Sting shifted nervously from his spot at the table, glancing over at Rogue every few seconds. Yukino had ended up talking to him anyways, and he seemed to like her, so he agreed to come to breakfast. He even made small talk with Yukino and Erza. He would not, however, talk to Sting. He wouldn’t so much as glance in his direction.
Sting didn’t get it. Dad and Erza had grounded him and taken his game console away. AND he said sorry. Why was Rogue still mad at him?
“…And I think you’ll really like it at our school. You’ll be in the same grade as me and Sting!”
Rogue’s face scrunched up for a moment, before he nodded slowly. “Yeah…yeah, that sounds nice.”
Sting slumped in his chair, staring down at his bowl of oatmeal. He didn’t even like oatmeal. It was slimy and yucky. Maybe he just would wait for lunch…he could wait. He had been taught by his Dad- his FIRST Dad, that sometimes you had to wait for a good thing. If that was true, maybe he just had to wait to see if Rogue would be his friend.
He would wait. He could be patient. If it meant Rogue would be his friend and not be mad at him, he’d wait for infinity.
He DID wait for infinity. Or at least that’s what it felt like. And might as well have been.
Four years. FOUR years went by before Rogue was even halfway nice to Sting. Four whole years.
Man, that kid sure could hold a grudge.
Even with all the time they spent in school together, around the same people, in the same classes, even with the vacations Erza and Jellal took them on, even with all of that, Rogue still made no attempt to be friends with Sting.
He was used to it by now. It was kind of their thing. Rogue did his own thing, Sting stayed out of his way.
“Yo, Sting!” Natsu, his best friend, ran up to him, ignoring the teacher that sent him a death glare for running through the halls.
“Hey, Natsu.” Sting sent him a half smile, pulling his books out of his locker.
Natsu frowned, poking his arm. “Why the long face? You look pissed.”
“School, that girl who keeps sending me weird looks, Rogue. The list goes on.”
“Rogue? Why Rogue? Don’t you two have a ‘no talking’ policy?”
“…Yeah. Kinda. We only ever talk when we have no alternative.”
“So what are ya stressin’ over? Wait- did he actually TALK to you?!”
“What? No! It’s just…there’s no telling how long we’re gonna be living with Erza and Jellal…it’ll kinda suck if he hates me FOREVER.”
“Sometimes you just have to live with it. Take my…even calling it a ‘relationship’ makes me cringe…’acquaintanceship’ with Ice Princess, for instance. We hate each others guts and even though life may be EASIER if, god forbid, we were ever friends, that’s not how it is. We fight. We talk shit about each other. Life goes on.”
“Yeah, and that works just fine, for you two. You two don’t have to see each other every day. You two don’t live in the SAME HOUSE.”
Natsu shuddered. “Perish the thought.”
“Exactly. I can’t really handle this ‘we hate each other and move on’ thing 24/7.”
“Sorry dude, I can’t help ya with this one. You’ll just have to kiss and make up or get over it.”
Sting was about to answer, before he smacked right into someone in front of him, knocking both of them over.
“Shit, my bad- Rogue?”
Rogue sent him a glare, getting back to his feet and picking up his books. “Yeah. Your bad. Get the fuck out of my way.”
Sting glared back. “Dude, seriously? I apologized, what the fuck is your issue?”
“I said move.”
Sting clenched his fists, walking up and getting in Rogue’s face. “And if I don’t?”
“P-please…” Juvia, one of Rogue’s friends, piped up, grabbing Rogue’s arm. “Juvia does not wish for you two to fight…”
“Yeah, dude, back off.” Natsu sent Sting a warning look, before turning to Rogue. “Although, if a fight is in order, I am more than willing to pummel your emo ass into next week.”
Rogue scoffed at Natsu. “As if you could.” He turned back to Sting. “What, you gonna hit me? Go ahead. See how much Erza and Jellal like that.”
“Oh, what, you gonna cry?”
“I don’t have to. It’s not like they won’t figure it out. News travels fast here, and you know how Yukino is.” Rogue shook his head, shoving past Sting. “I don’t have time for this shit.”
Sting flipped him off as he went past, before turning back around. “Let’s just go…”
Natsu nodded, keeping a steady pace next to Sting. “Dude, what an ass. I bet he’s gonna go say something to Gajeel. Real rich, bringing a senior into this.”
“No, he won’t. You know as well as I do he won’t do that.”
“You never know. Why the fuck does Juvia even hang out with him? Sympathy?”
“He’s a friend of Gajeel’s. That automatically made him her friend as well.”
“Why does she hang out with GAJEEL?”
“I don’t know, something having to do with past bullshit. I honestly don’t care.”
The bell rang overhead, signaling it was time for the next class. Natsu shook his head. “Great. Time for math. See you after school?”
“Can’t. Tonight is game night at home. Erza’d be upset if I bailed.”
“Ya big softy.” Natsu teasingly punched him in the arm, before bounding off.
Sting sighed, shaking his head at Natsu’s antics, before heading off to his next class.
“What’s this I hear about a fight?”
Sting groaned, dropping his head onto the table. “Moooom…”
“Don’t start. You only call me Mom to get on my good side. You got into a fight? With who?”
“It was Rogue, and we didn’t actually fight…”
“Rogue? Again?” Jellal sighed, walking into the kitchen. “You two seriously need to drop that. It’s getting old.”
“It’s not like I don’t want to be his friend! He just is an Anti-Sting ray!”
Jellal chuckled, ruffling Sting’s hair. “You two will grow out of this eventually…hopefully.”
“Gee, Dad, what words of encouragement.”
“What kind of encouragement is needed?” Minerva dropped into a chair next to Sting.
“Jellal is trying to cheer me up and failing miserably.”
“Hey, give me credit for trying.”
Minerva frowned. “Why do you need cheering up?”
“Just bummed over this thing with Rogue, that’s all.”
“Seriously? You two have hated each other since you laid eyes on one another. What’s so upsetting about it now?”
“I’ve never NOT been upset about it! I just started getting used to it! Where is Rogue, anyways?”
“In his room. He seemed stressed when he got back so I figured he needed to be alone.”
Sting bit his lip. “I didn’t set him off, did I? Like, you know…really set him off?”
“Relax. Rogue’s fine. He doesn’t even have nightmares anymore.”
“Yeah, I know, but sometimes I forget he’s got that thing…he doesn’t act any different than anyone else.”
“And he shouldn’t be treated different than anyone else. He’s just like every other one of my beautiful children.”
“Ew, Erza, please.”
Erza chuckled, kissing the top of Minerva’s head. “You know you love it when I say stuff like that. Don’t try to deny it.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever.” Yukino came into the kitchen, smiling brightly. “Aw, did I miss the mush?”
“Yep, Yuki, you’re totally safe.”
Jellal ruffled her hair. “Don’t worry, kiddo, I’m sure there’s more for you.” he turned to Sting. “Would you go get Rogue for me?”
Sting sighed, getting up. “Yeah. Sure.” he trudged upstairs, knocking on the door to Rogue’s room. “Hey…Jellal wants you to come downstairs.”
Sting paused, expecting Rogue to make some snide remark that he could respond to with a jeer of his own, but it never came. He frowned, knocking again.
“Are you ignoring me? Dude, I’m sorry for what happened earlier, but you’re seriously overreacting…”
After knocking a few more times, Sting was beginning to get annoyed. He hesitated, trying to decide if it was really worth incurring Rogue’s wrath, before twisting the doorknob, shoving the door open.
“Dude, do you have your headphones on or some shit? Or are you just ignoring me- Rogue?”
Rogue was sitting in a corner of the room, hands clenched into fists in his hair and mumbling under his breath, rocking back and forth rhythmically. “…Shut up…just shut up…”
“H-hey…” Sting walked over slowly, crouching in front of Rogue, frowning. “Are you alright…?”
Rogue jumped, staring at Sting with wide eyes. “…What are you doing in here…?”
“I…you wouldn’t answer the door…are you okay?”
Rogue hesitated, before shaking his head violently. “N-no…it won’t leave…”
“…What won’t leave…?”
“Y-yeah…it’s…it’s dangerous…you should leave…”
“Rogue…there’s no one here. It’s just us.”
“N-no, Sting, you don’t understand…I don’t think you can see it…no one can.”
Sting bit his lip. At this point, he was highly considering getting Jellal or Erza…he didn’t know how he was supposed to handle this. Rogue may have had…three episodes? In the entire time that he had been there, and it was always after a nightmare and by that time Jellal and Erza had already rushed in to comfort him. This was the first time Sting had just walked in on one, and no one knew about it.
Suddenly Rogue stiffened, reaching out and grabbing Sting’s arm. “M-make it go away…”
“I…uh…” Sting wracked his brain for a solution. “…W-well…do you remember that time…when I asked for a cat? Erza was against it…but you actually agreed. You said you wanted one, too…”
Rogue nodded slowly. “Y-yeah…in the end, she still said no…but we managed to put up a good argument…”
“Jellal even jumped in to help us…Erza made him sleep on the couch that night.”
“We ended up sleeping in there, too. Jellal made popcorn and we watched movies with the volume super low so Erza wouldn’t come downstairs and catch us.”
“Yeah, that’s right. And we went shopping super early, right after the grocery store opened, and got stuff to make a strawberry cheesecake, her favorite. It looked a bit messy, but she loved it anyways and we got to eat it for breakfast.”
Rogue sighed, relaxing. “I…yeah. I remember that…I actually had fun.”
“We actually were getting along, too. Sure, we barely said to words to each other…but what we DID say wasn’t anything worth fighting over. We were actually able to be around each other for and extended period of time and stay in a good mood…”
Rogue gave Sting a…not quite a smile, but definitely a grateful look. “..Thank you. I mean it.”
“Yeah, sure, no problem…I’m just glad you didn’t completely freak out on me…”
A knock on the door caused both of them to jump. Jellal was standing in the doorway, a concerned look on his face. “Is everything alright? You’ve been up here for ten minutes…”
Sting nodded, getting to his feet. “Yeah, everything’s cool.” He sent Jellal a ‘We’ll talk about it later’ look before holding out a hand to help Rogue up, which he took, letting Sting pull him to his feet.
Erza frowned when they came downstairs. “There you are. You two weren’t fighting, were you?”
Sting opened his mouth to respond, but Rogue cut him off. “It’s fine. We weren’t fighting.”
Sting blinked in surprise. “Uh…yeah. We weren’t.”
“Alright…well, come on, sit down. Who’s up for a game of Monopoly?”
“What? How is that possible? You won like, every single game!”
“I’m telling ya son, you’re never gonna defeat the champion.”
Minerva rolled her eyes. “Yeah, yeah, so Jellal is the king of Monopoly. All hail the king. Rogue, where the hell did you learn to play Uno like that?”
Rogue shrugged. “I’d never played it before. I just learn quick.”
“I don’t believe it. No one learns to play Uno that quick. Tell me your secrets.”
“I..we didn’t play board games a lot at my place. I didn’t know what half of these games were until you guys started doing this game night thing.”
An alarm went off on Sting’s phone, and he grinned. “Sweet. Time to put this old-timey stuff away and play some REAL games! Anyone want to play GTA?”
“Son, never turn your back on a good board game.”
“Jellal, please. You sound like a grandpa.”
“Well, he IS an antique.”
“Erza! I can’t believe you’d say that about me!”
Minerva groaned. “Guys, quick, before they start getting mushy. I’ll grab my laptop, anyone who doesn’t want to run around stealing cars and shooting innocents can help me build a quiet kingdom for the chickens.”
Rogue chuckled. “Well, this is a hard decision. Stealing cars sounds lovely, but a kingdom for chickens? How can I pass that up?”
Sting gave Rogue a look of mock hurt. “Rogue! I can’t believe you’d abandon me for Minerva! Of ALL people!”
“Love you too, baby brother.”
Rogue shrugged. “Sorry. Chickens are better than cars.”
Sting stuck his tongue out. “You’ll regret that choice.”
“Maybe I will…” Rogue stared at him thoughtfully for a moment, before getting up and going to sit next to Minerva.
Sting blinked. What the hell was THAT supposed to mean? And why did it make him feel so…weird?
I absolutely love starting my morning off with a nice bowl of creamy oats and I have oatmeal for breakfast literally everyday, especially now since we are moving in to fall and it’s getting a bit colder🍂 so it nice to have a hot breakfast to keep me warm👌🏻