TRIGGER WARNING (DOES NOT APPLY FOR MOST OF THE CHAPTER, ONLY THE END): (ACCIDENTAL) SELF-HARM, IMPLIED CHILD ABUSE!
It was a normal morning for Rock, having a cold shower before going for a jog and then sitting on the couch…except they heard a scream when they sat on the couch. They jolted around to see Caelian, lying on the couch, looking up at them.
"Who's there?" Cal asked, sitting upright from the shock of being sat on. Rock didn't reply, going non-verbal from the shock.
"ROSE! I THINK THERE'S SOMEONE IN YOUR HOUSE!" Cal yelled, trying to get Rose's attention as he believed Rock was a robber.
"What? Oh, that's Rock." Rose stared down from the stairs. She was already awake from the moment Cal screamed.
"Oh. Rock, you could've just told me you were there." Cal commented. He clicked his fingers a few times and Cyprus, who was sleeping on the floor, woke up.
"Your scream made me non-verbal. Anyway, what are you doing here?" Rock sat down on the couch on the opposite side of where Cal was sitting.
"I was going to spend the night at Rebecca's, but she broke up with me. I would've gone home but Sun already has enough of a hard time getting to sleep. Plus, I noticed your OT was there, so I didn't want to disturb their…private time." Cal explained, feeling the movement of Rock sitting down beside him.
"How did you know Ori was there if you can't see?" Rock questioned, not being able to put two and two together.
"Well, I think a big giveaway was when I heard her go "You like that baby?" very loudly." Cal joked. Rock internally cringed, especially at Cal's ability to recreate Ori's voice.
"Oh. I'm going to have breakfast." Rock commented, getting up off the couch to go make themself some breakfast.
Rock secretly took out their phone in the kitchen. They opened their contacts and searched for Oriana's contact. They pressed the call button and held it to their ear.
"Hello? This is Oriana Phoenix speaking." A voice came from the other side of the line.
"Hey Ori, do happen to have a human-sized box anywhere?" Rock asked.
"A-what? Rock? What do you need a…human-sized box…for…exactly?" Oriana was seemingly confused with the morning drowsiness in her voice.
"Hiding." Rock answered. Before Oriana could ask anymore questions, Rock hung up as Rose entered the kitchen.
"Hey, sorry about that. He needed a place to stay so I offered him our couch. I hope you don't mind too much." She explained.
"I mean, you could've warned me. Do you know why Rebecca broke up with him anyway?" Rock grabbed two pieces of white bread and started buttering them.
"No clue. I'm not surprised to be honest. She thought I was into him." Rose chuckled, grabbing two pieces of white bread for herself, and spreading butter and jam on them. She made a sandwich and cut it into triangles.
"You're not?" Rock asked. It was strange to them how Rose was so willing to help him without being into him.
"Well, I like him as a friend. Romantically, there's someone else I like." Rose picked up her plate and moved to the table in the living room. Rock wanted to ask her who it was but chose to ignore it since she had started walking away and they didn't want to discuss it in front of Cal, just in case he was into her.
Rock continued about their day, not thinking about what happened that morning. That was until they saw a familiar patchy face on the benches during football practice.
"Rebecca, isn't it?" Rock asked, approaching the girl. They casually sat beside her, hoping to keep the conversation private.
"Oh yeah, you're Rock, right? Rose's roommate." Rebecca seemed pleased to see them.
"Yep, that's me. I heard about your break-up with Cal." Rock said, hoping to start some sort of conversation as well as get to the bottom of why they broke up.
"Ugh! I said we were on a break. Men never know the difference. Oh sorry, didn't mean to offend you with that. You wouldn't happen to be into girls by any chance, would you?" Rebecca adopted a slightly flirty tone near the end, which Rock wasn't able to pick up, not being used to it.
"I'm not a guy so…no offence taken? As for being attracted to girls, I'm actually attracted to people regardless of their gender." Rock thought it was weird that they were being asked about their sexuality but continued, thinking nothing of it.
"That's great. So, what would you think about dating me?" Rebecca asked, a wide grin on her face.
"Uh…that's not how my attraction works actually." Rock scratched their cheek, not sure how to explain the other side of their sexuality.
"Oh, come on. I'm trying to make Cal jealous, so he'll come back to me." Rebecca begged, trying to get Rock on her side.
"I'm not going to date you to make Cal jealous. Besides, why would I date someone I'm not even attracted to?" Rock's voice continued to be monotone, despite the stress they were going through mentally.
"I thought you said you were into girls." Rebecca teased, trying to get a reaction out of Rock.
Rock sighed "Just because I'm into people of your gender, doesn't mean I'm into YOU!". They walked away before the situation escalated anymore, to avoid making a scene in front of the rest of the football team.
Rock got home that evening and immediately collapsed on the couch. Rebecca has definitely drained their social battery and they needed a recharge before dealing with…
"Hey Rock!" …her
"Ori dropped off this giant box for you. She also searched the house "in case there was a body" which was kinda weird but I'm sure we're good. So, how was your day?" Rose was as cheerful as she always was. Exhausted, Rock could only raise a thumbs-up in response.
The rest of the night went on and Rock very slowly recharged their social battery. Once they were somewhat charged, which was around dinner, they decided to talk to Rose about Rebecca.
"I met Rebecca today." Rock started, talking a forkful of macaroni and cheese.
"Oh. How is she?" Rose asked. She was actually glad that Rock had spoken to Rebecca, since she had been dealing with Cal's side of things.
"She wanted to date me." Rock said bluntly.
Rose swallowed something in her throat before a small "Oh" came out. Rock thought her swallowing was weird seeing as she hadn't been chewing anything beforehand but said nothing.
"What did you say back?" Rock took a moment to consider their relationship with Rose before answering that question.
"Can I tell you something private?" Rock asked, placing their fork on the table. Rose could feel the seriousness of the situation, despite Rock's emotionless face.
"Yeah sure, I can keep a secret. I mean, there's plenty you don't know about me." Rose said, putting a bit of pizza in her mouth to keep her stimulated while listening to Rock.
"I'm…I've never told anyone this before but…" Rock felt a soft hand touch theirs and stopped themself in shock, not knowing what to do.
"It's fine. You don't have to tell me if you don't-" Rose was about to continue but Rock suddenly blurted out "I'm demipansexual."
Rose had a mental error popup message before processing what Rock had just said.
"Oh, so you're like a mix of pan and demi." She smiled energetically. Rock was relieved that Rose knew what they were talking about.
"Yeah, I am. I'm surprised you know what it is."
"I mean, I used to think I was pan but like, there's so many labels that say, "I like all genders" that I can't pick one, so I just don't label myself."
"Oh cool." Rock then just continued eating their dinner.
"So, you're not going to date Rebecca?" Rose questioned. Rock nodded in response; their social battery was recharging again.
"Cool. Also, I need to tell you my dad's coming over next week." Rock nearly spat out their macaroni and cheese in response to this sudden news.
"Your dad's coming over? For how long?" Rock asked, confused.
"He's gonna be here for about two weeks. He lives back in Sweden, so he booked a flight here for two weeks. I hope you don't mind." Rose realized that she never really asked Rock about her dad staying over for two weeks.
"Well, it's just him, right? Your mom's not coming too, is she?"
"Oh, I don't have a mom, so it'll just be us, Ori, and my dad. Is that okay with you?"
"Yeah, that's fine. I look forward to meeting him." Rock finished their macaroni and cheese and walked away. Rose breathed a sigh of relief. She was glad she didn't have to call her dad to inform him that he had to book a hotel for the two weeks he was going to be there.
Rock lay in their bed staring up at the ceiling that night. They wanted to sleep so badly but couldn't. Was it the anticipation of meeting Rose's dad? Or maybe it was something else.
Rock couldn't stop thinking about their own father after hearing about Rose's dad. They thought about everything he did to them. It got to the point where Rock started having physical pain in their scar – the one on their face, across their nose bridge. They started scratching at it, trying to make the pain go away, only to cut their face with one of their long fingernails and start bleeding.
Rock grimaced in pain as they walked down the stairs to the bathroom. They covered the scratch with their hand as they moved across the living room and into the bathroom. They looked at themself in the mirror. There was blood on their hand and running down their cheek. Surely, they could sleep like this. The bedsheets and pillowcase were black, so it's not like anyone would notice if they slept like this.
"Rock?" a voice called out as Rock stared at themself. Rock looked to the side of the mirror, not making direct eye contact, to see a sleepy Rose in the bathroom with them.
"What are you doing up?"
"I heard you going down the stairs. It's not really like you to get up in the middle of night to pee, so I thought I'd check on- YOUR FACE!" Rose yelped when she saw that Rock was bleeding from their cheek.
"Oh, that's nothing."
"Here." Rose pulled something out of one of the drawers and grabbed a small stepping stool she usually used to grab towels from the shelves. She stood on the stool as Rock felt something sticky across their face where they had cut themself.
Rock turned back to the mirror to see that Rose had stuck a plaster on their face. It was a small and pink with red tulips on it. Obviously made for children but Rock liked it regardless. They went to thank her but when they turned around Rose had already gone back to bed. Rock stood there for a while in shock but eventually smiled at what just happened before heading back to their bed.