it’s three years after jeremy joins the crew and the itch, the dire question that has been burning into his brain is still left unsolved.
it’s only at three in the morning can he catch ryan at his most vulnerable– this much jeremy knows. he’s never talked to ryan at this time– only caught glances and fleeting images of him. cleaning his guns, reading a book, sometimes even writing. he always looked so peaceful that jeremy never dared to disturb him.
but something about that night was special. they were all tired– a risky job had landed michael and jack in the hospital. geoff and gavin were waiting with them– nothing serious, but the entire crew was always paranoid– and jeremy and ryan had been instructed to stay behind. watch over everything.
ryan knew jeremy was up, and jeremy knew this as well. he made sure that he took a few silent trips to the kitchen now and then. ryan’s eyes would flick up briefly before he turned back to his book.
jeremy almost felt guilty– would this be using ryan? catching him when his walls were down and he was strung out? maybe. but that wasn’t going to stop jeremy. he had to know.
so, heart in his throat, he slipped onto one of the couches next to where ryan was sat. he must have looked as suspicious and guilty as he felt, for when ryan’s eyes flickered up they did not find their way back to his book.
silence passed for a few moments. jeremy opened his mouth several times to try to find words. ryan watched for a minute before asking, “yes?”. his words were extremely loud in the silence.
“u-uh…” how to even begin? “i- um– had– have– a question.”
there was a reason jeremy was never part of interrogations.
ryan looked as if he braced himself, finally closing the book with his forefinger in between the pages. he didn’t say anything, but his silence was as good as words. goahead.
“I– um– okay, so,” and just like that, three years of unspoken intrigue came tumbling out his mouth.”i’m sorry, you can not answer this if you want, but– okay, geoff says it’s for your identity and gavin thinks you’re secretly some known famous person and jack– well- listen, i’m sorry, i won’t tell anyone, but what the hell is up with your mask?”
it was extremely rushed and extremely out his place to say anything. you didn’t question the vagabond– you accepted his ways, no matter what. jeremy wasn’t nearly as experienced as ryan was; it was wrong to ask him in a place of judgement, and jeremy knew this as soon as the words were out of his mouth.
for a very fleeting moment, ryan’s eyes were daggers and jeremy was sorry he had said anything at all, especially on a night where no one else was in the house.
but then, for some reason, ryan laughed.
“you’re the only one to ask me that, you know?” he said with a smile, and jeremy felt his entire world flip upside down.
“i– i’m sorry– listen, you– i can just go, and we can pretend like i never–”
“jeremy.” ryan said haltingly. “i’m asleep.”
that put a whole pause in everything. it was such an abstract comment that jeremy had no idea what to say or what to make of it. was this some metaphor? some poetic pit of the vagabond shed to light only at ryan’s weakest hour?
ryan’s smile widened as jeremy stared at him. he shrugged. “geoff hardly has me talk when he’s there. the vagabond just stands in the background and looks menacing.“
jeremy sputtered. “i– what–?– i don’t–”
ryan shrugged. “he likes hearing himself talk. so i just close my eyes. catch a few z’s.”
jeremy blinked rapidly before saying something– okay? oh, alright, okay– and stumbling back to his room. he waited for ryan to spring something on him– no one will believe you if you tell them– but all he did was smirk and go back to his book.
the next job they had, jeremy watched the vagabond closely. when geoff referenced him, the vagabond stood like a statue– cold and unresponsive. to the rest of the world, this was the epitome of a monster. someone ruthless. someone so cold they didn’t need to freeze the silence over with words; they could do it all on their own.
but jeremy knew. jeremy saw how ryan tilted his head back just a bit– to keep the vagabond’s chin jutted forward in dominance– and his hands in his pocket– to hide the blood– and his eyes closed– to plan the murder more clearly.
you ever find a food so unbelievably delicious but its so unbelievably bad for you that you wish you had just never tried it in the first place? thats how im feelin about this aero vanilla truffle bar right now