If you wanted to i'd love to see Gav using his charm and wiles to get the others lads out of trouble somehow, maybe flirting them out of some kind of mess or something?
Michael and Jeremy have been dealing
with a particularly unpleasant crew, forced into a fake civility every couple
of weeks when they go together to collect shipments or demand payments. It’s
the sort of thing Gavin would normally be involved with, at least in the early
days of establishing a relationship, but no one really wants him near this one
at all; the crew in question is incredibly unstable, more mercenaries in an
ever-shifting arrangement than anything like the close-knit loyalty of the
FAHC, and their leader is absolutely the worst of them. Some smarmy bastard
with a stupid name neither Jeremy nor Michael deign to remember – Taylor or
Tristen or Troy – he’s always intentionally rude, stopping just shy of openly
mocking the Fake’s with an arrogance that even his own people seem to despise.
would be so much easier to just kill him and move on but no matter how much
Michael and Jeremy argue Geoff won’t have it. Something about relations, how for
all Toby(?) is an asshole he’s got enough power, a nasty enough crew, that it’s
smarter to just wait them out for now, get whatever they can out of them before
it all goes south. Which is easy enough to say when Geoff’s got very little to
do with them, but nonetheless Michael and Jeremy suck it up, go to every
dealing with clenched teeth and itchy trigger fingers, and life goes on.
After one such meeting, maybe three
months after this unwilling relationship began, Michael and Jeremy drive out to
meet Gavin for drinks, Jeremy tuning out as Michael rants the whole way to the
bar because all he wants is a beer or twelve, wanted to just go to their normal
dive but Gavin had insisted on coming out to this fancy yuppie shithole. It’s still
full of crooks but mostly the rich, stuck-up variety instead of honest thugs, the
kind of place that likely only stocks pretentious brews, but Gavin offered to
pay so here they were.
Gavin’s already there when they arrive,
leaning carelessly against the bar, all fake flirty smiles and inviting angles
as he holds court, surrounded by half a dozen admirers - though two in
particular seem to be jockeying for his attention. Thing One had just turned to
growl something at Thing Two when Gavin notices his Lads coming through the
door, lazy showman grin brightening into something more genuine as he shakes
off his fans and flounces over. The group is less than pleased, more than one
throwing absolutely filthy looks that have Michael sneering nastily back while
Jeremy not-so-innocently flexes beside him, neither making any effort to hide
their weapons and quickly sending the one idiot who tried to follow into a hasty
retreat. Gavin just laughs, grabs a tray of beers before towing his boys back
towards a booth.
That should really be that, except apparently
Gavin’s not quite finished with whatever game he’s playing. It’s clear his focus
is still on Thing’s One and Two rather than the conversation happening around
him; he asks all the right questions, hums sympathetically in all the right
places, but nothing gives away Gavin’s drifting interests quite as much as the
palpable feeling of having his undivided attention. Michael asks, Gavin ignores him in favour of throwing
an all too familiar smile towards the bar, and Jeremy groans, thunking his head
against the table and wishing he’d just gone home.
It’s not genuine interest, there’s
nothing honest in the way Gavin’s eyes narrow, nothing sweet in the sharpness
of his grin, which is just as well really because Gavin certainly knows how to
pick them. Thing One is gorgeous in a poisonous kind of way, tight black
clothes and blood red lips only accentuated by the wicked looking scar curving
across her cheek. Thing Two isn’t quite so put together but is no less
imposing, big and blonde and definitely armed.
They both tracked Gavin’s movement
across the room like starving dogs, sneering and snapping at one another as
they turn back to their place at the bar where they’d obviously been sitting
together before Gavin stuck his big nose between them. Jeremy and Michael toss
each other a glance, long suffering but confident; it wouldn’t be pretty but
presuming it was two on two they could take them. That’s the grim reality of
drinking with Gavin when he’s in one of these moods; there’s no saying there will
be a fight, but you’ve always got to be ready for the moment he tires of
civilised society and pushes someone into violence just because he can.
And Gavin is definitely in a mood, openly
playing the two against each other every time he passes on his way to the bar;
brushing against one, flashing her a secret little smile, only to make eyes at
the other on his way back, the man half rising from his stool as Gavin laughs
and trots back to the booth. When Thing One ducks into the bathroom Gavin
steals her seat, leans right into Two’s space and orders them each three shots
before slinking off again. When Thing Two walks off to answer his phone Gavin’s
back to buy One a drink, something straight and dark and far more impressive
than his own neon cocktail.
So goes the rest of the hour; it’s blindingly
obvious by now, at least to anyone on the outside, that Gavin is driving
headfirst into one hell of a fight with no sign of hitting the breaks. His
admirers are getting steadily drunker, louder and nastier with one another as
they try to compete, and Gavin just keeps throwing fuel on the fire.
It finally comes to a head when, on yet
another bar run, Gavin brushes past them both and zeroes in on a third man who’d just arrived, abandoning
coy touches and heated looks for his thickest accent and most charming smile. The
three at the bar clearly knew one another, the Things had been friendly enough when
greeting the third, but the longer Gavin stands there chattering away the
cooler their interactions become, shoulders growing stiff and tight as fists
clench and voices rise.
Seemingly oblivious Gavin keeps stirring
the pot, whispering something to one, winking at another, brushing off someone’s
reaching hand only to skate fingers down the other’s arm, until eventually he
tosses his head and stalks off in a huff, triumphant little smirk sneaking
across his face as an all-out fight breaks out behind him.
Michael, who’d been growing snippier and
snippier all night, is fed up with pandering to Gavin’s nonsense when he and
Jeremy actually had to work today. He gets himself going on tirade about just
wanting to drink and forget the assholes Geoff has them dealing with, not watch
Gavin flutter his eyes at idiots and destroy their friendships for his own sick
amusement. Jeremy tries to agree wholeheartedly but Gavin interrupts him with
an exaggerated pout that quickly bubbles into laughter as he croons back, as
infuriating as ever, aw Bois, don’t I always
do right by you?
Timing as spot on as always Michael doesn’t
even get to snap a reply before an almighty crash has the three of them
spinning around just in time to see Mystery Man #3 tripping over the floored
bar stool, turning just far enough in their direction to reveal himself as none
other than Todd (Tommy? Theo?). He’s reaching into his jacket in a way that has
half the bar twitching towards their own holsters but its already over, Thing Two
grabbing at his arms while Thing One ducks in from behind, rapid jerky motion
of her arm unmistakable as she makes good use of a knife.
There’s shouting now, people moving in
every direction as even the bartenders pull out weapons but Michael and Jeremy
just turn back to Gavin, eerily synchronized in their surprise, and Gavin
smiles. Climbs to his feet and buttons his jacket as casual as you please, all C’mon lads it’s getting a bit too loud in
here innit? Like the bane of their last few months isn’t bleeding out on
the floor, like Jeremy isn’t still open mouthed in shock, like Michael isn’t choking
back laughter all vicious and brilliant, adoring affection so familiar on his grinning
Tomorrow Geoff will get a phone call.
Will hear that Travis was taken out in some kind of scuffle, died slow and
bloody in a bar just outside the city. He’ll hear that it was an inside job,
some escalation of a drunken argument between Travis’ people, that their whole
crew is in uproar and already splintering apart, not much of a threat to anyone
besides each other. Geoff will know that despite their desire Michael and
Jeremy couldn’t have had anything to do with it, death witnessed by far too
many to be a frame-up, will know that even Gavin, who’d been sniffing around
the deal ever since his precious Lads started complaining, can’t possibly have
forced Travis’ crewmates to kill him. And yet, tomorrow
Geoff will glare at the three flopped all over his couch, faux surprise at the
news doing nothing to hide the way they’re as unapologetically self-satisfied
as overgrown cats, and will know with the absolute surety of any harried parent
that somehow, in some way, this mess was absolutely their fault.
For now, though, three friends spill laughing
out of the bar, hopped up on petty vengeance and unmatched camaraderie, on the
sweet victory of their chosen reality; the night is young, the city is theirs,
and the Lad’s remain untouchable.
Hey i was wondering if you had any thoughts on the whole Icarus' pride/fall analogy for fahc Gavin that seems to have gone around a bit? If you feel like it of course!
Oh Ramsey’s perfect little frontman, all polished shine and pearly whites, mouth dripping charm like poison, like promise. How fitting to dress him up in ancient fables, a cautionary tale that has stood the test of time, how apt to deem him doomed from the start.
Is it any surprise that the people can’t stop talking about about him? Can they really be blamed when he goads them into it? When he wears vanity like the finest cloak, teases rumours out of thin air, when he seemingly lives to be in the limelight no matter the cost.
They’ve named him Icarus, like hubris. Like ill-fated glory hound. Like pretty fool with his head in the clouds. Like the fatal fall is inevitable and he has already lost. It’s funny how no one ever talks about the fact that Icarus was running, hurled into the sky to escape the fickle fancies of a cruel king, less human trying to play god than prisoner willing to risk everything for one more day in the sun. Child still naive enough to believe his father could never steer him wrong.
They call him Icarus, and it fits.
At birth he was named Gavin and as a child he’d have given anything to fly. A tyrant needs no crown and cruelty has never been limited to kings; Gavin outgrew blind faith years ago and since that day he has been running. It’s made him cautious, most would never know it now but he has always been calculated where it counted, has never needed another to build his escape route.
He’s as skittish and distrustful as an alley cat, as anyone who has ever been powerless, who is determined never to be again. He investigates every outcome, he does his math twice, and though many laugh when he sets his sights on America Gavin has always known exactly how perilous his wings are. By the time he arrives he has been reborn; all that swanky blasé confidence didn’t come naturally, was built piece by piece, fragile feather by fragile feather, stitched together with fear and need and the hardened resolve of someone who has run out of options.
They say Icarus, like hubris. Like there is any pride in desperation. Like ambition is the enemy, and chasing the brightest, purest thing you’ve ever seen is arrogant. Like that first winged boy wasn’t absolutely aware of what he was doing, like he didn’t aim upwards on purpose, didn’t swear that after a lifetime in the dark he was going to kiss the sun whether it killed him or not. Salvation or bust.
In Los Santos he is golden. Ramsey’s boy, untouchable boy, brilliant, brutal, menace. He is vital, important, he is vicious, he is streaking towards the sun blazing so brightly no one can look away, burning up right before their eyes. Gavin is higher than he’s ever been but he can’t stop now, not when death is coming from above and below and behind, not when everyone knows it’s better to go out on top. Better to choose it, to taunt it, to die laughing with the sun on your face.
He knows what the people call him, knows what they all expect, and can’t quite stop himself from laughing at them; no one ever seems to talk about the fact that Icarus didn’t die in the fall. It was neither height nor folly that that got him in the end; Icarus drowned. Blinded by hope and dropped into an environment he had no way to prepare for, dragged down with no way to help himself and no one around to save him.
For all Gavin’s many faults, real and affected alike, no one can say he is alone, not anymore. Not after he built himself a safety net out of hard eyes and loaded guns, leather jackets and bared teeth, weaving desperate affection and steadfast protection so deeply into the most ruthless crew he’d ever met that they’d drain the entire ocean before they’d let him sink.
They call him Icarus, and it fits, but they are missing half the story. Gavin built his own wings, omitting wax in favour of blood and bone, coated them in bullet casings and gold leaf so they’d catch the sunlight and blind any who tried to look too closely. Who can tell, then, if he is climbing or falling? Who can see clearly enough to know when the ocean is rushing up to greet him? Gavin who is always two steps ahead, who could talk a fish out of water, could charm gravity, who has never feared the fall. Gavin who dreamed of flying, who spent his whole life learning how to swim.
It would be difficult to secure funding for a literary journal in a standard university - at Elsewhere, most professors wouldn’t dare. Going to the Dean to beg for money, it would be too much like a deal, a favor owed - even if the Dean wasn’t one of them, you didn’t make tenure at EU by taking unnecessary risks.
So it’s difficult, but not impossible - which is why everyone is slightly in awe of Professor Howell, when the petite, soft-spoken poetry professor announces to her classes that she’s looking for volunteer readers and editors.
They call the journal Ferus Ferrum, and their submissions come from across the country. The staff are all English or Creative Writing majors - they know the Rules, and Professor Howell trains them well. The editors learn how to create an email database, how to solicit submissions without “please” or “thank you”; they choose pen names and debate different weights of paper and call the printers to ask if their toner contains iron oxide.
When the first issue is printed they have a release party, with pizza and cake and a tray of vanilla pudding from the dining hall tucked into the corner. There is a palpable but unspoken amazement in the air that they made it, that the journal is sitting in front of them finished, and no one was mysteriously disappeared or even “borrowed,”, and everyone is filled with awe and pride and a fierce kind of victory over the particular entropy of Elsewhere.
So of course, at the end of the party Professor Howell makes an announcement to her staff: she’s leaving.
Not for good. They’ve never known a professor to leave EU, although they don’t think about it particularly hard. She’s pregnant, she tells them, and she’s going to take the next year off for maternity leave. She’s convinced a colleague to take over advising Ferus Ferrum, Professor Chapel, and he’s new.
As they walk back to dorms and parking lots, Howell takes her editors aside. He’s new, she tells them, and they nod, but they don’t understand. They’re writers and they learned the Rules quick, and they all secretly believe that the people who don’t realize the strangeness of Elsewhere are hiding something.
Professor Chapel walks into the first editorial meeting of the next year and the poetry editor looks to the nonfiction reader on her right and they both think, “Ah, he’s new.” Chapel grins freely and stammers and bleeds apologies. He has a tattoo that is a reference four-places removed from a Dickinson poem, and he gushes at length about an obscure short story he read in his first year of grad school. He’s a wonderful professor, and an excellent advisor, and he hasn’t the faintest clue about the Rules. The Ferus Ferrum staff, new and old, take one look at him and realize he’s a sitting duck.
With the steel resolve of their first issue backing them, the head copy editor immediately begins organizing the troops. Two fictions readers who work together at a cafe smuggle out salted bagels and a photo editor delivers them to Professor Chapel’s office every morning. Someone produces a fountain pen with a ring of iron below the grip and hands it over as a welcome present. In meetings they make sure to rib him when he missteps around the “school traditions,” and make an inside joke of talking to the crows. He is constantly puzzled by the salt packets that make their way into his bag, his coat pockets, the corners of his office.
It’s a massive undertaking, and requires almost as much coordination as putting the journal itself together. Which is why it’s so disappointing when “Professor Chapel” walks into a meeting late with sharp teeth and golden eyes.
(They give him back a couple days later, thankfully. At least he doesn’t complain about the salt packets anymore.)
It's easy to assume Michael would be the one that likes setting things on fire - he is the demolition guy and all - but honestly he's in it more for the boom and destruction. But Gavin, now, Gavin loves loves loves fire. Carries a lighter or matches with him at all times, has to sometimes be dragged away from the aftermath of Michael's explosions because he won't stop staring at the flames. (Bc I noticed how much he likes starting fires in minecract lets plays idk)
Oh yep absolutely, there’s a reason the two of them are considered to be the most destructive pair in the FAHC; a love of flame and destruction which, worse than matching, is complementary to one another. Where Michael is looking for a particular outcome, for the demolition of a building or the devastation of enemy supplies, Gavin is chasing reactions; wants to see what will happen, which objects will burn, how people will react, how they will fall apart. They’ll both make a mess when they don’t need to, will happily take the absence of direct orders of prohibition as tacit permission to do as they please, but Michael has certainly got a better handle on more or less sticking to the objective, keeping the damage at least reasonably relevant. He’s frequently found himself reigning in Gavin, laughing more often than not but still standing in the way of the brunt of Gavin’s more senselessly reckless endeavours; the way he holds matches right up against priceless artworks, stacks of cash, the way he always gets too close to the fire, never waiting quite long enough to light the blaze, endlessly fascinated by the way it destroys.
And Gavin is fascinated, can get lost in the flicker of light, the crackle and roar, the mindless hunger. There are moments when his interest is less harmless quirk than it is actual concern; the absent roll of a lighter between his fingers when they could all smell gas, the bonfire of a police safe-house bringing down weeks of unnecessary scrutiny, Gavin’s odd fascination with stealing away to compromise the fire doors any time they enter property owned by other crew’s, habitual preparation for an attack they’re not even planning yet. There’s a reason Gavin’s rarely in charge of starting any fire they need for a plan, a reason Geoff always counts heads before giving Michael the okay to bring down a building, a reason no amount of mocking or complaining stopped Jack from installing 14 different smoke detectors in and around Gavin’s penthouse bedroom. Gavin’s not a pyromaniac, he doesn’t mess up jobs, he’d never risk a fire that would get someone else in the crew hurt; he can actually control himself no matter what the others think. It’s just that he mostly chooses not to.
My drawing nights are sadly over until ~May so I’ll be going during normal hours at least once a week (hopefully). As nice as it was to draw after hours, it’s kind of fun to have an audience to boost my ego again. Heh.