A/N: So, this is my first fanfiction published on this website. I posted it on tumblr, but then decided to get an account here because I wanted some feedback. Juvia is just the love of my life, so of course I had to write a story about her. I imagine this is different than what most people imagine about her, but I hope you enjoy!
"Mother, you can't leave Juvia alone with Nii-san," the little girl, no more than seven, pleaded.
"Juvia, you'll be fine," said a young woman, quietly getting ready for her journey.
This young woman was petite and slender. Her skin was pale and very smooth. Her hair was curly and a lighter blue than her daughter's darker blue, and it touched the small of her back. No doubt her most notable feature were her eyes; thick eyelashes surrounded them, and the color was a stunning light blue, so pale that it was almost like you could look through them. She wore a plain, knee-length brown dress, but draped around her was a beautiful, light blue cloak, embroidered skillfully, that closed at her ample chest with a silver, tear-drop clasp.
"Yeah, Juvia. I'll take good care of you," said a boy with dark, dark blue hair, pale like the two females. His cruel navy eyes gave her a mischievous look, and the smile he wore did not at all touch his eyes. "Trust your nii-san."
"N-no, Mother, can't you just drop Juvia off at Gran and Gramps's house?" Juvia pleaded again, desperate.
"No, stop asking!"
A man came lumbering down the stairs, holding his head in his hand. His hair was dark navy blue, his eyes the same color. He wore traveling clothes, dark pants and a white shirt with a red vest over it. He scowled at the little girl. "And how many times have I told you to not use third person?"
The girl flinched and hid in her mother's skirts. The woman sighed, then looked at the man. "Now now, James, it soothes her. Let her do it. The habit isn't causing any harm, now is it?"
The man, James, sighed irritatedly and picked up a bag. "Sure. C'mon, Ariel, let's go."
Ariel turned to smile at her children. "Now, Daniel, be nice to your little sister, okay?"
The boy smiled and waved. "Sure thing, Mother. Be safe."
With another smile, they left, leaving the two children. Shaking already, Juvia turned to look at her brother. "H-hear that, nii-san? Mother said to be nice to Juvia."
But the boy advanced on her nonetheless, grinning with malice.
Juvia blinked up as a sliver of light appeared in the dark closet. She uncurled herself from a ball and yawned, rubbing her eyes and flexing her shoulders free from their ache. Daniel was silhouetted in the doorway, glaring down at her.
"Go get ready for school," he snapped, "I have breakfast ready."
Stretching her cramped, little girl limbs, Juvia exited the closet and trudged up the stairs to her room. More often than not, her big brother forced her to sleep in the closet, so she was more used to it than she had been. Still sleepy, she pulled her blue dress on, wrapped the shawl over, and put on her hat, going back down the stairs.
Daniel was eating breakfast at the table, and he didn't pay her any heed. Sighing, Juvia took a bite of burned eggs, scraped the black stuff off her toast. Of course there was a catch to Daniel being nice enough to make breakfast for her.
Juvia smiled as she walked home, forgetting for the while all the teasing and tormenting, the bullying. She twirled her pink umbrella, crouched down for a moment to look at the rain on the grass. She giggled. The rain was so fun, and she liked it. Her only wish was that it wasn't always around. Never would she guess that later on in her life she would hate it.
Her smile and giggles stopped when she remembered that Daniel was home, waiting for her. Out of the family, Juvia was the only one that went to school, while Daniel did all his studying at home with the books the poor family could barely afford. Whenever Juvia complained to her mother (she'd never be crazy enough to tell her abusive drunkard of a father) that she didn't want to go anymore, Ariel would smile sadly and say, "We pay a lot of money for you to go."
Juvia didn't know why Daniel hated her so. Over the years she would theorize that the cause was that she was the mage of the family, not him. It was indeed odd that he wasn't a mage, since their parents were mages.
Actually, the whole of her mother's side were mages.
The Lockser family was a prestigious one, known for its long history of water mages. The myth was that their ancestors had contracted with a water dragon for the magic, and it was passed down in the family ever since. The only side effect was that they couldn't learn any other magics unless they were closely related to water, like ice magic. Usually, the bloodline was strongest in females. Juvia wasn't certain if it was myth or reality, but she liked it. A whimsical tale, so very much like the ones she loved.
Her mother was a fantastic water mage. So was her grandmother.
Juvia wanted to be a fantastic mage also, so that she could make the rain stop.
"Juvia, what happened?" Ariel bent down before her daughter, concerned. Juvia's face was bruised and her arm in a shabby, homemade sling. "Goodness, I've been gone for not even four days! James, get me some medicine, please!"
"Not now, Ariel, gotta get something to drink."
Ariel sighed and pulled out a handkerchief, scrubbing Juvia's face. "Your father and alcohol… Well, what happened?"
Navy orbs flickered over to Daniel reading at the tiny table.
Tell Mother and Father what happened, I'll cut out your tongue.
And he would. Juvia knew it.
"J-Juvia fell down the stairs."
"Again? Such a silly little girl…"
"Go to your room!" James shouted. "I don't want to see your bleak little face again!"
Sobbing, Juvia ran up the stairs past her mother, carrying a basket of laundry. Pursing her lips, Ariel quickly examined the bruises and cuts now on Juvia, adding to her already there bruises and broken arm. The young woman heard her daughter slam the door shut.
"James Grace," she said, putting the basket down. "How much have you had to drink tonight?"
"Some." He waved around an empty bottle as he sat on the couch. "Why?"
"You hurt Juvia again, didn't you?" Ariel asked quietly.
He ran a hand through his hair. "What of it?"
Ariel began to shake. Confronting her drunk husband always scared her. "Th-that's your daughter, and you can't just-"
"Don't tell me what I can and can't do, woman." He pointed the empty bottle at her. "I'll do the same thing to you."
Breathing deeply, she picked the basket back up and quickly walked away.
"Guess what, kids?" Ariel asked, drying a plate off. Today she wore her normal clothes, a long white dress with a blue corset.
"What?" Daniel asked, not looking up from his food.
"What, what?" Juvia asked, much more excited.
Ariel smiled and put the plate down, twirling up her hair in a bun. "Your Gran and Gramps are coming over tomorrow!"
Juvia squealed, jumped up and down, the thumps of her jumps drowning out the sound of rain on the windows. "Gran is coming! Gran is coming!"
"Juvia, stop it!" James came down, scratching his head. "Your excitement is giving me a headache, kid." He patted Daniel's head. "Son, how are you?"
Such was the little girl's excitement that she didn't even care about the rudeness of her father and obvious favoring of her brother, not even the beating Daniel would give her for getting so happy.
Her grandmother and grandfather were coming.
They were the best people in the whole wide world.
"Ah, there's my pretty, pretty girl!"
Juvia ran into her grandfather's arms, practically shrieking with joy. He was a strong looking man, taller than her own quite tall father, with brown hair that hung in his dusty red eyes. He always wore good clothes, like vests and nice pants, and shiny black shoes. He, unlike her grandmother, was not a mage, but a simple business man.
"Gramps, Gramps! Guess what?" she said, grabbing his thick hair.
"It rained a little lighter yesterday. Maybe it's going away?"
"Look, my princess! So cute, so cute!"
Juvia's grandmother snatched her away from her husband. The woman was as short as her daughter, Ariel, and had hair that wasn't her color, but Juvia's darker blue, straight and cut short at her shoulders. Her eyes, however, matched Ariel's. Juvia wished she had their eyes instead of her father's. They were much prettier, like ice crystals, even.
"Gran, yay!" The seven year old had a look on her face like there was nothing better than seeing her grandparents.
"Mother, Father, how are you? James, come say hello."
"Fine, little girl, just fine." Her father pinched her cheek, eliciting a giggle from the woman.
"And your no good husband can stay where he is," Juvia's grandmother muttered.
James entered the room, glaring at the couple. Needless to say, they weren't a fan of him, and he wasn't a fan of them. "Leonard." He nodded to his wife's father, then to her mother. "And Marina. Okay, bye."
Marina put Juvia down. "Eloquent as ever, James."
Leonard laughed nervously, then smiled when Daniel entered the room, smiling fakely as always. "Hey, there's the little man." He shied away from his grandpa trying to ruffle his hair. The boy took after his father and did not care much for Gran and Gramps, nor obvious affection from them.
Marina pursed her lips. "Yes, there he is." Gingerly, she patted his back.
Ariel looked about the room. "So, Juvia, Daniel, go run along and play together. I'll make your grandparents some tea."
The woman shook her head. "No, no, we have something for Juvia, don't we, Leo?"
Daniel didn't seem fazed that there was nothing for him.
Her grandfather pulled out a package, giving it to her. "Open it, honey, open it."
Ripping open the paper, the girl was delighted to find that it was a small sewing kit, complete with some white fabric. "A sewing kit? It's mine?"
"That's right!" Marina leaned down and whispered in her ear. "Go hide it where Daniel can't get it, love."
Immediately, Juvia shot a look at Daniel and fled up to her room. His eyes followed her, but he shrugged and followed his father away. Marina and Leo followed their daughter into the kitchen.
"So, how are you?" Marina asked, easing into a chair.
"Good, just fine, Mother. We're fine."
If one looked closely, they could see that Marina and Ariel were not incredibly far apart in age. Marina had had Ariel very young, at the age of eighteen. Ariel had also had Daniel young, when she was just nineteen, making her only twenty-seven, and Marina forty-five. Leo was five years older than his wife of many years, aged fifty.
Leo sighed. "Juvia has some new bruises."
"We're fine, Father. Juvia is fine. Her father will get over it soon, and she'll be fine." Her grip on a tea pot tightened.
"Haven't you realized that it's not just James, it's Daniel?" Marina asked. "That boy abuses her like crazy!"
Shaking, Ariel slammed the silver tray on the counter. "No, he doesn't. My little boy wouldn't do that to his sister. Daniel is a good boy. He's good."
The older woman sighed. "Honey, you're in denial. Juvia has told me about it."
She was near shouting now. "Why would she tell you and not me?"
"She's scared to tell you, because she knows Daniel will-"
"Daniel doesn't hurt her!"
The room fell in silence. Marina shifted the focus. "So, why aren't you accepting our financial aid?"
Ariel poured tea into the cups, trembling with emotion. "James and I don't need it."
"You're living in a shack."
"We live comfortably."
"He's not letting you take it, is he?"
"… That's not it, Father."
Marina leaned forward, sighing. "Now, I know this is a sensitive topic for you, but remember, you can always leave Juvia with us if you feel she'd be safer. You'd visit whenever you want, and-"
"My baby doesn't need to go anywhere else, she's fine here."
She let it go at that. "Well, can't you at least bring your kids over? There's so much more room at our mansion to run around and have fun. They've never been over, not once."
"James wouldn't like that," she said, putting the tray of tea and cake down.
"Do you let your husband control you like an animal always, Ariel?" Leo asked.
Ariel stiffened. "So, how's the business going?"
Leo sighed. Marina got up and and left the room, calling out, "Juvia! Let's go make water animals outside," and they could hear Juvia saying, "Look, I made a teru-teru bozu. He's my friend now."
She was eleven when it happened. Countless bruises, broken limbs, cuts, and threats later, from both Daniel and her father, it happened.
It was storming even harder than usual that day. Her father had stabbed her with a broken bottle, cussing her out for the damn rain, and while she was crying, picking glass from her back, Daniel, then thirteen, passed by, saw opportunity, and casually kicked her head against the bath tub, laughing as he went on his way.
Daniel just went out on a walk one day. Juvia remembered him scowling as he got out his umbrella, complaining about the constant rain and a no good, bratty little sister. She clutched her teru-teru bozu, whom she'd named "Bo-kun." She had dozens of Bo-kuns up in her room, made from the same sewing kit Gran had given her.
Daniel didn't come home at five.
Not at six.
Not at eight.
The police officer came at ten o'clock.
The sound her mother made when he told her that her son had slipped in the rain, fell over a small ledge and cracked his head open, was horrifying. Juvia had never heard a sound like that before, and never wanted to again. Her father simply bowed his head, clenched his fists, and thanked the officer. Ariel had a full-on breakdown there by the door, screaming and pounding the floor. No one stopped her.
I killed him, Juvia thought, I killed nii-san with the rain. I killed him I killed him I killed kill kill kill kill.
That was the day the she hated the rain with a burning passion. Not because it killed her big brother, whom she didn't even quite care for, but because it made her out to be some sort of murderer.
The funeral was held in the rain, which was no surprise. Mother and Father wept, but Juvia didn't share their feelings. She was… she was glad that Daniel Grace was dead. And she hated herself for it. So, so much.
She and Bo-kun just stood there for the rest of the time, while people carried on with their lives after the funeral. Nobody knew the Graces well, so only a few people were at his burial. Juvia barely registered that Gran had gone up to Mother and Father. She only caught snatches of the conversation.
"Leo is dead… Lots of room… I don't want to be alone… No condition…"
"Daniel… Daniel… Why?… I'm sorry… Take her, I'm sorry…"
A hand slipped into her's minutes later. It was Marina, bent down next to her, holding a black umbrella over her head. Her grandmother smiled. "Hey, pretty lady. It's okay, you don't have to act sad in front of Gran. She knows how mean Daniel was to you." Juvia looked at Marina, eyes filling with tears. The older woman's eyes were, too. "Your Gramps is dead, you know, and my house is really, really empty. Do you… Will you come live with me?"
Juvia looked behind, back at her parents. Her father had the look on his face, like he wanted a drink desperately, and her mother's face was blank, like it had been for the past few days.
The eleven year old had never been to her grandparent's house. The furthest she'd been away from her little shack of a home was to the school on the other side of town. This house was big and beautiful, with white walls and a brown roof, nicely kept gardens and a cute little fence.
Juvia was confused when the carriage moved past it. Marina smiled and pointed at the house fading in the distance. "Oh no, that's not mine. That's the servant's quarters. The house is another mile or so."
Her head whipped to her grandmother to fast her hat almost fell off. "Servant's quarters? Your house is bigger than that?"
She smiled and laughed. "Yeah, you'll get to go see all the quarters later once you're moved in. Everyone wants to meet you."
"How do they know I exist?"
Marina smiled. "I talk about you all the time. So did Leo." Her lips turned up sadly, but she came back to Juvia quickly. "So, what do you think of the landscape?"
Juvia looked out the window again. There were rolling hills, green and now rain drenched, and wild flowers poked up, rejoicing in spring and the moisture. Little houses scattered around here and there. As they went further along, the green plains became orchards and farming fields.
"That's what Gramps and I did for a living." Marina smiled proudly, crossing her arms over her chest. "We ship our fruit and such all over Fiore, and we run a major train system, too. But an old acquaintance of mine, Heartfilia, he's trying to get our tracks. Don't worry, he'd have to go through Gran, and no one makes it past me."
Juvia smiled for the first time in a little while. Gran was pretty fierce. She remembered a time when she and Gramps came to pick her up from school and take her home. Bullies were picking on her, stomping on Bo-kun, and Gran simply scared them off with a few water lashes and a glare.
"Oh, look. There's my house, Juvia."
Juvia's eyes widened the closer they got to the home, the orchards fading away into nicely kept gardens and stone structures and pathways. The paths led up to a house even bigger than the servants quarters, bigger by a lot. The mansion had small buildings disconnected from it, but were clearly apart of it based on design. It was made of white brick, and its roofs were black and blue. Some parts peaked a bit, like a castle from a fairy tale, but it mostly didn't. People waved at the carriage passing by, not minding the rain one bit, and Juvia shrunk back away from the window.
A man took her one suitcase out for her, and he even bowed to her. Shocked, Juvia awkwardly curtsied back, and he laughed at her. But it wasn't a mean laughing, like how her father and previously Daniel laughed at her. It was a big-hearted, "look-how-cute-she-is," sort of laugh.
Marina held an umbrella above them, took the girl's hand. "Come, come, there's so much to see, my love."
Juvia looked up at the mansion looming over her and walked inside. "I'll bet."
"Welcome home, Mistress!" a few maids said, smiling. They ranged from young to old, and all looked genuinely delighted to see Marina back. Their smiles grew when they saw Juvia.
One maid, a plump girl about her mother's age, knelt down in front of Juvia. She had dark red hair and a splash of freckles. Juvia thought she was cute looking. She smiled and took Juvia's hands in her own doughy ones. "How do you do, Young Miss?"
"Y-young Miss? Juvia?" They all giggled at her shock, even Marina. "S-she does well. And you, ma'am?"
"I do well, too, Young Miss. And my name is Moxie, there's no need to be 'ma'am'-ing little old me."
"Good to see you all," Marina said, taking off her coat with one arm, still holding Juvia. Another servant assisted her, taking it away to clean and dry. "If you don't mind, could you tell Monroe to prepare dinner? I'm going to show my granddaughter around. Please go back to work, dears."
Marina guided Juvia around, feeling joy at the little girl's wonder. For eleven years she'd been dirt poor, living in a shack on the outskirts of a tiny little town. Now, she would be a princess living in a castle. How would she adjust?
Juvia thought that the living rooms were beautiful, and marveled at the gigantic library. The dining room was spectacular, filled with fancy dinnerware and cutlery, and the big table in it was polished and sparkled. The music room caught her eye. So did the greenhouse and the outdoor gardens. The servants quarters were very, very nice, nicely furnished, and the people in them were nice as well. They said they liked the rain. It helped the plants a lot.
"Finally, the place I've been waiting to show you," Marina said when they came back from the servants quarters. "Your nice, big room."
A room could be big?
Oh yes, it certainly could. Juvia's room was on the third floor of the mansion, and Marina insisted on covering the little blue eyes when she opened the door. The room was half the size of her old house. The floors were dark, hardwood, and covered with a cream colored rug. The walls were blue-green, much like the ocean, and the curtains covering the tall window that opened up to a balcony were light, sea mist gray. There was a table near the corner, with a tea set set atop it, and there were shelves lined with books… And stuffed animals. The bed was large and white, very fluffy looking, covered with gray-blue comforters. A gray canopy roofed it, and a pink throw sat at the edge of the bed.
Filled with nothing but amazement, Juvia released her gran's hand and stepped in, slowly observing every thing, hugging each stuffed animal, looking at all the book covers. She poured hot tea into one of the cups, amazed and giggling, then ran over to the bed, where she lunged on it, rolling around, wrinkling it all with naught a care.
"Is it all Juvia's, Gran?" she asked, suddenly sitting straight up. "Is it, is it?" The rain pelted the windows, but she didn't care.
Marina smiled, wiping away a tear before Juvia could see it. "Yes, yes it is."
Juvia stood up, ran back over. "Well, what about school?"
The woman rubbed her head. "I'll call tutors. You don't have to go back to that nasty place ever again."
Juvia looked puzzled. "Work? Daniel and Father always made me clean and do chores for them."
"Unless you want to, you don't have to."
"What about… what about the rain?" Juvia looked sad. "Won't people get sick of me, call me gloomy?"
"The people here are plenty nice, little love. And I'll take you around once in a while, give the area a break and sunshine."
Juvia smiled. Marina smiled back. The little girl had the most wonderful smile.
"Juvia never imagined things would be like this."
Gran helped her get into the fancy clothes for dinner. Juvia was bewildered by the design and feel of the clothing, never having seen something so fancy in her life, much less worn it. The dress was blue and almost touched the ground, and it was patterned up the front with white overlapping circles. Gran didn't make her wear shoes, for which Juvia was grateful. Her feet hurt from walking, and she didn't want shoes.
A few times, the little girl could feel her grandmother's calloused hands running over scars from beatings. Juvia told her it was okay, that it was all over since she was with her. Marina smiled at that, said yes, yes it was. Things would be okay as long as she was with Gran.
Juvia sat next to her grandmother at the head of the table, blinking at the warm, steaming bread. A maid cut her a slice, spread some butter on it. While they waited for the main course, Marina told Juvia about proper table manners when you were a "princess," but unless people were over, she didn't have to use them a whole lot. She told her about which utensil was for what, and that under no circumstances was she to slouch at the table.
Juvia stirred the soup, eyes doubtful. "What is this?" she asked, tilting her head so her oddly curled hair bounced.
"It's seafood stew," Gran answered, blowing on a spoonful. "Eat it up, it's good. Lots of protein. There's clams and tuna and shrimp, and a whole bunch of good greens."
Juvia looked confused. "I don't think I've ever had that before."
She fell in love at first bite and had three more bowlfuls before dessert. Marina simply watched her with adoration, remembering Ariel when she was a little girl, sitting in a slightly smaller house, eating the same stew, one innocent little child without fear, like all the others.
Juvia would make a good princess, she was sure.