Five Signs that You're in Love with the Right Person
by: Stella Formidante
First Sign: You re best friends.
"When you re in love with the right person, it feels a lot like returning to those simpler days. You might be dealing with the pressures of work, school, and conflicting responsibilities, and you might not have time to lay in the grass. But you genuinely enjoy each other s company, you tell each other everything, and you have the unshakable knowledge that if something goes wrong for one of you, the two of you will face it together."
Gray Fullbuster knew all this time that he and Natsu Dragneel were rivals. When they started out in Fairy Tail at a young age, they found themselves as rivals. They fight most of the time, proving to one another that they were strong. But it became a collection of memories that brought them altogether. The more years they've been together at the guild, the more Gray realized that maybe... maybe he wanted to be closer to Natsu.
But that was all in the past. Natsu would never look at him that way. And proving the theory, Gray simply found out that Lucy had confessed about her feelings for Natsu not long ago. The blonde was nervous and she kept asking Gray about what to say, which our resident ice mage just sighed and gave her the "You should just tell it straight to his face. That idiot will see through it." response with a slightly hurt facade but he endured it. Well, if that's what will make Natsu happy then Gray would support his relationship with Lucy.
And so it came to that day where Natsu finally admitted that he liked Lucy, too. They started dating but the pink haired boy didn't give his proper answer yet, just to make sure it will work out. Of course, who wouldn't be cautious about matters of the heart? Even Gray felt left out after that.
Some time, during a mission, Natsu and Lucy had a minor misunderstanding about something. They have been ignoring each other throughout the day and it left Gray with a miniscule hope in his heart. That night, Natsu was sat down on a rock near the river. He was pondering about how to ask an apology to Lucy when he heard a shuffle of bushes from nearby, revealing a shirtless Gray.
"Hey Ice Block, can't sleep?" Natsu tried to grin at the intruder.
"Yeah. I can say the same for you, Flame Brain." the ice mage responded, walking towards the side where Natsu seated. The pinkette looked at him for a while then returned to gazing at the stars.
"What do you know? It's Lucy we're talking about..." Natsu chuckled then bowed down in sadness. Gray felt a pang of anger to Lucy for making Natsu sad.
"What exactly about Lucy? The fight? Don't tell me..." Gray snatched a glance at Natsu's direction, turning away when the pinkette looked at his way.
"Yeah. I was planning to apologize... But geez, she's ignoring me for the whole day!" Natsu's tone felt strained, gasping at how weak his voice was.
"Girls are really moody, aren't they?" Gray asked rather jokingly, but Natsu still felt bad.
"I guess. But I like Lucy, and I don't wanna see her sad because of me." Natsu replied, eyes hopeful.
"Don't take all the fault, Flame Brain. I know you're a complete idiot but not everything is your fault." Gray's words seemed to light something inside Natsu.
"Hey! Who are you calling an idiot?!" Natsu retorted. You... Gray thought. "But hey, thanks for lighting up the mood, Frosty."
Gray felt his heart go 'Kyuuuuuun!' at Natsu's sudden cuteness. "Nah. Don't mention it. People may not see it, but we're best friends right?"
"Yeah! Best friends!" Natsu beamed and gave Gray a high-five. But behind Gray's smile is a hidden regret that no one has seen before.
Second Sign: You argue in a healthy way.
"Not arguing at all is just as unhealthy as constantly fighting. If you re with the right person, you know that conflict is inevitable, and you are genuinely interested in working out your differences. You both feel comfortable enough to state your opinions openly, and you respect each other enough to consider those opinions valid. You argue your points rather than attacking your partner, and you focus on conflict resolution rather than simply ending the argument. You look for points of common ground, and you seek solutions that work for both of you. Some people have to learn this, which is possible and important to do. Learning these skills with your partner can make them the right person for you."
"Hey Ice Block! Wanna fight?!" Natsu shouted from across the guild, snapping Gray out of his sleepy feat.
"Huh? I don't wanna see you lose again, Flame Brain..." Gray just looked at Natsu sleepily and went back to nap.
"The hell you're saying?! I defeated you many times as I can remember!" Natsu was at it again. The others were just looking at the same old banter.
"You're one to talk. But let me give a pass for now. I'm going on a mission later so I need to tidy up." Gray answered and stood up, rubbing his eyes off of sleep and walked towards the exit. Natsu looked at him with a wary expression but brushed it off.
"Really? Is it fun? Can I join?" Natsu was like a five-year old that was told he's getting a large toy for being so behave.
"Nah. You could come with Lucy on another mission. Why hang out with me?" Gray insisted and Natsu look at him incerdulously.
"Say what?! I thought we were best friends?" Natsu asked.
"Best friends don't hang out when one of them has a girlfriend to hang out with." Gray then readied and walked outside the guild. "Smell ya later, Flame Brain!"
That's when Natsu tempted Gajeel for a fight.
Third Sign: You think long-term.
"When you imagine your future, your partner is in it. You can see yourselves together 5, 10, even 50 years from now. You already know each other's families, or you are working towards meeting as soon as possible. The two of you have discussed such big-picture issues as marriage, children, and where to live. You are both willing to make compromises for the relationship, and you feel comfortable with the pace at which it is progressing."
Gray's mission was simply catching some dark wizards in a nearby town. The reward was very high for that mission and the ice mage accepted it fully. After a day of running and chasing down some dumbass wizards, Gray got the reward and checked in at a nearby inn to sleep for the night. He settled his things on the room's couch and took a quick shower before heading to sleep.
This night was simply one of the nights were Gray would imagine himself with Natsu. Gray would imagine the pinkette wearing a cute apron while serving him food. He would imagine having a house with Natsu and staying there happily. He would imagine Natsu taking care of little kids around the house while he himself came back from a very tiring mission. He imagined showering kisses to Natsu and seeing Natsu smile and saying 'I love you' to him with all his heart. Gray would smile foolishly, thinking that all of these were possible in the state they were in.
"Natsu..." Gray would have tears afterwards, covering his face with a pillow and crying his heart out. It fucking hurts not to be able to do these things with Natsu, let alone talk to him without his voice faltering. Gray would spend almost an hour and a half pouring over his emotions without being heard.
Fourth Sign: You re okay with being apart.
"Relationships are at their healthiest when both partners maintain their individual lives, coming together out of desire rather than desperation. If you re in love with the right person, you know you can trust your partner. You re not jealous of his friends or her hobbies. You also have a healthy personal life, and you enjoy doing your own thing. You know that you will come back together with new stories to tell, and you don t spend your time apart worrying whether the relationship is strong enough to survive."
In his everyday routine, Gray would notice that even being apart from Natsu has some benefits of its own. He could freely think of Natsu without the object of his affection asking him for a fight or whatsoever silly things Natsu would come up with. That's why he decided to take missions solo or with a companion or two, but not Natsu...
Juvia, which was another story, became a good distraction whenever Natsu would approach Gray. The water mage of Fairy Tail would announce her undying love for the ice mage and would be very happy telling that because her 'love-rival' has Natsu already.
"Oi Ice Block, wanna-"
"Gray-sama! There you are! Juvia has been looking for you!" with her usual cheery expression, Juvia starts her day.
"Hey Juvia, perfect timing. I was just about to ask you for a lunch. You're free right?" Gray would fake a smile and ask his loyal fangirl out. Natsu was left agape at this.
"Oui! Juvia would definitely love that!" Juvia nodded vigorously and clamped Gray's arm.
"Let's go!" Gray mock-jovially yelled. Natsu could only sigh hopelessly at the departing figures. He was going to lose his best friend that easily?
Fifth Sign: You would rather be together.
"Although you are not threatened by time apart, and you even enjoy it now and then, you still prefer to be together. You think about the other person when you re apart, and you eagerly anticipate seeing him or her again. You feel like a natural part of each other s innermost worlds, and you are the most comfortable and relaxed when your partner is around."
Gray easily regretted hanging out with Juvia that day. A big part of him already missed Natsu. However, Juvia wasn't with him for no reason at all.
"Gray-sama?" Juvia asked, seeing the tired look at her beloved's face.
"Uh? Juvia? What is it?" asked Gray with a surprised look on his face.
"Is Gray-sama okay?" Juvia asked with a skeptical expression. "Gray-sama has been acting weird since two hours ago."
Waving his hands in front of Juvia, Gray replied. "Uh yes! I'm okay! Yeah, really..."
"No. Gray-sama isn't okay!" Juvia suddenly snapped. Gray was shocked at seeing this.
"Please... Juvia... no." Gray looked away and brushed a few tears that began flowing down his cheeks.
"Gray-sama... Juvia is here to help." the water mage offered, handing a handkerchief to the ice mage.
"Juvia... I'm sorry... I..." Gray's voice broke.
"Juvia understands... Gray-sama has intentionally been avoiding Natsu-san." Juvia explained with her smile so serene and comforting.
"Wha- How did you find out?" Gray asked, wiping the last of his tears.
"Woman's intuition, Gray-sama." Juvia answered honestly.
"Thanks. But Natsu wouldn't look at me like that." Gray said, voice almost breaking.
"Has Gray-sama tried to tell Natsu-san?" with a quick shake of the head, Gray answered. "No."
"Then Gray-sama would need to tell Natsu-san! Or else Gray-sama wouldn't be happy forever!" Juvia was straightforwardly positive about this.
"I-" Gray tried but Juvia butted in.
"Tell Natsu-san or Juvia will." and a water mage with this terrfying threat would never be rivalled in any way. And so Gray made a resolve to tell Natsu how he really feels.
Meanwhile at the guild, Natsu was acting all grumpy even with Lucy around. The blonde looked at him worriedly, as if he was hiding a bomb in the guild's basement.
"Natsu... You okay?" the blonde tried.
"Yeah... Why?" Natsu looked at her normally, but something was amiss.
"You don't look like you're happy. Wanna eat something? My treat." Lucy offered but the pinkette would just shrug it off.
"I'm fine, Luce. Doesn't need food right now." Natsu's tone was making Lucy real worried.
"Happy, get Natsu something. Drinks or dessert." Lucy ordered and the blue Exceed flew off with a happy 'Aye!'
"I said I'm fine, Luce. No need to fuss all over me." Natsu was getting irked at this point.
"Then why are you raising your voice at me? Isn't it obvious that you're not okay?!" the blonde shot back a glare at Natsu's direction.
"Seriously, Luce... I'm not in the mood."
"You'd better be! Cause I don't like the way something's getting you all worked up!"
"I'm not getting all worked up! What the hell is wrong with you?!"
"Excuse me... WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?!"
"I said I'm fine! Dammit!" Natsu stood up, earning confused stares from the others. Then left the guild hall with a scowl.
"What is wrong with him?" Lucy tsked and ate what Happy ordered for Natsu.
A few minutes later;
"Hey! Has anyone seen Natsu?" Gray asked the whole guild and Lucy was the one who answered her.
"He just ran off a while ago..." Lucy replied with a downcast expression. "Tell me Gray, is Natsu's problem something to do with you?"
Gray tried to feign innocence but Juvia's words rang clearly in his head.
"I think so..." Gray replied. Lucy raised her head and looked at Gray. "Listen, I have to talk to him."
"About what?" Lucy asked, more fine than earlier.
"Sorry Lucy. But I love him." Gray said and ran off to find the pink haired idiot dragon slayer.
"Jackpot." Lucy grinned happily and gathered the whole guild for a surprise when their two idiot mages came back and made up.
Natsu ran to the lake where he and Gray would always fight when they were young. He remembered how they argued about who's better at fighting, ending up with a draw. He thought about how long would they be together fighting bad guys. He thought of Gray when they were apart, how was he and what he's doing. He missed Gray, his best friend... his rival... his...
"Natsu!" a voice suddenly interrupted the pinkette's train of thoughts.
"Gray." a sad response came instead of his usual cheery greeting.
"Natsu..." Gray trailed off.
"Why are you here? I thought best friends don't hang out or meet when one of them has a girlfriend." Natsu felt venom at his own words. He needed to get back at Gray.
"Get out! I'm already out of your picture so don't bug me again!" Natsu screamed with all his might which stunned Gray. He never knew he'd hurt the one he loves so much.
"Natsu... You don't understand... It's..." Gray trailed off.
"WHAT ELSE DID I NOT UNDERSTAND?! YOU PUSHED ME AWAY AND NOW WHAT?" Natsu's tears came naturally as he used the last of his will to scream.
"Listen to me you, dumbass!" Gray tried to fight back. But it was too much.
"I don't wanna listen to someone who doesn't understand me!" Natsu fought back, but his courage was slowly crippling.
"Isn't it clear? You're with Lucy now, right? That has nothing to do with me!"
"It has something to do with you because I MISSED YOU!" and that's Natsu final straw before breaking. Gray was suddenly gaping like a fish.
"N-Natsu... I... didn't know."
"Of course you didn't! Hanging out with Juvia while I'm talking to you?! Seriously?!"
"Look, I'm sorry Natsu... I didn't mean to push you away... It's just that... it hurts me."
"Hurts you for what?" Natsu gritted his teeth.
"It hurts me to see you with Lucy." Gray hid his face in his bangs and suddenly, tears emanated from his eyes.
"Are y-you j-jealous?" Natsu asked with a shocked expression.
"Do you really want me to bang your skull on a rock, idiot?!" Gray snapped at the pinkette.
"I'M FUCKING IN LOVE WITH YOU, DAMMIT!" Gray confessed and he couldn't hold himself back. "I always think about you, dream of you, imagining you in my arms rather than other people... I'm hurting when we're away from each other. And it's so much that I can't take it! Do you understand that, Natsu?!"
"I... dunno... what to say..." Natsu tried to put up a good response. But the next thing he knew was that a pair of lips were clashed against his own.
Yes, Gray Fullbuster was kissing Natsu Dragneel. At the lake.
"Just say 'I love you, too' you idiot." Gray ruffled Natsu's hair and grinned at him.
"I... love you too... Gray." Natsu stuttered while blushing madly like a schoolgirl.
"I like that. You're cute." Gray teased with a smirk then tackle-hugged by Natsu.
"You Pervy Stripper! At least you should've said something before."
"Sorry. Forgive me?" Gray asked with a chuckle. Natsu just blushed more.
"Hahaha! I wanna eat something!" Natsu laughed and Gray knew firsthand that Natsu would always forgive him.
They started walking together back to the guild, hand-to-hand.
"So, what were you dreaming about me?" Natsu asked casually.
"Like, how you're wearing a cute apron and serving me my breakfast? How does that sound?" Gray had a mischievous smirk plastered in his damn handsome face. Natsu blushed a million times redder.
"GRAY! You pervert!" Natsu smacked him on the head then ran away. Of course, Gray would follow him.
At the guild, some were surprised but most of them were relieved to see that Lucy's plan worked out just right. Of course, she has to make Gray jealous thanks to Juvia's suggestion, who firsthand knew about the irrevocable feelings that Gray and Natsu have shared after a long, long tme.
After all, Gray and Natsu showed the signs that they're in love with the right person: with each other.