Fairy Tail 476 - Goodbyes

For myshippingdock (remedy-ad on tumblr), who graciously listened to my whining about things I'm not even caught up on. There is no point to this except I'm lame and want to cry about Ultear for some reason.

~.~.~

Time is flowing again…

'What strong, courageous young women,' Ultear thought. 'If only my younger years were like theirs…'

They did not need her any longer, as the God Soul Takeover magic was undone, their enemy defeated, and the world of sealed time began to crumble. Perhaps they had never needed her. Her life and her power had always been a small thing — eclipsed by the love and strength she had seen in those girls.

Smiling with melancholy and acceptance, Ultear stepped back from the Sky Sisters' battlefield. What little she had left to give was gone now, her false form run through with cracks and crumbling. In moments, time would resume, and she would once again be only a frail old woman who had foolishly traded away everything chasing after meaningless things.

But even so, Ultear had no regrets. She had been blessed, she had realized after the night of the eclipse. She had stumbled, she had lost her way, but she had still received so much light and love — from her mother, from Gray, from Meldy and Jellal.

Perhaps she would allow herself this one last thing.

Just as time did not pass in the sealed world, there was no sense of distance. It took only a thought to appear on another battlefield, which stood completely still.

There had been a lull in the fighting there. Surrounded by bodies of knocked out imperial soldiers and spires of ice, four wizards stood frozen in the middle of a conversation. Ultear chuckled as she noticed Lyon's smitten expression, directed not at Juvia for once, but at Meldy, who was laughing at something he had said.

"Meldy…" Ultear said softly. "You've grown so much. I'm so proud. You and Jellal both have carried on the will and spirit of Crime Sorciere, standing tall against the darkness and supporting each other. I know… I know that you will win, and you will find happiness."

Stepping closer, she leaned in until her forehead almost touched Meldy's, strands of her dark hair slipping off her shoulders to sway gently between them. Closing her eyes against the gathering tears, Ultear murmured, "Fight, but also, be happy. You deserve all the happiness in this world. I love you, Meldy."

A sharp crack, and another fracture bisected her false body. Her time was almost up. Already, the distant sounds of battle were echoing through the sealed world, as time returned to normal.

Ultear stepped back, her eyes turning to the other person who had shown her the path of light when she had been in the darkness. Gray had been sighing at something, his arms crossed and an expression of long suffering on his face. It was a lighthearted sort of look, and it made Ultear glad to see it — to see that even in the middle of war, despite all the suffering he'd endured, Gray was still able to remain free of the darkness.

She wanted to say something to him too. A few times in the last year, she'd felt almost as if her wishes and thoughts had reached him, but that was surely only wishful thinking. This was the last time she would see him. There was so much, so much Ultear wanted to tell him...

But the words wouldn't come. There was just too much to say, too much she hadn't told him.

Her mouth opened helplessly, but no sound emerged. All around her, the world was stirring again; she was out of time, and she had missed her chance. Like always, she had wasted all her time.

Ultear reached out desperately, despite knowing she could touch no one and nothing in this illusionary form. Her hand already dissolving into dust, her body crumbling. Finally, as the seal of time collapsed, she managed to whisper, "Gray… Thank you, for everything."

Her vision was fading, but she thought… she thought she saw him turn and meet her gaze, his hand reaching out toward her in turn. She thought she felt his hand grasp hers.

Ultear smiled, grateful to him all over again. Always, reaching out for her, even in the deepest darkness.

~.~.~

'Gray…'

They had been laughing, taking one solitary moment to catch their breath and lift their hearts at the unexpected reunion on the battlefield. Closing his eyes, Gray had pretended to sigh in frustration at Lyon's skirt-chasing and overblown attempts at flirting.

But somehow, in that moment, he felt it again — that sense of standing between. He'd felt it before, against Doriate and a handful of times more, when he was at his lowest. And just like then, he heard her voice.

Ultear.

Always, it was as if she was standing behind him, urging him on. But this time, he could have sworn she was right in front of him.

Eyes snapping open, Gray lifted his hand and reached out instinctively for the voice he had been hearing whisper from somewhere out of sight. For an instance, he could see her figure. His fingers wrapped around her slim palm…

'...Thank you, for everything.'

Then, all he was holding was only dust and smoke, blowing away without a trace. Opening his hand, he saw nothing in his grip at all.

"...Gray?" Lyon asked, his lightheartedness giving way to grim focus at the first sign of possible danger. "What's wrong? What happened?"

"Gray-sama?" Juvia wondered as well.

They were both looking at him with concern — he had suddenly reached out and grasped at thin air, after all. Gray shook his head sharply, unwilling to explain, and tried to push the strange vision away, even as his heart twisted. Why was he thinking of Ultear now…?

He looked away, trying to avoid their worried gazes, only to stop short. "Meldy?" Gray called out, the same way as Lyon and Juvia had for him.

"...Huh?" Meldy blinked, startled out of a daze.

"You're crying," Gray told her quietly.

Reaching up to touch her wet cheeks in surprise, Meldy blinked again. "I… oh," she murmured. "I didn't realize…" Smiling at Lyon and Juvia in an attempt to dispel their sudden worry, she added quietly, "I just… thought I heard Ul…"

~.~.~

Magic is born from love, and its power is for the sake your loved ones. Love, and live on.

~.~.~