While he slept the iron dragon could hear voices but was unable to respond in any way. He could hear Master Makarov talking to the rest of the guild members that were there, at one point he could hear PantherLily talking to him. Gajeel could also feel his body shaking as he was being moved and a panicking voice saying something about not being able to stop the bleeding followed by cries from Levy calling out his name...
Gajeel awoke after being in a state of unconsciousness. He slowly opened his eyes as they adjusted to the light around him. He found himself staring at an ordinary white ceiling. He didn't know where he was and couldn't exactly remember how he got here. The last thing he remembered was making a hole in the wall where the secret passage was and then Levy kneeling down next to him as she told him how she fought of some of the Raven Tails all by herself.
Levy...he wondered if she was alright. Where was she? Just how long was he out? He looked around to see that he was in what looked like a hospital room. He felt something on his arm as he raised it up slightly to see an IV running into his arm. "That's right...I was stabbed" he thought to himself as he ran his hand down to his side, feeling the bandages and the patches over the wound where the blade ran through him. He wanted to get mad as he thought of how Ivan stabbed him through his back but found himself too weak to even do that.
The stubborn dragon slayer refused to continue to lie there, not knowing if Levy or his partner was alright. He slowly tried to bring himself up into a sitting position but found something as easy as that to be quite difficult...his arms were weak and he felt a surge of pain coursing through his body coming from the stab wound and the cracked ribs he was unaware that he had.
"...Shit" he mumbled as he winced before finally lying back onto the hospital bed, panting. He never imagined he would be in this kind of condition. But the dragon wasn't ready to admit defeat just yet.
Once again he gathered what strength he could and again tried to raise himself up. This time he managed to prop himself up on one elbow, giving him some kind of support. As he took a deep breath to try and continue the door to his hospital room was pushed open. He looked over towards it but couldn't see anyone enter.
"..Who's there" he said, his voice sounding raspy and dry. It was at that moment that a familiar black cat floated in the air near his bed, staring at him wide eyed.
"Oi...Lily. There you are" he said trying to smirk as he looked at the Exceed who didn't seem too hurt after their mission.
PantherLily's eyes began to tear up as he grinned widely but he quickly composed himself and floated over, landing at the foot of the dragon's bed. "I see that you finally decided to wake up, gi hee" his partner said as he proceeded to walk up closer to the injured dragon.
"Do you know what a pain in the ass it was for us to carry you to the nearest town so we could tend to your wounds?" the Exceed asked as he raised an eyebrow, much like the dragon liked to do so often to him.
Gajeel smirked as his partner egged him on, "Shut your damn mouth, cat" he said as he scratched behind PantherLily's ear. The Exceed had to admit that he did miss the scratching while the dragon was asleep.
"For a minute everyone panicked when they couldn't get your wound to stop bleeding. It had been open for so long and it tore open more while we were trying to get out of Raven Tail's hideout." the Exceed said as he looked down at his feet. "Levy was especially worried..."
"The Shrimp? Where is she?" he asked.
PantherLily looked towards the door, "I thought she was right behind me. We stepped out to get something to eat. She must have gotten caught up by Master Makarov" he said as he played with his whiskers.
"...But she's alright though...right?" Gajeel asked curiously.
PantherLily nodded, "Levy? She's fine...only a few scratches and bruises, nothing major like you show off" the Exceed said as he crossed his arms and looked at the dragon. "Next time we tell you not to push yourself while you're injured you better listen!"
Gajeel simply rolled his eyes at his partner as he tried to sit up more.
"Gajeel, I don't think you should be doing that" PantherLily said as he reached out to grab hold of his partner's arm. "At least let me put some pillows behind you" he said as he floated over to the empty bed next to the dragon's bed and grabbed the pillows. He placed them behind the dragon, hoping that would help prop him up some.
The dragon leaned back, giving his elbow a rest as he fell onto the stack of pillows that were behind him. He took several deep breaths as he looked at his partner and nodded, but his attention was suddenly turned towards the door as he smelled someone approaching.
Levy was downstairs grabbing something to eat with PantherLily when they decided to head back up to Gajeel's room. As they reached the staircase they were stopped by the voice of their guild master. "Master!" the both said as the old man greeted them.
"Go on up Lily. I'll be up there soon" she said smiling at the Exceed. PantherLily nodded and made his way up to the dragon's hospital room. The bluenette walked over and took a seat next to Makarov.
"And how are you feeling today, Levy?" he asked with a smile.
"I'm doing fine, Master. Most of my wounds have all healed up" she said cheerfully.
"That's good to hear my dear. And what about Gajeel? Has his condition changed any?" he asked as his smile disappeared and a more serious look on his face appeared.
Levy sighed and looked down at her skirt. "He still hasn't woken up yet..." she said sadly. "The doctor's said they weren't sure how long he could be like this" she said as he tried to fight back the tears that she felt welling up as she talked about the injured dragon. "...He was hurt pretty badly because of me."
Makarov reached out and patted her hand. "There, there Levy. He knew what he was doing and what he had to do to get you out of Raven Tail. I know that he will be alright soon" he said smiling, hoping that would cheer her up some.
Levy nodded at the guild master, "I'll stay strong...for him" she said, trying to smile as she stood. "I'm going to go check on him again."
The guild master nodded and took his leave. Levy turned, heading back to the staircase and to catch up with PantherLily. She wiped her eyes as she climbed the steps not wanting the Exceed to see her upset.
"What is it, Gajeel?" PantherLily asked as he turned to the door and then back to his partner. "...I thought I smelled someone approaching" the dragon mumbled as he turned away from the door.
Suddenly the door was pushed open by someone, "Sorry to keep you waiting Lily, I had to talk to-" the script mages said before she cut off her own sentence as she brought her hand up to her mouth. She stood in the doorway and trembled as she saw Gajeel sitting up in bed and awake. The bluenette took a few steps into the room, she wasn't sure if she was dreaming or if this was real. "Ga-Gajeel" she said softly. She could already feel her eyes watering up as she stared at him wide eyed.
"Oi, shrimp" the dragon said in his raspy voice, raising a hand as much as he could. PantherLily was looking at Levy now too, grinning as he nodded his head to let her know that this was no dream.
"Gajeel!" she yelled out as she hurried across the room and through her arms around the dragon's neck. "Gajeel, I'm so happy that you're awake! I was so worried about you, baka Gajeel!" she said, holding onto him as if for dear life.
The dragon slayer flinched a few times as she wrapped her arms around him. "Take it easy shrimp...I'm still not in top condition" he said quietly in her ear as she released her grip on him.
She looked down at his bandaged torso and snapped her head back up to face him. "Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry Gajeel. I-I was just so glad to see you up and moving about that I-" she said as the tears began to flow.
Gajeel chuckled and slowly raised his hand to pat her on the head. "It's alright, Levy. I know you didn't mean any harm" he said grinning at the bluenette. "I'm glad to see that you're alright." The dragon removed his hand from her head and patted his bed, telling her to take a seat next to him.
Levy nodded and carefully sat down on the bed and looked down at him. At least he looked better than when he did after they first brought him in. She smiled down at him as she wiped the tears off her face. "I was so afraid..." she said, trying to hold back the tears.
PantherLily could see the look on the bluenette's face as she continued to force the tears from flowing. He climbed over Gajeel and took a seat in her lap to keep her calm. "We were all worried for a while there" the Exceed said as he looked to his partner.
Gajeel looked at the two with his eyebrow raised up. He had no idea as to what the they were talking about. "What do you mean? What happened?"
PantherLily closed his eyes and looked down. "We took you to the nearest town so we could at least patch you up before we returned to Magnolia" the Exceed started. "MiraJane nor Erza could get the bleeding to stop no matter what they did. Something seemed to be keeping it from healing on its own. You were losing so much blood that by the time we got to a hospital in the next town the doctors were afraid that...well, that you might not make it. They needed to do a blood transfusion and quickly but they didn't seem to have your blood type on hand..." the Exceed said, pausing as the dragon slayer took in all that he was saying.
Gajeel's eyes grew wide as he listened to his partner. He had no idea he was in such a condition. He had been hurt badly many times and each time his wounds managed to stop bleeding. "So...what are you saying? That bastard Ivan had some kind of spell placed on that dagger?! And who did the transfusion?!" he asked curiously, hoping that his partner wouldn't say Natsu.
The Exceed looked up at Levy as she slowly raised her hand. "I did" she said quietly.
"It was like some kind of miracle...she just happened to have your blood type" the black cat said.
Levy blushed as the Exceed was making her sound like she was a hero. "Who would have thought..." she said as she lowered her hand, placing it on the bed.
"As for the dagger, Master thinks that there must have been some kind of magic at work. Master tried a spell Porylusica taught him years ago for dispelling certain types of magic and it seemed to work. The doctors were finally able to stop your bleeding" PantherLily said as Gajeel stared at Levy.
The dragon slayer didn't know what to do, he was completely speechless. He looked down at Levy's hand and slowly moved his own closer to hers as he placed it on top of her hand. "...I suppose I owe you my life, Levy" he said as he looked up at the bluenette.
Levy raised her head as her big brown eyes met his crimson eyes. She felt her face turning red as she smiled gently at him. "I-It was nothing...I'm sure you would have done the same for me." She was more than happy to help Gajeel out as much as she could, after all he did to help her it was the least she could do.
Levy felt completely helpless as she watched her friends quickly carry Gajeel all the way to the nearest town. She herself was hurt but her condition was far better than Gajeel's. She didn't know what to do to help him. All she could do was stay by his side. Levy was unable to stop the bleeding no matter how hard she tried...the wound just wouldn't stop bleeding. The bluenette could see that the dragon's face was getting paler by the minute.
"We have to hurry!" she cried out to everyone. "The bleeding won't stop!" Panic was starting to set in for her and for the Exceed who was trying to help her out. Makarov rushed over to the other side of the dragon and could see for himself that he was getting worse. "You two go as fast as you can to Aromas. We will meet you at the hospital" the old guild master said. He looked up at Levy and could see that she wasn't in the best condition to be running around. She was still pretty weak from everything that happened. "Don't worry my dear, they'll get Gajeel to a hospital" he said, trying to keep her calm.
Levy looked down at her hands as the ones carrying the unconscious dragon picked up their pace. Her hands were covered with Gajeel's blood. By the time she looked up the group was already out of sight but Levy was determined to not give up. Gajeel never gave up on her nor will she. Despite her own fatigue Levy continued at the brisk pace she was at hoping to catch up to the others soon.
By the time they reached the hospital in Aromas, Gajeel was already being looked at. She picked up PantherLily and walked back to the room where he was with Makarov. When she got there the doctors were already tending to his wounds but they couldn't seem to stop the bleeding from his stab wound either. The Exceed could hear the whispering going on amongst the doctors. His ears twitched several times as he heard certain things that bothered him.
"Lily?" Levy asked as she noticed the Exceed's ears twitching. The expression on his face was grim. "Lily what are they saying?" she asked after realizing that he could hear what they were saying.
"...They're saying they can't get the bleeding under control...he's losing too much blood and..." the Exceed paused for a moment as he lowered his head. "...And that he might not make it."
Levy couldn't believe what she was hearing from PantherLily, she wouldn't accept it. "No! He's strong! He can make it through this!" she cried out as tears began to fall onto the Exceed's head.
Makarov overheard PantherLily and began to suspect that something was amiss with this wound. He knew his son all too well and that he was maniacal enough to try something nasty. The old man walked into the room and over to the dragon slayer on the table. "Stand aside" he said to the doctors who were surprised to see the guild master as he raised his hand and spoke a few strange words.
The doctor's watched as the guild master did something to the wound. Much to their surprise they could see the blood was flowing out of him less and less. They were in shock as to what just happened but they began to treat his wound thanks to Makarov's help.
Makarov walked back over to Levy and stood next to her as she looked down at him wondering what he did to Gajeel. Several minutes later one of the doctor s turned around and nodded, "We finally managed to stop the bleeding...but he did loss far too much blood. We need to do a transfusion and fast if he's going to survive."
"That's pretty much how it happened" the Exceed said after he finished explaining to Gajeel what happened in detail. He looked at his partner who was staring intensely at Levy. He had never had anyone do so much for him before. Without saying a word her grabbed hold of her hand and pulled the bluenette down to him as PantherLily hopped out of her lap. Gajeel pulled Levy down and kissed her, but not just any kiss. Gajeel put everything he had into this exceptionally deep kiss...his feelings, his gratitude, his tenderness and his love towards the bluenette.
When they finally broke away from their long kiss Levy could feel her eyes water up. She knew then and there that Gajeel was definitely the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. Despite their rocky beginning she had come to truly love the dragon slayer for the man he was now.
"I love you, Gajeel Redfox" she said as she lifted her legs onto the bed and rested her head next to his. Levy laid their next to the dragon on his bed and closed her eyes. Her hand found a lock of his hair and began twirling it between her fingers playfully, something she had always wanted to do for some reason.
Gajeel smiled and rested his head next to hers. "I love you too, Levy" he said in his temporary raspy voice ans closed his eyes.
PantherLily smiled at the two mages and took his place on the other side of the dragon. The Exceed laid down next to his partner, stretched and then closed his eyes. Gajeel felt the Exceed next to his hand as he raised it and scratched behind his partner's ear, something that PantherLily hated to admit he liked when in fact he loved it.
The three laid there on the bed as sleep began to take them over. Outside Gajeel's hospital room stood Master Makarov, who overheard the whole conversation between the dragon slayer and the bookworm. He smiled and quietly walked away knowing that all his children were now safe and in good hands.