her surprise, it proved to be more difficult than she first expected. A journalist told her some of his fans went off-limit when trying to reach him and security strengthened since a particular incident.

After naming herself and proving her identity, it became easier. Lukas accepted to talk to her, saying he had been a fan of hers and of Fairy Tail for a long time. Discussing the job and the fee, they came to an arrangement. The cosplayer seemed pump up for this, saying he longed to test his acting skills. They agreed both to secrecy on this job, Lukas to avoid fans knowing his whereabouts and Mira to keep the guild in the dark. He offered to help her, coming up with a mission request, offering his knowledge in Magorian to make it as believable as possible.

The day on which Lukas arrived in Magnolia, Mirajane handed Levy the mission file, setting the plan into motion, a week prior to the Spring Festival. In the first days, the bluenette, being true to herself, worked diligently on the job, rarely passing by the guild. To the point, Mira started to doubt her plan. If Gajeel didn't see the rival, the whole thing was pointless. She came up with excuses to get Levy to come by. Once again, Levy was being too professional and didn't bring the "client".

Sensing a bit of panic raising up, Mira and Cana nagged their poor friend even more about her love life, saying things like "You radiate happiness, who did you meet up with to be in such a good mood?" or "Who's that blush for?" when Gajeel was nearby.

In a moment of despair, Mira named a random name in the guild, Elfman, as Levy's crush. It was so ridiculous that rallied up everyone, each having a say in the matter. The Fairy mages were known to be curious to a fault. The teasing had a snowball effect.

Everything fell into place when Levy took the bait, the day before the Festival. When she played along the "crush" card, Mira seized her moment and set things into motion. when Levy tangled up in her own words, it was too late. All of Fairy Tail was indubitably invested and there was no escaping it. Throwing Gajeel in the mix was the easiest thing to do. The guild shipped them together, regardless of the betting poll. None of them were ready to let the little sister that was Levy be swooned by someone they didn't know. Gajeel figured by then his feelings and the Spring Festival was ready to be the perfect scene for a blooming love to happen~

Back to the present

"Or so we thought it would happen…," Mira concluded, having shared the whole story.

"We didn't expect my stalker to ruin it all. Last time I heard about her she was in jail, waiting for her case to go to court," Lukas explained, apologetically, before glaring at Cleo, cuffed and muzzled. "She has plagued my life for 2 years, attacking any girl who dared talk to me."

They had moved away from the party, letting Bickslow and Lisanna taking care of the entertainment with some other guildmates. In order to have some privacy, Levy guided them towards the place where she had set the interdimensional travel ritual, the ritual she realized was fake. They were far enough for a private conversation even though flashes of colourful lights could still be seen from where they were.

A lot of their nakamas were there, besides the six people concerned, felt like joining the fun surrounding Gajeel and Levy. Probably a mix of worry for their safety and of curiosity on how their bet will place in the poll. Team Natsu, Juvia, Lily and Cana kept an eye on the detained assaulter. All of them were impossibly calm, as they seemed to be very interested in the story in itself. It was true that Mira's plans were always entertaining, except when one was the target of such scheme.

Lukas/Nathaniel stepped closer and took Levy's hand, provoking a discontented groan from someone on her left. "I'm truly sorry, Levy, for endangering you. It was never our intention. I hope you can forgive us, forgive me."

Levy stood there, having a hard time processing what she had been told. She glanced towards Gajeel and he seemed just as dazed as her, but unlike her, he already had questions.

"Wait, so that sketchy phone call I overheard…?" She didn't know what he was referring to, but apparently, Nathaniel -hm, Lukas- knew what he meant.

"I was updating Mirajane on how things were going," the cosplayer nodded.

"And you weren't just… a fake-ass Prince, but a fake-ass client?"

"Poorly summarized, but yeah," Lukas conceded.

Levy couldn't decide what abashed her the most. All this work, all this stress she put into a fake mission, the fact that Mirajane would go to that extent on a matchmaking plan or that Gajeel said moments ago that she was his type. She was still trying to grasp the whole situation.

Somehow, the pressure she felt about the mission died down. All the uncertainty of the ritual fell into place. It was fake. No universe's fate was resting on her shoulders. Of course, magic would never go as far as to make fictional characters real. How could she be so dumb and believe it? She should be furious against Mirajane and Cana, but she knew why she acted gullible. She probably figured out deep down that it was all a farce, but a seemingly impossible task would take her mind off the thing that consumed it the most: Gajeel.

In the past, the Fairies indeed tried to set up situations that would lead them to be romantically involved, but nothing really came from it. So many times, when they were together in an improbable situation on which all things pointed toward a romantic development, had she almost given in and kissed him. It would have indubitably exposed her affection for him. She knew how it would turn out, but she couldn't bear his rejection just yet. A flick of hope still lived in her and she was working hard on extinguishing it so it wouldn't stain their relationship with awkwardness.

Gajeel always seemed so tensed and lacked his usual confidence and snarky attitude. Seeing him so unlike himself only convinced her that maybe he simply wanted to be her friend and nothing more. Yet she wasn't much more herself in these kinds of situations, the uncertainty often left her as a puddle of emotions.

In the last month, she took up every single job that fit her skill set, getting away from the guild, from him, to be able to do what she promised herself: move on and simply appreciate their friendship. The bluenette knew that her guildmate, her family, wanted her to be happy, but they blinded themselves, wanting to believe Gajeel would ever reciprocate her feelings. Then, why had her mind always tried to convince her that the tensions meant that he was uncomfortable, because he wouldn't settle for a petite bookworm?

Maybe it was now wishful thinking, but she couldn't get out of her mind the words "you are". What was the meaning of their exchange when confronting that Cleo girl? She still couldn't brush off the words that kept echoing in her head, bringing an odd concept to life. She was his type? Maybe she misheard. False hopes were the last thing she could bare now. On that department, she only allowed herself to dream about one dance…

Arg, why was everything getting so tangled? Levy thought. Couldn't Mirajane just let it go with the incessant shipping? Even with good intentions, it was too much. Although Levy was known for her patience, it was wearing thin. If she let her annoyance get the best of her, she would slap some sense into Mirajane. The bluenette took a deep breath before confronting her friends on their lunacy. However, Gajeel pre-empted her, voicing her thoughts perfectly.

"You guys are messed up. Y'all need new hobbies," Gajeel said, looking at Mira, Cana, Lukas and Cleo. "Why would you hire someone to play Shorty's suitor… To make me jealous? What a fucking waste of time…" Before those words could make Levy's heart sink, he added. "As if I needed that to tell Shorty how I feel about her. Tch."

There was a two seconds adjustment before everyone caught up on what he meant (with an extra two seconds for Natsu). As their expressions shifted from dumbfounded to delighted, the reactions fused. Mira gasped, visibly happy by what the Dragon Slayer just confessed.

"It's love~" Happy exclaimed, being his usual captain-obvious self.

"Woooaah," Natsu yelled while all Gray could say was "damn".

"Has man up, at last," Cana commented, smugly.

Juvia and Lucy had their hands over their mouths, surely to hide their mischievous smile. However, Levy was beyond words; all she could feel was her heartbeat throbbing louder and louder. All coherent thoughts to chew out Mirajane flew out of her mind. Her attention was solely fixed on Gajeel and the devilish smile growing on his face.

"And guess what," he said, never looking away from her, as if she was the only person in the world. "It's no one else's business than mine and Shorty's."

Him wanting them to go away didn't seem to sit well with Mira as she opened the mouth, surely to protest, but Levy agreed wholeheartedly with him. Her desire to be only with him made her brain scram for a plan, which appeared to be the most natural thing to do after this whole mess.

"Indeed," Levy nodded, turning to her older friend. "You've meddled one too many times, Mira."

The white-haired woman rolled her eyes with amused exasperation, as if Levy was a little child that didn't know any better.

"Levy dear, everything turned out okay. Besides, all's fair in love and war." She shrugged, contented with her words of wisdom.

The bluenette crossed her arms and tilted her head back in defiance. "I'll take your word on that. Don't regret it afterwards, okay?"

Mira and Cana rose their eyebrows, surprised to see their young friend in such a complacent face. They could probably guess that the bluenette wasn't letting them go without a proper payback. Levy turned to her other guildmates.

"Quick announcement, guys. As some of you have guessed, Mira likes to meddle in others' business." Lucy and Gray groaned in approbation. "She possesses a vault behind the bar in which she keeps everyone's deepest secret. Those secrets are collected by Cana, thanks to her high tolerance for alcohol. You could say it's a two-women business. Anyway, the key to that vault is the necklace she's wearing. If you want to retake your secret, you'd better catch that key. You know, before anyone else does it first."

Gajeel bursted out laughing, his eyes sparkling with… admiration? Levy couldn't tell, but like they said, they were having their revenge on Mira. And just like he said, she would come up with the plan and he would help.

"I'll fixe it later," he promised, tucking to break Mira's necklace. The Dragon Slayer tossed it along with the key to Levy. She casted a Solid Script: Bubble around the key and threw it as far as she could into the air, under the perplexed eyes of her friends. Without talking, they knew how to work perfectly in harmony. Gajeel blew his Iron Dragon's Roar to hurl it further into the horizon.

"Well…shit," Cana chuckled. "Fair enough… Cat's out of the bag… Peace out." And she started jogging towards the guild, seeing that her best action course was to run away before everyone clicked on what Levy revealed.

Erza was the second quickest to assimilate what the information truly meant.

"Mira, you secret hoarder!" Erza gasped. "You better not have written down what I told you… My reputation could be compromised." She said that last part in a whisper to no one in particular. She conjured her Black Wing Armor.

Levy knew that her friend thought no one knew about Erza's literary taste, but some girls had guessed thanks to her obvious interest in romance.

"My, my~… I… I have to go," Mira said, before bolting towards the building. For a moment, they all stared at her, her white hair bouncing on her back that slowly rose as she transformed into her Take Over: Satan Soul. She stretched her wings and took off, flying over the trees towards the party. Some were not so keen in letting her escape.

"Come back right now!" Erza ordered, flying after her.

"A real man doesn't have anything to hide," Elfman said, crossing his arms, determined.

"No way your sister doesn't have one or two things about you in there," Evergreen snorted. "Can't wait to hear about it."

"Funny you say that," Freed said to his teammate. "I'd have bet you'd rather protect your own dirty laundry. You know about…"

Evergreen's face grew pale. She started running like her life depended on it. The realization sprayed like a wildfire. Some seemed to have been caught up with how badly they lost in the poll, but now it didn't look as important. People were very lousy when drunk and so Mirajane and Cana must have collected a lot of secrets, especially about the guildmates they've known their whole childhood.

"I'm not taking any chance," Gray gulped, sprinting towards the guild, leaving a trail of clothes.

"What are you hiding Gray-sama?! Juvia will love you despite any flaw. Unless… Gray-sama have a secret child with a mysterious wife?! Wait! Javua and Gray-sama can talk about it!"

"Juvia, tune down your imagination," Lucy recommended her. "It's not like any of us would…" She was interrupted by Laxus that yelled to his grandfather, "Oi, old man, what's that face about?!"

"Nothing," Makarov tried to convince him, smiling nervously and wiping sweat from his brows. The guildmaster, seeing that he fooled no one, sprinted towards the guild, taking advantage of his Giant Magic. The blond Dragon Slayer ran after him, still asking for some answers.

"Hahaha, yeaaah a brawl! No one will beat me to the vault," Natsu exclaimed, propelling himself with his flames, flying above the other mages running.

"Last one there is a rotten fish," Happy laughed, following his friend.

"Natsu, that's not it! Just please destroy the vault!" Lucy begged.

In a span of one minute, all her friends that came snooping left in a hurry to hide their own business. Levy let out a laugh. They were all insane, but, god, she wouldn't trade them for the world. She would talk with Mira later to sort things out; she simply wasn't feeling nice enough to let her off the hook with a simple apology. It seemed only fair that she had her fun as they had theirs at her expense. Maybe the barmaid would learn after being on the other end of the meddling. Levy doubted it, but she could always hope on that small miracle.

"Things really got out of hand…" Lukas said, visibly uneasy. "We never meant to cause you harm."

"I know it's not your fault," Levy reassured him. He surely didn't think he'd drag his psycho stalker into what he thought was a good acting opportunity.

"Thanks," he said, marking even more by his laidback attitude and his casual vocabulary that he wasn't the classy fictional character, Nathaniel, but indeed someone else. "Still, I'm sorry. About deceiving you and making you confront a disagreeable person." He nodded towards the murderous girl, still struggling to get out of her chains.

"I forgive you, Lukas. I know Mira can be very persuasive with her plans."

He laughed, nodding slightly in agreement. "I guess. Anyway, I've got to talk with the police. They'll have her locked up for real this time. She won't bother us ever again."

As the cosplayer approached his stalker, Pantherlily took a step forward.

"I'll go with him," the Exceed said, changing into his Battle Mode Shift. "In case she proves to be difficult."

Grabbing her chains, he got Cleo on her feet. Gajeel nodded.

"Bye, guys," Lukas said. "Don't be a stranger, Levy. Mira has my number if you want it." He winked, playfully and then, waved to the Iron Dragon Slayer.

"Get lost," Gajeel said.

Lukas laughed out loud and went after the Exceed, disappearing between the trees. For a moment, all they could hear was the wind rustling the leaves.

Gathering her courage, she dared a look in his direction. Gajeel looked at the same time. Startled, they both looked away. Levy could have facepalmed herself. They were alone. Why was she being awkward? Being around him was usual as natural as breathing. While Levy was figuring out the best way to break the silence, Gajeel got ahead once again.

"I didn't expect this evening to turn out like this."

He sounded somehow disappointed.

"Yeah, what a plot twist. Straight out of a novel…," she said, leaning her weight from one leg to the other. She couldn't stand still, but she didn't want to go back just yet. She kept her eyes on her shoes. She wished she had the guts to bring up the conversation they had, but the best she could do was not feeling too overwhelmed by everything that happened.

"This guy never was your crush, was he?"

Levy looked up. His red eyes shone with intensity, as if they were trying to read her soul. She simply shook her head. He signed, looking relieved. This topic was the perfect opportunity to throw her truth out there, so she did it on a whim.

"He's not my type." Her choice of words was not innocent and Gajeel rose his stud eyebrow, surely noticing it. She wanted to say it with a playful tone, but a blush was burning her face. Once again, she averted his gaze.

"Aren't handsome, romantic and gentleman-like fictional characters your type?" he asked, with a hint of a smirk.

Before she could make him a face for mocking her, she got mesmerized by how attractive he was in his dark three-piece suit. The elegance of his outfit and the sharpness of his features made him look like a handsome and charismatic detective. The comparison was even more accurate as he was investigating her in a way. She noticed he was also staring at her, his eyes conveying a softness she hadn't catch earlier.

"Only in books. In real life, I prefer them baka with a rough demeanor, but a softy inside. You know, emotionally-constipated."

She might have said that last part with a bit more sass than she intended, but before she could regret it, Gajeel blinked, surprised, and then burst out laughing.

"Pretty sure you can get a guy better than that, Shrimp," he said. "But, knowing that, I'd be a fool not to take my chances…"

Gajeel slid his hand under his blazer and took out a small blue box from his inside pocket. He extended his hand, presenting the gift to Levy. She accepted it. Her name was written in a beautiful font and framed silver markings depicting magnolia flowers. A lot of thoughts was put into the wrapping alone. The bluenette lifted the lid and was instantly mesmerized by the daintiness of the bracelet. She lifted it with precaution, examining the three carved pendants, hanging from the metal band. The details were exquisite, sculpted with an unbelievable precision. One element got her eye. A twisted and curved line that crossed the otherwise blank page of the tiny book pendant. A single sentence that went straight to her heart. A bookish confession of love.

"It's the most beautiful gift anyone has ever given me," Levy murmured with a voice strangled by emotions. She slid the delicate bracelet around her wrist, feeling the cold metal against her warm skin, a relic eternally reminding her of him. She looked up and conveyed all her happiness in those two words. "Thank you."

Gajeel looked away, scratching the back of his head, seemingly flustered.

"Yeah. Well, I'm no good with words or feelings or people," he said, before stopping himself, realizing something. "Shit, I ain't helping myself."

"Gajeel," she said with amused exasperation. Seeing him struggle with his thoughts and his words, she offered him her truth. "You're better than fiction."

"Right," he chuckled, clearly doubting her statement. "Better than that Mr. Dyrca from your favorite book?"

It always made Levy so unbelievably happy that he would remember such trivial details about her.

"Even better than him," she said confidently.

"Damn... That'd mean you're really whipped for me, then."

Her heart leaped and her face heated under a new blood rush, reddening the seemingly everlasting blush. She puffed her cheeks, a reflex born of their childish nagging.

"Baka Gajeel," she huffed, happy to return to their usual teasing game, a safe territory.

"Gihihi, sorry. I can't help it, teasing you is too damn fun."

"Yeah, figured," she said, rolling her eyes.

A comfortable silence grew between them. Levy could understand why her fear grew so uncontrollably in dread of losing this, of losing this connection with him. However, she now saw clearly. Their relationship wasn't so fragile. In fact, it was stronger than she expected, just as she secretly wished. All the things they shared together, their laughs, their talks about everything and nothing, their happy days with their friends and their even happier moments just together. It could get even better. She simply had to be brave enough and realize that there was nothing to fear. She had to tell him her feelings.


He got closer, hesitated a moment and rested his hand against her cheek, stroking her cheekbone with his thumb. The innocent touch sent shivers into her whole body.

"Levy," he said in a husky voice. "I'm not playing. I like you." He let his words sink before continuing with a softer tone. "Knowing you has been the best thing to ever happen to me. It took me sometimes to face myself, because, you know, of how we met…"

She sensed him tensing, recalling the memory. She brought her hand on his, still resting on her cheek, and squeezed it gently. They had already been over this and it pained her that he was still so hard on himself after so many years.

"You've proven yourself many times over. People make mistake and learn from them. You are so much more than your past. Besides, I've forgiven you a long time ago, you don't have to feel bad anymore…"

He pulled her into a hug, wrapping his muscular arms around her with such tenderness as if she was the most precious thing in the world. He hunched himself a bit to rest his cheek against her hair. She embraced him in return, wishing he would never let go.

"I was a fucking lowlife, back then," he said not much louder than a whisper. "I was a lucky bastard that I wasn't left behind somehow. Fairy Tail taught me to move forward. You showed me what life meant. I'm so damn lucky to have you as a friend, but I'm greedy as fuck. I want you all to myself. I love you, Levy. With everything I am. I want to be the one by your side. Thanks to you, I look forward, towards the future. And I hope we're in it. Together…"

Only when she sniffed, did Levy realized she was crying. The liar said he was not good with words and yet she was the one left speechless by how overwhelmingly happy she felt. Loving him and him loving her back just as much.

"Shit, you're crying," Gajeel panicked, backing up, raising his hands as if they were somehow responsible for her tears. "Ah… don't cry. Damn, Shorty, I'm supposed to make you happy."

"Oh, I am. I just don't have the words, except those," she said, laughing softly. She wiped a forming tear from the corner of her eye, smiling. "I love you, too, Gajeel."

Once again, he closed the distance between them and took her hand. "They're perfect, Shorty."

Mellow notes floated in the air, a distant echo of a party they forgot about. The stars above their heads despite their stillness seemed to dance in the way they shone.

"Dance with me," Levy said.

Without a word, Gajeel brought their clasped hands above her head, smoothly making her spin once before putting his other hand on her waist. Uncertain at first, their waltz gained in confidence and they danced under the starry night, appreciating the happiness they felt being there, dancing as if they were alone in the universe.

"You've easily beaten all romance books I read," Levy confessed.

"And it's only the first chapter," he smirked, so unapologetically satisfied with himself.

"Promising, then," she smiled, feeling oddly flirtatious, a confidence she could get used to. "I can guess how this chapter ends."

"Oh really? How?" He rose his stud eyebrow, intrigued and keen. She felt the playful challenge underlined by his tone.

Levy grabbed his red necktie and pulled him towards her. Her lips met his, warm and soft. The fire that burnt deep, every time they so much as brushed fingers, was set free, turning into ash every bit of hesitation or worries she had, feeling only the purifying warmth of his closeness. It felt right. She moved her hand to the nap of his neck, deepening their kiss, hoping it would somehow convey the love she felt which words had failed to express. His hand pressed the small of her back, keeping her closer to him. She broke the kiss and rested her forehead on his, savoring the moment. His eyes were still shut, a faint smile on his lips.

"Damn cliffhanger, Lev…"

She loved how her name rolled on his tongue. She could get used to this nickname.

"Well, like you said, it's only the beginning," Levy said, punctuating her sentence with a kiss on the tip of his nose.

Gajeel leaned back slightly, looking at her with so much love in her crimson eyes that she felt her heart flutter once more. A feeling she doubted would ever go away. "The beginning of the best story."


Author's Note:

This concludes I Ship That! Yup, went full on cheese/fluff on that one and I have no regret! Hope you enjoyed this GaLe confession story (that I had initially planned as a one-shot...LOL what a change of plan)~

I know it doesn't weight a lot in the grand scheme of things, but this story is the first one I finished. I was the type of writer that started a lot of projects but left them usually half-done! With this one completed, I truly feel unstoppable!

Anyway! Thank you so much for reading, commenting anf following this fanfic! It meant the world to me :D

Keep loving Gajeel x Levy and see you around~

P.S: I still don't own FT