In honour of Navia Week, I present to you a multi-chaptered parental prequel to Unconventional Beauty! I've had the basic idea for this story in my head for a while, but I'm only just now getting to it… (Whoops.) Although it underwent some reworking to fit the prompts (the original storyline was supposed to be a one-shot, now it'll show up in Day 2).
Sorry if this seems a little Gruvia-like at first. Trust me, it's Navia! …Eventually!
Day 1: Steam
Disclaimer: I do not own Fairy Tail.
The first time Natsu Dragneel invaded Juvia Lockser's life and living space, was a few days after Gray had been sent away on a long job – one that the Master had kept a grave secret, and had even gone to the lengths of specifically forbidding Juvia to tag along with. Gajeel had been assigned to prevent any sneaky moves of hers to disobey, to the iron dragon slayer's vast amusement.
Depression and worry over her favorite ice mage had set in almost immediately upon Gray's departure, and was only becoming steadily worse. Her heart ached to be with the person who had first shown her the beauty of a cloudless sky… Skies that had vanished with the weight of Juvia's melancholy; heavy rains continued to pour down in Magnolia's vicinity (given the recent dry spell, the plants were happy – though not many other people were).
Juvia had no intention of going to the guild that day. She was going to continue to wallow in her misery, thank you very much. Surrounded by her mountains of handmade Gray dolls, with Gray's posters staring down at her from all directions, and clutching her Gray body-pillow and sobbing into her bed covers imprinted with Gray's face.
So she was quite surprised, upon awakening, to discover that her rooms were full of steam.
Technically, this event in and of itself wasn't entirely foreign to the water mage. Sometimes she steamed a little in her sleep, depending on the contents of her dreams or if the temperature had skyrocketed unexpectedly. Also, the vent pipe to Fairy Hills' communal bath ran through one of her walls, along with several other pipes that ran to her small restroom and kitchenette. This wouldn't be the first time the old plumbing had decided that it had had quite enough.
Yet, none of those things had occurred. She couldn't feel any of her body mass dissipating, so she wasn't steaming herself. Besides which, her dreams hadn't been the right type and the temperature – though she did gauge it to be slightly above its usual average for a summer morning at seven o'clock – wasn't high to the point where it would have an effect upon her. Nor had a pipe obviously burst.
Baffled, Juvia sat straight up. Peering through the dense steam, she attempted to locate the source.
"OH NO STOP NO STOP IT!" someone shouted from her kitchenette, hidden by the billowing steam. "OH SHIT SHE'S GOING TO KILL ME!"
Throwing off her covers, Juvia vacated her bed and dashed to her kitchenette with enough speed to give Jet cause for alarm. Entering the area, she spotted a familiar head of salmon-pink hair, its owner standing by her stove. Desperately, he pulled at the handle to her kettle, which wasn't budging. Steam poured from the spout, and an acrid burning scent reaching Juvia's nose.
"Natsu-san!" Juvia barked at the dragon slayer.
He yelped and dropped the kettle's handle. "I'm sorry, Juvia!"
"Later!" Already understanding the situation, she ordered, "Turn off the burner and open the top of the kettle! Quickly!"
Complying without question, Natsu took the lid off the kettle and twisted the dial to cut off energy to the burner. Juvia used her own water to fill the kettle, bursts of steam erupting from the open top. After a moment, the deluge of scalding mist tapered off.
Weary, Juvia sat down at her small dining table.
Sheepish, Natsu shuffled over to sit in the chair beside her. "I'm so sorry, Juvia," he apologized, his sincerity clear.
"What was Natsu-san even trying to do?" the water mage wondered. "Now Juvia's kettle has melted to the filament…" It was going to take some serious effort to remove it. Once she did… well, her stove was still temporarily ruined. Or at least that particular burner was.
Natsu clapped his hands in front of him in a pleading motion. "I'm so, so, so sorry! I did not mean for that to happen! I was just… you know… trying to boil water and…"
Juvia peered at the fire mage, perplexed. "Natsu-san could have just used his magic…?"
"Nah, didn't want to run the risk of accidentally breaking your things…" he trailed off, shooting a pained glance at the stove. "Although this is way worse…"
"It's… it's not that difficult for Juvia to replace, Natsu-san." Juvia suddenly found herself in the odd position of comforting the distraught man. There was just something so unsettling about Natsu not being cheerful; it set her nerves on edge to see him so contrite and subdued when he was normally full of life. "Juvia will just ask Gajeel-kun to make Juvia a new filament and kettle. Now… why was Natsu-san in Juvia's kitchen?" she inquired.
"I told you! Trying to boil water!"
"Yes, Juvia heard that part. Why was Natsu-san trying to boil water in Juvia's kitchen at…" She tried to discern what the clock (stylized with Gray's face) on the wall said through the lingering water vapor. Giving up, she turned back to Natsu. "Why this early, Natsu-san? And Juvia knows for a fact that the kettle could not have made this much steam on its own." All things related to water were her specialty, after all.
A weak chuckle emanated from her guild mate. "Uh… yeah. Um… I'm sorry…"
Throwing her hands up in exasperation, Juvia observed, "That does not answer Juvia's questions!"
"Okay, okay!" Natsu threw up his own arms in a defensive gesture. "I was going to make you some tea! And I wanted to do it before you woke up! Lucy says that's the best time! For tea!"
The water mage stared at him, dumbstruck.
"Oh and uh… there's so much steam because when I came back from the toilet, the kettle was already kinda sorta melting and when I panic, I give off a lot of heat," Natsu finished. "Since there's so much moisture in the air because of the rain… the whole place started to steam up which only made me panic more and then more steam appeared and…" He shrugged helplessly. "It was a vicious cycle. So that's what happened."
Juvia was finding it surprisingly difficult to stay mad at her friend – not when he was so genuinely sorry, rambling and tripping over himself in his efforts to explain. "And why was Natsu-san making Juvia tea?" she asked.
Natsu's discomfort, if anything, increased. "I noticed that you were down in the dumps lately because the Frozen Turd went on that super long job – that should have been mine," he muttered under his breath, and then continued more audibly, "I just wanted to do something to cheer you up. Lucy said you like tea."
Annoyance flashed through Juvia. "To make the rain stop, then." Of course. That was all anyone ever wanted of her.
The dragon slayer furiously shook his head. "No! It's not that!" he protested, waving his arms and trying to communicate his point. "You just seemed so miserable, and I can't stand seeing nakama hurt. Even though my efforts royally backfired on me." Then Natsu shrugged. "I don't have anything against rain by itself, anyway."
Unconvinced, Juvia shifted uncomfortably in her seat.
Sensing her unease, Natsu scrambled for something to cheer her up. "Ooh! Yesterday, I saw Jet trying to race Droy to the guild hall, and then he slipped on the pavement and flew into the canal and was nearly swept out to sea!" Natsu laughed, remembering the incident. "It was hilarious!"
Juvia did not find it nearly so funny that she had caused one of her friends distress, however.
Judging based on the stormy expression Juvia was wearing, Natsu then realized that he'd messed up again. "The… the plants really like all the water!" he pointed out. "Droy said something about that, I think… So do… um… the ducks! Yeah! The ducks really like the rain!" Natsu nodded vigorously. "And a lot of people were complaining about all the heat, so it's nice that things are cooler for a bit, right?!"
The water mage couldn't help but snort at his enthusiasm. A reluctant smile tugged at her lips. Natsu really did have an infectious personality.
Outside, the omnipresent rain began to taper off a bit.
"Juvia would like to thank Natsu-san for his kindness," Juvia told the fire mage. "However… Juvia also wishes that next time Natsu-san wants to cheer Juvia up, he stick to a… card." That seemed the safest option right now.
"Got it!" Natsu agreed. "I'll get you the best card in the world!" he promised, and then paused for a moment. "Although I'd prefer it if you weren't sad."
A light dusting of red settled on Juvia's cheeks. "Thank you, Natsu-san."
"You're welcome!" He grinned at her, glad that she seemed to be feeling better even without the tea.
"Juvia does… have one more question for Natsu-san, though."
"Sure, what is it?"
"How did Natsu-san get past Erza-san? Boys aren't allowed in the Fairy Hill dorms."
He stiffened in acute alarm. "Oh shit," he muttered, his face gone pale and filled with terror. "I totally forgot about Erza!"
Erza, however, had most definitely heard him screaming earlier. Because she chose that moment to burst through Juvia's door. "NATSU!" the redhead yelled, clad only in a bathrobe and holding an unsheathed katana in one hand. "PREPARE TO FACE YOUR PUNISHMENT FOR VIOLATING THE SANCTITY OF THIS PLACE!"
Natsu booked it for the window. "Cover my retreat, Juvia!"
Juvia didn't budge from her spot as Erza hurtled past her. She knew better.
"EEEEYAAAAHH! I SAID TO COVER ME, JUVIAAAAAA!"
To be continued.
I'm really looking forward to reading all the new Navia fics!