We Are Young

24 Jun 2015
Part 1 of We Are Young

They’re teenagers, they’re young and they can worry about love and life.

A collection of character and relationship-centric, interrelated stories about some students of Fairy Gakuen.

Teen (13+)
Chapters: 23
Words: 377,513

We Are Young

Chapter 5
Up and Up


..aka “Gildarts Loves Cana-chan Very Much”

Chapter Notes:

I hope you liked the previous chapter! Now another one. This one has a bit of the other pairings in it…

Because I’m starting to think that I have a bias towards Gray’s and Cana’s flat.

Track 05: Up and Up
..aka “Gildarts Loves Cana-chan Very Much”

“There’s nothing left to prove ’cause I’m just trying to be
a better version of me for you.
— Relient K


Gildarts knew almost every kid in Magnolia. He had been the policeman stationed in Magnolia’s ‘education center’ — the square between Magnolia Junior High and FairyGaku — for more than a decade, and he watched all the kids arrive, leave and stay.

In particular, Natsu idolized him — the boy said he wanted to be a policeman when he grew up so he can fight the bad guys, although all Gildarts usually really did was shout at some random pick-pockets and then punch the face of some kid molesters. Usually he was there to break up students fighting, although when Natsu, Gray and Elfman starts trying to beat each other up, he just left them like that… Erza is bound to show up soon, he was always sure.

He was content to be this big guy in that little police booth that some of the kids pass by and greet or sometimes talk to or chat with on their way to and from the schools.

He has a daughter — a wonderful one, he always bragged about — and her name is Cana.

Cana told him the truth when she was seventeen. Knowing, after his life alone without a family, that his love with the girl’s mother bore fruit brought Gildarts unspeakable joy. From then on he wanted to make up to every single second missed and lost with his only daughter.

Yet the thing is that Cana only told him because she believed he had the right to know. She didn’t expect him to love her, or to give her money and gifts. Cana, who lost her mother at a young age and got by using wits and street smarts and perseverance, was fully self-sustaining by the time she entered high school. It was an impressive feat back then, but when he realized that she had done that even when she knew that he was there and she could have asked him to help, Gildarts couldn’t have ever met a stronger girl.

Gildarts tried to give love but Cana didn’t seem to appreciate it. The young woman doesn’t like him fuzzing over, but he just can’t help it — he adores everything about his ‘baby girl’. Over the years, Cana was this pretty little brunette who greeted him cheerfully whenever she passed by — the fifth kid of the little tight-knit gang with Natsu, Gray, Erza and Lisanna. She can be just as tough as Erza when in the boys’ fights but chooses to stand aside and simply laugh at them. She grew up to be quite the attractive young woman who always stayed up late because she has dozens of part-time jobs. Cana was the girl who drunk like five men but who slaps like a hundred women, he heard. Cana was the no-nonesense jill-of-all-trades. She had been busy surviving.

He watched Cana grow up without knowing that as he watched, he’s missing the chance to be in the picture himself. He adored the girl without knowing who she really was. He mentored the young woman without knowing that he should have fathered her too.

Gildarts still wanted to be a part of his daughter’s life — more than the familiar face she passes by every morning, more than the kind policeman who gives her a cup of coffee when she’s stuck in the little station because of the rain. That’s why he’s the one who adapts — he gives out all the help he can. That’s why one particular afternoon, he had his arms full of groceries, heading for Gray and Cana’s flat. Neither kids asked him for anything, but he took the initiative of making sure they’re always fully-stocked on what they need. He knew that the duo didn’t really like counting on him (they were proud like that), but what the heck — Gildarts just wants to make sure they’re alright.What Gildarts didn’t expect to see, however, was the blue-haired high schooler who opened the door when he rang — at a time when both Cana and Gray were both usually home.Gildarts blinked and cocked his head to recheck the apartment number, then looked down at the blue-haired young woman who was wearing what he recognized was Gray’s apron (Cana had told him once that it was her present — the white apron had the words ‘I AM A STRIPPER’ printed on it (Gray only kept it because he was too lazy to buy another and he didn’t like how using Cana’s apron made him smell like beer)).The girl spoke up. “You must be Gildarts-sama, Cana-san’s father?”

Gildarts thanked heavens that he IS indeed in the right place. “Uh, yes. Is Cana in?”

“Gray-sama and Cana-san are not home yet, but please do come in.” the girl let him in and he followed her.

He has been in the flat for so many times now, but he is still wary around the place sometimes. He was trying hard to know his daughter, but the flat seemed to be a private place only for her and Gray. Nevertheless, he could see some cheer in the place lately. Some pictures and frames that haven’t been present when he first dropped by for a visit now graced tabletops and the fridge. (He knew for a fact that the place can afford decorations lately because the kids can save up more. They can save up more because Gildarts had been helping, they just didn’t want to say it outright because they think that he might think they’re abusing priveleges — really, those two.)

Some of the pictures had him. There were old photos of Cana with her mother, of Gray’s parents, Gray with his late aunt Ur and his cousin Ultear… Most of them were of their little circle of friends since primary school and junior high. He remembered most of them — Natsu, Gray, Cana, Lisanna, Erza, Levy, Elfman, Mira, Laxus… The more recent ones: Lucy and Loke… Finally, Gildarts recognized the bluenette from some of the more recent pictures. He also remembered her walking with some of the girls or with Gray around FairyGaku. He knew most kids by face but he can’t help but forget some names…

“What is your name again, ojou-chan?” he asked his young companion in the nicest, politest way possible as he settled the groceries down on the countertop.

“Ah, apologies! Juvia hasn’t been fully introduced to Gildarts-sama yet.” the girl held out a hand, and it took Gildarts a moment to realize that she was talking in third person. “Juvia is Gray-sama’s girlfriend.”

“Oh, that’s you!” he laughed good-naturedly, shaking the girl’s hand. He looked towards the fridge again — ah, there it is, a photo of just her and Gray, obviously shoved towards each other by their friends. “Cana seems to have mentioned you, although Gray doesn’t really talk to me that much.”

Juvia simply smiled and shrugged. “Gray-sama is a private person, yes.”

“So where are Gray and Cana?”

“Gray-sama is out with his friends. Cana-san is probably still in her part-time job, although by this time, she’s probably on her way home.”

“How did you get in?”

“Juvia has a spare key.”

‘Ouch.’ Gildarts thinks. ‘Gray can give his girlfriend a spare but Cana can’t give one to her dad.’ He recovered quickly by looking around and seeing that Juvia was trying to rummage the house for something to cook. “Oh, I came here to bring some groceries. I’m sure Cana and Gray can use some.”

“That is perfect! Juvia was just at a loss on what to cook!” the girl cheered up instantly. “Juvia was just about to ask Cana-san to buy some ingredients…”

Gildarts watched as Juvia started unpacking the supplies. After a beat, he grabbed one of the bags and did the same. “Let me help you with that, Juvia-chan.”

The girl offered a smile, and after getting some ingredients she headed back to the kitchen. “Will Gildarts-san stay for dinner?”

“Oh, I plan to leave in a few. I’ll be going back home soon, then to the station.” Gildarts replied, although he was sure he sounded disappointed too. “I just can’t leave you to deal with all this alone.”

Juvia continued her dinner preparation as Gildarts tried to sort out which item went where in the little kitchen of two. He first took out some frozen foods and tried to get them to fit in the freezer — ‘It would be easier if Gray didn’t have large chunks of ice in here.’, he thought. ’I should buy him a separate freezer for his ice sculpting stuff…’

Next, he tried to store some vegetables properly but he found the fridge already stuffed with what should be a very unhealthy amount of canned beer. ’Cana-chan should stop drinking too much…’

It was easier when he got to the groceries that should be placed in the cupboards, which were free of the two kids’ hobbies.

Juvia saw him arranging things sloppily but determinedly and she smiled. “Juvia appreciates the help.”

“Gildarts appreciates that Juvia-chan appreciates the help.” Gildarts sighed, humoring his companion’s way of talking. Juvia nodded kindly at him. “If only Cana-chan will appreciate Gildarts too.”

Juvia paused, looking at the man. “Gildarts-san doesn’t think Cana-san loves him?”

“Cana-chan may or may not love Gildarts-san.” the man frowned. “She just seems so annoyed at me all the time. I don’t know why everything I do seems either wrong or over-the-top. I don’t even think Cana-chan wants me in her life.”

That was true. He couldn’t even get Cana to move in with him. Cana insists that she’s doing perfectly fine on her flat with Gray. Gray doesn’t fuzz, doesn’t call her ‘baby’, doesn’t ask her every hour how she’s doing, doesn’t freak out about why she still isn’t home by midnight… Gray knows her favorite color versus the color that suits her most, and gets her the right present on her birthday. He heard some parents talk about “the rebellious phase” but he didn’t really know how to be a parent so he just couldn’t tell. Plus, Cana seemed to be a practical teenager and she’s definitely not this rebel…

When he noticed Juvia staring at him, he realized what he just said. “Oh, what am I talking about? Excuse the old man, Juvia-chan… I was being depressing, eh?”

“Cana-san wants Gildarts-sama in her life, Juvia is sure.” the girl said, and that catches Gildarts’s attention. “From what Juvia knows of Cana-san, she’s a very honest person. And if Cana-san wanted someone out of her life, she would have said it outright.”

“You think so?” — he asked, because sometimes he already thinks about why exactly he was working so hard on Cana. Why is he trying so hard to make up? Why does he keep on giving when he’s not wanted in the first place? Was it because he’s guilty? Or was it because he really cared for her? Is he really doing all of it out of will and not because of obligations?

“Yes.” Juvia nodded firmly, even looking at the man in determination. “The way Juvia sees it, Cana-san and Gray-sama are alike in that they both seldom say what they really feel. Cana-san loves Gildarts-san, even though she doesn’t show it!”

Gildarts wanted to sob — he was listening to a lovestruck hopeful girl’s sermon about love and feelings and he realized that he has completely overlooked that possibility. What if Cana just didn’t want to tell him how much he meant to her? What if she just finds it hard to trust someone — ‘Of course she’ll find it hard to trust someone like him, someone who left her mother.’ With that, Gildarts started to think that he should be a little bit more patient.

Gildarts was giving love without being asked. He thought that if he took initiative, it will all go smoothly.

He was new to this. He didn’t know that he also needed to be patient. That love given isn’t always so easily accepted.

Juvia was chopping vegetables as she continued on with her musings. “The way Juvia sees it, you can keep loving a person more than that person loves you, until that person loves you as much as you love that person. And when that person loves you as much as you love that person, you won’t expect that person to make up for all the love you were giving more while that person was giving less. That’s how you know you really love that person, when you don’t expect to take as much as you give. That’s why they say it’s unconditional.

“Juvia knows that Gildarts-sama truly loves Cana-san because he’s still here giving. Juvia is sure that Cana-san cares for Gildarts-sama too! Maybe she just feels a bit guilty because she’s not giving as much as Gildarts-sama, but the way Gildarts-sama is patiently waiting for Cana-san, Juvia thinks it will all work out. Both of you just need to wait a bit more.” Juvia finally cheerfully looked up from her work to look at the man, but she was startled to see him hopelessly sobbing as he hugged the big loaf of bread he had just taken from his grocery bags.


“Gray doesn’t deserve Juvia-chan, she’s too kind, loving and pretty!” and Gildarts sobbed (outright wails, actually) harder against the loaf.

“J-Juvia is flattered, but please don’t cry, Gildarts-sama!”

Juvia was beginning to think that she now understood why Gray panics whenever she set on the waterworks.

Gildarts tried hard to compose himself. “I-I I know, it doesn’t fit me, big scary man that I am.”

“Gildarts-sama is not scary!” Juvia insisted, careful not to make the man feel bad… err— worse.

“Yes, thank you, Juvia-chan… D-D-Do you need any help with that?” the man asked, because he felt that he owed the girl one. He’s been ready to give up on Cana because his daughter doesn’t seem intent on accepting any sort of thing he gives.

Gildarts had two choices in regards to giving — giving up and giving more. He is forty now and he is convinced that he has made the right choice, because he knew for a fact that, guilt or no, he does love Cana after all.

“J-Juvia will be alright, if Gildarts-sama will just finish sorting out the supplies.”

“Hai. Juvia-chan, you’re so kind…” Gildarts said, sighing.

Juvia didn’t know what to do. She wanted to hug the poor man but that kind of seemed… inappropriate for some reason. “T-T-Thank you?”

“How did Gray score such a kind, loving girl? Is it the stripping thing? Kids today…”

Cana, for all her eighteen years, wanted to receive love but when it was given to her, she hesitates to accept it.She has three part-time jobs on top of her last year in high school. She made ends meet most times, but at times it took her and Gray’s combined efforts to make it through the month. When they’re lucky, they still have some bills to spare to stuff on the piggy bank they aptly labeled “COLLEGE FUND”. As childhood friends, they’ve been sticking together since they could remember. When Gray’s aunt, Ur, died in an accident, he turned down the initial offers of very distant relatives to live with them. Instead, he turned up at Cana’s doorstep with all his bags packed with him, asking her how they will split the rent. Cana knew that Gray had simply been afraid to move out of Magnolia and to live with complete strangers. Besides the money that Gray’s distant relatives send him on rare occasions, they try to get by on their own means.That night, Cana willingly took up the shift that Mirajane offered her in The Strauss’ — a local bar and cafe. The kind, silver-haired barmaid called Cana after her shift in the restaurant across the street (Yajima-san’s), saying that Kinana-chan had called in sick, and they need an extra hand to serve the beverages. Cana had always been the drunk in the her circle of friends and she went to take Kinana’s place for that night. Mirajane knew Gray and Cana — they take tasks if it meant extra income. Mira’s little sister Lisanna was a friend of these younger men and women — plus, she herself was her senior in Fairy High.Cana greeted Mirajane and headed to the locker room to change into a spare uniform — a short skirt and a white blouse. She left only the three bottom buttons on her white blouse on, then stepped in the bar. Mira doesn’t comment on the racy attire — it’s Cana’s usual.

As Cana and Mira talk about what could have possibly got Kinana sick, the chimes on the door were heard as Natsu and Lucy burst in together, laughing as Natsu was tickling Lucy and the blonde was trying to squirm out of the pink-head’s grasp. They were followed by Levy, who was talking to Jet and Droy about the book she held in her arms. The two boys were engrossed at watching the small bluenette being adorable, thoughts about books ignored completely.

“Looks like our patrons are here. You know what to get them.” Mira said, then turned to Cana before she headed over to Macao-san and Wakaba-san as they called over for another drink.

“Got it.” Cana replied with a confident grin. She liked being competent. Being competent has kept her alive for this long.

“Cana, you work here again?” Lucy asked as she sat on one of the bar stools. Natsu pulled his stool a little too close to the blonde’s seat and tucked his head on Lucy’s shoulder as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Cana had gotten used to their antics by now.

“Kinana-chan called in sick, so Mira asked me to fill in for tonight.” Cana answered, readying the glasses, waiting for their order. “What are you two having?”

“Love. Real, true love, where we go to the arcade and play, and no one will be a killjoy.” Natsu grumbled.

Lucy slapped his head away from her neck. “Natsu’s having chocolate shake.”

Natsu whined, but answered anyway. “Lucy’s having a latte. And she’s a killjoy.”

“You heard him.” Lucy beamed at Cana, before dealing with a complaining Natsu about her refusal to go to the arcade with him and the other guys. “Also, two slices of mocha cake.”

Cana started making their drinks after ringing Mira in on the cake order, putting Levy, Jet and Droy on hold when they ordered three glasses of lemonade. ‘Really?’ Cana thought again, ‘Finally legal and not ordering alchohol. I have wholesome friends.’ She asked Natsu just before the young man was about to bite on Lucy’s shoulder. “Are Gray and the other guys at the arcade?”

She wanted to scold Gray for wasting time in the arcade, but she remembered that last month, he was working double shifts in his part-time job, so she forgave him quickly. The guy deserved the break.

“Yeah!” Natsu complained. “Lucy won’t go!”

Cana raised an eyebrow. “Why are you here then? Really need your other half that much?”

Natsu thought for a while. “Uhhhh… I don’t know, how did you get me to come here, Lucy?”

Cana sighed and simply listens as Lucy talks patiently to Natsu about how she told him she didn’t want to go to the arcade and he promptly followed her to wherever she wanted to go to. Lucy stayed out until late these days, Cana knew — she avoided going home early as much as possible. Even though Loke would fuzz over her, she kept her “darling lion’s” protests to a minimum by updating the bodyguard every hour by the hour on where she is and how she’s doing. Cana knew why Lucy was so hesitant to go home too. She has been there when the girl broke down from her family problems.

After serving them their drinks, Cana turned and started off on Levy’s lemonade. Some patrons paused to greet her quickly — they know her as “the girl who drunk like five hundred men”.

After half an hour, Lucy and Natsu bid goodbye and they leave the same way they arrive: chasing each other and flirting (Cana thinks they’re flirting, anyway) like lovebirds. The last part she heard was “Next time get in through a door!”, followed by ‘Happy wanted to see you!’ and “Oh, was it really just Happy who wanted to see me, hm?”

“When will I win that bet, dammit.” Cana mumbled.

“I know, sometimes I think they’re just messing with the stakes.” Levy complained, shaking her head. “Everyday I think: ‘Just get together already!’”

Cana laughed with her friend before going to serve another customer.

After an hour, Levy, Jet and Droy finished their group homework and they also took their leave.

Cana cleaned up — she’s still got half an hour left before she goes home. Gray hasn’t texted that he’s home yet, but Gildarts had just left a message saying that he will drop by groceries in the flat — “nothing much, just supplies”, his text said. Cana wanted to tell him to stop restocking their fridge and cupboards every two days, but the man was unstoppable. ‘Nothing much’ for him practically meant ‘a month’s worth of supplies for Cana-chan and I’ll be bringing more in three days!’

[[ i’m on my way to ur flat, have groceries. nothing much, just supplies. are u home, dear? ]]

Cana wishes he’ll stop calling her ‘dear’. She has known him since she was seven, and only when she was seventeen did he start calling her that.

She doesn’t reply. Maybe he’ll finally think that his guilt is unreasonable and he’ll stop the obsessive tendencies just because he’s feeling obligated to help Cana. Maybe he’ll stop. Yeah. He’ll stop.

“Thinking about something, are we?” Mira chimed in to break Cana from her trance. It’s so rare to see the young woman thinking stray thoughts.

Cana looked up and smiled weakly. “Uh, yeah.”

“Mind sharing?”

Cana was hesitant — Mirajane was the town informant, but she had also known Mira since forever and the silver-haired barmaid can be trusted. “Did you see Lucy a while ago? She looks so happy.”

Mira blinked, taken aback by the question. “Well, yes, she seemed very happy… Why do you ask?”

“See, last last week, Natsu was hanging out at our place, for some reason he and Gray were trying to beat the shit out of each other via shooting virtual zombies…” Cana laughed lightly, and Mira only urged her with a smile and a nod. “Lucy calls Natsu and asks where he is, and she didn’t even care where he is, she just comes over and then Natsu takes her in and she was crying. I’ve never seen her cry before, but when Natsu hugged her… Well, there. Lucy, crying — and me and Gray, we just watched as Natsu tried his best…”

“Oh my,” Mira said, worry written all over her face. She was a kind soul (even though buried underneath was ‘The Demon’ to match ‘The Titania’ head-to-head.) “What got her that upset? Lucy’s such a cheerful girl…”

“She had a fight with her dad.” Cana looked down. “Something about disappointments and absence and her grades, I didn’t really get all of it. And then she says something about love, about attention, I think — on how she didn’t have a dad even though he’s just a hall down every night. It’s still in my head, Lucy saying that bit. And then…”

‘And then,’ Cana thought, ’…and then here I am, avoiding my own father, who loves me for what seems like everything it’s worth. For what seems like everything it isn’t worth too, even.’ Seeing Lucy nowadays makes Cana think twice about her decisions — about her feelings. How dare she deny that rare offer that some other people were so unfortunate not to have? Lucy has said it herself on several occasions when she sees Gildarts fussing over Cana — “I wish I had that, too.”

“And then?” Mira encouraged the other young woman.

“Mira, do you think Gildarts isn’t doing what he’s doing out of guilt?”

Finally, Mira understood — and finally, Cana had asked the question that for a long time, only she herself has been answering.

“Cana-chan,” Mirajane smiled her ever-immaculate smile. “Gildarts is a womanizer, but he’s an honest man. When he says ‘I love you’, how much do you think he means it? How real do you think it is?”

Cana thought about it as she walked home, and then she found that the lights were on. ‘Gray, back so early?’ she thought, until she saw two pairs of shoes by the rack.Girl’s school shoes — ‘Juvia.’Police boots — ‘Gildarts?’She found Juvia cooking a delicious-smelling dinner as the bluenette listened to Gildarts talking about someone named ‘Cornelia’.

Cana paused.

‘He never talked to me about mom.’ Cana realized. ‘I always get mad. I always cut him off.’

As she stared at her father talking about her mother, she saw happiness in his face. The kind of happiness Juvia practically radiates when she’s talking about Gray. The kind of happiness she saw in Lucy as she laughed with Natsu earlier. The kind of happiness Mira says when she’s telling her customers good news about the people she loves.

“…and then she barges in the police station and demands that I stop giving her the stupid flowers with those corny pick-up lines, but when I move to take the flowers from her, she slaps me asking me how dare I try to get it back!”

“But didn’t she hate it?” Juvia asked, blinking.

“No, she hated the pick-up lines, so she just shoved the letter back to me and then walked away keeping the flowers.”

It’s the kind of happiness she then realized she’s been holding him back from: to be happy to share her mother with her — to be a proper family.

Juvia laughed with Gildarts, and then both stopped when Cana entered the room.

“Cana-chan!” Gildarts said from his seat on the dining table. It looks like Juvia had made him a hot beverage. “From overtime?”

“No, I had to cover for Kinana at the Strauss’. She was sick.” Cana answered simply, then smiled at Juvia. “Gray’s still at the arcade?”

“Yes. But Juvia doesn’t mind. Juvia just wanted to cook here.” Juvia said cheerfully. “Juvia punched Gajeel-kun in the face earlier so Juvia doesn’t want to go home yet… Cana-san, dinner’s almost done!”

Cana raised an eyebrow — What in the world did Gajeel do to make sweet Juvia punch him? — and then she shrugged it off. Right. Dinner. She turned to Gildarts. “I told you, you don’t have to bring in supplies everyday.”

“I bring them in every three days…” Gildarts corrected her and pouted after. For a grown man in police uniform, it really didn’t fit his image. “I just wanna make sure you’re eating right. You look so tired, that extra shift seemed like it took a toll on you…”

“I’m fine, I’m used to this. I used to work until much later in the night.”

“I know, but—”

‘And of course you know.’ Cana thought, shutting his words off. ‘Of course you know. You knew me. Everyone knew me.’ — her thoughts were suddenly jumbled, and she couldn’t help but think back on a certain moment when they were in junior high. She thought it was incredibly bitter of her to keep remembering that time, but those were one of her darkest moments. That was the first time in her life that Cana realized that against the world, she had her father by her side.

There was a time when a rumor about Cana spread even as far as outside the school halls. Apparently, some people said that one of her many part-time jobs was selling her body. That’s why she can still be seen walking in the streets at night, making her way home.She remembered crying herself to sleep in her room because of all the stares and rumors around town. Gray had sat on her bed on some nights, holding her hand. Mira and Lisanna had endlessly told her that they trust her, that they know her more than that. Natsu and Elfman punched the face of anyone who dared point out a fault.She remembered that time and the person who made her hold her ground most strongly: Gildarts quickly pulled her inside the station when it poured so hard on her way home on one of her late nights. He was on the night shift and he gave her a warm cup of coffee, then draped his big black leather jacket on her. He didn’t have a towel in store — how clumsy and irresponsible, Cana had thought then.“Cana,” he had said to break the long silence as they waited for the rain to stop. “I’ve heard some things…”

“Yeah, of course you have.” she answers bitterly, because she hadn’t felt more ashamed in her entire life. She knew it wasn’t true but that didn’t matter if people were talking about it as if it is. She knew who the man really was, and even though he didn’t, it still hurt so much. “How much detail did they put? I’ve heard some people even mentioned names.”

“I didn’t listen to the details.” the policeman shrugged. Cana looked at him. “After the first sentence, I told them, ‘nah, Cana-chan’s too smart for that’. M’right?”

Cana had to stifle a sob as she turned her back to him to hide her face.

“Cana?” he had asked, worried that he might’ve upset the girl.

“Yeah.” she mumbled.


“Yeah, I’m way too smart to do that shit.”

“Told ’em so.” he said with a little laugh. He reached over to pat the girl’s head. “Don’t listen to them, okay? Anyone saying bad things about you that aren’t true, you tell me. I got your back. You have your friends too, right? They got you too.”

She didn’t listen to anything else after that. After a while, she didn’t even hear anything. That night at the station, she wanted to tell him so badly that he was her father. It seemed so easy to say it then — “I’m lonely, you’re my dad, please hold me for once.” — but she held herself back. She didn’t want to tell him, not when she’s all weak and shivering and crying. She wanted to tell him at the time when he could look at her and see how strong she is.

She just wanted to make him proud… so what happened?

“Cana-chan?” — she goes back to the present, to her father worrying about her, because even if he knew her, he still worries. “Are you really alright?”He’s getting the hang of this ‘family’ business more than Cana ever expected — ever even wished for.“I was just thinking about something.” Cana quickly answered, then noticed that Juvia was done with dinner. “Juvia, you really shouldn’t have.”“Juvia likes cooking. It’s okay.” Juvia answered cheerfully. Cana dropped her bags on the counter and hurried to help in the kitchen.

“Well, I should help then.” she said. “Can’t have my guest do all the work…”

Gildarts sighed because he felt kinda uneeded between both friends, but he covered it with a quick cough and a cheerful smile — ‘Patience’, he encouraged himself. ‘Patience, let Cana-chan take her time. Patience, like with her mother.’ The man scratched the back of his head, “Oh well… I just really came to drop by the groceries and make sure Cana-chan is doing fine, I guess I’ll leave now, got my shift—”

“No, stay for dinner!”

It surprised Cana that she beat sweet, thoughtful, polite Juvia to asking the man to stay.

Gildarts looked at her in astonishment. “Cana-chan?”

“You have your shift coming up, you need energy for that, and… and Gray will be out late with the guys anyway, so Juvia’s cooking will go to waste.”

Gildarts stared at his daughter for a while. Cana was looking down at the floor. Juvia was looking back and forth between them. Finally, he asked, “Cana-chan… a-are you sure?”

Cana attempted a sincere smile. “You’re missing half of your life if you haven’t tasted Juvia’s curry.”

‘I’ve wasted more than half my life not being your dad.’ Gildarts thought. ‘I’m not gonna miss another half not taking this chance.’

Gildarts tried to help himself from jumping in glee and pulling Cana into a hug. Instead, he just acted like his goofy self and sweet-talked to his ‘baby girl’ the way he never got to do when she was little. “Well, if Cana-chan says so! Papa will stay and eat dinner with Cana-chan and Juvia-chan!”

Juvia silently watched them and smiled. She felt like she has just seen something change.

Cana shook her head and started preparing the table. “Dammit, stop being a creep.”

“I just love Cana-chan so much!”

Cana thought back to Mirajane’s question: ‘When he says “I love you”, how much do you think he means it?’

Cana looked at the man as he accidentally tripped over one of Gray’s pants (WHEN DID THAT GET THERE? Gray and his clothes…) and ended up actually breaking a chair.


“Gildarts-sama, are you okay?!” Juvia screeched, her hands on her cheeks, ever the lady.

“I’ll buy you a new one!” he pleaded. “I love you, Cana-chan! Please forgive Papa!”

‘Very much.’ Cana thought — she can feel that when he says he loves her, he loves her very much. “LIKE HELL I’LL CALL YOU THAT!”

Cana is eighteen and she has lived most of her life wishing for this. That wish was granted. She’s been accepting love given for a while now, but it’s about time that she start accepting it with less hesitation and more appreciation.

Gildarts looked towards Juvia and Juvia nodded at him. The man simply smiled at his daughter and said, “You will, someday! I’ll make it my life goal to make you call me Papa~”

“I’ll destroy your dreams, then.” Cana said, then when Gildarts started whining pathetically, she simply slammed the plates on the table. “Just eat the food!”

“Itadakimasu!” Juvia and Gildarts both said before digging in. The brunette shook her head, half in exasperation, half in amusement.

They eat dinner. It’s a start, the three of them thought.

Chapter Notes:

I always thought that if there’s someone who will understand Gildarts the most, it will be Juvia.

Tell me your two cents about it.

Next chapter will be up next week, I’ve already set up at alarm for it so I don’t forget! And I think many people ARE looking forward to this one…

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