A/n: Best. Freakin'. Game. Based on the Promise of Reunion ending.
I really liked this idea of a teenage!Ib. A lot can change over the years. Especially kids :P
Warnings: Language, themes, etc..
Disclaimer: I don't own Ib :c
Garry sighed deeply, bringing his hands up to rub at his temples. Closing violet eyes, he tugged at his similarly colored hair in frustration. Mondays. Goddamn them. Damn them straight into Hell.
Releasing his locks, his lids slid open to half mast to stare at the wooden table belonging to the booth he was currently sitting in. Well, there was always this happy ending to a Monday, he supposed. He frequented at this cafe on this cursed day weekly. They had the best coffee, and delightful macaroons. He could probably live off this place. Unfortunately, that wasn't exactly healthy, and so he limited himself to only Mondays.
Which was good for him, he supposed. Work was horrid on Mondays, as he was a professor at the local community college. Not only was he in a bad mood, but his students were, too, making it absolutely awful to be there. So what if he only taught Art History? It could certainly still be a stressful class, ask any one of the attendees of his class. He made his students work, even if that meant more work for him.
Mind drifting back to why he chose this particular career, he shook his head. That had been seven whole years ago. It was time he moved on from that experience, no matter how terrifying it happened to be. His other two companions on his adventure... well, Mary was gone, and Ib was... Ib had probably grown up and over it. Not that he had seen the girl since that last time at the gallery. He'd had no way of getting in contact with her, and he wasn't even sure if she'd want to be in touch with him. He was thirteen years her senior, after all. Pursuing a friendship with her would have been awkward, never mind how her poor parents would have felt with their nine-year-old hanging around with a man twenty-two years of age. No, that probably wouldn't have gone over well.
Reaching into his tattered coat pocket, he brought out the handkerchief that little girl had given him so long ago. It was still stained a light pink (who had known blood was so damn difficult to get out?) but otherwise, still in perfect condition. He'd cared for it while it was in his possession, and he wondered to himself when he would ever get the chance to return it. Probably never, he mused. What were the chances of running into Ib again, when he hadn't in seven long years? Very slight, he decided. Still, he carried it around for the miniscule, practically non-existent chance he'd—
Garry practically leaped out of his seat, he was so startled by the sudden, airy voice. His head snapped up, hands crumpling the handkerchief in preparation to shove it back into his pocket, totally forgetting about how good of care he kept of it. Wide, crimson eyes stared back at him, a little curious, and a little victorious, which Garry found a bit strange, to put it mildly. A pale hand came up to brush long brown strands out of those big eyes before a delicate little finger pointed at his fists.
"That for me?"
Mouth going dry, he studied the young woman more closely. She was young alright. Probably a teenager, around sixteen if he had to guess. Same slight frame. Same long dark hair. Same large eyes. Doing the math quickly in his head, he gaped at the kid. "Ib?"
The man really didn't know what to do. Quite torn was he, between hugging her and playing it cool. Deciding to go with the latter, he sat back into his seat, albeit shakily. With an unsteady hand, he motioned across from him at the empty booth. "Wanna talk?"
In looked over her shoulder, where two girls wearing a uniform similar to hers were staring. When they saw Garry was looking in their direction, they glanced away, giggling behind their hands. The older resisted the urge to wince, tamping it down with the fact Ib was, in fact, taking a seat in front of him, setting down what he assumed to be a school bag on the floor.
Here was an issue—Garry didn't know what to say.
Turns out, he didn't have to say anything. Ib—who, he noticed, hadn't made on facial expression change upon seeing him—reached forward and gave him her upturned palm. With a smile, he placed the once-white handkerchief in her hand. "Here."
"Thanks." She placed the cloth into a pocket in her skirt before straightening up, staring at him through her heavy bangs.
An awkward silence overtook them, in which Garry studied Ib. Again. He couldn't help it. She looked the same, but she seemed... different almost. Her attitude, maybe? Probably. Garry knew from his own life that teenage angst was not an easy thing to overcome. Besides that, Ib was probably scarred for life over the incident in the Art Gallery. Not only had she almost been killed, but she had to destroy a potential friend.
"H-How are you?" he finally got out. Ib raised a brow.
"Fine. And you?"
He chuckled a bit. "Good. I'm good."
"Good. Now, if you don't mind me asking, where the Hell have you been?"
Garry choked a bit on his own spit. He hadn't been expecting that. "Excuse me?"
"Where've you been, Garry?" she asked. Hurt flashed in her eyes. "You said we'd meet again, but you didn't say it'd take seven damn years. What gives?"
While the purple-haired man attempted to stutter out an apology, a waitress came over, asking what they'd like. A little hesitantly, Garry ordered two coffees when he received a nod from Ib. Sensing the tension, the waitress scurried off, leaving them alone and leaving Ib free to glare at Garry some more.
"I... I don't—"
Ib shook her head. "It doesn't matter I guess, right?" A small, timid smile stretched her lips the smallest bit. "It only matters that we're together again, I guess." Smile gone, she looked past him, appearing to space out.
"It matters," Garry argued. "You're right. I did promise that. I just didn't know how—"
"It's not important," Ib said, cutting him off. The waitress came back with their coffees, and they drank in silence for a moment before Ib spoke up again. "Don't do it again, okay?"
God, why was this so awkward? Seven years ago, they had no problem whatsoever making conversation. When she was nine, everything was fine. She didn't get mad at him, for Heaven's sake, no matter how short their time together was. But, no. Now she was a teenager. The epitome of confusing emotions.
He really hated kids.
Yet, something about Ib was drawing him in. Familiarity? No, he hadn't known her that well to begin with.
So what could it be?
She flipped her hair over one shoulder, exposing the smooth, pale column of her neck. Garry's lips suddenly felt dry, and his eyes snapped upwards to meet Ib's before she could notice his less-than-gentlemanly stare. Ib was still Ib, even seven years older. He shouldn't be having these sorts of urges towards her.
"Here." A slip of paper was shoved rather unceremoniously into his fingers, and he grasped it in surprise.
"My number," Ib explained. "I'll forgive you for all these years if you remember to call me soon, okay?" A grin slipped onto her face, and he found himself returning the smile.
"Will do, kiddo."
She frowned at that, for whatever reason, then stood, brushing off imaginary wrinkles in her skirt and grabbing her bag. Waving, she walked over to the two girls who were still standing in the middle of the cafe. Both latched onto an arm, whispering loudly.
"Ew, he's, like, thirty!"
Color flodded Garry's cheeks as he resisted yelling "Twenty-nine!" after the retreating girls. He settled himself, staring at Ib's still mostly-full cup of coffee, and then at the number in his hands.
Why did that thought excite him?
Clearly because Ib was an old friend he with whom he shared an adventure with in the past. He was adamant that he had no ulterior motives whatsoever. No. He had simply missed her companionship. That was it.
So why were his ears burning?
Why was his heart pounding?
He shook off the though, laying money for both coffees on the table and standing, exiting the cafe.
He could think about this later. Right now, he really needed a cigarette.
A/n: How is it so far? Gimmie feedback!