Part 2 of We Are Young

Drabble collection of side-stories, outtakes and photo edits from ‘We Are Young’. Friendship-centric with some ships on the side.

Teen (13+)
Chapters: 13
Words: 20,500

We Are Young: Sidestories

Chapter 2
Cooking Lessons


Juvia and Natsu helping poor Elfman out.

Chapter Notes:

Set in the WAY-verse. Natsu and Juvia being adorable.

“I’m not wearing the apron that says ‘Love Gray-sama’.” Natsu declared when Juvia presented various frilly aprons for his and Elfman’s selection. “Do you have dragons?”

“No dragons, sadly.” Juvia answered, looking down at the other options. Then she blinked up at Natsu, head tilted to the side in curiosity. ‘It sounds interesting to make, though.’ She chose an apron other than the Love Gray-sama one and offered it to her friend. “Would Natsu-san like a dragon apron for Christmas?”

He gaped at her as he accepted the light blue raindrop-patterned apron. “YOU’RE AWESOME. Can you make it red?”

“Red apron or red dragon?”

“Red dragon.” Natsu answered quickly, already putting the raindrop apron on. “Like… Like Mushu.”

“Mushu apron. Okay!” Juvia nodded, pleased with herself. She was just wondering what to get for her friends for the holidays, and that was one off the list.

Then she turned towards Elfman, who stood awkwardly behind Natsu, looking out of place in her kitchen. He was usually a rowdy guy, she knew… but he said he was nervous about their little session this afternoon. She looked down at the apron options remaining in her arms and frowned. “I don’t think any of these will fit Elfman-san-… ah! Would you like to use Gajeel-kun’s apron?”

Elfman shrugged. “As long as he doesn’t mind.”

Natsu was already poking around the kitchen like he owned it, the frilly giant bow of his borrowed apron swinging behind him as he walked around, retrieving items he decided they’ll be needing and settling them on the kitchen island.

Juvia put the other aprons away before handing Elfman one more appropriate for his size.

Elfman accepted the item and looked at it blankly. “This is… Gajeel’s?”

Because it was blue with purple polka dots, and just as frilly as the rest of the others.

Natsu held back what would’ve been a cackle behind a cookbook he found by the counter.

Juvia didn’t notice this and simply nodded as she joined Natsu in the kitchen. “Yup, but don’t worry! Gajeel-kun never wears it because he never cooks. He won’t mind!”

“…Okay. Sure.” Elfman replied, shaking his internal screams of ‘THIS IS NOT MANLY’ as he simply put the apron on. By the time he finished, Juvia and Natsu were already standing together by the island and flipping through the cookbook, weighing in their options.

“This would be quick and easy…”

“Dontcha think it’s a bit too simple?”

“Ah, yes, we do need something more elegant. Something impressive.”

“But easy. How ’bout this one?”

“Oh, and this one, too. Then this for a side-dish…”

“Yeah we do need a side-dish, it’ll make it more fancy like.”

Elfman watched them, letting the scene soak in. See, he wanted to surprise Evergreen with a homemade meal for next dinner date. It was their anniversary, after all. He would have asked his big sister, but Mira had been really busy at the bar lately. He could have asked Freed, and would trust Freed to keep the secret, but it seemed risky, what with Ever just next door and the rest of the band popping up in Freed’s flat in random intervals like they also owned the place.

So he told Gray, because Gray was reliable like that. It came as no surprise when Gray told Elf to ask Natsu for help in this certain… challenge. Everyone knew that Natsu loved cooking, and that he was good at it. Juvia, however… That was Natsu’s call. Elfman was never really close with Juvia. She was Gray’s girlfriend, and well-loved by their other mutual friends, but Elfman never really talked to her all that much. So it came as a surprise when Natsu told Elfman they’re going to Juvia’s place instead of his own.

‘She knows how to make all those fancy dishes. I mean, I know how, but Juvia’s a better teacher.’

‘Okay, but… are you sure it’s fine? You’ve asked her, right?’

Natsu has taken his phone out, tapped a few times, and then showed the screen to his friend with a grin.

[ “hey juvia”]
[ “elfman wants to surprise evergreen”]
[ “he’s gonna cook for her but he sucks at it so can we come over?”]

[ “Of course! Juvia will be delighted!”]

“That was fast.” Elfman had remarked. “I didn’t know you two were close.”

“We’re cooking buddies!”


“Well. Actually. I spent a couple days tryina get her to let me prank Gray by putting hot sauce in his lunch. She won’t let me, but we talked a lot about cooking. And now we’re cooking buddies.”

They sure looked like it, Elfman thought to himself now, and was cut off when they called out to him, having chosen their top picks from the cookbook. They shuffled over to make space for him in between them as they explained the dishes to him. Their choices looked great, all things considered. Elfman still isn’t entirely sure what he was getting himself into, really. There are lots of things that can go wrong. Even if Natsu and Juvia manage to help him through this session, what if he messes it up when he does it by himself? What if he manages, but it tastes awful?! What if—

“Earth to Elfman Strauss? Dude? Do you copy?”

Then Elfman realized that his two instructors were both looking up at him, Natsu in confusion, Juvia in worry.

So Elfman laughed nervously and for lack of anything else to do, picked up the cookbook laid out in front of him. “Ah, um. I just… what were you guys saying again? What’re we makin’?”

He blinked when Juvia laid a gentle hand on his arm and smiled. “Elfman-san, Juvia and Natsu-san want to make this a success no matter what.”

And then there was Natsu’s hand patting his back in additional reassurance. “Dontcha worry, man. We got you.”

“Evergreen-san will love what we’ll teach you to make.”

“…and we’re not stopping until you can make it yourself. How’s that?”

Elfman smiled at them, nodding gently, confidence building up, and he was in the middle of constructing a particularly sappy but very earnest speech of gratitude when the door opened and someone walked in.

Gajeel stared at them in bewilderment. “Okay, what kind of twilight zone shit did I step into. I have so many questions. What is this combination of people. What kind of weird ass cooking show is this.”

Natsu’s response was his cheerful grin — “Perfect timing, Gajeel!”

A few hours and several batches of cooked dishes later, Elfman stood nervously as the fruits of his (and Natsu’s and Juvia’s) labors were taste-tested.

“You… you guys. You guys should do this. Everyday.” — came from Gajeel, putting down his fork and sighing as he sat back, patting his stomach. “Right here. I don’t care if I get fat. ’Cause then I got fat with good food.”

“It’s delicious. You guys did a great job.” — came from Gray, who came over to check on them because he somehow felt responsible for any chaos that might happen. Miraculously though, everyone was in one piece.

“Holy fudge, if Evergreen doesn’t marry you for this, SHE IS WRONG. Because I would. I would marry you, Elf.” — that one was from Cana, who had tagged along with Gray when she heard the promise of free food.

“You can’t propose to everyone who cooks for you.” Gray said.

“I can and I will. Natsu cooked fried rice for me and the girls yesterday. I proposed to him.”

“She did.” Natsu piped up.

“You turned me down.” Cana sniffed.

Natsu shrugged. “I said I’ll think about it. Lucy proposed to me too. Gotta weigh my options.”

Cana faked a sob as she pointed accusingly at Natsu. “She can give you money but I can give you happiness!”

They had to give it to Natsu when he pretended to wipe his invisible tears with the frilly apron he was wearing. “Happiness is for children who know nothing! What if I choose the money?! I have to think of my future!”

At this, Juvia chimed in. “Juvia has been cooking for Gray-sama for a year, when will Gray-sama propose?”

Everyone watched as Gray looked at his girlfriend with a face slowly filling with dread and horror. “I-… Err— I-…”

The girl’s voice lowered as she bowed her head miserably. “Is there something Juvia has somehow failed to do? What more does Gray-sama want?”

“Juvia, what are you talking about?!” Gray started, panicking, his hands flailing. “I-… I don’t-! I don’t want to— You did nothing wrong, I swear—”

Then Juvia looked up at him, giggling. “Gray-sama, you should see your face!”

Gray gaped, realized he had been played, blushed, and then whirled around to glare at Cana. “Did you teach her that?”

“What, how to mess with you?” Cana snorted, holding back her laughter at her best friend’s red face. “Nah, I bet she learned it by herself, it’s so easy.”

When Gray turned back towards Juvia again, the girl was already hiding behind Natsu, and they were both laughing at him. “You taught her that!”

“Aw, Gray-sama, don’t be mad~” Natsu mocked.

“Gray-sama is adorable!” Juvia added, peering over Natsu’s shoulder before hiding her giggling face again.

“Gods, I shouldn’t have let you two hang out.” Gray said, rubbing his temples. He watched as Natsu raised a hand for a high five and Juvia obliged cheerfully. It was the thing of his nightmares.

As Elfman watched all that unfold, he simply scratched his head.

“Your friends are crazy.” Gajeel told him. “But the food is great. I mean it, good luck.”

“Thanks.” Elfman grinned, this time accepting the compliment. He found that he was not worried at all. Not anymore.

He was right. The next day, everything went smoothly and perfectly, and he was rewarded with one of the biggest, most beautiful smiles in Evergreen’s face.

Chapter Notes:

It’s okay, Gray. Juvia still loves you. She’s just… learning… other ways… to show it. I mean. It could be worse.

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