Snow falls on Rivaille's face, powdery and soft as he inclines his head ever so slightly to look at the billowing maroon signs above his head, elegant script proclaiming a disjointed Recon Coffee Shop on the bottom of the banner, with a tiny subtitle right above the stylistic border that said Proud Manufactures of Coffee since 1489. Blinking rapidly as a small speck of snow landed in his eye, he shakes the rapture out of his head and heads toward the polished door, bare hands resting on the icy glass as he pushes it open, complied by a silver chime that announced his quiet presence.
The atmosphere is warm and relaxed, plush chairs arranged in a careless yet elegant manner, clear glass tables sparkling with a shine that Rivaille mentally approved of. With a small sigh, he tugged his scarf off his neck, carefully folding it into a rectangle that he draped over his coat arm. He had barely taken one step before-"Rivaille!" The voice was piercing and familiar, earning a frustrated grunt from Rivaille as everyone in the shop turned towards the target of the name.
Quickly walking to dissipate any future embarrassment, he headed quickly towards a table in the corner where a woman with glasses was waving frantically, grin seeming to split her face open.
Shuffling awkwardly with his feet and nothing to do with his hands, Rivaille finally ducked his head and mumbled-"Hanji, Irvin." The blond man gave him a nod and a smile, short and professional. The woman laughs and tugs him down to sit next to her in the window seat, and Rivaille complies, quietly slipping his scarf around his neck again.
There is an awkward silence for a moment, broken only by a careless laugh by Hanji, seemingly an accident. "So….Rivaille." She finally murmurs, a warm smile on her face. "How have you been?"
"….Good." His reply is just a millisecond too short, and he hopes that she doesn't notice, but if his memory is anything like it used to be, Hanji would know.
But the woman laughs and reaches for a gilded menu, breathing out a "I'm glad." When Irvin reaches for one too, he asks Rivaille, "How's the company doing?" The icy tension is broken, Rivaille telling Irvin about how his employees can't clean worth shit, and how the mailman is always late, and oh my goodness did you know just the other day the toilet over flooded and the whole office was soaking wet? He and Irvin play their friendly banter for awhile, each hoping that the other would continue this awkward, forced conversation, because Rivaille doesn't know if Irvin is the same anymore, but he knows that he isn't. And staring into Irvin's icy blue eyes, still framed by the same transparent eyelashes, he wonders if the man thinks the same about him.
"By the way, Rivaille!" Hanji taps the table with manicured fingernails, something that she had never had before, and grins evilly, and it's the same Hanji from high school all over again. "We still need to set you up on that blind date-"
"No need for that." Rivaille skillfully slips his jacket off, folding it by the creases. "I'm engaged."
"What?!" Hanji's scream echoes across the coffee shop, and curious and annoyed eyes turn in their direction. "Who? What-when-where...!?" Irvin snickers softly behind his hand, and when Rivaille whips his head around to confront him, the blond man raises his eyebrows, silently saying I told you so
"RIvailleeee" Hanji whines, tugging on the sleeve of his undershirt. "Who is it?"
"Petra Rall." Rivaille sighs, fingering the embroidered edge of the menu. "Remember her? Class A-12?"
"...Oh." Hanji's reply in unusually short, smile wavering on the borderline of hesitant and tentative. "Well...I'm happy for you."
Frowning slightly, Rivaille raises his hand for the waiter, staring at Hanji all the while in disbelief. She was the one who originally said that he should go out more, 'live a life' Instead, he turns to Irvin, smiling slightly and twisting a cloth napkin in his deft fingers. "So, how was your one year anniversary?"
Irvin laughs and fondly tugs on Hanji's hair. "She almost set the house on fire with the cake that she made-you should've been there, Rivaille."
"No, I think that just hearing about it is enough." Rivaille grins, anxious fingers still tying and untying the napkin in his hands.
Irvin laughs along with him, as does Hanji, and for a moment, the atmosphere is warm and relaxed again, all awkward barriers falling away. There is a soft tapping of feet, and when Rivaille looks down, shiny shoes are by their table, crisp dress pants uncreased. Hanji really did mean it when she said that the shop was high quality.
"Hello, Hanji-san." The voice is warm and smooth, deep with the concept of age. "Hello, Irvin-sensai."
"Hello to you too, Eren."
Rivaille freezes, the napkin in his hands ripped as the world shatters around him. Dammit Hanji
He knew that there had to be some ulterior motive. She wouldn't call him out randomly to meet at a coffee shop to 'reunite' unless there was something else. And he was so fucking stupid to actually say yes and meet up.
He had run halfway across the world to avoid the person he unknowingly came back to today.
How freaking ironic.
"And who is this?" Eren's voice is amused. "Who did you kidnap this time, Hanji-san?"
"That was one time!" The girl protested. "And he was a lovely science fair project!"
"Even though you basically set a dynamite stick on the school?"
Eren's laughter is achingly familiar, and Rivaille is still too scared to lift his head, to see Eren again, to see how he changed and grew.
"So, Eren-how's your girlfriend?"
A sheepish laugh, and Rivaille automatically knows that Eren is rubbing his hand against the back of his head-or did he not do that anymore?
"Mikasa's doing great-she's actually on vacation right now in America-science convention or something like that."
"….You must be very proud of her." Irvin's observes.
"...Yeah. I really am." There is a brief cough and the rustling of paper as Eren gets the ordering slips out. "So..what can I do for you today?"
"The usual dark coffee for me, please." Irvin says, already trying to keep Hanji from stealing the sugar bowl.
"Cappuccino." Hanji growls between her teeth, holding the sugar bowl at a threatening angle, away from Irvin. ("Idiot. if you wanted sweet coffee, get something other than black!")
"And you?" Eren is talking to him, and finally Rivaille looks up and observes what he sees. Eren's hair is longer, shaggy and across his eyes, a strong jawline that Rivaille forgot about, lean arms through the button-down shirt of his waiter uniform, and eyes that were slightly turquoise instead of the brilliant forest green of youth.
"What? Do I have something on my face?" Eren frowns slightly and rubs his hand self-consciously against his cheek.
"N-no." Rivaille stutters hastily-does Eren even know who he is?
"Then what would you like to order, Rivaille?"
Well that ruined all chances of that theory. Rivaille quickly skims through the contents of the menu, finding foreign french words to be no help to him whatsoever. "Surprise me." He throws at Eren, earning a look of surprise. "And it better not taste like shit, yeah?"
Eren snickers. "Of course not. I'll be back in a few minutes with your orders." He tells Hanji and Irvin, not even taking one backwards look towards Rivaille as he walks toward the counter.
The moment the boy is out of sight Rivaille rounds on Hanji. "You Fucking-"
"There, there." Irvin quickly puts a hand on Rivaille's tense shoulder. "Let her explain."
Hanji is frowning, scratching her head. "I thought that he would act differently than that..."
"What, did you expect him to jump on me and profess undying vows of friendship? What happened in high school is done. Do you expect us to be the same after that?"
"It's been ten years, Rivaille!" Hanji protests. "Surely you two have gotten over whatever dispute you two have had, right?"
Rivaille snorts. "You obviously don't know." He folds his arms tightly and leans back against the cold window, the ice sinking into his skin.
"….Eren still asks about you, you know." Hanji murmurs, looking at him sadly. "When we found out that he was working here we started coming every week-and sometimes he sits down and talks, and it's all normal, good days."
"There were no good days." Rivaille sighs, starting to get up. "I'm leaving."
"At least drink your coffee-we're treating you." Hanji pleads. "Please, Rivaille. This once and never again."
"...Fine." He reluctantly sits back down, a small part of him hoping that she would have said that, given him an excuse to stay. It was only for the coffee, anyway.
"Here you go!" Eren's cheerful voice is right above him. "Irvin-black, Hanji-Cappucino, and Rivaille...Cafe Au Lait."
"Thank you Eren, this looks wonderful." Irvin smiles at the boy. "I'm guessing that you ordered dessert for us too?"
Eren laughs. "Yow know me too well." He opens up a box on the platter and takes out three small plates, each carrying a beautiful dessert on top. "Irvin, Crème Caramel." The flan-shaped dessert it gently put down in front of the man, and for the first time, Rivaille notices that Eren is wearing gloves.
"Hanji, a chocolate éclair." She smiles at the boy. "You know me too well."
"And for Rivaille...Mille-feuille with feuille d'or." A layered slice of cake is put in front of him, three thin vanilla pastries stacked on top of each other and sugared cream in between. A chocolate decoration is at the top, along with a small piece of almond bark, decorated by a tiny gold leaf.
"….Thank you." Eren hesitates before he smiles, quickly bowing and backing away into the counter.
There are no more words said between them, and Rivaille talks quietly with Hanji and Irvin about work, jobs, the wedding plan, and somehow he notices that on top of the almond bark there is a series of dark numbers, with the word Eren Jaegar at the bottom.