You're Late

Oct. 20, 2016, Just so you know.
840
778
?
Male
Valhalir
Irish-Pakistani
Breacadh
Twelfth Division
Seat 03
Jade Tigers
Tian

Rory Owen
Valhalir
He would be late.

That was what Renji was good at, losing track of time and being late to things. Setsu didn't really mind it-he knew it was just his brother being his brother, and as much as it was irritating, it was nice to know some things hadn't changed. Renji was, in fact, still Renji, the world wasn't going to hell, there wasn't anything horrendously wrong, as in, wrong enough to make Renji of all people be on time for once. It was also possible, to be fair, that Renji was amid dealing with another one of Juichibantai's spectacular explosions. Naturally, Juichibantai were rather well-known for blowing things up. The melee combat division never really had much to do, and it showed-they got themselves into massive amounts of trouble to make up for it.

Setsu had momentarily considered joining Juichibantai, if only because that was where his brother was. It turned out, though, Setsu wasn't terribly talented at swordsmanship. He passed at it, of course, most Shinigami did, but he wasn't Juichibantai good at it. Actually, he had more talent at Hakuda than anything else, an odd talent considering his division choice, but he didn't really regret joining Jusanbantai, either. It was occasionally very slow, almost dull, some might say, Setsu was sure, but slow was much preferable to the entire division oft imploding. He didn't have the same taste for excitement and adrenaline as his elder brother did. Shoot, Setsu was probably one of the few that'd be quite happy in Rokubantai. Most couldn't handle the insane amounts of paperwork, but Setsu thought it'd be awfully calming.

He stood off to the side of a row of shops in district eight, on the north side, waiting. He and Renji had a lunch date, of a sort, something they did with relative consistency, as just a sort of sibling outing, catching up with each other, making sure they didn't fall out of touch with one another. Setsu would be relatively displeased if he and Renji did drift apart, given how long it'd been just them. Even after they'd joined the Goteijusantai, it'd remained still just them, in many ways, and quite honestly, Setsu would be a little bit lost without Renji and his graceless flailing at everything. Well, unfortunately, if Renji took too long, he'd have to go back to work, instead. Perhaps he should call his Invisor and see if he could still make it. He'd give him another five minutes, first, and then if Renji still hadn't gotten there, he'd call.

@Pham Thanh
810
785
August 31, 1231
Male
Valhalir
Irish-Pakistani
Eireaball Nathair
Tenth Division
Lieutenant
Ebony Lions
Pham Thanh

Ciaran Owen
Valhalir

I hate myself. Even as I bark at the moon, I don't have the courage to reach out and grab it.
It felt like the days were getting longer, somehow. Probably it was all perception, that rule of relativity thing he'd heard about before, and he knew it was really all just in his head. He both did and did not look forward to going home after work, because he knew it'd be much of the same thing. Iname was there, sure, but he wasn't really there, and maybe it didn't affect anyone harder than it'd hit Ciaran. He'd felt him pull away from him, a little every day, and now they were here. Ciaran didn't know what to do with this. Obviously, he'd asked about it, he'd made it obvious he'd listen if Iname wanted to talk, but Iname never did. Or maybe he did, just didn't know what to say, or how to say it, and left it there because it was easier. The latter kind of sounded more like him, but understanding it, knowing the hows and whys, really didn't make it easier to swallow.

God, if he was anyone else, Ciaran would've split a long time ago. But he was Iname. And Ciaran was Ciaran. And Iname needed Ciaran, and he knew it, and he couldn't just give up on him when he knew Iname needed him. But he couldn't keep watching him fall apart, either, and not being able to do anything about it. It was like watching something rhythmically tapping against glass, only just hard enough; he could see the glass breaking, saw it when the fragments fell off, but he couldn't reach the pieces to put them back. He was so tired of this. But he didn't know what else to do, either. He'd done his part. Iname hadn't done his.

Eventually, of course, Rohan had reached across their office and nudged his arm. He was supposed to be meeting Rory today, for lunch, and they could probably handle being a little bit late coming back, but not much. Ciaran shook his head, quickly finishing this one page, and then stood up, snagging his jacket off the back of his chair, and Blinked. It was faster that way. He always knew where his brother's Force was, so it didn't take him long to find him, shuffling up beside him. "Sorry, I'm probably late," he mentioned first. Well, Ciaran always was late, and sometimes, he wondered why Rory tolerated his lack of punctuality. It was getting even worse, these days, because he was too damned depressed to care about anything. It was a lot of hurt in there, and he had nowhere to put it, nothing to do with it, he just had to feel it, know it was there, and know it wouldn't go away. Because he'd done his part, and Iname hadn't done his.

"How's your day going?" That was usually a better thing to talk about. Rory'd eventually ask how his was, but in the meantime, Ciaran could pretend he was fine.
Horrendously, Nathair murred.
... yeah, pretty horrendously. He was getting better at hiding it from Iname, though.
And maybe you shouldn't...
... thanks Nathair. Maybe he shouldn't. Yeah, that'd go great.
840
778
?
Male
Valhalir
Irish-Pakistani
Breacadh
Twelfth Division
Seat 03
Jade Tigers
Tian

Rory Owen
Valhalir
Seriously, Ciaran, there weren't an infinite number of hours in a day. Sooner or later, it'd be pushing the limits of how late they could be coming out here before they'd be late going back. Rory had a rather sparkling-clean work record, thank you, he'd like to keep it. Still, he did want to see Ciaran for at least a little while, even if they didn't end up going to lunch. He could munch on something while he dealt with the switches-breaks were legally mandated by Commander Livian (Rory was not calling her Metella, no matter how much she insisted, even in his head), but he didn't actually have to eat on his lunch break. His Captain and Lieutenant were rather forgiving of that. If he had to guess, because they both knew he had a brother, and knew how depressed he was. Gage was Ciaran's best friend, even. They shared information between the two of them. There were things Ciaran would tell Gage that he wouldn't tell Rory, and vice versa, that were important. Or, they thought it was important.

Eventually, though, about when Breacadh started grumbling about finally being late back from a break, Ciaran wandered up. He looked like hell. Rory wouldn't tell him that, but, he did. Oh, sure, he looked fine, to anyone else. Most probably believed it, when he said he was fine, if they even thought to ask in the first place. Most probably wouldn't, because really, he did look fine, his hair was up in its usual ponytail, the usual half-amused expression on his face, his uniform was clean and neat. But the light in his eyes had dimmed. His uniform was too clean and neat, as if he'd gotten caught up in his own thoughts amid doing laundry and did it more meticulously and thoroughly than usual. Instead of looking half-amused, if you really looked at it, that expression looked... upset. Like he'd been thinking about something sad and most likely somewhat self-demeaning, in the way he didn't even have to reach for the words. The feeling was there, and that was all he needed.

Rory's jaw clenched, for a second, and he forced it to stop. He hated watching this. Rory and Iname weren't terribly close. Saying they were acquainted, even, might be somewhat pushing it, because after a point, Ciaran stopped really bringing them together, as much, and eventually, altogether, because he hadn't wanted to shove it in Iname's face that his brother was still around, and Iname's wasn't. Kaiou was a decent guy, it wasn't surprising even Ciaran felt some semblance of maybe indirect survivor's guilt over him. Rory thought he was being overcautious, but that was Ciaran, at least as far as Iname was concerned. Still, Rory and Iname weren't close, and sometimes, Rory didn't want that to be a different story. Ciaran was probably right-if they were, and Rory felt like he had more of a right to be blunt with him than he did, Iname may well not much like him.

At this point, Rory didn't care. Iname was practically destroying his brother by shoving him out so thoroughly, and Rory was getting real damn sick of watching it. Every time they met up like this, it was worse than it'd been the last time, and it was hard for him to remember it wasn't really his place to intervene. His nose did not in his brother's love-life belong, but dammit, this had to stop. Even if Ciaran hated him for it... this had to stop, and clearly, Iname wasn't going to wake up anytime soon and figure out what it was he was doing. Something had to give, something had to break, and he didn't want it to be his brother that shattered at the end. Maybe he had more of a right to meddle in this than he liked to think.

"Fine," he answered, somewhat stiffly. "You're not doing so hot. Iname, still?" Rory asked. It was toned as a question, but he really didn't mean it as one, because of course. What else would it be? It was more of a 'you can't pretend to save your ass, and I see right through it, anyway, don't bother' signal.
810
785
August 31, 1231
Male
Valhalir
Irish-Pakistani
Eireaball Nathair
Tenth Division
Lieutenant
Ebony Lions
Pham Thanh

Ciaran Owen
Valhalir

I hate myself. Even as I bark at the moon, I don't have the courage to reach out and grab it.
Ciaran loosed a sigh. It'd figure that was what Rory decided to say first. Normally, about here, he'd have all kinds of things to say, things that sounded just plausible enough to make Rory accept them, things that didn't immediately illicit a knee-jerk rejection, things that just might be the truth, but really weren't. At the moment, though, Ciaran was tired. He was tired of pretending, tired of sounding better than he felt, tired of lying. When had he become a liar, anyway? There were few things Ciaran did right, but he liked to think that was one of them. He prided himself in few things, but remaining within the boundaries of his own integrity, that was one of them. Perhaps the only thing he was proud of. And even that was fraying. Even that didn't serve him here.

"Why are we doing this again?" was what he answered with, instead of telling him, yes, it's about Iname. Of course it's about Iname, very little could get Ciaran quite this depressed. It was either Iname, or Rohan had beat the crap out of him in a sparring match, but Rohan hadn't been bothering him to spar in a while. Probably because Ciaran looked like he didn't give a damn about anything, anymore, and it wasn't far from the truth. He didn't. Mostly, Ciaran wanted to be left alone, to pretend he didn't have to care about anything, anyway, kind of wanted to build a blanket fort and ignore the world. It wouldn't help, of course. There'd still be this Iname-shaped hole in his heart, and no matter how many times he asked if Iname wanted to talk, asked what was wrong, what was on his mind, if he was okay, Iname always gave him the same damned answer. Like Ciaran hadn't seen through that a long ass time ago. Probably, he'd seen through it the first time he'd said it. And then he'd just kept saying it, like it worked, because Ciaran didn't push. Not Iname, at least. Anybody else, and he'd have pushed. Sometimes, he wondered why Iname was special, but he knew why. Ciaran didn't want to hurt him, even incidentally, but in trying not to hurt him, it seemed he did it, anyway.

He couldn't do this anymore. Gage was right. He knew it. He'd known it all along, he really had. He just kept hoping, maybe, that if he waited long enough, if he gave Iname time, he'd eventually figure it out, and they'd talk about it. Ciaran probably could have taken Nathair's advice, hell Gage said something similar, a few times, and just told Iname this shit, but he didn't ever think he'd have to. And why should he? Some part of him was sort of ticked off, that he had to point this out to him before Iname snapped out of it and figured out what he was doing. That the one thing that should be constant, had become really shaky, because Iname was an idiot and Ciaran wasn't far behind. That it'd gotten to this point, this point where he felt like he was alone, enough that he'd come onto Gage of all people, like that was going to fly. He had responded for a second or two, so it wasn't like he didn't like him back, but Ciaran knew how much Cyprian meant to the Diablo, he should've seen that coming. But shit, it wasn't like he could think around the pain all the time. Sometimes it was blinding. The world used to be vibrant, colourful, and alive, and now it was all washed out, grey, and it was hard to pick anything out. It wasn't surprising he'd missed that detail. It wasn't surprising he missed any detail.

"I'm not in the mood to fight with you today," Ciaran added. "Can we just, not talk about Iname this time? I got it anyway." Yeah, he got it. About as well as somebody had the ocean.
840
778
?
Male
Valhalir
Irish-Pakistani
Breacadh
Twelfth Division
Seat 03
Jade Tigers
Tian

Rory Owen
Valhalir
What did he mean, why were they doing this again? Ciaran wasn't-of course he wasn't admitting there was a problem, here, why would he do that? Sometimes, Rory worried about what else Ciaran let Iname get away with, merely because it was him. It may well be worse than Ciaran was admitting, worse than Rory was seeing, because unfortunately, Ciaran's concept of 'too far' might well not exist at all. He was sick of watching his brother fall apart, sick of watching him hurt, and sometimes, he almost wondered if it wouldn't have been better for him to have not made it out of the Blood Games alive, if this was what he was going to end up with. So instead of dying, it'd seem his brother was just supposed to crumble and fall apart in different ways.

Rory wasn't sure which was worse. Probably this. It could get better, but Iname wasn't exactly instilling Rory with confidence that he'd figure it out on his own, here. It'd been a hundred years, at least, and Ciaran broke a little more every day. He wasn't going to snap, he wasn't going to snap-Ciaran didn't need that, at least, and his first reaction was to fight it, when someone confronted him too aggressively, and Rory knew it. If only because he had the same knee-jerk response. He couldn't blame him. Ciaran had honestly been pushed around by life more or less since the day he was born, it probably shouldn't be surprising when he started pushing back.

"Then don't fight with me," Rory answered. "Tell me the truth. Tell yourself the truth. It's not getting better, and I don't know whether that's worse, or the fact you still won't accept it. Ciaran, you can't do this forever. And you shouldn't." This was getting ridiculous. And maybe Ciaran was accidentally enabling Iname, keeping things just normal enough that Iname could continue to ignore the giant problem in front of his face. At this point, both of them were hurting the other, and it wasn't getting anyone anywhere, except, perhaps, even worse off than they'd been before. Rory couldn't keep watching this. And he wouldn't, even if Ciaran hated him for it in the end.

He'd rather Ciaran hated him than he fell apart entirely.
810
785
August 31, 1231
Male
Valhalir
Irish-Pakistani
Eireaball Nathair
Tenth Division
Lieutenant
Ebony Lions
Pham Thanh

Ciaran Owen
Valhalir

I hate myself. Even as I bark at the moon, I don't have the courage to reach out and grab it.
Why wasn't Rory just dropping it? Because he was an Owen. And Rory had turned out a lot like Ciaran, probably because Ciaran basically raised him, both of them, really, so who else was Rory going to turn out like? Fuck. Ciaran had no one to blame for this but himself. If the roles were reversed, he'd probably be saying the same thing. It didn't make him feel any better. Actually, it made everything somehow so much worse, because when did Iname become someone Ciaran wouldn't be okay with his brother dating? And why? Gage could say it wasn't Ciaran's fault all he wanted, but he still felt like it was. Like he should have tried harder. Ciaran just didn't want to hurt him in trying to help, and... now they were here, and it felt like Ciaran had fucked up somewhere. Gage was probably right. It didn't stop it from feeling like it was his fault. He should've tried harder. He should've... he should've.

Maybe it didn't matter what he should've, because it was too goddamn late now.

Mayhaps, not as much, hmm? Nathair hissed. Ciaran just rolled his eyes.
"Gage said the same damned thing," he answered, shifting his weight in annoyance. That probably ought to tell him something, if both Rory and Gage were saying the same thing, but he didn't... "And I don't know what else you two expect me to do. What am I supposed to do? Hm? I can't just walk away from him. That's not something I'd decide to do, you know it, I know it, fuck, Gage has probably figured that out by now. Maybe I didn't say anything in words, but damn it Rory..." It really wasn't any of Rory's business, and yet it was. He couldn't really say it wasn't, because if nothing else, Rory was his brother. Ciaran never hid anything from him, or Damian for that matter. Anyone, really.

"Look. I know you don't get it and I'm not asking you to. But when I started dating Iname, I made him a promise, not with words, that no matter what happened, I'd still be here. Because god damn it, everybody deserves somebody that sticks with them, right? Clearly that wasn't going to be his brother, and I decided it was me. I can't - I can't just walk away, it's not that simple. I don't even know who the fuck I am without him, it's been us for so long, I can't - I don't know who just Ciaran is, I don't care either. I've said what I had to say, and anything else might hurt him and I don't want to do that, either."
Sometimes, Nathair mentioned, toned off-hand, Things need to hurt.
No. Things didn't have to hurt. Love shouldn't hurt. Ignoring the snake.
840
778
?
Male
Valhalir
Irish-Pakistani
Breacadh
Twelfth Division
Seat 03
Jade Tigers
Tian

Rory Owen
Valhalir
If he'd already heard this, from two of them, then why... Rory loosed a sigh, one hand resting on his hip, the other raising to press his fingertips against the bridge of his nose. His brother, somewhere along the way, had apparently turned into a disaster, that didn't seem to be capable of handling the mere concept of breaking up with a toxic lover. Rory would much rather he were dating Gage than Iname, at the moment. Perhaps Rory might never say that, but he certainly thought it, more than once.

Iname used to be better than this, whatever the fuck this was, but the key words were used to be. He was not now. Rory never knew him well enough to be particularly disappointed, but he was rather livid about the entire ordeal. His brother wasn't collateral unintended side-effect in Iname's angst opera. Rather, he shouldn't be, was a better way to phrase it, given it'd seem he already was. And for some god fucking awful reason, Ciaran saw nothing wrong with this.

What was worse, here? Rory couldn't tell you. Perhaps a little of both was the right choice.

Rory's hand dropped from his nose. "I'm just asking you to give a little more of a shit about yourself than you do. I'm just asking you to really get it when I tell you that you don't have to put up with this. And if you never used words, then it wasn't a promise to begin with! It's not like Iname'll know you broke it because there was nothing to break in the first place! I've never seen you so upset in your life, he used to make you happy and now he doesn't. Sometimes, things just end, Ci, and trying to hang onto something that isn't there anymore just hurts you more than you need to hurt. Let go. I'm tired of watching you fall apart, Damian is, too, and you and I both know for a fact if this was the other way around, you'd be telling me the same damned thing." If nothing else, maybe, Ciaran should take his own figurative advice, then.
810
785
August 31, 1231
Male
Valhalir
Irish-Pakistani
Eireaball Nathair
Tenth Division
Lieutenant
Ebony Lions
Pham Thanh

Ciaran Owen
Valhalir

I hate myself. Even as I bark at the moon, I don't have the courage to reach out and grab it.
He was right. Rory didn't really get it. Ciaran would be the first to admit it, when it was possible that he was actually the one that was wrong, when it was possible he wasn't looking at things the right way, when the problem may well be him. He could admit, at least to himself, that now was one of those situations in which maybe he just wasn't right. Maybe Rory, Damian, and Gage, were onto something, but it wasn't whether he was right or wrong that made him cling so hard. It wasn't even entirely because he loved Iname a thousand times more than he'd ever loved himself, though certainly that factored in. Maybe Iname didn't know he'd made that promise. But Ciaran did.

Ciaran wasn't a great guy. He wasn't all that smart, most things in life he got through on a fluke, or by just flailing around until he finally hit gold. His name didn't really mean anything, you couldn't even really consider him all that powerful. Sure, Ciaran wasn't a terrible guy, but he wasn't a particularly remarkable one, either. And the only reason he wasn't terrible, because mind you, he'd had plenty of opportunities to turn down the wrong pathways, was because he followed his own internal compass. He'd decided a long time ago he wasn't turning his back on Iname because of something stupid. This qualified as something stupid. It wasn't like Ciaran had a better idea, he had no idea what the fuck to do, but he did know what he wasn't doing. Unfortunately for Rory, it was this.

They weren't ever going to agree on this. Ciaran knew that, Rory probably did, too. Gage figured it out, because he eventually stopped bringing it up. There was no point in going around about this, because Rory wasn't going to win, because what little shred of pride Ciaran had wouldn't let him. On the other hand, Rory wouldn't let it go, either, Ciaran knew his brother well enough to know that. Trying to change the subject wouldn't work, either. Why was this such a mess? Honestly, this wasn't really anyone's business. They didn't understand, not like Ciaran did, they couldn't because Ciaran wasn't telling them shit they didn't need to know. This was between him and Iname. As much as he loved his brother and his son, neither really mattered in this.

They meant well. He knew that. It didn't change the facts. Ciaran just had to figure out how to make Iname see the light again, that was all. It was not the easiest thing to do. Ciaran didn't want to hurt him to do it, but he was starting to wonder if maybe he had no choice. Gentle wasn't working anymore. Honestly, it never worked in the first place.
There you go, Nathair hissed in his soul. Sometimes it has to sting again, before we remember the wound is there.
He'd think about that, at least. Maybe he could still fix this. Shigeru was probably better at this than he was - fuck, Gage probably was, given somehow he'd managed to work his way through Cyprian's mental haze. How had he done it... the same way Ciaran used to, just waiting for Iname to figure it out himself and come to him, but that wasn't working anymore. Maybe he'd gotten stuck somewhere.

If you spent long enough lying, of course, eventually even you believed it.

Ciaran was just so scared of messing up, that he was afraid to move at all. Maybe he just needed to stop thinking about it so hard, and... hope Iname trusted him enough that even if it was entirely graceless, he'd still listen. Iname was in there somewhere. Damn it, Ciaran wanted him back. Even if it wasn't perfect, even if they had things to work through, together and on their own, that was what love was, wasn't it? Wilful ignorance was a really powerful thing. He knew that even before now. Yes, yes it hurt. But what hurt the most was knowing Iname hurt even more, and Ciaran couldn't fix it. He couldn't just take it all away from him, and gods if he didn't wish he could.

You know what. "Rory, I love you to death, I really do. I get you're worried, but honestly... this is really none of your business. It has very little to do with you. I'm sorry, but, I'm not ready to give up on him. I don't think I ever will be. I also don't have to put up with this, either. So, I'm going back to work. I'll talk to you later." Reaching over to ruffle Rory's hair, and Ciaran turned right back around and went the way he came.