Obligatory Socialising

Oct. 10, 2016, Hellcat
908
2,120
Doesn't know
Male
Valhalir
Roman
Votum
Second Division
Captain
Azure Eagles
Krystal

Cyprian Valerius
Valhalir

Could it be that I fell apart, it shows; the lines on my face ate away my smile.
Earlier that morning, he'd spent a few hours drilling with the rest of the Nibantai, checking to make sure everything was in order with his little unit ( but they were generally rather good at managing themselves ), and then settled down to tackle this gigantic tower of paperwork sitting on his desk. Mind, he didn't usually get a lot; most of this was back-load, from some odd mission they'd done a few weeks ago, that Cyprian just hadn't felt the need to complete just yet. Typically, though, his Captain and Lieutenant, for whatever god awful reason, were pretty lenient with him and his ever-shifting moods. One moment he was fine, and the next he was murderous, and then other times, you got a random swing into intense depression. If he was guessing right, this was a quirky disorder the humans were calling bipolar, but to be fair, he wasn't sure. Half the time, he didn't bother considering the nuances of his temperament, but his division tended to expect it, and strangely, despite how rare it was that he was in a good mood, at least, good enough to do things, they didn't tend to push him much. Likely, the fact he'd decked the last one that pushed him too far, that might be a bit of a motivator to leave him alone. ... not that he suspected he'd manage a hit on Shihoin-Taichou anyway, but that was perhaps neither here nor there.

In any case, this mountain of paperwork had been on his desk for about two weeks, if he remembered right ( he did tend to lose time, so who knew ), and he was sure the Rokubantai would like to see it, and sometime this century might be nice. That was the plan, at least, until he ran into a note on his desk. Jaegerjaques, of course; why the hell the Lieutenant bothered him on a somewhat consistent basis, Cyprian would never really know. Yet, he wouldn't really recognise the feeling, but he did kind of appreciate having someone that bothered him; that used to be... well, that was thousands of years ago. Then again, Cyprian knew where he was, if he'd just bother to go say hi, or something. But what the hell did you say after two thousand years in very different positions than you'd been in the last you saw one another? Funny enough, it was even that guy that had thought to catch him before he fell off the cliff; he just wasn't fast enough, almost caught him, and Cyprianus slipped out of his grasp at the last second and fell anyway. But, he didn't entirely regret it. And he hadn't the slightest clue what to say to him, which left this; Grimmjow mother fuckin' Jaegerjaques bothering him for tea and... whatever else. Actually, the Arrancar could hold a conversation with a brick fucking wall, if he tried. This was a fortunate thing, given Cyprian hardly managed two word responses, on a good day.

Ah, but in a strange way, Cyprian wondered if that was why he was so insistent about bothering him. Thought he needed the company or something, and to be fair, he was right. Cyprian had determinedly kept to himself, didn't ever fall in love or even try, didn't even have friends, and while it was lonely, it was safe. Alone was safe, because then, nobody could hurt you. And this blue pain in the ass was aiming to end up in a position where he could. Cyprian wasn't sure how he felt about that; the company was nice, interacting with someone besides the freaking water dragon in his magic sword was nice, but, even this long after... frowning to himself. He debated just not going, but, knowing Jaegerjaques, he'd just come to his office and drag him out of it. And Shihoin-Taichou and Feng-Fukutaichou wouldn't even say anything, because they'd just be glad he was doing something besides working. Sighing, rather heavily, and he set the note back down, turned back around, and meandered back outside. There was no point in attempting to abstain when it came to Jaegerjaques anyway, so he may as well go and get it over with. The bright side was, Hellcat never made him stay very long, almost as if he could actually tell when Cyprian hit his social interaction limitation and deliberately did not push beyond it. It was kind of odd, to think the Arrancar even cared at all. Another red flag, of course, another reason to make him go away before he got too close.

Cyprian was the guy that all but burned the bridge, mostly out of fear of things going south, and not being able to stop it. If he ruined his relationships purposely, you see, he gained some semblance of control over it all. And it was probably the absolute worst way of going about it, but so far, it'd worked. He didn't have much more pain than he did back then, he didn't think. He hadn't suicided again, though the idea had crossed his mind, a few times, if only because oh he wanted to forget it all, everything. Though, admittedly, he was kind of glad he'd stuck around long enough to figure out where that house had ended up. Thetis was a Captain now, a fact that kind of gave him some semblance of pride, and he thought Dimitrios was, too. If he'd figured out which one was him properly, he was, at least. It was nice, to see them doing so well, here. At least their lives seemed to have gotten better, in some way.

A flash of bright cerulean caught his attention. Found him, at least. Cyprian didn't say anything, just shuffled over to the Arrancar, standing to the side of him. Grimmjow was such a ginormous hurricane, he'd do most of the talking and dragging Cyprian wherever he wanted to go all on his own.
855
575
July 31, 1441
Male
Diablo
French-German
Roi Panthere
Shieth Dawnreaver
Twelfth Division
Lieutenant
Jade Tigers
Ironscale Flight
Wingleader
Rider Council
Member
Pham Thanh

Gage Jordan
Diablo

Quit pissin' me off, I'm runnin' out of places to hide the bodies.
Cyprian hadn't been there, when Grimmjow went to go kidnap him (well, not that Grimmjow really did kidnapping, per se, it was more of a... very unyielding demand), so he'd left a note that he had plans later that involved him. Eventually, he'd get here. Grimmjow was still getting the hang of this whole patience thing, and if you asked him, it was more annoying than anything, but, it did get him places much quicker than other sorts of approaches. He wasn't doing particularly terribly with it, at least, and that was a definite bright side, even if it did seem foreign and entirely unlike himself. But then, as an Espada, and even long before that, he'd been a particularly... angry and frustrated guy, so perhaps his temperament was more of a circumstantial thing than a real personality trait.

Discovering who he actually was, in the eighteen years since the end of the Winter War, had been a bit of a journey unto itself. And truth be told, he still wasn't entirely sure of his place here in the Seireitei, either, but he found places to stick himself, if one could refer to it that way. He had a surprising number of friends, really only surprising because he hadn't really considered himself particularly personable or likeable, for that matter, but he managed to make friends with almost everyone he came across, if he worked at it long enough. Even this one, who really didn't make friends or interact with others in the least. Cyprian had been in the area since before the Goteijusantai even really existed, and despite being around for the Goteijusantai's founding, and staying long after it, he had made precisely zero friends. And perhaps it was just that he was biased, having lived, admittedly not entirely his fault, without friends or companionship for at least a few periods of his life here and there, Grimmjow didn't like seeing someone else live that way. Arrancar would see that sort of thing differently than Shinigami, because many of them were alone and had no choice but to be alone, but it was a... a... what was the word... sad. It was a sad thing. And if Grimmjow could help it, he wouldn't watch someone else purposely live that way, because that wasn't living.

Probably a strange mindset, especially for him, given his independent nature, but most Arrancar seemed to share it. He wasn't that strange for thinking that way.

The good news was, he didn't have to go track Cyprian down and drag him out of his office. Grimmjow wasn't opposed to it, mind, he'd done it many times before, and would in future, if he had to again. But, it seemed this time, the older Shinigami decided to join him of his own volition. "Bout time ya got here," he sounded more amused than anything. "I was gonna go track you down in a few minutes. I got some time to kill, so I was gonna go wanderin' around Rukongai, and doin' shit's always good for you anyway." He usually perked up a bit, after wandering for a while. Good thing, really, and Grimmjow tended to like the result, but Cyprian did have limits, and for all that he both did and did not care where those limits were, Grimmjow did try to stay on this side of them.
908
2,120
Doesn't know
Male
Valhalir
Roman
Votum
Second Division
Captain
Azure Eagles
Krystal

Cyprian Valerius
Valhalir

Could it be that I fell apart, it shows; the lines on my face ate away my smile.
... he wasn't that late, was he? Not that it mattered. Cyprian just rolled his eyes. Grimmjow was always like that, and somehow never managed to be particularly impatient, all the same. An interesting effect, to be sure, one Cyprian thought was both trying and interesting at the same time. It was curious to him, how he both liked and didn't like the Arrancar; he had a strikingly lacking aversion to speaking whatever was on his mind, and whatever came out was, as far as Cyprian could tell, what the other actually meant. He didn't even really have that annoying habit of only saying what he really thought when he was angry. The truths that came out when Grimmjow was irritated were the same truths you'd get even when he wasn't, and it was a trait Cyprian found he appreciated. Admittedly, he'd only spent a short few decades in Rome, but it was more than enough to sate whatever interest in mind games and political ploy he may have ever had, and it was unfortunately a common reality on the other side of the life and death binary. Too many, on this side, were also Roman, and played at the same games, and it was like that for many more hundreds of years, until the last of them finally died out. Why Cyprian didn't somewhere in there, he'd never know.

Still, the relatively consistent encounters with individuals just like they were back home, it made him greatly appreciate people that could fucking tell the truth. And the ones that tried to soften the harsh reality, he wasn't sure if they were better or worse, in some ways. Cyprian wasn't a stranger to the less than savoury sides of life; he'd spent a lot of his life, and some of his death, balls deep in it, he could deal with it just fine, and some part of him found it a little insulting that others might think otherwise. But then, it wasn't as if anyone really knew him. He wasn't even the guy that everyone knew of, but didn't really know personally; nobody really knew he existed at all, but Cyprian preferred it that way. Or at least, he thought he did. The more time he spent around this one, the more Cyprian wondered if that was the truth, or just something he'd told himself long enough it'd become as if the truth.

Ehh, Cyprian really wasn't in the mood to deal with an outing into Rukongai. On the other hand, arguing with Grimmjow was a fruitless, blood-pressure raising adventure, much like arguing with Lae- ... her, had been. How did he always end up friendly with the human tornadoes, anyway? That was a something to ponder. It wasn't like he jumped around screaming 'Send me a human tornado, I never want to be bored again!' -- but, it was true, he really never was. If it wasn't one it was the other, though, admittedly, he hadn't seen - ... her, for a while now. Then again, they hadn't seen each other for a long time on the other side; he died a few years before their little uprising against the Roman Republic, and then they of course established the Livian Empire after it, which, if he remembered right, lived on after Metella for several centuries. Now, though, the history books called it the Roman Empire, and later the Holy Roman Empire; idiots. And then of course, he heard about the Empire that had arisen out in Rukongai once upon a long time ago, when Rukongai was still only a small fraction of the Soul Society, not most of it. Something took it down, rather viciously, and their names were not heard again until nearly five hundred years later, when Metella probably cajoled and threatened her way into the Seireitei's upper management. Not that she didn't make a good leader; Metella always did. But he wasn't so sure of the legitimacy of her claim to the Ichibantai haori. Nor was he entirely sure she had nothing at all to do with the rather spectacular way Aizen revolted. ... he'd never say that, of course. Treason was a heavy crime.

Well, there was no sense in trying to argue. With that, Cyprian just shrugged. "I guess it is." He wouldn't really know, and thus didn't have the authority to really agree with that statement. He didn't pay much attention to himself. Some days, he couldn't even really hear Inori, and that was probably some kind of sad, right there. Also probably why, exactly, he'd never gotten Bankai, despite being more than powerful enough to handle it, or at least, he thought he was by now. It wasn't as if he wanted a Captain position, though, so it was just as well he didn't. He didn't much care for power, anyway; even as a young merchant, he could see, in himself, what power did to people, and it was better that he, so off his rocker as he was, didn't have any more of it.

"Anything in particular we're off to see, or are you really flying by the seat of your pants, here?" Not that the latter was rare for Grimmjow; actually, it was more common that he simply dived into whatever he was interested in without a second thought. On more than one occasion, the Arrancar had dragged Cyprian off for street racing with the big metal beasts humans had made... cars, he thought they were called, and wakeboarding. Boats had sure changed over the centuries. Now they growled.
855
575
July 31, 1441
Male
Diablo
French-German
Roi Panthere
Shieth Dawnreaver
Twelfth Division
Lieutenant
Jade Tigers
Ironscale Flight
Wingleader
Rider Council
Member
Pham Thanh

Gage Jordan
Diablo

Quit pissin' me off, I'm runnin' out of places to hide the bodies.
Probably, in some form of contradiction, Grimmjow had discovered what really kept his interest with this one was how he was so quiet. It wasn't that awkward blank quiet, it was a very loud quiet, that wanted to say all the things in the world, would need a dictionary to properly express all of what it wanted to say, and yet held it all back. And maybe the interest would end, if ever he got all that silence out of him, but Grimmjow really doubted it. He just wanted to know things. Maybe some ruining the faces of whoever made him this way, because someone always did. It was funny, and a little ironic, because most saw Hollows and Arrancar as terrible things, and yet people in general were terrible things; in some ways, it was worse with them, because they were supposed to be better, and sometimes, entirely surprisingly, were not. People were great, until they decided to be not so great any more. At least with a Hollow or an Arrancar, you could trust it to either run from you, or try and kill you. There usually wasn't an in-between; around here, things were a little different, and it was no longer unheard of for at least an Arrancar to try and be civil with you, but humans? Psh. Humans were dangerous and terrible. They could be so kind and friendly, and yet still carry a knife hiding behind their back, and when least you expected it, shove it right where it hurt because they knew where would.

And to be entirely honest, sometimes it made him want to go back to the sands. Where he knew who his enemies were, and who his friends were. Because there, there was no question of which ones to look out for and which weren't as dangerous. But he didn't want to be alone again, either. Alone was a dreadful thing to be. He kind of wondered, a little distantly, if Cyprian had just been alone so long, he had no idea how else to live. Lots of Arrancar were that way; there were more in the Seireitei, once, nearly two decades ago now, when Metella first came into her position as Sotaichou. And one by one, many of them eventually went back to the sands, some incapable of adjusting to the rules, and others incapable of accepting that they weren't alone any more, and still others more befuddled and quite frankly probably terrified and disgusted by the many varying ways in which humans and Shinigami alike ripped each other to shreds, but they were the bad ones. It was a very glaring double-standard.

"It is." A firm statement, because yes, getting out was good for him, even if Cyprian didn't realise it exactly. Or perhaps he was afraid of admitting it, to some extent, lest he actually find he wanted to go places and socialise. There were limits, anyway. There always had been with him, and Grimmjow would push right up until nearly the edge, and then back off. Cyprian eventually came around again, and the cycle started over. But it got him at least one person that wouldn't give up on him; Grimmjow was like that. He didn't give up on anything, anyway, and this apparently was no exception. "I have somewhere in mind. I can't promise you'll much care for the idea, but I hope you find some at least vague enjoyment in it." He'd kind of outdone himself, this time, but he didn't mind that. Cyprian could use someone outdoing themselves on him once in a while, and damn it, apparently it was going to be the pissy panther they called Hellcat. ... and he wasn't really called that for no reason, so this was probably entirely out of left field for him. ... it was stupid. Grimmjow was stupid, and this would go up in flames and that'd be that, but nobody could say he didn't try, by the end.

He'd picked a pretty quiet place, though it was still more upper scale. Not entirely high-class, but not down on the bottom rung, either. He'd even made certain they were assured some privacy, because Cyprian definitely didn't do large crowds, and there was a nice relatively expensive bottle of wine for him. Enough he could take it home if he wanted, because hell, why not. "Shouldn't take long to get there, it's not far from the gates." A slight nod, in the direction they should be going, moving to head that way. He didn't want to start off without making sure Cyprian was following, of course. Sometimes the guy liked to randomly disappear on him.
908
2,120
Doesn't know
Male
Valhalir
Roman
Votum
Second Division
Captain
Azure Eagles
Krystal

Cyprian Valerius
Valhalir

Could it be that I fell apart, it shows; the lines on my face ate away my smile.
... well, that boded well. To be fair, Jaegerjaques never really had anything particularly horrible in mind, just, different than Cyprian was used to, that was all. The other was far more active than Cyprian himself was, and always had something up his sleeve; Cyprian was happy just reading a book and lounging around on his ass. One would, about here, start wondering exactly how they got along, given they were such polar opposites, and to be entirely fair about it, Cyprian wondered, too. By most typical Cyprian-standards, he should really hate Grimmjow's insane energy levels, and how it was so hard to say no to him. But most of the time, it was oddly endearing, and he still blamed La- ... her, for that. Otherwise, he imagined it'd be annoying. But, Jaegerjaques did still have a very oddly keen sense of where Cyprian's limits were, and it still managed to surprise him that the blue pain in the ass ever bothered to stay on this side of them. Grimmjow struck him more as the type that really wouldn't care, under normal circumstances.

Perhaps that made him somehow special. An odd thought, to be sure. Why the hell would the guy care all that much? Then again, Sa - ... he did too, and for the life of him, two thousand years later, and Cyprian still didn't understand why. It was probably some kind of sad. All these years later, and he still only really understood anger. And even that he didn't entirely understand; one couldn't really call him very angry. Cyprian had a temper, sure, but he tended to have a cold rage rather than a hot one, and even then, he was more liable to decide it wasn't worth the effort. Because it wasn't. Cyprian didn't care about a whole lot of anything, these days. He was warming up to the idea of giving some small sliver of a fuck about this one, at least. Besides, Grimmjow wasn't a really bad guy, just rather rough around the edges and he had little patience for stupidity. Something, really, they could agree on.

"I probably will," he shrugged. Again, Grimmjow never had anything particularly terrible in mind, for these little excursions, and sometimes, when the stars aligned just right, he almost looked forward to them. If nothing else, though, it was just a trip out to Rukongai. It wasn't like he didn't wander that way a lot on his own. He had a miniature business to run, after all. More of a charity thing, because he still enjoyed glass-working when he had the chance, and some people out there just weren't fortunate enough to have access to the simplest of things. So, he made them, and whatever they could part with, that's what he accepted, rather than having set prices on everything. Sometimes he got someone that lied about what they had and didn't, but for the most part, everyone that came by was just glad he was there at all, and were pretty honest with him. He hadn't been out that way recently, more occupied doing other things. Finally got around to reading the Discworld series.

Well, that left going, then. Sighing a bit, but Cyprian did move to follow. He said he'd come along, at least in his head, and he could humour the blue cat, at least. They'd been at this whole thing for about a year or so now, and Grimmjow hadn't dragged him into anything terrible thus far, he'd just go with the idea he probably wouldn't at all, then. Besides, Cyprian was pretty sure, if he decided to nut-shot him, it'd probably hurt and make his point very well.
855
575
July 31, 1441
Male
Diablo
French-German
Roi Panthere
Shieth Dawnreaver
Twelfth Division
Lieutenant
Jade Tigers
Ironscale Flight
Wingleader
Rider Council
Member
Pham Thanh

Gage Jordan
Diablo

Quit pissin' me off, I'm runnin' out of places to hide the bodies.
Waiting, for Cyprian to decide what he was doing. It was a never-ending internal debate with him, and essentially everything Grimmjow talked him into, the other had quite mixed feelings on it. But, he was at least good at going along with it eventually, even if everything going on with his body language screamed he didn't want to. Cyprian never wanted to, and call the Arrancar optimistic, but he kept hoping that someday, that would change. He kept hoping that, one day, it wouldn't take half a minute of internal arguing with himself to decide to go. That maybe he may eventually even want to go. That thought was really what kept Grimmjow going, in the end, kept him dragging Cyprian off in spite of, or probably more accurately, because of, his disinterest in going.

He was hoping, somewhere amid all this, Cyprian would learn how to live again.

But he realised, perhaps in ways most were incapable of realising, that it was hard to relearn that. Once you stopped, once you threw up the walls and had spent so long going through life on auto-pilot, it was hard to shift back out of it, to do more than just survive. And it was a sad thing, that someone somewhere at some time, had pushed Cyprian to this point. Maybe it was a conglomeration of many different people, but, really, Grimmjow watched him and how he interacted with others, how unstable his moods were, and sometimes he wondered how it was that Cyprian wasn't a Hollow. Because in his heart, that was what he was. Missing something, and maybe completely unaware of what was missing.

Grimmjow couldn't pretend he could make it right. He couldn't fix it, he probably wasn't even important enough to the Shinigami to make a dent. But he did understand, because at one time, Grimmjow had been him. Albeit, not as extreme, but, still. Close enough that, Grimmjow mostly knew what to do.

He thought about reaching over and holding his hand, but decided it was a better idea not to go there. Grimmjow was a very touchy person; physical contact helped solidify presences in his head, make it all more real and tangible, so he knew he wasn't dreaming and there were seriously other people there. But something told him, Cyprian really wasn't, and may not very much appreciate the gesture. "I meant to do this earlier, honestly, but I kept gettin' busy." Well, in his defence, Cyprian was probably a pretty busy guy, too. Nibantai and the Onmitsukido, they didn't exactly sit around on their laurels all day, though they worked so quietly, many would think they did. Grimmjow knew better, if only because he'd seen what they did all day a few times. He was friends with Mini-Fukutaichou, of a sort, and wandered over that way from time to time.

Truthfully, he may have ended up in Nibantai, if someone didn't ship him to Ukitake-Taichou first. He may not have minded that all that much, but Grimmjow was a very free spirit. Having to conform to a lot of rules and protocols probably would have driven him half crazy eventually.

Turning a corner, just past the edge of district 1, and there it was. Making his way over there, and because he was strange, holding the door for Cyprian, before approaching the front desk. "I have a reservation for two, should be under Jaegerjaques," for the host.
Said host didn't seem to quite believe him, but did apparently find it, pull a couple menus off the desk, and gesture for them to follow. Just as he'd asked, they'd reserved a far table, toward the back patio, tucked to the side where no one was liable to bother them. Ahh... pulling an orchid out of his uniform and setting it in the empty vase on the table, and then having a seat.
"Do you want to order drinks now, or do you need a moment?"
"Green tea, please, and you just get whatever you want, don't fuss about the price tags today." Given several things on the menu came out upwards of 10,000 Kan, yeah, he may well do some squinting. "Oh, I did also put in an early order of a bottle of Chateau Margaux, so just make sure that's not forgotten." That was a freaking 110,000 Kan bottle of wine. "The wine's for you, you can have the whole bottle if you want." It wasn't like Grimmjow was a wine guy. He tended toward... you know, rum.
908
2,120
Doesn't know
Male
Valhalir
Roman
Votum
Second Division
Captain
Azure Eagles
Krystal

Cyprian Valerius
Valhalir

Could it be that I fell apart, it shows; the lines on my face ate away my smile.
The walk wasn't terrible. It was almost more exercise than he was used to, any more, but apparently wherever they were going wasn't terribly far out, and the silence wasn't awkward, along the way. Actually, it was kind of comfortable. Grimmjow was one of the few he could be around, absolutely silent, and not have it feel awkward. He wasn't sure what that meant - probably that Grimmjow had gotten a bit closer than he'd thought in the last few years - yet, strangely, it didn't entirely set off Cyprian's alarm bells. There was some minor internal panicking, if only because Cyprian didn't typically let people this close, but it wasn't near so strong as it usually was. Maybe Cyprian didn't think he loved the guy.

But he could, if he let himself. If he stopped putting walls in the Lieutenant's way, and let him where he decided to go. Asking Cyprian to let someone in again, though. Well, that was something of a tall order. Cyprian both did and did not mind, how little those walls he always threw up, the icy demeanour, never seemed to faze the Arrancar. If anything, perhaps it all only served to make him more determined to get through it. Cyprian wasn't afraid of much, but the small, insignificant thread of Cyprianus that miraculously hadn't died off yet, it was afraid of Grimmjow. He'd never admit it. He wasn't sure if anyone would really understand what he meant.

A glance up at Grimmjow, and Cyprian shrugged. "It's fine." Both of them got busy, really. It kind of came with the territory of being in the Goteijusantai. Cyprian was often busy, more because he threw himself into his work, than because he really was busy, but Grimmjow was a Lieutenant. Sure, Cyprian led a unit, but there wasn't much to lead, anyway. Essentially, he just made sure no one killed anyone else. That was a relatively simple task. Often, he didn't even have to leave his desk in order to manage it. Most of his unit weren't afraid of him (though, sometimes, they should be, but that was a slightly different story), they were just wary enough of him not to cross any lines. It was fortunate, probably, as Cyprian didn't have much patience for people testing him.

Ah, another fancy restaurant. Quite a bit fancier than the last ones, he noted, eyeing the stucco and brick walls, wrought iron and glass chandeliers, the marble entryway. Why on earth Grimmjow insisted on going out once in a while, Cyprian never understood, but this was a new level of what the... They'd never gone anywhere this expensive looking before. For a second, Cyprian actually kind of worried about whether or not Grimmjow could afford this, but, then again, he stayed in the barracks, and didn't seem to spend his Kan on anything, so, perhaps he could, after some saving. It didn't really make Cyprian feel better. Mostly because, he had no idea why Grimmjow kept insisting on this. He'd be far more happy at home, on the couch.

Maybe he should say that...

Following, of course, frowning just a hair, but he kept his peace. Ah- Chateau Margaux? Like any good Roman, Cyprian had been keeping up with the newest wineries, and that was likely to be a very expensive bottle of wine, depending on if he'd gotten a vintage or not. "I- you know what, the wine, just bring the wine and that'll be enough for me." Cyprian couldn't entirely help the slight staring, as he slowly settled down in the seat across from the other. At least he'd been considerate enough to get them a table out of the way. Waiting until the host had gone away.

"You... not that I don't appreciate it, I probably ignore the hunger too much anyway, but you know you don't have to do things like this, right?" He was just making sure. Because sometimes, Cyprian wasn't so sure he did know that. Cyprian was honestly just happy to be around him at all. When that had happened, the Roman couldn't tell you, but it was there. Somehow, Grimmjow's mere presence had started making the colours a little brighter and the sky a little clearer.
855
575
July 31, 1441
Male
Diablo
French-German
Roi Panthere
Shieth Dawnreaver
Twelfth Division
Lieutenant
Jade Tigers
Ironscale Flight
Wingleader
Rider Council
Member
Pham Thanh

Gage Jordan
Diablo

Quit pissin' me off, I'm runnin' out of places to hide the bodies.
Of course Cyprian looked very confused. This was fancier than normal, as technically speaking, Grimmjow didn't actually make enough to do these lavish outings on a regular basis, but today was a special day. The Arrancar hadn't expected Cyprian to remember - sometimes, he seemed to be not entirely aware they were dating in the first place, but, some of the things the Shinigami said made him think Cyprian might just pre-date the concept of dating to begin with. It was a relatively new concept, so it wasn't hard to pre-date it. Technically, Grimmjow did, too.

He wasn't disappointed Cyprian didn't seem to get the significance. It meant something to Grimmjow, that was all that really mattered. Mostly, yay, he managed to make it through another year without Cyprian getting annoyed with him! That actually seemed to be a feat, in a sense. He didn't seem to keep people around very long.

"I know," Grimmjow answered. "But, today's kind of a special day. I wanted to celebrate. Remember when I did this last year?" He may not. Back then, it seemed Cyprian paid very minimal attention to him, anyway. Grimmjow didn't take it personal; that was how Cyprian defended himself, or more accurately, how he tried to defend himself. Grimmjow couldn't attest to it working or not. Certainly, it hadn't worked on him. Rather the opposite, actually, as that mess of walls was part of what had attracted Grimmjow to him in the first place. It wasn't a sympathy thing, it just. Grimmjow thought he could use a friend, and for that matter, back then, so could he. And you know, if you asked Grimmjow why he even cared about Cyprian, he couldn't tell you. He had no earthly idea. Honestly, he probably shouldn't, if not outright dislike him, but somehow, for some reason, he'd become one of the most important people in Grimmjow's life now.

"It's called an anniversary," Grimmjow explained. "We've been dating for two years, now. To be honest, I'm surprised I've lasted this long." He sounded amused, more than anything. "We don't have to stay long, if you don't want to." Sometimes, Cyprian just wasn't in the mood. And it wasn't really his fault, it was just how things panned out. Grimmjow was okay with that. Well, no, he wasn't okay with his moods being so unstable, because he imagined that was extremely frustrating for him to have to deal with constantly. Grimmjow could stand a few bad days. He just hoped he made them a little easier, somehow. Because that was what he hoped he did in general. That he wasn't another complication, that he managed to make Cyprian's life a little easier, made the weight a little lighter.

He had no idea if he was doing that, but, he didn't have any real way of knowing, either. Unless he asked, but, that seemed a strange thing to ask. Maybe someday.
908
2,120
Doesn't know
Male
Valhalir
Roman
Votum
Second Division
Captain
Azure Eagles
Krystal

Cyprian Valerius
Valhalir

Could it be that I fell apart, it shows; the lines on my face ate away my smile.
Was it a special day? It was any other day, Cyprian thought. Just another day, like the one before, and tomorrow would be basically the same, too. He had a hard time imagining there was something different. He did remember people had a thing nowadays about celebrating their birthday, but Cyprian had no idea when his birthday was, and, actually, come to think of it, he had no idea when Grimmjow's was, either. Maybe it was his? Why on earth Grimmjow would want to celebrate his birthday with Cyprian of all people, he couldn't quite grasp, that seemed unlikely for some reason, but, most things he did with him seemed unlikely.

Cyprian's confusion wasn't much alleviated by the explanation, either. Anniversary. Dating. He'd heard the words before, most had. What kept him confused was, he had no real idea what either meant. If he remembered correctly, an anniversary was some sort of a marker of the passage of time, sort of like a birthday, just for something else. He wasn't in the know about what all an anniversary was typically tracked for, but he did at least understand that. Obviously this was an anniversary tracking their "dating," but he wasn't really sure what dating was. He didn't want to look stupid and ask, either.

Then, of course, Grimmjow had never really judged him for, uh, anything, actually. Maybe it wouldn't hurt. The last thing Grimmjow said, though, sort of threw him off. Obviously, this was important to Grimmjow, at least, for some reason, and yet, he was willing to cut it short, if Cyprian wanted him to. His eyebrows had drawn together slightly, something of a confused and stunned expression on his face, more like he wasn't sure what to do with this. Cyprian leaned back in his seat, putting his hands together and tapping one thumb against the other. Nervous fidgeting, probably, not that Cyprian would recognise it out of hand.

He couldn't explain the feeling. It wasn't something he'd really felt before. Once, maybe something similar had cropped up, in dealings with Thetis, maybe even Lae - her - but he couldn't quite put a name to it, until now. It didn't feel exactly like the feeling he'd gotten from Thetis and her, but it was similar. It hurt, slightly. Cyprian released a slow breath. He just figured out why Grimmjow had lasted this long.

For the first time in a very long time, Cyprian loved someone. That was kind of scary, in its own way. Everything about Grimmjow really was, not because he was a legitimately scary person, but more because of the ease of which Grimmjow had eventually scooted right past all his walls, and now they were celebrating their two year dating anniversary, whatever that was. But, if Grimmjow was going to hurt him, he would have done it by now. He was definitely not patient enough to keep up a game this long. It really struck him, honestly, as he thought about it, that never once did Grimmjow ever even touch him without Cyprian's permission. He wasn't in this just for sex, either, then. Actually, they'd never even had sex to begin with. So what did he want? Cyprian really doubted Grimmjow honestly felt the same way. Nobody even liked Cyprian. He was an ass-hole.

He tilted his head to the side, more thinking, than anything. "Ah. What's... that mean, exactly? Dating, I mean. I'm not um. I never learned what that meant." More because he'd never really cared, but apparently he'd been doing it for two years, he should figure out what it meant.
855
575
July 31, 1441
Male
Diablo
French-German
Roi Panthere
Shieth Dawnreaver
Twelfth Division
Lieutenant
Jade Tigers
Ironscale Flight
Wingleader
Rider Council
Member
Pham Thanh

Gage Jordan
Diablo

Quit pissin' me off, I'm runnin' out of places to hide the bodies.
Now, was this a good confusion that had settled across Cyprian's features, or was it a bad one? That was never really something Grimmjow had gotten accustomed to puzzling out. Cyprian rarely showed emotion to begin with, and Grimmjow had gotten used to that, but not the emotions he did decide to show. He was still working on sorting those out, and maybe it'd be a while before he managed to. Strange as it was, Grimmjow didn't mind having to wait, getting pieces a little at a time, because he knew Cyprian couldn't handle rushing into stuff like this. Besides that, in Grimmjow's mind, he was worth it. You know, he never did figure out when that'd happened. He was curious, now.

By some miracle, Cyprian hadn't ever really shoved him away. He'd pushed, here and there, more out of an automatic defence instinct, Grimmjow thought, but he'd never really meant it. Cyprian was the type that screamed at you to go away and leave him alone, and yet in the same breath, begged you not to go. Normally, Grimmjow wouldn't have the patience for that. He blamed Shieth, really, for turning him into a person instead of a pawn, for showing him that some battles were fought very differently on very different fields. He still questioned sometimes how he'd gotten this far, how they were celebrating two years now, but Grimmjow had asked the same question when they'd celebrated their one year. Albeit, Cyprian hadn't been terribly interested in that one. Actually, Grimmjow thought he'd been dissociating the entire time, now that he knew what the fuck dissociation was.

Yeah, he'd asked Yonbantai a lot of awkward questions about mental illnesses and varying other things. He'd never said why, because if Cyprian was flying under the radar and passing as mostly normal, then that was good. Nobody needed to really know what really went on in his head, because in the Seireitei, there was no help for that. You either were a Shinigami, or you were in the Maggot's Nest. Maybe he'd bring that up to Metella. Maybe some of them down there could function decently well, if they were cared for instead of just tossed in a cell and forgotten. That wasn't a future he wanted for Cyprian. Honestly, it wasn't really a future he wanted for anyone, because it was a piss poor way of repaying them for all the time and work and blood they'd poured into keeping the Goteijusantai running.

Ah. He was right. Hmm, he had to figure out how to explain it without sounding patronising. Or amused, that was also maybe not a good thing to sound like he was. "Well, you'd probably be more accustomed to the idea of people getting married because it's... convenient, or useful somehow, or just because they need to have kids or whatever, right? Eventually that whole arranged marriage thing died off, nobody can tell you who to marry anymore nowadays. So the concept of dating kind of came from that. You didn't have to like who you married back then, but now everyone thinks you should. Dating is a period of getting to know each other, like um. Making sure you like the same things and maybe there's some intimacy in-between, but it's usually not like. Married intimacy. It's testing the waters type. Some move in together eventually. Some don't. Anymore, some have kids together, too. And then if you do like each other, then many of them get married. Others don't. It's whatever."  A short pause and Grimmjow added, "I don't know that we're ready for getting married, though, don't worry. It's fine like this." Wasn't it? It was to him.

If Cyprian thought otherwise, maybe that was a conversation they ought to have, sooner or later, but for now, Grimmjow was fine like this. Almost happy, even, because now he actually had Cyprian instead of just that heavily spaced-out visage of him. And he was right. He did really care about him.
908
2,120
Doesn't know
Male
Valhalir
Roman
Votum
Second Division
Captain
Azure Eagles
Krystal

Cyprian Valerius
Valhalir

Could it be that I fell apart, it shows; the lines on my face ate away my smile.
Gage was apparently going to explain this to him. You know, most didn't figure Gage Jordan of all people in Valhalla to be even remotely patient, but in Cyprian's experience, he really was. Probably, he was one of the most patient people Cyprian had ever met, and that kind of said something, as he'd met quite a few rather patient people, the first of which was Thetis. He should talk to them, probably. In some sense, he kind of missed them, and yet he also thought it was better this way, that he left them alone. They hadn't talked to him, so far, either, and they knew where he was. He had a very similar name - his surname was Sandalio's, for fuck's sake. In the same thought, he realised it was entirely possible they were waiting for him, because he never really did like being bothered.

Anyway, at the moment, apparently, he was celebrating a dating anniversary. It was almost strange, that he decided to explain it, but Cyprian seemed to know Gage better than that. He hadn't expected him not to, for some reason. How had he done this? How had Cyprian done this, what did he do to deserve someone like Gage? Cyprian never really did question whether the Diablo really did care about him or not - mind you, he never did understand why he seemed to, but he didn't question that he did - because Gage showed it in the oddest, most unexpected and oft rather blunt ways. At least he'd explained it in a way Cyprian could almost sort of understand. They had a word for that, now, apparently, and it was 'dating'. That must be where the terms boyfriend and girlfriend came from, because they'd only really picked up in common vocabulary usage in more recent years, right around when dating had become a common vocabulary word. Where Cyprian was from, dating was figuring out when something was made.

Courting, seemed to be a similar term for what dating was, except it wasn't quite right either, because if you courted someone, usually you talked to their father. Not that Cyprian really thought Gage and his father would get along. ... actually, Gage might've murdered his father. Cyprian almost did, on many an occasion, and Aemilius wasn't the sort that'd get along with someone like Gage. That meant something, didn't it. He knew it did, a long time ago, he had no cute little misconceptions about the sort of man his father was. As much as he used to, he didn't blame his mother, any more, for leaving. If he could've left, he would've. Would he have? Maybe.

Probably not, one of the voices whispered; he thought it was Gallus. No. Maybe he wouldn't have. He had nowhere else to go, but then, perhaps living on the street would've been better than the hell he'd lived through in that house.
Andreas and Dimitrios, Gallus reminded him. No. He wouldn't have left, then. If he hadn't, then it would've been the twins or Thetis that took the brunt of Aemilius' abuse, and as much as he regretted it, no he didn't.

Dating was short-hand for a committed romantic relationship. Why? Why was Gage still here, after two years? It wasn't like Cyprian had been terribly inviting. Probably, he'd been rather the opposite. Cyprian was the worst, in so many ways, he pushed people away, he begged them not to go, he couldn't decide what he wanted, he changed his mind on a whim, he was angry and then he was sad and then he was on cloud nine. How and why did Gage tolerate him? What did he see in him that made him want to stay? Cyprian couldn't question that much - Gage wanted to be here, because if he didn't, he wouldn't be, that was as complicated as it got with the Diablo. He wanted to be with him.

Why? Cyprian didn't understand, he didn't understand, he didn't understand.

His vision blurred, and Cyprian ducked his head, looking down at his lap. What was that, that odd feeling in his chest? It was almost like something was squeezing his heart, and it seemed to be making - he was crying. When was the last time Cyprian cried? His hands came up, pressing against the bridge of his nose. "M'sorry, I don't - for explaining, thank you -" That was not very rhetorically graceful, but he didn't think Gage would mind it, much.
855
575
July 31, 1441
Male
Diablo
French-German
Roi Panthere
Shieth Dawnreaver
Twelfth Division
Lieutenant
Jade Tigers
Ironscale Flight
Wingleader
Rider Council
Member
Pham Thanh

Gage Jordan
Diablo

Quit pissin' me off, I'm runnin' out of places to hide the bodies.
Well, the gears in his head seemed to be turning, at least. It was a good start, boded kind of well. Cyprian still seemed a bit confused, but it was the sort of confusion that was more because he didn't really understand the core concept, not the words. At some point, Gage had started being able to tell the two apart, and it was likely a rather good thing, because he didn't try re-explaining the same thing in different words, in situations it wouldn't actually help to reword anything.

Nothing really prepared him for that, though. It took him a second or two, to figure out those were tears, and Cyprian was legitimately crying over there, but once he connected those dots, he sort of froze for another few seconds. What was - how did he do that? What did he do in this situation, he wasn't accustomed to Cyprian doing anything besides staring somewhat blankly, and now he was crying. And why, what'd Gage say? Obviously it was something he said, or maybe it was just something that popped into Cyprian's head because of something Gage said, but either way, it was his fault. Crap. That wasn't what he meant to do.

Naturally, right about then, the server came back with their drinks, setting a wine glass and the wine bottle down, and a cup of tea. "I don't suppose -"
"Ten minutes," Gage interrupted, standing and moving around the table to kneel beside Cyprian's chair.
"Ten minutes," the server repeated, wandering off.
"I'm sorry, what'd I say? I didn't mean to upset you, Cyprian, I'm sorry, really, really sorry, are -" ... that seemed like a stupid question. Are you okay, yeah, he was just fucking peachy. Sure thing. "I'm so sorry. ... can I hug you?" He didn't think just outright hugging him would be a good idea; Cyprian had weird, seemingly random ticks, and Gage didn't want to set him off worse. At least Cyprian wasn't crying hard enough anyone else had noticed, or if they had, they were minding their business.

Shit, shit shit shit, shit, good job Gage, shit, fuck, shit. Shit, apparently he needed to watch his words better, but he really wasn't sure what it was that had set him off. All he'd done was explain what dating was... so it was more likely to be something Cyprian thought of, on his own, perhaps some extrapolation or thinking about something related. That happened, sometimes, Gage was mostly used to that, but it'd never made him cry before, and that wasn't the effect Gage was going for, here. Shit. Fuck. Shit. Good job. Real good goin', you made him cry, fuck.
908
2,120
Doesn't know
Male
Valhalir
Roman
Votum
Second Division
Captain
Azure Eagles
Krystal

Cyprian Valerius
Valhalir

Could it be that I fell apart, it shows; the lines on my face ate away my smile.
Somewhat dimly, Cyprian registered Gage had moved, and was talking to someone else, for just a moment. Interestingly, it wasn't the words that registered, vaguely snapped him out of the edges of dissociating he'd started slipping into, it was the panic in Gage's voice. Sorry? What was he sorry for? That seemed really silly, given it wasn't really Gage's fault, it technically was his own. Admittedly, he probably wouldn't have thought down that pathway if Gage hadn't explained that yes, he did intend to stay, if nothing else, Cyprian understood that part, but it was - it was. What was it? Was it good? Was it a good thing he was upset? He wasn't upset. That wasn't what that feeling was, what was it?

Happiness, Bellona answered. Yes, happiness. Albeit, it was very confused happiness, but it was still happiness, that meant the tears, they were happy tears, and that was a good thing - was it a good thing? No, really, if Cyprian was being honest about it, it was a sad thing, that's what it was. It was sad that this was making him cry, and he registered that, somewhat distantly, as his brain was still trying to dissociate. Apparently, it didn't like being happy any more than it liked being upset, yet by this point, any intense emotion was probably too jarring for it to be able to handle.

"No, you didn't upset me," Cyprian half-spluttered. He wasn't sure how to explain it, without it sounding rather awkward, and he didn't try. Instead, he shifted in his seat, and threw his arms around Gage, and clung. There was his answer to whether or not he could hug him, apparently. Words were presently being relatively elusive things, anyway, and he didn't want to sound like an idiot. Ah, it still wasn't as if Gage had ever judged him too harshly when he did happen to sound like an idiot, for some reason, but the instinct was the same. At least happy tears were apparently relatively quiet, for him. He sniffled occasionally, but it wasn't terribly attention grabbing.

He didn't want to be here. Well, no, he did, because Gage was here, and he wanted to be where Gage was, but - he should say that. Cyprian should just tell him that, because Gage was good, and sometimes he did seem like he could read his mind, but he knew that wasn't a talent the Diablo had. "Can we go home?" he asked. "It's fine, if it's just me and you in a living room somewhere, it doesn't have to be fancy, Gage, I just wanna be where you are. The rest of this is just extraneous side notes and sometimes grating. It's fine if it's just us. I mean I guess a fancy restaurant's a nice thing sometimes but it's you that's the important part." At least, he thought so? Maybe for some people, the fancy restaurant was more important, but Cyprian had stopped living in excess a long time ago. It was a good thing, that he'd let go of all of that, but ultimately he'd never really clung to it too hard to begin with.

"Maybe some other time, we can come back, and you'll let me help pay for it, but right now, I just want you." These dating anniversary things seemed like they'd be somewhat private, anyway, so maybe it was better if it was just them. Besides, Cyprian didn't really want to embarrass either of them, by getting randomly emotional, like he was doing right now, in a way that couldn't very easily be hidden and swept under the rug. He didn't want Gage to regret taking him places. ... he didn't want himself to regret Gage taking him places.
855
575
July 31, 1441
Male
Diablo
French-German
Roi Panthere
Shieth Dawnreaver
Twelfth Division
Lieutenant
Jade Tigers
Ironscale Flight
Wingleader
Rider Council
Member
Pham Thanh

Gage Jordan
Diablo

Quit pissin' me off, I'm runnin' out of places to hide the bodies.
He'd have to take Cyprian's word for it. It wasn't like Gage knew any better, because really, he didn't. Sometimes he faulted himself that, being unable to read Cyprian's mind, because he should be accustomed to his unspoken tells much better by this point. Enough to make heads or tails of what was going through his head. Admittedly, this was new, so perhaps he did have an excuse, of a form, even if he didn't feel like being nice enough to himself to accept it. He was probably just being unfair to himself in this situation, and should probably just knock that off. Later, he could be unfair to himself later, but right now, Cyprian seemed to be having a minor melt-down on him, and they couldn't the both of them freak out at once. ... well, they could, but that wouldn't be very productive.

Instead of answering, Cyprian decided to hug him. Gage could deal with that, shifting a bit so he didn't need to use the table to stay upright, and loosely wrapped his arms around Cyprian. He was waiting, for the most part. Eventually, either Cyprian would go back to what they were doing, or he'd decide he was done. Either way, Gage didn't terribly mind. It was whatever Cyprian wanted. He'd sat through their entire one year anniversary, probably only half there in his head, but he'd still done it, and Gage could do whatever Cyprian wanted for their two year. That sounded fair to him. And maybe for their three year, they'd do something they both wanted to do. ... if Gage lasted three years, but he seemed to be doing well, and the odds were in his favour.

Can they go - ... Gage wasn't expecting that. Wait. He probably looked like someone had just smacked him in the face with a two by four, because that wasn't - Cyprian had just said he wanted something. Sort of, at least, it was kind of roundabout and indirect, but it was there all the same. "I wasn't going to let you help pay for it, you know," he said first. "I mean, I dragged you out here, right?" It didn't seem fair to drag him off somewhere, and then let him pay for it, even if they split the bill.

"If we were going anywhere, though... you'd um. You'd have to let go. ... I can carry you out, but I don't think you want me to." Cyprian didn't seem the type that'd take that very well. He did feel a bit bad for skipping out already, but at least they hadn't ordered anything yet. Except Cyprian's bottle of wine and his tea, and he could probably down at least half of that before they left. Or he could leave it for whichever server decided they wanted it - it was just going to be thrown out, anyway, most likely. Sanitation regulations and all of that.
908
2,120
Doesn't know
Male
Valhalir
Roman
Votum
Second Division
Captain
Azure Eagles
Krystal

Cyprian Valerius
Valhalir

Could it be that I fell apart, it shows; the lines on my face ate away my smile.
That wasn't really the point? Hmm. Maybe it was. It wasn't like Cyprian knew how these things worked, all he really knew was that this place was relatively expensive, and sure, maybe Gage had some money put away for this - which, incidentally, the thought of it just made Cyprian even more fidgety about it - but he knew what Lieutenants made in a month. Places like this blew threw months of Lieutenant salary in a few orders. Just the bottle of wine probably cost him at least two months' worth of his income, and Gage was okay with this? Cyprian wasn't. Between the two of them, it would be a lot less financially painful, and it wasn't like Cyprian did anything besides have random mood swings and bipolar state flips.

"Yes, but it'd be easier with us both dealing with costs." He didn't point out he had a pretty good idea of what, exactly, Gage made in a month. Gage worked a lot of overtime, to be fair, or at least more overtime than most, so he probably made more than that, but that wasn't really the point. Gage kept saying their relationship was about both of them, and Cyprian wasn't entirely alright with only one of them shouldering the financial burden, especially since Cyprian had money to burn, anyway.

Right. Yeah, he supposed he would have to let go. He didn't really want to, though. It might be a little difficult to do things if he had a Cyprian-cling-on, so that was fair at least. Well, he could go back to clinging later. With that decided, Cyprian sniffled one last time, reached around Gage's neck to deal with the tears, and then let go. "Guess so. ... I wouldn't entirely mind you carrying me out, but it might be kind of awkward." He was keeping this bottle of wine, though. "Sorry, I don't - I mean I didn't really want to cut it so short, but -" ... he had no idea how to explain what was in his head. What was in his head? Cyprian didn't really know, or maybe he did, and just didn't have the words to explain it. Gage was usually relatively patient when he had no words for what he wanted to say, but that didn't mean he should be.

He still didn't understand why Gage was still here. Two years, apparently, though Cyprian thought they'd been talking for longer than that. His concept of time was entirely too warped, as he lost large chunks of it here and there. Most of what he remembered and could make some semblance of sense of were little pinpricks of momentary flashes of events, that came and went just as quick. He always remembered them, but they only lasted a short few seconds of time, little snatches here and there of the life he'd mostly forgotten, like tiny sparkles on a black satin sheet. If the light caught them just the right way, they shimmered for that split second, and then stopped. It was frustrating, but, Cyprian knew enough about how the mind worked to recognise that it was probably for the best.

"If you want to at least finish your tea first, that's, I can wait." Cyprian just thought he'd mention that.