The Other Parent
It was about half a year later when Jellal met Erza's mother, Lady Evergreen Raijinshu; the occasion having been the green-dressed woman had been escorting her younger brothers, the Head of the Raijinshu clan, Lord Fried (a world-class flirt rumored to have a huge harem full of sexy women), and the younger Baron Bixlow (an arrogant scholar who despised loud, disruptive noises), to the king's court to discuss matters of foreign policy and national security along their borders with the southern nation of Arbers. Jellal knew this because Erza had told him so and he and Erza had been walking down the corridor when the Raijinshu trio has passed them, Lady Evergreen barely acknowledging her own daughter, but bowing before the prince (her brothers following her example) while Erza had bowed her head as they passed. Only when they were far enough away did she raise her head again and stare after them before feeling another's intense gaze on her and turned to look at Jellal. His green eyes were looking at her questioningly.
Erza only sighed and shook her head. "Not everyone has mothers that care for their children," she offered by way of explanation, hoping that he would just let it go.
"I know that not all marriages are happy," Jellal said quietly. She knew he spoke from personal experience, "But mothers should still love their children."
He was so naïve, but she couldn't blame him. Jellal knew nothing of fatherly affection. All his attempts to please his father always seemed to fall short of the king's expectations and Ultear didn't even have a father to speak of. Even Lady Ur, as scary as she knew her friend thought her to be, had her super-motherly moments (that Jellal had also been privy to witnessing). The idea of a mother not loving her offspring was too foreign a concept for him.
"They should, Jellal," she admitted, trying to ignore the pang of envy that she felt for her royal friend, "but that's not the way the world works. My mother was the daughter of the leader of a group of people trying to rebel against Edolas, and the second-in-command too. My father defeated them, but it had been difficult. He executed her father and I guess he admired her skill in battle which is not common for noble women, mind you, and so he gave her an ultimatum. Either she marry him or her brothers, who were indirectly supporting her cause by supplying provisions, would face the same fate as their father. She chose the former. That is all."
Before he could even begin, they heard footsteps walking towards them in the direction they were headed and it wasn't long before they saw Ultear turn the corner. Her head was bowed, her cheeks were puffy, and she was wiping her eyes like she'd been crying. It seemed she hadn't noticed them because when she did, she gasped and took an involuntary step backwards.
"Y-You two...!" she stammered, looking extremely guilty about something.
"Ultear, what's wrong?" Jellal asked before Erza could get a word in as he moved to the older girl's side, "Why are you crying?"
"It's... It's nothing..." Ultear said finally.
"Tears are not shed for 'nothing'," Erza told her bluntly, but not harshly. Jellal was learning to recognize the difference in her voice between harsh and gentle. "I don't care all that much, it's your business, but Jellal isn't gonna stop pestering you until you tell."
"Hey!" said prince protested.
Ultear looked at the redhead funny. She sounded like she spoke from experience. She probably had. When the brunette looked at Jellal again, the concern he held for her in his green eyes made her want to cry again. "It's just..." she began, twining her fingers around the white fabric of her dress, "It's just that today... It's the day that Dad left Mom," she finished quietly.
Both of their eyes widened in shock. They had just assumed that her dad had died. They hadn't realized he'd chosen to leave her mother. It explained why Lady Ur had looked so sad at breakfast this morning. Erza clenched her hand into a fist angrily as she pictured herself punching this no-good father in the face for abandoning his family and making her friend cry like this, as Ultear once again fell into tearful hysterics. That was when two arms wrapped around them, one arm for each girl and they were pulled into a three-way embrace by none other than their dear friend Jellal, their prince, the heir apparent.
"I'm sorry..." he mumbled quietly into their ears and they both gaped at him. What in Edolas was he apologizing for? "I'm sorry that you have a rotten father, Ultear. I'm sorry that your mother doesn't care for you like she should, Erza. I'm sorry, but it'll be okay. I'll be here for you if they won't."
Ultear sniffled once before she clung even tighter to Jellal, sobbing heavily into his left shoulder while Erza wanted to smack him upside the head. How could he say things like that? It wasn't fair. She wanted to tell him that too, but she couldn't. Jellal didn't exactly have the best relationship with his father any more than they did with one of their parents, but she couldn't say anything. His father was the king. To speak out against him would be heresy. So she kept her mouth shut even though she wanted to scream in frustration, and she hugged him tighter. She suddenly felt tears against her right cheek, but her eyes were dry. Confused, Erza pulled away slightly and saw that Jellal was crying! The tears were slipping from his right eye and cascading over the elaborate red tattoo patterned across the right side of his face.
"J-Jellal! Why are you crying!" Erza demanded and to her dismay, Jellal gave her a feeble, apologetic smile.
"Because you won't cry, Erza, I'm crying for you," he explained.
Once again, within a span of less than five minutes, Erza wanted to smack him.
I decided to post this up today as a reward to myself for having completed all of my final exams! XD And it features some angsty sorta-not-quite-Mystwalker (but only because they're still kids. :P) lol, I seem to have a theme going on here. In Earthland Fairy Tail, most everyone is parentless and in my version of Edolas, a lot of the hierarchy children have one rotten parent. Yeah, I know, I fail. ^^'